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by an enemy, while that enemy's testimony, that he had found them well supported by authentic vouchers, would have weighed more than the same testimony from a friend.

With regard to negociations for a peace, I see but little probability of their being entered upon seriously this year, unless the English minister had failed in raising his funds, which it is said he has secured; so that we must provide for another campaign, in which I hope God will continue to favor us, and humble our cruel and haughty enemies; a circumstance which, whatever Mr. Deane may say to the contrary, will give pleasure to all Europe.

This year opens well by the reduction of Port Mahon, the garrison prisoners of war, and we are not without hopes that Gibraltar may soon follow. A few more signal successes in America will do much towards reducing our enemies to reason.

Your expressions of good opinion with regard to me, and wishes of my continuance in this employment, are very obliging. As long as the congress think I can be useful to our affairs, it is my duty to obey their orders: but I should be happy to see them better executed by another, and myself at liberty; enjoying, before I quit the stage of life, some small degree of leisure and tranquillity.

With great esteem, &c.


WILLIAM ALEXANDER, ESQ. TO DR. FRANKLIN. Ostend, Sunday, 9 at night, March 3, 1782.


Although I expect to see you in a day or two after this comes to hand, I cannot let slip the oppor

tunity of Mr. Moore, formerly with Mr. Williams, to inform you that the address, in consequence of the question carried on Wednesday, was carried to the king by the whole opposition on Friday; that the answer, after the common-place phrases, and the repetition of the substance of the address, was declaring his disposition to comply with it; and that of pushing the war with vigor against the ancient enemies of the kingdom, until a safe and honorable peace could be obtained, which was his most earnest wish. This is the sense as delivered to me Friday evening by a member present. I have several letters for you, which I will deliver on my arrival, and can give you a good deal of the sentiments of parties in England. I left London yesterday. You will have all our public news up to Thursday. The first payment, 15 per cent. was made on the new loan Friday, and stock was got up at 2 per cent. thereafter. Mr. Moore goes away just now; so have only time to subscribe myself, with the most sincere esteem, dear sir, your most obedient humble servant, W. ALEXANDER.


Secretary of Foreign Affairs.

Passy, March 9, 1782.

I have just received the honor of yours, dated January the 7th. Your communication of the sentiments of congress, with respect to many points that may come under consideration in a treaty of peace, gives me great pleasure, and the more as they agree so perfectly with my own opinions, and furnish me with additional arguments in their support. I shall be more particular on this subject in

my next; for having notice from captain Barry last night, that he will not go to Brest, as I expected, to take in some of our goods, but will sail immediately on the return of the post, which sets out to-day, I am obliged to be short, You will see in the enclosed newspapers the full debate in the house of commons, on the subject of declining the war with North America. By private advices I learn, that the whole opposition, now become the majority, went up in a body with the address to the king, who answered, that he would pay a due regard to the advice of his faithful commons, and employ his forces with more vigor against the ancient enemies of the nation, or to that purpose; and that orders were immediately given for taking up a great number of large transports, among which are many old Ludia ships, whence it is conjectured that they intend some great effort in the West Indies, and perhaps mean to carry off their troops and stores from New York and Charleston. I hope however, that we shall not, in espectation of this, relax in our preparations for the approaching campaign.

I will procure the books you write for, and send them as soon as possible.

Present my duty to the congress, and believe me to be, with sincere esteem, &c. B. FRANKLIN.



London, March 11, 1782.

Mr. Digges, who will deliver this to you, informs me, that having been applied to for the purpose of communicating with Mr. Adams on the subject of his commission for treating of peace, he is now setting out for

Amsterdam, and that he intends afterwards to go to Paris to wait upon you. I understand the occasion to have arisen by some mention having been made in parliament, by General Conway, of persons not far off having authority to treat of peace, which was supposed to allude to Mr. Adams, and some friends of his in London. Ministry were, therefore, induced to make some inquiries themselves. This is what I am informed of the matter. When the proposal was made to Mr. Digges, he consulted me, I believe from motives of caution, that he might know what ground he had to stand upon, but not in the least apprised that I had been in any degree in course of corresponding with you on the subject of negociation. As I had informed the ministry from you, that other persons besides yourself were invested with powers of treating, I have nothing to say against their consulting the several respective parties. That is their own concern. I shall at all times content myself with observing the duties of my own conduct, attending to all circumstances with circumspection, and then leaving the conduct of others to their own reasons. I presume that ministry have only done what others would have done in their situation, to procure the most ample information that the case will admit. 1 rest contented to act in my own sphere, and if my exertions can be applied to any public good, I shall always be ready to take my part with sincerity and zeal. I am, my dear friend, your ever affectionate




London, March 12, 1782.

Enclosed with this I transmit to you the public parliamentary proceedings respecting the American war. If you will compare these proceedings with some others in several of the counties of this kingdom about two years ago, you will at once see the reason why many persons, who from principles of general and enlarged philanthropy do most certainly wish universal peace to mankind, yet seem restrained in their mode of endeavoring to obtain that object. We must accommodate our endeavors to practicabilities, in the strong hope that if the work of peace was once begun, it would soon become general. Parliament having declared their sentiments by their public proceedings, a general bill will soon pass to enable administration to treat with America, and to conclude. As to the sincerity of ministry, that will be judged of by their conduct in any treaty. The first object is to procure a meeting of qualified and authorised perYou have told me that four persons are empowered by a special commission to treat of peace. Are we to understand that each separately has power to conclude, or in what manner? The four persons whom you have mentioned are in four different parts of the world, viz. three of them in hostile states, and the fourth under circumstances very peculiar for a negociator. When I told Mr. Laurens that his name was in the commission, I found him entirely ignorant of every circumstance relating to it. I understand that the ministry will be ready to proceed towards opening a nego


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