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So severe.

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As soon as the Declaration of Independence had been fully matured, Congress applied itself openly and with increased vigour to the object of foreign alliances. On the 11th June, a committee was appointed to prepare a plan, which was not however matured and approved till the 17th September, when Dr. Franklin, Mr. Deane, and Mr. Lee, were appointed commissioners to proceed to France. The former, from his weight of character, sound judgment, and address, had almost the entire direction. On reaching Paris, however, in December, 1776, he found the cabinet by no means prepared openy to espouse the cause of the States, or even to acknowledge their independence. Friendly professions were made, and a continuance of private succours promised; but there was an evident determination against proceeding farther till it should appear whether they could resist the shock of the British armies, the pressure of which was then The disasters of the campaign increased the anxiety of Congress upon the subject. They sent commissioners to the courts of Vienna, Spain, Prussia, and Tuscany; and in order to induce France to declare openly in their favour, offered large privileges for commerce and fishery, and even the possession of such West India islands as might be captured during the war. But the same distresses which impelled to these overtures, made the court cautious of accepting them, and it continued to watch the train of events. The campaign of 1777, notwithstanding its misfortunes, was considered to afford prospects of making a permanent stand; but the French counsels evidently vacillated with every intelligence and even report which arrived from America. No change took place till the arrival, early in December, of the momentous tidings of Burgoyne's surrender, which at once gave a decisive turn to the views of the cabinet. On the 16th, M. Gerard intimated to the commissioners that, after long deliberation, the king had determined to acknowledge the independence of the United States, and also to afford them support, though thereby involving himself in an expensive war. It was frankly admitted that he thus acted, not merely from a friendly disposition towards them, but for the promotion of his own political interests. On the 8th January, 1778, Louis wrote a letter to his uncle, the king of Spain, referring to Britain as their common and inveterate enemy. During the pending contest, he had afforded to the colonies supplies of money and stores, at which England had taken deep umbrage, and would no doubt seize the first opportunity of avenging herself. The Americans had indeed shown that they were

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not to be subdued, but Britain might succeed in her present attempts to form a close and friendly alliance with them, and thus turn her arms undivided against her continental enemies; now, therefore, was the time to form such a connection as might prevent any reunion between them and the mother-country.

In pursuance of these views, there was concluded, on the 6th February, a treaty of commerce, accompanied by one of defensive alliance in the well-foreseen case of war being the result. The allies were to make common cause with the States, and to maintain their absolute independence. Whatever conquests should be made on the continent were to be secured to them, but those in the West Indies to the crown of France.

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HE treaty between France and America, though soon generally known, was for some time studiously concealed from the British minister. On the 13th March, however, the French ambassador at London delivered a note referring to the United States as already in full possession of independence, whence his majesty had concluded with them a treaty of friendship and commerce, and would take effectual measures to prevent its interruption. Professions were made of the king's anxiety to cultivate a good understanding with Britain, and his sincere disposition for peace, of which it was ironically said that new proofs would be found in this

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communication. On the 17th, this document was laid before parliament, with a message from the crown, stating that the British ambassador had in consequence been ordered to withdraw from Paris, and expressing trust in the zealous and affectionate support of the people for repelling this unprovoked aggression combined with insult. An address echoing the message was moved in both houses; but the opposition reproached ministers with not having duly foreseen or prepared for this emergency; while a few repelled as now hopeless the idea of holding America under any kind of dependence. It was carried, however, by majorities, in the Commons, of 263 to 113; in the Lords, of 68 to 25. The message for calling out the militia was sanctioned without a division.

In Pennsylvania, meantime, the two armies continued viewing each other without any material warlike movement. The distress suffered by Washington at Valley Forge was extreme, Congress taking no efficient measures to supply the troops with clothes or even provisions. That body indeed showed a decided jealousy of the army, and by ill-treatment did its utmost to render their suspicions well founded. The officers had to complain, not only of irregularity in receiving their pay, but of obtaining no promise of half-pay at the end of the war; this last, however, through the remonstrances of Washington, was at length secured. That great man was farther harassed by a combination formed against himself and shared by Gates, whose friends contrasted his brilliant success against Burgoyne with the tardy and in many cases unsuccessful movements of the commander-in-chief. Their representations made for some time a considerable impression upon Congress and even the public; but as the commander took no notice of this movement, and pursued the even and dignified tenor of his way, the cloud dispelled of itself. Although his force in spring was reduced very low, Howe did not venture to attack, but, according to the representations formerly made, considered himself strong enough only for partial and detached expeditions, several of which were undertaken with success. Not being, however, supplied with reinforcements sufficient for any important enterprise, he felt his situation painful, and solicited his recall. The British ministers, who probably hoped that a more enterprising commander might achieve some decisive successes, granted it, and named Clinton his successor. His officers, however, manifested their opinion of his merits by a brilliant fête on the occasion of his departure.

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N June, the British commissioners arrived with the new offers of conciliation. They consisted of Governor Johnstone, Lord Carlisle, and Mr. Eden, gentlemen who had hitherto advocated against ministers the cause of America. The terms were more than had been originally asked, amounting in fact to every degree of independence compatible with a union of force against foreign powers, all alliance with whom was expected to be renounced. Smaller concessions would once have saved the colonies for Great Britain; but Congress and the leading men had now taken a position whence they felt wholly disinclined to recede. Their minds, in the course of the war, had become more and more embittered against

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