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in preparing this volume. Important aid has been derived from the exceedingly copious and as yet unedited cabinet correspondence of Frederic the Second of Prussia with his foreign ministers in England, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Russia. In choosing from this vast mass of materials, I received the most friendly assistance from the superintendent, Mr. Dunker, and from Mr. Friedlander. Extracts from these letters, which are all written in the French language, will be published in Paris. I sought for some expression, on the part of Frederic, of a personal interest in Washington; but I found none. The Chevalier von Arneth, so honorably known as historian, editor, and critic of integrity and acuteness, had the exceeding goodness to direct for me an examination of the archives at Vienna; very many reports from the Austrian ambassadors in London and Paris were copied for me under his direction. They assist to define exactly the pressure under which Vergennes entered upon mea
f reason a system of civil liberty to supersede worn-out traditional forms; and the lighter literature of the hour, skeptical rather than hopeful, mocked at the contradiction between institutions and rights. Gentlemen of America, wrote Parny, at Paris, just before the alliance between France and the United States, what right have you, more than we, to this cherished liberty? Inexorable tyranny crushes Europe; and you, lawless and mutinous people, without kings and without queens, will you dan, above all, increased power and possessions in Germany, and planned the absorption of Bavaria. And as the dynastic interests of the imperial family claimed parity with those of the state, the same minister knew how to find thrones at Parma, at Paris, at Naples, for the three youngest Chap. I.} 1778. of the six daughters of Maria Theresa. The arch-house looked upon itself as alone privileged to produce the chiefs of the holy Roman Empire, the continuers of Augustus, of Constantine, of Cha
Frederic, 30 Jan., 1777. On the fourteenth of February, 1777, the American commissioners at Paris transmitted to Frederic a copy of the declaration of independence, and of the articles of Americia, looked upon the acquisition of Bavaria as the harbinger of success. When Joseph repaired to Paris to win France for his design through the influence of his sister, Marie Antoinette, the Prussianv., 1777. Frederic, on his part, all the more continued his admonitions, through his minister at Paris, that France had now an opportunity which must be regarded as unique; that England could from nof Russia and of Prussia. So when the news of the surrender of Burgoyne's army was received at Paris, and every face, even that of the French king, showed signs of joy, Goltz to Frederic, 7 Dec.1778, his minis- 1778. Jan. ter, Schulenburg, wrote officially to one of their commissioners in Paris: The king desires that your generous efforts may be crowned with complete success. He will not
sent to America the greatest force which any European power ever ventured to transport into that continent, it was not strong enough to attack its enemy, nor to prevent them from receiving assistance. The war measures of the administration were, therefore, so repugnant to sound policy that they ceased to be right. Edward Gibbon to J. Holroyd, 13 Aug., 1777. After that surrender, In 1847 the Archbishop of York, whose memory went back to those days, and who was with Thomas Grenville in Paris in 1782, told me, that after the affair of Bunker Hill very many persons, after the surrender of Burgoyne almost every one, gave up the expectation that England would be able to enforce the dependence of the colonies. he agreed that, Chap. V.} 1778. since the substance of power was lost, the name of independence might be granted to the Americans. General Howe coupled his retirement from active service with the avowal that the disposable resources of his country could produce no decisive re
hostile to the United States. With a true instinct she saw in their success the quickening example which was to break down the barriers of her own colonial system; and her dread of their coming influence shaped her policy Chap. VI.} 1778. during their struggle. She was willing to encourage them so far as to exhaust the resources of Great Britain by one campaign more; but she was bent on restraining France from an alliance with them, till she should herself have wrung from their agents at Paris all the concessions which she deemed essential to the security of her transatlantic dominions, and from France all other advantages that she could derive from the war. She excused her importunities for delay by the necessity of providing for the defence of her colonies; the danger that would hang over her homeward-bound troops and commerce; the contingency of renewed schemes of conquest on the part of the Russians against the Ottoman empire; the succession of Bavaria; the propriety of coming
elphia, congress, on a hint from Arthur Lee, resolved to pay the annual interest on the certificates of debt by drawing bills of exchange on their commissioners in Paris for coin. How these bills were to be met at maturity was not clear: they were of a very long date, and, before any of them became due, a dollar in coin was worth six in paper; so that the annual interest payable at Paris on a loan certificate became equal to about thirty-six per cent. The anxious deliberations of the committee of congress during more than two months at Yorktown produced only a recommendation, adopted in November, Nov. 22. that the several states should become creditors war; but they did not as yet venture to ask power to levy taxes. On obtaining the king of France for their ally, they authorized drafts on their commissioners in Paris for thirty-one and a half millions of livres, at five livres to the dollar, in payment of loanoffice certificates, leaving Franklin and his colleagues to meet the
re to recover Canada, Vergennes always repelled as a calumny. As the horizon began to clear and Florida Blanca became sure of his power over France, he could not conceal his joy; and, having suffered from the irony of the Spanish ambassador at Paris, he now exclaimed: I submit cheerfully to the satires of Aranda Chap. VIII.} 1778. to gain for myself a reputation that shall never die. From this time he was in earnest in wishing Spain to take part in the war. But his demands in comparison wworld. Early in February, 1779, Lafayette, after a short winter passage from Boston to Brest, rejoined his family and friends. His departure for America in the preceding year, against the command of his king, was atoned for by a week's exile to Paris, and confinement to the house of his father-in-law. The king then received him at Versailles with a gentle reprimand; the queen addressed him with eager curiosity: Tell us good news of our dear republicans, of our beloved Americans. I receive
e Mississippi, into and from the sea. Secret Journals, II. 249. The great financial distress of the states was also to be made known to his Catholic majesty, in the hope of a subsidy or a guarantee of a loan to the amount of five millions of dollars. Ibid., II. 263. On the twenty-sixth of September, congress pro- 26. ceeded to ballot for a minister to negotiate peace; John Adams being nominated by Laurens, of South Carolina, while Smith, of Virginia, proposed Jay, who was the candidate favored by the French minister. On two ballots no election was made. A compromise reconciled the rivalry; Jay, on the twenty-seventh, 27. was elected envoy to Spain. The civil letter in which Vergennes bade farewell to John Adams on his retiring from Paris was read in congress in proof that he would be most acceptable to the French ministry; and, directly contrary to its wishes, he was chosen to negotiate the treaty of peace as well as an eventual treaty of commerce with Great Britain.
troops that were to have embarked for England were wasted by dysentery in their camps in Normandy and Brittany. Marie Antoinette in von Arneth, 304. There was a general desolation. The French public complained relentlessly of d'orvilliers. The doing of nothing at all will have cost us a great deal of money, wrote Marie Antoinette to her mother. Von Arneth, 302. There was nothing Chap. XI.} 1779. but the capture of the little island of Grenada for which a Te Deum could be chanted in Paris. Maria Theresa continued to offer her mediation, whenever it should best suit the king. We shall feel it very sensibly if any other offer of mediation should be preferred to ours. So she wrote to her daughter, who could only answer: The nothingness of the campaign removes every idea of peace. Von Arneth, 306. During the attempt at an invasion of England, the allied belligerents considered the condition of Ireland. To separate Ireland from England and form it into an independent go
e consequent want of unity of action. In April, 1778, the American commissioners at April 28 Paris,—Franklin, Arthur Lee, and John Adams,—in a letter to the grand pensionary, van Bleiswijck, propt rejected the idea of a war with that power as an impossibility. The American commissioners at Paris, being indirectly invited by van Berckel to renew the offer of a treaty of commerce between the ime to be entered into between the two republics. When Lee communicated to the commissioners at Paris this project of a convention, they reminded him that the authority for treating with their High d been done. A Russian courier was expedited to Stockholm, and thence to Copenhagen, the Hague, Paris, and Madrid. Goertz to Frederic, 7 March, 1780. On the twenty-second of February, Potemkin anxpress; and on the fourteenth of March, by the swiftest messenger, he instructed his minister at Paris as follows: Immediately on receiving the present order, you will demand a particular audience of
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