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determined to follow a cautious and ance from the Emperor of Germany prudent course and wished to obtain and the Kings of France, Spain, and concessions from the Americans in Prussia in preventing the employproportion to the benefits they be- ment by England of German and other stowed.* By this time Vergennes had foreign troops in the conflict with obtained the consent of Spain to join America. her in a war against England, but To induce France to lend her aid, just at this moment came news

the American commissioners were of the defeat on Long Island, authorized to guarantee that all and this unexpected announcement trade between the United States dashed the hopes of Vergennes and and the West India Islands should completely disarranged his plans.t be carried on either in American Because of the discouragements con- French vessels; they should sequent upon the failure of the cam- assure the French king that, if paign of 1776, Congress redoubled its by any means the British should be efforts to secure aid from foreign na- excluded from the American codtions, appointing a committee to pre- fisheries by the reduction of Newpare a plan for this purpose. When foundland and Cape Breton, ships of the plan proposed by this committee war should be furnished at the exwas taken under consideration, a pense of the United States for the heated debate followed. Some of the purpose of reducing Nova Scotia, and members wished to sacrifice almost the cod-fishery would be equally eneverything to obtain the aid of France, joyed by France and America to the and were willing to offer her almost exclusion of other nations; and that the same monopoly of American com- one-half of Newfoundland should merce as Great Britain had enjoyed belong to France, while the other prior to the outbreak of the war. On

On half, together with Cape Breton December 30, 1776, a resolution was and Nova Scotia, should belong adopted in Congress to send commis- to the United States.* In the sioners to the courts of Vienna, Spain, event of these offers being inand Prussia, and to the grand duke of sufficient to obtain the coöperation of Tuscany. These commissioners were France, the commissioners were auinstructed to assure these courts that thorized to assure the French king the Americans would persist in the that if any of the West Indies should contest until independence had been be conquered during the course of the attained. They were also to use their

war, these islands would be given to utmost endeavors to procure assist- him in absolute property, the United

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States engaging to furnish sufficient Negotiations dragged on day after help in the way of armed vessels and day and week after week with little or supplies for this purpose. Offers of no result, the commissioners being a similar nature were to be made to chiefly occupied in denying and conthe king of Spain. Franklin was also tradicting the false statements reappointed commissioner to Spain, but garding affairs in America circulated affairs in France consumed his entire in every direction by the English time and Arthur Lee was afterward emissaries. * sent to that country in his place. The English ministry was supRalph Izard was appointed commis- ported in both houses of Parliament sioner to the Duke of Tuscany, and

cany, and by large majorities, the great body of William Lee to the courts of Berlin people seeming to favor the further and Vienna.

continuance of the attempt to subThe French court, however, could jugate the Americans. There was a not be induced to depart from the line small minority, however, including of policy it had adopted, for at the several men of distinguished talents, present time it was awaiting the out- who vigorously opposed the measures come of the efforts of the Americans of the administration, because they for independence, and was unwilling feared for the liberty of England in to lend aid until assurance was given general should the court succeed in by the conduct of the war that ulti- establishing its claim against the colomate success would be attained. * nies. But the failure of the AmeriNevertheless, the American commis- cans to maintain their ground during sioners were allowed to fit out a num- the campaign of 1776 completely disber of privateers to capture British couraged the opposition, and on the vessels, and the prizes captured by other hand, highly elated the court these vessels were openly carried to party. Nevertheless, the difficulties and sold in France. This aroused the surrounding the ministry soon began resentment of the British minister, to multiply; the war with America Lord Stormont, and he indignantly had shut off a large portion of the complained of the course adopted by commerce with the West Indies, which the French ministry. His remon- brought on a scarcity of the necessistrances, however, only produced as- ties of life in those islands. The Britsurances

that similar occurrences ish forces there had been reduced to would not happen again, which in augment the forces in America, and réality meant little or nothing.t when the British West India fleet was

* For the attitude of the French court see Tower, The Marquis de La Fayette in the American Revolution, vol. i., pp. 60–89. † Bancroft, vol. v., p. 133; Tower, vol. i., p. 89


et seq.; Parton, Life of Franklin, vol. ii., pp. 189-199.

* The reader will find this subject more fully treated by Pitkin, vol. i.,

pp. 384-395.


ready to sail under convoy for Eng- Upon the opening of Parliament land, it was discovered that, because October 21, 1776, the king in his of the weakness of the military forces speech from the throne regretted his in the islands, the negroes of Jamaica inability to give a better account of were planning an insurrection to over- the war in America and to say that throw the British power. Conse- the insurrection had been stopped and quently, the ships of war were de- the people of the revolted colonies tained to suppress this insurrection, once again returned to their allewhich gave the Americans time to giance to the crown. But such was equip their privateers. After the not the case for the colonists had fleet had sailed, it was dispersed by openly abjured all connection and stormy weather, and a large number communication with the mother counof richly laden vessels fell into the try and had refused to consider any hands of the American privateers, proposal for reconciliation. He said which, because of their sailing capaci- that if the rebellion were not immeties, were able to dart in and seize the diately stopped, much harm would merchantmen and escape with the come to British commerce, and if prize before the British men-of-war Parliament wished to end the rebelcould intercept them. As already lion at once, preparations should be stated, these prizes were carried into promptly made for another campaign. the French and other continental He also expressed a hope that genports and sold. The unfriendly atti

The unfriendly atti- eral conditions in Europe would retude of the French was highly irritat main tranquil, though he considered ing to the British court, and finally a it wise to increase the defenses at remonstrance was sent to the French home. The 'replies to this speech ministry. The latter replied in high were drafted in the usual form, but sounding terms, but did nothing to amendments were suggested in both prevent the sailing of privateers from houses; in the Lords by the Marquis their ports; however, the traffic in of Rockingham, and in the Commons British prizes was carried on some- by Lord John Cavendish.

. In the what more secretly. It was now Commons the amendment was plainly evident that France and Spain jected by a vote of 242 against 87, and were making active preparations for in the Lords, by a vote of 92 against a general war with England, and as 26. During this session of Parliathe British ministry could not close ment several attempts were made to their eyes to the actual facts in the secure the passage of conciliatory case, about the middle of October, measures, but so great was the in1776, an additional fleet of sixteen fluence of the ministry that such ships was placed in commission.*

1776, see Trevelyan, American Revolution, vol. * On the situation in England at the end of iii., p. 148 et seq.





schemes were decisively defeated, and such struggle.* Consequently, the ministerial plan was adopted with- France shaped her negotiations with out great opposition.*

the American commissioners so that The victory of Saratoga, however, the encouragement she held out was greatly changed the sentiment of in proportion to the news of success Europe. It was evident that the colo- or failure in America. While she pronies were determined to achieve in- tested her friendship to England, she dependence of England and were not secretly encouraged the Americans to be discouraged by reverses no mat- with aid and inflamed their ardor by ter how many or how severe. The continually promising future coöperavictory, therefore, placed them in a tion. Thus France was playing a better position to enter into foreign double game — being pledged to alliances in accordance with the dig- neither party but simply awaiting the nity and importance of a free people. course of events. As previously stated, France had only The American commissioners, in been awaiting the positive assurance every way possible, urged the court of that the Americans would be able to

France to come to some decision, but continue the conflict before she openly the French ministers, as usual, probecame the ally of the new republic.fcrastinated, advancing a variety of But even the victory of Saratoga did

excuses, and thereby keeping the not give them this positive assurance,

Americans in constant uncertainty. as the issue in America was still some

Finally, about the middle of August,

1777, the commissioners drew up a what uncertain. It was feared by the French court that the colonies might that America might, after all, despair

strongly worded memorial suggesting be induced to accept terms of recon

ing of aid from France, abandon the ciliation with the mother country, even

conflict and yield to the demands of if they could not be subdued by arms; England, thus depriving France of hence, if France should join the

those advantages which she would Americans and England should once gain if England lost her rich and valconcede the point in dispute with the uable colonies in America.f But this colonies, France alone would be en

Trevelyan, p. 414; John Adams, Works, vol. i., gaged in a war with England, and, in addition, would have the colonies to † On European political conditions in general at

this time see Bancroft, vol. v., pp. 226–243. On reckon with. Besides, there would

the French policy see also Fisher, Struggle for be no special object to be gained in American Independence, vol. ii., pp. 113–115.

| Writing to Vergennes, Adams says: “America

is now known all over Europe to be such a Bancroft, vol. v., pp. 53–58.

magazine of raw materials for manufactures, such † On the state of European public opinion in a nursery of seamen, and such a source of comgeneral, see Trevelyan, American Revolution, vol. merce and naval power, that it would be dangerous iv., p. 387 et seq.

to all the maritime powers to suffer any one of

p. 310.



memorial failed to produce the de- succor in the midst of their various sired results, and England was again reverses. It was intimated that they approached with a proposition to were equally desirous of an accommorecognize the independence of the dation with England and would conUnited States. It was represented clude with her a treaty of commerce, that if the British ministry were ca- if she in turn would acknowledge the pable of profiting by the occasion, it independence of the colonies. It was depended on them to stipulate an ar- suggested also that the colonies would rangement so conducive to the pros- be gratified at a reconciliation with perity of Great Britain, that she the mother country, but if England would seek in vain to secure herself should not see fit to yield to her desimilar advantages by any other mands, the colonies would enter into means. At this time, however, news an alliance with the most inveterate of Burgoyne's first successes had and implacable enemies of England just arrived in England, and being France. certain that Burgoyne would eventu- In November, 1777, Parliament ally conquer the American army op- prepared their addresses in answer to posing him, the British ministry re- the royal speech. In the House of jected this proposition.

Lords, the Earl of Chatham introWhen news of the victory of duced a resolution recommending that Saratoga and the capture of Bur- hostilities with America be stopped at goyne's army reached Europe, a once and a treaty of conciliation be new aspect was given the American drafted “ to restore peace and libaffairs.* The same express that car- erty to America, strength and hapried to England the news of the sur- piness to England, security and perrender of Burgoynet bore dispatches manent prosperity to both countries." which insinuated that the Americans He very severely criticised the emwere becoming discouraged at the ployment of savages as auxiliaries in procrastinations of the French and the war, although it was true that their were indignant that they had not re

aid had not been disdained under his ceived from the French court greater

own administration,* but these pro

posals were rejected. On the other them to establish a domination and a monopoly hand the ministerial measures were again in America."- John Adams, Works, vol. i., carried with large majorities. When * Wharton, Diplomatic Correspondence of the

Parliament received news of the vicRevolution, vol. ii., p. 452; Tower, Marquis de tory of Saratoga, however, astonishLa Fayette, vol. i., P.

ment and dismay were everywhere † The text of the dispatch from the Massachusetts Council, together with excerpts from the plainly evident. The opposition atjournal of the messenger, the note from Gates enclosing a copy of the convention, etc., are given in Bancroft, vol. v., p. 224; Green, William Pitt, Hale, Franklin in France, vol. i., p. 155 et seq. p. 356 et seq.; Harrison, Chatham, pp. 231-232.

p. 325.


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