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TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
I did myself the honor of writing to you on the 7th of October last, and having since received a letter from Mr Williams, I send it enclosed, to show Congress that the monies mentioned by Mr A. Lee, in his letter of the 1st of June last, to have been received by that gentleman, have, in the opinion of two of the commissioners, been well laid out and faithfully accounted for. It gives me great pleasure to find, that the clothes contracted for by Mons. Monthieu, Messrs Holker, Sabbatier, and Desprez, and others, are on examination approved of, and allowed to be the best of the kind, both as to the quality of the cloth and fashion they are made in, of any that have ever been imported ; it is indeed a fortunate circumstance, that out of near forty thousand suits so few have been intercepted. As Mr A. Lee, in his letters, has insinuated that the contracts for these clothes were made entirely by me, and has charged me with great extravagance in them, I beg leave to inform Congress, that these suits complete, and delivered on board, do not cost, on an average, thirty-six livres, or thirty-one shillings and sixpence sterling the suit. I labored hard to send over shoes, stockings, and shirts in proportion, and so far as it was effected, the suit complete, with shoes, stockings and shirt, does not amount in the whole to forty shillings sterling. These facts being known, I am content to take on myself the merit or demerit of furnishing these supplies.
I will make no comment on the dismission of a man of Mr Williams' known abilities, integrity, and economy, and who did the business of the public for two per cent, to make room for the deputies of Mr William Lee, who shares five per cent with them, nor on the still more unaccountable conduct of Mr A. Lee, in ordering bills accepted by Messrs Franklin and Adams to be protested. It gives me pain to be forced to lay these facts before Congress, but I cannot, consistent with the duty I owe my country, nor with the justice due myself, permit them, and others of the like nature, to remain longer concealed from public view and examination.
My letter of the 7th ult. covered observations on Mr Lee's and Mr Izard's letters to Congress, to which I am still without the honor of any reply ; nothing would give me greater satisfaction, than to learn by what part of my public conduct I have merited the neglect, with which my letters and most respectful solicitations for months past, to be heard before Congress, have been treated. I confess that I once flattered myself the services I performed in procuring supplies, and sending them to the United States at the most critical period of their affairs, and in assisting to bring forward and conclude the treaties, together with the honorable testimonials from the Court of France, whilst I had the honor of residing there, would have merited the approbation of Congress. And I now leave it with every person of sensibility and honor, to imagine what must be my disappointment and chagrin, to find myself obliged at last to leave America without being informed if exceptions have been taken to any part of my conduct, or what they may be. Thus situated, though I can but feel most sensibly, yet a consciousness of the integrity and zeal, which have ever guided and animated my conduct, and a sense of the important services I have been so fortunate as to render my country, with the confidence I have that justice will yet be done me, support and will never permit me to forget or desert myself or my country, whilst in my power to be useful.
I took the liberty on the 12th instant, in writing to Congress, again to remind them of my being without any answer to my request, and having written already repeatedly, I will not trouble that honorable body further on the subject of my being heard, agreeable to what by their resolutions which recalled me, and since I hoped for, and had reason to expect ; but praying them to accept my sincere thanks for the honor they did me, in appointing me their commercial and political agent in Europe, and afterwards one of their commissioners to the Court of France, by which I have had an opportunity of rendering my country important services, I have only to repeat my former request, that orders may be given to their minister at the Court of France to have my accounts examined and settled, immediately on my return thither, referring to my letter of the 7th, on that head, and entreating for a speedy resolution on the subject.
I have the honor to remain.
With the most profound respect, Sic.
P. S. Since writing the above, I am informed that letters have been received from the honorable Mr Lee, and read in Congress, which mention certain proceedings of Mr Hodge, and that a sum of money had been paid Mr S. Wharton by my order, without the knowledge of the commissioners, and which I left unexplained and unaccounted for. I will only say here, that any insinuation of this kind is totally groundless, and makes me feel most sensibly what I suffer by not being permitted to be heard before Congress, which I still solicit for. S. D.
- The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution. Vol. I., Jared Sparks, 1829