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raise it; and perhaps that difficulty might be avoided by shutting up the Exchequer, stopping the payment of the interest of the public funds, and applying that money to the support of the war. I made no reply
I made no reply to this, for I did not desire to discourage their stopping payment, which I considered as cutting the throat of their publio credit, and a means of adding fresh exasperation against them with the neighbouring nations : such menaces were besides an encouragement with me, remembering the adage, that they wcho threaten are afraid.
The next morning, when I had written the above letter to Lord Shelburne, I went with it to Mr. Oswald's lodgings, and gave it him to read before I sealed it, that in case any thing might be in it with which he was not satisfied, it might be corrected; but he expressed himself much pleased. In going to him, I had also in view the entering into a conversation, which might draw out something of the mind of his court on the subject of Canada and Nova Scotia." I'had thrown out some loose thoughts on paper, which I intended to serve as memorandums for my discourse, but without a fixed intention of showing them to him. On his saying that he was obliged to me for the good opimon l'had expressed of him to Lord Shelburne in my letter, and assuring that he had entertained the same of ine; I observed, that I perceived Lord S. placed great confidence in him, and as we had happily the same in each other, we might possibly by a free communication of sentiments, and a previous settling of our own minds, on some of the important points, be the means of great good, byʻin pressing our sentiments on the minds of those with whom they might have influence, and where their being received might be of importance. I then remarked that his nation seemed to desire a reconciliation with America; that I heartily wished the same thing; that a mere peace would not produce half its advantages if not attended with a sincere reconciliation; that to obtain this the party which had been the aggressors, and had cruelly treated the other, should show some marks of concern for what was past, and some disposition to make reparation : that perhaps there were things which America might demand by way of reparation, and which England might yield, but that the effect would be vastly greater if they appeared to be voluntai , and to spring from returning good-will; that I thereforu wislied England would think of offering something to relieve them who had suffered by its scalping and burning parties; lives indeed could not be restored nor compensated, but the villages and houses wantonly destroyed might be rebuilt, &c. I then touched upon tlie affair of Canada, and as in a former conversation he had maintained his opinion, that the giving up of that country to the English at the last peace had been a politic act in France, for that it liad weakened the ties between England and her colonies, and that he himself had predicted from it the late revolution; I spoke of the occasions of future quarrels that might be produced by her continuing to hold it; hinting at the same time, but noi expressing it too plainly, that such a situation, to us so dangerous, would necessarily oblige us to cultivate and strengthen our union with France. He appeared much struck with my discourse ; and as I frequently looked at my paper, he desired to see it. After some little delay, I allowed him to read it. The following is an exact copy.
NOTES OF CONVERSATION.
“ To make a peace durable, what may give occasion for future wars, should, if practicable, be removed.
The territory of the United States and that of Canada by long extended frontiers touch each other.
The settlers on the frontiers of the American provinces are generally the most disorderly of the people, who-being: far removed from the eve 'and control of their respective governments, are more bold in committing offences agaibst neighbours, and are for ever occasioning complaints, and l'urnishing matter for fresh differences between their atates. 1. By the Hate debatės in parliament, and public writings, it appears that Britain 'desires a reconciliation with the Ame; ricains. It is a sweet word. - It means much more than a meie peace, and it is heartily to be wished for. Nations make a peace whenever they are both weary of making war. Bur if one of them'has made war upon the other unjustly, anel has 'wautónly and unnecessarily done it great injuries, and retuses reparation; though there may for the present be peüce, the resentment of those injuries will remain, and will break out again in vengeancè, 'when occasions offer. Those occasions will be watched for by one side, feared by the other; and the peace will never be secure; nor can any cordiality subsist between them.
Many houses and villages have been burnt in America, by the English and their allies the Indians. I do not know that the Americans will insist on reparation. Perhaps they may. But would it not be better for England to offer it? Nothing would have a greater tendency to conciliate. And much of the future commerce and returning intercourse between the two countries may depend on the reconciliation. Would not the advantage of reconciliation by such means be greater than the expence? . If then a way can be proposed which may tend to efface the memory of injuries, at the same time that it takes away the occasions of fresh quarrels and mischief, will it not be worth considering, especially if it can be done not only without expence, but be a means of saving.
Britain possesses Canada. Her chief advantage from that
possession consists in the trade for peltry. Her expences in governing and defending that settlement must be considerable. It might be humiliating to her to give it up on the demand of America. Perhaps America will not demand it. Some of her political rulers may consider the fear of such a neighbour as a means of keeping the thirteen States more united among themselves, and more attentive to military discipline, But in the mind of the people in general, would it not have an excellent effect if Britain should voluntarily offer to give up that province; though on these conditions, that she should in all time coming have and enjoy the right of free trade thither unincumbered with any duties whatsoever; that so much of the waste lands, there shall be sold as will raise a sum sufficient to pay for the houses burnt by the British troops and their Indians, and also to indemnify the Royalists for the confiscation of their estates.
This is mere conversation matter between Mr. O. and Mr. F. as the former is not empowered to make propositions, and the latter cannot make any without the concurrence of his colleagues."
He then told me that nothing in his judgment could be clearer, more satisfactory, and convincing than the reasonings in that paper; that he would do his utmost to impress Lord Shelburne with them; that as his memory might not do them justice, and it would be impossible for him to express them so well, or state them so clearly as I had written them, he begged I would let him take the paper with him, assuring me that he would return it safely into my hands. I at length complied with this request also. We parted exceeding good friends, and he set out for London.
By the first opportunity afterwards, I wrote the following letter to Mr. Adams, and sent the papers therein mentioned, that he might be fully apprized of the proceedings. I omitted only the paper of notes for contersation with Mr. Oswald, bút' gave the substance as appears in the letter. The reason of my omitting it was, that'ont refleetion; 1° was not pleased with my having hinted a "reparation top 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.
Passy, April 20, 1789, 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 sơ 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 Mt. 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 cona versation 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 us by 'burming our towns, &c. bad made dėép impressions of resentment that would long remain; that much of the advantage to the commerce of England from a peace, would depend on’a récona ciltation; 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