A day or two before my departure from Paris, I received your letter of January------. The question therein proposed, How far France considers herself as bound to insist on the delivery of the posts, would infallibly produce another, How far we consider ourselves as guarantees of their American possessions, and bound to enter into any future war, in which these may be attacked? The words of the treaty of alliance seem to be without ambiguity on either head, yet, I should be afraid to commit Congress, by answering without authority. I will endeavor, on my return, to sound the opinion of the minister, if possible, without exposing myself to the other question. Should any thing forcible be meditated on these posts, it would possibly be thought prudent, previously to ask the good offices of France, to obtain their delivery. In this case, they would probably say, we must first execute the treaty, on our part, by repealing all acts which have contravened it. Now this measure, if there be any candor in the court of London, would suffice to obtain a delivery of the posts from them, without the mediation of any third power. However, if this mediation should be finally needed, I see no reason to doubt our obtaining it, and still less to question its omnipotent influence on the British court.
I have the honor to be, with the highest respect and esteem, Sir, your most obedient
and most humble servant,
LETTER CLXIII.—TO COLONEL HUMPHREYS, March 14, 1786
TO COLONEL HUMPHREYS.
London, March 14, 1786.
I have been honoured with your letter, in which you mention to me your intention of returning to America in the April packet. It is with sincere concern that I meet this event, as it deprives me not only of your aid in the office in which we have been joined, but also of your society, which has been to me a source of the greatest satisfaction. I think myself bound to return you my thanks for it, and, at the same time, to bear testimony, that in the discharge of the office of Secretary of Legation to the several commissions, you have fulfilled all its duties with readiness, propriety, and fidelity. I sincerely wish, that on your return, our country may avail itself of your talents in the public service, and that you may be willing so to employ them. You carry with you my wishes for your prosperity, and a desire of being instrumental to it: and I hope, that in every situation in which we may be placed, you will freely command and count on my services. I will beg to be favored with your letters, whenever it is convenient. You have seen our want of intelligence here, and well know the nature of that which will be useful or agreeable. I fear I shall have little interesting to give you in return; but such news as my situation affords, you shall be sure to receive. I pray you to be the bearer of the enclosed letter to Mr. Jay, to accept my wishes for a favorable passage, a happy meeting with your friends, and for every future felicity which this life can afford, being with the greatest esteem, Dear Sir,