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I am very sensible of the weight of your observation, “ that a constant interchange of intelligence and attentions, between the public servants at the different courts, are necessary to procure to their constituents all the advantages capable of being derived from their appointment.” I shall endeavour to perform my part with you, as well to have the pleasure of your correspondence, as from a sense of duty. But my time is more taken up with matters extraneous to the functions of a minister, than you can possibly imagine. I have written often to the Congress to establish consuls in the ports, and ease me of what relates to maritime and mercantile affairs; but no notice has yet been taken of my request.
A number of bills of exchange, said to be drawn by order of Congress on Mr. Laurens, is arrived in Holland. A merchant there has desired to know of me, whether, if he accepts them, I will engage to reimburse him. I have no orders or advice about them from Congress. Do you know to what amount they have drawn? I doubt I cannot safely meddle with them.
Mrs. Jay does me much honor in desiring to have one of the prints, that have been made here of her countryman. I send what is said to be the best of five or six engraved by different hands, from different paintings. The verses at the bottom are truly extravagant. But you must know, that the desire of pleasing, by a perpetual rise of compliments in this polite nation, has so used up all the common expressions of approbation, that they are become flat and insipid, and to use them almost implies censure. Hence music, that formerly might be sufficiently praised when it was called bonne, to go a little farther they called it excellente, then superbe, magnifique, exquise, céleste, all which being in their turns worn out, there only remains divine ; and, when that is grown as insignificant as its predecessors, I think they must return to common speech and common sense; as, from vying with one another in fine and costly paintings on their coaches, since I first knew the country, not being able to go farther in that way, they have returned lately to plain carriages, painted without arms or figures, in one uniform color.
The league of neutral nations to protect their commerce is now established. Holland, offended by fresh insults from England, is arming vigorously. That nation has madly brought itself into the greatest distress, and has not a friend in the world. With great and sincere esteem, &c.
TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.*
Sir John Dalrymple. - The Marquis de Lafayette. Riots in London. - Madame Brillon.
Passy, 17 June, 1780 DEAR Sır, Your favors of the 22d past came duly to hand. Sir John Dalrymple has been here some time, but I hear nothing of his political operations. The learned talk of the discovery he has made in the Escurial Library, of forty Epistles of Brutus, a missing part of Tacitus, and a piece of Seneca, that have never yet been printed, which excite much curiosity. He has not been with me, and I am told, by one of his friends,
• Secretary to the American Legaton at Madnd, while Mr. Jay was minister there; and afterwards for many year Charge d Ifaias of the United States at the court of Spain.
that, though he wished to see me, he did not think it prudent. So I suppose I shall have no communication with him; for I shall not seek it. As Count de Vergennes has mentioned nothing to me of any memorial from him, I suppose he has not presented it; perhaps discouraged by the reception it met with in Spain. So I wish, for curiosity's sake, you would send me a copy of it.*
The Marquis de Lafayette arrived safely at Boston on the 28th of April, and, it is said, gave expectations of the coming of a squadron and troops. The vessel that brings this left New London the 2d of May; her captain reports, that the siege of Charleston was raised, the troops attacked in their retreat, and Clinton killed; but this wants confirmation. London has been in the utmost confusion for seven or eight days. The beginning of this month, a mob of fanatics, joined by a mob of rogues, burnt and destroyed property to the amount, it is said, of a million sterling. Chapels of foreign ambassadors, houses of members of Parliament that had promoted the act for favoring Catholics, and the houses of many private persons of that religion, were pillaged and consumed, or pulled down, to the number of fifty; among the rest, Lord Mansfield's is burnt, with all his furniture, pictures, books, and papers. Thus he, who approved the burning of American houses, has had fire brought home to him. He himself was horribly scared, and Governor Hutchinson, it is said, died outright of the fright. The mob, tired with roaring and rioting seven days and nights, were at length suppressed, and quiet restored on the 9th, in the evening. Next day Lord George Gordon was committed to the tower.
• See a translation of this curious Memorial in the APPENDIX, No. II.
Enclosed I send you the little piece you desire.” To understand it rightly you should be acquainted with some few circumstances. The person to whom it was addressed is Madame Brillon, a lady of most respectable character and pleasing conversation; mistress of an amiable family in this neighbourhood, with which I spend an evening twice in every week. She has, among other elegant accomplishments, that of an excellent musician; and, with her daughters, who sing prettily, and some friends who play, she kindly entertains me and my grandson with little concerts, a cup of tea, and a game of chess. I call this my Opera, for I rarely go to the Opera at Paris.
The Moulin Joli is a little island in the Seine about two leagues hence, part of the country-seat of another friend,t where we visit every summer, and spend a day in the pleasing society of the ingenious, learned, and very polite persons who inhabit it. At the time when the letter was written, all conversations at Paris were filled with disputes about the music of Gluck and Picini, a German and Italian musician, who divided the town into violent parties. A friend of this lady having obtained a copy of it, under a promise not to give another, did not observe that promise; so that many have been taken, and it is become as public as such a thing can well be, that is not printed; but I could not dream of its being heard of at Madrid | The thought was partly taken from a little piece of some unknown writer, which I met with fifty years since in a newspaper, and which the sight of the Ephemera brought to my recollection. Adieu, my dear friend, and believe me ever yours most affectionately, TO JOHN FOTHERGILL.
* The Ephemera. See Vol. II. p. 177. # Monsieur Watelet.
VOL. VIII. 60 NN
Passy, 19 June, 1780. My dear old friend, Dr. Fothergill, may assure Lady H.* of my respects, and of any service in my power to render her, or her affairs in America. I believe matters in Georgia cannut much longer continue in their present situation, but will return to that state in which they were, when her property, and that of our common friend G. W.,f received the protection she acknowledges.
I rejoiced most sincerely to hear of your recovery from the dangerous illness by which I lost my very valuable friend Peter Collinson. As I am sometimes apprehensive of the same disorder, I wish to know the means that were used and succeeded in your case; and shall be exceedingly obliged to you for communicating them when you can do it conveniently.
Be pleased to remember me respectfully to your good sister, and to our worthy friend, David Barclay, who I make no doubt laments with you and me, that the true pains we took together to prevent all this horrible mischief proved ineffectual. I am ever yours most affectionately,
* Probably Lady Huntington, who contributed towards the establishment of Whitefield's Orphan House in Georgia. See a further account of her benevolent plans in Washington's Writings, Vol. IX. pp. 92, 96.
| George Whitefield.
| Alluding to the negotiations for bringing about a reconciliation between Great Britain and the colonies, which took place just before Dr. Franklin left England in the spring of 1775, and in which Dr. Fothergill, David Barclay, and Lord Howe were concerned. See Vol. V. p. 1.