<br /> Lee Letter: n659

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Daniel Carroll
Recipient: Thomas Sim Lee

Dear Sir,

I had the pleasure of receivg yours of the 17th. I wrote a few lines by an
Express enclosing a Letter to Col. Fitzhugh and another under cover to
the Commanding officer at Baltimore giving an acct of the Arms, &
Field pieces that were on their way down. I hope they gott safe to your
hands.1 Every thing in my power shall be
done to obtain more arms, but I dare not at present give you reason to
expect I shall succeed – they are exceedingly wanted in North Carolina.

Several Vessels arrivd here last Sunday from Cape Francois – which they left
on the 5th instant in Compy with the French fleet consisting of 23,
some say 27 Ships of the line & a few frigates. They kept company 3
days & parted off Cape Nichola Mole on the 8th – the fleet then
sailing Westerly. The Captns. & passengers beleive Count de Grasse
is bound for our coast. Among other reasons for this beleif, they say,
that several American pilots are on Board. If this be so, we may
expect, I suppose soon to hear of Rodney. The Intrepid, an old 74
French ship, accidentally Took fire at the Cape, & was burnt, most
of her Stores, rigging &c sav’d, & a french frigate was blown
up at sea, the crew perish’d.

Mr. Saml. Parsons writes to the Presidt from St. Pierre July
1st.2 The Substance – Official intelligence
from Marseilles via Malaga, that Heyder Ali Kan had taken by Storm
Arcate, every man put to

the Sword excepting abt 50 British Officers conceald by some French in
Heyders Army. Fally Cherry taken by Storm, Garrison likewise put to the
Sword. Porto-Novo & Ponticherry likewise taken & 60 thousand
marching to attack Bengal, which had thrown the British into the
greatest Consternation. This he says is confirmed by a packet arriv’d
at Antigua, adding that Heyder Ali Kan was beseiging Velour the
strongest settlement of the British in the interior parts of Indostan,
when the expresses left the Coast of Coromandel.

Mr. Necker has certainly resignd. This Step woud probably have not been
disagreable to the Spanish Ministry some time passd for particular
reasons, but at present it may possibly cause some embarrassment both
in the Spanish, & French finances. It appears by an account
publishd of the Latter by this great Financier, that notwithstanding
the great demands necessary for carrying on the war, he had manag’d the
resources of that Kingdom, so as to lessen not only the interest of,
but the National Debt itself, & increase the value of the public
funds, without having any new taxes laid. This public[ation] gave a
surprizing Spring to public credit. It convined the understanding, it
did more, it manifested the honesty of the person thro’ who’s hands the
Public money was to pass. This is the account given me of this Piece. I
have not had time to read it.3 You will be
sorry & surprizd that so able a man is laid aside. It is said he
was of an inflexible temper, which wou’d not perm[it] him to bend to
the opinions of some who’s patronage obtaind the station for him which
he held. It is likewise said he was averse to loans or Subsidys. He
intimated in his publication that an eco[no]mical management of the
resources of France was preferable to any Alliance.

I had made it a rule to say little to you by post, excepting what relates
to business, or public occurrences & therefore shall not add
further at present than to request you to present my Comps. to Mrs Lee,
& to those who may enquire after me. I am, Dear Sr. with great

Your Mo. Aff. & Obt Ser,

Danl. Carroll4


Receiver’s copy, James S. Copley Library, La Jolla, California.

1 Neither Carroll’s letter to Lee nor its enclosures have been found.

2 See Elias Boudinot to Lewis Pintard, August 20, 1781, note 1.

3 “This public[ation]” was undoubtedly Jacques Necker’s Compte rendu au roi,
his annual report as French minister of finance, which had been
published in February 1781. In this first public accounting of royal
finances, Necker made the misleading claim that the ordinary revenues
of the French government exceeded expenses sufficiently to cover
theinterest payments on the new war loans for the 1781 campaign.
Notwithstanding, Necker knew that the French war effort was
financially disastrous and had begun secret negotiations with the
British to end the war on terms unacceptable to the comte de
Vergennes and the French court. Ultimately, Vergennes, who regarded
the publication of Necker’s report as a blatant appeal to public
opinion and an interference in foreign affairs, urged Louis XVI to
accept Necker’s resignation in May. See Robert D. Harris, “Necker’s
Compte Rendu of 1781; a Reconsideration,” Journal of Modern History,
42 (June 1970): 161 – 83; his “French Finances and the American War,
1777 – 1783,” ibid., 48 (June 1976): 233 – 58; and Orville T. Murphy,
Charles Gravier, Comte De Vergennes, French Diplomacy in the Age of
Revolution: 1719 – 1787
(Albany: State University of New York Press,
1982), pp. 324 – 26, 399, 402.

4 Carroll also sent the following brief note to Lee on August 28. “I have
drawn an order in favor of my Son for £98 which he will present,
that so much may be applied towards the discharge of his & my
taxes. I shall take Care not to exceed your directions about drawing
money from Mullahan, & to allow for this Sum, or such part of it
as my Son may have occasion for.” Lee, Horsey, and Carroll Papers
deposit, MdHi.