Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

'there might be as few obstacles to a peace as possible* l1&2*

He reminded them also, that Mr, Oswald's new com-,

. . . i\

mission had been issued posterior to his arrival at London. \v

The fisheries labored for some time. The British ministry were for excluding the Americans from fishing within three leagues of any of the coasts belonging to Britain, and within fifteen of Louisburgli. Mr. Adams told Mr. Oswald, that the New England states had no staple without the fishery—that the fisheries entered into all their trade—that were they excluded from them, the British would not be benefited by it, for the French would get the trade—that Britain would have nothing to fear from a number of American sailors at such a distance, whatever they might have from the French who were near—that the fishermen would break through such limits, whatever care might be used to prevent it, which might prove a bone of contention, and bring on another war after a few years. Mr. Oswald made a great diffi- I .culty about acknowledging the right of the Americans to the fisheries; and was for inserting the word liberty. -. After a while Mr. Adams said—" They have a right every way. The banks are only so many leagues from the Americans, but they are so many from the Europeans; if the latter have a right by nature, certainly the former have. We have fought together with the English in their wars for the enjoyment of them, and with them we have possessed them; and therefore we have a full right." The word right was agreed to be inserted in the treaty. The article of the fishery cost the American commissioners, all the industry, skill and address that they were masters of. Mr. Laurens's presence with his brother commissioners the two last days was of great

Z 2, service.

*782* service. He proposed the insertion of a paragraph against carrying away any negroes or other property, belonging to the American inhabitants. He appeared deeply impressed with the loss of his son; but the venerable hero thanked God that he had such a son, one who was willing to lose his life in the cause of his country. . The American commissioners expedited the negotiation with the utmost assiduity; and on the 30th of NoI vember, provisional articles were agreed upon and signed, to take effect whenever terms of peace should be •finally settled with the court of France. The business was finished so privately and unexpectedly, that ministers and ambassadors, as well as others in and about the court of Versailles, were surprised upon hearing the news. The signing of the provisional articles will probably suspend the hostile operations of France and Spain, fill it is known whether a general peace can be agreed upon. They have collected their fleets at Cadiz to the amount of near forty ship of the line, which are destined for the West Indies, and are to be commanded by count d'Estaing; who is to convoy thither several thousand French troops under the marquis de la Fayette. ( Had not the American commissioners improved the precious moment that offered, without entangling themselves by consulting count de Vergennes, the British ministry might have been changed, and those events have succeeded, which would have kept the United States much longer from the possession of their independence.

We must now quit the negotiations of peace for the operations which relate to war. By the French gazette it appears, that capt, de la Perouse, commanding a division of his most christian majesty's fleet, has destroyed

the settlements at Hudson's-bay. He computes the 178*. loss sustained by the Hudson's-bay Company at about 500,0001. sterling.

The gentlemen of the county of Suffolk proposed building a ship of the line for" the use of government, and began a subscription for the purpose. The plan was to be carried into immediate execution, when twelve other counties had agreed to follow the example. There was subscribed in the whole 210671. I9S. 6d. The proposal answered a good purpose, as may be seen by the following extract of a letter from Wm. Middleton esq; to the corporation of Ipswich.—" Sept. 7. It is with singular satisfaction I can inform you, that the spirited resolve of this.county; has already had its desired effect on the court of France. Mr. Fitzherbert, now at Paris, writes word, that nothing but a decisive vie--, tory at sea, could Iiave had so striking an effect on that court, as the resolves of this and the other counties, to build ships of war by voluntary contributions, for the use of the public." But Sir James Lowther distinguished himself by a noble singularity, which few had power to follow. On the 6th of September, he waited on lord Keppel, and after expressing his concern that county subscriptions for building men of war went on languidly, requested his lordship to present' his duty to the king, and at the fame time beseech his majesty to accept a man of war of the line from him, completely manned, victualled, and fitted for action. Lord Keppel, astonished at such an unexampled instance of generosity in a private gentleman, assured Sir James that his request should be. instantly complied with, which it accordingly

2* 3 wasj

1782. was. an(j trie king receiveci tne offer with that mark of respect which became his majesty.

Ten men of war (including count de Grasse's ships taken by admiral Rodney) with a large fleet of merchantmen from Jamaica, suffered exceedingly by a tremendous gale of wind off Newfoundland on the 17th of September, and since by captures. The Ville de Paris, and the Glorieux foundered, and only one man out of the compliment of both ships escaped to tell their melancholy fate. The Hector also sunk; but being descried in time by a snow that made toward them, the crew were saved. The captain's name was John Hill, though his vessel was small for the purpose, yet he took on board upward of 200 men belonging to the Hector. He threw part of his cargo overboard to make room for them j and generoufly shared his provisions with them to the hazard of wanting himself. The greatness of the risk he ran appears from hence, that the last cask of water was broached on the day that land was discovered. The Ramilies went down, but her people were saved by the merchantmen in company. The Centaur was likewise lost, and all her company, except twelve, with the captain, who got into the only remaining boat. They traversed a space of near 800 miles in the Atlantic ocean, without compass or quadrant, and with a blanket for a fail. They had only two biscuits divided among them every twenty-four hours; and as much water during that space to every man, as the neck of a wine bottle broken off would hold. At the expiration of sixteen days, when the last division of biscuit and water had been made, to their inexpressible joy jhey discovered the Portuguese isiand of Fayal, where

they

they safely arrived at night. The American cruisers car- 'I8**: ried into L'Orient 17 of the Jamaica fleet. The whole number of prizes brought into that port by them, from the beginning of the year to the end of October, amounts to 31; exclusive of what haye arriyed in other ports of. France.

LETTER XII.

Paris, Dec. 30, 1783. -
Friend G,

TH E Governor of the Universe, to whose justice
and determination all the late belligerent powers i78
appealed, having so ordered events that peace is at length
fully restored, the present letter shall close my correspon- • 1 •:
dence upon affairs of a public nature. %

Mr. Francis Dana, your late American resident at Petersburgh, but who sailed from thence for America' ". en the 7th of August, labored to obtain a receptionist his public character; but received from the Ruffian ', minister, in answer to his application, the following declaration.—" I have to renew to you, Sir, the expression of satisfaction with which her Imperial majesty is impressed by the mark of attention which your consti-'" tuents have.paid her, in sending to her a person expressly clothed with a public character ■, and to assure youy .that'

Z 4 fee

« ZurückWeiter »