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honor her, and that the family, from which she was ro wickedly expelled, will long regret the loss of her.
I know not whether a peace with us is desired in England; I rather think it is not at present, unless on the old impossible terms of submission and receiving pardon. Whenever you shall be disposed to make peace upon equal and reasonable terms, you will find little difficulty, if you get first an honest ministry. The present have all along acted so deceitfully and treacherously, as well as inhumanly, towards the Americans, that I imagine, that the absolute want of all confidence in them will make a treaty, at present, between them and the Congress impracticable.
The subscription for the prisoners will have excellent effects in favor of England and Englishmen. The Scotch subscriptions for raising troops to destroy us, though amounting to much greater sums, will not do their nation half so much good. If you have an opportunity, I wish you would express our respectful acknowledgments and thanks to your committee and contributors, whose benefactions will make our poor people as comfortable as their situation can permit. Adieu, my dear friend. Accept my thanks for the excellent papers you enclosed to me. Your endeavours for peace, though unsuccessful, will always be a comfort to you, and in time, when this mad war shall be universally execrated, will be a solid addition to your reputation. I am ever, with the highest esteem, &.c.
P. S. An old friend of mine, Mr. Hutton, a chief of the Moravians, who is often at the Queen's palace, and is sometimes spoken to by the King, was over here lately. He pretended to no commission, but urged me much to propose some terms of peace, which I avoided. He has written to me since his return, pressing the same thing, and expressing with some confidence his opinion, that we might have every thing short of absolute independence, &c. Enclosed I send my answers open, that you may read them, and, if you please, copy, before you deliver or forward them. They will serve to show you more fully my sentiments, though they serve no other purpose. B. F.
FROM DAVID HARTLEY TO B. FRANKLIN.
Lord North's Plan of Reconciliation.
London, 20 February, 1778.
With respect to Lord North's plan of peace, much of course will be debated, of the sincerity or insincerity, and whether it be practicable or admissible; to all which I say, that the great object with me is a cessation of arms. I admire much the spirit of your sentiments to Lord Howe. Trade, and revenue, and supremacy are not objects for which men may justly spill each others' blood* I think if we can once obtain a cessation of arms, that the two parties will not go to blood again.
I have no reason to suspect Lord North of insincerity. When a man uses for argument, that peace is preferable to the indefinite continuation of a bloody and ruinous war, I think he gives, in some sort, a pledge of his sincerity; and this is all that I can say upon the matter. America, in any negotiation, will doubtless have a due attention to her own safety, and possibly, in the present irritable state of things, this kind of jealousy may proceed too far. I wish to see a
» See the letter to Lord Howe, Vol. V. p. 99.
treaty begun. It is dimidium fadi. There may possibly be many altercations in a popular assembly, and amongst them there may be expressions of resentment to America, and such as might be grating to the ears of an American; but it is a good thing to be even talking about peace. I am very glad of a public profession of desiring peace. It may abate animosities. I am informed, through the means of a gentleman connected with administration, that a vessel is despatched to America to carry the news, that a plan of peace is under consideration of Parliament.
For my own part, I can only, as a single man, entreat those, who have any influence in American counsels, to arrest the conclusion of any fatal treaty with the House of Bourbon. I should think it not prudent to put the principles and plan of a certain motion, which you have seen in the shape of an address to the King, to the direct question in the House, ay or no. A direct negative upon such a question, appearing in the votes, might have an ill effect in America. Wise men will be contented if things are in a good way. If there should be any things in the terms proposed on this side of the water, which are not adequate to the expectations of America, they will of course give their reasons for the consideration of Parliament. In popular counsels, violent and irritating things may be said, which, being reported, may do much harm. If one member says, Delenda est Carthago, that may be imputed to the nation at large; and, what is the worst part of the story, the recoil of such an imputation may exasperate the nation greatly, and thus mutual suspicions may aggravate animosities. I speak thus anxiously to you, knowing the goodness of your disposition to apply the balm of peace to the wounds of civil discord. Yours most affectionately,
TO THOMAS CUSHING.
Treaty of Alliance and Commerce between France and the United States.
Passy, 21 February, 1778.
I received your favor by Mr. Austin, with your most agreeable congratulations on the success of the American arms in the northern department.* In return, give me leave to congratulate you on the success of our negotiations here, in the completion of the two treaties with his Most Christian Majesty; the one of amity and commerce, on the plan of that proposed by Congress, with some good additions; the other of alliance for mutual defence, in which the Most Christian King agrees to make a common cause with the United States, if England attempts to obstruct the commerce of his subjects with them; and guaranties to the United States their liberty, sovereignty, and independence, absolute and unlimited, with all the possessions they now have, or may have, at the conclusion of the war; and the States in return guaranty to him his possessions in the West Indies. The great principle in both treaties is a perfect equality and reciprocity; no advantage to be demanded by France, or privileges in commerce, which the States may not grant to any and every other nation.
In short, the King has treated with us generously and magnanimously; taken no advantage of our present difficulties, to exact terms which we should not willingly grant, when established in prosperity and power. I may add, that he has acted* wisely, in wishing the friendship contracted by these treaties may be durable, which probably might not be, if a contrary conduct had taken place.
* Surrender of Burgoyne at Saratoga.
Several of the American ships, with stores for the Congress, are now about sailing, under the convoy of a French squadron. England is in great consternation, and the minister, on the 17th instant, confessing that all his measures had been wrong, and that peace was necessary, proposed two bills for quieting America; but they are full of artifice and deceit, and will, I am confident, be treated accordingly by our country.
I think you must have much satisfaction in so valuable a son, whom I wish safe back to you, and am with great esteem, &c.
P. S. The treaties were signed by the plenopotentiaries on both sides, February 6th, but are still for some reasons kept secret, though soon to be published. It is understood that Spain will soon accede to the same. The treaties are forwarded to Congress by this conveyance.
TO ARTHUR LEE.
Lord North. — Rumor of a Treaty behoeen General Washington and General Howe.
Passy, 23 February, 1778.
Sir, The enclosed, which you sent me, contained a letter from Mr. Hartley, in which he acquaints me, that on the 17th Lbrd North had made his propositions towards a conciliation with America, and asked leave to bring in two bills, one to renounce all claim of