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war is taken away, and peace therefore more likely to contiDue and be lasting.
The practice of robbing merchants on the high seas, a remnant of the ancient piracy, though it may be accidentally beneficial to particular persons, is far from being profitable to all engaged in it, or to the nation that authorises it. In the beginning of a war some rich ships not upon their guard are surprised and taken. This encourages the first adventurers to fit out more armed vessels, and many others to do the same. But the enemy at the same time become more careful, arm their merchant ships better; and render them not so easy to be taken; they go also more under protection of convoys: thus while the privateers to take them are multiplied, the vessels subject to be taken and the chances of profit are diminished, so that many cruizes are made wherein the expenses overgo the gains; and as is the case in other lotteries, though particulars have got prizes, the mass of adventurers are losers, the whole expense of fitting out all the privateers during a war, being much greater than the whole amount of goods taken. Then there is the national loss of all the labor of so many men during the time they have been employed in robbing; who besides spend what they get in riot, drunkenness, and debauchery, lose their habits of industry, are rarely fit for any sober business after a peace, and serve only to increase the number of highwaymen and housebreakers. Even the undertakers who have been fortunate, are by sudden wealth led into expensive living, the habit of which continues when the means of supporting it ceases, and finally ruins them. A just punishment for their having wan
A tonly and unfeelingly ruined many honest innocent traders and their families, whose subsistence was employed in serving the common interests of mankind.
Should it be agreed and become a part of the law of na
tions, that the cultivators of the earth are not to be molested or interrupted in their peaceable and useful employment, the inhabitants of the sugar islands would perbaps come under the protection of such a regulation, which would be a great advantage to the nations who at present hold those islands, since the cost of sugar to the consumer in those nations, consists not merely in the price he pays for it by the pound, but in the accumulated charge of all the taxes he pays in every war, to fit out fleets and maintain troops for the defence of the islands that raise the sugar, and the ships that bring it home. But the expense of treasure is not all. A celebrated philosophical writer remarks, that when he considered the wars made in Africa for prisoners to raise sugar in America, the numbers slain in those wars, the numbers that being crowded in ships perish in the transportation, and the numbers that die under the severities of slavery, he could scarce look on a morsel of sugar without conceiving it spotted with human blood. If he had considered also the blood of one another which the white vations shed in fighting for those islands, he would have imagined bis sugar not as spotted only, but as thoroughly died red. On these accounts I am persuaded that the subjects of the emperor of Germany, and the empress of Russia, who have no sugar islands, consume sugar cheaper at Vienna and Moscow, with all the charge of transporting it after its arrival in Europe, tban the citizens of London or of Paris. Avd I sincerely believe, that if France and England were to decide by throwing dice which should have the whole of their sugar islands, the loser in the throw would be the gainer. The future expense of defending them would be saved: the sugars would be bought cheaper by all Europe if the inhabitants might make it without interruption, and whoever imported the sugar, the same revenue might be raised by the duties at the custom-houses of the nation that
consumed it. And on the whole I conceive it would be better for the nations now possessing sugar colonies to give up their claim to them, let them govern themselves, and put them under the protection of all the powers of Europe as neutral countries, open to the commerce of all, the profits of the present monopolies being by no means equivalent to the expense of maintaining them.
If war should bereafter arise between Great Bri. tain and the United States, which God forbid, the merchants of either country then residing in the other shall be allowed to remain nine months to collect their debts, and settle their affairs, and may depart freely, carrying off all their effects without molestation or hindrance. And all fishermen, all cultivators of the earth, and all artisans or manufacturers unarmed, and inhabiting unfortified towns, villages or places, who labor for the common subsistence and benefit of mankind, and peaceably follow their respective employments, shall be allowed to continue the same, and shall not be molested by the armed force of the enemy, into whose power by the events of the war they may happen to fall; but if any thing is necessary to be taken from them, for the use of such armed force, the same shall be paid for at a reasonable price. And all merchants or traders with their unarmed vessels, employed in commerce, exchanging the products of different places, and thereby rendering the necessaries, conveniences, and comforts of human life more easy to obtain, and more general, shall be allowed to pass freely unmolested. And neither of the powers parties to this treaty, shall grant or issue any commission to any private armed vessels empowering them to take or destroy such trading ships, or interrupt such commerce.
M. LE COMTE DE VERGENNEs à M. FRANKLIN.
Il est essentiel, Monsieur, que je puisse avoir l'honneur de conférer avec vous, avec M. Adams, et avec ceux de Messieurs vos collègues, qui peuvent se trouver à Paris. Je vous prie, en conséquence, Monsieur, de vouloir bien inviter ces Messieurs de se rendre à Versailles avec vous Lundi avant dix heures du matin. Il seroit bon que
. vous amegassiez Monsieur votre petit-fils avec : vous; il pourra nous être nécessaire pour rendre plusieurs choses d'Anglois en François, et même pour écrire. L'objet dont j'ai à vous entretenir est très-intéressant pour les Etats Unis, vos maîtres.
J'ai l'honneur d'être avec une parfaite considération, Monsieur, votre très-humble et très-obéissant serviteur,
De VERGENNES. , . Versailles, le Samedi soir, 18 Janvier, 1783.
Passy, Jan. 18, 1783, at ten P. M.
Agreeable to the notice just received from your excellency, I shall acquaint Mr. Adams with your desire to see us on Monday before ten o'clock at Versailles, and we shall endeavor to be punctual. My other colleagues are absent, Mr. Laurens being gone to Bath in England to recover his health, and Mr. Jay into Normandy. With great respect I have the honor to be, sir, your excellency's, &c.
I shall bring my grandson, as you desire.
B. VAUGHAN, Esq. to DR. FRANKLIN.
MY DEAREST Sır, (Private) Paris, Jan. 18, 1783.
I cannot but in the most earnest manner, and from recent circumstances, press your going early to Versailles to-morrow; and I have considerable reason to think, that your appearance there will not displease the person whom you address. I am of opinion that it is very likely that you will have the glory of having concluded the peace, by this visit; at least I am sure, if the deliberations of tomorrow evening end unfavorably, that there is the strongest appearance of war; and if they end favorably, perhaps little difficulty may attend the rest.
After all, the peace will have as much that is conceded in it, as England can in any shape be made just now to relish; owing to the stubborn demands principally of Spain, who would not I believe upon any motive recede from her conquests. What I wrote about Gibraltar, arrived after the subject as I understand was canvassed, and when it of course must have appeared impolitic eagerly and immediately to revive it.
You reproved me, or rather reproved a political scheme yesterday, of which I have heard more said favorably by your friends at Paris than by any persons whatever in London. But do you, my dear sir, make this peace, and trust our common sense respecting another var.. England, said a man of sense to me the other day, will come out of the war like a convalescent out of a disease, and must be re-established by some physic and much regimen. I cannot easily tell in what shape a bankruptcy would come upon England, and still less easily in what mode and degree it would affect us; but if your confederacy mean to bankrupt us now, I am