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mark, that when the general congress are endeavouring to obtain a loan, these separate attempts do interfere, and are extremely inconvenient, especially where some of the agents are empowered to offer a higher interest, and some have powers in that respect unlimited. We have likewise lately had applications from three several states to this court, to be furnished with great quantities of arms, ammunition, and clothing, or with money upon credit to buy them; and from one state, to be supplied with naval stores and ships of war. These agents, finding that they had not interest to obtain such grants, have severally applied to me, and seem to think it my duty, as minister for the United States, to support and enforce their particular demands. I have endeavoured to do so, but I find the ministers do not like these separate applications, and seem to think that they should properly come only through congress, to whom the several states, in such cases, ought first to make known their wants, and then the congress could instruct their minister accordingly. This would save the king's ministers a good deal of trouble, and the several states the expense of these particular agents, concerning whom I would add a little remark; that we have in America, too readily, in various instances, given faith to the pretensions of strangers from Europe, who offer their services as persons who have powerful friends and great interest in their own coun. try, and by that means obtain contracts, orders, or commissions to procure what we want; and who, when they come here, are totally unknown, and have no other credit but what such commissions give them ; or if known, the commissions do not add so much to their credit, as they diminish that of their employers.
I have received two letters from a Frenchman settled in one of the ports of Barbary, offering himself to act as our minister with the emperor, with whom he pretended to be intimate, and acquainting me that his imperial majesty wondered we had never sent to thank him for being the first power on this side the Atlantic that had acknowledged our independence, and opened his ports to us; advising that
we should send the emperor a present. On inquiring at the office in whose department Africa is included, I learnt the character of this man to be such, that it was not safe to have any correspondence with him, and therefore did not answer his letter. I suppose congress has received the memorial we presented to this court, respecting the Barbary states, and requesting the king's good offices with them agreeable to the treaty, and also the answer expressing the king's readiness to perform those good offices whenever the congress should send us instructions, and make provisions for the necessary presents: or if these papers have not yet got to hand, they will be found among the copies carried over by Mr. Adams, and therefore I only mention them by wat of remembrance. When ever a treaty with the emperor shall be intended, I suppose some of our naval stores will be an acceptable present, and the expectation of continued supplies of such stores, a powerful motive for entering into and continuing a friendship.
I should send you copies of several other memorials and public papers, but as Mr. Adams goes in the same ship, and has the whole of our transactions during his time, it is not so necessary by this vessel.
The disposition of this nation, in general, continues friendly towards us and our cause; and I do not see the least diminution of it, except among the West India merchants and planters, whose losses have rendered them a little discontented. . ..
Spain has been long acting as a mediator, but arming all the time most vigorously. Her naval force is now very great indeed; and as her last proposition of a long truce, in which America should be included and treated with, as independent in fact, though not expressly acknowledged as such, has been lately rejected by England, it is now thought that her open junction with France in the war is not far distant. The commissioners here have a power in general terms to treat of peace, friendship, and commerce with European states, but I apprehend this is scarce explicit enough to authorise one to treat of such a truce, if the proposition should again come upon the tapis. I therefore wish te ! congress to consider of it, and give such powers as may be necessary to whom they may think proper; that if a favor. able opportunity of making an advantageous treaty should offer, it may not be slipt.
Admiral Arbuthnot, who was going to America with a large convoy and some troops, has been detained by a little attempt upon Jersey; and contrary winds since that affair was over, have detained him farther until within these few days.
Since I began writing this letter I have received a packet from the committee by way of Statia and Holland, sent by Mr. Lovell, containing his letters of December 8, January 29, and February 8, with one from the president, dated January 3. Several papers are mentioned as sent with them, and by other opportunities, but none are come to hand, except the resolution to postpone the attempt upon Canada, and these are the first dispatches received here since the date of those sent by the marquis de la Fayette.
I have also just received a letter from Mr Bingham, acquainting me that the ships Deane and the General Gates, are just arrived at Martinico and apply to him to be careened, refitted, and procure a fresh supply of provisions; and that though he has no orders, he must draw upon me for the expence. I think it right to acquaint you thus early that I shall be obliged to protest his bills. I have just obtained from his majesty, orders to the government of Guadaloupe, to make reasonable reparation to captain Giddins of Newburg, for the loss of this vessel, sunk in mistake by a battery of that Island.
Great preparations are now making here with much activity in all the sea ports, taking up transports, and building small vessels proper for landing of troops, &c. so that many think an invasion of England or Ireland is intended. The intention, whatever it is, may change; but the opinion of such an intention, which seems to prevail in England, may tend to keep their troops and ships at home.
General and lord Howe, generals Cornwallis and Grey, colonel Montresor, captain Hammond, and others, have formally given it as their opinion in parliament, that the
prove noch Story, and Jabez Fichterson, Theophilus Mor
conquest of America is impracticable. This week, as we hear, John Maxwell, Esquire, Joseph Galloway, Esquire, Andrew Allen, Esquire, John Patterson, Theophilus Morris, Enoch Story, and Jabez Fisher, are to be examined to prove the contrary. One would think the first set were likely to be the best judges. Be pleased to present my dutiful respects to the congress, and assure them of my most faithful services. I have the honor to be, &c.
From Doctor Richard Price. "
London, January 18, 1779. DOCTOR PRICE, returns his best thanks to the honor. able Benjamin Franklin, Arthur Lee, and John Adams, Esquires, for conveying to him the resolution of congress of the sixth of October last, by which he is invited to become a member of the United States, and to give his assist. ance in regulating their finances. It is not possible for him to express the sense he has of the honor which this resolu. tion does him, and the satisfaction with which he reflects on the favourable opinion of him, which has occasioned ita But he knows himself not to be sufficiently qualified for giving such assistance, and he is so connected in this country, and also advancing so fast in the evening of life, that he cannot think of a removal. He requests the favour of the honorable commissioners to transmit this reply to congress, with assurances that Doctor Price feels the warmest grati. tude for the notice taken of him, and that he looks to the American States as now the hope, and likely soon ta become the refuge of mankind,
To James Lovell, Esq.
I have received within these few days a number of dispatches from you, which have arrived by the Mercury and
other vessels. Hearing but this instant of an opportunity from Bordeaux, and that the courier sets out from Versailles at five this evening, I embrace it just to let you know, that I have delivered the letters from congress to the king, and have laid the invoices of supplies desired (with a translation) before the ministers, and though I have not yet received a positive answer, I have good reason to believe I shall obtain most of them, if not all : but as this demand will cost the court a vast sum, and their expenses in the war is prodigious, I beg I may not be put under the necessity by occasional drafts on me, to ask for more money than is required to pay our bills for interest. I must protest those I have advice of from Martinico and New Orleans (even if they were drawn by permission of congress) for want of money; and I wish the committee of commerce would caution their correspondents not to embarrass me with their bills. I put into my pocket nothing of the allowance congress has been pleased to make me, I shall pay it all in honoring their drafts, and supporting their credit, but do not let me be burthened with supporting the credit of every one who has claims on the boards of commerce or the navy. I shall write fully by the Mercury; I send you some of the latest newspapers, and have the honor to be, &c.
To John Jay Esq. President of Congress.
Passy, October 4th, 1779. SIR, I received the letter your excellency did me the honor to write to me of the- of June last, enclosing acts of congress, respecting bills of exchange for two millions four hundred thousand livres tournois, drawn on me in favour of M. de Beaumarchais. The bills have not yet appeared, but I shall accept them when they do, relying on the care of congress. to enable me to pay them. As to the accounts of that gentleman, neither the commissioners when we were all together, nor myself since, have ever been able to obtain a sight of them, though repeatedly promised, and I begin to give over all