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figure of an infant Hercules in his cradle, strangling the two serpents; and France, by that of Minerva, sitting by as his nurse, with her spear and helmet, and her robe speckled with a few fleurs-de-lis. The extinguishing two entire armies in one war, is what has rarely if ever happened, and it gives a presage of the future force of our growing empire.
I thank you much for the newspapers you have been so kind as to send me. I send also to you by every opportu. nity packets of the French, Dutch, and English papers. Enclosed is the last Courier of Europe, wherein you will find a late curious debate on continuing the war with America, which the minister carried in the affirmative, only by his own vote. It seems the nation is sick of it: but the king is obstinate. There is a change made of the American secretary, and another talked of in the room of lord Sandwich: but I suppose we have no reason to desire such changes. If the king will have a war with us, his old servants are as well for us, as any he is likely to put in their places. The ministry you will see declare, that their war in America is for the future to be only defensive. I hope we shall be too prudent to have the least dependance on this declaration; it is only thrown out to lull us. For depend upon it the king hates us cordially, and will be content with nothing short of our extirpation.
I shall be glad to receive the account you are preparing of the wanton damages done our possessions. I wish you could also furnish me with one, of the barbarities committed on our people. They may both be of excellent use on certain occasions. I received the duplicate of your No. IV. in cypher. Hereafter I wish you would use that which those instructions were written, that relate to the future peace. I am accustomed to that, and I think it very good, and more convenient in the practice.
The friendly disposition of this court towards us continues. We have sometimes pressed a little too hard, expecting and demanding, perhaps, more than we ought, and have used improper arguments, which may have occasioned
a little dissatisfaction, but it has not been lasting. In my opinion the surest way to obtain liberal aid from others, is vigorously to help ourselves. People fear assisting the ne. gligent, the indolent, and the careless, lest the aids they afford should be lost. I know we have done a great deal; but it is said we are apt to be supine after a little success, and too backward in furnishing our contingents. This is really a generous nation, fond of glory, and particularly that of protecting the oppressed. Trade is not the admiration of the noblesse, who always govern here. Telling them their commerce will be advantaged by our success, and that it is their interest to help us, seems as much as to say, help us, and we shall not be obliged to you. Such indiscreet and improper language has been sometimes held here by some of our people, and produced no good effects.
The constant harmony subsisting between the armies of the two nations in America, is a circumstance that has afforded me infinite pleasure. It should be carefully cultivated; I hope nothing will happen to disturb it. The French officers who have returned to France this winter, speak of our people in the handsomest and kindest manner, and there is a strong desire in many of the young nobility to go over to fight for us ; there is no restraining some of them; and several changes among the officers of their army have lately taken place in consequence.
You must be só sensible of the utility of maintaining a perfect good understanding with the chevalier de la Luzerne, that I need say nothing on that head. The affairs of a distant people in any court of Europe, will always be much affected by the representations of the minister of that court residing among them.
We have great quantities of supplies of all kinds ready here to be sent over, and which would have been on their way before this time, if the unlucky loss of the transports that were under M. de Guichen, and other demands for more ships, had not created a difficulty to find freight for them. I hope however, that you will receive them with the next convoy.
The accounts we have of the economy introduced by Mr. Morris, begins to be of service to us here, and will by de
grees obviate the inconvenience that an opinion of our dis· orders, and mismanagements had occasioned. I inform
him by this conveyance of the money aids we shall have this year. The sum is not so great as we could wish; and we must so much the more exert ourselves. A small increase of industry in every American male and female, with a small diminution of luxury, would produce a sum far supe. rior to all we can hope to beg or borrow from all our friends in Europe.
There are now near a thousand of our brave fellows prisoners in England, many of whom have patiently endured the hardships of that confinement, several years, resisting every temptation to serve our enemies. Will not your late great advantages put it in your power to do something for their relief? The slender supply I have been able to afford, of a shilling a week to each, for their greater comfort during the winter amounts weekly to near £ 50 sterling. Anexchange would make so many of our countrymen happy, add to our strength, and diminish our expense. But our privateers who cruise in Europe, will not be at the trouble of bringing in their prisoners, and I have none to exchange for them.
Generals Cornwallis and Arnold, are both arrived in England. It is reported that the former in all his conversations, discourages the prosecution of the war in America; if so he will of course be out of favor. We hear much of audiences given to the latter, and of his being present at councils. He seems to mix as naturally with that polluted court as pitch with tar ; there is no being in nature too base for them to associate with, provided he may be thought capable of serving their purposes.
You desire to know whether any intercepted letters of Mr. Deane, have been published in Europe? I have seen but one in the English papers that to Mr. Wadsworth, and none in any of the French and Dutch papers, but some may have been printed that have not fallen in my way. There is no
doubt of their being all genuine. His conversations since his return from America, have as I have been informed, gone gradually more and more into that style, and at length came to an open vindication of Arnold's conduct, and within these few days he has sent me a letter of twenty full pages, recapitulating those letters, and threatning to write and publish an account of the treatment he has received from Congress, &c. He resides at Ghent, is distressed both in mind and in circumstances, raves and writes abundance, and I imagine it will end in his going over to join his friend Arnold in England. I had an exceeding good opinion of him when he acted with me, and I believe he was then sincere and hearty in our cause. But he is changed, and his character ruined in his own country and in this, so that I see no other but England to which he can now retire. He says we owe him about £ 12,000 sterling, and his great complaint is, that we do not settle his accounts and pay him. Mr. Johnson having declined the service, I proposed engaging Mr. Searle to undertake it, but Mr. Deane objected to him as being his enemy. In my opinion he was, for that reason even fitter for the service of Mr. Deane, since accounts are of a mathematical nature, and cannot be changed by an enemy, while that enemy's testimony, that he had found them well supported by authentic vouchers, would have weighed more than the same testimony from a friend.
With regard to negociations for a peace, I see but little probability of their being entered upon seriously this year, unless the English minister had failed in raising his funds, which it is said he has secured, so that we must provide for another campaign, in which I hope Gọd will continue to favor us, and humble our cruel and haughty enemies; a circumstance which, whatever Mr. Deane may say to the contrary, will give pleasure to all Europe.
This year opens well by the reduction of Port Mahon, the garrison prisoners of war, and we are not without hopes that Gibraltar may soon follow. A few more signal successes in America, will do much towards reducing our enemies to reason,
Your expressions of good opinion with regard to me, and wishes of my continuance in this employment, are very obliging. As long as the congress think I can be useful to our affairs it is my duty to obey their orders; but I should be happy to see them better executed by another, and myself at liberty; enjoying, before I quit the stage of life, some small degree of leisure and tranquillity.
With great esteem, &c.
B. FRANKLIN. :
Count de Vergennes to Dr. Franklin.
Versailles, July 18, 1782. SIR, I HAVE the honor to send you a memorial which respects the emperor's subjects, and which has been recommended to me by the government general of the Low Countries. I make no doubt but that it will make it your duty to forward the same to congress, and request that body to take it into consideration,
I have the honor to be, &c.
DE VERGENNES. (TRANSLATION.]
MEMORIAL. From the Sieurs Liebaert, Baes, Derdeyn, & Co. transmitted to
Dr. Franklin by the Count de Vergennes. THE Sieurs Liebaert, Baes, Derdeyn and company, merchants, residing in Ostend, subjects of his imperial and royal majesty set forth, that in the course of the present year, they have equipped in the said port, and loaded on account of the capitulants of Dominica, and consigned to them agreeable to manifest, divers harmless merchandizes (that is to say, not contraband in war, and the traffic of which is at this very time allowed to neutral persons) on board their vessel the brig Den Ersten, destined for the island and plantations of Dominica, open and free agreeable to the capitulation to all neutral nations.