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lege for the United States. In regard to his notion of independence, and the fisheries, Mr Grenville, the British commissioner for negotiating with France, writes as follows to Lord Shelburne, on the ninth of July; The other day, for the first time, Dr Franklin gave me to understand, that America must have her share in the Newfoundland fishery; that the limits of Canada would likewise be a subject for arrangement; nor does he cease to give the most decided discouragement to any possible plan of arrangement with America, short of complete and distinct independence in its fullest sense.' This was the very time when Mr Cooper tells us, that Franklin was stirring his mighty reason in maturing the terms of the remarkable truce,' and that in this state of mind' he was found by Mr Jay. The subject need not be pursued. The testimony is complete and irresistible.
As to another part of the extract, which tells of an extraordinary letter from Mr Jay to the English secretary of state, it is left without any meaning, when it is known, that no truce was in agitation; for the letter is said to have been caused by the dilemma into which the negotiators were thrown, on account of the instructions of Mr Oswald to negotiate only for a truce. As Mr Oswald had no instructions of this kind, the supposition of such a letter vanishes. It may be, that the author had in his mind a vague recollection of a circumstance which happened at another time. In the primary stages of the negotiation, the British ministry had declared through their commissioners in the most explicit terms, that the independence of the United States was to be recognised as a preliminary step to the treaty; but after the death of the Marquis of Rockingham, which happened on the first of July, there seemed to be a change in the views of the ministry. Lord Shelburne, who succeeded the Marquis of Rockingham as first lord of the treasury, was opposed to a direct acknowledgment of independence, and the commission sent to Mr Oswald by the new ministry signified, that this was to be granted as an article of treaty, and not by a previous acknowledgment, and the United States were also denominated Colonies in the instrument. The American commissioners were much surprised at this change in a point, which they supposed to be setiled. Mr Jay, in particular, earnestly remonstrated against it, as being inconsistent with the dignity of the United States. Franklin did not see it exactly in that light, although he pre
ferred the old method. He doubted, however, whether it was best to break off or delay the treaty on this account, as it was evidently the intention of the British government to acknowledge unqualified independence, although in a different manner from that first proposed. He considered the giving of such a commission to treat with them as a separate nation, to be a virtual acknowledgment of independence. In this opinion he was sustained by a letter, which he had some time before received from Mr Adams in Holland. 'In a former letter,' says Mr Adams, I hinted that I thought an express acknowledgment of our independence might now be insisted on, but I did not mean, that we should insist on such an article in the treaty. If they make a treaty of peace with the United States of America, this is acknowledgment enough for me.' When Count de Vergennes was consulted, he said that names signified little,' that he thought all the ends might be obtained under this commission, that Mr Oswald's acceptance of their powers, in which they were styled Commissioners from the United States of America, would be a tacit admittance of independence,' and that all they had to do was to secure this independence 'by inserting proper articles in the treaty, and fixing limits against all future claims.' Mr Jay was not satisfied with this view of the subject. He insisted, that the dignity of the United States required a formal acknowledgment distinct from the treaty.
Impressed with this idea, he had an interview with Mr Oswald, and explained to him fully the difficulties under which he labored. At Mr Oswald's request he stated his objections in writing, and urged the necessity of England's treating with America on an equal footing. Mr Oswald promised to acquaint the ministry with these reasons, and request a change in the terms of his commission.
Meantime the French cabinet, having heard frequent rumors of Lord Shelburne's insincerity in regard to proposals for peace, sent over secretly Mr Rayneval, secretary of the council, to consult with him, and ascertain from his own observations the actual designs of the British court. This journey, although kept secret at first, soon became known in Paris; and as it happened just at the time of the discussion about Mr Oswald's powers, Mr Jay's suspicions were awakened, and he could see nothing in this manœuvre but some concealed purpose against the United States. He believed that Count de Vergennes wish
ed the acknowledgment of independence to be deferred, that he might take advantage of this state of things, till the French treaty with England was completed. Dr Franklin had no such fears, but said to Mr Jay, This court has hitherto treated us very fairly, and suspicion to their disadvantage should not be readily entertained." The idea of some ill design on the part of France against America had seized Mr Jay's mind so forcibly, that it was not to be dislodged by this mode of reasoning. His imagination was fertile in devising the means of evil, which our ally had it in her power to practise upon the United States, in promoting her own selfish ends. As a specimen of these workings of the imagination, we quote what he considered to be the reasons of Mr Rayneval's visit to London. 1. To let Lord Shelburne know, that the demands of America to be treated by Britain as independent, previously to a treaty, were not approved or countenanced by this court, and that the offer of Britain to make that acknowledgment, in an article of the proposed treaty, was, in the Count's opinion, sufficient.
2. To sound Lord Shelburne on the subject of the fishery, and to discover whether Britain would divide it with France, to the exclusion of all others.
3. To impress Lord Shelburne with the determination of Spain to possess the exclusive navigation of the Gulf of Mexico, and of their desire to keep us from the Mississippi; and also to hint the propriety of such a line, as on the one hand would satisfy Spain, and on the other leave to Britain all the country north of the Ohio.
'4. To make such other verbal overtures to Lord Shelburne, as it might not be advisable to reduce to writing; and to judge from the general tenor of his lordship's answers and conversation, whether it was probable that a general peace, on terms agreeable to France, could be effected, in order that, if that was not the case, an immediate stop might be put to the negotiation.'
Mr Jay thought this prospect very alarming for the treaty of the United States, and hastened to apply a remedy with the utmost expedition. A gentleman was then in Paris, who was on terms of intimacy with Lord Shelburne, and who, at the request of Mr Jay, agreed to go over to London and converse with his lordship on this subject. This gentleman was furnished by Mr Jay with the arguments, which he wished to operate on Lord Shelburne's mind, in neutralizing the supposed efforts
of Mr Rayneval against the interests of the United States, and in convincing Lord Shelburne, that it was better to make a firm friend of America, than to gain what might at first be thought a temporary advantage, by listening to the insinuations of France. The messenger went to London with these instructions, and performed his task faithfully.
As it turned out, however, there was no occasion for any alarm at all, on the part of the American commissioners. Mr Rayneval's visit had a purpose totally unconnected with their concerns. We have before us a copy of the Confidential Note,' which he submitted in writing to the British ministers during his stay in London, and which contains the topics of his conversations with them. They are here printed from a literal transcript.
1. As the independence of America is a thing agreed upon, no remark needs be made on that subject.
2. Restitution of St Lucia, and retrocession of Dominica. '3. An arrangement for the fisheries of Newfoundland. This
matter has been treated discursively with Mr Fitzherbert. If the ideas which have been proposed to him are judged impracticable, I am persuaded they will be weighed with equity at Versailles.
4. Senegal was an ancient possession of France; she claims to preserve it with its dependences.
5. The reestablishment of France in India on the footing of 1754; or, to indicate another epoch, 1749. France does not pretend to acquire territory in India. She demands only an arrangement, which shall ensure the tranquillity of her factories, and provide for their expense.
'6. An abrogation of all the stipulations relative to Dunkirk. 7. I have said in regard to the king of Spain, that I have been authorized only to give the strongest assurances of his pacific dispositions; but my personal desire to put his Britannic Majesty in a condition to appreciate the means of promoting the peace, has determined me to mention the king of Spain's intention to acquire Gibraltar either by conquest or otherwise. And presupposing that it would be for the interest of England to have in the Mediterranean a point of support for their commerce to the Levant, I have said that I was persuaded that in whatever manner the king of Spain might acquire Gibraltar, that prince would be disposed to assure to Great Britain such a point in the Mediteranean. '8. It is natural that Holland should demand a restitution of what she has lost. France will facilitate this restitution.'
From this note it seems, that nothing was said about American affairs, except to confirm the independence of the United States, the very topic which Mr Jay had imagined would be made the handle for gaining advantages over them, and which he believed to be the chief cause of Mr Rayneval's journey. This result justified Dr Franklin's opinion, and proved Mr Jay's apprehensions not to be well founded. It is certain, however, that they made a deep impression upon him, and had an influence over his mind, which was probably never removed. Mr Rayneval's confidential note was not made public, and Mr Jay had no means of knowing what had occurred in his interviews with the British ministry. Mr Oswald's commission was changed, in conformity with the first article of the above note, and the negotiators immediately entered upon their work in earnest. We take occasion here to remark, that Mr Jay's correspondence generally, in regard to France, was too much tinged with suspicions for which he really had very slender reasons, but into which he was led by a series of incidents, that seemed to him inexplicable. The truth is, he had been but a few weeks in Paris, was unacquainted with the details of the French cabinet and the character of the ministers, and had joined the negotiation in its progress. Jealous of his country's rights, elevated in his political principles, true and firm in his patriotism, he watched with a keen eye whatever bore on these topics, and regarded with suspicion the acts and hints, for which he could not discover an obvious motive. When his confidence was once shaken, he gave a great latitude to his conjectures, as we have seen by the example already cited, and he allowed even his judgment to be carried out of its usual course. Dr Franklin, on the contrary, had lived in Paris during the whole war, and had been compelled, from his situation, to hold a constant and close intercourse with the French court; he had thus become intimately acquainted with the characters of the men, their system of policy, and habits of action. Repeated experiments had proved to him in what they were to be trusted and to what extent. Hence, when Mr Jay became alarmed, Franklin was cool and unsuspecting. Satisfied of the good faith of the men, whose entire course of policy he had known for years, he could not admit that there was a dereliction of principle, a deviation from the uniform consistency which he had so long witnessed, until he should see stronger evidence than had yet come to light; and he deemed it a duty to wait