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swered, because from the words in it, “ when I reach the continent, which will probably happen in a few days,” I flattered myself with the pleasure of seeing you here. That : hope is disappointed by your last, in which you tell me you · are determined not to act in the commission for treating of
peace with Britain. . I regret your taking this resolution ; principally because I am persuaded your assistance must
have been of great service to your country. But I have .. besides some private or particular reasons that relate to
myself. To encourage me in the arduous task, you kindly - tell me I shall be called blessed, 8c. I have never yet
known of a peace made, that did not occasion a great deal of
popular discontent, clamour, and censure on both sides. · This is perhaps owing to the usual management of the minis
ters and leaders of the contending nations, who, to keep up the spirits of their people for continuing the war, generally * represent the state of their own affairs in a better light, and
that of the enemy in a worse, than is consistent with the > truth : hence the populace on each side expect better terms ! than really can be obtained; and are apt to ascribe their dis
appointment to treachery. Thus, the peace of Utrecht, and that of Aix la Chapelle, were said in England to have been influenced by French gold, and in France by English 14. guineas. Even the last peace, the most advantageous and
glorious for England that ever she made, was, you may remember, violently decried, and the makers as violeytly abused. So that the blessing promised to peace-makers, I fancy, relates to the next world, for in this they seem to have a greater chance of being cursed, And as another text observes that“ in the multitude of counsellors there is safety," which I think may mean safety to the counsellors as well as to the counselled, because if they commit a fault in coun
selling, the blame does not fall, on one or a few, but is - divided among many, and the share of each is so much the
lighter, or perhaps because when a number of honest men are concerned, the suspicion of their being biassed is weaker as being more improbable ; or because defendit numerus; for all these reasons, but especially for the support your eslablished character of integrity would afford me against the attacks of my enemies; if this treaty takes place, and I'am to act in it, I wish for your presence, and for the presence of as many of the commissioners as possible, and I hope you will re-consider and change your resolution. In the mean time, as you have had opportunities of conversing with the new ministers, and other leading people in England, and of learning their 'sentiments relating to terms of peace, &c., I request you would inform me by letters of what you think important. Letters from you will come safer by the court
courier than by the post; and I desire you would, if you ! should determine not to act, communicate to me your ideas
of the terms to be insisted on, and the points to be attended to, respecting commerce, fisheries, boundaries, &c., 'every other material circumstance, that may be of importance to all or any
of the United States. Lord Shelburne having written tơ ne on the subject of the wished-for peace, I acquainted him in my answer sent by our friend Mr. Oswald, that you' were one of the commissioners appointed by Congress to treat with Britain, and that I imagined his Lordship would therefore think it proper i to discharge you entirely from the obligatious you entered
into when you were admitted to bail, that you might be at of liberty to act freely in the commission. He wrote to me al in-reply that you were accordingly discharged immediately. His Lordship mentioned 'nothing of any exchange being expected for you; nevertheless I honor your sensibility on the point, and your concern for the credit of America, that she should not be outdone in generosity by Britain, and will cheerfully join with you in any act that you inay think proper
to discharge in return for the parole of Lord Cornwallis, as far as in our power may lie; but as we have no express authority for that purpose, and the Congress may possibly in the mean time have made some other arrangement relative to his exchange, I conceive that our act should contain a clause reserving to Congress the final approbation or disallowance of the proceeding. And I have some doubt whether Lord Cornwallis will think himself well freed from his engagement and at liberty to exercise his military employments, by virtue of any concessions in his favor, made by persons who are not vested with authority for that purpose. So that on the whole perhaps the best and surest way will be our writing immediately to Congress, and strongly recommending the measure. However, I will do what you shall think best.
I heartily wish you success in any endeavours you may use in Holland for raising a loan of money. We have pressed rather hard on this court, and we still want more than they can conveniently spare us. But I am sorry that too scrupulous a regard to our wants and difficulties should induce you, under the present infirmity of your lower limbs, to deny yourself the necessary comfort of an easy carriage, rather than make any use of the public assistance, when the public must be in your debt. I beg you would get over that difficulty and take of me what you may have occasion for.
The letter you forwarded to me, was from America's constant friend the good Bishop of St. Asaph. He speaks of you in terms of the highest esteem and respect.
Mr. Oswald is gone back to London, but intended to return immediately. Mr. Grenville remains here, and has received power to treat, but no farther steps can be taken till Spain and Holland have impowered ministers for the same purpose. I shall inform you and Mr. Adams (if he does not come) of the proceedings from time to time, and request your counsels in case of any difficulty.
I hope you will not think of hazarding a return to America, before a peace, if we find any hopes of its being soon obtained. And that if you do not fiud you can be useful in the manner you wish in Holland, you will make me happy by your company and counsels here.
With great and sincere esteem, I have the honor to be, Şir, &c. &c.
May 26, I received the following from Mr. Hartley.
From David HARTLEY, Esq. M. P. TO DR. FRANKLIN. MY DEAR FRIEND, London, May 13, 1782.
I writ to you a long letter dated May. 1, 1782, by Mr. Laurens, who left London, on Saturday last, but I will add a few lines now by a conveyance which will I þelieve overtake him, just to tell you two or three things which I believe I omitted in my last. Perhaps they may not be of any consequence, but as they relate to my own conduct I would wish to have you understand them. After several conferences with the late ministry I gave in the paper called the Breviate on the 7th of February : but I never received any answer from them. They resigned on the 20th of March. Upon the accession of the new ministry I heard nothing from them upon the subject; nor did I apply to them. I did not know whether that paper would not come into their bands by succession, and I doubted whether it might not be more proper for me to wait till I heard from them. While I remained doubtful about this, I received your letters which determined me to go to Lord Shelburne. (This was about the beginning of the present month.) I communicated to him some extracts, such as those about the prisoners, &c., and likewise the whole of your letter of the 13th of April, containing the offer of the late ministry, the King of France's answer, together with your reflections on
the conclusion respecting peace. As you had given me a general permission I left with him a copy of the whole letter. Upon the occasion of this interview Lord Shelburne told me that he had made much enquiry in the offices for the correspondences and papers which had passed between the late ministry and me, but that he could not meet with them. He expressed a regret that he had not conversed with me at an earlier day; with many civilities of that kind. In short I had been backward to intrude myself, and he expressed regret that he had not sent to me. Upon this opening on his part, I stated to him the substance of what had passed between the late ministry and myself, and I left a copy of the Breciate with him. He gave me a very attentive audience, and I took that opportunity of stating my sentiments to him, as far as I could, upon every view of the question. Upon his expressing regret that he had not seen me sooner, I told him that I always had been, and always should be, most ready to give any assistance in my power towards the work of
I say the same to you. I do not believe that there is any difference in sentiment between you and me personally, in our own minds upon independence, &c. &c. But we belong to different communities, and the right of judgment or of consent and dissent is vested in the community. Divide independence into six millions of shares, and you should have been heartily welcome to my share from the very beginning of the war.. Divide Canada into six millions of shares, I could find a better method of disposing of my share, than by offering it to France to abandon America. Divide the rock of Gibraltar into six millions of pieces, I can only answer for one portion. Let reason and equity decide in any such case, as universal umpires between contending parties, and those who wish well to the permanent peace of mankind, will not refuse to give and to receive equal justice.
I agree with you, that the equitable and philosophical