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of their posts, as you will see by some intelligence I enclose, With great respect, I have the honor to be, &c.
THE RIGHT HON, T. TOWNSHEND, TO DR. FRANKLIN,
Whitehall, Oct. 23, 1782.
As Mr. Strachey' is going from hence to Paris with some particulars for Mr. Oswald, which were not easily to be explained in writing, I take the liberty of introducing him to your acquaintance, though I am not sure that he is not already a little known to you. The confidential situation in which he stands with me, makes me particularly desirous of presenting him to you.
I believe, sir, I am enough known to you for you to believe me, when I say, that there has not been from the beginning a single person more averse to the unhappy war, or who wishes more earnestly than I do, for a return of peace and mutual amity between Great Britain and America. I am, with great regard, sir, your most obedient humble
* Under secretary of state in the department of Mr. Townshend, (afterwards Lord Sydney.)
ANSWER TO THE RIGHT HON. THOMAS TOWNSHEND,
One of his majesty's principal secretaries of state. SIR,
Passy, Nov. 4, 1782.
I received the letter you did me the honor of writing to me by Mr. Strachey; and was much pleased with the opportunity it gave me of renewing and increasing my acquaintance with a gentleman of so amiable and deserving a character.1
. I am sensible you have ever been averse to the measures that brought on this unhappy war; I have, therefore, no doubt of the sincerity of your wishes for a return of peace. Mine are equally earnest. Nothing therefore, except the beginning of the war, has given me more concern than to learn at the conclusion of our conferences, that it is not likely to be soon ended. Be assured no endeavors on my part would be wanting to remove any difficulties that may have arisen, or even if a peace were made, to procure afterwards any changes in the treaty that might tend to render it more perfect, and the peace more durable. But we, who are here, at so great a distance from our constituents, have not the possibility of obtaining in a few days fresh instructions, as is the case with your negociators, and are therefore obliged to insist on what is conformable to those we have, and at the same time appears to us just and reasonable. With great esteem and respect, I have the honor to be, sir, &c. B. FRANKLIN.
1 Dr. Franklin had formerly known this gentleman when he acted as secretary to the commission which Lord Howe and his brother the general were charged with in America, in the year 1776; the particulars of which are related in the Memoirs of the Life of Dr. Franklin.
HENRY STRACHEY, ESQ. TO THE MINISTERS PLENIPOTENTIARY FROM THE UNITED STATES.
Paris, Nov. 5, 1782.
Knowing the expectation of the king's ministers, that full indemnity shall be provided for the whole body of refugees, either by a restitution of their property, or by some stipulated compensation for their losses, and being confident, as I have repeatedly assured you, that your refusal upon this point will be the great obstacle to a conclusion and ratification of that peace which is meant as a solid, perfect, permanent reconciliation and re-union between Great Britain and America, I am unwilling to leave Paris without once more submitting the matter to your consideration. It affects equally, in my opinion, the honor and humanity of your coun try and of ours. How far you will be justified in risking every favorite object of America, by contending against those principles, is for you to determine. Independence and more than a reasonable possession of territory seem to be within your reach. Will you suffer them to be outweighed by the gratification of resentment against individuals? I venture to assert that such a conduct hath no parallel in the history of civilized nations.
I am under the necessity of setting out by two o'clock to day; if the time is too short for your re-consideration and final determination of this important point, I shall hope that you will enable Mr. Oswald to dispatch a messenger after me, who may be with me before morning at Chantilly, where I propose sleeping to-night, or who may overtake me before I arrive in London, with a satisfactory answer to this letter. I have the honor to be, Gentlemen, yours, &c,
(Answer to the foregoing.)
To H. STRACHEY, ESQ.
Paris, Nov. 6, 1782.
We have been honored with your favor of the 5th instant, and as our answer to a letter we received from Mr. Oswald on the same subject contains our unanimous senti» ments respecting it, we take the liberty of referring you to the inclosed copy of that answer. We have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient, &c.
COPY OF THE LETTER TO MR. OSWALD.
Nov. 6, 1782. In answer to the letter you did us the honor to write on the 4th instant, we beg leave to repeat what we often said in conversation, viz. that the restoration of such of the estates of refugees as have been confiscated is impracticable, because they were confiscated by laws of particular states, and in many instances have passed by legal titles through several hands. Besides, sir, as this is a matter evidently appertaining to the internal polity of the separate states, the congress by the nature of our constitution have no authority to interfere with it.
As to your demand of compensation to those persons, we forbear enumerating our reasons for thinking it ill founded: in the moment of conciliatory overtures it would not be proper to call certain scenes into view, over which a variety of considerations should induce both parties at present to draw a veil. Permit us therefore only to repeat, that we cannot stipulate for such compensation, unless on your part it be agreed to make retribution to our citizens for the heavy losses they have sustained by the unnecessary destruction of their private property.
We have already agreed to an amnesty more extensive than justice required, and full as extensive as humanity could demand. We can therefore only repeat, that it cannot be extended further.
We should be sorry if the absolute impossibility of our complying further with your propositions on this head, should induce Great Britain to continue the war, for the sake of those who caused and prolonged it. But if that should be the case, we hope that the utmost latitude will not be again given to its rigors.
Whatever may be the issue of this negociation, be assured, sir, that we shall always acknowledge the liberal, manly, and candid manner in which you have conducted it, and that we shall remain, with the warmest sentiments of esteem and regard, your most obedient and very humble servants.
Article proposed by the American plenipotentiaries.
It is agreed that his Britannic Majesty will earnestly recommend it to his parliament to provide for, and make compensation to the merchants and shopkeepers of Boston, whose goods and merchandise were seized and taken out of their stores, warehouses and shops, by order of General Gage and others of his commanders or officers there, and also to the inhabitants of Philadelphia, for the goods taken away by his army there, and to make compensation also for the tobacco, rice, indigo, negroes, &c. seized and carried off by his armies under Generals Arnold, Cornwallis, and others, from the state of Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia. And also for all vessels and cargoes belonging to the inhabitants of the said United States, which were stopped, seized, or taken, either in the ports or on the seas, by his governors or by his ships of war, before the declaration of war against the said States.