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war in America. This I hint to you, out of some remaining good-will to a nation I once loved sincerely. But as things are, and in my present temper of mind, not being over-fond of receiving obligations, I shall content myself with proposing that your government would allow us to send or employ a commissary to take some care of those unfortunate people. Perhaps on your representations this might be speedily obtained in England, though it was refused most inhumanly at New York.
If you could have leisure to visit the gaols in which they are confined, and should be desirous of knowing the truth relative to the treatment they receive, I wish you would take the trouble of distributing among the most necessitous, according to their wants, five or six hundred pounds, for which your drafts on me here shall be punctually honored. You could then be able to speak with some certainty to the point in parliament, and this might be attended with good effects.
If you cannot obtain for us permission to send a commissary, possibly you may find a trusty, humane, discreet person at Plymouth, and another at Portsmouth, who would undertake to communicate what relief we may be able to afford those unfortunate men, martyrs to the cause of liberty. Your king will not reward you for taking this trouble, but God will. I shall not mention the gratitude of America: you will have what is better, the applause of your own good conscience. Our captains have set at liberty above two hundred of your people made prisoners by our armed vessels and brought into France, besides a great number dismissed at sea on your coasts, to whom vessels were given to carry them in. But you have not returned us a man in exchange! If we had sold your people to the Moors at Sallee, as you have many of ours to the African and East India companies, could you have complained?
In revising what I have written, I found too much warmth in it, and was about to strike out some parts. Yet I let them go, as they will afford you this one reflection: "If a man naturally cool, and rendered still cooler by old age, is so warmed by our treatment of his country, how much must those people in general be exasperated against us! and why are we making inveterate enemies by our barbarity, not only of the present inhabitants of a great country, but of their infinitely more numerous posterity; who will in all future ages detest the name of Englishman, as much as the children in Holland now do those of Alva and Spaniard?" This will certainly happen unless your conduct is speedily changed, and the national resentment falls, where it ought to fall heavily, on your ministry, or perhaps rather on the whose will
they only execute.
With the greatest esteem and affection, and best wishes for your prosperity, I have the honor to be, dear sir, &c.
TO MR. HUTTON.'
MY DEAR OLD FRIEND,
Passy, Feb. 1, 1778.
You desired that if I had no proposition to make, I
would at least give my advice.
I think it is Ariosto who says, that all things lost on earth. are to be found in the moon; on which somebody remarked, that there must be a great deal of good advice in the moon.
So, there is a good deal of mine formerly given and lost in this business. I will however at your request give a little more, but without the least expectation that it will be followed; for none but God can at the same time give good counsel, and wisdom to make use of it.
1 See an account of this gentleman, Part i. p. 115.
You have lost by this mad war, and the barbarity with which it has been carried on, not only the government and commerce of America, and the public revenues and private wealth arising from that commerce; but what is more, you have lost the esteem, respect, friendship, and affection of all that great and growing people, who consider you at present, and whose posterity will consider you, as the worst and wickedest nation upon earth. A peace you may undoubtedly obtain by dropping all your pretensions to govern us: and by your superior skill in buckstering negociation, you may possibly make such an apparently advantageous bargain as shall be applauded in your parliament; but you cannot with the peace recover the affections of that people; it will not be a lasting nor a profitable one, nor will it afford you any part of that strength which you once had by your union with them, and might (if you had been wise enough to take advice) have still retained.
To recover their respect and affection, you must tread back the steps you have taken.
Instead of honoring and rewarding the American advisers and promoters of this war, you should disgrace them; with all those who have inflamed the nation against America by their malicious writings; and all the ministers and generals who have prosecuted the war with such inhumanity. This would show a national change of disposition, and a disapprobation of what had passed.
In proposing terms, you should not only grant such as the necessity of your affairs may evidently oblige you to grant, but such additional ones as may show your generosity, and thereby demonstrate your good-will. For instance, perhaps you might by your treaty retain all Canada, Nova Scotia, and the Floridas. But if you would have a real friendly as well as able ally in America, and avoid all occasion of future discord which will otherwise be continually arising on your American fron
tiers, you should throw in those countries. And you may call it, if you please, an indemnification for the burning of their towns; which indemnification will otherwise be some time or other demanded.
I know your people will not see the utility of such measures, and will never follow them, and even call it insolence and impudence in me to mention them. I have, however, complied with your desire, and am, as ever, your affectionate friend, B. FRANKLIN,
I wrote the above some time before I received yours, acquainting me with your speedy and safe return, which gave me pleasure. I doubted after I had written it whether it would be well to send it; for as your proud nation despises us exceedingly, and demands and expects absolute and hunble submission, all talk of treaty must appear imprudence, and tend to provoke rather than conciliate. As you still press me by your last to say something, I conclude to send what I had written; for I think the advice is good, though it must be useless; and I cannot, as some amongst you desire, make propositions, having none committed to me to make; but we can treat if any are made to us; which however we do not expect. I abominate with you all murder, and I may add that the slaughter of men in an unjust cause is nothing less than murder; I therefore never think of your present ministers and their abettors, but with the image strongly painted in my view, of their hands red, wet, and dropping with the blood of my countrymen, friends, and relations. No
Mr. Hutton had lately been in Paris.
peace can be signed by those hands. Peace and friendship will nevertheless subsist for ever between Mr. Hutton and his affectionate friend, B. FRANKLIN.
To D. HARTLEY, Esq. M. P.
Passy, Feb. 12, 1778. A thousand thanks for your so readily engaging in the means of relieving our poor captives, and the pains you have taken, and the advances you have made for that purpose. I received your kind letter of the 3d instant, and send you enclosed a bill of 100l. I much approve of Mr. Wren's prudent, as well as benevolent conduct, in the disposition of the money, and wish him to continue doing what shall appear to him and you to be right, which I am persuaded will appear the same to me and my colleagues here. I beg you will present him, when you write, my respectful acknowledgments.
Your "earnest caution and request that nothing may ever persuade America to throw themselves into the arms of France; for that times may mend, and that an American must always be a stranger in France, but that Great Britain may for ages to come be their home," marks the goodness of your heart, your regard for us, and love of your country. But when your nation is hiring all the cut-throats it can collect of all countries and colors to destroy us, it is hard to persuade us not to ask or accept aid from any power that may be prevailed with to grant it; and this only from the hope that though you now thirst for our blood, and pursue us with fire and sword, you may in some future time treat us kindly. This is too much patience to be expected of us; indeed I think it is not in human nature. The Americans are received and treated here in France with a cordiality, a respect and affection they never experienced in England when they most deserved it; and