Page:American Archives, Series 5, Volume 2.djvu/740

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CONTINENTAL CONGRESS, SEPTEMBER 17, 1776.

enter into a conference with him in that character. We observed to his Lordship, that, as our business was to hear, he might consider us in what light he pleased, and communicate to us any propositions he might be authorized to make for the purpose mentioned; but that we could consider ourselves in no other character than that in which we were placed, by order of Congress. His Lordship then entered into a discourse of a considerable length, which contained no explicit proposition of peace, except one, namely, that the Colonies should return to their allegiance and obedience to the government of Great Britain. The rest consisted principally of assurances, that there was an exceeding good disposition in the King and his Ministers to make that government easy to us, with intimations, that, in case of our submission, they would cause the offensive acts of Parliament to be revised, and the instructions to Governours to be reconsidered: that so, if any just causes of complaint were found in the acts, or any errours in government were perceived to have crept into the instructions, they might be amended or withdrawn.

"We gave it as our opinion to his Lordship, that a return to the domination of Great Britain was not now to be expected. We mentioned the repeated humble petitions of the Colonies to the King and Parliament, which had been treated with contempt, and answered only by additional injuries; the unexampled patience we had shown under their tyrannical Government, and that it was not till the last act of Parliament which denounced war against us, and put us out of the King's protection, that we declared our independence; that this declaration had been called for by the people of the Colonies in general; that every Colony had approved of it, when made, and all now considered themselves as independent States, and were settling, or had settled, their Governments accordingly; so, that it was not in the power of Congress to agree for them, that they should return to their former dependent state; that there was no doubt of their inclination to peace, and their willingness to enter into a treaty with Great Britain that might be advantageous to both countries; that though his Lordship had, at present, no power to treat with them as independent States, he might, if there was the same good disposition in Britain, much sooner obtain fresh powers from thence, for that purpose, than powers could be obtained by Congress, from the several Colonies, to consent to a submission.

"His Lordship then saying, that he was sorry to find that no accommodation was like to take place, put an end to the conference.

"Upon the whole, it did not appear to your Committee, that his Lordship's commission contained any other authority than that expressed in the act of Parliament, namely, that of granting pardons, with such exceptions as the Commissioners shall think proper to make, and of declaring America, or any part of it, to be in the King's peace, upon submission; for, as to the power of inquiring into the state of America, which his Lordship mentioned to us, and of conferring and consulting with any persons the Commissioners might think proper, and representing the result of such conversations to the Ministry, who, provided the Colonies would subject themselves, might, after all, or might not, at their pleasure make any alterations in the former instructions to Governours, or propose in Parliament any amendment of the acts complained of, we apprehended any expectation from the effect of such a power would have been too uncertain and precarious to be relied on by America, had she still continued in her state of dependence."

Ordered, That the foregoing Report, and also the Message from Lord Howe, as delivered by General Sullivan, and the Resolution of Congress in consequence thereof, be published by the Committee who brought in the foregoing Report.

Ordered, That the said Committee publish Lord Drummond's Letters to General Washington, and the General's Answers.

Sundry Resolutions being moved and seconded, in addition to those passed yesterday, relative to the new Army: after debate,

Resolved, That they be referred to the Board of War.

A Letter of the 10th, from Brigadier-General Lewis was read; also, a Letter of the 13th, from James Forrest was read, and referred to the Board of War.

[1344]Congress took into consideration the plan of Treaties[1] to be proposed to foreign nations, with the amendments agreed to by the Committee of the Whole; and the same was agreed to.

Resolved, That the following plan of a Treaty be proposed to His Most Christian Majesty:

Plan of a Treaty with France.

There shall be a firm, inviolable, and universal peace, and a true and sincere friendship, between the Most Serene and Mighty Prince, Lewis the Sixteenth, the most Christian King, his heirs and successors, and the United States of America; and the subjects of the Most Christian King, and of the said States; and between the countries, islands, cities, and towns, situate under the jurisdiction of the Most Christian King, and of the said United States, and the people and inhabitants thereof of every degree; without exception of persons or places. And the terms herein mentioned shall be perpetual between the Most Christian King, his heirs and successors, and the said United States.

Article I. The subjects of the Most Christian King shall pay no other duties, or imposts, in the ports, havens, roads, countries, islands, cities, or towns, of the said United States, or any of them, than the natives thereof, or any commercial companies established by them, or any of them, shall pay, but shall enjoy all other the rights, liberties, privileges, immunities, and exemptions in trade, navigation, and commerce, in passing from one part thereof to another, and in going to and from the same, from and to any part of the world, which the said natives or companies enjoy.

Article II. The subjects, people, and inhabitants, of the said United States, and every of them, shall pay no other duties, or imposts, in the ports, havens, roads, countries, islands, cities, or towns of the Most Christian King, than

  1. Plan of Treaties gone through in Committee of the Whole, August 27, 1776, and recommitted, that Instructions may be drawn conformable thereto. August 29, 1776.—The Committee further empowered to prepare such Instructions as to them shall seem proper, and make report thereof to Congress. There shall be a firm, inviolable, and universal peace, and a true and sincere friendship between A. and B., and the subjects oi A. and of B., and between the countries, islands, cities, and towns, situate under the jurisdiction of A. and of B., and the people and inhabitants thereof of every degree, without exception of persons or places; and the terms hereinafter mentioned shall be perpetual between A. and B. I. The subjects of A. shall pay no other duties or imposts in the ports, havens, roads, countries, islands, cities, or towns of B., than the natives thereof, or any commercial companies established therein shall pay, but shall enjoy all other the rights, liberties, privileges, immunities, and exemptions in trade, navigation, and commerce, in passing from one part thereof to another, and in going to and from the same, from and to any part of the world, which the said natives or companies enjoy. II. The subjects of B. shall pay no other duties or imposts in the ports, havens, roads, countries, islands, cities, or towns of A., than the natives thereof, or any commercial companies established therein; but shall enjoy all other the rights, liberties, privileges, immunities, and exemptions in trade, navigation, and commerce, in passing from one part thereof to another, and in going to and from the same from and to any part of the world, which the said natives or companies enjoy. III. A. shall endeavour by all the means in his power, to protect and defend all vessels, and the effects belonging to the subjects and people of B. being in his ports, havens, or roads, or on the seas near to his countries, islands, cities, or towns, and to recover and restore to the right owners, their agents, or attorneys, all such vessels and effects which shall be taken within his jurisdiction; and his ships of war or any convoys sailing under his authority, shall upon all occasions take under their protection all vessels belonging to the subjects or people of B., and holding the same course, or going the same way, and shall defend such vessel so long as they hold the same course, or go the same way, against all attacks, force, and violence, in the same manner as they ought to protect and defend vessels belonging to the subjects or people of A. IV. In like manner B. and his ships of war, and convoys sailing under his authority, shall protect and defend all vessels and effects belonging to the subjects or people of A., and endeavour to recover and restore them, if taken in his jurisdiction. V. A. and B. shall not receive nor suffer to be received into any of their ports, havens, roads, countries, islands, cities, or towns, any pirates or sea-robbers, or afford or suffer any entertainment, assistance, or provision to be afforded to them, but shall endeavour by all means that all pirates and sea-robbers and their partners, sharers, and abettors be found out, apprehended, and suffer condign punishment; and all the vessels and effects piratically taken and brought into the ports and havens of A. or B., which can be found, although they be sold, shall be restored, or satisfaction given therefor, to the right owners, their agents or attorneys demanding the same, and making the right of property to appear by due proof. VI. A. shall protect, defend, and secure, as far as in his power, the subjects or people of B., and their vessels and effects of every kind, against all attacks, assaults, violences, injuries, depredations, or plunderings by or from the King or Emperor of Morocco or Fez, and the States of Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli, and any of them, and every other Prince, State, and Power on the coast of Barbary, in Africa, and the subjects of the said Kings, Emperors, &c., in as full a manner, &c. VII. If, in consequence of this treaty, the of should declare war against A., the said B. shall not assist with men, money, ships, or any of the articles in this treaty denominated contraband