Page images

ing peace between Great Britain and America, that I think there is nothing farther left to be said upon the

for the certain term of ten years, from the first day of August, one thousand seven hundred and eighty.

Provided also, and be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, that in order to remove any obstructions which may arise to the full and effectual execution of any article or articles of intercourse and pacification, as before mentioned; that it shall and may be lawful for his Majesty, by any instrument under his sign manual, countersigned by one or more of his Majesty's principal secretaries of state, to authorise and empower any such person or persons, so appointed by his Majesty's letters patent, as aforesaid, to suspend for the term of ten years, from the first day of August, one thousand seven hundred and eighty, the operation and effect of any act or acts of parliament, which are now in force, respecting the aforesaid provinces of North America, or any clause or clauses, proviso or provisos, in any such act or acts of parliament contained; in as much as they, or any of them, may obstruct the full effect and execution of any such article or articles of intercourse and pacification, which may be entered into and ratified as before mentioned, between Great Britain and the aforesaid provinces of North America.

And be it further enacted, that in order to establish, perpetual reconcilement and peace, between Great Britain and the aforesaid provinces of North America, it is hereby required, and be it enacted, that all or any article or articles of intercourse and pacification, which shall be entered into, and ratified, for the certain term of ten years as before mentioned, shall from time to time be laid before the two houses of parliament, for their consideration, as the perpetual basis of reconcilement and peace, between Great Britain and the aforesaid provinces of North America; and that any such article or articles of intercourse and pacification as before mentioned, when the same shall have been confirmed in parliament, shall remain in full force and effect for ever.

And be it further enacted, that this act shall continue to be in force until the thirty-first day of December, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-one.

-subject. You will perceive by the general tenor of the bill that it proposes a general power to treat. It chalks out a line of negociation in very general terms. I remain in the sentiments which I ever have, and which I believe I ever shall entertain, viz. those of seeking peace upon honourable terms. I shall always be ready and most desirous to conspire in any measures which may facilitate peace. I am ever, your most affectionate,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]


[ocr errors]

roque for Passy, April 29, 1781. 9ruqung 9111 995IJ To ou enclose you extracts of two letters ministerial, found in the same pacquet with the former, written in the fond belief that the States were on the point of submitting, and cautioning the commissioners for peace not to promise too much respecting the future constitutions. They are indeed cautiously worded, but easily understood, when explained by two court maxims or assertions, the one of Lord Granville's, late President of the Council, that the King is the legislator of the colonies ; the other of the present Chancellor, when in the House of Commons, that the Quebec constitution was the only proper constitution for colonies, ought to have been given to them all when first planted, and what all ought now to be reduced to. We may hence see the danger of listening to any of their deceitful propositions, though piqued by the negligence of some of those European powers who will be much benefited by our revolution. I have the honour to be, Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant, B. FRANKLIN,

P. S. This will be handed to you by Major Jackson, a worthy officer in the service of the States, whom I beg

leave to recommend to your civilities.


bes,5gr 1979 I douw stire lamp sof


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

I received my dear friend's kind letter of
Skenop pak fegm qu97,1495 106 1

[ocr errors]

the 15th 15th instant, and immediately communicated your request of a passport to M. le Comte de Vergennes. His answer, which I have but just received, expresses an apprehension that the circumstance of his granting a passport to you, as you mention the purpose of your coming to be the discoursing with me on the subject of peace, might, considering your character, occasion many inconvenient reports and speculations; but that he would make no difficulty of giving it, if you assured me that you were authorised for such purpose by your ministry, which he does not think at all likely ; otherwise he judges it best that I should not encourage your coming. Thus it seems I cannot have at present the pleasure you were so kind as to propose for me. I can only join with you in earnest wishes for peace, a blessing which I shall hardly live to




With the greatest esteem and respect, I ain ever, dear Sir, &c. Endor dun hebroly B. FRANKLIN, * 25% eured qua av!






(EXTRACT.)moa të vogå

Passy, Oct. 5, 1781.
I congratulate your Excellency on your re-
I hope this seasoning will be the means of

securing your future health, by accommodating your constitution to the air of that country.

Since the letter your Excellency honoured me with of the 25th of August, I have learnt nothing new of the mediation. It seems to be at present in a state of stagnation; any farther proceedings in it that may come to my knowledge, shall be immediately communicated to you. This court appears attentive not only to the interest of the United States, but to their honour. England seems not yet tired enough of the war to think seriously of an accommodation, and till then our new commission will hardly afford us much employment, or make it necessary for us to appoint a secretary in its service; I send however enclosed, a copy of the minute of congress relating to that appointment. I have not heard of Mr. Dana's arrival at Petersburgh; if your Excellency has received any communicable advices from him, I shall be glad to see them, and to know whether he is likely to continue there. Enclosed is a letter for him, and another for yourself: they appear to me to have been opened; but they are in the state I received them, under cover from Mr. Nesbit of L'Orient.

A letter from America that has been shown me, mentions a resolution of congress to exchange General Burgoyne for Mr. Laurens; but I have never seen that resolution. Do you know any thing of it? I have a letter from Mr. Burke on the subject of that General, which I am at a loss to answer. I have the honour to be, &c. B. FRANKLIN.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]



Mi Passy, Oct. 12, 1781.

I received the letter your Excellency did me the honour of writing to me the 4th instant.

I have never known a peace made, even the most advantageous, that was not censured as inadequate, and the makers condemned as injudicious or corrupt. "BLESSED are the peace-makers," is, I suppose, to be understood in the other world, for in this they are frequently cursed. Being as yet rather too much attached to this world, I had therefore no ambition to be concerned in fabricating this peace, and know not how I came to be put into the commission. I esteem it, however, as an honour to be joined with you in so important a business; and if the execution of it shall happen in my time, which I hardly expect, shall endeavour to assist in discharging the duty according to the best of my judgment.

Immediately on receipt of the commission of instructions, I communicated them as directed, to this court. The steps that have been taken in the mediation, were verbally communicated to me, but as yet I have had no copies given me of the papers, I asked if it was not proper to communicate to the ministers of the mediating powers, the commission of congress empowering us to accept their mediation; and was advised to postpone it a little. I will endeavour on Tuesday next, to obtain for you a copy of the answer of the British court, which you desire, and will consult on the propriety of mentioning our commission in the public papers.

I have heard nothing of Mr. Jefferson. I imagine the story of his being taken prisoner is not true. From his

« PreviousContinue »