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To RoB. R. Livingston, Esg. SIR,
Passy, March 4, 1782. Since I wrote the two short letters of which I herewith send you copies, I have been honored with yours, No. 5, dated the 16th December. } }
Enclosed I send copies of two letters from M. le Comte de Vergennes, relating to certain complaints from Ostend and Copenhagen against our cruisers. I formerly forwarded a similar complaint from Portugal, to which I have yet received no answer. The ambassador of that kingdom frequently asks me for it. I hope now, that by your means, these kind of affairs will be more immediately attended to; ill blood and mischief may be thereby sometimes prevented.
The Marquis de la Fayette was, at his return hither, received by all ranks with all possible distinction. He daily gains in the general esteem and affection, and promises to be a great man here. He is warmly attached to our cause; we are on the most friendly and confidential footing, with each other, and he is really very serviceable to me in my applications for additional assistance.
I have done what I could in recommending Messieurs Duportail and Gouvion, as you desired. I did it with pleasure, as I have much esteem for them.
I will endeavor to procure a sketch of an emblem for the purpose you mention. This puts me in mind of a medal I have had a mind to strike since the late great event you give me an account of, representing the United States by the figure of an infant Hercules in his cradle, strangling the two serpents; and France, by that of Minerva, sitting by as his nurse, with her spear and helmet, and her robe speckled with a few fleur-de-lis. The extinguishing two entire armies
in one war, is what has rarely if ever happened, and it gives a presage of the future force of our growing empire."
I thank you much for the newspapers you have been so kind as to send me. I send also to you, by every opportunity, packets of the French, Dutch, and English papers. Enclosed is the last Courier of Europe, wherein you will find a late curious debate on continuing the war with America, which the minister carried in the affirmative only by his own vote! It seems the nation is sick of it: but the king is obstinate. There is a change made of the American secretary, and another talked of in the room of Lord Sandwich : but I suppose we have no reason to desire such changes. If the king will have a war with us, his old servants are as well for us as any he is likely to put in their places. The ministry, you will see, declare that their war in America is for the future to be only defensive. I hope we shall be too prudent to have the least dependence on this declaration; it is only thrown out to lull us. For, depend upon it, the king hates 'us cordially, and will be content with nothing short of our extirpation.
I shall be glad to receive the account you are preparing of the wanton damages done our possessions. I wish you could also furnish me with one of the barbarities committed on our people. They may both be of excellent use on certain occasions.
The friendly disposition of this court towards us, conti
This Dr. Franklio subsequently had executed, with some variation in the device; to which was added the dates of the two victories, (17 Oct. 1777, and 19 Oct. 1781,) and the motto, “ NON sine Diis ANIMOSUS INFANS."-On the reverse of the medal was a beautiful head of Liberty: on the exergue, “ LIBERTAS AMERICANA," and the date of American independence,“ 4 July, 1776."
nues. We have sometimes pressed a little too hard, expecting and demanding perhaps more than we ought, and have used improper arguments, which may have occasioned a hittlé dissatisfaction, but it has not been lasting. In my opinion, the surest way to obtain liberal aid froin others, is vigorously to help ourselves. People fear assisting the negligent, the indolent, and the careless, lest the aids they afford should be lost. I know we have done a great deal; but it is said we are apt to be supine after a little success, and toe backward in furnishing our contingents. This is really a generous nation, fond of glory, and particularly that of protecting the oppressed. Trade is not the admiration of the noblesse, who always govern here. Telling them their commerce will be advantaged by our success, and that it is their interest to help us, seems as much as to say, help us, and we shall not be obliged to you. Such indiscreet and iniproper language has been sometimes held here by some of our people, and produced no good effects.
The constant harmony subsisting between the armies of the two nations in America, is a circumstance that has afforded me infinite pleasure. It should be carefully cultivated : I hope nothing will happen to disturb it. The French officers who have returned to France this winter, speak of our people in the handsomest and kindest manner, and there is a strong desire in many of the young nobility to go over to fight for us : there is no restraining some of them; and several changes among the officers of their army have lately taken place in consequence.
Generals Cornwallis and Arnold are both arrived in England. It is reported that the former, in all his conversations, discourages the prosecution of the war in America : if so, he will of course be out of favor. We hear much of audiences given to the latter, and of his being present at councils. He seems to mix as naturally with that polluted court as pitch with tar : there is no being in vature too base for them to associate with, provided he may be thought capable of serving their purposes.
You desire to know whether any intercepted letters of Mr. Deanne have been published in Europe ? I have seen but one in the English papers, that to Mr. Wadsworth; and none in any of the French and Dutch papers ; but some may have been printed that have not fallen in my way. There is no doubt of their being all genuine. His conver, sations since his return from America have, as I have been informed, gone gradually more and more into that style, and at length came to an open vindication of Arnold's conduct; and within these few days he has sent me a letter of twenty full pages, recapitulating those letters, and threatening to write and publish an account of the treatment he has received from congress, &c. He resides at Ghent, is distressed both in mind and in circumstances, raves and writes abundance, and I imagine it will end in his going over to join his friend Arnold in Englaud. I had an exceeding good opinion of him when he acted with me, and I believe he was then sincere and hearty in our cause. But he is changed, and his character ruined in his own country and in this; so that I see no other but England to which he can now retire. He says we owe him about 12,000l. sterling; and his great complaint is, that we do not settle his accounts and
him. Mr. Johnson having declined the service, I proposed engaging Mr. Searle to undertake it; but Mr. Deane objected to him as being his enemy. In my opinion he was, for that reason, even fitter for the service of Mr. Deane, since accounts are of a mathematical nature, and cannot be changed
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 raisiug 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, Esg. To Dr. FRANKLIN.
Ostend, Sunday, 9 at night, March 3, 1782. MY DEAR SIR,
Although I expect to see you in a day or two after this comes to hand, I cannot let slip the oppor