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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Anne-Cesar La Luzurne, Chevalier de la Luzerne to Robert Morris
La Luzerne, Anne-César, chevalier de, 1741-1791
March 15, 1783
Volume 16, Pages 765-767

[From Executive Letter Book.]

Philadelphia, March 15th, 1783.


I have the satisfaction to inform you that his Majesty procures for the United States a Loan of Six Millions to be employed in the War department during the course of the current year. While I announce to you this new mark of the King’s friendship for the United States I must go into some details which relate to your operations and which will inform you of the motives which have induced his Majesty to make a new effort in favor of his Allies.

During the last year Sir, I rendered an account to his Majesties Ministers of the order which appeared to me to be introduced into your department of the restablishment of public credit and of the economy which accompanied your operations. I added that I considered the establishment of a general revenue for paying the Interest and gradual redemption of the principal of the public Debt as extremely probable. The delays and difficulties of communication

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would not permit me to wait until that operation was completed by the different Legislatures before I declared the wants of the United States and therefore I undertook to write to the Count de Vergennes that the disposition of the people to fulfil the engagements taken & to be taken by Congress seemed to me sufficiently favorable to determine his Majesty to lend for this Year new succor to the United States if the situation of his finances would permit. These assurances obtained the Loan of six millions, but the event has proved that I was deceived in the hopes which I thought myself enabled to give my Court and the affairs of your finances far from being bettered since the month of September the period at which my letters on this subject were written have on the contrary gone backward so that I perceive no certainty of the re-embursement of the funds formerly lent, or of those which are so. Thus, Sir, my hasty assurances have induced his Majesty to make that advance & in the moment when I am informed of it I am under the disagreeable necessity of informing his Minister that the hopes I had given are vanished & that my assurances were without foundation. I will say nothing of the personal embarrassment which I am reduced to by these circumstances, but I will take the liberty to observe that the best remedy in the present conjuncture is to take as soon as possible those measures which were not taken when I announced them.

The Count de Vergennes informs me Sir, that the Six Millions are lent to the United States in the same manner and under the same conditions with the sum which was lent last Year. That it shall be paid monthly at the rate of five hundred thousand Livers per month. But as it appears from what you did me the honor to write on a former occasion that you had anticipated a part of this Subsidy I must pray you to consider that the first months of this year will have been employed in payment of those anticipations & that it will be proper so to combine your drafts that they shall not be presented but at the monthly periods in which the funds are to be provided.

I have had the honor to inform you Sir, that this money is lent to the United States to enable them to carry on the War. The Wisdom of Congress will determine according to circumstances on the manner of effecting that important object & of compelling

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the enemy by joint efforts to conclude a solid and permanent Peace.

It remains for me to inform you Sir, that the King was unable to make this last effort without extreme difficulty. I have had the honor to communicate those which oppose considerable loans. They are so great, that I am commanded to inform you in the most positive Terms that it will be impossible for the King in any case whatever to obtain new advances for Congress for the next Year. As to the resources which you may seek else where than in France the details contained in those Letters which I had the honor to read to you will not permit a hope of success until the United States shall have established a permanent public revenue and the delay and repugnance with which they proceed in that business being known in Europe the disposition to lend money to Congress ceases, Lenders place their funds elsewhere; those Speculations which would have been directed towards the United States take a different turn and it will be extremely difficult to bring them back.

I abstain from repeating here the other part of the Count de Vergennes dispatches which I had the honor to communicate because the truths they contain are well known to you, and because they may all be reduced to this single position that without a speedy establishment of solid general revenues and an exact Performance of the engagements which Conyress have made you must renounce the expectation of loans in Europe.

I am ordered also Sir, to inform Congress that my Court expect they will have taken final and satisfactory measures to secure payment of the Interest of the debt contracted with his Majesty by the United States, but I content myself with communicating this circumstance to you & before announcing it directly to Congress I will wait till their present embarrassments shall be diminished.

From these details Sir, you will be able to judge of the impossibility of negotiating Bills upon your plenipotentiaries beyond the funds which remain free from the six millions lent this year. It is very clear that such Bills will not be paid by us, and it is from perfect confidence in your regularity upon that Subject that I shall assure the Count de Vergennes he may be certain no demand will be made on him beyond the sum already granted.

I have the honor to be, &c.,