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The second changes in the ministry of England, have occasioned or have afforded pretences for various delays in the negociation for peace. Mr. Grenville had two successive imperfect commissions. He was at length recalled, and Mr. Fitzherbert is now arrived to replace him, with a commission in due form to treat with France, Spain and Holland. Mr. Oswald who is here, is informed by a letter from the new secretary of state, that a commission empowering him to treat with the commissioners of congress, will pass the seals, and be sent him in a few days; till it arrives, this court will not proceed in its own negociation. I send the enabling act, as it is called. Mr. Jay will acquaint you with what passes between him and the Spanish embassador, respecting the proposed treaty with Spain. I will only mention 281. 599. 109. 124. 481. 256. 238. 468. 292. 281. 551. 386. 263. 268. 173. 33. 451. 440. 399. 453. 628. 74. 11. 167. 415. 576. 187. 109. 16. 542. 347. 37. 481. 648. 163. 30. 112. 235. 193. 481. 346. 428. 143. 37. 268. 414. 374. 167. 83. 268. 268. 654. 481. 254. 167. 315. 542. 358 468. 109. 242. 159. 167. 119. 402. 460. 447. 292. 167. 170. 399. 250. 242. 479. 574. 200. 64. 245. 448. 208. 109. 371. 408. 161. 263. 399.
Explication. That my conjecture of that court's design to coop us up within the Allegheny mountains is now manifested. I hope congress will insist on the Mississippi as the boundary, and the free navigation of the river from which they could entirely exclude us.
An account of a terrible massacre of the Moravian Indians has been put into my hands. I sent you the papers, that you may see how the fact is represented in Europe. I hope measures will be taken to secure what is left of those unfortunate people.
Mr. Laurens is at Nantes, waiting for a passage with his family to America. His state of health is unfortunately very bad. Perhaps the sea air may recover him, and restore him well to his country : I heartily wish it. He has suffered much by his confinement:
Be pleased sir to present my duty to the congress, and assure them of my most faithful services.
With great esteem,
I have the honor to be, &c.
To Robert Morris, Esq.
Passy, August 12, 1782. SIR, I HAVE received (many of them at the same time) your sundry letters of March the 23d, April 8th and 17th, May 17th, 18th, two of 23d and 29th. It would be a satisfaction to me if you would likewise mention from time the dates of those you
receive from me. Most of your letters pressing my obtaining more money for the present year, the late losses suffered in the West Indies, and the unforeseen unnecessary expenses, the reparation there and here, must occasion, render it more difficult, and, I am told impossible; though the good disposition of the court towards us continues perfect. All I can say on the head of money more than I have said in preceding letters, is, that I confide you will be careful not to bankrupt your banker by your drafts ; and I will do my utmost that those you draw shall be duly honored.
The plan you intimate for discharging the bills in favor of Beaumarchais, though well imagined was impracticable. I had accepted them, and he had discounted them, or paid them away, or divided them amongst his creditors. They were, therefore, in different hands, with whom I could not manage the transactions proposed. Besides, I had paid them punctually when they became due, which was before the receipt of your letter on that subject. That he was furnished with his funds by the government here, is a supposition, of which no foundation appears, he says it was by a company he had formed; and when he solicited me to give up a cargo in part of payment, he urged, with tears in his eyes,
the distress himself and associates were reduced
* to, by our delay of remittances. I am glad to see that it
is intended to appoint a commissioner to settle all our public accounts in Europe. I hope he will have better success with Mr. Beaumarchais than I have had. He has often promised solemnly to render an account in two or three days: Years have since elapsed and he has not yet done it. Ină deed I doubt whether his books have been so well kept as to make it possible:
You direct me, in yours of May 17th, to pay over into the hands of Mr. Grand, on your account, such monies belonging to the United States as may be in Europe, distinct from those to be advanced for the current year. I would do it with pleasure if there were any such. There may be indeed some in Holland, raised by the new loan, but that is not in my disposition, though I have no doubt that Mr. Adams will, on occasion, apply it in support of your credit.
credit. All the aids given by the crown, all the sums borrowed of it, and all the Dutch loans of ten millions, though the orders to receive have been given to me, the payments from the Tresor Royal have all been made on my orders in favor of Mr. Grand, and the money again paid away by him on my drafts for public services and expenses, as you will see by his accounts ; so that I never saw or touched a livre of it, except what I received from him in discharge of my salary, and some disbursements. He has even received the whole six millions of the current year, so that I have nothing in any shape to pay over to him. On occasion of my lately desiring to know the state of our funds, that I might judge whether I could undertake to pay what you were directed to pay Mr. William Lee, by vote of congress, as soon as the state of public finances would admit. Mr. Grand wrote me a note, with a short sketch of their then supposed situation, which I enclose. You will probably have from him as soon as possible, a more perfect account; but this will serve to shew that I could not prudently comply with your wish, of making that payment to Mr. Lee, and I have accordingly declined it; the less unwillingly as he is entitled by the vote to interest.
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 and a half, what might be. come 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 mil. lions, 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 minis. ters 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.
B. FRANKLIN. * 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 affords 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