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amity and commerce with foreign states, and on the
loss sustained in consequence of it to the United States, as from the circumstance that it suffered to pass unimproved so fortunate an opportunity of introducing into the law of nations, those honourable, humane, and just stipulations with regard to privateering, blockades, contraband, and freedom of fisheries, which, at the suggestion of Dr. Franklin, the commissioners had been instructed to introduce, if possible, into all the conventions they might form.
Since the treaty of peace, the English government had been particularly distant and unaccommodating in its relations with the United States; but at one period of Mr. Jefferson's residence abroad, it was supposed that there were some symptoms of better disposition shown towards us. On this account he lest Paris, and on his arrival at London, agreed with Mr. Adams on a very summary form of treaty, proposing “an exchange of citizenship for our citizens, our ships, and our productions generally, except as to office.” At the usual presentation, however, to the King and Queen, both Mr. Adams and himself were received in the most ungracious manner, and they at once discovered, that the ulcerations of mind in that quarter, left nothing to be expeeted on the particular subject of the visit.
A few vague and ineffectual conferences followed after which he returned to Paris. He did not, however, cease to keep a watchful eye on the proceedings and conduct of the British nation, and his letters to the department of foreign affairs contain many facts in regard to it, and many instances of the jealous and unfriendly feeling which sprung from and long survived the misfortunes of her colonial eonflict.
of the personal character of the monarch, Mr. Jefferson's estimate is certainly not very high, and the account he gives of the conduct and dispositions of his son, the late King, as it agrees in the main with other accounts 5—as it was written solely for private and confidential information and as it could be founded on no party or local views—may serve to confirm the similar relations current in those times.
“As the character of the Prince of Wales is becoming interesting, I have endeavoured to learn what it truly is. This is less difficult in his case, than in that of other persons
of his rank, because he has taken no pains to hide himself from the world. The information I most rely on, is from a person here with whom I am intimate, who divides his time between Paris and London, an Englishman by birth, of truth, sagacity, and science. He is of a circle, when in London, which has good opportunities of knowing the Prince; bụt he has also himself had special occasions of verifying their information by his own personal observation. — He happened, when last in London, to be invited to a dinner of three persons. The-Prince came by chance, and made the fourth. He ate half a leg of mutton; did not taste of small dishes, because small; drank
Champaign and Burgundy as small beer during dinner, and Bordeaux after dinner, as the rest of the company. Upon the whole, he ate as much as the other three, and drank about two bottles of wine, without seeming to feel it. My informant sat next him, and being till then unknown to the Prince, personally, (though not by character,) and lately from France, the Prince confined his conversation almost entirely to him. Observing to the Prince that he spoke French without the least foreign accent, the Prince told him, that, when very young, his father had put only French servants about him, and that it was to that circumstance he owed his pronunciation. He led him from this to give an account of his education, the total of: which was the learning a little Latin. He has not a single element of mathematicks, of natural or moral philosophy, or of any other science on earth, nor, has the society he has kept been such as to supply the void of education. It has been that of the lowest, the most illiterate and profligate persons of the kingdom, without choice of rank or mind, and with whom the subjects of conversation are only horses, or drinking matches, and in terms the most vulgar. The young nobility who begin by associating with him, soon leave him; disgusted with the insupportable profligacy of his society; and Mr. Fox, who has been supposed his favourite, and not over-nice in the choice of company, would never keep his company habitually. In fact, he never associated with a man of sense. He has not a single idea of justice, morality, religion, or of the rights of men, nor any anxiety for the opinion of the world. He carries that indifference for fame so far,
that he would probably not be hurt were he to lose his throne, provided he could be assured of having always meat, drink, horses, and women. In the article of women, nevertheless, he is become more correct, since his connexion with Mrs. Fitzherbert, who is an honest and worthy woman: he is even less crapulous than he was. He had a fine person, but it is becoming
He possesses good native common sense; is affable, polite, and very good humoured. Saying to my informant, on another occasion, 'your friend, such a one, dined with me yesterday, and I made him damned drunk;' he replied, 'I am sorry for it; I had heard that your royal highness had left off drinking: the Prince laughed, tapped him on the shoulder very good naturedly, without saying a word, or ever after showing any displeasure. The Duke of York, who was for some time cried up as the prodigy of the family, is as profligate, and of less understanding. To these particular traits, from a man of sense and truth, it would be superfluous to add the general terms of praise or blame in which he is spoken of by other persons, in whose impartiality and penetration I have less confidence. A sample is better than a description. For the peace of Europe, it is best that the 'King should give such gleamings of recovery, as would prevent the regent or his ministry from thinking themselves firm, and yet, that he should not recover."
The commissioners succeeded in their negotiations only with the governments of Morocco and Prussia The treaty with the latter power is so remarkable for some of the provisions it contains, that it stands solitary in diplomacy and national law. Blockades arising
from all causes, and of every description, were abolished by it; the flag, in every case, covered the property, and contrabands were exempted from confiscation, though they might be employed for the use of the captor, on payment of their full value. This, it is said, is the only convention ever made by America in which the last stipulation is introduced, nor is it known to exist in any other modern treaty.
On the tenth of March, 1785, Mr. Jefferson was unanimously appointed by Congress to succeed Dr. Franklin as minister plenipotentiary at the court of Versailles; and on the expiration of his commission in October, 1787, he was again elected to the same honourable situation. He remained in France until October, 1789.
While in France, Mr. Jefferson was engaged in many diplomatick negotiations of considerable importance to this country, though not of sufficient interest to arrest the attention of the general reader. “The great questions which had so long occupied the publick mind, were fitted to arrest the attention of the most thoughtless, affecting as they did the policy of nations and the fate of empires; but the details which arise out of the interpretation of treaties, or the measures which are necessary to increase their effect, and to remedy their deficiencies, are interesting only to him who studies the minute points of political history. These only were the objects which could claim the attention of the minister to France, at this period; they did not call forth any prominent display of his great and various talents, but they required no ordinary address, involved as they were by the skilful intrigues of