approved there, but I have some doubts. In a few days,
however, the answer expected will determine. By the
fust of these articles the King of Great Britain renounces
for himself and successors all claim and pretension to do
minion or territory within the Thirteen United States ;
and the boundaries are described as in our instructions ;
except that the line between Nova Scotia and New Eng
land is to be settled by Commissioners after: the peace.
By another article the fishery in the American Seas is to
be freely exercised by the Americans, wherever they might
formerly exercise it while united with Great Britain. By
another, the citizens and subjects of each nation are to
enjoy the same protection and privileges in each other s
ports and countries respecting commerce, duties, &c., that
are enjoyed by native subjects. The articles are drawn up
very fully by Mr. Jay; w.ho I suppose sends you a copy;
if not, it will go by the next opportunity. If these articles
are agreed to, I apprehend little difficulty in the rest.
Something has been mentioned about the refugees and
English debts, but not insisted on, as we declared at once,
that whatever confiscations had been made in America,
PART III. OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 283
being in virtue of the laws of particular States, the Con
gress had no authority to repeal those laws, and therefore
could give us none to stipulate for such repeal.
The ministry here have been induced to send over M. de
Rayneval, Secretary of the Council, to converse with
Lord Sheiburne, and endeavour to form by that means a
more perfect judgment of what was to be expected from
the negociation. He was five or six days in England, saw
all the ministers, and returned quite satisfied that they are
sincerely desirous of peace ; so that the negociations now
go on with some prospect of success. But the Court and
people of England are very changeable. A little turn of
fortune in their favour sometimes turns their heads ; and I
shall not think a speedy peace to be depended on till 1 see
the treaties signed. With great esteem, I have the honour
to be, Sir, &c. B. FRANKLIN.
To His Excellency JOHN ADAMS, Esq. Minister Pleni
SIR, Passy, Oct. 15, 1782.
A long and painful illness has prevented my
corresponding with your Excellency regularly.
Mr. Jay has, I believe, acquainted you with the obstruc
tions our peace negociations have met with, and that they
are at length removed. By the next Courier expected
from London, we may be able perhaps to form some
judgment of the probability of success, so far as relates to
our part of the peace. How likely the other powers are
to settle their pretensions I cannot yet learn. In the mean
time America is gradually growing more easy, by the
284 PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE PART 111.
enemy s evacuation of their posts ; as you will see by
some intelligence I inclose. With great respect, 1 have
the honour to be, &c. B. FRANKLIN.
FROM THE RIGHT HON. T. TOWNSHEN,D TO DR.
SIR, Whitehall, Oct. 23, 1782.
As Mr. Strachey is going from hence to Paris
with some particulars for Mr. Oswald, which were not
easily to be explained in writing, I take the liberty of in
troducing him to your acquaintance, though I am not sure
that he is not already a little known to you. The confi
dential situation in which he stands with me makes me
particularly desirous of presenting him to you.
I believe, Sir, I am enough known to you for you to
believe me, when I say, that there has not been from the
beginning a single person more averse to the unhappy
war, or who wishes more earnestly, than I do, for a return
of peace and mutual amity between Great Britain and
Ameiica. I am, with great regard, Sir, your most obe
dient, humble servant, T. TOWNSHEND.
ANSWER TO THE RIGHT HON. THOMAS TOWNS-
One of his Majesty s principal Secretaries of State.
SIR, Pussy, Nov. 4, 1782.
I received the letter you did me the honour of
1 Under Secretary of State in the Department of Mr. Towns-
hcnd : (afterwards Lord Sydney).
PART III* OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.
writing to me by Mr. Strachey ; and was much pleased
with the opportunity it gave me of renewing and increasing
my acquaintance with a gentleman of so amiable and de
serving a character. 1
I am sensible you have ever been averse to the mea
sures that brought on this unhappy war ; I have therefore
no doubt of the sincerity of your wishes for a return of
peace. Mine are equally earnest. Nothing therefore
except the beginning of the war, has given me more con
cern than to learn at the conclusion of our conferences,
that it is not likely to be soon ended. Be assured no en
deavours on my part would be wanting to remove any.
difficulties that may have arisen, or even if a peace were
made, to procure afterwards any changes in the treaty that
might tend to render it more perfect, and the peace more
durable. But we who are here at so great a distance from
our constituents, have not the possibility of obtaining in a
few days fresh instructions, as is the case with your nego-
ciators, and are therefore obliged to insist on what is con
formable to those we have, and at the same time appears
to us just and reasonable. With great esteem and respect,
I have the honour to be, Sir, Sec. B. FRANKLIN.
1 Dr. Franklin had formerly known this gentleman when he
acted as Secretary to the Commission which Lord Howe and his
brother the General were charged with, in America, in the year
1776 ; the particulars of which are related in the Memoirs of the
Life of Dr. Franklin.
:A; / f^- *>* ft*
286 PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE PART III.
FROM HENRY STRACHEY, ESQ. TO THE MINIS
TERS PLENIPOTENTIARY FROM THE UNITED
GENTLEMEN, Paris, Nov. 5, 1782.
Knowing the expectation of the King s mi
nisters, that full indemnity shall be provided for the whole
body of refugees, either by a restitution of their property,
or by some stipulated compensation for their losses, and
being confident, as I have repeatedly assured you, that
your refusal upon this point will be the great obstacle to a
conclusion and ratification of that peace which is meant
as a solid, perfect, permanent reconciliation and re-union
between Great Britain and America, i am unwilling to
leave Paris without once more submitting the matter to
your consideration. It affects equally in my opinion the
honour and humanity of your country and of ours. How
far you will be justified in risking every favourite object of
America, by contending against those principles, is for
you to determine. Independence and more than a rea
sonable possession of territory seem to be within your
reach. Will you suffer them to be outweighed by the
gratification of resentment against individuals ? I venture
to assert that such a conduct hath no parallel in the history
of civilized nations.
I am under the necessity of setting out by two o clock
to day ; if the time is too short for your re-consideration,
and final determination of this important point, I shall
hope that you will enable Mr. Oswald to dispatch a mes
senger after me, who may be with me before morning at
PART III. OF BENJAMIN FRANKLTN. 28?
Chantilly, where I propose sleeping to-night, or who may
overtake me before L arrive in London, with a satisfactory
answer to this letter. I have the honour to be, Gentle-
tlemen, Yours, &c. H. STRACHEY.
(Answer to the foregoing,)
To H. STRACHEY, ESQ.
SIR, Paris, Nov. 6, 1782.
We have been honoured with your favour of the
5th instant, and as our answer to a letter we received from
Mr. Oswald on the same subject, contains our unanimous
sentiments respecting it, we take the liberty of referring
you to the inclosed copy of that answer. We have the
honour to be, Sir, your most obedient, &c.
COPY OF THE LETTER TO MR. OSWALD.
SIR, Nov. 6, 1782.
In answer to the letter you did us the honour to
write on the 4th instant, we beg leave to repeat what we
often said in conversation, viz. that the restoration of such
of the estates of refugees, as have been confiscated, is im
practicable, because they were confiscated by laws of par
ticular states, and in many instances have passed by legal
titles through several hands. Besides, Sir, as this is a
matter evidently appertaining to the internal polity of the
separate states, the Congress by the nature of our consti
tution have no authority to interfere with it.
288 PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE PART III.
As to your demand of compensation to those persons,
we forbear enumerating our reasons for thinking it ill
founded: in the moment of conciliatory overtures it would
not be proper to call certain scenes into view, over which
a variety of considerations should induce both parties, at
present to draw a veil. Permit us therefore only to repeat,
that we cannot stipulate for such compensation, unless on
your part it be agreed to make retribution to our citizens
for the heavy losses they have sustained by the unnecessary
destruction of their private property.
We have already agreed to an amnesty more extensive
than, justice required, and full as extensive as humanity
could demand. We can therefore only repeat, that it can
not be extended further.
We should be sorry if the absolute impossibility of our
complying further with your propositions on this head,
should induce Great Britain to continue the w<ar, for the
sake of those who caused and prolonged it. But if that
should be the case, we hope that the utmost latitude will
not be again given to its rigours.
Whatever may be the issue of this negociatiori, be as
sured, Sir, that we shall always acknowledge the liberal,
manly, and candid manner in which you have conducted
it, and that we shall remain with the warmest sentiments
of esteem and regard, your most obedient and very humble
ii t>,< b.w
Article proposed by the American Plenipotentiaries.
It is agreed that his Britannic Majesty will ear
nestly recommend it to his parliament to provide for, and
r II MO<*
PART III. OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 289
make compensation to the merchants and shopkeepers of
Boston, whose goods and merchandize were seized and
taken out of their stores, warehouses and shops, by order
of General Gage and others of his commanders or officers
there, and also to the inhabitants of Philadelphia, for the
goods taken away by his army there, and to make com
pensation also for the tobacco, rice, indigo, negroes, &c.
seized and carried off by his armies under Generals Ar
nold, Cornwallis, and others, from the State of Virginia,
North and South Carolina, and Georgia. And also for
all vessels and cargoes belonging to the inhabitants of the
said United States, which were stopped, seized, or taken,
either in the ports or on the seas, by his governors or by
his ships of war, before the declaration of war against the
And it is further agreed, that his Britannic Majesty will
also earnestly recommend it to his parliament to make
compensation for all towns, villages, and farms, burnt and
destroyed by his^ troops, or adherents, in the said United
There existed a free commerce upon mutual
faith between Great Britain and America. The mer
chants of the former credited the merchants and planters
of the latter with great quantities of goods on the common
expectation that the merchants having sold the goods
would make the accustomed remittances ; that the planters
would do the same by the labour of their negroes, and the
produce of that labour, tobacco, rice, indigo, &c.
England, before the goods were sold in America, sends
VOL. II. T
PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE PART III-
an armed force, seizes those goods in the stores, some
even in the ships that brought them, and carries them off.
Seizes also and carries off the tobacco, rice, and indigo,
provided by the planters to make returns, and even the
negroes from whose labour they might hope to raise other
produce for that purpose.
Britain now demands that the debts shall nevertheless
Will she, can she justly refuse making compensation for
such seizures ?
If a draper who had sold a piece of linen to a neighbour
on credit, should follow him, take the linen from him by
force, and then send a bailiff to arrest him for the debt,
would any court of law or equity award the payment of
the debts, without ordering a restitution of the cloth ?
Will not the debtors in America cry out, that if this
compensation be not made, they were betrayed by the pre
tended credit, and are now doubly ruined, first by the
enemy, and then by the negociators at Paris, the goods
and negroes sold them being taken from them, with all
they had besides ; and they are now to be obliged to pay
for what they have been robbed of.
To RICHARD OSWALD, Eso.
SIR, Passy, November 26, 1782.
You may well remember that in the beginning
of our conferences, before the other commissioners arrived,
on mentioning to me a retribution for the loyalists whose
estates had been forfeited, I acquainted you that nothing
of that kind could be stipulated by us, the confiscations
PART III. OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 2Q1
being made by virtue of laws of particular States, which
the Congress had no power to contravene or dispense
with, and therefore could give us no such authority in our
commission. And I gave it as my opinion, honestly and
cordially, that if a reconciliation was intended, no mention
should be made in our negociations of those people ; for
they having done infinite mischief to our properties by
wantonly burning and destroying farm-houses, villages, and
towns, if compensation for their losses were insisted on,
we should certainly exhibit against it an account of all the
ravages they had committed, which would necessarily re
call to view scenes of barbarity that must inflame instead
of conciliating, and tend to perpetuate an enmity that we
all profess a desire of extinguishing. Understanding how
ever from you, that this was a point your ministry had at
heart, I wrote concerning it to Congress, and 1 have lately
received the following :
" By the United States in Congress assembled.
"September 10, 1782.
" Resolved, that the Secretary for Foreign Af
fairs be, and is hereby directed to obtain as speedily as
possible authentic returns of the stores and other property,
which have been carried off or destroyed in the course of
the war by the enemy, and to transmit the same to the
ministers plenipotentiary for negociating a peace.
a That in the mean time the Secretary for Foreign Af
fairs inform the said ministers, that many thousands of
slaves and other property, to a very great amount, have
been carried off or destroyed by the enemy ; and that in
the opinion of Congress, the great loss of property which
PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE PART
the citizens of the United States have sustained by the
enemy, will be considered by several states as an inseparable
bar to their making restitution or indemnification to the
former owners of properly, which has been or may be for
feited to, or confiscated by any of the States.
" In consequence of these resolutions, and the circular
letters to the Secretary, the Assembly of Pennsylvania
then sitting passed the following: act, viz.
" The States of Pennsylvania in general Assembly.
" Wednesday, September 18, 1782.
" The Bill intitled An Act for procuring an
estimate of the damages sustained by the inhabitants of
Pennsylvania, from the troops and adherents to the King
of Great Britain during the present war/ was read a se
" Ordered to be transcribed and printed for public
"Extracts from the Minutes,
PETER Z. LLOYD,
" Clerk of the General Assembly."
) Tit? *-;* *o fcj? ,:;jir
" Bill intitled ( An Act for procuring an estimate of the
damages sustained by the inhabitants of Pennsylvania, from
the troops and adherents of the King of Great Britain
during the present war/
" Whereas great damages of the most wanton nature
have been committed by the armies of the King of Great
Britain or their adherents, within the territory of the United
States of North America, unwarranted by the practice of
civilized nations, and only to be accounted for from th
PART III, OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 293
vindictive spirit of the said King and his officers. And
whereas an accurate account and estimate of such damages,
more especially the waste and destruction of property,
may be very useful to the people of the United States of
America, in forming a future treaty of peace, and in the
mean time may serve to exhibit in a true light to the na
tions of Europe tli conduct of the said King, his minis
ters, officers and adherents, to the end, therefore, .that pro
per measures be taken to ascertain the damages aforesaid,
which have been done to the citizens and inhabitants of
Pennsylvania, in the course of the present war, within this
" Be it enacted by the representatives of the freemen
of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in general Assem
bly met, and by the authority of the same, that in every
county of this State, which has been invaded by the
armies, soldiers, and adherents of the King of Great Bri
tain, the Commissioners of every such county shall imme
diately meet together, each within their county, and issue
directions to the assessors of the respective townships, dis
tricts, and places within such county, to call upon the
inhabitants of every township and place, to furnish accounts
and estimates of the damages, waste, spoil, and destruction,
which have been done and committed as aforesaid, upon
the property, real or personal, within the same township
or place, since the first day of which was In
the year of our Lord 177 , and the same accounts and
estimates to transmit to the said Commissioners without
delay. And if any person or persons shall refuse or neg
lect to make out such accounts and estimates, the said
assessors of the township or place shall, from their own
1294 PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE PART ill.
knowledge, and by any other reasonable and lawful me
thods, take and render such an account and estimate of all
damages done or committed as aforesaid.
" Provided always, that all such accounts and estimates,
to be made out and transmitted as aforesaid, shall contain a
narrative of the time and circumstances, and if in the
power of the person aggrieved, the names of the general
or other officer, or adherent of the enemy, by whom the
damage in any case was done, or under whose orders, the
army, detachment, party, or persons committing the same
acted at that time, and also the name and addition of the
person and persons whose property was so damaged or
destroyed : and that all such accounts and estimates be
made in current money, upon oath or affirmation of the
sufferer, or of others having knowledge concerning the
same ; and that in every case it be set forth, whether the
party injured had received any satisfaction for his loss, and
by whom the same was given.
" And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid,
that the said Commissioners having obtained the said ac
counts and estimates from the assessors of the several
townships and places, shall proceed to inspect and register
the same in a book to be provided for that purpose, dis
tinguishing the districts and townships, and entering those
of each place together; and if any account or estimate be
imperfect or not sufficiently verified and established, the
said Commissioners shall have power, and they or any
two of them are hereby authorised to summon and com
pel any person whose evidence they shall think necessary,
to appear before them at a day and place to be appointed,
to be examined upon oath or affirmation, concerning any
PART III. OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 295
damage or injury as aforesaid ; and the said Commission
ers shall, upon the call and demand of the President or
Vice-president of the Supreme-executive Council, deliver
or send to the Secretary of the said Council, all or any
of the original accounts and estimates aforesaid, and shall
also deliver or send to the said Secretary, copies of the
book aforesaid, or any part or parts thereof, upon reason
(e And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid,
that all losses of negroes or mulatto slaves and servants
who have been deluded, and carried away by the enemies
of the United States, and which have not been recovered
or recompensed, shall be comprehended within the ac
counts and estimates aforesaid, and that the commission
ers and assessors of any county, which hath not been
invaded as aforesaid, shall nevertheless enquire after and
procure accounts and estimates of any damages suffered
by the loss of such servants, and slaves, as is herein before
directed as to other property.
" And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid,
that the charges and expences of executing this act, as to
the pay of the said commissioners and assessors, shall be
as in other cases, with the witnesses, rewarded for their
loss of time and trouble, as witnesses summoned to appear
in the Courts of Quarter Sessions of the peace, and the
said charges and expences shall be defrayed by the com
monwealth, but paid in the first instance out of the monies
in the hands of the treasurer of the county for county
rates, and levies, upon orders drawn by the commissioners
of the proper county."
We have not yet had time to hear what has been done
296 PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE PART III.
by the other Assemblies ; but I have no doubt that similar
acts will be made by all of them : and that the mass of
evidence produced by the execution of those acts, not
only of the enormities committed by those people under
the direction of British Generals, but of those committed
by the British troops themselves, will form a record that
must render the British name odious in America to the
latest generations. In that authentic record will be found
the burnings of the fine town of Charlestown, near Bos
ton, of Falmouth just before winter, when the sick, the
aged, the women, and children, were driven to seek shelter
where they could hardly find it; of Norfolk in the midst
of winter ; of New London ; of Fairfield, of Esopus, &c.
&c. besides near an hundred and fifty miles of unsettled
country laid waste, every house and barn burnt, and many
hundreds of farmers with their wives and children but
chered and scalped.
The present British ministers, when they reflect a little,
will certainly be too equitable to suppose, that their nation
has a right to make an unjust war (which they have al
ways allowed this against us to be) and to do all sorts of
unnecessary mischief, unjustifiable by the practice of any
civilized people, which those they make war with are to
suffer, without claiming any satisfaction, but that if Britons
or other adherents are in return deprived of any property,
it is to be restored to them, or they are to be indemnified !
The British troops can never excuse their barbarities.
They were unprovoked. The loyalists may say in excuse
of theirs, that they were exasperated by the loss of their
estates, and it xvas revenge. They have then had their
revenge. Is it right they should have both ?
PART III. OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.
Some of these people may have merit with regard to
Britain; those who espoused her cause from affection,
these it may become you to reward. But there are many
of them who are waverers, and were only determined to
engage in it by some occasional circumstances or appear
ances ; these have not much of either merit or demerit,
and there are others who have abundance of demerit
respecting your country, having by their falsehoods and
misrepresentations brought on and encouraged the continu
ance of the war. These instead of being recompensed
should be punished.
It is usual among Christian people at war to profess
always a desire of peace. But if the ministers of one of
the parties chose to insist particularly on a certain article
which they know the others are not and cannot be
empowered to agree to, what credit can they expect
should be given to such professions ?
Your ministers require that we should receive again into
our bosoms those who have been our bitterest enemies ;
and restore their properties who have destroyed ours j
and this while the wounds they have just given us are slill
bleeding. It is many years since your nation expelled the
Stuarts and their adherents, and confiscated their estates.
Much of your resentment against them may by this time
be abated. Yet if we should insist on and propose it as
an article of our treaty with you, that that family should