To the Honorable Congress of the United States January 6, 1779
From the original letter at the Library of Congress:
Philadelphia, January 6, 1779
Understanding that exceptions have been taken at some parts of my conduct, which exceptions as I am unacquainted with I cannot reply to: I therefore humbly beg leave to submit every part of my conduct public and private, so far as relate to public measures to the judgment of this Honble House, to be by them approved or censured as they shall judge proper — at the same time reserving to myself that conscious satisfaction of having ever intended well and to the best of my abilities executed those intentions.
The Honble Congress in April 1777 were pleased, not only unsolicited on my part, but wholly unknown to me, to appoint me unanimously Secretary to the Committee for foreign Affairs, which mode of appointment I conceive to be the most honorable that can take place. The salary they were pleased to affix to it was 70 dollars p. month. It has remained at the same rate ever since, and is not at this time equal to the most moderate expences I can live at; yet I have never complained; and always conceiving it my duty to bear a share of the inconveniences of the country, have ever chearfully submitted to them. This being my situation, I am at this time conscious of no error, unless the cheapness of my services, and the generosity with which I have endeavored to do good in other respects, can be imputed to me as a crime, by such individuals as may have acted otherwise.
As my appointment was honorable, therefore whenever it shall appear to Congress that I have not fulfilled their expectations, I shall, though with concern at any misapprehension that might lead to such an opinion, surrender up the books and papers entrusted to my care.
Were my appointment an office of profit it might become me to resign it, but as it is otherwise I conceive that such a step in me might imply a dissatisfaction on account of the smallness of the Pay. Therefore I think it my duty to wait the orders of this Honble House; at the same time begging leave to assure them that whatever may be their determination respecting me, my disposition to serve in so Honorable a cause, and in any character in which I can best do it, will suffer no alteration.
I am with profound respect your Honors Dutiful and Obt hble Servant
Philadelphia, Jany. 6th 1779