FINAL ANSWER OF PARLIAMENT TO AMERICA.
THE members of parliament, as they reached London for the session, heard rumors that the empress of Russia was to spare a large detachment from her army to aid in suppressing the rebellion in America. “When the Russians arrive, will you go and see their camp?” wrote Edward Gibbon, the great historian, in October, to a friend. “The worst of it is, the Baltic will soon be frozen up, and it must be late next year before they can get to America.” Couriers from Moscow dispelled this confidence.
Vergennes found it difficult to believe that the mistakes of the British ministers could be so great as they really were. He received hints of negotiations for Russian troops; yet could the king of England be willing to send foreign mercenaries to make war on his own subjects? Henry IV. of France would not have accepted the aid of foreign troops to reduce Paris; their employment by Britain would render it impossible in any event to restore affectionate relations between the parent state and the colonies. So reasoned the guiding statesman of France, but the British government, with fierce impetuosity, turned to the many princelings of Germany, who now had the British exchequer at their mercy. Loyal addresses began to come in, to the joy of Lord North; but the king saw danger to the royal authority in any appeal to popular opinion. So long as the public was under the delusion that the colonies had long premeditated independence, violent measures were acquiesced in “by a majority of individuals of all ranks and proies