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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 12


This foot note contained in document ADMS-06-12-02-0025
1. With this letter Robert R. Livingston, the newly appointed secretary for foreign affairs, began a contentious correspondence with JA . Livingston’s close association with the French minister at Philadelphia, the Chevalier de La Luzerne, and activities in the pro-French faction in Congress, jaundiced his opinion of JA . A comparison of the content and tone of Livingston’s letters to Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and Francis Dana with those written to JA makes it clear that the new secretary was determined to set greater limits on JA ’s freedom of action than the other American diplomats in Europe. It is not surprising, therefore, that this letter and those that followed, particularly that of 20 Nov., below, provoked JA to mount a spirited defense of his views on diplomacy and his conduct in the Netherlands.