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Major Jackson to Dr. Franklin.
Amsterdam, June 29, 1781. , SIR,
I HAVE the honor to inform your excellency, that I got to Amsterdam on Tuesday. morning. It has been thought advisable to wait a few days, that we may sail with a Dutch squadron of fourteen sail, destined as a convoy to the Baltic. The loss of the ship Marquis de la Fayette, which is confirmed by Lloyd's list, renders every precaution necessary, and essential to prevent a farther disappointment in supplies.
I hope your excellency will approve of the reasons for delaying our departure, which must be amply compensated by the benefit of a convoy through the North Sea. I beg leave to request, that Colonel Laurens's servant may be informed, should he apply to your excellency, that, if he leaves Paris immediately, and travels with dispatch, he will reach this place in time to embark with us for America. Any commands which your excellency may please to honor me with, and which may be transmitted by him, will be faithfully attended to. I beg you will present my best respects to your grandson. I have the honor to be with profound respect, &c.
W. JACKSON. .
From the same. '
Amsterdam, July 2, 1781. SIR, I WAS yesterday honored with your excellency's letter of the 28th ult. while at the Texel, superintending some matters relating to the ship. Equally concerned for the cause, as surprised at the manner in which Mr. Fizeaux wi resolved to execute it in case the money had been alrea shipped. I must beg leave to inform you fully of this bi ness, and to request your excellency's final determin;" thereon.
Colonel Laurens, as your excellency knows, w: sen by congress to the court of Versailles, with a specul co
mission....the purport of his mission you are well acquainted with; it was to obtain certain supplies in specie and military stores.
By the most unremitting assiduity, he so far succeeded as to procure amongst others, a'sum of money to be shipped in Holland by the South Carolina frigate, which was deemed by the court of France a safe and convenient conveyance, as it would divide the risque which must have been incurred, by placing the whole on board of one vessel. That sum was sent to this place by Mr. Necker, and lodged in the house of Fizeaux and Grand, to be by them delivered to me, agreeable to the following order, the original of which is now in my possession, having very fortunately for me, recovered it from them after they received your instructions.
Paris, May 12, 1781. GENTLEMEN, THIS letter will be delivered to you by Mr. William Jackson, captain of infantry in the service of the United States, to whom I request you to deliver the 130,655 dol.. lars and the £720,000 in crowns, which you have received on my account by the way of Brussels. Mr. Jackson will give you a receipt for it, in which he will express that these two sums have been delivered to him pursuant to the intention of Mr. John Laurens, an American officer now at Paris, whose orders he will follow on this subject. You will be pleased to send me afterwards this receipt, with a statement of all the expenses due to you. I will have them reim. bursed here to Mr. Grand.
I am Gentlemen, &c.
NECKER. M. M. Grand, Fizeaux, & Co. Amsterdam.
Messieurs Fizeaux and Grand, have in pursuance of your excellency's directions, refused to deliver it. This sir, being a distinct transaction, executed altogether at the
instance of the honorable John Laurens, Esq. special minister at the court of: Versailles from the United States, and by him committed to my further care, I conceive myself indispensably bound to remonstrate to your excellency, on the late order given by you to Messieurs Fizeaux and Grand, directing the detention of that money, and to inform you that if they are not repealed, I must embark without it; and however I may lament the disappointment and distress, in which this measure must involve congress, whose arrangements are undoubtedly taken, on the certainty of this supply being sent from Europe ; however much I may regret colonel Laurens's absence which induces it, I shall possess the pleasing reflection of having done my duty, in demanding conformably to the intentions of Mr. Necker, and by his order, that money which the court of France had accorded to the United States by the application of colonel Laurens, in virtue of his special commission, and which was particularly and expressly destined to reanimate the credit of continental currency.
The ship waits for nothing else but this money. I shall attend your excellency's ultimate decision thereon, which I expect to receive by return of the express, who only waits your commands. I have the honor to be, &c.
W. JACKSON. P. S. Mr. Fizeaux informed me that he had resolved to arrest the ship, had the money been on board. I need not inform your excellency, that alike opportunity may not again offer, to transport this essential supply, rendered still more so, by the capture of the ship Marquis de la Fayette..
. W. JACKSON. My fever which was greatly increased by my late jaunt to Passy, will not admit of my waiting upon your excellency in person, and I am persuaded, your justice will render it unnecessary after this representation.
From the same.
Amsterdam, July 2, 1781, Sir, SINCE the departure of my express, I find myself obligo ed in conformity to colonel Laurens's instructions (from which, as his agent I cannot recede, unless compelled there. to by forcible means, and which unless such are practised against me, I must carry into execution) to retain the mo. ney which he has confided to my care, and which the mini. ster of finance's order makes deliverable to me specially ; and to arrest it in the hands of Mr. Fizeaux, should he continue to refuse the delivery of it, but by your excellency's orders.
I rely upon your excellency's attachment to the welfare of America, to prevent this painful operation, which must inevitably take place, should your determination decide otherwise, for as this money is subject to no other controul in Europe, but the immediate order of the court of France, I cannot relinquish my charge of it, but by their special order.
. I have the honor to be, &c.
From the same.
Amsterdam, July 2, 1781. Sir, YOUR excellency will not wonder at the determination which I have adopted, to arrest the money now in Mr. Fizeaux's hands, (and which I have communicated to you by a second express this afternoon) when you reflect, that this money is absolutely committed to my charge, for a spe.. cial purpose, and that I stand accountable for the execution of this commission. Your excellency must likewise be sensible that you cannot have the disposal of it, as it was obtained without either your knowlege or concurrence, by colonel Laurens, appointed special minister for that purpose: These considerations, and the knowlege I have how much America must suffer from a disappointment in this supply,
about to be transported by so excellent a conveyance, must plead my excuse individually, for this plain and candid avowal of circumstances, and my determination thereon. I am further persuaded, that the court of France is not disposed, was there even a shadow of an excuse for an al. teration of the allotment of this money, to infringe their honor and injure the essential interests of America by detaining it, I must therefore again entreat your excellency's repeal of those orders to Mr. Fizeaux, which now detain the ship and supplies, so much required in America.
I have the honor to be, &c.
To Major Jackson.
I HAVE this instant received your letter of the 2d, urging the delivery of the money. I must be short in my reply, as your express waits. ..
Colonel Laurens indeed obtained a promise of ten millions to be raised by a loan in Holland. I understood while he was here, that that loan was in train, and that the million and an half to be sent with you was a part of it. I since learn that nothing hasłyet been obtained in Holland ; that the success is not yet certain, and that the money in question is part of the six millions obtained before his arrival, upon the strength of which I accepted the bills drawn on his father and on Mr. Jay, and without which acceptances the congress credit in America would have been ruined, and a loss incurred of twenty per cent. upon the protests. I cannot obtain more money here at present, and those bills being accepted must be paid, as well as those I accepted on your earnest request for the great unexpected purchase you made in Holland. Colonel Laurens has carried two millions and an half of that six millions with him, which will serve till the loan in Holland produces a further supply. In the mean time I cannot suffer the credit of our country to be destroy