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Holland, were first removed, and by the enclosed it seems that our objections to that for treating with us will now be removed also, so that we expect to begin in a few days our negociations. But there are so many interests to be considered and settled, in a peace between five different nations, that it will be well not to flatter ourselves with a very speedy conclusion.
I mentioned, in a former letter, my having communicated to count de Vergennes the state of American commerce which you sent me, and my having urged its consideration, &c. Enclosed is a copy of a letter received from that minister on the subject.
The copy of general Carleton's letter, and the bills of exchange, which you mentioned as enclosed, do not appear. I hope soon to have a better opportunity of writing when I shall be fuller.
With great esteem, &c.
: B. FRANKLIN.
Richard Oswald, Esq. to Doctor Franklin, communicating a letter
from Secretary Townshend.
Paris, September 24, 1782. Sir, HAVING received, by a courier just now arrived, a letter from Mr. secretary Townshend, in answer to mine which went by the messenger, dispatched from hence on the 12th, I take this opportunity of Mr. Whiteford to send you a copy of it. I hope he will bring good accounts of your health, which I sincerely wish, and am your excellency's, &c.
Secretary Townshend to Richard Oswald, Esu . .
Whitehall, September 30, 1782.
(PRIVATE.) SIR, I RECEIVED, on Saturday last, your packets of the 10th and 11th of this month.
A meeting of the king's confidential servants was held, as soon as possible, to consider the contents of them, and it was at once agreed to make the alteration in the commission proposed by Doctor Franklin and Mr. Jay. I trust that the readiness with which this proposal has been accepted, will be considered as an ample testimony of the openness and sincerity with which the government of this country is disposed to treat with the Americans.
The commission is passing with as much dispatch as the forms of office will allow ; but I thought it material that no delay should happen, in giving you notice of the determination of his majesty's council upon this subject. You will receive the commission very soon after this reaches you.
I am with great regard, &c.
Count de Vergennes, to Dr. B. Franklin.
Versailles, August 23, 1782. SIR, I HAVE received the letter you did me the honor of writing to me the 9th instant, as well as the memorial enclosed in it. I communicated the paper to the marquis de Castries, and I make no doubt but that the minister will take into consideration its contents, as far as circumstances will permit. We are desirous to adopt every measure that may tend to the prosperity of the commerce established between France and the United States, and we shall neglect nothing to accomplish this object to the universal satisfaction of the two countries. Congress will greatly facilitate our labor, if they will communicate their ideas and wishes on this subject; and I make the demand with greater confi
dence, as I am convinced that that assembly desires as much as we do, to establish, on an advantageous and solid basis, the commercial concerns between France and America.
I have the honor to be, &c.
· William T. Franklin. Esq. to R. R. Livingston, Esq. Secretary
for Foreign Affairs.
Passy, October 2, 1782. Sir, I AM directed by my grand father, to forward you the enclosed papers," which were put into his hands by the embassador from Portugal, and to request you would take them into consideration. With great respect, I have the honor, &c.
W. T. FRANKLIN.
To the Secretary for Foreign Affairs of United States.
: Passy, October 14, 1782, SIR, I HAVE but just received information of this opportu. nity, and have only time allowed to write a few lines.
In my last of the 26th past, I mentioned that the negociation for peace had been obstructed, by the want of due form in the English commissions appointing their plenipotentiaries. In that for treating with us, the mentioning our states by their public name had been avoided, which we objecting to, another is come, of which I send a copy enclosed. We have now made several preliminary propositions, which the English minister, Mr. Oswald has apprová ed, and sent to his court. He thinks they will be approved there, but I have some doubts. In a few days however, the answer expected will determine. By the first of these
These papers respect the St. Miguel, a Portuguese vessel,
articles, the king of Great Britain renounces for himself and successors, all claim and pretension to dominion or territory within the thirteen United States; and the boun. daries are described as in our instructions, except that the line between Nova Scotia and New England is to be settled by commissioners after the peace. By another article, the fishery in the American seas is to be freely exercised by the Americans wherever they might formerly exercise it, while united with Great Britain. By another, the citizens and subjects of each nation, are to enjoy the same protection and privileges in each others ports and countries respecting commerce, duties, &c. that are enjoyed by native subjects. The articles are drawn up very fully by Mr. Jay, who I suppose, sends you a copy; if not it will go by the next opportunity. If these articles are agreed to, I apprehend little difficulty in the rest. Something has been mentioned about the refugees and English debts, but not insisted on, as we declared at once, that whatever confiscations had been made in America, being in virtue of the laws of particular states, the congress had no authority to repeal those laws, and therefore could give us none to stipulate for such repeal.
I have been honored with the receipt of your letters No. 14 and 15. I have also received two letters from Mr. Lewis R. Morris, both dated the 6th of July, and one dated the 10th of August, enclosing bills for 68,290 livres.
In all 149,426 livres being intended for the payment of ministers salaries for the two first quarters of this year. But as these bills came so late that all those salaries were already paid, I shall make no use of the bills, but lay them by till further or. ders ; and the salaries of different ministers not having all the same times of falling due, as they had different commencements, I purpose to get all their accounts settled and reduced to the same period, and send you the state of them
that you may be clear in future orders. I see in one of the estimates sent me, that a quarter's salary of a minister is reckoned at 14,513 livres, in the other it is reckoned 16,667 livres, and the bill for 9,756 w livres, is mentioned as intended to pay a balance due on the remittance of the 68,290 livres. Being unacquainted with the state of your exchanges, I do not well comprehend this, and therefore leave the whole for the present as I have said above. Permit me only to hint for your consideration, whether it may not be well hereafter to omit mention of sterling in our appointments, since we have severed from the country to which that denomination of money is peculiar; and also to order the payment of your ministers in such a manner, that they may know, exactly what they are to receive, and not be subject to the Auctuations of exchange. If it is that which occasions the difference between 14,583 for the first quarter, and the 16,667 for the second, it is considerable. I think we have no right to any advantage by the exchange, nor should we be liable to any loss from it. Hitherto we have taken 15,000 for a quarter, (subject however to the allowance or disallowance of congress) which is lower than the medium between those two extremes.
The different accounts given of lord Shelburne's character with respect to sincerity, induced the ministry here, to send over M. de Rayneval, secretary of the council, to converse with him, and endeavor to form by that means a more per. fect judgment of what was to be expected from the negociations. He was five or six days in England, saw all the ministers, and returned quite satisfied that they are sincerely desirous of peace, so that the negociations now go on with some prospect of success. But the court and people of England are very changeable. A little turn of fortune in their favor sometimes turns their heads; and I shall not
w Note of Mr Livingston. N. B. This is not merely to pay a balance, but an excess on account of contingencies.