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TO RICHARD HENRY LEE.
London, April 22, 1786. DEAR SIR, Iv
your letter of October the 29th, you desired me to send you one of the new lamps. I tried at every probable place in Paris, and could not get a tolerable one. I have been glad of it since I came here, as I find them much better made here. I now deliver one, with this letter, into the hands of Mr. Fulwar Skipwith, a merchant from Virginia, settled here, who promises to send it to you, with one for Mr. C. Thomson. Of this, be pleased to accept, from me. It is now found that they may be used with almost
oil. expect to leave this place in about three days. Our public letters, joint and separate, will inform you what has been done, and what could not be done here. With respect to a commercial treaty with this country, be assured that this government not only has it not in contemplation, at present, to make any, but that they do not conceive that any circumstances will arise, which shall render it expedient for them to have any political connection with us. They think we shall be glad of their commerce, on their own terms. There is no party in our favor here, either in power, or out of power. Even the opposition concur with the ministry and the nation, in this. I can scarcely consider as a party, the Marquis of Lansdowne, and a half dozen characters about him, such as Dr. Price, &c. who are impressed with the utility of a friendly connection with us. The former does not venture this sentiment in parliament, and the latter are not in situations to be heard. The Marquis of Lansdowne spoke to me affectionately of your brother, Doctor
Lee, and desired his respects to him, which I beg leave to communicate through you. Were he to come into the ministry, (of which there is not the most distant prospect) he must adopt the King's system, or go out again, as he did before, for daring to depart from it. When we see, that through all the changes of ministry which have taken place during the present reign, there has never been a change of system with respect to America, we cannot reasonably doubt, that this is the system of the ** * himself. His obstinacy of character we know; his hostility we have known, and it is embittered by ill success. If ever this nation, during his life, enter into arrangements with it must be in consequence of events, of which they do not at present see a possibility. The object of the present ministry is, to buoy up the nation with flattering calculations of their present prosperity, and to make them believe they are better without us, than with us. This they seriously believe; for what is it men cannot be made to believe! I dined the other day in a company of the ministerial party. A General Clark, a Scotchman and ministerialist, sat next to me. He introduced the subject of American affairs, and in the course of the conversation, told me, that were America to petition parliament to be again received on their former footing, the petition would be very generally rejected. He was serious in this, and I think it was the sentiment of the company, and is the sentiment perhaps of the nation. In this they are wise, but for a foolish reason. They think they lost more by suffering us to participate of their commercial privileges, at home and abroad, than they lose by our political severance. The true reason, however, why such an application should be rejected, is, that in a very short time, we should oblige them to add another hundred millions to their debt, in unsuccessful attempts to retain the subjection offered to them. They are, at present, in a frenzy, and will not be recovered from it, till they shall have leaped the precipice they are now so boldly advancing to. Writing from England, I write you nothing but English news. The continent, at present, furnis! nothing interesting. I shall hope the favor of your letters, at times. The proceedings and views of Congress, and of the Assemblies, the opinions and dispositions of our people, in general, which, in governments like ours, must be the foundation of measures, will always be interesting to me; as will whatever respects your own health and happiness, being with great esteem, Dear Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant,
TO CHARLES THOMSON.
London, April 22, 1736. DEAR SIR, In one of your former letters, you expressed a wish to have one of the newly invented lamps. I find them made here much better than at Paris, and take the liberty of asking your acceptance of one, which will accompany this letter. It is now found that any tolerable oil may be used in them. The spermaceti oil is best, of the cheap kinds.
I could write you volumes on the improvements which I find made, and making here, in the arts. One deserves particular notice, because it is simple, great, and likely to have extensive consequences. It is the application of steam, as an agent for working grist mills. I have visited the one lately made here. It was, at that time, turning eight pair of stones. It consumes one hundred bushels of coal a day. It is proposed to put up thirty pair of stones. I do not know whether the quantity of fuel is to be increased. I hear you are applying the same agent in America, to navigate boats, and I have little doubt, but that it will be applied generally to machines, so as to supersede the use of water ponds, and of course, to lay open all the streams for navigation.
We know that steam is one of the most powerful engines we can employ; and in America, fuel is abundant. I find no new publication here worth sending to you.
I shall set out for Paris within three or four days. Our public letters will inform you of our public proceedings here. I am, with sincere esteem, Dear Sir,
TO JOHN JAY.
London, April 23, 1786. SIR, In
my letter of March the 12th, I had the honor of explaining to you the motives which had brought me to this place. A joint letter from Mr. Adams and myself, sent by the last packet, informed you of the result of our conferences with the Tripoline minister. The conferences with the minister of Portugal, have been drawn to a greater length than I expected. However, every thing is now agreed, and the treaty
will be ready for signature the day after to-morrow. I shall set out for Paris the same day. With this country nothing is done: and that nothing is intended to be done, on their part, admits not the smallest doubt. The nation is against any change of measures: the ministers are against it; some from principle, others from subserviency: and the King, more than all men, is against it. If we take a retrospect to the beginning of the present reign, we observe, that amidst all the changes of ministry, no change of measures with respect to America ever took place; excepting only at the moment of the peace; and the minister of that moment was immediately removed. Judging of the future by the past, I do not expect a change of disposition during the present reign, which bids fair to be a long one, as the King is healthy and temperate. That he is persevering, we know. If he ever changes his plan, it will be in consequence of events, which, at present, neither himself nor his ministers place among those which are probable. Even the opposition dare not open their lips in favor of a connection with us, so unpopular would be the topic. It is not, that they think our commerce unimportant to them. I find that the merchants here, set sufficient value on it. But they are sure of keeping it on their own terms. No better proof can be shewn of the security, in which the ministers think themselves, on this head, than that they have not thought it worth while to give us a conference on the subject, though, on my arrival, we exhibited to them our commission, observed to them that it would expire on the 12th of the next month, and that I had come over on purpose to see if any arrangements could be made before that time. Of two months which then remained, six weeks have elapsed without one scrip of a pen, or one word from a minister, except a vague proposition at an accidental meeting. We availed ourselves even of that, to make another essay to extort some sort of declaration from the court. But their silence is invincible. But of all this, as well as of the proceedings in the negotiation with Portugal, information will be given you by a joint letter from Mr. Adams and myself. The moment is certainly arrived, when, the plan of this court being out of all doubt, "Congress and the States may decide what their own measures should be.
The Marquis of Lansdowne spoke of you in very friendly terms, and desired me to present his respects to you, in the first letter I should write. He is thoroughly sensible of the folly of the present measures of this country, as are a few other characters about him. Dr. Price is among these, and is particu