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Title: The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution, Volume XII
Author: Various
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution, Volume XII" ***

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  THE

  DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE

  OF THE

  AMERICAN REVOLUTION.

  VOL. XII.



  THE

  DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE

  OF THE

  AMERICAN REVOLUTION;

  BEING

  THE LETTERS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, SILAS DEANE, JOHN
  ADAMS, JOHN JAY, ARTHUR LEE, WILLIAM LEE, RALPH
  IZARD, FRANCIS DANA, WILLIAM CARMICHAEL, HENRY
  LAURENS, JOHN LAURENS, M. DE LAFAYETTE, M.
  DUMAS, AND OTHERS, CONCERNING THE FOREIGN
  RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES DURING
  THE WHOLE REVOLUTION;

  TOGETHER WITH

  THE LETTERS IN REPLY FROM THE SECRET COMMITTEE OF
  CONGRESS, AND THE SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

  ALSO,

  THE ENTIRE CORRESPONDENCE OF THE FRENCH MINISTERS,
  GERARD AND LUZERNE, WITH CONGRESS.

  Published under the Direction of the President of the United States, from
  the original Manuscripts in the Department of State, conformably
  to a Resolution of Congress, of March 27th, 1818.

  EDITED

  BY JARED SPARKS.

  VOL. XII.

  BOSTON:
  NATHAN HALE AND GRAY & BOWEN;
  G. & C. & H. CARVILL, NEW YORK; P. THOMPSON, WASHINGTON.
  1830.

  Steam Power Press--W. L. Lewis' Print.
  No. 6, Congress Street, Boston.



     CONTENTS

     OF THE

     TWELFTH VOLUME.

     ROBERT MORRIS'S CORRESPONDENCE,

     CONTINUED.

  To M. de la Luzerne. Office of Finance, November
  3d, 1781,                                                  3

      Little probability of being able to raise an
      adequate revenue.--The people are unaccustomed
      to taxation.--Large sums must be applied to
      extinguishing the public debt and calling in
      the depreciated paper currency.--France must be
      relied on to assist in this emergency.--Important
      advantages will result to France herself from
      this step.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  November 5th, 1781,                                        8

      Relative to the Acts of Congress for raising
      supplies.--Objections to certain clauses.--Final
      apportionment of the expenses between the States.

  To M. de la Luzerne. Office of Finance, November
  6th, 1781,                                                14

      Necessity of pecuniary aid from France.

  To the Count de Rochambeau. Office of Finance,
  November 15th, 1781,                                      15

      Repayment of money advanced by the Court.--
      Congratulationson the success at Yorktown.

  Circular to the Governors of the States. Office of
  Finance, November 17th, 1781,                             16

      Transmitting Acts of Congress for raising supplies.

  George Washington to Robert Morris. Mount Vernon,
  November 19th, 1781,                                      17

      Payment of the officers of the army.

  To the Governor of Connecticut. Office of Finance,
  November 20th, 1781,                                      18

      Accounts between the State and the United States.--
      The moneys designed for the general service
      must be paid into the Continental treasury.

  Report of a Letter to Don Bernardo de Galvez, made
  to Congress, November 21st, 1781,                         20

      Settlement of accounts for sums advanced.

  To M. de la Luzerne. Office of Finance, November
  22d, 1781,                                                22

      Pecuniary aid promised by him.--Rate of
      exchange.--Statement of former grants of his
      Court.

  To M. de la Luzerne. Office of Finance, November
  26th, 1781,                                               26

      Answer to the Minister's assertion, that he is not
      authorised to make further drafts.--Moneys
      advanced to any particular State are not
      chargeable to the United States.

  To B. Franklin. Office of Finance, November
  27th, 1781,                                               27

      Requests him to communicate this letter to M. de
      Lafayette.--Confusion of the public accounts.--
      Account of his efforts to obtain supplies from
      the States.--Difficulties attending this attempt.--
      Causes of the difficulties.--Endeavors to settle
      past accounts, and to procure funds for the public
      debt.--Prospect as to future supplies in the United
      States.--Statement of the supplies already
      furnished by France.--Account of his correspondence
      with M. de la Luzerne on the drawing of bills by Mr
      Morris, and the amount due by the French
      Court.--Disposition of moneys remaining in Dr
      Franklin's hands.--Languor of the States in
      providing for the expenses of the war.--Necessity
      of further aid from France.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  November 29th, 1781,                                      57

      Enclosing a letter from Mr Jay, declaring his
      inability to meet the drafts made on him.

  To Mr Grand. Office of Finance, Dec. 3d, 1781,            58

      Informs him of his intention of employing him as
      United States banker.

  To M. Joly de Fleury. Philadelphia, December
  3d, 1781,                                                 60

      Importance of furnishing pecuniary aid to the
      United States.

  To B. Franklin. Office of Finance, December 5th, 1781,    61

      Impolicy of the purchases in Holland.--Disposition
      of the loan, if obtained.--Disposition of the
      Americans towards the French.--Increasing demand
      for French goods.

  To the Governor of New York. Office of Finance,
  December 11th, 1781,                                      63

    Supplies furnished by the State.

  To the Governors of North Carolina, South Carolina,
  and Georgia. Office of Finance, December
  19th, 1781,                                               66

      Proposing a plan for the payment of the Southern
      army.--Necessity of a tax law by the States for
      effecting this purpose.--Answer to the objections
      against this measure.--Objections to measures
      compelling the receipt of the notes payable in
      taxes, and regulating prices.

  To the Governor of Rhode Island. Office of Finance,
  December 29th, 1781,                                      72

      Necessity of continued activity on the part of the
      States.--Necessity of prompt compliance with the
      requisitions of Congress.

  Circular to the Governors of the States. Office of
  Finance, January 3d, 1782,                                74

      Negligence of certain States to lay the impost
      recommended by Congress.--Fatal effects of a
      derangement of the finances.

  Circular to the Governors of the States. Office of
  Finance, January 8th, 1782,                               76

      Establishment of the Bank of North America.--
      Advantages of the institution.

  To the Governor of Rhode Island. Office of Finance,
  January 14th, 1782,                                       78

      Answer to the representations of the Assembly, of
      their inability to comply with the requisition of
      Congress.--Necessity of providing funds.--
      Insufficiency of specific supplies.--Rhode Island
      manufactures.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  January 15th, 1782,                                       81

      State of the currency.--Advantages of a general
      currency.--Use of metals as a circulating
      medium.--Silver the best money standard.--Utility
      of coinage.--The decimal ratio is the most
      convenient.--Plan of a metallic currency.

  George Washington to Robert Morris. Philadelphia,
  January 25th, 1782,                                       95

      Proposes to send officers to the New England
      States, with representations of their
      deficiencies of troops.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  February 11th, 1782,                                      97

      Financial embarrassments.--Refusal of several
      States to comply with the requisitions of
      Congress.--No prospect of foreign aid.--Measures
      taken in the Department of Finance.--Advantages
      of prompt and vigorous measures in the field.--
      Necessity of requiring men and money from the
      States.--Proposes a series of resolutions,
      calculated to accomplish the desired object.--
      Superior advantages of Continental forces.

  Circular to the Governors of the States. Office of
  Finance, February 15th, 1782,                            110

      No further foreign aid is to be expected.--
      Necessity of establishing a public credit by
      proper funds.--Financial distresses.--Necessity
      of preparations for a new campaign.--Explanation
      of the system of raising supplies by contracts.--
      Statement of his proceedings on this system.--The
      public service interrupted by local and party
      dissension.--Exhortations to union, energy, and
      promptness of action.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  February 18th, 1782,                                     118

      Proposing the appointment of Commissioners for the
      settlement of the accounts of the Commissary,
      Quarter Master, Hospital, and the Marine.--Frauds
      in these departments.

  Circular to the Governors of the States. Office of
  Finance, March 9th, 1782,                                121

      Settlement of public accounts to 1782.

  To Mr Grand, at Paris. Office of Finance, March
  9th, 1782,                                               122

      Intends to draw bills on him.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  March 9th, 1782,                                         123

      Mismanagement in the purchase of goods in Holland.--
      Directs Dr Franklin to sell those of British
      manufacture, and to dispose of the rest.

  To the Baron D'Arnot. Office of Finance, March
  18th, 1782,                                               124

      Prussia may secure a share of the American commerce
      by opening her ports.--Cannot agree to purchase
      supplies of Prussian subjects at St Thomas's.

  To B. Franklin. Office of Finance, March 23d, 1782,      125

      Mode of renewing sets of exchange, on account of
      certain lost bills.

  To Oliver Phelps. Office of Finance, March 30th, 1782,   126

      Advantages of raising supplies by private
      contracts.--Declines entering into any engagement
      favoring Massachusetts in the purchases.

  Circular to the Governors of the States. Office of
  Finance, April 15th, 1782,                               129

      Transmitting Acts of Congress recommending the
      statement of accounts between the United States
      and the respective States up to 1782.--Importance
      of settling the quotas and contingents of the
      States.

  To Nathaniel Appleton. Office of Finance, April
  16th, 1782,                                              131

      Necessity of establishing a public fund.

  To B. Franklin. Office of Finance, April 17th,
  1782,                                                    132

      Giving him notice of drafts to be drawn on Mr
      Grand.

  To John Jay. Office of Finance, April 23d, 1782,         134

      Enclosing a letter to the Secretary of Foreign
      Affairs.

  George Washington to Robert Morris. Head Quarters,
  April 23d, 1782,                                         134

      Appointment of an Intendent to decide on disputes
      between the army and the contractors.--Expresses
      his satisfaction with the system of contracts.

  To Major General Greene. Office of Finance,
  April 24th, 1782,                                        135

      Inefficiency of the confederacy.--Financial
      difficulties.--Abolition of partial payments.--
      Neglect of the States.

  To the Governor of Virginia. Office of Finance,
  April 27th, 1782,                                        138

      Enclosing his correspondence with the French
      Minister on the assumption by the United States
      of the debt of the State of Virginia, for supplies
      advanced by France.

  To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Office of Finance,
  April 27th, 1782,                                        140

      Desires a statement of the expenses of the Foreign
      Department.

  To the Governor of Maryland. Office of Finance,
  April 30th, 1782,                                        140

      Estimate of expenditure for the current year.--
      Intends to give publicity to the accounts.

  To John Wendell. Office of Finance, May 1st,
  1782,                                                    142

      Explaining the plan, objects, and operations of
      the National Bank.

  Report to Congress on a Memorial of the Merchants
  of Philadelphia. Office of Finance, May 4th, 1782,       144

      On the subject of convoys for American ships.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  May 8th, 1782,                                           145

      The French Minister having given notice that no
      further advances will be made by his Court, it
      becomes necessary to provide for the payment of
      the foreign Ministers.--The Minister desires a
      settlement of the accounts between France and the
      United States.

  Circular to the Governors of the States. Office of
  Finance, May 9th, 1782,                                  147

      Redemption of the old Continental money.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  May 10th, 1782,                                          150

      Enclosing a statement of American commerce.

  Circular to the Governors of the States. Office of
  Finance, May 16th, 1782,                                 151

      The requisitions of Congress inadequate to meet
      the     expenditure.--Neglect of the States to
      comply with the requisitions.--Fatal results of
      this neglect.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  May 17th, 1782,                                          154

      Fatal neglect of the States to raise supplies.--
      Requests to be advised as to the expedience of
      sending the preceding circular.--The receipts of
      the previous five months equal only to one fourth
      of the daily expense.

  To B. Franklin. Office of Finance, May 17th, 1782,       156

      Desiring a statement of the moneys at his disposal.

  To Mr Grand. Office of Finance, May 17th, 1782,          157

      Transmitting bills on Dr Franklin.

  To Mr Grand. Office of Finance, May 18th, 1782,          159

      The state of commerce renders it impossible to sell
      bills on France.--Requests him to make shipments
      of specie.

  To Messrs Le Couteulx & Co. Office of Finance,
  May 18th, 1782,                                          161

      Reasons for employing Mr Grand as United States
      banker.

  To B. Franklin. Office of Finance, May 23d, 1782,        162

      Claims of Beaumarchais.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  May 23d, 1782,                                           163

      The pecuniary supplies for 1782 have been
      anticipated.--Amount and expenditure of the same.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  May 27th, 1782,                                          165

      Enclosing information from the French Minister
      of the sums advanced by his Court.

  Information mentioned in the above Letter,               165

  To B. Franklin. Office of Finance, May 29th,
  1782,                                                    167

      Claims of Beaumarchais.

  To Daniel Clarke. Office of Finance, May 30th, 1782,     168

      Answer to the charges contained in Mr Clarke's
      letter.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  May 31st, 1782,                                          178

      Proposes to bring the accounts of each department
      under one head.

  To George Olney, of Rhode Island. Office of Finance,
  June 1st, 1782,                                          180

      Importance and advantage of laying accurate
      accounts of the public expenditures before the
      nation.

  Caron de Beaumarchais to Robert Morris. Paris,
  June 3d, 1782,                                           182

      Urging the settlement of his accounts.

  Abstracts mentioned in the preceding Letter,             184

  To George Washington. Office of Finance, June
  4th, 1782,                                               189

      Financial deficiencies render it impossible to
      pay the army.

  To Edward Carrington, in Virginia. Office of Finance,
  June 6th, 1782,                                          190

      Objections in Virginia to receive Mr Morris's
      notes in taxes.

  To the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Office of
  Finance, June 7th, 1782,                                 191

      There are no funds to pay either the principal
       or the interest of the public debt.

  To Daniel Jenifer, of Maryland. Office of Finance,
  June 11th, 1782,                                         192

      On the objections of Maryland to the
      apportionment of the expenses.--Other States
      entertain the same opinion.--Specific supplies
      more expensive than specie.

  To the Governor of Connecticut. Office of Finance,
  June 14th, 1782,                                         194

      Declining to delay the publication of the
      receipts from Connecticut.

  To James Lovell, of Massachusetts. Office of
  Finance, June 16th, 1782,                                195

      Reasons for publishing the receipts from the
      States.

  To George Washington. Office of Finance, June
  21st, 1782,                                              196

      Requesting him to take measures for the payment
      of the debts contracted by American officers,
      prisoners in New York.

  To the Governor of Rhode Island. Office of Finance,
  June 26th, 1782,                                         196

      Objections to the payment of troops by the
      separate States.

  To George Washington. Office of Finance, June
  29th, 1782,                                              197

      Disputes between the contractors and the officers
      of the army.--Reason for providing for the civil
      list before paying the army.

  To B. Franklin. Office of Finance, July 1st,
  1782,                                                    199

      Statement of money advanced by France.--Reasons
      for preferring a loan to a grant.--Cargo of the
      Lafayette.

  To Alexander Hamilton. Office of Finance, July
  2d, 1782,                                                203

      Announcing his appointment as Receiver for New
      York.

  To M. Jolie de Fleury. Office of Finance, July
  5th, 1782,                                               205

      Community of the interests of America and France.

  To Mr Grand. Office of Finance, July 5th, 1782,          206

      Accounts between Mr Grand and the United States.

  To the Governor of Maryland. Office of Finance,
  July 9th, 1782,                                          206

      Supplies furnished by Maryland.--Importance of the
      financial department in the conduct of the war.

  To James Lovell, of Massachusetts. Office of Finance,
  July 10th, 1782,                                         208

      Importance of a national credit.--The sums drawn
      on him may be met by sales of the bills.

  To the Governor of Maryland. Office of Finance,
  July 29th, 1782,                                         210

      Specie can be raised for taxes by adopting
      proper measures.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  July 29th, 1782,                                         211

      Advantages of loans in cases of extraordinary
      expenditure.--Different kinds of loans.--Relative
      advantages of domestic and foreign loans.--Necessity
      of establishing public credit.--This must be done
      by funding the public debt.--Amount of the debt.--
      Impolicy of raising money by loans, without
      previously providing the necessary funds.--Impolicy
      of attempting to pay the interest of domestic debts
      by foreign loans.--The revenue granted must be
      sufficient for the purpose.--Nature of the revenue.--
      Advantages of a land tax.--Answer to objections
      against it.--Poll tax.--Excise.--The collection
      of the tax.--Appropriation of the revenue.--Funded
      debt.--Sinking fund.--Answer to the objections against
      speculations in the funds.--Back lands.--Disputes as
      to the property and disposition of them.--Manner in
      which they may be rendered productive.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  July 30th, 1782,                                         238

      Enclosing estimates for the year 1783.--Necessity
      of establishing a navy.--Mode of raising the
      estimates.

  To the Governor of Rhode Island. Office of Finance,
  August 2d, 1782,                                         242

      The impost recommended by Congress has been
      laid by all the States except Rhode Island.--Reply
      to the objections against passing the impost.--The
      refusal of Rhode Island suspends the whole
      operation of the impost.

  To Sir Guy Carleton. Office of Finance, August
  20th, 1782,                                              248

      Exchange of prisoners.

  To Alexander Hamilton. Office of Finance, August
  28th, 1782,                                              248

      Regrets his retirement from the office of
      Receiver.--Weakness of the confederacy.--Mode
      of collecting the taxes.

  To George Washington. Office of Finance, August
  29th, 1782,                                              252

      Declares himself unable to supply the army.

  To George Washington. Office of Finance, August
  30th, 1782,                                              254

      Object of the preceding letter.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  September 9th, 1782,                                     255

      Urging the adoption of measures for raising a loan.

  To George Washington. Office of Finance, September
  9th, 1782,                                               256

      Failure of his resources.

  To Messrs Willink & Co., Amsterdam. Office of
  Finance, September 24th, 1782,                           256

      Intends to draw bills on them.

  To Messrs Le Couteulx & Co., Paris. Office of
  Finance, September 24th, 1782,                           257

      Reasons for desiring that the money of the United
      States in Holland should be sent by the way of the
      Havana.

  To B. Franklin, John Adams, and John Jay. Office of
  Finance, September 25th, 1782,                           259

      Transmitting Acts of Congress.

  To John Adams. Office of Finance, September
  27th, 1782,                                              260

      Congratulating him on his success in Holland.

  To Messrs Le Couteulx & Co. Office of Finance,
  September 27th, 1782,                                    261

      Directs money to be placed in their hands. Terms
      on which it may be remitted to the Havana.

  To B. Franklin. Office of Finance, September
  27th, 1782,                                              262

      Transmitting instructions to obtain a loan from
      France.--General disposition of the nation toward
      the French.--Attempts of the English to effect a
      reconciliation.--Reliance of Congress on the
      continuance of aid from France.--Necessity of
      immediate relief.--Vicious mode of taxation.

  To B. Franklin. Office of Finance, September
  27th, 1782,                                              270

      Disposition of the loan mentioned in the
      preceding letter.

  To B. Franklin. Office of Finance, September
  30th, 1782,                                              271

      Improvident purchases of American agents in
      Europe.--The stores belonging to the United
      States in Europe must be shipped.--Mr Grand's
      accounts.--Interest on the Dutch loan.--Reports
      of peace produce inaction on the part of the
      States.

  To B. Franklin. Office of Finance, October 1st,
  1782,                                                    274

      Directing application for a convoy from Havana to
      an American port, for moneys to be shipped at the
      former place.

  To M. de la Luzerne. Office of Finance, October
  2d, 1782,                                                275

      Requesting him to make representations to his
      Court on the necessity of a loan.

  To Alexander Hamilton. Office of Finance, October
  5th, 1782,                                               275

  Circulation of his notes.

  To B. Franklin. Office of Finance, Oct. 7th, 1782,        278

      Shipment of money.

  To George Washington. Office of Finance, October
  15th, 1782,                                              279

      Impossibility of supplying money for the army.

  To the Governor of North Carolina. Office of Finance,
  October 7th, 1782,                                       280

      Specific supplies cannot be received in the place
      of money.--Objection to the imposing of any
      restrictions on the exportation of certain articles,
      for the purpose of facilitating the obtaining of
      those articles by the United States.

  To Major General Greene. Office of Finance,
  October 17th, 1782,                                      283

      Supplies for the army.--Disposition of the States
      to furnish specific supplies.

  George Washington to Robert Morris. Head Quarters,
  October 18th, 1782,                                      285

      Expenses incurred in forwarding information to
      the Marquis de Vaudreuil, at the request of M.
      de la Luzerne.

  Circular to the Governors of the States. Office of
  Finance, October 21st, 1782,                             286

      Unable to fulfil his engagements with the
      contractors.--Compelled to enter into new
      contracts on less favorable terms.--The want
      of revenue increases all branches of the
      expenditure.--The war is protracted by the
      want of resources.

  To the Governor of Rhode Island. Office of Finance,
  October 24th, 1782,                                      291

      Negligence of the States to meet the requisitions
      of Congress.--Loans, or military collections of
      supplies the only alternative.--Loans cannot be
      obtained without the establishment of funds.--These
      may be raised by laying the impost recommended
      by Congress.--Answer to the objections to that
      measure.

  To B. Franklin. Office of Finance, October 27th,
  1782,                                                    296

      Assumes the debt of Virginia, contracted for
      supplies from France.

  To the Governor of Cuba. Philadelphia, November
  27th, 1782,                                              297

      Requesting his assistance in negotiating bills
      at Havana.

  To Thomas Barclay, in Paris. Office of Finance,
  December 5th, 1782,                                      298

      Enclosing Acts of Congress appointing him
      Commissioner to settle the accounts of the
      United States in Europe.--Method of proceeding
      to be adopted.--Account of Beaumarchais.--Heads
      under which the accounts must be stated.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  December 12th, 1782,                                     306

      Reporting a bill regulating the rates at which
      foreign coin shall be received at the treasury.

  George Washington to Robert Morris. Head Quarters,
  December 20th, 1782,                                     308

      Inscription on the cannon to be presented to the
      Count de Rochambeau.

  To B. Franklin. Office of Finance, January 11th, 1783,   309

      Has overdrawn on Mr Grand.--Difficulties in raising
      supplies.--Is obliged to extend his drafts still
      further.

  To B. Franklin. Office of Finance, January 13th, 1783,   312

      Supplies.--Payment of the salaries of the foreign
      Ministers.

  To Mr Grand. Office of Finance, January 13th, 1783,      314

      Amount of bills issued on Europe.

  To M. de la Luzerne. Office of Finance, January
  13th, 1783,                                              316

      Explanation of the excess of drafts on Mr Grand
      over the funds in his hands.--Necessity of further
      aid for the current year.

  To John Adams. Office of Finance, January 19th, 1783,    322

      Wishes to be informed of the state of the loan in
      Holland.

  To the President of Pennsylvania. Office of Finance,
  January 20th, 1783,                                      323

      Pennsylvania has not complied with the
      requisitions of Congress.

  To George Washington. Office of Finance, January
  21st, 1783,                                               324

      Suspicions of illicit transmission of money for
      commercial purposes under pretence of relieving
      prisoners.--Secret service money.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  January 24th, 1783,                                      325

      Resigning his office, on the ground that the
      debts are increased without any provision for
      the payment of them.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  February 26th, 1783,                                     327

      Desires permission to make known his resignation.

  To George Washington. Office of Finance, February
  27th, 1783,                                              327

      Informing him of his resignation.

  To William Carmichael, in Madrid. Office of Finance,
  March 4th, 1783,                                         329

      Drawing on him to the amount of the bills
      protested by Mr Jay.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  March 8th, 1783,                                         330

      On the payment of the public debt.--Justice requires
      that it should be paid.--Power of Congress in this
      respect.--The States should be required to pay
      their quota of the debt, or to comply with a general
      plan adopted by Congress.--Method of making the
      apportionment.--The collectors must be appointed
      by the United States.--The revenue must continue
      till the extinguishment of the debt.--Objections
      to the impost.--Land tax.--Plan of terminating
      all accounts open between the United States
      and the individual States.

  George Washington to Robert Morris. Head Quarters,
  March 8th, 1783,                                         336

      Regretting his resignation.--Apprehensions of the
      consequences.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  March 10th, 1783,                                        337

      Enclosing an estimate of the public debt on the
      1st of January, 1783.

  To Major General Greene. Office of Finance,
  March 14th, 1783,                                        338

      Reasons of his resignation.--Provision for the
      public debt.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  March 17th, 1783,                                        339

      No further aid can be expected from Europe.--Loan
      in Holland.--Probable amount of money on hand.--
      Expenditure.--Extinction of the public credit.--
      Defence of himself from the charges brought forward
      in the newspapers.

  To the Receivers of Continental Taxes in the several
  States. Office of Finance, April 7th, 1783,              344

      Enclosing an account of the receipts and
      expenditures during his administration.

  Circular to the Governors of the States. Office of
  Finance, April 7th, 1783,                                345

      Enclosing statements of the receipts and
      expenditures for 1781 and 1782.

  To a Committee of Congress. Office of Finance,
  April 14th, 1783,                                        345

      Settlement of accounts.--Payment of the army.

  To Alexander Hamilton. Office of Finance, April
  16th, 1783,                                              347

      Marine agency.--Necessity of economy in the
      expenditure.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  April 23d, 1783,                                         348

      Enclosing specimens of a coin for the proposed
      mint.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  May 1st, 1783,                                           349

      Correcting erroneous statements of a committee of
      Congress appointed to confer with him relative to
      his continuance in office.--Reasons for his
      resignation.--Motives for consenting to continue in
      office.--Conditions of this consent.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  May 3d, 1783,                                            355

      Consenting to continue in office.

  To M. de la Luzerne. Office of Finance, May
  6th, 1783,                                               355

      Requesting an advance of money in America.

  Circular to the Governors of the States. Office of
  Finance, May 12th, 1783,                                 356

      Further supplies from France are not to be
      expected.--Confusion of the accounts.--Anticipation
      of the revenue.--Necessity of supplies from the
      States.

  To Thomas Barclay, Agent for settling the Public
  Accounts in Europe. Office of Finance, May
  12th, 1783,                                              359

      Confusion in the accounts occasioned by the bills
      drawn by Congress on the Ministers in France,
      Spain, and Holland.--Settlement of the accounts.

  To B. Franklin. Office of Finance, May 12th, 1783,       360

      Confusion produced by the bills drawn by
      Congress.--Amount of the bills.

  To a Committee of Congress. Office of Finance,
  May 15th, 1783,                                          362

      Account of the state of the financial
      department.--Resources foreign and domestic.--
      Expenses of the army.--Political and military
      motives for disbanding the army immediately.

  To Major General Greene. Office of Finance,
  May 16th, 1783,                                          367

      Calumnies against public officers.

  To B. Franklin. Office of Finance, May 26th, 1783,       369

      The people is never ready to tax itself.

  To B. Franklin. Office of Finance, May 26th, 1783,       370

      Urging a renewal of application for aid.--The
      taxes shall be devoted, as far as possible, to
      the repayment of any advances.--Situation of the
      finances.

  To M. de la Luzerne. Office of Finance, May 27th,
  1783,                                                    372

      Requesting his interposition with his Court in
      favor of the application for further aid.

  To George Washington. Office of Finance, May 29th,
  1783,                                                    373

      Misrepresentations of his motives and
      conduct.--Exertions to procure pay for the army.

  Circular to the Governors of the States. Office of
  Finance, June 5th, 1783,                                 375

      The army has been paid in notes.--Incumbent on
      the States to furnish means of discharging them.

  Circular to the Governors of the States. Office of
  Finance, July 11th, 1783,                                376

      Necessity of supplies from the States to meet
      the notes issued to the army.

  Report to Congress relative to the Pay of the
  Army. Office of Finance, July 15th, 1783,                378

      Method of discharging the notes issued by the
      Superintendent of Finance.--Amount advanced to
      the army.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  July 18th, 1783,                                         380

      Recapitulation of the circumstances connected with
      the payment of the army.--Reason for presenting
      these facts in the form of a letter.

  To Mr Grand. Office of Finance, July 25th, 1783,         386

      Requesting that his bills may be honored, although
      exceeding the funds in Mr Grand's hands.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  July 28th, 1783,                                         387

      Urging a reduction of the public expenditure.--The
      civil list.

  Circular to the Governors of the States. Office of
  Finance, July 28th, 1783,                                389

      State of the finances.--Reduction of expenses.--
      Misrepresentations of his motives.

  Report to Congress respecting transferable
  Certificates. Office of Finance, July 31st, 1783,        393

      Reasons why the debts of the treasury have not
      been evidenced by transferable certificates.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  August 1st, 1783,                                        394

      Amount and proportions of the payments by the
      States.

  To Messrs Willink & Co. Office of Finance, August
  6th, 1783,                                               396

      Amount and nature of drafts on them.--Desires
      that they may be met at all events.

  George Washington to Robert Morris. Head Quarters,
  August 6th, 1783,                                        397

      Advances of money required for transporting cannon
      and stores to the upper posts.

  To George Washington. Office of Finance, August
  12th, 1783,                                              399

  To the Paymaster General. Office of Finance,
  August 12th, 1783,                                       399

      Embarrassed situation of the finances.

  To Elbridge Gerry. Office of Finance, August
  26th, 1783,                                              400

      Different requisitions of Congress.--Objections to
      the proposition for changing the mode of settling
      accounts.--Objections to the proposal to relinquish
      any part of the requisitions.

  George Washington to Robert Morris. Rocky Hill,
  August 30th, 1783,                                       406

      The design of occupying the western posts is
      relinquished.

  To George Washington. Office of Finance, September
  2d, 1783,                                                406

      Expressing his satisfaction at the relinquishment
      of the design of occupying the western posts.

  Circular to the Commissioners of Accounts. Office
  of Finance, September 4th, 1783,                         407

      Instructing them to make inquiries illustrative
      of the state of the country in its geographical,
      moral, political, and commercial relations.

  To John Adams. Office of Finance, September
  20th, 1783,                                              411

      Insufficiency of the confederation.--General
      satisfaction with the peace.

  To B. Franklin. Office of Finance, September
  20th, 1783,                                              413

      Prejudices against France.--Causes of the return of
      American commerce to Great Britain.--Fatal influence
      of the British navigation act on the commerce
      of England.--The true interest of the European
      powers is to open the West India ports to
      American vessels.--Remissness of the people in
      paying taxes.--Debt due the Farmers-General.

  To Arthur Lee. Office of Finance, Oct. 4th, 1783,        418

      Facts relating to a contract with Mr Deane,
      concerning shipments on the public account.

  To M. de la Luzerne. Office of Finance, October
  15th, 1783,                                              420

      Case of M. Holker.

  To Messrs Willink & Co. Office of Finance, October
  23d, 1783,                                               420

      Sum requisite above the estimated amount of the
      taxes.--Present rate of exchange favorable to the
      United States.--Plan adopted for drawing the sum
      desired.

  To the Farmers-General of France. Office of Finance,
  November 4th, 1783,                                      423

      Plan adopted by Congress for the payment of the
      sums due the Farmers-General.

  Report to Congress on an Extract from the Journals
  of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania.                 424

      Relative to the mode of proceeding of the
      commissioner for settling the accounts of the
      State.

  To John Adams. Office of Finance, November 5th, 1783,    436

      Approves his plan of remittances from the United
      States.--The interference of the Dutch government
      in the loan is not desirable.

  To Messrs Willink & Co. Office of Finance, December
  31st, 1783,                                              437

      Giving them notice of his drawing bills on them,
      and requesting their acceptance at all events.

  To Messrs Willink & Co. Office of Finance, December
  31st, 1783,                                              439

      The apprehensions which impede the loan are
      groundless.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  January 13th, 1784,                                      441

      Confused state of the accounts of the secret and
      commercial committees.

  To Messrs Le Couteulx & Co. Office of Finance,
  January 13th, 1784,                                      443

      Requesting them to meet certain bills.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  January 16th, 1784,                                      444

      Transmitting a demand for supplies advanced to
      American prisoners.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  January 21st, 1784,                                      445

      Claims of individuals for damages done by the
      army.--Plan of an Act relative to this subject.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  January 24th, 1784,                                      449

      Proposing the appointment of a commissioner for
      settling the claims of individuals for services
      rendered, or supplies furnished in Canada.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  February 2d, 1784,                                       451

  To Messrs Le Couteulx & Co. Office of Finance,
  February 12th, 1784                                      452

      Draws bills on them, and remits tobacco.

  To Mr Grand. Office of Finance, February 12th,
  1784,                                                    454

      Requests him to meet certain bills if necessary.

  To Messrs Willink & Co. Office of Finance, February
  12th, 1784,                                              455

      Reasons for drawing on them beyond the funds in
      their hands.--Manner in which the bills may be
      met.

  To Messrs Willink & Co. Office of Finance, February
  12th, 1784,                                              459

      The resources of America are not sufficiently
      known.

  To B. Franklin. Office of Finance, February
  12th, 1784,                                              461

      Desires that some measures may be taken to meet
      his bills.--Intended remittances.

  To B. Franklin. Office of Finance, February
  13th, 1784,                                              463

      Amount of the actual engagements of his
      Department.--General engagements for the public
      service.--Bills of exchange unpaid.--Debt to the
      national bank.--Means of payment.

  To Thomas Jefferson. Office of Finance, February
  25th, 1784,                                              468

      Arrearages of requisitions.--Unfunded
      expenditures.--Estimate of the Civil List.

  Proposed expenses of the Civil List,                     476

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  March 17th, 1784,                                        478

      Failure of the Dutch loan.--Bills protested for
      non-acceptance.--Amount of funds in Europe, and of
      bills drawn.--Necessity of prompt supplies.

  To Jacob Read, member of a committee of Congress.
  Office of Finance, March 30th, 1784,                     482

      Advises a demand of the arrearages from the States,
      previous to making new requisitions.--Objections
      to the Loan offices.

  To Thomas Jefferson. Office of Finance, April
  8th, 1784,                                               485

      The number of banks unfavorable to the plan of
      raising loans.--Objections to premiums on loans.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  April 29th, 1784,                                        486

      Defence of his conduct in regard to the appointment
      of Receivers of taxes.--Objections to Loan offices.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  May 6th, 1784,                                           489

      Amount of his engagements.--Requests the adoption
      of arrangements for administering the Financial
      Department.

  To the Marquis de Lafayette. Office of Finance,
  May 19th, 1784,                                          490

      Requesting his influence in establishing a free
      port in the Isle of France or Bourbon.--Commercial
      and political advantages of the measure.

  To the Governor of Rhode Island. Office of Finance,
  June 21st, 1784,                                         493

      Urging a compliance with the requisitions of
      Congress for funding the public debt.

  To M. de Marbois, Chargé d'Affaires from France.
  Office of Finance, August 17th, 1784,                    494

      Arrangements for paying the interest on the French
      loans.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  September 30th, 1784,                                    496

      Success of the Dutch loan.--Necessity of making
      proper provisions for the payment of the public
      debt.

  To B. Franklin. Office of Finance, September
  30th, 1784,                                              498

      Payment of the salaries of the foreign
      Ministers.--Attachment of United States property
      in France.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  September 30th, 1784,                                    501

  Services of M. de Lafayette.

  Advertisement. Philadelphia, October 11th, 1784,        502

      Announcing his having made arrangements for
      redeeming his public engagements and his notes in
      circulation.--Pledges his personal responsibility
      for the payment.

  To the President of Congress. Office of Finance,
  November 1st, 1784,                                      502

      Enclosing his commission as Superintendent of
      Finance.



     THE

     CORRESPONDENCE

     OF

     ROBERT MORRIS,

     SUPERINTENDENT OF FINANCE.


VOL. XII



  THE
  CORRESPONDENCE
  OF
  ROBERT MORRIS.

  CORRESPONDENCE CONTINUED.


     TO M. DE LA LUZERNE.

  Office of Finance, November 3d, 1781.

  Sir,

     Agreeably to my promise, I have the honor to send you a copy of
     the circular letter, which I lately transmitted to the several
     States. This will be an additional proof of my desire to draw
     from among ourselves the necessary resources, and thereby to
     become truly independent. But the sincerity with which I have
     always spoken to you, and which I mean to preserve, and which the
     generous conduct of your Sovereign demands for his servants, that
     sincerity will not permit me to conceal my sentiments on what is
     to be expected.

     The annual expenses of this country may certainly be reduced
     within narrower bounds, than they have hitherto been; perhaps it
     will be less than I myself have now an idea of. But still it must
     be considerable, if we mean, which we certainly do, to make
     becoming efforts in the common cause. Besides this, it will
     require a considerable revenue to provide the sinking fund for
     our public debt. As I consider national credit to be an object of
     the greatest magnitude and importance, so I think it necessary to
     bend every possible effort to the establishment and support of
     it. Provision for our debts is, therefore, the first object, and
     therefore must take place of every other demand.

     Whatever may be the wealth of the inhabitants of America, and
     however capable they may be of bearing heavy taxes, this at least
     is certain, that they have neither been accustomed to them, nor
     have the Legislatures hitherto adopted the proper modes of laying
     and levying them with convenience to the people. Taxation
     requires time in all governments, and is to be perfected only by
     long experience in any country. America, divided as it is into a
     variety of free States, possessing sovereign power for all
     domestic purposes, cannot therefore be suddenly brought to pay
     all which might be spared from the wealth of her citizens. The
     amount even of that wealth is very disputable. Our extensive
     forests, though they are valuable as property, are by no means
     productive to the revenue; and many of our people have endured
     such losses, that they require alleviation, instead of being able
     to bear burdens. Besides this, the use of many articles, not
     strictly necessary, are become so even by that use, and
     therefore, the mode of living being habitually more expensive
     than in other countries, requires greater wealth, A good Prince
     would not suddenly render the lot of his subjects worse. How then
     are we to expect that the people themselves will do so?

     But supposing our taxes could equal the demand for revenue,
     another circumstance remains. The paper money, which has been
     emitted lays in our way to reformation, and we feel it at every
     step. It has been issued, and the people will with propriety
     refuse to pay taxes, if it be totally refused. Much, therefore,
     of the revenue must be in paper, while that paper exists. If it
     be re-issued after it has been raised in taxes, the mischief
     attendant on a depreciating medium will still continue. A large
     nominal revenue may indeed be collected, but that revenue will be
     nominal. The specie in the country also will be continually
     secluded from circulation, and by that means, not only the
     sources of revenue will be dried up, but even the bills of
     exchange, which may be drawn on Europe, will not find a proper
     market at their value.

     I might add a number of reasons to show the necessity of
     destroying this paper money; but your residence here has enabled
     you to see this subject to the bottom, and I have found in
     conversation your ideas so clear, that I will not attempt to
     demonstrate what you cannot but perceive at a single glance. But
     how is it to be done? If a recurrence be again had to the
     detestable expedient of force, our credit is ruined. Prudence,
     therefore, forbids any such attempt; besides, it is so dishonest,
     that I will never have any concern in it. There is then no other
     means, but to receive the taxes in paper, and to destroy a part,
     at least, if not the whole.

     This method of proceeding will lay a proper foundation for
     establishing public credit, and when that is established, we well
     know what good consequences may be drawn. But, in the interim, it
     is evident that the revenue, even if otherwise equal to our
     wants, must be deficient. I, therefore, am bound to declare to
     you my conviction, that we must have aid from abroad. It is
     unnecessary to add the place from which that aid is to be
     expected.

     It is very painful to ask assistance in any case, especially in a
     situation like ours, where the object of the war is to secure
     what is of the utmost importance to us. But having candidly
     explained our situation, and shown the impracticability of doing
     all which I wish, there is a greater propriety in stating to a
     gentleman, who knows those wishes, the ideas which arise from the
     nature of that connexion which subsists between the two nations.

     The war in America must of necessity prove fatal to Great
     Britain, if it continues; because it is carried on by her at an
     expense so disproportionate, to that which is borne by France,
     that the greater effort must exhaust every fund she can possibly
     draw forth, and inextricably involve her in eternal debt. If then
     the object of the war were in itself indifferent to France, the
     mere continuance of it would alone be a valuable object to her,
     and indeed, to every other power, particularly to those who are
     in any degree maritime, as they are most exposed to British
     encroachment and rapacity. But when we consider that the object
     of the war is of the last consequence to the commerce of his
     Majesty's dominions, and especially so to his marine; and when we
     further consider, that his honor stands pledged for our support,
     to doubt of his further assistance would imply a reflection both
     on his wisdom and integrity. I hope, Sir, you will believe me to
     be incapable of casting such reflections.

     Let me further take the liberty to observe, that I would by no
     means detract from the generosity of his Most Christian Majesty,
     yet the moneys, which he may be disposed to advance to the
     United States, are neither lost nor thrown away. The subjects of
     France will for ages derive benefits from a commercial connexion
     with this country, and I hope their Sovereign will always find
     here a warm friend and a faithful ally, should any of those
     changes, to which human affairs are subjected, induce him to ask
     that aid, which he now bestows.

  With great respect, I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.[1]

  [1] _November 3d._ This day, on the invitation of the Minister of
  France, I attended at the Romish Church at a _Te Deum_, sung on
  account of the capture of Lord Cornwallis and his army. Soon after
  arrived the colors taken by General Washington with that array,
  which were brought by Colonel Humphreys to Chester, there met by
  Colonel Tilghman, and thence conducted hither by those two
  Aid-de-Camps of the General. The city troop of light horse went
  out to meet them, and became the standard bearers, and twentyfour
  gentlemen, privates in that corps, carried each of them one of the
  colors displayed. The American and French flags preceding the
  captured trophies, which were conducted down Market street to the
  Coffee House, thence down Front to Chestnut street, and up that
  street to the State House, where they were presented to Congress,
  who were sitting; and many of the members tell me, that instead of
  viewing this transaction as a mere matter of joyful ceremony,
  which they expected to do, they instantly felt themselves
  impressed with ideas of the most solemn nature. It brought to
  their minds the distresses our country has been exposed to, the
  calamities we have repeatedly suffered, the perilous situation,
  which our affairs have almost always been in; and they could not
  but recollect the threats of Lord North, that he would bring
  America to his feet on unconditional terms of submission. _Diary._

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, November 5th, 1781.

  Sir,

Copies of the Act of the United States in Congress assembled, of the
2d instant, have been sent to me, and were yesterday received. It
would have given me pleasure to have had an opportunity of expressing
my sentiments before those acts were passed; but it becomes necessary
to take the liberty of doing it now. I, therefore, do myself the honor
to enclose a letter written on the 28th day of August last, which was
not transmitted before, because Congress were so much engaged, that,
as well from that as from other circumstances, those matters, which it
relates to, could not properly be brought before them. In the
beginning of that letter, the reference made to me on the 23d of
August, of two letters from the State of Massachusetts, and of a
report upon them, is mentioned. On the 12th of September following, I
received the resolutions of that State, which were referred on the
10th; and I have now to observe, that my sentiments on the subject of
those resolutions are fully contained in the letter.

I should have sent in that letter, notwithstanding my reasons to the
contrary, if I had conceived that any of the subjects it relates to
had been in agitation before the United States. And, although Congress
have not taken up all the matters mentioned in it, there is some
propriety in sending it as it was written, because such objects are
better understood when viewed in their connexion with each other, than
when separately considered.

I shall say nothing as to the amount of the sum required, because I
have not seen the estimates. Congress have certainly considered the
supplies necessary, and the abilities of their constituents.
Immediately after the apportionments, I find the following clause,
"that the said sums, when paid, shall be credited to the accounts of
the several States on interest, to be hereafter adjusted." I hope that
I shall be pardoned for observing, that I cannot see the necessity of
this provision, and that ill consequences will probably result from
it. As to the necessity, I will suppose that the proportion of any
State were rated so high as greatly to exceed its means of payment, or
materially to distress the people, surely Congress might afford
redress in the next apportionment by relaxing the demands on such
State and dividing the deficiency among others. Nor is it of any
consequence whether the disproportion arises from error in laying the
quotas, or from a subsequent change of circumstances. It is for this
reason that the clause appears unnecessary. The idea of leaving the
adjustment of accounts to a future day will discourage the efforts of
every State in the Union. They will consider it as determining, in
other words, that the accounts shall never be settled at all, or
rather, they have already formed that opinion. This has produced
discontent, and given rise to complaint. The disputes which must
follow cannot but be pernicious. Nor are these the only ill
consequences of that provision. I hope that Congress will pardon me,
when I state the sentiments, which may arise in the minds of others,
although they have no place in my own. Postponing a final adjustment
may cast an air of doubt, or even timidity, on the proceedings of the
United States. It may be construed into an appearance of leading
individual States unwarily into efforts beyond their proportion, or
their strength. It may be imagined that there is some want of that
firmness and decision, which ought to be the constant companions of
sovereign authority. It gives me pain to hazard a difference in
opinion with Congress, and, therefore, I quit the subject.

The next article in the Act of the second instant declares, "that
certificates, which may be given by the Quarter Master General, or
other officers properly authorised to give them for supplies, that
shall hereafter be furnished, shall be accepted in payment." This
provision may, in some instances be necessary, in some improper, but
in all it must be dangerous. I shall not dwell on the consequences of
giving these certificates; but I will suggest one idea, which will,
perhaps, merit attention. That article is an act of sovereign
authority, and therefore while it exists doubts may arise how far the
issuing of such certificates can be restrained. If the Quarter Master
and others will give certificates, and the States will receive them
and tender them to me, I must, according to this act, accept them in
payment; but those who contract for supplies to the public, certainly
will not take them from me. If, on the other hand, that article be not
inserted, the general authorities given to me by Congress are equal to
all the necessary regulations in executing their commands. I might,
for instance, appoint a trusty person to give certificates in
extraordinary cases. I should then know the amount of such
certificates, and I could make the necessary arrangements with
relation to them.

My sentiments on the next article are so fully expressed in the
enclosed letter, that I will not trouble Congress with the repetition.
I shall only observe, that daily observation and information confirm
my fears, that frauds have been practised in giving those
certificates, and I must be of opinion, that a general permission to
receive them in taxes will be very injurious, not only to the public
revenue, but to the reputation of our measures. I am apprehensive that
many honest men through the United States, who know the frauds
committed in their neighborhoods, will imagine that sufficient
attention is not paid to the detection of villany, and that idea will
disincline them very much from the payment of taxes, because nothing
induces men to part with their money so cheerfully, as the belief that
it will be applied to the purposes for which it was granted, with
economy and integrity.

What I have written on the subject of a final apportionment may appear
to have proceeded from a want of attention to that article of the
confederation, which points out the manner of defraying public
expenses. But this is not the case. The article in question relates
merely to those circumstances, which shall arise after the completion
of it, and makes no provision whatever for past expenses. The several
requisitions of Congress do indeed refer to a future settlement,
according to the mode expressed in the confederation; but the
confederation itself must receive a liberal and equitable
construction; much more so those resolutions which refer to it. If
this be not the case, it would be madness to expect obedience from
free agents independent of each other, which is the situation of the
several States. If, then, the article be considered and weighed, even
as to the quota of the current year, where certainly it applies with
greater force, than to any past transaction, we shall find that it
presupposes the following things; first, a certain mode of determining
the value of lands, &c., or, in other words, the value of each
respective State; secondly, that this mode should not be permanent but
variable, and framed from time to time, according to the then existing
state of things; thirdly, that it should be founded in liberal
principles of justice; no other mode being presumable from those who
are to adopt it; fourthly, that the value being thus equitably
determined, the expenses of the current year should be estimated
according to the best lights, which could be obtained; and fifthly,
that this expense should be apportioned according to that valuation.

If these ideas be just, and I think that an inspection of the article
itself will show them to be so, then it will follow, that a valuation
made for one year cannot properly apply to any preceding or subsequent
year; more especially, if any considerable change take place in the
respective circumstances of the several States. Let us, for instance,
suppose, that in the year 1776, five hundred acres of land in the
State A were worth one thousand pounds; that in the year 1777, they
were worth five hundred pounds; and in the year 1778, one hundred
pounds; while, during the whole period, five hundred acres in the
State B were worth five hundred pounds. Let us suppose the States A
and B to have been of the same extent, and that thirty pounds were to
have been paid annually by those States according to the
apportionment of the confederation, they would then have been charged
as follows; in 1776, the State A twenty pounds, and B ten pounds; in
1777, A fifteen pounds, and B fifteen pounds; and in 1778 A five
pounds, and B twentyfive pounds. Thus, then, of three times thirty or
ninety pounds, A would be chargeable with twenty, fifteen, and five
amounting in the whole to forty pounds; and B with ten, fifteen, and
twentyfive, amounting in the whole to fifty pounds. The proportion,
therefore, between them is as four to five; but the proportion arising
from their relative wealth in either of those terms is widely
different. In the first, it is as two to one. In the second, as one to
one, and in the third, as one to five. Wherefore, if the whole ninety
pounds were to have been apportioned on the valuation of the first
year, it would have been to A sixty, and to B thirty. On that of the
second A fortyfive, and B fortyfive, and on the third A fifteen, and B
seventyfive.

If this conclusion be fairly drawn, then a question will arise on this
point. Suppose no mode of valuation adopted, how are the quotas to be
ascertained? In answer to this question, I state the following
positions; first, that the object of the confederation was to make an
equitable apportionment; secondly, that Congress will always, when
they direct a valuation, do it in an equitable mode; and thirdly, that
a valuation is, at present, impracticable, much less a valuation for
times past. These things admitted, and the necessity of an
apportionment being also admitted, the question answers itself; for no
other mode will remain, but by resorting to such lights as Congress
may have on the subject, and that they determine as equitably as they
can, according to those lights, which is the very thing I have
already proposed.

I shall trespass no longer on your Excellency's patience, than to
mention, that I have detained the copies of those acts, until the
further order of Congress. But if they disapprove of it, I shall
immediately transmit them.

I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO M. DE LA LUZERNE.

  Office of Finance, November 6th, 1781.

  Sir,

I have been honored with your Excellency's answer of the 4th to my
letter of the 3d instant. I am sure we cannot differ in opinion. It is
impossible, that I can doubt the wisdom or integrity of his Most
Christian Majesty, or that you can doubt his desire of giving further
assistance to the United States. As to the mode in which that can be
done, his Majesty's convenience, and the situation of affairs will
best determine it. I wish to receive pecuniary aid, and when I
consider the importance, I am led to expect it. You have doubts on
that subject; but the success which has followed from the grants
already made, will show so clearly the utility, that you, who see the
good effects, and who are so zealously attached to the common cause,
will concur with me in your efforts also. The regard you have
expressed for the United States, and which, I am sure you feel, gives
me the highest reason to expect your good offices on all occasions,
which may relate to their welfare, and particularly those in the line
of my department, where you are fully sensible assistance is most
necessary.

  With the most perfect esteem and respect, I am, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE COUNT DE ROCHAMBEAU.

  Office of Finance, November 15th, 1781.

  Sir,

I have the pleasure to observe to your Excellency, that I have
discharged a bill drawn on me by M. Baulny, in favor of M. Roquebrune,
for eighty thousand livres, being in part payment of the one hundred
and forty thousand livres, which you were so kind as to advance, and
for which I beg leave again to express my grateful sense of
obligation. The remaining sum of sixtyfour thousand livres, I hold at
your order, and had determined to remit it; but having accidentally
mentioned the matter to the Chevalier de la Luzerne, he observed to
me, that in all probability, you would want money rather in
Philadelphia than Virginia, because of the necessary expense, which
would arise in transporting stores from Boston. Upon this principle, I
deferred sending forward, until I should hear from your Excellency on
the subject. M. de la Luzerne has also promised me to mention it in
his letters to you.

Before I conclude this letter, I must trespass one short moment on
your patience, to express my congratulations on the important and
splendid success, which has crowned the allied arms before Yorktown.
My voice, Sir, cannot add to that glory, which the public sentiment
has most deservedly conferred; but you will permit me to assure you of
the high gratification it gives my mind, that you are so much the
object of gratitude, applause and esteem, throughout the United
States.

With the most perfect respect, I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

CIRCULAR TO THE GOVERNORS OF THE STATES.

  Office of Finance, November 17th, 1781.

  Sir,

I have the honor to enclose acts of Congress of the 30th of October,
and 2d instant, which were handed to me on the 4th; but upon a perusal
of them, it appeared that some things had escaped the attention of
Congress; wherefore, on the 5th I had the honor of writing to them a
letter on the subject.

In this letter I took the liberty to state some objections to the
three clauses in the Act of the 2d, which follow immediately after the
apportionment. I shall not here repeat those objections. They lay
before the United States in Congress, and will receive such mature
consideration, as is becoming the wisdom of that sovereign body. I
will not however hesitate to declare to your Excellency, that it was
my wish to have those three clauses repealed.

On the 12th, the United States in Congress assembled passed the act,
of which a copy is also enclosed, and by which your Excellency will
perceive, that one of those clauses is repealed. I received this Act
on the 30th, and I have waited until this day the further order of
Congress; but there being now but a thin representation, so that
business cannot be done with the same despatch as when more States are
present, and these Acts being of great importance, I have thought it
best immediately to forward them. To press a compliance is I trust
unnecessary. The respect due to the representation of America will
speak more loudly and more effectually, than the weak voice of any
individual servant they may have employed. I shall make but one
observation. The present requisition is very moderate; the
compliance, therefore, must be very punctual, for delays are equally
dangerous and expensive, and if they should happen, the people must be
burdened with new taxes unnecessarily.

  With great respect, &c.
  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

GEORGE WASHINGTON TO ROBERT MORRIS.

  Mount Vernon, November 19th, 1781.

  Dear Sir,

I have to inform you, that a very considerable debt has been incurred
on you as Financier of the United States, by an order for the relief
of the officers of the army from the goods found in Yorktown; each
officer, military and staff, having been authorised to take up on
public account, the sum of twenty pounds Virginia currency; for which
Mr Ross, commercial agent of this State, is answerable to the
merchants, payable in tobacco; Mr Ross receiving the amount in bills
upon you to be paid in six months from the time of the goods being
taken. The returns not being handed in, I am unable to give you the
amount with any precision; your own calculations will afford you the
sum with a degree of certainty.

A quantity of goods found on board a cartel in York river, and which
have been judged to be forfeit, were part suitable for the army, and
part for the country; the latter, which will amount to a considerable
sum, are to be sold at public vendue, and accounted for.

Knowing the state of your finances, I have studied to keep this debt
within its most moderate bounds, but in spite of all my endeavors, I
fear you will find it but too large. I hoped to have given you some
assistance from the military chest found with the enemy, but
unavoidable contingencies of the army, and furnishing the Quarter
Master General for the southern army, have swallowed up near one half
of its contents. A number of iron cannon, being unnecessary for our
use, I have appropriated as a fund for the discharge of the debt
incurred, and they are sent to the head of the Elk; this with the
other funds may possibly amount to a full discharge of the debt.

  I am, &c.

  GEORGE WASHINGTON.

_P. S._ Since writing the above, I am informed by General Lincoln, who
is come up since I left Yorktown, that the whole amount of the goods
taken by the officers and on public account, will arise to about
thirteen thousand pounds sterling, and that the articles sold in
Yorktown, at public vendue, will be near six thousand pounds.

  G. W.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE GOVERNOR OF CONNECTICUT.

  Office of Finance, November 20th, 1781.

  Sir,

I have been honored with your Excellency's letter of the 7th instant,
and am much obliged by the attention you have been pleased to pay to
the several applications from me, which are noticed in it.

I shall be very happy to receive the several accounts you have
promised, because the final settlement of all accounts appears to me
of the utmost importance, and I hope such measures will be taken, as
founded in justice and propriety will meet your wishes, and be
agreeable to the State, over which you so worthily preside. I hope
that in future, there will be no accounts between the States and the
United States, except cash accounts, one side of which will consist of
the requisitions, and the other with the payment of them. The old
Continental, which is brought in, will, I hope, be forwarded hither,
with its proportionate part of the new, and indeed of the whole, both
new and old, as soon as possible. Both shall be carried to the credit
of the State.

As to what you mention of the tax in specie, I have to observe, that
whatever may have been the practice heretofore, I hope that the moneys
designed for the general service will be paid into the Continental
Treasury, and that the army will be paid from thence. This I conceive
to be the only mode, by which heart-burnings, murmurs, and complaints
can be avoided, and, at the same time, it is the only mode, by which
the moneys obtained from the people can be applied with effect and
economy.

To feed, clothe, and pay the army, form a part of the objects of my
administration. Clothing I have received. Rations I have contracted
for in some degree, and I shall extend those contracts. Pay will also
be advanced, when the treasury will admit of it. I am, therefore, to
request that the hard money collected, and collecting in your State
may be held subject to my drafts. I expect that the States will all
levy taxes sufficient for those things I have just mentioned, and for
the other necessary expenses. The money which is submitted to my
disposal shall be faithfully applied.

That the requisitions from Congress have been later than was to have
been wished, is indeed to be lamented. That body have so many objects,
which call on their attention, that they cannot always do what they
would wish. Besides this, the uncertain situation of our money has
hitherto greatly increased the difficulties, which Congress have
labored under, and you will permit me to observe, Sir, that those
difficulties are not a little to be attributed to the inattention of
the several States. But your Excellency will, I am sure, agree with
me, that our situation requires joint vigorous exertions, and not
unavailing complaints and recriminations.

  With the greatest respect, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

REPORT OF A LETTER TO DON BERNARDO DE GALVEZ, MADE TO CONGRESS,
NOVEMBER 21ST, 1781.

The Superintendent of Finance, in pursuance of the order of the 7th
instant, prays leave to submit the following draft of a letter to
General Galvez.

  Sir,

Your letter, dated at New Orleans the 22d of July, 1780, has been
received, and was laid before the United States of America in Congress
assembled on the 29th of September following. The committee to whom
that letter was referred, did not make any remittances in consequence
of it, nor write you an answer, because the dangers attending a
communication with you at that time were too great, occasioned by the
many ships of war, with which the enemy then infested our coast.

I am now, Sir, directed by the United States to express to you the
grateful sense they entertain of your early efforts in their favor.
Those generous efforts gave them so favorable an impression of your
character, and that of your nation, that they have not ceased to
respect you, and to wish for an intimate connexion with your country.
Conceiving it to be for the mutual interest of Spain and North
America, they have an earnest wish, that as the cause is one, and the
enemy one, so the operations against him may be continued in such
manner, as to answer the great purposes, which all have in view. The
late successes, which have crowned the combined arms of France and
America in Virginia, while they demonstrate the benefits which flow
from a union of efforts, will at the same time, lead to wholesome
reflections on the manner in which that union has been cemented. The
French and American soldier marching under the same banners, enduring
the same fatigues, bearing the same dangers, and bleeding in the same
field together, express in the language of their different nations the
common sentiment of fraternal affection. Let me congratulate you very
much on this success, and still more on the sentiment, by which, under
Providence, it has been secured.

With respect to the advance made by your Excellency, I have the honor
to enclose copies of two resolutions of Congress, one of the 6th of
February last, and the other of the 7th instant, by which you will
perceive, that the public accounts with Mr Pollock are settled, and a
considerable balance carried to his credit. In these accounts is
included a part of your advance, and the remainder of it is contained
in Mr Pollock's account with the Commonwealth of Virginia. This
latter account has been referred to the consideration of that
Commonwealth, and I trust the debt to Mr Pollock will be acknowledged
by them. That which is due from the United States to Mr Pollock is now
on interest at six per cent, and if you wish that the sums which he
has appropriated to the service of the United States out of those
advanced by your Excellency should be credited to you, on transmitting
an assignment thereof from Mr Pollock, it shall immediately be done,
and payment will be made both of the principal and interest, as soon
as the situation of our finances will admit of it, which, from the
present prospect of things, may happen in a shorter space of time,
than the public creditors have been generally led to expect.

With perfect respect and esteem, I am, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO M. DE LA LUZERNE.

  Office of Finance, November 22d, 1781.

  Sir,

In conversation with your Excellency last evening, you requested me to
write to you on the subject of it, that you might be fully possessed
of my sentiments. I have now, therefore, the honor to remind you, that
some time in the month of May last you promised me that I should draw
for half a million of livres, and shortly after, for a million more.
You afterwards extended this sum to two millions and a half, and on
the 25th of September last, I wrote to you on the subject, having then
seen the report of the committee appointed to confer with you, by
which it appeared, that your engagement with me to draw for the sums
first mentioned formed one object of that conference, but that the
engagement for one million more was omitted.

I have extended my engagements according to the extent of the means,
which I was induced to suppose in my power, and therefore, estimating
the money and supplies the States would probably furnish, and relying
on the money which had arrived, that which I was authorised to draw
for, and that which the engagements of your Court had led me to
expect, my views were directed to all those resources. I shall not
dwell on the consequences of my efforts. Enough of them are known to
speak for themselves, and I leave to your knowledge and observation
the comparison of our public affairs now, with what they were exactly
six months ago. I will only say, that if those foundations, on which I
built, are removed, my past labors will have been thrown away, and my
future utility absolutely destroyed.

You can well remember, Sir, what I have often told you of the course
of exchange. I have raised it gradually since I first commenced my
operations, and although it would now have been higher than it is, if
the quantity of bills thrown on the market last summer had been
withheld; yet even now, at fifteen pence this money for a livre, it is
but ten per cent below par; and as I expect shortly to raise it to
sixteen pence, it will then be at a discount of only four per cent. To
sustain these operations, if for no other purpose, it is necessary
that I continue to draw bills, for certainly a remittance cannot be
made so cheaply from Europe. But, indeed my present demands, arising
on past engagements, are very great and urgent, so that if I do not
continue to draw, the chest will presently be empty, which will be
known as soon as it happens, and then I am again at the mercy of the
world. I will dwell no longer upon this subject, but take some notice
of another matter, which stands in intimate connexion with it.

You will remember, that you have often mentioned to me a mistake in
the account, of which you delivered a copy to Congress. As I made no
doubt, that it would be properly and satisfactorily explained, I have
hitherto restrained myself from going at all into the subject. But it
now becomes my duty to write to Dr Franklin upon it; and, therefore, I
wish to communicate to you my sentiments, while I request you to use
your good offices with the Court for having the matter placed on its
proper footing.

The note from the Count de Vergennes, of the 16th of May last, shows
very clearly a grant of the three following sums; four millions to Dr
Franklin to discharge the bills of exchange drawn on him by Congress;
six millions as a gift towards the operations of the campaign; and ten
millions in advance of the loan to be opened in Holland, amounting in
the whole to twenty millions. The first sum of four millions, appears
evidently to have been for payment of the bills drawn to discharge the
interest of loan office certificates, according to the original
engagement, which the Court entered into with the American
Commissioners. Of the money granted by the Court, there has been
advanced, as appears by the account you delivered to the committee, in
warlike stores and money, to Colonel Laurens, four millions seven
hundred and eightynine thousand one hundred and nine livres; and to
purchase the remainder of the articles demanded by him, three hundred
and ninetyseven thousand livres. For the bills of exchange drawn by
Congress on their Minister, I will suppose the sum mentioned in the
Count de Vergennes' note, viz. four millions, and I will add for my
drafts one million and a half, being what, as I have already observed,
you first promised. Thus the whole amount of these sums is ten
millions six hundred and eightysix thousand one hundred and nine
livres, and the balance, which I conceive to be subject to my
disposition, is nine millions three hundred and thirteen thousand
eight hundred and ninetyone livres. As to replacing the cargo of the
Fayette, which is mentioned in your account, I do not take notice of
it, because I wish that it may not have happened, and because if it
has been made, it will be time enough to deduct it when the articles
shall have been actually delivered. The loss of that ship, and the
detention of one of the transports laden by Colonel Laurens, have
already compelled me to make heavy expenditures. Among these I will
mention the purchase of lead some time ago, and a late purchase of
clothing to a very large amount, a part of which I am now paying for,
and the remainder is to be paid in three, six, and nine months from
the date of my engagements.

I have the honor to enclose what I conceive to be the clear state of
the account between us and your Court. This will be transmitted to Dr
Franklin, and I hope it will meet with your approbation and support.
As I have nearly drawn for twelve hundred thousand livres, I must
request your compliance with your original engagement, that I may
extend my drafts so as to include the remaining three hundred
thousand, necessary to complete the one million and a half, mentioned
in the enclosed account.

I shall be glad to be informed, Sir, whether any more money has been
shipped on account of the United States. I shall immediately take
measures to draw on account of the balance already mentioned, as our
necessities require it; and if in the mean time, so much shall have
been shipped, as that my bills exceed the balance due, I shall expect
that they will be punctually paid, and I will readily repay that
excess out of the moneys so shipped, to the use of your army here.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO M. DE LA LUZERNE.

  Office of Finance, November 26th, 1781.

  Sir,

The letter, which you did me the honor to write on the 24th instant,
was delivered yesterday morning, and I take this early opportunity to
acknowledge it. As you have assured me, that you cannot know any
account, which is not conformable to the instructions his Majesty's
Minister has addressed to you, I shall spare your Excellency the
trouble of my remarks. But as you say, that your letter of the 26th of
September last could not have left me the shadow of a hope on the
subject of further drafts, your Excellency will pardon one
observation. Those precise orders from your Court, received by Colonel
Laurens, which compel you now to prohibit my further drafts, permitted
you then, in consequence of the observations I had the honor of making
to you, an extent of nearly three hundred thousand livres. It is my
duty to trespass one moment longer on your Excellency's patience,
while I take the liberty to observe, that I can by no means consider
purchases made for any particular State in the Union as properly
chargeable to the United States.

With the most perfect esteem and respect, I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO B. FRANKLIN.

  Office of Finance, November 27th, 1781.

  Sir,

The Marquis de Lafayette who is about to sail for France, will have
the honor to deliver this letter, and, consistently with the acts of
Congress of the 23d instant, I must request you to communicate it to
him, and, from time to time, to take his aid in the prosecution of the
business, which I must recommend to your particular attention. The
affairs of my department are of a nature not to require concealment;
but, even if that were not the case, I have such perfect confidence,
as well in the prudence of the Marquis, as in his attachment to this
country, that the acts of Congress out of the question, I should feel
a pleasure in making him acquainted with my views and wishes. Indeed,
I expect that his zeal and activity will go far in smoothing the way
towards the accomplishment of those objects, which your Excellency may
have to solicit.

In order that you may be perfectly acquainted with the situation of
our affairs, I shall previous to my observations on the supplies to be
asked for the next campaign, take some notice of the efforts I have
made, and am daily reiterating, to obtain supplies from the several
States, upon the various requisitions, which Congress have already
made, and to operate a settlement of past accounts, and to procure
proper funds for the public debts. I shall also make some remarks as
to the prospect of future supplies in this country, and on those which
have already been granted by the Court of France.

The papers enclosed relate chiefly to the former requisitions of
Congress. You will observe, Sir, that by an act of the 28th of June
last, I was directed to press a compliance with those requisitions,
and it is in consequence thereof, that my circular letter of the 6th
of July was written. The demands of Congress were twofold; some for
specific supplies of the produce of the several States, the others for
money. It may be proper here to observe, that the manner of doing
public business had been such, that it was not merely difficult, but
absolutely impracticable to state any accounts in the clear
satisfactory manner, which ought always to be wished, even in private
life, but which in public life is of the last importance. I do not
mention this to cast any reflection or aspersion; for the evil
resulted more from the want of arrangement, than the faults of any
particular men. But it is right to take notice of the circumstance,
because, in the course of what I am about to write, the want of such
accounts cannot but appear. I shall say nothing as to the ill effects
of demanding generally a contribution of specified articles; my
opinions on that subject will appear from the enclosed papers, and
experience has taught, that such contributions are no longer to be
relied on. At the same time, I declare now, that in some degree it
must still take place, for reasons, which will be mentioned at the
proper time.

As the letter last mentioned contains no statement of the accounts, I
wrote on the 16th of July another, containing the cash account of each
State, as extracted from the treasury books; a statement, however,
which I knew to be imperfect, for causes not necessary to be repeated.
On the 25th of July, I wrote another circular letter, and in which was
enclosed a statement of the several demands for specific supplies.
These were considerable, and I am of opinion, that a very great part
of them still remains to be delivered at this day; but there have yet
come to my hands no accounts by which to determine the balances. What
is said, as to the settlement of accounts in this letter, will be
honored with your notice presently. You will now observe, that I
therein request information as to the revenue laws, which have been
passed, the mode of collecting taxes, the moneys in their treasuries,
the various appropriations of it, and the different paper currencies
in the several States. To your Excellency, it is unnecessary to
observe, that my object was to obtain proper materials, on which to
ground my future expectations, and to form efficacious systems of
revenue and expenditure. I have the mortification, however, to
mention, that no accurate or satisfactory answers have been received
to these questions; and when I tell you, that I am not much deceived
in my expectations, you will readily form the proper conclusions, as
to the relaxed habit of administration in this country. I wish you to
be fully possessed of our situation, and that you may convey a clear
idea of it to the Court of Versailles. This will be useful to the
common cause. I trust that I need not remind you how advantageous it
would be for us to know as fully the real situation of France.

The low state of public credit, for the want of solid funds to
support it, had induced the United States in Congress, to call for an
impost of five per cent on all goods imported, and on all prizes and
prize goods, to be granted for the payment of the principal and
interest of the debts contracted, or which might be contracted, during
the present war. Some of the States had complied with this demand. The
two more Southern States were in such disorder, that a compliance from
them could not reasonably be expected; neither was it relied on, as
you doubtless have remarked, on reading the resolutions of the 3d of
February upon that subject, which must have reached you before this
day. On the 27th of July, therefore, I wrote a letter to the States of
Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Delaware, Maryland, and North
Carolina. I have the pleasure to inform you, that the States of New
York, Delaware, and North Carolina, have since complied with the
demand of Congress, and I am convinced that they will, in the laudable
step, be speedily followed by the other States. In the mean time, we
must patiently wait the event. Such things require time, and since we
cannot command obedience, we must stay for the assent of conviction.

On the 6th of August, I wrote a letter to the President of Congress,
enclosing those already mentioned. On this letter it is necessary to
say nothing more, than that it met with the approbation of the several
members, who have, I believe, written such letters to their respective
States as I desired.

My letter of the 15th of September, to the Governor of Massachusetts,
was, as your Excellency will perceive, although the settlement of past
accounts is mentioned in it, written in answer to his of the 23d of
August, in which he tells me, that he will lay the business of the
impost law candidly before the Legislature, but thinks it will go
heavily through. I shall add nothing here to what is said in that
letter.

My letter of the 20th of September to the Assembly of Pennsylvania,
was written so particularly, in consequence of the authorities they
had confided by their resolutions. I wrote to you respecting these
resolutions, and my plans founded on them, the 21st of July, and I
just mention here, by the way, that this plan has not been in any
degree executed, for reasons not necessary to be at present enlarged
upon. My letter to the Assembly of Pennsylvania, with the enclosures
referred to in it as accounts of which I send you copies, will need no
explanation, unless it be to mention that this State had issued one
hundred thousand pounds, secured with interest on certain lands near
the city, which is now nearly paid by the sales of these lands, and
five hundred thousand pounds more not bearing interest, which was
funded upon the Land Office, the dues to which were estimated at a
much larger sum. I have sent this letter, as also my private letter of
the 16th of October, to Governor Nelson, merely that you may be well
apprized of the incessant attention, which is paid here to call forth
our own resources. I might have added many other letters to particular
States on particular occasions, but I dare say you will find this
letter sufficiently voluminous.

Before I quit this subject of the past requisition of Congress, I must
add that, notwithstanding my pressing instances, very little hard
money has been obtained from the States; not more than one hundred
thousand dollars during my whole administration. There has, indeed,
been drawn forth some considerable specific supplies of provision,
and there is on hand a great deal of paper money. From the former our
army has been principally maintained, and indeed there is a small
advance made to the Count de Rochambeau, which I mean to be in part of
your promise mentioned in a former letter, and I here repeat to you my
determination to comply with it as speedily as any convenience will
possibly admit.

As to the paper money, it is of no use, although it is necessary, for
evident reasons, to receive it in taxes. But the confidence of the
people is so entirely lost, that for the present no bills of credit
whatever can be made use of as money. I hope that the taxes laid and
collecting in most of the States, will bring in all this useless load
by the middle of next summer; and I have some expectation, that the
States of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, will
be entirely rid of it by the spring. If I could buy anything with it,
I would not, until the last necessity; but it will buy nothing, so
that it must be burnt as soon as it honestly can.

The picture I have already given of this country will not be pleasing
to you. Truth bids me add, that it will admit of a higher coloring.
But what else could be expected from us? A revolution, a war; the
dissolution of government, the creating of it anew; cruelty, rapine,
and devastation in the midst of our very bowels. These, Sir, are
circumstances by no means favorable to finance. The wonder, then is,
that we have done so much, that we have borne so much, and the candid
world will add, that we have dared so much. I could take up much of
your time in recapitulating many less matters, which have tended to
weaken the exertions we have otherwise been capable of. The confused
state of public accounts, and the deplorable situation of credit for
want of funds to secure, or means to redeem, the debt, for which the
public faith is pledged, are, however, of such important operation,
that I must not pass them over in silence.

In the enclosures your Excellency will have perceived, that I have
noticed the effects, which follow from the want of a final settlement
of accounts. Representations on the subject of these accounts, and
also of certificates given by public officers in the Commissary's and
Quarter Master's Departments for articles taken from the people had
been made by some of the States to Congress. The impost asked for by
Congress was, I have already observed, for the funding of our debts.
On the 13th of October, I wrote a letter to the several loan officers,
in which I expressly prohibit the issuing of any more Loan Office
certificates. The reason for this order will appear more clearly from
the latter part of my letter to the several Governors of the 16th of
October.

I do hope and expect, that some methods will speedily be adopted by
the United States in Congress assembled for settlement of the public
accounts, as also to liquidate the several certificates given by the
public officers, and to provide revenues for funding the public debts.
The last of these objects must not, however, be urged with too much
rapidity. The impost law is not yet passed, and is the first step.
When that shall have been taken, it will give room for urging what
further may be necessary. In the meantime, there is a well grounded
expectation, that the clamors of our creditors will induce the several
Legislatures to comply with the requisitions of Congress upon that
subject.

From what has been said, your Excellency will perceive, that the
prospect of future supplies from the several States, is by no means
very brilliant. I send you the Act of Congress of the 29th of October,
calling for eight millions of dollars, the Act of the 2d instant
apportioning that demand among the several States, and the Act of the
12th instant, repealing (in consequence of my letter of the 5th) a
part of the Act of the 2d. My circular letter of the 17th, enclosing
those Acts to the Governors, will close what I have to say on the
subject. But I must observe to you on my letter of the 5th to the
President of Congress, that although it is strictly true, that I had
not seen the estimates as mentioned in that letter, yet it is equally
true, that until the business was nearly completed, I was supposed to
have seen them, and when the contrary was suggested, they would have
been sent from Congress, but that so few States were represented, as
that only the number absolutely necessary to pass such requisitions
were then present, and some of the representatives of those few were
about to depart, wherefore it was waved. I have further to remark on
the estimates themselves, that they are only for the feeding and
paying the army. The expense of recruiting that army, of moving it
from place to place, the heavy articles of clothing and ordnance, with
expense of the hospitals, and the long train, which is comprehended
under the title of contingencies, is totally unprovided for. Defective
as it is, I have no hope that it will be complied with. The great
arrearage of unfunded debt, the cumbrous load of useless paper, the
multiplied mass of certificates, the distracted situation of the more
southern States, the ravages which have been made in them, the total
loss of their commerce, the real want of coin in many States, and the
equal want of system in all. These, Sir, are circumstances, which
forbid the most sanguine temper to expect a full compliance. It shall
be my business, as it is my duty, to get as much as I can, and for
this purpose, I shall make compositions; where it is necessary, take
articles of provisions in lieu of money and the like. Still, however,
I am convinced, that I shall not get what is asked for, and indeed I
do not expect any part of it, before the middle of next campaign.

I have said, that I will make some remarks on the supplies already
furnished by France. It is necessary to do this, as well because I am
so unfortunate as to differ a little in opinion on the subject with
the Minister of his Most Christian Majesty here, as because the
demands we are to make on the Court for the next year, will depend on
the compliances, which have been, and shall be, made with the grants
for the present year.

It was a point understood in Congress very early, that his Most
Christian Majesty would pay the interest of certain moneys to be
borrowed by Congress in America. Your Excellency knows better than any
other man what passed on that subject. It would, therefore, be absurd
in me to recapitulate it. Those circumstances which rendered an
express stipulation improper then, have introduced much delicacy into
it now; and, therefore, I do not expect that the Court will recur to
a formal acknowledgement of what was then, perhaps, rather a personal,
than national, obligation. But I do expect that the payment of that
interest will be provided for as heretofore, without considering the
moneys appropriated to that purpose, as a relief to us in carrying on
the war. You will have seen, Sir, from the course of my letters how
much it is an object with me to collect from ourselves the revenues
necessary to lighten our debts. There is a variety of reasons for it,
which I will not repeat. Among them, however, this is one, that I wish
to remove the load from France to ourselves. It will in the end be the
same thing; because, in proportion as our resources here are
appropriated, we must ask help there. But it would be better, that the
people were taught to look at home for the basis of national credit,
because there alone it can be found. I should not have mentioned this
matter, but that you will find it noted in the correspondence between
the Chevalier de la Luzerne and myself, of which copies are enclosed.

Shortly after the arrival of M. Gerard, it was understood that France
would supply us with the clothing and warlike stores which might be
necessary, and therefore it was, that Colonel Laurens, when in France,
labored to prevent a deduction from the subsidy of six millions on
account of the articles furnished to him. As I am persuaded that his
efforts were in consequence of your advice, and in concert with you, I
shall say nothing more upon that subject, only to lament that the
Court have differed from you in opinion, and to acquiesce in their
determination, on the principle, that those who give have a right to
dispose of that which is given.

By a note from the Count de Vergennes, of which I enclose a copy, I
perceive that the Court granted the United States as a gift, six
millions; advanced to you four millions to pay the bills which might
be drawn on you; and became security for a loan of ten millions; the
amount of which was to be advanced from the royal treasury, in case
the loan should fail of success. The expression, as to this last
object, is strong, namely, _that his Majesty will see himself under
the necessity of supplying the deficiency_, although, in the former
part of the note it is said, that he will supply it from his own
finances _as soon as possible_. An expression which, while at the
first blush it makes an earnestness of affection, may be, and in fact
has been, construed into a kind of cautionary provision. Your
Excellency will also, I doubt not, observe what is there said of the
appropriation of the gift, the last two millions whereof, as is
already observed, we did not expect to find there.

Enclosed also is an account delivered by the Minister of France in the
month of September to a committee of Congress, which had been
appointed to confer with him. There are striking differences between
this account and the note last mentioned. But by this account it
appears, that it was the design of the Court to make the advances of
the present year distinct from all past transactions. From whence this
conclusion, at least, will follow, that such of the bills drawn by
Congress, either on yourself, or on their agents in Spain, or Holland,
as you may have discharged before the commencement of the present
year, are not to be deducted from the sums mentioned in the Count de
Vergennes' note. Now that I am on this subject, I will observe to you,
Sir, that I have determined to prevent that circuitous negotiation of
bills, which has so much perplexed and distressed you, and have for
that reason stopped many of those already drawn, as will presently
appear. Another observation to be made on this account is, that no
notice is taken of the four millions expressly mentioned in the Count
de Vergennes' note, as granted to you for payment of bills drawn by
Congress.

A third observation is, that the articles marked B, and the article
number two, C, which together amount to the sum of six million, six
hundred and eightysix thousand one hundred and nine livres, are all
charged as being expended to the order of Colonel Laurens. But by the
Count de Vergennes' letter to you of the 8th of June last, it appears,
that Colonel Laurens was to have had the command of no other than the
six million livres, given by the King. Indeed the Count's note of the
16th of May shows the same thing. The letter of the 8th of June just
mentioned, shows clearly the opinion of the Court on another point of
very great importance, namely, that the whole ten million livres, to
be advanced for the loan, are, as in effect they ought to be, subject
to the disposition of the United States only. A fourth observation is,
that the article A three, B two, and C one, amounting to four millions
three hundred thousand livres, were, or were to have been, in your
possession for payment of bills. If to this be added four million
livres, granted for that express purpose, of which no mention is made
in the account, it would follow, that you would have eight millions
three hundred thousand livres at your disposal; and this leads me to
consider the amount of the demands, which could be made on you.

These cannot be precisely ascertained, but the paper number seventeen,
contains the best estimate, in my power. The first six articles of
this estimate contain all the bills, which have been drawn upon you,
excepting some interest bills, which although made out had not been
delivered to the people before the 1st of April last. These amount to
ten millions six hundred and seventyone thousand four hundred and
fiftysix livres, thirteen sols, four deniers. The article number
seven, is the whole amount of guilders drawn for; the far greater part
of which I have detained, as you will perceive by the article number
eight. The balance it is not possible to ascertain exactly in livres,
because it must depend upon the course of exchange; but at two livres
for a guilder, the whole of the bills actually negotiated on Holland
will amount to one million ninetyfour thousand seven hundred and
twentynine livres. The article number nine, is the amount of bills
drawn on Spain, of which a considerable part has been paid by Mr Jay,
and a part, somewhat more considerable, is destroyed. These parts are
contained in the articles ten and eleven. The balance (calculated at
the value of a dollar in France, which will, I suppose, be as much as
it can cost) amounts to one million seventyseven thousand two hundred
and eighteen livres. So that the whole of those bills, which by any
means whatever could have come upon you for payment, will be twelve
millions eight hundred and fortythree thousand four hundred and three
livres, thirteen sols, four deniers, and from this sum very
considerable deductions are to be made. The article number twelve,
which is the first of them, contains the exact amount of the several
bills for interest, which were negotiated previously to the first of
April last.

It may be objected, that these bills will many of them be payable
during the present year; which indeed, is true, and for that reason,
I have added to the bottom of the account the extent of one year's
interest on Loan Office certificates, and which is more than will, I
believe, be presented. The next article, number thirteen, is for bills
which had been drawn on you, and have been stopped by me. The article,
number fourteen, is, you will perceive, for bills, which in all human
probability will have been paid during the last year. The certainty of
this transaction is doubtless with you, and what we are now upon is an
estimate, not an account. The remaining articles speak clearly for
themselves; wherefore I conceive myself well founded in making the
amount of deductions in this estimate, nine millions one hundred and
sixtythree thousand two hundred and sixtyfive livres; so that after
including one year's interest, as is already mentioned, the total is
five millions eight hundred and seventythree thousand one hundred and
twentyeight livres, thirteen sols, and four deniers; and from this
there must be some deductions, because undoubtedly you have paid some
of the bills drawn on Spain and Holland before the first day of
January last. I have mentioned no sum for this purpose, but in order
to be within bounds, I will suppose it to be only three hundred and
seventythree thousand one hundred and twenty eight livres, thirteen
sols, and four deniers, and then the extent of the bills payable by
you in the year 1781, will be five millions and a half of livres; and,
therefore, the four millions granted by the Court, and the million and
a half said to be stopped by you in Holland, will apply to this
demand.

As the last mentioned sum appears by the Count de Vergennes' note, to
have been part of that, which was given by the Court, this state of
the matter will leave clear the ten million livres to have been
loaned, and seems properly to consist with the Count's note of the
16th of May, and his letter to you of the 8th of June following. I
have mentioned above, that in making the deduction for bills paid
previous to the year 1781, I meant to be within bounds. It is proper
to give a reason why I supposed that deduction to be so. I have
already made one remark on the article A one two and F, in the account
officially communicated by the Minister of France in September last.
From those articles it appears at least that three million livres were
advanced for the payment of bills last year. The amount of the
interest bills, I have already stated as being in the extent, two
millions one hundred and ninetythree thousand nine hundred and ninety
livres, to this sum must be added one hundred and fortyfour thousand
livres, due to M. Beaumarchais, and the one hundred and twentyfive
thousand livres deducted in the estimate, as having been drawn for by
the Resolutions of the 19th of May, 1780. These sums together amount
to two millions four hundred and sixtytwo thousand nine hundred and
ninety livres; to which I will add for contingencies one hundred and
thirty seven thousand and ten livres more, making the whole amount two
millions six hundred thousand livres; wherefore suppose the grant of
moneys to pay bills for the year 1780, to have been but three million
livres, and it appears evidently to have been at least that, there
would have remained in your hands a balance of four million livres;
which is more than I have deducted from the amount of my estimate.

On the whole, then, I conceive myself well grounded in the opinion,
that the whole loan is still at our disposal, and this opinion is so
well supported by the Count de Vergennes' letter to you, that I might
with great propriety insist on that point. The letter, therefore,
which I shall write with such act of Congress, as may be made, in
consequence of yours of the 11th of June, will proceed entirely upon
that supposition.

I must, however, remark to you in this place, that I by no means
intend to insist rigidly with the Court, on points which may incommode
them. We are neither in a situation to do it, nor would it be proper
even if we were. But while I say this, I do not mean to preclude
myself from such observations as my duty shall render necessary, on
any transaction which has happened, or which may happen hereafter.

I enclose you an account, containing the extent of what I conceive to
have been the appropriation of the supplies above mentioned, together
with an invoice from the Board of War, amounting to the sum of one
million seven hundred and seventyseven thousand five hundred and
twenty livres and ten sols, and which I will call one million eight
hundred thousand livres, from which it will appear, that there must
remain, subject to my disposition, the sum of four millions at least,
after replacing the Lafayette's cargo, and purchasing the articles
mentioned in the invoice.

I have had the honor to mention to your Excellency, that I have the
misfortune to differ in opinion with the Minister of France. This is
upon two points, namely, the drawing of bills by me, and the amount of
what may remain due by the Court. From the correspondence between us,
which is contained in the enclosed papers, there will appear to have
been some warmth on the occasion, but this rather arose from the
nature of the transaction, than anything else. I know not what
impression it may have left on his mind, but for my own part, as I
greatly respect him, I sincerely feel for a situation, to which the
orders of his Court have reduced him; and although the language of his
letter of the 24th of November, evidently intended for his Court, was
so pointed as to force me into the observations contained in mine of
the 26th, in my own justification; yet I was almost as much wounded
while writing, as he appeared to have been at reading it. I am much
inclined to believe, that he wishes to place this business
substantially in the same point of light that I do. The whole
correspondence is enclosed, that you may be in a capacity to make any
proper observations, which occasion may dictate.

Before I take up this correspondence more particularly, I must detain
you one moment longer to mention the facts, which preceded it. Before
my acceptance of the office I now hold, the Chevalier de la Luzerne
informed me, that the Court had given money to the United States, with
a determination that it should be at the disposal of General
Washington, but that upon my acceptance, he would authorise me to draw
for it. It was agreed between us, that I should draw for five hundred
thousand livres, and so much be deposited to answer the drafts, and by
giving him notice in season a new deposit of five hundred thousand
livres should be made, and so on from time to time. Shortly
afterwards, I formed a plan to get money from the Havana, and
explained it to the Chevalier. He approved of it, and in consequence,
I drew a bill on Messrs Le Couteulx & Co. the 17th of July, for five
hundred thousand livres, but the capture of the Trumbull frigate
prevented the negotiation of that bill, which being then on board of
her, intended for Havana, was sunk with my despatches; and the
knowledge that Colonel Laurens was then on his way with specie,
together with the expectation of that, which was to be sent by the way
of Holland, prevented a repetition of the experiment upon Havana at
that time. It was previously to the 2d of July, 1781, that the
Chevalier agreed that I should negotiate bills for one million five
hundred thousand livres, of which the five hundred thousand livres to
have been negotiated at the Havana, was a part.

You will see enclosed my letter of the 2d of July upon this subject,
which was the day before M. de la Luzerne went to camp; and also M. de
Marbois' answer to it. My reply of the 4th closes the matter at that
time; and then it was understood on all hands in the manner I have
just now mentioned, and which I have, you will perceive, insisted on
through the whole of my correspondence, and which was equally insisted
on in a variety of conversations.

That part of the letter last mentioned, which relates to the effect of
drawing bills, together with the letters of the 2d and 3d of August,
need no comment. They merely serve to show the desire, which animates
the servants of the United States, to economise the resources of
France. I am not disposed to criminate, but it is right that I should
inform you of my opinion, which is, that the French troops in this
country have cost much more than was necessary, if my information is
not extremely erroneous. I have now in contemplation plans for feeding
them more cheaply, and I think the French ration ought not to cost
more than half a livre, at least not much more, if so much. The
officers who now return to Europe can best answer, whether it has
formerly exceeded that amount, and the Court must know how much has
been lost on the negotiation of their bills. While on this subject it
is my duty to add, that the Minister of France here, has demonstrated
the most earnest desire to introduce economy in the expenditures of
the army, and that the readiness shown by the Count de Rochambeau, and
other general officers, to aid in it, demand acknowledgements.

On the 24th of September the Chevalier wrote me a note, of which a
copy is enclosed. This, you will observe, was after the receipt of
those letters, in consequence of which, he, among other things,
communicated the account, on which I have already had the honor of
making some remarks. This letter, while it assigns reasons for
continuing my drafts, shows clearly that the Chevalier had
communicated his instructions to stop them, which was done, not only
to me, but to the committee. But I confess, that I was very far from
considering those instructions as absolute. I concluded, that a line
of discretion had been left to the Minister; and, indeed, his answer
to my letter confirmed me in that opinion. This answer is of the 26th.
He does indeed say, that _it is impossible to depart from the precise
instructions received on that subject, and authorise my drafts to the
amount of two millions five hundred thousand livres_; but he
immediately goes on to permit an addition of two hundred and
ninetyeight thousand nine, hundred and eightyone livres, fifteen sous,
and four deniers. Wherefore, it followed, that either those
instructions left him at liberty to extend those drafts, or that he
was at liberty to disregard the instructions. I therefore did expect
to have gone on to the sum first agreed for. These expectations were
frequently mentioned in conversation, and particularly so in that
alluded to in mine of the 22d instant.

On the other hand, I must acknowledge, that he always mentioned his
instructions, but so as to leave me under the original impressions I
had received. As this letter of the 22d takes notice of another
matter, it is proper to mention here, that the Chevalier had observed
on a difference between the account he delivered officially to the
committee of Congress and the note to the Count de Vergennes; but no
pointed conversation on this subject had taken place, he expecting
further information from his Court, and I hoping daily to hear from
you, and being unwilling to raise a question unnecessarily. The reason
why I did at last bring it forward is contained in my letter, and
therefore I shall say nothing about it. The account sent in that
letter, needs no comment, although it differs very widely from that
marked thirtythree.

I shall only note, that if the sum of six hundred and eightysix
thousand one hundred and nine livres be taken from that mentioned as
advanced for stores by order of Colonel Laurens, so as to render that
article conformable to what is said in the Count de Vergennes' note,
the same sum must be added to the balance; by which means placing the
one million five hundred thousand livres, to have been drawn for by
me, in the stead of that to have been sent out from Holland, the whole
will stand as first above mentioned, leaving the amount of the loan
untouched. In the close of my letter, I mention a determination to
draw _on account of the balance_, an expression which appears to have
been mistaken. The reason of the assertion will in some degree appear
from the answer to it. I will add, that, although I shall not risk the
drawing of bills while there is any chance that they may return
protested, I must, nevertheless, take measures to obtain the money for
very evident reasons, and it is with this view, that I have drawn on
you in favor of Messrs Le Couteulx & Co. for one million livres.

You have also a copy of the letter written on the 24th instant, in
answer to that last mentioned. I shall not here notice the difference
between what we have said about the additional million, as well
because it is in substance the same, as because I had not insisted on
drawing for it. In like manner, I shall say nothing about the
permission given me to extend my drafts after the orders to stop them
brought by Colonel Laurens; but you will observe, that the pointed
declaration, that the letter of the 26th of September _could not leave
me the shadow of a hope, &c._ (with what follows it) stands in such
direct opposition to the whole tenor of my letter and to the real
state of my expectations, that to have submitted in silence, would
have been tantamount to the acknowledgement of falsehood. It is indeed
easy to perceive, that the Chevalier wrote this letter to his Court,
although he directed it in the first instance to me; and I conclude it
to have been in consequence of his last despatches, which had not been
received long before his letter was written. The equivocal use of the
expression _as soon as possible_ will not escape you, Sir; but it
shall meet no other remark from me than this, that I am convinced the
Court will not apply it in the same sense with the Chevalier. Neither
the dignity of the Prince, nor the magnitude of the occasion will
permit a reliance on such distinctions.

The state of the account made in this letter, I really do not see the
propriety of. It seems to have been, in some degree, extracted from
the account furnished in September to the committee of Congress,
because, if the mistake of six thousand livres in the castings of that
account be rectified, it will make the first sum total amount to
fifteen millions one hundred and ninetynine thousand five hundred and
one livres, from which deducting ten million livres, being the amount
of the subsidy of six million livres and loan of four, there will
remain the first article of that account, namely, five millions one
hundred and ninetynine thousand five hundred and one livres. But if
this be the case, it is a little surprising, that the Chevalier should
not have noticed a deduction made in that very account of the two
first articles, amounting to three millions four hundred and sixteen
thousand livres, which are, it is there said, to be added to the
advances formerly made to the Congress.

It is somewhat extraordinary, that all these should be considered by
the Chevalier as advances made in the month of September. For although
that account was rendered in September, yet four millions six hundred
and ninetyfour thousand three hundred and ninetytwo livres are
expressly mentioned as being to be furnished. I shall dwell no longer
here, but I must repeat, notwithstanding the polite manner in which
the assertion has been contradicted, that my operations have received
a very severe, as well as material check, from stopping my drafts;
not so much on account of the value of the three hundred thousand
livres, as because, while they were negotiating, I should undoubtedly
have received those advices from you, which would have enabled me to
go on in the same line. I had brought the exchange up very nearly to
par, and should soon have sold at seventeen pence this money
(Pennsylvania money) for a livre, or eight shillings and sixpence for
a crown, which is worth here at the extent but eight and four pence.
This would, therefore, have been two per cent advance, with a saving
of time, freight, and insurance; and, although a very large sum could
not have been negotiated during the winter, perhaps not more than one
million five hundred thousand livres, yet that would have enabled me
to go on making the preparatives for an early and vigorous campaign,
and kept everything in train, till some money could have been either
shipped from Europe, or so negotiated as to be sent hither from
Havana.

I will take no notice of what is said in the letter now before us, as
to the error of six thousand livres, because you must at once perceive
how little it was an object of conversation, and how easy to be
remedied by any clerk, without waiting either orders or instructions
from the Court; and because you must also perceive the material
omission of four million livres, which cannot be overlooked, let the
calculations be combined as they may. I have not, however, the less
concern about it, because so rigid an adherence to so palpable an
error leads me to fear a design, which the generous conduct of the
King will not permit me to suspect.

Having already given my sentiments as to the interest of Loan Office
certificates, I will not now repeat them. As to the replacing the
Marquis de Lafayette's cargo, it is a matter which I will not
seriously contend about, because, although there will not be use for
all the articles, there certainly will for many of them; and therefore
I hardly think a representation on that score necessary, because there
is no use in multiplying disagreeable considerations. But, by the way,
I must observe, that it is a little extraordinary this cargo should
have been replaced out of the loan to have been opened, &c. at your
request, while at the same request money could not be obtained to pay
the bills drawn by the order of Congress, as appears from your letter,
and that from the Count de Vergennes, which is enclosed in it. The
idea of making advances for any individual State from the funds of the
United States, must never be admitted by any servant of Congress. It
will be quite time enough to do that, when they shall have complied
with the several requisitions made upon them, and when they shall have
intrusted these subaltern negotiations to the Ministers whom Congress
have appointed. Such advances stand on a very different ground,
indeed, from those made for purchasing a like cargo to that of the
Lafayette; and it cannot be expected, that they should be passed to
the account of Congress. Besides this, the successes to the southward
have rendered succors of that sort unnecessary. What has already been
said will render observations on the letters of the 26th instant
unnecessary.

On the whole matter, I have to request your exertions to have this
affair settled as soon as possible, and that you will cause the whole
of what remains to be paid over to Messrs Le Couteulx & Co. sending
me notice thereof by every opportunity, that I may attend to the
disposition of it. I mean, nevertheless, that a reservation should be
made of what is necessary, to purchase the articles mentioned in the
enclosed invoice of the Board of War. I wish you to have as little
trouble as possible in this business, and, therefore, I am to request
you to employ in it Mr Barclay, our Consul General, and Mr Matthew
Ridley. They are both gentlemen of knowledge and integrity, and I
doubt not will perform it with economy and expedition.

You will also be pleased to take arrangements with the Minister of
Marine, and give your consequent orders to those gentlemen, so that
all articles of every sort and kind, which are the property of the
United States, and now in Europe, may come under safe convoy to this
port. The Marquis de Lafayette, who is charged with the General's
instructions on military subjects, will assist in combining matters,
so as to accomplish these objects. I confide, Sir, that your wisdom
and his vivacity will produce the most beneficial consequences.

Let me add, while I mention the depositing all which remains due to us
with Messrs Le Couteulx & Co., that I wish you, in conformity to the
Act of Congress enclosed, to pay the sum of fortytwo thousand one
hundred and eightynine livres therein mentioned, with the interest, to
William Lee. Let me also mention my desire, that you would retain two
millions two hundred thousand livres to pay interest bills drawn from
the 1st of September to the 1st of April next. I will take such
arrangements as will save you the trouble of doing this business in
future, and I mention it here, although the money will come more
properly under the head of supplies to be asked from the Court for the
ensuing year.

The declarations, that no more pecuniary aid will be afforded to us,
are very clear and explicit, but I trust, that these declarations will
not be adhered to. The interest bills, as I just now observed, will
amount to about two millions livres. You have to pay M. Beaumarchais
two millions five hundred and fortyfour thousand livres, and the
clothing and stores necessary will amount to four millions livres.
Besides all this we must have money, so that it will become necessary
to obtain at least twelve millions. When I mention this sum, I take
the lowest, and I do it from my sincere desire not to burden the
finances of France with American demands; but I think such clear
reasons can be assigned for it as must produce conviction.

You have a copy of my letter to the Chevalier of the 3d instant upon
this subject. You will have observed, that my circular letter of the
19th of October, which was enclosed in this of the 3d instant, is so
formed as to lower the expectations of the several States, and
accordingly the account sent with it is framed from the erroneous one
before mentioned, and the four millions are totally omitted. The
languor of the States had been so fostered by their teeming
expectations from France, that it became my duty to prevent if
possible the ill effects of it. But on the other hand, a circular
letter could not but be public, and it necessarily contained such
matter as must stand in the way of procuring a proper settlement of
past accounts with the Court, or of obtaining future supplies from
them. I, therefore, communicated that letter to the Minister, and as
he very naturally asked a copy, I took the first opportunity, after
the many necessary copies could be made out, to send it with mine of
the 3d instant. This contains, as you will perceive, some short
reasons why we want, and why France should grant, pecuniary
assistance. The answer to it of the 4th instant, and my reply of the
6th, close the correspondence on that subject.

This last was intended to take off from the force of those
observations, as to the King's wisdom and integrity, which had rather
more of republican simplicity, than courtly elegance. As my letter of
the 3d was not intended to convince the Minister, that being
unnecessary, as I am persuaded the conviction was already produced,
but to prevent any improper conclusions from my circular letter, so it
was unnecessary to make any particular reply to his observations,
because, after all a paper argument in Philadelphia can have but very
little influence at Versailles; and as the Chevalier observed very
properly in one of his letters, the instructions from his Court must
necessarily form the basis of his opinion. The proper and useful mode,
therefore, of convincing him, is by stimulating them.

Knowing as I do the great force and compass of your talents, I should
not presume to add one word of remark on the Chevalier's letter, if I
were not convinced, that as it was written for the Court, so it will
be necessary to oppose it in some degree by a knowledge of facts,
which may not be in your immediate view. He takes it for granted, that
the people will make extraordinary efforts, in consequence of their
successes, and I will readily admit that they have the ability and
ought to have the inclination; but they must differ much from former
experience, if they do exert themselves. I will admit that their
rulers ought to urge them into activity, but it must be remembered,
that those rulers are themselves of the people, that their ideas and
views are limited, and that they act like the people rather from
feeling than reflection. I speak here of the several Legislatures, for
I must repeat again and again, that our general system has not grown
into that form and vigor, which can communicate the impulses of a
sovereign mind to the remotest members of subjected power. I will
admit that a Monarch, would on so brilliant a success, call into
action, all which his kingdom possessed of strength and resources; but
America is not under monarchical government. I will admit further,
that if the object of the war was conquest, instead of security, every
victory would give new animation to all the members of our republican
confederacy; but this war is not carried on for conquest. While it
rages in any quarter it makes food for itself. The inroads of the
enemy create opposition. An application is then made immediately to
the feelings of the people; but when the inroad ceases, when the enemy
retires, the storm subsides, each man returns to his domestic pursuits
and employments, and thinks no more of the scenes, which had just
passed before him. It is true that this is only changing the field of
battle. But America is so extensive, that a shock given at one
extremity is lost before it reaches the other.

This true picture of our country, while it demonstrates the
impracticability of subjecting it, explains the reasons why our
exertions have always disappointed both our friends and our enemies.
If then, as the fact is, the mere change of position at the option of
the foe can so lull our people to rest, how much more are we to
expect it will follow from the capture of a considerable part of his
force. To reason rightly on the late events, we must admit the ability
to make greater exertions, and then seek the means of calling them
forth. This, Sir, can only be accomplished by pecuniary aid. The
Chevalier observes that the King's obligations to us have been
exceeded. This is but a narrow idea. If the King is engaged to support
the war until our Independence is established, his simple object of
inquiry will be, how that can be speedily and cheaply accomplished? It
is certain that America ought to do everything in her power, and you
may assure the Court, that Congress and the servants of Congress are
sensible of this duty and determined to comply with it. But it is in
vain to think of breaking the bounds of possibility, and equally vain
to think of changing the nature of man.

Let me add, that there is little propriety in reproaching Americans
with faults inseparable from humanity. Besides this, the exertions of
our country have really been very great, and as soon as more
consistency shall have been put in the administration, they will again
be great; but this is the period of weakness between the convulsive
labors of enthusiasm and the sound and regular operations of order and
government.

There is in the end of the Chevalier's letter a hint in relation to
our commerce, which although it does not immediately apply to the
present purpose, must not pass unnoticed. That an indirect commerce
has taken place with England is true, and that France has in a great
measure been the cause of it is equally true. Men will naturally buy
where they can obtain things most cheaply. The prime cost of goods,
though a great object in time of peace is not equally so in time of
war. The freight and the insurance are then so high that a small
difference of danger or convenience will counterbalance a great
difference of price. When France, by subscribing to the principles of
the armed neutrality, gave her enemy the means of bringing her
manufactures in safety to our neighborhood, she tempted our merchants
to buy those manufactures. She added the motives of interest to the
force of habit, and ought not, therefore, to be surprised that such
cogent principles have had effect. One mode remained, that of
convoying the trade between France and America, and that mode has been
neglected. I am happy, however, to observe, that this British commerce
is dwindling very fast. The war with Holland has given it one deadly
blow, and if our privateers are once more freed from the shackles too
hastily imposed upon them, I cannot doubt, but that the trade of this
country will flow directly to France, as indeed it ought to do.

And now, Sir, before I close this letter, let me make one further
observation with respect to the future supplies from his Majesty. To
solicit them is considered as asking for assistance in a war, whose
object is of the last importance to us. This is the point of view in
which I have placed it, and in which I am desirous it should stand.
But there is another method of looking at it, and, although delicacy
will forbid us so to present it, yet you may depend upon it, that
there are many, who have taught themselves to reason about it in a
different way from what you or I would wish. Whether Britain will
acknowledge our independence is a question, which is to be answered
only with some modifications. If, in consequence of such an
acknowledgement, we would forego our connexion with France, there is
no manner of doubt, but she would make it immediately. This would on
our part be wrong, and therefore it ought not to be done; but, Sir,
when this great object shall be presented on the one side, and the
weight of new and great taxes be felt on the other, with all their
ancient prejudices and predilections in aid, will not there be some
men who, for the shades of ease, will quit the paths of virtue?

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, November 29th, 1781.

  Sir,

Having just now received a short letter from Mr Jay, of the 1st of
September, from St Ildefonso, I find it my duty to communicate the
contents immediately to the United States in Congress assembled. Mr
Jay informs me, that he expects soon to be under the necessity of
protesting the bills drawn on him; that Dr Franklin had hitherto saved
that necessity, but that he cannot advance much more, unless by the
express order of Congress. He says, further, that he has but little
hopes of loans or subsidies from Spain; that the ship America is
neither sold nor engaged, and that the Spanish Court seems determined
to do nothing until the campaign ends.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO MR GRAND.

  Office of Finance, December 3d, 1781.

  Sir,

When I was called to the superintendence of the American finances, it
became necessary to appoint a banker, with whom to deposit the moneys,
which were to be granted by the Court for payment of my bills. Your
house naturally presented itself to my consideration, but as I knew
you to have large accounts open, and as I wished that my transactions
should be kept in a separate, clear, and distinct manner, I named for
this purpose the house of Messrs Le Couteulx & Co. At the same time, I
wrote to his Excellency, Benjamin Franklin, the Minister
Plenipotentiary of the United States, upon that subject, and was
honored with his answer two days ago. He has mentioned your services
to my country in those warm terms of gratitude, which are due to
early, vigorous, and disinterested exertions. My deep respect for the
opinions of that worthy Minister, my desire, on all occasions, to
evince the gratitude of my country, added to those favorable
impressions, which your conduct has made upon my mind, have induced me
to employ you as a banker in the affairs of the United States.

You will be pleased, Sir, to close your former accounts, and, in due
season, to transmit them. For subsequent transactions, you will open
new accounts, and, from time to time, keep me informed of the state of
our affairs. The allowance formerly made of one half will be
continued.

The intelligence lately received, gives strong hopes that the loan of
five millions of guilders, opened in Holland, will have been
completed before this reaches you. One million of these is
appropriated to purchasing certain articles for our army; and I now
direct one million to be deposited with you, and one million with the
house of your brother in Amsterdam, subject to my drafts. The
remaining two millions are to be shipped for this country.

As I am not positively instructed that this loan has succeeded, I do
not venture to draw bills on you; but in case you shall be in cash for
the United States, which I expect will happen, you will pay to Messrs
---- & Co., for account of John Ross, the sum of two hundred thousand
livres; to Messrs Le Couteulx & Co., for account of William Bingham,
one hundred thousand livres, and to John Holker, for account of John
Holker fils, the sum of one hundred thousand. From each of these
persons you will take quadruplicate receipts, in the form following;
"Received of ----, banker, by order of the Superintendent of the
Finances of the United States of North America, on behalf of---- the
sum of ---- being so much paid by the said States to him, the said
---- for which I have signed four receipts, all of this tenor and
date. Done in Paris this ---- day of ---- 178--." You will be
pleased, Sir, to forward to me three of the copies by different
opportunities.

  I am, Sir, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO M. JOLY DE FLEURY.

  Philadelphia, December 3d, 1781.

M. de Fleury will have the goodness to pardon an entire stranger for
intruding one moment on that attention, which is engaged in so many
important objects. I have been called, Sir, almost at the same time
with you, though in a different country, to the same office. The
intimate alliance and connexion between our Sovereigns is such, that
we are engaged in the same cause. My first steps have encountered
difficulties, and you have afforded the first means of surmounting
them. Thus, I flatter myself, from your clear view of the interests of
France, that you are disposed to give pecuniary aid to America. I will
not pretend to delineate the advantages resulting from it to the
penetrating mind, which has already conceived them. I will only add my
wish, that your name may be enrolled among those true friends of
France, who, by espousing warmly the cause of this country, have shown
themselves to be equally the friends of all human nature. To defend,
to assert, and to vindicate the insulted rights of man shall be the
solid monument of glory, which his Minister will industriously raise
for your royal master. With every fervent prayer for their most
perfect success, and with the sincerest esteem and attachment, I pray
you to believe me to be, Sir, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO B. FRANKLIN.

  Office of Finance, December 5th, 1781.

  Sir,

I was yesterday morning favored with yours of the 12th of September,
enclosing third copies of your two letters of the 26th of July, also a
copy of Count de Vergennes' letter to you of the 23d of August. I find
by these letters, that the idea I had entertained as to the advances
made by the Court was not so favorable as the truth, and that the ten
millions of livres, or five millions of florins to be borrowed in
Holland, will be over and above those advances. How much pleasure I
receive from that circumstance, you will easily conceive. It is an
additional pleasure, that the labor of adjusting the matters mentioned
in mine of the 27th of November, will be saved to you.

I am much surprised to find so large purchases made on account of the
United States in Holland. If everything else were equal, the generous
conduct of France towards us has been such, that I cannot but think
that every possible preference ought to be given to the manufactures
of that nation. But there is, in my opinion, very essential
preferences of a different kind. The position of Amsterdam is
unfavorable in a war with England to a commerce with this country.
France also can, and I suppose will give convoy, to the articles
procured there. But I will dwell no longer on the subject, for, I
trust, that nothing of the kind will happen hereafter.

Should the loan be obtained, you will be so kind, Sir, as to deposit
one million of florins with Mr Grand, to whom I will pray you to
deliver the enclosed letter. I shall, in consequence, not draw upon
you for a million of livres in favor of Messrs Le Couteulx &. Co. as
I intended; and, in like manner, I beg leave to revoke what I have
said on the subject of paying all balances into their hands, in my
letter of the ---- last. One million of florins you will also be
pleased to deposit with the house of Grand at Amsterdam, sending me
the precise address of both, so that I can direct my bills properly to
them. Nearly one million will be necessary to pay the invoice sent in
my letter of the ---- last. The remaining two millions, I wish may be
shipped from France in gold by proper vessels of war, which, I dare
say, will readily be provided by M. de Castries.

I perceive you have not written to Congress on the subjects mentioned
in the letter of the Count de Vergennes of the 23d of August, which I
am glad of. The more that an opinion prevails here that we must succor
ourselves, the more we shall do it; and, therefore, I shall not
communicate what you have said for the present; but, as the best
acknowledgement, I shall endeavor to further the operations against
the common enemy, and draw forth all our resources for an early and
vigorous campaign. The splendid and important success, which has
crowned the combined arms in Virginia, is, I hope, only an earnest of
what is to be done next year. These are the returns which we shall
make to the King, for the aid he so generously affords. And I have a
very particular satisfaction in assuring you, that throughout this
country, a strong attachment to the French nation is daily taking
place of that blind partiality, once felt for everything, which had
the name of English. Let me add, for your use, a piece of mercantile
information lately communicated to me from unquestionable authority.
The demand for French goods in this country has raised the prices in
France from twenty to thirty per cent. The importations have reduced
the prices here nearly twenty per cent, and the exchange, you already
know, has been raised considerably.

I shall say nothing to you in this letter on the subject of future
supplies, further than what is contained in mine of the ---- last,
because I feel a conviction, that you will obtain such as may be
necessary. I will only repeat what I have often said, let them be
early. I enclose a letter to M. de Fleury, which you will either
deliver or not, as may best answer your purposes.

I hope often to have the pleasure of hearing from you, and I pray you
to believe me to be, with very great truth,

Dear Sir, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK.

  Office of Finance, December 11th, 1781.

  Sir,

I have been honored with your favor of the 24th of last month,
covering resolutions of the Senate and Assembly of the 21st and 22d.
You will easily conceive by what passes in your own bosom, how much I
feel at a representation of distresses, while the necessity of revenue
admits not of alleviation. The Legislature are undoubtedly best able
to discover and to describe the evils, which afflict their
constituents, and I should almost in any case, bend before so high an
authority. But the situation, in which I am placed, compels me to make
some observations, which if they are not admitted to have weight, will
not I hope, be considered as foreign to the purpose.

It is contended by the State agent, that the supplies, which he has
delivered, and those which he holds ready to furnish, amount fully to
the demand for specific supplies. And it is lamented, that the army
have subsisted from the neighborhood of West Point in former times,
leaving thereby a great mass of certificates, which being useless to
the inhabitants, the supplies obtained have to all intents and
purposes, operated a tax. To this I will add, that the resolutions of
your Legislature state an extra expense, which has produced a tax to
the amount of one hundred and eighty thousand dollars. If these
exertions joined to the ravages of the enemy, and the usurpations
complained of, have occasioned distress, they at least demonstrate the
abilities of the State in former periods. You will perceive, that I am
now about to supply the troops by contract, wherefore a ready market
for their produce must immediately be opened to the inhabitants of
your State. This will enable them to obtain hard money, and that will
enable them to pay taxes. The great object, therefore, of the
Legislature will be to adopt a vigorous and just system of taxation,
and to take off all those restraints upon the people, which injure,
afflict, and impoverish them, without producing any advantage to the
public. The army must be supplied by law or by force. The latter mode
is detestable, and as to the former, certainly the best way, in which
it can operate, is to raise taxes and purchase supplies; because by
this means much less of the produce of the country is expended, and in
the event, the payment of the people is by the produce of the country,
that being the only source of national wealth.

As the Legislature seem to have great apprehensions on the score of
former demands, I take the liberty of enclosing an estimate, which is
formed on the supposition, that all the specific supplies shall have
been delivered, which as I have already had the honor to observe, is
contended for by the agent, though the truth of it cannot be admitted
before the final adjustment of the amount. The burden of these demands
would in such case be very moderate. It is my intention to destroy the
paper money as soon as it can be called in. Wherefore a slight
exertion for that purpose will relieve your State from the burden of
it.

As to the extra expense, which has accrued to the State by calling new
levies into the field, it is the business of the United States in
Congress to determine upon it. It is, however, my duty to remark, that
exclusive of the great expense of additional officers, the sum there
stated as a bounty is fully equal to the pay and rations of so many
men for six months. I am sure that I need not observe to your
Excellency the impracticability of carrying on a war where it costs as
much to enlist a man as it does to feed and pay him for six months. A
few such extra corps raised in each State, and the bounties charged to
the United States, in payment of the quota would immediately compel
Congress to disband the whole army for the want of the means of
subsistence, or to permit the troops to plunder the inhabitants.

In the midst of those complaints of your situation I receive a
particular pleasure from the assurance that the Legislature will
contribute to the general service of the Union their proportion of
well established funds. I hope the recommendation for that purpose
will soon come under the consideration of the United States and be
duly expedited.

I have the pleasure to add, Sir, that a report from this office for
the full and final settlement of accounts is now before the Congress.
Whenever a determination shall have been made it will be transmitted.

  With perfect respect and esteem I am, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE GOVERNORS OF NORTH CAROLINA, SOUTH CAROLINA, AND GEORGIA.

  Office of Finance, December 19th, 1781.

  Sir,

In my circular letter on that subject, I have already had the honor to
transmit the requisitions of Congress, contained in their Acts of the
30th of October and 2d of November last, by which the quota of your
State for the year 1782 is ---- dollars, payable in quarterly
payments, commencing the 1st day of April next.

The distresses which your State has lately suffered, will not, I fear,
permit the collection of this quota in hard money, although the
subsistence of the army will naturally call for an expenditure to a
great amount in such articles as the State can furnish. The mode
hitherto pursued of granting receipts and certificates by every one
empowered or employed to impress or purchase, cannot but be attended
with much confusion and difficulty, if not with oppression and fraud.
It is the duty of those who are intrusted with the management of the
public affairs, to prevent as much as possible these evils, and as
much as possible to equalize and diminish those burdens, which the
people must bear. It would give me great pleasure to be put in such a
situation, as that I might at once contract for the supplies of the
southern army; but I have not specie for the purpose; nor do I find
that taxes are yet laid in the Southern States to procure it.
Wherefore, I must wait yet some time, until the public treasury is
replenished, until the hard money now in America gets somewhat more
diffused, and until I have a prospect of receiving back from those
States in hard money their quota of the public taxes.

In this situation of things, I have devised and proposed to the
Delegates of the three Southern States, the following plan. To appoint
a Receiver of the taxes in each State, agreeably to the Act of
Congress, and to empower such Receiver to issue notes on the warrants
of the General, payable in those taxes, or from the amount of them
when collected. By which means those articles necessary for the
consumption of the army may be purchased, and the quota of the State
be thereby paid.

The Delegates of North and South Carolina thought the plan eligible,
but one of the Delegates of Georgia was disinclined to that part of
it, which requires the previous passing of a law to raise the quota of
taxes called for by the United States. I am this morning informed,
that upon a reconsideration of the matter, a majority of the Delegates
of South Carolina are also of opinion, that it would be better not to
make the enacting such a law an indispensable part of the system. I am
very sorry for this circumstance, because, as all the Delegates from
the three States mentioned, approve of the plan in other respects, I
did expect their warm recommendation of it to their respective
Legislatures; for your Excellency will perceive at a single glance,
that it originated in the sincere desire of relieving those States,
and has that relief for its object, as far as the public service of
the United States will possibly permit.

Those gentlemen who object to making a tax bill the preliminary to any
issues of the notes, have proposed as an expedient, a law, promising
the payment of the notes when taxation shall become practicable,
compelling the receipt of them in payment as specie, and limiting the
prices of those articles, which the army may want. This is done to
obviate two objections, which are supposed to be against taxation,
that the state of the country will not admit of the collection, and
that those who have no property left but lands, cannot pay the taxes
without extreme distress.

Before I go into any detailed observations on these subjects, I beg
leave to state one general reason why I must insist on the tax law,
even if in other respects I should have no material objections to the
expedient proposed. As Superintendent of the Finances of the United
States, it is my duty to urge a compliance with the requisitions of
Congress, and, therefore, to facilitate that compliance; but I should
betray the trust reposed in me, if by any expedient whatever, I
assisted in eluding those requisitions. With me, therefore, the
propriety of passing the tax bill can admit of no question; and in
consequence, my orders are precise, to prevent the issue of a single
note, until such bills shall have been enacted, and effectual
provision made for the collection.

I shall now take the liberty of trespassing on your patience, with
some observations as to the two laws proposed. And first, as to the
expediency of taxing, and the weight of the objections against it.
When it is considered, that the expenditures of the army, (supposing
the war to be carried on in the Southern States, must greatly exceed
the amount of the sums called for from those States,) one position is
clear, that by complying with the requisitions of Congress, a balance
of money must necessarily be brought in from the other States, to
supply the deficiency of the whole revenue in those particular States,
when compared with the amount of the whole expenditure. But by
neglecting to comply with the requisitions of Congress, (as it will be
impossible to supply the army in the same regular manner, which
prevails elsewhere,) the whole cost of the expenditure will fall in
the first instance on those who are near the seat of war, subject to a
future settlement of accounts. Besides which, it is demonstrable, that
this latter mode of supply, which is at present practised, is very
wasteful and expensive. Nor is this the only objection, though
certainly a very strong one. We must further consider, that according
to the present mode of taking supplies, the burden falls very
unequally on the inhabitants, and of course, very unjustly. I fear
that, with truth, it may added, that in some instances, it is attended
with strong circumstances of distress.

Hence, then, I conclude that the propriety of taxation is evident,
unless the reasons against it are of weight sufficient to
counterbalance the inconveniences, which would result from neglecting
it. I proceed, therefore, to examine them. And first, as to the state
of the country and the means of collection. It is clear that within
the enemy's lines, taxes cannot be collected; but out of them, they
certainly may be. For, surely, it is as easy to compel a man to pay
money by seizing his property, as it is to seize that property for the
subsistence of the troops. There is, however, this additional
advantage in taxing, that those may be compelled to pay, who have not
articles useful for the army, as well as those who have. The
objection, that those who have land only will be distressed by the
sale of it, will have just as much weight as the Legislature may
choose to give it; for if no taxes are raised on land, the objection
will vanish, and certainly the Legislature will be in capacity to
determine whether any tax should be laid on it, and what that tax
should be.

But, further, it appears that the objection is calculated to favor the
rich, who are great landholders, in preference to the poor, who labor
on a small plantation; and how far this may be either wise or just is
not for me to determine. I will, however, suggest an expedient, that,
as the taxes are payable quarterly, the first two quarters' tax should
be raised on the polls, the slaves, and other personal property in the
State, and the land tax be paid on the last quarterly instalments.
This will give the several landholders room to turn themselves, so as
to provide for their several appropriations in season. I will just add
under this head, that if (as there is some reason to hope) the
southern States should be totally evacuated, the extension of their
commerce will soon obviate every objection, which can possibly be in
the way of taxation.

I must observe further, that those States, which delay the levying of
taxes to answer present requisitions, will become totally incapable of
complying with future calls, and consequently, we shall always be
dealing in doubts and uncertainties, instead of establishing that
confidence and vigor, which alone can perfect our independence.

I come now to the proposed law for compelling the receipt of the notes
and regulating the prices of articles. My opinion of all such laws is
decidedly fixed. I know both from reason and experience, that they
injure the credit of the paper they appear designed to support. They
show doubts in the mind of the Legislature, they communicate those
doubts to the breasts of the people, the credit of the paper is then
destroyed before it is issued, and all the after operation of the law
is one continued scene of fraud and iniquity. If, therefore, such tax
bill shall be passed as will permit issuing the notes in question, I
entreat, that on no representation, nor for any cause whatever, any
law be passed making the notes a tender, valuing the price of goods,
or anything of that sort. I ask for no embargo, no regulations. On the
contrary, I wish and pray, that the whole detestable tribe of
restrictions may be done away, and the people be put in possession of
that freedom, for which they are contending. I have no system of
finance, except that which results from the plain self-evident
dictates of moral honesty. Taxation and economy are the two pillars by
which that system is supported, and if the several States will provide
the former, I will pledge myself for the latter, as far as my
abilities will permit.

To return then, Sir, to the plan I have to propose. It is simply this.
I expect that the Legislature of your State will immediately pass laws
to collect by the days named, the sums called for from them for the
service of the year 1782. To facilitate the collection and payment of
the taxes, I consent to receive the notes signed by the Receiver of
the continental taxes for your State. If, therefore, the Legislature
approve of my plan, they will merely add a clause rendering those
notes receivable by their collectors as specie, in the continental
taxes. They will, I doubt not, provide the ways and means by which the
Receiver shall compel the several collectors to pay over whatever
sums, either of those notes or of hard money, they may have received.
This will leave it purely optional with the people to take the notes,
or to let them alone. If the taxes are collected, they must either pay
those notes or hard money. If they pay hard money, the notes will not
be necessary. If they pay the notes, the public will already have
received the value of them, in the articles for which they are first
paid.

I enclose the form of the notes and the denominations, and I will
appoint the Receiver of the continental taxes for your State, as soon
as I can fix on a proper person, and prepare the necessary
instructions. In the meantime, the law may easily be passed, with a
clause directing the mode in which the appointment of such Receiver
shall be announced to the public.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE GOVERNOR OF RHODE ISLAND.

  Office of Finance, December 29th, 1781.

  Sir,

I have been favored with your letter of the 3d of last month, and am
much obliged to you for the information it contains. There is now
before Congress, on a report from this office, a plan for liquidating
and adjusting the accounts of the several States, and I should sooner
have answered your letter, if I had not expected the pleasure of
sending forward the Act of Congress on that subject with my letter.

I have no doubt but that the State over which you preside, has made
great exertions in the common cause, and but for the exertions, which
have been made, the enemy would long since have been more successful.
Every State in the Union claims the merit of extraordinary efforts,
and whose claim is the best, I will not pretend to ascertain; but I
feel it to be my duty to observe, that nothing but a continuance of
active exertions on our part can possibly assure those objects, for
which so much has already been done and suffered. Persuaded that the
wisdom of your Legislature will feel equally with me the force of this
observation, I have no doubt but that the requisitions of Congress,
for the service of the year 1782, will be punctually complied with.

With respect to the impost law, I will not say anything more about it,
than merely to remind you of what has already been said in former
letters. The time is hastening on, when it must be determined, perhaps
forever, whether the United States of North America shall, or shall
not, possess the inestimable jewel of public credit. In the meantime,
the conduct of those in public life, as far as it relates to this
object, must determine whether or not they are really the friends of
their country. Mr Warren, who is now I suppose with you, will, I doubt
not, give you every information, which may be required as to the
situation of our affairs, and his genius and talents will enable him
to place in a much stronger point of view than any letter from me, the
importance of complying with the requisitions of the United States. I
hope, Sir, you will pardon me for adding, that if every State in the
Union has an equal right with yours to wait until others have
complied, the Congress may spare themselves the trouble of doing any
further business, and their constituents may be spared the expense of
keeping them together. I need not, I am persuaded, go into detail of
the consequences.

With perfect respect and esteem, I am, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

CIRCULAR TO THE GOVERNORS OF THE STATES.

  Office of Finance, January 3d, 1782.

  Sir,

Although it is now eleven months since Congress recommended an impost
of five per cent on goods imported, and on prizes and prize goods, the
States of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maryland, have not yet
complied with that recommendation.

I will not repeat the arguments to induce a compliance, which are
contained, either in my letter of the 27th of July, or elsewhere; that
is unnecessary. The object of this letter is to make a representation,
which can no longer be delayed consistently with the duties I owe,
either to myself, or my country. And although it is principally
designed for those three States just mentioned, yet I transmit it to
the other States, (in a letter, of which the copy is enclosed,)
because all ought to know what is interesting to all.

Convinced that the impost recommended was not sufficient, I had
devised some additional funds for the payment of our debts, and the
support of our credit. These I should have submitted to the
consideration of Congress, had the States complied with their former
recommendations.

In a circular letter, dated the 19th of October last, I had the honor
to mention an order prohibiting Loan Officers from issuing
certificates in payment of interest, together with the reasons for
which it was made. That order has already produced much clamor among
the public creditors. This I expected, and I still expect that it will
occasion much more.

The public debt is considerable, and the public credit must be lost,
if the interest of it be not provided for. Congress have done their
duty in requesting revenue, and I have done mine in soliciting a
compliance with their request. It only remains for me to bear
testimony against those who oppose that compliance, and to declare,
that they and they only, must be responsible for the consequences.
They are answerable to the other States, to their fellow citizens, to
the public creditors, and to the whole world.

I must speak plainly on this subject. I must point out from time to
time, the reason of those things, which have produced murmurs and
complaints against the representative body of America. I must direct
those who suffer, to those who occasion their sufferings, and those
who are injured to those who have done them wrong. Let me then once
more entreat, that this great object be seriously considered. Let me
repeat, that the hope of our enemy is in the derangement of our
finances; and let me add, that when revenue is given, that hope must
cease. He, therefore, who opposes the grant of such revenue, not only
opposes himself to the dictates of justice, but he labors to continue
the war, and of consequence to shed more blood, to produce more
devastation, and to extend and prolong the miseries of mankind.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.[2]

  [2] _January 7th._ This day the National Bank of North America
  opens to transact business. This institution I am persuaded will
  flourish under the management of honest men and honest measures.
  The present directors are such men, and the present system of
  measures are founded in principles of justice and equity.
  Therefore, I shall most cheerfully assist all in my power, to
  establish and support this Bank. And as a beginning, I have this
  day issued my warrant on the treasury for two hundred thousand
  dollars in part of the shares, which I have subscribed, on behalf
  of the public. _Diary_

       *       *       *       *       *

CIRCULAR TO THE GOVERNORS OF THE STATES.

  Office of Finance, January 8th, 1782.

  Sir,

I have the honor to transmit herewith an ordinance passed by the
United States in Congress assembled the 31st day of December, 1781,
incorporating the subscribers of the Bank of North America, together
with sundry resolutions recommending to the several States to pass
such laws as they may judge necessary for giving the said ordinance
its full operation. The resolutions of the 26th of May last speak so
clearly to the points necessary to be established by those laws, that
I need not enlarge on them. Should anything more be found necessary
upon experience, the President and Directors will no doubt make
suitable applications to Congress, or to the States respectively, as
the case may require.

It affords me great satisfaction to inform you that this Bank
commenced its operations yesterday, and I am confident that with
proper management, it will answer the most sanguine expectations of
those who befriend the institution. It will facilitate the management
of the finances of the United States. The several States may, when
their respective necessities require, and the abilities of the bank
will permit, derive occasional advantages and accommodations from it.
It will afford to the individuals of all the States a medium for their
intercourse with each other, and for the payment of taxes more
convenient than the precious metals, and equally safe. It will have a
tendency to increase both the internal and external commerce of North
America, and undoubtedly will be infinitely useful to all the traders
of every State in the Union, provided, as I have already said, it is
conducted on principles of equity, justice, prudence, and economy. The
present directors bear characters, which cannot fail to inspire
confidence, and as the corporation is amenable to the laws, power can
neither sanctify any improper conduct, nor protect the guilty. Under a
full conviction of these things, I flatter myself, that I shall stand
excused for recommending in the strongest manner, this well meant
plan, to all the encouragement and protection, which your State can
give, consistently with wisdom and justice.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE GOVERNOR OF RHODE ISLAND.

  Office of Finance, January 14th, 1782.

  Sir,

The delegates of Rhode island did me the honor to communicate your
Excellency's letter of the 24th of last month, directed to them. I
have carefully considered that letter, and now, agreeably to my
promise made to them, shall endeavor to convey my sentiments upon it
to you. You mention, Sir, that the Assembly unanimously concluded,
that the sum of two hundred and sixteen thousand dollars, called for
by Congress, to be so large as that it could not by any means be
raised in specie, and you say, further, that the scarcity of cash has
become uncommonly great.

By the Acts of Congress on that subject, you will perceive the amount
of taxes called for by the United States, to be eight millions of
dollars. I cannot pretend to say, that the apportionment has, or has
not been equal; but I am persuaded it is as nearly so as the
information, which could have been obtained, would by any means admit.
The whole sum, Sir, however large it may appear, is very much short of
our former annual expenditures; and, I am sorry to add, that it is
certainly short of what will be necessary, even with the strictest
economy. I am compelled on this occasion to observe, that the want of
credit is now materially felt. Other free nations find infinite relief
from the oppressive weight of taxation by anticipating the public
revenue; but we, with every advantage from nature to prevent it, are
obliged to bear now those burdens, which ought, in reason, to be
divided with succeeding generations. To obtain credit, we must provide
funds amply sufficient, not only to pay the interest of all former
debts, both foreign and domestic, but also sufficient to liquidate
those, which we may find it necessary in future to contract. These
funds must be permanent, clear, sufficient, and at the disposition of
Congress. Nothing short of that will answer the purpose.

In the meantime, the interest of our debt is as great as if such funds
were given; and to pay that interest will cost as much to the people;
but the complaints from every quarter, until it be provided for, do
infinite injury. Whereas, if funds were granted, we might from time to
time obtain loans, both at home and abroad, sufficient to defray a
great proportion of our annual expenditure. You will easily perceive
what relief the people would feel from paying the interest instead of
the principal. As to the want of money, your Legislature must
consider, that there must always be such want from the very nature of
things, because nothing gives to money its value, but the universal
desire of obtaining it; and, of consequence, the ease with which all
the necessaries, conveniences, and luxuries of life are obtained in
exchange for it. It is the value of money, which has induced all wise
nations to raise the supplies in coin, rather than in produce, because
there is nothing, which so facilitates the economy of public
resources. And the great object of a wise and just government is, to
reduce as low as possible the burdens, which the people must bear, for
their own preservation, safety, and advantage. The want of money
always has been, and now is complained of throughout the United
States. This want will, however, be soon remedied in some degree by
the bank paper; and further, it must be remembered, that as the public
wants will call for an expenditure faster than the collection of
taxes will take place, those taxes will by no means decrease the
general circulating medium, and if that medium be, as is said and as I
really believe, deficient, commerce will continue, as at present, to
increase it by the daily importation of specie from abroad.

The taking of specific supplies has, by experience, been found unequal
to the object, and is extremely wasteful and expensive. Many articles
produced in the several States, in themselves very valuable, will by
no means admit of transportation; and even those, which will admit of
it, can seldom be brought to the place where they must be consumed,
but at an expense which, in many instances, exceeds the original
value.

I am convinced, nevertheless, that there is force in your observation,
on the propriety of expending within the State as much of the revenue
drawn from it as can consist with the general interest of the Union.
This, Sir, must, nevertheless, depend in a great degree upon the
cheapness with which your citizens will furnish such things as the
public may want. While they industriously make and cheaply vend those
things, which the necessities of mankind require, they need not
apprehend a want of money; for as, on the one hand, he will get most
of a commodity, who will give for it the most money; so, on the other,
he will get the most money who will give for it the most of a
commodity. Your honorable delegates inform me, that many articles fit
for our use, and in particular blankets and woollen stockings, are
manufactured in your State, and can be afforded to the United States
on good terms. If so, it is very probable, that not only the revenue
called for may be expended there, but even a greater sum. I will give
orders to the Clothier General to make inquiries immediately as to
the quantities and prices of articles proper for his department in
your State; and to purchase, if they can be had upon proper terms.

As to making any agreement for specific articles, I cannot undertake
it, because I have already made contracts for most of the articles,
which we may want, payable in money; and I am too distant to judge of
prices; nor is it possible for the human mind in that complicated
scene, which engrosses every moment of my time, sufficiently to attend
to such minute details. The business of government must be simplified,
in order that it may be well conducted, and to do this is with me a
very principal object. Your Excellency will perceive, that I am
authorised to appoint a Receiver of the Continental taxes within the
several States, and I shall make the appointment within your State
very speedily. I have every disposition to comply with your wishes,
and will give such instructions to the Receiver, as that he may from
time to time facilitate the views of the Legislature and lighten the
burdens of the people, which I sincerely assure your Excellency is an
object that lies nearest my heart.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, January 15th, 1782

  Sir,

Finding by the Act of the United States in Congress of the 7th
instant, that I am instructed to prepare and report a table of rates,
at which the different species of foreign coins most likely to
circulate within the United States shall be received at the Treasury,
I have been induced again to turn my attention to an object, which has
employed my thoughts very frequently, and which would have been long
since submitted to Congress, had I not been prevented by other
business, and much delayed by those things relating to this business,
which depended upon others. I shall now pray leave to deliver my
sentiments somewhat at large on this subject.

The United States labor under many inconveniences and even
disadvantages which may at present be remedied, but which, if suffered
to continue, would become incurable, and lead to pernicious
consequences. It is very fortunate for us, that the weights and
measures used throughout America are the same. Experience has shown in
other countries, that the efforts of the legislator to change weights
and measures, although fully seconded by the more enlightened part of
the community, have been so strongly opposed by the popular habits and
prejudices, that ages have elapsed without producing the desired
effect. I repeat, therefore, that it is happy for us to have
throughout the Union the same ideas of a mile and an inch, a hogshead
and a quart, a pound and an ounce. So far our commercial dealings are
simplified and brought down to the level of every capacity.

With respect to our money, the case is very widely different. The
ideas annexed to a pound, a shilling, and a penny, are almost as
various as the States themselves. Calculations are, therefore, as
necessary for our inland commerce as upon foreign exchanges. And the
commonest things become intricate where money has anything to do with
them. A farmer in New Hampshire, for instance, can readily form an
idea of a bushel of wheat in South Carolina, weighing sixty pounds,
and placed at one hundred miles from Charleston; but, if he were told,
that in such situation it is worth twentyone shillings and eight
pence, he would be obliged to make many inquiries, and form some
calculations before he could know that this sum meant in general what
he would call four shillings; and even then he would have to inquire
what kind of coin that four shillings was paid in, before he could
estimate it in his own mind, according to the ideas of money, which he
had imbibed. Difficulties of this sort do not occur to farmers alone.
They are perplexing to most men, and troublesome to all. It is,
however, a fortunate circumstance, that money is so much in the power
of the Sovereign, as that he can easily lead the people into new ideas
of it; and even if that were not the case, yet the loose state in
which our currency has been for some years past, has opened the way
for receiving any impressions on that subject.

As we are now shaking off the inconveniences of a depreciating medium,
the present moment seems to be that, in which a general currency can
best be established, so as that in a few months, the same names of
money will mean the same things in the several parts of the United
States.

Another inconvenience, which admits of the same easy remedy, and which
would indeed be cured by the very same Act, is the want of a legal
tender. This is as necessary for the purposes of jurisprudence, as a
general currency is for those of commerce. For although there is great
impropriety, not to say injustice, in compelling a man to receive a
part of his debt in discharge of the whole, yet it is both just and
proper, that the law should protect the honest debtor, who is willing
to pay, against the vexatious suits of an oppressive creditor, who
refuses to receive the full value.

The nature, value, and use of money have always occasioned strong
temptations to the commission of fraud, and of consequence, the
practice of counterfeiting is coeval with that of coining. No
government can guard its subject entirely against the wicked
ingenuity, which has been exercised in this respect. But it has always
been the object of every wise government to take all the precautions
against it, which are within the compass of human ability. These
precautions will be least effectual where the coins are so numerous,
that the knowledge of them being a kind of science, the lower order of
citizens are constantly injured by those who carry on the business of
debasing, sweating, clipping, counterfeiting, and the like. It is,
therefore, to be lamented, that we have so many different coins in the
United States.

It is not necessary to mention what is in everybody's mouth, that the
precious metals were first used as bullion, and that the inconvenience
of weighing, and the difficulty of assaying introduced the practice of
coining, in order that the weight and fineness, might be known at the
first view, and of consequence, the value be instantly ascertained. It
is equally unnecessary to observe, that the great privilege of
declaring this value by particular marks has, among all nations, been
vested exclusively in the Sovereign. A trust so important could not
indeed be vested anywhere else; because the danger of abusing it was
too great. And history informs us, that Sovereigns themselves have
not on this occasion behaved with that integrity, which was alike due
to their subjects and to themselves, to the interests of their people
and their own personal glory.

Experience has already told us, that the advantage of gold as a coin
is in this country very considerably diminished, for every distinct
piece must be weighed before it can be safely received. Both gold and
silver coins are indeed preferable in one respect to common bullion,
that the standard is presumed to be just, and consequently, they are
received without the delays and expenses of assaying. It must,
however, be remembered, that they are all foreign coins, and of
course, we are not only exposed to the tricks of individuals, but
should it suit the interest or convenience of any Sovereign to make
base money for us, there is nothing to prevent it. If, for instance,
the King of England, or any of his Birmingham artists, should coin
guineas worth but sixteen shillings sterling, our citizens would
readily and freely receive them at twentyone shillings sterling. It is
my duty to mention to Congress information I have received, that
guineas of base metal are coined at Birmingham so well as to escape
any common attention. Now there can be no doubt, that every such
guinea received here would be a national loss to us of an English
crown. How much we suffer in this way at present it is impossible, to
estimate.

What I have already had the honor to observe contains some of the
reasons why it appears to me highly necessary, that an American coin
should be adopted without delay, and to these reasons it may be
added, that there is a want of small money for the common occasions of
trade, or that it is more felt by our soldiery than any other persons.
For the little pay, which they do receive, being either in gold or at
best in dollars, the sutlers and others with whom they have dealings,
continually take the advantage of their want of change, and rate the
prices of their goods accordingly.

Shortly after my appointment, finding that there was a considerable
quantity of public copper at Boston, I ordered it round to this place.
It has safely arrived, and will when coined amount to a considerable
sum. The necessary machinery of a mint can be easily made, and there
are persons who can perform the whole business. I must pray leave,
therefore, to submit to Congress some few more particular remarks on
this subject, as introductory to a plan for an American coin.

Although most nations have coined copper, yet that metal is so impure,
that it has never been considered as constituting the money standard.
This is affixed to the two precious metals, because they alone will
admit of having their intrinsic value precisely ascertained. But
nations differ very much in the relation they have established between
gold and silver. In some European countries an ounce of pure gold
passes for fifteen ounces of pure silver. In others for fourteen. In
China it passes for much less. The standard, therefore, which is
affixed to both metals is in reality affixed to neither. In England,
gold is to silver nearly in that proportion of one to fifteen, and in
France nearly of one to fourteen. If a man carries fourteen ounces of
gold from France to England he receives two hundred and ten ounces of
silver, which in France purchases fifteen ounces of gold. In like
manner he who carries from England fourteen ounces of silver to France
receives one ounce of gold, which in England purchases fifteen ounces
of silver. If it be, then, supposed that the coins of these two
countries were alike pure, it must follow that in a short time all the
gold coin of full weight would be in England, and all the silver coin
of full weight in France. But the light silver circulating in England,
and the light gold in France, the real standard of coin in each would
be different from the legal, and seek a medium of fourteen and a half
of silver for one of gold, although the legal standard might still be
in the one place fifteen and in the other fourteen.

The demand which commerce might make for any of the precious metals,
in preference of the other, would vary this real standard from time to
time, and in every payment a man would get more or less of real value
for his debt, according as he was paid in the coin of greater or less
value, in relation to the real standard. If, for instance, the debt
were contracted when the silver was to gold as one to fifteen, and
paid when as one to fourteen; if the debt were paid in silver he would
gain one thirtieth, and if in gold he would lose one thirtieth. In
England the money standard is rather affixed to gold than to silver,
because all payments are made in the former; and in France it is
rather affixed to silver than to gold.

Arguments are unnecessary to show, that the scale by which everything
is to be measured ought to be as fixed as the nature of things will
admit of. Since, therefore, a money standard affixed to both the
precious metals will not give this certain scale, it is better to make
use of one only. Gold is more valuable than silver, and so far must
have the preference. But it is from that very circumstance the more
exposed to fraudulent practices. Its value rendering it more portable
is an advantage, but it is an advantage, which paper possesses in a
much greater degree, and of consequence the commercial nation of
England has had recourse to paper for the purposes of its trade,
although the mass of circulating coin is gold. It will always be in
our power to carry a paper circulation to every proper extent. There
can be no doubt, therefore, that our money standard ought to be
affixed to silver.

But silver is liable, like everything else, to a change of value. If
there is a demand for it to export, the value will rise; if the
contrary it will fall; and so far it cannot be considered as a fixed
measure of value. Before this objection be considered it will be
proper to make a few reflections on another part of the present
subject; but in this place I remark, that if the objection cannot be
removed, we must not suffer it to be preponderate, because it weighs
alike against every other metal.

To coin money is a certain expense, and of course it is an expense,
which must be borne by the people. In England the coin when melted
will sell as bullion for just as much as its weight in other coin. The
expense of coinage is paid by the Crown, and of course is raised by
taxes from the people. In France the coinage instead of being
expensive yields a profit. The price given for metal at the mint is
about eight per cent less than the same quantity will yield when
coined at the French standard. Both of these methods are liable to
objections. When commerce demands an exportation of bullion from
England, the coin of the kingdom goes out in common with others. This
increases, of course, the national expense of coinage. Laws to prevent
the exportation, or importation of any thing so valuable as money are
always nugatory, because they always _can_ be eluded, and therefore
when private interest requires it they always _will_ be eluded. That
the guineas of England, therefore, are not continually going away is
to be attributed to the extraordinary value affixed to gold, which has
just been mentioned, and which banishes silver continually. In France
the people are not liable to this inconvenience, because their money
passing for more than its value in bullion, bullion will always be
exported in preference to coin. But, for the same reason, there is
always a strong temptation to imitate their coin and send it for the
purchase of their commodities. It would be both impossible and
unnecessary to distinguish the true from the false, because both would
be of equal intrinsic value. The place at which they were struck would
be indifferent to the receiver. Of consequence, the foreigner who made
French coin, would gain; by his trade, and the French nation would
lose proportionably.

The money paid for coining, or the coinage of France has, however,
this advantage, that the money is a standard, which does not fluctuate
with the price of bullion. This coinage is, as has been said, about
eight per cent. When bullion is below ninetytwo, it is carried to the
mint; when above ninetytwo, to the broker, or the silversmith. The
coin still continues fixed, nor will it bear exportation until bullion
rises to a hundred, when the French coin would be as liable to
exportation as the English. In that case, it would be exported on one
hand, while on the other no more would have been coined for a
considerable period, because to make the eight percent coinage, it
would be necessary that the mint price should be ninetytwo. The coin,
therefore, could not long be exported, if at all, but would resume its
value. The price of bullion must float between ninetytwo and a
hundred, while the coin would preserve its fixed quality as money.

Hence then, it appears proper, that the price of coining should be
defrayed by the coinage; because, first, it is natural and proper,
that the price should be paid when the benefit is received, and that
the citizen in return for the advantage of being ascertained in the
value of the medium of commerce by the sovereign, should pay for
ascertaining it, just as much as that he should pay for the fashion of
the plate he uses, or the construction of the cart he employs.
Secondly, it is right that money should acquire a value as money,
distinct from that which it possesses as a commodity, in order that it
should be a fixed rule, whereby to measure the value of all other
things. And thirdly, it is wise to prevent the exportation of coin,
which would involve an unnecessary national expense, and also to
prevent the imitation of it abroad, so as to create a national loss.
For both of which purposes, it is proper that the coinage should only
defray the expense, without making any considerable profit. The laws
usual in all countries, with respect to the money, will then fully
operate the effect intended.

In order that a coin may be perfectly intelligible to the whole
people, it must have some affinity to the former currency. This,
therefore, will be requisite in the present case. The purposes of
commerce require, that the lowest divisible point of money, or what is
more properly called the _money unit_, should be very small, because
by that means, price can be brought in the smallest things to bear a
proportion to the value. And although it is not absolutely necessary,
yet it is very desirable, that money should be increased in decimal
ratio, because by that means all calculations of interest, exchange,
insurance, and the like, are rendered much more simple and accurate,
and of course, more within the power of the great mass of the people.
Wherever such things require much labor, time, and reflection, the
greater number who do not know, are made the dupes of the smaller
number who do.

The various coins which have circulated in America, have undergone
different changes in their value, so that there is hardly any which
can be considered as a general standard, unless it be Spanish dollars.
These pass in Georgia at five shillings, in North Carolina and New
York at eight shillings, in Virginia and the four Eastern States at
six shillings, and in all the other States, excepting South Carolina,
at seven shillings and sixpence, and in South Carolina at thirtytwo
shillings and sixpence. The money unit of a new coin to agree, without
a fraction, with all these different values of a dollar, excepting the
last, will be the fourteen hundred and fortieth part of a dollar,
equal to the sixteen hundredth part of a crown. Of these units,
twentyfour will be a penny of Georgia, fifteen will be a penny of
North Carolina or New York, twenty will be a penny of Virginia and the
Four Eastern States, sixteen will be a penny of all the other States,
excepting South Carolina, and fortyeight will be thirteen pence of
South Carolina.

It has already been observed, that to have the money unit very small,
is advantageous to commerce; but there is no necessity that this money
unit be exactly represented in coin, it is sufficient that its value
be precisely known. On the present occasion, two copper coins will be
proper, the one of eight units, and the other of five. These may be
called an Eight, and a Five. Two of the former will make a penny
Proclamation, or Pennsylvania money, and three a penny Georgia money.
Of the latter, three will make a penny New York money, and four a
penny lawful, or Virginia money. The money unit will be equal to a
quarter of a grain of fine silver in coined money. Proceeding thence
in a decimal ratio, one hundred would be the lowest silver coin, and
might be called a _Cent_. It would contain twentyfive grains of fine
silver, to which may be added two grains of copper, and the whole
would weigh one pennyweight and three grains. Five of these would make
a _Quint_, or five hundred units, weighing five pennyweight and
fifteen grains; and ten would make a _Mark_, or one thousand units,
weighing eleven pennyweight and six grains.

If the mint price of fine silver be established at twentytwo thousand
two hundred and thirtyseven units per pound, this being coined would
be four times five thousand seven hundred and sixty grains, or
twentythree thousand and forty units. The difference is eight hundred
and three units, and therefore the coinage is eight hundred and three,
or twentythree thousand and forty, or somewhat more than three
fortyeight one hundred per cent, which would be about the expense
attending it. A dollar contains by the assays, which I have been able
to get, about three hundred and seventythree grains of fine silver,
and that at the mint price would be fourteen hundred and forty units.
In like manner, if crowns contain from four hundred and fourteen to
four hundred and fifteen grains of fine silver, they would, at the
mint price, be worth sixteen hundred units.

When such a coin shall have been established, the value of all others
would be easily ascertained, because nothing more would be necessary
than to have them assayed at the mint. The advantage of possessing
legal money, in preference of any other, would induce people to carry
foreign coin to the mint, until a sufficiency were struck for the
circulating medium. The remainder of the foreign silver, together with
the gold, should be left entirely to the operations of commerce as
bullion.

In the present moment, it is by no means of such consequence to
establish the relative value of different coins, as to provide a
standard of our own, by which in future to estimate them. If the value
were now sought, they must all be estimated in dollars, because
dollars are called for in the several requisitions of Congress.
Without noticing the preference thus given of one coin over another,
it is sufficient to observe, that if a greater alloy should be
introduced by the Spanish government into their dollars, our interior
regulations as to money would be overturned; and certainly we have no
security that this will not happen. There is not any great
inconvenience in leaving matters on their present footing, until they
can be remedied by the operations of a mint; for it is not to be
supposed that all the money raised by taxes in a State is to be
brought out of it. I expect that there will be very little occasion
to transport money from place to place. It is much easier to negotiate
than to carry it; and if any species of money is generally received
within a State at the same rate in which it is paid in taxes, there
will be no difficulty in expending it at its value. Whenever money
shall be struck by authority of the United States, then indeed it will
be proper to receive in taxes no other coin.

If Congress are of opinion with me, that it will be proper to coin
money, I will immediately obey their orders and establish a mint. And
I think I can say with safety, that no better moment could be chosen
for the purpose than the present; neither will anything have a greater
tendency to restore public credit; for although it is possible that
the new money will at first be received with diffidence by some, yet
when it has been fairly assayed, it will gain full confidence from
all, and the advantage of holding the only money, which can pay debts
or discharge taxes, will soon give it the preference over all, and
indeed banish all other from circulation. Whereas fixing a relation of
value now on whatever principles attempted, might give offence to the
power whose coin should, in any instance, be reduced from its present
numerary value among us.

These sentiments are submitted, with all possible deference, to the
United States in Congress assembled, in expectation of their further
instructions on the subject.

  With great respect, I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

GEORGE WASHINGTON TO ROBERT MORRIS.[3]

  Philadelphia, January 25th, 1782.

  Sir,

I have received your favor of the 23d respecting Captain Hutchins, and
shall give you a more definitive answer after I have seen that
gentleman.

  [3] _January 26th._ In consequence of the information received
  from Mr Thomas Paine, of the intentions of some officers to
  promote a general application by way of memorial to General
  Washington, respecting their pay, I sent for him and had a long
  conversation on various matters of a public nature. He observed,
  that his services to the public had rather been neglected. I told
  him I could wish his pen to be wielded in aid of such measures, as
  I might be able to convince him were clearly calculated for the
  service of the United States; that I had no views or plans but
  what were meant for the public good, and that I should ask no
  man's assistance on any other ground; that it was true I had
  nothing in my power at present to offer, as a compensation for his
  services, but that something might turn up, and that I should have
  him in my mind.--_Diary._

       *       *       *       *       *

  The following record is also contained among Mr Morris's papers,
  in his own hand writing, dated February, 1782.

  "Having lately had several meetings with Mr Thomas Paine, the
  writer of a pamphlet, styled _Common Sense_, and of many other
  well known political pieces, which, in the opinion of many
  respectable characters have been of service to the cause of
  America, I thought this gentleman might become far more
  serviceable to the United States by being engaged to write in the
  public newspapers in support of the measures of Congress and their
  Ministers. My assistant, Mr Gouverneur Morris, is clearly of the
  same opinion, and in all our conferences with him, we have
  pointedly declared, that we sought the aid of his pen only in
  support of upright measures and a faithful administration in the
  service of our country. We disclaim private or partial views,
  selfish schemes or plans of any and every kind. We wish to draw
  the resources and powers of the country into action. We wish to
  bring into the field an army equal to the object for which we are
  at war. We wish to feed, clothe, move, and pay that army as they
  ought to be done, but we wish also to effect these on such terms
  as may be least burdensome to the people, at the same time that
  the operations shall be every way effective.

  "Having these for our objects we want the aid of an able pen to
  urge the Legislatures of the several States to grant sufficient
  taxes; to grant those taxes separate and distinct from those
  levied for State purposes; to put such taxes, or rather the money
  arising from them, in the power of Congress, from the moment of
  collection;

  "To grant permanent revenues for discharging the interest on debts
  already contracted, or that may be contracted;

  "To extend by a new confederation the powers of Congress, so that
  they may be competent to the government of the United States and
  the management of their affairs;

  "To prepare the minds of the people for such restraints and such
  taxes and imposts, as are absolutely necessary for their own
  welfare;

  "To comment from time to time on military transactions, so as to
  place in a proper point of view the bravery, good conduct, and
  soldiership of our officers and troops, when they deserve
  applause, and to do the same on such conduct of such civil
  officers or citizens, as act conspicuously for the service of
  their country.

  "Finding Mr Paine well disposed to the undertaking, and observing
  that General Washington had twice in my company expressed his
  wishes, that some provision could be made for that gentleman, I
  took an opportunity to explain my design to the General, who
  agreed entirely in the plan. I then communicated the same to Mr
  Robert R. Livingston, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, and proposed
  that he should join me in this business, by furnishing from his
  department such intelligence, as might be necessary from time to
  time to answer such useful purposes for which Mr Paine is to
  write; and in order to reward this gentleman for his labors, and
  enable him to devote his time to the service of the United States,
  it was agreed to allow him eight hundred dollars a year, to be
  paid quarterly. But it was also agreed, that this allowance should
  not be known to any other persons than those already mentioned,
  lest the publications might lose their force if it were known that
  the author is paid for them by government."

By a letter, which General Lincoln addressed, to me before he went to
the eastward, I find that you approve of my plan of sending officers
to the four New England States particularly, with the returns of their
deficiencies of troops, and with instructions to attend upon the
Legislatures, and to endeavor to impress them with the expediency, and
indeed necessity, of filling their battalions previous to the opening
of the campaign. He informed me also, that you would be glad to give
the same officers some instructions relative to the business of your
department. If so, I could wish you would have your letters ready to
go by the next post, by which time I expect to have the returns
prepared. I have not yet fixed upon the gentlemen who will be proper,
but you can leave blanks for the insertion of the names of those who
may be chosen.

As we may reasonably expect to hear soon again from Sir Henry Clinton,
on the subject of the meeting of commissioners, I think it would be
well to be preparing the substance of the powers to be delegated to
the gentlemen to whom the transaction of the proposed business will be
committed. What I would wish you to prepare particularly, is so much
as will relate to the liquidation of the former accounts of prisoners,
and making provision for their maintenance in future.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  GEORGE WASHINGTON.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, February 11th, 1782.

  Sir,

The situation of my department makes it necessary to lay some matters
of importance before the United States in Congress, and I shall
endeavor to do so with as much precision, as possible.

It gives me pain to observe, that the States of Massachusetts, Rhode
Island, and Maryland, have not yet passed the laws recommended by the
resolutions of the third of February, 1781. I learn, (though not
officially,) that the State of Virginia has lately suspended the
operation of the law, which they had passed in conformity to that
resolution. The bare mention of these things is sufficient to mark the
consequences. Our debt being unfunded and unprovided for, the interest
cannot be paid. Those, therefore, who trusted us in the hour of
distress, are defrauded. To expect that, under such circumstances,
others will confide in the government, would be folly; and to expect
that foreigners will trust a government, which has no credit with its
own citizens, would be madness. The whole weight, therefore, of the
war must be borne in the present moment; and even the slightest
anticipations of revenue are made on the personal credit of the
Minister.

This, Sir, is not said boastingly, but with unaffected concern. I have
labored to establish a credit for my country, that when the period
should arrive, (and I hoped it was not far distant,) in which I could
lay down the burden now pressing upon me, my successor in office
should have no other difficulties to struggle with, than those which
necessarily attend an extensive and complicated administration. It is,
therefore, with no common degree of anxiety and distress, that I see
my wishes frustrated. I feel as an American for my country, as a
public servant for the interest and honor of those whom I serve, and
as a man, that I cannot enjoy the ease and tranquillity I have sought
for through a life of continual care and unremitted labor. It is my
duty to mention to you the fact, and to apprize you, that in such
circumstances, our operations will continue to be desultory efforts of
individual power, rather than the combined exertion of political
strength and firmness.

The repeated assurances we daily receive from the Ministers of his
Most Christian Majesty, of their steady determination to grant no
further pecuniary aid, will not leave room to doubt of their
intentions. I candidly acknowledge that I had formed not only hopes,
but even expectations from that quarter. For I had persuaded myself,
that when the brilliant successes of the last campaign should be
known, and when it should also be known how much the United States are
capable of, and how necessary an aid of money is to call their power
into action, the King would have again extended that relief, which
must be most beneficial to the common cause. Even now, I shall request
that Congress will instruct the Secretary of Foreign Affairs to make
the most pointed representations on this subject through our Minister
at the Court of Versailles, and I shall readily furnish all such
materials in my department as may be necessary for the purpose; but I
must not conceal my doubts as to the effect of such representations.
Duty to this country requires that they should be made, but prudence
forbids a reliance on their success, and will dictate to us a farther
duty, which is, to act under the influence of a belief, that they will
not succeed.

As to hopes of pecuniary aid from any other quarter, the delusion has
already passed away. It is in vain that expensive establishments are
kept up to solicit succor from Spain, who appears neither able nor
willing to afford it; from Holland, who seeks peace and not to
increase the causes of war; or from Russia, who seems more inclined
to crush, than to support us. Let us apply to borrow wherever we may,
our mouths will always be stopped by the one word, security. The
States will not give revenue for the purpose, and the United States
have nothing to give but a general national promise, of which their
enemies loudly charge them with the violation.

Thus, Sir, compelled, however reluctantly, to look at home for the
means of supporting ourselves against an enemy, whose power has rather
increased with the increase of her foes, whose force has risen
superior to defeats, and has found resources in a situation, which
might have inspired despair, we must no longer rely on those who may
neglect us, but take care that we be not charged with neglecting
ourselves. I would to God, that I could say, that there were even the
appearances of general vigor and exertion. But the truth is very
different. The United States have called for eight millions of dollars
early in November last, of which the first quarterly payment was to
have been made on the 1st day of April next; but I cannot find that a
single State has yet laid the taxes. I neither know what they will
think proper to give, nor when. Happy to experience a momentary relief
from the clamor and revolt of a starving army, from the rage and
devastation of an inveterate enemy, and from the waste and
extravagance of cumbrous, unwieldy departments, there appears to be no
solicitude anywhere for the support of arrangements, on which the
salvation of our country depends.

To give a little time for the people to breathe, and to remedy some of
the many abuses, which were equally palpable and enormous, I early
ventured on the business of contracting, and I have extended it as far
as prudence would in any degree justify. Nay, relying on the States
for support, I have made engagements, which, in almost any other
circumstances, would savor of temerity, and which nothing would have
led me to do, but a hope that by retrenching expenses, they would be
sooner induced to grant revenue. So thoroughly am I convinced of the
superior economy, which attends the present mode of supplying our
armies, that I would have offered contracts for the southern
department, could I have formed any well grounded expectation of
moneys sufficient for the purpose from the southern States. Nor should
I have been deterred even by the distance of the period at which it
could be had, if I could have formed a reasonable reliance on it at
some certain period. Our expenses, it is true, are retrenched, and to
give an idea to what degree, I will mention, that for the amount of
salaries alone in the Commissary's department to the northward of
Potomac river, between three and four thousand soldiers are now fed
with full rations. But though the retrenchments are great, the
expenses are great also, and they must rapidly increase every moment
in preparing for an early and vigorous campaign.

A view either of general politics or of our own situation will impress
the conviction, that we ought to make an early and vigorous campaign.
The blow, which the enemy have received in Virginia, should be
followed as soon as possible before they have time for reflection, for
reinforcement, or for defence. We must not imagine that Great Britain
will be so stunned by this blow that she cannot recover, or that she
will, for such a check, abandon the object both of her interest and
her wishes, an object in which national importance appears to be
combined with her national existence, and where every covetous and
angry passion is strongly excited. What aid she may find from foreign
powers must depend upon the manner of considering the propositions,
which may be made, perhaps upon their interests, and, perhaps, upon
their caprice. A nation, which can hold at bay one half the force of
Europe, is by no means a despicable ally.

But whether she gets aid from others, or whether she draws it, as
before, from domestic credit and confidence, this, at least, is
certain, that we ought to expect new efforts against us, and that we
ought not to expect any in our favor. If then, we can strike before
she is ready to ward off the stroke, or bear the blow, our own people
will be animated, the doubtful will be convinced, and the convinced
will be confirmed. Nations, who are friendly to us, will give marks of
amity. Nations, who are hostile, will be deterred from their attempts.
The councils of our enemy will be distracted. Their intended succors
may land on hostile ground, and where they want relief, it may be too
late to obtain it. At what point, and in what manner, and for what
purpose our efforts are to be made, is the province of the General to
determine; but, I repeat again, it is our indispensable duty to put
him speedily in possession of the means.

In order that anything effectual may be done, we must have both men
and money, and we must have them early. On the 10th of December last,
Congress were pleased to call on the States in the most pressing
manner, to have their respective quotas in the field by the 1st day of
March next; and they determined, that recruits should be raised to
complete the quotas at the expense of the States, in the first
instance to be reimbursed by the United States. The intention of
these resolutions, however clear, may be misunderstood, and attempts
made to deduct the expenditures of the recruiting service from the
supplies, which were required by the Acts of the 30th of October and
3d of November. For this reason, and also that the States may be more
effectually stimulated to comply with the views and wishes of
Congress, I shall, before I close this letter, submit certain
additions and explanations of their Act of the 10th of December. At
present, I shall only observe, that it gives me very sincere pleasure
to find the United States in Congress, so fully impressed with the
necessity of early efforts. This circumstance leads me to hope that
they will be equally impressed with the duty of urging a compliance
with their requisitions. It is at least my duty to suggest it. A duty,
which I owe to America at large, and which no hope of praise, or
apprehension of blame, shall induce me to neglect. I know there is a
delicacy, which influences some minds to treat the States with
tenderness and even adulation, while they are in the habitual
inattention to the calls of national interest and honor. I know that
delicacy, and I disclaim it. Nor will I be deterred from waking those
who slumber on the brink of ruin. But my voice, Sir, is feeble, and I
must therefore pray to be assisted by the voice of the United States
in Congress. Supported by them, I may, perhaps, do something; but,
without that support, I must be a useless incumbrance.

It is also a duty to economise the moneys which are in our possession,
and it receives a double force of obligation from the peculiarity of
our circumstances. What moneys the States may grant, and when they may
grant them, is known only to Him who knoweth all things; but that
which we have is certain, and ought not to be expended but for useful
purposes. If we look back to the conduct of the several States in
former times, we shall find that the negligence with which they have
treated the requests of Congress has been unequalled, unless by the
earnestness of entreaty, with which those requests were made. And I
fear that there is little hope, that the conduct now to be pursued
will in one instant become the counter part of former experiences. We
have reason to apprehend a continuance of that shameful negligence,
which has marked us to a proverb, while all Europe gazed in
astonishment at the unparalleled boldness and vastness of claims,
blended with an unparalleled indolence, and imbecility of conduct. But
let the several States be ever so negligent, the confederation has
given no power to compel. While it confers on Congress the privilege
of asking everything, it has secured to each State the prerogative of
granting nothing. Since, then, the Congress cannot compel the States
to make a grant of money, they must at least take care to prevent the
States from making an unnecessary expenditure of those moneys, which
are in our possession. Nor is this all. We are called on by the
principles of justice as well as of duty to prevent such expenditure.

The requisitions of Congress have been for men and money. The States
have furnished officers and transmitted a variety of accounts, demands
and complaints; but while officers continue numerous they have
neglected to provide soldiers. Instead of it, some of them have formed
State regiments, and given State bounties to all those regiments;
regiments confined to the limits of the State, as if the ultimate
object of military employment were the show of parade, or to consume
the fruits of the earth. In the meantime, the continental officers,
whose services have entitled them to respectful attention, and whose
experience has enabled them to be essentially useful, are left without
men to command, and forced to bear the mortification which must
afflict every generous mind, perceiving themselves a useless burden to
the community.

But while such pains are taken to enhance expense, every request for
revenue to pay it is treated with neglect. Congress have determined to
keep up the establishment agreed on in October, 1780. I shall,
therefore, by no means propose any reduction. On the contrary I am
persuaded, that nothing would so speedily terminate the war as the
bringing such an army into the field, with proper funds and materials
for its support and operation. This would render us truly independent,
independent of the smiles of our friends and the frowns of our
enemies. But although I will not propose any reduction of our
establishment, I cannot consent that the Union bear the expense of a
great number of officers without men to command. Neither will I
propose the expedient of sending them home upon half pay, and liable
to be called into service. This is an expedient for halving a
difficulty, which ought to be wholly cured, and at the same time it
subjects the individual officer to very serious difficulties, which he
has by no means merited. It is not the officer's fault that he has not
men, and while he holds himself in readiness to obey the orders of his
General, he ought to receive that compensation which his commission
entitles him to. He ought, therefore, to draw his full pay and
subsistence; but until the State provide men for him to command, that
pay and subsistence should be drawn from the States. If the States
will not find soldiers, the continent ought not to pay their officers.
It is unequal and it is unjust. Some States at a great expense, bring
men into the field and lay taxes for the general support. Others send
officers without men, and draw money from the treasury without putting
any in it. I am regardless where the censure lights. If it fall
nowhere, then all are innocent; but if it is merited, those to whom it
applies must blame their own misconduct. My justification is already
made in the mind of every honest man.

But it is not only necessary that the States bring men into the field.
It is necessary that this be done at an early period. Recruits which
do not join the army until the autumn, come too late for anything but
to increase expense, and to lose their lives by the diseases incident
at that season, to those who have not been accustomed to the habits of
a military life. Nor is this all. Recruits sent forward at a late
period only serve to fill up the vacancies occasioned by sickness,
deaths, and desertions, without increasing the effective force of the
army.

To remedy the evils which have been pointed out, I take the liberty to
propose to the United States in Congress assembled, a resolution,

That on the 1st day of April next, accurate returns be made to the War
Office of every non-commissioned officer and private in the army, and
of the particular State to which they belong.

That every State be debited in account for the recruiting service for
every non-commissioned officer and private, assigned to such State
respectively in October, 1780, the sum of one hundred dollars in
specie.

That every State be credited in the said account for the recruiting
service for every non-commissioned officer and private in the army,
and belonging to the States respectively on the said 1st day of April
next, a like sum of one hundred dollars.

That for every recruit which shall join after the 1st day of April and
before the 2d day of May, the State shall be credited in the said
account ninety dollars. For every recruit which shall join after the
1st day of May and before the 2d day of June eighty dollars. For every
recruit after the 1st day of June and before the 2d day of July
seventy dollars. For every recruit after the 1st day of July and
before the 2d day of August sixty dollars. For every recruit after the
1st day of August and before the 2d day of September fifty dollars.
For every recruit after the 1st day of September and before the 2d day
of October forty dollars. But that no allowance be made for any
recruit whose period of enlistment shall be less than three years or
during the war.

That every recruit shall be considered as joined, as soon as he shall
march for the place to which he is ordered on service, from the place
of general rendezvous within the State, to be appointed by the
Commander in Chief.

That to determine such time of marching, the time of arrival shall be
determined and a time allowed for marching thither, calculating on the
distance at the rate of fifteen miles per day.

That the recruits be maintained at the expense of the States, until
they shall join as aforesaid; but that during the time of marching an
allowance be made to the State for each officer and man, at the rate
of one sixtieth of a dollar per mile for every mile from the said
place of rendezvous to the place where they shall arrive as aforesaid.

That the Minister of War cause the several men of the different State
lines to be arranged within their respective lines, in such manner as
to form complete corps, or parts of corps, so that there be a due
proportion of men to the officers according to the establishment as
near as may be.

That the remaining officers, excepting such as the Commander in Chief
may think proper to retain in service for particular purposes, retire
to their respective States until such times as the States shall
provide men for them to command agreeably to the establishment; and
that in the meantime the said States provide the pay, rations, and
forage allowed to the officers respectively by the several resolutions
and Acts of Congress upon that subject.

And in order to explain fully the reasons for taking such measures I
would also propose, that an address be prepared to the people of
America stating the want of power in Congress to take measures for the
defence of the country, the conduct of the several States heretofore,
the importance of making exertions in the present moment, with the
dangerous consequences of inattention to, and neglect of, the late
requisitions, and calling upon them to urge through their respective
Legislatures the measures recommended by Congress.

My reason for this proposal is, a conviction that the people are
heartily disposed to support the revolution, but that the public
service is too frequently delayed by local disputes and animosities,
which consume the time to be devoted to important purposes, and that
individuals in the several Legislatures are too apt to believe, that
by sparing grants they render themselves agreeable to their
constituents, although in effect such policy cannot but prove highly
expensive and dangerous if not destructive.

That Congress may be enabled to judge of the saving, which would arise
from the proposition I have had the honor of making, with respect to
the officers of our army, I enclose an estimate, by which it will
appear, that this would be upwards of sixty thousand dollars a month;
and to this must be added a further consideration of very great
importance, that as the servants to officers are taken from among the
soldiers, the army would in effect, receive a considerable
reinforcement.

With respect to the price of recruiting, I do not consider anything
proposed as being by any means definitive. I have stated each at one
hundred dollars, and I would suggest, that as the design is to raise
men and not money, it is better to value them too high than too low. I
am far from considering this as the best mode of recruiting an army.
On the contrary, I am convinced, that if it were a continental instead
of a State army, the raising as well as maintaining of it, would be
infinitely easier and cheaper; but under the present limited power,
which Congress are invested with, it becomes the duty of their
servants to propose such measures as appear to them best. What I have
had the honor of stating, is submitted with all possible deference,
and I hope the decisions of Congress will be as speedy as the nature
of the business will permit. With perfect confidence in their wisdom,
I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

CIRCULAR TO THE GOVERNORS OF THE STATES.

  Office of Finance, February 15th, 1782.

  Sir,

In the circular letter, which I did myself the honor to transmit on
the 19th day of October last, I stated our situation as clearly and
explicitly as I could, so that you might be in a capacity to form a
solid judgment as to what would be proper. I am now to inform you,
that the most recent and authentic information from Europe, contains
the reiterated determination on the part of France, to grant us no
further pecuniary aid. Spain appears to have neither the inclination
nor the ability to afford any, and in Holland it can only be obtained
from individuals, who will always require security, and of consequence
will not lend to the United States, who as you well know have no
security to give. The want of proper funds has so reduced domestic
credit, that we can draw no resources from thence, and until domestic
credit is established, foreign credit cannot exist, for it is absurd
to expect, that foreigners will confide in a government, which has not
the confidence of its own citizens.

It is hardly possible to describe the consequences, which have
followed on a loss of credit. We have seen the people diffident,
jealous, and unhappy, nor have they yet recovered, even where the
removal of undue restrictions has given them time to breathe from the
load of oppression. But the public is, if possible, in a still worse
situation. No persons will trust the public from a deep apprehension
of ruin if they should, and consequently our operations must be
bounded by the taxes, which can be collected, while at the same time
we must contend for our very existence as a free country at an
expense, which we cannot limit because we cannot limit the efforts
made against us. Whenever proper methods shall have been taken to
restore credit, the benefits arising from it will be as evident to
all, as the want is now, to those who are intrusted with the
administration. Our expense at this moment is greater than it ought to
be, though less than it was, and I cannot retrench, because I have not
sufficient means in my power, and have not at this moment any certain
reliance on sufficient aid from the several States.

I am much inclined to believe, that individuals in the several
Legislatures are unacquainted with the real state of affairs, or
flatter themselves that they are better than they really are, even
after information. If gentlemen would consider seriously the situation
of the public servants, they would at least not suspect them of
describing our dangers as greater than they are. They could not, for
instance suppose, that I would give a high coloring to the disorders
of our finances, because they must see, that on the contrary, I should
derive a degree of credit from the general belief, that such disorders
do not exist. And when I declare my apprehensions, I injure so far my
own operations. My reason for describing our situation in its true
light is, that the States may be excited to grant us relief. I might
by an appearance of wealth extend my operations for a little while,
but in the end they would fail, and how we should then be extricated,
no man can tell. At present I must bear the evils, which result from
the want of resources, and limit my views accordingly, but it would be
madness to inculcate an opinion, that things are worse than they are,
because then I could not derive the full benefit of those resources
which we have. You must, therefore, be convinced, that I give you no
exaggerated account, and I trust, Sir, that your Legislature will give
due weight to assertions, which they have every reason to believe, and
which if neglected, they will be convinced of by a melancholy and
perhaps fatal experience.

Many people flatter themselves with the hope of peace. But on what is
it founded? Has the enemy given the slightest evidence of a desire for
it? Instead of suing for peace, they talk only of war; they prepare
only for war; and when they might have got rid of one enemy by a word,
they disdained it. Although Holland offered a separate peace, England
refused to accept it; nor have we heard that she has agreed even to
negotiate for, much less to conclude, a general peace. She enjoys full
credit, and therefore she can carry on the war; and the object of it
on her part is so great, that therefore she will carry on the war.
Hitherto she has carried it on alone and unsupported. Years have
elapsed since it was pretended, that she could not find resources for
another campaign, and yet campaigns have succeeded each other with
increasing expense, and are still likely to go on. With a credit like
hers, there can be no want of the means, and therefore we have no
reason to expect that she will be deprived of them while that credit
exists. How soon she may find associates, or how soon we may lose
them, no man can say. While the mutability of all human affairs
continues to be the theme of common and daily observation, no wise
man will rely on the frailty of human opinion, and yet opinion may in
a moment sway the politics of different powers, so as totally to
change all present appearances. While the war continues England has
hope. The times and chances which happen to all may favor her, and at
worst she can conclude a peace, which cannot be much more pernicious
than the loss of these States. We ought therefore to expect that Great
Britain will continue the war, and we ought even to expect that she
will find allies to assist her in it. We ought therefore to prepare
ourselves for increasing efforts of opposition.

But admitting that negotiations were opened, and in a train of effect,
what then would be our situation? Are we in capacity to insist on
useful and honorable terms? There is hardly a State in the Union but
has an interest in objects, which under our present circumstances are
unattainable. While the enemy continue in possession of New York and
Charleston, we cannot expect such a peace as every good American ought
to desire. Nor shall we obtain that security, without which peace is
no longer a blessing.

The successes of the last campaign will undoubtedly derange the plans
of the enemy for a time, but whether or not those successes will prove
decisive must depend upon ourselves. If we indolently lie still until
the enemy can obtain reinforcements, our prospects at the close of
next campaign may be as gloomy as at the opening of the last. If we
exert ourselves to strike the enemy before he can receive aid, we may
perhaps drive him entirely away, and then indeed we shall have reason
to expect peace. It has been the common trick of the enemy to pretend
at every success we have obtained, nay during every winter of the
war, that it would immediately cease, and they have had emissaries
among us to inculcate that idea. The consequences have been, that we
have never been in a state of preparation as soon as they have,
notwithstanding the Atlantic ocean lies between the two countries, and
places them at least three months asunder as to all military
operations.

No thinking man can hesitate a moment in the opinion, that we ought to
prepare for an early and vigorous campaign, in order to take New York
and Charleston. But some persons of sanguine temperament say, that the
enemy will evacuate one of these places. If it be so, surely they will
be so much stronger at the other, and of course it will be so much the
more difficult to expel them from it. Possibly they may incline to
evacuate one of these places, and if so they will be determined by the
knowledge of our force. If we are formidable it will be an additional
reason with them for evacuation. But other persons still more sanguine
suppose, that they will evacuate both places. This is surely absurd,
for even if they negotiate for peace, they will hold something as a
ground, on which to make demands, and if they prosecute war, they will
certainly not abandon the objects of it. Admitting, however, that the
enemy may have some thoughts of this sort, surely the determination
will be greatly influenced by the consideration of our relative force
or imbecility. And even if they should entirely quit the United
States, still there are objects well worth fighting for, objects too
which cannot be obtained without fighting.

Every reason, therefore, combines in showing the propriety of
commencing our operations very early, and, therefore, everything has
been done for the purpose, which the means in my power would admit of.
It remains only with the several States to provide men and money, and
to make that provision as early as possible; for the old adage, that
"he who gives early doubles thereby his gift," can never be more
applicable than on the present occasion. For whatever may be the
different opinions of different men, all must agree, that the only way
to secure peace is to be prepared for war. And depend upon it, that if
we neglect the present moment, we shall have bitter cause to lament
our negligence.

In the letter before mentioned, I did myself the honor to observe,
that I expected the future expenditures would be greatly curtailed.
This has happened, but I also observed, that the most rigid economy
had its bounds, and could not exist without the punctual performance
of those engagements, on which the first steps towards it must depend.
I have not yet reached those bounds, for reasons I have already
stated, and how long it will be before I arrive at them, must depend
on the ability to perform the engagements I have made; and surely it
is unnecessary to add, that this ability must depend on the exertions
of the States. I mentioned also, that I should shortly advertise for
contracts, as the most effectual means of husbanding our resources.

With respect to this matter of contracts, I have some reason to
believe that it has been misunderstood, and, therefore, I shall take
the liberty, of giving some little information on the subject. When I
was called into office, I had a thorough conviction, that supplying by
contracts was the most effectual and most economical, but I had no
money, and credit was at so low an ebb, that most people doubted
whether any one would contract. At that time, the State of
Pennsylvania gave me assurances of hard money to procure the articles
of specific supplies due from that State on the requisition of
Congress. I immediately purchased a part of those supplies on my
private and personal credit and assurances, and I advertised for a
contract to supply rations at Philadelphia. By degrees I extended the
contracts throughout Pennsylvania; whereas, if I had advertised for
them at once, I might, probably, have failed in obtaining proposals;
or if not, those who inclined to risk it would have made the public
pay dear for the credit reposed in the Minister. The contracts of
Pennsylvania were paid out of moneys granted for furnishing the
supplies, and the articles are carried to account on the requisitions.
Having reason to expect support from the middle and eastern States, I
have extended the contracts for supplies through all the country
northward and eastward of Potomac river; and in order that you may
judge of the effect, I will mention, that, on application for pay to
the department of the issuing Commissary, I required a return of them,
and of their monthly pay; which being made, I found that within that
district it amounted to ten thousand five hundred and twentyfive
dollars; which is annually for the salary alone, exclusive of all
other expenses, one hundred and twenty six thousand dollars.

The rations delivered at West Point and its dependencies are supplied
at the rate of nine and a half ninetieths of a dollar for each ration;
consequently, that sum will yield one million one hundred and
ninetysix thousand five hundred and twentysix rations, which is
something more than three thousand two hundred and seventyeight per
day. But when it is considered, that salaries were not the only
expenses of a department, it is certainly estimating within bounds to
suppose, that five thousand soldiers are now fed every day on what it
formerly cost the public to support the issuers of provisions in a
part of the United States. I should have pursued the business of
contracting throughout America, had I received any assurances of
taxation, which would warrant the procedure. But I had none, and I did
not dare risk myself in making engagements, which I found no
probability of keeping. But whenever I can see any way clear, I shall
certainly do it, and, I trust, that the effects will be as beneficial
as they have been elsewhere.

Having already observed on the necessity of early and vigorous
exertions, and mentioned that I had done everything towards them which
was in my power, I have only to add, that unless we are properly
supported, everything so done has been thrown away. The views of the
Commander in Chief will be disappointed; the combinations intended
with our allies will be deranged, and the enemy will derive that
advantage from our negligence, which we might have derived from their
weakness.

It gives me great pain to learn that the public service is too often
interrupted, and the attention of men diverted from it by little
trivial disputes of a private, partial, or local nature, which are
comparatively of little consequence. This is a conduct unworthy of
wise men, and such as cannot be justified. Surely it is best first to
provide for the defence of our country before we squabble about minute
objects of controversy. If we should be told that the British were so
materially divided in their Parliament, that in contentions about
trivial disputes they delayed granting to the Crown effectual aid of
money, we should certainly form very splendid expectations from that
circumstance. Judge then, whether our enemy's hopes are not raised by
our dissensions. Or rather let me ask, if they have not loudly
asserted that they would prove ruinous to the cause of independence;
nay, have they not boasted that those dissensions originated in
British influence or British gold? What then must be the opinion of
foreigners and strangers? What will they not conclude from a conduct,
which according to their habits of reasoning, can only be accounted
for by disaffection, folly, or madness? Let us, for heaven's sake,
while engaged in a cause the most honorable, the most virtuous, and
which must endear the present generation to future ages; let us
preserve a conduct noble, dignified, and worthy of that glorious
cause; in pursuit of the greatest, the dearest object which man can
possess; in the fair road to peace, liberty, and safety, let us not
fall out by the way. But united to, and supporting each other, let our
efforts be equal to our claims, and let us show that we have the
perseverance to obtain what we had the spirit to demand. Let us at
once become independent; really and truly independent; independent of
our enemies, of our friends, of all but the Omnipotent.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, February 18th, 1782.

  Sir,

I do myself the honor to submit to the United States in Congress
assembled, through your Excellency, the propriety and necessity of
adopting immediate measures for adjusting the accounts of the four
following departments; namely, the Commissary's, the Quarter Master's,
the Hospital, and the Marine; up to the last day of December, 1781,
inclusive. Having long and attentively considered this subject, it
appears to me to be among those cases, which do not admit of the
common forms. There must be a degree of vigor and decision in the
conduct of the business, which few men possess a knowledge of;
business not commonly to be found, and such uncorrupted and
uncorruptible integrity as will give security to the United States.
What may be an adequate reward for the services of such men, I really
do not know, but I have such reason to believe that many fraudulent
practices have happened, and that, in some cases, considerable
balances are due to the United States, that I cannot in consistency
with my duty avoid proposing to Congress the following resolutions.

"That four Commissioners be appointed for the settlement of accounts,
namely; one for the Commissary's department, one for the Quarter
Master's department, one for the Hospital department, and one for the
Marine department; and that each of the said Commissioners have full
power and authority to liquidate the said respective accounts up to
the last day of December, 1781, inclusive.

"That the Superintendent of Finance be authorised and directed to
appoint the said Commissioners, and to agree with them for a reward
for their services respectively, and also with respect to the
allowances to be made to their clerks; and that he report the names of
the said Commissioners to Congress.

"That it be recommended to the several States, immediately to pass
laws authorising such Commissioners to send for persons and papers,
and to examine witnesses upon oath."

These I propose only as a sketch, which the wisdom of the United
States in Congress will mould into such form as shall be most proper.
I will only observe one thing, which is, that the proposition that I
should appoint such Commissioners comes from me. I have no particular
persons in view, but shall be happy to find those who are proper. I am
far from being desirous of appointment to office, but this is an
occasion so important, that I cannot sacrifice my duty to false
notions of delicacy. Characters fit for such an intricate and
difficult business cannot easily be found, still less can they be
known to the several members of Congress, and the debates which
sometimes take place when appointments are made, deter the most proper
persons from putting themselves in the way of nomination. Besides
this, as it is not possible that the several members can be
sufficiently acquainted with the talents of the particular persons, it
is better that the appointment should be in one, who can be made
accountable for an improper choice. I take the liberty to observe,
that nothing will give more satisfaction to the people at large than
to find that these things are put in a proper train; for the
complaints are general, and I am convinced, that in some cases at
least they are well founded.

My reason for urging this matter at the present moment is, that I am
not only pressed on the subject by several dismissed officers of those
departments and by their creditors, but I have also had recent
information of very considerable frauds and practices; and on
conferring with the Controller of the treasury this morning, the plan
above proposed appeared not only the most eligible, but indeed the
only effectual one. It is submitted, with all due deference, by your
Excellency's most obedient, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

CIRCULAR TO THE GOVERNORS OF THE STATES.

  Office of Finance, March 9th, 1782.

  Sir,

On the 20th and 27th of last month, the United States in Congress
passed Acts for settling and finally adjusting all the public
accounts, up to the first day of the present year. These important
Acts would immediately have been transmitted, but I wait the event of
some additional propositions upon that subject, which are now under
the deliberation of Congress, and then I shall have the honor of
laying before you the whole of this very important business, so that
it may be maturely considered in a general and comprehensive point of
view.

At present I shall confine myself to congratulating your Excellency,
which I do with the most unfeigned pleasure, on the prospect which
begins to open, of adjusting these intricate and almost obsolete
transactions of relieving the various public creditors, and
consequently of rescuing and restoring the public credit. Let me add,
Sir, that I consider these things essential to the consolidation of
our federal Union, to the promotion of general harmony and generous
confidence throughout the United States, and to the establishment of
our glorious independence on the solid basis of justice. I am to
request, Sir, that your public accounts be put in a state of
preparation, so that the person appointed for that purpose may be able
speedily to investigate them; as much time and consequently much
expense will be thereby spared.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO MR GRAND, AT PARIS.

  Office of Finance, March 9th, 1782.

  Sir,

In a letter, of this day to Benjamin Franklin, Minister
Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Court of
Versailles, I inform him, (which information I am now to convey to
you,) that I shall draw bills on you, as a market for them may offer,
to the amount of five hundred thousand livres tournois, on account of
the United States of North America. I have detailed to him everything
necessary on the subject, which he will communicate. I am to request
of you, that you will duly honor and pay those bills, giving me notice
of every transaction, from time to time as occasion may offer and
require. The necessary funds are, I presume, in your hands already, or
will be before this reaches you; but at any rate Dr Franklin will
provide them in season.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, March 9th, 1782.

  Sir,

The Secretary of Foreign Affairs yesterday transmitted to this office,
the letters and invoice brought by Captain Jackson from Messrs
Neufville of Amsterdam. Upon perusing them I am very sorry to observe,
not only that there has been very great mismanagement, but also that
the letters do not contain that clear and satisfactory account of the
business which ought to have been transmitted. There is reason to
believe, that a considerable part of these goods are of British
manufacture, and consequently such as cannot be brought within the
United States. As these matters are not clearly stated, it would be
useless to go at present into an inquiry who has been or is to blame,
and therefore any particular observations from me would be both
unnecessary and improper.

I have written to Dr Franklin to take this business under his
inspection, and to cause all the goods of British growth and
manufacture to be sold. As to the remainder of the goods, the
propriety of selling or shipping them must depend on many
circumstances, a knowledge of which cannot be acquired here, so as to
give consistent orders what shall be done there. I have, therefore,
desired Dr Franklin to cause the goods to be so disposed of, as shall
to him appear most for the interest of the United States. My reasons
for referring the whole matter to him were, because he has already had
so much to do with it as at least to have paid the money, and is, I,
presume, privy to the original agreements made by Colonel Laurens;
because he will know what goods are coming out from France, and
consequently how far any or all of those in Amsterdam, which are not
of British manufacture may be necessary for us; because he will have
an opportunity of explaining such parts of the business as may be
proper to explain to the Court of France, who has had some reason to
complain, or at least thinks that she has; and, finally, because I
shall draw bills, the payment of which will be at Paris under his
direction, and if the other resources fail, the proceeds of these
goods will enable him to honor them.

With great respect, I am, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE BARON D'ARNOT.

  Office of Finance, March 18th, 1782.

  Sir,

I have received your note of the 9th instant, and in answer am to
inform you, that if his Prussian Majesty should incline to procure for
his subjects a part of the emoluments attending the commerce with this
country, the importance whereof can be easily estimated, from the
riches it poured into Britain while she enjoyed the benefit of
monopoly, all that is needful to be done is, to set open his ports to
our vessels, and protect them whilst there. The merchants of this
country are unrestricted in their enterprises and commercial pursuits;
they will naturally trade where they shall find their profits most
certain and permanent; and I have not a doubt but Prussia would have
her share of their trade, were the government to give the proper
encouragement to it.

As to the supplies of the army of the United States, I have determined
in future to contract for all such articles with individuals, on whose
abilities for procuring goods on the best terms, I can depend. They
will import them at their own risk; consequently you see I can by no
means engage to purchase any of the commodities you mention at St
Thomas's; but as that island seems to be the general mart in the West
Indies, where the people of America resort to exchange their produce
for the manufactures of Europe, I have not a doubt but any of his
Prussian Majesty's subjects, who may be inclined to this business,
will readily find an occasion of disposing of their goods there, and
receiving in exchange for the same, the staple articles of this
country.

As to what relates to your personal affairs, you will find that I have
conformed to your views, and I expect what is done in that respect
will be much to your satisfaction.

  I am, Sir, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO B. FRANKLIN.

  Office of Finance, March 23d, 1782.

  Sir,

Applications being frequently made by the several Loan Offices, for
orders to renew sets of exchange, in consequence of proof made to them
by the proprietors of interest bills, that the first, second, third,
and fourth bills, have been lost and destroyed, or by accident
prevented from reaching the persons to whom they were remitted, and as
it is but just in such instances to renew the same, I have caused a
number of bills to be struck, of the same denominations, and in the
same style, manner, and tenor, except that they are fifth, sixth,
seventh, and eighth bills, and when made use of will be filled up in
the same manner as the first four were, and issued from the same
office. I give you this notice, that you may direct the banker to pay
due honor to any one of those bills in all instances, where no one of
the set, consisting of eight, has before been paid; and of course he
will before such payment always satisfy himself, that none of the
others have been honored. This general advice will I think answer the
purpose, and render unnecessary particular advice with each renewed
set of exchange.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS[4]

  [4] _March 27th._ Having determined to draw bills on Mr Grand at
  Paris, for five hundred thousand livres, under such limitations
  and conditions as must secure the payment, the Minister of France
  being absent, I consulted M. de Marbois, _Chargé d'Affaires_, read
  to him my letter to Dr Franklin, explained my plan, and finally
  had his approbation, so far as he is authorised. This gentleman
  also communicated to me the Minister's letters to the Court, so
  far as they related to our finances, and I found them to breathe
  the true spirit of attachment and friendship to America.
  _Diary._

       *       *       *       *       *

TO OLIVER PHELPS.

  Office of Finance, March 30th, 1782.

  Sir,

As I promised during the conference, with which you honored me
yesterday, to give an answer in writing to the proposition you made in
consequence of a resolution passed by the Legislature of
Massachusetts, on the 5th day of this month, I shall now perform that
promise, but in doing it I shall think it unnecessary to go into that
full detail of reasoning on the subject, which took place in
conversation between us; and I am the more readily induced to decline
this, because you, Sir, seemed satisfied of the force and propriety of
the reasons urged; wherefore when you come to make the communication
to the State, your candor will induce, and your abilities enable you,
to do me ample justice.

I will, therefore, content myself with observing, that in all
countries engaged in war, experience has sooner or later pointed out
contracts with private men of substance and talents equal to the
undertaking as the cheapest, most certain, and consequently the best
mode of obtaining those articles, which are necessary for the
subsistence, covering, clothing, and moving of an army. The experience
of other countries could not satisfy America. We must have it of our
own acquiring; we have at length bought it; but the purchase had
nearly been our ruin. I had been long since convinced, that nothing
could save us, but opening all the American ports to unrestrained
commerce, all the markets of America to the free sale and purchase of
every article of its production and import; and by taking away all
restraints on money, leave every individual to judge and act for
himself. I labored hard in consequence of this conviction, to
introduce such measures into the State, of which I am a member, and
finally was happy enough to succeed; the good consequences were
immediately seen and felt; the example, has been followed, and it is
to be attributed to the freedom, which we now enjoy, that persons can
be found willing to contract for furnishing supplies to the American
army.

I have succeeded in obtaining many contracts on very reasonable terms.
The saving to the United States thereby is immense, and I am
confident, that neither the patriot who fills the chair of government,
the honorable gentlemen who compose the council, nor those who
represent the country of Massachusetts, would wish me to make an
engagement, which in partiality to that State, would in its effects
destroy a system, that has been proved so truly economical. I cannot,
Sir, enter into the engagements proposed by Massachusetts, without
being exposed to similar claims in twelve others, and I feel the
absolute necessity and propriety of declining every application of the
kind. The persons who contract with me to supply the armies of the
United States, must make purchases of the articles necessary; their
interests will lead them to those markets, which will supply cheapest,
however remote from the scene of action, and this will give all the
States a fair chance of obtaining money, or bank notes, through that
channel to pay their taxes. Those who will give most labor or goods
for money and notes, will undoubtedly obtain the greatest share
thereof.

I cannot quit this subject, without observing, that taxing in
specifics is expensive to the people, cumbersome to the government,
and generally inadequate to the object. I think if every individual in
the country is left to dispose as he pleases of his property, and
compelled to pay his taxes in money or bank notes, he will satisfy the
tax by the sale of much less of that property, than in the case of a
specific tax taken from him to raise the sum. Nothing could gratify me
more than to have an opportunity of evincing to the State of
Massachusetts how much I am disposed to comply with her wishes in
every instance, that my general duty to the United States will permit.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

CIRCULAR TO THE GOVERNORS OF THE STATES.

  Office of Finance, April 15th, 1782.

  Sir,

In a circular letter, which I had the honor to address to your
Excellency, on the 9th day of last month, you were informed, that the
United States in Congress had on the 20th and 27th of February, passed
Acts for settling and finally adjusting all the public accounts; and
that those Acts would have been transmitted immediately, but that I
was induced to wait the event of some additional propositions upon
that subject, which were then before Congress.

As I now discover that those propositions meet with much greater
delay, than at that time was expected, and as it is still uncertain
when they may be decided upon, I think it improper to detain longer
the Acts that were passed, although several considerations induced a
desire to have the whole system communicated to the several Assemblies
at one and the same time.

You will observe, Sir, that it is earnestly recommended to the several
Legislatures, duly to empower and authorise the United States, in
Congress assembled, to make a final settlement of the proportions to
be borne by each respective State, of the general expenses of the war,
from the commencement thereof, until the 1st day of January, 1782. An
immediate compliance with this recommendation is of infinite
importance to the Union, as it is also to each of the States. No
determination of quotas, which Congress can at this time possibly
make, will create a difference for or against any State equal to the
expense, which will arise either by disputing its quota, or by
delaying to have it fixed. If Congress are now empowered, they must
be determined by general principles, and if the decision is delayed
ever so long, general principles must at last be resorted to, and that
after large sums shall have been expended by each of the Governments,
in attempting to ascertain their respective numbers of inhabitants,
value of property, quantity of lands, annual income, &c. The returns
on these points severally, cannot be made with certainty and
exactitude _as to the time past_, and therefore they will only afford
more ample field for disputation; disputes, which if the cause be not
removed by a compliance with the present requisition, may probably
deprive us of the blessings of peace after the war with Great Britain
shall cease.

I do not think it necessary to detail the reasons, which induced
Congress to adopt this measure, but I cannot help observing, that it
is to the want of a decision on this point, that the languor and want
of exertion of the several States are to be attributed. That fatal
assertion that each has done most, which each has made and repeated,
until it has gained but too much credit, would never have obtained a
place in the minds of men, who really love their country and cause,
had the requisitions of Congress been made annually for money, and the
quotas fixed finally at the date of the demand. The compliances of
each would in that case have determined their respective merits or
demerits; we should then have seen a competition the very reverse of
that which has for some time past prevailed; and it is not yet too
late. Let us settle the accounts of the past expenditures, adjust the
shares which each State has to pay, but let the settlement be final,
or we do nothing. And if on the requisition of men and money for this,
and for future years, the quotas be finally fixed, and the compliances
be made publicly known, we shall banish that distrust, which I am
sorry to say now exists between the States, and in place thereof
excite the noble ardor, which animated our conduct in the commencement
of the contest. The strife will then be which shall be foremost in
contributing their share to the support of that war, on the success of
which depends the political existence of all.

A desire to name commissioners of approved abilities and character,
has induced me to delay such nominations, until I can obtain
information of suitable persons from each State. I shall very soon
proceed in this business, in such manner as to me shall seem most
likely to obtain honest, impartial, and equitable settlements of the
public accounts.

  I have the honor to be, Sir, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO NATHANIEL APPLETON.

  Office of Finance, April 16th, 1782.

  Sir,

I am indebted for your letters of the 14th and 28th of last month.
Having personally a great regard for your Governor, it gives me pain
to disapprove of any of his measures, and probably he never could have
given cause for blame by any delay of the impost law, had he
considered how many widows and orphans, as well as other deserving
persons, friends to their country and its cause, are deprived of the
means of comfortable subsistence, by being kept out of that interest,
which is so justly their due, and which the revenue to be raised in
consequence of that law was intended to discharge.

I know he has a benevolent heart; I know that he is generous; and
principles of justice will always have their proper influence over
him. I beg you will remind him, that his generosity, humanity, and
justice, are all concerned in promoting the establishment of permanent
revenues, sufficient to discharge the interest of our public debt.
Nay, more, the political existence of America depends on the
accomplishment of this plan. We cannot be called a nation, nor do we
deserve to be ranked amongst the nations of the earth, until we do
justice to those, who have served and trusted us. A public debt,
supported by public revenue, will prove the strongest cement to keep
our confederacy together. Sound policy would also dictate, that we
should do justice to those who have trusted us, in order that we may
have pretensions to credit in future. We might then tax the present
race of citizens six pounds, instead of a hundred, and leave posterity
to pay the principal of a debt contracted in consequence of our
distresses and necessities, but from which they will derive ease and
emolument. I could say a great deal more on this subject, and probably
shall to the world at large, if the just measures of Congress continue
to meet with such ill judged opposition.

  I am, Dear Sir, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO B. FRANKLIN.

  Office of Finance, April 17th, 1782.

  Sir,

In consequence of the communications made to me by his Excellency, the
Chevalier de la Luzerne, since his return from Virginia, I shall
proceed to draw bills upon Mr Grand to the extent of five hundred
thousand livres monthly; so that computing the months of January,
February, March, and April, I have now to draw for two millions of
livres; as I hope and expect that the five hundred thousand livres,
already drawn, may be provided for out of the balance due on the Dutch
loan. This supply comes most seasonably, and at a more leisure moment
you will be charged with the proper acknowledgements to the Court. I
must however repeat, that the sum requested for the service of this
year will be necessary to enable me to support the campaign, and
perfect my arrangements; it will be my constant study to draw forth
our own resources and lessen our demands on France; but these things
require time.

I find it will be advantageous to draw upon Holland and Cadiz as well
as on Paris; and, therefore, I request that you will desire Mr Grand
to give immediate orders to Messrs Fizeau, Grand & Co. in Amsterdam,
to honor any bills I may draw on them, with directions to take their
reimbursement on him, for account of the United States. He must also
give similar orders to Messrs Harrison & Co. of Cadiz, and I will
furnish Mr Grand with regular advice of every bill I draw, whether on
himself or either of those houses. My bills in the whole will not
exceed the sums to which I am limited, and the commission those houses
charge will be paid by Mr Grand. I expect it will not exceed a half
per cent; respecting which I shall write to them. I am induced to draw
on those places, because the sale bills will thereby be extended, and
the price better supported.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO JOHN JAY.

  Office of Finance, April 23d, 1782.

  Dear Sir,

You have enclosed herewith, the copy of an official letter to the
Secretary of Foreign Affairs, which contains some information on
subjects that you ought to know. It has been my intention for some
time past to give you a detail of circumstances, which have happened
since the date of my former despatches; but the occurrences of every
day employ my whole time, and engross my whole attention, especially
for the last six weeks, as I have been deprived of assistance. The
first leisure moments shall be devoted to make you acquainted with the
situation of things here, and in the meantime you may indulge the
pleasing idea, that system and regularity are dispelling the clouds in
which our affairs have been enveloped.

  I am, very sincerely, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

GEORGE WASHINGTON TO ROBERT MORRIS.

  Head Quarters, April 23d, 1782.

  Sir,

I am obliged to you for the copy of the contract you have been pleased
to send me, under cover of your favor of the 15th instant. It came
very opportunely, as I have already been applied to for a
determination upon the points submitted to my decision.

I am very glad to find that an Intendent, appointed by you, is to
attend the army, and to hear and decide causes of complaint or
uneasiness, which may arise between the army and the contractors. As
we are still to gain knowledge by experience, other complaints than
those which have already occurred may yet arise; and I shall be very
happy to be relieved from those troubles as much as possible. I wish
you may be fortunate in the appointment of this person, and that he
may be with the army at an early period.

You may be assured, that I am fully persuaded of the importance and
utility of the present mode of feeding the army, and that I shall take
every occasion to impress the same ideas upon the minds of the
officers. I am pleased to find, that saving the complaints, which have
arisen in their execution, they are generally inclined to acquiesce
and promote the contracts; and you may depend, that I shall take
pleasure in giving the gentlemen concerned in our supply, every
assistance and protection in my power, consistent with that justice,
which I think is due to the army.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  GEORGE WASHINGTON.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO MAJOR GENERAL GREENE.

  Office of Finance, April 24th, 1782.

  Sir,

The several bills you found it necessary to draw upon me have been
punctually honored, and I am pleased at having been able by this means
to strengthen your credit and provide you with money, which I dare say
will, agreeably to your declaration, be expended only on occasions of
pressing necessity. Would it were in my power to make you perfectly
easy on the score of money; you would then experience the alacrity
with which my compliances would be made.

I have observed by the tenor of several of your letters on the subject
of the confederation, that your sentiments coincide entirely with my
own. The inefficacy of that instrument is daily felt, and the want of
obligatory and coercive clauses on the States will probably be
productive of the most fatal consequences. At present they content
themselves with the assertion, that each has done most, and that the
people are not able to pay taxes. Languor and inexertion are the
offspring of this doctrine, and finally the people, who are said to be
incapable of bearing taxation, actually pay double the sum, that would
be necessary in the first instance. Nothing on my part has been
omitted that I could think of, to stimulate them to exertions; and I
have given them every encouragement to support my arrangements, that
could be derived from regularity, system and economy; but all this
does not produce the effect it ought; there are in every Legislature,
characters too full of local attachments and views, to permit
sufficient attention to the general interest. I am perfectly sensible,
and was the day I became Superintendent of Finance, of the
difficulties that are to be encountered. I know full well that it
requires much time, more patience, and greater abilities than I claim,
to bring the finances to the order in which they ought to be in every
well governed country. But I apprehend this knowledge ought not to
deter either you or me from continuing the struggle with those
difficulties. If I had been deterred by their appearance from the
acceptance of my appointment, our affairs would probably have been
worse than they now are, or if you had declined to oppose the British
arms in the Southern States, Virginia might now have formed the
boundary line.

You, therefore, my Dear Sir, must continue your exertions, with or
without men, provisions, clothing, or pay, in hopes that all things
will come right at last; and I will continue mine until somebody more
competent shall be found to relieve me. The Secretary at War will say
everything that is necessary with respect to men, clothing, short
enlistments, and future operations.

With respect to the pay of the army, we have abolished the practice of
partial payments. The officers with you will be furnished monthly with
their subsistence money, and let their distance be what it may, they
shall have the same payments with those that are nearer; for I never
will consent to partial payments so long as it depends on me. How much
pay I shall be able to make, depends absolutely on the collection of
taxes in the several States. If they comply tolerably well with the
requisition of Congress for the year 1782, I will make tolerably good
pay to the army for that year, but if the States will not furnish the
means, it is impossible. The discontents of the army should in justice
be directed to the Legislatures of those States, which neglect or
delay to pay their quotas of the continental tax, and it shall be
clearly known in future which they are.

  I am, Sir, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA.

  Office of Finance, April 27th, 1782.

  Sir,

In a letter from the Minister Plenipotentiary of France, of the 22d
instant, is the following paragraph.

"His Majesty having consented to furnish the State of Virginia with
arms, clothing, and munitions, for a sum, with the amount of which I
am unacquainted, the Minister desires that Virginia would render an
account of the same to the United States, and that you would close the
business, and the amount which has been advanced by France to
Virginia, shall be deducted from the sums loaned to the United
States."

My answer of this date is as follows.

"With respect to the supplies for the State of Virginia, I have
already had the honor of mentioning to your Excellency, that I could
by no means consider purchases made for any particular State in the
Union, as properly chargeable to the United States. This was in a
letter of the 26th of November last, in consequence of your
application relating both to Maryland and Virginia. If Dr Franklin has
asked the supplies on the credit of the United States, they will, of
course be brought to their account. But I cannot conceive, that this
has been done by him, as I do not know of any orders to do so from the
Congress. Your Excellency will, I am confident, see with me the
impropriety of listening to the applications made by separate States,
and be convinced how much it is the duty of those to whom the
administration is committed, to oppose these appearances of disunion
in our councils; appearances, which, however unfounded, are not the
less injurious. The State of Virginia, is, as you well know, far from
being singular in her applications abroad for separate aid, and your
Excellency is better informed than almost any other, of the evils
which have resulted from them. I do not mention this with a view to
blame those who made, or those who granted the requests, alluded to.
On the contrary, it gives me pleasure to find, that in some instances
among so many, a fruitless recourse has not been had to the purses of
individuals. As there is a hope that these irregularities may no
longer take place, I will not absolutely decide, and must pray that
this question be for the present left open; as I am extremely desirous
not to injure the operations or credit of any particular State, while
I pursue the road marked out by public duties. I shall transmit to the
government of Virginia that part of our letter, which relates to this
object."

I presume that it will be unnecessary to remark to your Excellency,
how incapable the United States are of assuming burdens of debt, while
so little attention is paid to put the public treasury in a situation
to defray the necessary expenses of the current service. I must pray
to be furnished with an exact account, as soon as may be, of the sum
due by the State of Virginia to the Court of France, and of the funds
which the State propose to apply in discharge of it; in order that I
may, if possible, take such measures as may preserve her credit, and
not be injurious to the United States. It becomes my duty, Sir, on
this occasion, to mention further the sum of sixtysix thousand eight
hundred and fiftythree livres, which were expended by Mr Lee in the
purchase of supplies for your State; which were acknowledged by a
certificate of the 13th of March, 1780, with a promise to account.

Your letter of the 28th of March last has been received some time ago.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

  Office of Finance, April 27th, 1782.

  Sir,

His Excellency the Minister of France having informed me on the part
of his Court, that no extraordinary sums will be paid to the Ministers
of the United States in Europe, I must request that you will furnish
me with an account of the several salaries payable to the foreign
Ministers and their Secretaries; and I will make out bills in your
favor on the Banker of the United States in Paris, for the last
quarter, commencing with the present year. I must, at the same time,
pray you will require of those gentlemen, the state of their several
accounts with the public for salaries, that the whole may be adjusted,
and all future expenses of that sort be classed under the proper head
of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE GOVERNOR OF MARYLAND.

  Office of Finance, April 30th 1782.

  Sir,

I had the honor to receive your Excellency's letter, dated In Council,
Annapolis, April, 1782, previous to which I had in mine of the 15th
instant, transmitted the Acts of Congress, which you mention. I hope
they will meet the wishes of your Excellency and of the State, so that
a speedy compliance with them may forward the great business they are
formed to accomplish.

I am much obliged by your Excellency's observation, as to the
propriety of stating how much money is to be expended. The estimates
of the current year were formed by Congress; the accuracy of them I
cannot answer for, but rather incline to think they will fall short of
the object proposed. The loose manner in which business has formerly
been conducted, did indeed render it impracticable to frame very
precise estimates. That those adopted are not exorbitant, will easily
be seen, by comparing the sum total with the expenditure of former
years. It is my intention to show by the exhibition of clear accounts,
how the public money intrusted to me has been expended. This shall be
done publicly, and then estimates formed agreeably so such accounts
will be clearly understood, and convey that satisfaction to the mind
of every candid man, which I am desirous of imparting.

Your Excellency will easily perceive, that the primary step must be to
grant money, and the accounting for it a secondary one. I presume that
by the American Constitution, the determination on sums to be
appropriated must be vested in the supreme representative, and I hope
there is so much confidence in the wisdom and integrity of that body,
as to believe that they do not ask for sums which are unnecessary.

Before I close this letter I will pray leave to repeat to your
Excellency a sentiment often expressed before, that I despise every
scheme or system, which must depend for its success on mystery or
concealment, and am convinced that our credit will never be fully
established, until all our public affairs are open to the public eye.
I ardently long for the arrival of that moment, when I may lay a state
of them before the world, in an account of the moneys received and the
moneys expended, with the debts we owe, and the produce of the funds
assigned for the payment of them. Your Excellency is not a stranger to
many of the reasons why such an account cannot now be framed, and
will, I doubt not, sincerely co-operate with me in removing them.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO JOHN WENDELL.

  Office of Finance, May 1st, 1782.

  Sir,

I have been duly honored with yours of the 7th and 15th of April. From
what you propose with respect to the establishment of a bank in New
Hampshire, as well as from the ideas which you say are entertained of
the increase of my private fortune, I am convinced that you and other
gentlemen are alike mistaken as to the nature of the National Bank,
and my official connexions and transactions. The confidence you have
been pleased to repose in me, and your communication of sentiment as
to public affairs, require of me, that I I should give such
explanation of both, as the multiplicity of objects, which engross my
attention will permit.

The bank is a mere thing, in which any man may be interested, who
chooses to purchase stock. Personally I have no other concern in it,
than any other gentleman may have, who pleases to invest his property
in it. The government have nothing to do with the bank, except merely
to prevent the Directors, should they be so inclined, from extending
their operations in a manner disproportionate to their capital,
thereby endangering their credit. Any aid which the government derives
from the bank is by lodging proper securities with it, and borrowing
money for short periods on the discount of interest at the rate of six
per cent, which is receiving ninetynine and paying a hundred at the
end of two months. The moneys so borrowed are punctually repaid.

By accepting the office I now hold I was obliged to neglect my own
private affairs. I have made no speculation in consequence of my
office, and instead of being enriched I am poorer this day, than I was
a year ago.

You will, from what I have said, see two sufficient reasons against
adopting the plan you have proposed. That I have not money, and that I
have totally quitted commerce and commercial projects, to attach
myself wholly to a business which requires my whole attention. A
principal object of my last letter was to acquaint you with this
circumstance, and by what I have there said I meant to acquaint you
also with the manner of doing business at the bank. If, for instance,
you draw a bill in favor of your factor here on a merchant of
reputation, payable at sixty days' sight, and that merchant accepts
the bill, your factor can get ninety dollars for every hundred of the
bill by discounting it at the bank, and with that money can purchase
the articles you direct; but you must then be careful to make due
remittances to the merchant on whom you draw. If by connecting
yourself in this manner with any gentleman in trade here you can
derive any benefit, it will afford me a very sensible pleasure, but as
to myself, I must again repeat, that I have quitted trade; and I will
add, that the closing my past dealings, which is now the only private
object of my attention, requires time, which I cannot spare for the
purpose; and of consequence it is, with everything else of a private
nature, very much neglected, to my very great disadvantage.

  I am, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

REPORT TO CONGRESS ON A MEMORIAL OF THE MERCHANTS OF PHILADELPHIA.

  Office of Finance, May 4th, 1782.

The Superintendent of the Finance of the United States, to whom was
referred the report of a committee on a memorial of the merchants of
Philadelphia, and motion thereon, begs leave to report,

That the navy of the United States is not in a situation to afford
protection to their commerce, nor can it be rendered equal to that
object for some considerable time, even if the necessary funds could
be procured. That there remains no mode of obtaining such protection,
unless from the allies of the United States, or the powers engaged
with them in war against Great Britain.

That the commerce of these States is of such importance, that it is
not improbable the Court of France would afford permanent protection
if in their power; and that in the interim some relief may, perhaps,
be obtained from the fleets in the West Indies.

The following resolution therefore is submitted; That the
Superintendent of Finance prepare a statement of the commerce of the
United States, together with a plan for the protection thereof.

That the Secretary of Foreign Affairs communicate the same to the
Minister of his Most Christian Majesty, and cause application to be
thereupon made by the Minister of these States to the Court of
Versailles; and that the Superintendent, as Agent of Marine, make
application on the same subject to the Commanders of the fleets of
France and Spain in the West Indies.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, May 8th, 1782.

  Sir,

His Excellency, the Minister of France, in a late letter to me has
officially declared, that in future no sums will be paid to the
Ministers of the United States in Europe by his Court. It becomes
necessary, therefore, to make provision for their support here. I
immediately applied to the Minister of Foreign Affairs for an account
of the annual salaries payable to his Department. I have received it
this day, and do myself the honor to enclose a copy. I must take the
liberty to observe, that the sum is very large, and such as cannot be
advanced without greatly retrenching from essential services, at least
in the present moment. It will, I humbly conceive, be necessary that
arrangements should be taken, so that in future all such salaries as
are payable to foreign Ministers be advanced in America, and
negotiated by their respective Agents. This will be honorable to the
United States, and I should suppose more agreeable to the gentlemen
concerned.

The Minister of France has also observed, that the accounts between
his Most Christian Majesty and the United States having become very
important, by the greatness of the sums advanced and lent, it is
indispensable that measures be taken to adjust them, and to avoid that
confusion, which would be introduced by a longer delay. And in
consequence, he has desired that Congress would transmit to Dr
Franklin full power finally to settle those accounts, and in the name
of the United States to execute the proper obligations for securing
the debt and fixing the periods of payment. To this he adds, that it
is not expected Congress can do anything towards payment during the
war, but that they will fix the several epochas at which they shall be
made.

To a proposition so reasonable, there will, I presume, be no
objection. The solidity of the observation on which it is founded
cannot be called in question, and I am induced by it to extend the
remark a little further. The great sums which remain unsettled and
undetermined between the French Court and the United States are alike
unsettled between the latter and their public servants. How the
accounts may stand I know not, but it is my particular duty to
observe, that there appears to have been but little received for the
great sums, which have been expended, and therefore it is highly
necessary, that the public accounts of these States with their
servants in Europe be also settled. It shall be my study in future to
prevent the existence of such accounts, but their magnitude as well as
other circumstances, makes me extremely solicitous to have them
adjusted.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

CIRCULAR TO THE GOVERNORS OF THE STATES

  Office of Finance, May 9th, 1782.

  Sir,

I do myself the honor to enclose you copies of three accounts, which I
have this day received from the Controller of the Treasury of the
United States. Each State will from these accounts perceive what still
remains for it to do in consequence of the resolutions of Congress, of
the 18th of March, 1780.

As this is a circular letter, the observations I make shall be
general, and such as result from a general view of the object. The
particular application of them, dependent on local circumstances, will
be made by those to whom such circumstances apply. The resolutions of
the 18th of March, 1780, were in part directed towards the redemption
of the old Continental money, and the opinions which may have been
formed as to the issuing of a new paper medium, the paying of interest
upon it, and the connexion with relation to the old, are immaterial
under the present point of view.

Nothing can be more clear and simple than this, that the bills issued
by Congress for support of the war should be redeemed by taxes. This
was one capital object of the resolutions, and as to the
apportionment, I am to presume it was as perfect as the fluctuating
nature of human affairs will permit, and more especially so, when the
few lights, which could the obtained, and the various circumstances of
the several States, are compared with the very variable object of
depreciated paper, which was then in contemplation. But, admitting for
argument's sake, that the apportionment was not strictly right; this
must also be admitted, that to redeem the paper was called for by
principles both of reason and justice. It was, therefore, a duty of
the several States to comply with the requisitions of their sovereign
representative. For any inequalities, either actually existing, or
which a subsequent change of circumstances might produce, would admit
of a remedy, but a neglect of the resolutions had the inevitable
consequence of injuring the public credit, weakening the public
operations, and risking our very existence as a people.

But however strong the motives, which should have prompted a
compliance, it will not be disputed that some of the States may have
been in circumstances not to admit of the exertion, and whether this
incapacity has arisen from exterior violences, or the defects of
internal polity, or both, is in one sense immaterial, because the
eventual consequence is the same. Yet, though charity may for a time
overlook these defects, it becomes the duty of each State to apply a
remedy, if the evil be in its nature remediable; and should they
neglect what is in their power, they must expect complaints from
Congress, and the servants of Congress from the other States, and from
their own bosoms the admonitions of conscience, which will become more
poignant from every moment's delay.

A general view of the accounts now transmitted, will show at a single
glance, that large sums of the old paper still remain to be provided
for, and it might, perhaps, have been right in Congress to have fixed
an ultimate day of redemption for the whole, and charged what remained
due after that day at forty for one in specie to every deficient
State. This, I say, might perhaps have been right, if the ravages of
war and other local circumstances had not required attention and
forbearance as to some, if not all. But it cannot be denied, that many
are now in a capacity to call in by taxes their quota of this paper.
And those who are, should consider what must be the feelings of men,
who hold it on the faith of so many promises, such repeated
requisitions, and such sacred bonds of national faith and honor. What
must be their feelings to find those promises violated, those
requisitions neglected, and that faith disregarded? Can it be
expected, that while such flagrant instances of national neglect, to
call it by no harsher name, are in the view of almost every citizen,
we can possibly establish the fair reputation so essential to public
credit?

The plea of inability is not to be admitted, excepting, as I have
already observed, in some very particular circumstances. Considering
our country in a general point of view, this paper laying dead is
already lost, and the only question is, whether that loss shall be
borne by the whole people or only a part of them. Those who parted
with it have received the value, and it would be a flagrant
injustice, that the whole tax for redeeming it should fall on those
who have received it. Neither can it be supposed, that if any were
inclined to promote such injustice it would be borne by the sufferers.
And whether these sufferers are individuals or States, the suffering
is the same; the sentiment, therefore, must be the same, and so will
the conduct be which that sentiment shall dictate.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, May 10th, 1782.

  Sir,

In consequence of the Act of Congress of the 4th instant, I do myself
the honor to enclose a state of the American commerce, with a plan for
protecting it. I shall, in obedience to the orders of Congress,
transmit a copy of this paper to the commander of his Most Christian
Majesty's fleet in the West Indies, and make the application which I
am directed to him, and to the commander of the fleet of Spain. I take
the liberty to suggest for the consideration of Congress, whether any
application on this subject to the Court of France would not go with
propriety through the Office of Foreign Affairs.

  With perfect respect, I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.[5]

  [5] _May 13th_: This day the Chevalier de la Luzerne had a public
  audience of Congress, when he announced the birth of the Dauphin
  of France. I attended at the ceremony, being admitted into the
  Congress hall within the bar, and I took my place next to the
  members of Congress, the left of the President, the Minister of
  Foreign Affairs and the Minister of War next to me. We stood
  during the whole ceremony, as well also the President and Council
  of the State of Pennsylvania. When the ceremony was ended, Mr
  Livingston, General Lincoln, Mr Gouverneur Morris and myself, went
  to his Excellency, the Minister of France, to pay our compliments.
  Afterwards we repaired to the City Tavern to an entertainment
  ordered by Congress, thence to an exhibition of fireworks at the
  State House, and then to an entertainment given by the Secretary
  of Foreign Affairs. _Diary._

       *       *       *       *       *

CIRCULAR TO THE GOVERNORS OF THE STATES.

  Office of Finance, May 16th, 1782.

  Sir,

I have heretofore taken occasion to observe, that the former
expenditures of the United States were at a medium rate of twenty
millions of dollars annually, for the support of the war. At the
present moment, while laboring under a large debt, only eight millions
have been asked for. It is evident, therefore, that the sum now
required is as little as can possibly answer the purpose. I venture to
say that it is not enough. According to the estimates for the year
1782, which were laid before Congress by the late Board of War, the
present establishment of the army would require for pay, exclusive of
the half pay, near three millions and a half, for rations near two
millions and a half, for clothing, about twelve hundred thousand, for
forage above three hundred thousand, for the Quarter Master's
department, (exclusive of articles on hand) above eight hundred
thousand, for military stores (exclusive of articles on hand) near two
hundred thousand, for the hospitals (exclusive of medicine and also of
sundry stores on hand) above one hundred thousand.

If to all these be added the sum of four hundred thousand for the
Departments of the Pay Office, Commissary of Prisoners, and the
various other contingencies of service, which naturally and
necessarily arise, without mentioning the losses, which happen in war,
here will be an aggregate amount of nine millions, and in this sum
nothing is estimated for the interest of our debts, for the Marine,
and for the Civil List, and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Of the various expenditures, much was to be provided immediately. The
heavy article of clothing, for instance, was indispensable. Many
things were to be provided early, in order that the army might
operate, and the subsistence is to be paid for regularly and
constantly. Yet the States have not been asked for any money before
the 1st day of April; and I appeal to them all, whether the supplies
of money they have afforded me for the last year were such as would
enable me to provide for the present.

A three months' expenditure was permitted by Congress to elapse,
before the first payment of two millions was asked from the States;
but what have they done? While I write this letter near two months
more are gone forever, and a dishonorable neglect endangers our
country. Little local objects have postponed those measures, which are
essential to our existence, so that the most fatal consequences are
now suspended but by a thread. Should they fall on our heads, this
solemn protest shall point to the real cause of our calamities. I
write, Sir, to apprize you of the public danger, and to tell you I
shall endeavor to fulfil engagements, which I have entered into
already, that I may quit my station like an honest man. But I will
make no new engagements, so that the public service must necessarily
stand still. What the consequences may be I know not, but the fault is
in the States. They have not complied with the requisitions of
Congress. They have not enabled me to go on. They have not given me
one shilling for the service of the year 1782, excepting only the
State of New Jersey, from which I received five thousand five hundred
dollars, a few days ago, and this is all that has come to my hands out
of two millions, which were asked for.

Now, Sir, should the army disband, and should scenes of distress and
horror be reiterated and accumulated, I again repeat, that I am
guiltless; the fault is in the States; they have been deaf to the
calls of Congress, to the clamors of the public creditors, to the just
demands of a suffering army, and even to the reproaches of the enemy,
who scoffingly declare, that the American army is fed, paid, and
clothed by France. That assertion, so dishonorable to America, was
true, but the kindness of France has its bounds, and our army, unfed,
unpaid, and unclothed, will have to subsist itself, or disband itself.

This language may appear extraordinary, but at a future day, when my
transactions shall be laid bare to public view, it will be justified.
This language may not consist with the ideas of dignity, which some
men entertain. But, Sir, dignity is in duty, and in virtue, not in the
sound of swelling expressions Congress may dismiss their servants, and
the States may dismiss their Congress, but it is by rectitude alone,
that man can be respectable. I have early declared our situation, as
far as prudence would permit, and I am now compelled to transgress the
bounds of prudence, by being forced to declare, that unless vigorous
exertions are made to put money into the treasury, we must be ruined.
I have borne with delays and disappointments as long as I could, and
nothing but hard necessity would have wrung from me the sentiments,
which I have now expressed.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, May 17th, 1782.

  Sir,

I do myself the honor to enclose to your Excellency the copy of a
circular letter, which I have written to the several States. The
situation which I find myself is extremely delicate. The habitual
inattention of the States has reduced us to the brink of ruin, and I
cannot see a probability of relief from any of them. I rather perceive
a disposition to take money from the public treasury, than to place
any in it. A variety of causes, which Congress are, I presume
acquainted with, prevents the collection of taxes, and delays the
payment of them, even after they are collected. In many States they
are not laid. I must not conceal from Congress my apprehensions, that
the idle hopes entertained from the changes of administration in
Britain will increase that negligence, which is but too prevalent
throughout the United States.

I might add many reasons, why a call should be made in the present
critical moment, and it is evident, that such a call should be couched
in terms so pressing, as to stimulate if possible their sluggishness
into exertion. But on the other hand, it is evident that if a faithful
representation of our distressed circumstances should fall into
improper hands, it would be productive of the most dangerous
consequences. And when the number of our internal enemies, and the
designs of our external ones are considered, there can be little
doubt, that such a letter would be handed about soon after its arrival
for the illicit purposes of both. At the same time, however, it must
be considered, that if any fatal consequences should ensue from the
continued negligence of the States, attempts will be made to justify
it on the principle, that they were not seasonably apprized of their
danger.

I am sure I need not take up more of your time, Sir, in showing the
difficulties with which on the present occasion I am surrounded. Urged
by them I must entreat the opinion of Congress, whether the letter in
question be retained or transmitted. I take the liberty further to
remark, Sir, that the declaration contained in it, purporting any
intention not to make new engagements, is short of what I am under the
necessity of doing, for the public departments are now absolutely at a
stand for the want of money, and many things already commenced I must
desist from. This cannot be wondered at, when it is considered that
near five months of the present year have elapsed without my having
received anything on account of its expenditures, except the trifling
sum of five thousand five hundred dollars mentioned in the enclosed
letter, and that sum, calculating our expenses at eight millions
annually, is about _one fourth of what is necessary to support us for
a single day_.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS

       *       *       *       *       *

TO B. FRANKLIN.

  Office of Finance, May 17th, 1782

  Sir,

In a letter which I had the honor to write to your Excellency on the
17th of last month, I mentioned the communications of the Minister of
France here, by which I was empowered to draw to the amount of six
millions in monthly instalments of half a million each. He has since
informed me, that no moneys will be paid by his Court except on my
draft. It is in consequence of this, that I have drawn the bills
contained in the enclosed letter to Mr Grand, which is left open for
your perusal. Your Excellency will be pleased to arrange this matter
with Mr Grand, so as best to answer the purposes intended. You will
also be pleased, Sir, to pay over to Mr Grand on my account such
moneys belonging to the United States as may be in Europe, distinct
from those to be advanced by the Court for the current year.

I am extremely desirous of having a state of these matters so as to
know what dependence can be made on the funds, which are at our
command. You would, therefore, confer upon me a very particular
obligation by transmitting the best statement in your power. I
mentioned to your Excellency in a former letter, that I would write to
you on the subject of your salary, more particularly than I then did,
but I have since spoken and written to Mr Livingston with relation to
those matters, and he will, I expect, write to you and to all our
foreign Ministers very fully.

We have not yet heard anything of the Alliance, and therefore
conclude, that she must have been delayed in Europe. I hope this may
have been the case, for if she sailed on the 1st of March, according
to my orders, she must have met with some unfortunate accident. I hope
soon to hear from your Excellency. Indeed I persuade myself, that in
the very critical situation of affairs at present, we cannot be long
without receiving very important intelligence.

I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO MR GRAND.

  Office of Finance, May 17th, 1782.

  Sir,

In my letters of the 28th of March, and 8th of April, I informed you
of my drafts on you to the amount of five hundred thousand livres. I
have since that time drawn sundry other bills, all of which you have
been duly advised of, or will be so by this conveyance.

I am now to inform you, that his Excellency, the Minister of France,
has given me assurances on the part of his Court, that five hundred
thousand livres per month, during the year 1782, will be paid on my
drafts, making in the whole six millions. He has also suggested to me
the expedient of drawing twelve sets of exchange on Dr Franklin, our
Minister Plenipotentiary, in favor of my banker, so that the money may
be in his hands monthly at my order. In consequence therof, I now
enclose to you twelve bills of exchange on Dr Franklin, all at thirty
days' sight, and each for half a million. When these bills arrive you
will present so many of them for acceptance, as that at the end of the
thirty days the amount shall be equal to the monthly payments above
mentioned. As for instance, if these bills should arrive in July, you
will present seven of them for acceptance, because by the time the
thirty days have elapsed there will be due so many of those monthly
payments. But in this, as well as in other matters of arrangement with
the Court, you will take the advice of Dr Franklin and govern yourself
accordingly.

The several bills which I draw on you I will regularly inform you of.
After the first month has elapsed you will present another bill for
acceptance, and so on monthly, presenting each month a bill. I write
also by this conveyance to Dr Franklin to pay on my account all the
moneys belonging to the United States in Europe, which may be in his
possession.

I wrote to Dr Franklin on the 17th of April to inform you, that I
should draw on Messrs Fizeau, Grand & Co. at Amsterdam, and on Messrs
Harrison & Co. at Cadiz, desiring that you would direct those houses
to honor my bills, and take their reimbursement on you, which I now
confirm. I expect that the five hundred thousand livres which are
mentioned in my letters of the 28th of March, and 8th of April, will
be paid out of moneys, which were already in Europe; and indeed, that
still farther sums were there belonging to the United States, besides
the monthly payments to be made by the Court as above mentioned. At
any rate you will be in cash to pay all the bills which I have drawn
or shall draw. You will take care to transmit me a state of your
accounts by every opportunity that I may be thereby directed in my
operations.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO MR GRAND.

  Office of Finance, May 18th, 1782.

  Sir,

Our enemies being at length convinced by fatal experience, that it is
in vain to effect the conquest of America, have now changed the mode
of attack, and strike at our commerce and our resources. I have no
doubt, but that eventually they will be foiled in this, as in every
other attempt they have made, but in the interim between their first
effort and the period which must elapse, in preparations to obviate
this plan, we have suffered and must suffer considerably.

The commerce of this country has sustained no severer blow than has
been hitherto felt, and the effects of it materially influence my
operations. The merchants deprived of their property cannot command
money, and of consequence cannot pay bills. I am, therefore, unable to
command by drafts the money in your hands. My bills do not yet amount
to a million of livres, and will not I believe exceed that sum when
this letter goes away. These bills will not come to you before the
month of July, and the greater part will not be payable until the end
of September, and even later; but you will be possessed of three
millions and a half by the first of July, even if you shall have
received nothing from Dr Franklin on the old accounts.

I am therefore to request that you will make three shipments of one
hundred thousand crowns each, or six hundred thousand livres, making
in the whole eighteen hundred thousand livres. I wish it to be sent by
three different conveyances, for the sake of greater safety, unless
some very important convoy should offer, in which case I desire an
immediate shipment of twelve hundred thousand livres. I wish also,
that the money be invested if possible in gold, because four crowns
are worth here only four hundred pence, but a louis is worth four
hundred and fourteen pence, being a difference of three and a half per
cent. But that you may know the best mode of investing it, I have to
inform you, that English guineas are worth four hundred and twenty
pence, half johannas seven hundred and twenty pence, moidores five
hundred and forty pence, and Spanish pistoles three hundred and
thirtysix pence.

I shall leave this letter open for the inspection of Dr Franklin, to
whom I shall enclose it, and I shall request him to obtain for and
communicate to you such information from the Court as may be necessary
for your direction in this business. I wish that the shipments of
money may if possible be on board of the same vessels in which the
money shall be sent for the use of the French army or navy here. I
wrote to you on the 3d of December last, requesting you to pay to
Messrs Couteulx & Co. for account of John Ross two hundred thousand
livres, and for account of William Bingham one hundred thousand
livres, to John Holker for account of John Holker fils; conceiving
that you would be in cash for the purpose, from the loan opened in
Holland for our use.

I hope before this reaches you, that those sums will have been paid;
and you will observe it is my wish, that as well those as the bills
mentioned in my letters of the 9th and 28th of March, should be paid
out of that loan, but if that cannot be done, you will then make
payment from any other moneys which may be in your hands.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO MESSRS LE COUTEULX & CO.[6]

  Office of Finance, May 18th, 1782.

  Gentlemen,

I pray that you will receive my sincere thanks for the accurate and
punctual manner in which you have performed the business of the United
States, which I have placed in your hands, and be assured that it
shall always command my attention. I should have lodged in your hands
very considerable sums on their account, subject to my disposition,
but Dr Franklin having recommended to me in a very particular manner
Mr Grand, whom he had formerly employed, not only for his punctuality
as a banker, but also for his zeal in the American cause, which he had
early and warmly espoused, and evidenced his attachment by liberal
advances of money on the credit of their commissioners, before the
Court had acknowledged them as a nation, I thought it my duty to
employ him. But I think it more than probable, I shall have occasion
for another banker, on particular occasions and negotiations, and I
shall take the liberty in every such instance to employ you,
gentlemen, not in the least doubting a continuance of your punctuality
and attention.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

  [6] _May 20th._ This evening I met Mr Madison, Governor Rutledge,
  Mr Clymer, Mr Lovell, and Mr Root, the Committee of Congress
  appointed to confer with me on the subject of my letter to
  Congress of the 17th instant, enclosing an intended circular
  letter to the States. I laid before these gentlemen a true picture
  of our present situation, but after much conversation, they
  appeared to be disinclined to sending the circular letter, and I
  proposed sending suitable persons to the several States, to make
  proper representations to the Executives and Legislatures, which
  they seemed to prefer, and on which they are to consult and report
  tomorrow morning. _Diary._

       *       *       *       *       *

TO B. FRANKLIN.

  Office of Finance, May 23d, 1782.

  Sir,

The Minister has been so kind as to delay his express, until I could
write this letter. You mention in yours of the 4th of March, that on
Friday (then) last, the Minister informed you that we should have six
millions, paid quarterly, and that you should now be able to face the
loan office and other bills, and your acceptances _in favor of M. de
Beaumarchais_.

You are not unacquainted with the disputes which have subsisted with
respect to M. de Beaumarchais' demand. Whether or not the moneys were
originally advanced to him by the Court, is not at present to be
brought into question by me, because it involves many things, which
are better adjusted by the Court themselves, than by any
communications to or with others. I am only to observe, that if the
very considerable sum, which is now payable to that gentleman forms a
deduction from the pecuniary aid afforded us, the remainder will be
extremely incompetent to the purposes intended by it. There can be no
doubt that your acceptances must be paid, but I have always expected
that you would have been enabled to do it by a special grant for that
purpose, or by an assumption of the payment on the part of the Court.
I shall not enter into the mode of arranging this business, but I must
not refrain from observing, that the great object now is to prosecute
the war, that the articles which may have been furnished for the sum
payable to M. de Beaumarchais must long since have been applied and
expended, that our necessities now are as pressing as they possibly
can be, and that everything which adds to their weight is extremely
distressful.

You will observe, Sir, that I have already made my dispositions as to
the six millions granted for the current year. I shall go on to draw
as occasion offers, for all the moneys which may be in Mr Grand's
possession, making allowance for the shipments of money, directed in
my letters to him. If, therefore, any part of this sum should be
otherwise disposed of, it might produce the most dangerous
consequences.

  With respect and esteem, I am, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, May 23d, 1782.

  Sir,

I do myself the honor to enclose to your Excellency copies of letters,
the former from Dr Franklin to me of the 4th of March, and the latter
from the Count de Vergennes to him of the 6th of February. With these,
I send the best sketch I have been able to form of the state of the
public moneys; from which Congress will perceive that every sou we
can command during the year 1782 is already anticipated. They will
perceive that the pecuniary supplies of 1781 and 1782 amount, after
deducting the expenses on the loan, to twentyfive and a half millions
of livres, and that there are, (including the two million two hundred
thousand livres, appropriated to the interest of Loan Office
certificates) ten millions, besides the sum expended in Holland, which
have already passed and are now passing through the hands of Dr
Franklin, and of which not a livre has been, or ever will be, applied
to the current service.

If to this be added above two millions and a half due on Beaumarchais'
bills, we shall have an amount of about twelve and a half millions,
being at least one half of all the moneys obtained abroad for the
service of the year 1781 and 1782. And we shall find, that this
greater half is totally consumed in paying the principal of some, and
the interest of other debts, which have been contracted before that
period. I shall make no further comments on these things. They are
before Congress, and will speak for themselves. I have only to lament,
that the situation to which our affairs have been reduced is such,
that the greatest exertion which our ally can make in our favor is
barely sufficient to satisfy present engagements, and that the
knowledge of such aid only confirms the inattention of our own
citizens to those distressing circumstances which it does not relieve.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, May 27th, 1782.

  Sir,

I do myself the honor to enclose certain information, which I have
just received in a letter from the Minister of France. I take this
occasion to mention, that it is some time since M. de la Luzerne
communicated to me the grant of his Court, which was made in the month
of December last. I think it my duty to add the persuasion I have,
that this grant was made on the Minister's representations, and I
cannot omit testifying to Congress my grateful sense of his conduct,
and my conviction, that his endeavors have not been wanting still
further to promote the interests of the United States.

I should earlier have communicated my intelligence of the loan in
question, but I wished to receive the details, which would enable me
to judge how much of it was at my disposition. I confess that I did
not expect they would have been so unfavorable. I was restrained also
by an apprehension, that the exertions of the States would relax, when
they should learn that any foreign aid could be obtained; and the
situation of our commerce was such, that if I had been enabled to draw
for much larger sums, it would have been of no avail, as I could not
have got money for the bills.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Information mentioned in the above Letter._

The King never promised any subsidy to the United States, and all the
sums which they have received from him have been lent or freely
given. All those, which have been advanced after the 6th of February,
1778, are to be repaid by the United States except the six millions
given last year. All the rest, whether furnished in money or in value,
is a debt, which they have contracted with his Majesty.

These advances have been made at the following periods, and are
payable with interest, conformably to the acknowledgements and
obligations of Dr Franklin.

                                                Livres.
  In 1778,                                     3,000,000
  In 1779,                                     1,000,000
  In 1780,                                     4,000,000
  In 1781,                                    10,000,000
                                              ----------
                                       Total, 18,000,000

  From this sum must be taken the
  gratuitous subsidy granted last year of      6,000,000
                                              ----------
                                      Remains 12,000,000

  To this must be added, 1st the
  produce of the loan in Holland,             10,000,000

  2dly, The loan made by his Majesty for the
  service of the current year,                 6,000,000
                                               ---------

  Total of the capital of the debt contracted
  by the United States with his
  Majesty,                                    28,000,000

I am ordered, Sir, to renew to you the demand, which I had the honor
to make before, to the purport that Congress should authorise Dr
Franklin to consolidate the principal and interest of that debt, by an
obligation in proper form. You are so firmly resolved, Sir, to
preserve the order you have introduced into your department, that it
would be superfluous to reiterate to you the assurance, that his
Majesty will under no pretext exceed the sum of six millions, which he
has determined to advance to the United States for the current year.
This exactness, which is in all cases indispensable, has become still
more so now, that the enemy seem determined to adopt a system, which
obliges us to turn the greatest part of our resources to a marine. I
am persuaded, Sir, that you can have no doubt as to the interest of
Loan Office certificates, and that you will not consider it as being
at our expense, seeing that no engagement of that sort has ever been
taken by us. If bills for this interest should continue to be
forwarded, those who draw must provide for the payment of them.

  LUZERNE.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO B. FRANKLIN.

  Office of Finance, May 29th, 1782.

  Dear Sir,

I do myself the honor to enclose you copies of two Acts of Congress,
one of the 5th of June, and the other of the 18th of June, 1779,
relating to the affairs of M. de Beaumarchais.

You will observe, Sir, that you were authorised to pledge the faith of
the United States to the Court of Versailles for obtaining money or
credit to honor the drafts on you. There is a mysteriousness in this
transaction arising from the very nature of it, which will not admit
of explanation here, neither can you go so fully into an explanation
with the Court. M. de Beaumarchais certainly had not funds of his own
to make such considerable expenditures; neither is there any reason to
believe that he had credit. If the Court advanced money it must be a
secret; but there would be no difficulty in giving an order in your
favor for the sum necessary to pay those bills, and, therefore,
measures might be taken to obtain from him the reimbursement of any
sums he might have received. Consequently, there would be no actual
advance of money made, as the whole might be managed by the passing of
proper receipts from you to the Court, from M. de Beaumarchais to you,
and from the Court to him.

I wish that you would apply on this subject and get it adjusted. The
diverting from a loan, for the service of the current year, so
considerable a part as that due to M. de Beaumarchais, will defeat the
object for which it was granted. It ought not, therefore, to be done
if possible to be avoided.

  With respect and esteem, I am, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO DANIEL CLARKE.

  Office of Finance, May 30th, 1782.

  Sir.

I received your letters of the 7th, 9th, 14th, 18th, and 21st of May.
The resolutions of the House of Delegates, passed on the 20th, have
been submitted to Congress, and they have referred the matter to Mr
Rutledge, and Mr Clymer, two of their members, who are going on
special business to the southward. Your letters contain a great many
particulars, which I shall briefly enumerate, and take notice of;
many of them are of a private and personal nature, and therefore ought
not in any case to have influenced the determinations on a matter of
great public importance. I should pay no attention to them, if I were
not persuaded, that the design is not so much to injure me, as to
involve the national affairs committed to me.

I find there are made against me personally, the following charges.

1st. That I have robbed the Eastern States of their specie.

2dly. That I am partial to Pennsylvania, being commercially connected
with half the merchants of Philadelphia.

3dly. That I am partial to the disaffected.

4thly. That I have established a bank for sinister purposes.

5thly. That my plan and that of Pennsylvania, are to keep Virginia
poor, and

6thly. That with the Secretary of Congress and Mr Coffin I am engaged
in speculation.

As to the first point, I believe the Eastern States have a very
different opinion of the matter, although there may be one or two
persons in some part of those States, who from their great latitude of
conscience, would not scruple to assert what they know to be false.
Those who make and respect such assertions, must be content to pass
for the authors and inventors of untruths, with design to injure the
public service and sow dissensions among the States. I have not
received from the Eastern States, any more than from the Southern
States, _one shilling of specie_, since I was appointed to my present
office, although I have sent very considerable sums from hence, both
eastward and southward, as the exigencies of the service required.

As to the second point, that I am commercially concerned with half the
merchants of Philadelphia, if that were as true as it is false, the
conclusion, that I am partial to Pennsylvania would by no means
follow. A merchant, as such, can be attached particularly to no
country. His mere place of residence, is as merchant perfectly
accidental, and it would be just as reasonable to conclude, that an
American residing at L'Orient, and trading to China, must be partial
to the French and Chinese. I know that this story of my partiality to
Pennsylvania has been very assiduously circulated, and has obtained an
extensive currency. It was supposed that I must be partial to
Pennsylvania, because I reside in it. The assertion therefore was
made, and the contracts I had entered into were brought as the
evidence to support it. I have received from Pennsylvania, for the
service of the last year, one hundred and eighty thousand dollars,
besides a warrant on their treasury for near ninety thousand, which is
not yet paid. The contracts in Pennsylvania have not amounted to that
sum. Is there a State in the Union, which can say I received from them
one shilling for the last year? There is not one. But I can
demonstrate that while I was charged with this partiality, I had
exhausted my credit, and supplied every shilling of money, which I
could command from my private fortune, to support and succor _the
Southern States_. But this was not from a partiality in their favor,
for I will neither endeavor to ingratiate myself with them, on such
principles, nor subject myself to the ignominy of just reproach from
others. It was for the general good.

That I am partial to the disaffected is among those threadbare topics
of defamation, which have been so generally applied, that they have
lost their effect. But I have remarked, that this particular aspersion
is generally cast on those who least deserve it, and by those who are
in a fair way of becoming disaffected themselves. I am not very sorry
for this charge, because it shows, that while I have inveterate
enemies, they have nothing to allege against me, and must resort to
the regions of fiction for the ground of calumny.

That I have established the bank I shall confess. That bank has
already saved America from the efforts of her avowed, and the
intrigues of her concealed enemies; and it has saved her from those,
who, while they clamor loudly against the administration for doing so
little, sedulously labor to deprive it of the means of doing anything.
The bank will exist in spite of calumny, operate in spite of
opposition, and do good in spite of malevolence. If there be sinister
purposes in view, it must be easy to show what they are. The
operations of a bank are such plain matters of arithmetic, that those
who run may read. There is nothing of mystery, disguise, or
concealment. If, therefore, these sinister views cannot be shown, (and
I know that they cannot) that defect of proof, after the charge made,
is itself a proof that the thing does not exist. But the matter does
not terminate here. A groundless unfounded opposition against measures
of public utility, must proceed from some cause. If it proceed from an
opposition to the public interests, their conduct is dangerous; but if
it proceed from aversion to me, I pity them.

That I should, or that Pennsylvania should have a plan to keep
Virginia poor, is a strange assertion. I believe that Pennsylvania
will probably be rich, the soil and climate are good, and the people
are quiet and industrious. Their rulers also begin to be sensible of
their true interests. They encourage commerce, have laid aside all the
idle systems of specific supplies, and content themselves with laying
money taxes. There can be no doubt but that such a people must become
rich. On the other hand, if Virginia, or any other State, be poor, it
must be their own fault. Prudence, diligence, and economy, promote
national prosperity; and vice, indolence, and prodigality, involve
national ruin. I am so far from wishing to impoverish Virginia, that I
have constantly labored, both in my public and private applications to
bring about those measures, which are calculated to make her wealthy
and powerful. In the moment of cool reflection this will be
acknowledged; whenever my measures are adopted, it will be known, and
in that moment those who from ignorance, or wickedness, have opposed
themselves to their country's good, will be known and despised. The
charge of speculating, in conjunction with the Secretary of Congress
and Mr Coffin, is one of those foolish things, which are not worth an
answer. The whole business was known to the General, and after him, to
a committee of Congress, before anything was done.

You tell me further, that there are jealousies and resentments against
Congress, for a design to curtail the territory of Virginia; that it
is alleged no money can come into the country, while bank notes and
bills on Philadelphia will purchase tobacco; and that the enemy having
failed to subdue Virginia by force, would now try the arts of
seduction, wherefore great care ought to be taken in preventing any
intercourse with them. As to any design in Congress to curtail
Virginia, if there be such, I know nothing, of it. Congress will
undoubtedly pursue the line of justice, and might be justly offended
were they charged with that design, which you say has offended
Virginia. There was a time when Pennsylvania clamored loudly against
Congress. It impeded the public service, and injured the reputation of
Pennsylvania, without producing any good, much less a counterbalance
for the evils, which it did produce. Happily all those heats have
subsided, and Pennsylvania is now, what I hope Virginia will soon be,
the zealous supporter of Congress.

The means of bringing money into a country are very simple, being
nothing more than the creating a demand for it. If every man be
obliged to get some money, every man must part with something to get
money. This makes things cheap, and those who have money always choose
to expend it where things are cheapest. But what is the predilection
in favor of specie? If bank notes answer the purposes of money the man
who receives them has every benefit, which he could derive from
specie. If they will not answer those purposes, no man will receive
them; and then Virginia will not be troubled with them. If money is
due from Virginia to Pennsylvania or Maryland, it must go thither, and
the only way to get it back again is to sell something cheaper than
Pennsylvania or Maryland will sell it. As to any profit made by the
bank in issuing their paper, gentlemen in Virginia may easily share it
by purchasing stock, which can be had here for the subscription and
interest.

That the enemy have been foiled in their attempts to subdue Virginia
is true, and when we recollect the means by which they were foiled,
it will not only obviate the charges of partiality, but show the
advantages of unanimity; and ought to become a motive to cultivate
harmony and excite exertion. That the enemy will try the arts of
seduction I verily believe, or rather that these arts have been tried,
but I do not believe they have the will or the power to buy many. It
will sufficiently answer their purposes, if they can promote disunion
among us, because our concord is our only safety. To produce disunion
nothing more is necessary than to set at work a few turbulent spirits.
Neither do I see that they need go at the trouble of sending ships
into the harbors of the several States, because such negotiations may
be accomplished without that trouble or parade.

You tell me that the Executive of Virginia refused the passports,
because they deemed the commerce and intercourse with the enemy to be
dangerous. There can be no doubt, that a commerce with the enemy is
not only dangerous but highly reprehensible, and if the transaction in
question could be considered as a commerce of that sort, I would
readily join in the censure. But if there was a commerce, it was by
the capitulation, and the present object relates only to the mode of
paying a debt already contracted under that solemn agreement.

You tell me, also, that it is the Governor's opinion, that the State
should have the benefit resulting from the passports, because the
undoubted power of granting such passports is in the State; and in
another letter you say it has been urged in argument, that Congress
have no right to grant the passports. As the right is thus brought in
question, it is to be presumed, that should that right be in Congress,
the Governor's argument must operate in their favor. If I am rightly
informed, their right on this occasion is not only unquestionable, but
it is exclusive; and I am told that numerous instances have occurred
in which vessels having passports from one State have been captured by
the privateers of another State, and been adjudged lawful prize. Judge
Griffin, who is now in Virginia, can doubtless give information on
this subject, and if one could be allowed to determine where the right
is from where it ought to be, there can be no doubt but that it must
be in Congress. If this be so, then the assertions about delivering
the rights of Virginia into the hands of Congress, must be considered
as nothing more than mere flowers of rhetoric, which are very good to
please an audience, but ought not to influence or convince a
legislative body.

How it can be said, that these passports contravene the resolutions of
Congress for confiscating British manufactures within the United
States, I am at a loss to conceive, and shall be, unless it can be
proved, that tobacco is a British manufacture. For I cannot suppose,
that it is intended to confiscate that property, which, having been
secured by the capitulation, is under the protection of the law of
nations, which law must always be taken notice of and respected by the
municipal law of every civilized country. As to the laws of Virginia,
which may be contravened by it, I cannot speak decidedly, but I have a
pretty strong reason to doubt the truth of this assertion, and it will
presently be assigned. But of all things in the world the most
ridiculous is the assertion, that this would give cause of complaint
to the King of France. There is something of the same kind in the
resolutions of the Delegates, which I will now consider; observing
beforehand, that the objection would come rather unfortunately, should
it be made by men, whose zeal for the honor and interest of his Most
Christian Majesty has never shown itself, except in the present
moment, and then by exciting discord among his allies.

The resolutions, being the act of a respectable body, are deserving of
respect, and shall meet with it from me. But I must take the liberty
to differ from them in some of their positions. It is resolved first,
that allowing the capitulants to export tobacco is not _warranted_ by
the capitulation. Much of what follows depends on the equivocal sense
of the word _warranted_. If by that word is meant enjoined, or
directed, the position is just, but if the idea to be conveyed is,
that such exportation is not _permitted_, then the position is untrue.
The exportation is very clearly permitted by the capitulation, because
the capitulation does not prohibit it, nor indeed say anything about
it. But in a day or two after the capitulation an agreement was made
for the purchase of goods payable in tobacco, which is now sanctioned
by the Delegates in the last of their resolutions. Clearly, therefore,
the exportation of tobacco in payment for British goods, is (in the
judgment of the Delegates) _permitted_ by the capitulation.

The second resolution seems to go upon a mistake. The Acts of Congress
for confiscating British manufactures, as I have already observed in
another place, cannot, I should imagine, be contrary to the laws of
the Commonwealth, or else it would not have been permitted in another
instance, for the Delegates cannot be supposed to intend a breach of
the law, and still less can they be supposed to mean, that it was
lawful for the general and the State Agent to do what it is not lawful
for the United States in Congress to do.

The third resolution, quoting a part of an article in the treaty of
commerce, appears to me to be rather inconclusive. The object of that
article was to make provision in a case which might happen, when one
of the high contracting parties was at peace, and the other at war,
which is not the case at present. The sense which France entertains on
this subject may clearly be learnt from the various capitulations
granted to the conquered Islands; and if I am not much misinformed the
sense of Virginia on this very question of exporting tobacco may be
found, by consulting sundry instances of the kind subsequent to the
capitulation of York.

The fourth resolution is a conclusion drawn from the three preceding,
and says that the capitulation does not warrant the enemy to export
tobacco, and that such exportation would be contravening the
regulations of the United States, and contrary to the laws of the
Commonwealth, wherefore the vessels ought not to be permitted to load.
The premises on which this conclusion is founded being unsupported,
the conclusion itself must fall, or else the next succeeding
resolution ought to be revoked.

The industry which you say has been used on this occasion would not
have surprised me, if our affairs had been in such train, that the
country was entirely out of danger. But under our present
circumstances, it both astonishes and afflicts me, not for myself, but
for the public. Men may flatter themselves, that all is safe and well,
and endeavor to shrink from the public burdens and embarrass the
public operations, but the consequence is clear, and certain. The
enemy know they cannot conquer, and therefore seek to divide us.
Convinced that the Northern and Eastern States cannot even then be
subdued, their ultimate ambition now is to subjugate those to the
southward, and the only means under heaven of preventing it is by
unanimity. That the other States should be plunged into hasty
measures, pregnant with disunion, might have been expected, but that
any inhabitants of a State, deeply interested to pursue the contrary
conduct, should be so blind both to the duty and interest of that
State will scarcely be believed hereafter, and could not have happened
now, but from causes which would bear a harder name than I shall give
them.

  I am, Sir, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, May 31st, 1782.

  Sir,

I perceive that on the 29th instant Congress resolved, "that the
salaries and allowances to which the public servants of the United
States are, or shall be entitled, be in future paid by the
Superintendent of Finance, and of the moneys which shall from time to
time be in his hands, and that the said public servants be authorised
to make quarterly drafts on him for that purpose." The tenor of this
resolution would, I believe, give to every officer of the United
States, both civil and military, the right of drawing upon me, which
would be liable to this objection among many others, that I should
frequently be obliged to protest the bills for want of funds to
discharge them. If, therefore, the object of the resolution was to
provide for the foreign servants only, it might, perhaps, be proper to
make some alteration in the terms.

But I would submit to Congress whether a better mode might not be
devised for payment of the salaries in question. It will tend greatly
to simplify the public accounts if those of each Department be brought
under one separate head, whereas if bills are to be drawn by every
public officer much confusion would be introduced, and forged bills
might be paid without a possibility of detecting the forgery. The
present mode which I have adopted is, that the accounts of each
Department of the civil list be made up and settled at the treasury
quarterly, and that a warrant issue for the amount. If this mode be
pursued with respect to the Department of Foreign Affairs, the moneys
may be remitted to those who are abroad by the Secretary of Foreign
Affairs, until they shall have appointed their respective agents to
receive it for them here. This will not only simplify the accounts,
but be of great use to the parties, because in some cases they may be
unable to sell their bills on this country at all, and in others they
must suffer a considerable loss. And if obliged to send such drafts on
their own account to obtain payment of their salaries, much time may
be lost by delay in tedious passages and other accidents, and of
course they will be exposed unnecessarily to inconveniences and
disappointments.

  I am, Sir, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO GEORGE OLNEY, OF RHODE-ISLAND.

  Office of Finance, June 1st, 1782.

  Sir,

I have received your favor of the 13th of May last, enclosing an
account of moneys you had received. The particular details you have
entered into are a pleasing circumstance to me, as they show your
accuracy and attention; but as such returns will consume much time and
be of no correspondent utility, it will not be necessary to continue
them; but in general state to me the amount of cash received, the
amount of cash exchanged, the amount of cash in hand, the amount of
bank notes in hand, and the amount of my notes in hand.

It would be of great use to the State that the special account of the
money received from each collector should be published; and when they
place you in the situation required by Congress, it will form a part
of your duty. In the interim you had better avoid any discussion on
the subject, which may lead to disagreeable altercation. If the sum
total received from each collector were published, in order to render
the system complete it would be proper, that every such collector
should be obliged to deposit, in some place within the circle of his
collection, such account of his receipts _for the public inspection_,
that every man might see whether the moneys he had paid were fairly
delivered over.

You will do well to explain this whole system to men of discernment in
your legislature. My object in this branch of administration is to
enable each individual man to trace the money he pays, from his own
pocket into the public treasury. To this I shall add accounts of equal
notoriety, by which every man who can read (being previously informed
as above of the sum total of receipts) may perceive the manner in
which the public treasure is expended and appropriated. A similar line
of conduct will be pursued with respect to all funds which may be
granted for liquidation of the national debt.

Finally, when all the world can perceive that our revenue is equal to
our expenditure, and that new revenues are devising, and the old daily
placing in a better state of collection, our credit will be firmly
established; that will enable the public to command money in any
emergency, both at home and abroad; that again will put us in a
situation to make active, vigorous exertions, and thus we shall come
to be beloved by our friends, feared by our enemies, and respected by
all mankind. In this natural progress and order of things, I must
expect of the several States, as the servant of the United States, a
revenue ample in its extent, punctual in the payment, and absolutely
at my disposition. In return for such grants the States are to expect
from a Superintendent of Finance, vigilance, integrity, order and
economy. Should he be deficient in these duties he will deserve to be
removed and punished. Should the States be deficient they must allow
him to complain, they must expect him to remonstrate, and finally they
must not be surprised if their negligence, boding ruin to their
country, be pointed out, and exposed, and reprehended.

  Your most obedient, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

CARON DE BEAUMARCHAIS TO ROBERT MORRIS.

Translation.

  Paris, June 3d, 1782.

  Sir,

The health of poor Francy not yet permitting him to hazard another
voyage to America, I find myself obliged (to my very great loss and
regret) to postpone the hope of closing and settling all my accounts
with the General Congress, until he shall have recovered sufficient
strength for his voyage; he alone being able to resume the thread and
instructions of an affair, which he has already pursued with so much
assiduity during three years.

From one merchant to another, the extract of the account adjusted in
France by the person authorised, who has ordered and vouched all my
advances, and which I have the honor herewith to address to you, would
be sufficient for the entire settlement of my account; but my business
lies with an association of United States, who have intrusted the
administration of their most valuable interests, to an assembly of
citizens, to a General Congress, the members of which are continually
changed, and as continually liable to view transactions of the oldest
date, and those which have been most thoroughly investigated at other
times, with the same uncertainty and ignorance of circumstances, as if
they were new events. From whence arises the necessity of causing my
accounts to be adjusted and settled by the same agent, who has already
presented and discussed them, agreeably to the vouchers in his
possession; which M. de Francy will do as soon as his health will
permit him to undertake a voyage at sea.

In the meantime, Sir, I have the honor to address to you a faithful
abstract of my accounts, as they have been settled by Mr Deane, with
whom alone, on behalf of the General Congress, I treated. His
misfortunes, the malice with which his character, naturally mild and
uniform, has been aspersed, and the complaints which I have heard in
this country against certain of his writings, (of which I have not yet
seen any) since the English papers made them public, have not changed
the opinion I had formed of him; and I will always do him the justice
to say, that he is one of those men, who have contributed most to the
alliance of France with the United States. I will even add, that his
laudable endeavors in the most difficult times merited, perhaps,
another recompense. I see there are intrigues _among Republicans, as
well as in the Courts of Kings_. This digression, (which a
compassionate feeling for a man, worthy of a better lot, forces from
me in writing to you, to you, Sir, who have loved him as I do,) this
digression excused, I resume my affair; and I request of you, Sir, to
engage Congress to assist me by the very first opportunity, with bills
of exchange, such as the first which I received in 1779. Though they
are not yet payable, and though I have been obliged to undergo the
heaviest losses in order to make them serviceable, I cannot support
the weighty burden of my credit to America, (with which alone I should
be able to settle my debts in Europe,) without having, at least, an
object representative of this said credit in my hands. And neither the
Congress nor I should look too minutely to the losses that I sustain
in the negotiation of this paper. It is one of the events, one of the
indispensable consequences of the nature and situation of things. Have
then the justice, Sir, to remit to me as speedily as possible, if not
the whole of my account, at least a large part of what is due to me
by Congress in bills of exchange, reserving what may be objected to in
the account and its full proof, until Francy may be able to repair to
Philadelphia. My very embarrassed situation will cause me to receive
this strict justice from Congress as a favor, and I shall be under the
greatest obligation to you for it.

Receive, Sir, all my congratulations on the merited confidence which
your fellow citizens have placed in you. No man can entertain a
greater esteem for your person and superior talents than I do. Messrs
De Francy and Deane have taught me to become acquainted with you; and
it is after the most deliberate affection that I subscribe myself,
with the most respectful regard and acknowledgement, Sir, your
obedient servant.

  CARON DE BEAUMARCHAIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

  THE FOLLOWING ARE THE ABSTRACTS MENTIONED IN
  THE PRECEDING LETTER.

_Dr the Honorable Congress of the United States in Account Current
with Caron de Beaumarchais._

  1776,                                                      _Livres._ _s._ _d._

  Sept. 21,  To so much paid Messrs Du Coudray & Le Brun,         3,600
  Oct.  25,  To ditto paid ditto,                                 4,400
  Nov.   6,  To ditto paid ditto,                                 7,200
   "    12,  To ditto paid Mr Silas Deane,                       20,000
   "    18,  To ditto paid Messrs Du Coudray & Le Brun,          12,000
   "    21,  To ditto paid ditto,                                12,000
   "    25,  To ditto paid the Chevalier Prudhomme de Bore,       2,400
   "    27,  To ditto paid ditto,                                 2,100
   "    25,  To ditto paid the Chevalier Prudhomme de Bore,       2,400
   "    27,  To ditto paid ditto,                                 2,100

  Dec.  4,  To ditto paid Messrs Du Coudray & Le Brun,           53,541   13  4
   "    5,  To ditto paid ditto,                                  4,800
   "    "   To ditto paid Mr Silas Deane,                         2,400
   "    6,  To   "    "   M. de Vrigny,                             600
   "   12,  To   "    "   Mr Rogers,                                240
   "   13,  To amount of the cargo and expenses to
              departure of the ship _Amphitrite_, insurance,
              freight, and commission on
              the outfit,                                       979,493    8  3
   "   14,  To so much paid M. de Goy,                              240
   "   26,  To ditto reimbursed to M. de Montieu
              per Silas Deane,                                      411   16
   "    "   To commission at 1 per cent on the above
              payments made to Mr Deane,                            228    1
  1777,
  Jan. 15,  To amount of the ship _Seine_, her cargo,
               charges to departure, insurance, freight,
               and commission on the outfit,                    784,631    2 10

  Feb. 5,   To amount of the cargo and charges to
               the departure of the ship _Mercury_, insurance,
               freight, and commission of
               the outfit,                                      878,758   13
   "  15,   To ditto of the ship _Amelia_,                      241,068   15  3
   "  27,   To so much paid M. de Goy,                              800
   "   "    To commission at 1 per cent on the several
              payments as above made to Messrs
              Du Coudray, Le Brun, and others,                    1,039       4
  May   10, To amount of the cargo and expenses to
              departure of the ship _Teresia_, insurance,
              freight, and commission on the
              outfit,                                         1,062,853   17  6
   "    15, To ditto of the ship _Mère Babi_,                    89,460    1
  June  10, To   "           "   _Maria Catherina_,             166,217    6  3
  Sept. 25, To   "           "   _Flamand_,                     630,195   14
  Nov.  26, To ditto of an account of expenses incurred
              at St Doiningue, by M. Carabasse,
              relative to the cargoes of the ships
           _Teresia_ and _Amelia_,                              122,882    7  3

  1778,                                                     _Livres_  _s._  _d._
  May   27,   To amount of a second account, ditto               23,037   11 10
  1781,
  April 6     To commission at
                1/2 per cent on 25,000)
                                30,000) = 199,000 in
                               144,000)   bills on Paris,           995
    "   "    To amount of the account of interest
               at 6 per cent per annum, as
               particularized hereafter,                      1,167,250
                                                             -------------------
                                                    Livres,   6,274,844   11  6
                                                             -------------------

  _Contra Cr._
  1777,                                                     _Livres_  _s._  _d._
  Aug. 23,   By net proceeds of the returned
               cargo of the _Mercury_,                           18,728    7
  1778,
  Feb. 27,   By ditto, ditto of the
             _Amphitrite_,                                      135,338    8  9
  April 17,  By remittance to Mr Francy of
              20,000 dollars at 4 for 1 is, at
              5 livres tournois for a dollar                     25,000
  May 26,    By ditto of 24,000 dollars at
              ditto ditto                                        30,000
  Oct 22,    By net proceeds of the returned
              cargo of the _Teresia_,                           124,139    9  6
  1779,
  May 5,     By ditto of the _Amelia_, passed
              on _memorandum_, waiting the
              final of accounts of M. Carabasse, the
              shipper in this affair.
  June 26,   By net proceeds of 231 hhds tobacco per
              the _Fier Rodrigue_, reduced to
              to 115-1/2 on account of the freight
              being one half,                                    74,905    3  9
  1780,
  June 25,  By remittances on Dr Franklin to the
              15th of June, 1780, viz.
                                                      74,000)
                                                      72,000) = 144,000[7]

                                                            _Livres._ _s._  _d._
  1781,
  April 6, By balance due to me from the honorable
  Congress,                                                   5,722,723    2  6
                                                             -------------------
                                                      Livres, 6,274,844   11  6
                                                              ------------------

  Errors and omissions excepted.

  Paris, April 6th, 1781.

  [7] There appears to be an error in adding up this sum, viz.
  74,000 and 72,000, amount to 146,000.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Dr the Honorable Congress in their new Account Current with Caron de
Beaumarchais_.

  1781,                                                     _Livres._ _s._  _d._
  April 6, To balance due to me on the preceding
           account,                                           5,722,723    2  6
  1782,
  May  18, To commission at 1/2 per cent on 144,000
           and 2,544,000 making 2,688,000, in
           bills on Paris,                                       13,440

   "  "   To amount of interest account at 6 per
          cent per annum, as particularized
          hereafter,                                            382,698   18

   "  "   To commission at 2-1/2 per cent to M. de
          Francy on the returns from America,
          viz.

          On 552,121 9 amount of the returns to the
          credit of their account settled the 6th
          of April, 1781,

          2,882,332 10 9 amount of the returns to
          the credit of the account settled this
          day,

          3,434,453 19 9 at 2-1/2 per cent,                      86,861    6
                                                             ---------------
                                                      Livres, 6,204,723    6  6
                                                             ---------------

_Contra Cr._

  1781,                                                      _Livres._ _s._ _d._
  June 25, By remittances on Dr Franklin to the
           25th of June, 1781,                                  144,000

                                                            _Livres._ _s._  _d._

  July 20,  By net proceeds of 150 hhds tobacco per
            the ship _Peru_, reduced to 75, on account
            of the freight being one half,                       34,991   19

   "   "    By ditto of 176 hhds tobacco per the _Two
            Helenas_, reduced to 88 by the freight;              49,826   19

   "   "    By ditto of 32 hhds ditto per _Good Man
            Richard_, reduced to 16 by the freight,               6,141    5

   "   "    By ditto of 188 hhds ditto per the _Polly_,
            reduced to 125-1/3, the freight being
            one third,                                           55,872   14  9

  Oct. 1,   By ditto of 159 hhds ditto per _Fier Rodrigue_,
            reduced to 79-1/2 by the freight at
            one half,                                            47,499   13

  "    "    By 15 hhds ditto per the _Jean_, and which
            were lost, this vessel having foundered
            at sea, (for _memorandum_.)

  1782
  May 18,   By remittances on Dr Franklin to the
            25th of June, 1782, passed here in
            anticipation, amounting to                        2,544,000

  "    "    By balance due to me from the Honorable
            Congress,                                         3,322,390   15  9
                                                             -------------------

                                                      Livres, 6,204,723    6  6
                                                             -------------------

_Dr the Honorable Congress_

  1782,
  May 18,   To balance due to me on the above account,        3,322,390   15  9

     Closed the above account, as well debit as credit, of the sum of
     six millions two hundred and four thousand seven hundred and
     twentythree livres, six sols, and six deniers tournois; on which
     the Honorable Congress of the United States of America owe me as
     balance the sum of three millions three hundred and twentytwo
     thousand three hundred and ninety livres, fifteen sols, and nine
     deniers tournois.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Dr, moreover, the Honorable Congress._

To amount of the drafts of General Lincoln, drawn at Charleston, in
the month of March, 1780, on Samuel Huntington, President of Congress,
to the order of M. de Francy, for the purchase of the cargo of the
corvette the _Zephyr_, sold by Captain Mainville to the said General
Lincoln, Commander of the Southern army of the United States, for the
sum of two hundred and twentyfour thousand three hundred dollars,
(this for _memorandum_,) for which two hundred and twentyfour thousand
three hundred dollars I am yet to be credited, no return having been
made to me.

Errors and omissions excepted.

  CARON DE BEAUMARCHAIS.

  Paris, May 18th, 1782.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO GEORGE WASHINGTON.

  Office of Finance, June 4th, 1782.

  Sir,

I have received your Excellency's letters of the 17th and 25th of May,
with the enclosure. I am much obliged by the attention paid in your
circular letter to the situation of my department. I am very sorry to
inform you that it is really deplorable. I with difficulty am enabled
to perform my engagements, and am absolutely precluded from forming
any new ones. I have therefore been under the very disagreeable
necessity of suffering the public service to stand still in more lines
than one. I have been driven to the greatest shifts, and am at this
moment unable to provide for the civil list.

I can easily suppose that military men should murmur to find the
salaries of the civil list more punctually paid than their own. To
enter into arguments on this occasion will be unnecessary, for I am
persuaded that your Excellency must be of opinion with me, that
unless the civil list is paid neither civil or military can exist at
all.

I am well persuaded of your Excellency's desire to promote the success
of those measures I have taken, because I am sure you are convinced
that their tendency and my intentions are all directed to the public
good. Indeed, my Dear Sir, you will hardly be able to form an adequate
idea of the earnestness with which I desire to relieve you from the
anxieties you must undergo. But when the several gazettes shall have
announced the sums received for this year's service, and I am well
convinced that the whole did not on the 1st of June amount to twenty
thousand dollars; when it is recollected that our expenses at the rate
of eight millions annually, are near twenty thousand dollars a day;
and when it is known that the estimates on which the demand was
founded do not include many essential branches, among which the Marine
and Foreign Affairs are to be numbered; surely it cannot be a matter
of surprise that the army are not paid; surely the blame is to fall on
those from whose negligence the evil originates. But I will not give
you the pain of hearing me repeat complaints, which you know to be but
too well founded.

  I pray you to believe, that I am, Sir, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO EDWARD CARRINGTON, IN VIRGINIA.

  Office of Finance, June 6th, 1782.

  Sir,

I have received your letter of the 26th of May, from Richmond. It does
by no means surprise me, after some other things which have happened,
that an opposition is made to receiving my notes in taxes. I am
indifferent about the event of those deliberations, which may be had
on that subject. If they choose rather to tax in coin, I shall be
content, for the coin will answer my purposes as well as the notes,
which were only intended to anticipate the revenue, and supply that
want of money, which is not a little complained of, and particularly
in Virginia. The views of those who oppose their circulation, I will
not guess at, but I hope they may be virtuous and honorable motives,
in which case, I shall only pity a want of understanding to discover
the true interests of their country.

  I am, your most obedient, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

  Office of Finance, June 7th, 1782.

  Sir,

I received this morning the letter you did me the honor to write on
the 6th. Congress have asked from the several States a five per cent
duty on goods imported, and on prizes and prize goods, as a fund for
paying the principal and interest of their debts. This fund, when
granted, will not be sufficient, and it is not yet granted by all. I
expect, however, that the requisition will speedily be complied with.
I shall not cease urging it, and also such further revenues as may be
sufficient for the purpose. When they shall have been obtained, they
will be duly applied in liquidation of the public debts; but until
that period arrives, neither the principal nor the interest of such
debts can be paid.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO DANIEL JENIFER, OF MARYLAND.

  Office of Finance, June 11th, 1782.

  Sir,

I have received the letter which you did me the honor to write on the
31st of last month. I am so habituated to receive apologies instead of
money, that I am not surprised at the contents of it. If complaints of
difficulties were equivalent to cash, I should not complain that the
quotas are unpaid. But unluckily this is not the case, and if the
States really mean to prosecute the war, something more must be done
than merely to pass declaratory resolutions; for no man can be found
who will for such resolutions supply food to our army. I am well
persuaded, that the difficulties which any State labors under, proceed
more from impolitic laws than any other source; for as to the taxes
required, they are very moderate, when compared either with the real
wealth of the people, or the former expenses which they have borne.

How far the quota asked from your State, is or is not proportionate,
it is not my business to determine. I presume it is right; but let it
be as high as it may, I am persuaded that when your specifics are
turned into specie, and the various expenses attending such mode of
taxation are paid, if the net amount be compared with the property
taken from the people according to this simple proportion, (as the
whole tax laid is to the net amount brought into the treasury, so is
the price of wheat, tobacco, or any other article fixed in the law, to
a fourth number to be found,) if, I say, this comparison be made, it
will appear that the people have sustained a greater loss, than any
disproportion in their quota could amount to.

You must not, however, suppose that Maryland is singular in
considering her quota too high, so far from it, that I believe every
State thinks so of its own quota, and would be very happy to apologise
to the world for doing nothing, with the thin and flimsy pretext, that
it has been asked to do too much.

You tell me your assembly would pledge any species of security in
their power to borrow money. I am persuaded that you think so, but you
must pardon me for holding a different opinion, besides that their
willingness in this respect can be of but little avail; for while such
extreme reluctance is shown to granting a sufficient revenue to pay
past debts, you must not expect that any persons will rely on promises
of future integrity. I believe your assembly, like all others on the
continent, means well, and therefore I am in hopes that they will act
well. But before they call on Hercules they must put their shoulders
to the wheel. It is a vain thing to suppose that wars can be carried
on by quibbles and puns, and yet laying taxes payable in specific
articles amounts to no more, for with a great sound they put little or
nothing in the treasury.

I know of no persons who want your specific supplies, and, if they
did, rely on it that they would rather contract with an individual of
any State than with any State in the Union. I have yet met with no
instance in which the articles taken in for taxes are of the first
quality, neither do I expect to meet with any; and so little reliance
can be placed on them, as to punctuality, that you may depend they
can never be sold but at a loss. This I have experienced. Somebody or
other will make a good bargain out of you, and the best you can make
is to sell before the expenses eat up the whole. This will be buying
experience, and perhaps it may prove a cheap purchase.

I am sorry that you are about to quit your office, and particularly
sorry for the want of health which leads you to that determination. I
had hopes that your endeavors would have brought things into order. I
shall expect to hear from you soon better tidings.

  Yours, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE GOVERNOR OF CONNECTICUT.

  Office of Finance, June 14th, 1782.

  Sir,

Mr Merrill in a letter of the seventh instant informs me, that your
Excellency requested him to delay the publication of receipts for your
State. I am convinced, Sir, that you had good reasons for this
request, and wish it were in my power still further to gratify your
wishes. But I am under the necessity of insisting on the publication
for the following reasons--1st, To obviate the charge of partiality,
if made in one State and not in others. 2dly, To show the deficiency
of means granted for carrying on the war. 3dly, Thereby to exonerate
those who are immediately responsible. And, 4thly, to direct the
public to the real cause of our calamities.

Your Excellency well knows that it is common for representatives to
aim at popularity, by lessening or procrastinating the taxes of their
constituents. It is proper, therefore, that the people should know the
situation to which such conduct reduces them.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO JAMES LOVELL OF MASSACHUSETTS.

  Office of Finance, June 16th 1782.

  Sir,

I have received this day your letter of the sixth instant. I find the
publications of "_no receipts_" are by no means very pleasing. Men are
less ashamed to do wrong, than vexed to be told of it. Mr Merrill of
Connecticut delayed his publication in consequence of a request from
the Governor. This he informed me of by letter, and I enclose you a
copy of my answer. It contains some of the reasons why I insist on
such publications, and I send them to you because I think I can at
this distance perceive, that some men will desire to know those
reasons from you.

I know it will be alleged that from such publications the enemy will
derive information, but I am convinced they will gain all the
knowledge of that sort, which they want, without our newspapers; for
the collection of taxes is a matter of too great notoriety to be
concealed, and therefore I have long considered such arguments as mere
excuses to keep the people in ignorance, and deceive them under
pretext of deceiving their enemies.

  I am, Sir, your most obedient, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO GEORGE WASHINGTON.

  Office of Finance, June 21st, 1782.

  Sir,

I am informed that several of our officers have left behind them in
New York considerable sums of money unpaid, which had been advanced to
them while they were prisoners. The humanity of those, who have made
such advances, as well as the principles of justice, requires that
they should be repaid. But there is another reason which has
considerable weight on my mind. The establishment of a credit among
our enemies by the punctual payment of such debts will induce them
again to make advances, should the chance of war place any of our
unfortunate officers in a situation to render it necessary. I am
therefore to request of your Excellency (should you agree with me in
opinion) that you would take measures to cause the amount of those
debts to be particularly ascertained, in order that I may devise some
means of discharging them as soon as the state of the treasury will
permit.

  I am, Sir, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE GOVERNOR OF RHODE-ISLAND.

  Office of Finance, June 26th, 1782.

  Sir,

Finding that your State has made advances of pay to their troops, it
becomes my duty to inform your Excellency, that Congress included in
their estimates, amounting to eight millions, the sums necessary for
paying the army; of consequence there can be no use in making such
payments by the several States. I must also observe, Sir, that
partial payments or supplies of any kind have been found by experience
to give general dissatisfaction, and therefore the determination to
discontinue them has been long since adopted.

The variety of accounts also is dangerous and expensive, and therefore
to be avoided. I might add other reasons why such payments by the
States cannot be admitted in abatement of their respective quotas. The
same reasons also operate against the admission of charges for
supplies of any kind, or certificates thereof as deductions from those
quotas. I have written to Mr Olney on the subject, the 23d instant;
and am now to pray your Excellency's attention and assistance to
prevent such irregularities in future. The more our operations are
simplified, the better will they be understood, and the more
satisfactorily will they be conducted. Congress have asked for men and
money. Those granted, they will ask for nothing more, and I persuade
myself, that if consistently with the confederation, they could
confine their requisitions to money alone, the people at large would
derive relief from it, the Legislature would act with greater ease,
and our resources be applied with greater vigor.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO GEORGE WASHINGTON.

  Office of Finance, June 29th, 1782.

  Dear Sir,

I have received your favors of the 8th and 16th instant, the former
enclosing alterations proposed in the present mode of issues, and the
latter a copy of your circular letter to the States of the 4th of May.
I pray you to accept my thanks for these communications. I consent to
the alterations mentioned, and shall be very happy that harmony be
restored; for I do assure you that let the cause of disputes be what
it may, I am extremely sorry to find that any exist.

I find that you have misunderstood that part of my letter which
relates to the complaints of the officers. My design was not to oppose
any arrangement which might contribute to their convenience. I only
meant to show that their convenience having been consulted in the
first instance, the mode had excited uneasiness, and that the endeavor
to remove that uneasiness having excited complaint and remonstrance,
the direct compliance with the reasoning adopted by them would produce
greater hardship, than that which was complained of. Hence follows the
inference which was on my mind, that a spirit of accommodation alone
could place all parties at their ease, and I supposed that the
interest of the contractors on one hand, and the convenience of the
army on the other, would produce that accommodating disposition in
both. I am happy to find that matters are now in a train towards that
desirable end, and much lament that it has not sooner arrived.

I shall close what I have to say on this subject, by assuring you most
confidentially, that I will to the utmost of my power do justice, and
bring relief to both officers and soldiers, but as these things can
only be effected by exact method and economy, so I must pursue that
method and economy, as the only means by which the desired end can be
obtained.

With respect to the civil list, I shall say but one or two words. I
know well the connexion, which ties together all the public servants,
and I lament every comparison, which implies a distinction between
them. The civil list consists chiefly of persons whose salaries will
not do more than find them food and clothing. Many of them complain,
that with great parsimony they cannot obtain even those necessaries.
The difference then between them and the army, supposing the latter to
get but four months' pay out of twelve, is that both would be alike
subsisted, and the army would have an arrearage of eight months' pay
to receive at a future period, but the civil list would have to
receive nothing.

  I am, my Dear Sir, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO B. FRANKLIN.

  Office of Finance, July 1st, 1782.

  Sir,

I have deferred until this moment my answer to your letters of the
4th, 9th, and 30th, of March, in expectation that I should have heard
from you by the Marquis de Lafayette. A vessel now about to depart
induces me to address you. I enclose an Act of Congress, by which you
are empowered to adjust the public accounts with the Court of France.
I wish this may be done, and the amount transmitted hither, that
arrangements may be taken for ascertaining the times and the modes of
payment. You will at the same time observe, that it is determined to
appoint a commissioner for liquidating and finally adjusting the
accounts of the public servants of Congress in Europe.

The Minister here, in a letter to me of the 25th of May last, gives
the following state of moneys granted by France, viz.

"These advances have been made at the following periods, and are
payable with interest, according to the obligations and
acknowledgements of Dr Franklin.

  "In 1778,                                   3,000,000
     1779,                                    1,000,000
     1780,                                    4,000,000
     1781,                                   10,000,000
                                             ----------
                                   Total     18,000,000

  "From this sum must be deducted the
  gratuitous subsidy of last year,            6,000,000
                                             ----------
                                   Remains   12,000,000

  "To this must be added,
  1st. The produce of the loan in Holland,   10,000,000
  2dly. The loan made by his Majesty for
  the current year,                           6,000,000
                                             ----------
  "Capital of the debt due to His Majesty
  by the United States,                      28,000,000"

I think it right to send you this statement, on which I will make a
few observations. I could have wished that the whole of the moneys,
which the Court have furnished us had been what the greater part is,
_a loan_. I know that the United States will find no difficulty in
making payment, and I take this opportunity to give _you_ an
assurance, which is not meant for the Court, that I will endeavor to
provide _even now_ the means of repayment, by getting laws passed, to
take effect at a future period, or otherwise, as shall be most
convenient and agreeable to all parties, after the amount is
ascertained and the times of payment fixed. I wish it had all been a
loan, because I do not think the weight of the debt would be so great
as the weight of an obligation is generally found to be, and the
latter is of all others what I would least wish to labor under, either
in a public or private capacity. A still further reason with me is,
that there is less pain in soliciting the _aid_ of a loan, when there
is no expectation that it is to be a gift.

Prompted by such reasons, I could be well content, that the advances
made previously to the year 1778, were by some means or other brought
into this account. By Mr Grand's accounts is appears, that Messrs
Franklin, Deane and Lee, on the 1st of January, 1777, paid him five
hundred thousand livres; on the 28th of April, other five hundred
thousand livres; on the 4th of June, one million of livres; on the 3d
of July, five hundred thousand livres; and on the 10th of October,
other five hundred thousand livres; amounting in the whole to three
millions of livres. I suppose, that these sums were received of
private persons in like manner with those supplies, which were
obtained through M. de Beaumarchais, and if so they will be payable in
like manner with those supplies.

I have in a former letter estimated the yearly interest on Loan Office
certificates, payable in France at two million livres, consequently
taking in the months intervening between September and March, the
total amount from September the 10th, 1777, to March the 1st, 1782,
may be stated at nine million livres; which is just one half of the
supplies granted for the years 1778, 1779, 1780, and 1781.

A resolution now before Congress will, I believe, direct that no more
bills be drawn for this instant; but Mr Grand in his letter of the 4th
of March, tells me he has paid six million two hundred and thirtynine
thousand one hundred end eightysix livres, thirteen sous, four
deniers, in sixteen thousand eight hundred and nineteen bills, from
the 11th of February, 1779, to the 28th of January, 1782. His accounts
are now translating, and when that is completed, I shall transmit them
to the treasury, and I hope soon to have the accounts of the several
loan officers in such a train of settlement, that all these matters
may finally be wound up.

Should the Court grant six million livres more for the service of the
current year, making twelve million livres in the whole, which to tell
you the truth, I do expect, then the sum total in five years will be
forty million livres, or eight million annually. And when the occasion
of this grant is considered, the magnitude of the object, and the
derangement of our finances, naturally to be expected in so great a
revolution, I cannot think this sum is by any means very
extraordinary. I believe with you most perfectly in the good
dispositions of the Court, but I must request you to urge those
dispositions into effect. I consider the six millions mentioned to me
by the Minister here, and afterwards in your letters, as being at my
disposal. The taxes come in so slowly, that I have been compelled and
must continue to draw bills, but I shall avoid it as much as possible.
In my letters of the 23d and 29th of May, of which I enclose copies,
are contained my sentiments as to M. de Beaumarchais' demand. Indeed,
if the sums paid to him and others for expenditures previous to the
year 1778, and the amount of the interest money, of which the
principal was also expended at that time, be deducted, the remaining
sum will be considerably less than thirty millions.

I must entreat of you, Sir, that all the stores may be forwarded from
Brest as soon as possible, and I shall hope that the Court will take
measures to afford you the necessary transports, so that they may come
under proper convoy. As to the cargo of the ship Marquis de Lafayette,
it is true, that some of it has arrived here from neutral ports, but
it is equally true that money was necessary to purchase it, and that
money is quite as scarce as any other article. If, however, all the
cargo of that ship was like some which I procured, the taking of her
has been no great loss, for the clothing was too small to go on men's
backs. The goods from Holland we still most anxiously expect. Would to
God that they never had been purchased. Mr Gillon, however, is at
length arrived, and I hope we shall have those matters, in which he
was concerned, brought to some kind of settlement.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO ALEXANDER HAMILTON.

  Office of Finance, July 2d, 1782.

  Sir,

I yesterday received your letter of the 17th of June, and am very
happy to find that you have determined to accept the office I had the
pleasure of offering to you.[8] I enclose the commission,
instructions, &c. together with a bond for performance of the duties,
which I must request you to fill up and execute, with some sufficient
surety, and transmit.

  [8] Receiver of the Continental taxes for the State of New
  York.

The complaint you make of the system of taxation in New York, might, I
believe, very justly be extended; for though it may be more defective
in some than in others, it is, I fear, very far from perfect in any. I
had already heard, that no part of the taxes were appropriated to
Continental purposes, but I expect that the Legislature will, when
they meet, make such appropriation, as well as lay new, and I hope
productive taxes, for the purposes of paying what may remain of their
quota.

It gives me a singular pleasure to find, that you have yourself
pointed out one of the principal objects of your appointment. You will
find that it is specified in the enclosure of the 15th of April. I do
not conceive that any interview will be necessary, though I shall
always be happy to see you, when your leisure and convenience will
admit. In the meantime, I must request you to exert your talents in
forwarding with your Legislature the views of Congress. Your former
situation in the army, the present situation of that very army, your
connexions in the State, your perfect knowledge of men and measures,
and the abilities which Heaven has blest you with, will give you a
fine opportunity to forward the public service, by convincing all who
have claims on the justice of Congress, that those claims exist only
by that hard necessity, which arises from the negligence of the
States. When to this you shall superadd the conviction, that what
remains of the war, being only a war of finance, solid arrangements of
finance must necessarily terminate favorably, not only to our hopes
but even to our wishes, then, Sir, the government will be disposed to
lay, and the people to bear these burdens, which are necessary, and
then the utility of your office and of the officer will be as manifest
to others as at present to me.

  I am, with respect, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO M. JOLIE DE FLEURY.

  Office of Finance, July 6th, 1782.

  Sir,

I have received the letter which you did me the honor to write in
February last. It gives me very particular pleasure to find that my
operations are approved by a gentleman whose talents and situation
conspire together in giving the means and the power of forming a
proper judgment. I receive, Sir, with so much greater satisfaction
your promise to concur in promoting the success of my measures, as I
persuade myself that a true Frenchman must deeply interest himself in
the present American Revolution.

The indissoluble bands which unite our sovereigns, have connected the
success of that revolution with the glory of the King, and the
interests of his subjects. Being therefore alike prompted by that
animated zeal and attachment to your prince which forms a beautiful
trait in the French character, and by your own benevolence, you cannot
but pursue the road which leads to the establishment of our
independence. It is by these motives, Sir, that you are assured of my
confidence. I shall take the liberty to lay before you my
arrangements, as soon as they can be completed, in order that you may
possess the views of my administration.

  I have the honor to be, with perfect esteem and respect,
  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO MR GRAND.

  Office of Finance, July 5th, 1782.

  Sir,

I have received your several favors of the 2d of February and 4th of
March last, together with the accounts accompanying the latter. I am
sorry to find the funds we have in Europe are so deeply anticipated.
This circumstance introduces a degree of hesitancy and doubtfulness
into my measures, which is alike disagreeable and pernicious. I hope,
therefore, that all the old accounts will soon be wound up and finally
closed; and then in future I shall possess a full view of what is in
my power. With respect to any arrangements with the Court of Spain, I
incline to think that they will be necessary, for I persuade myself
that money negotiations through Havana might be performed to equal, if
not greater advantage, by private channels.

  I am, Sir, with respect and esteem, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE GOVERNOR OF MARYLAND.

  Office of Finance, July 9th, 1782.

  Sir,

I have not been until this moment favored with your letter in Council
of the 5th. I pray that you will accept and present to the Council my
sincere thanks for your attention to the public service. Your offer to
pay for the transportation of clothing to the southern army, gives me
an additional reason to believe that a sense of the public distresses
will always operate a desire to relieve them. To go into detail of
those distresses, is at all times dangerous, and indeed it would be
impracticable, for they are so numerous that all my time would be
insufficient for the purpose. The publications made by the receivers
in the several States, will however carry a conviction of them, to
every man of sense end reflection.

It is my constant endeavor to administer the little aid which is
afforded to the best advantage; and I am in hourly apprehensions from
the dilatoriness which has been shown by almost all the States, in
granting the supplies required by Congress. No proposition can be
clearer than this, that the salvation of our country must depend upon
such grants; and it will be a matter of wonder for future generations,
how a people who once showed such enthusiastic ardor, should at the
moment when it is within their grasp, put everything to the hazard, by
omitting to make the little exertion that remains. Yet such is the
fact.

I shall rely on receiving considerable supplies of money from Maryland
in the course of the present month; and shall, in consequence, make
engagements for transporting the clothing and stores to the southern
army, and for other services equally pressing and essential. That you
will be obliged to sell the property of the State, at less than you
suppose it to be worth, I had long foreseen, and am thoroughly
convinced of. That is one among the very many objections against
raising specific taxes; but you may depend that the longer they are
kept on hand, the greater will be the loss. The people must be
undeceived, and the sales of such property will have a tendency to
produce that effect. They will at length, I hope, open their eyes, and
be convinced of a truth which all history and experience bear witness
to, namely, that the true art of governing is to simplify the
operations of government.

Permit me, Sir, before I close this letter, to press upon your
consideration the state of public affairs. Every operation is, at
present, supported by credit, and that credit has long hung but by a
thread. Unless the States give speedy and effectual aid, that thread
must break. It would long since have broken, and scenes of military
pillage, waste, murmuring, extravagance and confusion would again have
been opened, if I had not for some time declined all expenditure,
except what was necessary merely to feed the army. If, under such
circumstances, the enemy has made offensive operations, you may easily
guess the consequences. Your State will, I hope, contribute amply to
provide against them. Should anything happen, the fault will not lie
at the door of Congress or of their servants.

  With perfect esteem and respect, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO JAMES LOVELL OF MASSACHUSETTS.

  Office of Finance, July 10th, 1782.

  Sir,

I have received your favors of the 24th and 27th of June. The conduct
of the States is very alarming, and has given me much serious
apprehension. A want of knowledge or of zeal among those who compose
the several Legislatures, produces misfortunes which their
constituents must feel, although they do not themselves appear to be
aware of them. Had permanent funds been established on which to borrow
money, in all human probability our credit would have been such, as
that a considerable part of every year's expenditure might have been
obtained in that way. The advantages of such a measure are self
evident. If we suppose the states at war possessed of equal force and
resources, the one of them enjoying credit, which the other wants, the
efforts would be so unequal, that the nation in credit might compel
her antagonist to ask peace in a very short period.

In America we have disdained to profit by experience, and therefore
are reduced to the sad necessity of bearing the whole burden of the
war at the present moment, when least able to bear it. Still, however,
I had hoped, by making anticipations on the taxes, to lay a foundation
for more extensive credit; and at length to recover that useful
confidence, which has been too carelessly squandered away. But in
fixing the first stone of this useful edifice, I am disappointed by
finding that after taxes are laid, and in the moment when I expect to
feel the benefits, the collection is postponed unto a future day. I
shall not dwell longer on this disagreeable topic. I deeply feel and
sincerely lament the consequences, which you may rely on it are far
more pernicious even in the article of expense than any person is
aware of; besides other things which are of equal, and may perhaps, be
of greater importance.

I find by examining the sums I have drawn on you for, that you can
find no great difficulty in making the payments by sales of the bills.
I would advise you, immediately on the receipt of this, to employ a
good broker to sell all the bills you have, at a price to be fixed
between you, leaving it optional in the party, to pay either specie,
bank notes, or my notes, and give from a week to a fortnight credit to
good hands. The price will, I suppose, be high if sold in this
manner, and you will doubtless obtain a preference in the sales over
others. When you open this business it must be transacted speedily by
letting your broker make the sales, and take the promisory notes from
the parties. The effects of this plan will be as follows; people
knowing that the notes are at a discount, will readily, I suppose,
make purchases on such conditions; and if they do, you will thereby
raise them to par, and command a considerable sum in specie, for I
know there are very few now in your country, and therefore when they
come to be bought up and looked for, their value will rise; and I
presume that taxation will then come in to aid their farther
circulation.

  I am, Sir, with great respect, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE GOVERNOR OF MARYLAND.

  Office of Finance, July 29th, 1782.

  Sir,

I have now before me your two favors of the 12th instant. You will
find my answers as well in a former letter, as in the enclosed
circular. For what remains I must only declare to you my regret at
finding your prospects so gloomy. The idea that taxes cannot be raised
because of the want of specie, is very general, indeed it is almost
universal, and yet nothing can be more ill-founded. If the people be
put in the necessity of procuring specie, they will procure it. They
can if they will. Tobacco may not sell at one moment, grain at
another, or cattle at a third; but there are some articles such as
horses, which will sell at all times. The mischief is, that when a
purchaser offers, the party not being under a necessity of selling,
insists on a higher price than the other can afford to give. Thus the
commerce is turned away to another quarter. Nothing but the necessity
of getting money will bring men in general to lower their prices. When
this is done purchasers will offer in abundance, and thus it will be
found, that the tax instead of lessening will increase the quantity of
specie. But so long as the want of it can be pleaded successfully
against taxes, so long that want will continue. And then all that
remains to consider is, whether the army can be maintained by such a
plea. The States, Sir, must give money, or the army must disband.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, July 29th, 1782.

  Sir,

The reference which Congress were pleased to make of a remonstrance
and petition from Blair Mc Clenaghan and others, has induced me to
pray their indulgence while I go somewhat at large into the subject of
that remonstrance.

The propriety and utility of public loans have been subjects of much
controversy. Those who find themselves saddled with the debts of a
preceding generation, naturally exclaim against loans; and it must be
confessed, that when such debts are accumulated by negligence, folly
or profusion, the complaint is well founded. But it would be equally
so against taxes, when wasted in the same way. The difference is, that
the weight of taxes being more sensible, the waste occasions greater
clamor, and is therefore more speedily remedied. But it will appear,
that the eventual evils, which posterity must sustain from heavy taxes
are greater than from loans. Hence may be deduced this conclusion,
that in governments liable to a vicious administration, it would be
better to raise the current expense by taxes; but where an honest and
wise appropriation of money prevails, it is highly advantageous to
take the benefit of loans. Taxation to a certain point, is not only
proper but useful, because by stimulating the industry of individuals,
it increases the wealth of the community. But when taxes go so far as
to entrench on the subsistence of the people, they have become
burdensome and oppressive. The expenditure of money ought in such case
to be, if possible, avoided; if unavoidable, it will be most wise to
have recourse to loans.

Loans may be of two kinds, either domestic or foreign. The relative
advantages and disadvantages of each, as well as those which are
common to both, will deserve attention. Reasonings of this kind, as
they depend on rules of arithmetic, are best understood by numerical
positions. For the purposes of elucidation, therefore, it may be
supposed that the annual tax of any particular husbandman were fifteen
pounds, so that (the whole being regularly consumed in payment of
taxes) he would be no richer at the end of the war, than he was at the
beginning. It is at the same time notorious, that the profits made by
husbandmen, on funds which they borrowed were very considerable. In
many instances their plantations, as well as the cattle and family
utensils, have been purchased on credit, and the bonds given for both
have shortly been paid by sales of produce. It is, therefore, no
exaggeration to state the profits at twelve per cent. The enormous
usury, which people in trade have been induced to pay, and which will
presently be noticed, demonstrates that the profits made by the other
professions, are equal to those of the husbandman.

The instance, therefore, taken from that which is the most numerous
class of citizens, will form no improper standard for the whole. Let
it then be farther supposed in the case already stated, that the party
should annually borrow the sum of ten pounds at six per cent, to pay
part of the tax of fifteen pounds. On this sum then he would make a
profit of twentyfour shillings, and have to pay an interest of twelve
shillings. The enclosed calculation will show, that in ten years he
would be indebted one hundred pounds, but his additional improvements
would be worth near one hundred and fifty, and his net revenue be
increased near twelve, after deducting the interest of his debt.
Whereas if he had not borrowed, his revenue, as has been already
observed, would have continued the same. This mode of reasoning might
be pursued farther, but what has been said is sufficient to show, that
he would have made a considerable advantage from the yearly loan. If
it be supposed, that every person in the community made such a loan, a
similar advantage would arise to the community. And lastly, if it be
supposed, that the government were to make a loan and ask so much less
in taxes, the same advantage would be derived. Hence, also, may be
deduced this position, that in a society where the average profits of
stock are double the interest at which money can be obtained, every
public loan for necessary expenditures, provides a fund in the
aggregate of national wealth equal to the discharge of its own
interest.

Were it possible that a society should exist, in which every member
would of his own accord industriously pursue the increase of national
property, without waste or extravagance, the public wealth would be
impaired by every species of taxation. But there never was, and unless
human nature should change, there never will be such a society. In any
given number of men, there always will be some who are idle, and some
who are extravagant. In every society also there must be some taxes,
because the necessity of supporting government and defending the State
always exists. To do these on the cheapest terms is wise, and when it
is considered how much men are disposed to indolence and profusion it
will appear, that even if those demands did not require the whole of
what could be raised, still it would be wise to carry taxation to a
certain amount, and expend what should remain after providing for the
support of government and the national defence, in works of public
utility, such as the opening of roads and navigation. For taxes
operate two ways towards the increase of national wealth. First, they
stimulate industry to provide the means of payment. Secondly, they
encourage economy, so far as to avoid the purchase of unnecessary
things, and keep money in readiness for the tax gatherers. Experience
shows, that those exertions of industry and economy grow by degrees
into habit. But in order that taxation may have these good effects,
the sum which every man is to pay and the period of payment, should be
certain and unavoidable.

This digression opens the way to a comparison between foreign and
domestic loans. If the loan be domestic, money must be diverted from
those channels in which it would otherwise have flowed; and,
therefore, either the public must give better terms than individuals,
or there must be money enough to supply the wants of both. In the
latter case, if the public did not borrow, the quantity of money would
exceed the demand, and the interest would be lowered; borrowing by the
public, therefore, would keep up the rate of interest; which brings
the latter case within the reason of the former. If the public out bid
individuals, those individuals are deprived of the means of extending
their industry; so that no case of a domestic loan can well be
supposed where some public loss will not arise to counterbalance the
public gain, except where the creditor spares from his consumption to
lend to the government, which operates a national economy. It is,
however, an advantage peculiar to domestic loans, that they give
stability to government, by combining together the interests of the
monied men for its support; and, consequently, in this country a
domestic debt would greatly contribute to that union, which seems not
to have been sufficiently attended to or provided for in forming the
national compact. Domestic loans are also useful, from the farther
consideration, that as taxes fall heavy on the lower orders of the
community, the relief obtained for them by such loans more than
counterbalances the loss sustained by those who would have borrowed
money to extend their commerce or tillage. Neither is it a refinement
to observe, that since a plenty of money and consequent ease of
obtaining it, induce men to engage in speculations, which are often
unprofitable, the check which these receive is not injurious, while
the relief obtained by the poor is highly beneficial.

By making foreign loans, the community, as such, receive the same
extensive benefits, which one individual does in borrowing of another.
This country was always in the practice of making such loans. The
merchants in Europe trusted those in America. The American merchants
trusted the country store-keepers, and they the people at large. This
advance of credit may be stated at not less than twenty millions of
dollars. And the want of that credit now is one principal reason of
those usurious contracts mentioned above. These have been checked by
the institution of the bank, but the funds of that corporation not
permitting those extensive advances, which the views of different
people require, the price given for particular accommodations of money
continues to be enormous; and that again shows, that to make domestic
loans would be difficult, if not impracticable. The merchants not
having now that extensive credit in Europe, which they formerly had,
the obtaining such credit by government becomes in some sort
necessary.

But there remains an objection with many against foreign loans, which
(though it arises from a superficial view of the subject) has no
little influence. This is, that the interest will form a balance of
trade against us, and drain the country of specie; which is only
saying in other words, that it would be more convenient to receive
money as a present, than as a loan; for the advantages derived by the
loan exist, notwithstanding the payment of interest. To show this more
clearly, a case may be stated, which in this city is very familiar.
An Island in the Delaware overflowed at high water has for a given
sum, suppose a thousand pounds, been banked in, drained, and made to
produce, by the hay sold from it at Philadelphia, a considerable sum
annually; for instance, two hundred pounds. If the owner of such an
Island had borrowed in Philadelphia the thousand pounds to improve it,
and given six per cent interest, he would have gained a net revenue of
one hundred and forty pounds. This certainly would not be a balance of
trade against his Island, nor the draining it of specie. He would gain
considerably, and the city of Philadelphia also would gain, by
bringing to market an increased quantity of a necessary article.

In like manner money lent by the city of Amsterdam to clear the
forests of America would be beneficial to both. Draining marshes and
bringing forests under culture, are beneficial to the whole human
race, but most to the proprietor. But at any rate, in a country and in
a situation like ours, to lighten the weight of present burdens must
be good policy by loans. For as the governments acquire more
stability, and the people more wealth, the former will be able to
raise, and the latter to pay, much greater sums than can at present be
expected.

What has been said on the general nature and benefit of public loans,
as well as their particular utility to this country, contains more of
detail than is necessary for the United States in Congress, though
perhaps not enough for many of those to whose consideration this
subject must be submitted. It may seem superfluous to add, that credit
is necessary to the obtaining of loans. But among the many
extraordinary conceptions which have been produced during the present
revolution, it is neither the least prevalent nor the least
pernicious, that foreigners will trust us with millions, while our own
citizens will not trust us with a shilling. Such an opinion must be
unfounded, and will appear to be false at the first glance; yet men
are, on some occasions, so willing to deceive themselves, that the
most, flattering expectations will be formed from the acknowledgement
of American independence by the States-General. But surely no
reasonable hope can be raised on that circumstance, unless something
more be done by ourselves. The loans made to us hitherto, have either
been by the Court of France, or on their credit. The government of the
United Netherlands are so far from being able to lend, that they must
borrow for themselves. The most, therefore, that can be asked from
them, is to become security for America to their own subjects; but it
cannot be expected that they will do this, until they are assured and
convinced that we will punctually pay. This follows necessarily from
the nature of their government, and must be clearly seen by the
several States as well as by Congress, if they only consider what
conduct they would pursue on a similar occasion. Certainly Congress
would not put themselves in a situation, which might oblige them to
call on the several States for money to pay the debts of a foreign
power. Since then no aid is to be looked for from the Dutch
government, without giving them sufficient evidence of a disposition
and ability to pay both principal and interest of what we borrow; and
since the same evidence which would convince the government must
convince the individuals that compose it, asking the aid of government
must either be unnecessary or ineffectual. Ineffectual before the
measures are taken to establish our credit, and unnecessary
afterwards.

We are, therefore, brought back to the necessity of establishing
public credit; and this must be done at home before it can be extended
abroad. The only question which can remain, is with respect to the
means. And here it must be remembered, that a free government whose
natural offspring is public credit, cannot have sustained a loss of
that credit, unless from particular causes, and therefore those causes
must be investigated and removed, before the effects will cease. When
the continental money was issued, a greater confidence was shown by
America than any other people ever exhibited. The general promise of a
body not formed into, nor claiming to be a government, was accepted as
current coin; and it was not until long after an excess of quantity
had forced on depreciation, that the validity of these promises was
questioned. Even then the public credit still existed in a degree, nor
was it finally lost until March, 1780, when an idea was entertained
that government had committed injustice. It is useless to enter into
the reasons for and against the resolutions of that period. They were
adopted, and are now to be considered only in relation to their
effects. These will not be altered by saying that the resolutions were
misunderstood, for in those things which depend on public opinion, it
is no matter, (so far as consequences are concerned,) how that opinion
is influenced. Under present circumstances, therefore, it may be
considered as an incontrovertible proposition, that all paper money
ought to be absorbed by taxation, or otherwise, and destroyed before
we can expect our public credit to be fully reestablished; for so long
as there be any in existence, the holder will view it as a monument of
national perfidy.

But this alone would be taking only a small step in the important
business of establishing national credit. There are a great many
individuals in the United States, who trusted the public in the hour
of distress, and who are impoverished, and even ruined by the
confidence they reposed. There are others whose property has been
wrested from them by force to support the war, and to whom
certificates have been given in lieu of it, which are entirely
useless. I need no inspiration to show that justice establishes a
nation. Neither are the principles of religion necessary to evince
that political injustice will receive political chastisement.
Religious men will cherish these maxims in proportion to the
additional force they derive from divine revelation. But our own
experience will show, that from a defect of justice this nation is not
established, and that her want of honesty is severely punished by her
want of credit. To this want of credit must be attributed the weight
of taxation for the support of the war, and the continuance of that
weight by the continuance of the war.

It is, therefore, with the greatest propriety, your petitioners
already mentioned, have stated in their Memorial, that both policy and
justice require a solid provision for funding the public debts. It is
with pleasure, Sir, that I see this numerous, meritorious, and
oppressed, body of men who are creditors of the public, beginning to
exert themselves for the obtaining of justice. I hope they may
succeed, not only because I wish well to so righteous a pursuit, but
because their success will be the great ground work of a credit, that
will carry us safely through the present just, important, and
necessary war; which will combine us closely together on the
conclusion of a peace, which will always give to the supreme
representative of America, a means of acting for the general defence
on sudden emergencies, and which will of consequence procure the third
of these great objects, for which we contend, _peace, liberty, and
safety_.

Such, Sir, are the cogent principles, by which we are called to
provide solid funds for the national debt. Already Congress have
adopted a plan for liquidating all past accounts, and if the States
shall make the necessary grants of revenue, what remains will be a
simple executive operation, which will presently be explained. But
however powerful the reasons in favor of such grants, over and above
those principles of moral justice, which none, however exalted, can
part from with impunity, still there are men, who, influenced by
penurious selfishness, will complain of the expense, and who will
assert the impossibility of sustaining it. On this occasion the
sensations with respect to borrowing are reversed. All would be
content to relieve themselves by loan from the weight of taxes, but
many are unwilling to take up as they ought the weight of debt. Yet
this must be done before the other can happen; and it is not so great
but that we should find immediate relief by assuming it, even if _it
were a foreign debt_. I say if it were a _foreign_ debt, because I
shall attempt to show, first, that being a _domestic debt_, to fund it
will cost the community nothing, and secondly, that it will produce,
on the contrary, a considerable advantage.

And as to the first point, one observation will suffice. The
expenditure has been made, and a part of the community have sustained
it. If the debt were to be paid by a single effort of taxation, it
could only create a transfer of property from one individual to
another, and the aggregate wealth of the whole community would be
precisely the same. But since nothing more is attempted than merely
to fund the debt, by providing for the interest at six per cent, the
question of ability is resolved to the single point, whether it is
easier for a _part of the people_ to pay one hundred dollars, than for
the _whole people_ to pay six dollars. It is equally clear, though not
equally evident, that a considerable advantage would be produced by
funding our debts, over and above what has been already mentioned as
the consequence of national credit.

The advantage is threefold. First, many persons by being creditors of
the public are deprived of those funds, which are necessary to the
full exercise of their skill and industry. Consequently the community
are deprived of the benefits, which would result from that exercise,
whereas if these debts, which are in a manner dead, were brought back
to existence, monied men would purchase them up, though perhaps at a
considerable discount, and thereby restore to the public many useful
members, who are now entirely lost, and extend the operations of many
more to considerable advantage. For although not one additional
shilling would be by this means brought in, yet by distributing
property into those hands, which could render it most productive, the
revenues would be increased, while the original stock continued the
same. Secondly, many foreigners who make speculations to this country,
would, instead of ordering back remittances, direct much of the
proceeds of their cargoes to be invested in our public funds, which,
according to principles already established, would produce a clear
advantage, with the addition, from peculiar circumstances, that it
would supply the want of credit to the mercantile part of society. The
last but not least advantage is, that in restoring ease, harmony, and
confidence, not only the government (being more respectable) would be
more respected, and consequently better obeyed, but the mutual
dealings among men on private credit would be facilitated. The horrors
which agitate people's minds, from an apprehension of depreciating
paper would be done away. The secret hoards would be unlocked. In the
same moment the necessity of money would be lessened, and the quantity
increased. By these means the collection of taxes would be
facilitated, and thus instead of being obliged to give valuable
produce for useless minerals, that produce would purchase the things
we stand in need of, and we should obtain a sufficient circulating
medium, by giving the people what they have always a right to demand,
solid assurance in the integrity of their rulers.

The next consideration, which offers is the amount of public debt, and
every good American must lament that confusion in public affairs,
which renders an accurate state of it unattainable. But it must
continue to be so until accounts at home and abroad be fully adjusted.
The enclosed is an estimate, furnished by the Controller of the
Treasury; from which it appears, that there is, already an
acknowledged debt bearing interest, to the amount of more than twelve
millions of dollars. On a part of this also there is a large arrearage
of interest, and there is a very considerable debt unsettled, the
evidence of which exists in various certificates, given for property
applied to the public service. This service, including pay due to the
army previous to the present year, cannot be estimated at less than
between seven and eight millions. Our debt to his Most Christian
Majesty, is above five millions. The nearest guess, therefore, which
can be made at the sum total, is from twentyfive to twentyseven
millions of dollars; and if to this we add what it may be necessary to
borrow for the year 1783, the amount will be, with interest, by the
time proper revenues are obtained, considerably above thirty millions.
Of course the interest will be between eighteen hundred thousand and
two millions of dollars.

And here, previous to the consideration of proper revenues for that
amount, it may not be amiss to make a few general observations; the
first of which is, that it would be injurious to the United States to
obtain money in loans, without providing beforehand the necessary
funds. For if those who are now so deeply engaged to support war, will
not grant such funds to procure immediate relief, certainly those who
come after them will not do it to pay a former debt. Remote objects,
dependent on abstract reasoning, never influence the mind like
immediate sensibility. It is, therefore, the province of wisdom to
direct towards proper objects that sensibility, which is the only
motive to action among the mass of mankind. Should we be able to get
money from the Dutch, without first providing funds, which is more
than doubtful; and should the several States neglect afterwards making
provision to perform the engagements of Congress, which is more than
probable, the credit of the United States abroad would be ruined
forever. Very serious discussions also might be raised among foreign
powers, and our creditors might have recourse to arms, we might
dishonorably be compelled to do what dishonestly we had left undone.

Secondly, the idea, which many entertain, of soliciting loans abroad
to pay the interest of domestic debts, is pregnant with its own
destruction. If the States were to grant revenues sufficient only to
pay the interest of present debts, we might, perhaps, obtain new
credit upon a general opinion of our justice, though that is far from
certain. But when we omit paying by taxes the interest of debts
already contracted, and ask to borrow for the purpose, making the same
promises to obtain the new loans, which had already been made to
obtain the old, we shall surely be disappointed.

Thirdly, it will be necessary, not only that revenues be granted, but
that those revenues be amply sufficient for the purpose, because (as
will presently appear) a deficiency would be highly pernicious, while
an excess would be not only unprejudicial, but very advantageous. To
perceive this with all necessary clearness, it must be remembered that
the revenues asked for on this occasion must be appropriated to the
purposes for which they are asked, and in like manner the sums
required for current expenditures must be appropriated to the current
service. If then the former be deficient the latter cannot be brought
in to supply the deficiencies, and of course the public credit would
be impaired; but should there be an excess of revenue it could be
applied in payment of a part of the debt immediately, and in such
case, if the credits should have depreciated they would be raised to
par, the offer of payment would induce creditors to lower the
interest. Thus in either case, the means of making new loans on good
terms would be extended, and the necessity of asking more revenues
obviated.

Lastly, the revenues ought to be of such a nature, as naturally and
necessarily to increase, for creditors will have a greater confidence
when they have a clear prospect of being repaid, and the people will
always be desirous to see a like prospect of relief from the taxes.
Besides which, it will be necessary to incur some considerable expense
after the war, in making necessary establishments for a permanent
naval force, and it will always be least objectionable to borrow for
that purpose on funds already established.

The requisition of a five per cent impost, made on the 3d of February,
1781, has not yet been complied with by the State of Rhode Island; but
as there is reason to believe that their compliance is not far off,
this revenue may be considered as being already granted. It will,
however, be very inadequate to the purposes intended. If goods be
imported and prizes introduced to the amount of twelve millions
annually, the five per cent would be six hundred thousand, from which
at least one sixth must be deducted, as well for the cost of
collection as for the various defalcations which will necessarily
happen, and which it is unnecessary to enumerate. It is not safe,
therefore, to estimate this revenue at more than half a million of
dollars, for, though it may produce more, yet probably it will not
produce so much. It was in consequence of this, that on the 27th day
of last February, I took the liberty to submit the propriety of asking
the States for a land tax of one dollar for every hundred acres of
land, a poll tax of one dollar on all freemen and all male slaves
between sixteen and sixty, (excepting such as are in the federal army,
and such as are by wounds or otherwise rendered unfit for service) and
an excise of one eighth of a dollar per gallon, on all distilled
spirituous liquors. Each of these may be estimated at half a million,
and should the product be equal to the estimation, the sum total of
revenues for funding the public debts, would be equal to two millions.
What has been the fate of these propositions I know not, but I will
beg leave, on this occasion, not only to renew them, but also to state
some reasons in their favor, and answer some objections against them.

And first, as to a land tax. The advantages of it are, that it can be
reduced to a certainty as to the amount and time. That no
extraordinary means are necessary to ascertain it, and that land being
the ultimate object of human avarice, and that species of permanent
property, which peculiarly belongs to a country as neither to be
removed or concealed, it stands foremost for the object of taxation,
and ought most particularly to be burdened with those debts, which
have been incurred by defending the freedom of its inhabitants. But
besides these general reasons, there are some which are in a manner
peculiar to this country. The land of America may, as to the
proprietors be divided into two kinds; that which belongs to the great
landholders, and that which is owned and occupied by the industrious
cultivators. This latter class of citizens, is, generally speaking,
the most numerous and most valuable part of a community. The artisan
may, under any government, minister to the luxuries of the rich, and
the rich may, under any government, obtain the luxuries they covet.
But the free husbandman is the natural guardian of his country's
freedom. A land tax will probably, at the first mention, startle this
order of men; but it can only be from the want of reflection, or the
delusion must be kept up by the artifice of others. To him who
cultivates from one to five hundred acres, a dollar per hundred is a
trifling object, but to him who owns a hundred thousand it is
important. Yet a large proportion of America is the property of great
landholders, they monopolise it without cultivation; they are, for the
most part, at no expense either of money or personal service to defend
it, and keeping the price higher by monopoly than otherwise it would
be, they impede the settlement and culture of the country. A land tax,
therefore, would have the salutary operation of an agrarian law
without the iniquity. It would relieve the indigent, and aggrandize
the State by bringing property into the hands of those who would use
it for the benefit of society.

The objections against such a tax are twofold; first, that it is
unequal, and secondly, that it is high. To obviate the inequality,
some have proposed an estimate of the value of different kinds of
lands. But this would be improper; because, first, it would be
attended with great delay, expense, and inconvenience. Secondly, it
would be uncertain, and therefore improper, particularly when
considered as a fund for public debts. Thirdly, there is no reason to
believe, that any estimate would be just, and even if it were, it must
be annually varied, or else come within the force of the objection as
strongly as ever; the former would cost more than the tax, and the
latter would not afford the remedy asked for. Lastly, such valuations
would operate as a tax upon industry, and promote that land monopoly,
which every wise government will study to repress. But further, the
true remedy for any inequality will be obtained in the apportioning
other taxes, of which there will always be enough to equalize this;
besides, the tax being permanent and fixed, it is considered in the
price of land on every transfer of property, and that produces a
degree of equality, which no valuation could possibly arrive at.

In a word, if exact numerical proportion be sought after in taxes,
there would be no end to the search. Not only might a poll tax be
objected to, as too heavy on the poor and too light on the rich, but
when that objection was obviated the physical differences in the human
frame would alone be as endless a source of contention, as the
different qualities of land. The second objection, that the tax is too
high, is equally futile with the former. Land which is so little
worth, that the owner will not pay annually one penny per acre for the
defence of it, ought to belong to the society by whom the expense of
defending it is defrayed. But the truth is, that this objection arises
from and is enforced by those men who can very well bear the expense,
but who wish to shift it from themselves to others. I shall close this
subject by adding, that as such a tax would, besides the benefits to
be derived from the object of it, have the farther advantage of
encouraging settlements and population, this would redound not only to
the national good, but even to the particular good of the landholders
themselves.

With respect to the poll tax, there are many objections against it,
but in some of the States a more considerable poll tax already exists
without inconvenience. The objections are principally drawn from
Europe, by men who do not consider that a difference of circumstances
makes a material difference in the nature of political operations. In
some parts of Europe, where nine tenths of the people are exhausted by
continual labor, to procure bad clothing and worse food, this tax
would be extremely oppressive; but in America, where three days of
labor produce sustenance for a week, it is not unreasonable to ask two
days out of a year as a contribution to the payment of public debts.
Such a tax will, on the rich, be next to nothing; on the middling
ranks it will be of very little consequence; and it cannot affect the
poor, because such of them as are unable to labor will fall within the
exception proposed. In fact the situation of America differs so widely
from that of Europe as to the matter now under consideration, that
hardly any maxim which applies to one will be alike applicable to the
other. Labor is in such demand among us, that the tax will fall on the
consumer. An able bodied man who demands one hundred dollars to go
into military service for three years, cannot be oppressed by the
annual payment of one dollar while not in that service. This tax,
also, will have the good effect of placing before the eyes of Congress
the numbers of men in the several States; an information always
important to government.

The excise proposed is liable to no other objection than what may be
made against the mode of collection, but it is conceived that this may
be such as can produce no ill consequences. Excise laws exist and have
long existed in the several States. Of all taxes, those on the
consumption of articles are most agreeable, because being mingled with
the price, they are less sensible to the people; and without entering
into a discussion with which speculative men have amused themselves,
on the advantages and disadvantages of this species of taxation, it
may be boldly affirmed, that no inconvenience can arise from laying a
heavy tax on the use of ardent spirits. These have always been equally
prejudicial to the constitutions and morals of the people. The tax
will be a means of compelling vice to support the cause of virtue, and
like the poll tax, will draw from the idle and dissolute, that
contribution to the public service which they will not otherwise make.

Having said thus much on the propriety of these taxes, I shall pray
leave to assure you of my ready acquiescence in the choice of any
others, which may be more agreeable to the United States in Congress,
praying them nevertheless to consider, that as the situation of the
respective States is widely different, it will be wise to adopt a
variety of taxes, because by that means the consent of all will be
more readily obtained, than if such are chosen as will fall heavy only
on particular States.

The next object is the collection, which, for the most obvious reasons
ought to be by authority derived from the United States. The
collection of a land tax, as has been above observed, will be very
simple. That of the poll may be equally so, because certificates of
the payment may annually be issued to the collectors, and they be
bound to return the certificates or the money, and empowered to compel
a payment by every man not possessed of a certificate. If in addition
to this, those who travel from one State to another be obliged to take
out and pay for a new certificate in each State, that would operate a
useful regulation of police; and a slight distinction between those
and the common certificates would still preserve their utility in
numbering the people.

It is not necessary to dwell on the mode of collecting these branches
of revenue, because in reason, a determination on the propriety of the
taxes should precede it. I will only take the liberty to drop one idea
with respect to the impost already required. It is conceived that laws
should be so formed, as to leave little or nothing to the discretion
of those by whom they are executed; that revenue laws, in particular,
should be guarded in this respect from odium; being, as they are,
sufficiently odious in themselves; and therefore it would have been
well to have stipulated the precise sum payable on different species
of commodities. The objection is, that the list to be accurate must be
numerous. But as this accuracy is necessary, the description ought to
be very short and general, so as to comprise many commodities under
one head; and the duty ought to be fixed according to their average
value. The objection against this regulation, is, that the tax on fine
commodities would be trivial, and on coarse commodities great. This
indeed is true; but it is desirable for two reasons. First, that
coarse and bulky commodities could not be smuggled to evade the heavy
duty; and that fine commodities would not be smuggled to evade the
light duty. Secondly, that coarse commodities, generally speaking,
minister to the demands of necessity or convenience, and fine
commodities to those of luxury. The heavy duty on the former would
operate an encouragement to produce them at home, and by that means a
stoppage of our commerce in time of war would be most felt by the
wealthy, who have always the most abundant means of procuring relief.

I shall now, Sir, take the liberty to suppose, that the revenues I
have mentioned, or some others, to the amount of at least two
millions net annual produce, were asked for and obtained, as a pledge
to the public creditors, to continue until the principal and interest
of the debts contracted or to be contracted, shall be finally paid.
This supposition is made, that I may have an opportunity, thus early,
to express my sentiments on the mode of appropriation. It would be as
follows; any one of the revenues being estimated, a loan should be
opened on the credit of it, by subscription to a certain amount, and
public debts of a particular description, or specie, be received in
payment of the subscriptions. This funded debt should be transferable
under particular forms, calculated for the prevention of fraudulent,
and facilitating of honest negotiations. In like manner on each of
these revenues should subscriptions be opened, proceeding by degrees
so as to prevent any sudden revolutions in money matters, such
revolutions being always more or less injurious.

I should further propose, that the surplus of each of these revenues,
(and care should be taken that there would be a surplus,) should be
carried to a sinking fund; on the credit of which, and of the general
promises of government, new loans should be opened when necessary. The
interest should be paid half yearly, which would be convenient to the
creditors and to the government, as well as useful to the people at
large; because by this means, if four different loans were opened at
different times, the interest would be payable eight times in the
year; and thus the money would be paid out of the treasury as fast as
it came in; which would require four officers to manage the business,
keep them in more constant and regular employment, dispense the
interest so as to command the confidence and facilitate the views of
the creditors, and return speedily the wealth obtained by taxes into
the common stock.

I know it will be objected, that such a mode of administration would
enable speculators to perform their operations. A general answer to
this would be, that any other mode would be more favorable to them.
But further, I conceive, first, that it is much beneath the dignity of
government to intermeddle in such consideration. Secondly, that
speculators always do least mischief where they are left most at
liberty. Thirdly, that it is not in human prudence to counteract their
operations by laws; whereas, when left alone, they invariably
counteract each other; and fourthly, that even if it were possible to
prevent speculation, it is precisely the thing which ought not to be
prevented; because he who wants money to commence, pursue, or extend
his business, is more benefited by selling stock of any kind, even, at
a considerable discount, than he could be by the rise of it at a
future period; every man being able to judge better of his own
business and situation than the government can for him.

So much would not perhaps have been said on the head of this
objection, if it did not naturally lead to a position, which has
hitherto been ruinous, and might prove fatal. There are many men, and
some of them honest men, whose zeal against speculation leads them to
be sometimes unmindful not only of sound policy, but even of moral
justice. It is not uncommon to hear, that those who have bought the
public debts for small sums, ought only to be paid their purchase
money. The reasons given are, that they have taken advantage of the
distressed creditor, and shown a diffidence in the public faith. As to
the first, it must be remembered, that in giving the creditor money
for his debt, they have at least afforded him some relief, which he
could not obtain elsewhere, and if they are deprived of the expected
benefit, they will never afford such relief again. As to the second,
those who buy up the public debts, show at least as much confidence in
the public faith as those who sell them. But allowing, for argument
sake, that they have exhibited the diffidence complained of, it would
certainly be wiser to remove than to justify it. The one mode tends to
create, establish, and secure public credit, and the other to sap,
overturn, and destroy it. Policy is, therefore, on this, as I believe
it to be on every other occasion, upon the same side of the question
with honesty. Honesty tells us, that the duty of the public to pay,
is like the same duty in an individual. Having benefited by the
advances, they are bound to replace them to the party, or to his
representatives. The debt is a species of property, and whether
disposed of for the whole nominal value, or the half, for something,
or for nothing, is totally immaterial. This right of receiving and
the duty of paying must always continue the same. In a word, that
government which can, through the intervention of its Courts, compel
payment of private debts, and performance of private contracts, on
principles of distributive justice, but refuses to be guided by those
principles as to their own contracts, merely because they are not
amenable to human laws, shows a flagitious contempt of moral
obligations, which must necessarily weaken, as it ought to do,
their authority over the people.

Before I conclude this long letter, it would be unpardonable not to
mention a fund, which has long since been suggested, and dwells still
on the minds of many. You doubtless, Sir, anticipate my naming of what
are called the back lands. The question as to the property of those
lands, I confess myself utterly incompetent to decide, and shall not
for that reason presume to enter on it. But it is my duty to mention,
that the offer of a pledge, the right of which is contested, would
have ill consequences, and could have no good ones. It could not
strengthen our credit, because no one would rely on such a pledge, and
the recurrence to it would give unfavorable impressions of our
political sagacity. But admitting that the right of Congress is clear,
we must remember also, that it is disputed by some considerable
members of the confederacy. Dissentions might arise from hasty
decisions on this subject. And a government torn by intestine
commotions, is not likely to acquire or maintain credit at home or
abroad.

I am not, however, the less clear in my opinion, that it would be
alike useful to the whole nation, and to those very constituent parts
of it, that the entire disposition of those lands should be in
Congress. Without entering, therefore, into the litigated points, I am
induced to believe, and for that reason to suggest, the proposing this
matter to the States as an amicable arrangement. I hope to be pardoned
when I add, that considering the situation of South Carolina and
Georgia, it might be proper to ask their consent to matters of the
clearest right. But that supposing the right to be doubtful, urging
decision in the present moment, might have a harsh and ungenerous
appearance.

But if we suppose this matter to be arranged either in the one mode or
in the other, so that the right of Congress be rendered indisputable
(for that is a previous point of indispensable necessity) the
remaining question will be, as to the appropriation of that fund. And
I confess it does not appear to me, that the benefits resulting from
it are such as many are led to believe. When the imagination is heated
in pursuit of an object, it is generally overrated. If these lands
were now in the hands of Congress, and they were willing to mortgage
them to their present creditors, unless this were accompanied with a
due provision for the interest, it would bring no relief. If these
lands were to be sold for the public debts, they would go off for
almost nothing. Those who want money could not afford to buy land.
Their certificates would be bought up for a trifle. Very few monied
men would become possessed of them, because very little money would be
invested in so remote a speculation. The small number of purchasers
would easily and readily combine; of consequence they would acquire
the lands for almost nothing, and effectually defeat the intentions of
government; leaving it still under the necessity of making further
provision, after having needlessly squandered an immense property.

This reasoning is not new. It has been advanced on similar occasions
before, and the experience, which all America has had of the sales of
confiscated estates and the like, will now show that it was well
founded. The back lands then will not answer our purpose, without the
necessary revenues. But those revenues will alone produce the desired
effect. The back lands may afterwards be formed into a fund, for
opening new loans in Europe on a low interest, redeemable within a
future period, (for instance twenty years) with a right reserved to
the creditors of taking portions of those lands on the non-payment of
their debts, at the expiration of the time. Two modes would offer for
the liquidation of those debts. First, to render payment during the
term to those who would not consent to alter the nature of the debt;
which, if our credit be well established, would place it on the
general footing of national faith. And secondly, to sell portions of
the land (during the term) sufficient to discharge the mortgage. I
persuade myself, that the consent of the reluctant might be obtained,
and that this fund might hereafter be converted to useful purposes.
But I hope that in a moment when the joint effort of all is
indispensable, no causes of altercation may be mingled unnecessarily
in a question of such infinite magnitude as the restoration of public
credit. Let me add, Sir, that unless the money of foreigners be
brought in for the purpose, sales of public lands would only absorb
that surplus wealth, which might have been exhaled by taxes; so that
in fact no new resource is produced. And that while, as at present,
the demand for money is so great as to raise interest to five per cent
per month, public lands must sell extremely low, were the title ever
so clear. What then can be expected, when the validity of that title
is one object of the war?

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, July 30th, 1782.

  Sir,

I do myself the honor to enclose for the inspection of Congress,
estimates for the service of the year 1783, amounting in the whole to
eleven millions. I should be strictly justified in praying a
requisition of the United States for that sum, but I conceive that the
demands made should be the lowest which our circumstances will
possibly admit of. I am persuaded, that if the United States in
Congress will adopt those means of economy, which are in their power,
we may save two millions; and, therefore, on a presumption that those
means will be adopted, I shall ask only nine millions. Congress will
observe, that the estimates of the Marine Department amount to two
millions and a half; whereas there was no estimate made for that
service in the last year, any more than for the Civil List. There can
be no doubt that the enemy have changed their mode of warfare, and
will make their principal exertions in the naval line. It becomes us,
therefore, to make like exertions, and that for the plainest reasons.

Experience has shown that the efforts to obtain a large army have for
many years proved utterly fruitless. The only effect of those efforts,
has been to enhance the price of such men as were obtained, and
thereby to disable the States, who exerted themselves to raise
recruits, from pouring supplies into the public Treasury. Thus we have
not only been unable to get more men, but also to pay and support
those which we had gotten. Admitting, however, that the required
number were obtained and properly supported as an army, these things
are clear; first, that without naval aid we could not make an
impression on the enemy's posts. Secondly, that they would be able to
harass and distress us in every quarter, by predatory incursions.
Thirdly, that they would prevent us from receiving those supplies,
which are necessary alike to the operations and existence of an army.
And, fourthly, that their inroads on our commerce would produce such
distress to the country, as to make our revenues utterly unproductive,
and finally bring our affairs to destruction.

An army, therefore, without a navy would be burdensome, without being
able to give essential aid, supposing the enemy to have changed their
system of carrying on the war. But if we had a navy, we should be
able, first, to prevent the enemy from making predatory incursions.
Secondly, we should, at least, keep the ships they have on our coast
together, which would prevent them from injuring our commerce, or
obstructing our supplies. Thirdly, if they kept in this country an
equal or superior force, we should by that means have made a powerful
diversion in favor of our allies, and contributed to give them a naval
superiority elsewhere. Fourthly, if our enemy did not keep an equal or
superior force in this country, we should be able by cruising to
protect our commerce, annoy theirs, and cut off the supplies directed
to their posts, so as to distress their finances and relieve our own.
Fifthly, by economising our funds, and constructing six ships
annually, we should advance so rapidly to maritime importance, that
our enemy would be convinced, not only of the impossibility of
subduing us, but also of the certainty that his forces in this country
must eventually be lost, without being able to produce any possible
advantage. And, sixthly, we should, in this mode, recover the full
possession of our country, without the expense of blood or treasure,
which must attend any other mode of operations; and while we are
pursuing those steps, which lead to the possession of our natural
strength and defence.

I trust, Sir, that the influence of these considerations, will not
only lead the councils of America to adopt the measures necessary for
establishing a navy, but that by economising as much as possible, we
may be able (from the sums now to be asked for) to do more in that
line than is contained in the estimate; but as this must depend on
circumstances, which we cannot command, so it is not prudent or proper
to rely on it. Having already stated the lowest necessary sum at nine
millions, I proceed, Sir, to propose that four millions be borrowed,
which will reduce the quotas to five millions. I make this
proposition, under the idea, that the plans contained in my letter of
yesterday's date be adopted. The quotas then being five millions, the
sum total of what will be taken from the people will amount to only
seven millions; and of that, full twelve hundred thousand will be paid
back as the interest of our domestic debt, so as not to be, in fact,
any burden on the whole people, though a necessary relief to a
considerable part of them. On this plain statement I shall make no
comment. I shall only pray, that as much expedition may attend the
deliberations on these objects as the importance of them will permit,
so that the States may be in a situation to make speedy decisions. And
this is the more necessary, as the negotiations for a loan must be
opened in Europe early next winter.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.[9]

  [9] _August 1st._ This day many people expected that my
  engagements to supply the Paymaster General with money to
  discharge the notes, which, under that engagement he had issued to
  the officers of the army on account of their pay, would be broken,
  and, consequently, that my public credit would be lost, and a
  train of evils, easy to be conceived, ensue to the United States.
  But having warranted Mr Pierce, the Paymaster General, to give his
  notes in February last to all the officers of our army, viz. to
  all subalterns for the amount of three months' pay, that is, for
  January, February, and March, 1782, I have for some time past been
  providing for the performance of this engagement, and to
  accomplish it, have been distressed in a variety of channels. When
  this engagement was taken, it was at the pressing instance of the
  Commander in Chief, and to enable the officers to clothe
  themselves, which they could not have done without that seasonable
  aid. At the time this engagement was made, I had a right to expect
  that four millions of dollars would be paid into the treasury of
  the United States; as, agreeable to the requisitions of Congress,
  two millions were to be paid on the 1st day of April, and two
  millions on the 1st day of July. Instead of receiving those sums,
  I have not to this hour received fifty thousand dollars on account
  thereof, and have, therefore, been compelled to raise this money
  by selling bills of exchange on France. Upon sending for Mr
  Pierce's return of the notes I issued, I find they amount to one
  hundred and forty thousand two hundred and sixtysix dollars; of
  which Mr Sands is possessed of thirtynine thousand, which he has
  delivered up on my paying part of the amount now, and part to be
  paid a short time hence, which leaves to be provided for about
  eightyfive thousand nine hundred and fortysix dollars; and as this
  debt will be punctually paid, it leaves only an unprovided balance
  of fifteen thousand three hundred and twenty dollars, which I
  think will be ready before payment is demanded; so that the hopes
  and expectations of the malicious and disaffected will in this
  instance be disappointed. _Diary._

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE GOVERNOR OF RHODE ISLAND.

  Office of Finance, August 2d, 1782.

  Sir,

I presume you have been before this informed, that all the States
except Rhode Island, have acceded to the impost law. A committee of
Congress lately appointed on this subject, did me the honor to request
my attendance, with that of your Delegates, to hear the objections
from them, and know from me the circumstances attending the
requisition. After a long conversation the committee were about to
confer on a report, which, at my request they were pleased to suspend,
that I might have the last opportunity of praying your attention to
the subject. And I was induced to make that request, as well for the
avoiding those disagreeable discussions, which cannot exist between
the Union and an individual State without inducing pernicious
consequences, as because it appeared to me, that the reasons urged
against passing the impost are not conclusive, as some have thought
them to be.

Mr Howell was so kind as to promise, that he would state his
objections in writing. This he has done, and a copy of them is
enclosed. They are,

1st. That the impost would draw a disproportionate supply from either
merchant or consumer.

2dly. That Rhode Island imports and consumes more of foreign articles
in proportion, than any other State.

3dly. That, from her maritime situation she is exposed to great
losses.

4thly. That the exclusive benefit of the impost should be carried to
account of the State.

5thly. That the impost will raise prices, and therefore manufactures
brought from the neighboring States will draw a revenue from Rhode
Island.

6thly. That duties imposed by the neighboring States may compel Rhode
Island to subsist by foreign articles.

7thly. That many men will be employed in the collection.

8thly. That it would be evaded by smuggling; and,

9thly. That the collection may be objectionable.

To each of these I will reply in their order.

1st. To determine whether the impost will act proportionably or not,
we must consider in what respect the proportion is to be taken. If it
be a proportion between two of the States, that will be considered
under the second head; if it be a proportion among the people of the
same State, it is only recurring to the question, whether the taxes on
consumption are useful; for so long as no man pays the tax, but he who
chooses to purchase the article, the disproportion, if any, is of his
own creating. The necessity of a revenue to a certain amount must be
admitted. Is it then wise to raise a part of it from the _consumption_
of foreign articles? I say the consumption, because the tax
undoubtedly falls on the consumer and not on the importer. If this be
not a wise tax, what shall we substitute? Articles of primary and
immediate necessity are made in the State of Rhode Island. Both food
and raiment can be had without crossing the Atlantic in search of
them. Every man, therefore, is at liberty to use foreign articles or
not. If he does use them the tax is voluntary, and therefore cannot be
considered as disproportionate, any more than for one man to wear silk
while another wears wool.

2dly. That Rhode Island consumes more foreign commodities in
proportion than any other State in the Union, cannot be admitted.
Rhode Island certainly makes many commodities, but the more southern
States are in the habit of importing everything.

3dly. That Rhode Island is, from its situation, liable to the unhappy
accidents of war is true; but this incidental evil, arising from an
advantageous position, cannot be adduced as a plea for exemption from
public burdens. New York has suffered, at least as much and as long.

4thly. That the exclusive benefits of an impost should be carried to
the State where it is collected, is a position unjust in itself, and
which would forever prevent any duties; wherefore it would cut off not
only one of the most productive, but one of the most useful branches
of revenue. Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and some other States carry on
the commerce of their neighbors as well as their own, from which they
derive great riches. The duties are always (like the risks and the
expenses) paid by the consumer; for unless this be so, no tolerable
reason can be assigned, why foreign commodities should be dearer in
war than in peace. If then a considerable duty were laid by the
commercial State, it would fall on its uncommercial neighbor. That
neighbor, therefore, would immediately take measures to carry on its
own commerce, and prohibit the bringing of articles from the
commercial State. Those measures would produce a repeal of the duty. I
take no notice here of the altercations which would arise; it is
sufficient to show, that the private view of revenue for the State
would be defeated.

5thly, and 6thly. These objections do not appear to me to apply,
because in the first place, I can hardly suppose the neighboring
States will ever think of laying duties on the produce, for if any of
them should, her citizens would be the sufferers. Secondly, if the
article of produce be left uncontrolled by the government every
individual will be a check on the avidity of his neighbors, and if by
this means a piece of American goods can be vended cheaper in Rhode
Island than a piece of foreign goods, the consumer in Rhode Island
will by the purchase of it save money to himself, and therefore to
the country. And as the duty is collected only on foreign goods he
will not pay the duty, and of course the duty on his State will be so
much the less.

7thly. The seventh objection will apply more strongly to almost any
other kind of tax, because this may be collected by a very small
number of men.

8thly. The eighth objection I cannot admit, because forming my opinion
of that State from what I conceive to be the character of the
gentleman who makes the objection, I cannot believe it to be valid.
Smuggling was formerly not disreputable because it was the evading of
laws, which were not made by proper authority, and therefore not
obligatory; but nothing can be more infamous than to defraud our own
government of so poor a pittance; and I trust, that if any individual
were inclined to do so, he would be detected by the first person who
saw him, and would be as much exposed to the resentment and contempt
of his fellow citizens as an informer would have been in the times
alluded to.

9thly. The last objection ought not to be made, because there is no
reason to suppose, that Congress would devise means to oppress their
fellow citizens. But it is one of our greatest misfortunes, that men
are apt to reason from one thing to another that is very dissimilar.
The parliament of England cared nothing about the consequences of laws
made for us, because they were not affected by them. This is always
the case under such circumstances, and forms one of the most powerful
arguments in favor of free governments. But how can it be supposed,
that a member of Congress who is liable to be recalled at a moment's
warning would join in measures which are oppressive to the people, and
which he must necessarily himself feel the weight of, without deriving
any advantage from them. For it is not here as in England, that there
is a King to buy votes for bad purposes. If the members of Congress be
seduced, it must be by the Congress, which is absurd. If indeed the
Congress were either an hereditary body, self-existent, or if they
were self-elected, there might be room for apprehension, but as they
are, there can be none.

Now, Sir, the state of things is shortly this. The United States are
deeply indebted to the people of America. They have called for
revenues to pay their debts in a course of years, being the only means
of reviving credit and lightening burdens. All the States consent but
Rhode Island, to whose citizens a very considerable part of this debt
is due. Of consequence the whole is suspended. The reasons assigned
are purely local, and I verily believe are founded on mistaken
principles. The revenue, however, if granted is insufficient. More
must be demanded; and consequently, as all taxes are unpleasant some
State will be found to oppose any which can be devised, on quite as
good ground as the present opposition. What then is the consequence?

  I am, Sir, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO SIR GUY CARLETON.

  Office of Finance, August 20th, 1782.

  Sir,

I do myself the honor to enclose to your Excellency letters from the
masters of two flag ships, which have arrived in this port with
American prisoners. I have sent them in by Mr John Greene, one of the
persons that came in the Symmetry, who will bring such orders, as your
Excellency may think proper to transmit to those gentlemen. I have
further to mention, Sir, that I intend delivering to one of them such
British marine prisoners as may be in this place, or its vicinity,
when they depart, provided their receipt shall be deemed a proper
evidence of the delivery, on a settlement of the account hereafter. On
this point I shall be happy to learn your sentiments. It might have
been more proper to have addressed myself to Admiral Digby, especially
as Mr Greene carries the duplicates of a former letter to him. But as
the King's servants in England have placed the masters of these flags
under your Excellency's directions, I was led to conclude, that if the
concurrence of the Admiral should be necessary, you would take the
trouble of obtaining it.

  I have the honor to be, with perfect respect, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO ALEXANDER HAMILTON.

  Office of Finance, August 28th, 1782.

  Sir,

I have duly received your several favors of the 22d and 27th of July,
and 10th and 13th of August. My not answering them is owing to causes
which you will easily conceive; for you will easily conceive the
multiplicity of objects to which I must turn my attention. I am very
sorry to learn that you can no longer continue in the office of
Receiver. It would have given me great pleasure that you should have
done so, because I am sure that you would have rendered very signal
services to the public cause. This you will now do in another line,
more important as it is more extensive; and the justness of your
sentiments on public affairs, induce my warm wish that you may find a
place in Congress so agreeable, that you may be induced to continue in
it.

I am sorry to learn, that any letter of mine should have given
offence; but I conclude that this effect must follow from many parts
of my writings and conduct; because the steady pursuit of what appears
to be the true line of duty will necessarily cross the various oblique
views of interest and opinion. To offend is sometimes a fault, always
a misfortune. The letter in question is, I suppose, under the date of
the 11th of December, of which I enclose you a copy. Let me at the
same time assure you, that in all your excellent letter of the 13th
instant, I most esteem the clause now in question because it contains
that useful information which is least common. I will make no
apologies for the letter, to any one, because apologies are rarely
useful, and where the intention has been good, they are to candid
minds unnecessary. Possessed of the facts you can guard against
misrepresentation, and I have found that to be the most hostile
weapon, which either my personal or political enemies have been able
to wield against me.

I have not even yet seen the resolutions of your Legislature,
relative to an extension of the powers of Congress. I had supposed the
same reason for them that you have expressed. Indeed power is
generally such a darling object with weak minds, that they must feel
extreme reluctance to bid it farewell; neither do I believe that
anything will induce a general consent to part with it, but a perfect
sense of absolute necessity. This may arise from two sources, the one
of reason the other of feeling; the former more safe and more
uncertain, the latter always secure and often dangerous. It is, my
Dear Sir, in circumstances like these, that a patriotic mind seeking
the great good of the whole on enlightened principles, can best be
distinguished from those vulgar souls, whose narrow optics can see but
the little circle of selfish concerns. Unhappily such souls are but
too common, and but too often fill the seats of dignity and authority.
A firm, wise, manly, system of federal government, is what I once
wished, what I now hope, what I dare not expect, but what I will not
despair of.

Your description of the mode of collecting taxes, contains an epitome
of the follies, which prevail from one end of the continent to the
other. There is no end to the absurdity of human nature; mankind seem
to delight in contrast and paradox, for surely nothing else could
sanctify (during a contest on the precise point of being taxed by our
own consent) the arbitrary police, which on this subject, almost
universally prevails. God grant you success in your views to amend it.
Your ideas on the subject are perfectly correspondent to my own. As to
your doubt on the mode of collecting it, I would wish to obviate it by
the observation, that the further off we can remove the appointment of
collectors from popular influence, the more effectual will be their
operations; and the more they conform to the views of Congress, the
more effectually will they enable that body to provide for general
defence. In political life, the creature will generally pay some
deference to the creator. The having a double set of officers is
indeed an evil, but a good thing is not always to be rejected because
of that necessary portion of evil, which in the course of things must
be attached to it. Neither is this a necessary evil, for with a proper
federal government, army, navy, and revenue, the civil administration
might well be provided for, by a stamp act, roads by turnpikes, and
navigation by tolls.

The account you give of the State is by no means flattering; and the
more true it appears, the more concern it gives me. The loan I hope
will be completed, and I wish the _whole_ amount of the tax may be
collected. The forage plan I have disagreed to, and enclose for your
information, the copy of my letter on that subject to the Quarter
Master General. I believe your State is exhausted, but perhaps even
you consider it as being more so than it is. The certificates, which
now form a useless load, will (if the United States adopt, and the
several States agree, to a plan now before Congress) become valuable
property. This will afford great relief. The scarcity of money also
may be immediately relieved, if the love of popular favor would so far
give way to the love of public good, as to enforce plentiful taxation.
The necessity of having money, will always produce money. The desire
of having it produces, you see, so much as is necessary to gratify the
desire of enjoying foreign luxuries. Turn the stream, which now flows
in the channels of commerce, to those of revenue, and the business is
completed. Unfortunately for us, this is an operation which requires
fortitude, perseverance, virtue, and which cannot be effected by the
weak or wicked minds, who have only partial, private, or interested
views.

When I consider the exertions, which the country has already made,
under striking disadvantages, and with astonishing prodigality of
national wealth, by pernicious modes of applying it, I persuade myself
that regular consistent efforts would produce much more than you
suppose.

For your accurate, clear, and comprehensive description of general and
particular characters, sentiments, and opinions, accept my sincere
thanks and warm approbation. They do equal justice to your talents,
both for observation and description.

Mr Duer's attention to the business of his contract, is very pleasing
to me, and honorable to himself. I am very sorry that he should lose
by it, but to avoid this as much as possible, I am determined to
support him by liberal advances so soon as it shall be in my power to
do it.

  I pray you to believe me to be yours, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO GEORGE WASHINGTON.

  Office of Finance, August 20th, 1782.

  Sir,

I have now to address you on a subject, which cannot be more painful
to you than it is to me. I am determined to act justly, and therefore
when I find that I shall be unable to pay the contractors, I will give
them due notice in season. This period is fast approaching, and unless
the States make infinitely greater exertions than they have hitherto
done, it must soon arrive. To comprise this matter in a short compass,
your army is fed at a dollar for nine rations, or three dollars and a
third per month to feed a soldier. Twentyfour thousand rations per day
would therefore amount to eighty thousand dollars monthly, which is
more than had been paid by all the States on the 1st instant. The
object of this letter, Sir, is to request that you will consider how
your army is to be subsisted or kept together, if I am obliged to
dissolve the contracts. I pray that Heaven may direct your mind to
some mode by which we may be yet saved. I have done all that I could,
and given repeated warnings of the consequences, but it is like
preaching to the dead. Every exertion I am capable of shall be
continued while there is the least glimmering of hope.

  I have the honor to be, with great respect, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.[10]

  [10] _August 29th._ Mr Duane, Arthur Lee, Abraham Clark, and
  Samuel Osgood, a Committee of Inquiry, came this morning and
  proceeded in their business. They desired me to make out an
  account of all the moneys that have come into my hands, and those
  which I have paid. They asked the reasons for employing Mr
  Swanwick, and proceeded in other parts of their inquiry until the
  hour for going to Congress arrived. They inquired into the reasons
  for appointing Receivers of Continental taxes in each State, and
  Mr Clark expressed doubts of my authority to make those
  appointments. I therefore produced the Acts of Congress of the 3d
  of November, 1781, which satisfied him on that point. I informed
  the Committee, that my reasons for making new appointments, in
  preference to employing the Loan officers, were first, the Loan
  officers have not settled their accounts with the United States,
  and some of them have long accounts depending; secondly, although
  some of them may be fit, all are not; thirdly, had the money paid
  by the States, for the current expenses of the year, been put into
  the hands of the Loan officers, the people entitled to the
  interest on Loan Office certificates, issued by these gentlemen,
  would have been very clamorous for payment. They would not have
  entered into, or admitted the distinction of moneys granted for
  revenue or for current expenses of the year. _Diary._

       *       *       *       *       *

TO GEORGE WASHINGTON.

  Office of Finance, August 30th, 1782.

  Sir,

My letter of the 29th, which is enclosed, I have written for two
reasons; one that you may be informed and I may stand justified in
every respect, should the event take place; the other, which is the
principal one, that you may found a warm application on it to the
States. You will, I hope, keep this entirely to yourself. You will
see, that I have not intrusted a view of it to my Secretary, or to any
of the clerks. The effect of your application must depend on raising a
very general alarm.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.[11]

  [11] _September 3d._ This day I requested a Committee of Congress
  for a conference. Mr Rutledge, Mr Osgood, and Mr Madison, were
  appointed, and I proposed to them to present the seventyfour gun
  ship, America, to his Most Christian Majesty; who has lately lost
  _Le Magnifique_, a seventyfour gun ship, in the harbor of Boston.
  The Committee were unanimously of opinion with me, that this
  unfortunate incident afforded Congress an opportunity of showing a
  mark of the sincerity of their attachment to their ally, by
  enabling his Minister to continue the force of his fleet at a time
  when it could not otherwise be done. Besides the propriety which
  there is in showing this mark of attachment and gratitude to his
  Most Christian Majesty, I have several other strong and pointed
  reasons, which induced me to propose and always to support this
  measure. The want of money in our treasury to fit, equip, and man
  this ship, is amongst the number. _Diary._

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, September 9th, 1782.

  Sir,

I did myself the honor to propose, in my letter of the 30th of July
last, the borrowing or four millions of dollars for the service of the
ensuing year. It always gives me pain to repeat any application to
Congress, because it is my duty to suppose they pay every proper
attention to those things, which are submitted to their consideration.
But I must take the liberty, on this occasion to observe, that the
many engagements I have been compelled to make for the purpose of
supporting the public service to the present moment, will all fall due
between this and the first of next year.

My prospects of relief from the revenues of America are slender
indeed. As a safe opportunity for Europe will offer in a few days,
Congress will be pleased to consider that the moments are precious.
They will consider, that I cannot act in this business without their
authority, and that it will take some days to prepare the necessary
despatches, even after that authority is given. I hope, Sir, that I
shall not be understood as desiring to precipitate any acts or
resolutions. We are fast approaching to the winter. If everything
could be ready by the 15th of this month, we could not reckon on the
arrival of despatches at Paris before the beginning of November. A
month is but a short period to transact this important business, and
this would not leave another month for the winter's passage back.

  With perfect respect, I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO GEORGE WASHINGTON.

  Office of Finance, September 9th, 1782.

  Dear Sir,

The dates of the enclosed letters will show you my extreme reluctance
to wound your mind with the anxieties which distress my own. At the
time they were written, I was sore pressed on every quarter; but a
gleam of hope broke in upon me, and induced me to bear up still longer
against the torrent of demands, which was rushing upon me. These would
long since have overwhelmed me, had I been supported only by the
revenues drawn from the States.

At length, however, my other resources, which are nearly exhausted,
have become useless by the total stagnation of trade, owing to the
expectations of peace. There is, therefore, no other dependence left
but the taxes, and, unless these become immediately productive of
funds sufficient to feed our troops, I need not describe the
consequences. Already I am in arrears, in spite of my efforts. I am
determined, however, to continue those efforts to the last moment, but
at present, I really know not which way to turn myself.

  With the most sincere esteem, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO MESSRS WILLINK & CO., AMSTERDAM.

  Office of Finance, September 24th, 1782.

  Gentlemen,

Presuming, from the letters of yourself and of Mr Adams, that the loan
opened on account of the United States of America under your auspices
is filled, I do myself the honor to enclose you sundry acts of
Congress, by which you will see that the amount is subject to my
disposal. Whatever measures I may take, you will from time to time
receive due notice of, unless the miscarriage of letters by the
accidents to which they are at present subjected should prevent.

I have now in view a money negotiation, which may or may not take
place according to circumstances, but which will probably be
accomplished, to the amount of from one to two millions of florins. If
it should be effected, Messrs Le Couteulx & Co. bankers at Paris, will
have occasion to draw on you. I am now, therefore, to desire that the
bills drawn by that house to whatever amount, be punctually honored
and paid on account of the United States. It is in a reliance on this
that I shall take my measures, and a failure of payment would be
attended with the worst consequences.

  I have the honor to be, with perfect respect, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO MESSRS LE COUTEULX & CO., PARIS.

  Office of Finance, September 24th, 1782.

  Gentlemen,

Enclosed you have letters of this date to the house of Messrs Le
Couteulx, at Cadiz, and to Wilhelm and Jan Willink, Nicholas and Jacob
Van Staphorst, and De la Land and Fynjé, at Amsterdam. These two
letters, which I am to request that you will forward, are left open
for your perusal, and will explain to you the object which I now have
in view.

The United States having moneys in Holland, which are very necessary
for the public service here, I have deemed it best to bring them
through the Havana, for the following reasons. First, bills of
exchange cannot be negotiated here to the necessary amount, and are
even then negotiated at the rate of thirteen per cent discount.
Secondly, as it is, therefore, necessary to import money, the risk is
less from the Havana than from Europe. Thirdly, it might not be
agreeable to the prejudices of many to draw from Europe their
circulating coin; and, fourthly, I expect that a considerable gain
will be made on the negotiations. Thus, for instance, to take it in
its greatest extent, I am informed that bills on Cadiz, at thirty
days' sight, sell at the Havana for an advance of eight per cent; and
that bills on Paris sell at Cadiz, for an advance of nine per cent;
and there is also an advance on bills drawn from Paris on Amsterdam;
to which may be added, that a considerable time is also gained in
these various negotiations; and, therefore, if any benefit can be
derived to the United States from that circumstance, you will govern
yourself accordingly. In this, as well as in every other circumstance
relating to the business, I have on you, Gentlemen, the most perfect
reliance.

I think it will be best for you to know immediately of the gentlemen
in Amsterdam, whether they will answer your drafts to the amount;
because, if they should raise obstacles in the way, those may be
removed in season from this country, provided an early notice be
transmitted; for I expect you will receive this letter by the time Mr
---- reaches the Havana, if not before; and I do not suppose that his
bills can reach Cadiz in less than two months; and, of course, at one
usance only (and they shall, if that can be done without loss, be
drawn at two usances) they will not be payable until three months, and
then if time is necessary, you will direct the house in Cadiz to draw
at two usances more, which will bring the business to between five and
six months from your receipt of my letters. At any rate, it will not
do, that Mr ----'s bills be protested; I must rely on you to prevent
an accident, which would be attended with such fatal consequences, and
shall take measures to put you in a capacity to answer them
seasonably.

  With perfect respect, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

_P. S._ You will observe, that there is in the foregoing letter, a
blank for the name of the person who is to be employed in this
business. The reason is, that the gentleman I spoke to on the subject,
is prevented by the circumstances of his family from going to Havana.
I shall write to you further on the subject when I shall have taken
other arrangements.

  R. M.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO B. FRANKLIN, JOHN ADAMS, AND JOHN JAY.

  Office of Finance, September 25th, 1782.

  Sir,

I do myself the honor to enclose for your perusal, Acts of Congress of
the 27th of November and 3d of December, 1781, and the 14th and 3d
instant. In consequence I have to request, that all the bills hitherto
drawn by authority of Congress be paid and the accounts of those
transactions closed. After this is done, and I hope and believe that
while I am writing this letter it may have been already accomplished,
you will be freed from the torment and perplexity of attending to
money matters.

I am persuaded that this consideration will be highly pleasing to you,
as such things must necessarily interfere with your more important
attention. I have long since requested the Secretary of Foreign
Affairs to desire you would appoint an agent or attorney here, to
receive and remit your salary, which will be paid quarterly; in the
meantime it is paid to him for your use. As to any contingent expenses
which may arise, I shall readily make the necessary advances upon Mr
Livingston's application. These arrangements will, I hope, be both
useful and agreeable to you.

  I am, Sir, with perfect respect, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO JOHN ADAMS.

  Office of Finance, September 27th, 1782.

  Sir,

I do myself the pleasure to congratulate you on the success of your
patriotic labors in Holland. The general tribute paid to your
abilities on this occasion, will so well dispense with the addition of
my feeble voice, that I shall spare your delicacy the pain of
expressing my sentiments.

The enclosed resolutions and copies of letters will convey to you so
fully the views of Congress, and explain so clearly my conceptions on
the subject, that very little need be added. If the application to
France should fail of success, which I cannot permit myself to
believe, you will then have a new opportunity of showing the influence
you have acquired over the minds of men in the country where you
reside, and of exerting it in the manner most beneficial to our
country.

Before I conclude this letter, I must congratulate your Excellency on
the success of the loan you have already opened, which I consider as
being by this time completed.

  With perfect respect, I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO MESSRS LE COUTEULX & CO.

  Office of Finance, September 27th, 1782.

  Gentlemen,

I write to Dr Franklin under this date to place in your hands five
hundred thousand dollars, as soon as he possibly can. I hope it may be
effected speedily. My object in making this deposit is, that you may
remit to the amount of that sum to the Havana, provided bills on that
place can be purchased at a discount of twentyfive per cent; by which
I mean, that seventyfive dollars in Europe should purchase one hundred
dollars in Havana. If the negotiations cannot be effected upon those
terms, you will retain the money in your hands subject to my after
direction. I suppose that those, or better terms, can be obtained for
the following reasons.

The person who has money in the Havana, by selling bills will
immediately possess himself of the amount for which they are sold; and
therefore, allowing time for the bills to go over and be presented,
with the thirty days of payment, and the further time, which would be
necessary to remit that money from the Havana to Cadiz, and he would
gain from eight to twelve months' time, which is itself important; but
in addition to this, there is the duty of nine per cent on exporting
cash from the Havana; a freight, which is I suppose considerable; a
risk which is very great, and perhaps a farther duty on the arrival at
Cadiz. To which may be added, the advance on bills drawn at Cadiz on
the different parts of Europe.

If you can accomplish the negotiation on the terms I have mentioned,
you will then remit the bills to a good house in the Havana, to
receive the money and hold it subject to my order; and you will, if
you can, fix the terms on which that House are to do the business.
Whether anything of this sort takes place or not, I am to request that
you will give me every information on the subject, which you can
acquire.

I am, Gentlemen, your most obedient and humble servant,

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO B. FRANKLIN.

  Office of Finance, September 27th, 1782.

  Sir,

I have the honor to enclose the copy of Acts of Congress of the 14th
and 23d instant, together with the copy of my letter of the 30th of
July, covering the estimates for the year 1783. These estimates are
not yet finally decided on. By the Act of the 14th you are, as you
perceive, instructed to communicate the resolution for borrowing four
millions of dollars, to his Most Christian Majesty; and first, to
assure his Majesty of the high sense, which the United States in
Congress assembled entertain of his friendship and generous exertions.
Secondly, their reliance on a continuance of them; and thirdly, the
necessity of applying to his Majesty on the present occasion.

From this, and even more particularly from the Act of the 23d, you
will see, that it is the wish of Congress to obtain this money from or
by means of the King. After the decisive expressions contained in
those resolutions, of the sense of our Sovereign, I am sure that it is
unnecessary for me to attempt anything like argument to induce your
exertions. I shall, therefore, rather confine myself to giving
information. The grateful sense of the King's exertions, which has so
warmly impressed your bosom, operates with undiminished force upon
Congress; and what is of more importance, in a country like ours, has
the strongest influence upon the whole whig interest of America.

I have no doubt but that the King's Minister here has given his Court
regular information on this and every other subject of equal
importance, and, therefore, any general assurances on your part will
be complimentary, and in some degree superfluous. But there is a kind
of knowledge not easily attainable by foreigners in any country,
particularly on such a matter as the present. It is not amiss,
therefore, that I should convey it to you, and your good sense will
apply it in the most proper manner. You (of all men in the world) are
not now to learn, that the sour English prejudices against everything
French had taken deep root in the minds of America. It could not have
been expected that this should be obliterated in a moment. But by
degrees almost every trace of it has been effaced. The conduct of
Britain has weaned us from our attachments, and those very attachments
have been transferred, in a great measure, to France.

Whatever remains of monarchical disposition exist, are disposing
themselves fast to a connexion with the French monarchy; for the
British adherents begin to feel the pangs of a deep despair, which
must generate a deep aversion. The British army here, felt the
national haughtiness increased by the contempt which, as Englishmen,
they could not but feel for those who had combined against the freedom
of their own country. Every part of their conduct, therefore, towards
the tories, while they flattered themselves with victory showed how
much they despised their American friends. Now that a reverse of
fortune has brought on a little consideration, they find a total
separation from this country unavoidable. They must feel for the fate
of their country; they must, therefore, hate, but they must respect
us, too; while their own adherents are both detested and despised.
Since General Carleton's arrival, or rather since the change of
Ministers, the British have shown that their intention is, if
possible, to conciliate the rulers of America; and by the influence of
a common language and similar laws, with the force of ancient habits
and mutual friendships not yet forgotten, not only to renew again the
commercial intercourse, but to substitute a new federal connexion to
their ancient sovereignty and dominion.

The assurance, therefore, which Congress have directed you to make,
must not be considered in the number of those idle compliments, which
are the common currency or small change of a Court. It is an assurance
important because it is founded in truth, and more important still
because it is dictated by the affections of a people. If I may venture
an opinion still further, it is principally important because of the
critical situation of things. The sudden change of Britain from
vengeance and war to kindness and conciliation must have effects; and
those effects, whether they be contempt or affection, will depend
less, perhaps, on them than upon others. It cannot be doubted that
they will ring all the changes upon their usual theme of Gallic
ambition. They will naturally insinuate the idea, that France will
neglect us when we have served her purposes; and it would be very
strange if they did not find some converts among that class of people
who would sacrifice, to present ease, every future consideration. What
I have said will, I am confident, put your mind into the train of
reflections, which arise out of our situation, and you will draw the
proper conclusions and make a proper appreciation of them.

Congress have directed you further, to express to the King their
reliance on a continuation of his friendship and exertions. I have no
doubt that a full belief of this reliance will be easily inculcated.
Indeed, I apprehend, that we shall be considered as relying too much
on France, or in other words, doing too little for ourselves. There
can be no sort of doubt, that a good argument may be raised on the
usual position, that the nation which will not keep itself, does not
merit the aid of others; and it would be easy to tell us, that we
must put our own shoulders to the wheel before we call upon Hercules.
In short, if the application be refused or evaded, nothing can be
easier than to assign very good reasons why it is done. But you have
very justly remarked in one of your letters, that it is possible to
get the better in argument, and to get nothing else. So it might be
here. True sagacity consists in making proper distinctions, and true
wisdom in taking determinations according to those distinctions.
Twenty years hence, when time and habit have settled and completed the
federal constitution of America, Congress will not think of relying on
any other than that Being, to whose justice they appealed at the
commencement of their opposition. But there is a period in the
progress of things, a crisis between the ardor of enthusiasm and the
authority of laws, when much skill and management are necessary to
those who are charged with administering the affairs of a nation. I
have already taken occasion to observe, that the present moment is
rendered particularly critical by the conduct of the enemy; and I
would add here, (if I dared even in idea to separate Congress from
those they represent,) that now above all other times, Congress must
rely on the exertions of their ally. This sentiment would open to his
Majesty's Ministers many reflections, the least of which has a
material connexion with the interests of his kingdom. But an argument
of no little weight, is that which applies itself directly to the
bosom of a young and generous prince, who would be greatly wounded to
see that temple, dedicated to humanity, which he has taken so much
pains to rear, fall at once into ruins, by a remission of the last
cares, which are necessary for giving solidity to the structure. I
think I might add, that there are some occasions on which a good
heart is the best counsellor.

The third topic on which Congress have directed you to dwell upon, is
the necessity of their present application; and it is this which falls
most particularly within my department; for I doubt not that every
sentiment on the other objects, has been most forcibly inculcated by
the Minister of Foreign Affairs. I might write volumes on our
necessities, and not convey to you so accurate an idea, as by the
relation of a single fact, which you may see in the public newspapers.
It is, that the requisitions of last October for eight millions, had
produced on the 1st day of this month only one hundred and twentyfive
thousand dollars. You are so perfectly a master of everything, which
relates to calculation, that I need not state anything of our
expenses. You know also what were our resources beyond taxation, and
therefore you have every material for forming an accurate idea of our
distresses. The smallness of the sum which has been paid will
doubtless astonish you; and it is only by conversation or a long
history that you could see why it has been no greater. The people are
undoubtedly able to pay, but they have easily persuaded themselves
into a conviction of their own inability; and in a government like
ours the belief creates the thing.

The mode of laying and levying taxes are vicious in the extreme; the
faults can be demonstrated; but would it not be a new thing under the
sun, that people should obey the voice of reason? Experience of the
evil is always a preliminary to amendment, and is frequently unable to
effect it. Many who see the right road, and approve it, continue to
follow the wrong road, because it leads to popularity. The love of
popularity is our endemial disease, and can only be checked by a
change of seasons. When the people have had dear experience of the
consequences of not being taxed, they will probably work the proper
amendment, but our necessities in the interim are not the less severe.

To tell America in such a situation, that she should reform her
interior administration, would be very good advice, but to neglect
affording her aid, and thereby to lose the capital objects of the war
would be very bad conduct. The necessity of the present application
for money arises from the necessity of drawing by degrees the bands of
authority together, establishing the power of government over a people
impatient of control, and confirming the federal union of the several
States, by correcting defects in the general constitution. In a word
it arises from the necessity of doing that infinite variety of things,
which are to be done in an infant government, placed in such delicate
circumstances, that the people must be wooed and won to do their duty
to themselves, and pursue their own interests.

This application also becomes the more necessary, in order to obviate
the effort of that British faction, which the enemy are now attempting
to excite among us. Hitherto indeed they have been unsuccessful,
unless perhaps with a very few men, who are under the influence of
disappointed ambition, but much care will be required when their plans
are brought to greater maturity. The savage inroads on our frontiers
have kept up the general horror of Britain. The great captures made on
our coasts have also rather enraged than otherwise, though such
captures have always the twofold operation of making people wish for
peace as well as for revenge. But when the enemy shall quit our
coasts, (and they have already stopped the inroads of their savage
allies,) if the people are urged at once to pay heavy and unusual
taxes, it may draw forth and give weight to arguments, which the
boldest emissaries would not at present hazard the use of.

I have already observed, that Congress wish to obtain this money
either from or by means of the King. The most cautious prudence will
justify us in confiding to the wisdom of his Ministers the portrait of
our situation. But it might not be very wise to explain to others
those reasons for the application, which lie so deep in the nature of
things, as easily to escape superficial observers. I shall enclose a
copy of this letter to Mr Adams, and you will find a copy of what I
say to him on the subject. I hope the Court will take such measures as
to render any efforts on his part unnecessary; but you and he must
decide on what is best for your country.

I must trouble you still further on this subject, with the mention of
what you will indeed collect from a cursory reading of the
resolutions, that Congress have the strongest reason for their
procedure, when they direct your utmost endeavors to effect this loan,
notwithstanding the information contained in your letters. If the war
is to be carried on, this aid is indispensable, and when obtained,
will enable us to act powerfully in the prosecution of it. If a peace
takes place, it is still necessary, and as it is the last request
which we shall then have occasion to make, I cannot think it will be
refused. In a word, Sir, we must have it.

With perfect respect, I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO B. FRANKLIN.

  Office of Finance, September 27th, 1782.

  Sir,

By my letter of this date you will be informed of the intentions of
Congress, to provide for a principal part of the expenditures of the
year 1783, by loan. I expect that you will be able to obtain the four
millions of dollars, either from the Court, or by their assistance. I
wish for an immediate deposition of a part in the following manner.
That the Court of Spain should give orders for the shipment of a
million of dollars at the Havana, free of duties, and be convoyed by
one or more ships of the line to an American port; the money to be
paid to them during the year, in Europe; I wish this order may be so
expedited, as that Captain Barney, in the Washington, by whom this
letter goes, may carry it out to the Havana, and receive the money,
which will by that means arrive here some time during the winter, and
of course will, I expect, come safely as well as seasonably. I wish
that a half million of dollars may be paid to Messrs Le Courealx & Co,
as soon us possible, to enable them to execute my orders as to
particular negotiations, which I commit to them. Whatever else of the
money is obtained in France, will of course be paid to Mr Grand,
subject to my orders. If any part of the money be negotiated in
Holland, it will be, I suppose, proper to leave it in the hands of
those who negotiate the loan, subject to my further disposition.

  I am, Sir, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO B. FRANKLIN

  Office of Finance, September 30th, 1782.

  Sir,

It is in some respects fortunate, that our stores were not shipped,
because, as you observe, they might have been taken; but I hope they
are now on the way, for if they are to lie in France at a heavy
expense of storage, &c. while we suffer for the want, it will be even
worse than if they were taken. You will find by the letters, which are
to go with this, that Mr Barclay is prohibited from making any more
purchases on account of the United States. I confess, that I
disapprove of those he has made; for the purchase of unnecessary
things because they are cheap, appears to be a very great
extravagance. We want the money as much as anything else, and the
world must form a strange idea of our management, if while we are
begging to borrow, we leave vast magazines of clothing to rot at
Brest, and purchase others to be shipped from Holland. I have said
nothing on this subject to Mr Barclay, because the thing having been
done, could not be undone, and because the pointed resolutions of
Congress on the subject, will prevent any more such operations.

What I have now said, however, will I hope lead you to urge on him the
necessity of making immediate shipments of all stores in Europe. A
merchant does not sustain a total loss of his goods by their
detention, but the public do. The service of the year must be
accomplished within the year, by such means as the year affords. The
detention of our goods has obliged me to purchase clothing and other
articles at a great expense, while those very things were lying about
at different places in Europe. I am sure that any demand made for
money on our part, must appear extraordinary, while we show so great
negligence of the property we possess. The funds, therefore, which
were obtained for the year 1781, are not only rendered useless during
the year 1781, but so far pernicious, as that the disposition of them
will naturally influence a diminution of the grants made for the year
1782.

You mention in yours of the 25th of June, that you would send enclosed
the account of the replacing of the Lafayette's cargo, if it could be
copied in season. As it did not arrive I shall expect it by the next
opportunity.

I have received Mr Grand's accounts, which are not settled in the
manner I wish; and in consequence I have written to him by this
opportunity to alter them. I have desired him to give your account
credit for every livre received previous to the current year,
including therein the loan of ten millions of livres in Holland,
though a part of it may not have been received until this year. I have
desired him to debit your account for every expenditure made by your
order, which will include all your acceptances of bills, &c. and of
course M. de Beaumarchais' bills, if they shall have been paid.
Finally, I have desired him to carry the balance of your account to
mine, in which he is to credit all moneys received for the current
year; for instance, the six millions (and the other six if they are
obtained) together with such moneys as may come to his hands, from the
loan opened for the United States, by Messrs Willink, Staphorst, & Co.

I did expect to have had some kind of adjustment made by this time of
Captain Gillon's affair; but Congress referred much of it to a
committee, with whom it has long slept; but I have informed Mr Gillon,
that I must have a settlement, and at present I wait a little for the
determination of Congress.

You mention to me, that the interest on the ten millions, Dutch loan,
is payable at Paris annually on the 5th of November, at four per cent.
I must request you to send me the particular details on this subject,
such as who it is payable to, and by whom, that I may make proper
arrangements for a punctual performance, so as not to incur
unnecessary expense. I presume that the first year's interest may be
discharged before this reaches you; but at any rate I enclose a letter
to Mr Grand, to prevent any ill consequences, which might arise from a
deficiency of payment.

I informed you, in mine of the 1st of July, that Congress had resolved
to appoint a Commissioner to settle the public accounts in Europe.
This is not done, but they have reconsidered and committed the
resolution. Where the thing will end, I do not know. I think, however,
that eventually they must send over some person for the purpose.

The appearances of peace have been materially disserviceable to us
here, and general cautions on the subject from Europe, and the most
pointed applications from the public officers, will not prevent that
lethargy, which the very name of peace extends through all the States.
I hope measures will be taken by our public Ministers in Europe, to
prevent the people from falling into the snares which the enemy has
laid. Undue security in opinion, is generally very hurtful in effect,
and I dread the consequences of it here, if the war is to be carried
on, which is not improbable.

  I am, Sir, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO B. FRANKLIN.

  Office of Finance, October 1st, 1782.

  Sir,

In my letter of the 27th of September last I expressed my wish, "that
the Court of Spain should give orders for the shipment of a million of
dollars at the Havana, free of duties, and to be convoyed by one or
more ships of the line to an American port," &c. Upon further
reflection, I am induced to believe that the Court of Spain will not
go into the whole of this arrangement; for although they may, and
probably will, agree to so much of it as will procure them an
equivalent in France for the one million dollars, to be shipped from
the Havana, yet there are reasons to doubt whether they will convoy
the Washington hither. I wish, therefore, (should you meet with
difficulties in that quarter) to apply to the Court for such convoy. I
wish it may consist of a ship of the line, because none but frigates
will cruise on this coast during the winter, and therefore a ship of
the line will afford more protection than two or three frigates.
However, this will depend entirely on the convenience or inconvenience
which may attend the business. I shall communicate both this letter
and that of the 27th, to the Chevalier de la Luzerne, on whose
representations I rely much, as well for procuring the aid asked for,
as for accomplishing the necessary arrangements after it is procured.

  I am, Sir, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO M. DE LA LUZERNE.

  Office of Finance, October 2d, 1782.

  Sir,

I have the honor to enclose for your Excellency's perusal, the copies
of letters from this office to Dr Franklin, of the 27th of last month
and the 1st instant. I am to entreat, Sir, that you will represent to
your Court the necessity of the application, which Congress have
directed their Minister to make for four millions of dollars. The
resolutions on the subject have, I suppose, been communicated to you
by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. I have, also, to request that you
will facilitate the arrangements proposed in my letters already
mentioned, the advantages of which are so well known to you that I
shall not dwell on them.

  With real esteem and respect, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO ALEXANDER HAMILTON.

  Office of Finance, October 5th, 1782.

  Sir,

I have now before me your letters of the 14th and 21st of last month.
I am sorry to find that you are less sanguine in your pecuniary
expectations than the Governor appears to be; for I have always found
that the worst forebodings on this subject are the truest.

I am not surprised to find that the contractors apply with their
paper, in the first instance, to the receivers and collectors. This I
expected, because much of that paper is not fit for other purposes.
Some of it, however, which is payable to the bearer, is calculated
for circulation, which you observe, is not so general as otherwise it
might have been, by reason of the largeness of the sums in the notes.
Mr Duer's letters contain the same sentiment.

In issuing this paper, one principal view was to facilitate the
payment of taxes, by obviating the too general, though unjust,
complaint of the want of a circulating medium. In substituting paper
for specie, the first obstacle to be encountered, was the difference
which has arisen from the late profusion of it. Had a considerable
quantity been thrown into the hands of that class of people, whose
ideas on the subject of money are more the offspring of habit than of
reason, it must have depreciated. That this apprehension was just, is
clear from this fact, that the paper I first issued, and the bank
paper which came out after it, did depreciate from ten to fifteen per
cent in the Eastern States, notwithstanding all the precautions which
were used. If I had not taken immediate measures to create a demand
for it on the spot, and to stop issues to that quarter, its credit
would have been totally lost for a time, and not easily restored.
Besides that the quantities, which were pouring in from thence would
have done mischief here. Confidence is a plant of slow growth, and our
political situation is not too favorable to it. I am, therefore, very
unwilling to hazard the germ of a credit, which will in its greater
maturity become very useful. If my notes circulate only among
mercantile people, I do not regret it, but rather wish that the
circulation may be for the present confined to them and to the
wealthier members of the professions.

It is nothing but the greater convenience, which will induce people to
prefer any kind of paper to the precious metals, and this convenience
is principally felt in large sums. Whenever the shop-keepers in
general discover that my paper will answer as a remittance to the
principal ports, and will be readily exchanged by the receivers, they
will as readily exchange it for other people. When the people in
general, find that the shop-keepers receive it freely, they will begin
to look after it, and not before. For you must know, whatever fine
plausible speeches may be made on this subject, the farmers will not
give full credit to money merely because it will pay taxes, for that
is an object they are not very violently devoted to; but that money
that goes freely at the store and the tavern, will be sought after as
greedily as those things which the store and the tavern contain.

Still, however, your objection remains good, that the trafficking in
which the greater part of the community engage, do not require sums so
large as twenty dollars. This I shall readily acknowledge; but you
will observe, that there is infinitely less danger that notes, which
go only through the hands of intelligent people will be counterfeited,
than small ones that come to the possession of illiterate men. When
public credit is firmly established, the little shocks it receives
from the counterfeiters of paper money, do not lead to material
consequences; but in the present ticklish state of things, there is
just ground of apprehension. Besides this, the value of paper will
depend much upon the interchanges of it for specie; and these will not
take place when there is a circulation of small paper. Lastly, I have
to observe, that until more reliance can be placed on the revenues
required, I dare not issue any very considerable amount of this paper,
lest I should be run upon for more than I could answer; and as the
circulation of what I dare issue, by increasing the general mass,
enables people (as far as it goes) more easily to get hold of other
money, it consequently produces, in its degree, that object of
facilitating taxation, which I had in view.

  I am, Sir, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO B. FRANKLIN.

  Office of Finance, October 7th, 1782.

  Sir,

Captain Barney having been detained until this day, and it being
probable that he will not arrive in Europe so early as I expected, I
am very doubtful whether it would be proper to send him to the Havana,
but think it would be better he should return immediately hither,
because it is likely that the negotiation I proposed will consume more
time than he can spare. His ship is small, but she sails remarkably
well, and will, therefore, give us a good chance of being well
informed of the situation of our affairs.

If there is likely to be any delay or difficulty in the Havana plan,
it will be best that you endeavor to obtain the shipment of a
considerable sum in Europe on board some of the King's frigates. At
any rate, we must have money, and I think you may venture fifty
thousand crowns by this vessel. You will see that Captain Barney is
put under your directions, and is to wait your instructions; but I
must at the same time inform you, that Congress have directed his ship
to be purchased and sent to France, among other things, for the
purpose of obtaining a better communication with their servants, and
more frequent and accurate intelligence from Europe. You will see,
therefore, the propriety of despatching her as speedily as possible,
and I think we may, probably, fall upon ways and means to afford you
frequent opportunities of writing with a great chance of security.

  I am, Sir, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO GEORGE WASHINGTON.

  Office of Finance, October 15th, 1782.

  Sir,

I have received your letters of the 2d, 3d, and 7th instant. There is
no man in America, more heartily disposed than I am to remove from the
army and from all others who have claims on the public, every just
ground of complaint. But with the means in my power, how is it
possible? I have been obliged to submit to cancelling one contract and
forming another, at one third advance on the former price, for the
want of a mere trifle, compared with what we had a right to expect. I
am in advance on credit to an amount, which you can scarcely form an
idea of, although I have declined every expenditure not indispensable.

That part of the late arrival of clothing, which is unfit for
soldier's use, is now selling to pay debts contracted by the clothing
department during my administration. Among these debts are twelve
thousand dollars for needle work done by people in extreme indigence.
The clothing which arrived fit for the officers' wear, was inadequate
to the purpose of clothing them all. The division must have created
confusion and raised disputes. If this had not been the case, still
it would have been liable to the inconveniencies attending partial
payments, and we should have been justly reproached for having broken
repeated promises, that no such payments should take place. Congress
have done all in their power to procure money for the army. My own
efforts I shall not dwell upon. If money is obtained, that will
produce satisfaction; I am sure that nothing else will.

My credit has already been on the brink of ruin. If that goes, all is
gone; but if it can be preserved, there will, in the last necessity,
be some chance of making advances on credit to the army, as well as to
others. Thus, Sir, you will see that I look forward as far as my
distressed situation will admit; but after all, if the States cannot
be prevailed on to make greater exertions, it is difficult to see
where the thing is to terminate.

I have this day commissioned Major Turner as Marine Commissary of
prisoners, and I trust he will soon be in capacity to prevent your
Excellency from having any further trouble on that subject.

I am, Sir, with sincere respect and esteem, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE GOVERNOR OF NORTH CAROLINA.

  Office of Finance, October 7th, 1782.

  Sir,

Since the receipt of your favor of the 20th of August last, I have
received copies of a correspondence between yourself and Colonel
Carrington on the subject of specific supplies. The disposition which
you have expressed, (in your letter to me, and which indeed breathes
through your whole correspondence) to promote those plans of
regularity and economy, which Congress have adopted, command my
sincere acknowledgements.

I perceive that there is a difference of opinion between the officers
of the continent and your State on the receiving specific supplies,
which I attribute principally to some misunderstanding of the matter.
The specific supplies called for by Congress in their several
resolutions on that subject are undoubtedly receivable, and ought
above eighteen months ago to have been received, on the requisitions
which were made at the rates for that purpose mentioned. Such as it
may now suit any State to deliver on those requisitions, ought in like
manner to be carried to account. But it is very clear, that they
cannot be received on account of the subsequent money requisitions.
The several quotas of the eight millions asked for last year, to
supply the current expenditures of the year 1782, must be paid in
cash, or what is equivalent to it, in my notes or bank notes. I cannot
consent to receive anything else. It is by this means alone, that
economy can be established, order restored, and confusion, that parent
of fraud, too apt to introduce itself into public accounts, banished
and destroyed.

I incline to think, that as Congress have determined to have all
accounts settled and liquidated to the end of the year 1781, your
State would rather choose to attend only to the money requisition, and
leave the further delivery of specifics to a liquidation of the old
accounts; but if not, there can be no doubt but the specifics will be
received, and in such case I will give the gentleman whom I shall
appoint as Receiver of taxes in your State, instructions how to
dispose of them; but I must again repeat, Sir, that I will not accept
one particle of them in abatement of the State quota for the year
1782.

Before I close this letter I must take the liberty to mention a
matter, which suggests itself from one of your letters to Colonel
Carrington. You tell him that you will continue the prohibition
against sending certain things out of the State, in order that he may
purchase for the United States on better terms. Now, Sir, while I feel
it my duty to require justice for the United States it is equally my
duty to take care that equal justice be done to the several States,
individually considered, as well as to the individuals which compose
them. I am, therefore, to request that all such restrictions be taken
off. They sour people's minds, destroy the spirit of industry, impair
by a rapid as well as a certain progress, the public wealth of the
State, producing a dearth of the things embargoed, eventually enhance
the prices far more than they could have been increased by any other
mode. Whereas perfect freedom makes the people easy, happy, rich, and
able to pay taxes, and the taxes when paid can be expended amid a
plenty of products, and consequently be expended to advantage. I say a
plenty of products because I know, that liberty to dispose of them to
the greatest advantage will encourage men to raise them and produce a
plenty. Your Excellency will, I hope, excuse reflections which arise
from an ardent desire to promote the general welfare and happiness of
all the inhabitants of the United States.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO MAJOR GENERAL GREENE.

  Office of Finance, October 17th, 1782.

  Dear Sir,

I have received your letter of the 1st of September, for which I pray
you to accept my acknowledgements. Amid the many distresses and cares,
which await every step of my administration, it is a great relief and
consolation to have met with the support of those who command (and
what is more, who worthily command) the armies of the United States. I
have felt, my Dear Sir, your efforts to support my measures, and I
know that they have been useful. I wish it were in my power to give to
you and to your brave army that full relief, which their conduct,
their sufferings, and above all, their patience, have merited.

I had intended to supply their subsistence, and the little contracts
in Virginia, from the quota of that State, as the money there
collected would have been nearest the spot where it was to be applied.
But I need not tell you how deficient that State has been. The
consequence is, that I must endeavor to supply the deficiency from
other sources, which I am now doing; but in the precarious state of
things at present, there is no reliance to be placed on any measure. I
suppose, however, that the evacuation of Carolina will enable you to
move northward, with a considerable part of your army; these will, I
hope, meet the relief intended. I shall direct a statement of the
whole to be made out by the Pay Master General, and do whatever may
lay in my power; but as to pay, my inviolable determination is, that
the whole army shall equally share whatever is disposed of in that
way.

The disposition of the State of North Carolina to pay in specie, is
far from being peculiar to that State. Attempts of the same kind have
been made by others; and they have invariably been opposed and shall
be. There is however a distinction to be taken. You recollect that
Congress called for large quotas of specie. I am perfectly persuaded,
that no State has fully obeyed that call, but many, and indeed almost
all, aver that they have overpaid. The last requisitions have been for
money; and if I had not by the publications prevented such assertions,
it would not be surprising, that they should be repeated, even as to
the money quotas. Now if the State of North Carolina are desirous of
paying in specie, on the requisitions of specie, I shall not have the
least objection; but on the requisitions for the service of the
current year, I will receive money alone. I make this distinction in
such clear and peremptory terms, to avoid all further cavils on the
subject. I see that it has already been drawn into some length, and
must, therefore, be finally terminated. Besides, under the present
appearances there can be little doubt, that specie in North Carolina
will be almost as useless as if they were in Otaheite. A copy of my
letter to Governor Martin on this subject shall be enclosed to you.

You have in several of your letters, made very just observations on
the business of my department, and such as convince me you have turned
your attention to it. I have therefore taken the liberty to enclose to
you a copy of a letter to Congress, on the subject of a mint, of one
on the establishing public credit by funding our debts; and of a
third, on the estimates for the ensuing year.

As there is a report, that the enemy got several letters intended for
you, it is possible that some or other of those, may be among the
number.

I pray you to believe me, with very sincere esteem, your most obedient
servant,

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

GEORGE WASHINGTON TO ROBERT MORRIS.

  Head Quarters, October 18th, 1782.

  Sir,

I take the liberty to enclose to your care, a letter for the Chevalier
de la Luzerne, on the subject of expense, which at his request I have
incurred, for the purpose of forwarding intelligence of the movements
of the enemy at New York, to the Marquis de Vaudreuil.

If our circumstances would admit, I should be very glad that this
expense should be defrayed by the United States; it is infinitely
short of the debt, which gratitude imposes on us. I submit therefore
to your judgment, whether to deliver the enclosed, or to send forward
the money from your own funds, agreeably to the monthly estimate sent
to the Minister.

The chain of expresses was instituted about the middle of August, and
will probably be continued till the sailing of the French fleet from
Boston.

  I am, &c.

  GEORGE WASHINGTON.

       *       *       *       *       *

CIRCULAR TO THE GOVERNORS OF THE STATES.

  Office of Finance, October 21st, 1782.

  Sir,

I have on many occasions warned the States of the consequences which
must follow from delays in supplying the treasury. The expense which
attends such delays, has frequently been mentioned, and instances
daily occur to show, how much the public burdens are increased by the
want of a timely provision. To cite them all would be endless; but
there is one of no inconsiderable magnitude, which I think it proper
to state for your consideration. I had contracted on the part of the
United States for the supply of rations to the main army, at ten pence
Pennsylvania currency, and to the garrison at West Point for nine
pence half penny, and had agreed to pay, at the commencement of each
month for the issues of the preceding month.

These beneficial contracts have been dissolved by my inability to make
punctual payments, which rendered the contractors incapable of
performing their engagements. After many efforts on my part to supply
the want of cash, and on their part to substitute private credit and
promises in the place of ready money, they found it impracticable to
proceed further on the moderate terms stated in the contract. Some of
them told me so, and asked (what any persons in their situation would
have asked) _the promise of indemnification for any damages they might
sustain_. And a promise to pay at the end of each month, one half the
amount of issues for the preceding month in coin, and three times the
remaining half in bills or notes receivable in taxes. They offered if
I would agree to these propositions, to go on and supply the army;
but declared, that if I would not, they could no longer perform their
engagements.

From this moment I was obliged to consider the contract as dissolved;
because the dissolution of it appeared inevitable. I had already by
entering into the contract, promised on the part of the public, a
payment of the whole money due for the monthly issues. A new promise
of the half would have given no additional security, and therefore I
considered that stipulation as a request, that I should on my private
and personal honor, assure them the public funds would enable me to
make such payments. But of this I had no good prospect. The greater
part of what little came in from taxes, was the same kind of paper
with that which they asked for, being what I had long before issued
for other services. If indeed I could have trusted the assurances made
to me, I might have given the assurances required by them. But
experience had taught me caution, and the event has shown, that if I
had made the promise, I should now have been chargeable with
falsehood.

I think the contractors were prudent in requiring a promise of
indemnification; their situation made it necessary; but it was a
promise which I could not make, for although I had reason to confide
in their integrity and would have done it in my private capacity, yet
as a public officer, I could not. For there would have been no longer
certainty of the extent to which their expenditures might have been
carried, after it should have become a matter of indifference to their
private interest what prices should be given for supplies.

Thus, Sir, I found myself reduced to the alternative of making a new
agreement for subsistence of the army and garrison, or of leaving them
to subsist themselves by military collection. The latter was to be
avoided, if possible, for it would have been the most expensive mode
of obtaining supplies, not to mention other circumstances. The former,
therefore, was to be adopted, and I accordingly gave instructions to
Mr Cornell, the inspector of the contracts, to consult with the
Commander in Chief, and take the necessary arrangements. It could not
be expected, that a contract dictated by necessity, could be made on
economical terms, and the inability to perform old engagements would
necessarily influence the rate of new ones. Besides this, it was
indispensably necessary to obtain a longer credit, because otherwise
the burden would have been shifted, not removed; and the evil must
have returned with equal speed and greater magnitude. Under such
unfavorable circumstances, it was necessary to pay for a credit in
order to obtain it. A new contract is made, and the rations issued
now, are to be paid for three months hence, at the rate of thirteen
pence, Pennsylvania currency, for a ration; which is an advance of
about one third upon the former price. The public therefore will pay
for this advance of moneys, equal to feeding the army at the rate of
thirtythree and one third per cent for three months; or, to make the
matter more simple, they must pay for feeding them three months, as
much as would have fed them four months. Besides this, the public
credit sustains material injury, and damages will be expected by the
former contractors.

If, Sir, it should be supposed that this is the only instance of loss
sustained from the low state of the treasury, it is a great mistake.
The attempt to establish economical systems is vain, unless we can
support them by punctuality. Congress have placed me in a situation
where I am exposed in the first instance to claims and demands, but
these must come home to the several Legislatures, and eventually to
their constituents. My situation, therefore, makes it a duty to
expostulate freely on the circumstances of my department. I am not to
learn that free representations will sometimes give offence, and I
know that those will be always most offended, who are most in fault;
but I make no apologies for what I have to say. It is necessary that
the truth should be known to the people; to our enemies it is known
already, and has been for a long time. They hold up to contempt and
derision the contrast between resolutions to carry on the war at every
expense, and receipts of nothing in some States, and very little in
all of them put together. Those who court public favor at the expense
of public good, are very apt to inveigh against taxes, and to flatter
the indolent and avaricious with the idea that war can be carried on
without labor or money. But it is time for the people to distinguish
between their flatterers and their friends. Sooner or later the
current expense must be paid, and that payment must come from the
purses of individuals. If it were made in season, it would be lighter
by one half than it is. Congress have called for a certain sum, and
that sum paid punctually would have answered the purpose, but they
cannot be responsible for the consequences of delay. The expense will
necessarily in such case exceed their calculations, and of course
further sums must be required.

There are certain arguments, Sir, which ought not to be used if it is
possible to avoid them; but which every one invested with public
authority should suggest to his own mind, for the government of his
own conduct. How long is a nation, who will do nothing for itself, to
rely on the aid of others? In a war waged by one country to obtain
revenue from another, what is to be expected in case of conquest? How
long will one part of a community bear the burdens of the whole? How
long will an army undergo want, in the midst of plenty? How long will
they endure misery without complaint, injustice without reproach, and
wrongs without redress? These are questions which cannot be solved by
arithmetical calculation. The moral causes that may procrastinate or
precipitate events, are hidden from mortal view. But it is within the
bounds of human knowledge to determine that all earthly things have
some limits, which it is imprudent to exceed; others, which it is
dangerous to exceed, and some, which can never be exceeded. It is
possible, that we are near the close of this war, and perhaps we are
only in the middle of it. But if the war should continue, we have to
blame ourselves; for were those resources called into action, which we
really possess, the foreign enemies would soon lose all hope, and
abandon their enterprize. The greater injury, therefore, which we
sustain, is not from foreign, but from domestic enemies; from those
who impede the necessary exertions. I have mentioned one among many
instances, to show the consequences of withholding the public revenue,
and I take the liberty to observe, that it would be more manly to
declare at once, for unlimited submission to British tyranny, than to
make specious declarations against it, and yet take the direct road to
bring it about, by opposing the measures for our defence. That open
declaration will doubtless be restrained by the fear of general
resentment; but the other conduct is so much the more dangerous, as
it is calculated to close people's eyes, while they approach the
precipice, that they may be thrown down with greater ease and more
absolute certainty.

I trust that your Excellency, and every other friend to our country,
will urge forward that speedy and effectual collection of taxes, which
can alone give vigor and stability to all our measures; and I risk
nothing when I assert, that the public service shall be performed, (if
the proper revenues be obtained,) at less than half of what would
otherwise be expended.

  I am, Sir, with perfect respect, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE GOVERNOR OF RHODE ISLAND.

  Office of Finance, October 24th, 1782.

  Sir,

My circular letter of the 23d instant, contains the estimates and
requisitions for the service of the year 1783. I must take the liberty
to make a few observations on them, which apply particularly to the
State of Rhode Island. In the letters to Congress of the 29th and 30th
of July last, copies of which were transmitted in my circular letter
of the 12th of September, I have so fully expressed my sentiments on
the subject of credit and loans, that I shall not repeat them. Your
Excellency will perceive, that in the Act of the 16th instant,
although the estimates amount to six millions, yet only two are
required and that further requisitions are suspended until the result
of measures for obtaining loans shall be known. It is unnecessary to
mention, that Congress have directed an attempt to borrow four
millions.

The propriety of this step will be self evident, when the date of
their requisitions for the present year is considered. The sums
brought in from the several States being regularly published in the
gazettes, will spare me the pain of repeating them. I say the pain,
because every such repetition will have, in some degree, the air of
reproach. It must be remembered, that the duration of the war does not
depend upon Congress. This is an invaded country; invaded for the
purpose of conquest. And between opposition and submission there is no
middle line. The idea of submission is, and ever ought to be, rejected
with disdain. Opposition, therefore, becomes a matter of necessity;
and that opposition involves expense.

There is then a certain degree of expense that cannot be avoided. And
this must be provided for. The estimates being formed under the idea
of money in hand to pay for services required, they are stated as low
as possible. It appears, therefore, that the six millions mentioned in
the estimates must be had. It appears from the experiments already
made, that the people are either unwilling or unable to pay the whole
in taxes; and whether want of power or inclination be the true cause,
is immaterial to the present inquiry, for the fact is clear. Now there
are but four modes of obtaining the supplies. Either they must be
given to us, or lent to us, or raised by taxes, or taken by force. As
to the first, we can place no dependence on it; and as to the last, it
is neither the most constitutional, the most economical, nor the most
pleasing way. Necessity may justify it, but it will be very difficult
to justify the necessity. The supplies, therefore, must be obtained by
loans or taxes; so that if they cannot be obtained by loans, taxation
is the only resource; and in that case, there is no medium between
legal taxation and military collection. For if we will not submit to
Great Britain, we must carry on the war; and if we carry on the war,
we must obtain the means; and if we cannot get the means abroad, we
must provide them at home; and if we do not provide them by law, they
must be taken by force.

The inattention of the States to the requisitions of the United
States, leaves Congress no choice between loans and military
collections. Whether they can obtain loans must depend upon other
people. They cannot obtain loans without credit, and they cannot have
credit without funds; and they cannot get funds without the
concurrence of the States. They must ask that concurrence before they
can obtain it, and they must determine on the funds before they can
ask. The making yearly requisitions of quotas to pay the interest of
public debts will not do. It is in itself a futile measure; but if it
were the best thing in the world, yet if those who are to lend do not
think so, there is an end of the matter. Now the fact is, that nobody
will lend upon the promise of such requisitions. And truly the
compliances made with those for carrying on the war, give very little
encouragement. It follows then, that Congress _must_ ask for
particular funds. They have asked for one, and it is not complied with
by two States out of thirteen. Shall Congress then adhere to the
demand; or shall they change their application? If they should change
it, could they expect that there would not then be one or two opposing
States? To answer the question let it be inquired, what objects of
taxation can be devised, to which exceptions cannot be made? Surely
there are none.

Let it be inquired next, whether there is any object so
unexceptionable as that which they have fixed upon? The answer is, no.
It follows then, that in changing the application, there would be less
prospect of success than at present. Congress then must adhere to
their requisitions; and if that fund be not granted, we cannot expect
loans. But it is demonstrated by experience, that we cannot get
sufficient taxes. We certainly cannot get rid of the war, and
therefore the people must have their property taken by force. The
necessity will justify this. But as I said before, who will justify
the necessity? Surely the authors of it should think of that in
season.

Will it be a sufficient justification, to say that the demand of
Congress is _unconstitutional_? If a thing be neither wrong nor
forbidden it must be admissible. Such a requisition is nowhere
forbidden, and therefore it is admissible if it be not wrong. Now it
cannot be wrong to do that which one is obliged to do, be the act what
it may. And Congress are obliged to make such requisitions. But
further it must be admitted, that they are not contrary to the moral
law. Supposing then, for argument's sake, that the thing asked for,
would if granted be contrary to the confederation. If so, the grant
would alter the confederation. But the grant is not to take effect
without general consent. The confederation was formed by general
consent, and by general consent it may be altered. The requisition,
therefore, if complied with, will by that very compliance become
constitutional.

But it may perhaps be suggested, that the five per cent impost will
not be sufficient for the object in view. This must be acknowledged,
but what inference is to be drawn from thence? Not that Congress
should ask for more. Under the circumstances in which they are placed
it is difficult to ascertain what line of conduct is to be pursued. If
they ask further revenues it may be said, that there is weakness in
framing new demands before old ones are complied with. Every fund will
meet with some opposition, and every opposition encourages new
opponents. The evil presses hard. Public credit is at the last gasp,
or rather it is expired. Not only are we to expect a formidable clamor
from the abused and injured creditors, but there is really very little
hope of obtaining foreign loans. For how can it be expected, that a
Republic without funds should persuade foreigners to lend them money,
while its own citizens, who have already lent theirs, can neither
obtain the interest, nor any solid security, either for interest or
principal.

This, Sir, is an object of great magnitude, and one which directly or
indirectly concerns every inhabitant of the United States. The
critical situation we stand in, has rendered it necessary for Congress
to demand a decided answer. No time is to be lost, for if the revenues
cannot be obtained, the public creditors must be told so in plain
terms. The efforts to borrow further sums must cease of course, and
then the whole weight of the war must fall on the people, in one mode
or the other. It is a very serious question, whether the little
applause, which individuals may gain by specious declamations and
publications should over balance every consideration of national
safety. This serious and important question your Legislature is now,
by the representatives of all America, most solemnly called on to
decide.

I am, Sir, with perfect respect, your Excellency's most obedient and
humble servant,

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO B. FRANKLIN.

  Office of Finance. October 27th, 1782.

  Sir,

I do myself the honor to enclose the copy of a paper transmitted to me
by the Governor of Virginia. The clothing there mentioned is a part of
those supplies for the State of Virginia, which the Court of France
have charged to the United States. You will recollect the discussions
on the subject. It is with a very sincere desire to remove every
disagreeable trace of them, that I have agreed to a proposition made
me by the Governor of Virginia, in his letter dated in Council Chamber
on the 23d of September last, of which the following is an extract.
"The regulations you have entered into for clothing the continental
army will render useless to the State a quantity of necessaries now in
France, furnished by his Most Christian Majesty; as the terms we have
them on, which I have before transmitted to you, are such as will make
the payment easy to the United States, we shall be obliged to you to
take them off our hands, and take the debt so far as they go to the
States. You will have a copy of the invoice enclosed, by which you
will see, that they will be useful and necessary for the army, which
will, I hope, induce you to oblige the State." The enclosed referred
to, is that above mentioned. I make no doubt, that the Court will
choose to consider the whole of these supplies as advanced on the
credit of the United States. And therefore there is so much the less
objection to taking a part of the goods. As for the remainder, I think
it better for Congress to adjust the matter with Virginia than to
plague the King's Ministers with altercations about it.

I am, Sir, your most obedient and humble servant,

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE GOVERNOR OF CUBA.

  Philadelphia, November 27th, 1782.

  Sir,

I do myself the honor to present to you Mr John Brown of this city,
whom I have charged on the part of the United States with the
negotiation of bills at your port, to the amount of two hundred
thousand dollars. These bills will be drawn on Messrs J. L. & L. Le
Couteulx & Co. at Cadiz. I have already taken the proper measures for
placing in their hands the necessary funds. I presume that the actual
state of things will render it as convenient (either to your
Excellency on the part of the King, or to the merchants) to purchase
bills, as it will be to the United States to sell them. The risk which
attends sending of money to Europe, will probably have raised the
exchange so considerably, as to compensate the risk of bringing it
hither. This, I confess, is the principal reason with me for adopting
this measure.

I shall highly esteem any favorable assistance, which your Excellency
may be pleased to afford Mr Brown on this occasion; and I persuade
myself that the intimate connexion of interests between his Catholic
Majesty and my Sovereign during the continuance of hostilities against
the common enemy, will be a strong inducement with you to promote the
service of the United States.

With sentiments of the most perfect esteem, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THOMAS BARCLAY, IN PARIS.

  Office of Finance, December 5th, 1782.

  Sir,

On the 28th of May last, the United States in Congress resolved, that
a Commissioner be appointed to liquidate and finally settle the
accounts of all the servants of the United States, who have been
intrusted with the expenditure of public moneys in Europe. On the 29th
of July last it was resolved, that the resolution of the 28th of May
be reconsidered, and on motion it was ordered, that the said
resolution be committed. On the 18th of November last, on the report
of a committee to whom, upon a reconsideration the resolution of the
28th of May last was referred, it was resolved that a commissioner be
appointed by Congress with full power and authority to liquidate and
finally to settle the accounts of all the servants of the United
States in Europe; and to commence and prosecute such suits, causes and
actions as may be necessary for that purpose, or for the recovery of
any property of the said United States, in the hands of any person or
persons whatsoever. That the said commissioner be authorised to
appoint one or more clerks, with such allowance as he may think
reasonable; and that the said commissioner and clerks respectively
take an oath, before some person duly authorised to administer an
oath, faithfully to execute the trust reposed in them respectively. On
the same day you were elected the commissioner, and it was resolved,
that Congress would hereafter make adequate provision for the said
commissioner, according to the nature and extent of the services which
he shall perform. And on the 20th of November last it was resolved,
that the Superintendent of Finance be directed to instruct the
commissioner for settling the public accounts in Europe, to take
proper measures for adjusting, without delay the accounts of M. de
Beaumarchais, or Roderique Hortales & Co. and to report such
settlement to Congress; that order may be taken for the payment of the
balance, if any shall be justly due; and that, in the meantime, no
farther remittances or payments be made to M. de Beaumarchais or
Roderique Hortales & Co. by virtue of any former resolution of
Congress.

Enclosed herein, you will find a commission authorising you to act in
this business; and I shall now endeavor to give you such explanations
and directions as may be necessary for the accomplishment of it,
consistently with the views and intentions of the United States in
Congress. You will undoubtedly remark, that no sum is fixed upon as
the compensation for this duty; the reason of which is apparent, that
until the completion of it, neither the nature nor extent can be
perfectly known. This might, perhaps, have induced a monthly or annual
stipend, to any other commissioner, but as your other duties may, and
probably will, occupy a part of your time and attention, which must
nevertheless be indeterminate, so it follows, that no points could be
properly assumed, by which the reasonable extent of such a stipend
could be known. I have reason to believe, that it is in the intention
of Congress to make a generous allowance for the performance of this
service; and I am persuaded, that by attention, assiduity and the
faithful exertion of your talents and abilities, you will merit their
regard.

The appointment of your clerks, as well as the ascertaining their
number and reward, are left to your discretion. You will on this
occasion consult the principles of true economy, which dictate the
employing as many persons as are capable of performing the service and
no more; the taking care that those employed are capable of performing
the business committed to them, and the obtaining such a number of
such persons, on the cheapest terms, for which they can be procured.
But the worst economy in the world is, to employ improper men. That
you may be enabled to form a judgment of the talents necessary to a
clerk, you will observe that Congress in their ordinance of the 11th
of September, 1781, for regulating the treasury and adjusting the
public accounts, ordained and declared that the clerks, the number of
whom should be regulated by the Superintendent of Finance, should be
appointed by the Controller. That it should be their duty to examine
all accounts which should be committed to them by the controller, to
correct all errors, and to note in writing what may appear
exceptionable, either as to the propriety of the charges or the
validity of the vouchers, and transmit the accounts with their remarks
to the auditor. And that the party for himself, and the clerk on
behalf of the public should be heard before the auditor. From the
nature of the commission intrusted to you, it follows that you must
both commit the account to the clerk and afterwards audit it, as well
as finally determine on and adjust it; which last is done here by the
controller, except in cases where the appointment of a commissioner
has been necessary, with authorities similar to yours. It is to be
apprehended, that the accounts will, in many instances, be exhibited
to you informally; and as it is not only useful in the first settling
of complicated accounts to adhere to settled forms, but absolutely
necessary to the clear and easy understanding of them after they are
settled, so it will frequently become necessary to have the accounts
restated, and all the vouchers of them numbered by your clerks. And
although all your own care and attention will always be requisite to
detect and discover errors and frauds, yet so much will depend on the
accuracy and abilities of the clerks in these investigations, that I
cannot too strongly recommend to your attention the choice of able
accountants for that purpose.

With respect to the accounts of M. de Beaumarchais, much has been
said, and therefore I might dispense, perhaps, with saying anything;
but as I have reason to believe, that whatever may have been the
character of the persons concerned, either for ability or integrity,
the business which has passed through their hands has not been well
done, I must desire that these accounts undergo your strictest
scrutiny. You will probably find some other large accounts which merit
a like attention. In every such case, the observations made here will
be equally applicable. You are too well acquainted with mercantile
business, not to know what, how, and when commissions are chargeable
on a transaction. I believe that knowledge and information on this
subject will be found very necessary. They will be indispensable
should it be attempted to charge several commissions on the same
thing, whether it be done openly, as such, or covertly, as brokerage,
factorage and the like, or still more covertly, for increase of
original price. Hence, therefore, it will be found necessary to
consider well the original prices; and it is much to be lamented that
samples of the articles cannot be laid before you, because many have
been received of a quality not only base but despicable.

It is not possible at this distance of time and place, to ascertain by
whom such articles were purchased, and indeed many of those which have
been shipped have never arrived; under such circumstances it becomes
your duty, to require proof of the quality of such articles as appear
charged to the United States, and the idea will naturally suggest
itself that the character of the party making the charge will
influence the necessity of such proof, as the validity of the proof
itself will be influenced by the character of the witnesses.

Had these transactions been merely confined to the purchase and
delivery of goods, they might, perhaps, easily have been investigated,
but they extend themselves to many other things, among which is the
transportation, and expenses incident to it. Under this head, two
objects present themselves immediately to view. First, whether due
care was taken in the mode of transportation adopted; and secondly,
whether the expense has been reasonable or exorbitant. With respect to
the latter, it will certainly be your duty to correct improper or
exorbitant charges. But in the former case, your conduct must be
directed by circumstances in their nature so various as to admit of no
prescribed rule, and therefore I can only recommend it to you to
consult the interests of the United States as far as the principles
of justice will permit. I know it is unnecessary to tell you that the
delivery of goods purchased and transported should be shown before the
charges are admitted; but I must desire that the evidence on this
subject may be so clear and plain as to enable us to call the receiver
of them to account. Cases will doubtless occur of loss by the
accidents of the sea and by enemies; these also should be clearly
proved, and the causes, as much as possible, investigated.

Your commission will entitle you to aid and protection in the
execution of the duties committed to you; and you will make the
necessary applications on the subject to the proper persons, whenever
circumstances shall require. A primary object will be to discover what
sums have at any time or times been paid to the use of the United
States. These can, I suppose, be discovered, and the names of the
persons to whom they have been paid, although it is possible that in
certain cases the persons by whom they have been paid will not be
known to you. The first account you form will be a general one, under
the title of loans and subsidies obtained in Europe on account of the
United States. The debt of this account you may leave in blank, but
the credit side will consist of the sums paid to the use of the United
States, and the persons to whom they were paid. Every account of these
persons will, of course, be debited in particular accounts, for the
respective sums so credited. These sums then they are to account for,
and where they have paid over to others, such payments are again to be
accounted for, until they are traced to a final appropriation, which
will be of articles purchased for, or services rendered to the United
States.

In the course of this investigation, however, it may happen, that in
some case of payment by one to another, the receiver shall not account
properly; on which the question will arise, how far the payment is to
operate a discharge to the party by whom it was made. This question
admits of so many modifications, according to the varieties of
possible circumstances, that no provision can be made, which will be
applicable to all. I have therefore thought it best to enclose for
your perusal, the instructions on this subject to Commissioners
appointed for settling the old accounts of the civil departments. You
will govern yourself by the spirit of these instructions, according to
circumstances, as they arise. I have already observed, that the final
appropriation of moneys must be traced to articles purchased, and
services rendered; but such a general distinction would not be
sufficiently clear in the stating of accounts; you will place this
final appropriation, therefore, under one or other of these following
general heads.

1st. _Salaries and Expenses of Public Ministers, Commissioners, and
Agents._ In this account you will charge all moneys advanced to any
public servants of the United States in Europe on account of their
salaries or expenses.

2d. _Clothier General's Department._ In this account you will charge
every article of clothing, which may have been purchased.

3d. _Commissary of Military Stores' Department._ In this account you
will charge all arms, ammunition, and the like.

4th _Quarter Master General's Department._ In this account you will
charge tents, sheet tin for camp kettles, and other articles properly
belonging to that department.

5th. _Marine Department._ In this you will charge all moneys expended
in building or buying ships of war, and fitting them out, with the
incidental charges; also all naval stores purchased for the United
States, and the like.

6th. _Hospital Department._ In this you will charge all instruments,
medicines, &c. &c. appertaining to that department.

7th. _Merchandise General._ In this you will charge such articles of
stores as do not fall within the second, third, fourth, fifth, and
sixth heads, if any such there be, and also any articles which you
shall be doubtful as to the account they ought to be carried to.

8th. _Transport Service._ In this you will charge the purchase,
freightment, hire, insurance, and the like, of ships or vessels for
the purpose of bringing any articles to America.

9th. _Contingent Service._ In this you will charge the expense of land
transportation, expresses, storages, and other like articles; also all
those things, which do not fall properly under some other general
head.

10th. _Prisoners and Americans in Europe._ In this you will charge all
moneys paid for or to American prisoners or other Americans; taking
care so to designate and specify these charges and the parties, so
that those who are able may be called on for repayment. The names and
usual places of abode will as far as they are attainable, be of
importance.

11th. _Foreign Officers._ In this you will charge all sums advanced or
paid to foreign officers coming to or returning from America.

12th. _Interest of Debts._ In this you will charge all sums paid on
the interest bills of exchange, issued from the several Loan Offices,
and any other interest moneys, which may have been paid.

13th. _Bills of Exchange._ In this you will charge all sums paid on
bills of exchange, drawn by order of Congress.

It is not impossible, that in the course of your business, you may
find it necessary to raise some other such general accounts, and if
so, you will raise them accordingly. You will take care to attend
strictly to the propriety of all charges made, and to the validity of
the vouchers by which they are supported. You will examine very
particularly into the accounts of armed vessels fitted out in Europe
on account of the United States, especially of those wherein any
individuals shall appear to have been interested. And you will bring
those persons to account, into whose hands any prizes, or moneys for
the sales of prizes, may have come, so that justice may be done as
well to the public as to the captors concerned therein.

Whenever you finally settle an account, you will take care to be
possessed of the several vouchers, which together with the account are
to be kept in your Consular office, until further orders; but you will
transmit quadruplicate copies of the general accounts by safe
conveyances as soon as possible.

  I am, Sir, your most obedient, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, December 12th, 1782.

  Sir,

On the 7th of January last, Congress were pleased to resolve, that it
be an instruction to the Superintendent of Finance, to prepare and
report to Congress a table of rates, at which the different species
of foreign coins, most likely to circulate within the United States,
shall be received at the treasury thereof. In consequence of this
resolution, I took the liberty to recommend the establishment of a
mint, which was agreed to. I have taken many steps to carry that
resolution into effect, and hoped by this time to have laid a
satisfactory state of it before Congress. Delays, the causes of which
need not be enumerated, have hitherto procrastinated this matter
beyond my expectations. But there are many reasons why an immediate
regulation of foreign coins should now be made. It is not the least
among them, that all our dollars are rapidly going to the enemy in
exchange for light gold, which must eventually cause a considerable
loss and scarcity of silver, which will be severely felt. I take the
liberty, therefore, to suggest the following Act.

Whereas, by the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, the
United States in Congress assembled, are vested with the sole and
exclusive right and power of regulating the alloy and value of coins
struck off by their own authority, or by that of the respective
States; and whereas, the several requisitions on the States and the
public accounts of those United States are made and kept in dollars;
and whereas, it is of importance, that until money be coined by
authority of the United States, some fixed proportion be established
between the different foreign coins, most likely to circulate; be it,
therefore ordained, by the United States in Congress assembled, and it
is ordained by authority of the same, that from and after the 1st day
of January, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and
eightythree, English silver coin be received at the rate of one dollar
and sixteen ninetieths of a dollar by the ounce; Dutch silver coin at
the rate of one dollar and fifteen ninetieths by the ounce; French
silver coin at the rate of one dollar and fourteen ninetieths by the
ounce; Portuguese silver coin at the rate of one dollar and thirteen
ninetieths by the ounce; English, Spanish, and Portuguese gold coin at
the rate of sixteen dollars and sixtyeight ninetieths by the ounce.

I take the liberty to observe, Sir, that this estimate of coins is
founded upon the quantity of alloy, which they respectively contain.
The weight of each particular piece current among us is so
indeterminate, that the value by tale cannot be fixed; but whenever
the rates at which they go as bullion are known, a table may be formed
in each State for the tale, according to the customary weight which
prevails.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

GEORGE WASHINGTON TO ROBERT MORRIS.

  Head Quarters, December 20th, 1782.

  Sir,

In consequence of a resolve of Congress, I some time since directed an
inscription with some devices to be engraven on the cannon to be
presented to the Count de Rochambeau, and enclosed is a certificate of
General Knox relative to the execution of the work and its price.

In answer to Mr Billings's application to me for his pay, I informed
him I would write you on the subject, and did not doubt you would
order payment to be made.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  GEORGE WASHINGTON.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO B. FRANKLIN.

  Office of Finance, January 11th, 1783.

  Sir,

On the 9th instant, from an investigation of Mr Grand's account then
lately received, I found that after making due allowance for Loan
Office bills, &c. which might still come upon him, my drafts and those
which I have directed, would exceed by something more than six
millions (exclusive of the interest payable by him in November on the
Dutch loan) any funds which he could be possessed of. It appeared also
by indirect information so late as in the month of September, that the
loan opened by Mr Adams had not produced above three millions, so that
unless he had met with further success, there would be a deficiency of
three millions.

Had the Court granted us twelve millions in the first instance, had Mr
Adams's loan produced six millions, had M. de Beaumarchais' bills been
provided for without recurrence to the American banker, or, finally,
had the heavy deduction made by those bills been replaced, this
disagreeable thing would not have happened. Presuming that the loan of
the last year was exclusively at my disposition, I drew during the
year to the amount of it, and I am convinced that all my bills, and
those drawn by my authority, will have been paid. Rely on it, that as
I told you in a former letter, I have acted under the influence of
dire necessity, and this you will be convinced of by a few out of many
circumstances.

Enclosed you have a general statement of the public account until the
year 1781, on which you will observe that the army was fed
principally, though scantily, by the specific supplies called for at
different previous periods, and that there remained in the treasury
near three hundred thousand dollars, being part of the money which
Colonel Laurens brought with him from France. I also enclose to you
the copy of a letter written to Congress on the 21st of October, and
of its several enclosures, which will need no commentary; or if it
did, I would only add, that I have been obliged to sell part of the
goods, which arrived here from Holland, in order to raise so much
money as would save my sinking credit from destruction. I would go
into a detail of the various measures pursued to stimulate the
exertions of the States, but to do this with accuracy, would be to
give a tedious history of my whole administration. Whatever expedient
could suggest itself, which might have that desirable effect, I have
tried, and I do assure you, that when I look back at the scenes I have
passed through, they strike my own mind with astonishment. As soon as
I can get the accounts made up, I will transmit to you the total of
our expenditures; but to transmit, or even relate our hazards and
difficulties, would be impossible.

Even at this moment I am making further exertions to bring our
unwieldy system into form, and ward off impending evils; but what the
success may be, heaven only knows. Imagine the situation of a man, who
is to direct the finances of a country almost without revenue, (for
such you will perceive this to be) surrounded by creditors, whose
distresses, while they increase their clamors, render it more
difficult to appease them; an army ready to disband or mutiny; a
government, whose sole authority consists in the power of framing
recommendations. Surely it is not necessary to add any coloring to
such a piece, and yet truth would justify more than fancy could paint.
The settlement of accounts, long and intricate beyond comprehension,
becomes next to impossible, from the want of that authority which is
on the verge of annihilation, from those confusions which nothing can
dissipate except the complete settlement of accounts, and an honest
provision for payment.

Upon discovering the situation of our affairs in the manner already
mentioned, I laid them before Congress. You will know the result. The
Secretary of Foreign Affairs will, doubtless, transmit their Act; to
which I must add this further communication, that I expect my bills
will amount to a million within a month from this date. There are
cases, where nothing worse can be apprehended from a measure than what
would inevitably happen without it, and our present position is one of
them. An immediate command of money is alike necessary to our present
existence and future prospects. In Europe, when this letter arrives,
you will know decidedly whether we are to expect peace or war. We must
prepare for the latter. By so doing we may forward negotiations for
peace, and, at the worst, will only have incurred some additional
expense, whereas by neglecting it, we risk the chance of being taken
unawares, and paying very dearly the penalties of neglect.

But, Sir, notwithstanding these reasons and many others will justify
every counsel and every act however irregular in other respects, I
would not draw one more bill, and I would boldly hazard every
consequence of the omission, if I were not persuaded that they would
be paid. On this occasion your sovereign will expect your most
vigorous exertions, and your country will, I trust, be indebted to you
in a degree for her political existence.

  I am, Sir, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO B. FRANKLIN.

  Office of Finance, January 13th, 1783.

  Dear Sir,

I have received, in addition to those already acknowledged, your
letters of the 12th of August, 26th of September, and 14th of October.
I should, therefore, regularly have received two copies of the
contract entered into on the 16th of July, between you and the Count
de Vergennes, but I suppose it has been omitted through mistake in
both the letters which refer to it.[12] I lament this the more, as no
one copy of it has yet arrived, and, consequently, the Congress cannot
do what I am persuaded they would on the occasion. But although from
this circumstance they do not make professions, yet, as far as I know
the sentiments of that body, they are penetrated with gratitude. And
you hazard nothing in making to the King the fullest assurances of
their desire to repay the obligations they have received, and gratify
their affection for his person and family by services and benefits.
You will oblige me much if (together with the contract in question)
you will send a statement of the Farmer-General's account, and of the
agreement with them.

  [12] See this contract in the _Secret Journal of Congress_, Vol.
  III. p. 273.

You tell me that the losses in the West Indies prevent you from
obtaining farther aid. It is, therefore, to us a double loss. As to
the precaution you give me about my banker, you will find that before
the receipt of Mr Grand's accounts, I had drawn on him beyond his
funds. I have this day entered into an explanation with the Minister
on that subject, and I enclose you the copy of my letter, as also of
another paper delivered to him, which may be worth your attention. In
my turn, I rely upon your promise of exertion to pay my drafts. If one
bill should be protested, I could no longer serve the United States.

With respect to the apprehension you express as to my bills, I do not
perceive the matter in the same point of light with you. The lists of
my bills are transmitted to Mr Grand by various opportunities, and
they will check any which might be forged or altered.

I shall take due notice of what you say about your salary, and will
enclose the bills to you. The amount will depend on the course of
exchange during the war. You will be a gainer, and after the peace you
may perhaps lose some trifle, but not much, because remittances might
then be made in specie, should the exchange be extravagantly high. You
will readily perceive, that although the fluctuations of exchange are
in themselves of very little consequence to the individuals who may be
connected with government, they become important at the treasury,
partly from the numbers of payments and consequent amount, but more so
because they would introduce a degree of intricacy and perplexity in
the public accounts, which are generally either the effect, or the
cause of fraud and peculation. Besides, there is no other way of
adjusting salaries, than by a payment of so much at the treasury,
unless by rating them in the currency of every different country as
livres, dollars, guilders, rubles, &c. The late mode of rating them in
pounds sterling, required a double exchange. For instance, the number
of livres to be given in payment of one hundred pounds sterling at
Paris on any given day, depends on the then rate of exchange between
Paris and London, and the value of those livres here depends on the
exchange between Paris and Philadelphia.

I pray you, Sir, to accept my sincere thanks for the kind interest you
take in the success of my administration. The only return, which I can
make to your goodness, is by assuring you, that all my measures shall
be honestly directed towards the good of that cause, which you have so
long, so faithfully, and so honorably served.

  I am, Sir, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO MR GRAND.

  Office of Finance, January 13th, 1783.

  Sir,

I have received your several favors of the 13th of July, 11th and 19th
of August, and 14th of October. The contents are far from being
agreeable, but I thank you for the communication of them. If I had
been so fully apprized of our situation as I now am, perhaps I might
have suffered everything to be ruined, rather than have risked my
bills. But if that had been done, more men would have blamed than
applauded my conduct. I have gone into a full explanation with M. de
la Luzerne, and although he cannot as Minister approve what is done,
he has too much sense not to see the propriety and necessity of it.

It will be very useful both to you and me, that we should know exactly
the state of our affairs, but I cannot acquire that knowledge by any
comparison of accounts in my possession. You I think will be able to
do it, and for your assistance I send the following information.
There have been issued from the several Loan Offices, bills, at thirty
days' sight, for eight millions four hundred and thirtyone thousand
seven hundred and fifty livres; bills at sixty days' sight, for one
hundred and twentyfive thousand livres; and bills at ninety days'
sight, for one million three hundred and sixtyfour thousand one
hundred and ninetyone livres, thirteen sous, and four deniers. An
examination of your books will show at once how much of these sums
remains unpaid. There have been issued bills on Mr Laurens and Mr
Adams in Holland, for five hundred and fortyseven thousand three
hundred and sixtyfour guilders and two thirds; and there have been
issued on Mr Jay, for four hundred and fiftyeight thousand eight
hundred and twentysix dollars. A proper inquiry will, I suppose,
obtain the amount of payments on all these bills, and then you will be
possessed of the state of things so fully, that you can apprize me of
facts sufficient for my information.

From the best information I have been able to collect on the subject,
my bills have very considerably exceeded your funds, but I trust that
you have been possessed of additional funds for the acquittal of them
in due season. I do everything that I can, and shall expect that you
will exert yourself, to aid Dr Franklin. On those exertions I place
much reliance; being with sincere esteem, Sir, your most obedient, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO M. DE LA LUZERNE.

  Office of Finance, January 13th, 1783.

  Sir,

In the close of our conversation on the 11th instant, your Excellency
did me the honor to request that I would recapitulate to you in
writing, the reasons why my bills had exceeded the funds in possession
of Mr Grand, by about three millions and a half of livres. I undertake
this task with pleasure, but I will premise, that in the course of
this letter (seeking clearness more than precision) I will not trouble
you with an attention to fractional sums, but rather to round numbers.

You will remember, Sir, that shortly after your arrival in this
country, the Congress, while they continued their drafts for interest,
added a number of other bills on Dr Franklin, at a long sight, which
they directed to be sold; and urged by their necessities, and relying
on the success of measures then just undertaken, they drew other bills
at a long sight on their Ministers in Spain and Holland. Before this
they had drawn bills on Dr Franklin, in favor of M. de Beaumarchais,
for nearly three millions, of which two millions and a half were
payable in June, 1782. The amount of all these bills, exclusive of
those to M. de Beaumarchais, was between thirteen and fourteen
millions. How great a proportion of this sum had been paid, and how
much remained due, it was impossible for me to determine with
precision, because I had not received the accounts, but the best
estimate in my power was made.

Your Excellency will also remember, that from the sketch which you did
me the honor to deliver from the Count de Vergennes, there was due on
the Dutch loan of 1781 about four millions, or three and a half after
deducting the supposed expenses of that loan. I considered this
balance as sufficient to liquidate what I estimated to remain due of
the several bills drawn by order of Congress as above mentioned,
excepting the two millions and a half payable in June last. I
perceive, however, from Mr Grand's accounts, that although his
Majesty, among other acts of his royal generosity, remitted the
expenses of the loan, yet the balance actually touched by the banker,
amounted only to about two and a half millions. Thus there was a
deficiency of a million in what I had relied upon to acquit former
engagements. It is necessary for me to mention here, that I had
allowed also for a supposed deduction on account of the Virginia
goods, but as I had also supposed, that fewer of the Congress bills
remained unpaid than appeared afterwards to have been, so one error
eventually corrected the other, and left the deficiency still at a
million. It is proper also to observe further, that although the loans
and subsidies of 1781, amounting in the whole to twenty millions, had
been principally employed in the purchase of clothing and military
stores, yet the continuance of those things in Europe by various
delays and mischances obliged me to make provision for the same
articles here, forming thereby a heavy deduction from the small means
which were at my disposal.

Having said thus much of things previous to the year 1782, I must now
take the liberty to remind your Excellency, that I had requested the
sum of twelve millions for that year, on the principle, that after
deducting two millions and a half for M. de Beaumarchais, the
remaining nine and a half would be absolutely necessary, and I then
did expect much more from the States than has been received. The
Court, however, granted only six millions, but I had every reason to
suppose, that this sum would be exclusively at my disposition; and
therefore in consequence of your Excellency's assurances, and
according to your advice, I drew twelve bills of half a million each
on Mr Franklin, in favor of Mr Grand, and I appropriated this money to
the payment of what bills I should draw on him; excepting a part which
I desired him to ship during the last summer, when bills were not
saleable, and which I expected here in November, or December; but as
it did not arrive, I conjectured as the event has shown, that no
shipment was made, and extended my bills accordingly. As to M. de
Beaumarchais' bills, I expected that some arrangement might have been
taken with relation to them, according to our conversations. For
although you declared that you had no instructions on that subject,
yet you saw with me that our funds would not bear such a deduction,
and the line of conduct which you advised, was precisely that which I
pursued, as I shall presently have occasion to mention.

I relied then on the loan of six millions, and on three millions which
Mr Adams had obtained in Holland, so long ago as in September last. My
appropriation of these sums was as follows. Bills drawn on Mr Grand in
1782 for six millions, being the amount of the loan made by his
Majesty; one million negotiated through the Havana; half a million
which I directed for payment of interest on the Dutch loan of 1781;
and a million and a half drawn for in 1783, at the time I had the
honor to speak to your Excellency, formed the amount of three millions
in Holland, which by the Acts of Congress were exclusively at my
disposition.

It was not, therefore, until the investigation of Mr Grand's accounts,
that I was struck with the deficiency above mentioned, and which arose
from the difference of one million due on the former transactions more
than I had calculated, and two millions and a half to M. de
Beaumarchais. The moneys which I supposed to be at my sole disposal
were, I found, subject to Dr Franklin's order, and therefore Mr Grand
instead of six millions possessed only two and a half towards
answering my bills drawn in 1782. I had written to Dr Franklin in the
manner agreed between us as to M. de Beaumarchais. But the money was
paid before the letter arrived. I should not, however, do that justice
to Dr Franklin which I ought, if I did not observe, that I think he
was perfectly right in causing those bills to be paid. You will
consider, Sir, that they had been drawn in 1779, and negotiated for
three years, through different parts of Europe and America, on the
public faith and credit of the United States. It is a very moderate
calculation to suppose, that a thousand different people were
interested in the sum of three and a half millions. Protesting the
bills, therefore, would have sent them back again from one person to
another, affixing a stigma on our character wherever they went. The
necessary consequence would have been, not only a total loss of credit
in Europe, but that no person here would have bought my bills. The
funds, therefore, which I could command would have been useless, and
the difference between not having money and not being able to use it
is immaterial.

Having said thus much, Sir, on the reason of the deficiency, I find
it proper to add, that the bills drawn in December and November amount
to two millions; which being at thirty days' sight will not be payable
until February or March next. One million negotiated through the
Havana on Cadiz, thence to Paris, &c. will not finally be payable
until March and April. And one million drawn the beginning of this
month at one hundred days' sight, will not fall due until some time in
April and May. On the other hand, any further success of Mr Adams's
loan will apply for the payment.

I trust from the whole state of these things your Excellency will see,
that nothing has introduced any disorder into these transactions, but
the appropriation without my authority of moneys intended to be at my
disposition, and that this again has arisen from the utter incapacity
of Dr Franklin any otherwise to acquit the demands on him, arising
from expenditures made some years before my administration. If I might
venture, therefore, to advise, it should be that three and a half or
four millions were paid to Mr Grand as an addition to the loan of
1782, and then the sum which the Court may think proper to advance for
1783, being clear of preceding transactions, I will pledge myself that
no act of mine shall exceed the limits to be prescribed by your Court.

You see, Sir, that I rely on aid for the current year; and this brings
me to the resolution of Congress, which I had also the honor to
communicate. You observed on it with great propriety, as a Minister of
France, that you advised me not to comply with it; and as a Minister
of the United States I might reply, that I should certainly obey the
order of my masters. At the bottom I believe we are both agreed. I
would not put my name to a bill if I doubted the payment, and you must
be convinced that it is necessary to draw. Not to mention those
critical circumstances of the army, which you are perfectly apprized
of, it must be remembered how important an effect it might have on the
negotiations for peace, if we should now neglect to prepare for war,
and much more if we should suffer any serious misfortune. To keep the
army together, in good humor and prepared for action, is a duty which
we owe alike to ourselves, to our allies, and to our associates in the
war.

I shall I believe draw within a month for at least a million. You
know, Sir, that the funds given by the States are incompetent, and I
am sure you will do me the justice to believe, that I have done all in
my power to husband our means and to increase them. That I have not
talents equal to this task must be lamented and forgiven. It is not my
fault but my misfortune. The share of abilities which I possess, be it
what it may, has been faithfully exerted. If, however, I have incurred
censure on the present occasion, it must be because I was ignorant of
what I could not know, and did not perform what was not in my power.

I am, Sir, with respect and esteem, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO JOHN ADAMS.

  Office of Finance, January 19th, 1783.

  Sir,

Although I have not yet been honored with any letters from your
Excellency, I cannot omit the occasion of writing, which offers itself
by Mr Jefferson. Having already congratulated you on the
acknowledgement of our independence by the States-General, and on the
rapid success of your labors equally splendid and useful, I hope when
this letter shall have reached your hands I may have the additional
cause of congratulation, that the loan you have opened in Holland
shall have been completed. This is a circumstance of great importance
to our country, and most particularly so to the department, which I
have the honor to fill. Whatever may be the success of it, whether
general or partial, I pray your Excellency to favor me by every
conveyance with every minute detail, which can lend to form my
judgment or enlighten my mind.

For the more perfect security of our correspondence I do myself the
honor to enclose the counterpart of a cypher, to the use of which you
will soon become familiarised, and I hope you will be convinced, that
any confidence with which you may honor me shall be safely reposed and
usefully employed for the public benefit.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF PENNSYLVANIA.

  Office of Finance, January 20th, 1783.

  Sir,

I had the honor to receive your Excellency's favor of the 18th of last
evening. In answer, it becomes my duty to convey to your Excellency,
the painful information, that those affairs of Congress, which relate
to the public revenue, are reduced to the most critical situation.
They are now under contemplation of that honorable body, and I shall
take the earliest opportunity of communicating to the several States
the result of their deliberations.

It is also my duty, Sir, on this occasion, to remind your Excellency,
that on the 2d day of November, 1781, the Congress required of the
State of Pennsylvania, one million one hundred and twenty thousand
seven hundred and ninetyfour dollars, as the quota of that State, for
the expenditure of the year 1782. This sum was to have been paid in
equal quarterly proportions, commencing on the 1st day of April last.
I am extremely sorry to mention, that during the whole of the year,
1782, there has been received towards the payment of this quota, only
the sum of one hundred and seven thousand nine hundred and twentyfive
dollars and twentyfour ninetieths, being less than a tenth of the sum
required. It is of little avail, Sir, that the army who are the
immediate sufferers, or the people of America whose national existence
is so imminently hazarded, should be told, that a law has been enacted
for raising the sum required. Laws not executed, or which from their
nature are not to be executed, only substitute deception in the place
of denial. Congress can never believe, that a State seriously means a
compliance with the demands made on it, unless the laws be such, that
responsible officers be sufficiently empowered to collect the taxes by
certain specified periods, and that the Continental Receiver of taxes
be empowered after such periods shall have elapsed, to issue
executions against the persons and estates of those officers for any
deficiency, which may remain of the sums payable by them respectively.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO GEORGE WASHINGTON.

  Office of Finance, January 21st, 1783.

  Sir,

I have received your Excellency's favor of the 6th and 8th instants. I
have directed the Commissary of Marine Prisoners to appoint a proper
agent at Dobbs' Ferry, and I hope for your Excellency's advice to him
on that occasion, which he will be desired to apply for. Without
wishing to incur the blame of too great suspicion, I take the liberty
to suggest, (as an additional reason for caution;) that moneys
intended for commercial pursuits, might be transmitted under the idea
of relieving prisoners. Mr Skinner has never yet communicated his
returns or accounts.

It was with very great pleasure, Sir, that I paid the money you
desired, to Mr Adams, and I beg you to believe, that I shall at all
times be happy to facilitate your views. At present, the negotiation
happens by good luck to minister alike to your convenience and mine. I
am very sorry, that you did not make an earlier mention to me of your
demands for secret service. I would have anticipated your views, had
it not escaped my attention, for be the distresses of my department
what they may, this is of too much importance ever to be neglected. I
think it best in future, that a solid arrangement should be taken, and
for this purpose I will give directions to the Paymaster General
always to keep some money in the hands of his deputy, to answer your
drafts for contingencies and secret service. I have, as you will see,
taken methods to put the deputy in cash, and then your Excellency will
be relieved from any further care than the due application. I am,
however, to pray for the sake of regularity in accounts, that your
Excellency in the warrants would be so kind as to specify the
particular service when on the contingent account, and draw in favor
of one of your family on account of secret services, mentioning that
it is for secret service. I shall direct Mr Swanwick to endorse the
bills on you in favor of Mr Adams to the Paymaster General, whose
deputy will receive from your Excellency the amount.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, January 24th, 1783.

  Sir,

As nothing but the public danger would have induced me to accept my
office, so I was determined to hold it until the danger was past, or
else to meet my ruin in the common wreck. Under greater difficulties
than were apprehended by the most timid, and with less support than
was expected by the least sanguine, the generous confidence of the
public has accomplished more than I presumed to hope.

Congress will recollect, that I expressly stipulated to take no part
in past transactions. My attention to the public debts, therefore,
arose from the conviction, that funding them on solid revenues was the
last essential work of our glorious revolution. The accomplishment of
this necessary work is among the objects nearest my heart, and to
effect it, I would sacrifice time, property, and domestic bliss.

Many late circumstances have so far lessened our apprehensions from
the common enemy, that my original motives have almost ceased to
operate. But other circumstances have postponed the establishment of
public credit in such a manner, that I fear it will never be made. To
increase our debts, while the prospect of paying them diminishes, does
not consist with my ideas of integrity. I must, therefore, quit a
situation which becomes utterly insupportable. But lest the public
measures might be deranged by any precipitation, I will continue to
serve until the end of May. If effectual measures are not taken by
that period, to make permanent provision for the public debts of every
kind, Congress will be pleased to appoint some other man to be the
Superintendent of their Finances. I should be unworthy of the
confidence reposed in me by my fellow citizens, if I did not
explicitly declare, that I will never be the minister of injustice.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, February 26th, 1783.

  Sir,

A number of those who have contracted engagements with me will, I
know, place a personal reliance on me for the fulfilment of them, As
the time approaches very fast when I am to quit this office, it is
proper for me to make the necessary preparations. Among these, I must
place the due and seasonable information, which as an honest man I
must convey to those who have confided in me. I am, therefore, to pray
that the injunction of secrecy, contained in the order of the 24th of
January last, may be taken off. At the same time, I take the liberty
to suggest to Congress, that the early appointment of my successor,
will give him opportunity to take such measures as may prevent many
inconveniences that might otherwise happen.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO GEORGE WASHINGTON.

  Office of Finance, February 27th, 1783.

  Sir,

I do myself the honor to enclose to you the copy of a letter to the
President of Congress, which was written on the 24th of last month. I
should have transmitted it to you on the next day, but contrary to my
expectations, Congress enjoined secrecy. I yesterday wrote a letter,
of which I also enclose a copy, and in consequence of it I am this
instant informed that the injunction of secrecy is taken off. I seize,
therefore, the earliest moment to give you the information.

I do assure you, Sir, that nothing would have induced me to take this
step, but a painful conviction that the situation of those to whom the
public are indebted is desperate. I believe, sincerely, that a great
majority of the members of Congress wish to do justice; but I as
sincerely believe that they will not adopt the necessary measures,
because they are afraid of offending their States. From my soul I pity
the army, and you, my Dear Sir, in particular, who must see and feel
for their distresses, without the power of relieving them.

I did flatter myself that I should have been able to procure for them
that justice to which they are entitled; and in the meantime, I
labored to make the situation as tolerable as circumstances would
permit. For the assistance which you have kindly afforded me, I pray
you to accept my thanks, and to be assured that I shall ever retain on
that account the most grateful emotions. My thanks are due also to all
our officers, for I know that unwearied pains have been taken to give
them disagreeable impressions, and I am, therefore, doubly indebted
for the just sentiments, which amid so many misrepresentations they
have constantly entertained. I hope my successor will be more
fortunate than I have been, and that our glorious revolution may be
crowned with those acts of justice, without which the greatest human
glory is but the shadow of a shade.

  I am, Sir, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL, IN MADRID.

  Office of Finance, March 4th, 1783.

  Sir,

You will probably recollect that Mr Jay protested ten bills of
exchange, each for two hundred and twentyfive Mexican dollars, of
which the list is enclosed. These bills, with the addition of twenty
per cent damages, amount to two thousand seven hundred dollars, for
which I have this day signed a set of bills on you, which, to avoid
the dangers to which communication is liable, are extended to the
eighth bill. This draft is at six months' sight, and I am to desire
that you will honor it, and take your reimbursement on Mr Grand. The
length of sight may probably place it at a considerable discount on
the exchange of Madrid, and it is probable, also, that you may draw on
Mr Grand to advantage; if so, I conceive it would be best to have the
bill bought.

Draw on Mr Grand at the common usance, and close the transaction;
which I hope may be the last of the kind, which the American
government will be concerned in. An additional reason for suggesting
this is, that should this bill go through hands ignorant of the whole
transaction, it may give rise to conjectures, that the former practice
of drawing is about to be revived. I should have drawn on France or
paid in cash, but as the party is at Boston, and the rate of the
exchange unfixed, it is more conformable to mercantile usage to give a
new bill for the principal and damages.

  I am, Sir, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, March 8th, 1783.

  Sir,

I received yesterday afternoon a report, which is to be considered on
Monday the 10th instant, and with it I received an order to transmit
my observations. The shortness of the time obliges me to ask
indulgence for deficiencies or inaccuracies. I have always believed
that Congress were disposed to do _justice_ to the public creditors,
and I shall presume that the _power_ of Congress will be exerted for
that purpose.

There appear, therefore, two principal points to be considered.

I. What justice requires; and,

II. What Congress have power to do.

To the first I answer. _Justice requires that the debt be paid._ The
_principles_ of justice require that from a government, which a
_court_ of justice exacts from an individual. Government have no right
to oblige creditors to commute their debts for anything else. Any
revenues, therefore, to be pledged for the restoration of public
credit must be such, that money may be borrowed on them to pay those
to whom it is due; any plan which falls short of that object will not
do justice. And no plan will embrace that object unless it be such
that under it individuals would prefer government security to any
other. In our particular situation it appears clear, that such public
creditor has a complete right to demand his whole debt from Congress,
and to name the terms on which he will forego it, and that Congress
have a similar right in regard to the States.

In order to determine on the second question, viz. the _power_ of
Congress, we must resort to the confederation. By the eighth article
it will appear, that Congress have a right to determine on the sum to
be paid by the States, and the time of payment; and that this sum is
to be paid by the States in proportion to their respective value, or
an estimation to be made in the mode to be appointed by Congress. It
is, therefore, in the _power_ of Congress to call for payment of the
whole debt by any day; such for instance as the 1st of January; and to
have a valuation made some previous day; such for instance as the 1st
of September. _The right of Congress is perfect, and the duty to pay
absolute._ It appears necessary that this power be exerted in the most
_decisive form_, and that whatever _general plan_ of finance may be
adopted, the concurrence of each State in such plan should be admitted
_as an alternative_ for not paying her apportioned quota of the whole
debt. My reasons are these.

1st. It will not be believed, that Congress have no power to do
justice until the power which they have is exerted.

2dly. The public creditors have a right to expect that exertion.

3dly. Until it be made, a compliance with the demands of Congress will
be considered by the States as a matter of favor and not of right.

4thly. Congress having a right to the whole money, it follows that
they have the _exclusive_ right to name those precise terms on which
they will commute it.

5thly. Hence it follows that their plan, (be it what it may) must be
adopted by the States in all its parts, because none of them can have
a right to make amendments.

6thly. The objections heretofore raised against the impost will by
this means be totally done away, because each State may at its option
either comply with the general plan or pay her particular share of the
whole debt.

7thly. If the plan proposed as an alternative be adopted, it will from
the nature of the case be an express national compact between the
United States and each individual State. The revenue will have been
purchased by Congress and they will have a perfect right to insist on
their bargain.

8thly. The plans of Congress will by this means be greatly facilitated
in the States, because the arguments will apply to men's feelings, and
they will at once perceive, that it is better to give a permanent
revenue of six, than make immediate payment of a hundred. Every term
and condition in the plan will then be fair, because if the revenues
be such as in the judgment of the Legislature will fall too heavy on
their constituents, they can adopt others, borrow on their own
account, and pay in their share at the day named. So that the United
States will either receive the whole money, and pay all their debts,
or they will get solid revenues to fund the whole, or they will
receive a part and have such revenues for the remainder.

It also appears to me that our situation requires the utmost despatch,
and therefore I wish much that the days named should be shorter than
those above mentioned. The Act of the 17th of last month has been duly
forwarded to the several States, but there will be no impropriety in
taking a shorter mode of valuation for apportioning the debt, and
leaving the valuation by the Act of the 17th to apply to the yearly
apportionments subsequent to the last year. Various modes of making a
speedy valuation might be suggested; such for instance, as that
Congress should appoint a commissioner for each State, directing them
to meet at this place on the 1st of June and determine, that the
valuation made by the majority of those who do meet should be
conclusive. If such a line of conduct as this be pursued, those
suspicions as to the integrity of Congress, which ill designing men
have endeavored to raise must immediately cease. And if justice be not
done, public indignation will be pointed to the proper persons.

With respect to the alternative which may be proposed, I am sorry to
find that my ideas as to the objects of revenue have not met with the
approbation of Congress. I must be indulged in observing, that let the
revenues be what they may, it is indispensable that all the collectors
be appointed by the authority of the United States, and for the
following reasons.

1st. Experience has shown, that the taxes heretofore laid in the
States have not been collected.

2dly. It is evident from a consideration of their modes of taxation,
(which they are all very obstinately attached to,) that they never
will be punctually collected.

3dly. The punctuality in the payment of interest is essential to
public credit.

4thly. As Congress forego their right to insist on the principal, it
is but just that they should have every possible security for the
interest.

5thly. As the people are in either case to pay the supposed tax at
certain periods it must be a matter of indifference to what particular
man the payment is made.

6thly. The objection raised in favor of elected tax gatherers, viz.
that they consider the circumstances of the people, which is saying in
other words, that they are guilty of favor and partiality, is the
strongest reason why the collectors should be appointed by, and
amenable to, Congress.

7thly. It is a kind of absurdity in itself, that Congress should have
a right to the tax, and yet no right to send their servants to receive
it.

I pray leave also to observe, that the revenues must be co-existent
with the debt. No man in his senses will lend on any other terms. If
the revenue be only for a fixed period of time, no more can be
borrowed on it than the price of an annuity for such a time. And it
has already been observed, that money must be _borrowed_ to _pay_ the
public creditors, because they have a just right to their _money_.
Another observation on this subject I must take the liberty to
impress. The more clear, certain, permanent, and increasing the funds
are, the lower will be the interest at which money can be borrowed. If
the funds be very good, money may be borrowed at four per cent,
perhaps at three per cent. If they are not good it will not be
procured for less than six, seven, or eight per cent, and perhaps not
at all. Proper reflections on this subject will naturally suggest
themselves, and it will not be forgotten, that whether the debt be
less or greater, and whether the interest be higher or lower the
_people must pay all_.

With respect to the impost I conceive it to be justly exceptionable,
because that an estimation ad valorem is arbitrary, and the law ought
in all cases to be clear and explicit. The impost on prizes need not,
I should suppose, be asked for, because Congress may take measures for
the purpose themselves whenever the occasion requires. I conceive
also, that a tax might be laid on exports which, without being
burdensome, would still be productive. Enclosed is a list of rates,
which I take the liberty to submit. I cannot go into a written detail
of the reasons for them, because my time will not permit.

I am told that the principal objection to a land tax is the
inequality. To obviate this objection (although I cannot accede to the
force of it) perhaps a reduction of the sum from one dollar to a
quarter of a dollar per hundred acres might be expedient; and to
supply the deficiency, a tax on houses might be adopted, according to
the enclosed rate, which I also beg leave to submit.

I must take the liberty to declare my most serious apprehensions from
the existence of unsettled accounts among the States. Everything which
tends to create or continue them is fraught with ruinous consequences.
Keeping accounts of moneys paid by taxes of the States, and
liquidating those accounts by after settlements, will, I fear, prove
the source of much dissension. It will operate as heretofore in
preventing the States from paying anything. I would pray therefore to
submit to Congress the following mode of terminating all present
accounts, viz. that the whole sum paid or expended by each State, for
the public service from the commencement of the war, should be placed
to the credit of the particular State, and each draw interest on such
sum. By these means the whole account would be equitably settled in
the first instance. The States which are indebted on their own private
account, would be able to wipe off such debts by an assignment of
national stock. And on the first requisitions made by Congress for
current expenditures, each might make payment either in part, or
perhaps in the whole, by a discharge of so much of the debt. Thus a
degree of simplicity would be introduced into our affairs, and we
might avoid the horrors of intestine convulsions.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

GEORGE WASHINGTON TO ROBERT MORRIS.

  Head Quarters, March 8th, 1783.

  Sir,

Very painful sensations are excited in my mind by your letter of the
27th of February. It is impossible for me to express to you the regret
with which I received the information it contains.

I have often reflected with much solicitude upon the disagreeableness
of your situation, and the negligence of the several States in not
enabling you to do that justice to the public creditors, which their
demands require. I wish the step you have taken may sound the claim to
their inmost souls, and rouse them to a just sense of their own
interest, honor and credit. But I must confess to you that I have my
fears, for as danger becomes further removed from them, their feelings
seem to be more callous to those noble sentiments, with which I could
wish to see them inspired. Mutual jealousies, local prejudices and
misapprehensions, have taken such deep root as will not easily be
removed.

Notwithstanding the embarrassments which you have experienced, I was
in hopes that you would have continued your efforts to the close of
the war at least; but if your resolutions are absolutely fixed, I
assure you I consider the event as one of the most unfortunate that
could have fallen upon the States, and most sincerely deprecate the
sad consequences which I fear will follow. The army, I am sure, at the
same time that they entertain the highest sense of your exertions,
will lament the step you are obliged to take as a most unfortunate
circumstance to them.

  I am, &c.

  GEORGE WASHINGTON.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.[13]

  Office of Finance, March 10th, 1783.

  Sir,

In consequence of the order of Congress of the 18th of last month, I
do myself the honor to enclose an estimate of the principal of the
public debt to the first day of January, 1783, which has been
transmitted to me by the Register of the Treasury. This amounts to
_thirtyfive millions three hundred and twentyseven thousand seven
hundred and sixtynine dollars fiftythree and one eighth ninetieths_,
exclusive of what he calls the _unliquidated debt_, being the moneys
due to the several States and to individuals in the several States. I
beg leave also to mention other debts which have not been taken into
the Register's contemplation, namely, the _old continental bills_ and
_arrearages of half pay_. Congress will easily see that it is not in
the power of their servants to state the public debts with any
tolerable precision.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

  [13] _March 12th._ This morning arrived the ship Washington,
  Captain Barney, with despatches from our Ministers in Paris, and
  with six hundred thousand livres in cash, on account of the United
  States, in consequence of my order in October last;--and this day
  also appeared a virulent attack on my public and private
  character, signed _Lucius_, in the Freeman's Journal, replete with
  falsehoods.--_Diary._

       *       *       *       *       *

TO MAJOR GENERAL GREENE.

  Office of Finance, March 14th, 1783.

  Sir,

I received the other day your letter of the 2d of February last, and
am very much obliged both by the pains you have taken, and the
sentiments you have expressed in favor of a department, which I shall
shortly be obliged to abandon. You will before this reaches you have
seen in the newspapers my letters of resignation. I shall not,
therefore, go into a detail of the reasons for taking that step, which
was as painful to me as you can easily conceive. But I had no
alternative. I saw clearly that while it was asserted on all hands,
our debts ought to be paid, no efficient measures would be adopted for
the purpose; no good plan agreed on. I felt the consequences of my
resignation on the public credit; I felt the probable derangement of
our affairs; I felt the difficulties my successor would have to
encounter, but still I felt that above all things it was a duty to be
honest. This first and highest principle has been obeyed. I do not
hold myself answerable for consequences. Those are to be attributed to
the opposers of just measures, let their rank and station be what they
may. I expect much obloquy for my conduct, because this is what I
knew to be the reward for any conduct whatever which is right. To
slander I am indifferent, and still more indifferent about the
attempts to question the services I have rendered, but I feel most
sensibly for your situation, and for that of every other officer.

The Congress have now, and have long since had under their
consideration, a due provision for the public debts; when they will
conclude it, and what it will be, God only knows. If it is such as in
my opinion will do justice, I shall stay somewhat longer in office to
know the decisions of the States, and if their proceedings are what on
such an occasion they ought to be, I shall spare no labor and regret
no time in completing the business, so that my successor may receive
it from my hands as clear and simple, as it was confused and
embarrassed when it was undertaken. But if these things do not happen,
you and every other good man will, I hope, acquit me for leaving a
post, in which I am totally unsupported, and where I must be daily the
witness to scenes of poignant anguish, and deep injustice without the
possibility of administering either relief or palliation. While I do
continue in office, rely on every support in my power, and always,
whether a public or a private man, believe in my esteem and affection.

  I am, very respectfully, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, March 17th, 1783.

  Sir,

I do myself the honor to enclose the copy of a letter of the 14th of
December last from Dr Franklin, and the translation of a letter of
the 15th instant, from the Chevalier de la Luzerne. These, together
with the letter of the 23d of December from Dr Franklin, of which I
have already submitted a copy, will I trust claim the attention of the
United States.

M. de la Luzerne did me the honor to make verbal communication of the
Count de Vergennes' letters, from which as well as from those of Dr
Franklin and from other circumstances, I consider it as certain that
we are to expect no further pecuniary aid from Europe. So late as on
the 9th of December last, the loan in Holland had not amounted to
eighteen hundred thousand florins, and after the deduction of the
charges on it, there were not above seventeen hundred thousand at my
disposal. From the month of June to the 9th of December this loan had
not increased half a million of florins, so that the most sanguine
expectation will not carry it beyond two millions out of the five for
which it was opened.

Congress will recollect, that on the 14th of September last they
ordered a loan of four millions of dollars in Europe, for the service
of 1783, in addition to this loan, which Mr Adams had opened in
Holland. They will also recollect, that I had anticipated upon those
resources about three and a half millions of livres during the year
1782. And that this anticipation was over and above the sum of a
million and a half of florins, which we then knew to have been
borrowed in Holland. Allowing, therefore, for the supposed increase of
half a million of florins or a million of livres, there will still
remain of anticipation two and a half millions of livres; so that of
the sum lent for this year by his Most Christian Majesty there will
remain but three millions and a half of livres. According to the
common course of exchange, this sum cannot be expected to yield more
than six hundred thousand dollars. Six hundred thousand dollars,
therefore, with what the States will yield in taxes, form the whole of
our expectations for the current year. From this is to be deducted one
month's pay already promised to the army, amounting by estimate to
upwards of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

To judge of our prospects for what remains, Congress will be pleased
to observe, that the subsistence of our officers is nearly twenty
thousand dollars, that the rations issued in New York and New Jersey
are about fifty thousand dollars, and that the rations of the southern
army will probably amount to upwards of twelve thousand dollars. If to
this be added the various detached corps, it will be found, that the
articles of rations and subsistence, exclusive of the prisoners, will
form an amount of about ninety thousand dollars a month. My
anticipations on the taxes are so well known, that it is not necessary
to mention them any more than the other objects of forage, &c. which
are indispensable. I have gone into these few details merely to
elucidate one position, viz. that _all the money now at our command,
and which we may expect from the States for this two months to come,
will not do more than satisfy the various engagements, which will by
that time have fallen due_.

It is of importance that Congress should know their true situation,
and therefore I could wish, that a committee were appointed to confer
with the Minister of France. My reason for that wish is, that every
member of Congress may have the same conviction, which I feel of one
important fact. _That there is no hope of any further pecuniary aid
from Europe._ The conduct of the French Court on the subject has been
decisive. Some persons have indeed flattered themselves, that her
positive declarations were merely calculated to restrain our rashness
and moderate our excess, but these ideas can no longer have place in
any sound and discerning mind. Her conduct has been consistent with
her declarations, and if she had ever so much inclination to assist us
with money _it is not in her power_.

But whatever may be the ability of nations or individuals, we can have
no right to hope, much less to expect the aid of others, while we show
so much unwillingness to help ourselves. It can no longer be a doubt
to Congress, _that our public credit is gone_. It was very easy to
foresee that this would be the case, and it was my particular duty to
predict it. This has been done repeatedly. I claim no merit from the
prediction, because a man must be naturally or wilfully blind who
could not see, _that credit cannot long be supported without funds_.

From what has already been said, Congress will clearly perceive the
necessity of further resources. What means they shall adopt, it is in
their wisdom to consider. They cannot borrow, and the States will not
pay. _The thing has happened which was expected._ I cannot presume to
advise. Congress well knew that I never pretended to any extraordinary
knowledge of finance, and that my deficiencies on this subject were a
principal reason for declining the office. I have since had reason to
be still more convinced of my incompetency, because the plans which I
did suggest have not met with approbation. I hope, therefore, that
some abler mind will point out the means to save our country from
ruin.

I do assure you, Sir, that it is extremely painful to me to be
obliged to address Congress on this subject. I wish most sincerely,
that I could look at our future prospects with the same indifference,
that others have brought themselves to regard them. Perhaps I am not
sufficiently sanguine. It is common for age to listen more to the
voice of experience than youth is inclined. The voice of experience
foretold these evils long since. There was a time when we might have
obviated them, but I fear that precious moment is passed.

Before I conclude this letter, I must observe on the misconstructions,
which men, totally ignorant of our affairs, have put on that conduct,
which severe necessity compelled me to pursue. Such men, affecting an
intimate knowledge of things, have charged the destruction of public
credit to me, and interpreted the terms of my resignation into
reflections upon Congress. I hope, Sir, that so long as I have the
honor to serve the United States, I shall feel a proper contempt for
all such insinuations. I shall confidently repose myself on the candor
of Congress. It is for them to judge of my conduct on full and
intimate knowledge. Writers for a newspaper may, indeed, through the
medium of misrepresentation, pervert the public opinion, but the
official conduct of your servants is not amenable to that tribunal. I
hope, however, to be excused for observing, that on the day in which I
was publicly charged with ruining your credit, those despatches
arrived from Europe, which tell you it was already at an end. The
circumstances which I alluded to in my letter of resignation, were not
yet known in Europe. It was not yet known that Rhode Island had
unanimously refused to pass the impost law, and that Virginia had
repealed it. The very delays, which the measures of Congress had met
with, were sufficient to sap the foundations of their credit. And we
now know that they have had that effect. When those circumstances,
therefore, shall be known, it must be overturned. I saw this clearly,
and I knew that until some plain and rational system should be adopted
and acceded to, the business of this office would be a business of
expedient and chicane. I have neither the talents nor the disposition
to engage in such business, and, therefore, I prayed to be dismissed.
I beg pardon, Sir, for this slight digression. I shall trespass no
longer on your patience, than to assure you of the veneration and
respect, with which I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE RECEIVERS OF CONTINENTAL TAXES IN THE SEVERAL STATES.

  Office of Finance, April 7th, 1783.

  Sir,

I enclose you an account of the public receipts and expenditures from
the commencement of my administration to the close of last year. While
in compliance with what I conceive to be the duty of those intrusted
with expenditures of public money, I publish these accounts, I cannot
but blush to see the shameful deficiency of the States. You will, I
hope, take occasion to make the proper remarks, and, indeed, it were
to be wished that some able writers would rouse the attention of your
Legislature to our situation. Surely the pride and good sense of the
people will combine in stimulating them to exert themselves, so as to
stand on their own feet, and not owe a support to the precarious
bounty of foreign powers.

  I am, Sir, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

CIRCULAR TO THE GOVERNORS OF THE STATES.

  Office of Finance, April 7th, 1783.

  Sir,

I do myself the honor to enclose for your Excellency's perusal, and
the consideration of your Legislature, a statement of receipts and
expenditures for the years 1781 and 1782, so far as the same have
fallen under my administration. You will also find enclosed, the
general accounts of receipts from the States, and subsequent payments
into the treasury for the last year, together with the particular
account of your State for that period. I shall not trouble your
Excellency with any comments on these accounts.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO A COMMITTEE OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, April 14th, 1783.

  Gentlemen,

Since the conference I had the honor to hold with you on the 9th
instant, my mind has been continually occupied on the important
subject to which it relates. My feelings are strongly excited by what
I wish for the public, and by what I apprehend, both for them and for
myself.

The two points, which relate to my department, are the settlement of
accounts and advance of pay. With respect to the first, it is now
going on in a satisfactory manner, and will be as speedily
accomplished as can reasonably be expected. The arrangements taken on
that subject are of such a nature, that I conceive the disbanding of
the army need not be delayed until the settlement is completed,
because the proper officers may be kept together, although the men be
dismissed. The amount of three month's pay, which is stated by the
General to be _indispensable_, is, according to the estimate, seven
hundred and fifty thousand dollars. From what I have already stated to
Congress, it will appear that the reliance for a great part of this
sum, must be on the sales of public property and the taxes. Neither of
these sources can produce much immediately, and from the latter there
is but little hope at all, unless something can be done to stimulate
the exertions of the States.

The receipts being regularly published, I am spared the necessity of
disagreeable observations on that topic. To supply so large a sum as
is required is utterly impracticable, or, indeed, to obtain any very
considerable part. The most, therefore, which can be done, is to risk
a large paper anticipation. This is an operation of great delicacy,
and it is essential to the success of it, that my credit should be
staked for the redemption. Do not imagine, Gentlemen, that this
declaration is dictated by vanity; it becomes my duty to mention
truth. I had rather it had fallen from any other person, and I had
much rather it did not exist. In issuing my notes to the required
amount, it would be necessary that I should give an express assurance
of payment, and in so doing, I should be answerable personally for
about half a million, when I leave this office, and depend on the
arrangements of those who come after me to save me from ruin. I am
willing to risk as much for this country as any man in America, but it
cannot be expected that I should put myself in so desperate a
situation. To render the arrangements, which that advance would
require, effectual in an official point of view, would be a work of
time, and the period of my official existence is nearly arrived.

Disbanding the army in a manner satisfactory to them and to the
country, is doubly desirable, and although extremely difficult, is I
believe practicable. I shall be very ready at all times, Gentlemen, to
give my advice and assistance to those who may be charged with that
delicate and perilous undertaking, and I would go as far to effect it
myself as any reasonable man could require. But though I would
sacrifice much of my property, yet I cannot risk my reputation as a
man of integrity, nor expose myself to absolute ruin.

  I am, Gentlemen, with perfect respect, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO ALEXANDER HAMILTON.

  Office of Finance, April 16th, 1783.

  Sir,

I have been duly honored with the receipt of your favor of the 15th
instant. I accepted the Marine Agency, simply with a view to save the
expense of the department; but whenever a Marine is to be established
a previous point would be (in my opinion) to nominate a Minister of
Marine, and let his first work be the forming of those plans and
systems, which when adopted by Congress, he would have to execute. For
my own part, were my abilities equal to this task, my leisure would
not permit the attempt.

With respect to the finances, I am of opinion, that as we cannot
increase our revenue, we must do all we can to lessen our
expenditures, and that, therefore, we should take off every expense
not absolutely necessary as soon as possible.

On the subject of the coin, I hope soon to make a communication to
Congress, which, if approved of by them, will complete the business.

  I am, Sir, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, April 23d, 1783.

  Sir,

On the 21st of February, 1782, Congress were pleased to approve of the
establishment of a mint, and to direct the Superintendent of Finance
to prepare and report a plan for conducting it. This matter has been
delayed by various circumstances until the present moment. I now
enclose specimens of a coin, with a view that if Congress should think
proper to appoint a committee on the subject, I may have the honor of
conferring with them, and explaining my ideas of the plan for
establishing and conducting a mint. Such plan when reported by a
committee, will more probably meet the ideas of Congress than any
which I might prepare.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.[14]

  [14] _April 29th._ This morning when I received the book from the
  office of the Secretary of Congress, in which the Acts of Congress
  that respect this department are entered every day, I perceived
  that the committee who had conferred with me respecting my
  continuance in office after the last day of next month had not
  reported the whole of the conversation which passed, and that the
  report as entered on the Journals of Congress, mistakes the sense
  of what passed on my part. I, therefore, wrote a note to Mr
  Osgood, informing the committee that they had misconstrued my
  sentiments. He soon called, and upon my repeating some material
  parts of the conversation, he acknowledged they had been omitted.
  I requested him to call the committee together again, but he said
  they had made their report, and are dissolved, but he would
  immediately return to Congress, have my note to him read, and move
  to have the report of the committee expunged from the Journals.
  _Diary._

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, May 1st, 1783.

  Sir,

When I saw the journal of the 28th of last month, I was surprised to
find that the report of the honorable committee appointed to confer
with me relative to my continuance in office, did not contain those
ideas, which I had endeavored to convey. I immediately wrote a note to
the chairman mentioning "that the committee had misapprehended the
conference on my part." When the conversation passed, I had no
expectation of seeing it introduced into the report, or I should
certainly have asked permission to deliver my sentiments in writing.

I am placed, Sir, in a very painful situation and must therefore
entreat your indulgent interpretation of what I am compelled to say. I
had the honor of two conferences with the committee, and in the
mornings after those conferences, respectively, made short minutes of
what had passed. It is my custom to make such minutes with respect to
most of my transactions, and as they were originally intended merely
to aid my own memory, they are not very minute or particular. Those to
which I now refer are contained in the following words;

_April 22d, 1783._ "The honorable Mr Osgood, Mr Bland, Mr Peters, Mr
Madison, and Mr Hamilton, a committee of Congress appointed to confer
with me respecting my continuance in office. I told them that a letter
from Mr Grand, gave a new complexion to our affairs in Europe, and
that a frigate being just arrived in a short passage from France I
expect further advices, which I am desirous of seeing before I enter
into this conference. I stated the difficulty of fulfilling
engagements, and the danger of taking any new ones."

_April 24th, 1783._ "The committee of Congress called this morning, in
consequence of Mr G. Morris having told Mr Osgood, that he imagined I
was ready for a conference with them. I told the committee that my
mind had been constantly occupied on the subject, from the time they
first called until the present moment. That I see and feel the
necessity and propriety of dismissing the army among their fellow
citizens, satisfied and contented; that I dread the consequences of
sending them into civil life, with murmurs and complaints in their
mouths; and that no man can be better disposed than I am to satisfy
the army, or more desirous of serving our country, but that my own
affairs call loudly for my care and attention. However, having already
engaged in this business, and willing to oblige Congress if they think
my assistance essential, I will consent to remain in office for the
purpose of such payment to the army, as may be agreed on as necessary
to disband them with their own consent, &c. But prayed of Congress to
excuse me from even this service if they can accomplish their views in
such other way as they may approve."

These, Sir, are exact copies of my minutes on the subject, and
although they were hastily drawn, yet I can safely appeal to the
committee to declare, whether they do not contain what really passed,
and also whether I did not (in reply to a question put to me by one
of the members) say, that I expected, if Congress should ask me to
continue in office, they would confine their request to the effecting
that particular object of satisfying the army, and would distinguish
it from anything, which might be construed into an approbation of
their plan for funding the public debts.

I hope, Sir, that Congress will excuse me for picturing the situation
I was in, and the feelings which arose out of it. By the Act of the
7th of February, 1781, it was declared to be the duty of the
Superintendent of Finance, "to digest and report plans for improving
and regulating the finances." Congress well know, that I have from
time to time attempted the performance of this duty, and they know
also, that such plans have not met with their approbation. The clear
inference is, what I have already declared both previously and
subsequently to my appointment, that my abilities are unequal to the
task I am called to perform. If, therefore, Congress would at any time
have made a new appointment, I should have considered it as the
greatest favor. But since they saw fit to continue me in office, I
prepared the best plans which I could devise, and finding they were
not agreeable to the ideas of Congress, I waited for the adoption of
such as might be suggested from some other quarter, or originated
among themselves. I patiently, but anxiously waited until the 24th of
January last; but then a clear view of those circumstances, which have
since followed, compelled me to request they would appoint some other
man to be the Superintendent of their Finances, if effectual measures
were not taken by the end of May, to make permanent provision for the
public debts of every kind. On the 26th of February, finding that no
successor was yet appointed, and that the plans of Congress were not
yet completed, I requested leave _to give due and seasonable
information of my removal to those who had confided in me_. By this
means I became pledged to the world, not to continue in office after
the end of May, unless such measures as I conceived to be effectual,
should be taken before that period, to provide for the public debts.
On the 7th of March, I received the report of a committee on the
finances, with orders to transmit my observations. These are contained
in a letter of the 8th. On the 9th day of April, (no plan being yet
adopted) a committee called on me to know, whether three months' pay
could be advanced to the army. I stated to them the incapacity of the
public treasury to complete in any short period the one month's pay
already promised, as also the great anticipations made on the public
revenue. And on the 14th, in a letter recapitulating the hazardous
situation of things, I informed them that I believed the object they
had in view was practicable by means of a large paper anticipation. On
the 18th the plan was adopted for funding the public debts.

It was under these circumstances, Sir, that I held the conferences now
immediately in question. It was my most earnest desire to be dismissed
from office, and I stood pledged for it to the public. But a
circumstance of peculiar nature, which had not been foreseen, now
presented itself. That army to whom we were indebted for our national
existence was to be disbanded, either in extreme misery, or with some
little relief. Every principle of justice and gratitude called loudly
to administer it; but this could not be done without entering into
engagements beyond our resources. The dictates of prudence would,
indeed, have determined me to adhere inflexibly to the resolution
expressed in my letter of the 24th of January. By so doing I hazarded
nothing. And as far as my own reputation was concerned, I could have
placed it in security. For I must be permitted to say, that if solid
arrangements had been taken to establish national credit, four times
the required sum might have been easily obtained. No evils, therefore,
had arisen, which I had not predicted, and none which it was possible
for me to guard against.

But, Sir, my conduct was not influenced either by personal or
prudential motives. A sense of the situation to which Congress were
reduced, an earnest desire to support their dignity and authority, a
grateful regard to our fellow citizens in arms, mingled with respect
for their sufferings and virtues. These sentiments, Sir, decided my
opinion. I agreed for your sakes and for theirs to enter into a
labyrinth, of which I did not then, nor do I now see the termination.

But I could not do this, except under conditions and limitations. The
conditions were, that Congress should ask my continuance, and pledge
themselves for my support; the limitations, that the objects of my
continuance should be accurately expressed, and that it should be
confined to the fulfilment of such engagements, as those objects might
require. These terms were expressed to the committee, and I am sure
they will do me the justice to acknowledge that they were so. Whether
they were reasonable, and whether they have been complied with, form
questions of some importance.

It may be suggested, that asking my continuance would derogate from
the dignity of Congress. How far this observation is founded, will
appear from a resolution of the 21st of December last. It was not a
new thing to make such requests, nor was the practice obsolete, yet I
should not have desired anything more particular on this subject than
has been done in the Act of the 28th of April, although far short of
what other persons have received. But surely it will be admitted, that
I had a right to expect Congress would pledge themselves for my
support when I entered into such deep engagements for theirs. Whether
the limitation of my continuance in the manner just mentioned was
proper, will appear from considering whether it consisted with the
dignity of Congress to procure my tacit approbation of their system
for funding the public debts; a system widely different from ideas,
which I had expressed on a variety of occasions, and in the most
pointed manner. Surely, Sir, it was not kind to place me in a
situation where I must appear either to refuse the performance of an
important public service, or to break the most solemn engagements and
contradict the most express declarations. I might dwell much on this
question, but the delicacy of Congress will render it unnecessary.

The second question is, whether the terms I offered have been complied
with. And this question is answered by a bare inspection of the Act.
Your Excellency will pardon me for mentioning, that the report and
resolution considered conjunctively, rather convey the idea of a
permission to hold my office than anything else. I had declared to the
committee, and here again repeat, that a longer continuance would be
extremely disagreeable to me, and that nothing but the particular
circumstances already mentioned, could induce my consent. I must add,
that under the resolution in its present form I cannot stay. I shall
detain your Excellency no longer than to mention, that I am sensible
some other man may still suppose that I am only desirous of obtaining
from Congress some more particular resolutions. To obviate such
disingenuous remarks, it is my humble request that no further question
be made on my subject. If, Sir, I have rendered any services, and if
those services have merited any return, I shall ask no other reward
than a compliance with this request.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, May 3d, 1783.

  Sir,

Upon consideration of the Act of Congress, of the 28th of April[15]
and 2d instant, I have determined to comply with their views. But I
pray it may be understood, that my continuance in office is limited to
the particular object of fulfilling my present engagements, and those
which the necessity of our affairs may compel me to form. Let me
entreat your Excellency to inform Congress, that I entertain a proper
sense of their assurance of firm support, and that in a reliance on it
I shall continue my zealous exertions for the service of the United
States.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

  [15] Requesting Mr Morris's continuance in office.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO M. DE LA LUZERNE.

  Office of Finance, May 6th, 1783.

  Sir,

I do myself the honor to enclose to your Excellency the copy of an Act
of Congress of the 2d instant. I shall in consequence thereof address
some special despatches to Dr Franklin, by a packet boat, which I will
communicate to your Excellency, and pray you to write to your Court on
the subject of them.

In the meantime, I beg leave to mention to you, Sir, that if, (as I am
informed,) the administration of your army have more money in this
country than they have immediate occasion for, it would greatly
facilitate my operations to be possessed of it. What I have to propose
on the subject is, that whatever sum may be paid to me here, should be
deducted from the three millions mentioned in the enclosed resolution,
and be repaid from the amount of the existing requisitions on the
States. But that if this arrangement should not be agreeable to the
Court, then that it be paid in France or here, immediately after I
shall have been made acquainted with his Majesty's pleasure, and in
such way as shall be most agreeable to your Court.

I present this matter to you, Sir, quite naked of arguments, to
enforce the request. I am sure, that you will do what you conceive to
be right; you know our situation, and I presume that you are
acquainted with the orders given to your administration.

  With great respect, I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

CIRCULAR TO THE GOVERNORS OF THE STATES.

  Office of Finance, May 12th, 1783.

  Sir,

I do myself the honor to enclose to your Excellency, Acts of Congress
of the 28th of April and 2d instant, together with a copy of my
letters in answer. Permit me to assure you, Sir, that nothing would
have induced me to continue in office, but a view of the public
distresses. These distresses are much greater than can easily be
conceived. I am not ignorant that attempts are made to infuse the
pernicious idea that foreign aid is easily attainable, and that of the
moneys already obtained a considerable part remains unappropriated. If
such attempts were injurious only to my reputation, I should be
entirely silent; but they are calculated to prevent exertions, and are
therefore injurious to the public service. I most seriously assure
you, that I do not expect success in the application to France,
directed by the Act of the 2d instant, although my earnest endeavors
shall not be wanting.

If, however, it should prove successful, we shall only be enabled to
draw resource from it at a future period, and the amount is to be
replaced from the produce of existing requisitions on the States. With
respect to the moneys, which have already been obtained abroad, I will
not pretend to say what lights those gentlemen may have, who speak on
the subject in a decisive tone, but I candidly acknowledge, that I
have never yet been able to obtain a clear statement of them, which is
the reason why no account of those moneys have yet been laid before
the public. Those who know the confusion in our domestic transactions,
from which we are just beginning to be extricated, will not be
surprised that foreign transactions dependent on them should also be
deranged. Neither can it be expected that in the midst of war the
accounts could be so soon adjusted and transmitted as could be wished.
I have written to obtain them, and a commissioner is employed in
adjusting them. From the best statement and estimate which I have, I
can assure you, that what remains at my disposition is extremely
small.

Your Excellency is doubtless informed, that at the close of last year,
there was an anticipation on the public credit to the amount of above
four hundred thousand dollars. This anticipation amounts to a greater
sum now than it did then, and a very considerable addition must be
made at the disbanding of the army. My mere assertion might, I am
sensible, be drawn into doubt, but, Sir, there is evidence sufficient
to convince every considerate man. The expenses of 1782 were above
twentytwo hundred thousand dollars; those of 1783 are greater, by a
month's pay made to the army, and by extending the contract for
rations. Near five months of this year are already expired. One
month's pay of the army is above two hundred and fifty thousand
dollars, according to the establishment, and although the army is not
completed to its establishment, yet the deficiency, being in private
sentinels, will not form a great deduction.

The conclusion from what I have stated is clear and irresistible;
there is no reliance but on the energy of the States, and it is on
that reliance that I rest for the affairs of my department. I shall
not add anything to what is said in the resolutions of Congress, as
inducements for, or to stimulate exertions, because I cannot suppose
that the voice or the word of an individual servant will meet an
attention which is not paid to the representation of the whole empire,
expressed in its solemn Acts, and on the most urgent occasion, where
wisdom, justice, and gratitude combine to enforce the requisition.

  I am, Dear Sir, yours, &c.
  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THOMAS BARCLAY, AGENT FOR SETTLING THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTS IN EUROPE.

  Office of Finance, May 12th, 1783.

  Sir,

I have received from you many letters, which I beg leave to
acknowledge.

The bills drawn by order of Congress at a long sight on their
Ministers, as well in Spain and Holland as in France, have involved
the affairs of my Department in a labyrinth of confusion, from which I
cannot extricate them, and I very much fear that many of these bills
will have been twice paid. I know not what has been done respecting
them, and only know, that ever since I entered into office they have
not only plagued and perplexed me, but they have invariably consumed
the resources on which I have formed a reliance. I have now determined
to refer them all to Mr Grand for payment, but according to such
arrangements as you shall take. You will be pleased, therefore, to
consult with Dr Franklin, Mr Adams, Mr Laurens, and Mr Jay, to whom I
write on the subject, as you will see by the enclosed letters.

I enclose you an account from the treasury of what bills have been
drawn on those gentlemen, and I am to request, that you will obtain as
soon as possible an account of the payments made on them, as also of
those which are still due, and take measures to have them paid by
drafts for the purpose, if necessary, on Mr Grand, and provide against
the double payments, which I fear. I have already ordered funds into
Mr Grand's hands. Some I expect from you. As the credit I gave you has
not been used, that alone furnishes a part, and I expect there will be
considerable balances from the sales of the Alliance's prizes, of
which I am daily expecting your accounts, &c. You will also, I
suppose, have recovered the insurance you made, to the amount of forty
thousand florins, which will be something. Every aid which you can
bestow is necessary, for I fear those bills will plunge him into great
difficulties, and the protest of any public bills, particularly any
which I should draw, would reduce our affairs here to infinite
distress.

I am also to request of you, that you will cause as soon as possible
all the accounts of the clothing, arms, and other supplies to be
liquidated and transmitted, so that they may be properly adjusted
here; for at present, that business is in a state of extreme
confusion.

  I am, Sir, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO B. FRANKLIN.

  Office of Finance, May 12th, 1783.

  Sir,

The bills drawn by Congress in their necessities press very heavily
upon me, and one of the greatest among many evils attending them is
the confusion in which they have involved the affairs of my
Department. I have not yet been able to learn how many of these bills
have been paid nor how many remain due; neither am I without my fears,
that some of them have received double payment.

To bring at length some little degree of order into this chaos, after
waiting till now for fuller light and information, I write on the
subject to Mr Adams and Mr Jay, and send Mr Barclay, to whom I also
write, a copy of the enclosed accounts, directing him to consult with
your Excellency, and with them to transmit me an account of the bills
paid, and of those remaining due, and to take measures for preventing
double payments. The enclosed accounts will inform you, that of the
bills drawn for interest and those for carrying on the current
service, which have gone forward through the Loan Offices, amount, the
first to one million six hundred and eightyfour thousand two hundred
and seventyeight dollars; equal to eight millions four hundred and
twentyone thousand three hundred and ninety livres; and the second to
two hundred and eightysix thousand seven hundred and thirtythree and
one third dollars; equal to one million four hundred and thirtythree
thousand six hundred and sixtysix livres, six sous, and eight deniers.

Let me entreat you, Sir, to forward these views as much as possible,
for you will, I am sure, be sensible how necessary it is for me to
know the exact state of our pecuniary affairs, lest on the one hand I
should risk the public credit by an excess of drafts, or on the other
leave their moneys unemployed, while they experience severe distress
from the want.

  I am, Sir, with perfect respect, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO A COMMITTEE OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, May 15th, 1783.

  Gentlemen,

In consequence of the conversation which passed between us this
morning, I shall give you the best information in my power as to the
state of my Department and the resources I can command.

You have in the enclosed paper an account of receipts and expenditures
from the commencement of the year to the end of the last month; by
which it appears, that there is an advance on credit to the amount of
near six hundred thousand dollars, exclusive of what may appear in Mr
Swanwick's accounts for the month of April. A large sum is also due on
General Greene's drafts, and the contractors are to be paid in this
month for the supplies of January last. At the end of this month,
therefore, that anticipation must necessarily be much increased, as
will appear from the slightest reflection after what is to be said of
our resources.

These are either foreign or domestic. As to the first, I enclose the
copy of the last letter I have received from Mr Grand, and I have to
add to what is contained in that letter, that the day it was received,
my drafts on him, over and above those mentioned in it, amounted to
three millions forty thousand two hundred and seventyeight livres. I
have directed, therefore, Mr Barclay to pay over to Mr Grand any
moneys, which may be in his possession, and I have directed Messrs
Willink & Co. of Amsterdam to do the same, after deducting what may be
necessary to pay the interest of their loan falling due the 1st of
June next. But as I have no accounts of how much has been borrowed
since the end of January, and as all which had been borrowed before
was disposed of, I cannot determine how far they can come in aid of Mr
Grand. Neither can I tell until the receipt of his accounts what aid
he may stand in need of. In these circumstances I am obliged to leave
about eighteen hundred thousand livres (which remain of a sum placed
in the hands of Messrs Le Couteulx for answering drafts intended
through Havana,) to answer any deficiency of other funds to pay my
drafts on Mr Grand. These then, Gentlemen, are all the foreign
resources, except what the French Court may advance on the late
resolutions of Congress, and you will see by the enclosed translation
of a letter from the Minister of France, what little hope is to be
entertained from that quarter.

Our domestic resources are twofold. First, certain goods and other
property, such as horses, wagons, &c. These latter will produce very
little, and the former are, by the peace, very much reduced in value,
and from the nature of the goods themselves they are chiefly
unsaleable. Very little reliance, therefore, can be placed on this
first dependence. The amount I cannot possibly ascertain, for I do not
yet know, and cannot until the opening of them now in hand shall be
completed, the kinds, quality and situation. Some are damaged, those
which were deemed most saleable have been tried at vendue, and went
under the first cost, and much the greater part will certainly not
sell at a fourth of their value.

The only remaining resource is in the taxes, and what they may amount
to, it is impossible to tell. But you have enclosed an account of what
they yielded the four first months of this year, and you will see from
thence, that if all expense had ceased on the first day of this month,
the anticipations already made would not have been absorbed by the
same rate of taxation in eight months more.

Now then, Gentlemen, you will please to consider, that if your army is
kept together they will consume as much in one month as the taxes will
produce in two, and probably much more; to make them three months' pay
will require I suppose at least six hundred thousand dollars, and
every day they continue in the field lessens the practicability of
sending them home satisfied. The anticipations of revenue are
threefold, two of which appear as to their effects in the public
accounts, and one very considerable one, though it produces great
relief, is not seen. It consists in the drawing of bills on me for the
public service by different persons and at different usances. I
imagine that these amount at the present moment to one hundred
thousand dollars. The other anticipations consist in loans from the
bank on the issuing of my own notes. As to the first of these it is
limited in its nature by the capital of the bank, which being small
will not admit of great deductions, and it depends much upon
circumstances, whether the bank will go to the extent which they may
go. If they find the revenues increasing and the expenses diminishing,
they will, but otherwise, they certainly will not. As to the notes I
issue, and which form the greatest part of my anticipations, these
have also a certain limit, to exceed which would be fatal. I must not
so extend that circulation, as that I shall be unable to pay them when
presented, for that would totally destroy their credit, and, of
course, their utility.

If anything of this sort should take place before the army are
disbanded, you will see at once that they could be fed no longer, and
must of course disband themselves. I will not dwell on the
consequences, but I will draw one clear conclusion, which you have,
doubtless, by this time anticipated, viz. that unless they are
disbanded immediately, the means of paying them, even with paper, will
be gone. And this sentiment I have not delivered to you, but to a
former committee, as well as to many individual members of Congress.

But when I speak of disbanding the army, I beg to be understood as
meaning to reserve a sufficient garrison for West Point; and on this
subject I pray to be indulged in a view of our political and military
situation as far as relates to this capital object of my department.
And first, as to our political situation, I conceive that we are at
peace. It is true, that the definitive treaty is not, that we know of,
completed; but it is equally true, that all the other belligerent
powers have been disarming for mouths past, and I presume they are at
least as well acquainted with the state of things as we are. To
express doubts of the sincerity of Britain on this subject is, I know,
a fashionable, but in my opinion a very foolish language. We have the
best evidence of their sincerity, which the nature of things will
admit, for we know they are unable to carry on the war, and we see and
feel, that they are passing every act, and doing everything in their
power to conciliate our affections. Expressions of doubts as to their
sincerity, if intended to foster enmity against them, will fail of the
effect and produce the direct contrary, for everybody will soon learn
to consider them as unjustly suspected, and their Ministers will take
care to inculcate and enforce the sentiment.

As to our military situation some of the troops in the southern States
have already mutinied, the principal part of them are ordered away,
and since the Floridas are ceded to Spain it follows, that those
troops which may remain in the southern States will have to operate
against the Spaniards if they operate at all. So that every man,
except those under the General's immediate command and the little
garrison of Fort Pitt, are in fact disbanded to every purpose but that
of expense.

The prisoners are some of them going, and the rest gone into New York,
so that in a few days the enemy will be able to do everything which
they could do if the greater part of our army were gone home. For they
could not take West Point if it is properly garrisoned, and they could
ravage the country in spite of our army when theirs shall be all
collected.

Our situation, therefore, seems to be this. We are keeping up an army
at a great expense, and very much against their inclinations for a
mere punctilio, and by that means incapacitating ourselves from
performing what they begin to consider as a kind of engagement taken
with them. I shall detain you no longer on this subject, but must
repeat one observation, which is, that unless the far greater part of
our expenses be immediately curtailed, the object Congress had in
view by their resolutions of the 2d instant, cannot possibly be
accomplished.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.[16]

  [16] _May 13th._ Mr Gorham and Mr Hamilton, two members of a
  committee of Congress for conferring with the Secretary of War,
  the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, and myself, relative to
  disbanding the army, met this morning. I opened the business, and
  stated very fully the necessity of disbanding the army, in order
  to get clear of an expense, which our resources are unequal to,
  and which cannot be supported many months at any rate, but which,
  if continued any longer, will consume the only means now left for
  making a payment to the army when disbanded. The gentlemen of the
  committee seemed perfectly satisfied of the necessity of
  disbanding the army on principles of economy, but opposed to it on
  principles of policy, in which the Secretary of Foreign Affairs
  joins with them. The Secretary at War said little, and I related
  an observation which he had made to me a few days before in favor
  of disbanding the army directly, viz.; that they would not
  continue in the field under their present enlistments, if the war
  were to break out again; but that in such a case we must begin
  entirely anew. The conclusion of the conference is, that I am to
  state the reasons resulting from the situation of our finances,
  which induce an immediate disbanding of the army, in writing to
  the committee. _Diary._

       *       *       *       *       *

TO MAJOR GENERAL GREENE.

  Office of Finance, May 16th, 1783.

  Sir,

Your bills on me fall very heavy, and I am in hourly apprehensions of
being unable to pay them. You will see, therefore, that it is utterly
impossible to send money for your military chest. I hope, however, and
expect, that the sales of the public property will provide you more
money than you stand in need of. I know not what orders the Secretary
at War may give, but if they be agreeable to my wishes, they will
contain an absolute dismission of all the troops in your quarter, for
I can see no use in keeping them together.

The attacks made upon you, might reconcile me to those which I
experience, for they show that no conduct, however just, can possibly
escape censure. It is far easier to be faultless than blameless, and
the experience I have had in this way leads me to a total disregard of
all things, so far as conduct is to be determined. But I must at the
same time acknowledge, that I cannot help feeling indignation whenever
they are made. They are for the most part mere ebullition of low
malice, and if rightly understood contain the most indisputable
acknowledgement of merit. Let this reflection console you for what you
have already experienced and what may yet be behind.

I thank you for the sentiments you express in my favor. You will have
seen, that contrary to every private interest and sentiment I have
agreed to a longer continuation in office. And you may rest assured,
that nothing but a view of the public necessities should have induced
me still longer to bear up under the burden. Not because I regard the
calumnies I meet with, for although they excite my feelings they shall
not influence my conduct, but because I do not think those measures
are pursued, which are calculated for the happiness of this country,
and I do not wish to participate in any others.

There are many persons in the Southern States, who think the measures
of Congress and of their servants are directed to the particular good
of Pennsylvania, and more who pretend to think so. It is a little
history of human weakness and I might say meanness, the manner in
which antipathies have been imbibed and propagated with respect to my
department. One sample will show the texture of the whole piece. While
I was in advance, not only my credit but every shilling of my own
money, and all which I could obtain from my friends, to support the
important expedition against Yorktown, much offence was taken that I
did not minister relief to the officers taken prisoners at Charleston.
I felt their distresses as sincerely as any man could do, but it was
impossible to afford relief.

Before I close the letter, I must again repeat my solicitude on the
score of your bills, which are coming in upon me so fast, that the
means of paying them must, I fear, be deficient. Take care, therefore,
to draw as little and at as long sight as possible.

  I am, Sir, your most obedient, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO B. FRANKLIN.

  Office of Finance, May 26th, 1783.

  Sir,

I have now before me your letters of the 14th and 23d of December,
which are the last I have received. Enclosed you have a letter from me
to the Minister of France, with his answer of the 14th of March, on
the subject of the delay which happened in transmitting his
despatches. You will see by these, that Lieutenant Barney was not to
blame.

Your bills in favor of M. de Lauzun have not yet appeared, or they
should have been duly honored. That gentleman has since left the
country, and therefore it is possible that the bills may not come.

The reflections you make, as well on the nature of public credit, as
on the inattention of the several States, are just and unanswerable;
but in what country of the world shall we find a nation willing to tax
themselves. The language of panegyric has held forth the English as
such a nation, but certainly if our Legislatures were subject to like
influence with theirs, we might preserve the form, but we should
already have lost the substance of freedom. Time, reason, argument,
and above all, that kind of conviction, which arises from feeling, are
necessary to the establishment of our revenues, and the consolidation
of our union. Both of these appear to me essential to our public
happiness; but our ideas, as you well know, are frequently the result
rather of habit than reflection, so that numbers who might think
justly upon these subjects, have been early estranged from the modes
and means of considering them properly.

I am in the hourly wish and expectation of hearing from you, and
sincerely hope it may be soon. Believe me, I pray, with esteem and
respect, yours, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO B. FRANKLIN.

  Office of Finance, May 26th, 1783.

  Sir,

By the enclosed Acts of the 28th of April and 2d of May, with the copy
of my letter to Congress of the 3d of May, you will perceive that I am
to continue somewhat longer in the Superintendence of our Finances.
Be assured, Sir, that nothing but a clear view of our distresses could
have induced my consent. I must at the same time acknowledge, that the
distresses we experience, arise from our own misconduct. If the
resources of this country were drawn forth, they would be amply
sufficient, but this is not the case. Congress have not authority
equal to the object, and their influence is greatly lessened by their
evident incapacity to do justice.

This is but a melancholy introduction to the request contained in the
Act of the 2d instant. But I shall not be guilty of falsehood, nor
will I intentionally deceive you, or put you in the necessity of
deceiving others. My official situation compels me to do things, which
I would certainly avoid under any other circumstances. Nothing should
induce me in my private character to make such applications for money
as I am obliged to in my public character. I know and feel that you
must be in a disagreeable situation on this subject. I can anticipate
the answers to all your requests; and I know you may be asked for
payment when you ask for loans. Yet, Sir, I must desire you to repeat
your applications. My only hope arises from the belief, that as the
King's expenses are much lessened, he may be able to comply with his
gracious intentions towards America.

And the only inducement I can offer is the assurance that the taxes
already called for, shall be appropriated as fast as other
indispensable services will admit, to the replacing of what the Court
may advance.

Our situation is shortly this. The army expect a payment, which will
amount to about seven hundred thousand dollars. I am already above
half a million dollars in advance of our resources, by paper
anticipation. I must increase this anticipation immediately to pay
moneys due on contracts for feeding our army; and I must make them the
expected payment by notes to be discharged at a distant day. Now, Sir,
if these notes are not satisfied when they become due, the little
credit which remains to this country must fall, and the little
authority dependent on it must fall too. Under such circumstances it
is, that you are to ask aid for the United States. If it can be
obtained, I shall consider the obligation as being in some degree
personal to myself, and I shall certainly exert myself for the
repayment. You will be so kind, Sir, as to ship on board the
Washington eighteen hundred thousand livres, but if the loan be not
obtained, I must entreat you will give me the earliest possible
information of the refusal.

I shall communicate this letter to the Minister of his Most Christian
Majesty, and request him to write to the Count de Vergennes, on the
subject of it. Believe me; I pray, with sincere and respectful esteem,
&c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO M. DE LA LUZERNE.

  Office of Finance, May 27th, 1783.

  Sir,

I do myself the honor to enclose for your Excellency's perusal, the
copy of a letter to Dr Franklin, which will go by the Washington
packet, on Sunday next. I am to request, that your Excellency will
write on the subject of it to the Count de Vergennes. You will
observe, Sir, that I have made no mention whatever of the reasons,
which might induce France to grant the aid requested. Every argument,
which can apply to the interests of your Court, will come more
properly, as well as more forcibly from your pen than from mine. I
shall only ask, that you will give your own sentiments and views of
our circumstances and situation. These will, I doubt not, be the most
powerful reasons in support of the present application.

  I am, Sir, with perfect respect, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO GEORGE WASHINGTON.

  Office of Finance, May 29th, 1783.

  Dear Sir,

I am now to acknowledge the receipt of your Excellency's letter of the
8th instant. I have not answered it sooner, because until now it has
not been in my power to answer it satisfactorily.

By some designing men my resignation of office (grounded on a clear
conviction, that unless something was done to support public credit,
very pernicious consequences would follow) was misconstrued. It was
represented as a factious desire to raise civil commotions. It was
said that the army were to be employed as the instruments to promote
flagitious interested views. These found admittance to minds, which
should forever have been shut against them. We now rest on the event,
to determine whether a sincere regard to public justice and public
interest, or a sinister respect to my own private emolument were the
influential motives of my conduct. I am a very mistaken man, if time
and experience shall not demonstrate, that the interests of the army
and of the public creditors are given up. But I mention these things
only to you in confidence, for it shall not again be supposed that I
am the leader of sedition.

Having done what was in my power to establish those plans, which
appeared necessary for doing justice to all, and affording relief to
our army in particular, I have acquitted what was the first and
greatest duty. When it appeared that other modes were to be pursued, I
would gladly have departed in peace, but it has been thought that my
further agency was necessary, to procure for the army that species of
relief, which they seemed to desire. The factious designing man, who
was to have lighted up the flames of mutiny and sedition, has
undertaken, a most arduous and perilous business to save this country
from those convulsions, which her negligence had hazarded. This became
a duty when the first duty to justice was performed, and this shall be
performed also. It is now above a month since the committee conferred
with me on that subject, and I then told them that no payment could be
made to the army but by means of a paper anticipation, and unless our
expenditures were immediately and considerably reduced, even that
could not be done. Our expenditures have nevertheless been continued,
and our revenue lessens, the States growing more and more remiss in
their collections. The consequence is, that I cannot make payment in
the manner first intended. The notes issued for this purpose would
have been payable at two, four, and six months from the date, but at
present they will all be at six months, and even that will soon become
impracticable, unless our expenses be immediately curtailed.

I shall cause such notes to be issued for three months' pay to the
army, and I must entreat, Sir, that every influence be used with the
States to absorb them, together with my other engagements, by
taxation. The present collections are most shameful, and afford but a
sad prospect to all those who are dependent upon them.

I hope, my Dear Sir, that the state of public affairs will soon permit
you to lay down the cares of your painful office. I should in two days
have been liberated from mine, if a desire to free you from your
embarrassments, and procure some little relief to your army, had not
induced a continuance of them. But it must always be remembered, that
this continuance is distinct from any idea, which may be connected
with the plans for funding our public debts. As I do not approve of,
so I cannot be responsible for them. Neither will I involve myself in
endless details, which must terminate in disappointment.

  With great respect, I am, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

CIRCULAR TO THE GOVERNORS OF THE STATES.

  Office of Finance, June 5th, 1783.

  Sir,

Congress having directed a very considerable part of the army to be
sent home on furlough, I am pressed exceedingly to make a payment of
three months' wages, and I am very desirous to accomplish it, but the
want of money compels me to an anticipation on the taxes by making
this payment in notes. To render this mode tolerably just or useful,
the notes must be punctually discharged when they fall due, and my
dependence must be on the money to be received of the several States,
on the requisitions for the last and present year. I hope the urgency
of the case will produce the desired exertions, and fully enable me
to preserve the credit and honor of the federal government.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

CIRCULAR TO THE GOVERNORS OF THE STATES.

  Office of Finance, July 11th, 1783.

  Sir,

I do myself the honor to enclose to your Excellency, a state of the
public accounts, balanced on the last day of June, 1783. A view of
these accounts will render it unnecessary to make many observations.

On the States I am to rely for payment of the anticipations amounting,
as you will see, to more than a million. And you will observe, that
this great anticipation has been made for that service, which all
affect to have so much at heart. A payment to the American army. If
they had received no pay during the year 1783, I might perhaps have
been spared the necessity of this application, because it is probable
that the taxes even as they are now collected might have absorbed such
anticipations as I should then have been obliged to make.

Much pains have been taken to inculcate the idea that we have funds in
Europe. Those funds which we had there are exhausted, and the general
apprehension that no proper funds here will be provided has cut off
all hopes from that quarter.

The question has frequently and industriously been asked, what becomes
of the moneys which are paid in taxes. I have furnished the means of
judging, as to those which reach the public treasury, to every man
employed in the administration of government in the several States,
for my accounts have been regularly transmitted. And I would not have
mentioned the insinuation had it not been for the purpose of
observing, that it is incumbent on all those who are desirous of
forwarding a collection of taxes to show a fair appropriation, and not
suffer groundless clamors to disturb the public mind.

It has been said that there is no necessity of urging the collection
of taxes now, because the notes given to the army are not payable in
less than six months. This again is an assertion whose mischievous
operation is levelled at the very vitals of our credit. One month of
that time is already expired with respect to all those notes which
have been already issued. They are not the only notes in circulation.
Notes are not the only modes of anticipation which have been adopted.
And it is a serious fact, that unless more vigorous measures take
place, the credit of all notes and of everything else must be
destroyed. But this is not all. Supposing for a moment, that the notes
given to our army were the only object whose credit was to be attended
to. Can any reasonable man imagine, that they could be of any use if
the payment were to depend on taxes which are not to be collected
until the notes are due.

I have not been wanting on my part in pointing out from time to time,
the mischiefs which must ensue from neglect. The applications have met
with inattention, which personally I have disregarded, but which I
could not but feel, from the consequences involved in it. Again, in
compliance with the duty I owe to the United States, I call for that
aid which they are entitled to. And on this occasion I take leave to
observe, that the moment is very fast approaching which is to
determine whether America is entitled to the appellation of just, or
whether those who have constantly aspersed her character are to be
believed.

  With perfect respect, I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

REPORT TO CONGRESS RELATIVE TO THE PAY OF THE ARMY.

  Office of Finance, July 15th, 1783.

The Superintendent of Finance, to whom was referred, on the 11th
instant, the extract of a report, with order to report thereon, and
also to report what measures he has taken relative to the pay of the
army, begs leave to report,

That the receivers in the several States have long since been
instructed, to take all notes signed by the Superintendent of Finance
in payment of the taxes, and also, take up all such notes whenever
tendered, if they have public money in their hands.

That when it was in contemplation to make a payment to the army, the
committee who conferred with the Superintendent on that subject were
informed, that it could only be done in notes, and that in order to
support the credit of such notes, it would not be sufficient that they
should only be receivable in taxes in some particular State, but that
the receivers throughout the States must receive and exchange them, in
like manner with other notes issued from the Office of Finance.

That the instruction to the receivers is generally known to all those
who are concerned in the business they relate to, and in consequence
thereof the receivers are in the constant practice of receiving and
exchanging notes signed by the Superintendent of Finance, which they
duly remit to the treasury.

That whenever they shall find it difficult to obtain such notes for
the purpose of making their remittances (which is not likely to be the
case in any short period,) they will naturally advertise to obtain
them. Wherefore, any general notification, such as is contained in the
extract committed, will be unnecessary.

That if such publication as is recommended were confined (as seems to
have been the idea,) to those notes which have been issued for payment
of the army, it would destroy what little credit is at present reposed
in the public servants, and by bringing home immediately all other
notes which have been issued, render it impracticable to discharge
them; in which case the notes issued to the army could be of no use,
because nobody would take them. The importance of preserving credit in
this respect, will appear from the preamble to an Act of Congress of
the 2d of May last.

That if (as is most probable) the publication were intended to relate
alike to all notes, it is a thing which is already well known, and
therefore the expense of printing may be spared.

With respect to the measures taken relative to paying the army, he
begs leave to report, that upon an estimate from the War Office, he
signed warrants for four months' pay of the present year, whereof one
month's pay has been made to the noncommissioned officers and privates
in specie, and to the officers in notes, and three months' pay to both
officers and soldiers in notes. That the Paymaster has not yet
received all the notes necessary for the purpose, but has in his hands
as many as he wants for the present.

  All which is humbly submitted.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, July 18th, 1783.

  Sir,

I would sooner have replied to the Act of Congress of the 11th
instant, if I had not been prevented by other business, which required
immediate attention. The Act recites a representation to Congress,
that certain parts of the army retired on furlough have not received
the pay, &c. I will not contest the truth of this representation. But
when I come to state such facts as are within my knowledge, I shall
appeal to the candor of Congress how far that representation will
warrant a censure against me.

I am directed to complete without delay the same payment to the
officers and soldiers of the Massachusetts line which were ordered to
be paid to the army at large. Congress will be pleased to observe,
that they have passed no particular order to which the above
resolution can refer. The general Acts which relate to paying our army
from the _authority_ on which the payment alluded to was made.
Supposing, however, that by the resolution is meant three months' pay,
in notes payable at six months from the date; I must take liberty to
remind Congress, that completing the payment to any part of the army
is not the business of my department, but of the Paymaster General.
All which can depend on me, is to put those notes into his hands when
called for, and this has been done as fast as was possible.

I am directed to report the reasons why the troops lately furloughed
did not receive a part of their pay previous thereto. Not being able,
Sir, to make so full report on this subject as I could wish, I have
written a letter to the Paymaster General, of which the enclosure,
number one, is a copy. The answer to this letter shall be transmitted
as soon as received. The facts relating to that matter which are
within my knowledge are the following.

On the 9th day of April last, a committee of Congress did me the honor
to call, for the purpose of consulting on certain propositions
contained in a letter from the Commander in Chief to an honorable
member from Virginia. One of these propositions was to make the army
three months' pay previous to their disbandment. My reply was, an
acknowledgement that the claim was very reasonable, a declaration that
I doubted of the practicability, and a prayer to be indulged with time
for consideration. On the 14th of April I wrote a letter to that
committee, in which I had the honor to inform them, that three months'
pay amounted, according to the estimates, to seven hundred and fifty
thousand dollars. That to supply so large a sum was utterly
impracticable, or indeed to obtain any considerable part. That the
most which could be done was to risk a large paper anticipation. That
to render the arrangements for that purpose effectual in an official
point of view would be a work of time. That the period of my official
existence was nearly arrived; that disbanding the army in a manner
satisfactory to them and the country was doubtless desirable. That I
believed it to be practicable, although extremely difficult, and that
I should be ready at all times to give my advice and assistance to
those who might be charged with that delicate and perilous
undertaking.

On the 22d of April, Congress were pleased to appoint a committee to
confer with me relative to my continuance in office. I told that
honorable committee, that the late advices from Europe gave a new
complexion to our affairs, and prayed some further time for the
receipt of intelligence. On the 24th of April, I had the honor to
inform the committee, that if Congress thought my assistance essential
toward completing such payment to the army as might be agreed on, &c.
I would consent to a further continuance in office for that purpose;
but prayed to be excused from that service if Congress could otherwise
accomplish their views.

On the 28th of April, Congress were pleased to resolve, that the
public service _required my continuance in office_ till arrangements
for the reduction of the army could be made, and the engagements taken
in consequence, as well as those already taken, should be completed.
On the 2d day of May Congress were pleased to pass some further
resolutions on the same subject, which I shall shortly have occasion
to mention. On the 3d of May I had the honor to entreat of your
Excellency, that you would inform Congress that I entertained a proper
sense of their assurance of firm support, and _in reliance on them_
should continue my zealous exertions for the service of the United
States.

On the 9th of May, having had a conference with the Minister of War,
on the resolutions of the 7th and 28th of April and 2d of May, we took
the liberty to request, that a committee might be appointed to confer
with us on the subject of those resolutions. On the 15th of May, two
gentlemen of that committee did us the honor of the conference
requested. In which it was stated, _as impracticable to make any
payment to the army, unless our expenditures were immediately and
considerably reduced_. The committee, however, being desirous to have
the situation of things stated to them in writing, I wrote them a
letter on the same day, showing, that on the last day of April we
were in advance of our resources, to the amount of six hundred
thousand dollars; that our foreign resources were exhausted; that our
domestic resources as far as they consisted in sales of public
property, were considerably reduced; that as far as they consisted in
the produce of taxes they were extremely slender and precarious; that
the monthly consumption of the army was at least double the monthly
produce of the taxes; that if they were kept longer in the field, they
would consume every resource by which the payment could possibly be
made or hazarded. And, therefore, that _unless the far greater part of
our expenses was immediately curtailed, the object Congress had in
view by their resolutions of the 2d of May could not possibly be
accomplished_. This letter was accompanied with the necessary
documents to establish the positions contained in it.

On the 26th of May it was resolved, that the Commander in Chief should
be instructed to grant furloughs, &c. And this resolution was
communicated to me on the 27th. Thus, Sir, from the 9th day of April,
when this matter was first proposed, until the 27th day of May, when
the final determinations of Congress were made known, my conduct was
of necessity suspended.

On the 29th of May I informed the Commander in Chief of my
determination to issue notes payable in six months from the date, for
three months pay, and explained to him the reasons why I could not
make the payment in any other mode. In reply to this, I received on
the 5th of June a letter from the General, dated the 3d, which was
brought by express and urged the transmission of a part of those
notes. I immediately wrote an answer, in which I informed him that on
Saturday evening, the 31st of May, the paper arrived from the maker;
that on Monday, the 2d of June, it was delivered to the printer; that
he had agreed to send the first parcel of notes to me on Friday, the
6th of June; and that as soon as I could sign them they should be
delivered to the Paymaster, to be sent forward. On the 7th of June the
Paymaster received fifty thousand dollars, on the 9th fifty thousand
dollars, and on the 13th one hundred thousand; so that in six days I
signed six thousand notes, besides the other business of my office.
That paper made on purpose for this business was necessary no man can
doubt, or if it could have been doubted the recent attempt to
counterfeit these notes is a sufficient proof. That the printing was
to take place before the signing must be admitted. The only delay
therefore with which I can be chargeable must be in the signing of
them, and upon that subject I shall say nothing. If by any means a
delay happened after the notes were delivered into the pay office, I
presume that the Paymaster General will be able to account for it. I
shall only add, that he has received half a million of these notes, as
will appear by the enclosed note of the payments number two.

I am also directed, Sir, to report the manner in which I expect to
redeem the notes in question. Congress will be pleased to recollect,
that the issuing of those notes arose from a proposition made by the
General and warmly adopted by them. That although I was very desirous
of gratifying the wishes of the army, I had great apprehensions as to
the ability of doing it. And that from a view of the scantiness of our
resources I felt extreme reluctance in giving my consent. As to the
means of redeeming the notes, permit me to refer Congress to the
letters which I had the honor of writing to your Excellency on the
17th of March and 1st of May; to my correspondence with the honorable
committee of Congress on the 14th and 16th of April, copies whereof
are enclosed in the paper number three; and to a circular letter to
the States of the 12th of May, of which a copy is enclosed in the
paper number four.

Permit me also to refer to the various accounts which have been
rendered to Congress of the state of my department; and to these let
me add what appears on their own minutes. On the 2d of May they
declared it to be their desire, when the reduction of the army should
take place, to enable the officers and soldiers to return to their
respective homes with convenience and satisfaction; _for which purpose
it would be indispensable to advance them a part of their pay_. They
declared further, that there were many other engagements for which the
public faith was pledged, and _the punctual performance of which was
essential to the credit of the United States_. And they further
declared, that _neither of these important objects could be effected
without the vigorous exertions of the several States in the collection
of taxes_. From a conviction of these facts Congress were pleased to
call upon the respective States in the most earnest manner, to forward
the collection of taxes. As an additional means to accomplish the same
end, they were pleased to apply for a further loan of three millions
of livres to his Most Christian Majesty. And they resolved, that the
Superintendent of Finance be directed to take the necessary
arrangements for carrying the views of Congress into execution. And
that he be assured of their firm support toward fulfilling the
engagements he has already taken, or may take, on the public account
during his continuance in office.

Having already so fully stated the situation of my department, I have
only to say in answer to the order I have received, that I rely on the
firm support of Congress, solemnly pledged to me (for the purpose of
inducing my continuance in office) to redeem those notes issued to the
army, as well as to fulfil all other engagements which I have taken or
may take on the public account.

Before I close this letter, I beg leave to assign my reason for
reducing my report to that form. It is because I had rather bear the
censure contained in the acts of the 11th of July, however painful,
than place on the minutes of Congress anything which may hold up the
idea of precipitancy on their part.

  With perfect respect, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO MR GRAND.

  Office of Finance, July 25th, 1783.

  Sir,

I have received your letter of the 15th of April, covering a statement
of your accounts, by which it appears that my bills on you exceed the
sum which you will have to receive from the Court on this year's
subsidy. This circumstance gives me great pain, for it would be very
hard if after supporting our credit in Europe during the war, it
should be fatally ruined on the establishment of peace. You will have
learned by my former letters, that I had taken measures to throw into
your hands all the moneys, which I could by any means command for that
purpose. I am still in hopes, that the Court will make a further
effort in our favor, but at any rate if your payments should exceed
your funds, I must replace your advances by remittances from hence. I
hope that our affairs will soon take such a form, solidity and
establishment, as to render all things perfectly easy, and the
conclusion of the definitive treaty, which will enable us to reduce
our expenditures, added to the advantages of a general and lucrative
commerce, cannot fail of absorbing what few engagements may be at
present unprovided for. On the whole, my Dear Sir, I have only to say
my bills must be honored, and your zeal in favor of America must be
rewarded.

  With sincere esteem, I am, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, July 28th, 1783.

  Sir,

Conceiving it to be almost certain, that a definitive treaty of peace
is concluded, I am bound to request the attention of Congress towards
reducing the expenses. It is unnecessary to repeat, that our resources
for absorbing the anticipations, depend on the produce of taxation.
There is no hope of fulfilling the public engagements, but by a strict
economy, for there is no evidence of that energy among the States,
which the Act of Congress of the 2d of May was framed to inspire. Let
me, therefore, repeat my request, _that the public expenses be greatly
reduced_. The number of men which it may be necessary to keep in the
field, I cannot presume to name, as it is a military question; but it
would best consist with the present state of my department to disband
the whole.

Your Excellency will easily conceive the situation to which I am
driven when I am compelled to withhold assent to a moderate demand of
the Secretary at War, for building magazines to preserve the public
stores. It is certainly of importance, that arsenals should be erected
in such proper places as to provide for the public defence, but
reasons against advancing money are incontrovertible. Congress knew
the extent of my engagements, for the discharging of which they have
solemnly pledged themselves. Congress know also, that the States do
not furnish means. They will perceive, therefore, that I should
wantonly sacrifice their honor and dignity, should I form new
engagements before the old are satisfied.

I know, Sir, that many of the stores may be wasted and destroyed for
the want of magazines, and that if they are sold it will be to a
considerable loss. But much loss must be added to the mass of injuries
America has already sustained by not complying with the requisitions
of Congress. It is a loss, which in its consequences must fall upon
the States themselves, who are the immediate authors of it; but if the
engagements already taken are violated by applying money to other
purposes, then the honor of Congress will be sacrificed, together with
the property of those who relied on it.

I should not, Sir, have dwelt so long on this small circumstance, if
it did not serve to impress the true object of my letter, a _reduction
of national expense_. And here let me notice what has often been
mentioned, the expense of the civil list. If in this general term of
civil list are comprehended the public servants abroad, I freely
acknowledge my opinion, that it might be curtailed. But the foreign
affairs not being within my line, this sentiment is expressed with all
possible deference.

Our domestic civil list consists of two parts. First, that which is
engaged in settling and adjusting old accounts; and secondly, that
which is employed in present objects. The first is rendered necessary
by the confusions which arose before regular systems were established;
but it is of a temporary nature, and can never again take place,
unless our affairs are suffered to relapse into that irregularity from
which they are beginning to emerge. The second, I believe, consists of
as few as were ever appointed to perform the business of a nation. For
what relates to the expense of both, I must observe, that those who
labor for the public are at least to be subsisted; and the proof that
their salaries do not amount to more than a decent subsistence, is the
difficulty with which men qualified to fill the several offices can be
prevailed on to accept them. Shortly after my appointment, a special
order was passed to defray the expenses of the civil list; but should
Congress think proper to repeal that order, I will suspend the
payment, and apply the money to take up my notes. But whether the
gentlemen of the civil list will continue their services after they
know that their salaries are to be withheld, is a question which I
shall not agitate.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

CIRCULAR TO THE GOVERNORS OF THE STATES.

  Office of Finance, July 28th, 1783.

  Sir,

Having already transmitted the public accounts from the commencement
of my administration to the first day of this month, I shall not
trouble your Excellency with a repetition of them. But I must pray
your indulgence while I make a few observations. Perhaps this letter
may contain too much of egotism, but your candor will excuse me when
the motive is known. If I have rendered any services to the United
States, they have been derived from the generous confidence of my
countrymen. This confidence must not be abused, and if it be lost my
utility is at an end.

The accounts will show to any informed and reflecting mind, that the
public moneys were economically applied; and if farther proof were
necessary I could appeal to the honorable Delegates in Congress, who
have every opportunity of investigation. I might also appeal to the
clamors against me for opposing claims I could not properly comply
with. Long have I been the object of enmities derived from that
origin. I have, therefore, the right to consider such clamors and such
enmities as the confession and the evidence of my care and attention.

But, Sir, from the same accounts it will appear, that on the 30th day
of June last, my payments had exceeded the amount of my receipts by
more than a million of dollars. How, indeed, could it be otherwise,
when all the taxes brought into the treasury since 1781 did not amount
to seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars? I have been impelled to
this heavy anticipation by an earnest desire to relieve our army, by
the General's warm representations on the subject, and above all, by
the directions of Congress and their assurance of support. The
enclosed letter to them will show my desire to reduce our expenses.
But while I urge the reduction of expense it is equally my duty to
urge an increase of revenue. If I have been a faithful steward of what
was intrusted to me, if more became necessary than I ever received,
and if urged by that necessity I have anticipated the receipts, surely
I am in the strictest line of propriety when I loudly call for relief.
Every one must know, that the paper I have circulated will lose its
value, unless punctually redeemed. The several receivers are indeed
instructed to exchange it; but what can that instruction avail, if
specie be not placed in their hands for the purpose? And how can that
be effected but by a vigorous collection of taxes?

I know that my solicitude on this subject will be charged to improper
motives. When I urge a reduction of expense it will be said, that I
wish to impair the strength and lessen the respectability of our
country. Far other wishes swell my bosom. But I have been driven into
a conviction, that the necessity of strength, and the advantage of
reputation, are not yet sufficiently felt and understood by all the
members of our federal Union.

My present call for taxes has also been anticipated by a slanderous
report, that I have speculated on this very paper which I urge the
redemption of. Most solemnly I declare, that I have never been
concerned, directly or indirectly in any such speculation. If there be
a man in the world who knows any instance to disprove what I say, let
him step forth with the accusation. No, Sir, the object is in nowise a
personal one to me; I only advocate the interest and reputation of
America. If, with a view to injure me, the attempt is made to violate
my engagements, the malice will be defeated; but at the same time let
it be remembered, that the country, which will not support faithful
servants, can never be faithfully served. Guilt and desperation will
ever pant for scenes of tumult and disorder, office will ever excite
envy, and malevolence delight in slanderous tales. Is it then to be
wondered at if my foes are numerous? Believe me, Sir, if their
attempts had only affected me and mine, they should have been received
in the same silence, which has buried many other wrongs. But on the
present occasion, it becomes my duty to delineate their baneful
influence.

Pains are taken to cover with infamy all those who discount the public
paper. The natural effect of this measure is to prevent those men from
meddling with it, who, from a regard to their own reputation, would do
the business on moderate terms. Hence it follows, that the holders
cannot obtain so much for their paper as they otherwise might. Hence
again an additional clamor and of course an additional loss to the
possessors. On the basis of the depreciation is founded an argument to
prevent the redemption. By these means the public credit is totally
ruined, and the government becomes chargeable with flagrant injustice.
No future anticipations can be made to supply the most urgent wants;
and in the whole proceeding, they are made the victims, who confided
in the faith of government. The attempt, therefore, by this slander to
injure me is an injury to those, who have received my paper; and in
every instance where they have joined in propagating the report, they
have joined their enemies to plunder themselves.

Let me no longer intrude on your Excellency's patience, than to
declare my conviction, that the States might easily fulfil far more
extensive engagements than those which I have made on their account.
Notwithstanding every insinuation I will continue my efforts for the
purpose, and though base minds should reiterate their charges, I will
persist in my duty and defy their malice.

  With perfect respect, I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

REPORT TO CONGRESS RESPECTING TRANSFERABLE CERTIFICATES.

  Office of Finance, July 31st, 1783.

The debts which have been found due to persons by settlements at the
Treasury Office, have not been evidenced by transferable certificates
for the following reasons.

1st. All such certificates have by experience been found to be only
another kind of paper money, continually depreciating both by increase
of quantity and defect of funds.

2dly. The consequence thereof is, that the same is daily brought into
fewer hands and for less value, by which one of two things must
happen, either that those few become very rich by their speculations,
or, that being defrauded they become clamorous against the government.

3dly. If the certificates are transferable in the manner proposed by
the motion, they are evidence of the debt as due to the bearer, and
therefore whether obtained by accident, force, or fraud, vest him with
a right, to the prejudice of the injured or unfortunate party.

4thly. Being, therefore, a precarious property, they become less
valuable from that circumstance.

5thly. When the original proprietors become divested of them, some of
the reasons in favor of revenues to redeem them lose their force, and
the advocates for just measures being lessened, the probability of
carrying them through is decreased.

6thly. While the evidence of such debts is in the treasury books and
the stock transferable there, the public debt becomes a property, the
object of purchase, instead of being as in the other case the means of
making purchases as money.

But if there be powerful reasons in favor of the motion, which have
escaped the Superintendent of Finance, he shall very readily comply
with such order as to the wisdom of Congress may seem meet.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, August 1st, 1783.

  Sir,

I do myself the honor to enclose an account of payments, made by the
States to the receivers, until the 1st day of July last, and with it I
take the liberty also to enclose a note, containing nearly the
proportions, in which the States have paid their quotas of the
requisitions for 1782.[17]

  [17] The proportions are as follows:


  South Carolina                         1-1
  Rhode Island nearly                    1-4
  Pennsylvania above                     1-5
  Connecticut and}
  New Jersey     } each about            1-7
  Massachusetts, about                   1-8
  Virginia about                        1-12
  New York and   }
  Maryland       } each about           1-20
  New Hampshire, about                 1-121
  North Carolina,}
  Delaware and   } nothing at all.
  Georgia        }

I take the liberty further to mention, that the State of South
Carolina has (by means of the supplies to the troops serving
there) paid the full amount of her quota for 1782, as I am
informed by the Receiver, whose accounts and vouchers (though
momently expected) are not yet come forward. The State of Georgia
has I believe contributed something in the same way, but if not,
the great ravages which she has endured will account for the
defect, without supposing any defect of inclination. As for the
other States, I pray leave to avoid any comments on the balances
of their accounts.

I have the honor to be, &c.

ROBERT MORRIS.


       *       *       *       *       *

TO MESSRS WILLINK & CO.

  Office of Finance, August 6th, 1783.

  Gentlemen,

I beg leave to acknowledge your favor of the 12th of April last,
which came to hand two days ago. From the letters I had already
written, and which I presume you will have received before this,
you will easily see how much pleasure I derive from the prospect
that your loan may speedily fill. Be assured, Gentlemen, that your
endeavors on this occasion shall not be forgotten; and rely on it
that you cannot render more acceptable service to the United
States.

My former letters contained the disposition of your funds so far
as to satisfy any demands which Mr Grand might have. These I
suppose have been complied with, and I expect, that not only the
sums which Mr Grand could possibly want must have come to your
hands before this letter can arrive, but that you will still have
a considerable balance.

Under these circumstances, the exchange on your city being now
high, and the disbandment of our army having increased my need of
money to make them a considerable payment, I have concluded to
draw on you to the amount of two hundred thousand florins, as
occasion may offer; and if exchange should not fall, nor any
advices arrive to prevent the measure, I may perhaps extend my
drafts on you to five hundred thousand florins. But as it might
happen, notwithstanding my opinions, that you should not be
considerably in cash beyond Mr Grand's demands, I have determined
on these two points; first, that I will not precipitate my sales
here, but only dispose of bills as occasion may require; and
secondly, that I will draw at ninety days' sight, because the
demand for bills is such, that a difference in the sight will make
none in the price. By these means it will happen, Gentlemen, that
even if you are not in cash when the bills arrive, you can have no
difficulty as to the acceptance, because the natural progress of
the loan must put you in possession of money before they can fall
due. And this is the more to be expected, as some of the tobacco
will doubtless have arrived, which cannot but give a weight and
solidity to your negotiations. If however these things should not
so happen, you will, I expect, pay the bills at any rate, and for
any excess beyond your immediate funds you will charge an interest
to the United States. On the other hand, if it should happen
according to my expectations, that you have unappropriated money
in your hands when the bills are presented, I am then to request
that you will pay them at sight, if agreeable to the parties,
deducting the usual discount for prompt payment, which you will be
so kind as to credit to the United States.

With every wish for your success and prosperity, I have the honor
to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

GEORGE WASHINGTON TO ROBERT MORRIS.

  Head Quarters, August 6th, 1783.

  Sir,

I thank you for the communication, which you have been pleased to
make to me under the 11th of July. It was handed to me on my
return last evening from a tour ---- have been making to the
northward and westward, as far as Crown Point and Fort Schuyler,
to view the posts and country in that part of the United States'
territory.

The anticipations you have been obliged to make are indeed great,
and your circular letter to the States on the occasion appears to
me sufficient, if anything of the kind can be so, to arouse their
attention to the necessity of your circumstances. I most sincerely
wish it may have the desired effect.

In consequence of my tour to the northward, the Quarter Master
General, will have my orders to prepare batteaux and other means
of transportation to the upper posts, of the cannon, stores and
provisions, which will be absolutely necessary for possessing and
maintaining them. To effect this money will be necessary, and I
give you this information, that a demand will probably be made on
you for the purpose.

The State of New York, which is deeply interested in the security
of these posts, and effecting this business, may perhaps be
prevailed on to furnish the necessary sums to be placed to general
accounts. This will probably exert itself in this case preferably
to any other. I give you this hint, and leave its improvement to
you.

Knowing your situation, I am pained when necessity obliges me to
make any application for money. But this purpose is of so great
importance to the interests of the United States, and of so urgent
necessity, that if the sums required cannot be obtained in the way
I have hinted, I must entreat you to give every assistance to
Colonel Pickering that shall be necessary.

  I am, &c.

  GEORGE WASHINGTON.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO GEORGE WASHINGTON.
  Office of Finance, August 12th, 1783.

  Sir,

I have received your Excellency's favor of the 6th instant. I am
always happy to hear from you, although I confess that every new
demand for money makes me shudder. Your recommendations will
always meet my utmost attention, because I am persuaded that you
have equally with me the desire to husband and enlarge our
resources. Your perfect knowledge of our political and military
situation must decide on the measures to be pursued, and I am
persuaded, that your advice to Congress on these subjects will be
equally directed to the safety, the honor, and the interests of
the United States.

  With very sincere esteem, I have the honor to be, &c.
  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PAY MASTER GENERAL.
  Office of Finance, August 12th, 1783.

  Sir,

I am to acknowledge the receipt of your favor of the 6th instant,
containing two questions. To the first of these I answer, that my
anticipations amount to a very large sum, that it will employ all
my resources to honor engagements already taken; that of
consequence I cannot see my way clear to form new ones, and that
if I did, the groundless and injurious clamors, which have been
raised on this subject, would prevent me. It becomes impossible to
serve a people who convert everything into a ground for calumny.
The existence of the republic, since the conclusion of a peace,
no longer depends upon extraordinary sacrifices and exertions. My
desire to relieve the army has been greatly cooled, from the
information, that many of them have joined in the reproaches I
have incurred for their benefit. And the necessity I feel of
quitting (at the earliest possible moment) an office of incessant
labor and anxiety, whose only reward is obloquy, will not permit
me even to think of any farther anticipations.

The second question in your letter is foreign to my department; a
question, which you have as many materials to judge upon as I
have, and which you are particularly authorised to decide.

  I am, Sir, &c.
  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO ELBRIDGE GERRY.
  Office of Finance, August 26th, 1783.

  Sir,

In compliance with your request, I shall not only give the
information which appears to have been the object of Mr Clarke's
letter, but recapitulate also the observations which I had the
honor to make on what you mentioned as the object of the
committee. And first, for the information desired, I can answer
only in general terms, that I believe the various engagements
entered into previous to the end of 1781, were under the faith of
requisitions then existing. Since that period, I know of only two
requisitions for current service, both of them founded on
estimates. The first was of eight millions for the service of
1782, and the second was of two millions, for part of the service
of 1783. All the engagements of my administration are on the faith
of these latter requisitions.

The first object you mentioned was to alter the mode of settling
accounts, so far as the requisitions previous to 1781 are
concerned, and only to calculate the actual payments, or advances
by the States, with the interest, so that the whole, being formed
into one sum, may be afterwards apportioned among the States. To
which plan, among other objections, I look the liberty to state
the following. First, there is no evident necessity for taking
this step, and therefore it will be prudent to omit it; because in
such cases government risk every unforeseen danger that may
result, and always render their affairs more complicated.
Secondly, the measure may be misunderstood, and occasion clamors,
which will indispose some to adopt the other measures recommended
by Congress; which objection though it ought not to weigh in
competition with what is evidently _proper and right_, must
nevertheless be attended to in things of more doubtful complexion.
Thirdly, there would arise from it a degree of _irregularity_; for
the particular accounts being now all opened in the treasury
books, by the authority of the late Board of the Treasury, it
appears most natural to continue them in their present form, until
the final settlements. Fourthly, all the information necessary to
enable Congress to decide on the accounts when settled will then
be in their power; for the accounts will contain, on one side, the
compliances of the State with the requisitions, together with all
other advances which they have made for the public service, and on
the other side will be the amount of the various requisitions.
Whenever therefore Congress on such full view of the subject,
shall think proper to remit the whole, or any part of the
requisitions, entries will be made in the treasury books
accordingly. Fifthly, it would be rather premature to make the
decision proposed before (by a settlement of accounts) all the
proper materials are brought into view; and until the States have
adopted the proposed measures for funding the public debts.
Because, sixthly, it is conceived that the various requisitions
were adequate to the necessary service; and that although it may
perhaps be wise eventually to convert the whole expenditure of the
war into the form of a debt, in order thereby to prevent the
disputes which might arise on the apportionments, still it must be
remembered, that this step cannot be taken until funds are
obtained. Until that period, therefore, it is perhaps as well to
leave the requisitions; if it be only to show the States why they
are called on for revenues now, viz. because they would not or
could not furnish supplies before. But, lastly, it might prove
dangerous under present circumstances to take any step whatever
with these requisitions. Only partial compliances have been made.
Some States therefore adhere to some requisitions, and some to
others, according to the real or supposed situation of their
accounts. To go no farther, it would hardly be prudent to hazard a
dispute with Massachusetts, by relinquishing the requisitions of
March, 1780, or with some other States by a useless attempt to
enforce them.

The other object, Sir, which you appeared to have in view, is to
relinquish so much of the requisitions since 1781, as might leave
only the sum necessary for fulfilling present engagements. Now
although the resolution, which seems to have been in contemplation,
would not have had this effect, because the requisition for the
service of 1782 was made on estimates, yet I shall assign a few
objections to the plan. The reason urged in favor of it is, that the
demand was so much beyond the abilities of the States, and the
necessities of the service, that it must excite a despair of
compliance, and a diffidence in the prudence of those by whom it was
made. To which it may well be replied, that the ability of the States
is not so hastily to be decided on, because it has never been put to
the proof by prudent and vigorous taxation, because other countries
not so wealthy bear much heavier taxes without inconvenience, and
because these very States have borne it, though under another name;
for the depreciation of the paper money, which wiped away not less
than twelve millions annually, was in effect a tax to that amount.

But further, even admitting the supposed inability, still the
requisition, if not excessive as to its object, ought of necessity
to have been made. Because the States could by no other mode of
reasoning be convinced of the necessity of establishing that
credit, which can alone prevent such great efforts. And because if
such requisitions had not been made, some branch of service must
have been left unprovided for by Congress, on the very face of
their own measures, which would have been a palpable absurdity.

And this leads to the second point, viz. that the demand was
beyond the necessities of the service. Before this position is
assumed it must be considered, not only what expense was actually
paid, but also what was probable when the demand was made, and
what of the expense incurred still remains due. And first, as to
what was paid; we shall find that the military collections in the
Southern States went to a considerable sum, which is not yet
brought into the public accounts, as there was no money to defray
it, owing to the noncompliance of the States. Secondly, the
probable expense was far beyond the actual, because of the
misfortunes of our allies, which rendered it necessary lay aside
the proposed offensive measures, and which could not, if not laid
aside, have been carried into effect, by reason of the lamentable
deficiencies of the public revenue. And thirdly, a very
considerable part of the expense of 1782 is necessarily paid in
1783, and a far more considerable part remains unpaid. For
instance, almost the whole amount of the pay of the army; an army
by no means so numerous as that which the General had called for,
and Congress resolved on. And it would have been indeed very
strange, if Congress had asked only five millions from the States,
including therein every other article, but the pay of the army on
whose exertions everything depended.

Having said thus much on what has been assumed with respect to
these estimates, and which I can defend the more hardily, as by
accident they did not pass through my office, I proceed now to
state the objections against remitting them. And first, let it
always be kept in view, that the States not having granted the
funds necessary for securing to our army the interest of their
dues, that army has a just right to insist that the requisition
for the principal be not relinquished, until such grants be made.
Secondly, it must be remembered, that Congress have not yet any
standard for making a final apportionment, and therefore it must
be very useless now, to touch requisitions which must speedily be
retouched again. Thirdly, the States which have complied more
fully than others, would undoubtedly, in such cases, relax from,
and perhaps totally withhold their efforts; from the conviction
that deficient States would always be able to obtain from Congress
a vote favorable to themselves, and consequently unfavorable to
others; which idea, grounded too much on past experience, is one
great cause of that inattention which led us to the brink of
ruin. Fourthly, this mischief would not only arise among the
States, but it would exist also amidst and within them, for a
relaxation of the whole quota would naturally render new interior
apportionments necessary. Not to mention the delays and disputes
thereby occasioned, the remainder of what would then be to pay
would be thrown of course upon remote counties, where the powers
of government are weak, the collections languid, and the revenue
in every respect feeble and unproductive. Great deficiencies would
arise from these causes, both in the periods and the amount of
payments, and either would be sufficient to cause another national
bankruptcy. But, fifthly, there can be no reason for the measure
proposed; because it is much more simple to leave the present
demands for ten millions of dollars upon their present footing,
until the apportionment of that whole sum can be made _finally_ to
pay (from whatever is brought in) the amount of all existing
engagements, to go on (should collections be sufficient) and pay
off a part of our debts, and finally to make no new requisitions,
until these be completely complied with. By that period Congress
will be able to deride with accuracy on the sums necessary for
annual service; they will be able to apportion their demands
accordingly, and, what is of infinite importance, they will have
set an example of persisting regularly in a measure, until a full
and final compliance.

  I am, Sir, respectfully, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

GEORGE WASHINGTON TO ROBERT MORRIS.

  Rocky Hill, August 30th, 1783.

  Sir,

I take the earliest opportunity of informing you, that Baron
Steuben has returned from Canada, without being able to accomplish
any part of the business he had in charge. In consequence of
which, and of the late season of the year, I have judged it
impossible to take possession of the western posts this fall, and
have ordered a stop to be put to the movement of troops and
stores, and to the preparations which were making for that
purpose; of which I have given notice to the Quarter Master
General, and to the contractors, and have taken every other
precaution in my power to prevent the accumulation of unnecessary
expenses.

  I am, &c.

  GEORGE WASHINGTON.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO GEORGE WASHINGTON.

  Office of Finance, September 2d, 1783.

  Sir,

I received your Excellency's favor of the 25th and 30th of last
month. The latter was by far the more agreeable, for I confess to
you, Sir, that I beheld the attempt to garrison the western posts
with pain, and went into so much of it as concerns my department
with infinite reluctance. I persuade myself that the only
effectual means of getting a good American establishment of any
kind is, to be so long without it that a sense of the want shall
stimulate the States into the means of forming it. At present all
we can do is, to close the past scene, if possible, with
reputation.

  I am, very sincerely, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

CIRCULAR TO THE COMMISSIONERS OF ACCOUNTS.

  Office of Finance, September 4th, 1783.

  Sir,

As the Commissioners, both on the Accounts of the Departments and
on those of the States, are now almost all appointed, and in the
execution of their respective offices, I shall take the liberty of
adding a little to their important employment. And this I do with
a view to the future service of the Union, under whatever hands
the administration may fall.

In the course of the business committed to your care, you will
have occasion to travel into different places, and therefore you
will have an opportunity to render an accurate account of many
particulars, which it is important to know. A well regulated
system of finance requires, that money be raised with ease to the
people, and expended with economy to the public. An intimate
acquaintance with the state and the resources of a country, is
alike essential to both of these objects.

The state of the country is either _geographical_, _moral_,
_political_, or _commercial_. The geographical state comprehends,

1st. The general extent, divisions, and subdivisions.

2dly. The mountains, rivers and roads, with their respective
courses and distances.

3dly. The kind and quality of the soil; and

4thly. The natural advantages or disadvantages for husbandry,
manufactures, or commerce, including therein, mines, minerals,
quarries, salines, and the like.

The moral state of the country comprehends,

1st. The population, whether numerous or, not, and whether by
natives or emigrants.

2dly. The manners; which include the mode of life and occupation
of the people, from those who live by hunting or grazing, to the
husbandman, and so on to the most perfect mechanics.

3dly. The husbandry; by which is meant the particular kinds which
may be practised, and the degree of improvement in each. The
various climates and productions of the States, as well as their
different periods of settlement and relative population, have
rendered this article extremely various.

4thly. The arts; by which is not so much intended the fine, as the
useful arts. It may, however, be not amiss to mention any peculiar
or remarkable excellence in the former. The useful, or mechanic
arts, being in some places considerably advanced, and in others
hardly established, and the wealth of the country depending much
upon them, it will be well to know the subject intimately.

5thly. The buildings; these may be either public or private. The
former may be noticed, but of the latter an accurate information
will be necessary, seeing that in general much information as to
the abilities of a people may be derived from a knowledge of the
houses they have built; whether these be of logs, for shelter of
the new and indigent cultivator; or of stone, for the accommodation
of the established and wealthy husbandman. So also, whether the
windows be glazed or not, the state of the several outhouses, &c. And,

6thly. The improvements; which will comprehend, of land, from the
first clearing of a forest, to the watering and dyking of meadows
and swamps; and of buildings, from a common saw mill, to all the
various furnaces, forges, mills, and machines, which may be met
with in the progress of your inquiries.

The political state of the country comprehends,

1st. The constitution of government; which is not merely the paper
form, but the practice under it; and that will depend much upon
the tendency of the people towards aristocratical or democratical
dispositions. The former may be expected, where large tracts of
territory are in the hands of a few, and the latter where a
considerable equality of fortunes is found in cities. But neither
of these circumstances, though forcible, is conclusive, and
therefore it is, that the knowledge collected on the spot by
conversation and observation, becomes useful.

2dly. The magistracy; by which is meant not only the mode of
appointment, the names, the powers, and the jurisdictions, but
what is far more important, the authority, which materially
depending upon the respect paid to the magistracy, must be much
influenced by the personal character of the magistrates; and by
that character is not so much intended the reputation of a few
individuals, as of the whole corps, and for a considerable space
of time.

3dly. The interior police; which is intimately connected with, and
mutually acted upon by the former. This differs widely in the
different States, and is the more necessary to be known, as
various branches of it may either facilitate or oppose the public
measures.

4thly. The revenue; and under this head is particularly to be
noted the modes of laying, levying, and collecting taxes, the time
and the expense which are employed, and the delays and the frauds
which happen. To these will be added, the amount brought into the
treasury, and, as far as may be, the quantum appropriated to
public uses; and,

5thly. The credit, both public and private; the former of which
has a close connexion with the revenue.

The commercial state of the country, comprehends,

1st. The produce; under which term is included not only the raw
material, but the ruder manufactures; such for instance, as flour
from wheat, iron from ore, and the like.

2dly. The roads and navigation to the several ports; on the
facility whereof must greatly depend the prices of things, and
even the practicability of obtaining them.

3dly. The imports and exports, with the places to and from which
the same are made; the former as precisely as possible, and the
latter in such general terms as may convey a tolerably just idea
of the principal branches and connexions of foreign commerce.

4thly. The value of lands; which though a result from various
heads already mentioned, has a more intimate connexion with
commerce; and,

5thly. The value of money; by which is not so much meant the
coins, as the rates of interest actually paid, and the facility of
obtaining money on interest.

The resources of a State are twofold, being either those which
exist and may be drawn forth and applied in peace, for the various
purposes which may then occur to meliorate or beautify the
country, such as the opening of interior navigation, mending of
roads, and erecting of buildings; or those, which can be exerted
for the purposes of war, either offensive or defensive. The
resources in peace will appear from due reflection on the
information already asked; as will indeed, in a great degree,
those for war, particularly offensive war. But still there remain
some particulars worthy of notice; such as,

1st. The number of men which may be brought into the public
service; being either seamen or soldiers; and consequently the
number of each should be distinguished.

2dly. The quantity of provisions and the kinds.

3dly. The forage of different kinds; and,

4thly. The various means of transportation, such as horses,
wagons, boats, &c.

Having thus, Sir, pointed out the principal objects on which I
wish for information, I must now request, that you will endeavor
to collect it as speedily and as perfectly as your means and
opportunities may permit, and that you will transmit it as fast as
it is obtained, but always in letters which contain no other
matter, and arranged regularly under the several titles which have
been mentioned; but as it is impossible to foresee the various
matters which may arise, and the occurrences which will impress
themselves on an intelligent and inquisitive mind, you will be
pleased under the head of _Miscellaneous Observations_, to
transmit any such things as you may think useful or important to
be known.

  I am, Sir, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO JOHN ADAMS.

  Office of Finance, September 20th, 1783.

  Sir,

I have been duly honored with your Excellency's favors of the 5th,
10th, and 11th of July. I have taken the liberty to make some
extracts from the two latter, which are transmitted in a letter to
the Governor of Massachusetts, a copy whereof is enclosed. Permit
me, Sir, to give my feeble approbation and applause for those
sentiments of wisdom and integrity, which are as happily expressed
as they are forcibly conceived. The necessity of strengthening our
confederation, providing for our debts, and forming some federal
constitution, begins to be most seriously felt. But unfortunately
for America, the narrow and illiberal prejudices of some have
taken such deep root, that it must be difficult and may prove
impracticable to remove them.

I agree with you, Sir, in opinion, that the late peace was not,
all circumstances considered, a bad one for England. It is
undoubtedly a peace equally glorious to, and necessary for,
America. All ranks of men in this country feel, as well as
perceive, the benefits of it, and the fault finders (for such men
there always will be) are borne down by the general torrent of
applause.

I was happy to learn by the Washington packet, that you intended a
short trip to Amsterdam for the purpose of urging on the loan. I
hope you may have met with the success due to your zeal and
abilities; I shall ask no greater.

  With perfect respect, I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO B. FRANKLIN.

  Office of Finance, September 30th, 1783.

  Sir,

I am to acknowledge the receipt of your favors of the 7th of March
and 27th of July. For both of them, accept my thanks. You express
an apprehension lest the union between France and America should
be diminished by accounts from your side of the water. This
apprehension does you equal honor as a statesman and as a man.
Every principle, which ought to actuate the councils of a nation,
requires from us an affectionate conduct towards France, and I
very sincerely lament those misapprehensions, which have
indisposed some worthy men towards that nation, whose treasure and
blood have been so freely expended for us.

I believe the truth, with respect to some, to be this. A warm
attachment to America has prevented them from making due
allowances in those cases where their country was concerned. Under
certain prepossessions it was natural for them to think, that the
French Ministry might do more for us, and it was quite as natural
for the Ministers to think, that we ought to have done more for
ourselves. The moment of treaty with England was of course the
moment of profession with English Ministers. I fear that the
impressions made by these were for a little while rather more deep
than was quite necessary. But the same love of America, which had
raised such strong irritability where her interests were
concerned, will of course stimulate it to an equal degree when
those interests are assailed from another quarter. I think I may
venture to assure you, that the esteem of this country for France
is not diminished, and that the late representations have not been
so unfavorable as you fear.

Our commerce is flowing very fast towards Great Britain, and that
from causes which must forever influence the commercial part of
society. Some articles are furnished by Britain cheaper, many as
cheap, and all on a long credit. Her merchants are attentive and
punctual. In her ports our vessels meet with despatch. I say
nothing of language and manners, because I do not think their
influence so strong on commerce as many people suppose, but what
is of no little importance is, that the English having formed our
taste, are more in a capacity to gratify that taste by the nature
and fashion of their manufactures. There is another circumstance,
also, which must not be forgotten. The great demand for French
manufactures during the war increased the price of many, and some
time will be required before it can, by a fair competition, be
discovered, which of the two countries, France or England, can
supply us cheapest. The delays in the public bills is a further
circumstance which militates (a momentary obstacle) against the
trade with France.

I must, therefore, mention to you, also, a matter which is of
great effect. Until we can navigate the Mediterranean in safety,
we cannot trade in our own bottoms with the ports of France or
Spain, which are on that sea. And we certainly will not trade
there in foreign bottoms, because we do not find the same
conveniences and advantage in so doing, as in our own vessels;
unless, indeed, it be on board of English ships. This may be a
disagreeable fact, but it is not the less a fact.

I believe that informations are transmitted hence to the Court,
which they ought not to rely on. Their servants doubtless do their
duty in transmitting such information, but I am persuaded that
they are themselves not well informed. Indeed it is quite natural,
that men should mistake when they examine and treat of a subject
with which they are unacquainted. And it cannot well be supposed,
that political characters are competent to decide on the
advantages and disadvantages of allowing to, or withholding from
us, a share in the carrying trade. On this subject I will make a
further observation, and you may rely on it, that I speak to you
with candor and sincerity, not with a view to making any
impressions on the Court. You may communicate or withhold what I
say, and they may or may not, apply it to their own purposes. If
anything will totally ruin the commerce of England with this
country, it is her blind attachment to her navigation act. This
act which never was the real foundation of her naval superiority,
may and perhaps will be the cause of its destruction. If France
possesses commercial wisdom, she will take care not to imitate the
conduct of her rival.

The West India Islands can be supplied twenty per cent cheaper in
American than in French or British bottoms. I will not trouble you
with the reasons, but you may rely on the fact. The price of the
produce of any country must materially depend on the cheapness of
subsistence. The price at which that produce can be vended abroad
must depend on the facility of conveyance. Now admitting for a
moment (which by the by is not true) that France might, by
something like a British navigation act, increase her ships and
her seamen; these things would necessarily follow. 1st. Her
Islands would be less wealthy, and therefore less able to consume
and pay for her manufactures. 2dly. The produce of those Islands
would be less cheap, and therefore less able to sustain the weight
of duties, and support a competition in foreign markets. 3dly. The
commerce with this country would be greatly lessened, because that
every American ship, which finds herself in a French, English, or
other port, will naturally seek a freight there, rather than go
elsewhere to look for it; because in many commodities the
difference of price in different parts will not compensate the
time and cost of going from place to place to look after them. To
these principal reasons might be added many others of less weight,
though not of little influence, such as the probable increase of
commercial intercourse, by increasing the connexions and
acquaintances of individuals. To this and to everything else which
can be said on the subject by an American, I know there is one
short answer always ready, viz. that we seek to increase our own
wealth. So far from denying that this is among my motives, I place
it as the foremost, and setting aside that gratitude which I feel
for France, I do not scruple to declare, that a regard to the
interests of America is, with respect to all nations of the world,
my political compass. But the different nations of Europe should
consider, that in proportion to the wealth of this country will
be her ability to pay for those commodities, which all of them are
pressing us to buy.

Our people still continue as remiss as ever in the payment of
taxes. Much of this, as you justly observe, arises from the
difficulties of collection. But those difficulties are much owing
to an ignorance of proper modes, and an unwillingness to adopt
them. In short, though all are content to acknowledge, that there
is a certain burden of taxation which ought to be borne, yet each
is desirous of shifting it from his own shoulders to those of his
neighbors. Time will, I hope, produce a remedy to the evils under
which we labor, but it may also increase them.

Your applications to the Court for aid are certainly well
calculated to obtain it; but I am not much surprised at your ill
success. Indeed I should have been much surprised if you had been
more fortunate. Of all men I was placed in the situation to take
the deepest concern in the event, but I cannot disapprove of the
refusal, for we certainly ought to do more for ourselves before we
ask the aid of others. Copies of your letters to the Court were
laid before Congress, and also the copy of the new contract. I
will enclose with this a further copy of the ratification of the
old, if I can obtain it in season from Princeton, where the
Congress now are.

I have written also on the subject of the debt due to the
Farmers-General, and should Congress give me any orders about it,
I shall attend carefully to the execution. The conduct they have
maintained with regard to us has been generous, and will demand a
return of gratitude as well as of justice. This I hope my
countrymen will always be disposed to pay. I shall take some
proper opportunity of writing to the Farmers-General, but will
wait a while to know what may be the determination of Congress on
their affairs.

It gives me much pleasure to find, that by the proposed
establishment of packets, we shall shortly be in a condition to
maintain more regular and connected correspondence; for although I
shall not myself be much longer in public office, I feel for those
who are or will be charged with the affairs of our country, both
at home and abroad. It will naturally occur, however, that a good
cypher must be made use of not unfrequently, when despatches are
trusted to foreigners. They have no regard either to propriety or
even decency where letters are concerned.

  With very sincere esteem and respect, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO ARTHUR LEE.

  Office of Finance, October 4th, 1783.

  Sir,

I have received your letter of the 26th of last month, desiring
information as to the reality of a contract with, and instructions
to Mr Deane. Enclosed you have a copy of the contract mentioned.
The instructions to Mr Deane are, I presume, in the Office of
Foreign Affairs.

The facts under this contract are generally as follows, so far as
my knowledge extends. Money was advanced to me, which I expended
in shipment of cargoes from the Delaware and Chesapeake, and have
long since accounted for. Money was also advanced to Messrs Lewis,
Livingston and Alsop, and, I believe, expended by some or one of
them in shipments from New York and Connecticut, but the accounts
are not yet closed; which is one among many reasons why a
commissioner should be appointed or authorised to settle the
accounts of the secret and commercial committees.

Of the several shipments made, some arrived, some were taken, some
were detained by the enemy's naval power. The risks becoming
great, it was thought most adviseable to abandon the farther
prosecution of the plan; which the parties to the contract, then
in this country, cheerfully consented to, and it was determined
that the proceeds of those shipments, which might have arrived,
should be carried into the general public accounts. Mr Deane went
to Europe under this contract; and being unable, from the
remittances sent, to complete the intentions of his voyage, has, I
believe, carried the amount of those remittances into his general
accounts with the United States. These accounts are among those
which Mr Barclay is appointed to settle, and I presume that no
allowance will be made, such as claimed by Mr Deane, until he
shall have produced the contract and instructions to which he
refers for support of his claim; nor then, unless very completely
supported or specially allowed by Congress.

I believe Mr Barclay is now employed in making that adjustment,
and I suppose, that after he shall have gone through Mr Deane's
accounts, admitted such charges as ought clearly to be admitted,
and rejected such as ought clearly to be rejected, there will
remain some articles on which he will apply to Congress for their
special decision; in which case he will naturally transmit all the
evidence which Mr Deane may have exhibited.

  With perfect respect, I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO M. DE LA LUZERNE.

  Office of Finance, October 15th, 1783.

  Sir,

I had the honor to receive your Excellency's letter of the 11th
instant. If a settlement of the accounts which arose before the
commencement of my administration had depended on me, neither M.
Holker nor any other person should have had cause of complaint.
The perplexed situation of those accounts rendered it necessary
for Congress to submit them to the investigation of special
commissioners, who have but lately commenced their operations. I
shall immediately transmit a copy of your Excellency's letter to
the gentleman who may be charged with those accounts in which M.
Holker is concerned, and request his attention to the subject.

That any person should suppose the apprehension of being taxed
with favor to an individual, would induce me to delay the justice
due alike to all, is so extraordinary, that your Excellency must
permit me to express my surprise at meeting the idea in a letter
from the King's Minister.

  With perfect respect, I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO MESSRS WILLINK & CO.

  Office of Finance, October 23d, 1783.

  Gentlemen,

Upon taking a view of my various engagements for the public
service, and considering the great anticipations, which have been
made at the period when our brave army quitted the field, it has
appeared to me, that the sum of about three hundred thousand
dollars would be necessary for me over and above the probable
produce of our taxes, to clear off all those engagements, and
enable me to lay down the burdens of official life in a consistent
and proper manner, should the situation of public affairs then
admit of it. This circumstance, however nearly it interests my
personal feelings, is still more interesting to my country;
because a regular and punctual performance of engagements, while
it establishes confidence, ensures the means of future punctuality.

Revolving much on this subject in my own mind, I have been led to
consider also, that the present rate of exchange, which is very
favorable, may not continue when tobacco, rice, indigo, and the
other produce of the southern States shall be freely exported in
remittances to Europe. And if the exchange should lower, there
will be a loss on the bills of the United States, which I would
always wish to prevent. Besides this there is another important
circumstance, which is, that if the drafts are suspended until
notice of the success of your loan, so as to lodge the money, the
public will be paying interest, both here and in Europe for the
same sum; which ought, you know, as much as possible to be
avoided.

Under these different impressions, the natural conduct would have
been, to vend my bills very boldly, and trust to the success of
those exertions, which you will undoubtedly make. But here it was
proper to consider, that if unforeseen circumstances should in any
manner have put a check upon your operations, the consequence
might have been a very great inconvenience, and perhaps injury to
you, which I would always wish to avoid, together with a loss of
credit, coupled with the payment of heavy damages to the United
States.

I have therefore adopted a middle line of conduct, which will
combine the advantages and avoid the inconveniences, both of delay
and of precipitation. I have drawn three sets of exchange, all
dated on the 21st instant, (the time when they were drawn) and
each for two hundred and fifty thousand current guilders, payable
at one hundred and fifty days' sight. These bills are numbered one
hundred and ninetyone, one hundred and ninetytwo, and one hundred
and ninetythree; the first in favor of John Ross, the second in
favor of Peter Whiteside & Co., and the third in favor of Isaac
Hazelhurst. All these are solid houses, upon whose fidelity and
punctuality I can place equal dependence. I have taken from them
proper stipulations to pay at the end of one hundred and twenty
days, each one hundred thousand dollars; by which means I have
secured the immediate vent of that sum at the very highest
exchange. And it is further agreed between us, that in case of
protest, (which God forbid should happen) the public shall not be
charged with damages; the necessary consequence of which is, that
the bills will not be negotiated further than to place the amount
in the hands of their friends, which is indeed fully understood
between us. You will see also, that in this mode I shall bring to
the public use here (allowing about two months for the bills to be
presented) the sum of three hundred thousand dollars, near three
months before it is paid by you.

From this explanation, which I have entered into in order to show
you the full grounds of my procedure, because I knew how much more
satisfactorily business is conducted when all circumstances are
known, you will perceive that my bills already advised of, are
first to meet due honor, and consequently funds set apart for
their absolvement. These three new bills then come in their
course, and I must entreat you, Gentlemen, to honor them also,
even if you have not the funds, provided a view of fair prospects
can render it at all consistent with that prudence, which must
doubtlessly influence you in such important concerns. I must also
request, that you will give me, by various conveyances, the most
immediate notice of your acceptance, because I shall from that
moment be able, by discount, to bring the securities given by
those gentlemen into operation.

  I am, Sir, with perfect respect, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE FARMERS-GENERAL OF FRANCE.

  Office of Finance, November 4th, 1783.

  Gentlemen,

The Honorable Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of
America to the Court of Versailles, having done me the honor to
transmit a copy of your letter to him of the 17th of July last, I
took the earliest opportunity after the receipt of it, to submit
that business to the consideration of Congress; who by their Act
of the 1st instant, whereof a copy is enclosed, have instructed me
to inform you, that Congress are sensible of your generous
attention to the circumstances of the war, in which these United
States have been so long engaged, and which, interrupting their
commerce, deprived them of the means of seasonable remittances to
satisfy the balance so justly due on the loan made by you.

I am further instructed, Gentlemen, to assure you that the United
States in Congress assembled, in providing for the national debt,
by their Act of the 18th day of April, 1783, were not unmindful of
your demands, and that when the system thereby adopted for the
relief of public creditors shall have taken effect, the interest
accrueing on the balance due to you, will be punctually remitted.

If, Gentlemen, this arrangement shall not prove satisfactory to
you, I am further instructed to assure you, in the name of the
United States, that all the means in their power shall be employed
to discharge the principal sum due to you, as soon as the
condition of the public finances will admit.

I have the honor to enclose a copy of the above mentioned Act of
the 18th of April for your better information on this subject, and
take the liberty to add, Gentlemen, to the assurances just given
on the part of my sovereign, that every effort in my power shall
be made to comply with such ulterior orders as may be issued, as
well as to render you any acceptable services in my power.

  With perfect respect, I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

REPORT TO CONGRESS ON AN EXTRACT FROM THE JOURNALS OF THE GENERAL
ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA.

The Superintendent of Finance, to whom was referred an Extract
from the Journals of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania, begs
leave to report;

That the said extract consists of two parts; the former whereof
contains certain matters reported by a committee of that
honorable House, in consequence of a conference held with the
commissioner for settling the accounts of the said State, the
which matters are reported by the committee, and appear to have
been considered by the House as facts. The latter part contains
reasonings upon the former, and resolutions in consequence
thereof. Pursuing therefore the same line, the Superintendent of
Finance must take leave to observe, that the former part of the
said extract implies an inattention on his part to the orders of
the United States in Congress, and an assumption of powers not
delegated. He humbly prays to submit both of these charges to the
wisdom and equity of Congress, who have long since had before them
all the instructions given to the commissioners for settling
accounts, together with a report on the reference mentioned in the
extract; wherefore it is to be presumed, that if undue negligence
or the arrogating of power had appeared, it would not have passed
unnoticed.

It is further to be observed, that the doubts stated by the said
commissioner and the difficulties under which he is supposed to
labor, must have chiefly originated in circumstances peculiar to
himself, because that such doubts and difficulties have not
occurred to the commissioners employed in other States, and
because they would easily have been obviated by a careful
consideration of the Acts and instructions in his possession;
excepting only in one point, viz., "Whether charges for buildings,
fences, wood, &c. damaged or destroyed by continental troops, or
militia, are to be allowed?" This question (which can only be
resolved by special Act of Congress) is not to be found among
twelve questions proposed by the commissioner to Congress; but
among nine proposed to the Superintendent of Finance.

It is stated in the said extract, "that by the instructions from
the Office of Finance to the said commissioner, he is enjoined a
strict attention to the resolve of Congress of the 23d of August,
1780, _touching all certificates generally_; that this resolve
introduces an entire new method of granting certificates; that to
require those new forms in certificates, granted before they were
instituted, is requiring an impossibility, or (in other words) is
_a refusal to liquidate any certificate given before the 23d of
August, 1780_." Were this the case, doubtless there would be
sufficient cause of complaint and sharp animadversion; but the
Acts and instructions, all which are in possession of Congress,
will show the state of facts to be as follows. The Act of Congress
of the 20th of February, 1782, speaking of the commissioner
contains the following words; "That he be also fully empowered and
directed, to liquidate and settle, in specie value, all
certificates given for supplies by public officers to individuals,
and other claims against the United States, by individuals for
supplies furnished the army, the transportation thereof, and
contingent expenses thereon, within the said State, according to
the principles of equity and good conscience, _in all cases which
are not or shall not be provided for by Congress_." Under this Act
of Congress, the Controller of the Treasury issued certain
instructions, which were approved of by the Superintendent of
Finance, thereby directing each of the several commissioners "to
open an account with the principal of each department, for the
time being, and with every person who is properly accountable for
articles purchased by or delivered to him. In which _they must be
changed respectively with all such articles, and for which they
are to account with the commissioners appointed, or to be
appointed to adjust the accounts of these departments respectively_."

The Superintendent of Finance, in a letter to the commissioners of
the 7th September, 1782, after referring to the Controller's
instructions, calls their attention to two particulars, the former
whereof is not material to the present point, and the latter is as
follows; "In settling the accounts with individuals, you will
consider _that artful men have frequently taken advantage of the
public_, and that, in many instances, _public officers have taken
advantage of the weak and unprotected_. You will therefore always
remember that _it is your duty to do justice_." The two
commissioners who were first appointed after considering the Acts
of Congress and the several instructions given to them, proposed,
among others, the following question, "Whether certificates given
to individuals are to be taken as they stand, and new ones given
for their amount; or whether they are to be re-examined and new
prices affixed to the articles _when they have been over or under
charged_? The Superintendent and Controller entered into a
consultation together, and the following answer was returned.
"Certificates given by quarter masters or commissioners to
individuals, must be re-examined, the articles shown, and their
value determined, _that the receiver of them may be charged and
made accountable to the commissioners appointed for the respective
departments_. See resolutions of Congress of the 23d of August,
1780, relating to them, which must be strictly attended to."

This question and answer is regularly transmitted by the
Controller to all the commissioners appointed to adjust the
accounts between the individual States and the Union. The
commissioner for the State of Pennsylvania, had therefore the
matters above recited in his possession when he proposed to
Congress the following questions. "Are certificates or receipts
given by quarter masters, commissaries, their deputies,
assistants, agents, or other public officers for supplies
furnished, before the 15th of September, 1780, to be taken as they
stand, and new ones given for their amount, estimated in specie?
Are certificates issued agreeable to the mode prescribed by
resolution of Congress, 23d of August, to be taken up and new ones
given?" These questions were, among others, referred to the
Superintendent of Finance; who thereupon informed the commissioner,
that the answer thereto was in the Act of Congress, the letter from
the Superintendent, and the question and answer above quoted. Surely
there is nothing in either which _requires the forms prescribed by the
Act of the 23d of August, 1780, in certificates granted before they
were instituted_. The commissioner is indeed referred to that Act, and
directed to pay attention to it; but the evident construction of this
order, limits it to certificates issued under the Act. And even if
that were not the case, yet when the whole of the instructions (or
rather the answers) which are complained of, is taken together, there
cannot be the shadow of a doubt. For among the commissioner's
questions to the Superintendent is the following; "How are claims for
supplies furnished, or services performed by an individual, who is
destitute of a certificate or any kind of voucher, having only a bare
charge against the United States for the same, to be settled? Will the
oath or affirmation of the claimant make the charge good?" And he
shortly after asked Congress, "How are claims for supplies furnished
for public use by an individual, who is destitute of a proper voucher,
to be authenticated?" To both these queries the answer given by the
Superintendent, (and which forms part of the instructions complained
of) is as follows. "They relate to the same point, viz. _What evidence
shall establish claims?_ It appears, that the article passed in favor
of the claimant must charge some other person, and that public notice
is to be given of the times and places of settlement, that both
parties may attend. Under these circumstances, if the demand is
grounded on _principles of equity_, and the evidence produced
satisfies the _conscience_ of the commissioner, he is bound to pass
it, _by the Act of Congress_." Now it must be remembered, that the
commissioner is (by the Act under which he was appointed) empowered
and directed to liquidate, &c. _according to the principles of equity
and good conscience, in all cases which are not or shall not be
provided for by Congress_. The answers therefore given by the
Superintendent to his questions, are no more than applications of the
Act, to the doubts which he had suggested. It is more than probable
that if the honorable Assembly of Pennsylvania, had communicated with
the Superintendent on this subject, they would not have assumed the
same ground of reasoning which they appear to have done.

It is alleged in the said extract, "that certificates given for
personal services, wages or hire, are rejected;" in answer to
which it can only be said, that if the claimants are officers or
persons acting in any of the departments, the certificates ought
to be rejected by the commissioner for the State, because such
accounts are to be liquidated by the commissioners of the
departments respectively; but if other claims have been rejected
by the commissioner, he must have been under the influence of some
misapprehension.

As the honorable Assembly have, through their delegates, proposed
certain resolutions, it will be proper to examine the reasoning
which led to that proposition. And first, it alleged, that "if an
exact account is _really_ wanted of the specific articles for
which any certificate was given, it may be found in the receipts
given by the party, at the time of getting his certificate, and
that these receipts are in the power of the public, being lodged
with the heads of the different departments." Surely such an
assertion is somewhat hazarded. Congress have before them full
evidence, that many persons, late officers in the civil
departments, refuse to account at all. If, therefore, such persons
should even possess the supposed receipts, still those receipts
are not _in the power of the public_, nor will they be so until
all the States have passed laws similar to those of the State of
Pennsylvania. But further, it will on inquiry appear, that when
individuals received certificates from public officers, the
receipts they gave did not always contain a list of the articles,
or account of the services which had been rendered. Certainly,
where any fraud was designed, a specification of articles was of
course avoided; and in many cases it has been neglected, even
where nothing wrong was intended. The idea therefore that the
specific articles are contained in the receipts, is as unfounded
as that those receipts are in the power of the public.

But supposing the facts were such as they are assumed to be, will
it follow, that the officers have in no instance, been guilty of
collusion with individuals, and given more than they were worth
both for articles and services? And will it not appear, that an
exact account of the specific articles is _really_ wanted, and
indeed absolutely necessary, for the detection of such abuses? Or
if it be supposed that all the inhabitants of Pennsylvania were so
honest and so disinterested, as neither to partake in fraud, nor
take advantage of negligence, must it also be presumed that the
public officers, acting within that State, have in no cases
whatever seized the property of individuals and given certificates
for less than the value? Or if it be imagined, that the officers
and the individuals have been all alike innocent, and that the
clamors raised on these subjects are totally groundless as to
Pennsylvania, will it follow that such things have not happened in
any other State? Or will it be proper to establish different rules
for the settlement of public accounts, under the idea of honesty
in one State and the want of it in another?

It is however assumed, as a position, that "any frauds which have
been committed cannot be detected in any other place, so well as
by the commissioners who settle the general accounts, at the heads
of departments." But surely it is necessary, not only to the
detection of frauds, but even to the settlement of accounts at
all, that the commissioners acting in the several States, obtain
accounts of the articles before they pass the sums. If, for
instance, the public officer should by collusion with the party,
make a charge of double the sum actually due for any article, can
a deduction be made after the sum has been passed to the
individual by the state commissioner? If the officer should omit
to charge himself with articles purchased, can this be proved,
when only the money certificate is produced against him? If the
officer paid, by a certificate, the nominal sum for articles
purchased, a year before, will this appear in such manner as to
prevent him from taking all the benefit of the depreciation? If,
for instance, he purchased to the amount of two hundred thousand
dollars, when money was at two for one, paid in certificates when
it was at four for one, and carried the articles to account at a
reasonable specie value, viz. one hundred thousand dollars, and
if the certificates be now liquidated at their value, viz. fifty
thousand dollars, would he not be gainer of the like sum of fifty
thousand dollars merely by the depreciation? It is also asserted,
"That the holders of certificates are subjected to many
inconveniencies from this delay, and that after _coming from the
remote parts of the State_, and having a liquidation of their
certificates refused, they depart with murmurs and discontent." If
holders of certificates came from _remote parts of the State_, and
the Act of Congress of the 20th of February, 1782, intended to
afford relief, becomes thereby a source of distress, it must arise
either from the ignorance of the people themselves, or from a want
of attention in the commissioner; for by the Act it is ordained,
"that the commissioners respectively give public and early notice
of the _times_ and _places_ of their settling, and the _districts
within which_ they settle accounts, that as well the public
officers as private individuals, may have an opportunity to
attend." From the whole scope and tenor of the Act, as well as
from the express words of this particular part, it appears clearly
to have been the intention of Congress, that the commissioner
should mark out convenient districts in the State, take some
proper position in each district, and then give such early _public
notice_ of the _place_ and the _district_, as that claims arising
from transactions _within that district_ might be brought in and
adjusted, and both the public officer and the private individual
concerned in the transaction, have an opportunity of attending.

As the honorable Assembly have marked out a different mode of
settlement from that which has been adopted, it may be proper to
take a general view of the present and of the proposed plan, so as
to discover the inconveniencies resulting from each, and thence
determine which ought to be preferred. Under the present plan, the
first step of the commissioner is to mark out some particular
spot, with a convenient surrounding district, within which the
parties may attend, without the waste of time and the expense of
long journeys. The next is to give _early public_ notice thereof.
Supposing then the time to have arrived, which he had specified in
his advertisement, and a claimant to appear, the first question to
be solved is, whether that claimant be one of those whose demands
are to be adjusted by him, or whether it is the business of a
commissioner of one of the departments. Supposing the former, the
next object of inquiry would be, whether any and what services or
supplies were rendered by the claimant to the United States, and
if any were rendered, then what was the real value at the _time
and place_ of rendering them. Every kind of evidence exhibited in
support of each point is then to be examined, the officer who is
said to have received the articles is to be heard, if he contest
the claim, and, finally, the commissioner being in the vicinity of
the place, with opportunity to learn both the acts done and the
characters of the agents, must decide _according to equity and
good conscience_, where no express provision is made by an Act of
Congress. If this decision be in favor of the claimant, the
business of the commissioner is to give a certificate for the full
value of the articles and services, and then to charge the proper
officer and department, not with so much money, but with the
specific articles and services, for the due application whereof
account is to be rendered to the commissioner of the department.

A duty of the State commissioner, in the course of this business,
will be to discover and detect as much as possible the frauds
which have been committed, and transmit proper evidence, as it may
arise, to the commissioner of the department. In cases, however,
where the decision is against the claimant, it will be proper
still to return to the commissioner of the department a statement
of the claim, that if it should be found to be credited to the
public, in the accounts of such department, the party may meet
with redress at a future period. The inconveniencies attending
this mode are, that possibly some just claims may be finally
rejected from the want of sufficient proof, and that some honest
claimants may be put to trouble and difficulty in supporting their
claims.

The proposed plan appears to be shortly this, _that the
commissioner shall liquidate every certificate which may be
tendered to him in specie value_. If, however, the restriction
implied in the Extract, by the words "that no delay be given to
any certificate granted by an officer who has settled his public
accounts," &c. be made, viz. that the liquidation of such
certificates be suspended until the accounts of the officer who
gave them be settled, it is humbly conceived that such liquidation
can never take place; because, as the public have assumed the
debts of their officers, it is impossible to settle the accounts
of those officers, until the amount of their debts be known; those
debts forming a charge against the officers in the same manner as
the moneys advanced to them from the public treasury. The
settlement of the officers' accounts must, therefore, ultimately
depend on the settlements made with individuals, and therefore
this restriction must be rejected or the whole plan prove
abortive.

The proposition of the honorable Assembly may then be examined and
considered as of the effect which is just now stated. And if that
proposition be adopted, the commissioner sitting in one corner of
the State and examining claims and certificates brought from two
or three hundred miles distance, without the slightest attention
to the value of articles for which money is claimed, will be
exposed to every kind of imposition. Certificates will be
counterfeited, pretended depositions will be produced, fabricated
accounts will be delivered, vast sums will of course be
acknowledged as due to whoever may please to demand them. The
officers will (and very justly too) refuse to account for such
sums, the frauds which they will detect in claims allowed by the
State commissioners will cast a cloud even upon the just claims,
and the commissioners for the departments will for that reason be
unable to insist on any. Thus the officers will be empowered in
their turn to render such accounts as they think proper. So that
on the whole, the public debts will be greatly and unnecessarily
accumulated, and a precedent will be established to sanctify every
improper act which may hereafter be committed in times of
confusion.

These are public inconveniencies, and from a comparison of the two
plans one important question arises, shall the public property be
given away, and the country be taxed for the purpose of paying
moneys not justly due; or shall individuals who have claims on the
United States be obliged to validate such claims by sufficient
evidence? Surely the honorable Assembly of Pennsylvania will not,
cannot hesitate, in deciding this question. All which is humbly
submitted.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

  _Office of Finance, November 5th, 1783._

       *       *       *       *       *

TO JOHN ADAMS.

  Office of Finance, November 5th, 1783.

  Sir,

I am honored with your Excellency's favor of the 28th of July from
Amsterdam, for which I pray you to accept my acknowledgements. I
am perfectly in sentiment with you, that it is best to avoid
government interference in the affair of our loan. If there were
no other reason I should not like the demand of grateful
acknowledgement, which would be erected on that foundation. We
hear enough already of our national obligations, and I most
heartily wish for my own part, that we could at once acquit them
all, even to the uttermost farthing, for I seriously believe, that
both nations and individuals generally prove better friends when
no obligations can be charged nor acknowledgements and retributions
claimed on either side.

I am also very strongly in opinion with you, that remittances from
this country would greatly uphold our credit in Europe, for in
mercantile life nothing vivifies credit like punctuality and
plenteousness of remittance. The plan you propose to obtain them,
might also be attended with some good consequences, but there are
impediments in the way of its success, which it would be tedious
to detail, and which indeed you could not be so perfectly master
of without being on the spot. I shall not, therefore, go into that
matter at present, and the more especially as we have now good
hopes, that the plan of Congress will be adopted by the States.
Last evening I received advice, that Massachusetts had acceded,
and I have a double pleasure in announcing this to you, as they
certainly would not have come in but for the sentiments contained
in your letters.

Let me then, my Dear Sir, most heartily congratulate you on those
virtuous emotions, which must swell your bosom at the reflection,
that you have been the able, the useful, and what is above all
other things, the honest servant of a Republic, indebted to you in
a great degree for her first efforts towards an independent
existence. That you may long live to enjoy those pleasing
reflections, which flow from the memory of an active and
beneficial exercise of time and talents, is the sincere wish of
your most obedient and humble servant,

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO MESSRS WILLINK & CO.

  Office of Finance, December 31st, 1783.

  Gentlemen,

Upon the 21st of October I valued on you to the amount of seven
hundred and fifty thousand guilders as expressed in my letter of
the 23d of that month, and in the beginning of this month having
received your letter of the 4th of August, and concluding as well
from the contents of that letter as from the actual state of
things here, that you would be successful in the succeeding
months, I gave notice to the gentlemen to whom I had sold the
bills mentioned in my said letter of the 23d of October, that I
should discount their notes, which has been done accordingly.
Thus the United States are become liable to pay any damages, which
those gentlemen may sustain, if, in consequence of delay their
bills may meet with, those drawn by them in consequence of a
reliance on your funds should return protested. The United States
will also be liable to the damages, which might arise on my
further bill drawn in favor of Mr Haym Solomons for one hundred
thousand guilders on the 12th instant, and mentioned in my letter
of that date.

Under these circumstances, Gentlemen, and unable to judge what
delays the loan may have met with from the causes you have
mentioned, or from any other, being also uncertain how far it may
have been or may be accelerated from other causes, I must request
that in any case whatever all my aforesaid bills may be accepted.
You will see from the enclosed copies of letters to the receivers
of Virginia and South Carolina, that I am taking measures to put
you in cash for any advance which such acceptances may render
necessary. These measures are intended with the double view of
providing for the interest of your loan or of reimbursing your
advance. In the former case you will be in cash before the
interest falls due, but at any rate you shall be secured. The
disbandment of our army having brought our expenses within the
revenue, there remains an excess, which cannot fail to reimburse
you even if the loan should totally fail. For I cannot suppose,
that you will be much more than half a million in advance, and I
am certain that the excess of taxes for current services would
easily pay this sum in four or five months, and I am equally
certain that I could by anticipation bring that excess forward to
your relief at an earlier period if necessary.

My request to you, therefore, Gentlemen, is this, that you accept
my bills at any rate, whether you have funds or not, and whether
you have or have not the probability of receiving them. If the
payments fall due before you find relief, take such measures to
obtain money as shall under a view of all circumstances produce
that effect with the least loss to the United States. Of these
measures I leave to you the entire disposition, and I promise you
on the part of the United States to reimburse all losses,
interests, costs, and charges, which may accrue thereupon. You
will be pleased, Gentlemen, to give me very early notice of your
situation, and to point out very particularly the sums which may
be needful, and also the articles of this country, which will
probably form the best remittance, and on my part I promise to
take the earliest measures for making you such remittances. I
shall confidently rely on your efforts, and remain with perfect
respect, Gentlemen, your most obedient servant,

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO MESSRS WILLINK & CO.
  Office of Finance, December 31st, 1783.

  Gentlemen,

Your advices of the 26th of September, that the success of our
loan with you had been greatly impeded by reports, propagated on
the part of Great Britain, did not a little surprise me. In my
letter of the 12th of this month, I have given you some slight
sketch of the mutiny of a few troops near this city, and this
perhaps may be among the circumstances, which have militated and
been magnified to our disadvantage. But as I did not then, so I do
not now think it worth while to mispend time by the history of a
trifling thing, which has no importance in itself, and which might
derive some by treating of it seriously. It has always been the
common trick of the British and their adherents to assert, that
America had neither government, armies, nor resources. To all
which, I answer, that America has established her independence.
Far be it from me to attempt an injury to the credit of any other
nation; on the contrary, let those who would rather trust England
than America, make the experiment, and if it prove beneficial, let
them rejoice; if it prove otherwise, I shall pity the sufferers.

I should not, indeed, be greatly surprised, that our credit were
impaired in any of the absolute monarchies of Europe, because that
such governments have no proper ideas of the sacred regard, which
is due to pecuniary engagements taken by the public, and because
the people have no conception that the government should be unable
to command all the wealth of its subjects. But in your country, it
is an every day's experience, that determinations of the
States-General should meet with obstacles in the different
Provinces, and this has been precisely our case in the business of
finance. No State has insinuated, that our public debts ought not
to be paid; nor indeed does any individual dare to hold up that
idea. But differences have arisen about the mode of making
provision for them, and such differences of opinion necessarily
cause delay. It is, however, with much satisfaction, I inform
you, that the different States are coming in one after the other,
and I have strong expectations that all of them will soon accede
to the plan of Congress, which I formerly transmitted. The
government of this country has been vigorous enough to carry us
through the war, and it would be strange indeed, if it should all
at once become weak in that moment of peace, when other
governments usually acquire strength.

For my own part, I cannot believe that such ideas will take place
among sensible men; but on this occasion, I will show to his
Excellency, M. Van Berckel, the letter I am now writing, and
desire him to write candidly to you and to others his sentiments
as to the state of this country, whether the people are in peace,
obedient to the laws and the government in due force, or whether
we are a prey to discord, and our country the theatre of tumult
and confusion.

  I am, Gentlemen, &c.
  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
  Office of Finance, January 13th, 1784.

  Sir,

The Secretary of Congress has transmitted to me the petition of
John Cowper, with an order to report thereon. I must, on this
occasion, pray leave to observe, that this, with a variety of
other similar transactions, depends on the adjustment of the
accounts of the Secret and Commercial Committees of Congress. In a
letter of the 12th of August last, I had the honor to observe,
that those accounts "were far from being inconsiderable, either
as to their nature or magnitude; that they were involved with
others, and had extended themselves to different parts of the
United States, and to Europe, and the West Indies; that they were
more connected with the Marine Accounts than with any others; and
that the settlement of them was highly necessary." I took the
liberty, also, then, to suggest the propriety of submitting the
investigation of those accounts to the commissioner for settling
the Marine Accounts, or of appointing a special commissioner for
that express purpose.

Since writing that letter, the Commissioner on the Marine
Accounts, having been obliged in the course of his business, to
look at the Commercial and Secret Committee Accounts, has not only
discovered some balances due to the United States, but has
reported other matters, which show in a strange point of light,
the necessity of examining and settling those accounts. I think
they could be more easily, speedily, and effectually settled by
that gentleman, than by any other, and therefore the submitting of
them to him, might be eligible in an economical point of view.

I come now, Sir, to observe, which I am sorry to do, that my
report on Mr Cowper's case must necessarily be suspended, until
after a reference to the commissioner appointed to adjust the
accounts of the Secret and Commercial Committees, I shall be
possessed of such a state of facts, as will enable me to report
with propriety.

Before I close this letter, I must also observe, that as the
accounts in question originated with, and were under the
superintendence of members of Congress, it is a kind of duty,
which Congress in their political capacity owe to themselves, to
trace the applications of money through those channels with the
same attention, which has very properly been applied to other
public expenditures.

  With perfect respect and esteem, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO MESSRS LE COUTEULX & CO.

  Office of Finance, January 13th, 1784.

  Gentlemen,

I some time since drew a bill for two hundred and fifty thousand
livres, on Messrs Wilhelm and Jan Willink Nicolas, and Jacob Van
Staphorst, De la Lande and Finje, merchants at Amsterdam, in favor
of Mr John Ross. This bill was drawn on the credit of the loan
opened under the direction of those gentlemen, and in consequence
of flattering accounts of its success, which I had just then
received. I find that Mr Ross has remitted this bill to you, and
is actually drawing on the credit of it. Some late advices from
Amsterdam give me reason to apprehend the possibility of a
nonpayment of this bill, and therefore I am now about to make to
you the request of a favor on the part of the United States. It
is, Gentlemen, that you would place this sum to the credit of Mr
Ross at the day when the bill falls due, whether it be paid or
not, and whether in the whole or only in part, taking the bill up
for the honor of the United States. You will then immediately give
me notice of the sum, which, by this means, your credit is
advanced for, and I will take care to make you remittances for
amount of the principal and interest of that sum, nor will I quit
my office until you are fully repaid. At the same time you will
probably also find some relief from the further produce of the
loan; as the causes which impeded its progress during the months
of August and September, have long since been removed. And indeed
I still expect, that the success of it will enable the punctual
payment of Mr Ross's bill, and only write this letter out of
prudence and for the greater caution.

You will observe, Gentlemen, that I have two objects in making
this request, one is to save the credit of the public, which might
materially suffer by the coming back of this bill, and the other
is to prevent the payment of twenty per cent damages, which would
be the eventual consequence, over and above the private injury,
which Mr Ross would sustain in his personal credit. If, Gentlemen,
you have a sufficient confidence in me and in my country, you will
comply with this request, provided your own convenience will in
anywise permit. If you have not that confidence, I must lament it
as a misfortune.

  I am, Gentlemen, yours, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, January 16th, 1784.

  Sir,

I do myself the honor to transmit to your Excellency the copy of a
letter from David Sproat; I should not trouble Congress with it if
the supplies mentioned had been advanced to persons taken in the
service of the United States. As it is I should suppose an express
appropriation of money to this purpose to be necessary; Congress
can best judge whether that be proper, but if I were to express an
opinion, it would be, that the payment of such debts is the most
effectual mode of providing for those disastrous accidents, which
the citizens of America are liable to in common with the rest of
mankind.

  I am, Sir, respectfully, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, January 21st, 1784.

  Sir,

I do myself the honor to enclose the extract of a letter of the
10th instant, from the Quarter Master General. The latter part of
it, referring to a matter which he has long since brought before
Congress, I shall not take the liberty of meddling with.

In the former part, he alludes to a letter of the 27th of October
last, in which he had stated to me the claims of individuals for
damages done by the army. Instances are mentioned peculiarly
distressing, and of a nature to require compassion while justice
demands for them somewhat more. I did not on the receipt of this
letter address Congress on the subject of it, because the making
any particular provision for the cases of individuals, is laboring
to very little purpose, and by stilling the cries of one only
raises the clamors of hundreds. This indeed was the remote cause
of the Quarter Master's letter, for the resolution passed in the
case of Stephen Moore, had given activity to the complaints of all
those who knew of that resolution, and labored under similar
grievances. But a stronger reason for not troubling Congress on
the subject, was that I had already brought it before them in a
letter of the 12th of August last. The following is an extract
from that letter.

"There is, however, among the commissioner's questions to me, one
which Congress alone can answer in the affirmative; viz. _are
charges for buildings, fences, wood, &c. damaged or destroyed by
Continental troops or militia, to be allowed?_ Considering the
extent and magnitude of this object on the one hand, and on the
other, what serious injuries have been sustained by some
individuals, the question is equally intricate and important. No
answer has yet been given, although not unfrequently agitated, as
the journals will testify. Whether Congress will leave it on the
present footing, or order such damages to be allowed, or (making a
distinction between wanton devastations and necessary impressure)
leave the officer to account in one case and the public in
another, or finally whether they will take a course between all
these and order the accounts to be liquidated and reported, but
the balances not to be finally allowed and certificates given,
until their further order, are questions which it is in their
wisdom to determine by that extensive view of things which they
possess."

I shall take the liberty to observe to your Excellency, that
claims of this kind become daily more urgent. The people
recovering by degrees from their despondency as to the settlement
of their old accounts and beginning to feel some hope of eventual
payment, and of consequence a firmer reliance on and belief in the
justice of the United States, naturally look forward from the
measures already taken to those which prudence and equity may
still further dictate. Some provision ought certainly to be made;
but I must repeat that the object is not only great as to the
pecuniary amount; but extensive as to place, persons, claims and
circumstances. The caution hitherto preserved was therefore wise,
but it can no longer be adhered to, because the idea held up to
every applicant, was that after a termination of the war, and not
before, provision should be made.

I take leave also, further to observe to your Excellency, that
there is a material distinction to be made, even among such of
these claims as are otherwise similar, according to the times in
which the respective causes of them may have originated, as
whether they were previous or subsequent to the commencement of
the year 1782; claims for supplies obtained during the latter
period, ought certainly to be considered as within the appropriations
of money demanded for the current service, the quotas of which yet
remain unsatisfied. In order then that this matter may come before the
United States in Congress in such regular form, as that some decision
may be made, I shall submit to their wise consideration the following
Act.

Whereas, the late wasteful and expensive war, is now by the
blessing of divine Providence finally terminated, and whereas,
divers citizens of these States have during the course thereof
sustained various injuries and damages, as well by the armies of
the United States as otherwise, by the operations and effects of
the war. And whereas, no provision can as yet be made for the just
relief of the sufferers, neither can it be determined to whom such
relief may be due. And whereas, it is the indispensable duty of
every Government, in all things to the utmost of their power, to
do what to right and justice may appertain. Be it therefore
ordained by the United States in Congress assembled, and it is
hereby ordained by authority of the same, that each and every of
the commissioners who are or may be appointed in pursuance of the
resolutions of Congress of the 20th day of February last, be and
they hereby are authorised and directed to receive within the
States, to and for which they are or may be appointed respectively,
all claims and demands made by individuals for damages done to or
sustained by them within such State, during the late hostilities and
by reason thereof; whether the same have been committed and done by
officers or soldiers, acting under the authority of Congress, or by
the enemy. And be it further ordained by the authority aforesaid, that
the said commissioners do require and receive such evidence with
respect to each and every such claim as they shall judge fitting and
proper according to the nature and circumstances of the case
respectively, and where due evidence is produced in support of such
claims, that they do liquidate and adjust the same according to equity
and good conscience. Provided always, that the said commissioners
shall not give to the claimants any certificates or other evidence of
such adjustment. And be it further ordained by the authority
aforesaid, that the said commissioners respectively do from time to
time make return to the Superintendent of our finances, of the amount
of each and every such claim, and the time when the same arose,
whether previous to the 1st day of January, 1782, or subsequent to the
last day of December, 1781; specifying clearly in the said return the
nature of every claim in such full and ample manner, as that when the
same shall be laid before the United States in Congress, for their
investigation, they may be thereby enabled to make such further order
in the premises as to right and justice may appertain.

Before I close this letter, I will trouble your Excellency one
moment longer to assign my reasons for extending this provision
to the case of damage done by the enemy. The investigation does by
no means imply any recompense from the United States. But if there
should be cases where such recompense is proper, the materials on
which to judge will by this means be prepared. The object however
is to ascertain the damages done by the enemy, which will in this
way come forward, so as that an account thereof can be made out
with exactness to answer any purposes, which future negotiations
with Great Britain may render necessary. To this I would add, that
the expense of the business will be so trivial as not to be worthy
of consideration, when compared with the advantages to result from
it.

  I have the honor to be, with perfect esteem, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, January 24th, 1784.

  Sir,

The re-establishment of peace having at length given room for the
proper investigations, it becomes in me a duty of public justice
to mention to Congress the situation of those persons in Canada,
or out of it, who are creditors to the United States for property
furnished or services rendered in that country. To these may
perhaps be added those who have claims for damages sustained.
Persuaded, as I am, that unless some general arrangements be taken
on this subject, it will occasion a great expense of time and
money, together with the loss of reputation, I think economy as
well as justice calls for a due attention to the subject in the
present moment.

I submit then the following ideas, not as being a perfect plan,
but merely as hints to be perfected by the wise care of the United
States. And first, it might be proper, that a commissioner were
appointed _to go into Canada_ for the purpose of examining into
the several claims above mentioned, with power to liquidate the
same, and to give certificates of the amount. If it be a desirable
thing that justice be done, it is a necessary thing that the
inquiries be made on the spot. There and there alone, can the due
investigations take place, so as to prevent either the public or
individuals from being defrauded. Besides it will not cost more to
maintain a commissioner there than it will here, and many who have
been both distressed and oppressed are confined to that spot by
their circumstances. It may also appear to be of some importance,
that by doing justice to these people unsolicited we secure their
affections; which will prevent Great Britain from using them
hereafter against us. Neither will it escape the attention of
Congress, that such a commissioner may transmit useful intelligence.
But this being rather in the Department of Foreign Affairs, I shall
not enlarge on it.

A natural question will probably arise, as to the means of
payment. This may be answered by applying a like question to the
case of other public debts. But I conceived that another, if not a
better answer may be given. If a new State were set off about
Detroit, and the lands sold to all inclining to purchase, with
permission to pay in certified Canadian debts, not only as
specie, but even at a premium of five per cent, the lands would
pay the debts, and the United States would gain more than the
amount of the payment by the very act of making it. For an equal
if not greater number of persons than the creditors in Canada,
would become settlers from that country, and bring with them
property beyond their purchase money. Nor is that all; such State
would became a barrier of infinite importance. It would secure
eternal peace with the Indians, and it would secure the Indian
trade. For it would soon place the principal traders at that spot
in the character of American citizens.

  With perfect respect, I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, February 2d, 1784.

  Sir,

I have delayed answering your Excellency's favor of the 4th of
last month, in the hope that I might have been able to announce to
you the having sent off the duplicate of the definitive treaty.
Hitherto no opportunity has offered. But as Colonel Harmar has
sailed, and probably Lieutenant Colonel Franks, I am not so
anxious on that subject as I have been.

  With sincere esteem, I am, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO MESSRS LE COUTEULX & CO.

  Office of Finance, February 12th, 1784.

  Gentlemen,

Previously to my letter of the 13th of January, I had received
yours of the 10th of September and 18th of October. In one of my
said letters I requested you to come under acceptance for Mr
Ross's bills, although my public bill in his favor should not be
accepted. But Mr Ross assures me that he has not yet drawn, and
promises that he will not draw on the credit of that bill until my
advices from Europe shall warrant it. So that my precaution in
this respect was unnecessary. Neither is that bill to be protested
if not paid when it falls due, but it is to be held by you for Mr
Ross's future orders. Those advices which I have lately received,
are far from being agreeable, and it is probable that my letters
written to Dr Franklin in consequence of them may induce him to
apply for your friendly aid to prolong the time of payment of some
bills, which I had drawn on the credit of that loan, and which to
my great surprise the negotiators of it were not in cash to
answer. Should he make any such application, Gentlemen, I am to
request that you will come in with your extensive credit, to
support that of the United States; and you may rely that I will
take care, by proper and speedy remittances, finally to absolve
your engagements.

I have this day given to the house of Peter Whitesides & Co. my
bill on you, (number ninetyseven) payable at ninety days' sight,
and for three hundred thousand livres. I am to desire your
acceptance of that bill, which I have drawn, to prevent, if
possible, the protest of bills drawn by that House in consequence
of one of my said bills on Amsterdam; to put you in cash for that
sum, I have purchased already seven hundred hogsheads of tobacco,
now lying ready for shipment at Alexandria in Virginia, and
directed farther purchases, as also the chartering of vessels to
carry it to Europe. I shall make you a shipment of from seven to
eight hundred hogsheads as soon as the weather will permit, for at
present all our navigation is shut up by the ice. This tobacco
shall be shipped to your order at L'Orient, and I think, that with
every allowance for delay, it must leave the Chesapeake by the 1st
of April at farthest, and will arrive within two months after the
bill shall have been presented. The sales of it will therefore put
you in cash to answer the bill. But to render the matter as safe
as possible, you shall have early advices, so as to make the
insurance, which will answer the bill should the tobacco fail.
After all, Gentlemen, it is possible that you may be in advance
for a short time. But I make not the least doubt, that you will
cheerfully go into the proposed operation, at present necessary to
the United States, and which (that necessity out of the question)
is in itself among the best kinds of commercial transactions. In
order, also, to place you more perfectly at your ease, I agree to
make good any expense, which may be incurred, by negotiations to
prolong the payment, should it be inconvenient for you to make the
actual advance, and should such advance become necessary by
accidents of the sea or other unforeseen circumstances. But at
all events my said bills must be honored.

  With esteem and respect, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO MR GRAND.

  Office of Finance, February 12th, 1784.

  Sir,

The last letter which I have received from you is of the 12th of
September, and in that you have left a blank for the amount of
funds received from Amsterdam, and inform me, that you expect
again to apply for more, as Mr Barclay could not tell what sum he
should be able to pay you nor when. My letters from Messrs Wilhelm
and Jan Willink, Nicolas and Jacob Van Staphorst, De la Lande and
Finje, announce to me a sum remitted to you beyond the idea which
I had formed of your wants; and the consequence of it is, that
bills I had drawn on them remained unprovided for. Not having
received letters from you in so long a time, it is impossible for
me to guess at the exact state of your accounts; but if Mr Barclay
has placed in your hands the sums which I expected he would have
done, it appears to me that the United States must have been
considerably in advance to you, at the very moment when my bills
were in the critical situation above mentioned. I shall not,
however, draw any conclusions on this subject before I receive
those advices from you, which I am in the hourly expectation of.
As I do not know whether any effectual measures have yet been
taken to provide for the bills, which I had drawn, and which the
Houses in Amsterdam were not in cash to answer, owing to a sudden
failure of the loan intrusted to their management, I have written
to Dr Franklin on that subject, and am now to request your aid in
the business, so that time may be given for the arrival of those
remittances, which I am making to provide for the consequences,
should the loan continue unproductive. On this occasion I
confidently rely on your efforts, and I persuade myself, that the
credit of the United States, so long preserved in Europe, through
doubtful and dangerous events, will not now be suffered to expire
for the want of a very little timely aid and attention.

  I am, Sir, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.
       *       *       *       *       *

TO MESSRS WILLINK & CO.

  Office of Finance, February 12th, 1784.

  Gentlemen,

On the evening of the 9th instant I received your letters of the
20th of November and 1st of December. The intelligence contained
in these letters, so far as concerns the loan under your
direction, and the bills which I had drawn upon the credit
thereof, is very far from being agreeable.

The tenor of your last letter, renders it necessary for me to
obviate the constructions put on my conduct in drawing to that
extent. And this is easily done, for it appears by your letters
now before me, that the total of those bills for a million, did
not exceed the funds actually in your possession, by above six
hundred thousand guilders, and if the second expedition of tobacco
be deducted, that excess cannot be considered as going beyond five
hundred thousand. Now, Gentlemen, I have already told you, that
Mr Grand's drafts exceeded my expectation; but we will put this
out of the question for the present, as I shall write on that
subject to him; but you will observe, that your letters announcing
the decline of the loan did not reach me until the close of the
last year; and therefore I could not have calculated on so great
an alteration. The occurrences in this country, which occasioned
it have never appeared of any consequence to us who are on the
spot, although, by exaggeration, they have staggered the minds of
people in Europe. You will observe also, Gentlemen, that when my
letter of the 1st of October was written, I had not received any
letter from you of later date than the 11th of June. The
intelligence mentioned in my letters as having come through an
indirect channel, was contained in a letter from Mr Adams himself,
and your letters written in the months of July and August
confirmed that intelligence. All this will appear if you compare
our correspondences, and place yourselves in the situation, which
the long passage of your letters of the 4th, 11th and 26th of
September placed me. The two first of these did not come to hand
until a very few days ago, as you will observe that they are not
acknowledged until the 9th instant. It has therefore been alike
impossible for me to conjecture the hard fate of my bills, or to
provide against it by seasonable remittances.

But as I have already mentioned, the sum total of the advance,
which those bills could have occasioned would not exceed five
hundred thousand guilders, payable in all the month of March,
supposing that the loan should produce nothing in the whole
winter. By a circuitous negotiation this payment might have been
prolonged without difficulty, and you will see that the measures I
am taking, even at this late period, would have produced the
necessary funds in season. I have not indeed any right to expect,
that you would risk so heavy a sum in reliance on me, but if you
had done it I should have felt the obligation, and I think my
conduct would have been such as to convince you that the
confidence was not misplaced.

Under the present very disagreeable circumstances, and not knowing
whether Dr Franklin has complied with your proposals, I cannot
take such decisive steps as I otherwise might. I enclose, however,
a copy of the letter which I have written to him, and I shall
proceed to make remittances, as soon as the weather, which now
shuts up our navigation, will permit. The advices which I shall
receive from Europe, while ships are lading, and which I daily
expect, must govern me in the consignments; which is the reason
that I can say nothing positive on that subject.

If Dr Franklin has complied with your proposals, you will of
course have accepted my bills to the extent of the million
guilders. If he has not, it is possible that my letters to him may
still arrive in season to prevent the protests for nonpayment. If
however this should not be the case, I wish you to call on those
who held the bills, and tender payment, on return of the bills, or
on giving an indemnity against them; in which case you will also
pay the costs of protest, interest which may have accrued, and the
like. If they will not do this, you will then be pleased to
transmit notarial certificates of your tender of such principal,
interest and costs; and if your payments are accepted, to transmit
immediate accounts thereof.

With respect to the three bills, numbered one hundred and
ninetyone, one hundred and ninetytwo, and one hundred and
ninetythree, dated the 21st of October, for two hundred and fifty
thousand guilders each, I have agreed with the Houses to whom I
sold them, that they shall still lay to be accepted or not, as may
hereafter be determined, and in the meantime the United States are
to pay the interest of their advances to me until they can
reimburse themselves, or are repaid by me, whichever shall
eventually happen. The bill number one hundred and ninetyfour,
dated the 12th of December last, for one hundred thousand current
guilders, I purchased and remitted on my own private account, and
have given orders that it be not returned to this country; so that
on that subject you may also be at ease. I shall receive on my
private account the interest of the forty thousand dollars paid
for this bill, on the same principles with which I have settled
for the other bills just mentioned. And by the way, you will see
how great was my confidence in the success of your operations,
when I have involved my own private fortune in the purchase, not
only of that bill, but also of four hundred thousand guilders out
of the million. All which was done because the demand for exchange
on London being greater than on your city, I bought those bills,
remitted them, and drew on my private account to replace my funds,
merely with a view to facilitate the public service. In addition
to the bills just mentioned, there is one which I request may meet
due honor; it is number one hundred and ninetyfive, dated the 2d
instant, payable at six months' sight, and for fourteen thousand
three hundred and nineteen current guilders. This bill was drawn
to replace bills drawn above two years ago at six months' sight on
the American Minister at Madrid and protested for certain
circumstances attending the negotiation of them; wherefore I was
under the necessity of replacing them with twenty per cent
damages, by a bill of equal dignity.

  I am, Gentlemen, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO MESSRS WILLINK & CO.

  Office of Finance, February 12th, 1784.

  Gentlemen,

I am to acknowledge the receipt of your favor of the 14th of
October. My letter to you and the other Houses, will convey
sufficiently my sentiments as to the disagreeable consequences
occasioned by the ill success of our loan. I shall not here dilate
upon that subject, which, for the present, I can only lament; for
I agree, Gentlemen, with you, that urgency on your part would
rather damp the spirits of monied men than increase their
exertions.

I see clearly, that if it were possible to convey an adequate idea
of the wealth, extent, and power of this country, it would do a
great deal towards exciting the favorable attention of mankind.
But this is a very difficult thing, for the British Ministers, and
even their Generals _in the country_, with all the pains they
could take, and all the intelligence they could procure, were
extremely ignorant of our resources. This is among the reasons why
they pursued the conquest of America full three years after every
sensible man in it saw that the thing was impossible.

However, as you desire an account of our products, I will refer
you to a very unexceptionable testimony, that of the British
Ministers themselves, in a pamphlet lately published under the eye
of the Court, by Lord Sheffield; in which the writer attempts to
prove that we must trade with them whether they treat us well or
ill. To show this, he gives certain facts, which, at least, prove
that the British are our worst customers, so far as the sale and
consumption of our produce is concerned. He proves, also, that if
they have any advantage over others, it is what your countrymen
may have in an eminent degree over them; I mean the securing a
great part of our trade by giving credit to our solid mercantile
houses.

But to return from that digression to the principal object of this
letter, viz. the actual and probable resources of America. Let it
be remembered, that a century ago the place from which this letter
was written was an unlimited forest; that the whole State of
Pennsylvania did not produce enough to support five hundred men
after the European manner, and that every other part of America
was, a little earlier or a little later, in the same situation.
But now this very city is worth more than all the public and
private debts put together, which we owe to Europe.

M. Van Berckel has convinced me, Gentlemen, of your good will, and
zealous endeavors to promote the interests of America. And I
flatter myself that not only his representations, but my own
conduct, will convince you of the just sense I entertain of those
endeavors.

  With esteem and respect, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO B. FRANKLIN.

  Office of Finance, February 12th, 1784.

  Dear Sir,

Three days ago I received, in a letter of the 1st of December from
Messrs Wilhelm and Jan Willink, Nicolas and Jacob Van Staphorst,
De La Lande and Finje at Amsterdam, a copy of their letter to you
of the 30th of November. Enclosed you have a copy of my answer of
this date. I flatter myself that you will not have suffered the
public credit to be ruined for want of an engagement to the amount
of so small a sum as might be necessary to avoid the danger to
which it was exposed, and I wait in the anxious expectation of
hearing from you, what arrangements have been taken on this
subject, as I wish to conform my measures to them. If, contrary to
my expectations, some unforeseen causes should have induced you to
decline so necessary an engagement, I hope this letter may arrive
in season, and induce you to do it.

You will observe that a copy of this letter is transmitted to the
Houses in Amsterdam, but I have not sent a copy of the enclosed
letters to Mr Grand and Mr Barclay, which are left open for your
perusal. I have not time now to go particularly into the
estimation of their accounts, but I am almost persuaded that there
is, between them, and ought to be in the hands of the former
before this time, about half a million of livres belonging to the
United States. But in the present exigency, I shall not reckon on
this sum, nor on the second expedition of five hundred hogsheads
of tobacco, which are, I presume, before this hour arrived at
Amsterdam. I shall calculate on a deficiency of five hundred
thousand guilders, and prepare remittances as fast as proper
articles can be purchased to that amount; because the surplus may
be well disposed of to answer the interest of the Dutch loan,
which falls due in June next.

If, therefore, you can adopt any measures by which, in circuitous
negotiations, the time of payment can be prolonged, you may rely
on the arrival of such remittances in the months of June and July
at farthest, as shall fully answer the sums which may then fall
due, and as I have told the gentlemen in Amsterdam, the advices
which I may receive will govern the direction of those remittances.
I shall give immediate orders for the purchase of one thousand
hogsheads of tobacco, and as that amount is completed, I shall extend
it according as circumstances may require.

The season has been so intemperate, that the navigation of the
Chesapeake is to this hour shut up by the ice, but that cannot
last much longer, and therefore I have good hopes that some
capital shipments may depart before the 1st of April; and should
the urgency of the case require it, I can draw at long sight on
the consignees, and transmit the bills, which will enable a
farther negotiation, if necessary. The means of making remittances
are now, thank God, in my power; for the amount of taxes exceeds
that of the expenditures, which last are reduced almost to
nothing; and as the revival of commerce must increase the means of
paying taxes, I have no other solicitude for the event than what
arises from the want of time to make due arrangements. This want,
I persuade myself you will remedy, if you have not already
provided against it. And you may rely, that any engagements you
may think it necessary to take, shall be most punctually complied
with by me.

  With unfeigned esteem and respect, I have the honor to be, yours,
  &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

_P. S._ Since writing the above, it occurs to me, that there is
(particularly on the present occasion) a propriety in transmitting
to you the best account in my power of the situation of things, as
to the funding of our public debt. I say the best in _my power_,
for I know not what is done southward of Virginia, no mail having
come from thence in upwards of six weeks, by reason of the
inclemency of the weather, which greatly impedes our intelligence
from every quarter. New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey,
Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, have adopted the
plan recommended by Congress. I am assured that New York and
Connecticut will adopt it very speedily, and I am told, on good
authority, that Rhode Island will come in as soon as the example
of the other States is communicated. It is in consequence of my
conviction that the plan will soon be agreed to by all, that I
have published an advertisement of the 9th instant, a copy whereof
is enclosed.

  R. M.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO B. FRANKLIN.

  Office of Finance, February 13th, 1784.

  Dear Sir,

I have written to you, under yesterday's date, on a very
interesting subject; and I will now add something farther, which I
did not choose to place in that letter, as a copy of it is
transmitted to the Houses in Holland. And, first, I will give you
an account of my situation, as accurately as possible, in order
that (seeing the whole state of my engagements, and the means of
fulfilling them) you may rest at ease under the operation I have
requested, and which I must now most strongly urge and entreat you
to engage in.

My present actual engagements are threefold, viz., first, general
engagements for the public service not yet satisfied, including
therein the notes issued by me, which remain in circulation;
secondly, my bills of exchange unpaid; and, thirdly, my debts to
the national bank.

The first of these it is difficult to ascertain with exactness,
for I take into the account all payments to be made for past
services and the like, and I set against it sundry sums to be
received, and the public goods which are yet to arrive. It cannot
be expected, therefore, that any great precision will take place
in this estimate, but from the clearest insight I have, the amount
is rather under than over one hundred thousand dollars.

The second stands thus. I drew for a million of guildders, of
which, calculating the extent, not more than one half remains
unprovided for, as I have observed in my letter of yesterday. This
half may be considered as of the value of two hundred thousand
dollars. Besides this sum, I have drawn three bills of two hundred
and fifty thousand guilders each, and one of one hundred thousand
guilders, for which I have received three hundred and forty
thousand dollars; but as I have agreed that those bills shall not
be protested, they are not to be carried to the account of bills
of exchange.

My debt to the national bank is the above sum of three hundred and
forty thousand dollars, obtained from them by discounting notes
received for the bills of exchange, and which notes they will
continue on interest, until taken up by my payments here, or by my
moneys raised on the drafts of the parties who gave them, should
my bills be eventually paid in Europe.

In this calculation you will perceive, that I make no mention of
any moneys which I suppose to be in the hands of Mr Grand,
because, for the greater certainty, I will on the present occasion
consider them as equal to answer for contingencies only. And on
the other hand, I will not calculate the interest to arise on
moneys borrowed in Europe, because although that object may be
stated as of the value of from one hundred and fifty to two
hundred thousand dollars, yet to answer it, I place first, the
general system of funding the public debts, and secondly, whatever
small sums may arise on the Dutch loan, supposing it to have no
success worth counting on for other purposes.

Hence, therefore, we will state the account as of the first of the
present month thus,

  Balance due for past services,        $100,000
  Due for bills of exchange drawn,       200,000
  Due to the national bank,              340,000
                                        --------
                                         640,000
  Add for contingencies,                  10,000
                                        --------
                                        $650,000

We come now to the means of making payment; after rejecting all
hope of any material aid from the Dutch loan. And they are as
follows. The taxes for the last four months, ending the 31st of
January, amounted to somewhat more than two hundred thousand
dollars. Towards these taxes, the States of Delaware, North
Carolina and Georgia, have as yet paid nothing. Neither is there
anything paid by the State of South Carolina within the account of
those months. The States of New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York,
Maryland and Virginia have paid very little, in proportion, to
their present ability, and the other four States will all, by the
extension of peace and commerce, be in better circumstances for
revenue than they were before.

From the States of New York, Maryland, Virginia and South
Carolina, I expect to derive very considerable relief; particularly
from the first, by a proposed sale of confiscated lands. However, I
shall (after deducting from the probable increase of the revenue so
much as may pay the current expenditures) calculate the surplus and
the proposed sales of lands, as amounting to no more than two hundred
and fifty thousand dollars, by the end of next September. This then
will place the sum unprovided for at the amount of four hundred
thousand dollars, and the fund to pay it at fifty thousand dollars per
month. That fund will discharge the first article above mentioned, by
the end of March; and the next thing to be provided for, is the two
hundred, to answer bills of exchange drawn.

The intended provision for that object is as follows; I shall
borrow immediately one hundred thousand dollars of the bank, and
direct purchases of tobacco and rice, partly with cash, partly on
credit, and partly by bills drawn on me. By this means, I can with
that one hundred thousand dollars have the purchases made in all
March and April, so that the shipments to the required amount of
two hundred thousand dollars will take place, some in March, some
in April, and all of them I hope by the end of May. The taxes
during April and May, will pay the purchases on credit, and the
bills drawn on me; and the taxes in June and July will pay the
hundred thousand dollars due to the bank. By the end of September,
therefore, I may calculate on a full discharge of all these debts.

If the loan should meet with success, my relief will be more
speedy; but you will see, Sir, from this detail, what is most
important to you, viz; that the funds will be placed in Europe
during the months of June and July, to pay the half million of
guilders, which I desire you to provide for. I suppose the mode of
circuitous negotiations to be very familiar with your bankers, but
I would hint at the following as practicable. Suppose the Houses
in Amsterdam to draw in the month of March on Mr Grand, at sixty
days' sight; Mr Grand might in May draw, on a good House in London
for his full reimbursement, and the House in London might, in like
manner, reimburse on Messrs Le Couteulx & Co. by which time the
remittances would arrive. Or the time might be still farther
extended, if the House in London should reimburse on Messrs
Wilhelm and Jan Willink, and they on Messrs Le Couteulx. Or the
last bills might perhaps be drawn on Mr Grand instead of Messrs Le
Couteulx. However, supposing that the credit of those gentlemen
might be useful, I have requested them to aid your operations,
should you think proper to ask their aid.

And now, my Dear Sir, let me before I close this letter, entreat
of you most earnestly, that the public credit just beginning to
revive be not totally lost for a want of an effort, which is but
nothing in comparison with what we have already experienced, and
passed through with success.

  With very sincere esteem, yours, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.
  Office of Finance, February 25th, 1784.

  Sir,

Your letter of the first instant reached me but a few days since,
and I seize the earliest moment in my power of replying to it. I
shall reply also in this letter to that with which I was favored
from Mr Williamson, and pray both him and the committee that they
will excuse it; assuring them that it proceeds from a desire of
collecting all I have to say on the subject under one point of
view.

It was and is my opinion, and has frequently been expressed, that
the calls of Congress should be confined to the arrears of former
requisitions, so long as it can be possible out of such means to
defray the current expenditures. And although it has been
necessary to comprise a part of the expenditures of 1782 and 1783
within that debt, for the interest whereof permanent funds have
been required, I thought it my duty to oppose any relinquishment
of the existing requisitions. I will not repeat the reasons,
because the grand committee appear to be of the same opinion. It
was evident, that if those requisitions should produce more than
the current expenditure, the surplus would easily be applied
towards discharging a part of the debt, which arose during the
years 1782 and 1783.

Enclosed, Sir, you will find the required amount of taxes received
to the end of last year. But since that period, there have been
farther receipts, and I must observe, that among these are some
small sums collected in New Jersey and Pennsylvania on the
requisitions for 1783. But these are nevertheless carried, in the
treasury books, to account of the unsatisfied requisitions of
1782.

Confining myself to round numbers, because I presume the committee
would rather receive information materially right in season, than
wait for greater accuracy at the expense of moments, every one of
which must be precious, I take leave to mention, that the
arrearages on the requisitions of 1782 and 1783 exceed eight
millions, and that one of those eight millions would pay the
unfunded expenditures from the end of 1781 to the commencement of
the current year; by which term of _unfunded expenditures_ used
for want of a better, I mean such part of the public debt as arose
in that year, and which not having been carried to the account of
the public debt, but remaining due on my official engagements and
anticipations, must still be provided for out of the requisitions.
There will remain, therefore, at least seven millions for the
service of this year, and payment of a part of the former debt,
should the collections be so rapid as to pay off the required
million beyond the immediate expenses, which I confess there is
but little reason to expect. It will, however, be useful, that
pressing application be made to the States, to complete their
quotas, under those requisitions; for if only one hundred thousand
dollars were employed in payment of our funded debt, before
January next, in addition to the provision for paying the
interest, we might then consider the independence of our country
as firmly established. I shall dwell no longer on this subject,
which will, I am sure, be better matured by the committee, than by
any of my reflections. But I am bound to mention, Sir, that, from
the slowness and smallness of the collections, our finances are in
a more critical situation than you can easily conceive; such that
I dare not leave this place, although I am very desirous of paying
my respects to Congress at Annapolis.

As to the vote of September, 1782, requiring one million two
hundred thousand dollars for payment of interest on Loan Office
certificates, &c. I have no official information of what has been
done by the States; some among them have, I believe, directed the
issue of certain other kind of certificates for payment of that
interest; but as the acts do not conform to the resolution of
Congress, I cannot know what conduct the Loan officers have
pursued. It is much to be lamented, that the States individually
are not sensible how necessary it is to conform to general
regulations; on every occasion, some local convenience is
consulted, and a deviation made, which appears to be of little
consequence to the general system, and which is nevertheless
important, and becomes injurious to the very State by which it was
made. The idea of an officer dependent only on Congress, amenable
only to them, and consequently obedient only to orders derived
from their authority, is disagreeable to each State, and carries
with it the air of restraint. Every such officer, therefore, finds
the weight of public opinion to contend with. But how in a
continent so extensive, can that simplicity of administration,
which is essential to order and economy, be introduced, unless
such officers are not only tolerated, but aided by the legislative
and executive authorities? I will pursue these ideas no further
for the present, because I think the opportunity will arrive in
which the subject must be considered with more attention.

Enclosed, Sir, I have the honor to transmit an account of the
civil establishment of the United States, together with an account
of contingent expenses of the several offices. Neither of these is
as complete as could be wished, though as perfect as they can at
present be made. You will doubtless observe, that all the offices
are not completely filled, and that all the contingent expenses
are not brought into the account. Among the latter omissions is
the contingent expense of our foreign ministers, which will, I am
persuaded, be far from inconsiderable. I have thought it proper,
also, to transmit to the committee an estimate of the sum at which
our civil establishment might be fixed; and on this estimate I
make the following general observations. 1st. That the articles of
contingencies therein mentioned, are carried out on conjecture,
and therefore the sum total may be somewhat more or less,
according to circumstances. 2dly. That the numbers, titles, and
salaries of the several officers being entirely in the disposition
of Congress, they will add to or diminish from them as they may
think proper, wherefore the totals will doubtless be different
from what I have stated; and 3dly, that a very considerable part
of this expense being occasioned by the old accounts, will cease
of itself when those accounts are settled.

I proceed then to observe more particularly on the expenses of the
President's household. 1st. That the present mode is certainly
objectionable, as I have frequently had occasion to observe, and
which I now repeat with the more freedom, as nothing which can be
said will bear the least personal application. My reasons are,
1st. No person not accountable to the United States should be
invested with the right of drawing at will on the public treasury.
2dly. Every expenditure ought, as far as the reason and nature of
things will permit, to be ascertained with precision. 3dly. A
fixed salary being annexed to the office of President of Congress,
he will be more effectually master of his own household, and in
consequence a greater order and economy may reasonably be
expected.

On the expenses of the office of Secretary of Congress, I shall
say nothing. The expenses, the duties, and the cares are so
immediately under the eye of Congress themselves, that it would be
presumption. But I would observe, that to the account of the
contingencies of this office, ought to be carried the expense not
only of office rent, stationary, &c. but also fuel for Congress,
printing of the journals, expresses sent by Congress, and the
like.

The chaplains of Congress receive, at present, at the rate of four
hundred dollars each. If the office be necessary, it ought to be
so supported as that the officers may be entirely attached to
Congress, and accompany them in their changes, or fix at their
permanent place of residence; whichever of these modes shall
eventually be adopted, I have ventured to state their salaries at
one thousand dollars each; perhaps I am still under the proper
sum.

On the expense of the court of appeals I can say nothing, because
I know not whether the continuance of it be necessary. But I
should suppose, that if three gentlemen, well versed in the law of
nations, were, from the tenure of their offices to be always with
Congress (so as to be consulted and employed when the public
service might require it) such an establishment would be
continued, if the expense did not exceed the utility.

When all our accounts shall be settled, our debts either paid or
properly funded, and things reduced to a peace establishment, the
expenses of the Office of Finance may perhaps be reduced about two
thousand dollars, by taking away the salaries of the assistant and
one clerk, and adding somewhat to that of the secretary; under the
present circumstances I do not think the number of the officers
can be lessened. The salary of the Superintendent has often been
mentioned as very high. This is a subject on which I can speak
with great plainness, and but for the disagreeable situation of
things above mentioned, I should speak also without any personal
reference. I humbly conceive, that the object of Congress is what
it certainly ought to be, an enlightened economy. On the powers of
the office I will say nothing here, because it would be misplaced.
The expenses of it are and ought to be great. Until we can create
new beings we must take mankind as they are; and not only so, but
we must take them as they are in our own country. Now it is
evident, that a certain degree of splendor is necessary to those
who are clothed with the higher offices of the United States. I
will venture to say, that without it, those officers do not
perform one of the duties, which they owe to their masters; and I
can say, also, from experience that a salary of six thousand
dollars does not exceed the expense of that officer. I speak for
my successor, or rather for my country. Neither the powers nor
emoluments of the office have sufficient charms to keep me in it
one hour after I can quit it, and I did hope that period would
have arrived during the next month. Perhaps it may. If a man of
fortune chooses to run the career of vanity or ambition, he will
naturally wish the salaries of office to be low, because it must
reduce the number of honest competitors. I say honest competitors,
because those who would make a property of public trusts will
always be indifferent as to the amount of salary, seeing that with
such men it forms the smallest pecuniary consideration. When a
liberal salary enables a man, not rich, to live in a style of
splendor without impairing his private fortune, the show he makes
and the respect attached to him really belong to the country he
serves, and are among the necessary trappings of her dignity. Now
it has always appeared to me that true economy consists in putting
proper men in proper places; to which purpose proper salaries are
a previous requisite. Here I shall pause, because the reflection
occurs to my mind, that perhaps this, with many other propositions
equally true, will never be duly felt until an opposite conduct
shall lead to disagreeable conviction. If indeed it were my object
to enforce this point, I should go no further than the past
experience of Congress, and perhaps there might be room for some
argument on the actual state of the Office of Foreign Affairs. The
expenses of that office, as well as of the War Office, require
only a reference to what has been just mentioned. The expenses of
the Treasury Office cannot be curtailed, for before the present
business can be lessened, that of our debt must come forward, and
there must be some persons to manage it, although the great
machinery at present employed will be unnecessary.

For reasons of evident propriety, I say nothing on the
establishment of our foreign servants, only recommending, that as
little as possible be left to the article of contingencies.
Because, if, on the one hand, it be just to compensate extraordinary
and unexpected expenses for the public service, it is proper, on the
other hand, to reduce within the closest limits of certainty, which
the nature of things can permit, the amount of those burdens which the
people must bear. And it ought to be remembered, that contingencies
are generally speaking a kind of expenses, which though justified by
necessity are unprovided for by express appropriation, and which
therefore ought as much as possible to be avoided.

The last article is, expenses on collection of the revenue; and
it is much to be lamented, that this is so heavy; not indeed the
sum proposed in the estimate, which is trifling, but it will be
found on examination, that the expense of collecting taxes in this
country is greater than in almost any other; a serious misfortune,
and which would certainly be provided against if the officers of
the collection were nominated by authority of the United States;
because then those principles of suspicion, which have already
done so much and spoken so loudly, would soon fix upon a
grievance, at present overlooked, because it forms part of the
system favorable to withholding instead of collecting taxes. It
has already been observed, that officers of the nature of
receivers are necessary in the several States; it is here
repeated, and experience will prove it. At the same time the
committee will please to take notice, that the Loan officers are
not included in the estimate; the reason of which is, that they
can answer no purpose but the expense of the appointment, and the
complicating of a system which ought to be simplified. An officer
whose duty it is to urge collections, may do good if he performs
that duty, but when it is a question of paying, means may be
adopted, which will be more effectual, less expensive, and
infinitely less liable to fraud. Not to mention that these means
may be such as to avoid long and intricate accounts. In fact (and
I hope, Sir, you will excuse the observation) there seems to have
existed a solicitude how to spend money conveniently and easily,
but little care how to obtain it speedily and effectually. The
sums I have proposed as fixed salaries for these officers, may at
first sight appear large, but if the office is to be at all useful
it must be in the hands of a good man who can devote to it his
whole time and attention, and who will neither by his private
distresses nor by the scantiness of his stipend, be prompted to
betray his trust, or abuse the confidence reposed in him.

Before I close this letter, I will take the liberty further to
mention to the committee, as a principal means of avoiding many
disagreeable discussions relative to the present object, that the
establishment of a mint, and due regulations of the post office,
would soon supply the funds necessary to defray the expenses of
our civil establishment. The former of these is entirely in the
power of Congress, and I should suppose, that the States could
have no reasonable objection to leave the revenue, which might
arise from the second to the disposition of Congress for that
purpose.

I pray you to excuse me, Sir, for troubling you with so long a
letter, which I will not add to by making an apology; but assure
you of the respect, with which I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

PROPOSED EXPENSES OF THE CIVIL LIST.

  _President of Congress_, his household,          $10,000
  His private Secretary,                               500
                                                   -------
                                                   $10,500
  _Secretary of Congress_,                           3,000
  Two Clerks,                                        1,000
  Messenger,                                           300
                                                    ------ 4,300
  Contingencies; fuel, stationary, rent. &c.                 750
                                                           ----- 5,050
  _Chaplains of Congress_,                                       2,000
  _Three Judges of Appeals_, at 2250 dollars each,  6,750
  Contingencies during their sittings,                 150
                                                     -----       6,900
                                                                ------
                                                                24,450

  _Superintendent of Finance_,                        $6,000
  Assistant,                                           1,850
  Secretary,                                           1,000
  Clerks, three,                                       1,500
  Messenger,                                             300
                                                      ------ $10,650
  Contingencies,                                                 750
                                                             ------- 11,400
  _Minister of War_,                                   6,000
  Two Clerks,                                          1,000
  Messenger,                                             300
                                                      ------   7,300
  Contingencies,                                                 500
                                                             -------  7,800
  _Minister of Foreign Affairs_,                       6,000
  Two Secretaries,                                     2,000
  Messenger,                                             300
                                                      ------   8,300
  Contingencies,                                                 500
                                                             -------  8,800
  _Controller of the Treasury_,                        1,850
  Auditor,                                             1,000
  Six Clerks,                                          3,000
                                                      ------   5,850
  Register,                                            1,200
  Four Clerks,                                         2,000
                                                      ------   3,200
  Treasurer,                                           1,500
  Clerk,                                                 500
                                                      ------   2,000
  Messenger,                                                     300
                                                             -------
                                                              11,350
  Contingencies,                                               1,000
                                                             ------- 12,350
                                                                     ------
                                                                     64,800
  _Two Foreign Ministers, at $10,000 each_,           20,000
  _Five Residents, with Consular Powers, at 6,000_,   30,000
  Contingencies,                                      10,000
                                                      ------         60,000
                                                                    --------
  Permanent expense,                                                124,800.

  _Temporary Expense._

  A Commissioner of accounts here, salary              1,500

  A Commissioner for settling old accounts in
    Europe, his clerks, contingent expenses,
    &c. suppose                                             $10,000
  Two Clerks,                                         1,000
  Contingencies,                                        250
                                                     ------
                                                      2,750
                                         Multiply by     18
                                                     ------  49,500
                                                            ------- 59,500
                                                                 ---------
                                                                 $184,300.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, March 17th, 1784.

  Sir,

Permit me, through your Excellency, to call the attention of the
United States to the situation of my department. During the last
year, engagements were made to a very considerable amount for
payment of the army. This payment was effected by notes which fell
due the end of last year, and the commencement of this. The funds
at my disposal were unequal to the discharge of them. I was,
therefore, under the necessity of drawing bills on the credit of
the loan in Holland. The information I had received from the
gentlemen who had the management of it, gave me hopes that funds
sufficient to discharge those bills were in their hands; for in
the months of April, May, June and July, they had received and
distributed obligations for one million one hundred and thirtysix
thousand florins. But from causes, which will readily suggest
themselves to Congress, that loan, which had taken a rapid start
at the peace, began to decline in August and stood still during
all November. It has happened, therefore, that bills to the amount
of one million three hundred and twentyfive thousand florins,
equal at the current exchange to five hundred and thirty thousand
dollars, are protested for non-acceptance. Should they come back
protested for non-payment, the consequences will be easily
imagined.

For about a month past I have been in the expectation, that this
disagreeable event would happen, and whether it will or not is yet
undetermined. My last advices from the gentlemen who have the
management of the loan are in a letter of the 22d of December; by
which they tell me, "we are sorry to be obliged to repeat, that
since our last till the present moment, our prospects are not very
much increased; however, we are not quite without hopes, and have
determined, if we cannot do otherwise, to sacrifice some more
premium to the undertakers, which if we do, we will charge to the
account of the United States. We think ourselves fully authorised
to do this by the circumstances; since without the bills going
back, it is certain that, besides the disappointment and the
discredit it would give to the government bills, the expenses
attending the returns will be much more burdensome. We have almost
no prospect of getting the money without such a sacrifice, and
only hope it will answer your views." Enclosed you have the
account current with those gentlemen, as sketched out by the
register for information; by which it appears, that they had in
their hands a balance of three hundred and fortyseven thousand
seven hundred and seventy current guilders on the 31st of October
last, and by the subordinate account, number five, it will appear,
that my bills exceed that balance by one million five hundred and
thirteen thousand two hundred and twentynine florins; but from
this a deduction is to be made for some tobacco shipped to them,
the account of sales whereof is not yet come to hand. They have,
however, accepted of my bills beyond the amount of their funds,
and still there are to the value of one million three hundred and
twentyfive thousand florins protested for non-acceptance. In
order, however, that Congress may possess as full a view of things
as possible, I will suppose, for the present, that by making a
sacrifice of premium the funds for discharging these bills may be
obtained. I must also mention here, to obviate what might be
suggested, that the remittances to Messrs Le Couteulx and Mr Grand
will be found accounted for in their accounts, but time will not
permit going into all those details at present.

  Supposing then the funds to be obtained for payment
  of these bills, the interest falling due the beginning of
  June next, will amount to two hundred thousand florins,
  equal at the current exchange to                     $80,000

  By the enclosed state of payments
    just received from Mr Grand it will
    appear, that on the 5th of November,
    there is payable at his House
    the sum of one million six hundred
    thousand livres, equal at the current
    exchange to                                        320,000
                                                      --------
                                                      $400,000

Thus you will find, that on the best supposition which can be
made, there is to be paid in Europe during this year four hundred
thousand dollars, over and above the salaries of foreign
Ministers and their contingent expenses. There is also to be paid
the further sum of one hundred thousand dollars, due in this
country on engagements taken for the public service during the
last and present year, besides notes in circulation, which may
probably be absorbed by the taxes, between this and the 1st of May
next. Thus there is a deficiency of half a million to be provided
for by the taxes from the 1st of May, to which must be added
sundry debts of the last year not yet adjusted, and which cannot
therefore be estimated, but which may amount to between one and
two hundred thousand dollars more. And to all this must be added
the current expenses, which Congress will best be able to
ascertain.

This, Sir, is a view of things upon the fairest side, but if the
bills noted for non-acceptance come back, a scene will then be
opened, which it is better for you to conceive than for me to
describe. The delay of the States in passing the laws for granting
revenue to fund our debts has left the above mentioned sum of four
hundred thousand dollars totally unprovided for; and I cannot see
the least probability that this general concurrence will be
obtained in season to make that provision. I beg leave, therefore,
to suggest the expedient that the produce of the requisitions for
1782 and 1783 be partly appropriated to that payment, and that the
money be replaced from the proper funds when obtained. But
whatever mode may be adopted, Congress will doubtless be struck
with this truth, that unless the States can be stimulated into
exertion, and that speedily, everything must fall into confusion.
I will not pretend to anticipate the evil consequences. Having
stated the facts I have done my duty.

I must, however, pray a moment's indulgence to mention, that the
accounts of the last year would have been rendered by this time,
but as I have not relinquished the hope of being able to quit this
office soon, I have rather desired to be able to complete all the
accounts of my administration. It will give me infinite pleasure,
if, when I have the honor of presenting to Congress these accounts
with my commission, I shall find them in circumstances as
prosperous as those under which I accepted it were adverse.

  I am, Sir, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO JACOB READ, MEMBER OF A COMMITTEE OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, March 30th, 1784.

  Sir,

I am to acknowledge the receipt of your favor of the 14th instant;
which should have been done sooner, but that I have been much
engaged, and indeed the accounts you ask for, and which are
enclosed, required time to be completed. I shall expect the papers
which relate to Mr Gillon by the first good opportunity.

With respect to the report of the committee, I cannot presume to
say anything about it, unless it should be officially referred to
me, which indeed would seem to be the regular mode of proceeding
in matters of that sort, but I am far from desirous of such
reference, and therefore if Congress are prepared to decide, I am
perfectly content. So long as I am in their service I shall
endeavor to carry their measures into effect.

I am perfectly in opinion with the committee, that the arrears
should be demanded before new requisitions are made; and if I were
to hint anything like advice, it should be that Congress state
clearly the evils which arise from their inability to enforce the
payments.

The desire that Loan officers may issue certificates I have long
known, and I know also, that it originates in a desire to elude
actual by making nominal payments. However, it occurs to me that a
mode might be fallen upon to conciliate this object with the
public interest. I consider the Loan offices as a very unnecessary
burden on the community, and I think they ought to be got rid of,
for I am sure that the whole business might be better done at one
tenth of the expense, besides the advantage of leaving no
unsettled accounts behind. If the States will act with rigor and
honesty on the present occasion, there would be no difficulty, I
should suppose, in negotiating with the several banks to make
actual effective payment. But you may be sure they will not
undertake anything unless they have a solid reliance on the
revenues. Now this is precisely what Congress ought to desire, for
if they are prevailed on to cause the issue of paper money by
their officers, the States may as heretofore neglect the means of
redeeming it, and then all the blame falls upon Congress. Indeed
they would well deserve it. For why need they attempt to
accommodate the States in the manner proposed? Think you the
Legislatures will be more solicitous to save the public faith than
to quiet the clamors of their own citizens? For my part I am
persuaded that they will not, and I cannot but think that an
address to the public creditors, charging the fault where it is
justly chargeable, would be more useful than mere temporary
palliations of their distress. On the whole I think it best for
Congress to adhere as much as possible to great outlines, and to
avoid details. Those should be left to the Minister of Finance. If
he is an able and honest man he will do well, and if the thing be
well done all is right. If he be unequal to his duties, the blame
of wrong measures will fall upon him. But if Congress do his work,
then unless their work be more than humanly perfect, they will
undoubtedly compromise themselves. I say these things to you in a
conviction of the truth of what I say, and with a perfect
indifference as to any personal considerations. If I can get out
of office I will, and if I cannot I will never ask Congress for a
confidence they do not wish to repose.

I am very much obliged, my Dear Sir, by your kind and confidential
communication, and reply to it, as you see, with full confidence.
If I were in a situation to converse with you on the state of our
affairs, I should be glad to do it, but the limits of a letter
will not permit the saying what is necessary on so extensive a
subject. I find that Congress are in the habit of passing
resolutions, which relate to my department, without a reference; I
am sorry for it, because some of them are inconvenient to me, and
others will I fear be found dangerous. However, they are the best
judges of what is for the public interest, and therefore I shall
avoid as much as possible all remonstrance.

  I am, very sincerely, your most obedient, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.

  Office of Finance, April 8th, 1784.

  Sir,

I have received the letter which you did me the honor to write on
the 30th of last month, for which I pray you to accept my thanks.
The circular letter, a copy of which you enclosed, has my entire
approbation, and I pray leave to assure the committee, that while
I am favored with the firm support of Congress, I shall not shrink
from the difficulties, however great, with which we are
threatened.

The idea of applying to the banks for aid, is in itself a good
one, but the present moment is unfavorable. The establishment of
so many banks instead of aiding credit, and facilitating
operations, will for some time to come have a contrary effect, and
it is not without great difficulty, that they will each collect a
capital sufficient to support its own operations. The struggle to
get such capital, places these institutions in a degree of
opposition to each other, injurious to them all. Without going
more minutely into that part of the subject, I take the liberty to
observe further, that as we had no mint established when the
treaty of peace took place, and consequently no proper regulation
of our coin, a great part of it was immediately exported, and the
country being now laden with foreign goods, and having but little
means of payment with produce, still farther exportations of coin
will take place, especially if by the return of the public bills
so great an additional remittance becomes necessary.

I shall leave all observations upon this matter to the good sense
of the committee, and proceed to mention further, that if the
abilities of the several banks were ever so great, we cannot rely
much on their inclinations, unless their respective directors
could clearly see a prospect of speedy reimbursement from the
taxes. It is, therefore, a matter of much delicacy, to make any
proposals to them on the part of government; for which and for
other evident reasons, I pray leave to suggest the propriety of
leaving all such negotiations to the Superintendent of Finance.
That officer has already sufficient powers to do everything,
except granting premiums for the loans proposed, and with respect
to them, I am clearly of opinion, that none ought to be given; but
if in the last necessity that step should be unavoidable, he may
then apply for authority. This I conceive to be better than
vesting him beforehand with such extensive power; for the
committee will be pleased to observe, that as the laws of the
several States have fixed the rate of interest, premiums on loans,
which in their effect raise the rate of interest, would be
exceptionable as well as odious. It is true, that the situation of
affairs is very disagreeable, but it is better to bear up and
struggle hard against present difficulties than lay the foundation
of future evils.

  With perfect respect, I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, April 29th, 1784.

  Sir,

I do myself the honor to enclose for the consideration of Congress
the extract of a letter from the commissioner for settling the
accounts of Connecticut, together with the copy of a receipt
which was enclosed in it, and the original of which is returned to
the commissioner. Before I make any observations on this extract I
take the present opportunity of explaining a part of my conduct,
which has I know given some offence.

Previous to the acceptance of my office I was naturally led to
examine the ground on which I should be brought to act. I clearly
saw that great confusion had been introduced into the public
affairs, not merely from defects in former plans, but from a great
negligence in those to whom the execution had been committed. For
although the general arrangements were in some respects defective,
as is the case with all human institutions, yet those who were in
any degree culpable had taken care to charge the fault on such
deficiencies by way of excusing themselves. Congress will perceive
at a single glance, that where boards or committees, perpetually
changing, and whose members are not accountable, are charged with
the superintendence of a general system, and the subordinate
agents rendered accountable to them, it is vain to expect that
steady, severe, and attentive administration, which can alone
secure the public welfare. Experience had shown, that this radical
evil produced shameful negligences in the executive departments,
the mischiefs of which are felt at the present hour. Affairs were
so complicated that it was hardly possible to say who was in
fault; and while every individual officer took care to excuse
himself the blame was placed on Congress; from whom of all others,
if the future interests of America be consulted, it ought to be
removed. The expense which attends the settlement of the old
accounts is the least mischief which has resulted.

This view of our situation rendered it necessary for me to
stipulate, that I should be invested with ample powers, and
induced, also, the determination to avoid as much as possible the
employing of persons who had public accounts unsettled. My
subsequent experience has shown, that if this determination had
been universally adhered to, it would have tended much to the
establishment of that regularity, which has constantly been kept
in view. From frequent information I was convinced, that many of
the loan officers had not conducted their business according to
the modes prescribed, and had indeed neglected even to make those
returns, which had been from the beginning required. This was an
additional reason for placing the receipt of the continental taxes
in other hands. And when it was considered, that these gentlemen
would be constantly pressed for the payment of interest, that
which was necessary in the case with some became proper with
respect to all. This conduct, as has been already mentioned, gave
offence to some, but as no regular accusation has ever been
brought I shall go no farther into a defence of the measure; my
object being as well to point at future operations as to explain
the past.

I will not go into a detail of the modes formerly prescribed for
keeping the Loan Office accounts. Suffice it to say, that very few
of the officers have conformed to them. The instructions for
settling the accounts are before Congress, and the enclosed
extract shows that they cannot be effectually adhered to; and
consequently that a principal object in the settlement of the
accounts will not be effected. I pray leave, therefore, again to
bring to the attention of Congress a report made on the 3d of
September from the Office of Finance. Not that it is desired that
the United States should adopt the resolution there proposed, but
merely that it may serve as a groundwork on which to establish
some Act which may prove effectual.

It is perhaps a favorite object to keep up the establishment of
the Loan offices, but I must on this occasion repeat what I have
so often declared, that it is an expensive and a pernicious
establishment, without being attended with a single good effect to
compensate the mischiefs. I shall not, however, trouble Congress
with my reasons on that subject, because I think it my duty to
bear witness against them. I know the progress of all reformations
to be slow, and that experience is the most certain teacher.

  With perfect respect, I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, May 6th, 1784.

  Sir,

In consequence of the resolutions of the 28th of April, and 2d of
May, 1783, I have made the various engagements then in contemplation,
and any late letters to Congress will show that some of those
engagements to the amount of three hundred thousand dollars still
remain to be fulfilled. Congress will be pleased also to observe that
their late arrangements with respect to foreign officers, form an
object of about fifty thousand dollars, including the grant of ten
thousand to Baron Steuben. Notwithstanding this and the constant
demands for current service, I am not without hopes that if all the
bills on Holland be paid, I shall in the course of the summer be able
to quit my station. Having been informed (though not officially) that
Congress intend to adjourn in the beginning of next month, I am humbly
to request that they would in such case be pleased to take eventual
arrangements for administering their finances. And I am the more
solicitous on this subject, lest through the want of such
arrangements, some injury should happen to the public service when I
retire.

I hope Congress will indulge me also in mentioning, that no
committee has been appointed to inspect into the conduct of my
department. It would give me particular pleasure that measures
were taken on that subject also.

  With respect, I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE.

  Office of Finance, May 19th, 1784.

  Dear Sir,

By the opportunity which your friend, Mr Constable, offers, I now
acknowledge the receipt of your several favors of the 26th of
December, 10th of January, and 9th of March last. Accept, I pray
you, of my sincere thanks for them all. I also enclose for your
perusal the copies of my letters to Congress, of the 16th of April
and of this date. To these I add their resolutions of the 3d
instant, which will I hope prove agreeable to you. If I have not
transmitted the copies of or extracts from your letters to
Congress so soon as they were received, you must attribute it to
circumstances which I, on the spot, could best judge of, and which
is not worth while to mention.

In pursuance of what I have just now said to Congress, I shall
proceed to request your exertions for establishing a free port at
the Isle of France or Bourbon. You will easily obtain sufficient
information in Europe to direct your applications on this subject,
and Mr Constable will, I think, be able to give you some useful
information as to the consequences of it upon this country. I
confess, that it appears to me to be the probable means of
establishing at that port, the most extensive and useful commerce
with India, that has ever yet existed. To France and to America it
will be most particularly useful, because we shall trade freely
and without risk to such port, and you will undoubtedly furnish us
with all those articles of India goods, which we should otherwise
go in search of to India, or procure from other nations. This will
form an object of near twenty millions of livres annually, or
calculating both the export and import cargoes, it will amount to
about thirty millions, and consequently cannot be less than five
millions clear advantage to France; and if it be considered, that
this is so much taken from her commercial rival, we may estimate
it as being an object of ten millions annually. Such being the
importance of it with respect to America, what may we not
calculate on for the other countries, who may incline to trade
thither? But besides this great commercial consideration, there
are others of a political nature; such as the increase of your
seamen; the advantage of a place of arms, marine arsenal, &c. in
that critical position. These I shall not dwell upon, because I do
not wish to go out of my depth.

Returning then to a commercial view of the subject, I consider it
as almost certain, that America would find it more advantageous to
trade with that port than to go on to India; and hence I draw one
very strong inference, that we should not only be by that means
brought into a closer political connexion with France, but that
France would hold a much larger share of all our other commerce,
than she would without such an establishment. I will not trouble
you with my reasons, because I think they will not escape you. But
before I close my letter I must observe, that although this
commerce may and undoubtedly will yield you a revenue, yet there
is danger in beginning with revenue too soon. Let the port be
first made free to all the world, and let good and intelligent
commissioners or intendants be appointed to transmit information
of the commerce carried on. If there be no duties, there will be
no false entries; and thus in two or three years the Court will be
able to act with their eyes open; and in the meantime the
enriching of your own subjects is always of sufficient consequence,
even if revenue be put entirely out of the question. If on the other
hand you only free the port by halves, and leave it subject to duties
and restrictions, the commerce may never take its course that way; and
always remember, that the commission received by your merchants from
such a commerce is alone of vast importance.

  I am, Sir, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE GOVERNOR OF RHODE ISLAND.

  Office of Finance, June 21st, 1784.

  Sir,

That my official existence has been prolonged to the present
moment arises from the dilatoriness of the States in providing
means to discharge those engagements, which I had taken for their
benefit at the pressing instance of Congress. I hope your
Excellency will believe me when I seriously assure you, that the
greatest advocates for a change cannot more earnestly desire my
dismission than I myself do. I hope that their sincerity and mine
will speedily be put to the trial. They, by granting money, and I
by resigning, can best evince that our professions are founded in
truth. Thus, Sir, it has happened, that the reasons for granting
money to the Union have acquired an additional weight from
considerations personal to me, and perhaps in the only way in
which I could have given to them any efficacy.

Whatever sinister causes may have been suggested to invalidate my
former applications, I humbly hope, that at this period my earnest
entreaty to comply with the requisitions of Congress for funding
the public debt will be considered as flowing from a conviction,
that it is a measure necessary to the peace and happiness of our
country. To me it can produce neither honor, nor power nor profit.
The advantage I may derive will be common with all my fellow
citizens, and I shall share, also, the burden in common with them.
But the numerous class of sufferers in whose particular favor that
burden is to be sustained, will, I hope, meet with an advocate in
every bosom. Justice, policy, humanity, press the measure upon our
feelings and reflection; and if it be objectionable, let it be
considered how seldom any human plans are formed, to which
objections may not be made. Our union, necessary as it is to our
existence, is still liable to objections. And government, without
which we cannot participate in the benefits of society, will
always in something or other give room for clamor and discontent.

I hope, Sir, this application from me will be at least excused. It
is the last. It is the general result of what I feel to be my
duty. Those who come after me will, I hope, have that influence,
which I have not; and succeed where I have failed. But whether
they succeed or whether they fail, they cannot more earnestly
desire the good of America than I do.

  I am, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO M. DE MARBOIS, CHARGÉ D'AFFAIRES FROM FRANCE.

  Office of Finance, August 17th, 1784.

  Sir,

I had yesterday the honor to receive your letter of the 15th, by
which I perceive that you misunderstood me a little in the
conversation alluded to. On that occasion, Sir, I expressed my
intention to take arrangements for the payment of four hundred
thousand livres, being the interest due in November next, upon the
loan of ten million livres, guarantied by his Most Christian
Majesty; but I could not have told you that they were actually
taken, because that is not the fact. Indeed I did expect, that
certain attachments which have been laid upon the property of the
United States in France would have been taken off; and that in
consequence of orders formerly given, Mr Grand would have received
through Mr Barclay the necessary funds. Should this be the case he
will pay that interest of course, having already done so last
year, in pursuance of a general authority to that effect. If,
however, the suspense occasioned by those attachments should cause
any delay, the King's Ministers who were long ago informed of
them, will doubtless excuse the inconveniences which may result
from it. The arrangements now to be formed must be in a double
sense eventual, and depend not only upon the fate of the
attachments, but also upon the state of those funds, which may be
in Europe at the disposition of the United States.

I should be happy, Sir, in the opportunity of satisfying your
desire, to be informed of the measures taken with respect to those
sums, which the King was pleased to lend, and which (with the
interest accruing thereon) are payable at the several epochas
specified for the purpose in the conventions made on that subject,
between our respective Ministers; but not having received the
orders of the United States in Congress, I cannot presume to
anticipate what they may think proper to say. I will immediately
do myself the honor of transmitting to his Excellency, the
President, a copy of your letter; and as I cannot doubt, that both
those measures which they have already taken, and those which
they may hereafter adopt, must be perfectly consistent with their
honor, I shall indulge the hope, that they will meet the
approbation of their august ally.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, September 30th, 1784.

  Sir,

I had the honor of mentioning to Congress, upon the 4th of May,
the advices then just received from Holland, and to pray their
sentiments upon the loan, which Mr Adams had (upon a view of all
circumstances) found it necessary to open. I was the more anxious
on this subject, as I saw a probability of the speedy completion
of this loan for two millions of guilders, and therefore if not
approved of, no time should have been lost in stopping the further
progress.

Since writing that letter, I have received the scheme of the loan,
and the copy of the obligation, both of which are here enclosed
for the inspection and consideration of the United States in
Congress. It is probable, that not only this loan, but also the
former loan of five millions will both be filled before any
determinations of Congress can arrive in Europe; for the
concurrence of many States to the measures proposed by Congress,
and the resolutions of several legislative bodies expressing their
sense of the necessity of enabling the United States punctually
and honorably to discharge their engagements have reanimated that
credit, which for evident reasons had languished and died away.

The public accounts will sufficiently explain the situation of
money matters, and the gentleman charged with the department of
the finances will of course furnish such information as may from
time to time be required; I shall not therefore go any further
into the details of this business, but must express to Congress my
opinion of the loan generally; and certainly, if we consider the
very untoward circumstances in which it was undertaken, very great
praise is due to the persons concerned in proposing, adopting, and
pursuing it. This sentiment, which I have constantly felt has not
been declared until the present moment, because no suspicion can
now arise, that what I say, is dictated by a view to influence
their future exertions, seeing that my political existence must be
at an end before the contents of this letter can possibly be
transmitted.

I have invariably in my official correspondence, (as indeed upon
every other occasion, both public and private) expressed the
conviction which I feel, that however the several States may, from
a difference in local circumstances, differ in their opinions
about the mode of providing for public debts, all of them will
concur in the just sentiment, that these debts ought to be most
punctually discharged. There cannot, therefore, be any doubt, that
the proper provisions will be made, and I am grounded in the
assertion that when made, the public credit of America will be the
best of any in the world, that it will cost less to maintain it by
us, than by any other nation, and that considering the infant
state of our cultivation in general, and the frontiers in
particular, it is of more importance to us than it can be to any
other country. It is also a commercial problem, which admits of
absolute demonstration, that the punctual payment of interest on
our debts will produce a clear annual gain of more than such
interest can possibly amount to. So that the eternal and immutable
principles of truth and justice, being for a moment out of the
question, and stifling those sentiments of humanity, which arise
from a view of what the public creditors must suffer, should their
dues be withheld, (if indeed it be possible to stifle such
sentiments,) still it will indisputably appear to be the interest
of the merchant, as well as of the husbandman and mechanic, to pay
their just proportions towards discharging the public engagements.
For this plain and simple system of common honesty, while it
invigorates the springs of our credit, strengthens also the bands
of our union, proceeding with equal motion towards the public weal
and private prosperity.

That the labors of our great and glorious revolution may thus be
crowned by the impartial hand of justice, and the last stone be
thus placed in the arch of our extensive empire, is the ardent
wish of your Excellency's most obedient, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO B. FRANKLIN.

  Office of Finance, September 30th, 1784.

  Dear Sir,

This is rather a late day to acknowledge your favors of the 25th
of December and 15th of June last, but I have always intended in
my acknowledgement of them to close our public correspondence, and
I have always been disappointed in my expectation of being able
speedily to quit this office. That period, however, so ardently
desired, is at length nearly arrived, and while I look back on
cares and dangers past, I feel an increased emotion of joy in the
prospect of future hopes and expectations. But I cannot review the
past scene without strong feelings of gratitude and respect for
the able and active efforts, which you have made to support the
finances of this country. I would to God that your just sentiments
on property and taxation were as fully felt as they must be
clearly understood in America; but time is as necessary to mellow
the judgment of a country as of a man. Happy indeed shall we be if
it produce that effect among us.

I am much obliged by your explanation of M. Chaumont's accounts,
which are lodged at the treasury. If any insinuations have been
made injurious to you upon your connexion with M. Chaumont, they
have not reached me, and I am persuaded that none such can make
any impressions which ought to give you pain.

I have not remitted bills for the salaries of foreign ministers,
because the resolutions of Congress having varied, and Mr Grand
having informed me that he should pay them, I have left it as an
account unsettled to be arranged by Mr Barclay. And as I cannot
doubt that the attachments will have been taken off, and as I have
given Mr Grand a credit on the commissioners of the loan in
Holland for four hundred thousand livres, and directed Messrs Le
Couteulx to pay over to him a balance in their hands, I have no
doubt that he will be in cash for the purpose. I agree with you
that a fund ought to be set apart for contingencies, and had I
continued, and been supported in my administration, such a fund
should certainly have been provided. I am at the same time an
enemy to contingent accounts, and therefore I should have urged
the ascertainment of every allowance as far as possible, thereby
curtailing the account of contingencies. But after all, it cannot
be annihilated. Congress have hitherto made no determination on
this subject. Indeed it is very difficult, and even almost
disreputable for them to make arrangements of expenditure, while
the means of expenditure are so shamefully withheld by their
constituents. These things, however, will mend, at least I hope
so.

I have already said that I expected the attachments laid on the
public goods would be discharged. Your letter to the Count de
Vergennes on that subject is perfect, and if that minister did not
immediately obtain a compliance with your request, I presume it
must have been occasioned by some circumstances purely domestic,
which we in this country cannot guess at, for certainly nothing
can be more astonishing than to find a subject countenanced in
arresting the property of a sovereign power in this enlightened
age, and in the country, which of all others has been most eminent
for a sacred regard to the rights of nations.

From your last letters to your friends, I find that your return to
this country is somewhat doubtful; I am therefore disappointed in
one of the greatest pleasures, which I had promised myself. But,
Sir, in whatever country you may be, and whether in public or in
private life, be assured of my warmest and most respectful esteem,
and that my best wishes for your happiness shall be clothed with
the utmost efforts in my power to promote it on every proper
occasion.

  I am, Sir, with perfect respect, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, September 30th, 1784.

  Sir,

I do myself the honor to enclose for the inspection of Congress a
copy of a letter of the 14th of last month from the Marquis de
Lafayette; and with it I send the originals, which were delivered
by him to me. The unexampled attention to every American interest,
which this gentleman has exhibited, cannot fail to excite the
strongest emotions in his favor, and we must at the same time
admire the judgment which he has shown in the manner of his
applications, as well as the industry in selecting proper
materials. There can be little doubt, but that his interest at his
own Court must always prove beneficial to this country, while the
same cordiality shall continue which now subsists between him and
the Venerable Plenipotentiary now resident at Passy.

I shall not hazard opinions upon the matters which have employed
the attention of M. de Lafayette, as a negotiator from this
country to that which gave him birth. It would be intruding
sentiments which will suggest themselves. But while I feel the
delicacy and perhaps the danger of asking from France the
moderation or abolition of particular duties, thereby establishing
a precedent for similar requests on her part, I hope Congress will
pardon a wish prompted by the general interests of commerce, that
the statement of all those duties might be translated and
published, for the government of those who may form expeditions to
those different ports now opened to us.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

ADVERTISEMENT.

  Philadelphia, October 11th, 1784.

The subscriber having taken measures to provide for the payment of
his various engagements on behalf of the United States, and
particularly for such of his notes as may be in circulation, gives
this public notice to all who may be concerned therein, that
although he be no longer in office, yet those notes will all be
duly paid at maturity; and for such payment he hereby pledges
himself personally to the holders, and therefore requests that if
any attempt should be made to obtain them by any suggestions at
less than the specified value, such attempts may be defeated.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

  Office of Finance, November 1st, 1784.

  Sir,

I have the honor of enclosing to your Excellency, and pray you
will deliver to the United States in Congress, the commission by
which I was appointed Superintendent of their Finances. It gives
me great pleasure to reflect that the situation of public affairs
is more prosperous than when that commission issued. The
sovereignty and independence of America are acknowledged. May they
be firmly established, and effectually secured. This can only be
done by a just and vigorous government. That these States,
therefore, may be soon and long united under such a government, is
my ardent wish, and constant prayer.

  With perfect respect, I have the honor to be, &c.

  ROBERT MORRIS.

END OF THE TWELFTH VOLUME.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Transcriber's note:

  Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).

  Small capital text has been replaced with all capitals.

  Variations in spelling, punctuation and hyphenation have been
  retained except in obvious cases of typographical error.

  The cover for the eBook version of this book was created by the
  transcriber and is placed in the public domain.

  Omitted words, shown as blank spaces in the original, have been
  transcribed as four hyphens ( ---- ) in the following cases:

  Page 59: As I am not positively instructed that this loan has
  succeeded, I do not venture to draw bills on you; but in case you
  shall be in cash for the United States, which I expect will
  happen, you will pay to Messrs ---- & Co., for account of John
  Ross, the sum of two hundred thousand livres; to Messrs Le
  Couteulx & Co., for account of William Bingham, one hundred
  thousand livres, and to John Holker, for account of John Holker
  fils, the sum of one hundred thousand. From each of these persons
  you will take quadruplicate receipts, in the form following;
  "Received of ----, banker, by order of the Superintendent of the
  Finances of the United States of North America, on behalf of ----
  the sum of ---- being so much paid by the said States to him, the
  said ---- for which I have signed four receipts, all of this tenor
  and date. Done in Paris this ---- day of ---- 178--." You will
  be pleased, Sir, to forward to me three of the copies by different
  opportunities.

  Page 62: in my letter of the ---- last

  Page 62: the invoice sent in my letter of the ---- last

  Page 63: the ---- last, because I feel a conviction

  Page 66: 1782 is ---- dollars, payable

  Page 258: by the time Mr ---- reaches the Havana

  Page 259: that Mr ----'s bills be protested

  Page 397: from a tour ---- have been making

  "... the subject of paying all balances ..."





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