From the Commissioners of the Treasury
Board of Treasury July 22d. 1788.
We have the honor of transmitting to you enclosed, a certifiedAct of Congress of the 18th. Inst., relative to the papers belonging to the late Office of the Commissioner of Foreign Accounts. It is of great moment to the public that all these papers should be forwarded safely and without delay: we must therefore request your immediate attention to this Business.
Amongst the papers belonging to Mr. Barclay’s Office, we consider all such as may have been delivered to him by Dr. Franklin, or any of the servants of the United States in Europe, although they may not relate to accounts actually settled by Mr. Barclay: that such papers were delivered, is stated in Dr. Franklin’s Letter to this Board of the 31st. January last, an Extract of which you have enclosed.
We have no doubt that in the delivery of these papers you will use such precautions, as will enable the Board to ascertain (in case any of the packages containing them should be lost or opened) who is the person properly responsible for the same.
We have the honor to be with the greatest respect Your Excellency’s Most Obedient Humble Servants,
RC (DLC); in a clerk’s hand; signed by each of the Commissioners. Enclosures: (1) Copy of resolution of Congress directing that “the Minister of the United States at the Court of France … transmit by such conveyance as he may judge most safe and convenient to the Treasury Board all the Books and papers which belong to the late Office of the Commissioners of Foreign Accounts” (DLC; clerk’s copy; signed by Charles Thomson; endorsed by TJ: “Treasury board”). (2) Copy of a letter from Benjamin Franklin to Commissioners of the Treasury, 31 Jan. 1788, stating that, immediately on receipt of theirs of the 11th, enclosing one from Thomas Barclay, he had “ordered a fresh search to be made for the Papers … respecting the Vouchers of Mr. Ross’s Accounts deposited in my Office when in France; and after the most careful and diligent examination nothing of the kind is found in my possession.” Franklin added: “When I was about to leave that Kingdom, I ordered all papers relating to the public Accounts, and everything deposited with me as Consul (I having acted in that capacity before Mr. Barclay’s arrival) to be put into his hands, which was done. I cannot therefore but be of opinion, that tho’ he may not have taken notice of those vouchers, nothing having required his adverting to them, yet they will be found with the other Papers of his Office when they shall arrive in America” (DLC; clerk’s copy; attested by William Duer).