« ZurückWeiter »
foreign officers, fearing that you may be troubled with more than you can provide for, or employ to their and your own satisfaction. When particular cases seem to have a claim to such letters, I hope you will excuse my taking the liberty. I give no expectations to those who apply for them; I promise nothing, I acquaint them that their being placed when they arrive is a great uncertainty, and that the voyage being long, expensive, and hazardous, I counsel them not to undertake it. This honest gentleman's zeal is not to be discouraged by such means ; he determines to go and serve as a volunteer, if he cannot be employed immediately as an officer ; but I wish and hope that your Excellency may find a better situation for him, and that he will be a useful officer. He has the advantage of understanding English, and will soon speak it intelligibly. He also speaks German, and some other European languages, and the Latin.
With the truest esteem and respect, I have the honor to be, &c.
TO GENERAL WASHINGTON.
Paris, June 13th, 1777. Sir, The person, who will have the honor of delivering this to your Excellency, is Monsieur le Baron de Frey, who is well recommended to me as an officer of experience and merit, with a request that I would give him a letter of introduction. I have acquainted him, that you are rather overstocked with officers, and that his obtaining employment in your army is an uncertainty ; but his zeal for the American cause is too great for any discouragements I can lay before him, and he goes over at his own expense, to take his chance, which is a mark of attachment that merits our regard. He will show your Excellency the commissions and proofs of his military service hitherto, and I beg leave to recommend him to your notice. With the sincerest esteem and respect,
M. DUBOURG TO B. FRANKLIN.
Paris, September 8th, 1777. . My dear Sir,
I should be much obliged to you, if you would be so good as to give a letter of recommendation to some one of the chiefs of your army, in favor of a young man full of courage, and also of distinguished talents, who is at Bordeaux, ready to embark for America, where he proposes to settle himself in Pennsylvania, after having served in quality of volunteer, or otherwise, during the war. His name is Gerard. He carries with him a little adventure, sufficient for supporting him some years, and afterwards, if it is there customary, his father will make over to him his portion. I interest myself particularly in his favor, because he is the brother in law of one of our honestest commissaries.
I have the honor to wish you a good day, and to reiterate the assurances of my inviolable attachment.
TO RİCHARD PETERS.
Passy, September 12th, 1777. Sir, The bearer Monsieur Gerard is recommended to me by M. Dubourg, a gentleman of distinction here, and a hearty friend to our cause. I enclose his letter, that you may see the favorable manner in which he speaks of M. Gerard. I thereupon take the liberty of recommending the young gentleman to your civilities and advice, as he will be quite a stranger there, and to request that you would put him in the way of serving as a volunteer in our armies. I am, Sir, &c.
REMARKS ON A LOAN FOR THE UNITED STATES.*
In borrowing money, a man's credit depends on some, or all, of the following particulars.
First, His known conduct respecting former loans, and his punctuality in discharging them.
Secondly, His industry.
Fourthly, The amount and the certainty of his income, and the freedom of his estate from the incumbrances of prior debts.
Fifthly, His well founded prospects of greater future
* This paper was written by Dr Franklin in the summer of 1777 with the view of convincing Europeans, that it was more eligible to lend money to the United States at that time, than to England. It was translated and sent to different parts of Europe. In Mr Arthur Lee's letter to the Baron de Schulenburg, dated September 21st, 1777, he mentions having sent a copy of it to that Minister.
ability, by the improvement of his estate in value, and by aids from others.
Sixthly, His known prudence in managing his general affairs, and the advantage they will probably receive from the loan which he desires.
Seventhly, His known probity and honest character, manifested by his voluntary discharge of debts, which he could not have been legally compelled to pay. The circumstances, which give credit to an individual, ought to have, and will have, their weight upon the lenders of money to public bodies or nations. If then we consider and compare Britain and America in these several particulars, upon the question, “To which is it safest to lend money ?" We shall find,
1. Respecting former loans, that America, who borrowed ten millions during the last war, for the maintenance of her army of 25,000 men and other charges, had faithfully discharged and paid that debt, and all her other debts, in 1772. Whereas Britain, during those ten years of peace and profitable commerce, had made little or no reduction of her debt; but on the contrary, from time to time, diminished the hopes of her creditors, by a wanton diversion and misapplication of the sinking fund destined for discharging it.
2. Respecting industry; every man in America is employed; the greater part in cultivating their own lands, the rest in handicrafts, navigation, and commerce. An idle man there is a rarity ; idleness and inutility are disgraceful. In England the number of that character is immense, fashion has spread it far and wide; hence the embarrassments of private fortunes, and the daily bankruptcies arising from a universal fondness for appearance
and expensive pleasures; and hence, in some degree, the mismanagement of public business ; for habits of business, and ability in it, are acquired only by practice; and where universal dissipation, and the perpetual pursuit of amusement are the mode, the youth educated in it can rarely afterwards acquire that patient attention and close application to affairs, which are so necessary to a statesman charged with the care of national welfare. Hence their frequent errors in policy, and hence the weariness at public councils, and backwardness in going to them, the constant unwillingness to engage in any measure that requires thought and consideration, and the readiness for postponing every new proposition ; which postponing is therefore the only part of business they come to be expert in, an expertness produced necessarily by so much daily practice. Whereas in America, men bred to close employment in their private affairs attend with ease to those of the public when engaged in them, and nothing fails through negligence.
3. Respecting frugality; the manner of living in America is more simple and less expensive than in England; plain tables, plain clothing, and plain furniture in houses prevail, with few carriages of pleasure; there an expensive appearance hurts credit, and is avoided ; in England it is often assumed to gain credit, and continued to ruin. Respecting public affairs, the difference is still greater. In England the salaries of officers and emoluments of office are enormous. The king has a million sterling per annum, and yet cannot maintain his family free of debt; secretaries of state, lords of treasury, admiralty, &c. have vast appointments; an auditor of the excheqner has sixpence in the pound, or a fortieth part of all the pub