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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 11

This foot note contained in document ADMS-06-11-02-0288-0002
1. See the letter of 5 June from Laurent Bérenger and JA 's reply of 8 June, both above. JA probably met with the French ambassador on either 28 or 29 June. JQA 's Diary indicates that on those days JA was at Leyden, a short distance from The Hague. The meeting with La Vauguyon convinced JA that he had no choice but to meet with Vergennes at Versailles about the proposed Austro-Russian mediation. JA 's reluctance to go is clear from his letter to Bérenger of 8 June and his comments in 1809 when he published the documents relating to his visit to Paris in the Boston Patriot. In the Patriot he stated: “I was minister { 391 } plenipotentiary for making peace: minister plenipotentiary for making a treaty of commerce with Great Britain: minister plenipotentiary to their High Mightinesses the States general: minister plenipotentiary to his serene highness the Prince of Orange and Stadtholder: minister plenipotentiary for pledging the faith of the United States to the Armed Neutrality: and what perhaps at that critical moment was of as much importance to the United States as any of those powers, I was commissioner for negociating a loan of money to the amount of ten millions of dollars, and upon this depended the support of our army at home and our ambassadors abroad.
“While I was ardently engaged and indefatigably occupied in studies and efforts to discharge all these duties, I was suddenly summoned to Versailles, to consult with the Comte de Vergennes, upon something relative to peace. What should I do? My country and the world would consider my commission for peace as the most important of all my employments, and the first to be attended. I hesitated not a moment, left all other business in as good a train as I could, and set off for Paris.” He added, “Though I thought I was negociating for peace, to better purpose in Holland than I could in France, yet as I could not be responsible for that, I was obliged to depart” (JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot , p. 106–107).