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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 11


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Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0315

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: McKean, Thomas
Date: 1781-07-17

To the President of Congress

Amsterdam, 17 July 1781. RC and signature in John Thaxter's hand PCC, No. 84, III, f. 319–329 printed : Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 4:584–588.
John Thaxter wrote this letter during John Adams' absence at Paris. It contains a full English translation of the memorial that the burgomasters and pensionary of Amsterdam presented to William V on 8 June. It { 423 } appeared in Dutch newspapers, including the Gazette de Leyde of 17 July. Thaxter also noted that on 6 July the States General had revoked their order requiring merchant ships to remain in whatever port they found themselves upon learning of the war with England.
RC and signature in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 319–329). printed : (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 4:584–588).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0316-0001

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-07-18

From the Comte de Vergennes

J'ai reçû, Monsieur, la lettre que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'écrire le 13. de ce mois. C'est par une Suite de la confiance que je mêts dans vos lumières et dans votre Zèle pour votre Patrie, que je vous ai confié les propositions des deux Cours Impériales, et que je vous ai prié d'y faire les observations dont vous les jugeriez susceptibles. Les choses ne sont pas encore assez avancées pourqu'elles puissent être communiquées aux deux Cours Médiatrices: Comme vous l'avez vû dans notre projet de réponse, il est des préliminaires à remplir à l'égard des Etats-unis,1 et tant qu'ils ne le seront pas, vous ne sauriez paroître, ni par conséquent vous permettre le moindre acte ministériel vis-à-vis des deux Médiateurs: en le faisant vous vous exposeriez au risque de compromettre en pure perte le caractère dont vous êtes revêtu.
J'ai l'honneur d'être très parfaitement, Monsieur, votre très-humble et très-obéissant serviteur,
[signed] De Vergennes

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0316-0002

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-07-18

The Comte de Vergennes to John Adams: A Translation

I have received, sir, the letter which you did me the honor to write to me the 13th of this month. It was owing to the confidence I placed in your judgment and zeal for your country that I entrusted to you the propositions of the two imperial courts and requested that you would make such observations as you might think them susceptible of. Things are not yet sufficiently advanced to admit of communicating them to the mediating courts. As you have seen in the sketch of our answer, there are preliminaries to be adjusted with respect to the United States,1 and until they are, you cannot appear and consequently you cannot transact anything officially with respect to the two mediators. By so doing you would hazard and expose the dignity of the character with which you are invested.
I have the honor to be very perfectly, sir, your most humble and most obedient servant
[signed] De Vergennes
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “M. Le Cte. De Vergennes. 18 July. 1781. recd at five O Clock afternoon Same day.” LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “This Letter was { 424 } addressed in these Words A monsieur, Monsieur Adams, Agent des Etats Unis de l'Amérique Septentrionale à l'hotel de valois, rüe de Richelieu a Paris. C. de Vergennes.—all in the Hand Writing of the Clerk who wrote the Letter. The Letter was signed by the Comte, de Vergennes.” In 1809 JA published a translation of this letter in the Boston Patriot. There he copied the notation and continued: “Whether the word 'agent' was a blunder of the clerk, or the art and design of the Comte, is of no consequence now. He knew I was a minister plenipotentiary, both for peace, and to the states of Holland: but what reason he had for avoiding to acknowledge it, I know not. It excited some reflections and suspicions at the time, because it seemed to be conformable to the views of the mediating courts, which the court of France ought not to have countenanced” (JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot , p. 122–123).
1. In JA 's translation in the Boston Patriot, the passage from the previous comma was italicized.