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disposed to change what had before been deemed the law. of nations, to wit: that an enemy's property may be taken wherever found ; and to establish a rule that free ships shall make free goods. This rule is itself so reasonable, and of a nature to be so beneficial to mankind, that I cannot but wish it may become general. And I make no doubt but that the congress will agree to in as full an extent as France and Spain. In the mean time, and until I have received their orders on the subject, it is my inteution to condemn no more English goods found in Dutch vessels, unless contraband; of which I thought it right to give you this previous notice; that you may avoid the trouble and expense likely to arise from such captures, and from the detention of them for a decision. With great regard, and best wishes for the success of your enterprise, I have the honor to be, &c.
B. FRANKLIN. ., . : To Dr. Ruston, LONDON. 1. American Finance and Paper Money, &c.
Passy, Oct. 9, 1780. ... I received and read with pleasure your thoughts on American Finance, and your scheme of a Bank. I communicated them to the Abbé Morellet, who is a good judge of the subject, and he has translated them into French. He thinks them generally very just, and very clearly expressed; I shall forward them to a friend in the congress. That body is, as you suppose, not well skilled in financing. But their deficiency in knowledge has been amply supplied by good luck. They issued an immense quantity of paper-bills, to pay, clothe, arm, and feed their troops, and fit out ships; and with this paper, without taxes for the first three years, they fought and baffled one of the most powerful nations of Europe. They hoped
notwithstanding its quantity to have kept up the value of their paper. In this they were mistaken. It depreciated gradually. But this depreciation, though in some circumstances inconvenient, has had the general good and great effect, of operating as a tax, and perhaps the most equal of all taxes, since it depeciated in the hands of the holders of money, and thereby taxed them in proportion to the sums they held and the time they held it, which generally is 'in proportion to men's wealth. Thus, after having done'its business, the paper is reduced to the sixtieth part of its original value. Having issued 200 millions of dollars the congress stopped, and supplied themselves by borrowing. These sums were borrowed at different periods during the progress of the depreciation, those, who lent' to the public, thereby fixed the value of the paper they lent, since it is to be repaid in silver according to its value at the time of the loan. The rest went on depreciating; and the depreciation is at length only stopped by the vast nominal sums called in easily by taxes, and which will be by that means destroyed. Thus so much of the public debt has been in this mariner insensibly paid, that the remainder, which you desire to know, does not exceed six millions sterling. And now they are working with new paper expressed to be equal in value to silver, which they have made to bear interest; and I have provided such funds to pay that interest, that probably its original value will be supported. In the mean time the vigour of their military operations is again revived, and they are now as able, with respect to money, to carry on the war, as
they were at the beginning, and much more so with regard · to troops, arms and discipline. It is also an increasing
nation, sixty thousand children having been born annually
in the United States since the beginning of the war; while their enemies are said to be diminishing. I am, Sir, &c.
ii. . . . B. FRANKLIN.
FROM DR. JEBB to DR. FRANKLIN. sal of a Federal Union, between America and England.- British Parliament, &c.
London, Oct, 11, 1780. 1. The consciousness of a sincere desire to promote the interests of human kind, as far as my confined abilities and humble station will permit, induce me to give you my sentiments upon a subject which, I have no doubt, is ever present to your thoughts. Excuse the presumption; the intention is honest; let this consideration compensate for the want of every other qualification. Independent in my principles and unconnected with party, I speak those sentiments, which circumstances, appear to me to dictate, and I speak them without reserve.
A federal union between America and England, upon the broad basis of mutual convenience, appears to me a point of so much consequence, that I cannot conceive, in the present circumstances, how either country can fully enjoy the means of happiness, which indulgent Providence has poured forth on each with so much profusion, unless such union immediately take place.
. I also am persuaded, that the present war, between this country and the House of Bourbon, is of so, peculiar a kind, that no solid reason can be assigned for its continuance, a moment after America and England shall cordially agree upon a termination of their dispute, WC
It is obviously for the advantage of England, that America should employ her manufacturers, and that her feets should have free access to the shores, from whence she derived those various sources of strength, which enabled her so long to reign the unrivalled mistress of the deep.:
On the other hand, the rising States of America, wisely intent on such measures, as tend to increase their population, and perfect those forms of civil polity, which, at the same time that they promise internal security and happiness, will probably establish an asylum for the rest of mankind, must derive considerable advantage from the free importation of those articles, which, in their present circumstances, they cannot with convenience manufacture themselves. " .
And why should England envy to France and Spain, nay, to all the world, that portion of trade, whatever that be, which suits the circumstances of each power; and from which all deriving the sources of rational enjoyment would, perhaps, remain in the same ratio as at present, with respect to relative strength ?
How strange therefore to persevere in an appeal to arms, when neutral interest, and the ties of blood; the sameness of religion, language, and laws, so loudly call for peace! We might reasonably have hoped, that in the course of
eighteen centuries the gospel of peace might have suggested * to us a more rational mode of terminating our contests. : As it never was the interest, so neither was it in fact the inclination of the English people, to break the bonds of union with their American brethren, until seduced thereto by the arts of designing men. Their motives I leave to themselves--they will be revealed in their day.
Had the English people been equally represented in an annual Parliament, that Parliament, acting in strict conformity with the interests of its constituents, would have seen that every consideration required, that the bond of union
between the countries should be preserved inviolate.--It would have perceived, that those restrictions, which were the offspring of the occasion, or suggested by narrow systems of policy, ought to have been removed, the moment that they occasioned the first murmur of complaint.--But. unhappily for England, the love of arbitrary sway so far. operated upon those, who most are exposed to its temptations, as to engage them in the desperate ineasure of deluding one half of the empire, in order to subjugate the rest.
The period of this delusion, however, is now rapidly advancing to its termination.-Calamity bas brought home the perception of the consequences, attendant upon national error, to every private breast. It has taught us wisdom and has begun to humanise our hearts. The many are now ready to exclaim, in the expressive language of scriptare, “ We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this evil come upon us." 19
But although the people are disposed to accommodation, a mighty power continues to oppose itself to the general wish,
And were the aristocratic strength of our constitution to prevail in its conflict with that power, I am far from being satisfied, that a general and permanent pacification would . be the result.
The restoration of the English constitution to its prime.. val purity, appears to be an essential preliminary to an bonorable and lasting peace. . . . .
r. Peace and war are relations which the inhabitauts of differeut countries stand in to each other. In this sense thesi people of America are not at war with the people of Eng