History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent - Vol. 5

By George Bancroft | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V.
BRITAIN IS WEARY OF WAR WITH AMERICA.
JANUARY–JUNE 1782.

THE campaign in Virginia being finished, Washington and the eastern army were cantoned for the winter in their old positions around New York; Wayne, with the Pennsylvania line, marched to the South to reinforce Greene; the French under Rochambeau encamped in Virginia; and de Grasse took his fleet to the West Indies.

As the hope of peace gained strength, congress could not repress alarm at the extent of the control over the negotiations for it, which, in the previous month of June, had been granted to France. On the seventh of January 1782, Robert R. Livingston, the first American secretary for foreign affairs, proving himself equal to the supreme responsibility devolved upon him, rose above every local interest or influence, and, clearly representing the spirit of the people and the desires of congress, communicated to the American commissioners for peace new instructions on its conditions. The boundaries on the east, the north-east, and the north were to be the ocean and the well-known line between the United States and Canada; on the west, the Mississippi; for the south, Livingston, foreseeing the dangers of restoring West Florida to Great Britain, with wise forethought declared that the interests of France and of the United States conspired to exclude Great Britain from both the Floridas; but no objection was made to their restoration to Spain.

Livingston asserted the equal common rights of the United States to the fisheries on the banks of Newfoundland; yet not

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