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punctuality with which America has discharged her public debts was shown under the first head. And the general good disposition of the people to such punctuality has been manifested in their faithful payment of private debts to England, since the commencement of this war. There were not wanting some politicians (in America) who proposed stopping that payment, until peace should be restored, alleging, that in the usual course of commerce, and of the credit given, there was always a debt existing equal to the trade of eighteen months; that the trade amounting to five millions sterling per annum, the debt must be seven millions and a half; that this sum paid to the British merchants would operate to prevent that distress intended to be brought upon Britain by our stoppage of commerce with her; for the merchants receiving this money, and no orders with it for further supplies, would either lay it out in public funds, or in employing manufacturers to accumulate goods for a future hungry market in America, upon an expected accommodation, by which means the funds would be kept up, and the manufacturers prevented from murmuring. But against this it was alleged that injuries from Ministers should not be revenged on merchants; that the credit was in consequence of private contracts made in confidence of good faith ; that these ought to be held sacred and faithfully complied with ; for that, whatever public utility might be supposed to arise from a breach of private faith, it was unjust, and would in the end be found unwise, honesty being in truth the best policy. On this principle the proposition was universally rejected ; and though the English prosecuted the war with unexampled barbarity, burning our defenceless towns in the midst of winter, and arming savages against us, the debt was punctually paid, and the merchants of London have testified to the Parliament, and will testify to all the world, that from their experience in dealing with us they had, before the war, no apprehension of our unfairness, and that since the war they have been convinced that their good opinion of us was well founded. England, on the contrary, an old, corrupt Government, extravagant and profligate nation, sees herself deep in debt, which she is in no condition to pay, and yet is madly and dishonestly running deeper, without any possibility of discharging her debt but by a public bankruptcy.
It appears, therefore, from the general industry, frugality, ability, prudence, and virtue of America, that she is a much safer debtor
than Britain ; to say nothing of the satisfaction generous minds must have in reflecting that, by loans to America, they are opposing tyranny, and aiding the cause of liberty, which is the cause of all mankind.
TO DAVID HARTLEY, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT.
Passy, October 14th, 1777. Dear Sir, I received duly your letter of May 2d, 1777, including a copy of one you had sent me the year before, which never came to hand, and which it seems has been the case with soine I wrote to you from America. Filled though our letters have always been with sentiments of good will to both countries, and earnest desires of preventing their ruin and promoting their mutual felicity, I have been apprehensive that, if it were known that a correspondence subsisted between us, it might be attended with inconvenience to you. I have therefore been backward in writing, not caring to trust the post, and not well knowing who else to trust with my letters. But being now assured of a safe conveyance, I venture to write to you, especially as I think the subject such a one as you may receive a letter upon without censure.
Happy should I have been, if the honest warnings I gave of the fatal separation of interests, as well as affections, that must attend the measures commenced while I was in England had been attended to, and the horrid mischief of this abominable war been thereby prevented. I should still be happy in any successful endeavors for restoring peace, consistent with the liberties, the safety, and the honor of America. As to our submitting to the Government of Great Britain, it is vain to think of it. She has given us, by her numberless barbarities, (by her malice in bribing slaves to murder their masters, and savages to massacre the families of farmers, with her baseness in rewarding the unfaithfulness of servants, and debauching the virtue of honest seamen, entrusted with our property,) in the prosecution of the war, and in the treatment of the prisoners, so deep an impression of her depravity, that we never again can trust her in the management of our affairs and interests. It is now impossible to persuade our people, as I long endeavored, that the war was merely Ministerial, and that the nation bore still a good will their parole. Where you have thought fit to employ contractors to supply your people, these contractors have been protected and aided in their operations. Some considerable act of kindness towards our people would take off the reproach of inhumanity in that respect from the nation, and leave it where it ought with more certainty to lay-on the conductors of your war in America. This I hint to you, out of some remaining good will to a nation I once loved sincerely. But as things are, and in my present temper of mind, not being over fond of receiving obligations, I shall content myself with proposing, that your Government would allow us to send or employ a commissary to take some care of those unfortunate people. Perhaps on your representations this might speedily be obtained in England, though it was refused most inhumanly at New York. If you could have leisure to visit the gaols in which they are confined, and should be desirous of knowing the truth relative to the treatment they receive, I wish you would take the trouble of distributing among the most necessitous, according to their wants, five or six hundred pounds, for which your drafts on me here shall be punctually honored. You could then be able to speak with some certainty to the point in Parliament, and this might be attended with good effects.
If you cannot obtain for us permission to send a commissary, possibly you may find a trusty, humane, discreet person at Plymouth, and another at Portsmouth, who would undertake to communicate what relief we may be able to afford those unfortunate men-martyrs to the cause of liberty. Your King will not reward you for taking this trouble, but God will. I shall not mention the gratitude of America ; you will have what is better—the applause of your own good conscience. Our captains have set at liberty above two hundred of your people, made prisoners by our armed vessels, and brought into France, besides a great number dismissed at sea on your coasts, to whom vessels were given to carry them in. But you have not returned us a man in exchange. If we had sold your people to the Moors at Sallee, as you have many of ours to the African and East India Companies, could you have complained ?
In revising what I have written, I found too much warmth in it, and was about to strike out some parts. Yet I let them go, as they will afford you this one reflection : “If a man, naturally cool, and rendered still cooler by old age, is so warmed by our treatment of his country, how much must those people in general be exasperated against us? And why are we making inveterate enemies by our barbarity, not only of the present inhabitants of a great country, but of their infinitely more numerous posterity, who will, in future ages, detest the name of Englishman, as much as the children in Holland now do those of Alva and Spaniard.” This will certainly happen, unless your conduct is speedily changed, and the national resentment falls where it ought to fall heavily-on your Ministry, or perhaps rather on the King, whose will they only execute.
With the greatest esteem and affection, and best wishes for your prosperity, I have the honor to be, dear sir, &c.,
TO JAMES LOVELL.
Paris, December 21st, 1777. Sir, I see in a vote of Congress, shown me by Captain Franval, that Dr. Deane is disowned in some of his agreements with officers. I, who am upon the spot, and know the infinite difficulty of resisting the powerful solicitations of great men, who if disobliged, might have it in their power to obstruct the supplies he was then obtaining, do not wonder that, being then a stranger to the people, and unacquainted with the language, he was at first prevailed on to make some such agreements, when all were recommended, as they always are, as officiers expérimentés, braves comme leurs epeés, pleins de courage, des talents, et de zèle, pour notre cause, &c., &c., in short, mere Cæsars, each of whom would have been an invaluable acquisition to America. You can have no conception how we are still besieged and worried on this head, our time cut to pieces by personal applications, besides those contained in dozens of letters by every post, which are so generally refused, that scarce one in a hundred obtains from us a simple recommendation to civilities.
I hope, therefore, that favorable allowance will be made to my worthy colleague, on account of his situation at the time, as he has long since corrected that mistake, and daily approves himself to my certain knowledge an able, faithful, active, and extremely useful servant of the public; a testimony I think it my duty to take this occasion of giving to his merit, unasked, as considering my great age