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to Great Britain the sum of
sterling, in annual payments; that is to say,
per annum, for and during the term of years.
And shall, moreover, grant a free trade to all British subjects throughout the United States and the ceded colonies, and shall guaranty to Great Britain the possession of her islands in the West Indies.
MOTIVES FOR PROPOSING A PEACE AT THIS TIME.
1. The having such propositions in charge will, by the law of nations, be some protection to the commissioners or ambassadors, if they should be taken.
2. As the news of our declared independence will tend to unite in Britain all parties against us, so our offering peace, with commerce and payments of money, will tend to divide them again. For peace is as necessary to them as to us; our commerce is wanted by their merchants and manufacturers, who will therefore incline to the accommodation, even though the monopoly is not continued, since it can be easily made to appear their share of our growing trade will soon be greater than the whole has been heretofore. Then, for the landed interest, who wish an alleviation of taxes, it is demonstrable by figures, that, if we should agree to pay, suppose ten millions in one hundred years, viz. one hundred thousand pounds per annum for that term, it would, being faithfully employed as a sinking fund, more than pay off all their present national debt. It is, besides, a prevailing opinion in England, that they must in the nature of things sooner or later lose the colonies, and many think they had better be without the government of them; so that the proposition will, on that account, have more supporters and fewer opposers.
3. As the having such propositions to make, or any powers to treat of peace, will furnish a pretence for B. F.'s going to England, where he has many friends and acquaintance, particularly among the best writers and ablest speakers in both Houses of Parliament, he thinks he shall be able when there, if the terms are not accepted, to work up such a division of sentiments in the nation, as greatly to weaken its exertions against the United States, and lessen its credit in foreign countries.
4. The knowledge of there being powers given to the commissioners to treat with England, may have some effect in facilitating and expediting the proposed treaty with France.
5. It is worth our while to offer such a sum for the countries to be ceded, since the vacant lands will in time sell for a great part of what we shall give, if not more; and, if we are to obtain them by conquest, after perhaps a long war, they will probably cost us more than that sum. It is absolutely necessary for us to have them for our own security; and, though the sum may seem large to the present generation, in less than half the term it will be to the whole United States a mere trifle.
BRITAIN, FRANCE, SPAIN, HOLLAND, SAXONY,
A humorous piece, representing the political condition and objects of several countries at the beginning of the American war; written soon after the author's arrival in France, as a Commissioner from the United States. — EDITOR.
Britain. SISTER of Spain, I have a favor to ask of you. My subjects in America are disobedient, and I am about to chastise them; I beg you will not furnish them with any arms or ammunition.
Spain. Have you forgotten, then, that when my subjects in the Low Countries rebelled against me, you not only furnished them with military stores, but joined them with an army and a fleet? I wonder how you can have the impudence to ask such a favor of me, or the folly to expect it !
Britain. You, my dear sister France, will surely not refuse me this favor.
France. Did you not assist my rebel Huguenots with a fleet and an army at Rochelle? And have you not lately aided privately and sneakingly my rebel subjects in Corsica ? And do you not at this instant keep their chief, pensioned, and ready to head a fresh revolt there, whenever you can find or make an opportunity ? Dear sister, you must be a little silly!
Britain. Honest Holland! You see it is remembered I was once your friend; you will therefore be mine on this occasion. I know, indeed, you are accustomed to smuggle with these rebels of mine. I will wink at that; sell them as much tea as you please, to enervate the rascals, since they will not take it of me; but for God's sake don't supply them with any arms !
Holland. 'Tis true you assisted me against Philip, my tyrant of Spain, but have I not assisted you against one of your tyrants; * and enabled you to expel him? Surely that account, as we merchants say, is balanced, and I am nothing in your debt. I have indeed some complaints against you, for endeavouring to starve me by your Navigation Acts; but, being peaceably disposed, I do not quarrel with you for that. I shall only go on quietly with my own business.
Trade is my profession ; 't is all I have to subsist on. And, let me tell you, I shall make no scruple (on the prospect of a good market for that commodity) even to send my ships to Hell and supply the Devil with brimstone. For you must know, I can insure in London against the burning of my sails.
America to Britain. Why, you old bloodthirsty bully! You, who have been everywhere vaunting your own prowess, and defaming the Americans as poltroons! You, who have boasted of being able to march over all their bellies with a single regiment! You, who by fraud have possessed yourself of their strongest fortress, and all the arms they had stored up in it! You, who have a disciplined army in their country, intrenched to the teeth, and provided with every thing! Do you run about begging all Europe not to supply those poor people with a little powder and shot ? Do you mean, then, to fall upon them naked and unarmed, and butcher them in cold blood? Is this your courage? Is this your magnanimity ?
* James the Second.
Britain. Oh! you wicked – Whig — Presbyterian - Serpent! Have you the impudence to appear before me after all your disobedience ? Surrender immediately all your liberties and properties into my hands, or I will cut you to pieces. Was it for this that I planted your country at so great an expense ? That I protected you in your infancy, and defended you against all
America. I shall not surrender my liberty and property, but with my life. It is not true, that my country was planted at your expense.
Your own records * refute that falsehood to your face. Nor did you ever afford me a man or a shilling to defend me against the Indians, the only enemies I had upon my own account. But, when you have quarrelled with all Europe, and drawn me with you into all your broils, then you value yourself upon protecting me from the enemies
* See the Journals of the House of Commons, 1642, viz.
“ Die Veneris, Martii 10°, 1642. Whereas the plantations in New England have, by the blessing of Almighty God, had good and prosperous success, without any public charge to this State ; and are now likely to prove very happy for the propagation of the Gospel in those parts, and very beneficial and commodious to this kingdom and nation ; the Commons now assembled in Parliament do, for the better advancement of those plantations, and the encouragement of the planters to proceed in their undertaking, ordain, that all merchandises and goods, that by any merchant, or other person or persons whatsoever, shall be exported out of this kingdom of England into New England, to be spent, used, or employed there; or, being of the growth of that kingdom, shall be from thence imported hither, or shall be laden or put on board in any ship or vessel for necessaries in passing or returning to and fro; and all and every the owner or owners thereof, shall be freed and discharged of and from paying and yielding any custom, subsidy, taxation, imposition, or other duty for the same, either inward or outward, either in this kingdom or New England, or in any port, haven, creek, or other place whatsoever, until the House of Commons shall take further order therein to the contrary. And all and singular customers, &c. are to observe this order."