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A loan has been proposed to be obtained for us of the states of Holland, on the credit of this government. All public operations are slow in that country, and though the affair it at length said to be concluded, it is not yet executed. Considerable advances have, however, been made here, in expectation of being reimbursed by it. The last aids granted us, have been so absorbed by my payment of the drafts on Mr. Jay and Mr. Adams, and acceptance of those for the enormous unexpected purchases in Holland, which were to have gone in captain Gillon’s ship, but left behind, that I shall have nothing to spare for extraordinaries, unless some of the Holland loan comes soon into my hands. I am now told from Amsterdam, that the two ships freighted there to carry these goods are detained, as their contract was to sail under convoy of the South Carolina, which left them, and they must now take more men to defend them; and of consequence claim a higher freight, and to have it paid before they sail, unless I will buy the ships and send them on account of congress, neither of which is in my power to do. It was with reluctance I engaged in that affair, having little confidence in captain Gillon's management, and fearing some embarrassment of our credit, I consented in fine, to engage for the payment of ten thousand pounds sterling, being the value of the goods suitable for congress, said to be already shipt in that vessel; and as there was said to be still more room, and she was thought a safe conveyance to furnish an additional sum to fill that supposed vacancy, which I limited to five thousand pounds sterling more. You will judge of my surprize when I saw the accounts of that additional purchase, which amounted instead of five, to fifty thousand pounds sterling. I at first absolutely refused to pay for them. But captain Jackson came to me from thence express, urged that the purchase was made by order of colonel Laurens, that the goods were on board; that if I would not undertake to pay for them, they must be re-landed and returned or sold, which would be a public disgrace to us, that they were all articles exceedingly wanted in America, &c. In fine I was prevailed
upon and accepted the bills, and was obliged to go with this after-clap to the ministers, a proceeding always disagreeable, after the dispositions of the funds of the year have been arranged; and more so in this case, as the money was to be paid for the manufactures of other countries, and not laid out in those of this kingdom, by whose friendship it was furnished. This fresh grant was at first absolutely refused. At length I obtained it, and I hoped the difficulty was over. But after all the officers declare the ship overloaded, that there was not room to lodge the people and provisions, nor to act in fighting her; the goods are turned out into two other ships, those are left, and it is now proposed to me either to buy them, or to advance a freight nearly equal to the value. I cannot make a new demand for this purpose, and I shall not wonder if this government, observing how badly our shipping and transporting the supplies is managed, should take that business for the future intirely into its own hands, as they have begun to do in the case of replacing the cargo of the Marquis de la Fayette, and indeed until some active, intelligent person, skilled in maritime affairs, is placed here as consul, I cannot but think it will be much better executed, and more for our advantage. Some considerable parts of that new cargo are already shipped, and the rest I hear in great forwardness. The very friendly disposition of this court still continues, and will I hope continue forever. From my own inclination, as well as in obedience to the order of congress, every thing in my power shall be done to cultivate that disposition, but I trust it will be remembered that the best friends may be overburthened; that by too frequent, too large, and too unfortunate demands upon it, the most cordial frienship may be wearied; and as nothing is more teazing than repeated unexpected demands for money, I hope the congress will absolutely put an end to the practice of drawing on their ministers, and thereby obliging them to worry their respective courts for the means of payment. It may have otherwise very is effects in depressing the spirit of a minister, and destroying that freedom of representation, which on many occasions it might be proper for him to make use of.
I heartily congratulate you, sir, on your being called to the honorable and important office of president, and wish you every kind of prosperity.
Be pleased to present my dutiful respects to the congress, and believe me to be, with great and sincere esteem and respect, &c.
Substance of the firotest of Cafttain Ary de JWeif, commanding the brigantine Berkenbosch.
ON the 4th of August, 1780, captain Ary de Neif, commanding thebrigantine Berkenbosch, the property of Messrs. Van de Perre and Myneers of Middleburg in Zealand, being duly sworn upon the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God, before Alexander Jeune, secretary, of the noble granted general, West India company, at St. Eustatia, did depose and say, that on the fifteenth day of August, 1779, he sailed from Middleburg, in the abovementioned brigantine, bound for Liverpool, where he arrived on the twentyseventh day of August, 1779, that at Liverpool, he took in a cargo of lead and pilchards, from whence he sailed on the 27th day of December, 1779, for Leghorn, that on the eighth day of January, 1780, in the northern latitude of 40 degrees, longitude 3 degrees and 34 minutes, he fell in with captain John P. Jones, who hailed the brig, and ordered the said captain Ary de Neif, together with all his papers on board the Lyon, (captain Jones's own ship) Then he (captain John Paul Jones) examined captain Ary de Neif's papers, and broke the seals of all his letters, at the same time, declaring his vessel to be a lawful prize, upon the principle of her being American property, though assured by captain de Neif, that though she was formerly American property, she then belonged to the subjects of the United Provinces, and that captain Jones might see it by his papers; that captain Jones answered, that every thing was English property, and asked him what wages would be an inducement for him to navigate the said brigantine Berkenbosch to America, he putting on board her some of his own crew, and taking her crew on board the Lion; that his proposal, though often urged by captain Jones, captain Ary de Neif refused accepting. That captain Jones then sent a prize master and four men on board the brigantine, at the same time, ordering four men and a boy of the brig's crew on board his own ship. That he kept captain Ary de Neif, closely confined on board the Lion, till the ninth instant, when he permitted the captain, a passenger, and one man to go on board and depart with the brig, detaining the cook on board the Lion : that on the eleventh of March, he was taken within sight of St. Eustatia, by two British ships of war, and that one eighth part of his cargo was condemned by a court of admiralty at Barbadoes, and that his protest against captain Jones, and the two captains of his Britannic majesty’s ships, for breaking open his letters, examining his papers, depriving him of part of his crew, and condemning one eighth part of his cargo.
Certificate from captain Ary de Weif, to chevalier Jones.
I Ary de Neif, master of the brigantine called the Berkenbosch, from Liverpool to Leghorn, do certify to the best of my knowlege and belief, that the whole of the cargo on board my said vessel; is really and truly British property, particularly the lead and red herrings. Witness my hand, on board the Alliance, at sea off cape Finisterre, this ninth day of January, 1780.
ARY DE NEIF.
Witness, GEO. CONYNGHAM,
TRANSLATION, From Count de Vergennes to Dr. Franklin. Versailles, October 24, 1781. SIR, I HAVE the honor to transmit you a memorial directed to me, from Messieurs La Marque and Fabre, wherein you will see that those two gentlemen have supplied Mr. Gillon with several articles of merchandize, and that this commodore went away without paying them. It is unknown to me, whether you have in hands any funds belonging either to the said Mr. Gillon, or the state of South Carolina. In the case you have, I make not the least doubt, but you will look upon it as matter of justice, to discharge the said debt, and should you have none, I request it of you as a favor, that you would strongly recommend to congress, the interests of Messieurs La Marque and Fabre. I have the honor most sincerely to be, &c. DE VERGENNES.
Mr. Franklin does not know that the following memorial concerns the congress, but at the request of M. de Vergennes, transmits it. B. F.
.4 Memorial from Messrs. La Marque and Fabre, to his excellenty
the count de Vergennes, Minister and Secretary of State, for the
defiartment of Foreign Affairs.
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENCY,
THE memorial of the Sieurs La Marque and Fabre, merchant drapers in Paris, St. Bond street, humbly sheweth, that on the 12th April, 1780, your petitioners contracted to supply clothing for troops with Mr. Gillon, who was in the service of the United States of America, being commodore from the state of South Carolina, and their representative invested with powers from them, and that this contract was on our part, executed to the satisfaction of the said Mr. Gillon, who in consequence drew bills on the house of Messieurs Banquet and Pache, bankers in Paris,