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The day after, the following instructions to the minister pleni potentiary for négociating with the court of Spain were prepared ". SirCongress have come to the following resolution, That if his catholic majesty shall accede to the treaties between France and the United States of America, and in concurrence with them continue the present war with Great Britain for the purpose expressed in the treaties aforesaid, he shall not thereby be precluded from securing to himself the Floridas: on the contrary, if he shall obtain the Floridas from Great Britain, these United States will guarantee the same to his catholic majesty; provided alway that the United States shall enjoy the free navigation of the river Mississippi into and from the sea. You are therefore to communicate to his most christian majesty, the desire of congress to enter into a treaty of alliance, and of amity and conmercs, with his catholic majesty, and to request bis favourable interposition for that porpose ,, at the same time you are to make Such proposals to his catholic majesty as in your judgment, froni. circumstances, will be proper. for. obtaining for the United States of America,equal advantages with those which are secured to them by the treaties with his most christian majesty, observing always the resolution aforesaid as the ultimatum of these United States. You are particularly to endeavour to obtain some convenient port or ports below the 31° of north latitude on the river Mississippi free for all merchants vessels, goods, wares and merchandise belong ing to the inhabitants of these states. The distressed state of our finances, and the great depreciation of our paper money, incline congress to hope, that his catholie majesty, if he shall conclude a treaty with the states, will be induced to lend the money ; you. are therefore to present to him the great distress of these states on that accounts, and to solicit.a loan. of five millions of dollars upon the best terms in your power, not exceeding six per centa per ann. effectually to enable them to co-operate with the allies against the common enemy: but before you make any propos sals to his catholic majesty for a loan, you are to endeavour tex. obtain a subsidy in consideration of the guarantee aforesaid." ;
Saturday the 25th, it was “ resolved that Congress proceed to the nomination of a proper person for negociating a treaty of peace.”. Mr. John Adams and Mr. Jay were proposed ; and an adjournment took place to ten o clock.of the next day, when the pernbers balloted. The votes were divided, and there was no election. They balloted again, and it was the same: the ballots ing therefore was postponed, and Congress“ resolved that a minister plenipotentiary be appointed to negociate a treaty of alli ance, and of amity and commerce, between the United States of
America and his catholic majesty. Mr. Arthur Lee, Mr. John Adains, and Mr. Jay, were nominated. On the Monday the bailots were taken, and Mr. Jay was elected. Then followed the choice by ballot of a minister plenipotentiary for negociating a treaty of peace and a treaty of commerce with Great Britain, when Mr. John Adams was elected. This election was no ground of joy to Mr. Gerard. His wishes and interest were in favor of Mr. Jay's being appointed to negociate with Great Britain ; while the latter was wrongfully suspected by the New England delegates, as being in no wise strenuously disposed to secure the fisheries. These delegates were fixed upon having Mr. J. Adams intrusted with that business, as they could confide in his steady determination never to lose sight of it, whatever might be the pleas and pretences of politicians. They could acquiesce in Mr. Jay's election to negociate with the court of Madrid, as it paved the way for the carrying of their main point. Two days after Mr. William Carmichaei was elected secretary to Mr. Jay; Mr. Francis Dana to Mr. Adams; and lieut. col. Laurence to Dr." Franklin Mr. Jay's letter of credence was signed at Philadelphia the 15th of October, when congress " resolved, That the fo lowing additional instructions be given to the minister pleni. potentiary for negociating with his catholic majesty--- Sir-You are to use your utmost endeavours for obtaining permission for the citizens and inhabitants of these states, tu lade and take on buard their vessels, salt at the island of Salt Tortuga ; and also to cut, load, and bring away logwood and mahogany in and from the Bay of Honduras and its rivers, and to build on the shores, stores, houses and magazines for the wood cutters and their families, in the extent ceded to his Britannic majesty by the 17th article of the definitive treaty concluded at Paris, the Toth of February, 1763, or in as great extent as can be obtained.” Before the month was out, Mr. Jay sailed for Europe in company with Mr. Gerard. October the 21st, the honorable Henry Laurens, esq. was elected by ballot to negociate a loan in Holland : on the first: of the next nionth he was chosen to negociate a treaty of amity and commerce with the united provinces of the low countries.
September the 1st, Congress resolved, that they would, on no account, emit more bills of credid than to make the whole amount of them two hundred millions of dollars.
September 13th, they addressed a long letter to their constituents upon their finances. By that it appears, that the taxes had brought into the treasury no more than 3,027,560 dollars, and that all the monies supplied by the people of America, amounted to no more than 36,761,665 dollars and 67-90ths, that being the
sum of the loans and taxes then received. It holds up to the imagination, the ability of the United States to pay their whole national debt, though at the close of the war it should amount to three hundred millions of dollars, with ease in the course of twenty years ; and while doing it, by inverse, romantic reasoning, represents the paper currency as a blessing at the expence of scripture language“Let it also be remembered, that paper money is the only kind of money which cannot make unto itself wings and fly away : it remains with us, it will not forsake us, it is always ready and at hand for the purpose of commerce and taxes, and every industrious man can find it.” The letter proceeds to show, that the people, not only collectively by their representatives, but individualiy, have pledged their faith for the redemption of their bills, and that they possess a political capacity of doing it. Then comes a question, “ Whether there is any reason to apprehend a wanton violation of the public faith?”? Congress say upon it" It is with great regret and reluctance that we can prevail upon ourselves to take the least notice of a question, which involves in it a doubt so injurious to the honor and dignity of America. We should pay an ill compliment to the understanding and honor of every true American, were we to adduce many arguments to show the baseness or bad policy of violating our national faith, or omitting to pursue the measures necessary to preserve it. A bankrupt faithless republic would be a novelty in the political world, and appear among reputable nations, like a common prostitute among chaste and respectable matrons. We are convinced, that the arts and efforts of our enemies will not be wanting to draw us into this humiliating and contemptible situation. Impelled by malice, and the suggestions of chagrin and disappointments at not being able to bend our necks to their yoke, they will endeavour to force or seduce us to . commit this unpardonable sin, in order to subject us to the punishment due to it, and that we may thenceforth be a reproach and a by-word among the nations. Apprized of these consequences, knowing the value of national character, and impressed with a due sense of the immutable laws of justice and honor, it is impossible that America should think without horror of such an execrable deed. Determine to finish the contest as you began it; honestly and gloriously. Let it never be said, that America had no sovner become independent than she became insuivent; or that her infant glories and growing fame were obscured and tarnished by broken contracts and violated faith, in the very hour when all the nations of the earth were admiring, and almost adoring the splendor of her rising." This letter and the resolve...
preceding it, were probably occasioned by the prevailing subjects of conversation in Philadelphia, and the movements of the leading people. A town meeting was called, and a special com: mittee appointed to draw up a memorial, which was signed by the president and council in their private characters, the speaker and several members of assembly, the general comniittee of the eity, and a respectable number of citizens. It was presented to congress on or near the day when they addressed their constituents, and was meant to stop the further emissions of continental bills. The memorialists say." Neither can we help express. ing our apprehensions, that the case with which money was thus procured, has induced a remissness of inquiries into the reality of its application : alt which we hope will, in future, be remediedi by a systematical plan of economy, and a regular information of expences." - September 17, Congress “ resolved, That in consideration of the distinguished merit of lieut. col. Talbot, a commission of captain in the navy of the United States be given him.” They [September 24.] s resolved, That a medal of gold, emblematical of the attack of the fort and works at Powie's-hook, be struclo and presented to major Lee. Four days after, upon Mr. Jay's signifying to them his acceptance of the office to which he had been appointed on the 26th, and thereupon resigned the chair, they elected Samuel Huntington, esq. president. . Such was the deficiency of flour in Virginia, that congress (Oct. 18.] resolved, that the governor should be informed of its being their opinions that the convention troops should be supplied with meal made of Indian corn." But he was requested to inform the commanding officer of those troops, that if the commander in chief of the British forces, will order supplies of four to be sent to Virginia, passports will be ordered for the purpose when applied for. The chevalier de la Luzerne [Nov. 17.) had his audience of congress, delivered a letter from his most christian majesty, was announce ed to the house, and upon that rose and addressed the congrese in a speech, to which the president returned an answer. . * Let us change the scene.. - While count d'Estaing lay with his fleet at Cape Francois, after the conquest of Grenada, he received letters from gov. Ruts ledge, gen. Lincoln, the French consulat Charlestown and others, urging him to visit the American coast, and proposing an attack upon Savannah. The general engaged hin to join with 1000 men certain, and promised that every exertion should be made tox augment the number. The application coinciding with the king's instructions, to act in concert with the forces of the United States,
whenever an occasion presented itself, he sailed for the American continent within a few days after it was received. When through the windward passage, he dispatched two ships of the line and three frigates to Charlestown to announce his coming. On the įst of September he arrived with a fleet of 20 sail of the line, two of fifty guns, and eleven frigates. : The appearance of the French fleet on the coasts of South Car rolina and Georgia was so unexpected by the British, that the Experiment man of war of 50 guns, Sir James Wallace cammander, and three frigates were captured. No sooner was it known at Charlestown that the count was on the coast,than Lincoln march. ed with all expedition for Savannah with the troops under his command; orders were also given for the South Carolina and Georgia militia to rendezvous immediately near the same place. The British were equally diligent in preparing for their defence. Lieut. col. Cruger, who had a small cominand at Sunbury, and Lieut. col. Maitland, who was in force at Beaufort, were ordered to Savannah. As the French frigates approached the bar, the Fowey and Rose, of 20 guns each, the Keppel and Germain arm. ed vessels, retired toward the town. The battery on Tybee was destroyed. To prevent the French frigates getting too near, the Rose and Savannah armed ships, with four transports, were sunk in the channel. A boom was laid across it, and several small vessels were also sunk above the town. The seamen were appointed to: different batteries. The marines were incorporated with the grenadiers of the 16th regiment; and great numbers were employed, both by day and night, in strengthening and extending the lines of defence. Count d'Estaing made repeated declarations, that he could not remain more than ten or fifteen days on shore : nevertheless, the fall of Savannah was considered as infallibly certain. Every aid was given from Charlestown, by. sending small vessels to assist the French in their landing; but as the large ships of the fleet could not come near the shore, it was not effected till the 12th.
General Lincoln's troops were not far distant; but before they could join the French, the count (Sept. 16.) summoned general Prevost to surrender to the arms of the king of France. Lincoln reinonstrated to d'Estaign on his summoning Prevost to surrender to the arins of France anly, while the Americans were acting in conjunction with him ; the matter was soon sellied, and the mode of all future negociations amicably adjusted. Prevost returned a polite letter to the count, but declined surrendering on a general summons without any specific terms; and mentioned, that if such were proposed as he could with honce: