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Letter from François, Marquis de Barbé-Marbois to the Continental Congress
Barbé-Marbois, François, marquis de, 1745-1837
December 01, 1784
Volume 17, Page 113

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M. DE MARBOIS TO THE DELEGATES IN CONGRESS ASSEMBLED.
[From Executive Letter Book.]

Note.

The Chevalier de la Luzerne & since his departure the undersigned charge des affairs of His Majesty have received frequent orders to press the officers, Agents and other accountants employed for the service of the Land and Sea forces on this Continent during the late War, to render their accounts. These Agents and others delay rendering their accounts for divers causes; but most of them alledge the difficulty they meet with in bringing to account the Agents or Correspondents in America whom they have employed. They add that when process is Commenced for Settling the Accounts between them and the Americans, the latter avail themselves of the slowness in the usual forms of Justice in order to gain time and fatigue their Adversaries with all sorts of delays, untill their affairs indispensably call them to France & force them to submit to an unjust accommodation.

Whatever may be the Grounds of these allegations the undersigned has the Honor to inform Congress that the French Agents employed on this Continent by refusing to render their Accounts put it out of the power of the Treasurers General of the Departments of War and Marine to settle theirs, and of consequence that the distribution of Prizes cannot be made to the officers and seamen of the different squadrons. To remove every pretext or excuse from the Agents, the undersigned entreats that Congress would be pleased to consider whether it might not be proper, for them to recommend to the several States the passing of Laws for determining in a summary way in their Supreme Courts the differences of this nature which exist or may arise on account of the Fleet & Army of His Majesty during the late War. If Congress shall think proper to adopt this measure the undersigned entreats that they would be pleased not to delay the recommendations to the several States which are now assembled in their Legislative Capacities, and he considers this as the principal means of executing the orders which he has received not to admit of any further delay of the Agents of the French Fleet & Army in rendering their accounts.

Signed DE MARBOIS.

Philadelphia, 1st December, 1784.