Page images

him that I would communicate his wishes to some of my friends that his pretensions might not be set aside for want of being known.-There is an idea here of removing the packets from L'Orient to Havre. This latter may be considered as the port of Paris itself, because the transportation between them is down the Seine in boats & makes scarcely a greater addition to the price than in transportation from a warehouse to the waterside. Paris is the only place at which all the productions & manufactures of France are brought to a point. Mr. Tracy, who is here from Boston has carefully examined into all their manufactures, and finds them of almost every kind, as good as in England, & cheaper generally. This truth once known, & our ships coming hither for those articles which England thinks she alone can furnish us will advantage us first in opening to us double markets, & secondly in the shock it will communicate across the Channel. L'Orient is convenient in war & therefore should be left as it is, a free port. But conveyances from hence thither are by land, long, precarious, & expensive. I think our merchants will turn their views on Havre.-There is here some Frenchman from Philadelphia (perhaps Perée) who has drawn up a visionary scheme of a settlement of French emigrants, 500 in number on the Ohio. He supposes Congress, flattered by the prospect of such an addition to our numbers, will give them 400,000 acres of land, & permit them to continue French subjects. My opinion has been asked, & I have given it, that Congress will make bar

gains with nobody, that they will lay down general rules, to which all applicants must conform themselves by applying to the proper offices & not perplexing Congress with their visions that they are sufficiently assured that the land office will absorb all their certificates of public debt, beyond which they have no object but to provide that the new governments shall admit an easy & firm union with the old; & that therefore I did not think they would encourage a settlement in so large a body of strangers whose language, manners & principles were so heterogeneous to ours.-I shall subscribe for you to the Encyclopedia Methodique. It will be in about 60 vols, & will cost 751 livres equal to 30 English guineas. If you should not chuse to take it, it will be only a sacrifice of the subscription money, which is a guinea & half. The subscription is daily expected to be closed. There is about two fifths of the work now ready to be delivered amounting to about 300 livres. We have taken some pains to find out the sums which the nations of Europe give to the Barbary States to purchase their peace. They will not tell this yet from some glimmerings it appears to be very considerable: and I do expect that they would tax us at one, two, or perhaps three hundred thousand dollars a year. Surely our people will not give this. Would it not be better to offer them an equal treaty. If they refuse, why not go to war with them? Spain, Portugal, Naples, France & Venice are now at war with them. Every part of the Mediterranean therefore would offer us friendly ports. We ought to begin a naval power, if we mean to carry on our own

commerce. Can we begin it on a more honorable occasion, or with a weaker foe? I am of opinion Paul Jones with half a dozen frigates would totally destroy their Commerce: not by attempting bombardments as the Mediterranean states do wherein they act against the whole Barbary force brought to a point, but by constant cruising & cutting them to pieces by piecemeal. I must say a word on my own affairs because they are likely to be distressed. All the ministers who came to Europe before me, came at a time when all expences were paid and a sum allowed in addition for their time. Of course they all had their outfit. Afterwards they were put on fixed salaries : but still these were liberal. Congress in the moment of my appointment struck off 500 guineas of the sallary, and made no other provision for the outfit but allowing me to call for two quarters' salary in advance. The outfit has cost me near a thousand guineas; for which I am in debt, and which, were I to stay here seven years, I could never make good by savings out of my salary: for be assured we are the lowest & most obscure of the whole diplomatic tribe. When I was in Congress I chose never to intermeddle on the subject of salary, first because I was told the eyes of some were turned on me for this office; & secondly because I was really ignorant what might be it's expences. The latter reason ceases; the former which presents me as an interested person shall still keep me silent with all the world but yourself, to whose secrecy & delicacy I can trust. I live here about as well as we did at Annapolis. I keep a hired carriage & two horses. A riding horse

I cannot afford to keep. This still is far below the level. Yet it absorbs the whole allowance, and return when I will to America, I shall be the outfit in debt to Congress. I think I am the first instance in the world where it has not been given. I mention these circumstances to you that if you should think the allowance reasonable and any opportunity should occur while you are in Congress wherein it can be decently obtained, you would be so good as to think of it. I would wish it could be done on some general occasion. The article of houserent in Mr. Adams' account in Holland and in Dr. Franklin's here may perhaps afford an occasion of touching on this article as to myself. Mr. A. lived at the Hague in a house belonging to the U. S. The question is whether you will charge him rent. Dr. F. has lived in a house the rent of which (6000 livres per. ann.) has been always charged to the U. S. The question on that is whether you will reject that & make him pay eight or nine years rent. If these articles pass it will of course add houserent to the salaries, which will be some aid but not an adequate one for the ministers in general. When this matter shall be considered the difference which has taken place between them & me as to the article of outfit may perhaps be mentioned & redressed : otherwise, as I have before mentioned, I shall return that much in debt & be obliged to sell to pay it: a circumstance which I shall think hard. I ask nothing for my time: but I think my expences should be paid in a stile equal to that of those with whom I am classed.-I must ask the favor of you on behalf of Mr. Adams as well as myself to

explain the following transaction to our Commissioners of the treasury. Congress you know directed the financier to advance me two quarters salary. He gave me a letter of credit to Mr. Grand. Relying on the effect of this I had ordered furniture for a small hotel which I rent: & had entered into engagements for paying part of the rent in advance. A little before the parties were to call on me for the money I applied to Mr. Grand : but our funds were out & I found he was not disposed to advance the money. Nothing could equal my distress. In this situation Mr. Adams thought himself justifiable in drawing in my favor on the fund in Holland for 6000 florins: knowing of the order of Congress in my favor, of the failure of the funds here and that it could not be important to Congress from what part the money came. It was unlucky I did not know of the failure here before I had contracted the debt because I could have hired furniture for one third or one half of its worth annually. But this was such miserable economy, amounting to from 33 to 50 per cent per ann. for the use of money, as induced me to buy. I wish this to be explained to the Commissioners to save Mr. Adams from censure.

Address your letters "A Mons! Mons! Jefferson Ministre plenipotentiaire des etats unis de l'Amerique a Paris Cul-de-sac Tetebout."


PARIS, Nov. 11th, 1784.


There has been a lamp

called the cylinder lamp lately invented here. It gives a light equal as is thought, to that of six or eight

1 From The Collections of the N. Y. Historical Society for 1878, p. 196.

« PreviousContinue »