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same in a book, to be provided for that purpose, distinguishing the districts and townships, and entering those of each place together; and if any account and estimate be imperfect, or not sufficiently verified and established, the said commissioners shall have power, and they, or any two of them, are hereby authorised to summon and compel any person, whose evidence they shall think necessary, to appear before them at a day and place appointed, to be summoned upon oath or affirmation, concerning any damage or injury as aforesaid; and the said commissioners shall, upon the call and demand of the president, or vice-president, of the supreme executive council, deliver, or send to the secretary of the said council, all or any of the original accounts and estimates aforesaid, and shall also deliver, or send to the said secretary, copies of the book aforesaid, or any part or parts thereof, upon reasonable notice. And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, that all losses of negro or mulatto slaves, and servants, who have been deluded and carried away by the enemies of the United States, and who have not been recovered or recompensed, shall be comprehended within the accounts and estimates aforesaid: and that the commissioners and assessors of any county, which had not been invaded as aforesaid, shall nevertheless enquire after, and procure accounts and estimates of any damages, suffered by the loss of such servants and slaves, as is herein before directed as to other property. .
“And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, that the charges and expenses of executing this act, as to the pay of the said commissioners and assessors, shall be as in other cases; and that witnesses shall be rewarded for their loss of time and trouble, as witnesses summoned to appear in the courts of quarter-sessions of the peace; and the said charges and expenses shall be defrayed by the commonwealth ; but paid, in the first instance, out of the hands of the treasurer of the county, for county rates, and levies upon orders drawn by the commissioners of the proper county.”
We have not yet had time to hear what has been done by the other assemblies; but I have no doubt that similar acts will be made use of by all of them, and that the mass of evidence produced by the execution of those acts, not only of the enormities committed by those people, under the direc. tion of British generals, but of those committed by the British troops themselves, will form a record that must render the British name odious in America to the latest generations. In that authentic record will be found the burning of the fine towns of Charleston, near Boston ; of Falmouth, just before winter, when the sick, the aged, the women and children, were driven to seek shelter where they could hardly find it; of Norfolk, in the midst of winter; of New London, of Fairfield, of Esopus, &c. besides near a hundred and fifty miles of well settled country laid waste ; every house and barn burnt, and many hundreds of farmers, with their wives and children, butchered and scalped.
The present British ministers, when they reflect a little, will certainly be too equitable to suppose, that their nation has a right to make an unjust war, (which they have always allowed this against us to be), and to do all sorts of unnecessary mischiefs, unjustifiable by the practice of any individual people, which those they make war with are to suffer without claiming any satisfaction ; but that if Britons, or their adherents, are in return, deprived of any property, it is to be restored to them, or they are to be indemnified. The British troops can never excuse their barbarities. They were unprovoked. The loyalists may say, in excuse of theirs, that they were exasperated by the loss of their estates, and it was revenge. They have then had their revenge. Is it right they should have both!
Some of those people may have merit in their regard for Britain, and who espoused her cause from affection ; these it may become you to reward. But there are many of them who were waverers, and were only determined to engage in it by some occasional circumstance or appearances, these have not much of either merit or demerit; and there are
others who have abundance of demerit respecting your country, having, by their falshvods and misrepresentations, brought on and encouraged the continuance of the war; these, instead of being recompensed, should be punished.
It is usual, among Christian people at war, to profess always a desire of peace; but if the ministers of one of the parties, choose to insist particularly on a certain article which they have known, the others are not and cannot be empowered to agree to, what credit can they expect should be given to such professions ? .
Your ministers require, that we should receive again into our bosom, those who have been our bitterest enemies, and restore their properties who have destroyed ours, and this while the wounds they have given us are still bleeding! It is many years since your nation expelled the Stuarts and their adherents, and confiscated their estates. Much of your resentment against them may by this time be abated; yet if we should propose it, and insist on it as an article of our treaty with you, that that family should be recalled, and .the forfeited estates of its friends restored, would you think us serious in our professions of earnestly desiring peace?
I must repeat my opinion, that it is best for you to drop all mention of the refugees. We have proposed indeed nothing but what we think best for you as well as our. selves. But if you will have them mentioned, let it be in an article which you may provide ; that they shall exhibit accounts of their lossés to commissioners, hereafter to be appointed, who should examine the same, together with the accounts now preparing in America, of the damages done by them, and state the account, and that if a balance appears in their favor, it shall be paid by us to you, and by you divided among them, as you shall think proper. And if the balance is found due to us, it shall be paid by you.
Give me leave, however, to advise you to prevent the necessity of so dreadful a discussion, by dropping the article, that we may write to America and stop the enquiry. I have the honor to be, &c.
Article proposed for the treaty with Great Britain. Article 5th. It is agreed, that his Britannic majesty will earnestly recommend it to his parliament to provide for, and make compensation to the merchants and shopkeepers of Boston, whose goods and merchandize were seized and taken out of the stores, warehouses, and shops, by order of general Gage, and others of his commanders or officers there, and also to the inhabitants of Philadelphia, for the goods taken away by his army there ; and to make compensation also for the tobacco, rice, indigo, and negroes, &c. seized and carried off by his armies, under generals Arnold, Cornwallis, and others, from the states of Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia ; and also for all vessels and cargoes belonging to the inhabitants of the said United States, which were stopt, seized, or taken either in the ports or on the seas, by his governors or by his ships of war, before the declaration of war against the said states.
And it is further agreed, that his Britannic majesty will also earnestly recommend it to his parliament, to make compensation for all the towns, villages and farms burnt and destroyed by his troops or adherents in the said United States.
Facts stated by Dr. Franklin, respecting the demands of British
merchants, against American planters, &c. THERE existed a free commerce upon mutual faith, between Great Britain and America. The merchants of the former credited the merchants and planters of the latter, with great quantities of goods, on the common expectation that the merchants having sold the goods, would make the accustomed remittances, that the planters would do the same by the labor of their negroes, and the produce of that labor, tobacco, rice, indigo, &c.
England, before the goods were sold in America, sends an armed force, seizes those goods in the stores, some were in the ships that brought them, and carries them off ; seizes also, and carries off the tobacco, rice and indigo, divided
by the planters to make returns, and even the negroes from whose labor they might hope to raise every produce for that purpose. ... .
Britain now demands that the debts shall nevertheless be paid. ... .
Will she, can she, justly refuse making compensation for such seizures?
If a draper who had sold a piece of linen to a neighbor on credit, should follow him, take the linen from him by force, and then send a bailiff to arrest him for the debt, would any court of law or equity award the payment of the debt, without ordering a restitution of the cloth? .. Will not the debtors in America cry out, that if this compensation be not made, they were betrayed by the pretended credit, and are now doubly ruined: 1st. by the enemy, and then by the negociators at Paris; the goods and negroes sold them, being taken from them with all they had besides, and they are now to be obliged to pay for what they have been robbed of..
Passy, May 9, 1782. AS, since the change of ministry in England, some serious professions have been made of their disposition to peace, and of their readiness to enter into a general treaty for that purpose; and as the concerns and claims of five nations are to be discussed in that treaty, which must, therefore, be interesting to the present age, and to posterity. I am inclined to keep a journal of the proceedings, as far as they come to my knowlege, and, to make it more complete, will first endeavor to recollect what has already past.
Great affairs sometimes take their rise from small cir. cumstances. My good friend and neighbor, Madame Brillon, being at Nice all last winter for her health, with her very amiable family, wrote to me that she had met with some English gentry there, whose acquaintance proved