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France. For this purpose, Mr Hartley was sent to Paris to sound Dr Franklin, and Mr Forth to confer with Vergennes. The former, after a long correspondence, made several preliminary propositions to Dr Franklin; one of which was, that America 'should be released and unengaged from all treaties with foreign powers;' and he told Dr Franklin, that the convention formed between America and France was the great stumblingblock, in the way of reconciliation.' Mr Forth proposed to France, in case she would abandon America, that she might retain her conquests in the West Indies; and promised not only to relinquish the right of an English commissary at Dunkirk, but to allow her great advantages in the East Indies. The offers thus separately and secretly made, were rejected by Dr Franklin and Vergennes. The negotiations of Mr Jay with the court of Madrid, were attended with peculiar difficulties and embarrassments, and required all the patience and perseverance of that distinguished patriot and statesman. Aware of the wishes of Spain to regain the possessions she had lost in America during the last war, Congress instructed Mr Jay to guaranty the Floridas to his Catholic Majesty, in case he would accede to the treaties; and also to obtain loans and subsidies. Soon after his arrival at Madrid, Mr Jay was explicitly informed, that the king of Spain would not join in these treaties; and that he was much displeased with his Most Christian Majesty for concluding them without his concurrence. When the American minister pressed the Spanish court on this subject, and particularly with regard to the navigation of the Mississippi, he was told, that his Catholic Majesty had determined to exclude all foreigners from entering the Gulf of Mexico from the North, and that he would enter into no treaty with the United States, until some definitive arrangement should be made relative to the navigation of the Mississippi. The embarrassments of Mr Jay were greatly increased, and his situation rendered extremely delicate, by the refusal of the Spanish court to furnish him with any money, even to pay the bills, which Congress had drawn upon him, unless upon the condition of a relinquishment of the claim of the United States to the navigation of the Mississippi. This condition the American minister refused to comply with. In consequence of the success of the enemy, at the South in 1780, Congress were induced to recede from insisting on the free navigation of the Mississippi, and a free port below latitude 31°, in case Spain would secure to the United States the navigation of that
river, above that latitude. A proposition, agreeable to these instructions, was submitted to the Spanish court, but was rejected; and the negotiations remained in this state until June 1782, when they were transferred to Paris, and blended with the subjects of a general peace, between all the belligerents.
In 1780 the war began to affect most of the European powers. Towards the close of that year, the empress of Russia, and the emperor of Germany, offered their mediation for a general peace in Europe. This mediation was accepted at once by England, and eventually by France, Spain, and the United States. A general congress was proposed to settle the terms.
Before commencing negotiations, however, France and Spain insisted upon an explicit answer from the court of London to the question, whether an American plenipotentiary would be admitted at this congress. The king of Great Britain, in June 1781, in his answer, declared, that he would not, in any manner whatever, admit the interference of any foreign power, between him and his rebel subjects; and, therefore, would not agree to the admission of any person, at the proposed congress, on their part; that he would not consent to any measure, which might limit or suspend the right which every sovereign had to employ the means in his power, to put an end to a rebellion in his dominions; and that the mediation of the imperial courts must be limited to peace between the belligerents in Europe, and not extend to a particular peace with the revolted Americans. This answer put an end to all further proceedings under this mediation. While it was pending, the instructions prepared for the American minister, under the Spanish mediation, were revised by Con- ́ gress; and at the instance of the French minister, a clause was inserted, declaring, that the American negotiators were ultimately to be governed by the advice and opinion of the king of France or his minister.' All the states did not assent to this extraordinary and humiliating clause. The states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Delaware gave their votes against it, and Pennsylvania was divided.
At the same time, Dr Franklin, Mr Jay, Mr Laurens, and Mr Jefferson were joined with Mr Adams, in the commission. The pride of Great Britain would not yet permit her to treat with her rebel subjects, as she still called them, under the mediation or interference of any foreign power.
The arms of the allies, however, were able to effect in America, what neither the imperial courts, nor the house of Bourbon,
could accomplish in Europe. The capture of Lord Cornwallis and his army, in October of the same year, convinced the British nation, that America could not be subdued by force, and led to a change of administration, and pacific overtures, on the part of the court of London.
The author has presented a view of the circumstances, which led to these overtures, as well as the negotiations which followed; and has, also, given the reasons why the American ministers concluded a treaty, without even consulting the French court, together with a very able and satisfactory vindication of their conduct, in thus departing from their instructions. We cannot do better, than to give this vindication in the words of the author.
'This direct deviation from positive instructions, this apparent ingratitude and perfidy to a faithful and valuable ally, is susceptible of a full and ready explanation. Early in '82, it was foreseen that England was not the only country, that would present obstacles to a peace, safe and satisfactory to the United States. rica, now independent, found herself compelled to resist Spain, claiming territory on the one hand, and France seeking an exclusive possession of the fisheries on the other. She had succeeded to the rights, the advantageous position, and a portion of the commerce of the mother country in the new world; and undoubtedly France and Spain were well aware, that the United States would become dangerous neighbors on the land, and troublesome competitors on the ocean. The American colonies had always been so, even while their trade was subject to the control and prohibition of Great Britain. But France and Spain did not anticipate, that America would either claim, or be able to maintain, all the former rights of the colonies. They entered into the negotiation of '82 with the intention and expectation of extorting from England, to the injury of the United States, some portion of her territory, and a part of one of her most valuable privileges. Both those countries had a heavy balance to settle with Great Britain in the new world; and they remembered, with bitterness and mortification, the provisions of the two treaties of Utrecht and Paris.'
'On the side of France, America had much to fear. disposed to curtail her fishing rights and privileges, to maintain Spain in her pretensions respecting boundaries, and to aid England in exacting a compensation for the loyalists. A letter written by M. de Marbois, secretary of the French legation, from Philadelphia, dated March 13th, '82, intercepted and decyphered at the time, if it did not give the first intimation of similar de
signs in the French court, strengthened, at least, the suspicions before entertained. M. de Marbois advised M. de Vergennes to cause to be intimated to the American ministers, "his surprise that the Newfoundland fisheries have been included in the additional instructions. That the United States set forth pretensions therein, without paying regard to the king's [French] rights, and without considering the impossibility they are under of making conquests, and of keeping what belongs to G: ea: Britain. It will be better to have it declared at an early period to the Americans, that their pretensions to the fisheries of the great Bank are not founded, and that his Majesty does not mean to support them." These extracts, taken in connexion with the obvious policy of the French court, could leave few doubts concerning its designs.' pp. 182-185.
The boundaries, the fisheries, and the case of the loyalists, were subjects of the greatest difficulty, in the settlement of the terms of peace between Great Britain and her former colonies. On these important subjects, the American negotiators had not only to meet the British ministers, but to counteract the views and claims of France and Spain. Negotiations with Spain were resumed by Mr Jay in the summer of 1782, at Paris, with Count de Áranda. In their first conference, in the presence of Dr Franklin, the Spanish minister referred to the old topic of western limits, and asked, What are the boundaries of the United States? Mr Jay replied, that the Mississippi, from its source to latitude 31°, was their western boundary, and from latitude 31° east, by the line between Georgia and the Floridas. The Spanish minister protested against the right of the United States to extend to the Mississippi. He declared, that the western country had never belonged or claimed to belong to the ancient colonies; that previous to the war of 1755, it belonged to France, and after its cession to Great Britain, it remained a distinct part of her dominions, until, by the conquest of west Florida and certain posts on the Mississippi and Illinois, it became vested in Spain. He then drew a line, as a boundary, on Mitchell's map of North America, beginning at a lake near the confines of Georgia, and east of Flint river, to the confluence of the Kanaway with the Ohio, and thence round the western shores of lakes Erie and Huron, then round lake Michigan to Superior. This map he sent to Mr Jay, and it was, by him, soon after shown to Vergennes, in company with Dr Franklin. The latter pointed out to the French minister this line, as claimVOL. XXIV.NO. 54. 14
ed by Spain, declaring it to be an extravagant and improper one, and insisting on the right of the United States to extend to the Mississippi. Vergennes said very little in reply to these remarks; but Mr Raynevel, his principal secretary, who was present, denied the right of the United States to extend so far west. The Spanish minister afterwards requested the American commissioners to designate some line, east of the Mississippi, to which they would assent. This, however, they refused, declaring, that they could never cede to Spain any part of the country east of that river. Mr Raynevel soon after requested an interview with Mr Jay, relative to limits with Spain. In this interview, he declared explicitly, that the United States had no claim to lands west of the Alleghany mountains, as settled by the British proclamation of October, 1763; that Spain had no claims beyond her late conquests, and could not, in strictness, go beyond the Natchez; but, as the future might bring forth new circumstances,' he proposed an eventual arrangement of limits between the United States and Spain. He suggested, therefore, that a line should commence at the western angle of the Gulf of Mexico, which formed the section between the Floridas, and run thence to Fort Toulouse, and thence by various rivers to the Cumberland, and down that river to the Ohio. The lands north of the Ohio, Mr Raynevel did not consider as belonging to Spain, or the United States, but that their fate must be regulated by the court of London.'
These ideas of Raynevel were, no doubt, those of the French court, and satisfied the American envoys, that the object of France was, by the eventual arrangement of limits proposed by Raynevel, to leave that vast tract of country north of the Ohio, a subject of negotiation between Great Britain and France alone. The intercepted letter of Marbois fully explained the views of the French court as to the fisheries, and in addition to this, Raynevel hinted to Dr Franklin and Mr Jay, that they should limit their claims to the coast fishery. To Mr Adams, who joined Dr Franklin and Mr Jay at Paris, about the twentieth of October, Vergennes expressed an opinion in favor of making some compensation to the loyalists.
Under these circumstances, the American negotiators came to the resolution of proceeding without consulting the court of France. The British minister at first insisted on the Ohio as the western limits, and that the United States should have but a small share in the fisheries. In the progress of the