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There has been with me lately M. Pierre du Calvet, a merchant of Montreal, who, when our army was in Canada, furnished our generals and officers with many things they wanted, taking their receipts and promissory notes for payment; and, when the English repossessed the country, he was imprisoned, and his estate seized, on account of the services he had rendered us.
He has shown me the originals of his papers, which I think are genuine. He produced also a quantity of Congress paper, which he says he received in payment for some of the supplies, and which appeared to me of our first emissions, and yet all fresh and clean, as having passed through no other hands. When he was discharged from prison, he could not obtain permission to go into the United States to claim the debt, but was allowed to go to England; and from thence he came hither to solicit payment from me. Having no authority to meddle with such debts, and the sum being considerable, I refused, and advised him to take passage for America, and make his application to Congress. He said he was grown old, much broken and weakened by near three years' imprisonment, and that the voyage from Canada to London had like to have been too much for him, he being sick all the way; so that he could not think of another, though distressed for want of his money. He appears an honest man, and his case a hard one. I have therefore undertaken to forward his papers, and I beg leave to recommend them to the speedy consideration of Congress, to whom I request you would be pleased to present my dutiful respects, and assure them of my most faithful services. With great esteem and regard, &c.
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 Barba
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. 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