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Franklin, Lee, and Adams to Vergennes."
PAssy, January 1, 1779.
SIR: Some late proceedings of the enemy have induced us to submit a few observations to your excellency's superior light and judgment.
His Britannic Majesty's commissioners, in their manifesto of the 3d of October, have denounced “a change in the whole nature and future conduct of the war;” they have declared “that the policy as well as the benevolence of Great Britain has thus far checked the extremes of war,” when they tended “to distress the people and desolate the country;” that the whole contest is changed; that the laws of self-preservation must now direct the conduct of Great Britain; that these laws will direct her to render the United States of as littlo avail as possible to France if they are to become an accession to her, and by every means in her power to destroy the new connnection contrived for her ruin. Motions have been made and supported by the wisest men in both Houses of Parliament to address the king to disavow these clauses; but these motions have been rejected by majorities in both Houses, so that the manifesto stands avowed by the three branches of the legislature.
Ministers of state made in Parliament a question concerning the meaning of this manifesto, but no man who reads it and knows the history of their past conduct in this war can doubt its import. There is to be a “change in the nature and conduct of the war.” A change for the worse must be horrible indeed! They have already burned the beautiful towns of Charlestown, Falmouth, Norfolk, Kingston, Bedford, Egg Harbor, and German Flats, besides innumerable single buildings and smaller clusters of houses wherever their armies have marched. It is true they left Boston and Philadelphia unhurt; but in all probability
* MSS. Dep. of State; 1 Sparks' Dip. Rev. Corr., 366, with verbal changes; 7 John