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commission, and of the present sincere disposition in ministry to treat, and whether they would receive an appointed commissioner to speak for a truce, and mention a place for the meeting, &c.
Mr. Penn's referring Lord Beauchamp to me, as knowing the nature of Mr. Adams's former commission, was the sole cause of my being privy to, or a party in, the matter. I had various meetings with Lord Beauchamp in company with Mr. Penn on the subject; the particular memorandums of which, and Lord B.'s statement of what the ministry wanted to obtain, together with every other circumstance relative to the matter, 1 regularly consulted Mr. Laurens and Mr. D. Hartley upon ; and the result was my taking the journey hither, and to Paris, in order to put the questions (as they are before stated from Lord B. to Mr. Penn) and to bring an answer thereto. I am well convinced by Lord Beauchamp's pledge of his personal bonor, as well as from Mr. Hartley's telling me he knew the matter to come directly from Lord North, (for he visited him more than once to ascertain the fact) that it is a serious and sincere requisition from ministry, and that they will immediately take some steps to open a treaty, provided I go back with assurances that there is a power vested in Americans in Europe to treat and conclude, and that they are willing to avail themselves of such power when properly applied to.
I have stated the whole transaction to Mr. Adams, read every memorandum I had made, informed him of every circumstance I knew ; and when I put the questions (as they are before stated from Lord B. to Mr. Penn) he replied, « that there were certainly commissioners in Europe, of which body he was one, who had powers to treat and conclude upon peace; that he believed them willing to enter into such a treaty, provided a proper offer was made; but that no questions now or to be made in future could be answered by him without previously consulting his colleagues, and afterwards acquainting the ministers of the belligerent powers thereof.” Mr. Adams recommended that any future questions might be made directly to you; for that the present, as well as any subsequent propositions, would be immediately communicated to you and Mons. de Vergennes.
His answers to my questions were nearly what I foretold and expected, and is substantially what Lord Beauchamp seemed so anxious to procure. When I relate this answer to his lordship, my business will be finished in that quarter. I will here explain to you my only motive for being a messenger from him whom I had never known or been in company with before. It will enable me to say, I have done one favor for you; and I claim of you another, viz. to obtain a restoration of my papers from Lord Hillsborough's office, which were in a most illegal and unjustifiable manner seized from me near a twelvemonth ago, and are yet withheld notwithstanding the personal applications for them from Lord Coventry, Lord Nugent, and Mr. Jackson, each of whom have explained the injury and very extraordinary mischief the want of niy papers for so long a time has and is now doing me. On
my first conversation with Mr. Adams I had concluded to go to you, partly by his advice to do so; but as the expense of two journies where one may serve is of some import to me, and from supposing your answer would be substantially the same as that from Mr. Adams, I have thought it better to go back immediately to London, and then set out for Paris with the probability of being able to bear my papers.
I will take the liberty to trouble you with another letter if any thing occurs on my arrival in London. I am to leave this with Mr. Adams for forwardance; and for the present I have only to beg a line acknowledging the receipt of it. If your letter is put under a cover to Mr. Stockdale, Bookseller, Piccadilly, London, it will the more readily get to hand. I am, with great respect, Sir, your very obedient servant,
Ostend, 26th March. On my last visit to Mr. Adams, Friday evening, to explain to him the substance of the foregoing letter, and ask his forwardance of it to you, we had some further conversation on the inatter, the ultimate conclusion of which was, that it was thought better I did not send the annexed letter to you, or mention my business with him until my going in person from England. Mr. Adams's reasons were these. That if I made the communication then he should be necessitated to state the matter in a long letter to you and others of his colleagues; that the matter as it then stood was not of such importance but he could save himself the trouble of the explanation; and that as he recommended any future questions or applications to be made directly to you, your situation making it more convenient sooner to inform the French court thereof, he thought my letter had better be postponed, and the substance of it given in person as soon as I could possibly get from London to Paris. I acquiesced, though reluctantly, and having thought much on the matter on my journey hither, I have at length determined to forward the foregoing letter with this postscript, and at the same tiine to inform Mr. Adams of my exact feelings on the matter, viz. that my wishes and intentions when I left England were to see, and make known the matter to you; that through Mr. Hartley or some other channel you must hear that I had
been at Amsterdam, and my seemingly turning my back upon you might be thought oddly of; and finally that I could not answer for carrying the enclosure from Mr. Hartley back to England, not knowing the consequence it might be of. I hope and think I have done right in this matter. The purpose for my moving in the business I went to Mr. A. upon, , has, I own, been with a double view of serving myself in a matter of much consequence to me, for after delivering the explanations I carøy, I can with some degree of right and a very great probability of success, claim as a gratuity for the trouble and expence I have been at, the restoration of my papers ; the situation of which I have already explained to Lord Beauchamp, in order to get him to be a mover for them, and I have very little doubt that a few days will restore them to me, and give me an opportunity to speedily speak to you on a matter which gives me much uneasiness, vexation, and pain. Excuse the hurry in which I write, for I am very near the period of embarkation. Paul Wentworth embarked this day for England: I trod on his heels chief of the way from the Hague, which he left suddenly. General Faucit is on bis road hence to Hanover.
From His ExCELLENCY J. ADAMS, Esg.
TO DR. FRANKLIN.
The Hague, March 26, 1782.
One day last week, I received at Amsterdam a 'card from Digges, inelosing two letters to me, from Mr. David Hartley. The card desired to see me, upon business of importance; and the letters from Mr. Hartley contained au assurance, that to his knowledge, the bearer came from the highest authority. I answered the card, that in the pre- .. sent situation of affairs here and elsewhere, it was impossible for me to see any one from England without witness; but if be were willing to see me in presence of Mr. Thaxter, my
Secretary, and that I should communicate whatever he should say to me to Dr. Franklin, and the Comte de Vergennes, I would wait for him at home at ten o'clock; but that I had rather he should go to Paris without seeing me, and communicate what he had to say to Dr. Franklin, whose situation enabled him to consult the Court without loss of time. At ten however he came, and told me a long story about consultations with Mr. Penn, Mr. Hartley, Lord Beauchamp, and at last Lord North, by whom he was finally sent, to enquire of me, if I or any other had authority to treat with Great Britain of a truce. I answered, that "I came to Europe with full powers to make peace, that those powers had been announced to the public upon my arrival, and continued in force until last summer, when Congress sent a new commission, containing the same powers, to four persons, whom I named: that if the King of England were my father, and I the heir apparent to his throne, I could not advise him ever to think of a truce, because it would be but a real war, under a simulated appearance of tranquillity, and would end in another open and bloody war, without doing any real good to any of the parties.”
He said that the ministry would send some person of consequence over, perhaps General Conway, but they were apprehensive, that he would be ill-treated or exposed.” I said, "that if they resolved upon such a measure, I had rather they would send immediately to Dr. Franklin because of his situation near the French court. But there was no doubt, if they sent any respectable personage properly authorized, who should come to treat honorably, he would be treated with great respect. But that if he came to me, I could give him no opinion upon any thing without consulting my colleagues, and should reserve a right of communicating every thing to them, and to our allies."
He then said that s bis mission was finished. That the