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the value of near two millions. These, added to the free gifts before made to us at different times, form an object of at least twelve millions, for which no returns but that of gratitude and friendship, are expected. These I hope may be everlasting. The constant good understanding between France and the Swiss Cantons, and the steady benevolence of this crown towards them, afford as well grounded hope that our alliance may be as durable and as happy for both nations; there being strong reasons for our union, and no crossing interests between us. I write fully to Mr. Morris on money affairs, who will doubtless communicate to you my letter, so that I need say the less to you on that subject.
The letter to the king was well received; the accounts of your rejoicings on the news of the dauphin's birth, give pleasure here; as do the firm conduct of congress in refusing to treat with general Carleton, and the unanimous resolutions of the assemblies of different states on the same subject (all ranks of this nation appear to be in good humor with us, and our reputation rises throughout Europe) I understand from the Swedish embassador, that their treaty with us will go on as soon as ours with Holland is finished; our treaty with France, with such improvements as that with Holland may suggest, being intended as the basis.
There have been various misunderstandings and mismanagements among the parties concerned in the expedition of the Bonhomme Richard, which have occasioned delay in dividing the prize money. M. de Chaumont, who was chosen by the captains of all the vessels in the expedition as their agent, has long been in a state little short of bankruptcy, and some of the delays have possibly been occasioned by the distress of his affairs; he now informs me that the money is in the hands of the minister of the marine. I shall in a few days present the memorial you propose, with one relating to the prisoners, and will acquaint you with the answer. Mr. Barclay is still in Holland: when he returns he may take into his hands what money can be obtained on that account.
I think your observations, respecting the Danish complaints through the minister of France perfectly just. I will receive no more of them by that channel, and will give your reasons to justify my refusal.
Your approbation of my idea of a medal to perpetuate the memory of York and Saratoga victories, gives me great pleasure, and encourages me to have it struck. I wish you would acquaint me with what kind of a monument, at York the emblems required are to be fixed on ; whether an obelisk or a column ; its dimensions; whether any part of it is to be marble, and the emblems carved on it, and whether the work is to be executed by the excellent artists in that way which Paris affords; and if so, to what expense they are to be limited. This puts me in mind of a monument I got made here and sent to America, by order of congress five years since. I have heard of its arrival and nothing more. It was admired here for its elegant antique simplicity of design, and the various beautiful marbles used in its composition. It was intended to be fixed against a wall in the state house of Philadelphia. I know not why it has been so long neglected, it would, methinks, be well to enquire after it, and get it put up some where. Directions for fixing it were sent with it. I enclose a print of it. The inscription in the engraving is not on the monument; it was merely the fancy of the engraver. There is a white plate of marble left smooth to receive such inscription as the congress should think proper.
Our countrymen who have been prisoners in England are sent home, a few excepted, who were sick, and who will be forwarded as soon as recovered. This eases us of a very considerable charge.
I communicated to the marquis de la Fayette, the paragraph of your letter which related to him. He is still here; and as there seems not much likelihood of an active campaign in America, he is probably more useful where he is. His departure however, though delayed, is not absolutely laid aside.
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. 3O. 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. 17O. 399. 25O. 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 anfortunate 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,
To Robert Morris, Esq.
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. Indeed 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. 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. X