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TO CHARLES THOMSON.
Treaty of Peace. — British Ministry. — Public Funds. — French Mliance. — Treaties with Foreign Powers.
Paasy, 16 April, 1784.
I received your kind letter by Colonel Harmar, and Lieutenant-Colonel Franks, with the despatches, in good order; triplicates of which are since come to hand. You will see by our letter to the President, that we daily expect Mr. Hartley from London, with the British ratification to exchange with us. There was no difficulty occasioned by the lapse of the term.
I send you, herewith, four packets of newspapers, by which you will be informed of the confusions that have reigned all winter in England, and the probability of their being finished by the choice of a new Parliament, in which the present ministry will have a great majority. The newspapers are directed for the President. You are good in excusing the trouble I have given you with so many little affairs and inquiries, and enabling me to give some answer to the persons who make them. I am pestered continually with such matters.
I am happy in learning from you, that a disposition begins to prevail in the States, to comply with the requisitions of Congress, and to grant funds for the regular payment of the interest, and discharge of the principal, of the debts contracted by the war. Punctuality and exact justice will contribute more to our reputation, and, of course, to our strength, than people generally imagine. Without those virtues, we shall find it difficult, in case of another war, to obtain either friends or money; and a reliance on that may encourage and hasten another attack upon us. Gratitude to our former benefactors is another point we should seize every opportunity of demonstrating. I place, with you, much confidence in the good sense of our countrymen; and thence I hope, that the endeavours of some persons on both sides of the water, to sow jealousies and suspicions, and create misunderstandings between France and us, will be ineffectual. A commission from Congress for a commercial treaty with Britain has long been expected. If the intention of sending such a commissioner is not changed, I wish it may arrive before Mr. Laurens leaves us, who has a more perfect knowledge of the subject than any of us, and might be greatly useful. A minister from Denmark has been waiting in Paris all winter for the result of Congress on the proposed treaty, a plan of which was long since sent, as also one for a treaty with Portugal. I hope, by the return of the Washington packet, we may receive some directions respecting them. I am, with sincere and great esteem, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,
TO CHARLES THOMSON.
Projects and Plans by Persons in Europe for the Consideration of Congress. — King of Sweden.
Passy, 14 June, 1784.
I received yours of April 19th, with the information you obtained from our old neighbour, Reuben Haines, respecting Marggrander, for which I thank you. I am much pestered with applications to make such inquiries, and often obliged to promise that I will transmit them; but I would not wish you to take more trouble, than to ask questions of the members of Con
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gress, or others that fall in your way, and communicate to me their answers, if of any importance. I have also multitudes of projects sent to me, with requests that I would lay them before Congress. They are plans and schemes of governments, legislation, education, defence, manufactures, commerce, &c, formed by people who have great good will to us, but are totally ignorant of our affairs and circumstances; whence their projects are, for the most part, wild and impracticable, or unfit to be presented to Congress, as not pertaining to their jurisdiction. I have therefore not forwarded them; but now and then send some of them for your amusement, if you should have any leisure, that you may see how people make shoes for feet they have never measured.
As your letter mentions nothing of public affairs, I imagined I might have had, by the same conveyance, some despatches from Congress, perhaps in the care of some passenger; but a fortnight has passed since the arrival of the packet-boat, and no letters appear; so that I have nothing from Congress later than the 14th of January, and continue in great uncertainty as to my return.
Mr. Norris came here, after residing some time at Liege. He stayed but a week or two at Paris, and then removed to a country town not far distant, where nothing but French is spoken, in order to improve himself in that language. He seems a sensible, discreet young man, and I shall with pleasure render him any service that may be in my power.
The King of Sweden is now at this court, enjoying the various splendid entertainments provided for him. The Danish minister is astonished, that the Congress are so long without taking any notice of the proposed
treaty. With great esteem, I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately, B. Franklin.
TO CHARLES THOMSON.*
Respecting a Million of Livres in the Account of the American Banker in France.
Philadelphia, 18 June, 1786.
I received in its time your favor of the 15th past, with an extract from the contract made at Versailles, February 21st, 1783. This extract being a translation, I have spent some time in searching for a copy. I supposed I might have the original, but have not yet met with it, and will now no longer delay my answer, which is, that, if the translation be just, and the original really mentions three millions, as given before the treaty of 1778, it has either been a mistake of one million, or the million received from the Farmers-General is included, as a don gratuit of the King; in which latter case, as you observe, they owe us for the tobacco received, in part. For I think it a certainty, that no money was received from the crown, which did not go directly into the hands of Mr. Grand; and, though he accounts for three millions received before 1778, one of them is the million received of the Farmers- General.
An explanation and adjustment of this matter may, I make no doubt, be easily obtained by writing to Mr. Grand and Mr. Jefferson. There can be no error of that magnitude in Mr. Grand's accounts, for they were rendered to the Commissioners from time to time, and settled while all the transactions were fresh in memory. And I am persuaded, the minister will very readily either correct the error in the contract, or direct our demanding of the Farmers the value of the tobacco, as the case may be. With great and sincere esteem, I have the honor to be, Sir, &e.
* A further explanation of the subject of this letter may be seen in this Tolume, pp. 265, 269 - 272, 285.
TO MRS. JANE MECOM.
Attendance in the Convention. — Disapprobation of War. — Precautions for protecting Houses from Fire.
Philadelphia, 20 September, 1787.
I received your kind letter of the 16th past, which gave me the great pleasure of learning that you were welL I thought I had before acknowledged the receipt of yours per Colonel Sergeant.
The Convention finished the 17th instant . I attended the business of it five hours in every day from the beginning, which is something more than four months. You may judge from thence, that my health continues; some tell me I look better, and they suppose the daily exercise of going and returning from the Statehouse has done me good. You will see the Constitution we have proposed in the papers. The forming of it so as to accommodate all the different interests and views was a difficult task; and perhaps, after all, it may not be received with the same unanimity in the different States, that the Convention have given the example of in delivering it out for their consideration. We have, however, done our best, and it must take its chance.
I agree with you perfectly in your disapprobation of war. Abstracted from the inhumanity of it, I think it wrong in point of human prudence; for, whatever advantage one nation would obtain from another, wheth