Imágenes de páginas


Passy, March 24, 1778.

My dear old friend was in the right not "to call in question the sincerity of my words where I say, February 12, we can treat if any propositions are made to us." They were true then, and are so still, if Britain has not declared war with France; for in that case we shall undoubtedly think ourselves obliged to continue the war as long as she does. But methinks you should have taken us at our word, and have sent immediately your propositions in order to prevent such a war, if you did not choose it. Still I conceive it would be well to do it, if you have not already rashly begun the war. Assure yourself nobody more sincerely wishes perpetual peace among men than I do; but there is a prior wish, that they would be equitable and just, otherwise such peace is not possible; and indeed wicked men have no right to expect it. Adieu! I am ever yours most affectionately, B. FRANKLIN.

Note from WILLIAM PULTENEY, Esq. M.P. (under the assumed name of Williams.)

Mr. Williams returned this morning to Paris, and will be glad to see Dr. Franklin, whenever it is convenient for the doctor, at the Hotel Frasiliere, Rue Tournon. It is near the hotel where he lodged when the doctor saw him a fortnight ago. He does not propose to go abroad, and therefore the doctor will find him at any hour. He understands that Mr. Alexander is not yet returned from Dijon, which he regrets.

Sunday morning, March 29, 1778.

[The following letter to Mr. Pulteney, was not sent, but contains what was said in a conversation Dr. Franklin had with him in Paris.]



Passy, March 30, 1778. When I first had the honor of conversing with you on the subject of peace, I mentioned it as my opinion that every proposition which implied our voluntarily agreeing to return to a dependence on Britain was now become impossible; that a peace on equal terms undoubtedly might be made; and that though we had no particular powers to treat of peace with England, we had general powers to make treaties of peace, amity, and commerce, with any state in Europe, by which I thought we might be authorised to treat with Britain; who, if sincerely disposed to peace, might save time and much bloodshed by treating with us directly.

I also gave it as my opinion, that in the treaty to be made, Britain should endeavor, by the fairness and generosity of the terms she offered, to recover the esteem, confidence, and affection of America, without which the peace could not be so beneficial, as it was not likely to be lasting. In this I had the pleasure to find you of my opinion.

But I see by the propositions you have communicated to me, that the ministers cannot yet divest themselves of the idea, that the power of parliament over us is constitutionally absolute and unlimited; and that the limitations they may be willing now to put to it by treaty, are so many favors, or so many benefits for which we are to make compensation.

As our opinions in America are totally different, a treaty on the terms proposed, appears to me utterly

impracticable either here or there. Here we certainly cannot make it, having not the smallest authority to make even the declaration specified in the proposed letter, without which, if I understood you right, treating with us cannot be commenced.

I sincerely wish as much for peace as you do, and I have enough remaining of good-will for England to wish it for her sake as well as for our own, and for the sake of humanity. In the present state of things, the proper means of obtaining it, in my opinion, are to acknowledge the independence of the United States, and then enter at once into a treaty with us for a suspension of arms, with the usual provisions relating to distances; and another for establishing peace, friendship, and commerce, such as France has made. This might prevent a war between you and that kingdom, which in the present circumstances and temper of the two nations an accident may bring on every day, though contrary to the interest and without the previous intention of either. Such a treaty we might probably now make with the approbation of our friends: but if you go to war with them on account of their friendship for us, we are bound by ties, stronger than can be formed by any treaty, to fight against you with them, as long as the war against them shall continue.

May God at last grant that wisdom to your national councils, which he seems long to have denied them, and which only sincere, just, and humane intentions can merit or expect! With great personal esteem, I have the honor to be, sir, &c.

[merged small][ocr errors]


Upon a night's reflection, it is thought right that you be possessed of the enclosed,* to be afterwards returned without taking copy, in case no business be done. Will you let me know by the bearer if we are to see you in town to-day, and when, that I may be at hand?

Saturday morning, April 4, 1778.



Passy, April 16, 1778. I wish you would assure our friend that Dr. Franklin never gave any such expectations to Mr. Pultney. On the contrary, he told him that the commissioners could not succeed in their mission, whether they went to recover the dependence or to divide. His opinion is confirmed by the enclosed resolves, which perhaps it may not be amiss to publish in England. Please to send me the newspaper. Yours affectionately, B. FRANKLIN.



Passy, March 19, 1780. I have just received the pamphlet you did me the honor to send me by M. Gérard, and have read

* Some proposals on the part of the British ministry, eventually disapproved of by Dr. Franklin, and returned.

† An American gentleman of great worth and abilities; an intimate and much respected friend of Dr. Franklin's, to whom the United States are greatly indebted for his exertion and assistance in the cause of their independence.

This letter is inserted here (out of its place), as elucidating the foregoing one.

[ocr errors]

it with pleasure: not only as the clear state of facts, it does you honor, but as it proves the falsehood of a man,* who also showed no regard to truth in what he said of me, "that I approved of the propositions he carried over. The truth is this; his brother, Mr. Pultney, came here with those propositions; and after stipulating that if I did not approve of them, I should not speak of them to any person, he communicated them to me. I told him frankly, on his desiring to know my sentiments, that I DID NOT approve of them, and that I was sure they woULD NOT be accepted in America. But I said, 'There are two other commissioners here. I will, if you please, show your propositions to them, and you will hear their opinions. I will also show them to the ministry here, without whose knowledge and concurrence we can take no step in such affairs.' 'No,' said he; as you do not approve of them, it can answer no purpose to show them to any body else: the reasons that weigh with you will also weigh with them: therefore, I now pray that no mention may be made of my having been here, or my business.' To this I agreed, and therefore nothing could be more astonishing to me, than to see in an American newspaper, that direct lie, in a letter from Mr. Johnstone, joined with two other falsehoods, relating to the time of the treaty, and to the opinion of Spain !

In proof of the above, I enclose a certificate of a friend of Mr. Pultney's, the only person present at our interview; and I do it the rather at this time, because I am informed that another calumniator (the same who formerly in his private letters to par

* Sir James Johnstone, one of the British commissioners sent to America.

« AnteriorContinuar »