A gentleman lately arrived from New York tells me, he thinks it will be satisfactory to Congress, to be informed of the effect produced here by the insult of Longchamps on Monsieur de Marbois. Soon after my arrival in France last summer, it was the matter of a conversation between the Count de Vergennes and myself. I explained to him the effect of the judgment against Longchamps. He did not say that it was satisfactory, but neither did he say a word from which I could collect that it was not so. The conversation was not official, because foreign to the character in which I then was. He has never mentioned a word on the subject to me since, and it was not for me to introduce it at any time. I have never once heard it mentioned in conversation, by any person of this country, and have no reason to suppose that there remains any uneasiness on the subject. I have indeed been told, that they had sent orders to make a formal demand of Longchamps from Congress, and had immediately countermanded these orders. You know whether this be true. If it be, I should suspect the first orders to have been surprised from them by some exaggeration, and that the latter was a correction of their error, in the moment of further reflection. Upon the whole, there certainly appears to me no reason to urge the State, in which the fact happened, to any violation of their laws, nor to set a precedent which might hereafter be used in cases more interesting to us than the late one.
In a late conversation with the Count de Vergennes, he asked me if the condition of our finances was improving. He did not make an application of the question to the arrearages of their interest, though perhaps he meant that I should apply it. I told him the impost still found obstacles, and explained to him the effects which I hoped from our land office. Your letter of the 15th of April did not come to hand till the 27th ultimo. I enclose a letter from Mr. Dumas to the President of Congress, and accompany the present with the Leyden Gazette and Gazette of France, from the date last sent you to the present time. I have the honor to be, with high esteem, Sir,
your most obedient
and most humble servant,
LETTER XCII.—TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES, August 15, 1785
TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES.
Paris, August 15, 1785.
In the conversation which I had the honor of having with your Excellency, a few days ago, on the importance of placing, at this time, the commerce between France and America on the best footing possible, among other objects of this commerce, that of tobacco was mentioned, as susceptible of greater encouragement and advantage to the two nations. Always distrusting what I say in a language I speak so imperfectly, I will beg your permission to state, in English, the substance of what I had then the honor to observe, adding some more particular details for your consideration.