British Friends of the American Revolution

By Jerome R. Reich | Go to book overview

15
"Peace, Peace, When There Is No Peace"

Nothing came easily to the new Rockingham administration. Shelburne and Fox served as the two secretaries of state: Fox in charge of foreign affairs, Shelburne of colonial affairs. Technically, until independence was recognized, negotiations with America were in Shelburne's jurisdiction. Shelburne, though expressing interest in David Hartley's "Breviate," passed him over as his representative, even though Hartley was eager for the position, probably because of the latter's previous ties with the North administration. Instead, Shelburne named Richard Oswald, a seventyseven-year-old Scottish merchant. The cabinet, however, authorized Fox to send a representative, Thomas Grenville, to Paris. Obviously, this arrangement was bound to create friction. As Fox wrote to his friend, " Shelburne . . . is ridiculously jealous of my approaching on his department, and wishes very much to encroach upon mine." And Grenville wrote Fox, "I cannot fight a daily battle with Mr. Oswald." Benjamin Franklin was quick to take full advantage of this situation in order to obtain the most favorable terms possible for the United States, including the annexation of Canada. 1

The British bargaining position was further weakened by a basic divergence in policy between Fox and Shelburne. Fox believed in immediate and unconditional recognition of American independence, while Shelburne wanted to make it conditional upon the signing of treaties with France and Spain. Fox's strategy was based on two premises: It would, hopefully, convert the United States into a friend and possible ally of Great Britain, and would force France and Spain into either signing favorable peace treaties with Great Britain or else leave them to face a British army and navy unencumbered by the necessity of fighting in America. Shelburne, in contrast, believed that the grant of American independence could be used to

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British Friends of the American Revolution
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • 1 - The Stage and the Players 3
  • Notes 6
  • 2 - Governor Pownall, Dean Tucker, and Major John Cartwright: Practical Idealists or Wishful Thinkers? 7
  • Notes 19
  • 3 - Pitt, Burke, and American Policy, 1763-1770 21
  • Notes 31
  • 4 - "Birds of a Feather": John Wilkes and John Horne Tooke 33
  • Notes 39
  • 5 - The "Honest Whigs" 40
  • Notes 48
  • 6 - The Coercive Acts and Their Opponents: a Study in Futility 50
  • Notes 57
  • 7 - A Dire Prediction 59
  • Notes 72
  • 8 - The House of Lords 74
  • Notes 87
  • 9 Richard Price: Apostle of Liberty 90
  • Notes 103
  • 10 - The Single Legal Victim of the American Revolution 105
  • Notes 111
  • 11 - Dean Tucker: He Told Them So! 112
  • Notes 117
  • 12 - Governor Pownall Fights to the Finish 119
  • Notes 125
  • 13 - David Hartley: Amateur Diplomat 127
  • Notes 137
  • 14 - Charles James Fox: the Life of the Party 139
  • Notes 151
  • 15 - "Peace, Peace, When There is No Peace" 154
  • Notes 162
  • 16 - Summary and Conclusions 164
  • Bibliography 173
  • Index 179
  • About the Author *
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