Зображення сторінки

return to Paris, Oswald told Franklin that he had shown the paper to Lord Shelburne, and by his desire left it with him for one night; that he had conversed with Lord Shelburne about it, and it seemed to have made an impression: the paper was then restored to Franklin.*

Oswald returned to Paris early in May, with instructions from Lord Shelburne to arrange with Franklin the preliminaries of time and place for negotiating, and also the announcement that a proper person would be shortly sent by Mr. Fox, from

whose department that communication is necessarily to proceed,' to treat with M. de Vergennes. † This person was Mr. Grenville, whose speedy arrival, by way of Ostend, was announced by Oswald both to Franklin and the French Minister. Mr. Grenville shortly afterwards arrived at Paris, and was introduced by Franklin to M. de Vergennes, with whom he had a long conference on the subject of his mission. $ Oswald now returned to

* It is remarkable that Mr. Forth, who had been sent secretly by Lord North to Paris before the change of Government, appears to have offered the cession of Canada as the price of a peace with France. (Franklin's Works, vol. ix. p. 210.) An account of Forth's mission is given in a despatch of M. de Vergennes, in Flassan, His*toire de la Diplomatie Française,' vol. vii. p. 322., ed. 1811, but nothing is there said about an offer to restore Canada to France.

† Lord Shelburne to Franklin, 20th April, 1782. Franklin's Works, vol. ix. p. 265.

[ • The Count de Vergennes (says Franklin) received Mr. Gren• ville in the most cordial manner, on account of the acquaintance and "friendship that had formerly subsisted between his uncle and the

Count de Vergennes, when they were ambassadors together at Con"stantinople.' (Ib. p. 273.) The person referred to is Mr. Henry Grenville, brother of Lord Temple, who was ambassador at Constantinople from 1761 to 1765. M. de Vergennes was minister plenipotentiary at the same capital from 1755 to 1768. M. de Vergennes, in a despatch written at the time to the French ambassador in Spain, thus describes Mr. Grenville:—'M. Grenville est très propre à recommander la mission dont il est chargé ; c'est un jeune homme de trente ans au plus, qui annonce beaucoup d'esprit et de sagesse, d'honnêteté et de modestie. Il appartient à une famille considérable, qui est liée d'intérêt avec le ministère actuel, et il n'est guère « vraisemblable que celui-ci lui eût destiné un rôle aussi plat et aussi

peu analogue à sa naissance et à son état, que celui de venir nous 'ennuyer et nous tromper.' (Flassan, ib. p. 339.) Franklin, on making Mr. Grenville's acquaintance, says, he appeared to me a 6 sensible, judicious, intelligent, good-natured, and well-instructed 'young man, answering well the character Mr. Fox had given me

of him.' (Works, ib. p. 272.) These early notices of Mr. Grenville will be read with interest by those who enjoyed the pleasure of hiş London, and soon after his arrival, the Cabinet advised the King to direct full powers to be given to Mr. Grenville to make propositions of peace to the belligerent Powers upon the basis of American independence, and his formal commission was accordingly despatched without delay.

Mr. Oswald returned to Paris early in June, bringing with him a paper of memoranda by Lord Shelburne, which he communicated to Franklin. This paper announced that on our .(i. e. the English) part, commmissioners will be named, or any

character given to Mr. Oswald, which Dr. Franklin and he may * judge conducive to a final settlement of things between Great • Britain and America ; which Dr. Franklin very properly says, “ requires to be treated in a very different manner from the peace • between Great Britain and France, who have always been at

enmity with each other.'* As soon as Franklin received this communication, and foresaw the prospect of negotiating with Oswald, whom he describes as having an air of great simplicity . and honesty,' † he became reserved with Mr. Grenville, and showed a reluctance to speak openly to him. Mr. Grenville, combining this circumstance with the incident of the Canada

society in the later years of his long life, as well as by all who appreciate the value of the rare and well-selected library which he bequeathed to the public. Mr. Grenville was born in 1755, and therefore was, at this time, twenty-seven years old. · As the epistolary form in which sovereigns address one another, has lately been made a question of international importance, we subjoin a copy from the State Paper Office of the credential letter sent by George III. to Louis XVI., on the occasion of Mr. Grenville's mission :

• Monsieur mon frère, * Ayant fait choix du Sieur Grenville pour se rendre à votre cour en qualité de mon ministre, je vous prie de donner une entière créance à tout ce qu'il vous dira de ma part, et surtout aux assurances qu'il vous donnera de mon estime singulier pour vous, et de mon desir sincère de voir heureusement rétablie entre nous une amitié ferme et durable.

Je suis, à St. James,

Monsieur mon frère, ce 21 Mai, 1782.

Votre bon frère,

GEORGE R. * Franklin's Works, vol. ix. p. 314.

† We regret to find that our countrymen, seventy years ago, did not find favour in Mr. Grenville's eyes : «He spoke of Mr. Oswald * (says Franklin) as an odd kind of man, but that indeed his nation * were generally odd people. (Ib. p. 334.) We may hope that Mr. Grenville lived to change his opinion.

tter of thegs, he wronvoy, resente upo

of sube recalled yed his utilindepe

paper, of which he had been informed by Oswald, came to the conclusion that he was crossed by a concurrent negotiator, and that the treaty could never be satisfactorily arranged with such a division of powers. He likewise appears to have thought that there was a deliberate intention of encroaching upon Mr. Fox's province, which he, as Mr. Fox's envoy, resented. Under the influence of these feelings, he wrote to Mr. Fox the important confidential letter of the 4th of June, of which the public were first made aware by the two publications prefixed to our Article. In this letter Mr. Grenville points to the promise of Lord Shelburne to appoint Oswald a commissioner, and to the Canada paper, as evidence that a separate and independent negotiation was proceeding which destroyed his utility. He therefore requests that he may be recalled, and that Lord Fitzwilliam, or some peer of sufficient importance to render it impossible to associate Oswald with him, should be appointed in his place. This letter led to an answer from Fox, asking for further proofs of

this duplicity of conduct,' and speaking of the clandestine manner of carrying on a separate negotiation which we complain

of;' but particularly inquiring how far Fox and his friends are at liberty to make use of the contents of Mr. Grenville's letter in order to call Lord Shelburne to account. Mr. Grenville replied to Mr. Fox in a letter which seems to have left Paris on the 21st; but before any steps could be taken upon it, Lord Rockingham's fatal illness and death brought the Government to an end. As soon as the news of this event reached Paris, Mr. Grenville resigned his mission, and returned to England.*

The editor of the Buckingham Papers (who seems to have been wholly ignorant of Franklin's detailed account) thus characterises this transaction:

It is clear, from the singular facts revealed in this correspondence, that while an ostensible minister was despatched to Paris by the general action of the Government, with the sanction of the King, to negotiate terms with the American minister, Lord Shelburne had

* The entire private correspondence between Mr. Grenville and Mr. Fox, during this mission, has now been published in the two works named at the head of our Article. The official correspondence is preserved in the State Paper Office, but has never been printed; a brief outline of it is given by Mr. Adolphus in his . History of Eng.

land during the Reign of George III.,' vol. iii. c. 44. This correspondence (which we have perused) is conducted with great ability on both sides, and we regret that it still remains in manuscript. We may also remark that the discussion of the questions examined in the text would be more satisfactory if the entire documentary history of the Treaty of 1783 were before the public.

taken upon himself to appoint another negotiator, who was not only not to act in concert with Mr. Grenville, but whose clandestine mission seems to have been expressly intended to thwart and embarrass him, and whose appointment was without the approval, or even the knowledge, of the Cabinet.' (Vol. i. p. 26.)

Horace Walpole's account is not very different:

• While Fox thus unfolded his character so advantageously, Shelburne was busied in devoting himself to the King, and in traversing Lord Rockingham and Fox in every point. If they opened a negotiation, he commenced another underhand at the same court. Mr. Fox despatched Thomas Grenville to Paris. Lord Shelburne sent one, two, or three privately to the same place, and addressed them to different ministers or persons of supposed credit.' (Mem. of Fox, vol. i. p. 321.)

Now, it is quite clear from our narrative of the facts, and from the testimonies which we have cited, that Oswald's first visit to Paris arose out of a letter accidentally addressed by Franklin to Lord Shelburne, before the change of Ministry was known to him ; that Oswald returned to Paris with the full knowledge and approbation of the Cabinet, and as bearer of a message that he would be speedily followed by Mr. Grenville, as minister plenipotentiary to treat with the French Court; that he communicated with Mr. Fox when he was in London, and that Mr. Grenville knew he was at Paris, and communicated with him almost daily when he was there. * Mr. Oswald's mission had nothing clandestine, in the ordinary sense of the term. It was open and avowed on both sides of the water. It was known to Fox and the Cabinet; and it was recognised in the communications of Mr. Grenville with Franklin and M. de Vergennes. Neither can it be said, with Horace Walpole, that Oswald was sent to thwart Mr. Grenville; for Oswald's mission preceded Mr. Grenville's. Mr. Fox gives this account of the origin of Mr. Grenville's mission, in a letter to Mr. Fitzpatrick of the 28th of April :

Shelburne has had an answer from Dr. Franklin, who seems much disposed to peace, if general. M. de Vergennes has, it seems, expressed the same sentiments, and wishes to have some opening from hence; in consequence of this, Shelburne's man is to go back this day

* Mr. Fox's letter of instructions to Mr. Grenville (April 30. 1782) begins thus : · When you arrive at Paris, you will endeavour to see Mr. Oswald as soon as possible, who will probably have announced your arrival.' In a subsequent letter to Mr. Grenville of May 21. Fox speaks of having received his letter by Mr. Oswald, and of having heard from Mr. Oswald an account of the state of affairs at Paris. (State Paper Office.)

to Paris, and upon the pretence of the business having begun with the American ministers, he had a great mind, if I would have consented, to have kept even this negotiation in his own hands ; but this I would not submit to, and so Grenville is to set out for Paris tomorrow or next day, in order to state our ideas of peace to M. de Vergennes.' (Vol. i. p. 346.) *

These remarks imply that Fox was fully aware of the negotiation with Franklin having been begun by Oswald. Mr. Grenville was then sent by him to treat with the French Government, and he had a regular commission and credentials from the Crown for this purpose; but Oswald had no legal authority to treat, and had merely directions from the Secretary of State.

Let us now consider how far the two points raised by Mr. Grenville deserved to be considered in the serious light in which he and Mr. Fox regarded them. The most important of the two was the announcement, brought back by Oswald on his second visit to Paris, that Lord Shelburne was prepared to appoint him commissioner to treat with the American agents, his intention to make this appointment not having been previously communicated to Fox and his other colleagues. It is impossible not to see that if a proper cordiality had subsisted between Lord Shelburne and the rest of the Cabinet, he would have mentioned this intention to Lord Rockingham or Mr. Fox, before he announced it to Oswald. Nevertheless, his omission to take this step does not seem to us to have rendered it necessary to disturb the course of the negotiation by the strong measure to which Mr. Grenville resorted. If Mr. Grenville found by experience that a separate negotiator for America was likely to interfere with the rest of the negotiation, he could have represented this conclusion to his own Government, and the Cabinet would have then decided the question with the advantage of his opinion. Oswald had not as yet been appointed; and the appointment might still be arrested, notwithstanding Lord Shelburne's announcement, if the Cabinet thought fit to commit the entire negotiation to one person.t It is, however, to be observed that when the bill then

* See in Flassan, ib. pp. 328-59., the despatches of M. de Vergennes describing his interviews with Mr. Oswald and Mr. Grenville. It appears that he understood perfectly the state of the case, for he says of Oswald : 'Envoyé par Lord Shelburne, il n'avait point de commis“sion pour moi, parceque ce secretaire d'état n'ayant dans son departe'ment que l'Amérique et l'Irlande, c'est M. Fox qui est chargé unique'ment des affaires de l'Europe.' (P. 333.)

† A similar misunderstanding arose between the two Secretaries of State about a negotiation at Paris in 1723. George I. was desirous of obtaining a dukedom for a French gentleman, who was to marry a

« НазадПродовжити »