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been good, if natural right had been left uncontrolled, but it is impossible for express compact to have taken away a right more effectually than it has the Emperor's. There are numbers here (but not of the cabinet) who still believe he will retract, but I see no one circumstance on which to found such a belief. Nothing had happened but what he must have forseen and calculated on. And in fact all his movements indicate war. The Dutch are truly animated and ready to place their existence on the stake now contended for. The spring which brings general happiness to all other beings will probably open the sluices of calamity on our wretched fellow creatures on this side of the Atlantic. France, Holland, Prussia & Turkey against the two empires I think will be an overmatch. England will be neuter from interest as well as importance. The disposition of her inhabitants is very unfriendly to us.
It remains to see whether their ministers suffer themselves to be led by passions also. I think it probable we shall go over there for a short time. An American vessel (a Virginia), has been lately taken by a frigate of the emperor of Morocco, who has five of them cruising on the Atlantic. The brig had just left Cadiz. Our trade to Portugal, Spain, & the Mediteranean is annihilated unless we do something decisive. Tribute or war is the usual alternative of these pirates. If we yield the power, it will require sums which our people will feel. Why not begin a navy then & decide on war? We cannot begin in a better cause nor against a weaker foe. You will have heard that
the E. of Shelburne is made Marquis of Lansdown & Lord Temple Marquis of Buckingham. There is no appearance however of the former coming into the ministry which seem absolutely firm.
TO NATHANAEL GREENE.1
Paris, Jan. 12, 1785. SIR,—Everything in Europe is quiet, & promises quiet for at least a year to come. We do not find it easy to make commercial arrangements in Europe. There is a want of confidence in us.
This country has lately reduced the duties on American whale oil to about a guinea & a half a ton, and I think they will take the greatest part of what we can furnish. I hope therefore that this branch of our commerce will resume its activity. Portugal shews a disposition to court our trade, but this has for some time been discouraged by the hostilities of the pyratical states of Barbary. The Emperor of Morocco who had taken one of our vessels, immediately consented to suspend hostilities, & ultimately gave up the vessel, cargo & crew. I think we shall be able to settle matters with him, but I am not sanguine as to the Algerines. They have taken two of our vessels, and I fear will ask such a tribute for the forbearance of their piracies as the U. S. would be unwilling to pay.-When this idea comes across my mind my faculties are absolutely suspended between indignation & impotence.—I think whatever sums we are obliged to pay for free
From the original in the possession of Mr. F. J. Dreer of Philadelphia.
dom of navigation in the European seas, should be levied on European commerce with us, by a separate impost, that these powers may see that they protect these enormities for their own loss.
TO THE GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA.
PARIS, Jan. 12. 1785. Sir,—The letter of July 20. 1784 with which your Excellency was pleased to honour me & which inclosed the resolution of assembly for the statue of Gen'l Washington came to my hands on the 29th of Nov. by Mr. Short: & a few days afterwards I received a duplicate of it. As it was not practicable to get the business into any train before the sailing of the December packet, I omitted acknowledging its receipt till the packet of this month should sail. There could be no question raised as to the Sculptor who should be employed; the reputation of Mons! Houdon of this city being unrivalled in Europe. He is resorted to for the statues of most of the sovereigns in Europe. On conversing with him Doct'r Franklin & myself became satisfied that no statue could be executed so as to obtain the approbation of those to whom the figure of the original is known, but on an actual view by the artist. Of course no statue of Genl. Washington, which might be a true evidence of his figure to posterity, could be made from his picture. Statues are made every day from portraits : but if the person be living, they are always
condemned by those who know him for a want of resemblance, and this furnishes a conclusive presumption that similar representations of the dead are equally unfaithfull. Mons? Houdon, whose reputation is such as to make it his principal object, was so anxious to be the person who should hand down the figure of the General to future ages, that without hesitating a moment he offered to abandon his business here, to leave the statues of kings unfinished, & to go to America to take the true figure by actual inspection & mensuration. We believe, from his character, that he will not propose any very considerable sum for making this journey; probably two or three hundred guineas, as he must necessarily be absent three or four months & his expences will make at least a hundred guineas of the money.
When the whole merit of the piece was to depend on this previous expenditure, we could not doubt your approbation of the measure ; and that you would think with us that things which are just or handsome should never be done by halves. We shall regulate the article of expence as economically as we can with justice to the wishes of the world. This article, together with the habit, attitude, devices &c. are now under consideration, & till they be decided on, we cannot ultimately contract with Mons! Houdon. We are agreed in one circumstance, that the size shall be precisely that of life. Were we to have executed a statue in any other case, we should have preferred making it somewhat larger than life; because as they are generally a little elivated, they
appear smaller, but we think it important that some one monument should be preserved of the true size as well as figure, from which all other countries (and our own at any future day when they shall desire it) may take copies, varying them in their dimensions as may suit the particular situation in which they wish to place them. The duty as well as the glory of this presentation we think belongs peculiarly to Virginia. We are sensible that the eye, alone considered, will not be quite as well satisfied; but connecting the consideration that the whole, & every part of it presents the true size of the life, we suppose the beholders will receive a greater pleasure on the whole. Should we agree with Mons! Houdon, he will come over in the April packet & of course may be expected in Virginia about the last of May. His stay with the General will be about a month. This will be employed in forming his bust of plaister. With this he will return to Paris, & will then be between two & three years in executing the whole in Marble. I have thought it my duty to detail to your Excellency our ideas on the subject as far as they are settled, that if in any point we are varying from the wishes of the Executive or legislature, we may be set right in time. I conjecture that you will receive this about the latter end of February and as Mons! Houdon will not set out till about the 12th or 14th of April there may be time to receive your pleasure in the mean while. We think that the whole expence of the journey & execution of the figure will be within the limits conjectured by your excellency; but of this we cannot be certain as yet.