The Dutch had never captured anything from the British, and only French military action had saved them from the loss of virtually all their colonies. They could not exert any influence on Britain, Spain, France, or the United States in peace negotiations and did not conclude a provisional treaty until September 2, 1783, a day before the formalization of the other three treaties. Britain agreed to return almost all of the Dutch possessions conquered in the East Indies (the largest of which, Trincomalee at Ceylon, had already been reconquered by the French anyway), but kept Negapatnam on the Indian coast. In a major concession, Britain also secured free trade rights in parts of the Dutch East Indies. On October 19, 1781, after a crushing defeat at the Battle of Yorktown, General Charles Cornwallis surrendered more than 7,000 British soldiers to the Continental Army. When news of Lord Cornwallis` surrender reached Britain, Prime Minister Lord Frederick North, the 2nd Earl of Guilford, “grasped how he would have taken a bullet in his chest” and shouted, “Oh, My God! It`s over! At that time, Lord North, along with the rest of Parliament and King George III, realised that victory over the Thirteen Colonies was not inevitable. In fact, the victory required many more troops, more resources and more money than Parliament could put on the effort. Instead of sending more troops across the sea to North America, British delegates were sent to France to forge a peace treaty with the United States. Two years later, on September 3, 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed and the War of Independence officially ended. When Lord North tried to adopt his mediation plan, the United States worked with French diplomats to secure a peace treaty. France initially proposed that the peace treaty take North America between the fighting powers to the new world. They recommended dividing the continent so that the United States could gain land east of the Appalachian Mountains, England could keep land north of the Ohio River, and Spain could retain southern leadership. .