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a very unnecessary and profuse effusion of human blood; for the English derive such spirits from their captures at sea, and other little successes, and war is everlastingly so popular among them, when there is the least appearance of success, however deceitful, that they will go on, at whatever expense and hazard. Master Johnny, whom you have honored with an affectionate remembrance, and who acts at present in the quadruple capacity of interpreter, secretary, companion, and domestic to his papa, desires me to present you his dutiful respects. My regards, if you please, to Mr. Franklin and M. Gillée, and the young fry. I have the honor to be, with great respect, &c. JoHN ADAMs.
FROM JAMES HUTTON TO B. FRANKLIN.
Paris, 15 April, 1779.
MY DEAR olD FRIEND,
I took courage, and went this morning to Versailles to M. de Sartine, who immediately did all I desired." I now, therefore, can go on my journey with cheerfulness, and thankfulness to you for your kindness to my people and to me. I am sure your giving me that protection had the wished-for effect here. How many obligations have I and my people in America to you! It is a hardship for my heart, that circumstances have not allowed me to visit you. I am glad I saw you that evening at Mr. Grant's. I was proud of the general approbation I heard at different places given to your paper, read yesterday.*. You will remember, Mr. Spangenberg desired you should be consulted on the Aurora Borealis by Mr. Crantz several years ago; I think 1769. I hope this paper will be printed.
* In giving a passport for a vessel about to sail with supplies for the Moravian missionaries on the coast of Labrador.
VOL. VIII. B p *
I go from Paris to Lyons, April 22d, in order to have a good place in the diligence. I took it to-day. I shall always remember your civilities and kindness to, dear Sir, your much obliged and obedient,
TO JOSIAH QUINCY.
Character of the French People, — Too many Superfluities purchased in America.
Passy, 22 April, 1779. DEAR SIR, I received your very kind letter by Mr. Bradford, who appears a very sensible and amiable young gentleman, to whom I should with pleasure render any services in my power upon your much respected recommendation; but I understand he returns immediately.
It is with great sincerity I join you in acknowledging and admiring the dispensations of Providence in our favor. America has only to be thankful, and to persevere. God will finish his work, and establish their freedom; and the lovers of liberty will flock from all parts of Europe with their fortunes to participate with us of that freedom, as soon as peace is restored.
I am exceedingly pleased with your account of the
* Paper on the Aurora Borealis, read by Dr. Franklin to the Royal Academy of Sciences in Paris. See Vol. VI. p. 417.
French politeness anti civility, as it appeared among
our women in foregoing that little gratification, and I lament that such virtue should be of so short duration. Five hundred thousand pounds sterling, annually laid out in defending ourselves, or annoying our enemies, would have great effect. With what face can we ask aids and subsidies from our friends, while we are wasting our own wealth in such prodigality? With great and sincere esteem, I have the honor to be, dear Sir, &c. B. FRANKLIN.
TO SAMUEL COOPER.
On the Depreciation of American Paper Money.
I received your valuable letter by the Marquis de Lafayette, and another by Mr. Bradford. I can only write a few words in answer to the latter, the former not being at hand. The depreciation of our money must, as you observe, greatly affect salary men, widows, and orphans. Methinks this evil deserves the attention of the several legislatures, and ought, if possible, to be remedied by some equitable law, particularly adapted to their circumstances. I took all the pains I could in Congress to prevent the depreciation, by proposing first, that the bills should bear interest; this was rejected, and they were struck as you see them. Secondly, after the first emission, I proposed that we should stop, strike no more, but borrow on interest those we had issued. This was not then approved of, and more bills were issued. When, from the too great quantity, they began to depreciate, we agreed to borrow on interest; and I proposed, that, in order to fix the value of the principal, the interest should be promised in hard dollars. This was objected to as impracticable; but I still continue of opinion, that, by sending out cargoes to purchase it, we might have brought in money sufficient for that purpose, as we brought in powder, &c. &c.; and that, though the attempt must have been attended with a disadvantage, the loss would have been a less mischief than any measure attending the discredit of the bills, which threatens to take out of our hands the great instrument of our defence. The Congress did at last come into the proposal of paying the interest in real money. But when the whole mass of the currency was under way in depreciation, the momentum of its descent was too great to be stopped by a power, that might at first have been sufficient to prevent the beginning of the motion. The only remedy now seems to be a diminution of the quantity by a vigorous taxation, of great nominal sums, which the people are more able to pay, in proportion to the quantity and diminished value; and the only consolation under the evil is, that the public debt is proportionably diminished with the depreciation; and this by a kind of imperceptible tax, every one having paid a part of it in the fall of value that took place between the receiving and paying such sums as passed through his hands. For it should always be remembered, that the original intention was to sink the bills by taxes, which would as effectually extinguish the debt as an actual redemption. This effect of paper currency is not understood on this side the water. And indeed the whole is a mystery even to the politicians, how we have been able to continue a war four years without money, and how we could pay with paper, that had no previously fixed fund appropriated specifically to redeem it. This curVOL. VIII. 42 BB *