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orida Blanca, and transmitted in Lord Grantham's No. 56, 28 Sept., 1778. Indifferent to threats, Weymouth in October gave warning of the fatal consequence to the Spanish monarchy of American independence; and from a well-considered policy refused in any event to concert with other governments the relations of his country to its colonies. Weymouth to Grantham, 27 Oct., 1778. Meantime Florida Blanca continued to fill the courts of Europe with declarations that Spain would never precede England in recognising the separate existence of her colonies. During this confused state of the relations between the three great powers, the United States fell upon a wise measure. Franklin, from the first, had advised his country against wooing Spain: but the confidence reposed in him by the French cabinet was not impaired by his caution; and they transacted all American business with him alone. Tired of the dissensions of rival commissioners, congress, on the fourteenth of September, aboli
ded ambition of the United States, by a balance of power in which England should hold the post of danger, wished her to retain possession of Canada and Nova Scotia; for it would prove a perennial source of quarrels between the British and the Americans. On our side, wrote Vergennes simultaneously, there will be no difficulty in guaranteeing to England Canada and all other American possessions which may remain to her at the peace. Vergennes to Montmorin, 17 Oct., 1778. Spain desired that England after the peace might hold Rhode Island, New York, and other places along the sea; but Vergennes inflexibly answered: To this the king cannot consent without violating the engagement contracted with the thirteen provinces, which he has recognised as free and independent states; Ibid., and 2 Nov., 1778. for them only we ask independence, without comprehending other English possessions. We are very far from desiring that the nascent republic should remain the exclusive mistress of all C
ions of the Dutch, he brought all his Dec. 30. influence to the side of England. On the thirtieth of December, 1778, the states-general asserted their right to the commercial freedom guaranteed by the law of nations and by treaties; and yet of their own choice voted to withhold convoys where the use of them would involve a conflict with Great Britain. During the summer the flag of Denmark, of Sweden, of Prussia, had been disregarded by British privateers, and they severally demanded of England explanations. Vergennes seized the opportunity to fix the attention of Count Panin. Vergennes to Corberon, 22 Nov., 1778, and 6 Dec., 1778. The empress, so he wrote towards the end of the year to the French minister in Russia, will give a great proof of her dignity and equity, if she will make common Chap. XII.} 1778. cause with Sweden, Denmark, Holland, and the king of Prussia. She would render to Europe a great service if she would bring the king of England to juster principles on
elf a bulwark to their fortress; the old whig party reserved the highest places for those cradled in the purple. I have no views to become Chap. XXVI.} 1782. March. a minister, Burke said; nor have I any right to such views. I am a man who have no pretensions to it from fortune; and he was more than content with the rich office of paymaster for himself, and lucrative places for his kin. Franklin in Paris had watched the process of the house of commons in condemning the war, and knew England so well as to be sure that Lord Shelburne must be a member of the new administration. Already on the twenty-second, he seized the opportunity of a traveller returning to England to open a correspondence with his friend of many years, assuring him of the continuance of his own ancient respect for his talents and virtues, and congratulating him on the returning good disposition of his country in favor of America. I hope, continued he, it will tend to produce a general peace, which I am sure
he friends of Shelburne, on the contrary, gave to the motion their cordial support; yet by the absence and opposition of many of the Rockingham connection the question on this first division in the house of commons upon the state of the representation in the British parliament was lost, though only by a majority of twenty. The freedom of Ireland and the hopes of reform in the British parliament itself went hand in hand with the triumph of liberty in America. The accession of a liberal ministry revived in Frederic of Prussia his old inclination to friendly relations with England. The empress of Russia now included the government in her admiration of the Chap. XXVII.} 1782. British people; and Fox on his side, with the consent of the ministry but to the great vexation of the king, accepted her declaration of the maritime rights of neutrals. But for the moment no practical result followed; for the cabinet, as the price of their formal adhesion to her code, demanded her alliance.