SIX years have passed since we left North and Hillsborough benevolently discussing the repeal of the Townshend Acts. But it was on no such pettifogging matter as tea that 'civil war', as contemporaries called it, wrecked the British Empire, and that British conservatism arrayed itself behind the King.
The one people had become two peoples, the 200,000 Americans of 1700 were nearly 2,000,000 now. Their English blood had been diluted by immigration, not least by that of Ulstermen and Highlanders, who had suffered much from English interference or English neglect. Pioneers pushing over the Appalachian mountains were breaking down the barrier by which the Imperial Government attempted to fend them off from the West, or to protect the Indians. Indeed, in America there were present all the elements of a double revolution. The one was political, between a mother-country and colonies separated by 3000 miles and by the six months required for a ship to complete the double voyage; colonies which had in great part been born in rebellion, and had sucked in Puritanism and the common law with their first breath. Half a century had proved the dilemma of this empire, in which colonial assemblies with Westminster as their pattern used the power of the purse to resist their governors, to contest the power of their councils, or to make judges dependent on themselves. But a second revolution began with a social cleavage between these colonial aristocracies and the pioneers who, musket in hand, were breaking into the wilderness. Not for them the statues of King George, or new books from 'home'; to them England was nothing but a detestable memory, while cheap land, a scaling-down of debt, and the Indian scalping knife were all in all.
As yet the American problem hardly divided English parties. No one had been more enthusiastic for parliamentary