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On the 19th of November they resolved that it be earnestly recommended to the several states, forthwith to enact laws for establishing and carrying into execution a general limitation of prices throughout their respective jurisdictions, on certain prescribed principles, the operation to commence from the 1st of next February—by which time the operation may be found to be impossible. They concluded on the 23d, that bills of exchange be drawn on Mr. Jay for £.100,000 sterling, and on Mr. Laurens for £.100,000 payable at six months sight, and the same to be sold at the current rate of exchange. They after that directed the committee of foreign affairs to write to Messrs. Jay and Laurens; informing them of the drafts to be made upon them, explaining fully the reasons that urge congress to draw, and directing them to keep up a mutual correspondence, and to afford cacii other every assistance in procuring money to pay the bills. A committee of seven having been appointed by congress to wait on the minister of France, and to receive his communications, reported (Dec. 16. ] the following extracts and summary of the communi. Cations--that the minister of France had it in command from his': king, to impress on the minds of congress--that the British cabinet have an almost insuperable reluctance to admit the idea of the independence of these United States, and will use every posé sible endeavor to prevent it--that they have filled several of the courts of Europe with negociations, in order to excite them to a . war against France, or to obtain succours, and are employing the most strenuous endeavors to persuade the several powers that the United States are disposed to enter into treaties of accommo. dation that many persons in America are actually employed in bringing such treaties to perfection, and that they have no doubt of their success that the objects which the British cabinet hope for from these measures are, to destroy the superiority which France has now at sea, by diverting her powers and resources from naval to land operations, and by engaging her in a land war, where she inust risk very important interests, while England would risk nothing but money; or to break or weaken the alliance by destroying the confidence which the allies ought to have in each other--that his most Christian majesty gives no credit to the suggestions of Britain relative to the dispositions of the United States, and that it is necessary that measures be taken for the preventing of other powers from being deceived into a belief of then-that the negociation of Britain, as far as could yet be learned, had not succeeded that the dispositions of all the European powers are, as far as can be known, very friendly to France, but some of them may be engaged in secret
treaties with Britain, which may oblige them in some event to assist her with troops, even against their inclinations—that such event may arise, and if it should, it is probable it will produce an armed mediation, the consequences of which would be, that the allies must accept of the terms proposed by the mediation, or continue the war under the disadvantages of having the forces of the mediator united with those of their enemies—that in such event, it is possible the terms proposed will be such as Spain offera ed and Britain rejected on the last proposed mediation--that though the powers who may be under such engagements by treaties to Great-Britain, from their friendly disposition toward his most Christian majesty, may be very unwilling to give assistance to his enemies, yet they may find it indispensably necessary, in compliance with their engagements; but it is not improbable that their reluctance, or the distance of thcir dominions, may delay such assistance, if granted at all, so as to be too late for the next campaign--that should the enemy be in possession of any part of the United States at the close of the next campaign, it will be extremely difficult to Great-Britain to acknowledge their independ. ence; and if a mediation should be offered while the enemy are in possession of any part, an impartial mediator,could not easily refute the arguments which might be used for his retaining such possessions, and probably a mediator well disposed toward Greatı Britain, might insist on her holding them, and if not agreed to the hostility of such mediator would be the necessary consequence --that should Great-Britain form such alliances, or procure such aids, as are the objects of her present negociations, there will be every reason to fear a long and obstinate war, whereof the final event may be doubtful that the view of affairs plainly points out the necessity for the greatest possible vigor in the operations of the next campaign, in order to dispossess the enemy of every part of the United States, and to put them in a condition to treat of peace and accept of mediation with the greatest advantage ; and the preparations for it ought to be as speedy and as effectual as possible-that France and Spain are prepared to make a niost powerful diversion, and will exert theniselves most strenuously for preserving their naval superiority, and for employing the . powers of the enemy in Europe and the West-Indies. The minister declared, as from himself-that he doubted not but his most Christian majesty will spare some ships to the United States, if it can be done without endangering his superiority at sea, and that an application made to the minister in forni, i more eligible than to the king, because it would give his majesty great pain to refuse the request; though he might be in no
condition to grant it--that at all events supplies should be pres pared, on a supposition that the ships will be granted, and such supplies should be put into the hands of the agent for the marine of France, and be considered as the king's property. He desires to be informed, as far as congress deem proper, what force the United States can bring into the field the next campaign? On what resources they rely for their maintenance and necessary appointments, and what shall be the general plan of the campaign, on supposition of either having or not having the aid of ships of war? He gives it as his opinion, that an application for ' clothing may be made to his most Christian majesty with prospect of success; and although measures have been taken for sending arms and warlike stores to America, yet it would be prudent in congress not to neglect any other means for procuring either those supplies or supplies of clothing.
. . : Congress, to promote oeconomy in purchases of American produce, resolved on the 14th of December, to call upon the states for the necessary supplies, for which they are to be credited at equal prices for articles of the same quality and kind, and for others which they inay furnish, in due proportion.
I shall conclude with mentioning, in a general way, that the American cruisers have continued to be very successful; and that about the middle of September, the French plenipotentiary, in a conversation with general Washington, mentioned, that though Spain had been all along well disposed to the revolution, she had entered reluctantly into the war, and had not acknowledged the independence of the United States; and that France desired to engage Spain more firmly in their interests, by a narke of their good will to her. [The mark in view is the lands on the eastern side of the Missisippi; which is an affair that the general leaves to the wisdom of congress. ]
L E T T E R II... :
Roxbury, Aug. 24, 1780.: CONGRESS resolved [Jan. 31.). " that the following ar
swer be given to the communications of the minister of France--that congress entertain the most grateful sense of the
unremitting attention given to the interests of the United States by their illustrious ally, and consider the communications made to them by his minister, under his majesty's special command, as equally wise and interesting--that the contidence which they repose in his majesty, in consequence of his so generously inter-. esting himself in the affairs of these United States, and of the wisdom and magnanimity of his councils, determine them to give the most perfect information in their power, of their resources, their views, and their expectations that to this end they state as follows--that the United States have expectations on which they can rely with confidence, of bringing into the field next campaign, an army of 25,000 effective men, exclusive of commissi. oned officers that this army can be reinforced by militia, so as to be in force sufficient for any enterprise against the posts occu. pied by the enemy within the United States--that supplies of provision for the army in its greatest number, can certainly be obtained within the United States, and the congress, with the Co-operation of the several states, can take effectual measures for procuring them in such manner as that no operation will he im. peded that provisions also for such of the forces of his most Chris. tian majesty as may be employed in conjunction or co-operation with those of the United States, can be procured under the di. rection of congressmand such provisions shall be laid up in ma. gazines, agreeably to such instructions as his majesty's minister plenipotentiary shall give-and the magazines shall be put under the direction of the agent of the marine of France that con. gress rely on the contributions of the states by taxes, and on mo. nies to be raised by internal loans for the pay of the army-that supplies of clothing, of tents, of armis and warlike stores, must be principally obtained from foreign nations; and the United States must rely chiefly on the assistance of their ally for them; but every other mean for procuring them is already taken, and will be prosecuted with the greatest diligence--that the United States, with the assitance of a competent naval force, would willingly, during the next campaign, carry on the most vigorous offensive operations against the eneiny ‘in all the posts occupied by them within the United States—that without such naval force, little more can be attempted by them than straitening the quarters of the enemy, and covering the interior parts of the country, that their forces must be disposed in such manner as to oppose the enemy with greatest effect,wheresoever their mostconsiderable operations may be directed that at present the southern states seem to be their principal object, and their design to establish themselves in one or more of them; but their superiority at sea
over the United States, enables them to change their object and operations with great facility, wliile those of the United States are rendered difficult by the great extent of country they have to defend :-That congress are happy to find that his most Christian majesty gives no credit to the suggestions of the British cabinet, relative to the dispositions of the United States, or any of then, to enter into treaties of accommodation with Great Britain; and wish his majesty and all the powers of Europe to be assured, that such suggestions are insidious and without foundation : That it will appear by the constitutions and other public acts of the several states, that the citizens of the United States, possessed of arins, possessed of freedom, possessed of political power to create and direct their magistrates as they think proper, are united in their déterminations, to secure to themselves and their posterity the blessings of liberty, by supporting the independence of their governments, and observing their treaties and public engagements with imamoveable firmness and fidelity; and the congress
issure his majesty, that should any individual in America be - found base enough to slow the least disposition for persuading
the people to the contrary, such individual would instantly lose all power of effecting his purpose, by forfeiting the confidence and esteem of the people. * The committee appointed (Feb. 2.] to receive the communications from the minister of France, reported, that on their se
cond conference, he communicated to them- " That his most * Chirstian majesty being inforined of the appointment of a niinis.
ter plenipotentiary, to treat of an alliance between the United States and his Catholic majesty, had signified to his minister plenipotentiary to these United States, that he wishes most earnestly for such an alliance, and in order to make the way thereto more easy, commanded hi:n to communicate to Congress certain articles, which his Catholic majesty deems of great importance to the interests of his crown, and on which it is highly necessary that these United States explain themselves with such precision2 and moderation as may consist with their essential rights :--That the articles are, i, a precise and invariable boundary to the United States--2. the exclusive navigation of the river Mississippi
3. the possession of the Floridasm-f. the lands on the left or eastern side of the Mississippi :--That on the ist article it is the idea of the cabinet of Madrid, that the United States extend to the westward no farther than the settlements were permitted by the royal proclamation, bearing date the day of 1763 :
That on the 2d. the United States do not consider themselves, as having right to navigate the river Mississippi, no territory.belong