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assisting you, will sacrifice you to their interests or their fears. The allies which, under such circumstances, are suitable for you, are France and Spain; for it is their interest that you should be free and independent of England, whose enormous maritime power fills them with apprehensions. I have, therefore, opened myself to the French Minister, and a copy and translation of your requests and letters of credence to me have been for a fortnight in his hands. In the conversation I had with this Minister I observed, that the wishes of his nation are for you. He said that there was one difficulty in affording aid to the Colonies: if they should be reconciled with England, they would assist her against the power which had aided them, and would imitate the dog in the fable. I had no reply to make to this, except that, in this case, reasonable beings were concerned; that if they saw the object was not to deprive them of the liberty for which they were contending, but to assure it to them, they would not be so ungrateful as to join, against their benefactors, those who wished to destroy that liberty. Finally, he desired to know from me positively, what I would ask for the Colonies of his Court. I answered, that you wished to be informed:
1. If the King of France would, from motives of humanity and magnanimity, interpose his mediation on behalf of an oppressed people, and effect a reconciliation, which should preserve to them all the liberties they formerly enjoyed.
2. In case such a reconciliation could not be effected, would the Nations subjects of the House of Bourbon, be willing to accede to an alliance with the Colonies, with the advantages of an immense commerce?
He was pleased with the former proposition to offer to his young King the glory of conferring peace on the subjects of others as well as on his own. The other proposition is not disagreeable to him, were it not for the dreadful war which would ensue in Europe. I then delivered to him, together with your letter, a memorial, showing how important it was for France not to allow the subjugation of the Colonies. The whole was sent to his Court about a fortnight since; and if the answer should be delayed, it will be of no disadvantage. Meanwhile, we have gained this advantage, that an opening is made, which must dispose France in your favour, and engage her to tolerate and secretly to encourage even any assistance your vessels can derive from France, Spain, and the Indies. I have, therefore, in the extract, copied exactly what you pointed out to me as the most necessary, as engineers, arms, munitions, &c.
I have done all this with the most profound secrecy. The person of whom I have spoken to you required it from me, and promised it in return, so that no one in this country, excepting he and I, knows anything of it. It is more advantageous to you and safer for me that I should not be known as your agent.
Mr. Story, not daring to take two letters with him to England, one for Arthur Lee, the other for Mrs. Hannah Philippa Lee, left them in safe keeping with me; and he did well. I learn by two letters, which I have received from Mr. A. Lee, of the 20th and 23d of April, that on Mr. Storys landing in England, they took from him a letter which I had sent by him for Mr. Lee; fortunately it was not signed with any true name, and could give no information to your adversaries. They have, therefore, committed this additional violence to no purpose. I have sent those letters to a friend at Rotterdam, according to the request of Mr. Lee, and that friend informs me, under date of May 3d, that he has forwarded the packet by a Captain of a sloop, one of his old friends, who promised him to deliver them himself to the address which I put upon them by Mr. Lees directions. The sudden departure of the vessel will prevent me from informing you whether they have been safely delivered. I shall do it by some future opportunity. I joined to the packet a cipher for Mr. Lee, like that I sent to you, but grounded on different words, so that we shall be able to communicate with each other in perfect safety. I informed him, also, that I had the honour of writing you frequently; so that he can send his letters through me, if he has no better way.
I know an engineer, over thirty years of age, able, experienced, and very well qualified not only in his branch, but in the whole art of war; in a word, a fine officer, but very inadequately rewarded. I shall not be able to speak with him for several weeks, when I will propose to him the service of the Colonies. But as he is a widower, without means, and has several children, it will probably be necessary, if he accepts, to make him some advances to enable him to go over. I will give you an account in due time of the conversation I shall have with him.
I have endorsed to-day your bill of exchange of one hundred pounds sterling to the order of M. Rey, Bookseller, at Amsterdam. Good reasons prevented me from doing it sooner and at any other place than Amsterdam. May the conscientious use which I shall make of this fund entirely satisfy your wishes, and the confidence with which you have honoured me. I am persuaded of the generosity of Congress, and I pray Heaven that I may deserve, by my services, to be the object of it, when God shall have blessed their labours for the welfare and prosperity of the Colonies, either by a firm and sincere reconciliation, or by the success of your righteous and just arms. In reality, I hope much more than I fear on this point. The wisdom of Congress, so constantly manifested, the perfect union and harmony which prevail there, encourage me more and more. By this rare, happy, and admirable union, much more surely than by all the alliances in the world, you are, and you will finally be superior to your enemies, however formidable they may appear. Concordia res parvæ crescunt, discordiâ maximæ dilabuntur; may this great truth and the sublime words of Themistocles to Euripides, who raised a weapon against him in the Council, Strike but hear, be constantly present to your minds and hearts, as well as to those of your constituents. What power will then be able to withstand yours? Ascribe the freedom of this address to the enthusiasm with which I am animated for your union, the noblest edifice that liberty has ever reared. In it, centres all that the political world contains attractive for me.
I thank you, sir, for your fatherly kindness to the two French gentlemen. They are young, and ought not, therefore, to entertain even the idea of being an instant a burden to any one, and a useless load to society.
I am very glad that the statement of the points in dispute between Great Britain and the Colonies has been approved, so far as to cause it to be printed for the instruction of your friends the Canadians. This is the only effect of that paper, for the printer not having sold enough of his journals to be at any other expense than the impression, has ceased to pay the author of those pieces. I have obtained his address, for the purpose of engaging him to assist me in refuting the Jew Pinto, whose venal pen has been employed in the most insolent manner against the Americans. A certain person, whom you know, regrets having allowed himself to be dazzled by his financial system, so far as to approve it without reserve in a letter, or advertisement, at the head of the Treatise on Circulation; for although there are some good things in it here and there, yet that person has long since been enlightened in regard to many false brilliants, which the Jew passed off for genuine.
As for the Idea on Government and Royalty, I learn with pleasure that it has been agreeable, and that the time will perhaps come when it will receive more attention. This idea renders me more happy and proud than if I had written the Iliad; for I think with Phædrus, nisi utile est quod facimus, stulta est gloria. It is a seed, which I thought myself bound to sow in your country, the only place in the known world where it could spring up. I consider that idea more and more practicable and true, and of all political systems the most completely proof against all objections. It requires only to be developed. God grant that we may soon be able to do it in peace and at leisure. I shall then beg you, sir, with the estimable and learned author of the Pennsylvania Farmer, to correspond with me on this subject, and to prove it, if not to our contemporaries, at least to posterity.
I thank you, sir, for the Journal of Congress from the 10th of May to the 1st of August, 1775, which you have had the kindness to send me; be good enough to complete it by sending what precedes and follows; for we have here nothing authentick relating to your affairs. All that we know of you, we get from the Gazettes, imperfectly, by scraps, in a vague and uncertain manner, a mixture of truth and falsehood;
May 9th.I have just received the following letter without signature: You will, perhaps, be tempted to come to the Fair at the Hague. I shall have the honour to renew the expressions of my sincere esteem. I shall be at your