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pleasure, and some of the circumstances have been agreeable to the nation.; ,..."»
Our cartel goes on: a second cargo of American prisoners, one hundred and nineteen in number, being arrived and exchanged. , Our privateers have dismissed a great number at sea, taking their written paroles, to be given up in exchange lor so many of our people in their gaols. This is not yet quite agreed to on the other side, but some expectations are given me that it may take place. Certainly humanity would find its account in the practice of exchanging upon parole, as all the horrors of imprisonment, with the loss of time and health, might be prevented by it.
We continue to insult the coasts of these lords of the ocean with our little cruisers. A small cutter, which was fitted out as a privateer at Dunkirk, called the Black Prince, has taken, ransomed, burnt, and destroyed above thirty sail of their vessels within these three months. The owners are about to give her a consort, called the Black Princess, for whom they ask a commission. The prisoners brought in serve to exchange our countrymen, which makes me more willing to encourage such armaments, though they occasion a good deal of trouble.
Captain, now commodore, Jones, put to sea this summer with a little squadron consisting of a ship of forty guns, the Alliance, another frigate of twenty, with some armed cutters, all under American colors, with congress commissions. He has sent in several prizes; has greatly alarmed the coast of Ireland and Scotland; and we just now hear, that going north about, he fell in with a number of ships from the Baltic, convoyed by a fifty gun ship and a twenty-four gun frigate, both of which he took after an obstinate engagement, and forced several of the others ashore. . This news is believed, but we wait the confirmation and the particulars.
Since writing the above, I have received the following farther particulars of the action between Commodore Jones and'the English men of war. The forty-four gun ship is new, having been but six months off the stocks: she is' called the Serapis; the other, of twenty guns, is the Countess of Scarborough. He had before taken a number of valuable prizes, particularly a rich ship bound to Quebec, which we suppose he may have sent to America. The English, from mistaken intelligence, imagining he had a body of troops with him to make descents, have had all their northern coasts alarmed, and have been put to very expensive movements of troops, &c. . B.franklin.
To Dr. Cooper.
American privateers—Commodore Jones—Rumor of peace, fyc. . .
Dear Sir, Pass//, Oct'. %1, 1779.
It is a long time since I have had the pleasure. of hearing from you. The intelligence you were used to favor me with, was often useful to our affairs. I hope I have not lost your friendship together with your correspondence. Our excellent Mr. Winthorp, I see, is gone. He was one of those old friends for the sake of whose society I wished to return and spend the small remnant of my days in New England. A few more such deaths will make me a stranger in my own country. The loss of friends is the tax a man pays for living long himself. I find it a heavy one. . ■ i •'
You will see by the newspapers that we have given some disturbance to the British coast* this year. One little privateer out of Dunkirk, the Black TPrince, with a congress commission, and a few Americans mixed with Irish and English smugglers, went round their islands, and took thirtyseven prizes in less than three months. The little squadron of commodore Jones, under the same commission and colors, has alarmed those coasts exceedingly, occasioned a good deal of internal expense, done great damage to their trade, and taken two frigates, with 400 prisoners. He is now with his principal prizes in Holland, where he is pretty well received, but must quit that neutral country as soon as bis damages are repaired. The English watch, with a superior force, his coming out, but we hope he will manage so as to escape their vigilance. Few actions at sea have demonstrated such steady, cool, determined bravery as that of Jones in taking the Serapis.
There has been much rumor this summer throughout Europe, of an approaching peace, through the mediation of Russia and Holland: but it is understood to arise from the invention of stock-jobbers and others interested in propagating such opinions. England seems not to be yet sufficiently humbled to acknowledge the independence of the American states, or to treat with them on that footing, and our friends will not make peace on any other: so we shall probably see another campaign.
By the invoices I have seen and heard of, sent hither with congress interest bills of exchange to purchase the goods, it should seem that there is not so great a want of necessaries as of superfluities among our people. It is difficult to conceive that your distresses can be great, when one sees that much the greatest part of that money is lavished in modes, gewgaws, and tea! Is it impossible for us to become wiser, when by simple economy, and avoiding unnecessary expenses, we might more than defray the charge of the war? We export solid provision of all kinds which is necessary for the sustenance of man, and we import fashions, luxuries, arm trifles. Such trade may enrich the traders, but never tin; country.
The good-will of all Europe to our cause, as being the cause of liberty, which is the cause of mankind, still continues, as does the universal wish to see the English pride humiliated, and their power curtailed. Those circumstances are encouraging, and give hopes of a happy issue. Which may God grant, and that you, my friend, may live long a blessing to your country. I am, &c. B. Franklin.
To James Lovell, Esq.
The Marquis de la Fayette—State of affairs in England,
Dear Sir, Passy, March 16, 1780.
The Marquis de la Fayette, our firm and constant friend, returning to America, I have written a long letter by him to the president, of which a copy goes by this ship. M. Gerard is since arrived, and I have received the dispatches you mentioned to me, but no letter in answer to mine, a very long one by the Chevalier de la Luzerne, nor any acknowledgment that it came to hand.
By the many newspapers and pamphlets I send, you wilt see the present state of European affairs in general. Ireland continues to insist on complete liberty, and will probably obtain it. The meetings of counties in England, and the committees of correspondence they appoint, alarm a good deal the ministry, especially since it has been proposed to elect of each committee, a few persons to assemble in London, which, if carried into execution, will form a kind of congress, that will have more of the confidence and support «f the people than the old parliament. If the nation is not too corrupt, as I rather think it is, some considerable reformation of internal abuses may be expected from this; with regard to us the only advantage to be reasonably expected
Vol. I. 2 E \ from it is a peace, the general bent of the nation being for it. The success of admiral Rodney's fleet against our allies, has a little elated our enemies for the present, and probably they will not now think of proposing it. If the approaching; campaign, for which great preparations are making here, should end disadvantageously to them, they will be more treatable, for their debts and taxes are daily becoming more burtheusomc, while their commerce, the source of their wealth, diminishes ; and though they have flattered themselves with obtaining assistance from Russia, and other powers, it does not appear that they are likely to succeed; on the contrary, they are in danger of losing the neutrality of Holland.
Their conduct with regard to the exchange of prisoners, has been very unjust. After long suspense and affected delays, for the purpose of wearing out our poor people, they have finally refused to deliver us a man in exchange for those set at liberty by our cruisers on parole. A letter I send enclosed from Captain Mitchel, will show the treatment of the late flags of truce from Boston. There is no gaining any thing upon these barbarians by advances of civility or humanity. , .
Enclosed I send for congress, the justification of this court against the accusation published in the late English memorials. With great esteem, &c. B. Franklin.
To M.dumas/ ,-
Dear Sir, Passy, June 5, 4780.
A Dutch ship belonging to Messrs. Little, Dale, and Co. of Rotterdam, being brought into France as having an English cargo on board, I have followed your opinion