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Excellency to M. Dumas, who informs me, that there has been none to the Grand Pensionary, but the one which your Excellency wrote when I was at Passy, which I remember very well. The republic, it is said, for it is hard to come at the truth, have on the one hand acceded to the armed neutrality, and on the other have disavowed the conduct of Amsterdam. This, it is hoped, will appease all nations for the present, and it may for what I know. We shall see. I should be the less surprised at Great Britain's treating the United Provinces like an English colony, if I did not every day hear the language and sentiments of English colonists. But, if she treats all her colonies with equal tyranny, it may make them all in time equally independent.
A gentleman here has received a commission from England, to hire as many vessels as he possibly can, to carry troops to America. This I have certain information of. It is also given out, that Sir Joseph Yorke has demanded and obtained permission of the States to do it; but this, I believe, is an English report. It is also said, that the burgomasters of the city have signified abroad, that it would be disagreeable, if anybody should hire the ships. But this may be only bruit. It shows the English want of shipping, their intention to send troops, and their cunning to get away from this nation both their ships and seamen. I have the honor to be, &c.
TO JAMES LOVELL.
Embarrassed with the numerous Drafts from
Passy, 2 December, 1780.
I duly received your several favors of August the 15th and September the 7th, with the resolves of Congress for drawing on me bills extraordinary, to the amount of near three hundred thousand dollars. To keep up the credit of Congress, I had already engaged for those drawn on Mr. Laurens. You cannot conceive how much these things perplex and distress me; for, the practice of this government being yearly to apportion the revenue to the several expected services, any after demands made, which the treasury is not furnished to supply, meet with great difficulty, and are very disagreeable to the ministers. To enable me to look these drafts in the face, I have agreed to a proposal contained in the enclosed letter to the President, of furnishing provisions to the King's forces in America, which proposal I hope will be approved and executed, and that the Congress will strictly comply with the assurance you have given me, not to draw on me any more without first knowing that they have funds in my hands.
I wrote to you more fully by Captain Jones. He sailed some time since, in the Ariel, but met with a severe storm, that entirely dismasted him, and obliged him to put back for France. He has been long refitting, but will sail again soon. Every thing goes well here. With great esteem, &c.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Advisable to furnish the French Troops with Provisions in America.
Passy, 2 December, 1780.
The many mutual advantages, that must arise from carrying into execution the proposition already communicated to Congress, of furnishing provisions to the King's forces in America, to be paid for here, have, I make no doubt, already induced them to begin that operation. But, as the proposition has lately been renewed to me, on occasion of my requesting further aids of money, to answer the unexpected drafts drawn upon me, ordered by the resolutions of May and August last, which drafts it is absolutely necessary I should find funds to pay; and as the Congress have long desired to have the means of forming funds in Europe, and an easier, cheaper, and safer method cannot possibly be contrived; and as I see, by the Journals of February, that the several States were to furnish provisions in quantities, instead of supplies in money, whereby much will be in the disposition of Congress; I flatter myself that they will not disapprove of my engaging in their behalf with the minister of the finances here, that they will cause to be delivered for the King's land and sea forces in North America such provisions, as may be wanted from time to time, to the amount of four hundred thousand dollars, the said provisions to be furnished at the current prices, for which they might be bought with silver specie.
I have constantly done my utmost to support the credit of Congress, by procuring wherewith punctually to pay all their drafts, and I have no doubt of their care to support mine in this instance by fulfilling honorably my engagement; in which case, receipts in due form should be taken of the person to whom the provisions are delivered in the several States, and those receipts sent to me here. With great respect, &c.
P. S. This value, four hundred thousand dollars, is to be considered as exclusive of any provisions already furnished; but the receipts for those should also be sent me, if not paid for there.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
. in CUM,
Captivity of Mr. Laurens. — Memorial of Sir Joseph Yorke. — Delays in sending Supplies. — Portuguese Ship captured by an American Cruiser.
Passy, 3 December, 1780.
I duly received the letter your Excellency did me the honor of writing to me on the 12th of July past, by Mr. Searle, and have paid the bills drawn on me by order of Congress, in favor of the President and Council of Pennsylvania, for one thousand pounds sterling, which were presented by him. He is at present in Holland.
The news of Mr. Laurens having been taken must have reached you long since; he is confined in the Tower, but of late has some more liberty for taking air and exercise than first was allowed him. Certain papers found with him relating to the drafts of a treaty proposed in Holland, have been sent over to the Stadtholder, who laid them before their High Mightinesses, who communicated them to the government of the city of Amsterdam, which justified the transaction. This has drawn from England a memorial, delivered by Sir Joseph Yorke, demanding, that the Pensionary and magistrates of that city should be punished, and declaring, that the King will resent a refusal of the States to comply with this demand. What answer will be given to this insolent memorial, we do not yet know. But I hear it has produced much displeasure in Holland; and it is thought to have occasioned a more prompt accession to the armed neutrality, which had before met with obstructions from the English party there. We have met with a variety of unaccountable delays and difficulties in the affair of shipping the clothing and stores. The Alliance went away without taking her part. The Ariel sailed, but met a storm at sea, that dismasted her, and obliged her to return to France. She is nearly again ready to sail. Mr. Ross, with his cargo of clothes in the Duke of Leinster, sailed under convoy of the Ariel, but did not return with her, and I hope may get safe to America. The great ship we hired to come to L'Orient, and take in the rest of what we had to send, has been long unexpectedly detained at Bordeaux. I am afraid the army has suffered for want of the clothes; but it has been as impossible for me to avoid, as it was to foresee, these delays. The late minister of the marine here, M. de Sartine, is removed, and his place supplied by M. le Marquis de Castries. But this change does not affect the general system of the court, which continues favorable to us. I have received a copy of the resolutions of Congress of the 19th of May, and the 9th, 15th, 23d, and 30th of August, directing bills to be drawn on me for near three hundred thousand dollars. I shall accept