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i778, and secret manner, ordered that they should be forthwith printed for the public information: but at the same time took care to counteract their influence by the remarks they published respecting them. They declared their belief, that the parliament would confer on them the usual solemnities of their laws; and then observed, that upon a supposition the matters contained in them should really go into the British statute book, they would serve to show, in a clear point of view, the weakness and wickedness of the enemy: on these they expatiated. This done they said—" It appears evident that the said bills are intended to operate upon the hopes and fears of the good people of these states, so as to create divisions among them, and a defection from the common cause: and that they are the sequel of that insidious plan, which from the days of the stamp-act down to the present time, hath involved this country in contention and bloodshed." Congress went on to pronounce, that if any men or body of men presume to make any separate or partial convention or agreement with the British commissioners, they ought to be considered and treated as open and avowed enemies of the United States. They declared, "That these United States cannot with propriety hold any conference or treaty with any commissioners on the part of Great Britain, unless they shall as a preliminary thereto, either withdraw their fleets and armies, or else in positive and express terms acknowledge the independence of the said states." They then, from an apprehension that it is the design of the enemy to lull them into a satal security, call upon the states to use the most strenuous exertions to have their respective quotas of continental troops in the field as soon as pos
fible, and to hold all their militia in readiness to act as 177& occasion may require. The congress at this period had no knowledge of a treaty's having been entered into by France with their commissioners; but they conjectured that there would be a rupture in Europe between the French and British nations; and to avail themselves of the occasion, and detach the tories from the enemy, they the next day recommended to the states the offering of pardon, under the restrictions that might be thought expedient, to such of their inhabitants or subjects who had levied war against them, or had adhered to the enemy, as should surrender themselves to any civil or military officer of any of the states, or return to the state they belonged to before the ioth of next June. The arrival of the conciliatory bills at New York and Philadelphia, excited equal astonishment and indignation in the royal forces. These thought their personal honor wounded in the recantation now made of all that high language and treatment, which they had been accustomed to hold or to offer to the Americans. The disappointment was the greater, as the bills were the substitute to a reinforcement of twenty thousand men, which they had expected. But the feeKngs of the numerous body of American refugees is not to be described. :.
A committee of congress was appointed on the ist of May May, "to inquire into the laws and customs of nations '* respecting neutrality, and to report whether the conduct of the king of Portugal, in forbidding the vessels of the United States to enter his ports, and ordering those already there to depart at a short day, is not a breach of the laws of neutrality, and will not justify acts of hostility
*778- against the subjects of the said kingdom." On the third, 3. during the Sunday's adjournment, Mr. Simeon Deane, brother to Silas Deane esq; arrived express from France, -with sundry important dispatches, whereupon congress was convened, and the dispatches opened and read, among which, to their inconceivable joy, were a treaty of commerce, and a treaty of alliance, concluded between his most Christian majesty the king of France, and the United States of America. The treaties were duly weighed and considered separately the next day, and upon each it was unanimously resolved, "That the same be and is hereby ratified." There was an act separate and secret in the following terms—" The most Christian king declares, in consequence of the intimate union which subsists between him and the king of Spain, that in concluding with the United States of America this treaty of amity and commerce, and that of eventual and defensive alliance, his majesty hath intended and intends to reserve expressly, and he reserves by this present separate and secret act to his said Catholic majesty, the power of acceding to the said treaties, and to participate in their stipulations at such time as he shall judge proper.—It being well understood nevertheless, that if any of the stipulations of the said treaties are not agreeable to the king of Spain, his Catholic majesty may propose other conditions analagous to the principal aim of the alliance, and conformable to the rules of equality, reciprocity and friendship." This act being duly weighed, it was resolved unanimously, "That the same be and is hereby ratified." The next resolution was, " That this congress entertain the highest fense of the magnanimity and wisdom of his most Christian majesty, so
strongly strongly exemplified in the treaty of amity and com-177** merce, and the treaty os alliance; and the commissioners representing these states, at the court of Francej are directed to present the grateful acknowledgments of this congress to his most Christian majesty, for his truly magnanimous conduct respecting these states, in the said generous and disinterested treaties, and to assure his majesty, on the part of this congress, it is sincerely wished that the friendship so happily commenced between France and these United States may be perpetual." On the 5th they resolved, "That the commissioners be instructed to inform the court of France, that although congress have readily ratified the treaties and the act separate and secret; yet from a sincere desire of rendering the friendship and alliance so happily begun, permanent and perpetual, and being apprehensive that differences may arise from the nth and 12th articles in the treaty of amity and commerce, congress are desirous that the said articles may be utterly expunged." Mr. Lee was against admitting these articles, and assigned his reasons to Messrs. Franklin and Deane on the 30th of January; who on the 1st of February wrote to Mr. Gerard, that they concurred in desiring that the same might be omitted, notwithstanding which they were retained. You will not expect me to delineate the inexpressible satisfaction that the report of these treaties spread through the United States. The people were in raptures. The several brigades of the army, by gen. Washington's orders, assembled in the morning of the 6th, when their chaplains communicated the intelligence, offered up a thanksgiving, and delivered a discourse suitable to the occasion. They were then formed into two lines, when thirVol. Ill, G teen
.I778* teen cannon were discharged; at the firing of the last, a running fire of infantry began on the right, and continued through the whole front line; it was then taken up on the left of the second line, and continued to the right. A signal was given, and the whole army huzzaed, "Long live the king of France." The artillery fired as before, which was succeeded by a second general discharge os all the musketry in a running fire, and by a " Long live the friendly European powers." The military ceremony was reiterated, and closed with, an huzza "for the American states." The remainder of the day pasted away in universal joy and gladness. Every American will soon have, from the publication of the treaties, an opportunity of learning their contents; mean while congress have recommended to all, "to consider the subjects of his most Christian majesty as their brethren and allies, and to behave toward them with the friendship and attention due to the subjects of a great prince, who with the highest magnanimity and wisdom hath treated with these United States on terms of perfect equality and mutual advantage, thereby rendering himself the protector of the rights of mankind." . The congress, after receiving the treaties, had a stronger feeling of their own importance than before, and resolved, " That the commissioners appointed for the courts of Spain, Tuscany, Vienna, and Berlin, should live in such stile and manner at their respective courts as they may find suitable and necessary to support the dignity of their public character." They elected Ralph Izard esq; commissioner for the court of Tuscany; and William Lee esq; for the courts of Berlin and Vienna. On
8. 7 the 8 th they agreed to a draught of " An address to the