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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 7


This foot note contained in document ADMS-06-07-02-0104
3. Benjamin Franklin was named minister plenipotentiary to France on 14 Sept., and his instructions were approved on 26 Oct. ( JCC , 12:908, 1039–1052). But this letter and others referring to Franklin's new assignment, including those from Samuel Adams of 25 Oct., the Committee for Foreign Affairs of 28 Oct., and Richard Henry Lee of 29 Oct. (all below), did not reach JA until 12 Feb. 1779. The letters' delay was owing to the difficulty of finding a safe means to send the news to France. This ultimately meant that these letters, as well as Franklin's official notice of his appointment, were entrusted to Lafayette, who did not sail for France until early January (JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:353; president of the congress to Benjamin Franklin, 26 Oct., Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 2:807–809). Therefore, despite being the earliest letters informing JA of Franklin's new position, they were not the means by which he learned of the appointment. For that, see JA to James Lovell, 27 Nov. (below).