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through Congress, to whom the several States in such cases ought first to make known their wants, and then the Congress could instruct their minister accordingly. This would save the King's ministers a good deal of trouble, and the several States the expense of these particular agents; concerning whom I would add a little remark, that we have in America, too readily, in various instances, given faith to the pretensions of strangers from Europe, who offer their services as persons who have powerful friends and great interest in their own country, and by that means obtain contracts, orders, or commissions, to procure what we want, and who, when they come here, are totally unknown, and have no other credit but what such commissions give them, or, if known, the commissions do not add so much to their credit as they diminish that of their employers.
I have received two letters from a Frenchman, settled in one of the ports of Barbary, offering himself to act as our minister with the Emperor, with whom he pretended to be intimate, and acquainting me, that his Imperial Majesty wondered we had never sent to thank him for being the first power on this side of the Atlantic that had acknowledged our independence, and opened his ports to us; advising that we should send the Emperor a present. On inquiry at the office in whose department Africa is included, I learned the character of this man to be such, that it was not safe to have any correspondence with him, and therefore I did not answer his letters. I suppose Congress has received the memorial we presented to this court respecting the Barbary States, and requesting the King's good offices with them, agreeably to the treaty; and also the answer, expressing the King's readiness to perform those good offices whenever the Congress should send us instructions, and make provision for the necessary presents;"* or, if those papers have not yet got to hand, they will be found among the copies carried over by Mr. Adams, and therefore I only mention them by way of remembrance. Whenever a treaty with the Emperor is intended, I suppose some of our naval stores will be an acceptable present, and the expectation of continued supplies of such stores, a powerful motive for entering into and continuing a friendship.
I should send you copies of several other memorials and public papers; but, as Mr. Adams goes in the same ship, and has the whole of our transactions during his time, it is not so necessary by this vessel . The disposition of this nation in general continues friendly towards us and our cause; and I do not see the least diminution of it, except among the West India merchants and planters, whose losses have rendered them a little discontented. Spain has been long acting as a mediator, but arming all the time most vigorously. Her naval force is now very great indeed, and, as her last proposition of a long truce, in which America should be included and treated as independent in fact, though not expressly acknowledged as such, has been lately rejected by England, it is now thought, that her open junction with France in the war is not far distant .
The Commissioners here have a power in general terms to treat of peace, friendship, and commerce with European States, but I apprehend this is scarce explicit enough to authorize me to treat of such a truce, if the proposition should again come upon the tapis. I therefore wish the Congress to consider of it, and
— ••See Diplomatic Correspondence, Y61. I. pp. 43t, 453, 462.
give such powers as may be necessary to whom they may think proper, that, if a favorable opportunity of making an advantageous treaty should offer, it may not be missed.
Admiral Arbuthnot, who was going to America with a large convoy and some troops, has been detained by a little attempt upon Jersey; and contrary winds, since that affair was over, have detained him further, till within these few days.
Since I began writing this letter, I have received a packet from the Committee, by way of Eustatia and Holland, sent by Mr. Lovell, containing his letters of December the 8th, January the 29th, and February the 8th, with one from the President, dated January the 3d. Several papers are mentioned as sent with them, and by other opportunities, but none are come to hand, except the resolution to postpone the attempt on Canada; and these are the first despatches received here since the date of those sent by the Marquis de Lafayette. I have just received a letter from Mr. Bingham, acquainting me, that the ship Deane, and the General Gates, are just arrived at Martinique, and apply to him to be careened, refitted, and procure a fresh supply of provisions; and that, though he has no orders, he must draw upon me for the expense. I think it right to acquaint you thus early, that I shall be obliged to protest his bills.
I have just obtained from his Majesty orders to the government of Guadaloupe, to make reasonable reparation to Captain Giddens of Newbury for the loss of his vessel, sunk in mistake by a battery of that island. Great preparations are making here, with much activity in all the seaports, taking up transports, and building small vessels, proper for the landing of troops, &c. j so that many think an invasion of England or Ireland is intended. The intention, whatever it is, may change; but the opinion of such an intention, which seems to prevail in England, may tend to keep their troops and ships at home.
General and Lord Howe, Generals Cornwallis and Grey, Colonel Montresor, and Captain Hammond, and others, have formally given it as their opinion, in Parliament, that the conquest of America is impracticable. This week, as we hear, John Maxwell, Joseph Galloway, Andrew Allen, John Patterson, Theophilus Morris, Enoch Story, and Jabez Fisher, are to be examined to prove the contrary. One would think the first set were likely to be the best judges.
Be pleased to present my dutiful respects to the Congress, and assure them of my most faithful services. I have the honor to be, &.c.
TO SIR EDWARD NEWENHAM.
Respecting Irish Emigrants to the United States.
Paaay, 27 May, 1779.
I should sooner have sent this passport, but that I hoped to have had the other from this court in time to send with it. If you should stay a few days in England, and will let me know how it may be directed to you, I can send it to you per post .
I received some time since a letter from a person at Belfast, informing me, that a great number of people in those parts were desirous of going to settle in America, if passports could be obtained for them and their effects, and referring me to you for future information. I shall always be ready to afford every assistance and security in my power to such undertakings, when they are really meant, and are not merely schemes of trade with views of introducing English manufactures into America, under pretence of their being the substance of persons going there to settle.
I admire the spirit with which I see the Irish are at length determined to claim some share of that freedom of commerce, which is the right of all mankind, but which they have been so long deprived of by the abominable selfishness of their fellow subjects. To enjoy all the advantages of the climate, soil, and situation in which God and nature have placed us, is as clear a right as that of breathing; and can never be justly taken from men but as a punishment for some atrocious crime.
The English have long seemed to think it a right, which none could have but themselves. Their injustice has already cost them dear, and, if persisted in, will be their ruin. I have the honor to be with great esteem, Sir, &c. B. Franklin.