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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 4


Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0001-0101

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1778-07-04

[July 4. 1778.]

July 4. 1778. This being the Anniversary of the Declaration of American Independence, We had the honour of the Company of all the American Gentlemen and Ladies, in and about Paris, to dine with Dr. Franklin and me, at Passi, together with a few of the French Gentlemen in the Neighbourhood, Mr. Chaumont, Mr. Brillon, Mr. Vaillant, Mr. Grand, Mr. Beaudoin, Mr. Gerard De Rayneval, the Abby's Challut and Arnoud &c. Mr. Izzard and Dr. Franklin were upon such Terms, that Franklin would not have invited him, and I know not that Izzard would have accepted the Invitation if he had. But I said to Mr. Franklin that I would invite him, and I believe Dr. Smith and all the rest that he omitted and bring them all together and compell them if { 144 } possible to forget their Animosities. Franklin consented, and I sent Cards to them in my name only. The others were invited in the Names of both of Us. The Day was passed joyously enough and no ill humour appeared from any quarter: Afterwards Mr. Izzard said to me, that he thought We should have had some of the Gentlemen of that Country: He would not allow those we had to be the Gentlemen of the Country. They were not Ministers of State, nor Ambassadors, nor Princes, Nor Dukes, nor Peers, nor Marquises, nor Cardinals, nor Archbishops, nor Bishops. But neither our Furniture, nor our Finances would have born Us out in such an Ostentation. We should have made a most ridiculous figure in the Eyes of such Company. Besides the Ministers of State never dine from home unless it be with one another at the Castle: And We were not yet acknowledged, as public Minister[s,] by any Sovereign in Europe, but the King of France: therefore no Ambassador or other public Minister could have accepted our invitation. I know very well that the Company We had and the Society with which Dr. Franklin generally associated were disliked and disapproved by a great Body of the first and soundest People in the Kingdom. Some of them had been “fletris,” by a grand Court Martial or Court of Inquiry, which had been appointed on the Beginning of this Reign, or the latter End of the last consisting of the Marshalls of France whose Report I have read. These great People I now speak of, were, I know, very much disgusted, at our living at Passi and in the house of Mr. Chaumont. But this Step had been taken before my Arrival, and what could We do? The Circle in question, revolved round Mr. De Sartine and the Count de Vergennes, and were countenanced probably by Count Maurepas, whose departure from the first Intention of the present King had disgusted and driven from Court, first Mr. Malesherbes and next Mr. Turgot. I have not at present the Books and Papers, which I have seen and read, and if I had it would be endless as well as useless, to devellope the State of Parties in France at the Close of the Reign of Louis the 15th, and at the Commencement of that of Louis the Sixteenth. By those Revolutions of Parties We were thrown into the hands of a Sett of People, whose Intrigues, and mercenary Views, involved the first Years and indeed days of the Alliance with Suspicion and Want of confidence. The Persons and Parties are all dead, I believe, and no Man will probably ever look into the Memorials of those times with sufficient care to distinguish the Springs of Action. But I know what I say and I know it was regretted and lamented by many of the greatest and best Men in the Kingdom.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0001-0102

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1778-07-05

[July 5. 1778]

July 5. 1778. I have neglected to introduce, in the proper time, because I cannot precisely ascertain the Day, an Anecdote which excited my Grief, my Pitty and somewhat I confess of my resentment. Mr. Deane had left orders with Dr. Bancroft to receive and open all Letters which might arrive, addressed to him, after his departure. Among others he brought one to me addressed to Mr. Deane from Mr. Hancock, highly complimentary to Mr. Deane, professing great Friendship and Esteem for Mr. Deane, lamenting his Recall, complaining of the cruel Treatment he had received, and assuring him that it was not Congress that had done it. I pitied the weakness, grieved at the meanness and resented the Malice of this Letter. He had left Congress long before I did. He must have been ignorant of the most urgent motives of Congress to the Measure. He must have been blind not to have seen the egregious faults and Misconduct of Mr. Deane before this. If Congress had not done it, who had done it? Congress was unanimous in his Recall. In short the whole Letter was the Effect of a miserable Jealousy and Envy of me. I felt no little Indignation, at the ill Will, which had instigated this Persecution against me across the Atlantic, from a Man who had been under great Obligations to me for defending him and his Fortune, and whom I had never injured nor justly offended. The Letter was a fawning flattery of Deane, a Calumny against Congress, and had a tendency to represent me in an unfavourable light in foreign Countries and to embarrass and obstruct me in the discharge of the Duties of my Mission.1
1. This incident, not mentioned in the Diary, was told by JA entirely from memory and was omitted by CFA in his text. The letter from Hancock to Deane has not been found.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0001-0103

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1778-07-06

[July 6. 1778.]

July 6. 1778. Dined with the Abbys De Chaillut and Arnoud. Mr. De Chaillut the Farmer General and Brother of the Abby was there, Mr. and Mrs. Izzard, Mr. Lee, Miss Gibbs and Miss Stevens, and Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd. After dinner the Abby invited Us to the French Comedy, where We saw The Malheureux imaginaire, and the Parti de Chasse d'Henri Quatre.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0001-0104

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1778-07-07

[July 7. 1778.]

July 7. 1778. Dined at St. Lu, with the Farmer General De Chaillut. The aged Marshall Duke Richelieu, and many others Marquisses, Counts and Abbys were there.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0001-0105

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1778-07-08

[July 8.]1

July 8. I had long since determined to look at France, with a steady Eye and obtain as much Information as I could of her Manners, Institutions and History: but there was another branch of Enquiry in which all America at this time was compleatly uninformed, I mean the Ne• { 146 } gotiations and Dispatches of Ambassadors. The Powers of Europe in general have kept the Letters and Memorials of their Ambassadors locked up in the Cabinetts of their Courts: very few of them have ever been collected and published. The Policy of France has been different. There are extant more Publications of their negotiations, than of all the rest of Europe.… I purchased D'Avaux, D'Estrades, Dossat, Jeannot,2 Torcy, Noailles, The Diplomatick Dictionary, The Principles of Negotiation of the Abby De Mably, the Public Law of Europe founded on Treaties by the same Author, The Corps Diplomatique, and all other Books I could find relative to the office of an Ambassador as Wickefort &c. Grotius, Puffendorf, Vattell &c. I had read before in America. An Historical Collection of the Acts, Negotiations, Memorials and Treaties from the Peace of Utrecht, to the Year 1742 by Mr. Rousset in [] Volumes, The History of the Congress and of the Peace of Utrecht as also of that of Rastadt and of Bade in [] Volumes.
These Writings contain a great deal of the History of France, especially of her foreign Relations, but as I wished to know as much of their internal Concerns as possible I purchased Veilly, Mezerai, De Thou and other Histories of France, and especially all the memoirs I could find of the civil Wars in France, among many others The Memoirs to Serve for the History of Ann of Austria, the Consort of Louis the Thirteenth King of France, by Madam De Motteville one of her Favorites in [] Volumes, and the Memoirs of Mademoiselle de Montpensier, Daughter of Gaston of Orleans Brother of Louis the thirteenth in [] Volumes, and all the original Memorials I could find of the Times of the League and the Fronde.3
{ 147 }
It will be easily understood, that with my superficial Knowledge of the French Language, and with all the Business on my hands and Amusements that were inevitable, these Writings were not to be read in a short time. I resolved however to read as much of them as I could, and in fact I did read a great deal and endeavoured to get as good a general Idea of their Contents as possible. The Information obtained from these Books and the Observations I there made on the Manners and Character of the French People, together with my general Reading on the Nature and forms of Government, enabled me Eight or ten Years afterwards to form a pretty correct Judgment of the wild Project of demolishing the Monarchy and instituting a Republick, especially a Republic in one Representative Assembly, in France. But more, much more of this hereafter.
1. This entry (for which there is no corresponding entry in the Diary) was omitted by CFA in his text.
2. Doubtless a mistake for Jeannin; see the following note.
3. This listing appears to have been compiled by JA partly by consulting the shelves of his library and partly from memory. Like the books he mentions earlier in his Autobiography (16 April, above) as having been acquired to teach himself French, most of the works he lists here can still be found among his books in the Boston Public Library, together with a great many others on French history and government and on European diplomacy generally. See the following entries in the Catalogue of JA's Library:Avaux, Négotiations de Monsieur le Comte d'Avaux en Hollande, 2 copies (p. 17); Estrades, Lettres, mémoires et négotiationsen Italie, en Angleterre & en Hollande, 2 copies (p. 86); Arnaud, Cardinal d'Ossat, Letres (p. 186); Jean Baptiste Colbert, Marquis de Torcy, Mémoires (p. 54); Vertot d'Aubeuf, Ambassades de Messieurs de Noailles en Angleterre (p. 255); Mably, Des principes des négotiations and Le droit public de l'Europe, 2 edns. (p. 154); Dumont, comp., Corps universel diplomatique du droit des gens (p. 79); Rousset de Missy, Recueil historique d'actes, négotiations, méemoires et traitéz(p. 217); [Freschot,] Histoire du congrés et de la paix d'Utrecht (p. 98); Velly, Histoire de France (p. 254); Mézeray, Abrége chronologique de l'histoire de France, 2 edns. (p. 167); Jacques Auguste de Thou, Histoire universelle, 2 edns. (p. 244); Francoise Bertaut de Motteville, Mémoires (p. 174); Duchesse de Montpensier, Mémoires (p. 172).
Two other works listed here by JA are still in the family library at Quincy (MQA), bearing JQA's bookplate but quite likely having first belonged to JA. These are Pierre Jeannin, Les négotiations de M. le Président Jeannin, 4 vols.in 2, Amsterdam, 1695 (see JA's Diary, 16 July 1779 and note 3 there); and Abraham van Wicquefort, L'ambassadeur et ses fonctions, 2 vols., The Hague, 1681 (also another copy, 2 vols., Cologne, 1715).

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0001-0106

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1778-07-09

[July 9. 1778.]

July 9. 1778. We wrote the following Letters

[Commissioners to John Daniel Schweighauser]

[addrLine] Mr. Schweighausser

[salute] Sir

Inclosed you have an order on Messrs. Desegray, Beaujard Junr. and Co., Merchants at L'orient for 1520 Bags of Saltpetre, which you will please to receive, and ship for America, as Opportunities may serve. We are with Esteem yours &c.
[signed] Signed B. Franklin,
[signed] Arthur Lee,
[signed] John Adams
July 10. We also forward you herewith an order upon Mr. Cassoul [Cossoul], drawn by Mr. Williams for sundry Articles, which you will dispose of in the same manner with the Salt petre.

[Commissioners to De Segray, Beaugeard fils & Co.]

[addrLine] Messrs. Desegray, Beaujard and Co. Merchants L'orient

Please to deliver to Mr. Schweighauser, Merchant at Nantes, or to his order, Fifteen hundred and twenty Bags of India Salt Petre belonging to the United States, and marked as follows—(here follow the Marks which are not necessary to transcribe1) in all 1520 Bags weighing 216475 nt. We are Gentlemen yours &c.

[salute]

[signed] Signed B. Franklin,
[signed] Arthur Lee,
[signed] John Adams
{ 148 }
These two Letters are in the hand Writing of Mr. Arthur Lee, in my Book and are the first that were so.
I began now to think it high time to attend to my Friends in America and on this day I wrote the following private Letters. The first to Mr. James Lovell a Member of Congress.

[To James Lovell]

[salute] My Dear Friend

I had yesterday the honour of receiving the Dispatches from Congress which were sent by the Saratoga from Baltimore, arrived at Nantes, convoyed in by the Boston Captain Tucker, who has returned from a short cruise and has brought2 in four Prizes, and those by the Spy, from New London arrived at Brest; and the inexpressible Pleasure of your private Letters by the same Vessells.
You acquaint me that you had written to me before Eight or nine times, which has given me some Anxiety, as these Letters are the first I have received from you or from any Member of Congress, since my Arrival in France.
The Ratification of the Treaty gives universal Joy to this Court and Nation, who seem to be sincerely and deeply rejoiced at this Connection between the two Countries.
There is no Declaration of War, as yet, at London or Versailles: but the Ships of the two Nations are often fighting at Sea, and there is not the smallest doubt but War will be declared, unless Britain should miraculously have Wisdom given her to make a Treaty with The Congress like that which France has made. Spain has not made a Treaty: but be not deceived, nor intimidated: All is safe in that quarter.
The Unforeseen dispute in Bavaria has made the Empress Queen and the King of Prussia, cautious of quarrelling with Great Britain, because her connection with a Number of the German Princes, whose Aid, each of those Potentates is soliciting, makes her Friendship, or at least her Neutrality in the German War which is threatened, of importance to each. But this will do no hurt to America.
The Brest Fleet alone is greatly superiour to Keppells, who seems to discover much dread of them. Indeed they are in excellent order, well manned and eager for Battle.
You have drawn so many Bills of Exchange upon Us, and send Us so many Frigates, every One of which costs Us a vast Sum of money; so many Merchandizes and Munitions of War have been sent, whether arrived or not; and We expect so many more Draughts upon Us, that I { 149 } assure you, I am very uneasy concerning our Finances here. We are labouring to hire Money and have some prospect of Success, but I am afraid not for such large Sums as will be wanted.
I find it less difficult to learn French than I expected, but I have so many Persons to converse with, and so many papers to read and write in English that I can scarce obtain a few minutes every day to study my Lesson, which I should otherwise do like a good Lad.
Let me intreat you to omit no Opportunity of writing me. Send me All the Newspapers, Journals, &. and believe me your Friend and Servant
[signed] John Adams

[addrLine] Mr. Lovell.

[To Elbridge Gerry]

[addrLine] Mr. Gerry a Member of Congress.

[salute] My Dear Friend

I was disappointed in my Expectations of receiving Letters from You by the two Vessells, The Saratoga and the Spy, which have arrived. Although I know your time is every moment of it, wisely and usefully employed, yet I cannot but wish for a little of it, now and then. Europe is eager, at all times, for news from America, and this Kingdom in particular enjoys every Syllable of good News from that Country.
Great Britain is really a Melancholly Spectacle.…. Destitute of Wisdom and Virtue to make Peace; burning with malice and revenge; yet affrighted and confounded at the Prospect of War.…. She has reason; for if she should be as successfull in it, as she was in the last, it would weaken and exhaust her, and she would not, even in that Case recover America, and consequently her Superiority at Sea.…. But humanly speaking it is impossible, she should be successful.
It is with real Astonishment that I observe her Conduct.…. After all Experience, and altho' her true Interest, and her only safe plan of Policy is as obvious as the Sun, yet she cannot see it.…. All Attention to the Welfare of the Nation seems to be lost, both by the Members of Administration and Opposition, and among the People at large.…. Tearing one another to Pieces for the Loaves and Fishes, and a universal Rage for gambling in the Stocks, seem to take up all their Thoughts.
An Idea of a fair and honourable Treaty with Congress, never enters their Minds. In short Chicanery seems to have taken Possession of their hearts so entirely, that they are incapable of thinking of any Thing fair.
We had an Example, here last Week.…. A long Letter, containing { 150 } a Project for an Agreement with America, was thrown into one of our Grates.…. There are Reasons to believe, that it came with the Privity of the King.…. You may possibly see it, sometime.…Full of Flattery, and proposing that America should be governed by a Congress, of American Peers, to be created and appointed by the King.…. And of Bribery, proposing that a Number not exceeding two hundred American Peers should be made, and that such as had stood foremost, and suffered most, and made most Enemies in this Contest, as Adams, Handcock, Washington and Franklin by Name, should be of the Number.…. Ask our Friend, if he should like to be a Peer?
Dr. Franklin, to whom the Letter was sent, as the Writer is supposed to be a Friend of his, sent an Answer, in which they have received a Dose that will make them sick.
[signed] John Adams

[addrLine] Mr. Gerry

This Letter requires a Commentary.…. The Reasons for believing that it came with the Privity of the King, were derived wholly from Dr. Franklin, who affirmed to me that there were in the Letter infallible Marks, by which he knew that it came from the King, and that it could not have come from any other without the Kings Knowledge. What these Marks were he never explained to me. I was not impertinently inquisitive, and he affected to have reasons for avoiding any more particular devellopement of the Mystery. Many other hints have been dropped by Franklin to me, of some Mysterious Intercourse or correspondence between the King and him, personally.…. He often and indeed always appeared to me to have a personal Animosity and very severe Resentment against the King. In all his conversations and in all his Writings, when he could naturally and sometimes when he could not, he mentioned the King with great Asperity. He wrote certain Annotations on Judge Fosters discourse on the Legality of the Impressment of Seamen, in the Margin of the Book, and there introduced his habitual Accrimony against his Majesty. A thousand other Occasions discovered the same disposition. Among the ancient disputes between Franklin and the Proprietary Governors of Pensilvania, I have read, that Franklin, upon hearing of a report in Circulation against his Election as Agent for the Province at the Court of St. James's that he had no Influence with the Ministry, and no Acquaintance with Lord Bute, broke out into a Passion and swore, contrary to his usual reserve, “that he had an Influence with the Ministry and was intimate with Lord Bute.” It is not generally known that the Earl of Bute was a Philosopher, a Chymist and a natural Historian. That he printed seven { 151 } or Eight Volumes of natural History of his own Composition, only however for the Use of his particular confidential Friends. This kind of Ambition in the Earl might induce him to cultivate the Acquaintance with Franklin, as it did afterwards Rochefoucault, Turgot and Condorcet in France. And at the Earl of Butes some mysterious Conferences between the King and Franklin might have been concerted: and in these Interviews Franklin might have conceived himself deceived or insulted. I mention this merely as conjecture, Suggestion or Surmise. Franklins Memorials, if they ever appear may confirm or confute the Surmise, which however after all, will be of very little Consequence. Without the Supposition of some kind of Backstairs Intrigues it is difficult to account for that mortification of the pride, affront to the dignity and Insult to the Morals of America, the Elevation to the Government of New Jersey of a base born Brat.3
Franklin consulted with me, and We agreed first to do nothing without previously informing the French Court. Secondly as the Letter was supposed to come from a Friend of Franklin, at the desire or by the orders of the King, it was agreed that Franklin should write the Answer. He produced his draught to me and it was very explicit, decided and severe, and in direct terms asserted that by certain Circumstances in the Letter Franklin knew that it came from the King. We sent a Copy of the Answer to the Count de Vergennes as well as the original Letter and Project and asked his Excellencys Advice, whether We should send it or not.
In the Letter the Writer proposed that We should meet him at twelve O Clock precisely in a certain Part of the Church of Notre Dame, on a certain day in order to have a personal Conference upon the Subject. I know not that the Papers were ever returned from Versails. We received no Advice to send the Answer. The Day after the One appointed to meet the Messenger at Notre Dame the Count De Vergennes sent Us the Report of the Police of Paris, stating that at the Day, Hour and place appointed a Gentleman appeared and finding nobody wandered about the Church gazing at the Statues and Pictures and other Curiosities of that magnificent Cathedral, never loosing Sight however of the Spot appointed and often returning to it, looking earnestly about at times as if he expected Somebody: His Person, Stature, figure, Air, Complexion, Dress and every Thing about him was accurately and minutely described. He remained two Hours in the Church and then went out, was followed through every Street { 152 } and all his motions watched to the Hotel where he lodged. We were told the Day he arrived there, the Name he assumed, which was Colonel <Me> Fitz—— something an Irish name that I have forgotten, the Place he came from and the time he sett off to return.
In my Letter to Mr. Gerry it is inaccurately said that Dr. Franklin sent an Answer. It was written and I supposed would be sent but it was not.
Whether the Design was to seduce Us Commissioners, or whether it was thought that We should send the Project to Congress and that they might be tempted by it, or that disputes might be excited among the People, I know not. In either case it was very weak and absurd and betrayed a gross Ignorance of the Genius of American People.4
An Aristocracy of American Peers! hereditary Peers I suppose were meant, but whether hereditary or for Life, nothing could be more abhorrent to the general Sense of America at that time, which was for making every Magistrate and every Legislator eligible and that annually at least.
An Aristocracy of American Peers! But this could not be simple: the King must have been intended to have a Negative upon the Laws no doubt: but was this Authority to have been executed by a Vice Roy to reside in Philadelphia? And were this Vice Roy and these two hundred Peers to have made all the Laws, without a Representation of the People by annual or other Elections? Even if there were to have been three Branches to the general Government, what was to become of State Governments? All abolished? Or all continued under some kind of Subordination to the General Government? Any of these Projects would have appeared to the People of America, at that time as extravagant and as tyrannical as any Thing the English had done. The English were strangely infatuated with an Idea, that Adams and Hancock, Washington and Franklin with a few others in the several States, { 153 } as they had Influence enough to throw off the Authority of Great Britain, would have Influence enough to put it on again, as a Man who has Strength enough to throw off his Cloak may be supposed able to throw it again over his Shoulders. Nothing could be more erroneous: For none of these Leaders had any Influence but that which was given them by the Folly and Temerity of Great Britain: and if any of them had adopted and advocated any such Projects as these, he would not only have lost all Influence in America, but been obliged to fly to England for Protection among the Royalists and Refugees. These Speculations were however, all rendered unnecessary. Independence had been declared two Years, and all America, in a manner had renounced every modification of Government under Great Britain forever, fully convinced that no cordial Confidence or Affection could ever be restored on either Side. Besides a Treaty with France had been solemnly made. America was then a Virgin and her Faith sacred. And it would have been ridiculous to suppose that France would now consent that We should make a seperate Treaty and become subject again to England, that the reunited Empire might immediately fall upon France in a new War.
We thought the whole Subject so futile that I think We never transmitted any Account of it to Congress.

[To Patrick Henry]

[addrLine] To Governor Henry of Virginia

[salute] Dear Sir

I had the honour of a Letter from you, some time ago,5 which I have never had an Opportunity of answering 'till now.
Immediately after the Receipt of it, I went with Mr. Arthur Lee to Versailles in order to obtain the Articles you wrote for. It gave me pleasure to do any thing in my Power to serve the State of Virginia or its worthy Governor: but my Assistance was not necessary, as Mr. Lee sollicited the Business with great Spirit and with good Success as he will inform you.
We have received Yesterday, by two Vessells, the Saratoga and the Spy, very agreable Accounts from America.…. The Ratification of the Treaty, with such perfect Unanimity, and in such handsome terms, is very agreable here, and will be so in other parts of Europe.
The Resolutions of Congress for detaining General Burgoine's Army, those upon the conciliatory Bills, and their late Address to the People, are exceedingly admired and applauded all over Europe.
{ 154 }
Hostilities having commenced between France and England, without any formal declaration of War, it is this day said that the Brest Fleet has put to Sea.…. If they meet Keppell there will be a sublime Battle. But if Keppell should beat D'Orvilliers, which one would think however to be impossible, as the French Fleet is certainly superiour in number, fuller manned, in better repair and in higher Spirits, Britain would not be much the better for it. For their Fleet will be disabled, their Seamen destroyed, losses which they cannot repair. Whereas Spain remains to bring up the rear: and France is better able to repair her losses. It is a Connection with America, which must in future decide the Ballance of maritime Power, in Europe.
What Events will take place in America, is uncertain. D'Estaing's Fleet is there before now: but what he will do, time must discover. Byron is twenty or thirty days behind him. But I think it is probable, that some part of the American Seas, will also have the honour of a magnificent Sea fight, for the first time.
The English Papers received this day, announce the Evacuation of Philadelphia. But it is not perfectly understood, how the Army could march through the Jersies without molestation. Surely America will not suffer that remnant of an Army to plague them much longer.
The same Papers affirm that a Committee of Congress is appointed to treat or confer, with the Commissioners from London, and mention the names, but We can conceive here, of no Use for such a Conference, but to ask the question, Have you Power and Will to acknowledge the Sovereignty of our States? The Answer must be, No.
I should esteem myself, at all times honoured, by a Letter from You. The Anxiety here, for Intelligence from America is indeed surprizing. Indeed Sir, you would be flattered with the Attention that is shown to our States, and with the high Eulogiums, that are every where bestowed, by learned and ingenious Men, upon our Constitutions, our Laws, our Wisdom, Valour and Universal Virtue. Partial as I am to my Country, and dearly as I love it, I cannot but say that I think they do Us, rather more honour than We deserve. But We are Combattants for Liberty, and it is a fashionable Saying in this Country, that every Man who combats for Liberty is adorable. There is more Liberality of Sentiment in every part of Europe, except England, but especially in France, than former Ages have known, and it will increase every day.

[salute] I am &c.

[signed] John Adams

[addrLine] Patrick Henry Esqr. Governor of Virginia.

1. In LbC a list of the marks follows the text of the letter.
2. LbC: “sent.”
3. This sentence, interlined as an afterthought in the MS, was omitted by CFA in his text.
4. This affair, related fairly accurately by JA from memory, still remains mysterious. The letter to Franklin, purportedly from Brussels, 16 June 1778, was signed “Charles de Weissenstein” and is reproduced, with its bulky enclosures, from the originals in the Archives des Affaires Etrangères, Paris, in Stevens, Facsimiles, Nos. 835–837. Franklin's (ultimately unsent) answer, 1 July, is printed from the original in the same repository in his Writings, ed. Smyth, 7:166–172. In MH:Arthur Lee Papers (photoduplicate in Adams Papers Editorial Files) is a paper which is apparently the report of the police charged with observing “Weissenstein's” emissary (who was to wear a rose in his hat or waistcoat and pick up a packet from Franklin in the choir of the Cathedral of Notre Dame). The report is dated 7 July and is captioned “Copie pour M. fr….” It identifies the emissary as “M. Jennings quiétoit Capitaine aux Gardes du Roi d'Angleterre il y a quatre ou cinq ans; son Pere a été Ministre en quelque Cour étrangere.”
5. From Williamsburg, 5 March 1778 (Adams Papers). Henry requested JA's assistance for Arthur Lee, “Agent for our State,” in procuring credit for arms in France to be sold to Virginia.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0001-0107

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1778-07-10

[July 10. 1778.]

July 10. 1778.

[To Jonathan Williams]

[addrLine] Mr. Williams

We approve of the Directions given by you to stop the Reparation of the Arms at Nantes, paying the Workmen their Wages, Gratifications and Conduct Money, according to Agreement, of which you inform Us in your Letter July 3. 1778.1
[signed] Arthur Lee,
[signed] John Adams

[To Jonathan Williams]

Mr. Williams is desired to send the Commissioners an order for the Goods remaining on hand, including the sixty three Barrells of Beef to be delivered to Mr. J. D. Schweighauser of Nantes or to his order.
[signed] Arthur Lee,
[signed] John Adams
These two Letters are also in the Hand Writing of Mr. Arthur Lee, in my Book. The Reason why Dr. Franklin did not sign them I do not remember. He might be absent, or might disapprove them.

[To William McCreery]

[salute] Sir

I had Yesterday the pleasure of your Letter from Nantes,2 and am much obliged to you for the agreable Intelligence contained in it….I had no letters by the Sarratoga, later than the thirtieth of April, but the Spy has arrived at Brest, and brought a full and unanimous Ratification of the Treaty, and an handsome Resolution of Congress expressing their high Sense of the Friendship of the French King. The Treaty was ratified in less than forty eight hours, after its Arrival.3
The English have affirmed in their Papers of the fourth of this month, that their Army has evacuated Philadelphia, and got safe to New York….I think they ought not to have got there without broken Bones. However, I have little dependence on these paragraphs of English Newspapers….Gates commands at Peeks Kill. An ominous Name, to the British Army in New York.
I am glad to learn that a Vessell has arrived to your Address, in which you are also an Owner. I wish you much pleasure and profit in the disposition of her Cargo. And as Rochefoucault and Swift inform Us, that in all good fortune of our Friends We first consult our private Ends, if you have received among the Cargo, any good News, I wish you would let your Friends at Passi, come in for a Share of it.
{ 156 }
You will possibly see a Part of your Letter in the Affairs De L'Angleterre et de L'Amerique. The Anecdote of the M. De La Fayette, will please in this Country, which takes a great Interest in all the Actions of that gallant and amiable young Nobleman.4 His Lady is gone to Bourdeaux, or I would have sent your Letter to her.
The Brest Fleet is sailed, as I was told last night, so that We may expect soon to hear of a Rencounter. I think it probable too, that We may soon hear of a splendid Sea Fight in America, the first that will grace the History of that Country. God grant it may be prosperous to it.

[salute] I am, dear Sir, your Friend and Servant.

[signed] John Adams

[addrLine] Mr. William McCreery at Nantes.

[To John Thaxter]

[salute] Dear Sir

I received, the day before Yesterday, your Letter by the Saratoga5 And I thank you for it, and for the Packett of Newspapers. Pray continue this goodness….Pack up every Newspaper you can lay your hands on, by themselves, and write upon the Outside of the Package “Not to be thrown Overboard,” for in that case, if they are taken, the News gets published by the Enemy, which is an Advantage. Pray send me also, a Sett of the Journals of the Congress, by every Opportunity for some time. Mr. Thompson will have the goodness (my Respects to him) to furnish you with these, without expence, and a Volume of the Journals, is a great Curiosity here, and an handsome Present. Inclose them in Carthrige Paper and direct them to me. Before this reaches you, great Events will have taken place in America, I presume, and very probably a Battle in Europe, between D'Orvilliere's Fleet, and Keppells, in which if England should get the better, which seems not very probable, she will still be the Looser in the End, because the War she has before her with France, Spain and America, must exhaust her, how many gallant Exploits soever she may perform in the course of it.

[salute] Your Friend

[signed] John Adams

[addrLine] Mr. John Thaxter, in the Secretary's Office of Congress.

[To William Heath]

[salute] Sir

I had the Honour of a Letter from you,6 by the French Frigate which { 157 } gave me the more pleasure, as no other Person in the Massachusetts thought proper to take any notice of me, by that Opportunity….I laid your Letter immediately before the People in Power here, and an Extract of it has crep'd into a Publication called Affaires de L'Angleterre et de L'Amerique.7
We received the day before Yesterday, a very handsome Ratification of the Treaty, which is extreamly pleasing to the Ministry, and will give fresh Vigour to their Operations, as Hostilities are already commenced.
Great Britain has before her a very chearing Prospect….Stripped of the best Branch of her Commerce, her Navy is like a girdled Tree. Without Soldiers, without Sailors, without Ships indeed in sufficient numbers and in suitable repair, without commerce, without Revenue, and without Allies, she has the united Forces of France, Spain and America to meet by Land and by Sea. She seems to be chiefly occupied at present with concerting Measures for the defence of the Kingdom, and is agitated with an apparent dread of another Conquest like that of William the Norman. France has an hundred Thousand Men in Normandie, Picardie and Brittany, and a Fleet compleatly ready to go out of Brest, if not already at Sea, greatly superiour to that of Keppell.—I mention Spain among the Ennemies of Britain, because, although she has not as yet made a Treaty with Us, yet I am well assured in my own mind, that she will have neither Inclination nor Ability to preserve a Neutrality, if a War is openly avowed between France and England as it very soon will be.
I am very easy in my own Mind, concerning the British Commissioners, because, after the Resolutions of Congress upon the Conciliatory Bills, which you sent me,8 which are admired and applauded all over Europe, and after an Unanimous Ratification of the Treaty with France, I am sure there can be nothing to fear from a Conference.
Britain has but one wise plan of Policy, which is as obvious, as it is prudent, and that is, instantly to make with America, such a Treaty as France has made. But she will not see it. She is yet too proud and vain, and the Consequences of her blindness must be, that instead of the dominant Power of Europe, which she has been but for a little while, { 158 } she will dwindle down into a Power of the second order: as Spain, which under Charles the fifth was the first Power in Europe, by a similar quarrell with her Provinces, weakened herself to such a degree as to fall down into the middle Class of Powers, and has never yet been able to regain her Ascendancy. This is the established order of Things, when a Nation has grown to such an height of Power as to become dangerous to Mankind, she never fails to loose her Wisdom, her Justice and her Moderation, and with these she never fails to loose her Power; which however returns again, if those Virtues return.
I shall be under great Obligations to you, Sir, if you will continue your favours by every opportunity. Your Newspapers, tho' badly printed, are very valuable here. I am with great respect &c.
[signed] John Adams

[addrLine] Hon. Major General Heath Boston.

1. In PPAmP: Franklin Papers; endorsed by JA.
2. Dated 4 July, endorsed by Arthur Lee?, and in PPAmP:Franklin Papers.
3. LbC has an additional sentence, omitted here doubtless by mere inadvertence: “Our latest Letters however by this Vessell are of the 15 of May.”
4. JA probably submitted to Edmé Jacques Genet the passage in McCreery's letter about Lafayette's action on the Schuylkill, 19 May, but since Genet soon had the news in a more official form, McCreery's remarks were not used in the Affaires de l'Angleterre et de l'Amérique.
5. Dated “York Town” (York, Penna.), 30 April (Adams Papers).
6. Dated “Head Quarters,” Boston, 14 May (Adams Papers).
7. This was a paragraph describing the amazement of the British officers who were prisoners in Cambridge upon hearing that France had recognized American independence. It is translated and printed in the Affaires, vol. 10: p. cclxxxvi (No. 46).
8. Congress' reply to the British commissioners' proposals was voted on 17 June (JCC, 11:614–615); it was soon afterward published, with relevant correspondence and other papers, in the newspapers.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0001-0108

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1778-07-11 - 1778-07-13

[11–13 July 1778]

July 11. 1778

[Commissioners to Gabriel de Sartine]

[addrLine] To His Excellency Monsieur De Sartine

[salute] Sir

We have had the honour of your Excellencys Letter of the Fifth Instant relative to Captain Jones,1 and We redily consent that he should be at your Excellencys disposition and shall be happy if his Services may be in any respect Usefull to the designs your Excellency may have in Contemplation. We have the honour to be with the greatest respect, your Excellency's &c.
[signed] B. Franklin,
[signed] Arthur Lee,
[signed] John Adams.
The Letter to which this is an Answer, marks the first conception of the Plan which was afterwards carried into Execution under Jones in the Bonhomme Richard.
This day July 11. 1778 We received from Mr. Williams the following order,

[Jonathan Williams to Mr. Cossoul]

[addrLine] Mr. Cassoul

[salute] Sir

Deliver to Mr. J. D. Schweighauser the following Goods taking his Receipt for the same, on Account of the Honourable Ministers Plenipotentiary of the United States, viz. one hundred and Ninety Six Swivels, Forty nine Cases of Arms, one Case of Duck, two Bales of { 159 } Linnen, Eight Cases of Medicines, Two Barrells of Do. According to Bills of Lading from Holland….Fifty Five Cases of Sabres according to Bills of Lading from Dunkirk, Two Thousand Eight hundred and forty Six Suits of Soldiers Cloaths, according to my Invoice, Four Bales of Do. according to Mr. Monthieu's Invoice. One hundred and seventy one Sheets of Copper to be weighed. Forty five Casks of Flints. All the Arms and Furniture repaired and unrepaired in the Magazine, taking an Inventory of the same, and sixty three Barrells of Beef. Those of the above Articles which stand in my name in the Bureau D'Entrepot you will see transferred to Mr. Schweighauser, and me discharged therefrom, at the time of Delivery.

[salute] I am your humble Servant

[signed] Signed J. Williams Jr.2

[Commissioners to Francis Coffyn]

[salute] Sir

We have received several late Letters from you, and two this morning by the hand of Captain Amiel, containing abundant Testimonies of your good Character.
As We have never entertained the least doubt, of your Probity or Honor, or of your unblemished reputation, you have given yourself much trouble without necessity, and used as the Saying is, In Re non dubiâ, testibus non necessariis.
It is true We received a Letter, in which some regret was expressed that We had addressed Mr. Amiel and his Papers to you, and the reason assigned was, because the Letter Writer thought you had made yourself “somewhat too busy, in some particular matters,” but this you may be assured never made the least Impression upon Us, to your disadvantage.3
In one of those Letters We received the Bond, Instructions and Commission returned.
If you should write to America, the News as it occurs, you may write to the Honourable James Warren Esqr., Speaker of the House of Representatives of Massachusetts Bay, at Boston,—or to The Honourable Committee of foreign Affairs, at Congress, or to both. If you can send any English Newspapers they will be always acceptable. But We would wish You to observe one Rule, which is, not to write any News to America that is not well authenticated, because there are so { 160 } many Misrepresentations floating about in the World, that if these should be written as they occurr, to a distant Country, they would tend to confound and mislead the People.
The American Seamen you mention, We wish to have put into some Employment, by which they may earn their Bread and save Expences to their Country, as soon as possible, and it is indifferent to Us, whether it is at Dunkirk, Brest, or Nantes. We are &c.
[signed] B. Franklin,
[signed] Arthur Lee,
[signed] John Adams

[addrLine] Mr. Francis Coffyn at Dunkirk.

[Commissioners to Samuel Tucker]

[salute] Sir

As We understand the Boston in her last Cruise, did not sail so well as formerly, We apprehend this Alteration has been made, by some change in her Ballast: for which reason, you are directed, if you judge it necessary, to take out your present Ballast; to apply to Mr. Schweighauser at Nantes, and take from him such Articles, as he may have to send to America, which may be stowed away in your Ship, without hindrance to her sailing or fighting, and to take from him also, a quantity of Lead, to be used as Ballast untill you arrive in America, and then delivered to the Continental Agent, informing Congress or the Navy Board by Letter.
Upon the Receipt of this Letter, you are then to join Captain Whipple and to pursue his orders, respecting your future Cruises and Voyage to America. If Lieutenant Simpson of the Ranger should apply to you for a Passage to America, in the Boston, you will afford him Accommodations according to his Rank. We are &c.
[signed] B. Franklin,
[signed] Arthur Lee,
[signed] John Adams

[addrLine] Captain Tucker

[Commissioners to John Daniel Schweighauser]

[salute] Sir

You will putt on board the Boston Frigate such Articles as Captain Tucker shall inform you he can take to America, and among other Things you are desired to furnish him, if it is in your Power, with a quantity of Lead….As this Article is much wanted in America, and is excellent for Ballast, you are desired to furnish him as much as he can carry and you can conveniently supply. We are &c.
[signed] B. Franklin,
[signed] Arthur Lee,
[signed] John Adams

[addrLine] Mr. J. D. Schweighauser.

[Commissioners to Abraham Whipple]

[salute] Sir

We have ordered Captain Tucker, to join you, in your future { 161 } Cruises and Voyage to America.—You will get to Sea, with all possible Expedition.4
[signed] B. Franklin,
[signed] Arthur Lee,
[signed] John Adams.

[addrLine] Captain Whipple

1. ||Sartine to the Commissioners, 5 July 1778. ||In MH: Arthur Lee Papers; endorsed by JA. Sartine stated that he needed Jones “pour quelqu'expédition particuliere” and therefore requested that he be permitted to stay in France and that his second in command be ordered to take the Ranger to America.
2. The text from which JA copied this letter is a copy entered by Arthur Lee in Lb/JA/4.
3. See Commissioners to Coffyn, 26 June, above; also Coffyn to Commissioners, 7, 9, 10 July; Poreau, Mackenzie & Co. to Commissioners, 7 July; Peter Amiel to Commissioners, 9 July (all from Dunkerque and all in PPAmP: Franklin Papers; endorsed in various hands, including Arthur Lee's but not JA's).
4. In LbC the following clause was added to this sentence and then inked out: “and remember that the great Jamaica Fleet sails for Europe the 26th. of this Month.”

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0001-0109

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1778-07-14 - 1778-07-18

[14–18 July 1778.]

July 14. 1778. Dined at Chatou with Mr. Bertin, the Minister of State. Went to see the Park where We rambled till We were weary. We received from Mr. De Sartine the following Letter, in french.

[Gabriel de Sartine to the Commissioners]

Notwithstanding the Precautions I have taken, Gentlemen, to assure the Subsistance of the Inhabitants of the Islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, who, in the present Circumstances, will receive little or no Supplies sent by the Commerce of France, it may happen that the Interception of one or more, of the Vessells which I have caused to be expedited to those Islands, with Cargoes of Provisions, may reduce their Inhabitants to the greatest distress. And there will no longer be an Opportunity to provide a remedy when We shall be informed of the Event…I have thought that We might depend upon the Assistance of the United States of America, and I have pointed them out, for the case of a pressing Necessity, to the Administrators of the Islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon.—It will be very agreable to his Majesty, if you concurr, in whatever may depend on you, in procuring such Succour, by recommending to the United States of America and particularly to the Government of Boston, to encourage if it is possible, some Expeditions to those Islands, to carry Eatables to their Inhabitants and supply their Necessities. I have the Honor to be, most perfectly, Gentlemen your most humble and most obedient Servant
[signed] De Sartine

[addrLine] The Gentlemen The Deputies of the Congress of the United States of America.

The next day We received another Letter of which the following is a litteral Translation.

[Gabriel de Sartine to the Commissioners]

Among the English Prisoners detained at Belle Isle, Gentlemen, and proceeding from Vessells detained in the Ports of France, are found the Persons named James Niggins and John Selby, who call themselves Americans, the first of Charlestown in South Carolina, and the other of Baltimore in Maryland: They demand their Liberty, and { 162 } the means of returning home. According to their declaration, they made heretofore a part of the Crew of the Ship Hancock, arrived from America at the Port of Nantes, in the month of December last, and that Ship having sailed from that Port to return to Charlestown, was taken, at thirty Leagues from Belle Isle by an English Privateer and carried to Falmouth, where to avoid the Press, they consented to remain, on board the Englishman who had made them Prisoners. I pray you to signify to me, whether these Men are known to you, whether you consider them as belonging to the United States of America, whether they have made, or caused to be made any representation to you, and whether you consider them, as entitled, to obtain their demand. I have the honour to be, with the most perfect Consideration, Gentlemen, your very humble and most obedient Servant
[signed] De Sartine

[addrLine] Messrs. Franklin Lee and Adams Deputys of the United States of America.

[Commissioners to Thomas Simpson]

[addrLine] Lieutenant Simpson

[salute] Sir

We have long wished to accommodate Disputes among the Officers of the Ranger, and have at length the Pleasure to inclose you a Letter from Captain Jones, which has given Us much Satisfaction for several Reasons, one of which is that it has given Us an opportunity to reinstate you on board the Ranger.1
You are accordingly, upon the receipt of this Letter, forthwith to take the Command of the Ranger as her first Lieutenant, and to join Captain Whipple of the Providence, and observe his orders, relative to your future Cruises and Voyage to America.
As to the British Prisoners you will leave them in such place and in the Custody of such Persons, as Mr. Schweighauser shall advise.
[signed] B. Franklin,
[signed] Arthur Lee,
[signed] John Adams
Delivered Captain Jones a Copy of the above Letter the 5. of August, 1778.2

[Commissioners to Abraham Whipple]

[addrLine] Captain Whipple

We have ordered Lieutenant Sympson to whom the Command of the Ranger devolves, by the destination of Captain Jones to another { [facing 162] } { [facing 163] } { 163 } Service, to join you and obey your orders, respecting his future Cruises and Voyage to America. We wish you to Use all possible dispatch, in getting to Sea, with the Providence, Boston and Ranger.
You are to Use your utmost Endeavours, to take, burn, sink and destroy all Privateers of Jersey and Guernsey, and all other British Cruisers, within the Command of your Force, as you may have Opportunity.
You are to leave all the Prisoners in such place, and in the Custody of such Persons, as Mr. Schweighauser shall advise. We are &c.
[signed] B. Franklin,
[signed] Arthur Lee,
[signed] John Adams.

[Commissioners to John Daniel Schweighauser]

[addrLine] Mr. Schweighauser

We have ordered the Ranger under the command of Lieutenant Simpson to put to Sea with all possible Expedition: You will be so good as to furnish her, with the Necessaries Mr. Simpson may demand, with as much dispatch as possible.
The British Prisoners, on board of all these Frigates, are to be left behind, but We will endeavour tomorrow to obtain directions from the Ministry, in whose hands and in what place they shall be lodged. We have directed the Captains to leave them in such place and in the Custody of such Persons as you shall advise.
[signed] Signed B. Franklin,
[signed] Arthur Lee,
[signed] John Adams.

[Commissioners to the Massachusetts Council]

[addrLine] The Honourable the Council of the Massachusetts Bay

[salute] May it please your Honours

We have the Honour to inclose a Copy of a Letter just received from Monsieur De Sartine, the Minister of State for the Marine of this Kingdom, in answer to which We have had the honour to assure his Excellency that We would embrace the first Opportunity of communicating it to your honours.3
We have not the smallest doubt of the good Inclinations of the People in America to supply the Necessities of their Friends at Saint Peters and Miquelon, nor of the Abilities of those in the Northern States to do it effectually, provided the British Men of War are withdrawn from the Hallifax and Newfoundland Stations. Perhaps it may be done notwithstanding the dangers of Men of War. We hope however it will be attempted. There is no doubt that a good Price may be ob• { 164 } tained, at the same time that an acceptable Act of Friendship and of Humanity, will be performed.
We have the Honour to request that this Letter and its Enclosure may be laid before the General Court, and that such Measures may be taken as their Wisdom shall dictate, for the accomplishment of so desirable a purpose. We have the Honour to be
[signed] B. Franklin,
[signed] Arthur Lee,
[signed] John Adams.

[Commissioners to the President of Congress]

[addrLine] To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

We have the Honour of inclosing a Copy of a Letter from his Excellency Monsieur De Sartine, The Minister of State for the Marine of this Kingdom in Answer to which We have had the Honour to assure his Excellency that We would embrace the first Opportunity of communicating it to Congress.4
[signed] B. Franklin,
[signed] Arthur Lee,
[signed] John Adams.

[Gabriel de Sartine to the Commissioners]

[addrLine] Monsieur De Sartine

We have the Honour of your Excellencys Letter of the fourteenth instant, and We shall embrace the first Opportunity of writing to Congress and to the Government of The Massachusetts Bay, And inclosing Copys of your Excellencys Letter to Us, which We are persuaded will have the most powerfull Influence with them to exert themselves and to recommend to their Fellow Citizens to engage in Expeditions for the relief of the Inhabitants of St. Peters and Miquelon. There is not the smallest doubt of their Ability to supply the Wants of their Friends at those places provided the British Men of War should be withdrawn from the Newfoundland and Hallifax Stations, but if there should remain as many Ships of War on those Stations as there have been for the last two Years, the difficulty will be very great.
We have the honour to inclose to your Excellency a Copy of a Letter just received from Mr. Schweighauser, whereby your Excellency will see the difficulties that still embarrass our Frigates, in relation to their Prizes.5 We entreat your Excellencys further Attention to the { 165 } Subject and that orders may be given for the Releif of our Officers and Men from their Embarrassments.
We have the Honour to request your Excellencys Attention to another Subject, that of the British Prisoners made by our Frigates, the Providence, Boston, and Ranger and all others in future. As it is necessary for those Frigates forthwith to proceed to Sea, and as We have some hopes of an Exchange of Prisoners in Europe We request your Excellency that We may have leave to confine them in your Prisons, to be maintained there at our Expence untill exchanged or sent by Us to America and that your Excellency would give the necessary Directions accordingly. We have the Honor to be with the greatest respect, your Excellencys most humble and obedient Servants
[signed] B. Franklin,
[signed] Arthur Lee,
[signed] John Adams.6

[John Paul Jones to the Commissioners]

[salute] Gentlemen

At the time when I took Lieutenant Simpsons Parole I did not expect to be long absent from America, but as Circumstances have now rendered the time of my return less certain, I am willing to let the dispute between Us drop forever, by giving up that Parole, which will entitle him to command the Ranger. I bear no Malice. And if I have done him an Injury, this will be making him all the present Satisfaction in my Power. If, on the contrary he hath injured me, I will trust to himself for an Acknowledgment.—I have the Honor to be, with Sentiments of due Esteem and respect Gentlemen your obliged, very obedient and humble Servant.
[signed] Signed Jno. P. Jones.

[addrLine] Honble. Commissioners.7

By the preceeding Papers it will be seen that Jones had been so elevated by his Success in taking Prizes and especially by the Glory of capturing the Drake that he had acted a very high handed and presumptuous Part upon many Occasions, which gave Us a great deal of trouble, from several Sources.8 One of the greatest was, that We most heartily applauded his Bravery, and were desirous of avoiding every thing that might disgrace, or discourage him or any other Officer or Man of the Navy. Another was, he was manifestly one of the Deane party and countenanced, perhaps stimulated by the whole Corps of Satelites of Mr. De Sartine at least, perhaps of the Count de Vergennes, perhaps of the Treasurer of the Queen. Chaumont, Monthieu, Beau• { 166 } marchais and Bancroft and Holker and all their Subordinates in Nantes, L'Orient, Brest, Paris, and every where were blowing the Trumpets of Fame for Le Capitaine Jones, and a refusal of the most unreasonable demand he made or could make, would be unpopular with the Cabal of Paris. His Conduct however was so compleatly unjustifiable that Franklin could not approve it, nor excuse it. He accordingly assented to all our measures. With a great Exercise of Patience, We prudently brought him at last to write Us the above Letter, which terminated all Difficulties for the present.
The true Source of the dispute on board the Ranger, I suppose was the same which produces most of the Quarrells among Naval Officers, the division of the Glory. The Captain was thought to be desirous of monopolizing the honor of conquering the Drake. The Officers and Men, although they allowed that the Captain was a Man of desperate Courage, yet unanimously affirmed that the Lieutenant was an abler Seaman and more skillful in Battle, and that the Victory was in a greater degree due to him. The partiality of the Crew for their Countryman the Lieutenant was natural enough: but I have no doubt the Captain had his full share of Merit, in that Action.

This day9 We received the Letter of which the following is a Translation.

[Gabriel de Sartine to the Commissioners]

I receive, Gentlemen, Letters from L'Orient, on the Subject of Differences, which have arisen, between the Commander of the American Frigate the Boston and some Frenchmen who made a part of his Crew, some in the Character of Volunteers, and others in the quality of Sailors. According to what is written to me, upon this Subject, whatever means have been employed to effect a reconciliation, they have not been able to obtain it. And they have been obliged to disembark a Number of twenty Eight, twenty five of whom are volunteers and three Novices. It appears that the discontent of these People was not against the Captain of the Ship, nor against that of the Volunteers, but that it was not the same with the first Lieutenant, and two other Officers, from whom, it appears, they had received very ill Treatment. These are Facts which have come to the Knowledge of the Commissary of the Classes at L'orient, as well as of Monsieur De La Touche de Treville Chef D'Escadre, who being at L'orient on Occasion of the Operations, with which he is charged, went on board the Frigate. This General { 167 } Officer has had, even, personally Subjects of Complaint, which have obliged him to enter into Explanations with the Captain. Moreover, when the People disembarked were put on Shore, the Captain employed himself, in causing to be restored to them, all he could of their property, which during their Absence had been in part pillaged by some of the Crew; but it appears that they experience difficulties about their Pay and Subsistence; that they pretend to have a right to Shares in two Prizes sent into L'orient, but renouncing all Pretentions to two others, which have been sent to America. They pretend that they did not engage themselves at Bourdeaux, but for one Cruise, as their Engagement mentions, but the Captain asserts that it ought not to finish, till after the Arrival of the Vessell at Boston, although this is not explained in the Engagement. It will be convenient, Gentlemen, that you give orders upon this Subject to avoid the Expence to which this Contest will give rise, if it should be carried to the Admiralty. I pray you to signify to me, what you would wish to have done upon this Subject, that I may communicate it to the Commissary of the Classes. This Commissary writes me, that he has offered the Captain of the Frigate, all the facilities, which may depend upon him, for the Inlistment of new Volunteers, to replace the others. I have the honour to be, with a perfect Consideration, Gentlemen, your most humble and most obedient Servant
[signed] De Sartine.

[addrLine] D.S. M[essieu]rs. Franklin, Lee, et Adams Deputys of the United States of North America.

P.S. Mr. Schweighauser has written me from Nantes, that his Correspondent at Brest, meets with difficulties on the Part of the Admiralty relative to the Sale of the Prizes, made by the Frigate the Ranger. I write to the Officers of the Admiralty, to cause those difficulties to cease, and I give Notice of it to Mr. Schweighauser.

[Gabriel de Sartine to the Commissioners]

I see, Gentlemen, by my Correspondence, that there are in the Ports of France, several American Vessells, which might be usefully employed for the common cause, and which, nevertheless, appear to remain inactive. I doubt not that the reciprocal Interest will engage you to give such orders as you shall believe necessary, in the present Circumstances. I have the honour to be with great Consideration, Gentlemen, your most humble and most obedient Servant
[signed] De Sartine.

[addrLine] Mrs. The Deputies of the United States of America.

{ 168 }

[Commissioners to the President of Congress]

[addrLine] To the Honourable the President of Congress10

[salute] Sir

We have the honour to inform Congress, that the Spy Captain Niles, has arrived at Brest, and brought Us Ratifications of the Treaties with his Most Christian Majesty, which have given much Satisfaction to this Court and Nation…On the Seventeenth instant, We had the honor of exchanging Ratifications, with his Excellency the Count de Vergennes. The Treaties, ratified, signed by his Majesty, and under the Great Seal of France, are now in our Possession, where, perhaps, considering the dangers of Ennemies at Sea, it will be safest to let them remain for the present.11—Copies of the Ratifications, We shall have the honour to transmit to Congress by this Opportunity.
War is not yet declared, between France and England by either Nation: but hostilities at Sea, have been already commenced by both, and as the French Fleet from Brest under the command of the Count D'Orvilliere and the British Fleet under Admiral Keppell, are both at Sea, We are in hourly expectation of Intelligence of a Rencounter between them. The Jamaica Fleet, the Windward Islands Fleet, and a small fleet from the Mediterranean, have arrived at London, which has enabled them to obtain, by means of a violent Impress, perhaps a thousand or fifteen hundred Seamen, who will man two or three Ships more; in the whole, making Admiral Keppells Fleet somewhat nearer to an Equality with the French. In the mean time, the Spanish Flota has arrived, but the Councils of that Court, are kept in a Secrecy so profound, that We presume not to say, with Confidence, what are her real Intentions. We continue however to receive from various quarters encouraging Assurances: and from the Situation of the Powers of Europe it seems highly probable, that Spain will join France, in Case of War.
A War in Germany, between the Emperor and the King of Prussia, seems to be inevitable, as it is affirmed, that the latter has marched his { 169 } Army into Bohemia: so that We apprehend that America has at present nothing to fear from Germany.
We are doing all in our Power to obtain a Loan of Money: and have a prospect of procuring some in Amsterdam: but not in such quantities as will be wanted.
We are constrained to request Congress to be as sparing as possible in their Draughts upon Us…The Draughts already made, together with the vast expence arising from the Frigates which have been sent here, the Expences of the Commissioners, the Maintenance of your Ministers for Vienna and Tuscany,12 and of Prisoners who have made their Escapes, the Amount of Cloaths and Munitions of War already sent to America: All these Things considered,13 We are under great Apprehensions, that our Funds will not be sufficient to answer the Draughts, which We daily expect, for the Interest of Loan Office Certificates, as well as those from Mr. Bingham.
We have the honour to inclose a Copy of a Letter from Mr. De Sartine, the Minister of State for the Marine, and to request the Attention of Congress to the Subject of it.14
We are told in several Letters from the Honourable Committee of foreign Affairs, that We should receive Instructions and Authority, for giving up, on our part, the whole of the Eleventh Article of the Treaty of Commerce, proposing as a Condition, to the Court of France, that they on their part should give up the whole of the Twelfth. But unfortunately those Instructions and that Authority were omitted to be sent with the Letters, and We have not yet received them. At the time of the Exchange of Ratifications however, We mentioned this Subject to the Count De Vergennes, and gave him an Extract of the Committees Letter. His answer to Us was, that the Alteration would be readily agreed to, and he ordered his Secretary not to register the Ratification untill it was done. We therefore request that We may be honoured with the Instructions and Authority of Congress, to sett aside these two Articles, as soon as possible, and while the Subject is fresh in memory.15
The Letter to Mr. Dumas is forwarded: and in Answer to the Committees Inquiry What is proper for Congress to do for that Gentleman, { 170 } We beg leave to say, that his extream Activity and Dilligence, in negotiating our Affairs, and his Punctuality in his Correspondence with Congress, as well as with Us, and his Usefulness to our cause in several other Ways, not at present proper to be explained, give him in our Opinion, a good title to two hundred Pounds Sterling a Year, at least.
The other Things mentioned in the Committee's Letters to Us, shall be attended to as soon as possible.
We have received also, the Resolution of Congress of Feb. 9. and the Letter of the Committee of the same date, impowering Us to appoint One or more suitable Persons to be commercial Agents for conducting the Commercial Business of the United States in France and other Parts of Europe…But as this Power was given Us, before Congress received the Treaty, and We have never received it, but with the Ratification of the Treaty; and as, by the Treaty Congress is impowered to appoint Consuls in the Ports of France, perhaps it may be expected of Us, that We should wait for the Appointment of Consuls. At present Mr. John Bondfield of Bourdeaux, and Mr. J. D. Schweighauser at Nantes, both by the appointment of Mr. William Lee, are the only Persons, authorized as Commercial Agents. If We should find it expedient to give Appointments to any other Persons, before We hear from Congress, We will send Information of it, by the next Opportunity…If Congress should think proper to appoint Consuls, We are numbly of Opinion, that the Choice will fall most justly as well as naturally on Americans, who are in our Opinion better qualified for this Business than any others; and the Reputation of such an Office, together with a moderate Commission on the Business they may transact, and the Advantages to be derived from Trade, will be a sufficient Inducement to undertake it, and a sufficient Reward for discharging the Duties of it.
[signed] Signed B. Franklin,
[signed] Arthur Lee,
[signed] John Adams
In this Letter We inclosed the following Paper.

The Function of Consuls

Is to maintain in their departments, the Priviledges of their Nation according to Treaties
To have Inspection and Jurisdiction16
1. The text of Jones' letter of this date, which was enclosed, is copied into JA's Autobiography farther on under the present date.
2. This memorandum is added in Arthur Lee's hand following the text of the letter (which has no indication of signatures) in JA's letterbook.
3. The enclosure was a copy of Sartine's letter to the Commissioners of 14 July, q.v. under that date above. The Commissioners' answer to Sartine is inserted under the present date.
4. In LbCJA began an additional paragraph with the words “We have not the smallest doubt,” and then broke off. The letter was never completed and never sent. Instead, the Commissioners simply enclosed a copy of Sartine's letter to them of 14 July in their next letter to Congress and drew Congress' attention to Sartine's plea; see Commissioners to Congress, 20 July, copied into JA's Autobiography under that date, below.
5. This enclosure has not been found.
6. LbC is in Arthur Lee's hand and does not indicate who signed the copy sent.
7. JA copied this letter from a copy in Arthur Lee's hand in Lb/JA/4.
8. The comments on Jones in this and the following paragraph were omitted by CFA in his text.
9. JA should either have said “Two days later” or else have inserted a new date heading for 18 July.
10. Henry Laurens. This important dispatch was copied on a separate sheet by JA and keyed by the letter “A” for insertion at its proper place in the MS of the Autobiography. LbC is obviously a draft, in JA's hand with corrections by himself and a few more in Arthur Lee's hand (one of which is indicated in the next note but one below). The recipient's copy has not been found and probably never reached Congress; the version on file in PCC, No. 85, is a copy in Henry Remsen Jr.'s hand, taken from “a Vol. of the Commissioners Letters kept by Mr. [Arthur] Lee.” For the enclosures see below.
11. There remain in the Adams Papers texts of both the Treaty of Amity and Commerce and the separate secret article (reserving the right of Spain to become a party to the Franco-American treaties), as ratified by Congress and signed and sealed by Pres. Laurens, 4 May 1778.
12. In LbC the preceding nine words are interlined in the hand of Arthur Lee—a fact not without significance since the ministers in question were Lee's brother William and the Lee brothers' close friend Izard.
13. Preceding four words not in LbC; JA added them in his copy in order to improve his sentence structure.
14. This was Sartine's letter of 14 July, q.v. above under that date; also the answer under 16 July.
15. See Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:10–11, 32–33.
16. JA broke off here without copying this paper farther. A complete text, in Arthur Lee's hand, is in Lb/JA/4, following the letter to Congress of 20 July in which it was to be enclosed. The full text is printed in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:652–653, evidently from the copy by Remsen in PCC, No. 85.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0001-0110

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1778-07-25

[July 25. 1778.]

July 25. 1778. I was much amused, among some People here who understand a little English, to hear them puzzling each other with Samples of English Sentences, very difficult to be pronounced by a Frenchman. Among many others I remarked the following and very curious indeed were the Attempts to pronounce them. “What think the chosen Judges?” “I thrust this Thistle through this Thumb.” “With an Apple in each hand and a third in my Mouth.” But of all the Words I ever heard essayed by a French Man, the Words “General Washington” produced the greatest Variety of difficulties. I know not that I ever heard two Persons pronounce them alike, except the Marquis de La Fayette and his Lady. They had studied and practised them so long that they had mastered the great Subject. In my second Voyage to France, I carried with me a Friend as a private Secretary, Mr. John Thaxter. His name was a new Problem of Pronunciation. I could have filled a Sheet of Paper with the Varieties of Sounds, which these two Names suggested to my French Friends. “Vaugstaingstoung” was one of the Sounds for Washington: and “Taugistey,” was another for Thaxter. But enough of this in this place.
This day I wrote the following private Letter to Richard Henry Lee Esqr. a Member of Congress from Virginia.

[To Richard Henry Lee]

[salute] My Dear Sir

Your Favour of the 13 of May was brought me this day,1 with the Dispatches by Captain Barns. Am much obliged by your friendly Congratulations on my Arrival in France, which was a pleasant Event, after having more than once the prospect of going to the Bottom in the Gulph Stream, and half a dozen times a prospect very nearly as gloomy, that of going Prisoner to England, where I assure you, notwithstanding their then pretences of wishing an Accommodation, I should not have failed to have been treated with great Contempt, Indignity and Insult…We took a fine Prize upon the passage, by which I sent Letters and large bundles of Pamphlets and Newspapers to Congress: but within a few days I have had the Mortification to learn she has been retaken and carried into Hallifax. Tucker, however, in the Boston has taken four other Prizes since, of smaller Value.
In this Quarter of the World, an unforeseen Event, the Death of the Duke of Bavaria, has probably prevented the Courts of Vienna, Berlin and Tuscany, from acknowledging our Independence: but I rather think it will do Us a greater Service than such an Acknowledgment would have been, by keeping from Great Britain all Recruits from { 172 } other parts of Europe. In the present State of Europe I think it impossible that she should obtain a Regiment from Russia or Germany.
The Démarchés of Spain are misterious… She has sent a fresh Ambassador to London, and yet is arming in all her Ports with double dilligence. The Tardiness of this Power, however, may have disagreable Consequences to the Count D'Estaing… The States General are making their Fleet respectable, but you may be assured, it is not to join Great Britain against America.
In this Kingdom, I have the pleasure to assure you, that I have found an universal favour to America…. I have never seen a French Tory. They tell me, it is the first Time the French Nation ever saw a Prospect of War, with Pleasure.
The only disagreable Circumstances are the vast demands for Money and the slender Funds: and the difficulties of conversing in a language, which is far from being familiar to me…But with a little English, a little Latin and a constant Application at all Leisure times, which however do not happen so often as I wish, to the French: I make it out to understand and be understood.
I have never yet seen Mr. Beaumarchais, but his Account will be carefully attended to.

[salute] Remember me in the most respectfull and affectionate manner, to all good Men, and believe me to be your sincere Friend and most obedient Servant

[signed] John Adams.

[addrLine] R. H. Lee

1. Richard Henry Lee to JA, 13 May 1778 (Adams Papers). Also printed in In Adams Papers; R. H. Lee, Letters, ed. Ballagh, 1:405–407.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0001

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1779 - 1780

[September and October 1779]

The following is a litteral Translation of a Letter I received from His Excellency the Chevalier De La Luzerne, His Most Christian Majestys Minister Plenipotentiary to the United States of America.2

[From the Chevalier de La Luzerne]

[salute] Sir

I sincerely applaud myself, for having foreseen that your Residence in America would not be of long duration; and I congratulate your Fellow Citizens, on the choice they have made of you to proceed on the negotiation of that peace, which is to assure the repose of the Thirteen States. You will carry with you, that moderation and Equity which have appeared to me to constitute the foundation of your Character; { 174 } and you are already sure to find in France the Ministry of the King, in the same dispositions. The Choice of Congress is approved by all Persons of honest Intentions in America, and it will be equally applauded in Europe, and I will be answerable for the Suffrages and the Confidence of all Men by whom you shall be known. You, Sir, will labour to give Peace to your Country: and my cares will have for their Object, to draw closer the ties, which unite your Nation to mine. Our Occupations then will have some Analogy, and I pray you to be well persuaded, that I shall take an immediate Interest in your Success.
The Frigate, The Sensible, is still in the Port of Boston: it will depend upon You, Sir, to consult with Mr. De Chavagne, in case you should determine to go with him. I am persuaded, beforehand, that the Minister of the Marine, will be of Opinion that We could not make a better Use of this Vessel, than by employing her to carry You to Europe. I have the honour to be with the most inviolable Attachment, Sir, your most humble and most obedient Servant
[signed] Le Che de La Luserne.

[addrLine] To Mr. John Adams Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States.

[From François de Barbé-Marbois]

[salute] Sir

I have only time to inform you, how much interest I have taken in the Choice which your Countrymen have made of you, to go and negotiate the Peace in Europe. I have been really touched, by that Unanimity and Zeal, with which all Minds have united, in the Opinion which they have conceived of you; and in the Persuasion, that a Minister, without Prejudices and without any other Passion than that for the Happiness of his Country, and the conservation of the Alliance, was the Man the most proper to conduct the important Work of Peace.
I desire very much, Sir, that you would carry with you again to Europe, the young Gentleman your Son, notwithstanding the Aversion he has to Navigation. He will learn of you the means of being, one day, usefull to his Country; and your Precepts and your Sentiments will teach him to cherrish my Nation, who perceive more and more from day to day, how much her Union with You is natural and reciprocally advantageous. I am, with respect, Sir your most humble and most obedient Servant
[signed] De Marbois

[addrLine] To Mr. John Adams &c.3

The following Letter was sent at the same time to the Captain of the Frigate.
{ 175 }

[The Chevalier de La Luzerne to Bidé de Chavagnes]

The Mission, Sir, with which the Congress has charged Mr. John Adams, is of such importance, that Mr. Gerard and I have thought it necessary to take measures the most prompt and the most certain to assure his Passage. We have accordingly proposed to Congress to take Advantage of your Frigate, for the conveyance of that Minister; and our Proposition has been accepted: Nevertheless the Congress have of their own Accord, inserted the Condition, that Mr. Adams should make the convenient Arrangements for his Departure, in a reasonable time, so that your Frigate may not be detained too long. I therefore reitterate the prayer, which I have already made to you, Sir, to concert with Mr. Adams, concerning the measures, which he shall judge convenient to take for his departure….4 I hope, considering the nature of the circumstance, The Minister will entirely approve the delay which you may be obliged to make, of your departure; and I am persuaded on the other hand that Mr. John Adams will make with all possible celerity the preparations for his Embarkation. &c. &c. Compliments &c.
[signed] Signed Le Chevalier De La Luserne
I think entirely, Sir, as Mr. The Chevalier De La Luserne thinks, and I unite my Requests with his, and Compliments &c. &c.
[signed] Signed Gerard

[addrLine] To the Captain Chavagne Commander of the Frigate the Sensible.5

To these Letters I sent the following Answers

[To the Chevalier de La Luzerne]

[salute] Sir

I have the honour of your Letter from Philadelphia of the 29th. of September, and return you my sincere Thanks for your kind congratulations, on the honor which has been done me, in my Election to an important Negotiation in Europe. The Sentiments your Excellency is pleased to express of my Character, and of the good Opinion of my own Countrymen, in general, are exceedingly flattering to me.
There is no Character, in which I could Act, with so much pleasure, as in that of a Peacemaker. But Alass! When I reflect upon the Importance, Delicacy, Intricacy and danger of the Service, I feel a great deal of diffidence in myself.6 Yet when I consider the remarkable Unanimity with which I was chosen, after Congress had been so long { 176 } distressed with the Appearance of their foreign Affairs, and so divided in Sentiment about most other Characters, I am penetrated with a Sense of the honor done to me, more than I can express.
Your Excellency may be assured, that wherever I go, I shall carry with me, the highest Opinion of the Wisdom, the Equity and Policy, of the present Minister from France, and the fullest persuasion, that his negotiations will be reciprocally advantageous to the Allies, incessantly tending to strengthen the tyes of Interest and good Will, which at present unite them.
Your Excellency will be pleased to accept of my thanks, for the favour of a passage in the Frigate the Sensible…. I have not yet received from Congress any dispatches: As soon as they arrive I shall immediately wait on Captain Chavagne, and the Frigate shall not be unnecessarily detained on my Account. I will either embark immediately, or inform the Captain that I cannot have the pleasure to go with him.
I must also request your Excellency to present my respectful Compliments and Thanks to Mr. Gerard, for so obligingly joining his instances with yours to the Captain of the Frigate, for my Passage in her.

[salute] I have the Honor to be, with the sincerest Attachment &c.

[signed] John Adams

[addrLine] His Excellency The Chevalier De La Luserne.

[To François de Barbé-Marbois]

[salute] My dear Sir

I had the Honour of your favour of the 29. Septr. by express, and I thank you for your kind Congratulations and Compliments on my Election to the Momentous Office of Peace maker. I am really Sir, much affected with the Unanimity, with which Congress have conferred this Honour upon me.
I cannot be sufficiently sensible of the favourable Opinion you express of me. But I feel myself agitated with too many very strong Passions, relative to myself and my Family, besides those which regard the Prosperity of my Country, and the conservation of the Allyance, to subscribe entirely to that Opinion.
My little Son, Sir, is very sensible of the honour you have done him in mentioning his Name upon this Occasion: but I believe it will be my duty to leave him at home, that his education may be, where his { 177 } Life is to be spent. He has already learned to esteem and respect the French Nation, and these Sentiments I hope will never leave him.7
In whatever Country I may be, I shall never forget the agreable hours I have passed with Mr. Marbois, nor cease to hope for his honor and prosperity. I hope you have found every Thing as agreable at Philadelphia as you could expect, and that all Circumstances will become from day to day, more and more so.—I am very ambitious of carrying with me to Europe any dispatches which his Excellency the Chevalier may think proper to entrust to my care, especially Letters to his Friends, among whom, I have particularly in my Eye Mr. Malserbs. I request also the same favour from you, Sir, and have the honor to be with an affectionate respect &c.
[signed] John Adams

[addrLine] Mr. Marbois, Secretary to the French Embassy in America8

[To the President of Congress]

[salute] Sir

I had Yesterday the Honour of receiving your Letter of the twentyeth of October inclosed with two Commissions, appointing me, Minister Plenipotentiary, from the United States, to negotiate Peace and Commerce with Great Britain; together with Instructions for my Government in the Execution of those Commissions; Copies of Instructions to the Ministers Plenipotentiary, at Versailles and Madrid; and two Acts of Congress, of the fourth and fifteenth of October.9
Peace is an Object of such vast importance; the Interests to be adjusted, in the Negotiations to obtain it, are so complicated and so delicate; and the difficulty of giving even general Satisfaction is so great: that I feel myself more distressed at the prospect of executing the Trust, than at the Thoughts of leaving my family and Country; and again encountering the dangers of the Seas and of Enemies.
{ 178 }
Yet when I reflect on the general Voice in my favour; and the high honour that is done me by this Appointment: I feel the warmest Sentiments of Gratitude to Congress; shall make no hesitation to accept it; and devote my self without reserve or loss of time, to the discharge of it.
My Success however, may depend in a very great degree, on Intelligence and Advices that I may receive from Congress; and on the punctuality with which several Articles in my Instructions may be kept secret. It shall be my most earnest endeavour to transmit to Congress, the most constant and exact information in my power, of whatever may occur; and to conceal those Instructions which depend, in any measure, on my Judgment.
I hope I need not suggest to Congress the necessity of communicating to me from time to time as early as possible, their Commands; and of keeping all the discretionary Articles an impenetrable Secret: a Suggestion, however, that the Constitution of that Sovereignty, which I have the honor to represent, might excuse.
As the Frigate has been sometime waiting, I shall embark in Eight or ten days, at farthest…Your Excellency will be pleased to present my most dutifull respects to Congress; and accept my Thanks for the polite and obliging manner, in which you have communicated their commands. I have the Honour to be, with great Esteem and respect, your Excellencies most obedient humble Servant
[signed] John Adams

[addrLine] His Excellency Samuel Huntington Esqr. President of Congress.10

The Commissions acknowledged in the foregoing Letter to have been received were two; one for Peace and the other for Commerce, exact Copies of both here follow.

[Commission for Peace]

1. For Peace.
The Delegates of the United States, of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia
To all who shall see these Presents, send Greeting
It being probable, that a Negotiation will soon be commenced, for putting an End to the Hostilities, between his Most Christian Majesty, and these United States on the one Part, and his Britannic Majesty, on the other Part, and it being the sincere desire of the United States, { 179 } that they may be terminated, by a Peace, founded on such solid and equitable Principles, as reasonably to promise a Permanency of the Blessings of Tranquility, Know Ye, therefore, that We, confiding in the Integrity, Prudence and Ability of The Honourable John Adams Esquire, late Commissioner of the United States of America at the Court of Versailles, late Delegate in Congress, from the State of Massachusetts Bay, and Chief Justice of the said State, Have nominated and constituted, and by these Presents Do nominate and constitute him the said John Adams, our Minister Plenipotentiary, giving him full Power general and special, to Act in that Quality, to confer, treat, agree and conclude, with the Ambassadors or Plenipotentiaries of his Most Christian Majesty, and of his Britannic Majesty, and those of any other Princes or States, whom it may concern, vested with equal Powers, relating to the Reestablishment of Peace and Friendship, and whatever shall be so agreed and concluded, for Us, and in our Name to sign, and thereupon make a Treaty or Treaties, and to transact every Thing that may be necessary for compleating, securing and strengthening the great Work of Pacification, in as ample form and with the same Effect, as if We were personally present and Acted therein, hereby promising in good Faith, that We will accept, ratify, fulfill and execute, whatever shall be agreed, concluded and signed by our said Minister Plenipotentiary, and that We will never Act nor suffer any Person to Act, contrary to the same, in the whole or in any part. In Witness whereof We have caused these Presents to be given in Congress at Philadelphia, the twenty Ninth day of September in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven hundred and Seventy Nine, and in the fourth Year of the Independence of The United States of America.

[salute] Signed by the President and sealed with his Seal.

[signed] Samuel Huntington President And a Seal.
[signed] Attest Cha Thomson Secy.11

[Comission for Commerce]

2. The Commission for making a Treaty of Commerce with Great Britain was in these Words
The Delegates of the United States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticutt, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, in Congress assembled,
To all who shall see these Presents send Greeting
{ 180 }
It being the desire of the United States, that the Peace which may be established between them and his Britannic Majesty, may be permanent and accompanied with the mutual Benefits derived from Commerce, Know Ye therefore, that We, confiding in the Integrity, Prudence and Ability of Honble. John Adams esqr., late Commissioner of The United States of America at the Court of Versailles, late Delegate in Congress from the State of Massachusetts Bay and Chief Justice of said State, Have nominated and constituted, and by these Presents Do nominate and constitute him the said John Adams, our Minister Plenipotentiary, giving him full Power general and special to Act in that quality to confer, agree, and conclude with the Ambassador, or Plenipotentiary of his Britannic Majesty, vested with equal Powers, of and concerning a Treaty of Commerce, and whatever shall be so agreed and concluded, for Us and in our Name to sign and thereupon make a Treaty of Commerce, and to transact every Thing that may be necessary for compleating, securing and strengthening the same, in as ample form and with the same effect, as if We were personally present and acted therein, hereby promising in good Faith, that We will accept, ratify, fulfill and execute whatever shall be agreed, concluded, and signed by our said Minister Plenipotentiary and that We will never Act, nor suffer any Person to act, contrary to the same, in the whole nor in any Part. In Witness whereof, We have caused these Presents to be given in Congress at Philadelphia the twenty ninth day of September in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven hundred and Seventy nine, and in the fourth Year of the Independence of the United States of America.

[salute] Signed by the President and sealed with his Seal.

[signed] Samuel Huntington President And a Seal.
[signed] Attest Cha Thomson Secy.12
With these Commissions, I received the following Instructions respecting Peace.13
{ 181 }

[Instructions from Congress]

[salute] Sir

You will herewith receive a Commission giving you full Power, to negotiate a Treaty of Peace with Great Britain, in doing which you will conform to the following Information and Instructions.
First. The United States are sincerely desirous of Peace and wish, by every means consistent with their Dignity and Safety, to spare the further Effusion of Blood. They have therefore, by your Commission and these Instructions laboured to remove the Obstacles to that Event, before The Enemy have evidenced their Disposition for it…. But as the great Object of the present defensive War on the part of the Allies is to establish the Independence of the United States, and as any Treaty, whereby this End cannot be obtained, must be only ostensible and illusory, You are therefore to make it a preliminary Article, to any proposition14, that Great Britain shall agree to treat with the United States as sovereign, free And independent.
Secondly. You shall take especial Care also, that the Independence of the said States be effectually assured and confirmed by the Treaty or Treaties of Peace, according to the form and Effect of the Treaty of Alliance with his Most Christian Majesty; and You shall not agree to such Treaty or Treaties, unless the same be thereby so assured and confirmed.
Thirdly. The Boundaries of these States are as follow, vizt. These States are bounded North, by a line to be drawn from the Northwest Angle of Nova Scotia, along the highlands, which divide those Rivers which empty themselves into the River St. Lawrence, from those which fall into the Atlantic Ocean, to the Northwestermost head of Connecticut River, thence down along the middle of that River to the forty fifth degree of North Latitude, thence due West, in the Latitude of Forty five degrees North from the Equator, to the Northwestermost Side of the River St. Lawrence or Cadaraqui, thence straight to the South end of Lake Nipissing and thence straight to the Source of the River Mississippi: West, by a Line to be drawn along the middle of the River Mississippi, from its Source to where the said Line shall intersect the thirty first degree of North Latitude: South, by a Line to be drawn due East from the Termination of the Line last mentioned in the Latitude of Thirty one degrees North from the Equator, to the Middle of the River Appalachicola, or Catahouchi, thence along the Middle thereof, to its Junction with the Flint River, thence straight to the { 182 } head of St. Mary's River, and thence down along the Middle of St. Mary's River to the Atlantic Ocean: And East by a Line to be drawn along the Middle of St. Johns River, from its Source to its Mouth in the Bay of Fundy, comprehending all Islands within twenty Leagues of any part of the Shores of the United States and lying between Lines to be drawn due East, from the Points where the aforesaid Boundaries between Nova Scotia on the one Part and East Florida on the other Part, shall respectively touch the Bay of Fundy and Atlantic Ocean. You are therefore strongly to contend, that the whole of the said Countries and Islands lying within the Boundaries aforesaid And every Citadel, Fort, Post, Place, harbour and Road to them belonging, be absolutely evacuated by the Land and Sea Forces of his Britannic Majesty, and yeilded to the Powers of the States to which they respectively belong, in such Situation as they may be, at the termination of the War. But notwithstanding the clear right of these States, and the importance of the Object, yet they are so much influenced by the Dictates of Religion and Humanity, and so desirous of complying with the earnest requests of their Allies, that if the Line to be drawn from the mouth15 of the Lake Nipissing to the head of the Mississippi, cannot be obtained without continuing the War for that purpose, You are hereby empowered to agree to some other Line between that Point and the River Mississippi, provided the same shall in no part thereof be to the Southward of Latitude Forty five degrees North: And in like manner, if the Eastern Boundary above described cannot be obtained you are hereby empowered to agree, that the same shall be afterwards adjusted by Commissioners to be duely appointed for that purpose, according to such Line as shall be by them settled and agreed on as the Boundary between that part of the State of Massachusetts Bay formerly called the Province of Maine and the Colony of Nova Scotia agreably to their respective Rights: And You may also consent that the Enemy shall destroy such Fortifications as they may have erected.
Fourthly. Although it is of the Utmost Importance to the Peace and Commerce of the United States, that Canada and Nova Scotia should be ceded and more particularly that their equal and common Right to the Fisheries should be guarantied to them, Yet a desire of terminating the War, hath induced Us not to make the Acquisition of these Objects an Ultimatum on the present Occasion.16
{ 183 }
Fifthly. You are empowered to agree to a Cessation of Hostilities during the Negotiation, provided our Ally shall consent to the same, and provided it shall be stipulated that all the Forces of the Enemy shall be immediately withdrawn from the United States.
Sixthly. In all other matters not above mentioned You are to govern yourself by the Alliance between his most Christian Majesty and these States; by the Advice of our Allies, by your Knowledge of our Interests, and by your own discretion, in which We repose the fullest Confidence.
Done at Philadelphia, the Sixteenth day of October, in the Year of our Lord one Thousand Seven hundred and Seventy nine, and in the fourth Year of our Independence.

[salute] By The Congress of the United States of America

[signed] Saml. Huntington President
[signed] Attest Cha Thomson Secy.

[addrLine] The Honble. John Adams Esq. Minister Plenipotentiary, appointed to negotiate a Treaty of Peace.

Instructions as to a Treaty of Commerce with Great Britain, 16. October 177917

[Instructions from Congress]

[salute] Sir

You will herewith receive a Commission giving you Full Power, to negotiate a Treaty of Commerce with Great Britain, in doing which you will consider Yourself bound by the following Information and Instructions.
First. You will govern yourself principally, by the Treaty of Commerce with his most Christian Majesty, and as on the one hand, you shall grant no Priviledge to Great Britain not granted by that Treaty to France, so on the other you shall not consent to any particular restrictions or Limitations whatever in favour of Great Britain.
Secondly. In Order that you may be the better able to act with propriety on this occasion, it is necessary for you to know that We have determined 1st. That the common Right of Fishing shall in no case be given up. 2d. That it is essential to the Welfare of all these United States that the Inhabitants thereof, at the Expiration of the War should { 184 } continue to enjoy the free and undisturbed exercise of their common Right to fish on the Banks of Newfoundland and the other Fishing Banks and Seas of North America preserving inviolate the Treaties between France and the said States. 3d. That Application shall be made to his most Christian Majesty to agree to some Article or Articles for the better securing to these States, a Share in the said Fisheries. 4th. That if after a Treaty of Peace with Great Britain she shall molest the Citizens or Inhabitants of any of the United States, in taking Fish on the Banks and Places herein after described, such molestation being in our Opinion a direct violation and breach of the Peace, shall be a common cause of the said States, and the Force of the Union be exerted to obtain redress for the Parties injured, and 5 th. That our Faith be pledged to the several States, that without their unanimous consent, no Treaty of Commerce shall be entered into, nor any Trade or Commerce carried on with Great Britain, without the explicit Stipulation herein after mentioned. You are therefore not to consent to any Treaty of Commerce, with Great Britain, without an explicit Stipulation on her part, not to molest or disturb the Inhabitants of the United States of America in taking Fish on the Banks of Newfoundland and other Fisheries in the American Seas, any where excepting within the distance of three Leagues from the Shores of the Territories remaining to Great Britain at the Close of the War, if a nearer distance can not be obtained by Negotiation: And in the Negotiation you are to exert your most strenuous endeavours to obtain a nearer distance in the Gulph of St. Lawrence and particularly along the Shores of Nova Scotia, as to which latter We are desirous that even the Shores may be occasionally used for the purpose of carrying on the Fisheries by the Inhabitants of these States.
Thirdly. In all other matters you are to govern yourself by your own discretion as shall be most for the Interest of these States, taking care that the said Treaty may be founded on Principles of Equality and Reciprocity, so as to conduce to the mutual Advantage of both Nations, but not to the Exclusion of others.
Done at Philadelphia, this Sixteenth day of October, in the Year of our Lord one Thousand Seven hundred and Seventy nine, and in the fourth Year of our Independence.

[salute] By The Congress of the United States of America,

[signed] Saml. Huntington President
[signed] Attest Cha. Thomson Secretary

[addrLine] The Honourable John Adams Esqr. Minister Plenipotentiary appointed to negotiate a Treaty of Commerce with Great Britain.

{ 185 }
It may be proper here, also to insert the following Instructions

[Instructions from Congress]

[addrLine] To the Honble. Benjamin Franklin Esqr. Minister Plenipotentiary of The United States of America at the Court of France 16. Oct. 177918

[salute] Sir

Having determined, in order to put a Period to the present War conformably to the humane dispositions which sway the Allied Powers, that We would not insist on a direct Acknowledgment by Great Britain of our Right in the Fisheries, this important matter is liable to an incertitude, which may be dangerous to the political and commercial Interests of the United States, We have therefore agreed and resolved, that our Right should in no case be given up. That We would not form any Treaty of Commerce with Great Britain, nor carry on any Trade or Commerce whatsoever with her, unless she shall make an express Stipulation on that Subject, and that if she shall after a Treaty of Peace, disturb the Inhabitants of these States in the exercise of it, We will make it a common cause to obtain redress for the Parties injured. But notwithstanding these precautions, as Great Britain may again light up the flames of War and use our exercise of the Fisheries as her pretext; and since some doubts may arise, whether this Object is so effectually guarded by the Treaty of Alliance with his Most Christian Majesty, that any molestation therein, on the part of Great Britain is to be considered as a Casus Foederis, you are to endeavour to obtain of his Majesty an explanation on that Subject, upon the Principle that notwithstanding the high Confidence reposed in his Wisdom and Justice, Yet considering the Uncertainty of human Affairs, and how doubts may be afterwards raised in the Breasts of his Royal Successors, the great importance of the Fisheries renders the Citizens of these States very solicitous to obtain his Majesty's Sense with relation to them, as the best Security against the Ambition and Rapacity of the British Court. For this purpose you shall propose the following Article, in which never the less such Alterations may be made as the Circumstances and Situation of Affairs shall render convenient and proper. Should the same be agreed to and executed you are immediately to transmit a Copy thereof to our Minister at the Court of Spain.
“Whereas by the Treaty of Alliance between the Most Christian { 186 } King and the United States of North America, the two Parties guaranty mutually from that time and forever against all other Powers, to wit, The United States to His Most Christian Majesty, the Possessions then appertaining to the Crown of France in America, as well as those which it may acquire by the future Treaty of Peace; And his Most Christian Majesty guaranties on his part to the United States their Liberty, Sovereignty and Independence, absolute and unlimited as well in matters of Government as Commerce, and also their possessions and the Additions or Conquests that their Confederation might obtain during the War, according to said Treaty; and the said Parties did further agree and declare that in Case of a Rupture between France and England, the said reciprocal guaranty should have its full Force and Effect, the moment such War should break out: and whereas doubts may hereafter arise how far the said Guaranty extends to this, to witt, that Great Britain should molest or disturb the Subjects and Inhabitants of France or of the said States, in taking Fish on the Banks of Newfoundland, and other the Fishing Banks and Seas of North America, formerly and usually frequented by their Subjects and Inhabitants respectively: And whereas the said King and the United States, have thought proper to determine with Precision the true interest and meaning of the said Guaranty in this respect; Now therefore as a farther demonstration of their mutual good Will and Affection it is hereby agreed, concluded and determined as follows; to witt, That if after the conclusion of the Treaty or Treaties which shall terminate the present War, Great Britain shall molest or disturb the Subjects or Inhabitants of the said United States, in taking Fish on the Banks, Seas, and Places formerly used and frequented by them so as not to encroach on the territorial rights, which may remain to her after the termination of the present War as aforesaid, and War should thereupon break out between the said United States and Great Britain; or if Great Britain shall molest or disturb the Subjects and Inhabitants of France, in taking Fish on the Banks, Seas and Places formerly used and frequented by them, so as not to encroach on the territorial Rights of Great Britain as aforesaid, and War should there upon break out between France and Great Britain; in either of these Cases of War as aforesaid, His Most Christian Majesty and the said United States shall make it a common cause, and aid each other mutually with their good offices, their Councils and their Forces, according to the Exigence of Conjunctures, as becomes good and faithfull Allies: Provided always that nothing herein contained, shall be taken or understood as contrary to or inconsistent with the true intent and meaning of the Treaties al• { 187 } ready subsisting between His Most Christian Majesty and the said States, but the same shall be taken and understood as explanatory of and conformable to those Treaties.”
[signed] Signed Saml. Huntington President
[signed] Attest Cha Thomson Secy.
What measures Mr. Franklin pursued, in Obedience to these Instructions to obtain from the Court of France, any farther Stipulations for the Security of the Fisheries, or whether he ever gave himself any trouble about them I never knew. But one Thing is certain, that he never had any Success: for instead of giving Us any additional Assurances of the Fisheries, The Count De Vergennes in Europe, and the Chevalier De La Luserne and Mr. Marbois in America in subordination to him, entered into many insidious Intrigues to deprive Us of them. This base and injurious Policy will be detailed, devellopped and placed in its true Light hereafter, in the Course of these Papers.19
As it is uncertain what Questions may hereafter be started, and What Pretensions may be advanced between France, England and America, concerning The Fisheries, it may be usefull to preserve in this Place some Papers which I obtained in 1778, I believe from Mr. Lee or Mr. Izzard.20

Copy of a Letter from Sir Stanier Porteen to Lord Weymouth respecting the Newfoundland Fishery.

[Sir Stanier Porten to Lord Weymouth]

[salute] My Lord

In Obedience to your Lordships commands, I have perused the Correspondence to and from Mr. Stanley and The Duke of Bedford, during their Stay at Paris, previous to the last Treaty of Peace, from which it appears, that in their different Projects and Counter Projects, the Articles concerning the Newfoundland Fishery, chiefly referred to what was stipulated in the Treaty of Utrecht. The French Ministers pressed at first, to have Cape Breton ceded to them, and when that was refused, they insisted that they must have some place, as an “Abri” to secure themselves. After many discussions, the Isle of Miquelon was { 188 } offered to them, and then St. Pierre was added to it, and the fifth and sixth Articles were agreed upon as they stand in the Definitive Treaty signed the tenth of February 1763…. On the first of March following, the Duke De Nivernois held a very extraordinary and unexpected Language with the late Lord Egremont, which cannot be so well expressed, as by sending your Lordship the inclosed Extract from Lord Egremonts Letter to the Duke of Bedford, by which it appears, that the Duke De Nivernois insisted “that the French had an exclusive Right to the Fishery from Cape Bonnavista, to Point Riche, and that they had, on ceding the Island of Newfoundland to Great Britain by the thirteenth Article of the Treaty of Utrecht, expressly reserved to themselves such an exclusive Right, which they had constantly been in Possession of, till they were entirely driven from North America in the last War.” Many successive Letters passed on the same Subject, but the inclosed extract sufficiently explains what your Lordship wished to know, whether the French claimed the exclusive right, or solicited to be indulged in it. If your Lordship should want any further Ecclaircissement I will endeavour to obey your Commands. I am, with the greatest Respect, My Lord, your Lordships most humble and most obedient Servant.
[signed] Signed S. Porteen

[addrLine] Right Honourable Viscount Weymouth.

N.B. Porteen was Secretary to Lord Weymouth.21

Extract of a Letter from the Earl of Egremont, Secretary of State, to his Grace the Duke of Bedford, Ambassador at the Court of France, dated White Hall, March 1st. 1763 respecting Newfoundland Fishery.

[Earl of Egrement to Duke of Bedford]

I did not expect to have had Occasion to trouble your Grace, with another Messenger so soon; but his Majesty has judged it highly expedient, that I should, without loss of time, acquaint you with a very extraordinary Conversation, I had on Saturday last with the Duke De Nivernois, on the Subject of the Fishery at Newfoundland.
In order that your Grace may understand what gave rise to this Conversation I must observe, that, since the Success of his Majesty's Arms in North America, the British Fishermen have resorted more than they used formerly to do, to the Northern Parts of Newfoundland, where by the thirteenth Article of the Treaty of Utrecht, a Liberty had been left to the French to fish, and to dry their Fish on Shore; and for that purpose to erect the necessary Stages and Buildings, but with an express { 189 } Stipulation, “De ne pas sejourner dans la ditte Isle, au dela du terns necessaire, pour p&cher, et secher le Poisson.” And as by the fifth Article of the Definitive Treaty the same Priviledge is renewed and confirmed to the French, it was apprehended some disagreable Altercations might arise, between the Subjects of the two Nations, in case the French should find the best fishing Stations preoccupied by the English, who, from their Situation might be able to reach Newfoundland first, and would probably exert themselves for that purpose, in order to avail themselves of the received Law among Fishermen, that whoever arrives first, shall have the choice of the Stations, and that France would complain of this, as in effect excluding them from the Fishery, and consequently eluding what it was certainly meant by the Treaty they should enjoy. His Majesty therefore, firmly resolved to observe religiously every Engagement he had entered into, and whose earnest Wish is to avoid every Thing, that could possibly create the least Uneasiness between the two Courts, thought it the most agreable to the open and candid manner in which the whole Negotiation has been conducted, that I should speak to the French Ambassador on this Subject, and to obviate any dispute on this matter, that I should make him sensible of the clear meaning of the Treaty of Utrecht, which expressly cedes to Great Britain, the Absolute Property of the whole Island of Newfoundland, without any exception whatever; at the same time granting to the French Subjects, a Liberty to resort to a limited part thereof for the purpose of taking and curing Fish only, and this Liberty is confined to the Season of the Year, proper for that occupation. But on my opening this matter to the Due De Nivernois I was greatly surprized to find his Excellency insisting, with more warmth than I have hitherto observed in him on any one point, that by the Treaty of Utrecht, the French had an exclusive right to the Fishery from Cape Bonavista to Point Riche, and that they had, on ceding the Island of Newfoundland to Great Britain, by the thirteenth Article of that Treaty, expressly reserved to themselves, such an exclusive Right, which they had constantly been in possession of, till they were entirely drove from North America, in the late War.—It was needless to make Use of any other Argument to refute this weak Reasoning, than a bare reference to the Treaty of Peace of Utrecht, and on my producing the same to the French Ambassador he seemed much struck with it, and desired to look on the Treaty of Commerce, but on turning over this last, and not finding the least mention of Newfoundland therein, he endeavoured to distinguish between the Spirit and the Letter of the Treaty, and tho' he would not support his assertion of an exclusive right { 190 } by any Stipulation in any Treaty, he still insisted on it with so much Warmth as even to let drop some insinuations, as if it might occasion the Renewal of the War. On finding the Due De Nivernois in this temper, I thought it better not to push the Altercation further at that time, but to reserve myself to make a report to the King of what had passed, which having done, I am in consequence thereof, commanded by his Majesty to despatch this Messenger to your Grace, and to signify to you the Kings Pleasure, that you should lose no time in explaining this matter to the French Ministers and shewing them the impossibility of his Majestys departing from the express Letter of a Treaty, the Stipulations whereof are so explicit and clear, that they will furnish you with ample Arguments to refute the unjustifiable Pretensions of France, and to support the indisputable Rights of his Subjects, who, altho they may not in times past have frequented the Northern Parts of the Island of Newfoundland so much as the French, yet they have from time to time resorted to and exercised the Fishery on every part of the Coasts of that Island agreably to the most undoubted Right they have by the Words of the Treaty of Utrecht, to which the Commodores, who have commanded at Newfoundland, have been constantly referred by their Instructions, and which Treaty must still continue to be their Guide, with respect to such parts to which both Nations have a Liberty to resort. The King, however, thought it consistent with that Candor he has always professed, that the French Ambassador should be apprized of what is above mentioned, but the unreasonable manner in which he received what I said to him, and the Pretension he has attempted to set up of an exclusive Right of the French to fish and dry on the Northern Parts of Newfoundland make it highly necessary to come to an Ecclaircissement with the Court of France. It is therefore the Kings Pleasure, that your Grace should forthwith state to the French Ministers, with the utmost precision, the express Stipulations of the Treaty of Utrecht, letting them see that the King must support his Subjects in the Rights they have thereby acquired, but at the same time, that his Majesty, far from entertaining the most distant Thought of rendering illusory the Liberty of Fishing and drying he has agreed to leave to the French, will be ready to concur in any Arrangement, the Court of France may think proper to propose, provided such Arrangements be not inconsistent with the undoubted Rights of his Majestys Subjects according to the thirteenth Article of the Treaty of Utrecht, renewed and confirmed by the fifth Article of the Definitive Treaty, in order to prevent all future disputes, and thereby to put it out of the Power of a Number of illiterate Fishermen to involve the two Nations { 191 } in fresh Troubles by any unreasonable and unequitable Pretensions. Your Grace will be so sensible of the Incident which has given Occasion to this dispatch, that I need only Add that the King will expect with the Utmost Anxiety to hear from your Grace, the Result of your Conference with the French Ministers, in Consequence of the orders I now transmit to you.
1. Unlike the other two fragments of JA's Autobiography, “Peace” has no date of composition prefixed, but it was with little doubt begun, and, as far as it goes, entirely written in 1807. The preceding part, ““Travels and Negotiations,” is dated at the beginning 1 Dec. 1806, but not even JA in the full flush of enthusiasm for his task of self-vindication was likely to have written some 160 quarto pages in a fine hand in a single month. Clearly his enthusiasm had waned by the time he reached July 1778 in the course of his documentary narrative, and so he broke off his “Travels” abruptly, supposing, no doubt, that he would come back later to fill the gap between the summer of 1778 and that of 1779, when he returned from France to Braintree. He never did, though his Diary entries are fortunately quite full for portions of that period. At some point in 1807 he began his narrative anew with his appointment as sole American peace commissioner in the fall of 1779, the year 1807 being mentioned as the current year in the seventh folded sheet of the present MS (see p. 202, below).
This time, however, his autobiographical fervor evaporated even sooner. “Peace” is only half as long as either Part One or Part Two of the Autobiography. It hardly more than gets its narrator to Paris (though the trip there overland through northern Spain was strenuous enough) before it breaks off in mid-sentence after JA had copied in a few lines of his letter to Vergennes dated 21 March 1780. JA was not through writing autobiography, but he never returned to this MS.
2. JA translated this letter from a copy he had made in his letterbook in 1779 from the recipient's copy (Adams Papers), which is in Marbois' hand, signed by La Luzerne, and printed in JA, Works 7:115.
Editorial treatment of letters inserted in Part Three of the Autobiography is the same as that for those in the earlier parts; see above, p. 43, note 51. The letters that JA inserted in 'Peace” were drawn from Lb/JA/5, 8, 10, 11, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel Nos. 93, 96, 98, 99. None of the letters except those between JA and Vergennes beginning 12 Feb. 1780 were included by CFA in his combined edition of JA's Diary and Autobiography. Nor did CFA use anything else from “Peace” until he reached the entry dated 20 Jan. 1780, p. 237, below.
3. Translated by JA from a copy in his letterbook that he had earlier made from the recipient's copy (Adams Papers), printed in JA, Works, 7:116–117.
4. Suspension points in MS, as elsewhere in Part Three of the Autobiography. They seldom if ever indicate omissions in the text.
5. Translated by JA from a copy in his letterbook that he had made in 1779 from an undated copy, presumably furnished to him by La Luzerne, which is also in Adams Papers and is printed in JA, Works 7:115–116.
6. LbC, which is a draft, reads:
But alass! Sir, when I reflect upon the <Weight and> Importance <of the Subject, the> Delicacy, Intricacy and Danger of <it> the Service, <the Difficulty of accomplishing so great a Work, and at the same Time giving Satisfaction to my Countrymen and my Sovereign,> I feel a great deal of Diffidence <of> in myself.
Other small revisions in LbC have been disregarded here.
7. As things turned out, both JQA and his younger brother CA accompanied their father on his second mission to Europe. See the summary of JA's letter to Bidé de Chavagnes, 5 Nov. 1779, below.
8. RC (Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, Fonds Français, vol. 12768) varies at several points slightly but not materially from LbC and the present copy.
9. RC (Adams Papers, printed in JA, Works 7:119–120) has the enclosures here listed, all of which JA inserted in full below except the instructions to Jay (just appointed to Madrid) of 29 Sept. and 15 Oct. and the two resolves of Congress. Jay's instructions are printed in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:352–353, 375. The resolve of 4 Oct. fixed the salaries of the ministers plenipotentiary, “in full for their services and expences,” at £2500 per annum and those of their secretaries at £1000; while that of 15 Oct. ordered Franklin to make payments to them for their subsistence upon arriving in Paris.
For the circumstances of these new diplomatic appointments, see JA's Diary entry of 13 Nov. 1779, note 1; also his Autobiography, p. 180, note 413, and p. 242, note 35, below.
10. RC (PCC, No. 84, I); endorsed by Charles Thomson: “Letter from J. Adams Novr. 4. 1779 Read 22.—accepts his Commissns.” Slight variations in wording between LbC and RC have been disregarded here.
11. The original commission for treating of peace, engrossed on parchment, signed, sealed, and attested, is in Adams Papers under the date it bears on its face. JA's name and dignities and the date of issue were filled in after the text of the commission had been engrossed. See illustration in this volume.
12. The original commission for negotiating a treaty of commerce, engrossed on parchment, signed, sealed, and attested, is in Adams Papers under the date it bears on its face. JA's name and dignities and the date of issue were filled in after the text of the commission had been engrossed.
13. Copied here from the original Instructions (Adams Papers), signed by Huntington and enclosed in his letter to JA of 20 Oct.; endorsed: “Instructions to me. 16 Octr. 1779. Peace.” These instructions had been adopted by Congress on 14 Aug. (JCC, 14:956–960), after intermittent debate on foreign affairs and especially on the minimum peace terms acceptable to America, since the preceding February. Because of irreconcilable divisions in Congress over who should represent America in the peace mission and the closely related mission to Spain, the elections did not take place until six weeks had elapsed, and there was a further delay of nearly a month before JA's Instructions were copied and sent to him.
14. A copying error by JA for “Negotiation.”
15. This word is underlined in the original Instructions.
16. Emphasis added by JA in copying the Instructions into his Autobiography. Having been deleted upon French insistence from the American peace ultimata, a British guarantee of American rights in the North Atlantic fisheries was included, as a sop to the New England delegates, in JA's Instructions for negotiating a treaty of commerce with Great Britain. See the following document; also the separate instruction to Franklin, which follows thereafter, and JA's Diary entries of 4 Nov. 1782 et seq.
17. Copied here from the original Instructions (Adams Papers), signed by Huntington and enclosed in his letter to JA of 20 Oct; endorsed: “Instructions to me. 16 Octr. 1779. Commerce.” These Instructions had also been voted by Congress on 14 Aug. (JCC, 960–962), six weeks before JA was chosen to carry them out.
18. Presumably copied here from a version in Lb/JA/15, a volume containing records of the joint American Peace Commission at Paris, 1781–1783, copied by William Temple Franklin (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 103). A copy without date of this instruction had been enclosed in Huntington's letter to JA of 20 Oct. (Adams Papers); it had actually been adopted by Congress on 14 Aug. (JCC, 962–966).
19. JA did not return to this subject in his Autobiography, but he dealt with it at great length and with massive documentation in his later communications to the Boston Patriot, especially those written in May 1811, published in the following August, and never reprinted. See the Introduction on this “second autobiography” by JA.
20. According to his Diary, 26 Nov. 1782, JA obtained copies of these papers from Ralph Izard; they are in The Adams Papers under the assigned date of Nov. 1782 .
21. Sir Stanier Porten held various minor diplomatic and civil posts (DNB). It was perhaps in his capacity of keeper of state papers at Whitehall that he corresponded on this subject with Weymouth, a secretary of state in Grafton's and North's cabinets.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-11-05

[fifth of November 1779]

On the fifth of November 1779 I wrote to the Chevalier De Chavagne1 the Captain of the French Frigate The Sensible, that I had received all my dispatches from Congress and would be ready to embark and sail in Eight days. That the Persons who were to go with me, would be Mr. Dana who was Secretary to my Commission and Chargé D'Affaires, Mr. Thaxter my private Secretary, my two Sons, John, twelve Years old, and Charles nine, and one Servant for me and another for Mr. Dana, in all seven Persons. That Mr. Dana was a Gentleman of principal Rank in this Country, a Member of Congress and of the Council of Massachusetts Bay and now in a very important Commission, which made it necessary for me to request, that a particular Attention might be paid to his Accommodation, and at least as much as to mine.
1. ||JA to Bidé de Chavagnes, 5 Nov. 1779.||

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-11-13

[Thirteenth day of November 1779]

On the Thirteenth day of November 1779, I had again the melancholly Tryal of taking Leave of my Family, with the Dangers of the Seas and the Terrors of British Men of War before my Eyes, with this additional Aggravation that I now knew by Experience, how serious they were, much better than I had when I embarked in Nantasket Road in 1778. We went to Boston and embarked on Board the Frigate whose Yards were manned, in Honour of the Passengers. We found the Ship crouded, full 350 Sailors, a great number of whom had been recruited in America: and a great many Passengers, among whom were Mr. Jeremiah Allen and Samuel Cooper Johonnot, Grandson of Dr. Cooper.
I shall not consume much time in the Narration of this second Voyage to Europe though it was attended with as much danger as the first. We met indeed no British Men of War, which in my Estimation were the Worst of all Evils. We had but one very violent Gale of Wind, and that was so much inferiour to those I had encountered the Year before in the Bay of Biscay, in the English Channel and above all in the Gulph Stream, that it appeared to me to have no terror in it. It was nevertheless furious enough to allarm the Officers and People, and their Apprehensions were increased by the foundering or at least by the sudden and final disappearance of a Chasse Maree, that had hitherto sailed { 192 } under our Convoy from L'Orient.1 Their Fears as well as mine were increased by another Circumstance, which very seriously threatened destruction to Us all. We had not been two days at Sea before I perceived that the Pumps were going and that a Leak in the Ship was constantly admitting a great deal of Water. At first it was said to be a steady Leak, and not attended with much danger, but it constantly increased from day to day, till our Arrival in Spain. During all the latter part of the Voyage, a large Stream of Water was constantly pouring over each Side into the Sea, from the Pumps which were worked by day and by Night, till all the People on board, Passengers and Officers as well as Seamen were almost exhausted with fatigue. The Sensible was an old Frigate, and her Planks and timbers were so decayed, that one half the Violence of Winds and Waves which had so nearly wrecked the new and strong Ship the Boston the Year before, would have torn her to pieces. Or had We been chased by a superiour British Force, and obliged to spread all our Sails, it is highly probable that the Leak would have been increased and the Ship foundered.
1. The Courrier de l'Europe; see Diary entry of [5] Dec. 1779, note.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-11-24

[November 24 1779.]

November 24 1779. We were on the Grand Bank of Newfound Land, and about this time, We spoke with an American Privateer, The General Lincoln Captain Barnes. He came on board and our Captain supplied him with some Wood and other Articles he wanted. We all wrote Letters by him to our Families.
Since I came on board I found that even the French Officers had heard more News, or at least more Title Tattle than I had. This was the first time that I heard that Envy and Calumny had been busy with the Character of my Friend General Warren and his Family. That his Son had made a great Fortune, by Privateering, by Trade, by purchasing Sailors Shares and by Gambling: That he had won of C, whom Nobody pittied, a great Sum of Money. That he had made great Profits by buying, in great quantities what he knew was wanted for the Navy and then selling it to the Board. That the Agent too had made a great fortune, that his Wife was a Tory and many Anecdotes of her Conversation &c. These Reports which were mentioned as undoubted and notorious Truths gave me great Uneasiness, because, though I gave very little Credit to them, It was not in my Power to contradict them. There are no Appearances remaining I believe of the Great fortunes, and probably the Accusations were greatly exaggerated, if not merely invidious Suspicions. Indeed I had found that the Passions of Envy, Jealousy, hatred and Revenge engendered by Democratical Licentiousness, had encreased in a great degree by the political Competi• { 193 } tions in many other Instances, and was not a little allarmed at the Prospect they opened of still greater Evils.1
1. See Diary entry of 24 Nov. 1779 and note 3 there.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-11-25

[November 25. 1779.]

November 25. 1779. The Wind was fair and the Weather pleasant. We had passed the Grand Bank, and found ourselves on the Easter-most Edge of it. On sounding We found Bottom in thirty fathoms of Water.
The Captain and all his Officers and Passengers were so much alarmed at the increasing danger of the Leak and at the fatiguing Labour of all hands in keeping the Pumps in play, that it was concluded to make for one of the Western Islands as the first Friendly Land We could possibly reach: but We missed them and some day in the beginning of December 1779 We found ourselves, as was supposed within one hundred Leagues of Ferrol or at least of Corunna, to one or the other of which places We determined to direct our Course with all the Sail, the Ship could prudently bare. The Leak which kept two Pumps constantly going, having determined the Captain to put into Spain. This Resolution was a great Embarrassment to me. Whether I should travel by Land to Paris a Journey of twelve or thirteen hundred miles, or Wait for the Frigate to be examined and repaired, which might require a long time? Whether I could get Carriages, Horses, Mules or any other Animals to convey Us? What Accommodations We could get upon the Road? How I could convey the Children, and what the Expences would be? were all questions which I could not answer: nor could I find any Person on board, who was able to give me any satisfactory Information. It was said however by some that the Passage of the Pyranees was very difficult: that there was no regular Stage or Post: that We must purchase Carriages and Horses &c…. I could not help reflecting how much greater these inconveniences had been rendered, and how much more our perplexity if the rest of my Family had been with me. With Ladies and young Children and Additional Servants Male and Female We should have been in more distress on Land than at Sea.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-07

[December 7. 1779. Tuesday.]

December 7. 1779. Tuesday. About Eleven O Clock We discovered Land. Two large Mountains, one sharp and steep, the other large and broad, made their Appearance. We passed three Capes, Finisterre, Tortanes and Veillane. The Chevalier de La Molion gave me some Accajou Nutts. In handling the outside Shell, which has a corrosive Oil in it, in order to come at the meat, I got a little of this juice on my fingers and afterwards inadvertently rubbing my Eyes, I soon found the Lids swelled and inflamed up to my Brows.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0007

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-08

[December 8. 1779. Wednesday.]

December 8. 1779. Wednesday. We got into Ferrol, where We found a Squadron of French Ships of the Line under the Command of the Count De Sade. We went on Board, the General as they called him, that is The Commodore, to make our Compliments. We then went on Shore, visited the Spanish General Don Joseph St. Vincent, and then took a Walk about the Town, saw a great Number of Spanish and French Officers, who all congratulated Us on our narrow Escape and applauded Captain Chavagne for making the first Port. When We returned on board the Sensible We found she had made seven feet of Water in her Hold, within the first hour of her coming to Anchor when the Pumps had been abandoned from the fatigue of every Body worn out by pumping.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0008

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-09

[December 9. 1779. Thursday.]

December 9. 1779. Thursday. Went on Shore with all my Family, and took Lodgings. Dined with the Spanish Lieutenant General of the Marine with twenty four French and Spanish Officers. Don Joseph, though an old Officer had a great deal of Vivacity and good humour as well as Hospitality. The difference between the Faces and Airs of the French and Spanish Officers was more obvious and striking than that of their Uniforms. Gravity and Silence distinguish the latter: Gaiety, Vivacity and Loquacity the former. The Spanish Uniforms were ornamented with a very broad and even Gold Lace, the French with a narrow and scolloped one. The French Wiggs and Hair had several Rows of curls over the Ears: The Spanish only one. The French Bags were small, the Spanish large: Many of the Spaniards had very long hair quieued, reaching down to their hams almost. All the Officers of both Nations had new Cockades, made up of two, a red and a white one in token of the Union of the two Nations.
In the Evening We went to the Comedy or rather the Italian Opera; where We saw many Officers, and very few Ladies. The Musick and dancing were tolerable; but the Actors and Actresses very indifferent, at least it was a dull Entertainment to me. Perhaps it might have been more pleasing, if I had Understood the Italian Language: but all the Knowledge I ever had of this, which was not much, was acquired after that time.
This Evening the French Consul, whose Name was De Tournelle Consul of France at Corunna, arrived at Ferrol, and was introduced to me at my Chamber, by the French Vice Consul. Both made me the politest Offers of Assistance of every Sort. Supped and lay down, but I cannot say I slept or rested, at my Lodgings. We had too many Companions in Bed, in whose Society I never could sleep, much more than if I had been buried in hot embers.
{ [facing 194] } { [facing 195] }

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0009

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-10

[1779 December 10 Fryday.]

1779 December 10 Fryday. Breakfasted for the first time on Spanish Chocolate which fully answered the fame it had acquired in the World. Till that time I had no Idea that any thing that had the Appearance of Chocolate and bore that name could be so delicious and salubrious.
Every Body now congratulated Us, on our safe Arrival at this place. The Leak in the Sensible had increased since she had been at Anchor; and all agreed that We had escaped a very great danger.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0010

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-11

[1779 December 11.]

1779 December 11. I wrote to Congress the following Letter and prepared a Duplicate and Triplicate to go by different Opportunities.

[To the President of Congress]

[salute] Sir

I have the Honour to inform Congress, that on the thirteenth day of November I embarked on Board the French Frigate Le Sensible, and on the fourteenth came on Board The Honourable Francis Dana Esq., the Secretary to my Commission, when We fell down to King Road, and on the fifteenth sailed for France.
A Leak was soon discovered in the Ship, which obliged Us to ply the Pumps. As it seemed a steady Leak, it gave little Alarm at first: but continuing to increase, to such a degree, as to make two Pumps, incessantly necessary night and day, obliging the Passengers to take their turns in common with the Ships People, the Captain judged it necessary to make the first Port he could find….Accordingly on the Seventh day of December, We happily discovered Cape Finisterre, and on the Eighth arrived at the magnificent Spanish Port of Ferrol, where We found a Squadron of French Ships of the Line, the Officers of which think We were very happy in making this Port, as the Frigate, since she has been in Harbour, is found to make Seven or Eight feet of Water in an hour.
The Advice of all the Gentlemen here to me is to make the best of my Way to Paris by Land: As it is the Opinion of many that the Frigate will be condemned. But if not, she certainly will not be ready to sail again from this Port, in less than four or five Weeks. This is unfortunate to me, because by all the information I can obtain, Travelling in this Kingdom is attended with many difficulties and delays, as well as very great expence, there being no regular Posts as in France and no possibility of passing over the mountainous parts of this Country in Carriages.
I find there has been no Engagement in the European Seas, between the English and the combined Fleets of France and Spain, as was reported in America. There has been an epidemic Sickness, on board the French Fleet, which obliged them to return to Brest rather sooner { 196 } than was intended. There are twenty five Spanish Ships of the Line in Brest Harbour with the French. It is reported that Monsieur Du Chaffault is appointed Commander in Chief of the French Fleet and that the Comte D'Orvilliere has retired.
Captain Jones has done another brilliant Action, by taking a Forty four Gun Ship, after an obstinate Engagement, and carried her into the Texell. But I cannot learn the particulars with much Certainty or Exactness.
I have been treated with the utmost Politeness and Attention since my Arrival in this place, both by the Spanish and French Officers, particularly by the Spanish Lieutenant General of the Marine, Don Joseph Saint Vincent, who is Commander in Chief of the Marine, by Monsieur De Sade, the French Chef D'Escadre, and by the French Consul and Vice Consul, who have all obligingly offered me every Assistance in their Power.
I shall endeavour to inform Congress of every Step of my Progress, as I may find Opportunity. I have heard nothing as yet, which makes it probable to me, that I shall have any Thing to do openly and directly, in pursuance of my Commission, very speedily. There is a confused Rumour here of a Mediation of Russia and Holland: but I am persuaded without foundation. It seems to be much more certain that the English continue in their old ill Humour and insolent Language, not-withstanding their Impotence grows every day more apparent. I have the honour to be with the greatest respect and Esteem, Sir your most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] John Adams.

[addrLine] His Excellency Samuel Huntington Esqr. President of Congress.1

1. RC (PCC, No. 84, I); in John Thaxter's hand; at head of text: “Duplicate”; unsigned; endorsed in several hands: “No. 1. J. Adams [ . . . ] original by Capt. Trash from Corunna to Newbury Port, Mass. Bay. Duplicate of Decembr. 11th: 1779 Original receivd.—Reed. May 15. 1780—orig read March 27.”

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0011

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-12

[1779 December 12 Sunday.]

1779 December 12 Sunday. Walked about the Town, but there was nothing to be seen, excepting two Churches, and the Arsenals, dry Docks, Fortifications and Ships of War.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0012

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-13

[1779 December 13. Monday.]

1779 December 13. Monday. The great Inconvenience of this Harbour is, the Entrance is so narrow, there is no possibility of going out, but when the Wind is in one Point, that is the South East…. I was surprized to find so important a Place as this is to the Spanish Naval Power, surrounded by Heights which might easily be possessed by an Enemy, and which entirely overlooked and commanded the Town, the Ships, the Arsenals and Docks.
{ 197 }
The Three French Ships of the Line here were the Triomphant of Eighty Guns, M. Le Comte De Sade Chef D'Escadre or General, M. Le Chevalier de Grasse Preville, the Capitaine de Pavilion.
The Souverain of Seventy four Guns, M. Le Chevalier De Glandevesse Captain
The Jason of Sixty four Guns, M. de La Marthonie, Commander.
We dined one day with the Comte De Sade on Board the Triomphant, with all the principal Officers of the Fleet in all the Luxury of the French Navy.
A very fine Turkey was brought upon Table, among every Thing else that Land, Sea or Air could furnish.1 One of the Captains, as soon as he saw it, observed that he never saw one of those Birds on a Table but it excited in him a deep regret for the Abolition of that order of Ecclesiasticks the Jesuits to whom We were he said, indebted for so many Excellent Things, and among the Rest for Turkeys. These Birds he said were never seen or known in Europe till the Jesuits imported them from India. This occasioned much Conversation and some Controversy: but the majority of the Officers appeared to join in this regrett. The Jesuits were represented as the greatest Masters of Science and Litterature: as practising the best System of Education, and as having made the greatest improvements, the happiest Inventions and the greatest discoveries for the Comfort of Life and the Amelioration of Man and Society. Till this time I had thought that although millions of Jesuits, Pharisees and Machiavilians still existed in the World, yet that the Word Jesuit as well as that of Pharisee and Machiavilian, had become so odious in Courts and unpopular with Nations that neither was ever advocated in good Company. I now found my Error, and I afterwards perceived that even the Philosophers were the principal Friends left to the Jesuits.
The French Names Dindon and Poulet D'Inde, indicate that the Fowl was imported from India: But the English Name Turkey and Turkey fowl, seems to imply that the Bird was brought from the Levant. But if I am not mistaken, the English pretend that Sir Walter Raleigh first imported this Luxury from America. These important Questions of Natural History I shall leave to the Investigation and Discussion of those who have nothing else to do, nor any thing of more Taste and Consequence to contemplate.
I was highly entertained however with this Conversation and not a { 198 } little delighted to find that I could so well understand a Conversation so rapid and lively in French.
As the Count De Sade placed me next to himself at Table, his chief and indeed his whole Conversation was with me. He was very inquisitive about every Thing in America, but the Subject which most engaged his Attention was the Commerce and especially the Naval Power of America. This Subject I always found most prevalent in the Minds of all the Naval Gentlemen both of France and Spain. The Count said that no Nation in Europe had such Advantages for Naval Power as America. We had Timber of the best Kinds in the World, our Oaks and Cedars especially the Live Oaks and Red Caedars, which America Possessed in such Abundance, were an Advantage that no Nation ever enjoyed before in such Perfection. That We had inexhaustible Mines of Iron Oar and all the Skill and Apparatus necessary to prepare it, work it and refine it. That our Soil produced Flax and Hemp of good quality, and our Agriculturalists knew how to raise it and preserve it. We have a Maxim among Us in the Marine, said the Count, That with Wood, Hemp and Iron, a Nation may do what it will. And you may do what you will, and you will do what you will. For No Nation has, and No Nation that ever existed ever had such Advantages for raising a formidable Navy in a short time as you have. For to all the Materials you add all the Skill and Art. You have already learned of the English, all the Skill in Naval Architecture and all the Art and Enterprise of Navigation, which was ever possessed by the most commercial and most maritime People that ever existed. In fine his Conversation was in the same Strain with that of Monsieur De Thevenot [Thevenard] at L'Orient, in the Spring of the same Year, but more in detail. As the Count de Sade understood no English and my organs were not very flexible to the French, my part of the Conversation could not be very fluent. I made him however to understand, that I thought our People had so much Employment at home upon their Lands, which would be more comfortable and less hazardous if not more profitable that it would be a long time before they would turn their Attention to a Naval military Power. I must however now confess that I did not then believe that French, Spanish, Dutch and English Emissaries, would obtain so much influence in America as to cast a mist before the Eyes of the People and prevent them from seeing their own Interest and feeling their own Power for seven and twenty Years, to such a degree as to suffer their own Coasts and harbours to be insulted and their Commerce plundered even in the West Indies by Pirates, which a few Frigates might send to their [own?] place. The { 199 } Count presented to me The Chevalier De Grasse, as his Captaine De Pavilion and as the Brother of the Count de Grasse, the Commander in America,2 and as a Gentleman of large and independent Fortune, who had no Occasion to go to Sea but chose to expose himself to the rough Life of a Sea Officer, from pure Zeal for the Kings Service.
1. The following conversation, including that on the important subject of American naval prospects, was recorded in the Autobiography wholly from memory. Compare, or rather contrast, JA's Diary entry of this date.
2. This is with little doubt a mistake of JA's memory; see Diary entry of this date and note.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0013

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-14

[1779 December 14. Tuesday.]

1779 December 14. Tuesday. Walked once more to the Barracks and dry Docks. The Stones with which these Works were constructed, were far inferiour to our Quincy North Common Granite. They were not better than the South Common Stone. We went into the magnificent Church of St. Julien, where We saw Numbers of Devotees upon their Knees, some before the Altar and some before one Statue or Picture and some before another. This kind of Devotion was much more fashionable in Spain than in France.
We had lodged en la Calle de La Madalena, junto coca, en casa de Pepala Botoneca, i.e. in the Street of the Magdalen near the head, in the House of Pepala Botoneca.
I spent several Evenings with the French Consul Monsieur Detournelle, whom I found a well bred and well informed Man. He was well read, and had been conversant with the Writers on the Law of Nations, particularly in the Titles of those Laws relative to Ambassadors and Consuls. He quoted several Writers on the Rights and Duties of Ambassadors and Consuls and some on Ettiquette and the Formalities and Ceremonies required of those Offices. He told me that the Office of French Consuls was regulated by an ordinance of the King, but that some Nations had entered into particular Stipulations with the King. That the Consuls of different Nations were differently treated by the same Nation. That as Consul of France he had always claimed the Priviledges of the most favoured Nation. That he carefully enquired what Priviledges were enjoyed by the Consuls of England, Germany and Italy and demanded the highest Priviledges of the Gentis amicissimae.
The Chief Magistrate of the Town of Ferrol, is The Corregidor. For the Province or Kingdom of Gallicia, there is a Souvereign Court of Justice, which has both civil and criminal Jurisdiction. In all criminal Cases it is without Appeal, but in some civil Cases an Appeal lies to the Council at Madrid. There is no time allowed in criminal Cases for an Application for Pardon, for they execute forthwith. Hanging is the Capital Punishment. They burn sometimes but it is after death. There was lately a Sentence for Parricide. The Law required that the Crimi• { 200 } nal should be headed up in a hogshead, with an Adder, a Toad, a Dog and a Cat and cast into the Sea. But I was much pleased to hear that Spanish humanity had suggested and Spanish Ingenuity invented a Device to avoid some part of the Cruelty and horror of this punishment. They had painted those Animals on the Cask, and the dead body was put into it, without any living Animals to attend it to its watery Grave. The ancient Laws of the Visigoths are still in Use, and these, with the Institutes, Codes, Novelles &c. of Justinian, the Cannon Law and the Ordinances of the King, constitute the Laws of the Kingdom of Gallicia.
The Bread, the Colliflowers, the Cabbages, Apples, Pears, Beef, Pork and Poultry were good. The Fish of several Sorts were good, excellent Eels, Sardines, and other Species, and the Oysters were tolerable, but not equal to ours in America.
I had not seen a Chariot, Coach, Phaeton, Chaise or Sulky, since I had been in the Place, very few Horses and those very small and miserably poor; Mules and Asses were numerous but small. There was no Hay in the Country: The Horses, Mules &c. eat Wheat Straw.
There had been no frost. The Verdure in the Gardens and Fields was fresh. The Weather was so warm that the Inhabitants had no Fires, nor Fire Places, but in their Kitchens. We were told We should have no colder Weather before May which is the coldest Month in the Year. We found however, when We travelled in the Month of January in the Mountains, Frost and Snow and Ice enough. But at this time and in this Neighbourhood of the Sea, Men, Women and Children were seen in the Streets, with naked Legs and feet, standing on the cold Stones in the mud, by the hour together. The Inhabitants of both Sexes have black hair and dark Complexions, with fine black Eyes. Men and Women had long hair ramilied down to their Waists and sometimes down to their Knees.
Though there was little Appearance of Commerce or Industry, except about the Kings Docks and Yards and Works, yet the Town had some Symptoms of Growth and Prosperity. Many new Houses were building of a Stone which comes from the rocky Mountains round about, of which there are many. There were few goods in the Shops, little Show in their Marketts, or on their Exchange. There was a pleasant Walk a little out of Town, between the Exchange and the Barracks.
There were but two Taverns in the Town. Captain Chavagne and his Officers lodged at one, at six Livres each a day. The other was kept by a Native of America, who spoke English and French as well as { 201 } Spanish, and was an obliging Man. Here We could have lodged at a dollar a day each: but where We were We were obliged to give an hundred and twenty nine dollars for six days besides a multitude of other Expences, and besides being kept constantly unhappy by an uneasy Landlady.
Finding that I must reside some Weeks in Spain, either waiting for the Frigate or travelling through the Kingdom, I determined to look a little into the Language. For which purpose I went to a Bookseller and purchased Sobrino's Dictionary in three Volumes in Quarto, The Grammatica Castillana an excellent Spanish Grammar in their own Tongue, and a Lattin Grammar in Spanish. My Friend Captain De Grasse made me a present of a very handsome Grammar of the Spanish Tongue by Sobrino….1 By the help of these Books, the Children as well as the Gentlemen of our little Company were soon employed in learning the Language. To one who understood the Latin it seemed to be easy and some of Us flatter'd ourselves, that in a Month We might be able to read it, and understand the Spaniards as well as be understood by them. But experience taught Us our Error and that a Language is very difficult to acquire especially by Persons in middle Life.
Mr. Linde an Irish Gentleman, and Master of a Mathematical Accademy here, as well as Mr. De Tournelle, says, that the Spanish Nation in general have been of Opinion that the Revolution in America is a bad example to the Spanish Colonies, and dangerous to the Interests of Spain, as the United States if they should become ambitious and be seized with the Spirit of Conquest, might aim at Mexico and Peru. The Consul mentioned the Opinion of Raynalle, that it was not for the Interest of the Powers of Europe, that America should be independent.
To the Irish Gentleman I observed, that Americans hated War: that Agriculture and Commerce were their Objects, and it would be their Interest, as much as that of the Dutch to keep peace with all the World, untill their Country should be filled with People, which could not be for Centuries. That War and the Spirit of Conquest were the most diametrically opposite to their Interests, as they would divert their Attention, Wealth, Industry, Activity, from a certain Source of Prosperity and even Grandeur and Glory, to an uncertain one; nay to one, that it was certain never could be to their Advantage. That the Government of Spain over her Colonies had always been such, that she never could attempt to introduce such fundamental Innovations, as those by which England had provoked and compelled Us to revolt. And the Spanish { 202 } Constitution was such, as could extinguish the first Sparks of discontent, and quell the first risings of the People. That it was amazing to me, that a Writer so well informed as Raynalle, could ever give an Opinion that it was not for the Interest of the Powers of Europe, that America should be independent, when it was so easy to demonstrate, that it was for the Interest of every one of them except England. That they could loose nothing by it, but certainly every one of them would gain something, and many of them a great deal.
Wee can see but a little Way into Futurity….If, in 1807, We look back for seven and twenty Years, and consider what would have been the Consequence to Mexico and Peru and all South America, and all the French and Spanish West India Islands, had the United States remained subject to Great Britain, Mr. Linde and the Consul and the whole Spanish Nation might be convinced, that they owe much to the American Revolution. The English love War as much as We abhor it, and if they had now the American Cities for Places of Arms, the American Harbours for Shelter, American Provisions for Supplies and American Seamen and Soldiers for Reinforcements, by what tenure would France and Spain hold their American Dominions?
1. For two of the works mentioned here see Diary entry of this date and note.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0014

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-15

[1779 December 15. Wednesday.]

1779 December 15. Wednesday. This Morning We arose at five O Clock, went over the Water in a Boat and mounted our Mules, thirteen in Number, and two Mulateers, one of whom went before for a Guide, and the other followed Us, to pick up Stragglers. We rode over very bad roads and very high Mountains where We had the View of a very extensive Country, appearing to be a rich Soil and well cultivated, but there were very few plantations of Trees. We saw some Orange Trees, some Lemmon Trees, many Madeira Nut Trees, and a few, but very few Oaks. We dined at Hog Bridge, about half Way to Corunna upon Provision made by the Consul whose Attention and Politeness as well as that of the Vice Consul at Ferrol had been very conspicuous. We arrived at Corunna about seven O Clock and allighted at an Inn kept by Persons who spoke French. An Officer who spoke English held open the Gate for Us to enter, attended Us to our Lodgings, and then insisted on our visiting the General, who is Governor of the Province, and a Colonel, who commands under him and is military Governor of the Town. These are both Irish Gentlemen; and made many Professions of Friendship to our Cause and Country. The Governor of the Province, told me he had orders from Court to treat all Americans as the best Friends of Spain. They were all very inquisitive about Mr. Jays Mission: to know who he was, where he was born, whether he had ever been a Member of Congress, and Whether President. When { 203 } he embarked—in what Frigate—Where he was destined, whether to France or Spain, and to what Port of France, Brest, L'orient or Nantes.
The General politely invited me to dine. Said that Spaniards made no Compliments but were very sincere. He asked me, when this War would finish? I answered not yet; but when the Kings of France and Spain would take the Resolution to send twenty or thirty more Line of Battle Ships to reinforce the Count D'Estaing and enable him with the Cooperation of Americans to take all the British Forces and Possessions in America.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0015

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-16

[December 16. 1779. Thursday.]

December 16. 1779. Thursday. This Morning the Governor of the Province of Gallicia and the Governor of the Town of Corunna came to my Quarters at the Hotel du grand Amiral, to return the Visits I made them the last Evening. His Excellency repeated his Invitation to me to dine with him the next day with all my Family. He insisted on seeing my Sons. Said I ran a great risque in taking my Children with me: He had once passed very near my Country in an Expedition in a former War, which he had made against the Portuguese; that himself and every Thing in his Power, were at my Service; that he did not speak English…. I knew not how to answer all this politeness, better than by saying that I was engaged in the Study of the Spanish, and hoped that the next time I should have the Honour of seeing his Excellency, I should be able to speak to him in his own Language. At this he smiled and made a low bow, made some further Enquiries concerning American Affairs and took Leave. Mr. Dana and I took a Walk about the Town, to see the Fortifications, the Shipping, the Marketts, Barracks &c.
After dinner Captain Trask and his Mate of a Schooner belonging to the Tracys of Newbury Port, who had been obliged by bad Weather and contrary Winds to put in here from Bilbao, came to visit me and I gave them Letters to Congress as well as to my Family.
Mr. Detournelle came in and We walked with him to see the Tour de Fer, i.e. The Tower of Iron, a very ancient Monument, intended probably for a Light House as it commands a very wide Prospect of the Sea, and descries all Vessells coming from the East and from the West. There is no Record or memorial of the original of it, nor of the Nation by whom it was built. It is conjectured that it was created by the Phenicians. There is a smaller Building near it, by an Inscription on which it appears, that it was built or repaired by the Romans in the time of Augustus Cesar, but this has indubitable Marks of its being a modern Work in comparison of the Grand Tower. This is all of Stone an hundred feet in height. The mortar with which the Stones were cemented { 204 } is as hard as the Stones themselves, and appears to have a large mixture of powdered Stone in it. There was formerly a magnificent Stair Case winding round it in a Spiral from the Ground, to the top of it, and it is said that some General once road in a Coach or on Horseback to the highest Step of the Escalier. But now the Stairs and railings are all taken away and the Stones employed to pave the Streets of Corunna. They are large, square and smooth, and would make beautifull Streets if well laid: but they lie in much irregularity, and with out any order. In going to this monument and returning from it We passed by two noble Windmills very large and all of Stone, which lay in a State of desolation that astonished Us. Neglected and forsaken, falling fast into total Ruin. We anxiously enquired why so fine an Estate was suffered to decay in this manner, and were told that a Law Suit had been depending above forty Years to determine the Tittle disputed between two Claimants and that neither would repair the Buildings till it should be decided to which of them they belonged. Very grievous reproaches were added concerning the Delay of the Law in Spain.
There are in this Little Town Three Convents of Monks and two of Nuns. One of the Nunneries is of Capuchins, a very austere order. The Girls eat no meat, wear no linnen, sleep on the floor, never on a bed, their faces are always covered with a Veil and they never speak to any body.
On this day I wrote the following Letter to Congress and sent it together with the Letters from Ferrol by Captain Trask, but neither were received till the 15th. of October 1780 and then in a Triplicate.1

[To the President of Congress]

[salute] Sir

By the Opportunity of a small Vessel, accidentally in this harbour, bound to Newbury Port, I have the honour to inform Congress, that I have been detained by violent Rains and several Accidents in Ferrol untill Yesterday, when I set out with my Family for this place, and arrived last Evening without any Accident. I waited immediately on the Governor of the Province, and on the Governor of the Town and received many Civilities from both: and particularly from his Excellency the Governor of the Province of Gallicia an Assurance, that he was not only personally disposed to render me every hospitality and Assistance in his Power, but that he had received express orders from { 205 } his Court to treat all Americans that should arrive here, like their best Friends.
These Personages were very inquisitive about American Affairs, particularly the Progress of our Arms and the Operations of the Count D'Estaing; and more particularly still concerning the Appointment of a Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of Madrid. They requested his Name, Character, Nativity, Age; whether he was a Member of Congress, and whether he had been President, with many other particulars.
To all these questions I made the best Answers in my Power: and with respect to his Excellency the Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of Madrid, I gave them the most exact information, and such a respectable Character as the high Offices he has sustained, and his own personal merit, require.
It is the prevailing Opinion here, that the Court of Madrid is well disposed to enter into a Treaty with the United States, and that the Minister from Congress will be immediately received, American Independence acknowledged, and a Treaty concluded.
The Frigate the Sensible, is found to be in so bad a Condition, that I am advised by every body to go to France by Land.—The Season, the Roads, the Accommodations for travelling are so unfavourable, that it is not expected I can get to Paris in less than thirty days. But if I were to wait for the Frigate it would probably be much longer. I am determined therefore to make the best of my Way by Land. And it is possible that this Journey may prove of some Service to the Public, at least I hope the Public will sustain no loss by it, though it will be tedious and expensive to me.
There are six Battalions of Irish Troops in Spain, in three Regiments, several of whose Officers have visited me, to assure me of their respects to the United States.
I have been this Afternoon to see the Tower de Fer, and the Island of Cezarga which was rendered famous in the Course of the last Summer, by being appointed the Rendezvous of the French and Spanish Fleets. The French Fleet arrived at this Island on the ninth day of June last, but were not joined by the Spanish Fleet from Ferrol untill sometime in July, nor by that from Cadiz till much later; so that the combined Fleets were not able to sail for the English Channel, untill the thirtyeth of July. To prevent a similar inconvenience, another Campaign, there are about five and twenty Spanish Ships of the Line, now in Brest, which are to winter there, and be ready to sail with the French Fleet, the approaching Summer, at the first Opening of the Season. God grant them Success and tryumph!
{ 206 }
Although no Man wishes for Peace more sincerely than I, or would take more pleasure or think himself more highly honoured by being instrumental in bringing it about; yet I confess I see no prospect or hope of it, at least before the End of another Summer. America will be amused with rumours of Peace, and Europe too: but the English are not yet in a temper for it.
The Court of Russia has lately changed its Ambassador at the Court of London, and sometime in the month of October Mr. Simolin, the New Minister Plenipotentiary from the Court of Petersbourg to the Court of London, passed through France in his Way to England and resided about three Weeks in Paris. From this Circumstance a Report has been spread in Europe, that the Court of Russia is about to undertake the Office of Mediator between the belligerent Powers. But from conversation with several Persons of distinction since my Arrival in Spain, particularly with Monsieur Le Comte De Sade the Chef D'Escadre commanding the French Men of War now in Ferrol, I am persuaded, that, if Russia has any thoughts of a Mediation, the Independence of the United States, will be insisted on by her as a Preliminary and Great Britain will feel much more reluctance to agree to this, than to the Cession of Gibraltar, which it is said Spain absolutely insists upon.
I have the honor to be with the greatest respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] John Adams

[addrLine] His Excellency Samuel Huntington Esqr. President of Congress.

1. A triplicate of this dispatch, sent later with triplicates of others, was received by Congress on that date, according to a note in JA's letterbook; but the original recipient's copy (PCC, No. 84, I, in Thaxter's hand, signed by JA), is endorsed in Thomson's hand: “No. 2 Letter from J. Adams Corunna Deer. 16. 1779 Read March 27. 1780.” There are trifling variations in wording among the extant texts.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0016

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-17

[1779 December 17. Fryday.]

1779 December 17. Fryday. The Consul conducted me to the Souvereign Court of Justice where We visited three Halls, One of civil Jurisdiction, another of criminal, and a third of both. The Three Youngest Judges sit in the criminal Trybunals. I was introduced to the President and the other Judges, and to the Procureur du Roi, i.e. to the Kings Attorney who treated me with great Ceremony, conducted me into the Place in the Prison into which the Prisoners are brought who have any thing to say to the Judges, waited on me into each of the Three Halls, shewed me the three folio Volumes of the Laws of the Country, which are the ancient Laws of the Goths, Visigoths and Ripuarians incorporated on the Corpus Juris. There are no Seats in the Halls for any Body but the Judges and the Lawyers who are speaking. Every Body stands. The President told me, that on Monday next there would be argued an interesting Cause, invited me to come and hear it, said he would receive me in Character and place me by the Side of himself on the Bench, and when I said I should wish to avoid { 207 } this parade, he said he would order an Officer to shew me a convenient Place to see and hear. Soon after this a Part of an Irish Battalion of Troops was drawn up, before the Court House and made a fine Appearance, but suggested melancholly Reflections that Justice could not be administered without a military force, and that too composed of Forreigners, to protect the Judges.
Dined with Don Pedro Martin Sermenio, The Governor of the Province of Gallicia or rather The Vice Roy of the Kingdom of Gallicia. Mr. Dana, Mr. Thaxter, Mr. Allen were with me. By the Assistance of two Irish Officers, I had much Conversation with the Governor who speaks only Spanish. We sent for our Books of Maps, at their desire and shewed them the Position of New York and Rhode Island and the Possessions of the English there. The Governor was very gay, and Don Patricio O Heir the Governor of the Town, with several other Irish Officers were present. They all advised Us to go by Land, and the Governor offered to procure Us a Guide who spoke French, was perfectly acquainted with the Country, Roads, Inn's and Inhabitants and was the best Man in the Kingdom for the purpose, and one who could the most readily procure Us the Carriages, Horses, Mules and Drivers and best know how to make provision for Us, for We must carry all our Necessaries as well as conveniences with Us. Nothing was to be had upon the road except at a few principal Towns, excepting the Wine of the Country, Bino de Pais, which might be had any where and it was very good and very wholesome, for it was an admirable Diuretic.
After Dinner We went with The Consull to see a Convent of Franciscan Friars. Walked into the Church and all round the Yards and Cells. As We passed by the Cells, “here,” said the Consul, “are the habitations of Jealousy, Envy, Hatred, Revenge, Malice and Intrigue. There is more Intrigue in a Chapter of Monks for the Choice of a Prior, than was employed to bring about the entire revolution in America. A Monk has no Connections nor Affections to soften him, but is wholly delivered up to his Ambition.” I was somewhat surprized at this and asked some questions. The Consull persisted and affirmed that there was no End to the Factions and intrigues among the Monks in Spain.
There were Inscriptions in Latin Verse over all the Cells and generally ingenious and pure in their Morals. I found this universal in all the Monastries, and had a strong Inclination to copy many of them: but generally I had not time. Upon this Occasion having a little Leisure I copied this Inscription over the Cell of a Monk at { 208 } Corunna which by no means breaths the Spirit imputed to them by the Consul.

Si tibi pulchra domus, si splendida mensa, quid inde?

Si Species Auri, atque argenti massa, quid inde?

Si tibi sponsa decens, si sit generosa, quid inde?

Si tibi sint nati; si praedia magna, quid inde?

Si fueris pulcher, fortis, divesve, quid inde?

Longus servorum, si serviat ordo, quid inde?

Si doceas alios in qualibet arte; quid inde?

Si rideat mundus; si prospera cuncta; quid inde?

Si Prior, aut Abbas, si Rex, si Papa; quid inde?

Si rota fortunae, te tollat ad astra; quid inde?

Annis si faelix regnes mille; quid inde?

Tarn cito praeteriunt haec omnia, quae nihil inde.

Sola manet Virtus, qua glorificabimur inde.

Ergo Deo servi; quia sat tibi provenit inde;

Quod fecisses volens in tempore quo morieris

Hoc facies juvenis, dum corpore sanus haberis.

Quod nobis concedas Deus noster, Amen.1

We went and drank Tea with the Consul, The Attorney General of the Province was there, and Mr. Lagoanere, the American Agent, and the Captain of the French Frigate La Belle Poulle.
1. JA made a few small copying errors in transcribing this inscription from his Diary entry of this date.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0017

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-18

[1779 December 18. Saturday.]

1779 December 18. Saturday. Walked all round the Town, the Wharves, Slips &c. on the Water and round the Walls towards the Country. Went to see the Artillery. A number of Stands of Arms, Cannon, Bombs, Balls, Mortars &c. had been packed up for some time. By the last Post, orders arrived to put up five thousands more in the same manner, ready to embark, but nobody knew where, nor for what purpose. We saw the Magazines, Arsenals, Shops &c. of Carpenters, Wheelwrights, Blacksmiths &c. shewn Us by the Commandant of Artillery. But after having seen Brest and Ferrol, I saw nothing worth describing. The Spanish Ships however both here and at Ferrol appeared equal at least both in Materials and Workmanship to any of American, French or English Construction that I had ever seen. If their Prudence in Navigation and the Activity and Intrepidity of their Seamen were proportionally equal to the English they would be a dangerous Enemy.
Went into the Church or Chapel of a Convent, found the Monks { 209 } in great numbers all upon their Knees, chanting their Pray[er]s to the Virgin Mary. It was the Eve of the holy Virgin. The lighted Wax Candles, by their glimmerings upon the Paintings and Gildings made a pretty Appearance and the Musick was good.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0018

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-19

[1779 December 19. Sunday.]

1779 December 19. Sunday. Dined with Monsieur De Tournelle, with all my Family. The Regent, or President of the Souvereign Court of the Kingdom of Gallicia, The Attorney General, the Administrator of the Kings Revenue of Tobacco, the Commandant of the Artillery, Mr. Lagoanere and others were there.
The Entertainment was very sumptuous in all respects, but there was the greatest Profusion and Variety of Wines I ever saw brought to any Table. In Addition to the Wines of France, Bourdeaux, Champaigne, Burgundy, We had Constantin and all the best Wines of Spain red and white. The names and qualities of all of them were given Us, but I remember only the Sherry, Alicanté and Navarre. The Spanish and Irish Gentlemen were very liberal in their Compliments to the Consul on the Excellence of his Wines which they pronounced the oldest and best they had ever seen. The Chief Justice and Attorney General were very gay and very jocular with the Consul and Mr. Lagoanere on his rich and rare Selection of Spanish Wines and archly insinuated that it was a studied Exhibition before the American Minister and a mercantile Speculation. I afterwards was informed that Mr. Detournelle and Mr. Lagoanere had some secret Connection in Trade, which could not be avowed, as an Ordinance of the King of France prohibits Commerce to his Consuls. Mr. Lagoanere avowed that he had procured the Wines.
The Chief Justice and Attorney General were very inquisitive with me about my Birth and Name. They asked very gravely whether I had not been born in Spain? or whether my Father was not a Spaniard? or whether I was not in some Way of Spanish descent? I thought these questions very whimsical and ridiculous, but I determined to keep my Spanish gravity and answered them civilly and candidly that I was born in America, and so was my Father and Grandfather, but my Great Grandfather and Great Great Grandfather came from England, where their Ancestors had lived for any Thing I knew, from the Days of the first Adam. Whether this was a peculiar Kind of Spanish Compliment, like that which was afterwards made me by the Secretary of the Tripoline Ambassador in England when he saw me smoke as gravely and profusely as his Master, who cryed out in rapture “Monsieur vous etes un Turque,” I know not.1 And whether there was any { 210 } foundation for what they said I know not: but they affirmed that there was a very numerous family of that Name in Spain and that in several Provinces there were very ancient, rich and noble Families of the Name of Adams and that they were all remarkable for their Attachment to the Letter S. at the End of Adam. They were so punctillious in this that they took it as an Affront to write their Name without this final Letter and would fight any Man that did it.
These Gentlemen however discovered on other Occasions more Sense and Solidity. They were very solicitous to know our American Forms of Government, and I sent to my Lodgings and presented each of them with a printed Copy of the Report of the Committee of Convention of Massachusetts Bay, made in this Year 1779, as a Specimen of what would probably be nearly the Constitution of that State. They said they would have them translated into Spanish and should be highly entertained by them.
We found the Pork and Bacon, this day, as We had often found them before, most excellent and delicious, which surprized me the more, as I had always thought the Pork in France very indifferent, and occasioned my Inquiry into the manner of raising it. The Chief Justice informed me, that much of it was fatted upon Chesnutts, and much more upon Indian Corn which was much better. That in some Provinces of Spain they had a peculiar kind of Acorns growing upon old pasture Oaks, which were very sweet and produced better Pork than either Chesnuts or Indian Corn. That there were parts of Spain, where they fatted hogs upon Vipers. They commonly cutt off their heads and gave the Bodies to their Swine and they produced better Pork, than Chesnuts, Indian Corn or Acorns. That the Swine were so fond of these Vipers that they would attack them when they would find them alive, put one of their fore feet upon the head and hold it down while they eat the Body, but would not eat the head. That they were so expert at this Art, that they very rarely got stung by them.
These Gentlemen told Us that all kinds of Grain would come from America to a good Market in this Country; even Indian Corn, for they never raised more than their Bread and very rarely enough of that. Pitch, Tar, Turpentine, Timber, Masts &c. would answer. Salt Fish, Sperm Cceti Candles, Rice &c…Indigo and Tobacco came in sufficient quantities from their own Colonies. The Administrator of the Kings Tobacco, said that ten millions Weight was annually consumed in Spain, in smoaking.
{ 211 }
We enquired concerning the manner of raising the Kings Revennue and were told that there were then no Farmers General. That having been tried they were found prejudicial and abolished. That all Taxes were now collected for the King, who appointed Collectors for particular Cities, Towns or other Districts. That Duties were laid both on Exports and Imports, and Taxes upon Land. Upon Inquiry into the manner of raising the Army We were informed, that some were enlisted for a number of Years, others were draughted by Lot for a number of Years, and that a certain number of Years Service intitled the Soldier to several valuable Priviledges and Exemptions but that their pay was small.
The Consul made me a Present of the Droit publique of France, a posthumous Work of the Abby Fleury, composed for the Education of the Princes, and published with Notes by Daragon Professor in the University of Paris.
1. The incident alluded to is told in a justly famous letter JA wrote to Jefferson from London, 17 Feb. 1786 (Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd, 9:285–288); see also note 2 on JA's Diary entry of 29 March 1786, above.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0019

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-20

[1779 December 20. Monday.]

1779 December 20. Monday. We went to the Audiencia, where We found the four Judges sitting in their Robes, the Advocates in theirs a little below them, and the Attornies lower down still. We heard a Cause discussed. The Advocates argued sitting, used a great deal of Action with their hands and Arms and spoke with Eagerness. The Language was not wanting in Harmony to the Ear, but the Accent, the Cadence, the Emphasis, in one Word the Power of Oratory seemed to be wanting. The deficiency was however most probably in Us, who were totally ignorant of the Language, understood none of the Arguments and felt none of the Sentiments. I dare say the Arguments at our Bars would appear more insipid and disgusting to them as our Language is less sonorous, and infested with very dissagreable Sibillations.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0020

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-22

[1779 December 22. Wednesday.]

1779 December 22. Wednesday. Drank Tea at Senior Lagoaneres. Saw the Ladies drink Chocolate in the Spanish Fashion. A Servant brought in a Salver, with a number of Tumblers of clean clear Glass full of cold Water, and a Plate of Cakes, which were light Pieces of Sugar. Each Lady took a Tumbler of Water and a piece of Sugar, dipped the Sugar in the Tumbler of Water, eat the one and drank the other. The Servant then brought in another Salver of Cups of hot Chocolate. Each Lady took a Cup and drank it, and then Cakes and Bread and Butter were served. At last Each Lady took another Cup of cold Water and here ended the repast. The Ladies were Seniora Lagoanere, the Lady of the Commandant of Artillery, and another. The Administrator of the Kings Tobacco, The French Consul, and another Gentlman, with Mr. Dana, Mr. Thaxter and myself made the Company.
{ 212 }
Three Spanish Ships of the Line, and two French Frigates came into the harbour this Afternoon; and a Packett from Havannah.
The Administrator gave me a Map of Gibraltar, representing the Lines around it by Land and the Spanish Ships about it by Sea.
The Orders of Ecclesiasticks at Corunna are only Three, The Dominicans, the Franciscans, and the Augustins,1 but the numbers who compose the Fraternities of these religious Houses are a burthen beyond all proportion to the Wealth, Industry and population of this Town. They are Drones enough to devour all the honey of the Hive. There are in addition to these, two Convents of Nuns, those of St. Barbe and the Capuchins. These are a large Addition to the Number of Consumers without producing any Thing. Lord Bacons Virgines Deo dicatse quae nihil parturiunt. They are very industrious however at their Prayrs and devotions that is to say in repeating their Pater Nosters, in counting their Beads, in kissing their Crucifixes, and taking off their hair Shifts to whip and lacerate themselves every day for their Sins, to discipline themselves to greater Spirituality in the Christian Life. Strange! that any reasonable Creatures, any thinking Beings should ever believe that they could recommend themselves to Heaven by making themselves miserable on Earth. Christianity put an End to the Sacrifice of Iphigenias and other Grecian Beauties and it probably will discontinue the Incineration of Widows in Malabar: but it may be made a question whether the Catholick Religion has not retained to this day Cruelties as inhuman and antichristian as those of Antiquity.
I ventured to ask the Attorney General a few Questions concerning the Inquisition. His answers were guarded and cautious as I expected. Nevertheless he answered me civilly and candidly. That the Inquisition in Spain was grown much milder, and had lost much of its Influence. Europe in general was much inlightened and grown more moderate, and the public Opinion in Spain participated of the general Information, and revolted against the Cruelties of the Inquisition.
1. The following reflections are not in JA's Diary.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0021

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-24

[1779 December 24. Fryday.]

1779 December 24. Fryday. Dined on board the Bellepoule with the Officers [of] that Ship and those of the Galatea.1
We had now been about sixteen days in Spain at Ferrol and Corunna and had received Every Politeness We could desire from all the Officers civil and military both of the Army and Navy, and from the French Officers as well as the Spanish; the Climate was warm and salubrious, and the Provisions were plentifull, wholesome and agre• { 213 } able. But the Circumstance which destroyed all my Comfort and materially injured my health was the Want of rest. For the first Eight nights I know not that I slept at all and for the other eight very little. The Universal Sloth and Lazyness of the Inhabitants suffered not only all their Beds but all their Appartments to be infested with innumerable Swarms of Ennemies of all repose. And this torment did not cease at Corunna but persecuted me through the whole Kingdom of Spain to such a degree that I sometimes apprehended I should never live to see France.
We were now provided with a Guide and Horses and Mules and Mulateers and such miserable Carriages as the Country afforded, but at an Expence that in any other Country would have procured Us the best accommodations of every kind.
1. JA's Diary entry for this day ends at this point.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0022

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-25

[1779 December 25. Saturday.]

1779 December 25. Saturday. Christmas. At Eleven O Clock I went to the Palace to take Leave of the Vice Roy and General. Mr. O Heir the Governor of the Town went with me, because he spoke English. His Excellency repeated the thousand obliging things he had said to me when I made my first Visit to him, and afterwards again when I dined with him.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0023

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-26

[1779 December 26. Sunday.]

1779 December 26. Sunday. The General, the Governor, the French Consul and Mr. Lagoanere, had influence enough to procure Us the best Guides, accommodations and Attendants, which the Country afforded, upon Terms very hard for the miserable Things We had, according to a Contract made for Us by Mr. Lagoanere.
Senior Raymon San, the Owner of all the Post Chaises, or Chaises or Calashes or whatever other name they bore and the Horses and Mules that drew them, and the Man with whom Mr. Lagoanere made the Contract.
Senior Eusebio Seberino, the Postillion who drove my Chaise or rather who led my Horses.
Joseph Diaz the Postillion, who drove Mr. Dana and Mr. Thaxter. This was the Writer, and had been educated at St. Iago de Compostella.
Diego Antonio, the Postillion who drove Mr. Allen and Mr. Samuel Cooper Johonnot.
To these were Added two Men on foot Juan Blanco and Bernardo Bria.
At half after two We mounted our Carriages and Mules and rode four Leagues to Betanzos, the ancient Capital of the Kingdom of Gallicia, and the place where the Archives are still kept. The Building in which the records are deposited is a long Square, of Stone without { 214 } any roof and stands over against one of the Churches. There are, in this little place, two Churches and two Convents. The last League of our road to it, was mountainous and rocky, to such a degree as to be very dangerous to Cattle and Carriages as well as Men. Mr. Lagoanere made Us the Compliment to attend Us to this place. The House, the Beds and the People appeared to me too romantick for description, but a tolerable Idea of them may be formed from something which will be said of the next House in which We lodged. I found that our Guide and all our Spanish Attendants thought this and all the other Houses where We dined and lodged were very good Inns.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0024

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-27

[1779 December 27. Monday.]

1779 December 27. Monday.1 We travelled from Betanzos to Castillano. The roads still mountainous and rocky. Neither the Horses nor the Mules could be trusted, in ascending or descending the rocky Steeps of the Mountains in the Carriges without two Men on foot to hold them by their bridles and their heads, and with all our precautions, We broke one of our Axle Trees, early in the day which prevented Us from going more than four Leagues in the whole. The House in Castillano where We lodged was of Stone, two Stories in height. We entered into the Kitchen, where was no floor but the Ground and no Carpet but Straw trodden into mire by Men, Hogs, horses and Mules. In the middle of the Kitchen was a Mound raised a little above the Level of the Ground with Stones and Earth, on which was a fire, with Potts, Kettles, Skillets &c. of the fashion of the Country, over it, and round about it. There was no Chimney filled the room2 and if any of it ascended, it found no other passage to the open Air, but through two holes drilled through the Tyles of the roof, not perpendicularly over the fire, but at Angles of about forty five degrees. On one Side was a flew Oven, very large, black, smoaky and sooty. On the opposite Side of the fire was a Cabbin filled with Straw where I suppose the Patron del Casa, that is, the Master of the House, his Wife and four Chilldren, all lodged and slept together. On the same floor or rather on the same level of Ground, with the Kitchen was the Stable. There was indeed a Door which might have parted the Kitchen from the Stable: but this was always open, and indeed it would have been impossible to see or breath with it shut: and the floor or ground of the Stable, was covered with miry Straw like the Kitchen. I went { 215 } into the Stable and saw it filled on all Sides with Mules belonging to Us and several other Travellers who were obliged to put up, by the Rain. The Smoke filled every part of the Kitchen, Stable, and all other parts of the House, and was so thick that it was very difficult to see or breath. There was a flight of Steps of Stone covered with Mud and Straw, from the Kitchen floor up into a Chamber. On the left hand as you ascended the Stairs, was a Stage, built up about half Way from the Kitchen floor to the Chamber floor. On this Stage was a bed of Straw and on the Straw lay, a fatting hog. Around the Kitchen fire were arranged the Man and Woman of the House, four Children, all the Travellers, Servants, Mulateers &c. Over the Fire was a very large Kettle, like a Pot Ash Kettle, full of Turnips and Onions, very large and very fine boiling for the Food of all the Family of Men and Beasts inhabiting both the Kitchen and the Stable, and the Stage.
The Chamber in which We lodged, had a large quantity, perhaps an hundred Bushells of Indian Corn in Ears, very small however, not half so large as our Corn in America. These Ears were hanging over head upon Poles and pieces of Joist. In one Corner was a large Binn, full of Rape Seed, on the other Side, another full of Oats. In another part of the Chamber lay a few Bushells of Chesnuts. There were two frames for Beds with Straw beds upon them, and a Table in the middle. The Floor I believe had never been washed or swept for an hundred Years. Smoke, Soot and dirt, every where, and in every Thing. There were in the Chamber two Windows or rather Port holes without any glass. There were wooden dors to open and shut before the Windows. If these were shut there was no light and no Ventilator to draw off the unwholesome Air of the Chamber or let in any pure Air from abroad; if they were open We were exposed to all the cold and Vapours, from the external Air. My Inclination and Advice was to keep the Ports open, choosing to encounter the worst Air from abroad rather than be suffocated or poisoned with the Smoke and contaminated Air within.3 In addition to all these Comforts in such a Tavern it was not to be expected that We should escape the Bosom Companions and nocturnal Ennemies, which We had found every where else. Nevertheless, amidst all these horrors I slept better, than I had done before since my Arrival in Spain.
1. A close comparison between the present entry and that of the same date in JA's Diary on which it is directly based, provides an excellent illustration of JA's habit of “writing up,” that is to say, paraphrasing, expanding, and embellishing, passages from his Diary when composing his Autobiography.
2. Thus in MS. JA doubtless meant to write: “There was no Chimney. Smoke filled the room,” &c.
3. On this subject compare JA's account of his dispute with Franklin on the way to Staten Island, in the Autobiography under 9 Sept. 1776; and his observations on fresh air, in his Diary under 21 May 1783.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0025

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-28

[1779 December 28. Tuesday.]

1779 December 28. Tuesday. We went from Castilliana to Baamonde, and found the first part of the Road very bad, but the latter { 216 } part tolerable. The whole Country We had passed hitherto had been very mountainous and rocky. There was here and there a Valley, and now and then a farm that appeared handsomely cultivated. But in general the Mountains were covered with Furze, and not much cultivated. We were astonished to see so few Trees. There was scarce an Oak, Elm, or any other Tree to be seen, except a very few Madeira Nuts and a very few fruit Trees. At Baamonde we were obliged to rest for the day, to procure a new Axle Tree to one of our Calashes. The House where We were, was better than our last nights lodgings. We had a Chamber for seven of Us to lodge in. We laid our beds upon all the Tables and Chairs in the room and the rest on the floor as last night. We had no Smoke and less dirt than last night, though the floor had never been washed I believe since it was laid. The Kitchen and Stable were below as usual but in better order. The Fire was in the middle of the Kitchen: but the Air-holes pierced thro the Tiles of the Roof, drew up the Smoke, so that one might sit at the Fire, without much inconvenience. The Mules, Hogs, fowls and human Inhabitants, however, all lived together below and Cleanliness seemed never to be regarded.
We had three Calashes, in Company. In one of them I rode with my two Children John and Charles: In another went Mr. Dana and Mr. Thaxter: In a third Mr. Allen and Samuel Cooper Johonnot. Our three Servants rode on Mules. Sometimes the three Gentlemen mounted the Mules of the Servants, who took our Places in the Calashes, and were as much worse for the Exchange as We were the better. Sometimes the Children rode upon the Mules. And very frequently We were all obliged to walk as much more safe and agreable than Carriages or Saddles. The Calashes were very clumsy and inconvenient, somewhat resembling those in Use in Boston an hundred years ago. There was some finery about them in brass nails and paint. But the Leather was very old, and had never felt Oil since it was made. The Harness was broken in many places and tied together with twine and cords. The Appearance and the Furniture of the Mules were equally curious. Their Ears, Necks, Backs, Rumps and Tails, were shorn close to the Skinn. They were lean, but very strong and sure footed and seemed to be well shod. The Saddles had large Ears and high Rims or Ridges, all round behind the Rider. They had a breast plate before and a Breech band behind. They had large Wooden Stirrips, made like Boxes in a semicircular form bound round with Iron. In these Wooden Boxes, close at one End and open at the other, you inserted your Foot, { 217 } which is well defended by them from rain and Sloughs. We had magnificent Curb Bridles to two or three of the Mules; the rest were guided by Haltars, and there was an Halter as well as a Curb Bridle to each of the others. There were Wallets or Saddle bags made with Canvas on each mule in which We carried Bread and Cheese, Meat, Knives and Forks, Spoons, Apples and Nutts. Indeed We were obliged to carry on our Mules, in a Waggon that attended Us, or in the Calashes, through the whole of this Journey, our own Beds, Blanketts, Sheets, Pillows; our own provisions of Chocolat, Tea, Sugar, Meat, Wine, Spirits, and every Thing that We wanted. We carried our own Butter, Cheese, and indeed Salt and Pepper too. We got nothing at the Taverns but Fire, Water, and sometimes Salt and Pepper, and sometimes Wine of the Country at a reasonable rate.
I have always regretted that We could not find time to make a Pilgrimage to Saint Iago de Compostella. We were informed, particularly by Mr. Lagoanere, that the Original of this Shrine and Temple of St. Iago was this. A certain Shepherd saw a bright Light there in the night. Afterwards it was revealed to an Archbishop that St. James was buried there. This laid the Foundation of a Church, and they have built an Altar on the Spot where the Shepherd saw the Light. In the time of the Moors, the People made a Vow, that if the Moors should be driven from this Country, they would give a certain portion of the Income of their Lands to Saint James. The Moors were defeated and expelled and it was reported and believed, that Saint James was in the Battle and fought with a drawn Sword at the head of the Spanis[h] Troops, on Horseback. The People, believing that they owed the Victory to the Saint, very chearfully fulfilled their Vows by paying the Tribute. But within a few Years, a Duke of Alva, a desendant of the famous Duke of that name, but probably grown more Philosophical at least less catholick than his Ancestor, has refused to pay for his Estate. This Refusal has given rise to a Lawsuit, which has been carried by appeal to Rome. The Duke attempted to prove that Saint James was never in Spain. The Pope has suspended the Cause, and it is suspected because His Holiness doubts whether it is safe to trust the Dukes Evidence before the Public.
Upon the Supposition that this is the place of the Sepulture of Saint James, there are great numbers of Pilgrims, who visit it, every Year, from France, Spain, Italy and other parts of Europe, many of them on foot.
Saint Iago is called the Capital of Gallicia, because it is the Seat of { 218 } the Archbishop and because Saint James is its Patron: but Corunna is in Fact the Capital as it is the Residence of the Governor, the Audiencia &c. &c.
We travelled this day from Baamonde to Lugo, and passed the River Minho which originates in the Mountains of Asturia, and flows down through Portugal.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0026

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-30

[1779 December 30 Thursday.]

1779 December 30 Thursday. We went to see the Cathedral Church at Lugo which is very rich.—A Youth came to me in the Street, and said he was a Bostonian, a Son of Mr. Thomas Hickling. He went a Privateering in an English Vessell, he said, and was unfortunately taken. Unfortunately inlisted, said I … He wanted to make his fortune he said. Out of your Countrymen and by fighting against your Country? said I.
Two Irish Gentlemen came to pay their respects to me, Michael Meagher Oreilly, and Louis O Brien. These were Irish Officers in the Spanish Service. They invited me with great Earnestness to go to their house and spend the Evening and sup with them: but the Weather was now so cold and we were so fatigued with our uncomfortable Journey that I could not think of going out. We excused ourselves as well as We could, and when Obrien found that We could not go to his house, he sent Us a Meat Pie and a minced Pie and two Bottles of Frontinac Wine, which gave Us a fine Supper.
We went from Lugo to Galliego and arrived in good Season, having made six Leagues and an half from Lugo. The Road was mountainous but not rocky as it had been almost all the Way heretofore. We passed over a large Bridge over a River called Carasedo, which empties itself into the Minho not far from Lugo. I saw nothing but Signs of Poverty and misery among the People: a fertile Country not half cultivated: People ragged and dirty: the Houses universally nothing but mire, Smoke, Soot, fleas and Lice: nothing appeared rich but the Churches, nobody fat but the Clergy. Many of the Villages We passed, were built with Mud filled in between Joists, Nine tenths of them uninhabited and mouldering to dust. Yet in every one of these Scenes of desolation, you would see a splendid Church, and here and there a rosy faced Priest in his proud Canonicals rambling among the rubbish of the Village. The Roads the worst, without exception the worst that were ever travelled, in a Country where it would be easy to make them very good: No Simptoms of Commerce, or even of internal Trafick: No Appearance of Manufactures or Industry.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0027

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-31

[1779 December 31. Fryday.]

1779 December 31. Fryday. We rode from Galliego to Sebrero, seven Leagues. Our Journey was more agreable this day, than usual: { 219 } the Weather was remarkably fair and dry, and the roads not so bad as We had expected. There was the grandest profusion of wild irregular Mountains I ever saw: yet laboured and cultivated to their Summits. The Fields of Grain were all green. We passed a Range of Mountains that were white with Snow, and there were here and there Banks of Snow on the Mountain We passed over: but no Frost at all in the Ground.
We were now on the highest ground of all, and within Musquet Shot of the Line between Gallicia and Leon. The Houses all along our Journey were small and of Stone, except those of mud. Some of them were covered with Tiles of Brick, and some with Tiles [of] Slate, but by far the greater part of them, with Thatch. They interweave a Shrub of which they make brooms, among the Straw, and bind both together with Wyths. These thatched Roofs are very numerous, but universally dirty and smoaky. The People wore broad brimmed hats, or Caps made of Woolen Cloth, like their Coats, Jacketts and small Cloaths, which are made of black Sheeps Wool, without dyeing, and consequently are all of a colour. We were shewn some of the Marragatoes, a peculiar kind of wild wandering People, who were particularly dressed in a greasy leathern Jackett.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0028

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1780-01-01

[1780. January 1. Saturday.]

1780. January 1. Saturday. We arrived, from Sebrero, at Villa Franca, seven Leagues. The Road at first was very bad, in many places very steep, Hills with sharp Pitches, and encumbered with ragged rocks. We then came into the Road of Leon, which is made seemingly out of a Rock. It was an excellent road for a League and an half. We then came to a River, and travelled along the Banks of it for some Leagues. This Way was as bad as the other was good; miry, rocky, up and down, untill We came into a new road, about two Legues from Villa Franca. Here again We found a road made entirely by Art, at a great Expence, but it seemed to be made, forever. They <are>were going on with this Work, which is an honor to the Nation, as it shews that Improvements are beginning, and that some Attention is paid to the Ease, Convenience, Utility and Commerce of the People. We were told that the King had lately employed the Officers and Soldiers of his Army upon these Works and intended to pursue them. The Country We travelled over this day was the greatest Curiosity I had ever beheld. The River Barcarel1 flows between two Rows, an uninterrupted succession of Mountains, rising on each hand to a vast hight, which appear the more sublime and awfull Objects, for the strange irregular Shapes of them. Yet they are cultivated up to their highest Summits. { 220 } There were flourishing fields of Grain, on such steep declivities, near the Peaks of these Mountains, that I could not conceive it possible for Horses, Cattle or even Mules to stand upon them to plough them. I know not indeed how Men could stand to dig the Ground with Spades. The Houses had been uniformly the same, through the whole Country hitherto. Common habitations for Men and Beasts. The same smoaky, filthy Dens. Not one decent house had I seen, since I left Corunna.
We passed this day, the Ruins of an ancient Castle of the Moors, on the Summit of one of the steepest, highest, and most rugged of the Mountains.
There are in Villa Franca, three Parish Churches, one Convent of Men and one of Women. There is an old Brick Castle built in Feudal Times when Baron was at War with Baron; a defence against Lances, and Bows and Arrows and no more. Possibly it might ward off musquet Balls.
Here I bought a Mule, Saddle and Bridle for sixty two dollars and an half.
1. Diary: “Barcarcel.” Presumably the Valcarce.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0029

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1780-01-02

[1780. January 2. Sunday.]

1780. January 2. Sunday. We rode from Villa Franca, da el Bierzo Rio P[uen]te, passed through several Villages, and over Rivers and Bridges; We passed also Campo de Narraya, Cacabelos Rio P[uente] and arrived at Ponferrada where We dined. The Country grew smoother.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0030

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1780-01-03

[1780. January 3. Monday.]

1780. January 3. Monday. We rode to Astorga. We passed through the Town and Country of the Marragattoes. The Town is small and stands on a brook in a great Plain. As We went into Astorga, We met Coaches and genteel People.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0031

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1780-01-04

[1780. January 4. Tuesday.]

1780. January 4. Tuesday. At Astorga, We found clean Beds and no fleas for the first time since We had been in Spain. Walked twice round the Walls of the City, which are very ancient. We saw the Road to Leon and Bayonne and the road to Madrid. There is a pleasant Prospect of the Country from the Walls. Saw the Market of Vegetables. The Onions and Turnips were the largest and finest I ever saw. The Cabbages, Carrots &c. appeared very good. Saw the Markett of Fuel, which consisted of Wood, Coal, Turf and Brush. Numbers of the Marragatto Women attended the Market with their Vendibles. These were as fine as any of our American Indian Squaws and a great deal more filthy. Their Ornaments consisted of Crucifixes, Beads, Chains, Earrings and Finger Rings, in Silver, brass or glass, about their Necks and Arms.
We went to see the Cathedral Church which is the most magnifi• { 221 } cent I had yet seen in Spain. Saw the Parliament House, or Casa del Cieudad, where the Corregidor and City Magistrates assemble, to deliberate, and to execute the orders of the King. Some of the Spaniards brought me the Gazette of Madrid of the 24th of December, in which was this Article.

Coruña 15 de Diciembre

Hoy mismo han llegado á esta Plaza el Cabellero Juan Adams Miembro del Congreso Americano, y su Ministro Plenipotentiario, á la Corte de Paris, y Mr. Deane [i.e. Dana] Secretario de Embaxada quienes salieron de Boston el 15 de Noviembre Ultimo á bordo de la Fregata Francesa de Guerra la Sensible que entro en el Ferrol el dia 8 del corriente. Trahe la Noticia de que habiendo los Ingleses evacuado a Rhode Island y retirado todas sus Tropes a Nueva York. Los Americanos tomaron Possession de todos los Puestos evacuados.
This Afternoon a genteel Spaniard came to my Lodgings to offer me, all Sorts of Services and good Offices, and to enquire if I wanted any kind of Assistance or if I wanted Cash. Said he had received a Letter from Mr. Lagoanere at Corunna desiring him to afford me every Aid in his Power, and to furnish me with Money if I wanted it. I thanked him and desired him to thank Mr. Lagoanere, but to assure him that I wanted nothing and that I had got so far on my Journey very well.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0032

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1780-01-05

[1780 January 5. Wednesday.]

1780 January 5. Wednesday. We rode from Astorga to Leon, Eight Leagues. This was one great Plain, and the road through it was very fine. We saw large Herds of Cattle and immense flocks of Sheep. The Sheep were of an handsome Size, and their fleeces of Wool thick, long and extreamly fine. The Soil appeared to be rather thin and barren. We passed several small Villages, the vast range of Asturias Mountains all covered with Snow on our left hand. The Weather was cold, but otherwise very pleasant. We met with a good deal of Frost and Ice in the Road. Our Mules found more difficulty to keep their Steps firm upon the Ice over the Sloughs than they had among the roughest Rocks in the Mountains. We passed the Bridge over the River Orbigo, which in the Spring when swelled with the freshetts of melted Snow from the Mountains of Asturias, is a very great River. Leon, which We entered in the night, had the Appearance of a large City.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0033

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1780-01-06

[1780 January 6. Thursday.]

1780 January 6. Thursday. We went to see the Cathedral Church at Leon which though magnificent, is not equal to that at Astorga, if { 222 } it is to that at Lugo. It was the day of the Feast of the King and We happened to be at the celebration of High Mass. We saw the Procession of the Bishop and of all the Canons, in rich habits of Silk, Velvet, Silver and gold. The Bishop as he turned the Corners of the Church spred out his hand to the People, in token of his Apostolical Benediction; and those, in token of their profound gratitude for the heavenly Blessing prostrated themselves on their Knees as he passed. Our Guide told Us We must do the same. But I contented myself with a Bow. The Eagle Eye of the Bishop did not fail to observe an Upright figure amidst the Crowd of prostrate Adorers: but no doubt perceiving in my Countenance and Air, but especially in my dress something that was not Spanish, he concluded I was some travelling Heretick and did not think it worth while to exert his Authority to bend my stiff Knees. His Eyes followed me so long that I thought I saw in his Countenance a reproof like this “You are not only a Heretick but you are not a Gentleman, for a Gentleman would have respected the Religion of the Country and its Usages so far as to have conformed externally to a Ceremony that cost so little.”
We were conducted to see the Council Chamber of the Bishop and Chapter, hung round with Crimson Damask. The Seats all round the Chamber of crimson Velvet. This room and another, smaller one, where the Bishop sometimes took aside some of the Cannons, were very elegant.
We went to see the Casa del Cieudad: and the Castle of King Alphonsus which We were informed was Nineteen hundred and thirty six years old. It is of Stone and the Workmanship of it, very neat.
But there is in this City no Appearance of Commerce, Manufactures or Industry. The Houses are low, built of Brick and Mud and Pebble Stones from the neighbouring Fields. There was no Market worth notice. Nothing looked either rich or chearfull but the Churches and Churchmen. There was a Statue of Charles the fifth in the Cathedral Church, but very badly done, as were all the Statues and Paintings I had seen in all the Churches, for which reason among others I have taken no notice of them. Indeed it would be endless to describe all the Images of Angells and Statues of Saints who have been canonized not so much for their moral and social Virtues or their Christian Graces as for their Superstition and Enthusiasm, or what is worse for their pious frauds in the Service of the Sovereign Pontiffs. Besides I saw among them no Sculpture or Painting that was worthy of Observation or Remembrance.
There is here an Institution for the Education of noble Youths in { 223 } Mathematicks and Philosophy, which they call the School of Saint Mark.
We dined at Leon, and got into our Carriages and upon our Mules, about one O Clock, to proceed on our Journey. We passed the new Bridge of Leon, which is a beautifull Piece of Work, all of Stone. The River which comes down from the Mountains of Asturias, was not then very large, but in the Spring when the Snows melt upon the Mountains, it is swelled by the Freshets to a very great Size. This River also runs down into the Kingdom of Portugal. Not long afterwards We passed another Bridge over a River which the Peasants told me to call Rio y Puente de Biliarente. This River also comes from the Asturian Mountains and flows into Portugal. We passed through several Villages, in every one of which We saw the Young People, Men and Women dancing the Fandango. One of the young Women beats an Instrument, somewhat like a Section of a Drum, covered with Parchment. She sings as well as beats on her drum, and the Company dance, with [a] Pair of Clackers in the hand of every Man and Woman. The Clackers are two Pieces of Wood, cutt handsomely enough, which they have the Art to rattle in their hands to the time of the Drum. They had all, Males and Females, wooden Shoes, in the Spanish fashion, that is mounted on Stilts. We stopped once, to take a view of one of these Companies. An old Man in the House before which the Festival was celebrating in the open Air, as he stood at the Door looking at the Dance, perceived Us and came out with a Bottle of Wine and a Tumbler, which he filled to the brim and held up to me, as I sat upon my Mule, with such an Air of Exultation and generous Hospitality, that I drank off the whole Glass in Complaisance to his good humour, though I had afterwards reason to repent it, for the Wine was very sour. I directed our Guide to give him something and be sure to pay him well for his Wine.
We stopped at night at a Village called Mansillas, through which runs another large River from the Asturias, stretching down to Portugal. A great Stone Bridge over it, appeared to have been half carried away by the Water in some Freshett. Mansillas was once a Walled City. The Towers were yet standing all round the Town; and the Ruins and Fragments of the Wall, and the Appearance of a Foss around it still remain. The Towers were all made of small round Stones, not larger than two hands, which is the only kind of Stone to be had here. They are bound together by the ancient Cement which is as hard and as durable as the Stones themselves. We went upon the Top of one of the Towers, from whence We had a full View of the { 224 } Town, which appeared to be gone to decay, though there were four or five Churches here still.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0034

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1780-01-07

[1780 January 7. Fryday.]

1780 January 7. Fryday. From Mansillas We rode to San Juan Segun.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0035

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1780-01-08

[1780 January 8 Saturday.]

1780 January 8 Saturday. We rode from San Juan Segun to Paredise de Nava. At the distance of every League, We had passed through a Village built altogether of Mud and Straw. They have no timber nor Wood nor brick nor Stone. These Villages all appear going to decay and crumbling to dust. Can this be the ancient Kingdom of Leon? Nevertheless every Village has Churches and Convents enough in it, to ruin it, and the whole Country round about it; even if they had nothing to pay to the King, or the Landlords. But all three together Church, State and Nobility exhaust the Labour and Spirits of the People to such a degree, that I had no Idea of the Possibility of deeper Wretchedness. Ignorance more than Wickedness has produced this deplorable State of Things, Ignorance of the true Policy which encourages Agriculture, Manufactures and Commerce. The Selfishness and Lazyness of Courtiers and Nobles, have no doubt been the Cause of this Ignorance: and the blind Superstition of the Church has cooperated with all the other causes and increased them. There were in this little Village four Parish Churches and two Convents one of Monks and one of Nuns, both of the order of St. Francis.
The Parish Churches and their Curates are supported here, by the Tythes paid by the People. They pay every tenth pound of Wool; every tenth part of Wine, Grain, Honey; in short, every tenth part of every thing. The good Curates sometimes aleviate the Severity of this, by Compositions or Modus's. The Convents are supported by the Incomes of their Estates and foundations. But one would think this would require the Produce of the whole Country.
Nothing seems to be considered as the good of the People but their Religion. The Archbishop is said to have power to do every Thing for the good of the People. But when you enquire what he does or what he has power to do for the happiness of the People? to alleviate their burdens? or increase their Enjoyments? You are told he does nothing of all this, nor has power to do any thing. All his Power, to do every thing for the good of the People, consists in that of making new Parishes, and altering old ones at his Pleasure. We were told there were but four Archbishopricks in Spain. The Splendor of these Establishments may be conceived from that of Saint Iago whose Archbishop has one hundred and Eighty thousand Ducats a Year, in Rent. The War which then prevailed between France and Spain on one { 225 } Side and England on the other, was said to be popular in Spain. The Clergy, the Religious Houses and other Communities had offered to grant large Sums of Money to the King for the Support of it. The English had become terrible to them, partly perhaps because English Sentiments of Liberty and Tolleration, had begun to creep in among the People and might threaten to become dangerous to the Wealth and Domination of the Clergy; and partly because their South American Dominions were too much in danger from the English and North America united.
From Astorga to this place Paredise de Nava, the Face of the Country was a great plain, and a striking Contrast to all the rest of the Country We had passed from Ferrol. But there was little Appearance [of] Improvement, Industry or Cultivation. Scarcely any Trees. No Forrest, Timber or fruit Trees. No Fences except a few Mud Walls for Sheep folds. This night We reached Sellada el Camino.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0036

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1780-01-11

[1780 January 11. Tuesday.]

1780 January 11. Tuesday. We arrived at Burgos, from Sellada el Caminos, four Leagues. We had fog, rain, and Snow all the Way, very chilly and raw. When We arrived at the Tavern, We found no Chimney, though my Servant who went out to examine all the other public houses reported this to be the best. A Brazier, or Pan of Coals in a Chamber, without a Chimney and without Windows except Port holes, was all the heat We could procure. Uncomfortable however as We were, We went out to see the Cathedral which was ancient and very large. The whole Building was supported by four grand Pillars the largest I ever had seen. Round the great Altar were represented our Saviour, from the Scene of his Agony in the Garden, when an Angel presents to him the Cup, to his Crucifixion between two Thieves, his descent from the Cross, and his Ascention into Heaven. The Chappells round the great Altar were the largest I had ever seen. Round the Altar these several Stages were represented. 1. The Agony in the Garden. 2. Carrying the Cross. 3. The Crucifixion between two Thieves. 4. The Descent from the Cross. 5. The Ascention into Heaven.
There was no Archbishop at Burgos, there had been one, who made the fifth in the Kingdom: but the King had abolished this Archbishoprick and there remained but four. There was also a Chappell of Saint Iago.
We went into three Booksellers Shops to search for a Map or Chart of Spain, but could find none, except a very small and erroneous one in a Compendio of History of Spain.
For more than twenty Years I had been almost continually engaged { 226 } in Journeys and Voyages and had often undergone severe Tryals, as I thought; great hardships, cold, rain, Snow, heat, fatigue, bad rest, indifferent nourishment, want of Sleep &c. &c. &c. But I had never experienced any Thing like this Journey. If it were now left to my Choice to perform my first Voyage to Europe with all its horrors, or this Journey through Spain, I should prefer the former. Every Individual Person in Company had a violent Cold, and were all of Us in danger of fevers. We went along the Road, sneezing and coughing, in all that uncomfortable Weather, and with our uncomfor[t]able Cavalry and Carriages, in very bad roads, and indeed were all of Us fitter for an Hospital than for Travellers with the best Accommodations on the most pleasant Roads. All the Servants in Company, were dull, discouraged and inactive, besides the total Ignorance of any Language in which they could converse with the People. The Children were sick. Mr. Thaxter was not much better, and as he understood neither Spanish nor French, he had enough to do to take care of himself.1 In short I was in a deplorable Situation. I knew not what to do nor where to go. In my whole Life my Patience was never so near being totally exhausted.
With much difficulty We obtained Information of our future rout. From Burgos We were to go to Monasterio, four Leagues, from thence to Berebiesca, four more; from thence to Santa Maria del Courbo, two; from thence to Courbo, one; thence to Pancourbo, two; and here the Road Parts to Vitoria and to Bilbao. So that We had thirteen Leagues to go to the parting of the Roads.
This famous City of Burgos, the ancient Capital of the renouned Kingdom of Castile and once an Archbishoprick, dissappointed me very much. The Squares, public Buildings, Fountains and Walks are said to have been once very remarkable. But after I had taken some Walks about the Town, my Expectations were not answered. A River runs directly through the Town, the River Aranzon [Arlanzón], I believe they call it, and this in a City is always an agreable Circumstance. There is a great number of Bridges over the River. There is a Mountain too or rather a Hill upon which a part of the Town stands, and upon the Top of which are the Ruins of an Ancient Castle.
There were some few Trades and a little Appearance of Business here; but the principal Occupation was Religion. Upon my expressing some Curiosity to [know?]2 the Number of Religious Houses in Burgos, which appeared to me to be enough to devour a whole Country for { 227 } | view an hundred miles round, our, Guide went out and procured me the following Information.
Combentos de Fraires.
Franciscos   1  
La Trinidad   1  
Benitos   1  
Augustinos   2  
Dominicos   1  
Mercenarios   1  
Carmelitos   1  
  8  
Combentos de Monjas.
Sta. Dorothea Augustinas   1  
Sta. Franciscas   2  
Carmelitas   1  
Augustinas   1  
Trinitarias   1  
Bernardas   2  
Benitas   1  
Calatrabas   1  
Sn. II de fonso   1  
Parroquias
Cathedral y St. Iago de la Capilla    
St. Nicolas    
Sn. Roman    
La Blanca    
Bejarua    
Sn. Martin    
Sn. Pedro    
Sn. Cosmes    
Sn. Lesmes    
Sn. Esteban    
Sn. Gil    
Total
De Monjas   10  
Fraires   8  
Parroquias   15  
  33  
As the sum total is not conformable to the List I suppose the Monk who furnished our guide with it, omitted the names of two or three in the Enumeration. But what an Army of Ecclesiasticks is this for so small a Town as Burgos.
1. JA's comment on Thaxter in his Diary entry of this date is considerably more pointed.
2. Word omitted in MS.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0037

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1780-01-12

[1780. January 12. Thursday.]

1780. January 12. Thursday. We passed through several Villages, rode along the Side of a River; the Country more hilly than it had been for some time past, but it had a naked and poor appearance. We arrived at Bribiesca. Here there are two Convents one of Men, the other of Women, both Franciscans, and two Parish Churches. The Tavern was a large House and there were twelve good beds in it for Lodgers: Yet no Chimneys nor Windows, and the same indelicacy, the same Smoke and dirt as in all other Inns on the Journey. Yet they gave Us clean Sheets. The Kitchen was like all other Spanish Kitchens the greatest Curiosity and the most odious Object in the World. They are all very much alike.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0038

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1780-01-13

[1780. January 13. Thursday.]

1780. January 13. Thursday. We rode from Bribiesca to Pancourbo { 228 } | view where We dined. We passed through Courbo, which is a little Village, with half a dozen other small Villages in Sight, in every one of which is a Church. Pancourbo is at the beginning of the Rocks. There is the Appearance of an ancient Carriage Road up the steepest part of the Rocks. We passed between two Rows of Mountains consisting wholly of Rocks, the most lofty and craggy Precipices, I ever saw. These Rocky Mountains made the Boundary between the ancient Castile and Biscay. Pancourbo is the last Village in Old Castile. At Puente de la Rada, We were stopped by a Number of Officers and asked, if We had a Passport. When I produced my Passport from the Governor of Gallicia, they read it, with much respect, and let Us pass. We travelled four good Leagues this Afternoon and arrived at Ezpexo. Here We foundthe best public House, We had yet seen. The Neighbourhood of Biscay seemed to have had some Influence here; yet the Kitchen was Spanish like all others and their was neither Chimney nor Window in the House.
There was not a Tavern We had seen, but was filled with Religious Prints and Images, not indeed in the exquisite Style of Art of the ancient Greek and Roman Penates, but of very coarse and vulgar Workmanship. There were two beds in a Chamber, at the head of each of which was a Delph Vessell, for holy Water, Agua Santa, or Agua Benita. At the head of each also was a decent Cross about Nine Inches long, with an Image of Jesus Christ in some Metal, Tin, Bell-metal or Pewter, upon it. On the Wall was a Picture of the Virgin of Mount Carmel, or Virgo Maria de Monte Carmelo, and a great number of other Pictures, which I had not patience to enumerate.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0039

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1780-01-14

[1780 January 14. Fryday.]

1780 January 14. Fryday. We rode from Ezpexo to Orduña, four Leagues. The Road had been made by Art, all the Way, at a great expence: but the descent of the Mountains of Orduna was a great Curiosity. Those Mountains are chiefly Rocks of a vast height: but a Road has been blown out of the Rocks, from the Pinnacles of the Mountains, quite down into the Valley. After winding round and round the mountain, with the Road for a long distance, and observing the Marks of the Drills remaining in the Rocks all the Way, the Road came at last to a steep Pitch, where the only possible Method of making a passable Road for any Carriage, to go down or come up was by Serpentineing it thus
graphic here { 229 }
There is a fertile and well cultivated Valley at the Feet of these Mountains, in the Center of which is the Village of Orduna. In this narrow Space they have crouded two Convents one of Fraires and the other of Monjas. We saw the lazy Drones of Franciscans at the Windows of their Cells, as We passed. Att the bottom of the mountains We had a small Toll to pay, towards the Support of the Road. The Administrator sent to search our Trunks, but I sent him my Passport which produced a polite Message by his Clerk, that he had seen my Name in the Gazette; that he was very glad I was arrived; wished me Success and Prosperity; and desired to know if I wanted any thing, or if he could be any Way usefull to me? I returned in Answer to the Message that I was very much obliged by his Civility, and thanked him for his polite Attention; but that I wanted nothing.
In the Afternoon, We followed the Road, which pursues the Course of a little River, which originates in the Mountains of Orduña, and rode down between two Rows of Mountains to Lugiando, where We put up for the night four Leagues from Bilbao. In Lugiando, in the Lordship of Biscay, so near to Bilbao, where the King had no Officers, and the Grandees of Spain very little Land, where the Government was in a Biennial Parliament, I expected better fare, but We were disappointed and found the House as dirty and uncomfortable as almost any We had seen.
In the Course of this day and the day before We had seen great Numbers of Mules loaded with Merchandizes from Bilbao. The Mules and their Drivers looked well, in Comparison with those We had seen before. Their Burthens were Salt Fish, Sardines, Cod, and a sort of fish that We saw here, very plenty, called Besugo. The Mules carry also, Horse Shoes, ready made in Bilbao to be sold in various parts of the Kingdom. But what an Idea does this give of the State of Manufactures in a Country, when Horse Shoes must be carried many hundreds of miles upon the backs of Mules, to be sold for the Supply of the Farriers?
The Mountains of Biscay, of Bilbao, of Orduña, and Pancourbo, for by all these names are they called, are the most remarkable of any We had seen. Phillip the fifth made the first Carriage Road, through those of Pancourbo: The present King had done the most to those of Orduña.
The Mountains in Spain are the most irregular, misshapen Objects in Nature. They Resemble a tumbling Sea. Some are upright upon their Bases: others inclined to the North, the South, the East and the West in various Angles with the Horison. Some, under which We { 230 } passed, projected over the Road and over our heads for hundreds of Yards, and will one day fall like that lately in Switzerland and bury all under them in an instant. It was a vexatious Sight to see the beautiful, fertile and well cultivated Valley, almost the only Spot We had yet seen in Biscay capable of cultivation, devoured by so many hives of Drones. We had hoped that there was enough of the Spirit of Liberty in Biscay, which they presumed to call a Republick, to have dissipated some of this tyrannical Superstition. But our hopes were all disappointed.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0040

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1780-01-15

[1780. January 15. Saturday.]

1780. January 15. Saturday. We followed the Road, by the Side of the River between two Rows of Mountains, untill We opened upon Bilbao. We saw the Sugar Loaf sometime before, i.e. a Mountain in the Shape of a Piramid which they call a Sugar Loaf.
The Town of Bilbao, which they call The Republick of Bilbao, is surrounded with Mountains. The Tavern at which We allighted was tolerable, for Spain, situated between a Church and Monastry. We were entertained with the Musick of the Convent from our first Arrival.
Soon after our Arrival Captain Babson and Captain Lovat made Us a Visit. Lovat was bound for America, by the first Wind, and Babson was soon to follow him; both in Letters of Mark. These opportunities to write to America were not to be neglected.
We took a walk down the River which We found pleasant enough; and while We were absent on our Walk, Mr. Gardoqui and Son came to visit me.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0041

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1780-01-16

[1780 January 16. Sunday.]

1780 January 16. Sunday. Reposed and wrote.

[To the President of Congress]

[salute] Sir

I have the honour to inform Congress, that last night1 I arrived in this place.
At Ferrol and Corunna, I was advised by all the Friends of America to undertake a Journey by Land. The Consul of France, and Mr. Lagoenere, a Gentleman who has acted for some time as an American Agent at Corunna, very obligingly offered me all the Assistance in their Power, and accordingly used their utmost dilligence to procure me the necessary Mules and Carriages, for the transportation of the small Number of Persons in company with me, and the small quantity of Baggage, which We found it indispensibly necessary to take with Us, having left more than two thirds of what We had with Us to take { 231 } the chance of a Passage by Sea, to France. From the Eighth day of December, when We arrived at Ferrol, to the twenty sixth of the same month, when We sat off, from Corunna, We were detained by the violent Rains, and the impossibility of getting Accommodations for travelling.... All our Beds and Provisions We were obliged to carry with Us.—We travelled through the ancient Kingdoms of Gallicia, Leon, The Old Castile and Biscay, and although We made the best of our Way, without loss of time, We found it impossible to go more than eight Leagues a day, and sometimes not more than four. The Roads and Inns are inconvenient to a degree that I should blush to describe, and the Pains We suffered for want of Fire, in a cold Season of the Year, in a country where there are no Chimnies, gave Us all such violent Colds, that I was under great Apprehensions of our being seized with Fevers.
As We were so near Madrid, within about forty Leagues, I ballanced some time in my own mind, whether to go to that fine City. But considering that this would lengthen our Journey near an hundred Leagues; the severe Season of the Year, and above all the political Situation that I might be in, my Country not being yet acknowledged as a Sovereign State, by any formal Act of that court; and it being known that another Gentleman had a Commission to that Court, and expected soon to arrive, I thought it, upon the whole, the least hazardous to the Public Interest, to avoid that Route.
It may be of some Use to my Countrymen to transmit a few Observations upon the Country I have passed through, because it appears to me, that a Commerce extreamly advantageous to both Countries may be opened between Us and Spain as soon as our Independence shall be acknowledged by that Power, at least as soon as We shall obtain the great Object of all our Wishes, Peace.
The Province of Gallicia is one of the largest in Spain, and said to be one of the best peopled. Corunna is in effect the Principal City; although St. Iago, in respect to its Patron Saint, or more probably to the Archbishop, who resides there, is, in name, The Capital. This Province, one of those of which the antient Crown of Castile was formed, is washed by the Ocean for more than seventy Leagues, from Ribadeo on the Frontiers of Asturias, to the mouth of the River Minho, which seperates it from Portugal. This Coast, which is divided by Cape Finisterre, is provided on both Sides of the Cape, with Ports equally safe and convenient, which Nature seems to have prepared, around this Cape, an Object oftentimes so necessary to be made by Navigators, both at their departure from Europe and at their return, as { 232 } so many Assylums both from the Apprehensions and the Consequences of Storms. The most known of these Ports are Ribadeo, Ferrol, Corunna and Camarinas, to the Eastward of Cape Finisterre: Corcubion, Muros, Pontevedra, Vigo, to the Westward, all proper to receive Vessels of the first rate, especially Ferrol and Vigo. The first, the most considerable Department of the Marine of Spain, is embellished with every Thing, that Art, and the Treasures profusely spent upon it for thirty Years past, could add to its happy Situation. Vigo, represented to be one of the most beautifull Ports in the World, is another Department of the Marine, more extensive and proper for such an Establishment than Ferrol itself. Besides these Ports, there is a Multitude of Harbours and Bays round Cape Finisterre, which afford a safe and convenient Shelter to Merchant Vessells.
With all these Advantages for foreign Commerce, this Province has but very little, but what is passive. It receives from abroad some Objects of daily Consumption, some of Luxury, some of convenience, and some even of the first necessity. At present it offers little for exportation to foreign Countries. The Sardine of its coast, the famous fish which it furnishes to all Spain; the Cattle which it fattens for the provision of Madrid; a few coarse linnens, which are its only Manufacture, and are well esteemed, are the Objects of its active Commerce, and form its ballance with the other Provinces. The Wine and the Grain, the chief productions of its Lands, seldom suffice for its consumption and never go beyond it.
The Liberty of Commerce with the Windward Islands, granted by the Court, within a few Years, and the particular Establishment of Couriers or Packet Boats to South America, in the Port of Corunna, have opened the Ports of that part of the new World to this Province, and although without Manufactures herself, or any of those Productions proper for America, she renders to foreign Hands the product of those which she receives from them and carries thither. In this Circulation of so many Treasures, she enriches herself with parts which she detaches from the whole.
The Civil Government of this Province is formed by a Superiour Tribunal called The Audience; to which an Appeal lies from all the subaltern Jurisdictions, public and private. This Court hears and determines as Souvereign and without Appeal all civil Affairs of a less Value than a Thousand Ducats or three thousand Livres. Appeals, in those which exceed that value are carried to the Chancery of Valladolid, or to the Council of Castile. Although Justice is gratis, on the Part of the Judges, who are paid by the Government, it is said to be { 233 } not the less costly, tedious or vexatious. It may not be useless to observe that the Criminal Chamber, whose decrees extend to the punishment of Death and are executed without any Application to the King, or any other Authority, is composed only of three Judges, and these Three are the youngest of the whole Tribunal; and this order is generally followed in Spain, in the Composition of their Criminal Tribunals, altho' no one pretends to conjecture the Motive of so singular a Reverse of the natural order of Things. The Administration of the Royal Police, belongs also to the Audience, and forms the third Chamber into which this Tribunal is divided.
All the Military Authority, and the Government of the Troops in this Department, is in the Hands of the Captain General of the Province. There is not any one under him, who has even the Title of Commandant.... But in case of his Death or Absence, he is succeeded by the General Officer the most ancient in the Province. To this Title of Captain General, is added commonly that of President of the Audience, a Prerogative, which by uniting in his hands, the civil Authority to all that of his Place, gives him a Power the most absolute and unlimited.
The Inspection General and all the Oeconomy of the Affairs of the King in the Province, belongs to the Intendant. The different Branches of the Public Revennue are all administered by Officers appointed by the King, as in the rest of the Kingdom, and there are no Farmers General as in France. Their Product is about twenty six Millions of Reals, or six millions five hundred thousand Livres, the Expence of Collection being deducted. The Expences of the Administration, including the Maintenance of three Regiments of Infantry, scattered about in different Places, do not exceed two Millions five hundred thousand Livres. The overplus goes into the Dry Docks, Arsenals, and Fortifications of Ferrol, to the Support of which, this Sum is far from being sufficient.
Such is in general The Government, Military, Political and Civil of this Province, and very nearly of all the others, except Biscay, Guipuscua and Alaba.
There is not in this Province any particular Jurisdiction for Commerce; but there is a Tribunal, under the Name of The Judge Conservator of Strangers, which takes Cognizance of all their Causes, civil and criminal, except the Case of Contraband. At this day the Judge Conservator of Strangers is the Governor of the Province himself, and the Appeals from his Judgment are carried directly to the Council of War, which is said to be a prescious Priviledge, by the form { 234 } and Brevity of Proceedure, compared with the expensive and insupportable delays of the ordinary Jurisdictions.
I cannot but think, that, if some measures could be taken, to convince the Court, that it is their Interest to take off the vast duties, with which Commerce is overloaded in this Part, fifteen per Cent being to be paid upon all Commodities exported and2 upon all imported; and if the rigid Prohibition of Tobacco could be relaxed or repealed, several of the Productions of America would find a good Market here, and a Commerce opened, that would put a new Face upon this Province, and be profitable to America too. The Conveniency of such a Number of excellent Ports would be a vast Advantage, which Bilbao cannot have, as her Harbour is neither safe nor convenient, besides its being so much further down the stormy, turbulent Gulph of Biscay. Yet Biscay, which is now commonly used to comprehend Biscay proper, the principal City of which is Bilbao, though Orduna is the Capital, Guipuscoa the Capital of which is Saint Sebastian, and Alaba the Capital of which is Vitoria, three free Provinces whose Laws the Kings of Spain have hitherto been sworn to observe inviolate, have attracted almost the whole of the American Trade, because the King has no Custom House, nor Officers here, and there are no Duties to be paid.
It may seem surprising, to hear of free Provinces in Spain: But such is the Fact, that the High and independent Spirit of the People, so essentially different from the other Provinces, that a Traveller perceives it even in their Countenances, their Dress, their Air, and ordinary manner of Speech, has induced the Spanish Nation and their Kings to respect the Ancient Liberties of these People, so far that each Monarch, at his Accession to the Throne, has taken an Oath, to observe the Laws of Biscay.
The Government here, is therefore diametrically opposite to that of Gallicia, and the other Provinces. The King of Spain has never assumed any higher Title than that of Lord of Biscay. He has no Troops of any Sort in the Lordship, nor is there any standing Army; instead of which every Man is obliged to serve in the Militia. The King has no Custom House Officers, nor other Revenue Officers, nor other Officer whatsoever in the Lordship, except a Corregidor, and lately a Commissary of the Marine. This last is considered as an Encroachment and a Grievance; and the Authority of the Corregidor is very small as their lies an { 235 } Appeal from his Judgment to another Tribunal, that of the Two Deputy Generals, who are biennially elected by the People. Few of the Grandees of Spain have any considerable Estates here. The Duke de Medina Cceli and the Duke of Berwick have some Lands here, of no great Value. The Lands generally belong to the Inhabitants and Possessors, who hold them of no Lord, but the King of Spain who is Lord of Biscay.
There is a Board of Trade here, which is annually constituted by the Merchants of the Place, partly by Lot and partly by Election, which decides all Controversies arising in Trade, and all the Affairs of Strangers. They have never admitted any foreign Consul to reside here, although it has been sollicited by Holland, England and France.
It is not at all surprizing that a Constitution, in its nature so favourable to commerce, should have succeeded.
In travelling through the Provinces of Leon and Castile, and observing the numerous Flocks of Sheep, with the most beautifull Fleeces of Wool in the World, I could not but wish, that some communication might be opened, by which the United States of America might be furnished with this necessary Article, from this Country. There are few of our Articles of Exportation, but might be sent to the Spanish Markett to Advantage. Rice, Pitch, Tar, Turpentine, Tobacco, Wheat, Flour, Ship timber, Masts, Yards, Bowsprits and Salt Fish, might be supplied to Spain at an Advantage, and in return she might furnish Us, with Wine, Oyl, Fruits, some Silks, some Linnens perhaps, and with any quantity of Wool, which is now exported to foreign Countries for Manufacture, and might as well be sent to Us, but above all, with Silver and Gold. It must be a work of time, of a freer intercourse between the two Nations, and of future Negotiations to ripen these Hints into a Plan, that may be beneficial to both. The System of Revenue, which it is dangerous and difficult to alter in Spain as well as in all other Countries of Europe, will be the principal Objection.
I have collected together with some difficulty a few Gazettes, which I have the honor to transmit to Congress, from which all the News may be collected, that I have been able to learn. Congress will easily perceive the Eagerness, with which the belligerent Powers are bent on War, without manifesting the least disposition for Peace, and most of all Great Britain, whose ostentatious display of trifling Successes, and weak Exultation in them, shews that nothing can divert her from her furious course.—But she is exhausting and sinking her Forces every day, without gaining any lasting or solid Advantage. And she has reason to fear, from the combined Fleets of France and Spain, { 236 } under such enterprizing, experienced and approved Officers as D'Estaing and Duchauffault, the entire ruin of her Commerce and Navy, in the course of a Campaign or two more.
[signed] John Adams

[addrLine] His Excellency Samuel Huntington Esq. President of Congress.3

1. Here JA inadvertently omitted the phrase “and not before” in copying from his letterbook.
2. In LbCJA left a short blank space following this word, as if he meant to ascertain the duty levied on imports and supply it here. But no blank was left in RC (see the following note).
3. LbC is a draft, written in detached parts, with the several parts marked by symbols to indicate their final order. RC (PCC, No. 84,1), in Thaxter's hand, with a formal leavetaking and signature added by JA, is endorsed by Thomson: “No. 3 Letter from John Adams Bilbao Jany. 16 1780 Read April 7.”
This is the first of the remarkable series of dispatches reporting on the political, diplomatic, commercial, military, and naval affairs of most of the nations of western Europe, often accompanied by newspapers and copies of innumerable documents, with which JA nearly overwhelmed Congress during the first months of his second mission to Europe.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0042

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1780-01-17

[1780 January 17. Monday.]

1780 January 17. Monday. We dined with the two Messieurs Gardoqui, and a Nephew of theirs. The American Captains Babson, Lovat and Wickes dined with Us. I spoke to Mr. Gardoqui in behalf of Fifteen American Seamen, who had been Prisoners in Portugal, and he consented to furnish them Cloaths. I assured him that although I had no express and possitive Authority to interfere, I had no doubt that Congress would do all in their Power to repay him. This was afterwards done to his Satisfaction.
After Dinner the Gentlemen accompanied Us to the Parish Church over against Mr. Gardoqui's house, and then to the Old Parish Church of St. Iago, which is certainly known to have been standing in the Year 1300.... The High Altar appears to be very ancient, and wrought in wooden Figures, with very neat Work. The Choir and the Sacristie &c. like all others in the large Churches. We then went to the Chamber of the Board of Trade. This is a curious Institution. Annually on a certain day in the Beginning of January, all the Merchants of Bilbao meet, write their Names on a Ball or Ballot, which are put into a Box, from whence four are drawn by Lott. These four nominate a certain Number of Councillors or Senators.
This Board of Trade, in the first place, endeavours to persuade all Merchants between whom any Controversy has arisen, to agree, but if they cannot succeed Application must be made to the Board by Petition in Writing. It is then heard and determined, subject however to an Appeal, I know not where. This Board has successfully opposed the Reception of Consuls from all Nations. The Chamber is hung round with Pictures of the present King and Queen of Spain, the late King and Queen, the Royal Exchange of London, the Exchange of Amsterdam and the Exchange of Antwerp &c.
{ 237 }
There is an Academy, at Bergara, for the Education of the Youth of Biscay, Guipuscoa and Alava.
In the Spring Freshes, We were told, the Water is deep enough upon the Exchange and in the Streets for Vessells of an hundred Tons burthen, to float.
A Mr. Maroni, an Irish Gentleman, residing here as a Merchant, came to visit me. He told Us he had a Daughter in a Nunnery here: but it seemed by his conversation to be an incurable Grief to him: He appeared to have buried her in a more afflicting Sense than if she had been in her grave.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0043

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1780-01-18

[1780 January 18. Tuesday.]

1780 January 18. Tuesday. We spent the Day in perambulating the Town. We visited the Wharves upon the River, went through the Marketts, which We found plentifully furnished with Fruits and Vegetables, Cabbages, Turnips, Onions, Beets and Carrots, Apples, Pairs, Raisins, Figgs and Nutts. We went as far as the Gate, where We had entered the Town, then turned up the Mountain by the Stone Stairs, where We saw some fine Gardens, with verdure and Vegetation. On our return We took a view of a Book Sellers Stall, but as this Country, though it gloried in its Liberty was not the Region of Litterature, We found nothing very curious or worth mentioning. We then walked in Succession, through every Street in the Town. After this, meeting The Messieurs Gardoquis, they went with Us to shew Us the trading part of the Citizens. They conducted Us to a Number of Shops, of Glass, China, Trinketts, Toys and Cutlary. We found nothing to give Us any great Idea of Bilboa or Biscay as a commercial Country, though there were several Shops and Stores, pretty large and full of Merchandizes.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0044

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1780-01-19

[1780 January 19. Wednesday.]

1780 January 19. Wednesday. By particular invitation We went down the River on a Visit to the Rambler a Letter of Mark of Eighteen Guns, belonging to Mr. Andrew Cabot of Beverly, Captain Lovat Commander, and the Phoenix a Brigg of fourteen Guns belonging to Messieurs Traceys of Newbury Port, Captain Babson Commander. We were honoured with two Salutes of thirteen Guns each by Babson and one by Lovat. We dined at the Tavern on Shore and had an agreable Day. We were conducted to see a new Packett of the King on the Stocks, and his new Rope walks which were two hundred and ten Fathoms long.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0045

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1780-01-20

[1780 January 20th Thursday.]

1780 January 20th Thursday.1 Although We endeavoured in Bil• { 238 } bao to take as much Exercise as possible and to amuse ourselves as well as We could, and although the Attention and Hospitality of the House of Gardoqui had done every Thing in their Power to oblige Us, Our Residence in this place was nevertheless very far from being comfortable. We were all sick with violent Colds and Coughs, some of the Servants and Children were so ill that We lived under gloomy Apprehensions, of being detained a long time and perhaps loosing some of our Company. The Houses here as well as every where else were without Chimneys, fires or Windows, and We could find none of those Comforts and Conveniences to which We had been all accustomed from the Cradle, nor any of that sweet and quiet repose in Sleep upon which health and happiness so much depend. On the twentieth, however We summoned Resolution enough to take our departure from Bilbao, and passing over a mountainous Country and very bad roads arrived at the River or rather the Brook that divides Spain from France. The Houses in Biscay and Guipuscua appeared to be larger and more convenient than those in Gallicia, Castile or Leon, but the public Houses were much the same. In the last house in Spain We found one Chimney which was the only one We saw since We left that in the House of Mr. Detournelle the French Consul in Corunna.2 In our Course We saw a few Villages and particularly Fontarabbia at a distance. We reached St. John De Luz, the first Village in France, and there We dined. And never was a Captive escaped from Prison more delighted than I was, for every Thing here was clean, sweet and comfortable in Comparison of any Thing We had found in any part of Spain.
1. This and the following four entries (through 30 Jan.) are wholly retrospective, there being no entries in JA's Diary between 19 and 31 Jan. 1780.They are also the first entries in Part Three of the Autobiography included in CFA's edition, he having up to this point printed the original Diary entries for the voyage on the Sensible and the journey through Spain without drawing upon JA's occasional recollections and added comments in “Peace.”
2. Since JA made so much of the subject of chimneys, or rather the want of them, in Spain, it may be pointed out that on 24 Jan. he wrote from Bayonne to Joseph Gardoqui & Sons: “I assure you We discovered two or three fine Chimneys, besides that which you mentioned to us, which contributed not a little to our Health and Comfort” (LbC, Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0046

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1780-01-23

[1780 January 23.]

1780 January 23. We arrived at Bayonne. Here We paid off our Spanish Guide with all his Train of Horses, Calashes, Waggon, Mules, and Servants. To do them Justice they had always shewn a disposition to assist and befriend Us to the Utmost of their Power, and We had no cause to complain of any improper Behaviour in any of them. I was obliged to sell my Mule, for which I was very sorry, as he was an excellent Animal and had served me very well. I sold him for what he cost me. We purchased a Post Chaise and hired some others for our Jour• { 239 } ney. I made my Visit to the Governor and received his in return.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0047

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1780-01-25

[1780 January 25.]

1780 January 25. We commenced our Journey to Bourdeaux. There is so much heath and uncultivated Land, and so many desolate Places, between Bayonne and Bourdeaux, that the Journey could not be very pleasant. It is a Region where one might expect to meet Robbers, but the Police of France was so vigilant and decisive that nothing of that kind was heard of at that time in any part of France. The Road in general was better because it was smoother than in any of the great paved Roads of the Kingdom. We found the Entertainment at all the Inns comfortable, the Horses and Carriages as alert and convenient as they are commonly in France, and I was too happy to be very anxious to make Observations on Minor Things.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0048

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1780-01-29

[1780 January 29. Saturday.]

1780 January 29. Saturday. We arrived at Bourdeaux. We had met Couriers and received Letters on the Road, inviting Us to alight at all the principal Inns in Bourdeaux. The Reputation of entertaining the American Ambassador, must have been the motive to all this Zeal, for our Number was so small, that the profit to be made of Us could not be great. As all the public Houses were alike unknown to me, I ordered our Postilion to drive Us to the best house in the City and left it to his Judgment to determine.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0049

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1780-01-30

[1780 January 30.]

1780 January 30. We dined at the Hotel D'Angleterre, at the Invitation of Mr. Bondfield, in Company with Sir Robert Finlay, Mr. Le Texier and others. In the Evening We went to the Comedy where We saw Amphitrion and Cartouche.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0050

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1780-01-31

[1780 January 31. Monday.]

1780 January 31. Monday. We dined at the Hotel D'Angleterre, again with Mr. Maccarty, Mr. Delap, Mr. Bondfield &c. at the Invitation of Sir Robert Finlay. Mr. Le Texier I found still entertained his Doubts and Scruples about the Success of the American Cause. Instead of entering into serious Argument with him, I treated his dismal forebodings with so much Levity, that he seemed to be hurt, as if he thought I was exposing him to ridicule. Perceiving this I desisted and only observed that I was perfectly satisfyed with our Prospects and [a] few Years if not months would shew that the American Cause stood upon firm Foundations. The Conversation at this as at all other such dinners, was upon commonplace Topicks and not worth Remembrance. Towards Evening Mr. Gabarus [Cabarrus] came in with the News of a Blow struck by Rodney upon the Spaniards off Gibraltar.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0051

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-01

[1780 Feb. 1. Tuesday.]

1780 Feb. 1. Tuesday. We spent the day in rambling about the Town viewing the principal Public Places, the Remains of Roman Antiquities, Vaubans Chateau Trompette &c. But as I had seen these before in April 1778 and as every Man who has been in Bourdeaux { 240 } has seen them and every Man who shall travel to that City may see them, I shall not stay to give any Account of them. I heard a great deal concerning the manners and Morals of Bourdeaux which convinced me there was little difference from Paris.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0052

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-02

[1780 Feb. 2. Wednesday.]

1780 Feb. 2. Wednesday. We took Post [for] Paris and on

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0002-0053

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1780-02-04 - 1780-03-21

[4 February–21 March 1780]

1780 Feb. 4. Fryday We arrived at Coué. We passed by Angouleme and encircled almost the whole Town. It stands on a high Hill and is walled all round. A fine healthy, Airy Situation, with several Streams of Water below it and fine interval Lands. The River Charente runs by it. The Lands from Bourdeaux to Angouleme, are chiefly cultivated with Vines, which afford but a poor Prospect in the Winter. In some Places Wheat was sown and Vines planted in alternate Ridges. Great Numbers of the Vineyards are in a Soil that has the greatest Appearance of Poverty. It is a red Loom intermixed with so many Pebbles and small Stones of a reddish Colour that it looks more like an heap of Stones or a dry gravel, than like a Soil where there is Earth enough for the Vines to take root. Other Vineyards are in a black Sand, intermixed with a few small Stones. Others are in fine, black, fat and mellow Mould. The numerous Groves, Parks and Forrests in this Country, form a striking Contrast with Spain, where the whole Country looks like a Bird deprived of its Feathers, every Tree, Bush and Shrub, being pared away.
We lodged at Coué, and in the Night it rained and froze at the same time, untill the Roads were become a glare Ice. The Postillions informed Us, it was impossible for their Horses, which in this Country are never frosted, to travel.
As this was the second time I travelled this road from Bourdeaux to Paris I shall pass over the remainder of the Journey.1 On the fifteenth of Feb. I wrote to Congress

[To the President of Congress]

[salute] Sir

I have the honor to inform Congress, that on the ninth of this Month, I had the good fortune to arrive in this City from Ferrol, where I arrived on the Eighth of December with Mr. Dana, Mr. Thaxter and the rest of the Company in tollerable health, after a Journey of near four hundred Leagues in the dead of Winter, through bad roads and worse Accommodations of every kind. We lost no time more than was indispensable to restore our health, which was several times much affected and in great danger: yet We were more than twice as long in { 241 } making the Journey by Land, as We had been in crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
The next Morning after our Arrival in Paris, Mr. Dana and my self went out to Passy and spent the day with His Excellency Dr. Franklin, who did Us the honour the next day to accompany Us to Versailles, where We had the honour to wait on their Excellencies the Comte De Vergennes, Mr. De Sartine and the Comte De Maurepas, with each of whom We had the honour of a short Conference, upon the State of Public Affairs. It is sufficient for me at present to say in general, that I never heard the French Ministry so frank, explicit and decided, as each of these were, in the Course of this Conversation, in their declarations to pursue the War with vigour and afford effectual Aid to the United States. I learned with great Satisfaction, that they are sending under Convoy Cloathing and Arms for fifteen thousand Men to America: that seventeen Ships of the Line are already gone to the West Indies under Monsieur De Guichen, and that five or six more at least are to follow in Addition to ten or twelve they have already there.
I asked Permission of the Comte De Vergennes to write to him, on the Subject of my Mission, to which he chearfully and politely agreed. I have accordingly written to his Excellency and shall forward Copies of my Letter and of his Answer as soon as it may be safe to do so.2
The English are to borrow twelve Millions this Year, and it is said the Loan is filled up. They have thrown a Sop to Ireland, but have not appeased her Rage. They give out exactly such Threats, as they did last Year, and every other Year, of terrible Preparations: but Congress knows perfectly well how those Menaces have been accomplished. They will not be more fully executed next year than the last; and if France and Spain should throw more of their Force, expecially by Sea, into America the next Year, America will have no essential Injury to fear.
I have learned, since my Arrival at Paris, with the highest pleasure, the Arrival of Mr. Jay, Mr. Gerard and Mr. Carmichael at Cadiz, for whose Safety We had been under very great Apprehensions. I have now very sanguine hopes that a solid Treaty will soon be concluded with Spain; hopes which every Thing I saw and heard in that Country seemed to favour.
The Allyance Frigate, now under the Command of Captain Jones, with Captain Cunningham on board, is arrived at Corunna, where She is to be careened; after which She is to return to L'orient, and { 242 } from thence to go to America, as I am informed by Dr. Franklin.
Mr. Arthur Lee and Mr. Izzard are still in Paris, under many difficulties in procuring a Passage home. Mr. William Lee is at Brussells. Mr. Izzard has been to Holland to obtain a Passage from thence, but unfortunately missed his Opportunity and returned disappointed.

[salute] I have the Honor to be &c.

[signed] John Adams.

[addrLine] His Excellency Samuel Huntington Esqr. President of Congress.3

The first insinuation of the Propriety, Expediency, and necessity of appointing a Minister Plenipotentiary to reside in Europe, ready to negotiate a Peace whenever he might be invited to it, was made to Congress, a year before this time by Mr. Gerard the French Minister at Philadelphia by the Authority of the Count De Vergennes. But Congress had neglected it, whether from a general Opinion that the time had not yet arrived when there was a necessity for it, or whether from the difficulty of agreeing on the Minister, I know not.4 The Suggestion was renewed by the Chevalier De La Luzerne, upon his Arrival in Philadelphia. In both Cases it was the Expectation of the French Ministry that Dr. Franklin would be elected.5 In this respect Con• { 243 } gress disappointed them. In another point too, that is in the Commission to make a Treaty of Commerce with Great Britain Congress had gone farther than the French Ministry intended. Alone as I was in both Commissions, and feeling the whole Weight of the Trust reposed in me, I determined to proceed with the utmost Caution, deliberation and Prudence; to do nothing which should excite the smallest Jealousy in the French Court, or give our Ennemies the English the least Advantage of The United States or their Allies. But something appeared to be incumbent on me to do. Accordingly I began by writing to the Count De Vergennes the following Letter.

[To the Comte de Vergennes]

[salute] Sir

Having obtained Permission from your Excellency, Yesterday when I did myself the honour to wait on you at Versailles, to write on the Subject of my Mission, I have now the honour to acquaint you, that on the twenty ninth day of September last, The Congress of the United States of America did me the honour to elect me their Minister Plenipotentiary, to negotiate a Peace with Great Britain, and also to negotiate a Treaty of Commerce with that Kingdom, and the Honourable Francis Dana Esqr. a Member of Congress, and of the Council of Massachusetts Bay, Secretary to both Commissions.
As I was not at Congress, when this Transaction took place, I am not able to inform your Excellency, very particularly of the Rise and Progress of it. But from Conversation with Gentlemen at Boston, who { 244 } were Members of Congress and from private Letters I learned in general, that it was not the Result of any sudden deliberation, or the Effect of any particular Event of War, prosperous or adverse: but a Measure that had been more than a Year under consideration, and finally adopted, upon this principle, that as it was uncertain at what time the belligerent Powers might be disposed to treat of Peace, which could not be concluded, without a Minister from the United States, it would save a great deal of time, for this Power to have a Minister in Europe, fully authorized to treat, and in concert with Ministers from the other Powers at War, to conclude a Peace with Great Britain, and a Treaty of Commerce consistent with that already made with his Most Christian Majesty, and such others as might be made with other Powers.
I am persuaded, it is the Intention of my Constituents and of all America, and I am sure it is my own determination, to take no Steps of Consequence in pursuance of my Commissions, without consulting his Majestys Ministers. And as various Conjectures have been and may be made concerning the nature of my Appointment and Powers, and as it may be expected by some that I should take some measures for announcing these to the Public, or at least to the Court of London, I beg the favour of your Excellencys Opinion and Advice upon these questions.
1.Whether, in the present Circumstances of Things, it is prudent, for me to acquaint the British Ministry, that I am arrived here, and have such Commissions, and that I shall be ready to treat, whenever the belligerent Powers shall be inclined to treat.
2.Whether it is prudent for me to publish, in any manner, more than the Journals of Congress may have already done, the Nature of my Mission?
3.Or whether, to remain, upon the Reserve, as I have hitherto done, since my Arrival in Europe?
If any Propositions should be made to me, directly or indirectly, from the British Ministry, I shall not fail to communicate them, without Loss of Time, to your Excellency: and I beg the favour of your Excellency, as I am the only Person in Europe, who has Authority to treat of Peace, that if any Propositions on the Part of Great Britain, should be made to his Majestys Ministers, that they may be communicated to me, at least as far as they may relate to the Interests of the United States.
Although I am not confined by my Commissions, nor Instructions, nor by any intimation from Congress, to reside in one place in Europe { 245 } rather than another; Yet my own Inclinations, as well as those of the Public, would be most gratified, and the public Service most promoted by my residing here. I must therefore request his Majestys Protection and permission to reside in this Kingdom for some time, either with or without assuming any Public Character, as your Excellency may think most adviseable. I have the Honour to be &c.
[signed] John Adams

[addrLine] His Excellency The Comte De Vergennes.6

I shall insert here the Answer of the Count de Vergennes, although it is not exactly in the order of Dates. It was in French, and the following is a litteral Translation of it.7

[From the Comte de Vergennes]

I have received, Sir, the Letter, which you did me, the honor to write me, on the twelfth of this month. I think, that before I resolve the different Points on which you consult me, it is convenient to wait for the Arrival of Mr. Gerard, because he is probably the Bearer of your Instructions8 and he will certainly, have it in his Power to give me Explanations, concerning the Nature and Extent of your Commission; but in the mean time, I am of Opinion, that it is the part of Prudence, to conceal your eventual Character and above all to take the necessary Precautions, that the Object of your Commission remain unknown to the Court of London. Moreover, Sir, you may be assured, that The King sees you with Pleasure, in his Dominions, that you shall constantly enjoy his Protection, and the Prerogatives of the Law of Nations, and that I, in particular, will exert myself to give you Proofs of my Confidence, as well as of the Sentiments with which I have the honour to be, most perfectly, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant.
[signed] De Vergennes

[addrLine] M. Adams.

I request the Reader, to read attentively the foregoing Letter from the Count de Vergennes and make his own Observation upon it, before he reads mine, and then say whether I had reasons for the following Reflections which presented themselves irresistably to mind at that time, and which I have ever since thought and still think well founded.
{ 246 }
1. The Instructions of a Sovereign to his Ambassador, are a Secret, and a confidential Communication between them: a sacred Deposit, committed by the Master to the Servant, which the latter is under the strongest tyes of honour, fidelity and Conscience to preserve inviolate, untill he has express Permission or Injunction to reveal it.9
2. The Count De Vergennes had been employed in several Embassies, and he had sent and in the Name of his Master instructed many Ambassadors. In short his Life had been spent in Diplomatic Courses. He could not therefore be ignorant of the sacred Nature of Instructions, or the Obligations of Ambassadors to keep them to themselves.
3. The Count de Vergennes had been so long in the habit of Intrigues to obtain the Instructions from foreign Courts to their Ambassadors, and probably paying for them very dear, that he had forgotten that the Practice was not lawfull.
4. The Count De Vergennes had probably instructed Mr. Gerard, by some means or other to penetrate into the Secrets of Congress and obtain from some of the Members or some of the Secretaries or Clerks, Copies of the most confidential Communications between Congress and their Ministers.
5. The Count De Vergennes expected that Mr. Gerard had succeeded, and would soon arrive with the Trophies of his Success. Of this Success, however, I have doubts. Mr. Jay with whom Mr. Gerard went to Europe in the same Ship can tell the World, if he will, as he has told me, the Arts and Importunities even to rudeness and ill manners, which he employed with Mr. Jay to obtain his Instructions. If he had been successfull in Pensilvania in obtaining Instructions he would not have been so zealous to procure a duplicate Copy from Mr. Jay.
6. The Count De Vergennes might imagine that I was so little read { 247 } in the Law of Nations and the Negotiations of Ambassadors, and had so little Experience in the World, or to Use one of his own Expressions on another Occasion, so much Bonhommie, that upon the Intimation in his Letter, I would in all Simplicity and Naivete, send him a Copy of my Instructions.
7. Some allarming Ideas were excited by the Consideration that my Sovereign was an Assembly of more than fifty members, and fifty incorruptible Men all capable of containing a Secret, was not always to be expected. For the honor of that Congress however it is but Justice to say that I believe their Secrets were as well kept as Secrets ever were by any Government in the World.
8. The Nature of my Instructions, with which I was not at all satisfied and was consequently more determined to keep from the French as well as English and other Courts. The Articles of my Instructions relative to the Boundaries of the United States and to the Fisheries were by no means agreable to me, and I had already reasons enough to suspect and indeed to believe, that the French Court, at least that the Count De Vergence, would wish me to go to the utmost Extent of my Instructions in relinquishing the Fisheries and in contracting the Boundaries of the United States; whereas on the contrary it was my unalterable Determination to insist on the Fisheries and on an ample Extention of our Boundaries, as long as my Instructions would justify me: I foresaw that if these Instructions were communicated to the French, they would have it in their Power, in case of a negotiation to impart them to the British Ambassador and encourage him to insist on his part on terms that would greatly embarrass me and ultimately injure my Country in very essential Points.
The order of Dates would have required the Insertion of the following Letters, before.

[From Gabriel de Sartine]

I have received the Letter, which you did me, the honour to write me, on the sixth of October last.10
I was well persuaded that Mr. De Chavagne would endeavour, to procure for you, on board his Ship, every gratification in his Power. In this respect he has complied with the communications I made to him of the Intentions of the King.
It is with pleasure that I have learned, that having been charged by Congress with an important Mission, you have been able to take Advantage, a second time of the Frigate the Sensible, to return to France.
{ 248 }
I have the Honour to be, with the most perfect Consideration, Sir, your most humble and most obedient Servant.
[signed] De Sartine

[addrLine] Mr. John Adams.11

[To Gabriel de Sartine]

[salute] Sir

It was not, untill my Arrival at Passy, that I had the honor of your Excellencys Letter of the thirty first of December last.
When his Majestys Intentions of granting me a Passage to America were communicated to me, I had little expectation of returning in the same Frigate: But The Congress having honoured me, with a fresh Mission to Europe, Their Excellencies the late and present Ministers from his Majesty to the United States, concurred in a Proposal to Congress and a requisition to the Commander of the Frigate to afford me a Passage, in her Voyage home, to which Captain Chavagne agreed, with particular marks of Politeness to me, Mr. Dana and the others who accompanied me.
I have again the pleasure to express to your Excellency, the Obligations I am under to the Captain and all the Officers of the Sensible, for their goodness to me and mine. But it is more particularly my Duty to express again my Thanks to his Majesty for this fresh favour; to Mr. Gerard and the Chevalier De La Luzerne who procured it for me; and to your Excellency for your Approbation of it. I have the honour to be, with the greatest respect, your Excellencys most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] John Adams

[addrLine] His Excellency Mr. De Sartine12

[To Jonathan Williams]

[salute] Dear Sir

Since my Arrival at Paris, I had the pleasure of your Letter of the first of this month. I thank you, Sir, for your kind Congratulations on my Arrival, and am glad to learn that the Letters I forwarded to you went safe.
When I left Boston, which was on the thirteenth of November, our public Affairs in the military Line13 wore a very favourable Aspect. The News of General Lincoln's being in possession of Georgia, by the Aid of the Count D'Estaing, was expected every moment, and great preparations were making by General Washington to cooperate with { 249 } that great Officer in the Reduction of New York. You are sufficiently informed of the Reverses, which have taken place, since. But by Letters I have since received from Boston, the Misfortune of Georgia, seems not to have made any great Sensation. The People of America are so habituated to disappointment in the Events of War, that they have learned Philosophy enough to bear them very steadily.
In the civil Way, the Settlement of foreign Affairs, which had given the People the greatest Anxiety, seemed to give general Satisfaction: how long it will last will depend upon Contingencies.
I was told by a Member of Congress from New Hampshire, that your Accounts had been received by Congress, but I did not learn that they had been decided on.
Mr. Johnson, to whom and Family please to present my respects, is appointed to examine and certify his Opinion, of all public Accounts in France.14 The Award of your Arbitrators, I should be glad to see, and shall ask a Sight of it, the first leisure Opportunity.
Your Resolution to harbour no Enmity, and to be of no Party is amiable. Parties, in some degree or other, are common to all Countries, Nations and Governments: and although they may not be more real or more inveterate in free Governments than in others, yet they are more open, more public and make more noise. I fear it must be confessed that there has been a virulence of Party Spirit, in the foreign Affairs of the United States, which has injured worthy Characters on both Sides, and done Us much harm. I think therefore that it is the Duty of every good American to take up the same resolution with you, to be concerned in no personal disputes, or Party Animosities, at least any farther than they mix themselves unavoidably with the public Cause and Interest, from which they sometimes make themselves inseperable. I shall be pleased with the continuance of the same agreable Acquaintance, which has ever subsisted between Us, and wish you to believe me, with esteem your Friend and humble Servant
[signed] John Adams.

[addrLine] Jonathan Williams Esqr. at Nantes

[To Isaac Smith]

[salute] Dear Sir

I have the pleasure to inclose to you, two Letters, from your Friends at Boston, who are all well except Mr. Gray your Brother, who is not probably now living, as he was supposed to be in the last Stage of a Consumption. I shall be glad of an Opportunity of sending Letters { 250 } from you to your Family, or from them to you, and to hear of your Welfare.

[salute] Your humble Servant

[signed] John Adams

[addrLine] Revd. Isaac Smith15

[To Joseph Palmer]

[salute] Sir

I have the pleasure of inclosing two Letters from your Friends at Braintree to you, and one from Mr. Cranch to a Relation of his. It gave me pleasure to hear of your safe Arrival in Europe, And I shall be happy in an Opportunity of conveying any Letters to your Friends. I am, Sir, your most obedient Servant
[signed] John Adams

[addrLine] Mr. Joseph Palmer.16

Whether it was consistent with the Character of a great or an honourable Statesman or not, to give me, so early and so just cause of Jealousy of his Intentions, those of the Count De Vergennes were too manifest to be mistaken in his Letter of the 15th of February. His Aim was plainly to obtain from me Copies not only of my Commissions but of my most secret and confidential Instructions. I was determined to express however no Surprize, but to comply with his Wishes as far as I could with honour and Safety and no farther. I wrote him the following Letter.

[To the Comte de Vergennes]

[salute] Sir

I have received the Letter which your Excellency did me the honour to write me, on the fifteenth of this month, and least I should not have explained sufficiently, in my Letter of the twelfth, the Nature and Extent of my Commissions, I have now the Honour to inclose, attested Copies of both, as well as of that to Mr. Dana.17
With regard to my Instructions, I presume your Excellency will not judge it proper, that I should communicate them, any further than to assure you as I do in the fullest manner, that they contain nothing, { 251 } inconsistent with the Letter or Spirit of the Treaties between his Majesty and The United States, or the most perfect friendship between France and America, but on the contrary the clearest orders to cultivate both.
I have hitherto conducted, according to your Advice, having never communicated to any Person, since my Arrival in Europe, the nature of my Mission, excepting to your Excellency and Dr. Franklin, to whom it was indeed communicated by a Resolution of Congress, and to him in confidence.
I shall continue to conceal, as far as may depend upon me, my actual Character: but I ought to observe to your Excellency, that my Appointment was as notorious in America as that of Mr. Jay or Dr. Franklin before my departure, so that it is probably already known to the Court of London, although they have not regular Evidence of it. I mention this least some Persons might charge me with publishing, what I certainly did not publish.
I thank your Excellency for the Assurances, of his Majestys Protection and of your Confidence, which it shall be my Study and Endeavour at all times to deserve. I have the honour to be, with the greatest respect, your Excellencys most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] John Adams

[addrLine] His Excellency the Comte De Vergennes.18

To this Letter I received an Answer of which the following is a litteral Translation.19

[From the Comte de Vergennes]

I have received, Sir, the Letter which you did me the honor to write me on the nineteenth of this month. Your Full Powers, of which you have been so good as to send me a Copy, are perfectly conformable to the Account which Mr. Gerard had written me of them, and they leave Us nothing to desire, either in their form or Substance. I think there is no inconvenience, in informing the Public of the principal Object of your Mission, I mean to speak of the future Pacification.It will be, indeed announced in the Gazette of France, when that shall make mention of your Presentation to the King and Royal Family: { 252 } And it will depend upon you to give to your eventual Character, a greater Publicity, by causing it to be inserted in the public Papers of Holland. I should only desire, that you would be so good as to communicate to me the Article, before you send it. As to the Full Power, which authorizes you to negotiate a Treaty of Commerce with the Court of London, 1 think it will be prudent, to make no communication of it to any Person whatsoever, and to take all possible Precautions, that the English Ministry may not have any Knowledge of it prematurely. You will surely perceive, of yourself, the Motives which induce me, to advise you to this Precaution, and it would be superfluous in me to explain them.
As to what relates to your Instructions, Sir, I am certain, that they have for their essential and invariable Basis, the Treaties subsisting between the King and the United States; Mr. Gerard has assured the King of this in the most positive manner, and his Majesty renders too much Justice to the Rectitude of Congress, and to the Stability of Sentiments, which it has hitherto manifested, to have ever had, and for ever to have, the smallest doubt in this respect.20 This manner of thinking, Sir, will convince you, that We have no Necessity to see your Instructions, to estimate their Principles and their disposition relative to Great Britain.

[salute] I have the Honour to be, most perfectly, Sir your most humble and most obedient Servant

[signed] De Vergennes

[addrLine] Mr. Adams.

I again request the particular Attention of the Reader to this Letter. The Count evades ingeniously enough his improper Attempt to draw out my Instructions, from their concealment. But his Anxiety to have my Commission to negotiate a Treaty of Commerce with Great Britain, concealed, excited some Surprize and some perplexity. I was not clear that I suspected his true Motives. The United States were clearly, at as full Liberty to negotiate concerning Commerce as concerning Peace. In both they must be governed by their Treaties with France. But not in one more than the other. However Time brought to light, what I but imperfectly suspected. The Count meditated at that time no doubt, what he soon carried into Execution with too much Success, his Intrigues with Congress at Philadelphia, to get my Commission to negotiate a Treaty of Commerce, annulled, without renewing it to the five Commissioners whom they afterwards appointed to negotiate { 253 } Peace.21 It was intended to keep Us embroiled with England as much and as long as possible, even after a Peace. It had that Effect for Eleven Years. The United States never had Spirit, decision and Independence, to remove this Obstacle to a friendly Understanding with England till 1794, when Mr. Jay sacrificed, and Mr. Washington diminished his Popularity by a Treaty which excited the insolent Rage of France without a Colour of Justice. The Members of Congress, who suffered themselves to become the Instruments of the Count, and His Minister the Chevalier De La Luzerne and his Secretary Mr. Marbois, in this humiliating and pernicious Measure of annihilating the Power of negotiating on Commerce, I am not able to enumerate very exactly. I have heard mentioned Mr. Livingston, Mr. Madison and Dr. Witherspoon. Those who are disposed to investigate this Subject are at Liberty to do it. If it would diminish the disposition which has long prevailed and still prevails in too many Individuals to sacrifice the honor and Interest of their country to their Complaisance to France, it would answer a good Purpose.
I thought it most prudent at present to conform to the Counts Advice, although it was not in this particular satisfactory to me, and wrote him accordingly. Although I could not perceive any candid, equitable or honourable Motives for concealing one of my Commissions more than the other, I did not think proper to tell him so.

[To the Comte de Vergennes]

[salute] Sir

I had last Evening the Honour of your Excellencys Letter of Yesterdays Date, and shall conform myself to your Advice.
I shall esteem myself highly honoured by a Presentation to the King and Royal Family, and shall wait your Excellencys Directions concerning the time of it. I shall not think myself at Liberty to make any publication of my Powers to treat of Peace, untill it shall have been announced in the Gazette; after which I shall transmit to your Excellency any Paragraph which may be thought proper to publish in the Gazettes of Holland, and take your Advice upon it, before it is sent. My other Powers shall be concealed, according to your Advice; and I shall have the honour, to pay my respects to your Excellency very { 254 } soon at Versailles. I have the honour to be with the greatest respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] John Adams

[addrLine] His Excellency the Comte De Vergennes.22

Having waited from the 25 of February to the 21. of March, without learning any Thing further on the Subject I wrote to the Count again.

[To the Comte de Vergennes]

In the Letter which you did me the honour to write me, on the twenty fourth of February, Your Excellency proposed that the principal Object of my Mission [remainder missing]23
1. For the arrival of the party in Paris and the events that immediately followed, see note on JA's Diary entry of 5 Feb. 1780.
2. This exchange of letters is printed below||: see JA to Vergennes, 12, 19, and 25 Feb., and Vergennes to JA, 15 and 24 Feb||.
3. LbC is a draft. RC (PCC, No. 84, I), in Thaxter's hand, signed by JA, is endorsed in several hands: “No. 4 J. Adams Esqr. Paris Feby. 15th: 1780 Read May 15.—arrival in France—interesting News—” Several trifling variations in wording among the three texts have been disregarded here.
4. This is somewhat disingenuous, or else JA's memory failed him badly. Gérard's proposal was in a communication to Congress dated 9 Feb. 1779 and sprang from the possibility that Spain's current efforts to mediate between Great Britain and France might succeed and thus bring on an early peace negotiation or at least a long truce ( Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:39–40). The delay in appointing a peace commissioner was owing (1) to the inability of Congress over a period of seven months to agree on minimum American peace requirements (and hence on instructions to such a commissioner when he should be appointed), and (2) to the seesaw struggle between sectional factions in Congress over who should have this appointment and the coordinate appointment to Spain. Most of Gérard's activity in Philadelphia and most of his correspondence with Vergennes in 1779 were concerned with these matters. See JA, Diary, 13 Nov. 1779, note 1, and references there.
5. As early as 25 Dec. 1778 Vergennes reported to Gérard a conversation he had held with Franklin to ascertain “s'il avoit des pleins pouvoirs éventiiels pour traiter avec la Cour de Londres.” He had found Franklin did not have such powers. “Cependant M. franklin a pensé et je l'ai pensé comme lui, qu'il pourroit signé des traités et des conventions sub spe rati surtout y étant autorisé par nous.” Since a negotiation might possibly begin very soon, not allowing time for the determinations of Congress, Vergennes went on, “je suis d'avis qu'il seroit d'autant plus utile que le Congrés lui envoyàt à tout évenément des pleins pouvoirs qui l'autoriseroient à prendre part aux négotiations que pourrons entamer avec L'ang[leter]re” (Gérard, Despatches and Instructions, p. 451). In replying, 14 May, Gérard was obliged to tell Vergennes that such a proposal was hopeless. “Ce ministre [Franklin] vous a parlé en homme eclairé et dont les vües sont aussi justes qu'étendues; mais tous ses compatriotes ne lui ressemblent pas.... Son credit n'est plus tel qu'il puisse le sauver. On ne l'a confirmé dans son poste, que parce que cela faisoit planche pour M. [Arthur] Lée et si celui ci tombe, comme cela est probable, on pourra bien revenir a la premiere resolution de rappeller M. francklin” (same, p. 643). And again, 18 July: “Je ne dois pas vous dissimuler qu'aucun des deux partis n'a dans le Docteur Franklin la confiance que ses lumieres et sa probité meritent” (same, p. 794).
In the exceedingly complex maneuvers preceding and accompanying the elections in late September, though there was one proposal to join Franklin and JA together in the peace commission, in the end only a single ballot, that of John Dickinson, was cast for Franklin, and since Franklin had not been nominated, the vote of eleven states was considered unanimous for JA (Gérard to Vergennes, 25–27 Sept., same p. 895; Henry Laurens' Notes of Proceedings, Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:438; Lovell to JA, 28 Sept., and Gerry to JA, 29 Sept., both in Adams Papers, Burnett, p. 450, 454; JCC, 15:1103–1113).
It is not a little ironical that Gérard could observe to Vergennes immediately after JA's election: “Vos lettres, Mgr., à M. Adams ont produit des impressions très favorables sur lui” (letter of 25–27 Sept., Despatches and Instructions, p. 895). These letters were undoubtedly copies of JA's exchange with Vergennes, 11 and 13 Feb. 1779, introduced into the discussion of candidates by James Lovell; see Lovell to R. H. Lee, 27 Sept., Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:443, and JA's Diary entry of 10–11 Feb. 1779.
6. LbC is a draft with some corrections, none of them of consequence. RC (Archives Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. pol., Etats-Unis, vol. 11) is in Thaxter's hand, signed by JA. Verbal differences among the several texts are negligible.
7. RC (Adams Papers) is in a clerk's hand, signed by Vergennes, and endorsed by JA. But JA's translation was undoubtedly made from a copy of the French text that he had earlier recorded in a letterbook entitled “Peace. Correspondence with Vergennes & others” (Lb/JA/11).
8. Emphasis added by JA.
9. Actually the French minister in Philadelphia had not only instigated Congress' new measures relative to foreign affairs but had had the largest part in framing the instructions to the proposed peace commissioner. Gérard had constantly consulted with members of Congress while the debates on foreign affairs were in progress, furnished those who were favorably disposed toward France with arguments, and repeatedly memorialized Congress at Vergennes' express orders to explain just what the French government demanded. On the very day that they were adopted by Congress (14 Aug.), Gérard sent his principal a summary of the contents of both sets of the instructions that were eventually issued to JA, prefacing his summary with the remarkable statement that “Elles m'ont été communiquees avant d'etre portées au Congrés” (Despatches and Instructions, p. 847). His summary was perfectly accurate except for one item that is not to be found in the instructions for either peace or commerce. In respect to France, Gérard said, “le plenipotentiare lui communiquera ses instructions” (same, p. 848).
10. JA to Sartine, 6 Oct. 1779.LbC is in Adams Papers; printed in JA, Works, 7:117.
11. RC (Adams Papers) is in a clerk's hand, signed by Sartine. JA doubtless made his translation from a copy he had recorded earlier in Lb/JA/11.
12. LbC is a draft with corrections too minor to require indication here.
13. Preceding four words are inserted from LbC; they were inadvertently omitted by JA in transcribing this letter.
14. Johnson was appointed to this service on 29 Sept. 1779 (JCC, 15:1126), but he found it too thorny a task and soon resigned.
15. Isaac Smith Jr. (1749–1829), Harvard 1767, AA's first cousin; he left America for England on the eve of the Revolution but returned in 1784 and served, among other things, as librarian of Harvard College, 1787–1791 (JQA, Life in a New England Town, p. 20, note; Smith's correspondence with various members of the Adams family, in Adams Papers). “Mr. Gray your Brother” was Edward Gray, who had married Isaac's sister Mary. The enclosed letters have not been identified.
16. Joseph Palmer, nephew of Gen. Joseph Palmer of Germantown in Braintree; he had just graduated from Harvard and was returning to his home near Plymouth, England (Gen. Joseph Palmer to Benjamin Franklin, 3 Aug., 12 Nov. 1779, summarized in Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 2:124, 168). The enclosed letters have not been identified.
17. JA's commissions are printed at the beginning of Part Three of his Autobiography, p. 178–179180 and 179–180, above.
18. LbC is a draft with minor revisions. RC (Archives Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. pol., Etats-Unis, vol. 11) is in Thaxter's hand, signed by JA; above the text is the notation: “M. De Rayneval,” to whom it was obviously referred.
19. RC (Adams Papers) is in a clerk's hand, signed by Vergennes, and endorsed by JA. JA's translation is from a copy he had entered in Lb/JA/11. The passages in italics were underscored by JA when he wrote the translation into his Autobiography.
20. RC: “... et sa Mté. rend trop de justice a la droiture du Congres et a la stabilité des sentiments qu'il a manifestés jusqu'à présent, pour avoir jamais eû, et pour avoir jamais le moindre doute à cet egard.”
21. On Congress' revocation, 12 July 1781, of JA's commission to negotiate a treaty of commerce with Great Britain, see Diary entry of 12 Jan. 1783 and note 1, with references there. The background and circumstances of this action remain even yet somewhat obscure. But it should be pointed out that it followed, rather than preceded, the joining of four other commissioners with JA in the negotiation for peace, under new instructions, 15 June 1781; see Diary entry of April 1782, note 1.
22. LbC is a draft. RC (Archives Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. pol., Etats-Unis, vol. 11) is in Thaxter's hand, signed by JA. Textual variations among the several texts are negligible.
23. LbC (of the complete letter) is a draft with several revisions and after-thoughts interlined and added; the text as revised is printed in JA, Works, 3:266–267. RC (Archives Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. pol., Etats-Unis, vol. 11) is in Thaxter's hand, signed by JA|| (JA to Vergennes, 21 Mar. 1780)||. JA went on to remind Vergennes that in his letter of 24 Feb. the Foreign Minister had stated that an announcement of JA's peace commission would appear in the Gazette de France after his formal presentation at court; this presentation had taken place on 7 March, “but no notice has been taken of it in the Gazette of France. Whether this omission is accidental, or whether it is owing to any alteration in your Excellency's sentiments, I am not able to determine.” Vergennes waited nine days before replying, then calmly explained that a notice in the Gazette de France would be, he now realized, an irregularity, and attached a one-sentence draft of an announcement that would be inserted, instead, in the Mercure de France (an unofficial journal, the political news in which was controlled by the French government); see Vergennes to JA, 30 March, Adams Papers; translation in JA, Works, 7:139.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/