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tleman, and there waiting the favorable moment of opening your eventual character?"
Answer. His objections were, that, though you should not avow your public character, yet, if known to be an American, who had been in public employ, it would be suspected that you had such a character, and the British minister there might exert himself to procure you "quelques désagréments," that is, chagrins or mortifications; and that, unless you appeared to have some other object in visiting St. Petersburg, your being an American would alone give strong grounds for such suspicions. But, when you mentioned, that you might appear to have views of commerce, as a merchant, or of curiosity as a traveller, &c.; that there was a gentleman at St. Petersburg with whom some in America had a correspondence, and who had given hints of the utility there might be in having an American in Russia, who could give true intelligence of the state of our affairs, and prevent or refute misrepresentations, &c.; and that you could, perhaps, by means of that gentleman, make acquaintance, and thence procure useful information of the state of commerce, the country, the court, &c., he seemed less to disapprove of your going directly.
As to my own opinion, which you require, though I have long imagined that we let ourselves down, in offering our alliance before it is desired, and that it would have been better if we had never issued commissions for ministers to the courts of Spain, Vienna, Prussia, Tuscany, or Holland, till we had first privately learned, whether they would be received, since a refusal from one is an actual slight, that lessens our reputation, and makes others less willing to form a connexion with us; yet, since your commission is given, and the Congress seem to expect, though I think they
do not absolutely require, that you should proceed to St. Petersburg immediately, I conceive, that (assuming only a private character for the present, as you propose,) it will be right for you to go, unless, on consulting Mr. Adams, you should find reason to judge, that, under the present circumstances of the proposed mediation, a delay for some time would be more advisable. With great esteem, and best wishes for your success, &c.
FROM JOHN ADAMS TO B. FRANKLIN.
Difficulty of procuring a Loan in Holland.
Leyden, 10 April, 1781.
Relying on your virtues and graces of faith and hope, I accepted the bills to the amount of ten thousand pounds sterling drawn in favor of Mr. Tracy. I have received advice from Congress of more bills drawn upon me. When they arrive, and are presented, I must write to you concerning them, and desire you to enable me to discharge them; for I am sorry to say, that, although I have opened a loan according to the best plan I could devise, and the plan and the loan seem to be countenanced by the public, yet there is little money obtained, scarcely enough to defray the expense of obligations and stamps; and it is more and more clear to me, that we shall never obtain a loan here, until our independence is acknowledged by the States. Till then, every man seems to be afraid, that his having any thing to do in it will be made a foundation of a criminal process, or a provocation to the resentment of the mob.
The time is very near, when some of the bills I have accepted become payable. I must entreat your Excellency's answer to this as soon as convenient, and to point out to me, whether you choose that the House of Fizeau, Grand, & Co, or any other, should pay the money. It is a most grievous mortification to me, to find that America has no credit here, while England certainly still has so much; and to find that no gentlemen in public life here dare return me a visit or answer me a letter, even those who treated me when I first arrived here with great politeness. I am entreated, however, to keep this secret, but have no motive to secrete it from you. On the contrary, you ought to know it. I am told, that there will be great alterations very soon; but I have seen by experience, that no man in this country knows what will be on the
Let me ask the favor of you, Sir, to give my best respects to Colonel Laurens and Mr. Franklin. I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, Sir, &c. JOHN ADAMS.
TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.
Dr. Franklin's Enemies in America.
Passy, 12 April, 1781.
I received your favor by M. Cabarrus, and should have been glad if I could have rendered him any service here. He appears an amiable man, and expert in affairs. I have also your obliging letters of the 28th of February, and the 12th and 30th of March. I thank you much for your friendly hints of the operations of my enemies, and of the means I might use
to defeat them. Having in view at present no other point to gain but that of rest, I do not take their malice so much amiss, as it may farther my project, and perhaps be some advantage to you. and
are open, and, so far, honorable enemies; the
if enemies, are more covered. I never did any of them the least injury, and can conceive no other source of their malice but envy. To be sure, the excessive respect shown me here by all ranks of people, and the little notice taken of them, was a mortifying circumstance; but it was what I could neither prevent or remedy. Those who feel pain at seeing others enjoy pleasure, and are unhappy, must meet daily with so many causes of torment, that I conceive them to be already in a state of damnation; and, on that account, I ought to drop all resentment with regard to those two gentlemen. But I cannot help being concerned at the mischief their ill tempers will be continually doing in our public affairs, whenever they have any concern in them.
I remember the maxim you mention of Charles the Fifth, Yo y el Tiempo; and have somewhere met with an answer to it in this distich,
"I and Time 'gainst any two,
Chance and I 'gainst Time and you."
And I think the gentlemen you have at present to. deal with, would do wisely to guard a little more against certain chances.
The price of the Bibliotheca Hispana is too high for I thank you for the Gazettes you sent me by the ambassador's courier. I received none by the last. I shall be exceedingly glad to receive the memoirs. of the Sociedad Económica, and the works on political economy of its founder. The Prince of Maceran, with several other persons of his nation, did me the
honor of breakfasting with me on Monday last, when I presented the compliments you charged me with. Mr. Cumberland has not yet arrived at Paris, as far as I have heard.
The discontents in our army have been quieted. There was in them not the least disposition of revolting to the enemy. I thank you for the Maryland captain's news, which I hope will be confirmed. They have heard something of it in England, as you will see by the papers, and are very uneasy about it, as well as about their news from the East Indies. Yours affectionately, B. FRANKLIN.*
On the 12th of April, 1781, Dr. Franklin was entertained in a somewhat remarkable manner, at a Fête Champêtre given by the Countess d'Houdetot, at Sanoy, in the valley of Montmorency, twelve miles from Paris. The company consisted only of the different branches of the family of the Count and Countess d'Houdetot. To understand one of the stanzas, it is necessary to know that the Countess's name was Sophie. When the approach of Dr. Franklin's carriage was an nounced, they all set off on foot from the Château, and met him at the distance of about half a mile. He was handed from his carriage by the Countess, who, upon his alighting, pronounced the following verses of her own composition.
"Ame du héros, et du sage,
Oh liberté! premier bienfait des dieux!
Hélas! c'est de trop loin que nous t'offrons des vœux;
They walked slowly to the Château, where they sat down to a splendid dinner. At the first glass of wine, the following stanza was sung, which became the chorus of the day, accompanied by instrumental music.
"De Benjamin célébrons la mémoire,
Chantons le bien qu'il a fait aux mortels;
En Amérique il aura des autels,
Et dans Sanoy nous buvons à sa gloire."
At the second glass, the Countess sang the following quatrain.
"I rend ses droits à l'humaine nature,
Pour l'affranchir il voulut l'éclairer,