AMERICA AND CONTINENTAL EUROPE.
THE governments of continental Europe vied with each other in welcoming the new republic to its place among the powers of the world. In May 1782, as soon as it was known at Stockholm that the negotiations for peace were begun, the adventurous king of Sweden sent messages of his desire, through Franklin above all others, to enter into a treaty with the United States. Franklin promptly accepted the invitation. The ambassador of Gustavus at Paris remarked : “I hope it will be remembered that Sweden was the first power in Europe which, without being solicited, offered its friendship to the United States.”* Exactly five months before the definitive peace between the United States and Great Britain was signed, the treaty with Sweden was concluded. Each party was put on the footing of the most favored nations. Free ships were to make passengers free as well as goods. Liberty of commerce was to extend to all kinds of merchandise. The number of contraband articles was carefully limited. In case of a maritime war in which both the contracting parties should remain neutral, their ships of war were to protect and assist each other’s vessels. The treaty was ratified and proclaimed in the United States before the definitive treaty with Great Britain had arrived.†
The successful termination of the war aroused in Prussia hope for the new birth of Europe, that, by the teachings of America, despotism might be struck down, and the caste of
* Franklin’s Works, ix., 342.
† Journals of Congress, iv., 241.