« ZurückWeiter »
of the gout, if that may indeed be called a disease. I rather suspect it to be a remedy, since I always find my health and vigor of mind improved after the fit is over. I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,
P. S. You say you are a little afraid that our country is spoiled. Parts of it have indeed suffered by the war, those situated near the sea; but the body of the country has not been much hurt, and the fertility of our soil, with the industry of our people, now that the commerce of all the world is open to us, will soon repair the damages received, and introduce that prosperity, which we hope Providence intends for us, since it has so remarkably favored our Revolution.
TO DAVID HARTLEY.
Passy, 7 September, 1783. MY DEAR FRIEND, Enclosed I send you an extract of a letter to me from the President of Congress, in which you will observe the moderate disposition of that body towards the loyalists, with the causes of aggravation in the people's resentments against them. I am always invariably yours most sincerely,
TO JOHN JAY.
Quotes a Letter from America containing false Reports. — Appeals to Mr. Jay to refute them.
Passy, 10 September, 1783. SIR, I have received a letter from a very respectable person in America, containing the following words, viz.
“ It is confidently reported, propagated, and believed by some among us, that the Court of France was at the bottom against our obtaining the fishery and territory in that great extent, in which both are secured to us by the treaty; that our minister at that court favored, or did not oppose, this design against us; and that it was entirely owing to the firmness, sagacity, and disinterestedness of Mr. Adams, with whom Mr. Jay united, that we have obtained these important advantages.”*
* This extract is from a letter written by Dr. Cooper of Boston, and dated May 5th, 1783. In a preceding paragraph, Dr. Cooper says; “ There is a party among us disposed to avail themselves of every incident, and of all personal resentments, to weaken and divide our public counsels, and injure the alliance. Regard to the general good, as well as private and the most constant friendship, oblige me to state things as they are." Then comes the extract in the text. Dr. Cooper adds ;
It has also been said, from the same quarter, that the court of France secretly traversed Mr. Adams's views in Holland for obtaining from the United Provinces an acknowledgment of our independence; and that the same part has been acted in Spain and Russia. All these things are incredible to me; and, though they make some impression at present, truth is great and will prevail. Care, I hope, will be taken both at Congress and in Europe, as far as public prudence will permit, to state, as soon as may be, these matters in a just light, and to prevent the public mischiefs, as well as private injuries, that may arise from misapprehensions in matters of this moment."
A copy of the whole of this letter was sent by Dr. Franklin to Count de Vergennes, and it is now contained among the American papers in the Archives des Affaires Etrangères at Paris. Dr. Franklin likewise sent to Congress a copy of his correspondence with Messrs. Jay and Adams on this subject. M. de la Luzerne, in writing to Count de Vergennes some months afterwards, said, “Dr. Franklin has at last aroused himself from the apathy with which till now he seems to have regarded the attacks of his colleagues. He has sent to Congress the copy of the letter, which he had written to Mr. Jay and Mr. Adams, requesting these two ministers to explain themselves respecting a report, which had gone abroad, that he did not unite in procuring for the United States admission to the fisheries, and that he was disposed to conclude a treaty of peace without securing this advantage to the castern States. Mr. Jay, in his letter to Dr. Franklin, renders full justice to him on this point, and affirms in a positive manner, that he concurred with a zeal equal to his intelligence and experience in all the articles of the peace.' – Philadelphia, December 1st, 1783. MS. Letler.
It is not my purpose to dispute any share of the honor of that treaty, which the friends of my colleagues may be disposed to give them; but, having now spent fifty years of my life in public offices and trusts, and having still one ambition left, that of carrying the character of fidelity at least to the grave with me, I cannot allow that I was behind any of them in zeal and faithfulness. I therefore think, that I ought not to suffer an accusation, which falls little short of treason to my country, to pass without notice, when the means of effectual vindication are at hand. You, Sir, were a witness of my conduct in that affair. To you and my other colleagues I appeal, by sending to each a similar letter with this, and I have no doubt of your readiness to do a brother Commissioner justice, by certificates that will entirely destroy the effect of that accusation. I have the honor to be, with much esteem, &c.*
A copy of the correspondence was likewise transmitted to Dr. Cooper; but it is doubtful whether it reached him in such season, as to enable him to use it for the purpose of correcting the erroneous impression that had been made in Massachusetts. Dr. Cooper died on the 29th of December, 1783.
* A copy of the same letter was sent to Mr. Adams.
FROM JOHN JAY TO B. FRANKLIN.
Refutes the Charges contained in a Letter to Dr.
Franklin, respecting the Part taken by the latter in Regard to the Fisheries.
Passy, 11 September, 1783. SIR, I have been favored with your letter of yesterday, and will answer it explicitly. I have no reason what: ever to believe, that you were averse to our obtaining the full extent of boundary and fishery secured to us by the treaty. Your conduct respecting them throughout the negotiation indicated a strong, a steady attachment to both those objects, and, in my opinion, promoted the attainment of them.
I remember, that, in a conversation, which M. de Rayneval, the first Secretary of Count de Vergennes, had with you and me, in the summer of 1782, you contended for our full right to the fishery, and argued it on various principles.
Your letters to me, when in Spain, considered our territory as extending to the Mississippi, and expressed your opinion against ceding the navigation of that river, in very strong and pointed terms.
In short, Sir, I do not recollect the least difference in sentiment between us respecting the boundaries or fisheries. On the contrary, we were unanimous and united in adhering to and insisting on them. Nor did I perceive the least disposition in either of us to recede from our claims, or be satisfied with less than we obtained. I have the honor to be, with great respect and esteem, &c.
TO JOSIAH QUINCY.
Treaty of Peace.- Depreciating Currency. — False Charges of his Enemies.
Passy, 11 September, 1783. MY DEAR FRIEND, Mr. Storer told me, not long since, that you complained of my not writing to you. You had reason, for I find among your letters to me two unanswered. The truth is, I have had too much business to do for the public, and too little help allowed me, so that it became impossible for me to keep up my private correspondences. I promised myself more leisure when the definitive treaty of peace should be concluded. But that it seems is to be followed by a treaty of commerce, which will probably take up a good deal of time, and require much attention. I seize this little interim to sit down and have a little chat with my friends in America.
I lament with you the many mischiefs, the injustice, the corruption of manners, &c., that attended a depreciating currency. It is some consolation to me, that I washed my hands of that evil by predicting it in Congress, and proposing means, that would have been effectual to prevent it, if they had been adopted. Subsequent operations, that I have executed, demonstrate that my plan was practicable; but it was unfortunately rejected. Considering all our mistakes and mismanagements, it is wonderful we have finished our affairs so well, and so soon. Indeed, I am wrong in using that expression, “we have finished our affairs so well.” Our blunders have been many, and they serve to manifest the hand of Providence more clearly in our favor; so that we may much more properly say,