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your board, unlesss the bill was paid, and it appearing on the face of the bill that it was drawn for public service, I concluded to take it up, on which he has purchased the things and shipped them, colonel Laurens has put on board some other supplies for the army, and I suppose she will now sail directly.
The drafts from congress upon me for various services, and those on Mr. Jay and Mr. Laurens, all coming upon me for payment, together with the expenses on the ships, &c. have made it impracticable for me to advance more for loading the Active; but as we have obtained lately, promises of a considerable aid for this year, I shall now try what I can do, as the money comes in, towards supplying what is demanded in the invoice you mention. You will receive, I hope, twenty-eight cannon, and a large quantity of powder and saltpetre, by the ship Marquis de la Fayette.
I have by several opportunities written in answer to your questions, relative to the ship Alliance.
'I have the honor to be, &c.
Please to present my respects to the board..
To Samuel Huntington, Esq. President of Congress.
Passy, June 11, 1781. , SIR, I HAVE lately done myself the honor of writing largely to your excellency, by divers conveyances, to which I beg leave to refer. This is chiefly to cover the copy of a letter I have just received from the minister relative to the disposition of the late loans, by which will be seen the situation I am in, with respect to my acceptances of the quantity of bills drawn by congress, on Mr. Jay, Mr. Laurens, Mr. Adains, and self, which I entered into, in the expectation both colonel Laurens and myself entertained, that a part of these loans might be applied to the payment of these bills, but which I am now told cannot be done without an express or.. der from congress. I shall endeavor to change the sentiments of the court in this respect, but am not sure of succeeding.
I must therefore request that a resolution of congress may immediately be sent, empowering me to apply as much of those loans as shall be necessary for the discharge of all such drafts of congress, or for the repayment of such sums as I may in the mean time be obliged to borrow for the discharge of those drafts.
I have the honor to be, &c.
From the Count de Vergennes to Dr. Franklin.
Versailles, June 8, 1781. SIR, I HAVE received the letter you did me the honor to write me the 4th instant, I do not know whether Mr. Lau. rens has purchased the clothing in Holland on account of congress; I only know and you were likewise informed of it at the same time, that this officer was to employ for his purchases in France, part of the six millions the king has granted to the congress; and that the residue of this sum was intended to be sent to America, with a view of re-establishing the credit of the United States. If Mr. Laurens instead of paying ready money in Holland, has contented himself with giving bills on you, I have no concern in it, and the king can fure nish no means for your reimbursement.
As to the monies arising from the loan opened in Hol. land, we have no pretensions to regulate the employment of them, as they belong to the United States. You must therefore, sir, apply to congress for the power of disposing of them, in discharge of the drafts drawn on you from all quarters.
I have the honor of being, &c.
To Samuel Huntington Esq. President of Congress.
Passy, July 11, 1781. SIR, THE number of congress bills that have been drawn on the ministers in Spain and Holland, which I am by my acceptances obliged to pay, as well as those drawn upon myself, the extreme importance of supporting the credit of congress, which would be disgraced in a political, as well as a pecuniary light, through all the courts of Europe, if these bills should go back protested, and the unexpected delays arising with regard to the intended loan in Holland; all these considerations have induced me to stop the one million, five hundred thousand livres, which were to have been sent by way of Amsterdam.
As soon as more money can be furnished me by the court, I shall take care to replace that sum, and forward with it as great an addition as possible. I am now soliciting supplies of clothing, arms, ammunition, &c. to replace what has been unfortunately lost in the Marquis de la Fayette, and hope to succeed.
Captain Jackson who is truly zealous for the service, has been exceedingly solicitous and earnest with me, to induce me to permit the money to go in this ship; but for the reasons abovementioned, I find it absolutely necessary to retain it for the present, which I doubt not, will be approved of by congress.
With great respect,
To the same.
Passy, September 13, 1781. SIR, I DULY received the two letters your excellency did më the honor of writing to me, both dated the 19th June, together with the letter addressed to the king and the three
commissioners, with the instructions relative to the negociations for peace. I immediately went to Versailles and presented the letter, which was graciously received. I communicated also to M. le Compte de Vergennes, a copy of your instructions after having decyphered them. He read them while I was with him, and expressed his satis. faction with the unreserved confidence placed in his court by the congress, assuring me that they never would have cause to regret it, for that the king had the honor of the United States at heart, as well as their welfare and independence. Indeed this has already been manifested in the ne
gociations relative to the plenipotentiaries, and I have had · so much experience of his majesty's goodness to us, in the
aids afforded us from time to time, and of the sincerity of this upright and able minister, who never promised me any thing which he did not punctually perform, that I cannot but think the confidence well and judiciously placed, and that it will have happy effects.'
I have communicated to Mr. Adams and to Mr. Jay, the purport of your dispatches. Mr. Adams already had received the same: by the first safe conveyance, I shall acquaint the congress with the steps that have been taken in the negociation. At present I would only say, that the settling of preliminaries meets with difficulty, and will probably take much time, partly from the remoteness of the mediators, so that any relaxation of our warlike preparations in expectation of a speedy peace, will be imprudent as it may be pernicious.
I am extremely sensible of the honor done me by the congress in this new appointment. I beg they would accept my thankful acknowlegements; and since they judge I may be serviceable, though I had requested leave to retire, I submit dutifully to their determination, and shall do my utmost to merit in some degree, the favorable opinion they appear to have of me. I am the more encouraged in this resolution, as within these last three months, I find my health and strength considerably re-established.
. I wish however, that a consul general may soon be appointed for this kingdom: it would ease me of abundance of troublesome business to which I am not equal, and which interferes with my own important functions.
The king having graciously complied with my request of replacing the supplies lost in the Marquis de la Fayette, many hands are employed in providing them, who work hard to have them ready and shipped, so as that they may arrive before winter.
With the highest respect,
B. FRANKLIN, P. S. The copying machine for Mr. secretary Thompson, is in hand, and will soon be finished and sent to him.
To Thomas M Kean, Esq. President of Congress.
Passy, November 5, 1781. Sir, HEREWITH you will receive a copy of my last, since which I have been honored with two letters from the late president, the one dated March 2d, relating to captain Jones's cross of merit, which I have communicated as directed ; the other dated July 5th, respecting the release and exchange of Mr. Laurens. Having no direct communication with the British ministers, and Mr. Burke appearing by a letter to me warmly interested in favor of his friend, general Burgoyne, to prevent his being recalled, I have requested and empowered him to negociate that exchange, and I soon expect his answer.
The late practice of sending to England prisoners taken in America, has greatly augmented the number of those unfortunate men, and proportionably increased the expense of relieving them. The subscriptions for that purpose in England have ceased. The allowance I have made them ; of sixpence each per week, during the summer, though? şmall, amounts to a considerable sum ; and during the