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payable to your petitioners in July 1781, to the amount of £50,227, and for other articles furnished, he is debtor in all for £51,291. Last May, said Mr. Gillon being then in Paris, promised your petitioners that on his arrival in Amsterdam, he would procure them the amount of the balance due to them from his correspondents in said city, they took his word for it, and expected payment in this way. Your petitioners, sir, received a letter from said commodore, dated the 19th July, in which he wrote them, that having settled his affairs with bills at six and nine months sight, he would be glad to know of them, whether it would suit them to take the acceptations of a solid house in Amsterdam, at six and nine and twelve months, with offer to make good to them the delay of payment. The 27th of the same month, an answer was sent to said Mr. Gillon, that his offers were accepted, this last letter, sir, has remained without any direct answer from the debtor of your petitioners, as well as those that have been wrote since, he contenting himself to get his nephew, named Nixon, to write, that though Mr. Gillon's armament in the Texel engrossed his attention, yet he did not lose sight of our object, which he would terminate in a manner satisfactory to us, at his return to Amsterdam, which we might depend upon. The said commodore having hitherto most strictly fulfilled all his promises, your petitioners were patiently waiting the day for the fulfilment of the last, when to their great surprise and sorrow, they were informed of the departure of their debtor, with a rich cargo from the Texel for America, where it is supposed that he arrived about the latter end of September, if not molested in his way, being a prime sailer. At the receipt of this affecting piece of intelligence, the first care of your excellency’s petitioners, was to apply to Mr. Franklin, the minister of the United States of America, and relate to him the sad situation they were in ; who having perused the contract and the engagements entered into by the said Mr. Gillon, assured them that they had the guarantee of , the state of South Carolina, that they should lose nothing, and he would use his influence in their behalf.
Though the debt is secured by the guarantee of that state, the time of payment being not determined, and your petitioners being under engagements to be fulfilled, and contracted on account of the articles delivered to said Mr. Gillon, in order to accelerate the payment of what is due to them they flatter themselves, that if your excellency would honor them with his recommendation to Mr. Franklin, this minister of the United States, in consequence of his benevolence, and in order to prevent the injury which the national credit of his country might receive from the conduct of the commodore who was invested with powers from his state, which like the rest of them, is under the authority of congress, we presume to think that for a sum so inconsiderable with respect to the United States, though very considerable to your petitioners, Mr. Franklin would not refuse to take measures with them for the discharge of the debt, which might be made payable at such periods of time, as he would choose. No words could express the sense of gratitude; your petitioners would feel, would your excellency condescend to recommend their case to Mr. Franklin. This minister could be able to recover the debt even before the time, for the fulfilment of the obligations he might contract was elapsed, said Mr. Gillon having sailed in one of the strongest and best sailing frigates, named after, and belonging to the said state, the crew whereof were clothed partly with the supplies your petitioners have furnished, your petitioners have not the least doubt but that the first care of the commodore after his arrival, will be to make remittances to them, and thereby discharge himself and the province he belongs to ; which remittances Mr. Franklin himself could receive was he to be so kind as to comply with the proposals of your petitioners, by writing himself to America for the purpose. . . . May God in mercy grant the prayers sent up to Heaven in behalf of your excellency, by your most humble pe. titioners. Your excellency’s petitioners having just been informed by Mr. Franklin, that Mr. Gillon instead of going to
America had put into Corunna to take in provisions, hav. ing consumed those he took in whilst in the Texel, during the few weeks he was cruising on the coast of England, have wrote this day to monsieur Destournelles his majesty’s consul at Corunna, requesting him to compel by virtue of the vouchers sent to him, the said commodore, to pay the £51,291 he owes to your excellency’s petitioners, and as they have no prospect should this opportunity fail, to receive this sum till after the long process of time, as Mr. Franklin told them, they humbly request your excellency to honor them with his protection, and to require that orders be given for this sum to be secured in case your petitioners be not too late, and said Mr. Gillon has not sailed from Corunna.
I)r. Franklin to Major W. Jackson.
Passy, june 28, 1781. SIR, SINCE my acceptance of your bills, I have applied to the ministry for more money to discharge the other engagements I entered into for payment of the congress bills drawn on Holland and Spain. I find so much difficulty, and
even impossibility of obtaining it at this time, that I am under the absolute necessity of stopping the cash that is in Holland, or of ruining all the credit of the States in Europe, and even in America, by stopping payment.
This is therefore to order, that in case the said cash has been delivered to you by messieurs Fizeaux and Grand, you would immediately return it into their hands to remain there at my disposal.
I am sorry that this operation is necessary, but it must be done, or the consequences will be terrible.
I have the honor to be, &c.
Major Jackson to Dr. Franklin.
I HAVE the honor to inform your excellency, that I got to Amsterdam on Tuesday morning. It has been thought advisable to wait a few days, that we may sail with a Dutch squadron of fourteen sail, destined as a convoy to the Baltic. The loss of the ship Marquis de la Fayette, which is confirmed by Lloyd's list, renders every precaution necessary, and essential to prevent a farther disappointment in supplies.
I hope your excellency will approve of the reasons for delaying our departure, which must be amply compensated by the benefit of a convoy through the North Sea. I beg leave to request, that Colonel Laurens's servant may be informed, should he apply to your excellency, that, if he leaves Paris immediately, and travels with dispatch, he will reach this place in time to embark with us for America. Any commands which your excellency may please to. honor me with, and which may be transmitted by him, will be faithfully attended to.
I beg you will present my best respects to your grandson.
I have the honor to be with profound respect, &c.
From the same.
I WAS yesterday honored with your excellency’s letter of the 28th ult, while at the Texel, superintending some matters relating to the ship. Equally concerned for the cause, as surprised at the manner in which Mr. Fizeaux was resolved to execute it in case the money had been already shipped. I must beg leave to inform you fully of this business, and to request your excellency's final determination
thereon. Colonel Laurens, as your excellency knows, was sent by congress to the court of Versailles, with a special com
mission....the purport of his mission you are well acquainted with ; it was to obtain certain supplies in specie and military stores. o
By the most unremitting assiduity, he so far succeeded as to procure amongst others, a sum of money to be shipped in Holland by the South Carolina frigate, which was deemed by the court of France a safe and convenient conveyance, as it would divide the risque which must have been incurred, by placing the whole on board of one vessel. That sum was sent to this place by Mr. Necker, and lodged in the house of Fizeaux and Grand, to be by them delivered to me, agreeable to the following order, the original of which is now in my possession, having very fortunately for me, recovered it from them after they received your instructions.
TRANSLATION. Paris, May 12, 1781. GENTLEMEN, THIS letter will be delivered to you by Mr. William Jackson, captain of infantry in the service of the United States, to whom I request you to deliver the 130,655 dollars and the £720,000 in crowns, which you have received on my account by the way of Brussels. Mr. Jackson will give you a receipt for it, in which he will express that these two sums have been delivered to him pursuant to the intention of Mr. john Laurens, an American officer now at Paris, whose orders he will follow on this subject. You will be pleased to send me afterwards this receipt, with a statement of all the expenses due to you. I will have them reimbursed here to Mr. Grand. I am Gentlemen, &c. NECKER. M. M. Grand, Fizeaux, & Co. Amsterdam.
Messieurs Fizeaux and Grand, have in pursuance of
your excellency’s directions, refused to deliver it. This sir, being a distinct transaction, executed altogether at the