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partly rested upon Lord Shelburne’s general character, who had, so early as the year 1767, obtained from the writer of Junius the nickname of Malagrida,' on account of his supposed Jesuitical habits of mind.* Its chief ground, however, was Lord Shelburne's recent conduct in the negotiation for peace with America, the details of which we will proceed to narrate.
The Secretary of State's office was formerly divided into the Northern and Southern Departments. The Southern Secretary had the management of home affairs, and of the correspondence with Ireland, the Colonies, and the States of Western Europe. The Northern Secretary conducted only the correspondence with the other European countries. This unequal and inconvenient division was discontinued upon the accession of the Rockingham Ministry, when the third or American Secretary was abolished, and the existing division of the Home and Foreign Departments was introduced. The Home Office was formed out of the old Southern Department, and it therefore retained the Irish and Colonial business : the Foreign Office was formed out of the Northern Department, by the addition of
* It was given him in some anonymous productions by the author of Junius, which appeared under another signature. (See • Woodfall's Junius,' vol. ii. pp. 472. 482.) Gabriel Malagrida, an Italian by birth, and a Jesuit, resided in Portugal. He was accused of participation in a conspiracy against the King, and was burnt by the Inquisition for heresy in 1761. He seems to have been scarcely sane. (Biogr. Un. and Chalmers, in v., and see Lord Mahon, vol. iv. p. 263.)
Fox's resignation, says Lord Holland, was not the result of advice or persuasion. It was his own resolution adopted after much * reflection, and founded on a general conviction that he could not con* duct the public affairs under Lord Shelburne's treasury with safety, honour, or advantage ; and from resentment at the duplicity with 'which bis negotiations at Paris had been impeded by Lord Shelburne
through Mr. Oswald, of which he thought Mr. Grenville's letters fur'nished him indubitable evidence. (Mem. of Fox, vol. i. p. 473. See some similar remarks of Lord Holland, ib. p. 387.)
We have mentioned in a former Number that Lord Holland and Mr. Allen are mistaken in supposing that the division of the Northern and Southern departments subsisted at this time. (Mem. of Fox, vol. i. pp. 345. 475.) If Lord Shelburne had had the old Southern department both negotiations would have been in his hands; for both France and the Colonies were in that department. Lord Shelburne's letter to Mr. Grenville, of July 5. 1782, begins thus :- His Majesty having thought proper to entrust me with the seals of the Foreign
Department, upon the resignation of Mr. Secretary Fox, I take the ' earliest opportunity of notifying it to you.' (S. P. O.) The seals of this department were immediately afterwards transferred to Lord Grantham.
the correspondence with those foreign countries which had previously been under the charge of the Southern Secretary. The Home Secretary, as the successor of the Southern Secretary, retained the seniority in official rank.
In the beginning of the year 1782, Franklin, who had been appointed one of the American Commissioners for negotiating with France, was staying at Paris. At the time when Lord North's Ministry was about to expire, Lord Cholmondeley passed through Paris on his road to England, and called upon Franklin, though previously unacquainted with him. During his visit, he offered to carry a letter from him to Lord Shelburne; and Franklin accordingly wrote to Lord Shelburne a letter of civility, in which he referred to their former acquaintance, and took occasion to express a hope that the recent votes of the House of Commons might lead to a general peace. This letter was written in ignorance of Lord North's resignation, the news of which reached Paris immediately afterwards. When Lord Shelburne received this letter, he already held the seals of the Home Department; and as the American colonies were still considered as subject to the Crown of England, all affairs relating to them were under his official cognisance. Without delay, he took advantage of this accident to send Mr. Oswald, a London merchant, formerly resident in America, to Paris, in order to communicate with Franklin. Oswald accordingly arrived in Paris near the beginning of April, and had an interview with Franklin, at which he delivered to him private letters from Lord Shelburne, and Mr. Laurens, an American officer, then a prisoner in England.* Franklin, in his detailed journal of these transactions, states that Oswald, at this interview, described England as ready to concede the independence of America, and to treat of peace, but as prepared to continue the war if the terms insisted on by France were too humiliating. The answer made by Franklin was, that he could only treat in concert with France; but he offered to introduce Oswald to M. de Vergennes, the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, and an interview accordingly took place between them, a few days afterwards, in Franklin's presence. Oswald was unable to speak French, and the conversation was carried on through an interpreter. The general effect of this interview is related in a letter addressed by Franklin to Lord Shelburne. The principal points were, that France could not treat without her allies, and that Paris was suggested as the proper place for the
* See Franklin's Works by Sparks, vol. ix. p. 240., where the letters are printed.
negotiations. Oswald returned to London to carry the account of his interviews; bearing likewise the expression of Franklin's wish, that there might be no other channel of communication between him and the English Government than Oswald himself. Franklin, as Mr. Allen remarks, had doubtless soon discovered that Oswald was a siinple-minded, well-meaning man, on
whom he could make the impression he chose.' Upon Mr. Oswald's return to London, a meeting of the Cabinet was held, at which the following minute was agreed to:
April 23. 1782. Present, Lord Chancellor, Lord President, Duke of Richmond, Marquis of Rockingham, Duke of Grafton, Lord Ashburton, Lord J. Cavendish, Lord Keppel, Gen. Conway, Mr. Fox, Lord Shelburne.
"“It is humbly submitted to His Majesty that Mr. Oswald shall return to Paris with authority to name Paris as the place, and to “ settle with Dr. Franklin the most convenient time for setting on “ foot a negotiation for a general peace, and to represent to him that " the principal points in contemplation are, the allowance of in“ dependence to America upon Great Britain's being restored to the " situation she was placed in by the treaty of 1763, and that Mr. Fox « shall submit to the consideration of the King a proper person to “ make a similar communication to Mons. de Vergennes." (Vol. i. p. 345.)
Before Oswald left Paris, Franklin placed in his hands a paper, containing suggestions respecting Canada, for Lord Shelburne's consideration. It threw out the idea that Canada might be voluntarily ceded to the United States, as an indemnity for the losses occasioned by the war; and it concluded with these words: • This is mere conversation matter between Mr. Oswald
and Mr. Franklin, as the former is not empowered to make 'propositions, and the latter cannot make any without the con
currence of his colleagues.' Franklin afterwards regretted that he had allowed the paper to go out of his own hands. On his
* We observe that the peculiar mode in which the ministers address the sovereign in private communications, which is now in use, was observed by Mr. Fox at this time. • Mr. Fox has the 'honour of transmitting to your Majesty the minute of the Cabinet
Council assembled this morning at Lord Rockingham's.' 18 May 1782. (Ib. p. 351.) When this epistolary form was introduced, or by whom, we know not. The letters of Mr. G. Grenville to the King in 1765, printed in the Grenville Papers, vol. iii. p. 4–15., are in the ordinary form. 'I have but just now received the honour of your Majesty's commands on my return home from my Lord Chancellor's, where I have passed the greatest part of the evening.' According to the more recent etiquette, the minister uses the third person, and addresses the Sovereign in the second.
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.
f Lord Shelburne to Franklin, 20th April, 1782. Franklin's Works, vol. ix. p. 265.
I • The Count de Vergennes (says Franklin) received Mr. Grenville 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 considéra• ble, 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 • 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,' f 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.