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said to me, "You are young, and have the world before you; Stoop as you go through it, and you will miss many hard thumps." This advice, thus beat into my head, has frequently been of use to me; and I often think of it, when I see pride mortified, and misfortunes brought upon people by their carrying their heads too high.
I long much to see again my native place, and to lay my bones there. I left it in 1723; I visited it in 1733, 1743, 1753, and 1763. In 1773 I was in England; in 1775 I had a sight of it, but could not enter, it being in possession of the enemy.* I did hope to have been there in 1783, but could not obtain my dismission from this employment here; and now I fear I shall never have that happiness. My best wishes however attend my dear country. Esto perpetua. It is now blest with an excellent constitution; may it last for ever!
This powerful monarchy continues its friendship for the United States. It is a friendship of the utmost importance to our security, and should be carefully cultivated. Britain has not yet well digested the loss of its dominion over us, and has still at times some flattering hopes of recovering it. Accidents may increase those hopes, and encourage dangerous attempts. A breach between us and France would infallibly bring the English again upon our backs; and yet we have some wild heads among our countrymen, who are endeavouring to weaken that connexion! Let us preserve our reputation by performing our engagements; our credit by fulfilling our contracts; and friends by gratitude and kindness; for we know not how soon
• In October, 1775, he went to Uie camp at Cambridge, as one of a committee from Congress to consult with General Washington respecting the affairs of the army then besieging Boston.
we may again have occasion for all of them. With great and sincere esteem, I have the honor to be, &,c.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Commerce with the British and French Colonies.
Passy, 12 May, 1784.
In my last I acquainted your Excellency, that Mr. Hartley was soon expected here to exchange ratifications of the definitive treaty. He is now arrived, and proposes to make the exchange this afternoon. I shall then be enabled to send a copy. Enclosed is the new British Proclamation respecting our trade with their colonies. It is said to be a temporary provision, till Parliament can assemble and make some proper regulating law, or till a commercial treaty shall be framed and agreed to. Mr. Hartley expects instructions for planning with us such a treaty. The ministry are supposed to have been too busy with the new elections, when he left London, to think of those matters.
This court has not completed its intended new system for the trade of their colonies, so that I cannot yet give a certain account of the advantages, that will in fine be allowed us. At present it is said we are to have two free ports, Tobago and the Mole, and that we may carry lumber and all sorts of provisions to the rest, except flour, which is reserved in favor of Bordeaux, and that we shall be permitted to export coffee, ram, molasses, and some sugar, for our own consumption.
We have had under consideration a commercial treaty proposed to us by the King of Prussia, and have sent it back with our remarks to Mr. Adams, who will,
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I suppose, transmit it immediately to Congress. Those planned with Denmark and Portugal wait its determination.
Be pleased to present my dutiful respects to the Congress, and believe me to be, with sincere and great esteem, Sir, &c.
May 13th. I now enclose a copy of the ratification of the definitive treaty, on the part of his Britannic Majesty.
TO HENRY LAURENS.
Paris, 13 May, 1784.
I am sorry for the numerous disappointments you have lately met with. The world, it is true, is full of disappointments, but they are not equally divided, and you have had more than your share.
The ratifications of the definitive treaty are now exchanged; but Mr. Hartley waits for instructions respecting a treaty of commerce, which, from what you observe, may probably never arrive. I shall, however, be glad to receive what you are so good as to promise me, your thoughts on the subject of such a treaty.
You have been so kind as to offer me your friendly services in America. You will oblige me greatly in forwarding my dismission from this employment, for I long much to be at home; and if you should think my grandson qualified to serve the States as secretary to my successor, or Charge d'affaires, till a successor arrives, I shall thank you for recommending him. His knowledge of this court, and acquaintance with the language, and the esteem the minister has for him, are
TO CHARLES THOMSON, SECRETARY OF CONGRESS.
Ratification of the Definitive Treaty.
Passy, 13 May, 1784.
Yesterday evening Mr. Hartley met with Mr. Jay and myself, when the ratifications of the definitive treaty were exchanged. I send a copy of the English ratification to the President.
Thus the great and hazardous enterprise we have been engaged in, is, God be praised, happily completed; an event I hardly expected I should live to see. A few years of peace, well improved, will restore and increase our strength; but our future safety will depend on our union and our virtue. Britain will be long watching for advantages, to recover what she has lost. If we do not convince the world, that we are a nation to be depended on for fidelity in treaties; if we appear negligent in paying our debts, and ungrateful to those who have served and befriended us; our reputation, and all the strength it is capable of procuring, will be lost, and fresh attacks upon us will be encouraged and promoted by better prospects of success. Let us therefore beware of being lulled into a dangerous security; and of being both enervated and impoverished by luxury; of being weakened by internal contentions and divisions; of being shamefully extravagant in contracting private debts, while we are backward in discharging honorably those of the public; of neglect in military exercises and discipline, and in providing stores of arms and munitions of war, to be ready on occasion; for all these are circumstances that give confidence to enemies, and diffidence to friends; and the expenses required to prevent a war are much lighter than those that will, if not prevented, be absolutely necessary to maintain it.
I am long kept in suspense without being able to learn the purpose of Congress respecting my request of recall, and that of some employment for my secretary, William Temple Franklin. If I am kept here another winter, and as much weakened by it as by the last, I may as well resolve to spend the remainder of my days here; for I shall hardly be able to bear the fatigues of the voyage in returning. During my long absence from America, my friends are continually diminishing by death, and my inducements to return lessened in proportion. But I can make no preparations either for going conveniently, or staying comfortably here, nor take any steps towards making some other provision for my grandson, till I know what I am to expect. Be so good, my dear friend, as to send me a little private information. With great esteem, I am ever yours, &c.