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John Adams autobiography, part 3, "Peace," 1779-1780
sheet 1 of 18, 29 September - 4 November 1779

The following is a litteral Translation of a Letter I received from the His Excellency the Chevalier De La Luzerne, His Most Christian Majestys Minister Plenipotentiary to the United States of America.


I sincerely congratulate applaud myself, for having foreseen that your Residence in America would not be of long duration; and I congratulate your Fellow Citizens, on the choice they have made of you to proceed on the negotiation of that peace, which is to assure the repose of the Thirteen States. You will carry with you, that moderation and Equity which have appeared to me to constitute the foundation of your Character; and you are already sure to find in France the Ministry of the King, in the same dispositions. The Choice of Congress is approved by all Persons of honest Intentions in America, and it will be equally applauded in Europe, and I will be answerable for the Suffrages and the Confidence of all Men by whom you shall be known. You, Sir, will labour to give Peace to your Country: and my cares will have for their Object, to draw closer the ties, which unite your Nation to mine. Our Occupations then will have some Analogy, and I pray you to be well persuaded, that I shall take an immediate Interest in your Success.
The Frigate, The Sensible, is still in the Port of Boston: it will depend upon You, Sir, to consult with Mr. De Chavagne, in case you should determine to go with him. I am persuaded, beforehand, that the Minister of the Marine, will be of Opinion that We could not make a better Use of this Vessel, than by employing her to carry You to Europe. I have the honour to be with the most inviolable Attachment, Sir, your most humble and most obedient Servant
Le Che de La Luserne.
To Mr. John Adams Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States.


I have only time to inform you, how much interest I have taken in the Choice which your Countrymen have made of you, to go and negotiate the Peace in Europe. I have been really touched, by that Unanimity and Zeal, with which all Minds have united, in the Opinion which they have conceived of you; and in the Persuasion, that a Minister, without Prejudices and without any other Passion than that for the Happiness of his Country, and the conservation of the Alliance, was the Man the most proper to conduct the important Work of Peace.
I desire very much, Sir, that you would carry with you again to Europe, the young Gentleman your Son, notwithstanding the Aversion he has to Navigation. He will learn of you the means of being, one day, usefull to his Country; and your Precepts and your Sentiments will teach him to cherrish my Nation, who perceive more and more from day to day, how much her Union with You is natural and reciprocally advantageous. I am, with respect, Sir your most humble and most obedient Servant
De Marbois
To Mr. John Adams &c.
The following Letter was sent at the same time to the Captain of the Frigate.
The Mission, Sir, with which the Congress has charged Mr. John Adams, is of such importance, that Mr. Gerard and I have thought it necessary to take measures the most prompt and the most certain to assure his Passage. We have accordingly proposed to Congress to take Advantage of your Frigate, for the conveyance of that Minister; and our Proposition has been accepted: Nevertheless the Congress have of their own Accord, inserted the Condition, that Mr. Adams should make the convenient Arrangements for his Departure, in a reasonable time, so that your Frigate may not be detained too long. I therefore reitterate the prayer, which I have already made to you, Sir, to concert with Mr. Adams, concerning the measures, which he shall judge convenient to take for his departure. . . . I hope, considering the nature of the circumstance, The Minister will entirely approve the delay which you may be obliged to make, of your departure; and I am persuaded on the other hand that Mr. John Adams will make with all possible celerity the preparations for his Embarkation. &c. &c. Compliments &c.
Signed Le Chevalier De La Luserne.

I think entirely, Sir, as Mr. The Chevalier De La Luserne thinks, and I unite my  [illegible Requests with his, and Compliments &c. &c.
Signed Gerard
To the Captain Chavagne Commander of the Frigate the Sensible.
To these Letters I sent the following Answers


I have the honour of your Letter from Philadelphia of the 29th. of September, and return you my sincere Thanks for your kind congratulations, on the honor which has been done me, in my Election to an important Negotiation in Europe. The Sentiments your Excellency is pleased to express of my Character, and of the good Opinion of my own Countrymen, in general, are exceedingly flattering to me.
There is no Character, in which I could Act, with so much pleasure, as in that of a Peacemaker. But Alass! When I reflect upon the Importance, Delicacy, Intricacy and danger of the Service, I feel a great deal of diffidence in myself. Yet when I consider the remarkable Unanimity with which I was chosen, after Congress had been so long distressed with the Appearance of their foreign Affairs, and so divided in Sentiment about most other Characters, I am penetrated with a Sense of the honor done to me, more than I can express.
Your Excellency may be assured, that wherever I go, I shall carry with me, the highest Opinion of the Wisdom, the Equity and Policy, of the present Minister from France, and the fullest persuasion, that his negotiations will be reciprocally advantageous to the Allies, incessantly tending to strengthen the tyes of Interest and good Will, which at present unite them.
Your Excellency will be pleased to accept of my thanks, for the favour of a passage in the Frigate the Sensible. . . . I have not yet received from Congress any dispatches: As soon as they arrive I shall immediately wait on Captain Chavagne, and the Frigate shall not be unnecessarily detained on my Account. I will either embark immediately, or inform the Captain that I cannot have the pleasure to go with him.
I must also request your Excellency to present my respectful Compliments and Thanks to Mr. Gerard, for so obligingly joining his instances with yours to the Captain of the Frigate, for my Passage in her.

I have the Honor to be, with the sincerest Attachment &c.
John Adams
His Excellency The Chevalier De La Luserne.

My dear Sir

I had the Honour of your favour of the 29. Septr. by express, and I thank you for your kind Congratulations and Compliments on my Election to the Momentous Office of Peace maker. I am really Sir, much affected with the Unanimity, with which Congress have conferred this Honour upon me.
I cannot be sufficiently sensible of the favourable Opinion you express of me. But I feel myself agitated with too many very strong Passions, relative to myself and my Family, besides those which regard the Prosperity of my Country, and the conservation of the Allyance, to subscribe entirely to that Opinion.
My little Son, Sir, is very sensible of the honour you have done him in mentioning his Name upon this Occasion: but I believe it will be my duty to leave him at home, that his education may be, where his Life is to be spent. He has already learned to esteem and respect the French Nation, and these Sentiments I hope will never leave him.
In whatever Country I may be, I shall never forget the agreable hours I have passed with Mr. Marbois, nor cease to hope for his honor and prosperity. I hope you have found every Thing as agreable at Philadelphia as you could expect, and that all Circumstances will be come from day to day, more and more so. -- I am very ambitious of carrying with me to Europe any dispatches which his Excellency the Chevalier may think proper to entrust to my care, especially Letters to his Friends, among whom, I have particularly in my Eye Mr. Malserbs. I request also the same favour from you, Sir, and have the honor to be with an affectionate respect &c.
John Adams.
Mr. Marbois Secretary to the French Embassy in America.
To the President of Congress


I had Yesterday the Honour of receiving your Letter of the twentyeth of October inclosed with two Commissions, appointing me, Minister Plenipotentiary, from the United States, to negotiate Peace and Commerce with Great Britain; together with Instructions for my Government in the Execution of those Commissions; Copies of Instructions to the Ministers Plenipotentiary, at Versailles and Madrid;

Cite web page as: John Adams autobiography, part 3, "Peace," 1779-1780, sheet 1 of 18 [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society. http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/
Original manuscript: Adams, John. John Adams autobiography, part 3, "Peace," 1777-1778. Part 3 is comprised of 18 sheets and 1 insertion; 72 pages total. Original manuscript from the Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
Source of transcription: Butterfield, L.H., ed. Diary and Autobiography of John Adams. Vol. 4. Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1961.
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