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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. SIR,
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, rum, 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,
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. DEAR SIR, 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 Chargé 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 circumstances in his favor; his long experience in the business here is another, he having served an apprenticeship to it for more than seven years. His intelligence, discretion, and address, you can judge better of than myself, who may be partial. His fidelity and exactitude in performing his duty, I can answer for.
My best wishes attend you, your very valuable son, and amiable daughter. God bless you all, and give you a good voyage, and a happy meeting with your friends, with long life, health, and prosperity, is the sincere prayer of your affectionate humble servant,
TO CHARLES THOMSON, SECRETARY OF CONGRESS.
Ratification of the Definitive Treaty.
Passy, 13 May, 1784. DEAR SIR, 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
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
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.
TO MR. AND MRS. JAY.
Passy, 13 May, 1784. MY DEAR FRIENDS, I find I shall not be able to see you again as I intended. My best wishes, however, go with you, that you may have a prosperous voyage and a happy sight of your friends and families.
Mr. Jay was so kind as to offer his friendly services to me in America. He will oblige me much by endeavouring to forward my discharge from this employment. Repose is now my only ambition. If too, he should think with me, that my grandson is qualified to serve the States as secretary to a future minister at this court, or as Chargé d'Affaires, and will be kind enough to recommend such an appointment, it will exceedingly oblige me. I have twice mentioned this in my letter to Congress, but have not been favored with any answer; which is hard, because the suspense prevents my endeavouring to promote him in some other way. I would not, however, be importunate; and therefore, if Mr. Jay should use his interest without effect, I will trouble them no more on the subject. My grandson's acquaintance with the language, with the court and customs here, and the particular regard M. de Vergennes has for him, are circumstances in his favor.
God bless and protect you both. Embrace my little friend for me, and believe me ever yours, &c.