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threatened retaliation, but have always hitherto, foreborne to execute it; and they have been often insultingly told by their enemies, that this forbearance did not proceed from humanity, but fear. General Greene, though he solemnly and publicly promised it in a proclamation, never made any retaliation for the murder of colonel Haynes, and many others in Carolina; and the people, who now think that if he had fulfilled his promise, this crime would not have been committed, clamor so loudly, that I doubt general Washington cannot well refuse what appears to them so just and necessary for their common security. I am persuaded nothing I could say to him on the occasion would have the least effect in changing his determination. Excuse me then, if I presume to advise the dispatching a courier immediately to London, proposing to the consideration of ministers the sending such orders to general Carleton directly. They would have an excellent effect in other views. The post goes to-morrow morning at ten o’clock; but as nine days have been spent in bringing the letters here by that conveyance, an express is preferable. With sincere esteem I have the honor to be, &c. - B. FRANKLIN.
Dr. Franklin, to John Adams.
Passy, June 11, 1781. SIR, MR, GRAND has communicated to me a letter from your excellency to him, relating to certain charges in your account, on which you seem to desire to have my opinion, As we are all new in these matters, I consulted, when I was making up my accounts, one of the oldest foreign ministers here, as to the custom in such cases. He informed me, that it was not perfectly uniform with the ministers of all courts; but that in general where a salary was given for service and expense, the expenses understood were merely those necessary to the man, such as house keeping,
clothing, and coach; but that the rent of the hotel in which he dwells, the payment of couriers, the postage of letters, the salary of clerks, the stationary for his bureau, with the feasts and illuminations made on public occasions, were esteemed expenses of the prince or state that appointed him, being for the service or honor of the prince or nation, and either entirely, or in great part expenses, that as a private man he would have been under no necessity of incurring; these therefore were to be charged in his accounts. He remarked, that it was true, the minister’s house keeping, as well as his house, was usually and in some sort necessarily more expensive than those of a private person; but this he said was considered in his salary to avoid trouble in accounts; but that where the prince or state had not purchased, or built a house for their minister, which was sometimes the case, they always paid his house rent. I have stated my own accounts according to these informations; and I mention them, that if they seem to you reasonable, we may be uniform in our charges, by your charging in the same manner; or if objections to any of them occur to you, you would communicate them to me for the same reason. Thus you see my opinion, that the articles you mention of courtage, commission, and portes de lettres, are expenses that ought to be borne, not by you, but by the United States. Yet it seems to me more proper, that you should pay them, and charge them with the other articles abovementioned, than that they should be paid by me, who not knowing the circumstances, cannot judge as you can, of the truth or justice of such an account when presented, and who besides have no orders to pay more on your account than your net salary. With regard to that salary, though your receipts to 'Fitzeau and Grand, shewn to me, might be quite sufficient to prove they had paid you the sums therein mentioned; yet as there are vouchers for them, and which they have a right to retain, I imagine that it will be clearest if you
draw upon me agreeable to the order of congress, and if this is quarterly it will be most convenient to me.
With great regard I have the honor, &c.
Mr. Adams's answer. Amsterdam, October 4, 1781. SIR, YOUR excellency’s letter of June 11, is yet unanswered. I have the honor to agree with your excellency in opinion, that it is reasonable that the articles of rent of the hotel, payment of couriers, postage of letters, salaries of clerks, stationary for the bureau, and feasts and illuminations made upon public occasions, should be deemed expenses of the states. Indeed otherwise it will be impossible for Ameri
can ministers to live in any such manner as is expected of
them, both by Europeans and Americans.
To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of United States. - Passy, September 26, 1782. SIR, I HAVE just received your No. 15, dated the 9th of August, which mentions your not having heard from me since March. I have however written sundry letters, viz. of April 8th, and June 12th, June 25th and 29th, August 12th, and September 3d, and sent copies of the same, which I hope cannot all have miscarried.
The negociations for peace have hitherto amounted to little more than mutual professions of sincere desires, &c. being obstructed by the want of due form in the English commissions appointing their plenipotentiaries. The objections made to those for treating with France, Spain and Holland, were first removed, and by the enclosed it seems that our objections to that for treating with us will now be removed also, so that we expect to begin in a few days our negociations. But there are so many interests to be considered and settled, in a peace between five different nations, that it will be well not to flatter ourselves with a very speedy conclusion.
I mentioned, in a former letter, my having communicated to count de Vergennes the state of American commerce which you sent me, and my having urged its consideration, &c. Enclosed is a copy of a letter received from that minister on the subject.' * The copy of general Carleton’s letter, and the bills of exchange, which you mentioned as enclosed, do not appear. I hope soon to have a better opportunity of writing when I shall be fuller.
With great esteem, &c.
Richard Oswald, Esq. to Doctor Franklin, communicating a letter from Secretary Townshend. Paris, September 24, 1782. SIR, HAVING received, by a courier just now arrived, a letter from Mr. secretary Townshend, in answer to mine which went by the messenger, dispatched from hence on the 12th, I take this opportunity of Mr. Whiteford to send you a copy of it. I hope he will bring good accounts of your health, which I sincerely wish, and am your excelHency’s, &c. RICHARD OSWALD.
Secretary Townshend to Richard Oswald, Esg.
I RECEIVED, on Saturday last, your packets of the 10th and 11th of this month.
A meeting of the king's confidential servants was held, as soon as possible, to consider the contents of them, and it was at once agreed to make the alteration in the commission proposed by Doctor Franklin and Mr. Jay. I trust that the readiness with which this proposal has been accepted, will be considered as an ample testimony of the openness and sincerity with which the government of this country is disposed to treat with the Americans.
The commission is passing with as much dispatch as the forms of office will allow ; but I thought it material that no delay should happen, in giving you notice of the determination of his majesty’s council upon this subject. You will receive the commission very soon after this reaches you.
I am with great regard, &c.
Count de Vergennes, to Dr. B. Franklin. Versailles, August 23, 1782. SIR,
I HAVE received the letter you did me the honor of writing to me the 9th instant, as well as the memorial enclosed in it. I communicated the paper to the marquis de Castries, and I make no doubt but that the minister will take into consideration its contents, as far as circumstances will permit. We are desirous to adopt every measure that may tend to the prosperity of the commerce established between France and the United States, and we shall neglect nothing to accomplish this object to the universal satisfaction of the two countries. Congress will greatly facilitate our labor, if they will communicate their ideas and wishes on this subject; and I make the demand with greater confi