Dear Sir Passi near Paris May 14. 1778.
Your two Letters of April 25, and May 31 are before me. I thank you for the trouble you have taken in searching for the Breeches. I have no suspicion of the Servants at your house. I rather conjecture that once, upon the road, when a few Things were taken out of my Trunk, this Article might slip aside. The Gold could not have been the temptation for it was hid in the Waistband. However, whether it is in the hands of a Thief or an honest finder, I wish he knew of the Gold for it might be of Service to him. So much for that.2
I am not disposed to find fault with any thing I meet with, in this Country. Such a disposition, in any Traveller, in any Country, I should esteem a Mark of a littleness of Mind: but in a Person situated as I am, and sustaining the public trust, that has been committed to me, I should hold it, not only an Absurdity, but a Misdemeanor.
The Gentleman you allude to,3 I hope has been more upon his guard, because from a long Acquaintance, with his Character and conduct, I know he has Abilities and merit, and, from all that I have seen of him here, I am convinced that he is actuated by great Zeal and Anxiety for the public good.... A fatal Misunderstanding, between some Characters, of importance, has given rise to reflections upon each others Conduct that must have hurt the reputation of our Country. The Gentleman you allude to, thinks that our Affairs have been mismanaged and the public Interest imprudently dissipated: and that many Persons have been improperly admitted to the public Purse. Another Gentleman, who has had the principal direction of the Purse, [facing 98] [facing 99] 99 complains of reflections upon the French Nation and Government, Customs, manners &c. I wish there were no ground for any of these reflections: But one thing I know, that an immense Sum of Money is gone, that a great Sum of Money is still due. And another thing I know, that I am at a loss to discover what America has received as an equivalent for all these Sums and Debts.
As to Mr. Delap, whom you recommend for Agent, I have not a Sentiment but of respect for that Gentleman: but, Sir, the Appointment of continental Agents and the Management of commercial Affairs, is now in a new Channel under the orders of Congress, and I believe the Commissioners will not think themselves at Liberty to interfere in it. Mr. Bondfield I believe has a regular appointment, and for any thing I have ever heard behaves well. If any complaints should arise, the Commissioners will undoubtedly attend to them, with the utmost impartiality.
If you should determine homewards, be so good as to let me know as early as you can, and the part of the Continent to which you shall go.... Whether you go or stay, I wish you all happiness and prosperity, being with sincere Esteem your friend and Servant.
Mr. William McCreery at Bourdeaux.