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3. The accession of two states to the union.
5. That it will enable them to bend their whole attention and resources to the creation of a marine, which will at once serve them and assist their allies.
6. That it will secure the fisheries to the United States, and France their ally, to the total exclusion of Great Britain. Add to these considerations:
1. That Great Britain, by holding these places, will infest the coast of America with small armed vessels to the great injury of the French as well as the American trade.
2. That her possessions in the West Indies materially depend on the possession of posts to supply them with bread and lumber, and to refit their ships, and receive their sick, as well soldiers as seamen. In order then to secure, as far as human wisdom can provide, the reduction of those places, aid must be obtained from France. Suppose a body of four or five thousand French troops sail from Brest, in the beginning of May, under convoy of four ships of the line and four frigates. Their object to be avowed; but their clothing, stores, &c. such as designate them for the West Indies. Each soldier must have a good blanket, of a large size, to be made into a coat when the weather grows cool. Thick clothing for these troops should be sent in August, so as to arrive at such place as circumstances by that time may indicate, by the beginning of October. These troops, by the end of June or beginning of July, might arrive at Quebec, which for the reasons already assigned, they would in all probability find quite defenseless. Possessing themselves of that city, and leaving there the line of battle ships, the marines and a very small garrison, with as many of the Canadians as can readily be assembled, (for which purpose spare arms should be provided, which might be put up in boxes, and marked as for the militia of one of the French islands,) the frigates and transports should proceed up the river St. Lawrence, and a debarkation take place at the mouth of the river St. Francis. If the Americans are already at that place, the troops will co-operate for the purposes abovementioned: if not, a post must be taken there, and expresses sent, &c. In the interim, 'three of the frigates, with four of the smallest transports, should proceed to Montreal, and if possible possess that city; when the nobles and clergy should be immediately called together by the general, who should, if possible, be well acquainted with the manners both of France and of the United States. The troops should bring with them very ample provisions, especially of salted flesh, as they will come to a country exhausted by the British army. By the latter end of July, or middle of August, the reduction of Canada might be so far completed, that the ships might proceed to the investiture of Halifax, taking on board large supplies of flour. A part of the troops might march, and be followed by the sick, as they recover. A considerable body of American troops might then be spared for that service, which, with the militia of the states of Massachusetts Bay and New Hampshire, might proceed to the attack of Halifax, so as to arrive at the beginning of September; and if that place should fall by the beginning or middle of October, the troops might either proceed against Newfoundland, or remain in garrison until the spring; at which time that conquest might be completed. If Halifax should not be taken, then the squadron and troops would still be in time to co-operate against the West Indies.
To the Hon. Benjamin Franklin, Esq. Sir_The above plan, referred to in your instructions, you shall lay substantially before the French minister. You shall consult the marquis de la Fayette on any difficulties which may arise; and refer the ministry to him, as he hath made it his particular study to gain information on these important points. By order of Congress.
H. L. President. Attest, C. T. Secretary.
NO. 5, omitted.
NO. 6. Extract from a statement made to congress, by the French minister Ge
rard, concerning negociations for peace, in July, 1779. That the British ministry seem to be solicitous to be reconciled with France, and to keep up this negociation; that from thence probable hopes may be entertained of their internal disposition to peace; but at the same time, they reject with haughtiness the formal acknowledgment of the independence insisted on by France and Spain. New orders have been given to the Spanish ambassador at London to ascertain, as nearly as possible, those dispositions. In these circumstances the king his master ordered him to communicate this intelligence to the United States, that they may, if they think proper, take under consideration, if it would not be expedient to give their plenipotentiary instructions and full powers founded upon the necessity of the conjuncture and upon the treaty of alliance, the express and formal terms of which are, that peace shall not be made without an express or tacit acknowledgment of the sovereignty, and consequently and a fortiori, of the rights inherent in sovereignty as well as of the independence of the United States, in matters of government and of com
This substantial alternative in an engagement which is a mere gratuitous gift without any compensation, or stipulation, ought indeed never to be forgot in a negociation for peace. France foresaw the extreme difficulties a formal and explicit acknowledgment might meet with. She knew by her own experience in similar contests in which she has been deeply concerned, respecting the republics of Holland, Genoa, and the Swiss cantons, how tenacious monarchs are, and how repugnant to pronounce the humiliating formula. It was only obtained for Holland tacitly, after a war of thirty years; and explicitly, after a resistance of seventy. To this day Genoa and the Swiss cantons have obtained no renunciation, nor acknowledgment,
either tacit, or formal, from their former sovereigns. But they enjoy their sovereignty and independence only under the guarantee of France. His court thought it important to provide, that difficulties of this nature, which reside merely in words, should not delay or prevent America from enjoying the thing itself. From these considerations arose the very important and explicit stipulation in the treaty, which he has just now related, and which has received the sanction of the United States. The circumstances seem already such as call for the application of the alternative of tacit, or explicit acknowledgment. All these considerations therefore are mentioned, that Congress may, if they think proper, consider whether the literal execution of the treaty in this point is not become necessary, and whether the safety and happiness of the American people, as well as the essential principles of the alliance, are not intimately connected with the resolutions that may be taken on this subject. And it remains with the prudence of congress to examine whether instructions upon some particular conditions may not frustrate the salutary purpose of the treaty of alliance relative to a tacit acknowledgment which the situation of affairs may require. In thus executing, continued he, the orders I have received, I cannot omit observing, that these orders were given with the full presumption, that the business which I laid before congress in February last would have been settled long before these despatches should come to my hands. However sensibly my court will be disappointed in her expectations, I shall add nothing to the information and observations which with the warmest zeal for the interest and honor of both countries and by the duties of my office and my instructions, I found myself bound to deliver from time to time to congress, in the course of this business. The apprehension of giving new matter to those who endeavor to throw blame upon congress, is a new motive for me to remain silent. I beg only to remind this honorable body of the aforesaid information and reflections, and particularly of those which I had the honor to deliver to an assembly similar to the present. I shall only insist on a single point, which I established then, and since in one of my memorials, namely, the manifest and striking necessity of enabling Spain, by the determination of just and moderate terms, to press upon England with her good offices, and to bring her mediation to an issue, in order that we may know whether we are to expect war or peace. This step is looked upon in Europe as immediately necessary. It was the proper object of the message I delivered in February last. I established then the strong reasons which require, that at the same time and without delay, proper terms should be offered to his catholic majesty, in order to reconcile him perfectly to the American interest. I did not conceal, that it was to be feared, that any condition inconsistent with the established form of the alliance, which is the binding and only law of the allies, and contrary to the line of conduct which Spain pursued in the course of her mediation, would lead her to drop the mediation, and prevent his catholic majesty, by motives of honor and faithfulness, from joining in our common cause, and from completing the intended triumvirate. No loss, no unhappy event could be so heavy on the alliance as this. Indeed although the British forces are already kept in check by the combined efforts of France and America, it is nevertheless evident that the accession of Spain only can give to the alliance a decided superiority adequate to our purposes, and free us from the fatal chance that a single unlucky event may overturn the balance.
NO. 7. Instructions 10 Mr. Adams, in negociating a treaty of commerce with
Great Britain, August 14th, 1779. Sir-You will herewith receive a commission, giving you full pow. er to negociate a treaty of commerce with Great Britain in doing which you will consider yourself bound by the following information and instructions :
1. You will govern yourself principally by the treaty of commerce with his most christian majesty; and as, on the one hand, you shall grant no privilege to Great Britain not granted by that treaty to France, so, on the other, you shall not consent to any peculiar restrictions or limitations whatever in favor of Great Britain.
2. In order that you may be the better able to act with propriety on this occasion, it is necessary for you to know, that we have determined, 1st, that the common right of fishing shall in no case be given up; 2d, that it is essential to the welfare of all these United States, that the inhabitants thereof, at the expiration of the war, should continue to enjoy the free and undisturbed exercise of their common right to fish on the banks of Newfoundland, and the other fishing, banks and seas of North America, preserving inviolate the treaties between France and the said states; 3d, that application shall be made to his most christian majesty to agree to some article or articles for the better securing to these states a share in the said fisheries; 4th, that if, after a treaty of peace with Great Britain, she shall molest the citizens or inhabitants of any of the United States, in taking fish on the banks and places herein after described, such molestation being in our opinion a direct violation and breach of the peace, shall be a common cause of the said states, and the force of the union be exerted to obtain redress for the parties injured; and 5th, that our faith be pledged to the several states, that, without their unanimous consent, no treaty of commerce shall be entered into, nor any trade or commerce carried on with Great Britain, without the explicit stipulation herein after mentioned. You are therefore not to consent to any treaty of commerce with Great Britain without an explicit stipulation on her part, not to molest or disturb the inhabitants of the United States of America in taking fish on the banks of Newfoundland and other fisheries in the American seas any where, excepting within the distance of three leagues of the shores of the territories remaining to Great Britain at
the close of the war, if a nearer distance cannot be obtained by negociation. And in the negociation you are to exert your most strenuous endeavors to obtain a nearer distance to the gulf of St. Lawrence, and particularly along the shores of Nova Scotia, as to which latter we are desirous that even the shores may be occasionally used for the purpose of carrying on the fisheries by the inhabitants of these states.
3. In all other matters you are to govern yourself by your own discretion, as shall be most for the interest of these states, taking care that the said treaty be founded on principles of equality and reciprocity, so as to conduce to the mutual advantage of both nations, but not to the exclusion of others.
NO. 8. Instructions of Mr. Jay, for negociating with the court of Spain, in Sep
tember, 1779. Sir-By the treaties subsisting between his most christian majesty and the United States of America, a power is reserved to his catholic majesty to accede 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 court of Spain, his catholic majesty may propose other conditions analogous to the principal aim of the alliance, and conformable to the rules of equality, reciprocity, and friendship. Congress is sensible of the friendly regard to these states manifested by his most christian majesty, in reserving a power to his catholic majesty of acceding to the alliance entered into between his most christian majesty and these United States; and therefore, that nothing may be wanting on their part to facilitate the views of his most christian majesty, and to obtain a treaty of alliance and of amity and commerce with his catholic majesty, have thought proper to anticipate any propositions which his catholic majesty might make on that subject, by yielding up to him those objects which they conclude he may have principally in view; and for that purpose have come to the following resolution :
That if his catholic majesty shall accede to the said treaties, and, in concurrence with France and the United States of America, continue the present war with Great Britain for the purpose expressed in the treaties aforesaid, he shall not thereby be precluded from securing to himself the Floridas : on the contrary, if he shall obtain the Floridas from Great Britain, these United States will guaranty the same to his catholic majesty : provided always, that the United States shall enjoy the free navigation of the river Mississippi into and from the sea.
You are therefore to communicate to his most christian majesty, the desire of congress to enter into a treaty of alliance and of amity and commerce with his catholic majesty, and to request his favorable