History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution/Chapter XXVII
After provisional articles for peace had been agreed on at Paris, between the British and American commissioners, the impatient curiosity of the British nation for a full communication of their contents was inexpressible. The ultimate determinations with regard to the unconditional independence of America were among the most interesting of their inquiries. But the necessity of concealing affairs of such national moment for a time, within a veil of secrecy, was urged by the ministry, as it would bring on discussions and objections which might embarrass the work of peace. All ambiguity was opposed in the House of Commons by several members, with no small degree of warmth. They insisted that no disguise ought to be used, but that the whole business should be laid open before irretrievable stipulations should bind the nation to disadvantageous or dishonorary terms. But when the general tenor of the provisional articles was made known, it was far from restoring tranquility or harmonizing the several parties.
The general dissatisfaction expressed by persons of high rank and consideration against both the provisional articles with America and the preliminary articles for peace with France, Spain, and Holland, which now lay under consideration, was so great that many began to be alarmed, lest all the pacific measures should be set afloat and the hope of tranquility, which had dawned upon the nations, might yet finally be defeated.
Some of the first characters in the cabinet, the Parliament, and the nation discovered the most singular disgust and uneasiness at the proposed Articles of Accommodation, and debate and contention ran high in both Houses of Parliament. The Lords Walsingham, Stormont, Sackville, Carlisle, and others were violent in their opposition to the whole system of peace comprised in the provisional articles. They thought the character of the nation tarnished, in the concession made by the negotiators on the part of Britain in favor of the revolted colonies; whose obstinacy had involved the Crown and the Kingdom in distresses incalculable, but that the nation was not yet so reduced as to submit to a mean dereliction of their rights. They asserted that they yet an army, a navy, and resources sufficient to chastise the insolence of the House of Bourbon. It was observed that though the councils of France had upheld the revolted colonies in opposition to the power of Britain, and now justified their bold demands, that the combined fleets and France and Spain had recently felt the superiority and fled from the power of the British flag.
It was not passed over in silence that all hearts had lately been warmed by their gallant conduct, and every tongue loud in the applauses of the magnanimous officers who had defended Gibraltar; that the House of Commons had expressed their gratitude by a vote of thanks to Governor Elliot and General Boyde, for the astonishing example of courage, patriotism, and patient suffering which they had displayed, in the vigorous defense of a fortress devoted to destruction by a most formidable foe; that the navy had contributed its full share in this glorious success, and that the just thanks of the nation had been offered to Lords Howe, Rodney, and others, who were still ready for the most gallant defense of all the claims of England against the combined fleets of France, Spain, and the world.
In short, the sum of their declamations were that the proud glory of conquest, which had so often perched on the helmet of British officers, was not, by the dash of an inexperienced pen, [Mr. Oswald's.] to be meanly prostrated to obtain a peace, either from old hereditary enemies, or the pertinacity and refractory conduct of their own offspring in the colonies.
Little delicacy was observed. Mr. Oswald's abilities for the business of a negotiator were highly ridiculed. Many objections were made, and copiously dwelt on by the orators in the British Parliament, with regard to the pending articles; particularly on the right of the fisheries, on the boundaries of the United states, the free navigation of the Mississippi, and the forlorn condition of those Americans who had been attached to the Crown from the beginning of the contest. Their friends asserted that the abandoning the loyalists and consigning them over to the cold recommendation of the American Congress, only on the promise of their commissioners that their situation should be considered by the several legislatures and that the legislative powers should advise to a placable spirit and urge the people to forgiveness, was a fallacious security on which no reliance could be placed. I was observed that the commissioners themselves could not expect that such a measure would succeed. They know too well that this class of men were considered in America as a ten-fold more inveterate foe than any of the native sons of Britain.
The proposal of their return to and residence in the United States for a limited term as viewed by gentlemen of the first penetration as a chimerical project. They were too well acquainted with human nature to imagine that this description of persons would be received by them, when they knew that "the Americans in general would consider it as taking a viper into their bosoms, whose nature could not be altered, and however well fed, its benefactor could not be secured from its sting."
The neglect of stipulations in favor of a class of people who had forsaken their country, lost their property, and risked their lives in the field from their attachment to the British Crown, and their fondness for the government of England, was styled criminal in every view. It was asserted that it was marked with cruelty, injustice, and ingratitude.
Doubtless, many of the advocates of the loyalists in the British Parliament, argued from what they though the principles of rectitude, rather than from the prejudices of party; and could those principles along have had their full operation in the minds of men, notwithstanding past provocations, it might have been the policy of the Americans at this period to have laid aside their prejudices. At the same time, it would have exemplified their benevolence to have forgiven, cherished, and secured the friendship of a large body of people, instead of perpetuating an alienation, and transmitting it from sire to son, through successive generations. But it was the indispensable duty of the British government to protect and to compensate. This they afterwards did in some instances, in a very ample manner; but many of this unfortunate class were espoused to sufferings which they had never contemplated, when they forsook their neighbors, their relations, and their families, for the precarious hope of better fortune from the oppressors of their country.
These and other circumstances shook the minister in his place. He felt he did not stand on very firm ground, however, recently encircled by favoritism, though at the summit of power, and still the bubble of popularity. the gale was about to pass off, and leave him in private life, the sport of change, but not in the quietude of retirement. The rivals of Lord Shelburne were powerful, his enemies subtle and sagacious; and the inconsistency which appeared in his principles relative to the independence of America gave them a fair occasion to discuss his opinions and to displace him from office.
Desirous as was Mr. Fox and some other gentlemen for a happy accommodation with America, and a happy termination of war with all the nations, they spurned at several of the proposed articles of peace; an singular as it may appear, the consequence of the present fermentation was a second coalition, composed of still more jarring atoms than the first...the leopard was indeed to lie down with the lamb.
Notwithstanding their former disagreement in opinion, their rancor and bitterness on many occasions; the antipodes in political sentiment, with regard to the prerogative of the Crown, the majesty of the people, and the American war; a strange connection took place, viewed by the nation as a kind of political phenomenon. Lord North and Mr. Fox were seen acting together in administration, in conjunction with Lords Cavendish and Stormont, Keppel and Carlisle. The Duke of Portland was appointed First Lord of the Treasury in the room of Lord Shelburne, who had enjoyed little tranquility in that elevated station. The reputation of neither party was much enhanced by the coalition. It created a general suspicion of the patriotism of both; and both were considered as acting a part for the gratification of their won interests and passions, rather than from a regard to the public welfare.
Mr. Fox was reproached with forsaking his former friends, and assimilating his character and his attachment, as convenience required, to the politics of the day. To this he replied that "for the painful losses he had experienced in his friendships, he must find a consolation in the purity and consistency of his intentions, and that rectitude of design which had ever been his guide in his political career."
While the general expectation of a resheathing of the sword had spread a humane satisfaction over the countenances of man in Europe and in America, the minds of the contemplative and sagacious characters in the United States were filled with anxiety on the variety of difficulties which lay before them. They anticipated the impracticability of disbanding an army become discontented from deficiencies in payment. They saw the impossibility of a speedy discharge of the public debt; of defraying the expenses of a long war, and paying up the arrearages due to the soldiery, who had bravely borne the toils of the field, amid poverty, hunger, danger, and death. They were too well acquainted with human nature to expect that a people who had been so long in such a perturbed state should sit down in tranquility and order, until some necessary arrangements for the operations of a free, yet energetic government, should be established. This they considered, in the situation of their country, a work that required the talents of the most able statesmen, and the virtues of the most disinterested patriots to digest. The jarring interests of the states and of individuals, and their dissonant opinions of forms and modes of government might prevent the adoption of the best that could be suggested and create jealousies and ferments that might terminate in domestic confusion and war, until anarchy or despotism should succeed.
In addition to all other difficulties apprehended by speculative and judicious Americans, previous to the provisional articles terminating in a definitive treaty of peace, they dreaded the idea of a large body of loyalists left by Great Britain, to make terms of reconciliation with their offended countrymen.
It was a very precarious hope on which these refugees had to build. they had little reason (as observed) to expect the resentment of a whole people would be annihilated merely by the recommendation of the American agents. They could not but be sensible that if the governing powers were mollified and should recommend moderation and forbearance, yet the mutual injuries and affronts between individuals and families, in consequence of political dissonance, would not be likely to lie dormant, but would be brought back to recollection on every trivial occasion. It was to be expected that old animosities would be raked open, that would forever disturb the peace of society, when they took their stand beside their injured neighbors, weeping the loss of a father, a husband, or a son, who had perished in the dreadful conflict, many of them by the hands of a class of men now thrown back on their wounded feelings.
In the mean time the business of negotiation went forward among the belligerent powers. Some new arrangements were made. Mr. Hartley was sent to Paris, whose commission superseded that of Mr. Oswald. We have seen that Mr. John Adams had left Holland and joined the plenipotentiaries of the United States, previous to the agreement on provisional articles for peace, signed November 1782. He was no favorite of the officers and administration of affairs at the Gallican Court. His manners were not adapted to render him acceptable in that refined and polished nation; nor did he appear to have much partiality for, or confidence in them. But firm to the interests of his country, and tenacious of its claims, he advocated and defended them with ability; and by his determined spirit was essentially serviceable in maintaining the stipulations required in behalf of the United States.
Now was Mr. Jay less strenuous or indefatigable to counteract everything he thought might militate with the interest of America. He invalidated difficulties as they arose, with the accuracy of the statesman, and obviated every objection to just and equal advantages in the treaty which his countrymen required. Dr. Franklin's known attachment toe the interests of the United States, and his conspicuous talents as a negotiator preclude the necessity of any observations on his abilities, his character, or his conduct.
It has been before observed that Congress shad inadvertently endeavored to fetter their agents by directing them to be under the councils of France, rather too much for a free and independent nation. These gentlemen considered such restrictions dishonorary to themselves and their country; and by their vigor, zeal, and address, acted, through every stage of the business, as the agents of a free nation, not to be influenced by foreign considerations or councils.
Near ten months elapsed, after singing the provisional articles, before the definitive treaty was completed. Previous to the adjustment of all the articles contained in this treaty, much address, altercation, intrigue, and finesse among the parties, was is usual on similar occasions, was intermixed with fair negotiation. All preliminaries at length agreed to, this important instrument was signed at Paris on September 3, 1783.
David Hartley, esquire, on the part of Great Britain, and Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and John Adams, esquires, on behalf of America, affixed their names and their seals to the treaty for the restoration of harmony between Britain, and the ancient potent parent, and the emancipated colonies, and sent it forward for the ratification of Congress and of the British Parliament.
The definitive treaty between Great Britain and the United States contained only nine articles. The first of these was a full and complete acknowledgment of the independence of America. His Britannic Majesty, in the first article, "acknowledges the United States, viz. New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, to be Free, Sovereign, and Independent States; that He treats with them as such; and for Himself, His heirs, and successors, relinquishes all claim to the government, property, and territorial rights of the same, and every part thereof." [See Note 3 at the end of this chapter]
On the same day, September 3, the definitive treaty between Great Britain and France was signed at Versailles by the Duke of Manchester in behalf of the King of England, and on the part of France by the Count de Vergennes.
The count de Aranda and the Duke of Manchester mutually exchanged their seals for the happy event of a peace between England and Spain. The definitive treaty of peace and friendship between His Britannic Majesty and the King of Spain was also signed at Versailles September 3, 1783.
All impediments that barred the accommodation between England and Holland had been removed, and peace and harmony restored between His Britannic Majesty and the States-General of the United Provinces. Preliminary articles for this purpose were adjusted and singed at Paris by the ministers of the respective courts on September 2, 1783.
The King of Sweden had invited a treaty of amity and commerce with America, in a very handsome, complimentary manner. He observed that he was "desirous of forming a connection with a people who had so well established their independence, and who, by their wisdom and bravery, so well deserved it." This treaty had been singed April 3, 1783, and a stipulation made for its continuance for the term of 15 years, before any revision or renewal should take place.
Denmark ordered the American flag to be treated like that of the republics of the first order. Indeed, after the independence of the United States was explicitly acknowledged by the King of Great Britain, most of the European nations were, or appeared to be, fond of forming connections with a young, growing republic. The independent rank of America was now viewed in connection with her prolific soil, abundant resources, commercial genius, and political principles, which indicated her rising into eminence and consideration, that would set her on a footing with any nation on earth, if she did not become corrupted by foreign vices, or sunk by the indulgence of her own foolish passions.
The Batavian Republic was the first nation beyond the Atlantic, after the French, who sent an envoy in form to the Congress of America. On October 31, 1783, Peter John Van Berkel was received by them as minister plenipotentiary from the States-General of the United Netherlands. By the president and members of Congress, every mark of respect, cordiality, and friendship was shown; and on the other side it was amply returned by the address and politeness of the Dutch minister; who, with many eloquence and grace, addressed that venerable body, and expressed his own regard and the esteem of his constituents for the citizens of the United States. In the president's reply, he acknowledged the high sense Americans had of the importance of the alliance, and the gratitude they all felt for the services rendered the United States by individuals of his nation and particularly by himself and family, previous to the completion of the late treaty.
Thus, after the horrors of war had shed their baneful influence over the nations, without cessation, for seven or eight years; and after the havoc of human lie had, as usual, displayed the absurdity of mankind, in the delight they seem to discover in the destruction of their own species; a truce of the miseries of the inhabitants of the earth, on the one side of the globe, was promised for a season. Though the nations had been long engaged in war, peace seemed now to lift up her declined head, and promise a general tranquility. her advances were made across the Atlantic; yet no official accounts were received by Congress that a definite treaty had been signed by the ministers of the several belligerent powers until the conclusion of the year 1783.
It has already been observed that the provisional and preliminary articles for a general pacification among the contending powers had been signed at Paris November 29, 1782; but the completion of the definitive treaty productive of a general peace, was not agreed to until the succeeding autumn; when, as related above, the signatures and seals of the commissioners on all sides were affixed to the several stipulate articles, and the world relieved from a long constrained situation of mind, between hope, expectation, and fear.
Yet the intelligence of the spring of 1783 had been equally impressive in the American army, as if peace had actually been proclaimed by sound of trumpet. Nor was it strange that the military departments, nor indeed that all the inhabitants of the United States, should feel the same impression. The intelligence of the present prospects of a complete accommodation of existing differences was accompanied with private as well as public letters from Mr. Adams, Mr. jay, and other distinguished Americas, replete with the strongest assurances that hostilities would not be recommenced; and that the fleets and armies of Great Britain would, in a few months, be withdrawn from the ports and cities of the United States.
But there was yet much to be done on both sides of the water. It could not be expected that after a convulsion of such magnitude that the American officers and soldiers could at once retire and sit down quietly, each under his own vine and fig tree; or that the turbulent spirit of hostile nations could in a moment be tranquilized; much less, that the pride of the British ministry and Parliament should suffer them to settle down in tranquil repose among themselves, after the long series of mortification, discontent, and disunion that had embittered every department, and almost every individual against the political opinions of his neighbor, and the civil and political administration of the affairs of his country.
The preliminary and provisional articles had terminated in a definitive treaty of peace. In this, the general sense of the nation and the wishes of the people were gratified. Yet there were still sources of discontent sufficient to indicate that the present ministry stood on slippery ground.
Lord North had been long unpopular. Mr. Fox had many and potent enemies. But "naturally of a comprehensive mind and constitutionally fraught with good humor and general kindness, the field of popular applause seemed to be perfectly congenial to him." But he had a powerful rival in a son of the late favorite of the nation, Lord Chatham. This young gentleman had in a remarkable manner won the favor of His Sovereign and the hearts of the people. On may interesting questions, he had argued on the popular side and had gained an ascendancy that promised eminence, celebrity, and station in the first grade of office and influence. He was among the most strenuous advocates of a reform in Parliament. He was zealous for a commercial treaty with the United States, and ridiculed the language, the conduct, and the impediments thrown in the way; and condemned the regulations and restrictions on the American trade, which, he observed, must forever keep open the door of animosity between the two countries.
Nor did he less oppose and ridicule the India Bill, so much the subject of investigation and discussion, introduced by Mr. Fox, and rejected by a majority of the House of Lords. But the confusions and distractions in the East Indies required that some energetic and wise measures should be immediately adopted to reform abuses and restore justice and peace in that oppressed country. This produced a second India Bill, brought forward by Mr. Pitt himself, which was also rejected, and the door still left open for much contention and debate relative to the affairs of India and the distresses of the unhappy inhabitants.
Thus animosities were kindled among the first characters of the nation, and discontents fomented until everything verged to the extreme of disunion. "It was impossible for Mr. Fox to do anything in a cold, uninterested, or indifferent manner. He therefore always went considerable lengths for the attainment of his object." But he finally lost ground and left his rival to wave his laurels triumphantly in the field of party, and the favor of his King.
The fluctuation of office, and the changes in administration had been so frequent in the present reign that it was viewed as a thing of course, on every dispute or variation of opinion on great political questions. From the accession of George III in 1761 to 1783, when Lord Shelburne came in, there had been many different hands who had taken the helm of the head of the ministry and set the political bark afloat in a tempest without the ability to recover and moor it in the haven of peace.
In these circumstances, and at this critical period, Mr. William Pitt, in the fire of youth, in the pride of brilliant talents, and with the ambition, if not the hereditary capacity, of the aged statesman, was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer. Tenacious of his own character, he held the high office in spite of opposition or flattery; and so perseveringly stood his ground and held the reins of power so long that his friends ceased to fear his removal, and his enemies at last despaired of carrying any point against a minister that was become at once a favorite both of the prince and the people.
Notwithstanding the abilities of the new minister and the exertions of some of his predecessors, now out of place; notwithstanding a pacification had recently taken place among the European powers; Great Britain was still tottering under the enormous expenses of the late war, and her own internal dissensions on subjects of magnitude and importance. Men of the first abilities and information were wide in opinion, and divided on every political point. The spirit of party was heightened and produced continual altercation in Parliament on the conduct, projects, and character of the young minister. Supported by royal favor, and sufficiently conscious of his own talents, he was not borne down by any opposition. It was soon perceptible that the embarrassments of government, the derangement in political, commercial, domestic, and foreign affairs, still required much energy and decision, and perhaps the capacity of older and more experienced statesmen.
The cruel mismanagement in the East Indies interested the whole nation. The derangement and distraction of their affairs there, the enormities committed, and the tragical scenes of barbarity perpetrated under the presidency of Warren Hastings, governor general of Bengal, which reduced the country to the extreme of penury and misery, were afterwards copiously displayed and amply detailed in his long protracted trial. This finally terminated without decision on delinquency or satisfaction to the public.
The dreadful famine in Calcutta in 1779 is well know; that which succeeded it in 1781 was still more deplorable, when 14,000 persons died weekly of hunger at Madras; while the provinces of Oude and Benares suffered in equal degree under the same calamity, brought on by means which will never be blotted from the memory of man. [Read the story of the nabob of Oude (See a part of speech made by Mr. Sheridan on this subject in Note 4 at the end of this chapter) of Cheitsing -- the widow of Sujah Dowla -- of the conquest of Benares -- the treatment of the nabobs of Bengal; and, indeed, of all who fell under the power of the English government, in their wars with the unfortunate Indians. These are to be found in a variety of authentic accounts of the conduct and intercourse of the English with the oriental nations.] These were too complicated and diffuse for a place here, but some cursory observations on the conduct of British officers in that country may be admitted.
A specimen of the tragedy acted by General Matthews at Onore, where he directed no quarter should be given, but every man be put to the sword, will be impressive from an extract of a letter from one of his own officers. He observed that "The carnage was great. We trampled thick on the dead bodies that were strewed in the way. It was rather shocking to humanity, but such are only secondary considerations; and to a soldier whose bosom glows with heroic glory, they are thought accidents of course. His zeal makes him aspire after further victory."
What a perversion of just ideas! The true glory of man is benignity and kindness to his fellow mortals; nor can even military glory be enhanced by the triumphant butchery of mankind. But the same cruel apathy expressed by one of them, seemed to pervade most of the officers on this expedition. The riches and splendor of the peninsula and the extermination of the inhabitants that they might possess their wealth seemed to be the only object.
From Onore, General Matthews proceeded to Hydernagur, the capital of Canara. It is true, by astonishing feats of valor, he reached the metropolis where the wealth of the inhabitants was immense. The place was surrendered by capitulation. The general possessed of the treasure and no distribution made. The avarice of the officers to obtain their full share of the plunder raised murmur and mutiny that we not easily quieted; nor was it ever ascertained in whose coffers the whole was finally deposited.
Before General Matthews returned to Bombay, he sent a detachment from Hydernagur to Annanpour, under the command of Major Campbell. The orders were for a storm and no quarter. The cruel mandates were received with alacrity and put in execution without delay. every man in the place was put to the sword, except one horseman, who escaped after being wounded in three different places. The women, unwilling to be separated from their relations, or exposed to the brutal licentiousness of the soldiery, threw themselves in multitudes into the moats with which the fort was surrounded. Four hundred beautiful young women, pierced with the bayonet and expiring in each other's arms were in this situation treated by the British with every kind of outrage. The avenging hand of justice soon overtook the barbarous, butchering Matthews. He fell into the hands of Tippoo Saib, after that victorious commander had recaptured Hydernagur, as loaded with chains, imprisoned, and soon after put to death by his orders. [It has been said that the manner of his death was that of pouring melted gold down his throat: a strong expression of the ides the natives had of his avarice.]
For a further detail of the enormities committed by the servants of Britain and the sufferings of the inhabitants of India for a number of years, without mitigation, the reader is referred to the history of that unfortunate country. There he will find a description of a great part of this garden of nature, whose prolific shoots have expanded over the four quarters of the globe, few of whose inhabitants have yet arrived to a perfect knowledge of the arts, the ingenuity, the sciences, contained in their Sanskrit and other languages.
Indeed, new discoveries have been recently brought to light, by the investigation of learned and virtuous Englishmen; who, while pursuing their inquiries weep to behold so fair a spot of creation [Bengal has been described as exhibiting the most charming and picturesque scenery, opening into extensive glades, covered with a fine turf, and interspersed with woods filled with a variety of birds of beautiful colors; amongst others, peacocks in abundance, sitting on the vast horizontal branches, displayed their dazzling plumes to the sun; the Ganges winding its might waters through the adjacent plains, adding to the prospect inexpressible grandeur; while the artist at his loom, under the immense shade of the banyan tree, softened his labor by the tender strains of music.] bathed in the blood of its native sons, by the hands of a nation who boast higher degrees of civilization, without possessing their simplicity, urbanity, and perhaps their knowledge. But their progress in the arts, their histories of the firs progenitors of mankind, their astronomical discoveries, and their knowledge of nature and its operations, must now lay buried with the wreck of their fortunes, and many of them enveloped in the rubbish of complete ruin, brought on them by European avarice and ambition.
But a correction of some abuses in India took place early in the administration of Mr. Pitt. New regulations were adopted; and critical inquiry made into the conduct of the East India company, and their officers. Several of the old officers of government were removed, and men of more humanity sent forward in their places. Among them, Sir William Jones was appointed one of the judges of the supreme court of judicature. The character of this gentleman deserves every encomium. From his writings and the testimony of contemporaries, he was an honor to his country, a benefactor to mankind, and an ornament to the world. His elegant manners, profound erudition, pure morals, and strict justice were conspicuous in all the transactions of his life. The deep researches of Sir William Jones in ancient oriental history have thrown great light on the customers, manners, habits, and the various religions among the Indians, both ancient an modern. His learned labors must undoubtedly tend to improvements in science, and the culture of virtue and true religion, through the enlightened part so of the world; and perhaps to soften and humanize the hearts of his own countrymen, in their future unwarrantable invasions of the inhabitants of the East.
The English are, indeed, an astonishing nation. Though frequently involved in hostilities with half the world; confounded by the immensity of their own national debt, accumulating almost beyond calculation; plunged in luxury and venality; their manners and their constitution corrupted; yet, by their extensive commerce, the strength of their navy, their valor, their genius, and their industry, they surmount all embarrassments with address and facility, and rise superior to the evils that would augur the downfall of any other nation on earth.
No country has produced men more learned and liberal, of more comprehensive genius, virtue, and real excellence, than England. Yet the contrast may as justly be exhibited there, as in any part of the world. But the balance of real merit, both individual and national, must be left to the all-pervading eye, which, with a single glance surveys the moral and intellectual system of creation. We now leave them to the rotations of time, and the reaction of human events, to the period which shall be pointed by the providential government of Him, to whom a thousand years are as one day; when they also may be viewed a spectacle of woe, by the remnant nations, annihilated by their rapacity, ambition, and victorious arms.
Let us hasten to turn our eyes from the miserable Mahrattas, the desolated tribes of Hindustan, and the naked Carnatic [See Mr. Burke's speech in the House of Commons relative to the desolation of the Carnatic.] divested of everything that had breathed, by the ravages of a relentless foe. A dead and dreary silence reigns over an extent of 500 or 600 miles of these once full peopled plans. Nor will we dwell longer on any of the proud projects of conquest in the cabinet of Great Britain, either in the East or the West; but carry the mind forward, and indulge a pleasing anticipation of peace and independence to the United States of America.
The definitive treaty of peace and friendship between His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America, signed at Paris September 3, 1783.
In the name of the most holy and undivided Trinity.
It having please the Divine Providence to dispose the hearts of the most serene and most potent prince, George III, by the grace of God King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, defender of the faith, Duke of Brunswick and Lunenburg, Arch Treasurer and Prince Elector of the Holy Roman Empire, etc., and of the United States of America, to forget all past misunderstandings and differences that have unhappily interrupted the good correspondence and friendship which they mutually wish to restore and to establish such a beneficial and satisfactory intercourse between the two countries, upon the ground of reciprocal advantages and mutual convenience, as may promote and secure to both perpetual peace and harmony; and having for this desirable end already laid the foundation of peace and reconciliation by the provisional articles signed at Paris on November 30, 1782 by the commissioners empowered on each part; which articles were agreed to be inserted in and to constitute the treaty of peace proposed to be concluded between the Crown of Great Britain and the said United States, but which treaty was not to be concluded until terms of peace should be agreed upon between Great Britain and France, and His Britannic Majesty should be ready to conclude such treaty accordingly; and the treaty between Great Britain and France having since been concluded, His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America, in order to carry into full effect the provisional articles above mentioned, according to the tenor thereof, have constituted and appointed; that is to say, His Britannic Majesty on his part, David Hartley, Esquire. member of the Parliament of Great Britain; and the said United States on their part, John Adams, Esquire, late a commissioner of the United States of America at the Court of Versailles, late delegate in Congress from the state of Massachusetts, and chief justice of the said state, and minister plenipotentiary of the said United States to their High Mightinesses the States General of the United Netherlands; Benjamin Franklin, Esquire, late delegate in Congress from the state of Pennsylvania, president of the convention of the said state, and minister plenipotentiary from the United States of America at the Court of Versailles; and John Jay, Esquire, late president of Congress and chief justice of the state of New York, and minister plenipotentiary from the said United States at the Court of Madrid; to be the plenipotentiaries for the concluding and signing the present definitive treaty, who, after having reciprocally communicated their respective full powers, have agreed upon and confirmed the following articles
Article 1 His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz. New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, to be free, sovereign and independent states; that he treats with them as such, and for himself, his heirs, and successors, relinquishes all claim to the government, proprietary, and territorial rights of the same, and every part thereof.
Article 2 And that all disputes which might arise in future on the subject of the boundaries of the said United States may be prevented, it is hereby agreed and declared that the following are and shall be their boundaries, viz. From the northwest angle of Nova Scotia, viz. that angle which is formed by a line drawn due north from the source of the St. Croix River to the high lands, along the said high lands which decide those rivers that empty themselves into the River St. Lawrence, from those which fall into the Atlantic Ocean, to the northwestern-most head of the Connecticut River; thence drawn along the middle of that river to the 45th degree of north latitude; from thence by a line due west on said latitude until it strikes the River Iroquois of Cataraquy; thence along the middle of said river into Lake Ontario; through the middle of said lake until it strikes the communication by water between that lake and Lake Erie; thence along the middle of the said communication into Lake Erie, through the middle of said lake, until it arrives at the water communication between that like and Lake Huron; thence through the middle of said lake to the water communication between that lake and Lake Superior; thence through Lake Superior northward to the isles Royal and Philipeaux, to the Long Lake; thence through the middle of said Long Lake, and the water communication between it and the Lake of the Wood, to the aid lake of the Woods; thence through the said lake to the most north-westernmost point thereof and from thence on a due west course to the River Mississippi; thence by a line to be drawn along the middle of the said Mississippi, until it shall intersect the northernmost part of the 31st degree of north latitude; south, by a line to be drawn due east from the determination of the line last mentioned, in the latitude of 31 degrees north of the equator to the middle of the River Apalachicola or Catahouche; then along the middle thereof to its junction with the Flint River; thence straight to the head of St. Mary's River, to the Atlantic ocean; east, by a line to be drawn along the middle of the River St. Croix, from its mouth in the Bay of Fundy to its source, and from its source directly north to the aforesaid high lands, which divide the rivers that fall into the Atlantic Ocean from those which fall into the River St. Lawrence, comprehending all islands within 20 leagues of any part of the shores of the United States, and lying between lines to be drawn due east from the points where the aforesaid boundaries between Nova Scotia on the one part and East Florida on the other, shall respectively touch the Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic Ocean, excepting such islands as now are or heretofore have been within the limits of said province of Nova Scotia.
Article 3 It is agreed that the people of the United States shall continue to enjoy unmolested the right to take fish of every kind on the Great Bank, and on all the other banks of Newfoundland; also in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and at all other places on the sea where the inhabitants of both countries used at any time heretofore to fish; and also that the inhabitants of the United States shall have liberty to take fish of every kind on such part of the coast of Newfoundland as British fishermen shall use, (but not to dry or cure the same on that island) and also on the coats, bays, an creeks, of all other of His Britannic Majesty's dominions in America; and that the American fishermen shall have liberty to dry and cure fish in any of the unsettled bays, harbors, and creeks of Nova Scotia, Magdalen Islands, and Labrador, so long as the same shall remain unsettled; but so soon as the same shall be settled, it shall not be lawful for the said fishermen to dry or cure fish at such settlement, without a previous agreement for that purpose with the inhabitants, proprietors, or possessors of the ground.
Article 4 It is agreed that the creditors on either side shall meet with no lawful impediment to the recovery of the full value in sterling money of all bona fide debts heretofore contracted.
Article 5 It is agreed that Congress shall earnestly recommend it to the legislature of the respective states to provide for the restitution of all estates, rights, and properties, which have been confiscated, belonging to real British subjects; and also of the estates, rights, and properties of persons resident in districts in the possession of His Majesty's arms and who have not borne arms against the said Untied States; and that persons of any other description shall have free liberty to go to any part or parts of any of the thirteen United States, and therein to remain twelve months unmolested in their endeavors to obtain the restitution of such of the estate, rights, and properties as may have been confiscated; and that Congress shall also earnestly recommend to the several states a reconsideration and revision of all acts of laws regarding the premises, so as to render the said laws of acts perfectly consistent, not only with justice and equity, but with the spirit of conciliation which, on the return of the blessings of peace, should invariably prevail; and that Congress shall also earnestly recommend to the several states that the estates, rights, and properties of such last mentioned persons who may be now in possess, the bona fide price,(where any has been given), which such persons may have paid on purchasing any of the said lands, rights, or properties, since the confiscation.
And it is agreed that all persons who have any interest in confiscated lands, either by debts, marriage settlements, or otherwise, shall meet with no lawful impediment in the prosecution of their just rights.
Article 6 That there shall be no future confiscations made, nor any prosecutions commenced against any person or persons, for or by reason of the part which he or they may have taken in the present war; and that no person shall on that account suffer any future loss or damage, either in his person, liberty, or property; and that those who may be in confinement on such charges, at the time of the ratification of the treaty in America, shall be immediately set at liberty, and the persecutions so commenced be discontinued.
Article 7 There shall be firm and perpetual peach between His Britannic Majesty and the said United States, and between the subjects of the one and the citizens of the other; wherefore all hostilities, both by sea and land, shall from henceforth cease; all prisoners, on both sides, shall be set at liberty; and His Britannic Majesty shall, with all convenient speed, and without causing any destruction, or carrying away any negroes or other property of the American inhabitants, withdraw all his armies, garrisons, and fleets from the said United States, and from every post, place, and harbor within the same, leaving in all fortifications the American artillery that may be therein; and shall also order and cause all archives, records, deeds, and papers belonging to any of the said states, or their citizens, which in the course of the war may have fallen into the hands of his officers, to be forthwith restored, and delivered to the proper states and persons to whom they belong.
Article 8 The navigation of the River Mississippi, from its source to the ocean, shall forever remain free and open to the subjects of Great Britain and the citizens of the United States.
Article 9 In case it should so happen that any place or territory belonging to Great Britain or to the United States should have been conquered by the arms of either from the other before the arrival of the said provisional articles in America, it is agreed that the same shall be restored without difficulty and without requiring any compensation.
Article 10 The solemn ratifications of the present treaty, expedited in good an due form, shall be exchanged between the contracting parties in a space of six months or sooner if possible, to be computed from the day of the signature of the present treaty.
In witness whereof, we, the undersigned, their ministers plenipotentiary, have in their name, and in virtue of our full powers, signed with our hands the present definitive treaty, and caused the seals of our arms to be affixed thereto.
Done at Paris, September 3, 1783.
David Hartley, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay
The celebrated Mr. Sheridan observed in a speech on the ravages in India under the government of Mr. Hastings "Had a stranger at this time gone into the Kingdom of Oude, ignorant of what had happened since the death of Sujah Dowla, that man, who with a savage heart had still great lines of character, and who, with all his ferocity in war, had with a cultivating hand preserved to his country the riches which it derived from benignant skies, and a prolific soil; if this stranger, ignorant of all that had happened in the short interval and observing the wide and general devastation and all the horrors of the scene; vegetation burnt up and extinguished; villages depopulated and in ruin; temples unroofed and perishing; reservoirs broken down and dry; he would naturally inquire, What war has thus laid waste the fertile fields of this once beautiful and opulent country? What civil dissensions have happened, thus to tear asunder and separate the happy societies that once possessed those villages? What disputed succession? What religious rag has with unholy violence demolished those temples and disturbed fervent but unobtruding piety in the exercise of its duties. What merciless enemy has thus spread the horrors of fire an sword? What severe visitation of Providence has thus dried up the fountains, and taken every vestige of verdure from the earth? Or rather, What monsters have stalked over the country, tainting and poisoning with pestiferous breath, what the voracious appetite could not devour? To such questions what must be the answers? No wars have ravaged these lands, and depopulated these villages; no civil discords have been felt; no disputed succession; no religious rage; no merciless enemy; no affliction of Providence, which, while it scourged for the moment, cut off the sources of resuscitation; no voracious and poisoning monsters; no; all this has been accomplished by the friendship, generosity, and kindness of the English nation. they have embraced us with their protecting arms, an lo! these are the fruits of their alliance."