Abbildungen der Seite

frenzy in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. It contains my confession of political faith, and, if it is heresy, I shall, I suppose, be cast out of communion. But it is the only sense in which I am or ever was a republican, and in such times I hold concealment of sentiments to be no better than countenancing sedition. Let me beg your Excellency's acceptance of one volume, and that you would present the other to the Philosophical Society with my respectful thanks for the volume of their Transactions, transmitted to me by your Excellency in their name. That work is in good reputation here.

Mr. Dilly has often requested me to mention to your Excellency his great desire of publishing a new edition of your works, and a sketch of your life; and his inclination is much quickened, since he learned that you had been advised to write it with your own hand. Enclosed is a note, which I received from him this morning. Mr. Dilly is as honest a man as any of the trade here, and as much esteemed by men of letters; so that I believe you may depend upon his honor and skill. My regards to Mr. Franklin and Mr. Bache, if you please. With great respect, I have the honor to be, Sir, &c. JOHN ADAMS.


Concerning a Million of Livres given by the King of



Philadelphia, 27 January, 1787.

You may remember, that in the correspondence between us in June last, on the subject of a million free gift of the King of France, acknowledged in our contract to have been received, but which did not appear

to be accounted for in our banker's accounts, unless it should be the same with the million said to be received from the Farmers-General, I mentioned, that an explanation might doubtless be easily obtained by writing to Mr. Grand, or Mr. Jefferson. I know not whether you have accordingly written to either of them; but, being desirous that the matter should speedily be cleared up, I wrote myself to Mr. Grand a letter upon it, of which I now enclose a copy, with his answers, and several letters from M. Durival, who is Chef du Bureau des Fonds (and has under his care the finance) des Affaires Etrangères.*

You will see by these letters, that the million in question was delivered to somebody on the 10th of June, 1776, but it does not appear to whom. It is clear, however, that it could not be to Mr. Grand nor to the Commissioners from Congress; for we did not meet in France till the end of December, 1776, or beginning of January 1777, and that banker was not charged before with our affairs.

By the minister's reserve in refusing him a copy of the receipt, I conjecture it must be money advanced for our use to M. de Beaumarchais, and that it is a mystère du cabinet, which perhaps should not be further inquired into, unless necessary to guard against more demands than may be just from that agent; for it may well be supposed, that, if the court furnished him with the means of supplying us, they may not be willing to furnish authentic proofs of such a transaction so early in our dispute with Britain. Pray tell me, has he dropped his demands, or does he still continue to worry you with them?

I should like to have these original letters returned

* See these letters above, pp. 265, 269–272.

to me, but you may, if you please, keep copies of them. It is true, the million in question makes no difference in your accounts with the King of France, it not being mentioned or charged, as so much lent and to be repaid, but stated as freely given. Yet, if it was put into the hands of any of your agents, or ministers, they ought certainly to account for it. I do not recollect whether Mr. Deane had arrived in France before the 10th of June, 1776;* but from his great want of money, when I joined him a few months after, I hardly think it could have been paid to him. Possibly Mr. Jefferson may obtain the information, though Mr. Grand could not, and I wish he may be directed to make the inquiry, as I know he would do it directly; I mean, if, by Hortalez and Co.'s further demands, or for any other reason, such an inquiry should be thought necessary. I am, &c. B. FRANKLIN.


Book of Common Prayer. -England. - Refugees.


Philadelphia, 19 February, 1787.

I received your favor of June last, and thank you for the kind congratulations contained in it. What you have heard of my malady is true, "that it does not grow worse." Thanks be to God, I still enjoy

[ocr errors]

* Deane did not arrive in Paris till the first week in July.

This matter was not cleared up till 1794, when Gouverneur Morris was American Minister in Paris. By application to the government he procured a copy of the receipt, which had been given by the person who received the million of livres on the 10th of June, 1776. It proved to be Beaumarchais, as Dr. Franklin had conjectured. See SPARKS'S Life of Gouverneur Morris, Vol. II. p. 446.

While the correspondence with the banker in Paris was going on,

pleasure in the society of my friends and books, and much more in the prosperity of my country, concerning which your people are continually deceiving themselves.


I am glad the improvement of the Book of Common Prayer has met with your approbation, and that of good Mrs. Baldwin. It is not yet, that I know of, received in public practice anywhere; but, as it is said that good motions never die, perhaps in time it may be found useful.

I read with pleasure the account you gave of the flourishing state of your commerce and manufactures, and of the plenty you have of resources to carry the nation through all its difficulties. You have one of the finest countries in the world, and, if you can be cured of the folly of making war for trade, (in which wars more has been always expended than the profits of any trade can compensate,) you may make it one of the happiest. Make the best of your own natural advantages, instead of endeavouring to diminish those of other nations, and there is no doubt but that you may yet prosper and flourish. Your beginning to consider France no longer as a natural enemy, is a mark of progress in the good sense of the nation, of which posterity will find the benefit, in the rarity of wars, the diminution of taxes, and increase of riches.

As to the refugees, whom you think we were so impolitic in rejecting, I do not find that they are missed here, or that anybody regrets their absence. And certainly they must be happier where they are, under the government they admire; and be better received among a people, whose cause they espoused and fought for,

Dr. Franklin's enemies in Congress made themselves busy in propagating a report, that he was a defaulter to the amount of one million of livres, and thus gave currency to a most unjust and injurious suspicion against him throughout the country.

* See the letter to Granville Sharp, above, p. 205.

than among those who cannot so soon have forgotten the destruction of their habitations, and the spilt blood of their dearest friends and near relations.

I often think with great pleasure on the happy days I passed in England with my and your learned and ingenious friends, who have left us to join the majority in the world of spirits. Every one of them now knows more than all of us they have left behind. It is to me a comfortable reflection, that, since we must live for ever in a future state, there is a sufficient stock of amusement in reserve for us, to be found in constantly learning something new to eternity, the present quantity of human ignorance infinitely exceeding that of human knowledge. Adieu, my dear friend, and believe me, in whatever world, yours most affectionately,


in his eighty-second year.


Philadelphia, 29 March, 1787.


The writer of the enclosed paper concerning the variation of the compass, and the important use which he supposes may be made of that variation, not being satisfied with the judgment of some of our principal mathematicians here, has earnestly desired me to communicate it to some of my learned friends in Europe.* I know no one better acquainted with the subject than yourself, and, as I cannot refuse complying with his request, I beg you will excuse my giving you this trouble, and favor me with a line expressing your

The writer here alluded to was John Churchman, who published a work, entitled The Magnetic Atlas, in which he advanced a new theory of the variation of the compass.

[blocks in formation]
« ZurückWeiter »