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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 14

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The Adams Papers
C. James Taylor, Editor In Chief

Series IIISeries III
General Correspondence
and Other Papers
of the Adams Statesmen
General Correspondence
and Other Papers
of the Adams Statesmen

Papers of John Adams

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Papers of John Adams

Gregg L. Lint, C. James Taylor,
Hobson Woodward, Margaret A. Hogan,
Mary T. Claffey, Sara B. Sikes, Judith S. Graham
graphic here

Volume 14 • October 1782 – May 1783

The Belknap Press
of Harvard University Press
Cambridge, Massachusetts
and London, England
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This edition of The Adams Papers
is sponsored by the
Massachusetts Historical Society
to which the Adams Manuscript Trust
by a deed of gift dated 4 April 1956
gave ultimate custody of the personal and public papers
written, accumulated, and preserved over a span of three centuries
by the Adams family of Massachusetts
graphic here
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The Adams Papers

Administrative Committee
John Adams
Margery Adams
Levin H. Campbell
W. Dean Eastman
Edward C. Johnson 3d
Caroline Keinath
Henry Lee
Pauline Maier
Elizabeth Prindle
Alan Rogers
Hiller B. Zobel
Editorial Advisory Committee
Joyce O. Appleby
Bernard Bailyn
David Herbert Donald
Joseph J. Ellis
Linda K. Kerber
Thomas K. McCraw
Gordon S. Wood
The acorn and oakleaf device on the preceding page is redrawn from a seal cut for John Quincy Adams after 1830. The motto is from Cæcilius Statius as quoted by Cicero in the First Tusculan Disputation: Serit arbores quæ alteri seculo prosint (“He plants trees for the benefit of later generations”).
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[Note: for permissions reasons, not all illustrations from the letterpress volumes are available in this digital edition.]

Descriptive List of Illustrations

1. John Laurens, by Charles Fraser, After a Miniature by Charles Willson Peale, 1780   26  
On 6 November John Adams had the “melancholly” task of being the first to inform Henry Laurens of the death of his eldest son, John (1754–1782). Adams wrote, “I feel for you, more than I can or ought to express.— Our Country has lost its most promising Character.” Laurens responded on 12 November that “the Wound is deep, but I apply to myself the consolation which I administered to the Father, of the Brave Colonel Parker. ‘Thank God I had a Son who dared to die in defence of his Country’” (both below).  
A 27-year-old former aide to George Washington, John Laurens had fallen at a meaningless skirmish at Chehaw Neck, South Carolina, on 27 August. Outnumbered three-to-one, he attacked without waiting for approaching reinforcements. Nathanael Greene lamented Laurens’ fate but noted that his “love of military glory made him seek it upon occasions unworthy his rank.”  
Adams had never met John Laurens but he had exchanged letters with him in the spring of 1781. Then the South Carolinian was in Europe as special envoy from Congress to the French court seeking money to purchase military supplies. The mission ultimately resulted in a French guaranteed loan in the Netherlands (vol. 11:293–296, 310–311; vol. 13:509–510; Gregory D. Massey, John Laurens and the American Revolution, Columbia, S.C., 2000, p. 190, 225–228; Laurens, Papers, 15:605; Franklin, Papers, 35:224–225).  
Courtesy of Mr. John Laurens, Charleston, S.C.  
2. Bill for Payment of John Adams’ Salary   37  
Congress’ 1780 resolution instructing John Adams to draw his salary from French funds controlled by Benjamin Franklin was long a point of annoyance for Adams. In May 1782 he complained to Robert R. Livingston that his salary “has never been paid me without Grudging.” Adams’ irritation was only slightly less evident when he wrote to Robert Morris on 6 November, “I cannot do this without an additional and unnecessary Commission, to the Drs Banker, and therefore would wish to recieve it from Messrs Willinks &c at Amsterdam.” Despite Adams’ reluctance to depend upon Franklin for his salary, on the same day that he wrote Robert Morris to oppose the procedure, Livingston's secretary, Lewis R. Morris, was drafting this bill to be drawn on Franklin (both below).  
In 1811 Adams addressed the issue again in the Boston Patriot. There he contended that he was not immediately allowed to draw { x } upon the Dutch loan because Franklin and his supporters coveted the money: “I did not impute this affront to Mr. Livingston; but to a Frenchified Franklinian faction; and had no doubt then, and have no doubt now in 1811, that the design was to get all the money I had borrowed or should borrow, into the power of Vergennes and Franklin, and their bankers and understrappers.” Adams in fact eventually drew upon both Franklin and the Dutch loan for his salary of £2,500, or £625 per quarter (JCC, 17:476; vol. 13:51, 166, 436, 443).  
From the original in the Adams Papers.  
3. The Signing of the Anglo-American Preliminary Peace Treaty, 30 November 1782, Benjamin West, Unfinished, 1784   104  
The signing of the preliminary peace treaty ended the war between the United States and Great Britain. It closed a major chapter in the histories of both nations, and it seemed natural that a renowned historical artist such as Benjamin West (1738–1820) should commemorate the occasion. Over the next two years West endeavored to depict the participants but eventually was stymied by the refusal of the British negotiators to sit. Although unfinished, the painting has become an iconic image of the peace process. Adams does not mention sitting for the portrait in his Diary or letters. But in his Diary entry for 21 July 1817 John Quincy Adams recounts a conversation with West concerning the painting. There John Quincy recalled being present when his father posed and pronounced the likenesses of John Jay, William Temple Franklin, and Benjamin Franklin excellent while those of “Mr. Laurens and my father though less perfect resemblances are yet very good.”  
The secretary to British negotiator Richard Oswald, Caleb Whitefoord, assisted West in his efforts to create the work and presumably would have been willing to sit for the group portrait. But West discontinued work on the painting when he realized that Oswald would not consent. The ignominy of signing a treaty alienating so much of the prewar British empire and the resulting criticism of his efforts partially explains Oswald's refusal, but he was also notoriously sensitive about his appearance and died without any extant portrait (D/JQA/30, APM Reel 33; Oliver, Portraits of JA and AA, p. 39–45; Arthur S. Marks, “Benjamin West and the American Revolution,” American Art Journal, 6:21–33 [Nov. 1974]).  
Courtesy of the Winterthur Museum.  
4. Gabriel Bonnot De Mably, Engraving By François Huot, After François Bonneville, CA. 1760S   175  
Abbé Gabriel Bonnot de Mably (1709–1785) was a native of Grenoble who originally pursued a career in diplomacy. But at age 39 Mably retired and turned to a new calling: writer, historian, and social commentator. In 1780 John Adams called him “a great Writer of this Nation,” and there are no less than thirteen of his works, either in English or the original French, in Adams’ library at the Boston Public Library (vol. 9:37; Catalogue of JA's Library).  
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From dinner conversations in late 1782 and early 1783, Adams learned that Mably contemplated writing a history of the American Revolution. This led Adams to lay out a blueprint for historians who would undertake such a task (John Adams and the Writing of the History of the American Revolution, 9 January–8 March 1783, below). Adams believed that European historians faced a particularly difficult task because of their lack of access to American sources, public and private, without which it would be impossible to understand either the origins or the significance of the American Revolution. Adams’ detailed listing of and commentary on the documentation indispensable to such an effort apparently discouraged Mably, for he never undertook a history of the Revolution (Johnson Kent Wright, A Classical Republican in Eighteenth-Century France: The Political Thought of Mably, Stanford, Calif., 1997, p. 176–187; Ernest A. Whitfield, Gabriel Bonnot de Mably, London, 1930, p. 4–18).  
Courtesy of the Bibliothèque publique et universitaire, Neuchâtel, Switzerland.  
5. Benjamin Franklin’s Draft Passport for Merchant Ships, 1 February 1783   226  
On 20 January 1783 a declaration of a cessation of hostilities formally ended the fighting of the American Revolution (calendared, below). The uncertainty of merchant ships moving freely in recently contested waters necessitated the creation of special passports for mariners on both sides. John Adams assumed that the duty would fall to the American Peace Commissioners as a body and was chagrined to receive a letter from John Jay on 1 February reporting that “Doctr. Franklin is preparing a number of these Passports, in his own name.” Spurred on by Jay, Adams wrote to request a meeting with Franklin the next day, and soon after—probably on 3 February—the three men agreed on a passport over the commissioners’ names (all below).  
Franklin's draft passport includes language retaliating for British restrictions on American trade laid down in the Prohibitory Acts of 1775, which had not yet been repealed. Rather than providing British ships with universal protection, Franklin's version guaranteed safe passage to British ships only “to sail to any of the Ports thereof to any Port or Place, whatsoever, except those of the said States in North America.” British negotiator Alleyne Fitzherbert said Franklin “chicaned to the very last upon the business of the Passports, and finally moved for the inserting in them this odious and ungracious Clause.” Adams and Jay overruled Franklin, and the language was not included in the joint version. On 18 February Fitzherbert delivered to the Americans reciprocal British passports. The next day Adams began distributing them to American captains who had requested them (Fitzherbert to the American Peace Commissioners, 18 Feb., and to Duncan Ingraham Jr., 19 Feb., both below; Jay, Unpublished Papers, 2:491–493).  
From the original in the Adams Papers.  
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6. Félix Vicq D’azyr, by Carrière, After Soufflot, CA. 1780S   233  
Félix Vicq d’Azyr (1748–1794) was born in Normandy, the son of a local physician and a noble mother. Educated in Valognes and Caen, he moved to Paris at age seventeen to study medicine. An anatomist and epidemiologist who specialized in the physiology of the brain, Vicq d’Azyr's effective control of a cattle epidemic in 1774 gained him fame, as did his dissection and detailed illustration of the brain.  
Vicq d’Azyr served as secretary of the French Royal Society of Medicine from its founding in 1778. In that role he had a short correspondence with John Adams in 1782. Adams began the exchange after Cotton Tufts wrote to him on 26 September to announce the founding of the Massachusetts Medical Society and to seek “the Aid and Communication of the Gentlemen of the Faculty in Europe.” Vicq d’Azyr and his fellow physicians responded enthusiastically, sending Adams a diploma signifying the new connection between the medical societies (AFC, 4:386; 3 Feb. 1783, below).  
In 1789 Vicq d’Azyr was appointed personal physician to Marie Antoinette, who is said to have been fond of him and called him “my philosopher.” He was a friend of Benjamin Franklin, eulogizing him in March 1791 with the oft-quoted opening line, “A man is dead, and two worlds are in mourning” (André Parent, “Félix Vicq d’Azyr: Anatomy, Medicine and Revolution,” The Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences, 34:30–36 [Feb. 2007]).  
Courtesy of the Bibliothèque de l’Académie Nationale de Médecine, Paris.  
7. American Peace Commissioners, Proclamation of the Cessation of Hostilities, 20 February 1783   282  
John Adams and Benjamin Franklin signed the declaration of a cessation of hostilities that formally ended the armed conflict of the American Revolution on 20 January 1783 (calendared, below). Two days later Adams wrote to his wife, “thus drops the Curtain upon this mighty Trajedy” (AFC, 5:74).  
But it remained for the two nations to implement the declaration and concomitant armistice. On 14 February George III proclaimed, “We do declare, that Our Royal Will and Pleasure is, and We do hereby strictly charge and command all Our Officers, both at Sea and Land, and all other Our Subjects whatsoever, to forbear all Acts of Hostility.” Alleyne Fitzherbert wrote to the American Peace Commissioners four days later that they were expected to immediately issue a reciprocal proclamation. Adams, Franklin, and John Jay—Henry Laurens being absent—did so on 20 February. The proclamation, in Adams’ hand, notifies “the People and Citizens of the Said United States of America, that Hostilities on their Part, against his Britannic Majesty, both by Sea and Land, are to cease” (all below).  
From the original in the Adams Papers.  
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8. Libertas Americana Medal, Augustin Dupré, April 1783   344  
A 20 October 1781 letter from Robert R. Livingston describing the American victory at Yorktown prompted Benjamin Franklin to propose that Yorktown and Saratoga be celebrated with a medal. The result was the Libertas Americana, which modern numismatists have hailed as a masterpiece. Franklin engaged the artist Esprit Antoine Gibelin and the medal maker Augustin Dupré to design and produce the medallion. But the medal had not been completed when Adams advised C. W. F. Dumas on 28 March 1783 that “only a first Essay or two have been struck off in Lead. Mr. Franklin has promised me some of them as soon as they are out” (below). When toward the end of the year Adams did receive the finished medal and sent a copy to Jean George Holtzhey, the Dutch medal maker thanked him in a letter of 5 December for the “fine Silver medal . . . on the independency of your Illustrious Republiq” (Adams Papers).  
In April 1783 Franklin presented the only gold pressings of the medal, now lost, to the king and queen of France. A silver version was sent to Elias Boudinot, president of Congress, who called it “very elegant indeed, and the device and workmanship much admired.” Despite Boudinot's compliment, Franklin never received Congress’ official support for the production of the medal and instead publicized and distributed it himself.  
Franklin's medal features Lady Liberty with the motto “Libertas Americana” and the date 4 July 1776. On the reverse the infant Hercules strangles two snakes while above him Minerva battles a lion and carries a shield decorated with the arms of France. A motto reads “Non Sine Diis Animosus Infans,” or “The courageous child is not without the aid of the gods.” The dates of the British surrenders at Saratoga and Yorktown are featured (Franklin, Papers, 35:616–619; John W. Adams and Anne E. Bentley, Comitia Americana and Related Medals: Underappreciated Monuments to Our Heritage, Crestline, Calif., 2007, p. 183–197, 260–261).  
Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.  
9. Harvard College Doctorate of Laws Diploma and Seal, Conferred Upon John Adams, 19 December 1781; Ordered Engrossed, 1 April 1783   382, 383  
When Joseph Willard was installed as Harvard College president on 19 December 1781, he announced that John Adams would receive an honorary doctorate of laws. On 1 April 1783 the fellows of the college finally voted that it should be engrossed (below). Decorated with an elaborate Harvard seal that is enclosed in a silver box, the diploma was given to Abigail Adams, who delivered it to her husband when she reached Europe in September 1784.  
Adams was very appreciative of the honor conferred on him. On 8 September 1784 he advised Willard that “this Mark of the approbation of so respectable a University does me great Honour, and is more especially acceptable to me, as it comes from a Society, { xiv } where I had my Education, and for which I have ever entertained the highest Veneration” (MH-Ar). Along with his thanks, Adams offered to assist Willard with introductions during an upcoming visit to Europe and asked if the college would consider accepting John Quincy Adams as a student of advanced standing. With the approval of the fellows on 16 November 1784 Adams’ request was granted, and his son entered as a junior in March 1786 and graduated in 1787 (AFC, 4:243; William C. Lane, “John Adams and Harvard College,” Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 13:112–117 [Feb. 1910]).  
From the original in the Adams Papers.  
10. Medal Commemorating the Recognition of the Independence of the United States by Friesland, B. C. V. Calker, 1782   463  
“The Acknowledgment of the Sovereignty of the United States of America, and the Refusal of a seperate Peace by their High Mightinesses the States General, was one of those critical Decisions which sometimes turn the Tide of the Affairs of Men.” John Adams wrote these words on 10 May 1783 in a letter to the Société Bourgeoise of Leeuwarden, which had sent him a medal honoring Friesland as the first Dutch province to recognize the United States. According to Adams, it was “struck in great perfection” and communicated with “a beautiful Simplicity” acknowledgment of the new nation by a second political entity (below).  
Soon after the 26 February 1782 vote by the States of Friesland, Adams predicted that it would be a prelude to a similar vote by the States General of the Netherlands. “Friesland is said to be a sure Index of the national Sense,” he told Robert R. Livingston. “The People of that Province have been ever famous for the Spirit of Liberty.” Within two months the remaining six provinces did indeed follow Friesland's lead and on 19 April the States General of the Netherlands voted a resolution recognizing the new American nation as an independent state (vol. 12:xi–xii, 309).  
The Société Bourgeoise of Leeuwarden was a Friesland civic organization that used the motto “For Liberty and Zeal.” Included in the society's presentation letter of 29 April 1783 is a detailed explanation of the medal's symbols and a translation of its text. On the medal, America is represented by a Native American, Friesland by a Frisian warrior, and Great Britain by Britannia with a leopard at her side. Members of the society expressed the hope that the recognition would be the first step to “a glorious and durable peace” (below).  
Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.  
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Volume 14 chronicles John Adams’ assumption of his duties as a member of the Joint Peace Commission and his continuing role in Dutch-American relations as American minister to the Netherlands. The documents delineate Adams’ role in and contributions to the negotiations leading to the Preliminary Anglo-American Peace Treaty of 30 November 1782 as well as the desultory discussions that began in April 1783 toward the definitive treaty of 3 September. Adams spent the entire seven months covered by this volume at Paris, but since he remained the accredited minister to the Netherlands he devoted considerable time to managing the Dutch loan he had arranged in June 1782. Those duties extended to attempting to ameliorate Dutch apprehensions when, in January 1783, the Netherlands became the only belligerent with whom Britain would not sign a preliminary peace treaty. The volume also deals with political upheaval in Britain resulting in part from dissatisfaction with the Anglo-American peace, Francis Dana's efforts in Russia, and Adams’ concerns over postwar Anglo-American trade. Letters on the pages below describe Adams’ view on the proper way to write a history of the American Revolution and tell of fifteen-year-old John Quincy Adams’ lengthy journey from St. Petersburg to The Hague.
One of the joys of editing the Papers of John Adams is that Adams’ letters, with their unfettered style and often stunning candor, reveal so much about the man and the times in which he lived. There is seldom any doubt about where John Adams stood on any issue with which he was concerned. In volume 14 Adams’ correspondence and the documents proceeding from his diplomatic efforts illuminate the events in which he participated and the world in which he lived. The seven months dealt with in this volume were perhaps the most stressful of Adams’ diplomatic career, but the result of his unease was a series of unrestrained commentaries on American foreign policy that took Adams back to the principles that guided his first entry into the world of diplomacy. In the course of the volume it becomes clear that for Adams his observation that peace with England had been achieved “in Spight of the Malice of Ennemies the Finesse of Allies and the Mistakes of Congress” was not hyperbole but reality.1
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1. Negotiating the Peace

When John Adams arrived at the Hôtel de Valois in Paris on the evening of 26 October 1782 he found the Anglo-American negotiations in abeyance. The negotiators, British and American, awaited Henry Strachey's return from London with the draft treaty that John Jay and Richard Oswald had agreed to on 8 October and new instructions from the Shelburne ministry. Adams was finally present to act as one of the Joint Peace Commissioners, but he was concerned because he lacked any substantive knowledge of the ongoing discussions. John Jay's letters and other sources had informed him that talks had begun in earnest in late September, when Richard Oswald received a new commission permitting him to negotiate with the “Thirteen United States of America.”2 Adams also knew that Benjamin Franklin's ill health had made Jay the principal negotiator. But while Jay's letters beseeched Adams to join him at Paris as soon as possible, they revealed little about the negotiations.
Adams’ conversations with Jay and Matthew Ridley immediately after his arrival likely reassured him about the treaty. The basic parameters for a settlement had been set. Britain explicitly recognized the United States, and the new nation's western boundary was established on the Mississippi River. No agreement had yet been reached regarding the loyalists, American fishing rights, or the northern boundary. But Adams felt confident about the fisheries and boundaries because he came armed with ample documentation to support the American claims.
Adams’ fears about France and its influence over Congress as well as his suspicions of Franklin's acquiescence to French policies seemed confirmed when he was informed of the constraints placed on the American negotiators. Congress’ 15 June 1781 instructions, he learned, required the commissioners “to make the most candid & confidential communications to the ministers of our generous Ally the King of France to undertake nothing in the Negotiations for Peace or truce without their knowledge & concurrence & ultimately to govern yourselves by their advice & opinion.”3 Adams asserted in his Diary that, except as alluded to in a letter, no such instruction { xvii } had ever been communicated to him.4 In fact, Adams had been unable to read the enciphered instruction that Franklin had forwarded to him at Amsterdam in mid-August 1781. Ignoring his own failure, Adams assumed that Franklin had deliberately withheld it from him. This imagined slight combined with his suspicions of Franklin and his frustration at coming so late to the negotiations were likely the immediate causes of Adams’ initial refusal to visit Franklin.
Only with much difficulty was Adams convinced that if the negotiations were to go forward he had to meet with Franklin. When the two men did confer on the evening of 30 October, according to Adams’ account, the negotiations were transformed. On the following day, having considered Adams’ objections to the commissioners’ instructions, Franklin indicated at a meeting of the British and American negotiators that he agreed with his colleagues and would not inform the French government about the nature or progress of the negotiations.5 The commissioners thereby determined to conclude a separate peace and not even the caveat that the treaty signed on 30 November would become effective only upon the conclusion of an Anglo-French treaty could obscure the fact that they were in violation of the spirit and letter of the 1778 Franco-American Treaty of Alliance. For Adams, who in 1780 had declared that the alliance would last no longer than the war, the commissioners’ decision to violate their instructions and the treaty was the only means by which the United States was able to obtain a favorable peace and avoid the fate of the Dutch, about which more will be said below.
The commissioners’ decision clearly transformed the day-to-day negotiations between the commissioners and their British counterparts, but it had an equally important effect on the documentary record of the negotiations presented in this volume and in Adams’ Diary. For by deciding to violate their instructions the commissioners had to defend their decision or risk repudiation and censure when Congress considered the treaty. Thus virtually every letter in this volume in which Adams refers to the negotiations, from his very first to Robert R. Livingston of 31 October and including the commissioners’ joint letter to Livingston of 14 December, is a defense of the commissioners’ actions. Moreover, with the passage of time Adams’ letters to Livingston, as well as to his friends Jonathan Jackson, { xviii } Elbridge Gerry, and James Warren, became increasingly analytical concerning the proper course of American diplomacy. At the same time, Adams became ever more critical of the Comte de Vergennes, Benjamin Franklin, and Congress—the first two for their collaboration at the expense of vital American interests and the last for its incompetence in executing a rational and effective foreign policy.
Letters were not the only means by which Adams and his colleagues sought to document and justify their actions. Benjamin Franklin kept a journal of the negotiations. John Jay wrote lengthy letters that took on the character of a journal. And John Adams had his Diary, which he kept almost daily from his arrival at Paris on 26 October 1782 through 23 January 1783.6 Ultimately the three men sent their chronicles of the negotiations to Congress, which received them all in mid-March.7
The account that Adams sent to Congress consisted of extracts copied by John Thaxter and Charles Storer from his Diary. Called the “Peace Journal,” it is the only portion of the Diary to be published during his lifetime. Written in Adams’ very personal and candid style, the “Peace Journal” was controversial when read before Congress in 1783 and became notorious when Alexander Hamilton used it seventeen years later in his Letter . . . Concerning the Public Conduct of John Adams Esq., N.Y., 1800, to attack Adams’ judgment and fitness for diplomacy and consequent suitability to be president. Indeed, it was largely Adams’ need to refute Hamilton that led to his correspondence with the Boston Patriot between 1809 and 1812, in the course of which he placed before the readers a detailed documentary record of his diplomatic efforts, including the “Peace Journal.”
In fact, Adams prepared two “Peace Journals.” The first, enclosed with his 14 December 1782 letter to Robert R. Livingston, begins with the Diary entry for 2 November and ends with the entry for 13 December.8 The second, which he enclosed with his 28 December letter to Abigail Adams to be shown by her to “discrete Friends,” is considerably longer, beginning with the entry for 27 October and continuing through 21 December.9 Neither “Journal” contains every word of the Diary entries from which they are derived, and some of the omissions are significant, but considering Adams’ purpose—to { xix } defend the commissioners’ negotiation of the treaty—very little that was relevant to understanding the ongoing negotiations was omitted. Certainly the “Peace Journals” included all the detailed accounts of what happened at Paris in November 1782. In any case the reader should also consult the complete printed Diary in the Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, which is the best existing source for the conduct of the negotiations and has been used extensively in preparing the annotation for this volume.
The editors of John Adams’ Diary and Autobiography dealt with the “Peace Journal” enclosed with Adams’ 14 December letter to Robert R. Livingston at considerable length (the second version was not known to be extant when those volumes were prepared).10 But more needs to be said about the circumstances surrounding the dispatch of the “Journals” to America. Adams’ 11 November letter to Livingston marked his first use of material that also appeared in his Diary to report on the negotiations and the difficulties the commissioners faced. There he quoted more or less verbatim from his Diary entry for that date, describing a conversation with Caleb Whitefoord, Richard Oswald's secretary. Having once used material from his Diary to inform Livingston and thus Congress, Adams may have decided that there was merit in sending Congress a full account of the negotiations and thus all the relevant Diary entries. His decision was likely influenced by the time that he and John Thaxter spent helping John Jay copy his 17 November journal letter to Congress. It became clear to Adams that his colleagues were determined that Congress should have a detailed account of their activities, so it was probably not coincidental that on 17 November Adams wrote to Jonathan Jackson that he was enclosing some “broken Minutes of Conversations”—the first installment of the “Peace Journal.”11
But the “Journal” did not go with the letter to Jackson, who incidentally was not at Congress when it arrived, but rather with Adams’ letter of 14 December to Robert R. Livingston. Had Jackson received the “Journal,” which was submitted to his “discretion,” he would presumably have shared it with Adams’ friends and supporters in Congress. By going to Livingston, however, it was disclosed to the entire body. Adams’ contradictory explanations of his decision to send the “Journal” to Livingston were that it was an inadvertence and that it resulted from a momentary and ill-considered whim.12 { xx } Such explanations are unconvincing. Certainly Adams had in the past and would in the future make decisions and author letters and documents that at best would be considered ill advised. It seems unlikely, however, considering the time and effort involved in copying from the Diary, that its dispatch to Livingston can be put down to serendipity. It is far more likely that when the dispatch of letters, including that to Jackson, was delayed, Adams became concerned about the effect of the accounts that Jay and Franklin were sending to Congress. By detailing their roles in the negotiations, his colleagues would reap not only whatever blame was assigned for their actions but also the rewards. Not to be outdone and remarkably insensitive to the likely effect of his candor on Congress, he sent the “Journal” to Livingston so that his pivotal role in the negotiations would be understood and the full range of obstacles faced by the commissioners revealed.
Whatever Adams’ reasons for sending his “Peace Journal” to Livingston or his later comments on its origin and purpose—most having more to do with Hamilton's use of it in 1800 than with Adams’ motives in 1782—its arrival at Congress had little effect. Certainly some, such as James Madison, thought Adams unsuited for diplomacy and would have preferred that he be called home. But in Congress’ official communications Adams received no more criticism for violating Congress’ instructions or for the peace treaty's provisions than did his colleagues. He was not recalled nor did Congress accept his resignation as they did those of Henry Laurens and Francis Dana.
Even without French involvement the negotiations were difficult. While the outlines of an agreement were present when Adams arrived and Britain ultimately accepted one of the American proposals regarding borders, tense discussions remained over fishing rights and the loyalists. This is evident from the correspondence between the American and British negotiators, the draft treaties of 4 and 25 November, numerous draft articles, and the preliminary treaty signed on 30 November. Adams’ battles for the fisheries, so dear to his Massachusetts brethren, led him to declare that “for the rest of my Days I shall consider my self as a Marblehead or Cape-Ann Man.”13 With regard to compensation for the loyalists, which, considering the demands on the Shelburne ministry and the grievances { xxi } of the Americans, could have made a treaty impossible, Adams was less hard-line than Franklin. When the commissioners signed the preliminary peace treaty on 30 November, they had achieved an agreement far more favorable to American interests than any could have expected when the negotiations began. The question remained, however, as to how Congress would react to the means by which it had been negotiated and whether the defense offered by the commissioners—together and individually—would be effective when Congress made its decision on ratification.

2. Peacemaking and the Postwar World

The documents in volume 14 also make clear that more than the peace negotiations placed demands on John Adams’ time, energy, and always limited patience. Soon after his arrival at Paris the ratified Dutch loan contracts that he had negotiated in June arrived from Congress.14 Adams was immediately drawn into determining how the proceeds from the loan would be distributed in conformance with instructions from Robert Morris, superintendent of finances. The correspondence between Adams and the Amsterdam bankers and Morris in Philadelphia is extensive and complex, and it soon became evident that the available funds would not be sufficient to meet American needs.15
Adams also maintained an extensive correspondence with Francis Dana at St. Petersburg. Dana wrote frequently about his efforts to obtain Russian recognition and his frustration with Congress’ refusal to allow him to act as Adams had in the Netherlands. Adams responded with advice and encouragement, but in the end, and despite Dana's best efforts, his mission failed because Russia was unwilling to recognize the United States under any circumstances.16
Adding to Adams’ worries was John Quincy Adams’ return to The Hague from St. Petersburg. The younger Adams left the Russian capital on 30 October and did not reach his destination until the end of April. During that time his father received one letter and saw { xxii } a newspaper account of his presence at Stockholm.17 In the end the elder Adams was reduced to relying on reports from diplomats and merchants in such places as Copenhagen and Hamburg to follow his son's progress.18
These ongoing concerns combined with the pressures of the peace negotiations made November 1782 perhaps the most taxing single month of Adams’ diplomatic career. It is not surprising, therefore, that with the preliminary treaty signed, Adams submitted his resignation as minister to the Netherlands and peace commissioner on 4 December. His decision reflected the expectation, shared by his colleagues, that Britain would soon conclude agreements with the other belligerents and that a definitive Anglo-American treaty would be agreed to shortly thereafter. But it also reflected his weariness from the rigors of diplomacy and his desire to return home in the spring of 1783 after four years abroad. Despite Adams’ wish to leave, events in England caused the negotiations for the definitive treaty to be delayed until the end of April and, in any case, Congress never acted on his resignation.
The interval between the signing of the Anglo-American preliminaries and the resumption of negotiations in April seemed initially to have little effect on Adams. Certainly his official duties were not onerous. He and Franklin witnessed the signing of preliminary peace treaties among Britain, France, and Spain on 20 January and, since the Anglo-American treaty was now in effect, signed an armistice and a month later issued a proclamation of the cessation of hostilities. The war thus ended “with as little Ceremony, and in as short a Time as a Marriage Settlement,”19 Adams turned his thoughts to writing the history of the American Revolution. Responding to a letter from Antoine Marie Cerisier and conversations with the Abbé de Mably he listed the materials that an author would need to consult. Ultimately Adams recommended against Europeans’ making the attempt because the crucial American sources were unavailable, and without them the Revolution could not be fully understood.20
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By early February 1783 John Adams was becoming progressively less satisfied with his and the nation's situation, and as was his wont he put pen to paper. Partly this reflected the amount of free time available to consider past mistakes, current crises, and future opportunities. But, in addition to his general distaste for Congress’ handling of foreign policy, two concerns stimulated him to action. The first was the commissioners’ failure to include provisions concerning Anglo-American trade in the preliminary treaty or to negotiate a separate commercial agreement. Adams believed that the Shelburne ministry's conduct of the negotiations, particularly with Richard Oswald as its chief negotiator, had offered a window of opportunity to settle, even if only on an interim basis, the nature of postwar Anglo-American trade. Unfortunately, from Adams’ viewpoint, it was becoming increasingly clear that Shelburne could not remain much longer in office, and in fact the ministry fell on 24 February. For over a month, until the Fox-North coalition came to power in early April, England had no effective government. During this period it became clear to Adams that British trade policies were becoming far more restrictive toward America.
The failure to negotiate a trade agreement and, indeed, the way in which the United States would deal with Britain in the postwar world had a special resonance for Adams. This was not only because he was genuinely interested in free trade between the two countries, sometimes sounding like Adam Smith,21 but because in 1779 he had been commissioned as minister plenipotentiary to negotiate an Anglo-American commercial treaty. When Congress revoked this commission in July 1781, no one was left in Europe empowered to conclude such an agreement. Adams looked back at Congress’ decision, condemned it, and wondered whether it was intended “as a Punishment to me, or with a charitable design not to lead me into Temptation . . . a Punishment to the English for their Insolence and Barbarity” or as a means “to prevent or remove Suspicions of Allies, or the Envy and green eyed Jealousy of Co-Patriots.”22 Adams likely assumed it resulted from the usual French influence at his expense as well as Benjamin Franklin's wanting the post of minister to England for himself. Indeed, contemporary reports in London newspapers indicated that Franklin was to take up the post momentarily.23 But whatever the reason, Adams believed that the mistake should be { xxiv } corrected and a new minister appointed so that Anglo-American relations could be conducted on a rational basis.
Adams’ decision to raise the issue of the revoked commission in letters to the president of Congress and Thomas McKean24 in early February 1783 likely indicates that he was reconsidering his decision to resign or at least the implications for him when and if Congress appointed a minister to the Court of St. James. Adams believed that the 1779 commission had made him the de facto if not the de jure minister to Great Britain. Congress, therefore, had no choice but to appoint him minister unless it wished to repudiate him and all of his efforts in Europe on behalf of the United States, effectively debarring him from any further service to the nation. To that end he sent Congress a description of the ideal minister to Great Britain that could be mistaken for no one other than John Adams.
The second issue was the failure of the Netherlands and Great Britain to conclude a preliminary peace treaty at the same time that the British signed agreements with France and Spain on 20 January 1783. Adams was drawn into this issue because as minister to the Netherlands it was to him that his Dutch friends appealed for assistance. Letters from C. W. F. Dumas, acting American chargé d’affaires at The Hague, indicated that many Dutch felt betrayed by France in the negotiations. The instructions to the Dutch negotiators at Paris charged with ending the Anglo-Dutch War required them to defer to France in the negotiations with the understanding that the French foreign minister, the Comte de Vergennes, would preserve and protect Dutch interests.25 Adams was quick to point out that the Dutch instructions were so similar to those from Congress to the commissioners that they served as an object lesson in what likely would have happened had the commissioners not violated their instructions.
In his letters, most notably six to James Warren in late March and early April, Adams went far beyond merely commenting on Congress’ ill-considered instructions.26 Adams argued that he had created a foreign policy for the United States in 1776 and that in the years since, his vision had been betrayed. His Treaty Plan of 1776 had been designed to obtain a commercial treaty with France. Since the American Revolution was a unilateral abrogation of the British { xxv } Navigation Acts, access to the American market was incentive enough to obtain an agreement and French aid. Benjamin Franklin had sacrificed that principle when he negotiated the Franco-American Alliance in 1778 and thereby opened the door to French influence over American policy. Adams’ aim had been to avoid any agreements that would pull the United States into the maelstrom of European politics and endanger the future of the new nation. Congress, by bending to the will of France and the dictates of French policy, was doing the very thing that Adams had hoped to avoid.
In articulating these concerns Adams’ bitterness toward and distrust of Benjamin Franklin was virtually unbounded. Adams disagreed with and distrusted the Comte de Vergennes, who he thought constantly intrigued against the interests of the United States in order to make it submissive to French policy. Adams could accept, however, that Vergennes was the French foreign minister charged with promoting the interests of France. But Adams made no similar allowances for Franklin. Here was an American who had personally betrayed Adams when he negotiated the French Alliance of 1778 and then had become a creature of France and Vergennes. At every turn, in Adams’ mind, Franklin subordinated American interests to those of France and sought to frustrate Adams’ efforts, whether as minister to negotiate Anglo-American peace and commercial treaties, minister to the Netherlands, joint peace commissioner, or the rightful minister to Great Britain. Adams concluded that unless Congress abandoned its current policies of dependence on France and, in effect, repudiated Franklinian diplomacy, it would become—as it had been before the Revolution—a pawn in European politics. If that happened the very survival of the nation would be at risk.
Many of Adams’ comments regarding France, Vergennes, and Franklin, particularly in his letters written between the signing of the preliminary treaty and the resumption of negotiations in April, can only be characterized as at best injudicious and at worst unfair. Certainly Vergennes saw the United States as the junior member of the alliance, obligated to defer to France on important issues. As a result he used France's considerable power and influence to bend Congress and American diplomats in Europe to his own ends. But in the end, while French diplomats at Philadelphia enjoyed considerable sway over Congress, Vergennes had relatively little success in dictating the activities of American diplomats in Europe. Regarding { xxvi } Franklin, Adams showed his longstanding inability or unwillingness to recognize Franklin's position. Franklin had to deal with Vergennes on a regular basis and was unwilling to alienate him for no purpose. It is unlikely that Franklin liked the commissioners’ instructions any more than John Adams or John Jay did. Certainly Franklin's views on American boundaries and the treatment of the loyalists were contrary to those favored by France. Indeed, if one compares the views of Adams and Franklin regarding an Anglo-American peace, including the conditions under which negotiations would take place, there is very little substantive difference.
But shorn of their rhetoric, Adams’ letters are more substantive than they may first appear. When his comments about France, Vergennes, and Franklin are considered with those concerning Congress’ incompetence in conducting foreign relations, it is apparent that Adams is undertaking a detailed, if somewhat unsystematic, analysis of American foreign policy. In doing so, he is unique among American diplomats of his time. Franklin's letters offer few opinions and little analysis, and John Jay's letters, while often very long, resemble journals more than substantive examinations of causes and consequences. Adams believed that the United States faced great danger if it did not pursue an independent foreign policy that kept it from being aligned with any of the great powers of Europe. The problem was that while he laid out his very personal view of a foreign policy in need of correction, no one in Europe or America was able or willing to deal with his critique. Thus, while Adams waited for Congress to act on the preliminary treaty and his resignation and hoped it would see the errors of its ways, nothing happened beyond the ratification of the treaty and criticism of the commissioners for their lack of attention to French sensibilities. Volume 14 is at its heart a chronicle of John Adams’ frustration with events and policies beyond his control, a condition that would afflict his future diplomacy and correspondence as it became increasingly evident that under the Articles of Confederation Congress lacked the power, will, or interest to create an effective foreign policy.

3. John Adams and his Letterbooks

In his lifetime John Adams found his letterbooks very useful; so too do the editors of his papers. Adams had long kept letterbook copies to defend himself in the event controversy or criticism arose { xxvii } over his actions.27 For the period chronicled by volume 14 that motivation took on new urgency when Adams and his colleagues violated Congress’ instructions to the peace commissioners. But with peace Adams’ thoughts likely turned increasingly to the letterbooks’ value as a source for writing the history of the American Revolution.28 For the editors, the letterbook copies permit them to fill gaps in Adams’ correspondence where no recipient's copy of a letter has been found. Since many of the letterbook copies are drafts, the editors can also explore important differences between the draft and the letter as sent. Finally, when damage to a recipient's copy has resulted in the loss of text, the editors often supply the missing words from the letterbook.
When John Adams left The Hague in mid-October he left behind most of his papers, including the letterbooks that he had been using in the Netherlands.29 As a result, when he arrived at Paris he began new letterbooks numbered 20, 21, and 22 that appear, respectively, on reels 108, 109, and 110 of the Adams Papers Microfilms. A fourth letterbook, number 15 on reel 103 of the microfilm, also exists for the period, but, as can be seen from the description below, differs significantly from the other three. Departing from past practice and in an effort to make it easier to locate specific letters, in all cases where a letterbook copy is mentioned in a descriptive note or annotation, the microfilm reel containing the letterbook is indicated.
On the cover of Letterbook 20, which consists of 294 pages, John Adams wrote “N 24. / Peace. Paris. / October 31. 1782. to September 8. 1783.” Beginning on page 3—the first two pages are blank—and continuing through page 291 are copies of 176 letters, all by Adams or his secretaries John Thaxter and Charles Storer. The first is dated 31 October 1782 and is from Adams to Robert R. Livingston, the secretary for foreign affairs, and the last is of 8 September 1783 to the president of Congress. On page 292 is an account of expenses between 6 December 1782 and 15 July 1783 and on the following page are letters dated 9 and 12 September 1783 from Adams to the Paris banking firm of Van den Yver, Frères & Company for payment of his and John Thaxter's salaries. The final page is blank.
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On the cover of Letterbook 21, which consists of 196 pages, Adams wrote “Peace 1782. 1783 / State Papers relative to Peace / Marbois Letter.” On pages 3 and 4—the first two pages are blank—is an index of the forty letters and documents contained in the volume. The following 172 pages—157 through 168 are blank—contain a variety of documents in the hands of Adams and his secretaries Thaxter and Storer. All, with two exceptions noted below, proceeded directly from the work of the American Peace Commissioners, either in negotiating the preliminary treaty of 30 November 1782 or the definitive treaty of 3 September 1783. Included are copies of the preliminary and definitive treaties, the former in Adams’ hand. The exceptions are the English translation of François Barbé-Marbois’ letter of 13 March 1782 to the Comte de Vergennes (p. 69–73) and Francis Dana's 18 November letter to Robert R. Livingston (p. 170–173). Barbé-Marbois’ letter, intercepted by the British and supplied to Adams by John Jay, was very critical of American efforts to obtain fishing rights on the Grand Banks, while Dana's letter commented on the peace negotiations from the vantage point of St. Petersburg.30 The final twenty pages are blank.
Letterbook 22 consists of 296 pages, of which pages 1, 7–8, 15, and 17–296 are blank. On the cover Adams wrote “N 23 / Peace Paris / November 17. 1782.” Page 2 was intended as an index but its only entry is for Adams’ 17 November letter to Robert Morris. The remaining thirteen letters include three to Antoine Marie Cerisier and nine seeking to establish a relationship between the Royal Medical Society at Paris and the newly established Massachusetts Medical Society at Boston. The most important is that of 17 November from Adams to Jonathan Jackson. Adams wrote to Jackson, whom he believed to be a member of Congress, regarding the progress of the peace negotiations and originally intended to enclose with it the first installment of his “Peace Journal.”31
Letterbook 15 is not a letterbook in the usual sense but rather a volume containing 87 transcripts of documents proceeding from the work of the joint peace commission. The first document is Congress’ 5 October 1780 resolution concerning the Armed Neutrality and the last is John Thaxter's 20 September 1783 letter to the { xxix } commissioners announcing his arrival at Lorient and imminent departure for America with the definitive peace treaty. It was done by Benjamin Franklin's secretary Jean L’Air de Lamotte in the course of compiling the records of the peace negotiations into duplicate “letterbooks” for each of the commissioners.32 Because of its nature, documents from this letterbook are referred to as “LbC-Tr” in the descriptive notes and general annotation.

4. Notes on Editorial Method

This is the first volume of the Papers of John Adams series to incorporate the substantially revised policy toward the presentation of documents first used in volume 8 of the Adams Family Correspondence series. It seems appropriate, therefore, to offer a full overview of the editorial method. Readers may still wish to reference the statements of editorial policy in previous volumes of the Papers series, most notably volumes 1 (p. xxxi–xxxv), 9 (p. xx–xxiii), and 11 (p. xx–xxi).
Materials Included and Their Arrangement
The criteria for the selection and arrangement of letters and documents for the Papers of John Adams was set down in the section on editorial method in volume 1 of the series (p. xxxi–xxxv). Since the 1977 publication of that volume, however, the number of documents eligible for inclusion in each volume has increased, resulting in a more rigorous selection process. It seems only proper, therefore, that there be a restatement of the principles guiding the editors.
The principal reason for including a letter or document in the Papers of John Adams is the degree to which it illuminates John Adams’ actions or state of mind. The editors, therefore, have omitted letters they consider to be of little substance or import in chronicling Adams’ life and career. Routine letters of introduction or transmittal have generally been omitted. So too have letters from prisoners, merchants, and others requesting assistance or favors, particularly when there is no evidence that Adams acted on the request. Examples of such letters have been included when warranted. Some letters that would ordinarily have been included because of their content have been omitted because of their similarity to other letters written at approximately the same time.
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Other documents that the reader might expect to find in the Papers of John Adams have been calendared and sometimes omitted. This is generally owing to their appearance in other volumes of the Adams Papers, most notably the Diary and Autobiography and the Legal Papers of John Adams. But it is also true of documents forming a particular class, such as many of Adams’ letters to the president of Congress in 1780, 1781, and 1782. The majority of these letters, many of them lengthy, consist of digests of newspaper reports and most appear in Francis Wharton's Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution, Washington, 1889. While wishing to indicate the magnitude of Adams’ effort to keep Congress informed about events in Europe, the editors nonetheless decided to summarize the content of these letters in calendar form.
Since John Adams’ first arrival in Europe in 1778 a substantial number of foreign-language documents have been included in the volumes, all of them accompanied by translations. With regard to letters in French, which Adams read and very occasionally wrote, the standards for selection are identical to those for English letters. However, letters in Dutch, German, or other languages that Adams could not read do not routinely appear. Such letters have been included only where there is evidence that a letter was translated for Adams so that he could act on it or that the letter has an intrinsic value for understanding Adams’ activities and the world in which he lived.
In general, all documents appear in chronological order in the volumes. Within a given date, letters by John Adams precede letters to which he was a party, such as one of the American Peace Commissioners. Next come letters to John Adams, followed by letters to entities of which he was a part, such as the American Peace Commissioners. The only exception to this rule is the unusual case of a letter and a reply that are exchanged between two persons on the same day where the reply will immediately follow the letter to which it responds. Third-party documents appear at the end of the correspondence for a particular date. Exceptions to the chronological rule are the rare instances in which items dealing with a particular subject or event are collected into a group document covering a chronological span.33 Finally, documents dated as “ante” or “post” appear at the beginning or end of the chronological run of that date, respectively; those assigned a span of dates are placed under the { xxxi } first date of the run; and those dated to a particular month or year are placed at the end of that month or year.
Treatment of the Texts
The editors have adopted a new textual policy. Beginning with the current volume, the texts are and will be rendered as literally as possible given the limitations of modern typography and the ability to translate handwritten manuscripts into printed documents. While some important but less extensive changes have been introduced to the edition (see Papers of John Adams, volumes 12 and 13), the publication of this volume marks the most important change from the earlier volumes in which the editors substantially intervened to regularize the presentation of the texts. The implementation of this policy to present a more literal interpretation better preserves the original document and allows the reader to determine the significance of the authors’ spelling, grammar, capitalization, and other mechanical aspects of their writing. In that spirit, the following is a summary of the specifics of the project's new policy.
Spelling is preserved as found in the manuscripts. Irregular spelling and spelling mistakes, even when obviously simple slips of the pen, are retained. The index will continue to be used to offer corrected spellings of proper names and places, but no such corrections are made in the text itself. If a proper name is otherwise unidentifiable without some clarification, that explanation is provided in a text note.
Grammar and syntax are preserved as found in the manuscripts. Ambiguous statements resulting from grammatical errors may be explained in text notes. Inadvertent repetitions of words, however, are silently corrected. Likewise, all paragraphs receive a standard indent, whether such paragraphs are indicated in the original manuscripts by indents, extra space, hanging indents, extended dashes, or other conventions.
Capitalization is preserved as found in the manuscripts, even when it violates conventional standards, such as lowercase letters used for proper nouns or at the beginnings of sentences. In indeterminate cases, where the editors cannot be certain whether the writer intended a letter to be capital or lowercase, the editors follow modern usage.
Punctuation is preserved as found in the manuscripts. Occasionally punctuation marks need to be supplied by the editors to enhance readability. In those instances, the punctuation is enclosed in { xxxii } brackets and rendered in italics to indicate that it has been editorially supplied. Additionally, since Adams and many of his correspondents used periods and commas interchangeably, the editors have retained some license to interpret those marks as makes sense grammatically, relying less on the structure of the character (Adams tended to use a single mark that might either be an elongated period or an abbreviated comma) than on the context of the sentence. Finally, the punctuation around abbreviations and contractions have been standardized in a limited fashion. First, underlining below a superscript is rendered as a period following the superscript. Similarly, two periods or commas under a superscript are rendered as a colon following the superscript. Second, marks over letters used to indicate contractions or abbreviations have all been rendered as tildes. If such a mark appears over multiple letters within a word, the tilde is placed over the first letter.
Abbreviations and contractions, in general, are preserved as found in the manuscript. Ampersands are now retained in all instances, as are superscripts. Thorns, however, will be rendered as “th” and per symbols will be spelled out as “per.”
Missing and illegible matter is indicated by square brackets enclosing the editors’ conjectural readings (with a question mark appended if the reading is uncertain) or suspension points if no reading can be given. Three points are used to indicate a single missing word and four to indicate two or more missing words. When more than two words are missing, a footnote is provided indicating an estimate of the total amount of missing material. If a single letter of a word is missing, the editors may silently supply it. In cases where a letterbook copy of a letter is available, the missing or illegible matter is supplied from that source in brackets and indicated as such in the annotation.
Canceled matter in the manuscript (whether crossed out or erased) is disregarded unless the editors deem it to be of some significance. In those instances, the text is included but crossed out typographically (e.g., “I waited, forthwith, on Mr Jay, and from him learned the <present> State of the Conferences.”34). The editors will no longer use angle brackets and italicized text to indicate canceled matter, as in earlier volumes.
Variant readings (variations in text between two or more versions of the same letter) are ordinarily indicated only when they are { xxxiii } significant enough to warrant recording, and then always in footnotes keyed to the basic text that is printed in full.
Interlineations are silently included within the body of the text unless the editors deem the placement of the interlineated material worthy of mention, most commonly when it is written at the bottom or along the margin of a page and marked for insertion. Such explanations are provided in text notes.
Editorial insertions are now rare and used largely to indicate errors in dating or to supply necessary punctuation. The vast majority of editorial comment is provided in the annotation rather than interpolated into the text. Editorial insertions are still rendered in italicized text in brackets.
Foreign-language documents are treated textually the same as English-language documents. That is, they are rendered as literally as possible. However, translations of foreign-language texts appear in standard American English, with all abbreviations expanded and misspellings of personal and geographic names corrected. The only exceptions are quotations in languages other than the language of the letter, the signature, foreign-language names of ships, and the titles of published works in a foreign language, which are retained.
Encoded or enciphered passages are editorially decoded or deciphered, with the clear text supplied between braces. Such passages retain misspellings or garbled text caused by encoding or enciphering errors. When necessary, garbled text is clarified in the annotation.
As has been the policy from the beginning of this editorial project—and one of the few requirements of the Adams Manuscript Trust that donated the papers to the Massachusetts Historical Society and created the Adams Papers project—all letters that appear in the Adams Papers volumes are printed in full.35 The editors, however, reserve the right to omit publishing enclosures to letters. In most instances where there are multiple versions of letters, the recipient's copy—the copy intended for the recipient, whether so received or not—is favored over all others. However, when multiple copies of a letter were sent, as was often the case with Adams’ letters to or from the president of Congress and the secretary for foreign affairs, the copy that arrived first (whether it be the intended recipient's copy, a duplicate, or a triplicate) is printed. Differences between the { xxxiv } version of a letter printed and any other available versions of a letter (such as a letterbook copy or a draft) are explained in the annotation. In general, only significant differences (rather than mere stylistic changes) are so described.
The formal parts of each document are organized as follows:
The place- and dateline is printed as literally as possible using the standards outlined above. It is always placed at the head of the letter, even if it appears elsewhere in the manuscript (for instance, at the foot of the text). Undated and misdated letters have their dates editorially supplied or corrected using italicized text inside square brackets.
The salutation is also printed as literally as possible on the left side of the same line as the place- and dateline (space permitting). All punctuation is provided as it appears in the original except when a line is used to separate the salutation from the text. Such lines are silently omitted.
The complimentary close is printed literally, but in the interests of space it is run together in paragraph style. Virgules are used to indicate line breaks within the complimentary close.
The signature is printed literally. If a letter was unsigned, it is printed as such without comment unless special circumstances require explanation.
Enclosures are always acknowledged editorially but printed only selectively. If they belong in the sequence of Adams’ correspondence, they appear in their proper chronological places; if not and they warrant printing, they are attached to the letter that originally covered them.
Annotation and Index
While the most important function of these volumes is to provide accurate and authoritative texts, the editors also strive to offer additional information to help readers fully understand the nature of the documents and the historical context in which they were written.
Following each letter is a descriptive note that indicates the physical nature of the document printed and the manuscript repository where the original is located. If the document is no longer available in manuscript form, the source from which it is reprinted is provided. The note also contains the text of any markings on the original manuscript, including addresses (both cover and internal), endorsements (made by the recipient or on his or her behalf at the time of receipt), and docketings (made by the recipient or third parties at a later date). Additional notations on the manuscript may { xxxv } be recorded if the editors deem them of value. Any relevant comment on handwriting is also provided. Archivists’ markings and postmarks/stamps are not recorded. As with the complimentary close, multiline text is printed run together and virgules are used to indicate line breaks.
In addition, the descriptive note also now lists all variant versions of the document contained within the Adams Family Papers manuscript collection. Variant texts owned by other repositories are not listed unless those variants are referenced in the annotation of the document. Enclosures to the main document are indicated here and are dealt with in the annotation if they are not printed in full.
The editors do not supply information on previous printings of letters published in the Papers of John Adams unless there are special reasons for doing so, such as the disappearance of the manuscript or earlier printing in an unexpected place or unusual form.
All other matters annotated—textual, biographical, bibliographical, and so on—are dealt with in a single series of numbered notes for each letter. In general, the editors hope that the letters in large part annotate themselves, that together they provide an overarching sense of the activities of Adams and of the events in which he was immersed. Still, certain categories of material require additional explanation and the editors attempt to supply that through brief factual notes. Among the types of information covered in the notes, the following are the most common:
1. Persons and personal names. The single largest category of notes are identifications of individuals, whether family members, friends, political colleagues, or acquaintances. While certainly not all of the people mentioned within the letters can be meaningfully identified, short biographies are provided for as many as possible at their first significant mention within one of the project's series. When an identification is tentative, the caveats “possibly” or “probably” are used to indicate the editors’ level of uncertainty. Text notes are also used to clarify spellings of names when the variations are substantial enough to make locating them in the index difficult (in most cases, names are “corrected” or regularized only in the index) and to provide cross-references to identifications available in volumes in other Adams Papers series.
2. Books and other publications. The editors attempt to supply full bibliographical information on the books and publications mentioned in the letters. Information on whether John Adams or another family member owned the item in question—either in John { xxxvi } Adams’ library, now held at the Boston Public Library,36 or in John Quincy Adams’ library, now located at the Stone Library of the Adams National Historical Park—is also included when available.
3. Correspondence. Despite becoming increasingly selective, the editors must deal with the totality of John Adams’ correspondence. Consequently, the locations of specific letters mentioned but not printed within the volume are indicated if the editors have any record of them, while those mentioned of which no record exists are designated in the notes as “not found.” When precise identification of letters is not possible—due most commonly to faulty dating or vague references—the editors may offer likely suggestions.
4. Other subjects. These are annotated on an ad hoc basis, primarily to clarify the text, either by providing historical context or to explain topics the editors believe are unfamiliar to modern readers.
Each volume contains an appended List of Omitted Documents.37 This is a list of all letters and documents relating to John Adams that are eligible for inclusion in a particular volume but are not printed or calendared in that volume, including information on the location of the manuscript, additional copies contained in the Adams Family Papers manuscript collection, and any modern printed versions thereof. The selection principles for the Papers of John Adams are provided above. The principles for selection in the Adams Family Correspondence series are provided in the introduction to volume 8 of that series (p. xxxvi–xxxvii).
An index now appears as the final section of each volume, no longer in every other volume as was the practice through volume 10. The index, besides serving as a guide to locating people, places, and subjects covered in the book, also provides a wealth of additional information. Most notably, each individual's full name is provided (wherever possible), whether it was used in full in the text or not, along with a brief description of that individual, such as his or her profession, place of residence, or connection to the Adams family. Birth and death dates are additionally supplied for all members of the Adams family, including more distant relatives. These index entries also supply corrected spellings of names or spelling alternatives, as appropriate.
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Main index entries of any length are subdivided into subentries to offer easier access and more specific searching within the text. Initially, those subentries were provided in page number order, but in recent volumes (beginning with Adams Family Correspondence, volume 7, and Papers of John Adams, volume 13), the editors have supplied them alphabetically, to aid in their use.
Volume 14 documents seven tumultuous months in the life of John Adams. He and his colleagues violated their instructions from Congress and achieved the ultimate raison d’être for the American diplomatic establishment in Europe—peace with England. In his letters Adams expressed, in more detail and with greater candor than ever before, his frustration with Congress and his growing anxiety over the effect of ill-considered policies on the United States’ ability to survive and prosper in the postwar world. For additional insight into Adams’ activities, the 338 letters and documents printed in and the 145 items omitted from this volume should be considered in conjunction with the documentation provided by other volumes of the Adams Papers. The 79 letters printed in the Adams Family Correspondence (5:28–167) for this period contain additional comments by Adams and others on the peace and the future, including his exchanges with Abigail over whether she and their daughter should come to Europe. Also of interest is John Quincy Adams’ correspondence with his mother and father concerning his six-month journey from St. Petersburg to The Hague, a subject dealt with in the younger Adams’ Diary (1:153–175). Finally, John Adams’ Diary and Autobiography (3:37–154) contains the material from which his two “Peace Journals” were derived and provides important information regarding the negotiations with David Hartley toward a definitive peace treaty that began in late April 1783.

5. Related Digital Resources

Beyond its continuing support of the Adams Papers editorial project, the Massachusetts Historical Society has also committed itself to making Adams resources available online. Two digital resources in particular supplement the Papers of John Adams volumes and will be of great interest to Adams scholars and readers—The Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive and The Diaries of John Quincy Adams: A Digital Collection. Both are available through the Massachusetts Historical Society's website at www.masshist.org/adams.
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The Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive offers images and transcriptions of the complete correspondence between John and Abigail Adams owned by the Massachusetts Historical Society, all of John Adams’ diaries, and his autobiography. The text is fully searchable and may also be browsed by date.
The Diaries of John Quincy Adams: A Digital Collection, provides images of all pages of John Quincy Adams’ enormous 51-volume diary, which he kept for nearly seventy years. The images may be searched by date or browsed by diary volume.
Finally, the editors are pleased to announce the forthcoming launch of a major new digital initiative to make all of the previously published Adams Papers volumes available online. Thanks to the generosity of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Harvard University Press, and the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Founding Families Digital Edition is scheduled to become available on the Massachusetts Historical Society's website in late 2008. This project will provide a fully searchable digital version of 38 Adams Papers volumes, as well as 7 volumes of the Winthrop Family Papers published by the Massachusetts Historical Society in the twentieth century. While the editors intend to continue making the Adams Papers available in letterpress editions, a complementary digital edition will greatly enhance the accessibility and utility of these volumes.
Gregg L. Lint
August 2007
2. Vol. 13:483–485.
3. Vol. 11:374–377. JA's objection was partly due to the contrast between the 1781 instructions and his 16 Oct. 1779 instructions as sole minister to negotiate an Anglo-American peace under which he was to be governed by the Franco-American alliance and French advice, but also “by your Knowledge of our Interests, and your own discretion, in which We repose the fullest Confidence” (JA, D&A, 4:181–183).
4. Same, 3:38. The allusion was in Arthur Lee's letter of 7 Aug. 1782, but in his reply of 10 Oct., JA wrote that the instruction mentioned by Lee had “never been communicated to me” and “I cannot believe that any such one has passed” (vol. 13:524).
7. See Congress’ dispatch book, PCC, No. 185, III, f. 56.
8. PCC, No. 84, IV, f. 242–296.
9. AFC, 5:60. See also William Gordon's letter of 10 May 1783, and note 4, below. This version of the “Peace Journal” is now at the Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia.
11. Same, 3:54; to Jonathan Jackson, 17 Nov., below.
12. See JA's explanations in his 30 June 1784 letter to Samuel Osgood (LbC, Adams Papers, APM Reel 107) written in reply to Osgood's letter of 7 Dec. 1783 commenting on the effect of the “Journal” when it reached Congress; and in the Boston Patriot of 7 Sept. 1811. See also CFA's comment on the dispatch of the “Journal” in JA, Works, 3:349.
15. See, for example, JA's letters to Robert Morris and the consortium of Amsterdam bankers of 7 and 19 Nov., respectively, as well as the consortium's letter to JA of [ca. 23 Dec.], all below.
16. See, for example, JA's 22 Feb. letter to Dana and Dana's letters of 9 May, and note 2, and 15 May, all below.
17. JQA's letter was dated 1 Feb. at Göteborg, Sweden, to which JA replied on 18 Feb. (AFC, 5:86–88, 97), but see also JA's letter to Francis Dana of 5 Feb., below. For the newspaper account, which appeared in various London newspapers including the London Chronicle of 24–26 Dec., see Francis Dana's letter of 19 Dec., note 3, below.
18. See, for example, letters from Hamburg by Philippe Jean Joseph Lagau on 3 March and the firm of Parish & Thomson on 7 March, both below.
20. JA and the Writing of the History of the American Revolution, 9 Jan.–8 March 1783, below.
24. 6 Feb. 1783, below.
25. Vol. 13:246.
26. Of 20 and 21 March; 9, 12, 13, and 16 April; but see also JA's 25 May letter to Robert R. Livingston, all below.
27. See, for example, JA's 25 Feb. 1779 letter to James Warren, vol. 7:427.
28. See John Adams and the Writing of the History of the American Revolution, 9 Jan.–8 March 1783, below. The letterbooks were also the primary source for the letters copied by JA into his Autobiography and his letters to the Boston Patriot between 1809 and 1812.
29. These are Letterbooks 18 and 19, which appear on reels 106 and 107 of the Adams Papers Microfilms. In both cases entries ended in October 1782 and were not resumed until after he visited The Hague in the summer of 1783.
30. For Barbé-Marbois’ letter, see Henry Laurens’ Account of a Conversation with John Adams on the Peace Negotiations, 19 Dec. 1782, and note 4; and for Dana's letter see his [19 Dec.] letter to JA, and note 1, both below.
31. For JA's motivation in writing to Jonathan Jackson, see his letter to Jackson of 8 Nov., note 1, below. For the “Peace Journal” see his 17 Nov. letter to Jackson, and note 6, below; and Part 1 to the Introduction, above.
32. Franklin, Papers, 37:440.
35. Remarks of Thomas B. Adams, then president of the Massachusetts Historical Society and trustee of the Adams Manuscript Trust, in The Adams Papers: A Ceremony . . . Marking the Publication of the Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, 22 Sept. 1961, p. 5.
36. The Boston Public Library has recently completed a major effort to create an online catalog of the John Adams library, including record of the extensive marginalia John Adams generated in his books. See www.johnadamslibrary.org for more information.
37. The first such list appeared in vol. 8:381–397 and included all documents omitted from volumes 1 through 8.
{ xxxix }


No volume of the Papers of John Adams is produced without the assistance of far more people than can be listed on the title page. Assistant Editor Karen Northrop Barzilay collated documents, verified annotation, and performed other crucial tasks necessary for the publication of a volume. Former Assistant Editor Jessie May Rodrique assisted in collation and current National Historical Publications and Records Commission Fellow Robert Feikema Karachuk verified annotation and provided other assistance in the final stages of production. Thomas Kozachek copyedited the entire volume and added immensely to its accuracy and style. Lastly, Paul Fótis Tsimahides transcribed documents for this and future volumes.
A project such as the Adams Papers would be unable to function without its friends, both old and new, whose assistance is vital to the editorial process. Former Assistant Editor Joanna M. Revelas and Zack Rogow provided translations of French documents for November 1782 and May 1783, while the balance of the French translations were done by Camille Naish. Once again Inez Hollander Lake transcribed and translated Dutch letters and documents. Margarete Ritzkowsky performed the same tasks for German documents, all of them posing special problems for the transcriber and translator. Prof. Ward W. Briggs of the University of South Carolina again provided translations of Latin passages. Ellen R. Cohn, Jonathan R. Dull, and Kate M. Ohno of the Papers of Benjamin Franklin were always willing and able to answer our questions. Edward B. Doctoroff, Head of the Administrative Services Division at Harvard's Widener Library, and the staff of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Department at the Boston Public Library facilitated our research, making it much easier than it might otherwise have been. Prof. John J. McCusker of Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas, continued to share with us his vast knowledge of the arcane world of eighteenth-century finance.
The Adams Papers greatly appreciate the continuing and unstinting support of the Harvard University Press for the publication of our volumes. We want to thank particularly Associate Director for { xl } Design and Production John Walsh, who could not have been more supportive. The same can be said for Lisa Roberts, Book Designer, and Kathleen McDermott, Senior Editor for History and Social Sciences, for their help in the production and marketing of this book. Lastly, the patience and assistance of Kevin Krugh, Kenneth Krugh, and their staff at Technologies ’N Typography was crucial to our efforts.
No Adams Papers volume would be possible without access to the unparalleled collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society and the assistance of the Society's skilled, professional, and knowledgeable staff. We would particularly like to thank Dennis A. Fiori, President; Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian; Brenda M. Lawson, Director of Collections Services; Anne E. Bentley, Curator of Art; Mary E. Fabiszewski, Senior Cataloger; Nancy Heywood, Digital Projects Coordinator; Jennifer Smith, Photographic Services; and Carolle Morini, Reference Librarian. Finally, we are very appreciative of the contributions to the success of this project made by the members of the Adams Papers Administrative Committee.
{ xli }

Guide to Editorial Apparatus

The first three sections (1–3) of this guide list, respectively, the arbitrary devices used for clarifying the text, the code names for prominent members of the Adams family, and the symbols for the various kinds of manuscript originals used or referred to, which are employed throughout The Adams Papers in all its series and parts. The final three sections (4–6) list, respectively, the symbols for institutions holding original materials, the various abbreviations and conventional terms, and the short titles of books and other works that occur in volume 14 of the Papers of John Adams.

1. Textual Devices

The following devices will be used throughout The Adams Papers to clarify the presentation of the text.
[. . .]   One word missing or illegible.  
[. . . .]   Two words missing or illegible.  
[. . . .]1   More than two words missing or illegible; subjoined footnote estimates amount of missing matter.  
[  ]   Number or part of a number missing or illegible. Amount of blank space inside brackets approximates the number of missing or illegible digits.  
[roman]   Conjectural reading for missing or illegible matter. A question mark is inserted before the closing bracket if the conjectural reading is seriously doubtful.  
<roman>   Canceled matter.  
[italic]   Editorial insertion.  
{roman}   Text editorially decoded or deciphered.  

2. Adams Family Code Names

First Generation
JA   John Adams (1735–1826)  
AA   Abigail Adams (1744–1818), m.JA 1764  
Second Generation
AA2   Abigail Adams (1765–1813), daughter of JA and AA  
WSS   William Stephens Smith (1755–1816), brother of SSA, m.AA2 1786  
JQA   John Quincy Adams (1767–1848), son of JA and AA  
LCA   Louisa Catherine Johnson (1775–1852), m.JQA 1797  
CA   Charles Adams (1770–1800), son of JA and AA  
SSA   Sarah Smith (1769–1828), sister of WSS, m.CA 1795  
{ xlii } TBA   Thomas Boylston Adams (1772–1832), son of JA and AA  
AHA   Ann Harrod (1774–1845), m.TBA 1805  
Third Generation
GWA   George Washington Adams (1801–1829), son of JQA and LCA  
JA2   John Adams (1803–1834), son of JQA and LCA  
MCHA   Mary Catherine Hellen (1806–1870), m.JA2 1828  
CFA   Charles Francis Adams (1807–1886), son of JQA and LCA  
ABA   Abigail Brown Brooks (1808–1889), m.CFA 1829  
ECA   Elizabeth Coombs Adams (1808–1903), daughter of TBA and AHA  
Fourth Generation
LCA2   Louisa Catherine Adams (1831–1870), daughter of CFA and ABA, m. Charles Kuhn 1854  
JQA2   John Quincy Adams (1833–1894), son of CFA and ABA  
CFA2   Charles Francis Adams (1835–1915), son of CFA and ABA  
HA   Henry Adams (1838–1918), son of CFA and ABA  
MHA   Marian Hooper (1842–1885), m.HA 1872  
MA   Mary Adams (1845–1928), daughter of CFA and ABA, m. Henry Parker Quincy 1877  
BA   Brooks Adams (1848–1927), son of CFA and ABA  
Fifth Generation
CFA3   Charles Francis Adams (1866–1954), son of JQA2  
HA2   Henry Adams (1875–1951), son of CFA2  
JA3   John Adams (1875–1964), son of CFA2  

3. Descriptive Symbols

The following symbols will be employed throughout The Adams Papers to describe or identify in brief form the various kinds of manuscript originals.
D   Diary (Used only to designate a diary written by a member of the Adams family and always in combination with the short form of the writer's name and a serial number, as follows: D/JA/23, i.e. the twenty-third fascicle or volume of John Adams’ manuscript Diary.)  
Dft   draft  
Dupl   duplicate  
FC   file copy (A copy of a letter retained by a correspondent other than an Adams, no matter the form of the retained copy; a copy of a letter retained by an Adams other than a Letterbook copy.)  
IRC   intended recipient's copy (Generally the first copy but received after a duplicate, triplicate, or other version of a letter.)  
Lb   Letterbook (Used only to designate an Adams Letterbook and always in combination with the short form of the writer's name and a serial number, as follows: Lb/JQA/29, i.e. the twentyninth volume of John Quincy Adams’ Letterbooks.)  
LbC   Letterbook copy (Used only to designate an Adams Letterbook { xliii } copy. Letterbook copies are normally unsigned, but any such copy is assumed to be in the hand of the person responsible for the text unless it is otherwise described.)  
LbC-Tr   Letterbook copy-transcript (A transcript of an official letter or document copied into a volume of transcripts created for JA by Benjamin Franklin's secretary Jean L’Air de Lamotte, APM Reel 103.)  
M   Miscellany (Used only to designate an item in the section of the Adams Papers known as the “Miscellanies” and always in combination with the short form of the writer's name and a serial number, as follows: M/CFA/32, i.e. the thirty-second volume of the Charles Francis Adams Miscellany—a ledger volume mainly containing transcripts made by CFA in 1833 of selections from the family papers.)  
MS, MSS   manuscript, manuscripts  
RC   recipient's copy (A recipient's copy is assumed to be in the hand of the signer unless it is otherwise described.)  
Tr   transcript (A copy, handwritten or typewritten, made substantially later than the original or later than other copies—such as duplicates, file copies, Letterbook copies—that were made contemporaneously.)  
Tripl   triplicate  

4. Location Symbols

CtY   Yale University Library  
DeHi   Historical Society of Delaware  
DLC   Library of Congress  
DNA   National Archives and Records Administration  
ICHi   Chicago History Museum  
ICN   Newberry Library  
MB   Boston Public Library  
MBCo   Countway Library of Medicine, Harvard University  
MH-Ar   Harvard University Archives  
MH-H   Houghton Library, Harvard University  
MHi   Massachusetts Historical Society  
MiU-C   William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan  
NjP   Princeton University Library  
NHi   New-York Historical Society  
NN   New York Public Library  
NNC   Columbia University  
NNMus   Museum of the City of New York  
NNPM   Morgan Library and Museum  
PHC   Haverford College Library  
PHi   Historical Society of Pennsylvania  
PPAmP   American Philosophical Society  
ScHi   South Carolina Historical Society  
ScL (ScU)   South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina  
{ xliv }

5. Other Abbreviations and Conventional Terms

  • Adams Papers
  • Manuscripts and other materials, 1639–1889, in the Adams Manuscript Trust collection given to the Massachusetts Historical Society in 1956 and enlarged by a few additions of family papers since then. Citations in the present edition are simply by date of the original document if the original is in the main chronological series of the Papers and therefore readily found in the microfilm edition of the Adams Papers (see below).

  • The Adams Papers
  • The present edition in letterpress, published by The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. References to earlier volumes of any given unit take this form: vol. 2:146. Since there is no overall volume numbering for the edition, references from one series, or unit of a series, to another are by title, volume, and page, for example, JA, D&A, 4:205.

  • APM
  • Formerly, Adams Papers, Microfilms. The corpus of the Adams Papers, 1639–1889, as published on microfilm by the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1954–1959, in 608 reels. Cited in the present work, when necessary, by reel number. Available in research libraries throughout the United States and in a few libraries in Canada, Europe, and New Zealand.

  • Bibliothèque de l’Académie Nationale de Médecine
  • Bibliothèque de l’Académie Nationale de Médecine, Paris.

  • Historisch Centrum Leeuwarden
  • Historisch Centrum Leeuwarden, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands.

  • Nationaal Archief
  • Nationaal Archief, The Hague. For details on Dumas Papers microfilm edition, see JA, D&A, 3:9–10.

  • PCC
  • Papers of the Continental Congress. Originals in the National Archives: Record Group 360. Microfilm edition in 204 reels. Usually cited in the present work from the microfilms, but according to the original series and volume numbering devised in the State Department in the early nineteenth century; for example, PCC, No. 93, III, i.e., the third volume of series 93.

  • PCC, Misc. Papers
  • Miscellaneous Papers of the Continental Congress. Originals in the National Archives: Record Group 360. Microfilm edition in 9 reels. Cited in the present work from the microfilms by reel and folio number.

  • PRO
  • National Archives of the United Kingdom, London. Formerly Public Record Office.
{ xlv }

6. Short Titles of Works Frequently Cited

  • AFC
  • Adams Family Correspondence, ed. L. H. Butterfield, Marc Friedlaender, Richard Alan Ryerson, Margaret A. Hogan, and others, Cambridge, 1963– .

  • Allen, Mass. Privateers
  • Gardner Weld Allen, Massachusetts Privateers of the Revolution (Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections, vol. 77), Boston, 1927.

  • Biddle, Old Family Letters
  • Old Family Letters: Copied from the Originals for Alexander Biddle, Series A, Philadelphia, 1892.

  • Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S.
  • I. Minis Hays, ed., Calendar of the Papers of Benjamin Franklin in the Library of the American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, 1908; 5 vols.

  • Cannon, Fox-North Coalition
  • John Cannon, The Fox-North Coalition: Crisis of the Constitution, 1782–4, London, 1969.

  • Catalogue of JA's Library
  • Catalogue of the John Adams Library in the Public Library of the City of Boston, Boston, 1917.

  • Catalogue of JQA's Books
  • Henry Adams and Worthington Chauncey Ford, A Catalogue of the Books of John Quincy Adams Deposited in the Boston Athenæum with Notes on Books, Adams Seals and Book-Plates, Boston, 1938.

  • CFA, Diary
  • Diary of Charles Francis Adams, ed. Aïda DiPace Donald, David Donald, Marc Friedlaender, L. H. Butterfield, and others, Cambridge, 1964– .

  • Cresson, Francis Dana
  • William P. Cresson, Francis Dana: A Puritan Diplomat at the Court of Catherine the Great, New York, 1930.

  • DAB
  • Allen Johnson, Dumas Malone, and others, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–1936; repr. New York, 1955–1980; 10 vols. plus index and supplements.

  • De Madariaga, Armed Neutrality of 1780
  • Isabel de Madariaga, Britain, Russia, and the Armed Neutrality of 1780: Sir James Harris's Mission to St. Petersburg during the American Revolution, New Haven, 1962.

  • Dipl. Corr., 1783–1789
  • The Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States of America, from . . . 1783, to . . . 1789, [ed. William A. Weaver], repr., Washington, 1837 [actually 1855]; 3 vols.

  • DNB
  • Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, eds., The Dictionary of National Biography, New York and London, 1885–1901; repr. Oxford, 1959–1960; 21 vols. plus supplements.

  • Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence
  • Jonathan R. Dull, The French Navy and American Independence: A Study of Arms and Diplomacy, 1774–1787, Princeton, 1975. { xlvi }

  • Evans
  • Charles Evans and others, American Bibliography: A Chronological Dictionary of All Books, Pamphlets and Periodical Publications Printed in the United States of America [1639–1800], Chicago and Worcester, 1903–1959; 14 vols.

  • Franklin, Papers
  • The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, ed. Leonard W. Labaree, William B. Willcox, Claude A. Lopez, Barbara B. Oberg, Ellen R. Cohn, and others, New Haven, 1959– .

  • Franklin, Writings, ed. Smyth
  • The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, ed. Albert Henry Smyth, New York and London, 1905–1907; 10 vols.

  • Hamilton, Papers
  • Papers of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Harold C. Syrett, Jacob E. Cooke, and others, New York, 1961–1987; 27 vols.

  • Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale
  • Jean Chrétien Ferdinand Hoefer, ed., Nouvelle biographie générale depuis les temps les plus reculés jusqu’à nos jours, Paris, 1852–1866; 46 vols.

  • JA, A Collection of State-Papers
  • John Adams, comp., A Collection of State-Papers, Relative to the First Acknowledgment of the Sovereignity of the United States of America, and the Reception of Their Minister Plenipotentiary, by Their High-Mightinesses the States-General of the United Netherlands, The Hague, 1782.

  • JA, D&A
  • Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols.

  • JA, Defence of the Const.
  • John Adams, A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, London, 1787–1788; repr. New York, 1971; 3 vols.

  • JA, Earliest Diary
  • The Earliest Diary of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1966.

  • JA, Legal Papers
  • Legal Papers of John Adams, ed. L. Kinvin Wroth and Hiller B. Zobel, Cambridge, 1965; 3 vols.

  • JA, Papers
  • Papers of John Adams, ed. Robert J. Taylor, Gregg L. Lint, and others, Cambridge, 1977– .

  • JA, Works
  • The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: with a Life of the Author, ed. Charles Francis Adams, Boston, 1850–1856; 10 vols.

  • Jay, Unpublished Papers
  • John Jay: Unpublished Papers, ed. Richard B. Morris, New York, 1975–1980; 2 vols.

  • JCC
  • Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, ed. Worthington Chauncey Ford, Gaillard Hunt, John C. Fitzpatrick, Roscoe R. Hill, and others, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. { xlvii }

  • Jefferson, Papers
  • The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, Princeton, 1950– .

  • JQA, Diary
  • Diary of John Quincy Adams, ed. David Grayson Allen, Robert J. Taylor, and others, Cambridge, 1981– .

  • Lafayette, Papers
  • Lafayette in the Age of the American Revolution: Selected Letters and Papers, 1776–1790, ed. Stanley J. Idzerda and others, Ithaca, N.Y., 1977–1983; 5 vols.

  • Laurens, Papers
  • The Papers of Henry Laurens, ed. Philip M. Hamer, George C. Rogers Jr., David R. Chesnutt, C. James Taylor, and others, Columbia, S.C., 1968–2003; 16 vols.

  • Madison, Papers, Congressional Series
  • The Papers of James Madison, ed. William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, and Robert Allen Rutland, Chicago, 1962–1991; 17 vols.

  • Mass., Acts and Laws
  • Acts and Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts [1780–1805], Boston, 1890–1898; 13 vols.

  • Mazzei, Writings
  • Philip Mazzei: Selected Writings and Correspondence, ed. Margherita Marchione and others, Prato, Italy, 1983; 3 vols.

  • MHS, Colls.; Procs.
  • Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections; Massachusetts Historical Society, Proceedings.

  • Miller, Treaties
  • Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America, ed. Hunter Miller, Washington, 1931–1948; 8 vols.

  • Morison, Three Centuries of Harvard
  • Samuel Eliot Morison, Three Centuries of Harvard, 1636–1936, Cambridge, 1936.

  • Morris, Papers
  • The Papers of Robert Morris, 1781–1784, ed. E. James Ferguson, John Catanzariti, Elizabeth M. Nuxoll, Mary A. Gallagher, and others, Pittsburgh, 1973–1999; 9 vols.

  • Morris, Peacemakers
  • Richard B. Morris, The Peacemakers: The Great Powers and American Independence, New York, 1965.

  • Murphy, Vergennes
  • Orville T. Murphy, Charles Gravier, Comte de Vergennes: French Diplomacy in the Age of Revolution, 1719–1787, Albany, 1982.

  • Nieuw Ned. Biog. Woordenboek
  • P. C. Molhuysen and others, eds., Nieuw Nederlandsch Biografisch Woordenboek, Leyden, 1911–1937; 10 vols.

  • OED
  • The Oxford English Dictionary, 2d edn., Oxford, 1989; 20 vols.

  • Oliver, Portraits of JA and AA
  • Andrew Oliver, Portraits of John and Abigail Adams, Cambridge, 1967. { xlviii }

  • Oxford Classical Dicy.
  • Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth, eds., The Oxford Classical Dictionary, 3d edn., New York, 1996.

  • Parliamentary Hist.
  • The Parliamentary History of England, from the Earliest Period to the Year 1803, London, 1806–1820; 36 vols.

  • Princetonians
  • James McLachlan, Richard A. Harrison, Ruth L. Woodward, Wesley Frank Craven, and J. Jefferson Looney, Princetonians: A Biographical Dictionary, Princeton, 1976–1991; 5 vols.

  • Repertorium
  • Ludwig Bittner and others, eds., Repertorium der diplomatischen Vertreter aller Länder seit dem Westfälischen Frieden (1648), Oldenburg, 1936–1965; 3 vols.

  • Rowen, Princes of Orange
  • Herbert H. Rowen, The Princes of Orange: The Stadholders in the Dutch Republic, Cambridge, Eng., 1988.

  • Schama, Patriots and Liberators
  • Simon Schama, Patriots and Liberators: Revolution in the Netherlands, 1780–1813, New York, 1977.

  • Schulte Nordholt, Dutch Republic and Amer. Independence
  • Jan Willem Schulte Nordholt, The Dutch Republic and American Independence, transl. Herbert H. Rowen, Chapel Hill, 1982.

  • Scott, Armed Neutralities
  • The Armed Neutralities of 1780 and 1800: A Collection of Official Documents Preceded by the Views of Representative Publicists, ed. James Brown Scott, New York, 1918.

  • Scott, British Foreign Policy
  • H. M. Scott, British Foreign Policy in the Age of the American Revolution, Oxford, 1990.

  • Sen. Exec. Jour.
  • Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America from the Commencement of the First to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, 1828; 3 vols.

  • Sibley's Harvard Graduates
  • John Langdon Sibley, Clifford K. Shipton, Conrad Edick Wright, Edward W. Hanson, and others, Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cambridge and Boston, 1873– .

  • Smith, Letters of Delegates
  • Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789, ed. Paul H. Smith and others, Washington, 1976–2000; 26 vols.

  • Stiles, Literary Diary
  • The Literary Diary of Ezra Stiles, D.D., LL.D., President of Yale College, ed. Franklin Bowditch Dexter, New York, 1901; 3 vols.

  • U.S. and Russia
  • The United States and Russia: The Beginning of Relations, 1765–1815, ed. Nina N. Bashkina and others, Washington, 1980. { xlix }

  • VMHB
  • Virginia Magazine of History and Biography.

  • Warren-Adams Letters
  • Warren-Adams Letters: Being Chiefly a Correspondence among John Adams, Samuel Adams, and James Warren (Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections, vols. 72–73), Boston, 1917–1925; 2 vols.

  • Washington, Papers, Confederation Series
  • The Papers of George Washington: Confederation Series, ed. W. W. Abbot and others, Charlottesville, 1992–1997; 6 vols.

  • Weber, Codes and Ciphers
  • Ralph E. Weber, United States Diplomatic Codes and Ciphers, 1775–1938, Chicago, 1979.

  • Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev.
  • The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, ed. Francis Wharton, Washington, 1889; 6 vols.

  • Winter, Amer. Finance and Dutch Investment
  • Pieter J. van Winter and James C. Riley, American Finance and Dutch Investment, 1780–1805, New York, 1977; 2 vols.
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, 2018.