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to by Dr. Franklin, before the propositions were produced, which Dr. Franklin accordingly promised. Paris, March 19, 1780.
(Signed) WILLIAM ALEXANDER.
To DR. FRANKLIN, Passy. DEAR SIR,
I sepd you adjoined, the certificate you desire ; and am perfectly convinced from conversations I have since had with Mr. Pultney, that nobody was authorized to hold the language which has been imputed to him on that subject; and as I have a high opinion of his candor and worth, I know it must be painful to him to be brought into question in matters of fact with persons he esteems. I could wish that this matter may receive no farther publicity than what is necessary for your justification. I am, &c. W, ALEXANDER.
To COUNT DE VERGENNES,
Minister for foreign affairs, Versailles. SIR,
Passy, April 24, 1778. Mr. Hartley, member of parliament, an old acquaintance of mine, arrived here from London on Sunday last. He is generally in the opposition, especially on American questions, but has some respect for Lord North. In conversation he expressed the strongest anxiety for peace with America, and appeared extremely desirous to know my sentiments of the terms which might probably be acceptable if offered; whether America would not, to obtain peace, grant some superior advantages in trade to Britain, and enter into an alliance offensive and defensive; whether, if war should be declared against France, we had obliged ourselves by treaty to join with her against England. My answers have been, That the United States were not fond of war, and with the
advice of their friends would probably be easily prevailed with to make peace on equitable terms; but we had no terms committed to us to propose, and I did not choose to mention any. That Britain, having injured us heavily by making this unjust war upon us, might think herself well off, if on reparations of those injuries we admitted her to equal advantages with other nations in commerce; but certainly she had no reason to expect superior. That her known fondness for war, and the many instances of her readiness to engage in wars on frivolous occasions, were probably sufficient to cause an immediate rejection of every proposition for an offensive alliance with her. And that if she made war against France on our account, a peace with us at the same time was impossi
for that, having met with friendship from that generous nation when we were cruelly oppressed by England, we were under ties stronger than treaties could form, to make conimon cause, which we should certainly do to the utmost of our power. Here has also been with me a Mr. Chapman, who says he is a member of the parliament of Ireland, on his way home from Nice, where he had been for the recovery of his health. He pretended to call on me only from motives of respect for my character, &c. But after a few compliments he entered on a similar discourse, urging much to know what terms would .satisfy America, and whether on having peace and independence granted to us, we should not be willing to submit to the navigation act, or give equivalent privileges in trade to Britain. The purport of my answer to him was, short, that peace was of equal value to England as to us, and independence we were already in possession of: that therefore England's offer to grant them to us, could not be considered as proposing any favor, or as giving her a right to expect peculiar advantages in commerce. By his importunity I found his visit was not so occasional as he represented it: and from
some expressions 1 conjectured he might be sent by Lord Shelburne, to sound me, and collect some information. On the whole, I gather from these conversations, that the opposition, as well as the ministry, are perplexed with the present situation of affairs, and know not which way to turn themselves, whether it is best to go backward or forward, or what steps to take to extricate that nation from its present dangerous situation.
I thought it right to give your excellency an account of these interviews, and to acquaint you with my intention of avoiding such hereafter, as I see but little prospect of utility in them, and think they are very liable to hurtful misrepresentations.
By advices from London we learn, that a feet for Quebec, with goods valued at 500,0001. sterling, is to sail about the end of this month under convoy only of a single frigate of thirty guns, in which is to go governor Haldimand.
Enclosed I send a paper I have just received from London. It is not subscribed by any name, but I know the hand. It is from an old friend of general and great acquaintance, and marks strongly the present distress and despair of considerate people in England. I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, your Excellency's, &c.
B. FRANKLIN. FROM COUNT DE VERGENNES TO DR. FRANKLIN.
IN ANSWER TO THE FOREGOING.
A Versailles, April 25, 1778. J'ai rendu compte au Roi, Monsieur, du contenu de la lettre que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'écrire hier, et sa majesté me charge de vous témoigner toute sa satisfaction de votre empressement à nous informer de l'objet de vos conférences avec M. Hartley. Le grand art de l'Angleterre fut toujours de chercher à diviser, c'est un bon moyen en effel pour s'assurer l'empire; mais ce n'est ni auprès de vous ni auprès de vos collègues qu'il peut être employé avec succès; je porte avec confiance le même jugement des Etats-Unis. Au reste il n'est pas possible, Monsieur, de répondre avec plus de noblesse, de franchise et de fermeté que vous l'avez fait à M. Hartley: il n'a pas lieu d'être content de sa mission. J'ignore si ce membre du parlement en a une pour nous;
il désire de me voir, et je l'attends dans la nuatinée. Je ne serois pas surpris qu'il ne se proposât de semer la défiance entre nous en introduisant une double négociation; mais je saurai y obvier, et vous serez instruit de ce qui se passera entre nous pour peu qu'il y ait quelque chose d'intéressant.
J'ai l'honneur d'être, avec une très parfaite considération, Monsieur, votre très humble et très obéissant serviteur.
D. HARTLEY, Esq. M. P. to DR. FRANKLIN. Dear Sir,
Paris, April 29, 1778. I will take care of all your commissions. This moment a second packet of infinite value is received, which I shall cherish as a mark of affection from you. I opened the letter by mistake wbich came with it, and soon saw it was not for me. I hope you will excuse it. I choose rather to throw myself upon your goodness for the excuse, than any thing else. I shall not set out till between one and two; therefore if you will be so good as to send me another copy, I will take care of it and deliver it safely.
God bless you, my dear friend. No exertion or endeavor on my part shall be wanting, that we may some time or other meet again in peace. Your powers are infinitely more inAuential than mine. To those powers I trust my last hopes. I will conclude, blessed are the peace-makers! Your affectionate friend,
If tempestuous times should come, take care of your own safety: events are uncertain, and men may be capricious. Yours, &c.
D. H. ANSWER. I thank you for your kind caution ; but having nearly finished a long life, I set but little value on what remains of it. Like a draper, when one chaffers with him for a remnant, I am ready to say, “ As it is only the fag-end, I will not differ with you about it, take it for what you please.” Perhaps the best use such an old fellow can be put to, is to make a martyr of him.
ENDORSEMENT on the following anonymous Note: “ An anonymous letter delivered to me at nine in the evening May 20, 78.- It seems intended to draw me out into those gardens for some bad purpose ; as the person who pretended to have such urgent business with me has never since appeared ; though (refusing to go out at that time of night) I appointed the next day at 11 o'clock."
B. FRANKLIN. Une personne qui auroit quelque chose de très intéressant et pressé a vous communiquer, désireroit, Monsieur, que vous voulussiez bien lui donner un moment pour lui procurer l'agrément de s'entretenir avec vous sur ce dont il s'agit.
L'on sait que vous venez quelquefois au jardin des eaux,' et comme l'on ne veut être apperçu d'aucon de vos gens (et que l'on a des raisons très fortes pour cela), l'on s'est transporté ici tout exprès de Paris, dans l'espoir que l'on aura l'avantage de vous voir et de vous parler d'objet d'autant plus important qu'il concerne des personnes distinguées.
So called as containing the spring of the mineral waters of Passy.