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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 7


Search for a response to this letter.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0046-0002

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-09-21

Gabriel de Sartine to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

I have received the letter which you did me the honor of writing to me the 17th. instant. I made no doubt but that the reflexions which I made on the necessity of Establishing a perfect reciprocity between the two Nations with respect to reprisals at sea, would appear just to you. I am sorry that you have not at hand a copy of the Laws of the U States on this Subject which might have prevented some difficulties that the distance of time and place may render frequent. The Regulations of Massachusets Bay which Capt. McNeill has informed you of is different from the English Laws and more like the French. The Regulation of England by leaving at any rate one half of the vessel to the first owner, appears most conformable to the Interests of Commerce, which ought never to be forgotten even in the midst of War. But it would be more especially essential that the different provinces of the U States should adopt on this head uniform and invariable laws, so that there should not exist in any of the provinces particular laws, which the ignorance of Owners of vessels will not permit them to apply to the different States, and which would necessarily bring on difficulties that might be avoided by a common Legislation.
With respect to the question of Fact concerning the recapture of the ship Isabella by Capt. McNeill, I have only pointed out the motives which the proprietors of this vessel conceive they have for reclaiming it, and on which they ground their pretensions in the letter which they have addressed to me; it belongs not to the administration to investigate them, the cognizance thereof being reserved to the Tribunals, But if the decision of the Tribunals is adverse to the first proprietor, you will surely conceive it proper, that the Third, or even one half of this vessel should be deposited in the hands of such public Officers as shall be appointed for that purpose untill the two nations have agreed on Laws which shall be respectively followed with respect to Vessels recaptured from the Common Enemy.
I have the honor &c.
{ 62 }
LbC (Adams Papers). Translation by John Pintard (PCC, No. 85, f. 218–219).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0047

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1778-09-22

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

<In order that <I> We may <be> understand one another,> Upon looking over the Account1 of the Expenditure of the Money for which We have jointly drawn upon the Banker Since my Arrival at Passi, I find some Articles charged, for Similar ones to which I have paid in my seperate Capacity. I dont mean to be difficult about these Things but that <each of Us may> We may have a Plan, for the future, I beg leave to propose. That the Wages and Expences of the Maitre D'hotel and Cook, and of all the servants, their Cloaths and every other Expence for them, the Wages, Cloaths and other Expences of the Coachman, the Hire of the Horses and Carriage, the Expences of Postage of Letters, of Expresses to Versailles and Paris, and else where of Stationary Ware, and all the Expences of the Family, should be paid out of the Money to be drawn from the Banker by our joint order.
If to these, Dr. Franklin chuses to add the, Washer womans Accounts, for our servants &c. as well as ourselves, I have no objection. Receipts to be taken for Payments of Money, and each Party furnished with a Copy of the Account and a sight of the Recipts once a Month if he desires it.
The Expence of a Clerk for each, may be added if Dr. Franklin pleases or this may be a seperate Expence, as he chuses.
Expences for Cloaths Books and other Things and transient pocket Expences to be seperate.
Or if any other Plan is more agreable to Dr. Franklin, Mr. Adams begs him to propose it.
The accounts for our sons at school may be added if Dr. Franklin chooses it, to the General Account—or other wise. For my own Part, when I left America I expected, and had no other Thought, but to be at the Expence of My sons subsistence and Education here in my private Capacity, and I shall still be very contented to do this, if Congress should desire it. But while other Gentlemen are maintaining and educating large familys here, and enjoying the exquisite Felicity of their Company at the Same time, perhaps Congress may think it proper to allow this Article to Us as well as to them, and I am sure I do not desire it, nor would I choose to accept it, if it was not allowed to { 63 } others, altho, perhaps the Duties Labours and Anxieties of our station may be <as> greater <as that of> than those of others.2
I am sir your Inmate and obedient servant
1. These were the household accounts for the period from 9 April to 24 Aug. (vol. 6:16–20) that JA had received from William Temple Franklin on 13 Sept. ( JA to Benjamin Franklin, [6] Sept., above).
2. JQA and Benjamin Franklin's grandson, Benjamin Franklin Bache, attended the private boarding school kept by M. Le Coeur in Passy ( Adams Family Correspondence , 3:15). The question about payments for their education presumably arose from JA 's discovery, when he examined the household accounts, that 451.18 livres had been paid on 23 April for “Benjamin F. Bache's Schooling” (vol. 6:16), whereas JA had paid Le Coeur 365.5 livres on 11 June from his own funds (JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:329). The household accounts for 1 Oct. 1778 – 23 Feb. 1779 (below) indicate that later payments, on 14 Oct. and 22 Dec., were made from the Commissioners' funds, but when JA submitted his accounts to the congress these expenditures were disapproved ( JCC , 15:1383).