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votes of the House), by producing applications from the merchants and manufacturers, and it must finally lead Parliament into reasonable measures.
At present, the ministers are encouraged to proceed by the assurance they receive from America, that the people are not unanimous; that a very great part of them disapprove the proceedings of the Congress, and would break through them, if there was in the country an army sufficient to support these friends, as they are called, of government. They rely, too, on being able to divide us still further by various means; for they seem to have no conception, that such a thing as public spirit or public virtue anywhere exists. I trust they will find themselves totally mistaken. The Congress is in high esteem here among all the friends of liberty, and their papers much admired; perhaps nothing of the kind has been more thoroughly published, or more universally read. Lord Camden spoke highly of the Americans in general, and of the Congress particularly, in the House of Lords. Lord Chatham said, that, taking the whole together, and considering the members of the Congress as the unsolicited, unbeseeched choice of a great, free, and enlightened people; their unanimity, their moderation, and their wisdom; he thought it the most honorable assembly of men, that had ever been known; that the histories of Greece and Rome gave us nothing equal to it. Lord Shelburne would not admit, that the Parliament of Britain could be comparable with it, a Parliament obeying the dictates of a ministry, who, in nine cases out of ten, were governed by their under secretaries.
You will see, among the papers herewith sent, the motion made by Lord Chatham, as preparatory to his plan, viz. that the troops should be removed from Boston. I send, also, a copy of the plan itself, which
you may be assured is genuine. The speeches hitherto published as his, during the session, are spurious. The Duke of Richmond and the Duke of Manchester appeared for us also in the debate, and spoke extremely well. Lord Chatham's bill, though on so important a subject, and offered by so great a character, and supported by such able and learned speakers as Camden, &c. &c., was treated with as much contempt as they could have shown to a ballad offered by a drunken porter. It was rejected on a slight reading, without being suffered even to lie on the table for the perusal of the members.
The House of Commons, too, have shown an equal rashness and precipitation in matters requiring the most weighty deliberation, refusing to hear, and entering hastily into violent measures; and yet this is the government, whose supreme authority, we are to have our throats cut, if we do not acknowledge, and whose dictates we are implicitly to obey, while their conduct hardly entitles them to common respect.
The agents have not time to make so many copies of the papers sent with this, and, indeed, of our let. ter to the Speakers of the several Assemblies, as would be necessary, to send one for each; we therefore send only two, one by Falconer, and the other by Lawrence to New York, requesting, that you will get them copied at Philadelphia, and forward them northward and southward, one to each Speaker, at the earliest conveyance. It is thought by our friends, that Lord Chatham's plan, if it had been enacted here, would have prevented present mischief, and might have been the foundation of a lasting good agreement; for, though in some points it might not perfectly coincide with our ideas and wishes, we should have proposed modifications or variations where we should judge them necessary; in fine, the two countries might have met in perfect union. I hope, therefore, it will be treated with respect by our writers, and its author honored for the attempt; for, though he has put some particulars into it, as I think, by way of complying a little with the general prejudices here, and to make more material parts go better down, yet I am persuaded he would not otherwise be tenacious of those parts, meaning sincerely to make us contented and happy, as far as consistent with the general welfare.
I need not caution you to let no part of this letter be copied or printed. With great esteem, I am, Sir, your affectionate friend and humble servant.*
TO CHARLES THOMSON. Concerning the Ratification of the Treaty of Peace.
Passy, 31 March, 1784. DEAR SIR, I write this line by the English packet, just to inform you, that Colonel Harmar arrived here last Monday evening with the ratification, and that Mr. Jay and myself (Messrs. Adams and Laurens being absent) have written to Mr. Hartley at London, that we are ready to exchange with him. I have not heard that the delay is likely to occasion any difficulty. I had before communicated to him your letter of the 5th of January, which gave the reason of it. With great esteem, I am
* The writer's signature is not affixed to the original letter.
TO CHARLES THOMSON. Treaty of Peace. - British Ministry. — Public Funds. - French Alliance. — Treatics with Foreign Powers.
Passy, 16 April, 1784. DEAR FRIEND, I received your kind letter by Colonel Harmar, and Lieutenant-Colonel Franks, with the despatches, in good order; triplicates of which are since come to hand. You will see by our letter to the President, that we daily expect Mr. Hartley from London, with the British ratification to exchange with us. There was no difficulty occasioned by the lapse of the term.
I send you, herewith, four packets of newspapers, by which you will be informed of the confusions that have reigned all winter in England, and the probability of their being finished by the choice of a new Parliament, in which the present ministry will have a great majority. The newspapers are directed for the President. You are good in excusing the trouble I have given you with so many little affairs and inquiries, and enabling me to give some answer to the persons who make them. I am pestered continually with such matters.
I am happy in learning from you, that a disposition begins to prevail in the States, to comply with the requisitions of Congress, and to grant funds for the regular payment of the interest, and discharge of the principal, of the debts contracted by the war. Punctuality and exact justice will contribute more to our reputation, and, of course, to our strength, than people generally imagine. Without those virtues, we shall find it difficult, in case of another war, to obtain either friends or money; and a reliance on that may encourage and hasten another attack upon us. Grati
tude to our former benefactors is another point we should seize every opportunity of demonstrating. I place, with you, much confidence in the good sense of our countrymen; and thence I hope, that the endeavours of some persons on both sides of the water, to sow jealousies and suspicions, and create misunderstandings between France and us, will be ineffectual.
A commission from Congress for a commercial treaty with Britain has long been expected. If the intention of sending such a commissioner is not changed, I wish it may arrive before Mr. Laurens leaves us, who has a more perfect knowledge of the subject than any of us, and might be greatly useful. A minister from Denmark has been waiting in Paris all winter for the result of Congress on the proposed treaty, a plan of which was long since sent, as also one for a treaty with Portugal. I hope, by the return of the Washington packet, we may receive some directions respecting them. I am, with sincere and great esteem, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,
TO CHARLES THOMSON. Projects and Plans by Persons in Europe for the Consideration of Congress. — King of Sweden.
Passy, 14 June, 1784. DEAR SIR I received yours of April 19th, with the information you obtained from our old neighbour, Reuben Haines, respecting Marggrander, for which I thank you. I am much pestered with applications to make such inquiries, and often obliged to promise that I will transmit them; but I would not wish you to take more trouble, than to ask questions of the members of ConVOL. x.