Papers of John Adams, volume 9

From Joseph Gardoqui & Sons, 15 March 1780 Gardoqui, Joseph & Sons (business) JA From Joseph Gardoqui & Sons, 15 March 1780 Gardoqui, Joseph & Sons (business) Adams, John
From Joseph Gardoqui & Sons
Hond. Sir Bilbao 15th March 1780

We have in course been honour'd with your much esteemed 25th. Feby.1 and 1st Instant and are happy to hear of your safe arrivall at your place of residence where most sincerely wish you all manner of success.

We expected 'ere now to have had the pleasure of giving you some agreable intelligence from America, from whence we dayly expectt some arrivalls, but none has apear'd to this day, however you may depend that whenever it does, will immidiatly comunicate you, assur'd that we shall with great pleasure ship duplicates and triplicates of the same sort goods sent per Babson and the next oportunities that shou'd offer, taking proper care that the ships and Masters are such as may produce the desir'd effectt.

Give us leave to beg that you wou'd not mention the Commission any more, we are happy whenever we can be of service to any private person of your States, so that you may hereby infer our degree of satisfaction in rendering you any, so pray be free of comand.

We have postly advises from our brother at Madrid of Mr. Carmiachael's wellfare, and of their being dayly companions, and by yesterday's letter we find they soon expectt to see there his Excellency John Jay Esqr. whom they expect to meet at Aranjuez which is 7. leagues beyond Madrid, so that whatever intelligence we can gett of his Excellency's success, you may depend to be inform'd by those who 52beg leave to return you many thanks for mentioning to said Minister. We hope with you to see soon a solid and lasting treaty between your Constituents and this Kingdom being our heartiest wish. It is with pleasure we hear of the strong armament preparing at Brest, and if we have some further hints of their being bound to America, for which parts an equal armament is preparing at Cadiz, and there is some Accounts that mention that they are to be joyn'd, so that it must precisely produce some good effectt towards you, however we shou'd be glad to hear that they are bound that way. You may rest assur'd that no oportunity will be lost in comuniting your worthy Lady of your wellfare and everything else that may tend to make her eassy in your absence.

In expectation of your further comands we beg leave to add our respectts to the Honble. F. Dana Esqr. and the rest of the Gentlemen and subscrive with the greatest esteem, Hond. Sir Your most obt. & obliged Servts.

Joseph Gardoqui & Sons

RC (Adams Papers;) endorsed: “Gardodqui. 15. March ansd. May. 14.” For JA's reply of 14 May, see the letter of 13 May from Gardoqui & Sons, notes 1 and 4 (below).


Vol. 8:363–364.

From Arthur Lee, 15 March 1780 Lee, Arthur JA From Arthur Lee, 15 March 1780 Lee, Arthur Adams, John
From Arthur Lee
Dear Sir L'Orient March 15th. 1780

By the bursting of the Lock of one of my trunks on the journey, I was so unfortunate as to lose the packet of M. Gerards Letters; among which was that you copied, and of which I must beg you to send me an authenticated Copy.1

Since my arrival here, I receivd a Packet from Congress which came by the Confederacy. In that is the Copy of one of the most false and wicked Papers I have read upon the subject, given in to Congress by Mr. Carmichael. In that He says, “I have frequently declard that Mr. A. Lee had not the confidence of the Court of France. My reasons for this declaration are among others, the Chevalier Grand and his Brother Mr. Grand, Gentlemen who at various times acted as secret Agents between the Commissioners and the Court of France, in whose assertions I placd confidence because I saw that the Court entrusted them with secrets of the highest importance, and because I never found myself deceivd by these Gentlemen in any other information I had the honor to receive from them while employd by the Commissioners abroad. I was informd and beleive that this want of 53confidence arose from information given by M. Garnier chargé des affairs for the Court of Versailles at London.”2

You will oblige me much, if you will show this Extract to Mr. Grand and M. Garnier, and write me what they say to it. I always entertaind and do still entertain too high an opinion both of Mr. Grand's veracity and discretion to beleive he ever told Mr. Carmichael what he here asserts. But I shall change my opinion if he refuses to contradict this assertion, since it has been made with a manifest design of injuring me and imposing upon Congress.

As Mr. C. coud not know that these Gentlemen were entrusted with Secrets of the highest importance by the Court, unless they communicated those Secrets to him, I do not see how any other conclusion can be drawn from what Mr. C. says of them, but that either they were not so trusted or that they betrayd their trust in such communication to him. I cannot determine whether Mr. Deane or Mr. Carmichael is the most contemptible Liar. And I confess to you Sir, that it astonishes me that such contemptible and manifestly malignant performances shoud have had the smallest influence on any one man of common sense or common honesty in, or out of Congress.

We have no news here, nor is it likely we shall sail this month. I beg my comts. to Mr. Dana.

With the greatest esteem, I am dear Sir yr most Obedt. Servt., A. Lee

RC (Adams Papers;) addressed: “A Monsieur Monsieur Jean Adams Ministre Plenipotentiaire des Etats Unis de l'America a Paris”; endorsed: “Mr A. Lee March 15th ansd March 31, 1780.”


This letter has not been identified, but was probably from Conrad Alexandre Gérard to one or more of the American Commissioners (Benjamin Franklin, Silas Deane, and Arthur Lee) in 1777 or early 1778. JA had made a copy of the letter and in his reply of 31 March (below) states that he made another. This indicates that the letter was probably among the Commissioners' papers in Franklin's custody at Passy and may be one of the Gérard letters in the Franklin Papers at the American Philosophical Society ( Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S. , 1:316, 358, 359; 4:227, 233, 245).


William Carmichael made his charge on 3 May 1779 in a written statement to Congress, a copy of which was probably enclosed in James Lovell's letter to Lee of 6 Aug. (MH-H:Lee Papers; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 3:288–289). In providing this extract from Carmichael's statement, Lee changed it from the third to the first person and altered the beginning of the second sentence, which originally read: “His [Carmichael's] reasons for this declaration are among others, that he was repeatedly told this by Messrs. De Beaumarchais, Ray de Chaumont, the Chevalier Grand.” In the portion of the statement not transcribed, Carmichael indicated that Lee's friendship with Lord Shelburne was the primary reason for the lack of confidence.

In his reply of 31 March (below), JA refused Arthur Lee's request to approach Charles Jean Garnier and Ferdinand Grand. Lee, however, wrote to Ralph Izard on 15 March, apparently making the same request of him that he had made of JA. On 21 March Izard replied that he had approached Garnier who had denied 54privately being the source for Carmichael's statement, but refused to make his denial officially or in writing. Izard recommended that Lee write to Grand because his own relationship with Grand was such that he had “nothing to say or do with him” (MH-H:Lee Papers). For the results of Lee's application to Grand, see his letter to JA of 12 April (below).