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themselves, will form a record that must render the British name odious in America to the latest generations. In that authentic record will be found the burnings of the fine town of Charlestown, near Boston, of Falmouth just before winter, when the sick, the aged, the women, and children, were driven to seek shelter where they could hardly find it; of Norfolk in the midst of winter; of New London, of Fairfield, of Esopus, &c. &c.; besides near a hundred and fifty miles of unsettled country laid waste, every house and barn burnt, and many hundreds of farmers with their wives and children butchered and scalped.
The present British ministers, when they reflect a little, will certainly be too equitable to suppose, that their nation has a right to make an unjust war, (which they have always allowed this against us to be) and to do all sorts of unnecessary mischief, unjustifiable by the practice of any civilised people, which those they make war with are to suffer, without claiming any satisfaction, but that if Britons or other adherents are in return deprived of any property, it is to be restored to them, or they are to be indemnified! The British troops can never excuse their barbarities. They were unprovoked. The loyalists may say in excuse of theirs, that they were exasperated by the loss of their estates, and it was revenge. They have then had their revenge. Is it right they should have both?
Some of these people may have merit with regard to Britain; those who espoused her cause from affection, these it may become you to reward. But there are many of them who are waverers, and were only determined to engage in it by some occasional circumstances or appearances; these have not much of either merit or demerit; and there are others who have abundance of demerit respecting your country, having by their falsehoods and misrepresentations brought on
and encouraged the continuance of the war. These, instead of being recompensed, should be punished.
It is usual among Christian people at war to profess always a desire of peace. But if the ministers of one of the parties chose to insist particularly on a certain article which they know the others are not and cannot be empowered to agree to, what credit can they expect should be given to such professions?
Your ministers require that we should receive again into our bosoms those who have been our bitterest enemies; and restore their properties who have destroyed ours; and this while the wounds they have just given us are still bleeding. It is many years since your nation expelled the 'Stuarts and their adherents, and confiscated their estates. Much of your resentment against them may by this time be abated. Yet if we should insist on and propose it as an article of our treaty with you, that that family should be recalled, and the forfeited estates of its friends restored, would you think us serious in our professions of earnestly desiring peace?
I must repeat my opinion that it is best for you to drop all mention of the refugees. We have proposed indeed nothing but what we think best, both for you as well as ourselves. But if you will have them mentioned, let it be in an article which may provide that they shall exhibit accounts of their losses, to commissioners hereafter to be appointed, who shall examine the same, together with the accounts now preparing in America of the damages done by them; and state the account. And that if a balance appears in their favor it shall be paid by us to you, and by you divided among them as you shall think proper; and if the balance is found due to us, it shall be paid by you.
Give me leave however to advise you to prevent the necessity of so dreadful a discussion, by dropping the article, that
we may write to America, and stop the inquiry. I have the B. FRANKLIN.
honor to be, &c.
B. VAUGHAN, Esq. TO DR. FRANKLIN.
MY DEAREST SIR,
Paris, Nov. 27, 1782.
I am so agitated with the present crisis, that I cannot help writing you, to beseech you again and again to meditate upon some mild expedient about the refugees, or to give a favorable ear, and helping hand to such as may turn up.'
Both sides agree that the matter of expense is nothing; and the matter of honor in my opinion is least to that side, which has most sense and most justice on its side. It seems to me that the matter of the present peace, and future happiness, are the only points of true concern to either.
If I can judge of favorable moments, the present is of all others most favorable to our views of reconciliation. We have liberal American commissioners at Paris, a liberal English commissioner, and a liberal first minister for England. All these circumstances may vanish to-morrow, if this treaty blows over.
If you wanted to break off your treaty, I am perfectly sensible that you could not do it on grounds in which America would more join with you, than this of the refugees. On the other hand, if England wanted to break, she could not wish for better ground on her side. You do not break; and therefore I conclude you both sincere. But in this way, I see the treaty is likely of itself to break. I pray then, my dearest, dearest sir, that you would a little take this matter to heart.
If the refugees are not silenced, you must be sensible what constant prompters to evil measures you leave us, what perpetual sources of bad information. If the minister is able, on the other hand, to hold up his head on this one point, you must see how much easier it will be for you both to carry on
the great work of re-union, as far as relates to prince and people. We are not well informed about the deeds of the refugees in England; and we can only now be well informed by publications that would do irreparable mischief.
Besides, you are the most magnanimous nation; and can excuse things to your people, which we can less excuse to ours. Not to mention, that when congress sent you her last resolutions, she was not aware that you would be so near a settlement, as you are at present. To judge which is the hardest task, yours, or England's, put yourself in Lord Shelburne's place. The only marks of confidence shown him at Paris, are such as he dares not name; and the only marks promised him, are future national ones. England has given much ground of confidence to America. In my opinion England will do HER business in the way of RECONCILIATION, very much in proportion, as you do your business generously at the present peace. England is to be won, as well as America is to be won; and I beg you would think with yourself and your colleagues about the means. Excuse this freedom, my dearest sir; it is the result of a very warm heart, that thinks a little property nothing, to much happiness. I do not however ask you to do a dishonorable thing, but simply to save England; and to give our English ministry the means of saying on the 5th December, we have done more than the last ministry have done. I hope you will not think this zeal persecution; for I shall not mention this subject to you again, of my own accord.
I know you have justice on your side; I know you may talk of precedents; but there is such a thing as forgiveness, as generosity, and as a manly policy, that can share a small loss rather than miss a greater good. Yours, my dearest sir, most devotedly, most gratefully, most affectionately,
To M. LE COMTE DE VERGENNES.
Passy, Nov. 29, 1782.
I have the honor to acquaint your Excellency, that the commissioners of the United States have agreed with Mr. Oswald on the preliminary articles of the peace between those States and Great Britain. To-morrow I hope we shall be able to communicate to your excellency a copy of them. With great respect, I have the honor to be, sir, your excellency's most obedient and most humble servant,
ARTICLES agreed upon by and between Richard Oswald, Esquire, the commissioner of his Britannic majesty, for treating of peace with the commissioners of the United States of America, in behalf of his said majesty on the one part, and John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and Henry Laurens, four of the commissioners of the said States, for treating of peace with the commissioner of his said majesty on their behalf on the other part, to be inserted in and constitute the treaty of peace proposed to be concluded between the crown of Great Britain and the said United States, but which treaty is not to be concluded until terms of a peace shall be agreed upon between Great Britain and France, and his Britannic majesty shall be ready to conclude such treaty accordingly.
WHEREAS reciprocal advantages and mutual convenience are found by experience to form the only permanent foundation of peace and friendship between States, it is agreed to form the articles of the proposed treaty, on such principles of liberal equity and reciprocity, as that partial advantages (those seeds of discord) being excluded, such a beneficial and satisfactory intercourse between the two countries may be established as to promise and secure to both perpetual peace and harmony.