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acting conjunctly with you in such a bargain. I intreat yout; Sir, at least to reflect on this matter: I shall take the liberty of requesting your determination when I reach the continent, which will probably happen in a few days. Lord Cornwallis, in a late conversation with me, put the following case. Suppose, said his Lordship, it shall have been agreed in America that Lord Cornwallis should be offered in exchange for Mr. Laurens, do not you think, although you are now discharged, I ought to reap the intended benefit? A reply from the feelings of my heart, as I love fair play, was prompt. Undoubtedly, my Lord, you ought to be, and shall be in such case discharged, and I will venture to take the burthen upon myself. Certain legal forms I apprehend rendered the discharge of me without conditions unavoidable, but I had previously refused to accept of myself for nothing, and what I now aim at was understood as an adequate return; 'tis not to be doubted, his Lordship's question was built on this ground.

I had uniformly and explicitly declared to the people here, people in the first rank of importance, that nothing. short of independence in terms of our alliances could induce America to treat for a truce or a peace, and that no treaty could be bad without the consent of our ally first obtained : in a word, if you mean to have a peace you must seek for a general peace. The doctrine was ill relislied, especially by those, whose power only could set the machine in motion, but having since my return from Haerlem asserted in very positive terms, that I was confirmed in my former opinions, the late obduracy has been more than a little softened, as you will soon bearn from the worthy friend by whom I addressed. you on the 7th, who two days ago set out on his return to Passy and Versailles with (as I believe) more permanent commission than the former.

Accept my thanks, Sir, for the kind offer of a supply of

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money. I know too well how much you have been harassed for that article, and too well, how low our American finances in Europe are: therefore, if I can possibly avoid it, I will not further trouble you, nor impoverish them, or not till the last extremity: hitherto I have supported myself without borrowing from any body, and I am determined to continue living upon my own stock while it lasts. The stock is indeed small: my expenses have been and shall be in a suitably modest stile. I pray God to bless you : I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient servant,


P.S. I judged it proper not only to show the peace commission to Lord Shelburne, but to give his Lordship a copy of it, from an opinion that it would work no evil being shown elsewhere.

On the 4th of May Mr. Oswald returned and brought me

the following letter from Lord Shelburne.

· DEAR SIR, Shelburne House, April 28, 1782.

I have received much satisfaction in being assured by you, that the qualifications of wisdom and in-. tegrity, which induced me to make choice of Mr. Oswald, as the fittest instrument for the renewal of our friendly intercourse, have also recommended him so effectually to your approbation and esteem. I most heartily. wish that the influence of this first communication of our mutual sentiments may be extended to a happy conclusion of all our public differences.

The candor with which M. le Comte de Vergennes expresses his most Christian Majesty's sentiments and wishes on the subject of a speedy pacification, is a pleasing omen of

its accomplishment. His Majesty is not less decided in the same sentiments and wishes, and it confirms his Majesty's ministers in their intention to act in like manner, as most consonant to the true dignity of a great nation.

In consequence of these reciprocal advances Mr. Oswald is sent back to Paris, for the purpose of arranging and settling with you the preliminaries of time and place: and, I have the pleasure to tell you, that Mr. Laurens is already discharged from those engagements, which he entered into, when he was admitted to bail.

It is also determined that Mr. Fox, from whose department that communication is necessarily to proceed, shall send a proper person, who may confer and settle immediately with M. de Vergemes the further measures and proceedings which may be judged proper to adopt towards advancing the prosecution of this important business. In the mean time Mr. Oswald is instructed to communicate to you? my thoughts upon the principal objects to be - Transports are actually preparing for the purpose of conveying your prisoners to America, to be there exchanged, and we trust, that you will learn, that due attention has not been wanting to their accommodation and good treatment. ; I have the honor to 'be, with very sincere respect, dear Sir, your faithful and obedient servant,


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Having read the letter, I mentioned to Mr. Oswald the

I part which refers me to him for his Lordship’s sentiments. He acquainted me that they were very sincerely disposed to peace; that the wbole ministry concurred in the same dispositions ;, that a good deal of confidence was placed iu ny character for open honest dealing ; that it was also generally believed I had still remaining some part of my ancient affece tion and regard for Old England, and it was hoped it might appear on this occasion. He then showed me an extract from the minutes of council, but did not leave the paper with me. As well as I remember it was to this purpose.

At a Cabinet Council held April 27, 1782, present Lord Rockingham, Lord Chancellor, Lord President, Lord Camden, &c. &c. (to the number of fifteen or twenty, being all ministers and great officers of state.)

“ It was proposed to represent to his Majesty, that it would be well for Mr. Oswald to return to Dr. Franklin and acquaint him, that it is agreed to treat for a general peace, and at Paris; and that the principal points in contemplations are, the allowing of American independence, on condition that England be put into the same situation that she was left in by the peace of 1763.” "

Mr. Oswald also informed me, that he had conversed with Lord Shelburne on the subject of my paper of notes relating to reconciliation. That he had shown him the paper, and had been prevailed on to leave it with him a night, but it was on his Lordship's solemo promise of returning it, which had been complied with, and he nowy returned it to me. That it seemed to bave made an impression, and he had reason to believe that matter might be settled to our satisfaction towards the end of the treaty; but in his mind he wished it might not be mentioned at the beginning. That his Lordship indeed said, he had not imagined reparation would be expected; and he wondered I should not know whether it was intended to demand it. Finally Mr. Oswald acquainted me, that as the business, now likely to be brought forward, more particularly appertained to the department of the other secretary, Mr. Fox, he was directed to announce another agent coming from that department, who might be expected every day, viz. the Honorable Mr. Grenville, brother of Lord Temple, and son

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of the famous Mr. George Grenville, formerly Chancellor of the Exchequer.

I immediately wrote the following note to M. le Comte de Vergennes.

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Passy, May 4, 1782. I have the honor to acquaint your Excel leney that Mr. Oswald is just returned from London, and how with me.

He has delivered mé a letter from Lord Shelburne, which I enclose for your perusal, together with a copy of my letter to which it is an answer. He tells me, that it has been agreed in council to treat at Paris, and to treat of a general peace; and that as it is more particularly in the department of Mr. Fox, to regulate the circumstantials, a gentleman, (Mr. Grenville,) to be sent by him for that purpose, may be daily expected here. Mr. Oswald will wait on your Excelleney whenever you shall think fit to receive him. I am with respects your Excellency's most obedient and most, &c. &e. ..


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And the next day I received the following answer.

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à Versailles, le 5 May, 1782.

J'ai reçu, Monsieur, la lettre que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'écrire le 4 de ce mois, ainsi que

celles qui y étoient jointes. Je vous verrai avec plaisir avec votre ami demain matin à onze heures.

J'ai l'honneur d'être sincèrement, Monsieur, votre très humble et très obéissant serviteur,


Accordingly on Monday morning I went with Mr. Oswald

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