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

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

Since writing my letter of the 28th of May, I received a letter from the Baron de Schulenburg,[7] of which the enclosed is a copy, in answer to a civil letter, which I wrote him on my arrival here, representing the situation of our affairs in a favorable light. I daily expect another letter from him more particular, in consequence of an address, which I have transmitted to him, by which he may write to me in safety. I have cultivated the friendship of the foreign Ministers and their Secretaries as often as I have had occasion, and as I have always avoided an appearance of prejudice, I flatter myself, that I have been listened to with attention. My conduct has been the same with those of this nation with whom I have found means to be acquainted, and I doubt not, with time and patience, we shall ultimately succeed. I cannot speak too highly of the conduct of the Count de Montmorin, personally or politically. M. Gerard in his letters to me, expresses the same attachment as ever to our cause, and his late acquisition of dignity and consequence, puts it more in his power to be useful to us. As yet, Mr Jay has received but one letter from Congress, which conveyed their resolves respecting the bills of exchange drawn on him. I beg leave to acknowledge the receipt of a letter from Mr Houston last week, which I shall answer, if possible, by this opportunity.

I have the honor to be, &c.

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

FOOTNOTES:

[7] Missing.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

St Ildefonso, August 22d, 1780.

Gentlemen,

In the course of this month I did myself the honor of writing to you by the General Pickering from Bilboa, and the Captain Kyan from Cadiz, as also via France. In these letters I informed you of the situation of our affairs here, and of that of Europe in general; since which, we have advanced very little. The Minister had informed Mr Jay, on the 5th of July, that he had sent for a person to succeed M. Miralles, and that on his arrival, arrangements would be made with respect to the bills presented to Mr Jay for payment, and that he would then enter into discussions on the other objects of Mr Jay's mission. Before and since that period, bills to the amount of thirty thousand dollars have been presented, of which Mr Jay has accepted for fourteen thousand, by the direction of the Minister, and none of the others have as yet been protested.

You will see by a state of the finances of this country, which in compliance with Mr Jay's instructions to me, at my departure from Cadiz, I have had the honor to give him, that their revenues and resources since the war have greatly diminished, and that previous to that period, they were by no means so flourishing as Congress had reason to suppose. In most of the conferences with the Minister, the scarcity of cash has been objected more than the want of inclination, and hints have been thrown out, that it would be much more convenient for the Court, to grant the United States aids in money from their possessions in America than in Europe. Although hopes have been as constantly given, that a part of the sum drawn for would be furnished at the end of the present year, or commencement of the next, and that measures in the mean time might be taken to prevent embarrassments, in case of the arrival of bills after that period, great surprise has been expressed, that Congress should take such a step without previously informing the Court of their intentions, and obtaining its approbation of the measure. Congress will therefore judge of the propriety of disposing of any bills, that may remain unsold, until it is fully ascertained, that they will be punctually paid. Mr Jay, now at Madrid, where the death of his child, and the consequent distresses of his family, detain him a few days, will undoubtedly transmit more ample intelligence on this subject, with the various papers in his possession necessary to explain it. This Court has been obliged to make considerable loans, for their own current expenses, the nature of which I hope to be able to explain in a future letter. It has lately obtained seven millions, five hundred thousand current dollars, in France and elsewhere. The loan is for nine millions, and from the nature of it will create a temporary paper circulation to that amount in this kingdom. I shall transmit to Congress, as soon as it becomes public, a full detail of its operations.

Mr Cumberland, whom I mentioned in my last, and whose name you will find in all the European gazettes, is still at Madrid, from whence he has lately had permission to send a courier to London, but as the Spanish Minister has engaged to impart any serious proposals he may make, and as the French Ambassador expresses no uneasiness from the residence of this gentleman in Spain, although this circumstance at this crisis is extraordinary, we cannot presume there can be solid ground for apprehension. Considerable revolutions, however, have happened in the system of politics of this country, ever since the accession of the House of Bourbon, and where governments are often more influenced by the counsels, and sometimes the caprices of individuals, than from regard to the real and permanent interest of a nation, there is always something to fear. Congress judging from the assurances of the Minister, and the King's character, which is remarkable for steadiness, on the one part, and from the circumstance of Mr Cumberland's residence here, and the constant endeavors of our enemies by every insidious art to misrepresent our situation, on the other, will be best able to draw conclusions from the whole.

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

The Count d'Estaing is now here, and on every occasion manifests the strongest attachment to the United States and their interests. The general opinion gives him the command of a part, if not the whole of the combined fleets, which amount to thirty six sail of the line, now at sea, commanded by M. Cordova. The English fleet under Geary, is also cruizing between Ushant and Cape St Vincent, to prevent the junction of the ships from Brest and Ferrol with the Spanish Admiral, and to protect their outward end homeward bound convoys, and to intercept those of the allies.

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

P. S. Since sending off a copy of the preceding letter, I have the pleasure to inform you, that the gentleman expected by the Minister has arrived, and proves to be Don Diego Gardoqui, who is already known by his former correspondence with America. Our affairs are once more in train, some bills have been accepted since his arrival, but nothing certain has been as yet determined, and indeed I fear the Court is too much pressed for money, to do anything considerable for us here in that way. Probably this gentleman will be sent to America, by whom we shall have an opportunity, I hope, of conveying the final determination of the Court with respect to our affairs. The navigation of the Mississippi appears to be the great, and if we can credit the assertions of men in power, the sole obstacle.

Mr Cumberland has been here, and is expected again with his family in a few days. I have been informed, that he has offered on the part of Great Britain, to restore to Spain what they lost by the treaty of Paris, and has been permitted to reside at this Court in expectation of being authorised to make further concessions, and indeed on no other principle can I account for his residence here at this crisis. I mentioned in my letter of the 22d ult., that representations had been made to the Court of Portugal, either to shut its ports against the armed vessels of all nations at war, or take a part in it. I have the honor to inform you, that the above Court has consented to the first of these propositions, although this is not yet public. Another vessel has arrived at Nantes from Philadelphia, by which neither Mr Jay nor myself have received any letters. The Russian fleet, consisting of fifteen sail of the line, and four frigates, is arrived in England. Admiral Geary returned to Spithead the 19th ult. This fleet, it is said, will soon be sent to sea, although he had upwards of two thousand sick when he returned to port. Stocks fell considerably in England when the news arrived of the loss of the convoy beforementioned.

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

W. C.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

St Ildefonso, September 9th, 1780.

Gentlemen,

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

A person with whom I am well acquainted, is the projector of the loan abovementioned, and although for near three months I have known that such a measure was in agitation, I was not able to discover the plan, it having been preserved with great secrecy, in order to secure its successful and complete operation. As this measure is so far important to Congress, as it may influence the conduct of the Court with respect to money matters, and affect the credit of the nation in future, on which all the vigor of military operations in a great measure depends, I will endeavor to give the outlines of the money negotiation to the Committee, and will forward the plan and the King's ordinance thereon as soon as I receive them.

The original design of this loan was to procure nine millions of dollars, or thirtysix millions of livres in four months, and possibly to enlarge the sum according to exigencies. The projector was to receive ten per cent for expenses and profit, which he was at liberty to divide as he thought proper with the original lenders. To these, I think, he gave three, or three and a half per cent for the use of their money for four months, which money they were to remit in bills of exchange on Spain, and to redraw at the end of four months for their principal and interest. The great secret of the operation is, that government instead of repaying their bills in specie, issues paper to repay them, the credit of which is guarantied by the Crown and the different Chambers or Councils of the Kingdom, viz of Castile, &c. &c. This paper bears an interest of four per cent. A cedula, or royal ordinance, will be published the 20th or 21st of this month, which gives it currency, and inflicts severe penalties on any one who refuses it as a legal payment. M. Necker did not discover the latter part of the scheme until large sums had been remitted from France, and I suppose, fearing that its operation would be complete before his representations of what he thought its evil tendency, could be attended to here, he immediately gave orders not to receive the bills of exchange of the houses concerned in this measure at the Caisse Royale in France. Besides, the house of Gerardot, Haller & Co. one of the most considerable in Europe, and of which he was once the head, and his brother is still a partner, wrote circular letters to all parts of Europe discrediting the loan.

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

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

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

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

The treaty for an armed neutrality was signed by Sweden the 4th of August; Denmark had not signed it the 8th of the same month, but there is no doubt she will. The English party in Holland opposed and retarded it there as long as possible, and finally clogged it with such conditions as they hope will prostrate the negotiation; for instance, they propose to the contracting powers, to guaranty all their possessions in Europe, Asia, and America, but as the States have gone so far, they will scarce recede, should this article be refused by the others. The eyes of Europe are anxiously turned to America and the West Indies; the friends of liberty hope everything from our union and perseverance, and the expectations of our enemies are founded on the reverse. Neither Mr Jay nor myself have received letters from Congress since we left America, except one from the Committee, enclosing the bills of exchange, so that we are without intelligence, without money, or the certainty of conveying to Congress as regularly as we wish, the information necessary for them to receive, which will plead my apology with the Committee for the repetitions they will meet in this letter of what several other letters contain.

I have the honor to be, &c.

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

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

W. C.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

St Ildefonso, September 25th, 1780.

Gentlemen,

I did myself the honor of addressing you the 6th and 9th instant, and in the latter expressed an apprehension, that Congress would not receive the pecuniary aid they expected in this country. I am now sorry to inform you, that on the 13th, Mr Jay was told by order of the Minister, that their own exigencies would not permit the King to provide funds for the payment of more of the bills than had been already accepted. I make no reflections on this event, and hope the Committee will suspend theirs, until Congress shall have received from Mr Jay, a relation of all that has passed here since the month of June last, with the papers necessary to elucidate it. In a day or two after the above information, his Majesty was pleased to offer his responsibility to facilitate a loan for one hundred and fifty thousand dollars in favor of the United States, and to promise some clothing, &c. &c.

On the 23d, Mr Jay had a long conference with the Count de Florida Blanca, the particulars of which I immediately reduced to writing, as I have done with respect to others which preceded this, copies of the most material parts of which Mr Jay will, probably, forward to Congress with his other despatches. In this conference, the Count spoke with much pleasure of a resolution of Congress, permitting the exportation of flour, for the use of the Spanish fleets and armies in the West Indies, as also of measures taken by them to make a diversion to the southward, to facilitate their operations against Pensacola, &c. &c. He said to Mr Jay, that the King had directed him to convey his thanks to Congress for those marks of their friendly disposition, and gave the strongest assurances, that his Majesty would never consent to a pacification, which did not include the interests of America, declaring at the same time, that the negotiations for peace were more remote than ever, although, as he observed, the King had been offered all he could desire from England, in order to induce him to a separate peace. He informed Mr Jay he had received intelligence, that Great Britain once more proposed to send Commissioners to treat with Congress, that this measure was under the consideration of the Privy Council, and would, probably, be adopted.

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

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

The different powers at war will, however, find some difficulty to procure money. England has not completed her last loans. France has begun to tax, and must continue to do so, notwithstanding the great economy of their Minister of Finances. The last operations of this Court to procure money, of which I gave the Committee a sketch in my last letter, and the state of the revenues, which I gave Mr Jay in my answer to his instructions, will show them the wants of this country. The interference of M. Necker in the operation beforementioned, deprived this Court of near two millions of pesos, and greatly irritated the Ministry. I hope, however, their resentments have subsided. This failure, they give as one reason for not being able to advance the money we expected, to enable Mr Jay to pay the bills drawn on him by Congress. Mr Jay has, however, at all hazards, accepted those which have been presented, and is taking every step in his power to provide money to pay them, as also those that may be disposed of in America, previous to the advice he has given Congress on this head.

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

I cannot forbear mentioning to the Committee, my sense of the friendly and polite conduct of the Count de Montmorin to me ever since my arrival here, nor can I conclude, without remarking the good effects that our union, vigor, and perseverance have had in Europe. A continuance of these will render us respectable to our enemies, and of consequence to our friends.

I have the honor to be, &c.

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

Madrid, October 15th, 1780.

Gentlemen,

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

Every post augments the sum, and we are still uncertain whether money will be procured in time to pay them, particularly should the bills for the whole soon come to hand. The Minister apparently has endeavored, and is endeavoring, to procure money for this purpose. M. Gardoqui, who will probably succeed M. Miralles, and a gentleman who planned the loan I mentioned in my letter of the 9th ultimo, are interesting themselves in this business. If either of these gentlemen can procure money, or if the Crown can obtain it by other means, it is probable that Mr Jay will be furnished with a part, if not the whole of the money necessary for this use. But I am still afraid its ability will not correspond with our wants and our wishes. The Court has given orders to enable Mr Harrison at Cadiz, to obtain and ship the clothing for ten regiments, mentioned in my last. This gentleman is a native of Maryland, is well known in that State, and has on this, as on all occasions, manifested a disinterested zeal in the service of his country.

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

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

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

Mr Jay means to send soon large packets to Congress, to which I beg leave to refer the Committee for more minute details on the subject of this and my other letters, than I can furnish it, from not being in possession of the various papers, and communications which respect the mission.

I have the honor to be, &c.

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

Madrid, November 28th, 1780.

Gentlemen,

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

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

The loan for nine millions of dollars, mentioned in my former letters, is not yet completed, in part owing to the obstacles thrown in its way by M. Necker. The resentment of the Spanish Ministry, which this interference excited, has not yet subsided, and I am afraid the prejudices thereby excited will not soon be eradicated, although common interest may stifle them apparently at present. The mode of raising money in the manner heretofore mentioned may become the only plan practicable, should others now in contemplation not succeed, and Spain may be obliged to have recourse to paper, from inability to procure money by other methods.

The Court of Great Britain is well informed of their situation through Mr Cumberland, their emissary here, who spends a great deal of money. Influenced by which, and other advices, the King has, in his speech to Parliament, openly avowed his determination to prosecute the war with vigor, and he will be supported by a great majority in both houses. From the best information I have been able to collect, I am sorry to tell you, that the nation will be able to borrow the sum demanded for the expenditures of 1781, which with the usual vote of credit at the end of the session, will amount to sixteen millions sterling at least. The scheme of the Ministry to effect this is not yet public, but I am told, it will be on similar conditions to those of the present year. Ninetytwo thousand men are voted for the marine, and I have reason to think a considerable reinforcement will be sent early to the southward, and that agreeably to a proposition of Sir J. Amherst, the enemy means to occupy and fortify strongly a port near the month of Chesapeake Bay, from which with a strong garrison and a naval force, they hope to interrupt the navigation of the Bay, and by frequent incursions prevent the States of Maryland and Virginia from sending supplies of men, &c. &c. to the Carolinas. Among the troops mentioned to be embarked there, are three regiments of light dragoons. Your servants nearer Great Britain will give you more accurate information.

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

As I have frequent occasions of seeing the foreign Ministers here, and their Secretaries, I am too often obliged to remark their partiality for Great Britain, and jealousy of the house of Bourbon, particularly those of Russia, Vienna, Sardinia, Portugal, and Holland. Some of these, in my opinion, are the best spies England employs here. Jealousy on the one hand, and on the other compassion and admiration, begin to take the place of envy and interest. The transition from these to friendship and support is not difficult, if their masters do not differ in sentiments from their servants. Our perseverance, vigor, and exertions occasion a hesitation with respect to the event of the war, which augments or diminishes in proportion to their ideas of the intentions of this Court, which leads me to think it probable, that if Spain would enter into positive engagements with the United States, the hopes of the enemy to divide the allies would be at an end; the neutral powers would think our independence certain, and would endeavor to terminate the war, while Great Britain is in such a situation as to be able to preserve her other possessions.

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

Mr Jay has received and accepted your bills to the amount of fifteen thousand dollars, and I hope will be enabled to pay them; but this business has thwarted the other part of his mission here, in showing our necessities so plainly. For this Court seems to expect equivalents for services rendered, and the interest of money advanced to us is not its object. This leads me to repeat what I mentioned in a former letter, of the King's satisfaction for a resolution of Congress, permitting the exportation of flour to the Havana, and that every similar manifestation of amity will much contribute to counteract the intrigues of the enemy here. The Minister of the Indies lately assured me, that his Majesty had directed him to return thanks, through the Chevalier de la Luzerne, for the respect shown at the interment of M. Miralles.

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

A copy of the proposed treaty with the States of Holland, was taken among the papers of Mr Laurens, and sent by the British Ministry to the Stadtholder, who endeavored to criminate the Pensionary of Amsterdam and those concerned with him, in consequence of this discovery. He is, however, supported by the Regency, and this step of the Stadtholder, not having the effect intended, Sir Joseph Yorke has presented a violent and menacing Memorial to the States, demanding the punishment of the Pensionary and his accomplices.[8] I am advised that this Memorial has irritated in place of intimidating, and that since four of the seven States have agreed to accede to the armed neutrality, the persons attacked by the British Court have no apprehensions, and, possibly, the capture of these papers may eventually be of great advantage to the United States, by precipitating the conduct of England, and obliging the States to take a part contrary to their dispositions, and, perhaps, to the interest of one or other nation. The situation of M. Dumas is rendered more critical by this circumstance, and it would be injustice to him not to mention, that he is indefatigable to contribute to our information by his correspondence, and by his frequent publications to represent our situation in the most favorable point of view.

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

P. S. December 8th.—The Count d'Estaing sailed the 7th ult. from Cadiz, and, as yet, we have no news of his arrival in France. Mr Cumberland is still here, and waits an answer to despatches sent by the Abbe Hussey to England, which is daily expected. Mr Jay has received a letter from the Count de Vergennes, that France cannot provide for the payment of your bills here. But I always hope the credit of America must not be ruined for want of L100,000 sterling, although, personally, your servants have not money to pay their debts.

W. C.

FOOTNOTES:

[8] See all the above papers in the Annual Register for 1780, pp. 356-380.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

Madrid, December 19th, 1780.

Gentlemen,

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

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

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

The Count d'Estaing, who sailed from Cadiz the 7th ultimo, was not arrived in France at the departure of the last courier. This is an unlucky circumstance, as it will retard the operations of the ensuing year. Mr Cumberland is still here, and entertains hopes of success, or affects to do so. The Count de Montmorin seems to have no apprehensions, and while that is the case, I flatter myself that we need not be uneasy at a circumstance, which in itself is very extraordinary. I do not think, however, that M. Gardoqui will leave Spain, until all hopes of negotiation cease. We have no advices, or indeed arrivals, since the departure of the frigate, which brought the son of M. Rochambeau to France. Many of the letters taken with Mr Laurens have been published in England. I take the liberty of reminding the Committee, that I have never had the honor, as yet, to receive their orders.

I have the honor to be, &c.

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

Madrid, January 4th, 1781.

Gentlemen,

I wrote you the 24th ultimo,[9] since which I am advised, that the Abbe Hussey is on his way from Lisbon to this capital, as is supposed with further propositions on the part of England. I think they will be as fruitless as the former. I have the pleasure of informing you, that on the 19th ultimo, Great Britain declared war in form against Holland. A courier brought the news this morning, which has given great pleasure to the Court, if one may be allowed to judge from appearances. Expresses were immediately despatched by the Ministry to the sea-ports, to advise the Dutch consuls of this event, and to offer the protection of convoys, &c. &c.

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

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

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

W. C.

FOOTNOTES:

[9] Missing.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

Madrid, January 29th, 1781.

Gentlemen,

My last advised the Committee of the declaration of Great Britain against Holland; the capture of a great number of prizes, in consequence of this unexpected attack encourages the former, and has greatly irritated the latter. The States, Zealand excepted, seem disposed to act with vigor against the common enemy. If they persevere, they may finally disappoint their rapacious projects. They depend on the interference of Russia, and I believe with reason, although a day or two ago, the Count de Kaunitz, the Imperial Ambassador here, offered his master's mediation, in conjunction with the Empress of Russia to terminate the differences subsisting between the belligerent powers. No answer to this offer has yet been given. The Minister from Russia has not yet received the orders of his Court thereon.

The offer is rather ill timed, and I have reason to think is not very agreeable to the Courts of Versailles and Madrid, which will act with entire union on this occasion, and as long as the present King of Spain lives, it is probable, that this good understanding will continue on the whole continent, although there are some here, I believe, who would wish to see it interrupted. While it subsists Spain will not abandon our interests, though it may not support them with such good will, as they would have been induced to do by the obligations of previous engagements with the United States. It is not likely that these will soon take place, notwithstanding the appearance of good will, and repeated assurances which Mr Jay has received of his Majesty's favorable disposition. Nor will the late change of measures adopted by Congress effect this, if I am not misinformed. I have not seen these resolutions in full, nor do I know that Mr Jay has received them, but I have reason to believe, that the Court has a knowledge of them, either by intercepted letters, or by a direct communication from America. In short I repeat to the Committee, what I have taken the liberty of remarking before, that it was probably the policy of this Court to leave the adjustment of their claims to be settled at the general negotiation of a treaty of peace, and to reserve to themselves the liberty of acting then according to circumstances, unless they can previously secure in their own manner their favorite objects. This accords with the conduct they have hitherto observed, and with maxims of policy long adopted and persevered in by this Court.

In the meantime, they show a decided disposition to continue the war. They expect some treasure from America. They are likely to procure eight millions of dollars on loan, and have propositions from other quarters. The taxes have been augmented this year, the produce of the last having, as I have been told, fallen short of the expectations of the Ministry. They have thirtysix sail of the line under sailing orders at Cadiz, which fleet will probably cruise to meet the treasure ships expected, and to intercept the succors destined to Gibraltar. They have ordered a press throughout the kingdom to fill up their regiments. The ships with the treasure were to sail from Vera Cruz to the Havana the 11th of October. The Court seems apprehensive of the Emperor's intentions, and cultivates the friendship of the King of Prussia, for which purpose it is about to send a Minister to Berlin, where they have had none for many years past. This matter is not yet public, and will undoubtedly chagrin the Court of Vienna.

Mr Jay has been promised a part of the three millions of reals, mentioned in my former letters, to enable him to discharge the bills, which become due the ensuing month, and, I suppose, will receive the whole as the bills become payable, until the sum is exhausted, before which time, funds must be provided for such as have since been presented, or may hereafter come to hand. It is with pain I have lately entered to the amount of between thirty or forty thousand dollars, at three months' sight, as there is yet no certainty of their being paid, yet I flatter myself that the Court, with the good disposition it appears to have, will not suffer our credit to be ruined, after what it has done and promised to do to preserve it.

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

Madrid, February 22d, 1781.

Gentlemen,

My last was of the 29th ult. since which, I have deferred writing, in hopes of having it in my power to give the Committee more distinct information of the actual situation of affairs in Europe at this important crisis, when its attention is turned to the conduct of the Empress of Russia and the armed neutrality, and to that of the Emperor, who, notwithstanding the offer of mediation, I had the honor to mention in my last, is, as I am informed, regarded with a jealous and suspicious eye. But the vessels, which take on board part of the clothing, of which I advised you at the time, and since it was promised, being about to sail, I seize the present occasion of writing, lest another from the ports of this kingdom should not soon present itself.

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

I am not informed, that any positive answer has been given yet to the Emperor's offer of mediation. It is ill-timed, and I believe, in reality, is not well taken. I know that this Court is about to send a Minister to Berlin, where they have had none for a long time. The circumstances of such an appointment at this juncture, seem to imply apprehensions of the Emperor's intentions. I enclose two extracts of letters sent to me by M. Dumas, which contain intelligence that indicates the intentions of the Empress of Russia. The first letter I know to be genuine, for I saw the substance of it here in good hands, before I received M. Dumas's letter. If the Empress does not openly declare against England, she will, at all events, protect the Dutch commerce, and this must terminate speedily in open hostilities. I have observed, of late, a change of conduct in the Russian Ambassador at this Court, whom I have an opportunity of meeting frequently in company; from being cold and distant, he is complaisant and affable. I also find him very attentive to the French Ambassador.

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

The troops for America were embarked, or embarking, the last of the past month. They consist of three or four thousand men (recruits included), and of Fullarton's and another ragged regiment, to use the words of Mr Edmund Jennings, who gives this information. The greater part of these, it is supposed, are destined to the East Indies, and Commodore Johnson is named by the public to command an expedition, which is to attack the Cape of Good Hope on its passage. The Ministry in England is the same. They have a great majority in Parliament. The Protestant associations begin to stir a little. Lord G. Gordon is acquitted. Stocks have fallen considerably since the Dutch war, not less than two and a half or three per cent. The subscriptions for the loans of the present year, it is generally believed, will be paid in slowly. Our ally pushes the preparations for the present campaign vigorously, but on the 14th instant the commander was not named for the fleet, which is to sail next month for the American seas, and which I am told, will consist of twentyfive sail of the line. I have no exact account of the number of troops to be embarked, but the lowest computation makes them consist of seven thousand men. The Count de Maurepas was ill by the last advices from Paris.

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

Madrid, March 4th, 1781.

Gentlemen,

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

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

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

Madrid, March 11th, 1781.

Gentlemen,

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

The Count de Grasse left Paris the end of February, to take the command of the fleet for the American seas. I am afraid this fleet, or even a part of it, will not appear on our coasts until the month of July. I form my conjectures however from very minute circumstances, and may perhaps be deceived. The English grand fleet has not yet made its appearance. A very numerous convoy of provision vessels, &c. &c. sail with it for the East and West Indies and for America. Mr Adams has opened a loan in Holland for one million of florins, of which we shall soon know the probable success. I send enclosed the plan of the loan in the first copy of this letter, but finding it published in the Dutch and foreign papers, I suppose the Committee will receive it before this can reach them. The mutiny of the Pennsylvania line has had a bad effect in Europe, and our enemies have been indefatigable to represent it in the worst colors. I hope Congress has been able to pacify the discontented, and that as they have hitherto done, they will still overcome all obstacles to the freedom, tranquillity, and importance, of the United States.

I have the honor to be, Sir, &c.

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

Aranjues, May 25th, 1781.

Gentlemen,

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

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

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

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

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

Aranjues, May 26th, 1781.

Gentlemen,

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

I have the pleasure of informing Congress, that the Court of France has engaged to guaranty a loan of ten millions of livres for the States, and to make large advances in stores and cash immediately. I wish it was in my power to furnish as agreeable accounts from this Court. The negotiation is in the same situation as when I had last the honor to write to the Committee, my sentiments of the motives for this conduct are still the same. The mediation seems at a stand, and, probably, will not be renewed before the end of the campaign. Troops have been ordered to march towards Gibraltar from various parts of the kingdom, but I have some reason to think, with a view to another object, viz. either to be sent to the West Indies or to Peru, where, it is said, there appears a spirit of disaffection, which creates some apprehensions here.

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

Aranjues, June 2d, 1781.

Gentlemen,

The last post from France brought the news of M. Necker's removal from the Ministry. This change would have been agreeable to this Court some months ago, on account of the interference of that Minister in the operation of the loan mentioned in former letters. At present, it seems to be regarded in a disagreeable point of view, as M. Necker had engaged to furnish monthly, considerable sums to persons employed to procure money for this Court, on condition of being reimbursed in specie in Spanish America, and on other terms that would have been advantageous to the lenders. Part of the specie thus procured, was intended for the payment of the French troops in North America, and, as I have been told, for the immediate service of Congress, as part of the sum the Court of France has lately engaged to furnish to the United States.

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

Since my letter of the —— ult. I have had an opportunity of knowing, through the same channel of intelligence mentioned in former letters, that the Court of Vienna still persists in its good offices, to bring about conferences for a general peace. Without being able to mention particulars, I can assure the Committee, that in the middle of April, the Baron de Breteuil, Ambassador of France, at the abovementioned Court, insisted for the admission of an American Plenipotentiary at the proposed Congress. The Prince de Kaunitz lamented this proposition, as an obstacle that might impede a business, which the Emperor had much at heart. I have not been able to trace the demands of Spain, but I believe their pretensions in general, do not appear reasonable to the Imperial Court.

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

* * * * *

JAMES LOVELL TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

Philadelphia, June 15th, 1781.

Sir,

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

I am, Sir, your friend and humble servant,

JAMES LOVELL.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

St Ildefonso, August 16th, 1781.

Gentlemen,

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

Our negotiation seems to be in a better train, and it is not improbable, that Mr Jay will be able to terminate our affairs with Spain previous to the general negotiation, which is much talked of at present among the corps diplomatique here. The number of couriers who pass and repass between the Courts of Versailles, this, and those of Vienna and Petersburg gives occasion to those conjectures. Mr Adams has been lately sent for by the Count de Vergennes, and, as I am informed, has had conferences with that Minister. If this should be the case, the Committee will have from the first authority, more ample details on this subject, than can be learnt from second and third hands.

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

Mr Jay continues to accept the bills drawn on him; between twenty and thirty thousand dollars have been accepted, for which, as yet, no funds are provided, but I hope we have not much to fear for their payment. I have rendered Mr Jay accounts of all our money transactions here, which, with his usual regularity, he will transmit to Congress, as also minute details of his other transactions here. Among the bills presented, it may not be improper to mention, that several have been endorsed by people in America, payable to merchants in Great Britain and Ireland. If this does not accord with the ideas of Congress, the treasury will be instructed to convey to Mr Jay further directions on this subject.

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

St Ildefonso, September 28th, 1781.

Gentlemen,

Since my letter of the 14th instant,[10] the Minister has notified to Mr Jay the King's intentions of naming a person to treat with him; there is reason to think his nomination and instructions will have his Majesty's approbation on Sunday next, though possibly it may not be formally communicated until the Court is at the Escurial, to which place the royal family goes the 10th of next month.

M. Del Campo, whom I mentioned in my last, is the person who probably will be chosen. I repeat his name lest that letter should miscarry; he is First Under Secretary of Foreign Affairs, and acting Secretary of the Council of State; and has the reputation of possessing great abilities and application to business, and I believe he merits what is said of him. He has also the entire confidence of the Count de Florida Blanca; his residence in England as Secretary of the embassy there, and his attention to Mr Cumberland and family while here, occasioned some to believe him secretly inclined to the interests of that country, but I believe without foundation, for I know that Mr Cumberland left this country much chagrined, and I believe he was the dupe of this gentleman's policy. I have had the satisfaction of being on very good terms with him for several months past, and have often expressed to him my hopes and wishes, that he might prove another M. Gerard in our affairs. His being employed in this negotiation is so far favorable to us as its successful issue interests his own reputation, and will be probably a step to further honors and employments, to which, as mentioned in my last, the public opinion destines him. I hope the Court is now serious in its intentions to conclude the negotiations, but it is still not improbable this business may be delayed until the fate of the campaign is known, unless it should be accelerated by the confirmation of news received from Cadiz last week, of the arrival of the Count de Grasse's squadron on the coast of Virginia, the consequent critical situation of the army of Lord Cornwallis, and the defeat of Lord Rawdon by General Greene.

I shall seize every opportunity of informing the Committee of the progress made in this important business, and am happy to find by a letter I have just had the honor to receive from Mr Lovell, dated the 15th of June, that my correspondence has contributed in any degree to the satisfaction of Congress, but am surprised, that so few of my letters have reached the Committee, for on reading the list of those received and comparing it with my letter book, I find several missing, which were sent by vessels from Bilboa and elsewhere, which I know arrived in safety to America, particularly my answer to Mr Jay's instructions to me at Cadiz, of which he sent only the state of the revenues and expenses of this country in the year 1778.

I am informed by letters from Holland, that Mr Adams has had a nervous fever, but that he is now in a fair way to recover. The South Carolina frigate sailed from thence with the ships under her convoy, the 19th ultimo. I hope their safe arrival will convey to Congress ample information of the situation of their affairs in that quarter; I am afraid the loan does not fill fast, because I have letters from a house at Hamburg which mention, that Congress bills to a large amount, that they had presented for acceptance, had been protested. The republican party gains ground, and the Duke of Brunswick, though not removed, is obliged to act with more caution, and the Stadtholder with more resolution and force. I am informed, that the Court of France has consented to replace the cargo lost in the Marquis de Lafayette, but Dr Franklin is not enabled to accept any more of Mr Jay's bills, even for our salaries.

The rumors of a general negotiation subside, owing it is said to the obstinacy of Great Britain, and the demands of this Court. The Imperial Minister has just received a courier from his Court, charged with its excuses for the detention of a Spanish courier, who after delivering his despatches to the Spanish Ambassador at Vienna, on his journey from thence to Petersburg, was stopped in Hungary, and not permitted to proceed until released by order of the Imperial Court. The Imperial Minister named to the Court of Berlin from hence, will soon go thither; his nomination is still a secret. The Spanish squadron has returned to Cadiz. Major Franks will leave this next week. I must do this officer the justice to observe to the Committee, that he has conducted himself with great discretion and economy here, and I hope that Congress will be induced by the success and expedition with which he delivered their despatches to Mr Jay, to send in future such as are important in a similar way.

I have the honor to be, &c.

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

FOOTNOTES:

[10] Missing.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

Madrid, October 5th, 1781.

Gentlemen,

On my arrival here from St Ildefonso this day, I found the enclosed letters for his Excellency, the President of Congress, from M. Dumas. On the 14th and 28th ult. I wrote to the Committee, that the Court appeared more serious in its intentions of bringing on the negotiation than it had shown itself to be for a long time. In my last, I informed the Committee that M. Del Campo would, probably, be appointed to negotiate with Mr Jay, and that his instructions and nomination would have his Majesty's approbation on the night of the 30th ult. The Minister of State once proposed to intrust M. Gardoqui with this business. Yesterday, when I left the Sitio, the Court had not formally notified the appointment to Mr Jay, but from some hints I received from well informed persons, I have hopes that the communication will be made either before he comes from thence tomorrow, or directly after the Court is fixed at the Escurial. I shall, however, be very agreeably disappointed, if much progress is made in this affair until the fate of the campaign is known.

The last post from France and Holland brought no news of an interesting nature. The French and Spanish troops, destined to reinforce the Duc de Crillon's army at Minorca, are not yet embarked, and he cannot act with effect until he receives reinforcements. It is said the desertion from the place is considerable. The South Carolina frigate, armed for that State in Holland, has put into Corunna, and I am concerned to find by letters from Messrs Searle and Trumbull, passengers on board, that Commodore Gillon's conduct is much censured. Knowing Mr Searle's zeal and solicitude for the public interest, I must own that his letter has influenced my opinion in a great degree, but it would be unjust to condemn the former, before having seen an exposition of the reasons, which have determined his conduct, and which he has promised to forward to Mr Jay by express.

The fact is, he sailed from the Texel without the ships he had engaged to escort, that he has cruised six or seven weeks with little success, and that he has been obliged to put into the port abovementioned, to refit and get a supply of provisions, which he writes he shall do immediately. It is probable Mr Jay may think proper to send me to Corunna in this business, which commission, I must confess, I shall accept with reluctance, because I not only foresee the delay and expense that must inevitably have place, if this government is obliged to interfere, but the disgrace, which must ensue from the notoriety of these unhappy differences between the commander and the American gentlemen aboard. I have another motive, which arises from the nature of the employment with which Congress has honored me, and which, with submission, I conceive does not admit of my absence at the most important period of the negotiation, when most knowledge is to be acquired of the real dispositions and intentions of this Court, and when I may avail myself of the esteem and confidence with which the proposed negotiator has appeared to honor me for several months past. Although, for the reasons abovementioned, and for others which I could add, I may leave the Court at this crisis with reluctance, I shall, if directed, proceed to Corunna, and execute the trust reposed in me, with a zeal, assiduity, and activity, which, I hope, will always influence my conduct, when the public interest and reputation are in question.

I enclose a letter for his Excellency, the Chevalier de la Luzerne from the Count de Montmorin, whose talents and warm espousal of our interests, not only here, but at his own Court, entitle him to the approbation and esteem of Congress. I just hear that the Court has received advices from Buenos Ayres, dated the 7th of July. These are very agreeable. The rebellion mentioned in my former letters is entirely quelled, by the defeat and capture of the Indian chief at the head of it, and his principal officers, cannon, treasure, &c. &c. It seems two English officers are in the number of the prisoners, and that many letters and papers were found, which discover that the Portuguese excited and fomented these disturbances.[11]

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

FOOTNOTES:

[11] This alludes to the revolt of the celebrated Peruvian Chief, Tupac Amaru, of which an eloquent account is given by Dean Funes, in his Ensayo de la Historia Civil del Paraguay, Buenos Ayres y Tucuman. See North American Review, Vol. XX. p. 283.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

Madrid, November 17th, 1781.

Gentlemen,

On the 2d instant the pretended Ex-Jesuit, who made so much noise in the English papers last winter and spring, was arrested at the Escurial, where he arrived the day before from Lisbon, under an assumed name. Commodore Johnson sent him to Rio Janeiro, in order to pass from thence to the Spanish settlements in Peru. He pretended to the Portuguese Governor, that he had been taken by Johnson on his way to the Caracas, but the former from some suspicion arising from the man's appearance and story, refused him permission to pass into the country, which obliged him to embark for Lisbon, at which place under his borrowed name he addressed Don Ferdinand Nunes, the Spanish Ambassador, offering to make some important discoveries to the Count de Florida Blanca. The former advised the Minister of these offers, and was directed by him to furnish the person in question with cash for his journey. It is said, that he was recognized the very day of his arrival at the Escurial, by one who knew him at Buenos Ayres. It is more probable, that M. Nunes knew his real character previous to his departure from Lisbon, for the magistrate whom the Minister of the Indies employs on such occasions, went to the Escurial with his officers, the day he arrived there, and arrested him the same evening. He is now in close prison, and I am told has discovered all he knew relative to the designs of the English, to foment the spirit of revolt existing in that country. This affair furnished conversation to the Court the few days I resided at the Escurial, whither I went, at the instance of the French Ambassador, to Mr Jay to be present at the Besa Manos, on St Carlos's day.

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

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

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

I believe I may venture to write with some certainty on this subject, for I have been on an intimate footing with the person who has transacted for the Court the most part of its money negotiations for more than twelve months past. I knew and cultivated him before he was in favor, and my introduction of him to Mr Jay, procured him the commission on the payment of our bills, and a considerable credit in consequence of the sums supposed to pass through his hands monthly for this purpose. As he has been the founder of the paper system in this country, and as he is likely soon to establish a national bank, he will probably make some figure in the annals of this reign. His name is Francis Cabarrus, born in Bayonne, but sent early to Spain to acquire a knowledge in its commerce, in which his father was considerably interested. His marriage at the age of nineteen (he is now twentynine) displeased his family, from whom after that period he received no assistance. With a small capital, as he himself informed me, he came and established a soap-work in the neighborhood of this city. While there he introduced himself to the notice of the Count de Campomanes, by becoming a member of the patriotic society, the friends of their country; of which the last mentioned gentleman is in a great measure the founder. He soon conciliated his esteem, as well as that of the Governor of the Council of Castile, to whom he became known by means of his friend and patron M. Campomanes. Through their interest he procured a contract to supply wheat and flour, in a time of scarcity, and commenced banker. The last year he proposed his plan for procuring cash for government, on terms mentioned in former letters. His genius is brilliant, active, and enterprising, with more imagination than solidity, although he is by no means deficient in acquired knowledge, arising from reading and reflection, the result of experience. His eloquence, enforced by a very prepossessing countenance and figure, seizes the heart before it convinces the judgment, and this joined to his knowledge of commercial and money transactions, has obtained for him the confidence of M. Musquiz, who consults him at present in all affairs of finance.

I have thought proper to say thus much of this gentleman, not only on account of the part he has had, and is like to have in money matters, but because he has on all occasions manifested himself a friend to our cause, of which he is an enthusiastic advocate, being totally divested of local prejudices. He offered to procure five hundred thousand dollars for the States, payable at Havana on condition of being reimbursed by government in two years, the payments to commence at the expiration of two months after his orders for the delivery of the money to the agents of Congress were despatched. He will make the advances for the payment of the bills due next month, which amount to thirtytwo thousand dollars, and for the reimbursement of which Mr Jay relies on Dr Franklin, for after the delays we have experienced here, and the knowledge of their own distresses, there is no great reason to think this Court will grant us any considerable pecuniary assistance, unless a happy change in the situation of our affairs should precipitate a treaty, and lead them to extraordinary exertions, as proofs of their amity. The support of their fleet at Cadiz, of forty sail of the line, the sieges of Gibraltar and Mahon; their expensive armaments at the Havana, and the preparations making for an expedition from Europe to that quarter, which will sail next month, exhaust their European and American revenue, and all the resources by which they have hitherto obtained money.

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