May 2. 1778
I said nothing of this however to Mr. Izzard. I only observed to him, that Dr. Franklin, the two Mr. Lees and Mr. Izzard himself, all held Commissions from Congress and it was my duty to respect them all. That the conduct of Mr. Deane, I knew by his dispatches and contracts which had been read in congress before I left it, had been wild, irregular and pernicious, but that I had been desirous of imputing it to want of judgment rather than any Thing worse. That my knowledge of Dr. Franklin personally had been only in Congress. That although I knew there had been great disputes in Pennsilvania formerly concerning his moral and political Character, as there had been in England, yet I knew at the same time that he had been in publick Life when Parties run high and that he had generally maintained an honourable Character in the World. That it was impossible for me to enter into any examination of what had passed before my Arrival, because I could find no books, Letters or documents of any kind to inform or guide me. That he must be sensible my Situation was delicate, difficult and dangerous in the extream, between two fires. I was a Stranger to the Country, the Language and the manners of the French: and not much less a Stranger to the Characters of the Americans in France. In this predicament I found myself necessarily an Umpire between two bitter and inveterate Parties, for in all questions that should come before the commissioners, if Dr. Franklin and Mr. Lee I should differ in Opinion my Voice must decide. That it was easy to foresee that I should make both parties my Enemies: but no choice was left me, but to examine diligently every [question without ]favour or affection to any man or party: and this course I was determined to pursue at all hazards. I entreated him to collect himself and by no means to allow himself to talk in the Style he had used to me to any other Person. That Dr. Franklin possessed the Confidence of the French Court and of his own Country, and held her Commission and Authority: and therefore it was the duty of all of Us, to treat him with respect.
May 3. 1778.
The Business of the Commission had been delayed and neglected in a manner that gave me much uneasiness: Franklin and Lee had been reluctant to engage in it, as I suppose,
knowing that they should differ in every thing and both of them as yet uncertain which Side I should take. I had now procured my Books
blank Books, and I took the Letters which We had received into my own hands, and after making all the Enquiries into the Subjects which I could, I wrote in my blank book the following Answers. The Book is fortunately in my Possession and now before me with the Letters in my [illegible]
handwriting. I shall insert these Letters because they will serve among many others to shew
the number of Persons who had their Eyes fixed upon our little Treasury, and under what a variety of pretences, and pretended Authorities they sett
up their Claims upon Us for money.Dr. Franklin, after he found that Mr. Lee and I agreed in Opinion and were determined to sign and send them, did not choose to let them go without his name.
Passi May 3. 1778
Your Bill upon our Banker was not paid, because it was drawn, without our leave; and before you had sent Us the Accounts to shew We were your Debtors, and he could not regularly pay a Bill on our Account, which he had not our orders to pay. We are Sir your most obedient Servants.
Passi May 3. 1778
We received your several Letters of the 23d. and 30th. of March and the fifteenth and 17th of April. We are obliged to you for the care you have taken respecting the sick Men. We shall apply as you advise for the discharge of Miggins, and hope to obtain it.
We have examined Mr. Bersolle's Accounts and find them approved by Captn.
Jones, his Officers, and as you have paid his draft We shall repay you. But We wish that hereafter you would not engage Us in any considerable Expence
without having received our orders, after acquainting Us with the Occasion.
We are, Sir, your most obedient humble Servants
Mr. Ross at Nantes.
Passi May 3. 1778
In a former Letter, you wrote Us, that you would send Us, the Invoices &c. of the Goods shipped, on the public Account, if We thought it necessary. We wrote for those, which would answer for the money, We had advanced to you. The Reason given in yours of the 18th for refusing it, does not appear to Us, at all sufficient. If it be unavoidable to seperate the part from the whole, We desire the whole may be sent agreable to your first proposal, which will also be of Use to Us, by shewing the nature and extent of the Supplies which have been sent. We therefore expect you will comply, without any farther delay, with what We desire, and which is indispensable.
You will be so good as to send Us a Copy of the order of the Commissioners, under which you say, the Ship Queen of France was purchased, as We find none such, here.
When you first applyed to Us for our Assistance, and represented that you had made Contracts for Goods, in pursuance of orders from the Committee of Congress, which contracts, if not fulfilled, would destroy your Credit, and, in consequence, hurt that of the Committee, it was agreed to furnish you [illegible]
with the Sum which you desired, and which you said would be sufficient to prevent those great inconveniences, on your promise to replace it. It is now near a Year since, and you have not performed that promise. The Disappointment has been very inconvenient to Us. Probably it was occasioned by your not receiving the Remittances you expected. However, We think you should have foreborne entering into any fresh contracts and Embarrassments; especially, as it was not required
or expected of you, by the Committee, as appears by their Letter to you of Decr.
30. of which you have sent Us, an extract; nor have they ever desired it, of Us; nor did you inform Us, when you made your engagements, that you had any expectation of our Assistance, to discharge them. A little consideration will convince you, that it is impossible for Us, to regulate our own purchases and engagements, and discharge our debts with punctuality, if other people, without our participation, allow themselves to run in debt, unnecessarily, as much as they please, and call upon Us for payment. By our complying with such unforeseen demands, We may soon, to prevent your discredit, become Bankrupts ourselves, which We think would be full as disreputable to Congress. We therefore now acquaint you, that We cannot give the permission you desire, of drawing on our Banker for the immense Sums you mention, and desire you would not have the least dependance
on Aids, that We have it not in our power to grant. We are, Sir, your most obedient humble Servants
B. Franklin, Arthur Lee, John Adams.
This day May 3. 1778
We had Company to dine with Us, Mr. Izzard and his Lady, Mr. Lloyd and his Lady, Dr. Bancroft, and many others. Dr. Franklin and Mr. Izzard were upon such terms that the former would not invite the latter. I was determined that I would not enter into their Resentments, and therefore said to the Dr. that I would invite Mr. Izzard and his Family, which I did accordingly and they all came, Mr. Izzard and Mrs. Izzard, their little Son and two little daughters. We sent for all our young Gentlemen at Mr. Le Coeurs Accademy
, and made a delightfull
Show of young Americans.
Dined at Mr. Chaumonts with his Family, and other Company.
May 5. Tuesday 1778.
Dined at home without company, which was a great rarity and esteemed by me a very great Blessing.
While I was at dinner alone, my Servant brought me a Letter