commencement of the war, are innumerable. The con
gress and their generals, to satisfy the people, have often
threatened retaliation ; but have always hitherto forborne
to execute it, and they have often been told insultingly by
their enemies, that this forbearance did not proceed from
humanity but fear. General Greene, though he solemnly
and publicly- promised it in a proclamation, never made
any retaliation for the murder of Col. Haynes, and many
others in Carolina ; and the people, who now think that
if he had fulfilled his promise, this crime would not have
been committed, clamour so loudly, that I doubt General
Washington cannot well refuse what appears to them so
just and necessary for their common security. I am per
suaded nothing I could say to him on the occasion, would
have the least effect in changing his determination. Ex
cuse me then if I presume to advise the dispatching a
courier immediately to London, proposing to the conside
ration of ministers the sending such orders to General
Carleton directly. They would have an excellent effect
in other views. The post goes to-morrow morning at ten
o clock ; but as nine days have been spent in bringing the
letters here by that conveyance, an express is preferable.
With sincere esteem I have the honour to be, &c.
ft ;H o
gr< ; - rv = - *Hf W .
<J68 PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE PART III.
To M. LE COMTE DE VERGENNES,
SIR, Passy, August 8, 1785.
Yesterday Mr. Oswald communicated to
Mr. Jay and me, a paper he had just received from his
court, being a copy of the King s order to the attorney or
solicitor general to prepare a commission to. pass the
great seal, appointing him to treat with us, &c. and he
showed us a letter from Mr. Secretary Townshend, which
expresses his concern that the commission itself could not
be sent by this courier, the officers who were to expedite
it being in the country, which would occasion a delay of
eight or ten days ; but that its being then sent might be
depended on, and it was hoped the treaty might in the
mean time be proceeded on. Mr. Oswald left with me a
copy of the paper which I inclose for your Excellency s
consideration, and am with great respect, Sir, your Ex-
lency s, &c. B. FRANKLIN.
A M. FRANKLIN,
Je reois, Monsieur, la lettre de ce jour
dont vous m avez honor6, et la copie du pouvoir que M.
Oswald vous a communique^ La forme dans laquelle il
est congu n etant pas celle qui est usite, je ne puis pas
arrter mon opinion a une premiere vue, je vais 1 exami-
ner avec la plus grande attention, et si vous voulez bien
vous rendre ici Samedi matin, je pourrai en confrer avec
vous, et avec M. Jay s il lui toit commode de vous
J ai 1 honneur d etre, tres-parfaitement. Monsieur, votre
tres humble, &c. DE VERGENNES.
Versailles, le 8 Av&t, 1782.
PART HI. OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. O,6Q
EXTRACT OF A LETTER TO THE HON. ROBERT
Passy, August 12, 1783.
(( The second changes in the ministry of
England have occasioned or have afforded pretences for
various delays in the negociation for peace. Mr. Gren-
ville had two successive imperfect commissions. He was
at length recalled, and Mr. Fitzherbert is now arrived to
replace him, with a commission in due form to treat with
France, Spain, and Holland. Mr. Oswald, who is here,
is informed that a commission impowering him to treat
with the commissioners of congress will pass the seals,
and be sent him in a few days. Till it arrives, this court
will not proceed in its own negociation. I send the ena
bling act, as it is called. Mr. Jay will acquaint you with
what passes between him and the Spanish ambassador
respecting the proposed treaty with Spain. I will only
mention that my conjecture of that court s design to coop
us up within the Alieghany mountains is now manifested :
I hope congress will insist on the Missisipi as the boun
dary, and the free navigation of the river, from which they
would entirely exclude us." B. FRANKLIN.
FROM DAVID HARTLEY, ESQ. M. P. TO DR.
f>... \ Jt f>7utt9~1 tf*
MY DEAR FRIEND, London, August 16, 1782.
Yours I received by Major Young together
with the work of your veritable philosophe, which is full
of humanity. 1 was not, before that, at a loss where 1
should have looked for my ^tritable philosophe in the
270 PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE PART 111.
present actual scene of public politics. Your honest,
anxious, and unremitted endeavours towards the re-esta
blishment of peace, must endear you to your own country,
and to all mankind. Whatever may have been transacting
in America, (if it can be possible that the suspicions which
you mention should become true) viz. to tamper with
America for a breach of faith, of which some suspicions
seem to be thrown out by the provinces of Maryland and
Philadelphia, I can give the strongest testimonies of the
constant honour and good faith of your conduct and cor
respondencies ; and my letters to you will bear me equal
testimony, that I have never thrown out any dishonourable
suggestions to you. When the proposed congress of your
veritable philosopke shall meet, neither of us need fear its
censures, upon the strictest examination of our correspon
dence. We will claim the poet s character of the sincere
" Who knew no thought but what the world might hear."
to wotflfiuitt? SfTf A 3 - JsflJ bo;
In times of suspicion it must be some satisfaction to both
of us to know, that no line or word has ever passed be
tween us, but what the governments of Great Britain,
R-ance, and America, might freely peruse as the words of
good faith, peace and sweet reconciliation.
The resolutions of Maryland and Philadelphia together
with the slow proceeding of our plenipotentiaries, and
even the doubt suggested whether they may not be in
waiting for events in America, give me much concern.
Not being informed to a certainty of the state of the ne-
gociation, I have declined any concern with ministry upon
the subject of the refugees, Sic. My assistance cannot be
mdispensab^ upon that topic, but I deem it indispensable
PART III. OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 271
to myself, not to be committed in unknown ground, which
from the points above mentioned must appear dubious to
me. These are the reasons which I gave to the minister
for declining, I must at the same time give him the jus
tice of the most absolute and unlimited professions of
sincerity for peace. Whatever divisions there may have
been, as you say, suspected in the cabinet, there are some
of his colleagues still remaining, in whom I have the
greatest confidence for sincerity and good intentions. The
public prints of this country have stated what are called
shades of difference as to the mode. Those opinions
which are imputed to Mr. Fox are certainly most suitable
to my opinions. I am free to confess to you that my
wishes would have been to have taken the most decisive
ground relating to independence, &.c. immediately from the
2?th of March last, viz. the accession of the change of
ministry. But I agree with you in sentiment ; viz. to
concur with all the good that offers, when we cannot ob
tain all the good that we might wish. The situation of
my sentiments at present is, an unbiassed neutrality of
expectation, as events may justify.
I shall be obliged to you for the earliest communica
tions of any public events in America which may come to
Europe, with any public resolutions of congress or pro
vinces, &c. and all memorials or negociations which may
pass between the parties in America. 1 am very anxious
to have the earliest informations to form my opinions
upon, and to be prepared accordingly. My utmost en
deavours will always be exerted to the blessed work of
peace. I am ever, yonr affectionate D. HARTLEY.
? -3 :-c-nc:v- - "
272 PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE PART III.
To HIS EXCELLENCY J. JAY,
DEAR SIR, Pasty, Sept. 4, 1782.
Mr. Oswald s courier being returned, with
directions to him, to make the independence of America
the first article in the treaty, I would wait on you if I
could, to discourse on the subject : but as 1 cannot, I
wish to see you here this evening, if not inconvenient to
you. With great esteem, I have the honour to be, dear
Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant,
Letter and official communication from RICHARD OS
WALD, ESQ. to DR. FRANKLIN.
In consequence of the notice I have just
now had from Mr. Jay of your desire of an extract from
my last letter from the secretary of state, regarding the
proposed treaty on the subject of American affairs ; and
my authority in relation thereto, I take the liberty to send
the same inclosed ; which, together with the powers con
tained in the commission which I had the honour of lay
ing before you, and Mr. Jay, I am hopeful will satisfy
you of the willingness and sincere desire of his majesty to
give you entire content on that important subject.
This extract I would have sent before now, if 1 had
thought you wished to have it before I had the honour of
waiting on you myself ; which was only delayed until I
should be informed by Mr. Jay, that you was well enough
to see me upon business. I heartily wish you a recovery
of your health, and am, with sincere esteem and regard,
Sir, your most obedient humble servant,
Paris, September 5, 1782. RICHARD OSWALD.
PART HI. OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 273
(Enclosed in th& foregoing.)
Extractof a Letter to RICHARD OSWALD, ESQ. from
the Right Honourable THOMAS TOWNSHEN D, one
of his Majesty s principal Secretaries of State, dated
Whitehall, Sept. 1, 1782.
c ,* <a
" 1 have received and laid before the King,
your letters of the 17th, 18th, and 21st ult. ; and I am
commanded to signify to you his Majesty s approbation
of your conduct, in communicating to the American Com
missioners the fourth article of your instructions ; which
could not but convince them, that the negociation for
peace, and the cession of independence to the Thirteen
United Colonies, were intended to be carried on and con
cluded with the Commissioners in Europe.
Those gentlemen having expressed their satisfaction
concerning that article, it is hoped they will not entertain
a doubt of his Majesty s determination to, exercise, in the
fullest extent, the powers with which the act of parliament
hath invested him, by granting to America, full, complete,
and unconditional independence, in the most explicit man
ner, as an article of treaty. ^ ,
Paru, Sept. 5, 1782. RICHARD OSWALD."
FROM DAVID HARTLEY, ESQ. M. P. TO DR.
MY DEAR FRIEND, Hotel d -Yorck, Sept. 7, 1782.
I beg of you not to forget your letter to
Mr. Fox. The purpose of my journey to England will
274 PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE PART III.
be, to do the best in my power for things and persons,
and particularly for my friends. If you have any other
private letters, send them to me ; I will deliver them. I
hope likewise to be personally charged with the answers.
I am better this morning, and shall certainly set out very
early to-morrow morning. Pray give my best compli
ments to Mr. and Mrs. Jay, and Mr. Temple Franklin.
T wish you all health till I have the pleasure of seeing you
again. Your ever most affectionate friend,
To RICHARD OSWALD, ESQ.
SIR, Pass?/, Sept. 3, 1782.
I have received the honour of yours, dated
the 5th instant, inclosing an extract of a letter to your
Excellency from the Right Hon. Thomas Townshend,
one of his Majesty s principal Secretaries of State, where
in your conduct in communicating to us the fourth article
of your instructions appears to have been approved by his
Majesty. I suppose therefore that there is no impro
priety in my requesting a copy of that instruction ; and if
you see none, I wish to receive it from you, hoping it may
be of use in removing some of the difficulties that obstruct
our proceeding. With great and sincere esteem, I am,
Sir, your Excellency s most obedient and most humble
servant, B. FRANKLIN.
Copy of the fourth article of his Majesty s instructions
to Richard Oswald, for his government in treating with
the Commissioners of the Thirteen United Colonies of
PART II I. OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.
America for a truce or peace, the said instructions being
dated the 31st day of July, 1782 ; viz.
" 4th Article. In case you find the American Com
missioners are not at liberty to treat on any terms short of
independence, you are to declare to them, that you have
authority to make that concession. Our ardent wish for
peace disposing us to purchase it at the price of acceding
to the complete independence of the Thirteen Colonies,
namely, New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode
Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsyl
vania, the three lower counties on Delaware, Maryland,
Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia in
Passy, Sept. 9 ; 1782. RICHARD OSWALD.
To THE RIGHT HON. THE EARL OF GRANTHAM.
MY LORD, Passy, Sept. 1], 1782.
A long and severe indisposition has delayed
my acknowledging the receipt of the letter your Lordship
did me the honour of writing to me by Mr. Fitzherbert.
You do me justice in believing that I agree with you
in earnestly wishing the establishment of an honourable
and lasting peace ; and I am happy to be assured by your
Lordship that it is the system of the ministers with whom
you are co-operating. I know it to be the sincere desire
of the United States, and with such dispositions on both
sides, there is reason to hope that the good work in its
progress will meet with little difficulty. A small one has
occurred in the commencement, with which Mr. Oswald
will acquaint you. I flatter myself that means will be
276 PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE PART 111.
found on your part for removing it ; and my best endea
vours in removing subsequent ones (if any should arise)
may be relied on.
I had the honour of being known to yonr Lordship s
father. On several occasions he manifested a regard for
me, and a confidence in me. I shall be happy if my con r
duct in the present important business may procure me
the same rank in the esteem of his worthy successor, i
am, with sincere respect, my Lord, your Lordship s most
obedient and most humble servant, B. FRANKLIN.
To DAVID HARTLEY, ESQ.
MY DEAR FRIEND, Pansy, Sept. 17, 1782.
Since those acknowledged in my last, I
have received your several favours of August 16 , 20, and
26. I have been a long time afflicted with the gravel and
gout, which have much indisposed me for writing. 1 am
even now in pain, but will not longer delay some answer.
I did not perfectly comprehend the nature of your
appointment respecting the refugees, and I supposed you
would in a subsequent letter explain it. But as I now
find you have declined the service, such explanation is
I did receive the paper you enquire about, intitled IVe-
liminaries,and dated May, 1782," but it was from you, arid
J know nothing of their having been communicated to this
Court. The third proposition, " that in case the negocia-
tion between Great Britain, and the allies of America
1 See page 191 of this volume.
PART III. OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 277
should riot succeed, but war continue between them,
America should act and be treated as a neutral nation,"
appeared at first sight inadmissible, being contrary to our
treaty. The truce too seems not to have been desired by
any of the parties. With unalterable esteem and affection,
I am, my dear friend, ever yours, &c. B. FRANKLIN.
" C ~r f 1 4- -
FROM RICHARD OSWALD, ESQ. TO BENJAMIN
SIR, Paris, Sept. 24, 1782.
Having received by a courier just now
arrived, a letter from Mr. Secretary Townshend, in answer
to mine which went by the messenger dispatched from
hence on the 12th, I take this opportunity of Mr. White-
ford to send you a copy of it. I J^pe he will bring good
accounts of your health, which I sincerely wish, and am,
your Excellency s most obedient humble servant,
FROM THE RIGHT HON. THOMAS TOWNSHEND
TO RICHARD OSWALD, ESQ. (Private.)
SIR, Whitehall, Sept. 20, 1782.
I received on Saturday last your packets of
the 10th and 1 1th of this month.
A meeting of the King s confidential servants was held
as soon as possible to consider the contents of them, and
it was at once agreed to make the alteration in the com
mission proposed by Dr. Franklin and Mr. Jay. I trust
lhat the readiness with which this proposal has been
accepted, will be considered as an ample testimony of the
278 PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE PART III.
openness and sincerity with which the government of this
country is disposed to treat with the Americans.
The commission is passing with as much dispatch as
the forms of office will allow, but I thought it material
that no delay should happen in giving you notice of the
determination of his Majesty s council upon this subject.
You will receive the commission very soon after this
reaches you. I am, with great regard, Sir, your most
obedient humble servant, T. TOWNSHEND.
EXTRACT OF A LETTER TO THE HON. ROBERT
Passy, Sept. -26, 1782.
" The negociations for peace have hitherto
amounted to little more than mutual professions of sincere
desires, &c. ; being obstructed by the want of due form
in the English commissions appointing their plenipoten
tiaries. The objections made to those for treating with
France, Spain, and Holland, were first removed ; and by
the enclosed * it seems that our objections to that for
1 The Commission here following.
COMMISSION under the Great Seal of GREAT BRITAIN, em
powering RICHARD OSWALD, ESQ. to treat with the COMMIS
SIONERS of the THIRTEEN UNITED STATES of AMERICA.
GEORGE the Third, by the Grace of God, of Great
Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, and so
forth, To Our trusty and well beloved Richard Oswald, of our city
of London, Esq. greeting, Whereas by virtue of an Act passed in
the last session of parliament, intituled, an Act to enable his Ma-
PART III. OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 279
treating with us will now be removed also ; so that we
expect to begin in a few days our negotiations. But
jesty to conclude a peace or truce with certain Colonies in North
America therein mentioned, it is recited, that it is essential to the
interest, welfare, and prosperity of Great Britain and the Colonies
or Plantations of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode
Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, the
three lower counties on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North
Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia in North America, that
peace, intercourse, trade and commerce, should be restored be
tween them ; therefore, and for a full manifestation of our earnest
wish and desire, and of that of our parliament, to put an end to
the calamities of war, it is enacted, that it should and might be
lawful for us, to treat, consult of, agree and conclude with any
Commissioner or Commissioners, named or to be named by the
said Colonies or Plantations, or any of them respectively, or with
any body or bodies corporate or politic, or any assembly or assem
blies, or description of men, or any person or persons whatsoever,
a peace or a truce with the said Colonies or Plantations, or any of
them, or any part or parts thereof, any law, act or acts of parlia
ment, matter or thing to the contrary in any wise notwithstand
ing ; Now know ye, that we, reposing especial trust in your wis
dom, loyalty, diligence, and circumspection, in the management
of the affairs to be hereby committed to your charge, have nomi
nated and appointed, constituted and assigned, and by these pre
sents do nominate and appoint, constitute, and assign you the said
Richard Oswald to be our Commissioner in that behalf, to use and
exercise all and every the powers and authorities hereby entrusted
and committed to you the said Richard Oswald, and to do, per
form, and execute all other matters and things hereby enjoined
and committed to your care, during our will and no longer, accord
ing to the tenour of these our letters patent ; And it is our royal
will and pleasure, and we do hereby authorise, empower, and re
quire you r.he said Richard Oswald, to treat, consult of, and con-
230 PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE PART III.
there are so many interests to be considered and settled
in a peace between five different nations, that it will
elude, with any Commissioners or persons vested with equal
powers, by and on the part of the Thirteen United States of Ame
rica, viz. New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island,
Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, the three
lower counties on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina,
South Carolina, and Georgia in North America, a peace or a truce
with the said Thirteen United States, any law, act or acts of paiv
liament, matter or thing to the contrary in any wise notwithstand
ing. And it is our further will and pleasure, that every regulation,
provision, matter or thing, which shall have been agreed upon
between you the said Richard Oswald and such Commissioners or
persons as aforesaid, with whom you shall have judged meet and
sufficient to enter into such agreement, shall be fully and dis
tinctly set forth in writing, and authenticated by your hand and
seal on one side, and by the hands and seals of such Commis
sioners or persons on the other, and such instrument so authen
ticated, shall be by you transmitted to us, through one of our
principal Secretaries of State. And it is our farther will and
pleasure, that you the said Richard Oswald, shall promise and
engage for us, and in our royal name and word, that every regula
tion, provision, matter, or thing, which may be agreed to and con
cluded by you our said Commissioner, shall be ratified and con
firmed by us, in the fullest manner and extent ; and that we will
not suffer them to be violated or counteracted, either in whole or
in part, by any person whatsoever. And we do hereby require
and command all our officers, civil and military, and all others our
loving subjects whatsoever, to be aiding and assisting unto you
the said Richard Oswald, in the execution of this our commission,
and of the powers and authorities herein contained. Provided
always, and we do hereby declare and ordain, that the several
offices, powers and authorities hereby granted, shall cease, deter*
PART HI. OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 281
be well not to flatter ourselves with a verv speedy con
To THE HON. ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.
SIR, Pasy Oct. 14, 1782.
I have but just received information of this op*
mine, and become utterly null and void, on the first day of July,
which shall be in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hun
dred and eighty-three, although we shall not otherwise in the
mean time have revoked and determined the same. And whereas
in arid by your commission and letters patent, under our great seal
of Great Britain, bearing date the seventh day of August last, we
nominated and appointed, constituted and assigned you the said
Richard Oswald to be our Commissioner, to treat, consult of,
agree and conclude, with any Commissioner or Commissioners
named or to be named by certain Colonies or Plantations therein
specified, a peace or truce with the said Colonies or Plantations;
Now know ye, that we have revoked and determined, and by
these presents do revoke and determine our said commission and
letters patent, and all and every power, article, and thing, therein
contained. In witness whereof, we have caused these our letters
to be made patent.
Witness our self at Westminster, the twenty-first day of Sep
tember, and the twenty-second year of our reign.
By the King himself.
Paris, Oct. 1, 1782. I certify , that the adjoining is a true copy
of the commission, of which it purports to be a copy, and which
has been shown to Dr. Franklin and Mr. Jay.
The Commissioner therein named.
282 PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE PARTJ1!.
portuuity, and have only time allowed to write a few lines.
In my last of the 26th past, I mentioned that the nego-
ciations for peace had been obstructed by the want of due
form in the English Commissions, appointing their ple
nipotentiaries. In that for treating with us the mention
ing our States by their public name had been avoided,
which we objecting to, another is come, of which I send
a copy inclosed. We have now made several preliminary
propositions, which the English minister, Mr. Oswald, has
approved, and sent to his Court. He thinks they will be