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of the famous Mr. George Grenville, formerly Chancellor of the Exchequer.
I immediately wrote the following note to M. le Comte de Vergennes.
Passy, May 4, 1782. I have the honor to acquaint your Excellency that Mr. Oswald is just returned from London, and now with me. He has delivered me a letter from Lord Shelburne, which I enclose for your perusal, together with a copy
of my letter to which it is an answer. He tells me, that it has been agreed in council to treat at Paris, and to treat of a general peace; and that as it is more particularly in the department of Mr. Fox, to regulate the circumstantials, a gentleman, (Mr. Grenville,) to be sent by him for that purpose, may be daily expected here. Mr. Oswald will wait on your Excellency whenever you shall think fit to receive him. I am with respect, your Excellency's most obedient and most, &c. &c.
And the next day I received the following answer.
à Versailles, le 5 May, 1782. J'ai reçu, Monsieur, la lettre que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'éerire le 4 de ce mois, ainsi que celles qui y étoient jointes. Je vous verrai avec plaisir avec votre ami demain matin à onze heures.
J'ai l'honneur d'être sincèrement, Monsieur, votre très humble et très obéissant serviteur,
Accordingly on Monday morning I went with Mr. Oswald to Versailles, and we saw the minister. Mr. Oswald acquainted 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 bis 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.
Passy, May 8, 1782. 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. I enclose the cover of your-last that you may see the seal. With great respect I am, Sir, your Excellency's, &c. &c.
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
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 liberality 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 mau in either country goes beyond him. I am, with great truth and regard, Sir, your most obedient humble servant,
C. J. Fox.
I imagined the gentlemen had been at Versailles, as I supposed Mr. G. would first have waited on M. de Vergennes, before he called on me. But fuding in conversation that he had not, and that he expected me to introduce 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 bim: 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 bis senti ments. He said that peace was really wished for by every
body, if it could be abtained 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 rem served for our interview with M. de Vergennes. The gentlemen did me the honor of staying dinner with me, onthe 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 the ai 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 nine. ( He brought me the answer of M. le Comte de Vergénnes, 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 to copy of these three last mentioned Hotes, or I should have inserted them, as I think that though they seem of almost too trilling 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:
O bisin « Mr. Grenville presents his compliments to Mr. Franklin, and will certainly do himself the honor of waiting upon Mri Franklin to-morrow morning at 8 o'clock.
“ Rue de Richelieu, Wednesday Night." Latvia