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FROM GIACOMO F. CROCCO TO B. FRANKLIN.
Cadiz, 25 November, 1783. SIR, On the 15th of July last, I had the honor to acquaint your Excellency of my arrival in Europe, and that I was appointed by his Majesty, the Emperor of Morocco, bearer of the answer to the Congress, Sovereign of the Thirteen United States of North America, and that, according to my instructions, I was to meet at Paris the ambassador, that would be appointed by the Congress, to sign at the Court of Morocco the treaty of peace and commerce, agreeably to the proposals made to his Imperial Majesty, by Robert Montgomery, in his letter dated at Alicant, the 4th of January, 1783. Since I have been at the court of Madrid, where I had some commissions from the Emperor, and to see the execution of them, I came to this place, from whence I intend to embark in three or four months for Barbary, unless in the mean time I should receive an answer from your Excellency, with orders, that Mr. Richard Harrison should give me for my travelling charges fifteen hundred hard dollars, although the courts of Europe are accustomed to allow the ministers of my master at the rate of ten pounds sterling per day, while they are in Europe, to defray their expenses, besides presents for their good offices in those important affairs.
His Imperial Majesty was graciously pleased at my solicitation to agree, at the request of Congress, to grant them a treaty of peace (which other powers in Europe could not obtain but after many years), and my return, without the full execution of his commands, I apprehend may for ever indispose him against the United Provinces. I remain most truly, Sir, &c.
GIACOMO F. Crocco.
FROM SIR JOSEPH BANKS TO B. FRANKLIN.
Ascent of a Balloon.
Soho Square, 28 November, 1783. DEAR SIR, I am in truth much indebted to you for the favor you have done me in transmitting the copy of the proces verbal on Montgolfier's experiment, which I have this moment received. The experiment becomes now interesting in no small degree. I laughed when balloons, of scarce more importance than soap bubbles, occupied the attention of France; but when men can with safety pass and do pass more than five miles in the first experiment, I begin to fancy that I espy the hand of the master in the education of the infant of knowledge, which so speedily attains such a degree of maturity, and do not scruple to guess that my old friend, who used to assist me when I was younger, has had some share in the success of this enterprise.
On Tuesday last a miserable taffeta balloon was let loose here under the direction of a Mr. Zambeccari, an Italian nobleman, as I hear. It was ten feet in diameter, and filled with inflammable air made from the filings of iron and vitriolic acid. The silk was oiled, the seams covered with tar, and the outside gilt. It had been shown for several days floating about in a public room, at a shilling for the sight, and half a crown for the admission when it should be let loose.
The day was fine; the wind a gentle breeze from the north. At a few minutes after one o'clock it set out, and before night fell at a small village near Petworth in Sussex, having run over about forty-eight miles of country. The countryman, who first saw it, observed it in its descent. It appeared at first small, and,
increasing fast, surprised him so much that he ran away. He returned, however, and found it burst by the expansion of the contained fluid.
I wish I had somewhat more interesting to tell you of, but I am this moment risen from the dinner, which I annually give to the auditors of the treasurer's account. I would not delay my thanks to you, and I trust you will make some allowance for the effects of the festivities of the day, which have, I fear, cramped my accuracy; but I can assure you they have not diminished the real gratitude, with which I declare myself your obliged and faithful servant,
TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.
Proposed Treaty with Morocco.
Passy, 15 December, 1783 3+ MY DEAR FRIEND,
I am much concerned to find by your letter to my grandson, that you are hurt by my long silence, and that you ascribe it to a supposed diminution of my friendship. Believe me, that is by no means the case; but I am too much harassed by a variety of correspondence, together with gout and gravel, which induce me to postpone doing what I often fully intend to do, and particularly writing, where the urgent necessity of business does not seem to require its being done immediately, my sitting too much at the desk having already almost killed me; besides, since Mr. Jay's residence here, I imagined he might keep you fully informed of what was material for you to know; and I beg you to be assured of my constant and sincere esteem and affection.
I do not know whether you have been informed, that a Mr. Montgomery, who lives at Alicant, took upon himself (for I think he had no authority) to make overtures last winter, in behalf of our States, towards a treaty with the Emperor of Morocco. In consequence of his proceedings I received a letter in August from a person, who acquainted me, that he was arrived in Spain by the Emperor's order, and was to come to Paris, there to receive and conduct to Morocco the minister of Congress appointed to make that treaty, intimating at the same time an expectation of money to defray his expenses. I communicated the letter to Mr. Jay. The conduct of Mr. Montgomery appeared to us very extraordinary and irregular; and the idea of a messenger from Morocco coming to Paris to meet and conduct a minister of Congress, appearing absurd and extravagant, as well as the demand of money by a person unknown, I made no answer to the letter; and I know not whether Mr. Jay made any to Mr. Montgomery, who wrote about the same time. But I have lately received another letter from the same person, a copy of which I enclose, together with my answer open for your perusal, and it is submitted to your discretion whether to forward it or not. The Mr. Crocco, who writes to me, having been, as he says, at Madrid, you possibly may know more of him than I can, and judge whether he is really a person in credit with the Emperor, and sent as he pretends to be, or not rather an Escroc, as the French call cheats and impostors.
I would not be wanting in any thing proper for me to do towards keeping that Prince in good humor with us, till the pleasure of Congress is known, and therefore would answer Mr. Crocco, if he be in his employ; but am loth to commit myself in correspondence with a fripon. It will be strange, if, being at Madrid, he did not address himself to you. With great and unalterable regard, I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,
TO GIACOMO FRANCESCO CROCCO.
Paris, 15 December, 1783.
I have just received the letter you did me the honor of writing to me the 25th past. I did indeed receive your former letter of July, but, being totally a stranger to the mentioned proceedings of Mr. Montgomery, and having no orders from Congress on the subject, I knew not how to give you any satisfactory answer, till I should receive further information; and I communicated your letter to Mr. Jay, minister of the United States for Spain, in whose district Mr. Montgomery is, and who is more at hand than I am for commencing that negotiation.
Mr. Jay, who is at present in England, has possibly written to you, though his letter may have miscarried, to acquaint you, that Mr. Montgomery had probably no authority from Congress to take the step he has done, and that it was not likely, that they, desiring to make a treaty with the Emperor, would think of putting his Majesty to the trouble of sending a person to Paris to receive and conduct their minister, since they have ships, and could easily land him at Cadiz, or present him at one of the Emperor's ports. We have, however, written to Congress, acquainting them with what we had been informed of, the good and favorable disposition of his Imperial Majesty to enter into a treaty of amity and commerce with the United States; and