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the interest in hard money for the most part unnecessary, provided always that the quantity of principal be not excessive.
A great clamor has lately been made here by some merchants, who say, they have large sums in their hands of paper money in America, and that they are ruined by some resolution of Congress, which reduces its value to one part in forty. As I have had no letter explaining this matter, I have only been able to say, that it is probably misunderstood, and that I am confident the Congress have not done, nor will do, any thing unjust towards strangers, who have given us credit. I have indeed been almost ready to complain, that I hear so little and so seldom from Congress, or from the Committee of Correspondence; but I know the difficulty of communication, and the frequent interruption it meets in this time of war. I have not yet received a line this year, and the letters written by the Confederacy, as I suppose some must have been written by her, have not yet come to hand.
I mentioned in a former letter, my having communicated to Mr. Johnson of Nantes, the order of Congress appointing him to examine the account, and his acceptance of the appointment. Nothing, however, has yet been done in pursuance of it; for, Mr. Deane having written that he might be expected here by the middle of March, and as his presence would be very useful in explaining the mercantile transactions, I have waited his arrival to request Mr. Johnson's coming to Paris, that his detention here from his affairs at Nantes might be as short as possible. Mr. Deane has not yet come; but, as we have heard of the arrival of the Fendant in Martinique, in which ship he took his passage, we imagine he may be here in some of the first ships from that island.
about twenty thousand pounds sterling to discharge his first accounts, which he was to replace as soon as he received remittances from the Committee of Commerce. This has not been done, and he now demands another nearly equal sum, urging as before, that the credit of the States as well as his own will be hurt by my refusal.
* Mr. Bingham too complains of me for refusing some 'of his drafts, as very hurtful to his credit, though he owns he had no orders from Congress to authorize those drafts. I never undertook to provide for more than the payment of the interest bills of the first loan. The Congress have drawn on me very considerably for other purposes, which has sometimes greatly embarrassed me, but I have duly accepted and found means to pay their drafts ; so that their credit in Europe has been well supported. But, if every agent of Congress in different parts of the world is permitted to run ir debt, and draw upon me at pleasure to support hi credit, under the idea of its being necessary to do s for the honor of Congress, the difficulty upon me w be too great, and I may in fine be obliged to prot the interest bills. I therefore beg that a stop may put to such irregular proceedings.
Had the loans proposed to be made in Europe ceeded, these practices might not have been so in venient; but the number of agents from separate S running all over Europe, and asking to borrow m has given such an idea of our distress and pc as makes everybody afraid to trust us. I am pleased to find, that Congress has at length re to borrow of our own people, by making their bills bear interest. This interest duly paid in money, to such as require hard money, will value of the principal, and even make the payı
the interest in hard m y bir tha intrat fant une sary, provided always that the quantity. A joined Dot excessive.
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The medal for M. de Fleury is done and delivered to his order, he being absent; I shall get the others prepared as soon as possible, by the same hand, if I cannot find a cheaper equally good, which I am now inquiring after. Two thousand livres appear to me a great sum for the work.
With my last I sent a copy of my memorial to the court of Denmark. I have since received an answer from the minister of that court for foreign affairs, a copy of which I enclose. It referred me to the Danish minister here, with whom I have had a conference on the subject. He was full of professions of the good will of his court to the United States, and would excuse the delivery of our prizes to the English, as done in conformity to treaties, which it was necessary to observe. He had not the treaty to show me, and I have not been able to find such a treaty on inquiry. After my memorial, our people left at Bergen were treated with the greatest kindness by an order from court, their expenses during the winter that they had been detained there all paid, necessaries furnished to them for their voyage to Dunkirk, and a passage thither found for them all at the King's expense. I have not dropped the application for a restitution, but shall continue to push it, not without some hopes of success. I wish, however, to receive instructions relating to it, and I think a letter from Congress to that court might forward the business; for I believe they are sensible they have done wrong, and are apprehensive of the inconveniences that may follow. With this I send the protests taken at Bergen against the proceeding.
The Alliance, in her last cruise, met with and sent to America a Dutch ship, supposed to have on board an English cargo. The owners have made application to me. I have assured them, that they might depend on the justice of our courts, and that, if they could prove their property there, it would be restored. M. Dumas has written to me about it. I enclose his letter, and wish despatch may be given to the business, as well to prevent the inconveniences of a misunderstanding with Holland, as for the sake of justice. A ship of that nation has been brought in here by the Black Prince, having an English cargo. I consulted with Messrs. Adams and Dana, who informed me, that it was an established rule with us in such cases to confiscate the cargo, but to release the ship, paying her freight, &c. This I have accordingly ordered in the case of this ship, and hope it may be satisfactory. But it is a critical time with respect to such cases; for, whatever may formerly have been the law of nations, all the neutral powers at the instance of Russia seem at present disposed to change it, and to enforce the rule that free ships shall make free goods, except in the case of contraband. Denmark, Sweden, and Holland have already acceded to the proposition, and Portugal is expected to follow. France and Spain, in their answers, have also expressed their approbation of it. I have, therefore, instructed our privateers to bring in no more neutral ships, as such prizes occasion much litigation, and create ill blood. The Alliance, Captain Landais, took two Swedes in coming hither, who demand of us for damages, one upward of sixty thousand livres, and the other near five hundred pounds sterling; and I cannot well see how the demand is to be settled. In the newspapers that I send, the Congress will see authentic pieces expressing the sense of the European powers on the subject of neutral navigation. I hope to receive the sense of Congress for my future government, and for