The English papers are so incessantly repeating their lies, about the tumults, the anarchy, the bankruptcies, and distresses of America, that these ideas prevail very generally in Europe. At a large table where I dined the other day, a gentleman from Switzerland expressed his apprehensions for the fate of Dr. Franklin, as he said he had been informed, that he would be received with stones by the people, who were generally dissatisfied with the Revolution, and incensed against all those who had assisted in bringing it about. I told him his apprehensions were just, and that the people of America would probably salute Dr. Franklin with the same stones they had thrown at the Marquis Fayette. The reception of the Doctor is an object of very general attention, and will weigh in Europe, as an evidence of the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of America with their Revolution. As you are to be in Williamsburg early in November, this is the last letter I shall write you till about that time.
I am, with very sincere esteem, dear Sir,
your friend and servant,
LETTER XCIX.—TO CAPTAIN JOHN PAUL JONES, August 29,1785
TO CAPTAIN JOHN PAUL JONES.
Paris, August 29,1785.
I received this moment a letter from the Marechal de Castries, of which the enclosed is a copy. Having engaged to him to solicit orders for the payment of any part of this money due to French subjects to be made here, and moreover engaged that, in the mean time, I will order payment, should any such claimants offer themselves; I pray you to furnish me with all the evidence you can, as to what French subjects may be entitled to any part of the monies you will receive, and to how much, each of them; and also to advise me by what means I can obtain a certain roll of all such claimants.
I am, Sir, with great esteem,
your most obedient, humble servant,
LETTER C.—TO JOHN JAY, August 30,1785
TO JOHN JAY.
Paris, August 30,1785.
I had the honor of writing to you on the 14th instant, by a Mr. Cannon of Connecticut, who was to sail in the packet. Since that date yours of July the 13th has come to hand. The times for the sailing of the packets being somewhat deranged, I avail myself of a conveyance for the present, by the Mr. Fitzhugbs of Virginia, who expect to land at Philadelphia.
I enclose you a correspondence which has taken place between the Marechal de Castries, minister of the Marine, and myself. It is on the subject of the prize-money, due to the officers and crew of the Alliance, for prizes taken in Europe, under the command of Captain Jones. That officer has been here, under the direction of Congress, near two years, soliciting the liquidation and payment of that money. Infinite delays had retarded the liquidation till the month of June. It was expected, when the liquidation was announced to be completed, that the money was to be received. The M. de Castries doubted the authority of Captain Jones to receive it, and wrote to me for information. I wrote him a letter dated July the 10th, which seemed to clear away that difficulty. Another arose. A Mr. Puchilberg presented powers to receive the money. I wrote then the letter of August the 3rd, and received that of the M. de Castries, of August the 12th, acknowledging he was satisfied as to this difficulty, but announcing another; to wit, that possibly some French subjects might have been on board the Alliance, and therefore, that Captain Jones ought to give security for the repayment of their portions. Captain Jones had before told me there was not a Frenchman on board that vessel, but the captain. I inquired of Mr. Barclay.. He told me he was satisfied there was not one. Here, then, was a mere possibility, a shadow of right, opposed to a certain, to a substantial one, which existed in the mass of the crew, and which was likely to be delayed; for it was not to be expected that Captain Jones could, in a strange country, find the security required. These difficulties I suppose to have been conjured up, one after another, by Mr. Puchilberg, who wanted to get hold of the money. I saw but one way to cut short these everlasting delays, which were ruining the officer soliciting the payment of the money, and keeping our seamen out of what they had hardly fought for, years ago. This was, to undertake to ask an order from Congress, for the payment of any French claimants by their banker in Paris; and, in the mean time, to undertake to order such payment, should any such claimant prove his title, before the pleasure of Congress should be made known to me. I consulted with Mr. Barclay, who seemed satisfied I might venture this undertaking, because no such claim could be presented. I therefore wrote the letter of August the 17th, and received that of August the 26th, finally closing this tedious business. Should what I have done, not meet the approbation of Congress, I would pray their immediate sense, because it is not probable that the whole of this money will be paid so hastily, but that their orders may arrive in time to stop a sufficiency for any French claimants who may possibly exist. The following paragraph of a letter from Captain Jones, dated L'Orient, August the 25th, 1785, further satisfies me, that my undertaking amounted to nothing in fact. He says, 'It is impossible that any legal demands should be made on you for French subjects, in consequence of your engagement to the Marechal. The Alliance was manned in America, and I never heard of any person's having served on board that frigate, who had been born in France, except the captain, who, as I was informed, had, in America, abjured the church of Rome, and been naturalized.' Should Congress approve what I have done, I will then ask their resolution for the payment, by their banker here, of any such claims as may be properly authenticated, and will moreover pray of you an authentic roll of the crew of the Alliance, with the sums to be allowed to each person; on the subject of which roll, Captain Jones, in the letter above mentioned, says, 'I carried a set of the rolls with me to America, and before I embarked in the French fleet at Boston, I put them into the hands of Mr. Secretary Livingston, and they were sealed up among the papers of his office, when I left America.' I think it possible that Mr. Puchilberg may excite claims. Should any name be offered which shall not be found on the roll, it will be a sufficient disproof of the pretension. Should it be found on the roll, it will remain to prove the identity of person, and to inquire if payment may not have been made in America. I conjecture from the journals of Congress of June the 2nd, that Landais, who, I believe, was the captain, may be in America. As his portion of prize-money may be considerable, I hope it will be settled in America, where only it can be known whether any advances have been made him.
The person at the head of the post office here, says, he proposed to Dr. Franklin a convention to facilitate the passage of letters through their office and ours, and that he delivered a draught of the convention proposed, that it might be sent to Congress. I think it possible he may be mistaken in this, as, on my mentioning it to Dr. Franklin, he did not recollect any such draught having been put into his hands. An answer, however, is expected by them. I mention it, that Congress may decide whether they will make any convention on the subject, and on what principle. The one proposed here was, that for letters passing hence into America, the French postage should be collected by our post-officers, and paid every six months, and for letters coming from America here, the American postage should be collected by the post-officers here, and paid to us in like manner. A second plan, however, presents itself; that is, to suppose the sums to be thus collected, on each side, will be equal, or so nearly equal, that the balance will not pay for the trouble of keeping accounts, and for the little bickerings that the settlement of accounts and demands of the balances may occasion: and therefore, to make an exchange of postage. This would better secure our harmony; but I do not know that it would be agreed to here. If not, the other might then be agreed to.
I have waited hitherto, supposing that Congress might, possibly, appoint a secretary to the legation here, or signify their pleasure that I should appoint a private secretary, to aid me in my office. The communications between the ministers and myself requiring often that many and long papers should be copied, and that in a shorter time than could be done by myself, were I otherwise unoccupied, other correspondences and proceedings, of all which copies must be retained, and still more the necessity of having some confidential person, who, in case of any accident to myself, might be authorized to take possession of the instructions, letters, and other papers of the office, have rendered it absolutely necessary for me to appoint a private secretary. Colonel Humphreys finds full occupation, and often more than he can do, in writing and recording the despatches and proceedings of the general commissions. I shall, therefore, appoint Mr. Short, on his return from the Hague, with an express condition, that the appointment shall cease whenever Congress shall think proper to make any other arrangement. He will, of course, expect the allowance heretofore made to the private secretaries of the ministers, which, I believe, has been a thousand dollars a year.
An improvement is made here in the construction of muskets, which it may be interesting to Congress to know, should they at any time propose to procure any. It consists in the making every part of them so exactly alike, that what belongs to any one, may be used for every other musket in the magazine. The government here has examined and approved the method, and is establishing a large manufactory for the purpose of putting it into execution. As yet, the inventor has only completed the lock of the musket, on this plan. He will proceed immediately to have the barrel, stock, and other parts, executed in the same way. Supposing it might be useful to the United States, I went to the workman. He presented me the parts of fifty locks taken to pieces, and arranged in compartments. I put several together myself, taking pieces at hazard as they came to hand, and they fitted in the most perfect manner. The advantages of this, when arms need repair, are evident. He effects it by tools of his own contrivance, which, at the same time, abridge the work, so that he thinks he shall be able to furnish the musket two livres cheaper than the common price. But it will be two or three years before he will be able to furnish any quantity. I mention it now, as it may have an influence on the plan for furnishing our magazines with this arm.
Every thing in Europe remains as when I wrote you last. The peace between Spain and Algiers has the appearance of being broken off. The French packet having arrived without Mr. Lambe, or any news of him, I await Mr. Adams's acceding to the proposition mentioned in my last. I send you the Gazettes of Leyden and France to this date, and have the honor to be, with the highest respect and esteem, Sir,
your most obedient, humble servant,
LETTER CI.—TO JAMES MADISON, September 1,1785
TO JAMES MADISON.
Paris, September 1,1785.
My last to you by Monsieur de Doradour, was dated May the 11th. Since that, I have received yours of January the 22nd with six copies of the revisal, and that of April the 27th by Mr. Mazzei.
All is quiet here. The Emperor and Dutch have certainly agreed, though they have not published their agreement. Most of his schemes in Germany must be postponed, if they are not prevented by the confederacy of many of the Germanic body, at the head of which is the King of Prussia, and to which the Elector of Hanover is supposed to have acceded. The object of the league is to preserve the members of the empire in their present state. I doubt whether the jealousy entertained of this prince, and which is so fully evidenced by this league, may not defeat the election of his nephew to be King of the Romans, and thus produce an instance of breaking the lineal succession. Nothing is as yet done between him and the Turks. If any thing is produced in that quarter, it will not be for this year. The court of Madrid has obtained the delivery of the crew of the brig Betsey, taken by the Emperor of Morocco. The Emperor had treated them kindly, new-clothed them, and delivered them to the Spanish minister, who sent them to Cadiz. This is the only American vessel ever taken by the Barbary States. The Emperor continues to give proofs of his desire to be in friendship with us, or, in other words, of receiving us into the number of his tributaries. Nothing further need be feared from him. I wish the Algerines may be as easily dealt with. I fancy the peace expected between them and Spain is not likely to take place. I am well informed that the late proceedings in America have produced a wonderful sensation in England in our favor. I mean the disposition, which seems to be becoming general, to invest Congress with the regulation of our commerce, and, in the mean time, the measures taken to defeat the avidity of the British government, grasping at our carrying business. I can add with truth, that it was not till these symptoms appeared in America, that I have been able to discover the smallest token of respect towards the United States, in any part of Europe. There was an enthusiasm towards us, all over Europe, at the moment of the peace. The torrent of lies published unremittingly, in every day's London paper, first made an impression, and produce a coolness. The republication of these lies in most of the papers of Europe (done probably by authority of the governments to discourage emigrations) carried them home to the belief of every mind. They supposed every thing in America was anarchy, tumult, and civil war. The reception of the Marquis Fayette gave a check to these ideas. The late proceedings seem to be producing a decisive vibration in our favor. I think it possible that England may ply before them. It is a nation which nothing but views of interest can govern. If they produce us good there, they will here also. The defeat of the Irish propositions is also in our favor.
I have at length made up the purchase of books for you, as far as it can be done at present. The objects which I have not yet been able to get, I shall continue to seek for. Those purchased, are packed this morning in two trunks, and you have the catalogue and prices herein inclosed. The future charges of transportation shall be carried into the next bill. The amount of the present is 1154 livres, 13 sous, which, reckoning the French crown of six livres at six shillings and eight pence, Virginia money, is L64. 3s., which sum you will be so good as to keep in your hands, to be used occasionally in the education of my nephews, when the regular resources disappoint you. To the same use I would pray you to apply twenty-five guineas, which I have lent the two Mr. Fitz-hughs of Marmion, and which I have desired them to repay into your hands. You will of course deduct the price of the revisals, and of any other articles you may have been so kind as to pay for me. Greek and Roman authors are dearer here, than, I believe, any where in the world. Nobody here reads them; wherefore they are not reprinted. Don Ulloa, in the original, is not to be found. The collection of tracts on the economies of different nations, we cannot find; nor Amelot's Travels into China. I shall send these two trunks of books to Havre, there to wait a conveyance to America; for as to the fixing the packets there, it is as uncertain as ever. The other articles you mention, shall be procured as far as they can be. Knowing that some of them would be better got in London, I commissioned Mr. Short, who was going there, to get them. He has not yet returned. They will be of such a nature as that I can get some gentleman who may be going to America, to take them in his portmanteau. Le Maire being now able to stand on his own legs, there will be no necessity for your advancing him the money I desired, if it is not already done. I am anxious to hear from you on the subject of my Notes on Virginia. I have been obliged to give so many of them here, that I fear their getting published. I have received an application from the Directors of the public buildings, to procure them a plan for their capitol. I shall send them one taken from the best morsel of ancient architecture now remaining. It has obtained the approbation of fifteen or sixteen centuries, and is, therefore, preferable to any design which might be newly contrived. It will give more room, be more convenient, and cost less, than the plan they sent me. Pray encourage them to wait for it, and to execute it. It will be superior in beauty to any thing in America, and not inferior to any thing in the world. It is very simple. Have you a copying press? If you have not, you should get one. Mine (exclusive of paper, which costs a guinea a ream) has cost me about fourteen guineas. I would give ten times that sum, to have had it from the date of the stamp act. I hope you will be so good as to continue your communications, both of the great and small kind, which are equally useful to me. Be assured of the sincerity with which I am, Dear Sir,
your friend and servant,
LETTER CII.—TO MESSRS. DUMAS AND SHORT, September 1, 1785
TO MESSRS. DUMAS AND SHORT.
Paris, September 1, 1785.
I have been duly honored with the receipt of your separate letters of August 23rd, and should sooner have returned an answer, but that as you had written also to Mr. Adams, I thought it possible I might receive his sentiments on the subject, in time for the post. Not thinking it proper to lose the occasion of the post, I have concluded to communicate to you my separate sentiments, which you will of course pay attention to, only so far as they may concur with what you shall receive from Mr. Adams.
On a review of our letters to the Baron de Thulemeyer, I do not find that we had proposed that the treaty should be in two columns, the one English, and the other what he should think proper. We certainly intended to have proposed it. We had agreed together that it should be an article of system with us, and the omission of it, in this instance, has been accidental. My own opinion, therefore, is, that to avoid the appearance of urging new propositions when every thing appeared to be arranged, we should agree to consider the French column as the original, if the Baron de Thulemeyer thinks himself bound to insist on it: but if the practice of his court will admit of the execution in the two languages, each to be considered as equally original, it would be very pleasing to me, as it will accommodate it to our views, relieve us from the embarrassment of this precedent, which may be urged against us on other occasions, and be more agreeable to our country, where the French language is spoken by very few. This method will be also attended with the advantage, that if any expression in any part of the treaty is equivocal in the one language, its true sense will be known by the corresponding passage in the other.
The errors of the copyist, in the French column, you will correct of course.
I have the honor to be, with very high esteem, Gentlemen,
your most obedient
and most humble servant,
LETTER CIII.—TO JOHN ADAMS, September 4, 1785
TO JOHN ADAMS.
Paris, September 4, 1785.
On receipt of your favors of August the 18th and 23rd, I conferred with Mr. Barclay on the measures necessary to be taken to set our treaty with the piratical States into motion, through his agency. Supposing that we should begin with the Emperor of Morocco, a letter to the Emperor and instructions to Mr. Barclay, seemed necessary. I have therefore sketched such outlines for these, as appear to me to be proper. You will be so good as to detract, add to, or alter them as you please, to return such as you approve under your signature, to which I will add mine. A person understanding English, French, and Italian, and at the same time meriting confidence, was not to be met with here. Colonel Franks, understanding the two first languages perfectly, and a little Spanish instead of Italian, occurred to Mr. Barclay as the fittest person he could employ for a secretary. We think his allowance (exclusive of his travelling expenses and his board, which will be paid by Mr. Barclay in common with his own) should be between one hundred and one hundred and fifty guineas a year. Fix it where you please, between these limits. What is said in the instructions to Mr. Barclay, as to his own allowance, was proposed by himself. My idea as to the partition of the whole sum to which we are limited (eighty thousand dollars), was, that one half of it should be kept in reserve for the Algerines. They certainly possess more than half the whole power of the piratical States. I thought then, that Morocco might claim the half of the remainder, that is to say, one fourth of the whole. For this reason, in the instructions, I propose twenty thousand dollars as the limit of the expenses of the Morocco treaty. Be so good as to think of it, and make it what you please. I should be more disposed to enlarge than abridge it, on account of their neighborhood to our Atlantic trade. I did not think that these papers should be trusted through the post office, and therefore, as Colonel Franks is engaged in the business, he comes with them. Passing by the diligence, the whole expense will not exceed twelve or fourteen guineas. I suppose we are bound to avail ourselves of the co-operation of France. I will join you, therefore, in any letter you think proper to write to the Count de Vergennes. Would you think it expedient to write to Mr. Carmichael, to interest the interposition of the Spanish court? I will join you in any thing of this kind you will originate. In short, be so good as to supply whatever you may think necessary. With respect to the money, Mr. Jay's information to you was, that it was to be drawn from Holland. It will rest therefore with you, to avail Mr. Barclay of that fund, either by your draft, or by a letter of credit to the bankers in his favor, to the necessary amount. I imagine the Dutch consul at Morocco may be rendered an useful character, in the remittances of money to Mr. Barclay, while at Morocco.
You were apprised, by a letter from Mr. Short, of the delay which had arisen in the execution of the treaty with Prussia. I wrote a separate letter, of which I enclose you a copy, hoping it would meet one from you, and set them again into motion.
I have the honor to be, with the highest respect, Dear Sir,
your most obedient
and most humble servant,
[The following are the sketches of the letter to the Emperor of Morocco, and of the instructions to Mr. Barclay, referred to in the preceding letter.]
HEADS FOR A LETTER TO THE EMPEROR OF MOROCCO.
That the United States of America, heretofore connected in government with Great Britain, had found it necessary for their happiness to separate from her, and to assume an independent station.
That, consisting of a number of separate States, they had confederated together, and placed the sovereignty of the whole, in matters relating to foreign nations, in a body consisting of delegates from every State, and called the Congress of the United States.
That Great Britain had solemnly confirmed their separation and acknowledged their independence.
That after the conclusion of the peace, which terminated the war in which they had been engaged for the establishment of their independence, the first attentions of Congress were necessarily engrossed by the re-establishment of order and regular government.
That they had, as soon as possible, turned their attention to foreign nations, and, desirous of entering into amity and commerce with them, had been pleased to appoint us, with Dr. Benjamin Franklin, to execute such treaties for this purpose, as should be agreed on by such nations, with us, or any two of us.
That Dr. Franklin having found it, necessary to return to America, the execution of these several commissions had devolved on us. That being placed as Ministers Plenipotentiary for the United States at the courts of England and France; this circumstance, with the commissions with which we are charged for entering into treaties with various other nations, puts it out of our power to attend at the other courts in person, and obliges us to negotiate by the intervention of confidential persons.
That, respecting the friendly dispositions shown by his Majesty, the Emperor of Morocco, towards the United States, and indulging the desire of forming a connection with a sovereign, so renowned for his power, his wisdom, and his justice, we had embraced the first moment possible, of assuring him of these the sentiments of our country and of ourselves, and of expressing to him our wishes to enter into a connection of friendship and commerce with him. That for this purpose, we had commissioned the bearer hereof, Thomas Barclay, a person in the highest confidence of the Congress of the United States, and as such, having been several years, and still being, their consul general with our great and good friend and ally, the King of France, to arrange with his Majesty the Emperor, those conditions which it might be advantageous for both nations to adopt, for the regulation of their commerce, and their mutual conduct towards each other.
That we deliver to him a copy of the full powers with which we are invested, to conclude a treaty with his Majesty, which copy he is instructed to present to his Majesty.
That though by these, we are not authorized to delegate to him the power of ultimately signing the treaty, yet such is our reliance on his wisdom, his integrity, and his attention to the instructions with which he is charged, that we assure his Majesty, the conditions which he shall arrange and send to us, shall be returned with our signature, in order to receive that of the person whom his Majesty shall commission for the same purpose.
HEADS OF INSTRUCTION TO MR. BARCLAY.
Congress having been pleased to invest us with full powers for entering into a treaty of amity and alliance with the Emperor of Morocco, and it being impracticable for us to attend his court in person, and equally impracticable, on account of our separate stations, to receive a minister from him, we have concluded to effect our object by the intervention of a confidential person. We concur in wishing to avail the United States of your talents in the execution of this business, and therefore furnish you with a letter to the Emperor of Morocco, to give due credit to your transactions with him.
We advise you to proceed by the way of Madrid, where you will have opportunities of deriving many lights from Mr. Carmichael, through whom many communications with the court of Morocco have already passed.
From thence you will proceed, by such route as you shall think best, to the court of the Emperor.
You will present to him our letter, with the copy of our full powers, with which you are furnished, at such time or times, and in such manner, as you shall find best.
You will proceed to negotiate with his minister the terms of a treaty of amity and commerce, as nearly conformed as possible to the draught we give you. Where alterations, which, in your opinion, shall not be of great importance, shall be urged by the other party, you are at liberty to agree to them. Where they shall be of great importance, and such as you think should be rejected, you will reject them: but where they are of great importance, and you think they may be accepted, you will ask time to take our advice, and will advise with us accordingly, by letter or by courier, as you shall think best. When the articles shall all be agreed, you will send them to us by some proper person, for our signature.
The whole expense of this treaty, including as well the expenses of all persons employed about it, as the presents to the Emperor and his servants, must not exceed twenty thousand dollars: and we urge you to use your best endeavors, to bring it as much below that sum as you possibly can. As custom may have rendered some presents necessary in the beginning or progress of this business, and before it is concluded, or even in a way to be concluded, we authorize you to conform to the custom, confiding in your discretion to hazard as little as possible, before a certainty of the event. We trust to you also to procure the best information, as to what persons, and in what form, these presents should be made, and to make them accordingly.
The difference between the customs of that and other courts, the difficulty of obtaining knowledge of those customs, but on the spot, and our great confidence in your discretion, induce us to leave to that, all other circumstances relative to the object of your mission. It will be necessary for you to take a secretary, well skilled in the French language, to aid you in your business, and to take charge of your papers in case of any accident to yourself. We think you may allow him -guineas a year, besides his expenses for travelling and subsistence. We engage to furnish your own expenses, according to the respectability of the character with which you are invested, but as to the allowance for your trouble, we wish to leave it to Congress. We annex hereto sundry heads of inquiry which we wish you to make, and to give us thereon the best information you shall be able to obtain. We desire you to correspond with us by every opportunity which you think should be trusted, giving us, from time to time, an account of your proceedings and prospects.
HEADS OF INQUIRY FOR MR. BARCLAY, AS TO MOROCCO.
1. Commerce. What are the articles of their export and import? What duties are levied by them on exports and imports? Do all nations pay the same, or what nations are favored, and how far? Are they their own carriers, or who carries for them? Do they trade themselves to other countries, or are they merely passive?
2. Ports. What are their principal ports? What depth of water in them? What works of defence protect these ports?
3. Naval force. How many armed vessels have they? Of what kind and force? What is the constitution of their naval force? What resources for increasing their navy? What number of seamen? Their cruising grounds, and seasons of cruising?
4. Prisoners. What is their condition and treatment? At what price are they ordinarily redeemed, and how?
Do they pay respect to the treaties they make?
Land forces. Their numbers, constitution, and respectability?
Revenues. Their amount.
Coins. What coins pass there, and at what rates?
LETTER CIV.—TO DAVID HARTLEY, September 5, 1785
TO DAVID HARTLEY.
Paris, September 5, 1785.
Your favor of April the 15th happened to be put into my hands at the same time with a large parcel of letters from America, which contained a variety of intelligence. It was then put where I usually place my unanswered letters; and I, from time to time, put off acknowledging the receipt of it, till I should be able to furnish you American intelligence worth communicating. A favorable opportunity, by a courier, of writing to you occurring this morning, what has been my astonishment and chagrin on reading your letter again, to find there was a case in it which required an immediate answer, but which, by the variety of matters, which happened to be presented to my mind, at the same time, had utterly escaped my recollection. I pray you to be assured, that nothing but this slip of memory would have prevented my immediate answer, and no other circumstance would have prevented its making such an impression on my mind, as that it could not have escaped. I hope you will therefore obliterate the imputation of want of respect, which, under actual appearances, must have arisen in your mind, but which would refer to an untrue cause the occasion of my silence. I am not sufficiently acquainted with the proceedings of the New York Assembly, to say, with certainty, in what predicament the lands of Mr. Upton may stand. But on conferring with Colonel Humphreys, who, being from the neighboring State, was more in the way of knowing what passed in New York, he thinks that the descriptions in their confiscation laws were such, as not to include a case of this nature. The first thing to be done by Mr. Upton is, to state his case to some intelligent lawyer of the country, that he may know with certainty whether they be confiscated, or not; and if not confiscated, to know what measures are necessary for completing and securing his grant. But if confiscated, there is then no other tribunal of redress but their General Assembly. If he is unacquainted there, I would advise him to apply to Colonel Hamilton, who was aid to General Washington, and is now very eminent at the bar, and much to be relied on. Your letter in his favor to Mr. Jay will also procure him the benefit of his counsel.
With respect to America, I will rather give you a general view of its situation, than merely relate recent events. The impost is still unpassed by the two States of New York and Rhode Island: for the manner in which the latter has passed it does not appear to me to answer the principal object, of establishing a fund, which, by being subject to Congress alone, may give such credit to the certificates of public debt, as will make them negotiable. This matter, then, is still suspended.
Congress have lately purchased the Indian right to nearly the whole of the land lying in the new State, bounded by lake Erie, Pennsylvania, and the Ohio. The northwestern corner alone is reserved to the Delawares and Wyandots. I expect a purchase is also concluded with other tribes, for a considerable proportion of the State next to this, on the north side of the Ohio. They have passed an ordinance establishing a land-office, considerably improved, I think, on the plan, of which I had the honor of giving you a copy. The lands are to be offered for sale to the highest bidder. For this purpose, portions of them are to be proposed in each State, that each may have the means of purchase carried equally to their doors, and that the purchasers may be a proper mixture of the citizens from all the different States. But such lots as cannot be sold for a dollar an acre, are not to be parted with. They will receive as money the certificates of public debt. I flatter myself that this arrangement will very soon absorb the whole of these certificates, and thus rid us of our domestic debt, which is four fifths of our whole debt. Our foreign debt will be then a bagatelle.
I think it probable that Vermont will be made independent, as I am told the State of New York is likely to agree to it. Maine will probably in time be also permitted to separate from Massachusetts. As yet, they only begin to think of it. Whenever the people of Kentucky shall have agreed among themselves, my friends write me word, that Virginia will consent to their separation. They will constitute the new State on the south side of Ohio, joining Virginia. North Corolina, by an act of their Assembly, ceded to Congress all their lands westward of the Allegany. The people inhabiting that territory thereon declared themselves independent, called their State by the name of Franklin, and solicited Congress to be received into the Union. But before Congress met, North Carolina (for what reasons I could never learn) resumed their session. The people, however, persist; Congress recommend to the State to desist from their opposition, and I have no doubt they will do it. It will, therefore, result from the act of Congress laying off the western country into new States, that these States will come into the Union in the manner therein provided, and without any disputes as to their boundaries.
I am told that some hostile transaction by our people at the Natchez, against the Spaniards, has taken place. If it be a fact, Congress will certainly not protect them, but leave them to be chastised by the Spaniards, saving the right to the territory. A Spanish minister being now with Congress, and both parties interested in keeping the peace, I think, if such an event has happened, it will be easily arranged.
I told you when here, of the propositions made by Congress to the States, to be authorized to make certain regulations in their commerce; and, that from the disposition to strengthen the hands of Congress, which was then growing fast, I thought they would consent to it. Most of them did so, and I suppose all of them would have done it, if they have not actually done it, but that events proved a much more extensive power would be requisite. Congress have, therefore, desired to be invested with the whole regulation of their trade, and for ever; and to prevent all temptations to abuse the power, and all fears of it, they propose that whatever monies shall be levied on commerce, either for the purpose of revenue, or by way of forfeitures or penalty, shall go directly into the coffers of the State wherein it is levied, without being touched by Congress. From the present temper of the States, and the conviction which your country has carried home to their minds, that there is no other method of defeating the greedy attempts of other countries to trade with them on unequal terms, I think they will add an article for this purpose to their Confederation. But the present powers of Congress over the commerce of the States, under the Confederation, seem not at all understood by your ministry. They say that body has no power to enter into a treaty of commerce; why then make one? This is a mistake. By the sixth article of the Confederation, the States renounce, individually, all power to make any treaty, of whatever nature, with a foreign nation. By the ninth article, they give the power of making treaties wholly to Congress with two reservations only. 1. That no treaty of commerce shall be made, which shall restrain the legislatures from making foreigners pay the same imposts with their own people: nor 2. from prohibiting the exportation or importation of any species of merchandise, which they might think proper. Were any treaty to be made which should violate either of these two reservations, it would be so far void. In the treaties, therefore, made with France, Holland, &c. this has been cautiously avoided. But are these treaties of no advantage to these nations? Besides the advantages expressly given by them, there results another, of great value. The commerce of those nations with the United States is thereby under the protection of Congress, and no particular State, acting by fits and starts, can harass the trade of France, Holland, &c. by such measures as several of them have practised against England, by loading her merchandise with partial imposts, refusing admittance to it altogether, excluding her merchants, &c. &c. For you will observe, that though, by the second reservation before mentioned, they can prohibit the importation of any species of merchandise, as, for instance, though they may prohibit the importation of wines in general, yet they cannot prohibit that of French wines in particular. Another advantage is, that the nations having treaties with Congress, can and do provide in such treaties for the admission of their consuls, a kind of officer very necessary for the regulation and protection of commerce. You know that a consul is the creature of treaty. No nation, without an agreement, can place an officer in another country, with any powers or jurisdiction whatever. But as the States have renounced the separate power of making treaties with foreign nations, they cannot separately receive a consul: and as Congress have, by the Confederation, no immediate jurisdiction over commerce, as they have only a power of bringing that jurisdiction into existence by entering into a treaty, till such treaty be entered into, Congress themselves cannot receive a consul. Till a treaty then, there exists no power in any part of our government, federal or particular, to admit a consul among us: and if it be true, as the papers say, that you have lately sent one over, he cannot be admitted by any power in existence to an exercise of any function. Nothing less than a new article, to be agreed to by all the States, would enable Congress, or the particular States, to receive him. You must not be surprised then, if he be not received.
I think I have by this time tired you with American politics, and will therefore only add assurances of the sincere regard and esteem, with which I have the honor to be, Dear Sir,
your most obedient, humble servant,
LETTER CV.—TO BARON GEISMER, September 6, 1785
TO BARON GEISMER.
Paris, September 6, 1785.
Your letter of March the 28th, which I received about a month after its date, gave me a very real pleasure, as it assured me of an existence which I valued, and of which I had been led to doubt. You are now too distant from America, to be much interested in what passes there. From the London gazettes, and the papers copying them, you are led to suppose that all there is anarchy, discontent, and civil war. Nothing, however, is less true. There are not on the face of the earth, more tranquil governments than ours, nor a happier and more contented people. Their commerce has not as yet found the channels, which their new relations with the world will offer to best advantage, and the old ones remain as yet unopened by new conventions. This occasions a stagnation in the sale of their produce, the only truth among all the circumstances published about them. Their hatred against Great Britain, having lately received from that nation new cause and new aliment, has taken a new spring. Among the individuals of your acquaintance, nothing remarkable has happened. No revolution in the happiness of any of them has taken place, except that of the loss of their only child to Mr. and Mrs. Walker, who, however, left them a grandchild for their solace, and that of your humble servant, who remains with no other family than two daughters, the elder here (who was of your acquaintance), the younger in Virginia, but expected here the next summer. The character in which I am here, at present, confines me to this place, and will confine me as long as I continue in Europe. How long this will be, I cannot tell. I am now of an age which does not easily accommodate itself to new manners and new modes of living: and I am savage enough to prefer the woods, the wilds, and the independence of Monticello, to all the brilliant pleasures of this gay capital. I shall, therefore, rejoin myself to my native country, with new attachments, and with exaggerated esteem for its advantages; for though there is less wealth there, there is more freedom, more ease, and less misery. I should like it better, however, if it could tempt you once more to visit it: but that is not to be expected. Be this as it may, and whether fortune means to allow or deny me the pleasure of ever seeing you again, be assured that the worth which gave birth to my attachment, and which still animates it, will continue to keep it up while we both live, and that it is with sincerity I subscribe myself, Dear Sir,
your friend and servant,
LETTER CVI.—TO JOHN LANGDON, September 11, 1785
TO JOHN LANGDON.
Paris, September 11, 1785.
Your Captain Yeaton being here, furnishes me an opportunity of paying the tribute of my congratulations on your appointment to the government of your State, which I do sincerely. He gives me the grateful intelligence of your health, and that of Mrs. Langdon. Anxious to promote your service, and believing he could do it by getting himself naturalized here, and authorized to command your vessel he came from Havre to Paris. But on making the best inquiries I could, it seemed that the time requisite to go through with this business, would be much more than he could spare. He therefore declined it. I wish it were in my power to give you a hope that our commerce, either with this country, or its islands, was likely to be put on better footing. But if it be altered at all, it will probably be for the worse. The regulations respecting their commerce are by no means sufficiently stable to be relied on.
Europe is in quiet, and likely to remain so. The affairs of the Emperor and Dutch are as good as settled, and no other cloud portends any immediate storm. You have heard much of American vessels taken by the Barbary pirates. The Emperor of Morocco took one last winter (the brig Betsey of Philadelphia); he did not however reduce the crew to slavery, nor confiscate the vessel or cargo. He has lately delivered up the crew on the solicitation of the Spanish court. No other has ever been taken by them. There are, indeed, rumors of one having been lately taken by the Algerines. The fact is possible, as there is nothing to hinder their taking them, but it is not as yet confirmed. I have little doubt that we shall be able to place our commerce on a popular footing with the Barbary States this summer, and thus not only render our navigation to Portugal and Spain safe, but open the Mediterranean as formerly. In spite of treaties, England is still our enemy. Her hatred is deep-rooted and cordial, and nothing is wanting with her but the power, to wipe us and the land we live on out of existence. Her interest, however, is her ruling passion! and the late American measures have struck at that so vitally, and with an energy, too, of which she had thought us quite incapable, that a possibility seems to open of forming some arrangement with her. When they shall see decidedly, that, without it we shall suppress their commerce with us, they will be agitated by their avarice on the one hand, and their hatred and their fear of us on the other. The result of this conflict of dirty passions is yet to be awaited. The body of the people of this country love us cordially. But ministers and merchants love nobody. The merchants here are endeavoring to exclude, us from their islands. The ministers will be governed in it by political motives, and will do it, or not do it, as these shall appear to dictate, without love or hatred to any body. It were to be wished that they were able to combine better the various circumstances, which prove, beyond a doubt, that all the advantages of their colonies result, in the end, to the mother country. I pray you to present me in the most friendly terms to Mrs. Langdon, and be assured of the esteem with which I am
your Excellency's most obedient
and most humble servant,
LETTER CVII.—LISTER ASQUITH, September 14, 1785
TO LISTER ASQUITH.
Paris, September 14, 1785.
Several of your letters have been received, and we have been occupied in endeavors to have you discharged: but these have been ineffectual. If our information be right, you are mistaken in supposing you are already condemned. The Farmers General tell us, you are to be tried at Brest, and this trial may perhaps be a month hence. From that court you may appeal to the Parliament of Rennes, and from that to the King in Council. They say, that from the depositions sent to them, there can be no doubt you came to smuggle, and that in that case, the judgment of the law is a forfeiture of the vessel and cargo, a fine of a thousand livres on each of you, and six years' condemnation to the galleys. These several appeals will be attended with considerable expense. They offer to discharge your persons and vessel (but not the cargo) on your paying two thousand livres, and the costs already incurred; which are three or four hundred more. You will therefore choose, whether to go through the trial, or to compromise, and you are the best judge, what may be the evidence for or against you. In either case, I shall render you all the service I can. I will add, that if you are disposed to have the matter tried, I am of opinion, that, if found against you, there will be no danger of their sending you to the galleys; so that you may decide what course you will take, without any bias from that fear. If you choose to compromise, I will endeavor to have it done for you, on the best terms we can. I fear they will abate little from the two thousand livres, because Captain Deville, whom you sent here, fixed the matter by offering that sum, and has done you more harm than good. I shall be glad if you will desire your lawyer to make out a state of your case, (which he may do in French,) and send it to me. Write me also yourself a plain and full narration of your voyage, and the circumstances which have brought so small a vessel, with so small a cargo, from America into France. As far as we yet know them, they are not in your favor. Inform me who you are, and what papers you have on board. But do not state to me a single fact which is not true: for if I am led by your information to advance any thing which they shall prove to be untrue, I will abandon your case from that moment: whereas, sending me a true statement, I will make the best of it I can. Mr. Barclay, the American consul, will be here some few days yet. He will be, as he has already been, of much service to you, if the information I ask both from yourself and your lawyer, can come before his departure. I repeat my assurances of doing whatever I can for you, and am, Sir,
your very humble servant,
LETTER CVIII.—TO JOHN ADAMS, September 19, 1785
TO JOHN ADAMS.
Paris, September 19, 1785.
Lambe has arrived. He brings new full powers to us from Congress, to appoint persons to negotiate with the Barbary States; but we are to sign the treaties. Lambe has not even a recommendation from them to us, but it seems clear that he would be approved by them. I told him of Mr. Barclay's appointment to Morocco, and proposed Algiers to him. He agrees. A small alteration in the form of our despatches will be necessary, and, of course, another courier shall be despatched to you on the return of Colonel Franks, for your pleasure herein.
I am, with great esteem,
your friend and servant,
[* The original of the above was in cipher; though, as in the case of most of the Author's letters in cipher, he prepared and preserved a literal copy of it.]
LETTER CIX.—TO JAMES MADISON, September 20, 1785
TO JAMES MADISON.
Paris, September 20, 1785.
By Mr. Fitzhugh, you will receive my letter of the first instant. He is still here, and gives me an opportunity of again addressing you much sooner than I should have done, but for the discovery of a great piece of inattention. In that letter I send you a detail of the cost of your books, and desire you to keep the amount in your hands, as if I had forgot that a part of it was in fact your own, as being a balance of what I had remained in your debt. I really did not attend to it in the moment of writing, and when it occurred to me, I revised my memorandum book from the time of our being in Philadelphia together, and stated our account from the beginning, lest I should forget or mistake any part of it. I enclose you this statement. You will always be so good as to let me know, from time to time, your advances for me. Correct with freedom all my proceedings for you, as, in what I do, I have no other desire than that of doing exactly what will be most pleasing to you.
I received this summer a letter from Messrs. Buchanan and Hay, as Directors of the public buildings desiring I would have drawn for them plans of sundry buildings, and, in the first place, of a capital. They fixed; for their receiving this plan, a day which Was within about six weeks of that on which their letter came to my hand. I engaged an architect of capital abilities in this business. Much time was requisite, after the external form was agreed on, to make the internal distribution convenient for the three branches of government. This time was much lengthened by my avocations to other objects, which I had no right to neglect. The plan however Was settled. The gentlemen had sent me one which they had thought of. The one agreed on here is more convenient, more beautiful, gives more room, and will not cost more than two thirds of what that would. We took for our model what is called the Maison Quarree (Nismes), one of the most beautiful, if not the most beautiful and precious morsel of architecture left us by antiquity. It was built by Caius and Lucius Caesar, and repaired by Louis XIV., and has the suffrage of all the judges of architecture who have seen it, as yielding to no one of the beautiful monuments of Greece, Rome, Palmyra, and Balbec, which late travellers have communicated to us. It is very simple, but it is noble beyond expression, and would have done honor to our country, as presenting to travellers a specimen of taste in our infancy, promising much for our maturer age. I have been much mortified with information, which I received two days ago from Virginia, that the first brick of the Capitol would be laid within a few days. But surely, the delay of this piece of a summer would have been repaired by the savings in the plan preparing here, were we to value its other superiorities as nothing. But how is a taste in this beautiful art to be formed in our countrymen, unless we avail ourselves of every occasion when public buildings are to be erected, of presenting to them models for their study and imitation? Pray try if you can effect the slopping of this work. I have written also to E. R. on the subject. The loss will be only of the laying the bricks already laid, or a part of them. The bricks themselves will do again for the interior walls, and one side wall and one end wall may remain, as they will answer equally well for our plan. This loss is not to be weighed against the saving of money which will arise, against the comfort of laying out the public money for something honorable, the satisfaction of seeing an object and proof of national good taste, and the regret and mortification of erecting a monument of our barbarism, which will be loaded with execrations as long as it shall endure. The plans are in good forwardness, and I hope will be ready within three or four weeks. They could not be stopped now, but on paying their whole price, which will be considerable. If the undertakers are afraid to undo what they have done, encourage them to it by a recommendation from the Assembly. You see I am an enthusiast on the subject of the arts. But it is an enthusiasm of which I am not ashamed, as its object is to improve the taste of my countrymen, to increase their reputation, to reconcile to them the respect of the world, and procure them its praise.
I shall send off your books, in two trunks, to Havre, within two or three days, to the care of Mr. Limozin, American agent there. I will advise you, as soon as I know by what vessel he forwards them. Adieu.
LETTER CX.—TO EDMUND RANDOLPH, September 20,1785
TO EDMUND RANDOLPH.
Paris, September 20,1785.
Being in your debt for ten volumes of Buffon, I have endeavored to find something that would be agreeable to you to receive, in return. I therefore send you, by way of Havre, a dictionary of law, natural and municipal, in thirteen volumes 4to, called Le Code de l'Humanite. It is published by Felice, but written by him and several other authors of established reputation. It is an excellent work. I do not mean to say, that it answers fully to its title. That would have required fifty times the volume. It wants many articles which the title would induce us to seek in it. But the articles which it contains are well written. It is better than the voluminous Dictionnaire Diplomatique, and better also than the same branch of the Encyclopedie Methodigue. There has been nothing published here, since I came, of extraordinary merit. The Encyclopedie Methodique, which is coming out from time to time, must be excepted from this. It is to be had at two guineas less than the subscription price. I shall be happy to send you any thing in this way which you may desire. French books are to be bought here for two thirds of what they can in England. English and Greek and Latin authors cost from twenty-five to fifty per cent, more here than in England.
I received, some time ago, a letter from Messrs. Hay and Buchanan, as Directors of the public buildings, desiring I would have plans drawn for our public buildings, and in the first place for the capitol. I did not receive their letter till within about six weeks of the time they had fixed on for receiving the drawings. Nevertheless, I engaged an excellent architect to comply with their desire. It has taken much time to accommodate the external adopted, to the internal arrangement necessary for the three branches of government. However, it is effected on a plan, which, with a great deal of beauty and convenience within, unites an external form on the most perfect model of antiquity now existing. This is the Maison Quarree of Nismes, built by Caius and Lucius Caesar, and repaired by Louis XIV., which, in the opinion of all who have seen it, yields, in beauty, to no piece of architecture on earth. The gentlemen enclosed me a plan of which they had thought. The one preparing here will be more convenient, give more room, and cost but two thirds of that: and as a piece of architecture, doing honor to our country, will leave nothing to be desired. The plans will be ready soon. But, two days ago, I received a letter from Virginia, informing me the first brick of the capitol would be laid within a few days. This mortifies my extremely. The delay of this summer would have been amply repaid by the superiority and economy of the plan preparing here. Is it impossible to stop the work where it is? You will gain money by losing what is done, and general approbation, instead of occasioning a regret, which will endure as long as your building does. How is a taste for a chaste and good style of building to be formed in our countrymen, unless we seize all occasions which the erection of public buildings offers, of presenting to them models for their imitation? Do, my dear Sir, exert your influence to stay the further progress of the work, till you can receive these plans. You will only lose the price of laying what bricks are already laid, and of taking part of them asunder. They will do again for the inner walls. A plan for a prison will be sent at the same time.
Mazzei is here, and in pressing distress for money. I have helped him as far as I have been able, but particular circumstances put it out of my power to do more. He is looking with anxiety to the arrival of every vessel, in hopes of relief through your means. If he does not receive it soon, it is difficult to foresee his fate.
The quiet which Europe enjoys at present, leaves nothing to communicate to you in the political way. The Emperor and Dutch still differ about the quantum of money to be paid by the latter; they know not for what. Perhaps their internal convulsions will hasten them to a decision. France is improving her navy, as if she were already in a naval war: yet I see no immediate prospect of her having occasion for it. England is not likely to offer war to any nation, unless, perhaps, to ours. This would cost us our whole shipping: but in every other respect, we might flatter ourselves with success. But the most successful war seldom pays for its losses. I shall be glad to hear from you when convenient, and am, with much esteem, Dear Sir,
your friend and servant,
LETTER CXI.—TO JOHN ADAMS, September 24, 1785
TO JOHN ADAMS.
Paris, September 24, 1785.
I have received your favor of the 18th, enclosing your compliments on your presentation. The sentiments you therein expressed, were such as were entertained in America till the commercial proclamation, and such as would again return, were a rational conduct to be adopted by Great Britain. I think, therefore, you by no means compromitted yourself or our country, nor expressed more than it would be our interest to encourage, if they were disposed to meet us. I am pleased, however, to see the answer of the King. It bears the marks of suddenness and surprise, and as he seems not to have had time for reflection, we may suppose he was obliged to find his answer in the real sentiments of his heart if that heart has any sentiment. I have no doubt however that it contains the real creed of an Englishman, and that the word which he has let escape is the true word of the enigma. 'The moment I see such sentiments as yours prevail, and a disposition to give this country the preference, I will,' &c. All this I steadfastly believe. But the condition is impossible. Our interest calls for a perfect equality in our conduct towards these two nations; but no preferences any where. If, however, circumstances should ever oblige us to show a preference, a respect for our character, if we had no better motive, would decide to which it should be given.
My letters from members of Congress render it doubtful, whether they would not rather that full time should be given for the present disposition of America to mature itself, and to produce a permanent improvement in the federal constitution, rather than, by removing the incentive, to prevent the improvement. It is certain that our commerce is in agonies at present, and that these would be relieved by opening the British ports in the West Indies. It remains to consider, whether a temporary continuance under these sufferings would be paid for, by the amendment it is likely to produce. However, I believe there is no fear that Great Britain will puzzle us, by leaving it in our choice to hasten or delay a treaty.
Is insurance made on Houdon's life? I am uneasy about it, lest we should hear of any accident. As yet there is no reason to doubt their safe passage. If the insurance is not made, I will pray you to have it done immediately.
As I have not received any London newspapers as yet, I am obliged to ask you what is done as to them, lest the delay should proceed from some obstacle to be removed.
There is a Mr. Thompson at Dover, who has proposed to me a method of getting them post-free: but I have declined resorting to it, till I should know in what train the matter is at present.
I have the honor to be, with the most perfect esteem, Dear Sir,
your friend and servant,
LETTER CXII.—TO JOHN ADAMS, September 24,1785
TO JOHN ADAMS.
Paris, September 24,1785.
My letter of September the 19th, written the morning after Mr. Lambe's arrival here, will inform you of that circumstance. I transmit you herewith, copies of the papers he brought to us on the subject of the Barbary treaties. You will see by them, that Congress have adopted the very plan which we were proposing to pursue. It will now go on with less danger of objection from the other parties. The receipt of these new papers, therefore, has rendered necessary no change, in matter of substance, in the despatches we had prepared. But they render some formal changes necessary. For instance, in our letter of credence for Mr. Barclay to the Emperor of Morocco, it becomes improper to enter into those explanations which seemed proper when that letter was drawn; because Congress in their letter enter into those explanations. In the letter to the Count de Vergennes, it became proper to mention the new full powers received from Congress, and which, in some measure, accord with the idea communicated by him to us, from the Marechal de Castries. These and other formal alterations, which appeared necessary to me, I have made, leaving so much of the original draughts, approved and amended by you, as were not inconsistent with these alterations. I have therefore had these prepared fair, to save you the trouble of copying; yet, wherever you choose to make alterations, you will be so good as to make them; taking, in that case, the trouble of having new fair copies made out.
You will perceive by Mr. Jay's letter, that Congress had not thought proper to give Mr. Lambe any appointment. I imagine they apprehended it might interfere with measures actually taken by us. Notwithstanding the perfect freedom which they are pleased to leave to us, on this subject, I cannot feel myself clear of that bias, which a presumption of their pleasure gives, and ought to give. I presume that Mr. Lambe met their approbation, because of the recommendations he carried from the Governor and State of Connecticut, because of his actual knowledge of the country and people of the States of Barbary, because of the detention of these letters from March to July, which, considering their pressing-nature, would otherwise have been sent by other Americans, who, in the mean time, have come from New York to Paris; and because, too, of the information we received by Mr. Jarvis. These reasons are not strong enough to set aside our appointment of Mr. Barclay to Morocco: that I think should go on, as no man could be sent who would enjoy more the confidence of Congress. But they are strong enough to induce me to propose to you the appointment of Lambe to Algiers. He has followed for many years the Barbary trade, and seems intimately acquainted with those States. I have not seen enough of him to judge of his abilities. He seems not deficient, as far as I can see, and the footing on which he comes, must furnish a presumption for what we do not see. We must say the same as to his integrity; we must rely for this on the recommendations he brings, as it is impossible for us to judge of this for ourselves. Yet it will be our duty to use such reasonable cautions as are in our power. Two occur to me. 1. To give him a clerk capable of assisting and attending to his proceedings, and who, in case he thought any thing was going amiss, might give us information. 2. Not to give him a credit on Van Staphorst and Willinck, but let his drafts be made on yourself, which, with the knowledge you will have of his proceedings, will enable you to check them, if you are sensible of any abuse intended. This will give you trouble; but as I have never found you declining trouble, when it is necessary, I venture to propose it. I hope it will not expose you to inconvenience, as by instructing Lambe to insert in his drafts a proper usance, you can, in the mean time, raise the money for them by drawing on Holland. I must inform you that Mr. Barclay wishes to be put on the same footing with Mr. Lambe, as to this article, and therefore I return you your letter of credit on Van Staphorst &, Co. As to the first article, there is great difficulty. There is nobody at Paris fit for the undertaking, who would be likely to accept it. I mean there is no American, for I should be anxious to place a native in the trust. Perhaps you can send us one from London. There is a Mr. Randall there, from New York, whom Mr. Barclay thinks might be relied on very firmly for integrity and capacity. He is there for his health; perhaps you can persuade him to go to Algiers in pursuit of it. If you cannot, I really know not what will be done. It is impossible to propose to Bancroft to go in a secondary capacity. Mr. Barclay and myself have thought of Cairnes, at L'Ori-ent, as a dernier ressort. But it is uncertain, or rather improbable, that he will undertake it. You will be pleased in the first place, to consider of my proposition to send Lambe to Algiers; and in the next, all the circumstances before detailed, as consequences of that.
The enclosed letter from Richard O'Bryan furnishes powerful motives for commencing, by some means or other, the treaty with Algiers, more immediately than would be done, if left on Mr. Barclay. You will perceive by that, that two of our vessels, with their crews and cargoes, have been carried captive into that port. What is to be done as to those poor people? I am for hazarding the supplementary instruction to Lambe, which accompanies these papers. Alter it, or reject it, as you please. You ask what I think of claiming the Dutch interposition. I doubt the fidelity of any interposition too much to desire it sincerely. Our letters to this court, heretofore, seemed to oblige us to communicate with them on the subject. If you think the Dutch would take amiss our not applying to them, I will join you in the application. Otherwise, the fewer who are apprized of our proceedings, the better. To communicate them to the States of Holland, is to communicate them to the whole world.
Mr. Short returned last night, and brought the Prussian treaty, duly executed in English and French. We may send it to Congress by the Mr. Fitzhughs going from hence. Will you draw and sign a short letter for that purpose? I send you a copy of a letter received from the Marquis Fayette. In the present unsettled state of American commerce, I had as lieve avoid all further treaties, except with American powers. If Count Merci, therefore, does not propose the subject to me, I shall not to him, nor do more than decency requires, if he does propose it. I am, with great esteem, Dear Sir,
your most obedient, humble servant,
LETTER CXIII.—TO F. HOPKINSON, September 25, 1785
TO F. HOPKINSON.
Paris, September 25, 1785.
My last to you was of the 6th of July. Since that, I have received yours of July the 23rd. I do not altogether despair of making something of your method of quilling, though, as yet, the prospect is not favorable. I applaud much your perseverance in improving this instrument, and benefiting mankind almost in spite of their teeth. I mentioned to Piccini the improvement with which I am entrusted. He plays on the piano-forte, and therefore did not feel himself personally interested. I hope some better opportunity will yet fall in my way of doing it justice. I had almost decided, on his advice, to get a piano-forte for my daughter; but your last letter may pause me, till I see its effect.
Arts and arms are alike asleep for the moment. Ballooning indeed goes on. There are two artists in the neighborhood of Paris, who seem to be advancing towards the desideratum in this business. They are able to rise and fall at will, without expending their gas, and to deflect forty-five degrees from the course of the wind.
I desired you in my last to send the newspapers, notwithstanding the expense. I had then no idea of it. Some late instances have made me perfectly acquainted with it. I have therefore been obliged to adopt the following plan. To have my newspapers, from the different States, enclosed to the office for Foreign Affairs, and to desire Mr. Jay to pack the whole in a box, and send it by the packet as merchandise, directed to the American consul at L'Orient, who will forward it to me by the periodical wagons. In this way they will only cost me livres where they now cost me guineas, I must pray you, just before the departure of every French packet, to send my papers on hand to Mr. Jay, in this way. I do not know whether I am subject to American postage or not, in general; but I think newspapers never are. I have sometimes thought of sending a copy of my Notes to the Philosophical Society, as a tribute due to them: but this would seem as if I considered them as worth something, which I am conscious they are not. I will not ask you for your advice on this occasion, because it is one of those on which no man is authorized to ask a sincere opinion. I shall therefore refer it to further thoughts.
I am, with very sincere esteem, Dear Sir,
your friend and servant,
LETTER CXIV.—TO LISTER ASQUITH, September 26,1785
TO LISTER ASQUITH.
Paris, September 26,1785.
I have received your letter of September the 19th, with your log-book and other papers. I now wait for the letter from your lawyer, as, till I know the real nature and state of your process, it is impossible for me to judge what can be done for you here. As soon as I receive them, you shall hear from me. In the mean time, I supposed it would be a comfort to you to know that your papers had come safe to hand, and that I shall be attentive to do whatever circumstances will admit.
I am, Sir, your very humble servant,
LETTER CXV.—TO R. IZARD, September 26,1783
TO R. IZARD.
Paris, September 26,1783.
I received, a few days ago, your favor of the 10th of June, and am to thank you for the trouble you have given yourself, to procure me information on the subject of the commerce of your State. I pray you, also, to take the trouble of expressing my acknowledgments to the Governor and Chamber of Commerce, as well as to Mr. Hall, for the very precise details on this subject, with which they have been pleased to honor me. Your letter of last January, of which you make mention, never came to my hands. Of course, the papers now received are the first and only ones which have come safe. The infidelities of the post-offices, both of England and France, are not unknown to you. The former are the most rascally, because they retain one's letters, not choosing to take the trouble of copying them. The latter, when they have taken copies, are so civil as to send the originals, re-sealed clumsily with a composition, on which they had previously taken the impression of the seal. England shows no dispositions to enter into friendly connections with us. On the contrary, her detention of our posts, seems to be the speck which is to produce a storm. I judge that a war with America would be a popular war in England. Perhaps the situation of Ireland may deter the ministry from hastening it on. Peace is at length made between the Emperor and Dutch. The terms are not published, but it is said he gets ten millions of florins, the navigation of the Scheldt not quite to Antwerp, and two forts. However, this is not to be absolutely relied on. The league formed by the King of Prussia against the Emperor is a most formidable obstacle to his ambitious designs. It certainly has defeated his views on Bavaria, and will render doubtful the election of his nephew to be King of the Romans. Matters are not yet settled between him and the Turk. In truth, he undertakes too much. At home he has made some good regulations.
Your present pursuit being (the wisest of all) agriculture, I am not in a situation to be useful to it. You know that France is not the country most celebrated for this art. I went the other day to see a plough which was to be worked by a windlass, without horses or oxen. It was a poor affair. With a very troublesome apparatus, applicable only to a dead level, four men could do the work of two horses. There seems a possibility that the great desideratum in the use of the balloon may be obtained. There are two persons at Javel (opposite to Auteuil) who are pushing this matter. They are able to rise and fall at will, without expending their gas, and they can deflect forty-five degrees from the course of the wind.
I took the liberty of asking you to order me a Charleston newspaper. The expense of French postage is so enormous that I have been obliged to desire that my newspapers, from the different States, may be sent to the office for Foreign Affairs at New York; and I have requested of Mr. Jay to have them always packed in a box, and sent by the French packets as merchandise to the care of the American consul at L'Orient, who will send them on by the periodical wagons. Will you permit me to add this to the trouble I have before given you, of ordering the printer to send them under cover to Mr. Jay, by such opportunities by water, as occur from time to time. This request must go to the acts of your Assembly also. I shall be on the watch to send you any thing that may appear here on the subjects of agriculture or the arts, which may be worth your perusal, I sincerely congratulate Mrs. Izard and yourself on the double accession to your family by marriage and a new birth. My daughter values much your remembrance of her, and prays to have her respects presented to the ladies and yourself. In this I join her, and shall embrace with pleasure every opportunity of assuring you of the sincere esteem, with which I have the honor to be, Dear Sir, your most obedient
and most humble servant,
LETTER CXVI.—TO RICHARD O'BRYAN, September 29, 1785
TO RICHARD O'BRYAN.
Paris, September 29, 1785.
I have received your letter, and shall exert myself for you. Be assured of hearing from me soon: but say nothing to any body, except what may be necessary to comfort your companions. I add no more, because the fate of this letter is uncertain. I am, Sir,
your very humble servant,
LETTER CXVII.—TO MR. BELLINI, September 30,1785
TO MR. BELLINI.
Paris, September 30,1785.
Your estimable favor, covering a letter to Mr. Mazzei, came to hand on the 26th instant. The letter to Mr. Mazzei was put into his hands in the same moment, as he happened to be present. I leave to him to convey to you all his complaints, as it will be more agreeable to me to express to you the satisfaction I received, on being informed of your perfect health. Though I could not receive the same pleasing news of Mrs. Bellini, yet the philosophy, with which I am told she bears the loss of health, is a testimony the more, how much she deserved the esteem I bear her. Behold me at length on the vaunted scene of Europe! It is not necessary for your information, that I should enter into details concerning it. But you are, perhaps, curious to know how this new scene has struck a savage of the mountains of America. Not advantageously, I assure you. I find the general fate of humanity here most deplorable. The truth of Voltaire's observation offers itself perpetually, that every man here must be either the hammer or the anvil. It is a true picture of that country to which they say we shall pass hereafter, and where we are to see God and his angels in splendor, and crowds of the damned trampled under their feet. While the great mass of the people are thus suffering under physical and moral oppression, I have endeavored to examine more nearly the condition of the great, to appreciate the true value of the circumstances in their situation which dazzle the bulk of spectators, and, especially, to compare it with that degree of happiness which is enjoyed in America by every class of people. Intrigues of love occupy the younger, and those of ambition the elder part of the great. Conjugal love having no existence among them, domestic happiness, of which that is the basis, is utterly unknown. In lieu of this, are substituted pursuits which nourish and invigorate all our bad passions, and which offer only moments of ecstacy, amidst days and months of restlessness and torment. Much, very much inferior, this, to the tranquil, permanent felicity, with which domestic society in America blesses most of its inhabitants; leaving them to follow steadily those pursuits which health and reason approve, and rendering truly delicious the intervals of those pursuits.
In science, the mass of the people is two centuries behind ours; their literati, half a dozen years before us. Books, really good, acquire just reputation in that time, and so become known to us, and communicate to us all their advances in knowledge. Is not this delay compensated, by our being placed out of the reach of that swarm of nonsensical publications, which issues daily from a thousand presses, and perishes almost in issuing? With respect to what are termed polite manners, without sacrificing too much the sincerity of language, I would wish my countrymen to adopt just so much of European politeness, as to be ready to make all those little sacrifices of self, which really render European manners amiable, and relieve society from the disagreeable scenes to which rudeness often subjects it. Here, it seems that a man might pass a life without encountering a single rudeness. In the pleasures of the table they are far before us, because with good taste they unite temperance. They do not terminate the most sociable meals by transforming themselves into brutes. I have never yet seen a man drunk in France, even among the lowest of the people. Were I to proceed to tell you how much I enjoy their architecture, sculpture, painting, music, I should want words. It is in these arts they shine. The last of them, particularly, is an enjoyment, the deprivation of which with us cannot be calculated. I am almost ready to say, it is the only thing which from my heart I envy them, and which, in spite of all the authority of the Decalogue, I do covet. But I am running on in an estimate of things infinitely better known to you than to me, and which will only serve to convince you, that I have brought with me all the prejudices of country, habit, and age. But whatever I may allow to be charged to me as prejudice, in every other instance, I have one sentiment at least founded on reality: it is that of the perfect esteem which your merit and that of Mrs. Bellini have produced, and which will for ever enable me to assure you of the sincere regard with which I am, Dear Sir,
your friend and servant,
LETTER CXVIII.—JAMES MADISON, October 2, 1785
JAMES MADISON, of William and Mary College.
Paris, October 2, 1785.
I have duly received your favor of April the 10th, by Mr. Mazzei. You therein speak of a new method of raising water by steam, which you suppose will come into general use. I know of no new method of that kind, and suppose (as you say that the account you have received of it is very imperfect) that some person has represented to you, as new, a fire-engine erected at Paris, and which supplies the greater part of the town with water. But this is nothing more than the fire-engine you have seen described in the books of hydraulics, and particularly in the Dictionary of Arts and Sciences, published in 8vo, by Owen, the idea of which was first taken from Papin's Digester. It would have been better called the steam-engine. The force of the steam of water, you know, is immense. In this-engine it is made to exert itself towards the working of pumps. That of Paris is, I believe, the largest known, raising four hundred thousand cubic feet (French) of water, in twenty-four hours; or rather I should have said, those of Paris, for there are two under one roof, each raising that quantity.
The Abbe Rochon not living at Paris, I have not had an opportunity of seeing him, and of asking him the questions you desire, relative to the crystal of which I wrote you. I shall avail myself of the earliest opportunity I can, of doing it. I shall cheerfully execute your commands as to the Encyclopedie, when I receive them. The price will be only thirty guineas. About half the work is out. The volumes of your Buffon, which are spoiled, can be replaced here.
I expect that this letter will be carried by the Mr. Fitzhughs, in a ship from Havre to Portsmouth. I have therefore sent to Havre some books, which I expected would be acceptable to you. These are the Bibliotheque Physico-oeconomique, which will give you most of the late improvements in the arts; the Connoissance des Terns for 1786 and 1787, which is as late as they are published; and some pieces on air and fire, wherein you will find all the discoveries hitherto made on these subjects. These books are made into a packet, with your address on them, and are put into a trunk wherein is a small packet for Mr. Wythe, another for Mr. Page, and a parcel of books, without direction, for Peter Carr. I have taken the liberty of directing the trunk to you, as the surest means of its getting safe. I pay the freight of it here, so that there will be no new demands, but for the transportation from the ship's side to Williamsburg, which I will pray you to pay; and as much the greatest part is for my nephew, I will take care to repay it to you.
In the last volume of the Connoissance des Terns, you will find the tables for the planet Herschel. It is a curious circumstance, that this planet was seen thirty years ago by Mayer, and supposed by him to be a fixed star. He accordingly determined a place for it, in his catalogue of the zodiacal stars, making it the 964th of that catalogue. Bode, of Berlin, observed in 1781, that this star was missing. Subsequent calculations of the motion of the planet Herschel show, that it must have been, at the time of Mayer's observation, where he had placed his 964th star.
Herschel has pushed his discoveries of double stars, now, to upwards of nine hundred, being twice the number of those communicated in the Philosophical Transactions. You have probably seen, that a Mr. Pigott had discovered periodical variations of light in the star Algol. He has observed the same in the n of Antinous, and makes the period of variation seven days, four hours, and thirty minutes, the duration of the increase sixty-three hours, and of the decrease thirty-six hours. What are we to conclude from this? That there are suns which have their orbits of revolution too? But this would suppose a wonderful harmony in their planets, and present a new scene, where the attracting powers should be without, and not within the orbit. The motion of our sun would be a miniature of this. But this must be left to you astronomers.
I went some time ago to see a machine, which offers something new. A man had applied to a light boat, a very large screw, the thread of which was a thin plate, two feet broad, applied by its edge spirally round a small axis. It somewhat resembled a bottle-brush, if you will suppose the hairs of the bottle-brush joining together, and forming a spiral plane. This, turned on its axis in the air, carried the vessel across the Seine. It is, in fact, a screw which takes hold of the air and draws itself along by it: losing, indeed, much of its effort by the yielding nature of the body it lays hold of, to pull itself on by. I think it may be applied in the water with much greater effect, and to very useful purposes Perhaps it may be used also for the balloon.
It is impossible but you must have heard long ago of the machine for copying letters at a single stroke, as we had received it in America before I left there. I have written a long letter to my nephew, in whose education I feel myself extremely interested. I shall rely much on your friendship for conducting him in the plan I mark out for him, and for guarding him against those shoals, on which youth sometimes shipwreck. I trouble you to present to Mr. Wythe my affectionate remembrance of him, and am with very great esteem, Dear Sir,