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The dispensations of Providence in this world puzzle my weak reason; I cannot comprehend why cruel men should have been permitted thus to destroy their fellow creatures. Some of the Indians may be supposed to have committed sins, but one cannot think the little children had comunitted any worthy of death. Why has a single man in England, who happens to love blood, and to hate Americans, been permitted to gratify that bad temper by hiring German murderers, and joining them with his own, to destroy in a continued course of bloody years, near 100,000 human creatures, many of them possessed of useful talents, virtues, and abilities, to which he has no pretension. It is he who has furnished the savages with hatchets and scalping knives, and engages them to fall upon our defenceless farmers, and murder them with their wives and children, paying for their scalps, of which the account kept in America, already amounts, as I have heard, to near two thousand ! Perhaps the people of the frontiers, exasperated by the cruelties of the Indians, have been induced to kill all Indians that fall into their hands without distinction; so that even these horrid murders of our poor Moravians may be laid to his charge. And yet this man lives, enjoys all the good things this world can afford, and is surrounded by flatterers who keep even his conscience quiet by telling him he is the best of Princes! I wonder at this, but I cannot therefore part with the comfortable belief of a Divine Providence; and the more I see the impossibility, from the number and extent of his crimes, of giving equivalent punishment to a wicked man in this life, the wore I am convinced of a future state, in which all that here appears to be wrong shall be set right, all that is crooked inade straight. In this faith let you and I, my
dear friend, comfort ourselves; it is the only comfort in the present dark scene of things that is allowed us. .
I shall not fail to write to the Government of America, urging that 'effectual care may be taken to protect and save the remainder of those unhappy people.
Since writing the above, I have received a Philadelphia paper, containing some account of the same horrid transaction, a little different, and some circumstances alledged as excuses or palliations, but extremely weak and insufficient. I send it to you inclosed. With great and sincere esteem, I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,
TO THE SECRETARY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE
The Birth of the Dauphin.-Capt. Asgill.-M. Tousard.
– Allowance to Mr. T. Franklin.-Contingent Erpences. Inclosures. Sir,
Passy, Sept. 3, 1789. I have just received your No. 13, dated the 23d of June. The accounts of the general sentiments of our people respecting propositions from England, and the rejoicings on the birth of the Dauphin, give pleasure here, and it affords me much satisfaction to find the conduct of congress approved by all that hear or speak of it, and to see all the marks of a constantly growing regard for us, and confidence in us, among those in whom such sentiments are most to be desired.
I hope the affair of Captain Asgill was settled as it ought to be, by the punishment of Lippincut. Applications have been made here to obtain letters in favour of the
young gentleman. Enclosed I send you a copy of the answer I gave to that made to me.
I had before acquainted M. Tousard, that bis pension would be paid in America, and there only, it being unreasonable to expect, that the congress should open a payoffice in every part of the world, where pensioners should chuse to reside. I shall communicate to him that part of your letter.
You wish to know what allowance I make to my private secretary. My grandson, W. Temple Franklin, came over with me, served me as private secretary, during the time of the commissioners, and no secretary to the commission arriving, though we had been made to expect one, he did business for us all, and this without any allowance for his services, though both Mr. Lee and Mr. Deane at times mentioned it to me as a thing proper to be done, and a justice due to him. When I became appointed sole minister here, and the whole business which the commissioners had before divided with me, came into my hands, I was obliged to exact more service from him, and he was indeed by being so long in the business, become capable of doing more. At length in the beginning of the year 1781, considering his constant close attention to the duties required of him, and his having thereby missed the opportunity of studying the law, for which he had been intended, I determined to make him some compensation for the time past, and fix some appointment for the time to come, till the pleasure of congress respecting him should be taken. I accordingly settled an account with him; allowing him from the beginning of December 1776, to the end of 1777, the sum of 3400 livres; and for the year 1778 the sum of 4000 livres; for 1779, 4300
livres; and for 1780, 6000 livres; since that time, I have allowed him at the rate 300 louis per annum, being what I saw had been allowed by congress, to the secretary of Mr. William Lee, who could not have had, I imagine, a fourth part of the business to go through ; since my secretary, besides the writing and copying the papers relative to my common ministerial transactions, has had all those occasioned by my acting in the various employments of judge of admiralty, consul, purchaser of goods for the public, &c. besides that of the acceptor of the congress bills, a business that requires being always at home; bills coming by post from different ports and countries and often requiring immediate answers whether good or not; and to that end, it being necessary to examine them by the books exactly kept, of all preceding acceptations, in order to detect double presentations, which happen very frequently; the great number of these bills makes almost sufficient business for one person, and the confivement they occasion is such, that we cannot allow ourselves a day's excursion into the country, and the want of exercise has hurt our healths in several instances. The congress pay much larger salaries to some secretaries, who I believe deserve them, but not more than my grandson does; the comparatively small one I have allowed to him, his fidelity, exactitude and address in transacting business, being really what one could wish in such an officer, and the genteel appearance a young gentleman in his station obliges him to make, requiring at least such an income. I do not mention the extraordinary business that has been imposed upon us in this embassy, as a foundation for demanding higher salaries than others. I never solicited for a public office either for myself or any relative; yet I never refused
one that I was capable of executing, when public service was in question; and I never bargained for salary, but contented myself with whatever my constituents were pleased to allow me. The congress will therefore consider every article charged in my account, distinct from the salary originally voted, not as what I presumed to insist upon, but as what I propose only for their consideration, and they will allow what they think proper. You desire an accurate estimate of those contingent expenses. I enclose copies of two letters which passed between Mr. Adams and me on the subject, and show the articles of which they consist. Their amount in different years may be found in my accounts, except the article of house-rent, which has never yet been settled, M. de Chaumont, our landlord, having originally proposed to leave it till the end of the war, and then to accept for it a piece of American land from the congress, such as they might judge equivalent; if the congress did intend all contingent charges whatever to be included in the salary, and do not think proper to pay on the whole so much, in that case I would humbly suggest that the saving may be most conveniently made by a diminution of the salary, leaving the contingencies to be charged; because they may necessarily be very different in different years, and in different courts. I have been the more diffuse on this subject, as your letter gave occasion for it, and it is probably the last time I shall mention it.
Be pleased to present my dutiful respects to congress; assure them of my best services, and believe me to be with sincere esteem, &c. . B. FRANKLIN.
P. S. As you will probably lay this letter before congress, I take the liberty of joining to it an extract of my