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Full text of "The diplomatic correspondence of the American Revolution, being the letters of Benjamin Franklin, Silas Deane, John Adams, John Jay, Arthur Lee, William Lee, Ralph Izard, Francis Dana, William Carmichael, Henry Laurens, John Laurens, M. de Lafayette, M. Dumas, and others, concerning the foreign relations of the United States during the whole Revolution; together with the letters in reply from the secret committee of Congress, and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, also the entire correspondence of the French ministers, Gerard and Luzerne, with Congress"

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Published under the Direction of the President of the United States, from 

the original Manuscripts in the Department of State, conformably 

to a Resolution of Congress, of March 27th, 1818 







Suam Pow«r Press— W. L. L«wi«' Prhrt,, 
No. 6, Con^fi Street, Botton. 





To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. 
Amsterdam, November 2d, 1776. - - - 5 

Sent by Mr Deane on a mission to Berlin. — Disposi- 
tion of the Dutch. — Financial credit of the differ- 
ent powers.— Credit of the United States.— Plan 
for attacking the English coasts. — The conduct of 
Congress in relation to Portugal has made a favor- 
able impression. — Offers of a House in Amsterdam 
to discount bills of Congress, drawn on certain 

To William Bingham, at ^Martinique. Paris, June 
35th to July 6th, 1777, - - - . 14 

Reasons for opening a correspondence with him. — 
Causes of the temporising polic}- of^ France. — The 
English loan completed at home." — Dispute between 
Spain and Portugal. — Warlike preparations of 
France and Spain." 

To the President of Congress. Yorktown, June 
17th, 1778, - - - - - - 19 

Receives information of his appointment as Secretary 
to the Commissioners. 

To the President of Congress. Oti" Reedy Island, 
November 25th, 1779, - - - - 19 

Acknowledges the reception of certain resolutions of 

To the President of Congress. Martinique, De- 
cember 27th, 1779, - - - - . 20 

Naval operations of the Englisli and French in the 
West Indian Seas, 



To John Jay. Madrid, February Ibtii, 1780, - 21 

interview witli the Count de Florida Blanca. wlio 
promises to answer Mr Ja^'s letter. — Advises Mr 
Jay to prepare for a journey to iMadrid. — Mr Lee's 

To the President of Conscress. Ma(h-id, Februaiv 

19th, 1780, - - - - - - 23 

Favorable reception. — KinduebS of the French Am- 
bassador and of M. Gerard. — English forces. 

To the Committee oi' Foreign Affairs. Aranjues, 
May 28th, 1780. -" - - . " - 24 

Difficulty ol" roijiiiiunication. — Dispositioup of the 
Spanish Court. — English policy in Spain. — Dispo- 
sitions of the other European powers. — Bills on 
Mr Jay 
To the Committee of Foreig;n Affairs. Madrid, 

July Klh, 1780. - - - - - 30 

.Mr Cumberland, English agent at Madrid. 

To the Committei- of Foreign Affairs. St Ilde- 
lonso, August i2d, 1780, - - - - 32 

Finances of Spain. — Mr Cumberland. — Armed neu- 
trality.— Naval forces and operations of France and 
Spain. — M. Gardoqui succeeds M. Mirales. 

To the Coiiimitteo of Foreign Affairs. St Ude- 
fonso, September 9th, 1780, - - - 38 

Failure of the Spanish loan attributed t/j M. Necker. 
— Scheme of the loan. — Unsettled policy of Spain. 
— Armed neutrality. — The navigation of the Mis- 
^isgippi the chief obstacle to the opening of nego- 
tiations witl) Spain. 
To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. St Ilde- 
fonso, September 25tli. 1780, . . _ 43 

Supplies fro<^ Spain. — Conference with the Count 
de Florida Blanca. — The Count declares that Spain 
will never relinquieh the exclusive navigation of 
the -Mississippi. — Finances of the belligerent pow- 
ers. — The Count do Montmorin 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. ^Jadrid, 

October lolji, 1780, - - - - - 47 

The Spanish government finds it difficult to raise 
money. — The armed neutrality and Holland. — Re- 
volt in Peru. 

To the Committee- of Foreign Affairs. Madrid, 
November 28th, 1 780, - . . - 50 

Finances and financial operations of Spain. — Vigo- 
rous preparations of England. — Spain aims at the 
exclusive possession of tlie Gulf of Mexico. — The 
European powers are jealous of the House of Boui- 
bon. — Suggests the expediency of securing the al- 

liance of Spain by further concessions. — Proceed- 
ings in Holland. — The Count de Vergennes in- 
forms Mr Jay that France cannot pay the bills 
drawn on him. 

To the Committee of Foreign AtFairs. Madrid, 
December 19th, 1780, - - - - S€ 

Amount of bills drawn on Mr Jay. — Accession of 
Holland to the armed neutrality. — Disposition of 
the Emperor. — Mr Cumberland continues to reside 
at Madrid. 

To the Committee of Forei2;u Affairs. Madrid, 
January 4th, 1781, - - - - - 58 

England declares war against Holland. — Supplies 
promised by Spain. 

To the Conmiittee of Foreign Affairs. Madrid, 
January 29th, 1781, -" - - - - 59 

Offer of mediation by the German Emperor and the 
Empress of Russia. — Spanish policy in regard to 

To the Committee of Foreign AHairs. Madrid, 
February 22d, 1781, - - - - - ()2 

Supplies. — imperial offer of mediation, — Russia un- 
favorably disposed towards England. — English 
preparations. — French preparations. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Madrid, 
March 4th, 1781, - - - - - 06 

M. Gardoqui.- — Tto correspondence ot' t.ho American 
Ministers is known to the European governments., 
b}' opening the letters. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Madrid, 
March llih, 1 781, - - - - - 6S 

- Mr Cumberland intends to leave Spain. — Naval force? 
of the belligerents. — Bad consequences of the mu- 
tiny of the Pennsylvania line. 

To the Committee of Foreie;n Affairs. Aranjues, 
May 25th, 1781, - " - - - - 69 

Secret armament preparing at Cadiz. — Difficulty of 
communicating safely with America. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. .\ra«jues, 
May 26th, 1781, - - - - - 70 

Naval operations. — Supplies granted by France. — 
Probable destiniatlon of the force raising in the 
South of Spain. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Aranjues, 
June 2d, -1781, - - - - - - 72 

Dismission of M. Necker disagreeable to the Court 
•of Spain. — M. Necker not favorable to the grant- 
ing of supplies to the United States. — His charac- 
ter. — Proposed mediation by the Court of Vienna. 



James Lovell to William Carmichael. Philadel- 
phia, June 15th, 1781, - - - . 74 

His coniinunications have been valuable to Congress. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. St Ikle- 
fonso, August 16th, 1781, - - - -75 

Progress of the negotiations. — Loans raised by Spain. 
— Bills on Mr Jay. — Apprehensions that the de- 
mands of Spain may delay the general peace. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. St llde- 
fonso, September 28th, 1781, - - - 78 

The Court promises to appoint a person to treat. — M. 
Del Campo. — Little prospect of a general negotia- 
To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Madrid, 
October 5th, 1781, - - - - - 81 

No progress has been made in the negotiation. — 
Complaints against Commodore Gillon. — The re- 
bellion in Peru quelled. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Madrid, 
November 17th, 1781, . . _ . 84 

Arrest of an English agent. — No progress towards 
opening a conference with Mr Jay. — Animosity of 
the Irish at the Spanish Court against America. — 
Account of M. Cabarrus. — Spanish expedition 
against their Colonies. — French naval expeditions. 
^ — State of affairs in Holland and France. 

Robert R. Livingston to William Carmichael. Phi- 
ladelphia, December 20th, 1781, - - - 91 

Mr Carmichael's communications valuable to Con- 
gress. — Commodore Gillon is not in a United 
States' ship. — Delays of Spain beget feelings of ill- 
will in America. — Evacuation of Wilmington, 

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, December 
20th, 1781, - - - - - - 94 

Motives of his correspondence. — Delays of Spain. — 
General satisfaction in Spain at the capture of Lord 
Cornwallis. — Imperial and Swedish Ambassador 
desire to favor the trade with America. — Advances 
by M. Cabarrus. — State of the sieges of Gibraltar 
and Mahon. — M. Cabarrus's plan of a new bank. — 
Spain endeavors to discourage the commerce of 
foreigners in her ports — Attempt to exclude salt- 
fish, ny the sale of indulgences permitting the use 
of meat on fast days. — Character of the Spanish 

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, December 
24th, 1781, ------ 102 

Mr Jay receives promises of supplies. — The Count 
de Florida Blanca also promises to interfere with 
Portugal in favor of the United States.— Probable 

consequences of the death of the Empress. — Pro- 
ceedings of England. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, Feb. 18th, 1782, 105 

Difficulty of meeting the drafts. — Financial embar- 
rassments of the Spanish Court. — Capitulation of 
Mahon. — Imperial mediation. — Reph' of Lord Stor- 
mont to the proposal. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, February 
27th, 1782, - - - - - - Hi 

Mr Jay is unable to obtain supplies. — No progress 
made toward negotiations. — The King of England 
is said to be .determined to push the war in Ame- 

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, April 14th, 
1782, - - - - - - - 113 

Mr Jay obliged to protest bills. — Conduct of the 
Spanish Minister on this occasion. — The Spanish 
Court delays negotiations from policy. — Colonial 
disturbances. — Reforms of the Emperor. 

Robert R. Livingston to William Carmichael. Phi- 
ladelphia, May 1st, 1782,. - - - - 120 

Desires a continuance of his correspondence. — Affair 
of Captain Huddy. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, June 12th, 
1782, - - - - - - - 122 

The Spanish Ministers show no inclination to treat. 
— Jealousy of the House of Bourbon among the 
European powers. — Financial difficulties of Spain. 
— Siege of Gibraltar. 

Robert R. Livingston to William Carmichael. Phi- 
ladelphia, July 6th, 1782, - - - - 124 

Complains of want of information. — Payment of sala- 

To Robert R. Livin2;3ton. St lldefonso, July 8th, 
1782, - "- - - - -' - 126 

Interview with the Count de Florida Blanca. — Con- 
versation with M. Del Campo. — New offisr of me- 
diation from the Imperial Courts. 

To Robert R. Livingston. St lldefonso, July 22d, 
1782, ----..- 129 

Count de Florida Blancas answer to the proposed 
mediation. — The neutral powers desire a Congress. 

To Robert R. Livingston. St lldefonso, Septem- 
ber 8th, 1782, ------ 132 

Interview with the Count de Florida Blanca. 

Robert R. Livingston to William Carmichael. Phi- 
ladelphia, September 12th, 1782, - _ - 135 

State of affairs in America. 



To Robert R. Livingston. St Ildetbnso, Septem- 
ber 29th, 1782, 137 

Failure of the attack on Gibraltar. — Financial embar- 
rassments of Spain. — State of the negotiations at 
Paris. — The preparations for war continue. 

Count de Florida Blanca to William Carmichaei. 
St Lorenzo, October 14th, 1782, - - - 141 

The English frigate carried into Cadiz by American 
seamen is ordered to be sold, and the proceeds to 
be deposited to the credit of Congress. 

To Robert R. Livin2;ston. Madrid, October 29th, 

1782, - ^- - - - - - 142 

The progress of the negotiations will bv impeded by 

Robert R. Livingston to William Carmichaei. Phi- 
ladelphia, November 2Sth, 1782, - - - 144 
America will make no peace inconsistent with her 
engagements to her allies. — State of the military 
forces in America. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, December 
10th, 1782, - - - - - - 147 

Terms of the treaty between Great Britain and the 
United States. 
To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, December 
30th, 1782, -"^ 149 

Dissatisfaction of Spain with the conclusion of the 
treaty. — Letter from M. de Lafayette. — Financial 
operations in Spain. — Receives the ceremonial vi- 
sits of the Corps Diplomatique. — Intends to leave 
Spain, if the Court does not change its conduct. — 
Divisions in Holland. 

To Robept R. Livingston. Madrid, January 18th, 
1783, - ^- ----- 154 

Interruptions of the communication with America. — 
Endeavors to induce the Ministry to receive him 
formally. — M. Gardoqui will soon be despatched 
on a mission. — The Ministry desires peace. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, February 21st, 
1783, - - - - - - - 158 

Is formally received as Charge d'jiffaires of the United 
States, through the influence of M. de Lafayette. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, March 13th, 
1783, - - - - - - - 161 

Dines with the Count dp Florida Blancii. — Supposed 
motives of the offer of mediation by the Imperial 
Courts. — Reported confederacy of Russia, Austria. 
nn<] Prussia for tin- partition of Turkey. — State of 
affairs in England. — Friendly j)n)positioiis from 
other powers. — Thf^ .innv ^nd n:ivv nminiissaries 

have agreed to obtain supplies from America. — 
Proposes M. Jose Llanos as Minister to the United 
States. — Reconunends the nomination of distin- 
guished Spaniards as members of .\merican .socie- 

Robert R. Livingston lo William Carniicbael. Phi- 
ladelphia, May Ttli, 1783, - - - - 169 

The past conduct of Spain has not heeij such as to 
conciliate America. — She ought not to exclude 
America from the privileges allowed to Great Bri- 
tain. — Operations of the provisional treaty. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, July 1 9th, 1783, 1 1^2 

Receives assurances of the favorable disposition of 
the King. — The Spanish-Americans treat him as 
their countryman. — Plans of Austria and Russia. — 
Mr Fox raises difficulties to the conclusion of the 
Definitive Treaty.— Points in the treaty with Spain. 
— Spanish expedition against Algiers." 

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, July 22d, ITSo, 179 
Dispersion of the armament against Algiers by stress 
of weather. — Slow progress of the negotiations at 
From the Saxon Minister in Spain to William Car- 
michael. Madrid, July 28th, 1783, - - 181 

Establishment of commercial relations with America. 

To Robert R. 'Livingston. Madrifi, Jnlv 29th. 
1783, - - - - . '. . ]S3 

Proceedings relative to the formation of commercial 
connexions between Saxony and the United States. 
— Treaty between France. Spain and Portugal. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Madi-id, August 2d, 
1783, - -'^ - - - ... 184 

M. Thieriot appointed Saxon Comiiiissarv-General of 
Commerce in America. 

To Robert R. Livingston. St Ildefonso, August 
30th, 1783, ^ - 185 

Interview with the Count de Florida Blanca. — Objec- 
tions of that Minister to his presentation.— Second 
interview on the same subject.— The King consent.? 
to fix a day for his presentation. — The presentation. 


Instructions to John Laurens. In Congress, De- 
cember 23d, 1780, - - - " - - 199 

Additional Instructions to John Laurens. In Con- 
gress, December 27th, 1780, - . - 201 

\ll rONTKNTS. 

To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, Jan- 
uary 3d, 1781, - '^ - - - - - 203 
Method of obtaining supplies. 
To the President of Congress. Boston, February 
4th, 1781, - - - - - - '. 204 

Delay of his departure. 

To the President of" Congress. Boston, February 
7th, 1781, - - - - - "- 206 

Preparations for sailing completed. 

To the President of Congress. L'Orient, March 
1 1th, 1781, . - - - _ - 207 

Remains at LOrient in expectation of an interview 
with the Marquis de Castries. — Naval preparations 
at Brest. 
To the President of Congress. Passy, March 20th, 
1781, _--_..- 208 

Conversation with the Marquis de Castries. — Answer 
of the Count de Vergennes to the application of 
Congress for aid. granting six millions. — Urges the 
the necessity of further aid. — Naval forces of the 
belligerentsat sea. 

Memorial to the Count de Vergennes, - - 211 

On the necessity of further aid in money, and of a na- 
val superiority of the allies. — Answer "to the objec- 
tions made to the raising of a loan in France by the 
United States. 

Questions proposed to Colonel Laurens, with his 
Answers to them. Paris, March 29th, 1781, - 218 

Advantages of augmenting the army. — Causes of 
the weakness of the southern army. 

To the President of Congress. Versailles, April 
9th, 1781, _-._-- 220 

France consents to guaranty a loan of ten millions to 
be opened in Holland. — Solicitations for supplies. 

Memorial from Colonel John Laurens to Count de 
V'ergennes, - - - - - - 222 

Represents the grant already made to be insufficient 
and requests supplies in arms. &c. on credit. — De- 
sires the amount of tlie loan proposed to be raised 
in Holland may be advanced by France. — Urges 
the necessity of maintaining a naval superiority in 
the American seas. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, April 24th, 
1781, - 226 

Remlltance.of the aid in specie. — Reasons for engag- 
ing the South Carolina ship, the Indian, for the 
conveyanre. — Nature of supplies in arms, ammuni- 
tion. iiC 



Memorial from John Laurens to the Director-Gene- 
ral of Finance, _ 230 

Uig-ingthe increase of the intended remittance of 

To the President of Congress. Paris, May 15th, 
1781, ------- 231 

Failure of the plan of obtaining remittances from 

Vera Cruz — Reftisal of Holland to countenance 

the proposed loan in that country. — Promises of 

additional succors from France. 

Count de Veigennes to John Laurens. Versailles, 

May 16th, 1781, 233 

Disposition of the six millions granted by France. — 
Additional grant of four millions. — The proposed 
loan often millions shall be advanced by France. — 
Military and naval operations. 

To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, Sep- 
tember 2d, 1781, ^ 235 

General account of his proceedings on his late mis- 
sion to France, as contained in the preceding let- 
To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, Sep- 
tember 6th, 1781, " - - - - - 247 

Confinement of Henry Laurens in the Tower. 


B. Franklin to M. Dumas. Philadelphia, Decem- 
ber 19th, 1775, - - - - - - 255 

Acknowledges the reception of certain works of M. 
Dumas. — Requests him to sound the Ministers to 
discover if America can expect countenance from 
any of the European powers in declaring indepen- 
dence. — State of the country. — Desires that skilful 
engineers may be sent out. 

B. Franklin to C. W. F. Dumas. Philadelpliia, 
March 22d, 1776, 260 

Introducing Mr Deane. 

To B. Franklin, Chairman of the Committee of 
Secret Correspondence. Utrecht, April 30th, 
1776, 260 

Conversation with the French Minister relative to 
rendering assistance to the Colonies — Writings 
of M. Dumas. — Receives a letter without signature, 
desiring a meeting at the Hague. 

To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. 
Utrecht, May 14th, 1776, - - - - 267 
Interview with the writer of the letter from the 
Hague. — Letter from Mr A. Lee recommending 
To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Au- 
gust lOth, 1776, 271 

Extract of a letter from Mr Lee, recommending Hor- 
talez to his confidence. — Correspondence with the 
person with whom he had the interview at the 
Hague. — Interview with the same person and with 
the Spanish Ambassador. — Mr Ellis requests him 
to write to America that there is a strong Ameri- 
can part}' in England. , 

Arthur Lee to C. W. F. Dumas. London, July 

6th, 1776, 276 

Introducing Mr Ellis.— State of affairs in America. 

Silas Deane to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, July 26th, 
1776, -.-.... 277 

Desires to correspond with him. — Wishes to know if 
there would be any personal risk in visiting Hol- 
Arthur Lee to C. W. F. Dumas. London, Au- 
gust 13th, 1776, - ... - 278 
The Colonial expenses of Great Britain were under- 
taken for her own benefit. — Scotch hostile to Ame- 

Silas Deane to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, August 

18th, 1776, 280 

Intends visiting Holland in a private character — 
The American Colonies do not desire aid nor alli- 
ances, but only free commerce. 
William Lee to C. W. F. Dumas. London, Sep- 
tember 10th, 1776, - - - - - 282 

The declaration of Independence changes the char- 
acter of the contest between Great Britain and 
America. — England uses every means to prevent 
the interference of FVance. 

Silas Deane to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, Septem- 
ber 11th, 1776, - 283 

If free commerce were allowed America, the Colonies 
would need no assistance. — The English Ambassa- 
dor is acquainted with Mr Deanes official charac- 
Arthur Lee to C. W. F. Dumas. London, Sep- 
tember 2.3d, 1776, 285 

Sentiments of the English nation. — Character of the 
English Ministry. 



To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. 
September 30th, 1776, . - _ _ 288 

Communicates his letters from America in a certain 
quarter. — Reasons for signing an assumed name. 

B. Franklin to C. W. F.'Dumas. Philadelphia, 

October Ist, 1776, 290 

Acknowledging the receipt of letters. 

Silas Deane to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, October 
3d, 1776, 291 

Obtains an opportunity of sounding the sentiments of 
the Prussian Cabinet. 

Silas Deane to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, October 

6th, 1776, 291 

Disposition of the American people in regard to an 
accommodation. — American commerce. 

Silas Deane to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, October 
9ih, 1776, 294 

Introducing Mr Carmichael. 

Silas Deane to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, October 
13th, 1776, - 295 

Treatment of an American citizen in Holland. 
William Carmichael to C. W. F. Dumas. Am- 
sterdam, October 22d, 1776, - - - 296 
Informing him of his intended visit. 
Committee of Secret Correspondence to C. W. F. 
Dumas, Philadelphia, October 24th, 1776, - 297 

Dr Franklin appointed Commissioner to the French 
Court. — Committee of Secret Correspondence. 
William Carmichael to C. W. F. Dumas. Amster- 
dam, October 27th, 1776, - - - - 298 

Requesting certain papers. 

Arthur Lee to C. W. F., Dumas. London, Novem- 
ber 15th, 1776, - - - - - 299 
Disposition of the British Court. — The Rockingham 
party proposes to secede from Parliament. — Cause 
of the advantage gained by the English on Long 
Silas Deane to C. W. F. Dumas. Without date, 301 
Difficulties of his situation. — Prospect of ultimate 

Silas Deane to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, Decem- 
ber 13th, 1776, 304, 

Arrival of Dr Franklin fn France. 
William Carmichael to C. W. F. Dumas. Havre, 

January 2 1st, 1777, 304 

Return from a tour in Germany.— Impolicy of the 
present measures of France. 


Arthur Lee to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, January 
26th, 1777, 305 

Want of intelligence from America. — Interest of Hol- 
land to secure the commerce with America. 

B. Franklin to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, January 
29th, 1777, - - - - - - 307 

Fowaiding letters from America. 
William Lee to C. W. F. Dumas. London, March 

21st, 1777, - 308 

State of the British and American foices. 
Silas Deane to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, April 2d, 
1777, _«---.- 

Enclosing a remittance. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. The Hague. 
April 12th, 1777, - - - - - 310 

Inadequacy of the allowance hitherto made him. 
William Carmichael to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, 

April 28th, 1777, 312 

Dangers of the temporizing policj' of the European 
powers toward America. — Mr Carmichael is offered 
a pension on condition of bringing the Colonies to 
terms. — The acknowledgment of the independence 
of America by the European States is all that is 
necessary to her success. 

The Committee of Foreign Affairs to C. W. F. 
Dumas. Philadeljihia, May 8th, 1777, - - 314 
Desiring him to communicate information to the 
Commissioners at Paris. 
Wilham Carmichael to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, 
May 9th, 1777, - - - - - - 315 

English papers intercepted. — False rumors propa- 
gated bv the English Ministry. — Arrogant policy 
of that Court. 
B. Franklin to C. W. F. Dumas. Passy, near 
Paris, May 12th, 1777, - - - - .317 

Communicates advices from America. 
To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Amsterdam, 
May 16th, 1777, - - - - - 318 

The author of 'Advice to Hessians," threatened with 

Silas Deane to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, June 7th, 

Reports of reconciliation spread by English agents 
— There will be no accommodation without an ac- 
knowledgment of independence. — The balance of 
power in Europe is a mere chimera. — One power 
must finally preponderate. — Growing importauc© 
of Kusaia. 



William Carmichael to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, 
June 13th, 1777, - - - - - 323 

American privateering. — Preparations for the war in 
England. — Had the English operations been suc- 
cessful in America, the same tone would have been 
assumed towards France as Holland. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. June 14tb, 
1777, 326 

Disposition of the Dutch towards America. — Success 

is necessary to gain Holland. — The Dutch houses 

refuse to take up the English loan. — Ignorance of 

American affairs in Europe. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. August 22d, 

1777, 327 

Subject to persecutions on account of his agency in 
, the American service. — Dutch vessels captured by 
the English. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. The Hague, 

October J 4th, 1777, 329 

Meeting and proceedings of the States-General. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. December 
16th, 1777, ------ 330 

Impression produced by the news of Burgoyne's cap- 
ture. — Proceedings of the States-General. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. The Hague, 

April 14th, 1778, 332 

Effect of the declaration of France in Holland. — The 
Republic will maintain her neutrality. 
To M. Van Berckel, Pensionary of Amsterdam. 

July 27th, 1778, 333 

Communicating the treaty between France and the 
United States. 
M. Van Berckel to C. W. F. Dumas. Amsterdam, 

July 31st, 1778, 334 

Disposition of the Regency of Amsterdam to enter 
into amicable and commercial relations with the 
United States. 
To M. Van Berckel. The Hague, August 17th, 

1778, 335 

Rejection of the propositions of the British Commis- 
sioners by the United States. — Extract of a letter 
from W. Lee, complaining of the indecision of 
To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Tlie Hague, 
December 3d, 1778, 337 

Amsterdam protests aga,inst the resolution of the 
States, refusing a convoy to ships carrying naval 
stores to Frauce. 



Memorial, presented by his Excellency, the Due de 

la Vauguyon, Ambassador of' France, to the 

States-General of the United Provinces. The 

Hague, December 7th, 17T8, - - - 338 

Necessity that Holland should protect her commerce, 

if she desires to enjoy the privileges of neutrality. 

To the Commissioners at Paris. The Hague, De- 
cember 18th, 1778, 340 

The Admiralty gives an evasive answer to the Me- 
morial of tile French Ambassador. — 1 his answer 
adopted by the States. — Amsterdam protests. — 
The English Court declares its intention of seizing 
Dutch ships carrying munitions of war to France. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. The Hague, 
December 25th, 1778, - - - - 342 

Resolution of the States and protest of Amsterdam. — 
Desires letters of credence. — Inadequacy oi his 


To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. The Hague, 
January 1st, 1779, 345 

Containing a note of the Due de la Vauguyon, expla- 
natory of his Memorial ; the answer of the Slates 
of Holland to the same, and the protest of Amster- 
dam against the answer. — The answer adopted by 
the States-General. — English influence at the 
Dutch Court. — The French Ambassador lias a de- 
claration of his Court excluding Holland from the 
French order in favor of neutiala. 
To the Commissioners at Paris. The Hague, Jan- 
uary 12th, 1779, - - - - - 351 

Proceedings of the States of Holland. — The Ameri- 
can interest gains ground. — The Due de la Vau- 
guyon presents to the States- General the order ex- 
cluding Holland from the privileges of neutrals. — 
Proceedings in relation to the same. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. The Hague, 
March 1st, 1779, - - - - ' - 357 

Desires to be invested with the character of Chars: 
d\iffuircs of the United States. — His past services. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. The Hague, 

April 29th, 1779, 359 

Assembly of the States of Holland. — Misrepresenta- 
tions on American affairs 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. The Hague, 
May 15ih, 1779, - - - - - 360 

Naval force ordered to be equipped by the States- 
General, for purposes of convoy. 



M. Chaumont to C. W. F. Dumas. Passy, Sep- 
tember 2d, 1779, - _ _ - - 364 
Requesting him to render all necessary aid to the 
squadron of Commodore Jones. — Catalogue of the 
vessels composing- the squadron. 

To B. Franklin. The Hague, September 14th, 
1779, - - - ^ - - - - 365 

Proceedings in Holland and France relative to the 
granting convoj's to Dutch commerce. 
To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. The Hague, 
September 20th, 1779, - - - - 366 

Intends going to Texel to meet Commodore Jones. 

Agreement between John Paul Jones and Captain 

Pearson, 367 

Relative to British prisoners in the squadron of Com- 
modore Jones. 
The College of Admiralty of Amsterdam to the 
States-General. Amsterdam, Oct. 8tb, 1779, 369 
On the request of Commodore Jones to be permitted 
to land his prisoners. 
Placard of 1756, referred to in the above letter, - 370 

Containing directions for foreign vessels bringing 
prizes into Dutch ports. 

From the College of Admiralty of Amsterdam to the 
States-General. Amsterdam, Oct. 12th, 1779, 373 

Proposing to grant permission to land the sick and 
wounded from Commodore Jones's squadron. 

Permission to land the sick and wounded of the 
English vessels taken by Paul Jones. Extract 
from the records of their High Mightinesses. Oc- 
tober 15th, 1779, 375 

Instructions of Holland and West Friesland to their 
Deputies, - 376 

Directing them to order the squadron of Commodore 
Jones to sail as soon as possible, according to the 
general practice of Holland in regard to bellige- 
rents bringing prizes into the Dutch ports. 

The Due de la Vauguyon tp John Paul Jones. The 
Hague, October 29th, 1779, - - - 378 

Informing him that he will receive instructions at 

Sir Joseph Yorke to the Stat:;s-General. The 
Hague, October 29th, 1779, - - - 379 

Demanding the seizure of the King's vessiels in the 
hands of Paul Jones, a pirate and rebel. 

XX. C0>fTEM3. 

John Paul Jones to Lieutenant Colonel Weibert. 
in the service of the United Slates, - - 381 

Instructions for the care and safe keeping of the 
wounded prisoners landed on the island of Texel. 
John Paul Jones to the Due de la ^^auguyon. Texel, 

November 4th, 1779, 332 

Interview with the Commandant of the Road. — 
Causes of the delay of sailing. 
M. Dumas to the Due de hi Vauguyon. Helder. 
November 9th, 1779, - - - - I 384 
Proceedings of Commodore Jones. 
To the Due de la Vauguyon. On board the Serapis, 
November 1 lib, 1779, - - - - 386 

Visit to the Dutch Vice-Admiral in company with 
Commodore Jones. 
The Due de la V^auguyon to C. W, F. Dumas. The 
Hague, November 11th, 1779, - - - 387 

Landing of the prisoners. 
The Due de la Vauguyon to C. W. F. Dumas. The 
Hague, November "l2th, 1779, - - - 388 
Directing Commodore Jones not to sail till he has 
received instructions. 

To the Due de la Vauguyon. Nov. 13th, 1779, - 388 
The Dutch Vice-Admiral urges the departure of 
Commodore Jones. 
The Due de la V^auguyon to C. W. F. Dumas. Am- 
sterdam, November 17th, 1779, _ - _ 389 
The States of Holland adopt a resolution to compel 
Commodore Jones to set sail. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. The Hague, , 

December 9th, 1779, 389 

Urgency of the Dutch Vice-Admiral for the depar- 
t°ire of Commodore Jones. — M.Dumas reads to 
him a declaration, promising to set sail with the 
first fair wind. 

To the Committee of Foreign Afiitirs. December 
10th, 1779, - - - - - - 391 

Resolutions of the States-General relative to Sir Jo- 
seph Yorke's demand of the seizure of Commodore 
Jones and his prizes. 

To the Committee ol Foreign Aifairs. The Hague, 
December llih, 1779, - - - - 395 

Further proceedings relative to the squadron of Com- 
modore Jones in consequence of the transference 
of the Commodore to tlie Alliance. 

John Paul Jones to the Due de la Vauguyon. Al- 
liance, Texel, December 13th, 1779, - - 396 

Rejecting the offer of a letter of marque from France. 
— Expresses his indignation at the offer. 

John Paul Jones to B. FrankUn. Alliance, Texel, 
December 13th, 1779, - - - - 399 

Remarks on his treatment by the French Court. 

John Paul Jones to C. W. F. Dumas. Alhance, 
December 13th, 1779, - - - - 400 

Enclosing the preceding letters. 

Vice-Admiral Reynst to John Paul Jones. Amster- 
dam, December 17th, 1779, " " ." "^^^ 

Requiring to be informed of the character of the Alli- 
ance, and demanding that the French flag be 
hoisted on board that frigate, or that she be put to 
sea without delay. 

John Paul Jones to Vice-Admiral P. H. Reynst, 
Alliance, Texel, December 17th, 1779, - - 401 

Refuses to hoist the French flag. — Is ready to put to 
sea whenever the pilot will conduct his ship. 

John Paul Jones to C. W. F. Dumas. Alliance, 
Texel, December 17th, 1779, - - - 402 

Thanking him for his advice. 

M. de Livoncourt, French Navy Agent at Amster- 
dam, to John Paul Jones. Helder, December 
17th, 1779, ------ 402 

Requesting him to hoist the French flag.— Reasons 
for addressing to him the commission alluded to 
in a preceding letter. 
.John Paul Jones to C. W. F. Dumas. Alliance, at 
Sea, December 27th; 1779, - - - - 403 

Succeeds in getting to sea. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. The Hague, 
December 30th, 1779, - - - - 404 

Difficulties on account of the Alliance.— Desires to 
be formally named agent of Congress. 

B. Franklin to C. W. F. Dumas. Passy, January 

27th, 1780, 405 

Regrets his differences with the Ambassador. 
To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. The Hague, 
March 15th, 1780, ----- 406 

Transmits the plan of a treaty between the United 
States and Holland. 


To the President of Congress. The Hague, March 
21st, 1780, - - - - - - 407 

Enumeration of his services and sacrifices. — Inade- 
quacy of his compensation. — Complains of William 
and Arthur Lee. 

B. Franklin to C. W. F. Dumas. Passy, March 

29th, 1780, 412 

Acknowledging the receipt of certain papers and re- 
questing information. 
To the President of Congress. The Hague, April 
13th, 1780, - - - - - - 413 

Deliberations on the Russian Memorial to the States- 
General. — Resolutions in favor of unlimited con- 
voys and declining succors to England, adopted by 
several Provinces. — Necessity of an American 
Minister in Holland. 
B. Franklin to C. W. F. Dumas. Passy, April 
23d, 1780, 414 

Receives visits from gentlemen, from Holland, who 
desire information relative to the rumored treaty 
between Amsterdam and the United States. 

To the President of Congress. The Hague, May 
21st, 1780, --..-- 416 

Dissatisfaction of the northern powers with the con- 
duct of England. — Address of Amsterdam to the 
States. — Claim of M. Van der Perre to a ship cap- 
tured by Commodore Jones. 
John Adams to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, June 6th, 

1780, 417 

Relative to a certain letter of General Clinton, sus- 
pected of being a forgery. — Duplicity of the Brit- 
ish agents in America. 
Protest of the City of Amsterdam. Extracted from 
the Resolutions of the Council of that City of the 
29th of June, 1780, and inserted in the Acts of 
the Provincial Assembly of Holland, at the 
Hague, July 1st, 1780, - - - - 419 

Urging a connexion with the neutral powers. 

James Lovell to C. W. F. Dumas. Philadelphia, 
July 10th, 1780, - - - - - 425 

Services of M. Dumas. — Introduces Mr Searle. 
To the President of Congress. The Hague, July 

I5th, 1780, 426 

Intrigues of England in Holland and Germany. — Af- 
fair of the choice of a Coadjutor of Munster and 



To the President of Congress. The Hague, July 

22d, 1780, 427 

Rumors unfavorable to America. — Declaration of 
William Carmichael to C. W. F. Dumas. Madrid, 

July 24lh, 1780, 429 

The Americans will not be^ discouraged by their re- 
verses. — False report of Mr Jay's being sent from 

To the President of Congress. The Hague, July 

25th, 1780, 430 

Past services. — Inadequate compensation. 

John Paul Jones to C. W. F. Dumas. Ariel, Road 
of Croix, September 8th, 1780, - - - 433 

Reception in Paris. 

To the President of Congress. The Hague, Sep- 
tember 12th, 1780, - - - - - 435 
Naval operations. — Affairs of Europe. 
To B. Franklin. The Hague, October 3d, 1780, 437 
Proposed terms of accession to the armed neutrality 
by Holland. — Plan of the Empress. 
Extract of Letters from London to C. W. F. Du- 
mas. London, October 6th, 1780, - - 439 
Treatment of Mr Laurens in the Tower. 
To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, De- 
cember I9th, 1780, - - - - - 441 
Proceedings of the Provincial States of Holland. — 
Accession of the Republic to the armed neutrality. 

Robert Morris to C. W. F. Dumas. Philadelphia, 
December 24th, 1780, - - - - 445 
Attacks on his character. 
To the President of Congress. The Hague, Feb- 
ruary 5th, 1781, 446 

Proceedings in regard to the armed neutrality. — Re- 
ported rupture between Russia and England. 
To the President of Congress. The Hague, Feb- 
ruary 22d, 1781, 418 

Delays in the decision of the Court on the conduct of 
To the President of Congress. The Hague, March 
5Ui, 1781, - - ^ 449 

Disposition of the Empress to support the demands of 
Holland against England.— The proposed imperial 
mediation will be founded on an acknowledgment 
of the independence of the United States. 



To the President of Congress. The Hague, March 
22d, 1781, - - - -^ - - 450 

Causes of the delays in Holland. — Proceedings of the 
merchants of Amsterdam and Rotterdam relative 
to the seizure of St Eustatia. 

Creneral J. H. Bedaulx to C. W. F. Dumas. Nime- 
guen, April 28th, 1781, . . . . 452 

Requesting information concerning his nephew in 


To the President of Congress. The Hague, Mav 
1st, 1781, - - "- - - - - 453 

Mr Adams visits the Grand Pensionary, preparatory 
to presenting himself in the character of Minister of 
the United States. — The Grand Pensionary, the 
President of the States-General, and the Prince of 
Orange decline receiving the Memorial of Mr 
Adams. — Mr Adams causes it to be printed. — 
The President and the Privy Counsellor of the 
Prince decline receiving a letter from Mr Adams, 
announcing the completion of the confederation. — 
Amsterdam demands the exclusion of the Duke of 
Brunswick from the public councils. — Imperial me- 
diation. — Coolness of the Emperor toward the 
Duke of Brunswick. 
To the President of Congress. The Hague, Au- 
gust 23d, 1781, - 460 

French loan will be agreed to by the States- General. 
— Correspondence between the Stadtholder and 
Baron Lynden relative to the Duke of Brunswick. 
— Anti-Anglican proceedings in Holland. — Pro- 
ceedings of the States of Holland in regard to the 
Duke of Brunswick's letter to the States-General. 
— French loan. 

To the President of Congress. The Hague, Octo- 
ber Uth, 1781, 467 

Letter of Earon Lynden to the Prince of Orange in 
regard to the Duke of Brunswick. 

Robert R. Livingston to C. W. F. Dumas. Phi- 
ladelphia, November 28th, 1781, - - - 468 
Desires him to transmit journals and pamphlets. — 
Capture of Cornwallis. — Congress cannot make 
any addition to his allowance. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Jan- 
uary 7th, 1782, - - - - - - 471 

The French loan has been taken up in one day. — 
Diminution of English influence in Holland. 

To the President of Congress. The Hague, Jan- 
uary 15ih, 178^, ^ - - - - - 473 
Visit to the Secretary of the States- General and the 

Page . I 

Deputies of the Province with Mr Adams, to de- 
mand permission to present his credentials. 

To the President of Congress. The Hague, Jan- 
uary 30th, 1782, 474 

Proceedings of the States-General. 
To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, March 

29th, 1782, 475 

Friesland and Holland adopt resolutions in favor of ' 

the reception of Mr Adams. 
To Robert R. Livingston. Amsterdam, April 4th, 

1782, 476 J 

Purchases a hotel for Mr Adams. — Mr Adams will 

probably be received without further delay. ^ 

John Adams to C. W. F. Dumas. Amsterdam, i 

May 2d, 1782, - - - - - -• 477 I 

Declines the invitation to dine at Schiedam. — M. Du- j 

mas ought to be appointed Chargt d' Affaires of the j 

United States. : 

Verbal message of C. W. F. Dumas to the city of 
Scniedam, .__._- 479 

Mr Adams declines the invitation to a dinner. 

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, May 10th, 
. 1782, - - -179 

Reception of Mr Adams. — Transmits Mr Adams's 
letter recommending him to the attention of Con- 

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, June 1st, ^ 

1782, - 483 

Attempts to effect a separate peace between Holland 
' and England. — Insincerity of the English in their 

proposals of peace. 

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, August 

16tli, 1782, 487 

Proceedings of the States of Holland relative to the 
negotiations at Paris. 

Robert R. Livingston to C. W. F. Dumas. Phi- ' 

ladelphia, September .5th, 1782, _ _ . 486 

Receives no communications from him. — Affairs in 
Robert R. Livingston to C. W. F. Dumas. Phi- 
ladelphia, September 12th, 1782, - - - 489 

Congress will take his requests into consideration. — 
State of things in America. 

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, Septem- 
ber 27th, 1782, 491 

Proceedings in Holland relative to the naval force or- 
dered to join the French fleet. — Complains of the 
neglect of Congress. 



To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, Novem- 
ber loth, 1782, - 494 

Reasons for the infrequency of his communication. 
To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, Decem- 
ber 12th, 1782, 496 

Riot at the Hague. — Representations of the Prussian 
Envoy on the dissensions in Holland. 

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, Decem- 
ber 17th, 1782, - 500 

Representations of the Prussian Eovoy on a libel 
against the Princess of Orange. — Reply to the same. 
— The prisoners arrested on account of the disturb- 
ances at the Hague allowed to escape. — Obtains 
passports for Americans. 
To Robert R. Livingston. The Haijue, January 
11th, 1783, - - - ^- - - 503 

Proposed mission of a Minister from the Republic to 
the United States. 

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, January 

20th, 1783, - 504 

Proceedings in Holland. — Minister to the United 

Memorial of the Prussian Ambassador. Januarv 

20th, 1783, - 505 

On the opposition to the Prince of Orange. 
To John Adams. The Hague, January 24th, 1783, 503 

Is requested to consult Mr Adams, whether his pow- 
ers authorise him to accede to the armed neutrality, 
and to enter into a similar negotiation with the al- 
lied belligerents. 

To John Adams. The Hague, January 2Sth, 1783, 509 
Dissatisfaction of the Dutch with the conduct of 

To John Adams. The Hague, January 30th, 1783, 511 

Same subject. 

To John Adams. The Hague, February 4th, 1783, 512 

Same subject. — Reasons of the Count de Vergennes 
for hastening the siirning of the treat}'. 

To John Adams. The Hague, Feb. 18ih, 1783, 514 

Is requested to inquire if the United States will enter 
into a convention with Holland, guarantying free- 
dom of navigation. — Considerations which au- 
thorise the American Ministers to accede to this 

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, March 
4lh, 1783, 515 

Appointment "of M. Van Bcrckel Minister to Ame- 




To John Adams. The Hague, March 4th, 1783, 516 

The States adopt a resolution, giving instructions to 
their Plenipotentiaries in regard to a general peace. 

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, March 5th, 

1783, 517 

Requesting him to make preparations for M. Van 

To John Adams. The Hague, March 6th, 17S3, 518 
Guarantee of the freedom of navigation desired by 
To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, March 

27th, 1783, 519 

Domestic aifairs of Holland. 

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, April 18th, 
1783, 522 

Same subject. — Is requested to inquire of Mr Dana 
if he will negotiate a convention on the principles 
of the armed neutrality with Holland. — The Secre- 
tary of the States- General desires to be informed of 
the titles by which Congress is to be addressed. 

Robert R. Livingston to C. W, F. Dumas. With- 
out date, ----__ 525 
Impropriety of a foreign Envoy engaging in the 
parties of the country where he resides. 

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, May 8th, 

1783, 526 

Proceedings in Holland. — Difficulties in settling the 
articles of peace between Holland and Great Bri- 

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, May 25th, 
1783, - - - - - - - 528 

Recommending Captain Riemersma. 
No^es to the States-General. The Hague, June 
5th, 1783, ...... 529 

Laying before them the treaty and convention be- 
tween the two Republics. 

M. Fagel to C. W. F. Dumas. The Hague, June 

19th, 1783, 530 

Agrees to exchange ratifications of the treaty and 
To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, June 20th, 

1783, 530 

Proceedings in Holland. 
To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, June 23d, 
1783, - - 531 

Exchanges ratifications of the treaty and convention 
between the two Republics. 





VOL. IX. 1 


William Carmichael was a native of Maryland. At 
the beginning of the revolution he was in Europe. From 
London he went over to Paris in the spring of the year 
1776, and was there when Silas Deane arrived as a com- 
mercial and political agent from the United States. He 
lived with JMr Deane for some time in Paris, and aided 
him in his correspondence and the transaction of his 
affairs. It was suggested by the Prussian Minister, that 
the King would be pleased with information respecting 
American commerce, and would receive at Berlin any 
American who could give such information. Mr Dean 
proposed the enterprise to JMr Carmichael. He performed 
the journey in the autumn of 1776, by way of Amster- 

From Berlin he returned to Paris, where he lived on 
intimate terms with the American Commissioners, occa- 
sionally executing specific duties at their request, for more 
than a year, till he sailed for his native country. He ar- 
rived at Boston in May, 1778, and soon afterwards re- 
ceived an appointment which had recently been conferred 
on him by Congress, as Secretary to the Commissioners 
at the Court of France. It does not appear that he ever 
accepted this appointment, for on the 19th of November 
following he took his seat in Congress as a delegate from 

Mr Carmichael remained in Congress till Mr Jay was 
elected Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of Spain. 
He was chosen Secretary of Legation to the same Mission 
on the 28th of September, 1779, and went to Spain in 
company with Mr Jay, and remained with him during the 
whole of that Minister's residence in Madrid. When Mr 
Mr Jay joined Dr Franklin in Paris, June, 1782, to aid 
in the negotiations of peace, Mr Carmichael was left as 
Charge, cf Affaires at the Court of Spain. After the peace 
he was regularly commissioned in that character by Con- 
gress, and recognized as such by the King of Spain. 

He continued to reside there in the same capacity during 
the term of the old Confederation, and for some time after 
the organization of the new government under Washington. 
In the year 1793, Mr Short was joined with him in a 
commission for negotiating at Madrid a treaty between 
Spain and the United States. Several months were pas- 
sed in this attempt, but without success. Mr Carmichael 
returned soon afterwards to the United States. 




Amsterdam, November 2d, 1776. 


Previous to your attention to what follows, it will be 
necessary for you to know that I have lived with Mr 
Deane since his first arrival at Paris ; that I took that city 
in my way from London to Nantes, to find a passage to 
my native country, and with despatches, which Mr Arthur 
Lee intrusted to my care, for the honorable Congress. 
Having a relapse of a disorder, which prevented me from 
travelling, I stopped at Paris, and endeavored to find out, 
by means of Count d'Estaing and other persons of emi- 
nence, the sentiments of the French Court respecting our 
affairs; and the moment I knew of Mr Deane's arrival, 
offered him all the services in my power, and, of conse- 
quence, we have lived together until the 10th of the 
present month. 

At that time the agent of the King of Prussia, who had 
often, as Mr Deane has informed you, made proposals of a 
commercial nature, expressed a desire that some Ameri- 


can would go to Berlin, and this he gave us to understand 
was at the instance of his Sovereign, who wished to have 
a clear idea of the nature of our commerce, and expressed 
a curiosity, which he wished to gratify, by a minute detail 
of our affairs. Mr Deane thinking this an opportunity not 
to be neglected to interest a Prince, who for several years 
has been dreaming of making his port of Emden, an Am- 
sterdam, proposed it to me. However unequal to the 
task, I have cheerfully accepted it ; happy to find any op- 
portunity of showing with what a fervent zeal T am devoted 
to the glorious cause, which, at present, by interesting their 
humanity as well as policy, gives us so much consequence 
in the eyes of Europe. 

Here I have endeavored to engage merchants to specu- 
late in a direct commerce to America, to find out the sen- 
timents of the people in general respecting us, to know 
whether, in case of necessity, the United States would be 
able to negotiate a loan, whether England would be able 
to obtain further credit, and by this barometer of the 
ability of Princes, to discover their present situation. On 
these heads I have written Mr Deane, but having an 
opportunity by the way of St Eustatia, and thinking none 
should be neglected of giving information, though mine, 
1 or!: lips, may not be of importance enough to merit that 
title, I have taken the liberty of addressing the honorable 
Committee. Arriving but two days after the accounts had 
reached this city, of our misfortune on Long Island, I 
found many, even of the sanguine friends of America de- 
jected, and those of England almost in a frenzy of joy. 
In this disposition, it is easy to judge, no hopes could be 
entertained of engaging merchants in a direct trade. I 
find ihey have the greatest inclination to serve us, and at 


the same time themselves, for no people see their interests 
clearer, but their fears that we shall be subdued, the con- 
fident assertions of the friends of England confirming these 
apprehensions, the prodigious sums they have in the Eng- 
lish funds, with this unlucky business at New York, all 
conspire to prevent direct speculation. 

As ray letters from Paris introduced me to the first 
houses here, I have had the best opportunity of knowing 
their sentiments, and I can venture to say, that^j, with many 
who are apparently adverse to us, it is interest, ppmbating 
with principle, for insulted, searched, and plundered as the 
Dutch were the last war, and are at present, there are in- 
dividuals who by no means want sensibility to feel, though 
the public wants spirit to resent the injury. The States 
have, however, in answer to a fresh remonstrance of Gen- 
eral Yorke, declared that their ports are open to vessels of 
all nations, and that their trade to and from their own 
Colonies shall be unmolested, their subjects complying 
with the ordinances issued by their High Mightinesses. In 
fact, their prohibition of exporting warlike stores, extends 
to all British subjects. I hope it will not be long before 
all Europe will own us in another character. It is very 
certain, that without a very material and apparent success 
of the British arms in America, a loan would be very slowly 
negotiated for England here. There is notliing hinders 
them now from selling out of the English funds, but their 
not knowing what to do with their money ; for this country 
may be called the treasury of Europe, and its stock of 
specie is more or less, according to the necessity of the 
different Princes in Europe. It being a time of peace, the 
call has not been very great of late. 

Having mentioned the credit of England, that of France 


is next to be considered, and I am very sorry to say that 
has been very low here of late. The dreadful mismanage- 
ment of the finances in the late King's reign, and the char- 
acter of the late Controller General, INI. d'Olugny, had 
reduced it so low, that it was impossible to borrow any- 
thing considerable on perpetual funds. Perhaps a Minis- 
ter of Finance, in whose probity the world have a confi- 
dence, may restore their credit. At this moment that is 
in some 'measure the case, for the French stocks rise on 
the appdntment of M. Taboreau. That it is possible for 
Frances to borrow may be demonstrated ; for at the time 
M. Turgot was removed, he was negotiating a loan here, 
and was likely to succeed, for sixty millions of guilders. 
The credit of Spain is extremely good, and that kingdom 
may have what money it will, and on the best terms. 
The Emperor's credit is also good, not as Emperor, but 
from his hereditary dominion. Sweden and Denmark 
both have good credit. The former, the best ; they 
have money at four per cent ; and it is not long since the 
King of Sweden borrowed three millions of guilders at this 
interest, to pay off old debts at five per cent. His interest 
is paid punctually. Prussia has no credit here, but the 
King's treasury is full by squeezing the last farthing from 
the people, and now and then he draws a little money 
from this Republic, by reviving obsolete claims. The 
credit of the Empress of Russia is very good ; for she has 
punctually paid the interest of twelve millions of guilders, 
which she borrowed in her war with the Turks, and has 
lately paid off one million and a half of the principal. 
These are the strongest circumstances she could have in 
her favor with a mercantile people. I have this statement 
of credit from persons employed in negotiating the several 


oans, and, therefore, can depend upon the truth of the in- 

To come next to America, should time and necessity 
oblige her to look abroad for money. Tn the present state 
of affairs, it is not probable that a loan is practicable. But 
should success so attend our arms, that it should appear 
evident that we are likely to support our independence, or 
should either France or Spain acknowledge our indepen- 
dence, in either of these cases I believe we might have 
money, and when it was seen that we were punctual in our 
first payments of the interest, we should have as much as 
we pleased. The naturu of the security, or the fund for 
the payment of interest, I have not been able to imagine. 
But, observing in a letter to Mr Dearethart, it was the 
writer's opinion, that the honorable Congress did not wish 
to circulate too much paper, for fear of depreciating its 
value, I thought that bills issued similar to those in circu- 
lation in the Provinces, and lodged in a public bank in 
Europe, might be accepted as a pledge or deposit for 
money borrowed by the United States. I beg pardon for 
the crudity of the idea, and would not have mentioned it 
here, but that having hinted at it in general conversation, 
people thought it might, on a future occasion, be adopted. 

You will please to observe, that everything here men- 
tioned came from an individual, who only as such avowed 
himself interested for his country's fate, and for its bene- 
fit sought information. Notwithstanding the rise of stocks, 
occasioned by our misfortune on Long Island, the Dutch 
are selling out, and my strongest representations have not 
been wanting to contribute a mite to this circumstance. 
The price of our product is great. Rice sells for twenty- 
five shillings sterling per cwt. and tobacco for eight stivers 
vox.. IX. 2 


and four per pound. You have been threatened, 

that the Ukarine would supply Europe with tobacco. It 
noust be long before that time can arrive. I have seen 
sonoe of the tobacco here, and the best of it is worse than 
the worst of our ground leaf. Four hundred thousand 
pounds have been sent here this year. The Russian Am- 
bassador said at the Baron le Guerre's, Ambassador from 
Sweden, where I had the honor to dine, that Russia soon 
would be able to supply the market with that article. In 
ihis he spoke more like an Ambassador than as a mer- 
chant. I took occasion in reply to observe, that if that 
was the case, and on many other accounts, it was the inter- 
est of her Majesty that all intercourse between Great Bri- 
tain and America should be broken off, for that then the 
former would be dependent on Russia for all those articles, 
which hitherto the latter had supplied her with. 

Having expressed a desire of knowing these reasons at 
large, with the assistance of M. D and the approbation 
of Mr Deane, I purpose giving in a little memoir on the sub- 
ject, which the Ambassador assures me shall be sent to St 
Petersburg. Not being so sanguine as to think, that it will 
prevent Russia from supplying England with troops, should 
the other demand them, but it may give a secret dilatori- 
ness to their assistance, which may finally operate in our 

If it should be determined to send any cargoes of tobacco 
here, on the public account, it will perhaps be thought pro- 
per to convoy them. The frigates destined to that service 
might retaliate the injuries we have received by the de- 
struction of Falmouth and Norfolk, by destroying the towns 
and shipping of Greenock and the port of Glasgow, or 
Ayre and Cambleton. I have been particularly informed 


oF the situation of those places until the present moment. 
They have no batteries to protect, or soldiers to defend 
them, or quartered near enough la any numbers to be 
assembled for that purpose, and not a vessel of war on the 
whole coast larger than a tender, to receive men for the 
sea service. Their rendezvous might be the entrance of 
the northern channel, where, while they waited a junction, 
in case they should be separated, they might take the out- 
ward bound ships, and by the information obtained from 
them, insure their success. In returning, a party landed 
on the Isle of Bute, might destroy the house of that favo- 
rite. Little objects strike most forcibly little minds. This 
affair completed, which would alarm Britain and astonish 
Europe, the ships trading to the Baltic, with cargoes not 
only that suit, but are necessary for our Provinces, might 
be their next object. This ought all to be done in the 
months of March, April, and May. The destruction of 
the Greenland fishery, might be the last object of the ex- 
pedition. I am confident, that not having a distrust of 
such attempts, the success would be more certain. Should 
there be a necessity of seeking shelter or refreshments, I 
have it from the Swedish Ambassador here, that we shall 
find both in their ports. I only hinted to him, that it was 
possible some of our adventurers might explore those seas 
in search of plunder. 

This is the rough outline of a plan, which the honorable 
Congress may, should it in any shape be approved, digest 
into form. I would stake ray life on the success of the 
greatest part of it, if inviolable secrecy is preserved, and 
the execution is trusted to persons who have not only 
wealth but glory in view. If prompted by a heated and 
indignant imagination, this plan should appear dangerous 


and iiiipiaclicable, 1 hope it will be imputed to the desire 
of rctoiiing our injuries on that country, which has in 
some measure been the cause, and is at present endeavor- 
ing, with the rancor of private animosity, to accumulate 
our distress. I entreated Mr Deane to propose some part 
of it to the consideration of Congress sometime ago, and I 
have the pleasure to find his opinion corresponds with my 
own on the subject. 

The resentment, which it is said the honorable Congress 
have shown, on ths conduct of the King of Portugal to- 
wards us, has been attended with a very good effect, and 
should a manifesto be published by that honorable body, 
hinting only the necessity of taking similar measures with 
all those who denied them the common rights of mankind, 
I am persuaded it would be to our advantage. It was the 
dread of such a blow to their trade, that was one of the 
strongest arguments made use of by the merchants of this 
country, in their petition to the States. 1 need not men- 
tion to you anything respecting what is like to take place 
in Europe another year, for of that ere this, you, I hope, 
have information. I will only say, that the greater part 
contemplates with pleasure the gloomy prospect for Eng- 
land ; there is not an Envoy of the most petty State in 
Italy, but exults at it. The want of intelligence from 
America, hurts the cause prodigiously in Europe, and the 
anxiety of those who have its interest at heart, is from that 
circumstance, inconceivable. I hope I need not offer assu- 
rances to convince the honorable Congress of the zeal with 
which 1 wish to serve them. To be directed by that hon- 
orable body in what manner to do it most effectually, will 
be the happi(;st circumstance of my life. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 



P. S. I cannot seal this letter without recommending 
Colonel Prevet, should the fortune of war put him into our 
hands, to all the indulgence, to himself and family, his sit- 
uation will possibly admit of. Mr Grand, his wife's father, 
an eminent merchant here, animated with that love of lib- 
erty which distinguishes his country, (Switzerland) offers 
all the services in his power to the public, and a thousand 
civilities to its individuals. If by the same fortune, Mr 
Dowdswell, of the first regiment of guards, should fall into 
our hands, his father's merits and his own reluctance, will 
give him the same indulgence. 

Since I wrote the above, Mr Grand has assured me, 
that should the honorable Congress determine to negotiate 
loans in Europe, and would draw bills accepted by the 
principal merchants in America, payable at two, three, and 
five years' sight, and send them to their house, they should 
be discounted by them at five per cent interest. This was 
the manner in which money was raised for the city of 
Leipsic during the last war. The gentlemen of the com- 
mittee will please to observe, that this is to be kept very 
secret, for no loan can be publicly negotiated here as yet. 
The firm of this house is Messrs Horneca, Fizeaux &£ Co. 
and is one of the most capital in this city. Should any 
cargoes be consigned here on public account, perhaps it 
maybe thought proper to address them to these gentlemen. 
I can assure you, gentlem.en, and that from my own knowl- 
edge, that many bills remitted from America, and supposed 
to be drawn on account of Congress, have been refused 
payment by the English Ministry knowing beforehand 
when they would be presented for payment, and by that 
means, having an opportunity of bribing, threatening, or 
flattering the parties on whom they were drawn, either to 


refuse payment absolutely, or at least noting them for pro- 
test, ill order to hurt the credit of our merchants in Eu- 
rope. I do think that the less connexion, for this and other 
reasons, we have in future with houses whose principal 
business depends on Great Britain, the better. I beg par- 
don for giving my opinion thus freely, but it is the effect 
of my zeal. W. C. 


Paris, June 25th to July Gth, 1777. 

A letter from a person unknown to you but by name, 
had need of a long introduction to apologise for the ad- 
dress, but not being a man of ceremony myself, and besides 
having but little time for formali-ty, I content myself with 
saying, that engaged in the same cause with yourself, I 
have assisted Mr Deane since his arrival in Europe, and 
know intimately well our affairs abroad, their situation 
here, and in such Courts, where it has been thought ne- 
cessary to address ourselves for countenance and assist- 
ance. 1 have of course been no stranger to your corres- 
pondence, and have been sorry to find so punctual a 
correspondent should have any reason to complain of the 
want of punctuality in others. This is not owing to want 
of inclination in IMr Deane, but to the multiplicity of bus- 
iness which occupies his whole time ; for Mr Lee is absent, 
being at Berlin, where I first broke the ice last autumn,* 
and the age of Dr Franklin in some measure hinders him 
from taking so active a part in the drudgery of business 

' Mr Carniichael's letters from Beriin, if lie ever wrote any, are 


as his great zeal and abilities would otherwise enable him 
to execute. He is the master to whom we children in 
politics all look up for counsel, and whose name is ex-ery- 
where a passport to be well received. As I trouble you 
therefore with forwarding some letters to my friends, I 
wish to pay the postage by any European intelligence in 
my power to communicate. 

I have another motive to incite me, which is, that I think 
your situation of singular consequence to bring on a war 
so necessary to assure our independence, and ^hich the 
weak system of this Court seems studiously to avoid. 
Either from this weakness, or from a jealousy, that by a 
precipitate interference, our independence would be too 
soon and too formidably established, the Court shuns 
everything in Europe which might appear a glaring vio- 
lation of their treaties with England. This line of conduct 
has delayed the stores so long promised, and at last sends 
to Martinique, what ought to have been on the continent 
in February at furthest. This occasioned the loss of 
the Seine, which was despatched half laden, that such 
necessary articles as tents and fusils, might get early to 
America, the captain having positive orders to proceed 
thither without touching at the Islands, and I myself pro- 
tested to the ship's owners, that Mr Deane would have no 
concern in the risk, if on any account but stress of weather, 
the vessel proceeded to the West Indies. As such is their 
miserable policy, it is our business to force on a war, in 
spile oi" their inclinations to the contrary, for which pur- 
pose, I see nothing so likely as fitting out privateers from 
the ports and Islands of France. Here we are too near 
the sun and the business is dangerous ; with you it may 
be done more easily, and indeed has already been attended 


with happy effects, as you will sec by the enclosed copy 
of a letter from the Chamber of Commerce at Liverpool 
to that of Bristol. The natural antipathy of the nation is 
such, that their passions being once fully excited, they will 
proceed to such acts of reprisal and mutual violence, as 
will occasion clamors and altercations, which no soft 
words can palliate. As I pretend to know something of 
the counsels of both nations, I know there are strong advo- 
cates for war in both. The more reasons they have to 
produce in favor of their system, the sooner it will be 

In England, when General Howe's successes in the 
Jersies, and the prospect of getting possession of Philadel- 
phia, made the Ministry hope for a speedy termination of 
their dispute with us, I know war with France was nearly 
determined on. The insolence of apparent success dic- 
tated that Memorial, which Sir Joseph Yorke presented 
to their High INlightinesses, and which you have undoubt- 
edly seen. One of a still more insolent nature was pre- 
pared and even sent to Lord Stormont here, and a refusal 
and even delay of compliance with the requisitions therein 
made, was to have been the harbinger of war, and the 
immediate destruction of the French commerce and 
Islands. Happily for our enemies, the news of our suc- 
cess at Trenton prevented its delivery. 

In France, the nation and some of the Ministers wish 
to act vigorously, but are retarded in all their operations 
by the imbecility of age, or llio more |)owerful operation 
of English gold. As the English Ministry seem convinced 
of the pacific, or rather undecided, state of the rulers here, 
they hasten, by the most vigorous exertions against us, to 
end the war, and are less reserved in the treatment of the 


French prisoners abroad. Could they be provoked to 
unequivocal proofs of violence, it would be a good point 
gained. This your situation may bring about, by encour- 
aging the arming of vessels manned by Frenchmen, and 
by prompting the captains to provoke unjustifiable reprisals, 
on the part of the inhabitants of the English Islands. 

To you, filled with liberal ideas, and a high sense of the 
interest of the French nation, to give us powerful support, 
these hints may appear extraordinary, but from experience 
I can assure you, that public councils, at least in Europe, 
are directed more by caprice, or the interest of individu- 
als, than by a generous concern for the whole. At a dis- 
tance, we think more of the wisdom of statesmen than 
they merit. The nearer we approach them the less is our 
reverence. If our enemies are not successful, they mean 
to close with us on the best terms they can, sensible, that if 
this great effort does not succeed, they have little to hope 
in future. This is an animating reason for us to perse- 
vere in the glorious contest. In the meantime, it is our 
business to keep up the spirits of our common |)eople to 
the utmost. For which reason, what I write you is in 
confidence, or for the inspection of the Committee only, if 
it may be thought to merit their notice. 

The English have completed their loan among them- 
selves. No foreigners have assisted them, although the 
terms to the lender are better than any yet offered by that 
nation, except once. Foreigners know that they have yet 
several millions to fund, for which they must offer still 
better terms. The Spaniards have refused the mediation 
of France and England in their dispute with Portugal, 
being determined to prosecute the war until Portugal de- 
mands peace, and makes reparation. They have taken 

VOL, IX. 3 . 


ihe important Island of St Catharine's, on the coast of 
Brazil, without loss, and mean vigorously to prosecute their 
operations on Brazil. This I have from undoubted au- 
thority, one of the family Ministers. A report prevails, 
that the Indians of the east have fallen on their oppressors, 
and have taken Madras. India stock has, consequently, 
fallen. Both France and Spain continue their armaments 
as if preparing for some great event. This obliges Eng- 
land to do the same. All their naval and army contracts 
are for five years, and they employ as many workmen in 
their dock yards, as they did in the height of the last war. 
Yon will serve us essentially, by pushing the cruisers who 
visit you into the European seas, particularly those of the 
north, in the months of August, September, and October, 
directing them to send their prizes into France or Spain. 
It would render our negotiation with Prussia more success- 
ful, if a tobacco ship could by any means be pushed into 
Emden, which ship might make her returns in manufac- 
tures necessary for us, and fifteen or twenty per cent 
cheaper than we can have them here. Urge it to the 
honorable Committee. 
I am, he. 


P. 5. Two vessels with stores are just despatched 
from different ports. Forward them, my Dear Sir, imme- 
diately to our dear country. Captains Wickes, Johnson, 
and Nicholson, have just destroyed sixteen vessels on the 
English and Irish coast. I am despatching Conyngham 
from hence on the same business in a privateer. I begin 
to think war unavoidable. VV. C. 

Dunkirk, July 6(h. 



Yorktown, June 17th, 1778. 

Since my arrival here, I have been informed of the 
honor conferred on me by Congress, in being appointed 
Secretary to the Commissioners at the Court of France, 
an honor which greatly overpays the feeble efforts of my 
zeal, and is more than I could expect, considering the 
well founded pretensions of others to their notice. 

I beg leave through you, Sir. to express my grateful sen- 
sibility of this proof of their confidence, as well as the 
ardent desire 1 have of meriting it in future.* 
I have the honor to be, he. 



Off Reedy Island, November 25th, 1779. 
I received at Chester, the copies of the resolves, you 
did me the honor to enclose me, and shall punctually 
comply with your request, by forwarding them as soon as 
I arrive, to Dr Franklin and Mr Johnson. I am sorry that 
the business with respect to the latter, is left in its present 
state, because there are very few men, who neglect a 
certain and profitable occupation, to engage in another 
where they are sure of offending, without an equal cer- 
tainty of an adequate reward for their trouble and impar- 

* It does not appear that Mr Carmichael ever accepted this ap- 
pointment. He was chosen a delegate to Congress from Maryland, 
and joined that body on the 19th of November, 1778. 


I am much obliged to you for your good wishes, al- 
though I must candidly own they would be siill more 
agreeable accompanied by a ship of the line, for we are 
informed that the Romulus and Roebuck, are waiting for 
us to intercept us, and were they animated, would, like the 
Death and Sin of Milton, bless their lucky stars 'destined to 
that good hour.' I beg you to make the proper compli- 
ments for me to the gendemen of your family. 
I have the honor to be, Sir, &ic, 



Martinique, December 27th, 1779. 


1 take the liberty of enclosing to your Excellency, a 
paper containing a relation of a late affair, between part of 
the small squadron commanded by M. la Motle Piquet, 
and the English fleet, under the orders of Sir Peter 
Parker. It was given me by direction of the French 
Admiral, that a true account of this action, which has done 
him much honor here, might be published in America. 

On the 23d of this month. Admiral Arbuihnot arrived at 
Barbadoes with six or seven sail of the line, and sixteen 
regiments. An attack on the Grenadas or Dominica, is 
daily expected. The latter is well fortified and garrisoned 
by twelve hundred men. The Marquis de Bouille seems 
to have no apprehensions for any of their Islands, except 
those lately taken from the enemy. 

Mr Jay informs Congress by this opportunity, of il.c 
misfortune which befel us, and the reasons which induced 
the oflicers to bring the ship to this Island.* I can only 

' See Jaij's Correspondence, Vol. VIL p. 174. 


express my regret for the delay, which this accident will 
occasion in the execution of the business with which Con- 
gress has done us the honor to intrust us. With the 
highest sentiments of respect, 
I have the honor to be, &ic^ 



Madrid, February 18th, 1780.- 
Dear Sir, 

I did myself the honor of writing to you by a courier 
whom the French Ambassador despatched to Cadiz yester- 
day morning ; since which, I Iiave been introduced to 
their Excellencies, delivered your letter to the latter, and 
explained to the former the reasons, which induce you to 
address the other, with which he was peifectly satisfied. 
Don Joseph de Galves told me, that he should give your 
letter to the Count de Florida Blanca, whose business it 
was to lay it before the King, and receive his orders on 
the subject, and that the Count or himself would be di- 
rected to answer it. I repeated the substance of your in- 
structions to me as far as they respect him, and was 
answered, that he would take an opportunity of conversing 
with me on our affairs, and would inform me through the 
French Ambassador, when it would be convenient for liiia 
to receive me. Some compliments passed with respect to 
the characters he had received of us, which it is unneces- 
sary to repeal. 

The Count de Florida Blanca told me that he would 
lay your letter before the King the same night for his con- 
sideration. 1 took this opportunity of mentioning the 


pleasure il would give Congress to hear of your reception 
at Madrid, from the earnest desire they had to cultivate 
the King's friendship, that their expectations were san- 
guine, having been led to believe the dispositions of the 
Court were favorable, by the suggestions of persons sup- 
posed to be well acquainted with its intentions, that the 
liopes of the people were also great, and I hinted, that 
there were several vessels about to sail from Bilboa, and 
the ports of France, by which you would be happy to 
communicate this news to Congress, and to gratify the ex- 
pectations of the people. 

He then told me he had informed tlie King of your 
arrival at Cadiz, although they had understood your origi- 
nal destination was to France ; that the King had ordered 
him to receive your overtures, and that I was at liberty to 
give you this information, and after a pause, added, that 
on Monday he hoped to have it in his power to return an 
answer. You will please to observe, that it had not been 
read by either when this conversation passed. He also 
told me, that he w^ould take an opportunity to converse 
with me, and would inform me when it would be conven- 
ient for him to see me through the channel beforemen- 

On Monday next I go to the Pardo, by their appoint- 
ment. Here I see every day a person, who I believe to 
be sent by them to converse with me, altliough I appear to 
know nothing of his connexion with the Court. I think 
you may make the necessary preparations for your journey 
on the receipt of this. ^Messrs Adams and Dana were at 
Bordeaux the 2d instant. They mean to proceed to Am- 
sterdam from thence, so that the plan spoken of has taken, 
place. They go in a good time, as the Dutch are at 
present much irritated against Great Britain, 


Mr Arthur Lee corresponded with the Count de Flor- 
ida Blanca, but if I am well informed, the correspondence 
consisted of American news on the one part, and compli- 
ment on the other.* JM. Gerard leaves this tomorrow, he 
has had conversations with the Spanish Ministers, of about 
two hours at one time and three at another. I am in a 
way of obtaining most of the information you desired. I 
beg you to present the proper compliments to your lady 
and Colonel Livingston. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 



Madrid, February 19th, 1780. 

The short time 1 remained at Cadiz, and the constant 
employment in which I was engaged of copying Mr Jay's 
letters and making the necessary preparations for my jour- 
ney, prevented me from doing myself the honor of writing 
to your Excellency from thence. But having now an op- 
portunity by M. Gerard to France, and an offer from M. 
Gardoqui to forward my letters by the way of Bilboa, I 
enclose to Congress copies of those I have written to Mv 
Jay since my arrival in this city, as they contain the most 
material intelligence I have been able to procure. I have 
every reason to be pleased with the disposition of those 
whom I have seen here, as well foreigners as natives, and 
I cannot sufficiently express my gratitude for the liberal 
and friendly manner in which I have been received by the 

' See Jlrthur Lee's Correspondence, Vol. II. pp. 36 — 54- 


Count de iMontrnorin, ihe Ambassador of France, which I 
should impute entirely to M. Gerard's good oflices, was 
not his own good will and desire to conform to the favor- 
able disposition of his Court apparent. M. Gerard in the 
circle of foreign Ministers, is more of an American than a 
Frenchman, and I siwuld do him injustice if 1 did not 
mention it. 

The English squadron sailed from Gibraltar the 13th 
instant, and part of it is said to be destined for the West 
Indies. Tiie French will have seventytwo sail of the line 
in actual service this year. The troops, at the disposition 
of the person mentioned in the first* letter to Mr Jay, will 
amount to near four thousand, and consist chiefly of Ger- 
mans; six sail of the line will escort them, and I am well 
informed they will sail in less than two months. It is said 
the English Ministry will be able to procure the neces- 
sary supplies for the present year, owing to their late suc- 
cesses. I beg leave, through your Excellency, to assure 
Congress of my unremitted attention to merit the confi- 
dence reposed in me. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 



Aranjues, May 28th, ]7d0. 
Mr Jay having judged it proper for inc to reside at this 
place while the Court remains here, I did not know until 
his letters for Congress were closed, that Mr Harrison, 

" See Jay's Correspondmrc, Vol VII. p. 207 


who charges himself with the care of them to Cadiz, was 
on the point of setting out from Madrid for that city. This 
prevented me from assisting him in copying papers, which 
he tells me he has transmitted by this opportunity. 1 regret 
exceedingly, my not having received earlier information, 
because I wished to convey several papers, which 1 do not 
choose to trust to the ordinary post. Our situation in this 
respect is very disagreeable and delicate, for we can 
neither send nor receive letters without their being subject 
to the inspection of others, and, indeed, we have some- 
times the mortification to hear of the arrival of letters from 
America in the sea-ports, which, notwithstanding, never 
reach us. Our opportunities of information thus become 
very precarious, and I am much afraid, that the same 
cause will frequently interrupt our correspondence with 

Before Mr Jay arrived in the capital, I did myself the 
honor to inform his Excellency, the President, of my ar- 
rival at Madrid, and enclosed him copies of the letters I 
wrote to Mr Jay, on the subject of his reception, and of 
the disposition in which the Court appeared to be. As F 
sent several copies of these letters, I subjoined all that 
occurred worthy of the notice of Congress in the interval 
of the departure of the several copies. Not having had any 
instructions to address myself to Congress, unless in the 
absence of Mr Jay, or in case of any event that deprived 
the public of his services, I know not whether I may not 
appear officious at present ; particularly as 1 have already 
communicated to him regularly, all the intelligence I have 
been able to procure, as also my reflections on that intel- 
ligence, which his ability and long experience in affairs, 
will enable him to put in a much clearer point of view than 

VOL. IX. 4 


I can pretend to do. If I err, I hope the Committee will 
set me right, and instruct me how to conduct myself in 

The King, the Prince of Asturias, and tlie Ministry, 
appear favorable to our cause, but I am much afraid their 
ability to assist us in the article of money, is neither equal 
to our expectations, or their desires to serve us. The 
papers sent by Mr Jay, will show the sentiments of this 
Court with respect to the object of his mission. I think 
the negotiation will be attended with more delay than Con- 
gress had reason to apprehend when we left America. 
This Court manifest a strong desire of excluding every 
other nation from the navigation of the IMississippi, and 
indeed of the Gulf of Mexico. The situation of the 
affairs of America will undoubtedly regulate the conduct 
of Congress on this subject, and I hope it will be such as 
to enable them to adhere to the rights of all the States. 

Our enemies are making use of the time before Spain 
takes a decided opinion, to sow jealousies between us. 
Governor Johnson sounded the dispositions of this Court 
early last winter. At the close of it Sir John Dalrympk 
obtained permission to come to Madrid, on the pretence 
of the bad state of health of his lady. His strange 
Memorial to the Count de Florida Blanca, is transmitted 
to you.* 1 have no doubts that other attempts will be 
made to bring about a negotiation. If they succeed no 
better than Sir John's, we shall not have much to appre- 
hend on that score. The Count de Florida Blanca ap- 
pears to act with much candor, and gives Mr Jay such 
strong and frequent assurances of the King's favorable 

* See this Memorial in John Jay's Currenpondence, Vol. VII. p. ',iQ6. 


intentions, and his own disposition to second them, that 1 
hope we may rely on what he tells us. His character for 
probity is high in this country, and among the foreign Min- 
isters at this Court. As I have frequent opportunities of 
mixing with the latter, I have not omitted to give them 
proper impressions of our strength, union, and firmness, 
without seeming too solicitous to do it. It is possible, that 
if the neutral maritime powers were fully persuaded of 
this unanimity and firmness, and were sincerely disposed 
to bring about a peace, instead of regarding with pleasure 
the mutual losses of the House of Bourbon and Great 
Britain, they might end the war by declaring their dispo- 
sition to acknowledge our independence. 

The King of Prussia seems to be a cool calculator, pre- 
pared to profit by the general distress. Denmark is influ- 
enced by Russia, and Sweden by France. Great Britain 
also still retains some influence in Denmark. The Court 
of Vienna will be adverse to us, as long as the Empress 
Queen exists. How the Emperor is inclined I do not 
know. Sardinia and Portugal are friendly and attached 
to England. The Dutch are divided into parties, neither 
of which is strong enough to give firmness and decision 
to the conduct of the Republic. The Stadtholder and 
his party find means to thwart and retard all the vigorous 
resolves, which the French and republican parj;y engage 
the state to enter into, to support their honor and dignity. 
The hopes entertained in Great Britain of the influence 
of the former party, and the proneness of the King and 
his Ministers to violent measures, induced the late extra- 
ordinary conduct of that Court, with respect to the Dutch. 
They will submit to this and more, rather than go to 
war. If the Empress of Russia is determined to support 


lier late declaration, and to coincide effectually with the 
powers whom she has invited to accede to it, Great Brit- 
ain must, however, recede from her present conduct, or 
offend highly the neutral powers. 

The negotiation between Russia and Holland proceeds 
slowly. The Court parly in England has gained once 
more its superiority in Parliament ; a feigned sickness ol 
the speaker, Sir Fletcher Norton, gave the Minister time 
to rally his forces, since which opposition grows more 
feeble every day. That of Ireland, for want of system 
and union among its members, and by the promises of 
places and honors, is a little staggered. There is however 
a fermentation in both nations, which the continuance of 
the war and its consequent distresses will probably in- 
crease, if not bring to maturity. The distresses of our 
army last winter, the depreciation of our paper money, the 
exaggerated accounts of our divisions, and our apparent 
inactivity, have had a bad effect in Europe, which I hope 
the firmness and unanimity of Congress, added to the ex- 
ertions of our ally, and those of this Court, will entirely 

The expedition, which sailed from Cadiz the 28th ulti- 
mo, consisting of twelve sail of the line, besides frigates, 
and eleven thousand five hundred men, proceeds to the 
Windward Islands, and there joins M. de Guichen, or goes 
against Jamaica or the Floridas, as circumstances may 
render it proper. Another expedition from France, fol- 
lows M. Ternay's, I believe, to reinforce M. de Guichen, 
who, if I am not deceived, will join the Spaniards to the 
leeward in the hurricane months, and if necessary and 
practicable, send eight or ten ships to our coasts in the be- 
ginning of the autumn. This depends, however, much on 


the events of war. Spain in concurrence with France, will 
have between forty and fifty sail of the line, to oppose the 
grand English fleet, which [ am informed will sail the last 
of this month or the beginning of next. The allied fleet is 
not in such readiness. Strong interest is making for the 
Count d'Estaing to command in chief, and I think he will 
be nominated. 

A very little time will determine the fate of the bills 
drawn on Mr Jay. I received the first last week, in a 
letter from M. Nesbitt of L'Orient who very prudently did 
not negotiate it, until he consulted me on the subject. I 
am also informed, that bills on Mr Laurens are in circu- 
lation, and we have not yet heard of his arrival. I have 
written to Dr Franklin, and Messrs Adams and Dana, and 
if I have not heard from them oftener, I impute it to the 
miscarriage of their letters, which was the case of those of 
Dr Franklin, the first two months after my arrival at Mad- 
rid. Mr Jay will transmit an account of the revenues, and 
expenses of Spain, with which 1 have furnished him, 
which will show, that Congress cannot depend on such 
pecuniary assistance from this nation as they expected. 

Mr Jay's situation has been particularly disagreeable ; 
the sum allotted by Congress, by no means accords with 
his necessary expenses, even if he received his salary as 
it became due. I do not complain, although I have been 
obliged since my departure from America to expend 
more than six hundred and fifty pounds sterling, and have 
not as yet received more than two hundred pounds of my 
salary. Almost everything that passes, even in Congress, 
is known here, either by intercepted letters, or otherwise. 
You, Gentlemen, will conceive, how delicate Mr Jay's 
situation must be, if he delivers faithfully his sentiments 


of men and measures. I must repeat again, however, that 
there is a great appearance of candor and good faith. 
The Count de Florida Blanca, and M. Galvez speak with 
much apparent civility and frankness, and seem desirous 
of doing all that is possible to succor us consistent with the 
actual situation of their finances, the former particularly. 
I have sent a copy of this via iJilboa, and another from 
Cadiz. I have not yet had the pleasure of receiving one 
letter from any one member of Congress. 
I have the honor to be, &tc. 



Madrid, July 17th, 1780. 

Since writing the preceding letter, bills to the amount 
of about fifteen thousand dollars have been presented, and 
at a time when the news of our misfortune at Charleston 
made an impression much to our disadvantage. These 
bills however are accepted, and the Count de Florida 
Blanca appears to interest himself more than ever in con- 
tributing to aid us, repeating in the strongest manner his 
Catholic Majesty's favorable intentions. What he hinted 
at with respect to the attempts of the enemy, to thwart 
Mr Jay's negotiations has proved true. A Mr Cumber- 
land, Secretary to Lord George Germain, has obtained per- 
mission to come to Madrid, and is actually here at present. 
But as his Excellency has promised to communicate his 
proposals, whatever they may be, on the subject of an 
accommodation, we cannot entertain a doubt, but that he 
will do it with the same frankness, with which he made 



known to us those of Sir John Dalrymple. The Count 
de Montmorin, Ambassador for France here, is not the 
least alarmed by the reception of this gentleman, and that 
Court is full as much interested as we are in the object 
for which he is sent. Mr Jay will transmit to Congress a 
narrative, which I have given him, of this gentleman's 

We have likewise received an account of the death of 
M. Miralles. He will soon have a successor, by whom 
we shall write more fully, and I hope more to the satis- 
faction of Congress. Nothing can hurt us here, or in 
Europe, so long as we are united, firm, and vigorous. I 
experienced at first a little coldness from the foreign Min- 
isters at this Court, after the news of the surrender of 
Charleston, but that is worn off. 

The public papers will announce the disturbances, which 
have lately arisen at London ; all is at present quiet in that 
quarter, and government seems to hsve acquired fresh 
confidence and vigor. The Count d'Estaing is expected 
at St Ildefonso the 1st of next montli, to go from thence 
to take the command of the united fleets, which will con- 
sist of thirtysix sail of the line, from Cadiz, including the 
French from Toulon, and other French ports, and twelve 
or fifteen from Brest. The last advices import that the 
English squadron amounted to twentyeight, chiefly capital 
ships ; they left port about the 20ih ult. The rest of Eu- 
rope is in the same situation that I have already mentioned. 

Since writing my letter of the 28th of May, I received a 
letter from the Baron de Schulenburg,* of which the en- 
closed is a copy, in answer to a civil letter, which I wrote 

" Missing. 


him on my arrival here, representing the situation of 
our affairs in a favorable light. I daily expect another 
letter from him more particular, in consequence of an ad- 
dress, which I have transmitted to him, by which he may 
write to me in safety. I have cultivated the friendship of 
the foreign Ministers and their Secretaries as often as 1 
have had occasion, and as I have always avoided an ap- 
pearance of prejudice, I flatter myself, that I have been 
listened to with attention. My conduct has been the same 
with those of this nation with whom I have found means to 
be acquainted, and I doubt not, with time and patience, 
we shall ultimately succeed. 1 cannot speak too highly of 
the conduct of the Count de Montmorin, personally or po- 
litically. M. Gerard in his letters to me, expresses the 
same attachment as ever to our cause, and his late acqui- 
sition of dignity and consequence, puts it more in his 
power to be useful to us. As yet, Mr Jay has received 
but one letter from Congress, which conveyed their re- 
solves respecting the bills of exchange drawn on him. I 
beg leave to acknowledge the receipt of a letter from Mr 
Houston last week, which I shall answer, if possible, by 
this opportunity. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 



St Ildefonso, August 22d, 1780. 
In tbe course of this monih I did myself the honor of 
writing to you by the General Pickering from Bilboa, and 
the Captain Kynn from Cadiz, as also via France. In these 


letters I informed you of the situation of our affairs here, 
and of that of Europe in general ; since which, we have 
advanced very little. The Minister had informed Mr 
Jay, on the 5th of July, that he had sent for a person to 
succeed M. Miralles, and that on his arrival, arrangements 
would be made with respect to the bills presented to Mr 
Jay for payment, and that he would then enter into dis- 
cussions on- the other objects of Mr Jay's mission. Before 
and since that period, bills to the amount of thirty thou- 
sand dollars have been presented, of which Mr Jay has 
accepted for fourteen thousand, by the direction of the 
Minister, and none of the others have as yet been pro- 

You will see by a state of the finances of this country, 
which in compliance with Mr Jay's instructions to me, at 
my departure from Cadiz, I have had the honor to give 
him, that their revenues and resources since the war have 
greatly diminished, and that previous to that period, they 
were by no means so flourishing as Congress had reason 
to suppose. In most of the conferences with the Minister, 
the scarcity of cash has been objected more than the want 
of inclination, and hints have been thrown out, that it would 
be much more convenient for the Court, to grant the Uni- 
ted States aids in money from their possessions in America 
than in Europe. Althougii hopes have been as constantly 
given, that a part of the sum drawn for would be furnished 
at the end of the present year, or commencement of the 
next, and that measures in the mean time might be taken 
to prevent embarrassments, in case of the arrival of bills 
after that period, great surprise has been expressed, that 
Congress should take such a step without previously in- 
forming the Court of their intentions, and obtaining its 

VOT>. IX, 5 


approbation of the measure. Congress will therefore 
judge of the propriety of disposing of any bills, that may 
remain unsold, until it is fully ascertained, that they will 
be punctually paid. IVIr Jay, now at Madrid, where the 
death of his child, and the consequent distresses of his 
family, detain him a few days, will undoubtedly transmit 
more ample intelligence on this subject, with the various 
papers in his possession necessary to explain it. This 
Court has been obliged to make considerable loans, foi 
their own current expenses, the nature of which I hope to 
be able to explain in a future letter. It has lately ob- 
tained seven millions, .five hundred thousand current dol- 
lars, in France and elsewhere. The loan is for nine 
millions, and from the nature of it will create a temporary 
paper circulation to that amount in this kingdom. I shall 
transmit to Congress, as soon as it becomes public, a full 
detail of its operations. 

Mr Cumberland, whom I mentioned in my last, and 
whose name you will find in all the European gazettes, is 
still at Madrid, from whence he has lately had permission 
to send a courier to London, but as the Spanish Minister 
has engaged to impart any serious proposals he may make, 
and as the French Ambassador expresses no uneasiness 
from the residence of this gentleman in Spain, although 
this circumstance at this crisis is extraordinary, we cannot 
presume there can be solid ground for apprehension. 
Considerable revolutions, however, have happened in the 
system of politics of this country, ever since the accession 
of the House of Bourbon, and where governments are 
often more influenced by the counsels, and sometimes the 
caprices of individuals, than from regard to the real and 
permanent interest of a nation, there is always something 


to fear. Congress judging from the assurances of the 
Minister, and the King's character, which is remarkable 
for steadiness, on the one part, and from the circumstance 
of Mr Cumberland's residence here, and the constant en- 
deavors of our enemies by every insidious art to misrep- 
resent our situation, on the other, will be best able to draw 
conclusions from the whole. 

The treaty proposed by Russia to the neutral maritime 
powers, to secure their commerce, and protect their navi- 
gation, has been or will be acceded to by Sweden, Den- 
mark, the Hanseatic towns, and Holland, and a Russian 
squadron is expected in the Channel daily. Portugal, it is 
said, influenced by England, will not accede to this treaty, 
which will put a stop to the piratical conduct of that coun- 
try. France and Spain exclaim against the partiality of 
Portugal to Great Britain, and I have been informed, but 
I do not pretend to vouch for the authenticity of the intel- 
ligence, that strong representations have been made to that 
Court, either to shut its ports against the armed vessels of 
the nations at war, or to take a part in it. The French 
Minister to that Court said something to the same purpose 
to me at Madrid, on his way to Lisbon. The English 
at present sell their prizes there, without the formality of 

The Count d'Estaing is now here, and on every occa- 
sion manifests the strongest attachment to the United 
States and their interests. The general opinion gives him 
the command of a part, if not the whole of the combined 
fleets, which amount to thirtysix sail of the line, now at 
sea, commanded by M. Cordova. The English fleet 
under Geary, is also cruizing between Ushant and Cape 
St Vincent, to prevent the junction of the ships from Brest 


and Ferrol with the Spanish Admiral, and to protect their 
outward and homeward bound convoys, and to intercept 
those of the allies. 

I had written thus iar, when a courier arrived with the 
important news of the combined fleets having fallen in with, 
and taken fiftysix sail out of sixty, destined to the East 
and West Indies, Madeira and Quebec. I have requested 
Mr Harrison at Cadiz to enclose to the Committee a list 
of the prizes, and the nature of their cargoes, as it has not 
yet been received here. This will be severely felt in 
England, and will occasion more clamor against the 
Ministry, than all their naval losses since the war. Mr 
Jay has heard from Congress but once since we have 
been in Spain, and very seldom from our other corres- 
pondents, the last letters from Paris, mention that Messrs 
Franklin, Adams, and Dana, were well, and that Mr 
Adams was going to Holland. 
I have the honor to be, he. 


P. S. Since sending ott' a copy of the preceding letter, 
I have the pleasure to inform you, that the gendeman ex- 
pected by the ^Minister has arrived, and proves to be Don 
Diego Gardoqui, who is already known by his former cor- 
respoudence with America. Our affairs are once more 
in train, some bills have been accepted since his arrival, 
but nothing certain has been as yet determined, and indeed 
I fear the Court is too much pressed for money, to do 
anything considerable for us here in that way. Probably 
this gentleman will be sent to America, by whom we shall 
have an opportunity, I hope, of conveying the final deter- 
mination of the Court with respect to our affairs. The 


navigation of the Mississippi appears to be the great, and 
if we can credit the assertions of men in power, the sole 

Mr Cumberland has been here, and is expected again 
with his family in a few days. I have been informed, that 
he has offered on the part of Great Britain, to restore to 
Spain what they lost by the treaty of Paris, and has been 
permitted to reside at this Court, in expectation of being 
authorised to make further concessions, and indeed on no 
other principle can I account for his residence here at this 
crisis. 1 mentioned in my letter of the 22d ult, that repre- 
sentations had been made to the Court of Portugal, either 
to shut its ports against the armed vessels of all nations at 
war, or take a part in it. I have the honor to inform you, 
that the above Court has consented to the first of these 
propositions, although this is not yet public. Another ves- 
sel has arrived at Nantes from Philadelphia, by which nei- 
ther Mr Jay nor myself have received any letters. The 
Russian fleet, consisting of fifteen sail of the line, and four 
frigates, is arrived in England. Admiral Geary returned 
to Spithead the 19th ult. This fleet, it is said, will soon 
be sent to sea, although he had upwards of two thousand 
sick when he returned to port. Stocks fell considerably in 
England when the news arrived of the loss of the convoy 

A fleet of seven sail of the line sailed from Ferrol the 
22d ult. to convoy off the coast a fleet of transports for the 
French islands, and probably to cruise to intercept the 
homeward and outward bound fleets of the enemy. This 
circumstance joined to the late loss of the convoy, has 
raised insurance prodigiously in London. The Parlia- 
ment does not meet until the 28th of September. 

W. C, 



St Ildefonso, September 9th, 1780 

1 did myself the honor of writing to you the 6th instant, 
via Cadiz, Bilboa, and France, informing you that the 
person mentioned in my letters of last month, as chosen 
by the Minister to succeed M. IMiralles, had arrived here, 
and proves to be M. James Gardoqui, and that since his 
arrival, our affairs are once more in train. I also inen- 
tioned that the Ministry were negotiating loans, to answer 
extraordinary expenses. I expected to have been able to 
send the Committee a full account of the nature of these 
loans, as I founded my hopes of the Court's paying the 
bills drawn on Mr Jay, by means of the supplies obtained 
in this way. I am therefore very sorry to inform the 
Committee, that the success of the most considerable has 
not answered the expectations of the Ministers, and what 
is worse, they impute its failure to the interference of M. 
Necker and others, influenced by that Minister, which has 
created a soreness, that for the moment must be disagree- 
able to our ally, and may be disadvantageous to us, unless 
more important considerations obviate the ill effects to be 
apprehended from such disappointment, and the personal 
disgust and resentment consequent thereof. 

A person with whom I am well acquainted, is the pro- 
jector of the loan abovementioned, and although for near 
three months 1 have known that such a measure was in 
agitation, I was not able to discover the plan, it having been 
preserved with great secrecy, in order to secure its suc- 
cessful and complete operation. As this measure is so far 
important to Congress, as it may influence the conduct of 


the Court with respect to money matters, and aflect the 
credit of the nation in future, on which all the vigor of mili- 
tary operations in a great measure depends, I will endea- 
vor to give the outlines of the money negotiation to the 
Committee, and will forward the plan and the King's ordi- 
nance thereon as soon as 1 receive them. 

The original design of this loan was to procure nine mil- 
lions of dollars, or thirtysix millions of livres in four months, 
and possibly to enlarge the sum according to exigencies. 
The projector was to receive ten per cent for expenses and 
profit, which he was at liberty to divide as he thought pro- 
per with the original lenders. To these, I think, he gave 
three, or three and a half per cent for the use of thpir 
money for four months, which money they were to remit 
in bills of exchange on Spain, and to redraw at the end of 
four months for their principal and interest. The great 
secret of the operation is, that government instead of re- 
paying their bills in specie, issues paper to repay them, the 
credit of which is guarantied by the Crown and the differ- 
ent Chambers or Councils of the Kingdom, viz of Castile, 
&c. kc. This paper bears an interest of four per cent. 
A cedvla, or royal ordinance, will be published the 20th 
or 2 1st of this month, which gives it currency, and inflicts 
severe penalties on any one who refuses it as a legal pay- 
ment. M. Necker did not discover the latter part of the 
scheme until large sums had been remitted from France, 
and I suppose, fearing that its opei-ation would be complete 
before his representations of what he thought its evil ten- 
dency, could .be attended to here, he immediately gave 
orders not to receive the bills of exchange of the houses 
concerned in this measure at the Caisse Eoyale in France. 
Besides, the house of G'erordot, Haller k Co. one of the 


most considerable in Europe, and of which he was once the 
head, and his brother is still a partner, wrote circular letters 
to all parts of Europe discrediting the loan. 

The consequence has been, that the persons in France 
and elsewhere, whose bills were refused at the Caisse 
Royale have been pushed here so hard by their creditors, 
that the Spanish government has been obliged to make 
considerable remittances to support their credit, that fur- 
ther advances of money have been stopped, and that bills 
of exchange on Spain have sold at a loss of one and one 
and a half per cent. This has irritated the merchants 
here, and perhaps we may be the innocent victims. For 
I am persuaded, that Spain, without obtaining it by loans, 
has not money in Europe to afford us considerable aids, 
how great soever her inclination may be to assist us, and 
I think the Comriiittee will be of the same opinion, on read- 
ing the information T gave Mr Jay on the subject of the 
revenues of this country, in consequence of his instructions 
lo me at Cadiz. 

I shall be happy to have it in my ])ower to inform the 
Committee, that my apprehensions have been ill grounded. 

The fate of our bills must soon be determined. More 
than forty thousand dollars have been presented, of which 
the amount of about fourteen thousand have been ac- 
cepted by order of the Minister. The Count d'Estaing 
will leave this in a few dp.ys, and go to Cadiz; by the time 
he can arrive at that port, the whole of the combined fleet 
will be assembled ; thirtysix sail are now at Cadiz, seven 
on a cruise, and two of a hundred and one hundred and ten 
guns are on their voyage from Brest. The Count will urge 
a vigorous and decisive conduct, and seems to enjoy the 
King's esteem, and the good will of most of the Ministers 
liiul Courtiers. 


The English emissary, Mr Cumberland, is still at Mad- 
rid, and is permitted to receive from and send couriers to 
London. The conduct of the Court appears unaccounta- 
ble, and I cannot persuade myself, that it can be agreeable 
to France, although the Count de Montmorin frequently 
assures me, that we need not have any inquietude on ac- 
count of the gentleman's residence. He no doubt, how- 
ever, endeavors to insinuate many things to our disadvant- 
age, and makes propositions to alienate Spain from, the alli- 
ance with France, and from supporting the United States. 
Those about him are perpetually circulating bad news from 
America, and assert with confidence, that several States 
and many individuals in others, are negotiating to make 
their peace with Great Britain. Spain may possibly be 
amusing his employers, as he is employed to amuse the 
Spanish Ministry. 

The treaty for an armed neutrality was signed by Swe- 
den the 4th of August ; Denmark had not signed it the 8th 
of the same month, but there is no doubt she will. The 
English party in Holland opposed and retarded it there 
as long as possible, and finally clogged it with such condi- 
tions as they hope will prostrate the negotiation ; for in- 
stance, they propose to the contracting powers, to guaranty 
all their possessions in Europe, Asia, and America, but as 
the States have gone so far, they will scarce recede, should 
this article be refused by the others. The eyes of Europe 
are anxiously turned to America and the West Indies ; the 
friends of liberty hope everything from our union and per- 
severance, and the expectations of our enemies are founded 
on the reverse. Neither Mr Jay nor myself have received 
letters from Congress since we left America, except one 
from the Committee, enclosing the bills of exchange, so 


that we are without intelligence, without money, or the 
certainty of conveying to Congress as regularly as we wish, 
the information necessary for them to receive, which will 
plead my apology with the Committee for the repetitions 
they will meet in this letter of what several other letters 

1 have the honor to be, &c. 


P. S. The declaration of Portugal, shutting their ports 
against the armed vessels of the nations at war, which I 
mentioned in a letter of the 6th, has not yet been made 
public. It is supposed that the present Parliament will be 
dissolved and a new one called, while the influence of the 
present Ministry continues high. Considering the scarcity 
of cash in this country, and the present situation of 
affairs, perhaps Congress will do well to stop drawing on 
Mr Jay, until they receive information that their bills will 
be paid punctually. There appears no forwardness in this 
Court to enter into treaty ; the navigation of the Missis- 
sippi is the great obstacle ; the situation of America will 
guide the determinations of Congress, and 1 hope 1t will be 
such as to enable them to preserve the rights of all the 
States. Negotiations will, probably, be set on foot this 
winter, and it is likely this Court will be the theatre of 
them. As Spain has as yet taken no decided part in our 
revolution, England will rather choose to apply to this 
Court, and keep up the old idea of restoring peace by her 
mediation, than that of Versailles. Hints have been given, 
that it would be more convenient for Spain to furnish the 
States with money in America than here, but as they seem 
to think that America has not proposed an equivalent for 


what they demand, I am afraid assistance will be given 
very faintly. W. C. 


St Ildefonso, September 25th, 1780. 

I did myself the honor of addressing you the 6th and 
9th instant, and in the latter expressed an apprehension, 
that Congress would not receive the pecuniary aid they 
expected in this country. I am now sorry to inform you, 
that on the 1 3th, Mr Jay was told by order of the Minis- 
ter, that their own exigencies would not permit the King 
to provide funds for the payment of more of the bills than 
had been already accepted. I make no reflections on this 
event, and hope the Committee will suspend theirs, until 
Congress shall have received from Mr Jay, a relation of 
all that has passed here since the month of June last, with 
the papers necessary to elucidate it. In a day or two 
after the above information, his Majesty was pleased to 
offer his responsibility to facilitate a loan for one hundred 
and fifty thousand dollars in favor of the United States, 
and to promise some clothing, &,c. &z,c. 

On the 23d, Mr Jay had a long conference with the 
Count de Florida Blanca, the particulars of which I im- 
mediately reduced to writing, as 1 have done with respect 
to others which preceded this, copies of the most material 
parts of which Mr Jay will, probably, forward to Congress 
with his other despatches. In this conference, the Count 
spoke with much pleasure of a resolution of Congress, 
permitting the exportation of flour, for the use of the 
Spanish fleets and armies in the West Indies, as also of 


measures taken by them to make a diversion to the south- 
ward, to facilitate their operations against Pensacola, he. 
he. He said to Mr Jay, that the King had directed him 
to convey his thanks to Congress for those marks of their 
friendly disposition, and gave the strongest assurances, thai 
his Majesty would never consent to a pacification, which 
did not include the interests of America, declaring at the 
same lime, that the negotiations for peace were more re- 
mote than ever, ahhough, as he observed, the King haff 
been offered all he could desire from England, in order to 
induce him to a separate peace. He informed Mr Jay 
he had received intelligence, that Great Britain once more 
proposed to send Commissioners to treat with Congress, 
that this measure was under the consideration of the Privy 
Council, and would, probably, be adopted. 

1 seize the earliest opportunity of conveying to the 
Committee thus much of the conference, as most impor- 
tant for Congress to know, to which I add, that the Min- 
ister promised to take immediate measures for putting it 
in the power of Mr Jay, to evidence and avail hitnself of 
the responsibility of the King, and forwarding from Cadiz 
clothing for ten regiments, for the use of the American 
army. In the course of this conference, the Count de 
Florida Blanca asserted with warmth, that the King would 
never relinquish the navigation of the Mississippi, and the 
Ministry regarded the exclusive right to it as the principal 
advantage Spain would obtain by the war. This being 
the bar to the treaty, it seems not improbable, that this 
Court will not be in a hurry to treat with us, but rather 
trust, to her interest in a general Congress for peace to 
obtain her favorite objects, preserving, in the meantime, 
such a line of conduct, as will enable her, in some meas- 



ure, to be a mediator in it, with which idea she has been, 
and is flattered by England. 

Mr Cumberland, whom I have frequently mentioned in 
former letters, still remains at Madrid. The Abbe Hussey, 
his coadjutor, has just received a passport to go to Lisbon, 
from whence he will, probably, embark for London, and 
return with the ultimatum of that Court, and intelligence 
for the Spanish Minister, for it is not improbable, he 
may be a better spy than negotiator. All this, however, 
is conjecture. In all probability, great efforts will be made 
next campaign in America, if the war continues, as we are 
told it will. The great objects of it are in that part of the 
world. France is engaged at all hazards to support our 
independence, and will do it, and Spain is desirous of pos- 
sessing the entire navigation of the Gulf of Mexico. I 
take the liberty of repeating these reflections to the Com- 
mittee, as they arise from conversations on this subject 
with persons in a situation to be well informed. 

The different powers at war will, however, find some 
difficulty to procure money. England has not completed 
her last loans. France has begun to tax, and must con- 
tinue to do so, notwithstanding the great economy of their 
Minister of Finances. The last operations of this Court 
to procure money, of which I gave the Committee a 
sketch in my last letter, and the state of the revenues, 
which 1 gave Mr Jay in my answer to his instructions, will 
show them the wants of this country. The interference of 
M. Necker in the operation beforementioned, deprived 
this Court of near two millions of pesos, and greatly irri- 
tated the Ministry. I hope, however, their resentments 
have subsided. This failure, they give as one reason for 
not being able to advance the money we expected, to 


enable Mr Jay to pay the bills drawn on him by Congress. 
Mr Jay has, however, at all hazards, accepted those which 
have been presented, and is taking every step in his power 
to provide money to pay them, as also those that may be 
disposed of in America, previous to the advice he has 
given Congress on this head. 

The English Ministry are likely to have a large majority 
in the new Parliament, which is generally the case in time 
of war. The great neutral maritime powers of Europe, 
seem to regard the present war as an event favorable to the 
augmentation of their commerce, and will, probably, do so, 
until one or the other of the contending parties engaged in 
it appear to have a decided superiority. Portugal seems 
better disposed to the allies than heretofore. This change 
is, probably, the result of fear, more than of affection. 
The combined fleet at Cadiz, consists of fortythree sail of 
the line, besides frigates, ^c. kc. The Count d'Estaing 
commands the French part of the fleet, and the whole is 
in readiness to put to sea. During his residence at this 
Court I was frequently with him, and he professes the 
same ardent desire to serve us as ever. 

I cannot forbear mentioning to the Committee, my sense 
of the friendly and polite conduct of the Count de Mont- 
inorin to me ever since my arrival here, nor can I con- 
clude, without remarking the good effects that our union, 
vigor, and perseverance have had in Europe. A continu- 
ance of these will render us respectable to our enemies, 
and of consequence to our friends. 
I have the honor to be, Sec. 




Madrid, October 15th, 1780. 


My last to the Committee was of the 25th ultimo, since 
which time Mr Jay has received a letter from Dr Frank- 
lin, to whom, as well as to the Count de Vergennes, he 
wrote on the subject of his disappointment in money mat- 
ters here ; this letter has given us much pleasure. The 
Court of France continues to manifest the same generous 
conduct towards us as ever, notwithstanding its own em- 
barrassments for money. It has in fact agreed to furnish 
another million of llvres, to answer new demands and old 
claims. Among the former, Dr Franklin comprised the 
twenty6ve thousand dollars drawn by the order of Con- 
gress on Mr Jay. Only two bills of that sum have as yet 
been presented, and between eighty and one hundred thou- 
sand of those first drawn, all of which have been accepted. 

Every post augments the sum, and we are still uncer- 
tain whether money will be procured in time to pay them, 
particularly should the bills for the whole soon come to 
hand. The Minister apparently has endeavored, and is 
endeavoring, to procure money for this j)urpose. M. Gar- 
doqui, who will probably succeed M. Miralles, and a gen- 
tleman who planned the loan I mentioned in my letter of 
the 9th ultimo, are interesting themselves in this business. 
If either of these gentlemen can procure money, or if the 
Crown can obtain it by other means, it is probable that 
Mr Jay will be furnished with a part, if not the whole of 
the money necessary for this use. But I am still afraid 
its ability will not correspond with our wants and our 
wishes. The Court has given orders to enable Mr Har- 


rison at Cadiz, to obtain and ship the clothing for ten regi- 
ments, mentioned in my last. This gentleman is a native 
of Maryland, is well known in that State, and has on this, 
as on all occasions, manifested a disinterested zeal in the 
service of his country. 

There is no alteration in the political state of Europe 
since my last, and no event of consequence in the opera- 
tions of the war. The convention for the armed neutrality 
is not finally concluded, but I am told the Empress of 
Russia is determined to maintain the system proposed by 
her. The States of Holland have not yet acceded to it. 
Their Plenipotentiaries were instructed to add some arti- 
cles ; one of which is, to procure the restitution of their 
vessels unlawfully captured by the English, another to 
make it a common cause, in case the Republic should be 
mole.sted in consequence of her accession, and also that 
her possessions in all parts of the world, should be guar- 
antied by the contracting parties. Their mediation is also 
proposed to bring about an accommodation between the 
powers at war. These articles in the instructions, were 
inserted by the friends of England, in order to retard, if 
not defeat the measure, so far as it respected the States. 
It has leaked out from the Court of Petersburg, perhaps 
expressly, that the English Minister at that Court, declared 
to the Empress, that the King was disposed to respect the 
neutrality, provided Holland was excluded. This has 
come to the knowledge of the plenipotentiaries, and it is 
supposed on being known to the States, will hasten the 
conclusion of the affair, which must put an end to the 
piratical rapacity of Great Britain, or involve her in new 
and great difficulties. 

Two Russian vessels, captured and carried into Eng- 


land, have been released, while Dutch vessels with sim- 
ilar cargoes are condemned. The Court of Portugal has 
given orders to equip several vessels of war, and seems 
inclined at present to preserve a strict neutrality, prompted 
to this more by fear than inclination. The combined 
fleet is still at Cadiz, it consists of between forty and fifty 
sail of the line, and has provisions on board for six months. 
The Count d'Estaing has provided clothing for the win- 
ter, for his seamen and marines, and M. de Guichen is 
expected with much impatience. His destination is a 
secret, but I think he has a strong desire of visiting our 
part of the world once more. He will not be inactive, if 
he can avoid being so. 

The Committee will probably take notice of an article 
in the foreign papers, which mentions a revolt in Peru. 
This if true and serious as represented, would be an event 
as important as disagreeable. I have as yet no reason to 
believe it of the nature represented, if true. The Min- 
istry have taken no extraordinary measures, in conse- 
quence of this intelligence, except the fitting out some 
packet boats for that part of the world, which may be done 
to obtain more regular advice, than they have had from 
thence for some time past. If it should appear, that there 
is any foundation for this report, you may depend on my 
endeavors to give the earliest and most accurate information 
I can obtain with respect to the causes and consequences 
of such an event. 

Mr Jay means to send soon large packets to Congress, 
to which I beg leave to refer the Committee for more mi- 
nute details on the subject of this and my other letters, 
than I can furnish it, from not being in possession of the 

VOL. IX. 7 


various papers, and communications which respect the 

I have the honor to be, k.c. 



Madrid, November 28th, 1780. 

I did myself the honor of addressing the Committee fre- 
quently in the course of the last month ; this letter, there- 
fore, can furnish little besides a confirmation of what 1 then 
believed to be the disposition of the Court, of the slate of 
Europe, and of this part of it more particularly, derived 
from the best information in my power to obtain. . 

I have in a great measure confined my inquiries to two 
objects, the situation of the finances of Spain and its dis- 
position toward us and our ally. Every day gives me rea- 
son to think the former are critically circumstanced. I know 
from good authority the ways and means for the next year 
are not devised yet, and 1 have great reason to believe that 
the necessary funds cannot be procured by taxation, be- 
cause the augmentation of the present year's taxes has not 
produced what the Ministry expected, and neither the 
commerce nor produce of Spain will permit further efforts 
in this way. In short, the current expenses of 1780 have 
exceeded the revenue twehtyfive millions of dollars, and 
notwithstanding, the arrearages to the public creditors are 

The loan for nine millions of dollars, mentioned in my 
former letters, is not yet completed, in part owing to the 
obstacles thrown in its way by M. Neckcr. The resent- 


raent of the Spanish Ministry, which this interference ex- 
cited, has not yet subsided, and I am afraid the prejudices 
thereby excited will not soon be eradicated, although com- 
mon interest may stifle them apparently at present. The 
mode of raising money in the manner heretofore mentioned 
may become the only plan practicable, should others now 
in contemplation not succeed, and Spain may be obliged to 
have recourse to paper, from inability to procure money 
by other methods. 

The Court of Great Britain is well informed of their 
situation through Mr Cumberland, their emissary here, 
who spends a great deal of money. Influenced by which, 
and other advices, the King has, in his speech to Parlia- 
ment, openly avowed his determination to prosecute the 
war with vigor, and he will be supported by a great ma- 
jority jn both houses. From the best information I have 
been able to collect, I am sorry to tell you, that the nation 
will be able to borrow the sum demanded for the expen- 
ditures of 1781, which with the usual vote of credit at the 
end of the session, v/ill amount to sixteen millions sterling 
at least. The scheme of the JMinistry to effect this is not 
yet public, but I am told, it will be on similar conditions to 
those of the present year. Ninetytwo thousand men are 
voted for the marine, and I have reason to think a consid- 
erable reinforcement will be sent early to the southward, 
and that agreeably to a proposition of Sir J. Amherst, the 
enemy means to occupy ana fortify strongly a port near the 
mouth of Chesapeake Bay, from which with a strong gar- 
rison and a naval force, they hope to interrupt the naviga- 
tion of the Bay, and by frequent incursions prevent the 
States of Maryland and Virginia from sending supplies of 
men, Sec, &;c. to the Carolinas. Among the troops men- 


tioned to be embarked there, are three regiments of light 
dragoons. Your servants nearer Great Britain will give 
you more accurate information. 

I am persuaded that our ally will take early measures 
for defeating these designs. This latter information is de- 
rived indirectly from conversations with men in a situation 
to be well informed. The disposition of this Court depends 
much on its hopes of obtaining the objects for which it 
commenced the war, and I should not merit the confidence 
reposed in me if I did not tell you plainly, that I believe 
that the exclusive possession of the Gulf of JMexico is the 
favorite object, and that if they cannot obtain it by a con- 
nexion with the United States, they will endeavor to pro- 
cure it, by a general, if not by a separate peace, to which 
the King's good faith is, perhaps, at present the greatest 
obstacle. The Congress knows best the situation of their 
affairs, and I hope it may be such as to enable them to 
preserve the rights of all the States. 

As I have frequent occasions of seeing the foreign Min- 
isters here, and their Secretaries, I am too often obliged to 
remark their partiality for Great Britain, and jealousy of 
the house of Bourbon, particularly those of Russia, Vienna, 
Sardinia, Portugal, and Holland. Some of tliese, in my 
opinion, are the best spies England employs here. Jeal- 
ousy on the one hand, and on the other compassion and 
admiration, begin to lake the place of envy and interest. 
The transition from these to friendship and support is not 
difficult, if their masters do not differ in sentiments from 
their servants. Our perseverance, vigor, and exertions 
occasion a hesitation with respect to the event of the war, 
which augments or diminishes in proportion to their ideas 
of the intentions of this Court, which leads me to think it 


probable, that if Spain would enter into positive engage- 
ments with the United States, the hopes of the enemy to 
divide the allies would be at an end ; the neutral powers 
would think our independence certain, and would endeavor 
to terminate the war, while Great Britain is in such a situ- 
ation as to be able to preserve her other possessions. 

Should the situation of affairs in America be in a worse 
situation than I hope they are, and should the Congress 
judge it necessary for their establishment to make further 
advances and sacrifices, permit me to take the liberty of 
observing, that these ofiers should be accompanied with a 
proviso of this Court's avowing the independence of the 
States immediately, otherwise the offers should be con- 
sidered as null, and no pretensions formed thereon in a 
treaty for a general peace. At the same lime, it might 
suit the States to procure a sum in specie from the Spanish 
settlements in America, and to obtain certain advantages of 
preference in the admission of the produce of their fisher- 
ies into the ports of Spain. I think it my duty to write 
you fully and freely the sentiments which arise from the 
opportunity of information you have given me, and should 
be happy to give you such as would be more acceptable 
to you, and more conformable to my wishes. 

Mr Jay has received and accepted your bills to the 
amount of fifteen thousand dollars, and 1 hope will be ena- 
bled to pay them ; but this business has thwarted the other 
part of his mission here, in showing our necessities so 
plainly, f^or this Court seems to expect equivalents for 
services rendered, and the interest of money advanced to 
us is not its object. This leads me to repeat what I men- 
tioned in a former letter, of the King's satisfaction for a 
resolution of Congress, permitting the exportation of flour 


to lliG Havana, and that every similar manifestation of am- 
ity will much contribute to counteract the intrigues of the 
enemy here. The Minister of the Indies lately assured 
me, that his Majesty had directed him to return thanks, 
through the Chevalier de la Luzerne, for the respect shown 
at the interment of M. IMiralles. 

Having mentioned this gentleman, I am induced to 
speak of his intended successor, M. Gardoqui, who has 
now been named near five months, yet is still here. This 
detention is one reason among many others, which makes 
me fear the Court has not taken a decisive part for the 
next year, although the last declarations of the Minister on 
this subject were clear and positive. I have purposely 
omitted speaking of the operations of the war in Europe, 
and other articles of intelligence, in order to have it in t)iy 
power to give you the latest I have received. I iiear from 
England, that Mr Laurens is closely confined, and treated 
as a prisoner of Slate. The Committee may be per- 
-suaded, that retaliation on some of the English prisoners of 
consequence, v. ill be regarded in Europe as a proof of the 
confidence of Congress in the support of the people. 

A copy of the proposed treaty with tlie States of Hol- 
land, was taken among the papers of Mr Laurens, and 
t^.ii by the British Ministry to the Stadtholder, who en- 
deavored to criminate the Pensionary of Amsterdam and 
those concerned with him, in consequence of this discovery. 
He is, however, supported by the Regency, and this step 
of the Stadtholder, not having the effect intended, Sir Jo- 
seph Yorke has presented a violent and menacing Memo- 
rial to the States, demanding the punishment of the Pen- 
swnary and his accomplices.* I am advised that this 

* See all the above papers in the Annual Register for 1780, pp. 
35C— 380. 


Memorial has irritated in place of intimidating, and that 
since four of the seven States have agreed to accede to the 
armed neutrality, the persons attacked by the British 
Court have no apprehensions, and, possibly, the capture of 
these papers may eventually be of great advantage to the 
United States, by precipitating the conduct of England, 
and obliging the States to take a part contrary to their dis- 
positions, and, perhaps, to the interest of one or other 
nation. The situation of M. Dumas is rendered more 
critical by this circumstance, and it would be injustice to 
him not to mention, that he is indefatigable to contribute to 
our information by his correspondence, and by his fre- 
quent publications to represent our situation in the most 
favorable point of vieu\ 

Mr Jay will transmit Congress a full state of our afHiirs 
here, with all the papers necessary to elucidate it. I have 
seen but one letter from Congress since my residence in 
Spain, from which I conjecture Mr Jay has received but 
one. He informs me he has written Congress, that it has 
not been my fault, that all copies of letters for their inspec- 
tion did not appear with my signature. In the month of 
May, I answered in writing the instructions he gave rne at 
Cadiz, as I did viva voce at Aranjues in April, before he 
entered Madrid. I should not mention this circumstance 
to the Committee, if I did not know that copies of these 
instructions had been forwarded to Congress, and only 
abstracts of the most important part of my answer sent 
them ; I will take the liberty, therefore, of sending by the 
first safe opportunity the whole of my answer, from no 
other motive than that of evincing my desire to comply in 
every point with the duties of the trust reposed in me. 
I have the lionor to be, &.c. 



P. S. December Sth. — The Count d'Estaing sailed 
the 7th ult. from Cadiz, and, as yet, we have no news of 
his arrival in France. Mr Cumberland is still here, and 
waits an answer to despatches sent by the Abbe Hussey to 
England, which is daily expected. Mr Jay has received 
a letter from the Count de Vergennes, that France cannot 
provide for the payment of your bills here. But I always 
hope the credit of America must not be ruined for want of 
£100,000 sterling, although, personally, your servants 
have not money to pay their debts. W. C. 


Madrid, December 19th, 1780. 

I wrote to the Committee the 20th ult. to which letter 
I beg leave to refer them. Having now an opportunity of 
writing by a vessel, which conveys a copy of my last, I 
seize it to inform them that the situation of our affairs here 
is much the same as at that period. Mr Jay has received 
near eighteen thousand dollars to pay the bills first accep- 
ted, and this, with the tvventyfive thousand expected from 
France, will give us a respite until the month of March. 
In the interval, I hope the Court will enable Mr Jay to 
answer the others as they become due, though this will 
depend much on the facility it finds to procure money. I 
I have reason to think that the Ministry expect some 
treasure from America, that they hope to negotiate in Hol- 
land a loan of forty millions of reals, and another at home 
and abroad for eight millions of dollars. I shall be glad to 
see these expectations realised. 

The States of Holland havt; acceded to the armed neu- 


trality ; notwithstanding this, the English contrive to take 
their ships every day, and it is not improbable, that orders 
have been given to attack their possessions in the East 
Indies. No satisfaction has, as yet, been given by the 
States in answer to the Memorial of Sir Joseph Yorke, 
mentioned in my last. The Dutch Minister and his Sec- 
retary have each told me, that it would be considered as 
words, and answered as such. 

The Empress Queen is dead, which leaves the Em- 
peror to act at full liberty. He is said to be ambitious 
and revengeful, and well disposed to Great Britain. I 
know that his Envoy at ihis Court is strongly attached to 
the interests of that country ; but his father, the Prince de 
Kaunitz, was too long the favorite of the mother, to ex- 
pect to hold the same influence with the son. It is to 
be hoped, that. the ensuing campaign will pass, before the 
Emperor can be in a situation to embroil the affairs of 

The Count d'Estaing, who sailed from Cadiz the 7th 
ultimo, was not arrived in France at the departure of the 
last courier. This is an unlucky circumstance, as it will 
retard the operations of the ensuing year. Mr Cumber- 
land is still here, and entertains hopes of success, or affects 
to do so. The Count de Montmorin seems to have no 
apprehensions, and while that is the case, I flatter myself 
that we need not be uneasy at a circumstance, which in 
itself is very extraordinary. I do not think, however, that 
M. Gardoqui will leave Spain, until all hopes of neotiation 
cease. We have no advices, or indeed arriv Is, since the 
departure of the frigate, which brought the son of M. Ro 
chambeau to France. Many of the letters taken with Mr 
Laurens have been published in England. 1 take the 

VOL. IX. 8 


liberty of reminding the Committee, that 1 have never 
had the honor, as yet, to receive their orders. 
I have the honor to be, he. 



Madrid, January 4Ui, 1781. 


I wrote you the 24th ultimo,* since which I am advised, 
that the Abbe Hussey is on his way from Lisbon to this 
capital, as is supposed with further propositions on the part 
of England. I think they will be as fruitless as the 
former. I have the pleasure of informing you, that on the 
19th ultimo. Great Britain declared war in form against 
Holland. A courier brought the news this morning, which 
has given great pleasure to the Court, if one may be 
allowed to judge from appearances. Expresses were im- 
mediately despatched by the Ministry to the sea-ports, to 
advise the Dutch consuls of this event, and to offer the 
protection of convoys, &c. &tc. 

It is supposed, that the Empress of Russia will resent 
this declaration of England, as it is posterior to the noti- 
fication of the accession of the Republic to the armed 
neutrality, which is the real though not the alleged cause 
of the war, for I make no doubt events will discover, that 
this measure was resolved the instant the English Ministry 
knew, that the accession of the States to that treaty was 
inevitable. I shall take care to give you minute and 
regular advice of the consequences likely to result from 

* Missing. 



this event ; meantime permit me to felicitate you on the 
acquisition of new friends. 

The English fleet returned to Portsmouth in a bad con- 
dition, without having made any attempt against that of 
Count d'Estaing, of which they were thrice in view. 
The French fleet was not arrived when the courier who 
brought the agreeable intelligence before mentioned left 
France. This Court expects to obtain the sums necessary 
for the expenses of the year. I hope to transmit the plan 
of the proposed loan in my next letters. 
I have the honor to be, Stc. 


P. S. Lest my letter of the 24th ultimo should mis- 
carry, I repeat, that the Court has engaged to supply Mr 
Jay with three millions of reals, in addition to eighteen 
thousand dollars already furnished, which with the twenty- 
five thousand promised by France, will nearly pay the bills 
already presented, and I hope ways and means will be 
found, to provide for the payment of the residue, drawn 
and sold before reception of Mr Jay's letters of advice. 

W. C. 


Madrid, January 29th, 1781 . 

My last advised the Committee of the declaration of 

Great Britain against Holland ; the capture of a great 

number of prizes, in consequence of this unexpected attack 

encourages the former, and has greatly irritated the 

latter. The States, Zealand excepted, seem disposed to 

act with vigor against the common enemy. If they per- 


severe, they may finally disappoint their rapacious pro- 
jects. They depend on the interference of Russia, and 
I believe with reason, although a day or two ago, the 
Count de Kaunitz, the Imperial Ambassador here, offered 
his master's mediation, in conjunction with the Empress of 
Russia to terminate the differences subsisting between the 
belligerent powers. No answer to this offer has yet been 
given. The Minister from Russia has not yet received 
the orders of his Court thereon. 

The offer is rather ill timed, and I have reason to think 
is not very agreeable to the Courts of Versailles and Mad-' 
rid, which will act with entire union on this occasion, and 
as long as the present King of Spain lives, it is probable, 
that this good understanding will continue on the whole 
continent, although there are some here, I believe, who 
would wish to see it interrupted. While it subsists Spain 
will not abandon our interests, though it may not support 
them with such good will, as they would have been in- 
duced to do by the obligations of previous engagements 
with the United States. It is not likely that these will 
soon take place, notwithstanding the appearance of good 
will, and repeated assurances which Mr Jay has received 
of his Majesty's favorable disposition. Nor will the late 
change of measures adopted by Congress effect this, if I 
am not misinformed. I have not seen these resolutions in 
full, nor do I know that Mr Jay has received them, but I 
have reason to believe, that the Court has a knowledge of 
them, either by intercepted letters, or by a direct commu- 
nication from America. In short I repeat to the Commit- 
tee, what I have taken the liberty of remarking before, that 
it was probably the policy of this Court to leave ilio ad- 
justment of their claims to be settled at the general nego- 


liation of a treaty of peace, and to reserve to themselves 
the liberty of acting then according to circumstances, unless 
they can previously secure in their own manner their 
favorite objects. This accords with the conduct they have 
hitherto observed, and with maxims of policy long adopted 
and persevered in by this Court. 

In the meantime, they show a decided disposition to 
continue the war. They expect some treasure from 
America. They are likely to procure eight millions of 
dollars on loan, and have propositions from other quarters. 
The taxes have been augmented this year, the produce 
of the last having, as I have been told, fallen short of the 
expectations of the Ministry. They have thirtysix sail 
of the line under sailing orders at Cadiz, which fleet will 
probably cruise to meet the treasure ships expected, and 
to intercept the succors destined to Gibraltar. They have 
ordered a press throughout the kingdom to fill up their 
regiments. The ships with the treasure were to sail from 
Vera Cruz to the Havana the 1 1th of October. The 
Court seems apprehensive of the Emperor's intentions, 
and cultivates the friendship of the King of Prussia, for 
which purpose it is about to send a Minister to Berlin, 
where they have had none for many years past. This 
matter is not yet public, and will undoubtedly chagrin the 
Court of Vienna. 

Mr Jay has been promised a part of the three millions 
of reals, mentioned in my former letters, to enable him to 
discharge the bills, which become due the ensuing month, 
and, I suppose, will receive the whole as the bills become 
payable, until the sum is exhausted, before which time, 
funds must be provided for such as have since been pre- 
sented, or may hereafter come to hand. It is with pain I 


have lately entered to the amount of between thirty or forty 
thousand dollars, at three months' sight, as there is yet no 
certainty of their being paid, yet I flatter myself that the 
Court, with the good disposition it appears to have, will 
not sufier our credit to be ruined, after what it has done 
and promised to do to preserve it. 

M. Gardoqui, so often mentioned, will embark in six 
weeks or two months. Mr Cumberland is still here, in- 
spiring all the distrust and jealousy in his power to preju- 
dice our affairs. I hope, however, he will soon be dis- 
missed. Vigorous preparations are making in France, 
and 1 flatter myself that the Count d'Estaing will once 
more visit our coasts in force. I believe he desires it, and 
I am told he is on good terms with the new Minister of 
Marine. The Count de Vergennes was in a bad state of 
health by the last advices from Paris, but for information 
from that quarter, I refer the Committee to letters I sup- 
pose Congress will receive from Dr Franklin. It is with 
hesitation I venture to give my sentiments, and if 1 should 
be deceived, it is not for want of pains, but of opportunity 
of obtaining more accurate information. 
1 i)ave the honor to be, k,c. 



Madrid, February 22d. 1781. 

My last was of the 29ili ult. since which, I have de- 
ferred writing, in hopes of having it in my power to give 
the Committee more distinct information of the actual situ- 
ation of aifairs in Europe at this important crisis, when its 


attention is turned to the conduct of the Empress of Rus- 
sia and the armed neutrality, and to that of the Emperor, 
who, notwithstanding the offer of mediation, I had the 
honor to mention in my last, is, as 1 am informed, re- 
garded with a jealous and suspicious eye. But the vessels, 
which take on board part of the clothing, of which I ad- 
vised you at the time, and since it was promised, being 
about to sail, I seize the present occasion of writing, lest 
another from the ports of this kingdom should not soon 
present itself. 

Our affairs here are in much the same state as when I 
last wrote the Committee. No further progress has been 
made in the negotiation. Mr Jay has received various 
letters and papers from Congress, dated in October. This 
day he has obtained an order for thirtytwo thousand dol- 
lars, to pay for part of the clothing to be shipped at Cadiz, 
of which he has not yet received the invoices, and to dis- 
charge the bills due this month. The Minister promises 
to furnish the whole of the three millions of reals mentioned 
in former letters, and to contribute to our further relief, as 
far as the exigencies of the State will permit him. These, 
I have reason to think, are urgent and great, and that the 
funds arising from the revenues and loans are, for the 
most part, appropriated before they are received. 

I am not informed, that any positive answer has been 
given yet to the Emperor's offer of mediation. It is ill- 
timed, and I believe, in reality, is not well taken. I know 
that this Court is about to send a Minister to Berlin, where 
they have had none for a long time. The circumstances 
of such an appointment at this juncture, seem to imply ap- 
prehensions of the Emperor's intentions. I enclose two 
extracts of letters sent to m.e by M. Dumas, which contain 


intelligence that indicates the intentions of the Empress of 
Russia. The first letter I know to be genuine, for I saw 
the substance of it here in good hands, before I received 
M. Dumas's letter. If the Empress does not openly de- 
clare against England, she will, at all events, protect the 
Dutch commerce, and this must terminate speedily in 
open hostilities. I have observed, of late, a change of 
conduct in the Russian Ambassador at this Court, whom I 
have an opportunity of meeting frequently in company ; 
from being cold and distant, he is complaisant and 
affable. I also find him very attentive to the French Am- 

Portugal has been much pressed by Russia to accede to 
the treaty of the armed neutrality, but the English party at 
this Court is too strong to expect success from these appli- 
cations. The attachment of this King to his deceased sister, 
and at present to his niece, the Queen of Portugal, will 
prevent any violent measures being taken by our ally or 
Spain, to force that nation to adopt other measures. The 
republican party in Holland are in good spirits. Zealand 
has dropped the opposition it made to hostile measures, so 
that at present there is an unanimity in the States on that 
interesting point. 

The troops for America were embarked, or embarking, 
the last of the past month. They consist of three or four 
thousand men (recruits included), and of Fullarton's and 
another ragged regiment, to use the words of Mr Edmund 
Jennings, who gives this information. The greater part of 
these, it is supposed, are destined to the East Indies, and 
Commodore Johnson is named by the public to command 
an expedition, which is to attack the Cape of Good Hope 
on its passage. The Ministry in England is the same. 


They have a great majority in Parliament. The Protes- 
tant associations begin to stir a little. Lord G. Gordon is 
acquitted. Stocks have fallen considerably since the 
Dutch war, not less than two and a half or three per cent. 
The subscriptions for the loans of the present year, it is 
generally believed, will be paid in slowly. Our ally 
pushes the preparations for the present campaign vigor- 
ously, but on the 14th instant the commander was not 
named for the fleet, which is to sail next month for the 
American seas, and which I am told, will consist of twenty- 
five sail of the line. I have no exact account of the num- 
ber of troops to be embarked, but the lowest computation 
makes them consist ol seven thousand men. The Count 
dc Maurepas was ill by the last advices from Paris. 

The Spanish squadron of thirty sail of the line is at sea, 
that of England it is supposed will sail about this period of 
time. Mr Cumberland gives out, that he has demanded a 
passport of the Court, but that he is told to have patience. 
I hope, however, he will not stay here long. M. Gardo- 
qui will, probably, embark in all next month or the begin- 
ning of April. I beg the Committee to consider the in- 
telligence I give them from time to time, particularly 
that from other countries, as the latest and most authen- 
tic I can procure, but for the truth of which I cannot 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 


VOL. IX. 9 



Madrid, March 4th, 1781 

I have received the enclosed letters from M. Dumas 
since my last of the 22d ultimo, copies of which 1 sent to 
Cadiz, to be forwarded in the vessels, that take from 
thence part of the clothing mentioned in my former letters. 
The remainder will I hope soon be embarked on board 
of other vessels, lately arrived in that port from America. 
As soon as Mr Jay receives the invoices, I will transmit 
copies thereof to the Committee. I also enclose the last 
accurate state of the British sea force in Europe. The 
squadron supposed to be destined for the relief of Gibral- 
tar, sailed the 18th ultimo. The Spanish fleet, of nearly 
thirty sail of the line, is now at sea to impede their opera- 
tions, so that important advices are daily expected from 
the coast. The exact number of the English squadron is 
not known. Count de Grasse is finally chosen to com- 
mand the Brest squadron for the American seas, and is by 
this time nearly ready to sail. 

Our affairs are in much the same situation as heretofore. 
It is not yet known here what part the Empress of Russia 
will take, although it is generally believed, it cannot be 
but unfavorable to Great Britain. Mr Cumberland is still 
here. M. Gardoqui will embark the last of this or first of 
next month. I make no doubt before his departure, Mr 
Jay will know the character by which he is to announce 
him to Congress. I have no reason to believe, that he 
will not have formal credentials from the Court, for other- 
wise, notwithstanding the information given in consequence 
of Mr Jay's conference relative to him with the Minister, 
I suppose Congress can only regard him as an individual. 


A late publication in the Courier de VEurope, extracted 
from Rivington's Gazette, asserting a mutiny of a consid- 
erable number of continental troops in the beginning of 
January, made considerable impression here, which hap- 
pily we have had it in our power to remove by some arri- 
vals from the northward. Considerable apprehensions and 
jealousies are entertained of the views of the States, of 
forming powerful establishments on the Ohio and Missis- 
sippi, in consequence of some publications in our papers, 
and other advices received by the Court, which has much 
better and more regular intelligence of our affairs than 
Mr Jay. This must be the case as long as the letters of 
Congress are confided to the common post in France and 
in this country. The difference of expense could not be 
so considerable to the public, as might be conceived, and 
the advantages are important. I am persuaded the Min- 
isters of the above named nations, receive more information 
from the letters written to the public servants of Congress 
in Europe, than from those they employ in America. 
All the couriers of the Empress of Russia are officers of 
her army. We have at present, I presume, many young 
men on half pay, in consequence of the late arrangements 
of our army, who would be happy to make these voyages 
in the public packets, who might be limited or brought to 
strict account for their expenses, and receive instructions 
from the Committee to answer public purposes, and be 
promoted or disgraced according to their execution of 
them. I beg the Committee will impute these suggestions 
to the true motive, a regard to the public service. 

I have the honor to be, &tc. 




Madrid, March llth, 1781. 

Since my last of the 4tli instant, 1 know of a certainty, 
that Mr Cumberland, so often mentioned in former letters, 
will soon leave this kingdom, and pursue his voyage to 
England by way of France. His departure would indi- 
cate, that all negotiations for an accommodation were at 
an end, if there was not reason to believe, that conferences 
on that subject are likely to take place in consequence 
of the ofler of mediation made to the belligerent powers 
by the Emperor. As I have not the last mentioned intel- 
ligence from our friends, I give it with hesitation and not 
as certain. In a little time I hope to have it in my power, 
to give fuller information to the Committee on this subject. 

The Count de Grasse left Paris the end of February, 
to take the command of the fleet for the American seas. 
I am afraid this fleet, or even a part of it, will not appear 
on our coasts until the month of July. 1 form my conjec- 
tures however from very minute circumstances, and may 
perhaps be deceived. The English grand fleet has not yet 
made its appearance. A very numerous convoy of provision 
vessels, &ic. he. sail with it for the East and West Indies 
and for America. Mr Adams has opened a loan in Hol- 
land for one million of florins, of which we shall soon 
know the probable success. I send enclosed the plan of 
the loan in the first copy of this letter, but finding it pub- 
lished in the Dutch and foreign papers, I suppose the 
Committee will receive it before this can reach them. 
The mutiny of the Pennsylvania line has had a bad effect 
in Europe, and our enemies have been indefatigable to 


represent it in the worst colors. 1 hope Congress l)as 
been able to pacify the discontented,- and that as they have 
hitherto done, they will still overcome all obstacles to the 
freedom, tranquillity, and importance, of the United States. 
I have the honor to be. Sir, &.c, 



Aranjues, May 25th, 1781. 

Since my last of the 16th instant, the French Ambassa- 
dor has received the agreeable intelligence, that M. de !a 
Motte Piquet fell in with the St Eustatia fleet, consisting 
of thirtyfour sail, of which he captured tvventyfour, their 
escort, two seventyfour gun ships and two frigates, having 
escaped by their superior swiftness ; four other vessels of 
the same fleet I hear are taken. The captain of a packet 
boat, arrived at Corunna from Newport, says, that he was 
chased in the latitude of the Azores by the English fleet, 
which consisted of eighteen sail of the line. The Spanish 
squadron has not been heard of since it sailed. 

Thirtysix transports, of two hundred and two hundred 
and fifty tons, are taken up at Cadiz on government ac- 
count, and provisions for eight thousand men for four 
months are ordered. The destination of the armament is 
a secret, but there is reason to think it is either intended 
for the West Indies or for their own settlements in Peru. 
If for the former, it will hardly commence its operations 
before the month of November, when the Count de Grasse 
will be able to join it, after his return from our coasts. 

Many bills, drawn by Congress last year, have already 


been presented and accepted by Mr Jay ; the funds are 
not yet provided for their payment, but I hope the advices 
lately received from Congress will produce a change of 
conduct in this Court. I allude to a letter from the Coin- 
mitfee, which came in the Virginia to Cadiz. I am per- 
suaded the Minister was informed of its contents before it 
reached Mr Jay, for the packets were stopped at Cadiz, 
and bore evident marks of having been inspected. 

Tiie Committee must be sensible, that a negotiation will 
ever be carried on to our disadvantage, when the parlies 
with whom their iMinister treats, are thus early informed of 
the most secret intentions of Congress. This apprehen- 
sion renders my correspondence with the Committee more 
irregular than it would otherwise be, for I am often obliged 
to wait ten days or more, for safe opportunities of convey- 
ing my letters by private hands to Cadiz, Bilboa, or the 
ports of France, to prevent a previous examination of them 

I hope soon to write by M. Gardoqui, but I have so 
often advised you of this gentleman's intended departure, 
and then been so often disa()pointcd, that I cannot give 
full belief to the late information I have received on this 

I have the honor to be, &,c. 



Araujues, May 2Gth, llSl. 
The Court being at this p'ace at present, Mr Jay has 
judged proper to reside here until it returns to Madrid, 


from which city I addressed the Committee the 23d uh. 
Mr Jay, since his arrival here, has seen the Minister and 
been civilly received. He will inform Congress of what 
passed on this occasion. M. de la Motte Piquet, whose 
squadron could not be ready in time to join M. de Cor- 
dova, and enable the Spanish fleet to oppose that of 
England, destined to relieve Gibraltar, sailed on a cruise 
the 24 [h iilt. to intercept the homeward bound fleet 
from St Eustatia, or one from the leeward Islands. The 
English squadron, after relieving Gibraltar, is gone to 
cruise off the Azores or the Canaries, to intercept the 
fleet from the Havana with treasure, the amount of which 
I mentioned in my last ; this, at least, is the opinion of 
several well informed people here. That of Spain has 
cruised for it to escort it into port, I believe, on a pre- 
sumption, that the English would return to port, or detach 
a part of their squadron to reinforce their others in various 
parts of the world. Should the latter, be the case, and 
these fleets should encounter, that of Spain will have 
greatly the advantage in number, it consisting of thirtytwo 
sail of the line. 

1 have the pleasure of informing Congress, that the 
Court of France has engaged to guaranty a loan of ten 
millions of livres for the States, and to make large ad- 
vances in stores and cash immediately. T wish it was in 
my power to furnish as agreeable accounts from this Court. 
The negotiation is in the same situation as when I had last 
the honor to write to the Committee, my sentiments of the 
motives for this conduct are still the same. The media- 
tion seems at a stand, and, probably, will not be renewed 
before the end of the campaign. Troops have been or- 
dered to march towards Gibraltar from various parts of the 


kingdom, but I have some reason to think, with a view to 
another object, viz. either to be sent to the West Indies or 
to Peru, where, it is said, tiiere appears a spirit of dis- 
affection, which creates some apprehensions iiere. 

Tlie crop is hkely to be more abundant throughout 
Spain, than it has been for many years past. I have not 
as yet heard, that Russia has taken a decided part in 
favor of the Dutch. Their squadron in the Mediterra- 
nean and at Lisbon are ordered home. The Portuguese 
preserve a strict neutrality at present. M. Gardoqui is 
still here, but I hope will embark next month. I have not 
had the honor of hearing from the Committee since I have 
been in Europe, and Mr Jay informs me, that he has re- 
ceived but three letters from Congress since liis residence 

1 have the honor to be, &.c. 



Aranjues, June 2d, 1781. 

The last post from France brought the news of M. 
Necker's removal from the Ministry. This change would 
have been agreeable to this Court some months ago, on 
account of the interference of that Minister in the opera- 
tion of the loan mentioned in former letters. At present, 
it seems to be regarded in a disagreeable point of view, as 
M. Necker had engaged to furnish monthly, considerable 
sums to persons employed to procure money for this 
Court, on condition of being reimbursed in specie in Span- 
ish America, and on other terms that would have been 


advantageous to the lenders. Part of the specie thus pro- 
cured, was intended for the payment of the French troops 
in North America, and, as I have been told, for the im- 
mediate service of Congress, as part of the sum the Court 
of France has lately engaged to furnish to the United 

I have been told, that M. Necker was not disposed to 
make large advances to Congress, and, as a proof of this, 
it has been mentioned to vne, that he opposed the King's 
guarantee of a loan, which Dr Franklin endeavored to ne- 
gotiate last year at Genoa. He is said to have been ob- 
stinately attached to his own opinions, and of a haughti- 
ness in supporting them, which the man who placed him 
could ill brook. He fell an opposition that he could not 
bear, and which, perhaps, he saw he must sink under, 
and, therefore, asked his dismission, which was granted 
him. He is regretted as a public loss. It would be pre- 
sumption in me, to enter into a more minute detail on this 
subject, as your correspondents on the spot will certainly 
give the Committee much ampler information than it is in 
my power to do. 

Since my letter of the ult. I have had an opportu- 
nity of knowing, through the same channel of intelligence 
mentioned in former letters, that the Court of Vienna 
still persists in its good offices, to bring about conferences 
for a general peace. Without being able to mention par- 
ticulars, I can assure the Committee, that in the middle of 
April, the Baron de Breteuil, Ambassador of France, at 
the abovementioned Court, insisted for the admission of an 
American Plenipotentiary at the proposed Congress. The 
Prince de Kaunitz lamented this proposition, as an ob- 
stacle that might impede a business, which the Emperor 
VOL. IX. 10 


had much at heart. 1 have not been able to trace the de- 
mands of Spain, but I believe their pretensions in general, 
do not appear reasonable to the Imperial Court. 

We have had no news of the fleet since I had last the 
honor of writing to you. There is reason to think, by 
news received from England, that Darby had orders to 
return to that country. The expedition mentioned in 
former letters, will be ready for action in the month of 
July. The choice of officers to command it is not yet 
public. The negotiation is in the same situation. 
1 have the honor to be, he. 



Philadelphia, June 15th, 1781. 

Your several letters have been read in Congress ; and 
your industrious care, to give frequent, early, and general 
information of those things in Europe, which may have in- 
fluence upon our national affairs, has been not only highly 
pleasing in itself, but has acquired value lately, from the 
loss of all packets from Mr Adams, since his date of 
October 24th. 

1 am. Sir, your friend and humble servant, 




St Ildefonso, August 16th, 1781. 

Since tny last, of the 15th ult. in which I enclosed the 
Committee a list of the combined fleet assembled at 
Cadiz, and of the troops to be embarked under the com- 
mand of the Due de Crillon, we have advices of the sail- 
ing of this fleet, and that the troops of the expedition 
passed the Straits of Gibraltar the 23d ult. They had, 
however, been detained by contrary winds, and had not 
left the neighborhood of Carthagena the 7th instant. The 
Court expects soon to hear of their landing in the Island of 
Minorca. It is the general opinion, that the force em- 
ployed is not sufficient to take Port Mahon. The char- 
acter of the General, who I have the honor to know inti- 
mately, does not accord with this idea. The combined 
fleet by the last advices was cruising off Cape Spartel. 
That of England, commanded by Darby, is at sea, to the 
number of twentythree or twentyfive sail. The Dutch 
fleet sailed on the 23d ult. and consists of seventeen sail in 
the whole, it is said to be destined to the northern seas, 
where England has a squadron inferior in number of 
vessels, under the command of Sir Hyde Parker. 

Our negotiation seems to be in a better train, and it is 
not improbable, that Mr Jay will be able to terminate our 
affairs with Spain previous to the general negotiation, 
which is much talked of at present among the corps diplo- 
matique here. The number of couriers who pass and re- 
pass between the Courts of Versailles, this, and those of 
Vienna and Petersburg gives occasion to those conjectures. 
Mr Adams has been lately sent for by the Count de Ver- 


gennes, and, as I am informed, has had conferences with 
that Minister. If this sliould be the case, the Committee 
will have from the first authority, more ample details on 
this subject, than can be learnt from second and third 

The United Provinces of Holland, ik,c. appear much 
divided, and seem more employed in party quarrels and 
private interests, than in pursuit of measures for the public 
advantage and honor. 1 fear the republican party lost 
ground by their late attack against the Duke of Brunswick. 
This Court continue to borrow money, and have just con- 
cluded a loan for three millions of dollars, to be refunded 
in the Havana and Vera Cruz, one million in the present 
year, and two in 1782. They have other loans in con- 
templation, of the general nature of which, I hope to be 
able to inform the Committee in time, although it may be 
difficult to obtain the n)inute particulars and conditions of 
these loans. The French Minister is concerned in the 
last mentioned, and will receive part, at least, of the three 
millions in question, which 1 hope will ultimately centre in 
North America. 

Mr Jay continues to accept the bills drawn on him ; be- 
tween twenty and thirty thousand dollars have been ac- 
cepted, for which, as yet, no funds are provided, but I hope 
we have not much to fear for their payment. I have ren- 
dered Mr Jay accounts of all our money transactions here, 
which, with his usual regularity, he will transmit to Con- 
gress, as also minute details of his other transactions here. 
Among the bills presented, it may not be improper to men- 
tion, that several have been endorsed by people in Amer- 
ica, payable to merchants in Great Britain and Ireland. 
If this does not accord with the ideas of Congress, the 


treasury will be instructed to convey to Mr Jay further 
directions on this subject. 

Although much is said of the forwardness of the nego- 
tiations peace, it is not probable that the preliminaries 
to be fixed on previous to the opening of the conferences 
can be adjusted, until the fate of the campaign is known, 
particularly if this Court acts with its usual deliberation, 
which some call dilatoriness. If the expedition against 
Minorca succeeds, and if money can be procured for the 
operations of the war, it is the opinion of some persons 
who are well informed, that the general peace will meet 
with more obstacles here dian elsewhere. I have already- 
written to the Committee, that the Court of Vienna found 
the pretensions of this Court extravagant. Its great ob- 
jects of the war, are the possession of the entire navigation 
of the Gulf of Mexico, and Gibraltar. These are said to 
be the King's objects, who is in a good state of health, and 
follows with the same ardor his daily occupation of the chase. 
There is no talk of a change of Ministry. The fleet from 
Buenos Ayres, mentioned in former letters, is arrived, and I 
am afraid M. Solano will be more attentive to the safe arri- 
val of that from the Havana, than to the prosecution of the 
plan of operations formed with our ally. The affairs of 
Great Britain in the east, are in a bad situation, and in 
consequence thereof India stock has fallen eight per cent. 
I have the honor to be, &ic. 





St Ildefonso, September 28th, 1781. 

Since my letter of the 14ili instant,* the Minister has 
notified to Mr Jay the King's intentions 9f naming a per- 
son to treat with him ; there is reason to think his nomi- 
nation and instructions will have his Majesty's approbation 
on Sunday next, though possibly it may not be formally 
communicated until the Court is at the P^scurial, to which 
place the royal family goes the 10th of next month. 

M. Del Campo, whom I mentioned in my last, is the 
person who probably will be chosen. 1 repeat his name 
lest that letter should miscarry ; he is First Under Secre- 
tary of Foreign Affairs, and acting Secretary of the Council 
of State ; and has the reputation of possessing great abil- 
ities and application to business, and I believe he merits 
what is said of him. He lias also the entire confidence 
of the Count de Floridi Blnnca; his residence in England 
as Secretary of the embassy there, and his attention to 
INlr Cumberland and family while here, occasioned some 
to believe him secretly inclined to the interests of that 
country, but I believe without foundation, for I know tliat 
Mr Cumberland left this country much chagrined, and 
1 believe he was the dupe of this gentleman's policy. I 
have had the satisfaction of being on very good terms with 
him for several months past, and have often expressed to 
him my hopes and wishes, that he might prove another 
M. Gerard in oin* affairs. His being employed in this 
negotiation is so far favorable to us as its successful issue 
interests his own reputation, and will be probably a step 

' Missing. 


to further honors and employments, to which, as mentioned 
in my last, the puhlic opinion destines him. I hope the 
Court is now serious in its intentions to conclude the ne- 
gotiations, but it is still not improbable this business may 
be delayed until the fate of the campaign is known, unless 
it should be accelerated by the confirmation of news 
received from Cadiz last week, of the arrival of the 
Count de Grasse's squadron on the coast of Virginia, the 
consequent critical situation of the army of Lord Cornwal- 
lis, and the defeat of Lord Rawdon by General Greene. 

I shall seize every opportunity of informing the Com- 
mittee of the progress made in this important business, 
and am happy to find by a letter I have just had the honor 
to receive from Mr Lovell, dated the 15th of June, that 
my correspondence has contributed in any degree to the 
satisfaction of Congress, but am surprised, that so few of 
my letters have reached the Committee, for on reading 
the list of those received and comparing it with my letter 
book, I find several missing, which were sent by vessels 
from Bilboa and elsewhere, which I know arrived in safety 
to America, particularly my answer to Mr Jay's instruc- 
tions to me at Cadiz, of which he sent only the state of 
the revenues and expenses of this country in the [year 

1 am informed by letters from Holland, that Mr Adams 
has had a nervous fever, but that he is now in a fair way 
to recover. The South Carolina frigate sailed from 
thence with the ships under her convoy, the 19th ultimo. 
1 hope their safe arrival will convey to Congress ample in- 
formation of the situation of their affairs in that quarter ; I 
am afraid the loan does not fill fast, because I have letters 
from a house at Hamburg which mention, that Congress 


bills to a large amount, that they had presented for accept- 
ance, had been protested. The republican party gains 
ground, and the Duke of Brunswick, though not removed, 
is obliged to act with more caution, and the Stadtholder 
with rncre resolution and force. I am informed, that the 
Court of France has consented to replace the cargo lost in 
the IMarquis de Lafayette, but Dr Franklin is not enabled 
to accept any more of Mr Jay's bills, even for our salaries. 
The rumors of a general negotiation subside, owing it 
is said to the obstinacy of Great Britain, and the demands 
of this Court. The Imperial Minister has just received 
a courier from his Court, charged with its excuses for the 
detention of a Spanish courier, who after delivering his 
despatches to the Spanish Ambassador at Vienna, on his 
journey from thence to Petersburg, was stopped in Hun- 
gary, and not permitted to proceed until released by order 
of the Imperial Court. The Imperial Minister named to 
the Court of Berlin from hence, will soon go thither; his 
nomination is still a secret. The Spanish squadron has 
returned to Cadiz. ]Major Franks will leave this next 
week. I must do this officer the justice to observe to the 
Committee, that he has conducted himself with great dis- 
cretion and economy here, and I hope that Congress will 
be induced by the success and expedition with which he 
delivered their despatches to Mr Jay, to send in future 
such as are important in a similar way. 
I have the honor to be, he. 




Madrid, October 5th, 17S1. 

On my arrival here from St Ildefonso this day, I found 
the enclosed letters for his Excellency, the President of 
Congress, from M. Dumas. On the 14th and 2Sth ult. 1 
wrote to the Committee, that the Court appeared more 
serious in its intentions of bringing on the negotiation than 
it had shown itself to be for a long time. In my last, I 
informed the Committee that M. Del Carnpo would, prob- 
ably, be appointed to negotiate with INlr Jay, and that iiis 
instructions and nomination would have his Majesty's ap- 
probation on the night of the SOth ult. The Minister of 
State once proposed to intrust i\I. Gardoqui with this busi- 
ness. Yesterday, when I left the Sitio, the Court had not 
foi-mally notified the appointment to Viv Jay, but from 
some hints I received from well informed persons, I 
have hopes that the communication will be made either 
before he comes from thence tomorrow, or directly after 
the Court is fixed at the Escurial. I shall, however, be 
very agreeably disappointed, if much progress is made in 
this affair until the fate of the camjiaign is known. 

The last i)ost from France and Holland brought no 
news of an interesting nature. The French and Spanish 
troops, destined to reinforce the Due de Crillon's army at 
r\!inorca, are not yet embarked, and he cannot act with 
effect until he receives reinforcements. It is said the de- 
sertion from the place is considerable. The South Caro- 
lina frigate, armed for that Stale in Holiand, has put into 
Corunna, and I am concerned to fuid by letters ironi 
Messrs Searle and Trumbull, [)asscngcrs on board, that 

VOL. IX. 11 


Commodore Gillon's conduct is much censured. Know- 
ing INIr Searle's zeal and solicitude for the public interest, 
I must own that his letter has influenced my opinion in a 
great degree, but it would be unjust to condemn the 
former, before having seen an exposition of the reasons, 
which have determined his conduct, and which he has 
promised to forward to INlr Jay by express. 

The fact is, he sailed from the Texel without the ships 
he had engaged to escort, that he has cruised six or seven 
weeks with little success, and that he has been obliged to 
put into the port abovementioned, to refit and get a supply 
of provisions, which he writes he shall do immediatel)'. 
It is probable Mr Jay may think proper to send me to 
Corunna in this business, which commission, I must con- 
fess, I shall accept with reluctance, because I not only 
foresee the delay and expense that must inevitably have 
place, if this government is obliged to interfere, but the 
disgrace, which must ensue from the notoriety of these un- 
happy differences between the commander and the Ameri- 
can gentleman aboard. I have another motive, which 
arises from the nature of the employment with which Con- 
gress has honored me, and which, with submission, I con- 
ceive does not admit of my absence at the most important 
period of the negotiation, when most knowledge is to be 
acquired of the real dispositions and intentions of this 
Court, and when I may avail myself of the esteem and 
confidence with which the proposed negotiator has ap- 
peared to honor me for several months past. Although, 
for the reasons aliovementioned, and for others which I 
could add, I may leave the Court at this crisis with reluc- 
tance, I shall, if directed, |)roceed to Corunna, and exe- 
cute the trust reposed in me, with a zeal, assiduity, and 


activity, which, I hope, will always influence my conduct, 
when the public interest and reputation are in question. 

I enclose a letter for his Excellency, the Chevalier de 
la Luzerne from the Count de Montmorin, whose talents 
and warm espousal of our interests, not only here, but at 
his own Court, entitle him to the approbation and esteem 
of Congress. I just hear that the Court has received 
advices from Buenos Ayres, dated the 7th of July. 
These are very agreeable. The rebellion mentioned in 
my former letters is entirely quelled, by the defeat and 
capture of the Indian chief at the head of it, and his 
principal officers, cannon, treasure, &lc. he. It seems 
two English officers are in the number of the prisoners, 
and that many letters and papers were found, which dis- 
cover that the Portuguese excited and fomented these 

The Havana fleet is expected daily. On its arrival, 
perhaps, the Court may do something for us. But I re- 
peat again, that little is to be depended on in the money 
way. Letters from France talk of a large expedition pre- 
paring at Brest. Its object is a secret. I shall seize 
every opportunity of informing the Committee of what 
passes in Europe relative to our affairs, and, in future, will 
multiply the copies of my letters to ensure their safe ar- 

I have the honor to be, he. 


* This alludes to the revolt of the celebrated Peruvian Chief, Tu- 
pac Amaru, of which an eloquent account is given by Dean Funes, 
in his Ensmjo de la Historia Civil del Paraguay, Buenos Jlyres y 
Tucuman. See North American Review, Vol. XX. p. 283. 



Madrid, November 17th, 1781. 

On tlie 2(1 instant the pretended Ex-Jesuit, who made 
so much noise in the EngHsh papers last winter and 
spring, was arrested at the Escurial, where he arrived the 
day before from Lisbon, under an assumed name. Com- 
modore Johnson sent him to Rio Janeiro, in order to pass 
from thence to the Spanish settlements in Peru. He pre- 
tended to the Portuguese Governor, that he had been 
taken by Johnson on his way to the Caracas, but the 
former from some suspicion arising from the man's ap- 
pearance and story, refused him permission to pass into 
the country, which obliged him to embark for Lisbon, at 
which place under his borrowed name he addressed Don 
Ferdinand Nunes, the Spanish Ambassador, offering to 
make some important discoveries to the Count de Florida 
Blanca. The former advised the IMinister of these offers, 
and was directed by him to furnish the person in question 
with cash for his journey. It is said, that he was recog- 
nized the very day of his arrival at the Escurial, by one 
who knew him at Buenos Ayres. It is more probable, 
that jM. Nunes knew his real character previous to his 
departure from Lisbon, for tlie magistrate whom the 'M'm- 
ister of the Indies employs on such occasions, went to the 
Escurial with his officers, the day he arrived there, and 
arrested him the same evening. He is now in close 
prison, and I am told lias discovered all he knew relative 
to the designs of the Englirh, to foment the spirit of revolt 
existing in that country. This affair furnished convtMsa- 
tion to the Court the few days I resided at the Escurial, 


whither I went, at the instance of the French Ambassa- 
dor, to Mr Jay to be -present at the Besa Manos, on St 
Carlos's day. 

I found by conversation with M. Del Campo, First Under 
Secretary of Foreign Affliirs, that nothing had been done by 
the Court to advance the conferences for a treaty since 
it left St lldefonso. In my letter of the 5th of October, 
I mentioned, that the gentleman abovenamed was nomi- 
nated by the King to treat with Mr Jay ; this nomination 
has never been formally communicated, but I had my in- 
formation from such a quarter, that I am convinced the 
appointment was made, and the instructions given near 
about the time mentioned in my letter. Multiplicity of 
business, and the confusion occasioned by the Court's re- 
moval from one royal residence to another, are the present 
pretexts for this delay. The aspect of our affairs at the 
close of the campaign, the fate of which is yet unknown, 
and the apprehension of being obliged to make large ad- 
vances in consequence of cementing their connexion with 
the States, are perhaps the real causes ; to which may be 
added others of a different nature, though not less impor- 
tant to Ministers and courtiers. 

The palace is filled with Irish attendants, of both sexes, 
whose animosity to us and our cause is as decided and in- 
veterate as is their attachment to it in America. The 
Princess of Asturias has on several occasions, and lately in 
particular, treated such English as come here with much 
condescension and distinction. The last instance I allude 
to happened to lady Winchelson, and the Lord her son, 
who came from America, (where he commanded a regi- 
ment) to Lisbon for his health. They were accompanied 
by a Mr Graham and his lady, and sister, both sisters of 


Lady Stormont, and visucd ilie Escurial in their way to 

If the jNlinisters perceive any aversion in their future 
King and Queen to an alliance with us, they can easily 
find pretexts to retard it until they see their own justifica- 
tion in the urgency of the cnnjuncture, that may appear to 
have forced them into the measure. This however is but 
conjecture founded on the knowledge of some little inci- 
dents in the interior of the palace, and strengthened by 
the conduct of the Ministry, not only in the great object 
of jNlr Jay's mission, but also in several minute particulars 
in which they might act to our satisfaction, without show- 
ing any n)arkcd partiality in our favor. So far from Mr 
Jay's having been yet able to obtain further succors, the 
French Ambassador has not procured the payment of 
moneys advanced in the tnonth of JNIay, by the IMarcjuis de 
Yranda, to enable Mr Jay to discharge the bills due that 
month, although the Minister engaged his word to the Am- 
bassador to repay this sum in equal monthly payments. 
In fact the Court itself is distressed, and with difficulty 
finds means to answer its own engagements. 

I believe I may venture to write with some certainty on 
this subject, for I have been on an intimate footing with the 
person who has transacted lor the Court the most part 
of its money negotiations for more than twelve months 
past. I knew and cultivated him before he was in favor, 
and my introduction of him to Mr Jay, procured him the 
commission on the payment of our bills, and a consider- 
able credit in consequence of the sums supposed to pass 
through his hands monthly for this purpose. As he has 
been the founder of the pa))er system in this country, and 
as he is likely soon to establish a national bank, he will 


probably make some figure in the annals of this reign. 
His name is Francis Cabarrus, born in Bayonne, but sent 
early to Spain to acquire a knowledge in its commerce, 
in which his father was considerably interested. His 
marriage at the age of nineteen (he is now tvventynine) 
displeased his family, from whom after that period he 
received no assistance. With a small capital, as he him- 
self informed me, he came and established a soap-work in 
the neighborhood of this city. While there he introduced 
himself to the notice of the Count de Campomanes, by 
becoming a member of the patriotic society, the friends 
of their country ; of which the last mentioned gentleman 
is in a great measure the founder. He soon conciliated 
liis esteem, as well as that of the Governor of the Council 
of Castile, to whom he became known by means of his 
friend and patron M. Campomanes. Through their inter- 
est he procured a contract to supply wheat and flour, in a 
time of scarcity, and commenced banker. The last year 
he proposed his plan for procuring cash for government, 
on terms mentioned in former letters. His genius is bril- 
liant, active, and enterprising, with more imagination than 
solidity, although he is by no means deficient in acquired 
knowledge, arising from reading and reflection, the result 
of experience. His eloquence, enforced by a very pre- 
possessing countenance and figure, seizes the heart before 
it convinces the judgment, and this joined to his knowledge 
of commercial and money transactions, has obtained for 
him the confidence of Ivl. IMusquiz, who consults him rt 
present in all aflairs of finance. 

I have thought proper to say thus much of this gentle- 
man, not only on account of the part he has had, and is 
like to have in money matters, but because he has on all 


occasions manifested himself a friend to our cause, of 
which he is an enthusiastic advocate, being totally divested 
of local prejudices. He offered to procure five hundred 
thousand dollars for the States, payable at Havana on 
condition of being reimbursed by government in two years, 
the payments to commence at the expiration of two 
months after his orders for the delivery of the money to 
the agents of Congress were despatched. He will make 
the advances for the payment of the bills due next month, 
which amount to thirtytwo thousand dollars, and for the 
)eimbursement of which ]\lr Jay relies on Dr Franklin, 
for after the delays we have experienced here, and the 
knowledge of their own distresses, there is no great reason 
to think this Court will grant us any considerable pecu- 
niary assistance, unless a happy change in the situation of 
our affairs should precipitate a treaty, and lead them to 
extraordinary exertions, as proofs of their amity. The 
support of their fleet at Cadiz, of forty sail of the line, the 
sieges of Gibraltar and Mahon ; their expensive arma- 
ments at the Havana, and the preparations making for an 
expedition from Europe to that quarter, which will sail 
next month, exhaust iheir European and American rev- 
enue, and all the resources by which they have hitherto 
obtained money. 

The insurrections in Peru augment this expense, and 
the same spirit of revolt, which seems to have extended 
to Mexico, will add to it. These discontents have been 
occasioned by duties imposed since the administration of 
M. Galvez, the present Minister of the Indies. The |)ro- 
ject was proposed by Carrasco, Marrjuis de la Corona, to 
the Marfjuis of Squillace then Minister, who was much 
inclined to adopt it, and named the projector to visit Span- 


isl) America, in order to form on the spot the plan of its 
execution. He declined the mission on various pretexts, 
and another was appointed for this purpose, who died on 
his passage. M. Galvez, the present Minister of the 
Indies, succeeded him, and on his return to Spain made 
a report so agreeable to his Majesty, that it procured him 
the important post he now occupies. 

The novelty of these measures, joined to the vexations 
and impositions occasioned, as is said, by the collectors of 
them, has created much dissatisfaction in these countries. 
I have my information from some of the principal natives 
of Mexico and Peru here, and also from a foreigner, who 
obtained permission to visit Mexico, and who made the 
voyage from motives of curiosity. Four thousand troops 
are to be embarked at Cadiz for the expedition above- 
mentioned, and it is said will be escorted by four vessels 
of the line, who at the same time convoy the register ships 
bound to the Havana and Vera Cruz. As this convoy 
will sail about the same time that the expedition from 
Brest will be ready for sea, it is probable they may form 
a junction. Ten thousand troops are to be employed in 
the one last mentioned, and I am told will sail escorted by 
twenty sail of the line. Part of which will probably join 
the grand fleet at Cadiz, and the rest proceed to the West 
Indies, where I have reason to think they will act in con- 
cert with the Spaniards. A friend of mine is to embark 
on board the French fleet as interpreter. He speaks and 
writes the Spanish language perfectly. 

I have also some reason to believe that the French naval 

force, and a 'larger body of troops than they have yet sent 

to America, will appear on our coasts earlier the next, than 

they did the present year. Jamaica is thought to be the 

VOL. IX. 12 


first object of these expeditions, and this conjecture arises 
from the appointment of M. Galvez to the command of the 
Spanish force in the West Indies, whose project for attack- 
ing that Island is well known. In France, it is said that a 
part of the troops to be embarked at Brest, is intended for 
the East Indies ; and here, that theirs are sent to suppress 
the revolt at Santa Fe, mentioned in my letter of the 17th 
ult.* I rather think that two French ships of the line, now 
at Cadiz, and as many frigates, who have taken and are 
taking in provisions for a long voyage, are destined to the 
eastern part of the world, and that they will take with them 
a considerable sum in dollars, for the payment of their 
land and sea forces there. The French Ambassador has 
obtained, or is about to obtain, permission to send out of the 
kingdom two and a half million of dollars, part of which 
sum is probably destined to the purpose above mentioned. 
The sieges of Gibraltar and JNlahon go on slowly. The 
operations against these fortresses have not been so vigorous 
hitherto as to promise a speedy reduction of either ; when 
the efforts of these besiegers become more interesting, I 
shall transmit regular accounts of their progress. The 
Court of Great Britain proposes to send five hundred troops 
to America, exclusive of recruits, to be drawn from Ger- 
many and Ireland. These it is said, will sail with thirteen 
sail of the line in the course of next month. The East 
India Company also send a reinforcement of seven thou- 
sand men to the East Indies, with four sail of the line. If 
this information can be credited, the East and West India, 
and American reinforcements will sail at the same time, to 
insure by their united force their safety on the coast of 



In Holland the divisions are still great, and likely to be 
so. The Provinces have not yet all agreed to the loan pro- 
posed by France for the use of Congress. I am informed 
the Stadtholder's friends give it all the opposition in their 
power. That Prince has, as I have already advised the 
Committee, been obliged to consent to the augmentation of 
the marine. The news of the birth of the Dauphin will 
probably reach America before this letter. It is expected 
it will be received there with demonstrations of satisfaction 
that will be highly flattering to the French nation. The 
great age and infirmities of the Count de Maurepas, render 
it probable that he will not survive the winter. The 
Queen's influence, it is thought, will increase by the birth 
of the Dauphin, and the death of this Minister. Permit 
me to conclude with the flattering hopes of a brilliant close 
of the campaign, which the well concerted plan of our Gen- 
eral and allies communicated to me by the Count de Mont- 
morin, renders highly probable. The success of this op- 
eration, and what is expected, may perhaps render Mr 
Jay's next information more agreeable and interesting to 
Congress, to whom I beg leave to present my humble re- 

1 have the honor to be, &;c. 



Philadelphia., December 20th, 1781. 

Dear Sir, 
Your letters of the 16th of August, and 5th of October, 
came to hand. They were read in Congress, and handed 
over to this office, which will in future, agreeably to its in- 


stitution, receive and make all communications to and from 
Congress, conformable to their ordinance, of which I en- 
close a copy, having omitted it in my letters to Mr Jay. 
The importance of early and regular intelligence from Eu- 
rope is so much felt here, that you have full credit for all 
the communications you make^ I wish you would extend 
them so far as to permit no vessel to sail without letters and 
papers. Spanish gazettes may sometimes be serviceable 
to us. 

The expedition of the Due de Crillon is important in 
many views ; should it succeed, it will be such a blow to 
the British as must hasten a negotiation, though it may 
probably obstruct a peace ; at any rate, the possession of 
the Island must cut the sinews of their Mediterranean trade. 
Your apprehensions about being sent to Corunna, will, I 
hope, have been groundless, as Captain Gillon's ship is not 
the property of, or under the direction of the United States. 
So far as Mr Jay's good offices can be serviceable, they 
undoubtedly will be extended. He will not think himself 
obliged to involv§ the United States in the expense or dis- 
grace of Captain Gillon's misconduct, if, as is alleged, he 
has really behaved improperly. Should he determine to 
interfere, Congress make no doubt but you will conform to 
his intentions ; and they rely upon yoih- zeal and activity in 
the discharge of such trusts, as he may think proper, since 
he alone can judge of the best application of them, and will 
not deprive himself of the advantages, which your assistance 
and information may afford, without being determined by 
weighty and important considerations. 

It gives great pleasure here, to hear of the step that 
Spain is taking, for opening a treaty with us. The delays 
in that business begin to be resented by the people of this 


country, the more forcibly, as they felt a high degree of 
respect for the Court, and much attachment to the people 
of Spain, in return for the good offices that they had done 
them. The great cause of the delay being now (as we 
hear) removed, I doubt not that the candor of the negotia- 
tors, and the clear views that they both have of the interest, 
which Spain and America may mutually derive from an 
intimate union, will remove all other difficulties to the 
wished for connexion. 

We have no other news on this side the water, than that 
the enemy have evacuated Wilmington. You, who know 
the spirit of disaffection which prevailed in some parts of 
North Carolina, and the commerce which it is capable of 
carrying on, particularly at this time, in articles for the sup- 
ply of the West India markets, will see the important sacri- 
fice the enemy have been obliged to make in thus quitting 
this post, and abandoning the only friends in America, up- 
on whose fidelity and attachment they could rely. 

I need not repeat to you, that I shall at all times think 
myself happy in hearing from you, independent of the ad- 
vantage that the public may derive from your letters. They 
will be particularly agreeable to me, as they may be made 
the means of increasing the number of friends, which your 
zeal and attention has already procured you. 
I am, Sir, with great esteem, &ic. 




Madrid, December 20th, 1781 . 

Since my letter of the 17th ult. to the Committee of 
Foreign Affairs, I have had the pleasure to hear of your 
appointment to the office of Secretary for that department, 
and although I have not any official directions, respecting 
my future correspondence, in consequence of this change, 
I take the liberty of addressing you as 1 have hitherto done 
the Committee, on the subject of our affairs here, their 
situation, and that of the powers with whom we have, or 
may hereafter have, connexions. At the same lime permit 
me to entreat you, Sir, to inform me, whether it is judged 
necessary, that I should continue this correspondence, hav- 
ing done it hitherto with a view to multiply the channels of 
information to Congress, and not from an expectation of 
conveying any material intelligence, which they will not ul- 
timately receive in a fuller manner from Mr Jay and tiieir 
other JMinisters ; to the former of whom 1 communicate in- 
stantly every information I can procure here, or by my 
foreign correspondence. I have been induced to continue 
this correspondence, from another motive, vvhicii is, that I 
find that others employed as secretaries here, are di- 
itcied by their respective Courts, to write either to the 
JMinister for Foreign Affairs, or the particular Secretary of 
their Sovereigns. The only letter, which I have had the 
honor to receive from Mr Lovell, since I have been in this 
country, approved of my endeavors to communicate early 
and regular information ; but if it is expected I should do 
it effectually, I hope a cypher will be sent me, by the first 


safe conveyance, under cover to Mr Harrison at Cadiz, or 
to our Consul in France, with directions to those gentle- 
men to forward the letter enclosing it, by a sure hand, to 
escape the inspection of the post-offices in France and 
Spain, the dread of which often retards my letters, which I 
am now obliged to send to the seaports, by private persons, 
or the couriers of the French Ambassador. Once possess- 
ed of a cypher, I flatter myself that few vessels will sail 
from France or this country without letters from me, which, 
although often not interesting, may yet in some degree 
contribute to the satisfaction of Congress. 

Our affairs are in much the same situation they were 
when I had the honor to forward the above mentioned let- 
ter to the Committee. M. Del Cam.po's sickness, from 
which he is but just recovered, is the occasion or pretext 
for this delay. His appointment, however, has been final- 
ly announced to JMr Jay by the JMinister, and was made at 
the time mentioned in my former letters. It is probable 
that little will be done in this business, until the Court goes 
to the Pardo the 7th of next month. A principle of deli- 
cacy perhaps prevents it from seeming at present to pre- 
cipitate its conduct, in consequence of the favorable aspect 
of our affairs, since the news of the capture of Lord Corn- 
wallis, and the victory obtained by General Greene in 
South Carolina. But the delay attending the transaction 
of the smallest affair in this country, is a sufficient reason to 
account for the difficulties Mr Jay encounters at present, 
without surmising other motives. On this subject, I speak 
from the experience of almost all the corps diplomatique, 
as well as from the authority of individuals, who have much 
business with the various branches of administration. 


The news above mentioned, was received apparently 
with great pleasure by the King and Prince of Asturias, as 
I was informed the same day by several of their officers in 
waiting. The public at large was highly satisfied, and has 
spoken more favorably since of our allies, than it has done 
from the commencement of the war. The foreign Minis- 
ters were not all so well pleased with this event, particular- 
ly those of Germany, Russia and Denmark. However, in 
general they regard it as a blow which decides the Inde- 
pendence of the States. The new Minister of Sweden is 
open in declaring his partiality for our cause, and signified 
that he would have waited on Mr Jay on his arrival here, 
as it is the custom of those last come to do, if no other 
Minister had arrived here since Mr Jay's residence, who 
had not dor.e it. His conduct to myself shows that this 
was not a mere compliment, for he has invited me several 
times to dine with him, and visited me. He is a particular 
friend, I believe, of iM. ISIarbois, for he speaks highly of 
him, as indeed all do, whom I have conversed with, that 
have the pleasure of his acquaintance. 

The Imperial and Swedish Ministers declare that their 
respective Sovereigns will reclaim all vessels under their 
colors, going to or returning from America, W'hich comply 
with the articles of the armed neutrality, and it has been 
hinted to me, that it was not difficult to obtain letters of 
naturalization for the crews of American vessels, provided 
the nominal officers are Subjects of either country. The 
Court has at length consented to repay the money advanc- 
ed in April last by the Marquis de Yranda, but has not 
enabled Mr Jay to pay the bills due this month, and as Dr 
Franklin has not authorised him to draw, M. Cabarrus, 
as I expected in my last, has consented to advance the sum 


sufficient for this purpose, amounting to thirtytwo thousand 
dollars. Perhaps Dr Franklin may soon enable Mr Jay to 
repay him. 

Thirty thousand pounds sterling would pay all our 
debts here, which distress us more than the apprehension of 
not receiving our salaries, of which, though liberal, we have 
constant need, owing to the dearness of everything in this 
country, and the great expense incurred by the frequent 
change of residence of the Court, which circumstance 
obliges us to take lodgings at the royal residences ; and 
which expense, the frequent journeys that we were con- 
strained to make on account of our other business in Ma- 
drid, greatly augment. I should not touch on this subject, 
if Dr Franklin had not desired me to mention to Congress 
our personal difficulties and distresses, for I believe, with 
all the desire he has to serve us, he procures with difficulty 
sufficient funds for the payment of our salaries. 

The expeditions mentioned in my former letters, are 
now both probably at sea ; that from France sailed the 
10th instant, and I know of a certainty, that orders have 
been sent to Cadiz to hasten the departure of the ships and 
troops at that post. The French ships there, mentioned 
in my last, take on board a million of dollars, and M. 
de Bussy, who formerly signalized himself in the East In- 
dies, has gone thither incognito by land, accompanied by 
several officers, who have but lately returned from the East. 
It is therefore highly probable, that these vessels, joined by 
others, go thither, and will take under their escort a part of 
the troops embarked at Brest. 

No great progress is made in the sieges of Gibraltar and 
Mahon ; on the 27th ult., the enemy made a sally from the 
former place, in which they did more damage, than has 

VOL. IX. 13 



been publislied here, having completely ruined ihe advanced 
works of the besiegers, the repair of which will require 
some time and much money. At Mahon, the rainy season 
has retarded the operation of the assailants. I am just told 
the Due de Crillon demands a reinforcement of two thou- 
sand men, which will be granted to him. The enemy re- 
ceives small succors from time to time by sea. The Court 
is about to negotiate another loan, in which if it does not 
succeed, perhaps it must have recourse to another emission 
of paper. The treasury is at a low ebb. The Minister 
of Marine demanded lately ten millions of reals, and re- 
ceived but three. The credit of the paper has lately risen, 
it is not negotiated at one and a half per cent loss. 

A plan for a national bank, is at present before the 
Council. The projector, M. Cabarrus, proposes to form a 
capital of fifteen millions of dollars, of which he offers to 
procure six millions ; each action to amount to two thou- 
sand reals, for which the proprietors receive a certain inter- 
est of four per cent, with the profits expected from this es- 
tablishment ; I have seen the plan, but had not permission 
to copy it, so that I can give but a faint sketch of it. Eight 
directors are to be chosen the first year, and six annually, 
by the assembly of the proprietors ; two of these directors 
are to be perpetual, because it is proposed, that they should 
have the direction of the supplies for the army and navy, 
with an interest of ten per cent, to the emolument of the 
bank ; these two directors are to be named by the Court, 
out of four chosen by the proprietors ; in other respects the 
Court to have no influence. If this plan, which was origi- 
nally a part of the scheme for the circulation of paper here, 
should succeed, the paper which will be discotmted by it, 
will probably preserve its credit. The Gromios, companies 


possessed of exclusive privileges, will be annihilated, and 
much money, now dorniant in the cofTers of individuals, be 
called into circulation. The Gromios pay two and a half 
per cent interest, and the bank four, which difference, join- 
ed to the hopes of farther profits, will tempt the money- 
holders to withdraw their funds from the hands of the first, 
and place them in the latter. But these companies and 
their friends, oppose it strongly, as do also the persons em- 
ployed in supplying the army and navy, with whom, it is 
said, people in various departments of Government have 
interested connexions. 

The Courts of France and Spain seem determined to 
continue the war with vigor, and you will see by the King 
of Great Britain's speech, that he is not disposed to accom- 
modation. The Empress of Russia still continues her en- 
deavors to bring about a peace between England and Hol- 
land, to which the British Ministry has lately appeared to 
listen, although in a haughty manner. I am told the re- 
publican party is more exasperated than ever, by dieir an- 
swer to Russia, which is published. But your information 
will be much more accurate from Mr Adams, than any 
that I can procure. My correspondents from France 
write me, that the nation is much elated by the late triumph 
of the allied arms. This success, and the flourishing 
state of their commerce, reconcile them to the war, the 
continuance of which their Ambassador here regards as 

The resolution of Congress, prohibiling all intercourse 
between the citizens of America and the subjects of Great 
Britain, gives a secret satisfaction both in France and this 
country, and augments the jealousy of others, that the influ- 
ence of France will exclude at the peace all amicable con- 


nexions between the States and Great Britain, at least this 
is the language of several of the foreign Ministers and their 
families. The Imperial Ambassador has lately made rep- 
resentations on account of an ordinance rigorously exe- 
cuted of late in the ports, obliging all captains of vessels to 
make an oath, declaratory of the contents of all packages, 
&;c. &LC. on board their vessels. He has endeavored to 
make this a common cause. The commerce murmurs 
against this, and other regulations lately enforced. It 
must be confessed, that Spain seems desirous to discour- 
age all commerce carried on by foreigners, and bears as 
hard on their allies as on neutral nations. Whenever a 
peace takes place, France will be constrained to make a 
new convention on this subject. At present, this Court 
feels its importance, and the cabinet of Versailles has 
points of a nature so much more interesting to carry, that 
it takes little notice of the breach of conventions actually 
subsisting. By a late ordinance of the Minister of Fi- 
nance, a duty of twentyfive per cent was imposed upon all 
produce brought in American vessels from the Havana. 
Mr Jay has made representations on this subject, which, I 
hope, will be attended to. IM. Galvez appeared well dis- 
posed to withdraw them. It appears also to be the inten- 
tion of the present Minister, to diminish the consumption of 
salt fish, to pave the way, as their friends give out, for its 
total exclusion at the peace, unless cured and imported by 
the natives ; for this purpose, they have obtained bills of 
indulgence from the Pope, permitting the use of meat 
during Lent, and on other days on which it was prohibited. 
The price of these indulgences is proportioned to the rank 
of the purchaser. It is calculated, that the sale of them in 
the Spanish dominions will produce two millions of dollars 


annually ; so that a double advantage is derived from this 
operation, the extraction of money for fish is prevented, 
and the revenue considerably augmented. 

The present Ministry seem firmly established in their 
respective posts. The Count de Florida Blanca's health 
does not permit him to give constant application to busi- 
ness, but is not of so dangerous a nature as to cause any 
apprehension. The Ministers of the Indies and INlarine 
keep their ground in the King's favor, although they have 
many enemies, if the disturbances in America should in- 
crease, the credit of the first may be weakened. Tlie 
latter, although disliked by his colleagues and disapproved 
by France, preserves the Sovereign's good graces. He 
lias one merit, which is, his constant attention to the safety 
of the Spanish fleet, a merit that may fix him in his place, 
but which renders him odious to the nation and its allies, 
who wish to see it more actively employed. 

I am afraid these particulars may appear trivial to Con- 
gress, to whom 1 should be happy to make more important 
communications ; these are not to be obtained but by the 
dint of money, or by a long residence and intimacy v;ilh 
persons in the various departments of government. The 
first we have not for the most pressing exigencies, and the 
latter, our at present doubtful situation at this Court pre- 
cludes us from in some degree ; although neitlier atten- 
tions nor endeavors have been omitted to make useful ac- 

I have the honor to be, fee. 




Madrid, December 24fh, 1781. 

Yesterday Mr Jay had an audience ofliis Excellency, the 
Coinit de Florida Blanca, in which that Minister in the most 
express terms assured liim, he might depend on receiving 
three millions of reals to pay such bills as he had already 
accepted, this sum, with near eighteen thousand dollars re- 
ceived already, and twentyfive thousand promised by the 
Court of France, will fully answer this j)urpose, and I still 
hope ways and means will be found to furnish funds for 
the bills, which have not yet been presented, and which, 
for some weeks, come to hand slowly. The Minister also 
promised his good offices with the Court of Portugal, and 
informed Mr Jay, that previous to his application, he had 
endeavored to induce the Ministry of that nation to con- 
duct itself with respect to the States, in a manner more 
agreeable to the rights of humanity and the law of nations 
founded on those rights, but that the party in favor of 
Great Britain preponderated hitherto. 

I have had opportunities of speaking several times on 
this subject to the Secretary of the Embassy of Portugal 
here, and once to the Ambassador. . Each seemed sen- 
sible of the injustice of the first step of the Court, and 
owned it more easy to do an injury than to repair it. If 
the Congress should be in a situation to make strong repre- 
sentations to that Court, with a recapitulation of the con- 
duct of the States during the whole war in respect to Por- 
tugal, they may be possibly attended with success, particu- 
larly il they should accede to the armed neutrality, to 
which they are strongly pressed by Russia at present. 


The Minister also engaged to do justice to certain Ameri- 
cans who carried a British privateer to the Canaries, and, 
in short, seemed exceedingly well disposed to render the 
States every service in his power. I cannot forbear, how- 
ever, mentioning to the Committee, that he spoke with 
much chagrin of the adherence of Congress to points, 
which, in his opinion, rendered a treaty impracticable for 
the present, and although pressed on that subject by Mr 
Jay, I doubt whether be will give his sentiments ihereon in 
writing. He also seemed exceedingly apprehensive of the 
efficacy of the means employed by Sir H. Clinton, to sow 
jealousy and discord among the States, and even in Con- 
gress, and said that the letters lately received by the Brit- 
ish Court from the officer abovementioned, gave great 
hopes of success in this particular. In fine, he assured 
Mr Jay, that considerable sums of money would be em- 
ployed for this purpose, and as I am convinced this Court 
received its information from a person equally employed 
by that of London, I fear it will be difficult to remove 
these suspicions until time shows how ill founded they are. 
In the tneantime, unanimity and force in America are 
the best arms of the States there, and their best arguments 
in Europe. To which, if much complaisance to the Span- 
ish King and nation is added, even in objects not essen- 
tial, the Congress will enable their servants to defeat the 
designs of the British emissary and their party here, so 
long as tlie present King lives. According to present ap- 
pearances, the war is likely to continue. Although I have 
already written you particularly on the subject, I now re- 
peat, that the Court is in the way of negotiating its loans 
for the expenses of the ensuing year, and that it expects 
some treasure from America. At Cadiz, they have twenty- 


nine sail of the line ready for sea. The blockade of Gib- 
raltar is continued with tolerable success hitherto. The 
Count d'Estaing was not arrived in France by the last ad- 
vices. This delay will retard the operations intended for 
our succor. 

The death of the Empress Queen will probably kindle 
the flame of war in Europe, though perhaps not in the 
ensuing year. I am told from good authority the Empe- 
ror is favorably disposed to England. His Ambassador 
and Mr Cumberland are very intimate, and see each other 
every day. The residence here of the latter is extraordi- 
nary in the present situation of the two nations, and can 
only be accounted for on the principles, which I had the 
honor to mention in former letters. If I may be allowed 
to conjecture, I think Holland will be sooner or later in- 
volved in the war, and that orders have already been given 
by the Court of England to attack their possessions in the 
East Indies. This however is but a conjecture, although 
grounded on some share of political evidence. 

The British Parliament is prorogued to the 23d of Jan- 
iiary. Their grand fleet is at sea. Mr Trumbull has been 
arrested in England, and several Americans obliged to fly 
and abscond, among whom there is one of my correspon- 
dents. I have received advice, that several were included 
in the number to be arrested, whom it was not the inten- 
tion of Government to seize, in order to give them an op- 
portunity of returning to America with more eclat, to be 
in a situation of rendering greater services to Great Britain. 
I hope this advice is without foundation, but having re- 
ceived it, I think it my duty to communicate it, because 
circumspeciion can do us no material injury. M. Gar- 


doqui will scarcely take his departure until all negotia- 
tions are at an end, and the campaign shall have com- 

I have the honor to be, &:c. 


P. S. Sir Joseph Yorke has presented another Memo- 
rial to the States, more insolent than the former. The 
armed neutrality propose to have forty sail of the line next 
spring in the ports of Holland. W. C. 


Madrid, February 18th, 1782. 


I have just had the pleasure of receiving your letter of 
the 20th of December, and seize the earliest opportunity 
of acknowledging the satisfaction I feel in the hope of a 
more regular correspondence than I have hitherto had 
with your department. The moment I was informed, in- 
directly of your appointment, I did myself the honor of 
addressing you. IMy first letter was dated the same day 
you wrote the one above mentioned. On the 24th ultimo, 
I again solicited your attention, and as I sent quadrupli- 
cates of these letters, I think I may venture to refer you 
to their contents, for accounts of the state of affairs, and 
the genera] intelligence at the time of writing them. 

I find by your letter, that mine written in the month of 
September, had not reached Congress. I sent three 
copies via Bilboa, by the Captains Tracy, Cook, and 
another, whose name my correspondents omitted to men- 
tion to me. I have had the mortification to hear lately, 

VOL. IX. 14 


that these vessels were all taken on the coasts of America. 
The fourth copy was sent from France, so that I still hope 
it may have escaped the misfortune of the others. No- 
thing gives me, or can give me, more pleasure, than the 
idea of contrihuting to the satisfaction of Congress, while 
1 fill a duty, which a sense of their confidence, and a 
desire of meriting a continuance of it imposes on me. I 
am only sorry, that my abilities and opportunities do not 
correspond with my wishes, to render my communications 
more useful. I have already requested you in the letters 
above mentioned, to point out the line of my duty. 

I am infinitely obliged to you for what you mention with 
respect to my apprehension of being sent to Corunna, and 
having your sanction to direct my conduct in future. I shall 
implicitly follow Mr Jay's directions, should he even choose 
to send me as a courier to be the bearer of despatches to 
the sea-ports. The reason assigned in your letter, joined 
to others which I had the honor to mention in mine to the 
Committee, were such as I suggested when I expressed a 
reluctance to be employed with discretionary powers in 
this business. I was prepared however to execute Mr 
Jay's orders, but I believe ulterior reflections, and the 
advice of the French Ambassador, induced him to relin- 
quish the idea of sending me. 

I have no cypher from Mr Morris and have seen none 
from him. 1 must therefore again request you to forward 
me one, imder cover to Messrs Barclay and Harrison, 
with directions to those gentlemen to forward your letters 
by private hands, and not by the post, for I fear that one 
you sent to Mr Jay has been intercepted. No delicacy is 
preserved by this Court on this head. This practice is not 
confined to us, but extends to the correspondence of all 


the corps diplomatique. It has happened, that in the 
hurry of resealing letters thus examined, papers belonging 
to the department, in which they were opened, have been 
carelessly enclosed by the Secretary, and returned to the 
Minister by the person to whom the letters were addressed. 
Without a cypher it will be impossible for ine to be so 
punctual as may be expected, for at present 1 am obliged 
to send most of my letters by private hands, or by the 
French Ambassador's couriers to the sea-ports, which cir- 
cumstance often retards tlieir arrival in America. 

Our situation with respect to money matters is still crit- 
ical. The drafts which Dr Franklin is obliged to pay are 
so frequent, that he has not been able to obtain cash to 
enable Mr Jay to discharge the bills accepted by him here, 
for which M. Cabarrus, as has been mentioned in former 
letters, is nearly forty thousand dollars in advance. Hap- 
pily there are few bills due until the middle of next month, 
which will give Dr Franklin time to endeavor to save our 
credit here, and to this Ministry to reflect on the conse- 
quence of denying us this small succor. The Count de 
Florida Blanca has been lately solicited on this subject by 
the French Ambassador, and without giving hopes of 
affording the sum demanded, he promised to do what the 
urgency of their own wants permit him to do for us. 
In this conversation he appeared dissatisfied, that Congress 
had taken no notice of the desire he had expressed of 
obtaining one of the vessels constructing in the Eastern 
ports, for the United Slates, and complained, that no re- 
turns had been made by the States to the proofs the King 
had manifested, of his favorable disposition towards them. 
In fact their own necessities are evident. 

In addition to what I have heretofore mentioned on this 


head, I have lately been informed from good authority, that 
a person to whom the Crown is indebted twelve millions 
of reals, in order to obtain payment, has been constrained 
to propose to purchase the salt belonging to his Majesty, to 
the amount of twentyfour millions of reals, for the payment 
of which, after deducting the sum due to him, he is obliged 
to advance immediately five millions of reals, although he 
has little liopes of disembarrassing himself shordy, of such 
an immense quantity of an article, for which there is little 
demand at present. The I\linister, to soften the harshness 
of iiis refusal to make further advances, informed the Count 
de Montmorin, that M. Del Campo's instructions would be 
ready in a few days, and that IMr Jay might then com- 
mence his conferences on the subject of the proposed 
treaty. If I may be allowed to hazard a conjecture again 
on this subject, I must repeat what I have often mentioned 
already, that S|)ain seems desirous to retard this busi- 
ness until a general treaty takes place. Perhaps it may 
not be unworthy the attention o( Congress, to prepare 
eventual resolutions should this prove to be the intentions 
of the Court. 

Since commencing this letter, we have the agreeable 
news of the capitulation of Mahon, in twentyeight days 
after the trenches were opened. The garrison are prisoners 
of war, and, including sailors, &-c., amount to two thousand 
six hundred men. Sickness, which reduced their number 
of efTective men to one thousand three hundred, unwhole- 
some provision, fatigue, and despair of succor, are the mo- 
tives assigned by the Governor, for the surrender of this 
important place, which has cost Spain two hundred killed, 
and three hundred wounded. The joy of the Court is 
excessive. The Count de Florida Blanca has the merit of 


having planned this expedition. It is said, the fortifications 
are to be entirely ruined, and the port rendered incapa- 
ble of receiving large vessels. The officer charged with 
the despatches, announcing this event, accuses our allies 
of having shown a backwardness and reluctance to assist in 
this siege, which has excited much indignation here. The 
Princess of Asturias said publicly at dinner, that the Span- 
iards had taken Fort St Philip's in sight of four thousand 
spectators, (meaning the French troops.) 1 had this from 
a foreign Minister who was present. 1 am persuaded the 
charge is without foundation, but still it will have a bad 
effect, and augment a national animosity, which prevails too 
much already. 

It is probable that the siege of Gibraltar will now be 
pushed with more vigor. It is the King's favorite object, 
and the Due de Crillon, I know, is of opinion that it may 
be taken. His late success will give weight to his opinion. 
I have been told that the Irish who obtained permission to 
return to the sea-ports, after being exiled from thence for 
several months, will again be ordered to quit them. Tiiis 
circumstance induces me to believe, that strong efforts will 
be made to take Gibraltar. The Spanish fleet has return- 
ed to Cadiz, where it will not remain long, the magazines 
being abundantly provided, and although there is no great 
number of workmen, or docks, for the repairs of vessels of 
the line, yet as few of the vessels have suffered in their 
cruise, these inconveniences will not be felt. The Count 
de Guicben was ready for sea the 28th ultimo, and only 
waited for a wind. His fleet consists of ten sail of the line, 
which has under its convoy fifty sail of transports ; five of 
the first mentioned are destined for Cadiz, to join the Span- 
ish fleet, which will then be superior to any the enemy can 


assemble in the seas of Europe. Admiral Rodney was 
slill in the Channel the 22d ultimo, and will probably push 
for the West Indies, without any transports ; the convoys for 
tl)e West and East Indies, and America, not being yet in 
readiness. It is said that great reinforcements are to be 
sent to these quarters. Lord Geors.e Germain, it is said, 
will resign, and be succeeded by Mr Ellis. 

The Russian and Imperial IMinisters, still interpose their 
good offices to mediate a peace. The neutral Ministers 
say here, that Lord Stormont, in a late conversation with 
the first mentioned, declared with heat, that his Sovereign 
would treat with France on the subject of our independ- 
ence, when a French army was in possession of the Tower 
of London, and not before, and that they would negotiate 
with Spain for the cession of Gibraltar, in exchange for the 
city of Madrid. I should not commit this extravagance to 
paper if I had not heard it mentioned by the Count de 
Montmorin, and other Ministers. 

Mr Adams has demanded a categorical answer from the 
States-General to the proposition made them on behalf of 
the United States. The Dutch Secretary here informs 
me, that his letter was well received. The Dutch Minister 
at this Court has invited me to his house, since the presen- 
tntio!) of the above mentioned demand. I have lately had 
conversation with the Swedish Minister, which 1 hope will 
enable me two months hence to give you some information 
of the disposition of his Court. This Minister is exceed- 
ingly well disposed to forward a connexion between Swe- 
den and America, as is the Baron de Ramel, formerly 
Minister here, now Vice Chancellor of Sweden, to whose 
good offices I believe I owe the countenance and civilities 
of its representative here. 



The cedula for the bank will appear shortly. I shall 
take care to forward that, and any other paper that I think 
worthy your attention. I have sent the Madrid Gazette to 
Mr Harrison, and have desired him to forward it in future. 
This gendeman is every way deserving your esteem and 
notice. He acts at present as Consul for America at Ca- 
diz, and has been very useful there. His good sense and 
agreeable manners, have acquired the good will of natives 
and foreigners. 

I have the honor to be, &;c. 



Madrid, February 27th, 1782. 


I did myself the honor of addressing you the ISth instant, 
which I enclosed in the 6rst copy of this. My letter of the 
18th contained all the intelligence of the state of our affairs 
in Holland, which had come to my knowledge. My mind 
now is full of another object, for I have the mortification to 
inform you, that unless Mr Jay is enabled by Dr Frank- 
lin in a few days to pay the drafts he has accepted, he will 
be obliged to stop payment. I am persuaded the latter has 
done everything in his power to extricate us from this cruel 
situation, but he has had so many other bills to answer, 
and France is itself so pushed for money, that hitherto he 
has not been able to succeed, nor indeed to pay us regti- 
larly our salaries. 

This Court has at length consented to pay us the balance 
of the three millions, promised last year, which amounts to 


near twenlysix thousand dollars, but this money is in some 
sort appropriated to the repayment of the advances made 
for two months past, by M. Cabarrus, who, after the con- 
versation he has had with the Minister, is discouraged from 
making equal advances. Less than twenty thousand pounds 
sterling would now pay all our debts in this country. I 
shall not despair until the bills are refused, although after 
what we have experienced here, I have little ground to 
hope. The Count de Florida Blanca has engaged to take 
such measures, as that Mr Jay shall not be personally 
exposed, which, without the interference of the Court, 
might be the case, as he is not acknowledged in a public 

^Ir Jay has not yet received any notice, that M. Del 
Campo's instiuctions are ready. That gentleman has now 
been near four months named for this business. It is now 
confidently asserted, that the works at JNIahon are to be 
destroyed. Two ships of the line, and two frigates, have 
sailed from Cadiz, to escort the transports with troops from 
]\Iinorca, which, it is said, are to be employed in the siege 
of Gibraltar. I know of a certainty, that the Court has 
given orders, to amass considerable sums of money in An- 
dalusia. The Count de Guichen sailed on the 10th instant, 
and we expect every day to hear of his arrival at Cadiz, 
with five ships of the line. The English East India convoy 
sailed the 2Gih ult., and consists of six ships of the line, a 
frigate, and nineteen transports and ships of the Company. 
The letters and papers 1 have received the last posts from 
France and Holland, assert that since the arrival of Lord 
Cornwallis and Arnold in England, the king is resolved to 
continue an offensive war in America at every hazard. As 
this intelligence corresponds with the character of the king. 


and the officers above mentioned, some credit may be given 
to it. It has been asserted in the English papers, that the 
king of Great Britain was negotiating as Elector of Hano- 
ver with Saxony, to take into pay ten thousand of its troops, 
to replace the like number to be drawn from Hanover for 
the American war. The Charge d'affaires of Saxony at 
this Court assures me that this is false. 

It is expected by the friends of America, that prepara- 
tions will be early made, to repel every attack the enemy 
may be in force to make, and if occasion presents, to act 
offensively. I have nothing to add to this or my last, but 
that a copy of each will be delivered to you by Colonel 
Livingston, whose zeal, abilities, application, and prudent 
conduct, have acquired him general esteem, and have made 
his departure regretted by all who had the pleasure of his 
acquaintance. Mr Vaughan, who accompanies him, was 
strongly recommended lo me by Dr Franklin, and I have 
found him every way worthy of his recommendation. 
These gentlemen will be able to give more ample details of 
general intelligence, than I can do by letter, and of a later 
date than this. 

I have the honor to be, &£c. 



Madrid, April 14th, 1782. 
A violent defluxion of the eyes, which was epidemical hero 
this winter, incapacitated me for near three weeks after the 
dale of my last from writing, and the perplexed and uncer- 

VOL. IX. 15 


tain situation of our affairs here for some time past, induced 
me not to do myself the honor of addressing you, until I 
could inform you in what manner our difliculties were like- 
ly to have a period. Indeed, during this interval, my time 
was so much engaged hy the bills of exchange accepted by 
Mr Jay, and the conversations 1 held with, and the visits I 
was obliged to make to the various persons interested in 
this affair, that I had very little leisure left for other occu- 

On the 27th of February, I expressed my apprehensions 
for the fate of our accepted bills, although I could not but 
hope, that either this Court or that of France, would inter- 
fere in time to relieve us from this cruel mortification. 
Whether this Court withheld its aid, from expectation that 
the French Ambassador was secretly instructed to assist us, 
as on a former occasion, in case of extreme necessity ; 
whether their wants, which are pressing, occasioned their 
indecision ; or whether it was produced by the secret in- 
fluence and artifices of ill disposed persons, I will not pre- 
tend to say ; but the fact is, that notwithstanding the fre- 
quent representations of Mr Jay, and as frequent good offices 
of the French Ambassador, the IMinister did not, until the 
day before Mr Jay found himself under the absolute neces- 
sity of protesting the bills, authorise verbally the Count de 
Montmorin to inform Mr Jay, that if M. Cabarrus persisted 
in his former intentions of making the necessary advances, 
he would see him repaid in ten or twelve months, to the 
amount of forty or fifiy thousand current dollars. It must 
be observed that this consent was given the day after M. 
Del Campo had been informed by M. Cabarrus, at his own 
house, of the terms on which he would make the advances 
in question. These terms were different from those he had 


frequently repeated to Mr Jay and myself, and which Mr 
Jay made known to the Minister ; but I believe the conver- 
sations with the latter, had excited apprehensions of his not 
being reimbursed even in the time he had originally pro- 

These apprehensions were augmented by finding that the 
French Ambassador was not authorised to extricate us 
from our distress, although the Court of France was ap- 
prized of our situation. I early remarked these fears, and 
endeavored to remove them by every means in my power. 
1 was clearly of opinion, however, that after the conversa- 
tion, above mentioned, with M. Del Campo, no reliance 
could be placed on his assistance for our relief, and informed 
Mr Jay of my conjectures on this subject, as I had done 
from the first moment I discovered M. Cabarrus's fears and 
apprehensions. This disappointment, constrained Mr Jay 
to protest a number of bills, some of which the holders had 
the complaisance and indulgence to keep by them near three 
weeks, in order to give time to Mr Jay to make arrange- 
ments for their payment. Indeed, the whole commercial 
interest here, behaved in a manner that scarce could be 
expected from persons who have so little connexions with 
our country, and expressed their indignation and astonish- 
ment, that the Court should expose to this mortification, for 
a sum so trifling, a country united with them against a com- 
mon enemy. The foreign Ministers were not less surpris- 
ed, and this incident, I believe, furnished materials for their 
despatches at the time, and has occasioned much conjecture 

A letter from Dr Franklin, authorising Mr Jay to draw 
upon him for the payment of the bills he had accepted, 
soon established our credit to the general satisfaction of 


everybody who have no political connexions lo influence 
their opinion, and the news from England of the address 
of the House of Commons to the King, to put an end 
to offensive operations in America, and of the general 
fermentation in Ireland, will probably give a more favor- 
able aspect to our affiiirs here, as has been the case else- 
where. Courier after courier arrived from the Count 
d'Aranda, the Spanish Ambassador at Paris, and several 
cabinet councils were held immediately after their respec- 
tive arrivals. Each of these couriers announced the va- 
rious appearances of a change in the British Cabinet, and 
probably gave some intelligence of the overtures from 
Great Britain, made to Dr Franklin. 

The flattering prospect of our affairs in Holland, may 
contribute also to accelerate the conduct of others with 
respect to the United States. The Minister promised Mr 
Jay, some time ago, that the conferences with M. Del 
Campo, on the subject of a treaty should positively take 
place at Aranjues, and the actual crisis of affairs renders 
it probable, that more reliance may be placed on this than 
on former assurances; but after the experience we have 
had of the dilatoriness of this Court, I cannot flatter myself, 
that the treaty will be very speedily concluded, for I have 
been led to resume my former opinion, that this Court 
has wished, and still desires, to delay the acknowledgment 
of our independence, until a general treaty of peace shall 
take place. The Dutch INIinister sent for me immediately 
after receiving advice, that Friesland had resolved to admit 
Mr Adams in a public character, and told me he had not 
the least doubt of the other provinces doing the same. 
Indeed I heard extracts of letters read, from persons of high 
repute in this republic, who speak of this affair, as a matter 


determined, and which will meet with no other obstruction, 
than what arises from the usual formalities and delays in 
the constitution of that republic. The Swedish Minister 
daily expects news from his Court, which he tells me he 
hopes will prove agreeable. 

These changes in the political situation of the United 
States and Great Britain, I believe are not seen by Russia 
and Denmark with pleasure, if I may be allowed to form 
conjectures from the conduct and sentiments of their re- 
spective Ministers here, who cannot conceal their chagrin, 
on the reception of any news favorable to France, Spain, or 
America. Indeed most of the neutral nations seem to have 
a particular aversion to this Court, excited as they say, by 
its conduct with respect to the capture and detention of their 
vessels. As I have an opportunity of seeing themselves, or 
their Secretaries very often, and am on an intimate footing 
with the latter, I am frequently a witness of their com- 
plaints and murmurs ; Congress need not therefore con- 
clude, that their inattention to Mr Jay's Memorial, is pointed 
or a proof of its ill will, for 1 have seen near eighty Memo- 
rials from a Minister more nearly connected with them 
than we are, few of which i)ave been attended to. 

The capture of a Danish vessel laden with powder and 
artillery, with two King's officers on board, and instructions 
from the Admiralty, has excited the clamors of the Danish 
Minister here, who despatched a courier to Copenhagen 
on the occasion. I am promised a statement of the case 
presented by the Minister above mentioned to those of the 
armed neutrality, and copies of two letters from the Count 
de Florida Blanca, one to the Danish Minister, and the 
other to the neutral Ministers here, which if obtained shall 
accompany this letter. 


Great preparations are making for the siege of Gibraltar. 
The Due de Crillon is to command in chief, and it is said 
will have under his orders, from tvventyfive to thirtytwo 
thousand men, including the French troops at Mahon ; the 
place is to be attacked by sea and land, and I hear twelve 
ships are bought by government to be fitted up and serve 
as floating batteries. This operation will probably com- 
mence in July, a month favorable for it on account of the 
calms which then prevail. The loan proposed by this 
Court in Holland is not likely to meet the expected success. 
The armaments they have equipped and are equipping, 
and the expensive preparations for the siege of Gibraltar, 
straiten them exceedingly for funds. The dilllculties they 
encounter in procuring money, and the alarming state of 
their colonies, may probably dispose them to peace by the 
end of the present campaign, but it is likely their claims 
will be great, and thought extravagant by all the neutral 

I have frequently mentioned the reports of disturbances 
in their colonies. It is difficult to obtain accurate infor- 
mation on this subject. The King has certainly ratified a 
convention made with the malcontents at Santa Fe and in 
its neighborhood, which was transmitted by the ecclesiastical, 
civil, and military officers, with their advice to accord all 
thu demands therein contained, as the only means to prevent 
the total revolt of these provinces. I have reason to be- 
lieve this ratification was made with great reluctance. I 
am also promised a copy of this convention, which I shall 
forward with this letter if obtained in time. 

The papers are full of the Pope's voyage to Vienna. 
Tiie Imperial Secretary here assures me, that the Empe- 
ror will not recede from the plans of reformation he has 


adopted. Some persons having suggested to him, that 
fanaticism might possibly endeavor to put a period to his 
progress by assassination, he replied, that he had no ap- 
prehensions on that score, for his brother's firmness and 
sentiments being known to be the same, nothing could be 
hoped from a single assassination. He is regarded here 
and in Portugal as a heretic, and if his sight should be 
afTected by the defluxion on his eyes at present, this mis- 
fortune will be regarded as a punishment from heaven, 
inflicted on him for his encroachments on the church. As 
I know you will receive ample details of all that regards 
the mission here from Mr Jay, I confine myself to a very 
summary detail on the subject, in order to supply in a 
small degree the loss or delay of his more important de- 
spatches. With a sincere wish that my intentions may be 
acceptable to Congress, 

I have the honor to be, he. 


P. S. April 29th, 1782. The enclosed papers are 
copies of the letters herein mentioned. Duplicates have 
been already sent with their translations. The despatches 
of Mr Jay have taken up so much of my time for three 
weeks past, that it has not been possible for me to make 
out copies of the translations for Major Franks, the bearer 
of the present, and the great earnestness with which Mr 
Jay desires to send him away, prevents my sending the 
copy of the statement of the case, and the convention made 
with the disaffected in Spanish America. Mr Jay's infor- 
mation is so explicit, that it leaves but little for me to add, 
which I shall do this week via Cadiz. 

w. c. 


Philadelphia, May 1st, 1782. 

Dear Sir, 

I was favored with your letters of the 20th of December ; 
that of the 1 7th, which you mention to have written to the 
late Committee of Foreign Affairs, never came to hand. 
If you have received my former letter, you will find your 
question relative to the continuance of your correspondence 
already answered. But lest you should not, let me repeat 
it, by assuring you that it will always give me very great 
pleasure to hear fiom you. The channels of communica- 
tion with this office are much too few to induce me to shut 
up one by which we receive the most frequent and impor- 
tant intelligence. I shall endeavor to send you a cypher by 
this, or the next safe oppi)rtunity, and shall after that look 
for a strict compliance with your promise. I make no re- 
mark on the political parts of your letters, both because I 
have no cypher yet settled with you, and because I shall 
always write fully on these subjects to Mr Jay. It gives 
me pleasure to see the train you are establishing to procure 
intelligence, and to cultivate the esteem of persons who may 
be of use to us. This has been, and is still too much neg- 
lected, but that neglect makes your address and attention 
the more important. 

The season of the year, and the inactivity of the British, 
deprive me of the means of making a full return for the in- 
telligence you communicate. Our attention is at present 
turned to an object, which, though apparently small, pro- 
mises to have consequences of some moment. You will 
find in the papers enclosed, an account of the execution of 
a militia officer, Capt. Buddy, by a band of tories, on some 
false pretences. The General has demanded the perpc- 


trators of this crime, or threatened to retaliate upon some 
British officer of equal I'ank. As his letter does him honor, 
I enclose a copy, which you will be pleased to show to Mr 
Jay. Clinton is reduced to great straits ; he has already 
been the means of one officer's dying on a gibbet. He 
would be execrated by the army should he occasion the 
ignominious death of another. On the other hand, he is 
already very unpopular with the tories. Should he give 
up those of the refugee corps, who are concerned in this 
business, which has probably been done by the direction, or 
at least the connivance of their board of directors, he will be 
embroiled with them. They form a kind of imperium in 
imperio. The directors, being in a great measure inde- 
pendent of the commander-in-chief, have the custody of 
their own prisoners, regulate their own exchanges, divide 
the plunder they make according to their own rules ; and 
correspond regularly with the Ministry, which circumstance 
alone is sufficient to excite a kind of rivalry between them, 
and the commander-in-chief. 

Several propositions have been made for the exchange 
and comfortable support of prisoners, all of which have 
proved abortive, from the resolution of the British not to 
pay arrears, they have incurred, which amounts to near 
£300,000 sterling. Some measures, which will surprise 
them not a little, will be taken. I shall write particularly 
to Mr Jay on this subject, because it will need explanation 
in Europe. You will consult Mr Jay on the propriety of 
publishing the aftair of Huddy in the European papers ; 
and if he shall think it may be of any use, take measures 
for the purpose. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 


VOL. IX. 16 



Madrid, June 12th, 1782. 

On the 5th instant, I had the honor to address you, en- 
closing a copy of a letter, which I wrote to Mr Jay soon 
after his departure from Madrid.* The Court is now here, 
but the Ministers are generally so harassed by business and 
visits during their short stay in the capital, that there are 
few opportunities of having access to them. Before I left 
Aranjues, I frequently reminded M. Del Campo of the 
promises made me, to pay attention to the different offices 
passed from ]Mr Jay, interesting to various citizens of the 
United Slates. I was well received, and had those promises 
reiterated. I judged it more proper to solicit the notice of 
the Ministry to these objects in person, than by writing, be- 
cause I could have small hopes of success from memorials, 
when I reflected how little attention liad been paid to those 
written by a man so much my superior in that mode of ad- 
dress. Besides, frequent conferences perhaps develop bet- 
ter the opinions and dispositions of men, than deliberate 
answers to requests, or remonstrances, however clearly, or 
however strongly they may be staled in writing. 

In my conversations with the Minister, and the gentleman 
above mentioned, they seemed to think the work of peace 
to be in a fair way. I have, however, some reason to sup- 
pose, that neither their instructions to their Ambassador at 
Paris for this object, nor those for him to treat with Mr Jay, 
are yet forwarded, and there are grounds to conjecture that 
this Court would have retarded the negotiation as much as 

• The letter here referred to is missing. Mr Jay left Madrid for 
Paris about the 20th of May. 


possible, had not the defeat of the Count de Grasse blasted 
their hopes of taking Jamaica. Even now they will be 
desirous of knowing the fate of the siege of Gibraltar, be- 
fore they agree to any treaty, which does not put them in 
possession of that important fortress. 

The neutral 31inisters here seem to wish to intermeddle 
in the proposed pacification. There is a general jealousy 
atnong them of the house of Bourbon, and a particular ani- 
mosity against this branch of it. This I have long remark- 
ed, and I have now more frequent occasions than hereto- 
fore. I am afraid the rumors of peace will slacken the 
preparations of the Dutch for war. The hopes of a speedy 
general pacification, and a sense of complaisance and ap- 
prehension of the Empress of Russia, may procrastinate the 
treaty between the United States and them. I write these 
conjectures with diffidence, as indeed I do all which depend 
on my own judgment. 

I am busy at present in arranging the pubhc accounts. 
The projected bank employs so much of M. Cabarrus's time, 
and that of his clerks, that it is possible I may be obliged to 
follow the Court to St Ildefonso, to which place the king 
removes the 14th instant, before I can obtain such a settle- 
ment of them, as may enable me to transmit the general 
account to Mr Jay, for his approbation. In the meantitne, 
I draw, and shall still be obliged to draw, on Dr Franklin, 
to enable me to discharge the public bills accepted by Mr 
Jay. Exchange is every day more to our disadvantage. 
The depreciation of the royal billets is now at 3 1-4 to 3 1-2 
per cent, and I make no doubt will be at 6 per cent in two 
months. The Court has been again obliged to apply to 
the Gromios for assistance, whose privileges, it appears 
from the establishment of the bank, it meant to deprive them 


of. This circumstance marks their distress for money, and 
as some say, the want of system in their conduct. 

The Due de Crillon has set out for the camp before 
Gibraltar ; the operations, however, will not seriously com- 
mence before the month of August, if in all that month. 
The expectations of success are sanguine. I heard the 
Duke himself speak with great confidence on the subject. 
The combined fleet left Cadiz the 4th instant ; it consists 
of thirtytwo sail of the line, and some frigates, and proceeds 
immediately to the British channel. [ avail myself of a 
courier from the French Ambassador to forward copies of 
this letter to the ports of France. The Count de Mont- 
morin continues to give the same proofs of attachment to 
the interests of the States, and of personal kindness to my- 
self, that I have ever experienced since my arrival in Spain. 
I beg leave to remind you to send me a cypher, and to en- 
treat your instructions and intelligence addressed directly 
to myself; otherwise I have few opportunities of manifest- 
ing my zeal for the public service, or of acquiring your 
personal esteem. 

I have the honor to be, k.c. 



Philadelphia, July 6th, 1782. 
Since my letter of May last, I have been favored with 
yours of the ISlh and 27th of February. As they 
contained many things of importance, which we had re- 
ceived through no other channel, I communicated their 
contents to Congress, to whom I have reason to think they 


were very acceptable. The great changes that have taken 
place in the administratibn of Britain, make us extremely 
desirous of learning minutely the measures they are pursu- 
ing. Unfortunately it is long since we have received any 
other information from Europe, than that contained in the 
public prints. Our Ministers abroad do not keep up such 
a communication with the sea-ports as to avail themselves 
of the opportunities, that are almost weekly afforded, by 
which means the intelligence they transmit, if not of a pri- 
vate nature, is almost always forestalled. 

We are at present in a stale of absolute inactivity here. 
We are not sufficiently strong to attack the enemy in their 
works, without some naval aid ; nor can they attack us with 
any prospect of success. Congress employ the present 
leisure in forming and enforcing a system of finance, which, 
notwithstanding all the difficulties it has to struggle with, 
will, I hope, shortly place our affairs on a more respectable 
footing; particularly, if any of those powers who are inter- 
ested in supporting us, shall afford the aid vve have a right 
to expect. 

Among other changes that have taken place, thei'e is one 
I believe you will be pleased with ; in the payment of your 
salaries, which in future will be paid here upon my certifi- 
cate. I, as your agent, will vest the money in bills, and 
remit them to you or Dr Franklin, with orders for him to 
remit the money to you, or pay it to your order. This 
will render your payments more regular, and free you from 
the appearance of dependence, which must be disagreeable 
to you. 1 remit by this conveyance to him, the amount of 
one quarter's salary, commencing the 1st of January last, 
and ending the 1st of April, which 1 have vested in bills at 
the present rate of exchange, which is six shillings three 


pence this money, for five livres, by which you gain almost 
five and a half per cent. You will be charged here two 
and a half per cent premium, which is the usual commiss- 
ion, and 1 shall consider myself as your agent in this busi- 
ness, unless you should choose to appoint some other. 
Your accounts for the next quarter will be made up imme- 
diately ; the money vested in a bill upon Dr Franklin, 
which I will remit him by the next opportunity. Send me 
a general state of your account, that I may get it settled 
for you, and the arrears, if any, discharged. I could wish 
much to have a cypher with you, but find it very difficult 
to send one. Let me have one, if you have a safe con- 
veyance, if a favorable opportunity offers from here, 1 will 
transmit you one. 

I am, with great esteem and regard, ficc. 



St Ildefonso, July dth, 1782. 

On the 5th and the 12th ultimo I did myself the honor 
of addressing vou from Mi.drid. On the 2d instant I came 
t > :!;:s place, having waited in the capital some days longer 
than I intended, for the purpose of arranging finally the 
public accounts with M.Cabarrus; but finding that that 
gentleman's occupations prevented him from stating thera 
in the manner directed by ^Ir Jny, and having by my stay, 
in compliance with his request, convinced him that the set- 
tlement and discharge of the balance still due, depended on 
himself, I judged it proper to follow the Court hither, in 
order to have frequent opportunities ot pressing the Minis- 


ter to pay attention to the different memorials presented by 
Mr Jay ; of which copies have been transmitted by him to 
Congress, and to procure such information as it might be 
proper to lay before you. I did not strongly urge the set- 
tlement of the accounts above mentioned, because Dr 
Franklin had requested Mr Jay to give him as ir.uch time 
as possible for the payment of the sums due here, although 
1 am persuaded the delay will be prejudicial, as it is proba- 
ble the exchange will be more to our disadvantage every 

On the 3d instant, I waited on the Count de Florida 
Blanca and M. Del Campo. I found the former in con- 
ference with the French Ambassador, and as that had been 
long, and I knew he would be much fatigued, and also that 
he expected the Russian Minister and the Ambassador of 
the Emperor, who have of late received frequent couriers, 
I shortened my visit, which passed in amicable assurances 
on his part and hopes on mine, that bis Excellency would 
put it as much in my power, as it was my inclination to 
contribute to a lasting harmony between the two countries, 
by enabling me to inform Congress of the favorable dispo- 
sition of his Majesty, and at the same time of the measures 
taken by his Ministers to redress the grievances, which Mr 
Jay had so often laid before him. He desired me to men- 
tion these affairs in detail to M. Del Cainpo, and after re- 
peating assurances of good will, &£c., he proceeded lo in- 
form me, that he had received a copy of a letter, which Mr 
Jay on his arrival at Paris had written to the Count d' 
Aranda, adding, that he was sorry he could not continue the 
conversation at present, for that he expected the Ministers 
above mentioned every moment, but that on the Saturday 
following he would be glad to see me, to talk over many 


matters necessary to discuss at this crisis. 1 took my leave, 
and actually met the Imperial and Russian Ministers at the 
door, with M. Del Campo, whom I next went to see. 

I had a long conversation, the material points of which, 
after having reminded him of the memorials, kc, presented 
hy Mr Jay, turned on the manner in which the propositions 
of the new British Administration would be received in 
America. I had the good fortune to answer in the most 
decided manner, that all proposals for a separate treaty 
would be unanimously rejected, for on my return from this 
visit to my lodgings, I found Mr Clonard, who delivered me 
the letter you did me the honor to write me on the 1st of 
May, and who informed me of many of the subsequent 
transactions. The same day at dinner, the Count de Mont- 
morin showed me a letter from the Chevalier de la Lu- 
zerne, in which he informs him, that Congress had rejected 
the propositions made by General Carleton, and that all 
the States would follow the example of iMaryland. Tliis 
conduct has a great and good effect in Europe. The same 
day the king spoke at table of the news, and praised great- 
ly the probity of the Americans, raising his voice in such a 
manner that all the foreign ministers might hear him. I 
have conversed with several of these since, and find them 
unanimous in their opinion that the wisest measure Great 
Britain can take, is to conclude a treaty acknowledging 
our independence. 

Tlie couriers received, and the audiences demanded by 
the Russian and Imperial Representatives, excited my at- 
tention, and I have discovered that they have been once 
more directed by their Courts to make an offer of their 
mediation to his Catholic Majesty. They made this com- 
munication on the 3d instant, and have received their 


answer ; for on the 6th the Count de Kaunitz despatched 
a courier. In my next I hope to communicate the answer 
of this Court. I suspect England is at the bottom of this 
business. The combined fleet is probably at this time in 
the English channel, where it will be reinforced by a 
squadron of French ships commanded by M. de la Motte 
Piquet. The preparations for the siege of Gibraltar are 
pushed with vigor. I have not yet had the honor to hear 
from Mr Jay. My last letter from Dr Franklin is dated 
the Uth ultimo. Messrs Grenville and Oswald were then 
at Paris, but had not yet received their full powers. 
Neither had Spain nor Holland sent instructions to their 
Ministers, so that the conferences could not properly be 

I have the honor to enclose in the first copy of this, a 
letter which I received the 4th instant from M. Dumas. 
The letters brought by Mr Clonard for Mr Jay were for- 
warded by the same gentleman. I remain without other 
instructions than what are contained in yours of the 1st of 
May. If Mr Jay should be detained at Paris, I shall be 
without any information but what I may obtain by my pri- 
vate correspondence and my own industry ; I beg leave 
to submit this to your consideration. 
I have the honor to be, &;c. 



St Ildefonso, July 22d, 1782. 

In my last of the Sth instant, I had the honor to inform 
you of an offer of mediation renewed to this Court by 

VOL. IX. 17 


those of Petersburg and Vienna. I have since been told, 
that tlie Count de Florida Blanca's answer was to the fol- 
lowing purport ; "that his Catholic Majesty is highly sensi- 
ble of the offers made by their Imperial Majesties to pro- 
mote the establishment of the public tranquillity, but that 
before accepting their propositions it is necessary to consult 
his ally, and for this purpose instructions will be sent to 
his Ambassador at Paris, who, in order to prevent delay, 
will at the same time be authorised to communicate the 
answer to the Russian and Imperial Ministers at the Court 
of Versailles." I had this information from a person con- 
nected with the Ambassador of the Court of Vienna. 

The Emperor is full of the project of removing his East 
India Company from Trieste to Ostend, and of augment- 
ing the commerce of his subjects, particularly in the Low 
Countries. The continuation of the war is favorable to his 
designs, at all events he will seek his own advantage in 
the proposed mediation. 

All the neutral powers seem desirous of procuring stip- 
ulations favorable to their commerce and navigation, par- 
ticularly in the Mediterranean, and for this purpose all 
appear to wish a general Congress. Perhaps upon the 
whole it would be more for the honor and permanent ad- 
vantage of the United States, to have their independence 
acknowledged and guarantied in an assembly of this na- 
ture, than by a particular treaty between the belligerent 
powers. As Mr Jay is to negotiate with the Count d'Ar- 
anda at Paris the proposed treaty, my business here is 
confined to the arrangement of the public accounts, and the 
payment of the bills still due, the collecting intelligence, 
and the solicitation of redress of the various complaints 
laid before the Ministry in behulf of individuals. For this 


last purpose I wait on the Count de Florida Blanca, and 
M. Del Campo, from time to time, and in a respectful 
manner solicit their attention to these affairs. Personally 
I have no reason to complain ; in my political character 
I should have more, if I did not know, that the first pow- 
ers in Europe are treated with the same inattention and 
delay. I mention this not to excuse the conduct of this 
Court, but to convince you, that it is not singular with 
respect to us. I have in some instances promises of re- 
dress, and it is to be hoped, that circumstances, patience, 
and good humor, will terminate these affairs to the satisfac- 
tion, in some measure, of the parties interested. 

While Mr Jay remains at Paris, as the public despatches 
are addressed to him, I shall be deprived of intelligence 
from America, except what I may acquire by private cor- 
respondence from thence. I have not had the honor to 
hear from Mr Jay since he left this place, which may have 
been occasioned by delay or ill health on the road and af- 
terwards. 'I have no correspondence with Messrs Adams 
and Dana, from whom I might receive, and to whom I 
might contribute hints, that might be of service to the pub- 
lic interest. Messrs Grenville and Oswald are still at 
Paris, but on this subject you will have from others much 
more accurate information than it is in my power to give 

The Count d'Artois is expected here tomorrow, and 
will be received and treated as an Infant of Spain. This 
visit is highly pleasing to the royal family. He is expect- 
ed with impatience. Nothing worth your notice has yet 
passed at Gibraltar. The besiegers and the besieged, 
equally prepare the one for the attack, the other for the 
defence of the place- A courier extraordinary from 


France, brings advice of the capture of eighteen transports 
and merchantmen bound to Quebec and Newfoundland. 
Unhappily the New York fleet, which sailed with the ves- 
sels captured, had two or three days before separated from 
them. A 6fty gun ship and a frigate, whicli escorted them, 
escaped. I have not yet received M. Cabarrus's account. 
When these are once delivered and settled, I shall take 
the earliest opportunity of transmitting to Congress and to 
Mr Jay, copies of all the public accounts in this country. 
I entreat your indulgence, and frequent remembrance 
of me. 

I have the honor to be, ice. 



St Ildefonso, September 8th, 1762. 

My last were of the ITih and 26ih ultimo, I am still 
without the least information from America, since the 1st 
of May, the date of your last letter. His Excellency, the 
Count de Florida Blanca, whom I had the honor to see 
yesterday, seemed apprehensive, that Congress might be 
induced to believe, from the capitulation accorded to the 
British at Providence, that this Court had not after what 
happened at Pensacola instructed its commanders to take 
care in future, that the garrisons of such places as his 
Catholic Majesty's forces might reduce, should be disposed 
of in such a manner as not to be prejudicial to any of the 
belligerent power?. His Excellency assured me how 
much he should be concerned if au oversight of the Gen- 


eral employed on this occasion, should create a misunder- 
standing injurious to the harmony which the King wished 
to cultivate with America, and prayed me to take the 
earliest opportunity of conveying these sentiments to Con- 
gress. He proceeded to inform me, that immediately 
after the Court received the articles of capitulation at Peu- 
sacola. instructions were sent to M. Galvez, to oblige the 
enemy to consent in future to the transportation of their 
prisoners to Europe ; that these orders did not reach him 
until he had left the Havana, previous to the necessary 
arrangements for the expedition against the Bahama Islands. 
I assured his Excellency, that I found myself happy in 
having an occasion to represent every instance cf his Maj- 
esty's good will, and begged leave to remind him, that 
several complaints sustained by citizens of America laid 
before his Excellency by Mr Jay, and since his departure 
by myself, remained unredressed. That I presumed his 
Excellency had given the necessary orders for their relief, 
but that his Majesty's favorable intentions had been hitherto 
frustrated by the delay, and in some cases by the injustice 
of persons employed in the service of Government. I in- 
sinuated how agreeable it would be to me to remove the 
unfavorable impressions, that his conduct had made or might 
make in the breast of my countrymen, by having it in my 
power to communicate the orders which had been given, or 
which his Majesty might be pleased to renew, for this 
effect. I particularized the case of the Lord Howe, an 
English vessel with a valuable cargo, brought into Cadiz 
by part of her crew, Americans, detained by order of the 
Admiralty, and the captors con6ned in some measure as 
prisoners of war. I represented in the strongest terms, 
the little respect paid to a positive resolution ol Congress, 


granting to the captors of vessels the properly taken in 
this manner ; a resolution occasioned by the notorious 
injustice of the common enemy, who commenced this prac- 
tice of seducing American seamen, and encouraging their 
own to enter into our service with the purpose of afterwards 
betraying the confidence reposed in them. 

His Excellency desired me to pass him an office in 
French on the subject, and promised inc an answer in 
writing, with the intention I imagine of its being sent to 
Congress. You will please to observe that t!ie negligence 
of Mr Harrison's banker, to whom he addressed his letters 
to me on this subject, retarded my knowledge of the deten- 
tion of this vessel. I had, however, spoken to M. Del 
Campo, immediately on hearing of its arrival at Cadiz, and 
repeated to him the substance of the resolution of Congress, 
from an apprehension that the officers of that port would 
observe the same conduct, as those of the Canaries had 
done in the case of the Dover cutter. I avoided mention- 
ing particularly the latter affair, until I should have obtained 
the promised answer, as if that proves favorable, as I ex- 
pect it will, I shall renew with redoubled ardor my repre- 
sentations on this head. They are, however, so much in 
want of money here, that I fear the captors will be obliged 
to wait some time for theirs. This scarcity of cash occa- 
sions the exaction of the duties at Cadiz and Bilboa, com- 
plained of by INIr Harrison and others. I have employed 
all the means in my power to convince not only the Count 
(le Florida Blanca, but also the Ministers of Finance and 
the Indies, of the impolicy as well as the injustice of this 

I have engaged several persons, who have their confi- 
dence to second me, and I hope that good humor, patience, 


and above all, frequent personal solicitations, will obtain at 
least a diminution of these duties, an object of great impor- 
tance to our commerce. In the mean time, I have advis- 
ed Mr Harrison and others to make no payments on the 
pretext that the affair is before the Ministry, for refunding 
is contrary to the spirit of this country. Important news 
may soon be expected from Gibraltar, at least my letters 
inform me that the attack is to be made this day, for that 
everything would be ready for the purpose. As I have 
very minute details of all that passes there from persons at 
head quarters, I hope I shall be able to give you a succinct 
relation of the operations. This correspondence is of a 
delicate nature for the parties concerned, and therefore I 
shall not hazard sending copies of my letters but by the 
safest conveyances. I am promised a drawing of the so 
much talked of floating batteries, which, as the nature and 
novelty of their construction may excite curiosity, I will 
forward the instant I receive it. I hope soon to have the 
honor to hear from you, and to have instructions for my 
future government. With sincere wishes that my conduct 
may not be displeasing to Congress, and with the highest 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Philadelphia, September 12th, 1782. 

All my letters of late have begun with complaints of 

neglect on the part of our Ministers, in not transmitting 

early and full intelligence of what is passing in Europe at 


this interesting period. That there may, however, be one 
exception, I will not say a word on this subject to you, only 
renninding you, that the last despatches we have been 
favored with from you are those of the 18th and 27ih of 
February. These I replied to the 6th of July; a copy of 
that letter goes with this ; since which, Carleton and Digby 
have announced the commencement of negotiations in 
Europe, and the resolution to acknowledge the independ- 
ence of America, without exacting any condition. Leslie 
has informed the inhabitants of Charleston, that he means 
to evacuate it ; measures have been accordingly taken for 
that purpose. The evacuation of New York seemed also 
in some measure determined on. But the arrival of the 
packet, announcing the late changes in the Administration, 
has revived the spirits of the tories, and they still retain 
hopes of maintaining their ground in America. Our armies 
are now united, and about moving to their old station at the 
White Plains. Pigot is at New York with twentysix sail 
of the line ; and the Marquis de Vaudreuil at Boston, where 
he has unfortunately lost the Magnificence, sunk in the 
harbor. Congress have endeavored to compensate this loss 
by presenting His Most Christian Majesty with the America, 
built at Portsmouth. She will, I believe, prove a very fine 
ship ; and with diligence, she may be fitted in time to be of 
use this campaign. 

We have nothing new among us to inform you of. The 
armies on both sides have been inactive, and our attention 
is turned on what passes in Europe. Here we are lost in 
the wide field of expectation and conjecture without a clue 
to lead us. I must again press you to think of appointing 
some agent here to receive your salary, which will be paid 
upon the spot ; and may be vested in bills to great advan- 


tage. Two quarters' salary have been transmitted by me, 
but as I am unauthorised in this business, I shall inform Mr 
Morris that he must devise some other way to make these 
remittances^ which I beg leave to decline meddling with in 

I have the honor to be, with great esteem, &;c. 



St Ildefonso, September 29th, 1782. 

I had the honor to address you on the Sth instant, since 
which we have advice of the disastrous issue of the enter- 
prise with the floating batteries against Gibraltar, but al- 
though we have had notice of this misfortune some days 
past, I have delayed writing until I could procure authentic 
information of the particular circumstances of this event. 
The enclosed copies of letters and papers, written or sent 
me by a person in the General's family, will, I hope, prove 
more satisfactory than any which you will receive from 
other quarters. The projector, M. d'Ar^on, is generally 
blamed. Enclosed you have a plan of the attack as it 
was made, and as it was intended to have been made, 
accompanied by a Memorial, which M. d'Argon sent 
hither to exonerate himself from part of the blame. I 
saw a letter he wrote an hour after the affair, in which he 
avows he had deservedly forfeited the confidence reposed 
in him by two Sovereigns. 

This news dejected exceedingly the King, the Court, 
and the nation. Their chagrin from the disappointment 
is, in some measure, proportionate to their confidence of 
VOL. IX. 18 


success. It is said, however, that the King is determined 
to continue the siege, and, I believe, that this will be the 
case. At present, an expedition in force to the West 
Indies is in agitation. I am informed from a very good 
quarter, that the command is offered to the Count d'Es- 
taing. The party which opposed him at Versailles, at the 
head of which is the Duchess de Polignac, the Queen's 
favorite, the present Minister of Marine and the former 
one, have made advances to him, and seem convinced that 
he alone can repair the disasters of the present campaign. 
I hear that he is unwilling to accept the command at this 
critical conjuncture, but as he is the only French Admiral, 
who unites the suffrage of this Court and nation in his 
favor, it is to be hoped he will comply with the general 
wish of France and Spain. This affair is yet a secret. 

From all accounts I hav6 of the Spanish marine, I fear 
that Gibraltar will be relieved. The expense of this siege 
has been enormous. I have been assured, that during the 
present campaign it has cost thirtytwo millions of piastres 
of fifteen reals each. This information comes from one of 
the first clerks of the treasury. The great demand for 
specie occasioned thereby has depreciated the paper 
money ; it fluctuates between twelve and sixteen per cent. 
To prevent its further depreciation, the Court is endeavor- 
ing to procure gold from Portugal, and negotiates, as I 
mentioned in former letters, a loan of three millions of 
florins in Holland, to be augmented in case the subscrip- 
tions fill readily. I am assured from thence, they do not, 
and I am told here by a man in the secret, that the three 
millions will be delivered in Spain in the month of De- 
cember. Messrs Hope, the negotiators of it, subscribe 
seven hundred and fifty thousand florins. 


As I have not had the honor to hear from Messrs 
Franklin and Jay anything respecting the negotiations at 
Paris for peace, I can speak only from indirect advice and 
my own conjectures. I have heard that difficulties have 
been started respecting the powers of the British Plenipo- 
tentiary to treat with our Commissioners. If this is true, 
it will require some time to remove them. On the whole, 
it may be supposed, that the negotiations will be spun out 
until the meeting of Parliament, until the event of the ex- 
pedition to relieve Gibraltar is known ; in fine, until tiie 
account of Lord Pigot's motions shall have reached Eu- 
rope, which may appear to give a favorable turn to the 
British affairs in the West Indies. No expedition can sail 
from hence in time to prevent the enemy from pushing 
their operations in that quarter, if they proceed thither in 
force and with despatch. The Dutch are like to do noth- 
ing this year ; their affairs draw to a crisis, and it is to be 
hoped, that it will prove favorable to our friends. The 
Emperor is occupied in ecclesiastical and civil changes, 
his health is in a precarious state, and he runs the risk of 
losing entirely his sight. The motions of Russia indicate 
a war with the Porte no longer Sublime. The Empress 
negotiates loans in Holland and at Genoa. I have taken 
measures to be informed of iheir success. The King of 
Great Britain, as Elector of Hanover, is recruiting in all 
the imperial cities, and it is said, he is endeavoring to ob- 
tain an additional body of German troops for the next 
campaign. The preparations for war nre as vigorous as 

I have not yet received an answer on the affair of the 
Lord Howe, mentioned in my last. I visit the Ministers, 
and pass offices on this subject and that of the duties, and 


shall omit nothing that depends on me to obtain satisfac- 
tion, and I hope the pains I take will not prove wholly in- 
effectual. Besides the affairs above mentioned, I am 
obliged to visit and write to the Judges of the Council of 
the Indies, op account of law-suits in which some of our 
countrymen are interested, and which are before them by 
appeal from the inferior jurisdictions. Even justice here 
is obtained by favor and solicitation. In other respects, 
my situation is more agreeable than I could have expected. 
I live on the best footing with almost the whole corps 
diplomatique. The Ministers of Saxony and Prussia 
seem much disposed to induce their Courts to open a 
direct commerce with America, particularly if the war 
continues. For this purpose, they have demanded and 
obtained from me, all the information in my power to give 
them, with every motive that I could employ, to persuade 
their respective Courts to engage heartily in this measure. 
If it is adopted, the Maritime Company at Berlin, under the 
King's immediate protection, and the Elector or his Min- 
isters in the name of companies of commerce, will be cod- 
cerned in the first speculations. I do not enter into details 
on this subject until I see whether these Courts are serious 
in their intentions. 

The advances and offers made me by the Minister of 
Sweden, have rendered me less sanguine. He assures 
me it was insinuated to his Sovereign by the French Min- 
ister, that it would be impolitic in him to incur tlie ill will 
of England, by prjcipitating an acknowledgment of our in- 
dependence previous to its being acknowledged by the 
rest of Europe. I wait with impatience for your instruc- 
tions and information. In the month of December, all our 
public accounts here will be arranged, when I shall do 


myself the honor to transmit copies. I cannot conclude, 
without mentioning that a Mr Littlepage, from Virginia, 
has acquired reputation by his gallant conduct in the ex- 
pedition against Mahon, where he served as Aid-de-camp 
to the Due de Crilion, and since at Gibrallar, where he 
acted in the same capacity. The Prince de Nassau, with 
whom he served as a volunteer on board his floating bat- 
tery, rendered public justice to his character at Court. 
You will permit me also to mention Mr Harrison to you 
as one, who, by his conduct, which has acquired liim uni- 
versal esteem, merits the attention of Congress whenever 
it shall be judged proper to appoint a consul at Cadiz, of 
which place he now performs the functions, with great 
trouble and considerable expense. 
I have the honor to be, &c. 




St Lorenzo, October 14th, 1782. 
The king has resolved that the English frigate, the Lord 
Howe, carried into Cadiz by some Americans and part of 
the crew, shall be publicly sold, ship and cargo, and the value 
of both be deposited, at the order of Congress and yourself. 
I communicate this to you, that being thoroughly informed, 
you may take such measures as you think proper, and 
determine immediately what is to be done with the Ameri- 
can and English seamen on board (he said vessel. I wish 


for occasions to serve you, and that God may preserve you 
many years. 



Madrid, October 29th, 1782. 


The state of uncertainty in whicJ] every one here has 
been for some time, respecting the motions of the combined 
and British fleets, to relieve, or prevent the relief of Gibral- 
tar, joined to a general embargo at Cadiz, and the want of 
other occasions, has prevented me from doing myself the 
honor of addressing you since the 29th ultimo. I hope you 
will be persuaded that my time has been devoted to no 
other pursuits than those which my duty dictates. Enclosed 
1 have the honor to send a particular relation of the most 
interesting circumstances which have passed in this interval. 
I have had occasion to compare this intelligence with that 
of others, and particularly with letters written by a marine 
officer in this service, but at the same time employed to 
convey inforination to another Court, and I find upon the 
whole my correspondent conforms with others in the most 
hjaierial points, and enters into more minute details than 
those I have seen from other quarters. 

My letters of the 26th and 29th will have advised you of 
the steps I have taken to obtain redress on affairs interest- 
ing to individuals, and to our commerce in general. The 
enclosed copy of a letter from his Excellency the Count de 
Florida Blanca, will show that my endeavors have not been 
entirely ineffectual. The affair of the duties is still under 
deliberation. As soon as INIr Harrison shall have disposed 



of the Lord Howe, I shall address the Minister on the sub- 
ject of the Dover cutter ; there can then be no pretence 
for detention or delay. 1 have since my last received ad- 
vice from Paris, but not from our commissioners, that the 
difficulties with respect to the powers of the British Pleni- 
potentiary have been obviated, and that a separate agent has 
been named to treat with us. But on this head you will 
have more ample information than it is in my power to 
give you. 

I am also informed, that M. Rayneval, brother to M. 
Gerard, has gone to London. This circumstance renders 
the appearance of the negotiation more serious. I am per- 
suaded the greatest obstacles to a pacification will come 
from this quarter. It is difficult to relinquish favorite ideas, 
of which to attain the accomplishment, so much treasure 
has hitherto been spent in vain. Perhaps it will be best for 
us that we have not concluded a treaty here, which we have 
so long solicited. 

The expedition mentioned in my last, is certainly 
resolved on. The Count d'Estaing it is said will have the 
command, and will sail from Cadiz with between forty and 
fifty sail of the line, and ten or twelve thousand troops. 
The squadron at Brest is fitting for sea, and is to consist of 
eight or ten sail of the line. It is conjectured it will sail as 
soon as Lord Howe's return is known. If the junction is 
formed in time, this formidable force, under the command 
of an officer distinguished for his zeal and activity, may has- 
ten the negotiations. 

The answers to my letters to Holland, on the subject of 
the Russian loan, and to those which I have procured others 
to write to Genoa on the same point, inform me that it fills 
slowly. That of Spain for three millions will be obtained. 


I have no doubt of ihe truth of my information on this sub- 
ject. In Portugal they pay dear for the gold they obtain 
from thence. The depreciation is greater than ever, and 
to prevent its further progress, is one of the most serious 
objects of the attention of the Ministry. No changes since 
my last have taken place in the general system of Europe, 
or in this Cabinet, except that the Count de Florida Blanca 
has joined another department in the Ministry to that which 
he before occupied, viz. that of Grace and Justice, vacant 
by the death of M. Rode. Of course he will have more 
to do than ever, and I shall be obliged to remind him more 
frequently of our little affairs. 

My situation wMlh respect to American information is 
exceedingly disagreeable. I hear of arrivals in France, 
and of letters being received by our Ministers there, 
without any for me ; I am persuaded that the blame falls 
on European curiosity. I expect soon to have an occa- 
sion of writing to you, when I shall do myself the honor to 
transmit you any further particulars that may appear worthy 
of your notice. I cannot help repeating that notwithstand- 
ing the appearances of peace, the preparations for war are 
as vigorous as ever. 

I have the honor to be, he. 


Philadelphia, November 28th, 1782. 

I have been favored with your letter of the 8th of July ; 
those you mention to have written on the 5th and 12th of 
March and the 2d of Julv, never reached me. I res:ret 


that you had no directions from Mr Jay to open his letters, 
as those you forwarded contained much information that 
might have been useful to you, on which account I was 
less particular than 1 should otherwise have been in mine 
to you. 

The great business of the negotiation being transferred 
to Paris, you will have more leisure to attend to the gen- 
eral politics of the Court you are at, and to procure every 
species of intelligence, which may serve to regulate our 
conduct here. We have yet had no information except 
what you mention, of any new profier of their mediation 
by the Imperial Courts ; it is an important object, and I 
wish you to throw all the light you possibly can upon it ; 
as we are particularly anxious to know the substance of 
the answer, which you suppose to have been given to 
it by Spain. You need never be under the least appre- 
hensions in vouching boldly for this country, that it will 
make no peace which is inconsistent with its engagement to 
its allies. Perhaps this string skilfully touched may lead 
nations who have hitherto kept aloof, to form connexions 
which may bind us to them. 

The enclosed resolutions will show you the sense of 
Congress on that subject ; and the resolutions, which you 
will see in some of the papers sent you, expressive of the 
same sentiments from almost every separate legislature, will 
show that the fidelity of this country is incorruptible. 

The season of the year affords no military intelligence. 
Our troops are in quarters at West Point. The French 
army are waiting at Providence such orders as the opera- 
tions in the West Indies may suggest. Their fleet is still 
at Boston, The America, built at Portsmouth, is added 
to them. She is pronounced by connaisseurs to be a very 
VOL. IX. 19 


fine ship ; should she answer iheir expectations, we may 
hope to build others for European powers. Tliis would 
be a very important commercial object, and as such de- 
serves attention. 

General Carleton has restrained the savages from con- 
tinuing the war, which they have so long carried on 
against our frontiers ; and Haldiman has suffered those 
they had led into captivity to return on parole, so that we 
have reason to hope that a little more humanity will mark 
their future operations in this country, if ever they should 
find themselves sufficiently strong to venture from behind 
their ramparts. This consideration, together with the in- 
tercession of the Court of France, has induced Congress 
to forego their intended retaliation on Captain Asgill, who 
is discharged from his confinement and suffered to go to 
New York on parole. 

You will find in the enclosed papers, all the intelligence 
we have with respect to the proposed evacuation of 
Cliarleston. We have been in daily expectation of hear- 
ing that it was abandoned for a long time past, but have 
not as yet had our expectations answered. 

The enclosed resolution will inform you that Mr Boudi- 
not is President in the room of Mr Hanson. Congress 
have again appointed ]\Ir Jefferson one of their Ministers 
for making peace. I have not yet been informed whether 
he accepts the appointment, though I have some reason to 
conclude he will. 

Mr Stewart going to Paris affords me a safe opportu- 
nity of sending a cypher there for you ; and if Mr Jay can 
contrive to get it to you without inspection, you will be en- 
abled to correspond with more latitude in future. 
I am, Sir, &tc. 




Madrid, December 10th, 1782. 


On the 5th instant I did myself the honor to address 
you. To that letter and those of the 29th of October, 
and of the 17th of November, I beg leave to refer you for 
the occurrences during that period. 

I have now the pleasure to inform you, that I have just 
been shown a copy in French, of a treaty signed the 30th 
ult. between the United States and Great Britain, by our 
Commissioners and Mr Oswald, in which the essential 
objects desired by Congress have been obtained. Not 
having it in my power to take a copy, I confine myself to 
inform you, that it consists of nine articles, of which the 
principal are a renunciation, in the strongest terms, of all 
sovereignty claimed by the King of Great Britain for him- 
self and his successors. A description of the limits of the 
States agreeably to the uhimata of Congress, as nearly as 
I can recollect from a cursory perusal ; the right of fishery 
on the Great Bank accorded ; the same on the coasts of 
Nova Scotia, in the Straits of Labrador, and the Gulf of 
St Lawrence, with the permission to cure and dry our fish 
on all the uninhabited parts of Nova Scotia and Labrador, 
the Islands of Magdaline and Newfoundland excepted ; 
with a proviso, that this permission is to cease whenever 
the said coasts and islands shall be inhabited, unless leave 
shall be demanded and obtained previously of the inhabi- 
tants thereof; a recommendation of Congress to the 
States in favor of the British who have not borne arms, 
possessing property in America ; of the non-residents and 
loyal inhabitants in the same predicament, &;c. &c. he. 


But this article depends entirely on the recommendations 
of Congress, the States being the final arbiters- 
Great Britain in this treaty associates the States in their 
right of the free navigation of the river Mississippi, and 
also in that of the river St Mary's. All places in pos- 
session of the enemy belonging to the United Slates to be 
restored, with the cannon, &c. he. which shall appear to 
have been their property, together with the public and pri- 
vate archives, which may have fallen into their hands ; all 
conquests made on the one part or the other after the sig- 
nature, to be restored. This treaty is conditional, that is, 
not to take place until France has concluded a peace with 
Great Britain. Neither Spain nor Holland are mentioned 
in it. If political vengeance is ever justifiable, it is on the 
present occasion. You will pardon the hasty manner in 
which I wrote this. A desire of augmenting your sources 
of information will, I hope, plead my apology. I am 
much afraid that my situation here will be more disagree- 
able than ever. I flatter myself, that my political con- 
duct has been such as not to draw upon me personal 
resentments. 1 hope, at all events, I have conducted my- 
self in a manner not to have merited censure, if circum- 
stances have not permitted me to acquire approbation. 
For the rest, I have a full reliance on the wisdom of 

I have the honor to be, he. 




Madrid, December 30th, 1782. 

On the 10th instant I had the honor to inform you, that 
I had seen a French translation of a conditional treaty, 
concluded hetvveen the Commissioners of the United 
States at Paris, and Mr Oswald on the part of Great 
Britain, the 30th ult. I have since received a letter from 
Dr Franklin enclosing a copy of it. I hope it will be sat- 
isfactory to Congress, and the people at large. Various 
are the reflections to which this event has given rise here. 
I am persuaded that this Court was far from expecting that 
Great Britain would make the concessions she has made 
to the Stales. The surprise, and even the chagrin of 
several of the Ministers and their adherents were apparent, 
and from the instant they received the intelligence, I am 
convinced their attention has been turned to peace. 

It has been suggested, that our Commissioners signed 
this treaty without the privity of the Court of France. 
This suggestion was made with a view to pacify this 
Court, and to calin the resentment, which at Versailles, it 
was supposed, might be conceived here on this account. 
The means employed prove that the French INlinistry ap- 
prehended this resentment, but were in no manner suffi- 
cient to answer the purpose they were intended to serve. 
The Count de Florida Blanca, speaking of France upon 
this occasion, said to a friend of mine with some emotion, 
the French Ministry was too precipitate in beginning the 
war, and is equally so in their endeavors to conclude it. 
M. Musquiz, the Minister of Finance, and M, Del Campo 
have expressed the same sentiments, and have insinuated 


to some, that France concerted this measure with our 
Commissioners to force Spain to a peace. To others 
they expressed their apprehensions that Lord Shelburne 
had duped the French cabinet. They fear the duplicity 
of the latter Minister, and this fear joined to their present 
situation has, probably, rendered them more reasonable in 
their demands and concessions. They will now style this 
conduct moderation. I conjecture this, because the Count 
de Florida Blanca, speaking to the Russian Minister on the 
subject of the peace, told him, that were the propositions 
on the part of Spain towards an accommodation known, all 
Europe would be convinced of the moderation of his 
Catholic Majesty, and that for his part, he should have no 
objection to make them public. 

On the 28ih instant a courier was despatched to Paris, 
with instructions to the Count d'Aranda. On the 18th, 
one was sent to the same Minister, with propositions which 
were then regarded as their ultimata. It is now rumored 
in the palace, that Spain had consented to leave Gibraltar 
in the possession of England. Since the departure of this 
courier the Connt de Florida Blanca has rpoken of the 
peace as certain, if the British Ministry are candid. As 
soon as I received advice of the treaty above mentioned, 
I consulted the French Ambassador on the part I had to 
act here. I apprehended that it would be improper for 
me to act longer in a public character, after the acknowl- 
edgment by Great Britain, without being received in all 
respects as such. He felt the delicacy of my situation, 
and advised me to remain tranquil until the fate of a nego- 
tiation for a general paciQcation was known. Jn conse- 
quence, I have confined myself to mere personal civilities, 
and have neither addressed nor solicited the Minister on 
any affair since. 



The affair of the Dover cutter remains in the same situ- 
ation. The Ministry liave consented to diminish a third 
part of the duties demanded on the produce of the West 
Indies imported in American vessels. Mr Harrison has 
not been obliged to pay as yet those duties at Cadiz. I 
have just received a letter from the Marquis de Lafayette, 
who arrived at that port the 23d instant, having preceded 
the French fleet of nine sail and seven thousand troops, 
which sailed from Brest the 7ih. The letter was calcu- 
lated for inspection, and intended to excite in this Minis- 
try, distrust of Lord Shelburne, and to induce them to 
furnish Congress with funds for the prosecution of the war. 
I received it by post, and answered it in the same style, 
by the same conveyance. I also made use of the hints to 
throw out to persons, who I know will convey them to the 

They cannot procure sufficient funds for their own ex- 
penses. They have just opened a loan of one hundred 
and eighty millions of reals, of which it is proposed to re- 
ceive two thirds in cash, and the other in obligations of 
debts contracted in the reign of Philip the Fifth. The 
duties on tobacco are engaged for the payment of the in- 
terest, which is three per cent in perpetuity, and seven per 
cent in annuities. These are the outlines of the proposed 
plan, I have seen the brouillon of the schedule, which is not 
yet published. No great success is expected from this loan. 
On the 20th an assembly of the subscribers to the bank of 
San Carlos, was held to choose directors and other officers, 
and to deliberate on further means for its establishment. 
The Governor of the Council of Castile presided at this 
assembly, the Minister of Finance was present, as likewise 
were the First Under Secretaries of the different depart- 


ments of government. I found means to procure admit- 
tance to this meeting. Every proposition made by the 
projector, (M. Cabarrus) was unanimously agreed to. 
There were no speeches except to applaud the bounty of 
the King, who, to enable the bank to commence its opera- 
tions, has granted thirty millions of reals in specie, and to 
tlie same amount in grain for the supply of the army, navy, 
he. The directors chosen are much my friends, and 
have promised to give America the preference in all arti- 
cles which it can furnish for the use of the marine, &sc. 
&;c. These directors as I advised you in former letters, 
are charged with the supplies for the army, navy, he. with 
a commission of ten per cent to the profit of the bank. It 
will commence its proceedings in the month of April, with 
a capital of between four and five million of dollars. 

I have mentioned, that I was formally visited by many 
members of the corps diplomatique, after the signature 
of the treaty with Great Britain. It n)ay not be improper 
to acquaint you with the names of the respective countries 
of those who were the first to pay me their compliments 
on this occasion. The Ambassadors of Vienna and 
Venice, the Ministers of Russia, Prussia, Saxony, and 
Treves, and the Charge iVJlffnircs of Denmark, paid me 
this respect. Most of them, but particularly the latter, 
seemed desirous of being informed of the method Con- 
gress proposed to take for the interchange of Ministers. 
Not knowing the sentiments of Congress on this subject, 
I replied, that whenever they chose to make official appli- 
cation to me, I would take the earliest opportunity of lay- 
ing them before that body. Should Congress judge proper 
to employ persons at any of these Courts, permit me to 
suggest that the title of Minister will greatly augment the 


expense of these missions. That title obliges their ser- 
vants to support an equipage and appearance, in some 
degree suitable to their rank, which often renders it im- 
proper for them to associate with those from whom the 
most useful information is to be obtained. The King of 
Prussia has adopted this system, and 1 am told the Empe- 
ror means to do the same. 

In my next letter I expect to send copies of all our pub- 
lic accounts here, and am taking every proper step to 
prepare for irjy departure from hence, in case the Court 
should not change its conduct. I shall endeavor to behave 
on this occasion, in the manner least offensive possible, as 
well in consideration for the interests of our allies, as from 
a wish to prevent the Ministry from having any reasonable 
pretexts for disgust. For this purpose I have consulted, 
and shall continue to consult, the French Ambassador, as 
also the Marquis de Lafayette, whom I will induce to 
come hither should the peace take place, of which I have 
little doubt. 

The divisions in Holland, are higher than ever. The 
King of Prussia seems disposed to take a part in them in 
favor of the Sladtholder. These divisions will probably 
be fatal to the interests of that country at the peace, and 
afford a striking example of the necessity of union in sim- 
ilar governments. I cannot refrain from adding, that our 
friends are apprehensive of animosities and jealousies be- 
tween the Stales in our confederation, and that it seems to 
be the hope of our enemies. With the uiost fervent wishes 
that the latter may be disappointed, 
I have the honor to be, &tc. 


VOL. IX. 20 



Madrid, January 18th, 1783. 

I had the satisfaction to receive some days ago your 
letters of the 6th of July and the I2th of September, and 
am sorry that of the many which I have had the honor 
to write you in the course of the spring and summer, 
none had yet reached you. I liope that this circumstance, 
which causes me the greatest affliction, will not induce you 
or others to believe that I have missed any safe occasion of 
writing to you. Had I been possessed of a cypher, I 
flatter myself there would have been less occasion for this 
complaint. I have been, and am at present obliged to 
avail myself of private conveyances to forward my letters 
to the seaports of France and Spain ; these occasions do 
not offer so frequently as I could desire. Indeed, few 
American vessels have sailed from Bilboa this summer, 
and the embargo at Cadiz during part of the campaign, 
prevented me from sending letters regularly from that 
port. Five vessels by which my letters were forwarded 
have been taken by the enemy, and others, which I was 
constrained to send by post to L'Orient and other ports of 
France, taking all the means in my power to prevent their 
being inspected, although sent from hence in the months 
of July and August, were not received by my correspon- 
dents until the 16th of October. I have received several 
packets of newspapers from your quarter without any 
letters. I must confess to you, that this kind of intelli- 
gence is very expensive, every packet costing me from 
five to ten dollars, and we have no allowance for extraor- 
dinary expenses. 


Since my last of the 31st ult. I have repeatedly insinu- 
ated to those who have the (Confidence of the Ministers, 
my apprehensions that the conduct of Spain vv^ould oblige 
Congress to take steps very different from what were their 
intentions when they sent Mr Jay and myself to this Court ; 
that I saw with pain, the use which Great Britain hoped to 
make of our resentment ; and to give weight to these insinu- 
ations, I availed myself of the letters, which the Marquis 
de Lafayette has done me the honor to address me from 
Cadiz. I know these hints have been conveyed to the 
Ministry, and am assured underhand, that 1 shall have 
soon reason to be satisfied. To these assurances I re- 
plied, that with all the desire 1 had to contribute to a last- 
ing harmony between the two countries, it would be im- 
possible for me, consistent with propriety and the idea I 
had of the dignity of my constituents, to remain here 
longer unless received formally in the character with 
which I had been honored by Congress, adding, that I 
should not be surprised to receive letters of recall. The 
methods taken to persuade me to be tranquil a little longer, 
prove that the Court thinks seriously of its situation with 
respect to the United States, but it will always be with re- 
luctance and an ill grace, that it will consent to do what it 
ought to have done long ago generously. 

Some small circumstances persuade me that M. Gar- 
doqui will shortly be despatched. He applies himself to the 
French language with much assiduity, and throws out hints 
that he shall soon pay a visit to his wife, whom he has 
not seen for two years and a half. I am also told by a 
lady much esteemed by M. Del Campo, that he means 
shordy to leave Spain, for he has promised her that at his 
departure, he will give her a set of horses to which he is 


much attached. It is possible he may be sent to aid the 
Count d'Aranda to arrange the commercial articles of the 
peace, of which the preliminary articles are supposed by 
this time to be signed. 

The two last mentioned geiillemen have Irequently spoke 
to me of the disadvantages of their commercial connexions 
with England, and I have seized the opportunity of en- 
deavoring to convince them, that by according certain ad- 
vantages to our fisheries, and by contracting with us for 
tobacco, Sec. instead of taking the latter article from Por- 
tugal, they may at the same time prejudice their natural 
enemies, and perpetuate a future good understanding with 
America. Similar representations have been made by me 
with respect to such articles furnished by the northern 
powers, and which the States can supply. However, I 
trust more to the interest 1 have with the perpetual direc- 
tors of the bank to obtain these advantages, than to any 
influence of either of these gentlemen. 

I have just been shown a copy of the proclamation of 
pardon and indemnity granted to those concerned in the 
insurrection at Santa 'Fe and the adjacent provinces ; it 
was published the 12th of August, 17S2. Although the 
Viceroy endeavors to preserve the dignity and honor of 
the Crown in the expressions of this peace, yet, in fact, it 
accords all the concessions demanded by the malecontents. 
These disturbances, and the expensive expeditions of the 
Galvez family, have not only consumed the revenues of 
the Crown in Spanish America received during the war, 
but mortgaged them for some years to come. 1 am also 
informed, that the Court means soon to publish a new 
tariff on the imports to this country. 1 know that such a 
measure has been more than two years in agitation, and 


I believe, it will bear hard on the commerce of other 

1 refer you to former letters for particulars respecting the 
negotiations for peace, I will only add, that the Ministry 
now desire the conclusion of the war, and even are appre- 
hensive of the duplicity of the British cabinet, which ap- 
prehensions it is the interest of others to excite and 
increase. I converse often with those who have theii* 
confidence ; 1 know their wants and their fears of not 
having resources for the continuance of the war, and I am 
confident they desire peace, and fear the reverse. The 
expedition from Cadiz would not be ready until towards 
the end of the month, if it were found necessary to des- 
patch it. Fortyeight sail of the line, and from eighteen to 
twenty thousand men, and not from ten to twelve thous- 
and, as mentioned in my last, are to be employed in this 
expedition. The siege of Gibraltar is obstinately and un- 
profitably continued, and the King is made to believe that 
in the course of the year it will be taken by sap. 

I have received letters from Paris, which advise me that 
bills for my salary had been mentioned by you to have 
been sent, but that they had not come to hand. Your 
letters, and one I received from Mr Morris, give me the 
same information. I could wish that my salary should be 
transmitted directly to me from your department, but as it 
does not appear convenient, I have directed Mr John Ross 
to receive it, and I hope you will have the goodness to fa- 
cilitate him the means of doing it. A mistake, which is 
not yet corrected by IMessrs Drouilliet, our bankers here, 
in the account they delivered me some time ago, prevents 
rae from transmitting the public accounts with this letter, 
but in the course of a few days, I hope they will be com- 


plete, when I will do myself the honor of forwarding 
them, together with my account against the public. I am 
in much distress for the arrears. I conclude with fervent 
wishes, that every future year may present the affairs of 
the United States in the same lavorable point of view, in 
which they appear at the comnjcncement of the present j 
and with sincere thanks for your indulgence hitherto, 
I have the honor to be, k,c. 



Madrid, February 21st, 1783. 

I had the honor to address you on the 31st of Decem- 
ber, and the 18th and 30ih of January, to which letters I 
beg leave to refer you for the jiarticular occurrences dur- 
ing that period. 

I have now the pleasure to inform you, that the Court of 
Spain has at length thought proper to receive me formally 
as the Charge d* Affaires of the L^nited States. The letters 
above mentioned will have advised you of the political mo- 
tives, which induced me to wish the presence of the Mar- 
quis de Lafayette. They will also have informed you of 
the means I employed, and which his correspondence ena- 
bled me to employ more efficaciously, to impress this Court 
with an idea of the necessity of immediately acknowledg- 
ing the independence of the L'niled States.* Since they 
were written, the Count de Montmorin had a long conver- 

• See the letters here referred to in M. tie Lafayette's Correspon- 
dence, in the present work. 


sation on the subject of oui' affairs with the King, and after- 
wards with the Count de Florida Blanca. The King's 
answer to the Ambassador's representations was, we shall 
see. Tlie Minister appeared still desirous of procrasti- 

On the instant, the Marquis de Lafayette arrived, 

and with that zeal and ardor, which ever influenced him 
when the interests of the United States were in question, 
immediately consulted with me on the steps to be taken 
with the Minister. I informed him of what I had done. 

We were of the same opinion, viz. that he should seize 
the first opportunity of speaking to the Count de Florida 
Blanca, on the subject of our affairs. He did so, com- 
municating to me the particulars of the conversation. As 
the Marquis proposes to address you by the same vessel, 
by which you will receive this letter, I refer you to his cir- 
cumstantial relation of his conferences. My reception in 
a public character has been the result ; and last night the 
Marquis accompanied me to an audience of the Minister. 
He was content with my reception, and personally I had 
no reason to be dissatisfied. The Count de Florida 
Blanca remarked to me, smiling, that he thought that I had 
left Madrid. I did not choose, as things were in so good a 
train, to enter into a discussion of the reasons which indu- 
ced me to forbear my visits to him, and therefore only re- 
plied, that I never found myself so well at Madrid as at 
present. It is unnecessary to repeat such parts of tha 
conversation as were merely personal. His expressions 
of friendship for the Marquis were unbounded, and the 
latter omitted no opportunity of pressing, in the strongest 
manner, the Minister to take speedy and effectual meas- 
ures to convince the States of the desire of his Catholic 
Majesty to cultivate their amity. 


The Marquis informs me, that he sent you a copy of the 
letter he wrote to the Minister, in order to obtain a written 
answer, conceding points to which he had agreed in con- 
versation. He pressed an answer to this letter, and was 
assured by the Count de Florida Blanca, that he should 
have it on the Saturday morning following, and that it 
would be satisfactory. The Count invited me to dine 
with him on that day as Charge (TAjJaires of America, 
and as I had suggested to the JNlarquis, that I should 
choose a written invitation in the customary form, the 
Marquis took the Count aside and spoke to him of it, in 
the Ambassador's name. The latter admitted the pro- 
priety of the proposal, and promised to send it. There is 
but one circumstance which occasions a difficulty with res- 
pect to my presentation, it has hitherto been the etiquette 
to present jio Charge d'affaires to the King and royal 
family, except those from France and Vienna. The Count 
mentioned this to us, but at the same time said, 1 should 
be received in the most honorable manner. Personally 
these distinctions will never influence my conduct, but 
nationally, I should wish to obtain every mark of honor 
possible for the representatives of the United States. For 
this reason 1 gave it as my opinion to the Marquis, that I 
ought not to go to Court until this point was settled. His 
sentiments were the same. 

There are, however, difficulties to be apprehended in 
the attainment of this object. The short stay of the Ttlar- 
quis here, the necessity of my being conslantly with him, 
the desire he has shown to treat me on all occasions, and 
in the most public manner as tiie representative of the 
country he serves, and to be introduced by me every- 
where ; all these circumstances have engaged so much of 


my alteiition and time, as to preclude me from entering 
into further details ; details which will be unnecessary after 
those you will assuredly receive from himself. It is the 
happiest circumstance of my life, that the man whose ser- 
vices I was instrumental in procuring to my country, should 
be the one to whom in a great measure I owe my first 
public appearance at the Court of Spain. 

The precipitate departure of the Marquis prevents me 
from copying, in time for this conveyance, the public ac- 
counts. In ten days they will all he complete, and I hope 
I shall be enabled, by our Minister in France, to pay the 
balances, which are not considerable, and by that means 
commence our political career here with the credit and 
reputation, which we have hitherto preserved. 
I have the honor to be, Sir, &c, 



Madrid, March 13th, 1783. 

I had the honor to address you on the 18ih and 30th of 
January, and the 21st ult. In the last I advised you, that 
this Court had consented to receive me in a public char- 
acter, and as such I had been formally invited to dine with 
the corps diplomntique, at the Count de Florida Blanca's 
table. On the 22d ultimo, accompanied by ihe Marquis 
de Lafayette, I went to the Pardo, the present residence of 
the royal family, where we dined together, a circumstance 
which not a little surprised several of the foreign IMinislers, 
who knew that I had for some time neglected to pay mv 
court there. Those of Russia and Vienna were particu- 
voh. IX. 21 


larly curious. From their conduct then and since, I am 
persuaded they are mortified in having led their respec- 
tive Courts to believe, that a connexion between the United 
States and Spain was more distant than it appears to be at 

The not having ns yet been presented, occasioned many 
conjectures, and subjects me to many questions. I have 
been asked by several of the foreign INIinisters, if I meant 
to pay the usual visits, and to make the customary notifi- 
cations of this event to the corps diplomatique here. I 
have in general replied, that I had not determined as yet 
what would be my conduct on the occasion, but that cer- 
tainly, if presented in the absence of Mr Jay, I should visit 
none, however great my personal respect might be for 
them, without being previously informed, that they would 
return my visit. It is my opinion, I ought to wait on none 
but those of France, Holland, and Prussia ; the latter, be- 
cause on his presentation to the royal family, he paid the 
same compliment to me as to others. 1 presume that my 
presentation will not take place, until the Count de Florida 
Blanca receives an answer from the Count d'Aranda, 
whom he directed to communicate to ]Mr Jay the present 
disposition of this Court. 

On the 15th ult. the Court of Portugal thought proper 
to repeal an ordinance, published the 5th of July, 1776, 
prohibiting the entry of all American vessels into the ports 
of Portugal, 8cc. he, and directing in future, that they 
shall be treated on the same footing as those of other na- 
tions in friendship with that Crown. 

On the 30ih of January I had the honor to inform you, 
that it was more than probable that the Emperor and Rus- 
sia meditated great designs. It has been my constant en- 



deavor since to procure information on tliat head. I will 
not pretend to give as authentic, the result of my inqui- 
ries, although I have collected my information from various 
persons in a situation of knowing what })asses at these 
Courts. From tliese I have collected, that in the month 
of April, 1780, the Courts of Vienna and Petersburg 
adopted the project of attacking the Turkish empire in 
Europe, and at that period concluded an eventual partition 
treaty. In order to have time to make the necessary pre- 
parations for this war, and to conceal their real intentions, 
these Courts offered their mediation to the belligerent 
powers, and proposed a general Congress, in which they 
hoped to embroil matters still further, and to retard the 
peace. The Courts of France and Spain were aware of 
their intention, and although they accepted the proffered 
offer of mediation, they evaded, under different pretexts, 
fixing either the place or the time for assembling the Con- 
gress. I remarked, that soon after the signature of our 
provisional treaty with Great Britain, the Ambassador of the 
Emperor and the Russian IMinister were very uneasy, and 
exceedingly inquisitive to know whether there would be a 
general Congress or not, sounding me on that subject on a 
supposition, that I should be advised of it by Dr Frank- 
lin. Lately, they have circulated a report, that the Con- 
gress would be held at Vienna. The Count de Montrno- 
rin, who was compromitted in this rumor, took an oppor- 
tunity to mention publicly, that neither viva voce, nor by 
letter had he given the least surmise that would authorise 
it. Since, from the same quarter, it has been insinuated, 
that the Courts of Vienna and Petersburg had taken their 
measures, and would not be deterred from the prosecution 
of them. 


Great pains have been taken to persuade others, that the 
King of Prussia had acceded to this confederation on con- 
sideration ofCourland, and tliat part of Silesia, still in pos- 
session of the Austrian family, being ceded to hitn. This 
gained credit even at Court, and my intimacy with the 
Prussian Minister induced me to speak of it to him in a 
friendly way, as a circumstance that would be prejudicial 
to his negotiation here. He then assured me he had no 
information on the subject, and on my naming to him the 
source from whence I had my information, he cautiously 
avoided appearing united with the Imperial and Russian 
representatives, and a day or two ago positively assured 
me, that he had received letters from the King, which au- 
thorised him to say, that there was no foundation for this 
rumor. He made, I believe, the same comiriunication to 
the Count de Montmorin, and further observed to me, that 
the Court of Vienna iiad made use of the same artifice to 
induce the Elector of Bavaria to consent to a dismember- 
ment of his country. 

The last letters from the north speak much of the great 
preparations for war, making in the Austrian and Russian 
dominions. The firm conduct of the Court of France 
may dissipate this storm, if the accession of the Court of 
Prussia to this confederation should not prove true. I 
liave been assured from a very good quarter, that Lord 
Shelburne saw with uneasiness the intentions of the Em- 
peror and Russia. But the late triumphs of his opponents 
in Parliament will probably oblige him to resign. The 
preliminary articles of peace, particularly those with the 
United Stales, were very ill received. The address of 
thanks in the lower House was negatived by a majority of 
sixteen, and carried in the upper by eight only. Lord 



Grantham told the Charge cVAffaires of Spain, that the 
treaty with America had been the ruin of Lord Shel- 
burne's administration ; that he expected to be obliged to 
give in his resignation also, for which reason he could not 
proceed in his negotiation, until he saw whether the admin- 
istration, of which he was a member, kept its ground or 

Thus for the present all is anarchy and confusion in 
England. The same spirit of division seems to have seized 
the army and navy. There have been great riots at 
Portsmouth. The scarcity of grain may occasion similar 
disturbances in different parts of the kingdom. The Dan- 
ish Envoy at this Court has just communicated to me let- 
ters, which he has received from his Court, in answer to 
those which he wrote in consequence of his conversation 
with me on the subject of the treaty between the United 
States and Denmark. The Minister advises him, in order 
to accelerate this affair, that the King had thought proper 
to send to Paris a person, with powers to treat with Dr 
Franklin. That this gentleman was to leave Copenhagen 
the middle of February, and had instructions to communi- 
cate to him the result of his conferences with Dr Frank- 
lin, and that he himself had orders to impart to me this 
correspondence. He added, that lhe King was sincerely 
disposed to cultivate an amity with the States, that Den- 
mark would make Christianstand a free port to the com- 
merce of America, and give it every other advantage in 
Europe and the West Indies, which could be reasonably 
desired. He finished, by entreating me to make known 
these sentiments to Congress. 

The Saxon Minister daily expects permission to give 
me extracts from such despatches of his Court to him as 


relate to our afiliirs, in order to convince Congress of the 
early desire of the Elector to form connexions between 
the citizens of the States and his subjects. The Minister 
of Sweden is much mortified, that the negotiation which 
he conmicnccd with me should have been takr-n out of his 
hands, and given to the Ambassador from that Court at 
Paris. He informs me that a treaty of amity and com- 
merce is on the point of being concluded, if not already 
signed, by Dr Frankliii and ilio Swedish representative at 

Thus, Sir, wc have the pleasure to see arrive, the 
period when our friendship is solicited by most of the Eu- 
ropean nations. As we shall have, undoubtedly, a consid- 
erable commerce in the Mediterranean, it is to be wished 
that early measures may be taken to cultivate the friend- 
ship of the States of Barbary. It has been reported here, 
that Spain will make another attempt on Algiers as soon as 
the definitive treaty is signed. 

The bank, so often mentioned in former letters, will 
very soon commence its operations. The subscription 
fills fast, and the directors assure me they shall be able to 
fulfil what they have promised to the public. The direc- 
tors for the sup|)ly of the army and navy, have engaged to 
^,ivc America the ])reference for such supplies as they may 
from time to time stand in need of from thence, and for 
this purpose have taken from me the address of mercan- 
tile houses in the difierent States. I mention this, in order 
that the different members in Congress may be enabled to 
inform their constituents, who, [)erhaps, might choose to 
furnish sujjplies of the produce of the Stales to which they 
belong to this country, and who may be able to do it on 
better terms than the parties I have recommended. The 


articles most in demand will be masts, spars, tar, pitch, 
turpentine, jlour, grain, fish, &c. The tariff, mentioned in 
my last, excites universal complaint ; there is scarce a 
Minister from a maritime Court, who is not preparing to 
make remonstrances. I shall see what success they have, 
and regulate my conduct thereby. If we obtain any par- 
tial advantages, they must be derived from treaty, and the 
desire of Spain to cultivate our friendship. 

The Court has not yet named a Minister to the United 
States. Indeed, it is difficult to find a proper person for 
this employment. I proposed to a M. Jose Llanos, a 
gentleman highly respected here for his abilities and his 
agreeable manners, this commission. He is nephew of 
the Duke d'Osada, a favorite of the King. The proposal 
was received with great marks of satisfaction, and will con- 
tribute to secure his good will and friendship, as well as 
that of his uncle, if it answers no other purpose. The 
same Under Secretary in the foreign department, who is 
charged with the affairs of Great Britain, has also the 
direction of those of the United States. On being informed 
of this circumstance, 1 paid him my compliments, and. 
shall neglect nothing which shall enable me to secure his 
good will, on which, in a great measure, depends the des- 
patch of business which passes through his hands. 

Since my residence in this country, I have written seve- 
ral long letters to the Philadelphia Philosophical Society, 
in which, among other things, I recommended to its atten- 
tion, the nomination of persons in this country as honorary 
members. I know not whether these letters ever came to 
hand, for which reason permit me to suggest to you, 
whether the nomination of the njost distinguished literary 
characters in the different countries of Europe might not be 


useful. The suffrage of the republic of letters lias con- 
tributed to give us a celebrity during the war, and this 
union formed with its chiefs in various countries, will 
secure useful connexions to our Ministers, as well as to the 
American youth who may travel for instruction. Should 
this idea meet your approbation, I would take the liberty of 
recommending the Count de Campomanes, Fiscal of the 
Council of Castile, the above mentioned Don Caspar Jose 
Llanos, and the Abbe Gavarra, Secretary of the Academy 
of History. 

In consequence of your request to nominate a person to 
receive my salary, I have written to I\Ir John Ross to act 
for me. I have now more than three quarters due, and 
am absolutely obliged to live on credit. I am under great 
obligations to Dr Franklin for his kindness in assuming the 
bills, which I have been constrained to draw on him hith- 
erto; but dare not draw for the amount of salary due me, 
lest he should not have funds. It is impossible for me to 
retrench my expenses, without, at the same time, de- 
priving myself of the occasions of seeing frequently those 
here from whom alone useful information can be drawn. 

I am happy to have had the iNlarquis de Lafayette, a 
witness of my conduct, and I flatter myself that his testi- 
mony will convince you, that I have neglected nothing to 
conciliate the esteem of the best informed natives, and the 
most distinguished foreigners at this Court, from whom I 
could expect either countenance or intelligence. If pos- 
sible, I will endeavor to send with this letter copies of all 
public accounts. Having no one to assist me in the 
comparing with the books and examining the number of 
bills which have been paid, their dates, &.c. &w:. in making 
out copies, and being but an indifferent accountant, I pro- 


ceed more slowly than I desire in their arrangement. I 
hope Congress will finally have no reason to complain, as 
it has been and ever will be, ray highest ambition to merit 
the confidence reposed in me. 
I have the honor to be, he. 



Philadelphia, May 7th, 1783. 

I congratulate you upon the turn our affairs are likely 
to take with you, and the prospect your letters open of a 
speedy connexion between us and the Court of Madrid. 
Her cold and distant conduct (which I much lament) has 
somewhat damped the ardor of this country to render that 
connexion as intimate as possible. No people in the world 
are more governed by their feelings than the Americans, 
of which the late war was a striking proof, and those feel- 
ings have been long sported with in Spain. Yet men of 
reflection see the propriety of overlooking the past, and 
forming in future a durable connexion. 

We are necessary to each other, and our mutual friend- 
ship must conduce to the happiness of both. Should Spain 
have the magnanimity to reject partial considerations, and 
offer such a treaty of commerce as her own true interest 
and ours require, we shall now lay the foundation of a 
friendship that will endure for ages. But should she con- 
tend with us for the free navigation of the Mississippi, 
which is now ours by the titles, should she deny us the 
privilege of cutting wood in the bay? of Canjpeachy and 
VOL. IX. 22 


Honduras while she grants it to the English, she will, with- 
out serving herself, injure us, and open the wounds which 
her kindness should close. 

I have no particular directions to give you with respect 
to your mission ; your conduct is perfectly agreeable to 
Congress, and I doubt not that you will continue to pur- 
sue such a line as will render you most acceptable to the 
Court of Madrid. We have now no particular favors to 
ask, and the ground on which we stand, will, I hope, pre- 
serve us from future neglects, and enable you to obtain the 
practice you have been so long soliciting in those matters 
of a private nature which you mention. 

I am surprised to hear that you have not received your ' 
salary, since it has been regularly remitted every quarter 
to Dr Franklin ever since the first of January, 1782. By 
letters from Mr Lewis iMorris, you will learn that the 
money paid here was laid out in bills of exchange at six 
shillings and threepence, this money, for five livres, and 
the bills sent out. This exchange was in your favor, but 
by the enclosed restrospective resolution, (passed in conse- 
quence of a representation from Dr Franklin, that the sala- 
ries should not depend upon the fluctuations of exchange,) 
Congress have deducted that advantage from the quarter's 
salary, which was due on the 1st of April. The balance 
will be paid in bills to Mr Ross, agreeably to your order, 
as soon as I can prevail on Mr Robert Morris to draw, 
which he says will be in a few days. No commission has 
been, or will be charged by me upon these money transac- 
tions, so that your salary will be five livres, five sous per 
dollar, considered at four shillings and sixpence sterling, 
not without deduction from the 1st of January, 17SJ. 
I need not tell you, that the terms of the provisional 


treaty were very acceptable here ; all but those articles 
that relate to the loyalists, upon which subject I fear the 
recommendations of Con2;ress when made, will not effect 
what is expected of them. Of this the unhappy people 
who are the objects of them appear to be very sensible, 
and are going in much greater numbers than I could wish, 
to Nova Scotia. Congress have ratified the treaty ; we 
are now mutually discharging prisoners. We shall send 
in about six thousand men in good health and spirits, in 
return for a few hundred poor debilitated wretches who 
have lost their health in the prison-ships. You will be 
struck with the contrast between our conduct to the cap- 
tives and theirs, when I assure you that out of one thou- 
sand men confined in close jail in Philadelphia for a twelve- 
month, but sixteen died. Though the knowledge of this 
can answer no political purpose at present, it is not amiss 
that facts, which mark the humanity of a young nation 
should be known. The measures, which Congress have 
lately adopted for securing half pay to the troops, have 
given them satisfaction, and they look with patriotic pleas- 
ure to the hour of their dissolution. We have yet no 
knowledge of the time the British have fixed for the evac- 
uation of New York, on which subject I imagine they have 
yet received no orders ; though the communication be- 
tween us and them is perfectly open at present. You will 
continue to employ your leisure in writing to us, and when 
no public business demands your attention, let us learn 
from you the political and commercial history of the Court 
and country you are in. In doing this I beg leave to 
remind you, that general histories are in everybody's 
hands. That minute details are requ'site to an accurate 
knowledge of a country. 


I thank you for the information you have given relative 
to the siege of Gibraltar ; it is curious and interesting. 
I am, Sir, &z,c. 



Madrid, July lOtli, 1783. 

A few days ago I had the satisfaction to receive a letter, 
which you did me the honor to write me the 7th of May. 
It is the only one which has reached me from the depart- 
ment of Foreign Affairs since the 12ih of September. 
1782. I am happy to find my conduct has the approba- 
tion of Congress. The delicate situation in which I have 
found myself here, and a total privation of intelligence 
from America, embarrassed me greatly ; I was apprehen- 
sive, on the one hand, that a marked resentment of the 
coldness and delays of this Court might compromise our 
ally, and embroil still further our affairs here ; and on the 
other, I felt that it was not decent longer to solicit the 
amity of a nation, which has long trifled with the proposals 
of the States. I was not authorised to negotiate, and if I 
had been, I had no instructions but those which were 
given to Mr Jay in 1779. 

Our affairs have taken such a different aspect since that 
period, that these could be of little use to me. Thus cir- 
ciuTistanced, I contented myself with taking every o|)portu- 
nity of pointing out to the Count de Florida Blanca and 
others, the conduct which I presumed would be most ad- 
vantageous to my country, while, at the same time, it 
would cement a lasting harmony between the two nations. 


I received constantly general assurances of the favorable 
disposition of the King ; the letter transmitted by the 
Marquis de Lafayette, and those which I have had the 
honor to write to you before and since that period, will 
have informed you of the nature of them. I was induced 
to believe these assurances were sincere, more from the 
opinion that it was the true interest of this Court to follow 
that line of conduct, than from any confidence in the real 
good will or good faith of government here. Its apparent 
jealousy of our rising importance, and of our vicinity to 
their American possessions, joined to its past conduct, 1 
think will justify these sentiments. 

A few days ago, the Minister of the Indies, speaking of 
America in general, wished the wliole continent at the bot- 
tom of the ocean. I believe he has his particular reasons 
for this wish. The advice which I have had the honor to 
transmit you from time to time, of ihe discontents and dis- 
turbances in Mexico and Peru, will in some measure ex- 
plain the cause of his dissatisfaction. The last intelligence 
received from Buenos Ayres is by no means agreeable. 
The Court keeps the most guarded silence on this subject, 
and the Minister has taken care to stop all letters of a late 
date brought by jiackets from that part of the world. I 
have, however, been informed by natives of consequence 
from these countries who reside here, and who pay their 
court every day to M. Galvez, that the spirit of revolt 
increases, and that the conduct of the officers civil and 
military sent from hence, is so odious and intolerable to all 
classes of people, that the worst consequences are to be 
apprehended. These Americans treat me with the cor- 
diality of countrymen. The other night being at the Ter- 
tullin, (Assembly) of Madame G^dvez, the Count d'Oreilly 


entered. I saw indignation immediately painted on their 
countenances, and one of them accosting me, said, "there, 
my countryman, is a specimen of the Governors they 
send us," alluding to the perfidy and cruelties of that 
General in Louisiana. I was cautious in my reply, as 
indeed, I have been in all conversations which I have had 
with these or others on this subject. The apprehensions, 
which the situation of their Colonies might be supposed to 
excite, do not appear to influence the conduct of the 
Count de Florida Blanca. 

In my letter of the 25th of June, i had the honor to 
submit to you my conjectures on the part Spain seemed 
disposed to take in the war commenced by Russia against 
the Turks. These conjectures have been confirmed by 
circumstances, which have since come to my knowledge. 
The Count de Florida Blanca takes an active part in ne- 
gotiating and exciting the distrust of other nations against 
the suj)po3ed designs of the Imperial Courts. There have 
been frequent conferences of late between that Minister, 
the French and Portuguese Ambassadors, and the Count 
de Fernan Nunez, now here on conge from Portugal. It 
is surmised, that the object of them is to exclude from 
the ports of the Court of Lisbon the fleet which Russia 
has talked of sending into the Mediterranean, and to avoid 
giving a pointed oflence to the Em|)ress by this exclusion, 
it is proposed to extend it to all nations at war. Many 
circumstances induce me to credit this surmise. The 
Russian Minister here is informed from Lisbon of this ne- 
gotiation, and accuses the Portuguese Ambassador, (who 
is a weak and vain man) of being entirely gained by the 
court paid him here. 

Efl^jrts have been made to engage the Genoese and 


Venetians to enter into the same views. I know the sen- 
timents of the Ambassador from the latter Republic on this 
subject. He is piqued by the little confidence placed in 
him by this Court, on account of letters from him to his 
constituents, placing the affairs of this country in an unfa- 
vorable aspect. Copies of these letters have some how or 
other been procured by the Spanish Ambassador there, and 
transmitted hithei. He advises the republic to remain 
neutral, notwithstanding the jealousies which others endea- 
vor to inspire of the Emperor's intentions. That Prince 
continues to make tiie most formidable preparations, while 
at the same time he endeavors to persuade others, particu- 
larly the Court of France, that he does not enter into the 
designs of Russia. Your infonnation from Paris will be 
much more accurate than any that I can give you on this 
subject. If the Court of Versailles was not well satisfied 
with the dispositions of this Court, the Count de IMont- 
morin would not be permitted to return to France at this 
crisis. He talks of leaving Spain in the month of Septem- 
ber, or sooner, should the definitive treaty be concluded. 
A courier is daily expected with the news of the signature. 
This intelligence will be the more agreeable, as doubts 
have been entertained of the intentions of the English cab- 
inet. The frequent conferences of Mr Fox and the Rus- 
sian Minister at London, and the permission given to Rus- 
sian Commissaries to prepare for the reception of the 
fleets of that nation, may have excited these doubts. Mr 
Fox, in the course of the negotiations of the definitive 
treaty^ has cavilled on every point, and raised difficulties 
and delays on every occasion. It would, perhap?, have 
facilitated the conclusion of our treaty with this country, 
if we could have adjusted the articles of it before theirs 


with Great Britain is signed. I am afraid it will be diiricult 
to obtain permission to cut wood in the bays of Carapeachy 
and Honduras. This point, as I informed you in my last, 
was a subject of long discussion at London. The limits 
occasioned the obstacles on the part of Spain. I have 
insinuated from lime to time to the Count de Florida 
Blanca, the good effects the grant of this permission to the 
citizens of the United States would have in America. 
But iVl. Galvez, as Minister of the Indies, will be consulted 
on this point, as well as on that of the free navigation of 
the ^lississippi, and I believe will obstruct as much as pos- 
sible the cessions we desire. He is obstinate to the last 
degree, and rarely swerves from the system he has once 
adopted.. Perseverance and steadiness on our part must 
from the nature of things probably prevail. 

There is no appearance of material changes in the Min- 
istry here. It is said, the King is not satisfied with the 
new Minister of Marine. The friends of the Count d'- 
Oreilly flattered themselves that he would be named Minis- 
ter of war. But his return to his government of Andalusia, 
after a shorter stay than he intended, dissipated the ex- 
pectations formed on this head. I paid him my court 
during the time he was here, in order to secure his influ- 
ence in favor of our commerce at Cadiz. The appoint- 
ment of a consul is very necessary at that port, and cer- 
tainly no person will ever perform the functions of that 
office with more credit to himself and country than Mr 
Richard Harrison, who for three years past has gratui- 
tously done all our business here. 

The time of the Count de Florida Blanca is so much 
occupied by projects of reform in the administration of 
the revenues, &:c. and by the negotiations before men- 


tioned, that it is difficult if not impracticable to see him, 
particularly while the Court is in the capital. He promised 
at Aranjues to give me a positive answer here with regard 
to my presentation to the King and royal family, but I have 
been so accustomed to promises and delays, that I have 
little expectations he will keep his word, f attend the 
answer of Congress to my letter of the 23d of May, in 
which I recapitulated the difficulties started on this subject. 

The expedition against Algiers sailed on the 2d instant. 
Enclosed 1 have the honor to send you a list of its force. 
Tlie religious ceremonies observed previous to the depar- 
ture of this armament, recall to mind those practised in 
the time of the crusades. A pompous procession, com- 
posed of the clergy of all orders, and of the civil and mili- 
tary officers at Carthagena, attended a miraculous image 
of the virgin of Mount Carmel, from the church to the 
port. There, with great ceremony, it was placed in the 
barge of Barcello, the chief of the expedition, who himself 
took the helm, and conducted it on board the Admiral's 
ship, parading through the fleet, which displayed its colors, 
and saluted with firing and music during the time the cere- 
mony lasted. The image was reconducted to the altar 
from which it had been taken with the same pomp, and no 
doubt that many of the spectators and assistants are con- 
vinced, that this honor paid to the virgin will insure the 
success of the expedition. 1 take the liberty of giving you 
this detail, as it marks the character of a part of the nation. 
Sensible people smile when the circumstance hap[)ens to 
be mentioned. 

In the month of July, 17S0, 1 gave to Mr Jay in writing, 
a general account of the disposition of the Court ; the state 
of the finances of this country, &;c. See. I know not 
VOL. IX. 23 


whether it lias ever been transmitted to Congress. I have 
from time to time since been employed in correcting and 
enlarging it. I have hopes of obtaining an accurate ac- 
count of the revenues and debts of this nation. The per- 
son, through whose means I hope to procure it for the time 
necessary to copy it, is now absent. Should I be suc- 
cessful, I must entreat the greatest secrecy, on account of 
the person who I expect will favor me on this point. In 
1781, I transmitted to the Philosophical Society of Phila- 
delphia, a relation of the measures taken in this country for 
the encouragement of arts and agriculture, particularly by 
societies established with the title of Amigos del Pais, 
(friends of the country) these societies owe their existence 
to the celebrated Count de Campomanes ; from him I 
drew my information on this subject, and I must add in 
justice to his liberality of thinking, that I have found him 
on all occasions disposed to contribute to my instruction ; 
for this and other reasons heretofore mentioned, I pressed 
his nomination as honorary member of our philosophical 
society. You will pardon me for reminding you of this 

Urged by necessity, I have been constrained to draw on 
Dr Franklin ; I never have been advised by him of the 
reception of bills of exchange for my salary. Mr Temple 
Franklin wrote me many months ago, that advice had been 
received that bills had been drawn for that purpose, but 
that they had not come to hand. In the course of this 
summer, he informed me, that six months of my salary 
had been remitted by your depa-rtment, and that I had been 
credited with that sum in my account with Dr Franklin. 
I have heard nothing on the subject since. You will please, 
therefore, direct its being transmitted in future through the 
hands of Mr John Ross. 


I have just been informed, that an envoy is arrived at 
Cadiz from Morocco, charged with powers to treat in be- 
half of the Emperor with our Commissioners at Paris. I 
beg leave to recall to your attention, that I had the honor 
to commence our first negotiations with Sweden, Denmark, 
and Saxony, and that others have been authorised to con- 
clude them, to the great mortification of the Ministers of 
those Courts employed here. 1 shall be perfectly satisfied 
if the Congress remains persuaded of the zeal which has 
animated me, and will ever animate me, to contribute my 
feeble efforts to promote the interest and glory of the 
States, and to merit the confidence reposed in me. 
I have the honor to be, he. 



Madrid, July 22d, 1783. 


Since closing my letter of the 19th instant, a courier 
arrived from Alicant, brings advice that the armament 
against Algiers, which sailed the 2d, has been dispersed by 
bad weather, and obliged to take shelter in that port and 
others on the coast. If 1 can procure the details of this 
disaster, I will forward them by this opportunity. This 
dispersion will afford more time for the Algerines to pre- 
pare for their defence. The fleet from the Havana is 
daily expected ; some vessels have already arrived. 

Great hopes are conceived of the influence which this 
treasure, and the produce embarked in the convoy, will 
have in enlivening the commerce of this country, and 
appreciating the paper money in circulation. In this 


capital that paper loses five per cent, in the seaports, three 
and a half per cent. The operniions of the bank have not 
been attended hitherto with the success expected from 

Solano, who commanded the maritime forces of Spain 
in the West Indies, subject to the order of General Gal- 
vez, has excited the indignation of the King and JNlinistry, 
by refusing to receive on board the vessels under his com- 
mand, the general ofHcers and troops destined to return to 
Spain. It is said here, that his refusal proceeded from a 
desire to turn to his private advantage and that of his offi- 
cers, this occasion of lading the ships of war with the 
produce of Spanish America. This has been too much 
the custom in this country. He will find a powerful 
enemy in the Minister of the Indies, whose nephew is 
obliged by this manoeuvre to embark in a merchant-man. 

We have yet no news of the signature of the definitive 
treaty. IMr Adams did me the honor to write me in a 
letter, which I have just received by a private hand, "that 
they were moving on with the same sluggish pace in the 
conferences for the definitive treaty, and could by no 
means foresee the end." This letter is dated the 18th of 
June. The Court and the French Ambassador give out 
that they expect the news of its signature in eight days. 
If it was not imprudent to hazard conjecture against such 
authority, I should be induced by other motives, to think 
that this event will not take place, until despatches carried 
from hence last week arrive in London. I have additional 
reason to suppose that the convention mentioned in liiy 
last, to exclude from the ports of Portugal the Russian 
ships of war, has been, or is on the point of being con- 
cluded. Tlie Prince de Masseran, who charges himself 


with the delivery of this to my correspondent at Bordeaux, 
being about to set out, 1 am obliged to conclude. 
I have the honor to be, Sic. 




Madrid, July 28th, 1783. 

I have just received instructions, which contain the 
result of what has been for a long, time the subject of our 
conversations. The trading interest of Saxony has seized 
with avidity the overtures and details, which, after our in- 
terviews, I placed under the eyes of the Ministry. Per- 
suaded that the goodness and cheapness of our commodi- 
ties will give them an advantage in such an enterprise, they 
have adopted the plan, which you have indicated, of send- 
ing to America a person, who shall look after their inter- 
ests, and obtain the knowledge indispensable for llieir 
direction. Their choice has fallen upon a merchant of 
Bordeaux, a native of Leipzic, whose name is Philip 
Thieriot, known as a man of probity, intelligence, and 
good conduct, who is now in Saxony, but will soon estab- 
lish himself in Philadel[)hia, to transact business in the 
character of a merchant, both on his own account and that 
of Others. 

The Elector has assented to this choice, and permits 
that for the present M. Thieriot shall hold in America, 
the functions of Commissary-General of the commerce of 


Saxony, with the view of founding mercantile relations be- 
tween the two countries, and that he may receive the com- 
missions of Saxon merchants, direct their enterprises, and 
guard and support their interests, both in relation to Con- 
gress and other respects, till circumstances shall make it 
proper for him to be supplied with more particular direc- 
tions. For this purpose the oath has been administered to 
him, and he has been furnished with suitable instructions, 
and the power of making appointments. He sets off 
imm.ediately for France, where he has certain affairs to 
arrange, and he will then be ready to embark from Bor- 
deaux in the month of August. 

As the time is too short for him to pass by the way of 
Madrid, and receive the benefits of the personal counsels, 
with which I flatter myself yon would be disposed to favor 
him, I shall be under great obligations to you, if you will 
fulfil the promises, which you have iiad the goodness to 
make, and give to this gentleman letters of recommendation 
both for the Congress of the United States and other per- 
sons of consideration, which may procure for him the pro- 
tection of the one, and the confidence and assistance of the 

As on the one hand I flatter myself, from the account I 
have [jad of the talents and good character of !\1. Thieriot, 
that he will do honor to your recommendation, so I am 
satisfied on the other, that it will contribute more than any- 
thing else to render his residence useful and agreeable, to 
facilitate the success of his mission, and strengdien the 
bonds of utility between the two nations, of which \he 
merit belongs to you of having greatly contributed to lay 
the foundation. 

I have the honor to he, &c. 




Madrid, July 29th, 1783. 

In former letters I have had the honor to mention to you 
the conversation, which had passed between the Saxon 
Minister at this Court and myself, on the subject of form- 
ing commercial and amicable connexions between the 
United*" States and the Elector. As I had no authority 
or instructions from Congress, I could only avail myself 
of general expressions of the desire of my constituents to 
cultivate the friendship of the different powers of Eu- 
rope, and of extending their commerce to all. I declined, 
when pressed, to give my sentiments in writing, unless the 
Saxon Minister would give me, by perniission of his Court, 
such extracts of his official letters as might enable me im- 
mediately to notify to Congress in a proper manner, the 
amicable disposition of his master ; assuring him, however, 
that I should not fail of communicating to that body the 
substance of our general conversations, which I was per- 
suaded would receive with great satisfaction an account of 
the Elector's friendly intentions. This gentleman being 
rather indiscreet in his conduct, I was perhaps more upon 
my guard with him than I should have been with a person 
of a different character. On his pressing me, however, 
to give him my sentiments on the best means to forward an 
intercourse between the two countries, I replied verbally, 
that in my opinion, ^he speediest and most effectual method 
would be, to send from Saxony to America a person well 
acquainted with the commerce of his own country, and 
properly authorised, who being able to judge on the spot 
what advantages were to be derived from such intercourse, 


niiglil immediately treat with Congress if the Elector 
thought proper. 

After some hesitation, he agreed to my propositions, and 
advised his Court thereof. Yesterday he addressed me a 
letter, of which I have now the honor to enclose you a 
copy, togetlier with an extract of his ofTicial despatches. 
A visit which he paid me a few hours after he sent me the 
above papers, rendered a written answer unnecessary. I 
confessed to him, the high sense which Congress would 
have of this proof of the Elector's good will, and added, 
that I would take the earliest opportunity of communicat- 
ing it. I promised him also the letters he required for J\I. 
Thieriot. 1 hope my conduct will have the approbation of 

Nothing material has transpired since my last of the 
25th instant, except that I am persuaded, that the conven- 
tion between France, Spain, and Portugal was signed i)ere 
between the 15th and 17ih of this month. I am told, that 
it has for its basis a treaty concluded between the two lat- 
ter nations in 1778, with supplementary secret articles. 
The northern powers, particularly Russia, appear jealous 
of the objects of this treaty. Great Britain seems to have 
had no knowledge of it. 

1 have the honor to be, &tc. 



Madrid, August 2d, 1783. 

On the 29th ultimo, I had the honor to enclose you 
copies of sundry papers, relative to the establishment of 


a commercial intercourse between the citizens of the 
United States and the subjects of the Elector of Saxony. 
By that communication you will have learned with great 
satisfaction, that the commerce of Saxony, with the appro- 
bation of the Sovereign, had chosen M. Philip Thieriot, a 
person of acknowledged merit, to reside in America in the 
character of Commissary-General of commerce. By the 
papers above mentioned you will have seen the nature and 
extent of that gentleman's commission. I have now the 
honor to present him to your notice, persuaded that you 
will with pleasure procure him occasions of putting effec- 
tually into execution the views of the court and commerce 
of his country. Their nomination of him to this important 
trust, until circumstances may demand that he be imme- 
diately authorised by his Sovereign, will, I make no doubt, 
be a sufficient motive with you to secure him all the civili- 
ties and services which it may be in your power to afford 

I have the honor to be, he. 



St Ildefonso, August 30th, 1783. 


On the 19th, 22d, and 29th ultimo, and the 2d of this 
month, I had the honor to address you from Madrid. On 
the 5th instant I followed the Court to this place, where it 
had been since the 24th of last month. 

I took the earliest opportunity of waiting ou his Excel- 
lency, the Count de Florida Blanca, to remind him of his 
promise to present me to the King and royal family, and of 
VOL. IX. 24 


Other affairs interesting to individuals mentioned in former 
letters, for which I had been obliged to apply to him. He 
gave me the strongest assurances of his desire to terminate, 
to the satisfaction of the parties interested, the affairs in 
question, imputing to other departments the delays I had 
experienced in their adjustment. On the subject of my 
presentation, he seemed much embarrassed, slating the 
difficulties he should be exposed to in procuring that honor 
for me, which his Majesty refused to others vested with 
the same character, mentioning the case of the Charge c?'- 
Affaires of Denmark, a copy of whose letter to this Minis- 
ter on the subject of his presentation, I had the honor to 
enclose you on the 25th of June. He observed, that the 
Russian and Swedish Ministers were about to leave the 
Court, and would, if I was presented, insist on the presen- 
tation of their Secretaries also. 

I begged leave in reply to assure his Excellency of the 
concern it gave me to expose him to the least inconve- 
nience upon that account, but that he would be pleased to 
recollect the promise he had made to the Marquis de La- 
fayette and myself in writing on this subject. That copies 
of the letter which the Marquis de Lafayette had written 
him and of his Excellency's answer had been transmitted 
to Congress ; that that body, from the confidence which 
they had in his Catholic Majesty's amicable disposition, of 
which his Excellency had been so often the interpreter, 
undoubtedly expected that I had long ago been presented ; 
that in consequence of his Excellency's assurances to me 
at various limes since the transmission of the copies of the 
letters before mentioned, I had confirmed my constituents 
in this belief; that this being the case, it would be impro- 
per for me to go to Court, until I should receive their in- 


structions on the subject. I added, that I hoped his Ex- 
cellency knew me too well to suppose that I was influenced 
by any personal considerations in this affair. He inter- 
rupted me with an assurance to the contrary, and that he 
would do everything in his power to give me satisfaction, 
telling me to call upon him in a few days, when he would 
acquaint me with the result of his endeavors. Thus ended 
our first conference. 

Not to appear too urgent, I avoided speaking to him on 
the subject until ten days ago, although I had occasion to 
see him several times. But hearing the British Minister 
was on his way to Madrid, I thought it proper to bring the 
matter to a decision before his arrival and presentation ; for 
which purpose I again waited on the Minister. I soon 
discovered that he was in ill humor ; however, as he in)ine- 
diately commenced the conversation, by telling me that he 
had not yet found an opportunity of speaking to the King, 
I prayed his Excellency to recollect the time which had 
elapsed since he had been pleased to tell me that I should 
be presented, and recapitulated the reasons before men- 
tioned. He interrupted me several times, telling me how 
much he had been persecuted by Mr Elfried and the Rus- 
sian Minister, who espoused the interests of that Charge 
cfJlffaires, adding, with warmth, that gentleman will never 
be presented, unless to take leave and receive his present. 
1 replied, that his Excellency would do me the justice to 
own, that I had been by no means importunate. That it 
was not my intention to be so, and that nothing but my 
duty, joined to my particular desire to cultivate a good un- 
derstanding between our two countries, made me now 
})ress him for an explicit answer. He told me that he was 
convinced that I did not wish to embarrass him, but ob- 


served, willi some peevishness, as Mr 

Elfried is by the Rnssi^ii. He cites precedent and you 
have none. 

I answered, that 1 flattered myself his Excellency had 
too good an opinion of ine to suppose that I needed a 
prompter, when either the honor or interests of my country 
were in question. That as for precedent, part of my 
business with his Excellency, was to establish one for such 
of my countrymen as the United States might hereafter 
send to Spain in the same character in which I had the 
honor to be employed ; adding, that 1 had more confi- 
dence in his Excellency's word, than in all the precedents 
the book of etiquette of the Court could furnish me ; and 
that to give him a farther proof of my unwillingness to em- 
barrass him, I did not insist on my presentation, but on an 
explicit answer from his Excellency, of which I might im- 
mediately send copies to Congress, not only for my own 
justification, but also to enable that body to decide the 
manner in which Charge (P^ffaires, from the Court of 
Spain should be treated by tiie United States. He 
seemed pleased with the reliance placed on his word, for 
he instantly told nie, that he would speedily give me an 
explicit answer, and that I should see that he was a man of 
his word. That he wished, from respect to the States, and 
personal regard for myself, to procure me an advantage 
which was denied to others, but that he was afraid his 
ISlajesty was (to inake use of his own expression) troji 
cntetc on this point. He then asked me for a copy of tiie 
translation of the letter from Congress to the King. 1 
had it with me. This is the third copy, which 1 have 
given to his Excellency. We left his apartments as he 
was then going to the King. In the ante-chamber he 


again repeated aloud in Spanish, before thirty or forty 
persons, who were waiting to pay him their court, that I 
should find him a man of his word, and that I should have 
an explicit answer. I took my leave, assuring him it was 
all I desired. 

I presume that he took his Majesty's orders thereon the 
same day, for the next lie sent me a polite message, de- 
siring me to come to his house. Having waited on him, 
agreeably to his request, on ray entry he took me by the 
hand and told me, that he hoped I would now be satisfied, 
for that on conferring with the King, his Majesty had been 
pleased to fix a day for my presentation ; that no one felt 
more sensibly than himself the happy conclusion of this 
affair, as well on account of his desire to show every pos- 
sible respect to the United States, as from his esteem for 
me. That the King, contrary to his expectations, had 
consented to change the etiquette with respect to me on 
this subject, as "an extraordinary act of royal good will," 
and that he hoped, that his conduct on this occasion would 
convince Congress of his Majesty's intentions to cultivate 
in a particular manner their amity. I expressed in reply, 
the sense which I knew my constituents would have of this 
proof of the King's amicable disposition, and of my grati- 
tude to his Excellency for the obliging interest which he 
took in what regarded me personally, assuring him that I 
would take the earliest opportunity of transmitting to Con- 
gress this additional proof of his Majesty's desiie to culti- 
vate their friendship, and of his Excellency's manner of 
fulfilling his Sovereign's intentions. I then asked him on 
what day the King chose to receive me, he answered, the 
day after tomorrow, (the 23d instant.) I expressed some 
concern that the Ambassador of France, then at Madrid 


would not return before the time appointed for my recep- 
lioD. He replied, that the King having named the day, 
no alteration could take place. To this I was obliged to 
acquiesce. His Excellency then made me many profes- 
sions of personal regard, wiiich it is unnecessary to repeat, 
and which, perhaps, I should not even hint at, if the French 
Ambassador, the Marquis de Lafayette and others, had 
not been witnesses on former occasions to similar assu- 
rances. 1 proceeded to mention to his Excellency the dif- 
ferent objects on which I had heretofore addressed him, 
and prayed him to give me an opportunity, at the same 
time that 1 informed Congress of my presentation, to advise 
them also of the happy termination of these. He begged 
me to pass him offices again on these points, and assured 
me that I should receive such answers as would be agreea- 
ble and satisfactory to the States. He continued to speak 
to me in an open and friendly manner of the obstacles 
which a well intentioned Minister had to encounter in the 
execution of his measures in this country. 

I paid him indirect compliments on what I knew to be 
his favorite projects, viz. the improvement of the roads, the 
protection and encouragement of manufactures, &.c. and 
the changes which he meditates in the system of finance 
uiid commerce, and after continuing with him some time, 
was about to take my leave. He asked me whom I had 
left in the ante-chamber ; on mentioning the names of the 
persons, he requested me to remain with him, observing, 
that he should be plagued by these gentlemen. During 
my stay, the conversation turned on different subjects, in 
which I received every proof of candor and politeness. 
The same evening I informed the Ambassador of France 
by lettt?r, that t!ie King had consented to my being pre- 


sented, a circumstance on which he had always entertained 
doubts, although he has ever done everything in his pow- 
er, that could be expected from his public and private 
character, to contribute to the success of our negotiation. 
Perhaps some expressions on the part of Congress, testi- 
fying their sense of the zeal which this nobleman has man- 
ifested to further their interests, may be ultimately produc- 
tive of good effects at the Court of Versailles, if not here. 

On the day appointed for my presentation, I waited on 
his Excellency, the Count de Florida Blanca, and from 
his house, accompanied by his servant whom he had the 
politeness to send with my own, I paid my visits to the 
principal officers and ladies of the palace. This ceremony- 
finished, I went to the King's apartments, where the ]\lin- 
ister appointed me to meet him. When his Majesty arose 
from table, his Excellency presented me as Charge cT- 
Affaires of the United States. As I had been informed, 
that the King did not like long harangues, I contented 
myself with expressing to his Majesty my happiness in be- 
ing the first of my countrymen who had the good fortune 
to assure him of their desire to cultivate his amity. He 
answered me in a gracious manner, and with a smiling 
countenance, saying, that he hoped I should have frequent 
occasions of making him the same assurances. He then 
passed into the audience chamber, to the Ambassadors and 
Ministers, where, as several of them have informed me, he 
was pleased to speak favorably of me. 

The royal family dining at the same hour and sepa- 
rately, the same etiquette being observed, viz. the presenta- 
tion after dinner, it required some days to finish this busi- 
ness ; the Count de Florida Blanca accompanying me 
more than three quarters of an hour each day, with a po- 



liteness and good nature rarely found in men v/iio have so 
many important occupations in their hands. The Prince 
of Asturias spoke of me during the dinner as of a person 
lie had long known, and when I was presented he told 
me so. The Princess, who was present, spoke to me 
six or seven minutes in French and Spanish, and among 
other things said to me, that I ought to iike Spain, because 
she had been told, that I was much liked by the Spaniards. 
I replied, that the only title I had to their esteem was my 
well known regard for the nation. The other branches of 
the royal family received me equally well. 

Jt perhaps may be thought, that I have dwelt too long 
on these minute details, but I hope I shall be excused when 
it is considered this is the first presentation of a servant of 
the States at this Court, and that it has already made some 
noise among the corps diplomatique, who think themselves 
entitled to the same privilege which I have obtained. As 
soon as the Charge (V Affaires of Denmark was advised of 
my presentation, he came hither. The enclosed note to 
the Minister, of which I found means to obtain a copy, will 
show you in what light his Court regards this preference. 

The ceremonial of my presentation being finished, I 
waited on his Excellency, the Count de Florida Blanca, 
to thank him for his obliging attentions in the course of it, 
and took that opportunity of insinuating to him the pro- 
priety of his Catholic Majesty's immediately naming a Min- 
ister to the United States. I had touched on this subject 
formerly. He told me that he would speak to his Majesty, 
and inform me of his intentions. 
I have the honor to be, &,c. 







VOL. IX. 25 

John Laurens was ihe son of Henry Laurens, whose 
Correspondence is printed in the second volume of this 
work. He was born in Charleston, South Carolina, in the 
year 1755. At the age of sixteen he accompanied his 
father to Europe, where he was left to pursue his educa- 
tion first at Geneva, and afterwards at London. He was 
diligent in his studies, and made rapid attainments in the 
different branches of knowledge, as well as in the other 
accomplishments of a scholar and a gentleman. In 1774 
he became a student of law in the Temple, but the stirring 
events, that were causing so much excitement on this side 
of the Atlantic, drew his attention strongly to the interests 
and claims of his native country, and determined him to 
return and connect his destiny with hers. After a voyage 
of considerable peril, he arrived in Charleston in 1777, 
and immediately resolved to join the army. 

As the army then abounded with officers, and there was 
no opening suited to him in their ranks, General Washing- 
ton took him into his family as a supernumerary Aid-de- 
camp. In this capacity he was at the battles of German- 
town and 3Ion mouth. He soon afterwards attached him- 
self to the army on Rhode Island, where he had the com- 
mand of a small body of light troops, and displayed so 
much bravery and good conduct, that Congress, on the 5th 
of November, 1778, resolved, "that John Laurens, Aid-de- 
camp to General Washington, be presented with a conti- 
nental commission of lieutenant-colonel, in testimony of the 


sense, which Congress entertain of his patriotic and spirited 
services as a volunteer in the American army ; and of his 
brave conduct in several actions, particularly in that of 
Rhode Island on the 29th of August last ; and that Gen- 
eral Washington be directed, whenever an opportunity 
shall offer, to give Lieutenant-Colonel Laurens a command 
agreeable to his rank." The next year he repaired to the 
southern army, was present at the unsuccessful attack on 
Savannah, and was among the prisoners at the capitulation 
of Charleston. He was soon after exchanged and reinstated 
ia the army. On the 28th of September, 1779, he was 
chosen by Congress Secretary to the Minister Plenipoten- 
tiary from the United States to the Court of Versailles, 
but he did not accept the appointment. 

In the year following. Congress became so much pressed 
for the want of means in money and military supplies, that 
they resolved to send a special Minister to France for the 
purpose of representing, in a strong and just light, the ex- 
treme necessities of the United States, and soliciting new 
aid from the French Court. It was supposed, that a per- 
son going directly from the scene of action and suffering, 
and with a full knowledge of all the particulars from per- 
sonal observation, would be more likely to succeed in such 
an application than the resident Minister Plenipotentiary, 
who could only speak from his general instructions. As 
the assistance was chiefly wanted for the relief of the army, 
it was moreover considered that this messenger should be 
selected from that body. The choice fell on Colonel Lau- 
rens, who, on the 23d of December, 1780, was appointed 
a special Minister to the Court of Versailles for the above 
purpose. He was then only twentyfive years old. He 
sailed from Boston in February, and arrived in Paris on 


the 19lh of March, and immediately applied himself with 
great assiduity to the objects of his mission. His success, 
though not to the extent of his wishes, or the hopes of 
Congress, was yet more complete than could reasonably 
have been expected, considering the liberal grants, which 
the French government had recently made to the solicita- 
tions of Dr Franklin. All that could be effected by zeal, 
activity, perseverance, and intelligence, was accomplished 
by Colonel Laurens ; but so great was his eagerness to do 
his duty on the occasion, and to render the most essential 
service to his country, that his forwardness and impatience 
were somewhat displeasing to the French Ministry, as 
not altogether consistent with their ideas of the dignity 
and deference belonging to transactions with Courts. They 
made allowance, however, for the ardor and inexperience 
of youth, and seem not to have been influenced by these 
objectionable points of manners, in their estimation of his 
noble and generous traits of character, or in their disposi- 
tion to listen to his requests. 

Having compassed the aims of his mission with uncom- 
mon despatch. Colonel Laurens left Paris, and reached 
Philadelphia towards the end of August, having been ab- 
sent from the country but little more than six months. As 
soon as he had made a report of his doings to Congress, he 
repaired again to the army in time to be present at the mem- 
orable siege of York Town. Here he displayed great cou- 
rage and gallantry in storming and taking a British battery, 
as second in command to Hamilton. After the capitula- 
tion he joined the southern army under General Greene, 
having previously acted as a representative in the legislature 
of his native State, which convened at Jacksonborough ia 
January, 1782. While with the army, during the following 


summer, he was ill with a fever, from which he had hardly 
recovered when intelligence came, that a party of the Brit- 
ish were out on a marauding excursion to Combakee. He 
went in pursuit of the enemy, and while leading an advan- 
ced party, he received a mortal wound, which terminated 
his life on the 27ih of August, 17S2, in the twentyseventh 
year of his age. His death was deeply lamented by the 
army and the nation. 




In Congress, December 23d, 1780. 

You will herewith receive a commission appointing you 
our Minister at the Court of Versailles ; in pursuing the 
objects of which, you will conform to the following instruc- 

Upon your arrival you will communicate fully to our 
Minister Plenipotentiary at that Court the business on 
which you are sent, and avail yourself of his information 
and influence for obtaining the aids mentioned in the esti- 
mate delivered to you. Instructions to him for that pur- 
pose are herewith transmitted, which you will deliver im- 
mediately on your arrival. You will convey to his Most 
Christian Majesty the grateful sense Congress have of the 
noble and generous part he has taken, with regard to the 
United States, and use every possible means to impress him 
with the urgent and critical state of our affairs at present, 
which induced the appointment of a special Minister to 
solicit his effectual aid. 


You will, in particular, give him full information of the 
present state of our military affairs, and the measures taken 
for providing a respectable force for the ensuing campaign. 
It will be proper, at the same time, to point out the causes 
which rendered the last campaign unsuccessful. 

You are to use every effort in your power to enforce the 
necessity of maintaining a naval superiority in the Ameri- 
can seas. You will assure his Most Christian Majesty on 
our part, that if he will please to communicate to us his 
intentions respecting the next campaign in America, we 
will use every effort in our power for an effectual co-opera- 
tion. You are to give his Majesty the most positive and 
pointed assurances of our determination to prosecute the 
war for the great purpoL%3s of the alliance agreeable to our 

Should his Majesty grant the aids requested, and send 
to our assistance a naval force, you will take advantage of 
that conveyance for forwarding the articles furnished. If 
no naval armament should be ordered to America, you 
will endeavor to obtain some vessels of force to transport 
the said articles, or take advantage of some convoy to 
America, which may render the transportation less hazard- 
ous. You will call upon William Palfrey, our Consul in 
that kingdom, for such assistance as you may stand in need 
of for forwarding any supplies which you may obtain. You 
are authorised to draw upon our Minister Plenipotentiary 
for such sums as you may from time to time stand in need 
of, giving him early notice thereof, that he may aid you 
from funds procured on our account, without doing injury 
to our other concerns. You may also draw upon any other 
funds, which you may know to have been procured for us 
in Europe. 


You will, on your arrival at the Court of Versailles, 
present the letter to his Most Christian Majesty, which you 
will herewith receive. Previous to your departure from 
the United States, you are to confer with the Commander 
in Chief of the American army, the Minister Plenipoten- 
tiary of France, the commanders in chief of his Most 
Christian Majesty's fleet and army at Rhode Island, the 
Marquis de Lafayette, if it should not retard your voyage, 
upon the subject of your commission, and avail yourself of 
every information you may obtain from them respectively. 
You will embrace every opportunity of informing us of 
the success of your negotiations, and receive and obey 
such instructions, as you may from time to time receive 
from Congress. 

When the purpose of your mission shall be as fully 
effected as you may deem practicable, you are to return, 
and report your success to Congress without delay, unless 
you shall previously receive other orders.* 

We pray God to further you with his goodness in the 
several objects hereby recommended, and that he will have 
you in his holy keeping. 



In Congress, December 27th, 1780. 

With respect to the. loan, we foresee that the sum 
which we ask will be greatly inadequate to our wants. 
We wish, however, to depend as much as possible on our 

* For Additional Instructions to Dr Franklin respecting Colonel 
Laurens's mission, see Franklin's Correspondence, Vol. III. p. 185. 
VOL. IX. 26 





internal exertions. In this negotiation, the state of our 
finances require that you should endeavor to procure as 
long a respite after the war, for payment of the principal, 
as may be in your power. You may agree for an interest 
not exceeding the terms allowed or given on national se- 
curity in Europe, endeavoring to suspend the discharge of 
the interest for two or three years, if possible. 

You are hereby empowered to pledge the faith of the 
United Slates, by executing such securities or obligations 
for the payment of the money, as you may think proper, 
and also that the interest shall not be reduced, nor the 
principal paid during the term for which the same shall 
have been borrowed, without the consent of the lenders or 
their representatives. 

You are to stipulate for the payment of both principal 
and interest in specie. 

The loan must prove ineffective unless the specie is ac- 
tually remitted. Experience has shown, that the negoti- 
ation of bills is attended with unsupportable loss and dis- 
advantage. His Most Christian ]\Iajesiy, we are persuaded, 
will see in the strongest light the necessity of despatching 
an effective naval armament to the American seas. This 
is a measure of such vast moment, that your utmost address 
will be employed to give it success. By such a convey- 
ance, the specie may be remitted, in different ships of war 
with a prospect of safety. 





Philadelphia. January 3d, 1781. 


Although my instructions relative to the objects of my 
mission do not explicitly direct what conduct I am to ob- 
serve, in case the aids solicited from the Court of France 
cannot be obtained in their full extent, yet I presume it is 
not the intention of Congress to confine me without alter- 
native to the precise demjinds which they have made. 
There is the more reason that this matter should be clearly 
understood, as my prospects, especially in the important 
article of pecuniary succors, are far from being flattering. 
I apprehend then, that I shall have satisfied my duty by 
aspiring, with every effort, to complete success, and upon 
failure of that, by approaching it as nearly as shall be 
found practicable. 

With regard to the estimate of the Board of War, as it 
descends into the minutest detail, and includes a great 
variety of articles, it appears to me that it will be neces- 
sary to attach myself in preference to the objects of first 
necessity for the ensuing campaign, that the most indis- 
pensable supplies may not be retarded by those of a 
secondary nature, and that the former being secured as far 
as possible, and the latter left in a train of execution, 1 
may the sooner be at liberty to return and make my re- 
port. As I apprehend that these ideas need only to be 
submitted to Congress to obtain their sanction, I shall con- 
sider myself authorised to act in consequence, unless I re- 
ceive new orders to the contrary. 

I have the honor to be, with the profoundest respect, Stc. 



Boston, February 4th, 1781. 

I do myself the honor of informing Congress, that I ar- 
rived at this place on the 25ih ultimo. 

After passing two days at Morristown in fruitless expec- 
tation of meeting the Commander in Chief, I proceeded to 
head quarters, where my conference with the General, on 
the objects of my mission, detained me three days. The 
impediment of floating ice in the North River, which in- 
duced the necessity of crossing it much higher than at the 
usual place, and other difficulties of the season, will ac- 
count for the rest of my delay on the journey. 

Upon delivering my despatches to the Navy Board, 1 
found, that the two indispensables, men and money, were 
wanting to fit the Alliance for sea. I tn-ged the necessity 
of the most prompt and decisive exertions on their part. 
They returned me such assurances as left me no reason to 
doubt, that the General Court would authorise an impress- 
ment to complete the deficiency of our crew, and that a 
sufficient supply of money would be procured. This de- 
termined me to devote the interval of preparation to making 
my visit to New York. On my return this day, I learned 
with great surprise and mortification, that the motion for 
an impressment had been rejected, private motives having 
superseded those of general good. In these circumstances 
I was obliged to apply to General Lincoln for authority to 
engage such recruits of this State, and such soldiers of the 
invalid corps, as might be qualified for the marine service. 
This resource however has afTorded us but a few men. 
I have just obtained permission from Governor Hancock to 


enlist volunteers from the guard of the Castle. The Navy- 
Board has commissioned a merchant of popularity and in- 
fluence among the seafaring men, to offer a tem|)ting bounty, 
with such precautions as will prevent uneasiness among those 
who entered for a smaller consideration. I am now ad- 
dressing the principal merchants to spare a few men from 
their ships, to be replaced from the Navy Board. In the 
mean time the rendezvous of the frigate continues open. 

But these are all precarious expedients, and my expec- 
tations are by no means sanguine. Nothing however shall 
be left unattempted ; if my prospects do not brighten, I 
shall try the effect of a second memorial to the General 
Court, and finally insist upon Captain Barry's putting to 
sea with the crew he can obtain by the middle of the week. 
There is an additional difficulty in procuring the remain- 
der of the ship's compliment, which is the necessity of hir- 
ing not only seamen, but natives, as a counterbalance to 
the bad composition of the men already on board, too 
many British prisoners having been admitted ; their num- 
bers, the value of the ship, and the business on which she 
is employed, are temptations to an enterprize in favor of 
their ancient connexions. 

Several gentlemen go as passengers, on condition of serv- 
ing on the quarter deck in case of an encounter, and they 
will reinforce the party of the officers in case of a mutiny. 
I have endeavored to procure every useful information in the 
several conferences directed by Congress. The General 
and Admiral at Newport received me with that politeness, 
which characterises their nation, and professed an earnest 
desire to promote, as far as depends on them, the objects 
of my mission. I must however apprize Congress, that 
the French army and navy are demanding in the most 


pressing terms, pecuniary supplies for themselves. Their 
bills of exchange sell at a discount of from tvventyfive to 
twentyeight per cent. This demand and tlie tenacity of 
ihe Spaniards in pursuing their favorite object, Gibraltar, 
are unfavorable to my negotiation. Upon the whole I am 
more than ever convinced, that the most powerful and un- 
remitting efibrts at home will be required to accomplish the 
great objects of the war. 

I have the honor to be, with the profoundest respect, &tc. 


Boston, February 7th , 1781. 

Since my letter to your Excellency on the 4th instant, 
the measures taken by Governor Hancock relative to the 
Castle guard proving insufficient, I addressed a Memorial 
to the General Court. Their permission to engage volun- 
teers from that corps, and a sum of specie granted for the 
purpose, the volunteer draft from the conlineiital troops, 
and the unremitting exertions of General Lincoln, have put 
us at length barely in condition to go to sea. I shall em- 
bark today, and expect Captain Barry will sail with the 
first fair wind. I have to acknowledge the receipt of your 
Excellency's letter of the 12th ultimo, and the letter and 
packets enclosed. Particular attention shall be paid to 
your instructions relative to the latter. 

I have the honor to be, with the profoundest respect, &ic. 



L'Orient, March 11th, 1781. 

1 have the honor of informing Congress, that I arrived 
at this place on the afternoon of the 9th instant ; and 
should have proceeded, without an instant's repose, to 
Passy, had not the commandant of the town assured me, 
that the Marquis de Castries would arrive here that eve- 
ning on his way to Brest, where he was going to accel- 
erate by his presence the execution of his naval dispo- 
sition. The prospect of an immediate conference with 
the Minister on the objects of my mission, which relate 
to his department, the danger of missing him by our trav- 
elling different routes, and the repeated assurances of his 
expected arrival, have detained me till this morning ; but 
as the delay has been much greater than I apprehended, 
and the Minister's approach is not announced, I have de- 
termined to pursue my journey. 

The accounts, which the commandant has communi- 
cated to me of the naval preparations at Brest, are, that 
twentyfive sail of the line are ready for sea, wiili ninety 
transports, on board of which are six thousand troops; that 
the ships of war are destined part for the West Indies, and 
part with the troops for North America. 

The rupture between England and the United Provin- 
ces has hitherto proved very prejudicial to the latter, as 
they were exceedingly vulnerable by having so great a 
number of merchant ships at sea. On our voyage we 
captured a British privateer in company with a Venetian 
ship, of which she had made a prize, contrary to the laws 
of nations. This appeared to me a happy opportunity for 


manifesting the determination of Congress to maintain the 
rights of neutral powers, as far as depends on them. 
After a short consultation, Captain Barry and his officers 
very readily acceded to the liberation of the Venetian, and 
the complete restoration of the cargo and property, which 
were very valuable. The captain was accordingly left to 
pursue his voyage, and the privateer was brought into 
port. Mr Palfrey, our consul, is not yet arrived at this 
port ; it is generally feared that this ship foundered in a 
storm, which separated her and the Franklin in the com- 
mencement of their voyage, as she has not been heard of 

I have the honor to be with the profoundest respect, &tc. 


Passy,iMarch 20th, 1781. 

I had the honor to write to your Excellency from 
L'Orient the 11 ih instant. On my journey hither, I met 
the Marquis de Castries, and obtained a hasty conference 
with him, in which I insisted principally on the necessity of 
a constant naval superiority on the American coast. He 
observed on his part, that the dispositions of the fleet were 
already made ; that it was not in his power to alter them ; 
that it was necessary at the present juncture to make 
naval exertions in more places than one ; that the French 
West India possessions, a nearer interest, must naturally 
be first secured ; at the same time he repeatedly assured 
me, that the United States had a very considerable share 
in the present armament, the movements of which he was 


going to accelerate ; that he hoped a maritime superiority 
would exist on the part of the allies, but that it must de- 
pend upon the events of war. He excused himself from 
descending into particulars, and urged me to proceed with 
all possible despatch to Versailles. Upon my arrival here, 
I found that the letter of Congress to his Most Christian 
Majesty, of the 22d of November, 1780,* had been de- 
livered by our Minister Plenipotentiary ; that he had pro- 
ceeded to negotiate the succors solicited by Congress, and 
had received the following communication from the Count 
de Vergennes. 

"It is impossible for his Majesty to favor a loan in this 
kingdom, because it vYould prejudice those which he has 
occasion to make himself for the support of the war ; but 
his Majesty, in order to give a signal proof of his friend- 
ship for the United States, grants them under the title of a 
donation, a sum of six millions livres tournois. As the 
American army is in want of arms, clothing, &c. Dr 
Franklin will be so good as to deliver a note of them. 
The articles will be procured of the best quality, and on 
the most reasonable terms. General Washington will be 
authorised to draw for the remaining sum, but the drafts 
are at long sight, in order to facilitate the payment at 
the royal treasury. The Courts of Petersburg and Vi- 
enna have offered their mediation. The King has an- 
swered, that it will be personally agreeable to him, but that 
he could not accept it as yet, because he has allies whose 
concurrence is necessary. Dr Franklin is requested to 
acquaint Congress of this overture and the answer, and 
to engage them to send their instructions to their Pleni- 

* See this letter in the Secret Journals of Congress, Vol. II. 
p. 343. 

VOL. IX. 27 



potentiaries. It is supposed that Congress will eagerly 
accept the mediation." 

In my first interview with the Count de Vergennes, I 
represented to him, in the strongest terms, the insufficiency 
of the above mentioned succor, and the danger to which 
France was exposed of losing all her past efforts in favor 
of America, unless the requests of Congress were com- 
plied with. 1 afterwards addressed to him the enclosed 
letter, in which I transcribed the result of my conference 
with General Washington on the objects of my mission, 
contained in a letter from the General to me of the 15th of 
January. In consequence of the Count de Vergennes' de- 
sire, that 1 would select from the estimate of the Board of 
War the articles of most urgent necessity, I extracted a list 
in which I confined myself to the artillery, arms, military 
stores, clothing, tents, cloth, drugs, and surgical instru- 
ments, and accompanied it with a letter. 

i\ly personal solicitations have not been wanting to 
hasten an answer to these letters, and render them fa- 
vorable. The constant language of the Count de Ver- 
gennes is, that our demands are excessive, that we throw 
the burthen of the war upon our ally, that the support of 
it in different parts of the world has cost France ex- 
ertions and expenses, which fully employ her means, that 
the public credit, however well established, has its limits, 
to exceed which would be fatal to it. He adds, at the 
. same time, the strongest assurances of the good will of oui 
ally. This Minister and iM. de Maurepas inform me, that:, 
nothing can be determined until the return of the Marquij 
de Castries, which will be the day after tomorrow ; that 
the matter must be deliberated, and that they will conside. 
what can be done. My expectations are very moderate 


We have received no intelligence of the sailing of the 
Brest fleet. It consists of twentyfive sail, five of which 
are destined for the East Indies with troops, but it is said 
they will be detained for want of transports. The remain- 
ing twenty are to proceed to the West Indies, where ulte- 
rior dispositions will be made, of which the Chevalier de la 
Luzerne is instructed. The British fleet, of twentyeight 
sail of the line, with the convoy for Gibraltar, sailed the 
13th instant, and Commodore Johnston's squadron put to 
sea the same day. The Spanish fleet is likewise at sea. 

I am firmly of opinion, that the British in the present 
moment of success will not accede to those prelimi- 
naries, which France and the United States can never 
depart from, and, consequently, that the news of the 
mediation of Petersburg and Vienna siiould have no 
other effect, than to redouble our ardor and exertions 
for the campaign. 

I have the honor to be, he. 


Memorial to the. Count de Vergennes. 

As in presenting a Memorial to your Excellency on the 
objects of my mission, I should necessarily repeat in part a 
conference, which I had by order of Congress with Gen- 
eral Washington, previous to my departure, I prefer pre- 
senting your Excellency with such extracts from it as re- 
late to my purpose. They are as follows. 

"1. That considering the diffused population of these 
States, the composition and temper of a part of its inhabi- 
itants, the want of a sufficient stock of national wealth as a 
foundation for credit, and the almost extinction of com- 


merce, the attempts we have been compelled to make for 
carrying on the war, have exceeded the national abilities 
of this country, and by degrees brought it to a crisis, which 
render immediate assistance and efficacious succor from 
abroad indispensable to its safety. 

"2. That notwithstanding from the confusion always 
attendant on a revolution, from our having had govern- 
ments to frame, and every species of civil and military 
institution to create, from that inexperience in affairs ne- 
cessarily incident to a nation in its commencement, some 
errors may have been committed in the administration of 
our finances, to which a part of our embarrassments are to 
be attributed ; yet they are principally to be attributed to 
our essential want of means ; to the want of a sufficient 
stock of weakh as mentioned in the first article, which, 
continuing to operate, will make it impossible, by any 
merely interior exertions, to extricate ourselves from these 
embarrassments, restore public credit, and furnish the 
funds requisite for the support of the war. 

"3. That experience has demonstrated the impractica- 
bility of maintaining a paper credit, without funds for its re- 
demption ; the depreciation of our currency was in the 
main a necessary effect of the want of those funds, and its 
restoration is impossible for the same reasons, to which the 
general diffidence, that had taken place among the people, 
is an additional, and in the present state of things, an insu- 
perable obstacle. 

"4. That the mode, which for want of money has been 
substituted for supplying the army, by assessing a propor- 
tion of the productions of the earth, has hitherto been found 
ineffectual, has frequently exposed the army to the most 
calamitous distress, and from its novelty and incompatibility 


with ancient habits, is regarded by the people as burthen- 
some and oppressive, has excited serious discontents, and, 
in some places, alarming symptoms of opposition. This 
mode has besides many particular inconveniences, which 
contribute to make it inadequate to our wants, and ineligi- 
ble but as an auxiliary. 

"5. That irom the best estimates of the annual revenues, 
which these States are capable of affording, there is a bal- 
ance to be supplied by credit. The resource of domestic 
loans is inconsiderable, because there are, properly speak- 
ing, few monied men, and the few there are can employ 
their money more profitably otherwise ; added to which, the 
instability of the currency and the deficiency of funds have 
impaired the public credit. 

"6. That the patience of the army, from an almost unin- 
terrupted series of complicated distress, is now nearly ex- 
hausted, their wants carried to an extremity, which has 
recently had very disagreeable consequences, and demon- 
strate, the absolute necessity of speedy relief, a relief not 
within the compass of our means. You are too well ac- 
quainted with all their sufferings, for want of clothing, for 
want of provisions, for want of pay. 

"7. That the people being dissatisfied with the mode 
of supporting the war, there is danger to apprehend, that 
evils actually felt in prosecuting it may weaken the cause 
which began it, evils founded not on immediate sufferings, 
but on a speculative apprehension of future sufferings from 
the loss of their liberties ; there is danger that a commer- 
cial and free people, little accustomed to heavy burthens, 
pressed by impositions of a new and odious kind, may not 
make a proper allowance for the necessity of the conjunc- 
ture, and may imagine they have only exchanged one 
tyranny for another. 

214 •'t)HJ\ LAURENS. 

"8. That from all the foregoing considerations result, 1st, 
the absolute necessity of arh IfDmediate, ample, and effica- 
cious succor of money, large enough to be a foundation for 
substantial arrangements of finance to revive public credit, 
and give vigor to future operations. 2dly, The vast im- 
portance of a decided effort of the allied arms on this 
continent the ensuing campaign, to effectuate once for all 
the great object of the alliance, the liberty and indepen- 
dence of these United States. Without the former, we 
may make a feeble and expiring effort the next campaign, 
in all probability the period to our opposition ; with it we 
should be in a condition to continue the war as long as the 
obstinacy of the enemy might require. The first is essen- 
tial ; both combined, would bring the contest to a glorious 
issue, crown the obligations which America already feels 
to the magnanimity and geaerosity of her ally, and render 
the union perpetual by all the ties of gratitude and affec- 
tion, as well as mutual interest, which alone render it solid 
and indissoluble. 

"9. That next to a loan of money, a constant naval supe- 
riority is the most interesting ; this would instantly reduce 
the enemy to a difficult, defensive war, and by removing 
all prospects of extending their acquisitions, would take 
away the motives for prosecuting it. Indeed, it is not to 
be conceived, how they could subsist a large force in this 
country if we had the command of the seas to interrupt 
the regular transmission of supplies from Europe. This 
superiority, with an aid of money, would enable us to con- 
vert the contest into a vigorous offensive war. I say noth- 
ing of the advantages to the trade of both nations, nor how 
much it would facilitate our supplies. With respect to us, 
it seems to be one of two deciding points, and it appears 


to be the interest of our allies, abstracted from the imme- 
diate benefits to this country, to transfer the naval war to 
America. The number of ports friendly to them and hos- 
tile to the British, the materials for repairing their disabled 
ships, the extensive supplies towards the subsistence of 
their fleet, are circumstances which would give them a pal- 
pable advantage in the contest of the sea. No nation 
will have it more in its power to repay what it borrows than 
this. Our debts are hitherto small. The vast and valua- 
ble tracts of unlocated lands, the variety and fertility of cli- 
mates and soils, the advantages of every kind, which we 
possess for commerce, insure to this country a rapid ad- 
vancement in population and prosperity, and a certainty (its 
independence being established) of redeeming in a short 
terra of years the comparatively inconsiderable debts, it 
may have occasion to contract. Notwithstanding the 
difficulties under which we labor, and the inquietudes 
among the people, there is still a fund of inclination and 
resource in the country equal to great and continued exer- 
tions, provided we have it in our power to stop the progress 
of disgust, by changing the present system, and adopting 
another more consonant with the spirit of the nation, and 
more capable of activity and energy in measures of which 
a powerful succor of money must be the basis. 

"The people are discontented, but it is with the feeble, 
oppressive mode of conducting the war, not with the war 
itself; they are not unwilling to contribute to its support, 
but they are unwilling to do it in a way that renders 
private property precarious, a necessary consequence of 
the fluctuation of the national currency, and of the inabil- 
ity of gorernment to perform its engagements oftentimes 
coercively made. A large majority are still firmly at- 


tached to the independence of these States, abhor a 
re-union with Great Britain, and are affectionate to the 
alliance with France. But this disposition can ill supply 
the means customary and essential in war, nor can we 
rely on its duration amidst tlie perplexities, oppressions, 
and misfortunes, that attend the want of them." 

From those extracts it will appear to your Excel- 
lency, that the fate of America depends upon the im- 
mediate and decisive succor of her august ally, in the 
two points of a specific loan and a naval superiority. 
The most accurate calculation of the expense requisite 
for a vigorous campaign, and the interior means which 
Congress have of defraying that expense, prove that 
there is a deficiency of the full sum solicited by Con- 
gress. The grant of six millions, which his I\Iajesty is 
pleased to make under the title of a donation to the United 
State-, will be acknowledged with the liveliest emotions 
of gratitude by affectionate allies, at the same time it 
would be frustrating the gracious intentions of his Majesty 
towards his allies, and betraying the common cause of 
France and America, to encourage a belief, that the above 
mentioned aid will enable the United States to surmount 
the present perilous juncture of our affairs. The reason- 
ing in the foregoing extracts will evince how inadequate 
the sum is to the present exigency. 

I must likewise remark to your Excellency, that the 
credit in bills of exchange is subject to difficulties and dis- 
advantages, which render such a resource very unfit for 
the conduct of the war. Bills are obnoxious to the vicis- 
situdes and speculations of commerce, and it is easy to 
foresee, that his Majesty's allies would be great sufferers 
by their drafts, and at the same time be incapable of giv- 


ing that vigor and energy to their operations, which would 
be derived from specie. The same enlightened policy 
and generous regard for the rights of mankind, which 
prompted France to espouse the cause of America, still 
dictate the conduct which she is to pursue; they demand 
every effort on her part to prevent America from being re- 
duced to the British domination, her commerce, and those 
sources of wealth being restored to the tyrant of the Euro- 
pean seas, the ancient rival of France ; but on the contrary, 
the abasement of this rival, and the establishment of a faith- 
ful ally, united by all the ties of gratitude, affection, and 
the most permanent mutual interests. To those invaluable 
purposes give me leave to repeat to your Excellency, that 
the decisive measures in the foregoing extracts are ne- 

I submit to your Excellency, whether the objection to 
his Majesty's favoring a loan in the name of Congress, 
may not be obviated by an additional loan in the narne of 
his Majesty, on account of the United States, for which 
Congress will be accountable. The excellent state of. the 
finances of this kingdom, the exalted state of public credit, 
must unquestionably give the greatest facility for this pur- 
pose, and it may be clearly proved, that giving decisive 
succor in this article at the present juncture will be 
infinitely more advantageous, than suffering the war to 
languish, by affording partial and inadequate assistance. 
Supposing that fortunate casualties, at this time very im- 
probable, should enable us to continue the war upon its 
present footing, I beg leave to repeat to your Excellency, 
that the greatest promptness in this business is essential. 
The British, by being in possession of two States, fertile in 
grain, timber, and naval stores, have acquired new anima- 
voL. IX. 28 

y . 


lion, and fresh resources for the war, and every day, ac- 
cording to present appearances, brings America nearer to 
the period of her eftbrts. 


(Questions proposed io Colonel Laurens, jvith Ms Answers 
to them. 

Paris, March 29th, 1781. 

"1st. To u'liat number can the United States increase 
their continental troops ? 

"2dly. What will be the expense of the number. fixed .'' 

"3dly. This expense is to be distinguished into pay and 
appointments, clothing, arms, ammunition, and provision. 

"4thly. What does the artillery of the United States 
consist of, and what is the number of carriages ? 

'•5thly. Wiiat is the number of provision wagons.^ 

"Gthly. What are tlie plans of General Washington, in 
case his army sliould amount to fifteen, twelve, or ten thou- 
sand men, independently of the French troops?" 

After answering the foregoing questions generally, both 
with respect to the northern and southern army, I added 
the following remarks. 

The plans of General Washington are absolutely subor- 
dinate to the succors, which his Most Christian Majesty 
will be pleased to grant to his allies. If Congress obtain 
the succor in money and military efTocls, and the naval 
superiority which they solicit, they will be enabled to re- 
vive public credit, to make solid arrangements of finance, 
to give activity to the resources of the country, to aug- 
ment their troops, to appease their discontents, and to rein- 


force General Washington with a select corps of ten thou- 
sand rnilitia. 

With the addition of this force and the French troops, 
the General will be in condition to undertake the siege of 
New York. It is unnecessary to say how glorious and 
decisive the success of this operation would be for the 
common cause ; it is equally unnecessary to add, how 
much the promptness of succor from France would con- 
tribute to it. 

The expense of artillery required for this operation will 
be found in the estimate delivered ; that of clothing, he. for 
the army in its present state, will be found in deducting a 
quantity proportioned to the number of men ; but it is im- 
possible to represent too strongly, that this excess far from 
being superfluous, is absolutely necessary to recruit the 
army in general j a precaution which is indispensable, unless 
we should choose to hazard all upon the event of a single 
operation. That the Congress besides, owes great ar- 
rearages of clothing to the soldiers, and that as the estimate 
of Indian presents has not been included in the present 
demand, we may be obliged perhaps to sacrifice a part of 
the clothing now solicited, to maintain the friendship of 
some of the tribes attached to France and America, and 
that it is of the greatest iniportance to prevent them from 
joining the hostile tribes, who in conjunction with the En- 
glish tories ravage the country, destroy our harvests, put 
to flight and massacre all the inhabitants on the western 
frontier, from New York to Virginia. We may more es- 
pecially expect, that this diversion will be employed dur- 
ing the siege of New York. It is to be added, that a 
number of men will be found who have already served, 
who would eagerly rejoin their ancient standards, provided 


they had the assurance of proper treatment, instead of the 
misery and sufferings which ihey have hitherto experi- 
enced. That the army would be augmented, notwith- 
standing the daily loss in the trenches, by levies perfectly 
accustomed to fire. 

The extreme weakness of the southern army is attrib- 
utable to the following causes. 

1st. That two of the States that furnish quotas to this 
army are invaded by the British. 

2dly. That they have all a great many prisoners in the 
hands of the enemy, and that their troops in general have 
been wasted, as well by the excessive marches, which they 
have undergone in carrying succors to the southward, as by 
the different misfortunes which have happened there. 

The naval superiority of the British, and the rapidity of 
their movements by sea, secured to them the capture of 
Charleston, and all their southern successes ; enjoying 
the advantages they have had in their power, to trans- 
port a body of troops, with all requisites in ammu- 
nition and provision, from one end of the continent to the 
other in fourteen days, to attack a feeble point ; while the 
American succors, wasted by a march of two months, 
commenced in the rigors of winter, and without intermis- 
sion from the fatigues of a campaign, could only arrive to 
increase the public calamity, by being beat in detail. 



VerBailles, April Olb, l/til. 

Since I had the honor of writing to your Excellency, 

on the 23d ultimo, I have employed the most unremitting 


efibrts to obtain a prompt and favorable decision relative 
to the objects of tny mission. After many difficulties and 
delays, with the details of which it is needless to trouble 
Congress, the Count de Vergennes communicated to me 
yesterday his Most Christian Majesty's determination to 
guaranty a loan of ten millions, to be opened in Holland, 
in addition to the six millions granted as a gratuitous gift, 
and the four millions appropriated for the payment of bills 
of exchange drawn by Congress on their Minister Plenipo- 
tentiary. The purchase money of the clothing, which 
must be an affair of private contract, and the value of the 
military effects which may be furnished from the royal 
arsenals, are to be deducted from the six millions. 

I shall use my utmdst endeavors to procure an imme- 
diate advance of the ten millions from the treasury of 
France, to be replaced by the proposed loan, and shall 
renew my solicitations for the supplies of ordinance and 
military stores on credit, that the present of six millions 
may not be absorbed by those objects, and the purchase 
of necessary clothing. The providing this article I fear ^ -I 

will be attended with great difficuhles and delays, as all 
the woollen manufactories of France are remote from the 
sea, and there are no public magazines of cloth suitable 
to our purposes. The cargo of the Marquis de Lafiiyette 
will I hope arrive safe under the convoy of the Alliance ; 
and by satisfying our immediate necessities prevent the 
delays above mentioned from having any disagreeable con- 

The Marquis de Castries has engaged to make immedi- 
ate arrangem.ents for the safe transportation of the pecuniary 
and other succors destined for the United States, and has 
repeatedly assured me, that the naval superiority will be 



established on ilie American coast the ensuing campaign. 
The Frencli fleet, he informs me, was on the 27th ultimo 
sixty leagues west of Cape Finisterre, proceeding to its 
destination, in good order and with a favorable wind. 

I do myself the honor to transmit to your Excellency 
extracts of the most conspicuous letters of an intercepted 
mail, taken in a packet bound from Falmouth to New 
York. Your Excellency will have been informed, that 
the Court of London have referred the offered mediation 
of Russia, between England and the United Provinces, to 
a general pacification. I have been some days stationary 
at Versailles for the facility of seeing the different Ministers, 
and accelerating their deliberations. Being just apprized 
of an opportunity from Nantes to America, I take the lib- 
erty of sending this short provisional letter, lest upon my 
return to Passy I should not have time to write more 

[ have the honor to be, &ic. 


Memorial from Colonel John Laurens to Count dc 

The underwritten, special Minister of the United States 
of America, has the honor to represent to his I\Iost Chris- 
tian Majesty in behalf of Congress and by their orders, that 
the crisis is extreme, and that it demands prompt and de- 
cisive succors. 

The United Stales claim wiih confidence the power and 
good will of their august ally. Tiiey had requested, 

1st. A loan of twentyfive millions. 

2dly. A naval superiority on the American coast. 


3dly. Arms and nrnraunition, materials for clothing, 
equipments and tents, estimates of which have been laid 
before the Ministry. 

The underwritten, being informed by the Count de Ver- 
gennes of the King's intentions with regard to pecuniary 
succors, earnestly offers in the name of the Congress the 
homage of the most lively gratitude, but at the same time 
it is his duty to represent, that although this succor tends 
to the object which his Majesty has in view, it is neverthe- 
less demonstrated in the present state of affairs, that it is 
insufficient, considering the urgent necessities of the army 
and the administration, its engagements and debts, the 
exhausted condition of America, the absolute deficiency 
of resources and specie, and the enormous expense essen- 
tial to the vigorous support of the war. It is on this ac- 
count, that the underwritten earnestly entreats his Majesty 
to grant, on credit to ilie United States of America, the 
artillery, arms, ammunition, &c. which shall be drawn from 
bis Majesty's arsenals and magazines, as a very consider- 
able sum must be absorbed for the payment of clothing 
and other articles to be collected in France. 

The underwritten further entreats his Majesty to con- 
sider, that the operation of a loan in Holland cannot be 
terminated in less than three months, that the delay of 
this result may commit the safety of America, and the 
common cause, lose the fi-uit of all the expense and sac- 
rifices hitherto made ; a single instant is precious, the 
least delay becomes of the most dangerous consequence, 
while the successes of the British multiply their resources 
and give them new energy. 

The loan which w-ill be opened in Holland under the 
auspices of his Majesty, favored by the guarantee which he 
is pleased to grant, cannot fail of success. 


The underwritten flatters himself, therefore, that his 
Majesty will find no inconvenience in ordering the imme- 
diate advance of ten millions to be delivered at the dispo- 
sal of the United States, which will be returned to his royal 
treasury by means of the loan in question. 

Events of the greatest importance depend upon this 
disposition equally good and indispensable. The under- 
written would think himself deficient in his duty, if he did 
not persevere in entreating his Majesty to adopt and or- 
der it. 

The arrival of kliis sum is necessary to give a vigorous 
impulse to the organisation of administration in the present 
state of things, renew the tone of parts which have lost 
their energy, and revive public credit by making the re- 
sources of the country concur in the expenses of the war, 
which resources cannot be turned to account without coin 
to determine them. 

If it is impossible to make it a part of the general arrange- 
ment to grant safe means of conveyance for the whole of 
this sum, the underwritten entreats his INJajesty to cause as 
considerable a portion as possible to be remitted imme- 
diately, and to fix a very early date for the departure of 
the remainder. 

The underwritten further earnestly solicits, that a naval 
superiority be permanently maintained on the American 
coast. The practicability and success of all military oper- 
ations and the event of the war, depend directly and even 
exclusively on the state of the maritiine force in America. 

The British, by preserving this advantage, will be able 
to accomplish all their plans by the rapidity of their move- 
ments. The facility of transporting themselves every- 
where secures them a series of successes, which are ren- 


iins: no 

dered slill more decisive by the certainty of findi 
opposition in defenceless points. 

It is by these means that they have been able lately to 
possess themselves of a very important maritime point in 
North Carolina, and, by effecting a sudden junction be- 
tween two divisions of their army, have been able to pene- 
trate to the granary of that State. This position is the more 
favorable to the enemy, as he encloses between his army 
and the port of Wilmington, of which he is master, a con- 
siderable number of Scotch colonists attached to the inter- 
ests of England, and who will be determined, perhaps, by 
his successes to declare themselves openly. Such conse- 
quences are to be expected from great successes in all civil 
wars. If his Majesty thinks proper to oppose a naval 
superiority to the British, they will be obliged to recall 
their troops from the interior country to reunite for the de- 
fence of the most important maritime points, the communi- 
cation between which will he cut off, and the choice of 
attacks left to the allies. 

The abasement of Great Britain, the dismemberment of 
its empire, the inestimable commercial advantages arising 
to France, present great interests, and merit powerful 
efforts. If this opportunity be neglected, if too much be 
left to chance, if time be lost, and the means employed be 
insufficient, the British pride will know neither bounds nor 
restraint ; our object will be missed perhaps forever ; it is 
easy to foresee how fatal the consequences would be to the 
French islands. 

The underwritten renews the assurances of the most 
inviolable attachment on the part of the United States. 
Whatever may be the decision of his INIajesty on these rep- 
resentations, his goodness towards his allies will never be 

TOT.. IX. 29 


effaced from their hearts ; they will support the common 
cause with the same devotion to t!ie last extremity, but 
their success must necessarily depend upon their means. 

Paris, Jipril ISth, 1781. 


Paris, April 24th, 1781. 

I had the honor of addressing to your Excellency a letter 
on tlie 9th instant, conformably to which I presented the 
Memorial now sent, after preparing the way for it by as 
many conferences as an intervening vacation would permit. 
In the course of these I discovered that it was impossible 
to obtain any further detachment of ships of force from 
hence ; consequently, that the sum of specie to be sent 
immediately to America would be limited by the means of 
conveyance, and that successive epochs must divide a risk, 
which would be too considerable if simultaneous. 

In pursuance of these ideas Count de Vergennes de- 
clared to me, that it had been solemnly determined to send 
no more than two millions in a frigate with me, and to have 
the remainder transmitted afterwards at different periods ; 
this sum appeared to me so inconsiderable, compared with 
our necessities, that I thought it my duty to make the 
warmest remonstrances on the subject, and the succeeding 
day I delivered the Memorial above mentioned. In the 
mean time 1 have been employed in engaging a convey- 
ance from Holland, which is so unexceptionable as to en- 
able me to demand with confidence an additional sum for 
the first remittance of specie. Tiie conveyance alluded to is 


the Indian, a vessel having the dimensions of a seventyfour 
gun ship, mounting tvventyeight French thirlysix pounders 
on her main deck, and twelve twelves on her quarter deck 
and forecastle, sold by the Chevalier de Luxembourg to the 
Stale of South Carolina for the term of three years, 
loaded in part with articles of clothing, &;c. on said State's 
account, nearly ready for sea, but reduced to the impossi- 
bility of sailing for want of ten thousand pounds sterling to 
discharge an accumulation of debts contracted in port. In 
these circimistances Captain Gillon, her present command- 
er, has applied to me in the most pressing terms for as- 
sistance, and has offered to cede me the cargo which he 
has on board, on condition of furnishing the means of ex- 
tricating himself from his present difficulties. As there 
appeared to me a happy coincidence in this matter, of the 
interests of the State and the Continent, I determined to 
accept his offer, annexing certain conditions, as will be 
seen in the enclosure.* 

The advantages in favor of the continent are in the first 
place a very important and considerable gain of time in 
forwarding supplies of clothing, as no considerable quan- 
tity could have been obtained at the proper seaport of 
France at an earlier date than the 10th of June. Se- 
condly, the excellence of the conveyance removes a pow- 
erful objection on the part of the Ministry against augment- 
ing the first remittance of specie. 

The advantages on the part of the State are, that she 
will be able to avail herself of the services of her ship, of 
which without the present interposition there would not be 
the least prospect, and besides, she will derive her share in 
common with the other members of the Union from the 
general advantages. 

* Missing. 


I have not as yet received a definitive answer from the 
Count de Vergennes to my last Memorial and subsequent 
applications, but I learn from M. Necker, that the follow- 
ing will be the distribution of what relates to his department, 
viz. that two millions will be sent in the frigate with me, 
one million on board the Indian, and that it is besides in 
agitation to make an arrangement with Spain for assigning 
a sum of specie at Vera Cruz, to be transported from 
thence by a frigate to be ordered on that service from one 
of the West India Islands. 

I have reason to apprehend an unfavorable answer to my 
request, that the military effects from the public arsenals 
should be granted on credit. The expense of these arti- 
cles will make a considerable deduction from our pecuniary 
resources. Your Excellency will observe that the same 
difficulties exist with respect to these objects, as with regard 
to the manufactures of cloth, the great deposits of them all 
being situated in the interior country, remote from the sea. 
The cargo of the Marquis de Lafayette, that of the Indian, 
(including the additional purchases, which I have directed 
to be made in order to complete her tonnage) and the sup- 
plies collected at Brest, or on their way thither, will nearly 
include the most essential articles of the Board of War's 
estimate. The purchases in France are made under the 
direction of an Intendant in the War Department. Those 
in Holland are made by M. de NeulVille &i Son, whom 
I employed because they appeared to possess the confi- 
dence of our Minister Plenipotentiary in that country. 

I found great difficulties and delays likely to attend the 
plan of casting howitzers of English calibre in France. 
The scarcity of materials, the great danger of a want of 
precision in the proportions, and the facility with which we 



cast shells in America, induced me to substitute six inch 
howitzers of French calibre, to those demanded by the 
Board of War. This size, in the opinion of the most ex- 
perienced artillerists, is preferable to the larger, their effects 
being the same, and their inferior size rendering them 
much more manageable, as well as less expensive of am- 
munition. A certain number of shells will accompany the 
howitzers, but it will be necessary that the Board of War 
should give immediate orders for making a larger provision 
of them. Tlieir dimensions may be taken from those with 
the French artillery under General Rochambeau. 

The same reasons as those above mentioned, determined 
me to substitute the French twelve-inch mortar to the thir- 
teen inch of English calibre, as there was no other way of 
procuring them but by having them cast, and the same 
observation is to be made with respect to their shells as 
with respect to those of the howitzers. A store-ship, 
freighted by government, is to proceed under convoy of 
the frigate on board which I shall sail, and will be charged 
with such supplies as can be collected in time at Brest. 

As soon as 1 shall have accomplished all that requires 
my presence here, which I flatter myself will be in a few 
days, I shall proceed to Brest, to do everything that can 
depend on me for hastening the departure of the frigate. 
I shall in the mean time despatch Captain Jackson, an 
officer of great intelligence and activity, who accompanied 
me from America, with instructions to exert his utmost 
efforts to get the Indian to sea without loss of time.* 

I have the honor to be, with the greatest veneration, &ic. 

* For a correspondence on this subject between Dr Franklin and 
Captain Jackson, see Franklin's Correspondence, Vol. Ill, p. 121, 232. 


Memorial from John Laurens to the Director-General 
of Finance. 

The undei-written, special Minister of the United States 
of North America, renews his representations to the Di- 
rector-General of Finance, upon the necessity of augment- 
ing the present remittance of pecuniary succors destined 
for America. He cannot repeat too often, that upon the 
quantity and seasonableness of these succors, the fate of 
his Majesty's allies must necessarily depend. 

He entreats him to recollect, that in the first discussion 
with regard to the sum, the difficulties which opposed an 
immediate remittance, more proportionate to the urgent 
necessities of the United States, were unconnected with 
reasons of finance. With respect to the apprehension of 
exposing ourselves to simultaneous risks that would be too 
considerable, which was the principal reason alleged, he 
thinks himself warranted in saying, that comparing the sum 
with the risk, the strictest laws of prudence would not be 
violated in shipping the amount of six millions on board of 
two frigates, well armed and good sailers, despatched from 
ports distant from each other. 

The plan of procuring money from Vera Cruz or the 
Havana, the success and speedy execution of which were 
regarded as certain, would have dispensed government 
from making any very considerable remittance from hence at 
the present monient, but as according to the Director-Gen- 
eral's own account, there is reason to apprehend a delay, 
which would render this plan delusive, the underwritten 
sees no other remedy, than in augmenting the sums remit- 
ted from hence, as far as the present means of conveyance 
will authorise, and seconding this first remittance by a de- 


finitive arrangement for having it closely followed by the 

With regard to the distribution between the two ships, 
the underwritten would prefer committing the most con- 
siderable portion of the specie to the frigate in Holland, 
on account of her very superior force. 

He has the bonor to apprize the Director-General, tbat 
he has authorised Mr W. Jackson, Captain of infantry in 
the service of the United States, to give receipts for ilie 
sum destined to be sbipped in Holland, and tbat he will 
himself sign receipts for the sum to be sbipped at Brest. 


Paris, ^pril 29th, 1781. 


Paris, May 15th, 1781. 

Since I had the honor of writing to your Excellency on 
the 24th ult. my prospects of pecuniary succor have suf- 
fered a very unfavorable change, first in the suspension 
and 1 apprehend the total failure of the plan of procuring 
a sum of specie at Vera Cruz, to be transmitted immedi- 
ately from thence for the service of the United States. 
This arrangement which the Spanish agent at this Court 
was at first very desirous of making with M. Necker, and 
which would have been a convenience to the finance of 
this country, was prevented from being carried into exe- 
cution by the arrival of intelligence, that the treasure had 
been safely transported from Vera Cruz to tbe Havana ; 
in consequence of which the agent declined engaging to 
furnish the money on any other terms than by a schedule 


or bill of exchange, payable at six. months' sight. M. 
Necker lias since made him an offer of a profit on the 
money to be supplied at the Havana, and the agent has 
written to his Court on the subject, but it does not appear 
to me, that the offer is likely to be accepted. As soon as 
I was apprized of this, I delivered the preceding Memorial 
to the Director-General of Finance. 

Tn addition to this disappointment we have received 
notice from Holland of the total refusal of the Dutch to 
countenance the proposed loan of ten millions on account 
of the United States. M. Necker was of opinion, that the 
Dutch would lend more readily on this footing than to 
France alone, as there would be a double security ; but 
the event has proved, that its being a concern of the United 
States was sufficient for political reasons to occasion the 
overthrow of the business. I have uniformly insisted from 
the beginning upon the necessity of securing this aid to the 
United States from the finances of France, and while I 
pleaded the fertility of her resources, and facility of bor- 
rowing in her own name, I have enlarged upon the fatal 
consequences to which we should be exposed by referring 
the matter to an uncertain and dilatory operation. I ap- 
prehend some new efforts are making on the subject of the 
loan. His Majesty in the mean time engages to supply 
the failure of the loan from the finances of his kingdom. 
The future transmissions of specie are to be concerted 
between the Minister of Marine and the Director-General 
of Finance, and Count de Vergennes has promised me to 
urge them upon the subject. I have not been able to ob- 
tain any greater augmentation of the sums destined to be 
embarked at Brest and in Holland, than half a million at 
the first, and nearly the same sum at the latter. 


With respect to the maritime succors so repeatedly 
solicited, I am authorised only in general terms to assure 
Congress, that such dispositions are made for detaching 
from the West Indies, as give every reason to hope a naval 
superiority will exist on the part of the allies in America ; 
that the fleet will probably remain on that station three 
months, and that it will be time on my arrival to com- 
mence the most vigorous preparations for co-operating 
with it. 

Immediately on closing this packet, I shall set out for 
Brest, and use my utmost efforts to accelerate our sailing. 
My frigate is ready in the roads. If any delay arises it will 
be owing to the store ship, which she will have under convoy. 

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, 


P. S. These despatches will be delivered to your 
Excellency by Captain Jackson of the first South Carolina 
regiment, whose zeal for the service made him cheerfully 
undertake the journey to Holland, for the purpose of ac- 
celerating the departure of the Indian, and to whom I am 
much indebted for his assistance in this country. 

J. L. 



VersaUles, May 16th., 1781. 

Congress has directed Mr Laurens to solicit from the 
King an aid of money, and to request his guarantee for a 
loan. In consequence his Majesty has been pleased to 

VOL. IX. 30 


grant six millions tournois,* in form of a gift, and he has 
likewise agreed to be security for a loan of ten millions, to 
be opened in Holland, for account of Congress ; and if that 
loan should meet with difficulties, he has even resolved to 
supply it out of his own finances, as soon as possible. The 
six millions, which his Majesty has granted, have been em- 
ployed in the following manner ; two million five iumdred 
thousand livres are sent to Brest, there to be shipped ; one 
million five hundred thousand are sent to Amsterdam, to 
be likewise shipped there ; about two millions are to be 
employed in payment for the goods, which Mr Laurens 
was directed to purchase. Besides the sum above men- 
tioned, his Majesty has been pleased to grant Dr Franklin 
four millions to discharge the bills of exchange drawn on 
him by Congress. In case the loan, which is to be opened 
in Holland on account of the Americans, should fail of 
success, his Majesty will be under the necessity of supply- 
ing it. It is understood, that the United States shall repay 
his Majesty the sum of ten millions, in order to fulfil the 
engagements, that shall be entered into in Holland. 

The operations of the campaign, of which his Majesty has 
given a plan to the commander of his fleet in America, 
form the second object, in which the United States are 
interested ; and without being able to fix the attention of 
Congress or General Washington upon the moment when 
his fleet shall appear on the coast of North America, he 
assures them, that the success of their armies makes a 
principal part of his views for the ensuing campaign. It 

" These six millions were not obtained "in consequence" of Colonel 
Laurens's solicitation, but were granted to Dr Franklin, before 
Colonel Laurens's arrival. See Frnnl;lin's Correspondence, Vol. IIL 
p. 230, and also Colonel Laurens's letter above, dated March 20th ; 
—also the following letter of September 2d. 


is therefore proper, that, upon the arrival of Colonel Lau- 
rens, the United States should put themselves in condition 
to take advantage of the operations of his fleet in America. 


Philadelphia, September 2d, 1781. 

Happy in this opportunity of renewing the assurances 
of my inviolable duty and attachment to the United States, 
in Congress assembled, I have the honor of submitting to 
them a supplementary report of the negotiation, with which 
they were pleased to intrust me, by their commission of the 
23d of December, 1780. 

Previous to my arrival in France, the letter from Con- 
gress of the 22d of December to his Most Christian 
Majesty had been delivered, and the application for succors 
supported by our Minister Plenipotentiary, the result of 
which was a gratuitous donation from the King of France 
of six millions of livres, to be drawn for by General Wash- 
ington at distant periods, and an offer to provide clothing 
and other supplies for the army, the expense to be deduct- 
ed from the donation above mentioned. The dispropor- 
tion between this and the necessities of the United States 
upon which their demand was founded, as well as the ex- 
ceptionable manner of touching the money, determined me 
without delay to renew the negotiation, in which I had the 
concurrence of our Minister Plenipotentiary, and the advan- 
tage of his counsels. 

After my first interview with the Count de Vergennes, 
I presented, in form of a memorial, a copy of which has 



been transmitted to Congress, an extract of a letter from 
General Washingtonj written in consequence of my con- 
ference with him by order of Congress, making such small 
additions as were suggested by the slate of the business. 
The advantage of the General's credit in Europe made me 
prefer his letter to any common form of memorial, espe- 
cially as he had treated the principal objects of my mission 
in a manner no less full and explicit than conformable to 
the ideas of Congress. 

I accompanied it with the estimate of the Board of War, 
after making a deduction of many articles, the demand of 
which I apprehended would throw an unfavorable cast on 
the whole business. A translated duplicate of the com- 
plete estimate had been long since delivered by Dr Frank- 
lin. The Count de Vergennes exclaimed vehemently 
against the exorbitance of the demand, to which the 
strength of our army was so disproporlloned, adding, that 
duplicate cargoes of such value could not be afforded, and 
that the articles demanded would exhaust all our money ; 
for he refused to understand as I did, the intention of Con- 
gress to solicit the supplies in addition to the loan. 

Argument and expostulation on this subject were fruit- 
less. In pursuance of his de6nitive request, I formed a 
reduced list accompanied by a letter, a copy of which has 
been transmitted. An allowance was made for the La- 
fayette's cargo, as well as a very imperfect sketch of it 
could enable me. This list was immediately referred to 
the War Department. In all my interviews with the Min- 
isters, I endeavored to represent in their strongest light the 
following important articles. That notwithstanding the un- 
alterable determination of the United Slates to support 
Mieir independence, notwithstanding the virtue and firm- 


ness of the citizens in general, the immense pecuniary re- 
sources of Great Britain, and her constant naval superiority 
were advantages too decisive to be counterbalanced by any 
interior exertions on the part of the United States. That 
these must infallibly impose a term to the efforts of a na- 
tion, whose extended maritime and inland frontier rendered 
her obnoxious to sudden descents and incursions on all 
sides ; whose army was consequently exposed to exces- 
sive marches, attended whh insupportable expense of money 
and waste of soldiers, that the exhausted state of their 
finances reduced Congress to the impossibility of calling 
the natural resources of the country into activity ; that the 
aggravated calamities of a war, which in its principles iiad 
been precautionary, began now to produce dangerous un- 
easinesses and discontents ; that we had concealed enemies 
to contend pgainst ; that the British left no measures unat- 
tempted either of open force or secret intrigue ; and finally, 
unless instant succor were afforded as solicited by Con- 
gress, that France was in danger of losing all the fruits of 
the part she had hitherto taken in the contest ; that if in- 
stead of being actuated by a generous and enlightened pol- 
icy, the Court of France had systematically protracted the 
war, in order that Britain and America might mutually ex- 
haust themselves, while she had reserved her power to 
decide only in the last extremity, this period with respect 
to America had arrived ; that the importance of the ob- 
jects of the war on one hand, and the mischiefs of suffer- 
ing Great Britain to re-annex to herself the resources of 
America, demanded the greatest exertions ; that the honor 
of the King, as well as the national interest, was engaged, 
and that, considering the flourishing state of the French 
marine and finances, the succor solicited was as easy as, 
considerinsf our situation, it was indispensable. 


I endeavored, above all, to hasten their determinations. 
The general language held by the Ministry was, that the 
demands of Congress were excessive ; that to induce suc- 
cor from their ally, there should be greater exertions on 
the part of the United States ; that the King had the great- 
est good will towards them, but that the expenditures of 
the war were immense ; the necessity of supporting a mar- 
itime war in different quarters, and the indispensable de- 
fer»ce of his own colonies, limited his power of giving as- 
sistance J that the public credit of France, however good, 
had its limits, which it were dangerous to exceed ; that the 
administration of the American finances was not calculated 
to inspire confidence ; that a dangerous wound had been 
given to our public credit by the resolution of the 18th of 
March, 1780, a measure, which, however judicious it might 
have been in time of peace, was exceedingly pernicious in 
time of war ; that the application of Congress was tardy, 
and by its suddenness excluded expedients which might 
otherwise have been employed for our relief; that with 
regard to the national interest and honor, France had been 
a great kingdom, and the King a powerful monarch, when 
America was composed of feeble colonies. 

To this kind of discourse I answered, by enlarging on 
the natural and political disadvantages of America in the 
present contest, the fertile resources of the British, their 
power and activity ; the impossibility of our supporting a 
paper credit without a foundation of specie, adding, that 
the continental currency must have died a natural death if 
it had not been checked at a late stage of depreciation, by 
the act of Congress in question ; that persons, who had 
clamored most on this subject, had been instrumental in 
hastening the discredit of our paper, by various commer- 


cial speculations, but that the downfall of the currency 
must be attributed principally to a want of funds for its 
support ; for this object Congress were renewing their 
application in ihe most pressing terms ; that the King of 
France's glory could not but suffer if the British triumphed 
in the present dispute, as his consideration in Europe would 
be lessened by it ; that bis interests besides, and those of 
his kingdom, would certainly be deeply wounded by a re- 
accession of America to Great Britain, and that the same 
fleet and army, which should prove decisive there, would 
be at hand to possess themselves of the French islands. 

The Marquis de Castries, Minister for the Marine De- 
partment, being absent, and a vacation produced some de- 
lay, I waited on this Minister immediately on his return to 
Court, and observed to him that the most important de- 
cisions relative to the common cause of France and Amer- 
ica had been suspended on account of his absence ; urged 
him particularly on the great point of a naval superiority, 
reminding him, that the British Marine was the principal 
instrument of their power ; that the efforts of the allies to 
reduce this force could nowhere be made with such a 
prospect of success as on the American coast ; that it 
would be very easy after a decisive campaign in America, 
in which his personal glory was so much interested, to 
transport a sufficient force from the continent to reduce 
any British island ; that in the mean time the French 
islands would be in the most perfect security. He re- 
peated nearly what he had said at our first interview, with 
stronger assurances of his prospect of a naval superiority 
the ensuing campaign- 
In a word I used every argument of national interest, 
and added such personal motives as I thought applicable to 
the different Ministers. 


On the 8tli of April Count dc Vergennes communicated 
to mc his Most Christian Majesty's determination to be- 
come security for a loan of ten millions of livres. to be 
opened on account of the United Slates in Holland j that 
he had immediately despatched a courier extraordinary to 
M. de la Vauguyon with a letter relative to this business j 
that I had reason to be satisBed with this in addition to the 
donation of six millions, and four millions that had been 
appropriated to the payment of bills drawn on Mr Frank- 
lin. I pressed him by many arguments to leave an open- 
ing for the remaining five millions ; exposed the false pol- 
icy of incomplete succors; observed that Congress had 
solicited no more than was necessary ; that there should be 
no other limits to the present succor than the invincible 
bounds of possibility ; that it was not the condition on which 
the money was obtained^ but the sum and opportuneness 
of remitting it, that were above all important ; that in this 
point of view 1 would prefer converting the donation into a 
loan, if it would make the advance more convenient to the 
French finances, and facilitate the augmentation of the total 
sum, destined for the United States. I repeated the same 
thing to the Director-General of Finance, but their answer 
was, the King had passed his word and could not retract. 

I entreated both IM. de Vergennes and M. Necker not 
to abandon the United States to the operation of a loan, 
but to secure us from the finances of France the sum in 
question, and above all, to make immediate arrangements 
for the remittance of it. 

In the mean time I pressed the Minister of Marine on 
the subject of ships, but I found that it was far from the 
intention of the Court to furnish the means for remitting 
any considerable sum immediately. Count de Vergennes 


urged the imprudence of exposing such precious succors 
to a simultaneous risk, and the uecessiiy of dividing the 
danger by successive remittances, adding besides, that as 
permission had been given to draw, an allowance was to 
be made on this account, and a provisional sum fur pay- 
ment retained ; that pursuant to thase ideas it Iiad been 
solemnly determined to send no more than two millions in 
a frigate with me. I observed, that the first difficulty 
would be obviated by proportioning the escort to the value 
of the specie; with regard to the other objection, I gave it 
es my opinion, that no bills would be drawn in consequence 
of the mode for touching th^donation of six millions. The 
Count said, that I was not sufficiently im|)ressed with 
what had been already done on our account, and ap- 
pealed to our Minister Plenipotentiary. In addition to the 
warmest verbal remonstrances on the subject, I pre- 
sented the JMemorial, a copy of which was forwarded to 

In these circumstances I was induced to make an ar- 
rangement with Captain Gillon, of the frigate South Caro- 
lina, in order to secure an unexceptionable conveyance for 
a further remittance of specie, as well as for other reasons 
to be mentioned hereafter. This conveyance being ap- 
proved by the Ministry, it was proposed by M. Necker, 
that one tnillion should be remitted by this opportunity, 
two in the frigate from France as above mentioned, and 
that an arrangement should be made with the Spaniards 
for a further remittance from Vera Cruz, agreeably to an 
offer from their agent in Paris. Unfortunately, while this 
latter plan was in agitation, the agent received intelligenco 
that the whole of the Spanish treasure destined for Europe 
had arrived safe at the Havana, in consequence of which 
VOL. IX. 31 


he changed the terms of his first proposal, from an order 
payable at sight, to bills at six months' date ; this, joined 
to the disagreeable intelligence from Holland of the failure 
of the loan proposed on account of the United Slates, 
occasioned my giving a Memorial to the Director-General, 
and insisting, in several interviews with him, on the neces- 
sity of something decisive in his department, adding, that 
the administration could not pursue a better plan for secu- 
ring the triumph of Great Britain than the present system 
of giving inadequate and dilatory succor to America. 

All that I could obtain was an addition of half a million 
to the specie to be embarked at Brest, and about the same 
sum to that in Gillon's ship. The Director-General in- 
formed me, that he had passed the sum of the proposed 
loan to the debit of the King's finances, and repeated his 
assurances, that our further remittances should be made 

I have already informed Congress, that the reduced list 
of supplies had been referred to the War Department, where 
it had to undergo a recopying and more methodical distri- 
bution under several heads. I used my endeavors to has- 
ten the decisions on this subject, and to procure orders at 
least with respect to some particular articles, the providing 
of which obviously required a more early notice than others ; 
but he said no partial arrangement could be made, and 
that a decision must be definitively given in council upon 
the whole business, previous to his engaging in the execu- 
tion of his part. 

On the 1st of April I received a letter from M. de Cor- 
ney, Provincial Commissary, informing me, that the Mar- 
quis de Segur had appointed M. de Viemerange in con- 
junction with him to confer with me on the objects of the 



estimate, and the time and means of procuring them. I 
immediately repaired to Versailles for this purpose. 

As the ancient administration for clothing the French 
troops was abolished, and each regiment in France makes 
its own contracts for habiliments and equipments, there ex- 
ists no public magazine of supplies in this way, either in 
the War or INlarine Department, and there was no other 
resource for this article than the remainder of some sup- 
plies at Brest, which had been provided for General Ro- 
chambeau's army ; it was proposed then to cede these to 
the United States, and continue the provision upon the 
same terms as had been settled for the King's service. 
The quantity _was extremely inconsiderable, compared 
even with the reduced list, which I had presented ; the 
time proposed for augmenting it was long, and my pros- 
pects upon the whole were very discouraging, but the im- 
practicability of doing better in present circumstances 
obliged me to yield. The difficulties and delays, however, 
which occurred in this transaction, and a persuasion that it 
would not be so economical as I had at first been taught to 
expect, were powerful additional motives with me for ac- 
cepting Captain Gillon's offer relative to the South Caro- 
lina frigate, in order to avail myself of the supplies in his 
possession, and to complete his vacant tonnage by pur- 
chases in Holland, where the vicinity of the seaport and 
manufacturing towns insured despatch. Copies of all the 
papers, relative to the supplies, are in the hands of the Min- 
ister Plenipotentiary. I apprized him of the necessity of 
watching the punctual execution of the terms of Sabatier 
&. Go's agreement, notwithstanding the superintendence 
of the War Department. The artillery, arms, ammuni- 
tion, and encamping supplies, were to be collected at Brest 


from different arsenals in Brittany and elsewhere, at the 
same rates at which they were provided for the national 

When the subject of casting howitzers, conformably to 
the British calibre, came to be more minutely and defin- 
itively discussed, difficulties with respect to the scarcity of 
materials, llie danger of errors in the proportion, the want 
of a proper person to inspect the business, in a word, 
objections of different kinds were started ; these, added to 
the facility of casting shells in America, determined me 
finally to substitute six inch howitzers of J^rench calibre. 
Experience has proved, on a comparison of their effects 
witli those of the larger sized howitzers, that the differ- 
ence is trifling, and that the former will answer all the 
purposes of the latter, while their proportions render 
ihem more manageable, and economise ammunitio:^. The 
French artillerists, enlightened by this discovery, have de- 
termined the reform of all their larger howitzers. 

Upon my arrival at Brest I found the whole of the 
articles agreed to be furnished for the first convoy were 
not yet arrived. In these circumstances I substituted 
some articles which I found in the magazine there, that 
there might not be any further loss of time, and that there 
should be the least possible interval between our sailing 
and the en)barcation of the specie, which once commenced 
could not be kept secret in passing through a number of 
hands, and might be a temptation to enterprises on tiie part 
of the enemy. The same motive determined me not to 
shift the wiiole of the money into cases, which would have 
been more portable. This precaution became indispensa- 
ble however with respect to two of ihe cnsks, that h;id suf- 
fered too much from the violent shaking on the road to be 


embarked in that condition, and although all the casks are 
double, I apprehend the most scrupulous care will be ne- 
cessary in their debarcation and removal. I send herewith 
the Chevalier de I'Angle's receipt for the specie on board 
the frigate Resolve, the copy of the Treasurer's note at 
Brest, and invoices of the cargoes on board the Cibelle 
and the Olimpe. Besides these, the whole of the surgical 
instruments, drugs, and tin and wire for camp kettles, agree- 
ably to the Board of War's estimate, are supplied upon the 
same footing as the other articles. The drugs and tin I 
expect in the brigantine Active. In addition to the list, 1 
left a statement of the ulterior demands. These, in addi- 
tion to the cargo expected by Gillon, and the invoices 
already cited, include tiie total of the supplies. 

The deduction of money for their payment was incom- 
patible with so ample a provision, as prudence might oth- 
erwise have dictated. Necessitated to confine myself to 
a reduced list of the most indispensable articles, in order 
to leave the sum for remittances as unimpaired as possible., 
I avoided every purchase and additional expense of work- 
manship, that could be readily supplied by our artisans and 
manufacturers at home, as the money expended here, 
besides accomj)lishing the primary object, after descending 
in various channels to the encouragement of arts, and ani- 
mation of industry among ourselves, would return its con- 
tribution to the great reservoir of public resources. 

1 am sorry not to be able to give Congress a more sat- 
isfactory and definitive account of Captain Gillon's pro- 
ceedings. The papers sent herewith will show the m.eas- 
ures I iiad taken, and all tlie intelligence 1 had received 
relative to this business previous to my departure. Rely- 
ing on the zeal and activity of Captain Jackson, aided by 


the counsels of ihe Minister Plenipotentiary in Holland, I 
cannot appreliend any improper delay. 

Captain Jackson alone was intrusted with the secret of 
the specie to be embarked. ., I enjoined i)im not to commu- 
nicate it to any one, until the moment when it should 
become necessary to embark it ; and, that the bankers 
might not be apprized of its destination, I sent the order 
for it enclosed to him. 

I used every argument, at taking leave of the several 
Ministers, that I thought could influence them, and previ- 
ous to my departure from Brest, renewed my solicitations 
in writing. I imagine some further effort will have been 
made relative to the loan in Holland, but at all events the 
ten millions are to be supplied from the King of France's 
finances. The Marquis de Castries, and M. Necker, were 
to concert the future remittances ; they gave me fair prom- 
ises on the subject, and Count de Vergennes assured me 
he would pre^s them ; he likewise gave me some hopes of 
credit for the supplies of military stores. The naval supe- 
riority, it is expected, will be established on the American 
coast for a sufficient time to enable ns to enterprise some- 
thing important. 

Enclosed herewith is an answer from the Most Christian 
King to my letter of credence. Count de Vergennes in- 
formed me, that an answer to the other letter of Congress 
had been already despatched. 

At taking my leave of his Most Christian Majesty, he 
desired me to renew his assurances of affection to the 
United States. The succeeding day his Majesty honored 
me with the accustomed present of his portrait. Repub- 
lican strictness, and the utility of the precedent, lead me to 
refer it to the supreme representative of the majesty of the 


American people, the organ of that sovereign will to which 
I am devoted. 

The Resolve sailed from Brest, with the Cibelle and 
Olimpe under her convoy, the 1st of June. The judicious 
precautions, and unwearied attention of the Chevalier de 
I'Angle, commander of the frigate, relative to his convoy, 
during a passage in which we experienced every contrari- 
ety, deserve the highest applause. 

I entreat the further orders of Congress, being exceed- 
ingly solicitous to lose no time in rejoining the army. 

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, he. 

P. S. My first intention was to have steered for Phil- 
adelphia, but learning from a vessel, which we pursued for 
the purpose of intelligence, that Count de Grasse was not 
arrived, I judged it most prudent to make a safe eastern 
port, and arrived at Boston the afternoon of the 25th ult. 

J. L. 


Philadelphia, September 6th, 1781. 

In consequence of the desire of the committee of con- 
ference on the subject of my misMon to France, I do my- 
self the honor to communicate to Congress all the infor- 
mation I am possessed of relative to the present situ- 
ation of Henry Laurens, and the prospect of his en- 
largement or exchange. It appears from the letter of a 
gentleman in London, who had access to him under cer- 
tain restrictions, that though the rigor of liis confinement 


was in some degree abated, he sllll labored under several 
interdictions and restraints, as unjirecedented as illiberal, 
and that the British Court still effected to consider him 
as amenable to their municipal laws, and maintained the 
idea of a future trial. 

After I had finished the general business with which 
Congress had charged me, 1 consulted the several Minis- 
ters at the Comt of France upon the proper measiu"es to 
be taken, when such a flagrant violation of the laws of 
nations had been offered in the person of a public Minister, 
and solicited their intervention and assistance. They all 
declared, that however anxious they were to restore to his 
country a citizen, so valuable by his services, they had not 
the least hope, that any benefit would be derived from their 
interference, the British Court being as little disposed to 
gratify the Court of France, as they were to gratify the 
United States ; and the unanimous opinion of these gentle- 
men further was, that nothing would determine the British 
to pursue a reasonable conduct in the present case, but the 
most exact retaliation on the part of Congress. For this 
purpose they advised, that one or more British prisoners of 
sufficient note and importance to cause a sensation by their 
own complaints, or those of their friends, to their Court, 
should be held as security for the safety of Mr Laurens, 
and that their mode of confinement and treatment should 
invariably follow the rule of the conduct of the British 
government towards him. 

In addition to the report, which I had the honor to mrke 
the 2d instant, I take the present opportunity of enclosing 
to Congress the duplicate account of the frigate Alliance's 
disbursements, by Messrs Gourlade and I\loylan of L'Ori- 
ent. The raisfortuoe of Mr Palfrey left us without other 



resource, than an application to a mercantile house. The 
persons above mentioned offered their services, and were 
recommended. The sum total appeared both to the Min- 
ister Plenipotentiary and myself very considerable for the 
short stay of the vessel in port, and the charge of advanced 
officers' pay unprecedented ; but Captain Barry had 
signed the original account, and M. Moylan's house had 
advanced the money, and offered every authentic voucher. 
I thought myself obliged to write from Brest, requesting 
Dr Franklin to order payment after necessary security. 

I found myself under the necessity of drawing, under 
the authority of Congress, for three hundred and fifty louis, 
on their Minister Plenipotentiary at the Court of France. 
Fifty of these were given to Mr Jackson on his departure 
for Holland. On my arrival at Boston, I borrowed on my 
private credit forty guineas, twentyfive of which have been 
paid for the purchase of saddles, and the expense of the 
journey, including that of an express with the despatches 
from France for the French Minister and army, and that 
of an escort of dragoons, which it became prudent, on ac- 
count of my papers, to take from Danbury to a place a 
few miles on this side of the North River. 

I had recourse to the State of Rhode Island for horses, 
&c. a particular account of which will be given to the 
Board of War. 

I have the honor to be, with the greatest veneration, he. 







Charles William Frederick Dumas was a native 
of Switzerland, but he passed a large portion of his life in 
Holland, chiefly employed as a man of letters. He was a 
person of deep learning, versed in the ancient classics, and 
skilled in several modern languages, a Wfirm friend of 
liberty, and an early defender of the American cause. 
About the year 1770, or a little later, he published an 
edition of Vattel, with a long preface and notes, which 
were marked with his liberal sentiments. 

When Dr Franklin was in Holland on his way to 
France, a short time before his return to his own country, 
at the beginning of the Revolution, he became acquainted 
with M. Dumas. Having thus witnessed his ability, his 
love of freedom, and his zeal in favor of America, he con- 
sidered him a suitable person to act as agent in promoting 
our affairs abroad. When the Committee of Secret Cor- 
respondence in Congress was formed, towards the close 
of the year 1775, of which Dr Franklin was chair.nan, it 
was resolved to employ M. Dumas for executing the pur- 
poses of the Committee in Holland. A letter of general 
instructions was accordingly written to him by Dr Frank- 
lin in the name of the Committee, and from that time M. 
Dumas commenced a correspondence with Congress, 
which continued without interruption during the Revolution, 
and occasionally to a much later period. He acted at 
first as a secret agent, and after John Adams went to Hol- 
land as Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States, 


M. Dumas performed the office of Secretary and transla- 
tor to the Minister. On the depnrture of Mr Adams for 
Paris, to engage in the negotiations for peace, M. Dumas 
remained in the character of Charge d^jQffnires from the 
United States. In this capacity he exchanged with the 
Dntch government the ratification of the treaty, wliich had 
been previouiiy negotiated by Mr Adams. 

It will be seen by M. Dumas's correspondence, that his 
services were unreniiited, assiduous, and important, and 
performed with a singular devoledness to the interests of 
the United States, and with a warm and undeviating at- 
tachment to the riglits and liberties for which they were 
contending. Congress seem not to have well (mderstood 
the extent or merits of his labors. Ho was obliacd often 
to complain of the meagre compensation he received, and 
of the extreme difficulty with which he and his small 
family contrived to subsist on it. Both Mr Adan)s and 
Dr Franklin recommended him to Congress as worthy of 
better returns, but with little effect. This indifference to 
his worth and his services while living renders it the more 
just, that his memory should be honored witii the respect 
and gratitude of posterity. 

M. Dumas was still living in 1794, when Mr John 
Quincy Adams went to Holland as Minister from this 
couutry, but he died soon afterwards at an advanced age. 





Philadelphia, December 19th, 1775. 

Dear Sir, 

I received your several favors of May 18th, June SOth, 
and July 8lh, by Messrs Vaillant St Pochard, whom if I 
could serve upon your recommendation, it would give me 
great pleasure. Their total want of English is at present an 
obstruction to their getting any employment among us ; but 
I hope they will soon obtain some knowledge of it. This 
is a good country for artificers or farmers, but gentlemen of 
mere science in Les Belles Lettres cannot so easily subsist 
here, there being little demand for their assistance among an 
industrious people, who, as yet, have not much leisure for 
studies of that kind. 

I am much obliged by the kind present you have made 
us of your edition of Vattel. It came to us in good season, 
when the circumstances of a rising State make it necessary 
frequently to consult the law of nations. Accordingly, 
tliat copy which I kept, (after depositing one in our owii 



public library here, and sending the other to the College of 
Massachusetts Bay, as you directed,) has been continually 
in the hands of the members of our Congress now sitting, 
who are much pleased with your notes and preface, and have 
entertained a high and just esteem for their author. Your 
manuscript ''Idee sur le Gouvernement et la Royaute," is 
also well relished, and may, in time, have its effect. I 
thank you, likewise, for the other smaller pieces, which 
accompanied Vattel. "Le court Expose de ce qui est 
passe entre la €our Britanique et les Colonies, ^c" 
being a very concise and clear statement o( facts, will be 
reprinted here for the use of our new friends in Canada. 
The translations of the proceedings of our Congress are 
very acceptable. 1 send you herewith what of them has 
been farther published here, together with a few news- 
papers, containing accounts of some of the successes Prov- 
idence has favored us with. 

We are threatened from England with a very powerful 
force to come next year against us. We are making all 
the provision in our power here to prevent that force, and 
we hope we shall be able to defend ourselves. But as 
ihe events of war are always uncertain, [xissibly, after 
another campaign, we may find it necessary to ask aid of 
so(ue foreign power. It gives us great pleasure to learn 
from you, that "all Europe v^ishes us the best success in 
ihe maintenance of our liberty." But we wish to know 
whether any one of them, from principles of humanity, is 
disposed magnanimously to step in for the relief of an op- 
pressed people, or whether if, as it seems likely to happen, 
we should be obliged to break off all connexion with Brit- 
ain^ and declare ourselves an independent people, there is 
any Slate or Power in Europe, who would be willing to 


enter into an alliance with us for the benefit of our com- 
merce, which amounted, before the war, to near seven 
millions sterling per annum, and must continually increase, 
as our people increase most rapidly. Confiding, ray dear 
friend, in your good will to us and our cause, and in your 
sagacity and abilities for business, the Committee of Con- 
gress, appointed for the purpose of establishing and con- 
ducting a correspondence with our friends in Europe, of 
which Committee I have the honor to be a member, have 
directed me to request of you, that as you are situated at 
the Hague, where Ambassadors from all the Courts reside, 
you would make use of the opportunity, which that situa- 
tion affords you, of discovering, if possible, the disposition 
of the several Courts with respect to such assistance or 
alliance. If we should apply for the one or propose for the 
other. As it may possibly be necessary, in particular in- 
stances, that you should, for this purpose, confer directly 
with some great Ministers, and show them this letter as 
your credential, we only recommend it to your discretion, 
that you proceed therein with such caution, as to keep the 
same from the knowledge of the English Ambassador, and 
prevent any public appearance, at present, of your being 
employed in any such business, as thereby, we imagine, 
many inconveniences may be avoided, and your means of 
rendering us service increased. 

That you may be better able to answer some questions, 
which will probably be put to you concerning our present 
situation, we inform you, that the whole continent is very 
firmly united, the party for the measures of the British 
Ministry being very small, and much dispersed ; that we 
have had on foot the last campaign an army of near 
twentyfive thousand men, wherewith we have been able, 
VOL. IX. 33 

258 DUMAS. 

not only to block up the King's army in Boston, but to 
spare considerable detachments for the invasion of Can- 
ada, where we have met with great success, as the printed 
papers sent herewith will inform you, and have now reason 
to expect that whole Province may be soon in our 
possession j that we purpose greatly to increase our force 
for the ensuing year, and thereby, we hope, with the as- 
sistance of well disciplined militia, to be able to defend our 
coast, notwithstanding its great extent ; that we have al- 
ready a small squadron of armed vessels to protect our 
coasting trade, which have had some success in taking 
several of the enemy's cruisers and some of their transport 
vessels and store-ships. This little naval force we are 
about to augment, and expect it may be more considerable 
in the next summer. 

We have hitherto applied to no foreign power. We are 
using the utmost industry in endeavoring to make saltpetre, 
and with daily increasing success. Our artificers are also 
everywhere busy in fabricating small arms, casting cannon, 
he. Yet both arras and ammunition are much wanted. 
Any merchants, who would venture to send ships laden 
with those articles, might make great profit ; such is the 
demand in every Colony, and such generous prices are, 
and will be given, of which, and of the manner of con- 
ducting such a voyage, the bearer, Mr Story, can more 
fully inform you. And whoever brings in those articles is 
allowed to carry off the value in provisions to our West 
Indies, where they will fetch a very high price, the gene- 
ral exportation from North America being stopped. This 
you will see more particularly in a printed resolution of the 

We are in great want of good engineers, and wish you 


could engage and send us two able ones in time for the 
next campaign, one acquainted with field service, sieges, 
he. and the other with fortifying seaports. They will, if 
well recommended, be made very welcome, and have hon- 
orable appointments, besides the expenses of their voyage 
hither, in which Mr Story can also advise them. As what 
we now request of you, besides taking up your time, may 
put you to some expense, we send you, for the present, 
enclosed, a bill for one hundred pounds sterling, to defray 
such expenses, and desire you to be assured that your 
services will be considered and honorably rewarded by 
the Congress. 

We desire, also, that you would take the trouble of re- 
ceiving from Arthur Lee, agent for the Congress in Eng- 
land, such letters as may be sent by him to your care, and 
of forwarding them to us with your despatches. When 
you have occasion to write to him to inform him of any- 
thing, which it may be of importance that our friends there 
should be acquainted with, please to send your letters to 
him under cover, directed to Mr Alderman Lee, mer- 
chant, on Tower Hill, London, and do not send it by post, 
but by some trusty shipper, or other prudent person, who 
will deliver it with his own hand. And when you send to 
us, if you have not a direct safe opportunity, we recom- 
mend sending by way of St Eustatia, to the care of Messrs 
Robert &, Cornelius Stevens, merchants there, who will 
forward your despatches to me. 

With sincere and great esteem and respect, I am, &c. 



260 DUMAS. 


Philadelphia, March 22d, 1776. 
Dear Sir, 

I wrote to you lately by Mr Story, and since by another 
conveyance. This line will be delivered to you by Mr 
Deane, who goes over on business of the Congress, and 
with whom you may freely converse on the affairs com- 
mitted to you in behalf of that body. I recommend him 
warmly to your civilities. Messrs Vaillant St Pochard con- 
tinue close at their new business, and are already able to 
subsist by it ; as they grow more expert, they will be able 
to make more money. 

Mr Deane will inform you of everything here, and I 
need not add more, than that I am, with esteem and res- 
pect, &C. 



Utrecht, April 30th, 1776 


I received on the 6th instant at the Hague, from Mr 
Thomas Story, the despatches of the 19th December, 
1775, of which he was the bearer. 

I am deeply penetrated by the honor done me, and the 
confidence reposed in me by the committee appointed by 
the General Congress to maintain the correspondence be- 
tween the American United Provinces and Europe, and 
of which you, Sir, are one of the worthy members. I 
shall die content if the remainder of my life can be de- 
voted to the service of so glorious and just a cause. I 
accept, therefore, joyfully the commission you have be- 


Stowed, and whatever you may think fit to give me in 
future, and I promise a hearty good will and an untiring 
zeal. I hope my ability will justify the favorable opinion 
you entertain of me. This promise on my part is in fact 
an oath of allegiance, which I spontaneously take to Con- 
gress ; receive it as such. 

When I remarked in my last letter to you, "that all Eu- 
rope wishes you the most happy issue in your defence of 
your liberty/' I meant the unprejudiced, equitable, humane, 
European public ; in a word, the citizens of universal so- 
ciety, men in general. You must except from this num- 
ber the holders of English funds, and those Courts of Eu- 
rope who have an understanding with England ; these, 
far from assisting you, will sacrifice you to their interests 
or their fears. The allies, which under such circum- 
stances are suitable for you, are France and Spain ; for it 
is their interest that you should be free and independent of 
England, whose enormous maritime power fills them with 
apprehensions. I have, therefore, opened myself to the 
French Minister, and a copy and translation of your re- 
quests and letters of credence to me have been for a fort- 
night in his hands. In the conversation I had with this 
Minister I observed, that the wishes of his nation are for 
you. He said, that there was one difficulty in affording 
aid to the Colonies ; if they should be reconciled with 
England, they would assist her against the power which 
had aided them, and would imitate the dog in the fable. 
I had no reply to make to this, except that in this case 
reasonable beings were concerned, that if they saw the ob- 
ject was not to deprive them of the liberty for which they 
were contending, but to assure it to them, they would not 
be so ungrateful as to join against their benefactors, those 

262 DUMAS. 

who wished to destroy that liberty. Finally, he desired to 
know from me positively, what I would ask for the Colo- 
nies of his Court. I answered, that you wished to be 
informed, 1. If the King of France would, from motives of 
humanity and magnanimity, interpose his mediation on be- 
half of an oppressed people and effect a reconciliation, 
which should preserve to them all the liberties they formerly 
enjoyed. 2. In case such a reconciliation could not be 
effected, would the nations, subjects of the house of Bour- 
bon, be willing to accede to an alliance with the Colonies, 
with the advantages of an immense commerce ? He was 
pleased with the former proposition to offer to his young 
king the glory of conferring peace on the subjects of others 
as well as on his own. The other proposition is not dis- 
agreeable to him, were it not for the dreadful war which 
would ensue in Europe. I then delivered to him, together 
with your letter, a memorial, showing how important it 
was for France not to allow the subjugation of the Colo- 
nies. The whole was sent to his Court about a fortnight 
since, and if the answer should be delayed it will be of no 
disadvantage. Meanwhile, we have gained this advantage, 
that an opening is made, which must dispose France in 
your favor, and engage her to tolerate and secretly to en- 
courage even any assistance your vessels can derive from 
France, Spain, and the Indies. I have, therefore, in the 
extract, copied exactly what you pointed out to me as the 
most necessary, as engineers, arms, munitions, &.c. 

I have done all this with the most profound secrecy. 
The person of whom I have spoken to you required it from 
me, and promised it in return, so that no one in this coun- 
try, excepting him and me, knows anything of it. It is 
more advantageous to you and safer for mc, that I should 
not be known as your agent. 


Mr Story, not daring to take two letters with him to 
England, one for Arthur Lee, the other for Mrs Hannah 
Philippa Lee, left them in safe keeping with me, and he 
did well. I learn by two letters, which I have received 
from Mr A. Lee, of the 20th and 23d of April, that on Mr 
Story's landing in England, they took from him a letter, 
which I had sent by him for Mr Lee ; fortunately it was 
not signed with any true name, and could give no informa- 
tion to your adversaries. They have, therefore, commit- 
ted this additional violence to no purpose. I have sent 
those letters to a friend at Rotterdam, according to the 
request of Mr Lee, and that friend informs me under date 
of May 3d, that he has forwarded the packet by a captain 
of a sloop, one of his old friends, who promised him to 
deliver them himself to the address which I put upon them 
by Mr Lee's directions. The sudden departure of the 
vessels will prevent me from informing you whether they 
have been safely delivered. I shall do it by some future 
opportunity. I joined to the packet a cypher for Mr Lee, 
like that I sent to you, but grounded on different words, so 
that we shall be able to communicate with each other in 
perfect safety. I informed him also, that I had the honor 
of writing you frequently, so that he can send his letters 
through me, if he has no better way. 

I know an engineer over thirty years of age, able, expe- 
rienced, and very well qualified not only in his branch, but 
in the whole art of war ; in a word, a fine ofiicer, but very 
inadequately rewarded. I shall not be able to speak with 
him for several weeks, when I will propose to him the ser- 
vice of the Colonies. But as he is a widower, without 
means, and has several children, it will probably be neces- 
sary if he accepts, to make him some advances to enable 

264 DUMAS. 

him to go over. I will give you an account in due time 
of the conversation I shall have with him. 

I have endorsed today your bill of exchange of £100 
sterling to the order of M. Rey, bookseller at Amsterdam. 
Good reasons prevented me from doing it sooner and at 
any other place than Amsterdam. May the conscientious 
use which I shall make of this fund entirely satisfy your 
wishes, and the confidence with which you have honored 
me. I am persuaded of the generosity of Congress, and I 
pray heaven that I may deserve by my services to be the 
object of it, when God shall have blessed their labors for the 
welfare and prosperity of the Colonies, either by a firm 
and sincere reconciliation, or by the success of your right- 
eous and just arms. In reality, 1 hope much more than 1 
fear on this point. The wisdom of Congress, so constantly 
manifested, the perfect union and harmony which prevail 
there, encourage me more and more. By this rare, hap- 
py, and admirable union, much more surely than by all the 
alliances in the world, you are, and you will finally be 
superior to your enemies, however formidable they may 
appear. Concordia res parvcR crescunt, discordid maxi- 
ma dilabuntur ; may this great truth and the sublime 
words of Themistocles to Eurybiades, who raised a wea- 
pon against him in the Council, "Strike hut hear" be con- 
stantly present to your minds and hearts, as well as to 
those of your constituents. What power will then be able 
to withstand yours ? Ascribe the freedom of this address 
to the enthusiasm with which I am animated for your union^ 
the noblest edifice that liberty has ever reared. In it cen- 
tres all that the political world contains attractive for me. 

I thank you, Sir, for your fatherly kindness to the two 
French gentlemen. They are young, and ought not there- 


fore to entertain even the idea of being an instant a burden 
to any one, and a useless load to society. 

I am very glad that the Statement of the Points in Dis- 
pute between Great Britain and the Colonies has been 
approved, so far as to cause it to be printed for the instruc- 
tion of your friends, the Canadians. This is the only effect 
of that paper, for the printer not having sold enough of 
bis journals to be at any other expense than the impres- 
sion, has ceased to pa^ the author of those pieces. I 
have obtained his address for the purpose of engaging him 
to assist me in refuting the Jew, Pinto, whose venal pen 
has been employed in the most insolent manner against the 
Americans. A certain person, whom you know, regrets 
having allowed himself to be dazzled by his financial sys- 
tem, so far as to approve it without reserve in a letter, or 
advertisement, at the head of the treatise on "Circulation ;" 
for although there are som.e good things in it here and 
there, yet that person has long since been enlightened, in 
regard to many false brilliants, which the Jew passed off 
for genuine. 

As for the Idea on Government and Royalty, I learn 
with pleasure, that it has been agreeable, and that the time 
will perhaps come when it will receive more attention. 
This idea renders me more happy and proud, than if I had 
written the Iliad ; for I think with Phasdrus, nisi utile est 
quodfacimus, stnlta est gloria. It is a seedi which I thought 
myself bound to sow in your country, the only place in the 
known world where it could spring up. I consider that 
idea more and more practicable and true, and of all politi- 
cal systems the most completely proof against all objec- 
tions. It requires only to be developed. God grant that 
VOL. IX. 34 

266 DUMAS. 

we may soon be able to do it in peace and at leisure. I 
shall then beg you, Sir, with the estimable and learned 
author of the Pennsylvania Farmer, to correspond with 
me on this subject, and to prove it, if not to our contempo- 
raries, at least to posterity. 

I thank you. Sir, for the Journal of Congress from the 
10th of May to the 1st of August, 1775, which you have 
had the kindness to send me ; be good enough to complete 
it by sending what precedes and follows ; for we have here 
nothing authentic relating to your affairs. All that we 
know of you, we get from the gazettes, imperfectly, by 
scraps, in a vague and uncertain manner, a mixture of 
truth and falsehood. 

May 9th. I have just received the following letter 
without signature. "You will perhaps be tempted to come 
to the fair at the Hague. I shall have the honor to renew 
the expressions of my sincere esteem. I shall be at your 
orders every day at noon or sooner, if you will write me 
from your lodgings to let me know what hour will be most 
convenient for you. We shall be able to moralise some 
moments upon subjects, which we have already discussed. 
I have but little to say to you, which I shall do with a sin- 
cerity and candor, which I trust you will approve." I 
shall make this visit Saturday night, so as to return here 
Sunday night or Monday, not being able to do it otherwise. 
I shall send thisjetter today to Amsterdam, as they tell me 
the vessels will else sail without it. I shall therefore give 
you an account of the conversation in another letter, either 
by the same vessel or by some other. 1 am sorry to be 
obliged to leave you in suspense on a subject so interesting. 

Receive, Sir, for all the members of Congress in gene- 


ral, and for yourself, Mr Dickinson and Mr Jay in particu- 
lar, the sincere assurances of my profound respect. 



Utrecht, May 14th, 1776. 

I wrote the 9th to the person who wrote me the letter of 
the 6th, of which I have given you a copy, that if what he 
had to say to me was pressing, I would go and return in 
two succeeding nights, to be with him Sunday the 12th, 
which is between the two ; but if the interview could admit 
a week's delay, I should be able to make the journey more 
conveniently. He answered the next day, 10th of May, 
as follows. 

"I have received. Sir, the letter you did me the honor 
to write. I obey instantly the order you have given to 
answer you as to the day when I shall be able to have the 
pleasure of seeing you. As what I shall have the honor of 
saying to you is not pressing, you may put off, till Satur- 
day next, eight days hence, that is to say the 18th of this 
month, the visit with which you flatter me. Nay, I take 
the liberty to anticipate you in the offer of expenses in all 
cases where your good offices will be useful to me. Flat- 

* M. Dumas commonly wrote his despatches in French, but some- 
times in English. It has not been thought necessary to designate 
between those translated, and those written originally in English. 
Although he wrote the language with a good deal of accuracy, yet 
foreign idioms and other defects will occasionally be perceived. In 
some instances the editor has taken the liberty to make free correc- 
tions of the author's style, and to omit a good deal ofirrelevant mat- 
ter. . 


268 DUMAS. 

tered, honored as I am with the acquaintance I have made 
with you, I should be very sorry to be a burden to you, and 
to abuse your kindness. 

"I have the honor to be, very respectfully, Sir, at your 

Do not think, Gentlemen, that a childish vanity leads me 
to recite to you this letter, and to take to myself sincerely 
the compliments which are addressed to me. 

May 21st. I am at length returned from my journey, 
with which I have been much satisfied, because I think 
you will have reason to be so. After we had conversed 
some time on the great and very late news of the evacua- 
tion of Boston by your enemies, as a new mark of the wis- 
dom of your operations, our friend, (whose name 1 have 
promised not to reveal,) said, the King of England does 
not forget himself, nevertheless, as you see ; and he showed 
me in a gazette a prohibitory edict very severe, of the Em- 
press Queen of Hungary, against all exportation of arms 
and munitions from her Slates for America. 1 had already 
seen it, and I told him so. But what you do not know, 
said he, is that the King has demanded this of the Empress 
by a letter written with his own hand. I gave him to un- 
derstand, that I hoped his Court would not be so partial. 
You shall know, he replied, for you will comprehend it. As 
to your first demand, the mediation of the King cannot take 
place whilst the Colonies are subjects of the King of Eng- 
land, who, besides, would not accept it. As to your second 
demand, the King is a true knight, his word is sacred. He 
has given it to the English to live in peace with them. He 
will hold to it. While France is not at war with the Eng- 
lish, he will not ally himself against them with the Colonies, 
and will not furnish aids to the latter. But on the other 


hand, for the same reason, the Americans have the same 
protection and liberty as all other English to resort to 
France, to export thence merchandise, arms, and muni- 
tions of war, without however forming magazines of them 
in France, which is not permitted by any nation. Besides, 
added he, the Colonies have no need that either France or 
Spain should enter into this war. Commerce alone will 
furnish to the Americans all that they want to defend them- 

I am of his opinion. I think even that it will be more 
advantageous to you and to France also, that she should 
not be hasty to declare openly for you. Once more, gen- 
tlemen, your union, your constant love of liberty, your for- 
titude in turning from all that looks like luxury and in 
despising it, your hatred of tyranny and despotism, which 
are the sad fruits of luxury ; in fine, all your republican 
virtues will render you superior to your enemies, and in- 
vincible even without allies. These, however, will not be 
wanting, be assured, for it cannot be thought, that with 
what is passing in your part of the world, ours can long 
remain at peace. The time will come when your friends 
will show themselves, and when your alliance will not only 
be accepted but sought. Meanwhile you have struck a 
great and wise blow in driving your enemies from Boston. 
They publish, that they have evacuated the place, with 
profound political motives ; the public laughs at this 

I forgot to mention to you, that the person in question 
offered to reimburse to me the expenses of my journey ; 
and that I answered they were already paid. On which 
he requested me to tell him at least in what he could do 
me a favor. 1 answered, that he was doing me such in 

270 DUMAS. 

rendering great services to the Americans. Finally, he 
desired me to correspond from time to time with him. I 
engaged to do it, and shall not fail. Thus it depends only 
on you, Gentlemen, to render this correspondence more 
and more interesting. On ray part I will be vigilant to 
profit by all events that can make any change in Europe. 
Those which happen in America will require, without 
doubt, that you give me frequently new instructions and 
orders provided always with letters of credence, or at least 
with one that will serve for the time, as you judge proper. 
I know to whom to address myself to ask for intelligence at 
the Court of France, and to have an answer in a few days. 

June 6th. Here you have a copy of a letter from Lon- 
don, dated May 21st. You know well from whom it is.* 
I have sent to him under the envelope the two letters 
which Mr Story had left with me, and I added a cy- 
pher, which he has already used with success. 

"Everything is safe. I shall write you fully next week 
by our friend Story. One Hortalez will apply to you on 
business that concerns our friends. He has your address. 
Be so good as to assist him."f 

I expect these gentlemen with impatience, and shall do 
all that depends on me for your service and theirs. 

I trust you will always answer me speedily, and inform 
me if my letters reach you. 1 will send you once more a 
general copy of my preceding letters, to supply the loss of 
one or both, in case the vessels that carry them are lost or 
are taken. 

* The person here referred to is Arthur Lee. See .Arthur Lee's 
Correspondence, Vol. II. p. 16. 

I This note refers to Beaumarchais, who proposed to go to Hol- 
land, when he saw Mr Lee in London. But he afterwards altered 
his mind and returned directly to Paris. 


When I promised the Minister, with whom I had an in- 
terciew on your affairs, not to name him to you, it is only 
until you expressly require that I make him known to 
you ; for in that case you may know him when you will. 
In about eight days I shall leave Utrecht for a country 
house within seven leagues of the Hague, where I expect 
to pass the summer. 

I have the honor to be, &.c. 



August 10th, 1776. 

Mr Arthur Lee in his letter of the 11th of June ob- 
serves, that "Mr Story goes from hence directly to Amer- 
ica. A French gentleman named Hortalez having some- 
thing to negotiate for the Congress, 1 have given him your 
address." On the eve of my departure from Utrecht, on 
the 21st of June, I wrote as follows to the person whom 
you know.* 


"In the hope that you have consented to make me under- 
stand that I shall be one day useful to you, I think it my 
duty to advise you, that I shall depart tomorrow from this 
city to pass the summer at a country house half way from 
here to . I shall receive there in all safety your 

orders, if you send your letters to, he. 

"I propose also, to pass to as soon as I can, 

•Meaning the person with whom he had the interview, mentioned 
in the preceding letter, doubtless the French Ambassador. 

272 DUMAS. 

merely to profit by the permission you have given me to 
render you my services from time to time. Without hav- 
ing any new plan to propose, the work already marked out 
has need of your good directions, and I shall be very 
sorry to fail of the honor of an interview with you at 
least once more before your departure, if it is near." 

To this I received the following answer, dated June 


"I have received the letter you did me the honor to 
write me the 21st of this month. You flatter me with the 
hope of seeing you at to which you are brought 

near by the residence you intend to make during the sum- 
mer at a country house. This proximity will afford you 
opportunity to make journeys, by which I shall profit with 
much pleasure. I am sensible of the esteem which is your 
due, and of the advantage of meriting the friendship of an 
experienced man like yourself, uniting literature to the 
duties of society. I shall listen to you always with an 
eager desire of profiting by your counsels, and this on all 
subjects that have engaged your thoughts. I do not yet 
know the time that 1 shall remain at . Per- 

haps it will be sufficiently long to enjoy often the honor of 
receiring you. This depends on the orders of my Court. 
We are in the least active, or most dissipated season. 
Business will not flourish much till the fall of the leaves, or 
even not get warm till the return of snow. I speak of the 
old world ; for I wish not to extend the picture too much. 

"Have you any news of the Doctor and his friends ? I 
shall be obliged to you to follow my instructions in this 
respect. I will bear willingly the charge of an express, 
whom you may send to me when you shall judge proper ; 


otherwise write uniformly by the post. Should I be on a 
journey, I shall have the honor to inform you of my resi- 
dence and address. I do not know how to express to you 
sufficiently, Sir, the desire I have to serve you and to de- 
serve a place in your thoughts." 

About fifteen days after, I replied to this letter as fol- 


"The letter with which you honored me, dated 23d of 
June, has given me the assurance, which was needed to 
console me for the disappointments that have detained me 
here. Perhaps I shall be at the Hague on Sunday morn- 
ing. Be assured, Sir, that if anything comes to my knowl- 
edge worthy of your attention, you shall be informed of it 
immediately. I have no reason to expect soon to receive 
news directly. 1 have written two letters by two different 
vessels, that have sailed from Amsterdam for St Eustatia ; 
and I expect when another vessel departs to despatch a 
third. Before I have an answer much time will pass, and 
in this time many events. There is, however, a man 
charged with some commission on their part, to whom 
they have given my address at Leyden ; and 1 have re- 
ceived two letters from that city, the one of the 21st of 
May, the other of the 1 1th of June, in which they pray 
me to render him service. This is all that I know of 
him, for the man has not yet appeared. 

"The more I am favored with your letters. Sir, the 
more I wish to deserve your good opinion. In the mean- 
time, I ought to be on my guard against too much pre- 
sumption, and to think how natural it is to give a gracious 
reception to the servant for the love of the master. I own 
VOL. IX. 35 

274 DUMAS. 

to you, Sir, that in giving an account to the Doctor and his 
friends of our correspondence, I have thought proper to 
forewarn them thereon. They will be informed of the 
obliging interest with which you ask news of them. I 
hope that the time will come, when you will be able to 
permit me to reveal your name. 

"After having thought long and much, it seems to me, 
that in order to answer completely their intention, I ought 
to present myself also to the Hotel d^Espagne, to be 
known there simply as charged with such a commission, 
to open to myself thereby ways of serving my constituents 
on diverse occasions, which may present tliemselves at 
one moment or another, and not incur the blame, which 
may be reflected even on these gentlemen, of having 
neglected a power so worthy of their efforts. For the 
rest, I shall not do or say anything in this respect till 
I have had the honor of seeing you. Sir, and I pray you 
to believe that I shall observe scrupulously, the conduct 
and the discretion that you have had the goodness to pre- 
scribe to me." 

In consequence, I have again conferred with this gen- 
tleman. He went to dine at that same house, said that 
I had been with him, and that I told him I would go also to 
the other house the next day at eleven o'clock. I went in 
fact, and was received tete a iete with great ceremony in 
the hall of audience. I opened briefly my business and 
drew out a memoir to read to him. He told me that he 
could not hear me without the order of his master. I 
read, notwithstanding, and he did not stop his ears. I 
prayed him to receive and keep the memoir. He refused, 
alleging continually that he could do nothing without orders. 
I drew out then ray originals and showed him my three sig- 


natures, which he looked at eagerly. In separating, I 
asked him to keep my name concealed at . He 

said to me that he would keep it secret everywhere. He 
asked me, however, if that was my true name. I assured 
him it was ; he paid me some personal compliments, and we 
parted. I learnt on the next day by another channel, that 
he had, notwithstanding, given an account to his master of 
this visit ; which suffices me, for I have need, as you 
know, of only one of these good houses. I am always 
very politely received, and as a friend. This is all that I 
ask. I do not multiply too much my visits, but to render 
them always desirable, I never appear there without 
having something interesting to say ; and to this end, the 
letters of my worthy correspondent at London are very 
useful to me. This last has addressed to me lately a 
person, whose conversation, joined to the contents of the 
letter of which he was bearer, has served me in the com- 
position of a memoir which they approve, and I have 
reason to think they have sent. 

This person has induced me to write a letter to you, 
dated the 4th of August, by way of Bordeaux to St Do- 
mingo, under an envelope of Mr Caton, merchant at Port 
Si Nicholas in that island, of which here is an extract. 

"A gentleman belonging to Jamaica, a particular friend 
of Dr Franklin, and very well known to him, has charged 
me to write to him, to assure him on good authority, of 
the singular esteem that he has for him and his friends ; 
that they ought to think, and that he prays him to let them 
know it, that the present voice of Parliament is the voice 
of the English people; that there exists, and gathers 
strength, a great body, which, in truth, is not the strongest, 
but which regards the cause of the Americans as its own, 

276 DUMAS. 

their safety and liberty as its own, wliich will prefer to see 
them independent rather than subjugated, and which will 
make, at the future meeting of Parliament, the greatest 
efforts in their favor; that the basis of this party is already 
forty Peers, and one hundred and sixty members of the 

The letter which this gentleman brought me began thus ; 
"This will be delivered to you by Mr Ellis, a friend of 
Dr Franklin, of liberty, and of America. He is a philoso- 
pher, very well instructed on the subject of America, and, 
I trust, will be both an agreeable and useful acquaintance 
while he remains near you." This assuring me, I discov- 
ered to him I hat I was the man whom he was seeking, 
provided with credentials and orders from Congress suffi- 
cient to do all the good offices that his friends could wish 
to render. Thereupon I showed him my credentials ; he 
was satisfied with them, and we exchanged addresses. 
He promised to write me ; and we separated satisfied 
with each other. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 



London, July 6th, 1776. 

Dear Sir, 

This will be delivered you by Mr Ellis, a friend of Dr 
Franklin, of liberty, and of America. He is a philosopher, 
very well instructed on the subject of America, and, 1 trust, 
will be both an agreeable and useful acquaintance while he 
remains near you. 

1 thank you for your favor of the 21st of last month. 
By the last advices from America, General Howe was pre- 


pared to sail for Halifax, and, it is imagined, to land at 
New York, where he will certainly Le strongly opposed. 
He numbers ten thousand regulars, and it will be fortunate 
for us, if he makes his attempt before he is joined by the 
Germans, who sailed the 6th of May. 

The Americans have taken post upon the river Riche- 
lieu and the lakes, so that IMontreal, not being tenable, is 
evacuated. General Lee is in Virginia, wiih ten thousand 
men, expecting Lord Cornwallis and General Clinton. 
General Washington commands at New York, and Gene- 
ral Ward in Borton. 

The strange timidity de la Cour Frangaise requires 
great patience and management ; but I think it will at last 
be brought to act an avowed and decided part. When 
that happens, Angleterre must submit to whatever terms 
they please to impose, for she is totally incapable of sus- 
taining a war with France. 



Paris, July 26th, 1776. 

The enclosed letter from Dr Franklin will hint at my 

business in this city, where I arrived the 7th instant, and I 

should have sent forward this earlier, had I not had hopes 

of having the honor of presenting it to you in person. This 

I now find I cannot expect, without delaying it beyond all 

bounds. I therefore forward it by the common conveyance, 

and inform you that my address in this city is to Messrs 

Germany, Guardot &; Co. bankers ; that I shall tarry here 

till the last of August, when I propose going to Dunkirk, 



thence to Amsterdam and Hamburg, in which journey 1 
hope for the pleasure of seeing you. In the meantime, I 
shall be happy in a correspondence with you on the sub- 
ject of the dispute between the United Colonies and Great 
Britain, or any other that shall be agreeable to you ; and I 
wish to be informed if I shall be in danger of any disagree- 
able treatment in my journey through Holland, in a private 
capacity, though it should be known that I was in the ser- 
vice of the United Colonies. It has been suggested to me, 
that I might meet with some interruption or difficulties from 
the friends of the British IVIinistry, which occasions my 
making this inquiry. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 


P. S. 1 read and understand the French language tol- 
erably well, though I am unable to write it. 


London, August 13th, 1776. 

Dear Sir, 

I answered your last letter immediately. I now enclose 
you several pamphlets, which contain such an authentic 
state of facts, and such arguments on the American ques- 
tion, as will enable its advocates with you to maintain their 
ground against the pensioner of this Court. I beg partic- 
ularly, that you will send some of them to the gentleman 
who has answered Pinto, the pensioner of this Court. 

The pamphlet entitled the Rights of Great Britain, he. 
is full of the grossest falsehoods. A very material one is 
exposed by the enclosed extracts from the acts of Parlia- 



ment, granting bounties upon American produce, which 
proves by their own words, that those bounties were given 
for their own interests only. Yet that pamphlet has given 
a long list of the amount of those bounties, and charged it 
to the Colonies. The fact is, as Dr Smith, a Scotchman, 
and an enemy to American rights, has stated it, in his late 
labored and long expected book on the Wealth of Nations. 
"Whatever expense," says he "Great Britain has hitherto 
laid out in maintaining this dependency, has really been 
laid out in order to support their monopoly." Speaking of 
the debt incurred last war, he says, — "This whole expense 
is, in reality, a bounty, which has been given in order to 
support a monopoly. The pretended purpose of it was to 
encourage the manufactures, and to increase the commerce 
of Great Britain." The operation of this monopoly against 
the Colony he states thus, — "The monopoly of the Colony 
trade, therefore, like all the other mean and malignant ex- 
pedients of the mercantile system, depresses the industry of 
all other countries, but chiefly that of the Colonies.'^ 

When you write to the Congress it would be well, I 
think, to mention that as all the evils have been produced 
by Scotch counsel, and those people prosecute the busi- 
ness with more rancor and enmity, a distinction ought to 
be made between the treatment of them and other people, 
when made prisoners. 

We expect every day some decisive news from New- 
York. The last gazette gives us no reason to fear anything 
but the chance of war, against which no prudence can pro- 
vide. We have certain intelligence from Canada, that it 
will be the last of August before the boats will be ready 
upon Lake Champlain for the Ministerial army ; so that 
there is no possibility of their joining Howe. They are 

280 DUMAS. 

putting eleven ships of the line in commission here, which 
is kept very secret, or it would shake the stocks exceed- 




Paris, August 18th, 1776. 
Your favor of the Sth, and one earlier, but without a 
date, are before me, and I return you my thanks for the 
attention paid to mine, and more especially for the good 
opinion you entertain of my countrymen, and your tenders 
of service. The business before me is of such a nature, 
that I must be detained some lime in this city. If I take a 
journey to Holland, it will be my choice to make it as a 
private gentleman ; as such I am in Paris, and that char- 
acter 1 shall keep, unless obliged to alter it. Parade and 
pomp have no charms in the eyes of a patriot, or even a 
man of common good sense ; but at the same time, I can 
never submit to the changing of my name, unless I am con- 
vinced that so humiliating a step will promote the service 
of my country. I can pass unnoticed under that name, 
as well as any other, whilst I conduct in every other step 
as a private gentleman. I have now but little hopes of be- 
ing in Holland till October, before which, such intelligence 
may arrive from America, as may alter my present de- 

The declaration of independency, made by the United 
Colonies, is announced in the English papers, but I have 
received no despatches on the event, though I am in daily 
expectation of them. You ask me two questions in your 



first letter ; to the former, I answer at once affirmatively, 
that I have a certain prospect of succeeding in my business ; 
but as to the latter, or second query, I cannot so readily 
reply, for I know not how far the knowledge of me and my 
concerns may have extended. I am here as a private 
merchant, and appear as such, whatever suspicion may cir- 
culate. As such, I can travel, I trust, in your country, 
which I most ardently wish to see, and the more so on ac- 
count of the kind, simple, and engaging invitation you have 
given me. It really affected me, and brought instanta- 
neously to view those happy and peaceful scenes of domes- 
tic felicity, to which I am at present a stranger. You have 
all I can give you, a grateful acknowledgment of your kind- 
ness, and depend, that I will in person acknowledge it on 
my first arrival in Holland. 

It is the policy of the United Provinces of Holland to be 
neuter to every attention. The United Colonies only wish 
them to keep steady to their only true system of policy in 
the present case ; and give me leave to say, that a reflec- 
tion on their former struggles must show them in what 
point of light the Americans are to be considered. The 
United Colonies ask no aid or alliances. Let Britain court 
every, even the most petty and mercenary power in Eu- 
rope, the United Colonies only ask for what nature surely 
entitles all men to, a free and uninterrupted commerce and 
exchange of the superfluities of one country for those of 
another ; and the first power in Europe, which takes ad- 
vantage of the present favorable occasion, must exceed 
every other in commerce. 

But I am rambling. T pray to know in your next letter, 
what sums are due to Holland from the government of 
England. Whether the King of Prussia is wholly inatten- 
voL. IX. 36 

282 DUMAS. 

tive to the present proceedings, and on which side his 
wishes are. Omnia tentanda. I really hope to be at the 
Hngue in October, and promise myself great pleasure in 
seeing you and your lady, to whom, though otherwise un- 
known, bince you have introduced me, you cannot refuse 
presenting my best respects. 

I am, with great esteem, &ic. 



London, September 10th, 1776. 

The 27ih ult. and the 7th instant, in the absence of my 
brother, Arthur Lee, your two letters for him came safe to 
my hands. My brother is now on the continent, and per- 
haps may write to you from where he is. The declaration 
of independence on the part of America, has totally chang- 
ed the nature of the contest between that country and Great 
Britain. It is now on the part of Great Britain a scheme of 
conquest, which few imagine can succeed. Independence 
is universally adopted by every individual in the Thirteen 
United States, and it has altered the face of things here. 
The tories, and particularly the Scotch, hang their heads 
and keep a profound silence on the subject ; the wjiigs do 
not say much, but rather seem to think the step a wise one, 
on the part of America, and what was an inevitable con- 
sequence of the measures taken by the British Ministry. 
In short every one wants to form his judgment by the event 
of the present campaign, as something decisive is expected 
to happen from the arrangements under General and Lord 
Howe, and General Carlelon, before the meeting of Par- 
liament, which will be the 24th of October. 


In the meantime every effort is made to prevent France 
from taking any open or even private part with America, 
for which purpose Mr Stanley, Mr Jenkinson, one of the 
Lords of the Treasury, and confidential friend of Lord 
Bute, and of the Solicitor-General, Mr Wedderburne, have 
been at Paris some time to aid the negotiations of the Brit- 
ish Minister, Lord Stormont. As far as money will an- 
swer their purpose, it will not be spared. The French 
are generally acute enough in observing what is for their 
interest, but most people here are at a loss to conceive what 
plan they have in view, as they have not hitherto, as we 
know of, tnken any part with America. 

The public papers will tell you all the material news we 

have from America, but in general it is supposed the 

Americans will stand greatly in want of arms, ammunition, 

and artillery, to oppose such a force as is sent against 

them, and it is evident they have not experienced officers 

sufficient to manage such extensive operations as they 

have in hand. Should you have occasion to write to me, 

you may address, under cover, as you do to my brother. 

I am, with esteem. Sir, ^c. 



Paris, September 11th, 1776. 

I have to acknowledge the receipt of yours of the 29th 
ultimo, ot the 2d, 5th and 7th of this month, and at the 
same time to make my excuses for not answering them 
earlier ; which was owing to my hurry of business, in part, 
and part to my hopes of being able to send you something 


284 DUMAS. 

agreeable from America, when 1 should next write you. 
Forgive therefore this seeming inattention, and accept my 
warmest thanks for the kind sentiments, which you and 
your good lady entertain for me and my country. The 
cause of the Americans is the cause of mankind in gen- 
eral, and naturally interests the generous and the good in 
every part of the world. 

The measures you took before my arrival, respecting 
this Court, were perfectly right, and you may rely on my 
secrecy as to your concerns. Our commerce is now on as 
good a footing in this kingdom and in Spain, as the com- 
merce of any other nation ; and I trust will very soon have 
an important preference. When 1 said in a former letter 
we wanted only a friendly intercourse by way of com- 
merce, I had not the vanity to suppose the actual assistance 
of European powers was not an object deserving attention ; 
but I must say seriously, that if the American commerce 
can be established with the trading powers of Europe, and 
if those powers of Europe would protect that commerce, 
it would be all the assistance necessary ; and the Colonies 
by land would be more than equal to anything Great 
Britain could bring against them. You are entirely right 
in saying, that the House of Bourbon are the allies we 
should first and principally court. France is at the head 
of this House, and therefore what is done here is sure to 
be done by tlie whole. This, therefore, requires my 
whole attention, and I can only say to you, my prospects 
are nowise discouraging. 

As to the King of Prussia, I will in my next explain 
more fully my meaning, and at the same time send to you 
a state of the United Colonies, of their commerce, of 
their present contest, with some thoughts or observations 


on the manner in which Europe must be affected, and 
what part they ought to take in the present important 
crisis. My name and business have long since been known 
to the British Ambassador here, and to the Court of Lon- 
don ; and they have remonstrated, but finding remon- 
strances to no purpose, they have wisely determined to take 
no notice of me, as I do not appear as yet in a public 

Let me ask of you, if a workman skilful in the founding 
of brass and iron cannon can be engaged in Holland to go 
to America ? Also, if I can engage two or three persons of 
approved skill in lead mines, to go to America on good en- 
gagement. Your answer will oblige me, and by the next 
post I will write you more particularly. The British arms 
will not, probably, effect anything in America this season, 
as they had not begun to act the 8th of August, and that 
brings winter to the very door, as I may say, and an inde- 
cisive campaign must prove to Great Britain a fatal one. 
I am, he. 



London, September 23d, 1776. 
Dear Sir, 

My absence from town till now prevented my answering 
your two last favors of September 3d. 

By our latest and best accounts from America the die 
is now cast, and we may every day expect to hear of a 
decisive action at New York ; decisive I mean as to the 
fate of General Howe and New York, but not of America, 
which depends very little upon the event of New York 
being taken or saved. 

286 DUMAS. 

There is a public Torpor here, which, without being su- 
perstitious, one may regard as a visitation from heaven. 
The people in general think the declaration of indepen- 
dence as a thing of course, and do not seem to feel them- 
selves at all interested in the vast consequences, which that 
event must inevitably draw after it. The Ministry have 
by certain manoeuvres contrived to keep up the demand 
for. and price of manufactures ; and while trade and manu- 
factures apparently prosper, the people are so deaf, that 
wisdom may cry out in the streets and not be heard. But 
the course of the seasons is not more fixed, than it is cer- 
tain that these ministerial arts must be temporary in their 
operation and fatal in their issue ; because the more men 
are flattered, the more desperate they are when the calam- 
ity comes upon them. Already the West India Islands 
begin to cry out, as you will have seen in the address 
from the Island of Barbadoes. The great number of cap- 
tures lately made of West India ships by the Americans, 
have already had very visible effects upon the Royal Ex- 
change. Holland taking the alarm, which the least move- 
ment on the part of France would produce, must shake 
our stocks to the foundation, and give an equal shock to a 
deluded prince and a deluded people. 

The characters you desire me to touch upon are such 
as seldom occur in the same period. Lord Sandwich has 
been noted through a long life for everything in word and 
deed, directly opposite to honesty and virtue. With mod- 
erate abilities, and little real application, he maintains an 
appearance of both by impositions and professions, which 
at a lime so averse to inquiry as the present pass for facts. 
Lord George Germain, though cradled in England, has all 
the principles of a Scotchman ; subtle, proud, tyrannical, 


and false. In consequence of his patronising the Scots, 
ihey have always been liis panegyrists and his advocates, 
and as they are a people indefatigable in all interested pur- 
suits, they have procured him a character for ability, 
which he very little deserves. Dissimulation and craft in 
worldly occurrences too often pass for real wisdom ; and, 
in that sense, Lord George is a wise man. Such a man 
could not long pass unnoticed and unpatronised by a 
Court, which searches with Lyncean eyes for the basest 
hearts, and is actuated by Scotch principles and Scotch 
counsels. Lord Suffolk is a peer of sullen pride and arbi- 
trary principles. He listed in the public cause with Mr 
Wedderburne, under the banner of George Grenville ; and 
while his life gave the hope of success in getting prefer- 
ment, they were the loudest in opposition ; but immedi- 
ately upon his death, they made their terms, and have 
been ever* since the most devoted tools of the Court. 
Lord Suffolk recommends himself very much to the King, 
by an indefatigable attention to the little detail business of 
his department, and an obsequiousness that knows no 
bounds. Lord Rochford is by birth a tory, and is linked 
with Lord Mansfield ; but his fears have made him with- 
draw himself upon an ample pension, for he is persuaded, 
that France will soon strike a blow, which will endanger 
the heads of those who conduct these measures. 

I have been apprized by Hortalez, that the business for 
which I recommended him to you is to be transacted through 
France, which is the reason of your not seeing him. 

I do not conceive you need be under any alarm about 
intercepted letters, as the Ministry have too much upon 
their thoughts, and too many more immediately dangerous 
and known opponents at home, to suffer them to look 

288 DUMAS. 

abroad for victims. Their success must be certain and 
decisive before they will venture to attack the friends of 
America in Europe, and provoke retaliation. I flatter 
myself with being as much within the eye of their en- 
mity as any man can be. But I think that the enmity 
of bad men is the most desirable testimony of virtuous 




September 30th, 1776. 


After having sent to your correspondent at St Eustatia, 
whose address you gave me in your letter of the 12th of 
December, 1775, my third letter of which yon hare here 
annexed a large extract, I commence my fourth despatch. 

IVl. Hortaiez, of whom Rlr Arthur Lee spoke in two of 
his letters, has not yet appeared ; nor have I received the 
letter that you say you have written to me between that of 
the 12th of December, 1775, and that of the 2d of March, 
1776. The non-appearance of this gentleman, and of the 
letter here referrecf to, disquiets me somewhat, not only 
because all that comes to me from you. Gentlemen, and 
from your friends, is dear and precious to me, but also, 
and above all, because I fear that the service of the gen- 
eral Congress may suffer by it. 

The bearer of your letter of the 2d of March, (Silas 
Deane) arrived at Paris the 7th of July, whence he sent it 
to me with one of his own, dated the 26th. I have 
another from him of the 18th of August, in which he re- 


marks to me, "that he has a certain prospect of succeeding 
in bh business." He proposes also to visit Holland. 

I have before told you, that the letters I received had 
contributed much to render my visits, my letters, and me- 
moirs agreeable in a certain quarter. This will be seen 
from the following note, which I received a short time 
since, dated August 26th. After having spoken to me of 
a service, which he had consented to render me in his 
country, where I had some affairs to settle, and which we 
had agreed upon as a pretext to mark our interviews, the 
writer thus proceeds ; "Madame has taken the 

trouble to send me your letters, and I beg you to send me 
by her all interesting particulars, including the narration 
of the person whom you expect, (Silas Deane.) I prpy 
you to send me all that you have received since your last 
letter. I receive packets from all quarters ; it pertains to 
my office. So I shall receive with gratitude whatever 
you may have the goodness to send me." 

1 have sent to him open, widi a flying seal, the letter 
that I wrote you by St Domingo. We agreed on this ver- 
bally, and he promised me to send it to Bordeaux well 
recommended. 1 have cause to think that this letter has 
been forwarded and pleased certain persons, on whose 
account i had expressed, at the close of the letter, that 
when by legislation and a wise constitution you shall have 
crowned the work of your liberty, I shall die content with 
having seen a great King and a great Republic sincerely 
wish the good of the people. 

I received some days ago another letter from Mr Deane, 

dated at Paris, 14th of September. All the letters that I 

have received from him, as well from you, are precious to 

me, and this one doubly so, since besides the kind expres- 

voL. IX. 37 

290 DUMAS. 

sions with which it is filled, my zeal for your cause is 
recompensed by the testimony that I have well served it. 
If I continue not to sign my name,* it is not from fear, 
but because I think your service requires that I remain yet 
some time unknown, at least until Mr Deane arrives here, 
for then I shall be known everywhere for the most zealous 
American in all the Republic, and it will be my pride. All 
that can come of it will be the loss of my present post ; but 
in this case I am sure that Congress will indemnify me by 
a subsistence suitable for me and mine, seeing that I shall 
be able to continue useful to them as much and even more 
than in time past, because I shall not be encumbered with 
other duties, and all my faculties will be employed in the 
service of America. I have been much mortified in not 
being at liberty, as I have expressed to Mr Deane. I 
should have flown to Paris to assist him, at least by the 
knowledge I have of many European languages. 
I have the honor to be, &c. 



Philadelphia, October Ist, 1776. 

I have just time to acknowledge the receipt of your two 

packets, with the pamphlets enclosed, the contents of which 

are very satisfactory. You will hear from me more fully 

in a little time. 

With great esteem, I am, Sir. &lc. 


P. S. We have a great force brought against us here, 
but continue firm. 

• M. Dumas usually signed his despatches with a fictitioua name. 



Paris, October 3d, 1776. 
Dear Sir, 

Since my last, in which I mentioned the King of Prussia, 
I have obtained a method of sounding that monarch's sen- 
timents more directly through another channel, which vol- 
untarily offering, I have accepted, and therefore waive 
writing on the subject for the present anything, save that 
you may undoubtedly serve the United States of America 
most essentially in this affair in a few weeks from this. 
The attention to my business here, which is not merely 
political, but partly commercial, the critical situation of 
affairs at this Court, and the anxious suspense for the 
events at New York and Canada have actually fixed me 
here, and the having received no intelligence for some time 
past has well nigh distracted me. I have, however, favor- 
able prospects, and the most confirmed hopes of effecting 
my views in Europe. I am too much engaged to say 
more in this, and will be more particular in my next. 
I am, he. 



Paris, October 6th, 1776. 

Yours of the 1st instant I received, and observe by the 
contents, that Mr Lee is returned to London. I have not 
seen Mr Ellis. In answer to your queries ; first, a recon- 
ciliation between Great Britain and the United States of 
America is improbable ever to take place; it is absolutely 

292 DUMAS 

impossible, until after the sitting ofPnrliament. Secondly, 
Admiral Howe joined his brother early in August, and sent 
on shore to General Washington a letter, whiv^h was returned 
unopened, as no title was given to General Washington ; a 
second was sent, and met the same fate. The Congress 
justified the General in l)is conduct, and ordered him to 
receive no letters, except (hpy were directed to him with 
his proper title. Lord Howe sent to the Governors of 
several Colonies his proclamation, which, by the army and 
peofile of New York, was treated with contempt and ridi- 

Thus matters continued until the 20th of August, when 
General Howe had collected his whole force, and was 
preparing to attack New York. On the other side, all the 
eminences and advantageous posts near the city were se- 
cured and fortified, and the Americans strongly entrenched 
on them ; the city of New York fortified with batteries 
next to the water, and all the principal streets with bar- 
riers across them, and, at the same time, the houses filled 
with combustibles ready to be set on fire, should the city 
be found tenable. The two men-of-war, which had 
passed up the river above the city, were returned terribly 
damaged by attacking a battery. This, in a word, was 
the state of affairs in New York on the 20th of August, 
from which important news may be expected every hour. 

Thirdly, I know what Dr Franklin's sentiments were 
when I left America, and that nothing but a miracle could 
convert him to wish for an accommodation on other terms, 
than the independence of the Colonies. Depend upon it, 
rny good friend, the Ministry of Great Britain labor inces- 
santly to propagate stories of an accommodation, for it is 
well known, that they despair of reducing the Colonies by 


arms this campaign ; at the close of which, the national 
debt will amount to nearly £150,000,000 sterling, part of 
which will remain unfunded ; and where are their resour- 
ces for supporting the next campaign ? He that can dis*- 
cover the philosopher's stone can answer. ^ 

To your fourth query, you will excuse my answering 
more, than that your conjecture is not far out of the 
way. My letter will inform you why I must still delay 
sending what I promised you the 14ih ultimo. In the 
meantime. Sir, you may add to indigo and rice, tobacco, 
logwood, redwood, sugar, coffee, cotton, and other West 
India produce, which pass through the hands of the North 
Atnericans, in payment for their supplies to the West India 
Islands, which cannot exist without their produce. Also, 
in course of trade, spermaceti oil and salt-fish may be sup- 
plied to Prussia and Germany as cheap, or cheaper from 
the Colonies, than from Holland and Germany. The 
United Colonies exported to Europe chiefly, indeed, to 
Great Britain, fish-oil, whalebone, spermaceti, furs, and 
peltry of every kind, masts, spars, and timber, pot and 
pearl ashes, flax-seed, beef, pork, butter and cheese, 
horses and oxen ; to the West Indies chiefly, wheat-flour, 
bread, rye, Indian corn, lumber, tobacco, iron, naval stores, 
beeswax, rice, and indigo, &,c. he. to the amount of more 
than £4,000,000 sterling annually, and for some years 
past, and received the pay in European manufactures; 
and when I remind you that the inhabitants of that country 
double their number every twenty years, and inform you 
that this exportaiion has increased for the last century in 
the same ratio, you will be able to form some idea of this 
commerce, and of how much importance it is to Europe. 
1 hope, by the coming post, to send you some favorable 

294 DUMAS. 

news from America, and I may not add to this without 
missing the post. 

I am, with the most sincere esteem, dear Sir, your most 
obedient servant, 


* m 


Paris, October 9th, 1776. 

I wrote you by last post. This comes by Mr Carmi- 
chael, a gentleman of Maryland, in America, who has for 
some time lived with, and assisted me in my business. 
You can have the fullest confidence in him, and as he 
knows I place the most absolute in you, it would be 
trifling to swell a letter with news or observations, of both 
which he can viva voce satisfy you. He will communi- 
cate to you his business in Holland, and I am sure you will 
assist him to the utmost of your power. He can tell you 
what an anxious and laborious life I lead here ; and, what 
adds to my misfortune, how impossible it is, in the present 
critical situation of affairs, for me to quit this post for a 
single day ; much more it is as yet impossible for me to 
leave long enough to visit you in Holland, which having long 
promised to myself, and anticipated with pleasure, the dis- 
appointment greatly chagrins me. To have so kind and 
hospitable, and, at the same time, so judicious and safe a 
friend, inviting me to what must at once yield me the 
purest pleasure and the most solid advantage, viz. an inter- 
view, and not to be able to profit by it at once, is a misfor- 
tune I feel most sensibly. 

Mr Carniichael can give you the best intelligence of our 
present affairs in America, and his observations and in- 


ferences will be from the best grounds, and made with 
precision and judgment. ]\Jy most grateful and respect- 
ful acknowledgments to your lady, whom I yet may have 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Paris, October 13th, 1776. 

Before the receipt of this, you will have seen Mr Car- 
michael, to whom I refer you on many subjects. Yours 
of the 8th I received since his departure, and have only to 
ask of you to procure the proper testimonials of this very 

extraordinary and cruel proceeding at H , respecting 

Mr Shoemaker, a family of which name I knew in Phila- 
delphia. These testimonials will be a proper ground to go 
upon in demanding satisfaction, which I do not think, 
however, had best be asked, until the independence of 
the Colonies has been formally announced ; and proper 
powers for this step have been delayed strangely, or, 
perhaps, interrupted. Your zeal in this cause reflects 
honor on your private, as well as public sentiments of jus- 
tice and rectitude, and I will transmit to the honorable 
Congress of the United States in my first letters a copy 
of your memoir. I am still without intelligence of any- 
kind from America, save that on the 20th of August a 
battle was hourly expected at New York. No prospect 
of reconciliation. The British forces in Canada are 
not likely to effect anything this season ; and, conse- 
quently, all hopes in England rest on the event of a 
single action at New York, which the public are made 

296 DUMAS. 

to believe will prove decisive ; and so it mny, if the fate 
of the day should be for us, and the enemy liave no re- 
treat or resources in America ; but by no means decisive 
if it incline the other way. I trouble you with the en- 
closed for Mr Carmichael. 

1 am, with great respect, &;c. 



Amsterdam, October 22d, 1776. 

I enclose a letter, which I expected to deliver ere this 
in person. I arrived here last Friday, and had so many 
inquiries to make to gratify Mr Deane's curiosity, that it 
has not been in my power to attend to you so soon as I 
could wish. For fear that I should not be able to leave 
this tomorrow, to do myself the honor of wailing upon 
you, I liave sent this letter. When I come to the Hague, 
I shall put up at the Hotel de Turenne, where you will 
do me much pleasure to leave your address particularly. 
The knowledge I have had of you for many months 
by Mr Deane and others, makes me regret every mo- 
ment that delays me here, and denies me the pleasure 
of assuring you in person, how much I am, what every 
true American is. 

Your very bumble servant, 



C. W. F. DUMAS. ^ 

Philadelphia, October 24th, 1776. 

Our worthy friend, Dr Franklin, being indefatigable in 
the labor of his country, and few men so qualified to be use- 
ful to the community of which he is a member, you will 
not be surprised that the unanimous voice of the congress 
of delegates from the United States of America has called 
upon him to visit the Court of France, in the character of 
one of their Commissioners for negotiating a treaty of alli- 
ance, &;c. with that nation. He is the bearer of this letter, 
and on his arrival will forward it. To him we refer you 
for information as to the political state of this country ; our 
design in addressing you at this time being only to continue 
that correspondence, which he has opened and conducted 
hiiherto on our behalf. 

We request to hear from you frequently; and if you 
make use of the cypher, the Doctor has communicated the 
knowledge of it to one of our members. Your letters, via 
St Eustatia, directed to the Committee of Secret Corres- 
pondence, then put under a cover to iVIr Robert Morris, 
merchant, Philadelphia, and that letter covered to Mr Cor- 
nelius Stevenson, or Mr Henricus Godet, merchants at St 
Eustatia, or under cover to Mr Isaac Gouveneur, merchant 
at Curragoa, will certainly come safe, and if you can send 
with them regular supplies of the English and other news- 
papers, you will add to the obligation. The expense of 
procuring them shall be reimbursed, together with any 
other charges, and a reasonable allowance for your time 
and trouble in this agency. The members of this commit- 
tee, styled the Committee of Secret Correspondence, are 

VOL. IX. 3S 

298 DUMAS. 

John Jay, Thomas G. Johnson, Rolen Morris, Richard 
Henry Lee, William Hooper, and John Wiilierspoon ; and 
as vacancies happen by deaih or absence, the Congress fill 
them lip with new members, which we mention for your 
information, and with great respect and esteem remain, Sir, 
your most obedient, humble servants, 



Amsterdam, October 27th, 1776. 
Dear Sir, 

You owe to my forgslfulness what ouglit only to pro- 
ceed from my respect, yet I will not quarrel with anytiiing 
that gives me an opportunity of writing to you. 

I left the Memoir on Commerce in your hands, and it is 
necessary I should have it as soon as possible. I send you 
Common Sense, but you must look on my presents as In- 
dian ones, for I, like they, expect much larger in return ; 
as much as you please, and 1 am sure you can spare a 
great deal of what I send you. My present is only the 
rough material of America, your returns will be elegant 
and superb manufactures of Europe. 

The English mail is not arrived. I have a very angry 
letter from Mr William Lee on the subject I mentioned to 
you, respecting Dr B. I am happy to know that I acted 
for the public good, and that, without partiality to any per- 
son, will, I hope, always be the rule of my conduct. 

I am, &Z.C. 




London, November I5th, 1776. 
Dear Sir, 

The indispensable business of my profession has hitherto 
prevented nne from complying, as I wished, with the desire 
of your very obliging favors. 

You will have seen, by the proceedings of Parliament, 
how decided tiie King is in prosecuting the American war. 
For, in truth, he alone is Minister, and his will governs 
with absolute sway. At the same time the powers which 
he has given to Lord Howe nppear, from his declaration in 
America, to be most ample. That, however, I rather attri- 
bute to what is deemed the art of government, than to any 
pacific or redressing intention. We can never forget the 
perfidy of making Lord Botetourt declare to the assembly, 
that the revenue acts should be repealed, when in fact no 
such thing was intended or done ; and the Secretary of 
State being ordered to tell the agents of Congress, that his 
Majesty had rect;ived their petition very graciously, and 
from the importance of it would lay it before his two 
Houses of Parliament, when, at the same time, the same 
Secretary wrote, by his Majesty's commands, to all the 
governors of America, denominating that very Congress an 
illegal meeting, their grievances pretended, and ordering 
them to prevent their meeting again. These facts are too 
decisive to leave a doubt of the credit that is due to the 
promises of this Court, and, at this very time, they are 
abusing the Howes for negotiating ; the language of Court 
being, "we sent them to use their hands, and they are em- 
ploying their heads." 

The Rockingham part of the opposition are determined 

300 DUMAS. 

upon seceding from Parliament, in which Lord Shelbiirne, 
Lord Camden, and the Duke of Grafton refuse to accom- 
pany them for two reasons; 1st, because the feelings of 
the public are«not high enough for so decisive a measure ; 
and, 2dly, because the others will not agree to make the 
great fundamental abuse of the constitution, as well as the 
temporary misconduct of government, the groundwork of 
that secession. In a word, because they will not declare, 
that the object of the measure is to obtain the abolition of 
corruption, and not merely the change of those who min- 
ister it. This schism will, however, reduce opposition so 
as to leave the Court at perfect ease from that quarter. 

I thank you for the magnanimity of your sentiments to- 
wards our friends, on the supposition that the late occur- 
rences are events of consequence. I am by no means 
of that opinion. After the affair of Long Island, the loss 
of New York was inevitable ; but is not the successful 
army still faced and kept at bay, by that over which it is 
supposed to have obtained these decisive advantages ? 
Could any one expect more from a new raised army, than 
that it should face the disciplined invaders, almost equal in 
numbers, and much superior in equipments, to win its way 
by inches. Where, then, is the ground for despair, when 
our friends are looking the enemy in the face, and he does 
not dare to attack them ? Of two thing?. Sir, you may be 
satisfied, that tlie advantage on Long Island was obtained 
neither by the superiority of the troops nor of the General, 
but by his having bribed the officer who commanded the 
first pass,* who giving up his post, without suffering a gun 
to be fired, etiabled Clinton to march in the night and lake 

" This wants proof before it can be adopted as a historical fact. 


the left wing of the Americans, so as to put them between 
two fires, from much superior numbers, with an immense 
train of artillery. The other fact is, that the officer who 
brought the last despatches declares, that the American 
lines upon New York island cannot be forced, but with a 
certainty of so much loss as cannot be hazarded. General 
Howe will therefore try his former art of treachery and 
corruption, from which alone I am satisfied we have any- 
thing to fear. 

The talk of the Congress having sent Deputies to Staten 
Island, to negotiate with Lord Howe is not, that I know of, 



Without date. 
Dear Sir, 

I am still indebted to you for your favors of the 29ih 
ultimo, and the 15ih instant, to which I should ear- 
lier have replied, but for a slight indisposition, and nuich 
chjigrin at some unfavorable news. However, I am recov- 
ering in health, ^viih<*vhich my spirits return, and I keep 
ever in my mind the motto de republica nil desperandum. 
I counted the cost when I entered the lists, and balanced 
private fortune, ease, leisure, the sweets of domestic so- 
ciety, and life itself in vain, against the liberties of my 
country ; the latter instantly predominated, and I have 
nothing to complain of, though much to grieve at, occa- 
sioned by the miscarriage or delay of my full powers for 
open and public application. I sent you a memoir on 
American commerce, and wish to know your sentiment»on 
that subject. The vessel detained at Bilboa ha§(|J)een 

302 DUMAS 

dismissed, and llie commissary reprimanded for her deten- 
tion, and ordered to lend the Ciiptain every assistance he 
needed. This is a great point gained. I must suspend 
saying anything on the proposals of officers for entering 
the service of the American States, as also anything further 
on the other artists I wrote about, until I receive intelli- 
gence, which I hourly have long expected, and which I 
think cannot possibly be far off, as 1 despatched a v-essel 
early in September, express, with an account of my siiua- 
tion, and that of affairs here ; besides, a war is evidently at 
hand here in Europe. 

]\lr Carmichael warmly described the kind reception you 
gave him, and your zeal for the interest of the United 
States, and friendship for me, which he might have spared, 
as every one of your letters demonstrates the sincerity and 
disinterestedness of your friendship, as well for my coun- 
try as for iryself ; and as you value your being the first 
Plenipotentiary of the American States, I equally value 
myself on your friendship and correspondence in the part 
I have the honor of acting widi you in this important scene, 
and am happy to think, that to the present or coniing 
actors in, or spectators of, the found^ion and rise of this 
Slate in a new world, our correspondence will show that 
our sentiments ever coincided. Be not discouraged, my 
dear friend, America must come off in the end triumphant, 
and under new and unprecedented laws, liberty, and com- 
merce, be the happy asylum for the sons of men in future 
ages. Whatsoever disappointments I may meet with, I 
never will despair of my country, for which I shall count 
it my gbry to suffer all things, if it receive any advantage 
therefrom, and if not, I shall at least enj^y ti.e pleasure, 
the unalienable pleasure, resulting from a consciousness of 


having done all in my power for its happiness, and con- 
nectedly for llie happiness of mankind in general. 

The temper of the times is in favor of America, and it 
is now as fresh and striking an object to Europe as when 
first discovered and called the new world. It is among 
my principal mortifications, that I cannot have a few days 
at least personal conversation with yon ; but the situation 
of affairs here will not allow of a moment's absence, which 
Mr Carmichael, I doubt not, explained to you. With per- 
sons in public or private, who are friendly, yet equally ap- 
prehensive of consequences, willing to aid, yet timid, and 
at the same time not well acquainted and informed, the 
task you are sensible is as laborious as delicate, and at a 
time when events bear down arguments, one cannot be 
released a moment from the closest attention to everything 
rising real or imaginary. Your lady's kind preparations for 
me, INIr Carmichael most affectionately mentioned, and I 
will, life permitting, the moment I can quit Paris, in person 
acknowledge, as far as words are capable of expressing, how 
sensible I am of this more than hospitable kindness, since to 
provide for and receive the stranger on arrival is the duty 
of hospitality, but here is a work of supererogation, and 
though no Roman Catholic myself, yet so catholic as not 
the less to love and esteem generous actions on all occa- 
sions. My most respectful and affectionate regards, with 
my ardent wishes for your mutual felicity, attend you. 

1 am, kjc. 


P. S. Pray for what sum per annum can a young 
man be educated at Leyden, adhering to the strictest 
economy ? 

304 DUMAS. 


Paris, December 13th, 1776. 
Dear Sir, 

I am indebted for two letters, and the same cause of my 
neglect, viz. a hurry of business still subsisting, I cannot 
make amends by a long letter in this, but the substance 
will be agreeable, which is, that Dr Franklin is arrived at 
Nantes, and I expect him at Paris tomorrow. He left 
Philadelphia the last of October, and everything was fa- 
vorable in America. On his passage the ship he was in 
made two prizes on this coast. I received a letter from 
my venerable friend on his landing, wiio was in l)igii S[)irits 
and good health. Here is the hero, and pliilosoplier, and 
patriot, all united in this celebrated American, who, at the 
age of seventyfour, risks all dangers for his country. I 
know your heart rejoices with me on this occasion. 
I am, wit!) respect, &tc. 



Havre, January 21st, 1777. 
Dear Sir, 
Were 1 to acknowledge the receipt of all the letters you 
mention having written, it would be necessary to apologise 
for my silence ; this 1 fear would require a detail long 
enough to need still another apology, which would be mak- 
ing it a labor ad infinitum. I shall, therefore, only say, 
that from the heart of Germany, I am now on the borders 
of the Atlantic, and that 1 have been on the gallop ever 
since 1 parted with you at Leyden. No Saint in the cal- 


endnr ever r.nn through countries with more zeal to gain 
inhabitants for heaven, than I have to do miracles on earth. 
But unforlunatbly it is not an age for miracles. I am at 
present here to botch up a piece of work, which was 
originiiily well imagined but badly executed. 

You will no doubt have our Paris news from the prophet, 
who draws down fire from heaven. 1 sliall, therefore, 
only give yon my comment on the text, which is, that 
France has done too much and much too little. Too 
much, since she alarmed England, and made that country 
put itself in a belter posture of defence than before ; or 
at least, strengthened the hands of her Ministers for that 
purpose; much too little, because, depending even on that 
little, we looked not out elsewhere in lime. 



Paris, January 26th, 1777. 
Dear Sir, 

My having quilted London some time since to join my 
colleagues here, is the reason you did not hear fiom me, as 
you complain in your last letter to IMr Deaue. As I am 
soon to leave this [)lace for one very remote,* I am afraid 
this will be the last letter I shall have the honor of writing 
to you. 

Tliere are so many and more immediate calls (or the 
Etteniiori of the Congress, that we are not surprised at not 
receiving any intelligence from them. We learn too, from 
Havre, that despatches for us have been iiitercepted at 
sea, so that we remain totally uninformed by authority reki- 

* A journey to Spain. 
VOL. IX. 3D 

306 DUMAS. 

live to the state of things in America. We liope the best, 
and if the powers of Europe are not so totally blind to their 
own interest as to refuse maintaining that freedom and en- 
joyment of our commerce, which our declaration of Inde- 
pendence offers them, their support will save us much dis- 
tress and blood. The liberties, however, and redemption 
which we work out through labor and endurance will be 
more precious. 

By accounis from London, the press for seamen pro- 
duces little, though their merchant ships are stopped in 
their ports, and insurance from Jamaica, with convoy, is 
risen to twentyfive per cent. During the last war it never 
amounted to more than seven. 

Our cruisers, therefore, appear to do their duty. Had 
we anything of a fleet to assist them, England would soon 
repent of a war, they have so unjustly engaged in, and 
from which they have not wisdom to retreat. 

No nation seems more interested in opening our com- 
merce, by abolishing the British monopoly, than the Dutch. 
The carrying trade by which they flourish must be greatly 
increased by the change. It would also very infallibly re- 
duce that natural power and superiority at sea, which the 
English exercise with so much insolence, and the sinews 
of which are derived from America by their usurpation and 
tyranny ; and yet, such is the pusillanimity of the times, 
the States are crouching to the English, and in cfl'ect aid- 
ing them in confirming that tyranny and those advantages. 
It is astonishing, that the smallest power in Europe should 
fear Great Britain, at a time when she is set at defiance by 
America alone, yet in its infancy, and laboring under so 
many disadvantages. 

I wish you every happiness, &«;. 




Paris, January 29th, 1777. 

My dear friend may be assured, that the omission of 
writing to him for so long a time either by Mr Deane, or 
myself, was not in the least owing to any want of respect, 
or change of sentiment towards him, but merely from the 
extreme hurry we have been engaged in ever since my 
arrival, which has prevented our writing to many other of 
our correspondents. I now enclose several letters, one of 
which was written by me when in Philadelphia, and sent 
via Martinique ; Mr Deane has but this day received it ; 
another that I wrote soon after my arrival, which has been 

I hope you and yours are in good health, and good 
spirits, as we are, not doubting of the success of our affairs, 
with God's blessing. We have nothing to complain of 

I have taken a lodging at Passy, where I shall be in a 
few days, and hope there to find a little leisure, free from 
the perpetual interruption I suffer here, by the crowds con- 
tinually coming in, some offering goods, others soliciting 
offices in our army, &ic. I shall then be able to write you 
fully. Be of good cheer, and do not believe half what you 
read in the English gazettes. 

With great esteem, I am ever, 


308 DUMAS. 


London, March 21st, 1777. 

Government here Ims received within these ten dnys 
past, several expresses from General Howe, at New York, 
in North America, as late as the 19ih of last F'ebrnary, 
which are, in every respect, very disagreeable Indeed. He 
writes in severe terms against General Heis'.er, whom he 
calls an old looman in the field, and a stupid and incorrigi- 
ble blockhead in the cabinet; he also says, that the Hcs- 
siansi, and other Germans are the worst troops under his 
command, and are not fit to be trusted in any business ; he 
has, therefore, desired several particular- English officers to 
be sent to command them ; some of iliem that he has 
pointed out have refused to go on such a forlorn hope ; but 
General Burgoyne, much against his will, is, it seems, 
obliged to go, and one Colonel Charles Gray, who w?s 
only a Lienienant-Colonel upon half pay, has agreed to go, 
being appointed to a regiment, with the rank of a Mnjor- 
General in America. 

General Howe has with some difficulty and considerable 
loss got his troops back to New York, that had attempted 
to make good their situation at Brunswick, in the Jersies. 
He has recalled ihe greater part of those troops that had 
been sent to Rhode Island. At New Yoi k they were in 
the greatest distress for all kinds of fresh provisions and 
vegetables ; at the same time, a fever, similar to the |)lague, 
prevailed there, that in all probability before the Spring 
will carry off to the Elysian shades, at least one half of the 
troops that remain there, and prepare an immediate grave 
for the Germans, and all the other troops that are about to 


be sent to that infected place. At ihe same time we learn 
that the American army under General W-.isliingion in- 
creases in numbers every day, and being accustorned to the ■ 
climate, have kp[)t the field in all the severe weather. Not- 
\vithstanding this melanclioly prospect of affairs, onr papers 
talk of a foreign war, but in my 0[)inion we are in no con- 
dition to engage in one, for you may be assured, that we 
have not in the kingdom sailors enough to man fifteen ships 
of the line, though you may see thirty or forty ships put in 
commission, as the public prints will tell you. And as to 
soldiers, the draft for America has been so great, that we 
have not tan thousand in the whole island, yet our Ministers 
have lately atteivipted to bully the States of Holland by a 
liigh flying memorial relative to the conduct of some of 
their governors in the West Indies. It might, however, be 
attended with very serious consequences if the Hollanders 
were to take their money out of the English funds. 


P. S. If you please, insert the foregoing in the Dutch, 
Brussels, Francfort and Hamburg papers. 


Paris, April 2d, 1777. 

Mr Carmichael, who has regularly corresponded with 
yon, has given you the salutation from time to time for 
myself. I have really had no leisure for several months to 
write a single letter, but what the instant necessity of the time 
required, and am much obliged to you for the rcgtdar in- 
formation we have through him from you. Enclosed I 

310 DUMAS. 

send you a bill for one thousand florins, which you will re- 
ceive, and credit the Congress for the same. As you 
have said nothing, at any time, on the subject of your dis- 
bursements for the Congress, the Commissioners are igno- 
rant of your situation in that respect, and have desired me 
to send you the enclosed bill, and to ask of you to favor 
them with the general state of your disbursements, and to 
assure you that they are too sensible of the services you 
are rendering their country, to wish you to remain without 
an adequate reward. We have no intelligence of any 
kind from America since the 1st of March last, and you 
have been informed of the situation of our affairs at that 

1 am, k,c. 



The Hague, April 12th, 1777. 

The letter of the date of October 24th, 1776, with 
which you have honored me, did not arrive till the 4th 
of February of this year. Sensible, as 1 ought to be, 
Gentlemen, of the great honor you do me in charging me 
to continue with you the correspondence, which Dr 
Franklin commenced and maintained with me on the 
affairs of the United States, I am only able to repeat, what 
I have written to him and to the honorable Committee of 
Foreign Affairs, of which he was then a member, that I 
will ever impose on myself a sacred law to answer your 
confidence and expectation. You will have here annexed 
a copy of letters, which have been written to me by the 


French Ministers at tlie Hague, the Abbe Desnoyers and 
the Due de la Vauguyon. You will easily conjecture the 
contents of those, which 1 wrote to them, and which are 
too long to recite here ; moreover, a copy of the whole 
was not preserved. 

As to what you add, Gendemen, that my expenses and 
labors shall be reimbursed and compensated, I have the 
honor to say to you, that I should esteem myself the most 
happy of men, in being able to make without return all the 
advances and services of which you have need, to sustain 
this memorable war. The Supreme Being, who sees the 
depth of my heart, is witness to the truth of this sentiment 
in all its extent. But to my great regret, although without 
shame, I avow myself as poor in means as rich in good 
will. The draft remitted to me by Dr Franklin, of one 
hundred pounds sterling, on London, has been paid. On 
the other hand, since 1 received Dr Franklin's letter and 
the orders of the Committee, I have not hesitated to sacri- 
fice to a commission so important, so honorable, and so 
agreeable to my principles and taste, not only a small run- 
ning pension of sixty pounds, which a bookseller paid me 
for a part of my time, that was devoted to a work, an ac- 
count of which I communicated to Dr Franklin some 
years since, but also about seventy pounds, which I have 
already received for part of the work delivered, without 
whicl^, considering my other actual duties, it would have 
been impossible for me to have time to attend to the exe- 
cution of these orders. If I add to this at least fifty 
pounds, that I have spent in postages, travelling charges, 
and other expenses, I find myself at this time seventy 
pounds at least in advance. But I should be very sorry, 
Gentlemen, that what I say here, should turn you an in- 

312 DUMAS. 

stant from the important duties requiring your constant 
attention. For the same reason, I have been unwilling to 
interrupt wiih these details the occupations of our gentle- 
men at Paris. If (which God forbid) America have not 
the success which my heart desires, her misfortunes will 
afflict me infinitely more than my loss. But if, on the 
contrary, I shall have the satisfaction to see liberty estab- 
lished and her prosperity secured, I doubt not she will 
render me an ample indemnity and reward. 
I have the honor to be, Sec. 



Paris, April 28lh, 1777. 

Although nothing new has happened to us here worthy 

of notice, I take up my pen merely to assure you, that our 

want of punctuality is not owing to want of fr''end?liip or 

respect. To entertain you with continued compljinis of 

the inactivity of the European powers, is a subject which I 

wish to banish as much from my thought?, as I do our 

enemies from our country. We are now acting a play 

which pleases all the spectators, but none seem inclined to 

pny the performers. All that we seem likely to obtain 

from tliem is applause. When I say all, I mean anything 

that wi'l mnteri'-illy help our cause. This campaign will 

decide the fate of the war, though it may not finis.'i it. 

The want of resolution in the House of Bourbon to assist 

us in the hour of distress will be an argument with our 

peo|)le, if successful, to form no binding coimexions with 

them. If conquered, they will follow the conduct of the 

unsupported Scots, in the war of 1715. 


In the meantime, they, to secure the little assistance 
which other Princes may be induced to give them, must 
offer a share of that commerce to others, which France 
might have wholly to itself. England is now offering to 
relinquish a share of a lucrative commerce to France, on 
condition, that the latter shuts its ports against us. But a 
few weeks ago an English agent assured me, that the En- 
glish Administration saw through the designs of the House 
of Bourbon, saw that they meant to weaken us both, and 
by that means command us, and he offered every security 
America could wish, to preserve its liberties as they stood 
in the year 1763, and a repeal of such acts as bound their 
trade previous to that, only that they must so far comply 
with the King's humor, as not to give up his sovereignty, 
which would be of no use to him, were the privileges of 
the Americans extended to the latitude mentioned. 

To be the instrument of inducing my countrymen to ac- 
cept these terms, the possession of an affluent income was 
offered to be secured to me in any part of the world I 
chose, whether successful or not in the attempt. You 
may judge how our conference ended. One reason why 
I am induced to stay in Europe is, that I should be obliged 
to give, in America, a faithful account of the situation of 
their affairs in Europe ; as I am sure that the picture 
would be worth more to England, than their subsidies to 
your hero, the Margrave of Hesse. We shall never be 
the subjects of the British Crown, I believe, but unless 
openly assisted by a power in Europe, we shall be an im- 
poverished people, unable to distress our enemies abroad, 
or to assist our friends. I am so confident myself of the 
interior weakness of England, that I would sacrifice my 
life on the issue, that if France, Spain, and the Emperor, 

VOL. IX. 40 

314 DUMAS. 

would only agree to acknowledge the independence of the 
United States, there would not be occasion to strike a 
blow ; from that moment the credit of England would be 
no more inspirited by such a resolution taken in our favor 
in Europe ; we would drive her armies from America, and 
soon her fleets from our coasts ; but these generous reso- 
lutions subsist not in European politics. I hoped to have 
soon seen you, but your last letter, and one from Sir 
George Grand, have altered my resolution on that head. 
I have been laboring here to put you in such a situation 
as to enable you to follow the dictates of your own gener- 
ous hearts in serving us more effectually, but the torpedo 
has struck us too. 


0. W. F. DUMAS. 

Philadelphia, May 8th, 1777. 
We have received your several favors to the first of 
May,* and shall always have a grateful memory of your 
sentiments and exertions in our cause. But as we have 
new Commissioners settled in France, we think it needless 
that you should be at the trouble of forwarding to us from 
time to time, that collection of papers, which we formerly 
mentioned to you. We shall inform our friends at Paris 
of our opinion on this head, and leave it to them to point 
out the way in which your zeal may be most useful to 
them and us, with the least degree of trouble to yourself 
and injury to your domestic interests. 

* Thus in the original, but probably an error in the month, as this 
letter ia dated on the eight of May. 


The humility of the Count de Welderen's Memorial 
seems to have been followed by some positive orders to 
our disadvantage in the West Indies. We doubt not you 
will continue to give our Commissioners at Paris the full- 
est information on all such points, from whom we shall 
consequently obtain it. 

We have the honor to be, &,c. 



Paris, May 9th, 1777. 

At length we have an opportunity of discovering, what 
we have long imagined, the arts which the English govern- 
ment has made use of to circulate their various falsehoods 
through Europe, respecting their affairs in America. Their 
packet from Hard wick to Helvoetsluys is fallen into our 
hands, with every letter from the Ministry and others, 
though I make no doubt, that they will give out, that their 
most important letters are saved. Such a report will 
answer more ends than one. It will set at peace the 
alarmed consciences, or rather apprehensions of their cor- 
respondents. We have it under Lord Suffolk's Secre- 
tary's hands, Mr Eraser, and Mr Eden, that government 
had no advices from New York on the last of April, but 
that at this particular period, when the eyes of all the world 
would be upon them, viz. when opening the budget, it was 
necessary to toss out a tub to the whale, for which reason 
it was thought necessary to General Wash- 

316 DUMAS 

ington, and to put Mr Dickenson at the head of five thou- 
sand men, in the lower counties of Delaware. A very- 
curious reason is given for promulgating the latter lie, that 
the less probability there appears to be in it, the more 
readily the world will believe it ; for will they imagine that 
Ministers dare circulate what no one will imagine true ? 
And they appeal to former untruths of similar absurdity, 
which had their effect, and when found false were over- 
looked by the indulgent public. 

The line of Sir Joseph Yorke's conduct is marked and 
curious, as well as that of their Minister at another Court; 
our plan did not wholly take effect, or we should have had 
his despatches likewise. 

The miserable Prince of Hesse affords his friends in 
England some merriment, but he can make use of the old 
adage, — let them laugh who win. He has the absurdity 
to be angry with your Gazeteer of Utrecht, and the English 
news writers ; and his Minister there is ordered to com- 
plain on the subject. The reflections of the English Min- 
ister, Lord Suffolk, on this complaint, are as curious as 
they are just, and merit well reaching the Prince. If 
he bribes me with a part of his slave-money, he shall have 
the letter at length, signed "Suffolk." I always said, 
and have now proof positive before me, that in the height 
of English arrogance and success, their Chatham-aping 
Minister, Lord George Germain, meant to hold the same 
language to France, that they unfortunately did to Holland, 
and were prepared, should this Court show the least re- 
fractoriness, to begin the same game they played in 1756, 
An open war they have never feared from France, for 
they were well assured that would not be the case, but the 
French preparation gave them a good excuse for arming 


completely, and for drawing money from the people, and 
the American jNlinister, Lord George Germain, was too 
shrewd to let slip an opportunity. We paid so much re- 
spect to your States, that we would not seize Sir Joseph 
Yorke's messenger in the packet from Helvoetsluys, for we 
could have boarded her with as much ease as the others. 

I have not time to communicate the thousand little par- 
ticulars, which have lately been inspected by me, but hope 
to have a future opportunity of doing it. Our captain, 
being in search of bank bills, and bills of exchange, did not 
pay much attention to personages, for which I am heartily 
vexed ; however, good nature must make allowances. 
This matter will occasion a little bustle, perhaps a great 
deal. I had rather be sent home to fight manfully, or to 
make peace politically, than to be in this miserable shilly- 
shally way here. I have the pleasure to acquaint you that 
Hopkins's squadron, all but two, have got to sea, so that 
Sir Peter Parker may write information to the Ministry, 
and this will be giving a good account of them as he pro- 
mised. Our levies went on swimmingly, and had the 
Howes, sent out from here, arrived there when it was in- 
tended they should, we should have pushed Howe again to 

I am, he. 



Passy, near Paris, May 12th, 1777. 

Last night we received a packet from North America 
with some advices, of which I send you the substance. I 

318 DUMAS. 

see your letters now and then to Mr Deane and Mr Car- 
michael, and thank you for the kind mention made of me 
in them. I am so bad a correspondent, that I do not de- 
sire a letter from you directly. 

But I am nevertheless, with great esteem, dear Sir, your 
affectionate friend, 


P. S. I suppose Mr Deane has sent you the bill. 


Amsterdam, May 16th, 1777. 


I send you, with some gazettes, an extract of my last 
despatch, and a piece entitled "Advice to the Hessians," 
which, having passed about in manuscript through this 
country, was afterwards printed in a handbill, and at length 
inserted in the periodicals. The day before yesterday, the 
14th, the bookseller Rey received from the Hague the fol- 
lowing note, which he immediately sent to me at a country 
house, where I am residing, thinking I might know the per- 
son interested, which I do not. "INIr Rey is desired to in- 
form the author of ^Advice to the Hessians^ to quit Hol- 
land immediately. Orders are despatched to arrest him." 
I am not at present at the Hague, but as soon as I shall be 
able to return thither I will inform myself of this affair. In 
the meantime I ihink it is false that they have given such 
orders, and that this letter was only written to intimidate, 
as was that written from Cassel to one of our journalists. 

I am sorry not to be able to devote all my time to your 
service. I might contract many connexions and acquaint- 


ances, and make some useful journeys, profiting by favora- 
ble circumstances and moments both at the Hague and 
Amsterdam, which I am now obliged to let escape, not be- 
ing able to go and remain as long as is necessary in these 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 



Paris, June 7th, 1777. 

I understand that the British Minister's emissaries are 
very busy in Holland propagating reports of an accommo- 
dation between the Congress and Great Britain. They 
are playing the same game here. I have long since been 
convinced that there is no action too atrocious for them to 
attempt, nor any report too ridiculous and improbable for 
them to propagate to serve their purposes. The last au- 
thentic intelligence from Congress, or from New York, 
was about the 10th of April, when there was not the least 
prospect of any accommodation. The sole overture that 
had been made was a hint, I may say, from General Lee, 
that Lord and General Howe wished to renew a conference 
with the Congress, and to open a treaty, to which the Con- 
gress replied they would neither confer nor treat till their 
independence should be acknowledged. You will there- 
fore see at once how very little ground there is for such 
kind of assertions. 

I have seen such strange and unexpected events, as well 
as been witness to such extraordinary conduct, that I am 
almost beyond being surprised at anything ; yet should an 
accommodation take place between those contending na- 

320 DUMAS. 

tions, whilst the Congress have the least prospect of foreign 
succor and support, 1 confess I shall be greatly surprised. 
But if the British Ministry, as they roundly assert, are as- 
sured that no power in Europe will countenance the United 
States in their independence, and if they can bring the 
Congress to believe the same, who will be surprised if they 
make terras, and accommodate, rather than hazard longer a 
contest with the most formidable power in Europe, and its 
allies, without prospect on their part of aid or support ? I 
say, who will be surprised, or rather who will not be sur- 
prised, should they still persist in continuing the war un- 
supported ? However, I, who know my countrymen per- 
fectly, and the principles by which they are actuated, do 
not believe they will ever accommodate on terms lower 
than independence 5 yet in the same situation, and with the 
same offers made them, 1 am certain any other people in 
the world would accommodate. 

You are not to impute what I say to vanity. 1 am not 
raising my countrymen above every other nation in the 
world ; far from it ; but they are a new people, and have 
certain notions, that are either new in the world, or have 
been so long unpractised upon, and unheard of, except in 
the speculations of philosophers, that it is difficult, perhaps 
impossible, to compare them with any other nation. Un- 
prejudiced reason, and plain common sense, will enable the 
few to judge ; but the many, the ninetynine of one hundred 
at least, will determine as usual by the event. I am not 
fond of bold assertions or predictions, but I dare hazard 
my credit upon it, that either no accommodation on any 
terms will take place, or, if it does, a war in Europe will 
be the immediate consequence ; and I submit it to the con- 
sideration of those Ministers and politicians, who are afraid 


to offend Great Britain now, whilst America alone employs 
more than her whole natural force, how they will be able 
to contend with her when at peace and on good terms, 
perhaps in alliance with America. 

Universal monarchy has at many periods been feared 
from the House of Bourbon, and England has been ex- 
hausted to prevent it ; she has engaged allies pretendedly 
to keep the balance of power in Europe, as it is ridicu- 
lously and unintelligibly termed by European politicians ; 
but you will permit an American to give his sentiments ; 
they may at least divert and make you smile. From the 
period when the feudal system prevailed over all Europe, 
when every lord was sovereign, to this hour, the number 
of kingdoms or distinct powers in Europe has been 
decreasing, and if we look three centuries back, and 
reckon up the distinct powers then existing and compare 
them with those of the present, and extend our view for- 
ward, the whole must at some not very distant period be 
brought into one ; for not an age passes, and scarce a sin- 
gle war without annihilating or swallowing up several of 
them. But from what quarter is this universal empire in 
Europe to originate ? I answer negatively ; not from the 
House of Bourbon, though formidable for its connexions 
and alliances in the South ; but I will venture to predict, 
that if Great Britain, by forming an accommodation of 
friendship and alliance with the United States, renders her- 
self, as by that measure she easily can, mistress of that 
world, by taking the affairs of the East Indies into her own 
hands, she will be in possession of exhaustless treasure, 
and in 1780 the charter of the East India Company ex- 
pires, when both the territory and commerce will be at her 
disposal. Add to all this her strict and close alliance with 

VOL. IX. 41 

322 DUMAS. 

Russia. I say, that laying these circumstances together, it is 
easy to foresee, that Great Britain, America, and Russia 
united, will command not barely Europe, but the whole 
world united. 

Russia like America is a new State, and rises with the 
most astonishing rapidity. Its demand for British manufac- 
tures, and its supplies of raw materials, increase nearly as 
fast as the American ; and when both come to centre in 
Great Britain, the riches as well as power of that kingdom 
will be unparalleled in the annals of Europe, or perhaps of 
the world ; like a Colossus with one foot on Russia and 
the East, and the other on America, it will bestride, as 
Shakspeare says, your poor European world, and the pow- 
ers which now strut and look big, idll creep about between 
its legs to find dishonorable graves. 

I dare say you smile at my prophecy, but you will ob- 
serve it is a conditional one, and I am persuaded, like most 
other prophecies, will neither be believed nor understood, 
until verified by the event, which, at the same time, I am 
laboring like my good predecessors of old, (who prophe- 
cied grievous things,) to prevent taking place if possible ; 
for it is my ultimate and early wish that America may for- 
ever be as unconnected with the politics or interests of Eu- 
rope, as a is by nature situated distant from it, and that the 
friendly ties arising from a free, friendly, and independent 
commerce may be the only ties between us. 





' Paris, June 13th, 1777. 


We are still without any news from America, except 
what we get by the way of England. The campaign was 
not opened the end of April, Howe being scarce of pro- 
visions, and without forage. I have seen a letter from an 
English officer in the service, dated the 25th of that month, 
and have been much pleased with the sight of it ; a horrid 
pleasure, which derives its source from the prospect of 
human misery. The flu.K raged much in the army of the 
Philistines, as the saints of New England style it, owing to 
their food, salted meat, and no vegetables. I believe a 
certain brig, from a place called Rotterdam, has fallen into 
the hands of the chosen people, for one of my countrymen 
crossed the Atlantic in a small vessel of about twenty tons, 
on purpose to take her; at least he informs me that he had 
carried into Cherbourg a! brig laden with about two hun- 
dred hogsheads of Geneva, some pitch, oil, &,c. from Rot- 
terdam ; which said articles will, before this reaches you, 
be metamorphised into louis d'ors of France. 

I have crossed the Chesapeake in this very ferry boat, in 
which my bold countryman crossed the Atlantic. I had 
been told by a man high in office in England, that resist- 
ance was a chimera in us, since their aimed vessels would 
swarm so much in our rivers, as even to intercept the ferry- 
boats. His assertions are verified vice versa ; our ferry- 
boats ruin their commerce. You smile, and think me 
amusing you. Be assured that is not the case. This 
very little boat took on her passage another brig of two 
hundred tons from Alicant, and sent her into America ; 

324 UUMAS 

she also took four or five vessels in the Channel, chiefly 
smugglers, and plundered them of their cash, and the Cap- 
tain being a good natured fellow let ihem go, as h? did a 
transport, which he took in sight of a man-of-war, and was 
obliged to give her up, bringing off, however, with him his 
people. He has promised for the future to burn those he 
cannot send in, and I believe will be as good as his word. 
This is the way the English serve not only ours, but the 
French vessels, which they take on our coast. The Cap- 
tain tells me, he was told this last circumstance by several 
French Captains, whom he saw prisoners, (himself a pris- 
oner) at New York. The eyes of this Court will be 
opened, it is to be hoped, before it is too late, a war being 
inevitable, in my opinion, to force an accommodation. 
They will unite with us on our own terms, and discern- 
ing from the past how little effective assistance we liave to 
hope from France for the future, wnll make a war with 
this nation one article of the Federal Union. Whichever 
strikes first will probably succeed. Our valuable com- 
merce is more hurt on the French coast than on our own. 
VVe have lost above £60,000 sterling, from South Caro- 
lina only, all which was coming to be laid out for French 
manufactures. It is a fact at present, that the manufac- 
turers of this country cannot execute so fast as they re- 
ceive orders. 

The English papers published by the authority of Gen- 
eral Howe, at New York, tell with triumph, that one of 
their cruisers has sunk a twenty gun French ship at some 
distance from the Delaware, and every soul perished.' 
We have some fears that this is the Amphitrite. Another 
ship was taken, French projDcrty, a few leagues from the 
harbor of St Pierre, which she had just quilled. If they 


dare do this in their present critical situation, what will 
they not dare if successful, or at peace and united with us ? 

I wrote you before what I repeat again, that had Gen- 
eral Howe got possession of Philadelphia last winter, as 
insolent a Memorial as that presented by Sir Joseph York, 
would have been presented by Lord Stormont here, and 
had not their demands been instantly complied with, the 
immediate destruction of the French commerce would 
have been the consequence. All the navy, all the army 
contracts are made, for five years, in England. Letters 
of marque were given to contractors, and friends of gov- 
ernment, for what ? To cruise against our trade ? No ; 
but to be ready at a signal given, to enrich themselves by 
the first captures on the French nation ; for the gleanings 
of our commerce are no object to a private adventurer, 
assured as the English Ministry are of the pacific intentions 
of this Court. From the quarter I mentioned to you in 
my last, they will try his patience, and they do right, for 
the only hope they now have of conquering us is to de- 
prive us of the means of resistance, and the hopes of for- 
eign aid, which keeps up the spirits of the people. If the 
Amphitrite is really lost. General Washington will open 
the campaign without any of their military stores, so long 
promised, and so vainly expected, except about twelve 
thousand muskets. 

We expect with impatience direct news from America ; 
the moment it arrives I will communicate it to you. The 
gentlemen are well, and beg me to present compliments. 
I am. Dear Sir, yours, he. 


P. S. You will not mention publicly, for particular 

326 DUMAS. 

reasons, the history of the little privateer. When the 
Captain of our small privateer boarded the transport, and 
told him he was his prisoner, he very insolently asked 
where his ship was, not conceiving that any person would 
have crossed the ocean in so small a boat. 


June 14th, 1777. 


I have escaped, as much as 1 am able, from my chains, 
to make journeys to the Hague, Amsterdam, and Rotter- 
dam, in order to maintain and increase useful acquaint- 
ances ; and when I obtain any light I communicate it to 
friends. The great majority, almost the whole of our mer- 
chants, are for you. The regencies of our cities, and 
among others Amsterdam, seem to take part with the 
Court, which is allied with and friendly to England. But 
all this is precarious, and will change with your fortune. 
Let us hear of a successful campaign, and your friends will 
show themselves, your partizans will muliiply ; they will 
lose by degrees this panic terror for a power, that is not 
loved by the multitude. These persons are chiefly large 
annuitants, whose hearts are in tlie sources of their in- 

Another impormnt trutli, which I have learned at Am- 
sterdam, is that no banking house is willing to take part, 
to the amount of a shilling, in the loan of five millions 
sterling, which England has raised, because they were not 
content with the offered premium and with her solidity, 
nor sure of selling the stock in detail. Distrust increases 
here, in proportion as England sinks. The premium 


ought to be two and a half per cent, but we know that in 
England even the bankers are content with their sales in 
detail at five eights per cent. 

I have made acquaintance and connexion with a House, 
to whom I shall address in future all my despatches for 
you, and under cover to whom you may in safety ad- 
dress to me your letters, viz. Messrs Lalande k. Fynge, 
merchants, Amsterdam. If you will send me regularly, by 
your vessels going to St Eustatia and CuraQoa, one at least 
of your best public papers to the address above pointed 
out, or in the packets of friends in France, I will make 
good use of it for your service in our periodical papers. 
They complain everywhere of knowing nothing of your 
affairs, but what the English wish Europe should know ; 
and on this subject we have often to wait some months be- 
fore the truth is unfolded from a heap of impostures, which 
do not fail sometimes to answer the malice of your ene- 
mies in leaving false impressions on minds, which I wish to 
be able to destroy in their birth. 
I have the honor to be, &c. 



August 22d, 1777. 

In spite of my extreme circumspection, your enemies 
are not altogether without knowledge of me, and, not able 
to persecute rae openly, are endeavoring secretly to de- 
prive me of my post in this country. I sent an accoiiDt 
yesterday to Paris, and today to a certain person at the 
Hague, of what has happened to me. I am sustained in 

328 DUMAS. 

all my losses by the firm resolution to live and die the 
faithful servant of United America, and by consequence, 
also, with the most profound respect for the honorable 
General Congress and yourselves. God bless your just 

September bth. — It would be useless for me to give you 
copies of the last letters that I wrote to Paris. They 
chiefly concern myself ; and I await their answers. 1 will 
say only in general here, that from the moment when I 
was first honored with your orders and your confidence, 
1 have devoted to you in every event, my person, ser- 
vices, and fidelity ; and this for the love I bear to your 
cause, and on the most perfect conviction of its justice. 
I have conducted myself in the execution of your orders 
with all imaginable prudence, circumspection, and patience. 
At last, however, 1 am the victim of the suspicions and 
implacable hatred of your enemies. They have found it 
an easy task to injure me indirectly in the sordid, ungrate- 
ful, and treacherous heart of a person on whom my for- 
tune depended, and who is devoted to them. I should be 
ruined, with my family, if I had not firm confidence of re- 
ceiving in your service the annual stipend allotted for their 
subsistence, of which I have been deprived. To this in- 
justice they have added the insult of tempting me by de- 
ceitful offers, which I rejected with disdain, because 1 
could not accept them without exposing your secrets, or 
at least degrading the character with which you have hon- 
ored me, in the eyes of those who have knowledge of it. 
My refusal has exasperated them against me ; they will 
secretly ruin me as far as they are able. But 1 have said 
enough of myself. 

Your enemies have begun to take the Dutch vessels in 


Europe as well as in America ; among others, one for St 
Eiistatia. They are impatient at Amsterdam to know 
how the Regency will take this ; and they write me that 
this circumstance will, probably, be the cause of the de- 
tention of vessels, bound for the Islands, two months in this 

I have the honor to be, &;c. 



The Hague, October 14th, 1777. 

If I do not speak to you in all my letters, of the person 
with whom you know 1 am connected at the Hague, it is 
not because this connexion does not continue daily, but be- 
cause it is sufficient to give an account of our conferences 
to your honorable commission in Europe, and also, consid- 
ering the time that my packets are on the way, my reports 
would be as superfluous and useless to you, as they would 
be long and difficult to decypher, or dangerous to transmit 
without cypher. The enemy alone would be able to 
profit by them. Moreover, I doubt not but your Commis- 
sioners transmit to you the result of all that passes. 

Our States-General are assembled ; and they have 
begun with labors, which by no means please your ene- 
mies. The first was to make a claim directly, in the name 
of their High Mightinesses, upon the English Minister for 
the Dutch vessel destined for St Eustatia, and taken in the 
Channel by an English vessel of war, under the pretext 
that the vessel was American built. (The Dutch had 
purchased her at Halifax.) Our States have sent instruc- 
voL. IX. 42 

330 DUMAS 

tions on this subject to their Envoy at London, with orders 
to have discontinued whatever process has been instituted 
by the captor before the English Judges against this 
vessel ; and an order also to the owners of the vessel and 
cargo not to plead before the Judges, because they have 
proved here, that they had conformed in all things to the 
laws of this country, and to its conventions with Great 
Britain. We are impatient here to learn the answer of 

Their second debate was on a petition in very strong 
terms, signed by a hundred of the principal commercial 
houses of Amsterdam, (except the house of Hope, de- 
voted to England) for the purpose of asking a convoy for 
their vessels going to the West Indies. 

I have all this from the best authority ; as also that the 
party of your enemies in this country, though yet consider- 
able, are visibly losing their influence, and cannot fail to 
seccumb, especially if the English continue to seize our 
vessels, and if they wish to engage this Republic to involve 
itself in a war on their account ; for we desire here to be 
at peace with all the world. 

I have the honor to be, Sic. 



December, 16th, 1777. 

I congratulate you, and the honorable Congress, and all 
United America with all my heart. This news (Bur- 
goyne's capture) has made the greatest possible sensation 
in this country ; a deep consternation among those who 
have all their interest in England ; a marked joy among 


those who hate your enemies. My correspondent at Am- 
sterdam writes thus. "Many thanks for the prompt advice 
of the affair so glorious for our friends. Letters from 
England received here this morning confirm it entirely. 
All was in motion today in our cafes and on the exchange. 
The royalists here are entirely depressed, and even fear 
the like catastrophe for General Howe, if he hazard him- 
self further into the country." This news has made an 
astonishing impression everywhere ; all is considered lost 
to the English. 

December 19iA. — 1 have received advice from my cor- 
respondents, to whom I had forwarded packets according 
to your orders, by which they inform me, under date of 
26th of September and ISth of October, of having re- 
ceived and forwarded my packets for you. My correspon- 
dent at Amsterdam, who transmitted them to me, has pointed 
me to the following passage. "The Anti-Americans are 
not yet recovered from their fright ; they see the Ameri- 
cans at present with a different eye, and desire strongly that 
the Ministry may be changed, that by mild means we may 
obtain peace as favorable as possible." Another writes 
from Rotterdam ; "I received on the 11th, the account of 
the victory of General Gates. It was pulled out of my 
hands. I pray you as soon as you receive advice, that 
Howe has done as well as Burgoyne, to let me have the 
great pleasure of knowing it first, that I may regale many 
persons with the news. You cannot think what a bustle 
there is yet in all companies and cafes about this affair, and 
how they fall on the English Ministers." 

We have confirmation from Germany of the increasing 
obstructions, which the levying of recruits against America 
meets with. 

332 DUMAS. 

I this moment learn that the States-General have des- 
patched messengers of State extraordinary to al! the 
Provinces ; and it cannot be doubted that the contents of 
their despatches, which are kept secret, relate only to the 
catastrophe which the English have suffered in America, 
and to the consequences which it is presumed it will have, 
as well on this side of the ocean as on the other. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



The Hague, April 14th, 1776. 

I have the satisfaction of being able to apprize you, that 
since the declaration of France, made here the ISth of 
March, affairs have taken in this country a most favorable 
turn. My last journey to Amsterdam has not been useless. 
But I cannot trust to paper, and to the vicissitudes of so 
long a voyage, the detail of my operations. 1 constantly 
give information to your honorable Commissioners, to whom 
1 write almost every post. I will say only in general, that 
the cabal of your enemies fails in all the attempts it has 
made to engage this Republic to put herself in the breach 
for them. The Republic is firmly determined to the most 
perfect neutrality, if there be war ; and I wait only the let- 
ters of the honorable Commissioners at Paris, whom I have 
requested to propose a friendship and commerce direct and 
avowed between your States and theirs.* 

We are preparing a third piece upon credit. I will add 
copies of it to my packet when it is printed. 

* On this subject see a letter to M. Dumas in the Commissioners' 
Correspondence, Vol. I. p. 463. 


At the moment I am about to seal my packet, 1 learn 
for certain, "that Lord Chatham on the 7th of April in the 
House of Lords pleaded with so much warmth for not 
giving up the dependence of America, nor giving away the 
Americans, because he considered them a hereditament of 
the Prince of Wales, the Bishop of Osnaburgh, and the 
whole royal line of Brunswick, that he fainted away, but 
was soon recovered by the aid of two physicians. He 
confessed however that he did not know what the means 
were of preserving both." 

I have the honor, Jkc DUMAS.* 


July 27th, 1776. 
Directed by the Plenipotentiaries of the United States 
of America in Paris, to send you the annexed copy of a 
treaty of amity and commerce concluded between France 
and the said United States, with the testimony of the high 
esteem and consideration they have for you in particular, 
and for all the honorable members of the Regency of Am- 
sterdam in general, I acquit myself of these orders with all 
the satisfaction and eagerness, which my respectful devotion 
to the interest of this Republic dictates. The Plenipoten- 
tiaries pray you, Sir, to communicate this treaty in such a 
manner that copies of it may not be multiplied, until they 
have written me that it may be published and in the hands 
of all the world. I have carried this morning to Mr 
a like copy with the same request. 

"^ For a letter from the Committee of Foreign Affairs to M. Dumas, 
dated May 14th, 1778, see the Correspondence of the Commissioners 
in France, Vol. I. p. 386. 

334 DUMAS. 

1 add to this a proclamation ol' Congress that 1 have 
received, and the communication of which 1 think will give 
you pleasure. It will appear in the Gazettes in French 
and Dutch, and ought to satisfy all the maritime powers, no 
less than it does honor to the sagacity and equity of Con- 

I am, with the truest respect, &c. 



Amsterdam, July 31st, 1778. 

I am much obliged to you for the kindness you 
have done, in sending me the copy of the treaty of 
amity and commerce, concluded between France and 
the United States of America. And as it was at the 
request of the Plenipotentiaries of the said United 
States, may I venture to ask you to testify to those 
gentlemen the gratitude of the Regency of Amsterdam 
in general, and my own in particular, for this mark of 
distinction. May we hope that circumstances will 
permit us soon to give evidence of the high esteem we 
have for the new republic, clearly raised up by the 
help of Providence, while the spirit of despotism is 
subdued ; and let us desire to make leagues of amity 
and commerce between the respective subjects, which 
shall last even to the end of time. What troubles me 
is, that it is not in our power to make the other mem- 
bers of the government do as we could wish; in which 
case the Republic would be at once disposed to another 
course. But I am persuaded that the Americans are 
too wise. not to penetrate the true causes, or to attrib- 


ute the inaction of until the present time 

to any want of esteem and affection for the United 

This Republic is full of people who think rightly, 
but there will be found here, as elsewhere, partizans 
of a certain system, who, by their ignorance or stu- 
pidity, or by the wickedness of their hearts and abom- 
inable vices, hinder the people from doing as much as 
they could wish. I expect to hear important news in 
the actual circumstances of Europe, and am impatient 
to receive some, which may have a good effect on the 
affair in question. I shall take care that the above- 
mentioned treaty does not go into bad hands, and that 
no copy be made before the time.* 



The Hague, August 17th, 1778. 
I have had the honor of informing you, that I in- 
tended answering your favor of the Slst of July last, 
wherein you did me the honor of charging me to send 
to the Plenipotentiaries of the United States of Amer- 
ica, in Paris, the testimony of the satisfaction that had 
been given to the honorable Regency of your city and 
to you in particular, by the transmission of a copy of 
their treaty of amity and commerce with France. 
Not only has your request been complied with, by 
transmitting to those gentlemen a copy of your letter, 

*For other particulars on this subject, see the Correspondence of 
the Commissioners in France, Vol. I. pp. 376, 456, 463 

336 DUMAS 

but I did more; for having occasion at the same time 
to write to America directly, I have added another 
copy for Congress. That body, therefore, will, with- 
out delay, be informed of the benevolent sympathy 
which the Republic in her turn feels for her worthy 
sister, as also of the happy effects which this sympathy 
cannot fail to produce, when the obstacle unfortunately 
attached to the ship shall have lost the power of ob- 
structing her progress. Meantime, continue. Sir, by 
your patriotic efforts, to clear away difficulties, to pro- 
vide means, and to hasten the moment of a connexion 
so desirable on both sides, and present and future 
generations will bless your name and your memory. 

You will have seen by the gazettes, and especially 
by that of Leyden, with what unanimity and dignity 
the United States disdained the propositions, inju- 
rious to their good, great, and august ally, as well 
as to their own majesty, made to them by the British 
Commissioners. I have in hand and will show you 
the authentic proofs of this, as well as of the horror, 
which the Americans have, of ever returning under 
the iron sceptre they have broken. This confounds 
the falsehoods, that have been uttered and kept up 
with so much complacency in this country. Will 
they never cease to give credit to such impudent as- 
sertions? I cannot forbear to transcribe what a friend* 
has written to me. This friend does not know in de- 
tail what I have been doing here. He had asked me 
how I advanced. I had told him fesiino lente. 

" In general," says he, " I am not disposed to pre- 
cipitation, especially in important affairs. But I can- 
" William Lee, who was at this time in Francfort 


not help saying, that there may be some danger of the 
good people in Holland losing some advantages in 
commerce with America by their too great caution. 
I have reason to believe, that the British Ministry 
have already sent orders to their commissioners to give 
up the point of independence, provided they can ob- 
tain some exclusive benefit in America." 

I wish, however, that we could concert some new 
movement. There is yet time to think of it before 
the meeting of the assembly. In all that concerns 
myself, I can only promise my best efforts. 
I have the honor to be, &c. 



The Hague, December 3d, 1778. 

The act of despotism, which I announced to you in 
my letter of the 16th,* was consummated on the 18th 
of November. The resolution adopted by the majori- 
ty had a specious design, to wit, to refuse the commis- 
saries which the English Ambassador demanded, to 
agree that the article of naval stores, legalized by the 
treaty of 1674, should be for the future contraband ; 
but in the end, all was spoiled by the refusal of con- 
voy to ships carrying these articles to France. 

But Amsterdam has inserted in the acts a formal 
protest, by which this resolution is declared null, by 
its having been adopted in a manner contrary to the 
constitution, which requires unanimity in this case. 

* Missing. 
VOL. IX. 43 

338 DUMAS. 

The protest indicates, at the same time, the conse- 
quences which this affair may have. They may be 
very serious if they push the city to extremities. 
The first will be the closing of the public chest, as far 
as concerns her contribution towards the expenses of 
the confederation. This city alone pays about one 
quarter of all the expenses of the republic, and if they 
should push things to extremity she may ask succors 
of France, who certainly would not suffer her to be 
oppressed. The Ministerial gazettes in England an- 
nounce this to their nation as a great success. Qui 
vult decipi decipiatur. On the other side, France 
threatens to seize in her turn English property on 
board of Dutch ships, and to deprive these of the fa- 
vors they enjoy in her ports, if the Republic does not 
cause her flag to be respected by the English, accord- 
ing to treaties. On the fifteenth, the States of the 
Province will be reassembled. 
I have the honor to be, &c. 



Presented by His Excellency, the Due de la Vauguyon, 
Ambassador of France, to the States- General of the 
United Provinces. 

The Hague. December 7th, 1778. 
High and Mighty Lords, 
The conviction which the king, my master, has had, 
that their High Mightinesses, animated with a desire 
to perpetuate the perfect harmony which subsists be- 
tween France and the States-General, would conform 


themselves scrupulously, in existing circumstances, to 
the principles of the most absolute neutrality, has 
induced his Majesty to include the United Provinces 
in the order that he made in the month of July last, 
concerning the commerce and navigation of neutrals. 
His Majesty has less room to doubt of the persever- 
ance of their High Mightinesses in these principles, 
because they have given him repeated assurances, and 
because they are the basis and most solid guarantee of 
the repose and prosperity of the Republic. His Ma- 
jesty, however, thinks he ought to procure, in this 
respect, an entire certainty ; and it is with this view 
that he has directed me to demand of your High 
Mightinesses an explanation, clear and precise, oV 
your final determination, and to declare to you that he 
will decide according to your answer to maintain or 
annul, so far as concerns the subjects of your High 
Mightinesses, the orders which he has already given. 

To make better known to your High Mightinesses 
the views and intentions of the king, my master, I 
have the honor*to observe to you, that his Majesty 
flatters himself that you will procure to the flag of the 
United Provinces all the freedom which belongs to it 
as a consequence of their independence, and to their 
commerce all the integrity which the law of nations 
and treaties secure to it. The least derogation from 
these principles would manifest a partiality, the effect 
of which would impose on him the necessity of sus- 
pending not only the advantages that his Majesty has 
insured to your flag, by his order in favor of neutrals, 
but also the material and gratuitous favors, which the 
commerce of the United Provinces enjoys in the ports 

340 DUMAS 

of his kingdom, without any other consideration than 
the good will and affection of his Majesty for your 
High Mightinesses. 



The Hague. December 18th. 1778 

I have seen our friend. There are two committees 
at work, one for the new remonstrances occasioned by 
the English, the other on the answer to be made to 
the Memorial of the French Ambassador. 

December I9th, forenoon. The Admiralty it was 
said would not be in favor of an answer, till next week ; 
but measures were taken to make them pass one this 
morning, in which were verba pretereaqtie nihil; there 
was nothing changed in the restriction of convoy as to 
naval provisions. The Ambassador having been noti- 
fied of it, sent today, early in the morning, to the 
Grand Pensionary a note so energetic that it will be 
difficult to avoid giving a precise answer, yes or no, 
which will save or lose to the Seven Provinces the 
commerce of France. 

December I9ih, evening. In spite of the note of the 
Ambassador, the English part}' has prevailed in the 
provincial Assembly^ and all except Amsterdam have 
adopted by a majority the opinion of the Admiralty. 
Thereupon, Amsterdam delivered her protest, in which 
she confirmed her former protest against the resolution 
of the ISth of November. She declared further, that 
she held herself irresponsible and discharged of all inju- 


rious consequences to the Republic, which the unsatis- 
factory answer they had given France might have. Our 
friend has caused me to read this protest, which is 
moderate but energetic. 

December 2'2d. I have a copy of the resohition and 
protest. I know on good authority that the Court of 
London has declared, that it is no better satisfied with 
the resolution adopted on the ISth of November. Thus 
those who have wished to be wholly subservient to that 
Court are very badly paid for their complaisance. 
The above resolution, adopted by the majority of the 
States of Holland, on the 19th of this month, has not yet 
been presented to the States-General. The Assembly 
of Holland, which was to have separated this week, 
adjourned to Tuesday next. The Deputies of the 
cities will depart on Thursday, to seek, it is said, new- 
instructions for another answer, such as the Ambassa- 
dor can receive. Those of Amsterdam remain here, 
because they have no need of an ad referendum. 

December 2Ath. The British Court has communi- 
cated to the Republic its order, which declares liable to 
seizure neutral ships carrying to France munitions of 
war, military and naval. This order is directly contra- 
ry to the resolution of the 18th of November, by which 
the States refuse to permit this article to be put in 
question, which treaties secure to them. 
I have the honor to be, Sec. 


§42 DUMAS 


The Hague, December 25th, 1778. 

Your friends here do all that they can to bring about 
future connexions between the two Republics. The 
phrase, that I have underlined in the Declaration,* 
expresses nothing else than the authentic information, 
which the city of Amsterdam has of the disposition by 
which a majority is influenced in the Republic. See 
in it then only the wish of the city, that your virtuous 
perseverance in a union, on which alone depends your 
sovereignty, may frustrate this influence. It can do 
nothing against you without unanimity ; but, without 
this same unanimity, all the good will of the city can 
at the present time do nothing more for you, as to 
the conclusion of a treaty of amity and commerce, 
than project it, in order to have it ready when it shall 
be able to propose it with some appearance of success. 
A copy of the Memorial, presented on the 7th of 
December, by the French Minister to their High 
Mightinesses, was sent to me by himself, on the 8th, 
to be communicated to you. 

They have sent me from Amsterdam, with the same 
intent, a copy of the protest of the city against the 
resolution adopted by the majority for refusing convoy 
to naval articles. This important paper is very long, 
(20 pages in folio.) Expecting that I may be able to 
send it to you, translated and copied, I will transcribe 
for you, Gentlemen, what a good Dutch citizen, to 
whom 1 lent it, thought of it. " It is scarce possible 

■" This Declaration is missing 


for me,'^ said he, " to paint the vexation with which I 
have read the resolve adopted by the majority. A 
document at once puerile, Jesuitical, and made unintel- 
ligible, as I think, from design, to conceal the palpaple 
contradictions and absurdities of which it is full. I 
can compare it to nothing better than to a serpent, 
which hides its ugly head under the tortuous folds of 
its horrible body. The protest, on the contrary, is 
the finest document of its kind, that I remember to 
have seen. As precise as it is luminous, it presents at 
once, and gathers, so to speak, into a single focus, all 
the reasons for the opposite sentiment, in a manner to 
strike all eyes which are not voluntarily closed to its 
light. But we live in the midst of a people, who do 
not hesitate to call white black, and black white, pro- 
vided it favors the party of the Boreases of England 
and of our country." The States of Holland assem- 
bled yesterday. They have named two committees to 
deliberate, the one on the answer to be made to the 
Court of France, the other on the new complaints to 
which the English have just given cause. We shall 
not know the result till next week. 

In the circumstances, Gentlemen, in which you see 
things, it will be necessary that I should be provided 
with a letter of credence from your honorable Con- 
gress, like, mutatis mutandis, that which I received from 
it under date from the 9th to the 12th of December, 
1775, and of which I made use at the Court of France, 
in April, 1776 ; with this difference, that the other 
being unlimited and accommodated to existing circum- 
stances, that which I now ask for should be limited to 
this Republic, and conformable to the present situation 

344 DUMAS 

and dignity of the American confederation, to the end 
that I may be able to produce it to whomever it shall 
be proper, and to labor with all requisite credit and 
weight, in concert with your friends in this country, 
onthe proposal of amity and commerce between the 
two Republics. Such a paper becomes every day more 
necessary ; and I dare say, that it will be necessary 
to the United States that I should be provided with it 
as soon as possible, so as not to give it publicity, 
which everywhere, except in France and Spain, 
seems to have no good effect ; but to continue, as I 
have done hitherto, to increase and strengthen your 
friends here, and to hinder your enemies from realis- 
ing, at the expense of this Republic, the fable of the 
monkey who drew his chestnuts from the fire with the 
cat's paw. Malo esse quam videri ought to be the 
constant maxim of all those, who are called to serve so 
fine a cause as that of the American Union. It is 
certainly mine. It is this that dictates the precise an- 
swer, which I have yet to give to what you had the 
goodness to write concerning me, in the letter with 
which you honored me, under date of the 14th of May 
of this year, to wit; "We shall write particularly to 
the gentlemen at Paris, respecting the injuries you have 
received from our enemies, and shall instruct them to 
pay the strictest attention to our engagements made to 
you at the commencement of our correspondence." 

These gentlemen, in sending me the letter, wrote 
me nothing on this business, and I have not drawn on 
them for more than I had agreed with Mr Deane, to- 
wards the end of the past year, to be necessary for me 
to live here in a style of mediocrity, and with much 


economy, namely, two hundred louis d'ors this year. 
I shall continue on this footing, drawing always a 
hundred louis d'ors every six months, till it please your 
honorable Congress to fix my stipend. In expectation 
that the situation of affairs will permit the United 
States to observe in respect to me, or in case of my 
death, in respect to my daughter, the wise magnanim- 
ity that befits sovereigns, I will serve them, with the 
same zeal as if they gave me double, and with more 
inward satisfaction than if any other Power should 
give me ten fold. I can assure you, Gentlemen, that 
from the beginning, I have done for the whole Amer- 
ican people, as I would do for a friend in danger. For 
the rest, I am well satisfied and grateful for the oblig- 
ing things you have written me on this subject, and I 
do not ask new assurances. It is sufficient for me, 
that you know my true sentiments, and that you will 
have the goodness to make them known to the honor- 
able Congress. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 



The Hague, January 1st, 1779. 

On the 19th of December, the Grand Pensionary of 
Holland, before going to the Assembly of the States 
of Holland, received from the Due de la Vauguyon, 

* Several letters from M. Dumas, on the affairs of Holland, in the 
year 1778, may be found in the Commissioners' Correspondence, in 
the first volume of the present work. 
VOL. IX. 44 

346 DUMAS 

Ambassador of France, a note, explanatory of the 
Memorial presented to their High Mightinesses the 
7th, as follows. 

"The king, determined to have perfect certainty of 
the final resolution of the States, flatters himself that 
their High Mightinesses will explain themselves in a 
clear and precise manner, upon the point of perfect 
neutrality, which his Majesty is persuaded that they 
do not wish to swerve from. He expects that they 
will preserve to the flag of the United Provinces all 
the liberty that belongs to them, in consequence of 
their independence, and to their commerce all the in- 
tegrity that the law of nations secures to it, and that 
treaties confirm to it. But this liberty will become 
illusory, and this integrity violated, if their High 
Mightinesses do not maintain it by a suitable protec- 
tion, and if they consent to deprive their subjects of 
convoy, without which they cannot enjoy, in their full 
extent, the rights which they have acquired and claim. 
A resolution of whatever nature it be, whose efiect 
should be to deprive them of a protection so legitimate, 
whether for all branches of their commerce in gene- 
ral, or in particular for articles of naval stores of any 
kind, would be regarded under present circumstances 
as an act of partiality derogatory to the principles of 
an absolute neutrality, and would inevitably produce 
the consequences mentioned in the Memoir, which has 
been sent to their High Mightinesses. It is especially 
to this essential object, and with the further intention 
to observe a neutrality thus described, that the king 
asks of their High Mightinesses an answer clear and 



The same morning the States of Holland adopted by 
a majority the following answer, previously advised 
on the 1 6th by the Admiralty. 

" That their High Mightinesses have always set, 
and will set, much value on a good understanding 
with his Majesty, and that they would cultivate will- 
ingly his friendship and affection for this State, by all 
means which insure the independent repose of the Re- 
public, and contribute to their perfect neutrality in 
the existing differences between his Majesty and the 
king of Great Britain. That their High Mightinesses 
do not fear to declare with openness and candor to his 
Majesty, that their design is to adhere scupulously to 
the said neutrality, in firm confidence that the two 
powers will be satisfied, and that they will permit to 
their High Mightinesses the peaceable enjoyment of it. 
That the commerce and navigation of the Republic, 
being one of its principal means of subsistence, its free 
exercise their High Mightinesses have strongly at 
heart. Their High Mightinesses flatter themselves 
also that the two powers are inclined, and will be per- 
suaded to leave to them the course which the law of 
nations and treaties guaranty, and that if any discus- 
sion takes place on this subject, it will be attributed 
solely to the moderation and caution of their High 
Mightinesses, in compliance with the suggestions of 
prudence, if to measures adapted to the protection of 
their commerce and their free navigation, without dis- 
tinction as to the property of the cargoes, and to the 
support of their neutrality, they add others, intended 
to avoid all occasions of misunderstanding; that their 
High Mightinesses are too firmly convinced of his 


348 DUMAS 

Majesty's justice, to doubt that he will be satisfied 
with this candid exposition of the sentiments of their 
High Mightinesses, or that he will continue to ob- 
serve, in his treatment of neutrals, and consequently 
of the subjects of their High Mightinesses, the rules, 
which his Majesty has himself considered to be con- 
formable to the law of nations ; and that he will con- 
tinue in the disposition, on which the commerce, at 
present existing between the subjects of both powers, 
to the mutual advantage of both parties, is founded." 

The resolution adopting this answer was invalidated at 
the same time by the following protest. 

"The Deputies of the city of Amsterdam, adhering to 
their protest and note inserted on the 18th of November last, 
against the resolution adopted the same day, on the final 
remonstrance of the merchants of this country, on the sub- 
ject of the seizure of their vessels by the English, and the 
carrying them into English ports, as is therein more fully 
detailed, have declared, that they cannot agree to the reso- 
lution of their Noble and Grand Mightinesses, adopted this 
day on the Memorial presented to their High Mightinesses 
by the Due de la Vauguyon, wherein he deujauds the ob- 
servance of an exact neutrality during the existence of the 
troubles with England in general, and the maintenance of 
the freedom of the flag of the Republic, as well as of the 
commerce and navigation of this country to the French 
ports in particular ; unless in the meantime should be given 
by the said resolution the clear and precise answer de- 
manded by the said Memorial, and on which depends in 
great part the commerce of this country to the ports of 
France, declaring also that they would not be in any man- 
ner responsible for the evils that may come upon the com- 


merce and navigation of the Republic, as well from the pre- 
sent resolution as from that of the 18th of November last." 

This has not hindered the States-General from adopting 
also the answer. On the 30th of December it was carried, 
by the agent of their High Mightinesses, to the Ambassador, 
who did not accept it, as not being such as the King de- 
manded. On which they have determined to send it to 
M. de Berkenrode, at Paris, to endeavor to cause it to be 
accepted by his Majesty. 

On my return here on Tuesday evening, I went to see our 
friend. Nothing has yet been done ; but in spite of all 
that can be done tomorrow, said he, things will finally go 
well. He told me also, that the credit of Sir Joseph 
Yorke with a certain great personage was manifest more 
and more, and that there was no longer room to doubt that 
the latter had secret engagements with the Court of London, 

I was the next day at the house of the French Ambas- 
sador. Their High Mightinesses had sent him their an- 
swer to the Memorial, and he had sent it back, as not ad- 
missible. He has in his pocket the Declaration of the 
King, by which the subjects of the State are excluded from 
his order in favor of neutrals, and deprived of the privileges 
which they enjoy in the ports of the kingdom. It will be 
soon published. This affair will do as much good to the 
Anti-English in these provinces, as the taking of Bergen-op- 
zoom did them harm thirty years ago. The time will come 
when they will be obliged to have recourse to the city of 
Amsterdam, to remove the proscription, which too much 
complaisance to the Court of London is drawing upon 
these Provinces. 

Late on Wednesday I went to see our friend. He 
could only give me one moment. The answer of the 

■tig»ic-%> ^ ^__ ^^^^^^gl^l^^ 

350 DUMAS. 

Slates-General to the Memorial of the French Ambassador 
is the same as that adopted by a majority in the States of 
Holland, excepting some additions which are not material. 
The Deputies have not even consulted their respective 
Provinces thereon ; another blowr given to the constitution. 
One of the Deputies, with whom 1 had some conversation, 
gave me as the only excuse ; — "//f is not the first time we 
have done it." I have seen a letter from an able hand, in 
one of the Provinces, wherein much censure and heavy 
reproaches are cast on this method of proceeding. Fries- 
land can least of all dispense with the commerce of 

January 2d. There is today a grand concert at the 
Hotel de France. The Court is there. The Ambassa- 
dor does the reverse of what is practised at the theatre ; 
he began with the farce, and will finish with the tragedy. 
They flatter themselves here, that he will not press matters, 
because they have given him to understand that they have 
convoked the Admiralty to deliberate more fully on the 
convoys. But they do not say what all the world knows, 
that they have sent the rejected answer to the Ambassador 
of the Republic at Paris to endeavor to have it accepted by 
the King. Labor lost. 

Our friend is fortunate in all this. He has the finest 
part to perform, and he will perform it to his glory. He 
advances rapidly in the paths of former great men of the 
Republic. On the other side, the firmness of Amsterdam 
is seconded very seasonably by the Memorial. 

I doubt not, Gentlemen, but the result has made you see 
the importance of what has passed here, and how far my 
proceedings have been useful in the business, to bring it lo 
the point where it now is. 

1 have the honor to be, &:c. DUMAS. 



The Hague, January 12th, 1779. 

The States of Holland assemble tomorrow. Our friend 
comes this evening and I shall see him. They are here 
every day more etnbarrassed. Far from the ansvi'er to 
the Memoir sent by their High Mightinesses to their Am- 
bassador at Paris being accepted, the Ambassador of 
France has received an express from his Court, the pur- 
port of which we shall know at the same time with the 
result of the deliberations of the States of Holland. 

January IZth. The Assembly today has been occu- 
pied only with simple formalities. I know on very good 
authority, that Amsterdam will have permission to trade to 
the French Isles in America, as well directly as by way of 
St Eustatia and Cura9oa ; and 1 have been authorised to 
inform certain armed houses [maisons armes] of it, in order 
that they may be able to speculate in advance upon it. 

January lAth. They wished to resolve today by a 
majority for a delay of four months longer for the convoys 
of ship timber. All at once Haerlem is ranged on the 
side of Amsterdam, and Alcmaer has taken the matter ad 
referendum ; which has much displeased a grand person- 
age present. The Grand Pensionary cried out also much 
upon it, and wished to engage the Deputies of this city to 
accede to the opinion of the majority ; but they alleged 
the orders of their city in excuse. This is the cause that 
the resolution cannot be passed till next week. It will be 
such, moreover, that the Court of France will regard it as 
derogatory to perfect neutrality ; for the majority will 
always prevail, but then Amsterdam, Haerlem and perhaps 


352 DUMAS. 

Alcmaer will protest. You see, Gentlemen, that the oppo- 
sition not only sustains itself, but gains ground. This op- 
poiiiion was almost nothing six months ago ; it was a feeble 
plant that could only stand by bending when the wind blew; 
now it is a solid and robust body, well supported, which 
resists all the efforts of the English party, which has broken 
them, and which will succeed at length in prevailing over 
this party, and will restore to the Republic its ancient dignity. 

January l^th, morning. Yesterday, the 15th, in the 
evening, the Ambassador sought me out to go and confirm, 
on his part, to our friend, that this morning he should pre- 
sent a Memorial to the President of their High Might- 
inesses, with the new order of the King, which excludes 
the commerce and navigation of from the 

favors which France permits neutrals to enjoy on the sea 
and in her ports, and preserves them only to the flag of 
the city of Amsterdam, and that after that he should, 
(though against usage) make the circuit of the hotels of all 
the cities of Holland, and testify to their respective Pen- 
sionaries the regret and repugnance with which the King 
will see himself forced by themselves to publish the said 
order. I waited at the Hotel de France till two o'clock 
in the morning, to give to the Ambassador, who supped 
abroad, the answer of our friend. He sent it off the same 
night by express to his Court, and I hold myself ready this 
morning to report on his part to our friend the manner in 
which all shall pass. 

I6th, evening. This morning the Ambassador, after 
having presented his Memorial to the President of their 
High Mightinesses, made the rounds to give information of it 
to the Grand Pensionary of Holland, to the Secretary of their 
High Mightinesses, to the Prince Stadtholder, to the Pen- 


sionaries of the cities of Amsterdam, Dort, Brille, and Rot- 
terdam. He was nearly two hours with the Deputies of 
this last city. He testified to all of them the regret of the 
King in having to withdraw from tliem his favors, and to 
permit one patriotic city alone to enjoy them. All mani- 
fested more discontent at this distinction, than at the priva- 
tion, and there is danger of I know not what fatal conse- 
quences. They pretend that it is a thing without example 
and against their constitution to treat with one city only. 
The Ambassador replied to them, that this was a wrong 
view, that there was neither treaty nor convention between 
France and Amsterdam, but that he merely let this place 
continue to enjoy what she enjoyed before, and that the 
Republic ought to be on the contrary well satisfied that by 
means of this city she would not lose all. The next week 
he will see the Pensionaries of the other cities. For the 
rest I am of opinion that all this will be arranged yet satis- 
factorily, and that the Republic, seeing that the thing is 
serious, will take the part of giving satisfaction to France. 

January Xlth. I gave the Ambassador today an ac- 
count of the discourse that I held yesterday with our 
friend. I must return tomorrow with the Ambassador. I 
only tell you, Gentleqien, the essentials, and spare you the 
detail of messages, which they charge me with, whose re- 
sult only is interesting. My interposition saves the noise 
there would be from too frequent interviews between per- 
sons who are watched. 

January 20th. The two Pensionaries of Amsterdam 
went this morning on the part of their city to the house of 
the Ambassador, to give thanks, and to say that they 
hoped his Majesty would not deprive the other confed- 
erates of favors, which he is willing to preserve to them. 
VOL. IX. 45 

354 DUMAS 

Thence they went to the Grand Pensionary, to give him 
information of this proceeding. In place of sour looks and 
altercations, which they expected as well at the States of 
the Province today as elsewhere, they were agreeably sur- 
prised to find themselves treated everywhere with much 
respect. Those of Rotterdam, among others, sought their 
intercession for their city. The merchants of Rotterdam 
came to implore the protection of the gentlemen of Am- 
sterdam, who properly sent them away to their own magis- 
trates. The Ambassador, on his part, notified this morning 
the Grand Pensionary by word of mouth, and afterwards, 
at his request, by a note in form of a letter, that the King 
has fixed the 26th of January to publish the new order, if 
he should not receive such an answer as he demands. 

January 2\st. Nothing is done yet. The advice of 
the Admiralty proposed today to the States of Hol- 
land is in contradiction with itself. They annul in truth 
their famous resolution of the 18th of November, as to the 
restriction of convoy, (from which they wished then to 
exclude ship timber) but would suspend the adoption of 
the resolution as to the extension of these convoys, until 
the time when they would assign their crews. This is only 
pushing time by the shoulders ; it is the Lernean hydra, 
whose heads started up in place of those that were des- 
troyed. For they agree on all the rest. There were 
yesterday only altercations and reproaches, to which those 
of Amsterdam answered with as much moderation and de- 
cency as firmness. All has been deferred till tomorrow, 
and if they will decide the affair by the majority, Amster- 
dam will protest anew. 

January 22d. Nothing yet is done in the Assembly of 
Holland. The Grand Pensionary bad proposed a draft of 


a resolution, which Amsterdam would not agree to, be- 
cause there were terms, which appeared deceptive, and 
which were susceptible of a different explanation at the 
Court of London from what it might receive at that of 
France. The principal is this ; they would delay the 
final resolution for the extension of convoy to the 26th, 
the day when the Admiralty must assign the crews and 
armaments. Now this extension will only signify in re- 
lation to one of the powers, the force of the convoys ; in 
relation to the other, the suspension of convoy for ship 
timber. Those of Haerlem have, therefore, proposed 
some amendments. If all acquiesce, they may tomorrow 
adopt a unanimous resolution that may, perhaps, satisfy 

January 23d. Yet undecided. All the cities, mean- 
while, are of one mind with Amsterdam, on the plan pro- 
posed by Haerlem. But a great personage, with the ma- 
jority of the nobility, still dispute about the terms. Pend- 
ing this, a courier has been despatched today to Paris, to 
obtain, if possible, a further delay of a week in favor of the 
city of Amsterdam, which strongly interceded in behalf of 
the others. It remains to be known if this courier can arrive 
in time on the 26th. Amsterdam has declared today that 
she will remain firm and immovable, and will neither 
suffer herself to be forced or deceived. A very strong 

January 29th. Contrary to all appearances they have 
not resolved anything today. The answer proposed by 
the Admiralty was so obscure and ambiguous, that Am- 
sterdam has given notice, that she will protest again that 
it was only necessary to communicate to France the res- 
olution of the 26th instant, by which the republic repealed 


366 DUMAS 

that of the 18th of November, which displeased France, 
and embraced the most perfect neutrality. They were not 
willing to follow this advice, and they have again prolonged 
the Assembly till Tuesday or Wednesday next. They 
wish to deceive us, said our friend, but they will not 

February 4th. The Assembly of Holland resolved to- 
day, by a majority, on the answer to be given to France, 
referred from yesterday, against which Amsterdam with 
Haerlem has renewed formally her protestation of the 19th 
of December. After which the Assembly separated. It 
will meet again the 25th of February. 

February I6th. The States-General have not yet made 
answer to the Ambassador. The Deputies of the Provin- 
ces have declared, that they were not authorised thereto 
by their constituents. 

I am returned from Amsterdam, where I have been to 
see if the four new Burgomasters, who have entered upon 
office, are in the same disposition as those of the past year ; 
and I have found that all goes on well ; as also if the mer- 
chants intend to proQt forthwith by the privileges conceded 
to them. A letter will not admit of the details, which 1 
have communicated hereon to the Ambassador of France. 
The paper here annexed, which I have drawn up and cir- 
culated, will give you a summary view of all that has 
passed of interest. 

Our friend has sent me the materials for a plar) of a 
treaty between the two Republics. I am occupied with 
it. As soon as it is drafted, I will make copies for Amer- 
ica and Paris. 

The long silence that America keeps, and the rumors 
which are industriously spread, and which nobody has au- 



thentically contradicted, of divisions that prevail there, of '/i 

the submission even of two or three of the most Southern , n 

States, and even of Virginia, make me see and experience )j! 

more reserve and timidity, on the part even of those of /j 

Amsterdam, than in the past year. I pray God to guard 
America from traitors as well as from open enemies. ^ 

February 24th. There is a letter from the Prince Stadt- | 

holder to the States of the Province of Friesland, which ^ 

will have serious consequences, because it is very partial 
to England and against France. I had the good fortune, 
Friday the 19th, to be able to procure an authentic copy 
of it for the Ambassador. I learned the same day, that 
it was printed at Amsterdam. It sells, circulates rapidly, 
and makes much noise. 

I have the honor to be, Stc. 



The Hague, March 1st, 1779. 

I have nothing to add to the extracts here annexed, ex- 
cept to press anew the necessity there is that the most 
honorable Congress send me a commission in all its forms 
of Charge df Affaires, and agent of the United States of 
America in the United Provinces of the Low Countries, 
with power to manage and watch over their political inter- 
ests, and tliose of the navigation and commerce of the 
American Union, as well near their High Mightinesses the 
States-General of the United Provinces of the Low Coun- 
tries, now and at all times when opportunity shall be pre- 
sented, as near each Province, city, and individual of this 

368 DUMAS. 

The opposition formed, sustained, and consolidated 
against the enormous influence wliich your enemies had 
over this republic, is the work, of three persons, of whom I 
have the honor in my sphere to be one. 

With orders and powers more precise on the part of 
Congress, I should have been able to contract long since, 
with merchants of this country, for useful expeditions, and 
to defeat divers adventurers and intriguers, who, falsely 
boasting of full powers and of credentials which they have 
not, have abused and much deceived the people and com- 
promised the dignity and credit of the United States. The 
little I have been able to do in this respect, has been done 
with a pure zeal, and a disinterestedness and discretion, 
which I dare propose as an example to others, who may 
be called to a similar service. I can boldly defy all the 
world to accuse me of having in any case preferred my 
own interest to that of the American people. 

My request, at the commencement of this letter, has for 
its object the service of the United States of America, as 
much at least as the proper care of my fortune, of rny 
family, my honor and credit, my character and safety. 
The earliest of your agents and correspondents, Gentle- 
men, in Europe, out of Great Britain, has risked all these 
things from the time he received and accepted this honor, 
with a con6dence equal to that with which it was offered. 

I have the honor to be, &;c. 




The Hague, April 29th, 1779. /I^ 


In all this month nothing has passed remarkable here, 
unless it be the Memorial presented by the English Am- 
bassador. But in this interval I have taken part in a se- 
cret operation, which has confided the credit and secrets of 
America to a House at Amsterdam, truly patriotic, and not 
suspected of collusion with the enemy. Dr Franklin is 
fully apprized of it all. 

Here is an extract from a letter to him. 

"The States of the Province of Holland have assembled 
here this morning. It is only an ordinary session ; and 
our friend said to me pleasantly, ' We have only come to 
hold the fair. ^ He foresees also that the resolution of the 
States-General, as to convoy, will not be such as to engage 
France to revoke or mitigate her last edict of navigation. 
One of the first Houses of Amsterdam, and whose predi- 
lection for England is known, has sold £60,000 of Eng- 
lish funds. This has revived the idea of a declaration 
from Spain, and has depressed the English funds at Am- 
sterdam from three to four per cent. There is a shower of 
pamphlets here, both in French and Dutch, against the Idst 
Memoir of Sir Joseph Yorke." 

For a long time. Gentlemen, we have heard nothing 
here of American affairs, but through the wicked channel 
of your enemies, who do not cease to paint the Americans 
as a people disunited and discordant. These eternal repe- 
titions, and their pretended success in Georgia, do not fail to 
disquiet your friends and to embarrass all my endeavors. 
I have the honor to be, &c. 






The Hague, May 15th, 1779. 

I have already had the honor of informing you many 
times, that some of my frequent letters to Passy are of a 
nature not to be communicated to you, even in abridge- 
ment, through the risk that my packets run of being inter- 
cepted ; such are, particularly, divers letters written to Dr 
Franklin, from the 25th of January to the 29th of April. 
There is a cabal of Genevan and Swiss bankers, as well 
in France as at Amsterdam, friendly to your enemies, 
which does as much injury as it can under the mask of 
friendship. It was my duty to unmask some of them to 
Dr Franklin, and to make known to him a safe Anti-Eng- 
lish patriotic House, having the confidence of the magis- 
tracy of Amsterdam. The Ministry in France know it. 

Upon the last petitions of the merchants of Dort, Am- 
sterdam, Rotterdam, and Friesland, the Stales-General, 
after having previously deliberated and advised, and then 
reconsidered the affair, adopted on Monday, the 26th of 
April, the resolution to equip for the service of the cur- 
rent year, 1779, thirtytwo vessels of war, as follows; 

4 vessels of 60 guns, 350 men = 240 guns, 1400 men. 

I 5> 




= 60 , 

, 340 , 

1 » 




= 60 , 

, 290 , 

8 „ 




= 400 , 

, 2400 , 

2 frigates 




= 80 , 

500 , 

8 „ 




= 288 , 

, 1840 , 

7 „ 




= 140 , 

, 1050 , 

1 snow 




= 12 , 

100 , 

32 vessels and frigates, 

1280 guns, 7920 men. 



Of these thirty two vessels and frigates, the College of 
Admiralty of Meuse will furnish 

1 vessel of 60 guns 350 men = 60 guns 350 men. 

1 » 


„ 300 „ = 50 



3 frigates 


„ 230 „ = 108 



J » 


„ 150 „ = 20 



1 snow 


„ 100 „ = 12 



7 vessels and frigates, 250 guns 1590 men. 

The College of Amsterdam, 
2 vessels of 60 guns 350 men = 120 guns 700 men. 

4 „ 


„ 300 

„ = 200 

„ 1200 

2 frigates 


„ 250 

„ = 80 

„ 500 

2 „ 


,, 230 

„ = 72 

„ 460 

2 „ 


» 150 

„ = 40 

„ 300 

12 vessels and frigates, 

The College of Zealand, 

1 vessel of 60 guns 350 men. 

512 guns 3160 men. 

1 frigate 



The College of West Friesland and the Quarter of the 

1 frigate of 36 guns 230 men = 36 guns 230 men. 

2 „ 20 „ 150 „ = 40 „ 300 „ 

3 frigates 


76 guns 530 mw. 



362 DUMAS. 

The College of Friesland, 

1 vessel of 60 guns 340 men = 60 guns 340 men. 

2 „ 50 „ 300 „ = 100 „ 600 „ 
1 frigate 36 „ 230 „ = 36 „ 230 „ 
1 „ 20 „ 150 „ = 20 „ 150 „ 

5 vessels and frigates, 216 guns 1320 men. 

The expense of this enrollment of seven thousand nine 
hundred and twenty men amounts, at thirtysix florins a 
head, by the month, to two hundred and eightyfive thou- 
sand seven hundred and twenty florins each month, and 
for fourteen months, to three millions nine hundred and 
ninetyone thousand six hundred and eighty florins, of 
which the moiety (or one million nine hundred and ninety- 
five thousand eight hundred and forty florins) is taken from 
the appropriation de la petition de guerre of the 3d of 
November of the past year, and the other moiety from the 
appropriation des droits augmentes d^ entree et de gabelle. 

The payments will be made to the respective Colleges 
of Admiralty on the usual footing, to wit, the quarter of 
the whole charge of each vessel, when the vessel shall be 
equipped, the half when the vessel shall have served 
twelve months after the enlistment of the crew, and four- 
teen months if it is a vessel continued in the service after 
having been equipped for former service. The resolution 
enjoins on the Admiralty to hasten the equipments, to the 
end that every month there may be a convoy for the ports 
of France and England ; for Lisbon and the Mediterra- 
nean as often as wanted ; and for the West Indies twice a 

I got a knowledge of this resolution the 1st of May, in the 
evening. The next day I apprized the French Ambassa- 


dor, who would not believe it at first. I gave him a copy, 

and sent a translation to Passy. The secrecy with which > 

they adopted it, and kept it unknown oiany days, shows ) 

that they wished to prevent its publicity, and as it is yet a ,j 

little deceptive as to ship timber, which is neither named ' 

nor excepted, it will not be, probably, communicated to 

the French Ambassador. It is important, as serving to j 

support the Province of Holland against the other Provin- ^ 

ces, all devoted to the Court. 

On the 11th of May, the body of merchants of Amster- 
dam presented an address to the Admiralty to hasten the 
convoy in consequence of the above resolve of the 26th of 
April, on the faith of which they had already made their 
speculations and taken their measures, especially as to ship 

On tlie 14tli I learned that the Admiralty not having 
answered satisfactorily the above address of the merchants 
of Amsterdam, the latter had prepared an address to their 
High Mightinesses, to remonstrate more strongly than 
ever. On the other side, the excitement and murmurs in- 
creasing at Rotterdam, whence the merchants threaten to 
withdraw and establish themselves at Amsterdam, the 
Deputies of Rotterdam have made a proposition to the Pro- 
vincial Assembly, that they shall finally adopt, in concert 
with the other Provinces, or, in case of their default, with 
Holland alone, a decided resolution, and measures to 
put an end to all these differences, and to prevent the total 
ruin of the city of Rotterdam. The proposition lias been 

I have the honor to be, &.c. 


364 DUMAS 


Pasay, September 2d, 1779. 


I desire you may repair immediately to Amster- 
dam to render all the services that may depend on 
you to a squadron under command of Mr Jones, 
bearing the American flag, which is bound to the 

The vessels which compose this squadron are, 

Bon Homme Richard, Capt. Jones, 42 guns. 

Alliance, Capt. Landais, 36 guns. 

Pallas, Capt. Cottineau, 30 guns. 

Cerf, Capt. Varages, 18 guns. 

Vengeance, Capt. Ricot, 12 guns. 

Vessels which may have joined. 

Monsieur, Capt. 40 guns. 

Grandvilie, Capt. 12 guns. 

Mifflin, Capt. 22 guns. 

It is necessary that you require of the commandants 
of these vessels the greatest circumspection not to of- 
fend the Dutch and not to afford subject for any 

If this squadron has need of any refreshments or aid, 
you will address yourself to M. De Neufville to pro- 
cure them. 

As soon as said squadion arrives, I wish you to ad- 
vise me of it, that I may take the necessary measures 
to send to the Americans the supplies of which they 
may have need. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 


Approved, B. FRANKLIN. 



The Hague, September 14th, 1779. 


Political affairs continue here on the same foot= 
ing as I left them. Convoys are not granted, not 
even for vessels and cargoes of which there is no dis- 
pute, because they are unwilling that vessels loaded 
with timber should take advantage of the opportunity, 
and join themselves to the fleet under convoy. On 
the other side, Leyden has at length joined the party 
of Amsterdam, which consists, at present, of eight or 
nine cities in favor of the deliberations for the Pro- 
vince to provide separately for the protection of its com- 
merce ; otherwise all the trafficers in wool, who do a 
great business in this article, among others for Flan- 
ders, both French and Austrian, will retire from 
Leyden to Amsterdam. 

The Ambassador of France wishes that the great 
city had shown itself less inflexible against the army 
augmentation, and that it had set off this augmentation 
against unlimited and effectual convoys. I am not of 
this opinion. I think they would thereby put a dan- 
gerous weapon into the hands of the Anglomanes, and 
that the convoys would be no less evaded, and the 
republican party led by the nose. Our friend reasons 
better, in wishing that his country should be a com- 
mercial, and not a mediating power in Europe. In 
fact, since from the acknowledgment of the Anglo- 
manes themselves there is little to fear for the Repub- 
lic, (for on the part of the English it is clear that it is 
not military but naval forces that she wants) ; and 
since both are so much at the disposal of the Anglo- 

366 DUMAS 

manes, it is as well for us and for the Republic itself 
that ihey should remain on the old footing; and this 
probably will happen ; for commerce, seeing they do 
not protect it, will not the next year pay the double of 
the right of entry and the excise ; and this will re- 
duce the fleet of the Republic from Ihirtytvvo to 
twentytwo vessels, great and small. 

September 20th. The Court of France has made a 
declaration here, that it has prohibited throughout the 
kingdom, the importation of cheese from North' Hol- 
land. This interdict will not be removed until the 
cities of North Holland have acceded to the affair of 

I have the honor to be, &c. 



The Hague, September 20th, 1779. 

Returned from Passy, where I have been detained 
some weeks longer than I had expected, and during 
which, affairs have not suffered here from my absence, 
because I constantly kept up correspondence with 
our great and worthy friend in this country ; returned 
also from Amsterd-im, where I was ordered to go for 
some secret business ; I have the honor to send you 
herewith the public papers, which will apprize you of 
what has happened throughout Europe these last few 
months ; you will see also by my letter to Dv Frank- 
lin, the present state of affairs in this Republic. 

Dr Franklin has not yet iiad leisure to send me back 
the plan of a future treaty with this Republic, to which 
he is to join his remarks. 



I am to set out immediately for Texel, with letters 
and secret instructions to Commodore Jones's squad- 
ron, whose arrival there I expect every hour; there- 
fore I must finish here abruptly, and defer writing to 
his Excellency, the President of Congress, concerning 
his letter of the 3d of January last to Dr Franklin, 
also a resolution of Congress about Colonel Diricks, of 
December 23d, 1778. I only add here, that I have no 
doubt the Colonel is fitter for fighting battles than for 
negotiating a treaty or a loan. 

Neufville, too, seems to me, as well as to the gen- 
tlemen at Passy, to have promised more than he can 
now efiectuate respecting a loan ; however, I still re- 
commend his house to other good American mer- 
chants, as a house very proper to deal with in the 
mercantile line. But ne sutor ultra crepidam. 
I have the honor to be, &c. 


Agreement b^een John Paul Jones and Captain 

It is hereby agreed between John Paul Jones, Captain 
in the American navy, Commander of the continental 
squadron now in the road of Texel ; and Richard Pearson, 
Captain in the British navy, late Commodore of the British 
Baltic fleet, and now a prisoner of war to the United 
States of North America ; as follows. 

1st. Captain Jones freely consents, in behalf of the 
United States, to land on the Island of Texel the danger- 
ously wounded prisoners now in his hands, to be there 
supported and provided with good surgeons and medicine, 

368 DUMAS 

at the expense of the United States of America, and agree- 
able to the permission, which he has received from the 
States-General of Holland, to guard them with sentinel in 
the fort on the Texel, with liberty to remove them again 
from thence at his free will and pleasure. 

2dly. Captain Pearson engages, in behalf of the British 
Government, that all the British prisoners that may be 
landed as mentioned in the last article shall be considered 
afterwards as prisoners of war to the United States of 
America, until they are exchanged, except only such as 
may in the meantime die of their wounds. 

3dly. Captain Pearson further engages, in behalf of the 
British Government, that should any of the British sub- 
jects, now prisoners of war in the hands of Captain Jones, 
desert or abscond, either from the fort on the Texel or 
otherwise, in consequence of the first article, an equal 
number of American prisoners shall be released, and sent 
from England to France by the next cartel. 

4thly. And Captain Jones engages, on the part of the 
United States, that if any of the prisdlBrs who shall be 
landed should die while on shore in his custody in the fort, 
no exchange of them shall be claimed. 

Done on board the American frigate the Pallas, at 
anchor in the Texel, this 3d day of October, 1779. 




Amsterdam, October 8th, 1779. 

High and Mighty Lords, ,! 

Captain Riemersma, commanding in the absence of 'i|; 

Vice-Admiral Reynst, in the Road of the Texel, has in- Mi 

formed us by message, of the entry into the said road of '|j 

five vessels, viz. two French frigates, one American frig- 
ate, and two prizes made by them, under command of 
Paul Jones, who has addressed himself in person to said 
Captain Riemersma, and has asked him if he might put on 
shore the English Captains, and hire also a house for the 
recovery of the wounded ; the said Captain demanding 
thereon our orders, and asking besides if he should return 
this visit. 

On which we have answered to Captain Riemersma, 
that we could not grant the request made by the comman- 
der of these vessels, to put on shore the English Captains, 
nor permission to hire a house on shore to put his sick 
and wounded in ; that for the rest, we suppose that the in- 
structions received from his Most Serene Highness would 
enable the said Captain to comport himself suitably. 

Besides, that he the Captain ought to look out, that for 
unloading, or in advancing further into the Roadstead than 
is necessary for protection from storms and other accidents, 
he should not contravene by his vessels the Placard of 
their High Mightinesses, of November 3d, 1756. 

We have the honor to submit all this to the view of your 
High Mightinesses, hoping that our conduct will be so for- 
tunate as to meet your approbation, he. 
VOL. IX, 47 

370 DUMAS 

Placard of 1756, referred to in the above Letter. 

"The States-General of the United Provinces, to all to 
whom these presents shall come, Greeting. Be it kn(.wn. 
that having been advised that some vessels of war or for- 
eign privateers, abusing the liberty that was granted them 
of resorting to and anchoring in our harbors, in case of 
want or accident, and of bringing with them the vessels or 
effects taken by them from their enemies, have undertaken 
to sell or dispose of their said prizes, which is directly 
against our intention, and may give rise to a misunder- 
standing between us and our neighbors, which we desire to 
prevent as much as is in our power, by all possible means, 
having considered what may best conduce to this end, we 
have thought good to declare, ordain and resolve as 

"Hereafter all vessels of war and foreign privateers, 
whatever they may be, which shall enter into the roadsteads, 
rivers and waters, of this State, shall hoist on their arrival 
the flag of the nation to which they belong, and not ad- 
vance further into said rivers and waters, than to secure 
themselves from tempests and other perils, without per- 
mission of the College of Admiralty, in the district in 
which they may be. They shall abstain from every act 
which may offend or aggrieve any one, whether stranger 
or subject of the State, but conduct on the contrary, in said 
waters in a manner not to harm or give cause of complaint 
to any one, under penalty not only of not receiving any 
assistance, but also of being expelled by force. In case 
that any vessel of war or privateer having letters of reprisal 
refuse to hoist on arrival its flag, or may be in the said 
waters and rivers without permission of the College of Ad- 


iniralty in the district where they are, the crew will be 
regarded and treated as pirates. All officers of vessels of 
war or foreign privateers, which shall enter into the mouths 
of rivers of this State with their vessels and prizes, or with 
their prizes only, shall be bound to abstain from announcing 
or publishing in any manner said prizes, from discharging 
them in whole or in part, from selling or disposing of 
them ; but they shall keep or retain them entire, and put 
to sea with them, returning in the same state as when they 
arrived ; under pain of being deprived of said prizes, which 
shall be seized by the officers of this State and kept by 
the College of Admiralty of the district, till the counsellors 
of said College, having taken cognizance of the fact, shall 
judge proper to dispose of them agreeably to the exigency 
of the case. 

"And to the end that these orders may be better exe- 
cuted, all officers and masters of privateers, which shall 
anchor in the harbors of this State, shall be holden to' give 
notice at the first place where they shall come, of the 
cause of their arrival to the officers charged by the State 
with the inspection of the entry of vessels, to present to 
said officers their commissions, and especially to declare 
what prizes they have made, on what nation they have 
made then), and in general in what their cargoes consist. 
Moreover the said vessels of war or privateers shall per- 
mit the said officers to put persons on board said prizes to 
guard tiiem, and prevent anything from being sold or dis- 
charged contrary to the present decree, and in this manner 
they shall put to sea with their prizes, and depart from the 
harbors of this Stale. 

"And to give more effect to our intentions, and the better 
to prevent all difference on this subject, we advise by these 

372 DUMAS. 

presents all the inh*dbitants of this State, and others who 
reside here, that they will have to conforcn to their provis- 
ions, and will be careful of taking upon themselves to pur- 
chase, accept, or take for their own account, part or the 
whole of any prize brought into the harbors of this State 
under any pretext whatever, and also of aiding or facili- 
tating, with their persons, vessels, or boats the sale, dis- 
charge, or removal of said prizes ; under penalty, not only 
that all the effects they shall have acquired against the 
present decree, (without receiving any compensation for 
what they have disbursed, or their arrears of wages,) shall 
be seized by the College of Admiralty of the District, and 
confiscated to the profit of whom it may concern ; but also 
that the party shall be condemned to the payment of one 
thousand florins, one third of which shall be to the use of 
the State, one third to the informer, whose name shall re- 
main secret, and the remaining third for the officer who 
shall have received the complaint. 

"And in order that no person may pretend ignorance, 
we desire and request the Lords the Committee of Roads 
and the Deputies of the Slates of the respective Provinces 
immediately to announce, publish and post uj) the present 
Placard wherever need shall be, and as it is customary 
to practise. We enjoin moreover and command the 
Counsellors of the Admiralty, the Advocate of the Treas- 
ury, the Admirals, Vice-Admirals, Captains, Officers and 
Commandants, as also the Commissaries, and Commis- 
sioners of Search in the harbors and other places to exe- 
cute and cause to be executed the present order ; to pro- 
ceed and cause proceedings to be had against offenders, 
without any connivance, favor, dissimulation or agreement ; 
for we have thus judged necessary for the service of the 



"Done and concluded at the Assembly of their High 
Highnesses the States-General at the Hague, the third of »j 

November, one thousand seven hundred and fiftysix." j, 


Amsterdam, October 12tii, 1779. 
High and Mighty Lords, 
To satisfy the orders of their High Mightinesses and 
their resolution of the 8th of this month, wherein it. has 
pleased them to demand our opinion and our consideration 
of the annexed Memorial of Sir Joseph Yorke, Ambassador 
Extraordinary from his Majesty the King of Great Britain 
near the Republic, we take the liberty to answer respect- 
fully their High Mightinesses, that we had the honor to 
inform them by our letter of the 8th of this month of the 
entry of five ships; and at the same time of the answer we 
had given to Captain Riemersma, commanding at that time 
in the Roads of the Texel, on the request that had been 
made to him by Captain Paul Jones, the said auswer con- 
taining in substance that in the belief that these ships would 
depart on the first opportunity, we should not grant the 
debarkation and the stay on shore which was asked for, of 
two English Captains, nor permit the hiring of a house to 
transport the sick and wounded ; and that moreover we 
charged the said Captain to keep watch there ; that to pro- 
vide that these ships should be in security and safe from 
storms and other accidents, would not contravene the pla- 
card of your High Mightinesses of November 3d, 1756, 
which we regard as the rule according to which all foreign 
ships of war whatever they be, and from whatever port 

374 DUMAS. 

they come, which enter into the harbors or roadsteads of the 
Republic ought to be treated, and as having been given with 
the view that the said foreign ships should put to sea with 
their prizes, without discharging them in whole or in part 
and without selling them or disposing of them in any man- 
ner ; that for these reasons, it has appeared to us that the 
seizure of the said ships and officers and sailors would be 
a contravention of the said placard ; that besides, humanity 
requires that the said ships may stay to effect any repairs 
of which they have need, and to procure to the sick and 
wounded all the alleviations necessary, for the administering 
of which it is expedient that they be brought on shore. 

On which we have judged it proper to make representa- 
tion to their High iSlightinesses, whether it would not be 
proper to charge Captain Riemersma, commandant at the 
Roadstead of the Texel, and to give him order to permit 
the debarkation of the sick and wounded from said ships, 
to enable them to receive the most prompt assistance ; 
which we should have already granted ourselves upon the 
requests, which have been addressed to us on behalf of said 
sick and wounded, if we could have thought we had a right 
to do it without the authorisation of their High Mighti- 
nesses : submitting in this respect all final determinations to 
their high wisdom, and to their better opinion. 

Deliberating on this, the Deputies of the Province of 
Holland and of West Friesland have taken a copy of the 
above letter to be more amply communicated ; and never- 
theless it has been found good and determined that a copy 
of said letter should be put into the hands of M. de Linden 
de Herame and other deputies for marine affairs to see, 
examine, and take into consideration the opinion of the 
Commissioners of the respective Colleges of Admiralty, 
and to make report thereon to the Assembly. 

•' '^ ■ '" <?^'-**g«^=^-- 



Extract from the records of their High Mightinesses. 

October 15th, 1779. 

M. de Heekeren de Brantzeriburg, President of the 
Assembly, has imparted to their High Mightinesses, that 
he was informed by Sir Joseph Yorke, of the deplorable 
condition of the sick and wounded who are on board the 
English vessels Serapis and Countess of Scarborough, 
taken by Paul Jones and brought into the Texel, and who, 
as humanity requires, not only has not refused them ac- 
commodation, but even has procured them all the assist- 
ance and all the supplies possible, and submitted to the 
consideration of their High Mightinesses if it would not 
please them without delay to authorise the College of Ad- 
miralty of Amsterdam to have put on shore the said sick 
and wounded, to be there tended and nursed. 

On which, having deliberated, it has been thought good 
and decreed, that without prejudice to ulterior delibera- 
tions of their High Mightinesses on the Memorial, which 
has been sent to them on this subject by Sir Joseph Yorke, 
the 8th of this month, everything continuing in this respect 
in the same state, it be written to the College of Admiralty 
of Amsterdam to authorise it, and it is authorised by the 
present resolution to permit not only that the sick and 
wounded, who are in said vessels, be landed or put on 
board a hospital ship, as soon as one can be prepared for 
this purpose, but besides that they be furnished by the 
ships of war of the Republic now in the Roadstead, with the 
medicines and provisions necessary, and that the surgeons of 
said ships of war may bestow their care in the treatment of 
those sick and wounded who shall be debarked. It being 

376 DUMAS 

well understood, that by this nrrangement nothing shall be 
accounted to be changed relative to the condition of said 
sick and wounded ; that their High Mightinesses will not 
be responsible for those, who may be able to take advan- 
tage of the opportunity for escape, and that under any pre- 
text, either to gaard the prisoners or to maintain discipline, 
there may not be allowed to go on shore armed men, more 
than three or four, and armed only with their swords ; that 
finally, nothing may be done in said department and depen- 
dencies but with the knowledge and under the authority of 
the officer commanding the vessels of the Republic, which 
are in the Roadstead, and of those in whose jurisdiction 
shall be the place where the sick and wounded may be de- 


Their Noble and Grand Mightinesses, the Lords States 
of Holland and of West Friesland, in their Assembly of 
Thursday, the 21st of October, 1779, having resolved to 
qualify their Deputies in the Generality to conform in the 
Assembly of their High Mightinesses to the following ad- 
vice ; 

They are of opinion, that they should answer the Memo- 
rial of Sir Joseph Yorke, Ambassador Extraordinary and 
Plenipotentiary of his Britannic Majesty, presented the 
8th of this month, that their High Mightinesses be informed 
that a short time since there entered into the Texel three^ 
frigates, viz. two French, and one styling itself American, 
commanded by Paul Jones, having with them two prizes, 
made by them at sea, named Serapis and Countess of Scar- 
borough, designated in his Memorial. 



That their High Mightinesses, having for more than a }( 

century constantly observed and manifested by successive M 

placards, that they would not in any manner give any judg- jj 

ment for or against the legality or illegality of the acts of I 

those who not sailing under these provinces make prizes at i 

sea and bring them into the roadsteads of this country, not 
opening their ports to them on any other terms than for 
them to put in, in case of tempest, or other disasters, and 
obliging them to return with them to sea as they brought 
them in, they would not undertake to examine whether 
the prizes brought in by said three frigates belong to 
the French or to the Americans, whether they are legal 
or illegal, but must abandon all this to the decision of 
those who have jurisdiction, and that they would compel 
them altogether to return to sea, for that, subject here 
to be retaken as if they had never landed in this country, 
they will be judged by the proper tribunal ; inasmuch as 
the Ambassador will acknowledge himself, that he would 
have no less a right to reclaim them, if they belonged to 
English subjects, than if they were vessels of the King, 
which they happened to be in this case ; and by conse- 
quence, this would not authorise their High Mightinesses 
to bring it before the tribunals of this country, any more 
than the person of Paul Jones. 

That with respect to acts of humanity, their High Might- 
inesses have already manifested to the Ambassador their 
eagerness to exercise them in regard to the wounded on 
board said vessels, and that they have given orders in 

They would be of opinion, moreover, that they ought to 
answer the College of Admiralty of Amsterdam, that their 
High Mightinesses approve what is done ; that in conform- 
VOL. IX. 48 

378 DUMAS 

ity to their placard of the 3d of November, 1756, which 
prohibits the overhauling and breaking up of the cargoes of 
prizes, for the purpose of securing them from recapture, 
and allowing to the captor the right of disposing of luem, 
they persist in it also in the case of the prizes, Serapis and 
Countess of Scarborough ; authorising said College to do 
what is in their power that the said five frigates depart, the 
sooner the better, and to take care that there be not deliv- 
ered to them nor carried on board any munitions of war or 
naval stores, but such things only as they want in order to 
put to sea and reach the first foreign port, to prevent all 
suspicion of their equipment and arming in this country. 


The Ha^e, October 29th, 1779. 
I ought to advise you, that M. de Sartine has informed 
me, that he has renounced the intentions that I bad been 
charged to communicate to you, and that you will find at 
Dunkirk orders for your final destination. I learn with 
much pleasure, that the necessary repairs of the ships, 
which you command, will be completed immediately, and 
that you have received all the assistance you could, and 
ought to expect. I desire very earnestly that success 
shall again reward your valor. No person will be more 
rejoiced at it than myself. Believe me, with the sincerest 
sentiments, &ic. he. 




The Hague, October 29th, 1779. 

High and Mighty Lords, 

In thanking your High Mightinesses for the orders your 
humanity has dictated in relation to the wounded, who were 
on board two vessels of the King, the Serapis and Countess iji 

of Scarborough, I only discharge the orders of his Maj- 
esty in renewing the most strong and urgent demand for 
the seizure and restitution of said vessels, as well as for 
the enlargement of their crews, who have been seized by 
the pirate Paul Jones, a Scotchman, a rebellious subject 
and state criminal. 

The sentiments of equity and justice of your High 
Mightinesses leave no room to doubt, that in taking into 
a more mature deliberation all the circumstances of this 
affair, yon will recognize readily the justice of a demand, 
founded as well on the most solemn treaties, which have 
subsisted more than a century between the Crown of 
Great Britain and the United Provinces, as on the prin- 
ciples of the law of nations, and the custom of friendly and 
allied States. 

The stipulations of the treaty of Breda, ol the 31st of 
July, 1667, confirmed and renewed expressly in that of 
1716, and in all the subsequent ones, are too clear and in- 
contestible in this respect not to be felt in all their force. 

The King considered it derogatory to his dignity, as well 
as to that of your High Mightinesses, to expose the par- 
ticulars of a case so notorious as that in question, or to cite 
to the ancient friends and allies of his Crown analogous 
examples of other Princes and Stales. 


380 DUMAS. 

I shall confine myself to the remark, that the placard of 
your High Mightinesses, in prescribing to the captains of 
foreign ships of war to show their letters of marque or 
commissions, authorise you according to the general cus- 
tom of Admiralties to treat as pirates those, whose letters 
are found to be illegal for not being issued by a sovereign 

The character of Paul Jones, and all the circum- 
stances of the affair, cannot by their notoriety be unknown 
to your High Mightinesses. Europe has her eyes fixed 
on your resolution. Your High Mightinesses know too 
well the value of good faith, not to give an example of it on 
this important occasion. The least deviation from a rule 
so sacred, in weakening friendship among neighbors, pro- 
duces often unfortunate consequences. 

The King has always made it his pride to cultivate the 
friendship of your High Mightinesses. His Majesty per- 
sists steadfastly in the same sentiments; but the English 
nation does not think itself bound, by any of its proceed- 
ings, to have its citizens detained prisoners in a port of the 
Republic by an outlaw, a subject of the same country, and 
who enjoys the liberty of which they are deprived. 

It is for all these reasons, and many others equally solid, 
which cannot escape the great penetration and sagacity of 
your High Mightinesses, that the undersigned hopes to re- 
ceive a ready and favorable answer to the above, conform- 
able to the just expectation of the King, his master, and of 
the British nation. 




Their High Mightinesses, the States-General of 
Holland, have granted permission to us to land on the 
Island of Texel, a number of wounded British prison- 
ers of war now in our hands, to guard them by our 
American soldiers in the fort of that Island, wiih the 
draw bridges hauled up or let down at our discretion, 
and to remove them again from thence to our ships at 
our free will and pleasure, and dispose of them after- 
wards as though they had not been landed. Therefore 
you are hereby appointed Governor-General over the 
wounded, and the soldiers, that are destined this 
day to conduct them there, until further orders. 

These wounded prisoners are to be supported and 
provided with good surgeons and medicine, and with 
necessary attendance at the expense of the United 
States. The Commissary of the Admiralty, who resides 
on the Texel, has undertaken, by our orders, to furn- 
ish you with the necessary provisions ; and surgeons, 
medicine and bedding, &c. are sent from the squadron. 
In short, these prisoners, together with such other 
sick and wounded as we may hereafter see fit to send 
to your care in that fort on the Texel, are to be 
treated with all possible tenderness and humanity. 
And you are to take care that no person under your 
command may give any cause of complaint whatever 
to the subjects or government of this country ; but, 
on the contrary, to behave towards them with the ut- 
most complaisance and civility. 

For which this shall be your order. 

382 DUMAS 

Given on board the American ship of war, the 
Serapis, at anchor in the Road of Texel, November 
1st, 1779. 



Texel, November 4th, 1779. 


This morning the commandant of the Read sent me 
word to come and speak to him on board his ship. 
He had before him on the table a letter, which he said 
was from the Pfince of Orange. He questioned me 
very closely, whether I had a French commission, and 
if I had, he almost insisted upon seeing it. In con- 
formity to your advice, I told him that my French 
commission not having been found among my papers 
since the loss of the Bon Homme Richard, I feared 
that it had gone to the bottom in that ship; but that, 
if it was really lost, it would be an easy matter to 
procure a duplicate of it from France. The command- 
ant appeared to be very uneasy and anxious for my 
departure. I have told him, that as there are eight of 
the enemy's ships laying wait for me at the south en- 
trance, and four more at the north entrance of the Port, 
I was unable to fight more than three times my force ; 
but that he might rest assured of my intention to de- 
part with the utmost expedition, whenever I found a 
possibility to go clear. 

I should be very happy. Sir, if I could tell you of 
my being ready. I should have departed long ago, if 
I had met with common assistance ; but for a fortnight 


past I have every day expected the necessary supply 
of water from Amsterdam, in cisterns, and I have 
been last night only informed, that it cannot be had 
unless I send up water casks. The provisions too, 
that were ordered the day I returned to Amsterdam 
from the Hague, are not yet sent down, and the spars 
that have been sent from Amsterdam are spoiled in • ; 

the making. None of the iron work that was ordered ^| 

for the Serapis is yet completed, so that I am, even to ''! 

this hour, in want of hinges to hang the lower gun , ] 

ports. My officers and men lost their clothes and j 

beds in the Bon Homme Richard, and they have as j 

yet got no supply. The bread that has been twice a 1 

week sent down from Amsterdam to feed my people ; 1 

has been, literally speaking, rotten; and the conse- '' 

quence is, that they are falling sick. It is natural, 
also, that they should be discontented, while I am not 
able to tell them that they will be paid the value of 
their property in the Serapis and Countess of Scarbor- 
ough, if either or both of them should be lost or taken 
after sailing from hence. 

Thus you see. Sir, that my prospects are far from 
pleasing. I have but few men, and they are discon- 
tented. If you can authorise me to promise them, at 
all hazards, that their property in the prizes shall be 
made good, and that they shall receive the necessary 
clothing and bedding, or money to buy them with, 
I believe I shall soon be able to bring them again into 
a good humor. In the meantime, I will send a vessel 
or two out to reconnoiter the offing and to bring me 
word. Whatever may be the consequence of my hav- 
ing put into this harbor, I must observe that it was 


dono contrary to my opinion, and I consented to it 
only because the majority of my colleagues were 
earnest for it. 

I am under a very singular obligation to you, Sir, 
for your kind letter, which you did me the honor to 
write to me on the 29th of last month. It shall be 
my ambition to get clear of my present embarrassment, 
and to merit, what I so much esteem, the good opin- 
ion of your Excellency and of the Court, by my fu- 
ture service in support of the common cause. 
I have the honor to be, &c. 



Helder, November 9th, 1779. 

To fulfil my promise, it is my duty by the first post 
to give information to your Excellency, that in spite 
of the bad roads and dark nights I arrived here this 
morning. I saw immediately M. Cottineau, from 
whom here is a letter enclosed to your Excellency. 
There was a violent storm, which prevented me from 
going on board the Serapis. Nevertheless, having 
found means to make known my arrival to the Com- 
modore, he came on shore this evening for half an 
hour only in order that he might reach his ship again 
before night. He will send his boat tomorrow for me 
to breakfast with him, to converse longer on our af- 
fairs, and it may be to make a visit together to the 

In the meantime I have already learnt, that not 
only the Commodore has not written anything at all 


on what has given us uneasiness, but even that he has 
not said anything, of which they can make an authen- 
tic use; that he showed to M. Riemersma, on his ar- 
rival, as well as to the other Captains his commission, 
which is American, not having any other; that he 
will give me a copy, with a declaration signed at the 
bottom by himself, that he had shown it ; and that as 
to the cartel made between himself and Captain Pear- 
son, they have had no other suret}' for its basis, than 
the permission of this government to put on shore the 
wounded prisoners, without changing in any manner 
their condition, having taken upon them, besides, each 
one on his part, to engage their respective sovereigns. 
All, therefore, that I shall be able to do further in this 
respect will be to get signed by Mr Jones the ,copy 
he sent me of this cartel. The crowded inns leave 
me no place for a lodging but the house of a peasant, 
where I write this letter as I can. I fear that not- 
wiihstanding the good will of the Commodore, he will 
not be in condition to depart in fifteen days; and on 
examining things closely, and comparing the com,- 
plaints of one with those of another, as to the delays, 
I find that the great and true cause is this bad Roadstead, 
distant from Amsterdam twenty five leagues by water. 

The copy of the resolution of the 21st of October, 
which I have sent to the Commodore, is a paper very 
necessary to him. 

They will not be able- longer to impose on him or 
spread snares for him. His way will be clear. He 
regrets only that it had not been sooner. 
I have the honor to be, &c. 


VOL. IX. 49 



386 DUMAS. 


On board the Serapis, November 11th, 1779 


According to my letter of the day before yesterday, I 
was yesterday morning on board the Serapis. The 
weather was so thick in the evening, that there was no 
chance of sending anything on shore that night. The 
Commodore and myself, with great difficulty, went to make 
a visit to the Dutch Vice-Admirai, in which all that has 
been said was so well cleared up, that nothing can (at least 
on our part) cause a change in the state of things as they 
were after the 21st of October. The result of the visit is, 
in substance, that they do not much approve the expedient 
of providing two different flags in order to make use of 
one in default of the other; that they rather preferred that 
the whole squadron should have been entered under the 
flag and commission of France, as not being liable to any 
difficulties ; but since what had been done could not be 
otherwise, they desire and expect that the squadron shall 
depart with the first fair wind ; as also that there shall not 
be in this Roadstead any transportation of prisoners on 
board the King's cutters that are here ; which the Com- 
modore promised. 

Today we have been with M. Ricot on board one of 
the cutters, where we found the two captains, Messrs de la 
Laune and de la Bourdonnoie, who received us with all 
the cordiality and manifested all the good will imaginable. 
They do for us what they can, and M. de la Laune will 
inform your Excellency of it. 

[ hcpe to be able to depart for Amsterdam the morning 
after tomorrow, if I can without danger be put on shore 


tomorrow, with the satisfaction of having by my journey 
hither cleared up, and much accelerated affairs ; in a i)4: 

word, of having been useful. I see no possibility of being 
able to write to Dr Franklin. He cannot, therefore, know 
anything, nor, consequently, the Minister, except what 
your Excellency shall judge worthy to be communicated 
in your despatches, of the contents of my letters, he. 
I have the honor to be, &,c. 

I have received the letter that you addressed to me the 
9th of this month, and that of M. Cottineau, which was 
annexed. I learn with pleasure what you tell me relative 
to the object, which induced me to urge your departure. 
I hope you will not delay to give me, in this respect, details 
yet more satisfactory, and perfectly conformable to the in- 
tentions I have unfolded to you. 

M. Cottineau represents to me the extreme inconven- 
ience, which results from the impossibility of putting on 
shore the sick and wounded among the prisoners. 

I thiiik it would be proper that you might see with pru- 
dence and discretion, if it would not be possible to obtain 
permission of the Admiralty ; but it would be necessary, in 
order to ask it, to be very sure beforehand that you will 
not be refused. 

You know the truth of my inviolable sentiments. 


DUMAS. '>. 

^ il 


The Hague, November 11th, 1779. 

388 DUMAS. 


The Hague, November 12th, 1779. 

I have just received orders from the Pvliiiister of the 
Marine, which I must communicate to you, and it is 
necessary that you return here immediately. You will 
please to say to Mr Jones, that he ought not to set sail be- 
fore I have imparted to him the instructions, which have 
been sent, as it will be necessary to suspend his departure 
till a new order ; but not to lose an instant in hastening the 

I have the honor to be, &c. 



November 13th, 1779. 

Yesterday I was at the Texel with the Commodore, to 
adjust affairs with a Commissioner of the Admiralty, as 
to the light-house dues, so as to satisfy everybody ; but this 
morning the Dutch Vice-Admiral sought me in his boat, 
to repeat to me what he had already said to the Commo- 
dore, that he ought to depart with the first good wind ; in 
consequence, I have been with Captain Ricot and the 
commandant of the Scarborough on board of the French 
cutter to adjust things, of which I will give a verbal ac- 
count to your Excellency. 

I have the lienor to be, &;:c. 




Amsterdam, November 17th, 1779. 

They write me from the Hague, that the States of Hol- 
land adopted yesterday, by a majority, a resolution to 
compel Mr Jones to depart. I inform you of it, that you 
may lose no time in returning to the Texel and executing 
the necessary arrangements. 

I have the honor to be, &,c. 



The Hague, December 9th, 1779. 


On the 16th and 17th of November, the French Am- 
bassador having given us a meeting at Amsterdam, ap- 
prized us of the intention of the King, to wit, that the 
cruise should terminate at the Texel, and that the prizes 
should be conducted into France by two French Cap- 
tains of the squadron. Captain Jones on his part had an 
order from Dr Franklin to go on board the Alliance. On 
the ISih and 19th we returned to the Texel. The fol- 
lowing days we effected these changes. The Dutch Vice- 
Admiral (a decided tory, who had succeeded the brave 
Captain Riemersma, a good republican and friend to the 
Americans) perceived it and disturbed us very much, par- 
ticularly after having received the resolution of the 19lh of 
November, and the instructions of his Court on this subject. 

Every day he pressed and threatened us, though the 
wind was always contrary. On the 24lh of*November, 

390 DUMAS. 

among others, the officer second in command came to 
read to us a paper, which he afterwards put in his pocket. 
I had anticipated the contents, and n)ade, on my part, a 
writing, which I likewise read to him as follows. 

"The Commodore loses not a moment in providing for 
his departure with the first good wind, in his vessel, the 
Alliance, and he will give the signal for departure to the 
others, which will follow him if they can. He thinks he 
cannot give a stronger proof of his respect for the resolu- 
tion of their High Mightinesses. Thus the threats of the 
Vice-Admiral are superfluous and against the very terms 
of this resolution of their High Mightinesses. He cannot 
go on board any other vessel than the Alliance, without 
counteracting the designs of liis superiors. 

"As to the prizes, the placard of 1756, and of course 
the designs of their High Mightinesses, are scrupulously 
observed, in that they have not disposed of or changed any- 
thing, and that when they depart they may be recaptured. 
I require for the future every order or threat in writing, in 
order to send copies to , the General Congress and to Dr 

November 2%th. Having sent again to hasten us, 1 
made him confess with a loud voice, in presence of our 
crew, and of his own rowers, that he required an im- 
possibility ; a declaration which I made the pilot sign after- 
wards. Then he let us alone during ten days. 

December 8th. The wind appearing favorable, his 
officer found us ready to depart ; but the wind changing, 
it was necessary to cast anchor again, after it had been 
already weighed. 

By the extract of the resolution of the 26ih xN'ovember you 
will see, Ge^iJemcu, that the Stadtholder bad taken on hira- 


self to apply to the Alliance only, what had been resolved 
in regard to the whole squadron, and especially to the 
prizes ; that the States-General have approved it, and that 
thus they have thought they might dispense with con- 
sulting the Province of Holland on this new case. They 
are not content with this arbitrary procedure, and will 
make new protests, copies of which they have promised to 
furnish me. The others on their side appear to think 
that they have gone too far, as may be seen by the letter 
of the Vice-Admiral, which certainly is not written without 
order. As to the arrangement made on the IGihand 17th, 
I suspend my opinion till I see where the whole will end. 
But I highly applauded Mr Jones for having answered the 
Dutch Admiral as he did. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 



December 10th, 1779. 

The following intelligence will show in what manner the 
States-General have proceeded respecting Sir Joseph 
Yorke's demand for the seizure of Paul Jones's prizes. 

Leyden, JVovember 25th. "The publicity of the claims, 
which Sir J. Yorke, Ambassador of Great Britain, has 
made by order of his Court on the occasion of (he entry of 
Paul Jones with his prizes into the Road of the Texel, hav- 
ing excited the attention of Europe to this affair, on which 
subject the spirit of party on both sides has spread sundry 
unfounded reports, we think ourselves under obligation to 
communicate to our readers the definitive resolution, which 
the States-General took in relation to it last Friday j a 

392 DUMAS. 

resolution which reconciles the most scrupulous obligations 
of neutrality with the friendship which subsists between 
Great Britain and this Republic. Here is the translation 
of it. 

^Wednesday, JVov. \9th, 1779. Having deliberated by 
resolution on tlie Memorial presented by Sir Joseph Yorke, 
Ambassador Extraordinary and Pleni[)otentiary of his Maj- 
esty, the King of Great Britain, to their High Mighti- 
nesses, on the 29ih of last month, to renew in pursuance 
of the precise orders of his said Majesty, the most urgent 
instances for the seizure and restitution of two of the 
Kino's ships, Serapis and Countess of Scarborough, as well 
as for the release of their crews, which a certain Paul 
Jones had seized, as is more fully related in the registers 
under date of the 29th of last month, it has been resolved 
and determined to answer the aforesaid Memorial of Sir 
Joseph Yorke ; that upon the reiterated instances which 
the Ambassador has made, by order of his Court, for the 
seizure and restitution of the ships Serapis and Countess 
of Scarborough, as well as for the release of the crews of 
said vessels, which a certain Paul Jones has taken, and 
with which he has entered into the Road of the Texel, 
their High Mightinesses have repeatedly taken into mature 
consideration all the circumstances of this affair, and they 
find themselves under the necessity of requesting his Maj- 
esty to consent, that their High Mightinesses should per- 
sist in their ancient maxim, which is, that without interfer- 
ing in any decision upon the legality or illegality of prizes 
brought into their ports, they should compel them to put 
to sea, their High Mightinesses judging, that this maxim - 
itself is founded on treaties. 

'But for evident proof that they do not desire, that any 


supplies may be furnished from this country to the inhab- 
itants of his Majesty's American Colonies, they gave orders 
immediately on the arrival of Paul Jones, that he should 
not be furnished with any munitions of war or other arti- 
cles, except those of which he would have need in order 
to put to sea, and reach the nearest port in which he might 
be admitted. That their High Mightinesses will also 
give orders, that he set sail as soon as his vessels can put 
to sea, and when wind and weather will permit, and even 
will compel him in case it should be required. That their 
High Mightinesses are assured, that it wmII be evident 
thereby, that they persist invariably in the declaration made 
to his Majesty, "that they desire to do nothing from which 
it might lawfully be inferred, that they recognize the inde- 
pendence of the Colonies of his Majesty in America," and 
that they grant to Paul Jones neither supplies nor harbor, 
but that following solely the treatment which they have at 
all times been accustomed to give to those, who come into 
their Roads to obtain for a time shelter against the disasters 
of the sea, they do not concern themselves with what 
passes on the sea, and without taking cognizance of it, 
they leave and cause to be restored everything to the state 
in which it was a short time before the vessels came into 
the country. That their High Mightinesses flatter them- 
selves, that his 'Majesty and the English nation, for whom 
their High Mightinesses have all possible respect, will be 
satisfied with these dispositions, without insisting further on 
the claim they have made ; that an extract from the reso- 
lution of their High Mightinesses will be sent to Sir Joseph 
Yorke, by the agent, Vander Burch de Spierinxhoek. 

'That, moreover, directions shall be given to the College 
of Admiralty at Amsterdam, to cause it to be signified and 

VOL. IX. 50 

394 DUMAS 

made known to Paul Jones, that their High Mightinesses 
are assured, that having only put in to place his injured 
vessels in shelter from the dangers of the sea, there has 
been sufficient time to put them in condition for sea, nnd 
that consequently they desire that he should make sail as 
soon as possible, when the wind and weather shall be fa- 
vorable, and withdraw from this country ; forasmuch as 
their High Mightinesses cannot permit him to continue 
here, and as the season of winter which is approaching 
may create greater inconveniences in this respect ; so that 
to avoid them it is necessary that he allow no favorable 
opportunity to escape of putting to sea. That this is the 
serious intention of their High Mightinesses, and that they 
cannot delay ; but if he should not comply, it would oblige 
them to take measures that would not be agreeable to him. 
'That, however, to allow no mistake on this point, and 
to prevent delays, his Serene Highness will be required, 
and he is hereby required, to give orders to Vice-Admiral 
Reynst, or to the officer commanding in the Roadstead of 
the Texel to effect with all possible discretion that the 
aforesaid Paul Jones depart with his prizes as soon as wind 
and weather will permit; not to admit any delay in this 
respect, that the nature of the case does not require, and to 
provide, if need be. by all suitable means, not excepting 
force, that the orders of their High Mightinesses be exe- 
cuted in the Roadstead.' " 

1 have the honor to be, &c. 




The Hague, December 11th, 1779. 


I send you tlie following intelligence relating to further 
proceedings in regard to Captain Paul Jones. 

"Circumstances having changed in regard to the squad- 
ron of Paul Jones in the Texel, the States-General have 
thought proper to suspend the effect of tlieir resolution of 
the 19th of November, by another, which their High 
Mightinesses adopted on the 26th of the same month. It 
appears that on the 4th inst. they received a letter from the 
Prince Stadtholder, in which his Serene Highness informs 
them 'that, conformably to their said resolution of the 19th 
of November, he had sent the necessary orders to Vice- Ad- 
miral Reynst, commanding in the Road of the Texel, that 
he would conduct with all possible discretion, and that he 
would effect by all suitable means, not excepting even 
lorce, that Paul Jones should put to sea with the vessels 
under iiis command and with his prizes. But that after 
Paul Jones had declared he was ready to obey the orders 
of their High Migiitinesses, and that as soon as he should 
be in condition he would profit by the first occasion to take 
the sea, it happened on the 25th of November, that Vice- 
Admiral Reynst having sent Captain Van Overmeer on 
board the Serapis, to notify again in the most fortnal man- 
ner the commanding officer, that he must be provided 
with a pilot, and depart with the first favorable wind ; he 
was answered, that this vessel was no longer commanded 
by Paul Jones, but by the French Captain, Cottineau de 
Cosgelin, who had taken possession in the name of the 
King of France.' The Prince Stadtholder referred, be- 

396 DUMAS. 

sides, to the letter itself of Vice-Admiral Reynst, as well as 
to the pieces thereto annexed ; and his Serene Highness 
added, ' that in awaiting the final orders of their High 
Mightinesses he had provisionally written to Vice-Admiral 
Reynst not to use force till further orders, in regard to 
those vessels whose commanders should prove, that they 
were provided with a commission from the King of France ; 
the preceding orders remaining nevertheless in their full 
force in regard to the Alliance, actually commanded by 
Paul Jones ;' and that he at the same time charged the 
above named Vice-Admiral 'to take care that conformably 
to the Placard of their High Mightinesses of the 3d of No- 
vember, 1756, none of the prisoners, who were not brought 
into the Road on board said ship Alliance, should be 
carried away in this ship ;' his Serene Highness flattering 
himself that their High Mightinesses would approve his 
proceeding'^ in this business. Upon which their High 
Mightinesses having deliberated, immediately thanked the 
Prince Stadtholder for the communication that his Serene 
Highness had made, and approved in all respects his pro- 
cedure in the affair of which he had written them, reserv- 
ing to themselves a further deliberation on the part to be 
taken on this occasion." 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Alliance, Texel, December 13th, 1779. 
Perhaps there are many men in the world, who would 
esteem as an honor the commission, that 1 have this day 


refused. My rank from the beginning knew no superior 
in the marine of America ; how then must I be humbled, 
were I to accept a letter of marque ! I should, Sir, 
esteem myself inexcusable were I to accept, even a com- 
mission of equal or superior denomination with that 1 bear, 
unless I were previously authorised either by Congress or 
some other competent authority in Europe, and I must tell 
you that on my arrival at Brest from my expedition, in the 
Irish Channel, Count d'Orvilliers offered to procure for 
me from Court a commission of Captain des Vaisseaux, 
which I did not then accept for the same reason, although 
the war between France and England was not then begun, 
and of course the commission of France would have pro- 
tected me from an enemy of superior force. 

It is matter of the highest astonishment to me, that after 
so many compliments and fair professions, the Court should 
offer the present insult to my understanding, and suppose 
me capable of disgracing my present commission ! 1 con- 
fess that I have not merited all the praise, that has been 
bestowed on my past conduct ; but I also feci that I have 
far less merited such a reward ! Where profession and 
practice are so opposite, I am no longer weak" enough to 
form a wrong conclusion. They may think as they please 
of me ; for when 1 cannot continue my esteem, praise or 
censure from any man is to me a matter of indifference. 

I am much obliged to them, however, for having at least 
fairly opened my eyes and enabled me to discover truth 
from falsehood. 

The prisoners shall be delivered, agreeably to the or- 
ders which you have done me the honor to send me from 
his Excellency the American Ambassador in France. 

I will also, with great pleasure, not only permit a part 

398 DUMAS. 

of my seamen to go on board the ships under your Excel- 
lency's orders, but I will also do my utmost to prevail with 
them to embark freely j and if I can now or hereafter, by 
any other honorable means facilitate the success or the 
honor of his Majesty's arms, I pledge myself to you as his 
Ambassador, that none of iiis own subjects would bleed in 
his cause with greater freedom than myself, an American. 

It gives me the more pain, Sir, to write this letter, as the 
Court has enjoined you to propose what would destroy my 
peace of mind, and my future veracity in the opinion of the 

When vjith the consent of Court, and by order of the 
American Ambassador, I gave American commissions to 
French officers, I did not fill up those commissions to com- 
mand privateers ! nor even for a rank equal to that of their 
commissions in the marine of France. They were pro- 
moted to a vdivk far superior ; and why ! not from personal 
friendship, nor from my knowledge of their personal abil- 
ities, the men and their characters being entire strangers to 
me, but from the respect which I believed America would 
wish to show for the service of France. While I remain- 
ed eight months at Brest, seen)ingly forgotten by the 
Court, many commissions, such as that in question, were 
offered to me ; and I believe, (when I am in pursuit of 
plunder,) I can still obtain such a one without application 
to Court. 

1 hope, Sir, that my behavior through life will ever en- 
title me to the continuance of your good wishes and opin- 
ion, and that you will take occasion to make mention of the 
warm and personal affection, with which my heart is im- 
pressed towards his Majesty. 

1 have the honor to be, k.c. 




Alliance, Texel, December 13th, 1779. 
Sir, • 
I have this day had the honor to receive your Excellen- 
cy's orders of the 6th current, respecting the prisoners 
taken in merchant ships, and, at present, on board the 
Alliance. And I hope that the within copy of my letter to 
the Due de la Vauguyon u'ill meet your approbation ; for 
I am persuaded, that it could never be your intention or 

wish, that I should be made the fool of any great R 

whatsoever, or that the commission of America should be 
overlaid by the dirty piece of parchment, which I have this 
day rejected ! They have played upon my good nature too 
long already ; but the spell is at last dissolved. They 
would play me off with assurances of the personal and par- 
ticular esteem of the King, to induce me to do what would 
render me contemptible, even in the eyes of my own 
servants ! Accustomed to speak untruths themselves, they 
would also have me give, under my hand, that I am a liar 
and a scoundrel ! They are mistaken, and I could tell 
them what you did your wayward servant, "We have too 
contemptible an opinion of one another's understanding to 
live together." I could tell them too, that if M. de 

C had not taken such sage precaution to keep me 

honest by means of his famous concordat, and to support 
me by means of so many able colleagues, these great men 
would not now have been reduced to such mean shifts, for 
the prisoners would have been landed at Dunkirk the day 
that I entered the Texel, and I should have brought in 
double the number. 

We hear that the enemy still keeps a squadron cruising 

400 DUMAS 

offliere ; but this shall not prevent my attempts to depart 
whenever the wind will permit. I hope we have recov- 
ered the trim of this ship, which was entirely lost during 
the last cruise ; and I do not much fear the enemy in the 
long and dark nights of this season. The ship is well 
manned, and shall not be given away. 

I have sent to Congress three copies of my late transac- 
tions in Europe, down to the 7th of this month, and M. 
Dumas has undertaken to forward them. 

I need not tell you I will do my utmost to take prison- 
ers and prizes in my way from hence. 

I am ever, wifh sentiments of the most lively affection 
and esteem, your Excellency's most obliged, and most 
humble servant, 



Alliance, December 13th, 1779. 

I have received your esteemed favor from Amsterdam. 
1 leave the enclosed letter for his Excellency, Dr Franklin, 
open for your perusal ; I also send a copy of my letter 
to the Due de la Vauguyon. I shall be glad of your 
remarks on both. The occasion that produced them was 
the most extraordinary that ever happened to me ; and 
language cannot express my astonishment at so unworthy 
a proposition. 

Adieu, my dear friend. I am, in cool blood, yours, 



Amsterdam, December 17th, 1779. j 

I made a request to you yesterday, that you would take ' 

the trouble to come on board my vessel, from which you 
excused yourself; and again this morning. I also make 
request by this present, that you will have the goodness to 
inform me how 1 ought to consider the Alliance, on i] 

board of which you are ; as a vessel of the King of 
France or of America ? In the first case, 1 expect you 
will show me the commission of his Majesty, and that 
you will hoist the French flag and pendant, confirming it 
with a salute from your guns; and, in the second case, I 
expect that you will not neglect any opportunity to depart 
according to the orders of their High Mightinesses. 
I am. Sir, &;c. 



Alliance, Texel, December 17th, 1779. 
In answer to the letter, which you have done me the 
honor to write me this day, I must observe, that I have no 
orders to hoist the flag of France on board the Alliance ; 
nor can I take upon me to hoist, in this port, any other 
than American colors, unless I receive orders for that pur- 
pose from his Excellency, Benjamin Franklin. 

In the meantime, it is my wish to find a favorable op- 
portunity to sail from hence ; and whenever the pilot will 
take upon Jaim to conduct this ship to sea, I will give him 
VOL. IX. 51 

402 DUMAS. 

my best assistance. Should I receive any new orders, I 
shall not fail to communicate my situation to you. 
I am, &.C. 



Alliance, Texel, December 17th, 1779. 
I arti, ray Dear Sir, to acknowledge your sundry kind 
favors from Amsterdam. I thank you for your advice, 
which, by my last, as well as the enclosed, you will see I 
had followed before the appearance of your letters. Let 
not that circumstance disquiet you ; for I have made my- 
self some compliments on my thinking in many points so 
]ike you. Know me always your affectionate friend, 



Helder, December 17th. 1779. 

1 thank you for your politeness in communicating to me 

what Vice- Admiral Reynst had written you. I perceive 

by this letter, that you would give great pleasure, if you 

would display the royal flag. Meanwhile, I can make no 

more entreaty, if you persist in not using the commission, 

which 1 was charged to send you. Reflect that all the 

French here, in the service of the King, have strongly at 

heart to maintain the Republic in sentiments favorable to 

the allies of his Majesty. It is in conformity with these 


views, and for the good of the common cause, and only 
for this transient object, that the commission, for the origin 
of which you imagine a thousand ill-natured motives, and 
which, finally, you refuse to accept, has been addressed 
to you. 

You know all that I have had the honor to say to you 
on this subject has been as well for your personal quiet, 
as for the honor and satisfaction of the common allies. 

I am still at your service, if you desire it, and I will 
continue to act with the same earnestness as heretofore 
for the advantage of this cause, and for your own in- 
terests. The Ambassador has expressed to you the same 
sentiments. My dispositions and my orders are entirely 
conformed thereto. 

I am, Sir, &c. 



Alliance, at Sea, December 27th, 1779. 

I am here, with a good wind at east, under my best 
American colors. So far you have your wish. 
What may be the event of this critical moment, I 
know not. I am not, however, without good hopes. 
Through the ignorance or drunkenness of the old pilot, 
the Alliance was last night got foul of a Dutch mer- 
chant ship, and I believe the Dutchman cut our cable. 

We lost the best bower anchor, and the ship was 
brought up with the sheet anchor so near the shore, 
that this morning I have been obliged to cut the cable, 
in order to get clear of the shore, and that I might not 
lose this opportunity of escaping from Purgatory. 

404 DUMAS. 

I wish Mr Hoogland would have the sheet and best 
bower anchors taken up, that they may either be sent 
to France, or sold, as M. de Neufville may find most 

The pilot knows where the anchors lie, and unless 
he assists willingly in taking them up, he ought not, 
in my opinion, to be paid for his service on board 

Adieu, my dear friend. Present my best respects 
to your family, and to the good patriot ; and believe 
me to be always affectionately yours, 



The Ha^e, December 30th, 1779. 

This day I have received a letter from Captain 
Jones, of which a copy is here joined. I hope in a 
short time to hear of his safe arrival. The prizes, 
Serapis and Scarborough, and the two French ships, 
Pallas and Vengeance, are still riding under French 
colors and captains. 

The good Alliance, while here, has caused me much 
anxiety and trouble. Now she leaves me exposed to 
the ill-nature of my old foes in this country, whom, 
however, I dread not so much as certain false friends, 
highly incensed now against me, for not having found 
me as blind and complaisant to their particular views 
as they bad expected I would be. The formal confir- 
mation by Congress of my character as agent of the 


United States, which I have already spoken of in my 
former despatches, and which I must entreat you to 
procure for me, will silence them. Indeed I cannot 
be quiet nor safe without such a testimonial. 
I have the honor to be, &c. 



Passy, January 27th, 1780. 
Dear Sir, 

I received yours of the tenth instant. I shall be 
glad to learn how the taking of the Dutch ships has 
been accommodated. We have yet no news of the 
Alliance, but suppose she is cruising. We are more in 
pain for the Confederacy, which sailed on the 2Sth of 
October, from the Capes of Delaware. There is some 
hope that she went to Charleston, to take in Mr Lau- 
rens, as some passengers arrived in France, who left 
Philadelphia several weeks after her sailing, say it 
was a general opinion she would call there before she 
departed for Europe.* 

I send you enclosed a translation of a letter, which 
I think I sent you the original of before. Perhaps it 
may serve our Ley den friend. 

I am sorry you have any difference with the Am- 
bassador, and wish you to accommodate it as soon as 
possible. Depend upon it that no one ever knew 
from me, that you had spoken or written against any 
person. There is one, concerning whom I think you 
sometimes receive erroneous information. In one par- 

* See the history of the voyage of the Confederacy in John Jay's 
Correspondence, Vol. VII. p. 174. 

406 DUMAS. 

ticular, I know you were misinformed, that of his sell- 
ing us arms at an enormous profit; the truth is, we 
never bought of him. 

I am ever, with great esteem, &c. 



The Hague, March 15th, 1780 

Since my last letter of the 30th of December, the 
ice has so obstructed our waters, and my ill health has 
been such, as not to permit me to write till now. I 
send you herewith the plan of a treaty to be concluded 
between the United States and the Seven United 
Provinces of the Low Countries, as soon as the cir- 
cumstances will permit it. A great deal of its materi- 
als has been furnished me by the Pensionary of Am- 
sterdam, who, as well as Dr Franklin, has examined 
and corrected it. If Congress shall be pleased to do 
the same, and send me the plan back again, with pow- 
ers to carry on a negotiation on such terms, then 
nothing will remain but to watch opportunities, which 
may perliaps very soon present themselves. 

I am told that Mr Laurens will soon come over here 

as Plenipotentiary. I shall be very glad of it, and 

promise to be h\sfidus Achates in every sense, for the 

public as well as his own service. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 




The Hague, March 2l8t, 1780. 

Honored since many years with the correspondence and 
friendship of Dr Franklin, I received in April, 1776, by an 
express, (Mr Thomas Story,) instructions and credentials 
from the Committee of Foreign Affairs, signed B. Frank- 
lin, J. Dickenson, and J. Jay, at Philadelphia, dated De- 
cember 9th and 12th, for founding the dispositions of the 
several European Courts towards the American confede- 
rates, and making proposals of intercourse and alliance to 
those I should find inclined to accept them ; "recommend- 
ing to my discretion, to proceed in this affair with such cau- 
tion, as to keep the same from the knowledge of the English 
Ambassador, and prevent any public appearance, at pre- 
sent, of my being employed in any such business, as there- 
by they imagine many inconveniences may be avoided, and 
my means of rendering service to America increased. 
They sent me, for the present, enclosed a bill for one hun- 
dred pounds sterling to defray expenses, and desired me 
to be assured, that my services will be considered and hon- 
orably rewarded by Congress." By another letter of the 
2d of March, 1776, Dr Franklin "recommended to my 
correspondence, the bearer, Mr Silas Deane." 

In the meantime I had addressed myself to the Court of 
France, with a deep interest in your concerns, and to the 
account I gave the Committee of Foreign Affairs of my 
negotiation, Dr Franklin answered in the following terms 
on the 1st of October; — "I have just time to acknowledge 
the receipt of your two packets, with the pamphlets en- 
closed, the contents of which are very satisfactory. You 

408 DUMAS. 

will hear from me more fully in a little time." He soon 
alter came over, and brought me a letter from the same 
touimittee, signed Robert JNlorris, Richard H. Lee, J. 
Witherspoon, W. Hooper, wherein they expressly "desire 
me to continue that correspondence, which he had opened 
and conducted, and they write me on behalf of Congress, 
requesting to hear from me frequently, promising me the 
reimbursement of expenses, and a reasonable allowance for 
my time and trouble in this agencyy The committee 
wrote me two other letters, August 8th, 1777, and May 
14th, 1778, in the latter of which they "acknowledge that 
I had so early and warmly espoused their cause, and aided 
it with such judgment and resolution, that they shall write 
particularly to the gentlemen at Paris, respecting the inju- 
ries I had received from their enemies, and shall instruct 
them to pay the strictest attention to the engagements made 
to me in behalf of Congress, at the commencement of our 

By some dark manceuvres of those enemies, who by 
iniercepters and spies had got at last some general knowl- 
edge of my operations, I had been defrauded not only of 
the sum of six hundred pounds sterling due to me, but also 
of a livelihood, which had rendered me hitherto, yearly, 
three hundred pounds sterling. However, I did not apply 
to the Commissioners for the above sum ; and after having 
received for the course of the whole year, 1777, only one 
hundred pounds sterling, I obtained two hundred pieces a 
year for 1778, and twentyfive pieces more for the ordinary 
charges and expenses of the following years. With this 
small sum of two hundred and twentyfive pieces to live on 
in a country like this, I have been obliged, not only to dis- 
miss my servant, but to make other reductions in my house, 


which makes my little family, as well as myself, unhappy, 
because they apprehend I have undone them. I keep I 

them up, however, with the confidence I have in the jus- >, 

lice and magnanimity of Congress, who, when affairs be- ) 

come more prosperous, will not forget me, nor my daugh- i 

ter, a good child of thirteen years old, who, from the be- 
ginning of this war, has been taught to pray fervently for 
the United States. ' 

This State, by its constitution, can make no war, nor any 
treaty with a sovereign power, without a unanimity of all 
its provinces and cities. And as there is a very strong 
party in favor of England, there is not the least probability 
that they will conclude a treaty with the United States, be- f 

fore England permits them to do so by setting them the 
example. The only, but very necessary thing, therefore, 
which remained to be done here, was to hinder the English 
from drawing this Republic into their quarrel, which, by 
her immense wealth and public credit would have had 
very bad consequences against America. And to this your 
humble servant has greatly and daily co-operated these 
three years past. We found a very weak opposition, 
which is now strong enough to resist the torrent. 

Besides the Commissioners at Paris, to whom I con- 
stantly communicate all that passes, Mr William Lee, who, 
from September, 1776, to iVJay, 1779, was my correspon- 
dent, knew my exertions. He wrote to me so early as 
December 26, 1777, in these terms. "Though I have 
not for some time past, had the pleasure of your corres- 
pondence, yet I have not been a stranger to your continued 
exertions in the cause of humanity and liberty, for which 
thousands yet unborn will bless your memory." Even 
with respect to a treaty, 1 left the matter not untried. For 
VOL. IX. 52 

410 DUMAS. 

immediately after the conclusion of the treaty between the 
United States and France, I concerted with the ciiy of Am- 
sterdam and the Commissioners at Paris to communicate 
the said treaty, by means of the Great Pensionary of Hol- 
land, to their High Mightinesses, together with a letter of 
Dr Franklin to the Great Pensionary, inviting ihem to treat 
on the same footing, mutatis mutandis, whenever they should 
think fit ; on which an answer was politely declined for the 
present. Of this curious transaction, I sent at that time, 
an account to Paris, as well as to the Committee of For- 
eign Affairs. One of the letters of the First Pensionary of 
Amsterdam, our great and worthy friend, dated July 31, 
1778, has been translated, and printed in the Baltimore 
Journal, with these words at the head of it, ^^Letter of a 
steady friend of America, at the Hague.^' I have besides 
in my power the proofs of all this in several letters of the 
honorable gentlemen at Paris and at Amsterdam. Mr 
William Lee knew this too, when he concerted with M. de 
Neufville, a merchant of Amsterdam, at Francfort first, 
and then at Aix la Chapelle, unknown to me, to get a 
Declaration from M. Van Berckel, the Pensionary, of the 
friendly dispositions of the city of Amsterdam, which this 
good gentleman delivered, thinking Mr William Lee was 
one of the Commissioners at Paris. A like Declaration 
M. Van Berckel delivered to me on the 23d of Septem- 
ber, 1778,* with an explanatory letter of the expression, 
des que V independence des Etats-Unis en Amerique sera 
reconnue par les Anglais, because I told him, such a con- 
dition would hurt the honorable Congress, and make them 

* See this letter and the Declaration in the Correspondence of the 
OmmiasUmera in France. Vol. I. pp. 456, 457, 483. 


pay no attention at all to a Declaration, which would ap- 
pear to them insignificant. Both the Declaration and let- 
ter* will be found in the records of the Committee afore- 
said, to whom I sent copies of them towards the end of 
1778. As to the sketching and proposing a treaty, his 
opinion and mine also wfere, that it was premature at that 
time ; and therefore we postponed it till the last summer, 
when he delivered me some papers, out of which, and of 
the French treaty, I have made the sketch, reviewed after- 
wards and corrected by him and by Dr Franklin, of which 
1 have despatched on the 19th of this month three differ- 
ent copies to the Committee aforesaid, and which I expect 
back again, with the corrections of Congress, and with in- 
structions and credentials for proposing it on the first op- 
portunity, which in the meantime I am carefully watching. 
It is with a very painful concern I mention to your Ex- 
cellency this attempt of Mr Lee to undermine me in this 
manner ; when I thought he had enough ado to fulfil his 
commissions through Germany, and therefore was very 
open and unaware in my letters to him. It is with the 
same concern, I learn just now by a letter of a very worthy 
servant of the United States, that his brother Arthur Lee, 
has complained against me in a Memorial to Congress, as 
if I had extolled Dr Franklin at his expense in the Leyden 
Gazette. Whoever told him so, has told him an absolute 
falsehood. This assertion may perhaps receive, even in 
his own mind, additional strength, by my ingenuously tell- 
ing him, however, that his being at enmity with Dr Frank- 
lin, will not hinder me to retain still in my bosom a most 

*The Explanatory Letter is missing, but a letter from the Com- 
missioners in relation to the subject of it may be seen as above, p. 476. 


412 DUMAB. 

tender respect and love for the latter. lam sure he will 
do the same when dispassionate. 

I recommend myself to the protection of Congress, and 
am with the deepest respect, he. 



Passy, March 29th, 1780. 

Dear Sir, 

It is some time since I have written to you, having noth- 
ing material to communicate ; but I received duly your let- 
ters of February 1st, 18th, 25ih, March 2d, 11th, 13th, 
17th, and 23d ; and thank you for the intelligence they 
contain. The last this minute came to hand, and I shall 
answer it separately. 

I pray you to assure M. of my respect, 

and that it was only on one packet for him that 1 put my 
name, when I thought to have sent it by a friend. The 
baseness of the post-ofEce opening it surprises me. No 
other letter for him has since passed through my hands. 
If any others come to me for him, I shall send them under 
cover to you. 

I forwarded your letter to Captain Jones. I do not 
know which of his English pilots it was, mentioned in yours 
to I know he has been generous to an ex- 

cess with them. Explain to me, if you please, the fact 
thst is the subject of that letter, and who Mr Gordon is. 

I am curious to know what the States will do about the 
confiscation of the goods taken in Byland's convoy. 

I received your large packets ; that for Captain Jones 
shall be carefully sent to him. I thank you for the philo- 


soplilcal pieces, which I will read attentively as soon as 
I have time. The original acts of confederation are very 
curious, and will be acceptable to Congress. 

I am ever, my Dear Sir, yours affectionately, 



The Hague, April 13th, 1780. 

Since the Memorial presented to their High Mighti- 
nesses by the Plenipotentiary of Russia, (of which, as well 
as of the Declaration* of his Court to those of Versailles, 
Madrid, and London, I join here copies in the Leyden Ga- 
zette,) the Provincial States of Holland are deliberating on 
the invitation of the Empress, and I am sure (knowing it 
from a very good hand) the resolution of this Province will 
be taken within the next week, agreeably to the views of 
the Empress, and to the general wishes of all good men. 
Now as the resolutions of this Province are commonly 
adopted by the others, there is very good hppe that this 
Republic will take a step, which must accelerate a general 

This intelligence is thought, not only by myself, but by 
many others, very important for the United States. The 
most devoted partisans of the English Court here, seeing 
that they cannot, without rendering themselves too odious, 
prevent such a resolution from being taken, do what they 
can to enervate it by obscure and ambiguous expressions, 
which they propose to be inserted ; but our good men take 
care to sweep the dust which the others throw in their way. 

* See this Declaration and the Memorial in John Adams's Corres- 
pondence, Vol. IV. pp. 488, 490. 


414 DUMAS. 

As to the two other objects, which at present take up 
this Republic, viz. the unlimited convoys, and the assist- 
ance which the English Court demands from this Repub- 
lic, the Province of Holland has already, several weeks 
ago, unanimously resolved the former, and declined grant- 
ing the succors, as being not within the casus fadcris by 
this war. To this resolution the Provinces of Friesland, 
Overyssel, and Groningen, have successively acceded ; 
and it is expected the three others will do the same. 

I advised the Committee of Foreign Affairs by my let- 
ter of June 2 1st, 1779, to think of sending here, aliquem 
e medio vestrum pietaie gravem ac mentis virum ; it is 
now time for such a man to be here, at first incognito, till it 
should be proper to display the character of Plenipoten- 
tiary. Some American friends here have told me, that 
Mr Laurens, formerly President of Congress, was designed 
to come over for this purpose. 1 should be very glad to 
have him already arrived. Whenever he comes, he may 
dispose of my faithful services. 
1 have the honor to be, Sic. 



Passy, April 23d, 1780. 
Dear Sir, 

I am much pleased with the account you give me of the 
disposition with which the proposals from the Empress of 
Russia have been received, and desire to be informed from 
tim'e to time, of the progress of that interesting business. 

I shall be glad to hear of your reconciliation with 
because a continuance of your difference will be e.xtremely 
inconvenient. Permit me to tell you frankly, what I for- 
merly hinted to you, that I apprehend you suffer yourself 


too easily to be led into personal prejudices, by interested 
people, who would engross all our confidence to them- 
selves. From this source have arisen, I imagine, the 
charges and suspicions you have insinuated to me, against 
several who have always declared a friendship for us in 
Holland. It is right that you should have an opportunity 
of giving the carte dupays to Mr Laurens, when he arrives 
in Holland. But if in order to serve your particular 
friends, you fill his head with these prejudices, you will 
hurt him and them, and perhaps yourself. There does 
not appear to me the least probability in your supposition, 
that the is an enemy to America. 

Here has been with me a gentleman from Holland, who 
was charged, as he said, with a verbal commission from 
divers cities, to inquire whether it was true, that Amster- 
dam had, as they heard, made a treaty of commerce with 
the United States, and to express in that case their willing- 
ness to enter into a similar treaty. Do you know any- 
thing of this ? What is become, or likely to become of the 
plan of treaty, formerly under consideration ? 

By a letter from Middlebourg, to which the enclosed is 
an answer, a cargo seized and sent to America, as English 
property, is reclaimed partly on the supposition, that free 
ships make free goods. They ought to do so between 
England and Holland, because there is a treaty which stip- 
ulates it 'y but there being yet no treaty between Holland 
and America to that purpose, I apprehend that the goods 
being declared by the Captain to be English, a neutral 
ship will not protect them, the law of nations governing in 
this case as it did before the treaty abovementioned. Tell 
me if you please your opinion. 

With sincere esteem and affection, I am ever, 

416 DUMAS. 


The Hague, May 21st, 1780 

The express sent to Petersburg, with the answer of the 
States-General, has not yet returned. In the meantime it 
is known liere by a despatch of the Resident of the Repub- 
lic at Petersburg, that the news of the Provincial Resolu- 
tion of Holland, which always gives the tone to the others, 
has caused there a very agreeable sensation, not only to 
the Court of Russia, flattered to see the Republic enter into 
its views, but also to the foreign Ministers resident there ; 
and that the Prussian Minister, above all, expressed him- 
self very strongly on the insolence of the English, and on 
the indignity of their procedure to the Republic ; in fine, 
that the system of the armed neutrality to humiliate the Eng- 
lish, gains force more and more at the Court, and among 
the powers ; which is very visible in the conversations 
among the ministers. 

I wrote some days ago to Amsterdam, to advise them to 
offer to the State every fifth sailor of their merchant ships, 
in order to take away the pretext for the scarcity of sailors 
in the fleet of the Republic ; and I recommended to them 
to prevent evil minded persons presenting a counter ad- 
dress. They answered me. that the address demands of 
the States the prompt protection of commerce, and offers 
them whatever they may wish to draw from that commerce, 
whether it be the every fifth or third seaman ; and that 
though all have not signed it, no one will dare to oppose it. 
This address will be presented next week ; and if 1 can 
have a copy of it soon enough, 1 will add hereto a copy or 


We flatter ourselves soon to see Mr Laurens arrive 
here, as we have been assured. It is time for the politics as 
well as for the credit of America that some person, as dis- 
tinguished as himself, should come here. He cannot yet 
display a public character ; but his presence will do none 
the less good among the friends of America in this country. 
I wish he was already with us. 

1 was going, Sir, to close this packet, when I received 
the visit of IM. Van de Perre, partner of M. Meyners, who 
form together the most eminent commercial house at Mid- 
dlebourg, in Zealand. He begs me to support the claim 
that he has made through Messrs I. de Neufville h Son, 
and by another way also to Congress on the ship Berken- 
bos, bound from Liverpool to Leghorn, and loaded with 
herrings and lead for Dutch and Italian account, taken by 
John Paul Jones, Captain of the Continental frigate Alliance. 
M. Van de Perre is of the most distinguished fantily in 
Zealand, Director of the East India Company, nephew of 
M. Van Berckel, First Counsellor, Pensionary of Amster- 
dam, the brave republican of whom all my letters make 
mention, and who is the great friend of Americans. I 
have no need to say anything more to recommend the 
affair of this vessel to Congress. 
I have the honor to be, &ic. 



Paris, June 6th, 1780. 
I thank you for your letter, in answer to mine of the 
21st of May, and for your kind congratulations on my arri- 
val here. 

VOL. IX. 53 

418 DUMAS 

Mr Brown, with whom you took your walks in the 
neighborhood of Paris, has been gone from home some 
weeks, on his way hence. I should have had much pleas- 
ure if I had been one of the party. I have ramble ! in 
most of the scenes round this city, and find them very 
pleasant, but much more indebted to art than to nature. 
Philadelphia, in the purlieus of which, as well as those of 
Baltimore and Yorktown, I have often sought health and 
pleasure in the same way, in company with our venerable 
Secretary, Charles Thompson, will in future time, when the 
arts shall have established their empire in the new world, 
become much more striking. But Boston above all, 
around which I have much oftener wandered, in company 
with another venerable character, little known in Europe, 
but to whose virtues and public merits in the cause of man- 
kind, history will do justice, will one day present scenes of 
grandeur and beauty, superior to any other place I have 
ever yet seen. 

The letter of General Clinton, when I transmitted it to 
you, was not suspected to be an imposition. There are 
some circumstances, which are sufficient to raise a ques- 
tion, but I think none of them are conclusive, and upon the 
whole 1 have little doubt of its authenticity. I shall be 
much mortified if it proves a fiction, not on account of the 
importance of the letter, but the stain that a practice so dis- 
ingenuous will bring upon America. When I first left 
America, such a fiction, with all its ingenuity, would have 
ruined the reputation of the author of it, if discovered, and 
I think that both he and the printer would have been pun- 
ished. With all the freedom of our presses, I really think, 
that not only the government but the populace would have 
resented it. I have had opportunities of an extensive ac- 


qualntance with the Americans, and I must say, in justice 
to my countrymen, that I know not a man that I think 
capable of a forgery at once so able and so base. Truth 
is indeed respected in America, and so gross an affront to 
herl hope will not, and I think cannot go unpunished. 

Whether it is genuine or not, I have no doubt of the 
truth of the facts, in general, and I have reasons to believe, 
that if the secret correspondence of Bernard, Hutchinson, 
Gage, Howe, and Clinton could all be brought to light, the 
world would be equally surprised at the whole thread of it. 
The British administration and their servants have carried 
towards us from the beginning a system of duplicity, in the 
conduct of American alTairs, that will appear infamous to 
the public whenever it shall be known. 

You have seen Rodney's account of the battle of the 
17ih of April. The sceptre of the ocean is not to be 
maintained by such actions as this, and Byron's, and Kep- 
pel's. They must make themselves more terrible upon 
the ocean, to preserve its dominion. Their empire is 
founded only in fear — no nation loves it. We have no 

I have the honor to be, 6ic. 



Extracted from the Resolutions of the Council of that 
City of the 29th of June, 1780, and inserted in the Acts 
of the Provincial Assembly of Holland, at the Haguey 
July ist, 1780. 
The Deputies of the city of Amsterdam, in the name 

and on the part of their constituents, in order to justify 


420 DUMAS. 

themselves to posterity, have declared in the Assembly of 
their Noble and Grand Mightinesses that their Committee 
is of opinion that it is necessary, without loss of time, to 
write on the part of their High Mightinesses to M. de Swart, 
their Resident at the Court of Russia, and charge him to 
enter into a conference, the sooner the better, with the 
Commissioners of her Imperial Majesty of Russia, and of 
other neutral powers in the place of his residence and else- 
where, where it shall be judged suitable, in order to con- 
clude together a convention for the mutual protection of 
the commerce and navigation of neutral powers, on the 
basis of the declaration made by her Majesty to the bel- 
ligerent powers, and of the resolution adopted on this sub- 
ject by their High Mightinesses, on the 24ih of April last, 
adding to it only, that said M. de Swart shall lake for the 
rule of his conduct the simplicity which her Imperial Majesty 
of Russia herself has proposed in the explanations which she 
made on five points at the request of his Swedish Majesty, 
and which ]M. de Swart has communicated to their High 
Miglitisiesses, to tiie end, that with such a provisional ccn- 
vention, they would be well pleased to decree together the 
reciprocal protection of the merchant ships of each oilier, 
v.'hich, fortified with the requisite papers shall be neverthe- 
less insulted on the sea; so that these meichant vessels 
being in reach of one or more vessels of war of one of the 
allied powers, wherever it may be, they may receive, in 
virtue of such an alliance, any assistance ; and that at the 
same time the contracting powers engage to put to sea, 
provisionally, all the vessels of war they can, and to give to 
the ofTicers who shall command them necessary orders and 
instructions that they may be able to fulfil these general, 
salutary and simple views. 



And that, further, as to arrangements to be made for the 
future, whicli may require more particular detail, and which 
cannot be adjusted with the expedition which the present 
perilous state of the navigation of the neutral powers in 
general, and of this Province in particular demands, M. de 
Swsrt will reserve all this for a separate article, of which 
her Imperial Mrijf^sty of Russia made mention in the above 
named explanations, and that he will declare in regard to 
this that their High. Mightinesses have given tiiereon their 
final and precise orders, in which they will constitute one or 
more Plenipotentiaries who will be able to treat of the ne- 
cessary arrangements on this subject with the neutral powers. 

That said constituents, to give greater weight to 
their present advice, add further to the above, that if 
this advice was rejected, and if the affair was negotia- 
ted on the basis of the previous opinion, exhibited on 
the 23d of June last, in the Assembly of Holland, the 
consequence of it will be that the Russian squadron, 
which, according to orders of her Imperial Miijesty of 
Russia, must have already put to sea, will appear in 
the seas bordering on this country, without giving any 
protection to the commerce of this country ; while, on 
the other side, though commerce has been a long lime 
charged with double duties, their High Mightinesses, 
meantime, grant it no protection, because the Colleges 
of Admiralty of this country prol'ess themselves unable 
to do it, or at least to put to sea sufficient convoys to 
avoid affronts like those which the squadron under the 
orders of Rear-Admiral de Byland had lately endured. 

That from this total failure of protection to the naviga- 
tion of this country, on the one side, and from the con- 
tinual insults of which tlieir High Mightinesses every 

422 DUMAS. 

day receive grievous complaints, on the other, there 
must naturally ensue an entire suspension of the com- 
merce of this country; and thence, it is easy to fore- 
see, that this commerce will be diverted and take its 
course by other European channels, and that the bur- 
densome impositions with which it is charged, in order 
to obtain means for its protection being continued, will 
precipitate its ruin. 

That in this confusion of affairs, and in the extreme 
necessity in which they find themselves, to take ad- 
vantage of an offer of assistance and succor so gener- 
ously and magnanimously made and proposed by her 
Imperial Majesty of Russia to this State, on a footing 
so easy and so little burdensome; the Lords Constitu- 
ents will leave posterity to judge of the weight of the 
reasons alleged by some members of the Assembly of 
their Noble and Grand Mightinesses in the delibera- 
tion on this subject, as if the acceptance of said means 
for the necessary protection of the commerce of this 
country, and in particular of foreign succor, could be 
considered a means of drawing on a war on the part of 
those, against whom it is found necessary to defend 
ourselves, in making use of said means to all lawful 
purposes ; and as if we ought, for this reason, to de- 
cline the said ofl'er of assistance, unless her Imperial 
Majesty of Russia, beside her said magnanimous j)lan 
of re-establishing the liberty of the seas, will also en- 
gage with the other neutral powers to guaranty to this 
nation all its possessions fixed and immovable, both in 
and out of Europe. 

That the Lords Constituents will only remark, that 
in order that such an attack on the fixed and immova- 


ble possessions of the Republic may appear likely, it 
would be necessary at least, to allege some plausible 
reasons or pretexts to defend it, in the eyes of all 
Europe, from the most manifest injustice and violence; 
whereas it is clear that such hostilities could not have 
any foundation on a protection of commerce to which 
their High Mightinesses find themselves absolutely 
forced by the open violation of the treaty of commerce 
concluded with England in 1674; that thus the proba- 
bility of an attack of this sort, seeing the manifest in- 
justice of such an enterprize, must vanish ; and this 
especially, if we consider the great number of enemies 
that England has drawn upon her, and that it would 
be madness to increase the number; that such being 
the case, the said suppositions arc of too small weight 
and too far removed from all probability to refuse the 
means which are ofiered of protecting the commerce of 
the subjects of the State, and that to refuse an aid so 
powerful while it is not in a condition to protect its 
commerce by its own unaided forces, will be evidently 
to renounce all protection possible, while the burden- 
some imposts under which commerce, in expectation 
of some protection, has a long time groaned, and still 
groans, would, against all reason, remain in their 

That in addition to this the Lords Constituents will 
remark further, that it appears by the successive 
despatches of M. de Swart to their High Mightinesses 
on this affair, that he insists strongly on hastening the 
business, and on sending, the sooner the better, neces- 
sary instructions for this purpose, after the example of 
Sweden, who has already instructed her Minister to 



conclude the said convention. That this is the more 
necessary because we knovv that all sorts of indirect 
means are set to work to deprive the Repullic of the 
advantage of an alliance so beneficial, and to involve it 
in a war with Frtince. 

From this it is clear that such pernicious views will 
be accomplished, if not only they put off the comple- 
tion of the convention, but also, as is but too apparent, 
if the}' evade it altogether by making her Imperial 
Majesty of Russia propositions of guaranty, which not 
only are entirely foreign to the plan which this 
Princess has laid before the eyes of Europe, but which 
her Majesty, in the explanations she has given, has 
roundly declared she would never listen to. 

In fine that the Lords Constituents are of opinion, 
that it is necessary to satisfy the wishes of her Imperi- 
al Majesty of Russia, by making the declaration in 
question on the part of their High Mightinesses to the 
belligerent powers, and by assuring her Majesty that 
as soon as said convention shall be signed, their High 
Mightinesses will make the said declaration to the 
Courts of the belligerent powers. 

Meantime the committee referred thereon to the 
better advice of the honorable Council. On which, 
having deliberated and the voices having been taken, 
the Burgomasters and Counsellors thanked the com- 
mittee for the trouble they had taken and agreed to the 
above advice. 




Philadelphia, July 10th, 1780. 

I know not how 1 can profess all the regard which I 
fee! for you, without appearing, on the one hand, to do it 
upon slight grounds, or, on the other, to have delayed it 
too long. 

I have been steadily in Congress without once visiting 
iny family in Boston, since January, 1777, and from May, 
that year, have been a member of the Committee of For- 
eign Affairs ; consequently, I am well informed of your 
truly republican spirit, your particular affection for these 
States, and yom- industry in their service, most of your nu- 
merous letters, down to December 30tli, 1 779, having 
come to hand. 

The honorable gentleman who will deliver this, being 
also a member of Congress, has a just esteem for you, and 
promises liimself much advantage from an opportunity of 
conversing with you. Mr Searle is well able to make a 
due 'return of the benefits from the fund of his intimacy 
with American state affairs, his extensive coniniercial 
knowledge, and his science of mankind gained by former 

I shall shortly write to you again by another respectable 
gentleman of our assembly, and I will use every means to 
make him the bearer of what you have so rightfully solici- 
ted, as a faithful first correspondent of our Commiitce, 
from whom you will, probably, have regular official letters 
under a new arrangement of a secretaryship, which has 
been vacant from the days of a confusion ex<iited by an in- 
voL. IX. 54 


426 DUMAS. 

discreet anJ illiberal |niblicalioti here, on the 5lli of De- 
cember, 1778, and wliich you have read with srief. 

In the meaniiiiip, 1 hope you will receive kindly this in- 
dividual testimony ol' cordi:d j'riendship, from, Sir, your 
very humble servant, 



The Haffue. Julv loth, 1780 

Since my last ot the 21st of May, nothing has passed of 
much interest in the Assemblies ol this Province, to de- 
serve repetition. I send an account of all that passes to 
Dr Franklin ai Paris, almost every The fitting out 
of ships of the Republic for convoy goes on slowly, and 
the resolutions in this respect, and lor the negotiations with 
Russia, drag equally slow. The English party, led by the 
English Ambassador, and by another person who leads the 
majority here, continue to perplex, delay, and cross every- 
thing ; and he who is at the head of all, follows their 
impulses. In a word, the English intrigue more here than 
in all Europe besides. The difficullies they excite in 
Germany and foment on the subject of the coadjutor of 
Munster and Cologne, are intended to embarrass this Re- 
public, and hinder it fron» being successfully occupied in 
the re-establishn)ent of its navy, it was in agitation to 
make choice of a Prince ol Austria for coadjutor, and, of 
consequence, for future Elector of Cologne. The King 
of Prussia is opposed to it ; and France aiso. England, 
in the name of Hanover, favored the views of the House 
of Austria. This may kindle a war in Germany. , 

The protest hero annexed of the minority in the Chapter 


of Munster, is a paper as important as it is well done. 1 
received it in German and translated it, and while I am 
writing this, a copy of it is making. 

I have nothing more to add, except liiat a body of ten 
thousand Prussians, quartered in Westphalia, have orders 
to hold themselves ready to march to Munster on the first 

The misfortune of Charleston has animated the cour- 
age of the Anglomanes here, and filled our friends with 
consternation. I do my best to encourage them, and 1 
succeed. In spite of the intrigues of the English, they 
will gain nothing important here, because there must be 
unanimity in the resolutions for war or peace. 

I have the honor to be. &ic. 



The Hague. July 226, 1780. 

As everything is here in the inactivity of summer, noth- 
ing new has occurred. The Slates of the Province of 
Holland do not assemble till the 26lh of this month. It is 
to be wished that we mny soon receive news from Amer- 
ica, which will raise again the courage of the fr'rends of the 
United States, to whom the misfortune of Charleston has 
caused much pain, in proportion as it has reanimated those 
who lavor yom- enemies. The latter, in the meantime, 
forge and utter every day rumors injurious to the United 
States, such as, that ihey are about to submit. "Tiie 
Congress," say they, "is disunited and ready to dissolve ; 
the southern Provinces successively yield, and they flatter 
themselves in Fvusland, that those in the north will follow 


428 DUMAS. 

their example." The King himself flatters his Parliament 
with this idea. I can, for the present, only oppose pa- 
tience to all this, and keep myself mostly out of sight ; 
for they look on me as a lost man, and one who will be 
soon abandoned by America herself. Besides, my feeble 
health, which has not been able to resist this shock and a 
concurrence of many others, forces me to this inaction 
for a time. 

Two Plenipotentiaries depart hence to regulate at Pe- 
tersburg with the Empress of Russia, the armed neu- 
trality. The Court of Denmark has followed the example 
of Russia, in making the same declarations to lbs other 
powers. It appears that the affair of Munster will not 
trouble the peace of Germany. This election must be 
made the 16th of next month, and, probably, the Arch- 
duke will be coadjutor. 

July 24th. The sudden declaration of Denmark, un- 
foreseen by all the world, much embarrasses those here 
who hope to see the arined neutrality fail. Amsterdam 
has protested against sending Plenipotentiaries to Peters- 
burg, to whom embarrassing instructions have been given. 
She wishes, with roason, that they vvould be content 
simply to send full powers to M. de Swart, Resident of 
the Republic at Petersburg, with orders to conform to the 
resolution of their High Mightinesses, which is positive and 
clear on the accession to said armed neutrality. It is ex- 
pected that Sweden will make, on the first opportunity, a 
like declaration. Then the opposition will not be able to 
force the Republic to recede, wiihoiit making themselves 

We hope by the next post, among other things, to re- 
ceive good news from the combined fleet of the Count de 



Guichen and Don Solano ; as also from M. de Ternay, 

and from the continent. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 



Madrid, July 24th, 1780. 

Dear Sir, 

I confess myself very remiss in not answering your 
favor of the 21st ultimo sooner. The removal of the 
Court from Aranjues to this city, and a bilious disor- 
der which has oppressed me more than a month, and 
which still afflicts me, have in part, been the reason. 
I have no news to communicate to you, which can 
console you for our late misfortunes ; I can assure you, 
however, that they do not dej^t me. Per aspera ad 
nstra. Heaven does not intend to exempt us from the 
adversities, which have befallen other nations, who 
struggled for their liberty, by giving us almost full 
and instantaneous enjoyment of it. I have full con- 
fidence in the perseverance of our countrymen. They 
will, I hope, act with more vigor in consequence of 
their misfortunes. I have received letters from Amer- 
ica, dated in the end of April, and the 1st of May, 
which speak of the loss of Charleston as certain, and 
which predict other successes of the enemy in the 
Northern States, but which show no despondency. 

I shall pay implicit obedience to the request 3'^ou 
make me, with respect to your family, and you may 
rely upon me, when I tell you that as long as I have 
any influence, or any friends in the councils of Amer- 
ica, they shall not want strenuous advocates, and this 


430 DUMAS! 

letter will always be a memento that would put me to 
the blush, should 1 be deficient in a promise, which I 
think myself even in justice to my country obliged to 
endeavor to fulfil in the best manner possible. The 
Spanish, or rather allied fleet, has returned to Cadiz, 
except a few vessels which cruise near that port. The 
Count de Estaing is expected at St Ildefonso in about 
a week, the Count being now at that place. I go there 
this week. 

I see that the Courier de VEurojJt mentions that Mr 
Jay has received his conge, &c. &c. Not a word of 
truth. The English papers sent our commissioners 
from France frequently, yet a treaty was made by these 
same conged commissioners. I have received your 
cypher safe. Begin when you please your observa- 
tions on men and things. I shall be much obliged to 
you, to separate and seal up all the letters you have 
ever received from me, unless it be this, under a cover 
for me, which, in case of death, which heaven forbid, 
you will direct to me, delivered to my orders. 

My best compliments to your family, and Messrs 
de Neufville, and believe me ever, your friend and 



The Hague, July 25lh, 1780 
The 21st of March last I had the honor to write 
your Excellency a long letter on my own concerns, of 
which I annex here an extract. I add here, that when 


I received the first commission of the committee on 
the part of Congress, dated in December, 1775, in 
which they honored me with their orders and creden- 
tials, I did not solicit to be employed ; I did not even 
think of it. But chosen and named, by this respecta- 
ble body, in a manner as unexpected as it was definite 
and authentic, to serve essentially the United States, 
my ardent thoughts and life were consecrated with 
zeal to the cause of the United States. Persuaded 
that it was the cause of humanity, of liberty, and of 
virtue, I have sacrificed everything to this noble ser- 
vice, during nearly five years, with all possible zeal 
and fidelity. The Congress also testified to me soon 
after, that they were well satisfied with my services. 
I have corresponded assiduously since that time with 
the Committee of Foreign AflFairs, with the Plenipo- 
tentiaries of the United States at Paris, and with a 
number of other servants of America. I have raised 
up, cemented and nourished in Holland a considerable 
party in their favor, whereby I have drawn upon my- 
self the hatred of a party more powerful, which wishes 
to see me perish, and which has already done me all 
the wrong and all the mischief of which it was capa- 
ble. I have participated in the adverse fortune of 
America, in the just confidence that the United States 
and their Congress will have my interest at heart, as I 
have constantly and successfully had theirs, and as 
their magnanimity, their dignity, and their honor re- 
quire in the eyes of the European public. 

I have yet fully this confidence ; and it is this 
which caused me to solicit, more than a year since, in 
several of my letters to the Committee of Foreign Af- 

482 DUMAS 

lairs, a tbrmal confirmation of my agency on the part 
of Congress, for my safety and quiet. I beg, Sir, that 
you will second my request and obtain for me a reso- 
lution as favorable as my demand is just. 

I know that some Americans, whom I honor in 
other respects, have entertained and propagated the 
idea, that a commission of the honorable Committee of 
Foreign Affairs was not so valid as one of Congress. 
One of them said so to me. I will not, Sir, give my- 
self up to an idea so injurious, as to think, that Con- 
gress would refuse to ratify what their Committee has 
done, and the engagements it has made, but this body 
is not always composed of the same persons ; it has 
many other affairs ; it may forget me, and I may be 
cruelly supplanted, abandoned, and consequently at 
the age of sixty years, ruined with my family, without 
resource and without means. I put, then, my cause 
into the hands of your Excellency, to endeavor to ob- 
tain for me, as promptly as possible, the satisfaction I 
desire, and to send me the commission I solicit. The 
service of the United States requires it, and this will 
not interfere with the powers of Minister Plenipoten- 
tiary, who may be sent here ; on the contrary, I shall 
be useful to him, if God spares my life. 

One consideration, also, to which I pray Congress 
to give their attention, is that far from being recom- 
pensed for my past labors, the two hundred and twen- 
tyfive louis d'ors or guineas which I draw yearly for 
my subsistence and to defray the expenses of journeys, 
postages, &c. charges, which, from prudence, and con- 
sidering circumstances, I have never carried to the 
account, are not sufficient; and 1 have been obliged 


constantly to expend my own in addition. Besides 
my age,' the privation not only of a copyist, which the 
service demanded, but even of a valet, which I have 
been obliged also to deny myself in order to be able to 
subsist, for about three years, makes my life extremely 
sad and painful. 

In perfect trust that Congress will consent to give 
attention to my petition, and to my stale, I commend 
myself with my wife and daughter to their protection. 
I have the honor to be, &z,c. 



Ariel, Road of Croix, September 8th, 1780. 

I dare say, my dear friend, my silence for so long a 
time must have an extraordinary appearance to you, and 
have excited in your mind various conjectures not much 
lo my advantage. I will now endeavor to make some 
atonement by confessing the truth. I have been ashamed 
to write to you on account of the strange variety of events 
that have taken place, and detained me in port, from the 
iOth of February until this date. 

I wish to pass over these events for the present in silence, 
choosing rather to suffer a little ill-nakued misconstruction, 
than to attempt explanations before the matters are brought 
to a proper and final decision. 1 hope it vvjil then appear, 
that I have been not very fairly treateil, and that my con- 
duct has been blameless. M. D. C. pursued his reseniment 
to such a length as obliged me in April to pay a visit to the 
Minister, greatly against my will at that moment, for I then 
timuaht myself neglected, and not very well used by hiu) ; 
VOL. ]x. 55 

434 , DUMAS 

but I was most agreeably undeceived by the very friendly 
reception I met with. My every demand was. granted 
respecting the prizes ; it became me therefore to be very 
modest. 1 found that I had C. alone to thank for the alter- 
cations at the Texel. I Iiad the happiness to be feasted and 
caressed by ail the world at Paris and Versailles, except 
himself. He, however, looked guiity ; we did not speak 
together, not because I had any determined objection, for 
I love his family, but he could not look me in the face, 
and fled whenever chance brought us near each other. 

Without studying it, I enjoyed over him a triumph, as 
great as I could wish to experience over Jemmy Twitcher. 
His Majesty ordered a superb sword to be made for me, 
which I have since received, and it is called much more 
elegant than that presented to the Marquis de Lafayette- 
His Majesty has also written, by his Minister, the strongest 
letter that is possible in approbation of my conduct, to the 
President of Congress, offering to invest me with the 
Cross, an institution of military merit, which I carry with 
me for that purpose, to the Chevalier de la Luzerne. The 
Minister of Marine has besides addressed a very kind let- 
ter to myself, and I have also had the like honor shown 
me by the other Ministers. I continue to receive constant 
marks of esteem, and honorable attention from the Court, 
and the ship I now command was lent to the United States 
in consequence of my application. Nothing has detained 
me from sailing for this past month, but that my officers and 
men are still without wages or prize money. There is a 
strange mystery, which when explained, must surprise you. 
C, who pretends to exercise authority over these moneys, 
will I fear persist in withholding then), till he obliges me 
to lay a second complaint before the Minister against him, 


and if I am reduced to the necessity of this step, he will 
not come off so well as he has hitherto done, on the score 
of betraying secrets. 

1 will take care of your packets, and as I expect to re- 
main but two or three days longer, I hope to hear from 
you through the hands of our friend R. M. of Philadel- 
phia. Let me know how Mr Round Face, that went 
lately from Paris to the Hague, is proceeding ? I under- 
stand he has gone to Amsterdam. I wish he may be 
doing good. If he should inadvertently do evil, as a stran- 
ger, 1 shall, as his fellow-citizen, be very sorry for it, but 
you being a native will hear of it. I confess I am anx- 
ious about his situation. The man has a family, and in 
these troublesome times, I wish he were at home to mind 
his trade and his fireside, for I think he has travelled 
more than his fortune can well bear. Present my respects 
to Madam and the virgin muse. I got many little pieces 
addressed to me while near the Court, but 1 made very 
little return. 
I am, my dear philosopher, with unalterable regard, yours. 


The Hague, September 12th, 1780. 

There has been a great dearth of news for some time, 
-which is happily interrupted by the capture of the English 
East and West India fleets, by the combined fleets of 
France and Spain, as your Excellency will see by the 
accompanying journals. Important us this event is in itself, 
we consider it here as the presage of what we are to hope 


4:lf, DUMAS. 

in America ; the coplure of the twelve English vessels 
bound to Quebec, made by the Americans off Newfound- 
land, and the failure of General Kniphausen at Springfield, 
is an agreeable foretaste of what we may expect from the 
combined operations of the French and Continental forces. 
There is nothing going on here, the States of Holland 
having done nothing in their present session, except to 
deliberate on a petition of the merchants of Amsterdam, for 
the free passage into France of naval stores and copper, 
by the canals of Flanders and Brabant, until the naviga- 
tion of the Republic is better protected. The inaction of 
the Slates-General is still greater ; they are awaiting the 
letters from their Plenipotentiaries, who must have arrived 
at Petersburg. 

We learn from London, that the King has dissolved the 
present Parliament, and will convoke a new one. In Ire- 
land, although the majority of the Parliament are subser- 
vient to the Court, the associations of the disaffected in- 
crease. The Russian, Danish, and Swedish squadrons 
in concert, protect the commerce of their respective na- 
tions ; and this Republic protects nothing. The combined 
fleet of Spain and France is at sea, and is expected to 
show itself in the Channel. The Archduke Maximilian 
has been chosen coadjutor, and consequently future Elec- 
tor of Cologne, and Bisliop of Munsler. The Prince 
and Princess of Orange expect daily a visit from the King 
of Sweden, on his return from Spa. The Prince of 
Prussia is at Petersburg ; the Emperor is returned to Vi- 
enna. The King of Prussia is engaged with the review in 

I have the honor to be, &tc. 




The Hague, October 3d, 1780. 


I have just seen oqr friend. Their High Mightinesses 
have received a courier from Petersburg, with a conven- 
tion drawn up by the Empress. Our friend is well satis- 
fied with the conduct of the Plenipotentiary of the Republic 
and their despatches^, which are, 

1st. The convention founded on that made between 
the northern Courts, to which are added two articles. 
One of them has for its object the restitution of the vessels 
taken from the Republic ; the other is, that in case the 
Republic should, on account of this convention be at- 
tacked, molested, or injured, the other powers shall take 
part and make common cause with her and will defend 
her. To this is added a separate article, importing that 
the design of the armed neutrality is, to endeavor as soon 
as it is perfected, to make peace between the belligerent 

2dly. The despatches inform us. that the Ministers 
Plenipotentiary learned from the Minister of Prussia, that 
the English Envoy at Petersburg had declared to her 
Imperial Majesty, that his Court would pay due respect to 
the armed neutrality of the northern powers, provided 
Holland was excluded from it. 

Our friend informed me with great pleasure, that this 
Republic will not be able to retreat ; that it must sign in 
spite of the opposition of the temporizers, who have 
now no preterice for delay, without rendering themselves 
absolutely odious, and becoming responsible for conse-' 
quences. The French Ambassador has also received 
despatches fronr, the French Minister at Petersburg. 




Our friend has no doubt but the King of Prussia will 
accede to the convention. And, very probably, the Em- 
peror will do the same. For the Empress was so well 
pleased with his visit, that she made him a present of a 
man of war. And we have no longer any doubts of the 
accession of Portugal. 

I have it from the best authority, that the Empress will 
not relinquish her simple and noble plan to establish for the 
nations a maritime code equally honorable and beneficial 
to all. Besides, there are two circumstances, which con- 
firm me in this. 

1st. The apparent concert between the northern Min- 
isters and those of France, Spain, and Prussia, with the 
cabinet at Petersburg. 

2dly. The orders given in Russia and Sweden, to fit 
out immediately for sea new fleets equal to those they 
have already fitted out. 

The King of Sweden, in his passage here, as well as his 
whole journey, discovered very little regard for the Eng- 
lish. A good deal of pains was taken to induce him to 
accept an invitation to sup with Sir Joseph Yorke. He 
supped twice with the French Ambassador, who enter- 
tained him twice with a play, which was acted at a theatre 
fitted up for the purpose. His Excellency, the Ambassa- 
dor, was so obliging as to present me himself, with six 
tickets to attend the two plays with my wife and daughter. 
I have the honor to be, &c. 



Londou^ October 6th, 1780. 
Mr Henry Laurens was brought to town last night, 
rather in better health. He was lodged that night in the 
messenger's house in Scotland Yard, and denied all sort of 
communications witli his friends, or those who wished to 
speak to him. He was examined at noon at Lord George 
Germain's, and committed by a warrant of Justice Adding- 
lon, a close prisoner to the Tower, with orders that no 
person whatever should speak to him. These people are 
so foolishly changeable, that most likely in a i'ew days the 
severity of his confinement may be relaxed. At present, 
two men are always in the same room with him, and two 
soldiers without. 

October IGth. Since my last, of the 6th, there has 
been no material incident relative to Mr Henry Laurens's 
commitment ; nor is the rigor of his confinement abated. 
No person whatever can speak to him, but in hearing and 
sight of the two attendant messengers. It is said, that the 
Secretary of State's order will produce admittance to his 
room, but nothing else. Some of his tory relations, and a 
Mr Manning, a merchant of the city, and a correspondent 
of Mr Laurens, have made attempts to speak to him, but 
did not succeed. He is wise enough to be cautious whom 
he speaks to. It is generally thought that this rigor will be 
taken off In a few days, and that his friends, who are now 
backward for fear of any stir that may be disadvantageous 
to him, will have admittance. Almost every person is 
crying out, shame upon this sort of treatn)ent of Mr 

October \lth. It was not until the 14th instant, that 


440 DUMAS. 

liiiy person whatever was permitted to see Mr Laurens in 
the Tower. On that day, after repeated ap[)licalions for 
admission, Mr Manning and Mr Laurens junior, a youth 
of sixteen or eighteen years, who has been some years at 
Warrington school, were permitted to see him. An order 
went signed from the three Secretaries of State, Hillsbor- 
ough, Storniont, and Germain, to the Governor of the 
Tower, permitting the two gentlemen above named to visit 
Mr Laurens for half an hour ; the warrant expressly inti- 
mating that their visit was to be limited to that time, and 
that they could not, a second time, see him without a new 
order. The Governor sent a note to Mr Manning, that he 
had received such an order from the Secretaries of Siate, 
and he, with young Laurens, went accordingly last Satur- 
day morning. They found him very ill, much emaciated, 
but not low spirited, and bitter against the people of Eng- 
land for their harsh treatment of him. He spoke very hand- 
somely of Captain Keppel, who took him and the Lieuten- 
ant to London ; but from the period of putting his foot on 
shore, he was treated with a l)rutaliiy, which he could 
never expect from Englishmen. 

His weakness from sickness, and his agitation on seeing 
his son, took up the first ten of the thirty minutes allowed 
him to converse with his friends. The rest was filled with 
bitter invectives against the authors of liis harsh treatment. 
His outer room is but a very mean one, not more than 
twelve feet square, a dark, close bed-room adjoining, both 
indifferently furnished, and a few books on his table ; no 
pen and ink or newspaper has been yet allowed iiim, but 
he has a pencil and a raemorandum book, in which he oc- 
casionally notes things. The warden of the Tower, and a 
veoman of the fuard are conslantlv at iiis elbow, ihoue;li 


ihey never attempt to stop his conversation. Mr Manning 
and his child being the first visiters he has had, perhaps 
Mr Laurens was led to say everything he could of the se- 
verity of his treatment, in order that it might be known 
abroad, and contradict the general report of his being ex- 
ceedingly well treated. He has hitherto declined any 
physical advice, or the visits of any of those creatures near 
him, who may be put in with a view to pump. Mr Penn is 
making application and will probably see him. It is doubt- 
ful if the son will again get leave. His harsh treatment 
being now pretty generally known, every one is crying out 
shame against it, and they accuse a great personage, known 
by the name of White Eyes, as the immediate author of 


Amsterdam, December 19th, 1730. 
Since mv last, they have advised in the States of Hol- 
land, not to answer at all to the Memorial of Sir Joseph 
Yorke. This I think is the best they can do in these cir- 
cumstances. But Sir Joseph Yorke has presented a 
new Memorial, as offensive at least as the preceding one, 
and the several provinces are now deliberating on its con- 
lents.f But their resolution, T am assured, will not please 
the British Court. 

* For other particulars on this subject, see Franldin's Correspon- 
dence, Vol. III. pp. 174, 176, 305. Also, Hennj Laurens's Correspon- 
dence, Vol. II. p. 463. 

t These two Memorials are contained in John .Adams's Correspon- 
dence, Vol. V. pp. 372, 36G. 
VOL. IX. -^Ci 


442 UUMAS. 

I had the honor some days ago of presenting IVIr Searle 
to the French Amhassador, and of serving ihem both as an 
interpreter in an interesting conversation, as to the best 
method of expelling the enemy out of the United Siates, 
and of putting a speedy end to the war in America. The 
intention of a majority of fifteen out of the eighteen cities of 
Holland, by disavowing the conduct of Amsterdam con- 
cerning the projected treaty, is visibly to leave no pretext 
at all to Great Britain for attacking this Republic on other 
grounds than that of resentment for her accession to the 
armed neutrality. 

December 26th. The States of this Province have 
taken unanimously the provisional resolve, of putting the 
project of a treaty between the United States and this Re- 
public, together with the letter of the city of Amsterdam, 
concerning the same, into the hands of the Provincial Court 
of .Justice, to be examined by them, and to decide if there 
is any constitutional law of the Union, ivhich can be 
said to have been violated by the Regency of Amsterdam in 
this affair. Supposing for a moment, this should be the 
case, the high sheriff of the city would then be requested 
to pursue the violators of such a law. But as this cannot 
be the case, the said States, who are to assemble on the 
5th of January, will take the final resolution; 1st, of ask- 
ing satisfaction of the Court of Great Britain, for her inde- 
cent Memorials ; and 2dly, of laying the whole proceedings 
before the Northern Courts, and showing them the false 
pretence under which the said Court endeavors to conceal 
her resentment against this Republic for her accession to 
the armed neutrality. 

December 21th. The States having acquainted Sir .lo- 
se|jh Yorke with the aforesaid provisional resolve, he re- 


fused to receive the communication ; and on the 25th inst. 
he set out early in the morning, according to the orders of 
his King, for Antwerp. The very day of his leaving the 
Hague, the Committee of Holland residing constantly at 
the Hague, sent circular letters to the several cities of this 
Province, acquainting them with this event, and summon- 
ing them for coming immediately loith proper instructions 
from their cities, to form a speedy, cordial, and vigorous 
resolve. One of these letters has been shown to me in 
the original. 

December 2Sth^ Consequently, the Second Pensionary 
and other Deputies of the city of x\msterdam, have set out 
this morning for the Hague, where all will meet tomorrow. 
The First Pensionary, M. Van Berckel, will follow them, 
as soon as he shall see himself justified by the decision of 
the Court of Holland. 

The Hague, Janunrij \2th, 1781. Last Monday, a 
courier, who left Petersburg on the 19th of December, ar- 
rived with despatches to the Grand Pensionary of Holland, 
containing, "that the Empress, satisfied with that of their 
High Mightinesses, of November 27th, had seen, with in- 
dignation rather than astonishment, the two last Memorials 
of Sir Joseph Yorke ; that she was greatly disposed in 
favor of the Republic ; that the convention would soon be 
signed, and the acts of it sent by another courier." Yes- 
terday was resolved, and today begins the distribution ot 
letters of marque, both for men of war and privateers. 
The decision of the Court of Justice of Holland, cannot 
come out before the 15lh of February, because of the ab- 
sence of several of its members ; but everybody knows 
already, that it cannot but be a good one. Till then M. 
Van Berckel will not appear here. 




Januanj 2od. On the 21st the Grand Pensionary ol 
Holland received a letter from M. de Swart, the Dutch 
Resident at Petersburg, of which the following extract is 
taken by myself from an authentic copy communicated to 
nie. "■January bth. On the 31st o( December last, the 
Dutch Plenipotentiaries and M. de Swart had a final con- 
ference with the Russian Plenipotentiary, when, having 
settled the matter of command in case of their men of war 
or squadrons meeting or acting jointly, in the same manner 
as this Republic is used to do with all other Crowns, and 
the whole transaction having been laid before the Empress, 
;ind approved by her, the accession of this Republic to the 
treaties of Russia, Sweden, and Denmark, for the mutual 
protection of the trade and navigation of their subjects, has 
been concluded and signed on January 4th, by the Pleni- 
potentiaries of the parties, and the acts of it despatched 
(they also arrived here on the 21st) to be ratified by their 
High Mightinesses. During the whole transaction of this 
treaty, the English had left no artifice untried, in order to 
get the Republic excluded from this alliance ; and even to 
the last moment, they strived most desperately against her 
admission. But the Empress and her Ministry, unshaken, 
rejected their Memorials with firmness, and even with in- 

With all my heart I congratulate the United States upon 
this happy event ; an event which must accelerate the hu- 
miliation of their proud enemy, and assert with the acknow- 
ledged liberty of America, that of the seas through the 
world ; the latter of which cannot be obtained without the 

Couriers have been sent from hones, eleven days ago, 
for the purpose of asking from the three Northern Powers 


the stipulated succor, as being attacked in resentment, for 
having acceded to their alliance. The money which this 
Republic has now occasion to take up from her subjects, 
will greatly increase the difficulty of the English in obtain- 
ing money, and sink their stocks still more. 
I have the honor to be, &;c. 



Philadelphia, December 24th, 1780. 

Your letter of the 7th of January last was long on its 
passage, and, I am sorry to say, has remained too long in 
my possession without an answer, which you must attribute 
entirely to the multiplicity of employments, in various 
ways, that occupy very fully my whole time. Had I com- 
plied with the dictates of that respect and esteem, which 
Dr Franklin first, and your steady adherence to this 
country since inspired, you would have heard from, me im- 
mediately ; but men who are involved in much business, 
as I am, cannot follow their inclinations, but must submit 
to such things as call most pressingly for their attention. 

The letter you enclosed to me, for Messrs Sears &:, 
Smith, I sent forward immediately, and you may depend on 
me for much more important services, when in my power 
to render them to you or any of your friends. 

After serving my country in various public stations for 
upwards of four years, my routine in Congress was fin- 
ished ; and no sooner was 1 out, than envious and malicious 
men began to attack my character, but my services were 
so universally known, and my integrity so clearly proved, I 
have, thank God, been able to look down with contempt 


446 DUMAS. 

on those that have endeavored to injure me ; and what is 
more, I can face the world with iliat consciousness, whicli 
rectitude of conduct gives to those who pursue it invariably. 

You will excuse nie for saying so much of myself. I 
should not have mentioned the subject had I not been at- 
tacked ; and as I think no man ought to be insensible to 
applause and approbation, 1 cannot help wishing to retain 
that opinion you have been pleased to entertain of me. 

As I maintain my acquaintance amongst the present 
members of Congress, you will be assured I will most cheer- 
fully promote your interest whenever I can, for I feel the 
force of your observations on that subject. 

Mr Carmichael is returned to Europe, and Mr Deane is 
about embarking for France, and I dare say you will hear 
from them both. 

I most sincerely wish an honorable, happy, and speedy 
end to the war we are engaged in ; and with sentiments of 
great esteem and respect, I remain, 



The Hague, February 5th, 1781. 

A courier, despatched by the Russian Ambassador here 
on the 29th of December last, with the news of Sir Joseph 
Yorke having left the Hague by order of his Court without 
taking leave, has come back again with letters from the 
Dutch Plenipotentiaries at Petersburg to the Great Pen- 
sionary, the contenis of which are still very satisfactory ; so 
that there is no doubt nor uneasiness concerning a favorable 
answer, which they expect here, but not before the end of 



this month, to the demands made, by a courier despatched 
from hence on the 12th of January last. 

By letters from Ostend we are told, that the Russian 
Minister at London had left that Court without taking leave. 
If this proves true, or whenever else the expected rupture 
between Russia and Great Britain will be fully ascertained, 
then it will be time to set on foot a negotiation with the 
four new allied powers, for the acknowledgment of the 
independency of America, and making treaties with her of 
amity and commerce. The first, and perhaps only appli- 
cation for this purpose, must then be made to Russia ; and 
I am now carefully watching the moment when such an 
application will be proper, and attended with the prospect 
of success, in order to inform Mr Adams, and take with 
and under him, such measures as may be necessary. 
Till then we must keep them close, and make no applica- 
tion to this Republic, which, since her accession, cannot 
and will not make any private step without the quadruple 
alliance, of which Russia is the leading power; and, as I 
have good reasons to think, well disposed towards the 
United States^ 

I have been repeatedly assured, that the exportation of 
the two thousand lasts of grain to England from Ostend, 
has been refused at Brussels to Sir Joseph Yorke, and 
that he is going, if not already gone, from Antwerp to 
Ostend, to embark for England. This gives no great 
opinion of the pretended negotiation set on foot between 
the Emperor and Great Britain. 

I have the honor to be, &.c. 



448 DUMAS. 


The Hague, February 22d. 1781. 


The expected courier from tlie Dutch Plenipotentiaries 
nt Petersburg has not yet arrived. Tliey think his depart- 
ure thence has been delayed till the coming back of another 
whom they had sent to London. The decision of the 
Court of Holland concerning the conduct of the Regency 
of Amsterdam is not yet given, and will not come out for 
some weeks. The pretended reason of this new delay is 
that M. Van Citters, one of the Counsellors of that Court, 
must go to Zealand, because of the sickness of his mother. 
The true reason may be, to get rid here of certain gentle- 
men as long as possible, and to gratify their by 
deferring their justification. A little more resolution, when 
it was perhaps more proper to dare than to waver, would 
have spared them such a trick. But now their honor and 
dignity not suffering them to appear here till they are jus- 
tified, those that cannot but justify tiiem, will delay the 
doing it as long iis they can. 

March 2d, 1781. In consequence of orders brought by 
a courier despatched to t!ie Russian Ambassador here, he 
has presented a Memorial* to their High Mightiflesses, 
importing that the Empress was willing to interpose her 
mediation between this Republic and England, to bring on 
an accommodation. The Court of Justice of this Prov- 
ince will meet on Monday next, to draw up their decision 
concerning the conduct of Amsterdam. 

T am, with the greatest respect, k,c. 


' See this Memorial in Jolui .Adams's Correspondence. Vol. V. p. 468- 



The Hague, March 5th, 1781. 

Since the Memorial presented on the 1st instant to 
their High Mightinesses by the Russian Ambassador, 
offering the mediation of the Empress between them 
and Great Britain, a letter of February 9th has been 
received here, written by the Dutch Plenipotentiary 
at Petersburg, of which being decyphered, the Grand 
Pensionary of Holland, instead of delivering copies as 
usual, has only permitted the inspection and perusal to 
the several members of the States. It gives the fol- 
lowing account of the assurances made to them by the 
chief Minister of the Empress, Count Panin, viz. 1st. 
That the Empress is still in the same favorable dispo- 
sitions towards the Republic, and that he himself will 
support, with all his power, the just claim of the 
Dutch, to have all the vessels returned to them, which 
the English have taken from them since their accession 
to the armed neutrality. 2dly. That the mediation of- 
fered by the Court of Vienna, to procure, by the good 
offices of that Court, in conjunction with that of Russia, 
a peace between the belligerent powers, will not be 
accepted without the preliminary condition sine qua 
non, of Great Britain's acknowledging the indepen- 
dency of the United States, and the rights of the neu- 
tral powers in matters of commerce and navigation. 
3dly. That the Empress had seen, with great satisfac- 
tion, the propositions made by the Dutch Plenipoten- 
tiaries to the several northern Crowns, for being sup- 
plied by them, on conditions to be agreed on, with a 

450 DTTMA? 

sufficient number of men of war ; and that the number 
they wanted was ready for the service of their High 

There was a report current here, and through the 
whole country, of three encampments to take place this 
summer in this Province. A great personage has as- 
sured a gentleman in distinguished station, that this 
had never been his intention. I have it from the 
gentleman himself. The same assures me, "the Court 
of Justice was now busy with making up the decision 
concerning the conduct of the Regency of Amsterdam. 
They had taken the advice of an eminent lawyer: he 
had seen this advice ; it was a very good one." 

Mr Adams favored me yesterday both with his 
presence, and with the sight of the despatches of De- 
cember last, which he has received from your Excel- 
lency. I shall do my best to second his operations ; 
heartily wishing that things may ripen, and our en- 
deavors be crowned with success. To this hope let 
me join that of the so often solicited attention of Con- 
gress to my long and faithful services, and to the cir- 
cumstances in which they have involved me. 
I have the honor to be, &c. 



The Hague. March 2-2d. 17»l 

The States of this Province separated last week, 
to meet again the next week The Provinces have 
given their agreement to the mediation offered by 



Russia. This affair, I fear, will prove a lingering 
business, as well as that of the decision of the Court of 
Justice of Holland, which, I am told, is drawn up in a 
manner that will not at all satisfy the Regency of Am- 
sterdam, and consequently will not be suffered to be 
delivered ; and so things will remain in slaiu quo, God 
knows how long. All this is owing to the devices of 
the friends of Great Britain in this country, and not 
in the least to any disaffection from Russia, &c. How 
can people be helped, that will not be helped? In the 
meantime, the enemies carry on with success their 
perfidious scheme. Congress by this lime must have 
heard of their taking St Eustatia, filled with riches, a 
great part of which they say is American property. 
And now ihey pretend by this stroke to have cut oft' 
the great resource of America for continuing the war, 
and to force her into submission. 

I have from good autliority, that the English have 
rel'used the mediation of Russia. This surprises me 
not at all, because I am sure their arrogancy and stub- 
bornness will never let them acknowledge either the 
independence of the United States, or the rights of 
neutrality, till their heads are broken ; a blessed work, 
fit for heaven only and America to achieve, while Eu- 
ropean politicians take time to consider. 

April 2d. They expect here vei-y inleresiitig news 
from Petersburg towards the end of this month, as 
there are two couriers gone thither, the one tVoni 
hence on the 23d of March, the other from England 
much about the same time. The merchants of Am- 
sterdam, who have a great share in the eflects seized 
on at St Eustatia, having resolved to send Deputies to 

452 DUMAS. 

the p]nglisl) Ministry, in order to have them restored 
to them, and having invited the merchants of Rotter- 
dam to join with them in this Deputation, the latter 
liavc answered, that with men capahle of acting so 
ruffianlike, they would rather let them kee]) all that 
they had robhed, than debase themselves by courting 
the robbers. This noble answer would be still more 
so, if Rotterdam had lost as mucfi at St Eustatia as 
Amsterdam; there being, as for that, a very great dif- 

I have the honor to be, &c. 



Nimeguen, April 28tli, 1781. 

As a friend to humanity, it is hoped you will be so 
good as to relieve, by your correspondence with Con- 
gress, a good fnmiiy from tlieir uneasiness on account 
of the fate of a son, of wlioni, notwithstanding all our 
inquiries, during these two last years, by the way of 
France, Spain and Holland, we have not been able to 
get any positive intelligence. This son, Frederick 
Charles Bcdaulx, cannot bo unknown to Congress, to 
their War Office, and to the commanders of their 
army ; having been engaged in their service since the 
year 1776, when he embarked for St Eustatia; but 
the vessel being taken, ho escaped from Falmouth, 
and went over with the Marquis de Lafayette; and in 
consequence of a capitulation made before his first 
going, served and distinguished himself there as Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel, in which quality he commanded the 


infantry of the Pulaski Legion. For more than two 
years we have had no letter from him, and of many 
letters, which were delivered for him to Mr Deane, 
when he was Minister from the United States at Paris, 
we do not know if one has been received by M. Be- 
daulx. According to some loose reports, being sick, 
he had been removed to Philadelphia, where he died. 
But this has been contradicted since by other people, 
who say he is still living, and sent away or confined 
by the intrigues of some enemy. 

Sure of the principles of probity and honor with 
which he has been brought up, we cannot think he 
has been wanting in his duty; and on the other hand, 
after so many repeated applications made to Congress, 
and to the body in which he has served, we cannot 
but be surprised and troubleil to find them absolutely 
silent. You will oblige me, his uncle, Sir, his wor- 
thy father, and a whole family, by helping us out of 
this cruel uncertainty. 

I have the honor to be, Sic. 

Major-Generol in the. Dutch Service. 


The Hague, May ls(, 1?81. 

Since my last letter there has been no opportunity to 
write to America. This time lias been employed in gel- 
ting useful intelligence, and preparing all things with JVJr 
Adams for the step he will take on Friday next, of pre- 
senting his Memorial to their High IMightinesses. This 

454 DUMAS 

evenuig I carried a card jrom hiuj to llie Grand Pension- 
ary, who will receive a preparatory visit from hini tomor- 
row morning. It is still uncertain whether he will be 
admitted at present, or if they will advise for a medium. 
The expected courier is not yet arrived from Petersburg. 

A good French translation of the Memorial was abso- 
lutely necessary to be presented with the original. 1 am 
happy to have made it to the satisfaction of Mr Adams, and 
this translation will be read to their High Mightinesses, 
whenever the Memorial shall be laid before them.* 

May 2d. I have attended Mr Adams to the Grand 
Pensionary. When he told him, that his intention was to 
present himself on Friday next, to the President of their 
High Mightinesses, in quality of Minister Plenipotentiary 
from the United States, and that be had likewise creden- 
tifds from the same to his Serene Highness, the Prince of 
Qj-ange, the Pensionary answered, that ije apprehended 
a difficulty would arise against his admission in such ;i 
character, from their High Mightinesses having not yet 
acknowledged the independence of America. Mr Adams 
having replied, that this objection, since the war had bro- 
ken out between Great Britain and this Republic, seemed 
to have lost all its weight, the Pensionary agreed, that it 
was iriie at least both nations had now the satne enemy ; 
however, he would make his report to his masters am! to 
the Prince of the notice given him. 

May 4th'. This morning his Excellency went to the 
Grand Pensionary with a copy of his Memorial, which he 
declined to receive, saying it was not the usage, when Me- 
morials were presented to the President of their High 
Mightinesses, to deliver copies of them to the Grand Pen- 

* See this Memorial in Mr .Idams's ('orrrspnn/lcncc. Vol. V. p. 481. 



sionary of Holland ; and that it would be more proper to 
deliver one to the Graphiary of the States-General. This 
we judged proper to delay till after the audience at the 
President's, who received his Excellency with great po- 
liteness, hut declined charging himself with the Memorial, 
alleging his acceptance of it would imply an acknowledg- 
ment he could not take upon himself, but must reserve it 
to their High Mightinesses, to whom he would immediately 
report the case. His Excellency told him, that to avoid 
misconstructions, he should lind himself obliged to lay his 
Memorial before the whole world, by publishing it imme- 
diately. At this the President smiled ; and they parted. 
It was now become improper to carry a copy to the 
Graphiary, and therefore we dispensed with it. The 
President went into the Assembly of the States-General, 
and made the report, which having been recorded, the Dep- 
uties of all the Provinces (except those of Zealand, who re- 
mained silent) asked a copy of the report, to transmit it to 
ihek respective Provinces, when it will be matter of delib- 
eration in their Provincial Assemblies. 

From the President, we went to the Baron de Larrey, 
Privy Counsellor, &c. to the Prince of Orange, to whom 
his Excellency delivered another Memorial, in a sealed 
letter for the said Prince, which the Baron promised to 
deliver immediately to the Prince. He did so ; and the 
Prince having summoned M. Fagel the Graphiary, and 
the Grand Pensionary, consulted with them what was 
to he done with the letter ; two hours after, when we were 
ready to dine, the Baron came at the inn, with the letter 
unopened, and a polite excuse from the Prince, that he 
could not receive it, till after their High Mightinesses 
should have resolved if and when he was to be admitted 
in the character, which he had set forth with them. 

456 DUMAS. 

May llth. Mr Adams selling out last Saturday for 
Amsterdam, left me liis order to publish the Memorial with 
the original French translation, made by your servant, ac- 
knowleged and signed by his Excellency, and to procure 
also a Dutch translation ; which 1 have performed today, 
by distributing through the cities a sufficient number of each. 

May \6tk. All the public journals of this country have 
inserted the Memorial, which is now generally known, 
pleases and puzzles at once everybody. 

M. Van Berckel, the First Pensionary of Amsterdam, 
presented on the 4th iiistant a very spirited address to the 
States of Holland, petitioning them, either to be impeached, 
that he might defend himself, or formally declared not 

May I9th. This day the cities of Dort and Haerlem, 
by an annotation in the registers of Holland, have formally 
declared their accession to the proposition of Amsterdam, 
and with thanks acknowledged the true patriotism of this 
last city. The other cities have taken the proposition ad 
referendum ; and the final resolution on it will be taken by 
the next Assembly. 

June 6th. I presented yesterday a letter from Mr Ad- 
ams to the President of their High Mightinesses, and 
another to the Privy Counsellor of the Prince o( Orange, 
with a copy to each, of the accession of Maryland to, and 
the final ratification of, your Confederation. I had sealed 
up the papers, and put on the covers the proper superscrip- 
tions. They received them, and desired me to come to- 
day for an answer. Accordingly I have waited on them 
ihis morning. They both had opened, and consequently 
read the contents, but said they could not keep them, 
and that 1 must take them back. 


The President seemed to me much embarrassed, and a 
little cavilling on my having delivered to him the letter from 
Mr Adams, without adding the quality of Minister Pleni- 
potentiary, assumed in the subscription ; by which omis- 
sion he pretended 1 had deceived him ; otherwise he would 
not have received the letter. I denied any intention to 
conceal from him a quality, which he knew as well as 1 
and the whole nation, Mr Adams had openly assumed. 
He put them in my hat, and I told him I would, out of 
respect for the head of this Republic, keep in deposito the 
papers, which in time might be thought of greater impor- 
tance to them than now. The other gentleman received 
me with the greatest cordiality ; and apologising very 
frankly for restoring me the papers (likewise opened,) 
desired me repeatedly to understand, and to give to un- 
derstand, that this was a mere formality ; and that while 
the admission of Mr Adams was under deliberation of 
the several Provinces, the Prince could not be beforehand 
with their High Mightinesses, nor their High Mightinesses 
with their consiituents, in such a matter of tlie first im- 

June \6th. I have been happy with the presence 
of Mr Adams, and with his approbation of my 
conduct. The States of Holland have separated. 
Their next meeting, after the 27th instant, may be 
very stormy, not only on account of the proposition of 
Amsterdam, but also on that of a verbal remonstrance 
made by the same city to a great personage, desiring 
him to exclude from all political business the Duke 
of Brunswick, formerly his tutor, when a minor ; a 
message which has exceedingly hurt them both, 

June 22d. The great city persists in her late de- 
voL. IX. 58 

/J 53 nUMAS. 

mand to the Prince of Orange, concerning the desired 
exclusion of the aforesaid great man, having, since the 
verbal proposition, sent the same by writing to the 
great personage, and to the Grand Pensionary. Thus 
the fermentation rises, and draws to a very interesting 
crisis, which probably will decide itself within a 
fortnight, either into some catastrophe, or into a ridir- 
ulns mus. I learn just now, that the Duke of Bruns- 
wick presented yesterday to their High ]Mightinesses a 
long letter to justify himself. Many, even unconcern- 
ed people, think it an improper step, because he is, in 
fact, not vested with any public department, and there- 
fore not answerable, nor to be brought to account. His 
position seems to me near akin to that of Lord Bute."^ 
Jnli/ 4th. There has been made mention, in the 
Provincial Assembly, by the Grand Pensionary, but a 
very slight one, of the Duke of Brunswick's letter to 
their High Mightinesses, as taken ad referendum by the 
several Provinces. The nobility has acquainted the 
Provincial Assembly with the desire of the Stadthold- 
. er of presenting to their High Mightinesses, a proposi- 
tion of his own, for having inquired into the causes of 
the defenceless state and inactivity of the Republic, 
and the means to be taken, &c. But the cities have 
declined countenancing it, and even the taking it ufl 
referendum, because there was already such a proposi- 
tion made by the city of Amsterdam, a mcinhrum inte- 
irrans of the Republic, on which they had received 
their instructions. The Stadtholder was present, and 
visibly disappointed. 

'See the above remonstrance (t^ainst the Duke of Brunswick, and 
his r<"ply. in John .lil/nns's CorTrsptmdenre. Vol. VI. pp. 70. 76. 


Yesterday I was shown in confidence a despatch just 
now received from Petersburs:;, purporting an insinua- 
tion* made to the Dutcii Plenipotentiar}^, by that 
Court ; ''That the said Court had agreed with the 
Emperor of Germany, to treat at Vienna for procur- 
ing a general pacification between the belligerent pow- 
ers : and if therefore their High Mightinesses should 
be inclinqd to intrust both their Imperial Majesties 
with a mediation in behalf'of this Republic, they 
might make overtures in consequence to Prince Gal- 
litzin, the Russian Minister at the Hague." The 
republicans here are of opinion, that, instead of this, 
vigorous measures should be taken immediately with 
the belligerent powers: to which the opposite party 
will b\' no means listen. 

July lOth. The offered mediation will be accepted, 
even by the advice of the patriots; because they ap- 
prehend, if they do not, the opposite party would con- 
tinue to insist upon begging lor peace directly in Eng- 
land, either by the good offices, as they call them, of 
the Sardinian Envoy at London, who is entirely at 
their and the British Court's devotion, or by sending 
deputies from hence. The linal resolution of this 
Province, concerning the important proposition of 
Amsterdam, is delayed till the next ordinary Assem- 
bly, by cavilling on the expression of next Assembly, 
used in the proposition, as if this Assembly, an extras 
ordinary one, was but a ])rolongalion of the last. 

July IStk. The report which w;is current on the 
10th, of the Emperor being inclined to support the 

*See John .'idams's Corrrspondi.nci , Vo!. VI. p. 14i;. 


460 DUMAS. 

Duke of Brunswick lias j)roved false. I know from 
the best authority, that quite the reverse is true. 
When the monarch arrived, the Duke sent to him for 
permission to wait on him. Instead of which the 
Emperor went immediately himself to the Duke. 
What passed between them is not known. But the 
Duke having soon after returned the visit, he was ob- 
served coming back with visible marks of discompos- 
ure. The following da}', the Emperor dining at the 
Prince of Orange's seat, called the House in the 
Wood, showed himself very gentle in his address to 
the Princess of Orange, and to everybody else, but to 
the Duke, to whom he said not a single word, being 
remarkably cold to him, which apparently was the 
cause of the Duke's withdrawing sooner than any oth- 
er. Besides this, the Emperor has explained himself 
with other great men here this very day, by saying 
the Regents of Amsterdam did their duty as brave 
patriots. He spent the evening at the French Hotel, 
where he discoursed much with the French and Rus- 
sian Ambassadors. The Grand Pensionary, although 
invited repeatedly by the Prince himself, excused him- 
self from dining at the House in the Wood, because he 
was ill. 

1 have the honor to be, &o. 



The Hague, August 23d, 1781. 
Since my last, the Provincial States of Hollaiul have 
been separated till last week. 


I was not unacquainted with the negotiation set on loot 
by the French Ambassador here, for a loan of five millions 
of florins, or five hundred thousand pounds, at four per cent, 
nor with his notes lately presented for this purpose to the 
Graphiary, M. Fagel ; and although the Ambassador does 
not yet know that I am acquainted with it, I thought myself 
obliged to abstain discreetly from writing or speaking about 
it for obvious reasons. I am now happy with the assur- 
ance given me, that the proposition of this loan is commit- 
ted, and will soon be agreed by their High Mightinesses, 
either by their taking up the money themselves, and lending 
it to France, or by their countenancing and warranting the 
taking it up directly by France ; the only secret, or at least 
not publicly acknowledged particular of this agreement, 
will be the destination of this money in behalf of the United 
States. This true account is given me by a friend, who 
has it officially from tlie mouth of the Grand Pensionary. 

The Baron Lynden had written and delivered into the 
hands of the President of the States-General, a letter to 
their High Mightinesses, containing the reason which en- 
gaged him to resign his Embassy to Vienna, and to decline 
any other, viz ; the unconstitutionality of a foreigner's (the 
Duke of Brunswick,) being the only counsel to the Stadt- 
bolder, for internal as well as external politics and admin- 
istration of this Republic. This letter the Barou had been 
prevailed upon to desist from having read to their High 
Mightinesses ; and iie took it out of the hands of the 
President, in presence of the Grand Pensionary of Hol- 
land, and of the Graphiary of their High jMightinesses, 
reserving to himself, however, the liberty of presenting it 
again, whenever he should think it convenient. Some 
persons (your servant for one) have been favored with the 


462 DUMAS. 

perusal of this letter. This coin])liance iiaving soiiiert'hai 
discredited the Baron adiong the patriots, lie brought his 
letter back on Tuesday last to the President ; telling him 
it must be laid open to their High Mightinesses \vit!)Oui 
any further delay, otherwise, he bhmild publish it by 

Aitgitst 24t/t. I have been favored by the Baron de 
Lynden with the sight, 1st of a letter written by hiiYi last 
Monday to the Stadtholder, in which he tells him, that 
seeing him still influenced and prepossessed in favor of, 
and directed by the Duke of Brunswick, he found his own 
honor and conscience did not suffer hin to withhold any 
longer frou) their High Mightinesses and from his country, 
the abovementioned letter; 2dly. The answer of the 
Stadtholder, telling him, that it was for the sake of the 
Baron personally, that lie had endeavored to persuade him 
to suppress that letter ; but seeing him now determined to 
pull off the mask, and join with his adversaries, he gave 
him up to his own reflections ; odly. The reply of the 
Baron, viz- ; that whereas his Highness was sorry for the 
letter's being presented for his (the Baron's) sake only, he 
was determined to present it for the same sake, which he 
did accordingly ; and the letter has been read to their 
High Mightinesses, the Baron himself being present at the 
second reading, or resumption, as they call it, the day fol- 

The original of a very noble and unanimous resolution 
of the city of Dort, respecting the Duke of Brimswick, 
where he is considered merely as a military servant of the 
Republic, and where the conduct of the Regency of Am- 
sterdam is vindicated, has been read confidentially to me. 
Several other authentic and interesting pieces are in my 


hands, viz., 1st. A resolution ol the city of Dort, of June 
25th last, in whicii their Deputies are ordered lo insist 
upon the important propositions of Amsterdam of May 18di 
heing taken into serious consideration ; ariflf principally 
upon a good plan of operations during this war being con- 
cluded with France and her allies. 2dly. The reports of 
the several Admiralties ol this Republic, showing their 
having accomplished the building, equipping, and putting 
into service ships, according to the orders of their High 
Mightinesses; to which the Admiralty of Amsterdam has 
added a remark, which has much displeased this Court, 
viz. that, after having done tiieir duty in this matter, an 
account of the most proper application and disposition of 
the forces set in readiness, for the protection of this coun- 
try, must not be asked from thera, but from the higher 
])ovver, which had the direction of their exertions ; 3dly. 
A resolution of the Province of Holland, for another squad- 
ron to be speedily ordered to convoy to the Baltic, not 
only the merchant fleet of Amster<lam; lying in the Texei 
roads, which, after the glorious action of the 5il), against 
Parker, has been obliged to come back, but also those of 
Rotterdam, whose merchants, in a spirited address, have 
complained of beinj;; neglected. 1 would fain join here- 
with translated copies of these voluminous and interesting 
pieces, but without the aiding hand of a clerk, such a task 
is impossible for me to perform. 

.August oOth. To shorten the business of the above- 
mentioned loan, probably, their Fligh Mightinesses will 
open it themselves on their own credit, by warranting the 
capital and interest at (our per cent, lor surety of which 
they will receive, in that case, a general bond from France. 
Regularly the}' may pay no n)ore than three per cent for 


464 DUMAS. 

themselves, and nolwiihstanding such small interest, the 
course of their paper is at twelve, fourteen, and even six- 
teen per cent purchase above the capital sum. By this 
method, if jWhued, the subscription at four per cent will 
he rapidly completed. 

September 2d. A very interesting resolution of August 
2Slh, of t)ne of the principal cities of this Province, was 
received the day before yesterday by her Deputies here, of 
wliich the substance is as follows. 

"Having been informed by their Deputies of the con- 
tents of two notes, which they were told by the Grand 
Pensionary had been presented successively to the Graph- 
iary of their High xMightinesses by the French Ambassa- 
dor; and being desirous of facilitating the use which the 
Court of France intends to make of the proposed loan, be- 
cause such a compliance with her desire will not only fasten 
a most necessary confidence between that Court and this 
Republic, but also annoy directly the common enemy, by 
strengthening the Congress of Nortli America, in whose 
behalf his Majesty the King of France intends, according 
to certain secret informations, to dispose of the whole loan, 
so that the said Congress may the better carry on the war 
against Great Britain ; — Resolved, that the Deputies of this 
city at the Assembly of this Province, shall be, and are 
hereby qualified, when the business shall be reported to the 
Assembly, to favor with all their power the conclusion of 
it, and moreover to advise and fmiher a resolution, that 
may promote the intents and purposes aforesaid. Besides 
this, when done, our said Deputies at the Provincial As- 
sembly are charged herewith, ))ursuant to our resolution 
of June 25th last, to insist by way of proposition, upon 
their Noble and Grand Mightinesses takiiisr into serious dp- 


liberation the proposition laid before them by the Regency 
oC Amsterdam on the 18tl) of last May, and bring forth a 
final resolution about the same ; and particularly upon the 
Deputies of this Province, in the Assembly of the States- 
General, being ordered to direct things there to such effect, 
that the French Court may be requested by their High 
Mightinesses to deliberate with them on tlie manner of 
acting jointly, by communicating the plans ol operation ; a 
measure which must visibly clog the enemy, and directly 
fortify the affair of this Republic." 

September \2ih. Last Thursday they were busy at 
the Assembly of this Province in deliberating on the Duke's 
letter to their High Mightinesses. The votes of eight 
cities, viz. Dort, Haerlem, Delft, Leyden, Amsterdam, Rot- 
terdam, Gorcum, and Scliiedam, were directly against it. 
The speeches of Haerlem and Leyden, which being writ- 
ten were read, have been admired. The points wherein 
the eight agree, are 1st. The impropriety of the Duke's 
addressing himself by letter (when as a military servant he 
should have done it by request) to tlieir High Mightinesses, 
which are by no means competent judges, when he should 
have applied to the true and only Sovereign here, viz. to 
the Province of Holland. 2dly. That of any foreigner 
whatever being in l"act the only co;insel of the eminent 
chief of this Republic, odly. That, without crediting or 
countenancing current charges of corrupu'on, this foreign- 
er's being hated and suspected by the bulk of tiiis nation, 
as not patriotic, produces the same effect, and forbids his 
having any management, or influence, direct or indirect, 
in public affairs. 4thly. That the nobility's constantly 
opposing the advices of die cities is a circumstance, which 
will at last ruin this Republic. ')lii!y. That the cities have 

vol.. IX. 



the constiliitionul riglit of remonslialing against whotiii^o- 

ever tliey ihinU proper, according to ihe resolutions of 

15S6, 1622, and 1663, whiclj last is the strongest act of 

indemnity for llie purpose. With all that they coulr! not 

come to a rcsolulion ; die nobiliiy, widi the ten other 

cities, pretending their not having yet enough considered 

the matter. I think the Duke will dispute the ground wiUi 

some success, as long as he can preserve his old influence 

over his pupil ; hut, on ihc oUicr hand, he will by no 

means obtain the salisfaciioii he crave?. 

1 have been favored, by a very good palricU, with the 

si°-ht of the two short notes of the French Ambassador. 

The contents are, that the King being satisfied with the 

notice given him of their being now disposed to exert all 

their powers for annoying the enemy, his Majesty proposes 

to ihcm an occasion for distressing them greatly, by their 

consenting to a loan of ITve millions of florins, at lour per 

cent a year, payable every six inonlhs, which interest 

as well as the capital the King should procure to be paid 

exactly at their expiration. The destination of tiie money 

in be!:all' of the United States has been added verbally. 

There are two very strong propositions against the Duke 

made by the Quarter of Westergo in Friesland, to which 

that of Ostcrgo, and -j-iart of Sevenwolde, have acceded. 

The first is inserted already in the Leyden Gazette ; the 

second the Gazetteer hesitates as yet to insert, because it 

is very violent against their High Mightinesses. If he does 

not, I shall translate and transmit it. 

September iSih. I am just now informed, that this 

Province has consented in the loan for France, by their 

resolutions of the Tth and lOth insi. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 




The Hague, October 11th, l/Sl, 

On the I2th of September the Baron Lynden wrote 
a letter to the Prince of Orange, telling him, that after 
he had so much complied with the wishes of his High- 
ness, as to withhold for a considerable time his letter 
from their High Mightinesses, he had expected from 
the honor of his Highness, that the Embassy for Vi- 
enna would not be disposed of in behalf of another, 
till there was a greater necessity for it than there is 
at present, and till his own motives for refusing a post, 
which in every other respect would have been very 
delightful to himself, had been attended to ; but seeing 
himself not fairly treated, by another's (the Count of 
WafTenaar Twickels, who, liowcver, has not yet dared 
to accept it) being appointed to il, he should be obliged 
if his Highness should go on, without paying regarrl 
to the present letter, to publish it with the foregoing 
ones that had passed between his Highness and him, 
togellier with what he knew from the late Counts of 
Rhoon and Bentinck. concerning a secret Act, by which 
his Highness, when of age, had promised the Duke, 
that he should ever be his only counsel . 

A very unfaithful accoimt having since been circula- 
ted of this letter, the Baron makes no difficulty of 
showing it to those whom lie wishes to be undeceived, 
and probably he will at last publish it with the others. 
In the meantime. I have seen the original draft. Sev- 
eral very violent Dutch pamphlets have been published 
within a few days, not onlv against the Duke, but 

468 DUMAtf. 

even against (he Stadtholder and against the Stadlhold- 
ership in general, and the whole Orange d)'nasty. the 
last of which is a masterly performance, but too large 
for me to translate. There is more moderation in the 
con.s{deratiojis herewith enclosed ; and therefore I have 
consented without difficulty to get them printed, at the 
request of some very good people, as your Excellency 
will see, b}- the annexed copy of my letter to their 
society at Rotterdam. 

The Stales of Holland have met again this morning. 
I have not heard if any of the Provinces, besides Hol- 
land and Friesland, have consented to the loan pro- 
posed by France, in the manner I told your Excellen- 
cy in my last. They are too much taken up at pres- 
ent with their domestic quarrels. 
I have the honor to be, &c. 



Philadelphia, November "iSth, 1781. 


It is necessary to inform you, that the correspond- 
ence with you will in future be through the office of 
Foreign Affairs, at the head of which Congress have 
done me the honor to place me, as will appear by the 
enclosed resolutions. 

I have before me your interesting letters from De- 
cember to July. The minute detail into which you 
go, of the facts in which either your government or 
ours is concerned, is highly acceptable to Congress. 
You will not, therefore, fail to continue it; and from 
time to time transmit, in addition thereto, such ])apers 


and pamphlets as serve to throw light on the politics of 
the United Provinces, or of the Northern Powers. 
Dr Franklin will defray the expense to which this may 
put you. Be pleased to subscribe for the Leyden and 
Amsterdam Gazettes, and transmit them to me as op- 
portunity offers. We have as yet received no account 
from Mr Adams of the presentation of his Memorial, 
or the reception it met with, nor any other particulars 
on this interesting subject, than what you have related. 
We consider this as a proof of his reliance upon your 
exactness in the relation. 

You have before this heard the variety of agreeable 
events, which have with the divine blessing taken place 
in America. The particulars of the capture of Corn- 
wallis and General Green's victory are sent to Mr 
Adams, though you will probably have them earlier 
by way of France. Our affairs here are in such a sit- 
uation, that even our enemies have given up the idea 
of conquest, or the most distant expectation of our re- 
union with Great Britain, whose unheard of cruelties 
have excited the most inveterate hatred. This is per- 
haps the moment in which other nations might, by a 
generous and decided conduct, take their place in our 
affections ; and before our tastes were so formed as to 
give the preference to the fashions or manufactures of 
any one country, to establish their commerce with us 
on the ruin of that of Britain. I wish both for your 
sake and ours, that the United Provinces knew how 
to avail themselves of this invaluable opportunity by 
entering boldly into commercial connexions with us, 
and by ingratiating themselves into our affections by 
some such act of friendship as would strike the senses 

470 DUMAS. 

of the people. Bui alas ! this i.s too daring; for your 
Councils, and is rather to be wished than expected. 

It gives me pain to inform 5-ou, that Lieutenant-Co- 
lonel Bedaulx is dead. It will, however, be some 
consolation to his friends, (in whose sorrows I sympa- 
thise) to hear, after what has been injuriously repeated 
to them, that his reputation was untarnished, and that 
he died, with the character of a man of honor and a 
soldier, fighting in the cause of freedom at Savannah.* 

Congress are very sensible of your attention to their 
interest, and wish the situation of their finances would 
admit of their rewarding it more liberally, but having 
retrenched expenses of every kind, and reduced the 
salaries as low as the strictest frugality requires, they 
do not think it expedient at this time to make any ad- 
ditions to that allowed you by I)r Franklin, which 
they will direct him to pay regularly. You will be 
pleased in future to direct your letters, not to the Pres- 
ident, but to me, as Secretary of the States for Foreign 
Affairs; and when you favor us with anything writ- 
ten in French or Dutch, to give it in the original lan- 
guage. This may save you some trouble, and enable 
us in quoting it to make use of the original expression, 
which you know is often very necessary. As you ap- 
pear to labor under a mistake, with respect to Mr 
Searle, I take the liberty to inform you that he is not 
a member of Congress, his delegation having expired 
before he left America. I cannot close my letter with- 
out congratulating you on the spirit and gallantry of 
Atlmiral Zoutman, and his officers and men. Had 

See General Bedaiil.\'s letter to M. Dumas on this subject, 
above, p. 452. 



Britain known that your Van Tromps and De Ruyters 
were still alive, she would have tliought the treasures 
of your islands too dearly purchased by provoking 
their resentment. 

It will give you pleasure to hear that the British 
have been foiled in every quarter of this country. A 
considerable body of them with a number of Indians, 
who crossed the lakes from Canada upon a ravaging 
expedition, with no nobler view than that of burning 
farm houses, and scalping women and children, were 
met twice and defeated, with considerable loss in killed 
and prisoners, by an inferiur mimber of militia. 

Congress are engaged in preparations for the most 
vigorous exertions as soon as the spring shall open, 
from which, by the blessings of Divine Providence, 
we have the highest reason to promise ourselves 

I am. Sir, with great esteem and respect, Sic. 



Amsterdam, January 7th, 1782. 
It would require a volume and several hands, to relate 
the events of which 1 have been a daily witness, and not 
seldom an active one, since my last despatch of October 
11th. Indifferent health, as well as prudence, has forbid- 
den me to write down and send a journal of them, as I 
fornierly did. The rage of the English, and of their fac- 
tion here, is increased with their late disappointments ; and 
while things draw nearer to some conclusion, my own ex- 
perience and that of others has taught me not to trust too 
much to any public conveyance. 


472 DUMAS. 

I heartily con2;ratnlate Congress upon the glorious event 
W' the ] 9th of October last, wliich lias given joy to our 
friends and confusion to our enemies here. 

The loan of live millions of guilders to France in behalf 
of the United States having been unanimously agreed to by 
their High Mightinesses has been subscribed in one day ; 
and this stock is no more to be had under two per cent 
above the capital. 

Tomorrow the States of Holland will meet again at the 
Hague, to deliberate about the offered mediation of Rus- 
sia, already accepted by Great Britain, for a peace be- 
tween the latter and this Republic. In spite of the English 
faction, 1 have good reason to foretell that two conditions, 
sine quibus non, will be insisted on as preliminaries by the 
Republic. 1st. All the rights of a free and unlimited nav- 
igation offered to this Republic, in virtue of former treaties 
as well as of lier being pai-t of the armed neutrality. 2dly. 
That this negotiation for a particular peace shall not hinder 
the Republic in the meantime, and till concluded, from 
concerting measures with France for carrying on the war. 
Without these clauses expressed in the resolution that is to 
be taken this or next week, I am assured that none will be 
taken, because it is a matter which requires unanimity. 

After having managed an interview between Mr Adams 
and some gentlemen at the Hague, I have accompanied 
l)im hither during the vacation lime. Tomorrow we intend 
tc, go back to the Hague, where we have agreed with the 
said gentlemen, and with the French Ambassador, upon 
Mr Adams's addressing their High Mightinesses for a cai- 
egoricai answer on the errand of ins mission. 
I have the honor to he, &ic. 




The Hague, January 15th, 1782. 

According to my last of the 7th instant, I went with Mi- 
Adams on the 9th to the President of their High Mighti- 
nesses, to whom his Excellency having made his requisi- 
tion, I repeated it, that the President might understand it 
exactly, in the same terms as are to be seen in the 
Leyden Gazette here sent, where I have got them in- 
serted ; and he promised to make his report accordingly. 
After this, having received word from the Grand Pension- 
ary of Holland, where we intended to go, that being him- 
self very sick, he could receive nobody but by the means 
of bis Secretary, I alone made the communication to the 
latter the same morning. The day following, being Thurs- 
day, we were received by M. Fagel, the Graphiary of 
their High Mightinesses, who, after I had read to him the 
requisition, told us, "that the President had made report 
of it to the States-General, and that the Deputies of all the 
Provinces had taken it ad referendum, to be transmitted to 
their several Provinces ; that the same had been done re- 
specting the first report in May last, without any instruc- 
tion being hitherto received about it ; and, therefore, some 
patience more was necessary for a categorical answer." 

The reception met wiith from the President and the said 
Ministers was duly polite. From them we went round to 
the deputations of the eighteen cities of this Province, now 
assembling here, who received us, without exception, with 
a very good humored cordiality, thanking us for our kind 
communication, of which they promised to make report to 
their cities, and assuring us, that they wished earnestly for 
VOL. IX. 60 




a speedy establishment of amity and good harmony be- 
tween both Republics ; to which several of them added, 
affectionately, that they loved the Americans. 

January nth. This morning those of Dort have loudly 
complained in the Assembly of Holland, of the disregard 
shown by the other Provhices, and even by part of this 
Province, to the common welfare, roundly declaring that 
they will not consent to the proposed mediation for a 
peace with Great Britain, unless it should be agreed and 
resolved before, to concert measures with France for car- 
rying on the war without any truce, till peace should be 
fairly concluded. The same city, with that of Leyden, 
I am assured, will soon insist also in the Assembly, upon 
due attention being paid to our requisition. 

I have the honor to be, &.c. 



The Hague, January 30th. 1782. 

Last Friday, the co-operating with France against the 
common enemy would have been resolved upon, if the 
little city of Briel had not voted with the nobility, for re- 
solving, at the same time, the acceptance of the mediation 
proposed by Russia for a particular peace with Great 
Britain, which the other refused to do. Neither of these 
points being agreed on, they have adjourned till Tuesday, 
the 5th of February, 

Before their parting, Dort and six other principal cities 
inserted their protest against the unconstitutional man- 
ner of carrying on the correspondence by their High 


Mightinesses with the Emperor, concerning the abolition of 
the barrier treaty and the dismantling of the barrier cities 
without consulting the Provinces about it ; threatening to 
recall their Deputies at the States-General. This unex- 
pected step has much frightened and humiliated the latter. 
Probably the next week will decide, first of all, the 
business of concerting measures with France, and then 
that of the mediation, of which they are determined to 
limit the acceptance by such clauses as may disappoint 
the friends of Great Britain. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 



The Hague, March 29th, 1782. 


It is with great satisfaction that 1 find myself authorised 
to begin an official correspondence with you, by congratu- 
lating the United States on the acquisition of two illustrious 
sisters, whose example will be speedily followed by five 
others. On the 26th of February last, Friesland, and 
yesterday Holland adopted the Provincial resolutions to 
instruct their Deputies in the States-General, to direct 
affairs in that body in such a manner as to procure Mr 
Adams's admission for the purpose of presenting his cre- 
dentials from the United States to their High Mightinesses. 
This is an acknowledgment of your independence, and 
opens the road to negotiation. I have received triplicates 
of your favor, and shall have the honor of answering more 
fully on the first opportunity. 

I hope the two pamphlets accompanying this, and 

476 DUMAS. 

which are very celebrated, rare, and valuable here, 
will reach you in safety. 
I am, he. 


P. S. The names of Messrs Gyzelaer, Zeeberg, Van 
Berckel, and Vischer, Pensionaries of the cities of Dort, 
Haerlem and Amsterdam, are worthy of being remem- 
bered with the highest esteem by every true American. 


Amsterdam, April 4th, 1782. 


The 29tlj ult. I had the honor to address you a packet 
under cover to Dr Franklin at Paris, with a short letter, in 
which I had the satisfaction to commence the honor of my 
official correspendence with you, in congratulating the 
United States on the acquisition of two illustrious sisters, 
whose example will be followed by five others, as you will 
see by the papers annexed. 

I congratulate you. Sir, and myself also on your eleva- 
tion to the high post that you fill, and I recommend my 
interests and my character to your attention before Con- 
gress. I shall communicate to Dr Franklin the account 
of my expenses for the pamphlets and other charges, which 
] have already begun, and which 1 shall continue to for- 
ward to you according to your orders, and I shall draw on 
him for the amount. I purchased, in February last, for 
Mr Adams and by his order, at a cheap rate, a hotel at 
the Hague, where we shall live happily together, if God 
please, the first of next month. This purchase, besides 
the economy of it, has produced politically very good effects. 



Only France, Spain and now the United States, possess 
hotels as their own at the Hague. All the other foreign 
Ministers occupy, at a dear rate, hired hotels. 

There is no longer cause to blame the slowness of this 
nation on our atfairs. Its inclinalion for us, like a spring 
pressed by a strong hand, is escaping and declares for us 
nobly, by an accumulation of addresses of corporations, 
which appear from all parts. 1 think that before the end 
of this month, Mr Adams will be admitted to present his 
letters of credence. I came lo him here for a secret 
transaction concerted with our friends at the Hague, which 
must make our triumph over Anglomany complete. On 
his part, he went this morning to confer with the French 
Ambassador at the Hague. He will return here on Sat- 
urday, where I shall keep him company till the end of 
next week. Our sure and permanent address will be for 
the future, a VHote.l (fAmerique a la Haie en HoUande. 
I am. Sir, &,c. 




Amsterdam, May 2d, 1782, 

Your favor of the 30th I had the honor to receive yes- 
terday, with Mr Nolet's letter and your answer. What 
shall I say to this affectionate, as well as polite invitation to 
dine at Schiedam .'' I am now, and shall be a long time 
exceedingly fatigued with the affair of the loan, which 
takes up the greater part of my attention and time. The 
treaty of commerce is also, you know, under consideration, 
and the merchants of the American Coffee House have 

478 DUMAS. 

proposed a public dinner here ; but 1 have begged to be ex- 
cused. You see the difficulties, for whicli reasons I ear- 
nestly wish, that our kind i'riends of Schiedam would be 
so good as to excuse us ; but I will leave the whole to you, 
and if I cannot be excused, 1 will conform to the day you 
agree upon. But there is another affair, which not only 
perplexes me in this business of the dinner, but in many 
other matters of importance. There is a serious negotiation 
going on for peace, between the Courts of London and 
Versailles, and Dr Franklin, who has sent me the whole, 
has. invited Mr Laurens, Mr Jay, and me to Paris, to con- 
sult and treat. This may make it necessary to go at a 
short warning. 

I hope you are in possession of the liouse at the Hague, 
and advise you to live in it. Your answer to Mr Nolet is 
very just. 

It is my opinion, with submission to Congress, that it is 
the interest and duty of the United States, to send you a 
commission to be Secretary of this Legation, and Charge 
d* Affaires, with a salary of five hundred pounds sterling a 
year during the time that there is a Minister here ; and at 
the rate of a thousand a year, when there is not ; and you 
have my consent to transmit this opinion to Congress, by 
sending an extract of this letter, or otherwise by as many 
ways as you please. I shall write the same myself. 1 
wrote as much more than a year ago, but know not 
whether the letter has been received, as a vast number of 
my letters have been thrown overboard, and many taken. 

If the dinner at Schiedam should be agreed on, there 
will be no difficulties in finding a way for us three to go 
all together. All that is before said about the negotiation 
lor peace, you know must be kept secret. But if I go to 


Paris, 1 shall break up my house here entirely, and dis- 
miss all my servants. 

I have the honor to be, with compliments to the ladies, 


The following verbal message, on the part of Mr Adams 
to the Secretary of the city of Schiedam, was given by M. 
Dumas, on the 8th of May, 1782. 

The diversity of sentiments which exists in this Repub- 
lic, in relation to the circumstances in which it stands to 
the United States of America, having appeared to Mr Ad- 
ams capable of causing some embarrassment to the mer- 
chants of Schiedam, if he accepted their polite invitation, 
he has thought that he could not better prove the regard 
and affection which he has for those gentlemen, than by 
declining their polite request. He lias therefore charged 
me. Sir, to assure you of his extreme sensibility, for the 
honor and friendship they have manifested in his person to 
his Sovereign ; and of his intention, not only to make njcn- 
tion of it in his first despatches to Congress, but also to 
show on all occasions how much he is disposed to recipro- 
cate this cordial civility, by every means in his power. 



The Hague, May 10th, 178a. 
Since my last of the 4th of April, I have not had a mo- 
ment of leisure, by a succession of agreeable occupations. 


wliicli have brought us rapidly to the result which I pre- 
dicted to you. 

The voice of the people has made itself heard from all 
parts. The Provinces having successively sent their reso- 
lutions here annexed to the Generality, the 19th of April 
was the great day when the unanimous resolution of their 
High Mightinesses was adopted to admit Mr Adams ; and 
on the 20th in the morning he went to present his letters of 
credence to the President of the week. On Monday, at 
nine o'clock in the morning, I went par etiquette to the 
house of his Excellency, the French Ambassador, to ask 
of him the hour when ^Ir Adams should come and impart 
to him officially his admission, and in the meantime we 
were to leave our cards at the houses of all the members 
of the States-General. The visit to the Ambassador was 
made in form, and publicly returned in the same way. 
That of the Envoy of Spain, not requiring the same cere- 
monial as the rank of the Ambassador, we had given him 
notice on Sunday evening in ;i fatniliar visit, under a condi- 
tion previously agreed, that he would return it in like man- 
ner the next day ; and he kept his word. Monday, the 
22d, I went to ask audience lor Mr Adams, of his Serene 
Highness, the Stadthoider, who granted it immediately. 
We dined on Tuesday, the 23d, with the French Ambas- 
sador, who had invited all the Corps Diplomatique, and 
they all attended. Wednesday morning we made the tour 
of the cities of Holland at their hotels with cards. We 
left also cards of notification at the hotels of the Ministers 
of foreign neutral Courts, who probably have written to 
their Courts to know if they should return the visit. There 
has been no return of it but from the Minister of Liege. 
The samo morning I went to ask audience for Mr Adams 


of her Royal Highness ihe Princess of Orange, which im- 
mediately took place. 

Monday, 6th of May. Mr Adams was present at a 
breakfast with M. Boreel, Deputy of the States-General, 
where he had been invited with all the Court and the 
Corps Diplomatique. 

An address having been presented on Monday, the 22d, 
to Mr Adams, by six Deputies of the body of merchants of 
Schiedam, having at their head the Secretary of the city, 
who invited him at the same time to a grand festival, which 
they vv^ished to give him, 1 had the happiness yesterday 
to excuse him from iliis festival without dissatisfying these 
gentlemen, as you will see by the copy of my verbal mes- 
sage to the Secretary. 

Add to all this, Sir, the confusion of our removal into 
the Hotel of the United States of America, which is not 
yet over, and will not be for several weeks, and you may- 
well have some indulgence for the imperfection of my 
present correspondence. 

Sunday last, after dinner, at the request of the French 
Ambassador and of our friends here, and with the consent 
of Mr Adams, I made a journey by post to Amsterdam, 
charged with a secret commission relating to a concert of 
operations in this country, which the Anglomanes appeared 
willing to trouble by some intrigue, and I returned the next 
day. All is now settled to the satisfaction of France ; and 
the Anglomanes are frustrated. 

Day before yesterday we were again at a familiar and 
friendly dinner at the house of the French Ambassador, 
with whom Mr Adams was very much satisfied. 

I give you. Sir, only a sort of index, very imperfect, of 
the principal events, which have passed here lately. I 

VOL. IX. 61 

482 DUMAS. 

leave to Mr Adams, who presented on Monday, the 22d 
of April, the sketch of a treaty of amity and commerce to 
their High Mightinesses, to enlarge. I write from mem- 
ory, not having been able to keep a journal, still le<^s one 
of my going and coming, my secret interviews, conferen- 
ces, and negotiations, which were necessary to prepare 
and bring about what has been done, and which ought not 
yet to be trusted to paper. No one has better character- 
ised the truly national revolution, which has taken place 
here, than the French Ambassador, in saying, that the 
Dutch nation had avenged itself, with the greatest success, 
of all the political and other evils, which the English have 
done them since Cromwell ; and the Envoy of Spain, who 
said to Mr Adams, that he had struck the greatest blow, 
which had been given in Europe for a long time. 

I conclude by recommending, Sir, to your attention and 
to that of Congress, the copy of a letter which Mr Adams 
wrote me from Amsterdam the 2d of this month. I have 
not had a moment of leisure to write the present despatch 
sooner; nor by consequence to make a prompt use of 
this letter according to the intention of Mr Adams, and 
which, nevertheless, interests the United States as much as 
myself. It surprised «nd affected me very agreeably, and 
it was no doubt, his intention so to surprise. You know. 
Sir, or you may know by the papers of your department, 
since the end of 1775, the intimate part I have had in po- 
litical affairs without interruption, in executing faithfully the 
orders of Congress, unsolicited, but accepted on my part 
with an ardor, which 1 am bold to say, has never changed, 
and which has drawn upon me personally all the enemies, 
open and concealed, of America, and has cost me and my 
family great persecutions, mortifications, losses and sacrifices. 


1 should fear, therefore, to weaken the letter, so energetic 
and so honorable to me, of Mr Adams, (who told me by 
word of mouth, a few days shice, that he was surprised 
Congress had not before made such a disposition on the 
subject of my affairs,) if I should add anytliing more, 
except that I have never had any other principle in my 
actions, especially in these six or seven years of faithful 
and painful labor, than the service of humanity, of the 
United States, and of their honorable Congress ; and if in 
my last sigh, I could add to this testimony of my conscience 
the idea of having retained the esteem and friendship of 
all your respectable Ministers, both in Europe and Amer- 
ica, and especially yours. Sir, which will be very dear to 
me, and wliich I pray you to bestow on me, I shall con- 
tentedly close my days with the words of Horace in my 
mouth ; non ultima laus est principibus placuisse viris. 
I am, with the most sincere respect, 


P. S. May \2th. There arrived here yesterday a 
second proposition of Fox for peace with this Republic. 
It will be presented tomorrow to the States-General ; a 
new snare, which is happily foreseen and escaped. I shall 
speak of it in my next. 


The Hague, June 1st, 1782. 

My last was of the 10th of May. Since that time I 
have been constantly occupied with the French Ambas- 
sador and the good patriots of this country in counter- 

484 UUMAy 

acting the preleiuled mediators ibr a separate peace 
between Great Britain and this Republic ; and we have 
so far succeeded that Holland has adopted a good reso- 
lution in relation to it, which is all ready and which 
will nearly destroy this manoeuvre of the Anglomanes. 
On the 21st and 22d of May, I made at the request of 
the Ambassador a journey to Dort, where was ready a 
sketch of a resolution (since matured and perfected) of 
which I at the same time made a translation for the 
Ambassador. We shall see the effect this will have. 

I know that one of the principal Ministers of the 
Republic, on the good will of whom we begin to rely 
a little more than formerly, has declared that he has in 
his pocket the full proofs of the intention of the British 
Ministry to amuse and deceive the Republic, which I 
hope to see soon irrevocably pledged not to make a 
peace except in conjunction with the three other bel- 
ligerent powers. I cannot explain myself more at 
present. If it were not for the disaster of De Grasse 
in the West Indies, which delays our progress a little, 
we should be already more advanced. 

June \8th. The abovementioned resolution, al- 
though printed on the 5th, was not finally decreed by 
the Stales of Holland till the 12th instant, with some 
changes, after which they separated, not to come to- 
gether again for about three weeks. In this interval, 
the cities will have examined the report of the Admi- 
ralty, on tlie treaty of amity and commerce between 
the United States and this Republic : and I am assured 
that this treaty will be brought to a conclusion at the 
first sitting. There will be a question also at that lime 
on the nomination of a Minister of this Republic to 


reside near Congress ; the Prince having declared his 
willingness to propose it to the same assembly. 

I accompanied Mr Adams yesterday morning to an 
audience with the Prince at the Chateau du Bois; and 
he supped there the same day with the Prince, the 
Princess, and many foreign Ministers. The stay of 
Grenville at Paris, and his pretended instructions to 
negotiate peace, have all the air of being only a trick 
of the Court of London ; and I think it will require 
one more campaign to bring them to talk seriously of 
a general peace, or rather to ripen the revolution or 
civil war, which has appeared to me for a long time 
springing up in their bosom, and which will bring- 
about finally the catastrophe of this great tragedy. 
May the catastrophe be only fatal to the authors of the 
evil, and turn to the happiness of the human race in 
general, and especially to that of the United States. 

June 20th. The Ambassador has informed us, that 
the combined fleet departed from Cadiz the 4th instant, 
and in great confidence that Mr Grenville, who is at 
Paris, has received from his Court full powers more 
ample, to treat with all the belligerents. This is well, 
if his powers are explicit and sincere. But to trust to 
them it seems necessary that the British Court should 
declare, that it recognises the United States for a bellig- 
erent power, otherwise it will be a Proteus ; it will 
escape from us when we tliink to hold it, and will 
pretend to do us a great favor by condescending to a 
truce, which would be more pernicious to America 
than the war. It would draw on the United States a 
host of evils. It would leave, in the opinion of all 
the world, not excepting your allies and yourselves, 

486 DUMAS. 

an idea of the uncertainty of your independence, 
which would never be effectual, and derogate, by 
consequence, explicitly from the 2d, 3d, 8th and 9th 
articles of your treaty of alliance with France, so justly 
admired ; would degrade your power, your credit, 
your dignity ; would open the door to distrust, to dis- 
sensions, to corruption and treachery among your- 
selves, to combinations against you in Europe; would 
put you under the necessity of keeping a standing 
army, &c. &c. &c. God preserve the United States 
from this Pandora's box ! If ever Congress could have 
had a thought, in the most difficult times, to have re- 
course to this dangerous palliative of the evils of war, 
the present moment should inspire it with one very 
different, which will infallibly bring to terms an ene- 
my fatigued, exhausted and ruined, and will assure to 
the United States, with peace, the respect, the regard 
and friendship of all powers. An unbounded soli- 
citude for the safety, the prosperity and glory of 
the United States will serve, I hope, as an apology for 
the boldness with which I dare to expose here my 
sentiments to Congress, of whose firmness and magna- 
nimity, as well as of those of its ministers, I have an 
idea as great, in proportion, as my opinion of the in- 
tentions of the enemy and of its favorers, is small. 

The Academy of Franequer in Friesland has caused 
to be exhibited on occasion of a celebration in honor 
of the connexion between the United States and this 
Republic, beautiful fire works, with an illumination. 
On a triumphal arch you may read this distich ; 

Plus valpt una dies, quoe libera ducitur, acta, 
Quam mali sub domini stecula mille jugo. 


There has been sti'uck at Leuwarde in Friesland, 

to perpetuate the same event, and all that was resolved 

in their Provincial Diets of February and April last, a 

medal representing a Frieslander stretching out his 

right hand to an American, in token of fraternity, and 

rejecting with his left the advances made to him by an 

Englishman. We are invited to dinner on Sunday by 

the French Ambassador, who augurs better than we 

do of Grenville's mission. God grant that he may be 


I have the honor to be, &c. 



The Hague, August 16th, 1782. 

At length the treaty of commei-ce has passed, and was 
approved day before yesterday in the States of Hol- 
land ; and the States-General proposed immediately a con- 
ference with Mr Adams, to put a final hand to it. 

August 19th. The States of Holland separated on 
the 17th, after having resolved and decreed instructions 
for the Plenipotentiaries, which the Republic sends to 
treat with A!r Fitzherbert, in conjunction with France and 
her allies. They talk, among other things, of acting in all 
respects in a communicative manner, and in concert with 
the Ministers of the King of France, and the other belliger- 
ent powers, in the preparatory and preliminary negotiations, 
which they may begin with the Ambassador of Great 
Britain, to do nothing without them, and to be assured 
above all of the sincere and unequivocal intentions of tlie 
British king, to leave for the future the Republic in the 

498 DUMAS. 

full enjoyment of the rights of neuiralily, established in the 
Russian declaration of the 28th of February, 1780. 
1 have the honor to be, Stc. 



Philadelphia, September 5th, 1782. 

It was not till within these few weeks, that 1 received 
your favor of the 4th of April last, together with the inter- 
esting paper it enclosed, since which time we are informed 
that your prediction relative to the reception of Mr Adams 
has been verified. It would have given me great pleasure 
lo have learned so important an event, with the steps that 
immediately led to it from your pen. Y'our usual punctuality 
induces me to believe that your letters have been unfortu- 
nate, since 1 cannot ascribe this omission to neglect. When 
you do me the honor to wjite again, be pleased to enter 
minutely into the subject ; since everything that relates to 
it is not only important in itself, but will be so much the 
object of curiosity hereafter, that it should have a place 
among our archives. 

It would be a great advantage to you and to us, if you 
maintained such a correspondence with your seaports as 
would enable you to avail yourselves of every opportunity 
of writing to us, as it would give your letters the charms of 
novelty, and preserve to you the character of attention, and 
to us, as it would enable us to confirm or contradict the 
accounts, that we continually receive by private letters, or 
through the enemy's papers, some time before we have 
your relation of them. 

The enemy have al length evacuated Savannah, and in 


all probability Charleston, by this time ; since, on the 7th 
of August they gave notice in general orders for the tories 
to jjrepare themselves ("or such an event. Their fleet, 
consisting of fifteen sail of the line, arrived yesterday at 
Sandy Hook. The French fleet, under the Marquis de 
Vaudreuil had arrived some time before at Boston, where 
lie unfortimately lost one of his ships, which struck upon a 
rock and sunk in the hnrbor. Congress, willing to testify 
their sympathy in this misfortune, have presented the 
America, a ship of seventyfour guns, to his Most Christian 
Majesty. She is in such a state that sh.e can iu a short 
time be fitted to join his fleet. 

We wait withthe utmost impatience some account from 
Europe of the state of the negotiations for a general peace. 

The caution of the enemy in keej^ing within their posts, 
will probably vender this an inactive campaign, though we 
never had a finer or better appointed army thaji at present. 
I have the honor to be, he. 



Philadelphia, September 12th. 1782. 

Just after I had closed the letter you will receive with 
this, I was honored by yoiu- desjiatchcs h'om the lOti) of 
May to the 9th of July inclusive. You will easily believe. 
Sir, that I received great pleasure from the important in- 
telligence they communicate ; and the more so as we had 
been long in the dark with respect to your transactions. 

I am sorry that the packet which is to carry this, leaves 
me no time to enlarge, but this will be ihe less neces!;ary, 
afi I shall write very fidly to Mr Adatns. 
VOL. IX. 62 

490 DUMAS. 

With respect to your own affairs, 1 can only say that 
you have my sincerest wishes for your prosperity and pro- 
motion. 1 have ah'eady reported upon the subject, but 
what the issue will be, I cannot yet venture to predir t. I 
know Congress to be very sensible of your assiduity and 
attachment ; and if anything prevents their rewarding them 
as they would wish, it will be the present state of their 
finances, which requires the most rigid economy. 

The change in the British Administration will induce, 
it is imagined, a similar change in measures here. We 
are in liourly expectation of hearing of the evacuation of 
Charleston, which had been formally announced to the in- 
habitants, who came out in crowds to demand pardon with 
the concurrence of General Leslie. It is probably too late 
to countermand that order, although they will in all likeli- 
hood still retain New York, contrary to what had appeared 
to have been their determination, before the arrival of the 
packet. Happily the continuance of the war will be much 
less burdensome lo us now, than at any former period ; 
not only because habit has reconciled us lo it, and intro- 
duced system in our mode of conducting it, which makes it 
less inconvenient to the individual, but because I think 1 
may say without boasting, that there is not at this time a 
better disciplined or a better disposed army in the world ; 
scarce a man among them who has not been repeatedly in 
action. They are now, too, completely clothed and armed, 
an advantage they never before enjoyed. We are at pre- 
sent just in the situation in which free people should always 
wish to be. Peace will not come iinwelcomed, nor war 
unprepared for. 

I have the honor to be, &.c. 




The Hague, September 5i7th, 1782. 


My last came down to the 4th of September. There 
has been an important resolution of this day taken by the 
States of Holland, constituting a commission of five Depu- 
ties, accompanied by the Grand Pensionary, to seek of the 
Prince the cause of the bad state of the maritime forces of 
the Republic, and of their inactivity. 

October 3d. The abovenamed committee have been 
received by the Prince with all the honors due to Sover- 
eigns, and have opened conferences with him. The same 
day, their High Mightinesses in secret session having de- 
liberated on the Memorial of the French Ambassador, by 
which he had made them a proposition "to send ten ships 
of war to Brest, to be there joined by the vessels of the 
King, and to act with them against the common enemy, 
either in Asia or Europe," have resolved, that the Prince 
be requested to designate immediately the demanded squad- 
ron, viz. five vessels of sixty guns, three of fifty, two fri- 
gates, and a cutter for this purpose, to depart if the winds 
will permit before the 8th of October, to avoid the risk 
which would attend them after that time of being inter- 
cepted by an enemy of superior force. 

October llth. The officer designated to command the 
said squadron arrived here the 4th, while the wind coming 
round, became all at once favorable on the 5th to depart ; 
and he reported to the Prince, who did not communicate 
the report until the 7th, in secret session, that the squad- 
ron was not in a state to go to Brest, i'or want of provi- 
sions, cordage, sails, anchors, clothes for the seaman, and 

4'Ji DUiMAS. 

other necessary articles;* on which tlie coniiniltoe above- 
nanied presented themselves today to the Prince, to ex- 
press their surprise and ask an explanation. The Prince 
professed that he had no account to render but for the past, 
and none for the present or the future ; at least till a new 
resolution of their Noble and Grand Mightinesses. On 
their side, the committee conceiving with reason "that the 
resolution which was committed to them, contained partic- 
ular instructions to look into the points which it specified, 
and particularly a general order to report on all subjects 
relating to the marine, and especially the direction of the 
present war, as much as should appear to them necessary 
to dissipate all obscurity," have in consequence made their 
report to the Assembly. 

October I6th. Their Noble and Grand Mightinesses 
having deliberated on the report, all the cities were ready 
to conform to it except Schiedam, la Brille, and Medem- 
blick, which have taken it od referendum, the final resolution 
being deferred ; but it will be adopted as reported next 
week, at least by the majority, which is sufficient in this case. 

His Excellency Mr Adams departed this morning, the 
16th of October, for Paris. In taking leave of the Presi- 
dent and Secretary of their High Mightinesses the States- 
General, he did me the honor to present me as Charge 
d\^ffaires of the United Slates ; which is an indispensable 
custom. He had before advised the Grand Pensionary of 
it, to whom I shall make tomorrow a visit of |>oliteness in 

October IBM. A young otficcr, (De VVitte,) convicted 

* The 12th of September, the Prince on liis return from the Texel, 
reported positively to their High Mightinesses, tiiat ail was there 
ready, '«hat the vessels were in a condition for sea and for action, and 
waited only for his orders. 


of high treason, for having attempted to assist the enemy in 
an invasion of the coast of Zealand, was about to be tried 
by the High Council of War, which is wholly dependent 
on the Prince, when the States of Holland solemnly signi- 
fied to the Prince that he ought to cause prosecution to be 
stayed before this tribunal, as incompetent, and carry it up 
before the Court of Justice of Holland and Zealand. 
This High Council of War, is, besides, odious to the na- 
tion, and regarded as tyrannical and unconstitutional. 

I have not spoken in this letter of our treaty of amity 
and commerce with this Republic, signed finally by both 
parties the 8th of this month, because Mr Adams will give 
you this detail better Uian 1 can. I shall content myself 
with saying, that I have every reason to be persuaded that 
he is satisfied with the zeal, with which I have fulfilled the 
tasks which he has required of me, in the operations which 
have preceded this signature, and pray God that the 
United States may gather from it the most abundant fruits. 

October 22d. I am anxious to see an answer to the 
extract I sent to your Excellency, agreeably to the wish 
and permission of Mr Adams, of a certain letter which he 
wrote me. For so long as I am not openly recognised and 
suitably sustained by Congress, my precarious condition 
here is cruel, in the midst of the Anglomanes, who wish to 
see me perish ignobly, and in the bosom of a family whose 
complaints and reproaches I fear more than death. Mr 
Laurens, in his hasty passage through this country, was per- 
fectly sensible of it. He knows that I serve the United 
States constantly, without respect of persons. ^^You have 
been slighted,''^ are his own words ; and when I testified to 
him my regrets for his departure from Europe, he had the 
goodness to add, that these regrets were contrary to my 

494 DUMAS. 

interest. Permit me, Sir, to commend them to you, and 
if Mr Laurens has returned to you safely, as 1 hope, on the 
arrival of this, will you express to him the sentiments of the 
most affectionate respect wliich I retain for him, as well as 
for all the great men in America, who have served under the 
sublime principles, which have animated me as well as 
them ; and in which I, as well as they, will live and die. 
I am, with great respect, &ic. 



The Hague, November 15th, 1782. 

Yesterday morning, after a conference with his Excel- 
lency the Due de la Vauguyon, 1 went in a post chaise to 
Rotterdam and Dort, m order to advise our friends in these 
two cities of some changes about to be made in the instruc- 
tions of their Ministers Plenipotentiary at Paris, to deprive 
the English Minister of all pretext for conferring with those 
of the other belligerent powers without them. I succeeded 
to the satisfaction of his Excellency, and our friends were 
duly informed and disposed, when they received this morn- 
ing, while I was returning, letters on this subject from the 
Grand Pensionary. My journey has gained the time 
which would have been lost, if they had, on re-assembling 
here taken the thing ad referendum. 

November 11 th. I had the pleasure to receive this 
morning, on behalf of the Ambassador, absent at Amster- 
dam, the news of the re-admission of M. Van Berckel, 
First Pensionary of Amsterdam, to the Assembly of their 
Noble and Grand IMightinesses, where he will re-appear on 
the 20th, radiant as the sun, di^ectis nubibm. 


There has arrived a circular letter from Friesland, to 
take away from the Prince the direction of affairs. 1 shall 
have it, and will add it to the gazettes. 

November I8th. On my return, B\iday evening, I found, 
Sir, your favors of the 6th and 12th of September, to which 
I can only answer succinctly, that the present may not be 

I have thought a long time how much it might be advan- 
tageous both for Congress and for me, as you observe, Sir, 
if I could enter into a minute and frequent detail of all that 
passes here within the sphere of my action. But let Con- 
gress remember at last that qtii vidtjinem, vult media, being 
both essential and subsidiary. I labor all day. Often I 
have scarcely time left to note briefly for myself what is 
done or said. I am alone. It is necessary to copy the 
same despatches four times, if one would hope for their ar- 
rival. 1 could have many things to say on all this. But 
to what good, if Congress does not say it also? 1 have not 
put my light under a bushel. I have made it shine con- 
stantly before both worlds, for the service of the United 
States, since they have called me here. 

If the truths I transmit come more slowly than the 
falsehoods of the enemy, which they may serve to con- 
tradict, it is because they may forge stories as they 
please, but not the truth which arrives when it can, 
and which besides, cannot always be hazarded prema- 
turely, still less be foretold, especially when the ene- 
my might profit by it. 

As to peace, we know not here what has been done 
about it at Paris. My opinion is, that two or three 
more campaigns will be infinitely more salutary to 
the American Confederation than a patched-up peace, 

400 DUMAS. 

wliich sliall leave the enemy ))ossessor of Canada, 
ISovoi Scotia and Newfoundland ; wlience he would 
not cease nor be slow to vex you by all manner of 
means, perhaps to divide you, which will be worse. 
But let us wait what Parliament says at the end of this 
month. Then we may be able to say of the Congress 
of Peace, what the poet Rousseau, in his Ode to For- 
tune, said of a hero beroming man again ; 

Le masque tombe, George reste, 
Et le Romain sevanouit. 

And 30 much the better, I think, for America and 
for this Republic. I am, with very great respect, Sir, 


P. S. I thank you. Sir, for the excellent letter of 
Mr Payne to the Abbe Raynal. If it is possible I shall 
publish it in French. 


The Hague, Decemlier 12th, 1782. 


Some days ago I was about to prepare a new des- 
patch, touching affairs on the carpet here, when an un- 
foreseen event prevented me. It is nothing less than 
a conspiracy, which might be termed Catilinarian, if 
there had been an able Catiline in it; but they only 
had the intention of the Roman, without his sagacity. 

We were congratulating ourselves here on the des- 
patches from Paris, which informed the Grand Pen- 
sionary, much to the regret of the conspiracy, of the 
news of the signing of preliminaries between the Min- 


istei's of the United States and Great Britain. We 
were only surprised at the oath of secrecy exacted of 
the members of the Assembly, before communicating 
to them the contents of despatches so well suited to 
reassure and relieve the nation of the fear, which, to 
excite discontent, it had been industriously endeavor- 
ed to inspire, that it would be deceived and abandon- 
ed by the other powers, when on the 5th and 6th, the 
festival of St Nicholas, famous in this country, which 
they seemed disposed to make another St Bartholo- 
mew's, the conspiracy broke out and failed. Persons 
were sent about during these two days, with the 
Orange cockade in their hats and an address of thanks 
in their hands, applauding the good management of 
the marine, and at night about thirty men, paid and in- 
toxicated, made a noisy procession through the streets 
and squares, to endeavor to raise I he populace, who, 
however, would not sign, nor join the seditions, to 
make an attack, as they foolishly expected, on every 
person obnoxious to them. Saturday, 7th, they en- 
deavored,, in order to renew the scene the following 
Monday, to gain the peat carriers, who answered, that 
the troubles of 1748 had taught them to be more wise 
for the futui'e. The evening of the same Saturday 
they hinted secretly to the Pensionaries of Dort and 
Amsterdam (remaining in the city) that they must not 
depart on their peril. But they, disregarding the dan- 
ger, immediately went to require the Grand Pension- 
ary to convoke an extraordinary Assembly on Mon- 
day. He obeyed in spite of himself, and despatched 
couriers during that night. 

On Monday morning, the 9li), ihe Asscmbl)- achjpted 

VOL. IX. 63 

.198 DUMAS. 

by the large majority of sixteen, against two cities (la 
Brille and Enkhuisen) and to the confusion of the 
nobles and the Stadtholder, who were present, a reso- 
lution (a true quousque tandem) in which the Court and 
the officers of justice, municipal and provincial, are 
strongly censured for having looked on without inter- 
fering, and in which the Provincial Court of Justice is 
ordered to prosecute the affair criminally ; and the 
Counsellor Deputies, to provide that for the future 
like disorders shall not be committed. The same 
day the Provincial Court of Justice assembled in conse- 
quence, and named two Commissioners of its own 
body, and another fiscal not suspected, to attend to the 
examination of the conspiracy. The Counsellor Dep- 
uties have likewise named a commission, to effect what 
is enjoined on them. From these two commissions 
are excluded the old Provincial Fiscal of Justice, who 
has besides a quasi gout, and the Grand Bailiff of the 
Hague, who, on the part of the nobles, is of the Coun- 
cil of Deputies, and who prudently declined before 
rejection, for both are under censure by the resolution. 

The Court, alarmed at the consequences which they 
feared from all this, engaged M. Thulemcyer, Envoy 
of Prussia, to act for them, who, in continuation of a 
certain measure, which he took about two months ago 
by order of his Court, has been this morning to the 
Deputies of Dort, Haerlem, Amsterdam and Rotter- 
dam, to tell them "that his Majesty has learned with 
displeasure the dissensions which have place in the 
Republic, that, without wishing to meddle in the domestic 
affairs of the Republic,* the interest that his Majesty 

** The expression in italicB was added by the Envoy, in his address 


takes equally in the welfare of their High Mighti- 
nesses and of the Prince, his kinsman, does not permit 
him to look with indifference on any diminution of the 
rights of the Stadtholder ; and that he would guaranty 
that this Prince should not abuse his prerogatives ; 
and he hoped by this step that harmony would be re- 
established." Amsterdam has answered, "That they 
were surprised to find the King so misinformed, that 
for themselves, they did not know that they had ever 
diminished the rights of the Stadtholder, and that the 
Stadtholder himself had never complained of it to the 
States ; that this would no doubt have been done, if 
the fact had been true ; that, as for the rest, they 
would write to their city what the Envoy had said to 
them, that it might if it should judge proper write di- 
rectly to the King, to inform him better, and put his 
Majesty also in a way to know those who had thus 
imposed on him." 

This answer evidently confounded the Envoy. The 
other cities have answered the same in substance. 

December \^th. The committee charged with arrange- 
ments for sending a Minister of the Republic to the United 
States, made its report yesterday to the Assembly of the 
States of Holland, the members of which took it ad refer- 
endum. This Minister is to have twenty thousand florins 
per annum, and ten thousand for his outfit. 

This morning the committee of five has returned again 
to the Prince. 

Tlie resolution o( Zealand, that the prisoner Witte 

to the gentlemen of Amsterdam and Rotterdam, because those of 
Dort asked him, if the King pretended to meddle in the domestic 
concerns of the Republic ? Haerlem was not able to receive him. 


500 DUMAS 

should be deliveipH to the Provincial Court, is received, 
and the Prince will yield. 

The deliberation on the circular letter of Friesland, in- 
terrupted by the disturbance, which in history may be de- 
nominated the Cockade Conspiracy, to distinguish it from 
that of the Gunpowder Plot, will be resumed next wefek. 
I am, Sir, &c, 



The Hague, December 17th, 1782. 

This morning the Minister of Prussia, M. Thulemeyer, 
has again visited the Deputies of the eighteen cities of 
Holland, to inform them of a Memorial, which he has pre- 
sented to their High Mightinesses against a certain libel, 
in which, among other calumnies, is an insinuation, that 
the Princess attempted to imitate the conduct of a certain 
Empress in relation to her husband. 

It has been replied to him, "that their Noble and Grand 
Mightinesses, as well as their High Mightinesses, had long 
since done everything in their power against libels by 
severe placards ; that the further measures, which seemed 
to be expected of them, and which, perhaps, were suitable 
enough in arbitrary governments, could not be adopted in 
this Republic, of which the liberty of the press is the Pal- 
ladium ; that it is like every other good thing, the use of 
which is free to all, and the abuse subject to the animad- 
version of the bailiffs and fiscals ; that the Minister knows 
how lately their Noble and Grand Mightinesses have had 
reason to complain of the negligence of those officers of 


justice ; that the Princess, the Prince, and the whole 
House of Orange, more nearly connected with them than 
with the King, his master, did not need any foreign com- 
mendation to make themselves beloved and respected by 
the nation, and protected by the Sovereign, Stc." 

December 21st. The three ostensible exciters of the 
Cockade Conspiracy, protected by an invisible hand, have 
escaped from justice and fled to Cranenberg, a village in 
the Duchy of Cleves. The Court having sent its officers, 
to arrest them at the peril of the complainants, the Re- 
gency of Cleves, contrary to the law of nations, has re- 
fused to allow the arrest. This morning the States held 
an extraordinary session to deliberate on the subject, and, 
notwithstanding the opposition of the nobles, adopted a 
resolution, requiring the court of justice to make a solemn 
demand of the fugitives at Cleves, in the name of the 
Sovereign ; on Friday next, a letter will be addressed on 
this subject directly to the King of Prussia, and Duke of 

The Grand Bailiff of Utrecht (Count d'Athlone) has 
lost, with costs of suit, his case against the editor of a 
weekly newspaper, {de Post van den JVeder-Rhein) which 
for about two years has produced a wonderful impression 
on the nation. This is a brilliant victory of the patriots 
over their enemies. Some of the expressions, which 
have given offence were, la brouette va de travers, qii' 
il-y-a une main invisible qui gate tout, ^-c. 

In Friesland, the majority of the eleven cities, which 
form the fourth Quarter of the Sovereignty, have annulled 
the influence of the Court on the appointment of their 
circuits. Thus the resolution of the Province, so disa- 
greeable to the Court, will be unanimous. 

502 DUMAS. 

December 24th. I have just been confidentially in- 
formed, on condition of my writing an account of the fact 
to my friends at Dort and Amsterdam, that this morning 
the Prince went to declare to their High Mightinesses, 
that, on the resolution of Zealand, taken on the report of 
the court of justice, although there was much to be said 
relative to that report, he was ready, under leave of their 
High Mightinesses, to transfer the prisoner Witte from the 
hands of the High Council of VV'ar to those of the court of 
justice. On which the Grand Pensionary first protested 
with a loud voice, that it was necessary to wait till Friday 
for the resolution of the Sovereign thereon ; and then, in a 
low voice, he intimated to the President, that it might be 
done by a majority. The prisoner will, therefore, be 
transferred to night. 

On Wednesday last, a courier despatched from hence 
to anticipate the demand of the court of justice, arrived at 
Cleves the same night, caused the gates to be opened, the 
three conspirators, who were abed, to be called, conduc- 
ted them hastily out by tlie other gate, and after going 
some distance on foot, stowed them away in a carriage, 
which, according to appearances, carried them to Hanover. 

December 26th. The accompanying note I sent to M. 
Van der Hoop, Fiscal of the Admiralty of Amsterdam, in 
consequence of the request presented at Amsterdam by 
the agents of an American letter of marque. My demand 
of a passport for these people, to protect them from being 
made prisoners when ashore, has been granted. I con- 
gratulate myself, that my first public measure has been, 
like all my other measures, secundum libertatem. It has 
been suggested to me to make another against a certain 
]\he], ''The Magic Lantern," in which America and her 


worthy Plenipotentiaiy here have been roughly handled. 
I replied, that I would do nothing, which could afford any 
pretext for violating the liberty of the press ; of which the 
present instance of abuse deserved only contempt. 
I am, &ic. 



The Hague, January 11th, 1783. 


This morning their Noble and Grand Mightinesses 
adopted a resolution conformable to the report hereto an- 
nexed, relative to the mission of a Minister Plenipotenti- 
ary to the United States, with instructions to their Deputies 
of the Province in the States-General, to press the conclu- 
sion of this matter by the States. This evening, between 
ten and twelve o'clock, one of the gentlemen, coming to 
take leave of me until Tuesday week, concerted with me 
the measures it would be proper to take during his ab- 
sence, to make the choice fall, if the plan succeeds, on a 
person who will be as agreeable to the United States, as 
lie is esteemed by the patriots of this country. I shall give 
information of it by letter next Tuesday to Mr Adams. 

Yesterday arrived sonje despatches from the Plenipo- 
tentiaries of the Republic at Paris, with the reply of his 
Britannic Majesty to the preliminaries which had been pro- 
posed ; this reply is not satisfactory. 

I am, Sir, Stc. 


504 DUMAS. 


The Hague, January 20th, 1783 

This morning M. Thulenmeyer, Envoy of Prussia, pre- 
senled the Memorial hereto annexed to their High Might- 
inesses. 1 shall say nothing about it, because 1 should 
have too much to say, ai-d bocause it is better to see what 
they will say whom it concerns. 

Tomorrow the Chamberlain, Baron de Heide, will set out 
for Paris, sent by the Prince, to give his Most Christian 
IMajesty a good opinion of his patriotism, liis measures, 
and his disposition. 

The cities of Guelderland and Overyssel continue, after 
the example of those of Friesland, to raise their heads one 
after another. 

February 22d. I have yet to give you an account of 
a secret and important negotiation and correspondence, be- 
tween the gentlemen here and our Ministers st Paris, 
which has been carried on by my intervention for more 
than a month. But besides that it will take much lime 
to copy all these letters, the subject will not allow me lo 
risk the copies at sea, until the vessels can navigaK" with 
more safety. The article relating to the liberty of the 
seas is the subject of discussion ; this matter they wish to 
see definitively arranged previously lo the general |)eace, 
and with good reason. 

1 congratulate the United States on the signature of the 
preliminaries between the United States, France, and 
Spain on one side, and England on the other. God grant 
that the peace may follow soon, and a permanent peace ; 
which cannot be without solidly establishing the |)rinciplcs 


of the armed neutrality between these powers and the 
Republic . 

I am, &.C. 


P. S. Next Friday this Province will propose the 
Baron de Dodem, Lord of Peckendatn, &z,c. as Minister 
Pienipotentiaiy of the Republic near the United States. 
The other party is canvassing warmly, but secretly against 
him. All appearances, however, are in favor of tiiis good 
patriot, and I recommend him beforehand as such to your 
Excellency. He is cousin-german of M. de Capelle du 
Pol, formerly a correspondent of your uncle, the Governor 
of the Jersies. _ 


January 20th, 1783. 
High and Mighty Lords, 

Tlie King had flattered himself, that the amicable rep- 
resentations and intimations, which the undersigned has 
made, by the express order of his Majesty, to several dis- 
tinguished members of the States-General of the United 
Provinces, on the subject of the present unhappy excite- 
ment, which manifests itself at j)resent in Holland, would 
produce the desired effect, conformably to the positive 
assurances he had received on this point. But his Maj- 
esty has learned with as much displeasure as surprise, 
that these domestic troubles, instead of being quieted are 
constantly increasing, and thf^t it is even meditated to de- 
jnive the Prince Stadtholder of the command of the army 
and navy, and thus to strip him of his cliief prerogatives of 
hereditary Captain-General and High Admiral. The 
VOL. IX. 64 

506 DUMAS. 

King cannot believe that this is the e,enenil sentiment and 
desire of the nation, and ol the rulers of the State. His 
Majesty on the contrary is persuaded, that it is only the 
private wish of a few individuals, who are inimical to the 
Most Serene House of Nassau, from personal hatred or 
private views, without regard to the true welfare and com- 
mon interest of the State. 

Every good Dutchman will remember with gratitude, 
that the foundations of his present liberty and prosperity 
were laid by the Princes of the illustrious House of 
Orange-Nassau, and acquired in part at the price of their 
blood ; that this House has formed, and established on a 
firm basis, tl)e present constitution of the Republic, and 
after extraordinary vicissitudes and revolutions, in some 
respects resembling the present crisis, has rescued the Re- 
public from the perils which threatened it, and re-estab- 
lished it in its former lustre. It is not to be doubted, that 
the welfare and safely of the Republic depend on the 
preservation of that form of government, which has so hap- 
pily subsisted for two centuries, and of the Stadtholderate, 
which is inseparable from il. Every good Dutch patriot 
must feel persuaded of the truth of this. All the neigh- 
boring powers ap[)ear equally convinced of it, and are able 
to see that dissensions, not less dangerous than inexcusable, 
the consequences of which may prove not less ruinous to 
this Republic, than they have been to other States under 
similar circumstances, subsist and constantly increase in 
violence in the bosom of the United Provinces. These 
powers are all equally interested in the maintenance of the 
Dutch Republic. The King is more particularly so, both 
from his consanguinity to the Most Serene House of 
Orange, and from his being the nearest neighbor, and the 


constant and sincere friend of the Republic. His Majesty 
is persuaded he knows it from the most positive assurances, 
that the Prince Stadtholder has the purest and most salu- 
tary views of the good of the Repubhc, and the support of 
the present constitution ; that if evil disposed persons at- 
tribute to him any other intentions, it is an insinuation as 
destitute of all probability, as it is injurious to his character 
and his enlightened policy ; that the Prince will follow and 
execute undeviatingly the principles adopted and estab- 
lished by the sovereign power of the United Provinces, and 
will for llie future ren^ove even a suspicion of the contrary. 

The undersigned, Envoy Extraordinary, has the honor 
to submit all these imporiant considerations to their High 
Mightinesses, the States-General of the United Provinces. 
He is directed by die most precise orders of the King, to 
recommend tliem to their most serious reflections, and to 
urge their High Mightinesses to reject and repel all propo- 
sitions and opinions calculated to diminish the lawful pre- 
rogatives of the Siadthoiderate, and change the form of 
their government, so long established and so happily pre- 
served ; but on the other hand, to take effectual measures 
to quiet the internal troubles, to check the attempts of the 
factious, to put a stop to their calumnies, and to restore not 
only the harmony of the State, but also the authority and 
respectability of the Prince Stadtholder, and of all engaged 
in the government of the Republic. 

His Majesty flatters himself, that their High Mighti- 
nesses will receive his representations as the counsel and 
exhortations of a neighbor, who is their true and sincere 
friend, who is not indifferent to the fate of the Republic, 
but who will always feel the liveliest and warmest interest 
in the preservation of its constitution. 


508 DUMAS. 


The Hague, January 24th, 1783. 


The sudden and unexpected manner in which we have 
received the news of the signing of the preliminaries, by 
all the belligerent powers, except that in which we are 
most interested here, filled our friends at first with appre- 
hensions ; but after having recovered from their first sur- 
prise, M. Van Berckel, ai the suggestion and on the re- 
quest of the Grand Pensionary, in a secret conference, 
proposed the most dignified and sure method of attaining 
the object desired and desirable to all. The Grand Pen- 
sionary adopted it with eagerness, and it was, that JM. Van 
Berckel should request me to consult you, as early as 
possible, on this method. It is as follows. 

"To accelerate the negotiation of a general peace, and 
to prevent ulterior discussions between their High Mighti- 
nesses and Great Britain, on the question of free and un- 
limited navigation. Mr Adams is requested to declare, 
whether he is authorised by Congress to accede to the 
armed neutrality, already concluded between certain pow- 
ers of Europe, or to enter into a similar negotiation with 
France, Spain, and the United Provinces. 

"In either case their High Mightinesses would make the 
same proposition to France and Spain, in order to prevent 
discussions on the subject of the liberty of the seas, which 
may retard the general peace, and assist the Republic in 
concluding a peace on her part with Great Britain, which 
may otherwise be delayed by difficulties, arising from par- 
ticular stipulations or arrangements to be made with Eng- 
land on this subject. 


"The definitive treaty between England and tlie Re- 
public might then be concluded, with a reserve of the 
natural right of all nations, who are in the enjoyment of 
this right, unless they should modify it by particular treat- 
ies on the subject of contrabands, recognised as such by 
the contracting parties. 

"Mr Adams is requested to communicate his ideas on 
this subject as speedily as possible, and to add his views on 
the means of furthering such a negotiation, and hastening 
the conclusion of the general peace ; since it appears, that 
the Republic could meanwhile accede to the armistice, 
which must result from the signing of the preliminaries of 
peace by the other belligerent powers, and treat with En- 
gland on all the points in dispute." 

It is for you to decide, if you will confer ministerially 
with M. Brantzen on this (natter. 

It only remains for me to present to you the compli- 
ments of M. Van Berckel, with the warmest expression of 
his esteem ; he has just left me, to give me an opportunity 
of writing the above. 
I am, he. 



The Hague, January 28th, 1783. 


You have probably received today my letter of the 24th, 

sent by a courier of the French Ambassador. It is of the 

utmost importance to those on behalf of whom I wrote it, 

and they wait with anxiety for your answer, because the 

* See Mr Adams's reply to tliis letter, Vol. VII. p. 13. 

510 DUMAS 

effect they expect it to produce, is in their opinion alone 
able to repair the immense and unpardonable fault, (I use ; 

their words) which has been committed in abandoning, * 

sacrificing, and deluding them. This is their own language ^ 

even to the Ambassador, who wishes them to enter upon 
this negotiation directly with the French Minister, and in 
that case promises them complete success ; this they flatly 
refuse. He said to me and to them too, that he thought 
you would make no difficulty in taking it upon yourself, but 
that your colleagues would probably oppose it. They re- 
plied, that, not seeing any reason why any opposition 
should be made to the joint adoption of the measure by the 
three belligerents, rather than leave it to the caprice of the 
Minister of a single power, they should consider any such 
opposition as owing to the influence of such Minister ; that 
then it would be useless to apply any longer to them for 
any negotiations whatever, and in that case his Excellency 
must in future be contented to apply to their High Might- 
inesses, without requiring them and their cities to expose 
themselves farther to contempt and danger. 

I have thought it my duty, in so important an affair, to 
inform you fully of all the circumstances. I will add, that 
the nation is indignant at the last act of the French Minis- 
ter, and that he will lose their confidence entirely, if he 
intrigues against that measure, which they propose with an 
entire reliance on your candor and your good intentions. 

Yesterday 1 read to the Grand Pensionary in extenso 
the copy of the preliminaries between America and Great 
Britain, with which you hare favored me. I then read it 
to other friends, but no one shall have a copy until you 
grant permission. ,.h|: 

M. de Gyzelaer, whom I have seen this morning, and l' 



^Messrs Van Berckel and Visscher, with whom I supped 
last evening, have directed me lo give their most respeclluL 
compliments to your Excellency. 
I have the honor to be. iic. 



The Haffue. .Tanuarr 30th. 1783. 

The letters I had the honor to write you on the 24th and 
28th inst., are the most faithful picture of the sentiments of 
our republicans. I have added nothing of my own ; on 
the contrary I have softened the matter as much as pos- 
sible. If the affair cannot be arranged as 1 have proposed, 
the credit of France here is gone forever. I send you 
copies of letters relative to this subject, as I promised. 
France and our republicans hare been from that time, 
the object of the bitterest sarcasms and raillery of the evil- 
disposed : and our republicans, without losing their courage 
ill opposition to their domestic adversaries, are indignant, 
and have no longer any confidence in what is said to them 
by the French Ministry to color what is past, or to engage 
them to adopt further measures. They pity tlie Due de 
la Vauguj'on personally, and say that he is sacrificed, and 
that he is deprived of all the fruits of his wise measures, 
indefatigable industry, and splendid success here, by a 
stroke of a pen. They declare besides, that they will not 
be ruled, influenced, or kept in leading-strings by France 
nor by England, and that whatever may be proposed by 
France, they will not carry it to their cities, without sufficient 
guaranties in their pockets. If you carry the measure I 
have propcsed, it will be, in my opinion, an important po- 

512 DUMAS. 

litical stroke, of the greatest advantage to the United States, 
because it will establish their credit, dignity, and glory here 
forever. Your judgment and profound penetration, render 
it unnecessary for me to enter into long reasonings on this 
subject. It is enough that this measure will be equally 
advantageous to all, since all will participate in it, and will 
guaranty it to each other. 

The Count de Llano requested me this morning to com- 
municate to him the Preliminaries, of which the Due de la 
Vauguyon told him I had a copy. He was satisfied with 
my reasons for declining to give him a copy, and with the 
verbal account I gave him of their substance. 1 have done 
the same favor to M. Asp. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 



The Hague, February 4th, 1783. 

Your favor of the 29th has fully satisfied the gentlemen ; 
and the Pensionary, M. Van Berckel, in the name of all, 
has directed me to thank you, and to assure you that it is 
precisely what they wanted, and what they hoped would 
be done by you and your colleagues ; and that you may 
rely entirely on them, as they rely |)erfectly on you, in 
subsequent proceedings. 1 have also cou)municated it to 
the Grand Pensionary, who appeared to think with them, 
and 1 have been assured fron) good authority, that he has 
no less reason than France, to desire that the English party 
should no longer prevail here. I have the respects of all 
to present to you ; I am delighted to find them so easy to 
be satisfied ; for it appears In me that they ask nothing 


more than the mutual guarantee, which is provided for in 
the treaties of America with this Republic and with France. 
They are determined not to sign, until the article relating 
to navigation shall be in the terms proposed, and not to 
cede Negapatnam ; and they fear that if France does not 
find some remedy for this difficulty, she will again lose the 
confidence and favor of this nation, which are of more 
importance to her than Tobago. 

The Count de Vergennes, to excuse the precipitancy in 
signing the treaty, has said to the Ministers of the Republic 
at Paris, that, on one side, America, who declared herself 
exhausted, feared an insurrection if the taxes were in- 
creased, demanded through Dr Franklin twenty millions 
for the ensuing can)paign, if there were one, and wished to 
enjoy peace and her treaty, rather than to risk the continu- 
ance of the war, vvl)ich might prevent the execution of it ; 
and on the other, Spain, who, equally exhausted, demanded 
this conclusion absolutely — had compelled France to sign 
so precipitately ; but that this does not affect the intention 
of his Majesty not to conclude, unless their High Mighti- 
nesses are included in the general peace and are satisfied. 
God grant it may be so. It appears that the Ambassador 
and the Grand Pensionary have received, each by his own 
courier the same assurances. The latter, however, has 
not yet imparted his despatches to our other friends. I 
have taken care to treat the nation with the Boston [)roc- 
lamation in the papers of the day. 
I have the honor to be, he. 



514 DUMAS. 


The Hague. February 18th, 1783. 

Our friends are well satisfied with the repeated declara- 
tions I have made them from yoii and your colleagues. 
They will act in consequence, in regard to the Court of 
France, including that of Spain, and above all to your Ex- 
cellencies. They appear convinced that the measure can 
and ought to succeed. At all events they direct me to 
propose the following question, to obtain an answer thereto, 
favorable, if possible, which will assure and tranquilise 

"If their High Mightinesses should propose to France 
to sign a convention, founded on the principles of the 
armed neutrality, for the preservation of the freedom of 
navigation, conjointly with Spain, the United States, and 
the United Provinces of the Low Countries ; in case France 
and Spain should appear disposed to postpone such a con- 
vention, or should decline entering into it before the sign- 
ing or concluding of the definitive treaty ; would Mr Dana, 
and, during his absence, Mr Adams, either alone, and as 
Minister of the United States near this Republic, or with 
his colleagues, be ready to sign such a provisional conven- 
tion, when proposed to them in the name of their High 
Mightinesses, between the United States and the United 
Provinces ?" 

It is believed here, that without such a treaty, either 
between France, Spain, the United States and the United 
Provinces, or in defect of the two first, at least between 
the two last powers, nothing can save from the shame of 
the definitive treaty this Republic, which joined in the war 


only for the liberty of the seas, and which has made it a 
condition sine qua non in its preliminaries. 

It is much to be wished that one of these arrangements 
were practicable, as this would at once pave the way for 
the definitive treaty, At least there would be no other dif- 
ficulty than that relating to Negapatnam, and to the com- 
merce to the Moluccas, on which I have just read the re- 
port of the seventeen directors of the Company, which 
opposes the strongest objections to the yielding of either. 

My opinion is, always with submission to your better 
judgment, that your acquiescence in the demand of these 
gentlemen may be founded on three considerations. 1st. 
On the resolution of the United States of October 5th, 
1780, communicated by you to their High Mightinesses by 
a letter of March 8th, 1781, and on which you have ob- 
served to me, thai your powers for that purpose were not 
recalled. 2dly. On the circumstance that their High 
Mightinesses are a party to the armed neutrality, to which 
Mr Dana is waiting the pleasure of another party to admit 
the United States. 3dly. On the fact, that the only point 
in question is in regard to the mutual guarantee, which 
you have already acceded to in the treaty of amity and 
commerce concluded with their High Mightinesses. 

Praying you to pay my respects to Messrs Franklin, 
Jay, Laurens, and Brantzen, I am. he. 



The Hague, March 4th, 1783. 
This note is intended merely to correct a statement I 
had the honor to make you a few days since, via Amster- 

516 DUMAS. 

dam. By &n unexpected change, I\I. Van Berckel, B(u- 
gomaster of Rottevdam, and brother of the celArated Pen- 
sionary of Amsterdam, instead of M, de Dedeni, has been 
nominated by the Province of Holland, and accepted by 
their High Mightinesses, for Minister Plenipotentiary near 
the United States. What 1 have said, however, of the 
patriotism of one, is entirely applicable to the other, and it 
is with the greatest satisfaction and cordiality that I recom- 
mend him to your confidence and friendship. 

This morning their High Mightinesses have adopted a 
resolution, conformable to that of Holland, relative to the 
instructions to their Plenipotentiary at Paris, to exert him- 
self to effect a general pacification. Thus there will soon 
be an opportunity to congratulate the United States on the 
completion of this momentous affair. 
I have the honor to be, &z;c. 



The Hague, March 4th, 1783. 

This morning their High Mightinesses adopted a con- 
clusion conformable to the opinion of the Province of Hol- 
land, on the instructions to be given to their Plenipotentia- 
ries to obtain a general peace. This conclusion is uncon- 
stitutional, as it was not adopted unanimously. The Depu- 
ties of three Provinces, Friesland, Zealand, and Groningen, 
have declared they are not yet authorised to give their 
consent. But this will come. 
I have the honor to be, &.c. 




The Hague, March 5th, 1783. 

It is with as much confidence in your goodness, as zeal 
to serve the worthy Minister, who will represent this Re- 
public to yours, that I hasten to transmit you the copy 
hereto annexed, of a letter he has just written to me. 

I will add, that M. Van Berckel intends to embark at 
Rotterdam for Philadelphia within three months at the 
latest. He will take his two sons with him, and when his 
house at Philadelphia is ready, he will send for his wife 
and three daughters, and reside permanently during the 
rest of his life near the Congress, who will find him as 
amiable as he is estimable. I am very sorry to lose him, 
but much rejoiced that the United States will make the 
acquisition. You will consider it, I hope, not unreasona- 
ble, if desiring to serve to the extent of my power my 
most respectable friend, whom you will soon receive as 
yours, no less on account of his personal virtues, than of his 
political character, which will connect him more closely 
with you than with any other person, I take it for granted 
not only that you will pardon, but be gratified with the lib- 
erty I take of addressing this commission to you, with a 
request, that you will confide the execution of it to some 
gentleman, in whom you can place entire confidence, and 
who will discharge it according to the wishes of, and on the 
most advantageous terms for M. Van Berckel ; so that on 
his arrival he may find the house hired and at his com- 
mand, the coach made, and the horses ready for use. 
The expenses will be paid by M. Van Berckel on his ar- 
rival, or even sooner, if necessary and possible in so short 
a time. 

518 DUMAS. 

If I could have an answer to this before he sets sail, 
which will be in May or June at the latest, it would con- 
fer a great obligation on him. He will make the passage 
in a good frigate. 
I am, he. 


P. S. M. Van Berckel speaks English very well. If 
this circumstance is fortunate for him, it will be no less so 
for those with whom he is to be connected in America. 


The Hague, March 6th, 1783. 


You must have already received, as well as the Ministers 
of France and Spain, the overture of the Ministers of this 
Republic at Paris, to begin the negotiation by a treaty of a 
mutual guarantee of the liberty of the seas. These gen- 
tlemen rely principally on the repeated promises I have 
made them on your part, confident that the American 
Plenipotentiaries will not allow themselves to be influenced 
by Shelburne and company, who, they say, understand 
each other like robbers at a fair. You will have no diffi- 
culty in understanding the allusion. If this convention 
could be made before the signing of the definitive treaty, 
the republicans here would triumph. A certain person 
having objected to me, that England might take umbrage 
if this treaty were made before the other, "Indeed !" I 
replied, "how long is it since France began anew to fear 
giving umbrage to England .?" 

Your declaration concerning tlie armistice has been in- 


serted in the gazettes according to your wish ; as has also 

the English proclamation. 

I am, he. 



The Hague, March 27th, 1783. 

While the powers are taking a siesta to digest the pro- 
visional peace, previous to putting the finishing hand to it, 
I can only speak to you of the domestic affairs of this Re- 

1st. Five Provinces have conformed to the opinion of 
Holland, for the criminal process on account of the diso- 
bedience of the squadron, which should have sailed from 
Brest in the beginning of October last. The opinion of 
Guelderland, the States of which will assemble next 
month, is the only one wanting. 

2dly. There is a provisional report of seven of the 
principal cities of Holland, which the others have taken 
ad referendum, to require explanations from the Prince on 
the last Memorial of M. Thulemeyer, Envoy of Prussia, 
by declaring whether he really has to complain of the loss 
of any prerogatives constitutionally belonging to him ; or if 
the remonstrances of the King on that point are not 
founded on a mistake ? Those who are suspected of being 
the only focus from which this, hrutum fulmen, (shall 1 call 
it) or this will o^ the whisp, has proceeded, are doing all 
they can to prevent a majority, which would convert this 
report into a resolution. If they cannot succeed in this, 
the nobles, that is, the Prince, whom they allow to dis- 
pose of their vote, will delay the resolution by pretending 

520 DUMAS. 

not to be ready to vote. But then the others can ap- 
point a day on which they must be ready, and, mean- 
while, they will print the report ; which will increase the 
difficulty of the Court, and, perhaps, of iho kind JM. Tlnile- 
meyer, in saving themselves from the dilemma, I will not 
say with honor, which is impossible, but without mortification. 

3dly. The city of Alcmaer, by a formal deputation, 
has declared to the Prince, that in future it will dis- 
pose not only of nominations, but also of the conse- 
quentelections without his participation ; asserting that 
this right belongs to it in virtue of certain ancient 
privileges. It persists in its design, and the Prince, 
who it was said at first, had intended to complain to the 
States of the Province by letter, has renounced his 
intention, for want of any solid objections to the 

4thly. The arrangement of the military jurisdiction 
is another formidable operation for him, which will 
begin next week to occupy the serious attention of the 
States of Holland. 

5thly. Finally the court of justice continues to 
make rigid and minute examinations on the affair of 
St Nicholas, or of the 6th of December last, and is 
preparing a full report, which will be published, and 
which, as I am assured from good authority, will de- 
monstrate that it was an actual conspiracy, the leaders 
of which were certain nobles and placemen, almost all 
of whom are already discovered. 

Congress will see by these specimens, that the re- 
publican party here is far from being discouraged by the 
approaches of peace, as some flattered themselves, and 
others feared or foretold they would be. 


The Prince has lost the enthusiastic love, which the 
large part of the nation bore liim ; this loss is irrepara- 
ble, and the conduct he is induced to adopt renders it 
more and more incurable. In the Provinces, as for 
instance, Overyssel, Utrecht and Guelderland, where 
he was the most absolute, they are still more alienated, 
irritated, and disgusted with abuses, than in this. I 
do not say that this will or ought to end in a revolu- 
tion, but a considerable diminution of his usurped and 
unconstitutional power, will, according to all appear- 
ances, be the result. The course of these people and 
that of the cabinets, negotiating a peace, may be com- 
pared to the hare and the tortoise in the fable ; the 
former began with long leaps, and rapid strides, and 
after these preliminaries fell asleep at a little distance 
from the goal, thinking it easy for him to reach it at 
any moment; our tortoise, in spite of his tardy move- 
ments, may yet attain some of his objects, before the 
hare awakes. 

I see constantly and confidentially the French Am- 
bassador and the Charge d' Affaires of Sweden, some- 
times likewise the Minister of Spain. I cannot serve 
the first in the present circumstances with so much 
success as formerly ; my friends wish to see the wrongs 
of which they complain redressed, before they can rely 
with their former confidence on future promises ; it is 
not his fault and I pity him, but, after all, I cannot say 
that my friends are wrong. 

The other diplomatic agents appear to be here mere- 
ly to vegetate and kill time, sometimes at what they 
call the Court, sometimes with each other. 

I have the honor to be, &c. DUMAS, 

VOL. IX. 66 

522 DUMAS. 


The Hague, April 18th, 1783. 


Our friends are returned here to meet, provided 
with good instructions, not only in regard to the mili- 
tary jurisdiction but also to other subjects, which it 
will be agreeable here to see on the carpet of their 
Noble and Grand Mightinesses the States of Holland. 
Those of Dort are in substance as follows; 

I. To grant the annual requisition of the Council 
of State for the department of war, except the forty or 
fortyfive thousand florins, which the High Council of 
War expend for the Province annually, and which the 
city wishes to be struck off. The six other Provinces 
together pay about thirty thousand florins besides, for 
the support of the Council. 

n. To exert themselves in inquiring into and 
reforming abuses which have been introduced into the 
army, and particularly, 1st. to prevent in future titular 
promotions, by which a prodigious number of officers 
are created with higher titles than their rank and pay 
entitle them to, which does not fail to cost the country 
600,000 florins annually to no purpose; 2dly. To abol- 
ish the venality of the companies and other posts, 
which has existed for some time. 

In Friesland they are equally firm. A Westphalian, 
having defrauded the revenue, was condemned to ten 
years' hard lal)or in prison. The Regency of Mun- 
ster having solicited his pardon the Counsellor Depu- 
ties of Friesland, principally devoted to the Court, 
reported thereon to the States of Friesland that the 


case was pardonable, but that the right of pardon being 
devolved on the Prince by the abdication of the right 
by the States, it was necessary to refer the affair to 
him. To disavow this pretended abdication, and be- 
cause the case is one of those called royal cases, the 
States in opposition to this report granted the pardon 
without consulting the Prince. 

In a fortnight, a man imprisoned for disturbances on 
the Sth of Marcli. the birthday of the Prince, will be 
whipped, at Rotterdam. Two other of these fellows 
are in prison at Delft, for having committed similar 
disorders at Overschie, a village near Rotterdam, in 
the jurisdiction of Delft. As they broke into houses 
they are in danger of being hung. A body of three 
hundred volunteers, of young men of the best families 
of Rotterdam, has been formed to maintain public or- 
der in case of any similar disturbances. They exer- 
cise daily, and have petitioned to be authorised by their 
Regency. They will succeed, through the influence of 
the Burgomaster Van Berckel, who prevails in the 
legislative body of the city, notwithstanding the oppo- 
sition of the Burgomaster Van der Heim. who is devo- 
ted to the Court, and who has the majority in the 

The Frencli Ambassador will set out next Monday, 
on a visit of several months to France. Meanwhile 
M. de Berenger, Secretary of Legation, will attend to 
the business of the embassy. 

I have been requested to sound i\lr Dana, to know, 
"whether, in case their High Mightinesses should think 
proper to send lull powers to their Minister at Peters- 
burs:, to conclude a treatv with the Minister of the 

524 DUMAS 

United States, on the principles of the armed neutral- 
ity, Mr Dana could enter on such a negotiation." I 
have written him in consequence. 

April 23d. Or. the 20th, the French Ambassador 
gave a farewell dinner, at which I had the honor to be 

I wrote to Mr Adams a letter on the 11th, of which 
I yesterday received an answer dated the 16th, and 
this morning waited upon M. Fagel, the Secretary, to 
say to him, that I had the satisfaction to be able to 
free their High Mightinesses from all anxiety on the 
point of titles, by assuring them, that the United States 
had adopted no other, than that of the United States of 
America in Congress assembled, and that the qualifica- 
tion of Friends and Allies, which their High Mighti- 
nesses will add, did not require to be enriched by any 
epithets. You see. Sir, added I, that in America they 
practise the maxim of Boerhaave, sigiUum veri simplex. 
He approved this remark, and politely thanked me for 
the information. On leaving him I went to communi- 
cate the same thing to the Pensionaries of Dort and 
Amsterdam, who said to me, smiling, there is still one 
little thing, that puzzled the Secretary ; it is not cus- 
tomary in Holland to say you in addressing any one, 
and he has been able to find no expression but El 
Edelere (Your Noblenesses) in addressing the Congress. 
I answered in the same tone, that the Americans recog- 
nise no other nobility than that of soul, and that as the 
simple address would not, in my opinion, be disagreea- 
ble to them, if the Secretary used it without any ap- 

I have the honor to be. Sec. 




Without date. 

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your 
letters to March 4th inclusive. 1 am sorry to find by 
them, that the ferment occasioned by the causes you ex- 
plain, continues to work. How far it may be necessary 
to purge off the impurities, which your government has 
contracted by long inaction, I will not pretend lo say. It 
is certain, however, that the want of harmony in its differ- 
ent branches has had the most melancholy effects upon 
your operations the last war ; and deprived you of impor- 
tant advantages in the conclusion of it. Though I sin- 
cerely wish that the struggles of your patriots may be at- 
tended with the same happy consequences with ours, yet 
I take the liberty to remind you, that your public charac- 
ter puts you in a delicate situation with respect to them, 
that as a foreign nation, whatever we may wish, we have 
no right to express those wishes, or in any way to interfere 
in the internal disputes of our allies, that our conduct 
should show, that we were the enemy of no party, except 
so far as their measures were inimical to us. You will not. 
Sir, consider this as a reproof, for I have not the smallest 
reason to believe, that you have not made these reflections 
yourself, and acted conformably thereto. On the contrary, 
I rather conclude, that you have, from the long habit in 
which you have been of conducting public affairs which 
require prudence and delicacy. I only mention it, there- 
fore, as a caution which will not probably, but may possi- 
bly be necessary to one who is animated by the spirit of 
freedom, and may as a patriot be hurried beyond the lim- 
its we should prescribe to our Ministers. 

526 DUMAS. 

You will be pleased to discontinue in future all the 
Dutch papers, and send us only the Leyden Gazette, the 
Courrier du Bas Rhin, and the Courrier de PEurope, 
together with such publications on political subjects, written 
in French, as may be worth our attention. 1 commit the 
enclosed letters to Mr Dana to your care. 

Nothing has yet been done in your affairs, though they 
lay before Congress ; a variety of important matters have 
pressed of late for their consideration, and you are too well 
acquainted with popular assemblies to be surprised at the 
slowness of their proceedings. 

We have returned the prisoners on both sides, and 
Congress have made a considerable reduction in the army, 
by permitting those who are enlisted for the war to return 
home on furlough. We cannot yet learn with certainty 
from General Carleton, when he means to evacuate New 
York. I sincerely rejoice at M. Van Berckel's appoint- 
ment, and wish you had informed me when we might ex- 
pect him here, where the patriotic character of his family 
cannot but ensure him an agreeable reception. 
I am. Sir, he. 



The Hague, May 8th, 1783. 
The great blow of the suppression of the High Council 
of War, and the restriction of the military jurisdiction, was 
finally and decisively struck in the States of Holland last 
week, as your Excellency will see by the resolutions and 
publications in the gazettes sent with this ; there is no doubt 


ibat the other Provinces will conform to that of Holland. 
Thus have the republicans gained a signal victory over the 
other party, and which wonld never have happened but 
for the war, which has so hunnbled the Jinglish and the 

I have seen the last despatches of the Plenipotentiaries 
of this Republic at Paris, to the Grand Pensionary of the 
25th and 28th of April, and of M. Tor, Secretary of M. 
Brantzen at London, of the 18th of April, received here 
the 3d of May, from M. Brantzen. It appears from these 
letters, that they could not agree, either at Paris or Lon- 
don, upon the articles of peace between this Republic and 
Great Britain. The Secretary, Mr Fox, with whom M. 
Tor had two conferences, made evasive answers, and this 
man of the people does not seem to have the same esteem 
for the republicans as formerly. He put two singular 
questions to M. Tor; 1st. why they were so dissatisfied 
with the Prince of Orange in the United Provinces? 2dly. 
what impression the measures of the King of Prussia in 
favor of the Prince had made ? M. Tor in turn evaded 
these questions, which lead us to conclude, that this man 
oj the people is no better than the others. Meanwhile the 
Deputies of Dort and Schoonhoven, have proposed the 
reform of several great abuses in the army ; 1st. The cre- 
ation of supernumerary officers, by raising them above their 
actual rank, and excusing them from service. 2dly. 
The venality of posts. 3dly. The introduction of foreign 
officers in the national regiments. These propositions 
have been committed. In due time I shall give an account 
of the report of the committee, and of its result. 
I am, Uc. 


528 DUMAS. 


The Hague, May 25th, 1783 


The States of Holland will assemble next Wednesday, 
;ind meanwhile 1 have nothing interesting to add to what 
the annexed papers contain, except that the last letters from 
Paris of the 16th and I9th, inform me that nothing has yet 
been done to forward the conclusion of the general defini- 
tive treaty. 

I learn from good authority, that Mr Harris, British 
Minister at the Court of St Petersburg, is intended for that 
post here, after everything is settled. I shall communicate 
this intelligence to our friends at Dort and Amsterdam this 
evening. They will be pleased with it, for they feared the 
return of Sir Joseph Yorke and his old arts, which tinder 
present circumstances would be injurious here, without be- 
ing of any real benefit to England. 

I take the liberty to recommend to the attention and 
kindness of the United States and their citizens, Captain 
Riemersma, commander of the Overyssel, ship of the line, 
who will sail from the Texel alter the 19th June, carrying 
M. Van Berckel to Philadelphia. He is a brave officer, 
an excellent patriot, a constant friend of liberty and of 
America, and he received the squadron of Commodore 
Paul Jones in the Texel in 1779, in a very friendly man- 
ner, for which he was punished by the Anglomanes, whose 
intrigues efTected his removal from the command of the 
Road, and who have ever since prevented him from being 
employed and advanced ; in this they have injured only 
their country ; for he is wealthy, and it is not interest, but 
honor and taste for the profession, which induce him to 

I am, he. DUMAS. 



The Hague, June 5th, 1783. 

The undersigned, Charge d'affaires of ihe United States 
of America, has the honor to inform their High Mighti- 
nesses, that in the absence of the Minister Plenipotentiary, 
for reasons known to their High Mightinesses, he has in- 
trusted to him the honor of laying before them the treaty 
and convention concluded between the two Republics on 
the 7th of October last, and since ratified by the United 
States in Congress assembled ; and also of receiving in 
exchange the ratifications of their High Mightinesses. 

The undersigned congratulates himself on being permitted 
to discharge a duty so congenial to his zeal for the United 
States, to his respect for their High Mightinesses, and to 
his attachment to a nation, in the bosom of which he has 
had the pleasure of living for many years. 


By order of Mr Adams I sent this note to the Secretary, 
M. Fagel, and a copy to the Grand Pensionary, Van Bleis- 
wick. M. Fagel has requested several days to allow time 
for the clerks to prepare the ratification of their High 
Mightinesses, "which," he said to me, "I should commu- 
nicate with great pleasure to Mr Adams if he were here, 
and 1 shall communicate it to you, Sir, with the same plea- 
sure." DUMAS. 
roL. IX. 67 

630 DUMAS. 


The Hague, June 19th, 1783. 

Our ratification cannot be ready until next Monday. If 
you will call on me at Court on Monday morning, at one 
o'clock, I shall be able to exchange the ratifications with 

I am, &c. 



The Hague, June 20th, 1783. 


Yesterday I received a note from the Secretary of their 
High Mightinesses, of which I annex a copy. I shall 
therefore receive the act there mentioned next Monday, 
and shall keep it until I can transmit it to Mr Adams, ac- 
cording to his orders. 

The city of Gorcum has followed, by a large majority, 
the example of Dort, Schoonhoven, Rotterdam, Schiedam, 
and Alcmaer, by a resolution abolishing the influence of 
the Prince, on the nominations to vacant places ; there is 
nothing left him but the right, which the constitution se- 
cures to him, of choosing among several persons nominated. 
This week their Noble and Grand Mightinesses will delib- 
erate on the abolition of the venality of military offices. 

This contradicts the notion, which it was attempted to 
inculcate, that the ardor for reform would relax at the end 
of the war. 

I am, he. 




The Hague, June 23d, 1783. 


At one o'clock this afternoon, an exchange of the ratifi- 
cation of the treaty and convention concluded the 7ih of 
October last, between the United States and the United 
Provinces of the Low Countries, took place in the business 
hall between the Secretary of iheir High Mightinesses and 
your servant. I keep these two acts, according to the 
orders of Mr Adams, to place them in his hands on his re- 
turn. They are authenticated according to the usage of 
this country, with the seal of the Republic, enclosed in two 
large silver boxes attached to each, on which are engraven 
the arms of the Union. 

M. Van Berckel sets out today from Amsterdam for the 
Texel, and I am in haste to send this by him. 
1 have only to assure you of, he. 









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