In the preceding chapters British theories, attitudes, and sentiments in relation to the usefulness of colonial possessions have been presented, roughly, up to the outbreak of the American War of Independence. Conventional and unconventional mercantilist theorizing, the new conceptions of the first classical economists, early projects of imperial federation, and the ideas of the English Dissenters were recorded. All these different currents of opinion were represented in the stream of public comment that accompanied the events of the war. However, the years from 1776 to 1783 were, of course, not conducive to judicious discussion of the problems of empire.