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of the divine attributes, and if mortals could effect it, they would act like those beneficent beings, whom Socrates 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 now 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 acknowledge her error in attempting to reduce the islands, but an acknowledgment 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.
"But, whatever I might advise, if my advice had any chance of being taken, this I know, and positively pronounce, that while Athens is Athens, her proud but brave citizens will never expressly recognize the independence of the islands their resources are no doubt ex-haustible, but will not be exhausted in the lives of us and of our children. In this resolution all parties agree: I, who am of no party, dissent from them; but what is a single voice in so vast a multitude? Yet the independence of the United States was tacitly acknowledged by the very offer of terms, and it would result in silence from the natural operation of the treaty. An express acknowledgment of it is merely formal with respect to the allies; but the prejudices of mankind have made it substantial with respect to Athens.
"Let this obstacle be removed: it is slight, but fatal; and, whilst it lasts, thousands and ten thousands will perish. In war much will always depend upon blind chance, and a storm or sudden fall of snow may frustrate all your efforts for liberty; but let commissioners from both sides meet, and the islanders, by not insisting on a preliminary recognition of independence, will ultimately establish it forever.
"But independence is not disunion. Chios, Cos, Lesbos, Rhodes, are united, but independent on each other: they are connected by a common tie, but have different forms and different constitutions. They are gems of various colors and various properties, strung in one bracelet. Such an union can only be made between states, which, how
widely soever they differ in form, agree in one common property, freedom. Republics may form alliances, but not a federal union, with arbitrary monarchies. Were Athens governed by the will of a monarch, she could never be co-ordinate with the free islands; for such an union would not be dissimilarity but dissonance: but she is and shall be ruled by laws alone, that is, by the will of the people, which is the only law. Her Archon, even when he was perpetual, had no essential properties of monarchy. The constitution of Athens, if we must define it, was then a republic with a perpetual administrator of its laws. Between Athens, therefore, and the freest states in the world, an union may naturally be formed.
"There is a natural union between her and the islands, which the gods have made, and which the powers of hell cannot dissolve. Men, speaking the same idiom, educated in the same manner, perhaps, in the same place; professing the same principles; sprung from the same ancestors, in no very remote degree; and related to each other in a thousand modes of consanguinity, affinity, and friendship, such men, (whatever they may say through a temporary resentment,) can never in their hearts consider one another as aliens.
"Let them meet then with fraternal and pacific dispositions, and let this be the general ground-work and plan of the treaty.
1. "The Carians shall be included in the pacification, and have such advantages as will induce them to consent to the treaty rather than continue a hazardous war.
2. "The archon, senate, and magistrates of Athens shall make a complete recognition of rights of all the Athenian citizens of all orders whatever, and all former laws for that purpose shall be combined in one. There shall not be one slave in Attica.
NOTE. "[By making this a preliminary, the islanders will show their affection for the people of Athens; their friendship will be cemented and fixed on a solid basis; and the greatest good will be extracted, as I at first proposed, from the greatest evil.]
3. "There shall be a perfect co-ordination between Athens and the thirteen united islands, they considering her not as a parent, whom they must obey, but as an elder sister, whom they cannot help loving, and to whom they shall give pre-eminence of honor and co-equality of
4. "The new constitutions of the confederate islands shall remain. 5. "On every occasion requiring acts for the general good, there shall be an assembly of deputies from the senate of Athens and the congress of the islands, who shall fairly adjust the whole business, and settle the ratio of the contributions on both sides. This committee shall consist of fifty islanders and fifty Athenians, or of a smaller number chosen by them.
6. "If it be thought necessary and found convenient, a proportionable number of Athenian citizens shall have seats, and power of debating and voting on questions of common concern, in the great assembly
of the islands, and a proportionable number of islanders shall sit with the like power in the assembly at Athens.
NOTE. "[This reciprocal representation will cement the union.]
7. "There shall be no obligation to make war but for the common interest.
8. "Commerce shall flow in a free course, for the general advantage of the united powers.
9. An universal unlimited amnesty shall be proclaimed in every part of Greece and Asia.
"This," said the Athenian, "is the rough sketch of a treaty founded on virtue and liberty. The idea of it still fills and expands my soul; and if it cannot be realized, I shall not think it less glorious, but shall only grieve more and more at the perverseness of mankind. May the eternal Being, whom the wise and the virtuous adore, and whose attribute it is to convert into good, that evil which his unsearchable wisdom permits, inspire all ranks of men to promote either this or a similar plan! If this be impracticable, O miserable human nature ! But I am fully confident that, if more at large * * happiness of all."
No more is extant of this interesting piece, upon which the commentary of the sage Polybius would have been particularly valuable in these times.
Letter of Barbe de Marbois, charge d'affairs in America to count de Vergennes, which was intercepted and placed in the hands of the American negociators at Paris, in September, 1782.
Philadelphia, March 13, 1782.
Sir, South Carolina again enjoys the benefit of a legislative body, after having been deprived of it for two years; it was summoned together towards the latter end of last January, at Jacksonburg, only ten leagues distant from Charleston; where deliberations are carried on with as much tranquility as if the state was in profound peace. Mr. Rutledge, who was the governor, opened the meeting with a speech greatly applauded, wherein he represents in their full extent, the important services rendered by the king to the United States, expressing their just acknowledgment for the same. This sentiment prevails much, sir; the different states are eager to declare it, in their public acts, and the principal members of government, and the writers employed by them, would forfeit their popularity were they to admit any equivocal remarks respecting the alliance. General Greene affirms that in no one state is attachment to independence carried to a higher pitch; but that this affection is yet exceeded by the hatred borne to England. The assembly of Carolina is going to make levies of men, and has imposed pretty large sums; as there is
but little money in the country, the taxes will be gathered in indigo, and what deficiency may then be found, will be supplied by the sale of lands of such Carolinians as joined the enemy while they were in possession of the country. South Carolina was the only state that had not confiscated the property of the disaffected. The step just taken puts her on a footing with the other states in the union. The assembly of this state has passed a resolution, in consequence of which a purchase of land is to be made of the value of two hundred and forty thousand livres tournois, which Carolina makes a present to general Greene as the saviour of that province.
Mr. Matthews, a delegate from congress, lately arrived in Carolina, has, it is said, been chosen governor in the room of Mr. Rutledge; he has communicated to persons of the most influence in his state, the ultimatum of the month of * * last, who approved of the clauses in general, and particularly that one which leaves the king master of the terms of the treaty of peace or truce, excepting independence, and treaties of alliance. A delegate from South Carolina told me, that this ultimatum was equally well known by persons of note in this state, and this had given entire satisfaction there; it is the same with regard to several other states; and I believe I may assure you, upon the testimony of several delegates, that this measure is approved by a great majority; but Mr. Samuel Adams is using all his endeavors to raise in the state of Massachusetts a strong opposition to peace, if the eastern states are not thereby admitted to the fisheries, and particularly to that of Newfoundland. Samuel Adams delights in trouble and difficulty, and prides himself on forming an opposition against the government whereof he is himself the president. His aim and intentions are to render the minority of consequence, and at this very moment he is attacking the constitution of Massachusetts, although it is in a great measure his own work; but he had disliked it since the people had shown their uniform attachment to it.
It may be expected that with this disposition, no measure can meet the approval of Mr. Samuel Adams, and if the United States should agree relative to the fisheries, and be certain of partaking therein, all his manoeuvres and intrigues would be directed towards the conquest of Canada and Nova Scotia; but he could not have used a fitter engine than the fisheries, for stirring up the passions of the eastern people. By renewing this question, which had lain dormant during his two years absence from Boston, he has raised the expectation of the people of Massachusetts to an extraordinary pitch. The public prints hold forth the importance of the fisheries; the reigning toast in the east is, may the United States ever maintain their rights to the fishe ries. It has been often repeated in the deliberations of the general court; no truce without fisheries. However clear this principle may be in this matter, it would be needless and even dangerous to attempt informing the people through the public papers, but it appears to me possible to use means for preventing the consequences of success to Mr. S. Adams and his party; and I take the liberty of submitting these 67
to your discernment and indulgence; one of those means would be for the king to cause it to be intimated to congress or to the ministers, "his surprise that the Newfoundland fisheries have been included in the additional instructions; that the United States set forth therein pretensions without paying regard to the king's rights, and without considering the impossibility they are under of making conquests, and keeping what belongs to Great Britain."
His majesty might at the same time cause a promise to be given to congress," of his assistance for procuring admission to the other fisheries, and declaring however that he would not be answerable for the success, and that he is bound to nothing as the treaty makes no mention of that article." This declaration being made before the peace, the hopes of the people could not be supported, nor could it one day be said, that we left them in the dark on this point. It were even to be wished that this declaration should be made whilst New York, Charleston, and Penobscot are in the enemy's hands; our allies will be less tractable than ever upon these points whenever they recover these important posts. There are some judicious persons to whom one may speak of giving up the fisheries, and the* of the west, for the sake of peace. But there are enthusiasts who fly out at this idea, and their numbers cannot fail increasing when, after the English are expelled from this continent, the burthen of the war will scarce be felt. It is already observable that the advocates for peace are those who lived in the country. The inhabitants of towns whom commerce enriches, mechanics who receive there a higher pay than before war, and five or six times more than in Europe, do not wish for it; but it is a happy circumstance that this division be nearly equal in the congress and among the states, since our influence can incline the beam either for peace or war, which ever way we choose. Another means of preserving to France so important a branch of her commerce and navigation, is that proposed to you, sir, by M viz. the conquest of cape Breton; it seems to me, as it does to that minister, the only sure means of containing within bounds, when peace is made, those swarms of smugglers who, without regard to treaties, will turn all their activity, daring spirit, and means towards the fisheries, whose undertakings congress will not, perhaps, have the power or the will to suppress. If it be apprehended, that the peace which is to put an end to the present war, will prove disagreeable to any of the United States, there appears to me a certain method of guarding against the effects of this discontent, of preventing the declaration of some states, and other resources which turbulent minds might employ for availing themselves of the present juncture. This would be for his majesty to cause a memorial to be delivered to congress, wherein should be stated the use made by his ministers of the powers entrusted to them by that assembly; and the impediments which may have stood in the way of a fuller satisfaction on every point. This step