Thursday, June 22, 2006

Well, well....what have we here?

Hope that your breakfast has had time to digest before you read the following. It sure made my stomach turn when I first read it....
Autobiography Draft Fragment, January 6 through July 27
Thomas Jefferson,
July 27, 1821
Adams returned to America before his election as Vice President.] future councel on our affairs in their hands. But I had no powers, no instructions, no means, and no familiarity with the subject. It had always been exclusively under his management, except as to occasional and partial deposits in the hands of Mr. Grand, banker in Paris, for special and local purposes. These last had been exhausted for some time, and I had fervently pressed the Treasury board to replenish this particular deposit; as Mr. Grand now refused to make further advances. They answered candidly that no funds could be obtained until the new government should get into action, and have time to make it's arrangements. Mr. Adams had received his appointment to the court of London while engaged at Paris, with Dr. Franklin and myself, in the negotiations under our joint commissions. He had repaired thence to London, without returning to the Hague to take leave of that government. He thought it necessary however to do so now, before he should leave Europe, and accordingly went there. I learned his departure from London by a letter from Mrs. Adams received on the very day on which he would arrive at the Hague. A consultation with him, & some provision for the future was indispensable, while we could yet avail ourselves of his powers. For when they would be gone, we should be without resource. I was daily dunned by a company who had formerly made a small loan to the U S. the principal of which was now become due; and our bankers in Amsterdam had notified me that the interest on our general debt would be expected in June; that if we failed to pay it, it would be deemed an act of bankruptcy and would effectually destroy the credit of the U S. and all future prospect of obtaining money there; that the loan they had been authorized to open, of which a third only was filled, had now ceased to get forward, and rendered desperate that hope of resource. I saw that there was not a moment to lose, and set out for the Hague on the 2d. morning after receiving the information of Mr. Adams's journey. I went the direct road by Louvres, Senlis, Roye, Pont St. Maxence, Bois le duc, Gournay, Peronne, Cambray, Bouchain, Valenciennes, Mons, Bruxelles, Malines, Antwerp, Mordick, dick, and Rotterdam, to the Hague, where I happily found Mr. Adams. He concurred with me at once in opinion that something must be done, and that we ought to risk ourselves on doing it without instructions, to save the credit of the U S. We foresaw that before the new government could be adopted, assembled, establish it's financial system, get the money into the treasury, and place it in Europe, considerable time would elapse; that therefore we had better provide at once for the years 88. 89. & 90. in order to place our government at it's ease, and our credit in security, during that trying interval. We set out therefore by the way of Leyden for Amsterdam, where we arrived on the 10th. I had prepared an estimate showing that
... Florins.
there would be necessary for the year
88 ... 531,937-10
89 ... 538,540 90 ... 473,540
Total, ... 1,544,017-10...
Flor. to meet this the bankers had in hand ... 79,268-2-8
& the unsold bonds would yield ... 542,800 ... 622,068-2-8
leaving a deficit of ... 921,949-7-4
we proposed then to borrow a million yielding ... 920,000
which would leave a small deficiency of ... 1,949-7-4
Mr. Adams accordingly executed 1000. bonds, for 1000. florins each, and deposited them in the hands of our bankers, with instructions however not to issue them until Congress should ratify the measure. This done, he returned to London, and I set out for Paris; and as nothing urgent forbade it, I determined to return along the banks of the Rhine to Strasburg, and thence strike off to Paris. I accordingly left Amsterdam on the 30th of March, and proceeded by Utrecht, Nimeguen, Cleves, Duysberg, Dusseldorf, Cologne, Bonne, Coblentz, Nassau, Hocheim, Frankfort, & made an excursion to Hanau, thence to Mayence and another excursion to Rudesheim, & Johansberg; then by Oppenheim, Worms, and Manheim, and an excursion to Heidelberg, then by Spire, Carlsruh, Rastadt & Kelh, to Strasburg, where I arrived Apr. 16th, and proceeded again on the 18th, by Phalsbourg, Fenestrange, Dieuze, Moyenvie, Nancy, Toul, Ligny, Barleduc, St. Diziers, Vitry, Chalons sur Marne, Epernay, Chateau Thierri, Meaux, to Paris where I arrived on the 23d. of April1; and I had the satisfaction to reflect that by this journey our credit was secured, the new government was placed at ease for two years to come, and that
[Note 1 A journal of this tour, kept by Jefferson, is printed in Washington's edition of his writings, ix., 373.] as well as myself were relieved from the torment of incessant duns, whose just complaints could not be silenced by any means within our power.
A Consular Convention had been agreed on in 84. between Dr. Franklin and the French government containing several articles so entirely inconsistent with the laws of the several states, and the general spirit of our citizens, that Congress withheld their ratification, and sent it back to me with instructions to get those articles expunged or modified so as to render them compatible with our laws. The minister retired unwillingly from these concessions, which indeed authorized the exercise of powers very offensive in a free state. After much discussion it was reformed in a considerable degree, and the Convention was signed by the Count Montmorin and myself, on the 14th. of Nov. 88 not indeed such as I would have wished; but such as could be obtained with good humor & friendship.(1)
[Note 1 Among the Jefferson MSS. in the Department of State are printed copies of both the consular conventions negotiated by Franklin and Jefferson, and the original draft of the latter, in Jefferson's handwriting.]
Inconsistent with the laws of the several states, you say, Tom? And to the general spirit of our citizens as well, eh? Bet I can guess what it was that was so inconsistent. How about you? Most bill collectors don't generally like facing armed debtors. Looks like the Count is finally getting his way with us though, doesn't it?

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