London Nov. 12. 1796
I have had the honor to receive your Letter of the 25. of August and Doctr Nicholl whose advice I have asked has been so obliging as to give me information respecting the manner in which the order of the Court of Chancery should be published—in a day or two I will procure its insertion in the proper news paper—some little attention will be requisite to avoid as far as practicable the great Expence which commonly attends this kind of publication—the News papers containing the notification shall be transmitted to you agreeable to your directions—It is extremely difficult to form a satisfactory Opinion respecting the probability of peace—I meet with few persons who appear to have much confidence in the success of Lord Malmesbury—The Declaration of war by Spain, at a moment when England appeared to be making serious Efforts to conclude a general Peace, strengthens the belief of many, that France prefers still to continue the war: All the internal movements of this Government, that are visible; indicate a Determination to prosecute the war with vigour; The funding of the floating Debt earlier than usual, and at the commencement of the negotation with France, when its influence upon the Stocks is such as a measure so direct for the restoration of peace is calculated to produce, the Augumentation of the Militia by the addition of 60,000 men, and the means employed to recruit the regular Army, if Peace is near, would seem to be improvident & unwise—but if the war continues, 12. millions will have been funded on advantageous Terms, the Government will have removed an important obstacle to the further use of their Credit, and by an increase of the internal Strenth of the Nation placed at their Disposal the regular Forces to be employed abroad.
France will bend all her Energies against that Commerce in which England finds such immense Resources to prosecute the war, not by attacking her Navy, nor by attempting the threatened invasion, but by compelling the neighbouring Nations to Exclude the commerce of England from the great and profitable market of Europe—England in Turn will endeavour to balance the Account, by conquering, or emancipating, the Colonies of Spain & France, thereby opening new, and extensive, Markets in another Quarter of the Globe—should the war unfortunately still go on, the meditated Expedition against Canada by the Mississippi may possibly be undertaken—I think it much less probable since the Evacuation of our frontier Posts by the British forces—though I can not seriously believe that such an expedition will be attempted, still it may be the part of prudence to consider it as possible, in order to guard against its mischiefs.
Spain enumerates among the injuries received from Great Britain, the Treaty concluded with us; and France was satisfied neither with that Treaty, nor with the subsequent one, that was concluded at a fortunate moment between us & Spain—both may have been dissatisfied, from motives connected with the Project of an Expedition through the Mississippi. With perfect respect I have the honor to be Dear sir yr ob. & faithful Servt
DLC: Papers of George Washington.