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The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution, Vol. IX
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My letters of the 26th and 29th will have advised you of the steps I have taken to obtain redress on affairs interesting to individuals, and to our commerce in general. The enclosed copy of a letter from his Excellency the Count de Florida Blanca, will show that my endeavors have not been entirely ineffectual. The affair of the duties is still under deliberation. As soon as Mr Harrison shall have disposed of the Lord Howe, I shall address the Minister on the subject of the Dover cutter; there can then be no pretence for detention or delay. I have since my last received advice from Paris, but not from our commissioners, that the difficulties with respect to the powers of the British Plenipotentiary have been obviated, and that a separate agent has been named to treat with us. But on this head you will have more ample information than it is in my power to give you.

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

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

The answers to my letters to Holland, on the subject of the Russian loan, and to those which I have procured others to write to Genoa on the same point, inform me that it fills slowly. That of Spain for three millions will be obtained. I have no doubt of the truth of my information on this subject. In Portugal they pay dear for the gold they obtain from thence. The depreciation is greater than ever, and to prevent its further progress, is one of the most serious objects of the attention of the Ministry. No changes since my last have taken place in the general system of Europe, or in this Cabinet, except that the Count de Florida Blanca has joined another department in the Ministry to that which he before occupied, viz. that of Grace and Justice, vacant by the death of M. Rode. Of course he will have more to do than ever, and I shall be obliged to remind him more frequently of our little affairs.

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

* * * * *

ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

Philadelphia, November 28th, 1782.

Sir,

I have been favored with your letter of the 8th of July; those you mention to have written on the 5th and 12th of March and the 2d of July, never reached me. I regret that you had no directions from Mr Jay to open his letters, as those you forwarded contained much information that might have been useful to you, on which account I was less particular than I should otherwise have been in mine to you.

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

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

The season of the year affords no military intelligence. Our troops are in quarters at West Point. The French army are waiting at Providence such orders as the operations in the West Indies may suggest. Their fleet is still at Boston. The America, built at Portsmouth, is added to them. She is pronounced by connaisseurs to be a very fine ship; should she answer their expectations, we may hope to build others for European powers. This would be a very important commercial object, and as such deserves attention.

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

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

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

Mr Stewart going to Paris affords me a safe opportunity of sending a cypher there for you; and if Mr Jay can contrive to get it to you without inspection, you will be enabled to correspond with more latitude in future.

I am, Sir, &c.

ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

* * * * *

TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

Madrid, December 10th, 1782.

Sir,

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

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

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

* * * * *

TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

Madrid, December 30th, 1782.

Sir,

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

It has been suggested, that our Commissioners signed this treaty without the privity of the Court of France. This suggestion was made with a view to pacify this Court, and to calm the resentment, which at Versailles, it was supposed, might be conceived here on this account. The means employed prove that the French Ministry apprehended this resentment, but were in no manner sufficient to answer the purpose they were intended to serve. The Count de Florida Blanca, speaking of France upon this occasion, said to a friend of mine with some emotion, the French Ministry was too precipitate in beginning the war, and is equally so in their endeavors to conclude it. M. Musquiz, the Minister of Finance, and M. Del Campo have expressed the same sentiments, and have insinuated to some, that France concerted this measure with our Commissioners to force Spain to a peace. To others they expressed their apprehensions that Lord Shelburne had duped the French cabinet. They fear the duplicity of the latter Minister, and this fear joined to their present situation has, probably, rendered them more reasonable in their demands and concessions. They will now style this conduct moderation. I conjecture this, because the Count de Florida Blanca, speaking to the Russian Minister on the subject of the peace, told him, that were the propositions on the part of Spain towards an accommodation known, all Europe would be convinced of the moderation of his Catholic Majesty, and that for his part, he should have no objection to make them public.

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

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

They cannot procure sufficient funds for their own expenses. They have just opened a loan of one hundred and eighty millions of reals, of which it is proposed to receive two thirds in cash, and the other in obligations of debts contracted in the reign of Philip the Fifth. The duties on tobacco are engaged for the payment of the interest, which is three per cent in perpetuity, and seven per cent in annuities. These are the outlines of the proposed plan, I have seen the brouillon of the schedule, which is not yet published. No great success is expected from this loan. On the 20th an assembly of the subscribers to the bank of San Carlos was held to choose directors and other officers, and to deliberate on further means for its establishment. The Governor of the Council of Castile presided at this assembly, the Minister of Finance was present, as likewise were the First Under Secretaries of the different departments of government. I found means to procure admittance to this meeting. Every proposition made by the projector, (M. Cabarrus) was unanimously agreed to. There were no speeches except to applaud the bounty of the King, who, to enable the bank to commence its operations, has granted thirty millions of reals in specie, and to the same amount in grain for the supply of the army, navy, &c. The directors chosen are much my friends, and have promised to give America the preference in all articles which it can furnish for the use of the marine, &c. &c. These directors as I advised you in former letters, are charged with the supplies for the army, navy, &c. with a commission of ten per cent to the profit of the bank. It will commence its proceedings in the month of April, with a capital of between four and five million of dollars.

I have mentioned, that I was formally visited by many members of the corps diplomatique, after the signature of the treaty with Great Britain. It may not be improper to acquaint you with the names of the respective countries of those who were the first to pay me their compliments on this occasion. The Ambassadors of Vienna and Venice, the Ministers of Russia, Prussia, Saxony, and Treves, and the Charge d'Affaires of Denmark, paid me this respect. Most of them, but particularly the latter, seemed desirous of being informed of the method Congress proposed to take for the interchange of Ministers. Not knowing the sentiments of Congress on this subject, I replied, that whenever they chose to make official application to me, I would take the earliest opportunity of laying them before that body. Should Congress judge proper to employ persons at any of these Courts, permit me to suggest that the title of Minister will greatly augment the expense of these missions. That title obliges their servants to support an equipage and appearance, in some degree suitable to their rank; which often renders it improper for them to associate with those from whom the most useful information is to be obtained. The King of Prussia has adopted this system, and I am told the Emperor means to do the same.

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

The divisions in Holland, are higher than ever. The King of Prussia seems disposed to take a part in them in favor of the Stadtholder. These divisions will probably be fatal to the interests of that country at the peace, and afford a striking example of the necessity of union in similar governments. I cannot refrain from adding, that our friends are apprehensive of animosities and jealousies between the States in our confederation, and that it seems to be the hope of our enemies. With the most fervent wishes that the latter may be disappointed,

I have the honor to be, &c.

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

* * * * *

TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

Madrid, January 18th, 1783.

Sir,

I had the satisfaction to receive some days ago your letters of the 6th of July and the 12th of September, and am sorry that of the many which I have had the honor to write you in the course of the spring and summer, none had yet reached you. I hope that this circumstance, which causes me the greatest affliction, will not induce you or others to believe that I have missed any safe occasion of writing to you. Had I been possessed of a cypher, I flatter myself there would have been less occasion for this complaint. I have been, and am at present obliged to avail myself of private conveyances to forward my letters to the sea-ports of France and Spain; these occasions do not offer so frequently as I could desire. Indeed, few American vessels have sailed from Bilboa this summer, and the embargo at Cadiz during part of the campaign, prevented me from sending letters regularly from that port. Five vessels by which my letters were forwarded have been taken by the enemy, and others, which I was constrained to send by post to L'Orient and other ports of France, taking all the means in my power to prevent their being inspected, although sent from hence in the months of July and August, were not received by my correspondents until the 16th of October. I have received several packets of newspapers from your quarter without any letters. I must confess to you, that this kind of intelligence is very expensive, every packet costing me from five to ten dollars, and we have no allowance for extraordinary expenses.

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

Some small circumstances persuade me that M. Gardoqui will shortly be despatched. He applies himself to the French language with much assiduity, and throws out hints, that he shall soon pay a visit to his wife, whom he has not seen for two years and a half. I am also told by a lady much esteemed by M. Del Campo, that he means shortly to leave Spain, for he has promised her that at his departure, he will give her a set of horses to which he is much attached. It is possible he may be sent to aid the Count d'Aranda to arrange the commercial articles of the peace, of which the preliminary articles are supposed by this time to be signed.

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

I have just been shown a copy of the proclamation of pardon and indemnity granted to those concerned in the insurrection at Santa Fe and the adjacent provinces; it was published the 12th of August, 1782. Although the Viceroy endeavors to preserve the dignity and honor of the Crown in the expressions of this peace, yet, in fact, it accords all the concessions demanded by the malcontents. These disturbances and the expensive expeditions of the Galvez family, have not only consumed the revenues of the Crown in Spanish America received during the war, but mortgaged them for some years to come. I am also informed, that the Court means soon to publish a new tariff on the imports to this country. I know that such a measure has been more than two years in agitation, and I believe, it will bear hard on the commerce of other nations.

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

I have received letters from Paris, which advise me that bills for my salary had been mentioned by you to have been sent, but that they had not come to hand. Your letters, and one I received from Mr Morris, give me the same information. I could wish that my salary should be transmitted directly to me from your department, but as it does not appear convenient, I have directed Mr John Ross to receive it, and I hope you will have the goodness to facilitate him the means of doing it. A mistake, which is not yet corrected by Messrs Drouilliet, our bankers here, in the account they delivered me some time ago, prevents me from transmitting the public accounts with this letter, but in the course of a few days, I hope they will be complete, when I will do myself the honor of forwarding them, together with my account against the public. I am in much distress for the arrears. I conclude with fervent wishes, that every future year may present the affairs of the United States in the same favorable point of view, in which they appear it the commencement of the present; and with sincere thanks for your indulgence hitherto,

I have the honor to be, &c.

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

* * * * *

TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

Madrid, February 21st, 1783.

Sir,

I had the honor to address you on the 31st of December, and the 18th and 30th of January, to which letters I beg leave to refer you for the particular occurrences during that period.

I have now the pleasure to inform you, that the Court of Spain has at length thought proper to receive me formally as the Charge d'Affaires of the United States. The letters above mentioned will have advised you of the political motives, which induced me to wish the presence of the Marquis de Lafayette. They will also have informed you of the means I employed, and which his correspondence enabled me to employ more efficaciously, to impress this Court with an idea of the necessity of immediately acknowledging the independence of the United States.[14] Since they were written, the Count de Montmorin had a long conversation on the subject of our affairs with the King, and afterwards with the Count de Florida Blanca. The King's answer to the Ambassador's representations was, we shall see. The Minister appeared still desirous of procrastinating.

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

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

The Marquis informs me, that he sent you a copy of the letter he wrote to the Minister, in order to obtain a written answer, conceding points to which he had agreed in conversation. He pressed an answer to this letter, and was assured by the Count de Florida Blanca, that he should have it on the Saturday morning following, and that it would be satisfactory. The Count invited me to dine with him on that day as Charge d'Affaires of America, and as I had suggested to the Marquis, that I should choose a written invitation in the customary form, the Marquis took the Count aside and spoke to him of it, in the Ambassador's name. The latter admitted the propriety of the proposal, and promised to send it. There is but one circumstance which occasions a difficulty with respect to my presentation, it has hitherto been the etiquette to present no Charge d'Affaires to the King and royal family, except those from France and Vienna. The Count mentioned this to us, but at the same time said, I should be received in the most honorable manner. Personally these distinctions will never influence my conduct, but nationally, I should wish to obtain every mark of honor possible for the representatives of the United States. For this reason I gave it as my opinion to the Marquis, that I ought not to go to Court until this point was settled. His sentiments were the same.

There are, however, difficulties to be apprehended in the attainment of this object. The short stay of the Marquis here, the necessity of my being constantly with him, the desire he has shown to treat me on all occasions, and in the most public manner as the representative of the country he serves, and to be introduced by me everywhere; all these circumstances have engaged so much of my attention and time, as to preclude me from entering into further details; details which will be unnecessary after those you will assuredly receive from himself. It is the happiest circumstance of my life, that the man whose services I was instrumental in procuring to my country, should be the one to whom in a great measure I owe my first public appearance at the Court of Spain.

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

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

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

FOOTNOTES:

[14] See the letters here referred to in M. de Lafayette's Correspondence, in the present work.

* * * * *

TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

Madrid, March 13th, 1783.

Sir,

I had the honor to address you on the 18th and 30th of January, and the 21st ult. In the last I advised you, that this Court had consented to receive me in a public character, and as such I had been formally invited to dine with the corps diplomatique, at the Count de Florida Blanca's table. On the 22d ultimo, accompanied by the Marquis de Lafayette, I went to the Pardo, the present residence of the royal family, where we dined together, a circumstance which not a little surprised several of the foreign Ministers, who knew that I had for some time neglected to pay my court there. Those of Russia and Vienna were particularly curious. From their conduct then and since, I am persuaded they are mortified in having led their respective Courts to believe, that a connexion between the United States and Spain was more distant than it appears to be at present.

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

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

On the 30th of January I had the honor to inform you, that it was more than probable that the Emperor and Russia meditated great designs. It has been my constant endeavor since to procure information on that head. I will not pretend to give as authentic, the result of my inquiries, although I have collected my information from various persons in a situation of knowing what passes at these Courts. From these I have collected, that in the month of April, 1780, the Courts of Vienna and Petersburg adopted the project of attacking the Turkish empire in Europe, and at that period concluded an eventual partition treaty. In order to have time to make the necessary preparations for this war, and to conceal their real intentions, these Courts offered their mediation to the belligerent powers, and proposed a general Congress, in which they hoped to embroil matters still further, and to retard the peace. The Courts of France and Spain were aware of their intention, and although they accepted the proffered offer of mediation, they evaded, under different pretexts, fixing either the place or the time for assembling the Congress. I remarked, that soon after the signature of our provisional treaty with Great Britain, the Ambassador of the Emperor and the Russian Minister were very uneasy, and exceedingly inquisitive to know whether there would be a general Congress or not, sounding me on that subject on a supposition, that I should be advised of it by Dr Franklin. Lately, they have circulated a report, that the Congress would be held at Vienna. The Count de Montmorin, who was compromitted in this rumor, took an opportunity to mention publicly, that neither viva voce, nor by letter had he given the least surmise that would authorise it. Since, from the same quarter, it has been insinuated, that the Courts of Vienna and Petersburg had taken their measures, and would not be deterred from the prosecution of them.

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

The last letters from the north speak much of the great preparations for war, making in the Austrian and Russian dominions. The firm conduct of the Court of France may dissipate this storm, if the accession of the Court of Prussia to this confederation should not prove true. I have been assured from a very good quarter, that Lord Shelburne saw with uneasiness the intentions of the Emperor and Russia. But the late triumphs of his opponents in Parliament will probably oblige him to resign. The preliminary articles of peace, particularly those with the United States, were very ill received. The address of thanks in the lower House was negatived by a majority of sixteen, and carried in the upper by eight only. Lord Grantham told the Charge d'Affaires of Spain, that the treaty with America had been the ruin of Lord Shelburne's administration; that he expected to be obliged to give in his resignation also, for which reason he could not proceed in his negotiation, until he saw whether the administration, of which he was a member, kept its ground or not.

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

The Saxon Minister daily expects permission to give me extracts from such despatches of his Court to him as relate to our affairs, in order to convince Congress of the early desire of the Elector to form connexions between the citizens of the States and his subjects. The Minister of Sweden is much mortified, that the negotiation which he commenced with me should have been taken out of his hands, and given to the Ambassador from that Court at Paris. He informs me that a treaty of amity and commerce is on the point of being concluded, if not already signed, by Dr Franklin and the Swedish representative at Paris.

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

The bank, so often mentioned in former letters, will very soon commence its operations. The subscription fills fast, and the directors assure me they shall be able to fulfil what they have promised to the public. The directors for the supply of the army and navy, have engaged to give America the preference for such supplies as they may from time to time stand in need of from thence, and for this purpose have taken from me the address of mercantile houses in the different States. I mention this, in order that the different members in Congress may be enabled to inform their constituents, who, perhaps, might choose to furnish supplies of the produce of the States to which they belong to this country, and who may be able to do it on better terms than the parties I have recommended. The articles most in demand will be masts, spars, tar, pitch, turpentine, flour, grain, fish, &c. The tariff, mentioned in my last, excites universal complaint; there is scarce a Minister from a maritime Court, who is not preparing to make remonstrances. I shall see what success they have, and regulate my conduct thereby. If we obtain any partial advantages, they must be derived from treaty, and the desire of Spain to cultivate our friendship.

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

Since my residence in this country, I have written several long letters to the Philadelphia Philosophical Society, in which, among other things, I recommended to its attention, the nomination of persons in this country as honorary members. I know not whether these letters ever came to hand, for which reason permit me to suggest to you, whether the nomination of the most distinguished literary characters in the different countries of Europe might not be useful. The suffrage of the republic of letters has contributed to give us a celebrity during the war, and this union formed with its chiefs in various countries, will secure useful connexions to our Ministers, as well as to the American youth who may travel for instruction. Should this idea meet your approbation, I would take the liberty of recommending the Count de Campomanes, Fiscal of the Council of Castile, the above mentioned Don Gaspar Jose Llanos, and the Abbe Gavarra, Secretary of the Academy of History.

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

I am happy to have had the Marquis de Lafayette, a witness of my conduct, and I flatter myself that his testimony will convince you, that I have neglected nothing to conciliate the esteem of the best informed natives, and the most distinguished foreigners at this Court, from whom I could expect either countenance or intelligence. If possible, I will endeavor to send with this letter copies of all public accounts. Having no one to assist me in the comparing with the books and examining the number of bills which have been paid, their dates, &c. &c. in making out copies, and being but an indifferent accountant, I proceed more slowly than I desire in their arrangement. I hope Congress will finally have no reason to complain, as it has been and ever will be, my highest ambition to merit the confidence reposed in me.

I have the honor to be, &c.

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

* * * * *

ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

Philadelphia, May 7th, 1783.

Sir,

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

We are necessary to each other, and our mutual friendship must conduce to the happiness of both. Should Spain have the magnanimity to reject partial considerations, and offer such a treaty of commerce as her own true interest and ours require, we shall now lay the foundation of a friendship that will endure for ages. But should she contend with us for the free navigation of the Mississippi, which is now ours by the titles, should she deny us the privilege of cutting wood in the bays of Campeachy and Honduras while she grants it to the English, she will, without serving herself, injure us, and open the wounds which her kindness should close.

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

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

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

I thank you for the information you have given relative to the siege of Gibraltar; it is curious and interesting.

I am, Sir, &c.

ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

* * * * *

TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

Madrid, July 19th, 1783.

Sir,

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

Our affairs have taken such a different aspect since that period, that these could be of little use to me. Thus circumstanced, I contented myself with taking every opportunity of pointing out to the Count de Florida Blanca and others, the conduct which I presumed would be most advantageous to my country, while, at the same time, it would cement a lasting harmony between the two nations. I received constantly general assurances of the favorable disposition of the King; the letter transmitted by the Marquis de Lafayette, and those which I have had the honor to write to you before and since that period, will have informed you of the nature of them. I was induced to believe these assurances were sincere, more from the opinion that it was the true interest of this Court to follow that line of conduct, than from any confidence in the real good will or good faith of government here. Its apparent jealousy of our rising importance, and of our vicinity to their American possessions, joined to its past conduct, I think will justify these sentiments.

A few days ago, the Minister of the Indies, speaking of America in general, wished the whole continent at the bottom of the ocean. I believe he has his particular reasons for this wish. The advice which I have had the honor to transmit you from time to time, of the discontents and disturbances in Mexico and Peru, will in some measure explain the cause of his dissatisfaction. The last intelligence received from Buenos Ayres is by no means agreeable. The Court keeps the most guarded silence on this subject, and the Minister has taken care to stop all letters of a late date brought by packets from that part of the world. I have, however, been informed by natives of consequence from these countries who reside here, and who pay their court every day to M. Galvez, that the spirit of revolt increases, and that the conduct of the officers civil and military sent from hence, is so odious and intolerable to all classes of people, that the worst consequences are to be apprehended. These Americans treat me with the cordiality of countrymen. The other night being at the Tertullia, (Assembly) of Madame Galvez, the Count d'Oreilly entered. I saw indignation immediately painted on their countenances, and one of them accosting me, said, "there, my countryman, is a specimen of the Governors they send us," alluding to the perfidy and cruelties of that General in Louisiana. I was cautious in my reply, as indeed, I have been in all conversations which I have had with these or others on this subject. The apprehensions, which the situation of their Colonies might be supposed to excite, do not appear to influence the conduct of the Count de Florida Blanca.

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

Efforts have been made to engage the Genoese and Venetians to enter into the same views. I know the sentiments of the Ambassador from the latter Republic on this subject. He is piqued by the little confidence placed in him by this Court, on account of letters from him to his constituents, placing the affairs of this country in an unfavorable aspect. Copies of these letters have some how or other been procured by the Spanish Ambassador there, and transmitted hither. He advises the republic to remain neutral, notwithstanding the jealousies which others endeavor to inspire of the Emperor's intentions. That Prince continues to make the most formidable preparations, while at the same time he endeavors to persuade others, particularly the Court of France, that he does not enter into the designs of Russia. Your information from Paris will be much more accurate than any that I can give you on this subject. If the Court of Versailles was not well satisfied with the dispositions of this Court, the Count de Montmorin would not be permitted to return to France at this crisis. He talks of leaving Spain in the month of September, or sooner, should the definitive treaty be concluded. A courier is daily expected with the news of the signature.

This intelligence will be the more agreeable, as doubts have been entertained of the intentions of the English cabinet. The frequent conferences of Mr Fox and the Russian Minister at London, and the permission given to Russian Commissaries to prepare for the reception of the fleets of that nation, may have excited these doubts. Mr Fox, in the course of the negotiations of the definitive treaty, has cavilled on every point, and raised difficulties and delays on every occasion. It would, perhaps, have facilitated the conclusion of our treaty with this country, if we could have adjusted the articles of it before theirs with Great Britain is signed. I am afraid it will be difficult to obtain permission to cut wood in the bays of Campeachy and Honduras. This point, as I informed you in my last, was a subject of long discussion at London. The limits occasioned the obstacles on the part of Spain. I have insinuated from time to time to the Count de Florida Blanca, the good effects the grant of this permission to the citizens of the United States would have in America. But M. Galvez, as Minister of the Indies, will be consulted on this point, as well as on that of the free navigation of the Mississippi, and I believe will obstruct as much as possible the cessions we desire. He is obstinate to the last degree, and rarely swerves from the system he has once adopted. Perseverance and steadiness on our part must from the nature of things probably prevail.

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

The time of the Count de Florida Blanca is so much occupied by projects of reform in the administration of the revenues, &c. and by the negotiations before mentioned, that it is difficult if not impracticable to see him, particularly while the Court is in the capital. He promised at Aranjues to give me a positive answer here with regard to my presentation to the King and royal family, but I have been so accustomed to promises and delays, that I have little expectations he will keep his word. I attend the answer of Congress to my letter of the 23d of May, in which I recapitulated the difficulties started on this subject.

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

In the month of July, 1780, I gave to Mr Jay in writing, a general account of the disposition of the Court; the state of the finances of this country, &c. &c. I know not whether it has ever been transmitted to Congress. I have from time to time since been employed in correcting and enlarging it. I have hopes of obtaining an accurate account of the revenues and debts of this nation. The person, through whose means I hope to procure it for the time necessary to copy it, is now absent. Should I be successful, I must entreat the greatest secrecy, on account of the person who I expect will favor me on this point. In 1781, I transmitted to the Philosophical Society of Philadelphia, a relation of the measures taken in this country for the encouragement of arts and agriculture, particularly by societies established with the title of Amigos del Pais, (friends of the country) these societies owe their existence to the celebrated Count de Campomanes; from him I drew my information on this subject, and I must add in justice to his liberality of thinking, that I have found him on all occasions disposed to contribute to my instruction; for this and other reasons heretofore mentioned, I pressed his nomination as honorary member of our philosophical society. You will pardon me for reminding you of this circumstance.

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

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

* * * * *

TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

Madrid, July 22d, 1783.

Sir,

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

Great hopes are conceived of the influence which this treasure, and the produce embarked in the convoy, will have in enlivening the commerce of this country, and appreciating the paper money in circulation. In this capital that paper loses five per cent, in the sea-ports, three and a half per cent. The operations of the bank have not been attended hitherto with the success expected from them.

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

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

* * * * *

FROM THE SAXON MINISTER IN SPAIN TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

Translation.

Madrid, July 28th, 1783.

Sir,

I have just received instructions, which contain the result of what has been for a long time the subject of our conversations. The trading interest of Saxony has seized with avidity the overtures and details, which, after our interviews, I placed under the eyes of the Ministry. Persuaded that the goodness and cheapness of our commodities will give them an advantage in such an enterprise, they have adopted the plan, which you have indicated, of sending to America a person, who shall look after their interests, and obtain the knowledge indispensable for their direction. Their choice has fallen upon a merchant of Bordeaux, a native of Leipzic, whose name is Philip Thieriot, known as a man of probity, intelligence, and good conduct, who is now in Saxony, but will soon establish himself in Philadelphia, to transact business in the character of a merchant, both on his own account and that of others.

The Elector has assented to this choice, and permits that for the present M. Thieriot shall hold in America, the functions of Commissary-General of the commerce of Saxony, with the view of founding mercantile relations between the two countries, and that he may receive the commissions of Saxon merchants, direct their enterprises, and guard and support their interests, both in relation to Congress and other respects, till circumstances shall make it proper for him to be supplied with more particular directions. For this purpose the oath has been administered to him, and he has been furnished with suitable instructions, and the power of making appointments. He sets off immediately for France, where he has certain affairs to arrange, and he will then be ready to embark from Bordeaux in the month of August.

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

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

GORSDORFF.

* * * * *

TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

Madrid, July 29th, 1783.

Sir,

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

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

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

* * * * *

TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

Madrid, August 2d, 1783.

Sir,

On the 29th ultimo, I had the honor to enclose you copies of sundry papers, relative to the establishment of a commercial intercourse between the citizens of the United States and the subjects of the Elector of Saxony. By that communication you will have learned with great satisfaction, that the commerce of Saxony, with the approbation of the Sovereign, had chosen M. Philip Thieriot, a person of acknowledged merit, to reside in America in the character of Commissary-General of commerce. By the papers above mentioned you will have seen the nature and extent of that gentleman's commission. I have now the honor to present him to your notice, persuaded that you will with pleasure procure him occasions of putting effectually into execution the views of the court and commerce of his country. Their nomination of him to this important trust, until circumstances may demand that he be immediately authorised by his Sovereign, will, I make no doubt, be a sufficient motive with you to secure him all the civilities and services which it may be in your power to afford him.

I have the honor to be, &c.

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

* * * * *

TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

St Ildefonso, August 30th, 1783.

Sir,

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

I took the earliest opportunity of waiting on his Excellency, the Count de Florida Blanca, to remind him of his promise to present me to the King and royal family, and of other affairs interesting to individuals mentioned in former letters, for which I had been obliged to apply to him. He gave me the strongest assurances of his desire to terminate, to the satisfaction of the parties interested, the affairs in question, imputing to other departments the delays I had experienced in their adjustment. On the subject of my presentation, he seemed much embarrassed, stating the difficulties he should be exposed to in procuring that honor for me, which his Majesty refused to others vested with the same character, mentioning the case of the Charge d'Affaires of Denmark, a copy of whose letter to this Minister on the subject of his presentation, I had the honor to enclose you on the 25th of June. He observed, that the Russian and Swedish Ministers were about to leave the Court, and would, if I was presented, insist on the presentation of their Secretaries also.

I begged leave in reply to assure his Excellency of the concern it gave me to expose him to the least inconvenience upon that account, but that he would be pleased to recollect the promise he had made to the Marquis de Lafayette and myself in writing on this subject. That copies of the letter which the Marquis de Lafayette had written him and of his Excellency's answer had been transmitted to Congress; that that body, from the confidence which they had in his Catholic Majesty's amicable disposition, of which his Excellency had been so often the interpreter, undoubtedly expected that I had long ago been presented; that in consequence of his Excellency's assurances to me at various times since the transmission of the copies of the letters before mentioned, I had confirmed my constituents in this belief; that this being the case, it would be improper for me to go to Court, until I should receive their instructions on the subject. I added, that I hoped his Excellency knew me too well to suppose that I was influenced by any personal considerations in this affair. He interrupted me with an assurance to the contrary, and that he would do everything in his power to give me satisfaction, telling me to call upon him in a few days, when he would acquaint me with the result of his endeavors. Thus ended our first conference.

Not to appear too urgent, I avoided speaking to him on the subject until ten days ago, although I had occasion to see him several times. But hearing the British Minister was on his way to Madrid, I thought it proper to bring the matter to a decision before his arrival and presentation; for which purpose I again waited on the Minister. I soon discovered that he was in ill humor; however, as he immediately commenced the conversation, by telling me that he had not yet found an opportunity of speaking to the King, I prayed his Excellency to recollect the time which had elapsed since he had been pleased to tell me that I should be presented, and recapitulated the reasons before mentioned. He interrupted me several times, telling me how much he had been persecuted by Mr Elfried and the Russian Minister, who espoused the interests of that Charge d'Affaires, adding, with warmth, that gentleman will never be presented, unless to take leave and receive his present. I replied, that his Excellency would do me the justice to own, that I had been by no means importunate. That it was not my intention to be so, and that nothing but my duty, joined to my particular desire to cultivate a good understanding between our two countries, made me now press him for an explicit answer. He told me that he was convinced that I did not wish to embarrass him, but observed, with some peevishness, —— as Mr Elfried is by the Russian. He cites precedent and you have none.

I answered, that I flattered myself his Excellency had too good an opinion of me to suppose that I needed a prompter, when either the honor or interests of my country were in question. That as for precedent, part of my business with his Excellency, was to establish one for such of my countrymen as the United States might hereafter send to Spain in the same character in which I had the honor to be employed; adding, that I had more confidence in his Excellency's word, than in all the precedents the book of etiquette of the Court could furnish me; and that to give him a farther proof of my unwillingness to embarrass him, I did not insist on my presentation, but on an explicit answer from his Excellency, of which I might immediately send copies to Congress, not only for my own justification, but also to enable that body to decide the manner in which Charge d'Affaires, from the Court of Spain should be treated by the United States. He seemed pleased with the reliance placed on his word, for he instantly told me, that he would speedily give me an explicit answer, and that I should see that he was a man of his word. That he wished, from respect to the States, and personal regard for myself, to procure me an advantage which was denied to others, but that he was afraid his Majesty was (to make use of his own expression) trop entete on this point. He then asked me for a copy of the translation of the letter from Congress to the King. I had it with me. This is the third copy, which I have given to his Excellency. We left his apartments as he was then going to the King. In the ante-chamber he again repeated aloud in Spanish, before thirty or forty persons, who were waiting to pay him their court, that I should find him a man of his word, and that I should have an explicit answer. I took my leave, assuring him it was all I desired.

I presume that he took his Majesty's orders thereon the same day, for the next he sent me a polite message, desiring me to come to his house. Having waited on him, agreeably to his request, on my entry he took me by the hand and told me, that he hoped I would now be satisfied, for that on conferring with the King, his Majesty had been pleased to fix a day for my presentation; that no one felt more sensibly than himself the happy conclusion of this affair, as well on account of his desire to show every possible respect to the United States, as from his esteem for me. That the King, contrary to his expectations, had consented to change the etiquette with respect to me on this subject, as "an extraordinary act of royal good will," and that he hoped, that his conduct on this occasion would convince Congress of his Majesty's intentions to cultivate in a particular manner their amity. I expressed in reply, the sense which I knew my constituents would have of this proof of the King's amicable disposition, and of my gratitude to his Excellency for the obliging interest which he took in what regarded me personally, assuring him that I would take the earliest opportunity of transmitting to Congress this additional proof of his Majesty's desire to cultivate their friendship, and of his Excellency's manner of fulfilling his Sovereign's intentions. I then asked him on what day the King chose to receive me, he answered, the day after tomorrow, (the 23d instant.) I expressed some concern that the Ambassador of France, then at Madrid would not return before the time appointed for my reception. He replied, that the King having named the day, no alteration could take place. To this I was obliged to acquiesce. His Excellency then made me many professions of personal regard, which it is unnecessary to repeat, and which, perhaps, I should not even hint at, if the French Ambassador, the Marquis de Lafayette and others, had not been witnesses on former occasions to similar assurances. I proceeded to mention to his Excellency the different objects on which I had heretofore addressed him, and prayed him to give me an opportunity, at the same time that I informed Congress of my presentation, to advise them also of the happy termination of these. He begged me to pass him offices again on these points, and assured me that I should receive such answers as would be agreeable and satisfactory to the States. He continued to speak to me in an open and friendly manner of the obstacles which a well intentioned Minister had to encounter in the execution of his measures in this country.

I paid him indirect compliments on what I knew to be his favorite projects, viz. the improvement of the roads, the protection and encouragement of manufactures, &c. and the changes which he meditates in the system of finance and commerce, and after continuing with him some time, was about to take my leave. He asked me whom I had left in the ante-chamber; on mentioning the names of the persons, he requested me to remain with him, observing, that he should be plagued by these gentlemen. During my stay, the conversation turned on different subjects, in which I received every proof of candor and politeness. The same evening I informed the Ambassador of France by letter, that the King had consented to my being presented, a circumstance on which he had always entertained doubts, although he has ever done everything in his power, that could be expected from his public and private character, to contribute to the success of our negotiation. Perhaps some expressions on the part of Congress, testifying their sense of the zeal which this nobleman has manifested to further their interests, may be ultimately productive of good effects at the Court of Versailles, if not here.

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

The royal family dining at the same hour and separately, the same etiquette being observed, viz. the presentation after dinner, it required some days to finish this business; the Count de Florida Blanca accompanying me more than three quarters of an hour each day, with a politeness and good nature rarely found in men who have so many important occupations in their hands. The Prince of Asturias spoke of me during the dinner as of a person he had long known, and when I was presented he told me so. The Princess, who was present, spoke to me six or seven minutes in French and Spanish, and among other things said to me, that I ought to like Spain, because she had been told, that I was much liked by the Spaniards. I replied, that the only title I had to their esteem was my well known regard for the nation. The other branches of the royal family received me equally well.

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

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.



THE

CORRESPONDENCE

OF

JOHN LAURENS;

SPECIAL MINISTER TO THE COURT OF FRANCE.



John Laurens was the son of Henry Laurens, whose Correspondence is printed in the second volume of this work. He was born in Charleston, South Carolina, in the year 1755. At the age of sixteen he accompanied his father to Europe, where he was left to pursue his education first at Geneva, and afterwards at London. He was diligent in his studies, and made rapid attainments in the different branches of knowledge, as well as in the other accomplishments of a scholar and a gentleman. In 1774 he became a student of law in the Temple, but the stirring events, that were causing so much excitement on this side of the Atlantic, drew his attention strongly to the interests and claims of his native country, and determined him to return and connect his destiny with hers. After a voyage of considerable peril, he arrived in Charleston in 1777, and immediately resolved to join the army.

As the army then abounded with officers, and there was no opening suited to him in their ranks, General Washington took him into his family as a supernumerary Aid-de-camp. In this capacity he was at the battles of Germantown and Monmouth. He soon afterwards attached himself to the army on Rhode Island, where he had the command of a small body of light troops, and displayed so much bravery and good conduct, that Congress, on the 5th of November, 1778, resolved, "that John Laurens, Aid-de-camp to General Washington, be presented with a continental commission of lieutenant-colonel, in testimony of the sense, which Congress entertain of his patriotic and spirited services as a volunteer in the American army; and of his brave conduct in several actions, particularly in that of Rhode Island on the 29th of August last; and that General Washington be directed, whenever an opportunity shall offer, to give Lieutenant-Colonel Laurens a command agreeable to his rank." The next year he repaired to the southern army, was present at the unsuccessful attack on Savannah, and was among the prisoners at the capitulation of Charleston. He was soon after exchanged and reinstated in the army. On the 28th of September, 1779, he was chosen by Congress Secretary to the Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States to the Court of Versailles, but he did not accept the appointment.

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