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these states may daily have before their eyes the first * 119* royal friends and patrons of their cause." They in another letter .request his majesty to furnish them with the necessary supplies of arms, ammunition and clothing, the estimate of which their minister was to lay before him, and they pledged the saith of the States for the repayment with interest, of whatever sums may be advanced for the purpose, as soon as the restoration of peace shall enable them. . . . ... - ..
The minister os France had a conference with.con- jMy gress in a committee of the whole., He introduced the conference by saying, that he had received some dispatches from his court, which he was ordered to com* municate to congress, but that he expected no answer: —that though it was not the usual practice to offer communications of this nature in writing, yet as it had been" intimated to him by the president, that this mode would be most agreeable to congress, he had committed the heads of them to paper, not as a memorial, but merely for the assistance of the memory, in a form to which the term of adftatum legendi is appropriated by the usage of the courts of Europe :—that in reading the said paper, he would take the liberty of making some explanations and reflections.
Ad siatum legendi delivered by the minister plenipotentiary.
i. The king has approved all the overtures, which were made by his minister plenipotentiary to the honorable congress, respecting the affairs of Mr. de Beaumarchais; therefore a line ought to be drawn between the. stores which this gentleman has been permitted to take out of the royal magazines, for which he has consti
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*?7.W* tuted himself debtor to the department of war, and between those articles which the same gentleman has. bought in the way of common trade for the use of the1 United States.
. 2. A hint having been given to the minister plenipotentiary, that congress desire to recruit their ships in France from the English prisoners there, the court in consequence of his representation is willing to facilitate • •• this.mode of recruiting seamen.
.\ •. .. 3. The king and ministry were extremely pleased with the resolution congress has taken to maintain only one minister plenipotentiary at their court, as well as with the exclusive appointment of so steady and honest a.man, and so firm and solid a patriot as Dr. Franklin. . 4. The congress has given a very great satisfaction to the court of France, by the convenient and spirited step which was taken, to disavow a certain ill-grounded and pernicious doctrine, relating to the mutual obligation of the allies, to conclude no truce or peace without the knowledge and consent of each other. The court of France is of opinion, that this doctrine could only be maintained by those men, whose aim would be to seek by any means,to weaken the ties of the alliance, and to create disgust and diffidence between the allies.
5. This court has received with some surprise, the"
.:. intelligence, that congress has published the treaties con. ,. eluded with her, without the previous knowledge and consent of,the interested party. It is not to be denied, that such proceeding is but little consistent with reason, and with the general practice of courts and nations: nevertheless, this observation involves not any kind of .reproach, but the king thinks that so noble and so g'e: • - nerous nerous a system of politics could not but produce de-^^ Arable effects by its publication.
6. The intelligence that in the first months of last winter, there were no adequate preparations made in America toward a vigorous and successful campaign, was received at Versailles with all the concern, which the dangers of the United States, and the prolongation of the present contest can create in the most friendly mind. The court of France is fully of opinion, that the exertions of the United States are necessary to bring the common enemy to a proper fense of all the disappointments which he shall meet with.
7. This court being very desirous to acquaint congress exactly with the state of affairs relating to the common cause, would not delay to inform this honorable body, that the court of London showing on one side dispositions to a reconciliation with France, rejects on the other side the very idea of a formal and explicit acknowledgment of the independence of the United States, which his most christian majesty perseveres to hold up as a preliminary and essential condition. The" behaviour of the common enemy in this respect, rendered a great deal more probable the conjecture which was communicated to congress some time ago, that the point of honor and pride of the king of England, will be the greatest obstacle to the conclusion of the peace upon those explicit terms; and perhaps the manner, of overcoming this difficulty, will of course become the most decisive object os the deliberation os congress, when this honorable body shall determine to make peace. It is presupposed whatever mezo termine may be hit upon, that England shall treat with the United States as with a % .
T 1 fre<
,779- free people, and evacuate immediately all the territories belonging to them. i
The substance of what the minister said at the conference, in explanation of the several foregoing articles. . 1. From the bills and accounts with which congress have been furnished by Mr. de Beaumarchais, congress would be enabled to distinguish those articles which were drawn from the royal magazines, and those which he supplied in a way of trade: for those last congress would without doubt make remittances to Mr. de Beaumarchais in their own way, to enable him to perform the contracts he had entered into as a merchant. That for the former articles, the king his master taking upon himself to be creditor to the United States, would wait until the congress should find it convenient to make compensation.
1. Though his court had not resolved to retaliate upon the prisoners in their hands for injuries done to prisoners by the common enemy; yet for the reasons assigned, the king his master had assented to the proposal; but in carrying this matter into execution, it would be proper to take such precautions, and to give such orders to the captains, or other persons employed in the business, that it might be managed with prudence.
3. There is every reason to believe, that congress 'will receive very soon proofs of the confidence which his
court was always willing to show to the servants of these states. T^he personal character of Dr. Franklin will enable the--eourt to act with a frankness becoming the alliance; and they will have no occasion to withhold any more the secrets which may interest the United States and the alliance.
"' 4. The king his master, after this explicit step, relies '779* with the highest confidence upon the" candor and saithfulness of congress, in understanding as well as in executing the treaty, and in rejecting every arbitrary and unnatural interpretation or construction, which salse subtle or designing men can contrive. Congress by their own feelings must be sensible, that such interpretations and constructions are always hurtful, against common decency and dignity, and may oftentimes endanger mutual confidence, and of course the very existence of a treaty: but the sense of congress, as manifested in this particular affair, gives his court the greatest hope, that there shall be no further motive to the painful reflections which that affair excited.
5. He begged leave to add, that this publication interfered with the situation os affairs in Europe, and was in a certain degree disadvantageous to the common. cause; because it gave the common enemy a full knowledge of our system and our mutual engagements, with' out procuring us any reason to guess at their views and , resolutions. Happily these inconveniencies have not been., felt, and ample compensation has been obtained by convincing the people of America, not only that the treaty. was just and equal, but that the heavy task which France has taken upon her was magnanimous, gratuitous and, without reward: the whole world was at the same time convinced, that war conquests and ambition were not the objects of the alliance, nor of any of the allies, but, only the peaceable'enjoyment of the sovereignty, liberty^ security and independence of these United States: and this "conviction gave much honor, credit and confide-, ration to the alliance.
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