Page:Dramatic Moments in American Diplomacy (1918).djvu/53

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they became aware of these advances by the English.

This alarming information, added to the great influence of Franklin's personality, persuaded the Bourbon King to act at once. His whole soul was set upon the dismemberment of the British Empire. He did not care about the Colonies rising up into a great power—both on account of his own prestige and a natural aversion for republics, and because his cousin, the Spaniard, rightly opined that an American republic would be a menace to the American possessions of Spain. But a reconciliation—that was not to be considered.

The philosopher played his hand like the great genius that he was. Frank and genuine in every move, he still concealed a greater knowledge of human nature, and a more subtle mind under a disingenuous aspect, than any man alive. From the unrecognized suppliant he assumed at once the rôle of the master of the situation. All the parties came to him. Con-