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A Popular History of France from the Earliest Time

Even had they lacked their charters


style="text-align: justify;"> CHAPTER LVII.----LOUIS XVI.--FRANCE ABROAD.--UNITED STATES' WAR OF INDEPENDENCE. 1775-1783.

"Two things, great and difficult as they may be, are a man's duty and may establish his fame. To support misfortune and be sturdily resigned to it; to believe in the good and trust in it perseveringly. [M. Guizot, _Washington_].

"There is a sight as fine and not less salutary than that of a virtuous man at grips with adversity; it is the sight of a virtuous man at the head of a good cause and securing its triumph.

"If ever cause were just and had a right to success, it was that of the English colonies which rose in insurrection to become the United States of America. Opposition, in their case, preceded insurrection.

"Their opposition was founded on historic right and on facts, on rational right and on ideas.

"It is to the honor of England that she had deposited in the cradle of her colonies the germ of their liberty; almost all, at their foundation, received charters which conferred upon the colonists the franchises of the mother-country.

"At the same time with legal rights, the colonists had creeds. It was not only as Englishmen, but as Christians, that they wanted to be free, and they had their faith even more at heart than their charters. Their

rights would not have disappeared, even had they lacked their charters. By the mere impulse of their souls, with the assistance of divine grace, they would have derived them from a sublimer source and one inaccessible to human power, for they cherished feelings that soared beyond even the institutions of which they showed themselves to be so jealous.

"Such, in the English colonies, was the happy condition of man and of society, when England, by an arrogant piece of aggression, attempted to dispose, without their consent, of their fortunes and their destiny."

The uneasiness in the relations between the mother-country and the colonies was of old date; and the danger which England ran of seeing her great settlements beyond the sea separating from her had for some time past struck the more clear-sighted. "Colonies are like fruits which remain on the tree only until they are ripe," said M. Turgot in 1750; "when they have become self-sufficing, they do as Carthage did, as America will one day do." It was in the war between England and France for the possession of Canada that the Americans made the first trial of their strength.

Alliance was concluded between the different colonies; Virginia marched in tune with Massachusetts; the pride of a new power, young and already victorious, animated the troops which marched to the conquest of Canada. "If we manage to remove from Canada these turbulent Gauls," exclaimed John Adams, "our territory, in a century, will be more populous than England herself. Then all Europe will be powerless to subjugate us." "I am astounded," said the Duke of Choiseul to the English negotiator who arrived at Paris in 1761, "I am astounded that your great Pitt should attach so much importance to the acquisition of Canada, a territory too scantily peopled to ever become dangerous for you, and one which, in our hands, would serve to keep your colonies in a state of dependence from which they will not fail to free themselves the moment Canada is ceded to you." A pamphlet attributed to Burke proposed to leave Canada to France with the avowed aim of maintaining on the border of the American provinces an object of anxiety and an everthreatening enemy.


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