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“But, whatever I might advise, if my advice lrad any chance of being taken, this I know, and positively pronounce, that while Athens is Athens, her proud but brave citizens will never expressly recognize the independence of the islands: their resources are no doubt exhaustible, but will not be exbausted in the lives of us and of our children. In this resolution all parties agree: I, who am of no party, dissent from them; but what is a single voice in so vast a multitude? Yet the independence of the United States was tacitly acknowleged by the very offer of terms, and it would result in silence from the natural operation of the treaty. An express acknowlegement of it is merely formal with respect to the allies; but the prejudices of mankind have made it substantial with respect to Athens.
* • Let this obstacle be removed: it is slight, but fatal; and, whilst it lasts, thousands and ten thousands will perish. In war much will always depend upon blind chance, and a storm or sudden fall of snow may frustrate all your efforts for liberty; but let commissioners from both sides meet, and the islanders, by not insisting on a preliminary recognition of independence, will ultimately establish it for ever.
« • But independence is not disunion. Chios, Cos, Lesbos, Rhodes, are united, but independent on each other: they are connected by a common tie, but have different forms and different constitutions. They are gems of various colors and various properties, strung in one bracelet. Such an union can only be ir le between states, which, how widely soever they differ in form, agree in one common property, freedom. Republics may forın alliances, but not a federal union, with arbitrary monarchies. Were Athens governed by the will of a monarch, she could never be co-ordinate with the free islands; for such an union would not be dissimilarity but dissonance: but she is and shall be ruled by laws alone, that is, by the will of the people, which is the only law. Her Archon, even when he was perpetual, had no essential properties of monarchy. The constitution of Athens, if we must define it, was then a republic with a perpetual administrator of its laws.
Between Athens, therefore, and the freest states in the world, an union may naturally be formed.
« • There is a natural union between her and the islands, which the Gods have made, and which the powers of hell cannot dissolve. Men, speaking the same idiom, educated in the same manner, perhaps, in the same place; professing the same principles; sprung from the same ancestors, in no very remote degree; and related to each other in a thousand modes of consanguinity, affinity, and friendship, such men (whatever they may say through a temporary resentment) can never in their hearts consider one another as aliens.
« • Let them meet then with fraternal and pacific disposi. tions, and let this be the general ground-work and plan of the treaty.
« 1, The Carians shall be included in the pacification, and have such advantages as will induce them to consent to the treaty rather than continue a hazardous war.
“ 2, The archon, senate, and magistrates of Athens shall make a complete recognition of rights of all the Athenian citizens of all orders wbatever, and all fornier laws for that purpose shall be combined in one. There shall not be one slave in Attica.
“ Note."[By making this a preliminary, the islanders will show their affection for the people of Athens; their friendship will be cemented and fixed on a solid basis; and the greatest good will be extracted, as I at first proposed, from the greatest evil.]
“ 3, • There shall be a perfect co-ordination between Athens and the thirteen united islands, they considering her not as a parent, whom they must obey, but as an elder sister, whom they cannot help loving, and to whom they shall give preeminence of honor and co-equality of power.
66 4, The new constitutions of the confederate islands shall remain.
« 5, On every occasion requiring acts for the general good, there shall be an assembly of deputies from the senate of Athens and the congress of the islands, who shall fairly adjust the whole business, and settle the ratio of the contributions on both sides. This committee shall consist of fifty islanders and fifty Athenians, or of a smaller number chosen by them.
“ 6, .If it be thought necessary and found convenient, a proportionable number of Athenian citizens shall have seats, and power of debating and voting on questions of common concern, in the great assembly of the islands, and a proportionable number of islanders shall sit with the like power in the assembly at Athens.
“ NOTE. [* This reciprocal representation will cement the union.]
6 7, • There shall be no obligation to make war but for the common interest.
6 8, • Commerce shall flow in a free course, for the general advantage of the united powers.
“ 9, . An universal unlimited amnesty shall be proclaimed in every part of Greece and Asia.
66 This,' said the Athenian, " is the rough sketch of a treaty founded on virtue and liberty. The idea of it still fills and expands my soul; and if it cannot be realized, I shall not think it less glorious, but shall only grieve more and more at the perverseness of mankind. May the eternal Be. ing, whom the wise and the virtuous adore, and whose attribute it is to convert into good, that evil which his unsearchable wisdom permits, inspire all ranks of men to promote either this or a similar plan! If this be impracticable, O miserable human nature! But I am fully confident that, if * * * more at large * * happiness of all.'
* * * * “ No more is extant of this interesting piece, upon which the commentary of the sage Polybius would have been particularly valuable in these times."
This classical and ingenious communication did not divert Dr. Franklin's fixed sentiments respecting the perfect inde
pendence of his country, as fully appears by several of his letters written immediately after to America, and particularly in one to Mr. Secretary Livingston, of the 28th June, 1782, wherein he remarks, that the intentions of the British ministry had, for some weeks past, appeared somewhat equivocal and uncertain, and adds: “ It looks as if, since their late success in the West Indies, they a little repented of the advances they had made in their declarations respecting the acknowlegement of our independence; and we have good information, that some of the ministry still flatter the king with the hope of recovering his sovereignty over us, on the same terms as are now making with Ireland. However willing we might have been at the commencement of this contest, to have accepted such conditions, be assured that we can have no safety in them at present. The king hates us most cordially. If he is once admitted to any degree of power or government amongst us, however limited, it will soon be extended by corruption, artifice, and force, till we are reduced to absolute subjection; and that the more easily, as by receiving him again for our king, we shall draw upon ourselve: the contempt of all Europe, who now admire and respect us; and shall never again find a friend to assist us. There are, as reported, great divisions in the ministry on other points as well as this; and those who aim at engrossing the power, flatter the king with this project of re-union; and it is said, have much reliance on the operation of private agents sent into America to dispose minds in favor of it, and to bring about a separate treaty there with general Carleton."
Strong suspicions were undoubtedly entertained by some of the American commissioners, that Mr. Jones, under the particular influence of his friend and patron lord Shelburne, (then minister), had really agreed to lend the assistance of bis talents and exertions in aid of this object. How far such “ surmises" are borne out by what has preceded, is left to public decision. On his return to England, however, Mr. Jones thus expresses his sentiments on the subject of America, in a letter to lord Althorp, dated Oct. 5, 1782, as given by lord Teignmouth. “ As to America, I know not what ***** thinks: but this I know, that the sturdy transatlantic yeomanry will neither be dragooned nor bamboozled out of their liberty."
The negotiations for peace with America had been going on at Passy, either directly or indirectly, ever since the late change of ministry in England. The particulars of the whole of these important transactions, and the letters and documents connected therewith, will be found in Dr. Franklin's PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE; concerning the negotiations for peace and commerce between Great Britain and the United States of America, for the reasons already given. In this portion of the memoirs of Dr. Franklin will be seen the very considerable influence which that able statesman and negotiator exercised in bringing about the peace with America, and the final acknowlegement of her independence by Great Britain.
It may not, however, be superfluous nor uninteresting here, to insert the following extracts from two letters of Dr. Thanklin's, written shortly after the preliminaries were signed, as they give a general account of the manner in which the peace was brought about, and are expressive of his feelings and sentiments on that auspicious event. To the Hon. Robert R. Livingston, Esq.
Passy, Dec. 5, 1782.
You desire to be very particularly acquainted with o every step which tends to a negotiation.” I am, therefore, encouraged to send you the first part of the JOURNAL," which accidents, and a long severe illness, interrupted; but which, from notes I have by me, may be continued if thought proper. In its present state, it is hardly fit for the inspection of cor
4 Neither of these letters are inserted in the quarto edition of the Pri. rate Correspondence, forming vol. II. of these Memoirs. And the first let. ter only, in the octavo edition.
" See Vol. V. of this edition, p. 203.