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His only weapon was a stick, which he carried in his hand. Powerfully solicited by Silas Deane and Frank. lin, the court of France began to take an interest in insurgent America. Beaumarchais, who intrigued with the count de Maurepas, knew how to profit, by circumstances. He was privately authorized to trade in arms with the English colonies. They were partly indebted for the unexpected advantage of the warlike stores necessary for their first campaign, to the infuence and activity of that agent. Beaumarchais gained immense sums by selling them, at a dear rate, his zeal and services, and laughed at the accusation, whether well or ill founded, of having sold them worn out arms and the worst stores of all kinds. Mr Deane, tired out by the delays and even excuses of M. de Sartine, then minister of the marine, wrote to him, that unless within forty-eight hours he made up his mind to get the treaty of alliance between France and America signed, he would negotiate with England for a reconciliation. He adopted this hasty and irregular course without the participation of his colleague. The moment Dr Franklin heard of it, he thought all was lost. “You have offended the court of France, and ruined America,' exclaimed the philosopher. • Be. easy till we get an answer,' replied the negotiator, • An answer! we shall be thrown into the Bastile." • That remains to be seen. After the lapse of a few hours, M. de Sartine's chief secretary made his appearance. You are requested, gentlemen, to hold yourselves in readiness for an interview: at midnight you will be called for.' " At midnight! cries Dr Franklin, the moment the secretary is gone: my prediction is verified! Mr Deane, you have ruined all.' They were of course sent for at the appointed liour.' The American envoys got into a carriage, and reached a country house of M. de Sartine, five miles from Paris, where he chose to receive them, the better to hide this step under the veil of mystery. They were introduced to the minister; and the declaration so imperiously demanded by Mr Deane was instantly
signed. The American deputies returned to Paris in triumph, and Franklin confessed that in politics patience was not always the only thing to be relied on."
On the intelligence of the capture of general Burgoyne's army being confirmed in England, lord Chatham went to the house of Lords, to make a motion upon that subject, which he introduced with remarking, 6 that the king's speech at the opening of the session conveyed general information of the measures intended to be pursued, and looked forward to the probable occurrences which might be supposed to happen. He had that speech now in his hand, and a deep sense of the public calamity in his heart. They would both co-operate to enforce and justify the measure he meant to propose. He was sorry to say, the speech contained a very unfaithful picture of the state of public affairs. This assertion was unquestionable; not a noble lord in administration would dare to rise, and even so much as controvert the fact. The speech held out a specious outside, was full of hopes; yet it was manifest, that everything within and without, foreign and domestic, was full of danger, and calculated to inspire the most melancholy forebodings. His lordship hoped, that this sudden call for their lordships' attention would be imputed to its true motive, a desire of obtaining their assistance in such a season of difficulty and danger; a season in which, he would be bound to maintain, a single moment was not to be lost. It was" customary, he said, for that house to offer an address of condolence to his majesty upon any public misfortune, as well as one of congratulation on any public success. If this were the usage of Parliament, he never recollected a period at which such an address became more seasonable, or more necessary, than at present. If what was acknowledged in the other house were true, he was astonished that some public notice was not taken of the sad, the melancholy disaster. The report was, that the fact was acknowledged by persons. in high authority (lords Germain and North) that general Burgoyne and his army were surrounded, and obliged
to surrender themselves prisoners of war to the provincials. He should take the account of this calamitous event, as now stated, and argue upon it as a matter universally allowed to be true.” He then lamented the fate of Mr Burgoyne in the most pathetic terms; and said, that gentleman's character, the glory of the British arms, and the dearest interests of this undone, disgraced country, had been all sacrificed to the ignorance, temerity, and incapacity of ministers. Appearances, he observed, were indeed dreadful; he was not sufficiently informed to decide on the extent of the numerous eyils with which we were surrounded; but they were clearly sufficient to give just cause for alarm to the most confident or callous heart. His lordship spoke in the most pointed terms of the system, introduced within the last fifteen years at St James's, of breaking all public and family connexions, of extinguishing all public and private principle. “A few men had got an ascendency, where no man should have a personal ascendency ; hy the executive powers of the state being at their command, they had been furnished with the means of creating divisions. This brought pliable men, not capable men, into the highest and most responsible situations; and to such men was the government of this once glorious empire now intrusted. The spirit of delusion had gone forth; the ministers had imposed on the people; parliament had been induced to sanctify the imposition; false lights had been held out to the country gentlemen : they had been seduced into the support of a most destructive war, under the impression that the land tax would be diminished by the means of an American revenue. The visionary phans tom, thus conjured up for the basest of all purposes, that of deception, was now about to vanish. He condemned the contents of the speech in the bitterest terms of reproach. He said it abounded with absurdity and contradiction. In one part it recommended Vigorous measures, pointing to conquest, or unconditional submission; while in another it pretended to. say, that peace was the real object, as soon as the de. luded multitude should return to their allegiance. This, his lordship contended, was the grossest and most insolent delusion. It was by this strange mixture of firmness and pretended candour, of cruelty and mercy, justice and iniquity, that this infatuated nation had been all along misled.” · Mr Fox was the first person to mention, in the house of Commons, that he had heard, from unquestionable authority, of a treaty having been signed at Paris, ten days before, between France and the American colonies, whereby the former acknowledged and entered into an alliance with the latter as an independent state. Lord North reluctantly acknowledged that it was but too probable such a treaty was in agitation, though he had no authority to pronounce absolutely that it was concluded. · The duke of Grafton, in the House of Peers, put the same question to ministers; when lord Weymouth, the secretary of state, answered," that he knew nothing of any such treaty, nor had he received any authentic information of its being either in existence or in contemplation.” But a few days afterwards lord North delivered a message from his sovereign to the Commons, and lord Weymouth to the Upper House, informing them that " a rescript had been delivered by the ambassador of his Most Christian Majesty, containing a direct avowal of a treaty of amity, commerce, and alliance, recently concluded with America; in consequence of which offensive communication, his majesty had sent orders to his ambassador to withdrąw from that court; and relying on the zealous support of his people, he was prepared to exert all the force and resources of his kingdom, to repel so unprovoked and so unjust an aggression.”
On the 7th April the duke of Richmond, in moving an address to the throne, expressed his conviction of the necessity of acknowledging the American independence. The discussion being adjourned until the next day, lord Chatham appeared for the last time in
his place in parliament, and was supported to his seat by his son Mr William Pitt, and his son-in-law lord Mahon. On rising to speak, he began by lamenting that his bodily infirmities had so long, and especially at so important a crisis, prevented his attendance on the duties of parliament. He declared that he had made an effort, almost beyond the powers of his constitution, to come down to the house on this day (perhaps the last time he should ever be able to enter its walls) to express the indignation he felt at an idea which he understood was gone forth, of yielding up the sovereignty of America!
..“ My lords, I rejoice that the grave has not closed upon me; that I am still alive to lift up my voice against the dismemberment of this ancient and most noble monarchy. Pressed down as I am by the load of infirmity, I am little able to assist my country in this most perilous conjuncture; but, my lords, while I have sense and memory, I will never consent to deprive the royal offspring of the house of Brunswick, the heirs of the princess Sophia, of their fairest inheritance. Where is the man that will dare to advise such a measure? My lords, his majesty succeeded to an empire as great in extent as its reputation was unsullied. Shall we tarnish the lustre of this nation, by an ignominious surrender of its rights and fairest possessions ? Shall this great kingdom, that has survived, whole and entire, the Danish depredations, the Scottish inroads, and the Norman conquest—that has stood the threatened invasion of the Spanish Armada -now fall prostrate before the house of Bourbon ? Surely, my lords, this nation is no longer what it was. Shall people who, seventeen years ago, were the terror of the world, now stoop so low as to tell their ancient and inveterate enemy, Take all that we have, only give us peace?' It is impossible!
" I wage war with no man, or set of men. I wish for none of their employments ; nor would I co-ope. rate with men who still persist in unretracted error, or who, instead of acting on a firm decisive line of