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dious as that of your conciliatory bills. Your true way to obtain peace,
if your ministers desire it, is to propose openly to the congress, fair and equal terms; and you may possibly come sooner to a resolution, when you find that personal flatteries, general cajolings, and panegyrics on our virtue and wisdom, are not likely to bave the effect you seem to expect, the persuading us to act basely and foolishly in betraying our country and posterity into the hands of our most bitter enemies, giving up or selling of our arms and warlike stores, dismissing our ships of war and troops, and putting those enemies in possession of our forts and ports. This proposition of delivering ourselves bound and gagged, ready for hanging, without even a right to complain, and without a friend to be found afterwards among all mankind, you would have us embrace upon the faith of an act of parliament! Good God! an act of your parliament!! This demonstrates that you do not yet know us, and that you fancy we do not know you : but it is not merely this flimsy faith that we are to act upon : you offer us hope, the hope of places, PENSIONs, and peerages. These, judging from yourselves, you think are motives irresistible. This offer to corrupt us, sir, is with me your credential, and convinces me that you are not a private volunteer in your application. It bears the stamp of British court intrigue, and the signature of your king. But think for a moment in what light it must be viewed in America. By PLACES whịch cannot come among us, for you take care, by a special article, to keep them to yourselves. We must then pay the salaries in order to enrich ourselves with these places. But you will give us PENSIONS; probably to be paid too out of your expected American revenue; and which none of us can accept without deserving, and perhaps obtaining, a suspension. PEERAGES ! alas! sir, our long observation of the vast servile majority of your peers voting constantly for every measure proposed by a minister, however weak or wicked, leaves us small respect for them; and we consider it as a sort of tar-and-feather honor, or a mixture of foulness and folly ; which every man among us who should accept from your king, would be obliged to renounce or exchange for that conferred by the mobs of their own country, or wear it with everlasting shame. I am, sir, your humble servant,
Letter in unswer to the propositions of quitting the alliance
with France. Supposed to be to David Hartley, Esq. DEAR SIR,
Passy, Feb. 3, 1779. I have just received your favor of the 23d past, in which you mention, “that the alliance between France and America, is the great stumbling-block in the way of making peace;" and you go on to observe, that “ whatever engagements America may have entered into, they may, at least by the consent of parties, be relinquished, for the purpose of removing so material an obstacle to any general treaty of free and unengaged parties." Adding that “if the parties could meet for the sake of peace upon free and open ground, you should think that a very fair proposition to be offered to the people of England, and an equitable proposition in itself.” The long, steady, and kind regard you have shown for the welfare of America by the whole tenor of your conduct in parliament, satisfies me, that this proposition never took its rise with you, but has been suggested from some other quarter; and that your excess of humanity, your love of peace, and your fear for us that the destruction we are threatened with, will certainly be effected, have thrown
a mist before your eyes, which hindered you from seeing the malignity and mischief of it. We know that your K. hates Whigs and Presbyterians; that he thirsts for our blood; of which he has already drunk large draughts; that weak and unprincipled ministers are ready to execute the wickedest of his orders, and his venal parliament equally ready to vote them just. Not the smallest appearance of a reason can be imagined capable of inducing us to think of relinquishing a solid alliance with one of the most amiable as well as most powerful princes of Europe, for the expectation of unknown terms of peace to be afterwards offered to us by such a government ;-a government that has already shamefully broken all the compacts it ever made with us. This is worse than advising us to drop the substance for the shadow. The dog, after he found his mistake, might possibly have recovered his mutton ; but we could never hope to be trusted again by France, or indeed by any other nation under heaven. Nor does there appear any more necessity for dissolving an alliance with France before you can treat with us, than there would of dissolving your alliance with Holland, or your union with Scotland, before we could treat with you. Ours is therefore no material obstacle to a treaty, as you suppose it to be. Had Lord North been the author of such a proposition, all the world would have said it was insidious, and meant only to deceive and divide us from our friends, and then to ruin us ; supposing our fears might be strong enough to procure an acceptance of it. But, thanks to God, that is not the case! We have long since settled all the account in our own minds. We know the worst you can do to us, if you have your wish, is to confiscate our estates and take our lives, to rob and murder us; and this you have seen we are ready to hazard, rather than come again under your detested government.
You must observe, my dear friend, that I am a little warm. Excuse me! 'Tis over. Only let me counsel you not to think of being sent hither on so fruitless an errand as that of making such a proposition.
It puts me in mind of the comic farce intitled God-send, or the Wreckers. You may have forgotten it; but I will endeavor to amuse you by recollecting a little of it.
Scene. Mount's Bay. A ship riding at anchor in a great storm. A lee shore full of rocks, and lined with people, furnished with axes and carriages to cut up wrecks, knock the sailors on the head, and carry off the plunder ; according to custom.
1st Wrecker. This ship rides it out longer than I expected. She must have good ground tackle.
2d Wrecker. We had better send off a boat to her, and persuade her to take a pilot, who can afterwards run her a-shore, where we can best come at her.
3d Wrecker. I doubt whether the boat can live in this sea. But if there are any brave fellows willing to hazard themselves for the good of the public, and a double share,- let
them say aye.
Several Wreckers. I, I, I, I.
The boat goes off, and comes under the ship’s stern.
Sp. Will you buy a better cable ? we have one in the boat here.
Capt. What do you ask for it?
Sp. Cut that you have, and then we'll talk about the price of this.
Capt. I shall do no such foolish thing. I have lived in your parish formerly, and know the heads of ye too well to trust ye: keep off from my cable there ; I see you have a mind to cut it yourselves. If you go any nearer to it, I'll fire into you and sink you.
Sp. It is a damn'd rotten French cable, and will part of itself in half an hour. Where will you be then, captain ? you
had better take our offer. Capt. You offer nothing, you rogues, but treachery and mischief. 'My cable is good and strong, and will hold long enough to baulk all your projects.
Sp. You talk unkindly, captaiu, to people who came here only for your good.
Capt. I know you come for all our goods, but, by God's help, you shall have none of them. You shall not serve us as you did the Indiamen.
Sp. Come, my lads, let's be gone. This fellow is not so great a fool as we took him to be.
To David Hartley, Esq. M.P. DEAR SIR,
Passy, Feb. 22, 1779. I received your proposition for removing the stumbling-block. Your constant desires of peace ought to endear you to both sides ; but this proposition seems to be naturally impracticable. We can never think of quitting a solid alliance made and ratified, in order to be in a state for receiving unknown proposals of peace which may vanish in the discussion. The truth is, we have no kind of faith in your government, which appears to us as insidious and deVOL. II.