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to any other person, not even to the other gentlemen,) that you are to have the frigate from Holland, which actually belongs to government, and will be furnished with as many good French seamen as you shall require. But you are to act under Congress' commission. As you may like to have a number of Americans, and your own are homesick, it is proposed to give you as many as you can engage out of two hundred prisoners, which the ministry of Britain have at length agreed to give us in exchange for those you have in your hands. They propose to make the exchange at Calais, where they are to bring the Americans. Nothing is wanting to this, but a list of yours, containing their names and rank; immediately on the receipt of which, an equal number are to be prepared and sent in a ship to that port, where yours are to meet them. Pray send this list by the return of the post if possible. If by this means you can get a good new crew, I think it will be best that you are quite free of the old, for a mixture might introduce the infection of that sickness you complain of. But this may be left to your discretion.
Perhaps we shall join with you the Providence, Captain Whipple, a new Continental ship of thirty guns, which, in coming out of the river of Providence, gave the two frigates that were posted to intercept her each of them so heavy a dose of her eighteen and twelve pounders, that they had not the courage, or were not able, to pursue her. The Boston is supposed to be gone from Bordeaux.
It seems to be desired, that you should step up to Versailles, (where one will meet you,) in order to such a settlement of matters and plans with those who have the direction, as cannot well be done by letter. I wish it may be convenient to you to do it directly. The project of giving you the command of this ship pleases me the more, as it is a probable opening to the higher preferment you so justly merit. I have the honor to be, &.c. B. Franklin.
TO JAMES HUTTON.
Passy, 23 June, 1778.
My dear old friend has here the paper he desired.* We have had a marble monument made at Paris for the brave General Montgomery, which is gone to America. If it should fall into the hands of any of your cruisers, I expect you will exert yourself to get it restored to us, because I know the generosity of your temper, which likes to do handsome things, as well as to make returns. You see we are unwilling to rob the hospital; we hope your people will be found as averse to pillaging the dead. Adieu. Yours, &c.
TO AN ENGRAVER IN PARIS.
Respecting a Print commemorative of American
Passy, 24 June, 1778.
Sir, On reading again the prospectus and explanation of your intended print, I find the whole merit of giving freedom to America continues to be ascribed to me, which, as I told you in our first conversation, I could by no means approve of, as it would be unjust to
• Passport for a vessel, which was about to be sent to the Moravian missionaries on the coast of Labrador. See Vol. V. p. 122.
the numbers of wise and brave men, who, by their arms and counsels, have shared in the enterprise, and contributed to its success (as far as it has yet succeeded) at the hazard of their lives and fortunes.
My proposition to you was, and continues to be, that, instead of naming me in particular in the explanation of the print, it should be said, "The Congress, represented by a Senator in Roman dress, 8fc." As it stands, I cannot consent to accept the honor you propose to do me by dedicating the print to me, which, I understand, is in this country considered as an approbation; and in my own country it would hurt my character and usefulness, if I were to give the least countenance to such a pretension, by recommending or proposing the sale of a print so explained. Upon these considerations I must request, that, if you are determined to proceed in the engraving, you would, in a new prospectus, change the explanation as above proposed, and dedicate the print not to me, but to the Congress. I have the honor to be, Sir, &.c.
TO CHARLES DE WEISSENSTEIN.*
Reply to Insinuations against the good Faith of France. — Future Prospects of America.— The King's political Studies. — Peace is to be obtained only on equal Terms. — Offer of Rewards 7"idiculed.
Passy, 1 July, 1778.
Sir, ; T 'received your letter, dated at Brussels the 16th past. My vanity might possibly be flattered by your
• Dr. Franklin received a long letter from a man, who signed himself Charles de Weissenstein. The letter was dated, "Brussels, June
expressions of compliment to my understanding, if your proposals did not more clearly manifest a mean opinion of it.
You conjure me, in the name of the omniscient and just God, before whom I must appear, and by my hopes of future fame, to consider if some expedient cannot be found to put a stop to the desolation of America, and prevent the miseries of a general war. As I am conscious of having taken every step in my power to prevent the breach, and no one to widen
16th, 1778," and written in English. The writer was evidently a secret agent from England, instructed to procure from Dr. Franklin some kind of propositions for a peace. The name was doubtless assumed, and although the letter was dated at Brussels, it was probably written in Paris.
The contents of the letter, considering the source in which it must have originated, are curious and remarkable. The writer begins by urging the impossibility, that England should ever acknowledge the independence of the colonies, and the certainty that France would deceive and betray them. He moreover adds, that, in case Parliament • should be induced to acknowledge their independence, the people of England would not approve it, and posterity would never submit to it. "Our title to the empire," said he, "is indisputable; it will be asserted, either by ourselves or successors, whenever occasion presents. We may stop awhile in our pursuit to recover breath, but shall assuredly resume our career again."
He then proceeds at much length to state a Plan of Reconciliation; and the Outlines of the Future Government in America. In the Plan is the following extraordinary article. "As the conspicuous public part, which some American gentlemen have taken, may expose them to the personal enmity of some of the chief persons in Great Britain, and as it is unreasonable that their services to their country should deprive them of those advantages, which their talents would otherwise have gained them, the following persons shall have offices, or pensions for life, at their option, namely, Franklin, Washington, Adams, Hancock, &c. &c. In case his Majesty, or his successors, should ever create American peers, then these persons or their descendants shall be among the first created, if they choose it; Mr. Washington to have immediately a brevet of Ueutenant-genera], and all the honors and precedence incident thereto but not to assume or bear any command without a special warrant, or letter of service, for that purpose, from the King."
In the Outlines of Government it is provided, that each colony shall choose its own form, and have legislatures, but that all officers must
it, I can appear cheerfully before that God, fearing nothing from his justice in this particular, though I have much occasion for his mercy in many others. As to my future fame, I am content to rest it on my past and present conduct, without seeking an addition to it in the crooked, dark paths, you propose to me, where I should most certainly lose it. This your solemn address would therefore have been more properly made to your sovereign and his venal Parliament. He and they, who wickedly began, and madly continue, a war for the desolation of America, are alone accountable for the consequences.
swear allegiance to the crown and Parliament of Great Britain; that no American shall enjoy any office of trust or profit in Great Britain, without a special act of Parliament for that purpose; in every other respect they are to enjoy the privileges of natural born Englishmen; that "the judges of the courts shall be named by the King, and hold i their offices for life, and shall either bear titles as peers of America, or otherwise, as shall be decided by his Majesty; that a Congress shall assemble once in seven years, or oftener, if his Majesty thinks fit to summon it, but all its proceedings are to be transmitted to the British Parliament, without whose consent no money shall ever be granted by Congress or any separate state to the crown; that the great offices of state shall be named in the compact, and that America shall provide for them; that the whole naval and military force shall be directed by his Majesty; that the British Parliament shall fix the naval and military force, and vote the sums necessary for its maintenance, both by sea and land, and make laws for its regulation; that a tariff of duties shall be fixed, which shall not be changed without the mutual consent of both the Parliament of Great Britain and the colony where the change is intended to be made; that British manufactures shall always have the preference over those of other nations, and that no new taxes shall ever be imposed on them, without the previous consent of the Parliament of Great Britain."
Such are some of the features of the scheme proposed by this private agent. Dr. Franklin understood it to proceed from high authority, and framed his answer accordingly. He sent the agent's letter to Count de Vergennes, with a copy of his answer. They are now in the Archives dea Affaires Etrangires in Paris, where the above abstract was taken from the original, and where also a copy of Dr. Franklin's answer 'Was obtained.