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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 3


This foot note contained in document ADMS-01-03-02-0002-0001-0004
1. This resolution, which JA long considered the most humiliating stroke he had sustained in the course of his puhlic life, was entered on the Secret Journal of Congress in the following terse form: “A motion was made by Mr. [James] Madison, seconded by Mr. [John] Mathews, That the commission and instructions for negotiating a treaty of commerce between these United States and Great Britain, given to the honourable John Adams on the 29 day of September, 1779, be and they are hereby revoked” JCC , 20:746). JA expressed his long pent-up feelings concerning this action in a letter he addressed to Robert R. Livingston on 5 Feb. 1783 ( LbC , Adams Papers; JA, Works , 8:33–34). In his Diary for 30 April 1783 he attributed it to the baleful influence of Vergennes. Still later James Madison, who had moved the resolution of 12 July 1781, alluded to the circumstances of both the grant and the withdrawal of JA 's commission, but he failed to give an explanation of either of them that is at all helpful to students of JA 's career (Madison to Jefferson, 16 March 1784; Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd, 7:34)