Page:Dramatic Moments in American Diplomacy (1918).djvu/49

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29
IN AMERICAN DIPLOMACY

old gentleman of seventy took upon himself tasks beside which even the immense volume of business thrown upon our embassies at the outbreak of the World War was a bagatelle.

He became the principal financier of the bankrupt Colonies. On leaving home he had subscribed every cent of his own cash to the first Liberty Loan. And upon reaching his exalted post, instead of remittances for salary, he received innumerable drafts drawn on him by Congress. This was the only way Congress had of getting any money. It drew on Franklin to pay for its powder and its cannon, its ships and its seamen, its uniforms and its supplies. Who on earth was to take this melancholy paper of a desperate adventure, they did not know. But Franklin responded, first to last, with 52,000,000 francs. Wharton, the great authority on International Law, says that he exercised the function of Secretary of State and of the Treasury in assuming these duties; of Secretary of War in purchasing and forwarding supplies, and in recruiting officers