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couraged. I honor much the character of this véritable philosophe.
I thank you much for your letters of May the 1st, 13th, and 25th, with your proposed preliminaries. It is a pleasure to me, to find our sentiments so concurring on points of importance; it makes discussions as unnecessary as they might between us be inconvenient. I am, my dear Sir, with great esteem and affection, yours ever,
TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN.
Plan of Lord Shelburne to retain the Sovereignty of the
King over America, with an independent Parliament in that Country. — The Plan impracticable.
Passy, 11 July, 1782 DEAR SIR, In mine of yesterday, which went by Mr. Young, I made no mention of yours of May 11th, it not being before me. I have just found it.
You speak of a “proposed dependent State of America, which you thought Mr. Oswald would begin with.” As yet, I have heard nothing of it. I have all along understood (perhaps I have understood more than was intended), that the point of dependence was given up, and that we are to be treated with as a free people. I am not sure that Mr. Oswald has explicitly said so, but I know that Mr. Grenville has, and that he was to make that declaration previous to the commencement of the treaty. It is now intimated to me from several quarters, that Lord Shelburne's plan is, to retain the sovereignty for the King, giving us otherwise an independent Parliament, and a government similar
to that of late intended for Ireland. If this be really his project, our negotiation for peace will not go very far. The thing is impracticable and impossible, being inconsistent with the faith we have pledged, to say nothing of the general disposition of our people. Upon the whole I should believe, that, though Lord Shelburne might formerly have entertained such an idea, he had probably dropped it before he sent Mr. Oswald here; your words above cited do however throw a little doubt in my mind, and have, with the intimations of others, made me less free in communication with his Lordship, whom I much esteem and honor, than I should otherwise have been. I wish, therefore, you would afford me what you can of éclaircissement.*
• From Richard Oswald to the Earl of Shelburne. — “I plainly see the Doctor inclines, that their business should be done under a separate commission. As to any information I can give in relation to these affairs, which your Lordship recommends to me, I beg leave to say, that, although I had better opportunities of conversation than I have, there is very little to be got here. I will however not scruple to give my opinion as things occur to me, namely, that the more anxious we appear for peace, the more backward the people here will be, or the harder in their terms, which is much the same thing; and that, having fully satisfied this court of our desire to put an end to the war, as has been done, the more vigorously our exertions are pushed in the interim, we shall come sooner to our purpose, and on better terms.
«With respect to the Commissioners of the colonies, our conduct towards them, I think, ought to be of a style somewhat different. They have shown a desire to treat, and to end with us on a separate footing from the other powers; and, I must say, in a more liberal way, or at least with a greater appearance of feeling for the future interests and connexions of Great Britain, than I expected. I speak so from the text of the last conversation I had with Dr. Franklin, as mentioned in my letter of yesterday. And therefore we ought to deal with them tenderly, and as supposed conciliated friends, or at least well disposed to a conciliation, and not as if we had any thing to give them, that we keep from them, or that they are very anxious to have. Even Dr. Franklin himself, as the subject happened to lead that way, as good as told me yesterday, that they were their own masters, and seemed to
This letter, going by a courier, will probably get to hand long before the one preceding in date, which went by Mr. Young, who travels on foot. I therefore enclose the copy of it, which was taken in the preşs. You may return it to me when the other arrives.
By the return of the courier, you may oblige me, by communicating what is fairly communicable, of the history of Mr. Fox's and Lord J. Cavendish's resignation, with any other changes made or likely to be made. With sincere esteem, I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,
make no account of the grant of independence as a favor. I was so much satisfied beforehand of their ideas on that head, that I will own to your Lordship, I did not read to the Doctor that part of your letter, wherein you mentioned that grant as if, in some shape, it challenged a return on their part. - When the Doctor pointed at the object of the Enabling Bill, as singly resting on a dispensation of acts of Parliament they cared not for, I thought it enough for me to say, they had been binding and acknowledged ; to which no answer was made. When the Doctor mentioned the report as if there was an expectation of retaining the sovereignty, I ventured a little further, though with a guarded caution, to touch him on the only tender side of their supposed present emancipation, and said, that such a report was possibly owing to the imagination of people, upon hearing of the rejoicing in America, on the cessation of war, change of ministry, &c., which they might conclude would have some effect in dividing the provinces, and giving a different turn to affairs; as no doubt there was a great proportion of these people, notwithstanding all that had happened, who, from considerations of original affinity, correspondence, and other circumstances, were still strongly attached to England. To this also there was no answer made.
“At the same time I cannot but say, that I was much pleased upon the whole with what passed on the occasion of this interview. And I really believe the Doctor sincerely wishes for a speedy settlement, and that, after the loss of dependence, we may lose no more; but, on the contrary, that a cordial reconciliation may take place over all that country.
“ Amongst other things I was pleased at his showing me a state of the aids they had received from France, as it looked as if he wanted I should see the amount of their obligations to their ally; and as if it was the only foundation of the ties France had over them, excepting
.'. TO RICHARD OSWALD.
... Passy, 12 July, 1782. SIR, I enclose a letter for Lord Shelburne, to go by your courier, with some others, of which I request his care. They may be put into the penny post. I have received a note informing me, that “some opposition given by his Lordship to Mr. Fox's decided plan of
gratitude, which the Doctor owned in so many words. But at the same time he said the debt would be punctually and easily discharged; France having given to 1788 to pay it. The Doctor also particularly took notice of the discharge of the interest to the term of the peace, which he said was kind and generous. It is possible I may make a wrong estimate of the situation of the American business, and of the chance of a total or partial recoyery being desperate. In that case my opinion will have no weight, and so will do no hurt; yet in my present sentiments I cannot help offering it, as thinking that circumstances are in that situation that I heartily wish we were done with these people, and as quickly as possible, since we have much to fear from them, in case of their taking the pet, and throwing themselves into more close connexions with this court, and our other enemies.
« Since writing the above, I am told by a friend who had some conversation with Dr. Franklin this morning, that he (the Doctor) had received a letter from some person in England, who is no friend to the late changes, giving among other things an account as if the new administration were not so well disposed to end so quickly and agreeably with the colonies, as those who have left it. This, the gentleman told me, led the Doctor to express himself very strongly as to his desire of quick despatch, as he wanted much to go home, and have the chance of a few years' repose, having but a short time to live in the world, and had also much private business to do.
"I should therefore hope it may be possible soon to bring their business near to a final close, and that they will not be any way stiff as to those articles he called advisable; or will drop them altogether. Those he called necessary will hardly be any obstacle. I shall be able to make a better guess when I have another meeting with him jointly with Mr. Jay, which I hope to have by the time this courier returns.” – Paris, July 11th. MS. Lelter.
unequivocally acknowledging American independence, was one cause of that gentleman's resignation ;” this, from what you have told me, appears improbable. It is further said, that “Mr. Grenville thinks Mr. Fox's resignation will be fatal to the present negotiation.” This perhaps is as groundless as the former. Mr. Grenville's next courier will probably clear up matters. I did understand from him, that such an acknowledgment was intended previous to the commencement of the treaty ; until it is made, and the treaty formally begun, propositions and discussions seem, in consideration, to be untimely; nor can I enter into particulars without Mr. Jay, who is now ill with the influenza. My letter, therefore, to his Lordship is merely complimentary on his late appointment. I wish a continuance of your health, in that at present sickly city, being with sincere esteem, Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant,
P. S. I send you enclosed the late resolutions of the State of Maryland, by which the general disposition of people in America may be guessed respecting any treaty to be proposed by General Carleton, if intended, which I do not believe.
TO THE EARL OF SHELBURNE.
Passy, 12 July, 1782 My LORD, Mr. Oswald informing me, that he is about to despatch a courier, I embrace the opportunity of congratulating your Lordship on your appointment to the Treasury. It is an extension of your power to do good, and in that view, if in no other, it must increase your