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

By George Bancroft | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII.
PEACE BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A ND GREAT BRITAIN.
FROM SEPTEMBER FIRST TO THE END OF NOVEMBER 1782.

FRANCE needed peace; Vergennes and his king strove to hasten it. The French navy was declining; the peasantry were crushed by their burdens; no one saw a way to meet the cost of another campaign. In Paris the fashionable language was, that France had been the dupe of her allies, the Americans and the Spaniards.*

The French minister pursued peace through the complicated difficulties created by the conflicting interests of the four powers which were at war with England; and he saw no way to success except their pretensions could be brought into harmony by his controlling advice.

The family alliance of the Bourbons bound the king of France most closely to the king of Spain by a permanent federation. Spanish interests France had pledged itself to treat as its own; and Spain, at the cost of France, impeded peace by the extravagance of her demands.

The Netherlands consented for the time to lean on France, but neither France nor Holland could look forward to a long continuance of their connection.

Between France and the United States the mutual obligations by treaty, so far as they related to the continuance of the war, would end when Great Britain should acknowledge, or at least acquiesce in, their independence.

It was the passion of Spain to include within her dominions

* Fitzherbert to Lord Grantham, 3 October 1782.

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