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NOTE FROM LE MARQUIS DE LA FAYETTE TO
Paris, July 9, 1782.
I have the honor to inform you, my dear Sir, that Mr. Grenville's express is arrived this morning by way of Ostend. That gentleman is gone to Versailles. I fancy he will wait upon you, and I shall be much obliged to you, to let me know what your opinion is. I am going to Saint Germains, but if any intelligence comes to hand, will communicate it as soon as possible. Irest respectfully LA FAYETTE.
and affectionately, yours,
Passy, July 9, 1782.
Mr. Grenville has been with me in his return from Versailles. He tells me that Lord Rockingham being dead, Lord Shelburne is appointed first Lord of the Treasury; and that Mr. Fox has resigned; so that both the Secretaryships are vacant. That his communication to M. de Vergennes, was only that no change was thereby made in the dispositions of that Court for peace, &c., and he expects another courier with fuller instructions in a few days. As soon as I hear more I shall acquaint you with it. I am ever with great respect and affection, your most obedient humble servant,
Marquis de la Fayette.
TO DAVID HARTLEY, Esq. M. P.
Passy, July 10, 1782.
I received your favor of the 26th past by Mr. Young, and am indebted to you for some preceding. I do not know why the good work of peace goes on so slowly on your side. Some have imagined that your mi
nisters since Rodney's success are desirous of trying fortune a little further before they conclude the war: others, that they have not a good understanding with each other. What I have just heard seems to countenance this opinion. It is said Mr. Fox has resigned. We are ready here on the part of America to enter into treaty with you, in concurrence with our allies; and are disposed to be very reasonable; but if your plenipotentiary, notwithstanding that character, is upon every proposition obliged to send a courier and wait an answer, we shall not soon see the happy conclusion. It has been suspected too, that you wait to hear the effect of some overtures sent by General Carleton for a separate peace in America. A vessel just arrived from Maryland, brings us the unanimous resolutions of their assembly for continuing the war at all hazards rather than violate their faith with France. This is a sample of the success to be expected from such a measure; if it has really been taken; which I hardly believe.
There is methinks a point that has been too little considered in treaties, the means of making them durable. An honest peasant from the mountains of Provence, brought me the other day a manuscript he had written on the subject, and which he could not procure permission to print. It appeared to me to have much good sense in it; and therefore I got some copies to be struck off for him to distribute where he may think fit. I send you one enclosed. This man aims at no profit from his pamphlet or his project, asks for nothing, expects nothing, and does not even desire to be known. He has acquired he tells me a fortune of near 150 crowns a year (about 187. sterling) with which he is content. This you may imagine would not afford the expence of riding to Paris, so he came on foot; such was lus zeal for peace and the hope of forwarding and securing it by communicating his ideas to great men here. His rustic and poor
appearance has prevented his access to them; or obtaining their attention; but he does not seem yet to be discouraged. I honor much the character of this véritable philosophe.
I thank you much for your letters of May 1, 13, and 25, with your proposed preliminaries. It is a pleasure to me to find our sentiments so concurring on points of importance: it makes discussions as unnecessary as they might, between us, be inconvenient. I am, my dear Sir, with great esteem and affection, yours ever, B. FRANKLIN.
EXTRACT OF A LETTER TO B. VAUGHAN, ESQ.
Passy, July 10, 1782.
"By the original law of nations, war and extirpation was the punishment of injury. Humanizing by degrees, it admitted slavery instead of death. A farther step was, the exchange of prisoners instead of slavery. Another, to respect more the property of private persons under conquest, and to be content with acquired dominion. Why should not this law of nations go on improving? Ages have, intervened between its several steps; but as knowledge of late increases rapidly, why should not those steps be quickened? Why should it not be agreed to as the future law of nations that in any war hereafter the following descriptions of men should be undisturbed, have the protection of both sides, and be permitted to follow their employments in surety; viz.
1. Cultivators of the earth, because they labour for the subsistence of mankind.
2. Fishermen, for the same reason.
3. Merchants and traders, in unarmed ships, who accommodate different nations by communicating and exchanging the necessaries and conveniences of life.
4. Artists and mechanics, inhabiting and working in open
It is hardly necessary to add that the hospitals of enemies should be unmolested; they ought to be assisted.
In short, I would have nobody fought with but those who are paid for fighting. If obliged to take corn from the farmer, friend or enemy, I would pay him for it; the same for the fish or goods of the others.
This once established, that encouragement to war which arises from a spirit of rapine, would be taken away, and peace therefore more likely to continue and be lasting." B. FRANKLIN.
To B. VAUGHAN, ESQ.
Passy, July 11, 1782.
In mine of yesterday which went by Mr. Young I made no mention of yours of May 11, it not being before me. I have just now found it.
You speak of a "proposed dependent state of America, which you thought Mr. Oswald would begin with." As yet I have heard nothing of it. I have all along understood (perhaps I have understood more than was intended) that the point of dependence was given up, and that we were to be treated with as a free people. I am not sure that Mr. Oswald has explicitly said so, but I know that Mr. Grenville has, and that he was to make that declaration previous to the commencement of the treaty. It is now intimated to me from several quarters that Lord Shelburne's plan is to retain. sovereignty for the king, giving us otherwise an independent parliament, and a government similar to that of late intended for Ireland. If this be really his project, our negociation for peace will not go very far; the thing is impracticable and impossible, being inconsistent with the faith we have pledged, to say nothing of the general disposition of our people.
See Letter and Propositions to Richard Oswald, Esq. Jan. 14, 1783.
Upon the whole I should believe that though Lord S. might formerly have entertained such an idea, he had probably dropped it before he sent Mr. Oswald here: your words above cited do however throw a little doubt into my mind, and have with the intimations of others, made me less free in communication with his Lordship, whom I much esteem and honor, than I should otherwise have been. I wish therefore you would afford me what you can of eclaircissement.
This letter going by a courier will probably get to hand long before the one (preceding in date) which went by Mr. Young, who travels on foot. I therefore enclose the copy of it which was taken in the press. You may return it to me when the other arrives.
By the return of the courier, you may much oblige me, by communicating, what is fairly communicable, of the history of Mr. Fox's and Lord J. Cavendish's resignation, with any other changes made or likely to be made.
With sincere esteem, I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately, B. FRANKLIN.
LETTERS TO RICHARD OSWALD, ESQ. AND TO LORD
Passy, July 12, 1782.
I enclose a letter for Lord Shelburne, to go by your courier, with some others, of which I request his care. They may be put into the penny post. I have received a note informing me that "some opposition given by his Lordship to Mr. Fox's decided plan, of unequivocally acknowledging American independence, was one cause of that gentleman's resignation;" this, from what you have told me, appears improbable. It is farther said" that Mr. Grenville thinks Mr. Fox's resignation will be fatal to the present negociation." This perhaps is as groundless, as the former. Mr. Grenville's next courier will probably clear up matters. I