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ed, if by detaining this money it may be saved; and if I were to consent to its going, our banker would be obliged to arrest great part of it as belonging to the states, he being in advance for them, which would occasion much disagreeable noise and very ill consequences to our credit in Europe. I find by Mr. Viemerange's account just received, that Mr. Laurens's orders have more than absorbed all the money he did not take with him. I applaud the zeal you have both shown in the affair, but I see that nobody cares how much I am distressed, provided they can carry their own points. I must therefore take what care I can of mine ; theirs and mine being equally intended for the service of the public. I I am sorry to learn that the vessel is detained for this express. I understood by your last, that she waited for convoy. I I heartily wish you a good voyage, and am, with great esteem, &c.
To the same.
I RECEIVED your letter of the second instant by your first express this morning at six, answered it and sent him away immediately. I have just now received your second express of the same date, in which you threaten me with a proceeding, that I apprehend exceedingly imprudent, as it can answer no good end to you, must occasion much scandal, and be thereby very prejudical to the affairs of the congress. But I cannot therefore consent to suffer their bills to the amount of more than a million, accepted and expected to go back protested for want of this money. I have nothing to change in the answer abovementioned. You will however, follow your own judgment, (as I must follow mine) and you will take upon yourself the consequences.
I have the honor to be, &c.
To the same.
Passy, July 6, 1781. • SIR,
I RECEIVED and answered two of your expresses yesterday morning, and in the evening I received a third letter from you, all dated the 2d instant.
In this last you tell me,“ that I must be sensible I cannot have the disposal of the money, as it was obtained without either my knowlege or concurrence, by colonel Laurens, appointed special minister for that purpose.”
I do not desire to diminish the merit of colonel Laurens. I believe he would have been glad if it had been in his power to have procured ten times the sum, and that no application or industry on his part for that purpose, would have been wanta ing. But I cannot let this injurious assertion of yours pass without expressing my surprize, that you who were always with that gentleman, should be so totally ignorant of that transaction. The six millions, of which he took with him two and an half, of which one and an half was sent to Holland, and of which more than the remainder is ordered in stores from hence, was a free gift from the king's goodness, (not a loan to be repaid with interest) and was obtained by my application long before colonel Laurens's arrival. I had also given in a list of the stores to be provided, though on his coming I cheerfully gave up the farther prosecution of that business into his hands, as he was better acquainted with the particular wants of the army than I could be, and it was one of the purposes of his appointment. Thus no part of the affair was done without my knowlege and concurrence, except the sending a million and an half of the specie to Holland. This was indeed a secret to me; I had heard of that sum's being ready there to embark, but I always till lately understood it to be a part of the Dutch loan, which I am about to mention, or I should certainly have opposed that operation. What colonel Laurens really obtained, and a great service I hope it will prove, was a loan upon interest of ten millions, to be borrowed on the credit of this
court in Holland. I have not heard that this loan has yet produced any thing; and therefore I do not know that a single livre exists, or has existed in Europe of his procuring for the states. On the contrary, he and you have drawn from me considerable sums as necessary for your expenses, and he left me near forty thousand livres to pay for the Alliance; and moreover engaged me in a debt in Holland, which I understood might amount to about fifteen thousand pounds sterling, and which you contrived to make fifty thousand pounds. When I mentioned to him the difficulty I should find to pay the drafts, he said you had the remainder of the six millions. He gave me no account of the dispositions he had made, and it is but lately I have learnt that there is no remainder. To gratify you, and to get that ship out which could not have stirred without me, I have engaged for the vast sum abovementioned; which I am sure I shall be distressed to pay, and therefore, have not deserved at your hands the affront you are advised to menace me with; and since I find you make it a point of reflection upon me, that I want to apply money to the payment of my engagements for the congress, which was obtained by colonel Laurens for other purposes, I must request that you would upon this better information, take occasion to correct that error, if you have communicated it to any other person. By the letters you shewed me, that had passed between Mr. Adams and you, I perceive that he had imbibed an opinion that colonel Laurens had, as he expresses it, done more for the United States in the short time of his being in Europe, than all the rest of their di. plomatic corps put together. I should never have disputed this, because I had rather lend a little credit to a friend than take any from him, especially when I am persuaded he will make a good use of it. ' But when his friends will make such suppositious credit, a matter of reproach to me, it is not right to continue silent.
As to the safety of the excellent conveyance you mention, I must own I have some doubts about it, and I fear I shall hear of the arrival of that ship in England, before she sees
America. Be that as it may, I am clear that no use can possibly be made of the money in America, for supporting the credit of the states, equal in any degree to the effect it must have for the same purpose, when applied to the payment of their bills here, which must otherwise go back protested. And I am sure it will be exceedingly prejudicial to that credit, if by the rash proceeding you threaten, the situation of their affairs becomes the subject of public talk and discussion in Europe.
I am, &c.
B. FRANKLIN. P. S. I request you would read again, and consider well, my first letter to you on this subject. The reasons therein contained subsist and are still in their full force.
To Robert R. Livingston, Esq. Secretary for Foreign Affairs.
Passy, January 28, 1782. SIR, I RECEIVED at the same time, your several letters of October 20th, 24th and November 26th, which I purpose to answer fully by the return of the Alliance. Having just had a very short notice of the departure of this ship, I can only at present mention the great pleasure your appointment gives me, and my intention of corresponding with you regularly and frequently as you desire. The information contained in your letters is full and clear ; I shall endeavor that mine, of the state of affairs here, may be as satisfactory.
With great esteem, &c.
To the same.
* Passy, January 28, 1782. Sir, I WROTE to you this morning. Having just learnt that the courier is not gone, I have time to enclose and for
ward two letters t from Holland, by which you will see something of the state of affairs in that country.
Be pleased to present my dutiful respects to congress, and assure them of my faithful services.
I have the honor to be, &c.
To the same.
Passy, March 4, 1782. SIR, SINCE I wrote the two short letters of which I herewith send you copies, I have been honored with yours No. 5, dated the 16th December.
Inclosed I send copies of two letters from M. le Comte de Vergennes, relating to certain complaints from Ostend and Copenhagen against our cruisers. I formerly forwarded a similar complaint from Portugal, to which I have yet received no answer. The embassador of that kingdom frequently teases me for it. I hope now that by your means these kind of affairs will be more immediately attended to; ill blood and mischief may be thereby sometimes prevented.
The marquis de la Fayette was at his return hither received by all ranks, with all possible distinction. He daily gains in the general esteem and affection, and promises to be a great man here. He is warmly attached to our cause; we are on the most friendly and confidential footing with each other, and he is really very serviceable to me in my applications for additional assistance.
I have done what I could in recommending Messieurs Duportail and Gouvion as you desired. I did it with pleasure, as I have much esteem for them.
I will endeavor to procure a sketch of an emblem for the purpose you mention. This puts me in mind of a medal I have had a mind to strike since the late great event you give me an account of, representing the United States by
t Written by M. Dumas, a public agent of the U. S, in Holland. .