« ZurückWeiter »
may in time grow into a flame, all the consequences whereof no human prudence can foresee, which may produce much mischief to both, and cannot possibly produce any good to either. I beg leave, through your Excellency, to submit these considerations to the wisdom and justice of his Danish Majesty, whom I infinitely respect, and who, I hope, will reconsider and repeal the orders above recited; and that, if the prizes, which I hereby reclaim in behalf of the United States of America, are not actually gone to England, they may be stopped and re-delivered to M. de Chezauls, the consul of France at Bergen, in whose care they before were, with liberty to depart for America when the season shall permit. But, if they should be already gone to England, I must then claim from his Majesty's equity the value of the said prizes, which is estimated at fifty thousand pounds sterling, but which may be regulated by the best information that can by any means be obtained. With the greatest respect, I am, Sir, &c.
FROM THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE TO B. FRANKLIN.
Military Supplies for the American Army.
Paris, 9 January, 1780. DEAR SIR, According to an appointment I had requested from M. de Montbarrey,* I had this morning a conversation with that minister, wherein I earnestly urged the necessity of sending from the royal magazines to America fifteen thousand stands of arms, and a large quantity of powder. I cannot say my endeavours, though exerted to the best of my power, have met with an immediate success. But, from this first inter
• Minister of War.
view, I flatter myself we may, in some measure, carry the desired point.
I was at first told by the minister, that you had a bargain ready made for arms, but did not much dwell on the argument. He kindly desired the affair might be in time duly considered, but, upon my assuring him, that no time was to be lost, and that the arms should go with other articles you were about to send, he, in obliging terms for us, promised he would in a few days give me a positive answer. I am to have, towards the middle of the week, a conference with M. de Maurepas,* and a second one with M. de Vergennes, on the same subject, upon which I have this morning written to this last minister, so that I shall before long be able to tell you how my little negotiation has ended. With the most perfect regard and tender affection, I have the honor to be, &c.
other ministers with a final conversation on the affair of arms and powder, that I have so much at heart. From their good dispositions towards America, and the sincere desire they have of helping our fellow citizens, the sons of liberty, I flatter myself that the money of Congress will be employed in any thing but buying the powder and the stands of arms, that are wanted in the continent.
How happy I shall ever feel to be the instrument of any thing good for them, I need not mention to my good friend, Dr. Franklin; and, for reasons no less obvious, I will not dwell upon the assurance of the private sentiments of affection and regard, with which I have the honor to be, &c.
TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS.
Passy, 27 January, 1780. DEAR SIR, I received yours of the 10th instant. I shall be glad to learn how the taking of the Dutch ships has been accommodated. We have yet no news of the Alliance, but suppose she is cruising. We are more in pain for the Confederacy, which sailed the 28th of October from the Capes of Delaware. There is some hope that she went to Charleston to take in Mr. Laurens; for some passengers arrived in France, who left Philadelphia several weeks after her sailing, say, that it was a general opinion she would call there before she departed for Europe. If this was not the case, we fear she must be lost, and the loss will be a very severe one,
I send you enclosed a translation of a letter, that I think I sent you the original of before. Perhaps it may serve our Leyden friend.
I am sorry you have any difference with the ambassador, and wish you to accommodate it as soon as possible. Depend upon it, that no one ever knew from me that you had spoken or written against any person. There is one concerning whom I think you sometimes receive erroneous information. In one particular, I know you were misinformed, that of his selling us arms at an enormous profit; the truth is we never bought any of him. I am &c.
saw inconveniences in discussing it. I wish, therefore, you had not mentioned it. For the rest, I am as much for peace as ever I was, and as heartily desirous of seeing the war ended, as I was to prevent its beginning; of which your ministers know I gave a strong proof before I left England, when, in order to an accommodation, I offered at my own risk, without orders for so doing, and without knowing whether I should be owned in doing it, to pay the whole damage of destroying the tea at Boston, provided the acts made against that province were repealed. This offer was refused. I still think it would have been wise to have accepted it. If the Congress have therefore intrusted to others, rather than to me, the negotiations for peace, when such shall be set on foot, as has been reported, it is perhaps because they may have heard of a very singular opinion of mine, that there hardly ever existed such a thing as a bad peace, or a good war, and that I might therefore easily be induced to make improper concessions. But at the same time they and you may be assured, that I should think the destruction of our whole country, and the extirpation of our whole people, preferable to the infamy of abandoning our allies.
As neither you nor I are at present authorized to treat of peace, it seems to little purpose to make or consider propositions relating to it. I have had so many such put into my hands, that I am tired of them. I will, however, give your proposal of a ten years' truce this answer, that, though I think a solid peace made at once a much better thing, yet, if the truce is practicable and the peace not, I should be for agreeing to it. At least I see at present no sufficient reasons for refusing it, provided our allies approve of it. But this is merely a private opinion of mine, which perhaps may be changed by reasons, that at present