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he shall be replaced by his second in command, and so on by
J. P. JONES, . .
To Samuel Huntington, Esq. President of congress..
Passy; May 3, 1781. SIR, ENCLOSED are copies of a number of public letters taken from the English in a late New York packet, of which . I have already sent duplicates by several conveyances.
I have the honor to be, &c. .
To the same.
. Passy, May 14, 1781... Sīr, . I DID myself the honor of writing to your excellency pretty fully, on the 12th of March, to which I beg leave to refer. Colonel Laurens arriving soon after, we renewed the application for more money. His indefatigable endeavors have brought the good dispositions of this court to a more speedy determination of making an addition, than could well have been expected so soon after the former grant. As he will have an opportunity of acquainting you 'personally with all the particulars of importance, a circumstantial account of the transaction from me is unnecessary. I would only mention that as it is the practice here to consider early in the year, the probable expenses of the campaign, and appropriate the revenues to the several necessary services, all subsequent and unexpected demands are extremely inconvenient and disagreeable, as they cannot be answered without difficulty, occasion much embarrassment, and are sometimes impracticable. If therefore, the congress have
not on this occasion obtained all they wished, they will impute it to the right cause, and not suppose a want of good will in our friends, who indeed are such, most firmly and sincerely. The whole supply for the current year now amounts to twenty millions, but out of this are to be paid your usual drafts for interest money, those in favor of M. Beaumarchais, and those heretofore drawn on Mr. Jay and Mr. Laurens, which I have already either paid or engaged for, with the support of your several ministers, &c. which I mention that the congress may avoid the embarrassing my successor with drafts which perhaps he may not have the means in his hands of honoring.
Besides paying the second year's salaries of Messieurs Adams and Dana, Jay and Carmichael, I have furnished Mr. Dana with £1500 sterling credit on Petersburg, for which place I suppose he is now on his way. You will receive from Holland advices of the late declaration of that court, with regard to the English refusal of its mediation, and of the assistance requested by the States General. I hope Mr. Dana will find it well disposed towards us.
I have received no answer yet to my letters relating to the proposed mode of lodging funds here, by supplying the French fleet and army.
Having as yet heard nothing of colonel Palfrey, and it being now more than four months since he sailed, there is a great reason to fear he may be lost. If that should unhappily be the case, the congress cannot too soon appoint another consul, such an officer being really necessary here. Your minister plenipotentiary has hitherto had all that sort of business upon his hands, and as I do not now speak for myself, I may speak more freely, I think he should be freed from the burden of such affairs, from all concerns in making contracts for furnishing supplies, and from all your bill of exchange business, &c. that he may be more at liberty to attend to the duties of his political functions.
The prisoners in England are encreasing by the late practice of sending our people from New York, and the refusal of the English admiralty to exchange any Americans for
Englishmen not taken by American armed vessels. I would mention it for the consideration of congress, whether it may not be well to set apart five or six hundred English prisoners, and refuse them all exchange in America, but for our countrymen now confined in England.
Agreeable to the vote of congress, and your excellency's letter of the 4th January, I have requested the assistance of this court for obtaining the release of Mr. President Laurens : it does not yet appear that the thing is practica. ble. What the present situation is of that unfortunate gen. tlemen, may be gathered from the enclosed letters.
I hope the Alliance, with the ship Marquis de la Fayette under her convoy, are by this time arrived, as they sailed the twenty-seventh of March. I flatter myself that the supplies of clothing, &c. which they carry, will be found good of the kind and well bought.
I have by several late opportunities, sent copies of the government letters, taken in the New York Packet. Your excellency will see that they are written in the perfect persuasion of our submitting speedily, and that the commissioners are cautioned not to promise too much with regard to the future constitutions to be given us, as many changes of the old may be necessary, &c. One cannot read those letters from the American secretary of state and his under secretary Knox, without a variety of reflections on the state we should necessarily be in, if obliged to make the submission they so fondly hope for, but which I trust in God they will never see,
Their affairs in the East Indies by the late sccounts grow worse and worse. And twenty-two ships of the prey they made in the west, are wrenched out of their jaws by the squadron of M. de la Motte Piquet.
I mentioned in a former letter, my purpose of remaining here for some time after I should be superceded. I mean it with the permission of congress, and on the supposition of no orders being sent me to the contrary, and I hope it will be so understood.
With the greatest respect,
To Sir Grey Cooper, Baronet, Secretary to the treasury of Great
Passy, November 7, 1780.
I UNDERSTAND that Mr. Laurens an American gentleman, for whom I have a great esteem, is a prisoner in che Tower, and that his health suffers by the closeness and rigour of his confinement. As I do not think that your affairs receive any advantage from the harshness of this proceeding, I take the freedom of requesting your kind interposition, to obtain for him such a degree of air and liberty on his parole or otherwise, as may be necessary for his health and comfort. The fortune of war which is daily changing, may possibly put it in my power to do the like good office for some friend of yours, which I shall perform with much pleasure, not only for the sake of humanity, but in respect to the ashes of our former friendship. With great regard, I have the honor to be, &c.
From Sir Grey Cooper, to Dr. Franklin.
London, November 29, 1780. SIR, I HAVE received the honor of your letter in which you acquainted me, that you understood that the health of Mr. Laurens suffered by the closeness and rigor of his confinement in the Tower, and after complaining of the harshness of this proceeding, you request me to endeavor to obtain for Mr. Laurens, such a degree of air and liberty as may be necessary for his health and comfort. The enclosed letter which I received from the lieutenant governor of the Tower, will shew that I have not been inattentive to your request, and at the same time prove that the intelligence you receive of what passes in this country, is not always what is to be depended on, for its accuracy and correctness.
I have the honor to be, &c.
From the Lieutenant Governor of the Tower of London, to Sir
Grey Cooper . :. ' , Hampstead, November 27, 1780.
DEAR SIR, · I AM much ashamed to think I shall appear so dilatory in answering the favor of your letter, but the truth is, I was not in town when the messenger left it in Cork-street, and by the neglect of my servants, I received it only on Sunday last, I went immediately to the Tower to know from Mr. Laurens himself, if he had any cause of complaint, and if he had availed himself of the indulgence allowed him, by the secretary of state, of walking within the Tower whenever it was agreeable to himself; his answer to me was full and frank to the questions, that he had received every reasonable indulgence since his confinement, and that by the liberty allowed him of walking, he found his health much mended; he said at the same time, he had always thought himself highly honored, by the distinguished place of his confinement, and regretted much it was not in his power, to make known to all the world the acknowlegements he had more than once made to me upon this subject.
I beg you will do me the favor to communicate these par. ticulars to lord George Germaine as soon as convenient. I have the honor to be, dear sir, &c.
To Francis Lewis, Esq.
Passy, May 16, 1781. Sir, I RECEIVED the letter you did me the honor of writing to me the 1st January. The bill for four thousand four hundred and forty-four Mexican dollars, which you remitted to Mr. Schweighauser, being refused payment by Mr. Jay, for want of a regular endorsement by Mr. Laurens, in whose favor it was drawn, and which endorsement could not now be obtained ; Mr. Schweighauser applied to me informing me that he should not send the things ordered by