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of your Parliament! This demonstrates that you do not yet know us, and that you fancy we do not know you; but it is not merely this flimsy faith, that we are to act upon; you offer us hope, the hope of PLACEs, PENSIONs, and PEERAGEs. These, judging from yourselves, you think are motives irresistible. This offer to corrupt us, Sir, is with me your credential, and convinces me that you are not a private volunteer in your application. It bears the stamp of British court character. It is even the signature of your King. But think for a moment in what light it must be viewed in America. By PLACEs, you mean places among us, for you take care by a special article to secure your own to yourselves. We must then pay the salaries in order to enrich ourselves with these places. But you will give us PENsions, probably to be paid too out of your expected American revenue, and which none of us can accept without deserving, and perhaps obtaining, a sus-pension. PEERAGEs alas! Sir, our long observation of the vast servile majority of your peers, voting constantly for every measure proposed by a minister, however weak or wicked, leaves us small respect for that title. We consider it as a sort of tar-and-feather honor, or a mixture of foulness and folly, which every man among us, who should accept it from your King, would be obliged to renounce, or exchange for that conferred by the mobs of their own country, or wear it with everlasting infamy. I am, Sir, your humble servant, B. FRANKLIN.
FROM RAWLINS LOWNDES TO B. FRANKLIN.
Commodore Gillon commissioned to procure Ships of War in Europe for the State of South Carolina.
Charleston, 18 July, 1778 SIR,
The State of South Carolina, having resolved to procure three ships of war in foreign parts for the protection of their coast and trade, have intrusted that service to their Commodore, Alexander Gillon, a zealous and approved friend to the American States, who embarks for France with some other officers to manage that business.
The legislature have appropriated to this use the sum of five hundred thousand pounds currency; and goods and effects purchased here to that amount have been partly exported, and the remainder will soon be exported to France. But it is feared, that the danger of capture, the heavy charge on shipping, and the loss on the sale of our produce, will reduce the net proceeds in France considerably below the sum wanted. To guard against the disappointment that would be occasioned by these consequences, Mr. Gillon is furnished with the proper credentials to enable him, on the faith and credit of this country, to negotiate a loan in Europe sufficient to make up any deficiency that may happen in the sum granted, that he may as soon as possible carry into effect the intention of the State in procuring the said armament.
I am, therefore, in behalf of the State of South Carolina, to request the favor of your assistance and countenance to Mr. Gillon, to give weight and success to his application in a measure so interesting and of such public utility to the United States in general, and to this in particular. For which purpose I take the liberty of introducing him to your patronage and protection, and am, with the greatest respect and regard, Sir, &c. RAwlins LowNDES.”
TO JAMES LOWELL,
Proceedings relative to JMr. Deane. — Beaumarchais. – Inconvenience of maintaining several Commissioners in Europe. — War between England and France.— Difficulty of raising Loans. Passy, 22 July, 1778. SIR, I received your favor of May 15th, and was glad to find, that mine of December 25th had come to hand. Mr. Deane's brother writes it was not signed, which was an accidental omission. Mr. Deane is himself I hope with you long before this time, and I doubt not every prejudice against him is removed. It was not alone upon the proceedings of Congress, that I formed my opinion that such prejudices existed. I am glad to understand that opinion was groundless, and that he is likely to come back with honor in the commission to Holland, where matters are already so ripe for his operations, that he cannot fail (with his abilities) of being useful. You mention former letters of the Committee, by which we might have seen the apprehensions of the resentment of foreign officers, &c. Those letters never came to hand. And we, on our part, are amazed to hear, that the Committee had had no line from us for near a year, during which we had written, I believe, five or six long and particular letters, and had made it a rule to send triplicates of each, and to replace those that we happened to hear were lost, so that of some there were five copies sent; and, as I hear that Captain Young is arrived, who had some of them, I think it probable that one of each, at least, must have come to your hands before this time. Mr. Deane's information, however, may supply the want of them, whose arrival, as he went with a strong squadron of men-of-war, is more likely than that of this vessel, or any other single one by which we might send more copies. The affair with M. de Beaumarchais will be best settled by his assistance after his return. We find it recommended to us, but we know too little of it to be able to do it well without him. There has been some inaccuracy in sending us the ast despatches of the Committee. Two copies of the contract with M. Francy, and the invoices, came by the same vessel, Captain Niles. And though one of your letters mentions sending enclosed a resolution of Congress relative to two articles of the treaty, that resolution is not come to hand. There are circumstances In the affair of those articles, that make them, in my opinion, of no consequence if they stand, while the proposing to abrogate them has an unpleasing appearance, as it looks like a desire of having it in our power to make that commercial kind of war, which no honest State can begin, which no good friend or neighbour ever did or will begin, which has always been considered as an act of hostility, that provoked as well as justified reprisals, and has generally produced such as rendered the first project as unprofitable as it was unjust. Commerce among nations, as well as between priWOL. VIII. 19
* Mr. Lowndes was at this time Governor of South Carolina.
vate persons, should be fair and equitable, by equivalent exchanges and mutual supplies. The taking unfair advantages of a neighbour's necessities, though attended with temporary success, always breeds bad blood. To lay duties on a commodity exported, which our neighbours want, is a knavish attempt to get something for nothing. The statesman who first invented it had the genius of a pickpocket, and would have been a pickpocket if fortune had suitably placed him. The nations, who have practised it, have suffered fourfold, as pickpockets ought to suffer. Savoy, by a duty on exported wines, lost the trade of Switzerland, which thenceforth raised its own wine; and (to wave other instances) Britain, by her duty on exported tea, has lost the trade of her colonies. But, as we produce no commodity that is peculiar to our country, and which may not be obtained elsewhere, the discouraging the consumption of ours by duties on exportation, and thereby encouraging a rivalship from other nations in the ports we trade to, is absolute folly, which indeed is mixed more or less with all knavery. For my own part, if my protest were of any consequence, I should protest against our ever doing it, even by way of reprisal. It is a meanness with which I would not dirty the conscience or character of my country. The objections, stated against the last of the two articles, had all been made and considered here; and were sent, I imagine, from hence, by one who is of. fended, that they were not thought of weight sufficient to stop the signing of the treaty, till the King should, in another council, reconsider those articles, and, after agreeing to omit them, order new copies to be drawn, though all was then ready engrossed on parchment as before settled. I did not think the articles of much consequence; but I thought it of consequence, that no