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from friend, Mr. Bridgen, which I received should make a trip to London, but had no noirun you last night. You will be so good as tion it would be so soon. On coming to town to acquaint him in answer to his first ques. last evening, I found such pressing letters, that tion, if any fund was established for the sup- I propose setting off this evening or to-morport of Mr. Laurens ? that being informed row at latest. I would have called if possiabout the middle of last month by a friend in ble to receive your commands, but as I am London of Mr. L.'s being in want of money, pinched in time, must content myself with I wrote on the 19th to Mr. Hodgson, a mer- sending for them. The bearer will call for chant in Coleman Street, in whose hands I them an hour after receiving this letter. had lodged cash for the support of prisoners, to " I shall probably be interrogated about the hold £100 of it at the disposition of Mr. Lau- dispositions in this country to peace. My own rens; and I since hear that on a like intimation idea is, that you seek only your independence, to Mr. Adams in Holland, he has ordered an- and that this country, were that secured, will other £100 to be applied to the same purpose. be moderate in other matters, as the object of I have never heard that any fund was esta- the war does not seem to be conquest. Let blished in America for the use of that gentle- me know if this is proper language. I notice man ; probably it has not been known there that a courtly argument has been used in parthat he had need of it. The second question, liament for continuing the continental war, if any measures had been taken for his relief? that withdrawing would make you insolent, will be answered by acquainting Mr. B. that and give France exclusive advantages—were the congress passed a resolution to offer the it not proper that this were contradicted fatly? exchange of general Burgoyne for him, and Any commissions you may have will be taimpowered me to make the offer: that Mr. ken care of, and I shall be back, barring acBurke having written to me in favour of his cidents, in three weeks. Wishing you every friend, general Burgoyne, on a supposition thing that is good, I remain with equal es that the congress intended to recall him, I teem and respect, dear sir, your most obedisent a copy of the resolution to Mr. Burke, ent humble servant, and requested he would charge himself with
* W. ALEXANDER." the negotiation. I have since heard nothing, either from Mr. Hodgson or Mr. Burke; and as it is said, a packet was lately lost between
Answer to Mr. Alexander. Ostend and England, I begin to fear my let
“ PASSY, December 15, 1781. ters have miscarried, and shall by the first
“Dear Sir, I thank you for informing post send copies. I wish Mr. Bridgen would me of your intended journey. You know so however apply to both those gentlemen, learn well the prevailing sentiments here, and what has been done, and through you acquaint mine in particular, that it is unnecessary for me with it. I beg you would assure Mr. me to express them; and having never been Bridgen of my best wishes and affectionate believed on that side the water, it would be attachment. I hope his affairs in Carolina useless. I will say, however, that I think the have been settled to his mind. With much language you mention very proper to be held
, esteem, I have the honour to be, madam,
as it is the truth; though the truth may not “ B. FRANKLIN."
always be proper. Wishing you a good voy. “P. S. About the beginning of the year, age, and happy return to your children, I am having heard a report that Mr. Laurens was with great esteem, dear sir, yours, &c. &c. ill-used, I wrote a little remonstrance to sir
“B. FRANKLIN." Grey Cooper on the occasion; who replied, by acquainting me that on inquiry he found the report to be groundless; and by sending
“ To David Hartley, Esq. M. P., sent by
Mr. Alexander with a pamphlet. me a letter he had received from the lieutenant of the Tower, which assured him in
"Passy, December 15, 1781. the strongest terms, that Mr. Laurens was “ MY DEAR FRIEND,— I received your faperfectly satisfied with the treatment he re vour of September 26, containing your very ceived, and frequently expressed his thank- judicious proposition of securing the spectators fulness for the same; this made me easy, in the opera and playhouses from the danger hearing nothing afterwards to the contrary of fire. I communicated it where I thought till lately."
it might be useful. You will see by the en closed that the subject has been under consi
deration here. Your concern for the security From Wm. Alexander, Esq. to Dr.
of life, even the lives of your enemies, does Franklin.
honour to your heart and your humanity.
But what are the lives of a few idle haunters “My Dear Sir, I told you last time I had of playhouses compared with the many thouthe pleasure of seeing you at Passy, that l'sands of worthy men, and honest, industrious
" Passy, Dec. 15, 1781.
families butchered and destroyed by this de- | received your letter, I had one (from Mr. vilish war! 0! that we could find some hap Benjamin Vaughan, who is connected with py invention to stop the spreading of the the family of Mr. Manning) which informHames, and put an end to so horrid a confla- ed me that Mr. Laurens was really in want gration! Adieu, I am ever, yours most affec- of necessaries; and desired to know if any tionately, “B. FRANKLIN." provision was made for his subsistence. Í
wrote immediately to Mr. Hodgson, in whose
hands I had lodged some money, requesting " To M. Dumas.
him to hold £100 of it at the disposition of
Mr. Laurens, and to acquaint Mr. Vaughan "Passy, December, 19, 1781.
with it About this time I received two “ DEAR SIR,—I duly received yours of the Ilth, per young Mr. de Neufville, enclosing liament, complaining that his friend, general
letters; one from Mr. Burke, member of parthe pamphlets, of which I gave one the next Burgoyne, (in England on his parole) was re day to Mr. Boudoin. It was so long since we claimed and recalled by congress, and re. have heard from you, that we feared you questing I would find some means of permitwere sick.
ting him to remain. The other was from " I enclose sundry American newspapers, the congress, enclosing a resolve that impowout of which perhaps something may be drawn ered me to offer general Burgoyne in exfor your printers. There are the orders of general Greene after the battle of Eutaw Burke's letter, that he was very desirous of
change for Mr. Laurens. Perceiving by Mr. Springs, by which it appears that the militia behaved to general satisfaction. There are immediate intercourse with the British mi
obtaining his friend's liberty, and having no also the proceedings relating to colonel Isaac nistry, I thought I could not do better than Haynes, which it may be well to publish, as
to enclose the resolve in my answer to his probably we may soon hear that general letter, and request him to negotiate the exGreene, according to his promise in his clamation, has hanged some of the British of change.. When I received yours, I was in ficers in retaliation; and the knowledge of expectation of having soon an answer from these proceedings may operate in his justifi- enable me to give you more satisfactory in
Mr. Burke and Mr. Hodgson, which would cation. In the German paper there are two formation. I, therefore, delayed writing to dialogues, of which you can best judge whe
you from post to post till I should hear from ther the printing of them in Germany may them; and fearing from the length of time not have some little effect in opposition to that my letters had miscarried, I sent copies Fawcett's recruiting. I suppose this letter of them. It is but yesterday that I received an may find you at Amsterdam, and therefore I send it under cover to Mr. Adams, with the answer froin Mr. Hodgson, dated the 21st in
stant, in which he writes me, I received usual compliments of the approaching season.
your favour of the 19th ultimo; I immediately · B. FRANKLIN."
acquainted Mr. Vaughan with your directions concerning the supplying Mr. Laurens. He
has been acquainted therewith ; but hitherto " Miss Laurens.
no application has been made to me for the mo"Passy, December 29, 1781. ney: whenever it is, you may be assured it MADAM,—I received your very sensible shåll be complied with. No answer is come letter of the 14th past. Your brother, colonel to my hands from Mr. Burke; but I see by a Laurens, being here when I received the for- newspaper Mr. Hodgson sends me, that he mer, I informed him of the steps I had then has endeavoured to execute the commission. taken, respecting your good father, and request. I enclose that paper for your satisfaction, toed him to answer your letter for me. I did sup- gether with a copy of your father's petition pose he had done it; but his great and con- to parliament, on which I do not find that stant occupation while here, might occasion they have yet come to any result: but obhis omitting it. The purport was, that on a serving that he makes no complaint in that report of your father's being harshly treated, petition, of his being pinched in the article I wrote in his behalf to an old friend, sir of subsistence, I hope that part of our intelliGrey, Cooper, secretary of the treasury, gence from London may be a mistake. I complaining of it. His answer was, that he shall, however, you may depend, leave nohad inquired, and found the report ground- thing undone that is in my power, to obtain less; and he sent me enclosed a letter he his release, and assure you that the thought received from the lieutenant of the Tower, of the pleasure it must afford a child, whose assuring him that Mr. Laurens was treat- mind is of so tender a sensibility, and filled ed with great kindness, was very sensible with such true filial duty and affection, will of it, thankful for it, and frequently express- be an additional spur to my endeavours. ] ed his satisfaction:' on this I became more suppose Mr. Adams has informed you that he easy on his account; but a little before I has ordered another £100 sterling to be paid VOL. I...3E
Mr. Laurens: and I hope you will soon have gotiation promises much the shortest road to the happiness of hearing that he is at liberty. a general peace. With very great regard,
* Upon 'Mr. Alexander's opening thus " B. FRANKLIN."
much to me,
I told him I would apply for the earliest opportunity of laying these matters
before the minister. Accordingly, on Friday David Hartley to Dr. Franklin.
morning (December 21) I applied through the * LONDON, Jan. 2, 1782.
means of the earl of Guildford (father to lord “My dear FRIEND,—I have received the North,) a nobleman of a most respectable favour of yours of the 15th of December, by character, advanced in years, and attached by Mr. Alexander. I most heartily join with you every possible tie to a son now in a most in the wish that we could find some means to arduous situation. I therefore requested the stop the spreading flames of this devilish war. favour through his hands, as giving me the I will not despair. The communications most conciliatory access to the minister, to which he has imparted to me from you, have whom I was preparing to make an applicarevived my hopes of peace. I laid them be- tion for peace. After the appointment was fore the minister immediately. We are at a made with lord North for Friday evening, I suspense for the present upon a very inaterial returned to Mr. Alexander, to consider the preliminary. I did intend writing to you at specific manner and terms in which I should the present pause, that we might make our make my application. It had occurred to me, ground good as we go on, but an accident from what Mr. Alexander had stated to me, which has happened obliges me to do it with that the conciliatory bill* which I had moved out delay. For having had a most essential in the last parliament, on June 27, 1780, question transmitted to me from lord North would still serve as a foundation to proceed for explanation, when I would have applied to upon: I therefore carried it with me. He told Mr. Alexander, I could not hear of him; and ine that he and you knew the sense of the bill now I find that he has left his hotel these very well, and that it would be entirely confour or five days, and his return uncertain, I sonant to your sentiments, that I should state must apply to you. I will state to you what it to lord North, as drawing an outline for nehas passed.
gotiation of peace. However, to avoid all "Upon my first interview with Mr. Alex- errors, I read the bill through to him, and exander, he told me that the late events would plained the view of each clause, viz. the style inake no difference in the prospect of peace; of provinces of North America—a general that America had no other wish than to see a phrase to avoid any term denoting dependence termination of this war; that no events would or independence: the truce for an indefinite make them unreasonable on that subject, term: the articles of intercourse for ten years which sentiments likewise your letter ex- certain—to restore an amicable correspondpresses; and that no formal recognition of in- ence—and to abate animosities: the suspendependence would be required. I thought sion of certain acts of parliament—to avoid this a very fair opening; but the next point every possible question of dependence or inwhich he explained to me, seeined to be still dependence : and to finish the work, by a ratifimore material towards peace, viz. that Ame- cation of each article of intercourse as agreed rica was disposed to enter into a separate to, thereby to prevent all possible return of treaty with Great Britain, and their allies were war. I compared the articles of intercourse disposed to consent to it. I believe that it for a short term, and their ratification into a has been the unfortunate union of common permanent peace, to a well known mode of cause between America and France, which proceeding in the laws of England, by lease has for the last three years turned aside the and release, from temporary to perpetual amity wish of the people of England for peace. I and peace. Upon these grounds I took my verily believe (so deep is the jealousy be commission from him for lord North, viz. the tween England and France) that this country question of dependence or independence sub would fight for a straw to the last man, and silentio-_a separate treaty with America, and the last shilling, rather than be dictated to by to state the conciliatory bill of June, 1780, as France. I therefore, consider this as the the outline of negotiation. I saw lord North greatest rub out of the way. I have often in the evening, and stated the foregoing proargued this point with you upon former oc- positions to him, as I have now stated them casions, having at all times foreseen, that it to you. After having stated the compromise would be the greatest rub in the road to peace, sub silentio, and the separate treaty, I left with and I have often stated it to you as an act of lord North the copy of the bill of June, 1780, justice due to America from her allies, not to together with a paper, entitled, Conciliatory drag her through a war of European resent. Propositions, as explanatory of that bill (both ments and jealousies, beyond her original enclosed with this.) The next morning (viz views and engagements; and moreoyer I think the separation of the causes in the ne * See Mr. Hartiey's letter of July, 1780.
Saturday, December 22.) I saw Mr. Alex- some desponding impressions, as if the minisander, and reported to him what I had stated try were indisposed to peace, and that things to lord North, and showed him a copy of the would not do, &c. He did not tell me upon paper, entitled, Conciliatory Propositions. — what ground he had formed such apprehenHe told me that I had executed my com- sion; however, lest he should have imparted mission perfectly to his intelligence of the mat- any such by letter to you, I will state that ter. I should tell you, that at the conclusion point to you, because it may have infinite ill of my conversation with lord North, we both consequences to be too touchy on such suspi-settled jointly the result thus, • I recommend cions. A premature jealousy may create the to your lordship the propositions which I have very evil it suspects. The ministry in this had the honour of stating to you as, general country are not every thing. The sense of grounds of a proposed negotiation, leading the people when really expressed and exerttowards peace, under liberal constructions.' ed, would be most prevalent. Suppose then Lord North said in answer, .so I understand it were a proved point, that every man in the them.'
ministry were in his heart adverse to peace. “ Upon this footing matters rested for some What then? withhold all overtures! By no days. On Sunday last (December 30,) I re- means. I should advise the very contrary in ceived a message from lord North, through the strongest manner. I should say, let the the means of lord Guildford, requesting an ex- overtures be made so much the more public planation of this point, viz. “Who is autho- and explicit, by those who do wish for peace. rized to treat on the part of America ? whether It is the unfortunate state of things which has you or Mr. Adams, or both jointly; and whe- hitherto bound the cause of France to any ther the propositions above stated, would be possible treaty with America, and which has acknowledged, as general grounds of negotia- thereby thrown a national damp upon any action towards peace, by the person or persons tual public exertions to procure a negotiation authorized to treat; because it was necessary, for peace with America. I have the strongest before he could lay a matter of so great im- opinion, that if it were publicly known to the portance before the cabinet council, that he people of England that a negotiation might be should be entitled to say, These propositions opened with America, upon the terms above and general outlines come to me from respon- specified, that all the ministry together, if they sible and authorized persons.' The moment were ill disposed, to a man, would not venture I received the request of lord North, I agreed to thwart such a measure. But why should entirely with the necessity of an explanation it be supposed, that the ministry, to a man, are on that head. I had partly expected such an ill disposed to a peace? Suppose them to be inquiry, and it gave me satisfaction when it half and half, and the public wish and voice came, as I thought it the first reply towards a of the people in favour of negotiation, it is eviparley. If the propositions had not gained dent on which side the balance would incline. some attention it would have been of very But why should we seek to throw a damp prelittle importance to have inquired whence maturely upon any chance? Why presume they came. As to the caution itself, it ap- even against any individual ? I grani, that it pears to me not only prudent but indispensa- would be a bitter trial of humility to be brought ble. The forms of caution in such cases are to a formal recognition of independence at the the essentials of caution. I had determined haughty command of France, and I believe on my own account, before this message, to every part of the nation would proceed to evehave writ to you, that I might have received ry extremity before they would submit to that. your sentiments directly from yourself with- But if that touchy point can be provided for,
out any other intervention, that we might pro- sub silentio, and if the proposed treaty with i ceed with caution and certainty in a matter America may be carried on free from con
of such infinite importance. This message trol by France, let us give the cause of peace has only quickened my despatch. The two a fair trial; at the worst we should but be points of explanation requested, I take to be where we were if we should fail. these; whether the outlines above recited are should we expect to fail, when the greatest properly stated, always considering that they rub is removed, by the liberty of entering seimply no farther than general grounds of ne- parately into a treaty ? I think it a most fagotiation towards peace; under liberal con- vourable event, leading towards peace. Give structions; and secondly, by what authorized us a truce with its concomitants, and a little person or persons, any answer on this subject time so given for cooling will have most exwould be accepted; in short a requisition of cellent effects on both sides. Eternal peace credentials preparatory to a formal answer, and conciliation may then follow. which is so much the more necessary on the “I send this to you by the quickest despatch, supposition of a favourable reception of the that we may bring this point to a fair issue first hint towards negotiation.
before the meeting of parliament. God pros “When I last saw Mr. Alexander, viz. per the blessed work of peace. about four or five days ago, he had met with
" D. HARTLEY.”
heartily devoted to that cause. I have no In the title and preamble of the bill the thing farther to add, either upon my own re
flections or from my subsequent conversations words provinces of North America are used with Mr. Alexander, to what I have stated as general words, neither implying depend- in the foregoing letter. If we once make : ence or independence. Clause 1.' The Truce is taken from the should hope that such a negotiation, founded
good beginning upon the plan there stated, I conciliatory act of 1778, and is indefinite as to on such principles, would promise fair to pro the proposed duration of the truce. Under this duce every salutary and pacific consequence clause it might be proposed to negotiate three in the event." points, viz. the removal of the British troops from the thirteen provinces of North America, and connectedly with this article, a sti.
“ To David Hartley. pulation for the security of the friends of the British government. The third article might
** Passy, January 15, 1722. be a stipulation that the respective parties, “ DEAR SIR,– I received a few days since during the continuance of the truce, should your favour of the 2d instant, in which you not, neither directly or indirectly, give assist- tell me, that Mr. Alexander had informed ance to the enemies of each other.
you 'America was disposed to enter into a Clause 2. Articles of intercourse and pa- separate treaty with Great Britain.' I am cification. Under this clause some arrange- persuaded that your strong desire for peace ments might be settled, for establishing a free has misled you, and occasioned your greatly and mutual intercourse, civil and commercial, misunderstanding Mr. Alexander; as I think between Great Britain and the aforesaid pro- it scarce possible he should have asserted a vinces of North America.
thing so utterly void of foundation. I reClause 3. Suspension of certain acts of member that you have, as you say, often urgparliament. By this clause a free communi-ed this on former occasions, and that it always cation may be kept open between the two gave me more disgust than my friendship for countries, during the negotiation for peace, you permitted me to express. But since you without stumbling against any claim of rights have now gone so far as to carry such a pro which might draw into contest the question position to lord North, as arising from us, it is of dependence or independence.
necessary that I should be explicit with you, Clause 4. The ratification by parliament. and tell you plainly, that I never had such an The object of this clause is to consolidate peace idea, and I believe there is not a man in Ameand conciliation, step by step, as the negotia- rica, a few English Tories excepted, that tion may proceed; and to prevent, as far as would not spurn at the thought of deserting possible, any return of war, after the first de-a noble and generous friend, for the sake of a claration of a truce. By the operation of this truce with an unjust and cruel enemy. I clause, a temporary truce may be converted have again read over your Conciliatory Bill, into a perpetual and permanent peace. with the manuscript propositions that accom
Clause 5. A temporary act. This clause, pany it; and am concerned to find, that one creating a temporary act for a specific pur- cannot give vent to a simple wish for peace, pose of negotiation in view, is taken from the a mere sentiment of humanity, without havact of 1788.
ing it interpreted as a disposition to submit
to any base conditions that may be offered us, • January 8, 1782.
rather than continue the war; for, on no “P. S. Since writing this letter, I have seen other supposition could you propose to us a Mr. Alexander, and shall see him from time to truce for ten years, during which we are to time to communicate with him. I do not engage not to assist France, while you contisuppose I shall have an answer from lord nue the war with her. A truce too, wherein North till the preliminary points are so set- nothing is to be mentioned that may weaken tled as to enable him to give an answer in your pretensions to dominion over us, which form. Ministry might undoubtedly give a you may therefore assume at the end of the short negative, if they thought proper; but I term, or at pleasure ; when we should have do not expect that. You may be assured so covered ourselves with infamy, by our that I have, and shall continue to enforce, treachery to our first friend, as that no other every argument in the most conciliatory man- nation can ever after be disposed to assist us, ner to induce a negotiation. I am very sorry how cruel soever you might think fit to treat for Mr. A.'s confinement, on his own account, us. Believe me, my dear friend, America and on that of his friends, and because proba- has too much understanding, and is too sensibly in the future state of his business, his per- ble of the value of the world's good opinion, sonal exertions may be very serviceable in to forfeit it all by such perfidy. The congress the cause of peace. Every assistance and will never instruct their commissioners to obevery exertion of mine will always be most tain a peace on such ignominious terms; and