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France, which has always been claimed for her kings. Yet, perhaps, it would be better for England to act nobly and generously on the occasion, by granting more than she could, at present, be compelled to grant; make America easy on the score of old claims; cede all that remains in North America; and thus conciliate and strengthen a young power, which she wishes to have a future and serviceable friend. I do not think England would be a loser by such a cession. She may hold her remaining possessions there, but not without a vast expense; and they would be the occasion of constant jealousies, frequent quarrels, and renewed wars. The United States, continually growing stronger, will have them at last; and, by the generous conduct above hinted at, all the intermediate loss of blood and treasure might be spared, and solid, lasting peace promoted. This seems to me good counsel, but I know it cannot be followed.” The friend you mention must always be welcome to me, with or without the cheeses; but I do not see how his coming hither could be of any use at present, unless in the quality of a plenipotentiary, to treat of a sincere peace between all parties. Your Commissioners are acting very indiscreedy in
America. They first spoke very disrespectfully of our
*Mr. Hartley had written as follows: -I have to so one-hat my heart is always set upon peace. In the pre-timumstances between the two countries, I can only to of the proposition to mediate. You may as easily imagine, to the immediate and explicit acknowledgment of independence = * = going to this country. as I can that America will not footo it. The answer of the Congress to the Commissioners seems to of this what think you of suspending this point for foe -- year, by a truee, and that nothing in the interim so their opendence? If such a proposition, as this wood of the ories together, I think there
would " to ** = **ment to propose it to the Hous --o o: o: to to -- -- -
good ally. They have since called in question the power of Congress to treat with them; and have endeavoured to begin a dispute about the detention of Burgoyne's troops, an affair which I conceive not to be within their commission. They are vainly trying, by publications, to excite the people against the Congress. Governor Johnstone has been attempting to bribe the members; and, without the least regard to truth, has asserted three propositions, which, he says, he will undertake to prove. The two first of them I know to be false, and I believe the third to be so.” The Congress have refused to treat with the Commissioners, while he continues one of them, and he has therefore resigned.
These gentlemen do not appear well qualified for their business. I think they will never heal the breach, but they may widen it. I am, my very dear friend, yours most affectionately,
* Governor Johnstone was one of the British Commissioners for treating with Congress. These propositions were contained in a letter written by him to Francis Dana, a member of Congress, and dated at Philadelphia, June 10th, 1778. “There are three facts,” said he, “which I wish to assure you of First, that Dr. Franklin, on the 28th of March last, in discussing the several articles we wish to make the basis of our treaty, was perfectly satisfied they were beneficial to North America, and such as she should accept. Second, that this treaty with France was not the first treaty, that France had eracted, and with which Mr. Simeon Deane had put to sea, but granted and acceded to after the sentiments of the people of Great Britain had fully changed, after the friends to America had gained their points for reconciliation, and solely with a view to disappoint the good effects of our endeavours. The third fact is, that Spain, unasked, had sent a formal message, disapprov ing of the conduct of France.”
Subsequent events proved this third fact as unfounded as the two first. Although Spain did not accede to the treaty, yet she joined France the year following in the war against England, and continued it till the general peace. See letter to Joseph Reed, dated March 19th, 1780.
FROM JoHN CHARLEs DE ZINNERN To B. FRANKLIN.”
Latin History of the American Revolution. — Inquiries on that Subject.
Buda, in Hungary, 26 October, 1778. SIR,
I was born the subject of a great monarchy, and under a government whose rule is mild; but I cannot tell you what joy I feel, when I hear or read of your progress in America. To speak the truth, I look upon you and all the chiefs of your new republic, as angels, sent by Heaven to guide and comfort the human race. To give a public manifestation of this sentiment, I have composed a work in Latin, the title of which is, JWolitia Historica de Coloniis Faederatis in .Americó. I have also another, De Viris Illustribus .America: ; but I must wait for the end of the present war, which furnishes me abundant materials for drawing the character of your heroes.
I have, I confess, some doubts on the subject, and for that reason I recently went from Buda to Vienna to consult Mr. Lee, who was there, but I did not find him upon my arrival; and the secretary of the French ambassador advised me to address myself to you. It is to you then, Sir, that I must apply, and humbly ask for information concerning the birthplace of Washington, Hancock, Putnam, Gates, Charles Lee, and Arnold, and for anecdotes of their life. I can learn nothing on the subject from the newspapers, particularly with regard to Arnold. They sometimes make him out a German from Mentz, then an American from Connecticut, then an ex-capuchin, then a Norwich grocer.” As for you, Sir, I take you for a Bostonian, a superior genius, and a principal instrument in all things during the war. Amongst other particulars, I should like to know the truth of what several papers mention, that Charles Lee did not do his duty at Monmouth in New Jersey, and that Congress dismissed him for misconduct. I will suspend my judgment until I hear from you, if you should think proper to favor me with an answer. If you can in any way make me useful to you, do but command, and I shall be most happy. I have acquaintances in Hungary, and a great many in Vienna. I believe, indeed, that it is far less important for you at present to have connexions with Austria, than to come before the world as a sovereign state, independent of England. You are very wise in this; but Mr. Lee did not come at the right moment. He should have taken another road, as I will write to you by and by. Have the kindness to solve the doubts I have mentioned to you, and to grant me your favor and your friendship, which I should regard as the greatest blessing of my life. I shall feel it a duty to obey any of your commands, and to remain always, with the most profound respect, &c. John CHARLEs DE ZINNERN.t
* This letter is curious, as showing the interest taken in American affairs even in the remote parts of Europe. Dr. Franklin received many letters of a similar character, written from nearly all the countries of Europe, and in various languages, but mostly in Latin, French, German, or Italian.
* A person in Mentz, by the name of Arnold, wrote to Dr. Franklin, making inquiries about General Arnold. The writer said, he had a son, who left him in early life, and whom he suspected to be the distinguished general of that name in the American army.
# M. de Zinnern signed himself, “Prefect of the Imperial and Royal Academy at Buda.”
FROM SAMUEL COOPER TO B. FRANKLIN.
The JMarquis de Lafayette. — Count d'Estaing.—
The Marquis de Lafayette will do me the honor to be the bearer of this letter. This young nobleman has done honor to his nation, as well as to himself, by the manner in which he has served these States. His intrepidity and alertness in the field are highly distinguished. His prudence and good temper are equally remarkable. He is highly esteemed and beloved in Congress, in the army, and through the States; and, though we are not without parties, and his situation has been sometimes very delicate, I have never heard that he has made a single enemy. He has gone through great fatigues, he has faced uncommon dangers, he has bled for our country, and leaves it, as far as I am able to find, with universal applause. In short, his whole conduct, both public and private, appears to me to have been most happily adapted to serve the great purpose of the alliance, and cement the two nations. Justice obliges me to make this mention of one, who has done so much for our country, as well as his own, and from whose acquaintance, with which he has honored me, I have received the greatest pleasure. His acquaintance with our military and political affairs will enable him to give you many
details, which cannot easily be conveyed by writing.” You will hear, before this reaches you, of what has been done in this quarter by the armament under the
* Mr. Carmichael, who had lately arrived in the United States from Europe, wrote as follows to Dr. Franklin, in a latter dated at Philadel
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