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TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.
My letters from Bordeaux and since, to which I have received no reply, will give you my situation, but lest some of them fail, I will briefly in this give you the history of my proceedings. Immediately on my arrival, I sent forward your bills, a large part of which were protested, and intelligence arriving of the loss of Canada, and that Carleton was even on the frontiers of the Colonies, and at the same time the formidable armament gone and going over, made every one here give up the Colonies as subdued. To have tried for a credit under such circumstances would have been worse than useless ; it would have been mortifying, as a refusal must have been the consequence. Mr Delap generously offered to advance five or six thousand pounds, but when I considered it was already more than four months since you began to prepare for remitting, and that next to nothing was received, I really found myself embarrassed, and hoping every day for some relief, I suspended engaging, and came up to Paris, having previously sent Mr Morris's letter to his different correspondents, not one of which appeared inclinable to be concerned in a credit.
I sent to procure the goods in Amsterdam, if to be had, but found our credit worse there than in France. A gentleman here offered me a credit for a million of livres, but it was, when explained, on the following conditions. I must produce direct authority from the Congress, with their promise of interest ; all American vessels must he sent to his address ; and until this could be secured him I must provide a credit, or in other words a security in Europe. Here you are sensible my negotiation ended. I then contracted for the supplies of the army, and crowded into the contract as large a proportion of woollens as I well could, sensible that with them you might do something, and hoping your remittances might still arrive, or some intelligence of the situation of your affairs, for I thought I judged rightly, that if in six or seven months you were unable to send out one third the remittances, the returns must be equally difficult. On this ground I have been anxiously waiting to hear something from you. Meantime I shipped forty tons of saltpetre, two hundred thousand pounds of powder, via Martinique, one hundred barrels via Amsterdam. The late affairs at Long Island, of which we had intelligence in October, and the burning of New York, the report of Carletoa's having crossed the lakes, and that you were negotiating, has absolutely ruined our credit with the greater part of Individuals ; and finding so little prospect of completing the Indian goods, I have attended ilie closer to despatch the supplies for the army, for which I had obtained a credit ostensibly from a private person, but really from a higher source. Meantime the monies remitted are in Mr Delap's hands, except what I have drawn out for my private expenses, for payment of the saltpetre, for the fitting out of Captain Morgan, and for the equipment of certain officers going to America. For the 200,000 weight of powder Mr Delap is my surety, consequently should he receive nothing more from you he will have no considerable balance in his hands. Could I have received but one half the amount in any season, I would have ventured on the goods long before this, but to what purpose would it have been, could I have been credited the amount, if you were unable to remit? The same obstruction must subsist against their arrival. I am however at last promised the goods on credit by the san-se way as the stores have been procured, and hope to ship them this month ; but some of the articles are not manufactured any where in Europe except Great Britain, and others must be substituted in the best manner I can.
I have written to Mr Delap to send you his account, also to send the particulars to me, which I will transmit as soon as received. The goods may be expected in the month of February ; meantime I pray you, not on this account only., but on others, to exert yourselves in remitting so much as to support the credit of the Continent, for which I am now engaged to a very great amount. Tobacco, rice, Hour, indigo, peltry, oil, whale fins, flaxseed, spermaceti, masts, spars, he. are in good demand, Tobacco at 9 to 10 sous per lb. and rising, free of duty or expense, save commission. Rice 30 livres per cwt. Flour 22 to 24 livres.
I am, most respectfully, etc.
P. S. When I say tobacco is free of duty, I mean if sold to the Farmers-General directly ; on other conditions it is inadmissible at any rate.
- The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution. Vol. I., Jared Sparks, 1829