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Passy, June 13, 1782. * * * * * .“ I congratulate you on the late revolution in your public affairs. Much gooi may arise from it, though possibly not all that good men, and even the new ministers themselves, may have wished or expected. The change, however, in the sentiments of the nation, in which I see evident effects of your writings, with those of four deceased friend Mr. Burgh, and others of our valuable club, should encourage you to proceed. The antient Roman and Greek orators could only speak to the number of citizens capable of being assembled within the reach of their voice; their writings had little effect, because the bulk of the people could not read. Now by the press we can speak to nations; and good books, and wellwritten pamphlets, have great and general influence. The facility with which the same truths may be repeatedly enforced by placing them in different lights, in newspapers which are every where read, gives a great chance of establishing them. And we now find, that it is not only right to strike while the iron is hot, but that it is very practicable to heat it by continual striking.
In the month of June, 1782, Mr. Jones, afterwards sir William Jones, so eminently distinguished for his virtues, genius, and learning, came to Paris, accompanied by the late Mr. Paradise, with the intention of proceeding thence to America. These gentlemen had been long connected by a most intimate friendship, and the object of this journey is stated by lord Teignmouth (in his life of the former) to have been “professional, to procure the restitution of a very large estate of a client and friend, which had been attached by an order of the States, who had threatened the confiscation of the property, unless the owner appeared in person to claim it.” His lordship adds, “ This object is mentioned by Mr. Jones in his correspondence, and his own evidence will be conclusive against some surmises and insinuations, which, were propagated respecting the motives of his intended journey. The irresolution of his friend, increased by indisposition, prevented the execution of the plan, and Mr. Jones, after hav. ing procured a passport from Franklin, the American minister at the court of France, returned to England through Normandy and Holland.” Of sir William Jones's account of his motives for going to America, as given by bim to his friends in England, the editor has no knowlege; but at Passy, where he and Mr. Paradise frequently partook of the hospitalities and conversation of Dr. Franklin, Mr. Jones assigned no other motive for his intended voyage, than that of accompanying his friend, and gratifying his curiosity by seeing a country for whose rights he had been a decided advocate. Mr. Paradise had never been the client of Mr. Jones, notwithstanding their friendship, be having never been engaged in any law-suit in England, nor bad he the smallest need of a lawyer in America, where nothing more was required than his presence, to avoid the penalty to which absent proprietors residing in a country at that time hostile, were made liable, unless they came to the United States within a limited time; a penalty which Mr. Paradise did in fact avoid, without any lawyer, and even without going to America, until nearly five years after the war had terminated. It could not, therefore, have been a professional object which actuated sir William Jones in this undertaking; and in fact, by some expressions which escaped from him in a conversation with Mr. Jay (one of the American plenipotentiaries), the latter strongly suspected, that the real purpose of this intended visit to the United States, was to endeavor to produce a disposition in persons of influence there, to accept a reconciliation with Great Britain, on terms more favorable, or less humiliating, than those of absolute independency; and this suspicion soon after received a strong confirmation in the mind of Mr. Jay, upon his accidentally noticing in a printed account of the then recent proceedings of the “ society for constitutional information," which had been incautiously put into his hands by Mr. Jones, a communication made by the latter to this society, of his intention to leave England speedily on a mission greatly connected with the interests and welfare of his country. As the editor has not becn able to procure this publication, he cannot pretend to give any thing more than the import of the words of this communication, which however taade so strong an impression upon Mr. Jay, that he took the first opportunity of writing to his friends in congress, &c. to put them on their guard against any attempts from Mr. Jones for the purpose beforementioned. Probably this communication gave rise to the surmises and insinuations" mentioned by lord Teignmouth. In fact, Mr. Paradise was not in any want of a lawyer, and especially an English lawyer; nor was his estate in Virginia of the magnitude supposed by lord Teignmouth, por his finances in such a state as to enable him to defray the expenses of the voyage intended by Mr. Jones, and much less to afford him a compensation for leaving his then increasing professional business in England. But whatever may bave been Mr. Jones's object in going to America, the failure of it, by Mr. Paradise's timidity and unwillingness to proceed further, after they had reached Nantes, was so displeasing to Mr. Jones, that it there produced a separation, and final termination of all intercourse between these gentlemen during the remainder of their lives.P
While at Paris, Mr. Jones put into the hands of Dr. Franklin the following composition, entitled, A FRAGMENT CF POLYBIUS, which certainly was well calculated to promote that sort of reconciliation which is supposed to have been the real object of bis intended voyage to the United States, and which, from its intrinsic merits, as well as the celebrity of the author', will, it is presumed, be acceptable to the readers of these memoirs. If to be considered as a diplomatic document, it is certainly of a very superior cast.The allusions are evident.
See Vol. V. page 291, of this edition.
A FRAGMENT OF POLYBIUS.
From his Treatise on the Athenian Government.
“ ATHENS had long been an object of universal admiration, and consequently of envy; her pavy was invincible, her commerce extensive; Europe and Asia supplied her with wealth; of her citizens, all were intrepid, many virtuous; but some too much infected with principles unfavorable to freedom. Hence an oligarchy was, in a great measure established; crooked counsels were thought supreme wisdom; and the Athenians, having lost their true relish for their own freedom, began to attack that of their colonies, and of the states which they had before protected! Their arrogant claims of unlimited dominion, had compelled the Chians, Coans, Rhodians, Lesbians, to join with nine other small communities in the social war, which they began with inconceivable ardor, and continued with industry surpassing all example, and almost surpassing belief. They were openly assisted by Mausolus, king of Caria, , to whose metropolis the united islands had sent a philosopher, named Eleutherion, eminent for the deepest knowlege of nature, the most solid judgment, most approved virtue, and most ardent zial for the cause of general liberty. The war had been supported for three years with infinite exertions of valor on both sides, with deliberate firmness on the part of the allies, and with unabated violence on the part of the Athenians; who had, nevertheless, dispatched commissioners to Rhodes, with intent to propose terms of accommodation; but the states (perhaps too pertinaciously) refused to hear any proposal whatever, without a previous recognition of their total independence by the magistrates and people of Athens. It was not long after this, that an Athenian, who had been a pupil of Isæus together with Demosthenes, and began to be known in his country as a pleader of causes, was led by some affair of his clients to the capital of Caria. He was a man, unauthorised, unemployed, unconnected; independent in his circumstances as much as in his prin. ciples: admitting no governor, under Providence, but the laws; and no laws but those which justice aod virtue had dictated, which wisdom approved, which his country had freely enacted. He had been known at Athens to the sage Eleutherion; and, their acquaintance being renewed, he sometimes took occasion in their conversations to lament the increasing calamities of war, and to express his eager desire of making a general peace on such terms as would produce the greatest good from the greatest evil; for this,' said he, “would be a work not unworthy of the divine attributes, and if mortals could effect it, they would act like those beneficent beings, whom 80crates believed to be the constant friends and attendants of our species.'
• He added, “ As to the united nations, I applaud, admire, and almost envy them; I am even tempted to wish that I had been born a Chian or a Rhodian; but let them be satisfied with the prize of virtue which they have already obtained. I will yield to none of your countrymen, my friend, in my love of liberty; but she seems more lovely to my eyes, when she comes hand in hand with peace. From that union we can expect nothing but the highest happiness of which our nature is capable; and it is an union, which nothing no:v obstructs but -a mere word.
" • Let the confederates be contented with the substance of that independence which they have asserted, and the word will necessarily follow.
« « Let them not hurt the natural, and, perhaps, not reprehensible, pride of Athens, nor demand any concession, that may sink in the eyes of Greece, a nation to whom they are and must be united in language, in blood, in manners, in interest, in principles. Glory is to a nation, what reputation is to an individual; it is not an empty sound: but important and essential. It will be glorious in Athens to acknowlege her er. ror in attempting to reduce the islands, but an acknowlegement of her inability to reduce them (if she be unable) will be too public a confession of weakness, and her rank among the states of Greece will instantly be lowered. VOL. I.