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ment I can justify placing confidence, and am not without hopes of succeeding in some measure; but I have not as yet been able to obtain any money, nor any certainty of obtaining any in future. I write this, therefore, to your Excellency, that, if you could see your way clear to become responsible for these bills for the present, I will engage to see them paid with the money I may borrow here, if I borrow enough before the term for their payment expires, or as much of them as I shall be able to borrow; but in this case, if I should not succeed in obtaining the money, your Excellency will be answerable. I should be sorry that the credit of the United States should suffer any stain, and would prevent it if I could ; but at present it is not in my power.
The successes of the English at the southward, added to the many causes that obstructed our credit in this republic before, some of which it would not be prudent to explain, will render a loan here difficult; but I still hope not quite impracticable. I have the honor to be, &c.
To SIR GREY COOPER, SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY OF GREAT BRITAIN.
Requesting Relief for JMr. Laurens, Prisoner in
I understand that Mr. Laurens, an American gentleman, for whom I have a great esteem, is a prisoner m the Tower, and that his health suffers by the closeness and rigor of his confinement. As I do not think
that your affairs receive any advantage from the harshness of this proceeding, I take the freedom of requesting your kind interposition, to obtain for him such a degree of air and liberty, on his parole or otherwise, as may be necessary for his health and comfort. The fortune of war, which is daily changing, may possibly put it in my power to do the like good office for some friend of yours, which I shall perform with much pleasure, not only for the sake of humanity, but in respect to the ashes of our former friendship. With great regard, I have the honor to be, &c. B. FRANKLIN.
FROM COUNT DE VERGENNES TO B. FRANKLIN.
Versailles, 26 November, 1780. SIR,
I have received the letter, which you did me the honor to write me on the 19th instant, and with it the resolutions of Congress, ordering drafts upon you to the amount of about one million four hundred thousand livres. You can easily imagine my astonishment at your request of the necessary funds to meet these drafts, since you perfectly well know the extraordinary efforts, which I have made thus far to assist you, and to support your credit; and especially since you cannot have forgotten the demands you lately made upon me. Nevertheless, Sir, I am very desirous of assisting you out of the embarrassed situation in which these repeated drafts of Congress have placed you; and for this purpose I shall endeavour to procure for you, for the next year, the same aid that I have been able to furnish in the course of the present. I cannot but believe, Sir, that Congress will faithfully abide by what it now promises you, that in future no drafts shall be made upon you, unless the necessary funds are sent to meet them. I have the honor to be, Sir, with great sincerity, &c.
FROM CHARLEs verNoN, LIEUTENANT-Gover Nor OF THE Tow ER of LoNDoN, To siR GREY cooper.
JMr. Laurens's Treatment in the Tower.
Hampstead, 27 November, 1780. DEAR SIR,
I am much ashamed to think, that I shall appear so dilatory in answering the favor of your letter; but the truth is, I was not in town when the messenger left it in Cork Street, and by the neglect of my servants I received it only on Sunday last. I went immediately to the Tower, to know from Mr. Laurens himself, if he had any cause of complaint, and if he had availed himself of the indulgence allowed him by the secretary of state, of walking within the Tower whenever it was agreeable to himself. His answer to me was full and frank to the questions, that he had received every reasonable indulgence since his confinement, and that, by the liberty allowed him of walking, ne found his health much mended. He said, at the same time, that he had always thought himself highly honored by the distinguished place of his confinement, and regretted much it was not in his power to make known to all the world the acknowledgments he had more than once made to me upon this subject.
I beg you will do me the favor to communicate these particulars to Lord George Germain as soon as convenient. I have the honor to be, dear Sir, &c. CHARLEs VERNoN.”
FROM SIR GREY COOPER TO B. FRANKLIN. London, 29 November, 1780. SIR, I have received the honor of your letter, in which you acquainted me, that you understood that the health of Mr. Laurens suffered by the closeness and rigor of his confinement in the Tower; and, after complaining of the harshness of the proceeding, you request me to endeavour to obtain for Mr. Laurens such a degree of air and liberty, as may be necessary for his health and comfort. The enclosed letter, which I received from the lieutenant-governor of the Tower, will show that I have not been inattentive to your request, and at the same time prove, that the intelligence you receive of what passes in this country, is not always to be depended on for its accuracy and correctness. I have
the honor to be, &c. GREY Cooper.
* The tenor of the foregoing does not quadrate with the sentiments expressed by Mr. Laurens, about a year afterwards, in his petition to the House of Commons, written by himself in the Tower, with a black lead pencil, on a blank leaf of an octavo book, and privately conveyed to Mr. Burke, who presented it in that state to the House. In this petition, dated December 7th, 1781, he expressly states; “That he was captured on the American coast, and committed to the Tower on the 6th of October, 1780, being then dangerously ill; that in the mean time he has in many respects, particularly by being deprived (with very little exception) of the visits and consolations of his children and other relations and friends, suffered under a degree of rigor, almost, if not altogether, unexampled in modern British History. That, from long confinement and the want of proper exercise, and other obvious causes, his bodily health is greatly impaired, and that he is now in a languishing state,” &c. See Annual Register for 1781, p. 322. – W. T. F.
FROM JOHN ADAMS TO B. FRANKLIN.
.Affairs in Holland. Amsterdam, 30 November, 1780. SIR, I was duly honored with your letter of the 8th of October by Mr. Searle. I thank you, Sir, for enclosing the resolution of Congress respecting my salary and Mr. Dana's. I wish I could see a prospect of relieving you from this burden, as well as that of the bills of exchange drawn upon Mr. Laurens; but at present there is not a prospect of obtaining a shilling. What turn affairs may take, it is impossible to foresee. Some gentlemen tell me, that a few months, or indeed weeks, may produce events which will open the purses to me; but I think that our want of credit here is owing to causes, that are more permanent. I never had any just idea of this country until I came here; if, indeed, I have now. I have received money of the House of Horneca, Fizeau, and Grand, on account of Mr. F. Grand of Paris, for my subsistence; and, if you have no objection, I will continue in this way. Mr. Searle's conversation is a cordial to me. He gives a charming, sanguine representation of our affairs, such as I am very well disposed to believe, and such as I should give myself, if interrogated, according to the best of my knowledge. But we have a hard conflict to go through yet. The correspondence, you mention, between his Excellency the Count de Vergennes and me, I transmitted regularly to Congress in the season of it from Paris, and other copies since my arrival in Amsterdam, both without any comments. The letter I mentioned, I believe was from your