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ceitful, as it is unjust and cruel. Its character is that of the spider in Thompson,
cunning and fierce, Misture abhorr'd!
1.: Besides, we cannot see the necessity of our relinquishing our alliance with France in order to a treaty, any more than of your relinquishing yours with Holland. I am, very affectionately, yours,
To David HARTLEY, Esg. M.P. DEAR SIR,
Passy, March 21, 1779. I received duly yours of the 2d instant. I am sorry you have had so much trouble in the affair of the prisoners. You have been deceived as well as we. No cartel ship has yet appeared, and it is now evident that the delays have been of design, to give more opportunity of seducing the men by promises and hardships to seek their liberty in engaging against their country. For we learn from those wbo have escaped, that there are persons continually employed in cajoling and menacing them, representing to them that we neglect them, that your government is willing to exchange them, and that it is our fault it is not done : that all the news from America is bad on their side ; we shall be conquered and they will be hanged, if they do uot accept the gracious offer of being pardoned on condition of serving the king, &c. A great part of your prisoners have been kept these six months on board a ship in Brest Road, ready to be delivered : where I am afraid they were not so comfortably accommodated as they might have been in the French prisons. They are
They are now ordered on shore.
Doctor Bancroft has received your letter here. He did not go to Calais.'
Knowing how earnestly and constantly you wish for peace, I cannot end a letter to you without dropping a word
I on that subject, to mark that my wishes are still in unison with yours. After the barbarities your nation has exercised against us, I am almost ashamed to own that I feel sometimes for her misfortunes and her insanities. Your veins are open, and your best blood continually running. You have now got a little army into Georgia, and are triumphing in that success. Do you expect ever to see that army again? I know not what General Lincoln or General Thompson may be able to effect against them; but if they stay through the summer in that climate, there is a certain General Fever that I apprehend will give a good account of most of them. Perhaps you comfort yourselves that our loss of blood is as great as yours. But, as physicians say, there is a great difference in the facility of repairing that loss, between an old body and a young one. America adds to her numbers annually 150,000 souls. She therefore grows faster than you can diminish her, and will out-grow all the mischief you can do her. Have you the same prospects? But it is un, necessary for me to represent to you, or you to me, the mis, chiefs each nation is subjected to by the war: we all see clear enough the nonsense of continuing it; the difficulty is where to find sense enough to put an end to it. Adieu, my dear friend, and believe me, &c.
I It had been intended that Dr. Bancroft should proceed to England with a power from Dr. Franklin to negotiate an exchange of prisoners; but some difficulty having arisen, of which Mr. Hartley's letter contained an intimation, that journey did not take place.
David HARTLEY, Esg. to DR. FRANKLIN. MY DEAR FRIEND, London, April 22, 1779.
The bearer of this and some other papers (Mr. - is a very sensible and worthy gentleman, with whom I had the pleasure of contracting an acquaintance since the commencement of the American troubles, originally upon the business of the American prisoners. It is a satisfaction to me at all times to have found him a friend to the restoration of peace between the two countries. It has likewise been an additional satisfaction and confirmation to me in my own thoughts upon that subject, to find that his sentiments, I think upon most, or all of the subjects upon which we have conversed, have coincided with mine. We both seem possessed of the opinion, that some plan of opening a negociation, upon preliminaries, which each side might find to be a sufficient security to itself, might be practicable : and then, your sentiment, which you gave me in a letter some years ago, might have its free scope and effect, viz. A little time given for cooling might have excellent effects.
The sentiments I have opened to you in my late letters for some months past, and which I have reduced in an enclosed paper, into a more specific shape, seem to me, upon very repeated reflection, to promise the fairest ground of good expectation. These propositions originate from myself, as a mediator: I have communications with both sides, but no authority to make proposals from either; and perhaps neither side, if I were to put the propositions separately to each (being myself unauthorised) might give me positive consent. Each side separately might say No, from what is called political prudence; and yet each side might secretly wish that the offer could be made, with a done first from the other party. I think the proposition of a truce for five or seven
years, leaving all things in the present dispute in statu quo, must be advantageous to all parties, if it were only in consideration that a general satisfactory peace to all parties may come among the excellent effects of time given for cooling. We can but fight it out at last. War never comes too late ; wisdom may step in between. These matters bave stolen upon us, and have arisen to great and formidable consequences from small and unexpected beginnings ; but henceforward, we should know by experience what to expect. If the rage of war could but be abated, for a sufficient length of time for reason and reflection to operate, I think it would never revive. I cannot pretend to forecast the result of any negociation, but I think war would not revive ; which is all that I want for my argument. Peace is a bonum in se ; whereas the most favorable events of war are but, relatively, lesser evils : certainly they are evils : mala in se, not bona
I hope that a cessation of hostilities would produce a renewal of reflection : but even to take the argument at the worst advantage, the two parties are at a cooling distance of three thousand miles asunder. If the flames of war could be but once extinguished, does not the Atlantic ocean contain cold water enough to prevent their bursting out again? I am very strongly of opinion that the two nations of Great Britain and North America would accord to the proposition of a truce for cooling. I cannot say whether a British ministry would accord to it, because they wou't tell me: nor can I say whether an American plenipotentiary would accord to it, because probably you will not tell me. I put myself into your hands however, when I tell you frankly I am of opinion that both would accord to it, if there could be a done first on either side, to bind the bargaiu first. You have the odds of me in this matter, because you know one half of the question; and I cannot give you any proof on the other
side, but only my own presumptive judgment, upon observation, and upon a course of reasoning in my own thoughts.
But for France-wy judgment would be, that if the proposition of the proposed preliminaries should be agreeable to America, France would do very unhandsoniely to defeat it by their refusal. I likewise think it the interest of France; because their interest leads them to go to a certain point, and no further. There is a disparity in the operation of the terms of the alliance on the part of France, and on the part of America. The more vigorously France interposes, the better for America; in proportion to their exertions, they create, less or more, a diversion of the British force: this reasoning goes straight forward for America ; but it is not so with France. There is a certain point to France, beyond which their work would fail and recoil upon themselves; if they were to drive the British ministry totally to abandon the American war, it would become totally a French war. The events of a twelvemonth past seem to bear testimony to this course of reasoning. The disadvantage upon the bargain, to America, is, that the efficacy of the French alliance to them pre-supposes their continuance in the war. The demur to France is, that the liberation of their new ally recoils with double weight of the war upon themselves, without any ulterior points of advantage in view, as dependent upon that alliance. I think the interest of all parties coincides with the proposition of preliminaries. The proposed preliminaries appear to me to be just
. and equitable to all parties; but the great object with me is to come to some preliminaries ; I could almost add, whatever those preliminaries might be, provided a suspension of arms for an adequate term of years were one, I think it would be ten thousand to one against any future renewal of the war. It is not necessary to enter at large into the reasons which induce me to think, that the British ministry as well as the