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Croix River, which highlands were referred to, what were the rivers falling into the ocean, and to which branch of the Connecticut belonged the northwestern head of the river. From the Connecticut the line ran along the forty-fifth parallel to the St. Lawrence, thence through the Great Lakes and connecting waters to the Lake of the Woods. From the most northwestern point of the Lake of the Woods the line ran due west to the Mississippian impossible boundary_down the river to latitude thirty-one degrees, and thence east, by that parallel and by the line which is now the northern boundary of Florida, to the ocean. The secret article mentioned before was retained, whereby the United States agreed, in case Great Britain at the conclusion of the war should “recover or be put in possession of West Florida,” to accept as its southern boundary from the Mississippi to the Appalachicola a line running through the mouth of the Yazoo. Heedless of the fact that the mouth of the Mississippi was in the hands of unhappy Spain, the eighth article of the treaty declared that the navigation of the river from its source to its mouth should be free to Americans and British alike. The grant of this privilege of navigation England based on her treaty with France of 1763.

The success of the American negotiators was phenomenal; they won practically every contested point. “You will notice," wrote Vergennes to Rayneval, “ that the English buy peace rather than

VOL. X.-4.

make it. Their concessions, in fact, as well in the matter of the boundaries as in that of the fisheries and the loyalists, exceed all that I could have thought possible.”? The peace was received with enthusiasm in America, as well it might have been; for how the country that had in many ways wearied of the war and of strenuous well-doing could have had the hardihood to expect so much is difficult to see.

Some members of Congress, it is true, were disposed to criticise the conduct of the commissioners.* But such complaints were of little moment, for in reality the course followed by the negotiators worked France no injury. The articles of agreement of 1782 were preliminary only, and it was distinctly understood that the final treaty should not be signed until France was ready to close the

war.

Vergennes wrote in a tone of injured magnanimity to Luzerne, who repeated to Congress his master's sentiments. But Vergennes could complain of naught save the exhibition of discourtesy and lack of confidence. His letter to Franklin was a dignified rebuke: “You are wise and discreet, sir; you perfectly understand what is due to propriety; you have all your life performed your duties. I pray

2

1 Circourt, Histoire de l'Action Commune, III., 50.

Jay, Corresp. and Public Papers, III., 40. 3 Madison, Papers (Gilpin's ed.), I., 407; Wharton, Dip. Cor. resp. of Am. Rev., VI., 333, 334.

you to consider how you propose to fulfill those which are due to the King." An adroit letter, at once frank and insinuating, in the best form of experienced diplomacy, was sent by Franklin, acknowledging that the Americans had been guilty of neglecting a point of bienséance, and intimating that he hoped the notion of the Englishmen that they had divided the allies would prove unfounded. So little did the French minister feel aggrieved that he consented almost immediately after this interchange of letters to afford the United States a new proof of the friendship of the king by granting a loan of six million livres for the year 1783, and this although France was much oppressed with the expenses of the war, and although the financial burdens that were rolling up were beginning to foretell the great revolution that awaited her.

To discuss the question as to which one of the commissioners is deserving of chiefest credit would be useless; we all must recognize the fact that Jay, with admirable boldness, took the weightiest responsibility and bore the heaviest burden in the anxious days before Adams came from The Hague. Adams, whose rare words of praise are like apples of gold in pictures of silver, was warm in his enthusiasm for Jay's valor: “Nothing that has happened since the beginning of the controversy in 1761 has ever struck me more forcibly, or affected me more intimately, than that entire coincidence of principles

· Wharton, Dip. Corresp. of Am. Rev., VI., 140, 143, 144.

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and opinions between him [Jay] and me. But until further evidence is produced we are also bound to believe that Jay was somewhat too suspicious of France, for if in the end American independence had not been secured Vergennes would have been discredited in Europe, and there is as yet no evidence that he had much at heart the limitation of America's territory, even if on the whole he was inclined to sympathize with Spain in her contention for the west. Franklin, it should be noticed, had laid the plans for the negotiation, and there is no good reason for thinking that he would have easily surrendered any of the American claims. Easy-going he was, and possibly too much inclined to trust the Frenchmen, who of course had their own interests to look after, but he was shrewdness itself, and had spent a long life in studying human nature and learning its lessons.

In January, 1783, England concluded preliminary articles of peace with France and Spain. Gibraltar, the chief object of Spanish desire, was not surrendered to Spain, but Minorca and the Floridas were. France, for all her sacrifices, obtained but little. She had entered the war hoping to crush forever the power of her rival across the channel; she had acted with energy and spent money with profusion. Confirmation of a few petty fishing privileges, the establishment of “full right” to two dreary islands off the coast of Newfoundland, abrogation of an article in the treaty of Utrecht stipulating that Dunkirk should not be fortified, certain territories in India which she was destined soon to lose, and a few other concessions from Great Britain, seem slight recompense for the strenuous efforts of France to regain her old prestige by helping the American colonies to independence, and by humbling the nation that had stripped her of her possessions twenty years before.

1 Adams, Works, III., 336.

Though it is difficult to see how America could have won independence without France, though Spanish aid was won only by dangling “shining objects” like Gibraltar temptingly before the eyes of the court at Madrid, and though France planned the campaigns, furnished troops, and paid money, the French king received little for his pains, and within ten years after this treaty England was ready to fight again, seemingly as vigorous and as self-reliant as of yore. If the American Revolution was a popular uprising on this side of the water, in Europe it was pre-eminently a war conceived in the cabinets of kings, and fought out for policies of state that in the end proved illusory.

The definitive treaty of peace, concluded on September 3, 1783, and ratified by the Congress of the Confederation in January, 1784, was simply a repetition of the preliminary articles of November, 1782. America was now possessed of a wide territory and

1 Annual Register, 1783, pp. 322–338. ? Treaties and Conventions of U. S. (ed. of 1889), 375–379.

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