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winter I shall be obliged to double, if not treble it. The admiralty there, will not accept any English in exchange, but such as have been taken by Americans; and absolutely refuse to allow any of the paroles given to our privateers by English prisoners discharged at sea, except in one instance, that of fifty-three men taken in the Snake sloop, by the Pilgrim and Rambler, which was a case attended, as they say, with some particular circumstances. I know not what the circumstances were, but shall be glad to see the fifty-three of our people, whom they promised to send me by the first cartel. I have above five hundred other paroles, solemnly given in writing, by which the Englishmen promised either to send of our people in exchange, or to surrender themselves to me in France ; not one of which has been regarded, so little faith and honor remains in that corrupted nation, Our privateers when in the European seas, will rarely bring in their prisoners, when they can get rid of them at sea.
Some of our poor brave countrymen, have been in that cruel captivity now near four years. I hope the congress will take this matter into immediate consideration, and find some means for their deliverance, and to prevent the sending more from America. By my last accounts, the number now in the several prisons amount to upwards of eight hundred. I request also some directions from congress (having never received any) respecting the allowance to be made to them, while they remain there. They complain that the food given them is insufficient. Their petition to the English government to have an equal allowance with the French and Spanish prisoners, has been rejected; which makes the small pecuniary assistance I can send them, more necessary. If a certain number of English prisoners could be set apart in America, treated exactly in the same manner, and their exchange refused till it should be agreed to set those at liberty in Europe, one might hope to succeed in procuring the discharge of our people. Those who escape and pass through France to get home, put me also to a very great expense for their land journies, which would be pre;
vented if they were exchanged, as they would be landed here in the ports.
The embassador of Venice told me, that he was chargedi by the senate to express to me their grateful sense of the friendly behaviour of captain Barry, commander of the Alliance, in rescuing one of the ships of their state, from an English privateer, and setting her at liberty. And he requested me to communicate this acknowlegement to congress.
There is a complaint from Holland against captain Jones, for having taken the brigantine Berkenbosch, and sending her to America; and I have been desired to lay before congress the enclosed depositions relating to that capture, and to request their attention to it. The embassador of Portugal also, frequently asks me if I have received any answer to their complaint long since sent over; I wish it was in my power to give him one of some kind or other. But none has yet come to my hands. I need not mention the importance of attending to the smallest complaints. The neglect of them sometimes having very serious consequences.
The mediation proposed, is not yet agreed to by England, who refuses to treat with our United States but as a sove. reign with subjects; and I apprehend that a change in that resolution is only to be expected from time, the growing insupportable expense of the war, or a course of misfortunes in the progress of it. The spirits of that nation have been continually kept up by the flattering accounts sent over of our being weary of the contest, and on the point of submission. Their ministers, as appears by their intercepted letters, have been themselves so far deceived, as to expect daily those submissions, and to have the pleasure of laying them before the king. We may perhaps be able to guess a little by the king's speech, at the approaching new session of parliament, whether they still continue under this delusion. As long as it subsists, peace is not to be expected.
A loan has been proposed to be obtained for us of the states of Holland, on the credit of this government. All public operations are slow in that country, and though the affair it at length said to be concluded, it is not yet executed. Considerable advances have, however, been made here, in expectation of being reimbursed by it. The last aids granted us, have been so absorbed by my payment of the drafts on Mr. Jay and Mr. Adams, and acceptance of those for the enormous unexpected purchases in Holland, which were to have gone in captain Gillon's ship, but left behind, that I shall have nothing to spare for extraordinaries, unless some of the Holland loan comes soon into
hands. I am now told from Amsterdam, that the two ships freighted there to carry these goods are detained, as their contract was to sail under convoy of the South Carolina, which left them, and they must now take more men to defend them; and of consequence claim a higher freight, and to have it paid before they sail, unless I will buy the ships and send them on account of congress, neither of which is in my power to do. It was with reluctance I engaged in that affair, having little confidence in captain Gillon's management, and fearing some embarrassment of our credit, I consented in fine, to engage for the payment of ten thousand pounds sterling, being the value of the goods suitable for congress, said to be already shipt in that vessel; and as there was said to be still more room, and she was thought a safe conveyance to furnish an additional sum to fill that supposed vacancy, which I limited to five thousand pounds sterling more, You will judge of my surprize when I saw the accounts of that additional purchase, which amounted instead of five, to fifty thousand pounds sterling. first absolutely refused to pay for them. But captain Jackson came to me from thence express, urged that the purchase was made by order of colonel Laurens, that the goods were on board ; that if I would not undertake to pay for them, they must be re-landed and returned or sold, which would be a public disgrace to us, that they were all articles exceedingly wanted in America, &c. In fine I was prevailed
upon and accepted the bills, and was obliged to go with this after-clap to the ministers, a proceeding always disagreeable, after the dispositions of the funds of the year have been arranged; and more so in this case, as the money was to be paid for the manufactures of other countries, and not laid out in those of this kingdom, by whose friendship it was furnished. This fresh grant was at first absolutely refused. At length I obtained it, and I hoped the difficulty was over. But after all the officers declare the ship overloaded, that there was not room to lodge the people and provisions, nor to act in fighting her; the goods are turned out into two other ships, those are left, and it is now proposed to me either to buy them, or to advance a freight nearly equal to the value. I cannot make a new demand for this purpose, and I shall not wonder if this government, observing how badly our shipping and transporting the supplies is managed, should take that business for the future intirely into its own hands, as they have begun to do in the case of replacing the cargo of the Marquis de la Fayette, and indeed until some active, intelligent person, skilled in maritime affairs, is placed here as consul, I cannot but think it will be much better executed, and more for our advantage. Some considerable parts of that new cargo are already shipped, and the rest I hear in great forwardness.
The very friendly disposition of this court still continues, and will I hope continue forever. From my own inclination, as well as in obedience to the order of congress, every thing in my power shall be done to cultivate that disposition, but I trust it will be remembered that the best friends may
be overburthened ; that by too frequent, too large, and too unfortunate demands upon it, the most cordial frienship may be wearied; and as nothing is more tęạzing than repeated unexpected demands for money, I hope the congress will absolutely put an end to the practice of drawing on their ministers, and thereby obliging them to worry their respective courts for the means of payment. It may have otherwise very ill effects in depressing the spirit of a minister, and destroying that freedom of representation, which
on many occasions it might be proper for him to make
I heartily congratulate you, sir, on your being called to he honorable and important office of president, and wish you every kind of prosperity.
Be pleased to present my dutiful respects to the congress, and believe me to be, with great and sincere esteem and respect, &c.
Substance of the protest of Captain Ary de Neif, commanding the
ON the 4th of August, 1780, captain Ary de Neif, commanding the brigantine Berkenbosch, the property of Messrs. Van de Perre and Myneers of Middleburg in Zealand, being duly sworn upon the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God, before Alexander Jeune, secretary, of the noble granted general, West India company, at St. Eustatia, did depose and say, that on the fifteenth day of August, 1779, he sailed from Middleburg, in the abovementioned brigan.' tine, bound for Liverpool, where he arrived on the twentyseventh day of August, 1779, that at Liverpool, he took in a cargo of lead and pilchards, from whence he sailed on the 27th day of December, 1779, for Leghorn, that on the eighth day of January, 1780, in the northern latitude of 40 degrees, longitude 3 degrees and 34 minutes, he fell in with captain John P. Jones, who hailed the brig, and ordered the said captain Ary de Neif, together with all his papers on board the Lyon, (captain Jones's own ship) Then he (captain John Paul Jones) examined captain Ary de Neif's papers, and broke the seals of all his letters, at the same time, declaring his vessel to be a lawful prize, upon the principle of her being American property, though assured by captain de Neif, that though she was formerly American property, she then belonged to the subjects of the United Provinces, and that captain Jones might see it by his papers; that captain Jones answered, that every thing