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stances, as it is proper they should be known to Messrs. Adams and Jefferson, from whom I have not had the pleasure of hearing since their arrival at Paris; and I beg leave to solicit your and their advice for my government, having been deprived of every kind of information from Congress, since the 7th of May, 1783. M. Gardoqui is known to Mr. Adams and your Excellency, and is principally chosen by the court from a supposition, that he will be agreeable in America, from his known affection to the country and his attachment to its interest . He is a very well meaning man, and very sincerely disposed to promote and cultivate a lasting harmony between this country and ours. The choice of him, therefore, for this mission, may be considered as a proof of the good disposition of the court; which, though hurt by the silence of Congress, has manifested much attention to the objects relative to the interests of individuals of America, for which I have had occasion to have recourse to its interference.
Having no precise information of the nature of the services rendered by the South Carolina frigate, or of the sum expected for those services, I shall make it a point to procure instruction for M. Gardoqui to settle that business in America, which can be done with more despatch there than in Europe, because the Count de Galvez, now on his way to Havana, was commanderin-chief when that frigate was employed, and must be consulted from hence before any step can be taken definitely satisfactory to the State of South Carolina. Not to omit any thing that may terminate this matter to the satisfaction of the State, I shall write on the subject to the Count de Galvez, whom I have the honor to know personally, and endeavour to dispose him to render all the good offices, that may depend
on him, in the arrangement of this affair.* With very respectful compliments to Messrs. Adams and Jefferson, I have the honor to be, with high regard and much esteem, &c.
FROM COUNT DE MERCY AKGENTEAU TO B. FRANKLIN.
Passy, 28 September, 1784.
With respect to the proposition of the United States of America, that I forwarded to my court, concerning the arrangements of commerce to be adopted by the respective dominions, I have received the order, Sir, which I have the honor to communicate to you, that his Majesty, the Emperor, has agreed to the said proposition, and that he has directed the government general of the Low Countries to adopt measures to put it in execution.
When the particulars respecting this matter shall be sent to me, I shall instantly communicate them.
* The South Carolina frigate was the same that was commanded by Commodore Gillon, as heretofore mentioned. See Vol. IX. p. 54. GilIon sailed from Corunna to Teneriffe, where he remained some time, and then pursued his course for Charleston; but, while on his way, he fell in with and captured five English vessels from Jamaica laden with nun and sugar. Being blown off the coast when he approached Charleston, he took his prizes to Havana, where they were sold. The Spaniards at this time having fitted out an expedition against the English in the West Indies, Gillon joined them with his frigate, and they made a successful descent upon the Bahama Islands. For the service of the frigate in this expedition the State of South Carolina claimed an indemnity, and the American Ckargi dAffaires at the court of Madrid wa« instructed by Congress to present and support the claim. See Journal* <tf Congress, May 3d, 1784.
I avail myself of this opportunity to renew the assurances of the most perfect attachment, with which I have the honor to be, &c.
De Mercy Argenteau.
FROM ROBERT MORRIS TO B. FRANKLIN.
Settlement of the Public Accounts. — Contingent Fund.
Offico of Finance, 30 September, 1784.
This is rather a late day to acknowledge your favors of the 25th of December and 15th of June last, but I have always intended in my acknowledgment of them to close our public correspondence, and I have always been disappointed in my expectation of being able speedily to quit this office. That period, however, so ardently desired, is at length nearly arrived, and, while I look back at the cares and dangers past, I feel an increased emotion of joy by a comparison with future hopes and expectations. But I cannot view the past scene without strong feelings of gratitude and respect for the able and active efforts you have made to support the finances of this country. I would to God, that your just sentiments on property and taxation were as fully felt as they must be clearly understood in America; but time is necessary to mellow the judgment of a country as well as of a man. Happy indeed shall we be, if it produce that effect among us.
I am much obliged by your explanation of M. Chaumont's accounts. These, as well as the other accounts, are lodged at the treasury, which is the most proper place for both. If any insinuations have been made injurious to you, in connexion with Chaumont, they have not reached me, and I am persuaded that none such can make any impressions, which ought to give you pain.
I have not remitted bills for the salaries of the foreign ministers, because, the resolutions of Congress having varied, and Mr. Grand having informed me that he should pay them, I have left it as an account unsettled, to be arranged by Mr. Barclay; and, as I cannot doubt that the attachments will have been taken ofl", and as I have given Mr. Grand a credit on the commissioners of the loan in Holland for four hundred thousand livres, and directed Messrs. Le Couteulx to pay over to him a balance in their hands, I have no doubt that he will be in cash for the purpose. I agree with you, that a fund ought to be set apart for contingencies, and, had I continued and been supported in administration, such a fund should certainly have been provided. I am at the same time an enemy to contingent.accounts, and therefore I should have urged the ascertainment of every allowance, as far as possible, thereby curtailing the account of contingencies; but, after all, it cannot be annihilated. Congress have made no determination on this subject. Indeed, it is very difficult, and even almost disreputable for them to make arrangements of expenditure, while the means of expenditure are so shamefully withheld by their constituents. These things, however, will mend; at least I hope so.
I have already said, that I expected the attachments laid on the public goods would be discharged. Your letter to the Count de Vergennes on that subject is perfect; and, if that minister did not immediately obtain a compliance with your request, I presume it must have been occasioned by some circumstances purely domestic, which we in this country cannot guess at; for certainly nothing can be more astonishing, than to find a subject countenanced in arresting the property of a sovereign power in this enlightened age, and in the country which of all others has been most eminent for a sacred regard to the rights of nations.
From your last letters to your friends, I find that your return to this country is somewhat doubtful . I am therefore disappointed in one of the great pleasures which I had promised myself. But, Sir, in whatever country you may be, and whether in public or in private life, be assured of my warmest and most respectful esteem, and that my best wishes for your happiness shall be clothed with the utmost efforts in my power to promote it on every proper occasion. I am, with sincere regard, &.c.
TO CHARLES THOMSON.
Pasay, 16 October, 1784.
It was intended by the Commissioners to write a joint letter to Congress, but I am afraid the opportunity may be missed. This may serve to inform you, that propositions of treating have been made by us to all the powers of Europe according to our instructions, and we are waiting for their answers. There are apprehensions here of a war between the Emperor and Holland; but, as the season is not proper for opening a campaign, I hope the winter will give time for mediators to accommodate matters. We have not yet heard that Mr. Jay has accepted the secretaryship of foreign affairs. I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,
Vol. x. 19 M