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cabinet was on the point of exchanging Gibraltar for Guadaloupe, a transfer ardently desired by Spain, and by France in behalf of Spain. From this proposal it immediately withdrew and gave orders for an amnesty with the United States in order that the British troops there might be employed in the West Indies.
Upon Franklin, who disagreed with his colleagues as to the sinister designs of the French, and who believed that by coöperation with Vergennes he could have Franklin and obtained terms equally good, fell the burden Vergennes of reconciliation. When the question of forwarding the articles to America came up, the commissioners again acted with secrecy, hastening to send the good news although Vergennes wished delay. The latter wrote to Franklin in terms of surprise and of dignified reproach. The letter of. Franklin in reply, December 17, was a masterpiece of diplomatic art, even to the adoption of a certain touch of pathos in its slightly rambling quality, natural to his age but not characteristic of his writing even later. “But,” he explained, “as this was not from want of respect for the king, whom we all love and honor, we hope it will be excused, and that the great work, which has hitherto been so happily conducted, is so nearly brought to perfection, and is so glorious to his reign, will not be ruined by a single indiscretion of ours. And certainly the whole edifice sinks to the ground immediately if you refuse on that account to give us any further assistance.” He lays down his pen, but taking it up again, adds: “The English, I just now learn, flatter themselves they have already divided us. I hope this little misunderstanding will therefore be kept a secret, and that they will find themselves totally mistaken.” 2
It was indeed true that if Vergennes stood in the way of this generous treaty, his whole work would turn to ashes in his hands: England and America would again unite against
1 Fitzmaurice, Shelburne, ii. 214.
France. Accordingly, on December 21 he wrote to his representative in Philadelphia, Luzanne, not to complain Vergennes's
to Congress of the action of the American conclusions
commissioners, and he arranged a new loan of six million francs to the United States.
Meantime the French and Spanish treaties gradually progressed, till on September 3, 1783, definitive treaties of The end of the peace were signed between Great Britain and
France, Spain and the United States. The latter was identical with the provisional articles, except for the secret article, which was left out as no longer necessary, since the status of the Floridas was determined by their cession to Spain. France gained Tobago. The Netherlands, after a long negotiation, made their peace in 1784, accepting the loss of their mercantile privileges and of several colonies.
The peace meant that our national existence, announced to the world by the Declaration of Independence July 4,
1776, had been established. Further, the treaty been accom gave us a territory, not indeed logical and plished
satisfactory, but ample for present needs. We had not won our independence and our field for growth by the force of arms alone, but by our success in manipulating the divisions of Europe to our advantage, a success largely due to our diplomats. Elate though they were, their task was by no means finished; for the boundaries of our territories were nearly all vague or questionable, and we were still a weak nation among the strong. Until we could develop our own strength it would continue to be necessary to take wise advantage of the divisions of Europe in order to insure our safety and our winnings.
RELIGION AND COMMERCE
INDEPENDENT and at peace, the United States faced the diplomatic problems of national existence. One of these, which still continues to vex some nations, was
The United at once and definitively settled. The connec States and the
Papacy tion of a portion of their subjects with a nonresident religious authority had always been a matter of national concern. Expecting that such would be the policy of the new government, and that it would wish to free its Catholic citizens from English control, the papal nuncio at Paris addressed Franklin, July 28, 1783, with the proposal that Congress consent to the establishment in some city of the United States of "one of its Catholic subjects" with ecclesiastical authority as bishop or apostolic prefect. Franklin properly informed the nuncio that neither Congress nor any state could take action on such a matter, but that a dignitary thus appointed by Rome would nevertheless be cordially welcomed, a position in which he was upheld by Congress. Less wisely he recommended that Roman control be exercised through the medium of some French ecclesiastic, who would thus replace the vicar-general at London. This latter plan was heartily embraced by the French government, which hoped by French education and connection to render the Catholic element a weapon of French influence, and possibly had in mind the prestige accruing to France from the French protectorate of Catholics in the Orient. The Roman Propaganda investigated the question, however, and, after testing the sentiment of the American Catholics, decided to appoint an American bishop, John
Carroll, and thus deal with its members without the mediation of any foreign nation.
These two wise decisions were paralleled in what was perhaps the more trying case of the American adherents of the
Church of England. They at once assumed The Anglican Church in the position that national independence should America
be reflected in a national church organization; but to secure a continuation of the apostolic succession it was necessary to have recourse to the mother country, since there were no bishops in America. In order to obtain consecration, moreover, a bishop must swear allegiance to the English crown, and the colonial opposition to the appointment of a bishop before the Revolution caused England to doubt the reception of one now. Samuel Seabury, the first applicant, was forced to accept his consecration from a small independent branch of the church in Scotland. The attitude of Congress, however, and a declaration to the same effect by Connecticut soon removed apprehension as to American opposition; and John Adams while minister in England exerted himself unofficially, as Franklin had done in Paris, to make matters smooth. The result was the consecration, in 1787, and by English bishops, of two additional American bishops without the hampering oath.2
With religion thus freed from foreign governmental control and not interfered with by the home government, reli
gious questions were practically removed from Elimination of religious prob- diplomacy until, with the beginning of the lems from diplomacy
missionary movement, they reappeared in the
form of demands for the protection of American religious workers and property in foreign countries.
Meanwhile popular interest in diplomacy was chiefly directed toward commercial affairs. One reason why the
IC. R. Fish, “Documents relative to the Adjustment of the Roman Catholic Organization in the United States to the Conditions of National Independence, 1783–1789," Amer. Hist. Review, 1910, xv. 800–829.
2 Richard Hildreth, History of the United States of America (6 vols., New York, 1880-82), iii. 479-481.
colonies had chafed against dependence on England was the fact that their trade had for the most part been curtailed by the limits of the British empire, and,
Commercial worse still, had been regulated within those necessity for
treaties limits by an authority in which they did not share. One of the chief advantages of independence was to be the opening of new channels of trade. International trade, however, is as dependent upon legalized relationships as is domestic trade upon the preservation of law and order; and in the eighteenth century such legal basis must depend, even more than in the twentieth, upon special treaty agreements; for general international law was at that time less uniform and less pervasive than it is to-day, besides including many rules and regulations discriminating against foreigners which lingered on from the middle ages.
At the commencement of peace such treaties existed only with France and the Netherlands. It did not, however, seem difficult to extend the series, for every nation of Europe was intent on diverting to itself the European degolden current of American trade to which so much of England's prosperity was attributed. No sooner was American independence assured than Franklin was besieged with requests to enter into negotiation. On December 24, 1782, he wrote to Livingston, “The Swedish ambassador has exchanged full powers with me." In February, 1783, the Danish minister was instructed to arrange a treaty similar to that between the United States and Holland. In July Franklin wrote that the electors of Saxony and Bavaria, the king of Prussia, and the emperor were thinking of treaties, and in September that Russia wanted trade. April 15 of the same year he wrote to Livingston that he had received offers to serve as consul for America from merchants in every port of France and from most of those of Europe. Not all these projects materialized into treaties; but in
1 Franklin, Works, viii. 172–313.
ies of commerce