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from The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin

by James Parton

Boston: James R. Osgood, 1864.

 

Part 6

CHAPTER VII.

ENGLISH EMISSARIES IN PARIS.

           

            Our envoys soon learned the altered mood of the British ministry. A few days after the arrival of the Burgoyne news, Arthur Lee drafted a letter, in the Junius Americanus vein, to Lord North, calling attention anew to the harsh treatment of American prisoners in England, proposing an exchange, and asking that an agent appointed by the envoys might be permitted to visit the prisoners, and minister to their necessities. This letter, signed by all the envoys, was carried to England by a special messenger, Major Thornton, afterwards private secretary to Mr. Lee. Far different was the reception of this communication from that bestowed, only a few months before, upon a similar one by Lord Stormont. Lord North gave Major Thornton civil and explicit answers, to this effect:

           

            "His majesty's servants do not approve of the appointment of inspectors. They understand the establishment of the prisoners to be what has been usual and proper in such cases. If there has been any neglect they have given strict orders to have it rectified; and they will be always ready to redress any complaints that shall be made. The prisoners shall be permitted to receive, under proper regulations, any charitable donations in their favor. Besides, this government is disposed and have it in their intentions, as opportunities shall offer, to exchange them in America against British prisoners there. If any complaints are made through the hands of Mr. Hartley, or through any other proper channel, they will be taken into consideration according to the case, and redressed." (1)

           

            Thus, the requests of the envoys were all complied with except the one relating to the appointment of a prison agent, and even that was practically granted. (2)

           

            At Portsmouth, where the prisoners were confined, lived a dissenting clergyman, named Thomas Wren, whose name should be mentioned with honor in every American account of these transactions. Moved by his sympathy with the cause of America, not less than by pity for the distressed Americans, he devoted a great part of his time for several years to the relief of the prisoners in Forton jail, near Portsmouth; access to which was expressly granted him by the government. The biographer of this forgotten benefactor says: "When American prisoners were continually carried into Portsmouth during the late war, and many of them were in the most wretched condition, he was struck with compassion, and flew to their relief. He contributed most liberally to their necessities out of his own small fortune, and sought the assistance of his friends. One of his first objects was to procure, from his acquaintances in the metropolis and other places, a large supply of clothes, these being particularly wanted. After this, he set on foot that subscription for the relief of the prisoners, which extended so liberally through the kingdom. As he was the cause, so he was the distributor, of the bounties that were raised; and this work employed his constant attention for several years. The management of the affair not only required his daily visits to the captives, but engaged him in a very large correspondence, both at home and abroad." (3)

           

            Dr. Franklin, who was in constant correspondence with him during the whole period of the Revolution, for it was through Mr. Wren that the allowance of eighteen pence a week each, granted by the envoys, was paid to the prisoners, had the liveliest sense of his worth. It was in consequence of Franklin's suggestion, that Congress, in 1783, sent him a vote of thanks, and that Princeton College conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Divinity.

           

            Hard, indeed, was it for England to believe, that America could really prefer an alliance with Catholic France, a power with which she had waged three bloody, bitter wars, to a connection with Protestant England on the basis of having every thing she wanted except Independence. During the whole of 1778 and part of 1779, secret emissaries, more or less in the confidence of ministers, kept coming over to Paris to sound Dr. Franklin on the subject, all bearing essentially the same message: "Take all you ever asked for, take several things you never asked for, only don't forsake your mother country, and throw yourselves into the arms of our and your natural enemy, perfidious France."

           

            Three such gentlemen we hear of even in December, 1777, but know nothing of them, except that they were extremely solicitous to learn on what terms, short of independence, the envoys were authorized to treat for peace. Then, early in 1778, James Hutton, an old London friend of Franklin, crossed the channel in search of similar information. Mr. Hutton, a patriarch of the Moravians, was one of those benevolent persons who, in their character of "good old soul," have access to everybody, everywhere; equally at home and equally welcome in cottage and palace. Without his ear-trumpet Mr. Hutton was as deaf as a post, and, though a man of fortune, wore a thread-bare coat, in order that he might have more coats to give to men who had none; and in his countenance shone that bland and heavenly light which beams from the faces of men, women, and angels, all whose actions, for a long period of time, have been just, and all their emotions friendly and affectionate. Mr. Hutton, it seems, was a frequenter of Buckingham palace, where he had an occasional chat with the king and queen. Horace Walpole, in his Journal, says he was told, "on good authority," that the king approved Hutton's mission to Paris. Hutton himself, however, says, "I was a loving volunteer, loving both people with no common ardor, a friend of peace, a hater of discord, with horror at all bloodshed, wishing you secure in your liberties, and guarded for ever against all apprehensions."

           

            This good man left Paris no wiser than he came. Upon reaching home, he wrote to Franklin: "I got to my own house in seventy-three hours from Paris. I shall never forget your kindness to me, and your kind intentions to serve my brethren. The sensation I had of the certain miseries of war, that would attend all parties embarked in it, caused my heart almost to break. I always thought it a sad misfortune that there was such a thing as war upon earth. When I left England, I fancied that you and Mr. Deane could treat about peace. I wished it ardently; but, having no commission, nor any thing to offer, I was sorry to hear nothing on your side that I could mention, as a ground to treat upon, to such as I fancied could give it weight."

           

            Franklin's reply to this letter must have been edifying to his Majesty, George III. It amounted to this: Dismiss and disgrace the bad ministers who advised the oppression of America; acknowledge our independence; and, by way of conciliation and remuneration, throw in Canada, Nova Scotia, and Florida. In one particular, Dr. Franklin was able to gratify his good old friend; it was in exempting from seizure the annual supply-ship which the Moravians sent to their Labrador Mission.

           

            A few weeks after Mr. Hutton's departure, Mr. William Pultney, M. P., arrived at Paris, and, under the name of Williams, sought interviews with Franklin. Mr. Pultney was a veritable agent of the ministry, and as he asked the same information for which the benevolent Moravian had applied, he obtained from Dr. Franklin answers of a similar purport: "Acknowledge the independence of the United States, and then enter at once into a treaty with us for a suspension of arms, with the usual provisions relating to distances; and another for establishing peace, friendship, and commerce, such as France has made. This might prevent a war between you and that kingdom, which, in the present circumstances and temper of the two nations, an accident may bring on every day." This was written March 30th, ten days after the American envoys had been presented to the king.

           

            Mr. Pultney, on one occasion, submitted to Dr. Franklin a series of propositions, such as, he said, the British government could be induced to make to the colonies; but as they were based on the dependence of America, Franklin told him, with emphasis, that he did not approve them, and they would not be approved in America. "But," continued Franklin, "there are two other commissioners here; I will, if you please, show your propositions to them, and you will hear their opinions. I will also show them to the ministry here, without whose knowledge and concurrence we can take no step in such affairs." "No," said Pultney, "as you do not approve of them, it can answer no purpose to show them to anybody else; the reasons that weigh with you will also weigh with them; therefore, I now pray, that no mention may be made of my having been here, or my business."

           

            About the same time another member of Parliament, Mr. Chapman, had a conversation on the same subject with Dr. Franklin, and received a similar answer. But the ministry appeared still unsatisfied. In April, two more English gentlemen of rank presented themselves at Passy: David Hartley, M. P., the old friend of Franklin and of America, and Mr. George Hammond, father of that George Hammond who, years after, was minister plenipotentiary from England to the United States. All the spring Mr. Hartley had been writing to Dr. Franklin, imploring him to "arrest the conclusion of any fatal treaty with the House of Bourbon." Franklin replied: "In return for your repeated advice to us, not to conclude any treaty with the House of Bourbon, permit me to give (through you) a little advice to the Whigs in England. Let nothing induce them to join with the Tories in supporting and continuing this wicked war against the Whigs of America, whose assistance they may hereafter want to secure their own liberties, or whose country they may be glad to retire to for the enjoyment of them." So, in April, Mr. Hartley and his friend Hammond crossed the channel to see if they could effect any thing by personal interviews with this contumacious rebel. Hartley, I should add, though belonging to the Opposition, was a friend of Lord North, and came to Paris on this occasion with the knowledge and consent of that minister. Wraxall and others describe him as a well-intentioned, dull, long-winded gentleman, whose rising in the House of Commons had the effect upon members of a dinner-bell.

           

            He found upon his arrival, that the “fatal treaty with the House of Bourbon" was already concluded, and soon learned, besides, that one of the provisions of that treaty bound the United States to make common cause with France in case England should declare war against her. His mission, of course, was fruitless, and he returned home in despair. On the day of his departure from Paris, having occasion to write a note to Dr. Franklin, he added this postscript: "If tempestuous times should come, take care of your own safety; events are uncertain, and men may be capricious." Franklin made light of his apprehensions, and wrote in reply, that, perhaps, the best use such an old fellow as himself could be put to was to make a martyr of him. Hartley appears to have derived the impression that Franklin was surrounded with French spies. This being told to Dr. Franklin, he replied, that "he did not care how many spies were placed about him by the court of France, having nothing to conceal from them." I observe from his correspondence at this time, that he promptly transmitted to Count de Vergennes full accounts of his interviews with these various emissaries.

           

            The great soul of Arthur Lee was deeply moved by the too evident fact that these gentlemen from England cared for nothing but to learn the opinion of Dr. Franklin. The innocent and soft-hearted Hartley, whose sole motive in coming over was his yearning for peace, excited such animosity in Lee's mind that he had to relieve himself by writing about him to the Count de Vergennes. He informed the minister that "Mr. Hartley, in conversing with French people whose opinions he thinks may have weight, insinuates to them, that engaging in a war in our favor is very impolitic, since you can expect nothing from us but the ingratitude and ill faith with which we have repaid Great Britain. To us, he says, the French have done nothing for you, they can never be trusted; no cordial connection can be formed with them, therefore you had better return back to your former connection, which may be upon your own terms if you will renounce France." The minister, on the same day, received Dr. Franklin's official account of Mr. Hartley's visit, and marked his sense of Lee's tattle by replying to Franklin at length, and with cordiality, while bestowing upon Lee four short sentences of cold, diplomatic civility, apologizing for his brevity by saying that he was "obliged to go immediately to Council." John Adams, too, a man worth a thousand Arthur Lees, yet sharing Lee's foibles of vanity and suspicion, conceived a violent distrust of poor Hartley. "This mysterious visit," he says, "I did not at all admire. I soon saw that Hartley was a person of consummate vanity, as Hammond was a plain, honest man; but I considered both as spies, and endeavored to be as reserved and as much on my guard as my nature would admit." So that Mr. Hartley, on his return to London, remarked to a friend, "Your Mr. Adams, that you represent as a man of such good sense — he may have that, but he is the most ungracious man I ever saw;" a remark which Mr. Adams attributed to his not having sufficiently extolled Mr. Hartley's inventions of fire plates and Archimedes mirrors.

           

            During all the remaining years of the revolutionary struggle, Mr. Hartley never long intermitted his exertions for restoring peace; sometimes suggesting a truce for five or seven years, sometimes advising the "relinquishment" of the French alliance with the consent of France — the alliance, as he said, being the great stumbling-block in the way to peace. I am tempted to insert Dr. Franklin's warm and witty reply to the latter proposition: —

           

            "The long, steady, and kind regard you have shown for the welfare of America, by the whole tenor of your conduct in Parliament, satisfies me, that this proposition never took its rise with you, but has been suggested from some other quarter; and that your excess of humanity, your love of peace, and your fear for us, that the destruction we are threatened with will certainly be effected, have thrown a mist before your eyes, which hindered you from seeing the malignity and mischief of it. We know that your king hates Whigs and Presbyterians; that he thirsts for our blood, of which he has already drunk large draughts; that weak and unprincipled ministers are ready to execute the wickedest of his orders, and his venal Parliament equally ready to vote them just. Not the smallest appearance of a reason can be imagined, capable of inducing us to think of relinquishing a solid alliance with one of the most amiable, as well as most powerful princes of Europe, for the expectation of unknown terms of peace, to be afterwards offered to us by such a government; a government that has already shamefully broken all the compacts it ever made with us. This is worse than advising us to drop the substance for the shadow. The dog, after he found his mistake, might possibly have recovered his mutton; but we could never hope to be trusted again by France, or indeed by any other nation under heaven. Had Lord North been the author of such a proposition, all the world would have said it was insidious, and meant only to deceive and divide us from our friends, and then to ruin us; supposing our fears might be so strong as to procure an acceptance of it. But, thanks to God, that is not the case. We have long since settled all the account in our own minds. We know the worst you can do to us, if you have your wish, is, to confiscate our estates and take our lives, to rob and murder us; and this you have seen we are ready to hazard, rather than come again under your detested government.

           

            "You must observe, my dear friend, that I am a little warm. Excuse me. It is over. Only let me counsel you not to think of being sent hither on so fruitless an errand as that of making such a proposition.

           

            "It puts me in mind of the comic farce entitled, Godsend, or The Wreckers. You may have forgotten it; but I will endeavor to amuse you by recollecting a little of it.

           

            Scene.  Mount's Bay.

           

            [A ship riding at anchor in a great storm. A lee shore full of rocks, and lined with people, furnished with axes and carriages to cut up wrecks, knock the sailors on the head, and carry off the plunder; according to custom. The boat goes off, and comes under the ship’s stern.]

            Spokesman. So ho, the ship, ahoa!

            Captain. Hulloa.

            Sp. Would you have a pilot?

            Capt. No, no!

            Sp. It blows hard, and you are in danger.

            Capt. I know it.

            Sp. Will you buy a better cable? We have one in the boat here.

            Capt. What do you ask for it?

            Sp. Cut that you have, and then we'll talk about the price of this.

            Capt. I shall do no such foolish thing. I have lived in your parish formerly, and know the heads of ye too well to trust ye; keep off from my cable there; I see you have a mind to cut it yourselves. If you go any nearer to it, I'll fire into you and sink you.

            Sp. It is a damned rotten French cable, and will part of itself in half an hour. Where will you be then, Captain? You had better take our offer.

            Capt. You offer nothing, you rogues, but treachery and mischief. My cable is good and strong, and will hold long enough to balk all your projects.

            Sp. You talk unkindly, Captain, to people who came here only for your good.

            Capt. I know you came for all our goods, but, by God's help, you shall have none of them; you shall not serve us as you did the Indiamen.

            Sp. Come, my lads, let's be gone. This fellow is not so great a fool as we took him to be. —"

           

            Mr. Hartley's failure appears to have only provoked the British king to make an attempt of another description upon the American envoys. Former emissaries had assailed their discretion; an attack was now made upon their fidelity. On a morning in June, a packet was thrown into a window at Passy, which proved to be a long letter, addressed to Dr. Franklin, written in the English language, but dated, "Brussels, June l6th," and signed, Charles de Weissenstein. The English, moreover, was not the English of a foreigner; the letter was evidently a home product, and, as Franklin thought, a message from the king himself — certainly written with the king's knowledge and consent. It began by conjuring Dr. Franklin, in the name of the Just and Omniscient God, before whom we must soon appear, and by his hopes of future fame, to consider if some expedient could not be found for putting a stop to the desolation of America, and for preventing the impending war in Europe. The writer proceeded to vilify the French, asserting that they would certainly betray America at last, and to lay down a plan of union with Great Britain. His plan provided, that "the judges of the American courts shall be named by the king, and hold their offices for life, and shall either bear titles as peers of America, or otherwise, as shall be decided by His Majesty; that a Congress shall assemble once in seven years, or oftener, if His Majesty thinks fit to summon it, but all its proceedings are to be transmitted to the British Parliament, without whose consent no money shall ever be granted by Congress or any separate state to the crown; that the great offices of state shall be named in the compact, and that America shall provide for them; that the whole naval and military force shall be directed by His Majesty; that the British Parliament shall fix the naval and military force, and vote the sums necessary for its maintenance, etc., etc." The letter contained, also, the following passage: "And as the conspicuous part which some American gentlemen have taken, may expose them to the personal enmity of some of the chief persons in Great Britain, and as it is unreasonable that their services to their country should deprive them of those advantages which their talents would otherwise have gained them, the following persons shall have offices, or pensions for life, at their option, namely, Franklin, Washington, Adams, Hancock, etc., etc. In case His Majesty, or his successors, should ever create American peers, then these persons or their descendants shall be among the first created, if they choose it; Mr. Washington to have immediately a brevet of lieutenant-general, and all the honors and precedence incident thereto, but not to assume or bear any command without a special warrant, or letter of service, for that purpose, from the king."

           

            The writer requested a personal interview with Dr. Franklin for the purpose of discussing the details of the project; or, if that were inadmissible, then he would be at a certain part of the church of Notre Dame on a certain clay, at noon precisely, with a rose in his hat, to receive a written answer from Dr. Franklin, which he would transmit to the king without the intervention of ministers.

           

            Dr. Franklin consulted with his colleagues, and they agreed that he should answer the letter, and that both letter and answer should be laid before the Count de Vergennes, and the answer sent or withheld, as he should recommend. Franklin's reply, written for the very eye of the king, the author, as Franklin well knew, of all the calamities his country had suffered, was all fire, point, and sarcasm. Alluding to the solemn conjurations with which Charles de Weissentein had begun his epistle, he said it should have been addressed, not to one who had striven for years to prevent the war, but "to your sovereign and his venal parliament," who "wickedly began and madly continue a war for the desolation of America." “You think," Franklin continued, "that we flatter ourselves, and are deceived into an opinion that England must acknowledge our independence. We, on the other hand, think you flatter yourselves in imagining such an acknowledgment a vast boon, which we strongly desire, and which you may gain some great advantage by granting or withholding. We have never asked it of you; we only tell you, that you can have no treaty with us but as an independent State; and you may please yourselves and your children with the rattle of your right to govern us, as long as you have done with that of your King's being King of France, without giving us the least concern, if you do not attempt to exercise it."

           

            Weissentein had intimated that the title of Great Britain to the colonies being indisputable, it would never be relinquished, even though the fortune of war should compel the Government, for a time to relinquish possession of the country. Franklin's reply to this point was aimed full at the King: "I thank you for letting me know a little of your mind, that, even if the Parliament should acknowledge our independency, the act would not be binding to posterity, and that your nation would resume and prosecute the claim as soon as they found it convenient…. I now indeed recollect my being informed, long since, when in England, that a certain very great personage (George III.), then young, studied much a certain book, called Arcana Imperii. I had the curiosity to procure the book and read it. There are sensible and good things in it, but some bad ones; for, if I remember rightly, a particular king is applauded for his politically exciting a rebellion among his subjects, at a time when they had not strength to support it, that he might, in subduing them, take away their privileges, which were troublesome to him; and a question is formally stated and discussed, Whether a prince, who, to appease a revolt, makes promises of indemnity to the revolters, is obliged to fulfil those promises. Honest and good men would say, Ay; but this politician says, as you say, No. And he gives this pretty reason, that, though it was right to make the promises, because otherwise the revolt would not be suppressed, yet it would be wrong to keep them, because revolters ought to be punished to deter from future revolts."

           

            He ridiculed, very happily, the secresy with which this correspondence was proposed to be carried on, and observed that, if the government of England desired peace, they should propose it openly to Congress, not send mysterious agents to corrupt and betray their servants. He concluded his letter with a paragraph, which, really, the king ought to have been permitted to read:

           

            "This proposition of delivering ourselves, bound and gagged, ready for hanging, without even a right to complain, and without a friend to be found afterwards among all mankind, you would have us embrace upon the faith of an act of Parliament! Good God! an act of your Parliament! This demonstrates that you do not yet know us, and that you fancy we do not know you; but it is not merely this flimsy faith that we are to act upon; you offer us hope, the hope of places, pensions, and peerages. These, judging from yourselves, you think are motives irresistible. This offer to corrupt us, sir, is with me your credential, and convinces me that you are not a private volunteer in your application. It bears the stamp of British court character. It is even the signature of your king. But think, for a moment, in what light it must be viewed in America. By places, you mean places among us, for you take care, by a special article, to secure your own to yourselves. We must then pay the salaries, in order to enrich ourselves with these places. But you will give us pensions, probably to be paid, too, out of your expected American revenue, and which none of us can accept without deserving, and perhaps obtaining, a SUS-pension. Peerages! alas! sir, our long observation of the vast servile majority of your peers, voting constantly for every measure proposed by a minister, however weak or wicked, leaves us small respect for that title. We consider it as a sort of tar-and-feather honor, or a mixture of foulness and folly, which every man among us, who should accept it from your king, would be obliged to renounce, or exchange for that conferred by the mobs of their own country, or wear it with everlasting infamy." (4)

           

            The French government decided that the answer should not he sent. On the day named for the rendezvous at Notre Dame, an agent of the French police was on the watch, who reported, that at noon, a gentleman appeared at the place appointed, and, finding no one, wandered about the church, looking at the altars and pictures, but never losing sight of the spot, and often returning to it, gazing anxiously about, as if he expected some one. After waiting for two hours he left the church, and went to his hotel, where his name was ascertained to be "Colonel Fitz-somethmg," says John Adams, "an Irish name, that I have forgotten." (5)

           

            Mr. Adams mentions in his diary, that the reasons for believing the letter of Weissenstein to have been written with the consent of the king, were such as completely convinced Dr. Franklin, "who affirmed to me that he knew it came from the king, and that it could not have come from any other without the king's knowledge." Mr. Adams was puzzled to account for Franklin's extreme aversion to his majesty. "He often, and, indeed, always, appeared to me to have a personal animosity and very severe resentment against the king. In all his conversations,… he mentioned the king with great asperity, and even upon the margin of a book he introduced his habitual acrimony against his majesty." Puzzling, indeed, to a man constitutionally disposed to venerate a monarch, and who was not acquainted with the secret of the British court! Franklin himself was long in finding out George III.; but, at this time, he knew him well, and spoke of him according to his knowledge.

           

            George III., as his letters show, reciprocated Franklin's antipathy. "That insidious man," the king calls him, in a note to Lord North of March, 1778. And again: "The many instances of the inimical conduct of Franklin makes me aware that hatred to this country is the constant object of his mind." (6)

           

            A few months after the abortive mission of Colonel Fitz-something, there came to Paris an amiable young barrister, who was afterwards an eminent judge and renowned Indian scholar, Sir William Jones. Dr. Franklin had frequently met this gentleman at the house of his friend, the Bishop of St. Asaphs, to whose daughter the still briefless barrister was already engaged. It was the lot of Mr. William Jones to make another, and the last attempt, to ascertain from Dr. Franklin whether England could prevail upon America to accept any thing less than complete and final independence. He acted, however, not as the agent of king or ministry, but as the representative of that noble few of Englishmen who had championed the cause of America, from the days of the Repeal of the Stamp Act, of whom the good Bishop of St. Asaphs was among the worthiest. Modestly clothing his ideas in the garb of antiquity, he presented to Dr. Franklin, in May, 1779, a paper, entitled, "A Fragment of Polybius," in which the political situation was depicted under ancient names; England figuring as Athens, France as Caria, the United States as the Islands, Franklin as Eleutherion, and himself as an Athenian lawyer sojourning at the capital of Caria. The proposals of the Athenian Jones were founded upon the conviction that England could never be brought to give up America. "This I know, he observed, "and positively pronounce, that, while Athens is Athens, her proud but brave citizens will never expressly recognize the independence of the Islands; their resources are, no doubt, exhaustible, but will not be exhausted in the lives of us and of our children. In this resolution all parties agree."

           

            The leading suggestions of this worthy peace-maker were these: That there should be "a perfect co-ordination between Athens and the Thirteen United Islands, they considering her not as a parent, whom they must obey, but as an elder sister, whom they cannot help loving, and to whom they shall give pre-eminence of honor and co-equality of power;" that the new Constitutions of the Islands should remain; that "on every occasion requiring acts for the general good, there shall be an assembly of deputies from the Senate of Athens, and the Congress of the Islands, who shall fairly adjust the whole business, and settle the ratio of the contributions on both sides; and this committee shall consist of fifty Islanders and fifty Athenians, or of a smaller number chosen by them;" and that "if it be thought necessary, and found convenient, a proportionable number of Athenian citizens shall have seats, and power of debating and voting on questions of common concern, in the great assembly of the Islands, and a proportionable number of Islanders shall sit with the like power in the Assembly at Athens."

           

            This amiable dream of an impossible re-union had as much effect upon the course of events as a school-girl's composition on the Horrors of War may be supposed to have in hastening the return of peace. Nevertheless, the mission of Mr. Jones does credit to his heart. It had, also, the effect of giving him sundry opportunities of conveying letters, messages, and gifts, from Dr. Franklin to the beloved family of his betrothed, and from them to Dr. Franklin; reward enough for the lover of Georgiana Shipley.

 


 

 

Notes

           

1. Life of Arthur Lee, i., 104.

2. George III. in a note to Lord North, comments upon Lee's letter thus:

 

            21 Decr. 1777.

            "A letter written by Franklin or by his instructions; singular. The writer adds, 'Offensive, and calculated to increase animosity;' but Franklin is too deep to draw it up solely from Malevolence; it occurs to me, therefore, that if he could obtain any answer, it would be tacitly acknowledging him and his Colleagues in the capacity they assume, and consequently admitting the right of the rebel Colonists to make such appointments and to be united States; and perhaps if he does not succeed in that object, of publishing something in Europe that may carry the air of our having acted with cruelty, which I am certain no officer, either military or civil in my service, could be guilty of. They certainly could not make much distinction among rebels; but if they have erred, I rather think it has rather been from too much civility towards them." — Brougham's Statesmen of George III., i., 100.

 

3. Gentlemen's Magazine for November, 1787.

4. This letter was copied from the original, in the Office of Foreign Affairs, at Paris, by Dr. Jared Sparks. — See Sparks’s Franklin, viii., 278.

5. Life and Works of John Adams iii., 179.

6. Lord Brougham's Statesmen of George III., i., 112.

           

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