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I send herewith the accounts of the supplies we have received in goods, which I promised in my last. The sum of their value is included in the settlement made with this court, mentioned in a former letter. Herewith I also send a copy of the contract which has been long in hand, and but lately completed. The term of the first yearly payment we are to make, was readily changed at my request, from the first to the third year after the peace; the other marks of the king's bounty towards us, will be seen in the instrument. The interest already due and forgiven, amount to more than a million ahd a half, what might become due before the peace is uncertain. The charges of exchange, commissions, brokerage, &c. of the Dutch loan, amount to more than five hundred thousand livres, which is also given, so that we have the whole sum neat, and are to pay for it but four per cent. This liquidation of our accounts with the court, was completed before the vote of congress directing it came to hand. Mr. Grand examined all the particulars, and I have no doubt of its being approved. Mr. Grand, to whom I have communicated your letter of April 17th, will soon write to you fully. We shall observe the general rule you give respecting the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th bills. The attention, care, and pains necessary to prevent by exact accounts of those accepted, and examination of those offered, impositions which are often attempted by presenting at a distant time the 2d, 3d, &c. is much greater than I could have imagined. Much has been saved by that attention, of which of late we keep an account; but the hazard of loss by such attempts might be diminished, together with the trouble of examination by making fewer small bills. Your conduct, activity, and address as financier and provider for the exigencies of the state, is much admired and praised here, its good consequences being so evident, particularly with regard to the rising credit of our country and the value of bills. No one but yourself can enjoy your growing reputation more than I do. Mr. Grand has undertaken to pay any balance that may be found due to Messrs. le Couteulx out of the money in his hands. Applying for so small a sum as 5,000 livres would be giving trouble for a trifle, as all applications for money must be considered in council.
Mr. Grand having already received the whole six millions, either in money or accepted bills payable at different periods, I expect he will deliver up to me the bills for that sum which you have drawn upon me, the rather as they express value received by you. I never heard any mention here of intended monthly payments, or that the money could not be obtained but by your drafts. I enclose a letter by which the payment was ordered of the last three millions.
I observe what you mention of the order that the ministers salaries are to be hereafter paid in America. I hereby empower and desire you to receive and remit mine. I do not doubt your doing it regularly and timely. For a minister without money, I perceive, makes a ridiculous figure here, though secure from arrests. I have taken a quarter’s advance of salary from the 4th of last month, supposing it not intended to muzzle immediately the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn.
With great esteem, I am, &c.
Your boys are well, and Mr. Ridley and Mr. Barclay still in Holland.
To the Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs of the United States.
Passy, September 3, 1782.
SIR, I HAVE just received your No. 13, dated the 23d of June. The accounts of the general sentiments of our people respecting propositions from England, and the rejoicings on the birth of the Dauphin, give pleasure here, and it af. fords me much satisfaction to find the conduct of congress approved by all that hear or speak of it, and to see all the marks of a constantly growing regard for us, and confidence in us among those in whom such sentiments are most to be desired. I hope the affair of Captain Asgill was settled as it ought to be, by the punishment of Lippincut. Applications have been made here to obtain letters in favor of the young gentleman, enclosed I send you a copy of the answer I gave to that made to me. I had before acquainted M. Tousard, that his pension would be paid in America, and there only, it being unreasonable to expect, that the congress should open a pay office in every part of the world, where pensioners should chuse to reside. I shall communicate to him that part of your letter. You wish to know what allowance I make to my private secretary: my grandson, William T. Franklin, came over with me, served me as private secretary, during the time of the commissioners, and no secretary to the commission arriving, though we had been made to expect one, he did business for us all, and this without any allowance for his services, though both Mr. Lee and Mr. Deane at times, mentioned it to me as a thing proper to be done, and a justice due to him. When I became appointed sole minister here, and the whole business which the commissioners had before divided with me, came into my hands, I was obliged to exact more service from him, and he was indeed by being so long in the business, become capable of doing more. At length in the beginning of the year 1781, when he became of age, considering his constant close attention to the duties required of him, and his having thereby missed the opportunity of studying the law, for which he had been intended, I determined to make him some compensation for the time passed, and fix some appointment for the time to come, till the pleasure of congress respecting him should be taken. I accordingly settled an account with him. Allowing him from the beginning of December 1776, to the end of 1777, the sum of 3400 livres; and for the year 1778, the sum of 4000 livres; for 1779,4300 livres; and for 1780, 6000 livres; since that time, I have allowed him at the rate of 300 louis per annum, being what I saw had been allowed by congress, to the secretary of Mr. William Lee, who could not have had, I imagine, a fourth part of the business to go through; since my secretary, besides the writing and copying the papers relative to my common ministerial transactions, has had all those occasioned by my acting in the various employments, of judge of admiralty, consul, purchaser of goods for the public, &c. besides that, of the accepter of the congress bills, a business that requires being always at home; bills coming by post from different ports and countries and often requiring immediate answers whether good or not; and to that end, it being necessary to examine them by the books exactly kept, of all preceding acceptations, in order to detect double presentations, which happen very frequently; the great number of these bills makes almost sufficient business for one person, and the confinement they occasion is such, that we cannot allow ourselves a day’s excursion into the country, and the want of exercise has hurt our healths in several instances. The congress pay much larger salaries to some secretaries, who I believe deserve them, but not more than my grandson does; the comparatively small one I have allowed to him, his fidelity, exactitude, and address intransacting business, being really what one could wish in such an officer, and the genteel appearance a young gentleman in his station, obliges him to make, requiring at least such an income. I do not mention the extraordinary business that has been imposed upon us in this embassy, as a foundation for demanding higher salaries than others. I never solicited for a public office either for myself or any relative; yet I never refused one that I was capable of executing, when public service was in question; and I never bargained for salary, but contented myself with whatever my constituents were pleased to allow me. The congress will therefore consider every article charged in my account, distinct from the salary originally voted, not as what I presumed to insist upon, but as what I propose only for their consideration, and they will allow what they think proper. You desire an accurate estimate of those contingent expenses. I enclose copies of two letters which passed between Mr. Adams and me on the subject, and show the articles of which they consist. Their amount in different years may be found in my accounts, except the article of house rent, which has never yet been settled. M. de Chaumont, our landlord, having originally proposed to leave it till the end of the war, and then to accept for it a piece of American land from the congress, such as they might judge equivalent; if the congress did intend all contingent charges whatever to be included in the salary, and do not think proper to pay on the whole so much, in that case I would humbly suggest that the saving may be most convenient made by a diminution of the salary, leaving the contingencies to be charged, because they may necessarily be very different in different years, and in different courts. I have been the more diffuse on this subject, as your letter gave occasion for it, and it is probably the last time I shall mention it.
Be pleased to present my dutiful respects to congress; assure them of my best services, and believe me to be with sincere esteem, &c.
P. S. As you will probably lay this letter before congress, I take the liberty of joining to it an extract of my letter to the president, of the 12th March, 1781, and of repeating my request therein contained, relative to my grandson. I enclose likewise extracts of letters from Messrs. Jay and Laurens, which both shew the regard those gentlemen have for him, and their desire of his being noticed by the congress.
B. FRANKLIN. September 3, 1782.
Dr. Franklin, to the President of Congress.
Extract, &c. I MUST now beg leave to say something relating to myself, a subject with which I have not often