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Memoir, Correspondence, And Miscellanies, From The

I supposed that I might refund it


from the beginning, who kept

books of them, and knew well the form of these books, often paid bills twice. But how can I interfere with them, who have not a scrip of a pen on their subject, who never saw a book relating to them, and who, if I had the books, should much oftener be bewildered in the labyrinth, than the gentlemen who have kept them? I think it, therefore, most advisable, that what bills remain out, should be sent back to America for payment, and therefore advise Mr. Barclay to return thither all the books and papers relative to them. There, is the proper and ultimate deposite of all records of this nature. All these articles are very foreign to my talents, and foreign also, as I conceive, to the nature of my duties. Dr. Franklin was obliged to meddle with them, from the circumstances which existed. But, these having ceased, I suppose it practicable for your board to direct the administration of your monies here, in every circumstance. It is only necessary for me to draw my own allowances, and to order payment for services done by others, by my direction, and within the immediate line of my office; such as paying couriers, postage, and other extraordinary services, which must rest on my discretion, and at my risk, if disapproved by Congress. I will thank you for your advice on this subject, and if you think a resolution of your board necessary, I will pray you to send me such a one, and that it may relieve me from all concerns with the money of the United States, other than those I have just
spoken of. I do not mean by this to testify a disposition to render no service but what is rigorously within my duty. I am the farthest in the world from this; it is a question I shall never ask myself; nothing making me more happy than to render any service in my power of whatever description. But I wish only to be excused from intermeddling in business, in which I have no skill, and should do more harm than good.

Congress were pleased to order me an advance of two quarters' salary. At that time, I supposed that I might refund it, or spare so much from my expenses, by the time the third quarter became due. Probably, they might expect the same. But it has been impossible. The expense of my outfit, though I have taken it up on a scale as small as could be admitted, has been very far beyond what I had conceived. I have, therefore, not only been unable to refund the advance ordered, but been obliged to go beyond it. I wished to have avoided so much, as was occasioned by the purchase of furniture. But those who hire furniture, asked me forty per cent, a year for the use of it. It was better to buy, therefore; and this article, clothes, carriage, &c. have amounted to considerably more than the advance ordered. Perhaps it may be thought reasonable to allow me an outfit. The usage of every other nation has established this, and reason really pleads for it. I do not wish to make a shilling; but only my expenses to be defrayed, and in a moderate style. On the most moderate, which the reputation or interest of those I serve would admit, it will take me several years to liquidate the advances for my outfit. I mention this, to enable you to understand the necessities which have obliged me to call for more money than was probably expected, and, understanding them, to explain them to others. Being perfectly disposed to conform myself decisively to what shall be thought proper, you cannot oblige me more, than by communicating to me your sentiments hereon, which I shall receive as those of a friend, and govern myself accordingly.


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