Abbildungen der Seite

that flattering truth, I find in the noble present which Congress has been pleased to honor me with, and which is offered in such a manner by your Excellency, as will exceed anything but the feelings of my unbounded gratitude.

In some of the devices I cannot help finding too honorable a reward for those slight services, which in concert with my fellow soldiers, and under the godlike American hero's orders, I had the good luck to render. The sight of these actions, where I was a witness of American bravery and patriotic spirit, I shall ever enjoy with that pleasure, which becomes a heart glowing with love for the nation, and the most ardent zeal for their glory and happiness. Assurances of gratitude, which I beg leave to present to your Excellency, are much too inadequate to my feelings, and nothing but those sentiments may properly acknowledge your kindness towards me. The polite manner in which Mr Franklin was pleased to deliver that inestimable sword, lays me under great obligations to him, and demands my particular thanks.

With the most perfect respect, I have the honor to be, &c.



Passy, September 30th, 1779.


I have within these few days received a number of despatches from you, which have arrived by the Mercury and other vessels. Hearing this instant of an opportunity from Bordeaux, and that the courier sets out from Versailles at five this evening, I embrace it just to let you know, that I have delivered the letters from Congress to

VOL. III. 14

the King, and have said the invoices of supplies desired (with a translation) before the Ministers, and though I have not yet received a positive answer, I have good reason to believe I shall obtain most of them, if not all. But as this demand will cost the Court a vast sum, and their expenses in the war are prodigious, I beg I may not be put under the necessity, by occasional drafts on me, of asking for more money than is required to pay our bills for interest. I must protest those I have advice of from Martinique and New Orleans, (even if they were drawn by permission of Congress) for want of money ; and I wish the Committee of Commerce would caution their correspondents not to embarrass me with their bills.

I put into my pocket nothing of the allowance Congress has been pleased to make me. I shall pay it all in honoring their drafts and supporting their credit, but do not let me be burthened with supporting the credit of every one, who has claims on the Board of Commerce or the navy. I shall write fully by the Mercury.

I send you some of the latest newspapers, and have the honor to be, &c. &c.



Passy, October 20, 1779. Dear Sir, I received your favor of the 17th past, and the two samples of copper are since come to hand. The metal seems to be very good, and the price reasonable, but I have not yet received the orders necessary to justify my making the purchase proposed. There has, indeed, been

an intention to strike copper coin, that may not only be useful as small change, but serve other purposes. Instead of repeating continually upon every half penny, the dull story, that every body knows, and what it would have been no loss to mankind if nobody had ever known, that George the Third is King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, &c. &c. to put on one side some important proverb of Solomon, some pious moral, some prudential or economical precept, the frequent inculcation of which, by seeing it every time one receives a piece of money, might make an impression upon the mind, especially of young persons, and tend to regulate their conduct; such as on some, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; on others, Honesty is the best policy ; on others, He that by the plough would thrive, himself must either lead or drive ; on others, Keep thy shop, and thy shop will keep thee ; on others, A penny saved is a penny got; on others, He that buys what he has no need of, will soon be forced to sell his necessaries ; on others, Early to bed and early to rise, will make a man healthy, wealthy, and wise ; and so on, to a great variety.

The other side it was proposed to fill with good designs, drawn and engraved by the best artists in France, of all the different species of barbarity with which the English have carried on the war in America, expressing every abominable circumstance of their cruelty and inhumanity that figures can express, to make an impression on the minds of posterity, as strong and durable as that on the copper. This resolution has been a long time forborne, but the late burning of defenceless towns in Connecticut, on the Aimsy pretence that the people fired from behind their houses, when it is known to have been premedi

tated, and ordered from England, will, probably, give the finishing provocation, and may occasion a vast demand for your inetal. I thank you for your kind wishes respecting my health. I return them most cordially fourfold into your own bosom. Adieu,



Passy, October 4th, 1779. Sir, I received the letter your Excellency did me the honor to write to me of the of June last, enclosing acts of Congress, respecting bills of exchange for two millions four hundred thousand livres tournois, drawn on me in favor of M. de Beaumarchais. The bills have not yet appeared, but I shall accept them when they do, relying on the care of Congress to enable me to pay them. As to the accounts of that gentleman, neither the Commissioners, when we were all together, nor myself since, have ever been able to obtain a sight of them, though repeatedly promised, and I begin to give over all expectation of them. Indeed if I had them, I should not be able to do much with them, or to controvert anything I might doubt in them, being unacquainted with the transactions and agreements on which they must be founded, and having small skill in accounts. Mr Ross and Mr Williams, pressing me to examine and settle theirs, I have been obliged to request indifferent persons, expert in such business, to do it for me, subject to the revision of Congress; and I could wish that my time and attention were not taken up by any concerns in mer

cantile affairs, and thereby diverted from others more important.

The letters of Congress to the King were very graciously received. I have earnestly pressed the supplies desired, and the Ministers (who are extremely well disposed towards us) are now actually studying the means of furnishing them. The assistance of Spain is hoped for. We expect to hear from thence in a few days. The quantity is great, and will cost a vast sum. I have this day accepted three of your drafts, part of the three hundred and sixty thousand livres, drawn for on the 9th of June, but when I ask for money to pay them, I must mention, that as they were drawn to purchase military stores, an abatement equal to the value may be made of the quantity demanded from hence, for I am really ashamed to be always worrying the Ministers for more money. And as to the private loans expected, I wrote in a former letter, that our public credit was not yet sufficiently established, and that the loan in Holland had not exceeded eighty thousand florins, to which there has since been no addition. A Mr Neufville came from thence to me last spring, proposing to procure great sums, if he might be employed for that purpose, and the business taken away from the house that had commenced it. His terms at first were very extravagant, such as that all the estates real and personal in the Thirteen Provinces should be mortgaged to him ; that a fifth part of the capital sum borrowed should every year, for five years, be laid out in commodities, and sent to Holland, consigned to him, to remain in his hands till the term (ten years) stipulated for final payment was completed, as a security for the punctuality of it, when he was to draw the usual commissions ; that all vessels or merchandise coming from

« ZurückWeiter »