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omitted only the paper of notes for conversation with Mr. Oswald, but gave the substance as appears in the letter. The reason of my omitting it was, that on reflection, I was not pleased with my having hinted a reparation to the Tories for their forfeited estates; and I was a little ashamed of my weakness in permitting the paper to go out of my hands.soa a
I hope your Excellency received the copy of
our instructions which I sent by the courier from Versailles some weeks since. I wrote to you on the 13th to go by Captain Smedley, and sent a packet of correspondence with Mr. Hartley. Smedley did not leave Paris so soon as I expected: but you should have it by this time. With this I send a fresh correspondence which I have been drawn into, viz. 1. A letter I sent to Lord Shelburne before he was minister. 2. His answer by Mr. Oswald since he was minister. 3. A letter from Mr. Laurens. 4. My letter to M. de Vergennes. 5. My answer to Lord Shelburne. 6. My answer to Mr. Laurens. 7. Copy of Digges's report. These papers will inform you pretty well of what passed between me and Mr. Oswald, except that in a conversation at parting I mentioned to him, that I observed they spoke much in England of obtaining a reconciliation with the colonies; that this was more than a mere peace; that the latter might possibly be obtained without the former; that the cruel injuries, wantonly done as by burning our towns, &c. had made deep impressions of resentment that would dong remain; that much of the advantage to the com merce of England from a peace, would depend on a recon ciliation; that the peace without a reconciliation would probably not be durable; that after a quarrel between friends, nothing tended so much to conciliate, as offers made by the
aggressor of reparation for injuries done by him in his pas sion. And I hinted if England should make us a voluntary offer of Canada expressly for that purpose, it might have a good effect. Mr. Oswald liked much the idea, said they were too much straitened for money to make us pecuniary reparation, but he should endeavour to persuade their doing it in this way. He is furnished with a passport to go and return by Calais, and I expect him back in ten or twelve days. I wish you and Mr. Laurens could be here when he arrives: for I shall much want your advice, and cannot act without your concurrence. If the present crisis of your affairs prevents your coming, I hope at least Mr. Laurens will be here, and we must communicate with you by expresses, for your letters to me per post are generally opened. I shall write per next post requesting Mr. Jay to be here also as soon as possible.
I received your letter advising of a draft on me for a quarter's salary, which will be duly honored. With great esteem, I have the honor to be your Excellency's, &c. &c.
!: Supposing Mr. Laurens to be in Holland with Mr. Adams, I at the same time wrote the following letter:
TO HENRY LAURENS, ESQ. &c.,
Passy, April 20, 1782. I received by Mr. Oswald the letter you did me the honor of writing to me the 7th instant; he brought me also a letter from Lord Shelburne, which gave him the same good character that you do, adding, " he is fully apprized of my mind, and you may give full credit to every thing he assures you of." Mr. Oswald, however, could give me no other particulars of his Lordship's mind, but that he was sincerely disposed to peace. As the message seemed
therefore rather intended to procure or receive propositions than to make any, I told Mr. Oswald that I could make none but in concurrence with my colleagues in the commission, and that if we were together we should not treat but in conjunction with France, and I proposed introducing him to M. de Vergennes, which he accepted. He made to that minister the same declaration of the disposition of England to peace, who replied that France had already the same good dispositions; that a treaty might be immediately begun, but it must be for a general, not particular peace. That as to the place, he thought Paris might be most convenient, as Spain had here already an ambassador, and the American, commissioners could easily be assembled here: this upon a supposition of the parties treating directly with each other without the intervention of mediators. But if the mediation was to be used, it might be at Vienna. The King his master however was so truly disposed to peace, that he would agree to any place the King of England should chuse; and would at the treaty give proof of the confidence that might be placed in any engagements he should enter into, by the fidelity and exactitude with which he should observe those he already had with his present allies. Mr. Oswald is returned with these general answers, by the way of Calais, and expects to be here again in a few days. I wish it might be convenient for you and Mr. Adams to be here at the same time but if the present critical situation of affairs there, make his being in Holland necessary just now, I hope you may nevertheless be here, bringing with you his opinion and advice. I have proposed to Lord Shelburne to discharge you from the obligations you entered into at the time of your enlargement, that you may act more freely in the treaty he desires. I had done myself the honor of writing to you a few days before the arrival of Mr. Oswald. My letter went by Mr. Young, your secretary, and enclosed a copy of
our commission, with an offer of money if you had occasion' for any. Hoping that you will not return to England before you have been at Paris, I forbear enlarging on the state of our affairs here and in Spain. M. de Vergennes told me he should be very glad to see you here. I found Mr. Oswald to answer perfectly the character you gave me of him, and was much pleased with him. I have the honor to be, with great esteem and respect, Sir, &c. &c.
Just after I had dispatched these letters, I received the following from Mr. Adams.
Amsterdam, April 16, 1782.
Yesterday noon, Mr. William Vaughan of London, came to my house with Mr. Laurens, a son of the President, and brought me a line from the latter, and told me that the President was at Haerlem, and desired to see me. I went out to Haerlem, and found my old friend at the Golden Lion.
He told me he was come partly for his health, and the pleasure of seeing me, and partly to converse with me, and see if he had at present just ideas and views of things; at least to see if we agreed in sentiment, and having been desired by several of the new ministry to do so.
I asked him if he was at liberty? He said, No, that he was still under parole, but at liberty to say what he pleased
I told him that I could not communicate to him, being a prisoner, even his own instructions, nor enter into any consultations with him as one of our colleagues in the commis sion for peace: that all I should say to him would be as one private citizen conversing with another: but that upon all
such occasions. I should reserve a right to communicate whatever should pass to our colleagues and allies.
He said, that Lord Shelburne and others of the new minis ters were anxious to know whether there was any authority to treat of a separate peace, and whether there could be an accommodation upon any terms short of independence ; that he had ever answered them, that nothing short of an express or tacit acknowledgment of our independence in his opinion would ever be accepted, and that no treaty ever would or could be made separate from France. He asked me if his answers had been right? I told him, I was fully of that opinion.
He said, that the new ministers had received Digges's report, but his character was such that they did not chuse to depend upon it: that a person by the name of Oswald, P think, set off for Paris to see you, about the same time that he came away to see me.
I desired him, between him and me, to consider, without saying any thing of it to the ministry, whether we could ever have a real peace with Canada and Nova Scotia in the hands of the English? And whether we ought not to insist at least upon a stipulation, that they should keep no standing army or regular troops, nor erect any fortifications on the frontiers of either? That at present I saw no motive that we had to be anxious for a peace, and if the nation was not ripe for it upon proper terms, we might wait patiently till they should
I found the old gentleman perfectly sound in his system of politics. He has a very poor opinion both of the integrity and abilities of the new ministry, as well as the old He thinks they know not what they are about; that they are spoiled by the same insincerity, duplicity, falsehood, and corruption, with the former. Lord Shelburne still flatters the king with ideas of conciliation and separate peace, &od