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with it. But we shall not tax our readers with remarks on these extracts. Their language and their purpose are but too plain. We need not even ask whether a man, with such designs in his head, is to be credited for immaculate disinterestedness in representing the disabilities or disqualifications of a public officer, whom he is thus covertly attempting to undermine and supersede. Nor need we ask whether the vague charges of a man under such a bias, unless accompanied with proofs bearing the marks of truth as if written with a sunbeam, ought to weigh with a considerate mind more than a feather or a straw. Mr Lee abounds with charges, but seldom with facts to support them. In the above extracts, for instance, he charges somebody with neglect of duty, dissipation, private schemes, misdeeds, public plunder, and other heinous misdemeanors. But who is it? That is a secret which he keeps to himself. Where were these acts committed, when, how, and for what end? This is all a secret, and you are left to conjecture, suspect, and wonder. The only thing of which you are made positively certain is, that, if Dr Franklin can be got off to the quiet retreat of Vienna, and Mr Lee is left to control affairs in the bustling world of Paris, all disorders will cease, and a new era will commence in the young annals of American diplomacy.
We are far from wishing to screen Dr Franklin from any just imputation, that may rest against him in regard to these differences with his colleagues. It is not pretended that he was without fault, or that he gave no provocation for occasional dissatisfaction and ill feeling. But we do maintain, that no shadow of reproach can be cast on his integrity, either in his political negotiations or his management of money concerns while in Europe. That he was always as judicious in contracts, and careful in expenditures as a practised economist or man of business might have been, we are not prepared to say; but that he acted honestly, uprightly, and for the best interests of his country to the full extent of his knowledge and judgment, we are as entirely convinced, as we are that these facts can be affirmed of any public minister, who has ever gone from the United States to Europe. His great fame and extraordinary character gained him much admiration and notice in France, and placed him in a sphere above his colleagues. As their powers in office were equal with his, it was natural that they should be annoyed by this marked distinction shown
to him, particularly when taken in connexion with his usual manners to them, which were evidently not the most conciliatory or courteous. He seemed willing to enjoy the meed of his fame, without giving himself much trouble or concern about the social rank or public estimation of his associates. This may be accounted for in some sort by his advanced age and bodily infirmities, his habits of reserve in conversation, and his cold and cautious temperament. But the cause, wherever it may be found, does not palliate the defect, and we are as little disposed to apologize for the one as to disavow the other.
One of the insinuations of Mr Lee, to the disparagement of Dr Franklin's integrity, was, that he showed a culpable indulgence to persons, who, he knew, or ought to have known, made a misuse of public money. It is implied that this was a mode to which he was not reluctant to resort for the purpose of gratifying his friends; in other words, that, in this respect, he was faithless to his public trust, and a tacit abettor of frauds and criminal extravagance. Without the least hesitation, we pronounce such an insinuation as indefensible as it is reproachful. The commissioners had appointed Mr Williams, a nephew of Dr Franklin, to be a temporary agent to transact coininercial business at Nantes. Mr Lee had a sharp difference, or rather a quarrel, with Williams about his accounts. Dr Franklin did not enter into the quarrel, and hence he was accused of showing a reprehensible indulgence to his nephew in regard to the pecuniary concerns of his agency; or, in short, that he wished to keep him in a post where he could put money in his pocket at the expense of the public. But let us appeal to Dr Franklin's own words. When Mr William Lee (who was then the chief commercial agent at Nantes) was about going to Prussia, he proposed to appoint Mr Williams to be a permanent agent. Dr Franklin wrote to him in reply as follows; Your proposition about appointing agents in the ports shall be laid before the commissioners when they meet. In the mean time I can only say, that, as to my nephew, Mr Williams, though I have from long knowledge and experience of him a high opinion of his abilities, activity, and integrity, I will have no hand in his appointment, or in approving it, not being desirous of his being in any way concerned in that business.' And yet we are called on to believe, that his holding the appointment was a scheme of Dr Franklin's to give him a chance to grow rich out of the public money!
Again, he repeatedly urged Congress to relieve him from the burden of the mercantile business, in the management of which nearly all the expenditures of the money that passed through his hands were made. The trouble and vexation,' he says, 'which these maritime affairs give me, are inconceivable. I have often expressed to Congress my wish to be relieved from them, and that some person better acquainted with them, and better situated, might be appointed to manage them. Much money as well as time would, I am sure, be saved by such an appointment.' On several occasions he reiterated earnestly the same request; that is, he desired Congress to take out of his hands the very means, which his enemies have asserted him to have been eager in retaining, for the purpose of advancing his private ends at the expense of his integrity. These facts require no comment.
A rumor went abroad scon after Dr Franklin's return from Europe, that there was a deficiency of a million of livres on his part during his residence in France, which remained unaccounted for, and his enemies took care to represent, that he was a defaulter to this amount. Indeed, it appeared on the face of the banker's accounts, that both he and Dr Franklin had given credit for receiving a million of livres more than the amount of expenditures reported by them. That is, they had acknowledged the receipt of three millions from the French government, as a free gift, at the beginning of the mission, when only the two millions, which we have heretofore mentioned as having been paid by quarterly instalments, were accounted for. This fact was communicated to Franklin by the Secretary of Congress, and he was as much puzzled with it as the Secretary himself. He wrote to Mr Grand, the American banker in Paris, who had signed the receipt with him, asking for an explanation. Mr Grand was equally puzzled, and applied to M. Dureval, an officer in the treasury department of France. The reply was, that from the books of the office it appeared, that three millions had been paid as a free gift, but that the payment of the first million was dated June 10th, 1776, six months before Dr Franklin arrived in France, and nearly seven before Mr Grand became the American banker. It followed that neither of these gentlemen could be in any way implicated in the payment or expenditure. Count de Vergennes declined giving a copy of the receipt of this million, or the name of the person to whom it was paid, alleging this to be a VOL. XX -No. 67.
thing of no consequence, since the money was a gratuity, and nobody was held answerable for it. When Gouverneur Morris was minister in France from the United States several years afterwards, he procured a copy of the receipt from the public office, which showed the money to have been paid to Beaumarchais, and this is the remnant of the celebrated claim of that individual and his heirs, which has been before Congress in one shape or another for more than half a century. We do not profess to give a history of this transaction, but merely to state such results as prove with what extreme injustice any injurious reflections were cast upon Dr Franklin respecting it.
Lastly, it has been often said, and is sometimes repeated at this day, that Dr Franklin never settled his public accounts. In its spirit and purport this assertion is essentially false. Some months before Dr Franklin left France, Mr Barclay, the American Consul to that country, arrived there, with full power and authority from Congress to liquidate and settle the accounts of all persons in Europe, who had been intrusted with the expenditure of the public money of the United States. Under this authority he examined methodically the entire mass of Dr Franklin's accounts. The difference between the result of his investigation and the statement of Dr Franklin was seven sols, or about six cents, which by mistake the Doctor had overcharged. Mr Barclay was ready to close and finally settle the accounts, but, at Dr Franklin's request, they were kept open for the inspection of Congress, because he believed there were other charges, which Congress ought rightfully to pay, but which Mr Barclay did not feel authorized to allow. Soon after his return, he sent his accounts to Congress, with a request that they might be examined, and the separate charges considered. Congress delayed the examination, and a few months before his death, Franklin wrote to Congress on the subject, as follows; Reports have for some time past been circulated here, and propagated in the newspapers, that I am greatly indebted to the United States for large sums that had been put into my hands, and that I avoid a settlement. This, together with the little time one of my age may expect to live, makes it necessary for me to request earnestly, which I hereby do, that the Congress would be pleased, without further delay, to examine those accounts, and if they find therein any article or articles which they do not understand or approve, that they would cause me to be acquainted with the same, that I may
have an opportunity of offering such explanations or reasons in support of them as may be in my power, and then that the accounts may be finally closed.' Nothing more needs be added, we believe, to vindicate Dr Franklin from censure or suspicion in regard to this subject.
We might pursue these inquiries through all their ramifications, and we are confident that the result would in every instance contribute to exalt the character and brighten the fame of Franklin. Prejudice has done him a wrong, which time. and truth will adjust. He was an early, a true, a steady, an enlightened friend to his country, and for half a century a most. able and faithful defender of her liberties. The more his political principles, designs, and acts are scrutinized, the more they will be found to demand the admiration, the respect, and the gratitude of his countrymen.
ART. IX.-Memoir, Correspondence, and Miscellanies, from the Papers of THOMAS JEFFERSON. Edited by Thomas Jefferson Randolph. 4 vols. 8vo. Charlottesville. F. Carr & Co. 1829.
THE publication of this work has excited an uncommon degree of interest. Mr Jefferson was an active leader of public opinion, from his first appearance as a politician until the close of his political career, a period of forty years; and he continued to influence by his advice the course of public measures, long after he had withdrawn himself within the shade of private life. He has stood before two generations. The same political doctrines which he first espoused, he advocated with persevering consistency long after most of those who were his original adherents or opponents had disappeared from the world. He survived to review the judgment which had been passed upon him by one age, and these posthumous documents will establish the rank which he is to hold in the estimation of the present age and of posterity.
There are no subjects so attractive to our curiosity or our sympathy, as the fortunes and trials, the reflections and purWe love to watch their movements, poses of eminent men. as they appear conspicuously on the public stage, whether at