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To His EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON. Capitulation of General Lord Cornwallis--- Introduction
of Count de Ségur, &c. Sie,
Passy, April 2, 1782. I received duly the honor of your letter, accompanying the capitulation of Gen. Cornwallis. All the world agree that no expedition was ever better planned or better executed: it has made a great addition to the military reputation you had already acquired, and brightens the glory that surrounds your name, and that must accompany it to our Jatest posterity. No news could possibly make me more happy. The 'infant Hercules has now strangled the two serpents that attacked him in his cradle, and I trust his future history will be answerable.
This will be presented to you by the Count de Ségur. He is son of the Marquis de Ségur, minister of war, and our very good friend; but I need not claim your regards to the young gentleman on that score ; his amiable personal qualities, his very sensible conversation, and his zeal for the cause of liberty, will obtain and secure your esteem, and be better recommendation than any I can give him.
The English seemn not to know either how to continue the war, or to make peace with us. Instead of entering into a regular treaty, for putting an end to a contest they åré tired of, they have voted in parliament, that the recovery of 'America by force is impracticable, that an 'offensive war ágainst us ought not to be continued, and that whoever advises it shall be deemed an enemy to his country.
Thus the garrisons of New York and Charlestown, if
! Alluding to the surrender of the two British armies under BurGOYNE and CORNWALLIS, Oct. 17, 1777, and Oct. 19, 1781.
continued there, must sit still, being only allowed to defend themselves. The ministry not understanding or approving this making of peace by halves, have quitted their places ; bụt we have no certain account here who is to succeed them, so that the measures likely to be taken are yet uncertain ; probably we shall know something of them before the Marquis de la Fayette takes his departure. There are grounds for good hopes, however ; but I think we should not therefore relax' in our preparations for a vigorous campaign, as that nation is subject to sudden fluctuations; and, though somewhat humiliated at present, a little success in the West Indies may dissipate their present fears, recal their natural insolence, and occasion the interruption of negociation, and a continuance of the war. We have great stores purchased here for the use of your army, which will be sent as soon as transports can be procured for them to go under good convoy.
My best wishes always have, and always will attend you ; being with the greatest and most sincere esteem and respect, sir, your excellency's most obedient and most humble servant,
TO THE CHEVALIER DE CHASTELLUX.' (In America.) Change of Ministry in England-Peace-Campaign in
America-Count de Ségur. 1. Dear Sir,
Passy, April 6, 1782. It gave me great pleasure to hear by the officers returned last winter from your army, that you continued in good health. You will see by the public papers that the English begin to be weary of the war; and they have reason, having suffered many losses, having four nations of enemies
| Afterwards the Marquis de Chastellux.
on their hands, few men to spare, little money left, and very bad heads. The latter they have lately changed. As yet we know not what measures their new '
ministry will take. People generally think they will be employed by the king to extricate him from his present difficulties, by obtaining a peace, and that then he will kick them out again ; they being all men that he abominates, and who have been forced upon him by the parliament.
The commons have already made a sort of half peace with us Americans, by forbidding their troops on the continent to act offensively; and by a new law they have impowered the king to complete it. As yet I hear nothing of the terms they mean to propose; indeed they have had hardly time to form them. I know they wish to detach us froin France; but that is impossible.
I congratulate you on the success of your last glorious campaign. Establishing the liberties of America will not only make that people happy, but will have some effect in diminishing the misery of those, who in other parts of the world groan under despotism, by rendering it more circumspect, and inducing it to govern with a lighter hand. A philosopher endowed with those strong sentiments of humanity that are manifested in your excellent writings,' must enjoy great satisfaction in having contributed so extensively by his sword, as well as by his pen, to the félicité publique,
M. le Comte de Ségur has desired of me a line of recom.. mendation to you. I consider his request rather as a com: plinsent to me, than as asking what may be of use to him ; since I find that all who know him here esteem and love him, and he is certainly not unknown to you.
Dare I confess to you that I am your rival with Madame,
! Principally a Treatise on Public HAPPINESS.
G***? I need not tell you that I am not a dangerous one. I perceive that she loves you very much; and so does, dear sir, yours, &c.
To His ExCELLENCY GEN. WASHINGTON.....
* Introduction of the Prince de Broglie. Sir,
Passy, April 8, 1782. I did myself the honor of writing to you à few days since by the Comte de Ségur. This line is chiefly to present the Prince de Broglie to your Excellency, who goes over to join the army of Mons. de Rochambeau. He bears an excellent character here, is a hearty friend to our cause, and I am persuaded you will have a pleasure in his conversation. I take leave, therefore, to recommend him to those civilities which you are always happy in showing to strangers of merit and distinction.
I have heretofore congratulated your Excellency on your victories over our 'enemy's generals ; I can now do the same on your having overthrown their politicians. Your late suca cesses have so strengthened the hands of opposition in parliament, that they are become the majority, and have compelled the king to dismiss all his old ministers and their adherents. The unclean spirits he was possessed with are now cast out of him, but it is imagined that as soon as he has obtained a peace, they will return with others worse than themselves ; and the last state of that man (as the Scripture says) shall be worse than the first.
As soon as we can learn any thing certain of the projects of the 'new ministry, I shall take the first opportunity of communicating them. With the greatest esteem and respect, I am, sir, your excellency's, &c. B. FRANKLIN.
TO THE Rev. Dr. PriesTLEY. Reflections on the conduct of mankind to each other
Apologue-Experiments of Lavoisier in the presence of the Grand Duke of Russia. DEAR SIR,
Passy, June 7, 1782. I received your kind letter of the 7th of April, also one of the 3d of May. I have always great pleasure in hearing from you, in learning that you are well, and that you continue your experiments. I should rejoice much if I could once more recover the leisure to search with you into the works of nature; I mean the inanimate, not the ani mate or moral part of them : the more I discovered of the former, the more I admired them ; the more I know of the latter, the more I am disgusted with them. Men, I find to be a sort of beings very badly constructed, as they are generally more easily provoked than reconciled, more disposed to do mischief to each other than to make reparation, much more easily deceived than undeceived, and having more pride and even pleasure in killing than in begetting one another; for without a blush they assemble in great armies at noon-day to destroy, and when they have killed as many as they can, they exaggerate the number to augment the fancied glory; but they creep into corners, or cover themselves, with the darkness of night, when they mean to beget, as being ashamed of a virtuous action. A virtuous action it would be, and a vicious one the killing of them, if the species were really worth producing or preserving; but of this I begin to doubt. I know you have no such doubts, because iy your zeal for their welfare, you are taking a great deal of pains to save their souls, Perhaps as you grow older, you may look upon this as a hopeless project, or an idle amusement, repent of having murdered in mephitic air so many