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gress, and to abide by their determination. It is a wise and impartial tribunal, which can have no sinister views to warp its judgment. It is happy for us all, that we have now in our own country such a council to apply to, for composing our differences, without being obliged, as formerly, to carry them across the ocean to be decided, at an immense expense, by a council which knew little of our affairs, would hardly take any pains to understand them, and which often treated our applications with contempt, and rejected them with injurious language. Let us, therefore, cherish and respect our own tribunal; for the more generally it is held in high regard, the more able it will be to answer effectually the ends of its institution, the quieting of our contentions, and thereby promoting our common peace and happiness.

I do not hear any talk of an adjournment of Congress, concerning which you inquire ; and I rather think it likely they may continue to sit out their year, as it is but lately they have been able to make a quorum for business, which must therefore probably be in arrear. If you proceed in your intended journey, I shall be glad to see you as you pass through Philadelphia. In the mean time I have the honor to be, very respectfully, Sir, your most obedient servant,


FROM JOHN COAKLEY LETTSOM TO B. FRANKLIN. Memoirs of Dr. Fothergill. Plan for Discoveries in Natural History. Cultivation of Rhubarb.

London, 14 August, 1786. RESPECTED FRIEND, Not having had the favor of a letter since thy arrival on thy native continent, I take the liberty of address

ing a letter with the Memoirs of Dr. Fothergill, just printed. The manner in which I have introduced the memoirs of Dr. Cuming and Dr. Cleghorn will best explain the manner in which I wished to introduce thy respectable name among them. I am sensible how inadequate I am to give the true traits of a character, that has instructed and astonished both America and Europe; and it was not my view thus to enter upon the department of a historian, but rather, by a few anecdotes of early life, to lay the basis of a superstructure destined for an abler pen; and this I think might be done by correcting the dates and some little particulars of that rough sketch, which I formerly sent thee when at Paris; and this would content me, unless thou shouldest be disposed to make any addition.

I have, at different times, received from North America various specimens of ores, as well as of coal. The iron, in particular, has been very fine; and, if these various treasures were properly assayed, probably in time much national advantage might result. There are in your Provinces many ingenious persons, who, with very moderate encouragement, would visit your mountains and woods in pursuit of discovery. You possess many valuable dyes and articles of medicine yet unknown.

I have lately had a correspondence with Mr. Humphrey Marshall, of Bradford, in West Chester County, who is an excellent botanist, and has a pretty general knowledge of natural history, and for a little encouragement, would, I am informed, undertake a voyage of discovery into your woods and mountains. He mentioned to me, that such a journey might be undertaken, and continued for at least a year, at the expense of three hundred pounds. If a subscription for this purpose were effected, I would willingly subscribe my mite of twenty guineas towards it, for the sake of a share of the seeds, plants, and ores that may be collected; I mean as specimens merely of your productions. I have now a man from Europe travelling through America for the purpose of collecting your productions, particularly of the vegetable kind.

Within the last ten years much rhubarb, of the Turkey kind, has been cultivated in Scotland and England. Its cultivation is becoming more and more general. I sent seeds over a year ago. I have now sent roots, as they vegetated with me in pots; and I hope it may become an object with you to cultivate this useful plant. It is also an ornamental plant in horticulture. I hope also by the same opportunity to transmit some tea plants, which your southern colonies are well calculated for. I am respectfully, &c.




Versailles, 30 August, 1786.


I have received the letter, which you did me the honor to write on the 28th of this month, touching the advance of a million, which you say was made by the Farmers-General to the United States of America, the 3d of June, 1777. I have no knowledge of that advance. What I have verified is, that the King, by the contract of the 25th of February, 1783, has confirmed the gratuitous gift, which his Majesty had previously made, of the three millions hereafter mentioned,

* In answer to a letter from Mr. Grand, respecting an inquiry of Dr. Franklin. See the letter to Mr. Grand, above, p. 265.

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viz. one million delivered by the Royal Treasury, the 10th of June, 1776, and two other millions advanced also by the Royal Treasury, in 1777, on four receipts of the Deputies of Congress, of the 17th of January, 3d of April, 10th of June, and 15th of October, of the same year. This explanation will, Sir, I hope, resolve your doubt touching the advance of the 3d of June, 1777. I further recommend to you, Sir, to confer on this subject with M. Gojard, who ought to be better informed than we, who had no knowledge of any advances, but those made by the Royal Treasury. I have the honor to be, &c.




Versailles, 5 September, 1786.


I laid before the Count de Vergennes the two letters which you did me the honor to write, touching the three millions, the free gift of which the King has confirmed in favor of the United States of America. The minister, Sir, observed, that this gift has nothing to do with the million, which the Congress may have received from the Farmers-General in 1777; consequently he thinks, that the receipt, which you desire may be communicated to you, cannot satisfy the object of your view, and that it would be useless to give you the copy which you desire. I have the honor to be, with perfect attachment, &c.



Paris, 9 September, 1786. MY DEAR SIR, The letter you honored me with, covered the copies of three letters, which Mr. Thomson wrote you in order to obtain an explanation of a million, which is not to be found in my accounts. I should have been very much embarrassed in satisfying and proving to him, that I had not put that million in my pocket, had I not applied to M. Durival, who, as you will see by the answer enclosed, informs me, that there was a million paid by the Royal Treasury, on the 10th of June, 1776. This is the very million about which Mr. Thomson inquires, as I have kept an account of the other two millions, which were also furnished by the Royal Treasury, viz. the one million in January and April, 1777, the other in July and October of the same year, as well as that furnished by the Farmers-General in June, 1777.

Here, then, are the three millions exactly, which were given by the King before the treaty of 1778, and that furnished by the Farmers-General. Nothing then remains to be known, but who received the first million in June, 1776. It could not be myself, as I was not charged with the business of Congress until January, 1777. I therefore requested of M. Durival a copy of the receipt for the one million. You have the answer, which he returned to me. I have written to him again, renewing my request; but, as the courier is just setting off, I cannot wait to give you his answer, but you will receive it in my next, if I obtain one. In the mean while, I beg you will receive the assurances of the sentiments of respect, with which I have the honor to be, my dear Sir, &c.


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