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My last was of the thirteenth of last month. This will ac company a triplicate of what I had the honor to write on the seventh of August, also some copies of letters to the Ministers. By the bye, I shall cease to send you copies of my various applications in particular cases, for they are so numerous, that they will cost you more in postage than they are worth. I suppose Mr Pinckney has his hands full of similar business, for I learn, now and then, that the British privateers make as free with our vessels as the French have done.
I understand that it is still in contemplation to repeal the decree I complained of, and that, in the mean time, it has not been transmitted to the tribunals. We shall see, in effect, that this decree can do very little harm, because the fleets of this country are confined by those of the enemy, and the privateers by a decree of the Convention.
The exchange, during the last month, experienced great shocks, owing to the violent measures pursued by the government to support it. On the whole, they have kept it at about two and a half to three for one. But merchandizes have risen rapidly in price, and must continue to rise ; among other reasons, which will easily suggest themselves to your mind, be cause the compression on the paper mass in one place must force it out in another. Even lands feel the effect, although the market has been for two years, at least, greatly overstocked with that article.
The paralyzing of apart of the Assignats had, as I told you, an effect which could be but momentary. A further decree was therefore passed against them, whose effect also diminished in the first moment. To prevent agiotage, the Effets publics were ordered to be recorded, and the India Company's property was seized ; and as this was not sufficient, the Caisse d Escompte was abolished. Still the immense amount raised by political gas, could not but bring down with it the supporting balloons ; wherefore, at last the bankers and brokers were laid hold of. I am told that amid the menaces against those who may remit to foreign countries, agents of the government offered some bills cheap, and that the purchasers were imprisoned as Gens suspects. However, experience shows that evils inherent in the nature of things cannot be pre vented, otherwise than by destroying the things themselves. By the law, it is death to sell or buy specie, and yet specie is publicly bought and sold every day.
You have, I hope, received the new constitution, which you see is suspended, until the revolution shall be finished. You will have seen also, that the party of the Girondes, or Brissotins, is quite down ; but as yet none of them have been executed. Probably the first great misfortune will call them from their dungeons as expiatory victims. I am not possessed of the proofs which exist against them, and it is, you know, a maxim of our law, that every man is presumed to be innocent, untft his guilt is proved. If one may judge from the infinite precautions taken, one would conclude that the very great majority in this country is become royalist. I think I have already mentioned my conviction, that there cannot long exist three parties. It is said that the Brissotins, as soon as their adversaries gained the upper hand, enlisted themselves, in secret, under the royal banner ; but I think strong proof should be required before that fact is admitted.
I do not mention to you the military events, because you will learn them fully from the different gazettes, and because I do not think military events decide so much as is generally believed. If the success be nearly balanced, France is so far victorious. But her resources are wearing away very fast, and the period seems to approach when the state of her finances will be of little moment, because the needful things will no longer exist ; and, of course, they can neither be bought with money, nor seized by force, nor obtained through solicitation. Will the allied armies push on to Paris ? What would be the effect of their appearance? Two important questions, To answer the first would be presumption, and to answer the second would look like madness. I am, &c.
- The Life of Gouverneur Morris With Selections from His Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers Vol. II., Jared Sparks, 1832