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eet Burgoyne, but he also sent him a secret communication, in which among other things he declared upon his honor that the Americans had the certainty of being sustained by France and Spain. This clandestine correspondence proved that Lee had then no fidelity in his heart; though his treasons may as yet have been but caprices, implying momentary treachery rather than a well considered system. His secret was kept in America, but the statement found its way through the British ministry to Vergennes, Chap. XLII.} 1775. July. who pronounced it an absurdity worthy only of contempt. All the while skirmishes continued. A party of Americans on the eighth of July drove in the British advance guard nearest Roxbury, and took several muskets. On the evening of the tenth, three hundred volunteers swept Long Island, in Boston harbor, of more than seventy sheep and fifteen head of cattle, and carried off sixteen prisoners. Two days later, just after the arrival of six crowded transports, Gr
l battle reached the cabinet, and spread rapidly through the kingdom and through Europe. Two more such victories, said Vergennes, and England will have no army left in America. The great loss of officers in the battle saddened the anticipations oflamor for an attack on the house of Bourbon, they would at once become belligerent. The subject was calmly revolved by Vergennes; who was unable to imagine, how sensible people could regard a war with France as a harbor of refuge; especially as her to aid insurgents; but the danger of an attack from the English was held before his eyes, and on the seventh of August Vergennes could reply to De Guines: Be assured, sir, the king very much approves sending Bonvouloir with such precaution that we r relations and events of the utmost importance. Yet all the while the means of pacifying America were so obvious that Vergennes was hardly able to persuade himself they could be missed by the English ministers. The folly imputed to them was so gr
ely watched by the agents of France. Its ambassador, just after Penn's arrival, wrote of the king and his ministers to Vergennes: These people appear to me in a delirium; that there can be no conciliation we have now the certainty; Rochford even au may be sure the plan of these people is, by devastations to force back America fifty years if they cannot subdue it. Vergennes had already said: The cabinet of the king of England may wish to make North America a desert, but there all its power will be stranded; if ever the English troops quit the borders of the sea, it will be easy to prevent their return. Vergennes could not persuade himself that the British government should refuse conciliation, when nothing was demanded but the revocis as obstinate and as feeble as Charles the First, and every day he makes his task more difficult and more dangerous. Vergennes gave up his doubts, Sept. saying: The king's proclamation against the Americans changes my views altogether; that proc
himself to be made an instrument to bend the resistance of the Americans. If they should make us any application, said Vergennes, we shall dismiss them politely, and we shall keep their secret. Beaumarchais who was then in England as an emissarythe subject was discussed in the council of the king, De Sartine put a new commission into the hands of Beaumarchais. Vergennes continued to present Chap. L} 1775. Sept. America to his mind in every possible aspect. He found it difficult to beliuld render it in any event impossible to restore affectionate relations between the parent state and the colonies. But Vergennes had not penetrated the character of the British government of his day, which, in the management of domestic affairs, wadominions. For a short time a report prevailed through western Europe, that the English request was to be granted; but Vergennes rejected it as incredible, and wrote to the French envoy at Moscow: I cannot reconcile Catharine's elevation of soul wi
t returned to his post, was received at court. The king of France, whose sympathies were all on the side of monarchical power, said to him: Happily the opposition party is now very weak. From the king, Stormont went to Chap. LI.} 1775. Oct. Vergennes, who expressed the desire to live in perfect harmony with England; far from wishing to increase your embarrassments, said he,we see them with some uneasiness. The consequences, observed Stormont, cannot escape a man of your penetration and extensive views. Indeed they are very obvious, responded Vergennes; they are as obvious as the consequences of the cession of Canada. I was at Constantinople when the last peace was made; when I heard its conditions, I told several of my friends there, that England would ere long have reason to repent of having removed the only check that could keep her colonies in awe. My prediction has been but too well verified. I equally see the consequences that must follow the independence of North Americ
olland, the liberal editor of Vattel's work on international law, had written to Franklin, his personal friend, that all Europe wished the Americans the best success in the maintenance of their liberty: on the twelfth of December the congressional committee of secret correspondence authorised Arthur Lee, who was then in London, to ascertain the disposition of foreign powers; and Dumas, at the Hague, was charged with a similar commission. Just then De Bonvouloir, the discreet emissary of Vergennes, arrived in Philadelphia, and through Francis Daymon, a Frenchman, the trusty librarian of the Library Company in that city, was introduced to Franklin and the other members of the secret committee, with whom he held several conferences by night. Will France aid us? and at what price? were the questions put to him. France, answered he, is well disposed to you; if she should give you aid, as she may, it will be on just and equitable conditions. Make your proposals, and I will present th
Chapter 61: Turgot and Vergennes. March—April, 1776. for a whole year the problem of granting aid sion. His ministers were irreconcilably divided. Vergennes promoted the emancipation of America with resolutabuses in the French army, sustained the system of Vergennes. On the other side, Maurepas, the head of the cab with the rest of the people. The king directed Vergennes to communicate his memorial on the colonies to Turgot, whose written opinion upon it was required. Vergennes obeyed, recommending to his colleague secrecy and cartine had always supported the American policy of Vergennes, and had repeatedly laid before the king his viewsnor heeded Turgot's advice, which was put aside by Vergennes as speculative and irrelevant. The correspondence war, neither Turgot nor Malesherbes was present. Vergennes was left to pursue his own policy without obstruct censured and rejected. I sat long in the pit, so Vergennes defended himself, before I took a part on the stag