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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 9


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{ 452 }

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0278-0001

Author: Rayneval, Joseph Mathias Gérard de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-06-20

From Joseph Mathias Gérard de Rayneval

Monsieur Adams feroit trés-grand plaisir à M. de Rayneval de lui mander s'il connoit une anglais <nommée> qui se nomme Montagu Fox, et qui il est:1 M. de Rayneval sera infiniment obligé à Monsieur Adams.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0278-0002

Author: Rayneval, Joseph Mathias Gérard de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-06-20

Joseph Mathias Gérard de Rayneval to John Adams: A Translation

Mr. Adams would give great pleasure to Mr. de Rayneval if he would inform him if he knows an Englishman <named> who calls himself Montagu Fox and who he is.1 Mr. de Rayneval will be infinitely obliged to Mr. Adams.
1. JA replied on 21 June that he had neither met Montagu Fox nor even heard his name (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 12), nor is there any evidence that the two men met after Fox reached Paris on 22 June. Since Fox had not yet arrived, Rayneval's inquiry likely resulted from reports of Fox's meetings with the French ambassador to The Hague at which he sought support for an armed uprising by disaffected miners in Cornwall. At Paris, Fox presented his proposals to Vergennes and Benjamin Franklin, but Franklin proved far more skeptical than Vergennes of Fox's claim that leading members of the British opposition, such as Charles James Fox and Lord Shelburne, supported his efforts and that only allied financial and material support was needed to execute his plans successfully. In fact, Montagu Fox was likely a British spy seeking to induce the allies to undertake ambitious projects through which leading opposition figures might be discredited. Fox's efforts ultimately failed to achieve that objective, but the failure was due more to Vergennes' indecisiveness than anything else. For a lengthy account of Fox and his efforts to implement his proposals, see Morris, Peacemakers , p. 112–131.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0279

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1780-06-20

John Adams' Commission to Negotiate a Loan with the Netherlands

The United States of America in Congress assembled.
To the Honble. John Adams Esquire Greeting.
Whereas by our commission to the Honble. Henry Laurens Esqr. bearing date the thirtieth day of October in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy nine,2 we have constituted and appointed him the said Henry Laurens during our pleasure, our Agent for and on behalf of the said United States to negotiate a loan with any person or persons bodies politic and corporate: And Whereas the { 453 } said Henry Laurens has by unavoidable Accidents been hitherto prevented from proceeding on his said Agency; We therefore reposing especial trust and confidence in your patriotism Ability, conduct and fidelity, do by these presents constitute and appoint you the said John Adams until the said Henry Laurens or some other person appointed in his stead shall arrive in Europe and undertake the execution of the aforesaid commission, our Agent for and on behalf of the said United States to negotiate a Loan with any person or persons bodies politic and corporate, promising in good faith to ratify and confirm whatsoever shall by you be done in the premisses or relating thereunto. Witness His Excellency Samuel Huntington Esqr. President of the Congress of the United States of America at Philadelphia the twentieth day of June in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty, and in the fourth year of our Independence.3
[signed] Saml. Huntington President
[signed] Attest Chas. Thomson Secy.
MS (Adams Papers;) endorsed by Francis Dana: “J. Adams's provisional Appointment to negotiate a Loan.” This document was enclosed in a letter of 11 July from the Committee for Foreign Affairs (Adams Papers) and was filmed under that date (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 352).
1. Although voted by Congress on 20 June, the commission was not sent off until 11 July as one of three enclosures in a letter of that date from the Committee for Foreign Affairs (Adams Papers). The other two enclosures contained Congress' resolutions of 21 and 26 Oct. 1779 regarding Laurens' commission and those of 20 June 1780 relating to JA 's appointment. ( JCC , 15:1198, 1210; 17:534–537). The committee's letter of 11 July and several other letters were entrusted to James Searle, former delegate from Pennsylvania, who was going to Europe as Pennsylvania's agent to raise a loan. In early September Searle reached Paris and gave the letters from Congress to Francis Dana who delivered them to JA at Amsterdam on 17 Sept. (from Dana, 16 Sept.; to William Churchill Houston, 17 Sept., both below).
2. Except for the references to Henry Laurens, JA 's commission is identical to that voted for Laurens in 1779 ( JCC , 15:1230).
3. Francis Dana received a nearly identical commission empowering him to act in the event that JA was unable to exercise his commission (same, 17:537; MHi: Dana Papers).