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So totally distinct and unconnected were the two armies of
Washington and Gates, and so independent was the latter of the authority
of the nominal Commander in Chief, that the two Generals did not so much
as correspond, and it was only by a letter of General (since Governor)
Clinton, that General Washington was informed of that event. The British
took possession of Philadelphia this year, which they evacuated
the next, just time enough to save their heavy baggage and fleet of
transports from capture by the French Admiral d'Estaing, who arrived at
the mouth of the Delaware soon after.

The capture of Burgoyne gave an eclat in Europe to the American arms,
and facilitated the alliance with France. The eclat, however, was
not kept up by any thing on the part of General Washington. The same
unfortunate languor that marked his entrance into the field, continued
always. Discontent began to prevail strongly against him, and a party
was formed in Congress, whilst sitting at York-town, in Pennsylvania,
for removing him from the command of the army. The hope, however,
of better times, the news of the alliance with France, and the
unwillingness of shewing discontent, dissipated the matter.

Nothing was done in the campaigns of 1778, 1779, 1780, in the part
where General Washington commanded, except the taking of Stony Point by
General Wayne. The Southern States in the mean time were over-run by the
enemy. They were afterwards recovered by General Greene, who had in a
very great measure created the army that accomplished that recovery.
In all this General Washington had no share. The Fabian system of war,
followed by him, began now to unfold itself with all its evils; but
what is Fabian war without Fabian means to support it? The finances of
Congress depending wholly on emissions of paper money, were exhausted.
Its credit was gone. The continental treasury was not able to pay the
expense of a brigade of waggons to transport the necessary stores to the
army, and yet the sole object, the establishment of the revolution,
was a thing of remote distance. The time I am now speaking of is in the
latter end of the year 1780.

In this situation of things it was found not only expedient, but
absolutely necessary, for Congress to state the whole case to its ally.
I knew more of this matter, (before it came into Congress or was known
to General Washington) of its progress, and its issue, than I chuse
to state in this letter. Colonel John Laurens was sent to France as an
Envoy Extraordinary on this occasion, and by a private agreement between
him and me I accompanied him. We sailed from Boston in the Alliance
frigate, February 11th, 1781. France had already done much in accepting
and paying bills drawn by Congress. She was now called upon to do more.
The event of Colonel Laurens's mission, with the aid of the venerable
Minister, Franklin, was, that France gave in money, as a present, six
millions of livres, and ten millions more as a loan, and agreed to send
a fleet of not less than thirty sail of the line, at her own expense,
as an aid to America. Colonel Laurens and myself returned from Brest the
1st of June following, taking with us two millions and a half of livres
(upwards of one hundred thousand pounds sterling) of the money given,
and convoying two ships with stores.

We arrived at Boston the 25th of August following. De Grasse arrived
with the French fleet in the Chesapeak at the same time, and was
afterwards joined by that of Barras, making 31 sail of the line.
The money was transported in waggons from Boston to the Bank at
Philadelphia, of which Mr. Thomas Willing, who has since put himself at
the head of the list of petitioners in favour of the British treaty, was
then President. And it was by the aid of this money, and this fleet, and
of Rochambeau's army, that Cornwallis was taken; the laurels of which
have been unjustly given to Mr. Washington. His merit in that affair was
no more than that of any other American officer.

I have had, and still have, as much pride in the American revolution as
any man, or as Mr. Washington has a right to have; but that pride has
never made me forgetful whence the great aid came that compleated
the business. Foreign aid (that of France) was calculated upon at the
commencement of the revolution. It is one of the subjects treated of
in the pamphlet _Common Sense_, but as a matter that could not be hoped
for, unless independence was declared.1 The aid, however, was greater
than could have been expected.

It is as well the ingratitude as the pusillanimity of Mr. Washington,
and the Washington faction, that has brought upon America the loss
of character she now suffers in the world, and the numerous evils her
commerce has undergone, and to which it is yet exposed. The British
Ministry soon found out what sort of men they had to deal with, and they
dealt with them accordingly; and if further explanation was wanting, it
has been fully given since, in the snivelling address of the New York
Chamber of Commerce to the President, and in that of sundry merchants of
Philadelphia, which was not much better.

1 See vol. i. of this work, p. ixx. Paine was sharply taken
to task on this point by "Cato." Ib.% pp. 145-147.--
_Editor._.

When the revolution of America was finally established by the
termination of the war, the world gave her credit for great character;
and she had nothing to do but to stand firm upon that ground. The
British ministry had their hands too full of trouble to have provoked
a rupture with her, had she shown a proper resolution to defend her
rights. But encouraged as they were by the submissive character of the
American administration, they proceeded from insult to insult, till none
more were left to be offered. The proposals made by Sweden and Denmark
to the American administration were disregarded. I know not if so much
as an answer has been returned to them. The minister penitentiary,
(as some of the British prints called him,) Mr. Jay, was sent on a
pilgrimage to London, to make up all by penance and petition. In the
mean time the lengthy and drowsy writer of the pieces signed _Camillas_
held himself in reserve to vindicate every thing; and to sound in
America the tocsin of terror upon the inexhaustible resources of
England. Her resources, says he, are greater than those of all the other
powers. This man is so intoxicated with fear and finance, that he knows
not the difference between _plus_ and _minus_--between a hundred pounds
in hand, and a hundred pounds worse than nothing.

The commerce of America, so far as it had been established by all the
treaties that had been formed prior to that by Jay, was free, and the
principles upon which it was established were good. That ground ought
never to have been departed from. It was the justifiable ground
of right, and no temporary difficulties ought to have induced an
abandonment of it. The case is now otherwise. The ground, the scene, the
pretensions, the everything, are changed. The commerce of America is, by
Jay's treaty, put under foreign dominion. The sea is not free for her.
Her right to navigate it is reduced to the right of escaping; that is,
until some ship of England or France stops her vessels, and carries them
into port. Every article of American produce, whether from the sea or
the sand, fish, flesh, vegetable, or manufacture, is, by Jay's treaty,
made either contraband or seizable. Nothing is exempt. In all other
treaties of commerce, the article which enumerates the contraband
articles, such as fire arms, gunpowder, &c, is followed by another
article which enumerates the articles not contraband: but it is not so
in Jay's treaty. There is no exempting article. Its place is supplied by
the article for seizing and carrying into port; and the sweeping phrase
of "provisions and _other articles _" includes every thing. There never
was such a base and servile treaty of surrender since treaties began to
exist.

This is the ground upon which America now stands. All her rights
of commerce and navigation are to begin anew, and that with loss of
character to begin with. If there is sense enough left in the heart
to call a blush into the cheek, the Washington administration must
be ashamed to appear.--And as to you, Sir, treacherous in private
friendship (for so you have been to me, and that in the day of danger)
and a hypocrite in public life, the world will be puzzled to decide
whether you are an apostate or an impostor; whether you have abandoned
good principles, or whether you ever had any.

Thomas Paine.




XXIII. OBSERVATIONS.(1)

1 State Archives, Paris, États Unis, vol. 43, fol. 100.
Undated, but evidently written early in the year 1795, when
Jay's Treaty was as yet unknown. Paine was then staying in
the house of the American Minister, Monroe.--' Editor,

The United States of America are negociating with Spain respecting the
free Navigation of the Mississippi, and the territorial limits of this
large river, in conformity with the Treaty of Peace with England dated
30th November, 1782. As the brilliant successes of the French Republic
have forced England to grant us, what was in all justice our due, so the
continuation of the prosperity of the Republic, will force Spain to make
a Treaty with us on the points in controversy.

Since it is certain that all that we shall obtain from Spain will be due
to the victories of France, and as the inhabitants of the western part
of the United States (which part contains or covers more than half
the United States), have decided to claim their rights to the free
navigation of the Mississippi, would it not be a wiser policy for the
Republican Government (who have only to command to obtain) to arrogate
all the merit, by making our demands to Spain, one of the conditions, of
France, to consent to restore peace to the Castilians. They have only
to declare, they will not make Peace, or that they will support with
all their might, the just reclamations of their allies against these
Powers,--against England for the surrender of the frontier posts, and
for the indemnities due through their depredations on our Trade, and
against Spain for our territorial limits, and the free navigation of
the Mississippi.



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