« ZurückWeiter »
nothing but those sentiments may properly acknowledge your kindness towards me. The polite manner in which Mr. Temple Franklin was pleased to deliver that inestimable sword, lays me under great obligations to him, and demands my particular thanks..
With the most perfect respect, I have the honor to be, &c.
LA FAYETTE. i
To John JAY, Esq. PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. [EXTRACT.]
Passy, Oct. 4. 1779. “We had reason to expect some great events from the action of the fleets this summer in the Channel, but they are all now in port without having effected any thing. The junction was late, and the length of time the Brest squadron was at sea, (equal to an East India royage;) partly on the hot Spanish coast, occasioned a sickness among the people that made their returu necessary: they had chased the English fleet, which refused the combat. The sick men are recovering fast since they were landed; and the proposed descent on England does not yet seem to be quite given up, as the troops are not withdrawn from the ports. Holland has not yet granted the succours required by the English, nor even given an answer to the requisition presented by Sir Joseph Yorke. The aids will be refused, and as the refusal must be disagreeable, it is postponed from time to time. The expectations of assistance from Russia and Prussia seem also to have failed the English, and they are as much at a loss to find effective friends in Europe, as they have been in America. Portugal seems to have a better disposition towards us than heretofore. About thirty of our people taken, and set
ashore on one of her islands by the English, were maintained comfortably by the governor during their stay there, furnished with every necessary, and sent to Lisbon, where, and inquiry to whom payment was to be made for the expence they had occasioned, they were told that no reimbursement was expected, that it was the queen's bounty, who had a pleasure in shewing hospitality to strangers in distress. I have presented thanks by the Portuguese ambassador here in behalf of the congress : and I am given to understand that probably, in a little time, the ports of that nation will be as open to us as those of Spain. What relates to Spain I suppose Mr. Lee informs you of. - The sword ordered by congress for the marquis de la Fayette, being at length finished, I sent it down to him at Havre, where he was with the troops intended for the invasion. I wrote a letter with it, and received an answer, copies of both which I enclose, together with a description of the sword, and drawings of the work úpon it, which was executed by the best artists in Paris, and cost altogether two hundred guineas. The present has given him great 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 for 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, us all the horrors of imprison
ment, with the loss of visit and healtlı, might be detento by it.. : We continue to insult the coasts of these lords of 1, ocean with our little cruisers. A small cutter, which was fitted out as a privateer at Dunjik, caitd the Black Prince, has taken, ransomed, burnt, and c'estroyed above thirty sail of their vessels within these three months. The owners are about to give her a consort, called the Black Princess, for whoid they ask a commission. The prison ers broughi ini, 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 sumner with a little squadron consisting of a ship of forty gun" the Alliance, another frigate of twenty, with some armeil cutters, all under American colors, with migress coinmisions. He has sent in several prizes, bas greaty alarger the coast of Ireleri oland; and we juus now bear, that going noth übou, it tall in with a numbes of ships from the Baltic, convoyed by a fity gun ship and a twenty four gun frigate, both of which he took after an obstinate engagement, and forced several of the other is ashore. This news is believed, but we wait the joina. tion and the particulars.
Since writing the above, I have recenlle following farther piticulars of the action between com vi re Jones and the English, men of war. The 4. ini dip is new, Saviug been but six months off the sticks, she is called the Serapie : the other of 20 guns is the Countess of Scarbocough. ile had before taken a number of valuable prizes, pa tice ' a rich ship bound to Quebec, which we suppo u nay 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 been put to very expensive movements of troops, &c.
B. FRANKLIN. To Dr. Cooper. i . American Privateers.--Commodore Jones. --Rumour of
Peace, &c. ' Dear Sir,
Passy, Oct. 27, 1779. It is a long time since I have had the pleasure of hearing from you. The intelligence you were used to favour me with, was often useful to our affairs. I hope I have not lost your friendship together with your correspondence. Our excellent Mr. Winthrop, 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. *?
You will see by the newspapers that we have given some disturbance to the British coasts this year. One little privateer out of Dunkerque, the Black Prince, with a Congress commission, and a few Americans mixed with Irish and English smugglers, went round their islands and took 37 prizes in less than three inonths. The little squadron of Commodore Jones, under the same commissions and colours, has alarmed those coasts exceedingly, occasioned a good deal of internal expence, 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 his 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 rumour 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 footings and our friends will not make a 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 expences, 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, and trifles. Such trade may enrich the traders, but never the 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.