Abbildungen der Seite

orders of the Count d'Estaing. The abilities of this commander, his bravery, and zeal for our common cause, are indisputably great. No man could have done more in his situation, than he has done. He was unfortunate in the weather he met with, which greatly delayed his passage to these seas, gave an opportunity to the British navy and army to escape from Philadelphia, snatched a victory from him off Rhode Island, and put his fleet in such a condition, that he was indispensably obliged to leave that place at a critical time, which occasioned reflections from some, that were unmerited. He bore all with a manly patience and uncommon prudence. I admired his firmness, silence, and condescension. He relied on the proofs he had given of attachment to our cause, and of the capacity and undauntedness with which he had prosecuted the service upon which he was sent.

phia, October 30th, 1778. Speaking of the return of the Marquis de Lafayette to France, he says;

"No one but himself has known how to reconcile the clashing parties of this continent to his own views. By this you may judge not only of his amiable character, but of his discretion. The resolves and letters of Congress in his favor will show you their sense of his merit, and I do assure you, that the sentiments of the people at large, and of the army, are the same. These public testimonies being extremely agreeable to him, I hope you will pardon the liberty I take, as his friend, of hinting to you what a satisfaction it will be to his noble family, that the ministry should be acquainted by you, rather than any one else, of the opinion entertained of him here; for which reason, may it not be proper to put the resolves and letters into the hands of the ministry instantly on the receipt of them, and before the Marquis makes his appearance at Versailles?

"I am sure all the consequence he can derive from the influence of his family, or from his own merit, will be exerted for our interests, because he thinks them blended with those of his nation; and I know, that personally he ardently desires to cultivate your friendship and to merit your esteem. He will inform you of the parties in our Congress, and in our army; parties, which, at another time, might have been fatal, and are now dangerous. There are seeds of great evils scattered abroad, and I am much afraid that there are some among us, who would ape Cromwell if they could disgust our Fairfax so much as to make him seek retirement; and, to effect this, no endeavours are wanting of those, who arc his enemies and the enemies of every one, who is an obstacle to the gratification of their private ambition."

Mr. Carmichael here alludes to the cabal against General Washington. See Washington's Writings, Vol. I. p. 266; Vol. V. pp. 483-518. For the resolves and letters of Congress, respecting General Lafayette see also Vol. VI. pp. 501-507.

The account he gave of the reasons for coming to Boston with his fleet, before the Council of this State, not only satisfied that body, but gave them a high idea of his merits as a commander. The prejudices of a few soon vanished, which had been raised by an honest but indiscreet warmth in some officers employed in the expedition against Rhode Island. His officers imitated their commander in preserving the best order through the fleet during their residence here; everybody admired the peaceable, inoffensive, courteous behaviour of such a number of men, and the Count left us on the 4th of November last, with the strongest impressions of esteem and affection for him, of the friendship of his court and nation for us, and of the superior order and civility prevailing in the French forces. He is gone, it is conjectured (for nobody pretends to know), for the West Indies. We hope, if the war continues, to see him in the spring, and that Canada will be wrested from the British power. This may be easily done by a joint invasion by sea and land, provided our finances will allow us to support an army; but the depreciation of our money is so great, that I fear our inability to do this, unless we have assistance and can procure loans from abroad. If such a plan of operations is adopted, France must give us the most unequivocal assurances, that she means not to resume the government of Canada, but to incorporate it with the United States. This is her true interest, and is so agreeable to the principles and basis of the alliance, that I have not the least doubt she intends it, and it will only be needful to make known her intentions in the most explicit manner, at least to us.*

It gives me great pleasure to hear of the continuance of your health and vivacity. Though it is long since I have had the pleasure of a line from you, I am sure you do not forget one, who is, with the greatest respect and the warmest friendship, ever yours,

Samuel Cooper.


Financial Jffairs of the United States in Europe.

Passy, 4 January, 1779.

Sir, Your intimation, that you expect more money from us, obliges us to expose to you our circumstances. Upon the supposition, that Congress had borrowed in America but five millions of dollars, or twenty-five millions of livres, and relying on the remittances intended to be sent to us, for answering other demands, we gave expectations that we should be able to pay here the interest of that sum, as a means of supporting the credit of the currency. The Congress have borrowed near twice that sum, and are now actually drawing on us for the interest, the bills appearing here daily for acceptance. Their distress for money in America has been so great, from the enormous expense of the war, that they have also been induced to draw on us for very large sums, to stop other pressing demands; and they have not been able to purchase remittances for us to the extent they proposed; and, of what they have sent, much has been taken or treacherously carried into England; only two small cargoes of tobacco having arrived, and they are long since mortgaged to the Farmers General, so that they produce us nothing, but leave us expenses to pay.

* Concerning this proposed Canada expedition, see Sparks's Life of Washington, 2d ed. p. 287.

f This letter was written by Dr. Franklin, but intended to be signed by the Commissioners jointly. On the back of the manuscript is the following endorsement. "Rough draft of a proposed letter in answer to one from Mr. Izard to the Commissioners, dated January 2d." As it is here called the draft of a proposed letter, it may possibly never have been sent

The Continental vessels of war, which come to France, have likewise required great sums of us, to furnish or refit them, and supply the men with necessaries. The prisoners, too, who escape from England, claim a very expensive assistance from us, and are much dissatisfied with the scanty allowance we are able to afford them. The interest bills above mentioned, of the drawing of which we have received notice, amount to two millions and a half, and we have not a fifth part of the sum in our banker's hands to answer them. And large orders to us from Congress for supplies of clothing, arms, and ammunition, remain uncomplied with for want of money.

In this situation of our affairs, we hope you will not insist on our giving you a farther credit with our banker, with whom we are daily in danger of having no farther credit ourselves. It is not a year since you received from us the sum of two thousand guineas, which you thought necessary on account of your being to set out immediately for Florence. You have not incurred the expense of that journey. You are a gentleman of fortune. You did not come to France with any dependence on being maintained here with your family at the expense of the United States, in the time of their distress, and without rendering them the equivalent service they expected.

On all these considerations we should rather hope, that you would be willing to reimburse us the sum we have advanced to you, if it may be done with any possible convenience to your affairs. Such a supply would at least enable us to relieve more liberally our unfortunate countrymen, who have long been prisoners, stripped of every thing, of whom we daily expect to have near three hundred upon our hands by the exchange. We have the honor to be, &c.


Money advanced to Mr. Izard and Mr. Lee.

Passy, 15 January, 1779.


It being undoubtedly our duty to give the clearest account to Congress of the disbursement of their money intrusted to us; and as I apprehend our advancing to Mr. William Lee and Mr. Ralph Izard so large a sum as four thousand guineas at once, in February, 1778, without any order of Congress for so doing, and at a time when money was much wanted to fulfil their actual orders in the purchase of arms, &c, may subject the Commissioners to censure, I think it right and necessary to relate the circumstances, that they may be communicated to our constituents.

Those gentlemen, then, having represented to Mr. Deane, Mr. Lee, and myself, that, though they had received commissions to go and reside at the courts of Berlin, Vienna, and Florence, no provision had arrived for their subsistence; that they were nearly ready to set out for their respective destinations, but wanted

« ZurückWeiter »