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to Versailles, and we saw the minister. Mr. Oswald ac quainted him with the disposition of his court to treat for a general peace and at Paris; and he announced Mr. Grenville, who he said was to set out about the same time with him, but as he would probably come by way of Ostend, might be a few days longer on the road. Some general conversation passed, agreeable enough, but not of importance. In our return Mr. Oswald repeated to me his opinion, that the affair of Canada would be settled to our satisfaction, and his wish that it might not be mentioned till towards the end of the treaty, He intimated too, that it was apprehended the greatest obstructions in the treaty might come from the part of Spain; but said if she was unreasonable, there were means to bring her to reason; that Russia was a friend to England, had lately made great discoveries on the back of North America, could make establishments there, and might easily transport an army from Kamschatka to the Coast of Mexico, and conquer all those countries. This appeared to me a little visionary at present, but I did not dispute it. On the whole I was able to draw so little from Mr. O. of the sentiments of Lord S. who had mentioned him as entrusted with the communication of them, that I could not but wonder at his being sent again to me, especially as Mr. Grenville was so soon to follow.
On Tuesday I was at court as usual on that day, M. de Vergennes asked me if Mr. Oswald had not opened himself farther to me. I acquainted him with the sight I had had of the minute of council, and of the loose expressions contained in it of what was in contemplation. He seemed to think it odd that he had brought nothing more explicit. I supposed Mr. Grenville might be better furnished.
The next morning. I wrote, the following letter to Mr.
Mr. Oswald, whom I mentioned in a former letter which I find you, have received, is returned, and brought me another letter from Lord Shelburne, of which the above is a copy. It says, Mr. Oswald is instructed to communicate to me his Lordship's thoughts. He is however very sparing of such communication. All I have got from him is that the ministry have in contemplation the " allowing Independence to America on condition of Britain being put again into the state she was left in by the peace of 1763," which I suppose means being put again in possession of the islands France has taken from her. This seems to me a proposition of selling to us a thing that is already our own, and making France pay the price they are pleased to ask for it. Mr. Grenville, who is sent by Mr. Fox, is expected here daily. Mr. Oswald tells me that Mr. Laurens will soon be here also. Yours of the 2d instant is just come to hand. I shall write to you on this affair hereafter by the Court couriers, for I am certain your letters to me are opened at the post office either here or in Holland. I suppose mine to you are treated in the same manner.
your last that you may see the seal. am, Sir, your Excellency's, &c. &c.
I enclose the cover of
With great respect I
I had but just sent away this letter, when Mr. Oswald came in, bringing with him Mr. Grenville, who was recently arrived. He gave me the following letter from Mr. Secre tary Fox.
St. James's, May 1, 1782.
Though Mr. Oswald will no doubt have informed you of the nature of Mr. Grenville's commission, yet I cannot refrain from making use of the opportunity his going offers me, to assure you of the esteem and respect which I have borne to your character, and to beg you to believe, that no change in my situation has made any in those ardent wishes for reconciliation which I have invariably felt from the very beginning of this unhappy contest.
Mr. Grenville is fully acquainted with my sentiments upon this subject, and with the sanguine hopes which I have conceived that those with whom we are contending are too reasonable to continue a contest, which has no longer any object either real or even imaginary.
I know your liberahty of mind too well to be afraid lest any prejudices against Mr. Grenville's name may prevent you from esteeming those excellent qualities of heart and head which belong to him, or from giving the fullest credit to the sincerity of his wishes for peace, in which no man' in either country goes beyond him. I am, with great truth and regard, Sir, your most obedient lrumble servant,
C. J. Fox..
I imagined the gentlemen had been at Versailles, as I supposed Mr. G. would first have waited on M. de Vergennės, before he called on me. But finding in conversaexpected me to introduce
tion that he had not, and that he him, I immediately wrote to that minister, acquainting him that Mr. G. was arrived, and desired to know when his Excellency would think fit to receive him: and I sent an express with my letter. I then entered into conversation with him on the subject of his mission, Mr. Fox having referred me to him as being fully acquainted with his sentiments. He said that peace was really wished for by every
body, if it could be obtained on reasonable terms; and as the idea of subjugating America was given up, and both France and America had thereby obtained what they had in view originally, it was hoped that there now remained no obstacle to a pacification. That England was willing to treat of a general peace with all the powers at war against her, and that the treaty should be at Paris. I did not press him much for farther particulars, supposing they were re served for our interview with M. de Vergennes. The gentlemen did me the honor of staying dinner with me, on the supposition which I urged that my express might be back before we parted. This gave me an opportunity of a good deal of general conversation with Mr. Grenville, who appeared to me a sensible, judicious, intelligent, good-tempered, and well-instructed young man, answering well the character Mr. Fox had given me of him. They left me however about six o'clock, and my messenger did not return till near ninc. He brought me the answer of M. le Comte de Vergennes, that he was glad to hear of Mr. Grenville's arrival, and would be ready to receive us to-morrow at halfpast 10 or 11 o'clock. I immediately enclosed his note in one to Mr. Grenville, requesting him to be with me at Passy by eight, that we might have time to breakfast, before we set out. I have preserved no copy of these three last mentioned notes, or I should have inserted them, as I think that though they seem of almost too trifling a nature, they serve usefully sometimes to settle dates, authenticate facts, and show some. thing of the turn and manner of thinking of the writers, on particular occasions. The answer I received was as follows:
"Mr. Grenville presents his compliments to Mr. Franklin, and will certainly do himself the honor of waiting upon Mr. Franklin to-morrow morning at 8 o'clock.
"Rue de Richelieu, Wednesday Night."
We set out accordingly the next morning in my coach from Passy, and arrived punctually at M. de Vergennes's, who received Mr. Grenville in the most cordial manner, on ac count of the acquaintance and friendship that had formerly subsisted between his uncle and M. de Vergennes when they were ambassadors together at Constantinople. After some little agreeable conversation, Mr. Grenville presented his letters from Mr. Secretary Fox, and I think from the Duke of Richmond. When these were read the subject of peace was entered on. What my memory retains of the discourse amounts to little more than this, that after mutual declarations of the good disposition of the two Courts, Mr. Grenville having intimated that in case England gave America independence, France, it was expected, would restore the conquests she had made of British Islands, receiving back those of Miquelon and St. Pierre. And the original object of the war being obtained, it was supposed that France would be contented with that. The minister seemed to smile at the proposed exchange. America, said he, does not ask it of you; there is Mr. Franklin, he will answer you as to that point. To be sure, I said, we do not consider ourselves as under any necessity of bargaining for a thing that is our own, which we have bought at the expence of much blood and treasure, and which we are in possession of. As to our being satisfied with the original object of the war, continued he, look back to the conduct of your nation in former wars. In the last war, for example, what was the object? It was the disputed right to some waste lands on the Ohio, and the frontier of Nova Scotia; did you content yourselves with the recovery of those lands? No, you retained at the peace all Canada, all Louisiana, all Florida, Grenada, and other West India islands, the greatest part of Northern Fisheries; with all your conquests in Africa and the East Indies. Something being mentioned of its not being reasonable that a nation,