« ZurückWeiter »
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 exacted, 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.
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
* 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 Marquis de Lafayette. — Count d'Estaing. — Proposed Invasion of Canada.
Boston, 4 January, 1779.
My Dear Sir,
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 PhiladelVOL. VIII. 20