Abbildungen der Seite

I may probably not live to give it personally in Congress, and I perceive he has enemies.

You will see the general news in the papers in particular; I can only say at present that our affairs go well here; and that I am with much respect, sir, &c.,



Passy, February 1st, 1778. My dear old friend, You desired that if I had no proposition to make, I would at least give my advice.

I think it is Ariosto who says, that all things lost on earth are to be found in the moon ; on which somebody remarked, that there must be a great deal of good advice in the moon. If so, there is a good deal of mine formerly given and lost in this business. I will, however, at your request, give a little more ; but without the least expectation that it will be followed; for none but God can at the same time give good counsel and wisdom to make use of it.

You have lost by this mad war, and the barbarity with which it has been carried on, not only the Government and commerce of America, and the public revenues and private wealth arising from that commerce; but what is more, you have lost the esteem, respect, friendship, and affection, of all that great and growing people, who consider you at present, and whose posterity will consider you, as the worst and wickedest nation upon earth. A peace you may undoubtedly obtain by dropping all your pretensions to govern us; and by your superior skill in buckstering negociations, you may possibly make such an apparently advantageous bargain, as shall be applauded in your Parliament; but if you cannot with

* A letter from Dr. Franklin to the President of Congress, respecting Mr. Deane, dated March 31st, 1778, will be found in Mr. Deane's Correspondence, Vol. 1., p. 89.

| This gentleman was for many years Secretary to the Society of Moravians, and sustained a very estimable character. He seems to have gone to Paris on some private agency with reference to a peace. An intimate friendship subsisted between him and Dr. Franklin. He died in England, on the 25th of April, 1795, in his 80th year.

the peace recover the affections of that people, it will not be a lasting nor a profitable one, nor will it afford you any part of that strength which you once had by your union with them, and might (if you had been wise enough to take advice) have still retained.

To recover their respect and affection, you must tread back the steps you have taken.

Instead of honoring and rewarding the American advisers and promoters of this war, you should disgrace them, with all those who have inflamed the nation against America by their malicious writings; and all the Ministers and Generals who have prosecuted the war with such inhumanity. This would show a national change of disposition, and a disapprobation of what had passed.

In proposing terms you should not only grant such as the necessity of your affairs may evidently oblige you to grant, but such additional ones as may show your generosity, and thereby demonstrate your good will. For instance, perhaps you might by your treaty retain all Canada, Nova Scotia, and the Floridas; but if you would have à real friendly as well as able ally in America, and avoid all occasion of future discord, which will otherwise be continually arising on your American frontiers, you should throw in those countries. And you may call it, if you please, an indemnification for the burning of their towns; which indemnification will otherwise be some time or other demanded.

I know your people will not see the utility of such measures, and will never follow them, and even call it insolence and impudence in me to mention them. I have, however, complied with your desire,

id am, as ever, your anectionate friend, B. FRANKLIN.


however, we do not expect. . I abominate with you all murder; and I may add, that the slaughter of men in an unjust cause is nothing less than murder; I therefore never think of your present Ministers and their abettors, but with the image strongly painted in my view, of their hands red, wet, and dropping with the blood of my countrymen, friends, and relations. No peace can be signed by those hands.

Peace and friendship will, nevertheless, subsist for ever between Mr. Hutton and his affectionate friend,

B. F.


Passy, February 12th, 1778. Dear Sir, A thousand thanks for your so readily engaging in the means of relieving our poor captives, and the pains you have taken, and the advances you have made for that purpose. I received your kind letter of the 3d instant, and send you enclosed a bill of one hundred pounds. I much approve of Mr. Wren's prudent, as well as benevolent conduct in the disposition of the money, and wish him to continue doing what shall appear to him and to you to be right, which I am persuaded will appear the same to me and my colleagues here. I beg you will present him, when you write, my respectful acknowledgments.

Your « earnest caution and request, that nothing may ever persuade America to throw themselves into the arms of France, for that times may mend, and that an American must always be a stranger in France, but that Great Britain may for ages to come be their home," marks the goodness of your heart, your regard for us, and love of your country. But when your nation is hiring all the cut-throats it can collect, of all countries and colors, to destroy us, it is hard to persuade us not to ask or accept aid from any Power that may be prevailed withi to grant it; and this only from the hope, that though you now thirst for our blood, and pursue us with fire and sword, you may in some future time treat us kindly. This is too much patience to be expected of us; indeed, I think it is not in human nature.

The Americans are received and treated here in France with a

cordiality, a respect, and affection they never experienced in England when they most deserved it; and which is now (after all the pains taken to exasperate the English against them, and render them odious as well as contemptible) less to be expected there than ever. And I cannot see why we may not, upon an alliance, hope for a continuance of it, at least as much as the Swiss enjoy, with whom France have maintained a faithful friendship for two hundred years past, and whose people appear to live here in as much esteem as the natives. America has been forced and driven into the arms of France. She was a dutiful and virtuous daughter. A cruel motherin-law turned her out of doors, defamed her, and sought her life. All the world knows her innocence, and takes her part; and her friends hope soon to see her honorably married. They can never persuade her return and submission to so barbarous an enemy. In her future prosperity, if she forgets and forgives, it is all that can be reasonably expected of her. I believe she will make as good and useful a wife as she did a daughter, that her husband will love and honor her, and that the family from which she was so wickedly expelled, will long regret the loss of her.

I know not whether a peace with us is desired in England; I rather think it is not at present, unless on the old impossible terms of submission and receiving pardon. Whenever you shall be disposed to make peace upon equal and reasonable terms, you will find little difficulty, if you get first an honest Ministry. The present have all along acted so deceitfully and treacherously, as well as inhumanly, towards the Americans, that I imagine that the absolute want of all confidence in them will make a treaty, at present, between them and the Congress, impracticable.

The subscription for the prisoners will have excellent effects in favor of England and Englishmen. The Scotch subscriptions for raising troops to destroy us, though amounting to much greater sums, will not do their nation half so much good. If you have an opportunity, I wish you would express our respectful acknowledgments and thanks to your committee and contributors, whose benefactions will make our poor people as comfortable as their situation can permit. Adieu, my dear friend. Accept my thanks for the excellent papers you enclosed to me. Your endeavors for peace, though unsuccessful, will always be a comfort to you, and in time when this mad war shall be universally execrated, will be a solid addition to your reputation.

I am ever, with the highest esteem, &c., B. FRANKLIN.

P. S. An old friend of mine, Mr. Hutton, a chief of the Moravians, who is often at the Queen's palace, and is sometimes spoken to by the King, was over here lately. He pretended to no commission, but urged me much to propose some terms of peace, which I avoided. He has written to me since his return, pressing the same thing, and expressing with some confidence his opinion that we might have every thing short of absolute independence, &c. Enclosed I send my answers open, that you may read them, and, if you please, copy, before you deliver or forward them. They will serve to show you more fully my sentiments, though they serve no other purpose.

B. F.


Passy, February 26th, 1778. Dear Sir, I received yours of the 18th and 20th of this month, with Lord North's proposed bills. The more I see of the ideas and projects of your Ministry, and their little arts and schemes of amusing and dividing us, the more I admire the prudent, manly, and magnanimous propositions contained in your intended motion for an address to the King. What reliance can we have on an act expressing itself to be only a declaration of the intention of Parliament, concerning the exercise of the right of imposing taxes in America, when in the bill itself, as well as in the title, a right is supposed and claimed which never existed; and a present intention only is declared not to use it, which may be changed by another act next session, with a preamble, that this intention being found expedient, it is thought proper to repeal this act, and resume the exercise of the right in its full extent. If any solid permanent benefit was intended by this, why is it confined to the Colonies of North America, and not extended to the loyal ones in the sugar islands ? But it is now needless to criticise, as all acts that suppose your future government of the Colonies can be no longer significant.

« ZurückWeiter »