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any right to judge of it; neither could he guaranty it, as he did not untend to enter into a war for its support. His majesty in consequence refused an offensive alliance, and confined himself to the treaty of amity and commerce. But as it was more than probable that the court of London HAD formed the design of attacking France, his majesty thought he ought to enter into an alliance with the United States, eventual and purely defensive. The stipulations contained in this second treaty are in substance, that if France should be attacked by the court of London, before the cessation of hostilities between that court and its colonies, then the king and the United States should mutually assist each other against the common enemy: That the king should guaranty the independence and sovereignty of the United States; and that he should not lay down his arms till it should be acknowledged by Great Britain.” Thus it is manifest that the United States were to be left still to fight their own battles, unless Great Britain should choose to increase the number of her enemies by attacking France, in which it would be as truly the interest of France as of the United States to make it a common cause. * “This last treaty remained secret, because it was not in force at the time of concluding it; but that of commerce was notified at the court of London, March 13, 1778.” The first words of the notification are these— “The United States of North America, who are in full *:::::::: of independence,” &c. The whole o s been already quoted. The notification further expressed, “that the king being determined to protect effectually the lawful commerce of his subjects, and to maintain the dignity of his flag, his majesty has, in consequence, taken eventual measures, in concert with the United States of North America.” The court of London chose to consider this notification as a declaration of war, of which they accuse the king as being the author, and represent him as the violator of laws, divine and human, &c. &c. “The act, however, which has drawn upon the king such odious imputations, has, for its foundation, two incontestable truths ; the first, that at the period of the 6th of February, 1778, the Americans had the publick possession of their independence; the second, that the king had the

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right to look upon this independence as existing, without being obliged to examine the legality of it, and that no law forbade him to form connections with the Americans.” The observations then reciting that the fruitless attempts of the colonies to obtain redress from their mother country, in the mode of supplication, had induced them to league together to maintain their privileges sword in hand; A. soon after to publish the solemn act, whereby they declared themselves independent, say, * “This act, which is of the fourth of July, 1776, induced the court of London to give way to her resentment; she displayed her power to j the Americans, and to reduce them by conquest. But what has been the fruit of their efforts 2 Have they not served to demonstrate to America, to all Europe, and to the court of London herself, her impotence, and the impossibility of her ever hereafter bringing the Americans again under her yoke ""—That she had given this demonstration to America, is evident by the manner in which Congress received the conciliatory bills, hastily sent from the court of London to America, and communicated by lord and general Howe. Congress were then uninformed of the treaties which their commissioners had lately concluded at Paris. Yet confident in the strength and spirit of their country, and of the inability of Britain to subdue it, they fresolved unanimously to reject these overtures for peace and conciliation, and to hold no conference or treaty with any commissioners on the part of Great Britain, unless, as a preliminary, they withdrew their fleets and armies, or in positive terms acknowledged the independence of these states. Again.-: “It is sufficient for the justification of his majesty, that the colonies, which form a nation, considerable as well for the number of their inhabitants, as for the extent of their dominion, have established their independence, not only by a solemn declaration, but also in fact; and that they have supported it against the efforts of their mother country. Such was, in effect, the situation of the United States, when the king began to negotiate with them. His majesty had full liberty of considering them as independent, or as the subjects of Britain: He chose the first part, because His Safety, the Interest of His TeoFle, invariable policy, and above all, the secret projects of the court of London, imperiously laid him under the necessity.'1' The secret projects here referred to were those of reconciliation, on terms which might satisfy the United States, and produce a re-union and coalition for the purpose of falling upon France. To avoid the risk of this combined attack, to avoid greater danger in future, by preventing the possibility of uniting again the great portions of the British empire, separated in fact, and thus essentially to diminish its power, were the avowed inducements with, the court of France, to consider the United States as independent. Having stated these things, they * " ask if there is a sovereign who, in the same situation with his majesty, would not have imitated his example V

* obs, p. 73. t Journals of Congress, April 22, 1778., i Obs. p. 77.

Again—t " He {the king of France) had the right to consider as independent the confederate inhabitants of an immense continent, who presented themselves to him with this character; especially after their ancient sovereign had demonstrated, by efforts as continual as painful, Me impossibility of bringing them back to obedience."

t " To complete the justification of his majesty, nothing remains but to examine, whether what are called reasons of state, could have determined his majesty to connect himself with the Americans. To treat this question with all the clearness of which it is susceptible, the political interest of France must be viewed under two different relations ; the first respects the other powers of Europe ; the second respects Great Britain."

"In treating with the Americans, after they became independent, the king exercised the right inherent in his sovereignty, With No Other View than to put an end to the predominant power, which England abused in every quarter of the globe." The observations then suggest, that by this conduct the king has essentially watched over the interest of all the sovereigns of Europe § " by contributing to restrain a power which has always carried to excess the abuse of her resources."

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The court of London having charged the king of France with ambition, and the project of demolishing the power of England, by his engagements with the Americans, the observations declare, that * " nothing more will be discovered in them [his engagements with the United States,] on the most accurate scrutiny, than a diminution of this power, a diminution which England has herself provoked, by a conduct the most unjust and most irregular, and which the tranquillity and happiness of Europe nave for a long time required."

t " The most vigilant and consummate prudence could not devise adequate precautions against the enterprises of such a power; so that the only means of being secured from it was to seize the opportunity of diminishing if."

t " It may then be truly said that on examination of the conduct of the king—it was not only just and lawful, but even necessary, as well for the individual interest of France, as for that of all Europe."

I will trouble you with but one more extract from the justificatory observations of the court of France.

§ " To deceive the other nations with regard to the real motives which have directed the conduct of the king, the British ministry maintain, that he entered into treaty with the Americans, not because he feared the secret views of Great Britain, but because he foresaw that the Americans defeated, discouraged, without support, and without resources, were about to return to their mother country ; and that there was not a moment to be lost in reanimating and confirming them in their opposition. It was without doubt for the sake of this assertion, that the British ministry have thought it beneath the dignity of their sovereign to search for the period at which France formed connections with the United States; it might with greater truth be said that this research did not coincide with their plan of defence. The king is willing to spare the British ministry a task so disagreeable and embarrassing, by observing for them, that the conversations which led to the treaties of the 6th of February, I^IS, were considerably posterior to the capitulation of general Burgoyne. Now it is notorious lhat this event elevated the courage and the hopes of the

»Obs.p. 90. tObs.p. 91.

% Obs p. 92. »Obs. p. 95, 96.


Americans, as much as it dejected the British nation, and principally the court of London. If then the king has listened to the propositions of Congress, after this period, so disastrous to the British, it has not been, and could not have been for any other reason, but because he thought with Ike United States, that their independence was thencefonvard irrevocable."

In these extracts from the observations of the court of France, we see an open avowal of her motives for entering into treaties with the United States during our revolution; but do such motives afford any strong claims to our gratitude; she rejoiced at the prospect of a final separation of he thirteen colonies from Great Britain :—she saw them erected by their solemn declaration into independent states :—but during near three years of our contest she continued waiting for some fortunate event that should ensure stability and ultimate, success to1 our enterprise. This event took place in the capture of a whole British army. "Then the king listened to the propositions of Congress, because he thought with the United States that their independence jvas irrevocable." He then treated with the Americans "with no other view than to put an end to the predominant power which England exercised in every quarter of the globe." "A diminution of this power (says the king) the tranquillity and happiness of Europe have for a long time required:" "The only means of being secured from it, was to seize the opportunity of diminishing it:" and he did seize it, "because his safety, the interest of his people, invariable policy, and above ail, the secret projects of the court of London imperiously laid him under the necessity."

After these repeated declarations on the part of France, that her only view in contracting engagements with the United States, was to diminish the British power, and thereby promote the safety and interest of her own people, and the tranquillity of Europe; very unexpected indeed are the modern claims of boundless and perpetual gratitude. Nevertheless, animated as we always have been with sincere desires to maintain those useful and friendly connections with France which had their foundation in our revolution, we should have remained silent on these claims, had not the frequency and manner in which they have been urged, compelled their discussion. We

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