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Title: The Writings of Thomas Jefferson
       Library Edition - Vol. 6 (of 20)

Author: Thomas Jefferson

Editor: Andrew A Lipscomb
        Albert Ellery Bergh

Release Date: April 7, 2007 [EBook #21002]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Robert Cicconetti and the Online Distributed
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Fancy front page

Jefferson at Sixty-two

Jefferson at Sixty-two


Thomas Jefferson

Library Edition









Andrew A. Lipscomb, Chairman Board of Governors

Albert Ellery Bergh


The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association


Copyright, 1903,
The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association

Transcriber's Note:
Omitted text or text that was in cypher is denoted by asterisks.


The word "tactician" is usually applied to military movements, but it has a broader meaning than this; it embodies the idea of a peculiar skill or faculty—a nice perception or discernment which is characterized by adroit planning or management, artfully directed in politics or diplomacy in government.

"Of all creatures the sense of tact is most exquisite in man"—Ross: Microcosmia.

"To see in such a clime,

Where science is new, men so exact

In tactic art"—Davenant Madagascar.

True statesmanship is the masterful art. Poetry, music, painting, sculpture and architecture please, thrill and inspire, but the great statesman and diplomatist and leader in thought and action convinces, controls and compels the admiration of all classes and creeds. Logical thought, power of appeal and tactfulness never fail to command attention and respect. It has always been thus, and it will unquestionably so remain. Many really able and brilliant men, however, lack balance and the faculty of calculation. They are too often swayed by emotions, and their intellectual powers, which otherwise might exert a controlling influence, are thus weakened, and often result in failure. True greatness in a man is gauged by what he accomplished in life, and the impress he left upon his fellow-men. It does not consist of one act, or even of many, but rather their effect upon the times in which he lived, and how long they endure after the actor is gone from the throng of the living.

At the bar, in the pulpit, in the medical profession, and especially in political life, tact is the sine qua non to the highest degree of individual success. However gifted one may be, he cannot win conspicuous laurels in any calling or avocation, if he be deficient in tactfulness. The man who best understands human nature, knows how to approach people, and possesses the art of leading them, is the one who will invariably have the largest following and will possess the greatest amount of influence over his fellows. The fact cannot be disputed that men of great brilliancy of intellect, without tact, have been distanced by others far less talented, who possessed the knack of getting near to the masses with the object in view to lead and control them. A military commander who knows how to muster and marshal his men so as to make them most effective when a battle is pending, will be unquestionably successful in manœuvres and successful also in battle; and it is equally true in statecraft, and in the learned professions as well. The skillful tactician is master of every situation and is the victor in every important contest. But more than in any other calling is this true in politics. The successful leader in legislative bodies,—he whose name is recorded on the legislative journal as the author of the most important measures which are enacted into laws—is, without exception, that member who is tactful, thoughtful, industrious and sincere. It makes no difference how great his natural endowments may be, if he be wanting in these elements his success will be restricted to a narrow sphere; and the greatest of these is tactfulness.

The world's great tacticians are few. In America I can mention but three who are deserving of first rank,—Thomas Jefferson, Henry Clay and James G. Blaine. Neither represented the same generation, and neither was the exact counterpart of the others, but all of them were renowned in their ability to control their fellow-men. Each possessed that peculiar magnetic power to draw men around them and to win their confidence and support. Each had but to say the word, and his wishes were carried out. Each needed only to give the command to follow, and, like drilled soldiers, the multitudes fell into line and were obedient to every order. They were evidently cast in a peculiar mould, and that particular mould is limited seemingly to a single man in every generation. Why it is thus we know not, and yet we know that it is so. As the precentor in a choir leads the masses with his baton, and under correct leadership they rarely miss a note, so does the great tactician issue his commands, and his wishes are supreme. I here write Jefferson, Clay and Blaine as America's intrepid leaders and commanders in civil life; these three, and the greatest of these was Jefferson, as he seemed to have learned in early life, more than any of his compeers, that a little management will often avoid resistance, which a vast force will strive in vain to overcome; and that it is wisdom to grant graciously what he could not refuse safely, and thus conciliate those whom he was otherwise unable to control.

In referring to a man who possesses a high grade of capacity in a particular calling, we usually say he is ablean able man. The term able, therefore, signifies more than capable, more than well-informed, whether applied to an artist, a general, a man of learning, or a judge. A man may have read all that has been written on war, and may have seen it, without being able to conduct a war. He may be capable of commanding, but to acquire the name of an able general he must command more than once with success. A judge may know all the laws, without being able to apply the principles of law properly. A learned man may not be able either to speak, or to write, or to teach in a commanding manner. An able man, then, is he who makes a valuable use of what he knows. A capable man can do a thing; an able one does it. The term able cannot, therefore, be properly applied to genius. It is not correct, according to my way of thinking, to say an "able poet," an "able painter," an "able musician," an "able orator," an "able sculptor," because it is talent or genius, or both, that gives one rank in these callings in life, or in these particular undertakings. The word "able," as I understand it, is applicable to those arts only which involve the exercise of the mind as a controlling factor. One may be a great orator, according to the usual acceptation of the term "great," and yet be only a declaimer and a rhetorician. That is to say, he may be able to captivate audiences by his superior action, as Demosthenes defines oratory to be, and at the same time his elocution and rhetoric may be unexceptionable, yet he maybe in fact totally lacking in every element which goes to make up real greatness.

It may be correctly claimed that one may win distinction and renown by energy and tact, and yet be deficient in both wit and learning. But usually men are measured by the success they make in life, just as a carpenter is measured by his "chips"; and accepting this measure, it is exceedingly rare to find one who reaches above the rank of a ward politician, unless he possesses those real elements of greatness which I choose to class as honesty, sobriety, manliness, sympathy, energy, education, knowledge and fairness. I agree that a great tactician may not per se be a great man, but I do say that one who possesses this element, usually embodies those other elements which are accepted ordinarily as the true ingredients of greatness.

Jefferson did not rank in oratory with the Adamses, the Randolphs, James Otis and Patrick Henry, who were contemporaneous with him. He was, therefore, not by nature great in the sphere of oratory, and in his public utterances he does not always show the habit of radical thought which gave the great Democratic party, which lived and ruled our country throughout the larger part of the nineteenth century, that tremendous moral force peculiar to that marvelous organization which he founded and fostered throughout his long, useful and eventful life. Yet his speeches, if they may be classed as such, were clear, logical, forceful, convincing. In politics, in literature, in everything that concerned the world's forward movement in his day, his intellectual sympathies were universal, or as nearly so as it was possible for any man's to be. Men less learned and with lesser power of reason and thoughtfulness than he, have moved audiences to frenzy and have carried them at will; but Jefferson, without this peculiar gift, certainly possessed a sufficiency of this power, which the broad culture of the scholar and the steadfast tension of the thinker can give to any man. His addresses and writings are pregnant with profound aphorisms, and through his great genius transient questions were often transformed into eternal truths. His arguments were condensed with such admirable force of clearness that his utterances always found lodgment in the minds of both auditors and readers. Sensitive in his physical organization, easily moved to tenderness, and incapable of malice, he had that ready responsiveness to his own emotions as well as to those of others, which always characterizes genius.

While it may be said that oratory was not an art with Jefferson, yet his ideas on all governmental questions were always so clear and strong and well matured that he never failed to express them forcefully and effectively. His wonderful intellect, upon all important occasions, never failed to take hold on principle, justice, liberty and moral development, without which, as a part of its essence, the greatest mind can never express itself adequately. His State papers and his addresses and writings reveal the highest order of intellect, and are marked with a degree of originality peculiarly Jeffersonian. The doctrines he proclaimed and the principles he promulgated were so logical and sound that they are cherished yet, and it is believed by millions of our countrymen that they are as imperishable as the stars. Jefferson's philosophical ideas of democratic government are as much alive to-day as they were when he was at the zenith of his glory in life, and this cannot be said of any other illustrious American who was contemporaneous with him. It may be truthfully claimed that the lamp of liberty, which he, perhaps more than any other one American of his times helped to light, will never go out; and it may also be stated, with an equal degree of truthfulness, that the brilliant star of his own personal and political greatness will never set.

Some American writers have, from their standpoints of review, animadverted upon certain alleged weaknesses of Jefferson as a great national character. Although I do not indorse his position as favoring "States' Rights" and a Federal Government of restricted powers, as over against the broader doctrine promulgated by Washington, Adams, Jay and Hamilton, of a centralized government or Union which, when national questions are involved, should be, at all times, the supreme power of the country, yet I concede to him wonderful foresight in advocating a Constitution that would grant to the States the greatest possible latitude. Other critics have also barked along the trail of this distinguished man of destiny, charging him with being a demagogue, a jingoist, an infidel and the like, but their barking has made him all the greater, and has added new laurels to his marvelous career. Faults he may have had, but who has not? Weaknesses he may have had, but who is universally wise and strong? Burke, in his incomparable speech in the English Parliament on the East India bill, spoke for many great men in history when he thus alluded to the younger Fox: "He has faults; but they are faults, that though they may, in a small degree, tarnish the lustre, and sometimes impede the march of his abilities, have nothing in them to extinguish the fire of great virtues. In those faults there is no mixture of deceit, of hypocrisy, of pride, of ferocity, of complexional despotism, or want of feeling for the distress of mankind."

Like Charles James Fox, to whom Edmund Burke referred, Thomas Jefferson was the foremost Commoner of his day, and he allowed no opportunity to pass unimproved, to lift the common people to higher conceptions of life and duty. Such men are rare, and I am glad to be able conscientiously to place the name of Thomas Jefferson, in many important respects, and particularly as the champion of the rights of the common people, pre-eminently above all the other distinguished Americans of his generation; and I wish it understood that I make this statement upon a fair comprehensive knowledge of the acts and works of the leading men of that period of our country's history.

Jefferson in early life accepted the idea or theory that the first and most general truth in history is that men ought to be free. He evidently felt that if happiness is the end of the human race, then freedom is the condition, and that this freedom should not be a kind of a half escape from thralldom and tyranny, but it should be ample and absolute. This theory is most admirably expressed in the opening of the Declaration of Independence, of which he was the sole author, and which was adopted almost literally as he wrote it: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundations, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness." Democratic principles cannot be more clearly expressed than in the language above quoted, nor can any creed be more clearly defined. It is but just to state, therefore, that no individual American represents more distinctively the constructive power of the principles of popular government than Thomas Jefferson, who was then as now the greatest of all Virginians save one—Washington. In all of his public acts he was upheld by his confidence in the people, and he was so tactful at all times that he never allowed himself to wander at any great distance from the masses of his fellows. His faith in the reserve power of the people was imposing, and by this trustfulness he stamped himself as the matchless leader of his times, and among the greatest leaders of all times. Excepting, perhaps, Washington and Lincoln, the name of Jefferson is the most conspicuous of all Americans, and will endure longest in the annals of the history of the Great Republic, because it must be conceded that his theories of government have had more influence upon the public life of America than those of any other American citizen, living or dead.

There was a sympathy between his heart and the great popular heart, which time and conditions have never shaken. Expressions from his writings have become axioms, creeds and rallying cries to great multitudes of his countrymen. Three quarters of a century have elapsed since his death, and yet his ideas, doctrines and teachings are still quoted and accepted without any apparent diminution of their influence. Cicero had in mind an exact prototype of Jefferson when he said, "Homines ad deos nulla re propius accedunt quam salutem hominibus dando."[1]

Authentic history shows a persistent tendency of the Anglo-Saxon race in the unswerving direction of personal liberty. The inhabitants of the American Colonies revealed a tenacity and self-assertiveness in this direction to a greater extent than had ever been shown in England. The Jeffersonian idea has ever been that there shall be no king; that the sovereign ruler should be placed on the same level and be judged by the same principles as the humblest citizen; that the lords of the manors are entitled to no more privileges than the poorest peasant; that these rights are inalienable, and that any government which disregards them must of necessity be tyrannical.

In his introduction to De Tocqueville's able "Democracy in America," Mr. John T. Morgan thus describes the formative period of the American Republic, a period in which the name of Thomas Jefferson must, if justice be meted out to him, appear in every chapter, and in every important achievement that was then made:

"In the eleven years that separated the Declaration of the Independence of the United States from the completion of that act in the ordination of our written Constitution, the great minds of America were bent upon the study of the principles of government that were essential to the preservation of the liberties which had been won at great cost and with heroic labors and sacrifices. Their studies were conducted in view of the imperfections that experience had developed in the government of the Confederation, and they were, therefore, practical and thorough. When the Constitution was thus perfected and established, a new form of government was created, but it was neither speculative nor experimental as to the principles on which it was based. If they were true principles, as they were, the government founded upon them was destined to a life and an influence that would continue while the liberties it was intended to preserve should be valued by the human family. Those liberties had been wrung from reluctant monarchs in many contests, in many countries, and were grouped into creeds and established in ordinances sealed with blood, in many great struggles of the people. They were not new to the people. They were consecrated theories, but no government had been previously established for the great purpose of their preservation and enforcement. That which was experimental in our plan of government was the question whether democratic rule could be so organized and conducted that it would not degenerate into license and result in the tyranny of absolutism, without saving to the people the power so often found necessary of representing or destroying their enemy, when he was found in the person of a single despot."

In this excerpt the true democratic principles upon which the American Republic was founded, and which principles were largely conceived and put in shape by Thomas Jefferson, are clearly and concisely set forth. De Tocqueville, born and reared amid monarchial surroundings, though brilliant and learned as he was, could not measure the depths to which Jefferson had dug into the labyrinths of free thought and free institutions, and the consequence was that all of his conjectures as to the life and perpetuity of a government based upon the will and wishes of its subjects could not endure, went for naught, and subjected him to a just criticism not only by the advocates of such a government, but by the government itself. Daniel Webster in the Senate of the United States, while defending the doctrines of universal liberty, for which the State of Massachusetts had always stood, in his great speech in reply to Senator Hayne, of South Carolina, exclaimed in stentorian voice, "I shall enter on no encomium upon Massachusetts; she needs none. There she is. Behold her and judge for yourself. There is her history; the inhabitants know it by heart." So we can say to De Tocqueville, who had said of the Government of the United States, that it is all sail and no ballast, and that it possessed no power to resist internal strife, and, therefore, could not endure: there she is; she needs no encomium by us; there she stands, and she has stood firmly in the face of all sorts of opposition for more than a hundred years, and we believe she will endure forever!

In close relationship to that reign of democratic government which Jefferson so earnestly sought to establish, lies, in open view, the necessity for the education of the people, and to its accomplishment he dedicated, in early life, his talents and his energies. He saw then, and we, at this later period of our national growth and development, realize it all the more, that the strength and perpetuity of all free governments rest mainly upon the education of their subjects. Without it such governments fall easy victims to ignorant military captains and civil demagogues of low repute. Free government is better than monarchy in proportion to the intelligence of the governed. Where every citizen has by systematic training been rooted and grounded in the fruitful soil of knowledge, the principles and practices of self-restraint, and the generous ways of freedom, his loyalty to country cannot easily be shaken, nor can he easily be drawn into hostile schemes against the government that protects him. Jefferson saw clearly the necessity of a general system of education, and was among the very first to move in the direction of its establishment. He was so earnest an advocate of the necessity for and the advantages of education, that he never relaxed his efforts, although vigorously opposed by many of his able associates, until he established the University of Virginia to be finally supported by the State, as an open forum for the education of the young men of the Commonwealth; and his biographers inform us that he regarded this the most important achievement of his great career. In fact, he esteemed this victory so highly that he directed the words to be placed upon his tombstone at Monticello—"Founder of the University of Virginia." No act of his revealed more fully than this the tactician and the statesman, and no single act of his, although his entire career was strewn with great deeds, did so much to usher in a golden era of humanity and an universal monarchy of man, which, under God, is coming by and by.

Jefferson began public life early. Shortly after his graduation from William and Mary's College, the oldest educational institution in Virginia, he took up the study of law, and within a very few years he had gathered about him a profitable clientage. In this, the foremost of the learned professions, his genius as a tactician was early displayed. On account of his comparative youthfulness and the limited time that he had been at the bar, he could not, in the nature of things, have been an erudite lawyer, and yet the registry of the courts before which he practised showed that in the fourth year, after he became a barrister, he was employed in four hundred and thirty important cases. No one but a tactful man, however great his learning, in so short a period of time, could make a record of that exalted grade. He was, therefore, at the beginning of his career as a public man, frank, earnest, cordial, sympathetic in his manner, full of confidence in men, and sanguine in his views of life, which gave him a grip upon those about him, as a leader equipped by nature for achievements of the highest and most important possibilities.

As a delegate to the Second Continental Congress Mr. Jefferson had a leading share in its deliberations, although that body embraced many of the most distinguished men of that period. The most important act of that assembly was the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, which, as I have already stated, he himself drafted. It is said, however, that he was most valuable in committee work, because of the aptness of his sensible and methodical mind, and the ingenuity he possessed in putting his ideas upon paper, and doing it in such a way as to create but little, if any, antagonisms. In all of the official stations in which he was placed by his fellow citizens, by means of his talents for constructive statesmanship, and his persuasive and conciliatory spirit, he invariably displayed a remarkable talent for tact in parliamentary leadership.

Military chieftains often win immortal renown as the result of a single important battle, and often flash like rush-light stars across the sky of history. But this is not true of men like Jefferson and others of his class. They grow into great characters, and they build monuments to their memories which the tooth of time cannot destroy. There is nothing ephemeral or evanescent in the makeup of their records. They build not for a day nor a year, but for the centuries. Indeed, it may be said that they build for eternity, and thus many of them have builded wiser than they knew. The following is a summary of Jefferson's achievements:

 1. Jefferson, although eight years at the bar, became a lawyer of renown, and an acknowledged leader in the profession.

 2. For many years he was a member of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, and possessed therein an influence almost supreme.

 3. He was a member of different conventions, selected by the people of Virginia, to consider the state of the colony, to provide against taxation without representation, and to secure greater liberties for the people, and was a leader in them all.

 4. He was chairman of the three committees appointed in 1774 by the Virginia Convention, (1) to provide for the better education of the people; (2), for the arming of the militia of the colony; and (3), to draw up a statement of the causes which had impelled the colonies to take up arms against the mother country.

 5. He was a member of the Continental Congress which adopted the Declaration of American Independence, and was the writer of that immortal document, which of itself entitles him to enduring fame. For more than a century and a quarter it has been read every year in all parts of the Republic to assembled multitudes on the anniversary of its ratification, and it has been used as a model by all peoples since its adoption, who have sought to secure for themselves freedom and self-government.

 6. He was Governor of Virginia during the latter part of the Revolution, and at the end of his term of office, the House of Burgesses publicly thanked him for the able and patriotic services rendered by him during his administration of that exalted station.

 7. He, while a member of the American Congress after the adoption of our present Constitution, was the author of the system of coinage which, with some amendments, is still in vogue in the United States.

 8. He was, in the early years of the Republic, twice commissioned by Congress as Minister Plenipotentiary to negotiate treaties of commerce with European States, and in this, as in all other public undertakings, he exhibited the highest character of tact and diplomacy.

 9. He was five years Minister to France, was exceedingly popular, and secured several important modifications of the French tariff in the interests of American commerce.

10. As the first Secretary of State under Washington, he handled, with consummate skill, the perplexing international questions which grew out of the war declared by France in 1793, against Holland and Great Britain.

11. In 1796 he became Vice-President, and was elevated to the Presidency in 1800, and was reelected in 1804. In this great office he regarded himself purely as a trustee of the public, and the simplicity of his customs and his manly demeanor in office brought to him the confidence of the people of the country at large.

12. The crowning glory of his administration was the purchase of the territory of Louisiana from France. This single act made his administration historic, and the people are even now only beginning to fully appreciate it as they should.

13. In the manner in which he controlled politics during his two terms as President, which resulted almost in the total absorption or annihilation of the Federalist party, he exhibited the qualities of a tactician rarely, if ever, equaled.

14. After forty years of public life, the illustrious Commoner retired to private life upon his farm at Monticello, and gave his remaining years to the establishment and building up of the University of Virginia, which became a noted centre of learning before his death, and has been, for over three quarters of a century, the leading university of the South.

Thomas Jefferson was a great man, a great diplomatist, a great tactician and an illustrious citizen and patriot. His name and his deeds will be cherished and admired as long as the English language is read or spoken, and as long as human lips lisp the name of liberty.

Handwritten signature of G. W. Atkinson



The First Prayer in Congress

The First Prayer in Congress



David Humphreys

David Humphreys
Photogravure from the Original Painting by Herring






Paris, November 14, 1786.

Sir,—The house of Le Coulteux, which for some centuries has been the wealthiest of this place, has it in contemplation to establish a great company for the fur trade. They propose that partners interested one half in the establishment, should be American citizens, born and residing in the United States. Yet if I understood them rightly, they expect that that half of the company which resides here, should make the greatest part, or perhaps the whole of the advances, while those on our side of the water should superintend the details. They had, at first, thought of Baltimore as the centre of their American transactions. I have pointed out to them the advantages of Alexandria for this purpose. They have concluded to take information as to Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York, for a principal deposit, and having no correspondent at Alexandria, have asked me to procure a state of the advantages of that place, as also to get a recommendation of the best merchant there, to be adopted as partner and head of the business there. Skill, punctuality and integrity are the requisites in such a character. They will decide on their whole information, as to the place for their principal factory. Being unwilling that Alexandria should lose its pretensions, I have undertaken to procure them information as to that place. If they undertake this trade at all, it will be on so great a scale as to decide the current of the Indian trade to the place they adopt. I have no acquaintance at Alexandria or in its neighborhood; but, believing you would feel an interest in the matter, from the same motives which I do, I venture to ask the favor of you to recommend to me a proper merchant for their purpose, and to engage some well-informed person to send me a representation of the advantages of Alexandria, as the principal deposit of the fur trade.

The author of the political part of the "Encyclopédie Methodique" desired me to examine his article, "Etats Unis." I did so. I found it a tissue of errors; for, in truth, they know nothing about us here. Particularly, however, the article "Cincinnati" was a mere philippic against that institution; in which it appeared that there was an utter ignorance of facts and motives. I gave him notes on it. He reformed it, as he supposed, and sent it again to me to revise. In this reformed state, Colonel Humphreys saw it. I found it necessary to write that article for him. Before I gave it to him, I showed it to the Marquis de La Fayette, who made a correction or two. I then sent it to the author. He used the materials, mixing a great deal of his own with them. In a work, which is sure of going down to the latest posterity, I thought it material to set facts to rights as much as possible. The author was well disposed; but could not entirely get the better of his original bias. I send you the article as ultimately published. If you find any material errors in it, and will be so good as to inform me of them, I shall probably have opportunities of setting this author to rights. What has heretofore passed between us on this institution, makes it my duty to mention to you, that I have never heard a person in Europe, learned or unlearned, express his thoughts on this institution, who did not consider it as dishonorable and destructive to our governments; and that every writing which has come out since my arrival here, in which it is mentioned, considers it, even as now reformed, as the germ whose development is one day to destroy the fabric we have reared. I did not apprehend this, while I had American ideas only. But I confess that what I have seen in Europe has brought me over to that opinion; and that though the day may be at some distance, beyond the reach of our lives perhaps, yet it will certainly come, when a single fibre left of this institution will produce an hereditary aristocracy, which will change the form of our governments from the best to the worst in the world. To know the mass of evil which flows from this fatal source, a person must be in France; he must see the finest soil, the finest climate, the most compact State, the most benevolent character of people, and every earthly advantage combined, insufficient to prevent this scourge from rendering existence a curse to twenty-four out of twenty-five parts of the inhabitants of this country. With us, the branches of this institution cover all the States. The southern ones, at this time, are aristocratical in their dispositions; and, that that spirit should grow and extend itself, is within the natural order of things. I do not flatter myself with the immortality of our governments; but I shall think little also of their longevity, unless this germ of destruction be taken out. When the society themselves shall weigh the possibility of evil, against the impossibility of any good to proceed from this institution, I cannot help hoping they will eradicate it. I know they wish the permanence of our governments, as much as any individuals composing them.

An interruption here, and the departure of the gentleman by whom I send this, oblige me to conclude it, with assurances of the sincere respect and esteem with which I have the honor to be, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, December 7, 1786.

Sir,—I should with great pleasure have perused your manuscript of the history of the American Revolution, but that it comes to me in the moment of my setting out on a journey into the south of France, where I am to pass the winter. In the few moments of leisure which my preparations for that journey admitted, I have read some detached parts, and find that it would have been very interesting to me. In one of these (page 60), I have taken the liberty of noting a circumstance which is not true, and to which I believe M. d'Aubertueil first gave a place in history. In page 75, I observe it says that Congress removed to Hartford, but this is a misinformation. They never sat there. In general, I would observe to you, that where there is no other authority for a fact than the history of d'Aubertueil, it will not be safe to hazard it. These authors have been led into an infinitude of errors, probably by trusting to the English papers, or to the European ones, copied from them. It is impossible to resort to a more impure source. I am much pleased to find, that you concur in the justice of the principles which produced our revolution, and have only to wish that I could have been able to go through the whole work. I have the honor to be, with much respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, December 8, 1786.

Sir,—The circumstance escaped me of my having had the honor of being made known to you by Mr. Walker at Charlottesville. However, I should not have been the less ready, had it been in my power, to have aided you in procuring employment in some bureau here. But a stranger as I am, unconnected and unacquainted, my solicitations on your behalf would be as ineffectual as improper. I should have been happy to have been able to render you this service, as I am sincerely concerned at the circumstance which has placed you in need of it.

As to the paper money in your hands, the States have not yet been able to take final arrangements for its redemption. But, as soon as they shall get their finances into some order, they will surely pay for it what it was worth in silver at the time you received it, with interest. The interest on loan-office certificates is, I think, paid annually in all the States; and, in some of them, they have begun to make payments of the principal. These matters are managed for foreigners by the consul of their nation in America, where they have not a private friend to attend for them. I have the honor to be, Sir, with much respect, your most obedient humble servant.



Paris, December 11, 1786.

Gentlemen,—Your favor of the 6th instant is duly come to hand, as had done that also of the 8th of November. I was much obliged to you for your observations and information on the late regulations. I have received and am still receiving from other quarters, other hints for its improvement. I cannot propose these to the minister as they arrive, because, besides the perpetual fatigue to him, the business would not be so well done in the end. As soon as all the defects of the new arrangement shall be discovered by a little experience, as well as by their being submitted to the gentlemen concerned in the commerce, I shall be able, by bringing all the amendments necessary into a single proposition, to submit them at once to the consideration of the minister. It will probably be yet some months before this can be done. In the meantime, we must be contented to submit a little longer to those remnants of burthen which still rest on our commerce. In this view, I will still thank you for any new hints of amendment which may occur to you in experience, assuring you they shall be put to good use, when the occasion shall serve. I have the honor to be, with much respect, Gentlemen, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, December 16, 1786.

Dear Sir,—After a very long silence, I am at length able to write to you. An unlucky dislocation of my right wrist, has disabled me from using that hand, three months. I now begin to use it a little, but with great pain; so that this letter must be taken up at such intervals as the state of my hand will permit, and will probably be the work of some days. Though the joint seems to be well set, the swelling does not abate, nor the use of it return. I am now, therefore, on the point of setting out to the south of France, to try the use of some mineral waters there, by immersion. This journey will be of two or three months.

I enclose you herein a copy of the letter from the Minister of Finance to me, making several advantageous regulations for our commerce. The obtaining this has occupied us a twelve month. I say us, because I find the Marquis de La Fayette so useful an auxiliary, that acknowledgments for his co-operation are always due. There remains still something to do for the articles of rice, turpentine, and ship duties. What can be done for tobacco, when the late regulation expires, is very uncertain. The commerce between the United States and this country being put on a good footing, we may afterwards proceed to try if anything can be done, to favor our intercourse with her colonies. Admission into them for our fish and flour, is very desirable; but, unfortunately, both those articles would raise a competition against their own.

I find by the public papers, that your commercial convention failed in point of representation. If it should produce a full meeting in May, and a broader reformation, it will still be well. To make us one nation as to foreign concerns, and keep us distinct in domestic ones, gives the outline of the proper division of powers between the general and particular governments. But, to enable the federal head to exercise the powers given it to best advantage, it should be organized as the particular ones are, into legislative, executive, and judiciary. The first and last are already separated. The second should be. When last with Congress, I often proposed to members to do this, by making of the committee of the States, an executive committee during the recess of Congress, and, during its sessions, to appoint a committee to receive and despatch all executive business, so that Congress itself should meddle only with what should be legislative. But I question if any Congress (much less all successively) can have self-denial enough to go through with this distribution. The distribution, then, should be imposed on them. I find Congress have reversed their division of the western States, and proposed to make them fewer and larger. This is reversing the natural order of things. A tractable people may be governed in large bodies; but, in proportion as they depart from this character, the extent of their government must be less. We see into what small divisions the Indians are obliged to reduce their societies. This measure, with the disposition to shut up the Mississippi, gives me serious apprehensions of the severance of the eastern and western parts of our confederacy. It might have been made the interest of the western States to remain united with us, by managing their interests honestly, and for their own good. But, the moment we sacrifice their interests to our own, they will see it better to govern themselves. The moment they resolve to do this, the point is settled. A forced connection is neither our interest, nor within our power.

The Virginia act for religious freedom has been received with infinite approbation in Europe, and propagated with enthusiasm. I do not mean by the governments, but by the individuals who compose them. It has been translated into French and Italian, has been sent to most of the courts of Europe, and has been the best evidence of the falsehood of those reports which stated us to be in anarchy. It is inserted in the new "Encyclopédie," and is appearing in most of the publications respecting America. In fact, it is comfortable to see the standard of reason at length erected, after so many ages, during which the human mind has been held in vassalage by kings, priests, and nobles; and it is honorable for us, to have produced the first legislature who had the courage to declare, that the reason of man may be trusted with the formation of his own opinions.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

I thank you for your communications in Natural History. The several instances of trees, &c., found far below the surface of the earth, as in the case of Mr. Hay's well, seem to set the reason of man at defiance.

I am, dear Sir, with sincere esteem, your friend and servant.



Paris, December 17, 1786.

Dear Sir,—A dislocation of my right wrist has for three months past, disabled me from writing except with my left hand, which was too slow and awkward to be employed often. I begin to have so much use of my wrist, as to be able to write, but it is slowly, and in pain. I take the first moment I can, however, to acknowledge the receipt of your letters of April the 6th, July the 8th and 30th. In one of these, you say, you have not been able to learn, whether, in the new mills in London, steam is the immediate mover of the machinery, or raises water to move it? It is the immediate mover. The power of this agent, though long known, is but now beginning to be applied to the various purposes of which it is susceptible. You observe that Whitehurst supposes it to have been the agent, which bursting the earth, threw it up into mountains and valleys. You ask me what I think of his book? I find in it many interesting facts brought together, and many ingenious commentaries on them. But there are great chasms in his facts, and consequently in his reasoning. These he fills up by suppositions, which may be as reasonably denied as granted. A sceptical reader therefore, like myself, is left in the lurch. I acknowledge, however, he makes more use of fact, than any other writer on a theory of the earth. But I give one answer to all these theorists. That is as follows. They all suppose the earth a created existence. They must suppose a creator then; and that he possessed power and wisdom to a great degree. As he intended the earth for the habitation of animals and vegetables, is it reasonable to suppose, he made two jobs of his creation, that he first made a chaotic lump and set it into rotatory motion, and then waited the millions of ages necessary to form itself? That when it had done this, he stepped in a second time, to create the animals and plants which were to inhabit it? As the hand of a creator is to be called in, it may as well be called in at one stage of the process as another. We may as well suppose he created the earth at once, nearly in the state in which we see it, fit for the preservation of the beings he placed on it. But it is said, we have a proof that he did not create it in its present solid form, but in a state of fluidity; because its present shape of an oblate spheroid is precisely that which a fluid mass revolving on its axis would assume.

I suppose that the same equilibrium between gravity and centrifugal force, which would determine a fluid mass into the form of an oblate spheroid, would determine the wise creator of that mass, if he made it in a solid state, to give it the same spheroidical form. A revolving fluid will continue to change its shape, till it attains that in which its principles of contrary motion are balanced. For if you suppose them not balanced, it will change its form. Now, the same balanced form is necessary for the preservation of a revolving solid. The creator, therefore, of a revolving solid, would make it an oblate spheroid, that figure alone admitting a perfect equilibrium. He would make it in that form, for another reason; that is, to prevent a shifting of the axis of rotation. Had he created the earth perfectly spherical, its axis might have been perpetually shifting, by the influence of the other bodies of the system; and by placing the inhabitants of the earth successively under its poles, it might have been depopulated; whereas, being spheroidical, it has but one axis on which it can revolve in equilibrio. Suppose the axis of the earth to shift forty-five degrees; then cut it into one hundred and eighty slices, making every section in the plane of a circle of latitude, perpendicular to the axis: every one of these slices, except the equatorial one, would be unbalanced, as there would be more matter on one side of its axis than on the other. There could be but one diameter drawn through such a slice, which would divide it into two equal parts. On every other possible diameter, the parts would hang unequal. This would produce an irregularity in the diurnal rotation. We may, therefore, conclude it impossible for the poles of the earth to shift, if it was made spheroidically; and that it would be made spheroidical, though solid, to obtain this end. I use this reasoning only on the supposition that the earth has had a beginning. I am sure I shall read your conjectures on this subject with great pleasure, though I bespeak, beforehand, a right to indulge my natural incredulity and scepticism. The pain in which I write awakens me here from my reverie, and obliges me to conclude with compliments to Mrs. Thompson, and assurances to yourself of the esteem and affection with which I am sincerely, dear Sir, your friend and servant.

P. S. Since writing the preceding, I have had a conversation on the subject of the steam mills, with the famous Boulton, to whom those of London belong, and who is here at this time. He compares the effect of steam with that of horses, in the following manner: Six horses, aided with the most advantageous combination of the mechanical powers hitherto tried, will grind six bushels of flour in an hour; at the end of which time they are all in a foam, and must rest. They can work thus, six hours in the twenty-four, grinding thirty-six bushels of flour, which is six to each horse, for the twenty-four hours. His steam mill in London consumes one hundred and twenty bushels of coal in twenty-four hours, turns ten pair of stones, which grind eight bushels of flour an hour each, which is nineteen hundred and twenty bushels in the twenty-four hours. This makes a peck and a half of coal perform exactly as much as a horse, in one day, can perform.



Paris, December 18, 1786.

Dear Sir,—Your letters of August the 19th and October the 12th, have come duly to hand. My last to you was of the 11th of August. Soon after that date I got my right wrist dislocated, which has, till now, deprived me of the use of that hand; and even now, I can use it but slowly, and with pain. The revisal of the Congressional intelligence contained in your letters, makes me regret the loss of it on your departure. I feel, too, the want of a person there, to whose discretion I can trust confidential communications, and on whose friendship I can rely against the unjust designs of malevolence. I have no reason to suppose I have enemies in Congress; yet it is too possible to be without that fear. Some symptoms make me suspect, that my proceedings to redress the abusive administration of tobacco by the Farmers General have indisposed towards me a powerful person in Philadelphia, who was profiting from that abuse. An expression in the enclosed letter of M. de Calonnes, would seem to imply, that I had asked the abolition of Mr. Morris's contract. I never did. On the contrary, I always observed to them, that it would be unjust to annul that contract. I was led to this, by principles both of justice and interest. Of interest, because that contract would keep up the price of tobacco here, to thirty-four, thirty-six, and thirty-eight livres, from which it will fall when it shall no longer have that support. However, I have done what was right, and I will not so far wound my privilege of doing that, without regard to any man's interest, as to enter into any explanations of this paragraph with him. Yet I esteem him highly, and suppose that hitherto he had esteemed me. You will see by Calonne's letter, that we are doing what we can, to get the trade of the United States put on a good footing. I am now about setting out on a journey to the south of France, one object of which is to try the mineral waters there, for the restoration of my hand; but another is, to visit all the seaports where we have trade, and to hunt up all the inconveniences under which it labors, in order to get them rectified. I shall visit, and carefully examine too, the canal of Languedoc. On my return, which will be early in the spring, I shall send you several livraisons of the "Encyclopédie," and the plan of your house. I wish to heaven, you may continue in the disposition to fix it in Albemarle. Short will establish himself there, and perhaps Madison may be tempted to do so. This will be society enough, and it will be the great sweetener of our lives. Without society, and a society to our taste, men are never contented. The one here supposed, we can regulate to our minds, and we may extend our regulations to the sumptuary department, so as to set a good example to a country which needs it, and to preserve our own happiness clear of embarrassment. You wish not to engage in the drudgery of the bar. You have two asylums from that. Either to accept a seat in the Council, or in the judiciary department. The latter, however, would require a little previous drudgery at the bar, to qualify you to discharge your duty with satisfaction to yourself. Neither of these would be inconsistent with a continued residence in Albemarle. It is but twelve hours' drive in a sulky from Charlottesville to Richmond, keeping a fresh horse always at the halfway, which would be a small annual expense. I am in hopes that Mrs. M. will have in her domestic cares, occupation and pleasure, sufficient to fill her time, and insure her against the tedium vitæ; that she will find, that the distractions of a town, and the waste of life under these, can bear no comparison with the tranquil happiness of domestic life. If her own experience has not yet taught her this truth, she has in its favor the testimony of one who has gone through the various scenes of business, of bustle, of office, of rambling, and of quiet retirement, and who can assure her, that the latter is the only point upon which the mind can settle at rest. Though not clear of inquietudes, because no earthly situation is so, they are fewer in number, and mixed with more objects of contentment than in any other mode of life. But I must not philosophise too much with her, lest I give her too serious apprehensions of a friendship I shall impose on her. I am with very great esteem, dear Sir, your sincere friend and servant.



Paris, December 20, 1786.

Dear Sir,—Colonel Franks will have the honor of delivering you the treaty with the Emperor of Morocco, and all its appendages. You will perceive, by Mr. Barclay's letter, that it is not necessary that any body should go back to Morocco to exchange ratifications. He says, however, that it will be necessary that Fennish receive some testimony that we approve the treaty; and as, by the acts of Congress, our signature is necessary to give validity to it, I have had duplicates of ratifications prepared, which I have signed, and now send you. If you approve and sign them, send one back to me to be forwarded to Fennish, through Mr. Carmichael. Perhaps a joint letter should be written to Fennish; if you think so, be so good as to write and sign one and send it with the ratification, and I will sign and forward it. The other ratification is to go to Congress. Colonel Franks wishes to proceed with the papers to that body. He should do it, I think, immediately, as Mr. Jay, in a letter to me of October 26th, says that Congress have heard through the French Chargé des Affaires, that the treaty was signed, and they wonder they have not heard it from us.

I enclose you a copy of a letter from Mr. Lambe, by which you will perceive he does not propose to quit Alicant. I will forward the resolution of Congress to Mr. Carmichael, which was enclosed in yours of November 30th, to see if that will move him. As the turn of this resolution admits a construction that Congress may think our original appointment of him censurable, I have, as in justice I ought, in a letter to Mr. Jay, taken on myself the blame of having proposed him to you, if any blame were due. I have enclosed him a copy of my letter to you of September 24, 1785. Mr. Barclay has proposed to go to Alicant to settle Lambe's accounts, and asked to be strengthened with our authority. If Lambe will obey the resolve of Congress, it will be better to let him go and settle his account there. But if he will not go back, perhaps it might not be amiss for Mr. Barclay to have instructions from us to require a settlement, those instructions to be used in that case only. If you think so, be so good as to write a joint letter and send it to me. But this, if done at all, should be done immediately. How much money has Lambe drawn? I have suggested to Mr. Jay the expediency of putting the Barbary business into Carmichael's hands, or sending somebody from America, in consideration of our separate residence and our distance from the scene of negotiation.

I had seen, without alarm, accounts of the disturbances in the East. But Mr. Jay's letter on the subject had really affected me. However, yours sets me to rights. I can never fear that things will go far wrong where common sense has fair play. I but just begin to use my pen a little with my right hand, but with pain. Recommending myself, therefore, to the friendship of Mrs. Adams, I must conclude here with assurances of the sincere esteem of, dear Sir, your friend and servant.

P. S. Should a Mr. Maury, of Virginia, but now a merchant of Liverpool, present himself to you, I recommend him to your notice, as my old school-fellow, and a man of the most solid integrity.



Paris, December 23, 1786.

Dear Sir,—My last letter to you was dated August 14th. Yours of May 27th and June 28th, were not then received, but have been since. I take the liberty of putting under your cover another letter to Mrs. Champis, as also an inquiry after a Dr. Griffiths. A letter to M. le Vieillard, from the person he had consulted about the essence L'Orient, will convey to you the result of my researches into that article. Your spring-block for assisting a vessel in sailing cannot be tried here, because the Seine, being not more than about forty toises wide, and running swiftly, there is no such thing on it as a vessel with sails. I thank you for the volume of the Philadelphia transactions, which came safely to hand, and is, in my opinion, a very valuable volume, and contains many precious papers. The paccan-nut is, as you conjecture, the Illinois nut. The former is the vulgar name south of the Potomac, as also with the Indians and Spaniards, and enters also into the Botanical name which is Juglano Paccan. I have many volumes of the "Encyclopédie" for yourself and Dr. Franklin; but, as a winter passage is bad for books, and before the spring the packets will begin to sail from Havre to New York, I shall detain them till then. You must not presume too strongly that your comb-footed bird is known to M. de Buffon. He did not know our panther. I gave him the stripped skin of one I bought in Philadelphia, and it presents him a new species, which will appear in his next volumes. I have convinced him that our deer is not a Chevreuil, and would you believe that many letters to different acquaintances in Virginia, where this animal is so common, have never enabled me to present him with a large pair of their horns, a blue and red skin stuffed, to show him their colors, at different seasons. He has never seen the horns of what we call the elk. This would decide whether it be an elk or a deer. I am very much pleased with your project on the Harmonica, and the prospect of your succeeding in the application of keys to it. It will be the greatest present which has been made to the musical world this century, not excepting the Piano-forte. If its tone approaches that given by the finger as nearly only as the harpsichord does that of the harp, it will be very valuable. I have lately examined a foot-bass newly invented here, by the celebrated Krumfoltz. It is precisely a piano-forte, about ten feet long, eighteen inches broad, and nine inches deep. It is of one octave only, from fa to fa. The part where the keys are, projects at the side in order to lengthen the levers of the keys. It is placed on the floor, and the harpsichord or other piano-forte is set over it, the foot acting in concert on that, while the fingers play on this. There are three unison chords to every note, of strong brass wire, and the lowest have wire wrapped on them as the lowest in the piano-forte. The chords give a fine, clear, deep tone, almost like the pipe of an organ. Have they connected you with our mint? My friend Monroe promised me he would take care for you in that, or perhaps the establishment of that at New York may have been incompatible with your residence in Philadelphia. A person here has invented a method of coining the French écu of six livres, so as to strike both faces and the edge at one stroke, and makes a coin as beautiful as a medal. No country has ever yet produced such a coin. They are made cheaper, too. As yet, he has only made a few to show the perfection of his manner. I am endeavoring to procure one to send to Congress as a model for their coinage. They will consider whether, on establishing a new mint, it will be worth while to buy his machines, if he will furnish them. A dislocation of my right wrist, which happened to me about a month after the date of my last letter to you, has disabled me from writing three months. I do it now in pain, and only in cases of necessity, or of strong inclination, having as yet no other use of my hand. I put under your cover a letter from my daughter to her friend. She joins me in respects to your good mother, to Mrs. Hopkinson and yourself, to whom I proffer assurances of the esteem with which I am, dear Sir, your sincere friend and servant.



Paris, December 23, 1786.

Dear Sir,—I have received your favor of October 8, but the volume of transactions mentioned to come with it, did not; but I had received one from Mr. Hopkinson. You also mention the diplomas it covered for other persons, and some order of the society relative to myself, which I supposed were omitted by accident, and will come by some other conveyance. So far as relates to myself, whatever the order was, I beg leave to express to you my sense of their favor, and wish to merit it. I have several livraisons of the "Encyclopédie" for yourself and Mr. Hopkinson, which shall be sent in the spring, when they will be less liable to injury. Some books also which I received from Baron Blome must await that conveyance. I receive some discouraging accounts of the temper of the people in our new government, yet were I to judge only from the accounts given in the public papers, I should not fear their passing over without injury. I wish you may have given your opinion of them to some of your friends here, as your experience and knowledge of men would give us more confidence in your opinion. Russia and the Porte have patched up an accommodation through the mediation of this court. The coolness between Spain and Naples will remain, and will occasion the former to cease intermeddling with the affairs of the latter. The Dutch affairs are still to be settled. The new King of Prussia is more earnest in supporting the cause of the slaveholder than his uncle was, and in general an affectation begins to show itself of differing from his uncle. There is some fear of his throwing himself into the Austrian scale in the European division of power. Our treaty with Morocco is favorably concluded through the influence of Spain. That with Algiers affords no expectation. We have been rendered anxious here about your health, by hearing you have had a severe attack of your gout. Remarkable deaths are the Duchess of Chabot, of the House of Rochefoucault, Beaujon, and Peyronet, the architect who built the bridge of Neuilly, and was to have begun one the next spring from the Place Louis XV. to the Palais Bourbon. A dislocated wrist not yet re-established, obliges me to conclude here with assurances of the perfect esteem and respect with which I have the honor to be, your Excellency's most obedient, and most humble servant.

P. S. Will you permit my respects to your grandson, Mr. Franklin, to find their place here?



Paris, December 24, 1786.

Sir,—I feel myself very much honored by the degree which has been conferred on me by the Senatus Academicus of Yale College, and I beg leave, through you, Sir, to express to them how sensible I am of this honor, and that it is to their and your indulgence, and not to any merit of my own, that I am indebted for it.

The commotions that have taken place in America, as far as they are yet known to me, offer nothing threatening. They are a proof that the people have liberty enough, and I could not wish them less than they have. If the happiness of the mass of the people can be secured at the expense of a little tempest now and then, or even of a little blood, it will be a precious purchase. "Malo libertatem periculosam quam quietem servitutem." Let common sense and common honesty have fair play, and they will soon set things to rights.

The bickerings between Russia and the Porte are quieted for the moment. The coolness between the Kings of Spain and Naples will remain, but will have no other consequence than that of the former withdrawing from interference with the affairs of the latter. The present King of Prussia pushes the interest of the Stadtholder more zealously than his uncle did. There have been fears that he might throw himself into the Austrian scale, which would greatly derange the European balance. This country is firm in support of the patriotic party in the United Netherlands.

We have made an advantageous treaty with Morocco, but with Algiers nothing is done. From what I learn from the temper of my countrymen and their tenaciousness of money, it will be more easy to raise ships and men to fight these pirates into reason than money to bribe them. I wish that something could be done in some form or another to open the Mediterranean to us. You will have seen that France is endeavoring to relieve and encourage our commerce with her.

The arts and sciences offering nothing new at this moment worth communicating to you, I shall only add assurances of the respect and esteem with which I have the honor to be, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, December 25, 1786.

Sir,—A dislocation of my right wrist has for upwards of three months prevented my writing to you. I begin to use it a little for the pen; but it is with great pain. To this cause alone I hope you will ascribe that I have acknowledged at one time the receipt of so many of your letters. Their dates are September 12, 26, October 6, 17, 19, 23, November 3, 17, December 1, and there is one without date. They were communicated to the Marquis de LaFayette according to your desire, and those to Mr. Jay have been forwarded from time to time as private conveyances occurred, except some of the last for which no such conveyance has occurred till now. A gentleman is setting out for London, and from thence for New York.

We receive news from America of collections of the people in three or four instances in the Eastern States, demanding delays in the proceedings of the courts of justice. Those States, as you know, depended before the war chiefly on their whale oil and fish. The former was consumed in London, but, being now loaded with heavy duties, cannot go there. Much of their fish went up the Mediterranean, now shut to us by the piratical States. Their debts, therefore, press them, while the means of payment have lessened. The mobs, however, separated without a single injury having been offered to the person or property of any one, nor did they continue twenty-four hours in any one place. This country has opened a market for their whale oil, and we have made a good treaty of peace with Morocco. But with Algiers we can do nothing. An American paper has published a letter, as from me to the Count de Vergennes, on the subject of our productions of tobacco and rice. It is surreptitious and falsified; and both the true and untrue parts very improper for the public eye. How a newswriter of America got at it, is astonishing, and with what views it had been altered. I will be much obliged to you if you will endeavor to prevent its publication in the Leyden Gazette.

The following question I take the liberty of proposing to you confidentially. This country wants money in its treasury. Some individuals have proposed to buy our debt of twenty-four millions at a considerable discount. I have informed Congress of it, and suggested to them the expediency of borrowing this sum in Holland, if possible, as well to prevent loss to this country as to draw all their money transactions to one point. But could they borrow the money in Holland? I would be obliged to you for your opinion on this question, as it would decide me in pressing this matter further on Congress, or letting it drop. It will readily occur to you that the answer should come through the hands of your ambassador here alone. The pain in which I write obliges me, after many thanks for the interesting details of transactions in your country, to assure you of the esteem and respect with which I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, December 26, 1786.

Dear Sir,—A note from me of the 22d of September, apprised you it would be some time before I should be able to answer your letters. I did not then expect it would have been so long.

I enclose herein a resolution of Congress, recalling Mr. Lambe, which I will beg the favor of you to have delivered him. I have written to Mr. Adams on the subject of directing him to settle with Mr. Barclay, and attend his answer. In the meantime, I am not without hopes Mr. Barclay has done the business. I send also a note desiring Mr. Lambe to deliver you his cypher, and a copy of a letter from the Minister of Finance here, to me, announcing several regulations in favor of our commerce.

My "Notes on Virginia," having been hastily written, need abundance of corrections. Two or three of these are so material, that I am reprinting a few leaves to substitute for the old. As soon as these shall be ready, I will beg your acceptance of a copy. I shall be proud to be permitted to send a copy, also, to the Count de Campomanes, as a tribute to his science and his virtues. You will find in them that the Natural Bridge has found an admirer in me also. I should be happy to make with you the tour of the curiosities you will find therein mentioned. That kind of pleasure surpasses much, in my estimation, whatever I find on this side the Atlantic. I sometimes think of building a little hermitage at the Natural Bridge (for it is my property) and of passing there a part of the year at least.

I have received American papers to the 1st of November. Some tumultuous meetings of the people have taken place in the eastern States; i. e. one in Massachusetts, one in Connecticut, and one in New Hampshire. Their principal demand was, a respite in the judiciary proceedings. No injury was done, however, in a single instance, to the person or property of any one, nor did the tumult continue twenty-four hours in any one instance. In Massachusetts, this was owing to the discretion which the malcontents still preserved; in Connecticut and New Hampshire, the body of the people rose in support of government, and obliged the malcontents to go to their homes. In the last-mentioned State, they seized about forty, who were in jail for trial. It is believed this incident will strengthen our government. Those people are not entirely without excuse. Before the war, these States depended on their whale oil and fish. The former was consumed in England, and much of the latter in the Mediterranean. The heavy duties on American whale oil, now required in England, exclude it from that market; and the Algerines exclude them from bringing their fish into the Mediterranean. France is opening her ports for their oil, but in the meanwhile, their ancient debts are pressing them, and they have nothing to pay with. The Massachusetts Assembly, too, in their zeal for paying their public debt, had laid a tax too heavy to be paid in the circumstances of their State. The Indians seem disposed, too, to make war on us. These complicated causes, determined Congress to increase their forces to two thousand men. The latter was the sole object avowed, yet the former entered for something into the measure. However, I am satisfied the good sense of the people is the strongest army our government can ever have, and that it will not fail them. The commercial convention at Annapolis, was not full enough to do business. They found, too, their appointments too narrow, being confined to the article of commerce. They have proposed a meeting in Philadelphia in May, and that it may be authorized to propose amendments of whatever is defective in the federal constitution.

When I was in England, I formed a portable copying press, on the principles of the large one they make here, for copying letters. I had a model made there, and it has answered perfectly. A workman here has made several from that model. The itinerant temper of your court will, I think, render one of these useful to you. You must, therefore, do me the favor to accept of one. I have it now in readiness, and shall send it by the way of Bayonne, to the care of Mr. Alexander there, unless Don Miguel de Lardizabal can carry it with him.

My hand admonishes me it is time to stop, and that I must defer writing to Mr. Barclay till to-morrow.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the highest esteem and respect, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, December 29, 1786.

Sir,—When I had the honor of seeing you in London, you were so kind as to permit me to trouble you sometimes with my letters, and particularly on the subject of mathematical or philosophical instruments. Such a correspondence will be too agreeable to me, and at the same time, too useful, not to avail myself of your permission. It has been an opinion pretty generally received among philosophers, that the atmosphere of America is more humid than that of Europe. Monsieur de Buffon makes this hypothesis one of the two pillars whereon he builds his system of the degeneracy of animals in America. Having had occasion to controvert this opinion of his, as to the degeneracy of animals there, I expressed a doubt of the fact assumed, that our climates are more moist. I did not know of any experiments which might authorize a denial of it. Speaking afterwards on the subject with Dr. Franklin, he mentioned to me the observations he had made on a case of magnets, made for him by Mr. Nairne in London. Of these you will see a detail, in the second volume of the American Philosophical Transactions, in a letter from Dr. Franklin to Mr. Nairne, wherein he recommends to him to take up the principle therein explained, and endeavor to make an hygrometer, which, taking slowly the temperature of the atmosphere, shall give its mean degree of moisture, and enable us thus to make with more certainty, a comparison between the humidities of different climates. May I presume to trouble you with an inquiry of Mr. Nairne, whether he has executed the Doctor's idea, and if he has, to get him to make for me a couple of the instruments he may have contrived? They should be made of the same piece, and under like circumstances, that sending one to America, I may rely on its indications there, compared with those of the one I shall retain here. Being in want of a set of magnets also, I would be glad if he would at the same time send me a set, the case of which should be made as Dr. Franklin describes his to have been, so that I may repeat his experiment. Colonel Smith will do me the favor to receive these things from Mr. Nairne, and to pay him for them.

I think Mr. Rittenhouse never published an invention of his in this way, which was a very good one. It was of an hygrometer which, like the common ones, was to give the actual moisture of the air. He has two slips of mahogany about five inches long, three-fourths of an inch broad, and one-tenth of an inch thick, the one having the grain running lengthwise, and the other crosswise. These are glued together by their faces, so as to form a piece five inches long, three-fourths of an inch broad, and one-third of an inch thick, which is stuck by its lower end into a little plinth of wood, presenting their edge to the view. The fibres of the wood you know are dilated, but not lengthened by moisture. The slip, therefore, whose grain is lengthwise, becomes a standard, retaining always the same precise length. That which has its grain crosswise, dilates with moisture, and contracts for the want of it. If the right hand piece be the cross grained one, when the air is very moist, it lengthens, and forces its companion to form a kind of interior annulus of a circle on the left. When the air is dry, it contracts, draws its companion to the right, and becomes itself the interior annulus. In order to show this dilatation and contraction, an index is fixed on the upper end of two of the slips; a plate of metal or wood is fastened to the front of the plinth, so as to cover the two slips from the eye. A slit, being nearly the portion of a circle, is cut in this plate, so that the shank of the index may play freely through its whole range. On the edge of the slit is a graduation. The objection to this instrument is, that it is not fit for comparative observations, because no two pieces of wood being of the same texture exactly, no two will yield exactly alike to the same agent. However, it is less objectionable on this account, than most of the substances used. Mr. Rittenhouse had a thought of trying ivory; but I do not know whether he executed it. All these substances not only vary from one another at the same time, but from themselves at different times. All of them, however, have some peculiar advantages, and I think this, on the whole, appeared preferable to any other I had ever seen. Not knowing whether you had heard of this instrument, and supposing it would amuse you, I have taken the liberty of detailing it to you.

I beg you to be assured of the sentiments of perfect esteem and respect with which I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, December 31, 1786.

Sir,—I had the honor of addressing you on the 12th of the last month; since which, your favor of October the 12th has been received, enclosing a copy of the resolution of Congress for recalling Mr. Lambe. My letter by Mr. Randall informed you that we had put an end to his powers, and required him to repair to Congress. I lately received a letter from him, dated Alicant, October the 10th, of which I have the honor to enclose you a copy; by which, you will perceive that the circumstance of ill health, either true or false, is urged for his not obeying our call. I shall immediately forward the order of Congress. I am not without fear, that some misapplication of the public money may enter into the causes of his declining to return. The moment that I saw a symptom of this in his conduct, as it was a circumstance which did not admit the delay of consulting Mr. Adams, I wrote to Mr. Carmichael, to stop any moneys which he might have in the hands of his banker. I am still unable to judge whether he is guilty of this or not, as by the arrangements with Mr. Adams, who alone had done business with the bankers of the United States, in Holland, Mr. Lambe's drafts were to be made on him, and I know not what their amount has been. His drafts could not have been negotiated, if made on us both, at places so distant. Perhaps it may be thought, that the appointment of Mr. Lambe was censurable in the moment in which it was made. It is a piece of justice, therefore, which I owe to Mr. Adams, to declare that the proposition went first from me to him. I take the liberty of enclosing you a copy of my letter to Mr. Adams, of September the 24th, 1785, in which that proposition was made. It expresses the motives operating on my mind in that moment, as well as the cautions I thought it necessary to take. To these must be added, the difficulty of finding an American in Europe fit for the business, and willing to undertake it. I knew afterwards, that Dr. Bancroft (who is named in the letter) could not, on account of his own affairs, have accepted even a primary appointment. I think it evident, that no appointment could have succeeded without a much greater sum of money.

I am happy to find that Mr. Barclay's mission has been attended with complete success. For this we are indebted, unquestionably, to the influence and good offices of the court of Madrid. Colonel Franks, the bearer of this, will have the honor to put into your hands the original of the treaty, with other papers accompanying it. It will appear by these, that Mr. Barclay has conducted himself with a degree of intelligence and of good faith, which reflects the highest honor on him.

A copy of a letter from Captain O'Bryan to Mr. Carmichael, is also herewith enclosed. The information it contains will throw farther light on the affairs of Algiers. His observations on the difficulties which arise from the distance of Mr. Adams and myself from that place, and from one another, and the delays occasioned by this circumstance, are certainly just. If Congress should propose to revive the negotiations, they will judge whether it will not be more expedient to send a person to Algiers, who can be trusted with full powers; and also whether a mission to Constantinople may not be previously necessary. Before I quit this subject, I must correct an error in the letter of Captain O'Bryan. Mr. Lambe was not limited, as he says, to one hundred, but to two hundred dollars apiece for our prisoners. This was the price which has been just paid for a large number of French prisoners, and this was our guide.

I have the honor to be, with the most perfect esteem and respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, January 5, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I am desired to forward to you the enclosed queries, and to ask the favor of you to give such an answer to them, as may not give you too much trouble. Those which stand foremost on the paper, can be addressed only to your complaisance; but the last may possibly be interesting to your department, and to the United States. I mean those which suggest the possibility of borrowing money in Europe, the principal of which shall be ultimately payable in land, and in the meantime a good interest. You know best whether the suggestion can be turned to any profit, and whether it will be worth while to introduce any proposition to Congress thereon. Among the possible shapes into which a matter of this kind may be formed, the following is one: Let us suppose the public lands to be worth a dollar, hard money, the acre. If we should ask of a moneyed man a loan of one hundred dollars, payable with one hundred acres of land at the end of ten years, and in the meantime carrying an interest of five per cent., this would be more disadvantageous to the lender than a common loan, payable ultimately in cash. But if we should say, we will deliver you the one hundred acres of land immediately, which is in fact an immediate payment of the principal, and will nevertheless pay your interest of five per cent., for ten years, this offers a superior advantage, and might tempt money holders. But what should we in fact receive, in this way, for our lands? Thirty-seven dollars and one-fourth, being left in Europe, on an interest of five per cent., would pay annually the interest of the one hundred dollars for ten years. There would remain then only sixty-two dollars and three-quarters, for the one hundred acres of land, that is to say, about two-thirds of its price. Congress can best determine, whether any circumstance in our situation, should induce us to get rid of any of our debts in that way. I beg you to understand, that I have named rates of interest, term of payment, and price of land, merely to state the case, and without the least knowledge that a loan could be obtained on these terms. It remains to inform you from whom this suggestion comes. The person from whom I receive it, is a Monsieur Claviere, connected with the moneyed men of Amsterdam. He is, on behalf of a company there, actually treating with the Comptroller General here, for the purchase of our debt to this country, at a considerable discount. Whether he has an idea of offering a loan to us, on terms such as I have above spoken of, I know not; nor do I know that he is authorized to make the suggestion he has made. If the thing should be deemed worthy the attention of Congress, they can only consider it as a possibility, and take measures to avail themselves of it, if the possibility turns out in their favor, and not to be disappointed if it does not. Claviere's proposition not being formal enough for me to make an official communication of it, you will make what use of it you see best. I am, with very sincere esteem and attachment, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, January 7, 1787.

Sir,—I had the honor, on the 2d of November last, to acknowledge the receipt of your Excellency's letter of October the 22d, wherein you are so good as to communicate to me the arrangements which the King had been pleased to make for the encouragement of the commerce of the United States of America with his subjects. I immediately made known the same to the agents of the United States in the several seaports of this kingdom, that they might give information thereof to the persons concerned in that commerce. Unacquainted with the forms in which his Majesty usually declares his will in cases of this kind, and the manner in which it is communicated to the officers of the customs at the seaports, I am unable to answer those agents who inform me that the officers of the customs and farms do not as yet consider themselves bound to conform to the new regulations. I take the liberty, therefore, of soliciting your Excellency's interposition for the issuing such orders as may be necessary for carrying into effect the gracious intentions of the King, and of repeating the assurances of those sentiments of perfect respect and esteem, with which I have the honor to be your Excellency's most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, January 9, 1787.

Sir,—My last of December the 31st, acknowledged the receipt of yours of October the 12th, as the present does those of October the 3d, 9th, and 27th, together with the resolution of Congress of October the 16th, on the claim of Shweighauser. I will proceed in this business on the return of Mr. Barclay, who, being fully acquainted with all the circumstances, will be enabled to give me that information, want of which might lead me to do wrong on the one side or the other.

Information of the signature of the treaty with Morocco has been long on its passage to you. I will beg leave to recur to dates, that you may see that no part of it has been derived from me. The first notice I had of it, was in a letter from Mr. Barclay, dated Daralbeyda, August the 11th. I received this on the 13th of September. No secure conveyance offered till the 26th of the same month, being thirteen days after my receipt of it. In my letter of that date, which went by the way of London, I had the honor to enclose you a copy of Mr. Barclay's letter. The conveyance of the treaty itself is suffering a delay here at present, which all my anxiety cannot prevent. Colonel Franks' baggage, which came by water from Cadiz to Rouen, has been long and hourly expected. The moment it arrives, he will set out to London, to have duplicates of the treaty signed by Mr. Adams, and from thence he will proceed to New York.

The Chevalier del Pinto, who treated with us on behalf of Portugal, being resident at London, I have presumed that causes of the delay of that treaty had been made known to Mr. Adams, and by him communicated to you. I will write to him by Colonel Franks, in order that you may be answered on that subject.

The publication of the enclosed extract from my letter of May the 27th, 1786, will, I fear, have very mischievous effects. It will tend to draw on the Count de Vergennes the formidable phalanx of the Farms; to prevent his committing himself to me in any conversation which he does not mean for the public papers; to inspire the same diffidence into all other ministers, with whom I might have to transact business; to defeat the little hope, if any hope existed, of getting rid of the Farm on the article of tobacco; and to damp that freedom of communication which the resolution of Congress of May the 3d, 1784, was intended to re-establish.

Observing by the proceedings of Congress, that they are about to establish a coinage, I think it my duty to inform them, that a Swiss, of the name of Drost, established here, has invented a method of striking the two faces and the edge of a coin, at one stroke. By this, and other simplifications of the process of coinage, he is enabled to coin from twenty-five thousand to thirty thousand pieces a day, with the assistance of only two persons, the pieces of metal being first prepared. I send you by Colonel Franks three coins of gold, silver and copper, which you will perceive to be perfect medals; and I can assure you, from having seen him coin many, that every piece is as perfect as these. There has certainly never yet been seen any coin, in any country, comparable to this. The best workmen in this way, acknowledge that his is like a new art. Coin should always be made in the highest perfection possible, because it is a great guard against the danger of false coinage. This man would be willing to furnish his implements to Congress, and if they please, he will go over and instruct a person to carry on the work: nor do I believe he would ask anything unreasonable. It would be very desirable, that in the institution of a new coinage, we could set out on so perfect a plan as this, and the more so, as while the work is so exquisitely done, it is done cheaper.

I will certainly do the best I can for the reformation of the consular convention, being persuaded that our States would be very unwilling to conform their laws either to the convention, or to the scheme. But it is too difficult and too delicate, to form sanguine hopes. However, that there may be room to reduce the convention, as much as circumstances will admit, will it not be expedient for Congress to give me powers, in which there shall be no reference to the scheme? The powers sent me, oblige me to produce that scheme, and certainly, the moment it is produced, they will not abate a tittle from it. If they recollect the scheme, and insist on it, we can but conclude it; but if they have forgotten it (which may be), and are willing to reconsider the whole subject, perhaps we may get rid of something the more of it. As the delay is not injurious to us, because the convention, whenever and however made, is to put us in a worse state than we are in now, I shall venture to defer saying a word on the subject, till I can hear from you in answer to this. The full powers may be sufficiently guarded, by private instructions to me, not to go beyond the former scheme. This delay may be well enough ascribed (whenever I shall have received new powers) to a journey I had before apprised the minister that I should be obliged to take, to some mineral waters in the south of France, to see if, by their aid, I may recover the use of my right hand, of which a dislocation, about four months ago, threatens to deprive me in a great measure. The surgeons have long insisted on this measure. I shall return by Bordeaux, Nantes and L'Orient, to get the necessary information for finishing our commercial regulations here. Permit me, however, to ask as immediately as possible, an answer, either affirmative or negative, as Congress shall think best, and to ascribe the delay on which I venture, to my desire to do what is for the best.

I send you a copy of the late marine regulations of this country. There are things in it, which may become interesting to us. Particularly, what relates to the establishment of a marine militia, and their classification.

You will have seen in the public papers, that the King has called an assembly of the Notables of this country. This has not been done for one hundred and sixty years past. Of course, it calls up all the attention of the people. The objects of this assembly are not named: several are conjectured. The tolerating the Protestant religion; removing all the internal Custom-houses to the frontier; equalizing the gabelles on salt through the kingdom; the sale of the King's domains, to raise money; or, finally, the effecting this necessary end by some other means, are talked of. But in truth, nothing is known about it. This government practises secrecy so systematically, that it never publishes its purposes or its proceedings, sooner or more extensively than necessary. I send you a pamphlet, which, giving an account of the last Assemblée des Notables, may give an idea of what the present will be.

A great desire prevails here of encouraging manufactures. The famous Boulton and Watts, who are at the head of the plated manufactures of Birmingham, the steam mills of London, copying presses and other mechanical works, have been here. It is said also, that Wedgewood has been here, who is famous for his steel manufactories, and an earthen ware in the antique style; but as to this last person, I am not certain. It cannot, I believe, be doubted, but that they came at the request of government, and that they will be induced to establish similar manufactures here.

The transferring hither those manufactures, which contribute so much to draw our commerce to England, will have a great tendency to strengthen our connections with this country, and loosen them with that.

The enfranchising the port of Honfleur at the mouth of the Seine, for multiplying the connections with us, is at present an object. It meets with opposition in the ministry; but I am in hopes it will prevail. If natural causes operate, uninfluenced by accidental circumstances, Bordeaux and Honfleur, or Havre, must ultimately take the greatest part of our commerce. The former by the Garonne and canal of Languedoc, opens the southern provinces to us; the latter, the northern ones and Paris. Honfleur will be peculiarly advantageous for our rice and whale oil, of which the principal consumption is at Paris. Being free, they can be re-exported when the market here shall happen to be overstocked.

The labors of the ensuing summer will close the eastern half of the harbor of Cherbourg, which will contain and protect forty sail of the line. It has from fifty to thirty-five feet of water next to the cones, shallowing gradually to the shore. Between this and Dunkirk, the navigation of the channel will be rendered much safer in the event of a war with England, and invasions on that country become more practicable.

The gazettes of France and Leyden, to the present date, accompany this.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, January 11, 1787.

Dear Sir,—Mr. Jay, in his last letter to me, observes they hear nothing further of the treaty with Portugal. I have taken the liberty of telling him that I will write to you on the subject, and that he may expect to hear from you on it, by the present conveyance. The Chevalier del Pinto being at London, I presume he has, or can inform you why it is delayed on their part. I will thank you also for the information he shall give you.

There is here an order of priests called the Mathurins, the object of whose institution is, the begging of alms for the redemption of captives. About eighteen months ago, they redeemed three hundred, which cost them about fifteen hundred livres apiece. They have agents residing in the Barbary States, who are constantly employed in searching and contracting for the captives of their nation, and they redeem at a lower price than any other people can. It occurred to me, that their agency might be engaged for our prisoners at Algiers. I have had interviews with them, and the last night, a long one with the General of the order. They offer their services with all the benignity and cordiality possible. The General told me, he could not expect to redeem our prisoners as cheap as their own, but that he would use all the means in his power to do it on the best terms possible, which will be the better, as there shall be the less suspicion that he acts for our public. I told him I would write to you on the subject, and speak to him again. What do you think of employing them, limiting them to a certain price, as three hundred dollars for instance, or any other sum you think proper? He will write immediately to his instruments there, and in two or three months we can know the event. He will deliver them at Marseilles, Cadiz, or where we please, at our expense. The money remaining of the fund destined to the Barbary business, may, I suppose, be drawn on for this object. Write me your opinion, if you please, on this subject, finally, fully and immediately, that, if you approve the proposition, I may enter into arrangements with the General, before my departure to the waters of Aix, which will be about the beginning of February.

I have the honor to be, with very sincere esteem and respect, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



January 11, 1787.

My anxiety, my dear Sir, on the detention of the Morocco treaty is inexpressible. However cogent and necessary the motives which detain you, I should be deemed inexcusable were I to let such a safe opportunity as that by Colonel Blackden pass without sending the papers on to London. Mr. Jay complained that a treaty signed in June was not ratified in October. What will they say when they shall observe that the same treaty does not reach them till March, nine months? In the meantime, our whole commerce is paying a heavy tax for insurance till its publication. Can you fix a day as early as Monday or Tuesday for your departure, whether your baggage arrives or not, or would you rather decline the going with the papers? In the former case, if your baggage does not arrive before your departure, any orders you may think proper to leave respecting it, shall be punctually executed. I can send it to Mr. Simonson at Havre, so that it may go to America in the February packet. I shall see you at the Marquis's to-day, and we will speak about this matter.



Paris, January 14, 1787.

Sir,—I have been honored with your letter of October 15, and thank you for the intelligence it contained. I am able to make you but an unequal return for it, your friends here being so much more in condition to communicate to you interesting intelligence. With respect to the affairs of Holland, they do not promise arrangement. The interest which the King of Prussia takes in the affairs of the Stadtholder, seem to threaten an interruption of his cordiality with the country. The misunderstanding between the Kings of Spain and Naples, and a projected visit of the latter to Vienna, with the known influence of his Queen over him, are matter for some jealousy.

As to domestic news, the Assembly of Notables occupies all conversation. What will be the subjects of their deliberation is not yet declared. The establishment of provincial assemblies, tolerating the Protestant religion, removing the internal barriers to the frontiers, equalizing the Gabelles, sale of the King's domains, and, in short, every other possible reformation, are conjectured by different persons. I send you a pamphlet on the last Assembly of Notables, from which ideas are formed as to what this will be. Possibly you may receive the same from some of your friends. I send you, also, what it is less likely you should get from them, because it is next to impossible to get it at all—that is, a late memoir by Linquet, which has produced his perpetual exile from this country. To these I add a report written by M. Bailly, on the subject of the Hotel-Dieu of Paris, which has met a very general approbation. These are things for the day only. I recollect no work of any dignity which has been lately published. We shall very soon receive another volume on Mineralogy from M. de Buffon; and a third volume of the "Cultivator Américain" is in the press. So is a History of the American War, by a Monsieur Soulés, the two first volumes of which, coming down to the capture of Burgoyne, I have seen, and think better than any I have seen. Mazzei will print soon two or three volumes 8vo. of "Recherches Historiques and Politiques sur les Etats Unis d'Amérique," which are sensible. We are flattered with the hopes that the packet boats will hereafter sail monthly from Havre, the first being to sail on the 10th of the next month. This is very desirable indeed, as it will furnish more frequent opportunities of correspondence between the two countries. If I can be made useful to you in any line whatever here, it will make me very happy. Being with sincere esteem and respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, January 14, 1787.

Sir,—In the conversation with which you were pleased to honor me, a few days ago, on the enfranchisement of the port of Honfleur, I took the liberty of observing, that I was not instructed by my constituents to make any proposition on that subject. That it would be agreeable to them, however, I must suppose, because it will offer the following advantages:

1. It is a convenient entrepôt for furnishing us with the manufactures of the northern parts of France, and particularly of Paris, and for receiving and distributing the productions of our country in exchange.

2. Cowes, on the opposite side of the channel, has heretofore been the deposit for a considerable part of our productions, landed in Great Britain in the first instance, but intended for re-exportation. From thence, our rice, particularly, has been distributed to France and other parts of Europe. I am not certain whether our tobaccos were deposited there, or carried to London to be sorted for the different markets. To draw this business from Cowes, no place is so favorably situated as Honfleur.

3. It would be a convenient deposit for our whale oil, of which, after the supply of Paris, there will be a surplus for re-exportation.

4. Should our fur trade be recovered out of the hands of the English, it will naturally come to Honfleur, as the port of Paris.

5. Salt is an important article in all our return cargoes; because, being carried as ballast, its freight costs nothing. But, on account of some regulations, with which I am not well acquainted, it cannot, at present, be shipped to advantage from any port on the Seine.

6. Our vessels being built sharp, for swift sailing, suffer extremely in most of the western ports of France, in which they are left on dry ground at every ebb of the tide. But at Honfleur, I am told, they can ride in bold water, on a good bottom and near the shore at all times.

These facts may, perhaps, throw some light on the question in which, for the good of both countries, you are pleased to interest yourself. I take the liberty, therefore, of barely mentioning them, and with the more pleasure, as it furnishes me an occasion of assuring you of those sentiments of respect and esteem with which I have the honor to be, your most obedient, humble servant.



Paris, January 15, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I see by the Journal of this morning, that they are robbing us of another of our inventions to give it to the English. The writer, indeed, only admits them to have revived what he thinks was known to the Greeks, that is, the making the circumference of a wheel of one single piece. The farmers in New Jersey were the first who practised it, and they practised it commonly. Dr. Franklin, in one of his trips to London, mentioned this practice to the man now in London, who has the patent for making those wheels. The idea struck him. The Doctor promised to go to his shop, and assist him in trying to make the wheel of one piece. The Jersey farmers do it by cutting a young sapling, and bending it, while green and juicy, into a circle; and leaving it so until it becomes perfectly seasoned. But in London there are no saplings. The difficulty was, then, to give to old wood the pliancy of young. The Doctor and the workman labored together some weeks, and succeeded; and the man obtained a patent for it, which has made his fortune. I was in his shop in London, he told me the whole story himself, and acknowledged, not only the origin of the idea, but how much the assistance of Dr. Franklin had contributed to perform the operation on dry wood. He spoke of him with love and gratitude. I think I have had a similar account from Dr. Franklin, but cannot be quite certain. I know, that being in Philadelphia when the first set of patent wheels arrived from London, and were spoken of by the gentleman (an Englishman) who brought them, as a wonderful discovery, the idea of its being a new discovery was laughed at by the Philadelphians, who, in their Sunday parties across the Delaware, had seen every farmer's cart mounted on such wheels. The writer in the paper, supposes the English workman got his idea from Homer. But it is more likely the Jersey farmer got his idea from thence, because ours are the only farmers who can read Homer; because, too, the Jersey practice is precisely that stated by Homer: the English practice very different. Homer's words are (comparing a young hero killed by Ajax to a poplar felled by a workman) literally thus: "He fell on the ground, like a poplar, which has grown smooth, in the west part of a great meadow; with its branches shooting from its summit. But the chariot maker, with the sharp axe, has felled it, that he may bend a wheel for a beautiful chariot. It lies drying on the banks of the river." Observe the circumstances which coincide with the Jersey practice. 1. It is a tree growing in a moist place, full of juices and easily bent. 2. It is cut while green. 3. It is bent into the circumference of a wheel. 4. It is left to dry in that form. You, who write French well and readily, should write a line for the Journal, to reclaim the honor of our farmers. Adieu. Yours affectionately.



Paris, January 16, 1787.

Dear Sir,—Uncertain whether you might be at New York at the moment of Colonel Franks' arrival. I have enclosed my private letters for Virginia under cover to our delegation in general, which otherwise I would have taken the liberty to enclose particularly to you, as best acquainted with the situation of the persons to whom they are addressed. Should this find you at New York, I will still ask your attention to them.

In my letter to Mr. Jay, I have mentioned the meeting of the Notables, appointed for the 29th instant. It is now put off to the 7th or 8th of next month. This event, which will hardly excite any attention in America, is deemed here the most important one which has taken place in their civil line during the present century. Some promise their country great things from it, some nothing. Our friend de La Fayette was placed on the list originally. Afterwards his name disappeared, but finally was reinstated. This shows that his character here is not considered as an indifferent one, and that it excites agitation. His education in our school has drawn on him a very jealous eye from a court whose principles are the most absolute despotism. But I hope he has nearly passed his crisis. The King, who is a good man, is favorably disposed towards him, and he is supported by powerful family connections and by the public good will. He is the youngest man of the Notables except one whose office placed him on the list.

The Count de Vergennes has within these ten days had a very severe attack of what is deemed an unfixed gout. He has been well enough, however, to do business to-day. But anxieties for him are not yet quieted. He is a great and good minister, and an accident to him might endanger the peace of Europe.

The tumults in America I expected would have produced in Europe an unfavorable opinion of our political state. But it has not. On the contrary, the small effect of these tumults seems to have given more confidence in the firmness of our governments. The interposition of the people themselves on the side of government has had a great effect on the opinion here. I am persuaded myself that the good sense of the people will always be found to be the best army. They may be led astray for a moment, but will soon correct themselves. The people are the only censors of their governors; and even their errors will tend to keep these to the true principles of their institution. To punish these errors too severely would be to suppress the only safeguard of the public liberty. The way to prevent these irregular interpositions of the people, is to give them full information of their affairs through the channel of the public papers, and to contrive that those papers should penetrate the whole mass of the people. The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers, and be capable of reading them. I am convinced that those societies (as the Indians) which live without government, enjoy in their general mass an infinitely greater degree of happiness than those who live under the European governments. Among the former, public opinion is in the place of law, and restrains morals as powerfully as laws ever did anywhere. Among the latter, under pretence of governing, they have divided their nations into two classes, wolves and sheep. I do not exaggerate. This is a true picture of Europe. Cherish, therefore, the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention. Do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them. If once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions; and experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind; for I can apply no milder term to the governments of Europe, and to the general prey of the rich on the poor. The want of news has led me into disquisition instead of narration, forgetting you have every day enough of that. I shall be happy to hear from you sometimes, only observing that whatever passes through the post is read, and that when you write what should be read by myself only, you must be so good as to confide your letter to some passenger, or officer of the packet. I will ask your permission to write to you sometimes, and to assure you of the esteem and respect with which I have honor to be, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, January 17, 1787.

Sir,—You were pleased, in behalf of a friend, to ask information of me on the subject of the money of the United States of America, and I had the honor of informing you, by letter of November 7, that no regulations of their coin had then been made by Congress, as far as I knew. They had, however, entered into resolutions on that subject, which have since come to hand. A translation of these will be found in the Leyden Gazette of some few weeks ago. But it will be necessary to make the following corrections in the Gazette:

The Gazette dates the resolutions October 10; but they were of August 8. It gives only 365.64 grains of pure silver to the dollar; it should be 375.64. It states the pound of silver, with its alloy, to be worth 9.99 dollars only, whereas it is fixed at 13.777 dollars; and the pound of gold, with its alloy, being worth 209.77 dollars, gives the proportion of silver to gold as 1 to 15.225. These corrections being made, the resolutions as stated in the Leyden Gazette may be confided in.

I have the honor to be, with much respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, January 17, 1787.

Gentlemen,—I am honored this day by the receipt of your letter of the 6th instant. Having nothing to do with the matters of account of the United States in Europe, it is out of my power to say anything to you as to the payment of the balance due to you. Yet I think it would be proper for you to write to the "Commissioners of the Treasury," at New York, on this subject. They are the persons who are to pay it; and as their Board has been created since the debt was contracted, they may possibly need information on the subject.

As to your loan office certificates, you would do well to commit them to some correspondent in America. They will be settled by the table of depreciation at their true worth in gold or silver at the time the paper dollars were lent. On that true value the interest has been paid, and continues to be paid to the creditors annually in America. That the principal will also be paid, is as sure as any future fact can be. The epoch is not fixed. It is expected that the State of New York will shortly accede to the impost which has been proposed. When that shall be done, that impost will suffice to pay the interest, and sink the principal in a very few years. I have the honor to be, with much respect, Gentlemen, your most obedient humble servant.



Paris, January 19, 1787.

Sir,—I have the honor of enclosing to you the sheets on the subject of Wyoming. I have had a long conversation with M. Creve-coeur on them. He knows well that canton. He was in the neighborhood of the place when it was destroyed, saw great numbers of the fugitives, aided them with his wagons, and had the story from all their mouths. He committed notes to writing at the moment, which are now in Normandy, at his father's. He has written for them, and they will be here in five or six days, when he premises to put them into my hands. He says there will be a great deal to alter in your narration, and that it must assume a different face, more favorable both to the British and Indians. His veracity may be relied on, and I told him I was sure your object was truth; and, to render your work estimable by that character, that I thought you would wait, and readily make any changes upon evidence which should be satisfactory to you. The moment I receive his notes I will communicate them to you, and have the honor to be, with much respect, Sir, your most obedient humble servant.



Paris, January 27, 1787.

Sir,—I duly received the letter you did me the honor to write, and the verses therein enclosed on the subject of M. de La Fayette. I have taken measures to present the public with this acceptable present; but the newspapers here are slow in complying with the applications addressed to them. It is not for a stranger to decide on the merits of poetry in a language foreign to him. Were I to presume to do it in this instance, I should certainly assign to this composition a high degree of approbation.

I wish it were in my power to furnish you with any materials for the history on which you are engaged, but I brought no papers of that kind with me from America. In a letter you did me the honor of writing me sometime ago, you seemed to suppose, you might go to America in quest of materials. Should you execute this idea, I should with great pleasure give any assistance in my power to obtain access for you to the several deposits of materials which are in that country. I have the honor to be, with great respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, January 27, 1787.

Sir,—I have duly received the letter with which you have been pleased to honor me, complaining of the non-payment of interest on the sum due to you from the United States. I feel with great sensibility the weight of these complaints; but it is neither in my province, nor in my power, to remedy them. I am noways authorized to interfere with the money matters of the United States in Europe. These rest altogether between the Commissioners of the Treasury of the United States at New York and their bankers in Europe. Being informed, however, from Mr. Grand, that the funds appropriated to the payment of the foreign officers were exhausted, I took the liberty of representing strongly to the Commissioners the motives which should urge them to furnish new supplies. They assured me, in answer, that they would do it at the first moment it should be in their power. I am perfectly persuaded they will; however, I shall immediately forward to them the letter you have been pleased to address to me; and will observe to you, that it is to them alone, or to Congress, to whom you can make any future applications with effect.

I have the honor to be, with much respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, January 30, 1787.

Dear Sir,—My last to you was of the 16th of December; since which, I have received yours of November the 25th, and December the 4th, which afforded me, as your letters always do, a treat on matters public, individual and economical. I am impatient to learn your sentiments on the late troubles in the Eastern States. So far as I have yet seen, they do not appear to threaten serious consequences. Those States have suffered by the stoppage of the channels of their commerce, which have not yet found other issues. This must render money scarce, and make the people uneasy. This uneasiness has produced acts absolutely unjustifiable; but I hope they will provoke no severities from their governments. A consciousness of those in power that their administration of the public affairs has been honest, may perhaps, produce too great a degree of indignation; and those characters, wherein fear predominates over hope, may apprehend too much from these instances of irregularity. They may conclude too hastily, that nature has formed man insusceptible of any other government than that of force, a conclusion not founded in truth nor experience. Societies exist under three forms, sufficiently distinguishable. 1. Without government, as among our Indians. 2. Under governments, wherein the will of every one has a just influence; as is the case in England, in a slight degree, and in our States, in a great one. 3. Under governments of force; as is the case in all other monarchies, and in most of the other republics. To have an idea of the curse of existence under these last, they must be seen. It is a government of wolves over sheep. It is a problem, not clear in my mind, that the first condition is not the best. But I believe it to be inconsistent with any great degree of population. The second state has a great deal of good in it. The mass of mankind under that, enjoys a precious degree of liberty and happiness. It has its evils, too; the principal of which is the turbulence to which it is subject. But weigh this against the oppressions of monarchy, and it becomes nothing. Malo periculosam libertatem quam quietam servitutem. Even this evil is productive of good. It prevents the degeneracy of government, and nourishes a general attention to the public affairs. I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccessful rebellions, indeed, generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people, which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions, as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.

If these transactions give me no uneasiness, I feel very differently at another piece of intelligence, to wit, the possibility that the navigation of the Mississippi may be abandoned to Spain. I never had any interest westward of the Alleghany; and I never will have any. But I have had great opportunities of knowing the character of the people who inhabit that country; and I will venture to say, that the act which abandons the navigation of the Mississippi is an act of separation between the eastern and western country. It is a relinquishment of five parts out of eight, of the territory of the United States; an abandonment of the fairest subject for the payment of our public debts, and the chaining those debts on our own necks, in perpetuum. I have the utmost confidence in the honest intentions of those who concur in this measure; but I lament their want of acquaintance with the character and physical advantages of the people, who, right or wrong, will suppose their interest sacrificed on this occasion, to the contrary interests of that part of the confederacy in possession of present power. If they declare themselves a separate people, we are incapable of a single effort to retain them. Our citizens can never be induced, either as militia or as soldiers, to go there to cut the throats of their own brothers and sons, or rather, to be themselves the subjects, instead of the perpetrators of the parricide. Nor would that country quit the cost of being retained against the will of its inhabitants, could it be done. But it cannot be done. They are able already to rescue the navigation of the Mississippi out of the hands of Spain, and to add New Orleans to their own territory. They will be joined by the inhabitants of Louisiana. This will bring on a war between them and Spain; and that will produce the question with us, whether it will not be worth our while to become parties with them in the war, in order to re-unite them with us, and thus correct our error? And were I to permit my forebodings to go one step further, I should predict that the inhabitants of the United States would force their rulers to take the affirmative of that question. I wish I may be mistaken in all these opinions.

We have, for some time, expected that the Chevalier de La Luzerne would obtain a promotion in the diplomatic line, by being appointed to some of the courts where this country keeps an ambassador. But none of the vacancies taking place, which had been counted on, I think the present disposition is, to require his return to his station in America. He told me himself, lately, that he should return in the spring. I have never pressed this matter on the court, though I knew it to be desirable and desired on our part; because, if the compulsion on him to return had been the work of Congress, he would have returned in such ill temper with them, as to disappoint them in the good they expected from it. He would forever have laid at their door his failure of promotion. I did not press it for another reason, which is, that I have great reason to believe that the character of the Count de Moutier, who would go, were the Chevalier to be otherwise provided for, would give the most perfect satisfaction in America.

As you have now returned into Congress, it will become of importance that you should form a just estimate of certain public characters: on which, therefore, I will give you such notes, as my knowledge of them has furnished me with. You will compare them with the materials you are otherwise possessed of, and decide on a view of the whole.

You know the opinion I formerly entertained of my friend, Mr. Adams.  * * * and the Governor were the first who shook that opinion. I afterwards saw proofs which convicted him of a degree of vanity, and of a blindness to it, of which no germ appeared in Congress. A seven months' intimacy with him here, and as many weeks in London, have given me opportunities of studying him closely. He is vain, irritable, and a bad calculator of the force and probable effect of the motives which govern men. This is all the ill which can possibly be said of him. He is as disinterested as the being who made him: he is profound in his views; and accurate in his judgment, except where knowledge of the world is necessary to form a judgment. He is so amiable, that I pronounce you will love him, if ever you become acquainted with him. He would be, as he was, a great man in Congress.

Mr. Carmichael is, I think, very little known in America. I never saw him, and while I was in Congress I formed rather a disadvantageous idea of him. His letters, received then, showed him vain, and more attentive to ceremony and etiquette, than we suppose men of sense should be. I have now a constant correspondence with him, and find him a little hypochondriac and discontented. He possesses a very good understanding, though not of the first order. I have had great opportunities of searching into his character, and have availed myself of them. Many persons of different nations, coming from Madrid to Paris, all speak of him as in high esteem, and I think it certain that he has more of the Count de Florida Blanca's friendship, than any diplomatic character at that court. As long as this minister is in office, Carmichael can do more than any other person who could be sent there.

You will see Franks, and doubtless he will be asking some appointment. I wish there may be any one for which he is fit. He is light, indiscreet, active, honest, affectionate. Though Bingham is not in diplomatic office, yet as he wishes to be so, I will mention such circumstances of him, as you might otherwise be deceived in. He will make you believe he was on the most intimate footing with the first characters in Europe, and versed in the secrets of every cabinet. Not a word of this is true. He had a rage for being presented to great men, and had no * * * in the methods by which he could effect it. * * * * *

The Marquis de La Fayette is a most valuable auxiliary to me. His zeal is unbounded, and his weight with those in power, great. His education having been merely military, commerce was an unknown field to him. But his good sense enabling him to comprehend perfectly whatever is explained to him, his agency has been very efficacious. He has a great deal of sound genius, is well remarked by the King, and rising in popularity. He has nothing against him, but the suspicion of republican principles. I think he will one day be of the ministry. His foible is, a canine appetite for popularity and fame; but he will get above this. The Count de Vergennes is ill. The possibility of his recovery, renders it dangerous for us to express a doubt of it; but he is in danger. He is a great minister in European affairs, but has very imperfect ideas of our institutions, and no confidence in them. His devotion to the principles of pure despotism, renders him unaffectionate to our governments. But his fear of England makes him value us as a make weight. He is cool, reserved in political conversations, but free and familiar on other subjects, and a very attentive, agreeable person to do business with. It is impossible to have a clearer, better organized head; but age has chilled his heart.

Nothing should be spared, on our part, to attach this country to us. It is the only one on which we can rely for support, under every event. Its inhabitants love us more, I think, than they do any other nation on earth. This is very much the effect of the good dispositions with which the French officers returned. In a former letter, I mentioned to you the dislocation of my wrist. I can make not the least use of it, except for the single article of writing, though it is going on five months since the accident happened. I have great anxieties, lest I should never recover any considerable use of it. I shall, by the advice of my surgeons, set out in a fortnight for the waters of Aix, in Provence. I chose these out of several they proposed to me, because if they fail to be effectual, my journey will not be useless altogether. It will give me an opportunity of examining the canal of Languedoc, and of acquiring knowledge of that species of navigation, which may be useful hereafter; but more immediately, it will enable me to make the tour of the ports concerned in commerce with us, to examine, on the spot, the defects of the late regulations respecting our commerce, to learn the further improvements which may be made in it, and on my return, to get this business finished. I shall be absent between two and three months, unless anything happens to recall me here sooner, which may always be effected in ten days, in whatever part of my route I may be.

In speaking of characters, I omitted those of Reyneval and Hennin, the two eyes of Count de Vergennes. The former is the most important character, because possessing the most of the confidence of the Count. He is rather cunning than wise, his views of things being neither great nor liberal. He governs himself by principles which he has learned by rote, and is fit only for the details of execution. His heart is susceptible of little passions, but not of good ones. He is brother-in-law to M. Gerard, from whom he received disadvantageous impressions of us, which cannot be effaced. He has much duplicity. Hennin is a philosopher, sincere, friendly, liberal, learned, beloved by everybody; the other by nobody. I think it a great misfortune that the United States are in the department of the former. As particulars of this kind may be useful to you, in your present situation, I may hereafter continue the chapter. I know it will be safely lodged in your discretion.

Feb. 5. Since writing thus far, Franks has returned from England. I learn that Mr. Adams desires to be recalled, and that Smith should be appointed Chargé des Affaires there. It is not for me to decide whether any diplomatic character should be kept at a court, which keeps none with us. You can judge of Smith's abilities by his letters. They are not of the first order, but they are good. For his honesty, he is like our friend Monroe; turn his soul wrong side outwards, and there is not a speck on it. He has one foible, an excessive inflammability of temper, but he feels it when it comes on, and has resolution enough to suppress it, and to remain silent till it passes over.

I send you, by Colonel Franks, your pocket telescope, walking stick and chemical box. The two former could not be combined together. The latter could not be had in the form you referred to. Having a great desire to have a portable copying machine, and being satisfied, from some experiments, that the principle of the large machine might be applied in a small one, I planned one when in England, and had it made. It answers perfectly. I have since set a workman to making them here, and they are in such demand that he has his hands full. Being assured that you will be pleased to have one, when you shall have tried its convenience, I send you one by Colonel Franks. The machine costs ninety-six livres, the appendages twenty-four livres, and I send you paper and ink for twelve livres; in all, one hundred and thirty-two livres. There is a printed paper of directions; but you must expect to make many essays before you succeed perfectly. A soft brush, like a shaving brush, is more convenient than the sponge. You can get as much ink and paper as you please from London. The paper costs a guinea a ream. I am, dear Sir, with sincere esteem and affection, your most obedient humble servant.



Paris, February 1, 1787.

Sir,—My last letters were of the 31st of December, and 9th of January; since which last date, I have been honored with yours of December the 13th and 14th. I shall pay immediate attention to your instructions relative to the South Carolina frigate. I had the honor of informing you of an improvement in the art of coining, made here by one Drost, and of sending you, by Colonel Franks, a specimen of his execution in gold and silver. I expected to have sent also a coin of copper. The enclosed note from Drost will explain the reason why this was not sent. It will let you see also, that he may be employed; as I suppose he is not so certain as he was of being engaged here. Mr. Grand, who knows him, gives me reason to believe he may be engaged reasonably. Congress will decide whether it be worth their attention.

In some of my former letters, I suggested an opportunity of obliging this court, by borrowing as much money in Holland as would pay the debt due here, if such a loan could be obtained; as to which, I was altogether ignorant. To save time, I wrote to Mr. Dumas, to know whether he thought it probable a loan could be obtained, enjoining on him the strictest secrecy, and informing him I was making the inquiry merely of my own motion, and without instruction. I enclose you his answer. He thinks purchasers of the debt could be found, with a sacrifice of a small part of the capital, and a postponement be obtained of some of the first reimbursements. The proposition by him, for an immediate adoption of this measure by me, was probably urged on his mind by a desire to serve our country, more than a strict attention to my duty, and the magnitude of the object. I hope, on the contrary, that if it should be thought worth a trial, it may be put into the hands of Mr. Adams, who knows the ground, and is known there, and whose former successful negotiations in this line, would give better-founded hopes of success on this occasion.

I formerly mentioned to you the hopes of preferment, entertained by the Chevalier de La Luzerne. They have been baffled by events; none of the vacancies taking place which had been expected. Had I pressed his being ordered back, I have reason to believe the order would have been given. But he would have gone back in ill humor with Congress, he would have laid forever at their door the failure of a promotion then viewed as certain; and this might have excited dispositions that would have disappointed us of the good we hoped from his return. The line I have observed with him has been, to make him sensible that nothing was more desired by Congress than his return, but that they would not willingly press it, so as to defeat him of a personal advantage. He sees his prospects fail, and will return in the approaching spring, unless something unexpected should turn up in his favor. In this case, the Count de Moutier has the promise of succeeding to him, and, if I do not mistake his character, he would give great satisfaction. So that I think you may calculate on seeing one or the other, by midsummer.

It had been suspected that France and England might adopt those concerted regulations of commerce for their West Indies, of which your letter expresses some apprehensions. But the expressions in the 4th, 5th, 7th, 11th, 18th, and other articles of their treaty, which communicate to the English the privileges of the most favored European nation only, has lessened, if not removed those fears. They have clearly reserved a right of favoring, specially, any nation not European; and there is no nation out of Europe, who could so probably have been in their eye at that time, as ours. They are wise. They must see it probable, at least, that any concert with England, will be but of short duration; and they could hardly propose to sacrifice for that, a connection with us, which may be perpetual.

We have been for some days in much inquietude for the Count de Vergennes. He is very seriously ill. Nature seems struggling to decide his disease into a gout. A swelled foot, at present, gives us a hope of this issue. His loss would at all times have been great; but it would be immense during the critical poise of European affairs existing at this moment. I enclose you a letter from one of the foreign officers, complaining of the non-payment of their interest. It is only one out of many I have received. This is accompanied by a second copy of the Moorish declaration sent me by Mr. Barclay. He went to Alicant to settle with Mr. Lambe; but on his arrival there, found he was gone to Minorca. A copy of his letter will inform you of this circumstance, and of some others relative to Algiers, with his opinion on them. Whatever the States may enable Congress to do for obtaining the peace of that country, it is a separate question whether they will redeem our captives, how, and at what price. If they decide to redeem them, I will beg leave to observe, that it is of great importance that the first redemption be made at as low a price as possible, because it will form the future tariff. If these pirates find that they can have a very great price for Americans, they will abandon proportionably their pursuits against other nations, to direct them towards ours. That the choice of Congress may be enlarged, as to the instruments they may use for effecting the redemption, I think it my duty to inform them, that there is here an order of priests called the Mathurins, the object of whose institution is to beg alms for the redemption of captives. They keep members always in Barbary, searching out the captives of their country, and redeem, I believe, on better terms than any other body, public or private. It occurred to me, that their agency might be obtained for the redemption of our prisoners at Algiers. I obtained conference with the General, and with some members of the order. The General, with all the benevolence and cordiality possible, undertook to act for us, if we should desire it. He told me that their last considerable redemption was of about three hundred prisoners, who cost them somewhat upwards of fifteen hundred livres apiece; but that they should not be able to redeem ours as cheap as they do their own; and that it must be absolutely unknown that the public concern themselves in the operation, or the price would be greatly enhanced. The difference of religion was not once mentioned, nor did it appear to me to be thought of. It was a silent reclamation and acknowledgment of fraternity, between two religions of the same family, which historical events of ancient date had rendered more hostile to one another, than to their common adversaries. I informed the General, that I should communicate the good dispositions of his order to those who alone had the authority to decide whatever related to our captives. Mr. Carmichael informs me, that moneys have been advanced for the support of our prisoners at Algiers, which ought to be replaced. I infer from the context of his letter, that these advances have been made by the court of Madrid. I submit the information to Congress.

A treaty of commerce is certainly concluded between France and Russia. The particulars of it are yet secret.

I enclose the gazettes of France and Leyden to this time, and have the honor of assuring you of those sentiments of perfect esteem and respect with which I am, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



February 2, 1787.

Sir,—I send you the papers M. de Creve-coeur sent to Normandy for. The account of the destruction of Wyoming begins page 40. You may rely certainly on the author's facts, and you will be easily able to separate from them his reflections. You can best judge whether an account of that interesting settlement, condensed into a few lines, might not form an agreeable episode in your history, and prepare the mind more awfully for its final catastrophe. I will thank you to return these papers as soon as you are done with them, that I may restore them to the hands of M. de Creve-coeur before my departure, which will now be in a few days. I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient humble servant.



Paris, February 6, 1787.

Dear Sir,—Your favors by Colonel Franks have come safely to hand. He will set out from thence the 8th instant. The packet being to sail from Havre the 10th, I enclose you the copy of a letter lately received from Mr. Barclay, and of the paper it enclosed. In a letter from Mr. Carmichael, is a postscript, dated December 25, in the following words: "Since writing the preceding, the Portuguese Ambassador has pressed me to hint, that the present moment is favorable to push our treaty with the court." In the body of the letter he says: "The Count de Expilly has promised me to continue his attention to our prisoners during his stay at Algiers; and I have also engaged the Consul of Spain, who remains there on his return, to take care of them. Advances have been made for their support which ought to be refunded." I suppose these advances have been made by order of Mr. Lambe, and that his powers being at an end, it will be incumbent on us to take measures on that subject. The Count de Vergennes is extremely ill. His disease is gouty. We have for some days had hopes it would fix itself decidedly in the foot. It shows itself there at times, as also in the shoulder, the stomach, &c. Monsieur de Calonne is likewise ill, but his complaints are of a rheumatic kind, which he has often had before. The illness of these two ministers occasioned the postponement of the Assembly of the Notables to the 14th, and probably will yet postpone it. Nothing is yet known of the objects of that meeting. I send you a pamphlet giving a summary account of all the meetings of a general nature which have taken place heretofore. The treaty between Prussia and this country is certainly concluded, but its contents are not yet known. I shall set out for the waters of Aix on the 13th instant, so that I am unable to say when and whence I shall have the honor of addressing you again. But I take measures for the conveying to me on my road all letters, so that should anything extraordinary require it, I can at all times be recalled to Paris in a fortnight. I shall hope to hear from you at times, as if I were in Paris. I thank you much for the valuable present of your book. The subject of it is interesting, and I am sure it is well treated. I shall take it on my journey, that I may have time to study it. You told me once, you had thought of writing on hereditary aristocracy. I wish you would carry it into execution. It would make a proper sequel to the present work. I wish you all possible happiness, and have the honor to be, with sentiments of sincere esteem and affection, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, February 7, 1787.

I know, Madam, that the twelve month is not yet expired; but it will be, nearly, before this will have the honor of being put into your hands. You are then engaged to tell me, truly and honestly, whether you do not find the tranquil pleasures of America, preferable to the empty bustle of Paris. For, to what does that bustle tend? At eleven o'clock, it is day, chez madame. The curtains are drawn. Propped on bolsters and pillows, and her head scratched into a little order, the bulletins of the sick are read, and the billets of the well. She writes to some of her acquaintance, and receives the visits of others. If the morning is not very thronged, she is able to get out and hobble round the cage of the Palais Royal; but she must hobble quickly, for the coiffeur's turn is come; and a tremendous turn it is! Happy, if he does not make her arrive when dinner is half over! The torpitude of digestion a little passed, she flutters half an hour through the streets, by way of paying visits, and then to the spectacles. These finished, another half hour is devoted to dodging in and out of the doors of her very sincere friends, and away to supper. After supper, cards; and after cards, bed; to rise at noon the next day, and to tread, like a mill horse, the same trodden circle over again. Thus the days of life are consumed, one by one, without an object beyond the present moment; ever flying from the ennui of that, yet carrying it with us; eternally in pursuit of happiness, which keeps eternally before us. If death or bankruptcy happen to trip us out of the circle, it is matter for the buzz of the evening, and is completely forgotten by the next morning. In America, on the other hand, the society of your husband, the fond cares for the children, the arrangements of the house, the improvements of the grounds, fill every moment with a healthy and an useful activity. Every exertion is encouraging, because, to present amusement, it joins the promise of some future good. The intervals of leisure are filled by the society of real friends, whose affections are not thinned to cob-web, by being spread over a thousand objects. This is the picture, in the light it is presented to my mind; now let me have it in yours. If we do not concur this year, we shall the next; or if not then, in a year or two more. You see I am determined not to suppose myself mistaken.

To let you see that Paris is not changed in its pursuits, since it was honored with your presence, I send you its monthly history. But this relating only to the embellishments of their persons, I must add, that those of the city go on well also. A new bridge, for example, is begun at the Place Louis Quinze; the old ones are clearing off the rubbish which encumbered them in the form of houses; new hospitals erecting; magnificent walls of inclosure, and Custom-houses at their entrances, &c., &c., &c. I know of no interesting change among those whom you honored with your acquaintance, unless Monsieur de Saint James was of that number. His bankruptcy, and taking asylum in the Bastile, have furnished matter of astonishment. His garden, at the Pont de Neuilly, where, on seventeen acres of ground, he had laid out fifty thousand louis, will probably sell for somewhat less money. The workmen of Paris are making rapid strides towards English perfection. Would you believe, that in the course of the last two years, they have learned even to surpass their London rivals in some articles? Commission me to have you a phaeton made, and, if it is not as much handsomer than a London one, as that is than a Fiacre, send it back to me. Shall I fill the box with caps, bonnets, &c.? Not of my own choosing, but—I was going to say, of Mademoiselle Bertin's, forgetting, for the moment, that she too is a bankrupt. They shall be chosen then by whom you please; or, if you are altogether nonplused by her eclipse, we will call an Assemblée des Notables to help you out of the difficulty, as is now the fashion. In short, honor me with your commands of any kind, and they shall be faithfully executed. The packets now established from Havre to New York, furnish good opportunities of sending whatever you wish.

I shall end where I began, like a Paris day, reminding you of your engagement to write me a letter of respectable length, an engagement the more precious to me, as it has furnished the occasion, after presenting my respects to Mr. Bingham, of assuring you of the sincerity of those sentiments of esteem and respect with which I have the honor to be, dear Madam, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, February 7, 1787.

Sir,—I have the honor of enclosing to your Excellency, a report of the proceedings on the inauguration of the bust of the Marquis de La Fayette in this city. This has been attended with a considerable, but a necessary delay. The principle that the King is the sole fountain of honor in this country opposed a barrier to our desires, which threatened to be insurmountable. No instance of a similar proposition from a foreign power, had occurred in their history. The admitting it in this case, is a singular proof of the King's friendly disposition towards the States of America, and of his personal esteem for the Marquis de La Fayette.

I take this, the earliest occasion, of congratulating my country on your Excellency's appointment to the chair of government, and of assuring you with great sincerity, of those sentiments of perfect esteem and respect, with which I have the honor to be, your Excellency's most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, February 8, 1787.

Sir,—The packet being to sail the day after tomorrow, I have awaited the last possible moment of writing by her, in hopes I might be able to announce some favorable change in the situation of the Count de Vergennes. But none has occurred, and in the meantime he has become weaker by the continuance of his illness. Though not desperately ill, he is dangerously so. The Comptroller General, M. de Calonnes, has been very ill also, but he is getting well. These circumstances have occasioned the postponement of the Assemblée des Notables to the 14th instant, and will probably occasion a further postponement. As I shall set out this day sennight for the waters of Aix, you will probably hear the issue of the Count de Vergennes' illness through some other channel, before I shall have the honor of addressing you again. I may observe the same, as to the final decision for the effranchisement of Honfleur, which is in a fair way of being speedily concluded. The exertions of Monsieur de Creve-coeur, and particularly his influence with the Duke d'Harcourt, the principal instrument in effecting it, have been of chief consequence in this matter.

I have the honor to be, with the most perfect esteem and respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, February 9, 1787.

Sir,—My last to you was dated December 25th; since which I have been honored with your several favors of December the 29th, January the 5th, 9th and 23d. I thought that your affairs could not be more interesting than they have been for a considerable time. Yet in the present moment they are become more so, by the apparent withdrawing of so considerable a personage in the drama, as the King of Prussia. To increase this interest, another person, whose importance scarcely admits calculation, is in a situation which fills us with alarm. Nature is struggling to relieve him by a decided gout; she has my sincere prayers to aid her, as I am persuaded she has yours. I have letters and papers from America, as late as the 15th of December. The government of Massachusetts had imprisoned three of the leaders of their insurgents. The insurgents, being collected to the number of three or four hundred, had sent in their petition to the government, praying another act of pardon for their leaders and themselves, and, on this condition, offering to go every man home, and conduct himself dutifully afterwards. This is the latest intelligence.

I thank you for your attention to the question I had taken the liberty of proposing to you. I think with you, that it would be advisable to have our debt transferred to individuals of your country. There could, and would be no objection to the guarantee remaining as you propose; and a postponement of the first payments of capital, would surely be a convenience to us. For though the resources of the United States are great and growing, and their dispositions good, yet their machine is new, and they have not got it to go well. It is the object of their general wish at present, and they are all in movement, to set it in a good train; but their movements are necessarily slow. They will surely effect it in the end, because all have the same end in view; the difficulty being only to get all the thirteen States to agree on the same means. Divesting myself of every partiality, and speaking from that thorough knowledge which I have of the country, their resources and their principles, I had rather trust money in their hands, than in that of any government on earth; because, though for awhile the payments of the interest might be less regular, yet the final reimbursement of the capital would be more sure.

I set out next week for the south of France, to try whether some mineral waters in that quarter, much recommended, will restore the use of my hand. I shall be absent from Paris two or three months; but I take arrangements for the regular receipt of your favors, as if I were here. It will be better, however, for you to put your letters to Mr. Jay, under cover to Mr. Short, who remains here, and will forward them.

I have thought it my duty to submit to Congress the proposition about the French debt, and may expect their answer in four months.

I have the honor to be, with sincere esteem and respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, February 12, 1787.

Gentlemen,—Mr. Barclay, the American Consul General for France, being at present out of the kingdom, I have given orders to Mr. Grand, banker at Paris, to pay your draught for one hundred and eighty-six livres, advanced by you for the relief of the shipwrecked Americans. I thank you for your attention to these unfortunate people. It will rest with Mr. Barclay to give such future directions as he shall think proper for cases of this kind, which properly fall within the consular department. A certainty that your kindness will meet his thanks, and that my interference in his absence will be approved, has engaged me to do it without any hesitation. I am just setting out on a journey of two or three months, but Mr. Grand, as I have before mentioned, will pay your draught for the 168 livres whenever you shall be pleased to make it. I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect esteem and respect, Gentlemen, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, February 14, 1787.

Dear Sir,—As I propose to write you on business by Mr. Cairnes, who will set out in a few days for London, the object of the present letter is only to inform you that the Count de Vergennes died yesterday morning, and that the Count de Montmorin is appointed his successor, and further to beg the favor of you to forward the enclosed by the first vessel from London. I set out on my journey on Sunday the 18th. I have the honor to be, with sentiments of very sincere affection and respect, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, February 14, 1787.

Sir,—In the letter of the 8th instant, which I had the honor of writing you, I informed you that the Count de Vergennes was dangerously ill. He died yesterday morning, and the Count de Montmorin is appointed his successor. Your personal knowledge of this gentleman, renders it unnecessary for me to say anything of him.

Mr. Morris, during his office, being authorized to have the medals and swords executed, which had been ordered by Congress, he authorized Colonel Humphreys to take measures here for the execution. Colonel Humphreys did so; and the swords were finished in time for him to carry them. The medals not being finished, he desired me to attend to them. The workman who was to make that of General Greene, brought me yesterday, the medal in gold, twenty-three in copper, and the dye. Mr. Short, during my absence, will avail himself of the first occasion which shall offer, of forwarding the medals to you. I must beg leave, through you, to ask the pleasure of Congress as to the number they would choose to have struck. Perhaps they might be willing to deposit one of each person, in every college of the United States. Perhaps they might choose to give a series of them, to each of the crowned heads of Europe, which would be an acceptable present to them. They will be pleased to decide. In the meantime, I have sealed up the dye, and shall retain it till I am honored with their orders as to this medal, and the others also, when they shall be finished.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect esteem and respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, February 18, 1787.

Sir,—I am now to acknowledge the receipt of the letter with which you have been pleased to honor me, together with the report on the inauguration of the bust of the Major General the Marquis de La Fayette. I availed myself of an opportunity which offered in the moment, of transmitting them to the State of Virginia, with a faithful representation of the favor with which the Prevôt des Marchands et Echevins de Paris received their proposition, the zeal with which it was pursued, and the dignity of its ultimate execution. Knowing the attachment of my country to the character which was the subject of that transaction, and the price they will set on the attentions of the magistracy of Paris, I am safe in assuring you that they will feel themselves infinitely obliged on this occasion.

The interest you are pleased to take in the happiness of our infant States, your judicious admonitions as to the means of preserving it, and the terms in which you particularly honor some of their members, require my personal thanks, which I humbly offer, with all those sentiments of homage and respect with which I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, February 18, 1787.

Dear Sir,—My last to you was dated December 26, since which I have been honored with yours of December 17. I now enclose you a duplicate of the vote for the recall of Mr. Lambe. I take the liberty, also, of putting under cover to you our confirmation of the Morocco treaty, together with a joint letter to Fennish. The fear that Mr. Barclay might not be at Madrid has occasioned my giving you this trouble, as well as that of addressing the letter properly, and of having it transmitted.

I have received from Mr. Jay sundry despatches relative to the frigate the South Carolina, and to a claim against the Court of Madrid founded on the aid of that vessel in taking the Bahama and Providence islands, with an instruction from Congress to confer with the Prince of Luxembourg, and get him to interest the Duke de La Vauguyon to join you in your solicitations of this matter. This is accordingly done, and you will have the aid of the Duke. The despatches relative to this subject, I have sealed up and addressed to you, but they will be delivered to the Duke de La Vauguyon, to find a safe occasion of forwarding them. My last news from America was of the 15th of December. The insurgents of Massachusetts had sent in a petition to their government, praying the release of their leaders in jail, and an act of pardon for themselves, and offering thereon to retire every man to his home and to live submissively. You will have heard of the death of the Count de Vergennes, and appointment of Mons. de Montmorin. I was unlucky enough five months ago to dislocate my right wrist, and though well set, I have as yet no use of it, except that I can write, but in pain. I am advised to try the use of mineral waters, and those of Aix in Provence being as much recommended as any others, I combine with this object a design of making the tour of those seaports with which we trade, Marseilles, Bordeaux, Nantes, &c, and shall set out the day after to-morrow, and expect to be absent three months. This may probably prevent my having the honor of writing to you during that interval, unless anything extraordinary should arise. I take measures for the receipt of all letters addressed to me as regularly as were I here. I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect esteem and respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, February 18, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I am now to acknowledge your separate favors of December 4th, and January 6th, and the joint one to Mr. Adams and myself of January 6th; this last has been communicated to Congress, and to Mr. Adams. You have my full and hearty approbation of the treaty you obtained from Morocco, which is better and on better terms than I expected. Mr. Adams and myself have annexed our confirmation to two of the copies, one of which is gone to Congress; the other, with a joint letter to Fennish, I now enclose to Mr. Carmichael, apprehending you are not in Madrid. I concur clearly with you in opinion that, for many reasons, Mr. Carmichael would be a proper person to negotiate our business with Algiers, if it be negotiable with such means as we possess. I have expressed, this opinion in my letters to America, but I am sure we cannot raise the money necessary. Colonel Franks was gone to London before I received your letter. He returned and embarked in the packet for Havre, but nothing was done on the subject of accounts or money. I was unlucky enough to dislocate my right wrist five months ago, and though it was well set, I can yet make no use of it but to write. I am advised to try mineral waters, and those of Aix in Provence, being as much recommended as any others, I am induced to go to them by the desire of making the tour of the ports with which we trade, Marseilles, Bordeaux, Nantes, &c. I set out in two days and shall be absent three months. The packets are finally fixed at Havre. They sail every six weeks. Honfleur will, I think, certainly be made a free port; and I flatter myself will become the centre for much of our trade, and particularly that of rice. The death of Count de Vergennes, and appointment of Monsieur de Montmorin, will reach you before this letter does. I have letters, &c., from America as late as the 15th of December. The insurgents of Massachusetts had prayed pardon for themselves and their leaders in jail, and on these terms had offered to retire and live peaceably at home. Mrs. Barclay and your family are well, except they are somewhat apprehensive of a film growing over the eye of your youngest daughter; but should it do so, it will be easily removed. I have the honor to be, with much esteem and respect, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, February 20, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I am now to acknowledge the receipt of your favor of January 25th. Colonel Franks sailed in the packet of this month from Havre for New York. The arrangement of the packets opens a direct communication between Paris and America, and if we succeed, as I expect we will, in getting Honfleur made a free port, I hope to see that place become the deposit for our whale oil, rice, tobacco and furs, and that, from thence, what is not wanted in the country may be distributed to others. You remember giving me a letter of credit on Messrs. Willinck and Staphorst for one thousand guineas to pay for the swords and medals. When the swords were finished, I drew on the Vandemjers, with whom the money was deposited, for sixty-five thousand livres, to pay for the swords. They paid it. A medal is now finished, and others will very soon be. But these gentlemen say they must have fresh orders. In the meantime, the workmen complain. Will you be so good as to draw in favor of Mr. Grand on Willinck, &c, for the balance of the thousand guineas (which is about the sum that will be necessary), and send the bill to Mr. Grand, who, in my absence, will negotiate it and pay the workmen. I enclose you Vandemjers' answer. The meeting of the Notables on Thursday, and the necessity of paying my court to our new minister, will detain me till Friday, and perhaps till Tuesday next. Nothing is known yet of the objects of this Assembly. I enclose you two new pamphlets relative to it, and will inform you of whatever I can discover relative to it during my stay. I learn with real pain the resolution you have taken of quitting Europe. Your presence on this side the Atlantic gave me a confidence that, if any difficulties should arise within my department, I should always have one to advise with, on whose counsels I could rely. I shall now feel bewidowed. I do not wonder at your being tired out by the conduct of the court you are at. But is there not room to do a great deal of good for us in Holland in the department of money? No one can do it as well as yourself. But you have taken your resolution on mature consideration, and I have nothing to offer, therefore, but my regrets. If anything transpires from the Notables before my departure worth communication, you shall yet hear from me. In the meantime, believe me to be, with sincere esteem and respect, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, February 23, 1787.

Dear Sir,—The Notables met yesterday; the King opened the Assembly with a short speech, wherein he expressed his inclination to consult with them on the affairs of his kingdom, to receive their opinions on the plans he had digested, and to endeavor to imitate the head of his family, Henry IV., whose name is so dear to the nation. The speech was affectionate. The Garde des Sceaux spoke about twenty minutes, complimented the clergy, the noblesse, the magistrates and tiers états. The Comptroller General spoke about an hour. He enumerated the expenses necessary to arrange his department when he came into it; he said his returns had been minutely laid before the King; he took a review of the preceding administrations, and more particularly of Mr. Neckar's; he detailed the improvement which had been made; he portrayed the present state of the finances, and sketched the several schemes proposed for their improvement; he spoke on a change in the form of the taxes, the removal of the interior custom-houses to the frontiers, provincial administrations and some other objects. The Assembly was then divided into committees. To-day, there was to be another grand Assembly, the plans more fully explained and referred to the discussion of the committees. The grand Assembly will meet once a week and vote individually. The propriety of my attending the first audience day of Count Montmorin, which will not be till the 27th, retards my departure till then.

I have read your book with infinite satisfaction and improvement. It will do great good in America. Its learning and its good sense will, I hope, make it an institute for our politicians, old as well as young. There is one opinion in it, however, which I will ask you to reconsider, because it appears to me not entirely accurate, and not likely to do good. Page 362, "Congress is not a legislative, but a diplomatic assembly." Separating into parts the whole sovereignty of our States, some of these parts are yielded to Congress. Upon these I should think them both legislative and executive, and that would have been judiciary also, had not the confederation required them for certain purposes to appoint a judiciary. It has accordingly been the decision of our courts that the confederation is a part of the law of the land, and superior in authority to the ordinary laws, because it cannot be altered by the legislature of any one State. I doubt whether they are at all a diplomatic assembly. On the first news of this work there were proposals to translate it. Fearing it might be murdered in that operation, I endeavored to secure a good translator. This is done, and I lend him my copy to translate from. It will be immediately announced to keep others from attempting it. I am, with sincere esteem and respect, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, February 23, 1787.

Sir,—The Assemblée des Notables being an event in the history of this country which excites notice, I have supposed it would not be disagreeable to you to learn its immediate objects, though no way connected with our interests. The Assembly met yesterday; the King, in a short but affectionate speech, informed them of his wish to consult with them on the plans he had digested, and on the general good of his people, and his desire to imitate the head of his family, Henry IV., whose memory is so dear to the nation. The Garde des Sceaux then spoke about twenty minutes, chiefly in compliment to the orders present. The Comptroller General, in a speech of about an hour, opened the budget, and enlarged on the several subjects which will be under their deliberation. He explained the situation of the finances at his accession to office, the expenses which their arrangement had rendered necessary, their present state, with the improvements made in them, the several plans which had been proposed for their future improvement, a change in the form of some of their taxes, the removal of the interior custom-houses to the frontiers, and the institution of Provincial Assemblies. The Assembly was then divided into committees, with a prince of the blood at the head of each. In this form, they are to discuss separately the subjects which will be submitted to them. Their decision will be reported by two members to the minister, who, on view of the separate decisions of all the committees, will make such changes in his plans as will best accommodate them to their views, without too much departing from his own, and will then submit them to the vote (but I believe not to the debate) of the General Assembly, which will be convened for this purpose one day in every week, and will vote individually.

The event of the Count de Vergennes' death, of which I had the honor to inform you in a letter of the 14th instant, the appointment of the Count Montmorin, and the propriety of my attending at his first audience, which will be on the 27th, have retarded the journey I had proposed, a few days.

I shall hope, on my return, to meet here new powers for the consular convention, as under those I have, it will be impossible to make the changes in the convention which may be wished for.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect esteem and respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant.



Paris, February 26, 1787.

Dear Sir,—Your favor of October 1, covering the letter and bill to Captain Capitaine, did not come to my hands till yesterday. I wrote to him immediately, to inform him it should be delivered here at any moment. We talk and think of nothing here but the Assemblée des Notables. Were all the puns collected, to which this Assembly has given rise, I think they would make a larger volume than the "Encyclopédie." The government is said to want eighty millions of livres revenue more than they have. They propose to give to the people provincial administrations, and to make other improvements. It is a pity they had not more of the virtue called economy, of which we have something to spare. I hope the company of Mrs. Peters and your little ones have cured all your aches and pains both of body and mind. That you and they may continue forever clear of them, is the sincere prayer of, dear Sir, your friend and servant.



Paris, February 28, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I am just now in the moment of my departure. Monsieur de Montmorin having given us audience at Paris yesterday, I missed the opportunity of seeing you once more. I am extremely pleased with his modesty, the simplicity of his manners, and his dispositions toward us. I promise myself a great deal of satisfaction in doing business with him. I hope he will not give ear to any unfriendly suggestions. I flatter myself I shall hear from you sometimes. Send your letters to my hotel, as usual, and they will be forwarded to me. I wish you success in your meeting. I should form better hopes of it, if it were divided into two Houses, instead of seven. Keeping the good model of your neighboring country before your eyes, you may get on, step by step, towards a good constitution. Though that model is not perfect, yet, as it would unite more suffrages than any new one which could be proposed, it is better to make that the object. If every advance is to be purchased by filling the royal coffers with gold, it will be gold well employed. The King, who means so well, should be encouraged to repeat these Assemblies. You see how we republicans are apt to preach, when we get on politics. Adieu, my dear friend. Yours affectionately.



Nismes, March 20, 1787.

Here I am, Madam, gazing whole hours at the Maison Quarrée, like a lover at his mistress. The stocking weavers and silk spinners around it consider me a hypochondriac Englishman, about to write with a pistol the last chapter of his history. This is the second time I have been in love since I left Paris. The first was with a Diana at the Chateau de Laye-Epinaye in Beaujolois, a delicious morsel of sculpture, by M. A. Slodtz. This, you will say, was in rule, to fall in love with a female beauty; but with a house! it is out of all precedent. No, Madam, it is not without a precedent in my own history. While in Paris, I was violently smitten with the Hotel de Salm, and used to go to the Tuileries almost daily, to look at it. The loueuse des chaises, inattentive to my passion, never had the complaisance to place a chair there, so that, sitting on the parapet, and twisting my neck round to see the object of my admiration, I generally left it with a torti-colli.

From Lyons to Nismes I have been nourished with the remains of Roman grandeur. They have always brought you to my mind, because I know your affection for whatever is Roman and noble. At Vienna I thought of you. But I am glad you were not there; for you would have seen me more angry than, I hope, you will ever see me. The Prætorian Palace, as it is called, comparable, for its fine proportions, to the Maison Quarrée, defaced by the barbarians who have converted it to its present purpose, its beautiful fluted Corinthian columns cut out, in part, to make space for Gothic windows, and hewed down, in the residue, to the plane of the building, was enough, you must admit, to disturb my composure. At Orange, too, I thought of you. I was sure you had seen with pleasure the sublime triumphal arch of Marius at the entrance of the city. I went then to the Arenæ. Would you believe, Madam, that in this eighteenth century, in France, under the reign of Louis XVI., they are at this moment pulling down the circular wall of this superb remain, to pave a road? And that, too, from a hill which is itself an entire mass of stone, just as fit, and more accessible? A former intendant, a M. de Basville, has rendered his memory dear to the traveller and amateur, by the pains he took to preserve and restore these monuments of antiquity. The present one (I do not know who he is) is demolishing the object, to make a good road to it. I thought of you again, and I was then in great good humor, at the Pont du Gard, a sublime antiquity, and well preserved. But most of all here, where Roman taste, genius, and magnificence, excite ideas analogous to yours at every step. I could no longer oppose the inclination to avail myself of your permission to write to you, a permission given with too much complaisance by you, and used by me with too much indiscretion. Madame de Tott did me the same honor. But she, being only the descendant of some of those puny heroes who boiled their own kettles before the walls of Troy, I shall write to her from a Grecian, rather than a Roman canton; when I shall find myself, for example, among her Phocæan relations at Marseilles.

Loving, as you do Madam, the precious remains of antiquity, loving architecture, gardening, a warm sun and a clear sky, I wonder you have never thought of moving Chaville to Nismes. This, as you know, has not always been deemed impracticable; and, therefore, the next time a Sur-intendant des batiments du roi, after the example of M. Colbert, sends persons to Nismes to move the Maison Quarrée to Paris, that they may not come empty handed, desire them to bring Chaville with them, to replace it. À propos of Paris. I have now been three weeks from there, without knowing anything of what has passed. I suppose I shall meet it all at Aix, where I have directed my letters to be lodged, poste restante. My journey has given me leisure to reflect on this Assemblée des Notables. Under a good and a young King, as the present, I think good may be made of it. I would have the deputies then, by all means, so conduct themselves as to encourage him to repeat the calls of this Assembly. Their first step should be, to get themselves divided into two chambers instead of seven; the Noblesse and the Commons separately. The second, to persuade the King, instead of choosing the deputies of the Commons himself, to summon those chosen by the people for the Provincial administrations. The third, as the Noblesse is too numerous to be all of the Assemblée, to obtain permission for that body to choose its own deputies. Two Houses, so elected, would contain a mass of wisdom which would make the people happy, and the King great; would place him in history where no other act can possibly place him. They would thus put themselves in the track of the best guide they can follow; they would soon overtake it, become its guide in turn, and lead to the wholesome modifications wanting in that model, and necessary to constitute a rational government. Should they attempt more than the established habits of the people are ripe for, they may lose all, and retard indefinitely the ultimate object of their aim. These, Madam, are my opinions; but I wish to know yours, which, I am sure, will be better.

From a correspondent at Nismes, you will not expect news. Were I to attempt to give you news, I should tell you stories one thousand years old. I should detail to you the intrigues of the courts of the Cæsars, how they affect us here, the oppressions of their prætors, prefects, &c. I am immersed in antiquities from morning to night. For me, the city of Rome is actually existing in all the splendor of its empire. I am filled with alarms for the event of the irruptions daily making on us, by the Goths, the Visigoths, Ostrogoths, and Vandals, lest they should re-conquer us to our original barbarism. If I am sometimes induced to look forward to the eighteenth century, it is only when recalled to it by the recollection of your goodness and friendship, and by those sentiments of sincere esteem and respect with which I have the honor to be Madam, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Nice, April 11, 1787.

Your head, my dear friend, is full of notable things; and being better employed, therefore, I do not expect letters from you. I am constantly roving about, to see what I have never seen before, and shall never see again. In the great cities, I go to see what travellers think alone worthy of being seen; but I make a job of it, and generally gulp it all down in a day. On the other hand, I am never satiated with rambling through the fields and farms, examining the culture and cultivators, with a degree of curiosity which makes some take me to be a fool, and others to be much wiser than I am. I have been pleased to find among the people a less degree of physical misery than I had expected. They are generally well clothed, and have a plenty of food, not animal indeed, but vegetable, which is as wholesome. Perhaps they are over-worked, the excess of the rent required by the landlord obliging them to too many hours of labor in order to produce that, and wherewith to feed and clothe themselves. The soil of Champagne and Burgundy I have found more universally good than I had expected, and as I could not help making a comparison with England, I found that comparison more unfavorable to the latter than is generally admitted. The soil, the climate, and the productions are superior to those of England, and the husbandry as good, except in one point; that of manure. In England, long leases for twenty-one years, or three lives, to wit, that of the farmer, his wife, and son, renewed by the son as soon as he comes to the possession, for his own life, his wife's and eldest child's, and so on, render the farms there almost hereditary, make it worth the farmer's while to manure the lands highly, and give the landlord an opportunity of occasionally making his rent keep pace with the improved state of the lands. Here the leases are either during pleasure, or for three, six, or nine years, which does not give the farmer time to repay himself for the expensive operation of well manuring, and, therefore, he manures ill, or not at all. I suppose, that could the practice of leasing for three lives be introduced in the whole kingdom, it would, within the term of your life, increase agricultural productions fifty per cent.; or were any one proprietor to do it with his own lands, it would increase his rents fifty per cent., in the course of twenty-five years. But I am told the laws do not permit it. The laws then, in this particular, are unwise and unjust, and ought to give that permission. In the southern provinces, where the soil is poor, the climate hot and dry, and there are few animals, they would learn the art, found so precious in England, of making vegetable manure, and thus improving these provinces in the article in which nature has been least kind to them. Indeed, these provinces afford a singular spectacle. Calculating on the poverty of their soil, and their climate by its latitude only, they should have been the poorest in France. On the contrary, they are the richest, from one fortuitous circumstance. Spurs or ramifications of high mountains, making down from the Alps, and, as it were, reticulating these provinces, give to the valleys the protection of a particular inclosure to each, and the benefit of a general stagnation of the northern winds produced by the whole of them, and thus countervail the advantage of several degrees of latitude. From the first olive fields of Pierrelatte, to the orangeries of Hieres, has been continued rapture to me. I have often wished for you. I think you have not made this journey. It is a pleasure you have to come, and an improvement to be added to the many you have already made. It will be a great comfort to you, to know, from your own inspection, the condition of all the provinces of your own country, and it will be interesting to them at some future day, to be known to you. This is, perhaps, the only moment of your life in which you can acquire that knowledge. And to do it most effectually, you must be absolutely incognito, you must ferret the people out of their hovels as I have done, look into their kettles, eat their bread, loll on their beds under pretence of resting yourself, but in fact, to find if they are soft. You will feel a sublime pleasure in the course of this investigation, and a sublimer one hereafter, when you shall be able to apply your knowledge to the softening of their beds, or the throwing a morsel of meat into their kettle of vegetables.

You will not wonder at the subjects of my letters; they are the only ones which have been presented to my mind for some time past; and the waters must always be what are the fountains from which they flow. According to this, indeed, I should have intermixed, from beginning to end, warm expressions of friendship to you. But according to the ideas of our country, we do not permit ourselves to speak even truths, when they may have the air of flattery. I content myself, therefore, with saying once for all, that I love you, your wife and children. Tell them so, and adieu. Yours affectionately.



Nice, April 12, 1787.

Dear Sir,—At Marseilles, they told me I should encounter the rice fields of Piedmont soon after crossing the Alps. Here they tell me there are none nearer than Vercelli and Novarra, which is carrying me almost to Milan. I fear that this circumstance will occasion me a greater delay than I had calculated on. However I am embarked in the project, and shall go through with it. To-morrow, I set out on my passage over the Alps, being to pursue it ninety-three miles to Coni, on mules, as the snows are not yet enough melted to admit carriages to pass. I leave mine here, therefore, proposing to return by water from Genoa. I think it will be three weeks before I get back to Nice. I find this climate quite as delightful as it has been represented. Hieres is the only place in France, which may be compared with it. The climates are equal. In favor of this place, are the circumstances of gay and dissipated society, a handsome city, good accommodations, and some commerce. In favor of Hieres, are environs of delicious and extensive plains, a society more contracted, and therefore more capable of esteem, and the neighborhood of Toulon, Marseilles and other places, to which excursions may be made. Placing Marseilles in comparison with Hieres, it has extensive society, a good theatre, freedom from military control, and the most animated commerce. But its winter climate is far inferior. I am now in the act of putting my baggage into portable form for my bat-mule; after praying you therefore, to let my daughter know I am well, and that I shall not be heard of again in three weeks, I take my leave of you for that time, with assurances of the sincere esteem with which I am, dear Sir, your friend and servant.



Marseilles, May 4, 1787.

Sir,—I had the honor of receiving at Aix your letter of February the 9th, and immediately wrote to the Count de Montmorin, explaining the delay of the answer of Congress to the King's letter, and desired Mr. Short to deliver that answer with my letter to Monsieur de Montmorin, which he informs me he has accordingly done.

My absence prevented my noting to you, in the first moment, the revolution which has taken place at Paris, in the department of finance, by the substitution of Monsieur de Fourqueux in the place of Monsieur de Calonne, so that you will have heard of it through other channels before this will have the honor of reaching you.

Having staid at Aix long enough to prove the inefficacy of the waters, I came on to this place for the purpose of informing myself here, as I mean to do at the other sea-port towns, of whatever may be interesting to our commerce. So far as carried on in our own bottoms, I find it almost nothing, and so it must probably remain till something can be done with the Algerines. Though severely afflicted with the plague, they have come out within these few days, and showed themselves in force along the coast of Genoa, cannonading a little town and taking several vessels.

Among other objects of inquiry, this was the place to learn something more certain on the subject of rice, as it is a great emporium for that of the Levant and of Italy. I wished particularly to know whether it was the use of a different machine for cleaning, which brought European rice to market less broken than ours, as had been represented to me by those who deal in that article in Paris. I found several persons who had passed through the rice country of Italy, but not one who could explain to me the nature of the machine. But I was given to believe that I might see it myself immediately on entering Piedmont. As this would require but about three weeks, I determined to go and ascertain this point, as the chance only of placing our rice above all rivalship in quality, as it is in color, by the introduction of a better machine, if a better existed, seemed to justify the application of that much time to it. I found the rice country to be in truth Lombardy, one hundred miles further than had been represented, and that though called Piedmont rice, not a grain is made in the country of Piedmont. I passed through the rice fields of the Venellese and Milanese, about sixty miles, and returned from thence last night, having found that the machine is absolutely the same as ours, and of course, that we need not listen more to that suggestion. It is a difference in the species of grain, of which the government of Turin is so sensible, that, as I was informed, they prohibit the exportation of rough rice on pain of death. I have taken measures, however, which I think will not fail for obtaining a quantity of it, and I bought on the spot a small parcel, which I have with me. As further details on this subject to Congress would be misplaced, I propose, on my return to Paris, to communicate them, and send the rice to the society at Charleston for promoting agriculture, supposing that they will be best able to try the experiment of cultivating the rice of this quality, and to communicate the species to the two States of South Carolina and Georgia, if they find it answer. I thought the staple 'of these two States was entitled to this attention, and that it must be desirable to them to be able to furnish rice of the two qualities demanded in Europe, especially, as the greater consumption is in the forms for which the Lombardy quality is preferred. The mass of our countrymen being interested in agriculture, I hope I do not err in supposing that in a time of profound peace, as the present, to enable them to adapt their productions to the market, to point out markets for them, and endeavor to obtain favorable terms of reception, is within the line of my duty.

My journey into this part of the country has procured me information which I will take the liberty of communicating to Congress. In October last I received a letter dated Montpelier, October the 2d, 1786, announcing to me that the writer was a foreigner, who had a matter of very great consequence to communicate to me, and desired I would indicate the channel through which it might pass safely. I did so.

I received soon after a letter in the following words, omitting only the formal parts. [A translation of it is here given.]

"I am a native of Brazil. You are not ignorant of the frightful slavery under which my country groans. This continually becomes more insupportable since the epoch of your glorious independence, for the cruel Portuguese omit nothing which can render our condition more wretched, from an apprehension that we may follow your example. The conviction, that these usurpers against the laws of nature and humanity only meditate new oppressions, has decided us to follow the guiding light which you have held out to us, to break our chains, to revive our almost expiring liberty, which is nearly overwhelmed by that force, which is the sole foundation of the authority that Europeans exercise over American. But it is necessary that some power should extend assistance to the Brazilians, since Spain would certainly unite herself with Portugal; and in spite of our advantages for defence, we could not make it effectual, or, at least, it would be imprudent to hazard the attempt without some assurance of success. In this state of affairs, Sir, we can with propriety look only to the United States, not only because we are following her example, but, moreover, because nature, in making us inhabitants of the same continent, has in some sort united us in the bonds of a common patriotism. On our part, we are prepared to furnish the necessary supplies of money, and at all times to acknowledge the debt of gratitude due to our benefactors. I have thus, Sir, laid before you a summary of my views. It is in discharge of this commission that I have come to France, since I could not effect it in America without exciting suspicion. It now remains for you to decide whether those views can be accomplished. Should you desire to consult your nation on them, it is in my power to give you all the information you may require."

As, by this time, I had been advised to try the waters of Aix, I wrote to the gentleman my design, and that I would go off my road as far as Nismes, under the pretext of seeing the antiquities of that place, if he would meet me there. He met me, and the following is the sum of the information I received from him: "Brazil contains as many inhabitants as Portugal. They are, 1. Portuguese. 2. Native whites. 3. Black and mulatto slaves. 4. Indians, civilized and savage. 1. The Portuguese are few in number, mostly married there, have lost sight of their native country, as well as the prospect of returning to it, and are disposed to become independent. 2. The native whites form the body of their nation. 3. The slaves are as numerous as the free. 4. The civilized Indians have no energy, and the savage would not meddle. There are twenty thousand regular troops. Originally these were Portuguese. But as they died off, they were replaced by natives, so that these compose at present the mass of the troops, and may be counted on by their native country. The officers are partly Portuguese, partly Brazilians; their bravery is not doubted, and they understand the parade, but not the science of their profession. They have no bias for Portugal, but no energy either for anything. The priests are partly Portuguese, partly Brazilians, and will not interest themselves much. The Noblesse are scarcely known as such. They will, in no manner, be distinguished from the people. The men of letters are those most desirous of a revolution. The people are not much under the influence of their priests, most of them read and write, possess arms, and are in the habit of using them for hunting. The slaves will take the side of their masters. In short, as to the question of revolution, there is but one mind in that country. But there appears no person capable of conducting a revolution, or willing to venture himself at its head, without the aid of some powerful nation, as the people of their own might fail them. There is no printing press in Brazil. They consider the North American revolution as a precedent for theirs. They look to the United States as most likely to give them honest support, and, from a variety of considerations, have the strongest prejudices in our favor. This informant is a native and inhabitant of Rio Janeiro, the present metropolis, which contains fifty thousand inhabitants, knows well St. Salvador, the former one, and the mines d'or, which are in the centre of the country. These are all for a revolution; and, constituting the body of the nation, the other parts will follow them. The King's fifth of the mines yields annually thirteen millions of crusadoes or half dollars. He has the sole right of searching for diamonds and other precious stones, which yield him about half as much. His income from those two resources alone, then, is about ten millions of dollars annually; but the remaining part of the produce of the mines, being twenty-six millions, might be counted on for effecting a revolution. Besides the arms in the hands of the people, there are public magazines. They have abundance of horses, but only a part of their country would admit the service of horses. They would want cannon, ammunition, ships, sailors, soldiers and officers, for which they are disposed to look to the United States, it being always understood that every service and furniture will be well paid. Corn costs about twenty livres the one hundred pounds. They have flesh in the greatest abundance, insomuch, that in some parts they kill beeves for the skin only. The whale fishery is carried on by Brazilians altogether, and not by Portuguese; but in very small vessels, so that the fishermen know nothing of managing a large ship. They would want of us, at all times, shipping, corn and salt fish. The latter is a great article, and they are at present supplied with it from Portugal. Portugal, being without either army or navy, could not attempt an invasion under a twelvemonth. Considering of what it would be composed, it would not be much to be feared, and, if it failed, they would probably never attempt a second. Indeed, this source of their wealth being intercepted, they are scarcely capable of a first effort. The thinking part of the nation are so sensible of this, that they consider an early separation inevitable. There is an implacable hatred between the Brazilians and Portuguese; to reconcile which, a former minister adopted the policy of letting the Brazilians into a participation of public offices, but subsequent administrations have reverted to the ancient policy of keeping the administration in the hands of native Portuguese. There is a mixture of natives of the old appointments still remaining in office. If Spain should invade them on their southern extremities, these are so distant from the body of their settlements, that they could not penetrate thence; and Spanish enterprise is not formidable. The mines d'or are among mountains inaccessible to any army, and Rio Janeiro is considered the strongest port in the world after Gibraltar. In case of a successful revolution, a republican government in a single body would probably be established."

I took care to impress on him, through the whole of our conversation, that I had neither instructions nor authority to say a word to anybody on this subject, and that I could only give him my own ideas, as a single individual; which were, that we were not in a condition at present to meddle nationally in any war; that we wished particularly to cultivate the friendship of Portugal, with whom we have an advantageous commerce. That yet a successful revolution in Brazil could not be uninteresting to us. That prospects of lucre might possibly draw numbers of individuals to their aid, and purer motives our officers, among whom are many excellent. That our citizens, being free to leave their own country individually, without the consent of their governments, are equally free to go to any other.

A little before I received the first letter of the Brazilian, a gentleman informed me there was a Mexican in Paris, who wished to have some conversation with me. He accordingly called on me. The substance of the information I drew from him was as follows. He is himself a native of Mexico, where his relations are, principally. He left it at about seventeen years of age, and seems now to be about thirty-three or thirty-four. He classes and characterizes the inhabitants of that country, as follows: 1. The natives of Old Spain, possessed of most of the offices of government, and firmly attached to it. 2. The clergy, equally attached to the government. 3. The natives of Mexico, generally disposed to revolt, but without instruction, without energy, and much under the dominion of their priests. 4. The slaves, mulatto and black; the former enterprising and intelligent, the latter brave, and of very important weight, into whatever scale they throw themselves; but he thinks they will side with their masters. 5. The conquered Indians, cowardly, not likely to take any side, nor important which they take. 6. The free Indians, brave and formidable, should they interfere, but not likely to do so, as being at a great distance. I asked him the numbers of these several classes, but he could not give them. The first, he thought very inconsiderable; that the second formed the body of the freemen; the third equal to the two first the fourth, to all the preceding; and, as to the fifth, he could form no idea of their proportion. Indeed, it appeared to me, that his conjectures as to the others, were on loose grounds. He said he knew from good information, there were three hundred thousand inhabitants in the city of Mexico. I was still more cautious with him than with the Brazilian, mentioning it as my private opinion (unauthorized to say a word on the subject otherwise) that a successful revolution was still at a distance with them; that I feared they must begin by enlightening and emancipating the minds of their people; that, as to us, if Spain should give us advantageous terms of commerce, and remove other difficulties, it was not probable that we should relinquish certain and present advantages, though smaller, for uncertain and future ones, however great. I was led into this caution by observing that this gentleman was intimate at the Spanish ambassador's, and that he was then at Paris, employed by Spain to settle her boundaries with France, on the Pyrenees. He had much the air of candor, but that can be borrowed; so that I was not able to decide about him in my own mind.

Led by a unity of subject, and a desire to give Congress as general a view of the disposition of our southern countrymen, as my information enables me, I will add an article which, old and insulated, I did not think important enough to mention at the time I received it. You will remember, Sir, that during the late war, the British papers often gave details of a rebellion in Peru. The character of those papers discredited the information. But the truth was, that the insurrections were so general, that the event was long on the poise. Had Commodore Johnson, then expected on that coast, touched and landed there two thousand men, the dominion of Spain in that country would have been at an end. They only wanted a point of union, which this body would have constituted. Not having this, they acted without concert, and were at length subdued separately. This conflagration was quenched in blood; two hundred thousand souls, on both sides, having perished; but the remaining matter is very capable of combustion. I have this information from a person who was on the spot at the time, and whose good faith, understanding, and means of information, leave no doubt of the facts. He observed, however, that the numbers above supposed to have perished, were on such conjectures only as he could collect.

I trouble Congress with these details, because, however distant we may be, both in condition and dispositions, from taking an active part in any commotions in that country, nature has placed it too near us, to make its movements altogether indifferent to our interests, or to our curiosity.

I hear of another Arret of this court, increasing the duties on foreign stock-fish, and the premium on their own, imported into their islands; but not having yet seen it, I can say nothing certain on it. I hope the effect of this policy will be defeated by the practice which, I am told, takes place on the Banks of Newfoundland, of putting our fish into the French fishing-boats, and the parties sharing the premium, instead of ours paying the duty.

I am in hopes Mr. Short will be able to send you the medals of General Gates, by this packet. I await a general instruction as to these medals. The academies of Europe will be much pleased to receive each a set.

I propose to set out the day after to-morrow for Bordeaux, (by the canal of Languedoc,) Nantes, L'Orient and Paris.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect esteem and respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Marseilles, May 6, 1787.

Sir,—A desire of seeing a commerce commenced between the dominions of His Majesty, the King of Sardinia, and the United States of America, and a direct exchange of their respective productions, without passing through a third nation, led me into the conversation which I had the honor of having with you on that subject, and afterwards with Monsieur Tallon, at Turin, to whom I promised that I would explain to you, in writing, the substance of what passed between us. The articles of your produce wanted with us, are brandies, wines, oil, fruits, and manufactured silks: those with which we can furnish you, are indigo, potash, tobacco, flour, salt fish, furs and peltries, ships and materials for building them. The supply of tobacco, particularly, being in the hands of government solely, appeared to me to offer an article for beginning immediately the experiment of direct commerce. That of the first quality can be had, at first hand, only from James river, in Virginia; those of the second and third, from the same place and from Baltimore, in Maryland. The first quality is delivered in the ports of France at thirty-eight livres the quintal, the second at thirty-six livres, the third at thirty-four livres, weight and money of France, by individuals generally. I send you the copy of a large contract, wherein the three qualities are averaged at thirty-six livres. They may be delivered at Nice for those prices. Indeed, it is my opinion, that by making shipments of your own produce to those places, and buying the tobaccos on the spot, they may be had more advantageously. In this case, it would be expedient that merchants of Nice, Turin, and America, should form a joint concern for conducting the business in the two countries. Monsieur Tallon desired me to point out proper persons in America, who might be addressed for this purpose. The house of the most extensive reputation, concerned in the tobacco trade, and on the firmest funds, is that of Messrs. Ross and Pleasants, at Richmond, in Virginia. If it should be concluded, on your part, to make any attempt of this kind, and to address yourselves to these gentlemen, or any others, it would be the best to write them your ideas, and receive theirs, before you make either purchases or shipments. A more hasty conduct might occasion loss, and retard, instead of encouraging the establishment of this commerce. I would undertake to write, at the same time, to these, or any other merchants whom you should prefer, in order to dispose them favorably, and as disinterestedly as possible, for the encouragement of this essay. I must observe to you, that our vessels are fearful of coming into the Mediterranean on account of the Algerines; and that, if you should freight vessels, those of the French will be most advantageous for you, because received into our ports without paying any duties on some of those articles, and lighter than others on all of them. English vessels, on the other hand, are distinguished by paying heavier duties than those of any other nation. Should you desire any further information, or to pass letters with certainty to any mercantile house in America, do me the favor to address yourselves to me, at Paris, and I shall do whatever depends on me, for this object.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of high esteem and respect, Sir, your most obedient humble servant.



Paris, June 14, 1787.

Dear Sir,—Having got back to Paris three days ago, I resume immediately the correspondence with which you have been pleased to honor me. I wish I could have begun it with more agreeable information than that furnished me by Mr. Grand, that the funds of the United States here are exhausted, and himself considerably in advance; and by the Board of Treasury at New York, that they have no immediate prospect of furnishing us supplies. We are thus left to shift for ourselves, without previous warning. As soon as they shall replenish Mr. Grand's hands, I will give you notice, that you may recommence your usual drafts on him; unless the board should provide a separate fund for you, dependent on yourself alone, which I have strongly and repeatedly pressed on them, in order to remove the indecency of suffering your drafts to pass through any intermediate hand for payment.

My letters from America came down to the 24th of April. The disturbances in the Eastern States were entirely settled. I do not learn that the government had made any examples. Mr. Hancock's health being re-established, the want of which had occasioned him to resign the government of Massachusetts, he has been re-elected to the exclusion of Governor Bowdoin. New York still refuses to pass the impost in any form, and, were she to pass it, Pennsylvania will not uncouple it from the supplementary funds. These two States and Virginia are the only ones, my letters say, which have paid anything into the Continental treasury, for a twelve month past. I send you a copy of a circular letter from Congress to the several States, insisting on their removing all obstructions to the recovery of British debts. This was hurried, that it might be delivered to the Assembly of New York before they rose. It was delivered, but they did nothing in consequence of it. The convention to be assembled at Philadelphia will be an able one. Ten States were known to have appointed delegates. Maryland was about to appoint; Connecticut was doubtful; and Rhode Island had refused. We are sure, however, of eleven States. South Carolina has prohibited the importation of slaves for three years; which is a step towards a perpetual prohibition. Between six and seven hundred thousand acres of land are actually surveyed into townships, and the sales are to begin immediately. They are not to be sold for less than a dollar the acre, in public certificates. I wrote you from Bordeaux on the subject of Colonel Smith. I was sorry I missed him there, for other reasons as well as from a curiosity to know his errand. The Notables have laid the foundation of much good here; you have seen it detailed in the public papers. The Prince of Wales is likely to recover from his illness, which was very threatening. It is feared that three powers have combined to lift the Prince of Orange out of his difficulties. Have you yet the cypher of which I formerly wrote to you, or any copy of it?

I am, with sincere esteem, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, June 14, 1787.

Sir,—I arrived at this place three days ago, and avail myself of the first possible moment of acknowledging the receipt of your favors of the 5th and 7th of June. The letters they accompanied for Mr. Jay shall be sent by the packet, which sails the 25th instant, and by a passenger. My letters from America are none later than the 24th of April. The disturbances in the Eastern States were entirely settled. I do not learn that the government required any capital punishments. We promise ourselves good from the Convention holding at Philadelphia. It consists of the ablest men in America. It will surely be the instrument of referring to Congress the regulation of our trade. This may enable them to carry into effect a general impost which one or two obstinate States have so long prevented. Between six and seven hundred thousand acres of land are now surveyed into townships, and will be immediately sold. The backwardness of the States to bring money into the public treasury has increased rather than diminished. This has prevented the treasury board from remitting any money to this place for some time past, and Mr. Grand has given me notice that their funds in his hands are exhausted, and himself considerably in advance. This renders it necessary for us to suspend all draughts on him until he shall have received supplies from the Board of Treasury, to whom I write to press remittances. The moment we shall have wherewithal to answer your accustomary draughts, I will exercise the pleasing office of giving you notice of it. Indeed, I perceive by the papers that Mr. Adams is gone over to Holland. I am not without hopes that his object may be to procure supplies of money, and that your exertions joined with his may give relief to us all. I have no answer from Congress on the subject which has been thought of between us. I am afraid we may consider the refusal of the impost as an answer. I am exceedingly anxious to see the turn the affairs of your country may take. It will surely be seen soon whether for the better or worse. I wish nothing may be gathering in the horizon to obscure the prospects of the patriotic party. My prayers for their prosperity are warm, as are the sentiments of personal esteem and respect with which I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, June 19, 1787.

Dear Sir—I have received your favor of April the 23d, from New York, and am sorry to find you have had a relapse. Time and temperance, however, will cure you; to which add exercise. I hope you have long ago had a happy meeting with your friends, with whom a few hours would be to me an ineffable feast. The face of Europe appears a little turbid, but all will subside. The Empress endeavored to bully the Turk, who laughed at her, and she is going back. The Emperor's reformations have occasioned the appearance of insurrection in Flanders, and he, according to character, will probably tread back his steps. A change of system here, with respect to the Dutch, is suspected; because the Kings of Prussia and England openly espouse the cause of the Stadtholder, and that of the Patriots is likely to fall. The American acquaintances whom you left here, not being stationary, you will hardly expect news of them. Mrs. Barrett, lately dead, was, I think, known to you. I had a letter from Ledyard lately, dated at St. Petersburg. He had but two shirts, and yet more shirts than shillings. Still he was determined to obtain the palm of being the first circumambulator of the earth. He says, that having no money, they kick him from place to place, and thus he expects to be kicked round the globe. Are you become a great walker? You know I preach up that kind of exercise. Shall I send you a conte-pas? It will cost you a dozen louis, but be a great stimulus to walking, as it will record your steps. I finished my tour a week or ten days ago. I went as far as Turin, Milan, Genoa; and never passed three months and a half more delightfully. I returned through the canal of Languedoc, by Bordeaux, Nantes, L'Orient, and Rennes; then returned to Nantes and came up the Loire to Orleans. I was alone through the whole, and think one travels more usefully when alone, because he reflects more.

Present me in the most friendly terms to Mrs. Bannister, and to your father, and be assured of the sincere esteem of, dear Sir, your friend and servant.



Paris, June 20, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I wrote you last on the 30th of January, with a postscript of February the 5th. Having set out the last day of that month to try the waters of Aix, and been journeying since, till the 10th instant, I have been unable to continue my correspondence with you. In the meantime, I have received your several favors of February the 16th, March the 18th and 19th, and April the 23d. The last arrived here about the 25th of May, while those of March the 18th and 19th, though written five weeks earlier, arrived three weeks later. I mention this to show you how uncertain is the conveyance through England.

The idea of separating the executive business of the confederacy from Congress, as the judiciary is already, in some degree, is just and necessary. I had frequently pressed on the members individually, while in Congress, the doing this by a resolution of Congress for appointing an executive committee, to act during the sessions of Congress, as the committee of the States was to act during their vacations. But the referring to this committee all executive business, as it should present itself, would require a more persevering self-denial than I suppose Congress to possess. It will be much better to make that separation by a federal act. The negative, proposed to be given them on all the acts of the several legislatures, is now, for the first time, suggested to my mind. Prima facie, I do not like it. It fails in an essential character; that the hole and the patch should be commensurate. But this proposes to mend a small hole by covering the whole garment. Not more than one out of one hundred State acts concern the confederacy. This proposition, then, in order to give them one degree of power, which they ought to have, gives them ninety-nine more, which they ought not to have, upon a presumption that they will not exercise the ninety-nine. But upon every act, there will be a preliminary question, Does this act concern the confederacy? And was there ever a proposition so plain, as to pass Congress without a debate? Their decisions are almost always wise; they are like pure metal. But you know of how much dross this is the result. Would not an appeal from the State judicature to a federal court, in all cases where the act of Confederation controlled the question, be as effectual a remedy, and exactly commensurate to the defect? A British creditor, for example, sues for his debt in Virginia; the defendant pleads an act of the State, excluding him from their courts; the plaintiff urges the Confederation, and the treaty made under that, as controlling the State law; the judges are weak enough to decide according to the views of their legislature. An appeal to a federal court sets all to rights. It will be said, that this court may encroach on the jurisdiction of the State courts. It may. But there will be a power, to wit, Congress, to watch and restrain them. But place the same authority in Congress itself, and there will be no power above them, to perform the same office. They will restrain within due bounds, a jurisdiction exercised by others, much more rigorously than if exercised by themselves.

I am uneasy at seeing that the sale of our western lands is not yet commenced. That valuable fund for the immediate extinction of our debt will, I fear, be suffered to slip through our fingers. Every delay exposes it to events which no human foresight can guard against. When we consider the temper of the people of that country, derived from the circumstances which surround them, we must suppose their separation possible, at every moment. If they can be retained till their governments become settled and wise, they will remain with us always, and be a precious part of our strength and our virtue. But this affair of the Mississippi, by showing that Congress is capable of hesitating on a question, which proposes a clear sacrifice of the western, to the maritime States, will with difficulty be obliterated. The proposition of my going to Madrid, to try to recover there the ground which has been lost at New York, by the concession of the vote of seven States, I should think desperate. With respect to myself, weighing the pleasure of the journey and bare possibility of success, in one scale, and the strong probability of failure and the public disappointment directed on me, in the other, the latter preponderates. Add to this, that jealousy might be excited in the breast of a person, who could find occasions of making me uneasy.

The late changes in the ministry here excite considerable hopes. I think we gain in them all. I am particularly happy at the re-entry of Malesherbes into the Council, His knowledge and integrity render his value inappreciable, and the greater to me, because, while he had no views of office, we had established together the most unreserved intimacy. So far, too, I am pleased with Montmorin. His honesty proceeds from the heart as well as the head, and therefore may be more surely counted on. The King loves business, economy, order, and justice, and wishes sincerely the good of his people; but he is irascible, rude, very limited in his understanding, and religious, bordering on bigotry. He has no mistress, loves his queen, and is too much governed by her. She is capricious like her brother, and governed by him; devoted to pleasure and expense; and not remarkable for any other vices or virtues. Unhappily the King shows a propensity for the pleasures of the table. That for drink has increased lately, or, at least, it has become more known.

For European news in general, I will refer you to my letter to Mr. Jay. Is it not possible, that the occurrences in Holland may excite a desire in many, of leaving that country and transferring their effects out of it, and thus make an opening for shifting into their hands, the debts due to this country, to its officers, and Farmers? It would be surely eligible. I believe Dumas, if put on the watch, might alone suffice; but he surely might, if Mr. Adams should go when the moment offers. Dumas has been in the habit of sending his letters open to me, to be forwarded to Mr. Jay. During my absence, they passed through Mr. Short's hands, who made extracts from them, by which I see he has been recommending himself and me for the money negotiations in Holland. It might be thought, perhaps, that I have encouraged him in this. Be assured, my dear Sir, that no such idea ever entered my head. On the contrary, it is a business which would be the most disagreeable to me of all others, and for which I am the most unfit person living. I do not understand bargaining, nor possess the dexterity requisite for the purpose. On the other hand, Mr. Adams, whom I expressly and sincerely recommend, stands already on ground for that business, which I could not gain in years. Pray set me to rights in the minds of those who may have supposed me privy to this proposition. En passant, I will observe with respect to Mr. Dumas, that the death of the Count de Vergennes places Congress more at their ease, how to dispose of him. Our credit has been ill treated here in public debate, and our debt here deemed apocryphal. We should try to transfer this debt elsewhere, and leave nothing capable of exciting ill thoughts between us. I shall mention in my letter to Mr. Jay, a disagreeable affair which Mr. Barclay has been thrown into, at Bordeaux. An honester man cannot be found, nor a slower, nor more indecisive one. His affairs, too, are so embarrassed and desperate, that the public reputation is, every moment, in danger of being compromitted with him. He is perfectly amiable and honest, with all his embarrassments.

By the next packet, I shall be able to send you some books, as also your watch and pedometer. The two last are not yet done. To search for books, and forward them to Havre, will require more time than I had between my return and the departure of this packet. Having been a witness, heretofore, to the divisions in Congress on the subject of their foreign ministers, it would be a weakness in me to suppose none with respect to myself, or to count with any confidence on the renewal of my commission, which expires on the 10th day of March next; and the more so, as instead of requiring the disapprobation of seven States, as formerly, that of one suffices for a recall, when Congress consists of only seven States, two, when of eight, &c., which I suppose to be habitually their numbers at present. Whenever I leave this place, it will be necessary to begin my arrangements six months before my departure; and these, once fairly begun and under way, and my mind set homewards, a change of purpose could hardly take place. If it should be the desire of Congress that I should continue still longer, I could wish to know it, at farthest, by the packet which will sail from New York in September. Because, were I to put off longer the quitting my house, selling my furniture, &c., I should not have time left to wind up my affairs; and having once quitted, and sold off my furniture, I could not think of establishing myself here again. I take the liberty of mentioning this matter to you, not with a desire to change the purpose of Congress, but to know it in time. I have never fixed in my mind, the epoch of my return, so far as shall depend on myself, but I never supposed it very distant. Probably I shall not risk a second vote on this subject. Such trifling things may draw on me the displeasure of one or two States, and thus submit me to the disgrace of a recall.

I thank you for the paccan nuts, which accompanied your letter of March. Could you procure me a copy of the bill for proportioning crimes and punishments, in the form in which it was ultimately rejected by the House of Delegates? Young Mr. Bannister desired me to send him regularly the Mercure de France. I will ask leave to do this through you, and that you will adopt such method of forwarding them to him, as will save him from being submitted to postage, which they would not be worth. As a compensation for your trouble, you will be free to keep them till you shall have read them. I am, with sentiments of the most sincere esteem, dear Sir, your friend and servant.



Paris, June 21, 1787

Sir,—I had the honor of addressing you in a letter of May the 4th, from Marseilles, which was to have gone by the last packet. But it arrived a few hours too late for that conveyance, and has been committed to a private one, passing through England, with a promise that it should go through no post office.

I was desirous, while at the seaports, to obtain a list of the American vessels which have come to them since the peace, in order to estimate their comparative importance to us, as well as the general amount of our commerce with this country, so far as carried on in our own bottoms. At Marseilles, I found there had been thirty-two, since that period; at Cette, not a single one; at Bayonne, one of our free ports, only one. This last fact I learned from other information, not having visited that place; as it would have been a deviation from my route, too considerable for the importance of the object. At Bordeaux, Nantes, and L'Orient, I could not obtain lists in the moment; but am in hopes I shall be able to get them ere long. Though more important to us, they will probably be more imperfect than that of Marseilles. At Nantes, I began with Monsieur Dobrée an arrangement of his claims. I visited the military stores, which have been detained there so long, opened some boxes of each kind, and found the state of their contents much better than had been represented. An exact list of the articles is to be sent me.

The importations into L'Orient of other fish oils, besides those of the whale, brought to my notice there a defect in the letter of Monsieur de Calonne, of October the 22d, which letter was formerly communicated to you. In that, whale oil only was named. The other fish oils, therefore, have continued to pay the old duties. In a conference with Monsieur de Villedeuil, the present Comptroller General, since my return, I proposed the extending the exemption to all fish oils, according to the letter of the Hanseatic treaty, which had formed the basis of the regulations respecting us. I think this will be agreed to. The delays of office first, then the illness of Monsieur de Calonne, and lastly, his removal and the throng of business occasioned by the Assemblée des Notables, have prevented the reducing the substance of the letter into the form of an Arret, as yet; though I have continued soliciting it as much as circumstances would bear. I am now promised that it shall be done immediately, and that it shall be so far retrospective to the date of the letter, as that all duties paid since that, shall be refunded.

The new accessions to the ministry are valued here. Good is hoped from the Archbishop of Toulouse, who succeeds the Count de Vergennes as Chef du Counseil de Finance. Monsieur de Villedeuil, the Comptroller General, has been approved by the public, in the offices he has heretofore exercised. The Duke de Nivernois, called to the Council, is reckoned a good and able man; and Monsieur de Malesherbes, called also to the Council, is unquestionably the first character in the kingdom, for integrity, patriotism, knowledge, and experience in business. There is a fear that the Maréchal de Castries is disposed to retire.

The face of things in Europe is a little turbid at present; but probably all will subside. The Empress of Russia, it is supposed, will not push her pretensions against the Turks to actual war. Weighing the fondness of the Emperor for innovation, against his want of perseverance, it is difficult to calculate what he will do with his discontented subjects in Brabant and Flanders. If those provinces alone were concerned, he would probably give back; but this would induce an opposition to his plan, in all his other dominions. Perhaps he may be able to find a compromise. The cause of the Patriots in Holland is a little clouded at present. England and Prussia seem disposed to interpose effectually. The former has actually ordered a fleet of six sail of the line, northwardly, under Gore; and the latter threatens to put her troops into motion. The danger of losing such a weight in their scale, as that of Prussia, would occasion this court to prefer conciliation to war. Add to this the distress of their finances, and perhaps not so warm a zeal in the new ministry for the innovations in Holland. I hardly believe they will think it worth while to purchase the change of constitution proposed there, at the expense of a war. But of these things you will receive more particular and more certain details from Mr. Dumas, to whom they belong.

Mr. Eden is appointed Ambassador from England to Madrid. To the hatred borne us by his court and country, is added a recollection of the circumstances of the unsuccessful embassy to America, of which he made a part. So that I think he will carry to Madrid dispositions to do us all the ill he can.

The late change in the ministry is very favorable to the prospects of the Chevalier de La Luzerne. The Count de Montmorin, Monsieur de Malesherbes, and Monsieur de Lamoignon, the Garde des Sceaux, are his near relations. Probably something will be done for him, and without delay. The promise of the former administration to the Count de Moutier, to succeed to this vacancy, should it take place, will perhaps be performed by the present one.

Mr. Barclay has probably informed you of his having been arrested in Bordeaux, for a debt contracted in the way of his commerce. He immediately applied to the parliament of that place, who ordered his discharge. This took place after five days' actual imprisonment. I arrived at Bordeaux a few days after his liberation. As the Procureur General of the King had interested himself to obtain it, with uncommon zeal, and that too on public principles, I thought it my duty to wait on him and return him my thanks. I did the same to the president of the parliament, for the body over which he presided; what would have been an insult in America, being an indispensable duty here. You will see by the enclosed printed paper, on what grounds the Procureur insisted on Mr. Barclay's liberation. Those on which the parliament ordered it, are not expressed. On my arrival here, I spoke with the minister on that subject. He observed that the character of consul is no protection in this country against process for debt; that as to the character with which Mr. Barclay had been invested at the court of Morocco, it was questionable whether it would be placed on the diplomatic line, as it had not been derived immediately from Congress; that, if it were, it would have covered him to Paris only, where he had received his commission, had he proceeded directly thither, but that his long stay at Bordeaux must be considered as terminating it there. I observed to him, that Mr. Barclay had been arrested almost immediately on his arrival at Bordeaux. But, says he, the arrest was made void by the parliament, and still he has continued there several weeks. True, I replied, but his adversaries declared they would arrest him again, the moment he should go out of the jurisdiction of the parliament of Bordeaux, and have actually engaged the Maréchaussée on the road, to do it. This seemed to impress him. He said he could obtain a letter of safe conduct which would protect him to Paris, but that, immediately on his arrival here, he would be liable to arrest. I asked him if such a letter could not be obtained to protect him to Paris, and back to Bordeaux, and even to America? He said, that for that, the consent of the greater part of his creditors would be necessary; and even with this, it was very doubtful whether it could be obtained; still if I would furnish him with that consent, he would do what should depend on him. I am persuaded he will, and have written to Mr. Barclay to obtain the consent of his creditors. This is the footing on which this matter stands at present. I have stated it thus particularly, that you may know the truth, which will probably be misrepresented in the English papers, to the prejudice of Mr. Barclay. This matter has been a great affliction to him, but no dishonor, where its true state is known. Indeed he is incapable of doing anything not strictly honorable.

In a letter of August the 30th, 1785, I had the honor of mentioning to you what had passed here, on the subject of a convention for the regulation of the two post offices. I now enclose you a letter from the Baron D'Ogny, who is at the head of that department, which shows that he still expects some arrangement. I have heard it said that M. de Creve-coeur is authorized to treat on this subject. You doubtless know if this be true. The articles may certainly be better adjusted there, than here. This letter from the Baron D'Ogny was in consequence of an application from a servant of mine, during my absence, which would not have been made had I been here. Nor will it be repeated; it being my opinion and practice to pay small sums of money, rather than to risk favors.

I have the honor to enclose you also, copies of a letter and papers from the Maréchal de Castries, on the claim of an individual against the State of South Carolina, for services performed on board the Indian; and the petition of another, on a like claim; also copies of letters received from O'Bryan at Algiers, and from Mr. Lambe. A letter of the 26th of May, from Mr. Montgomery, at Alicant, informs me, that by a vessel arrived at Carthagena from Algiers, they learn the death of the Dey of that republic. Yet, as we hear nothing of it through any other channel, it may be doubted. It escaped me at the time of my departure to Aix, to make arrangements for sending you the gazettes regularly, by the packets. The whole are now sent, though a great part of them are so old as to be not worth perusal. Your favor of April the 24th has been duly received. I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect esteem and respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, June 30, 1787.

On my return to Paris, it was among my first intentions to go to the rue Chussée d'Antin, No. 17, and inquire after my friends whom I had left there. I was told they were in England. And how do you like England, Madam? I know your taste for the works of art gives you a little disposition to Anglomania. Their mechanics certainly exceed all others in some lines. But be just to your own nation. They have not patience, it is true, to set rubbing a piece of steel from morning till night, as a lethargic Englishman will do, full charged with porter. But do not their benevolence, their cheerfulness, their amiability, when compared with the growling temper and manners of the people among whom you are, compensate their want of patience? I am in hopes that when the splendor of their shops, which is all that is worth looking at in London, shall have lost their charm of novelty, you will turn a wistful eye to the people of Paris, and find that you cannot be so happy with any others. The Bois de Boulogne invites you earnestly to come and survey its beautiful verdure, to retire to its umbrage from the heats of the season. I was through it to-day, as I am every day. Every tree charged me with this invitation to you. Passing by la Muette, it wished for you as a mistress. You want a country house. This is for sale; and in the Bois de Boulogne, which I have always insisted to be most worthy of your preference. Come then, and buy it. If I had had confidence in your speedy return, I should have embarrassed you in earnest with my little daughter. But an impatience to have her with me, after her separation from her friends, added to a respect for your ease, has induced me to send a servant for her.

I tell you no news, because you have correspondents infinitely more au fait of the details of Paris than I am. And I offer you no services, because I hope you will come as soon as the letter could, which should command them. Be assured, however, that nobody is more disposed to render them, nor entertains for you a more sincere and respectful attachment, than him who, after charging you with his compliments to Monsieur de Corny, has the honor of offering you the homage of those sentiments of distinguished esteem and regard, with which he is, dear Madam, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, July 1, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I returned about three weeks ago from a very useless voyage; useless, I mean, as to the object which first suggested it, that of trying the effect of the mineral waters of Aix, in Provence, on my hand. I tried these, because recommended among six or eight others as equally beneficial, and because they would place me at the beginning of a tour to the seaports of Marseilles, Bordeaux, Nantes and L'Orient, which I had long meditated, in hopes that a knowledge of the places and persons concerned in our commerce, and the information to be got from them, might enable me sometimes to be useful. I had expected to satisfy myself, at Marseilles, of the causes of the difference of quality between the rice of Carolina, and that of Piedmont, which is brought in quantities to Marseilles. Not being able to do it, I made an excursion of three weeks into the rice country beyond the Alps, going through it from Vercelli to Pavia, about sixty miles. I found the difference to be, not in the management, as had been supposed both here and in Carolina, but in the species of rice; and I hope to enable them in Carolina, to begin the cultivation of the Piedmont rice, and carry it on, hand in hand, with their own, that they may supply both qualities; which is absolutely necessary at this market. I had before endeavored to lead the depôt of rice from Cowes to Honfleur, and hope to get it received there on such terms, as may draw that branch of commerce from England to this country. It is an object of two hundred and fifty thousand guineas a year. While passing through the towns of Turin, Milan and Genoa, I satisfied myself of the practicability of introducing our whale oil for their consumption, and suppose it would be equally so, in the other great cities of that country. I was sorry that I was not authorized to set the matter on foot. The merchants with whom I chose to ask conferences, met me freely, and communicated fully, knowing I was in a public character. I could, however, only prepare a disposition to meet our oil merchants. On the article of tobacco, I was more in possession of my ground; and put matters into a train for inducing their government to draw their tobaccos directly from the United States, and not, as heretofore, from Great Britain. I am now occupied with the new ministry here, to put the concluding hand to the new regulations for our commerce with this country, announced in the letter of Monsieur de Calonnes, which I sent you last fall. I am in hopes, in addition to those, to obtain a suppression of the duties on tar, pitch and turpentine, and an extension of the privileges of American whale oil, to their fish oils in general. I find that the quantity of cod-fish oil brought to L'Orient, is considerable. This being got off hand (which will be in a few days) the chicaneries and vexations of the Farmers on the article of tobacco, and their elusions of the order of Bernis, call for the next attention. I have reasons to hope good dispositions in the new ministry towards our commerce with this country. Besides endeavoring, on all occasions, to multiply the points of contact and connection with this country, which I consider as our surest mainstay under every event, I have had it much at heart to remove from between us every subject of misunderstanding or irritation. Our debts to the King, to the Officers, and the Farmers, are of this description. The having complied with no part of our engagements in these, draws on us a great deal of censure, and occasioned a language in the Assemblée des Notables, very likely to produce dissatisfaction between us. Dumas being on the spot in Holland, I had asked of him some time ago, in confidence, his opinion of the practicability of transferring these debts from France to Holland, and communicated his answer to Congress, pressing them to get you to go over to Holland, and try to effect this business. Your knowledge of the ground, and former successes, occasioned me to take this liberty without consulting you, because I was sure you would not weigh your personal trouble against public good. I have had no answer from Congress; but hearing of your journey to Holland, have hoped that some money operations had led you there. If it related to the debts of this country, I would ask a communication of what you think yourself at liberty to communicate, as it might change the form of my answers to the eternal applications I receive. The debt to the officers of France carries an interest of about two thousand guineas, so we may suppose its principal is between thirty and forty thousand. This makes more noise against us, than all our other debts put together.

I send you the Arrets which begin the reformation here, and some other publications respecting America; together with copies of letters received from O'Bryan and Lambe. It is believed that a naval armament has been ordered at Brest, in correspondence with that of England. We know, certainly, that orders are given to form a camp in the neighborhood of Brabant, and that Count Rochambeau has the command of it. Its amount, I cannot assert. Report says fifteen thousand men. This will derange the plans of economy. I take the liberty of putting under your cover, a letter for Mrs. Kinloch, of South Carolina, with a packet, and will trouble you to inquire for her, and have them delivered. The packet is of great consequence, and therefore referred to her care, as she will know the safe opportunities of conveying it. Should you not be able to find her, and can forward the packet to its address, by any very safe conveyance, I will beg you to do it. I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect friendship and esteem, dear Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant.



Paris, July 2, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I received lately your favor of April the 23d, on my return from a journey of three or four months; and am always happy in an occasion of recalling myself to your memory. The most interesting intelligence from America, is that respecting the late insurrection in Massachusetts. The cause of this has not been developed to me, to my perfect satisfaction. The most probable is, that those individuals were of the imprudent number of those, who have involved themselves in debt beyond their abilities to pay, and that a vigorous effort in that government to compel the payment of private debts, and raise money for public ones, produced the resistance. I believe you may be assured, that an idea or desire of returning to anything like their ancient government, never entered into their heads. I am not discouraged by this. For thus I calculate. An insurrection in one of thirteen States, in the course of eleven years that they have subsisted, amounts to one in any particular State, in one hundred and forty-three years, say a century and a half. This would not be near as many, as have happened in every other government that has ever existed. So that we shall have the difference between a light and a heavy government, as clear gain. I have no fear, but that the result of our experiment will be, that men may be trusted to govern themselves without a master. Could the contrary of this be proved, I should conclude, either that there is no God, or that he is a malevolent being. You have heard of the federal convention, now sitting at Philadelphia, for the amendment of the Confederation. Eleven States appointed delegates certainly; it was expected that Connecticut would also appoint, the moment its Assembly met. Rhode Island had refused. I expect they will propose several amendments; that that relative to our commerce will probably be adopted immediately, but that the others must wait to be adopted, one after another, in proportion as the minds of the States ripen for them. Dr. Franklin enjoys good health. I shall always be happy to hear from you, being with sentiments of very sincere esteem and respect, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, July 2, 1787.

Dear Sir,—Your favor of February the 16th, came to my hands in the moment I was setting out on a tour through the southern parts of France and northern of Italy, from which I am but just now returned. I avail myself of the earliest moment to acknowledge its receipt, and to thank you for the box of magnets which I found here. Though I do not know certainly, by, or from whom they come, I presume they came by Colonel Smith, who was here in my absence, and from Messrs. Nairne and Blunt, through your good offices. I think your letter of February the 16th, flatters me with the expectation of another, with observations, on the hygrometers I had proposed. I value what comes from you too much, not to remind you of it. Your favor by Mr. Garnett also, came during my absence. I presume he has left Paris, as I can hear nothing of him. I have lost the opportunity, therefore, of seeing his method of resisting friction, as well as of showing, by attentions to him, respect for yourself and your recommendations. Mr. Paine (Common Sense) is here on his way to England. He has brought the model of an iron bridge, with which he supposes a single arch of four hundred feet, may be made. It has not yet arrived in Paris. Among other projects, with which we begin to abound in America, is one for finding the latitude by the variation of the magnetic needle. The author supposes two points, one near each pole, through the northern of which, pass all the magnetic meridians of the northern hemisphere, and through the southern, those of the southern hemisphere. He determines their present position and periodical revolution. It is said, his publication is plausible. I have not seen it.

What are you going to do with your naval armament on your side the channel? Perhaps you will ask me, what they are about to do here? A British navy and Prussian army hanging over Holland on one side, a French navy and army hanging over it on the other, looks as if they thought of fighting. Yet I think both parties too wise for that, too laudably intent on economizing, rather than on further embarrassing their finances. May they not propose to have a force on the spot, to establish some neutral form of a constitution, which these powers will cook up among themselves, without consulting the parties for whom it is intended? The affair of Geneva shows such combinations possible. Wretched, indeed, is the nation in whose affairs foreign powers are once permitted to intermeddle. Lord Wycombe is with us at present. His good sense, information and discretion, are much beyond his years, and promise good things for your country.

I beg you to accept assurances of the esteem and respect with which I have the honor to be, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, July 2, 1787.

Sir,—Being just returned from a tour through the southern parts of France and northern of Italy, I could not till this moment, acknowledge the receipt of your obliging letter with the papers accompanying it. It happened unluckily also that those addressed to the Marquis de La Fayette, were under my cover. I put them into his hands the moment of my return. From the opportunities you have had of coming at facts known as yet to no other historian, from your dispositions to relate them fairly, and from your known talents, I have sanguine expectations that your work will be a valuable addition to historical science; and the more so, as we have little yet on the subject of our war, which merits respect. I fear, however, that this is not the field from which you are to expect profit. The translation will sell here; but few read English. Be assured, that nothing shall be wanting on my part to encourage a preference of the original to a translation; but it will not be till the fall that either will be called for, because, during summer, the readers are in the country. I got from a bookseller here about forty guineas for a first copy of Dr. Ramsay's work, which he had translated. If this would be an object with you, I offer you my service. I have the honor to be, with sentiments of great esteem, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, July 2, 1787.

Sir,—On my return from a tour through the southern parts of France and northern of Italy, I found here the present of books you had been so kind as to send me. I should value them highly for their intrinsic merit, but much more as coming from you. You will have seen that one of our republics has experienced those commotions which the newspapers have been always ascribing to all of them. I am not satisfied what has been the cause of this, but the most probable account is, that these individuals were of those who have so imprudently involved themselves in debt; and that a vigorous exertion in their government to enforce the payment of private debts, and raise money for the public ones, occasioned the insurrection. One insurrection in thirteen States in the course of eleven years that they have existed, amounts to one in any individual State in one hundred and forty-three years, say a century and a half. This will not weigh against the inconveniences of a government of force, such as are monarchies and aristocracies. You see I am not discouraged by this little difficulty; nor have I any doubt that the result of our experiment will be, that men are capable of governing themselves without a master. I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the highest esteem and respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, July 2, 1787.

Dear Sir,—Revising the letters and notes in my possession on the subject of our commerce, I observe you say in your letter of December 12, that we pay alien duties in the ports of France, supposed the double of what we ought to pay. If by this you mean that we are not on as favorable a footing as Spain, it would be vain to remonstrate on that subject. The family compact expressly excluded all other nations from the advantages the two parties ceded to each other; but if there be any other nation which enjoys any greater advantages in the ports of France than we do, I should wish to know it, because, if it be not in consequence of a particular compensation, I should hope to remove it. Will you be so good as to explain the matter? and shall I ask the further favor of you to forward the enclosed letter by the first vessel going from your port to Virginia. I wish to hear from Mr. Barclay, who, I suppose, is still with you, and whose service and comfort I have sincerely at heart. I am, with much esteem and respect, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, July 2, 1787.

Dear Sir,—The reason why the receipt of your favor of May 21, has been thus unacknowledged, was my absence on a tour round the sea-port towns, from which I am just returned. In the meantime, the occasion of your inquiry relative to Mr. Morris' bills has passed; nor could I now explain the reason of their protest. I understand, however, that they are since honored. The effect, therefore, will only be to show that there is a limit even to his credit.

Recent appearances in Europe would seem to threaten war. On one side, England sending a navy of observation to hover over Holland, and Prussia an army; this country sending a navy and army to hover over the other side of the same country; yet it is morally sure that all these powers desire peace most ardently. It remains to see, then, whether they mean any more than to arrange a kind of constitution which shall be merely neutral, and to force it on the United Netherlands, as done in the case of Geneva. I need not write you American news. You have it of later date than I have. I shall, therefore, only add assurances of the esteem and respect with which I am, dear Sir, your friend and servant.



Paris, July 2, 1787.

I am sorry, my dear Sir, that your interest should be affected by the ill behavior of Barrois; but when you consider the facts, you will be sensible that I could not have indulged his indolence further without increasing the injury to a more punctual workman. Stockdale, of London, had asked leave to print my Notes. I agreed to it, and promised he should have the plate of the map as soon as it should be corrected, and the copies struck off for you and myself. He thereupon printed his edition completely in three weeks. The printer, who was to strike off two hundred and fifty maps for me, kept the plate but five days. It was then delivered to Barrois, with notice that it could not be left longer with him than should suffice to strike off his number. Repeated applications for it by Mr. Short and my servant were only answered by repeated promises and times of delivery fixed, no one of which was performed. When I returned, he had been possessed of the plate upwards of two months. I was astonished and confounded to be told it had not been sent to Stockdale, and that his edition had been lying dead on his hands three months. I sent to Barrois the very day of my return, to let him know, that justice to Stockdale did not permit me to defer sending him the plate any longer, yet I would wait five days, at the end of which he must deliver me the plate, whether his maps were done or not. I received no answer, but waited ten days. I then sent for the plate. The answer was, he was not at home. I sent again the next day. Answer, he was not at home. I sent the third day. Not at home. I then ordered the messenger to go back, and wait till he should come home. This produced an answer of two lines, qu'il alloit soigner son ouvrier? I wrote him word in return to deliver the plate instantly. This I think was on Saturday or Sunday. He told the messenger he would let me have it the Thursday following. I took patience, and sent on the Friday, but telling the messenger if he refused to deliver it, to inform him I would be plagued no more with sending messages, but apply to the police. He then delivered it, and I sent it off immediately to London. He had kept it three months, of which three weeks were after my return. I think, Sir, you will be satisfied that justice to Stockdale, justice to myself who had passed my word for sending on the plate, and sensibility to the shuffling conduct of Barrois, permitted me to act no otherwise. But no matter. Let his ill behavior make no odds between you and me. It will affect your interest, and that suffices to determine me to order back the plate as soon as Stockdale has done with it. He will not require more days than Barrois months, so that it will be here before you can want it. But it must never go into Barrois' hands again, nor of any person depending on him, or under his orders. The workman who struck off the two hundred and fifty for me seems to have been diligent enough. Either he, or any other workman you please of that description, shall have it to strike what number you wish. I forgot to observe, in its proper place, that when I was in the midst of my difficulties, I did myself the honor of calling on you, as well to have that of asking after your health on my return as of asking your assistance to obtain the plate. Unluckily you were gone to Versailles, so I was obliged to proceed as well as I could. It is no excuse for Barrois to say he could not get his Imprimeur to proceed. He should have applied to another. But as to you, it shall be set to rights in the manner I have before stated. Accept my regret that you were in the hands of so undeserving a workman, and one who placed me under the necessity of interrupting a work which interested you. Be assured, at the same time, of the sincerity of those sentiments of esteem and respect with which I have the honor to be, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.


[The following observations appear to have been addressed to the Count de Montmorin, about the 6th of July, 1787.]

Observations on the letter of Monsieur de Calonnes to Monsieur Jefferson, dated Fontainebleau, October 22, 1786.

A committee was appointed, in the course of the last year, to take a view of the subjects of commerce which might be brought from the United States of America, in exchange for those of France, and to consider what advantages and facilities might be offered to encourage that commerce. The letter of Monsieur de Calonnes was founded on their report. It was conclusive as to the articles on which satisfactory information had been then obtained, and reserved, for future consideration, certain others, needing further inquiry. It is proposed now to review those unfinished articles, that they may also be comprehended in the Arret, and the regulations on this branch of commerce, be rendered complete.

1. The letter promised to diminish the "Droits du Roi et d'amirauté," payable by an American vessel entering into a port of France, and to reduce what should remain into a single duty, which shall be regulated by the draught of the vessel, or her number of masts. It is doubted whether it will be expedient to regulate the duty in either of these ways. If by the draught of water, it will fall unequally on us as a nation; because we build our vessels sharp-bottomed, for swift sailing, so that they draw more water than those of other nations, of the same burthen. If by the number of masts, it will fall unequally on individuals; because we often see ships of one hundred and eighty tons, and brigs of three hundred and sixty. This, then, would produce an inequality among individuals, of six to one. The present principle is the most just, to regulate by the burthen. It is certainly desirable, that these duties should be reduced to a single one. Their names and numbers perplex and harass the merchant more than their amount; subject him to imposition, and to the suspicion of it when there is none. An intention of general reformation in this article, has been accordingly announced, with augmentation as to foreigners. We are in hopes, that this augmentation is not to respect us; because it is proposed as a measure of reciprocity, whereas, in some of our States, no such duties exist, and in the others, they are extremely light; because we have been made to hope a diminution, instead of augmentation; and because this distinction cannot draw on France any just claims from other nations; the Jura gentis amicissimcæ, conferred by her late treaties, having reference expressly to the nations of Europe only; and those conferred by the more ancient ones, not being susceptible of any other interpretation, nor admitting a pretension of reference to a nation which did not then exist, and which has come into existence under circumstances, distinguishing its commerce from that of all other nations. Merchandise received from them, takes employment from the poor of France; ours gives it; theirs is brought in the last stage of manufacture; ours in the first; we bring our tobaccos to be manufactured into snuff, our flax and hemp into linen and cordage, our furs into hats, skins into saddlery, shoes and clothing; we take nothing till it has received the last hand.

2. Fish oils. The Hanseatic treaty was the basis on which the diminution of duty on this article was asked and granted. It is expressly referred to as such, in the letter of Monsieur de Calonnes. Instead, however, of the expression, "huile et graisse de baleine et d'autres poissons," used in that treaty, the letter uses the terms, "huiles de baleine, spermaceti, et tout ce qui est compris sous ces dénominations." And the Farmers have availed themselves of this variation, to refuse the diminution of duty on the oils of the vache marine, chein de mer, esturgeon, and other fish. It is proposed, therefore, to re-establish in the Arret, the expression of the Hanseatic treaty, and to add, from the same treaty, the articles "baleine coupée et fanon de baleine."

The letter states these regulations as finally made by the King. The merchants, on this supposition, entered into speculations. But they found themselves called on for the old duties, not only on other fish oils, but on the whale oil. Monsieur de Calonnes always promised that the Arret should be retrospective to the date of the letter, so as to refund to them the duties they had thus been obliged to pay. To this, attention is prayed in forming the Arret. His Majesty having been pleased, as an encouragement to the importation of our fish oils, to abolish the Droits de fabrication, it is presumed that the purpose announced, of continuing those duties on foreign oils, will not be extended to us.

3. Rice. The duty on this is only seven and a half deniers the quintal, or about one-quarter per cent. on its first cost. While this serves to inform a government of the quantities imported, it cannot discourage that importation. Nothing further, therefore, is necessary on this article.

4. Pot-asse. This article is of principal utility to France, in her bleacheries of linen, glass works, and soap works; and the potash of America, being made of green wood, is known to be the best in the world. All duty on it was therefore abolished by the King. But the city of Rouen levies on it a duty of twenty sols the quintal, which is very sensible in its price, brings it dearer to the bleacheries near Paris, to those of Beauvais, Laval, etc., and to the glass works, and encourages them to give a preference to the potash or soude of other nations. This is a counteraction of the views of the King, expressed in the letter, which it is hoped will be prevented.

5. Turpentine, tar and pitch, were not decided on, on the former occasion. Turpentine (terebenthine) pays ten sols the quintal, and ten sols the livre, making fifteen sols the quintal; which is ten per cent. on its prime cost. Tar (goudron brai gras) pays eight livres the leth of twelve barrels, and ten sols the livre, amounting to twenty sols the barrel; which is twelve and a half per cent. on its prime cost. Pitch (brai sec) pays ten sols the quintal, and ten sols the livre, making fifteen sols the quintal; which is twenty per cent. on its prime cost. Duties of from ten to twenty per cent. on articles of heavy carriage, prevent their importation. They eat up all the profits of the merchant, and often subject him to loss. This has been much the case with respect to turpentine, tar and pitch, which are principal articles of remittance for the State of North Carolina. It is hoped, that it will coincide with the views of government, in making the present regulations, to suppress the duties on these articles, which, of all others, can bear them best.



Paris, July 6, 1787.

Dear Sir,—Your favor of April the 14th, came here during my absence on a journey through the southern parts of France and northern of Italy, from which I am but lately returned. This cause alone has prevented your receiving a more early answer to it. I am glad to find, that among the various branches of science presenting themselves to your mind, you have fixed on that of politics as your principal pursuit. Your country will derive from this a more immediate and sensible benefit. She has much for you to do. For, though we may say with confidence, that the worst of the American constitutions is better than the best which ever existed before, in any other country, and that they are wonderfully perfect for a first essay, yet every human essay must have defects. It will remain, therefore, to those now coming on the stage of public affairs, to perfect what has been so well begun by those going off it. Mathematics, Natural Philosophy, Natural History, Anatomy, Chemistry, Botany, will become amusements for your hours of relaxation, and auxiliaries to your principal studies. Precious and delightful ones they will be. As soon as such a foundation is laid in them, as you may build on as you please, hereafter, I suppose you will proceed to your main objects, Politics, Law, Rhetoric, and History. As to these, the place where you study them is absolutely indifferent. I should except Rhetoric, a very essential member of them, and which I suppose must be taught to advantage where you are. You would do well, therefore, to attend the public exercises in this branch also, and to do it with very particular diligence. This being done, the question arises, where you shall fix yourself for studying Politics, Law, and History? I should not hesitate to decide in favor of France, because you will, at the same time, be learning to speak the language of that country, become absolutely essential under our present circumstances. The best method of doing this, would be to fix yourself in some family where there are women and children, in Passy, Auteuil, or some other of the little towns in reach of Paris. The principal hours of the day, you will attend to your studies, and in those of relaxation, associate with the family. You will learn to speak better from women and children in three months, than from men in a year. Such a situation, too, will render more easy a due attention to economy of time and money. Having pursued your main studies here, about two years, and acquired a facility in speaking French, take a tour of four or five months through this country and Italy, return then to Virginia, and pass a year in Williamsburg, under the care of Mr. Wythe; and you will be ready to enter on the public stage, with superior advantages. I have proposed to you, to carry on the study of the law with that of politics and history. Every political measure will, forever, have an intimate connection with the laws of the land; and he, who knows nothing of these, will always be perplexed, and often foiled by adversaries having the advantage of that knowledge over him. Besides, it is a source of infinite comfort to reflect, that under every chance of fortune, we have a resource in ourselves from which we may be able to derive an honorable subsistence. I would, therefore, propose not only the study, but the practice of the law for some time, to possess yourself of the habit of public speaking. With respect to modern languages, French, as I have before observed, is indispensable. Next to this, the Spanish is most important to an American. Our connection with Spain is already important, and will become daily more so. Besides this, the ancient part of American history is written chiefly in Spanish. To a person who would make a point of reading and speaking French and Spanish, I should doubt the utility of learning Italian. These three languages, being all degeneracies from the Latin, resemble one another so much, that I doubt the probability of keeping in the head a distinct knowledge of them all. I suppose that he who learns them all, will speak a compound of the three, and neither perfectly. The journey which I propose to you need not be expensive, and would be very useful. With your talents and industry, with science, and that steadfast honesty which eternally pursues right, regardless of consequences, you may promise yourself everything—but health, without which there is no happiness. An attention to health, then, should take place of every other object. The time necessary to secure this by active exercises, should be devoted to it, in preference to every other pursuit. I know the difficulty with which a studious man tears himself from his studies, at any given moment of the day. But his happiness, and that of his family, depend on it. The most uninformed mind, with a healthy body, is happier than the wisest valetudinarian. I need not tell you, that if I can be useful to you in any part of this, or any other plan you shall adopt, you will make me happy by commanding my services.

Will you be so good, Sir, as to return my most respectful thanks for the diploma with which I am honored by the society instituted with you, for the encouragement of the study of Natural History? I am afraid it will never be in my power to contribute anything to the object of the institution. Circumstances have thrown me into a very different line of life, and not choice, as I am happy to find in your case. In the year 1781, while confined to my room by a fall from my horse, I wrote some Notes, in answer to the inquiries of M. de Marbois, as to the natural and political state of Virginia. They were hasty and undigested; yet as some of these touch slightly on some objects of its natural history, I will take the liberty of asking the society to accept a copy of them. For the same reason, and because, too, they touch on the political condition of our country, I will beg leave to present you with a copy, and ask the favor of you to find a conveyance for them from London to Edinburgh. They are printed by Stockdale, bookseller, Piccadilly, and will be ready in three or four weeks from this time. I will direct him to deliver two copies to your order.

Repeating, constantly, the proffer of my services, I shall only add assurances of the esteem and attachment with which I am, dear Sir, your friend and servant.



Paris, July 14, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I received your favor of the 14th of October in the moment I was setting out on a tour of the sea port towns of this country, from which I have been not long returned. I received it, too, with that kind of heartfelt pleasure which always attends the recollection of ancient affections. I was glad to find that the adaptation of your rice to this market was considered worth attention, as I had supposed it. I set out from hence impressed with the idea the rice-dealers here had given me, that the difference between your rice and that of Piedmont proceeded from a difference in the machine for cleaning it. At Marseilles I hoped to know what the Piedmont machine was; but I could find nobody who knew anything of it. I determined, therefore, to sift the matter to the bottom, by crossing the Alps into the rice country. I found their machine exactly such a one as you had described to me in Congress in the year 1783. There was but one conclusion then to be drawn, to wit, that the rice was of a different species, and I determined to take enough to put you in seed; they informed me, however, that its exportation in the husk was prohibited, so I could only bring off as much as my coat and surtout pockets would hold. I took measures with a muleteer to run a couple of sacks across the Apennines to Genoa, but have not great dependence on its success. The little, therefore, which I brought myself, must be relied on for fear we should get no more; and because, also, it is genuine from Vercilli, where the best is made of all the Sardinian Lombardy, the whole of which is considered as producing a better rice than the Milanese. This is assigned as the reason for the strict prohibition. Piedmont rice sold at Nice, (the port of its exportation,) when I was there, at seventeen livres French, the French hundred weight. It varies from time to time as the price of wheat does with us. The price of Carolina rice at Bordeaux, Nantes, L'Orient and Havre, varies from sixteen florins to twenty-four florins the French quintal, which is equal to one hundred and nine pounds our weight. The best ports to send it to are Bordeaux and Havre, (or Rouen, which is the same thing as Havre,) but it is essential that it arrive here a month before the commencement of Lent, when the principal demand is made for it. Carolina rice, after being sorted here into several qualities, sells from six sols to ten sols the French pound, retail, according to the quality. Unsorted and wholesale about thirty florins the French quintal. Piedmont rice is of but one quality, which sells at retail at ten sous the French pound, and wholesale is about three or four livres dearer than yours. In order to induce your countrymen to ship their rice here directly, I have proposed to some merchants here to receive consignments, allowing the consigner to draw in the moment of shipping for as much as he could sell on the spot, and the balance when it should be sold. But they say this is impossible. They are to consider and inform me what are the most favorable terms on which they can receive it. I am told that freight, insurance, and commission are about four livres the French quintal to a sea-port town. I have written so long a letter on the subject of rice to Mr. Drayton for the Society of Agriculture, that I will trouble you with no further particulars, but refer you to that. Indeed, I am sensible I have written too much on the subject. Being absolutely ignorant of it myself, it was impossible for me to know what particulars merited communication. I thought it best, therefore, to communicate everything. After writing that letter, I received one from Mr. Izard, by which I found that he had examined the rice-process in Lombardy. He was so much more capable than myself of giving the details, that I had at one moment determined to suppress my letter. However, observing that he considered the rice at Piedmont to be of the same species with yours, and suspecting myself certainly that it is not, I determined to hazard my letter and all those criticisms which fall justly on an ignorant person writing on a subject to those much more learned in it than himself. A part of my letter, too, related to the olive tree and caper, the first of which would surely succeed in your country, and would be an infinite blessing after some fifteen or twenty years. The caper would also probably succeed, and would offer a very great and immediate profit. I thank you for your obliging mention of my worthless Notes on Virginia. Worthless and bad as they are, they have been rendered more so, as I am told, by a translation into French. That I may have neither merit nor demerit not my own, I have consented to their publication in England. I advised the bookseller to send two hundred copies to Philadelphia, and two hundred to Richmond, supposing that number might be sold in the United States; but I do not know whether he will do it. If you will give me leave, I will send you a copy of the original impression. I congratulate you, my dear friend, on the law of your State, for suspending the importation of slaves, and for the glory you have justly acquired by endeavoring to prevent it forever. This abomination must have an end. And there is a superior bench reserved in heaven for those who hasten it. The distractions of Holland thicken apace. They begin to cut one another's throats heartily. I apprehend the neighboring powers will interfere; but it is not yet clear whether in concert or by taking opposite sides. It is a poor contest, whether they shall have one, or many masters. Your nephew is arrived here in good health. My first interview with him has impressed me much in his favor. Present me very respectfully to Mrs. Rutledge, as well as to your brother and his house. Accept yourself assurances of the sincere esteem and respect with which I am, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, July 17, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I have been duly honored with yours of the 10th instant, and am happy to hear of the success of your journey to Amsterdam. There can be no doubt of its ratification by Congress. Would to heaven they would authorize you to take measures for transferring the debt of this country to Holland, before you leave Europe. Most especially is it necessary to get rid of the debt to the officers. Their connections at Court are such as to excite very unfavorable feelings there against us, and some very hard things have been said (particularly in the Assemblée des Notables) on the prospect relative to our debts. The payment of the interest to the officers would have kept them quiet; but there are two years now due to them. I dare not draw for it without instructions, because in the instances in which I have hitherto ventured to act uninstructed, I have never been able to know whether they have been approved in the private sentiments of the members of Congress, much less by any vote. I have pressed on them the expediency of transferring the French debts to Holland, in order to remove everything which may excite irritations between us and this nation. I wish it may be done before this ministry may receive ill impressions of us. They are at present very well disposed. I send you by Mr. Appleton some pamphlets, and have the honor to be, with sentiments of very cordial esteem, your affectionate and humble servant.



Paris, July 21, 1787.

Sir,—I am this moment honored with your letter of the 16th, and wish it was in my power to give you the information desired on the subject of tobaccos.

The complaint has been universal that the Farmers General have not complied with the order of government. I have, therefore, desired that they may be called on to report precisely what tobacco they have purchased on the terms prescribed by the order, that if it shall appear they have not bought the whole quantity, they may be compelled to do it immediately. It is impossible to foresee whether any new regulations will be made to take place on the expiration of the contract of Mr. Morris. I shall certainly press for something to be done by way of antidote to the monopoly under which this article is placed in France. The moment anything is decided which may be interesting to our commerce, I shall take great care to communicate it to them through Mr. Bondfield; though I do not expect anything interesting to take place very soon. I am, with much regard, Sir, your most obedient humble servant.



Paris, July 21, 1787.

Sir,—I received your favor of May the 9th just as I was stepping into the barge on my departure from Cette; which prevented my answering it from that place. On my arrival here, I thought I would avail myself of the opportunity of paying your balance, to make a little acquaintance with Sir John Lambert. One or two unsuccessful attempts to find him at home, with the intermediate procrastinations well known to men of business, prevented my seeing him till yesterday, and have led me on to this moment, through a perpetual remorse of conscience for not writing to you, and to the constant belief that it would be to-morrow and to-morrow. At length, I have seen him, paid him the eighty-five livres which you have been so kind as to advance for me, and am actually at my writing-table, returning you thanks for this kindness, and to yourself and the family for the thousand others I received at their hands, at Marseilles. My journey, after leaving you, wanted nothing but the company of Madame Cathalan and yourself, to render it perfectly agreeable. I felt the want of it peculiarly on the Canal de Languedoc, where, with society, the mode of travelling would have been charming. I was much indebted to M. Minaudier for a good equipment from Agde, and unceasing attentions to that place; for which I was indebted to your recommendations as well as to his goodness.

I am honored with your father's letter of June the 30th; and, as he does not read English, and I cannot write French, I must beg leave to answer him through you. I thank him for his hints on the subject of tobacco. I am now pressing for arrangements as to that article, to take place on the expiration of Mr. Morris' contract, and the order of Bernis. What form this business will take, or what will be the nature of the arrangements, or whether there will be any, I am as yet unable to say. I will take care to inform you the moment there is a decision.

The public business with which Mr. Barclay has been charged rendering it necessary for him to repair to Congress, and the interest of his creditors, his family and himself requiring his return to America, he has departed for that country. I know nothing of Mr. Barclay's affairs in this country. He has good possessions in America, which, he assured me, were much more than sufficient to satisfy all the demands against him. He went, determined to convert those immediately into money, and to collect the debts due to him there, that he might be enabled to pay his debts. My opinion of his integrity is such, as to leave no doubt in my mind, that he will do everything in his power to render justice to his creditors, and I know so well his attachment to M. Cathalan, as to be satisfied, that if he makes any difference among his creditors, he will be among the most favored. Mr. Barclay is an honest and honorable man, and is more goaded towards the payment of his debts by his own feelings, than by all the processes of law which could be set on foot against him.

No arrangements having ever been made as yet, for cases like that of the carpenter of the American ship Sally, I am unable to answer on that subject. I am in hopes, his money will last till he recovers his senses, or till we can receive instructions what to do in that and similar cases.

Mr. Cathalan wishes a copy of my Notes on Virginia. If you will be so good as to advise me by what channel they will go safely, I will do myself the honor of sending a copy, either of the original or of the translation. Present me affectionately to Mrs. Cathalan, the mother and daughter; tell the latter I feed on the hopes of seeing her one day at Paris. My friendly respects wait also on your father; and on yourself, assurances of the esteem and consideration with which I have the honor to be, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, July 22, 1787.

Gentlemen,—I was honored, in the month of January last, with a letter from the honorable the Delegates of Rhode Island in Congress, enclosing a letter from the corporation of Rhode Island College to his most Christian Majesty, and some other papers. I was then in the hurry of preparation for a journey into the south of France, and therefore unable, at that moment, to make the inquiries which the object of the letter rendered necessary. As soon as I returned, which was in the last month, I turned my attention to that object, which was the establishment of a professorship of the French language in the College, and the obtaining a collection of the best French authors, with the aid of the King. That neither the College nor myself might be compromitted uselessly, I thought it necessary to sound, previously, those who were able to inform me what would be the success of the application. I was assured, so as to leave no doubt, that it would not be complied with; that there had never been an instance of the King's granting such a demand in a foreign country, and that they would be cautious of setting the precedent: that, in this moment, too, they were embarrassed with the difficult operation of putting down all establishments of their own, which could possibly be dispensed with, in order to bring their expenditures down to the level of their receipts. Upon such information I was satisfied, that it was most prudent not to deliver the letter, and spare to both parties the disagreeableness of giving and receiving a denial. The King did give to two colleges in America copies of the works printing in the public press. But were this to be obtained for the College of Rhode Island, it would extend only to a volume or two of Buffon's works, still to be printed, Manilius' Astronomicon, and one or two other works in the press, which are of no consequence. I did not think this an object for the College, worth being pressed. I beg the favor of you, gentlemen, to assure the corporation, that no endeavors of mine should have been spared, could they have effected their wish; and that they have been faithfully used in making the preliminary enquiries which are necessary, and which ended in an assurance that nothing could be done. These papers having been transmitted to me through your delegation, will, I hope, be an apology for my availing myself of the same channel, for communicating the result.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect esteem and respect, Gentlemen, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, July 23, 1787.

Sir,—I had the honor, a few days ago, of putting into the hands of your Excellency, some observations on the other articles of American produce, brought into the ports of this country. That of our tobaccos, from the particular form of their administration here, and their importance to the King's revenues, has been placed on a separate line, and considered separately. I will now ask permission to bring that subject under your consideration.

The mutual extension of their commerce was among the fairest advantages to be derived to France and the United States, from the independence of the latter. An exportation of eighty millions, chiefly in raw materials, is supposed to constitute the present limits of the commerce of the United States with the nations of Europe; limits, however, which extend as their population increases. To draw the best proportion of this into the ports of France, rather than of any other nation, is believed to be the wish and interest of both. Of these eighty millions, thirty are constituted by the single article of tobacco. Could the whole of this be brought into the ports of France, to satisfy its own demands, and the residue to be re-vended to other nations, it would be a powerful link of commercial connection. But we are far from this. Even her own consumption, supposed to be nine millions, under the administration of the monopoly to which it is farmed, enters little, as an article of exchange, into the commerce of the two nations. When this article was first put into Farm, perhaps it did not injure the commercial interests of the kingdom; because nothing but British manufactures were then allowed to be given in return for American tobaccos. The laying the trade open, then, to all the subjects of France, could not have relieved her from a payment in money. Circumstances are changed; yet the old institution remains. The body to which this monopoly was given, was not mercantile. Their object is to simplify as much as possible, the administration of their affairs. They sell for cash; they purchase, therefore, with cash. Their interest, their principles and their practice, seem opposed to the general interest of the kingdom, which would require, that this capital article should be laid open to a free exchange for the productions of this country. So far does the spirit of simplifying their operations govern this body, that relinquishing the advantages to be derived from a competition of sellers, they contracted some time ago with a single person (Mr. Morris), for three years' supplies of American tobacco, to be paid for in cash. They obliged themselves too, expressly, to employ no other person to purchase in America, during that term. In consequence of this, the mercantile houses of France, concerned in sending her productions to be exchanged for tobacco, cut off, for three years, from the hope of selling these tobaccos in France, were of necessity to abandon that commerce. In consequence of this, too, a single individual, constituted sole purchaser of so great a proportion of the tobaccos made, had the price in his own power. A great reduction in it took place, and that, not only on the quantity he bought, but on the whole quantity made. The loss to the States producing the article, did not go to cheapen it for their friends here. Their price was fixed. What was gained on their consumption, was to enrich the person purchasing it; the rest, the monopolists and merchants of other countries. The effect of this operation was vitally felt by every farmer in America, concerned in the culture of this plant. At the end of the year, he found he had lost a fourth or a third of his revenue; the State, the same proportion of its subjects of exchange with other nations: the manufactures of this country, too, were either not to go there at all, or go through the channel of a new monopoly, which, freed from the control of competition in prices and qualities, was not likely to extend their consumption. It became necessary to relieve the two countries from the fatal effects of this double monopoly. I had the honor of addressing a letter, on the 15th day of August, 1785, to his late excellency, the Count de Vergennes, upon this subject, a copy of which I do myself the honor herein to enclose. The effectual mode of relief was to lay the commerce open. But the King's interest was also to be guarded. A committee was appointed to take this matter into consideration; and the result was, an order to the Farmers General, that no such contract should be made again. And to furnish such aliment as might keep that branch of commerce alive, till the expiration of the present contract, they were required to put the merchants in general, on a level with Mr. Morris, for the quantity of twelve or fifteen thousand hogsheads a year. That this relief, too, might not be intercepted from the merchants of the two suffering nations by those of a neighboring one, and that the transportation of so bulky an article might go to nourish their own shipping, no tobaccos were to be counted of this purchase, but those brought in French or American vessels. Of this order, made at Bernis, his Excellency, Count de Vergennes, was pleased to honor me with a communication, by a letter of the 30th of May, 1786, desiring that I would publish it as well in America, as to the American merchants in France. I did so; communicating it to Congress at the same time. This order, thus viewed with the transactions which produced it, will be seen to have been necessary; and its punctual and candid execution has been rendered still more so, by the speculations of the merchants, entered into on the faith of it. Otherwise, it would become the instrument of their ruin instead of their relief. A twelve month has elapsed some time since; and it is questioned whether the Farmers General have purchased, within that time, the quantity prescribed, and on the conditions prescribed. It would be impossible for the merchants to prove the negative; it will be easy for the Farmers General to show the affirmative, if it exists. I hope that a branch of commerce of this extent will be thought interesting enough to both nations, to render it the desire of your Excellency to require, as I deem it my duty to ask, a report of the purchases they have made, according to the conditions of the order of Bernis, specifying, in that report, 1, the quantities purchased; 2, the prices paid; 3, the dates of the purchase and payment; 4, the flag of the vessel in which imported; 5, her name; 6, her port of delivery; and 7, the name of the seller. The four first articles make part of the conditions required by the order of Bernis; the three last may be necessary for the correction of any errors which should happen to arise in the report.

But the order of Bernis was never considered but as a temporary relief. The radical evil will still remain. There will be but one purchaser in the kingdom, and the hazard of his refusal will damp every mercantile speculation. It is very much to be desired, that before the expiration of this order, some measure may be devised, which may bring this great article into free commerce between the two nations. Had this been practicable at the time it was put into Farm, that mode of collecting the revenue would probably never have been adopted; now that it has become practicable, it seems reasonable to discontinue this mode, and to substitute some of those practised on other imported articles, on which a revenue is levied, without absolutely suppressing them in commerce. If the revenue can be secured, the interests of a few individuals will hardly be permitted to weigh against those of as many millions, equally subjects of his Majesty, and against those, too, of a nation allied to him by all the ties of treaty, of interest and of affection. The privileges of the most favored nation, have been mutually exchanged by treaty. But the productions of other nations, which do not rival those of France, are suffered to be bought and sold freely within the kingdom. By prohibiting all his Majesty's subjects from dealing in tobacco, except with a single company, one third of the exports of the United States are rendered uncommerciable here. This production is so peculiarly theirs, that its shackles affect no other nation. A relief from these shackles, will form a memorable epoch in the commerce of the two nations. It will establish at once a great basis of exchange, serving like a point of union to draw to it other members of our commerce. Nature, too, has conveniently assorted our wants and our superfluities, to each other. Each nation has exactly to spare, the articles which the other wants. We have a surplus of rice, tobacco, furs, peltry, potash, lamp oils, timber, which France wants; she has a surplus of wines, brandies, esculent oils, fruits and manufactures of all kinds, which we want. The governments have nothing to do, but not to hinder their merchants from making the exchange. The difference of language, laws and customs, will be some obstacle for a time; but the interest of the merchants will surmount them. A more serious obstacle is our debt to Great Britain. Yet, since the treaty between this country and that, I should not despair of seeing that debt paid, in part, with the productions of France, if our produce can obtain here, a free course of exchange for them. The distant prospect is still more promising. A century's experience has shown, that we double our numbers every twenty or twenty-five years. No circumstance can be foreseen, at this moment, which will lessen our rate of multiplication for centuries to come. For every article of the productions and manufactures of this country, then, which can be introduced into the habit there, the demand will double every twenty or twenty-five years. And to introduce the habit, we have only to let the merchants alone. Whether we may descend, by a single step, from the present state, to that of perfect freedom of commerce in this article, whether any, and what, intermediate operation may be necessary to prepare the way to this, what cautions must be observed for the security of his Majesty's revenue, which we do not wish to impair, will rest with the wisdom of his ministers, whose knowledge of the subject will enable them to devise the best plans, and whose patriotism and justice will dispose them to pursue them. To the friendly dispositions of your Excellency, of which we have had such early and multiplied proofs, I take the liberty of committing this subject, particularly trusting that some method may be devised, of reconciling the collection of his Majesty's revenues, with the interests of the two nations; and have the honor of assuring you, of those sincere sentiments of esteem and respect, with which I am your Excellency's most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, July 28, 1787.

Dear Sir,—A long journey has prevented me from writing to any of my friends, for some time past. This was undertaken with a view to benefit a dislocated and ill-set wrist, by the mineral waters of Aix, in Provence. Finding this hope vain, I was led from other views to cross the Alps as far as Turin, Milan, Genoa; to follow the Mediterranean as far as Cette, the canal of Languedoc, the Garonne, etc., to Paris. A most pleasing journey it proved; arts and agriculture offering something new at every step, and often things worth our imitation. But the accounts from our country give me to believe that we are not in a condition to hope for the imitation of anything good. All my letters are filled with details of our extravagance. From these accounts, I look back to the time of the war as a time of happiness and enjoyment, when amidst the privation of many things not essential to happiness, we could not run in debt, because nobody would trust us; when we practised by necessity the maxim of buying nothing but what we had money in our pockets to pay for; a maxim which, of all others, lays the broadest foundation for happiness. I see no remedy to our evils, but an open course of law. Harsh as it may seem, it would relieve the very patients who dread it, by stopping the course of their extravagance, before it renders their affairs entirely desperate. The eternal and bitter strictures on our conduct which teem in every London paper, and are copied from them into others, fill me with anxiety on this subject. The state of things in Europe is rather threatening at this moment. The innovations of the Emperor in his dominions have excited a spirit of resistance. His subjects in Brabant and Flanders are arming, and he has put forty-five thousand troops in motion towards that country. I believe they will come to blows. The parties in Holland have already spilt too much blood to be easily stopped. If left to themselves, I apprehend the Stadtholderians will be too strong; and if foreign powers interfere, the weight is still on their side. England and Prussia will be too much for France. As it is certain that neither of these powers wish for war, and that England and France are particularly averse to it, perhaps the matter may end in an armed mediation. If the mediators should not agree, they will draw their negotiations into length, and trust to the chapter of accidents for their final solution. With respect to our country, it stands well with the present ministry here. The non-payment of our debt is against us. We are occupied in procuring favorable terms of reception for our produce.

Adieu, my dear Sir, and be assured of the sentiments of sincere esteem of your affectionate friend and servant.



Paris, July 28, 1787.

Dear Jack,—The letter which you were so kind as to write to me the 22d of May, 1786, was not delivered to me till the 3d of May, 1787, when it found me in the neighborhood of Marseilles. Before that time, you must have taken your degree, as mentioned in your letter. Those public testimonies which are earned by merit, and not by solicitation, may always be accepted without the imputation of vanity. Of this nature is the degree which your masters proposed to confer on you. I congratulate you sincerely on it. It will be a pleasing event to yourself; it will be the same to your parents and friends, and to none more than myself. Go on deserving applause, and you will be sure to meet with it; and the way to deserve it is, to be good, and to be industrious. I am sure you will be good, and hope you will be industrious. As to your future plan, I am too distant from you to advise you on sure grounds. In general, I am of opinion, that till the age of about sixteen, we are best employed on languages; Latin, Greek, French, and Spanish, or such of them as we can. After this, I think the College of William and Mary the best place to go through the courses of Mathematics, Natural Philosophy in its different branches, and Law. Of the languages I have mentioned, I think Greek the least useful. Write me word, from time to time, how you go on. I shall always be glad to assist you with any books you may have occasion for, and you may count with certainty on every service I can ever render you, as well as on the sincere esteem of, dear Jack, yours affectionately.



Paris, July 28, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I received with infinite satisfaction your letter of the 1st of March; it was the first information I had of your being in America. There is no person whom I shall see again with more cordial joy, whenever it shall be my lot to return to my native country; nor any one whose prosperity in the meantime will be more interesting to me. I find, as I grow older, that I set a higher value on the intimacies of my youth, and am more afflicted by whatever loses one of them to me. Should it be in my power to render any service in your shipment of tobacco to Havre de Grace, I shall do it with great pleasure. The order of Bernis has, I believe, been evaded by the Farmers General as much as possible. At this moment, I receive information from most of the seaports, that they refuse taking any tobacco, under the pretext that they have purchased their whole quantity. From Havre I have heard nothing, and believe you will stand a better chance there than anywhere else. Being one of the ports of manufacture, too, it is entitled to a higher price. I have now desired, that the Farmers may make a distinct return of their purchases, which are conformable to the order of Bernis. If they have really bought their quantity, on those terms, we must be satisfied; if they have not, I shall propose their being obliged to make it up instantly. There is a considerable accumulation of tobacco in the ports.

Among many good qualities which my countrymen possess, some of a different character unhappily mix themselves. The most remarkable are, indolence, extravagance, and infidelity to their engagements. Cure the two first, and the last would disappear, because it is a consequence of them, and not proceeding from a want of morals. I know of no remedy against indolence and extravagance, but a free course of justice. Everything else is merely palliative; but unhappily, the evil has gained too generally the mass of the nation, to leave the course of justice unobstructed. The maxim of buying nothing without the money in our pockets to pay for it, would make of our country one of the happiest upon earth. Experience during the war proved this; as I think every man will remember, that under all the privations it obliged him to submit to, during that period, he slept sounder, and awaked happier than he can do now. Desperate of finding relief from a free course of justice, I look forward to the abolition of all credit, as the only other remedy which can take place. I have seen, therefore, with pleasure, the exaggerations of our want of faith, with which the London papers teem. It is indeed, a strong medicine for sensible minds, but it is a medicine. It will prevent their crediting us abroad, in which case we cannot be credited at home. I have been much concerned at the losses produced by the fire of Richmond. I hope you have escaped them. It will give me much pleasure to hear from you, as often as you can spare a moment to write. Be assured that nobody entertains for you sentiments of more perfect and sincere esteem than, dear Sir, your friend and servant.



Paris, July 30, 1787.

Sir,—Having observed that the consumption of rice in this country, and particularly in this capital, was very great, I thought it my duty to inform myself from what markets they draw their supplies, in what proportion from ours, and whether it might not be practicable to increase that proportion. This city being little concerned in foreign commerce, it is difficult to obtain information on particular branches of it in the detail. I addressed myself to the retailers of rice, and from them received a mixture of truth and error, which I was unable to sift apart in the first moment. Continuing, however, my inquiries, they produced at length this result: that the dealers here were in the habit of selling two qualities of rice, that of Carolina, with which they were supplied chiefly from England, and that of Piedmont; that the Carolina rice was long, slender, white and transparent, answers well when prepared with milk, sugar, &c., but not so well when prepared au gras; that that of Piedmont was shorter, thicker, and less white, but that it presented its form better when dressed au gras, was better tasted, and, therefore, preferred by good judges for those purposes; that the consumption of rice, in this form, was much the most considerable, but that the superior beauty of the Carolina rice, seducing the eye of those purchasers who are attached to appearances, the demand for it was upon the whole as great as for that of Piedmont. They supposed this difference of quality to proceed from a difference of management; that the Carolina rice was husked with an instrument that broke it more, and that less pains were taken to separate the broken from the unbroken grains, imagining that it was the broken grains which dissolved in oily preparations; that the Carolina rice costs somewhat less than that of Piedmont; but that being obliged to sort the whole grains from the broken, in order to satisfy the taste of their customers, they ask and receive as much for the first quality of Carolina, when sorted, as for the rice of Piedmont; but the second and third qualities, obtained by sorting, are sold much cheaper. The objection to the Carolina rice then, being, that it crumbles in certain forms of preparation, and this supposed to be the effect of a less perfect machine for husking, I flattered myself I should be able to learn what might be the machine of Piedmont, when I should arrive at Marseilles, to which place I was to go in the course of a tour through the seaport towns of this country. At Marseilles, however, they differed as much in account of the machines, as at Paris they had differed about other circumstances. Some said it was husked between mill-stones, others between rubbers of wood in the form of mill-stones, others of cork. They concurred in one fact, however, that the machine might be seen by me, immediately on crossing the Alps. This would be an affair of three weeks. I crossed them and went through the rice country from Vercelli to Pavia, about sixty miles. I found the machine to be absolutely the same with that used in Carolina, as well as I could recollect a description which Mr. E. Rutledge had given me of it. It is on the plan of a powder mill. In some of them, indeed, they arm each pestle with an iron tooth, consisting of nine spikes hooked together, which I do not remember in the description of Mr. Rutledge. I therefore had a tooth made, which I have the honor of forwarding you with this letter; observing, at the same time, that as many of their machines are without teeth as with them, and of course, that the advantage is not very palpable. It seems to follow, then, that the rice of Lombardy (for though called Piedmont rice, it does not grow in that county but in Lombardy) is of a different species from that of Carolina; different in form, in color and in quality. We know that in Asia they have several distinct species of this grain. Monsieur Poivre, a former Governor of the Isle of France, in travelling through several countries of Asia, observed with particular attention the objects of their agriculture, and he tells us, that in Cochin-China they cultivate six several kinds of rice, which he describes, three of them requiring water, and three growing on highlands. The rice of Carolina is said to have come from Madagascar, and De Poivre tells us, it is the white rice which is cultivated there. This favors the probability of its being of a different species originally, from that of Piedmont; and time, culture and climate may have made it still more different. Under this idea, I thought it would be well to furnish you with some of the Piedmont rice, unhusked, but was told it was contrary to the laws to export it in that form. I took such measures as I could, however, to have a quantity brought out, and lest these should fail, I brought, myself, a few pounds. A part of this I have addressed to you by the way of London; a part comes with this letter; and I shall send another parcel by some other conveyance, to prevent the danger of miscarriage. Any one of them arriving safe, may serve to put in seed, should the society think it an object. This seed too, coming from Vercelli, where the best rice is supposed to grow, is more to be depended on than what may be sent me hereafter. There is a rice from the Levant, which is considered as of a quality still different, and some think it superior to that of Piedmont. The troubles which have existed in that country for several years back, have intercepted it from the European market, so that it is become almost unknown. I procured a bag of it, however, at Marseilles, and another of the best rice of Lombardy, which are on their way to this place, and when arrived, I will forward you a quantity of each, sufficient to enable you to judge of their qualities when prepared for the table. I have also taken measures to have a quantity of it brought from the Levant, unhusked. If I succeed, it shall be forwarded in like manner. I should think it certainly advantageous to cultivate, in Carolina and Georgia, the two qualities demanded at market; because the progress of culture, with us, may soon get beyond the demand for the white rice; and because too, there is often a brisk demand for the one quality, when the market is glutted with the other. I should hope there would be no danger of losing the species of white rice, by a confusion with the other. This would be a real misfortune, as I should not hesitate to pronounce the white, upon the whole, the most precious of the two, for us. The dry rice of Cochin-China has the reputation of being the whitest to the eye, best flavored to the taste, and most productive. It seems then to unite the good qualities of both the others known to us. Could it supplant them, it would be a great happiness, as it would enable us to get rid of those ponds of stagnant water, so fatal to human health and life. But such is the force of habit, and caprice of taste, that we could not be sure beforehand it would produce this effect. The experiment, however, is worth trying, should it only end in producing a third quality, and increasing the demand. I will endeavor to procure some to be brought from Cochin-China. The event, however, will be uncertain and distant.

I was induced, in the course of my journey through the south of France, to pay very particular attention to the objects of their culture, because the resemblance of their climate to that of the southern parts of the United States, authorizes us to presume we may adopt any of their articles of culture, which we would wish for. We should not wish for their wines, though they are good and abundant. The culture of the vine is not desirable in lands capable of producing anything else. It is a species of gambling, and of desperate gambling too, wherein, whether you make much or nothing, you are equally ruined. The middling crop alone is the saving point, and that the seasons seldom hit. Accordingly, we see much wretchedness among this class of cultivators. Wine, too, is so cheap in these countries, that a laborer with us, employed in the culture of any other article, may exchange it for wine, more and better than he could raise himself. It is a resource for a country, the whole of whose good soil is otherwise employed, and which still has some barren spots, and surplus of population to employ on them. There the vine is good, because it is something in the place of nothing. It may become a resource to us at a still earlier period; when the increase of population shall increase our productions beyond the demand for them, both at home and abroad. Instead of going on to make an useless surplus of them, we may employ our supernumerary hands on the vine. But that period is not yet arrived.

The almond tree is also so precarious, that none can depend for subsistence on its produce, but persons of capital.

The caper, though a more tender plant, is more certain in its produce, because a mound of earth of the size of a cucumber hill, thrown over the plant in the fall, protects it effectually against the cold of winter. When the danger of frost is over in the spring, they uncover it, and begin its culture. There is a great deal of this in the neighborhood of Toulon. The plants are set about eight feet apart, and yield, one year with another, about two pounds of caper each, worth on the spot sixpence sterling per pound. They require little culture, and this may be performed either with the plough or hoe. The principal work is the gathering of the fruit as it forms. Every plant must be picked every other day, from the last of June till the middle of October. But this is the work of women and children. This plant does well in any kind of soil which is dry, or even in walls where there is no soil, and it lasts the life of a man. Toulon would be the proper port to apply for them. I must observe, that the preceding details cannot be relied on with the fullest certainty, because, in the canton where this plant is cultivated, the inhabitants speak no written language, but a medley, which I could understand but very imperfectly.

The fig and mulberry are so well known in America, that nothing need be said of them. Their culture, too, is by women and children, and, therefore, earnestly to be desired in countries where there are slaves. In these, the women and children are often employed in labors disproportioned to their sex and age. By presenting to the master objects of culture, easier and equally beneficial, all temptation to misemploy them would be removed, and the lot of this tender part of our species be much softened. By varying, too, the articles of culture, we multiply the chances for making something, and disarm the seasons in a proportionable degree, of their calamitous effects.

The olive is a tree the least known in America, and yet the most worthy of being known. Of all the gifts of heaven to man, it is next to the most precious, if it be not the most precious. Perhaps it may claim a preference even to bread, because there is such an infinitude of vegetables, which it renders a proper and comfortable nourishment. In passing the Alps at the Col de Tende, where they are mere masses of rock, wherever there happens to be a little soil, there are a number of olive trees, and a village supported by them. Take away these trees, and the same ground in corn would not support a single family. A pound of oil, which can be bought for three or four pence sterling, is equivalent to many pounds of flesh, by the quantity of vegetables it will prepare, and render fit and comfortable food. Without this tree, the country of Provence and territory of Genoa would not support one-half, perhaps not one-third, their present inhabitants. The nature of the soil is of little consequence if it be dry. The trees are planted from fifteen to twenty feet apart, and when tolerably good, will yield fifteen or twenty pounds of oil yearly, one with another. There are trees which yield much more. They begin to render good crops at twenty years old, and last till killed by cold, which happens at some time or other, even in their best positions in France. But they put out again from their roots. In Italy, I am told, they have trees two hundred years old. They afford an easy but constant employment through the year, and require so little nourishment, that if the soil be fit for any other production, it may be cultivated among the olive trees without injuring them. The northern limits of this tree are the mountains of the Cevennes, from about the meridian of Carcassonne to the Rhone, and from thence, the Alps and Apennines as far as Genoa, I know, and how much farther I am not informed. The shelter of these mountains may be considered as equivalent to a degree and a half of latitude, at least, because westward of the commencement of the Cevennes, there are no olive trees in 43½° or even 43° of latitude, whereas, we find them now on the Rhone at Pierrelatte, in 44½°, and formerly they were at Tains, above the mouth of the Isere, in 45°, sheltered by the near approach of the Cevennes and Alps, which only leave there a passage for the Rhone. Whether such a shelter exists or not in the States of South Carolina and Georgia, I know not. But this we may say, either that it exists or that it is not necessary there, because we know that they produce the orange in open air; and wherever the orange will stand at all, experience shows that the olive will stand well, being a hardier tree. Notwithstanding the great quantities of oil made in France, they have not enough for their own consumption, and, therefore, import from other countries. This is an article, the consumption of which will always keep pace with its production. Raise it, and it begets its own demand. Little is carried to America, because Europe has it not to spare. We, therefore, have not learned the use of it. But cover the southern States with it, and every man will become a consumer of oil, within whose reach it can be brought in point of price. If the memory of those persons is held in great respect in South Carolina who introduced there the culture of rice, a plant which sows life and death with almost equal hand, what obligations would be due to him who should introduce the olive tree, and set the example of its culture! Were the owner of slaves to view it only as the means of bettering their condition, how much would he better that by planting one of those trees for every slave he possessed! Having been myself an eye witness to the blessings which this tree sheds on the poor, I never had my wishes so kindled for the introduction of any article of new culture into our own country. South Carolina and Georgia appear to me to be the States, wherein its success, in favorable positions at least, could not be doubted, and I flattered myself it would come within the views of the society for agriculture to begin the experiments which are to prove its practicability. Carcassonne is the place from which the plants may be most certainly and cheaply obtained. They can be sent from thence by water to Bordeaux, where they may be embarked on vessels bound for Charleston. There is too little intercourse between Charleston and Marseilles to propose this as the port of exportation. I offer my services to the society for the obtaining and forwarding any number of plants which may be desired.

Before I quit the subject of climates, and the plants adapted to them, I will add, as a matter of curiosity, and of some utility, too, that my journey through the southern parts of France, and the territory of Genoa, but still more the crossing of the Alps, enabled me to form a scale of the tenderer plants, and to arrange them according to their different powers of resisting cold. In passing the Alps at the Col de Tende, we cross three very high mountains successively. In ascending, we lose these plants, one after another, as we rise, and find them again in the contrary order as we descend on the other side; and this is repeated three times. Their order, proceeding from the tenderest to the hardiest, is as follows: caper, orange, palm, aloe, olive, pomegranate, walnut, fig, almond. But this must be understood of the plant only; for as to the fruit, the order is somewhat different. The caper, for example, is the tenderest plant, yet, being so easily protected, it is among the most certain in its fruit. The almond, the hardiest, loses its fruit the oftenest, on account of its forwardness. The palm, hardier than the caper and orange, never produces perfect fruit here.

I had the honor of sending you, the last year, some seeds of the sulla of Malta, or Spanish St. Foin. Lest they should have miscarried, I now pack with the rice a canister of the same kind of seed, raised by myself. By Colonel Franks, in the month of February last, I sent a parcel of acorns of the cork oak, which I desired him to ask the favor of the Delegates of South Carolina in Congress to forward to you.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect esteem and respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, August 1, 1787.

Dear Sir,—A journey into the southern parts of France and northern of Italy must apologize to you for the length of time elapsed since my last, and for the delay of acknowledging the receipt of your favors of November 8 and December 9, 1786, and April 14, 1787. Your two phials of essence de l'Orient arrived during that interval, and got separated from the letters which accompanied them, so that I could not be sure which was your first preparation, and which was your second. But I suppose, from some circumstances, that the small phial was the first, and the larger one the second. This was entirely spoiled, so that nothing was distinguishable from it. The matter in the small phial was also too much spoiled for use; but the pearl merchant, from whom I got my details, said he could judge, from what remained, that it had been very good; that you had a very considerable knowledge in the manner of preparing, but that there was still one thing wanting which made the secret of the art; that this is not only a secret of the art, but of every individual workman who will not communicate to his fellows, believing his own method the best; that of ten different workmen, all will practice different operations, and only one of the ten be the right one; that the secret consists only in preparing the fish, all the other parts of the process in the pearl manufactory being known. That experience has proved it to be absolutely impossible for the matter to cross the sea without being spoiled; but that if you will send some in the best state you can, he will make pearls of it, and send to you that you may judge of them yourself. He says the only possible method of making anything of it would be for a workman to go over. He would not engage in this, nor would he buy, because he says it is their custom to have contracts for nine years' supply from the fishermen, and that his contract furnishes him with as much as he can sell in the present declining state of the pearl trade; that they have been long getting out of fashion, polite people not wearing them at all, and the poor not able to give a price; that their calling is, in fact, annihilating; that when he renews his contract he shall be obliged to reduce the price he pays twenty-five per cent.; that the matter sells from five to eight livres the French pound, but most generally at six livres. He showed me a necklace of twelve strands, which used to sell at ten livres, and now sells for two and a half. He observed that the length of time the matter will keep depends on the strength of the spirit of wine. The result is, then, that you must send me a sample of your very best, and write what you would propose after weighing these circumstances. The leg and feathers of the bird are also arrived; but the comb, which you mention as annexed to the foot, has totally disappeared. I suppose this is the effect of its drying. I have not yet had an opportunity of giving it to Monsieur de Buffon, but expect to do it soon. I thank you for the trouble you have taken with Madame Champne's letters, and must give you another, that of enquiring for James Lillie, belonging to the privateer General Mercer, of Philadelphia, the property of Iroon, Carsons and Semple. Richard Graham & Co., merchants of Philadelphia, seem to have been also interested; and Isaac Robinson, Graham's son-in-law, to have commanded her. For the details I refer you to the enclosed paper I received from a Madame Ferrier, sister to James Lillie, from which you will perceive he has not been heard of since 1779. I receive many of these applications which humanity cannot refuse, and I have no means of complying with them but by troubling gentlemen on the spot. This, I hope, will be my apology. I am obliged to you for subscribing to the Columbian Magazine for me. I find it a good thing, and am sure it will be better from the time you have undertaken it. I wish you had commenced before the month of December, for then the abominable forgery inserted in my name in the last page, would never have appeared. This, I suppose, the compilers took from English papers, those infamous fountains of falsehood. Is it not surprising that our newswriters continue to copy from those papers, though every one who knows anything of them, knows they are written by persons who never go out of their garret nor read a paper? The real letter alluded to was never meant to have been public, and therefore was hastily and carelessly dictated while I was obliged to use the pen of another. It became public, however. I send you a genuine copy to justify myself in your eyes against the absurd thing they have fathered upon me in the Magazine. Mr. Payne is here with his bridge, which is well thought of. The Academy, to whom it is submitted, have not yet made their report. I have shipped on board the Mary, Captain Howland, bound from Havre to New York, a box containing the subsequent livraisons of the Encyclopedie for yourself and Doctor Franklin from those formerly sent you to the twenty-two inclusive. I think there are also in it some new volumes of the Bibliotheque physico-économique for you. I had received duplicates of some books (in sheets) for the colleges of Philadelphia and Williamsburg. Whether I packed one copy in your box, and one in Madison's, or both in his, I do not remember. You will see and be so good as to deliver the one to the College of Philadelphia, if in your box. The box is directed to Doctor Franklin, and will be delivered to Mr. Madison at New York. I will send you either by this occasion or the next, the cost, expenses, etc., etc. Present me in the most respectful and friendly terms to Dr. Franklin and his grandson, to Mr. Rittenhouse and family, Mrs. Hopkinson the elder and younger. My daughter (my elder one I mean, for both are here now) presents her respects also to your mother. I am, with sentiments of sincere affection, dear Sir, your friend and servant.



Paris, August 1, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I am to thank you for the laws and newspapers sent me by the M. de Chateaufort. Your favor of April 4th, has also been duly received. I am happy to find that the idea of diverting the rice trade from England to France is thought to be impracticable. A journey which I made from Marseilles lately, in Lombardy, in order to acquire information relative to their rice, has corrected the misinformation which the retailers of rice in this capital had given me. I am satisfied that the rice of Lombardy is of a different species from yours. The exportation of it in the husk being prohibited, I could not bring with me but as much as my pockets would hold, which I have sent to your society of agriculture. It may serve to raise seed from. I have taken measures for a couple of sacks, but I do not make sure of them, nor rely so much on their quality as on the parcel I brought myself. I have written so fully on this subject to Mr. Drayton, that, without repeating it here, I will take the liberty of referring you to that letter. I have endeavored to prevail upon the merchants in this country to engage in the rice trade. I enclose you the proposals of Messrs. Berard & Co., for that effect. They are a very solid house. One of them resides here. Their principal establishment is at L'Orient, where they would prefer receiving consignments of rice; but they will receive them anywhere else, and should suppose Honfleur the best port, and next to that Bordeaux. You observe they will answer bills to the amount of twelve or fifteen livres the French quintal, if accompanying the bill of lading, and will pay the surplus of the proceeds as soon as received. If they sell at Havre or Rouen, they may receive ready money, and of course pay the balance soon; if they sell at Paris, it must be on a year's credit (because this will be to the retailers). The money, therefore, will be received later, but it will be at least six livres the quintal more; a difference well worth waiting for. I know of no mercantile house in France of surer bottom.

Affairs in Europe seem to threaten war. Yet I think all may be settled without it. The Emperor disapproves of the concessions made to the Netherlands by their governors, but called for deputies to consult on the matter. They have sent deputies without power to yield a jot, and go on arming. From the character of their Sovereign, it is probable he will avail himself of this deputation to concede their demands. The affairs of Holland are so thoroughly embroiled, that they would certainly produce a war if France and England were in a condition for it. But they are not, and they will, therefore, find out some arrangement either perpetual or temporary to stop the progress of the civil war begun in that country. A spirit of distrust in the government here, and confidence in their own force and rights, is pervading all ranks. It will be well if it awaits the good which will be worked by the provincial assemblies, and will content itself with that. The parliament demand an assembly of the States; they are supported by the ministers of the nation, and the object of asking that assembly is to fix a constitution, and to limit expenses. They refuse to register any edict for a new tax. This has so far lessened the credit of government, that the purse of the money lender is shut. They speak here as freely as Junius wrote. Yet it is possible that in the event of war, the spirit of the nation would rise to support a cause which is approved—I mean that of Holland.

I have had the Messrs. Le Coulteux sounded on the subject of lending money. I had before tried the same thing with others. But nothing is to be obtained for persons on our side the water. They have no confidence in our laws. Besides, all the money men are playing deeply in the stocks of the country. The spirit of "agiotage" (as they call it) was never so high in any country before. It will probably produce as total deprivation of morals as the system of law did. All the money of France is now employed in this, none being free even for the purposes of commerce, which suffers immensely from this cause.

Before I conclude, I must add, on the subject of rice, that, what cannot arrive here a month before the carême, would miss its sale, and must therefore go to another market. The merchant, however, to whom it is consigned, will be competent to this measure whenever he finds it a necessary one. I beg leave to be presented very respectfully to Mrs. Izard and your family, and to assure you of the sincere sentiments of esteem and attachment with which I am, dear Sir, your friend and servant.



Paris, August 2, 1787.

Dear Sir,—My last was of June the 20th. Yours, received since that date, are of May the 15th, and June the 6th. In mine I acknowledged the receipt of the paccan nuts which came sealed up. I have reason to believe those in the box have arrived at L'Orient. By the Mary, Captain Howland, lately sailed from Havre to New York, I shipped three boxes of books, one marked J. M. for yourself, one marked B. F. for Dr. Franklin, and one marked W. H. for William Hay in Richmond. I have taken the liberty of addressing them all to you, as you will see by the enclosed bill of lading, in hopes you would be so good as to forward the other two. You will have opportunities of calling on the gentlemen for the freight, etc. In yours you will find the books noted in the account, inclosed herewith. You have now Mabby's works complete, except that on Poland, which I have never been able to get, but shall not cease to search for. Some other volumes are wanting, too, to complete your collection of Chronologies. The fourth volume of D'Albon was lost by the bookbinder, and I have not yet been able to get one to replace it. I shall continue to try. The Mémoires sur les droits et impositions en Europe, (cited by Smith,) was a scarce and excessively dear book. They are now reprinting it. I think it will be in three or four quartos, of from nine to twelve livres a volume. When it is finished, I shall take a copy for you. Amelot's travels into China, I can learn nothing of. I put among the books sent you two somewhat voluminous, and the object of which will need explanation; these are the Tableau de Paris and L'espion Anglois. The former is truly a picture of private manners in Paris, but presented on the dark side, and a little darkened moreover. But there is so much truth in its groundwork, that it will be well worth your reading. You will then know Paris (and probably the other large cities of Europe) as well as if you had been there for years. L'espion Anglois is no caricature. It will give you a just idea of the wheels by which the machine of government is worked here. There are in it also many interesting details of the last war, which, in general, may be relied on. It may be considered as the small history of great events. I am in hopes, when you shall have read them, you will not think I have misspent your money for them. My method for making out this assortment was, to revise the list of my own purchases since the invoice of 1785, and to select such as I had found worth your having. Besides this, I have casually met with and purchased some few curious and cheap things.

I must trouble you on behalf of a Mr. Thomas Burke, at Loughburke, near Loughrea, in Ireland, whose brother, James Burke, is supposed to have died in 1785, on his passage from Jamaica, or St. Eustatius to New York. His property on board the vessel is understood to have come to the hands of alderman Groom at New York. The enclosed copy of a letter to him, will more fully explain it. A particular friend of mine here applies to me for information, which I must ask the favor of you to procure, and forward to me.

Writing news to others, much pressed in time, and making this letter one of private business, I did not intend to have said anything to you on political subjects. But I must press one subject. Mr. Adams informs me he has borrowed money in Holland, which, if confirmed by Congress, will enable them to pay, not only the interest due here to the foreign officers, but the principal. Let me beseech you to reflect on the expediency of transferring this debt to Holland. All our other debts in Europe do not injure our reputation so much as this. These gentlemen have connections both in and out of office, and these again their connections, so that our default on this article is further known, more blamed, and excites worst dispositions against us, than you can conceive. If you think as I do, pray try to procure an order for paying off their capital. Mr. Adams adds, that if any certain tax is provided for the payment of interest, Congress may borrow enough in Holland to pay off their whole debts in France, both public and private, to the crown, to the Farmers, and to Beaumarchais. Surely it will be better to transfer these debts to Holland. So critical is the state of that country, that I imagine the moneyed men of it would be glad to place their money in foreign countries, and that Mr. Adams could borrow there for us, without a certain tax for the interest, and saving our faith too, by previous explanations on that subject. This country is really supposed on the eve of a * * * *. Such a spirit has risen within a few weeks, as could not have been believed. They see the great deficit in their revenues, and the hopes of economy lessen daily. The parliament refuse to register any act for a new tax, and require an Assembly of the States. The object of this Assembly is evidently to give law to the King, to fix a constitution, to limit expenses. These views are said to gain upon the nation.[4]

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

A final decision of some sort should be made on Beaumarchais' affairs.

I am, with sentiments of the most perfect esteem, dear Sir, your friend and servant.



Paris, August 3, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I am now to acknowledge the receipt of your several favors of June the 29th, and July the 6th and 8th.

I am of opinion that the affair of Geraud and Roland in Holland had better be committed to Mr. Dumas in Holland, as lawsuits must be always attended to by some person on the spot. For the same reason, I think that of La Vayse and Puchilberg should be managed by the agent at L'Orient, and Gruel's by the agent at Nantes. I shall always be ready to assist the agents of L'Orient and Nantes in any way in my power; but were the details to be left to me, they would languish necessarily, on account of my distance from the place, and perhaps suffer too, for want of verbal consultations with the lawyers entrusted with them. You are now with Congress, and can take their orders on the subject. I shall, therefore, do nothing in these matters, in reliance that you will put them into such channel as they direct, furnishing the necessary documents and explanations.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

With respect to the French affair, being perfectly satisfied myself, I have not ceased, nor shall I cease, endeavoring to satisfy others, that your conduct has been that of an honest and honorable debtor, and theirs the counterpart of Shylock in the play. I enclose you a letter containing my testimony on your general conduct, which I have written to relieve a debt of justice pressing on my mind, well knowing, at the same time, you will not stand in need of it in America. Your conduct is too well known to Congress, your character to all the world, to need any testimonials.

The moment I close my despatches for the packet, which will be the 9th instant, I shall, with great pleasure, go to pay my respects to Mrs. Barclay at St. Germains, to satisfy her on the subject of your transactions, and to assure her that my resources shall be hers, as long as I have any. A multitude of letters to write, prevents my entering into the field of public news, further than to observe, that it is extremely doubtful whether the affairs of Holland will, or will not produce a war between France, on one side, and England and Prussia, on the other.

I beg you to accept assurances of the sincere esteem and respect with which I have the honor to be, dear Sir, your friend and servant.



Paris, August 3, 1787.

Dear Sir,—As you have acted since my arrival in France, in the characters of Consul-General for that country, and Minister to the Court of Morocco, and also as agent in some particular transactions for the State of Virginia, I think it is a duty to yourself, to truth, and to justice, on your departure for America, to declare that, in all these characters, as far as has come within my notice, you have acted with judgment, with attention, with integrity and honor. I beg you to accept this feeble tribute to truth, and assurances of sincere attachment and friendship from, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, August 3, 1787.

Dear Sir,—A journey into the southern parts of France, and northern of Italy, has prevented my sooner acknowledging the receipt of your private favors of July 12th, 1786, and January 28 and May 3, 1787. I am anxious to hear what you have done in your federal convention. I am in hopes at least you will persuade the States to commit their commercial arrangements to Congress, and to enable them to pay their debts, interest and capital. The coercive powers supposed to be wanting in the federal head, I am of opinion they possess by the law of nature, which authorizes one party to an agreement to compel the other to performance. A delinquent State makes itself a party against the rest of the confederacy.

We have at present two fires kindled in Europe; 1, in Brabant. The Emperor, the moment of his return to Vienna, disavowed the concessions which had been made by his governors to quiet the Brabantines. They prepared, therefore, for regular resistance. But as the Emperor had, at the same time, called for deputies to be sent to Vienna to consult on their affairs, they have sent them, but without power to conclude anything, and in the meantime they go on arming. The enterprising, unpersevering, capricious, Thrasonic character of their Sovereign renders it probable he will avail himself of this little condescendence in the Brabantines to recede from all his innovations. 2. The Dutch are every now and then cutting one another's throats. The party of the Stadtholder is strongest within the confederacy, and is gaining ground. He has a majority in the States General, and a strong party in the States of Holland. His want of money is supplied by his cousin George. England and Prussia abet his usurpations, and France the patriotic party. Were England and France in a condition to go to war, there is no question but they would have been at it before now. But their insuperable poverty renders it probable they will compel a suspension of hostilities, and either arrange and force a settlement on the Dutch, or if they cannot agree themselves on this, they will try to protract things by negotiation. Can I be useful to you here in anything in the purchase of books, of wines, of fruits, of modes for Mrs. Randolph, or anything else? As to books, they are cheaper here than in England, excepting those in Latin, Greek, or English. As to wines, I have the best Vignerons of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Frontinan. Genuine wines can never be had but of the Vigneron. The best of Bordeaux cost three livres the bottle, but good may be bought for two. Command me freely, assured that I shall serve you cheerfully, and that I am with respects to Mrs. Randolph and attachment to yourself, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, August 3, 1787.

Sir,—I am to acknowledge the receipt of your Excellency's letters of January 28th, and May 4th, which have come to hand since the date of mine of February 7th. Immediately on the receipt of the former I caused enquiry to be made relative to the bayonets, and found that they had certainly been packed with the muskets. Your Excellency's favor of May 4th renders unnecessary the sending the proofs. There have been shipped in the whole from Bordeaux 3,400 stand of arms, and from Havre 3,406 cartouch boxes, which I hope have come safely to hand. Besides these there has been a shipment from Bordeaux of powder, etc., made by Mr. Barclay. This was but the half of what was intended, and of what Mr. Barclay had contracted for. But his bill on Mr. Grand was protested on a misconception of Mr. Grand's, who, by a mixture of your account with that of the United States, had supposed he had but about 12,000 livres of your money in his hands. I was absent on a journey, and happened in the course of that to meet with Mr. Barclay at Bordeaux, and we concluded to send you half the quantity. Since my return, I have not been able to have your account exactly settled so as to render it now; but am able to say in general and with certainty, that everything sent you has been paid, and that after paying Houdon 3,000 livres for the second bust of the Marquis de La Fayette now nearly ready to be sent off for you, and 10,000 livres the second payment due towards General Washington's statue, there will remain enough in Mr. Grand's hands to pay for a quantity of powder, &c, equal to that sent you by Mr. Barclay from Bordeaux, which shall accordingly be done. This balance on hand includes 5,300 livres paid by Mr. Littlepage, which, though he has sent us a bill for, six or eight months ago, we had refused to receive till the arrival of your Excellency's letter informing me it had not been paid in America; it was therefore applied for and received by Mr. Grand a few days ago. Mr. Barclay drew on me for the balance of his account with the State of Virginia, 2,370 livres, which I paid; besides these he afterwards discovered an omission of 108l. 8s. in his account, which I pay also, so as to leave your account with him balanced. There is, however, the articles of expenses for young Mercier, which he has neither entered in your account, nor charged to me in my private account. It yet remains due to him, therefore, and I shall pay it to him if he applies to me. I should have called for it, but that he was gone to America before I discovered the omission. Should the State have further occasion for arms, your Excellency will be able to judge, combining quality and price, whether those of Liege or of France are to be preferred. I shall with cheerfulness obey your future orders on this or any other account, and have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect esteem and respect, your Excellency's most obedient, and most humble servant.

P. S.—The original of the report on the inauguration of the bust of the Marquis de La Fayette accompanies this.



Paris, August 4, 1787.

Sir,—I am now to acknowledge the receipt of your two favors of April 26, and May 3. I have forwarded, by a vessel lately sailed from Havre to New York, a box marked W. H., containing the livraisons of the Encyclopédie subsequent to those Dr. Currie has delivered you, to the 22d inclusive. They are sent to the care of Mr. Madison at Congress, who will forward the box to you. There is in it, also, the same livraisons to Colonel Monroe. I will continue to forward them once or twice a year, as they come out. I have stated in a letter to Dr. Currie the cost and expenses of the first twenty-two livraisons, to enable yourself and himself to settle. The future shall be charged to you or him, as your agreement shall be. It is really a most valuable work, and almost supplies the place of a library.

I receive from too many quarters the account of the distresses of my countrymen to doubt their truth—distresses brought on themselves by a feebleness of mind which calculates very illy its own happiness. It is a miserable arithmetic which makes any single privation whatever so painful as a total privation of everything which must necessarily follow the living so far beyond our income. What is to extricate us I know not, whether law, or loss of credit. If the sources of the former are corrupted, so as to prevent justice the latter must supply its place, leave us possessed of our infamous gains, but prevent all future ones of the same character.

Europe is in a moment of crisis. The innovations by their sovereign in the Austrian Netherlands have produced in the people a determination to resist. The Emperor, by disavowing the concessions made by his governors to quiet the people, seemed to take up the gauntlet which they had thrown. Yet it is rather probable he will recede, and all be hushed up there. The Dutch parties are in a course of hostilities which it will be difficult to suspend. A war would have been begun before this, between this country on one side, and England and Prussia on the other, had the parties been in a condition for war. Perhaps England might have raised supplies, but it would be on a certainty of being crushed under them. This country would find greater difficulty. There is, however, a difference in her favor which might reduce her on a level with England: that is, that it would be a popular war here, and an unpopular one in England. Probably the weakness of the two countries will induce them to join in compelling a suspension of hostilities, and to make an arrangement for them, or if they cannot agree in that, they will spin the matter into length by negotiation. In fact, though both parties are arming, I do not expect any speedy commencement of hostilities. I am, with very great respect and esteem, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, August 4, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I have to acknowledge the receipt of your favors of November 8 and April 7, and the pleasure to inform you that the translation of your book sells well, and is universally approved. Froulle will send you some copies of it, by the first opportunity. I am happy to hear you are occupied on the general history. It is a subject worthy your pen. I observe Stockdale in London has printed your work and advertised it for sale. Since I wrote to you on the subject of rice, I have had an opportunity of examining the rice-fields of Lombardy, and having committed my observations to writing, in a letter to Mr. Drayton, as President of the Agricultural Society, I will take the liberty of referring you to that letter, in which probably there is little new to your countrymen, though all was new to me. However, if there be a little new and useful, it will be my reward. I have been pressing on the merchants here the expediency of enticing the rice-trade to Bordeaux and Honfleur. At length, I have received the enclosed propositions. They are a firm and very solid house. I wish they may produce the effect desired. I have enclosed a copy to Mr. Izard, but forgot to mention to him, on the subject of white plains and hoes (particularly named in his letter to me), that this house will begin by furnishing them from England, which they think they can do as cheap as you can receive them directly from England. The allowance made to wholesale purchasers will countervail the double voyage. They hope that after a while they can have them imitated here. Will you be so good as to mention this to Mr. Izard? I fear that my zeal will make me expose myself to ridicule in this business, for I am no merchant, and still less knowing in the culture of rice. But this risk becomes a duty by the bare possibility of doing good. You mention in your letter, your instalment law as needing apology. I have never heard the payment by instalment complained of in Europe. On the contrary, in the conferences Mr. Adams and myself had with merchants in London, they admitted the necessity of them. It is only necessary that the terms be faithfully observed, and the payments be in real money. I am sensible that there are defects in our federal government, yet they are so much lighter than those of monarchies, that I view them with much indulgence. I rely, too, on the good sense of the people for remedy, whereas the evils of monarchical government are beyond remedy. If any of our countrymen wish for a King, give them Æsop's fable of the frogs who asked a King; if this does not cure them, send them to Europe. They will go back good republicans. Whether we shall have war or not, is still doubtful. I conclude we shall not, from, the inability of both France and England to undertake a war. But our friend George is rather remarkable for doing exactly what he ought not to do. He may, therefore, force on a war in favor of his cousin of Holland. I am, with very great esteem, Sir, your most obedient humble servant.



Paris, August 4, 1787.

Dear Sir,—Since mine of the 16th of January, I have been honored by your favors of April the 24th and June the 9th. I am happy to find that the States have come so generally into the schemes of the federal convention, from which, I am sure, we shall see wise propositions. I confess, I do not go as far in the reforms thought necessary, as some of my correspondents in America; but if the convention should adopt such propositions, I shall suppose them necessary. My general plan would be, to make the States one as to everything connected with foreign nations, and several as to everything purely domestic. But with all the imperfections of our present government, it is without comparison the best existing, or that ever did exist. Its greatest defect is the imperfect manner in which matters of commerce have been provided for. It has been so often said, as to be generally believed, that Congress have no power by the Confederation to enforce anything; for example, contributions of money. It was not necessary to give them that power expressly; they have it by the law of nature. When two parties make a compact, there results to each a power of compelling the other to execute it. Compulsion was never so easy as in our case, where a single frigate would soon levy on the commerce of any State the deficiency of its contributions; nor more safe than in the hands of Congress, which has always shown that it would wait, as it ought to do, to the last extremities, before it would execute any of its powers which are disagreeable. I think it very material, to separate, in the hands of Congress, the executive and legislative powers, as the judiciary already are, in some degree. This, I hope, will be done. The want of it has been the source of more evil than we have experienced from any other cause. Nothing is so embarrassing nor so mischievous, in a great assembly, as the details of execution. The smallest trifle of that kind occupies as long as the most important act of legislation, and takes place of everything else. Let any man recollect, or look over, the files of Congress; he will observe the most important propositions hanging over, from week to week, and month to month, till the occasions have passed them, and the things never done. I have ever viewed the executive details as the greatest cause of evil to us, because they in fact place us as if we had no federal head, by diverting the attention of that head from great to small subjects; and should this division of power not be recommended by the convention, it is my opinion Congress should make itself, by establishing an executive committee.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

I have the honor to be, with sincere esteem and respect, dear Sir, your most obedient, most humble servant.



Paris, August 4, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I am favored with your letter of May the 2d, and most cordially sympathise in your late immediate losses. It is a situation in which a man needs the aid of all his wisdom and philosophy. But as it is better to turn from the contemplation of our misfortunes to the resources we possess of extricating ourselves, you will, of course, have found solace in your vigor of mind, health of body, talents, habits of business, in the consideration that you have time yet to retrieve everything, and a knowledge that the very activity necessary for this, is a state of greater happiness than the unoccupied one, to which you had a thought of retiring. I wish the bulk of my extravagant countrymen had as good prospects and resources as you. But with many of them, a feebleness of mind makes them afraid to probe the true state of their affairs, and procrastinate the reformation which alone can save something, to those who may yet be saved. How happy a people were we during the war, from the single circumstance that we could not run in debt! This counteracted all the inconveniences we felt, as the present facility of ruining ourselves overweighs all the blessings of peace. I know no condition happier than that of a Virginia farmer might be, conducting himself as he did during the war. His estate supplies a good table, clothes himself and his family with their ordinary apparel, furnishes a small surplus to buy salt, sugar, coffee, and a little finery for his wife and daughters, enables him to receive and to visit his friends, and furnishes him pleasing and healthy occupation. To secure all this, he needs but one act of self-denial, to put off buying anything till he has the money to pay for it. Mr. Ammonett did not come. He wrote to me, however, and I am making inquiry for the town and family he indicated. As yet, neither can be heard of, and were they to be found, the length of time would probably bar all claims against them. I have seen no object present so many desperate faces. However, if inquiry can lighten our way, that shall not be wanting, and I will write to him as soon as we discover anything, or despair of discovering. Littlepage has succeeded well in Poland. He has some office, it is said, worth five hundred guineas a year. The box of seeds you were so kind as to forward me came safe to hand. The arrival of my daughter, in good health, has been a source of immense comfort to me. The injury of which you had heard, was a dislocated wrist, and though it happened eleven months ago, was a simple dislocation, and immediately aided by the best surgeon in Paris, it is neither well, nor ever will be, so as to render me much service. The fingers remain swelled and crooked, the hand withered, and the joint having a very confined motion. You ask me when I shall return? My commission expires next spring, and if not renewed, I shall return then. If renewed, I shall stay somewhat longer; how much, will not depend on me altogether. So far as it does, I cannot fix the epoch of my return, though I always flatter myself it is not very distant. My habits are formed to those of my own country. I am past the time of changing them, and am, therefore, less happy anywhere else than there.

I shall always be happy to hear from you, being with very sincere esteem, dear Sir, your friend and servant.



Paris, August 4, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I have to acknowledge the receipt of your favors of March the 8th and June the 9th, and to give you many thanks for the trouble you have taken with the dionasa muscipula. I have not yet heard anything of them, which makes me fear they have perished by the way. I believe the most effectual means of conveying them hither, will be by the seed. I must add my thanks, too, for the vocabularies. This is an object I mean to pursue, as I am persuaded that the only method of investigating the filiation of the Indian nations is by that of their languages.

I look up with you to the federal convention for an amendment of our federal affairs. Yet I do not view them in so disadvantageous a light at present, as some do. And above all things, I am astonished at some people's considering a kingly government as a refuge. Advise such to read the fable of the frogs who solicited Jupiter for a king. If that does not put them to rights, send them to Europe, to see something of the trappings of monarchy, and I will undertake that every man shall go back thoroughly cured. If all the evils which can arise among us, from the republican form of government, from this day to the day of judgment, could be put into a scale against what this country suffers from its monarchical form in a week, or England in a month, the latter would preponderate. Consider the contents of the Red book in England, or the Almanac royale of France, and say what a people gain by monarchy. No race of kings has ever presented above one man of common sense in twenty generations. The best they can do is, to leave things to their ministers; and what are their ministers, but a committee, badly chosen? If the king ever meddles, it is to do harm. Adieu, my dear Sir, and be assured of the esteem of your friend and servant.



Paris, August 5, 1787.

Dear Sir,—A journey of between three and four months, into the southern parts of France and northern of Italy, has prevented my writing to you. In the meantime, you have changed your ground, and engaged in different occupations, so that I know not whether the news of this side the water will even amuse you. However, it is all I have for you. The storm which seemed to be raised suddenly in Brabant, will probably blow over. The Emperor, on his return to Vienna, pretended to revoke all the concessions which had been made by his Governors General, to his Brabantine subjects; but he, at the same time, called for deputies from among them to consult with. He will use their agency to draw himself out of the scrape, and all there, I think, will be quieted. Hostilities go on occasionally in Holland. France espouses the cause of the Patriots, as you know, and England and Prussia that of the Stadtholder. France and England are both unwilling to bring on war, but a hasty move of the King of Prussia will perplex them. He has thought the stopping his sister sufficient cause for sacrificing a hundred or two thousand of his subjects, and as many Hollanders and French. He has therefore ordered twenty thousand men to march, without consulting England, or even his own ministers. He may thus drag England into a war, and of course this country, against their will. But it is certain they will do everything they can to prevent it; and that in this at least they agree. Though such a war might be gainful to us, yet it is much to be deprecated by us at this time. In all probability, France would be unequal to such a war by sea and by land, and it is not our interest, or even safe for us, that she should be weakened. The great improvements in their constitution, effected by the Assemblée des Notables, you are apprized of. That of partitioning the country into a number of subordinate governments, under the administration of Provincial Assemblies, chosen by the people, is a capital one. But to the delirium of joy which these improvements gave the nation, a strange reverse of temper has suddenly succeeded. The deficiencies of their revenue were exposed, and they were frightful. Yet there was an appearance of intention to economise, and reduce the expenses of government. But expenses are still very inconsiderately incurred, and all reformation in that point despaired of. The public credit is affected; and such a spirit of discontent has arisen, as has never been seen. The parliament refused to register the edict for a stamp tax, or any other tax, and call for the States General, who alone, they say, can impose a new tax, They speak with a boldness unexampled. The King has called them to Versailles to-morrow, where he will hold a lit de justice, and compel them to register the tax. How the chapter will finish, we must wait to see. By a vessel lately sailed from Havre to New York, I have sent you some more livraisons of the Encyclopedie, down to the 22d inclusive. They were in a box with Dr. Currie's, and addressed to Mr. Madison, who will forward them to Richmond. I have heard you are in the Assembly. I will beg the favor of you, therefore, to give me, at the close of the session, a history of the most remarkable acts passed, the parties and views of the House, etc. This, with the small news of my country, crops and prices, will furnish you abundant matter to treat me, while I have nothing to give you in return, but the histories of the follies of nations in their dotage. Present me in respectful and friendly terms to Mrs. Monroe, and be assured of the sincere sentiments of esteem and attachment with which I am, dear Sir, your friend and servant.



Paris, August 5, 1787.

Gentlemen,—In my last of June 17, 1787, I had the honor of communicating to you the information I had received from Mr. Grand, that your funds here were out, and he considerably in advance. I took occasion to mention to him the paragraph in your letter of February 17, wherein you were so kind as to say your attention should be immediately turned to the making a remittance. However, I understood soon after that he had protested a draught of Mr. Carmichael's, as also a smaller one of five hundred livres. He called upon me, and explaining to me the extent of his advances, observed that he should not be willing to add to them, except so far as should be necessary for the private expenses of myself and secretary, which he wished to be reduced as much below the ordinary allowance as we could, until remittances should be received. He will send you by this packet a state of his accounts, by which he informs me that your account is in arrear about thirty-two thousand livres, advanced by him, and about fifteen thousand livres from a fund of the State of Virginia, placed here for the purchase of arms, making General Washington's statue, etc. In examining his accounts, I found by the one he had sent you formerly, that you were debited two articles of ten thousand livres and two thousand seven hundred and twenty-four livres and sixty-six sous, which belonged to the account of the State of Virginia. This I must explain to you. That State had directed me to have the statue of General Washington made, and given me assurances such as I could rely on, that I should receive funds immediately. Doctor Franklin was setting out to America, and Houdon, the statuary, expressed a willingness to go with him. But it was necessary to advance him a sum of money for that purpose. Rather than lose the opportunity, I ventured to borrow from the fund of the United States those two sums for the State of Virginia, which I knew would be immediately replaced. The funds of the State arrived, (being nearly two hundred thousand livres,) and enabled me not only to replace those sums immediately, but to furnish much larger supplies to the wants of the United States, when their funds failed. Insomuch that the State of Virginia is now in advance here for the United States about fifteen thousand livres, as before mentioned. As yet it has not suffered by any of these advances, but having no money left here but this balance, I shall be censurable by that State if it be not replaced in time to answer the demands on them, which will now be made within a few weeks. Mr. Grand has, by my direction, credited you in the account he now sends for the two sums of ten thousand livres and two thousand, seven hundred and twenty-four livres and sixty-six sous, improperly charged in your former account. He had also debited you in his account for the whole sums paid by the United States, as well as those paid by Virginia, as by himself. The purpose of this was to keep the accounts unmixed, though in fact the funds have been applied occasionally in aid of each other.

I had proposed to Mr. Barclay the settlement of my account before his departure for Morocco, but we concluded it would be better to do it on his return, as that would enable me to bring it down to a later day. It was not then expected he would be so long detained by that business. Unfortunately for me, when at L'Orient, on his return to Paris, he found it more advisable to proceed directly to America, so that I have lost this opportunity of having my account settled. I shall either do it with him on his return, if he returns soon, or with such other person here as you will point out, or I will transmit it with copies of my vouchers, to be settled by you, or do whatever else with it you shall please to direct. The articles which, from their minuteness, have not admitted the taking vouchers, I shall be ready to prove by my own oath. In this account I have presumed to charge the United States with an outfit. The necessity of this in the case of a minister, resident, and of course obliged to establish a house, is obvious on reflection. There cannot be a surer proof of its necessity than the experience and consent of all nations, as I believe there is no instance of any nation sending a minister to reside anywhere without an outfit. A year's salary is the least I have been able to hear of, and I should be able to show that the articles of clothes, carriage and horses, and household furniture, in a very plain style, have cost me more than that. When I send you my account, either settled here, or to be settled there, I shall take the liberty of referring this article to the consideration of Congress. Its reasonableness has appeared to me so palpable, that I have presumed it would appear so to Congress, and have therefore kept up the expenses of my house at the current rate of nine thousand dollars a year. If my expectations should be thought unreasonable, I shall submit and immediately reduce my establishment, with such rigor, as to make up this article in the shortest time possible. I enclose you a letter from Fisseaux & Co. on the subject of their loan. I wish the loan lately obtained by Mr. Adams, may enable you to get rid of the debt of the Foreign Officers, principal and interest. Indeed, if Mr. Adams could be charged with the transfer of our whole debt from this country to Holland, it would be a most salutary operation. The confusions of that country might perhaps facilitate that measure at present, though no regular tax could be obtained in the moment for payment of the interest. I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect esteem and respect, gentlemen, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, August 6, 1787.

Sir,—The last letter I had the honor of addressing you, was dated June the 21st. I have now that of enclosing you a letter from the Swedish Ambassador, praying that inquiry may be made for a vessel of his nation, piratically carried off, and measures taken relative to the vessel, cargo and crew. Also a letter from William Russell and others, citizens of America, concerned in trade to the island of Guadeloupe, addressed to the Marechal de Castries, and complaining of the shutting to them the port of Point à Pitre, and receiving them only at Bessa-tern. This was enclosed to me by the subscribers, to be delivered to the Marechal de Castries. But the present is not the moment to move in that business; and moreover, I suppose, that whenever parties are within the reach of Congress, they should apply to them, and my instructions come through that channel. Matters arising within the kingdom of France, to which my commission is limited, and not admitting time to take the orders of Congress, I suppose I may move in originally. I also enclose you the copy of a letter from Mr. Barclay, closing his proceedings in our affairs with Morocco. Before this reaches you, he will have had the honor of presenting himself to you in person. After his departure, the parliament of Bordeaux decided that he was liable to arrest. This was done on a letter from the Minister, informing them that Mr. Barclay was invested with no character which privileged him from arrest. His constant character of consul was no protection, and they did not explain whether his character to Morocco was not originally diplomatic, or was expired. Mr. Barclay's proceedings under this commission being now closed, it would be incumbent on me to declare with respect to them, as well as his consular transactions, my opinion of the judgment, zeal and disinterestedness with which he has conducted himself; were it not that Congress has been so possessed of those transactions from time to time, as to judge for themselves. I cannot but be uneasy, lest my delay of entering on the subject of the consular convention, may be disapproved. My hope was and is, that more practicable terms might be obtained; in this hope, I do nothing till further orders, observing by an extract from the journals you were pleased to send me, that Congress have referred the matter to your consideration, and conscious that we are not suffering in the meantime, as we have not a single consul in France, since the departure of Mr. Barclay. I mentioned to you in my last, the revival of the hopes of the Chevalier de La Luzerne. I thought it my duty to remind the Count de Montmorin, the other day, of the long absence of their Minister from Congress. He told me, the Chevalier de La Luzerne would not be sent back, but that we might rely that, in the month of October, a person would be sent, with whom we should be content. He did not name the person, though there is no doubt that it is the Count de Mourtier. It is an appointment, which, according to the opinion I have formed of him, bids as fair to give content, as any one which could be made.

I also mentioned in my last letter, that I had proposed the reducing the substance of Monsieur de Calonnes' letter into the form of an Arret, with some alterations, which, on consultation with the merchants at the different ports I visited, I had found to be necessary. I received, soon after, a letter from the Comptroller General, informing me, that the letter of Monsieur de Calonnes was in a course of execution. Of this, I enclose you a copy. I was, in that moment, enclosing to him my general observations on that letter, a copy of which are also enclosed. In these, I stated all the alterations I wished to have made. It became expedient, soon after, to bring on the article of tobacco; first, to know whether the Farmers had executed the order of Bernis, and also to prepare some arrangements to succeed the expiration of this order. So that I am now pursuing the whole subject of our commerce, 1, to have necessary amendments made in Monsieur de Calonnes' letter; 2, to put it into a more stable form; 3, to have full execution of the order of Bernis; 4, to provide arrangements for the article of tobacco, after that order shall be expired. By the copy of my letter on the two last points, you will perceive that I again press the abolition of the Farm of this article. The conferences on that subject give no hope of effecting that. Some poor palliative is probably all we shall obtain. The Marquis de La Fayette goes hand in hand with me in all these transactions, and is an invaluable auxiliary to me. I hope it will not be imputed either to partiality or affectation, my naming this gentleman so often in my despatches. Were I not to do it, it would be a suppression of truth, and the taking to myself the whole merit where he has the greatest share.

The Emperor, on his return to Vienna, disavowed the concessions of his Governors General to his subjects of Brabant. He, at the same time, proposed their sending deputies to him, to consult on their affairs. They refused in the first moment; but afterwards nominated deputies; without giving them any power, however, to concede anything. In the meantime, they are arming and training themselves. Probably the Emperor will avail himself of the aid of these deputies to tread back his steps. He will be the more prompt to do this, that he may be in readiness to act freely, if he finds occasion, in the new scenes preparing in Holland. What these will be cannot be foreseen. You well know, that the original party-divisions of that country were, into Stadtholderians, Aristocrats, and Democrats. There was a subdivision of the Aristocrats, into violent and moderate, which was important. The violent Aristocrats would have wished to preserve all the powers of government in the hands of the Regents, and that these should remain self-elective; but choosing to receive a modification of these powers from the Stadtholder, rather than from the people, they threw themselves into his scale. The moderate Aristocrats would have consented to a temperate mixture of democracy, and particularly, that the Regents should be elected by the people. They were the declared enemies of the Stadtholder, and acted in concert with the Democrats, forming with them what was called the Patriots. It is the opinion of dispassionate people on the spot, that their views might have been effected. But the democratic party aimed at more. They talked of establishing tribunes of the people, of annual accounts, of depriving the magistrates at the will of the people, etc.; of enforcing all this with the arms in the hands of the corps francs; and in same places, as at Heusden, Sprang, etc., began the execution of these projects. The moderate Aristocrats found it difficult to strain their principles to this pitch. A schism took place between them and the Democrats, and the former have for some time, been dropping off from the latter, into the scale of the Stadtholder. This is the fatal coalition which governs without obstacle in Zealand, Friesland, and Guelderland, which constitutes the States of Utrecht, at Amersfort, and, with their aid, the plurality in the States General. The States of Holland, Groningen and Overyssel vote, as yet, in the opposition. But the coalition gains ground in the States of Holland, and has been prevalent in the Council of Amsterdam. If its progress be not stopped by a little moderation in the Democrats, it will turn the scale decidedly in favor of the Stadtholder, in the event of their being left to themselves without foreign interference. If foreign powers interfere, their prospect does not brighten. I see no sure friends to the Patriots but France, while Prussia and England are their assured enemies. Nor is it probable that characters so greedy, so enterprising, as the Emperor and Empress, will be idle during such a struggle. Their views have long shown which side they would take. That France has engaged to interfere, and to support the Patriots, is beyond doubt. This engagement was entered into during the life of the late King of Prussia, whose eye was principally directed on the Emperor, and whose dispositions towards the Prince of Orange would have permitted him to be clipped a little close. But the present King comes in with warmer dispositions towards the Princess his sister. He has shown decidedly, that he will support her, even to the destruction of the balance of Europe, and the disturbance of its peace. The King of England has equally decided to support that house, at the risk of plunging his nation into another war. He supplies the Prince with money at this moment. A particular remittance of one hundred and twenty thousand guineas is known of. But his ministry is divided. Pitt is against the King's opinion, the Duke of Richmond and the rest of the ministers, for it. Or at least, such is the belief here. Mr. Adams will have informed you more certainly. This division in the English ministry, with the ill condition of their finances for war, produces a disposition, even in the King, to try first every pacific measure; and that country and this were laboring jointly to stop the course of hostilities in Holland, to endeavor to effect an accommodation, and were scarcely executing at all, the armaments ordered in their ports; when all of a sudden, an inflammatory letter written by the Princess of Orange to the King of Prussia, induces him, without consulting England, without consulting even his own Council, to issue orders by himself to his Generals, to march twenty thousand men, to revenge the insult supposed to be offered to his sister. With a pride and egotism planted in the heart of every King, he considers her being stopped in the road, as a sufficient cause to sacrifice a hundred or two thousand of his own subjects, and as many of his enemies, and to spread fire, sword and desolation, over the half of Europe. This hasty measure has embarrassed England, undesirous of war if it can be avoided, yet unwilling to separate from the power who is to render its success probable. Still you may be assured, that that court is going on in concurrence with this, to prevent extremities, if possible; always understood, that if the war cannot be prevented, they will enter into it as parties, and in opposition to one another. This event is, in my opinion, to be deprecated by the friends of France. She never was equal to such a war by land, and such a one by sea; and less so now, than in any moment of the present reign. You remember that the nation was in a delirium of joy on the convocation of the Notables, and on the various reformations agreed on between them and the government. The picture of the distress of their finances was indeed frightful, but the intentions to reduce them to order seemed serious. The constitutional reformations have gone on well, but those of expenses make little progress. Some of the most obviously useless have indeed been lopped off, but the remainder is a heavy mass, difficult to be reduced. Despair has seized every mind, and they have passed from an extreme of joy to one of discontent. The parliament, therefore, oppose the registering any new tax, and insist on an Assembly of the States General. The object of this is to limit expenses, and dictate a constitution. The edict for the stamp tax has been the subject of reiterated orders and refusals to register. At length, the King has summoned the parliament to Versailles to hold a bed of justice, in which he will order them, in person, to register the edict. At the moment of my writing, they are gone to Versailles for this purpose. There will yet remain to them, to protest against the register, as forced, and to issue orders against its execution on pain of death. But as the King would have no peaceable mode of opposition left, it remains to be seen whether they will push the matter to this extremity. It is evident, I think, that a spirit of this country is advancing towards a revolution in their constitution. There are not wanting persons at the helm, friends to the progress of this spirit. The Provincial Assemblies will be the most probable instrument of effecting it.

Since writing thus far, I have received an intimation, that it will be agreeable, not to press our commercial regulations at this moment, the ministry being too much occupied with the difficulties surrounding them, to spare a moment on any subject which will admit of delay. Our business must, therefore, be suspended for awhile. To press it out of season would be to defeat it. It would be felt as a vital benefit here, could we relieve their finances, by paying what we owe. Congress will judge by Mr. Adams' letters, how far the transferring all our debts in this country, to Holland, is practicable. On the replenishing their treasury with our principal and interest, I should not be afraid to ask concessions in favor of our West India trade. It would produce a great change of opinion as to us and our affairs. In the Assemblée des Notables, hard things were said of us. They were induced, however, in committing us to writing, to smother their ideas a little. In the notes, now gone to be printed, our debt is described in these words. "The twenty-first article of the account, formed of the interest of the claims of his majesty on the United States of America, cannot be drawn out for the present, except as a document. The recovery of these claims, as well principal as perhaps even interest, although they appear to rest on the most solid security, may, nevertheless, be long delayed, and should not, consequently, be taken into account in estimating the annual revenue. This article amounts to one million and six hundred thousand livres." Above all things, it is desirable to hush the foreign officers by payment. Their wants, the nature of their services, their access to high characters, and connections with them, bespeak the reasons for this. I hear also that Mr. Beaumarchais means to make himself heard, if a memorial which he sends by an agent in the present packet is not attended to, as he thinks it ought to be. He called on me with it, and desired me to recommend his case to a decision, and to note in my despatch, that it was the first time he had spoken to me on the subject. This is true, it being the first time I ever saw him; but my recommendations would be as displaced as unnecessary. I assured him, Congress would do in that business, what justice should require, and their means enable them. The information sent me by Mr. Montgomery from Alicant, of the death of the Dey of Algiers, was not true. I had expressed my doubt of it in my last, when I communicated it. I send herewith the newspapers to this date, and a remonstrance of the parliament, to show you in what language the King can be addressed at this day. I have received no journal of Congress since the beginning of November last, and will thank you for them if printed.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect esteem and respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.

P. S. August 7. The parliament were received yesterday very harshly by the King. He obliged them to register the two edicts for the impot-territorial and stamp tax. When speaking in my letter of the reiterated orders and refusals to register, which passed between the King and parliament, I omitted to insert the King's answer to a deputation of parliament, which attended him at Versailles. It may serve to show the spirit which exists between them. It was in these words, and these only: "Je vous ferai savoir mes intentions. Allez-vous-en. Qu'on ferme la porte."



Paris, Aug. 6, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I am honored with your letter by your son, and shall be happy to render him every assistance in my power of whatever nature. The objects of his stay in this country, and of his visit to London, are perfectly well judged. So of that to Amsterdam. Perhaps it is questionable, whether the time you propose he should spend at some of the German courts might not be better employed at Madrid or Lisbon, and in Italy. At the former there could be no object for him but politics, the system of which there is intricate, and can never be connected with us; nor will our commercial connections be considerable. With Madrid and Lisbon our connections, both political and commercial, are great and will be increasing daily. Italy is a field where the inhabitants of the Southern States may see much to copy in agriculture, and a country with which we shall carry on considerable trade. Pardon my submitting these thoughts to you. We shall pursue your own plan unless you notify a change in it.

The present question in Europe is war or not war? I think there will be none between the Emperor and his Brabantine subjects. But as to Holland, it is more doubtful, for we do not as yet consider the little partisan affairs which are taking place every day. France and England, conscious that their exhausted means would poorly feed a war, have been strenuously exerting themselves to procure an accommodation. But the King of Prussia, in a moment of passion, has taken a measure which may defeat their wishes. On receiving from the Princess of Orange, a letter informing him of her having been stopped on the road, without consulting the court of London, without saying a word to his own ministers, he issued orders himself to his Generals to march twenty thousand men to be at her orders. England, unwilling to bring on a war, may yet fear to separate from him who is to be her main ally. Still, she is endeavoring, in concurrence with this court, to stop the effects of this hasty movement, and to bring about a suspension of hostilities and settlement of difficulties, always meaning if they fail in this, to take the field in opposition to one another. Blessed effect of a kingly government, where a pretended insult to the sister of a king, is to produce the wanton sacrifice of a hundred or two thousand of the people who have entrusted themselves to his government, and as many of his enemies! and we think ours a bad government. The only condition on earth to be compared with ours, in my opinion, is that of the Indian, where they have still less law than we. The European, are governments of kites over pigeons. The best schools for republicanism are London, Versailles, Madrid, Vienna, Berlin, &c. Adieu, my dear Sir, and be assured of the sincere esteem of your most obedient humble servant.



Paris, August 6, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I was not a little disappointed to find on my return that you had gone punctually in the packet as you had proposed. Great is the change in the dispositions of this country in the short time since you left it. A continuation of inconsiderate expense seemed to have raised the nation to the highest pitch of discontent. The parliament refused to register the new taxes. After much and warm altercation, a lit de justice has been held this day at Versailles; it was opened by the reading a severe remonstrance from the parliament, to which the King made a hard reply, and finished by ordering the stamp tax, and impot-territorial to be registered. Your nation is advancing to a change of constitution; the young desire it, the middle aged are not averse, the old alone opposed it. They will die, the provincial assemblies will chalk out the plan, and the nation, ripening fast, will execute it. All your friends are in the country, so I can give you no news of them; but no news are always good news. The Duchess Danville is with some of her friends; the Duke and Duchess de La Rochefoucault gone to the waters; the Countess d'Houdelot with Madame de La Britu. Your sons are well, and go on well, and we are laboring here to improve on M. de Calonne's letter on our commerce. Adieu, my dear Sir, and be assured of the sentiments of sincere esteem with which I am your friend and servant.



Paris, August 8, 1787.

Sir,—I am of opinion that American tenants for western lands could not be procured, and if they could, they would be very unsure. The best, as far as I have been able to judge, are foreigners, who do not speak the language. Unable to communicate with the people of the country, they confine themselves to their farms and their families, compare their present state to what it was in Europe, and find great reason to be contented. Of all foreigners, I should prefer Germans. They are the easiest got, the best for their landlords, and do best for themselves. The deed in which you were interested, having been sent to me the other day to be authenticated, I took the enclosed note of its particulars for you. I am, with much esteem, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, August 8, 1787.

Sir,—I have duly received your favor of June the 6th, and immediately communicated its contents to a member of the Academy. He told me that they had received the other copy of your memorial, which you mention to have sent through another channel; that your ideas were not conveyed so explicitly, as to enable them to decide finally on their merit, but that they had made an entry in their journals, to preserve to you the claim of the original idea. As far as we can conjecture it here, we imagine you make a table of variations of the needle, for all the different meridians whatever. To apply this table to use, in the voyage between America and Europe, suppose the variation to increase a degree in every one hundred and sixty miles. Two difficulties occur: 1, a ready and accurate method of finding the variation of the place; 2, an instrument so perfect, as that (though the degree on it shall represent one hundred and sixty miles) it shall give the parts of the degree so minutely, as to answer the purpose of the navigator. The variation of the needle at Paris, actually, is 21° west. I make no question you have provided against the doubts entertained here, and I shall be happy that our country may have the honor of furnishing the old world what it has so long sought in vain. I am, with much respect, Sir, your most obedient humble servant.



Paris, August 9, 1787.

Sir,—At the time you honored me with your letter of May the 31st, I was not returned from a journey I had taken into Italy. This circumstance, with the mass of business which had accumulated during my absence, must apologise for the delay of my answer. Every discovery which multiplies the subsistence of man, must be a matter of joy to every friend to humanity. As such, I learn with great satisfaction, that you have found the means of preserving flour more perfectly than has been done hitherto. But I am not authorized to avail my country of it, by making any offer for its communication. Their policy is, to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits. Though the interposition of government, in matters of invention, has its use, yet it is in practice so inseparable from abuse, that they think it better not to meddle with it. We are only to hope, therefore, that those governments who are in the habit of directing all the actions of their subjects, by particular law, may be so far sensible of the duty they are under of cultivating useful discoveries, as to reward you amply for yours, which is among the most interesting to humanity. I have the honor to be, with great consideration and respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, August 10, 1787.

Dear Peter,—I have received your two letters of December the 30th and April the 18th, and am very happy to find by them, as well as by letters from Mr. Wythe, that you have been so fortunate as to attract his notice and good will; I am sure you will find this to have been one of the most fortunate events of your life, as I have ever been sensible it was of mine. I enclose you a sketch of the sciences to which I would wish you to apply, in such order as Mr. Wythe shall advise; I mention, also, the books in them worth your reading, which submit to his correction. Many of these are among your father's books, which you should have brought to you. As I do not recollect those of them not in his library, you must write to me for them, making out a catalogue of such as you think you shall have occasion for, in eighteen months from the date of your letter, and consulting Mr. Wythe on the subject. To this sketch, I will add a few particular observations:

1. Italian. I fear the learning this language will confound your French and Spanish. Being all of them degenerated dialects of the Latin, they are apt to mix in conversation. I have never seen a person speaking the three languages, who did not mix them. It is a delightful language, but late events having rendered the Spanish more useful, lay it aside to prosecute that.

2. Spanish. Bestow great attention on this, and endeavor to acquire an accurate knowledge of it. Our future connections with Spain and Spanish America, will render that language a valuable acquisition. The ancient history of that part of America, too, is written in that language. I send you a dictionary.

3. Moral Philosophy. I think it lost time to attend lectures on this branch. He who made us would have been a pitiful bungler, if he had made the rules of our moral conduct a matter of science. For one man of science, there are thousands who are not. What would have become of them? Man was destined for society. His morality, therefore, was to be formed to this object. He was endowed with a sense of right and wrong, merely relative to this. This sense is as much a part of his nature, as the sense of hearing, seeing, feeling; it is the true foundation of morality, and not the [Greek: to kalon], truth, &c., as fanciful writers have imagined. The moral sense, or conscience, is as much a part of man as his leg or arm. It is given to all human beings in a stronger or weaker degree, as force of members is given them in a greater or less degree. It may be strengthened by exercise, as may any particular limb of the body. This sense is submitted, indeed, in some degree, to the guidance of reason; but it is a small stock which is required for this: even a less one than what we call common sense. State a moral case to a ploughman and a professor. The former will decide it as well, and often better than the latter, because he has not been led astray by artificial rules. In this branch, therefore, read good books, because they will encourage, as well as direct your feelings. The writings of Sterne, particularly, form the best course of morality that ever was written. Besides these, read the books mentioned in the enclosed paper; and, above all things, lose no occasion of exercising your dispositions to be grateful, to be generous, to be charitable, to be humane, to be true, just, firm, orderly, courageous, &c. Consider every act of this kind, as an exercise which will strengthen your moral faculties and increase your worth.

4. Religion. Your reason is now mature enough to examine this object. In the first place, divest yourself of all bias in favor of novelty and singularity of opinion. Indulge them in any other subject rather than that of religion. It is too important, and the consequences of error may be too serious. On the other hand, shake off all the fears and servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear. You will naturally examine first, the religion of your own country. Read the Bible, then, as you would read Livy or Tacitus. The facts which are within the ordinary course of nature, you will believe on the authority of the writer, as you do those of the same kind in Livy and Tacitus. The testimony of the writer weighs in their favor, in one scale, and their not being against the laws of nature, does not weigh against them. But those facts in the Bible which contradict the laws of nature, must be examined with more care, and under a variety of faces. Here you must recur to the pretensions of the writer to inspiration from God. Examine upon what evidence his pretensions are founded, and whether that evidence is so strong, as that its falsehood would be more improbable than a change in the laws of nature, in the case he relates. For example, in the book of Joshua, we are told, the sun stood still several hours. Were we to read that fact in Livy or Tacitus, we should class it with their showers of blood, speaking of statues, beasts, etc. But it is said, that the writer of that book was inspired. Examine, therefore, candidly, what evidence there is of his having been inspired. The pretension is entitled to your inquiry, because millions believe it. On the other hand, you are astronomer enough to know how contrary it is to the law of nature that a body revolving on its axis, as the earth does, should have stopped, should not, by that sudden stoppage, have prostrated animals, trees, buildings, and should after a certain time have resumed its revolution, and that without a second general prostration. Is this arrest of the earth's motion, or the evidence which affirms it, most within the law of probabilities? You will next read the New Testament. It is the history of a personage called Jesus. Keep in your eye the opposite pretensions: 1, of those who say he was begotten by God, born of a virgin, suspended and reversed the laws of nature at will, and ascended bodily into heaven; and 2, of those who say he was a man of illegitimate birth, of a benevolent heart, enthusiastic mind, who set out without pretensions to divinity, ended in believing them, and was punished capitally for sedition, by being gibbeted, according to the Roman law, which punished the first commission of that offence by whipping, and the second by exile, or death in furea. See this law in the Digest, Lib. 48. tit. 19. § 28.3. and Lipsius Lib. 2. de cruce. cap. 2. These questions are examined in the books I have mentioned, under the head of Religion, and several others. They will assist you in your inquiries; but keep your reason firmly on the watch in reading them all. Do not be frightened from this inquiry by any fear of its consequences. If it ends in a belief that there is no God, you will find incitements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise, and the love of others which it will procure you. If you find reason to believe there is a God, a consciousness that you are acting under his eye, and that he approves you, will be a vast additional incitement; if that there be a future state, the hope of a happy existence in that increases the appetite to deserve it; if that Jesus was also a God, you will be comforted by a belief of his aid and love. In fine, I repeat, you must lay aside all prejudice on both sides, and neither believe nor reject anything, because any other persons, or description of persons, have rejected or believed it. Your own reason is the only oracle given you by heaven, and you are answerable, not for the rightness, but uprightness of the decision. I forgot to observe, when speaking of the New Testament, that you should read all the histories of Christ, as well of those whom a council of ecclesiastics have decided for us, to be Pseudo-evangelists, as those they named Evangelists. Because these Pseudo-evangelists pretended to inspiration, as much as the others, and you are to judge their pretensions by your own reason, and not by the reason of those ecclesiastics. Most of these are lost. There are some, however, still extant, collected by Fabricius, which I will endeavor to get and send you.

5. Travelling. This makes men wiser, but less happy. When men of sober age travel, they gather knowledge, which they may apply usefully for their country; but they are subject ever after to recollections mixed with regret; their affections are weakened by being extended over more objects; and they learn new habits which cannot be gratified when they return home. Young men, who travel, are exposed to all these inconveniences in a higher degree, to others still more serious, and do not acquire that wisdom for which a previous foundation is requisite, by repeated and just observations at home. The glare of pomp and pleasure is analogous to the motion of the blood; it absorbs all their affection and attention, they are torn from it as from the only good in this, world, and return to their home as to a place of exile and condemnation. Their eyes are forever turned back to the object they have lost, and its recollection poisons the residue of their lives. Their first and most delicate passions are hackneyed on unworthy objects here, and they carry home the dregs, insufficient to make themselves or anybody else happy. Add to this, that a habit of idleness, an inability to apply themselves to business is acquired, and renders them useless to themselves and their country. These observations are founded in experience. There is no place where your pursuit of knowledge will be so little obstructed by foreign objects, as in your own country, nor any, wherein the virtues of the heart will be less exposed to be weakened. Be good, be learned, and be industrious, and you will not want the aid of travelling, to render you precious to your country, dear to your friends, happy within yourself. I repeat my advice, to take a great deal of exercise, and on foot. Health is the first requisite after morality. Write to me often, and be assured of the interest I take in your success, as well as the warmth of those sentiments of attachment with which I am, dear Peter, your affectionate friend.



Paris, August 11, 1787.

Dear Doctor,—Your letter of January the 9th, 1787, came safely to hand in the month of June last. Unluckily you forgot to sign it, and your handwriting is so Protean, that one cannot be sure it is yours. To increase the causes of incertitude, it was dated Pen-park, a name which I only know, as the seat of John Harmer. The handwriting, too, being somewhat in his style, made me ascribe it hastily to him, indorse it with his name, and let it lie in my bundle to be answered at leisure. That moment of leisure arriving, I set down to answer it to John Harmer, and now, for the first time, discover marks of its being yours, and particularly those expressions of friendship to myself and family, which you have ever been so good as to entertain, and which are to me among the most precious possessions. I wish my sense of this, and my desires of seeing you rich and happy, may not prevent my seeing any difficulty in the case you state of George Harmer's wills; which as you state them, are thus:

1. A will, dated December the 26th, 1779, written in his own hand, and devising to his brother the estates he had received from him.

2. Another will, dated June the 25th, 1782, written also in his own hand, devising his estate to trustees, to be conveyed to such of his relations. I. H. I. L. or H. L. as should become capable of acquiring property, or, on failure of that, to be sold and the money remitted them.

3. A third will, dated September the 12th, 1786, devising all his estate at Marrowbone, and his tracts at Horse-pasture and Poison-field to you; which will is admitted to record, and of course, has been duly executed.

You say the learned are divided on these wills. Yet I see no cause of division, as it requires little learning to decide, that "the first deed and last will must always prevail." I am afraid, therefore, the difficulty may arise on the want of words of inheritance in the devise to you; for you state it as a devise to "George Gilmer" (without adding "and to his heirs,") of "all the estate called Marrowbone," "the tract called Horse-pasture," and "the tract called Poison-field." If the question is on this point, and you have copied the words of the will exactly, I suppose you take an estate in fee simple in Marrowbone, and for life only in Horse-pasture and Poison-field; the want of words of inheritance in the two last cases, being supplied as to the first, by the word "estate," which has been repeatedly decided to be descriptive of the quantum of interest devised, as well as of its locality. I am in hopes, however, you have not copied the words exactly, that there are words of inheritance to all the devises, as the testator certainly knew their necessity, and that the conflict only will be between the different wills, in which case I see nothing which can be opposed to the last. I shall be very happy to eat at Pen-park, some of the good mutton and beef of Marrowbone, Horse-pasture and Poison-field, with yourself and Mrs. Gilmer, and my good old neighbors. I am as happy nowhere else, and in no other society, and all my wishes end, where I hope my days will end, at Monticello. Too many scenes of happiness mingle themselves with all the recollections of my native woods and fields, to suffer them to be supplanted in my affection by any other. I consider myself here as a traveller only, and not a resident. My commission expires next spring, and if not renewed, I shall, of course, return then. If renewed, I shall remain here some time longer. How much, I cannot say; yet my wishes shorten the period. Among the strongest inducements will be, that of your society and Mrs. Gilmer's, which I am glad to find brought more within reach, by your return to Pen-park. My daughters are importunate to return also. Patsy enjoys good health, and is growing to my stature. Maria arrived here about a month ago, after a favorable voyage, and in perfect health. My own health has been as good as ever, after the first year's probation. If you knew how agreeable to me are the details of the small news of my neighborhood, your charity would induce you to write frequently. Your letters lodged in the post office at Richmond (to be forwarded to New York) come with certainty. We are doubtful yet, whether there will be war or not. Present me with warm affection to Mrs. Gilmer, and be assured yourself of the unvarying sentiments of esteem and attachment, with which I am, dear Doctor, your sincere friend and servant.



Paris, August 11, 1787.

Dear Sir,—Mr. Ammonett sent me your favor of May 7, which you expected he would have brought. He furnished me with the name of the family to whose property he supposes himself entitled, and the name of the town where it lies. I have endeavored to have them searched out, but as yet neither family nor town is discovered. If they can be found, the estate will then have to be searched for; the laws for limitation of actions will form the next opposition to him, and probably the laws of forfeiture against the Protestants, who were the subject of the revocation of the edict of Nantes, which laws have never been repealed, nor probably ever will be, even should the future condition of Protestants here be mitigated. I shall proceed in the enquiry for him, and let him know the result.

Your son Thomas, at Edinburgh, has done me the favor to open a little correspondence with me. He has sometimes asked my advice as to the course of his studies, which I have given to him the more freely as he informed me he was not tied down to any particular plan by your instructions. He informed me in his last letter that you proposed he should come to Paris this fall, stay here the winter, and return to Virginia in the spring. I understand him as proposing to study the law, so that probably, on his return, you will place him at Williamsburg for that purpose. On this view of his destination I venture to propose to you another plan. The law may be studied as well in one place as another; because it is a study of books alone, at least till near the close of it. Books can be read equally well at Williamsburg, at London, or Paris. The study of the law is an affair of three years, the last of which should be spent in attending Mr. Wythe's lectures. Upon the plan he has now in expectation, his residence here six months as a traveller, must cost him two hundred guineas, and three years' study at Williamsburg, four hundred and fifty guineas more, making five hundred and fifty guineas in the whole. My proposition is that he shall pass his two first years of legal study in some one of the villages within an hour's walk of Paris, boarded with some good family, wherein he may learn to speak the language, which is not to be learned in any other way. By this means he will avoid the loss of time and money which would be the consequence of a residence in the town, and he will be nigh enough to come to dine, to make acquaintances, see good company, and examine the useful details of the city. With very great economy he may do this on one hundred guineas a year, but at his ease for one hundred and fifty guineas. At the end of two years I would propose him a journey through the southern parts of France, thence to Genoa, Leghorn, Florence, Rome, Naples, Venice, Milan, Turin, Geneva, Lyons and Paris. This will employ him seven months, and cost him three hundred and thirty guineas, if he goes alone, or two hundred and thirty guineas if he finds a companion. Then he should return to Virginia, and pass his third year of legal study in attending Mr. Wythe's lectures. This whole plan would take three years and seven months, and cost from seven hundred to seven hundred and fifty guineas, which would be one month longer, and one hundred and fifty or two hundred guineas dearer than the one proposed. The advantages of this would be his learning to speak French well, his acquiring a better acquaintance here with men and things, and his having travelled through the most interesting parts of Europe, advantages which he will forever think cheaply purchased for one hundred and fifty or two hundred guineas, even were a deduction of that sum to be made from the establishment you mean to give him. But in every case, whether you decide that he shall return to study in Virginia, or remain here for that purpose, I would recommend that he should not be tied down to quit Edinburgh this fall precisely, but only when he shall have finished his courses of lectures in those sciences with which he should not be unacquainted. I have taken the liberty of noting these to him. I perceive by his letters that he has a good genius, and everybody bears witness to his application, which is almost too great. It would be a pity, therefore, he should miss of giving them full encouragement. I must beg your pardon for thus intruding myself into a business belonging to yourself alone, and hope you will find its excuse in the motives from which it proceeds, friendship for yourself, Mrs. Randolph and your son. I wish to see you gratified, and to be gratified myself in seeing him act the advantageous part, which will naturally result from his talents, his merit, and the favorable ground from which he will start; a fear of seeing this endangered by a too early return to our own country where the example of his cotemporaries may soon possibly lead him from the regular pursuits his friends may chalk out for him, all these considerations have impelled me to take this liberty, and to rely for pardon on the assurance of the sincere attachment and respect with which I am, dear Sir, your affectionate friend and servant.



Paris, August 13, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I have been long, very long, without answering your favor of March 27, 1786, and since that I have received those of December 28, and by Mrs. Oster. The reason of this has been that the genius of invention and improvement in Europe seems to be absolutely taking a nap. We have nothing to communicate to you but of the small kind, such as making the axletree turn with the wheel, which has been proposed here, adopted by some, and thought to be proved best by experiment, though theory has nothing to urge in its favor. A hydrostatic waistcoat is lately announced, which a person puts on either above or below his clothes in a minute, and fills with air by blowing with the mouth in twelve seconds. It is not yet shown, however, so I cannot tell you either the manner or matter of its construction. It may be useful when the loss of a vessel is foreseen. Herschell's discovery of two satellites to his planet, you have heard of ere this. He first saw them in January last. One revolves round its principal in about a week; the other in about a fortnight. I think your conjecture that the periodical variation of light in certain fixed stars proceeds from Maculæ, is more probable than that of Maupertius, who supposes those bodies may be flat, and more probable also than that which supposes the star to have an orbit of revolution so large as to vary sensibly its degree of light. The latter is rendered more difficult of belief from the shortness of the period of variation. I thank you for the shells you sent me. Their identity with marine shells and their vicinity to the sea, argue an identity of cause. But still the shells found in the mountains are very imperfectly accounted for. I have lately become acquainted with a memoire on a petrification mixed with shells by a Monsieur de La Sauvagere, giving an exact account of what Voltaire had erroneously stated in his questions Encyclopediques, article Coquilles, from whence I had transferred it into my notes. Having been lately at Tours, I had an opportunity of enquiring into de La Sauvagere's character, and the facts he states. The result was entirely in his and their favor. This fact is so curious, so circumstantially detailed, and yet so little like any known operation of nature, that it throws the mind under absolute suspense. The memoir is out of print. But my bookseller is now in search of it, and if he can find it I will put a copy of it into a box of books I shall send by the September packet, addressed to Mr. Wythe. In the same box I will put for you the Bibliotheque Physico-economique, for 1786, 1787, the connoissance des tems, Fourcroy's Chemistry, wherein all the later discoveries are digested, and a number of my notes on Virginia, of a copy of which you will be pleased to accept. It is a poor crayon, which yourself and the gentlemen which issue from your school must fill up. We are doubtful here whether we are to have peace or war. The movements of Prussia and England indicate war; the finances of England and France indicate peace. I think the two last will endeavor to accommodate the Dutch differences. Be pleased to present me respectfully to Mrs. Madison, and after repeating the recommendation of my nephew to you, I take the liberty of assuring you of that esteem with which I am, dear Sir, your friend and servant.



Paris, August 13, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I received the letter with which you were pleased to honor me, by Mrs. Oster, and immediately waited on her with a tender of my services. She had, however, so far got her matters arranged as to be no longer in fear of any disagreeable measure, and is since gone to establish herself with her friends in Lorraine. I wish she may not there have alarms of a different nature. We have hitherto been in hopes that the desperate state of the finances of France and England would indispose those powers to war, and induce them, by an armed mediation, to quiet the affairs of Holland. The actual march, however, of the Prussian troops, the departure of the British squadron somewhere westwardly, and the preparations for a naval armament at Brest, and a land one in the neighborhood of the Netherlands, render war at present more expected than it has been. Still we look to the necessities of the two principal powers as promising efficacy to the negotiations not yet broken off. Though we shall be neutrals, and as such shall derive considerable pecuniary advantages, yet I think we shall lose in happiness and morals by being launched again into the ocean of speculation, led to overtrade ourselves, tempted to become sea-robbers under French colors, and to quit the pursuits of agriculture, the surest road to affluence and best preservative of morals. Perhaps, too, it may divert the attention of the States from those great political improvements, which the honorable body, of which you are a member, will, I hope, propose to them. What these may be, I know not, but I am sure they will be what they should be. My idea is that we should be made one nation in every case concerning foreign affairs, and separate ones in whatever is merely domestic; that the Federal government should be organized into Legislative, Executive and Judiciary, as are the State governments, and some peaceable means of enforcement devised for the Federal head over the States. But of all these things you are a better judge. I have delivered your message to Mr. Mazzei, who is still here. Be so good as to present me respectfully to Mrs. Blair, and to be assured yourself of the sentiments of esteem and respect with which I have the honor to be, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, August 14, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I have never yet thanked you, but with the heart, for the act of Assembly confirming the agreement with Maryland, the pamphlet and papers I received from you a twelve month ago. Very soon after their receipt, I got my right wrist dislocated, which prevented me long from writing, and as soon as that was able to bear it, I took a long journey, from which I am but lately returned. I am anxious to hear what our federal convention recommends, and what the States will do in consequence of their recommendation. * * * * With all the defects of our constitution, whether general or particular, the comparison of our governments with those of Europe, is like a comparison of heaven and hell. England, like the earth, may be allowed to take the intermediate station. And yet, I hear there are people among you, who think the experience of our governments has already proved, that republican governments will not answer. Send those gentry here, to count the blessings of monarchy. A king's sister, for instance, stopped on the road, and on a hostile journey, is sufficient cause for him to march immediately twenty thousand men to revenge this insult, when he had shown himself little moved by the matter of right then in question.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

From all these broils we are happily free, and that God may keep us long so, and yourself in health and happiness, is the prayer of, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, August 14, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I am happy to find, by the letter of August the 1st, 1786, which you did me the honor to write to me, that the modern dress for your statue would meet your approbation. I found it strongly the sentiment of West, Copley, Trumbull, and Brown, in London; after which, it would be ridiculous to add, that it was my own. I think a modern in an antique dress as just an object of ridicule as a Hercules or Marius with a periwig and a chapeau bras.

I remember having written to you, while Congress sat at Annapolis, on the water communication between ours and the western country, and to have mentioned particularly the information I had received of the plain face of the country between the sources of Big Beaver and Cayohoga, which made me hope that a canal of no great expense might unite the navigation of Lake Erie and the Ohio. You must since have had occasion of getting better information on this subject, and if you have, you would oblige me by a communication of it. I consider this canal, if practicable, as a very important work.

I remain in hopes of great and good effects from the decision of the Assembly over which you are presiding. To make our States one as to all foreign concerns, preserve them several as to all merely domestic, to give to the federal head some peaceable mode of enforcing its just authority, to organize that head into legislative, executive, and judiciary apartments, are great desiderata in our federal constitution. Yet with all its defects, and with all those of our particular governments, the inconveniences resulting from them, are so light in comparison with those existing in every other government on earth, that our citizens may certainly be considered as in the happiest political situation which exists.

The Assemblée des Notables has been productive of much good in this country. The reformation of some of the most oppressive laws has taken place, and is taking place. The allotment of the State into subordinate governments, the administration of which is committed to persons chosen by the people, will work in time a very beneficial change in their constitution. The expense of the trappings of monarchy, too, is lightening. Many of the useless officers, high and low, of the King, Queen, and Princes, are struck off. Notwithstanding all this, the discovery of the abominable abuses of public money by the late Comptroller General, some new expenses of the court, not of a piece with the projects of reformation, and the imposition of new taxes, have, in the course of a few weeks, raised a spirit of discontent in this nation, so great and so general, as to threaten serious consequences. The parliaments in general, and particularly that of Paris, put themselves at the head of this effervescence, and direct its object to the calling the States General, who have not been assembled since 1614. The object is to fix a constitution, and to limit expenses. The King has been obliged to hold a bed of justice, to enforce the registering the new taxes; the parliament, on their side, propose to issue a prohibition against their execution. Very possibly this may bring on their exile. The mild and patriotic character of the new ministry, is the principal dependence against this extremity.

The turn which the affairs of Europe will take, is not yet decided.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

A war, wherein France, Holland, and England should be parties, seems, prima facie, to promise much advantage to us. But in the first place, no war can be safe for us which threatens France with an unfavorable issue; and in the next, it will probably embark us again into the ocean of speculation, engage us to over-trade ourselves, convert us into sea-rovers, under French and Dutch colors, divert us from agriculture, which is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness. The wealth acquired by speculation and plunder, is fugacious in its nature, and fills society with the spirit of gambling. The moderate and sure income of husbandry begets permanent improvement, quiet life, and orderly conduct, both public and private. We have no occasion for more commerce than to take off our superfluous produce, and the people complain that some restrictions prevent this; yet the price of articles with us, in general, shows the contrary. Tobacco, indeed, is low, not because we cannot carry it where we please, but because we make more than the consumption requires. Upon the whole I think peace advantageous to us, necessary for Europe, and desirable for humanity. A few days will decide, probably, whether all these considerations are to give way to the bad passions of Kings, and those who would be Kings.

I have the honor to be, with very sincere esteem and respect, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.

P. S. August 15. The parliament is exiled to Troyes this morning.



Paris, August 14, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I remember when you left us, it was with a promise to supply all the defects of correspondence with our friends, of which we complained, and which you had felt in common with us. Yet I have received but one letter from you, which was dated June the 5th, 1786, and I answered it, August the 14th, 1786. Dropping that, however, and beginning a new account, I will observe to you, that wonderful improvements are making here in various lines. In architecture, the wall of circumvallation round Paris, and the palaces by which we are to be let out and in, are nearly completed; four hospitals are to be built instead of the old Hotel-Dieu; one of the old bridges has all its houses demolished, and a second nearly so; a new bridge is begun at the Place Louis XV.; the Palais Royale is gutted, a considerable part in the centre of the garden being dug out, and a subterranean circus begun, wherein will be equestrian exhibitions, &c. In society, the habit habillé is almost banished, and they begin to go even to great suppers in frock: the court and diplomatic corps, however, must always be excepted. They are too high to be reached by any improvement. They are the last refuge from which etiquette, formality, and folly will be driven. Take away these, and they would be on a level with other people.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

[After describing the unsettled state of Europe, as in some of the preceding letters, the writer proceeds:]

So much for the blessings of having Kings, and magistrates who would be Kings. From these events, our young Republic may learn useful lessons, never to call on foreign powers to settle their differences, to guard against hereditary magistrates, to prevent their citizens from becoming so established in wealth and power, as to be thought worthy of alliance by marriage with the nieces, sisters, &c., of Kings, and, in short, to besiege the throne of heaven with eternal prayers, to extirpate from creation this class of human lions, tigers, and mammoths called Kings; from whom, let him perish who does not say, "good Lord deliver us;" and that so we may say, one and all, or perish, is the fervent prayer of him who has the honor to mix with it, sincere wishes for your health and happiness, and to be, with real attachment and respect, dear Sir, your affectionate friend and humble servant.



Paris, August 15, 1787.

Sir,—An American gentleman leaving Paris this afternoon to go by the way of L'Orient to Boston, furnishes me the rare occasion of a conveyance, other than the packet, sure and quick. My letter by the packet informed you of the bed of justice, for enregistering the stamp tax and land tax. The parliament, on their return, came to an Arretee (a resolution) which, besides protesting against the enregistering, as done by force, laid the foundation for an Arret de defence (an act) against the execution of the two new laws. The question on the final Arret was adjourned to the day before yesterday. It is believed they did not conclude on this Arret, as it has not appeared. However, there was a concourse of about ten thousand people at the parliament house, who, on their adjournment, received them with acclamations of joy, loosened the horses of the most eminent speakers against the tax from their carriages, and drew them home. This morning, the parliament is exiled to Troyes. It is believed to proceed, principally, from the fear of a popular commotion here.

The officer, charged by this court to watch the English squadron, which was under sailing orders, returned about a week ago, with information that it had sailed, having shaped its course westwardly. This is another step towards war. It is the more suspicious, as their minister here denies the fact. Count Adhemar is here from London, by leave from his court. The Duke of Dorset, the British ambassador here, has lately gone to London on leave. Neither of these ambassadors has the confidence of his court, on the point of abilities. The latter merits it for his honesty. The minister of the British court, resident here, remains; but Mr. Eden, their ambassador to Spain, under pretence of taking this in his route, is in truth their factotum in the present emergency. Nothing worth noting has occurred since my last, either in the Dutch or Austrian Netherlands.

I have the honor to be, with the most perfect esteem and respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, August 15, 1787.

Dear Sir,—A gentleman going from hence by L'Orient to Boston, furnishes me an opportunity of recommending to your care the enclosed letters, which I could not get ready for the last packet. Pray inform me in your next whether letters directed to your foreign ministers, or franked by them, are free of postage; that they ought to be so is acknowledged substantially by the resolution of Congress, allowing us to charge postages. I have sometimes suspected that my letters stagnate in the post-offices. My letters by the last packet brought down the domestic news of this country to the day in which the bed of justice was held. The day before yesterday the parliament house was surrounded by ten thousand people, who received them on their adjournment with acclamations of joy, took out the horses of the principal speakers and drew their chariots themselves to their hotels. The parliament not having taken the desperate step (as far as is yet known) of forbidding the execution of the new tax laws by an Arret de defence sur peine de mort, we presume it is the fear of a popular commotion which has occasioned the King to exile them to Troyes. This is known only this morning. The ministry here have certain information that the English squadron has sailed and took its course westwardly. This is another move towards war. No other important fact has taken place since my letter by the packet. Adieu. Yours affectionately.



Paris, August 15, 1787.

Sir,—In consequence of the permission you were so kind as to give me, when I had the honor of seeing you at Milan, I shall sometimes take the liberty of troubling you with a line. I cannot begin with an act of greater justice than that of expressing to you all my gratitude for your attentions and services while in your capital, and to which I am indebted for the best informations I received there. I then mentioned some late publications on the subject of America, of which I would do myself the honor of sending you one, because it was my own, and two others because worth reading. Mine are some notes only on the State of Virginia. The others are Ramsay's history of the war and Soulé's history. The first is very authentic, there being no fact in it which may not be relied on; but it is confined to the war in the southern States. The last is a general history, of which we can only say it is the best of those written in Europe. There is a history of the same period now printing in London, though written in America by an English clergyman of the name of Gordon. He had access to some collections of papers not known to any other writer. But I am unable to say as yet what may be the merit of his work. You must have observed when in America, that time and trial had discovered defects in our federal constitution. A new essay, made in the midst of the flames of war, could not be perfect. The States have appointed deputies, who are now sitting at Philadelphia, to consider what are the defects, and to propose new articles to be added to the instrument of confederation for amending them. The articles to be proposed by them will have to be confirmed by Congress and by the Legislature of every State before they will be in force. As yet their proceedings are not known. Probably they go to the following points: 1. To invest Congress with the exclusive sovereignty in every matter relative to foreign nations and the general mass of our Union, retaining to the States their individual sovereignty in matters merely domestic. 2. To devise some peaceable mode whereby Congress may enforce their decisions. 3. To organize Congress into three branches, Legislative, Executive and Judiciary. I had the honor of informing you of the commotions which had taken place in Massachusetts, the only ones which had ever taken place since the declaration of Independence. I have now that of informing you that those commotions have been entirely quieted. General Washington is well, and is president of the federal convention sitting at Philadelphia, as before mentioned. Dr. Franklin and others, the greatest characters of America, are members of it. I do not give you European news; you have that from other quarters; after adding therefore, that the books before mentioned, are delivered to Messieurs Cathalan, of Marseilles, who will send them to their correspondent at Genoa, with instructions to forward them to you at Milan. I shall only repeat very sincere assurances of the esteem and respect with which I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, August 30, 1787.

Dear Sir,—Since your favor of July the 10th, mine have been of July the 17th, 23d and 28th. The last enclosed a bill of exchange from Mr. Grand, on Tessier for £46, 17s. 10d. sterling, to answer General Sullivan's bill for that sum. I hope it got safe to hand, though I have been anxious about it, as it went by post, and my letters through that channel sometimes miscarry.

From the separation of the Notables to the present moment, has been perhaps the most interesting interval ever known in this country. The propositions of the government, approved by the Notables, were precious to the nation, and have been in an honest course of execution, some of them being carried into effect, and others preparing. Above all, the establishment of the Provincial Assemblies, some of which have begun their sessions, bid fair to be the instrument for circumscribing the power of the crown, and raising the people into consideration. The election given to them, is what will do this. Though the minister, who proposed these improvements, seems to have meant them as the price of the new supplies, the game has been so played, as to secure the improvements to the nation, without securing the price. The Notables spoke softly on the subject of the additional supplies. But the parliament took them up roundly, refused to register the edicts for the new taxes, till compelled in a bed of justice, and suffered themselves to be transferred to Troyes, rather than withdraw their opposition. It is urged principally against the King, that his revenue is one hundred and thirty millions more than that of his predecessor was, and yet he demands one hundred and twenty millions further. You will see this well explained in the "Conference entre un ministre d'état et un Conseiller au parliment," which I send you, with some small pamphlets. In the meantime, all tongues in Paris (and in France as it is said) have been let loose, and never was a license of speaking against the government exercised in London more freely or more universally. Caricatures, placards, bons mots, have been indulged in by all ranks of people, and I know of no well-attested instance of a single punishment. For some time mobs of ten, twenty and thirty thousand people collected daily, surrounded the parliament house, huzzaed the members, even entered the doors and examined into their conduct, took the horses out of the carriages of those who did well, and drew them home. The government thought it prudent to prevent these, drew some regiments into the neighborhood, multiplied the guards, had the streets constantly patrolled by strong parties, suspended privileged places, forbade all clubs, etc. The mobs have ceased; perhaps this may be partly owing to the absence of parliament. The Count d'Artois, sent to hold a bed of justice in the Cour des Aides, was hissed and hooted without reserve, by the populace; the carriage of Madame de (I forget the name) in the Queen's livery was stopped by the populace, under a belief that it was Madame de Polignac, whom they would have insulted; the Queen, going to the theatre at Versailles with Madame de Polignac, was received with a general hiss. The King, long in the habit of drowning his cares in wine, plunges deeper and deeper. The Queen cries, but sins on. The Count d'Artois is detested, and Monsieur, the general favorite. The Archbishop of Thoulouse is made minister principal, a virtuous, patriotic, and able character. The Marechal de Castries retired yesterday, notwithstanding strong solicitations to remain in office. The Marechal de Segur retired at the same time, prompted to it by the court. Their successors are not yet known. Monsieur de St. Priest goes ambassador to Holland, in the room of Verac, transferred to Switzerland, and the Count de Moustier goes to America, in the room of the Chevalier de La Luzerne, who has a promise of the first vacancy. These nominations are not yet made formally, but they are decided on, and the parties are ordered to prepare for their destination.

As it has been long since I have had a confidential conveyance to you, I have brought together the principal facts from the adjournment of the Notables to the present moment, which, as you will perceive from their nature, required a confidential conveyance. I have done it the rather, because, though you will have heard many of them, and seen them in the public papers, yet, floating in the mass of lies which constitute the atmosphere of London and Paris, you may not have been sure of their truth; and I have mentioned every truth of any consequence, to enable you to stamp as false, the facts pretermitted. I think that in the course of three months, the royal authority has lost, and the rights of the nation gained, as much ground by a revolution of public opinion only, as England gained in all her civil wars under the Stuarts. I rather believe, too, they will retain the ground gained, because it is defended by the young and the middle aged, in opposition to the old only. The first party increases, and the latter diminishes daily, from the course of nature. You may suppose, that in this situation, war would be unwelcome to France. She will surely avoid it, if not forced into it by the courts of London and Berlin. If forced, it is probable she will change the system of Europe totally, by an alliance with the two empires, to whom nothing would be more desirable. In the event of such a coalition, not only Prussia, but the whole European world must receive from them their laws. But France will probably endeavor to preserve the present system, if it can be done, by sacrificing to a certain degree, the pretensions of the Patriotic party in Holland. But of all these matters, you can judge, in your position, where less secrecy is observed, better than I can.

I have news from America as late as July the 19th. Nothing had transpired from the federal convention. I am sorry they began their deliberations by so abominable a precedent as that of tying up the tongues of their members. Nothing can justify this example but the innocence of their intentions, and ignorance of the value of public discussions. I have no doubt that all their other measures will be good and wise. It is really an assembly of demigods. General Washington was of opinion, that they should not separate till October.

I have the honor to be, with every sentiment of friendship and respect, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, September 8, 1787.

Sir,—I had the honor of addressing your Excellency on the 3d of July, some observations on the letter of Monsieur de Calonnes, of October 22d, 1786, relative to the commerce of France with the United States of America; of proposing to it some small amendments, and of expressing a wish that it might be put into such a form as would secure its execution. Monsieur de Villedeuil, then Comptroller General was pleased to inform me that the Farmers General had received orders on the first of April, 1787, to conform themselves to the decisions notified in that letter, and that on the 5th of the same month they had given orders not to levy "sur les huiles et autres produits de la peche Americane que les droits mentionnes dans la lettre." This expression, restrained to the produce of the fisheries, with recent information received from the American agent at Havre, make me apprehensive that the ancient duties are still demanded on all other objects, and induce me to repeat to your Excellency my request that the letter of M. de Calonnes may be put into such form as will insure its execution and stability. In my letter of July 25th, I took the liberty of proposing that timely measures might be adopted for encouraging the direct importation of the tobacco of the United States into this Kingdom when the order of Bernis should be expired, and that in the meantime that order might be strictly executed. A great accumulation of tobaccos in the seaports of France, and a refusal of the Farmers General to purchase any more, on the pretence that they have purchased the whole quantity required by government, excites discontent among the merchants. It is their opinion that the Farms have not complied with the order of Bernis. As the government was pleased to desire the publication of that order to induce the merchants to bring tobaccos here, it would be very satisfactory to make known also the execution of that order. If the Farms can verify that they have strictly executed it, all discontent will cease and the merchants become sensible that the present glut is occasioned by their importing too much. On the other hand, if it shall appear, from the list of purchases made by the Farms, or from other evidence, that they have not purchased the whole quantity on the conditions prescribed by government, they will doubtless be instructed to do it, and that too without delay, as the duration of the contract with Mr. Morris, and of the order of Bernis, formed on that, will soon expire.

A parcel of gazettes and magazines sent to me from America, for my own use, and detained in the syndic chamber, obliges me to trouble your Excellency for an order for their delivery.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect esteem and respect, your Excellency's most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, Sept. 9, 1787.

Sir,—Immediately on the receipt of your favor of the 31st of August, I waited on the person who is charged with the superintendence of the conduct of the Farms, and informed him that the customhouse officers had required the ancient duties on a cargo of pearlash, arrived at Havre. He observed to me that the duties promised to be abolished by the King were only those due to himself or the Farms; but that there were droits loceaux, which he could not abolish; that the officers of the customs might have demanded the droits loceaux, but that it was impossible they should have demanded any other duties. If they have done so, I will beg the favor of you to send me such evidence of the demand as will enable me to press for a proper notice of the Farms, if they have failed to give orders, or a punishment of the officer, if he has failed to obey them.

No further changes in the government since my last. The office of Directeur du tresor royal was offered to M. de La Borde and refused by him. Had no accident intervened, I think the affairs of the Dutch would have been arranged without producing any war immediately. They are even at this moment in a train of negotiation. But, in the meantime, a war has broke out between the Russians and Turks. We have no news yet of any action, but the Turks have imprisoned the Russian Ambassador at Constantinople, and no hope is entertained of preventing hostilities. Considering the situation of things in Europe, it seems inevitable that this fire must spread over the whole of it. The utmost that can be hoped, in my opinion, is that the season is so far advanced as that the other powers of Europe may not be drawn into the vortex of hostilities till the ensuing spring. The desire of government to prevent a war, might make it disagreeable to them to see this opinion published. I will pray you, therefore, to make use of it only for your own government, and that of the Americans concerned in commerce with your port. I shall make the same communication to our agents at Nantes and Bordeaux. I have the honor to be, with much esteem, Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant.



Paris, Sept. 9, 1787.

Sir,—Congress do not grant their sea-letters for the East Indies, but to ships belonging to citizens of the United States, and navigated by officers and seamen of the United States. Even the cargo must also belong to their own citizens. Nor can these letters be obtained but on an application to Congress themselves, whereupon they appoint a committee of their own body to enquire into the circumstances relative to the vessel, cargo and crew, and on their report of the fact, they grant or refuse the passport.

I am, with much respect, Sir, your most obedient humble servant.



Paris, September 9, 1787.

Sir,—The affairs of Holland, though at one moment they had threatened a war, had got into a hopeful train of accommodation, when all of a sudden a war is kindled between the Russians and Turks. The latter have imprisoned the Russian Ambassador resident with them, which you know is their manner of declaring war; and though no news of actual hostilities is yet arrived, every body considers them as inevitable. In the present state of Europe, a spark dropped anywhere must kindle the whole. The only thing to be hoped is that the advance of the season may prevent the other powers from being drawn into the vortex of hostilities, till the next spring. But this cannot be depended on. Government here would still wish for peace, and may see disagreeably the publication of any opinion unfriendly to their wish. I will beg of you, therefore, to make use of this for your own information only, and that of the persons concerned in our commerce from your port. My duty leads me to care of them, and my desire to give no offence makes me wish to give no further alarm. I make the same communication to the ports of Nantes, L'Orient, and Havre. I am, with much esteem, Sir, your most obedient humble servant.



Paris, September 10, 1787.

Sir,—I am honored with your favor of the 5th instant, and will forward the letter to Mr. Jay by the packet-boat which sails the 25th of this month. I am sorry for the situation in which Mr. Grand's refusal to make further advances has placed you. I know its pain, because I participate of it. The aspect of your affairs has also been discouraging. Perhaps the war kindled between Russia and Turkey may engage your friends, of necessity in measures they wished to avoid, and may ultimately relieve you. Our Federal Convention is likely to sit till October; there is a general disposition through the States to adopt what they shall propose, and we may be assured their propositions will be wise, as a more able assembly never sat in America. Happily for us, that when we find our constitutions defective and insufficient to secure the happiness of our people, we can assemble with all the coolness of philosophers, and set it to rights, while every other nation on earth must have recourse to arms to amend or to restore their constitutions. The sale of our western lands begins this month. I hope from this measure a very speedy reduction of our national debt. It can only be applied to pay off the principal, being irrevocably made a sinking fund for that purpose. I have the honor to be, with much esteem and respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, September 15, 1787.

Sir,—I have lately received from Mr. Jay, Secretary for foreign affairs to the United States of America, the enclosed letter from Congress to his Majesty the Emperor (whom God preserve), and their ratification of the treaty between his Majesty (whom God preserve) and the United States, together with an instruction to forward them to you, to be delivered into the hands of his Majesty (whom God preserve). I am at the same time to ask the favor of you to deliver the inclosed letter to Taher Ben Abdelkack Fennish.

Mr. Jay also informs me that Congress had confirmed Mr. Barclay's appointment of yourself to be their agent at Morocco, of Don Joseph Chiappi to be their agent at Mogador, and Don Girolamo Chiappi to be their agent at Tangier, with which agents it was their desire that their ministers at Versailles and London should regularly correspond; that want of time prevented his having and sending to me the certified copies of these acts by that opportunity, but that he would do it by the next. It will be with singular pleasure that I shall be instrumental in forwarding to you these testimonies of the sense which Congress entertains of your personal merit, and of your dispositions to be useful to the citizens of America.

In the meantime, I shall be very happy to receive from you such communications, from time to time, as may be interesting to either nation, and will avail myself of every occasion of making communications of the same nature to you, and of assuring you of those sentiments of esteem and respect with which I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, Sept. 16, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I am now to acknowledge the receipt of your favors of Dec. the 13th and 22d, 1786, and of Jan., 1787. These should not have been so long unanswered, but that they arrived during my absence on a journey of between three and four months through the southern parts of France, and northern of Italy. In the latter country, my time allowed me to go no farther than Turin, Milan, and Genoa: consequently, I scarcely got into classical ground. I took with me some of the writings, in which endeavors have been made to investigate the passage of Annibal over the Alps, and was just able to satisfy myself, from a view of the country, that the descriptions given of his march are not sufficiently particular to enable us, at this day, even to guess at his track across the Alps. In architecture, painting, sculpture, I found much amusement; but more than all, in their agriculture, many objects of which might be adopted with us to great advantage. I am persuaded, there are many parts of our lower country where the olive tree might be raised, which is assuredly the richest gift of heaven. I can scarcely except bread. I see this tree supporting thousands among the Alps, where there is not soil enough to make bread for a single family. The caper too, might be cultivated with us. The fig we do raise. I do not speak of the vine, because it is the parent of misery. Those who cultivate it are always poor, and he who would employ himself with us in the culture of corn, cotton, &c., can procure, in exchange for them, much more wine, and better than he could raise by its direct culture.

I sent you formerly copies of the documents on the Tagliaferro family, which I had received from Mr. Febroni. I now send the originals. I have procured for you a copy of Polybius, the best edition; but the best edition of Vitruvius, which is with the commentaries of Ticinus, is not to be got here. I have sent to Holland for it. In the meantime, the Polybius comes in a box containing books for Peter Carr, and for some of my friends in Williamsburg and its vicinities. I have taken the liberty of addressing the box to you. It goes to New York in the packet boat which carries this letter, and will be forwarded to you by water, by Mr. Madison. Its freight to New York is paid here. The transportation from thence to Williamsburg will be demanded of you, and shall stand as the equivalent to the cost of Polybius and Vitruvius, if you please. The difference either way will not be worth the trouble of raising and transmitting accounts. I send you herewith, a state of the contents of the box, and for whom each article is. Among these are some, as you will perceive, of which I ask your acceptance. It is a great comfort to me, that while here, I am able to furnish some amusement to my friends, by sending them such productions of genius, ancient and modern, as might otherwise escape them; and I hope they will permit me to avail myself of the occasion while it lasts.

This world is going all to war. I hope ours will remain clear of it. It is already declared between the Turks and Russians, and considering the present situation of Holland, it cannot fail to spread itself all over Europe. Perhaps it may not be till next spring, that the other powers will be engaged in it: nor is it as yet clear how they will arrange themselves. I think it not impossible that France and the two empires may join against all the rest. The Patriotic party in Holland will be saved by this, and the Turks sacrificed. The only thing which can prevent the union of France and the two empires, is the difficulty of agreeing about the partition of the spoils. Constantinople is the key of Asia. Who shall have it? is the question. I cannot help looking forward to the re-establishment of the Greeks as a people, and the language of Homer becoming again a living language, as among possible events. You have now with you Mr. Paradise, who can tell you how easily the modern may be improved into the ancient Greek.

You ask me in your letter, what ameliorations I think necessary in our federal constitution. It is now too late to answer the question, and it would always have been presumption in me to have done it. Your own ideas, and those of the great characters who were to be concerned with you in these discussions, will give the law, as they ought to do, to us all. My own general idea was, that the States should severally preserve their sovereignty in whatever concerns themselves alone, and that whatever may concern another State, or any foreign nation, should be made a part of the federal sovereignty; that the exercise of the federal sovereignty should be divided among three several bodies, legislative, executive, and judiciary, as the State sovereignties are; and that some peaceable means should be contrived, for the federal head to force compliance on the part of the States. I have reflected on your idea of wooden, or ivory diagrams, for the geometrical demonstrations. I should think wood as good as ivory; and that in this case, it might add to the improvement of the young gentlemen, that they should make the figures themselves. Being furnished by a workman with a piece of veneer, no other tool than a penknife and a wooden rule, would be necessary. Perhaps pasteboards, or common cards, might be still more convenient. The difficulty is, how to reconcile figures which must have a very sensible breadth to our ideas of a mathematical line, which, as it has neither breadth nor thickness, will revolt more at these than at simple lines drawn on paper or slate. If, after reflecting on this proposition, you would prefer having them made here, lay your commands on me, and they shall be executed.

I return you a thousand thanks for your goodness to my nephew. After my debt to you for whatever I am myself, it is increasing it too much to interest yourself for his future fortune. But I know, that to you, a consciousness of doing good is a luxury ineffable. You have enjoyed it already, beyond all human measure, and that you may long live to enjoy it, and to bless your country and friends, is the sincere prayer of him who is, with every possible sentiment of esteem and respect, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, September 18, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I am now to acknowledge the receipt of your favors of April the 14th, and June the 26th, as also of the second volume of the transactions you were so kind as to send me. It would have been a grateful present indeed, could you have accompanied them with a copy of your observations on our western country. Besides the interest I feel in that country in common with others, I have a particular one, as having ventured so many crudities on that subject. A copy of these, with some late corrections, I have put into a box of books sent to Mr. Madison, and another for Mr. Hopkinson. I hope he will forward them to you from New York. I have also put into the same box for you a dissertation, by De la Sauvagere, on the spontaneous growth of shells. When I was at Tours this summer, I inquired into the character of De la Sauvagere, from a gentleman who had known him well. He told me he was a person of talents, but of a heated imagination; however, that he might be depended on for any facts advanced on his own knowledge. This gentleman added, that he had seen such proofs of this growth of shells in many parts of the country round Tours, as to convince him of the truth of the fact; and that he has never seen any person, even the most incredulous, quit those Falunieres but under the same conviction. After all, I cannot say I give faith to it. It is so unlike the processes of nature, to produce the same effect in two different ways, that I can only bring myself to agree it is not impossible. I have added for you the Connoissance des Temps for '88 and '89, and a copy of Fourcroi's Chemistry, which is the best and most complete publication in that line, which we have had for some time past. I shall be happy to receive an account of your improvement in timepieces, as well as the third volume of the transactions, when published. There are abundance of good things in the second volume. But I must say there are several which have not merit enough to be placed in such company. I think we should be a little rigid in our admission of papers. It is the peculiar privilege derived from our not being obliged to publish a volume in any fixed period of time. A person here pretends to have discovered the method of rendering sea-water potable, and has some respectable certificates of its success. He has contrived a varnish, also, for lining biscuit barrels, which preserves the biscuit good, and keeps it free from insects. He asks money for his secrets, so we are not to know them soon.

The affairs of Holland had got so far entangled as to leave little hope that war could be avoided. In this situation, the Turks have declared war against the Russians. This, I think, renders a general war inevitable. Perhaps the European powers may take this winter to determine which side each shall take. There is a possibility that an alliance between France and the two empires may induce England and Prussia to tread back their steps. In that case, the Patriotic party in Holland will be peaceably placed at the head of their government. The Turks will be driven out of Europe, their continental possessions divided between Russia and the Emperor, and perhaps their islands and Egypt allotted to France. These events seem possible at present. * * * *



Paris, September 18, 1787.

Gentlemen,—Congress having thought proper, by their vote of July the 18th, to entrust me to take measures for the redemption of our captives at Algiers, and to desire you to furnish the money necessary, it is proper to state to you some data whereby you may judge what sum is necessary. The French prisoners, last redeemed by the order of Mathurins, cost somewhat less than four hundred dollars: but the General of the order told me, that they had always been made to pay more for foreign prisoners than their own. The smallest sum then, at which we can expect ours, including redemption, clothing, feeding, and transportation, will be five hundred dollars each. There are twenty of them. Of course, ten thousand dollars is the smallest sum which can be requisite. I think a larger sum should be set apart, as so much of it as shall not be wanting for the prisoners, will remain for other uses. As soon as you shall have notified me that the money is ready, I will proceed to execute the order of Congress. I must add the injunctions of the General of the Mathurins, that it be not made known that the public interest themselves in the redemption of these prisoners, as that would induce the Algerians to demand the most extravagant price. I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most profound respect, Gentlemen, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, September 19, 1787.

Sir,—My last letters to you were of the 6th and 15th of August; since which, I have been honored with yours of July the 24th, acknowledging the receipt of mine of the 14th and 23d of February. I am anxious to hear you have received that also of May the 4th, written from Marseilles. According to the desires of Congress, expressed in their vote confirming the appointments of Francisco, Giuseppa and Girolamo Chiappi, their agents in Morocco, I have written letters to these gentlemen, to begin a correspondence with them. To the first, I have inclosed the ratification of the treaty with the Emperor of Morocco, and shall send it either by our agent at Marseilles, who is now here, or by the Count Daranda, who sets out for Madrid in a few days, having relinquished his embassy here. I shall proceed on the redemption of our captives at Algiers, as soon as the commissioners of the treasury shall enable me, by placing the money necessary, under my orders. The prisoners redeemed by the religious order of Mathurins, cost about four hundred dollars each, and the General of the order told me, that they had never been able to redeem foreigners on so good terms as their own countrymen. Supposing that their redemption, clothing, feeding and transportation, should amount to five hundred dollars each, there must be, at least, a sum of ten thousand dollars set apart for this purpose. Till this is done, I shall take no other step than the preparatory one, of destroying at Algiers all idea of our intending to redeem the prisoners. This, the General of the Mathurins told me, was indispensably necessary, and that it must not, on any account, transpire, that the public would interest themselves for their redemption. This was rendered the more necessary, by the declaration of the Dey to the Spanish consul, that he should hold him responsible, at the Spanish price, for our prisoners, even for such as should die. Three of them have died of the plague. By authorizing me to redeem at the prices usually paid by the European nations, Congress, I suppose, could not mean the Spanish price, which is not only unusual, but unprecedented, and would make our vessels the first object with those pirates. I shall pay no attention, therefore, to the Spanish price, unless further instructed. Hard as it may seem, I should think it necessary not to let it be known even to the relations of the captives, that we mean to redeem them.

I have the honor to enclose you a paper from the admiralty of Guadaloupe, sent to me as a matter of form, and to be lodged, I suppose, with our marine records. I enclose, also, a copy of a letter from the Count de Florida Blanca to Mr. Carmichael, by which you will perceive, they have referred the settlement of the claim of South Carolina for the use of their frigate, to Mr. Gardoqui, and to the Delegates of South Carolina in Congress.

I had the honor to inform you, in my last letter, of the parliament's being transferred to Troyes. To put an end to the tumults in Paris, some regiments were brought nearer, the patroles were strengthened and multiplied, some mutineers punished by imprisonment: it produced the desired effect. It is confidently believed, however, that the parliament will be immediately recalled, the stamp tax and land tax repealed, and other means devised of accommodating their receipts and expenditures. Those supposed to be in contemplation, are a rigorous levy of the old tax of the deux vingtièmes, on the rich, who had, in a great measure, withdrawn their property from it, as well as on the poor, on whom it had principally fallen. This will greatly increase the receipts; while they are proceeding on the other hand, to reform their expenses far beyond what they had promised. It is said these reformations will amount to eighty millions. Circumstances render these measures more and more pressing. I mentioned to you in my last letter, that the officer charged by the ministry to watch the motion of the British squadron, had returned with information that it had sailed westwardly. The fact was not true. He had formed his conclusion too hastily, and thus led the ministry into error. The King of Prussia, urged on by England, has pressed more and more the affairs of Holland, and lately has given to the States General of Holland, four days only to comply with his demand. This measure would, of itself, have rendered it impossible for France to proceed longer in the line of accommodation with Prussia. In the same moment, an event takes place, which seems to render all attempt at accommodation idle. The Turks have declared war against the Russians, and that under circumstances which exclude all prospect of preventing its taking place. The King of Prussia having deserted his ancient friends, there remains only France and Turkey, perhaps Spain also, to oppose the two empires, Russia and England. By such a piece of Quixotism, France might plunge herself into ruin with the Turks and Dutch, but would save neither. But there is certainly a confederacy secretly in contemplation, of which the public have not yet the smallest suspicion; that is, between France and the two empires. I think it sure that Russia has desired this, and that the Emperor, after some hesitation, has acceded. It rests on this country to close. Her indignation against the King of Prussia will be some spur. She will thereby save her party in Holland, and only abandon the Turks to that fate she cannot ward off, and which their precipitation has brought on themselves, by the instigations of the English ambassador at the Porte, and against the remonstrances of the French ambassador. Perhaps this formidable combination, should it take place, may prevent the war of the western powers, as it would seem that neither England nor Prussia would carry their false calculations so far, as, with the aid of the Turks only, to oppose themselves to such a force. In that case, the Patriots of Holland would be peaceably established in the powers of their government, and the war go on against the Turks only, who would probably be driven from Europe. This new arrangement would be a total change of the European system, and a favorable one for our friends. The probability of a general war, in which this country will be engaged on one side, and England on the other, has appeared to me sufficient to justify my writing to our agents in the different ports of France, to put our merchants on their guard, against risking their property in French or English bottoms. The Emperor, instead of tracing back his steps in Brabant, as was expected, has pursued the less honorable plan of decoying his subjects thence by false pretences, to let themselves be invested by his troops, and this done, he dictates to them his own terms. Yet it is not certain the matter will end with that.

The Count de Moustier is nominated Minister Plenipotentiary to America; and a frigate is ordered to Cherbourg, to carry him over. He will endeavor to sail by the middle of the next month, but if any delay should make him pass over the whole of October, he will defer his voyage to the spring, being unwilling to take a winter passage. Monsieur de St. Priest is sent Ambassador to Holland, in the room of Monsieur de Verac, appointed to Switzerland. The Chevalier de Luzerne might, I believe, have gone to Holland, but he preferred a general promise of promotion, and the possibility that it might be to the court of London. His prospects are very fair. His brother, the Count de la Luzerne, (now Governor in the West Indies,) is appointed minister of the marine, in the place of Monsieur de Castries, who has resigned. The Archbishop of Thoulouse is appointed ministre principale, and his brother, Monsieur de Brienne, minister of war, in the place of Monsieur de Segur. The department of the Comptroller has had a very rapid succession of tenants. From Monsieur de Calonnes it passed to Monsieur de Forqueux, from him to Villedeuil, and from him to Lambert, who holds it at present, but divided with a Monsieur Cabarrus, (whom I believe you knew in Spain,) who is named Directeur du trésor royal, the office into which M. Neckar came at first. I had the honor to inform you, that before the departure of the Count de Luzerne to his government in the West Indies, I had pressed on him the patronage of our trade with the French islands; that he appeared well disposed, and assured me he would favor us as much as his instructions, and the laws of the colonies, would permit. I am in hopes these dispositions will be strengthened by his residence in the islands, and that his acquaintance among the people there, will be an additional motive to favor them. Probably they will take advantage of his appointment, to press indulgences in commerce with us. The ministry is of a liberal complexion, and well disposed to us. The war may add to the motives for opening their islands to other resources for their subsistence, and for doing what may be agreeable to us. It seems to me, at present, then, that the moment of the arrival of the Count de La Luzerne, will be the moment for trying to obtain a freer access to their islands. It would be very material to do this, if possible, in a permanent way, that is to say, by treaty. But I know of nothing we have to offer in equivalent. Perhaps the payment of our debt to them might be made use of as some inducement, while they are so distressed for money. Yet the borrowing the money in Holland will be rendered more difficult by the same event, in proportion as it will increase the demand for money by other powers.

The gazettes of Leyden and France to this date are enclosed, together with some pamphlets on the internal affairs of this country.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect esteem and respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, Sept. 20, 1787.

Dear Sir,—Your favor of April the 28th did not come to my hands till the first instant. Unfortunately, the box of plants, which were a day too late to come by the April packet, missed the packet of June the 10th also, and only came by that of July the 25th. They are not yet arrived at Paris, but I expect them daily. I am sensible of your kind attention to them, and that as you were leaving New York, you took the course which bade fair to be the best. That they were forgotten in the hands in which you placed them, was probably owing to too much business, and more important. I have desired Mr. Madison to refund to you the money you were so kind as to advance for me. The delay of your letter will apologize for this delay of the repayment. I thank you also for the extract of the letter you were so kind as to communicate to me, on the antiquities found in the western country. I wish that the persons who go thither would make very exact descriptions of what they see of that kind, without forming any theories. The moment a person forms a theory, his imagination sees, in every object, only the traits which favor that theory. But it is too early to form theories on those antiquities. We must wait with patience till more facts are collected. I wish your Philosophical Society would collect exact descriptions of the several monuments as yet known, and insert them naked in their Transactions, and continue their attention to those hereafter to be discovered. Patience and observation may enable us in time, to solve the problem, whether those who formed the scattering monuments in our western country, were colonies sent off from Mexico, or the founders of Mexico itself? Whether both were the descendants or the progenitors of the Asiatic red men? The Mexican tradition, mentioned by Dr. Robertson, is an evidence, but a feeble one, in favor of the one opinion. The number of languages radically different, is a strong evidence in favor of the contrary one. There is an American by the name of Ledyard, he who was with Captain Cook on his last voyage, and wrote an account of that voyage, who has gone to St. Petersburg; from thence he was to go to Kamschatka; to cross over thence to the northwest coast of America, and to penetrate through the main continent, to our side of it. He is a person of ingenuity and information. Unfortunately, he has too much imagination. However, if he escapes safety, he will give us new, curious and useful information. I had a letter from him, dated last March, when he was about to leave St. Petersburg on his way to Kamschatka.

With respect to the inclination of the strata of rocks, I had observed them between the Blue Ridge and North Mountains in Virginia, to be parallel with the pole of the earth. I observed the same thing in most instances in the Alps, between Cette and Turin; but in returning along the precipices of the Apennines, where they hang over the Mediterranean, their direction was totally different and various; and you mention that in our western country they are horizontal. This variety proves they have not been formed by subsidence, as some writers of theories of the earth have pretended; for then they should always have been in circular strata, and concentric. It proves, too, that they have not been formed by the rotation of the earth on its axis, as might have been suspected, had all these strata been parallel with that axis. They may, indeed, have been thrown up by explosions, as Whitehurst supposes, or have been the effect of convulsions. But there can be no proof of the explosion, nor is it probable that convulsions have deformed every spot of the earth. It is now generally agreed that rock grows, and it seems that it grows in layers in every direction, as the branches of trees grow in all directions. Why seek further the solution of this phenomenon? Everything in nature decays. If it were not reproduced then by growth, there would be a chasm.

I remember you asked me, in a former letter, whether the steam mill in London was turned by the steam immediately, or by the intermediate agency of water raised by the steam. When I was in London, Boulton made a secret of his mill. Therefore, I was permitted to see it only superficially. I saw no water wheels, and, therefore, supposed none. I answered you, accordingly, that there were none. But when I was at Nismes, I went to see the steam mill there, and they showed it to me in all the parts. I saw that their steam raised water, and that this water turned a wheel. I expressed my doubts of the necessity of the inter-agency of water, and that the London mill was without it. But they supposed me mistaken; perhaps I was so; I have had no opportunity since of clearing up the doubt.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

I had a letter from Mr. Churchman, but not developing his plan of knowing the longitude, fully. I wrote him what was doubted about it, so far as we could conjecture what it was.

I am, with very great and sincere esteem, dear Sir, your friend and servant.



Paris, Sept. 22, 1787.

Sir,—The letters of which the enclosed are copies, are this moment received, and as there is a possibility that they may reach Havre before the packet sails, I have the honor of enclosing them to you. They contain a promise of reducing the duties on tar, pitch and turpentine, and that the government will interest itself with the city of Rouen, to reduce the local duty on potash. By this you will perceive that we are getting on a little in this business, though under their present embarrassments, it is difficult to procure the attention of the ministers to it. The parliament has enregistered the edict of a rigorous levy of the deux vingtièmes. As this was proposed by the King in lieu of the impost territorial, there is no doubt now that the latter, with the stamp tax, will be immediately repealed. There can be no better proof of the revolution in the public opinion, as to the powers of the monarch, and of the force, too, of that opinion. Six weeks ago, we saw the King displaying the plentitude of his omnipotence, as hitherto conceived, to enforce these two acts. At this day, he is forced to retract them by the public voice; for as to the opposition of the parliament, that body is too little esteemed to produce this effect in any case where the public do not throw themselves into the same scale.

I have the honor to be, with the most perfect esteem and respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, Sept. 22, 1787.

Sir,—When I had the honor of addressing you this morning, intelligence was handing about, which I did not think well enough authenticated to communicate to you. As it is now ascertained, I avail myself of the chance that another post may yet reach Havre before the departure of the packet. This will depend on the wind, which has for some days been unfavorable. I must premise, that this court, about ten days ago, declared, by their Chargé des Affaires in Holland, that if the Prussian troops continued to menace Holland with an invasion, his Majesty was determined, in quality of ally, to succor that province. An official letter from the Hague, of the 18th instant, assures that the Prussian army entered the territory of Holland on the 15th, that most of the principal towns had submitted, some after firing a gun or two, others without resistance; that the Rhingrave de Salm had evacuated Utretcht, with part of the troops under his command, leaving behind him one hundred and forty-four pieces of cannon, with great warlike stores; that the standard of Orange was hoisted everywhere; that no other cockade could be worn at the Hague; that the States General were to assemble that night for reinstating the Stadtholder in all his rights. The letter concludes, "we have this moment intelligence that Woerden has capitulated; so that Amsterdam remains without defence." So far the letter. We know, otherwise, that Monsieur de St. Priest, who had set out on his embassy to the Hague, has stopped at Antwerp, not choosing to proceed further till new orders. This court has been completely deceived, first by its own great desire to avoid a war, and secondly by calculating that the King of Prussia would have acted on principles of common sense, which would surely have dictated, that a power, lying between the jaws of Russia and Austria, should not separate itself from France, unless, indeed, he had assurances of dispositions in those two powers, which are not supposed to exist. On the contrary, I am persuaded that they ask the alliance of France, whom we suppose to be under hesitations between her reluctance to abandon the Turks, her jealousy of increasing by their spoils, the power of the two empires, and the inability to oppose them. If they cannot obtain her alliance, they will surely join themselves to England and Prussia.

Official advices are received, that the first division of the Russian army has passed the Borysthenes into the Polish Ukraine, and is marching towards the frontiers of Turkey. Thus, we may consider the flames of war as completely kindled in two distinct parts of this quarter of the globe, and that though France and England have not yet engaged themselves in it, the probabilities are, that they will do it.

I have the honor to be, with the most perfect esteem and respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, September 22, 1787.

Sir,—I am honored by your favor of the 17th instant. A war between France and England does not necessarily engage America in it; and I think she will be disposed rather to avail herself of the advantages of a neutral power. By the former usage of nations, the goods of a friend were safe, though taken in an enemy bottom, and those of an enemy were lawful prize, though found in a free bottom. But in our treaties with France, etc., we have established the simpler rule, that a free bottom makes free goods, and an enemy bottom, enemy goods. The same rule has been adopted by the treaty of armed neutrality between Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Holland and Portugal, and assented to by France and Spain. Contraband goods, however, are always excepted, so that they may still be seized; but the same powers have established that naval stores are not contraband; and this may be considered now as the law of nations. Though England acquiesced under this during the late war, rather than draw on herself the neutral powers, yet she never acceded to the new principle, and her obstinacy on this point, is what has prevented the late renewal of her treaty with Russia. On the commencement of a new war, this principle will probably be insisted on by the neutral powers, whom we may suppose to be Sweden, Denmark, Portugal, America, and perhaps Spain. Quere; if England will again acquiesce. Supposing these details might be useful to you, I have taken the liberty of giving them, and of assuring you of the esteem with which I am, Sir, your very humble servant.



Paris, September 22, 1787.

Sir,—I must trouble you with another letter to Mr. Jay, to be delivered to Monsieur Bourgoin on board the packet, which I hope will not be sailed before it gets to your hands, as the letter is of extreme importance. It is to inform Congress that official advice is just received here that the Prussian troops entered the territory of Holland on the 15th instant; that most of the principal towns had submitted, that Utrecht was evacuated by the Rhingrave de Salm, and Woerden capitulated, so that Amsterdam remained without defence. M. de St. Priest had stopped at Antwerp and waited further orders. We know also, that the first division of the Russian army has passed the Borysthenes into the Polish Ukraine, and is marching towards the frontiers of Turkey. War then is well kindled in those two quarters. Monsieur Cabarus is arrived at Paris, but will not accept the appointment offered him unless they will adopt his plans. On this there is hesitation; so that it is not certain he will come in.

I have received your favor of the 20th, and shall make proper use of its contents. Should the packet be sailed, I will pray you to send my letter by the first of the vessels which you mention bound for Philadelphia. I am, with great esteem, Sir, your most obedient humble servant.



Paris, September 24, 1787.

Sir,—The times are now so critical, that every day brings something new and important, not known the day before. Observing the wind still unfavorable, I am in hopes the packet may not sail to-morrow, and that this letter may be at Havre in time for that conveyance. Mr. Eden has waited on Count Montmorin to inform him, officially, that England must consider its convention with France, relative to the giving notice of its naval armament, as at an end, and that they are arming generally. This is considered here as a declaration of war. The Dutch ambassador told me yesterday, that he supposed the Prussian troops probably in possession of the Hague. I asked him if it would interrupt the course of business, commercial or banking, in Amsterdam; and particularly, whether our depot of money there was safe. He said, the people of Amsterdam would be surely so wise as to submit, when they should see that they could not oppose the Stadtholder; therefore he supposed our depot safe, and that there would be no interruption of business. It is the hour of the departure of the post; so I have only time to add assurances of the respect and esteem with which I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient humble servant.



Paris, September 28, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I received your favor by Mr. Cutting, and thank you sincerely for the copy of your book. The departure of a packet boat, which always gives me full employment for some time before, has only permitted me to look into it a little. I judge of it from the first volume, which I thought formed to do a great deal of good. The first principle of a good government, is certainly, a distribution of its powers into executive, judiciary and legislative, and a subdivision of the latter into two or three branches. It is a good step gained, when it is proved that the English constitution, acknowledged to be better than all which have preceded it, is only better in proportion as it has approached nearer to this distribution of powers. From this, the last step is easy, to show by a comparison of our constitutions with that of England, how much more perfect they are. The article of Confederations is certainly worthy of your pen. It would form a most interesting addition, to show, what have been the nature of the Confederations which have existed hitherto, what were their excellences, and what their defects. A comparison of ours with them would be to the advantage of ours, and would increase the veneration of our countrymen for it. It is a misfortune that they do not sufficiently know the value of their constitutions, and how much happier they are rendered by them, than any other people on earth, by the governments under which they live.

You know all that has happened in the United Netherlands. You know also that our friends, Van Staphorsts, will be among the most likely to become objects of severity, if any severities should be exercised. Is the money in their hands entirely safe? If it is not, I am sure you have already thought of it. Are we to suppose the game already up, and that the Stadtholder is to be re-established, perhaps erected into a monarch, without the country lifting a finger in opposition to it. If so, it is a lesson the more for us. In fact, what a crowd of lessons do the present miseries of Holland teach us? Never to have an hereditary officer of any sort: never to let a citizen ally himself with kings: never to call in foreign nations to settle domestic differences: never to suppose that any nation will expose itself to war for us, etc. Still I am not without hopes that a good rod is in soak for Prussia, and that England will feel the end of it. It is known to some, that Russia made propositions to the Emperor and France, for acting in concert; that the Emperor consents, and has disposed four camps of one hundred and eighty thousand men, from the limits of Turkey to those of Prussia. This court hesitates, or rather its Premier hesitates; for the Queen, Montmorin and Breteuil, are for the measure. Should it take place, all may yet come to rights, except for the Turks, who must retire from Europe, and this they must do, were France Quixotic enough to undertake to support them. We, I hope, shall be left free to avail ourselves of the advantages of neutrality; and yet, much I fear, the English, or rather their stupid King, will force us out of it. For thus I reason. By forcing us into the war against them, they will be engaged in an expensive land war, as well as a sea war. Common sense dictates, therefore, that they should let us remain neuter: ergo they will not let us remain neuter. I never yet found any other general rule for foretelling what they will do, but that of examining what they ought not to do.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

I have the honor to be, with my best respects to Mrs. Adams, and sentiments of perfect esteem and regard to yourself, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, September 28, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I have duly received your favor by Mr. Cutting. I had before had a transient acquaintance with him, and knew him to be sensible. Your recommendation is always a new merit. I really think, and had taken the liberty some time ago of hinting to Congress, that they would do well to have a diplomatic character at Lisbon. There is no country whose commerce is more interesting to us. I wish Congress would correspond to the wishes of that court, in sending a person there, and to mine, in sending yourself. For I confess, I had rather see you there than at London, because I doubt whether it be honorable for us to keep anybody at London, unless they keep some person at New York. Of all nations on earth, they require to be treated with the most hauteur. They require to be kicked into common good manners. You ask, if you shall say anything to Sullivan about the bill. No. Only that it is paid. I have within these two or three days, received letters from him explaining the matter. It was really for the skin and bones of the moose, as I had conjectured. It was my fault, that I had not given him a rough idea of the expense I would be willing to incur for them. He had made the acquisition an object of a regular campaign, and that too of a winter one. The troops he employed sallied forth, as he writes me, in the month of March—much snow—a herd attacked—one killed—in the wilderness—a road to cut twenty miles—to be drawn by hand from the frontiers to his house—bones to be cleaned, etc., etc., etc. In fine, he puts himself to an infinitude of trouble, more than I meant: he did it cheerfully, and I feel myself really under obligations to him. That the tragedy might not want a proper catastrophe, the box, bones, and all, are lost; so that this chapter of Natural History will still remain a blank. But I have written to him not to send me another. I will leave it for my successor to fill up, whenever I shall make my bow here. The purchase for Mrs. Adams shall be made, and sent by Mr. Cutting. I shall always be happy to receive her commands. Petit shall be made happy by her praises of his last purchase for her. I must refer you to Mr. Adams for the news. Those respecting the Dutch you know as well as I. Nor should they be written but with the pen of Jeremiah. Adieu mon ami! Yours affectionately.



Paris, October 3, 1787.

Sir,—I had-the honor of informing you, some time ago, that I had written to some of my friends in America, desiring they would send me such of the spoils of the moose, caribou, elk and deer, as might throw light on that class of animals; but more particularly, to send me the complete skeleton, skin and horns of the moose, in such condition as that the skin might be sewed up and stuffed, on its arrival here. I am happy to be able to present to you at this moment, the bones and skin of a moose, the horns of another individual of the same species, the horns of the caribou, the elk, the deer, the spiked horned buck, and the roebuck of America. They all come from New Hampshire and Massachusetts and were received by me yesterday. I give you their popular names, as it rests with yourself to decide their real names. The skin of the moose was dressed with the hair on, but a great deal of it has come off, and the rest is ready to drop off. The horns of the elk are remarkably small. I have certainly seen some of them which would have weighed five or six times as much. This is the animal which we call elk in the southern parts of America, and of which I have given some description in the Notes on Virginia, of which I had the honor of presenting you a copy. I really doubt whether the flat-horned elk exists in America; and I think this may be properly classed with the elk, the principal difference being in the horns. I have seen the daim, the cerf, the chevreuil of Europe. But the animal we call elk, and which may be distinguished as the round-horned elk, is very different from them. I have never seen the brand-hirtz or cerf d'Ardennes, nor the European elk. Could I get a sight of them, I think I should be able to say which of them the American elk resembles most, as I am tolerably well acquainted with that animal. I must observe also, that the horns of the deer, which accompany these spoils, are not of the fifth or sixth part of the weight of some that I have seen. This individual has been of three years of age, according to our method of judging. I have taken measures, particularly, to be furnished with large horns of our elk and our deer, and therefore beg of you not to consider those now sent, as furnishing a specimen of their ordinary size. I really suspect you will find that the moose, the round-horned elk, and the American deer, are species not existing in Europe. The moose is, perhaps, of a new class. I wish these spoils, Sir, may have the merit of adding anything new to the treasures of nature, which have so fortunately come under your observation, and of which she seems to have given you the key: they will in that case be some gratification to you, which it will always be pleasing to me to have procured; having the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect esteem and respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, October 4, 1787.

Sir,—I received your favor of the 23d of September, two days ago. That of the 28th and 29th, was put in my hands this morning. I immediately waited on the ambassadors, ordinary and extraordinary, of the United Netherlands, and also on the envoy of Prussia, and asked their good offices to have an efficacious protection extended to your person, your family, and your effects, observing that the United States know no party, but are the friends and allies of the United Netherlands as a nation, and would expect from their friendship, that the person who is charged with their affairs until the arrival of a Minister, should be covered from all insult and injury which might be offered him by a lawless mob; well assured that their Minister residing with Congress, would, on all occasions, receive the same. They have been so good as to promise me, each, that he will in his first despatches press this matter on the proper power, and give me reason to hope that it will be efficacious for your safety. I will transmit your letter to Mr. Jay by the Count de Moustier, who sets out within a week for New York, as Minister Plenipotentiary for France, in that country. I sincerely sympathize in your sufferings, and wish that what I have done may effect an end to them, being with much respect and esteem, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, October 5, 1787.

Sir,—I have now before me your several favors of April the 16th, 26th, and 30th, and of May the 9th and 29th, and received also a few days ago the box containing the skin, bones, and horns of the moose, and other animals, which your Excellency has been so kind as to take so much trouble to obtain and forward. They were all in good enough condition, except that a good deal of the hair of the moose had fallen off. However, there remained still enough to give a good idea of the animal, and I am in hopes Monsieur de Buffon will be able to have him stuffed, and placed on his legs in the King's Cabinet. He was in the country when I sent the box to the Cabinet, so that I have as yet no answer from him. I am persuaded he will find the moose to be a different animal from any he had described in his work. I am equally persuaded that our elk and deer are animals of a different species from any existing in Europe. Unluckily, the horns of them now received are remarkably small. However, I have taken measures to procure some from Virginia. The moose is really a valuable acquisition; but the skeletons of the other animals would not be worth the expense they would occasion to me, and still less the trouble to you. Of this, you have been already so kind as to take a great deal more than I intended to have given you, and I beg you to accept my sincere thanks. Should a pair of large horns of the elk or deer fall into your way by accident, I would thank you to keep them till some vessel should be coming directly from your nearest port to Havre. So also of very large horns of the moose, for I understand they are sometimes enormously large indeed. But I would ask these things only on condition they should occasion you no trouble, and me little expense.

You will have known that war is commenced between the Turks and Russians, and that the Prussian troops have entered Holland, and reinstated the Stadtholder. It is said that even Amsterdam has capitulated. Yet is it possible, and rather probable, this country will engage in a war to restore the Patriots. If they do, it will be the most general one long known in Europe. We, I hope, shall enjoy the blessings of a neutrality, and probably see England once more humbled. I am, with great esteem and respect, your Excellency's most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, October 8, 1787.

Sir,—I had the honor of writing you on the 19th of September, twice on the 22d, and again on the 24th. The two first went by the packet, the third by a vessel bound to Philadelphia. I have not yet learned by what occasion the last went. In these several letters, I communicated to you the occurrences of Europe, as far as they were then known. Notwithstanding the advantage which the Emperor seemed to have gained over his subjects of Brabant, by the military arrangements he had been permitted to make under false pretexts, he has not obtained his ends. He certainly wished to enforce his new regulations; but he wished more to be cleared of all domestic difficulties, that he might be free to act in the great scenes which are preparing for the theatre of Europe. He seems, therefore to have instructed his Governor General of the Netherlands to insist on compliance as far as could be insisted, without producing resistance by arms; but, at the same time, to have furnished him with a sufficiently complete recantation, to prevent the effects of insurrection. The Governor pressed; the people were firm; a small act of force was then attempted, which produced a decided resistance, in which the people killed several of the military: the last resource was then used, which was the act of recantation; this produced immediate tranquillity, and everything there is now finally settled, by the Emperor's relinquishment of his plans.

My letter of the evening of September the 22d, informed you that the Prussian troops had entered Holland, and that of the 24th that England had announced to this court that she was arming generally. These two events being simultaneous, proved that the two sovereigns acted in concert. Immediately after, the court of London announced to the other courts of Europe, that if France entered Holland with armed force, she would consider it as an act of hostility, and declare war against her; sending Mr. Granville here at the same, to make what she called a conciliatory proposition. This proposition was received as a new insult, Mr. Granville very coolly treated, and he has now gone back. It is said, he has carried the ultimatum of France. What it is, particularly, has not transpired; it is only supposed, in general, to be very firm. You will see in one of the Leyden gazettes, one of the letters written by the ministers of England to the courts of their respective residence, communicating the declaration before mentioned. In the meantime, Holland has been sooner reduced by the Prussian troops than could have been expected. The abandonment of Utrecht by the Rhingrave of Salm, seems to have thrown the people under a general panic, during which every place submitted, except Amsterdam. That had opened conferences with the Duke of Brunswick; but as late as the second instant, no capitulation was yet concluded. The King of Prussia, on his first move, demanded categorically of the King of Poland, what part he intended to act in the event of war. The latter answered, he should act as events should dictate; and is, in consequence of this species of menace from Prussia, arming himself. He can bring into the field almost seventy thousand good cavalry. In the meantime, though nothing transpires publicly of the confederation between France and the two empires, mentioned in my letter of September the 19th, it is not the less sure that it is on the carpet, and will take place. To the circumstances before mentioned may be added, as further indications of war, the naming as Generalissimo of their marine on the Atlantic, Monsieur de Suffrein, on the Mediterranean, Monsieur Albert de Rioms, the recalling Monsieur de St. Priest, their Ambassador, from Antwerp, before he had reached the Hague, and the activity of their armies by sea. On the other hand, the little movement by land would make one suppose they expected to put the King of Prussia into other hands. They, too, like the Emperor, are arranging matters at home. The rigorous levy of the deux vingtièmes is enregistered, the stamp act and impost territorial are revoked, the parliament recalled, the nation soothed by these acts, and inspired by the insults of the British court. The part of the Council still leaning towards peace, are become unpopular, and perhaps may feel the effects of it. No change in the administration has taken place since my last, unless we may consider as such, Monsieur Cabarrus's refusal to stand in the lines. Thinking he should be forced to follow, too seriously, plans formed by others, he has declined serving.

Should this war take place, as is quite probable, and should it be as general as it threatens to be, our neutrality must be attended with great advantages. Whether of a nature to improve our morals or our happiness, is another question. But is it sure, that Great Britain, by her searches, her seizures, and other measures for harassing us, will permit us to preserve our neutrality? I know it may be argued, that the land war which she would superadd to her sea war, by provoking us to join her enemies, should rationally hold her to her good behavior with us. But since the accession of the present monarch, has it not been passion, and not reason which, nine times out of ten, has dictated her measures? Has there been a better rule of prognosticating what he would do, than to examine what he ought not to do? When I review his dispositions, and review his conduct, I have little hope of his permitting our neutrality. He will find subjects of provocation in various articles of our treaty with France, which will now come into view, in all their consequences, and in consequences very advantageous to the one, and injurious to the other country. I suggest these doubts, on a supposition that our magazines are not prepared for war, and in the opinion that provisions for that event should be thought of.

The enclosed letter from Mr. Dumas came to me open, though directed to you. I immediately waited on the ambassadors, ordinary and extraordinary, of Holland, and the envoy of Prussia, and prayed them to interest themselves to have his person, his family and his goods protected. They promised me readily to do it, and have written accordingly; I trust it will be with effect. I could not avoid enclosing you the letter from Monsieur Bouebé, though I have satisfied him he is to expect nothing from Congress for his inventions. These are better certified than most of those things are; but if time stamps their worth, time will give them to us. He expects no further answer. The gazettes of Leyden and France to this date accompany this, which will be delivered you by the Count de Moustier, Plenipotentiary from this country.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect esteem and respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, October 8, 1787.

Dear Sir,—The bearer hereof, the Count de Moustier, successor to Monsieur de La Luzerne, would, from his office, need no letter of introduction to you or to anybody. Yet I take the liberty of recommending him to you, to shorten those formal approaches, which the same office would otherwise expose him to, in making your acquaintance. He is a great enemy to formality, etiquette, ostentation and luxury. He goes with the best dispositions to cultivate society, without poisoning it by ill example. He is sensible, disposed to view things favorably, and being well acquainted with the constitution of England, her manners and language, is the better prepared for his station with us. But I should have performed only the lesser, and least pleasing half of my task, were I not to add my recommendations of Madame de Brehan. She is goodness itself. You must be well acquainted with her. You will find her well disposed to meet your acquaintance, and well worthy of it. The way to please her, is to receive her as an acquaintance of a thousand years standing. She speaks little English. You must teach her more, and learn French from her. She hopes, by accompanying Monsieur de Moustier, to improve her health, which is very feeble, and still more, to improve her son in his education, and to remove him to a distance from the seductions of this country. You will wonder to be told, that there are no schools in this country to be compared to ours, in the sciences. The husband of Madame de Brehan is an officer, and obliged by the times to remain with the army. Monsieur de Moustier brings your watch. I have worn it two months, and really find it a most incomparable one. It will not want the little redressing which new watches generally do, after going about a year. It costs six hundred livres. To open it in all its parts, press the little pin on the edge, with the point of your nail; that opens the crystal; then open the dial-plate in the usual way; then press the stem, at the end within the loop, and it opens the back for winding up or regulating.

De Moustier is remarkably communicative. With adroitness he may be pumped of anything. His openness is from character, not from affectation. An intimacy with him may, on this account, be politically valuable. I am, dear Sir, your affectionate friend and servant.



(Private.) Paris, October 8, 1787.

Dear Sir,—The Count de Moustier, Minister Plenipotentiary from the Court of Versailles to the United States, will have the honor of delivering you this. The connection of your offices will necessarily connect you in acquaintance; but I beg leave to present him to you, on account of his personal as well as his public character. You will find him open, communicative, candid, simple in his manners, and a declared enemy to ostentation and luxury. He goes with a resolution to add no aliment to it by his example, unless he finds that the dispositions of our countrymen require it indispensably. Permit me, at the same time, to solicit your friendly notice, and through you, that also of Mrs. Jay, to Madame la Marquise de Brehan, sister-in-law to Monsieur de Moustier. She accompanies him, in hopes that a change of climate may assist her feeble health, and also, that she may procure a more valuable education for her son, and safer from seduction, in America than in France. I think it impossible to find a better woman, more amiable, more modest, more simple in her manners, dress, and way of thinking. She will deserve the friendship of Mrs. Jay, and the way to obtain hers, is to receive her and treat her without the shadow of etiquette.

The Count d'Aranda leaves us in a day or two. He desired me to recall him to your recollection, and to assure you of his friendship. In a letter which I mean as a private one, I may venture details too minute for a public one, yet not unamusing, or unsatisfactory. I may venture names, too, without the danger of their getting into a newspaper. There has long been a division in the Council here, on the question of war and peace. Monsieur de Montmorin and Monsieur de Breteuil have been constantly for war. They are supported in this by the Queen. The King goes for nothing. He hunts one half the day, is drunk the other, and signs whatever he is bid. The Archbishop of Thoulouse desires peace. Though brought in by the Queen, he is opposed to her in this capital object, which would produce an alliance with her brother. Whether the Archbishop will yield or not, I know not. But an intrigue is already begun for ousting him from his place, and it is rather probable it will succeed. He is a good and patriotic minister for peace, and very capable in the department of finance. At least, he is so in theory. I have heard his talents for execution censured. Can I be useful here to Mrs. Jay or yourself, in executing any commissions, great or small? I offer you my services with great cordiality. You know whether any of the wines in this country may attract your wishes. In my tour, last spring, I visited the best vineyards of Burgundy, Cote-rotie, Hermitage, Lunelle, Frontignan, and white and red Bordeaux, got acquainted with the proprietors, and can procure for you the best crops from the vigneron himself. Mrs. Jay knows if there is anything else here, in which I could be useful to her. Command me without ceremony, as it will give me real pleasure to serve you, and be assured of the sincere attachment and friendship, with which I am, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, October 9, 1787.

Mr. Jefferson has the honor of presenting his respects to Monsieur le Comte de Moustier, and of taking leave of him by letter, which he is prevented doing in person, by an unexpected visit to Versailles to-day. He will hope to have the pleasure of sometimes hearing from him, and will take the liberty occasionally, of troubling him with a letter. He considers the Count de Moustier as forming, with himself, the two end links of that chain which holds the two nations together, and is happy to have observed in him dispositions to strengthen rather than to weaken it. It is a station of importance, as on the cherishing good dispositions and quieting bad ones, will depend, in some degree, the happiness and prosperity of the two countries. The Count de Moustier will find the affections of the Americans with France, but their habits with England. Chained to that country by circumstances, embracing what they loathe, they realize the fable of the living and the dead bound together. Mr. Jefferson troubles the Count de Moustier with two letters, to gentlemen whom he wishes to recommend to his particular acquaintance, and to that of Madame de Brehan. He bids Monsieur de Moustier a most friendly adieu, and wishes him everything which may render agreeable his passage across the water, and his residence beyond it.



Paris, October 9, 1787.

Persuaded, Madam, that visits at this moment must be troublesome, I beg you to accept my adieus in this form. Be assured, that no one mingles with them more regret at separating from you. I will ask your permission to enquire of you by letter sometimes, how our country agrees with your health and your expectations, and will hope to hear it from yourself. The imitation of European manners, which you will find in our towns, will, I fear, be little pleasing. I beseech you to practice still your own, which will furnish them a model of what is perfect. Should you be singular, it will be by excellence, and after awhile you will see the effect of your example.

Heaven bless you, Madam, and guard you under all circumstances; give you smooth waters, gentle breezes, and clear skies, hushing all its elements into peace, and leading with its own hand the favored bark, till it shall have safely landed its precious charge on the shores of our new world.



Paris, October 9, 1787.

Sir,—I have duly received your favor with my account balance 160l. 7s., which shall be paid to your order. I observe it is supposed with you that the differences between the courts of London and St. Cloud are nearly settled. But be assured on the contrary, that no accommodation is expected, and that war is as certain as it can be, without being actually commenced or declared. There remains, indeed, a possibility of preventing it, but it is very feeble. This court would be disposed to do it, but they believe that of London decided on war. We cannot foresee the moment it will commence, but it is not distant, according to present appearances. M. de Suffrein is appointed to command on the Ocean, and M. Albert de Rion on the Mediterranean.

I have the honor to be, with much respect, Sir, your most obedient humble servant.



Paris, October 14, 1787.

Sir,—I have duly received your favors of October the 23d and 26th. With respect to the mission you suggest in the former, no powers are lodged in the hands of Mr. Adams and myself. Congress commissioned Mr. Adams, Dr. Franklin and myself, to treat with the Emperor on the subject of amity and commerce; at the same time, they gave us the commission to Prussia, with which you are acquainted. We proposed treating through the Imperial Ambassador here. It was declined on their part, and our powers expired, having been given but for two years. Afterwards, the same Ambassador here was instructed to offer to treat with us. I informed him our powers were expired, but that I would write to Congress on the subject. I did so, but have never yet received an answer. Whether this proceeds from a change of opinion in them, or from the multiplicity of their occupations, I am unable to say; but this state of facts will enable you to see that we have no powers in this instance, to take the measures you had thought of. I sincerely sympathise with you in your sufferings. Though forbidden by my character, to meddle in the internal affairs of an allied State, it is the wish of my heart that their troubles may have such an issue, as will secure the greatest degree of happiness to the body of the people; for it is with the mass of the nation we are allied, and not merely with their governors. To inform the minds of the people, and to follow their will, is the chief duty of those placed at their head. What party in your late struggles was most likely to do this, you are more competent to judge than I am. Under every event, that you may be safe and happy, is the sincere wish of him, who has the honor to be, with sentiments of great esteem, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, October 18, 1787.

I now have the honor, Madam, to send you the Memoire of M. de Calonnes. Do not injure yourself by hurrying its perusal. Only, when you shall have read it at your ease, be so good as to send it back, that it may be returned to the Duke of Dorset. You will read it with pleasure. It has carried comfort to my heart, because it must do the same to the King and the nation. Though it does not prove M. de Calonnes to be more innocent than his predecessors, it shows him not to have been that exaggerated scoundrel, which the calculations and the clamors of the public have supposed. It shows that the public treasures have not been so inconceivably squandered, as the parliaments of Grenoble, Thoulouse, etc., had affirmed. In fine, it shows him less wicked, and France less badly governed, than I had feared. In examining my little collection of books, to see what it could furnish you on the subject of Poland; I find a small piece which may serve as a supplement to the history I had sent you. It contains a mixture of history and politics, which I think you will like.

How do you do this morning? I have feared you exerted and exposed yourself too much yesterday. I ask you the question, though I shall not await its answer. The sky is clearing, and I shall away to my hermitage. God bless you, my dear Madam, now and always. Adieu.



Paris, October 23, 1787.

Sir,—I take the liberty of troubling your Excellency on the subject of the Arret which has lately appeared, for prohibiting the importation of whale oils and spermaceti, the produce of foreign fisheries. This prohibition being expressed in general terms, seems to exclude the whale oils of the United States of America, as well as of the nations of Europe. The uniform disposition, however, which his Majesty and his ministers have shown to promote the commerce between France and the United States, by encouraging our productions to come hither, and particularly those of our fisheries, induces me to hope, that these were not within their view, at the passing of this Arret. I am led the more into this opinion, when I recollect the assiduity exercised for several months, in the year 1785, by the committee appointed by government to investigate the objects of commerce of the two countries, and to report the encouragements of which it was susceptible; the result of that investigation, which his Majesty's Comptroller General did me the honor to communicate, in a letter of the 22d of October, 1786, stating therein the principles which should be established for the future regulations of that commerce, and particularly distinguishing the articles of whale oils by an abatement of the duties of them for the present, and a promise of further abatement after the year 1790; the thorough re-investigation with which Monsieur de Lambert honored this subject, when the letter of 1786 was to be put into the form of an Arret; that Arret itself, bearing date the 29th of December last, which ultimately confirmed the abatements of duty present and future, and declared that his Majesty reserved to himself to grant other favors to that production, if on further information, he should find it for the interest of the two nations; and finally, the letter in which Monsieur de Lambert did me the honor to enclose the Arret, and to assure me, that the duties which had been levied on our whale oils, contrary to the intention of the letter of 1786, should be restored. On a review, then, of all these circumstances, I cannot but presume, that it has not been intended to reverse, in a moment, views so maturely digested, and uniformly pursued; and that the general expressions of the Arret of September the 28th had within their contemplation the nations of Europe only. This presumption is further strengthened by having observed, that in the treaties of commerce, made since the epoch of our independence, the jura gentis amicissimæ conceded to other nations, are expressly restrained to those of the "most favored European nation;" his Majesty wisely foreseeing, that it would be expedient to regulate the commerce of a nation, which brings nothing but raw materials to employ the industry of his subjects, very differently from that of the European nations, who bring mostly what has already passed through all the stages of manufacture.

On these circumstances, I take the liberty of asking information from your Excellency, as to the extent of the late Arret; and if I have not been mistaken in supposing it did not mean to abridge that of December the 29th, I would solicit an explanatory Arret, to prevent the misconstructions of it, which will otherwise take place. It is much to be desired, too, that this explanation could be given as soon as possible, in order that it may be handed out with the Arret of September the 28th. Great alarm may otherwise spread among the merchants and adventurers in the fisheries, who, confiding in the stability of regulations, which his Majesty's wisdom had so long and well matured, have embarked their fortunes in speculations in this branch of business.

The importance of the subject to one of the principal members of our Union induces me to attend with great anxiety, the re-assurance from your Excellency, that no change has taken place in his Majesty's views on this subject; and that his dispositions to multiply, rather than diminish the combinations of interest between the two people, continue unaltered.

Commerce is slow in changing its channel. That between this country and the United States, is as yet but beginning; and this beginning has received some checks. The Arret in question would be a considerable one, without the explanation I have the honor to ask. I am persuaded, that a continuation of the dispositions which have been hitherto manifested towards us, will insure effects, political and commercial, of value to both nations.

I have had too many proofs of the friendly interest your Excellency is pleased to take, in whatever may strengthen the bands and connect the views of the two countries, to doubt your patronage of the present application; or to pretermit any occasion of repeating assurances of those sentiments of high respect and esteem with which I have the honor to be, your Excellency's most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, Oct. 24, 1787

Sir,—I wish it were in my power to announce to the Count de Cambrai that the Treasury Board of the United States had enabled their banker here to answer the demands of the foreign officers. But it is not. As soon as I knew that there was a deficiency of money to pay the interest of this demand I informed the Treasury Board of it. They answered me they would supply the necessary fund as soon as it should be in their power; and I am persuaded they have not failed in inclination to do it. Of this I had the honor to notify the Count de Cambrai the last year. It is not unknown to you that the pursuit of our new machine of government which works the worst, is that which respects the raising money; and it is that which has occasioned the late attempts to amend our confederation. Foreseeing that our Treasury Board might not be able to remit money from America, I suggested to Congress the expediency of borrowing money in Holland to pay off the foreign officers. And in the month of July last, being assured they could command the money in Holland, I pressed a more particular proposition to this purpose. As I do not foresee any possible objection to the proposition I made them, I think myself sure of their acceding to it, and that I may receive news of it in the month of December. I may be disappointed as to the time of receiving their answer, because the course of their business is slow; but I do not apprehend it will be much retarded, and still less that they will refuse it altogether. The moment I receive an answer, the Count de Cambrai may be assured it shall be communicated to him. In doing this I shall gratify not only my personal friendship for him, but also those sentiments of particular esteem and attachment with which I have the honor to be, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, Oct. 27, 1787.

Sir,—When I had the honor of addressing you on the 8th instant, the appearances of war were such, that no one would have been surprised to hear that hostilities were actually commenced at sea. The preparations were pushed with such vivacity on the part of England, that it was believed she had other objects in view than those she spoke out. However, having protected by her countenance the establishment of the Stadtholder by the Prussian troops, and completely detached the Court of Berlin from that of Versailles, she made a proposition to the latter to disarm, which was agreed to. Mutual declarations for this purpose were signed last night at Versailles, of which I have now the honor to enclose you copies.

Commissaries are to be appointed on each side to see that the disarming takes place. The Count de Moustier having been detained at Brest a fortnight by contrary wind, and this continuing obstinately in the same point, admits a possibility that this letter may yet reach Brest before his departure. It passes through the post office and will be opened and read of course. I shall have the honor of addressing you more fully a week hence by a private hand. I have now that of assuring you of the sincerity of that esteem and respect with which I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant.



Paris, November 3, 1787.

Sir,—My last letters to you were of the 8th and 27th of October. In the former, I mentioned to you the declaration of this country, that they would interpose with force, if the Prussian troops entered Holland; the entry of those troops into Holland; the declaration of England, that if France did oppose force, they would consider it as an act of war; the naval armaments on both sides; the nomination of the Bailli de Suffrein as Generalissimo on the ocean; and the cold reception of Mr. Granville here, with his conciliatory propositions, as so many symptoms which seemed to indicate a certain and immediate rupture. It was indeed universally and hourly expected. But the King of Prussia, a little before these last events, got wind of the alliance on the carpet between France and the two empires; he awaked to the situation in which that would place him; he made some applications to the court of St. Petersburg, to divert the Empress from the proposed alliance, and supplicated the court of London not to abandon him. That court had also received a hint of the same project; both seemed to suspect, for the first time, that it would be possible for France to abandon the Turks, and that they were likely to get more than they had played for at Constantinople, for they had meant nothing more there, than to divert the Empress and Emperor from the affairs of the west, by employing them in the east, and at the same time, to embroil them with France as the patroness of the Turks. The court of London engaged not to abandon Prussia: but both of them relaxed a little the tone of their proceedings. The King of Prussia sent a Mr. Alvensleben here expressly to explain and soothe: the King of England, notwithstanding the cold reception of his propositions by Granville, renewed conferences here through Eden and the Duke of Dorset. The Minister, in the affection of his heart for peace, readily joined in conference, and a declaration and counter-declaration were cooked up at Versailles, and sent to London for approbation. They were approved, arrived here at one o'clock the 27th, were signed that night at Versailles, and on the next day, I had the honor of enclosing them to you, under cover to the Count de Moustier, whom I supposed still at Brest, dating my letter as of the 27th, by mistake for the 28th. Lest, however, these papers should not have got to Brest before the departure of the Count de Moustier, I now enclose you other copies. The English declaration states a notification of this court, in September, by Barthelemy, their Minister at London, "that they would send succours into Holland," as the first cause of England's arming; desires an explanation of the intentions of this court, as to the affairs of Holland, and proposes to disarm; on condition, however, that the King of France shall not retain any hostile views in any quarter, for what has been done in Holland. This last phrase was to secure Prussia, according to promise. The King of France acknowledges the notification by his Minister at London, promises he will do nothing in consequence of it, declares he has no intention to intermeddle with force in the affairs of Holland, and that he will entertain hostile views in no quarter, for what has been done there. He disavows having ever had any intention to interpose with force in the affairs of that republic. This disavowal begins the sentence, which acknowledges he had notified the contrary to the court of London, and it includes no apology to soothe the feelings which may be excited in the breasts of the Patriots of Holland, at hearing the King declare he never did intend to aid them with force, when promises to do this were the basis of those very attempts to better their constitution, which have ended in its ruin, as well as their own.

I have analyzed these declarations, because, being somewhat wrapped up in their expressions, their full import might escape, on a transient reading; and it is necessary it should not escape. It conveys to us the important lesson, that no circumstances of morality, honor, interest, or engagement, are sufficient to authorize a secure reliance on any nation, at all times, and in all positions. A moment of difficulty, or a moment of error, may render forever useless the most friendly dispositions in the King, in the major part of his ministers, and the whole of his nation. The present pacification is considered by most as only a short truce. They calculate on the spirit of the nation, and not on the agued hand which guides its movements. It is certain, that from this moment the whole system of Europe changes. Instead of counting together England, Austria, and Russia, as heretofore, against France, Spain, Holland, Prussia, and Turkey, the division will probably be, England, Holland, and Prussia, against France, Austria, Russia, and perhaps Spain. This last power is not sure, because the dispositions of its heir apparent are not sure. But whether the present be truce or peace, it will allow time to mature the conditions of the alliance between France and the two empires, always supposed to be on the carpet. It is thought to be obstructed by the avidity of the Emperor, who would swallow a good part of Turkey, Silesia, Bavaria, and the rights of the Germanic body. To the two or three first articles, France might consent, receiving in gratification a well-rounded portion of the Austrian Netherlands, with the islands of Candia, Cyprus, Rhodes, and perhaps lower Egypt. But all this is in embryo, uncertainty known, and counterworked by the machinations of the courts of London and Berlin.

The following solution of the British armaments is supposed in a letter of the 25th ultimo, from Colonel Blachden of Connecticut, now at Dunkirk, to the Marquis de La Fayette. I will cite it in his own words:—"A gentleman who left London two days ago, and came to this place to-day, informs me that it is now generally supposed that Mr. Pitt's great secret, which has puzzled the whole nation so long, and to accomplish which design the whole force of the nation is armed, is to make a vigorous effort for the recovery of America. When I recollect the delay they have made in delivering the forts in America, and that little more than a year ago, one of the British ministry wrote to the King a letter, in which were these remarkable words, 'if your Majesty pleases, America may yet be yours;' add to this, if it were possible for the present ministry in England to effect such a matter, they would secure their places and their power for a long time, and should they fail in the end, they would be certain of holding them during the attempt, which it is in their power to prolong as much as they please, and, at all events, they would boast of having endeavored the recovery of what a former ministry had abandoned—it is possible." A similar surmise has come in a letter from a person in Rotterdam to one at this place. I am satisfied that the King of England believes the mass of our people to be tired of their independence, and desirous of returning under his government; and that the same opinion prevails in the ministry and nation. They have hired their news writers to repeat this lie in their gazettes so long, that they have become the dupes of it themselves. But there is no occasion to recur to this, in order to account for their arming. A more rational purpose avowed, that purpose executed, and when executed, a solemn agreement to disarm, seem to leave no doubt that the re-establishment of the Stadtholder was their object. Yet it is possible, that having found that this court will not make war in this moment for any ally, new views may arise, and they may think the moment favorable for executing any purposes they may have, in our quarter. Add to this, that reason is of no aid in calculating their movements. We are, therefore, never safe till our magazines are filled with arms. The present season of truce or peace, should, in my opinion, be improved without a moment's respite, to effect this essential object, and no means be omitted, by which money may be obtained for the purpose. I say this, however, with due deference to the opinion of Congress, who are better judges of the necessity and practicability of the measure.

I mentioned to you, in a former letter, the application I had made to the Dutch ambassadors and Prussian envoy, for the protection of Mr. Dumas. The latter soon after received an assurance, that he was put under the protection of the States of Holland; and the Dutch Ambassador called on me a few days ago, to inform me, by instruction from his constituents, "that the States General had received a written application from Mr. Adams, praying their protection of Dumas; that they had instructed their greffier, Fagel, to assure Mr. Adams, by letter, that he was under the protection of the States of Holland; but to inform him, at the same time, that Mr. Dumas' conduct, out of the line of his office, had been so extraordinary, that they would expect de l'honnêteté de Mr. Adams, that he would charge some other person with the affairs of the United States, during his absence."

Your letter of September the 8th, has been duly received. I shall pay due attention to the instructions relative to the medals, and give any aid I can in the case of Boss' vessel. As yet, however, my endeavors to find Monsieur Pauly, avocat au conseil d'état, rue Coquilliere, have been ineffectual. There is no such person living in that street. I found a Monsieur Pauly, avocat au parlement, in another part of the town; he opened the letter, but said it could not mean him. I shall advertise in the public papers. If that fails, there will be no other chance of finding him. Mr. Warnum will do well, therefore, to send some other description by which the person may be found. Indeed, some friend of the party interested should be engaged to follow up this business, as it will require constant attention, and probably a much larger sum of money than that named in the bill enclosed in Mr. Warnum's letter.

I have the honor to enclose you a letter from O'Bryan to me, containing information from Algiers, and one from Mr. Montgomery, at Alicant. The purpose of sending you this last, is to show you how much the difficulties of ransom are increased since the Spanish negotiations. The Russian captives have cost about eight thousand livres apiece, on an average. I certainly have no idea that we should give any such sum; and, therefore, if it should be the sense of Congress to give such a price, I would be glad to know it by instruction. My idea is, that we should not ransom, but on the footing of the nation which pays least, that it may be as little worth their while to go in pursuit of us, as any nation. This is cruelty to the individuals now in captivity, but kindness to the hundreds that would soon be so, were we to make it worth the while of those pirates to go cut of the Straits in quest of us. As soon as money is provided, I shall put this business into train. I have taken measures to damp at Algiers all expectations of our proposing to ransom, at any price. I feel the distress which this must occasion to our countrymen there, and their connections; but the object of it is their ultimate good, by bringing down their holders to such a price as we ought to pay, instead of letting them remain in such expectations as cannot be gratified. The gazettes of France and Leyden accompany this.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect esteem and respect, Sir, your most obedient humble servant.

[The annexed are translations of the declaration and counter-declaration, referred to in the preceding letter.]


The events which have taken place in the republic of the United provinces, appearing no longer to leave any subject of discussion, and still less of dispute, between the two courts, the undersigned are authorized to ask, if it be the intention of his most Christian Majesty to act in pursuance of the notification given, on the 16th of last month, by the Minister Plenipotentiary of his most Christian Majesty, which announcing his purpose of aiding Holland, has occasioned maritime armaments on the part of his Majesty, which armaments have become reciprocal.

If the court of Versailles is disposed to explain itself on this subject, and on the conduct adopted towards the republic, in a manner conformably to the desire evinced by each party, to preserve a good understanding between the two courts, it being also understood, at the same time, that no hostile view is entertained in any quarter, in consequence of the past; his Majesty, always eager to manifest his concurrence in the friendly sentiments of his most Christian Majesty, agrees forthwith that the armaments, and, in general, all preparations for war, shall be mutually discontinued, and that the marines of the two nations shall be placed on the footing of a peace establishment, such as existed on the first of January of the present year.

Signed. { Dorset.
            { Wm. Eden.

At Versailles, the 27th of October, 1787.



It neither being, nor ever having been, the intention of his Majesty to interpose by force in the affairs of the republic of the United provinces, the communication made to the court of London by M. Barthelemy, having had no other object than to announce to that court an intention, the motives of which no longer exist, especially since the King of Prussia has made known his resolution, his Majesty makes no difficulty in declaring, that he has no wish to act in pursuance of the communication aforesaid, and that he entertains no hostile view in any quarter, relative to what has passed in Holland.

Consequently, his Majesty, desiring to concur in the sentiments of his Britannic Majesty, for the preservation of a good understanding between the two courts, consents with pleasure to the proposition of his Britannic Majesty, that the armaments, and, in general, all preparations for war, shall be mutually discontinued, and that the marines of the two nations shall be replaced upon the footing of the peace establishment, as it existed on the first day of January of the present year.

Signed. Montmorin.

At Versailles, the 27th of October, 1787.



(Private.) Paris, November 3, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I shall take the liberty of confiding sometimes to a private letter such details of the small history of the court or cabinet, as may be worthy of being known, and yet not proper to be publicly communicated. I doubt whether the administration is yet in a permanent form. The Count de Montmorin and Baron de Breteuil are, I believe, firm enough in their places. It was doubted whether they would wait for the Count de La Luzerne, if the war had taken place; but at present, I suppose they will. I wish it also, because M. de Hector, his only competitor, has on some occasions shown little value for the connection with us. Lambert, the Comptroller General, is thought to be very insecure. I should be sorry also to lose him. I have worked several days with him, the Marquis de La Fayette, and Monsieur du Pont, (father of the young gentleman gone to America with the Count de Moustier) to reduce into one Arret, whatever concerned our commerce. I have found him a man of great judgment and application, possessing good general principles on subjects of commerce, and friendly dispositions towards us. He passed the Arret in a very favorable form, but it has been opposed in the Council, and will, I fear, suffer some alteration in the article of whale oil. That of tobacco, which was put into a separate instrument, experiences difficulties also, which do not come from him. M. du Pont has rendered us essential service on these occasions. I wish his son could be so well noticed, as to make a favorable report to his father; he would, I think, be gratified by it, and his good dispositions be strengthened, and rendered further useful to us. Whether I shall be able to send you these regulations by the present packet, will depend on their getting through the Council in time. The Archbishop continues well with his patroness. Her object is, a close connection with her brother. I suppose he convinces her, that peace will furnish the best occasion of cementing that connection.

It may not be uninstructive, to give you the origin and nature of his influence with the Queen. When the Duke de Choiseul proposed the marriage of the Dauphin with this lady, he thought it proper to send a person to Vienna, to perfect her in the language. He asked his friend, the Archbishop of Thoulouse, to recommend to him a proper person. He recommended a certain Abbé. The Abbé, from his first arrival at Vienna, either tutored by his patron, or prompted by gratitude, impressed on the Queen's mind, the exalted talents and merit of the Archbishop, and continually represented him as the only man fit to be placed at the helm of affairs. On his return to Paris, being retained near the person of the Queen, he kept him constantly in her view. The Archbishop was named of the Assembly des Notables, had occasion enough there to prove his talents, and Count de Vergennes, his great enemy, dying opportunely, the Queen got him into place. He uses the Abbé even yet, for instilling all his notions into her mind. That he has imposing talents and patriotic dispositions, I think is certain. Good judges think him a theorist only, little acquainted with the details of business, and spoiling all his plans by a bungled execution. He may perhaps undergo a severe trial. His best actions are exciting against him a host of enemies, particularly the reduction of the pensions, and reforms in other branches of economy. Some think the other ministers are willing he should stay in, till he has effected this odious, yet necessary work, and that they will then make him the scape-goat of the transaction. The declarations too, which I send you in my public letter, if they should become public, will probably raise an universal cry. It will all fall on him, because Montmorin and Breteuil say, without reserve, that the sacrifice of the Dutch has been against their advice. He will, perhaps, not permit these declarations to appear in this country. They are absolutely unknown; they were communicated to me by the Duke of Dorset, and I believe no other copy has been given here. They Till be published doubtless in England, as a proof of their triumph, and may thence make their way into this country. If the Premier can stem a few months, he may remain long in office, and will never make war if he can help it. If he should be removed, the peace will probably be short. He is solely chargeable with the loss of Holland. True, they could not have raised money by taxes, to supply the necessities of war; but could they do it were their finances ever so well arranged? No nation makes war now-a-days, but by the aid of loans; and it is probable, that in a war for the liberties of Holland, all the treasures of that country would have been at their service. They have now lost the cow which furnishes the milk of war. She will be on the side of their enemies, whenever a rupture shall take place; and no arrangement of their finances can countervail this circumstance.

I have no doubt, you permit access to the letters of your foreign ministers, by persons only of the most perfect trust. It is in the European system, to bribe the clerks high, in order to obtain copies of interesting papers. I am sure you are equally attentive to the conveyance of your letters to us, as you know that all are opened that pass through any post-office of Europe. Your letters which come by the packet, if put into the mail at New York, or into the post-office at Havre, wear proofs that they have been opened. The passenger to whom they are confided, should be cautioned always to keep them in his own hands, till he can deliver them personally in Paris.

I have the honor to be, with very sincere esteem and respect, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, November 6, 1787.

Sir,—I take the liberty of asking your Excellency's perusal of the enclosed case of an American hostage, confined in the prisons of Dunkirk. His continuance seems to be useless, and yet endless. Not knowing how far the government can interfere for his relief, as it is a case wherein private property is concerned, I do not presume to ask his liberation absolutely; but I will solicit from your Excellency such measures in his behalf, as the laws and usages of the country may permit.

The Comptroller General having been so good as to explain to me in a conversation that he wished to know what duties were levied in England on American whale oil, I have had the honor of informing him by letter, that the ancient duties on that article are seventeen pounds, six shillings and six pence sterling, the ton, and that some late additional duties make them amount to about eighteen pounds sterling. That the common whale oil sells there but for about twenty pounds sterling, the ton, and of course the duty amounts to a prohibition. This duty was originally laid on all foreign fish oil, with a view to favor the British and American fisheries. When we became independent, and, of course, foreign to great Britain, we became subject to the foreign duty. No duty, therefore, which France may think proper to lay on this article, can drive it to the English market. It could only oblige the inhabitants of Nantucket to abandon their fishery. But the poverty of their soil offering them no other resource, they must quit their country, and either establish themselves in Nova Scotia, where, as British fishermen, they may participate of the British premium, in addition to the ordinary price of their whale oil, or they must accept the conditions which this government offers, for the establishment they have proposed at Dunkirk. Your Excellency will judge, what conditions may counterbalance, in their minds, the circumstances of the vicinity of Nova Scotia, sameness of language, laws, religion, customs and kindred. Remaining in their native country, to which they are most singularly attached, excluded from commerce with England, taught to look to France as the only country from which they can derive sustenance, they will, in case of war, become useful rovers against its enemies. Their position, their poverty, their courage, their address and their hatred, will render them formidable scourges on the British commerce. It is to be considered then, on the one hand, that the duty which M. de Calonnes had proposed to retain on their oil, may endanger the shifting this useful body of seamen out of our joint scale into that of the British; and also may suppress a considerable subject of exchange for the productions of France: on the other hand, that it may produce an addition to his Majesty's revenue. What I have thus far said, is on the supposition, that the duty may operate a diminution of the price received by the fishermen. If it act in the contrary direction, and produce an augmentation of price to the consumer, it immediately brings into competition a variety of other oils, vegetable and animal, a good part of which France receives from abroad, and the fisherman thus losing his market, is compelled equally to change either his calling or country. When M. de Calonnes first agreed to reduce the duties to what he has declared, I had great hopes the commodity could bear them, and that it would become a medium of commerce between France and the United States. I must confess, however, that my expectations have not been fulfilled, and that but little has come here as yet. This induces me to fear, that it is so poor an article, that any duty whatever will suppress it. Should this take place, and the spirit of emigration once seize those people, perhaps an abolition of all duty might then come too late to stop, what it would now easily prevent. I fear there is danger in the experiment; and it remains for the wisdom of his Majesty and his ministers to decide, whether the prospect of gain to the revenue, or establishing a national fishery, may compensate this danger. If the Government should decide to retain the duty, I shall acquiesce in it cheerfully, and do everything in my power to encourage my countrymen still to continue their occupation.

The actual session of our several legislatures would render it interesting to forward immediately the regulations proposed on our commerce; and the expiration of the order of Bernis, at the close of this month, endangers a suspension and derangement in the commerce of tobacco, very embarrassing to the merchants of the two countries. Pardon me, therefore, Sir, if I appear solicitous to obtain the ultimate decision of his Majesty's Council on these subjects and to ask as early a communication of that decision, as shall be convenient.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most profound esteem and respect, your Excellency's most obedient, and most humble servant.

John Jay

John Jay
Photogravure from the Original Painting by Stuart and Trumbull



Paris, November 7, 1787.

Sir,—By a letter of the 2d instant, from the Count de Moustier, I perceive he is still at Brest. The wind has been now near a month in the south-western quarter, and if it remains there a few days longer, my despatches by the packet may reach you as soon as those by Monsieur de Moustier. This being the last post which can reach the packet, should she sail on the 10th, I avail myself of it to inform you of the only circumstance, since the date of my letters delivered to Mr. Stuart, worth your knowledge; that is the appointment of the Chevalier de La Luzerne, Ambassador to the Court of London. This fortunate issue of those expectations which made him unwilling to return to America, together with the character of his successor, will, I hope, render it pleasing to Congress that his return was not too much pressed. He would have gone back with dispositions toward us very different from those he will carry for us to the Court of London. He has been constantly sensible that we wished his return, and that we could have procured it, but that we did not wish to stand in the way of his promotion. He will view this as in some measure the effect of our indulgence, and I think we may count on his patronage and assistance wherever they may be useful to us. I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect esteem and respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, November 13, 1787.

Dear Sir,—This will be delivered you by young Mr. Rutledge. Your knowledge of his father will introduce him to your notice. He merits it moreover, on his own account.

I am now to acknowledge your favors of Oct. the 8th and 26th. That of Aug. 25th was duly received, nor can I recollect by what accident I was prevented from acknowledging it in mine of Sept. the 28th. It has been the source of my subsistence hitherto, and must continue to be so, till I receive letters on the affairs of money from America. Van Staphorsts and Willinks have answered my drafts. Your books for the Marquis de La Fayette are received here. I will notify it to him, who is at present with his Provincial Assembly in Auvergne.

Little is said lately of the progress of the negotiations between the courts of Petersburg, Vienna and Versailles. The distance of the former, and the cautious, unassuming character of its minister here, is one cause of delays: a greater one is, the greediness and unstable character of the Emperor. Nor do I think that the Principal here will be easily induced to lend himself to any connection, which shall threaten a war within a considerable number of years. His own reign will be that of peace only, in all probability; and were any accident to tumble him down, this country would immediately gird on its sword and buckler, and trust to occurrences for supplies of money. The wound their honor has sustained festers in their hearts; and it may be said with truth, that the Archbishop, and a few priests determined to support his measures, because, proud to see their order come again into power, are the only advocates for the line of conduct which has been pursued. It is said and believed through Paris literally, that the Count de Montmorin, "pleuroit comme un enfant," when obliged to sign the counter-declaration. Considering the phrase as figurative, I believe it expresses the distress of his heart. Indeed, he has made no secret of his individual opinion. In the meantime, the Principal goes on with a firm and patriotic spirit, in reforming the cruel abuses of the government, and preparing a new constitution, which will give to this people as much liberty as they are capable of managing. This, I think, will be the glory of his administration, because, though a good theorist in finance, he is thought to execute badly. They are about to open a loan of one hundred millions, to supply present wants, and it is said, the preface of the Arret will contain a promise of the convocation of the States General, during the ensuing year. Twelve or fifteen Provincial Assemblies are already in action, and are going on well; and I think, that though the nation suffers in reputation, it will gain infinitely in happiness, under the present administration. I enclose to Mr. Jay, a pamphlet which I will beg of you to forward. I leave it open for your perusal. When you shall have read it, be so good as to stick a wafer in it. It is not yet published, nor will be for some days. This copy has been ceded to me as a favor.

How do you like our new constitution? I confess there are things in it which stagger all my dispositions to subscribe to what such an Assembly has proposed. The house of federal representatives will not be adequate to the management of affairs, either foreign or federal. Their President seems a bad edition of a Polish King. He may be elected from four years to four years, for life. Reason and experience prove to us, that a chief magistrate, so continuable, is an office for life. When one or two generations shall have proved that this is an office for life, it becomes, on every occasion, worthy of intrigue, of bribery, of force, and even of foreign interference. It will be of great consequence to France and England, to have America governed by a Galloman or Angloman. Once in office, and possessing the military force of the Union, without the aid or check of a council, he would not be easily dethroned, even if the people could be induced to withdraw their votes from him. I wish that at the end of the four years, they had made him forever ineligible a second time. Indeed, I think all the good of this new constitution might have been couched in three or four new articles, to be added to the good, old and venerable fabric, which should have been preserved even as a religious relique. Present me and my daughters affectionately to Mrs. Adams. The younger one continues to speak of her warmly. Accept yourself, assurances of the sincere esteem and respect with which I have the honor to be, dear Sir, your friend and servant.

P. S. I am in negotiation with de La Blancharie. You shall hear from me when arranged.



Paris, November 13, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I am now to acknowledge the receipt of your favors of October the 4th, 8th, and 26th. In the last, you apologize for your letters of introduction to Americans coming here. It is so far from needing apology on your part, that it calls for thanks on mine. I endeavor to show civilities to all the Americans who come here, and who will give me opportunities of doing it; and it is a matter of comfort to know, from a good quarter, what they are, and how far I may go in my attentions to them.

Can you send me Woodmason's bills for the two copying presses for the Marquis de La Fayette and the Marquis de Chastellux? The latter makes one article in a considerable account, of old standing, and which I cannot present for want of this article. I do not know whether it is to yourself or Mr. Adams, I am to give my thanks for the copy of the new constitution. I beg leave through you to place them where due. It will yet be three weeks before I shall receive them from America. There are very good articles in it, and very bad. I do not know which preponderate. What we have lately read, in the history of Holland, in the chapter on the Stadtholder, would have sufficed to set me against a chief magistrate, eligible for a long duration, if I had ever been disposed towards one; and what we have always read of the elections of Polish Kings should have forever excluded the idea of one continuable for life. Wonderful is the effect of impudent and persevering lying. The British ministry have so long hired their gazetteers to repeat, and model into every form, lies about our being in anarchy, that the world has at length believed them, the English nation has believed them, the ministers themselves have come to believe them, and what is more wonderful, we have believed them ourselves. Yet where does this anarchy exist? Where did it ever exist, except in the single instance of Massachusetts? And can history produce an instance of rebellion so honorably conducted? I say nothing of its motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had thirteen States independent for eleven years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century and a half, for each State. What country before, ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure. Our convention has been too much impressed by the insurrection of Massachusetts; and on the spur of the moment, they are setting up a kite to keep the hen yard in order. I hope in God, this article will be rectified before the new constitution is accepted. You ask me if anything transpires here on the subject of South America? Not a word. I know that there are combustible materials there, and that they wait the torch only. But this country probably will join the extinguishers. The want of facts worth communicating to you, has occasioned me to give a little loose to dissertation. We must be contented to amuse, when we cannot inform.

Present my respects to Mrs. Smith, and be assured of the sincere esteem of, dear Sir, your friend and servant.



Paris, November 13, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I received your favor of October 25, the day before yesterday only. It would be needless for me, therefore, to add to what you already know on the subject of peace and war. The principal minister here is so intent on domestic improvements, and on peace, as necessary to give leisure for them, that it will not be his fault, if it be disturbed again. It will be equally unnecessary for me to give you a formal attestation of your being a citizen of the United States. Should any occasion for it arise hereafter, I shall be always ready to certify it. With respect to tobacco, the contract with Mr. Morris and the order of Berni cease with this year. I am obtaining an arrangement for the five years which yet remain of the present lease to the Farmers General, by which they will be obliged to take all the tobacco for which they shall have occasion from America, except about one-fifth northern, which they represent as necessary. They will be obliged to take only such as comes directly from America, without having touched at any European port in French or American bottoms, and to make the purchase in France. It will be particularly watched that they purchase not a single hogshead in England. By this I hope to have completely effected the diverting so much of the tobacco trade as amounts to their own consumption from England to France. I am glad to find, also, by your letter, that this operation will have the effect to raise the price of this commodity at the English market. 24,000 hogsheads of tobacco a year, less at that market than heretofore, must produce some change, and it could not be for the worse. The order to the farmers will name only 14,000 hogsheads a year, but it is certain they must extend it themselves nearly or quite to 24,000, as their consumption is near 30,000. I am endeavoring to bring hither also, directly, the rice of America, consumed in this country. At present they buy it from London. I am of opinion they could consume the whole of what is made in America, especially if the rice States will introduce the culture of the Piedmont and Egyptian rices also, both of which qualities are demanded here in concurrence with that of Carolina. I have procured for them the seed from Egypt and Piedmont. The indulgences given to American whale oil will ensure its coming here directly. In general, I am in hopes to ensure here the transportation of all our commodities which come to this country in American and French bottoms exclusively, which will countervail the effect of the British navigation act on our carrying business. The returns in French instead of English manufactures, will take place by degrees. Supposing that these details cannot but be agreeable to you as a merchant and as an American, I trouble you with them; being with much sincerity, and on all occasions, dear Sir, your friend and servant.



Paris, December 9, 1787.

Sir,—Your letter of November 27, showing that mine of November 14, had not then got to hand, had given me alarm for its fate, and I had sat down to write you a second acknowledgment of the receipt of your two favors of October 23 and 26, and to add the receipt, also, of those of November 14, 22 and 27. A copy of my answer of November 14 was prepared to be enclosed to you, but in that moment came your favors of November 30, December 2d and 4th, by which I perceived that the original had at length got safe to hand. By that you have seen all that interference, direct or indirect, on the part of Mr. Adams and myself in the business you had done me the honor to suggest, would be improper. Your despatches for Mr. Jay shall go with mine in the packet of this month. These will bring the matter into the view of Congress. In the meantime I think it would be well to avoid exciting at Brussels or anywhere else the least expectation thereon, because it is impossible for us to know what that body may, in its wisdom and with all circumstances under its eye, decide should be done. They had, in the year 1784, made up their minds as to the system of commercial principles they wished to pursue. These were very free. They proposed them to all the powers of Europe. All declined except Prussia. To this general opposition they may now find it necessary to present a very different general system to which their treaties will form cases of exception, and they may wish to lessen rather than multiply those cases of exception. Add to this, that it is in contemplation to change the organization of the federal government, and they may think it better to leave the system of foreign connection to be formed by those who are to pursue it. I only mention these as possible considerations, without pretending to know the sentiments of that honorable body, or any one of its members on the subject; and to show that no expectations should be raised which might embarrass them or embroil ourselves. The proposed change of government seems to be the proper topic to urge as the reason why Congress may not at this moment choose to be forming new treaties. Should they choose it, on the other hand, the reserve of those who act for them, while uninstructed, cannot do injury.

I find the expectation very general that the present peace will be of short duration. There are circumstances in favor of this opinion, there are others against it. Certain it is that this country is in a state so unprepared as to excite astonishment. After the last war, she seems to have reposed on her laurels, in confidence that no power would venture to disturb that repose.

It is presumable her present ministry will prepare to vindicate their nation and their friends. The late events have kindled a fire, which, though smothered of necessity for the present moment, will probably never be quenched but by signal revenge. Individuals will, in the meantime, have incurred sufferings which that may not repair. That yours may be lessened for the present, and relieved in future, is the sincere wish of him who has the honor to be, with sentiments of great esteem and regard, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, December 11, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I am later in acknowledging the receipt of your favors of October the 15th, and November the 5th and 15th, because we have been long expecting a packet, which I hoped would bring communications worth detailing to you; and she arrived only a few days ago, after a very long passage indeed. I am very sorry you have not been able to make out the cypher of my letter of September the 25th, because it contained things which I wished you to know at that time. They have lost now a part of their merit; but still, I wish you could decipher them, as there remains a part, which it might yet be agreeable to you to understand. I have examined the cypher from which it was written. It is precisely a copy of those given to Messrs. Barclay and Lambe. In order that you may examine whether yours corresponds, I will now translate into cypher the three first lines of my letter of June the 14th.

[Here follow three lines of cypher numbers.]

This will serve to show whether your cypher corresponds with mine, as well as my manner of using it. But I shall not use it in future, till I know from you the result of your re-examination of it. I have the honor now, to return you the letter you had been so good as to enclose to me. About the same time of Liston's conversation with you, similar ones were held with me by Mr. Eden. He particularly questioned me on the effect of our treaty with France, in the case of a war, and what might be our dispositions. I told him without hesitation, that our treaty obliged us to receive the armed vessels of France, with their prizes, into our ports, and to refuse the admission of prizes made on her by her enemies; that there was a clause by which we guaranteed to France her American possessions, and which might, perhaps, force us into the war, if these were attacked. "Then it will be war," said he, "for they will assuredly be attacked." I added, that our dispositions would be to be neutral, and that I thought it the interest of both those powers that we should be so, because it would relieve both from all anxiety as to the feeding their West India islands, and England would, moreover, avoid a heavy land war on our continent, which would cripple all her proceedings elsewhere. He expected these sentiments from me personally, and he knew them to be analogous to those of our country. We had often before had occasions of knowing each other: his peculiar bitterness towards us had sufficiently appeared, and I had never concealed from him, that I considered the British as our natural enemies, and as the only nation on earth who wished us ill from the bottom of their souls. And I am satisfied, that were our continent to be swallowed up by the ocean, Great Britain would be in a bonfire from one end to the other. Mr. Adams, as you know, has asked his recall. This has been granted, and Colonel Smith is to return too; Congress having determined to put an end to their commission at that court. I suspect and hope they will make no new appointment.

Our new Constitution is powerfully attacked in the American newspapers. The objections are, that its effect would be to form the thirteen States into one; that, proposing to melt all down into one general government, they have fenced the people by no declaration of rights; they have not renounced the power of keeping a standing army; they have not secured the liberty of the press; they have reserved the power of abolishing trials by jury in civil cases; they have proposed that the laws of the federal legislatures shall be paramount to the laws and constitutions of the States; they have abandoned rotation in office; and particularly, their President may be re-elected from four years to four years, for life, so as to render him a King for life, like a King of Poland; and they have not given him either the check or aid of a council. To these they add calculations of expense, etc., etc., to frighten the people. You will perceive that these objections are serious, and some of them not without foundation. The Constitution, however, has been received with a very general enthusiasm, and as far as can be judged from external demonstrations, the bulk of the people are eager to adopt it. In the eastern States the printers will print nothing against it, unless the writer subscribes his name. Massachusetts and Connecticut have called conventions in January, to consider of it. In New York, there is a division. The Governor (Clinton) is known to be hostile to it. Jersey, it is thought, will certainly accept it. Pennsylvania is divided; and all the bitterness of her factions has been kindled anew on it. But the party in favor of it is strongest, both in and out of the legislature. This is the party anciently of Morris, Wilson, etc. Delaware will do what Pennsylvania shall do. Maryland is thought favorable to it; yet it is supposed Chase and Paca will oppose it. As to Virginia, two of her Delegates, in the first place, refused to sign it. These were Randolph, the Governor and George Mason. Besides these, Henry, Harrison, Nelson, and the Lees, are against it. General Washington will be for it, but it is not in his character to exert himself much in the case. Madison will be its main pillar; but though an immensely powerful one, it is questionable whether he can bear the weight of such a host. So that the presumption is, that Virginia will reject it. We know nothing of the dispositions of the States south of this. Should it fall through, as is possible, notwithstanding the enthusiasm with which it was received in the first moment, it is probable that Congress will propose, that the objections which the people shall make to it being once known, another convention shall be assembled, to adopt the improvements generally acceptable, and omit those found disagreeable. In this way, union may be produced under a happy constitution, and one which shall not be too energetic, as are the constitutions of Europe. I give you these details, because, possibly, you may not have received them all. The sale of our western lands is immensely successful. Five millions of acres have been sold at private sale, for a dollar an acre, in certificates, and at the public sales, some of them had sold as high as two dollars and forty cents the acre. The sales had not been begun two months. By these means, taxes, etc., our domestic debt, originally twenty-eight millions of dollars, was reduced, by the 1st day of last October, to twelve millions, and they were then in treaty for two millions of acres more, at a dollar, private sale. Our domestic debt will thus be soon paid off, and that done, the sales will go on for money, at a cheaper rate, no doubt, for the payment of our foreign debt. The petite guerre always waged by the Indians, seems not to abate the ardor of purchase or emigration. Kentucky is now counted at sixty thousand. Frankland is also growing fast.

I have been told, that the cutting through the Isthmus of Panama, which the world has so often wished, and supposed practicable, has at times been thought of by the government of Spain, and that they once proceeded so far, as to have a survey and examination made of the ground; but that the result was, either impracticability or too great difficulty. Probably the Count de Campomanes, or Don Ulloa, can give you information on this head. I should be exceedingly pleased to get as minute details as possible on it, and even copies of the survey, report, etc., if they could be obtained at a moderate expense. I take the liberty of asking your assistance in this.

I have the honor to be, with very great respect and esteem, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, December 12, 1787.

Dear Sir,—In the month of July, I received from Fiseaux & Co. of Amsterdam, a letter notifying me that the principal of their loan to the United States would become due the first day of January. I answered them, that I had neither powers nor information on the subject, but would transmit their letter to the board of treasury. I did so, by the packet which sailed from Havre, August the 10th. The earliest answer possible, would have been by the packet which arrived at Havre three or four days ago. But by her I do not receive the scrip of a pen from anybody. This makes me suppose, that my letters are committed to Paul Jones, who was to sail a week after the departure of the packet; and that possibly, he may be the bearer of orders from the treasury, to repay Fiseaux's loan with the money you borrowed But it is also possible, he may bring no order on the subject. The slowness with which measures are adopted on our side the water, does not permit us to count on punctual answers; but, on the contrary, renders it necessary for us to suppose, in the present case, that no orders will arrive in time, and to consider whether anything, and what, should be done? As it may be found expedient to transfer all our foreign debts to Holland, by borrowing there, and as it may always be prudent to preserve a good credit in that country, because we may be forced into wars, whether we will or not, I should suppose it very imprudent to suffer our credit to be annihilated, for so small a sum as fifty-one thousand guilders. The injury will be greater, too, in proportion to the smallness of the sum; for they will ask, "How can a people be trusted for large sums, who break their faith for such small ones?" You know best what effect it will have on the minds of the money lenders of that country, should we fail in this payment. You know best, also, whether it is practicable and prudent for us, to have this debt paid without orders. I refer the matter, therefore, wholly to your consideration, willing to participate with you in any risk and any responsibility which may arise. I think it one of those cases, where it is a duty to risk one's self. You will perceive, by the enclosed, the necessity of an immediate answer, and that, if you think anything can and should be done, all the necessary authorities from you should accompany your letter. In the meantime, should I receive any orders from the treasury by Paul Jones, I will pursue them, and consider whatever you shall have proposed or done, as non avenue.

I am, with much affection, dear sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, December 20, 1787.

Dear Sir,—My last to you was of October the 8th, by the Count de Moustier. Yours of July the 18th, September the 6th and October the 24th, were successively received, yesterday, the day before, and three or four days before that. I have only had time to read the letters; the printed papers communicated with them, however interesting, being obliged to lie over till I finish my despatches for the packet, which despatches must go from hence the day after to-morrow. I have much to thank you for; first and most for the cyphered paragraph respecting myself. These little informations are very material towards forming my own decisions. I would be glad even to know, when any individual member thinks I have gone wrong in any instance. If I know myself, it would not excite ill blood in me, while it would assist to guide my conduct, perhaps to justify it, and to keep me to my duty, alert. I must thank you, too, for the information in Thomas Burke's case; though you will have found by a subsequent letter, that I have asked of you a further investigation of that matter. It is to gratify the lady who is at the head of the convent wherein my daughters are, and who, by her attachment and attention to them, lays me under great obligations. I shall hope, therefore, still to receive from you the result of all the further inquiries my second letter had asked. The parcel of rice which you informed me had miscarried, accompanied my letter to the Delegates of South Carolina. Mr. Bourgoin was to be the bearer of both, and both were delivered together into the hands of his relation here, who introduced him to me, and who, at a subsequent moment, undertook to convey them to Mr. Bourgoin. This person was an engraver, particularly recommended to Dr. Franklin and Mr. Hopkinson. Perhaps he may have mislaid the little parcel of rice among his baggage. I am much pleased that the sale of western lands is so successful. I hope they will absorb all the certificates of our domestic debt speedily, in the first place, and that then, offered for cash, they will do the same by our foreign ones.

The season admitting only of operations in the cabinet, and these being in a great measure secret, I have little to fill a letter. I will, therefore, make up the deficiency, by adding a few words on the Constitution proposed by our convention.

I like much the general idea of framing a government, which should go on of itself, peaceably, without needing continual recurrence to the State legislatures. I like the organization of the government into legislative, judiciary and executive. I like the power given the legislature to levy taxes, and for that reason solely, I approve of the greater House being chosen by the people directly. For though I think a House so chosen, will be very far inferior to the present Congress, will be very illy qualified to legislate for the Union, for foreign nations, etc., yet this evil does not weigh against the good, of preserving inviolate the fundamental principle, that the people are not to be taxed but by representatives chosen immediately by themselves. I am captivated by the compromise of the opposite claims of the great and little States, of the latter to equal, and the former to proportional influence. I am much pleased, too, with the substitution of the method of voting by person, instead of that of voting by States; and I like the negative given to the Executive, conjointly with a third of either House; though I should have liked it better, had the judiciary been associated for that purpose, or invested separately with a similar power. There are other good things of less moment. I will now tell you what I do not like. First, the omission of a bill of rights, providing clearly, and without the aid of sophism, for freedom of religion, freedom of the press, protection against standing armies, restriction of monopolies, the eternal and unremitting force of the habeas corpus laws, and trials by jury in all matters of fact triable by the laws of the land, and not by the laws of nations. To say, as Mr. Wilson does, that a bill of rights was not necessary, because all is reserved in the case of the general government which is not given, while in the particular ones, all is given which is not reserved, might do for the audience to which it was addressed; but it is surely a gratis dictum, the reverse of which might just as well be said; and it is opposed by strong inferences from the body of the instrument, as well as from the omission of the cause of our present Confederation, which had made the reservation in express terms. It was hard to conclude, because there has been a want of uniformity among the States as to the cases triable by jury, because some have been so incautious as to dispense with this mode of trial in certain cases, therefore, the more prudent States shall be reduced to the same level of calamity. It would have been much more just and wise to have concluded the other way, that as most of the States had preserved with jealousy this sacred palladium of liberty, those who had wandered, should be brought back to it; and to have established general right rather than general wrong. For I consider all the ill as established, which may be established. I have a right to nothing, which another has a right to take away; and Congress will have a right to take away trials by jury in all civil cases. Let me add, that a bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular; and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.

The second feature I dislike, and strongly dislike, is the abandonment, in every instance, of the principle of rotation in office, and most particularly in the case of the President. Reason and experience tell us, that the first magistrate will always be reelected if he may be re-elected. He is then an officer for life. This once observed, it becomes of so much consequence to certain nations, to have a friend or a foe at the head of our affairs, that they will interfere with money and with arms. A Galloman, or an Angloman, will be supported by the nation he befriends. If once elected, and at a second or third election outvoted by one or two votes, he will pretend false votes, foul play, hold possession of the reins of government, be supported by the States voting for him, especially if they be the central ones, lying in a compact body themselves, and separating their opponents; and they will be aided by one nation in Europe, while the majority are aided by another. The election of a President of America, some years hence, will be much more interesting to certain nations of Europe, than ever the election of a King of Poland was. Reflect on all the instances in history, ancient and modern, of elective monarchies, and say if they do not give foundation for my fears; the Roman Emperors, the Popes while they were of any importance, the German Emperors till they became hereditary in practice, the Kings of Poland, the Deys of the Ottoman dependencies. It may be said, that if elections are to be attended with these disorders, the less frequently they are repeated the better. But experience says, that to free them from disorder, they must be rendered less interesting by a necessity of change. No foreign power, nor domestic party, will waste their blood and money to elect a person, who must go out at the end of a short period. The power of removing every fourth year by the vote of the people, is a power which they will not exercise, and if they were disposed to exercise it, they would not be permitted. The King of Poland is removable every day by the diet. But they never remove him. Nor would Russia, the Emperor, etc., permit them to do it. Smaller objections are, the appeals on matters of fact as well as laws; and the binding all persons, legislative, executive, and judiciary by oath, to maintain that constitution. I do not pretend to decide, what would be the best method of procuring the establishment of the manifold good things in this constitution, and of getting rid of the bad. Whether by adopting it, in hopes of future amendment; or after it shall have been duly weighed and canvassed by the people, after seeing the parts they generally dislike, and those they generally approve, to say to them, "We see now what you wish. You are willing to give to your federal government such and such powers; but you wish, at the same time, to have such and such fundamental rights secured to you, and certain sources of convulsion taken away. Be it so. Send together deputies again. Let them establish your fundamental rights by a sacrosanct declaration, and let them pass the parts of the Constitution you have approved. These will give powers to your federal government sufficient for your happiness."

This is what might be said, and would probably produce a speedy, more perfect and more permanent form of government. At all events, I hope you will not be discouraged from making other trials, if the present one should fail. We are never permitted to despair of the commonwealth. I have thus told you freely what I like, and what I dislike, merely as a matter of curiosity; for I know it is not in my power to offer matter of information to your judgment, which has been formed after hearing and weighing everything which the wisdom of man could offer on these subjects. I own, I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive. It places the governors indeed more at their ease, at the expense of the people. The late rebellion in Massachusetts has given more alarm, than I think it should have done. Calculate that one rebellion in thirteen States in the course of eleven years, is but one for each State in a century and a half. No country should be so long without one. Nor will any degree of power in the hands of government, prevent insurrections. In England, where the hand of power is heavier than with us, there are seldom half a dozen years without an insurrection. In France, where it is still heavier, but less despotic, as Montesquieu supposes, than in some other countries, and where there are always two or three hundred thousand men ready to crush insurrections, there have been three in the course of the three years I have been here, in every one of which greater numbers were engaged than in Massachusetts, and a great deal more blood was spilt. In Turkey, where the sole nod of the despot is death, insurrections are the events of every day. Compare again the ferocious depredations of their insurgents, with the order, the moderation and the almost self-extinguishment of ours. And say, finally, whether peace is best preserved by giving energy to the government, or information to the people. This last is the most certain, and the most legitimate engine of government. Educate and inform the whole mass of the people. Enable them to see that it is their interest to preserve peace and order, and they will preserve them. And it requires no very high degree of education to convince them of this. They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty. After all, it is my principle that the will of the majority should prevail. If they approve the proposed constitution in all its parts, I shall concur in it cheerfully, in hopes they will amend it, whenever they shall find it works wrong. This reliance cannot deceive us, as long as we remain virtuous; and I think we shall be so, as long as agriculture is our principal object, which will be the case, while there remains vacant lands in any part of America. When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become corrupt as in Europe, and go to eating one another as they do there. I have tired you by this time with disquisitions which you have already heard repeated by others a thousand and a thousand times; and therefore, shall only add assurances of the esteem and attachment with which I have the honor to be, dear Sir, your affectionate friend and servant.

P. S. The instability of our laws is really an immense evil. I think it would be well to provide in our constitutions, that there shall always be a twelvemonth between the engrossing a bill and passing it; that it should then be offered to its passage without changing a word; and that if circumstances should be thought to require a speedier passage, it should take two-thirds of both Houses, instead of a bare majority.



Paris, Dec. 21, 1787.

Dear Sir,—I have just received your two favors of October the 23d and November the 10th. I am much obliged to you for your hints in the Danish business. They are the only information I have on that subject, except the resolution of Congress, and warn me of a rock on which I should most certainly have split. The vote plainly points out an agent, only leaving it to my discretion to substitute another. My judgment concurs with that of Congress as to his fitness. But I shall inquire for the surest banker at Copenhagen to receive the money, not because I should have had any doubts, but because I am informed others have them. Against the failure of a banker, were such an accident, or any similar one to happen, I cannot be held accountable in a case where I act without particular interest. My principal idea in proposing the transfer of the French debt, was, to obtain on the new loans a much longer day for the reimbursement of the principal, hoping that the resources of the United States could have been equal to the article of interest alone. But I shall endeavor to quiet, as well as I can, those interested. A part of them will probably sell out at any rate; and one great claimant may be expected to make a bitter attack on our honor. I am very much pleased to hear, that our western lands sell so successfully. I turn to this precious resource, as that which will, in every event, liberate us from our domestic debt, and perhaps too, from our foreign one; and this, much sooner than I had expected. I do not think any thing could have been done with them in Europe. Individual speculators and sharpers had duped so many with their unlocated land-warrants, that every offer would have been suspected.

As to the new Constitution, I find myself nearly a neutral. There is a great mass of good in it, in a very desirable form; but there is also, to me, a bitter pill or two. I have written somewhat lengthily to Mr. Madison on this subject, and will take the liberty to refer you to that part of my letter to him. I will add one question to what I have said there. Would it not have been better to assign to Congress exclusively the article of imposts for federal purposes, and to have left direct taxation exclusively to the States? I should suppose the former fund sufficient for all probable events, aided by the land office.

The form which the affairs of Europe may assume, is not yet decipherable by those out of the cabinet. The Emperor gives himself, at present, the air of a mediator. This is necessary to justify a breach with the Porte. He has his eye at the same time on Germany, and particularly on Bavaria, the Elector of which has, for a long time, been hanging over the grave. Probably, France would now consent to the exchange of the Austrian Netherlands, to be created into a kingdom for the Duke de Deuxports, against the electorate of Bavaria. This will require a war. The Empress longs for Turkey, and viewing France as her principal obstacle, would gladly negotiate her acquiescence. To spur on this, she is coquetting it with England. The King of Prussia, too, is playing a double game between France and England. But I suppose the former incapable of forgiving him, or of ever reposing confidence in him. Perhaps the spring may unfold to us the final arrangement which will take place among the powers of this continent.

I often doubt whether I should trouble Congress or my friends with these details of European politics. I know they do not excite that interest in America, of which it is impossible for one to divest himself here. I know, too, that it is a maxim with us, and I think it a wise one, not to entangle ourselves with the affairs of Europe. Still, I think, we should know them. The Turks have practiced the same maxim of not meddling in the complicated wrangles of this continent. But they have unwisely chosen to be ignorant of them also, and it is this total ignorance of Europe, its combinations and its movements, which exposes them to that annihilation possibly about taking place. While there are powers in Europe which fear our views, or have views on us, we should keep an eye on them, their connections and oppositions, that in a moment of need, we may avail ourselves of their weakness with respect to others as well as ourselves, and calculate their designs and movements, on all the circumstances under which they exist. Though I am persuaded, therefore, that these details are read by many with great indifference, yet I think it my duty to enter into them, and to run the risk of giving too much, rather than too little information. I have the honor to be, with perfect esteem and respect, dear Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant.

P. S. The resolution of Congress, relative to the prize money received here, speaks of that money as paid to me. I hope this matter is properly understood. The treasury board desired me to receive it, and apply it to such and such federal purposes; and they would pay the dividends of the claimants in America. This would save the expense of remittance. I declined, however, receiving the money, and ordered it into the hands of their banker, who paid it away for the purposes to which they had destined it. I should be sorry, an idea should get abroad, that I had received the money of these poor fellows, and applied it to other purposes. I shall, in like manner, order the Danish and Barbary money into the hands of bankers, carefully avoiding ever to touch a sou of it, or having any other account to make out than what the banker will furnish.



Paris, Dec. 21, 1787.

Sir,—The last letters I had the honor of addressing you were of the 3d and 7th of November. Your several favors, to wit, two of July 27, two of Oct. 24, and one of Nov. 3, have all been delivered within the course of a week past; and I embrace the earliest occasion of returning to Congress my sincere thanks for the new proofs I receive therein of their confidence in me, and of assuring them of my best endeavors to merit it. The several matters on which I receive instruction shall all be duly attended to. The Commissioners of the Treasury inform me they will settle the balance appropriated to the Barbary business, apprise me of it, and place it under my power. The moment this is done, I will take the measures necessary to effect the instructions of Congress. The letter to you from the Governor of Rhode Island desires my attention to the application of the claimants of the brig Apollonia, which shall surely be complied with. I trust that an application will be made by the claimants. It will be the more important, as the letter in this case, as in that of the sloop Sally, formerly recommended to me, is directed to an advocate whom all my endeavors have not enabled me to find. I fear, therefore, that the papers in both cases must remain in my hands till called for by the person whom the parties shall employ for the ordinary solicitation and management of their appeals. I suppose they will engage some person to answer from time to time the pecuniary demands of lawyers, clerks, and other officers of the courts, to wait upon the judges and explain their cases to them, which is the usage here, to instruct their lawyers and confer with them whenever necessary, and in general to give all those attentions which the solicitation of private causes constantly require here. Their management, indeed, is very much a matter of intrigue and of money.

The public affairs of Europe are quiet at present, except as between the Turks and Russians; and, even these, some people suppose may be quieted. It is thought that Russia would accommodate easily. The peace between France and England is very generally considered as insecure. It is said the latter is not honestly disarming; she is certainly augmenting her land forces, and the speech of the King, and debates of the court members, prove their diffidence in the late accommodation. Yet it is believed their premier is a friend to peace, and there can be no doubt of the same dispositions in the chief minister here. The divisions continue between the King and his parliament. A promise has been obtained for convoking the States General, as early as 1791, at farthest. The embarrassments in the department of finance are not yet so cleared up as that the public can see their way through them. The arrival of the Count de La Luzerne, just now announced, will probably put their marine operations into new activity.

I have the honor to enclose you three letters from Mr. Dumas. By one of the 23d of October, he proposed to me that Mr. Adams and myself should authorize him to go to Brussels on the subject he explains to you. I wrote him the answer of Nov. 14th, by which I expected he would see that nothing could be done, and think no more of it. His subsequent letters, however, giving me reason to apprehend that, making too sure of the expediency of the treaty he proposed, he might excite expectations from that government, I wrote him the letter of Dec. 9 to suggest to him that this proposition might not be so certainly eligible as he seemed to expect, and to advise him to avoid doing anything which might commit or embarrass Congress. The uneasiness of his present situation, and the desire of a refuge from it, had probably suggested to him this idea, and occasioned him to view it with partiality.

This will be accompanied with the gazettes of France and Leyden. There being no passenger to go by the packet, within my knowledge, this letter will go through the post-office. I shall, therefore, only add assurances of the esteem and respect with which I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, December 22, 1787.

Sir,—I have the honor now, to acknowledge the receipt of your favors of the 18th and 19th of November, and two of the 18th of the present month. I did not write to you immediately on the receipt of the two first, because the observations they contained were to be acted on here. I was much obliged to you for them, as I have been frequently before for others, and you will find that I have profited by them in the Arret which is to come out for the regulation of our commerce, wherein most of the things are provided for, which you have from time to time recommended. With respect to the article of yellow wax, I think there is a general clause in the Arret, which will take it in; but I am not sure of it. If there be not, it is now too late to get any alteration made. You shall receive the Arret the moment it is communicated to me.

I have examined the case of Captain Thomas, with all the dispositions possible to interpose for him. But on mature reflection, I find it is one of those cases wherein my solicitation would be ill received. The government of France, to secure to its subjects the carrying trade between her colonies and the mother country, have made a law, forbidding any foreign vessels to undertake to carry between them. Notwithstanding this, an American vessel has undertaken, and has brought a cargo. For me to ask that this vessel shall be received, would be to ask a repeal of the law, because there is no more reason for receiving her, than there will be for receiving the second, third, etc., which shall act against the same law, nor for receiving an American vessel, more than the vessels of any other nations. Captain Thomas has probably engaged in this business, not knowing the law; but ignorance of the law is no excuse, in any country. If it were, the laws would lose their effect, because it can be always pretended. Were I to make this application to the Comptroller General, he might possibly ask me, whether, in a like case, of a French vessel in America acting through ignorance, against law, we would suspend the law as to her? I should be obliged honestly to answer, that with us, there is no power which can suspend the law for a moment; and Captain Thomas knows that this answer would be the truth. The Senegal company seems to be as much engaged in it as he is. I should suppose his most probable means of extrication would be with their assistance, and availing himself of their privileges, and the apparent authority he has received from the officers of government there. I am sorry his case is such a one as I cannot present to the minister. A jealousy of our taking away their carrying trade, is the principal reason which obstructs our admission into their West India islands. It would not be right for me to strengthen that jealousy.

I have the honor to be, with much esteem, Sir, your most obedient humble servant.



Paris, Dec. 30, 1787.

Gentlemen,—In my letter of Aug. 5, I had the honor of enclosing to you a letter written me by Messrs. Fiseaux & Co., reminding us that the principal of the loan of 51,000 florins obtained by them, would become due on the first day of the ensuing year. A few days ago, I received another from them calling for the money. At first I was disposed to answer them that I was in nowise authorized to do anything in it, and that it rested with you altogether. But, on consulting with some persons better acquainted with the delicacy of credit in Holland, I found there was reason to fear that a failure to pay that money might not only do essential injury to our credit in general, but even hinder the progress of the loan going on in the hands of Willincks and Van Staphorsts; and that it would be for the interest of that loan itself, to pay this demand out of it, if possible. I wrote, therefore, to Mr. Adams, to consult him about it, and to know, if he was of the same opinion, whether he would venture to join me in directing such an application of the money. I wrote at the same to Willincks and Van Staphorsts, to know whether they could have as much in their hands to spare, and whether they would venture to pay it on our order. Mr. Adams approved of the proposition, and was willing to join in ordering the payment. Willincks and Van Staphorsts answered that they had in their hands money enough to pay the February interest of the former loan, and to answer, for some time yet, Mr. Adams' and my draughts for our subsistence; but that if they should pay the principal of Fiseaux's loan, it would be an advance of their own: they likewise observed, that to pay such a sum without your orders, placed them under an unnecessary responsibility. Upon this, I concluded to ask them only to pay this year's interest, now becoming due, to desire Fiseaux to receive this, and with it to endeavor to quiet the creditors till your orders could be received. I have this day written to Fiseaux, and to Willincks and Van Staphorsts to this purpose, and avail myself of a vessel about to sail from Havre, to communicate the whole transaction to you, and to express my wish that you will be pleased to give an answer to Fiseaux. I enclose to you his letters to me on the subject. From what I can learn, I suspect that if there were a cordial understanding between the Willincks and Van Staphorsts, if the former had been as well disposed as the latter, the matter would have been settled with Fiseaux. I have the honor to be, with much respect, Gentlemen, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, December 31, 1787.

Sir,—Since the receipt of the letter of Monsieur de Calonnes, of October the 22d, 1786, I have several times had the honor of mentioning to you, that I was endeavoring to get the substance of that letter reduced into an Arret, which, instead of being revocable by a single letter of a Comptroller General, would require an Arret to repeal or alter it, and of course must be discussed in full Council, and so give time to prevent it. This has been pressed as much as it could be with prudence. One cause of delay has been the frequent changes of the Comptroller General; as we had always our whole work to begin again with every new one. Monsieur Lambert's continuance in office for some months, has enabled us, at length, to get through the business; and I have just received from him a letter, and the Arret duly authenticated; of which I have the honor to send you a number of printed copies. You will find that the several alterations and additions are made, which, on my visit to the sea-ports, I had found to be necessary, and which my letters of June the 21st and August the 6th, particularly mentioned to you. Besides these, we have obtained some new articles of value, for which openings arose in the course of the negotiation. I say we have done it, because the Marquis de La Fayette has gone hand in hand with me through this business, and has been a most invaluable aid. I take the liberty of making some observations on the articles of the Arret, severally, for their explanation, as well as for the information of Congress.

Article 1. In the course of our conferences with the Comptroller General, we had prevailed on him to pass this article with a suppression of all duty. When he reported the Arret, however, to the Council, this suppression was objected to, and it was insisted to re-establish the duties of seven livres and ten sous, and of ten sous the livre, reserved in the letter of M. de Calonnes. The passage of the Arret was stopped, and the difficulty communicated to me. I urged everything I could, in letters and in conferences, to convince them that whale oil was an article which could bear no duty at all. That if the duty fell on the consumer, he would choose to buy vegetable oils; if on the fisherman, he could no longer live by his calling, remaining in his own country; and that if he quitted his own country, the circumstances of vicinity, sameness of language, laws, religion and manners, and perhaps the ties of kindred, would draw him to Nova Scotia, in spite of every encouragement which could be given at Dunkirk; and that thus those fishermen would be shifted out of a scale friendly to France, into one always hostile. Nothing, however, could prevail. It hung on this article alone, for two months, during which we risked the total loss of the Arret, on the stability in office of Monsieur Lambert; for if he had gone out, his successor might be less favorable; and if Monsieur Neckar were the successor, we might lose the whole, as he never set any store by us, or the connection with us. About ten days ago, it became universally believed that Monsieur Lambert was to go out immediately. I, therefore, declined further insisting on the total suppression, and desired the Arret might pass, leaving the duties on whale oil as Monsieur de Calonnes had promised them; but with a reservation, which may countenance our bringing on this matter again, at a more favorable moment.

Article 2. The other fish oils are placed in a separate article; because whatever encouragements we may hereafter obtain for whale oils, they will not be extended to those which their own fisheries produce.

Article 3. A company had silently, and by unfair means, obtained a monopoly for the making and selling spermaceti candles: as soon as we discovered it, we solicited its suppression, which is effected by this clause.

Article 4. The duty of an eighth per cent. is merely to oblige the masters of vessels to enter their cargoes, for the information of government; without inducing them to attempt to smuggle.

Article 6. Tar, pitch and turpentine of America, coming in competition with the same articles produced in the south-western parts of France, we could obtain no greater reduction, than two and a-half per cent. The duties before, were from four to six times that amount.

Article 10. The right of entrepôt given by this article, is almost the same thing, as the making all their ports, free ports for us. The ships are, indeed, subject to be visited, and the cargoes must be reported in ports of entrepôt, which need not be done in the free ports. But the communication between the entrepôt and the country, is not interrupted by continual search of all persons passing into the country, which has proved so troublesome to the inhabitants of our free ports, as that a considerable proportion of them have wished to give back the privilege of their freedom.

Article 13. This article gives us the privileges and advantages of native subjects, in all their possessions in Asia, and in the scales leading thereto. This expression means at present the isles of France and Bourbon, and will include the Cape of Good Hope, should any future event put it into the hands of France. It was with a view to this, that I proposed the expression, because we were then in hourly expectation of a war, and it was suspected that France would take possession of that place. It will, in no case, be considered as including anything westward of the Cape of Good Hope. I must observe further, on this article, that it will only become valuable on the suppression of their East India Company; because, as long as their monopoly continues, even native subjects cannot enter their Asiatic ports for the purposes of commerce. It is considered, however, as certain, that this Company will be immediately suppressed.

The article of tobacco could not be introduced into the Arret; because it was necessary to consider the Farmers General as parties to that arrangement. It rests, therefore, of necessity, on the basis of a letter only. You will perceive that this is nothing more than a continuation of the order of Berni, only leaving the prices unfixed; and like that, it will require a constant and vexatious attention to have its execution enforced.

The States who have much to carry, and few carriers, will observe, perhaps, that the benefits of these regulations are somewhat narrowed by confining them to articles brought hither in French or American bottoms. But they will consider that nothing in these instruments moves from us. The advantages they hold out are all given by this country to us, and the givers will modify their gifts as they please. I suppose it to be a determined principle of this court not to suffer our carrying business, so far as their consumption of our commodities extends, to become a nursery for British seamen. Nor would this, perhaps, be advantageous to us, considering the dispositions of the two nations towards us. The preference which our shipping will obtain on this account, may counterpoise the discouragements it experiences from the aggravated dangers of the Barbary States. Nor is the idea unpleasing which shows itself in various parts of these papers, of naturalizing American bottoms, and American citizens in France and in its foreign possessions. Once established here, and in their eastern settlements, they may revolt less at the proposition to extend it to those westward. They are not yet, however, at that point; we must be contented to go towards it a step at a time, and trust to future events for hastening our progress.

With respect to the alliance between this and the two imperial courts, nothing certain transpires. We are enabled to conjecture its progress only from facts which now and then show themselves. The following may be considered as indications of it. 1. The Emperor has made an attempt to surprise Belgrade. The attempt failed, but will serve to plunge him into the war, and to show that he had assumed the character of mediator, only to enable himself to gain some advantage by surprise. 2. The mediation of France is probably at an end, and their abandonment of the Turks agreed on; because they have secretly ordered their officers to quit the Turkish service. This fact is known to but few, and not intended to be known; but I think it certain. 3. To the offer of mediation lately made by England and Prussia, the court of Petersburg answered, that having declined the mediation of a friendly power, (France,) she could not accept that of two courts, with whose dispositions she had reason to be dissatisfied. 4. The States General are said to have instructed their Ambassador here, lately, to ask of M. de Montmorin, whether the inquiry had been made, which they had formerly desired: "By what authority the French engineers had been placed in the service of Holland?" And that he answered that the inquiry had not been made, nor should be made. Though I do not consider the channel through which I get this fact, as absolutely sure, yet it is so respectable that I give credit to it myself. 5. The King of Prussia is withdrawing his troops from Holland. Should this alliance show itself, it would seem that France thus strengthened might dictate the re-establishment of the affairs of Holland in her own form. For it is not conceivable that Prussia would dare to move, nor that England would alone undertake such a war, and for such a purpose. She appears, indeed, triumphant at present, but the question is who will triumph last?

I enclose you a letter from Mr. Dumas. I received one from him myself, wherein he assures me that no difficulties shall be produced, by what he had suggested relative to his mission to Brussels. The gazettes of France and Leyden to this date accompany this letter, which, with the several papers put under your cover, I shall send to M. Limozin, our agent at Havre, to be forwarded by the Juno, Captain Jenkins, which sails from that port for New York, on the 3d of January.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect esteem and respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, January 3, 1788.

Sir,—I am honored with your Excellency's letter of the 29th of December, enclosing the Arret on the commerce between France and the United States. I availed myself of the occasion of a vessel sailing this day from Havre for New York, to forward it to Congress. They will receive with singular satisfaction this new testimony of his Majesty's friendship for the United States, of his dispositions to promote their interest, and to strengthen the bands which connect the two nations.

Permit me, Sir, to return you, personally, my sincere thanks for the great attention you have paid to this subject, for the sacrifices you have kindly made, of time so precious as yours, every moment of which is demanded and is occupied by objects interesting to the happiness of millions; and to proffer you the homage of those sincere sentiments of attachment and respect with which I have the honor to be, your Excellency's most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, January 6, 1788.

Sir,—I have never expressed an objection to the part of your plan relative to the theatre. The utility of this in America is a great question on which I may be allowed to have an opinion; but it is not for me to decide on it, nor to object to the proposal of establishing one at Richmond. The only objection to your plan which I have ever made, is that contained in my letter to you. I feared it was too extensive for the poverty of the country. You remove the objection by observing, it is to extend to several States. Whether professors itinerant from one State to another may succeed, I am unable to say, having never known an experiment of it. The fear that these professors may be disappointed in their expectations, has determined me not to meddle in the business at all. Knowing how much people going to America overrate the resources of living there, I have made a point never to encourage any person to go there, that I may not partake of the censure which may follow their disappointment. I beg you, therefore, not to alter your plan in any part of it on my account, but permit me to pursue mine of being absolutely neutral. Monsieur de La Luzerne and the Marquis de La Fayette, know too much of the country themselves to need any information from me, or any reference to my opinion; and the friendly dispositions which they have towards you, will insure you their good offices. Convinced of the honesty of your intentions and of your zeal, I wish you every possible success, and shall be really happy to see your plan answer your expectations. You have more courage than I have, to take upon yourself the risk of transplanting and contenting so many persons. I beg you to be assured of the sincerity of the esteem with which I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, January 13, 1788.

Sir,—By Captain Shewell, who is sailing about this time from Marseilles to Charleston, I directed to be forwarded to you one of two couffes of rough rice, which I had brought from Egypt. The other came on to me here, and will be carried from Havre to New York, addressed to you, to the care of the Delegates of South Carolina in Congress. I wish both may arrive in time for the approaching seed time, and that the trials with this and the Piedmont rice may furnish new advantages to your agriculture. I have considerable hopes of receiving some dry rice from Cochin-China, the young Prince of that country, lately gone from hence, having undertaken that it shall come to me. But it will be some time first. These are all but experiments; the precept, however, is wise which directs us to try all things, and hold fast that which is good.

Your letter of May the 22d, 1787, informs me that mine of May the 6th, 1786, had never got to hand. I now have the honor to enclose you a copy of it, of no other consequence than to show you that I was incapable of so insensible an inattention as the miscarriage of that letter exposed me to the charge of in your mind. I shall take opportunities of forwarding to you more of the seed of the Spanish Saintfoine, some of which I have received directly from Malta. I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect esteem and respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, January 21, 1788.

Sir,—I am instructed by the United States of America, in Congress assembled, to bring again under the consideration of his Majesty, the King of Denmark, and of his ministers, the case of the three prizes taken from the English during the late war, by an American squadron under the command of Commodore Paul Jones, put into Bergen in distress, there rescued from our possession by orders from the court of Denmark, and delivered back to the English. Dr. Franklin, then Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States at the court of Versailles, had the honor of making applications to the court of Denmark, for a just indemnification to the persons interested, and particularly by a letter of the 22d of December, 1779, a copy of which I have now the honor of enclosing to your Excellency. In consequence of this, a sum of ten thousand pounds was proposed to him, as an indemnification, through the Baron de Waltersdorff, then at Paris. The departure of both those gentlemen from this place, soon after, occasioned an intermission in the correspondence on this subject. But the United States continue to be very sensibly affected by this delivery of their prizes to Great Britain, and the more so, as no part of their conduct had forfeited their claim to those rights of hospitality which civilized nations extend to each other. Not only a sense of justice due to the individuals interested in those prizes, but also an earnest desire that no subject of discontent may check the cultivation and progress of that friendship which they wish may subsist and increase between the two countries, prompt them to remind his Majesty of the transaction in question; and they flatter themselves that his Majesty will concur with them in thinking, that as restitution of the prizes is not practicable, it is reasonable and just that he should render, and that they should accept, a compensation equivalent to the value of them. And the same principles of justice towards the parties, and of amity to the United States, which influenced the breast of his Majesty to make, through the Baron de Waltersdorff, the proposition of a particular sum, will surely lead him to restore their full value, if that were greater, as is believed, than the sum proposed. In order to obtain, therefore, a final arrangement of this demand, Congress have authorized me to depute a special agent to Copenhagen, to attend the pleasure of his Majesty. No agent could be so adequate to this business, as the Commodore Paul Jones, who commanded the squadron which took the prizes. He will, therefore, have the honor of delivering this letter to your Excellency, in person; of giving such information as may be material, relative to the whole transaction; of entering into conferences for its final adjustment, and, being himself principally interested, not only in his own right, but as the natural patron of those who fought under him, whatever shall be satisfactory to him, will have a great right to that ultimate approbation, which Congress have been pleased to confide to me.

I beg your Excellency to accept the homage of that respect which your exalted station, talents, and merit impress, as well as those sentiments of esteem and regard with which I have the honor to be, your Excellency's most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, Feb. 2, 1788.

Dear Sir,—I should sooner have answered your favor of Jan. the 2d, but that we have expected for some time to see you here. I beg you not to think of the trifle I furnished you with, nor to propose to return it, till you shall have that sum more than you know what to do with. And on every other occasion of difficulty, I hope you will make use of me freely. I presume you will now remain at London, to see the trial of Hastings. Without suffering yourself to be imposed on by the pomp in which it will be enveloped, I would recommend to you to consider and decide for yourself these questions. If his offence is to be decided by the law of the land, why is he not tried in that court in which his fellow-citizens are tried, that is, the King's bench? If he is cited before another court, that he may be judged, not according to the law of the land, but by the discretion of his judges, is he not disfranchised of his most precious right, the benefit of the laws of his country, in common with his fellow-citizens? I think you will find, in investigating this subject, that every solid argument is against the extraordinary court, and that every one in its favor is specious only. It is a transfer from a judicature of learning and integrity, to one, the greatness of which is both illiterate and unprincipled. Yet such is the force of prejudice with some, and of the want of reflection in others, that many of our constitutions have copied this absurdity, without suspecting it to be one. I am glad to hear that our new Constitution is pretty sure of being accepted by States enough to secure the good it contains, and to meet with such opposition in some others, as to give us hopes it will be accommodated to them, by the amendment of its most glaring faults, particularly the want of a declaration of rights.

The long expected edict of the Protestants, at length appears here. Its analysis is this. It is an acknowledgment (hitherto withheld by the laws) that Protestants can beget children, and that they can die, and be offensive unless buried. It does not give them permission to think, to speak, or to worship. It enumerates the humiliations to which they shall remain subject, and the burthens to which they shall continue to be unjustly exposed. What are we to think of the condition of the human mind in a country, where such a wretched thing as this has thrown the State into convulsions, and how must we bless our own situation in a country, the most illiterate peasant of which is a Solon, compared with the authors of this law. There is modesty often, which does itself injury; our countrymen possess this. They do not know their own superiority. You see it; you are young, you have time and talents to correct them. Study the subject while in Europe, in all the instances which will present themselves to you, and profit your countrymen of them, by making them to know and value themselves.

Adieu, my dear Sir, and be assured of the esteem with which I am your friend and servant.



Paris, Feb. 6, 1788.

Dear Sir,—The Commissioners of the Treasury have given notice to Willincks and Van Staphorsts, that they shall not be able to remit them one shilling till the New Government gets into action, and that therefore the sole resource for the payment of the Dutch interest till that period is in the progress of the last loan. Willinck and Van Staphorst reply that there is not the least probability of raising as much on that loan as will pay the next June interest, and that, if that payment fails one day, it will do an injury to our credit, which a very long time will not wipe off. A Mr. Stanitski, one of our brokers, who holds $4,340,000 of our domestic debt, offers, if we will pay him one year's interest of that debt, he will have the whole of the loan immediately filled up, that is to say, he will procure the sum of six hundred and twenty-two thousand eight hundred and forty florins still unsubscribed. His year's interest (deducting from it ten per cent. which he will allow for payment in Europe instead of America) will require one hundred and eighty thousand florins of this money. Messrs. Willinck and Van Staphorsts say that, by this means, they can pay Fiseaux' debt, and all the Dutch interest, and our current expenses here, till June, 1789, by which time the New Government may be in action. They have proposed this to the Commissioners of the Treasury; But it is possible that the delay of letters going and coming, with the time necessary between the receiving their answer and procuring the money, may force the decision of this proposition on me at the eleventh hour. I wish, therefore, to avail myself of your counsel before your departure, on this proposition. Your knowledge of the subject enables you to give the best opinion, and your zeal for the public interest, and I trust your friendly disposition towards me will prompt you to assist me with your advice on this question, to wit, if the answer of the Commissioners does not come in time, and there shall appear no other means of raising the June interest, will it be worse to fail in that payment, or to accept of about seven hundred thousand florins, on the condition of letting one hundred and eighty thousand be applied to the payment of a year's interest of a part of our domestic debt? Do me the friendship to give me an answer to this as soon as possible, and be assured of the sentiments of esteem and respect with which I have the honor to be, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, Feb. 7, 1788.

Gentlemen,—Your favors of November the 10th and 13th, and December the 5th, have been duly received. Commodore Jones left this place for Copenhagen, the 5th instant, to carry into execution the resolution of Congress of October the 25th. Whatever moneys that court shall be willing to allow, shall be remitted to your bankers, either in Amsterdam or Paris, as shall be found most beneficial, allowing previously to be withdrawn Commodore Jones' proportion, which will be necessary for his subsistence. I desired him to endeavor to prevail on the Danish Minister to have the money paid in Amsterdam or Paris, by their banker in either of those cities, if they have one.

M. Ast (secretary to the consulate) is at L'Orient. Whether he comes up with the papers, or sends them, they shall be received, sealed up and taken care of. I will only ask the favor of you, that I may never be desired to break the seals, unless very important cause for it should arise.

I have just received from Messrs. Willincks and Van Staphorsts, a letter of January the 31st, in which are these words: "The official communication we have of the actual situation and prospect of the finances of the United States, would render such a partial payment as that to Fiseaux' house of no avail towards the support of the public credit, unless effectual measures shall be adopted, to provide funds for the two hundred and seventy thousand florins, interest, that will be due the 1st of June next; a single day's retard in which would ground a prejudice of long duration." They informed me, at the same time, that they had made to you the following communication: that Mr. Stanitski, our principal broker, and holder of thirteen hundred and forty thousand dollars, of certificates of our domestic debt, offers to have our loan of a million of guilders (of which six hundred and twenty-two thousand eight hundred and forty are still unfilled) immediately made up, on condition that he may retain thereout, one hundred and eighty thousand guilders, being one year's interest on his certificates, allowing a deduction of ten per cent. from his said interest, as a compensation for his receiving it in Amsterdam instead of America, and not pretending that this shall give him any title to ask for any payment of future interest in Europe. They observe, that this will enable them to face the demands of Dutch interest, till the 1st of June, 1789, pay the principal of Fiseaux' debt, and supply the current expenses of your legation in Europe. On these points, it is for you to decide. I will only take the liberty to observe, that if they shall receive your acceptance of the proposition, some day's credit will still be to be given for producing the cash, and that this must be produced fifteen days before it is wanting, because that much previous notice is always given to the creditors that their money is ready. It is, therefore, but three months from this day, before your answer should be in Amsterdam. It might answer a useful purpose also, could I receive a communication of that answer, ten days earlier than they. The same stagnation attending our passage from the old to the new form of government, which stops the feeble channel of money hitherto flowing towards our treasury, has suspended also what foreign credit we had. So that, at this moment, we may consider the progress of our loan as stopped. Though much an enemy to the system of borrowing, yet I feel strongly the necessity of preserving the power to borrow, Without this, we might be overwhelmed by another nation, merely by the force of its credit. However, you can best judge whether the payment of a single year's interest on Stanitski's certificates, in Europe, instead of America, may be more injurious to us than the shock of our credit in Amsterdam, which may be produced by a failure to pay our interest.

I have only to offer any services which I can render in this business, either here or by going to Holland, at a moment's warning, if that should be necessary.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect esteem and respect, Gentlemen, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, February 7, 1788.

Dear Sir,—It is rendering mutual service to men of virtue and understanding to make them acquainted with one another. I need no other apology for presenting to your notice the bearer hereof, Mr. Barlow. I know you were among the first who read the Visions of Columbus, while yet in manuscript; and think the sentiments I heard you express of that poem will induce you to be pleased with the acquaintance of their author. He comes to pass a few days only at London, merely to know something of it. As I have little acquaintance there, I cannot do better for him than to ask you to be so good as to make him known to such persons, as his turn and his time might render desirable to him.

I thank you for the volume you were so kind as to send me some time ago. Everything you write is precious, and this volume is on the most precious of all our concerns. We may well admit morality to be the child of the understanding rather than of the senses, when we observe that it becomes dearer to us as the latter weaken, and as the former grows stronger by time and experience, till the hour arrives in which all other objects lose all their value. That that hour may be distant with you, my friend, and that the intermediate space may be filled with health and happiness, is the sincere prayer of him who is, with sentiments of great respect and friendship, dear Sir, your most obedient humble servant.



Paris, February 7, 1788.

Dear Sir,—I received duly your friendly letter of November the 12th. By this time, you will have seen published by Congress the new regulations obtained from this court, in favor of our commerce. You will observe, that the arrangement relative to tobacco is a continuation of the order of Berni for five years, only leaving the price to be settled between the buyer and seller. You will see, too, that all contracts for tobacco are forbidden, till it arrives in France. Of course, your proposition for a contract is precluded. I fear the prices here will be low, especially if the market be crowded. You should be particularly attentive to the article, which requires that the tobacco should come in French or American bottoms, as this article will, in no instance, be departed from.

I wish with all my soul, that the nine first conventions may accept the new constitution, because this will secure to us the good it contains, which I think great and important. But I equally wish, that the four latest conventions, whichever they be, may refuse to accede to it, till a declaration of rights be annexed. This would probably command the offer of such a declaration, and thus give to the whole fabric, perhaps, as much perfection as any one of that kind ever had. By a declaration of rights, I mean one which shall stipulate freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of commerce against monopolies, trial by juries in all cases, no suspensions of the habeas corpus, no standing armies. These are fetters against doing evil, which no honest government should decline. There is another strong feature in the new Constitution, which I as strongly dislike. That is, the perpetual re-eligibility of the President. Of this I expect no amendment at present, because I do not see that anybody has objected to it on your side the water. But it will be productive of cruel distress to our country, even in your day and mine. The importance to France and England, to have our government in the hands of a friend or a foe, will occasion their interference by money, and even by arms. Our President will be of much more consequence to them than a King of Poland. We must take care, however, that neither this, nor any other objection to the new form, produces a schism in our Union. That would be an incurable evil, because near friends falling out, never re-unite cordially; whereas, all of us going together, we shall be sure to cure the evils of our new Constitution, before they do great harm. The box of books I had taken the liberty to address to you, is but just gone from Havre for New York. I do not see, at present, any symptoms strongly indicating war. It is true, that the distrust existing between the two courts of Versailles and London, is so great, that they can scarcely do business together. However, the difficulty and doubt of obtaining money make both afraid to enter into war. The little preparations for war, which we see, are the effect of distrust, rather than of a design to commence hostilities. And in such a state of mind, you know, small things may produce a rupture; so that though peace is rather probable, war is very possible.

Your letter has kindled all the fond recollections of ancient times; recollections much dearer to me than anything I have known since. There are minds which can be pleased by honors and preferments; but I see nothing in them but envy and enmity. It is only necessary to possess them, to know how little they contribute to happiness, or rather how hostile they are to it. No attachments soothe the mind so much as those contracted in early life; nor do I recollect any societies which have given me more pleasure, than those of which you have partaken with me. I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage, with my books, my family and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post, which any human power can give. I shall be glad to hear from you often. Give me the small news as well as the great. Tell Dr. Currie, that I believe I am indebted to him a letter, but that like the mass of our countrymen, I am not, at this moment, able to pay all my debts; the post being to depart in an hour, and the last stroke of a pen I am able to send by it, being that which assures you of the sentiments of esteem and attachment, with which I am, dear Sir, your affectionate friend and servant.



Paris, February 12, 1788.

Sir,—I am very sensible of the honor you propose to me, of becoming a member of the society for the abolition of the slave trade. You know that nobody wishes more ardently to see an abolition, not only of the trade, but of the condition of slavery; and certainly, nobody will be more willing to encounter every sacrifice for that object. But the influence and information of the friends to this proposition in France will be far above the need of my association. I am here as a public servant, and those whom I serve, having never yet been able to give their voice against the practice, it is decent for me to avoid too public a demonstration of my wishes to see it abolished. Without serving the cause here, it might render me less able to serve it beyond the water. I trust you will be sensible of the prudence of those motives, therefore, which govern my conduct on this occasion, and be assured of my wishes for the success of your undertaking, and the sentiments of esteem and respect, with which I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient humble servant.



Paris, Feb. 12, 1788.

Sir,—I have duly received your favor of the 5th inst. enclosing that for Mr. Jay. The packet was gone, as I presume, but I have another occasion of forwarding it securely. Your attentions to the Leyden gazette are, in my opinion, very useful. The paper is much read and respected. It is the only one I know in Europe which merits respect. Your publications in it will tend to re-establish that credit which the solidity of our affairs deserve. With respect to the sale of lands, we know that two sales of five millions and two millions of acres have been made. Another was begun for four millions, which, in the course of the negotiation, may have been reduced to three millions, as you mention. I have not heard that this sale is absolutely concluded, but there is reason to presume it. Stating these sales at two-thirds of a dollar the acre, and allowing for 3 or 400,000 acres sold at public sale, and a very high price, we may say they have absorbed seven millions of dollars of the domestic federal debt. The States, by taxation and otherwise, have absorbed eleven millions more: so that debt stands now at about ten millions of dollars, and will probably be all absorbed in the course of the next year. There will remain then our foreign debt, between ten and twelve millions, including interest. The sale of lands will then go on for the payment of this. But, as this payment must be in cash, not in public effects, the lands must be sold cheaper. The demand will probably be less brisk. So we may suppose this will be longer paying off than the domestic debt. With respect to the new Government, nine or ten States will probably have accepted by the end of this month. The others may oppose it. Virginia, I think, will be of this number. Besides other objections of less moment, she will insist on annexing a bill of rights to the new Constitution, i. e. a bill wherein the Government shall declare that, 1. Religion shall be free; 2. Printing presses free; 3. Trials by jury preserved in all cases; 4. No monopolies in commerce; 5. No standing army. Upon receiving this bill of rights, she will probably depart from her other objections; and this bill is so much to the interest of all the States, that I presume they will offer it, and thus our Constitution be amended, and our Union closed by the end of the present year. In this way, there will have been opposition enough to do good, and not enough to do harm. I have such reliance on the good sense of the body of the people, and the honesty of their leaders, that I am not afraid of their letting things go wrong to any length in any cause. Wishing you better health, and much happiness, I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect esteem and respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, Feb. 21, 1788.

Sir,—I am now to acknowledge the receipt of the letter you did me the honor to write me on the 21st of January, together with the book on the culture of the olive tree. This is a precious present to me, and I pray you to accept my thanks for it. I am just gratified by letters from South Carolina, which inform me that in consequence of the information I had given them on the subject of the olive tree, and the probability of its succeeding with them, several rich individuals propose to begin its culture there. This will not interfere with the commerce of France, because she imports much more oil than she exports, and because the consumption of oil in the United States at present, is so inconsiderable, that should their demand be totally withdrawn at the European market, and supplied at home, it will produce no sensible effect in Europe. We can never produce that article in very great quantity, because it happens that in our two southernmost States, where only the climate is adapted to the olive, the soil is so generally rich as to be unfit for that tree, and proper for other productions of more immediate profit. I am to thank you, also, for the raisins of Smyrna, without seed, which I received from you through Mr. Grand. * * * * *



Paris, February 26, 1788.

Sir,—I should with great cheerfulness have done anything I could for the manufacturers of Bourges, had anything been in my power. To this I should have been induced by justice to them, and a desire to serve whomsoever you befriend. This company is part of a great mass of creditors to whom the United States contracted debts during the late war. Those States, like others, are not able to pay immediately all the debts which the war brought on them; but they are proceeding rapidly in that payment, and will, perhaps, get through it more speedily than any nation ever did before.

You will have seen in the public papers the progress they are making in this matter. They proceed in this by fixed rules, from which it is their principle never to depart in any instance, nor to do on any account for any one person what they will not be able to do for all others claiming on the same grounds. This company should engage the French Consul, or some other person on the spot, to be always ready to present their claim whenever anything can be received on it, according to the order of payment established by Congress. I suppose that the interest might have been annually received. With respect to what they call the reduction of the debt from its nominal sum, it is not a reduction of it, but an appreciation at its true value. The public effects of the United States, such as their paper bills of credit, loan office bills, etc., were a commodity which varied its value from time to time. A scale of their value for every month has been settled according to what they sold for at market, in silver or gold. This value in gold or silver, with an interest of six per cent. annually till payment, is what the United States pay. This they are able to pay; but were they to propose to pay off all their paper, not according to what it cost the holder, in gold or silver, but according to the sum named in it, their whole country, if sold, and all their persons into the bargain, might not suffice. They would, in this case, make a bankruptcy where none exists, as an individual, who being very able to pay the real debts he has contracted, would undertake to give to every man fifty times as much as he had received from him. The company will receive the market value of the public effects they have on their hands, and six per cent. per annum on that; and I can only repeat my advice to them, to appoint some friend on the spot to act for them whenever anything can be received. I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect esteem and respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, March 2, 1788.—Sunday.

Dear Sir,—I received this day, a letter from Mrs. Adams, of the 26th ultimo, informing me you would set out on the 29th, for the Hague. Our affairs at Amsterdam press on my mind like a mountain. I have no information to go on, but that of Willincks and Van Staphorsts, and according to that, something seems necessary to be done. I am so anxious to confer with you on this subject, and to see you and them together, and get some effectual arrangement made in time, that I determine to meet you at the Hague. I will set out the moment some repairs are made to my carriage; it is promised me at three o'clock to-morrow; but probably they will make it night, and that I may not set out till Tuesday morning. In that case, I shall be at the Hague on Friday night; in the meantime, you will perhaps have made all your bows there. I am sensible how irksome this must be to you, in the moment of your departure. But it is a great interest of the United States which is at stake, and I am sure you will sacrifice to that, your feelings and your interest. I hope to shake you by the hand, within twenty-four hours after you receive this; and in the meantime, I am, with much esteem and respect, dear Sir, your affectionate friend and humble servant.



Amsterdam, March 13, 1788.

Sir,—Mr. Adams having announced to our bankers here his approaching departure from Europe, and referred them to me for counsel on our affairs in their hands, they sent me a state of them, and of the difficulties which were pressing at the moment, and impending more seriously for the month of June. They were urging me by almost every post on this subject. In this situation, information of Mr. Adams' journey of leave to the Hague reached me on the day of his arrival there. I was sensible how important it was to have the benefit of his interference in a department which had been his peculiarly from the beginning, and with all the details of which he was as intimately acquainted as I was little so. I set out therefore in the instant, joined him at the Hague, and he readily concurred with me in the necessity of our coming here to confer with our bankers on the measures which might be proper and practicable. We are now engaged on this subject, and the result, together with a full explanation of the difficulties which commanded our attention, shall be the subject of a letter which I shall do myself the honor of writing you by Mr. Adams, to be forwarded by Colonel Smith, who will go in the English packet. I avoid further particulars in the present letter, because it is to pass through the different post-offices to Paris. It will be forwarded thence by Mr. Short, whom I have desired to do himself the honor of writing to you any occurrences since my departure, which may be worthy of being communicated, by the French packet of this month. I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect respect and esteem, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Amsterdam, March 16, 1788.

Sir,—In a letter of the 13th instant, which I had the honor of addressing you from this place, I mentioned in general terms, the object of my journey hither, and that I should enter into more particular details, by the confidential conveyance which would occur through Mr. Adams and Colonel Smith.

The board of treasury had, in the month of December, informed me and our bankers here, that it would be impossible for them to make any remittances to Europe for the then ensuing year, and that they must, therefore, rely altogether on the progress of the late loan. But this, in the meantime, after being about one-third filled, had ceased to get forward. The bankers who had been referred to me for advice by Mr. Adams, stated those circumstances, and pressed their apprehension for the ensuing month of June, when two hundred and seventy thousand florins would be wanting for interest. In fine, they urged an offer of the holders of the former bonds to take all those remaining on hand, provided they might receive out of them the interest on a part of our domestic debt, of which they had also become the holders. This would have been one hundred and eighty thousand florins. To this proposition I could not presume any authority to listen. Thus pressed between the danger of failure on one hand, and this proposition on the other, I heard of Mr. Adams being gone to the Hague, to take leave. His knowledge of the subject was too valuable to be neglected under the present difficulty, and it was the last moment in which we could be availed of it. I set out immediately, therefore, for the Hague, and we came on to this place together, in order to see what could be done. It was easier to discover, than to remove, the causes which obstructed the progress of the loan. Our affairs here, like those of other nations, are in the hands of particular bankers. These employ particular, and they have their particular circle of money lenders. These money lenders, as I have before mentioned, while placing a part of their money in our foreign loans, had at the same time employed another part in a joint speculation, to the amount of eight hundred and forty thousand dollars, in our domestic debt. A year's interest was becoming due on this, and they wished to avail themselves of our want of money for the foreign interest, to obtain payment of the domestic. Our first object was to convince our bankers, that there was no power on this side the Atlantic which could accede to this proposition, or give it any countenance. They at length, therefore, but with difficulty, receded from this ground, and agreed to enter into conferences with the brokers and lenders, and to use every exertion to clear the loan from the embarrassment in which this speculation had engaged it. What will be the result of these conferences, is not yet known. We have hopes, however, that it is not desperate, because the bankers consented yesterday to pay off the capital of fifty-one thousand florins, which had become due on the first day of January, and which had not yet been paid. We have gone still further. The treasury-board gives no hope of remittances, till the new government can procure them. For that government to be adopted, its legislature assembled, its system of taxation and collection arranged, the money gathered from the people into the treasury, and then remitted to Europe, must extend considerably into the year 1790. To secure our credit then, for the present year only, is but to put off the evil day to the next. What remains of the last loan, when it shall be filled up, will little more than clear us of present demands, as may be seen by the estimate enclosed. We thought it better, therefore, to provide at once for the years 1789 and 1790, also; and thus to place the Government at its ease, and her credit in security, during that trying interval. The same estimate will show, that another million of florins will be necessary to effect this. We stated this to our bankers, who concurred in our views, and that to ask the whole sum at once, would be better than to make demands from time to time so small, as that they betray to the money holders the extreme feebleness of our resources. Mr. Adams, therefore, has executed bonds for another million of florins; which, however, are to remain unissued till Congress shall have ratified the measure; so that this transaction is something or nothing, at their pleasure. We suppose its expediency so apparent, as to leave little doubt of its ratification. In this case, much time will have been saved by the execution of the bonds at this moment, and the proposition will be presented under a more favorable appearance, according to the opinion of the bankers. Mr. Adams is under a necessity of setting out to-morrow morning, but I shall stay two or three days longer, to attend to and encourage the efforts of the bankers; though it is yet doubtful whether they will ensure us a safe passage over the month of June. Not having my letters here to turn to, I am unable to say whether the last I wrote mentioned the declaration of the Emperor that he should take part in the war against the Turks. This declaration appeared a little before, or a little after that letter, I do not recollect which. Some little hostilities have taken place between them. The court of Versailles seems to pursue immovably its pacific system, and from every appearance in the country from which I write, we must conclude that its tragedy is wound up. The triumph appears complete, and tranquillity perfectly established. The numbers who have emigrated are differently estimated, from twenty to forty thousand.

A little before I left Paris, I received a piece of intelligence, which should be communicated, leaving you to lay what stress on it, it may seem to deserve. Its authenticity may be surely relied on. At the time of the late pacification, Spain had about fifteen ships of the line nearly ready for sea. The convention for disarming did not extend to her, nor did she disarm. This gave inquietude to the court of London, and they demanded an explanation. One was given, they say, which is perfectly satisfactory. The Russian Minister at Versailles, getting knowledge of this, became suspicious on his part. He recollected that Spain, during the late war, had been opposed to the entrance of a Russian fleet into the Mediterranean, and concluded if England was not the object of this armament, Russia might be. It is known that that power means to send a fleet of about twenty-four ships into the Mediterranean this summer. He sent to the Count de Montmorin, and expressed his apprehensions. The Count de Montmorin declared that the object of Spain in that armament, was totally different; that he was not sure she would succeed; but that France and Spain were to be considered as one, and that the former would become guarantee for the latter; that she would make no opposition to the Russian fleet. If neither England nor Russia be the object, the question recurs, who is it for? You know best if our affairs with Spain are in a situation to give jealousy to either of us. I think it very possible that the satisfaction of the court of London may have been pretended, or premature. It is possible, also, that the affairs of Spain in South America, may require them to assume a threatening appearance. I give you the facts, however, and you will judge whether they are objects of attention or of mere curiosity.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of sincere esteem and respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.

P. S. I enclose herewith an extract of a letter from the Count de Vergennes to the French Ambassador at the Hague, which will make a remarkable chapter in the history of the late revolution here. It is not public, nor should be made so by us. Probably those who have been the victims of it, will some day publish it.



Amsterdam, March 29, 1788.

Sir,—I have now to acknowledge the receipt of your favors of the 14th, 18th and 23d instant. I would have preferred doing it in person, but the season, and the desire of seeing what I have not yet seen, invite me to take the route of the Rhine, I shall leave this place to-morrow morning, and probably not reach Paris till the latter end of April. In the moment we were to have conferred on the subject of paying the arrears due to you, a letter of the 20th of February from the Board of Treasury was received, forbidding the application of money to any purpose, (except our current claims,) till the June interest should be actually in hand. Being by the letter tied up from giving an order in your favor, I return you the letter you had written to Mr. Jay, on the supposition that the order for your arrears was given. It has been suggested, however, that if you could receive bonds of the loan, you could make them answer your purpose, and the commissioners say this would in no wise interfere with the views of the treasury board, nor the provision for the June interest. I have, therefore, recommended to them in writing, to give you bonds to the amount of your balance, if you choose to take them, rather than to wait. I wish this may answer your purpose. I remember that in the conversation which I had the honor of having with you, on the evening I was at the Hague, you said that your enemies had endeavored to have it believed that Congress would abandon you, and withdraw your appointments. An enemy generally says and believes what he wishes, and your enemies particularly, are not those who are most in the councils of Congress, nor the best qualified to tell what Congress will do. From the evidences you have received of their approbation, and from their well-known steadiness and justice, you must be assured of a continuance of their favor, were they to continue under the present form. Nor do I see anything in the new government which threatens us with less firmness. The Senate, who will make and remove their foreign officers, must, from its constitution, be a wise and steady body. Nor would a new government begin its administration by discarding old servants; servants who have put all to the risk, and when the risk was great, to obtain that freedom and security under which themselves will be what they shall be. Upon the whole, my dear Sir, tranquillize yourself and your family upon this subject. All the evidence which exists as yet, authorizes you to do this, nor can I foresee any cause of disquiet in future. That none may arise, that yourself and family may enjoy health, happiness, and the continued approbation of those by whom you wish most to be approved, is the sincere wish of him, who has the honor to be, with sentiments of sincere esteem and attachment, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Amsterdam, March 29, 1788.

Gentlemen, * * * * * *

I cannot close my letter without some observations on the transfer of our domestic debt to foreigners. This circumstance and the failure to pay off Fiseaux' loan, were the sole causes of the stagnation of our late loan. For otherwise, our credit would have stood on more hopeful grounds than heretofore. There was a condition in the last loan, that the lenders furnished one-third of the money, the remaining two-thirds of the bonds should remain eighteen months unsold, and at their option to take or not, and that in the meantime the same bankers should open no other loan for us. These same lenders became purchasers of our domestic debt, and they were disposed to avail themselves of the power they had thus acquired over us as to our foreign demands, to make us pay the domestic one. Should the present necessities have obliged you to comply with their proposition for the present year, I should be of opinion it ought to be the last instance. If the transfer of these debts to Europe, meet with any encouragement from us, we can no more borrow money here, let our necessities be what they will. For who will give ninety-six per cent. for the foreign obligations of the same nation, whose domestic ones can be bought at the same market for fifty-five per cent.; the former, too, bearing an interest of only five per cent., while the latter yields six. If any discouragements can be honestly thrown on this transfer, it would seem advisable, in order to keep the domestic debt at home. It would be a very effectual one, if, instead of the title existing in our treasury books alone, it was made to exist in loose papers, as our loan office debts do. The European holder would then be obliged to risk the title paper of his capital, as well as his interest, in the hands of his agents in America, whenever the interest was to be demanded; whereas, at present, he trusts him with the interest only. This single circumstance would put a total stop to all future sales of domestic debt at this market. Whether this, or any other obstruction, can or should be thrown in the way of these operations, is not for me to decide; but I have thought the subject worthy your consideration.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect esteem and respect, Gentlemen, your most obedient, and most humble servant.



Amsterdam, March 29, 1788.

Dear Sir,—I have received from you three letters of March the 9th, 14th, and 17th, and written you two of the 10th and 13th. In the last, I mentioned to you that I should leave this place the 13th but I have been drawn on from day to day by the hope of seeing the business on which I came settled, on the basis of positive engagement, and the great object of the month of June appeared so sure, that we were about proceeding to immediate payment of Mr. Grand, the State of Virginia, and all smaller claims, when a letter of the 20th February, from the Commissioners of the Treasury, arrived, forbidding the application of money to any object except the diplomatic expenses, till the cash for the June interest was actually in hand. No room was left for the bankers to execute their discretion. The consequence is a delay of all other objects for some weeks, which probably might have been effected instantly, without danger to the great one. Indeed, I had obtained a positive engagement on that ground. Be so good as to communicate this much to Mr. Grand.

A letter from Mr. Van Berkel, at New York, confirms the arrival of the Count de Moustier there on the 18th of January, and removes all suspense and anxiety on that subject. You know we received a similar account the day before I left Paris, which I communicated to M. de Montmorin. It is with infinite affliction that I recollect, in the hurry of my departure, to have omitted to have notified the same to M. Dupont, who had a son embarked in the same bottom. I am haunted with this recollection, and would beg either yourself or Mr. Grand, whichever sees M. Dupont first, to let him know that it was neither want of attention nor attachment to him which occasioned it to escape me, but the confusion which attended the setting out on such a journey on so short notice.

I set out to-morrow for Utrecht, Nimeguen, etc., and shall pursue the course of the Rhine as far as the roads will permit me, not exceeding Strasburg. Whenever they become impassable, or too difficult, if they do become so, I shall turn off to Paris. So also if anything of importance should call for me at Paris sooner, you will be so good as to address to me at Frankfort and Strasburg. I will call at the post office there, and be happy to find news from you relative to yourself, my daughters, and America. I shall be at Frankfort about the 8th of April, and at Strasburg about the 15th. You shall hear from me on the road.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *


Paris, May 2, 1788.

Dear Sir,—I am honored with your Excellency's letter by the last packet, and thank you for the information it contains on the communication between the Cayahoga and Big Beaver. I have ever considered the opening a canal between those two water courses as the most important work in that line which the State of Virginia could undertake. It will infallibly turn through the Potomac all the commerce of Lake Erie, and the country west of that, except what may pass down the Mississippi; and it is important that it be soon done, lest that commerce should, in the meantime, get established in another channel. Having, in the spring of the last year, taken a journey through the southern parts of France, and particularly examined the canal of Languedoc, through its whole course, I take the liberty of sending you the notes I made on the spot, as you may find in them something, perhaps, which may be turned to account, some time or other, in the prosecution of the Potomac canal. Being merely a copy from my travelling notes, they are undigested and imperfect, but may still perhaps give hints capable of improvement in your mind.

The affairs of Europe are in such a state still, that it is impossible to say what form they will take ultimately. France and Prussia, viewing the Emperor as their most dangerous and common enemy, had heretofore seen their common safety as depending on a strict connection with one another. This had naturally inclined the Emperor to the scale of England, and the Empress also, as having views in common with the Emperor, against the Turks. But these two powers would, at any time, have gladly quitted England, to coalesce with France, as being the power which they met everywhere, opposed as a barrier to all their schemes of aggrandisement. When, therefore, the present King of Prussia took the eccentric measure of bidding defiance to France, by placing his brother in law on the throne of Holland, the two empires immediately seized the occasion of soliciting an alliance with France. The motives for this appeared so plausible, that it was believed the latter would have entered into this alliance, and that thus, the whole political system of Europe would have taken a new form. What has prevented this court from coming into it, we know not. The unmeasurable ambition of the Emperor, and his total want of moral principle and honor, are suspected. A great share of Turkey, the recovery of Silesia, the consolidation of his dominions by the Bavarian exchange, the liberties of the Germanic body, all occupy his mind together, and his head is not well enough organized, to pursue so much only of all this as is practicable. Still, it was thought that France might safely have coalesced with these powers, because Russia and herself, holding close together, as their interests would naturally dictate, the Emperor could never stir but with their permission. France seems, however, to have taken the worst of all parties, that is, none at all. She folds her arms, lets the two empires go to work to cut up Turkey as they can, and holds Prussia aloof, neither as a friend nor foe. This is withdrawing her opposition from the two empires, without the benefit of any condition whatever. In the meantime, England has clearly overreached herself. She excited the war between the Russians and Turks, in hopes that France, still supporting the Turks, would be embarrassed with the two empires. She did not foresee the event which has taken place, of France abandoning the Turks, and that which may take place, of her union with the two empires. She allied herself with Holland, but cannot obtain the alliance of Prussia. This latter power would be very glad to close again the breach with France, and, therefore, while there remains an opening for this, holds off from England, whose fleets could not enter into Silesia, to protect that from the Emperor. Thus, you see, that the old system is unhinged, and no new one hung in its place. Probabilities are rather in favor of a connection between the two empires, France and Spain. Several symptoms show themselves, of friendly dispositions between Russia and France, unfriendly ones between Russia and England, and such as are barely short of hostility between England and France. But into real hostilities, this country would with difficulty be drawn. Her finances are too deranged, her internal union too much dissolved, to hazard a war. The nation is pressing on fast to a fixed constitution. Such a revolution in the public opinion has taken place, that the crown already feels its powers bounded, and is obliged, by its measures, to acknowledge limits. A States General will be called at some epoch not distant; they will probably establish a civil list, and leave the government to temporary provisions of money, so as to render frequent assemblies of the national representative necessary. How that representative will be organized is yet uncertain. Among a thousand projects, the best seems to me, that of dividing them into two Houses, of Commons and Nobles; the Commons to be chosen by the Provincial Assemblies, who are chosen themselves by the people, and the Nobles by the body of Noblesse, as in Scotland. But there is no reason to conjecture that this is the particular scheme which will be preferred.

The war between the Russians and Turks, has made an opening for our Commodore Paul Jones. The Empress has invited him into her service. She insures to him the rank of rear admiral; will give him a separate command, and, it is understood, that he is never to be commanded. I think she means to oppose him to the Captain Pacha, on the Black Sea. He is by this time, probably, at St. Petersburg. The circumstances did not permit his awaiting the permission of Congress, because the season was close at hand for opening the campaign. But he has made it a condition, that he shall be free at all times to return to the orders of Congress, whenever they shall please to call for him; and also, that he shall not in any case be expected to bear arms against France. I believe Congress had it in contemplation, to give him the grade of admiral, from the date of his taking the Serapis. Such a measure now would greatly gratify him, second the efforts of fortune in his favor, and better the opportunities of improving him for our service, whenever the moment shall come in which we may want him.

The danger of our incurring something like a bankruptcy in Holland, which might have been long, and even fatally felt in a moment of crisis, induced me to take advantage of Mr. Adams' journey to take leave at the Hague to meet him there, get him to go on to Amsterdam, and try to avert the impending danger. The moment of paying a great sum of annual interest was approaching. There was no money on hand, the board of treasury had notified that they could not remit any; and the progress of the loan which had been opened there, had absolutely stopped. Our bankers there gave me notice of all this; and that a single day's failure in the payment of interest would have the most fatal effect on our credit. I am happy to inform you we were able to set the loan a going again, and that the evil is at least postponed. Indeed, I am tolerably satisfied, that if the measures we proposed are ratified by Congress, all European calls for money (except the French debt) are secure enough, till the end of the year 1790; by which time, we calculated that the new government might be able to get money into their treasury. Much conversation with the bankers, brokers and money holders, gave me insight into the state of national credit there, which I had never before been able satisfactorily to get. The English credit is the first, because they never open a loan, without laying and appropriating taxes for the payment of the interest, and there has never been an instance of their failing one day, in that payment. The Emperor and Empress have good credit, because they use it little, and have hitherto been very punctual. This country is among the lowest, in point of credit. Ours stands in hope only. They consider us as the surest nation on earth for the repayment of the capital; but as the punctual payment of interest is of absolute necessity in their arrangements, we cannot borrow but with difficulty and disadvantage. The moneyed men, however, look towards our new government with a great degree of partiality, and even anxiety. If they see that set out on the English plan, the first degree of credit will be transferred to us. A favorable occasion will arise to our new government of asserting this ground to themselves. The transfer of the French debt, public and private, to Amsterdam, is certainly desirable. An act of the new government, therefore, for opening a loan in Holland for the purpose, laying taxes at the same time, for paying annually the interest and a part of the principal, will answer the two valuable purposes, of ascertaining the degree of our credit, and of removing those causes of bickering and irritation, which should never be permitted to subsist with a nation, with which it is so much our interest to be on cordial terms as with France. A very small portion of this debt, I mean that part due to the French officers, has done us an injury, of which, those in office in America, cannot have an idea. The interest is unpaid for the last three years; and these creditors, highly connected, and at the same time needy, have felt and communicated hard thoughts of us. Borrowing, as we have done, three hundred thousand florins a year, to pay our interest in Holland, it would have been worth while to have added twenty thousand more to suppress those clamors. I am anxious about everything which may affect our credit. My wish would be, to possess it in the highest degree, but to use it little. Were we without credit, we might be crushed by a nation of much inferior resources, but possessing higher credit. The present system of war renders it necessary to make exertions far beyond the annual resources of the State, and to consume in one year the efforts of many. And this system we cannot change. It remains then, that we cultivate our credit with the utmost attention.

I had intended to have written a word to your Excellency on the subject of the new Constitution, but I have already spun out my letter to an immoderate length. I will just observe, therefore, that according to my ideas, there is a great deal of good in it. There are two things, however, which I dislike strongly. 1. The want of a declaration of rights. I am in hopes the opposition of Virginia will remedy this, and produce such a declaration. 2. The perpetual re-eligibility of the President. This, I fear, will make that an office for life, first, and then hereditary. I was much an enemy to monarchies before I came to Europe. I am ten thousand times more so, since I have seen what they are. There is scarcely an evil known in these countries, which may not be traced to their king, as its source, nor a good, which is not derived from the small fibres of republicanism existing among them. I can further say, with safety, there is not a crowned head in Europe, whose talents or merits would entitle him to be elected a vestryman, by the people of any parish in America. However, I shall hope, that before there is danger of this change taking place in the office of President, the good sense and free spirit of our countrymen, will make the changes necessary to prevent it. Under this hope, I look forward to the general adoption of the new Constitution with anxiety, as necessary for us under our present circumstances. I have so much trespassed on your patience already, by the length of this letter, that I will add nothing further, than those assurances of sincere esteem and attachment with which I have the honor to be, your Excellency's most obedient, and most humble servant.



Paris, May 3, 1788.

Dear Sir,—Mine of February the 6th, acknowledged the receipt of yours of December the 9th and 20th; since that, those of February the 19th and 20th have come to hand. The present will be delivered to you by Mr. Warville, whom you will find truly estimable, and a great enthusiast for liberty. His writings will have shown you this.

For public news, I must refer you to my letters to Mr. Jay. Those I wrote to him from Amsterdam will have informed you of my journey thither. While there, I endeavored to get, as well as I could, into the state of national credit there; for though I am an enemy to the using our credit but under absolute necessity, yet the possessing a good credit I consider as indispensable, in the present system of carrying on war. The existence of a nation having no credit is always precarious. The credit of England is the best. Their paper sells at par on the exchange of Amsterdam the moment any of it is offered, and they can command there any sum they please. The reason is, that they never borrow, without establishing taxes for the payment of the interest, and they never yet failed one day in that payment. The Emperor and Empress have good credit enough. They use it little and have been ever punctual. This country cannot borrow at all there; for though they always pay their interest within the year, yet it is often some months behind. It is difficult to assign to our credit its exact station in this scale. They consider us as the most certain nation on earth for the principal; but they see that we borrow of themselves to pay the interest, so that this is only a conversion of their interest into principal. Our paper, for this reason, sells for from four to eight per cent. below par, on the exchange, and our loans are negotiated with the Patriots only. But the whole body of money dealers, Patriot and Stadtholderian, look forward to our new government with a great degree of partiality and interest. They are disposed to have much confidence in it, and it was the prospect of its establishment, which enabled us to set the loan of last year into motion again. They will attend steadfastly to its first money operations. If these are injudiciously begun, correction, whenever they shall be corrected, will come too late. Our borrowings will always be difficult and disadvantageous. If they begin well, our credit will immediately take the first station. Equal provision for the interest, adding to it a certain prospect for the principal, will give us a preference to all nations, the English not excepted. The first act of the new government should be some operation, whereby they may assume to themselves this station. Their European debts form a proper subject for this. Digest the whole, public and private, Dutch, French and Spanish, into a table, showing the sum of interest due every year, and the portions of principal payable the same year. Take the most certain branch of revenue, and one which shall suffice to pay the interest, and leave such a surplus as may accomplish all the payments of the capital, at terms somewhat short of those at which they will become due. Let the surplusses of those years, in which no reimbursement of principal falls, be applied to buy up our paper on the exchange of Amsterdam, and thus anticipate the demands of principal. In this way, our paper will be kept up at par; and this alone will enable us to command in four and twenty hours, at any time, on the exchange of Amsterdam, as many millions as that capital can produce. The same act which makes this provision for the existing debts, should go on to open a loan to their whole amount; the produce of that loan to be applied, as fast as received, to the payment of such parts of the existing debts as admit of payment. The rate of interest to be as the government should privately instruct their agent, because it must depend on the effect these measures would have on the exchange. Probably it could be lowered from time to time. Honest and annual publications of the payments made will inspire confidence, while silence would conceal nothing from those interested to know.

You will perceive by the compte rendu which I send you, that this country now calls seriously for its interest at least. The non-payment of this, hitherto, has done our credit little injury, because the government here, saying nothing about it, the public have supposed they wished to leave us at our ease as to the payment. It is now seen that they call for it, and they will publish annually the effect of that call. A failure here, therefore, will have the same effect on our credit hereafter, as a failure at Amsterdam. I consider it then, as of a necessity not to be dispensed with, that these calls be effectually provided for. If it shall be seen that the general provision, before hinted at, cannot be in time, then it is the present Government which should take on itself to borrow in Amsterdam, what may be necessary. The new Government should by no means be left by the old, to the necessity of borrowing a stiver, before it can tax for its interest. This will be to destroy the credit of the new Government in its birth. And I am of opinion, that if the present Congress will add to the loan of a million (which Mr. Adams and myself have proposed this year) what may be necessary for the French calls to the year 1790, the money can be obtained at the usual disadvantage. Though I have not, at this moment, received such authentic information from our bankers as I may communicate to Congress, yet I know privately from one of them, (Mr. Jacob Van Staphorst, who is here,) that they had on hand a fortnight ago, four hundred thousand florins, and the sale going on well. So that the June interest, which had been in so critical a predicament, was already secured. If the loan of a million on Mr. Adams' bonds of this year, be ratified by Congress, the applications of the money on hand may go on immediately, according to the statement I sent to Mr. Jay. One article in this, I must beg you to press on the treasury board; that is, an immediate order for the payment of the three years' arrearages to the French officers. They were about holding a meeting to take desperate measures on this subject, when I was called to Holland. I desired them to be quiet till my return, and since my return, I have pressed a further tranquillity till July, by which time, I have given them reason to hope I may have an answer from the treasury board, to my letters of March. Their ill humor can be contained no longer, and as I know no reason why they may not be paid at that time, I shall have nothing to urge in our defence after that.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

You remember the report, drawn by Governor Randolph, on the navigation of the Mississippi. When I came to Europe, Mr. Thompson was so kind as to have me a copy of it made out. I lent it to Dr. Franklin, and he mislaid it, so that it could never be found. Could you make interest with him to have me another copy made, and send it to me? By Mr. Warville I send your pedometer. To the loop at the bottom of it, you must sew a tape, and at the other end of the tape, a small hook, (such as we use under the name of hooks and eyes) cut a little hole in the bottom of your left watch pocket, pass the hook and tape through it, and down between the breeches and drawers, and fix the hook on the edge of your knee band, an inch from the knee buckle; then hook the instrument itself by its swivel hook, on the upper edge of the watch pocket. Your tape being well adjusted in length, your double steps will be exactly counted by the instrument, the shortest hand pointing out the thousands, the flat hand the hundreds, and the long hand the tens and units. Never turn the hands backward; indeed, it is best not to set them to any given place, but to note the number they stand at when you begin to walk. The adjusting the tape to its exact length is a critical business, and will cost you many trials. But once done, it is done for ever. The best way is, to have a small buckle fixed on the middle of the tape, by which you can take it up, and let it out at pleasure. When you choose it should cease to count, unhook it from the top of the watch pocket, and let it fall down to the bottom of the pocket.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

I am, with sentiments of the most sincere esteem and attachment, dear Sir your affectionate friend and servant.

David Humphreys


David Humphreys fought through the Revolutionary War, and early in 1780 was selected as aide to General Washington with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. Having particularly distinguished himself at the siege of York, Congress voted him a handsome sword. In July, 1784, he went to France as Secretary of Legation to Thomas Jefferson. In 1790 he was appointed Minister to Portugal, and in 1797 accepted the office of Minister to Spain, continuing at that post till 1802, after concluding treaties with Tripoli and Algiers. In 1812 he took command of the militia of Connecticut, and as a member of the Legislature was active in reorganizing for the local defence. A collection of his writings was published in 1804.

John Jay


John Jay was sent in 1774 as a delegate to the first Congress, and took a leading part in its proceedings. He drew up the 'Address to the People of Great Britain, and wrote the address issued by Congress in 1775 to the people of Canada. He was a leading member of the New York Convention, serving on the most important committees, and actively engaged in repelling invasions and suppressing Tory combinations. He had a chief share in framing the Constitution of New York and in May, 1777, was appointed Chief Justice of New York. From December 1778 to September, 1779 he was again a member of Congress. He was then appointed Minister to Spain and with Adams, Franklin and others, signed the treaty of peace between the United States and Great Britain on September 3, 1783. In 1787 he united with Hamilton and Madison in writing "The Federalist" to answer objections to the proposed Federal Constitution, and contributed powerfully to its adoption. In 1788 he was appointed Chief Justice of the United States, and from 1795 to 1801 was Governor of New York.


1 (Return)
There is no way by which man can approach nearer to the gods than by contributing to the welfare of their fellow creatures.

2 (Return)
The latter part of this letter is in cypher; but appended to the copy preserved, are explanatory notes, which have enabled us to publish it entire, except a few words, to which they afford no key. These are either marked thus * * *, or the words which the context seemed to require, inserted in italics.

3 (Return)
Much of this letter is in cypher, but the notes annexed to it have enabled the Editor to decipher and publish it.

4 (Return)
The parts of this letter marked by asterisks, are in cypher and unintelligible.


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