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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 8


This note contained in document ADMS-06-08-02-0070
8. On 20 Jan. a committee consisting of one member from each state was appointed to consider “the conduct of the late and present commissioners of these states in Europe,” its creation prompted by a letter from Silas Deane. Elbridge Gerry represented Massachusetts (JCC, 13:93).
The committee's report, made on 24 March, was accompanied by statements of charges, together with their sources, that had been made against Deane, Arthur Lee, Franklin, Ralph Izard, JA, and William Lee. Although the report itself enumerated the names of the commissioners and their assignments, Arts. 3 and 4 of the report, which mentioned complaints against them and “suspicions and animosities” among them, referred only to “the said Commissioners” (same, 13:363–368).
The congress debated the report off and on over several weeks until 20 April, when the key issue became whose names should be specifically included in Art. 4 of the report. Gerry sought to have the phrase “some of” inserted before “late and present” Commissioners, but his motion lost. Then, without a vote count, the congress agreed to insert Franklin's name as one of those among whom “suspicions and animosities” had arisen. Following the vote, the congress, signifying its decision by yeas and nays in each case, added the names of all the other Commissioners except JA. New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maryland, and Virginia voted to include JA, but New York, Pennsylvania, and North and South Carolina were firmly opposed, and Massachusetts' vote (as well as Rhode Island's) was divided, Samuel Adams and Lovell voting to include his name; thus the attempt to include JA in the final resolve failed. Adams and Lovell then tried, unsuccessfully, to postpone any vote on the clause as amended to include the names of the five Commissioners (same, 13:479–487). Naturally, JA was astonished that his two friends voted to have his name included.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/