Diary of John Adams, volume 4

April 16. Thursday 1778.

April 18. Saturday. 1778.


The Alexanders were a numerous and ubiquitous clan, some of whom Franklin had known in England and others apparently in Scotland, and all of whom were correspondents of his. William Alexander Jr. owned property in the West Indies and had had financial dealings with Franklin before the Revolution. He left England for France in 1776, welcomed Franklin from Dijon, and later established himself with his daughters (one of whom, Marianne, married Franklin's grandnephew Jonathan Williams in 1779) at Auteuil. It is now known that Alexander was a secret agent of Sir William Pulteney, who in 1777–1778 tried to bring about peace by personal negotiations with Franklin. Alexander's career is described and his correspondence with Pulteney is quoted and abstracted by Frederick B. Tolles in “Franklin and the Pulteney Mission: An Episode in the Secret History of the American Revolution,” Huntington Libr. Quart., 17:37–58 (Nov. 1953) His letter of 26 May 1778 (p. 53–54) contains a vivid sketch of JA soon after his arrival in France.