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that we ought not to have the least confidence in offers, promises, or treaties, though confirmed by parliament. I now indeed recollect my being informed long since, when in England, that a certain very great personage, then young, studied much a certain book entitled Arcana Imperii. I had the curiosity to procure the book, and read it. There are sensible and good things in it, but some bad ones; for if I remember right, a particular king is applauded for his politically exciting a rebellion among his subjects at a time when they had not strength to support it, that he might in subduing them take away their privileges which were troublesome to him: and a question is formally stated and discussed, "Whether a prince, who, to appease a revolt, makes promises of indemnity to the revolters, is obliged to fulfil those promises?" Honest and good men would say ay: but this politician says, as you say,-no. And he gives this pretty reason, that though it was right to make the promises, because otherwise revolt would. not be suppressed; yet it would be wrong to keep them, because revolters ought to be punished to deter future revolts. If these are the principles of your nation, no confidence can be placed in you, it is in vain to treat with you, and the wars can only end in being reduced to an utter inability of continuing them.

One main drift of your letter seems to be to impress me with an idea of your own impartiality, by just censures of your ministers and measures, and to draw from me propositions of peace, or approbations of those you have enclosed me, which you intimate may, by your means, be conveyed to the king directly, without the intervention of those ministers.

Would you have me give them to, or drop them for, a stranger I may find next Monday in the church of Notre Dame, to be known by a rose in his hat? You yourself, sir, are quite unknown to me, you have not trusted me with your name. Our taking the least step towards a treaty with England through you, might, if you are an enemy, be made use of to ruin us with our new and good friends. I may be indiscreet enough in many things; but certainly if I were disposed to make propositions, (which I cannot do, having none committed to me to make,) I should never think of delivering them to the Lord knows who, to be carried to the Lord knows where, to serve no one knows what purposes. Being at this time one of the most remarkable figures in Paris, even my appearance in the church of Notre Dame, where I cannot have any conceivable business, and especially being seen to leave or drop any letter to any person there, would be a matter of some speculation, and might, from the suspicions it must naturally give, have very mischievous consequences to our credit here. The very proposing of a correspondence so to be managed, in a manner not necessary where fair dealing is intended, gives just reason to suppose you intend the contrary. Besides, as your court has sent commissioners to treat with the congress, with all the powers that would be given them by the crown under the act of parliament, what good purpose can be served by privately obtaining propositions from us? Before those commissioners went, we might have treated in virtue of our general powers, (with the knowledge, advice, and approbation of our friends,) But under the upon any propositions made to us. present circumstances, for us to make propositions

while a treaty is supposed to be actually on foot with the congress, would be extremely improper, highly presumptuous with regard to our honorable constituents, and answer no good end whatever.

I write this letter to you notwithstanding (which I think I can convey in a less mysterious manner, and think it may come to your hands); I write it because I would let you know our sense of your procedure, which appears as insidious as that of your conciliatory bills. Your true way to obtain peace, if your ministers desire it, is to propose openly to the congress fair and equal terms; and you may possibly come sooner to a resolution, when you find that personal flatteries, general cajolings, and panegyrics on our virtue and wisdom, are not likely to have the effect you seem to expect, the persuading us to act basely and foolishly in betraying our country and posterity into the hands of our most bitter enemies, giving up or selling of our arms and warlike stores, dismissing our ships of war and troops, and putting those enemies in possession of our forts and ports. This proposition of delivering ourselves bound and gagged, ready for hanging, without even a right to complain, and without a friend to be found afterwards among all mankind, you would have us embrace upon the faith of an act of parliament! Good God! an act of your parliament!! This demonstrates that you do not yet know us, and that you fancy we do not know you but it is not merely this flimsy faith that we are to act upon you offer us hope, the hope of PLACES, PENSIONS, and PEERAGES. These, judging from yourselves, you think are motives irresistible. This offer to corrupt us, sir, is with me your credential, and convinces me that you are not a private


volunteer in your application. It bears the stamp of British court intrigue, and the signature of your king. But think for a moment in what light it must be viewed in America. By PLACES which cannot come among us, for you take care, by a special article, to keep them to yourselves. We must then pay the salaries in order to enrich ourselves with these places. But you will give us PENSIONS; probably to be paid too out of your expected American revenue; and which none of us can accept without deserving, and perhaps obtaining, a suspension. PEERAGES! alas! sir, our long observation of the vast servile majority of your peers voting constantly for every measure proposed by a minister, however weak or wicked, leaves us small respect for them; and we consider it as a sort of tar-andfeather honor, or a mixture of foulness and folly; which every man among us who should accept from your king, would be obliged to renounce or exchange for that conferred by the mobs of their own country, or wear it with everlasting shame.

I am, sir, your humble servant,




Passy, July 22, 1778. Mr. Deane is I hope with you long before this time, and I doubt not but every prejudice against him is removed. It was not alone upon the proceedings of congress I formed my opinion that such prejudices existed. I am glad to understand that opinion was groundless, and that he is like to come back with honor, in the commission to Holland, where matters are already so ripe for his operations,

that he cannot fail (with his abilities) of being useful.

There has been some inaccuracy in sending us the last dispatches of the committee; two copies of the contract with Mr. Francy and the invoices came by the same vessel, Captain Niles. And though one of your letters mentions sending enclosed a resolution of congress relative to two articles of the treaty, that resolution is not come to hand. There are circumstances in the affairs of those articles that make them in my opinion of no consequence if they stand, while the proposing to abrogate them has an unpleasing appearance, as it looks like a desire of having it in our power to make that commercial kind of war, which no honest state can begin, which no good friend or neighbor ever did or will begin, which has always been considered as an act of hostility that provoked as well as justified reprisals, and has generally produced such as have rendered the first object as unprofitable as it was unjust. Commerce among nations as well as between private persons should be fair and equitable, by equivalent exchanges and mu tual supplies: the taking unfair advantage of a neighbor's necessities, though attended with a temporary success, always breeds ill blood: to lay duties on a commodity exported which our friends want, is a knavish attempt to get something for nothing. The statesman who first invented it, had the genius of a pick pocket, and would have been a pickpocket, if fortune had suitably placed him; the nations who have practised it have suffered for it fourfold, as pickpockets ought to suffer. Savoy, by a duty on exported wines, lost the supplying of Switzerland, which thenceforth raised its own wine, and

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