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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 6


Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0007

Author: Deane, Silas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-08

From Silas Deane

[salute] Dear sir

It is now two Years since I left America without the satisfaction of bidding You farewell, and of talking over with You many things then on my mind respecting Our Country and The great Cause in which We had been long engaged; To remedy this disagreeable Circumstance which at the Time gave Me pain, I wrote You a long Letter1 on my passage and sent it from Bordeaux; as I have never received any Answer I apprehend it miscarried. I have not indeed received any Letter from You since I { 11 } left Philadelphia, and am now (probably at the instant of your Arrival in France) obliged to embark for America without being able to see You, and in person to Congratulate You on the favorable issue of Our Negotiations at Versailles. In my Situation nothing less than the Capital Object before Me, to which I chearfully sacrifice every thing of a personal Nature could have forced Me to leave France without having first seen You, and learned the Cause of my recall. From my Arrival in France to this hour I have never received from the honorable the Congress, or their Committee or any Member the least hint that my Conduct had displeased them, except what might be inferr'd from the laconic Billet of Mr Lovel, inclosing an Order of Congress for my immediate Return, which I received about three Weeks since. Conscious of having rendered my Country great and important services, and happy in the Approbation not only of the Court at which I negotiated, but in that also of my Venerable Colleague, whose Name, and Character, is revered thro Europe I can but feel most Sensibly the treatment I have met with. Accused in my Absence of I know not what, censured I know not how, disgraced in the Face of all Europe (for such a recall as that sent to Me can be considered in no other Light) and ordered instantly to embark without the least information of what is laid to my Charge or who are my Accusers, are Circumstances I cannot reflect on without being sensibly affected.2 Doct. Franklin and Doct. Bancroft3 will explain to You in what manner, I improved those Circumstances to the service of my Country.
I most sincerely wish that neither You nor any other person that has served his Country may ever be in a like Situation; but without Vanity I will add, should it be the case, that I wish they may improve the Circumstances that may affect them in the same manner, that I have done. I will not Attempt to give you in a Letter even an Idea of the Difficulties and embarrassments I have met with, nor of the anxious and Laborious Life I have led in Paris. My Freinds will do me Justice, and it is no secret either at Paris or Versailles nor is it one, that my Enemies envy and hate Me for That, for which if they are real Freinds to their Country, they owe Me their Esteem and Gratitude. You will see by the Freedom with which I write to You that I retain the same Freindship and unreserved Confidence in You as when I was honored with Yours in America, beleive Me sir I never thought I had misplaced my Confidence nor do I at present.
{ 12 }
When I first received my recall I determined, or rather I proposed not to return untill I could have settled and Closed the several Engagements which I had taken on the public Account during which period I hoped to have learned from America what was objected to Me and by that means also to have been able to carry out with Me the Necessary Vouchers for my Conduct. But the advice of Doct Franklin who was extremely Apprehensive for the situation of the Affairs of the Congress in America, and the desire of the Ministers here that Our Negotiation and Treaties should be fully explained and the Objections, (if any,) obviated, as early as possible, brought Me to the Resolution of proposing to them the plan on which I am now embarking, accordingly I assured them, that if it was adopted, I would leave every thing here in the present situation and set out immediately. I have hitherto been successful even beyond the expectations of Dr. Franklin to whom only (one other Freind excepted)4 the secret was entrusted. By this measure I am obliged to leave large Accounts open, and many Transactions unexplained, as several Accounts I had wrote for were not come to hand when I left Paris. This I foresaw from the first would oblige Me to revisit France as soon as possible and my determination is to return in October, or November, at the farthest if I meet no Accident. For tho' I well know it is in my power to explain every transaction of mine to the satisfaction of any reasonable and impartial Man, yet I am equally sure that a Certain person will take every Opportunity to find fault and object, his unhappy disposition is too well known, to need my saying any thing on the subject.5 You will hear of it from all Quarters, and I wish that may be all and that in any Connection You may have with him You may be happier than either Dr. F. or myself have been.
You will find Doct. F. universally and deservedly esteemed and Caressed And You will find others—but I will say nothing of Persons who consider Me as much their Enemy as I know them to be mine. Doct. Bancroft can be very useful to You, and as soon as You know him You will find that he merits Your Freindship and Confidence. I cannot at the same Time conceal, that I think he has been very hardly used, nor that it sensibly affects Me to see Merit like his Neglected. If what I am about To say appear assuming, You must forgive it and place it to the regard I have for You personally, and the Interest I take in whatever affects my Country. You cannot sir be too attentive to<concil• { 13 } iate this grand>the French Nation in general and To the Gentlemen of importance, and influence in particular I know You too well to have the least distrust of your good Sense, and disposition, but as You are stepping into a New World and about to Act a part on a Theatre when the Scenes The Manners, and the Actors are all New to You, it is of the utmost importance, that You appear neither impatient nor disgusted. But I will not Trouble You further on this Subject, as I know You to be a Man Too wise to be above advice, and that You have in Dr. F. and Dr. B. persons who can give You the best. You will find Dr. F. in a Circle of Freinds and Acquaintance of the first Character in different Departments, and I have the pleasure of reflecting that I was noticed by them whilst at Paris and that I am still remembered by them, You will be introduced to them by Dr. F. of course I need say nothing on that head.
As to Business I must say I am very anxious about Our Finances. Our resources are inadequate to the urgent Demands of America and unless a Loan which Dr. F. as well as myself have long laboured for can be effected, I fear that Our Credit will suffer, especially as the Congress have already begun to draw upon the Commissioners for other Objects, than simply the Interest of the Money borrowed in America. Much depends on the success of the Expedition now in hand, I have placed great hopes upon it, and still flatter myself that early as I propose my Return shall be, I shall bring with Me an Account of the British power being wholly reduced in America.
For Me, whatever happens whither successful, or Not, in favor, or in disgrace Nothing shall divert Me from exerting the utmost of my Abilities such as they are in the service of my Country; or my Study to merit, and cultivate the Esteem and Freindship, of those who like You are its real Freinds. I have the honor to subscribe myself with the most sincere Esteem Dr sir Your most Obedt & Very huml. servt.
[signed] S.D.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honble. John Adams Esqr.”; docketed: “Mr Deanes Letter to me. Aix Ap. 8. 1778”; in another hand: “Mr Deane's Letter Aix Apl. 8. 78.”
1. Not found.
2. Silas Deane left France, according to JA, “in great Splendor,” on 13 April, when he sailed from Toulon with Adm. d'Estaing's fleet on board the flagship, the Languedoc, in company with Conrad Alexandre Gerard, the newly appointed French minister to the United States. Great secrecy surrounded the departure, but more particularly the destination, of the fleet and spurred the British to ready a force under Vice Adm. John Byron which { 14 } sailed on 9 June in a belated pursuit (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:68; Estaing to Silas Deane, 1 April, Deane Papers, 2:447–448; Gérard, Despatches and Instructions, p. 40–41 note 5, 89–90; see also a circular letter by JA and Benjamin Franklin of 18 May, calendared below).
The congress' order for Deane's return had been voted on 21 Nov. 1777 and transmitted in James Lovell's letter of 8 Dec, which Deane received on or about 9 March (JCC, 9:946–947, 1008–1009; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:444; Deane to Conrad Alexandre Gérard, 9 March, Deane Papers, 2:389). Officially, Deane was to return and inform the congress of the “state of affairs in Europe,” but in fact the recall was owing to dissatisfaction with the profusion of commissions and contracts that he had tendered to French officers for service in the American army, an issue that had animated congressional deliberations since the previous summer. Indeed, a motion for Deane's recall was drafted as early as 5 Aug. 1777, and on 8 Sept. his contracts were repudiated (PCC, No. 19, II, f. 133; JCC, 8:721; Neil T. Storch, “The Recall of Silas Deane,” Conn. Hist. Soc, Bull., 38:30–32 [Jan. 1973])Although he arrived in Philadelphia on 12 July, carrying testimonials to his exemplary service from Vergennes and Franklin and with Gérard his assured ally, Deane's diplomatic career was effectively over (Deane Papers, 2:434–436, 445). The storm over Arthur Lee's charges centering on financial improprieties would soon break, dividing congress, complicating Franco-American relations and the conduct of the war, and destroying the careers of Deane and Lee.
3. The incredible career of Dr. Edward Bancroft as a double agent, serving Britain or the United States as his interest dictated, and his relations with Silas Deane have been well documented by Julian Boyd in “Silas Deane: Death by a Kindly Teacher of Treason?” (WMQ, 3d ser., 16:165–187,319–342, 515–550 [April, July, Oct. 1959]). Bancroft was Deane's friend, confidant, and partner in financial transactions that ranged from speculation on the London market to shipments of arms to America; and unless Deane was wholly naive, which is possible, it seems likely that he knew of or at least suspected Bancroft's ties with the British secret service. Deane's mention of Bancroft here, and description of him below as a man who “merits Your Freindship and Confidence,” thus takes on added interest and, perhaps, significance.
Despite Deane's recommendation, JA's relations with Bancroft were never close. This was not because of any suspicion by JA that Bancroft was a spy, but rather that Bancroft's speculations, keeping of a mistress, and irreligion led JA to see him as avaricious, immoral, and a man of too “irregular and excentric a Character” to be trusted (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:71–74, and note 3).
One incident, not mentioned in either his Diary or Autobiography, that may have influenced JA's attitude stemmed from Bancroft's status, with Deane and Benjamin Franklin, as a shareholder in the Vandalia Company. Bancroft apparently sought to use that association, almost certainly with Franklin's approval, to enlist JA in the Deane-Franklin-Bancroft faction (see note 5, below). According to Arthur Lee, in an entry for 25 May in his fragmentary journal for the period from that date to 4 July (MH-H: Lee Papers), “Mr. A. told me Dr. B had in the name of his Company offerd him a share in the Vandalia Company.... He refusd.” Had this offer been accepted and become known to Arthur Lee it would almost certainly have caused an irreparable split between him and JA, for it would have allied JA with the “stockjobbers” that Lee so often railed against. Perhaps more important, it would have involved JA in an enterprise against which Lee had for so long fought as the London agent for the rival Mississippi Company founded by the Lees, George Washington, and others. Indeed, the involvement of Franklin and his Paris associates in the Vandalia Company can be seen as an important reason for Lee's hostility toward them (Boyd, “Silas Deane,” WMQ, 3d ser., 16:535–537 [Oct. 1959]; Thomas Abernethy, Western Lands and the American Revolution, N.Y., 1937, p. 47, 211, 216).
4. Probably Dr. Bancroft, who, in turn, very likely informed the British.
5. That is, Arthur Lee. Deane is attempting here, as he does throughout the letter, to draw JA into the controversy { 15 } that divided the American representatives in Europe. Arising out of contrasting personalities, notions of precedence, and questions about the propriety of Deane's financial dealings, it pitted Bancroft, Deane, and Franklin against Arthur Lee, William Lee, Ralph Izard, and William Carmichael. JA noted the split in his Diary on 21 April, together with his intention of remaining above it. Years later, in his Autobiography, he wrote, “It was no part of my Business to quarrel with any one without cause, to differ with one Party or the other, or give offence to any body. But I must and would do my duty to the Public, let it give offence to whom it might” (Diary and Autobiography, 2:304–305; 4:67–69).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0008

Author: McIntosh, Peter
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-09

From Peter McIntosh

[salute] Sir

You may recolect when Onboard the Boston that Captn. Tuckar promised me payment for my Chest of Sailors Cloths which Cost me in London Twenty Two Guineas, He gave me only Ten for it and being very scarce of Money here, to carry me Home to England I got my Friend Mr. Gault to advance some for Me and by way of Payment to him I drew on Captn. Tuckar for the Ballance he owed Me say Twelve Guinas which Bill he has Refused to pay. Therefore I would not have troubled You with this providead he had acted Like a Gentleman by Keeping to his word. Mr. Gault Captain Wallas and Myself returns You our Cincear thanks for our Good Treatment when Onboard the Boston and Am with Great Respect Your Most Obedt. Servt.
[signed] Peter McIntosh1
1. Captain of the Martha, a British ship taken by the Boston during JA's passage to France. R. Gault of Ireland and Mr. Wallace of New York were passengers on the same vessel. JA described the capture and his relations with the prisoners in Diary and Autobiography, 2:285–286, 288–290; 4:15, 25–312:285–286, 288, 288–290; 4:15, 25, 26, 26–27, 28–29, 29–31. There is no indication as to the action, if any, taken by JA on McIntosh's request, which was probably enclosed in a letter of 28 April from T. T. Luetkens & Sons to JA, asking that he instruct Capt. Tucker to pay bills held by that firm (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0009

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1778-04-09 - 1778-08-24

Household Accounts of Benjamin Franklin and John Adams at Passy

    [Debit]   [Credit]1  
1778     Livs.   s   d   Livs.   s   d  
  Brought forward   11706.   18.     11418.   17.    
9 April   To Commissioners by an order upon Monsr. Grand         4800.2      
  a Commissioner to Paris   1.   10.          
10   Brunel Joiner for Work done at Passy   124.   5.          
  Baton for the hire of Carriage and Horses for B. F. 2 Months less one Day   660.            
  Coachman   3.            
  Bringing of Mr. Adams's Things from Paris   3.   12.          
15   Dr. Franklin's Shoemaker for Work brought home   36.            
16   Wheel-Wright for Work done for Mr. Deane   168.            
  Advanced Madame Lefark in Part of Account for Family Expences   240.            
  Pair of Shoe Buckles for Mr. John Adams. (Silver)   36.            
  Pair of Knee [buckles?]for Do. (Stone)   18.            
22   Advanced John Adams Esqr   480.3            
23   Wood Merchant   440.            
  Benjamin F. Baches's Schooling   451.   18.          
24   Dumont, his Wages from 10th. Decr. to 10th. April. his Allowance for Wine during that time and Washing from 10. Feb. to 10. April Likewise his Account of his Dinners, when at Paris-The whole ammounting to   174.   5.          
{ 17 } | view
  John Chandler by order of the Commissioners, to bear his Expenses to Bourdeaux   180.            
25   Made. Lefark for Washing for B. F. and Grandson from 14. Novr. to 14. March   57.   4.          
  Nine hundred Glass Bottles for the Burgundy Wine   243.            
1 May   Advanced Made. Lefark in part of Account of Family Expences   360.            
  Hire of Horses for Mr. Silas Deane (by Account)   120.            
  Hill, Taylor, the Remainder of Mr. Silas Deanes Account   278.            
4   St. Louis, his Wages &ca. from 21 March to this Day   34.   12.          
  St. Louis Account of his Dinners when obliged to dine from home   41.   18.          
  Advanced B. Franklin   72.            
6   To Commissioners by an Order upon Mr. Grand         4800.      
  Advanced Mr. John Adams   480.            
7   Paid Blondin the remainder of his Account when in the Service of Silas Deane Esqr.   414.   1.          
  Blondin´s Brother, Servant likewise of Mr. Silas Deane his Account   244.   16.          
  Mr. Silas Deanes Account with the Sadler for Work done   6.            
  B. Franklin's Account with Sadler   11.   10.          
8   Dinner for some Americans at Versailles when Mr. Adams was presented to the King   24.            
11   Mr. Holker's Account of Expences for conveying the Mocurr" rend="CSS(vertical-align: bottom)ent of General Montgomery from Paris to Rouen   184.   11.          
{ 18 } | view
12   Washerwoman   18.            
13   Advanced Me. Lefark in part of Account of Family Expences   480.            
14   Half a Pound of Sealing Wax and other Stationers Ware   6.            
15   Mr. Chaumont for I. Months hire of Carriage and Horses   336.            
18   Washing   24.            
  Passing the Ferry in going to Sourenne   16.            
19   Advanced Bn. Franklin   288.            
  Three Hatts for B. Franklins Coachman and Servants   33.            
  Stationers Ware   13.            
  Advanced Me. Lefark in part of Account of Family Expences   1200.            
21   Blank Book   4.   0.   0        
22   Maps of Europe and others   12.   10.          
30   For the keeping of the Bay Horse from 1st. March to 10th. May at 30 Sols pr. Day.   105.            
  Postage of Letters that come under Cover to Mr.Chaumont   32.            
4 June   Dennis. (the Froteur,) his Wages from 26 Novr. 77. to 26 May 78 including Wine. Washing &ca   159.   6.          
5   Advanced Me. Lefark in part of account of Family Expences   360.            
  Blondin. for I. Month in B. Franklin's Service. including Wine Washing &ca   61.   17.          
6   Dumont. his Account of Dinners. when from home. Postage of Letters. & other small Expences   44.   13.          
9   Mr. Whithall, for Books for B. Franklin   75.            
{ 19 } | view
15   To Commissioners by an Order upon M. Grand         4800.      
  Gave a poor Sailor from Dunkirk, by order of B. Franklin   6.            
  B. Franklins Shoemaker   18.            
  Advanced B. Franklin   1800.            
  Subscription for the Courier de 1'Europe   48.            
19   Paid Made. Lafark the Remainder of her Account for Family Expences from 8. of March to 8th. of this Month   2246.   15.          
  (N.B. Her providing the Family ceased the 8. Day of this Month.)              
22   Pd. Calais his Dinners when from Home, and Money he had advanced in paying Expresses to Versailles and Paris   32.   6.          
4 July   Pd. Monsr. Brillon for 5 Vol. of Atlas Maritime   120.            
5   Pd. B. Fs. Washing from 18 May to this Day   60.   7.          
9   Stationers Ware as by Account   57.   16.          
10   Pd. the Tapissier for 6 Months hire of 2 Beds and other Charges   78.            
13   La Veuve Soubrilland, Traiteur, on Account of Silas Deane   12.   11.          
  Silas Deanes Account with Blacksmith, at Passy   80.   10.          
  B. Franklins Account with Do   37.            
20   Advanced Monsr. Montaigne (Maitre D'Hotel) in Part of Account of Family Expences   288.            
22   Pd. Calais, Dinners when from home and other small Charges   48.            
{ 20 } | view
8 August   To Commissioners by an Order <from> upon M. Grand         4800.      
  Pd. M. Montaigne (Maitre d'hotel) the Family Expences from 8. June to I. July, having deducted the 288. Livs. Advanced him the 20. of June   737.   8.          
  To Do. for Postage of Letters and Expresses to Versailles and Paris from 8th. of June to 1st. July   283.   11.          
  To Do. for Family Expences from 1st. July to 1st. August   2346.   5.          
  N.B. The Dinner of the 4. July, to Celebrate American Independency, amounts to 600 Livs. 7. Sols and is included in the Above Sum.              
  M. Montaigne for Postage and Expresses from 1st. July to 1st. Agust   127.   14.          
  Pd. Dumont (on his Departure) his Wages from 10 April to 10 August. Likewise his Account of Dinners when from home and other small Expences. the whole amounting to   154.   19.          
12   Pd. Bowin, for 29 Cord of Wood, bought last June at Boulogne, at the Rate of 40 Livs. pr. Cord   1160.            
  Gave the Commis. to drink   1.   4.          
24   Pd. B. Franklin's Washer woman in part of Account   39.   15.        
    Livs. 30332.   13.     Livs. 30618.   17.    
               
  Ballance due to Commissioners   L[ivre]s 286.   4.          
Error in the Article of the 6 Feb. 78. in putting the 88 Louis in livres—having put 30 Less—Deduct 30.Errors excepted
[signed] W. T. Franklin
{ 21 }
MS (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); LbC (Adams Papers). The accounts printed here cover the first four and one-half months of JA's residence at Passy and are taken from the account book kept by William Temple Franklin from 16 Jan. 1777 to 24 Aug. 1778. Because of JA's concern about the Commissioners' expenses at Passy, which was first expressed in a letter to Benjamin Franklin of [6] Sept. (LbC, Adams Papers, not sent) and probably then taken up in private conversations, Temple Franklin delivered the account book to JA on the morning of 13 Sept. with the understanding that JA would keep the accounts in the future. JA copied Temple Franklin's figures into a Letterbook and then, with an entry for 1 Oct., began keeping the household accounts. No entries for the period from 24 Aug. to 1 Oct. have been found, apparently because during that period JA and Franklin were discussing the future form and content of the accounts (JA to Franklin, 22 Sept., LbC; Franklin to JA, 26 Sept., Adams Papers). For a complete picture of JA's and the Commissioners' expenses, the household accounts should be compared with the Commissioners' public accounts printed elsewhere in this volume under the dates of 30 March, 30 June, and 9 Aug., as well as with JA's personal accounts in Diary and Autobiography, 2:325–342.
1. In Temple Franklin's account book the debits were entered on the pages intended for credits and vice versa.
2. In the middle of the Letterbook page on which JA copied this entry, he wrote:
“Passi September 27 1778 The above order of April 9th for 4800 Livres was signed by Dr. Franklin and me, it was the first that I signed. I arrived at Paris on the Evening of the 8th of April, and the next Morning, waited on Dr. Franklin at Passi, where I have resided from that Time. The order was presented to me for signature, by the Dr., on the day of my Arrival at Passi, the following sheets contain Mr. W. T. Franklins account of the Expenditure of it, as well as of the other orders drawn Since. Copied by. John Adams.”
3. Immediately below this entry in the Temple Franklin account book JA wrote “Error 10 sous.” That is, Temple Franklin had erred in adding the sums given on that page to the amount carried over from the previous page with the result that the balance given at the bottom of the page should have been 13,477.5 livres rather than 13,477.15.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0010

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Date: 1778-04-10

The Commissioners to C. W. F. Dumas

Passy, 10 April 1778. printed: JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:44–46. Drafted by Benjamin Franklin and, according to Adams, “the only public Letter I believe which he wrote while I was with him, in that Commission,” it began by informing Dumas of Adams' arrival and reporting on his voyage. The Commissioners then noted that the appointment of a minister to the Netherlands had been moved in the congress, but had been postponed until the sentiments of the Dutch government were known in order to avoid embarrassment. They pointed to the Franco-American treaties as evidence of the stability of American independence and expressed the American desire for close, friendly relations based in part on the similarities of “Circumstances and Constitutions.” Citing the advantages to the Netherlands of engaging in commercial intercourse with the United States, the Commis• { 22 } sioners hoped that arms shipments could soon be resumed in order to remove any unfavorable impressions of Dutch intentions caused by their abrupt curtailment. Finally, the letter emphasized the strength of the Continental army and the fact that over 10,000 British troops were held prisoner.
Charles William Frederick Dumas was the American agent at The Hague and a tireless advocate of the American cause (see sketch in Diary and Autobiography, 3:9–10). The importance of this letter stems from Dumas' use of it in obedience to instructions from the Commissioners, as well as from the enclosed draft letter to the Grand Pensionary, Pieter van Bleiswyck. Dumas had advised the Commissioners to draft such a document in letters of 3 and 7 April (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:388, 391) and was here asked to approve it. See Dumas' reply of 23 April and the final version of the letter to van Bleiswyck of 28 April (both below).
The letter bears the earliest date of those copied into Lb/JA/4 (Microfilms, Reel No. 92), which contains copies of the Commissioners' official correspondence between 10 April 1778 and 12 Feb. 1779. This Letterbook was later copied by John Thaxter and sent by Adams to the president of the congress in a letter of 7 Nov. 1779 (PCC, No. 84, I). It is one of two Letterbooks in a green binding (for the second, see JA to William Vernon, 12 May, calendared below) that Adams probably obtained on 9 May when he paid for “two blank Paper Books,” apparently because the “Business of the Commission had been delayed and neglected in a manner that gave me much uneasiness” and he was determined to put its affairs in order. JA made this comment in his Autobiography immediately before inserting a letter to Bersolle of 3 May (calendared below). That letter was the first copied into this book and apparently represents Adams' initial effort to review the Commissioners' files in order to bring the record of their correspondence up to date (Diary and Autobiography, 2:327 ; 4:88). The presence in this Letterbook of a letter to Dumas of 10 April indicates that Adams decided that he should include letters sent even earlier than 3 May. This conjecture is supported by the dates, number, and order of the letters. Those for 10 (2) and 13 (5) April appear after the first and secondtwo letters of 19 May and before that of the 22d, and the first and secondtwo letters of 19 April appear between those of [16] and 23 June. This order seems to indicate that, on two occasions following the letter of 19 May, Adams decided to insert the letters that had gone out before 3 May, but managed to copy only nine. The failure of his effort can be seen in the absence of any Letterbook copies of the Commissioners' correspondence between 19 April and 3 May, although it is clear from incoming letters that they were writing; thus a portion of their correspondence for the period is probably lost. For additional information on this Letterbook, particularly its use by John Adams to record drafts of the Commissioners' correspondence and Arthur Lee's contributions, see Introduction and notes 33 and 34.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0011

Author: Vernon, William Jr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-10

From William Vernon Jr.

[salute] Sir

After having consulted Persons who are well acquainted with the Commerce of both Bourdeaux and Nants, and the principal Houses in each, I have resolved to settle in this place, and accordingly I have chosen the House of Messrs. Feyers freres, provided they will agree to receive me into their family, for I am informed it is not the custom of this House to allow their Clerks the priviledge of boarding with them, which to me would be particularly disadvantagious, for should I live at a public boarding House, it is probable there would be either English or Americans there, who would certainly prevent me from learning the Language as soon as I otherwise should; if you will take the trouble of mentioning this particular in your letter to those Gentlemen, I shall esteam it a favour; it will be my study to give them the least trouble possible and to gain the good will and regard of the family.
If they should decline to take me into their House, I imagine it would be better to look for another of reputation, than loose so principal an advantage; your advice upon this head will be gratefully acknowledged. I have the honour to be with the greatest respect your most obedient most humble Servant
[signed] William Vernon junr.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0012

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-04-10

John Bondfield to the Commissioners

[salute] Hond Sirs1

Upon Mature deliberation and the advise of Experienc'd Officers at this Port Captain Tucker has alter'd his resolution of laying the Ship a Ground, as there are proper Conveniences to heave down large Ships he has brought his Ship up to the Hulks and getting all ready to have her hove down next Week which he and the Carpenter tels me will take eight Days. I therefore hope we shall get her out of the Carpenters hands before the Easter Holidays.
The Captain has order'd the respective officers to make out their returns for the Stores wanted provissions excepted that Object entirely depending on your Honors Instructions all which will be duely Provided.2 The Schooner Ann, John Widger { 24 } from Edenton arrived at this Port the 8th Instant he left Edenton 8 March. Brings no inteligence of any Nature had only two Letters on board and no Papers he mentions the Arrival of several Ships from France at that Port but knows not the Names of Ships or Masters. A small schooner left No. Carolina with him for this Place whose Captain we hope will be more Inteligent.3
A little Jersey Privateer that has infested this Coast lately has taken two french Vessels coming from Bilboa to this Port with Tobacco.
The Officers of the Tobacco Farm Insisted of Captain Tuckers entering and Landing the Ships provission of that Article. I have waved Complying and the Officers have assented to wait for Instructions from their respective Boards on this head. In like manner permit me to request your honors Instructions for my Government in future.4
Should it be agreable that an Extra Stock of Medecines and Slops5 be shipt per the Boston as any quantity of each may be colected on Short Notice your pleasure shall be strickly adher'd too.
The Underwriters have got the premiums up to so exorbitant a Pitch that unless Government will grant a Convoy the Trade with the United States will entirely Cease.6 The premiums at present to America only are 50 per Cent consequently to cover the amount of the outfit requires an equal advance for the Insurance. Freights thereby are proportiond a vessel of two Thousand pounds Value requireing four Thousand pounds Capital that in reality four Capitals for One or Sales @ 400 per Cent will not more than realize the Outfit and the same with the return Cargoes, which returns are so uncertain that none but Men of very extensive Fortunes can embark without Risque of Failing, and the Opulent Merchants from a regular path werein their Capitals are advantageously employ'd are not very Anxious to embark where such heavy Charges lay against them,7 with humble Submission permit me to recommend your honors perticular attention to this object as a means to greatly encrease the adventures from France.
Captain Tucker has on board a quantity of Pig Iron if you approve a quantity say Twenty Ancors of proper Sizes may be purchased here very reasonably and taking out as much of the pig Iron as will nearly pay the value of the Ancors replace the object of Balast for which the Iron was put on board with good dry { 25 } Gravel. I have mentiond it to Capt. Tucker who commends the exchange.
A french Ship from the West Indies Arriv'd last night fell in with an American Twenty Gun Ship to the Eastward of Cape Finister bound for France which ship may be hourly expected in some port on this Coast. I am Your honors Most Obedient & respectful Servant
[signed] John Bondfield
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr. Bondfield Letter Ap. 10.1778”; in another hand: “John Bondfield 10 Apl.”
1. Bondfield, unaware that Silas Deane had left or that JA had arrived in Paris, indicated in the upper left corner of the first page that the letter was intended for “The Honble. Benj Franklin Silas Deane Arthur Lee Esqr.”
2. See the Commissioners to Bondfield, 15 April (below).
3. That is, will bring more intelligence. For further information on activities at Edenton, N.C., see Bondfield to the Commissioners, 12 May (below).
4. For the progress and ultimate resolution of Tucker's dispute with the Farmers General, see Vergennes to the Commissioners, 13 May; the Commissioners to Vergennes, 16 May (both below).
5. That is, cheap, ready-made clothing (OED).
6. See Commissioners to Vergennes, 19 April (below).
7. For a vessel and its cargo valued at £2,000 insurance at 50 percent would cost £1,000, and the freight would cost another £1,000, making the total cost to the owners £4,000. Thus, on a voyage to and from America, assuming that the value of the cargo and vessel remained the same on the return voyage, the total capital expenditure would be £8,000. A 400 percent return on the original investment of £2,000 would, therefore, no more than pay expenses.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0013

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1778-04-10

Benjamin Franklin and Arthur Lee to Vergennes

[salute] Sir

We1 have the Honour to acquaint your Excellency, that Mr. Adams, appointed by the Congress to replace Mr. Deane in the Commission here, is safely arrived, and purposes to wait upon you as soon as recovered a little from the Fatigue of his Voyage.2
The Ship in which he came is a Frigate of 30 Guns, belonging to the Congress. In her Passage she took a large Ship from London to New York, with a Cargo valued at 70,000 £ Sterling.
The3 Congress had resolved to detain General Bourgoyne and his Army for Breach of Capitulation; and have now in all above 10,000 Prisoners of the Enemy in their Hands.4 The Remainder of the British Troops continue closely pent up in New York and Philadelphia, and in a suffering Condition for Provisions.
Mr. Adams brings, among others, the enclos'd Resolutions of Congress, which it may be agreable to your Excellency to see.5 They will probably discourage the English Ministry in their { 26 } { 27 } Projects of tempting the Commissioners here, or the Congress there, to enter into Treaties, wherein every thing was propos'd to be granted us, except Independence. They have met with no Encouragement here, and it is from these Resolves certain they will meet with none there, especially after the Treaties come to be known, which Mr. Adams is confident will be ratified immediately.
We have the Honour to be, with the greatest Respect, Your Excellency's most obedient and most humble Servants
[signed] B Franklin
[signed] Arthur Lee
1. In the left margin opposite this point is the notation “M. francklin annonce l'arrivee” de M. Adams successeur de M. Deane et la prise d'un riche vaisseau anglois.”
2. JA commented at length on his first meeting with Vergennes, which took place on 11 April. The visit was perhaps hastened when JA learned, at dinner on 10 April, that Vergennes was surprised that JA had not called on him immediately upon his arrival at Paris (Diary and Autobiography, 2:298–299; 4:47–48).
3. In the left margin opposite this point is the notation “resolution du Congrès du retenir prisonniers le Gl. Burgoyne et son armèe.”
4. See James Lovell to JA, 1 Jan., note 2 (above).
5. Probably those of 22 Nov. 1777, which James Lovell cited in his letter to JA of the same date and quoted in another letter to JA of 1 Dec. 1777 (both above).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0014

Author: Tucker, Samuel
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-11

Samuel Tucker to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

These may serve to inform your Honours of my present Situation, and how far advance'd, in Readiness; I am at the Pantoon1 and shall Careene my Ship on Tuesday next, and Expect by the last of the Week to have her finished as to heaving down; after that I hope in a short Time to be prepared for Sea. My Ship and Riging being so much shatered, it will take me some Time longer then I imaganed to get in Readiness, but having a Gentleman (John Brondfield Esqr.) to apply to who exerts himself in every Measure for the befenfit of the Ship will Expedite my geting ready. I hope your Honours may have Dispatchd Capt. Palmes before this comes to Hand.2 I should be extremely happy to hear from Paris. There is a small Schooner arrived here from Charlestown South Carolina, thirty Days passage, I've had a short Conversation with him, he brings us nothing new about our { 28 } American Affairs, we have it here that four Days Past a Guernsey Privatere took two Spaniars from Bilboa and one small Brig from Bayone off the Mouth of this River. I've nothing more to add at Present, but Remain with the Greatest Respect, Your Honours Obedient Humble Servent
[signed] Saml Tucker
1. That is, a pontoon or large flat-bottomed barge equipped with cranes, capstans, and tackle and used for careening ships (OED).
2. This is Richard Palmes, captain of the marines on the Boston (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:290, note 1). The Commissioners acknowledged the receipt of this letter and reported the departure of Capt. Palmes in a letter to Tucker of 15 April (RC, MH-H:Tucker Papers; Dft, Adams Papers—both in JA's hand).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0015

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Mercklé, Johannes P.
Date: 1778-04-13

Benjamin Franklin and John Adams to J. P. Mercklé

Passy, 13 April 1778. printed: JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:52. In replying to Mercklé's letter of 26 March (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:382), the Commissioners stated their desire to have nothing further to do with his affairs.
Mercklé, described by JA as “a Dutchman and another Adventurer, who applied to Us for Assistance, without any fair Claim to it,” in May 1776 had applied to the congress and apparently convinced the Committee of Commerce to allow him to act as a commercial agent in Europe (Diary and Autobiography, 4:53; JCC, 4:403; Samuel Flagg Bemis, “Secret Intelligence, 1777: Two Documents,” Huntington Library Quarterly, 24:239 [May 1961]). By April 1778 the Commissioners had concluded that Mercklé was unfit to serve the United States in any capacity (Silas Deane to the Committee of Secret Correspondence, 10 Jan. 1777; Arthur Lee to Richard Henry Lee, 6 March 1777, Deane Papers, 1:455; 2:21; Commissioners to the Committee of Secret Correspondence, 17 Jan., 4 March, 7 Oct. 1777, Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:248, 278,405). For Mercklé's reply and his effort to influence JA in his favor, see 27 April (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0016

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Ross, John
Date: 1778-04-13

The Commissioners to John Ross

Passy, 13 April, 1778. printedJA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:50–51. In replying to a letter from Ross (not found) requesting compensation for monies spent and the return of papers taken by William Lee from the estate of Thomas Morris, who had died on 31 Jan., the Commissioners noted that Lee's being in Germany made it impossible to deal with the question of the papers, and they requested that Ross put his accounts in order and submit them at once.
John Ross, originally from Scotland and later a Philadelphia merchant and sometime agent of Willing, Morris & Co., had been em• { 29 } ployed by the Commissioners to produce clothing and munitions at Nantes (Papers of Robert Morris, ed. E. James Ferguson, Pittsburgh, 1973– , 1:169). For additional details concerning this increasingly bitter dispute, see the Commissioners to Ross, 3 May (calendared below), and Ross' letters to the Commissioners of 18 Aug., note 3 and references there (below), and of 8 Oct. (ViU: Lee Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0017

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Tucker, Samuel
Date: 1778-04-13

The Commissioners to Samuel Tucker

[salute] Sir

We duely received your Letter, dated at Bourdeaux the 1st. Instant,1 and congratulate you, on your Safe Arrival, as well as on your good Fortune in taking, the Ship Martha, which We wish Safe to Port.
We approve of your Zeal and Industry in taking upon you to get the Frigate, as far in Readiness as possible, for the Sea, during the Absence of Captain Palmes.
As the Number of your Men, has been reduced to So small a Compliment, We recommend to you to engage as many, at Bourdeaux by honourable Means, as possible, and proceed to Sea.
If your ship was fully manned, and in all Respects fitted for such a Cruise, We should recommend to you to take a Voyage towards the Entrance of the Baltic,2 or some other distant Seas, where the Ships Company might have an opportunity, of making ample Profits to themselves, as well as acquiring the Honour of Serving their Country in her most essential Interests, by Striking an important Blow to her Enemies. But We leave this entirely to your Discretion, as We do also an attempt to take or destroy any considerable Part of the Enemies Fishery at the Banks of Newfoundland, or any of the Seas adjacent.
Having mentioned these Things, We leave it entirely to your own Judgment, to plan your Voyage homewards, and to touch at such Ports as you shall think necessary, in France, Spain, the West India Islands or North America,3 recommending it to you to do every Thing in your Power, to take as many Prizes as possible, and to get into safe Ports as many as you can man, and destroy all others. You are to be carefull to make Prisoners of all officers Passengers and seamen, who are British subjects on Board the Vessells you may take,4 and transport them to America, that they may be exchanged for our brave, but unfortunate Brethren, in the Hands of the Enemy.
{ 30 }
We recommend Mr. M. Livingston as your first Lieutenant,5 if upon Examination you find no Objection to him: the other Places you will fill up as you think best for the Service.
You will take particular Care that these orders may not, in Case of Misfortune which God forbid, fall into the Hands of the Enemy. We wish you, a prosperous Voyage and are, sir, your humble servants
[signed] B Franklin
[signed] Arthur Lee
[signed] Adams, John
RC (MH-H: Tucker Papers); LbC and Dft (Adams Papers). All are in JA's hand with the exception of one paragraph in the Dft, noted below, that was probably by Arthur Lee. The Dft is docketed: “Copy of Captn. Tuckers orders.”; in another hand: “Copy of Capt Tuckers Orders Passy Apl. 78.” The Dft was originally dated and filmed under [15] April (Microfilms, Reel No. 349).
1. In that letter Tucker reported his arrival, requested orders, and stated his need to appoint additional lieutenants (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:386).
2. In the draft, before deletions and interlineations were made, this passage read: “a Voyage to the Baltic.”
3. In the draft, before deletions and interlineations, the clause beginning with “and” read to this point: “and to follow your own judgement.”
4. The draft lacked the phrase restricting the taking of prisoners to British subjects.
5. The Commissioners' formal recommendation of Livingston was dated 19 April (MH-H: Tucker Papers, not printed here). For JA's opinion of Muscoe Livingston as 1st lieutenant of the Boston and Tucker's report on the position that Livingston ultimately accepted, see JA to Samuel Tucker, 29 April, and Samuel Tucker to the Commissioners, 29 April (both below). In the draft this whole paragraph is almost certainly in the hand of Arthur Lee.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0018

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Williams, Jonathan
Date: 1778-04-13

The Commissioners to Jonathan Williams

Passy, 13 April 1778. printed: JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:51. The Commissioners informed Williams, Benjamin Franklin's greatnephew and American commercial agent at Nantes (see sketch in Diary and Autobiography, 2:228), that because their funds were low Williams was to expend no further monies and that he was to close his accounts “for the present.” The Commissioners enclosed a copy of an agreement with Mr. Mercier, but reported that no record of an agreement between Silas Deane and Monthieu could be found.
The Commissioners were probably answering Williams' letter of 31 March (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:386). The effort to end Williams' activities and settle his accounts dragged into August, involving him in a bitter dispute with Arthur Lee that led to a complete break between the two men. See Williams to the Commissioners, 18, 28 April; the Commissioners to Williams, 25 May (calendared); Arthur Lee to JA, 5 July, 7 Aug.; and Benjamin Franklin and JA to Ferdinand Grand, [10 July] (all below).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0019

Author: Coffyn, Francis
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-13

Francis Coffyn to the Commissioners

[salute] Hond. Gentlemen

Craving your referrence to the letter I had the honnor of writing to you yesterday, I take the liberty to inclose a Copy of an other of same date which I address'd to Mr. Silas Dean,1 as I have this day learn'd from M. Nesbitt2 that said Gentleman has left Paris; I humbly beg you would be pleased to give me your Sentiments on the contents, and confirm the orders which Mr. Dean has formerly given me in your name, to provide for the american prisonners and Seamen which may in future arrive here, and likewise mention wether I may continue to value on Mr. Grand the money I have allready disburs'd and may advance hereafter. Interim give me leave to congratulate your Hble. Colleague Mr. Adams on his Safe arrival in France, hopeing that he will be pleased to favour me with the Same confidence you have honnor'd me with, which I shall ever Strive to merit by the respectfull Sentiments with which I have the honnor to remain Hond. Gentlemen Your most obedt. and most devoted Humble Servant
[signed] Frans. Coffyn
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “To the Hble. Dr. Benj. Franklin, Arthur Lee, & Adams Esqrs. at Passy”; docketed: “Coffyn Frans. 13. April 1778.”
1. The letter from Coffyn to the Commissioners has not been found, but the copy of his letter to Silas Deane, which he enclosed, is in the Franklin Papers (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 4:255).
Francis Coffyn, merchant and American agent at Dunkirk, was described by Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to John Jay dated 14 Nov. 1788, as “an American, and good man, appointed by Doctr. Franklin” (Jefferson, Papers, 14:60). JA may have dined with Coffyn on 10 May, for although JA does not name him in his Diary entry for that day, William Greene, whom JA does mention, records in his travel journal Coffyn's presence (Diary and Autobiography, 2:311; MHS, Procs., 54 [1920–1921]: 104).
2. Very likely Jonathan Nesbitt, banker at Lorient and associate of Silas Deane, who had landed at Dunkirk in 1775 (Wyoming Historical and Geological Society [Penna.], Proceedings and Collections, 8 [1902–1903]:221, note 100).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0020

Author: Champagne, J. C.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-14

From J. C. Champagne

[salute] Sir

Beg leave to Congratulate you on your Safe Arrival to Paris and on the Satisfactory Reception you must have met-with at our Court. I hope you Enjoy good health Such as I Sincerely wish you and your Dear Chield my particullar Attachment for you and to all the Noble Heads of your Cawse is Inexplicable, Shall { 32 } Never Cease my Vows to the Lord for the Preservation of your Healths and the Success of the United States Arms. God Send us all Peace and Tranquillity. I remain with the most Respectfull Sentiments, sir Your Assured & most Devowed huml Servant
[signed] J. C. Champagne Ainé
P.S. Mr. John Bonfield and two houses More are doing all they Can to depraive me of American Buisness down here, no Man Certainly is fitter for it or Can be a more faithfull Wellwisher of their Cawse than the Writer, (but who is he that has not his troubles) however I have hitherto transacted all what has offer'd and hope that my Principles and Abillitys will Spake for it Self. Some take Great Peans to make me Out an English man others an Irish man, the fact is that I am a french man from Generation to Generation my Rank here is as a Magistrat of this town Voted by a patent of his Magesty Louis the 15th. dated 16. October 1773. &c. Beg leave to present you the Above for Your Government. Captain Tucker is for Employing me Comming Down. Mr. Bonfield to the Contrary is Using all means possible he should not,1 one word from you to Captain Tucker would Settle it.2
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Monsieur Monsieur Jean Adams Deputé des Etats Unis de Lamerique Dans Son hotel A Paris”; stamped: “BLAYE”; docketed: “Mr. J. C. Champagnes Letter to me. Ap. 14. 1778”; in another hand: “J C Champayne Blaye 14 Apl.” The first “Monsieur” has a large “W” written across it, perhaps an effort at deletion.
1. That is, Bondfield is endeavoring to see that Tucker does not employ Champagne, a ship broker. Comma editorially supplied. JA met Champagne on 1 April when he came aboard the Boston, which on its arrival in French waters had notified the castle at Blaye, a town a short distance northeast of Bordeaux on the Gironde (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:293; 4:34).
2. Apparently JA took no action on this letter, but Champagne wrote again on 2 May (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0021

Author: Caille, Stephen d'Audibert
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-14

Stephen d'Audibert Caille to the Commissioners

Cadiz, 14 April 1778. RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers). This letter, addressed to Franklin, Deane, and Lee, was docketed by JA: “Memoire Mr. Daudibert Caille. to be sent to the Emperor of Morocco.” Caille proposed that he be authorized to conclude an agreement with the Emperor of Morocco “aux mêmes conditions que plusieurs autres Puissances l'ont faitte avec ce Souverain” to protect American ships and seamen while also promoting trade.
Caille was appointed consul for foreign nations by the Emperor in 1778 and, ca. 1785, William Carmichael apparently empowered him to act as American correspondent in Morocco (John Jay to the president { 33 } of the congress, 30 Nov. 1780, and enclosures, Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:169–174; Caille to Benjamin.Franklin, 6 July 1784; and to William Carmichael, ca. 1785, Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 3:201;4:327).
Although there is no evidence that any action was taken on this letter, relations with the states of North Africa were important in regard to American Mediterranean trade and had been dealt with in both the Treaty Plan of 1776 and the Franco-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce of 1778. It was not, however, until ratifications of the Franco-American treaties were formally exchanged on 17 July that the Commissioners concerned themselves with the question. Then they invoked Article 8 of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce, which required the King of France to use his good offices with the Emperor of Morocco and other North African rulers. Not until 1786 did the United States negotiate a treaty with Morocco (vol. 4:292; Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:8–9, 185–227; Ralph Izard to the Commissioners, 25 Aug.; the Commissioners to Izard, 25 Aug.; and the Commissioners to Vergennes, 28 Aug., all below).
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0022

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Date: 1778-04-14

John Bondfield to Benjamin Franklin and Arthur Lee

Bordeaux, 14 April 1778. RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers). Bondfield, still unaware that JA was at Paris, gave general shipping information, noted Capt. Tucker's exertions to prepare the Boston for sea, and commented on the stagnation of Franco-American trade that would continue “until War is declared or Peace is establish'd.”
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0023

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Bondfield, John
Date: 1778-04-15

The Commissioners to John Bondfield

[salute] Sir

We had this Moment the Pleasure of your Letter of the 10. Instant.
You will please to furnish Captain Tucker, all such necessary Provisions for his future Voyage, as he shall require, recommending to him at the same Time, as much Frugality as may consist with the public service.
We approve of your Proposal of exchanging the Ballast of Pigg Iron for Anchors as these are much wanted in America.
We should Advise you to ship on Board the Boston a Chest of Medicines, and slops for the Use of the ships Company, acquainting Captn. Tucker with the Prices that he may know how the Sailors are to be charged.
The other subject of your Letter shall be, attended to as soon as may be.1 We are &c.
{ 34 }
Dft (Adams Papers); docketed in an unknown hand: “Copy of a Letter to Mr Bondfield 15 Apl.”
1. See the Commissioners to Vergennes, 19 April (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0024-0001

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-15

Vergennes to the Commissioners

J ai lhonneur de vous renvoyér Messieurs, LEcrit Anglois et La lettre de Votre ami que vous m'avés fait Communiquér par M. de Sartine.1 Votre Correspondant Le qualifie exactement Lors qu'il le declare impolitique quant a la france et malignement insidieux par raport aux Etats unis de I amerique; Sous quelque Sens qu on Examine les Ecris, on decouvre par tout l'intention de vous séparér de vos amis. Le Congrès saura Surement Eviter un Ecueil Si propre a rendre votre independance au moins precaire.
Je suis bien mortifié, Messieurs, de ne m Etre pas rencontré avant hier chez moi Lors que vous m'avés fait lhonneur d'y passér pour me remettre le plein pouvoir de M. Adams.2 J'ai lhonneur dEtre avec une tres parfaite Consideration Messieurs, Votre tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur.
[signed] De Vergennes

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0024-0002

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-15

The Comte de Vergennes to the Commissioners: A Translation

I have the honor to return to you the English document and your friend's letter which you communicated to me through M. de Sartine.1 Your correspondent is quite right in declaring it undiplomatic toward France and maliciously insidious toward the United States of America. Whichever way one interprets these documents, the intent of alienating your friends from you seems all pervasive. The congress will no doubt know how to avoid a stumbling-block which would make your independence precarious at best.
I am very sorry, sirs, that I was not at home two days ago, when I had the honor of your visit to present Mr. Adams' letters of credence.2 I have the honor to be with a very perfect consideration, sirs, your very humble and very obedient servant.
[signed] De Vergennes
RC (MB: Chamberlain Collection); docketed: “On the admission of vessels of war etc.” The docketing may be an inadvertence since it bears little resemblance to the content of the letter. It would seem more applicable to the letter from John Bondfield on 18 April or from Sartine on 26 April (both below).
1. Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de Sartine, comte d'Alby (1729–1801), French Minister of Marine, 1774–1780 (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale). The Adams Papers Editorial Files identify 61 letters exchanged between 26 April and 22 Dec. 1778. For a favorable evaluation of Sartine as Minister of Marine, see Dull, { 35 } French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 14–15.
The letter and document mentioned by Vergennes have not been identified.
2. For JA's account of his visit to Versailles on 13 April and the presentation of his credentials, in the absence of Vergennes, to Joseph Mathias Gérard de Rayneval, Vergennes' secretary and the brother of Conrad Alexandre Gérard, see Diary and Autobiography, 2:300–301; 4:56–57.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0025

Author: Deane, Simeon
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-16

Simeon Deane to the Commissioners

[salute] Honorable Gentlemen

I have the Pleasure to inform you of my arrival here yesterday in the Frigate Le Sensible and do this day set out for Congress.1 It would be with much satisfaction could I write whatever News may be now Current—but the short Time I am here (previous to my departure) gives me no Opportunity of very particular enquiry, further than that no very Considerable Transaction between the Two Armies has lately occurred.
The Continental Fleet which left France in Febry. last we have not yet any intelligence of2—nor of Captn. Courter from Spain.3
Chevalier Marigny being very apprehensive of the British Cruizers who are so plenty here is desirous of leaving this Place as soon as possible, for which reason am not able to be more particular in my Intelligence.
I beg leave to observe in behalf of that worthy Officer that I have experienced the utmost Politeness and Civility from him as well as the other Officers of the Frigate.
From Boston I shall send to this Port (Express) if any thing particular occur and hope to be in Season for the Ship. I am happy to inform your Honors that I hear the Spirits of the People are very high and I make no Doubt the good News which I have the Honor to be bearer of will give the greatest Satisfaction.
I must at the same time add that a report prevails that Quebeck is in our Hands by a revolution in Canada. As the News is not yet Confirmed I have desired the Gentlemen of the Committee here to write if they obtain any further Intilligence which may be authentick—and Inclose it (if in Season by this Frigate) To the Hon. Commissioners at Paris. I am, Honorable Gentlemen, your most Obedient & most devoted Servant
[signed] Simeon Deane
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honorable The Commissioners for the United States of North America at Versailles"; docketed: “M. Simeon Deane Falmouth Ap. 16. 1778”
{ 36 }
1. Simeon Deane, Silas Deane's brother, was dispatched in early January on the frigate Belle-Poule, which had been alerted to be ready for his use, with news of the preliminaries and imminent signing of the Franco-American treaties. Beset by bad weather and storm damage, Deane was forced to return to France and by late February was again in Paris, where he received copies of the treaties signed in his absence. Setting out again, he departed from Brest on 8 March in the Sensible. From Casco Bay, Deane traveled overland through Boston and finally arrived, on 2 May, at York, Penna., where the congress had its first reading of the treaties the same evening (Boston Gazette, 20 April; Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 93; Silas Deane to Conrad Alexandre Gerard, 1 March, Deane Papers, 2:385; JCC, 11:417–418; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 3:214–215).
2. Probably the fleet under Capt. La Motte-Picquet that reportedly was intended to convoy several transports carrying military supplies during the initial stages of their voyage to America, and which sailed from Quiberon Bay about a week before the departure of Simeon Deane and the Sensible (Boston Gazette, 20 April).
3. Capt. Harmon Courter was the original instrument by which the signed treaties were to reach America. The return of Simeon Deane, however, presented a second opportunity and, as luck would have it, Deane arrived at the congress first. Courter sailed in the French frigate Nymphe, Capt. Senneville, from La Coruña, Spain, in mid-March, arriving at Boston on 5 May and at York, Penna., on the 18th (Gérard, Despatches and Instructions, p. 141, note 4; Silas Deane to Courter, 17 Feb.; Courter to Deane, 13 March, Deane Papers, 2:370–371,406–407; Courter to Benjamin Franklin, 5 May, Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:413; Boston Gazette, 11 May; James Lovell to Benjamin Franklin, 20 June, Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:626–627).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0026

Author: Lovell, James
Author: Continental Congress, Foreign Affairs Committee
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-16

The Foreign Affairs Committee to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

This, with my affectionate wishes for your prosperity, may serve to acquaint you that Congress has this day resolved “That William Bingham Esqr. agent of the United States of America, now resident in Martinico, be authorized to draw bills of exchange at double usance on the Commissioners of the United States at Paris for any sums not exceeding in the whole one hundred thousand livres tournois, to enable him to discharge debts by him contracted on account of the said states, for which draughts he is to be accountable.”1
Mr. Bingham will forward the American Gazettes with this billet of advice, and tell you why we have enabled him to draw upon you when we have stores of produce laid up in magazines for exportation.2 He will also inform you of our anxiety to know something of your proceedings and prospects, an uncommon fatality having attended your dispatches ever since the month of may last. I am, with much esteem Gentlemen, Your very humb: Servt.
[signed] James Lovell for the Commttee. for for: Affairs
{ 37 }
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “Honble Commissioners of the United States of America Paris”; docketed: “Mr Lovell”; in another hand: “Mr. Lovell April 16. 1778”; Dupl (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “Mr. Lovel. Ap. 16. 1778”; FC, designated Instruction No. 5 (PCC, No. 79,1).
1. This information, taken directly from the Journals, was sent to Bingham on the same date (JCC, 10:356; PCC, No. 79, I). “Double usance” meant twice the time normally allowed for the payment of bills of exchange (OED).
William Bingham had been the British consul at St. Pierre, Martinique, from 1770 to 1776, when he became the continental agent, serving in that post until 1780 (DAB; for further information on Bingham, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:149, note 1).
2. See Bingham to the American Commissioners, 29 May (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0027

Author: Belton, Joseph
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-17

Joseph Belton to the Commissioners

[salute] Worthey Gentlemen

Being unforunately, on a Voyge from Baltimore to Charles Town, in January last, disabled at sea, through stress of Weather, which occasion'd my faling into the hands of Capt. Man, and carried into Dover in England, and sent on Board the guard Ship in the Downs, a Prisoner, from Whence at length I obtaind my liberty by an order from the board of Admiralty, And being in an enimies Countery, and antious to return to my friends, I fled into this, in the condition of most prisoners, empty in purs (at least of such currency as passes here,) and bairly Cloath'd, relying on the friends of Ameria for assistance; Which I hope worthey Gentlemen you will find it convenient to affoard me assistance, by granting me the lone of about Fifteen Guines, which I will become Obligated to discharge upon my first arrivel in America, or will give a bill upon my Father who resides in the State of Connecticut, and will call upon the thirteen united states as an endorser to the bill, that is I will deposit as much of the States Currency as shall be equivalent to an endorser. Your Assistance worthey Gentlemen will be esteemed as a favour by a Native of Groton in the State of Connecticut, North America, who is Your Most Obedient Humble Servant
[signed] Joseph Belton1
RC (Adams Papers); addressed at the head of the letter: “To the Honourable Embassedors from the United States of North America, now resideing at Passey in France.”
1. Although little is known about Belton, the Commissioners may have taken action on his request for funds, for on 13 Feb. 1779 he sent Benjamin Franklin a receipt for 50 guineas in payment for a public service performed by him. In addition, Jonas Belton of Groton wrote to Joseph Belton on 30 March 1780, expressing a desire for his return to America and stating that he had learned of Joseph's situation from JA (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 2:23; 4:304).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0028

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-18

John Bondfield to the Commissioners

[salute] Hon Sirs

Yesterday Monsr. Le Comte de Fumel Governor of the Castle call'd at my Lodgings to inform me that Monsieur De Sartine in answer to the Letter he wrote had sent him Instructions to pay all the Honors due to Ships of War of forreign States to the Boston Frigate and to every other Vessel belonging and in the Service of the United States of America, requesting I would give him Notice before the Frigate Sails that he may prepare the return due to her Salute.1
Her Carreen will be finish'd this Evening. The Holidays will break in a little on the other workmen but shall be attentive to get every part executed with dispatch, we are without any Arrivals on this Coast since I had the Honor to write you Last. I am with due Respect your honors Most Obedient Servant
[signed] John Bondfield
1. Bondfield had written to the Commissioners on 6 April, reporting that the Boston's salute to the castle at Bordeaux had not been returned because the officials there had received no instructions (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:390). On receiving the letter of the 6th and unaware that instructions had already been sent, the Commissioners apparently wrote to Sartine on 20 April (not found) about the matter, to which Sartine replied on 26 April (below).
Since exchange of salutes was an attribute of sovereignty, it is understandable that the authorities at Bordeaux without approval of the French government hesitated to take an action that could be interpreted as recognition of American independence. To a degree, however, the question was moot, for on 14 and 15 Feb., at Quiberon Bay, the Ranger and Independence had exchanged salutes, as had the privateer General Mifflin, at Brest, in the summer of 1777. Moreover, American ships had exchanged salutes at St. Croix and St. Eustatius as early as 1776, the latter incident provoking sharp British protests and ultimately the recall of the island's governor (Allen, Naval Hist. of the Amer. Revolution, 1:159–160, 280–281, 338–341; Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 128–130; Bemis, Diplomacy of the Amer. Revolution, p. 122–123).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0029

Author: Williams, Jonathan
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-18

Jonathan Williams to the Commissioners

Your Excellencies favour of the 13 Instant I have duely received. You may depend that I shall not make any new Engagements without your express Orders. I apprehend I shall very soon satisfy every demand on the public Account, 'till when I must beg a Continuation of your Approbation of my Drafts on Mr. Grand. Had I not been prevented by Illness my Accounts { 39 } would have been at present before you. I hope in about a Fortnight or three Weeks to lay them before you in person.
I have hitherto employed the Workmen in repairing those of the Arms that required the least Repair, judging that their Value in America depended on their speedy arrival, and by this means I have now between 3 and 400 Cases ready. To finish the whole number compleat would I suppose require at least 2 Years. I have about 40 Men at Work every Day, and I pay them every monday morning, were the operation to be stopped, all these men must be sent at your Expence to their own Homes which are principaly at Leige about 200 Leagues from this, and the arms to remain in their present State would not be worth anything to the public; indeed if we can't find some method of sending them to America, they can do the Public as little good when repaired. When I come to Paris I will give you the best Information on this1 and many other Subjects which the sudden Departure of Mr. Deane may render necessary: During his presence you could be well informed of all that is transacted here. I will try to get Freight on board the American Vessells, but do not expect to do much at present.
I beg Mr. Adams' acceptance of my Congratulations on his safe arrival. I have the honour to be with the greatest Respect Your Excellencies most obedient & most humble Servant
[signed] Jona Williams
P.S. The Letter on the other side was intended for the last Post, but was unfortunately too late. I have nothing new to communicate to your Excellencies and have the Honour to be as before.
[signed] JW
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “Letter from Mr. J. Williams 18 Ap. 1778”; in another hand: “Jon Williams Nantes 18 Apl 1778.”
1. For the outcome of this controversy, see Williams to the Commissioners, 3 July (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0030

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Conyngham, Gustavus
Date: 1778-04-19

The Commissioners to Gustavus Conyngham

[salute] Sir

We have received a Complaint from the remaining Part of your Officers and Crew, of an unfair distribution of Prize Money by Mr. Hodge.1 To prevent any Such Complaints in future, We { 40 } desire that you will put your Prizes into the Hands of Messieurs Gardoqui at Bilboa,2 and into those of the Principal Merchant at Cadiz or Corogne [Coruña],3 directing them to make a Speedy Distribution of the Prize-Money, among the Crew and Account to Us for the public Part. You will inform Us, at the Same Time of their Contents and what they are supposed to be worth.
We wish to have, immediately an Account of what you have hither to taken, their Supposed Value and to whom committed. You will use your utmost Endeavours to make up your Crew and taking a Cruise where you can with Safety, come to Bourdeaux, Brest or Nantes. We can there examine into your Disputes and settle your future Establishment, with much more ease and Effect. When you make a Prize, you should take Copies of her Bills of loading, or an Inventory of her Contents, by Sending Us copies of which We can check the Merchants Accounts and prevent any Impositions.
You will inform your ships Company of the Directions We have given to provide for their Satisfaction in future and We wish to be favoured with a Copy of your Commission. We are sir, your most obedient, humble servants
[signed] B Franklin
[signed] Arthur Lee
[signed] John Adams
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “To Captn Cunningham of the Revenge at Cadiz.” RC containing only the two final paragraphs and closing, both in JA's hand, and the signatures (Musée de Blérancourt, Blérancourt, France); docketed: “B. Franklin & Arthur Lee J Adams Letter Le Captn Connynham of the Revenge.”
1. Gustavus Conyngham, captain of the Continental cutter Revenge and earlier of the lugger Surprize, both fitted out by William Hodge Jr. at Dunkirk in 1777, had terrorized the Irish and North Sea coasts of Britain since May 1777. Forced to avoid French ports because of British protests and France's desire not to provoke Britain too far, Conyngham at the time of this letter was cruising out of Spanish ports. Between July 1777 and Feb. 1779, when Conyngham returned to America, the Revenge captured 27 English vessels and burned 33 more, making it one of the most successful American naval vessels of the Revolution (Cruises of Conyngham, ed. Neeser, p. xxx–xlvi). No letter from the crew has been found, but see the Commissioners to John Hodge, 19 April, and William Hodge Jr. to the Commissioners, 10 July (both below).
2. Joseph Gardoqui & Sons, who were engaged in the American trade and acted as American commercial agents at Bilbao. For further information about the firm and JA's relations with it, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:431; Adams Family Correspondence, 3:xiv–xv.
3. Almost certainly Lassore & Co. in Cadiz and Lagoanere & Co. of La Coruña (Lagoanere & Co. to Lassore & Co., 28 Nov. 1777, Cruises of Conyngham, p. 115).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0031

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Hodge, John William
Date: 1778-04-19

The Commissioners to John [William?] Hodge

[salute] Sir

We find by our Bankers Account that you1 have received upwards of one hundred Thousand Livres of the public Money, for which there is no account from you among the Papers left by Mr Deane.
Captain Cunningham of the Revenge writes Us,2 that you have claimed that Vessell as the Property of Mr Ross and you, and under your Direction. It appears too, as well by a Letter from the Merchant at Corogne3 into whose Hands the Prizes made by that ship were put, as by one dated from thence and Signed by the Remainder of the Crew, that you have assumed to yourself the Produce of those Prizes, and the Distribution, of the Prize Money. In the Execution of this, the ships Company, complains of great Injustice; and that in Consequence of your Conduct, the Vessell is almost entirely abandoned.
We wish to hear you, before We determine upon the justice of these Complaints and the Propriety of your Proceedings. We therefore desire to have your State of the Matter, and the orders under which you Act, as soon as possible. The Vessell being confessedly half public Property. We shall direct Captain Conyngham touching his future Conduct. It is our desire that the full Prize Money be distributed among the remaining Officers Seamen and Marines, and who engage to abide by the Vessel, without any Deductions, or Reservations, that are not clearly just. We, are, &c.
1. Despite the notation in JA's Letterbook that this letter was meant for “Mr John Hodge at Cadiz,” the recipient's copy may have been addressed to John and William Hodge or to the latter only. This is because the letter, part of the Commissioners' effort to unravel Silas Deane's tangled financial dealings, was answered by William Hodge on 10 July (below) in terms clearly suggesting that he was the intended recipient. In addition, the letter's substance, the request to Hodge to justify expenditures as Deane's agent and clarify the ownership of the cutter Revenge, directly concerned the activities of William Hodge, not those of his brother. An examination of accounts submitted by Ferdinand Grand to the Commissioners on 10 June 1777 and 24 Jan. 1778 (MH-H: Lee Papers) indicates that in the process Hodge spent 92,435.12.3 livres or, in 1775 equivalents, £3,940, which had been supplied by Deane (John J. McCusker, ed., Money and Exchange in Europe and America, 1600–1775, Chapel Hill, 1978, p. 312). See Arthur Lee's calculations on the back of a letter from Sartine of 26 April (below) and Hodge's own statement of receipts and expenditures enclosed in his letter of 10 July (below, note 2).
2. Not found, but see Commissioners to Gustavus Conyngham, 19 April (above).
3. Not found, but probably from Lagoanere & Co. (same, note 3).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0032

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1778-04-19

The Commissioners to Vergennes

[salute] Sir

By sundry Letters from Merchants of Bourdeaux and Nantes,1 we are inform'd, that many Adventures to America are discouraged by the high Price of Insurance, and the Number of Captures made by the English, which together have an Operation almost equal to an Embargo; so that the Commerce which might be so advantageous, to both Countries, by supplying their mutual Wants, is obstructed, and the Intention of the late Treaty in a great Degree defeated.
Convoys that might secure the Merchant Ships from the Depredation of the Enemy; would immediately remove these Impediments, and open a considerable Commerce which waits only for that Protection. We therefore most earnestly entreat your Excellency, to procure the appointment of such Convoys for the Trade from Bourdeaux and Nantes to the United States, as his Majesty, in his Wisdom, shall deem sufficient. We have the Honour to be with the most distinguished Respect, Your Excellency's most obedient humble Servants
[signed] B Franklin
[signed] Arthur Lee
[signed] John Adams
1. The letter from Bordeaux was that from John Bondfield to the Commissioners of 10 April, which had been answered on 15 April (both above). The letters from Nantes were probably those of 9 April from Jonathan Williams to Benjamin Franklin and “The Captains of American Merchant Vessels at Nantes and Neighboring Ports” to the Commissioners (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:392–393).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0033-0001

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-20

Vergennes to the Commissioners

J'ai recû, Messieurs, la Lettre que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'ecrire hier, pour representer l'interet dont il seroit d'assurer pardes Convoys le depart de vos batimens paur L'Amerique. Cet objet regardant uniquement, M. de Sartine, je vais lui faire passér la traduction de votre Lettre, et je Serai tres empressé, a vous faire Part de Sa Reponse.2 J'ai l honneur d'etre avec une tres parfaite Consideration, Messieurs, Votre tres humble et tres obeissant Serviteur.
[signed] De Vergennes

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0033-0002

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-20

The Comte de Vergennes to the Commissioners: A Translation

I received, gentlemen, the letter that you did me the honor to write yesterday pointing out the advantages of providing convoys for the security of your vessels leaving for America. This matter concerns M. de Sartine only, I am therefore forwarding a translation of your letter to him and will send you his reply without delay.2 I have the honor to be with very perfect consideration, sirs, your very humble and very obedient servant.
[signed] De Vergennes
1. This letter bears the earliest date of those copied into Lb/JA/6 (Microfilms, Reel No. 94) and represents part of JA's effort to bring order to the Commissioners' affairs. This Letterbook contains 41 letters from Vergennes and Sartine, between 20 April 1778 and 9 Jan. 1779. This and two other Letterbooks (Lb/JA/7 and 8, Microfilms, Reel Nos. 95, 96) were purchased from the stationer Cabaret, “Au Griffon Rue de Bussy,” probably in late May and may have been among the “few necessary Books” paid for by JA on 23 May (Diary and Autobiography, 2:328). For a reproduction of Cabaret's elegant trade card, appearing inside of the front covers of the Letterbooks, see Diary and Autobiography, 2:facing 291.
JA's failure to copy letters in chronological order until after 14 July and his leaving 34 pages blank preceding the first letter copied probably indicate that by mid-July he decided to record letters received from Vergennes and Sartine and to review the Commissioners' files and copy other letters previously received. His intention was not, however, realized, for many such letters were not copied. In writing his Autobiography, JA consulted a number of the letters contained in this Letterbook and incorporated them into the text, often as English translations.
2. See Vergennes to the Commissioners, 29 April, note 2 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0034

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-21

John Bondfield to the Commissioners

[salute] Hond Sirs

Yesterdays post brought us advice of the Arrival of a Vessel belonging to this City from Baltimore in 22 Days at Bilboa, a passenger from on board said to be charged with dispatches for your Honors from Congress sett off for Paris on their Arrival.1 Letters from Bayonne give me Account of his having past thro' that City on his road to Paris. I dont learn any Material Inteligence it may be expected he will be with you as early as this. You will thereby be more truely Inform'd than by the reports I have received.
A Prisoner lately escaped from New York who in his resistance lost many of his Men and sufferd severly during his Imprisonment has applied to me to write to your honors for a Commission,2 if convenient to be granted a privateer of Force will be emidiately fitted out and given him. He is a Canadian. There is a suitable vessel just off the Stocks that might be filled [fitted] to { 44 } Sea in twenty days after a Commission obtaind and if agreable to your honors would be a Consort to the Boston.
I am not honord with any of your Commands since the two packets of the 5th and 7th. which leave this3 to Day. I am thereby prevented from proceeding to lay in the Provisions for the Boston not knowing the quantity required which depends on your Instructions. The Ship is taking in her Ballast, the Cordage, Sails and other Articles are and will be ready shortly. With due respect I am Your honors Most Obedient Humble Servant
[signed] John Bondfield
RC (Adams Papers); MS slightly spotted.
1. Probably dispatch “No. 3” of 24 March from the Committee for Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners (calendared above).
2. The former prisoner remains unidentified, and the Commissioners, as is indicated in Bondfield's letter of 8 May (below), apparently did not act on the request to fit out a privateer.
3. Presumably the packets were to leave Bordeaux “to Day.”

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0035

Author: Platt, Ebenezer Smith
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-21

Ebenezer Smith Platt to the Commissioners

To the Honorable Commissioners of the United States of America.
The humble Petition of Ebenezer S. Platt Most Respectfully Sheweth,
That your Petitioner is a Native of America, and was a resident in the Province of Georgia, in the year 1775, And was Chosen a Member of the Parochial Committee of Savannah,1 in said Province.
That in the month of July 1775, A Certain Ship Called the Philippa, whereof one Richard Maitland, was Master, Arrived off Savannah Harbour (Laden with Dry Goods, together with Nine Tons of Gunpowder, Four Hundred Stand of Arms, and some Lead, and Musket Balls) Where she was met by an Armed schooner, fitted out by Congress for that Purpose, who Boarded said ship at Sea, and took out all the Gunpowder, and Deposited it safe in the Magazine at Savannah. The Arms, and Musket Balls still remaining onboard, and for fear they should fall into the hands of People who were Inimicable to the Liberty of America—The Provintial Congress of said Place, (then sitting) thought Proper to send Persons Onboard to Protect the same, And accordingly your Petitioner, with two others of said Committee, { 45 } were by them appointed and received a Written Order therefor Signed by the President.
That in the month of Jany. 1776 Your Petitioner Freighted two Vessels for Cape Nicholas Mole,2 With Intent to Purchase War-like Stores, and by Permission of Congress, Embarked onboard one of them himself, which unfortunately was taken within a few Leagues of her Destined Port, by his Majestys Ship Maid-stone Capn. Gardner, and Carried into Kingston in Jamaica. Where she was restored to your Petitioner again on Account of her being English Property; tho' they obliged him to sell his Cargo.
That your Petitioner in Consequence thereof sold his Cargo, and Purchased a Vessel with Intent, to Proceed back to America, When on the 28 day of March as your Petitioner was Proceeding to Sea, his Vessel was Boarded, and Taken, by a Boat from Onboard the Antelope, Ship of War,—Your Petitioner Carried onboard said Ship, and Confined in Irons, upon an Information laid by Capn. Maitland, of his having been onboard his Ship at Savannah in Georgia by Order of Congress.
That your Petitioners Ship in Consequence thereof was Sold Without any Account being given thereof to your Petitioner. After which your Petitioner was removed by Habeas Corpus, before the Court at Kingston, Tryed, and Acquited, but for fear of his recovering Damages of the Admiral, was again remanded by the Cheif Justice onboard the Antelope as an Able Bodied Seaman.
That your Petitioner remained three months longer onboard the Antelope, in Irons, and then was Removed onboard the Boreas, Frigate, And from thence onboard the Palas, Frigate, in which he was Caried to England,3 and sent onboard the Centaur, and from thence to the Barfleur, and from the Barfleur back again to the Centaur, And from onboard the Centaur sent onshore, and up to London, and Committed to Clerkenwell Bridewell, for two Days, When he was Caried before Sr. John Fielding, and One Justice Addington, and by them Committed on the 23 of Jany. 1777 to Newgate, where he remained fourteen Months in Irons—Destitute of every Family Friend or Connection, and Depending for his Daily support, upon the Charity of a few Humane People.
That at length through the Interposition of the Committee for the Support of American Prisoners4 Your Petitioner was set at { 46 } Liberty, in a Strange Country, Destitute of Money, and every Means of returning to his Native Country. And was by said Committee sent to Paris, Relying upon the Commissioners of America, for Assistance to Enable him to Return Home.
Your Petitioner therefore hopes you will be Pleased to take his hard Case into Consideration And allow him such Assistance as you in Your Wisdom shall think Fit.5
[signed] Ebenezer Smith Plat
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr Platt”; in another hand: “Ebenr platts petition Paris 21 Apl. 78.”
1. In 1775, with the breakdown of the royal government, the Parochial Committee of Savannah had assumed the powers and functions of local government for the town and surrounding parish. Among other things, it enforced the Association, embargoed locally needed merchandise, and appointed a lay preacher when the local Church of England minister was banned by the Provincial Congress (Kenneth Coleman, American Revolution in Georgia, 1763–1789, Athens, Ga., 1958, p. 63). Although Platt, as a shopkeeper and supporter of the Revolution, would have been a logical choice for membership on the Parochial Committee, no mention of him in that capacity has been found (Ronald G. Killion and Charles T. Waller, Georgia and the Revolution, Atlanta, 1975, p. 219).
2. Cape St. Nicholas Môle is at the northwest corner of St. Domingue (now Haiti).
3. For additional information about Platt's detention at Jamaica and subsequent transportation to England, see Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 4:588–589, 761, 794; 5:517–520; 7:807–808. The index of vol. 5 gives Platt's forename erroneously as William.
4. No specific reference to a committee of this name has been found. Functions like that described by Platt were, however, performed by such bodies as the relief committee headed by Rev. Thomas Wren and a London committee which, in December 1777 and January 1778, raised £3,700 for the support of American prisoners (Catherine M. Prelinger, “Benjamin Franklin and the American Prisoners of War in England during the American Revolution,” WMQ, 3d ser., 32:264, 268 [April 1975]; NEHGR, 30 [1876]:348, note 1).
5. On 26 Aug. 1777 the congress had, in response to a letter from Platt from Newgate Prison, voted to supply him with £100 and seek his exchange, and in Dec. 1777 Platt had apparently received money from Benjamin Franklin (JCC, 8:676; Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:326; Prelinger, “Franklin and the American Prisoners of War,” p. 265–266). Platt probably never received the former sum, but, as a result of this petition, the Commissioners gave him 30 guineas for his return to America. Platt's passage was not uneventful, for the New Friends of Charleston, on which he and his wife sailed from France, was captured by the British privateer Leveller. On 6 March 1780, after finally reaching his destination, Platt petitioned congress for the £100 voted him in 1777 as compensation for his “exertions and sufferings” (K. G. Davies, ed., Documents of the American Revolution, 1770–1783, Shannon and Dublin, 1972– , 13:321; London Chronicle, 30 July–1 Aug. 1778; JCC, 16:230; PCC, No. 41, VIII, f. 100).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0036

Author: Tucker, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-22

From Samuel Tucker

[salute] Sir

These with my respects to your Honnour. I am Very glad to hear of your Safe arrival at Parris by a Gentleman Who Saw your { 47 } Honnour the Evening before you went to Verseils Who acquainted me your Honnour was Very well after your Long Journey and give me a great deal of Pleasure to hear of your Son Mastr. Jackey and Mastr. Jese1 being Very well as the fatigues of a Long Journey does not agree in General with Such Youth, But Hond Sir I Still Remain on board Ship and Seldom or Ever on Shore. You Honor knowing my Sutivation [Situation] Equally as well as I Can Explain it to you. The Multiplycity of Business draws my attention Strictly on board at my duty. A Lewtenant Would not be amiss to Ease me of Some of my trouble as the duty falls hard on Mr. Reed2 without my assistance. I need not Inform your Honnour of the Little trouble being a hardship but Rather a pleasure at Present but on my departing from hence the Offercer will be wanting. Sir if one Could be Recommended I Should be Very Glad3 but if none I must make it as Easy as Possible. My Offercers at Present and men are all in Good helth the doctor has no duty at Present. Gods name be Praisd. I Remain Your Most Obedt Humble Servt
[signed] Saml Tucker
NB I Should be Very happy to have a Line or two from your Honnour by the first oppertunity.
1. That is, JQA and Jesse Deane.
2. Lt. Benjamin Reed (Philip Chadwick Foster Smith, Captain Samuel Tucker, Salem, Mass., 1976, p. 48).
3. See the American Commissioners to Tucker, 13 April (above); and JA to Tucker, 29 April (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0037

Author: Tucker, Samuel
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-22

Samuel Tucker to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

These from your Humble Servent, acquainting your Honours that my Ship was finished Careening last Saturday Afternoon. I now find a great Necessity of geting my Main mast out to Repair it, fearing it will be condemned.1 I am Gentlemen Anctious to here from Paris of my distination as the absence of Capt. Palmes seems very long. I shall get my Ship in Readiness as soon as possible. The Holy Days has keept me back a great deal. I mentioned on Shore to the Officers who had it in their power to grant me permission for Working, but they not knowing weather I was hurried or not by your Orders did not grant it me. Now they are over, for which I am not Sorry. My Ship now Lyes with a Clean { 48 } Sweept hold waiting on your Honours, which I hope this Day to have your Orders. I have now in my Ships Books 162 Men all included. 5 Deserted since my Arrival vizt. 3 Herseans and 2 Frenchman. I've entered what Prissoners I had in Custody. Pray Gentlemen let me know what advance I may give Seamen to enter them here as I am much in Want of them. I Remain Gentlemen with Respect, Your Obedient Humble Servt.
[signed] Saml Tucker
1. See letters from Bondfield and Samuel Tucker of 25 April (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0038-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-23

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners

[salute] Messieurs

L'honorée vôtre du ioe de ce mois me parvint mardi passé 21e. Je la communiquai tout de suite avec les Pieces annexes au Grand Facteur,1 qui approuva le tout, et me promit de seconder l'opération par sa puissante intervention et médiation, quand j'aurai rompu la glace en présentant la Lettre: car jusqu'à ce temps il ne faut pas qu'il paroisse s'en mêler. Je partis tout de suite pour ici, où j'ai trouvél'Ami que vous savez,2 parfaitement dans les mêmes sentimens, et dans les dispositions les plus sincères de me seconder de tout son pouvoir, et de tout celui de sa ville. Je trouve, ainsi que le Facteur, le modele de la Lettre parfaitement bien, et que la démarche viendra le plus à propos du monde, et le plutôt le mieux. II m'a donné en môme temps de fort bonnes instructions sur ce que je devrai ajouter de bouche pour m'assurer de la réussite. Voici done la Lettre de retour—elle est si bien concue, qu'il n'y a pas un mot à changer. Vous aurez la bonté, Messieurs, de la faire mettre au net et en ordre sans perte de temps, et de me l'envoyer signée, et cachetée, avec l'adresse sur le dos en Anglois, telle que je l'ai mise en Francois au dos de votre Minute ci-jointe, laquelle il sera bon de me renvoyer aussi en même temps. Quant à la Lettre ostensible3 que vous m'avez écrite, Messieurs, je continuerai d'en faire bon usage et notamment aussi aupres de Mr. le Grand Pensionaire,4 quand je lui présenterai celle que vous m'enverrez pour lui.
Messieurs du Committé d'Hollande repartirent de Lahaie le 17e En prenant congé du Prince Statholder; il leur a fait mauvais visage, à cause du refus d'augmenter les troupes;5 ajoutant { 49 } que ce ne sera pas safaute s'il en arrive du mal à la Republique. Ces Messieurs se retirerent Sans rien répondre, mais en pensant, qu'ils pourraient bien prendre sur eux tout ce qui en arriveroit. Ils se rassembleront à LaHaie le 6 de May. Ainsi il sera bon de me mettre en état, de faire la démarche pendant la Séance, et, s'il se peut dés son commencement.
Qu'il me soit permis ici de féliciter Mr. Adams de son heureuse arrivée, et de me recommander à ses bonnes graces. Je suis avec le plus respectueux dévouement Messieurs Votre très humble et très obéissant serviteur,
[signed] D
Je repars pour Lahaie.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0038-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-23

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

Your letter of the 10th of this month reached me last Tuesday, the 21 st. I immediately forwarded it along with its enclosures to the Grand Facteur1 who approved everything and promised me to back the operation with powerful intervention and mediation, once I have broken the ice by presenting the letter, for until then he must not seem to be involved. I left immediately to come here, where I found the friend, of whom you know,2 in exactly the same disposition and with the most sincere desire to help me with all his power and that of his town. I believe, with the Facteur, that the format of the letter is perfect and that this démarche will be most timely, the sooner the better. He also gave me some very good advice as to what I should add verbally to ensure its success. I am, therefore, returning the letter—it is so well conceived that not one word needs to be changed. Be kind enough, gentlemen, to make a fair copy of it without delay and return it to me signed, sealed, and addressed in English as I did in French on the back of your enclosed draft, which should also be sent back to me. As to the ostensible3 letter you sent me, gentlemen, I shall continue to make good use of it, especially with the Grand Pensionary,4 when I will present the letter you will send me for him.
The members of the Committee from Holland left The Hague on the 17th. Because they refused to increase the troops, the Prince Stadholder5 was not cordial with them on their departure and added that it wouldn't be his responsibility if the Republic suffers from it. These gentlemen left without replying, but with the thought that they could very well assume responsibility for what would happen. They will meet at The Hague on the 6th of May. Therefore, it would be helpful if you provided me with the means to begin the demarche during the session and, if possible, as soon as it opens.
Allow me to congratulate Mr. Adams on his felicitous arrival and { 50 } recommend myself to his good graces. I am, with the utmost respectful devotion, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant,
[signed] D
I am returning to The Hague.
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed in an unknown hand: “Dumas 23 April 79.” The “79” is obviously an inadvertence.
1. The “Grand Facteur” could not have been anyone other than the Due de la Vauguyon (1746–1828), French ambassador to the Netherlands from 1776 to 1784, with whom JA, during his later mission to the Netherlands, enjoyed “a close and interesting diplomatic relationship.” With close ties to Louis XVI but no previous diplomatic experience, La Vauguyon sought quietly to encourage Dutch neutrality despite intense pressure by Sir Joseph Yorke, the British ambassador. Keeping a low profile, La Vauguyon allied himself with the patriot or anti-Stadholder party, the same group courted by Dumas (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:457, note 1; 4:46, note 69; Edler, Dutch Republic and the American Revolution, p. 20).
La Vauguyon's name could not be mentioned because, according to Dumas' letter of 27 March, the identity of the “Grand Facteur” had to remain secret if his efforts for the American cause were to be successful. It had been La Vauguyon who had initiated the effort to communicate the Franco-American treaties to the Grand Pensionary, and who, in response to a letter from Vergennes complaining that the American effort to communicate the treaties was “un peu premature,” wrote on 1 May to reassure Vergennes about the American initiative (Dumas to the Commissioners, 27 March, 3, 6 April; to La Vauguyon, 29 March, all LbC's in Algemeen Rijksarchief, The Hague, Dumas Papers, Microfilm; F. P. Renaut, La neutralité Hollandaise durant la guerre d'Amérique, Paris, 1924, p. 176–177; Dumas to the Commissioners, 7 May, below; for further confirmation of La Vauguyon's identity as the “Grand Facteur” compare Dumas' letter of 7 May with La Vauguyon to Vergennes, 15 May, Appendix).
The communication of the Franco-American treaties to the Grand Pensionary, proposed by La Vauguyon and carried through by Dumas, involved the Commissioners in the complexities of dealing with the Dutch government. A knowledge of the organization and operation of that government is necessary for an understanding of this and later letters from Dumas chronicling his efforts.
The United Provinces or Dutch Republic was nominally ruled by the stadholder, who commanded the army and navy, held a variety of offices, had wide appointive powers, and at times could exercise a liberum veto over acts of the States General. The stadholder could not, however, “declare war or conclude peace.” Those powers and most other attributes of sovereignty belonged to the States General, referred to officially as Their High Mightinesses. This body was composed of deputies from the seven provinces, each province, regardless of size, having one vote. Besides declaring war and making peace, the States General appointed, instructed, and received the reports of ambassadors and ministers. Diplomatic representatives were accredited to the States General, and it ratified all agreements made in the name of the Republic. It was thus the resolutions adopted by the States General that governed the United Provinces. Nevertheless, its powers were not total, for all matters under consideration by the States General had to be referred back to the Provincial States for approval before a final vote of the States General could be taken. This necessity contributed to the time needed to conduct business and the general unwieldiness of the government, particularly in view of the confusion over whether a majority or unanimous vote of the States General was needed to adopt resolutions.
The Provincial States were the nominal governing bodies of the provinces, the deputies to which were appointed by the cities acting as almost independent republics within the larger Dutch state. In Holland, for example, the 6 large and 12 small towns had, together, 18 votes, to which was added a 19th, that of the nobility or Ridderschap. In fact, although the nobil• { 51 } ity was respected, its influence and power in the deliberations of the Provincial States were minor when compared to that of the large towns, particularly Amsterdam.
The burgomasters were the chief executives of the cities; under their authority stood the pensionary, who served as the city's secretary or minister. The burgomasters, with a number of councilors, formed the Great Council of the city, while members of those two groups, joined by schepens or judges, formed the Regency. The Regency, the final authority in the city, appointed deputies to the Provincial States. Each province, headed by a pensionary, then appointed its deputies to the States General.
Because of the size of the Province of Holland, which comprised almost half the country, its pensionary bore the title of grand pensionary. In that capacity he maintained a more or less permanent residence at The Hague and acted as the foreign minister of the Republic. Although nominally the second most powerful Dutch official after the stadholder, the grand pensionary often wielded greater power and influence, at least in the maritime provinces (the nucleus of the antiStadholder party) than the stadholder (Edler, Dutch Republic and the American Revolution, p. 11–12, note 1; Miller, Sir Joseph Yorke, p. 15, 16, 18–19; Alice Clare Carter, Neutrality or Commitment: The Evolution of Dutch Foreign Policy, 1667–1795, London, 1975, p. 4–5; Robert Fruin, Geschiedenis der Staatsinstellingen in Nederland tot den val der Republiek, ed. H. T. Colenbrander, The Hague, 1922).
2. This was EngelbertEnglebert François van Berckel (1726–1796), Pensionary of Amsterdam, partisan of the American cause, merchant, and a leader of the anti-Stadholder party. In close and regular contact with Dumas, he took the position that British demands in regard to Dutch neutrality were contrary to the interests of the Netherlands, that is, the interests of the commercial community centered in Amsterdam (Nieuw Ned. Biog. Woordenboek, 4:109–111; Miller, Sir Joseph Yorke, p. 38).
3. The “Lettre ostensible” was of course the Commissioners' letter of 10 April (calendared above). The word “ostensible” has been retained in the translation, here and in later letters from Dumas, because of the difficulty of rendering it in English so as to convey his exact meaning. That is, as paraphrased from a note attached to the letter of the 10th, it was a letter that Dumas could show “on occasion” to those with whom he came in contact in the course of his efforts to promote American interests in the Netherlands, as opposed to other communications from the Commissioners that were to be considered confidential (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:45).
4. Pieter van Bleiswyck (1724–1790) was the Grand Pensionary of Holland. When the revised letter from the Commissioners to the Grand Pensionary of 28 April (below) was presented to van Bleiswyck, he declined to present it to the States General because of its certain rejection by that body. Instead, he agreed to communicate it secretly, with the consent of the Stadholder, to the members of the Provincial States of Holland, each city having a vote in that province receiving a copy (Nieuw Ned. Biog. Woordenboek, 10:78–80; Edler, Dutch Republic and the American Revolution, p. 86–87).
5. The dispute between Holland's delegation to the States General and Prince William V of Orange and Nassau (1748–1806), the Stadholder, over the augmentation of the army, which Dumas notes here and chronicles in later letters, was an old one and perhaps the clearest manifestation of the conflict between the patriot and Stadholder parties. The former, composed of merchants such as van Berckel and favoring France as less dangerous to the Netherlands than Britain, supported a larger navy to protect its trade against British depredations. The latter, composed of representatives of the inland provinces and the Stadholder, whose anti-French position was encouraged by his chief adviser, the Duke of Brunswick, favored Britain and wanted a larger army for protection against French aggression. In 1778 the representatives of both Britain and France were actively urging on the States General their own nation's position on this matter (Nieuw Ned. Biog. Woordenboek, 1:1556–1560; Edler, Dutch Republic and the American Revolution, p. 13–14, 114–115, and note 5; Miller, Sir Joseph Yorke, p. 62–63).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0039

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Laurens, Henry
Date: 1778-04-25

To the President of the Congress

[salute] Sir

Having had so short Notice of this Opportunity, I can only have the Honour of writing a few Lines, and of inclosing a few News Papers.
If the Dispatches of the Commissioners, have not met with uncommon ill Fortune you must before this Time, have received the important News of the Treaty, as well as authentic Information of the Agonies of G.B.
Whether she will plunge herself, with uniform and consistent Rashness into a War, with this Kingdom and with others, which will in such Case, probably be her Allies, Time must discover.
They still flatter themselves, at London, with Hopes of dividing America, and they still believe that they have a formidable Interest in that Country. They still expect that their Commissioners will be able to make Parties, and introduce Discord.1
Nay, they yet expect that their Commissioners, will be able to prevent a Ratification of the Treaty.
But, relying on a general Knowledge of the opinions Principles and Feelings of my Countrymen, and on the Resolution of Congress of the 22. of November,2 I have ventured, to give my opinion to the Ministry here, that the British Commissioners, would not be attended to and that the Treaty would be immediately ratified.
This Nation and Court, I have every Reason to believe are Sincerely, and deeply Attached to the American Cause and to the new Alliance between the two Countries. And are determined to hazard much in Support of it. Mr. Deane I hope will reach Yorke Town before this Letter. If he should he will bring with him, the most decisive Proofs, of the Good Will of France both to our Country and to him. I am sir, with the Utmost Esteem and Respect, your most obedient, humble servant,
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi: Washburn Papers); docketed: “Honble Jno Adams 25 April 1778 Recd 8 July.”
1. JA's reference is to the Carlisle Commission, headed by Frederick Howard, 5th earl of Carlisle, and including William Eden, George Johnstone, Adm. Richard Howe, and Gen. William Howe. William Howe was, however, replaced by Gen. Henry Clinton, the new commander in chief, when the Commission reached America. The Commission, created by Parliament in March, arrived at Philadelphia on 6 June. JA's confidence in the ultimate failure of the Commission was well founded, for by the time of its arrival in America the Franco-American treaties had made Americans much less willing to negotiate; and the inability of the British { 53 } Commissioners to acknowledge American independence made negotiations impossible. This was clear in the response of the congress of 17 June to the Commissioners' initial overture of the 11th (Alan Valentine, Lord North, 2 vols., Norman, Okla., 1967, 1:529–532, 535–536, 538–542; James Lovell to JA, 29 April, note 2, below; JCC, 11:615).
2. For this resolution, see James Lovell to JA, 22 Nov. 1777, note 2 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0040

Author: MacCreery, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-25

From William MacCreery

[salute] Sir

I had the pleasure lately to hear of your safe arrival at Paris, and that you were, on the 13th. Instant presented to his Majesty. Hope you have got safe thro' the fateigues of ceremony attending Courts, which is so apt to be disagreeable to Republicans. It gives me great pleasure, and it will afford yourself not a little satisfaction, that you are not disposed to find fault with customs and manners to which you are a stranger. Some People will fly into a violent Passion for what Frenchman sees no harm in, or for the least mistake made by a Servant, and immediatly Curse the whole Nation. This I'm credibly inform'd has been the Rule of a Gentleman in Paris, whom I have allready mentiond to you and has been the means of procuring him many Enemies.1 It is, I think, worse than a weakness, and ought to be studiously avoided. A great part, in my opinion, of the Policity of this Politic People consists in conforming themselves to the manners of the People with whom they negotiate, or have any intercourse, and if we consider it a little, what is it that gains on us more than a similarity of manners? You cant please a Frenchman more than by telling him that the French are the most Polite People in the World. It seems to afford him the highest Pleasure, whereas, tell the most of them that they are an Honest People—they won't know how to take it!
Altho' I came here with an intention of settling during the War, beleive I shall soon return. When I left home I had a good prospect of getting effects out to establish a fund here; to enable me to do business by myself, but Chesapeak Bay having been block'd up immediatly after I came away, my Freinds have not been able to send me any thing, and shoud I wait inactive here untill the Navigation there is clear, I may probably loose the fine opportunity which now presents, of making a little Money. Shall therefore try to do something decisive for myself, which will at the same time help my Countrymen. I have not absolutely deter• { 54 } mined on going yet, but shall soon advise you if I do, that you may have an opportunity of sending any thing you please to America.
I hope you will pardon the Liberty I take in recommending Mr. Delap2 of this place for Continental Agent at Bordeaux, believe me that it proceeds not only from an attachment to him, but a regard to ourselves, and of justice, to ourselves, because he is best capable of serving us, from his great fortune, Credit, and Candor. From a Love of justice, because he has endeavourd all along to serve us, and has essentialy [ . . . ] us and made himself a number of Enemies by it. I do presume that [ . . . ] consideration of what little offices I have done, merely as a member of the community, for the Public, You were so very good as to make me an offer of a place in the gift of the Commissioners. I do assure you Sir, that I never had views of any place or any emolument in doing whatever I have, I allways did, and allways will consider it as my duty to serve the Public wherever I'm able in the same manner. And tho' it woud give me great pleasure to have their confidence reposed in me, and to serve them faithfully, I do not think myself at present capable of undertaking any thing of that nature in their Service. For no one ought to be employ'd at present but Men of Capital and Abilities. Whenever I may be qualified in these essential points, and an opportunity offers of exerting them in the Public Service, most gladly will I accept of any plan that I may be thot worthy of. I am with the greatest Respect D. Sir Your most Obedient and most Humble Servant
[signed] Will M.Creery
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honorable Jno. Adams”; docketed: “Mr. McCreery ans. May. 14.”; by CFA: “April 25th 1778”; in another hand: “Wm McCrery Bordeaux 25 Apl.” Page 3 is torn at both the top and bottom with the loss of two or three words.
1. Doubtless a reference to Arthur Lee. During JA's stay in Bordeaux after his arrival in France, MacCreery had told him of the divisions among the Commissioners and in particular had warned him against the Lees (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:304; 4:39, 68, 98–99).
2. A reference to either S. Delap or J. H. Delap, merchants and sometimes American commercial agents at Bordeaux, who had provided JA with twenty-five bottles of wine for his trip to Paris (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:296; 4:40). JA had sent his thanks for the wine in a letter to MacCreery on 15 April (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:11–12).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0041

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-25

John Bondfield to the Commissioners

[salute] Hond Sirs

The Mainmast of the Boston was yesterday Surveyd and Condemnd unfit for Service. That no accident happend to the Ship from the defect on the Passage is very fortunate in One part it was it had not three Inches hold and in two others the Splitt went half throw. We have met with a Mast that will replace it and will be got ready with all posible dispatch. Some other alterations the Captain thinks Requisit perticularly an Iron Hearth for Cooking. The one he had on the passage broke down and the heavy weight of Stones employ'd therein put the vessel out of Trim which the Frame he now proposes will releive. I have therefore given orders for the Smith to make One agreable to the Captains directions. This with other Nessessaries he recommends will I hope meet your honors approbation. I am with due Respect Your honors Most Obedient Servant
[signed] John Bondfield1
1. Bondfield wrote a second letter of this date (Adams Papers), probably as an enclosure with this letter, introducing Capt. Jacques Le Maire, who had been recommended by Patrick Henry and was to procure arms for the state of Virginia (see Patrick Henry to JA, 5 March, above).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0042

Author: Tucker, Samuel
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-25

Samuel Tucker to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

I am sorry to Inform your Honours of my Situation, which is now lying with my mainmast out and condemned. I thought proper to get a Jury sufficient to Condemn it, which Consisted of three Captains of Merchent Ships and Six Carpenters and Mr. Brondfield. Till the present Gentlemen, I've waited for your Honours Orders, with a clean hold, but this Day for fear of being hurried, I've began to take in my Ballast, as I suppose your Honours would have wrote me if your Intentions was to put any meterials on board for America. But not receiving a Line yet, I hope I am not doing amiss, on prepareing for a Cruze. I must acquaint you that my Ship was in a Worse Situation then I thought she was on my Arrival. I would acquaint your Honours that the Officers under his Christian Majesty has taken the Liberty of deluding my Men away and entring them in the Regements of the Irish Brigade.1 I apprehended five this Day, and I am deter• { 56 } mined to find out the Officers and enter my Complaint for Satisfaction, as they have taken several of my men before. The above Number were confined in a Private Room four Days and where to Embark to Morrow for St. Martins,2 but I am happy to think I disappointed them of their Intentions.
Gentlemen, I should be glad to see Capt. Palmes return, as I wish to heare from your Honours. I am with Respect Your Obedient Humble Servt.
[signed] Saml Tucker
1. The Irish Brigade in the French Army had its origin in the three regiments created by Louis XIV on 18 June 1690 from the soldiers brought by James II when he was forced to flee England for France (Général Susane, Histoire de l'infanterie française, 5 vols., Paris, 1876, 5:57).
2. Presumably the Leeward Island jointly owned by France and the Netherlands.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0043-0001

Author: Fleury, François Louis Teissèdre de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-26

From Fleury

[salute] Monsieur

Les nouvelles publiques nous ont apris que le congré des provinces unies vous avoit deputé a la cour de france, ne desprouvés pas je vous prie monsieur que je minforme avec vous, si vous ny auries pas connu mr. defleury qui passa avec la probation de la cour a lamerique il y a environ dix huit mois. Ne refuses pas monsieur a un pere et une mere qui nont que ce seul enfant pour toute consolation de leur en donner des nouvelles sil a eu l'honneur detre connu de vous, et que je vous prie encore que lorsque vous ecrires a votre famille ou a quelqun de vos amis ils vous en donnent des nouvelles n en y ont pas recu nous meme depuis son depart, si contre mes esperances il arrivoit monsieur que mon fils eut besoin dans ce pais la de quelque secours je vous suplie de vouloir bien le lui procurer, detre persuadé de mon exactitude a votre premier avis de vous en faire faire le ramboursement. Je voudrois bien monsieur que vous me missies en meme de vous etre utile pour pouvoir vous convaincre de toute ma reconnoissance a vos bontés et de lattachement avec le quel je suis Monsieur Votre tres humble et tres obeissant Serviteur,
[signed] defleury1
Mon adresse est a mr. defleury conseignieur de la ville de st. hipolitte.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0043-0002

Author: Fleury, François Louis Teissèdre de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-26

Fleury to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

We have been informed by public reports that the congress of the United States has appointed you to the Court of France. Allow me to enquire if you have met a Mr. de Fleury, who went to America with the Court's approval, about eighteen months ago. Please do not fail to give a father and mother, who have this only child, as a consolation, any information you may have about him, if he had the honor of being introduced to you. I also beg you to ask, in your letters to your family or some of your friends, that they give you any news they may have about him for we have received none since his departure. If, despite my hopes, my son should happen to need some assistance while in that country, I beg you to help him and to rest assured of my promptness in reimbursing you at the first notice you will send me. I would deem it a great honor to have the opportunity of being of some help to you, as a way of expressing all my gratitude for your kindness and the attachment with which I am your very humble and very obedient servant.
[signed] de fleury1
My address is Mr. de Fleury, Conseigneur of the town of St. Hippolyte.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr. De Fleury. 26. Ap. ansd.”; in another hand: “Mons de Fleury St. Hippolite 26 Apl 1778.”
1. François Teissèdre de Fleury, whose son, François Louis Teissèdre de Fleury, enjoyed a distinguished military career in America. For a sketch of the younger Fleury, see Adams Family Correspondence, 3:317, note 1.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0044-0001

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-26

Sartine to the Commissioners

J'ai reçu, Messieurs la Lettre que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'écrire le 20 de ce mois.1
Lorsque la Sommation a été faite à Bordeaux, par les Officiers du Siège de l'Amirauté, à la Frégate des Etats-unis, Le Boston; les ordres du Roi n'etoient point encore parvenu dans ce Port, de traiter les Vaisseaux de guerre appartenant à ces Etats, comme ceux des Etats libres—alliés de la France. Ces ordres Se sont croisés, sans doute, avec le Lettre qui vous a été écrite de Bordeaux pour vous faire part de la démarche de l'Amirauté, qui n'aura point eu d'autre Suite aussitôt que les Intentions du Roi auront été connues. Je dois vous observer que dans tous les cas, il sera nécessaire que les Bâtimens Américains qui aborderont dans nos Ports, Se légitiment pour Vaisseaux de guerre des Etats-unis, lorsqu'en effet ils leur appartiendront; car vous n'ig• { 58 } | view norez pas que s'ils étoient purement Corsaires, ils rentreroient dans l'ordre des Bâtimens particuliers appartenant à d'autres Etats, qu'on ne force pas à Saluer; mais auxquels les Places et Forteresses ne rendent point de salut, lorsqu'ils le font. J'ai l'honneur d'être avec la plus parfaite considération, Messieurs, votre très humble & très obeissant Serviteur.
[signed] de Sartine

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0044-0002

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-26

Sartine to the Commissioners: A Translation

I have received, gentlemen, the letter that you did me the honor to write on the 20th of this month.1
When the United States frigate Boston received a summons from the officers of the Admiralty Headquarters in Bordeaux, the King's orders to treat men-of-war belonging to the United States as those of free countries—allies of France—had not yet reached that harbor. These orders must have crossed the letter sent to you from Bordeaux informing you of the démarche of the Admiralty, which will be without effect as soon as the intentions of the King are known. However, I must inform you that American vessels which drop anchor in our harbors must in any case identify themselves as men-of-war of the United States, when indeed they belong to them, for you know that if they were only privateers they would enter the category of private vessels belonging to foreign states, which are not compelled to salute and to which the stations and fortresses never return a salute even if given. I have the honor to be, gentlemen, with the most perfect esteem, your very humble and very obedient servant.
[signed] de Sartine
RC (MH-H: Lee Papers); docketed: “M. de Sartine” note by Arthur Lee: “Money advancd to Mr [Hodge] by the public Banker [Mr.?] Grand by Mr. Deane's [order?] according to the Banker's Accounts.
March 18th. 1777   7044.   11    
April 16   12075.   16    
  26   23284.   18.   [3]  
<May> April 2<5> 8th [5 May]   9377.   15.   3  
May 6   8093.   11.   3  
   <14>   <69455.>   <2.>   <6>  
  17   264.   14    
June <1> 2   2506.   12.   6  
<July> 1<0>st [18 June]   15098.   12    
   <25>[25]   2606.   2.    
Decr. 20   3000.      
  83,352.   12.   0  
June 10th   12083.      
July 1st   15098.      
Lee's data, which he obtained from accounts submitted by Ferdinand Grand on 10 June 1777 and 24 Jan. 1778 for the period from 31 Jan. 1777 to 15 Jan. 1778 { 59 } (MH-H: Lee Papers), concern the controversy over Silas Deane's payments to William Hodge for his activities at Dunkirk (see Commissioners to Hodge, 19 April, above; and from Hodge, 10 July, below). Lee's dates and figures are generally correct (corrections taken from the accounts are indicated in brackets), although he does not include in his total the payment of 12,083 livres made sometime in June. In addition, the payment of 3,000 livres on 20 Dec. was made to Hodge at Nantes and thus is not usually included in the controversy. Taking these two qualifications into consideration, the total of Deane's payments to Hodge was 92,435.12.3 livres, but see Hodge's letter of 10 July (note 2). Lee's cancellation of the payment of 14 May is owing to its being to a Mr. Montieux rather than Hodge.
1. No letter of 20 April from the Commissioners to Sartine has been found, but see John Bondfield to the Commissioners of 18 April (above), for that letter and the effect of the King's orders described by Sartine.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0045

Author: Mercklé, Johannes P.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-27

From J. P. Mercklé

[salute] Sir

I have the honor to note yours and Mr. Franklin Joint favour of the 13th Instant, but before I enter into particulars permit me to Congratulate you on your safe Arrival in Europe.
I think, Sir, 'tis a duty I owe to you as also to my own Interest to make you Acquainted with the Purport of several letters I have had the honor to Address to Messrs. Deane and Franklin on the subject of a Number of Musketts I bought up at this place (by Contract) for the Congress, as also to point out to you in a true light in what manner your business is transacted in this City, by the house of Hornica fils & Co.1 I am fully persuaded, Sir, that had it not been for this house; this last parcell of Musketts would have been forward long are this; but those Gentlemen have taken upon them to say that they were Unmerittable and would not Answer the end intended. The Reason they give for this is the most frivilous Immaginable vizt. that the Musketts have not been proved. Happily, I have it in my power to Convince you to the Contrary, which many very respectable Merchants here would Attest provided their Evidence was Necessary. I am fully pursuaded there never was or has been better Musketts or better Work Shipped since the Commencement of this War, or at a more reasonable price,—however, I very plainly preceive the intention of Mess. Hornica & Co. in giving their Negitive to my forwarding them to France on your Account. As they Immagine 'twould be taking a Commission and Business out of their hands. This, Sir, was never my Intention or desire; { 60 } and my Sole reason in being so desirous and urgent to the Commissioners before your arrival at Paris, Arose from the Embarras I was So unexpectly thrown into for the payment of the Musketts. I am sorry to say I have been Arrested for the Amount, and was Obliged Against my Intention and Interest to take up money to discharge the Same, at a very unreasonable discount. In reallity 'tis very hard that this Loss should fall on my Shoulders, as my only reason in doing the same, was to Assist the Honble. Congress and the American States—whose interest I have ever had at heart. But for the benifit of America, and to Avoid future disputes, I have detirmined to take them at my own risque, for which reason I shall Ship them onboard the first Vessell that sails for Curacoa. I would with the greatest pleasure have put them onboard my own Vessell, but by the last treaty between England and these States, such Merchandiz is prohibited. This Should not have Prevented me from doing it, was not my expedition from hence very Considerable (Say £30,000 Sterling) and these Articles might be the Means of my Ships being brought up in England, and Occasion a detention, which detention in Loss of time &c., would be Attended with more Expences than the real Value of the Musketts. This Sir is a true state of the Affair and which has caused my long stay here. I Cannot Conclude this long letter without Observing that the House of Hornica has treatened me in a Most unpresedented manner, nearly to an exclosure of my present expedition to Sir Jos: Yorke2 at the Haye. I'll not trouble you any longer on this head, but leave it to yourself to Judge what kind of people you have in this City to transact Your business. I could make many other Observation here, but Immagined have already tired your patience. I shall therefore Conclude, wishing you all health and happiness, and believe Me to be Dr Sir Your very Obedt. servant
[signed] Joh. Ph. Mercklé
1. The Amsterdam mercantile firm through which most American business, including the abortive American loan of 1778, was transacted (Edler, Dutch Republic and the American Revolution, p. 78; see also the Commissioners to Horneca, Fizeaux, & Co., 31 Aug., below; Horneca, Fizeaux, & Co. to the Commissioners, 7 Sept., PPAmP: Franklin Papers; and 17 Sept., LbC, Adams Papers). With the death of Horneca in 1779, a new firm was formed by Henri Fizeaux and Georges Grand: Fizeaux, Grand & Co. Grand (1716–1793), an Amsterdam banker and the older brother of Ferdinand Grand, was usually referred to as Sir George Grand (DLC: Holker Papers, vol. 3, f. 520; Herbert Lüthy, La banque protestant en France, Paris, 1961, 2:336–338; see also JA's description of Grand in Diary and Autobiog• { 61 } raphy, 4:64–65).
2. Sir Joseph Yorke (1724–1792) served as the British representative at The Hague from Dec. 1751 to Dec. 1780. The most difficult part of his service began with the outbreak of the Revolution as he sought to preserve a Dutch neutrality favorable to Britain (DNB).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0046

Author: Moylan, James
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-27

James Moylan to the Commissioners

[salute] Honorable Gentlemen

I have only time to inform you that I have just received an account from Brest of the arrival in that port of the prize Ship Lord Chatham of 250 Tons loaded with Beer and Gran. taken by the Ranger Frigate about five leagues from Cape Clear.1
I will advise you more particularly in my next regarding this matter, not having at present any other account from Brest, than the above.2 I am very respectfully Honorable Gentlemen Your most obt. sert.
[signed] James Moylan3
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “A Messieurs Messieurs les Ministeres Plenipotentiaires des Eatats unis de L'Amerique”; docketed in an unknown hand: “Jas. Moylan Apr: 27th. 78.”
1. The southernmost point on the Irish coast.
2. Here was the first news to reach the Commissioners of the progress of John Paul Jones' foray into the Irish Sea that began on 10 April and culminated in a raid on the town of Whitehaven on the English coast. Jones and the Ranger returned to Brest on 8 May. For his account of the expedition, see his letters to the Commissioners of 9 and 27 May (both below).
On 1 May, Moylan wrote a second letter to the Commissioners (PPAmP: Franklin Papers) concerning the Lord Chatham and the problems that would attend its sale because of the power Jones had given to the Admiralty authorities over its disposition. Moylan's prediction of difficulties proved accurate, for it was not until mid-August that the vessel was sold (Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 166–167; Jones to Jonathan Williams, 23 Aug., Cal. Jones Manuscripts, p. 48).
3. Moylan, a merchant, was the American commercial agent at Lorient (“Letters of Mrs. Ann Biddle Wilkinson from Kentucky, 1788–1789,” ed. Thomas Robson Hay, PMHB, 56:53, note 5 [Jan. 1932]).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0047

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Bleiswyck, Pieter van
Date: 1778-04-28

The Commissioners to Pieter van Bleiswyck

[salute] Sir

We have the Honour of acquainting your Excellency, that the United States of North America, being now an Independant Power, and acknowledged as such by this Court, a Treaty of Amity and Commerce is compleated between France and the Said States, of which we shall speedily send your Excellency a Copy, to be communicated if you think proper to their High Mightinesses, for whom, the United States, have the greatest { 62 } Respect, and the Strongest Desire that a Good Understanding may be cultivated, and a mutually beneficial Commerce established between the People of the two Nations, which, as will be seen, there is nothing in the above mentioned Treaty to prevent or impede. We have the Honour to be with great Respect, Your Excellency's most obedient humble Servants
[signed] (Signet) B. Franklin
[signed] Arthur Lee
[signed] John Adams
[signed] Plenipotentiaries from the United
States of North America.
MS (Koninklijk Huisarchief, The Hague); with notes at the top of the first page: “Remis à S. A. le Prince d'orange d'original per Mr. le Conseiller Pens: de Bleiswyk, ce 14. May 1778 Copie:”; on the reverse: “(Adresse) A son Excellence M. P. van Bleyswyk. Grand Pensionaire d'Holande et de Westfrise, &c. &c. à La Haye.”
1. This letter is identical to the draft enclosed in the Commissioners' letter to Dumas of 10 April (calendared above). It was sent to Dumas in a letter of 30 April, which reached him on 5 May. On 14 May the letter was presented to the Grand Pensionary, the delay being caused largely by the apprehensions of La Vauguyon, the “Grand Facteur” (see Dumas to the Commissioners, 5, 7 May, both below).
Neither the RC nor the covering letter has been found, this despite the existence of the RC, at least, in 1866. In a letter to CFA of 20 Feb. 1866 (Adams Papers), A. Fischel enclosed a transcript of the RC, which he stated had been copied during his examination of Dutch diplomatic correspondence for the period of the American Revolution.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0048

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-28

From John Bondfield

[salute] Sir

I am honord with your favor of the 12 Instant.1
I shall pay perticular attention to see every article you have mention'd in your memorandum compleated and Shipt with care on board Captain Tucker directed as you have laid down. I hope you enjoy your health in the Air of Paris and that every thing around you contributes to your Satisfaction. Wherever my Services can be to you perticularly useful at all times permit me to assure you that I shall ever esteem the honor both from principal and personal attatchment to convince you that I am with great Respect Sr. Your most Obedient Humble Servant
[signed] John Bondfield
Permit me to introduce to your regard M. Diodati son in Law to Mons. Trenchard Phycician to his Majesty and Interested in { 63 } the House of Mess. Germani brother to M. Necker.2 His acquaintance may occationally be to you useful. Mr. John Texier of Amsterdam a Man of considerable Consideration at that City Brother to your Female friend the Adamite who put to your Solution certain philosophical querries at Supper left this on his return to Amsterdam to Day proposes to himself the Honor to pay his respects to you as he pass's.3
1. Neither a letter to Bondfield of 12 April nor a list of the goods JA wished sent to America has been found, but see JA to Samuel Tucker, 29 April, and Tucker's reply of 9 May (both below). AA noted both the return of the Boston to America and “the articles sent by Capt. Tucker” in letters to JA on 21 and 25 Oct. (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:108, 111).
2. Presumably Jacques Necker, who, though denied the title of Controller of the Treasury because he was a Swiss and a Protestant, served from 1776 through 1781 as Director General, first of the treasury and then of finances, and was an opponent, for financial reasons, of French intervention in the American Revolution (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale).
3. John Texier was probably the brother of Pierre Texier, who, according to JA, was an Amsterdam merchant long resident in Bordeaux and with whom JA had a lengthy conversation on 3 April (Diary and Autobiography, 4:38–39). For Mme. Pierre Texier's conversation with JA, which left him with some sense of shock with regard to French women, see Diary and Autobiography, 4:36–37.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0049

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-28

John Bondfield to the Commissioners

[salute] Hond Sirs

Messrs. Palmes Livingston and Heywood1 arrived here the 25th by whom I was favor'd with the Letter you honor'd me with under date 15th Instant.
In consiquence of your Instructions I have received from Captain Tucker an Indent for the provission the respective officers will attend the examination tomorrow to inspect the quality which with the other articles required I shall endeavour to expedite in the course of this week. The Mast has thrown the work much Back. We have received no inteligence from the Out Ports having no Arrivals since my last. I have the honor to be with due Respect Your honors Most Obedient Humble Servant
[signed] John Bondfield
1. Probably William Haywood, who, with John Bondfield and Muscoe Livingston, posted bond for the privateer Governor Livingston on 26 Oct. (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 3:432).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0050-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-28

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners

[salute] Messieurs

J'espere que vous avez reçu la Lettre du 23, que j'ai eu l'honneur de vous écrire d'Amsterdam, et dans laquelle se trouvoit votre Minute de la Lettre en question. Nous sommes deux ici, et un à Amsterdam, qui comptons les momens jusqu'à ce qu'elle me revienne de votre part en forme, afin que je puisse la présenter &C.1 Nous sommes convenus, que j'ajouterai de bouche l'insinuation, d'avoir cru remarquer dans d'autres Lettres que vous m'aviez écrites, que vous aviez fait parvenir, de manière ou d'autre, à ceux d'Amsterdam, la connoissance de la démarche que vous allez faire par mon ministere. Le but de cette précaution est, de mettre celui qui recevra la Lettre de ma main, dans le cas de n'oser, quand il le voudroit par complaisance pour——2 manquer, ni même différer d'en donner connoissance, d'abord aux Etats de la Provinces et puis à LI. hh. pp. Or c'est pour ces deux moments là que j'ai deux batteries prêtes, lesquelles je demasquerai l'une après l'autre pour battre en brêche; et autant qu'on peut répondre des choses humaines, je suis sûr de réduire la Place, sinon d'emblée, au moins par Capitulation.
Rien de nouveau d'Allemagne. Les Ministres Imp. et Pr. n'ont pas encore quitté les Cours respectives: cela laisse une petite lueur d'accommodement.3 Mais tant d'apprêts formidables, les duex Monarques piqués au jeu, vis-à-vis l'un de l'autre, à la tête chacun de 150 mille hommes, ne permettent pas de faire grand fonds sur cette lueur. II n'y a pas de mal. Pendant qu'ils se battront, ils ne pourront pas déranger nos mesures.
Dans les bouts de gazettes ci-joints, ce qui est renfermé dans des crochets m'a été fourni, savoir les articles du ioe et 27e Avril par le Gd. F——r, et celui du 22 par Mr. le Chev. G——d.4 Dans quelques jours paroît l'lmprime, dont Mr. A. Lee m'a fourni la matiere.5 Il est essentiel que le Public ici soit convaincu, que le Congrès ne fera la paix que d'égal à égal, et de concert avec ses Allies, et à cet égard, vous ne sauriez croire, Messieurs, le bien qu'ont déjà fait ces insertions et ces publications. Ce n'est plus que dans les Cercles que les Menteurs osent mentir. Aussi maudissent-ils cordialement nos amis les Nouvellistes de Liede, Delft et Harlem, et sur-tout leur Correspondant.
Soyez en garde, Messieurs, quant à Merklé6
Mes bons amis d'Amsterdam offrent de se charger de 100 à 200 { 65 } mille florins dans la Négociation que vous vous proposez à faire en Hollander: mais comme je sais que Mr. G——est chargé de cela, c'est à lui que j'enverrai demain leur proposition en détail.7
Le 6 de May NB. les Etats de cette Province se rassemblesront ici.
Je suis avec le plus respectueux dévouement Messieurs, Votre très humble & très obéissant serviteur.
[signed] D

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0050-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-28

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

I hope that you have received my letter of the 23d, which I had the honor to send you from Amsterdam, and in which is found your draft of the letter under consideration. Two of us here, and one in Amsterdam, are eagerly awaiting its return from you, in due form, so that I may present it, &c.1 We have agreed that I would add, verbally, the insinuation that, from what I have gathered from your other letters written to me, you had communicated in one way or another to those in Amsterdam the information regarding the demarche you are undertaking through my offices. The reason for this precaution is to prevent the man who will receive this letter from my hand, had he the desire to do so, to be agreeable to——2 or be in a position to either withhold or even delay transmitting this matter, first to the States of the Provinces, and then to Their High Mightinesses. I have a plan of attack ready for both occasions, which I shall unveil one after the other to overcome the opposition. And, as far as one can predict the course of human affairs, I am sure to be victorious, if not at first, at least by capitulation.
Nothing new from Germany. The Imperial and Prussian ministers have not yet left their respective courts: that leaves a glimmer of hope for settlement.3 But with such extensive preparations and the two monarchs warming to the contest between them, each at the head of 150 thousand men, one cannot rely too much on such a glimmer. No harm done. While they will be busy fighting, they will not stand in our way.
In the enclosed newspaper clippings, the articles between brackets— i.e. dated the 10th and 27th April—were provided by the Grand Facteur and that of the 22d by Chevalier Grand.4 The pamphlet, whose content was provided me by Mr. A. Lee, will be issued in a few days.5 It is essential that the public here be convinced that the congress will only make peace on equal terms, and in concert with its allies; in this respect, gentlemen, you would not believe the good these insertions and publications have already accomplished. Liars dare lie only in their own circles now and thus they mightily curse our friends the journalists from Leyden, Delft, and Haarlem, and especially their correspondent.
{ 66 }
Beware, gentlemen, of Mercklé.6
My good friends from Amsterdam have offered to take care of 100 to 200 thousand florins in the negotiation that you are planning in Holland, but since I know that Mr. Grand is in charge of that, I will send him the full details of their proposal tomorrow.7
On 6 May, N.B. the Provincial States will meet here. I am, with the utmost devotion, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] D
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “à Leurs Excellences Messieurs les Plénipotentiares des Etats Unis de L'Amerique à Paris.”; docketed in an unknown hand: “Dumas 28 April 78.” LbC (Algemeen Rijksarchief, The Hague, Dumas Papers, Microfilm).
1. That is, Dumas and La Vauguyon at The Hague and Englebert François van Berckel at Amsterdam were awaiting the return of the draft letter to Pieter van Bleiswyck that had been included in the Commissioners' letter to Dumas of 10 April (calendared above) and which Dumas approved and returned in his letter of 23 April (above). See the Commissioners' formal letter to van Bleiswyck of 28 April (above).
2. Almost certainly a reference to William V, the stadholder, or his adviser the Duke of Brunswick.
3. The dispute between Joseph II of Austria and Frederick the Great of Prussia concerned the succession to the Bavarian throne following the death of Maximilian Joseph, elector of Bavaria. When Austria sought to annex Bavaria, third largest state in Western Europe, the two nations mobilized their armies and spent the summer of 1778 in bloodless maneuvers in Bohemia. Ultimately, through the mediation of Catherine II of Russia, the dispute was resolved by the Treaty of Teschen of 13 May 1779. For an account of this affair and its possible impact on the Franco-American alliance, see Bemis, Diplomacy of the Amer. Revolution, p. 70–75.
4. The two sources were La Vauguyon and Sir George Grand, who had close ties to Vergennes. The newspaper clippings have not been found.
5. For this publication, see Dumas to the Commissioners, 19 May, and note 6 there (below).
6. On the LbC Dumas added: “Tout ce que j'en apprends, me fait craindre que ce ne soit un grand brouillon” (From all that I can learn I fear that he is a great blunderer).
7. Dumas' “bon amis d'Amsterdam” were probably Horneca, Fizeaux & Co. In the LbC, Dumas spelled out the name “Grand.”

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0051

Author: Williams, Jonathan
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-28

Jonathan Williams to the Commissioners

My last to your Excellencies was of the 18th Instant since which I am without any of your Favours.1
I sometime since received from Holland 13 Bales and Packages containing oznaburgs,2 Sail Cloth, Medicines &c, which the Shippers informed me were on Account of Mr. Grand, from whom I had no advice relative to the Business, I in consequence wrote to him, and have for answer that altho' the Goods were shipped in his Name they are on your Account: I beg to know how they are to be disposed of. I have also lately received 196 { 67 } Swivels from Holland without advice, I wrote to Mr. Dean in consequence and had for answer that they were part of Mr. Merkles contract, and were paid for by the Commissioners. My Duty, here obliges me to inform you, that these Swivels altho' new, are the worst I ever saw, and I had rather see them sold for old Iron, than that any american should risque the Loss of his Hand by putting a Match to them. I have also from the same place 19 Cases and 5 Casks without advice or knowledge of their Contents. On examination I find the former to be arms, and the latter Locks and other Musket furniture. These with about 2500 Suits of Cloaths that remain, 55 Cases of Sabres, 14 Cases of Copper, and between 3 and 400 Cases of repaired arms in the Magazine form the quantity of Goods on Hand. I beg to know how they are to be conveyed to America as I find I shall be able to get but a very trifle, if any, on board of the americans that are here. I forgot to add to the quantity of Goods about 30 Tons of Anchors, that I have imported from Spain on the public Account. As Mr. Dean is absent it is necessary to explain this transaction. When I was fitting the Frigate3 I found it impossible to procure Anchors for her here. It was therefore necessary to send to Spain, from whence they come as cheap, excellent in quality, and generaly with as much expedition as from any where else; As we were in want of Ballast it was determined, with Mr. Deans approbation, to add to the quantity 2 Setts of heavy anchors for the 74 Gun Ships that were building in America, which would at once serve as Ballast to the Ship, and be a reasonable supply. Unfortunately the Vessell that was to bring these Anchors was obliged to put back having sprung a leak, she was condemned, and the [anchors] were then obliged to wait another opportunity; this reduced me to the necessity of borrowing a Sett for the Frigate from the Kings yard at L'orient, which the Commissary consented to spare me on my promise to replace them from the Forges in that neighbourhood. These therefore are still to be paid for. The Anchors from Spain have arrived at last and remain to be sent out, they are of a superiour Quality, and would be an important acquisition were they in America. Perhaps the Boston might take them in. You may think me tediously particular, but I had rather fall into that Error than let any transaction of mine be obscure or unexplained. When I have the Honour to appear before you I mean to pursue the same plan in everything that relates to public Service, since I have been in its employ.
{ 68 }
I imagine that I shall not have occasion to draw for more than 20,000 Livres more to finish my Account on the public Account, except the above article of Anchors. As soon as my Health will permit I will submit all my Accounts to your Excellencies. I have the honour to be with the greatest Respect Your most obed Servant
[signed] Jon Williams
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “Mr J. Williams 28 Ap. 1778”; in another hand: “Wms 28 Apl 78.”
1. No replies have been found to the letter of either the 18th or the 28th.
2. A variant form of Osnaburg, which is a corruption of Osnabrück, a North German town. The word is used here to describe a kind of coarse linen cloth manufactured at Osnabrück (OED).
3. This was the frigate Deane (Dict. Amer. Fighting Ships, 2:248; Deane Papers, 5:443

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0052

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Tucker, Samuel
Date: 1778-04-29

To Samuel Tucker

[salute] Dear sir

I this Moment had the Pleasure of your Letter of the 22d Instant, and am much obliged to you for your kind Congratulations on my safe Arrival, and agreable Reception here.
The Commissioners have recommended a Lieut to you. Mr. Livingston, a Gentleman of good Character, as the Commissioners believe. But, altho the Hon. Commissioners have recommended him, as first Lieut. I hope he will, decline this, and be content to be made second Lieut,1 as I have a great opinion of and Esteem for Mr. Recd, I could wish him to be first. However this must be left to you. Mr. Livingston is said to be a Man of an handsome Fortune and good Connections.
You will see by your orders,2 which Captn. Palmes will deliver you that, your future Cruise and Voyage will be left to yourself—may God preserve and prosper, you and the ship and her Company.
I shall ever retain a pleasing Remembrance of, the Civilities received from you, and the agreable Hours We Spent together on Board the Boston, notwithstanding all our bad Weather and disagreable Chases.
I have written to Mr. Bondfield,3 to put a few Things on board your ship, for my family—if you will take the Charge of them, I shall be much obliged to you. I had rather they should take their Chance with you, how long soever you may cruise than by any other Vessell: because I have great Confidence in your Vigilance, Prudence and Activity, of which I have written both to Congress { 69 } and the Navy Board. I am, with much Affection & Esteem, Your Friend, & sert
[signed] John Adams
RC (MH-H: Tucker Papers)
1. Muscoe Livingston agreed to serve as second lieutenant (Samuel Tucker to the Commissioners, 29 April, below).
2. For Tucker's orders, see the Commissioners' letter to him of 13 April (above).
3. That of 12 April (not found), but see John Bondfield to JA, 28 April, note 1 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0053

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-29

From James Lovell

[salute] Dear sir

I promise myself much from the eight or nine scrawls which I have sent to you since your departure from America, in the spirit, I own to you, with which Indians make their presents of feathers or bark.1
I must depend upon your imagination to comprehend what I will not undertake to describe—our chagrin and perplexity at our total ignorance of the situation and transactions of the Commissioners at Paris and other parts of Europe. I ask you a plain question, or two. How often have the Gentlemen at Paris wrote to Congress since June last? Have copies and triplicates of their Dispatches been sent? Do you know who robbed Folgier? Is there more reason to think it was done by the english court than the french, if it was done at all by court influence? Do not our mercantile concerns and the interest of individuals therein furnish the best clue to the robbery?
I must refer you to the printed papers for the conduct of our enemies.2 Tryons certified Bills did not come out 'till after our committee had reported.3 He sent packets to Genl. W—— Gates and others requesting that they would not prevent the dispersion of the Bills among the Officers and people at large. I have not Tryon's letter by me just now but it will be printed shortly with Genl. W——s answer as follows—

[salute] Sir

Your letter of the 17th: and a triplicate of the same were duly received. I had had the pleasure of seing the draughts of the two Bills, before those which were sent by you came to hand and I can assure you they were suffered to have a free currency among the officers and men under my command, in whose fidelity to the United States I have the most perfect confidence; and the inclosed Gazette, published the 24th. at York Town, will show you { 70 } that it is the wish of Congress they should have an unrestrained circulation.
I take the liberty to transmit you a few printed copies of a resolution of Congress of the 23d. instant,4 and to request you will be instrumental in communicating its contents, so far as it may be in your power, to the persons who are the objects of its operation. The benevolent purpose it is intended to answer will, I persuade myself, sufficiently recommend it to your candor.
I am Sir Your most Obedt Servt.
[signed] Go Washington

[addrLine] Majr. Genl. Tryon at New York

The enemy just at the time when they are affecting to treat with us are sending forth in the Gazettes of Philadelphia and New York a forged Resolve of Congress, purporting our grant of a power to Genl. W—— to regard all militia men, enlisted or draughted for 9 months or a year, as soldiers during the war and to treat them as deserters if they shall attempt to leave the camp on the expiration of their present Agreement.5
We have this day offered 800 acres of Land with certain Stock named to any captain in the British Service, not a Subject of the King of Gr: Br:, who shall bring off with him self 40 Men, and proportional rewards to Officers of inferiour rank and to the soldiers.6
This is taking up the enemy's practice. I do not like it because the offers are much too great. The same Generals who have managed the war are not to negotiate reconcilliation: Ld. Amherst is said to have arrived at New York and to have freed all our men, prisoners there, upon parole. This is not certain; but He Admiral Kepple and Genl. Murray are said to be nominated Commissioners. Is it not droll that I should send such news to France; but not expecting to hear from the Gentlemen there this season, I propose to let them know that we do get a little european intelligence other ways. Mr. D—— at the Hague writes very punctually tho we treat him as we are treated by others. I hope that we shall some time or other be told what is the proper recompence for that Gentleman's Services. I wrote to him last year that it was needless, for him, to be at the trouble of any thing more than to correspond with the Commissioners. He is punctual however; and his letters down to Y have reached us and tho little interesting have cost us great Sums indeed, one alone from Boston £50 sterling nearly.7
{ 71 }
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr Lovels Letter to me April 29. 1778.” A partial French translation (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 3) bears the notation: “N a Adam traduit de L'anglois Interceptée.” “ADAM” is written over another name which cannot be read. Copies of two other letters that accompanied this one to France are also in the French archives and bear the notation “Interceptée” (John Thaxter to JA, 30 April|| and descriptive note||; Isaac Smith Sr. to JA, 6 May||and descriptive note||, Adams Family Correspondence, 3:17–20, and descriptive notes).
The presence of this letter and the two others in the French archives is interesting and, perhaps, significant. One possible explanation is that the letters were captured by the British and then recaptured by the French, who, before sending them on to JA, made copies. JA, however, notes in his reply to Lovell of 9 July (calendared below) that his letter arrived at Nantes with “Dispatches from Congress which were sent by the Saratoga from Baltimore.” There is no indication that the passage of the Saratoga was interrupted in any way.
A second explanation might be that JA showed this letter, and the others, to the French Ministry because they contained the first news of the American reaction to Lord North's conciliatory proposals. This seems unlikely because in the French translation the identities of the author and recipient are uncertain, the translation extends only to the first sentence of the third paragraph, and it is improbable that JA would have shown the French a letter in which Lovell wondered whether the French, rather than the British, had stolen the dispatches from Folger. It should be noted, however, that JA did show at least part of this letter to Edmé Jacques Genet, publisher of Affaires de l'Angleterre et de l'Amérique for the French Foreign Ministry, because a portion of the letter appears in that publication (see note 2; for Genet and Affaires, see JA to Genet, [ante 8 June], below). There Lovell was named as the author, an indication that Genet received the text from JA and that the Foreign Ministry's translation, because it does not identify Lovell, was done before the letter reached JA.
A third explanation, and the most plausible one, is that the French were reading the Commissioners' mail; that J. D. Schweighauser, to whom the letter was entrusted (William MacCreery to JA, 4 July, below), or someone else opened the letters between Nantes and Paris and made copies. Ironically, Genet may well have known about the letter before JA showed it to him because, as head of the Foreign Ministry's translators bureau, he would likely have made or at least seen the translation that is in the archives. But without further evidence all explanations remain tentative.
1. This is the first extant letter from Lovell to JA since that of 10 Feb. (above), three days before JA sailed for France. In his reply of 9 July (calendared below) JA noted that this letter was the first that he had received from Lovell or any other member of the congress since his arrival in France.
2. The remainder of this paragraph and the letter from Washington to Tryon that follows were translated and printed in Affaires (vol. II, “Lettres,” cahier 48, p. xxxvi–xxxix).
3. In a speech to Parliament on 17 Feb., Lord North proposed a new reconciliation effort and on the 19th introduced two bills that, with significant changes and the addition of a third bill repealing the Massachusetts Government Act, were adopted on 9 March. The first declared that Parliament in the future would tax the colonies only to regulate commerce and not to raise revenue; the second created a royal commission, headed by the Earl of Carlisle, to treat with the Americans. In the hope of preventing ratification of the recently concluded Franco-American treaties, the Ministry immediately dispatched the two bills, in their draft form of 19 Feb., to America where they arrived in mid-April { 72 } (Alan Valentine, Lord North, 2 vols., Norman, Okla., 1967, 1:505–506, 511, 515–516; Parliamentary Hist., 19:762–767, 775; Bemis, Diplomacy of the Amer. Revolution, p. 67; JA to the president of the congress, 25 April, note 1, above; for the text of the draft bills, see any of the broadsides and newspapers cited below; for the text of the bills as adopted, see, for example, Rivington's Royal Gazette, 23 May).
Although they had little chance for success, either as presented or adopted, the proposals were received with enthusiasm by the loyalists and the British administration. Efforts were made to give them wide circulation through the publication of two broadsides, the first in Philadelphia under the auspices of Gen. Howe (Evans, No. 15828) and the second in New York over the signature of William Tryon (Evans, No. 15827), and at least 23 separate printings in the New York and Philadelphia newspapers (see Rivington's Royal Gazette, 20, 27 April, 4, 11 May; Pennsylvania Evening Post, 15, 17, 20, 27 April, 4 May; Pennsylvania Ledger, 18, 23, 25, 29 April, 2, 6, 9, 13 May).
Lovell, here, and Washington, in his letter to William Tryon of 26 April, copied by Lovell, are concerned with the two broadsides. Washington received the Philadelphia broadside on 17 April and enclosed it in a letter of the 18th to the congress (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 11:277–278). On 20 April a committee was formed to consider the broadside and Washington's letter. Its report, approved unanimously on 22 April, declared that although the authenticity of the two bills was doubtful, they should be printed “for the public information” in order to counteract the efforts to circulate them “in a partial and secret manner.” Under no circumstances, however, were negotiations to take place until the British withdrew their military forces or expressly acknowledged American independence (JCC, 10:367, 374–380). In view of the committee's report, the “inclosed Gazette, published the 24th. at York Town” that is referred to in Washington's letter was almost certainly the Pennsylvania Gazette, which took its text from the Philadelphia broadside.
The New York broadside—“Tryon's certified Bills”—reached Washington on 22 April as an enclosure in Tryon's letter of the 17th. In a letter to congress on 23 April, Washington characterized Tryon's letter as an “extraordinary and impertinent request, that thro' my means the contents of them [the two bills] should be communicated to the Officers and Men of this Army” (Tryon to Washington, 17 April, PCC, No. 152, V, f. 519; Washington to the president of the congress, 23 April, Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 11:300–302). Although Washington indicated in a letter to the congress on 20 April that he had become convinced that the two bills were authentic, neither that nor Tryon's effort led either Washington or the congress to alter their resolve to reject the British proposals. Their determination was clearly indicated by Washington's letter to Tryon of the 26th and the refusal of the congress to weaken the committee report of 22 April (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 11:281–282; JCC, 10:382). Tryon's letter and Washington's answer were printed in the Pennsylvania Gazette of 2 May that was sent to the Commissioners in a letter from the Committee for Foreign Affairs dated 14 May (below).
4. This resolution recommended to the states that they offer pardons to Americans serving with the British forces who would surrender before 10 June. Five hundred copies of the resolution in English and two hundred in German were to be printed and distributed by Gen. Washington (JCC, 10:381–382).
5. The forged resolve dated 20 Feb. appeared in the New York Gazette on 9 March and in the Pennsylvania Evening Post of 3 April.
6. The congress ordered that one thousand copies of this address, directed at the German mercenaries, be printed in German (JCC, 10:405–410).
7. Dumas' voluminous correspondence with the Committee for Foreign Affairs began with letter “A” of 30 April 1776. His letter “Y” was that of 16 Dec. 1777, while his latest was “H2” of 27 April 1778 (PCC, No. 93,1). Although Lovell, in a letter of 8 Aug. 1777, had informed Dumas that it would be more appropriate for him to correspond with the Commissioners, the Committee for Foreign Affairs wrote to Dumas on 14 May 1778, noting that his { 73 } letters had proved invaluable as a source of European intelligence during the eleven-month gap produced by the loss of the Commissioners' dispatches in the Folger affair (PCC, No. 79,1).
As for Dumas' compensation, he had been receiving payments from the Commissioners in Europe since 20 April 1777, when Ferdinand Grand paid him 2,242.19.9 livres. In 1778 he received two equal payments of 2,400 livres and from 19 May 1779 to 16 May 1785 he received twelve payments of 2,700 livres each. This totaled, for the nine-year period, 39,442.19.9 livres (DNA: RG 39, Public Agents in Europe, 1776–1787 [Microfilm, Reel No. 1, f. 10]).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0054

Author: Tucker, Samuel
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-29

Samuel Tucker to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

I received yours of the 15th Instant by Capt. Palmes with my Orders from your Honours of [on] the 26th Instant.1 Am very uneasy that I cannot imediately per sue them; I would inform your Honours that it is not possible for me to get the Ship to Sea in less than 16 or 18 Days, as my Mainmast detains me and in Cariening my Ship, the Galley fell down, for which Reason I've a Iron Hearth makeing to stand under my Forecastle. I carried away my fore Yard on my Passage, but being securely fished,2 I am in hopes it will serve me the Cruze.
Gentlemen I will do my utmost to get the Ship out knowing it is very Expensive, I have Confined myself on Board to assist the Officers during my Enterance into this port. I Received your Recommendation of Mr. Livingston,3 he is to proceed as 2d Lieut, to his Choice, and I am under great Obligations to your Honours for my Officer. I shall take Care to obey such Orders as I have or ever may Receive from your Honours. I am with Respect, your Honours Obedient Humble Servt.
[signed] Saml Tucker
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “To the Honble: American Commissioners att Paris.”
1. That is, Tucker had received the Commissioners' letter of 15 April that probably contained, as an enclosure, the Commissioners' orders to him of 13 April (both above).
2. That is, strengthened with wood called a fish (OED).
3. Probably a reference to the letter from the Commissioners to Tucker of 19 April (MH-H: Tucker Papers), but it may also refer to the recommendation contained in Tucker's orders of 13 April, mentioned in note 1.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0055-0001

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-29

Vergennes to the Commissioners

J'ai communiqué à M. de Sartine, Messieurs, l'office que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'adresser1 dans la vüe d'obtenir des { 74 } convois pour la sûreté du commerce que les négocians de Nantes et de Bordeaux font avec 1'Amérique Septentrionale; Je joins ici une copie de la réponse de ce Ministre;2 vous y verrez que le Roi a pris les mesures les plus efficaces pour protéger le commerce des Américains comme aussi celui de ses propres sujets, et je suis persuadé, Messieurs, que vous trouverez dans ces mesures une preuve satisfaisante des dispositions de Sa Majesté en faveur des Etats-unis.

[salute] J'ai l'honneur d'être très parfaitement Messieurs, votre très humble et très obéissant Serviteur.

[signed] De Vergennes

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0055-0002

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-29

The Comte de Vergennes to the Commissioners: A Translation

I have submitted to M. de Sartine the communication you did me the honor to address to me1 regarding the obtaining of convoys to ensure the safety of commerce between the merchants of Nantes and Bordeaux and those of North America. I have enclosed a copy of his reply.2 You will see that the King has taken the most efficacious measures to protect the trade of the Americans as well as that of his own subjects, and I am sure, gentlemen, that you will find these measures a satisfactory proof of His Majesty's favorable disposition toward the United States. I have the honor to be very perfectly, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant.
[signed] De Vergennes
RC (MH-H: Lee Papers)
1. See the Commissioners to Vergennes, 19 April, and Vergennes' reply of 20 April (both above).
2. In his letter to Vergennes of 26 April (Dupl, MH-H: Lee Papers; LbC, Adams Papers; transl. in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:564–565) Sartine stated that while measures were being taken to protect American and French ships from the depredations of Jersey and Guernsey privateers as they entered or left ports or rivers on the Bay of Biscay and a portion of the French coast facing the English Channel, the convoy of ships to America was impracticable. All that was possible was a limited convoy to and from the “Capes,” that is, to or from a line running approximately due north from the north-westernmost point in Spain. In any case, American ships were to receive the same treatment as those of France.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0056

Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-30

The Foreign Affairs Committee to the Commissioners

No. 6 Copy

[salute] Gentlemen

By the Gazettes which accompany this letter you will see that the Enemy are entering upon a plan which must shortly perplex us much,1 unless we receive dispatches from you to enlighten us as to your Situation and Transactions of which we have had no information since the latter end of May.2 As we have heard of the loss of Capt. Johnston and Capt. Wickes and know that John { 75 } Folgier was robbed, we cannot charge our present want of letters to negligence in you; but we think you should not rest satisfied without sending triplicates of your dispatches.
The commercial Committee will transmit to you the contract which they have entered into with the agent of the House of Ro—derigue Hortales &Co. The heads of which contract happening to be at hand are inclosed.3
We have read a letter written by a friend (Govr. Johnston) dated House of Commons Feb. 13 th. in which we are told that “you had concluded a Treaty with France and Spain which was on the Water towards us.”4 Imagine how solicitous we are to know the truth of this before we receive any proposals from Britain in consequence of the scheme in Ld. Norths speech and the two Draughts of Bills now sent to you.
The state of our foreign connection is a subject now before Congress; and, dubious as we are about your transactions some resolutions will probably be formed to be transmitted to you by a special conveyance shortly, when a general account of our Affairs will also be sent. We have little uneasiness about the Strengths of our enemy. Our currency must be supported in due credit; after which we may bid defiance to Britain and all her German hirelings. We wish every advice and Assistance from You for the support of such Credit. I am with great Regard Gentlemen your humble Servant
[signed] James Lovell
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “Mr Lovel Ap. 30. 1778”; in another hand: “Copy of Apr. 30th to the Commissioners in France.” The word “Copy” is used to indicate that this was one of several copies sent by the Committee for Foreign Affairs to ensure that at least one reached France. The letter is in Lovell's hand. No enclosures found.
1. For this, as well as “Lord North's speech and the two Draughts of Bills” mentioned later in the letter, see Lovell to JA, 29 April, and note 2 (above).
2. That is, May 1777.
3. See Commerce Committee to the Commissioners, 16 May (below).
4. George Johnstone (1730–1787), a former governor of West Florida, was a member of the opposition in Parliament, thus Lovell's reference to him as a “friend” Johnstone's later actions as a member of the Carlisle Commission and support for the Ministry's policies as a self-styled expert on America, however, greatly diminished his reputation among Americans (DNB).
The letter referred to by Lovell has not been found, but Johnstone's knowledge of the French treaties only a week after they were signed indicates the effectiveness of the British intelligence service. Johnstone probably also knew of Simeon Deane's abortive mission of early January (Simeon Deane to the Commissioners, 16 April, note 1, above). In a letter of 5 Feb. to Robert Morris, read in the congress on 27 April (PCC, No. 78, XIII), Johnstone reported that the preliminaries of a treaty with France had been sent to America, but warned against doing anything rash in view of an imminent new reconciliation initiative. Presumably he meant that the treaties should not be ratified.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0057

Author: Champagne, J. C.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-02

From J. C. Champagne

[salute] Sir

I had the honnor to Congratulate you the 14 Ultimo on Your Safe Arrival at Paris where I hope you Enjoy Good health. I now Agreeable to promise put pen to paper to Acquaint you the Arrival of one of Messieurs Rimbeaux of Bordeaux Vessell from Charlestown Called the Dupré de St. Maur after three and thirty days passage with a Cargoe of 574. h:heads of Tobacco, Rice, Staves and Indigo.1 She is a Ship of about 350 to 400 tuns, She and Six more got out In the Night but none Yett Arrivd, Capt Decasse who Commands this one thinks they are taken. He and the passengers Delay Comming ashore Yesterday here to reaport their Vessell was So Short that I Could not learn of any thing Extraordinary,2 Being what offers I Remain Very Respectfully, Your Very h Servt: sir
[signed] J: C: Champagne Ainé
1. Letters of 2 May from John Bondfield to the Commissioners (PPAmP: Franklin Papers) and of 3 May from William MacCreery to JA (Adams Papers; quoted in Adams Family Correspondence, 3:12, note 2) reported that the ship brought no news, but had carried a number of letters and packets which had been transferred to a French snow at sea to avoid capture.
2. That is, the captain and his passengers made a very short stop at Blaye to inform the castle there of the ship's arrival.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0058

Author: Frazer, Jonathan G.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-02

From Jonathan G. Frazer

[salute] Sir

I understand there is some dispatches from the Governour and Council of Virginia lately come to you Gentlemen at Paris. If there shou'd be, a Letter for me by the same conveyance, please to have it put in the post office for Bordeaux—and if you have a Virginia news paper to spare, I shall be much oblige to you for one.
Their is a Captain Richard Garde here who's Vessell is detained, as well as many others, from Ireland, by order of the Court of France.
This man was coming here with provision last summer from Cork, and was taken by the Hawk, and Union, Letters of Mark, belonging to England, and was with his Vessell and Cargoe carried into Falmouth, where he was detained seven Months as a prisioner, at last had his Vessell given up to him, and himself and crew set at liberty. Just as he was ready to leave Falmouth in { 77 } January last, the ship Hancock and Adams in the service of the united States (commanded by Samuel Smith) was also taken by an English Letter of mark, and carried into Falmouth. Capt. Smith and his crew were sent on shore to be examined &c. and fortunately met with this Capt. Garde who offered to conceal Capt. Smith and his crew on board his, the said Garde's Vessell. After Capt. Smith had been some Days on shore at Falmouth going through his examination or Trial, he had consulted his mate and people, and they agreed to do any thing he thought was for the best. Accordingly they made their escape and got on board Capt. Garde's Vessell where they was concealed till ready to sail, and they all got safe to this port, more in number then Capt. Garde had of his own, in his Brigantine. He the said Garde further shewed his goodness, by paying Capt. Smiths expences while at Falmouth and would not take any thing for their passages to this place. All this I had from Capt. Smith himself, who is now at Nantes. All that Capt. Garde wants is, that if his Vessell is condem'd here, for him to have a pass to return to Ireland, and not be detained in France as a prisioner, if War is declared; If you can with propriety obtain such a pass for him, you will serve a very good Man, and a very great Friend to the American cause; as well as obligeing, the crew that were in Captivity, also your most Obt. and very Hbl. Servt.
[signed] Jno. G. Frazer1
PS. Please to excuse the freedom I have taken in troubling you with this matter, as I did not know who else to apply to, wishing at the same time to have this small favour granted to Capt. Garde. It may be necessary to have a description of him as it is always express'd in passes to every person in this Country, upon all occasions.
Richard Garde late commander of the Bordeaux Yatch, from Cork, 38 years old, 5 feet 8 or 9 Inches high, and a fair complexion.
[signed] JGF
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honbl. John Adams one of the Plenipotentiary's for the united States of America at Paris post”; docketed: “Major Fraser”; in another hand: “Major Frazier Bordeaux May 2d '78.”
1. A Virginian and former Continental Army officer who had accompanied John Paul Jones to Europe in 1777, Frazer met JA when he landed at Bordeaux on 1 April (Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 87, in, 117; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:293, 295; 4:34, 36).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0059

Author: Gantier, John Guy
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-02

From John Guy Gantier

[salute] Sir

The principles of Liberty which I have suckled in my earliest Education, and in the History of the Country of my Ancestors, Swisserland, have made me look on the Struggles of the United Colonies of America to Obtain their Independency, with a Just admiration, and the best wishes for their Success; and it is with a real pleasure I have seen my King and Nation be the first to lend a hand to the glorious revolution that soon will put North America on a parr with the most respectable, and powerfull Empire in the World. Besides those motives of my partiality for the general good of that Country, Gratitude has a great Share in my Wishes for its Wellfare, as my house here, and I in particular, have received many favours from the Merchants of the Provinces of New England, Pensilvania, Virginia, the Carolinas &cra. When the Trade of those parts with these, was uninterupted, and I Flatter myself I still have Valuable friends in those Provinces, therefore desirous of Opportunitys to Cultivate that friendship, and to render my best Services to that new State, I some time ago expressed to my friend Monsr. Grand (under whose Sanction and Cover, I make bold to address you this) my Ambition of being Employed in the Service of the United Colonies as their Consul General in this Province, when they might have concluded their Treaties with the Court of Spain. And said friend very kindly promissed to recommend me to you, Sir, but at same time added that when the time of such Nominations shoud come, you doubtless woud begin by Electing American Gentlemen. On Which, however Just it be, I beg leave to Observe to you, That though many persons of more Talent and Capacity than I, may Occurr to your mind at Once, yet I firmly am of Opinion, none will be found more devoted to the Service of the Congress and Colonies, nor perhaps so able and qualified to fullfill the Views of your Government. As in order to exert the Employ of Consul in this Kingdom to the Satisfaction of the respective States, it is absolutely necessary to be acquainted with the Language, Laws, Customs, Morals and Trade of the Country. All which, as well as the Consideration of the first people in Command in the place, I have duly acquired by near Eleven years residency in these dominions always in Trade, with which advantage, and that of possessing the Dutch and Italian Languages, { 79 } besides the French, English, and Spanish, I take the liberty to Offer you all my Faculties for the Service of the United Colonies. And to entreat that when the Nomination of Consuls for this Kingdom may come to pass, you Kindly will attend my request, and call me to the Consulship of this Province of Cataluña which I expect will have large trading Connections with North America. I ever shall retain the most gratefull Sense for your favour, and Assure you of my Constant readiness to Serve the State, and the Employ I Sollicit with honour, and due Dignity. My good friend Mr. Grand will inform you of my Connections, and reputation in trade; and if further Eclaircissements are wanted, enquiries may be made here from the French Consul, or the Commandant General, and the Intendant of the place, and Province. I have the honour to be very respectfully, Sir! Your most Obedient, & most devoted humble Servant
[signed] John Guy Gantier1
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “John Guy Garliers Letter from Barcelona not to be answered”; in CFA's hand: “May 2d. 1778”; in a third hand: “John Guy Gantiers Barcelona 2d. May 78.”
1. Apparently no action was ever taken on Gantier's request.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0060

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Bersolle, Mr.
Date: 1778-05-03

The Commissioners to Bersolle

Passy, 1778 May 3. printed: JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:88. Bersolle, a merchant at Brest, was informed that his bill drawn on the Commissioners' banker had not been paid immediately because he had drawn it without permission and had failed to submit his accounts, the implication being that they had now examined the accounts and the bill would be honored.
A file copy or draft of 22 April (DLC: Franklin Papers) is identical but for an additional paragraph stating that the Commissioners had not yet examined Bersolle's accounts and thus could not authorize payment. The file copy or draft was apparently not sent. See the Commissioners to James Moylan, 3 May (calendared below).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0061

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Moylan, James
Date: 1778-05-03

The Commissioners to James Moylan

Passy, 3 May 1778. printed: JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:88–89. The Commissioners acknowledged letters from Moylan, dated 23, 30 March and 15, 17 April (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:384, 399) and approved of his efforts on behalf of “the Sick Men” and an American taken prisoner during the capture of an English privateer. Moylan was also informed that since John Paul Jones and his officers had approved { 80 } Bersolle's account, the Commissioners would repay him for his expense in honoring Bersolle's draft, but that in-the future, expenditures should not be made without the Commissioners' approval.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0062

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Ross, John
Date: 1778-05-03

The Commissioners to John Ross

Passy, 3 May 1778. printed: JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:89–90. Composed in two drafts, one dated 22, the other perhaps as early as 23 April (DLC: Franklin Papers), with no indication of why the letter was apparently not sent until 3 May, the date that appears on the Letterbook copy (Adams Papers). Having received no satisfactory answer to their letter of 13 April (calendared above), the Commissioners again requested that the invoices and other papers relating to goods shipped by John Ross at the public expense be sent to them so that the money advanced to him could be accounted for. The Commissioners noted that Ross had gone beyond his instructions from the congress and that the “vast sums” he requested as a consequence could not be furnished without destroying the Commissioners' own credit. Ross was also asked for a copy of the Commissioners' order to purchase the Queen of France, for no record of it could be found.
This vessel, originally the La Brune and later a 28-gun continental frigate, had been bought by Ross in Sept. 1777 to carry supplies to America and was offered to the Commissioners in a letter of 6 Feb. In a note attached to an extract of that letter, Arthur Lee declared that the offer had not been agreed to by the Commissioners. That is, it had been approved by only Silas Deane and Benjamin Franklin; on 11 Feb., Deane had informed Ross that he and Franklin, in Lee's absence, had accepted the proposal. On 26 Feb., Ross wrote that he had renamed the vessel the Queen of France and given the captain a continental commission, probably that for John Green dated 11 Feb. (PCC, No. 83, II, f. 381, 379; No. 137, Il, f. 31; Dict. Amer. Fighting Ships, 5:412; Deane Papers, 2:362–363). On 1 Aug. the congress resolved that the Commissioners were to pay Ross for his expenses in regard to the Queen of France (JCC, 11:739–740).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0063

Author: Moylan, James
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-04

James Moylan to the Commissioners

[salute] Honorable Gentlemen

This morning arrived here the Schooner Milford Cap: Blackwell from Rapahanac River in Virginia after a passage of 33 days; she has not brought any letters for you, or public papers of any kind, but the Captain tells me that the new levies were compleated in Virginia and that they were to march a few days after the 28th. of March to General Washington's Camp about 16 miles { 81 } from Philadelphia, in which City General Howe still continued. That the people were in good spirits and that the army was tolerably well cloath, but that all the Ports were blocked by English Frigates. This is all the information I procur'd worth your notice. I have the honor to be Honble. Gentlemen Your assurd etc. etc.
[signed] James Moylan
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “To the Honorable Plenipotentiary Ministers of the United States of America.”; docketed: “M. Moylan 4. May. 1778.”

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0064

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-04

Vergennes to the Commissioners

Versailles, 4 May 1778. printed: JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:308 (French); 4:90 (JA's translation). Vergennes announced that JA would be presented to Louis XVI on 8 May and invited the Commissioners to dine with him on that day.
For JA's account of his presentation, see Diary and Autobiography, 2:309–310; 4:92–93. JA informed Arthur Lee of Vergennes' announcement and invitation in a letter of 5 May (MH-H: Lee Papers). The Commissioners acknowledged Vergennes' letter and accepted his invitation in a letter to him of the 6th (Dft, PPAmP: Franklin Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0065-0001

Author: Adam, Mr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-05

From Adam

[salute] Monsieur

Je vous prie de me permmettre De vous temoigner combien je Suis flattè D'avoir L'honneur de porter votre nom, Et je le Serois bien davantage, si j'avois celuy D'Etre issus de votre famille tout çe qu'on lit Et ceque L'on Entend Dire de la Sublimité de vos lumieres, Est certainement bien fait pour former de pareils Desirs.
Que je serois heureux, monsieur, si la Similitude de nom pouvoit vous Engager à vous interesser pour moy! J'ose me flatter qu'Etayé de votre protection je serois asseûré de Reussir dans ceque vous me feriès Entreprendre.
Mais comme je crois necessaire de me decliner Davantage affin de ne pas vous Laisser soupçionner que je sois un avanturier, je me nomme Adam, j'Exerçe La proffession d'avocat dans une petite ville de La province du Lyonnois, Et je Reunis à çet Etat celuy de controlleur des actes Dans La même ville de charlieu, çes Deux objets joints à ma fortune ne sont point d'une Grande conséquençe, je sens que si j'Etoit assès heureux que { 82 } D'Etre Destinè à quelque chose de mieux, je m'En acquitterois avec autant De zele, que d'Exactitude.
Je ne suis agè que de 36 ans, Et par consequens Encore capable D'Entreprendre, surtout guidè par vous, monsieur, seroit-il possible De ne pas Reussir? Quel Bonheur pour moy, je Le Repete, si La Ressemblence de nom, vous faisoit jetter un coûp d'oeil favorable sur moy, trop flattè deja de L'un. Je ne cesserer d'Etre Recconnoissant de vos bontés, Et je m'efforcerer par mon Exactitude Et mon zele à vous la temoigner dans les choses que me viendroient de vous.
Passès moy je vous prie, monsieur, ma libertè En faveur de La Satisfaction que je ressens à porter vôtre nom, Et de l'Envie de me faire connoitre pour tâcher d'obtenir que vous prenniès interêt à moy; serès je au moins assès heureux pour ne vous avoir point faché En vous Ecrivant, Et pour reçevoir de vous L'honneur D'une Reponse favorable, je l'attend comme un Des Grands biens que j'Espere Dans ce moment.1

[salute] J'ay L'honneur D'Etre avec un très profond Respect Monsieur Votre très humble, Et très obeissant Serviteur

[signed] Adam

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0065-0002

Author: Adam, Mr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-05

Adam to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

Please allow me to tell you how honored I am to bear your name, and how much more so I would be, had I the honor of being descended from your family. All that one reads or hears about the sublimity of your enlightenment leads one to form such wishes.
How happy I would be, sir, if the similarity of our names could make you take an interest in me! I dare flatter myself that under your protection, I would be assured of success in whatever you would have me undertake.
But I think it necessary to introduce myself a little further lest you think I am an adventurer. My name is Adam. I practice, in a small town in the province of Lyonnais, the profession of law to which was joined the function of contrôleur des actes in the same town of Charlieu, but these two offices added to my fortune are of no great consequence. I feel that if I was lucky enough to be destined for something better I would fulfill it with as much enthusiasm as diligence.
I am only 36 years old and therefore still quite capable of enterprise, especially if guided by you, sir, how could one fail? What joy it would be for me—I repeat it—if the similarity of name, for which I am already so grateful, made you cast a favorable eye on me. I would be eternally grateful for your kindness, and would endeavor to show my gratitude by my diligence and zeal in accomplishing whatever you would have me do.
{ 83 }
Forgive me the liberty I have taken, sir, in view of the pleasure that I take in bearing your name, and my desire to make myself known to you in an effort to stimulate your interest. I hope, at least, that I will be fortunate enough not to have offended you by writing, and that I will have the honor of receiving a favorable reply. I await it and would consider it one of the greatest blessings that I can hope for at this time.1

[salute] I have the honor to be, with a most profound respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant.

[signed] Adam
1. Apparently JA made no response.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0066

Author: Dowse, Nathaniel
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-05

Nathaniel Dowse to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

On the 14th April 1777 I sailed from Virginia Commander of the Ship Mercer belonging to Messrs. Mercer and Schenck of Boston, with a Cargo of 450 Hogsheads Tobacco for Account of the Honorable Continental Congress, to the Address of Messrs. S. and J. H. Delap of Bordeaux. On the fourth of May following I had the Misfortune of being risen upon by my Crew and carried with my Vessel into Whitehaven,1 where I remained Prisoner 'till I found the opportunity of escaping on board a Hamburgh Vessel bound from New Castle to this Port, which arrived yesterday. I think it my Duty to inform you thereof, and if you judge I can be of any use to my Country either in a Publick or private Station, I most heartily make you a tender of my best Services. I have had proposals from several Merchants at this place, but have deferred treating with any 'till I know if you have Employ for me. I have the Honor of being personally known to the Honorable John Adams Esqr. who will be able to give you Satisfaction to any Enquiries you may think it necessary to make about me, and begging the favor of your reply as speedily as possible, I have the Honor of being with utmost respect Gentlemen, Your most obed. hble Servant
[signed] Nathl Dowse2
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “To The Honorable Benjamin Franklin Arthur Lee & John Adams, Esqrs. Plenipotentiaries from the United States of America—at the Court of Versailles"; docketed: “C Nath. Dowse 5. May 1778.”
1. According to a report in the Liverpool General Advertiser of 30 May (reprinted in Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 8:878), the Mercer sailed from Cape Henry on 14 April 1777. Sixteen members of its crew of 18 were reportedly English, Scotch, or Irish, former prisoners in America. Taking advantage of the situation, that group rose against Dowse on 5 May and took the vessel into Whitehaven on the 21st. Whitehaven is on { 84 } the west coast of England and was raided by John Paul Jones on 23 April 1778 (Jones to the Commissioners, 27 May, below).
2. When or how Nathaniel Dowse, a ship's captain from Charlestown, became known to JA is undetermined (William Bradford Homer Dowse, Lawrence Dowse, Boston, 1926, p. 176). Evidently the Commissioners made no response to this letter.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0067-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-05

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners

[salute] Messieurs

J'ai l'honneur de vous envoyer ci-joint la Traduction de deux Lettres Allemandes, que j'ai reçues Samedi passé, et ce matin, de Berlin et de Hambourg.1 Le gd. F——r en a fait fixer copie aussi pour l'envoyer à sa maison.2 J'ai reçu, d'un autre côté 3 bulletins des affaires de france, du 10, 15 et 20 Avril. J'enjoindrois volontiers copie ici, car il y a des choses curieuses, mordantes, et méchantes peut-être: mais c'est précisément pour cette raison que je n'ose risquer le paquet; car on ouvre quelquefois les Lettres en france; et je ne voudrois commettre ni vous, Messieurs, ni moi. Vous êtes d'ailleurs sur les lieux, et à même de savoir toutes les tracasseries, et tout ce qui se passe, aussi bien, et peutetre mieux que mon Correspondant.
Dans ce moment je reçois l'honoré vôtre du 30 Avril.3 Je finis done celle-ci ex abrupts, pour aller ajuster les Flutes, d'abord avec le gd. F——r, et puis avec notre ami d'Amsterdam, qui arrive ce soir. Je suis, avec un vrai respect, & pour toujours Messieurs Votre très humble & très obéissant serviteur
[signed] D

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0067-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-05

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

I have the honor to send you translations of two German letters from Berlin and Hamburg that I received last Saturday and this morning.1 The Grand Facteur also made copies to send to his house.2 In addition, I have received 3 bulletins concerning affairs in France dated 10, 15, and 20 April. I would like to enclose copies of them for they contain curious things, scathing and perhaps even malicious; but that is precisely why I dare not risk it, for letters are sometimes opened in France. I would not want to compromise either you or myself. Besides, you are already on the scene and most probably are able to know all the bickerings and everything else that happens as well, if not better, than my correspondent.
I have just received your letter dated 30 April.3 I shall, therefore, end this one ex-abruptus and, in order to be in agreement with them, call first on the Grand Facteur and then on our friend from Amster• { 85 } dam who is arriving this evening. I am, with genuine respect and, for ever, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] D
RC (MH-H: Lee Papers); addressed: “a Leurs Excellences Messieurs les Plénipotentiaires des Etats-Unis de l'Amérique Sept. Paris.”
1. These letters, dealing with the threatened war between Prussia and Austria, are also in the Lee Papers.
2. Dumas used “maison” here in the sense of a commercial house, but he obviously meant that La Vauguyon had made copies of the letters to send to Vergennes.
3. No letter from the Commissioners to Dumas dated 30 April has been found, but it almost certainly was the covering letter for the Commissioners' letter to van Bleiswyck of 28 April (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0068

Author: Sarsfield, Guy Claude, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-07

From Sarsfield

[salute] Sir

The Bearer is a Surgeon whom I take the liberty of recommanding to you. He wishes very much to settle in North America and though there is a good faundation to hope that the call for the service he is Able to make will be Lessened againn the End of the next Summer, however he may yet find Some employement and after the peace, be a usefull neighbour in Boston or Some other town.
I write this Day to Dr. Franklin1 in his favour and I desire you Sir to be so good as to facilitate as much as you Can Conveniently the Success of Mr. Tessier's (Such is the name of the young man) Wishes. I am With the most Sincere Attachment Sir Your most humble & obedient Servant
[signed] Sarsfield2
2. This is JA's first letter from Guy Claude, comte de Sarsfield (1718–1789), French officer of Irish ancestry, friend of Americans, and would-be philosophe. The editors know of thirty letters exchanged between the men to 16 Sept. 1789. For a sketch of Sarsfield, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:381. No reply to this May letter has been found, and Tessier remains otherwise unidentified, but he did write to Benjamin Franklin on 3 Aug., stating that he was emigrating with six farmers and requesting information about concessions granted to immigrants (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:471).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0069-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
DateRange: 1778-05-07 - 1778-05-15

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners

[salute] Messieurs

Après avoir dépêché ma derniere Lettre du 5e, qui finissoit parvous accuser la réception de l'honorée vôtre du 30 Avril, je merendis chez le g—— F——, pour la lui communiquer. Il se faisoit ha• { 86 } biller pour Sortir. Il me donna néanmoins, sur le champs un moment, dans le quel il me dit, de ne pas dire encore à notre ami d'Amsterdam, que la Lettre pour le G—— P——1 étoit arrivée, mais de dire que je l'attendois, et qu'elle arriveroit bientôt; qu'au reste il m'apprendroit le lendemain la raison qui rendoit cette Suspension nécessaire.
Je fus attendre ensuite que notre ami d'Amsterdam fûut arrivé; et dès que je le sus, je me transportai à son Logement. Il m'apprit que, selon que je Ten avois requis en lui remettant copie de votre Lettre du 10 et de cette papier le G.P., il les avoit religieusement cachées à toute autre personne qu'à la principale de sa ville,2 qui venoit d'arriver avec lui, qui les approuvoit parfaitement, ainsi que 1'usage que je me proposois de faire de ces pieces, et qui S'impatientoit, comme lui, que l'original de l'une arrivât, et que je commençasse la besogne, prêt à concourir de tout son pouvoir au succès. Je lui parlai alors conséquemment aux ordres du g—— F——, non pourtant Sans Souffrir entre cuir et chair, de ne pouvoir tout de suite profiter de 1'occasion, si bien préparée. Le lendemain je fus chez le g—— F——, et lui rendant compte de ma conversation de la veille, quand j'en fus aux bonnes dispositions du Principal de la grande ville, par un mouvement ou de surprise, ou de regret à cause de la Remore qui venoit de s'attacher au navire, il frappa dans sa main. Il m'apprit qu'il avoit reçu une Lettre de Mr. le Cte. de Vergennes, à qui il avoit rendu compte de mon projet et de vos Lettres du 10 lorsque je partis pour Amsterdam: que ce Ministre trouvoit la démarche, si directe de votre part, un peu prématurée, parce qu'on pourroit croire que la France fomentoit cette négociation, dans la vue d'engager cet Etat à prendre parti dans cette affaire: qu'il étoit fâché de ce contretemps; mais que le Ministre ayant écrit sa Lettre avant d'avoir su le grand succès de mon voyage é Amsterdam et les bonnes dispositions de notre ami là, &c. il espéroit de recevoir d'autres Lettres où Ton entreroit mieux dans le projet: qu'en attendant, il falloit retenir dans mon porte-feuille la Lettre pour le G—— P—— et faire usage seulement de la Lettre ostensible que vous m'aviez écrite, Messieurs, le 10 Avril, et prier notre Ami de la faire voir a Mr. le G—— P——. Je lui dis que le. je n'étois pas sûr que notre Ami voulût se prêter à cela; et 2e. qu'après les assurances que je lui avois données que je recevrois certainement la Lettre à présenter au G—— P——, et après la démarche qu'il avoit faite lui-même en conséquence auprès de l'autre principal per• { 87 } sonnage, je perdrois tout mon crédit auprès de ces Messieurs pour l'avenir, si je ne tenois parole. Il me dit, quant au premier point, d'essayer toujours; et quant au second, que Si l'on persistoit de la part de Sa Maison à desirer que la démarche fût Suspendue ou différeé, il se chargeoit, en ce cas, de faire connoître à ces Messieurs, par une voie détournée, mais sûre, que cette Suspension, ou ce délai, venoit de lui, et non de moi. Je fus donc trouver notre ami. Il ne voulut pas d'abord se charger de montrer au G—— P—— la susdite Lettre ostensible du 10, parce qu'il goûtoit davantage notre premier Plan, et qu'il craignoit que cette démarche ici ne mît le Parti adverse en état de parer le coup en le prévoyant. Je le fis pourtant entrer enfin dans la mesure. Il remit hier matin au G—— P—— la dite Lettre ostensible du 10, qui S'adresse à moi, to enquire privately into the dispositions3 &c. Il aura ce soir une Conférence là-dessus avec lui; et demain j'en saurai le résultat.
Je suis aussi bref que je puis dans tout ce détail. Mais je vous le dois, Messieurs, pour vous faire juger, que si je n'exécute pas, de point en point, tout ce que j'avois promis, la cause ne viendra ni de moi, ni d'Amsterdam, ni de Vous, mais du côté d'ou je devois m'y attendre le moins; et qu'on m'a subitement prescrit une Marche très différente de celle qui étoit projetée. Je persiste à trouver, que le premier plan eût été peutêtre préférable: et je me conforme au nouveau par obéissance. Il en viendra toujours quelque bien, j'espere: mais il nous engagera, je crains, dans des longueurs, que l'autre, ce me semble, auroit prévenues.
J'ai été chez notre Ami. Après m'avoir rendu votre Lettre ostensible du 10, que le G—— P—— a eu en mains pendant les jours d'avant hier et d'hier, il m'a fait le récit suivant: Ils étoient convenus d'avoir une conférence la-dessus. Dans la journée d'hier le G—— P—— lui dit, que le Principal d'Amsterdam lui ayant fait demander l'heure où il pourroit recevoir sa visite, il lui avoit fait dire que ce seroit à 7 heures du soir; et que si notre Ami le trouvoit bon, ils pourroient avoir la conference entre eux trois. Notre ami eût préfére le tête à téte, non par défiance pour le Principal (qui est parfaitement d'accord avec lui) mais parce qu'il auroit pu faire expliquer le G—— P——, seul à seul, beaucoup plus qu'il n'a fait en presence d'un tiers: par la meme raison, e'est-à-dire, pour esquiver d'étre trop pressé de s'expliquer, le G—— P—— etoit { 88 } bien aise que ce tiers y fût. Il témoigna de voir avec beaucoup de Satisfaction, par cette Lettre, les bonnes dispositions de l'Union Américaine envers cette République, et desirer également un futur Entrecours favorable aux deux nations; mais le temps, ajouta-t-il, de pouvoir traiter ensemble n'est pas mûr encore. Vous voyez répliqua notre ami, que les Américains ne se pressent pas non plus de nous envoyer quelqu'un pour nous faire des propositions: Mais est-ce à nous de faire des choses qui les rebutent? Le G—— P—— convint de bonne grace, que non. Il leur apprit ensuite (et cette ouverture fit double plaisir à notre ami, en ce qu'elle lui prouvoit la sincérité du G—— P——, et le bon droit de la France dans la présente crise) que Mr. l'Ambassadeur de France lui avoit confié, que la grande raison qui a engagé la France à conclure le Traité avec l'Ameriqué, c'est qu'il n'y avoit plus de milieu entre prévenir et être prévenu; parce que la Grande-Bretagne avoit fait proposer aux Américains, de leur accorder tout ce qu'ils vouloient, pourvu qu'ils S'unissent avec elle afin de tomber ensemble sur la France; et qu'en cas de rupture ouverte, la France sera en état de prouver la vérité de cela à toute l'Europe. Notre ami a fini par me dire, qu'il seroit bon que la Lettre pour le G—— P—— arrivât incessamment. Je lui ai dit que je l'espérois; mais que, si la chose tardoit, ou n'avoit pas lieu, il ne devoit, en ce cas, n'en attribuer la cause ni à Mrs. les Plénipotentiaires Americains, ni à moi; parce qu'il étoit naturel de penser, que vous ne feriez pas cette démarche à l'insu de la Cour de France, et que, si celle-ci jugeoit à-propos de la différer, il faudroit entrer dans ses vues. En nous quittant, il me fit espérer qu'il trouveroit moyen d'avoir un Entretien particulier avec le G—— P——, et de le faire expliquer plus précisément.
Je Suis allé rendre compte de tout cela au g—— F——, qui en a été content, et notamment de ce que j'avois allégué pour justifier le délai quant à la Lettre. Nous sommes convenus ensuite que, pour ne pas témoigner trop d'empressement, je n'irai voir notre ami que Lundi matin, et qu'alors, selon ce qu'il me dira, ie. j'insisterai pour qu'il me dicte quelque chose de positif, que je puisse vous marquer, Messieurs, en conséquence de votre ordre, to inform myself privately, &c. 2e. je lui insinuerai, que, pour aider la République à se tirer de l'espece de sujettion où elle se trouve depuis trop longtemps vis-à-vis de l'Angleterre, il seroit bon de s'adresser à la France, qui pourroit, par sa médiation secrete, ménager imperceptiblement une liaison entre les deux Républi• { 89 } ques. Je lui ai fait voir, au G—— F——, que si j'avois la libérté de présenter la Lettre, ce seroit le vrai moyen d'amener tout naturellement cette médiation. Vous en revenez toujours, m'a-t-il dit, à cette Lettre: vous savez bien qu'il ne nous est pas permis encore de nous en servir. En nous quittant, nous sommes convenus, de plus, que je ne vous écrirois pas aujourdhui.
Je finirai mon rapport de ce jour, par vous raconter, Messieurs, la conversation qu'eut le Pee. St—— avant hier matin avec Mrs. d'Amsterdam. Il leur dit que la Province de Gueldres alloit remettre sur le tapis l'augmentation des troupes; qu'elle l'avoit prié d'appuyer la proposition; et que, si l'on persistoit toujours à la rejeter, la république seroit bien heureuse s'il ne lui en arrivoit pas du mal.4 On répondit, que jamais il n'avoit été moins nécessaire qu'à présent, de charger de cette dépense l'Etat, déjà accablé de dettes; puis que la guerre paroissoit plutôt s'éloigner de ces frontieres, avec les troupes des Puissances voisines, et qu'il n'y avoit point actuellement de Puissance, qui voulût, ou qui pût l'attaquer avec succès. Il répliqua que cela pouvoit changer. On remarqua là-dessus, que tout le monde pourroit en dire autant, au milieu de la plus profonde paix; et qu'il en résulteroit alors, que tout le monde, dans touts les temps, devroit être armé jusqu'aux dents. Il leur fit entendre aussi, que, dans son opinion, les Américains alloient supplanter les Hollandois dans le Commerce, comme ceux-ci avoient supplanté les Venitiens. On ne répondit rien à cela.
Je viens de chez Notre Ami. Il m'a dit qu'il n'avoit pas encore eu occasion de se trouver seul avec le G—— P——. Sur ce que je lui ai proposé de me dieter une réponse que je pusse vous faire parvenir, Messieurs, il m'a répété ce que j'ai déjà eu l'honneur de vous marquer, Savoir, que le G—— P—— étoit convenu, que quoiqu'il ne fût pas temps encore d'en venir à un éclat, il étoit néanmoins de l'intérêt de la République, de ne point rebuter les témoignages d'amitié qui pouvoient lui parvenir du cote de l'Amérique. Il m'a dit encore, qu'excepté le Prince qui étoit Anglois par le sang, et par certaines vues de famille, la plus grande partie de cet Etat, tant des Nobles que des Villes, pensoit différemment, desiroit de se soustraire à l'influence tyrannique de la Gr. Bret, et par conséquent ne demandoit pas mieux que de bien vivre avec l'Amérique. Quant à l'Ouverture que je lui ai faite, de commencer par traiter secretement moyennant l'inter• { 90 } vention et médiation de la France, la chose, comme je l'avois prévu, n'est pas faisable, du moins pas avant que j'ai pu présenter la Lettre au G—— P——. Il est impossible de négocier ici, comme négocieroient ensemble des Etats monarchiques. Les Villes ont le droit de refuser, et de s'opposer aux mesures qu'elles croient pernicieuses à l'Etat; mais elles gendarmeroient le Parti adverse, et lui donneroient des armes contre elles, si elles vouloient jouer un rôle trop actif dans les affaires. La Lettre, Si elle étoit délivrée au G—— P——, le mettroit dans la nécéssité de la communiquer aux Etats, et d'y répondre. Alors les villes, surtout Amsterdam, auroient un grand poids, soit dans la délibération, pour la maniere de répondre, Soit, en cas qu'on voulût leur cacher la Lettre, pour obliger de la produire.
Hier un grand déjeuner à la Cour, et un Bal à l'hôtel de france, m'empêcherent de voir personne autre. Ce matin j'ai rapporté le résultat de ma visite d'hier au g—— F——. Je lui ai communiqué aussi les nouvelles d'Allemagne du 9e., et celles de Rotterdam (que je vous envoye aujourdhui),5 et dont il a tout de suite fait usage dans un Postcrit à sa maison, en me remerciant beaucoup. Là-dessus on lui a apporté les Lettres de Sa Maison. Après y avoir jeté les yeux, il m'a dit, qu'il me feroit chercher aujourdhui ou demain, parce qu'actuellement on l'attendoit quelque part. J'ai tout lieu de croire qu'il y a des instructions quant a moi et a la Lettre et a la Lettre pour le G—— P——.
Mon pressentiment s'est vérifié. Le vent d'Ouest, dont je vous parlai, Messieurs, dans ma Lettre d'hier, a apporté un plein consentement pour faire usage de la Lettre; et voici la Marche que j'ai observée. J'ai été communiquer, dans les formes, à S. E. Mr. l'Ambassadeur de France, la démarche que j'allois faire par votre ordre.6 Il m'a répondu, et, a ma priere, dicté, “De n'avoir aucune connoissance de la démarche; qu'il avoit lieu néanmoins de croire, que le Roi verroit avec satisfaction le Rapprochement de la République et des Etats-Unis de l'Amérique; mais qu'il Savoit très positivement, que Sa Majesté desiroit essentiellement la tranquillité de la Républiqué” J'ai été de là chez noire Ami. Il a été fort aise d'apprendre que la Lettre étoit arrivée, et m'a exhorté à la présenter demain matin. Ce que je ne manquerai pas de faire. Je lui ai appris aussi que je venois de donner connois• { 91 } sance de l'affaire à Mr. l'Ambassadeur de France, et la réponse que Son Excellence m'avoit faite; car c'étoit pour lui que cette réponse étoit destinée.
Ce matin, entre 8 et 9 heures, j'ai été chez Mr. le Gd. Pensionnaire et en lui présentant la Lettre, j'ai ajouté de bouche ce qui suit: “J'ai l'honneur, Monsieur, d'être porteur de cette Lettre pour Votre Excellence de la part de Mrs. les Plénipotentiaires des Etats-Unis de l'Amérique: je m'en suis chargé avec d'autant plus de satisfaction, que ces Messieurs ayant bien voulu m'en faire connoître le contenu, j'ai vu qu'il ne pouvoit être que très agréable a cette République, et par conséquent à Votre Excellence. Je crois en même temps devoir prévenir Votre Excellence, qu'il m'a paru, par les discours de celui qui m'a apporté la Dépêche, que Mrs. les Plénipotentiaires ont donné connoissance de cette demarche à la Régence d'Amsterdam.” Il a pris la Lettre, en me disant qu'il la liroit. En me retirant, il m'a dit “Vous demeurez ici, Monsieur, n'est-ce pas?” J'ai répondu qu'oui. Delà j'ai été rendre compte successivement a notre ami, qui a été fort content, et à Mr. l'Ambassadeur de France. Tous deux croient que la Cour sera extrêmement embarrassée, surtout de la circonstance, que la Ville d'Amsterdam soit instruite de la chose, et qu'il n'y ait pas moyen de la cacher.
Je ne retrouvai notre Ami chez lui, qu'hier au soir après 10 heures; et j'appris de lui ce qui suit. A l'Assemblée, ayant conversé quelque temps en particulier avec Mr. le Grand Pensionnaire, et voyant qu'il ne lui disoit rien de l'affaire, il prit le parti de lui en parler, et il S'ensuivit le dialogue suivant
Notre Ami: Vous avez, reçu ce matin certaine Lettre ....
Le G. P.: Oui; je Sai que vous le savez; et vous en aurez copie.
Notre Ami: J'en ai déjà une.
Le G. P.: Eh bien, vous en aurez deux. Là-dessus il lui témoigna, dans les termes les plus énergiques, l'extrême satisfaction que lui avoit causé cette Lettre, dont il fit le plus grand éloge, la trouvant sage, aimable, parfaite. On pouvoit voir qu'il en étoit véritablement flatté, et notamment charmé de l'aisance, qu'elle lui laissoit, d'agir, en conséquence, de la maniere qu'il jugeroit la plus convenable. Or voici le parti qu'il a pris à cet égard. IL ne commencera pas par la produire d'abord d'office á l'As• { 92 } semblée des Etats de la Province en corps, pour être mise en délibération, ni au Committé secret des Etats-Généraux, cela pour ôter les moyens a l'Ambassadeur d'Angleterre de fonder, sur des procédés authentiques, des Mémoires, des Plaintes, des Clameurs, qui causeroient trop d'agitations dans la République, et feroient des éclats importuns: mais il distribuera sous main (comme on dit ici) des copies de la Lettre à chaque Membre des Etats de la Province, c'est-à-dire, non seulement aux villes, mais aussi aux Nobles, afin de leur laisser ainsi le temps et la liberté de réfléchir sur le contenu. Cette idée, Messieurs, est très heureuse, et la mesure très adroite, parce qu'elle empêchera. Sir J. Y. d'étourdir LL. hh. pp., sans empêcher les Hollandois de penser à ce qu'il est de leur intérêt de faire. Sur ma question, si le G. P. avoit communiqué la Lettre au Pee. St——, et au Due de Brunsw—,7 notre ami m'a répondu, qu'il ne convenoit, ni a lui de demander, ni au G—— P—— de dire s'il l'avoit fait: mais qu'il n'en falloit pas douter. Nous pouvons done en conclure, que ces deux grands personnages ont consenti au parti que prend le G—— P——. Celui ci a fini l'entretien avec notre ami, par lui faire une petite apologie de la brieveté et de la réserve qu'il avoit observée avec moi, disant qu'il n'avoit pu entrer dans aucune explication avec moi, parce qu'il ignoroit quel seroit le contenu de la Lettre. Quant a moi, j'avois été fort aise qu'il ne me fît point de questions, qui eussent pu m'embarrasser un peu. J'avois effectivement remarqué dans sa contenance, quand il récut la Lettre de ma main, un mêlange d'embarras et de curiosité, que je trouvois très naturel.
J'ai rendu compte de tout ceci a S. E. M. l'Ambassadeur de France; et je crois qu'il en écrira à sa Cour.
Le Hollandois, Messieurs, est comme sa tourbe. Nous avons jeté des Etincelles dessus: il faut la laisser s'allumer à son aise. A la fin de la semaine prochaine ces Messieurs se sépareront: chacun ira dans sa ville montrer sa Copie à ses Constituants. Us se rassembleront ici en Juillet prochain. J'observerai les évenemens qui arriveront dans l'intervalle, et vous en informerai fidelement: j'espere même d'en faire naître: mais il faudra, s'il vous plait, m'aider, en m'écrivant les nouvelles que vous recevrez d'Amérique toutes fraiches, et avant que d'autres puissent les savoir. J'en ferai des Extraits, qui me serviront a m'insinuer auprès du G—— P——, a gagner sa confiance, a former des liaisons avec lui, &c. Je suis avec un sincere respect, Messieurs, Votre très humble & très obéissant serviteur
[signed] D

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0069-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
DateRange: 1778-05-07 - 1778-05-15

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

After sending you my last letter dated the 5th, which at the end acknowledged your letter of April 30th, I called on the Grand Facteur to show it to him. Although he was dressing to go out, he granted me an immediate interview, during which he told me not to inform our friend from Amsterdam yet that the letter for the Grand Pensionary1 had arrived, but to say instead that I was expecting it and it should arrive soon; and added that he would tell me the reason for this necessary delay on the following day.
I then awaited the arrival of our friend from Amsterdam; as soon as I was informed of it, I went to his lodgings. He told me that, in accordance with my instructions when I gave him copies of your letter of the 10th and that for the Grand Pensionary, he had religiously concealed them from anyone but the principal of his town2 who had just arrived with him, wholly approved of both the documents and the use that I was to put them to, and was eagerly awaiting the arrival of the original so that I could begin the task. He is ready to back the operation with all his influence. I then spoke with him following the Grand Facteur's instructions, but not, however, without secretly suffering at being unable to take advantage of so auspicious an occasion. The next day I visited the Grand Facteur to give him an account of my conversation of the previous day and when I told him of the good dispositions of the principal of the great city he, betraying either surprise or regret at having a remora now attached to the boat, clapped his hands. He told me that he had received a letter from the Comte de Vergennes, to whom he had sent a report on my project and your letters of the 10th at the time I left for Amsterdam, and that the minister found the démarche, so direct on your part, a little premature because one might think that France was initiating this negotiation in an effort to force this state into taking a side in the issue. He added that he was sorry for the delay, but that the minister having written his letter before hearing about the great success of my trip to Amsterdam and the good disposition of our friend there, &c, he hoped to receive further letters in which the project would be given closer attention. In the meantime, I am to keep the letter from the Grand Pensionary in my portfolio and use only your ostensible letter of 10 April and ask our friend to show it to the Grand Pensionary. I told him: 1. that I was not sure our friend would want to do that; and 2. that after the assurance I had given him of receiving the letter for the Grand Pensionary and the démarche he took accordingly with the other principal personage, I would lose all my credibility with these gentlemen if I did not keep my word. He replied that, so far as the first point was concerned, I should try anyway and, in regard to the second, that if his house persisted in wanting to suspend or delay the démarche, he would take it upon himself in this case to let these gentlemen know, in an indirect but sure fashion, that { 94 } this suspension or delay came from him and not from me. I went, therefore, to see our friend. At first he did not want to show the ostensible letter of the 10th to the Grand Pensionary because he preferred our first plan of action and feared that this new démarche would enable the opposition party to prevent the blow by anticipating it. I finally managed to convince him. Yesterday morning he presented to the Grand Pensionary the above mentioned letter of the 10th, addressed to me to enquire privately into the dispositions &c.3 He will have a conference with him tonight regarding this matter and tomorrow I shall hear the results.
I am trying to be as concise as possible with all these details. But I have to provide them, so that you may be able to see for yourselves that if I do not execute point by point all that I had promised, the reason lies neither with me nor with Amsterdam, nor with you, but with a quarter from which I expected it the least; and have suddenly been prescribed a course of action far different from that which had been originally planned. I persist in finding that the first plan would have, perhaps, been preferable, but again I must comply obediently. I hope something good will come of it, but fear it will create delays that the other, it seems to me, would have avoided.
I called on our friend who, after returning your ostensible letter of the 10th, which was in the hands of the Grand Pensionary yesterday and the day before, gave me the following account. They agreed to hold a conference on the matter. Yesterday the Grand Pensionary told him that, in response to a request from the principal of Amsterdam as to when the two might meet, he had replied that it would be at 7 in the evening, adding that if our friend agreed, all three could confer together. Our friend would have preferred a private interview, not from distrust for the principal (who agrees perfectly with him), but because he could then have made the Grand Pensionary explain himself much better than with a third party present. For the same reason, namely to avoid being pressed into explaining himself, the Grand Pensionary favored having a third party involved. He expressed satisfaction at the good disposition of the American union toward this Republic reflected in this letter and expressed his corresponding desire for the future good relations between the two nations; but, he added, the time is not yet ripe for negotiations. Our friend replied that the Americans, too, were in no hurry to send someone to make proposals, adding “but is it up to us to do things that repel them?” The Grand Pensionary, with good grace, agreed that it was not. He then told them (and this disclosure pleased our friend on two accounts, in that it proved the sincerity of the Grand Pensionary and the valid right of France in the present matter) that the French ambassador had privately told him that the major reason why France was spurred into concluding the treaty with America was that there was no middle ground left between preceding { 95 } and being preceded, for Great Britain had offered to give the Americans all they wanted in return for their alliance against France. In case of an open breach, France will be able to prove the truth of the matter to the whole of Europe. Our friend concluded by telling me that it would be very useful if the letter for the Grand Pensionary arrived soon. I told him that I was expecting it, but if it was delayed or suspended he should hold neither the American Commissioners nor myself responsible, for it was only natural that you could not take a step such as this without first informing the French Court and that if the latter judged it necessary to defer it, one would have to comply. Upon my departure he implied that he would find a way to have a private interview with the Grand Pensionary and make him explain himself more precisely.
I went to give an account of all this to the Grand Facteur who was pleased, particularly with what I had said to justify the delay of the letter. He agreed that, in order not to seem too eager, I would wait until Monday morning to see our friend and then, according to what he would tell me, I would: 1. insist that he dictate to me something positive that I could transmit to you, in accordance with your request to inform myself privately, &c. or 2.I would insinuate that, in order for the Republic to come out of the sort of subjection in which it has been held for too long by Great Britain, it would be wise to turn to France, which could, through secret mediations, surreptitiously establish an alliance between the two republics. I told the Grand Facteur that if I were at liberty to present the letter, it would be the best way to bring about this mediation in a natural fashion. You always come back to this letter, he said. You know perfectly well that we are not allowed to use it yet. Upon my departure, we also agreed that I would not write to you today.
I will end today's account by relating to you the conversation that took place in the morning the day before yesterday between the Prince Stadholder and the gentlemen from Amsterdam. He told them that the Province of Guelder would put back on the agenda an increase in troops and that they asked him for his support; and that if this proposal was consistently rejected, the Republic would be lucky if it did not suffer as a result.4 They replied that never had it been less necessary to burden an already debt-ridden state with this expense, since the war, together with the presence of troops from neighboring powers, seemed to be moving away from these frontiers and, further, that there actually was no power who wished to or could attack with success. He answered that it might change. To which it was replied that such could be said of all things, even in the midst of the deepest peace, and the consequences would be that everybody should always be armed to the hilt. He also suggested that, in his opinion, the Americans would supplant the Dutch in trade, just as the latter had supplanted the Venetians. No reply was made to that.
{ 96 }
I have just seen our friend. He told me that he had not yet had a chance to be alone with the Grand Pensionary. I asked him to dictate an answer for you, gentlemen, and he repeated what I already had the honor to tell you, namely that the Grand Pensionary agreed that although it was not yet time to take the offensive, it nevertheless was not in the interest of the republic to discourage the testimonials of friendship that could come from America. As to the suggestion I made of starting secret negotiations pending the intervention and mediation of France, it is, as I anticipated, not feasible, at least not before I have presented the letter to the Grand Pensionary. It is impossible to negotiate here the way monarchs can negotiate among themselves. The towns have a right of refusal and of opposition to measures they believe pernicious to the State, but, were they to try to play too active a role, it would antagonize and arm the opposition party against them. If the letter were delivered to the Grand Pensionary he would be forced to communicate it to the states and to answer it. The towns, especially Amsterdam, would have great weight either in the deliberation over a reply or, if he tried to conceal the letter, in forcing him to produce it.
A big dinner at Court and a ball at the Hôtel de France yesterday prevented me from seeing anyone else. This morning I gave the Grand Facteur an account of yesterday's visit. I also gave him news from Germany, dated the 9th, and from Rotterdam, for which he was very grateful, making a copy to send as a postscript to his house (I am sending them to you today).5 Thereupon, letters from his house were brought in. After glancing through them, he told me that he would send for me today or tomorrow because he was expected somewhere else. I, myself, believe that there were instructions concerning me, the letter, and the letter for the Grand Pensionary.
My guess was confirmed. As mentioned in my letter yesterday, gentlemen, the westerly winds brought full consent to use the letter; and here are the steps I took. I went and communicated in due form to His Excellency the French ambassador the démarche I was going to undertake under your orders.6 He replied and, at my request, dictated that “he had no knowledge of this démarche; that he had reasons to believe, nevertheless, that the King would be favorable to a rapprochement between the Republic and the United States of America; but that he knew for sure, that His Majesty desired foremost the peace of the Republic.” From there I went to see our friend. He was very pleased to hear that the letter had arrived and pressed me into presenting it tomorrow morning, which I will not fail to do. I also informed him of my meeting with the French ambassador on the matter and His Excellency's response because it was for him [“our friend”] that this answer was intended.
{ 97 }
This morning, between 8 and 9 o'clock, I went to see the Grand Pensionary and, while presenting the letter, verbally added the following: “I have the honor, Sir, to be the bearer of this letter for Your Excellency on behalf of the American Commissioners. Having been made aware of its content by these gentlemen, I undertook this mission with all the more pleasure as I saw that it could not but be agreeable to this republic and consequently to Your Excellency. I think it my duty to inform Your Excellency that, according to the man who brought me the dispatch, Their Excellencies the Plenipotentiaries have informed the Regency of Amsterdam of this action.” He took the letter, saying that he would read it. As I was leaving he asked, “You live here, sir, don't you?” I answered, yes. Then I went to give an account of this interview, first to our friend, who was very pleased, and then to the French ambassador. Both believe that the Court will be extremely embarrassed, especially by the fact that the town of Amsterdam will be informed of the matter, and that it will be impossible to conceal it.
I did not get to see our friend at his place until last night after 10, and he told me the following. At the Assembly, having talked a little while in private with the Grand Pensionary, and seeing that he was not telling him anything about the letter, he took it upon himself to enquire about it and the following dialogue ensued:
Our friend: You received this morning a certain letter ....
G.P.: Yes, I know that you know about it; you will receive a copy of it.
Our friend: I already have one.
G.P.: Well, you shall have two, then.
Whereupon he told him [“our friend”], in no uncertain terms, the extreme pleasure this letter had given him, praising it highly, finding it wise, amiable, perfect. One could see that he was truly flattered and charmed at the leeway it gave him to act consequently in the way he thought most appropriate. Well, here is what he has decided to do. He will not start out by presenting it to the Assembly of the States of the Provinces for their deliberation, nor to the Secret Committee of the States General; this in order to prevent the British ambassador from legally giving rise to memoranda, complaints, and clamors that would provoke too much agitation in the Republic and create inopportune commotions, but he will circulate underhand (as it is called here) copies of the letter to each member of the States of the Provinces, that is, not only to the towns, but also to the nobles, in order to give them the time and freedom to think its content over. This idea, gentlemen, is very wise and clever, for it will prevent Sir Joseph Yorke from confusing Their High Mightinesses, and thereby keeping the Dutch from acting according to their best interest. In answer to my question as to whether the Grand Pensionary had communicated the letter to the { 98 } Prince Stadholder and the Duke of Brunswick,7 our friend said that it would be inappropriate both for him to ask and the Grand Pensionary to answer that he had done so, but that there was no doubt about it. We may then conclude that these two great dignitaries have agreed to the position taken by the Grand Pensionary. The latter ended his conversation with our friend by apologizing for the brevity and reserve that he had observed toward me, adding that at the time he could not go into any explanations with me because he was still ignorant of the content of the letter. For my part, I had been greatly relieved that he did not ask any questions that might have been a little embarrassing for me. I did notice from his expression, however, that upon receiving the letter from my hands, he was filled with a mixture of perplexity and curiosity that seemed perfectly natural to me.
I conveyed all this information to His Excellency the ambassador of France and think that he will report it in writing to his Court.
The Dutchman, gentlemen, is like his peat. We have thrown some sparks on it, but now it must ignite at its own pace. At the end of next week these gentlemen will adjourn, each will go to his town and show a copy to his constituents. They will reconvene here next July. I will observe and keep you faithfully informed of the events that occur in the meantime and even hope to provide some myself. You should, please, help me by sending all the fresh news that you receive from America before others hear of it. I will make extracts which will help me to ingratiate myself with the Grand Pensionary, win his trust, mold bonds with him, &c. I am, with sincere respect, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant.
[signed] D
RC (MH-H: Lee Papers); addressed: “a Leurs Excellences Messieurs les Plenipotentiares des Etats-Unis de 1'Amerique Paris"; docketed in an unknown hand: “Encd. Dumas.”
1. That is, the letter from the Commissioners to Pieter van Bleiswyck of 28 April (above); its covering letter of 30 April has not been found. The “Lettre ostensible” referred to below is that from the Commissioners to Dumas of 10 April (calendared above), which enclosed a draft of the letter to van Bleiswyck.
2. Very likely Egbert de Vrij Temminck (1700–1785), burgomaster of Amsterdam. He had been involved in the clandestine arms trade with the United States and was, in 1778, president or chairman of the Council of Four, that is, of the four Amsterdam burgomasters. As such, he determined the policies of the city and, through van Berckel, initiated the correspondence with William Lee that led to the abortive Dutch-American treaty of 1778 (Nieuw Ned. Biog. Woordenboek, 5:895).
3. The words in italics are apparently a paraphrase of “to inform myself privately,” which appears in italics later in the letter and is taken from the Commissioners' letter to Dumas of 10 April (calendared above).
4. For an earlier confrontation between the Stadholder and those opposing the augmentation of the army, see Dumas to the Commissioners, 23 April, and note 4 (above).
5. See Dumas to the Commissioners, 12 May (below).
6. For La Vauguyon's account of this conversation and others that he had with Dumas, together with an evaluation of the American effort, see Appendix, La Vauguyon to Vergennes, 15 May.
Note the distinction made by Dumas between public and private actions. The approval by Vergennes, in his letter to La Vauguyon, of Dumas' use of the letter to { 99 } van Bleiswyck, enabled Dumas to meet officially with the French ambassador and to record the event. When, however, in his letter to the Commissioners of 12 May (below), Dumas resumed his account of the behind-the-scenes diplomatic maneuvering, he again referred to La Vauguyon as the “Grand Facteur.”
7. Louis Ernst, duke of Brunswick-Wol-fenbüttel (1718–1788) served as guardian and tutor of William V from the death of his mother, Princess Anne of Hanover, in 1759, until the Prince assumed the title and duties of stadholder on his eighteenth birthday in March 1766. The Duke, however, retained his influence over William V and remained a symbol of the English orientation of the Stadholder party as a result of the secret Acte van Consulentschap that was concluded in May 1766. The Duke's dominance over the Stadholder was finally ended in 1782, when he was forced to leave The Hague as a result of the Acte becoming known and the attention that he received from the pro-French party's violent press campaign against the stadholder system. In 1784 Brunswick left the country (Nieuw Ned. Biog. Woordenboek, 10:155–157; George Edmundson, History of Holland, Cambridge, Engl., 1922, p. 319–321, 328; Edler, Dutch Republic and the American Revolution, p. 13–14; Miller, Sir Joseph Yorke, p. 33, and notes 10, 13).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0070

Author: Hyslop, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-08

From William Hyslop

Mr. Hyslop presents his respectfull Compliments to Mr. Adams and takes the freedom to acquaint Him that he has not heard from his Wife, Family, and other Friends at B——since the 21st of September last. Begs it as a particular favour that if Mr. Adams can give him any information about Mrs. Hyslop's and Dr. Chauncy's Families,1 that He will be so kind as to do it, in a few lines by the Bearer of this Mr. Joseph P——r who is a particular Friend of his, and a Gentleman in whom he may safely place the utmost confidence.
Mr. Hyslop is impatiently waiting for a favourable opportunity to return to his Family and Friends from whom he has been so long <unnecessarily> involuntarily absent, and should be glad of a word of advice what he had best do under his present circumstances.
1. For JA's reply of 19 May, informing William Hyslop that his family and that of Charles Chauncy in Boston had been well at “the beginning of February” but declining to advise him on a future course of action, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:103.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0071

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-08

John Bondfield to the Commissioners

[salute] Hon Sirs

Since I had the honor to write you the 2d Instant1 there are arrived at this port two ships the One from Savanah the other from Charles Town.
{ 100 }
They give an account of many Vessels loading for Europe at Charles Town and of the Arrival of a Spaniard from the Havanah with Specie in a very large Vessel that he was loading with Rice for Cadiz.
By the Sales returnd from Georgia they must be greatly distrest eighty five Thousand livres having produced 1,269,780” [pence] that Currency which being the same as at Halifax is upward of twelve for One.
My friends from Cadiz2 write me they meet with difficulty from the Gouvernment in the disposal of the prizes sent in by Cunningham and to know if addressing them to me they will meet with a free admittance pray may I give them any assurances on this head.
From the Silence your honors observes relative to the Commission I applyd for the 21 Ultimo to fit out at this Port an Armd Vessel, I judge meets with your disaprobation, I just tutch upon the subject to renew your attention, if admitable.
The New Mast we were obliged to procure for the Boston has kept the Ship back full fifteen Days she got it on board yesterday and I shall have every thing required on board as fast as they can prepare to receive them.
Captain McFarland3 in the Armd Sloop sent by [Government] left this yesterday. A Young Gentleman named Barnet who came down with Mr. McFarland applyed to me yesterday requesting my Interest to provide for him a passage or employment on board some of the Vessels bound to America he tels me that he came down to go in the above Sloop and is dismist by the Gentlemen who tel him that only One American will be wanted. He appears distrest I shall endeavour to procure him some employ.
The Letters by the Carolina Ships are not yet come to hand so soon as arrived shall be instantly forwarded, per the Vessel from Georgia there was only the two Letters inclosed.4 By a vessel last evening from Goree5 the Governor who came passenger told me that two Armd Vessels one belonging to Congress the other a private Ship had calld there the latter end of February. His Orders from Government obliged him to order them out of Port giving them only twenty four hours to refresh and Water. They had with them three prizes. They applyed for a pilot to take them into the River, intending to destroy the English settlement, which was refused them. As Goree would or could not harbour them they Stood to the Southward since when he has not heard { 101 } of them. In all probability they must have made great havack in them Seas. There is no British Men of War that Station.6 I am with due Respect Your honors Most Obedient Humble Servant
[signed] John Bondfield
RC (MH-H: Lee Papers); docketed in an unknown hand: “About Barnet &c.”
1. Not printed, but see J. C. Champagne to JA, 2 May, note 1 (above).
2. Probably Lassore & Co. of Cadiz. See the Commissioners to Gustavus Conyngham, 19 April, and note 3 (above).
3. Neither Capt. McFarland nor Barnet has been identified.
4. Period supplied.
5. Gorèe, on an island of the same name, lies one mile southeast of Dakar and commands the harbor formed by the Cape Verde peninsula in the Republic of Senegal, formerly French West Africa. The American ships probably planned to attack the British settlement on the Gambia River in present-day Gambia.
6. All punctuation for this and preceding seven sentences has been supplied.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0072

Author: Lee, William
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-08

William Lee to the Commissioners

Frankfort on the Main, 8 May 1778. printed:William Lee, Letters, 2:429–430. Lee reported that, because of Frederick's refusal to recognize American independence and conclude a commercial treaty, he was about to depart for Vienna, where prospects seemed better, particularly if France exerted pressure on Austria “while the affairs in Germany continue in their present state of suspense.” He asked what measures France could be expected to take and ended by noting that a settlement, thus averting war, was likely in the Austro-Prussian dispute over the Bavarian throne.
For an account of Lee's mission to Austria, where he was no more successful than in Prussia, see Karl A. Roider Jr., “William Lee, Our First Envoy in Vienna,” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 86:163–168 (April 1978).
Printed: (William Lee, Letters), 2:429–430.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0073

Author: Simpson, Thomas
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-08

Thomas Simpson to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

Its extremely disagreeable to me, that my first address to you, shou'd be on such an occasion, as the following detail, which is that immediately on the capture of the English Ship of war Drake, off the harbour Carrickfurgus, in Ireland Captn. Jones was pleased to appoint me (his first Lieutenant,) to the command of her for Brest, giving me instructions, a correct copy of which I inclose,1 and did pay strict obedience to them. On the 5th of this instant, being then towed by a howser from the Ranger, at day light was hailed by Captain Jones's order, (a { 102 } Strange ship then in sight, on our Lee quarter) to cast off the howser, with which instantly complied, and at the same time requested his pleasure, what method we shou'd pursue, the answer, as understood by every person on the Ship's deck, Americans, and prisoners was to make the best of our way on. And as he had the evening before, told me, that unless I cou'd make more sail, he must leave me, I kept on for the harbour of Brest, which Port I expected to make, and arrive at the next day. After parting with the Ranger, we soon fell in with a brig under our Lee, which tacked, and gave us chace, we kept close to the wind, and in our shattered condition, made all the sail we cou'd, and prepared, if overtaken by her, to make all the defence, that our circumstances wou'd admit. In the evening saw a Ship far distant on our Lee quarter, which we supposed to be the Ranger, and as soon as the darkness of the evening wou'd cover us from the Brig, we bore up East to fall in with the Ranger, till ten at night, then hawled South east two hours, and after that more southerly, for fear of falling to the northward of Ushant. At five o'clock in the morning of the Sixth instant, to my inexpressible satisfaction saw the Ranger a stern, they soon came up and spoke with me, far from thinking that I had disobeyed or even in the least offended Captn. Jones, took the liberty to ask him, on his ordering our course more easterly, whether he tho't we were far enough to the southward of Ushant, received no other answer, than to heave too, that he shou'd send his boat on board, which he did with Lieutenant Hall,2 charged with a suspension, and arrest for a breach of his orders beforemention'd. The event testified his rashness, and mistake, we did fall to the Northward of Ushant, and the next day, after beating out a disagreeable blowing night, were obliged to come thro' the passage of Four to the harbour of Brest. I need not comment on the Rangers being unofficered, a great number of prisoners on board, and her being in danger of falling in the English channel. I am now Gentlemen to beg your pardon for any digression, and in the most earnest, and suppliant manner, to request your honours, that I may have a fair and open trial, as soon as may be consistent with the interest of the service, which I have to the utmost of my weak endeavours strove to serve, and left England in December 1776 for that very purpose. I beg leave to refer your honours to a letter wrote you by John Langdon Esqr. of Portsmouth,3 which was to be delivered by me, but my duty confining me to the service of the { 103 } ship, did request of Captn. Jones, to deliver it, who told me that he did inclose it in his letter to you, on his first writing from Nantes. The character Mr. Langdon has been pleased to give me in that letter, you are accquainted with. I only desire your permission to observe, that Mr. Langdon has been fully accquainted with my behaviour in every station that I have acted, from our childhood, to the period of his writing, being both natives of Portsmouth, and from which place thank God I never had occasion to rove in search of employ. I have suffered in the beginning by this contest, and am well disposed to serve the cause of America, as far and as often as my weak assistance is necessary. Suffer me Gentlemen again to intreat you, that if my trial cannot be bro't on here, Your honours will order that I may be sent immediately to America, to take my trial there, being convinced that injured innocence will be righted, and that I may serve my country with pleasure, which I never can do under the command of Captain Jones. I understand that Captain Jones intends sending the Drake to America, which will be a convenient opportunity to send me, and for which I beg your Honours order, and shall ever esteem it an infinite Obligation on Gentlemen Your most Obedient and very humble Servant
[signed] Thom Simpson
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed (probably by JA): “Lt Simpsons Letter"; in another hand: “Lt Simpsons Letter.” The letter, on its first page, has the notation: “(Duplicate).” This designation, not in Simpson's hand, was probably the work of the Commissioners to indicate that it was identical to a copy of the letter, also in the Franklin Papers, that was enclosed in Simpson's letter to the Commissioners of 25 May (below).
1. There are two copies of Jones' instructions to Simpson of 26 April in the Franklin Papers (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 4:257). One is probably the copy mentioned here; the other is that enclosed in Simpson's letter to the Commissioners of 25 May (below). For a printed copy of the instructions, erroneously dated 28 April, see Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 160–161.
2. Lt. Elijah Hall in letters to the Commissioners of 30 May and 3 June (both below) defended Simpson's conduct and protested his treatment by Jones.
3. John Langdon, former member of congress and continental agent at Portsmouth, N.H., was Thomas Simpson's brother-in-law, a connection apparently accounting for Simpson's appointment as 1st lieutenant of the Ranger (Lawrence Shaw Mayo, John Langdon of New Hampshire, Concord, N.H., 1937, p. 146). Langdon's letter of recommendation has not been found, but it may have been included with his letter to the Commissioners of 29 Oct. 1777. The only letter introducing Simpson that has been located is that from John Wendell of Portsmouth to Benjamin Franklin dated 30 Oct. 1777 (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:304, 305).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0074

Author: Tucker, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-09

From Samuel Tucker

[salute] Sir

These with my Regards to your Honour, acquainting you of my receiving your kind Epistle by the Docter1 and will engage myself to take all the Care possible of the Articles that I may receive of your Worthey friend John Brondfield Esqr. and will see them safe Delivered to Mrs. Adams, please God, I should arrive safe with my Ship after a short Cruze. Pray Sir excuse my not Writing more perticular nor frequenter, being so much troubled with one thing and another that I neglect my Duty in that Respect, but I hope to get my Ship in Readiness within two or three Days of the Time I wrote your Honour but I've been vasley detained. I've had the Misfortune to loose poor Cavey who fell over Board on the 5th Instant and was Drowned about 6 oClock in the Morning.2 I regret the loss of him very much, he became a very good and useful Officer since your departure from hence. A Ship arrived from the Coast of Guinea last Evening, which gives an Account of one of our Frigates takeing three Ships all Slaved fitt for Sea. I think it must be the Verginia Capt. Nicholson.3 I Remain sir with Respect your Most Humble Servt.
[signed] Saml Tucker
1. The “Docter” has not been identified, but see John Bondfield to JA, 28 April, and JA to Tucker, 29 April (both above).
2. Samuel Tucker's log (MH-H) for 5 May states that “this Morning Peter Cavey a midshipman got over the side to were [wear] the Boat a Stern, taking hold of a rope which he thought was made fast but was not fell over Board, and tho all Means was used to save him was drowned.” Six days later Tucker wrote that “the Body of Mr. Cavey was found by the people on Shore and decently buried.”
3. This may be the same incident reported by John Bondfield in his letter to JA of 8 May (above), but the frigate was certainly not the Virginia, Capt. James Nicholson. The Virginia, built at Baltimore but forced to lay idle for a year because of the British blockade of the Chesapeake, did not sail until 30 March and was captured by the British on the following day when it ran aground (Allen, Naval Hist. of the Amer. Revolution, 1:199, 307–308).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0075

Author: Jones, John Paul
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-09

John Paul Jones to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

I have the honor to acquaint you that I arrived here last Night and brought in with me the British Ship of War Drake of 20 Guns with English Colours inverted under the American Stars. { 105 } I shall soon give you the particulars of my Cruise1 in the mean time you will see some Account of it in a letter of this date from Comte D'Orvilliers2 to Monseigneur De Sartine. I have brought in near Two hundred prisoners and as Comte D'Orvilliers is apprehensive that as the War with England is not yet declared they may perhaps be given up without an Exchange.3 I have resolved to Equip the Drake with all possible expedition at Cameret4 and to send the prisoners in her to America, so fully am I convinced of the bad Policy of releasing prisoners, especially Seamen, without an Exchange that I am determined never to do it while there remains an Alternative. I should not however have taken a resolution of such importance without consulting you had not Comte D'Orvilliers told me that the return of a Letter from the Minister might perhaps put it out of my power and therefore recommended that I should loose no time.
Notwithstanding this you will perhaps find it expedient to endeavour to Effect an Exchange of these prisoners in Europe and should the Minister agree to hold them avowedly as Prisoners of War you will of course inform me thereof per Express so as to reach me if possible before the departure of the Drake. I have suspended and confined Lieutenant Simpson for disobedience of Orders. I have only time at present to say that I have the honor to be with much Esteem and Respect, Gentlemen Your very Obliged very Obedient very humble Servant
NB. I have been rather disappointed in not being favored with a Line from you in Answer to any of my former Letters from Quiberon and Brest.
Dupl (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); unsigned, but in Jones' hand; docketed: “Captn. Jones May 9. ans. May 25"; in another hand: “1778.” A second copy (ViU: Lee Papers) is docketed in an unknown hand and perhaps considerably after it was received: “J. P. Jones: to Amn. Comms. <London> Paris 9 May 1778” and “1778.” Designated a copy, the MS is in Jones' hand, but bears the signature that he apparently used on copies as opposed to originals. See, for example, Jones to the Commissioners, 27 May (below).
1. See Jones' letter of 27 May (below).
2. Louis Guillouet, Comte d'Orvilliers (1708–1791) was commandant of the port at Brest and commanded the fleet that met Adm. Keppel in the major, but indecisive, battle of 27 July, the first fleet action of the war (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale; Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 67, 122).
3. See the Commissioners to Sartine, 14 May (calendared below).
4. Camaret is a town on Point Toulinguet at the entrance to the harbor at Brest.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0076-0001

Author: Senés, M.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-10

From Senés

[salute] Monsieur

J'ay L'honneur de vous informer que je Possede des Secrets que je regarde comme Specifiques En ce qu'ils guerissent En très peu de temps les chûtes tant vieilles que nouvelles et même Sur des Sujets que L'on regarderoit Comme incurables, dont j'ay 26. Certificats de guerison, Et au moyen de mes Secrets on parviendroit Encore à Eviter d'envoyer aux Eaux tous les Officiers et Soldats blessés En temps de guerre qu'on y destine et a les faire Sortir des hôpiteaux, ce qui occasionneroit aux treize Provinces Unies de lamerique une grande Econamie.
Si mes Secrets Monsieur, vous Sont de quelques Utilite j'auray L'honneur de vous les offrir avec plaisir pour le bien et le Soulagemen de tous vos Militaires. J'ay L'honneur détre avec respect Monsieur Votre tres humble et tres obeissant Serviteur
[signed] Senés
Mon adresse Est a Senes Pensionnaire du Roy par Toulon En Provence.—a là Seyne.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0076-0002

Author: Senés, M.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-10

Senés to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I have the honor to inform you that I possess certain secret remedies that I consider as specific because they very rapidly cure collapses, old as well as new, even in subjects considered incurable, and for which I have 26 certificates of cure. Thanks to my secrets one could avoid sending officers and soldiers wounded in time of war to the waters and have them leave the hospitals, thus providing a great saving for the thirteen United Provinces of America.
If my secrets are of any interest to you, sir, I shall have the honor of offering them to you with pleasure for the welfare and relief of your military. I have the honor to be with respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Senés
My address is Senes, Pensioner of the King, near Toulon in Provence, at Seyne.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Monsieur Monsieur Adams Deputé du Congres des treize Provinces unies de L'Amerique à Paris”; docketed: “Mr. Senes. not to be answered”; in another hand: “10 May”; by CFA: “1778.”

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0077-0001

Author: Lataque, M. de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-11

From Lataque

[salute] Monsieur

Une famille honete, se sert de mon entremise pour avoir lhonneur de vous demander, si Mr de Roche Fremoy1 est toujour em• { 107 } ployé dans larmée de Mr le general Waginton; jose esperer Monsieur que vous daigneres maccorder la grace, de me fournir touts les eclaircissements que vous deves avoir sur le compte de cet officier, dont on nentend, plus parler deja depuis quelque temps; jay lhonneur detre Monsieur avec un tres profond respect votre tres humble et tres obeissant Serviteur
[signed] de lataque
Si vous daignes Monsieur mhonorer dune reponse je vous priee de me ladresser ruée causse rouge a bordx.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0077-0002

Author: Lataque, M. de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-11

Lataque to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

A respected family has requested me to please ask you if Mr. de Roche Fremoy1 is still employed in the army of General Washington. I dare hope, sir, that you will do me the honor of giving me any information you must have concerning this officer, who has not been heard of for quite some time now. I have the honor to be, with the utmost respect, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] de Lataque
If you honor me with a reply, please address it to Causse Rouge Street, in Bordeaux.
1. Matthias-Alexis Roche de Fermoy served as a brigadier general in the Continental Army from 5 Nov. 1776 to 31 Jan. 1778. On 16 Feb. the congress voted him $800 for passage to the West Indies (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 191; JCC, 10:174).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0078

Author: Williams, Jonathan
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-11

Jonathan Williams to the Commissioners

Your Excellencies are before this Time informed of the Gallant Action performed by Capt. Jones, who has no doubt also informed you of his Intentions relative to the Drake Sloop of War.1 I happened to be at Morlaix when this News reached me, and as I thought my presence would be of Service I came immediately hither. Capt. Jones informs me that he has immediate occasion for about £2000 Sterling, to equip the Drake in which he means to send the Prisoners to America, and that directly least the french Court should prevent him. I know of no other Method of procuring this Money than by drawing on you, in which case I doubt not the Bills will be honoured.2
I shall next post inform you if anything new occurs in the mean time have the honour to be with the greatest Respect Your Excellencies most obedient & most humble Servant.
[signed] Jon Williams
{ 108 }
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers) addressed: “a messieurs Messrs Les Ministres Plenipotentiares des Etats Unis”; docked: “Mr J. Williams. Brest May 11. 1778.”
1. A letter from James Moylan of this same date (PPAmP: Franklin Papers) also noted the arrival of Jones and the Drake at Brest.
2. For Jones' draft on the Commissioners and the controversy that it caused, see his letter of 16 May (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0079

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Vernon, William Jr.
Date: 1778-05-12

To William Vernon Jr.

Passy, 12 May 1778. printed:JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:96–97. Replying to Vernon's letter of 10 April (above), Adams commended Vernon for his decision to reside at Bordeaux, a rich commercial center. JA referred him to John Bondfield for advice about which commercial house he should choose for his training and noted that the activities of Vernon's father in the patriot cause were an excellent recommendation to whatever firm was selected.
This letter is the first entry in Lb/JA/5 (Microfilms, Reel No. 93). In a green binding and probably one of two purchased on 9 May, it contains copies of Adams' personal correspondence with non-family members between 12 May 1778 and 8 Nov. 1779. As were his others for the period, this Letterbook was extensively consulted and copied from as Adams prepared his Autobiography.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0080

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-12

John Bondfield to the Commissioners

[salute] Hon Sirs

Yesterday came into this Port the Brig Peggy Captain Kelly from No. Carolina. She has on board One hundred and forty eight hhd Tobacco for account of Messrs. Willing and Morris1 addrest to Mr. Delap. I apply'd for the publick Letters. I apprehend there are none as Mr. Delap has not sent any. The vessel saild 4th. April. I have Letters from Mess Hewes Smith and Allen of the 30 March.2 They write me that little Port is become the Mart of America number of forreign Vessels were arriving dayly notwithstand I find the demand for European produce keeps up. They write for Ships Salt and dry Goods. Tobacco is with them at seven pounds ten Shillings being five times its former value. They thereby indemnify themselves in part of the heavy advances they pay to Europeans.
The Boston is taking on board her provisions and will drop down on Sunday.3 I push them all in my power. Cap. Tucker also exerts himself to get away, their expences run very deep not• { 109 } withstanding every Economy posible is observed. They have but few Seamen on board. I am in doubt if we can obtain leave to ship any french Seamen. Landsmen any Number wanted. The Jersey Privateers keep hovering on the Coast of Spain. They have taken as per advise per last post from Bilboa two Vessels with Rice and One with Tobacco. The Neutrality which its reported Spain intends to preserve makes them very dareing even to enter the ports of that Kingdom. We dont hear of any British Cruizers in the Bay of Biscay from whence there is room to suppose they are all orderd in to Man the Fleets. It is apprehended the Carolina Letters per Dulap put on board a french Ship from Martinico at Sea. That the Ship must have met some Privateer at Sea and on the strength of these Letters made a Capture of her. The Spanish Ambassador named for the Court of Great Britain Le Marquis D'Armavado [Almódovar] with his Lady are expected to pass thro' this Town to morrow on their Jorney for England. They come from Lisbon and pass by this route Incognito. My friend has orders to Supply the Marquis with the Money he may want by which I come to know of his coming. With due respect I am Your honors Most Obedient Servant
[signed] John Bondfield4
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honble. Benjamin Franklin Arthur Lee and John Adams Esqrs Commissioners from Congress at Paris”; docketed: “Mr Bondfield May 12. 1778.”
1. The Philadelphia mercantile firm of Willing, Morris & Co., a partnership between Thomas Willing and Robert Morris (DAB).
2. Probably the firm of Hewes and Smith, to which an Allen had been added for this voyage. The letter referred to the growth of Edenton, N.C., as a port (State Records of North Carolina, 30 vols., Raleigh, 1886–1914, 22:632).
3. That is, 17 May. Samuel Tucker's log (MH-H), however, states that the Boston went down the river on 22 May but did not go to sea until 6 June.
4. Bondfield sent a second letter to the Commissioners on this date (PPAmP: Franklin Papers) docketed by JA, saying in part, “in Compliance to Mr. [Muscoe] Livingstons request to write your honors that an offer has been made of a vessel to be compleatly fitted and Armed provided your honors will grant a Commission.” There is no evidence that his application was acted upon. In a letter to the Commissioners on 10 Oct. (PPAmP: Franklin Papers), however, Bondfield made a new application, this time to allow Livingston to command the privateer Governor Livingston.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0081-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-12

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners

[salute] Messieurs

Je ne vous parlerai de mes opérations ici, en conséquence de vos ordres du 30e. Avril, que lorsque je pourrai vous donner { 110 } quelque chose de plus qu'un embryon. Je tiens un petit Journal de mes opérations, que vous aurez en son temps.1 Je me contenterai de vous dire que j'ai fait usage avec Succès de la Lettre ostensible du ioe. Avril qui m'est adressée à moi. Je n'ai pu encore présenter la Lettre cachetée, parce qu'un vent d'Ouest, venant de vos quartiers, y avoit apporte une remore. Un autre vent, du même quartier, a apporté aujourd'hui quelque autre chose à ce sujet, que j'ignore encore, mais qu'on me dira demain. Ce ne sera certainement pas ma faute, ni celle de notre Ami, ni celle de sa Ville, si cette affaire souffre des délais.
En attendant, voici quelques nouvelles Allemandes; et l'Extrait d'une Lettre de Rotterdam, qui contient des choses fort interessantes.2 Je les ai communiquées au g—— F—— qui m'en a bien remercié, et en a fait tout de suite usage dans un postcrit de là Lettre qu'il écrit aujourd'hui à Sa Maison.3
J'ai tant prêché certains amis de ce pays, qu'enfin ils ont pris la résolution d'envoyer un Vaisseau directement en Amérique, pour commencer. Je leur ai procuré de bonnes Listes, et de bonnes consignes, et promis de les bien recommander là-bas, dans l'espérance que le Gouvernement du lieu ou ils aborderont, voudra bien avoir égard à ma recommandation. Ce sont de braves Hollandois. Ils ne feront point assurer, pour que l'entreprise reste plus secrete. Voilà qui est courageux. Je suis avec tout mon respect et tout mon zele, Messieurs, Votre trés humble & trés obeissant serviteur
[signed] D

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0081-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-12

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

I will not refer to my dealings here with respect to your orders of 30 April until I am in a position to give you something more than a mere embryo. I keep a little record of my operations that you shall receive in due time.1 I will limit myself, therefore, to saying that I made a successful use of your ostensible letter of 10 April addressed to me. I have not yet been able to present the sealed letter because a westerly wind, coming from your quarters, brought a hindrance. Today another wind, from the same quarters brought something else, about which I am still ignorant but of which I will be told of tomorrow, concerning the matter. It will certainly not be my fault, nor that of our friend, nor that of his town, if this affair is delayed.
In the meantime, here is some German news and an exerpt from a Rotterdam letter which contain some very interesting things.2 I have communicated them to the Grand Facteur who thanked me and made { 111 } immediate use of them in a postscript to a letter he is sending today to his house.3
I have done so much preaching among our friends in this country that they have finally resolved to send a vessel directly to America, for a start. I gave them good lists and instructions, and promised to highly recommend them over there in the hope that the government where they land will consider my recommendation. They are brave Dutchmen. They will not take on insurance in order that the operation may remain more secret. That is courageous of them. I am, with all my respect and zeal, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] D
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “à Leurs Excellences Messieurs les Plenipotentiares des Etats-unis de l'Amerique Paris”; docketed: “Dumas 12 May 1778.”
1. The record is Dumas' letter (above), begun on 7 May and continued through the 15th.
2. Neither of the enclosures has been found.
3. That is, to Vergennes.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0082

Author: Lee, Richard Henry
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-13

From Richard Henry Lee

[salute] My dear Sir

Our public letter does not leave me much to add,1 but friendship will not suffer me to let this opportunity pass, without expressing my wishes to congratulate you on your safe arrival in France. You will find our affairs at your Court in a much more respectable Train than they have been heretofore, and therefore, no doubt more agreable to you. Finance seems now the only rock upon which we have any danger of splitting. How far European loans may help us you can judge, but I fear that the slow operation of Taxes, which indeed are pretty considerably pushed in many States, will not be adequate to the large emissions of paper money which the war compels us to make. The number and activity of the British Cruisers on the coast, and in the Bays of the Staple States, render it utterly impossible with any degree of safety, and therefore very unwise to attempt making remittances to Europe at present. It is in fact furnishing the enemy with what they want extremely, and much to our injury—Surely the Court of France will now give protection to their Commerce to and from America, the clearest policy demands it. Sir you would be greatly surprised at the number and value of the French Vessels taken and destroyed by the English on our Coasts this last winter and spring. Thus the Marine force of G. { 112 } B. is actively employed in ruining the Commerce of France, whilst her powerful Navy remains unemployed. Can this be wise? Gen. Howe remains yet in Philadelphia, and our Army where it was, but daily growing stronger in discipline and in numbers. I am inclined to think that the enemy will this Campaign act chiefly on the defensive (carrying on the small war to plunder and distress) holding all they can in order to get the better bargain of us when a Treaty shall take place. I wish, for the sake of future peace, that we could push these people quite off this Northern Continent. Monsr. Beaumarchais, by his Agent Monsr. Franci, has demanded a prodigious sum from the Continent for Stores &c. furnished the States.2 His accounts are referred for settlement to the Commissioners at Paris, and I hope they will scrutinize most carefully into this business, that the public may not pay a large sum wrongfully. We have been repeatedly informed that the greater part of these Stores were gratuitously furnished by the Court of France. How then does it come to pass that a private person, a mere Agent of the Ministry, should now demand pay for the whole? It will give me singular pleasure to hear from you by all convenient opportunities, for I am dear Sir, with great sincerity your affectionate humble servant,
[signed] Richard Henry Lee
P.S. Be so kind as take care of the letters for my brothers and get them conveyed &c.
1. A reference to the letter from the Committee for Foreign Affairs of 14 May (below), but see note 4 there for an additional letter from the Committee of 15 May (not printed here).
2. See the Commerce Committee to the Commissioners, 16 May (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0083-0001

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-13

Vergennes to the Commissioners

Les fermiers-generaux viennent de me faire passer, Messieurs, un proces-verbal relatif au refus que le S. Tucker, capitaine de la fregate américaine le Boston a fait de subir la visite des employés de la ferme.1 Je vois par cette pièce que ce capitaine a fondé son refus sur l'exemtion done il a prétendu que jouissent tous les batiments de guerre. Avant de pouvoir statuer sur cette prévention, il est nécessaire de constater si le Boston est véritablement un bâtiment de guerre appartenant aux Etats• { 113 } unis ou si c'est simpliment un Corsaire pourvu de lettres de marque; aussitôt, Messieurs, que vous m'aures fourni des éclaircissements prêcis à cet égard, je mettrai le tout sous les yeux du Roi, et vous pouves Etre certains d'avance que la decision de Sa Majesté sera conforme auy regles de la plus exacte justice, et que le vaisseaux le Boston sera traité selon les principes que nous suivons à légard de toutes les autres puissances. J'ai l'hr. dêtre trés parfaitement Messrs. &c.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0083-0002

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-13

The Comte de Vergennes to the Commissioners: A Translation

The Farmers General have just brought to my attention a report concerning the refusal of S. Tucker, captain of the American frigate the Boston, to submit to a visit on board by the clerks of the farm.1 I see in this document that the captain based his refusal on the exemption that, he said, is granted to all war vessels. Before making a decision regarding this claim, we must first ascertain if the Boston really is a war vessel belonging to the United States or whether it is merely a privateer with letters of marque. As soon as you will have given me precise explanations in this regard, I will submit it to the King; and you may rest assured that His Majesty's decision will be in conformity with the rules of the strictest justice, and that the vessel, the Boston, will be treated according to the rules that we follow for all other nations. I have the honor to be very perfectly gentlemen &c.
Dft (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 3) in the hand of Joseph Mathias Gérard de Rayneval, first secretary of the French foreign office.
1. In the left margin directly opposite this sentence, appears the note: “Eclaircissement necessaires sur le refus fait parle Sr. Tucker commandant la fregate le Boston de laisser faire la visite à son bord. Plaintes ci jointes des fermiers-generaux à ce sujet.” That is: Clarification needed on the refusal of Mr. Tucker, Captain of the frigate Boston, to allow a visit on board. Complaints of the Farmers General on this matter enclosed.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0084

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: MacCreery, William
Date: 1778-05-14

To William MacCreery

Passy, 14 May 1778. printed:JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:98–99. Replying to MacCreery's letters of 25 April (above) and 3 May (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:12, note 2), Adams thanked MacCreery for his unsuccessful effort to find a pair of JQA's breeches, containing a sum of money, that had disappeared either at Bordeaux or on the trip to Paris. Adams then turned to MacCreery's warnings against Arthur Lee, given during Adams' stay at Bordeaux (Diary and Autobiography, 2:304; 4:39, 68) and in MacCreery's letter of 25 April. JA declared that from all that he had seen, Lee was devoted wholly to the public interest and that, regardless of MacCreery's opinion of Silas Deane, who { 114 } had largely controlled the Commissioners' finances during his tenure, a large sum of money had been spent and another was still owed and that he was unable to determine exactly what America had received for the expenditures. Finally, in regard to MacCreery's desire that one of the Delaps be appointed the continental agent at Bordeaux, Adams stated that such matters were in the hands of the Continental Congress and, in any event, John Bondfield was doing a satisfactory job. JA did not send this letter because, after considering its content, he concluded that it was inappropriate to air the Commission's internal disputes before a private person.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0085

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Date: 1778-05-14

The Commissioners to Sartine

printed:JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:99–100. The Commissioners requested that they be given permission to confine on French soil the prisoners taken by American vessels in order to permit their exchange for American prisoners held in England, a question of particular urgency because of John Paul Jones’ arrival at Brest with nearly two hundred prisoners (Jones to the Commissioners, 9 May, above). Rejecting the prevailing opinion that English prisoners could not be held in France, which was not yet at war with England, the Commissioners supported their argument with a quotation from René Josué Valin, Traité des prises, ou principes de lajurisprudence françoise concernant les prises qui se font sur mer..., La Rochelle, 1763, p. 129, sect. 30. This passage, in French in JA’s Letter-book copy (Lb/JA/4, Microfilms, Reel No. 92) and translated by him for his Autobiography, declared that it was not true that a prisoner became free as soon as he stepped onto neutral soil. In fact, although the belligerent could not retake the prisoner without the consent of the neutral power, to withhold such consent would be a violation of the laws of neutrality.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0086

Author: Heath, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-14

From William Heath

[salute] Sir

The French Frigate Nimphe Commanded by the Chevalier Senneville returning directly to France1 I cannot omit so favorable an oppertunity of testifying my esteem in wishing that you may have had a safe and agreeable passage from America to France, and of congratulating you on the present agreeable and promissing aspect of our public Affairs.
Previous to the arrival of Mr. Dean with the public Dispatches for Congress, the news of the intention of the British Parliament to send out Commissioners to treat with the United States was { 115 } received at New-York and Philadelphia, and Copies of Lord North's Speech, and a draft of the Bills were sent out from Philadelphia to His Excellency General Washington which were forwarded to Congress; and from Governor Tryon at New York to Governor Trumbull of Connecticut. I do myself the honor to enclose you the proceedings of Congress thereon which I think will give you pleasure. Governor Trumbull also returned a most spirited answer to Governor Tryon which has done him, and our Country honor.2
Mr. Dean proceeded immediately to Congress; but sufficient time has not yet elapsed for our receiving an account of his arrival at York Town. The News of the Treaty with France gives universal joy here to all the Friends of our Cause and Country, which is displayed in every face. The British Officers, with whom I have a peculiar oppertunity of conversing, are much confounded: they would not for some time beleive that France had or even would acknowledge our Independence; but at length finding it but too well confirmed, their chagrine is everywhere visible.3
Our Country seem to have formed a just opinion of the proposed Treaty by Commissioners, and upon the old and approved maxim, that the safest way to treat with an Enemy, is sword in hand, are determined immediately to compleat their Battalions, and will not be amused by art or finesse. From this disposition I cannot but flatter myself that great and lasting Advantages will arise.
General Burgoyne went home the begining of April. He left us with the strongest protestation of every exertion in his power to have our disputes settled. You will first learn how far his Conduct will be correspondent.
Our Harbour is now ornimented with french and Spanish ships displaying their colours.
I have this moment received a letter from His Excellency General Washington.4 The Armies are still in their Winter Quarters and nothing worthy of notice has yet taken place.
I wish to be honored with a line from you when oppertunity offers.
Please to make my Compliments to Dr. Franklin and Mr. Dean,5 and beleive me to be with the greatest regard & Esteem Your most Obedient Humble Servant,
[signed] W Heath
{ 116 }
1. The Nymphe, which brought Capt. Harmon Courter and duplicates of the Franco-American treaties, arrived at Boston on 5 May. See Simeon Deane to the Commissioners, 16 April, note 3 (above).
2. For the conciliatory bills, see James Lovell to JA, 29 April, note 2 (above). Tryon's letter to Trumbull of 17 April, identical to that of the same date sent to Washington, is in MHi: Misc. Bound MSS. On 4 May, Trumbull's answer, together with Tryon's letter and copies of the conciliatory bills, was printed in the Boston Gazette, which also, in its edition of 11 May, printed the report concerning the conciliatory bills adopted by the congress on 22 April.
3. This and the preceding sentence were translated into French and inserted in Affaires de l'Angleterre et de l'Amerique, “Lettres,” vol. 10, cahier 46, p. cclxxxvi. See also Edme Jacques Genet to JA, [ante 9 July] (below).
4. For this letter, probably that of either 29 April or 5 May, see Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 11:320–322, 349–351.
5. Heath's belief that Silas Deane remained in France is understandable because too short a time had passed for news to cross the Atlantic of Deane's departure on 13 April. Moreover, Heath's latest information from France was likely that brought by Simeon Deane, who had left Brest on 8 March and thus could not have known of either his brother's recall, which was received at Paris on or about 9 March, or plans for returning to America (Silas Deane to JA, 8 April, note 2; Simeon Deane to the Commissioners, 16 April, note 1, both above).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0087

Author: Continental Congress, Foreign Affairs Committee
Author: Lee, Richard Henry
Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-14

The Foreign Affairs Committee to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

Our Affairs have now a universally good appearance. Every thing at home and abroad seems verging towards a happy and permanent period. We are preparing for either War or Peace; for altho we are fully perswaded that our Enemies are wearied beaten and <disappoint> in despair, yet we shall not presume too much on that belief, and the rather, as it is our fixt determination to admit no terms of Peace, but such as are fully in character with the dignity of Independant States and consistent with the Spirit and intention of our alliances on the Continent of Europe.
We believe, and with great reason too, that the honor and fortitude of America, have been rendered suspicious, by the Arts, intrigues and specious misrepresentations of our Enemies. Every proceeding and Policy of ours has been tortured to give some possible colouring to their assertions of a doubtful disposition in America as to her perseverance in maintaining her Independance; and, perhaps, the Speeches of several of the Minority in both houses of the English Parliament, (who seemed to persist in the possibility of a reconciliation), might contribute towards that Suspicion. We, at this time, feel ourselves particularly { 117 } happy in being able to show, from the accidental arangement of Circumstances, such as we could neither have policy to foresee, or power to alter, that the disposition of America on that head was fixt and final. For a proof of this we desire your attention to the following.
The English Ministry appear to have been very industrious in getting their two conciliatory Bills, (even before they had been once read) over to America as soon as possible, the reason of which haste we did not then foresee, but the arrival of your dispatches since, with the Treaties have unriddled the Affair. General Howe was equally industrious in Circulating them by his emissaries thro' the Country; Mr. Tryon at N. York did the same, and both those Gentlemen sent them under sanction of a flag to Genl. Washington, who immediately sent the first he received to Congress. Mr. Tryon's Letter which covered them, and General Washington's answer thereto, you will find in Hall's and Seller's Gazette printed at Yorktown <April 24> May 2d.1
Those Bills are truly unworthy the attention of any National Body; but lest the Silence of Congress should be misunderstood, or furnish the Enemy with New Ground for false insinuation, they were instantly referred to a Committee of Congress, whose judicious and spirited report thereon was unanimously approved by the House April 22d and published and circulated thro' the several States with all possible expedition.
The dispatches in charge of Mr. Dean did not arrive till the Second of May, <ten> eight days after the said reports were published; and his expedition in bringing the dispatches to Congress, prevented any Intelligence arriving before him.2 Inclosed are the reports referred to, to which we recommend your attention in making them as public as possible in Europe, prefacing them with such an explanatory detail of Circumstances as shall have a tendency to place the Politics of America on the firm basis of National honor, Integrity and fortitude.3
We admire the true Wisdom and dignity of the Court of France, in, her part of, the Construction and Ratification of those Treaties; they have a powerful and effectual tendency to dissolve that narrowness of mind which Mankind have been too unhappily bred up in. In those treaties we see the Politician founded on the Philosopher, and harmony of Affections made the ground work of mutual Interest. France by her open Candor has won us more powerfully than any reserved treaties could { 118 } possibly bind us, and at a happy Juncture of Times and Circumstances laid the seeds of an eternal friendship.
It is from an anxiety of preserving inviolate this cordial union so happily begun, that we desire your particular attention to the 11th and 12th Articles in the Treaty of Amity and Commerce.4 The unreserved Confidence of Congress in the good disposition of the Court of France will sufficiently appear by their having unanimously ratified those treaties, and then trusted any alterations or amendments to mutual negociation afterwards. We are apprehensive that the general and extensive tenor of the 12th Article may in future be misunderstood, or rendered inconvenient <and> or impracticable, and, in the end, become detrimental to that friendship we wish ever to exist; To prevent which, you will herewith receive instructions and authority for giving up on our Part the whole of the 11th. Article proposing it as a Condition to the Court of France, that they, on their part, give up the whole of the 12th Article, those two being intended as reciprocal Ballances to each other.
It is exceedingly distressing to Congress to hear of Misconduct in any of the Commanders of Armed Vessels under the American flag. Every authentic information you can give on this head will be strictly attended to and every Means taken to punish the Offenders and make reparation to the Sufferers. The Chief consolation we find in this disagreeable business, is, that the most Experienced States have not always been able to restrain the Vices and irregularities of Individuals. Congress has published a Proclamation for the more effectually suppressing and punishing such Practices. But we are rather inclined to hope that as the line of Connection and friendship is now Clearly Marked and the minds of the Seamen relieved thereby from that unexplainable Mystery respecting their real prizes which before embarrassed them, that such irregularities will be less frequent or totally cease; to which end, the Magnificent Generosity of the Court of France to the owners of the Prizes which “for reasons of State” had been given up will happily contribute.5 We are, Gentlemen, Your Obt. Humble Servts.,
[signed] Richard Henry Lee
[signed] James Lovell
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “Comtee. foreign Affairs May 14. ans. July 29 1778.” See also a Tr of a copy probably sent to the Foreign Ministry because of the information it contained on the American reaction to the conciliatory bills, the ratification of the Franco-American treaties, and the regulation of the privateers (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., Espagne, vol. 590).
{ 119 }
1. For a discussion of the conciliatory bills, the efforts of Gen. Howe and Gov. Try on to circulate them, and the congressional committee report on them, see James Lovell to JA, 29 April and note 2 (above). In that letter Lovell gave the text of Washington's reply to Tryon and probably enclosed the Pennsylvania Gazette — “Hall's and Seller's Gazette"—of 24 April, which contained the text of the bills as circulated by Howe.
2. For Simeon Deane's arrival in America and subsequent journey to York, Penna., see his letter to the Commissioners of 16 April and note 1 (above).
3. Probably a reference to the congressional committee's report on the conciliatory bills mentioned above, which the Committee for Foreign Affairs wished to have published in Europe. The plural “reports” is probably used in regard to the various sections of that report, but may also refer to multiple copies of the report being sent to the Commissioners.
4. Notification to the Commissioners of the congress' ratification of the Franco-American treaties on 4 May was delayed because of the difficulty in obtaining a secure means to transmit the treaties to Europe and the need to make copies of the documents. Although the treaties were initially approved without reservation, apprehensions about the effect of Arts. 11 and 12, both dealing with the West Indian trade, led the congress to resolve on 5 May that the two articles should be deleted (JCC, 11:457, 459–460; Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:10–11; see also Jonathan Trumbull to the Commissioners, 29 May, note 1, below).
The decision of the congress, motivated by the belief that the two articles were not reciprocal, can be traced to the divergence between the provisions of the Plan of Treaties of 1776 and the terms of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce. In the treaty plan, Arts. 12 and 13 dealt with the West Indies, the first prohibiting higher export duties on the produce of the West Indies sent to the United States than were laid on that destined for France; and the second removing any duties on molasses exported from the West Indies to the United States. The instructions to the American negotiators provided, however, that the two articles could be waived because “France was unlikely to accept the equality in colonial trade proposed in Art. 12, and there were uncertainties about Art. 13” (vol. 4:293 and note 5).
As the congress expected, France refused to accept Art. 12 of the treaty plan, but did agree to Art. 13, which was incorporated into the Treaty of Amity and Commerce as Art. 11. In return, France insisted on inserting, as Art. 12 of the treaty, the provision that Frenchmen would pay no export duties on goods sent from the United States for the use of the French islands (Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:10–11). This concession was unacceptable because, according to a portion of the congressional resolve of 5 May that was deleted during the debate, “dissentions” might result from the right of France to levy export duties on West Indian produce sent to the United States although the United States could not do the same for American produce sent to the French islands (JCC, 11:459–460). Since Art. 12 was the quid pro quo for Art. 11, it was necessary that both be removed.
A more explicit objection than was contained in this letter or the resolution of 5 May appeared in a letter from the Committee for Foreign Affairs, Instruction No. 8, of 15 May (PPAmP: Franklin Papers; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2: 582–584). In that letter Lovell and R. H. Lee stated that “in addition to what is mentioned in our Letter No. [7] respecting the 11th and 12 Articles we observe that the 12th is capable of an interpretation and misuse, which was probably not thought of at the Time of Constructing it, which is, that it opens a door for all or a great part of The Trade of America to be carried thro the french Islands to Europe, and puts all future regulations out of our Power, either of Imposts or Prohibition, which tho' We might never find our Interest to use, yet it is by keeping those in our Power, that will hereafter enable us to preserve equality with, and regulate the Imposts of The Countries we trade with. The General Trade of France is not under the like restriction; Every Article on our part being Staked against the Single Article of Molasses on theirs—Therefore the Congress thinks it more liberal and Consistent that both Articles should be expunged.”
Although not stated, the desire to avoid sectional conflict may have been an additional reason for the deletion of the arti• { 120 } cles. Because Art. 11 was almost identical to Art. 13 of the Plan of Treaties, it would likely have been acceptable if Art. 12 of the French Treaty had not been included, for while it favored the molasses-importing states, notably New England, it did not adversely affect the other colonies. Art. 12, however, altered the situation because it prevented those colonies exporting goods to the West Indies, mainly the middle and southern colonies which were sources of foodstuffs, from imposing export duties and thus regulating trade.
France agreed to the American proposal, and on 2 Nov. declarations, which were formally dated 1 Sept., were exchanged deleting Arts. 11 and 12 from the Treaty of Amity and Commerce. For the declarations and the effect that the deletion of the two articles had on the numbering of the remaining articles, see Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:32–34. See also the Commissioners to the Committee for Foreign Affairs, 29 July (below).
5. The proclamation of 9 May, mentioned above, was intended to prevent incidents such as Gustavus Conyngham's capture of the French brig Graciosa in 1777 and the Swedish brig Honoria Sophia in 1778 and stemmed from a report on illegal seizures by American armed vessels, that is, privateers, contained in a letter of 30 Nov. 1777 from the Commissioners that the Committee for Foreign Affairs had received on 2 May (JCC, 11:486; Cruises of Conyngham, ed. Neeser, p. xl, xliii–xlv, prize list facing p. 152; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:433–436; see also Evans, Nos. 16121, 16122). It required American privateers to observe the “rights of neutral powers and the usage and custom of civilized nations” and prohibited the seizure of vessels belonging to allies of the United States, unless carrying contraband or enemy soldiers, as well as those of the enemy located within the territorial waters of a neutral state and thus enjoying the protection of that nation.
The Committee clearly believed that the proclamation of 9 May and the ratification of the Franco-American treaties would produce a fundamental change in the future operations of American privateers. They would be able to operate more freely because of the clear definition of what constituted a lawful prize and the removal of the hindrance posed by French regulations, even if only pro forma, designed to prevent a premature rupture between England and France. In other words, neutral ships would no longer be taken and there would be no repetition of the incident in which the Harwich packet Prince of Orange and the brig Joseph, both taken by Gustavus Conyngham in May 1777, were returned to their British owners in response to a sharp protest by the British ambassador in Paris against the blatant use of French ports by American privateers at a time when France was ostensibly a friendly power, bound by the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht which prohibited such practices (Cruises of Conyngham, p. xxx–xxxii).
The Committee's conclusion was further supported by the arrival, on 2 May, of a letter from the Commissioners dated 28 Feb. 1778. The Commissioners reported that the French government had agreed to pay 400,000 livres to the owners of the privateers Boston and Hancock to compensate them for the seizure and return to their English owners, “for Reasons of State,” of two British West Indiamen. While the seizure was ostensibly the result of a false declaration of origin (the prizes were said to be from St. Eustatius), it was, in reality, apparently the result of too much talk on the part of the privateer captains, Babson and Hendricks, which forced the hand of the French government (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:507–509; Deane Papers, 2:110, 216). Silas Deane later stated, in his defense before Congress, that the compensation to the owners of the Boston and Hancock amounted to 450,000 livres and resulted solely from the efforts of Le Ray de Chaumont and himself (Deane Papers, 3:169).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0088

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-15

From James Lovell

(10)1

[salute] My dear Sir

I find it impossible to write to you at this Time so fully as I wish being greatly overplied with business from the neglect of others. I cannot however consent that Dispatches for France should go off without a line in Testimony of my personal attachment to you and in proof of remembrance of my promises; which kind of proof I have given 9 Times before since you left Boston.
Ever, more uneasy when Negociation was talked of than when fresh Troops were destined against us, I am not quite at ease now, though a powerful Alliance is formed in our favour with which the States are much pleased. I cannot be free from concern least the insidious arts of Britain should prevail to induce us to neglect the Opportunity which is now offered to exterminate the Curses that yet remain on this continent nested in three Capitals.2 I fear a temporary Cessation of Hostilities would ruin our best Prospects; when a month of vigorous Exertions would free us from the Enemy altogether. The same time spent in Negociation under a suspension of Hostilities would familiarize the persons of our Foes to us, and give them the advantage of reviving our former feeling Attachments to Britain and to sow Discord and Division in places where the Government is yet wanting a consistency to render it proof against the Attack of an artful and designing Adversary. We owe Britain neither Love nor Money; but they owe us a vast Reparation. I have spoken here, without seing, at present, the least opening for a Negociation; but I felt haunted by the simple Idea of such a thing.
A Sort of half-pay Establishment is made for the Officers and a grant of 80 Dollars for the Men who shall continue to the End of the War, in Addition to former Encouragement. The Officers Provision will be either Life redeemable at six years purchase or else for 6 years only absolute. The Soldiers 80 Dollars outright.3
Genl. Gates attended a Council in his Way to Peek's Kill, and the plan of Opperations was settled with great Harmony and Unanimity.4 This is a good Opening, may the Close be answerable!
Our little Navy is sadly destroyed, but we have every natural Advantage for repairing our Losses. If it was not for the Justice { 122 } of our Cause, no one could unravel the Mystery of the Manner in which we have so well supported ourselves against the most formidable naval power in Europe. We have even made her afraid.
As the Dispatch5 goes from the Eastward you will get News of your lovely family. The Independance was lost on Ocracock bar6 but we got the Dispatches the same Night that Folgiers came to hand. I send you a few papers of a different kind from those sent to the other Gentlemen;7 and am most affectionately Your humb Servt,
[signed] JL
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr Lovel to me 15 May 1778.”
1. On this date Lovell began numbering his letters to JA, this being the 10th sent since JA left America; but it was a short-lived practice, for he numbered only this letter and that of 16 May (below).
2. The three provincial capitals occupied at this time were Philadelphia, New York, and Newport.
3. Lovell here gives an inaccurate account of the resolutions adopted on 15 May (JCC, 11:502–503), an indication that this letter was written before they were approved. For the correct provisions and Lovell's comments on the propriety of such resolutions, see his letter to JA of 16 May (below).
4. For the “Council” and Lovell's further comments on it, see his letter of 16 May, note 8 (below).
5. Probably the schooner Dispatch, which, in accordance with the Marine Committee's orders of 5 May, sailed from Boston in June with copies of the ratified Franco-American treaties as well as letters from AA to JA and JQA of 10 June (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:39, note 1; see also the Navy Board for the Eastern Department to the Commissioners, 8 June, note 1, below).
6. The Continental sloop Independence, Capt. John Young, was wrecked on 24 April as it attempted to enter Ocracoke Inlet, N.C. (Dict. Amer. Fighting Ships, 3:424).
7. Enclosures not found.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0089

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-15

Vergennes to the Commissioners

Versailles, 15 May 1778. printed: JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:100–101. This letter and its supporting enclosure, a copy of a letter from La Tuilliere, consul at Madeira, to Sartine dated 15 Feb., were translated by Adams in his Autobiography (for the French texts see Lb/JA/6, Microfilms, Reel No. 94). Vergennes protested the illegal seizure of “a French Snow or Brigantine ... in Sight of the City of Madeira,” by the privateer Lion, Capt. Benjamin Warren (“John” Warren in the letter and enclosure, but see Allen, Mass. Privateers, p. 206), and called for the punishment that Warren deserved.
On 19 May, in a letter to the president of the congress, the Commissioners referred the protest to that body's deliberation and, in another letter of the same date, informed Vergennes of their action (both in Diary and Autobiography, 4:103). No record of the ultimate disposition of this matter has been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0090

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Date: 1778-05-16

The Commissioners to Sartine

[salute] Sir

Messrs. Basmarine, Raimbeaux and Co.2 having represented to Us, that they have applied to Government for a Frigate, to be employed in Defence of their Commerce to and from America, and in making Reprisals for the Losses they have lately Sustained by our Enemies. We the Commissioners of the united States of North America, hereby request, that Such a Frigate may be granted them: and in that Case, We are ready to give a Commission and Letter of Marque to Such Frigate, upon Messrs. Basmarine & Cos. giving Bond to Us, for the regular Behaviour of Such Frigate according to the Laws of Nations, and the Usage of the united States.

[salute] We have the Honour to be, with great Respect, your Excellencys most &c.

[signed] signed F. L. and A.
1. Date supplied from Sartine's reply of 3 June (below).
2. Récule de Basmarin et Raimbeaux was a leading mercantile firm at Bordeaux and heavily involved in the American trade. JA had dined with the two partners at Bordeaux on 2 April (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:294, note 1; 4:36).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0091

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1778-05-16

The Commissioners to Vergennes

[salute] Sir

We had this Morning the Honour of receiving your Excellency's Letter of the 13. Instant relative to the Boston Frigate.
We beg leave to assure your Excellency that the Frigate called the Boston, now at Bourdeaux, is a Ship of War belonging to the 13 United States of North America, built and maintained at their Expence, by the Honourable Congress.
We therefore, humbly presume that his Majestys royal Determination on the Representation of the Farmers General, will be according to the Usage of Nations in such Cases, and your Excellency may be assured that Captain Tucker will conform to that Determination with the utmost Respect.1

[salute] We have the honour to be Your Excellency's most obedient & most humble Servants

[signed] B Franklin
[signed] Arthur Lee
[signed] John Adams
{ 124 }
1. Vergennes replied on 17 May (Dft, Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.U., vol. 3), stating that the King had decided that the Boston “éprouveroit le même traitement qui est d'usage a l'egard de ceux detoutes les autres puissances” (would receive the same treatment ordinarily given to those of all other nations) and that the Farmers General would be informed of the decision.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0092

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-16

From James Lovell

(11)

[salute] Dear Sir

As I hinted to you in my letter of yesterday, which goes by a different Vessel from what bears this, Half-pay for 7 years, if they live so long, is granted to the Officers who serve the War out. It was also resolved to give 80 Dollars to the Men in addition to their Land.1
The Commissioners at the Courts of Tuscany Vienna and Berlin are to have plenipotentiary Commissions and not to be restricted to 12 years Treaties of Amity and Commerce.2 They could only propose and treat but not conclude. And I hope they will not be allowed to make Alliances. Great Caution indeed is to be used in that point. There is but one Power besides France that could tempt me, unless Minheer should incline.3
I presume our Army will now immediately be reformed the Battalions consolidated and the useless Officers dismissed. He, as your Namesake says, will soon put Things to rights,4 having been obliged to coax almost instead of order in times past. Our Soldiers deserve all praise for their perseverance in hunger and nakedness but the Gemmen have taken improper times to move their schemes of Pension and, will you believe it, Nobility. Some, in a big House, think that there is no Objection to Titles when not hereditary. Does it not look well——Lord chief Justice of Delaware.5
It is reported that Mr. S. A. is coming forward.6 I assure you we who are here have had consummate drudgery day and night ever since you left us in November. Mr. D is a very good man indeed. I wish he would consent to tarry, but his Estate is continually destroyed by his Friends who are keeping his Enemies in order. I mean the Guards over Burgoynes troops.7 I hope Mr. Deane will come over. I mean I hope he will not throw himself out of use by resenting an Act of Congress founded on Necessity. I think he is peculiarly calculated for Holland if we have a Com• { 125 } mission there.8 Howe is not gone from his Command. It is reported that the Enemy are embarking their heavy Baggage. This if fact is no proof of their quitting. It may be a prudent preparative to coming out against us: a few days will make something certain. The Council which Gates attended in his way to Peeks-kill was finished with great unanimity of Sentiment, and much Cordiality between the great men tho the latter was not expected from some foolish bickerings which had been raised out of Conways Indiscretion, whose Resignation has been accepted.9
I wish you happiness and I think you have the fund for it whether you are now in Paris or a Prisoner in England. Give my Love to your Son and tell him it is Matris Ergo,10 that he may try his talent at the Phrases which teazed me in my Infancy.
I hope soon to have from you Sic Canibus Catulos similes,11 by way of Confession, and some Substitute, more adapted to my Experience than the Cupressi of Tityrus, to mark your Sublimities. Be cautious, however, that you do not hint that you have seen any Thing superior to Philadelphia; unless you are willing instantaneously to forfeit the great Portion you hold of Mrs. Clymars good Opinion.
Genl. R—— has been from home several Weeks: he has purchased into an Estate about one hundred miles off, near to water Carriage, where is an exceeding rich Lead mine Capable of supplying the Army, and of repaying him in half a year or less.12 Your affectionate humb servt,
[signed] JL
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr Lovell May 16. 1778.”
1. On 15 May the congress passed resolutions granting allowances to those officers and men who would serve until the end of the war, the officers being obliged to take an oath of allegiance. The debate was long and controversial, beginning with the introduction of proposals on 5 Jan. and continuing through their revision and reintroduction on 26 March to their final passage. Lovell voted against the resolutions because he feared the establishment of the military as a privileged class. Widespread concern about special treatment for the military anticipated later attacks on the Society of the Cincinnati when it was established in 1783 (JCC, 11:502–503; 10:15–21, 285–286; Louis Clinton Hatch, The Administration of the American Revolutionary Army, N.Y., 1904,p. 79–84; Edmund C. Burnett, The Continental Congress, N.Y., 1941, p. 311–316; Wallace Evan Davies, “The Society of the Cincinnati in New England, 1783–1800,” WMQ, 3d ser., 5:3–25 [Jan. 1948]).
2. Ralph Izard, Commissioner to Tuscany, and William Lee, Commissioner to Berlin and Vienna, were appointed on 7 and 9 May 1777 respectively (JCC, 7: 334, 343) On 28 May the congress adopted significantly strengthened commissions, adding the words “and conclude” to the Commissioners' powers “to communicate” and “treat” and promising, “in good faith, to ratify whatever our said commissioner shall transact in the premises” (JCC, 8:519–521; 11:505, 546–547, 559, 563).
Alterations in the commissioners' in• { 126 } structions were ordered on 16 May, presented to the congress and tabled on the 28th, and considered on 1 and 2 June (JCC, 8:519–521; 11:505, 546–547. 559, 563). Because no further mention of new instructions occurs after 2 June and no copy of them has been found, it seems probable that none was adopted, the congress having decided to continue those of 1777. The Commissioners were, therefore, still bound by the twelve-year limitation on the length of commercial treaties based on principles in the treaty plan of 1776 (vol. 4:260–302). Lovell's apprehension about the negotiation of military alliances, probably shared by JA, proved to be needless because the missions of Izard and Lee were fruitless.
3. The first reference is almost certainly to Spain; the second is obviously to the Netherlands.
4. Presumably a reference by Samuel Adams to George Washington and the proposed plan to reorganize the Continental Army. On 10 Jan. the congress had ordered a committee to meet with Washington and devise a plan to reduce the number of battalions in the army. On 18 May such a plan was introduced and on the 27th adopted (JCC, 10:40; 11:507, 538–543).
5. No explanation of Lovell's statements in the final three sentences of this paragraph has been found.
6. Samuel Adams had, with JA, taken a leave of absence on 7 Nov. 1777 and was about to return to the congress. He took his seat on 21 May (JCC, 9:880; 11:517).
7. Francis Dana was unhappy about having to live on the congressional salary and the destruction being inflicted on his property in Cambridge by the soldiers stationed at Fort No. 2, which was partially on his land (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 15:206).
8. James Lovell to Benjamin Franklin, 15 May (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 3:242), contains a more explicit statement of Lovell's views on Deane's recall.
9. Lovell is doubtless referring to the Council of War held at Valley Forge on 8 May (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 11:363–366). That there could be “Cordiality between the great men,” would be surprizing to Lovell in view of Brig. Gen. Thomas Conway's sharp attack on Washington in a letter to Gates that gave rise to unfounded rumors of a cabal. Largely because of the furor attending this incident, Conway resigned on 28 April (DAB; JCC, 10:399; see also Benjamin Rush to JA, 13 Oct. 1777, note 1, above).
10. Because of a mother.
11. These words are from a speech by Tityrus in Virgil, Eclogues, 1:19–25. There the entire sentence reads “Sic canibus catulos similis, sic matribus haedos noram, sic parvis componere magna solebam” (Thus I knew that puppies are like to dogs, goats are like to their mothers; thus I was accustomed to compare large things to small). Later in the paragraph Lovell refers to the cypress trees of Tityrus— “Cupressi of Tityrus”—and is apparently alluding to Tityrus' statement, in the same speech, that the small town was to imperial Rome as the shrub is to the cypress. By his two allusions Lovell evidently means that he sees himself as the lesser of the two men and therefore hopes for something greater from JA than what he has received, something heroic or epic.
12. Brig. Gen. Daniel Roberdeau, because of need for bullets, established in 1778 a lead mine in western Pennsylvania at his own expense and built Fort Roberdeau to protect it (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0093

Author: Vernon, William Jr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-16

From William Vernon Jr.

[salute] Sir

I had the honour of writing you a letter on the tenth of April, in which I informed you of my determination to reside in this place, and prayed that you would forward me recommendations to the house of Messrs. Feyers freres, which is one of the first character in this City.
{ 127 }
Being sensible that the business in which you must be involv'd leaves you few leisure moments, I was determined to wait with patience for your answer; but I hope you will pardon the impertinance of a second letter urging the same request, when I assure you that the disagreeableness of my present situation forc'd the pen into my hand against my inclination. Of this situation, sir, you will be a Judge, when you consider that I came to this City without a recommendation to any Person in it with an intention of entering into the Counting-house of some principal Merchant; this has been and still is impossible for me to effect with credit without letters; these sir I can solely expect from you who art the only Person of much consequence in France who has any knowledge of me or my connections; I therefore entreat you to spend a few of your first leisure minutes in writing a few lines for me.1 I have the honour to be with the greatest respect your most obedient most humble Servant.
[signed] William Vernon junr.
1. No reply to this letter has been found, but see JA's letter to Vernon of 12 May (calendared above), which was an answer to the letter of 10 April.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0094

Author: Continental Congress, Commerce Committee
Author: Ellery, William
Author: Hutson, Richard
Author: Adams, Thomas
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-16

The Commerce Committee to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

This will be accompanied with a Contract entered into between John Baptist Lazarus Theveneau De Francy Agent of Mr. Peter Augustine Caron De Beaumarchais representative of the House of Rodrigue Hortalez & Co. and the Committee of Commerce.1 You will observe that their Accounts are to be fairly stated and what is justly due paid. For as on the One hand Congress would be unwilling to evidence a disregard for, and contemptuous refusal of the Spontaneous freindship of his most Christian Majesty; so on the other they are unwilling to put into the private Packets what was gratuitously designed for Public benefit. You will be pleased to have thier Accounts liquidated and direct in the liquidation thereof that particular care be taken to distinguish the property of the Crown of France from the Private property of Hortalez and company and transmit to us the accounts so stated and distinguished. This will also be accompanied by an Invoice of Articles to be imported from France and resolves of Congress relative thereto.2 You will appoint if { 128 } you judge proper an Agent or Agents to Inspect the quality of such Goods as you may apply for to the House of Roderigue Hortalez & Co. before they are shipped to prevent any imposition.
The Obstructions of the Bays and Harbours to the southward by British men of war, hath prevented our shipping Tobacco as we intended. We have ordered several Vessels lately to South Carolina for Rice and have directed the Continental Agent in that state to consign them to your address. So soon as we can venture to send out Tobacco with any probability of Success we shall certainly do it.
This goes by a dispatch Vessel under the direction of the Committee of foreign Affairs. Five Others are employed in the same business, which you will load with such Articles as you may have ready to transmit to us.
We congratulate with you on the treaties entered into with his most Christian Majesty and are with the greatest respect, Gentn. Your very hble servts
[signed] William Ellery
[signed] Richd. Hutson
[signed] Thos. Adams
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed in an unknown hand: “Letter from Committee May 16. 1778” designated a “Copy,” probably one of several sent by the Committee to the Commissioners.
1. This contract with Roderigue Hortalez & Cie., a fictitious firm established by Beaumarchais to funnel clandestine French aid to the United States, was approved by the congress on 7 April and announced as executed on the 16th (JCC, 10:316–318, 356; for de Francy's credentials impowering him to negotiate a contract, see 10:320–321).
The first paragraph of this letter was copied directly into the Commissioners' letter to Vergennes of 10 Sept. (JA, Works, 7:29–31). It requested his intervention and advice in order to establish what portion of the supplies sent to America were the gift of the French government, for which no payment was due, and what portion was obtained under contract to Roderigue Hortalez & Cie., and was to be paid for with shipments of American produce to France. In a letter of 10 Sept. to Beaumarchais (LbC, Adams Papers) the Commissioners demanded that he present a full accounting for all supplies contracted for by the United States from Roderigue Hortalez & Cie.
2. That is, the resolutions passed on 16 May which prompted this letter (JCC, 11:505).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0095

Author: Jones, John Paul
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-16

John Paul Jones to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

As there is an appearance that the Sales of the Rangers prizes will be greatly protracted thro' the claims of the Admiralty here—I have been under the necessity of drawing on you this day a { 129 } Bill at five days sight in favor of Monsieur Bersolle for Twenty four thousand Livers—which I mean to distribute among the brave Officers and Men to whom I owe my late Success. It is but reasonable that they should be furnished with the means of procuring little comforts and necessaries of Life for themselves—— and the intrests of the Service as well as the claims of Humanity and Justice plead in behalf of their Wives and helpless Families who are now unprovided in America, and will naturally expect a Supply of Cloathing &ca. by the Drake.1
You may expect a circumstantial Account of every transaction respecting the Ranger in a day or two—Meantime my unsettled situation must be my Apology.2
It may not be amiss to add that upon recollection I do not conceive that France has any power to give up American prisoners while they remain on board of American Ships and are not suffered to come ashore.3 I have the honor to be with much Esteem and Respect, Gentlemen Your very Obliged very Obedient very humble Servant
[signed] John Paul Jones
Dupl (ViU: Lee Papers); docketed in two unknown hands: “J.P. Jones to Amn. Comes. France. 16 May 1778” and “1778.” Designated a “(Copy)”; see descriptive note for Jones' letter of 9 May (above).
1. The Commissioners' consideration of Jones' financial dealings with Bersolle in regard to the Ranger and its prizes had begun with their letter to Bersolle of 3 May (calendared above) and would later result in sharp exchanges with Jones (see the Commissioners to Jones, 25 May, calendared; and Jones' letters of 27 May and 3 June, all below). The issue was not resolved until 4 Nov., when the Commissioners, in a letter to J. D. Schweighauser and after having finally seen Bersolle's accounts, indicated what portions they would honor (LbC, Adams Papers).
2. See Jones to the Commissioners, 27 May (below).
3. A reference to Jones' letter of 9 May (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0096

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Grand, Ferdinand
Date: 1778-05-17

The Commissioners to Ferdinand Grand

[salute] Sir

It is our desire that you accept no Bills nor pay any money out of the funds which are or may be in your hands to the credit of us three jointly without our joint order. As it has been the practice to address Letters upon the business of the Commission to Mr. Deane we desire that you will send to us all the Letters you receive so directed, and not give them to any private person. We have the honor to be &c.
Dft in Arthur Lee's hand (PPAmP: Franklin Papers).
{ 130 }
1. This letter was never sent. In a memorandum in his fragmentary journal for the period 25 May to 4 July (MH-H: Lee Papers), Arthur Lee explained that:
“Soon after Mr. Adams arrived, Mr. L. proposed that they should join in a letter to Mr. Grand the Banker forbidding him to pay any of the public money but to their joint order; to which Dr. F. would not agree saying he did not know but Mr. L. might starve him, that Mr. L. kept all the Spanish funds to himself. Upon his disagreeing the measure was dropt.”
Franklin's reference to the “spanish money” is a reflection of his sensitivity about his position vis-à-vis Arthur Lee in regard to Spain, to which both men held commissions. For a more detailed description of this conflict, see the Commissioners to J. D. Schweighauser, 10 June (calendared below).
Franklin also explained his reasons for not signing the order to Grand in a draft letter to Arthur Lee of the same date (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 3:510; Franklin, Writings, ed. Smyth, 7:154–155). There he stated that he knew of no problems caused by orders by the separate Commissioners, declined to depend on Lee for his “Subsistence,” and would not agree to have all letters to Silas Deane delivered to the Commissioners for what would be essentially a “Gratification of private Curiosity.”

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0097

Author: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-17

Arthur Lee to Benjamin Franklin and John Adams

[salute] Gentlemen

Being too much indisposd to come to Passi this morning, and thinking the subjects of the enclosd Letters of pressing importance; I have sent you what I think shoud be written. You will make such Alterations as you think proper.1 But if the subordinate Servants of the public continue to obey or not obey our Orders as they please—to act as they will, without taking our orders—to involve us in debt at their pleasure—and give us no account of the expenditure of large Sums of public money committed to them—we may expect the worst consequences both to the public and ourselves. I have the honor to be with the greatest esteem Gentlemen yr. most Obedt. Servt.
[signed] Arthur Lee
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honble B. Franklin & J. Adams”; docketed in an unknown hand: “A Lee Esqr Challiet 7th. May 1778.”
1. Although it cannot be stated with certainty, these “Letters” were probably drafts of letters dated 16 May to Thomas Simpson (DLC: Franklin Papers) and 17 May to Ferdinand Grand (above) and John Paul Jones. For the Commissioners' letter to Jones, see 25 May (calendared below).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0098

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: American State Officials
Date: 1778-05-18

Benjamin Franklin and John Adams to American State Officials

Paris, 18 May 1778. printed:JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:102; ordered printed by the congress as a broadside (illustration facing p. 99). This letter was signed by Adams and Franklin because, according to Arthur Lee in his Letterbook (PCC, No. 102, IV, f. 7), “this Intelligence { 131 } was sent to the Commissioners from M. de Sartine by M. de Chaumont who came accompanied by Dr. Bancroft and the two Commissioners at Passi having signed the above Letters they were sent away without communicating them to Mr. Lee who was signing the Bills for borrowing money in Holland. Mr. Adams informed him of it [thursday].” The two Commissioners requested that French naval commanders be notified of the impending departure of eleven British warships for North America.
Although the Commissioners' information concerning the imminent departure of Vice Adm. John Byron's fleet was accurate, the warning was premature. Contrary winds and indecision caused by uncertainty about the destination of Comte d'Estaing's fleet, which had left Toulon on 13 April, delayed Byron's sailing until 9 June. Even then, Byron's arrival in American waters was delayed by the severe storms encountered on his passage, which scattered the fleet. The first vessel arrived at New York on 30 July, and Byron himself, at the end of September (Piers Mackesy, The War for America, 1775–1783, Cambridge, 1964, p. 196–202, 212; Mahan, Navies in the War of Amer. Independence, P.58–59).
The Commissioners were apparently unaware of the delay until they received “advices from London” dated 5 June, which erroneously reported that Byron's squadron, which had sailed from Portsmouth on 20 May, had put into Plymouth and been ordered not to proceed to America. Actually, the ships from Portsmouth were only a reinforcement for Byron's fleet, which was based at Plymouth. Nevertheless, on 10 June, the day after Byron had sailed, the Commissioners incorporated the new information into a circular letter directed to “any Captain bound to America” (Diary and Autobiography, 4:135; Mackesy, War for America, p. 200–201). For later intelligence on British naval operations, see letters to the Commissioners from Francis Coffyn of 18 and 19 June (both below).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0099-0001

Author: Alagnac
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-18

From Alagnac

Le Docteur Franklin, Monsieur, a qui j'ay eu l'honneur D'ecrire1 pour Savoir Des nouvelles D'un jeune homme nommé le chevalier De Pontgibaut,2 embarqué Sur le navire l'arc en ciel, partit De Nantes Depuis le Il 8bre 1777, avec plusieurs lettres De recommendation pour Mrs De Con Wai et De la Fayette, Dans l'esperance D'etre employé Dans vos troupes Des Colonies unies De l'amerique; m'a mendé qu'il n'en avait point entendu parler permettes moi monsieur De m'Addresser a vous Comme Arrivant nouvellement De Ce pays la, peut etre auries vous { 132 } quelque Connaisance Du Sort De le chevalier, ou Du navire L'arc en ciel et vous m'obligeries infiniment Si vous avies la bonté De m'instruire De la Destinie De l'un ou De l'autre. Le jeune homme plein D'ame et D'ardeur jaloux D'acquerir de la gloire pour une aussi bonne Cause, est fort cher a Sa famille et Son Silence Depuis Son Depart donne a Son pere Comte De Chalier Viellard repectable agé De 77 ans la plus grande inquietude, ne Serais ce pas abuser De votre Complaisance monsieur, que De vous prier D'alleger Son Tourment en Daignant vous informer ce qu'est Devenu le jeune homme supose que vous n'en ayes pas la moindre Connaissance oserais esperer Cette grace De vous monsieur et Celle De Croire que I have the honour to be With a great respect Sir your Most obedient humble Servant
[signed] D'alagnac
Mr. la Combe negotiant de Ce pays Ci qui a voyage tres longtems Dans vous Colonies et qui Se propose D'y retourner a bien voulu Se charger de vous remettre ma lettre en main proper c'est un garcon qui merite votre protection.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0099-0002

Author: Alagnac
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-18

Alagnac to John Adams: A Translation

Dr. Franklin, sir, to whom I had the honor to write1 for information about a young man, Chevalier de Pontgibaut,2 who left Nantes on 11 October 1777 on board the Arc en Ciel with letters of recommendation to Messrs. Conway and Lafayette in the hope of being employed with the troops of the United Colonies of America; has replied that he knows nothing on the matter. Permit me then to turn to you, sir, as you have newly arrived from that country and might have some information on the whereabouts of the Chevalier or the Arc en Ciel and you would greatly oblige me if you would have the goodness to inform me as to the fate of the one or the other. This young man, filled with ardor and eager to achieve glory in the service of such a worthy cause, is very dear to his family and his silence, since his departure, deeply worries his father, Comte de Chalier, a venerable old man of 77. Would it be too much of an imposition on you, sir, to ask you to ease his anxiety by condescending to discover what has become of this young man on the supposition that you have no information at hand. I dare hope for a favorable response to my request, sir, and I have the honor to be with a great respect, sir, your most obedient and humble servant
[signed] D'alagnac
Mr. La Combe, a merchant in this province, who has traveled extensively in your colonies and who is about to return there, kindly agreed to hand deliver this letter to you. He is a man worthy of your patronage.
{ 133 }
1. Alagnac [Alagnan] to Franklin, 11 April (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:394).
2. Charles-Albert de Moré Chaliers, comte de Pontgibaud, became Lafayette's aide de camp. Imprisoned at age 16 for being of “a fierce and violent character, and refusing to do any kind of work,” he escaped in 1777 and set out for America on the Arc de Ciel to avoid recapture. Arriving at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay, the Arc de Ciel encountered the British nayal vessel his and went aground. Pontgibaud then made his way to Valley Forge and Lafayette, who, after confirming his story, appointed the Comte to his staff (A French Volunteer of the War of Independence, ed. and transl. Robert B. Douglas, Paris, 1897, p. v–vii, 1–42). In his account Pontgibaud does not mention any letters of recommendation to Conway or Lafayette but does refer to “M. d'A––––,” possibly Alagnac, who acted as a mediator between father and son. No reply by JA to Alagnac's letter has been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0100

Author: Dupont de Lens
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-18

From Dupont de Lens

[salute] My lord

Under the auspices of my friend Mr. Recules de Basmarin I take the Liberty of addressing myself to you; to make a tender of my Services to you, desiring you to appoint me to the place of Consul, or Commissary of your nation in this port.
The perfect Knowledge I have in every thing Concerning the maritime Commerce, my having the advantage of Writing and Speaking English most as fluently as French, and my being recommended by Mr. Recules de Basmarin make me hope, My lord, that you Will be So good as to grant me the favor I have the honor to Sollicit from your excellency.
The Situation of our Harbour, open to all Sorts of Winds, defended by forts and respectable batteries, being advantageously Situated, most opposite the mouth of the Thames, Which one may reach in less than Six hours, Will often be Very useful for the Shelter of any armed Ships of your nation, or any other that Should happen to be in this latitude: besides it might happen that the Captains Should undergo Some delay in their operations, Which Would Consequently be of prejudice to them, if they had no body to Whom they Could or Should be obliged to address themselves at their arrival.
By honouring me With So respectable an employement as that of representing a Nation that has just given to every nation an example of the love of its Country and freedom, Supported by the heroism of Virtue and Courage. I desire you to be persuaded, My Lord, that I will give all my Cares and attentions, and Shall use the most Scrupulous exactness in performing With honor all the operations, even the most Secret one's, either for the inward { 134 } or outward part of the Kingdom, intrusted to me and in giving every assistance necessary to the Ships that Will Come in this port for their business or Want.1 I am With respect My Lord Your Excellency's Most obedient and humble servant
[signed] Dupont de Lens
1. Apparently no action was taken on this letter. The Franklin Papers, however, include two letters bearing the conjectural date of 1778, one from Dupont de Lens that duplicates this letter and another from him and Lebrun requesting appointment as consuls at Calais and Dieppe, respectively (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:561).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0101

Author: Stenger, Christian
Author: Straughan, William
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-18

Christian Stenger and William Straughan to the Commissioners

The Humble Petition of Christian Stenger and William Stragham Showed that Your Petitioners with thyre Propertyes, by this Unnaturall Ware have fallen Captives to the Ranger Continentel Ship of Ware, Comanded by Captn. John Paul Jones Esqr.—first Comander of the Brigg Dolphin, beloning to Water ford, Sunck with her Cargo Flaxseed of[f] Cape Clare Aprill 14t. Latter Comander of the Lord Chatham from London to Dublin where She belonged. Taken in the Ireish Channell Aprill 17t. and now at Brest.1
Showed that Your Humble Petitioners have a havy Charge in Ireland first 11 and Latter 8 Children, all Intirely Depending on ower Industery and if adding to Ower Misfortune by a long Continuance of Captivity will Prove Ower Totall Distruction, and the Cause of the Innosent at home Seeking thyre bread from Doar to doar.
Being asured of Your Exsemplary Humanity, we bouldly take this method to knock at the Doar of Mercy for ower Deliverance, which when optained will Shurely be a Great Charrity bestowed on these at home who are not Yet able to Earn thyre Bread.
We however are not Intirely Distitude of Som Glimmering Hopes of Deliverance from Captn. Jones, who Since ower Captivity has given us at Cartentimes Som Ovasif Promisse of Deliverance, In returne for ower knowlege when on the Coast of Ireland which we Liberally have Contributed for the Safity of the Ranger, for the Testimony of which Apale to Captn. Jones { 135 } himself and Principall officers, but not in the least infringing on thyre knowlege of which the Rangers Cruse is a Sofitiand Profe of thyre Conduct.
We asurantly Flatter owerselves that Your bounty full goodness to the Distresed will out Shine the Admirallity of England, who not withstanding when Petitioned by Samuel Chandler now onboard the Ranger, found admittance and Sett at Liberty. If this Trough Gods assistance Should Com before Your Honour, Then are asured of Ower Liberty. Give us leave to point out the Clarest way to ower Familys, Suffer us to be put onboard of a Dutch Ship of which there is Severall now at Brest, if thy are Even bound to Som Treading portes in France or Spain whare we are Shure to meet with frinds the Merchants to whome we are known. If this Should find Exceptance in Your presance which hope will be the Cace and Som, we with the Innosent at home are bound to pray, and remain to Yours Honours Most afectiond. Humble Servants.
[signed] Christn. Stenger
[signed] Wm. Straughan
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “To the Honorable Benjamin Franklin, Silas Dean & Arthur Lee Esqrs., American Commissioners at the Court of Paris”; docketed: “Stenger & Strahans Application 18th May 1778”; in another hand: “Representation of Officers on board the Ranger”; postmarked: “BREST.”
1. For John Paul Jones' account of the sinking of the Dolphin and capture of the Lord Chatham, see his letter to the Commissioners of 27 May (below). There is no indication that the Commissioners took any action on this or two other petitions, containing essentially the same information and both docketed by JA. The first was from the same two men and dated by JA “June 1778”; the second, from Straughan only, was undated, but probably written in 1778, possibly later in June or July (both PPAmP: Franklin Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0102

Author: Williams, Jonathan
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-18

Jonathan Williams to the Commissioners

My last informed your Excellencies of my Arrival at this place from Morlaix and my Motives in coming hither.1
Capt. Jones has received a Letter from Mr. Schweighauser who in consequence of one from William Lee Esqr. claims the Disposal of the Prizes sent into this port by the Ranger, informs Capt. Jones that he has the Management of the public Business, and that I pretend to what he alone has authority for.2
As I wish to be clearly understood in every part of my Conduct, I take the Liberty to assure you that I came hither with a { 136 } View, not of obtaining a Consignment, but of assisting Capt. Jones in his Affairs, and consequently of serving the Public; I therefore have not attempted to alter the Channel, the commercial part of the Business had taken.
The former prize the Lord Chatham being sent into the Intendant the Sale of it will probably [be] made by the Admiralty, if not, it will fall into the Hands of Mr. Bersoll by whom the Ranger was furnished before her Departure, and to whom Capt. Jones has applied for his present Wants, it being necessary, on Account of the great Detail of them that the Business should be transacted by a Resident here; the other being empty is employed as a prison Ship.3 The Drake is fitting to convey the prisoners to America. I have given every assistance in my power to put the affairs in a regular Train for a speedy and compleat Supply.
Your Excellencies thus see that my Motives are very different from what Mr. Schweighauser supposes, and so far from having any Disposition of entering into a Dispute about pecuniary advantages, it is my Intention to quit Brest the Moment I find my presence useless to the Public; but as much as I wish to avoid Dispute I must endeavour also to avoid an Imputation of neglect of Duty, and if I had acted otherwise than I have done I should have felt myself liable to it.
Capt. Jones's great object is to secure near 200 prisoners which he keeps on board his prison Brig, so as to obtain an equal number of our unhappy Countrymen now suffering in Captivity. If this can be effected here it will not be necessary to send the Drake to America, and in this Case, I beg leave to observe that this Ship can take a great part of the Stores I have at Nantes, perhaps almost all. As she belongs wholly to the Captors it will be necessary to buy her of them, or freight her to America either of which could be perhaps more reasonably done than of any other persons. As you shall please to decide, I will in obedience act.
I shall go from this in a Day or two taking Nantes in my Way to collect my papers intend to proceed to Paris. This need not prevent the loading of the Drake should you so determine. I have the honour to be very Respectfully, Your Excellencys most obedt & most humle Servant
[signed] Jona Williams
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “Mr Williams May 18. 1778 ans. 25.”
{ 137 }
1. See Williams' letter of 11 May (calendared above).
2. John Daniel Schweighauser, a leading merchant at Nantes, had been appointed the American agent at Nantes and the other parts of Brittany, including Brest, Morlaix, etc., by William Lee in a letter of 21 March (PCC, No. 90, f. 495–496). For JA's appraisal of Schweighauser, see Diary and Autobiography, 4:52. Schweighauser wrote to John Paul Jones on 12 and 31 May, to which Jones replied on 4 June (PCC, No. 168).
3. Probably the brigantine Patience (Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 160, 166–167).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0103

Author: Laurens, Henry
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-19

From Henry Laurens

[salute] Dear Sir

Will you permit me to congratulate with you upon the favorable appearances in our American concerns and particularly upon your safe arrival at Paris, and further to request you will forward in the best manner the times will afford, the two inclosed Letters, one to Ralph Izard Esquire and the other to my daughter in Law in London the latter if War is kindled between France and England must take a circuitous route by Holland or Flanders and under particular protection.1 Command me at any time to do ten times as much in return and be assured of my chearful obedience.
You are so fully informed of the State of affairs in this quarter by the Committee of foreign correspondence it would be committing waste upon time to repeat. We have this Instant an account of the Enemy's movements from Philadelphia under clouds of mancevre and stratagem, time will shew whether they mean to attack Gen. Washington or to penetrate Jersey and cross over to New York. Our Commander in Chief is also in motion and if they don't face him he will be on their Skirts.

[salute] I wish you every degree of happiness & am with great Respect Dear sir Your Obedient hum' servt

[signed] Henry Laurens
1. The letter to Izard may have concerned his affairs in South Carolina that Laurens had undertaken to oversee while Izard was absent in Europe. Mrs. John Laurens (Martha Manning), sister-in-law of Benjamin Vaughn, remained in England until 1781. In the spring of that year she set out for France to join her husband, who had been appointed an American minister, but died before reaching him (Wallace, Laurens, p. 45, 464–469; DAB).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0104-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-19

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners

[salute] Messieurs

Ma derniere, en forme de Journal, commencoit par le 7e. et finissoit par le 15e de ce mois. Vous y aurez vu ma marche, pas à pas; et qu'elle a abouti au vrai terme qu'il falloit, savoir, à faire connoître ici, d'une maniere non équivoque, et authentique, les dispositions amicales des Etats-Unis envers cette République, et à préparer ainsi les voies pour un heureux rapprochement, sans mettre l'Ambassadeur Anglois endroit d'importuner et inquiéter l'Etat par des clameurs. La maniere dont Mr. le G——P——s'est conduit dans cette affaire, est, je le répete, des plus adroite; et nous la regardons, le G——F——, notre Ami d' Amsterdam, et moi, comme une preuve démonstrative de la sincérité avec laquelle il entre dans nos vues. Je tiens de notre Ami, que Vendredi passé il a fait remettre une Copie traduite de votre Lettre1 à chaque Membre des Etats de la Province, sous main, comme on dit ici par opposition à la maniere ordinaire notoire (c'est àdire, aux Etats en corps). Le lendemain, Samedi, au Dejeuner qu'il y avoit à la Cour, Mr. l'Ambassadeur de France, Mr. l'Envoye Plenipotentiaire d'Espagne, Made, la Comtesse d'Herreria son Epouse, et quelques autres, firent groupe à part, pour observer la contenance de l'Ambassadeur d'Angleterre quand il entra: ils le virent passer devant le G——P——, non seulement sans lui faire aucune civilité, mais en le regardant d'un air refrogné et furieux. Cela a bien diverti le groupe. Ce Ministre, pour avoir vieilli dans les affaires, ne se possede guere: il ne pense pas qu'en montrant ainsi sa mauvaise humeur, il nous donne lui-même le témoignage le plus fort de la vérité des sentimens du G——P——à notre égard.
Au reste, notre Ami m'a dit, que le G——P——, NB en conséquence de ces paroles, Messieurs, de votre Lettre à lui “of which (Treaty of Amity and Commerce between France and the U.S.) we shall speedily send your Excellency a Copy, to be comunicated if you think proper to their High-Mightinesses,”2 s'attend à recevoir cette Piece de votre part. Il faudra done, s'il vous plait, m'envoyer cette Copie dans une Lettre à moi, que je puisse montrer, et oú vous m'ordonnerez de remettre la Copie du Traité à son Excellence Mr. le G ——P——, aprés en avoir tiré une autre Copiepour Venvoyer aussi à la Régence d'Amsterdam.3 Il n'est pas besoin d'écrire pour cela une seconde Lettre au G——P——: il faut, premierement, qu'il en ait répondu une, de politesse, à la votre, et { 139 } lui laisser son temps pour cela. Dans tout cela je ménagerai ce qui est dû à votre dignité, Messieurs, avec le méme Scrupule que le fond de l'affaire. J'ai parlé de tout cela au G——F——, qui l'approuve. Ce dernier a vu avec beaucoup de satisfaction le paragraphe qui le regarde dans la Lettre de Mr. Franklin du 30e4
Je suis, en attendant prompte réponse quant a l'article cidessus, et en son temps de bonnes et grandes nouvelles, dont je ferai bon usage, avec le respect et le fidele attachement que vous me connoissez, Messieurs, Votre tres humble & tres obéissant serviteur
[signed] D
L'imprimé ci-joint, est fait sur le canevas que Mr. A. Lee m'a envoye il y a quelque temps.5 Le meme est sous presse en francois, et je vous l'enverrai, Messieurs, incessamment. Cette piece est lachée a dessein, précisément dans cette circonstance.
Je viens de chez notre Ami d'amsterdam. Il m'a assuré que la Lettre au G——P——, actuellement entre les mains de tous les membres des Etats de cette Province, fait un tres bon effet, et que ces Messieurs en sont fort contents. Il approuve aussi tres fort la maniere dont je vous marque de m'envoyer la copie du Traité.
Le Comte de Weldern, Envoyé de cette Republique a Londres, par Lettre du 12e. May, a écrit pour la 2e. fois la nouvelle arrivée a Londres d'un Corps de fourageurs de l'Armée de Howe, coupe et enveloppe par notre armee, comme aussi que les affaires des Anglois sont en Amerique dans un tres facheux etat. Tous nos amis ici me demandent, si vous ne me marquez done rien de tout cela, puis que ce sont des nouvelles qu'il importe aux Anglois seulement de cacher, mais a nous de publier. Je reponds a cela, que vous ne me marquez, Messieurs, que les nouvelles que vous recevez authentiquement.
Les papiers Anglois nous apprennent la mort de Lord Chatham, et l'arrivee du Genl. Burgoyne.
Le g——F—— vient de m'apprendre la rentree à Brest du Ranger, qui a repandu tant de terreur en Irlande et au Nord de l'Angleterre, avec la Chaloupe armee le Dragon, qu'il a pris.6

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0104-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-19

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

My last, in the form of a diary, began with the 7th and ended on the 15th of this month. You will there have seen my progress, step by step, toward the proper conclusion; that is, to make known here, in a gen• { 140 } uine and unequivocal way, the friendly disposition of the United States toward this Republic and thus prepare the way for a successful rapprochement without placing the British ambassador in a position to annoy and harass the State through his protests. The conduct of the Grand Pensionary in this affair is, I repeat, most clever and we, the Grand Facteur, our friend from Amsterdam, and I, consider it tangible proof of the sincerity with which he shares our views. I have it from our friend that last Friday he gave a translation of your letter1 to each member of the Provincial States underhand, as they say here, rather than openly as is the usual fashion (that is, to the States in session). The following day, Saturday, at the luncheon held at the Court, a group composed of the French ambassador, the Spanish minister plenipotentiary and his wife Countess d'Herreria, and some others, stood to the side to observe the bearing of the British ambassador as he entered. They saw him pass before the Grand Pensionary, whom he regarded in a sullen, angry manner, without the least sign of courtesy. The group was greatly amused. This minister, although he has grown old in this business, has little composure. He does not realize that by showing his ill humor he thereby gives us the strongest evidence of the sincerity of the Grand Pensionary's sentiments toward us.
Moreover, our friend has told me that the Grand Pensionary, N.B. as a result of the words in your letter to him: “of which (Treaty of Amity and Commerce between France and the U.S.) we shall speedily send your Excellency a copy to be communicated if you think proper to their HighMightinesses,”2 expects to receive this document from you. It will be necessary, therefore, if you please, for you to inclose a copy in a letter to me, that I can display, in which you will order me to give a copy of the Treaty to his Excellency, the Grand Pensionary, after having made another copy to be sent to the Regency of Amsterdam.3 It is not necessary to write a second letter to the Grand Pensionary, rather he must first send you a polite response to yours and must be given time for that. In all this, gentlemen, I will take care of that which is due your dignity with the same diligence given to the substance of the matter. I have spoken of all this to the Grand Facteur who approves of it. He has seen, with much satisfaction, the paragraph concerning him in Mr. Franklin's letter of the 30th.4
While awaiting a prompt reply to the above request and, in good time, the wonderful news of which I will make good use, I am with respect and loyal attachment, as you know, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] D
The enclosed pamphlet is modeled after that sent me by Mr. A. Lee some time ago.5 The same, in French, is in the press, and I will send it to you shortly. This piece is, by design, released precisely in these circumstances.
I come from our friend from Amsterdam who has assured me that the letter to the Grand Pensionary, now in the hands of all the members of { 141 } the Provincial States, produces a very good effect and that these gentlemen are very satisfied with it. He also strongly approves of my way of asking you to send me a copy of the treaty.
Count Walderen, envoy of this Republic to London, in a letter of 12 May, has written for the second time of the news reaching London concerning a corps of Howe's cavalry being caught and surrounded by our army and the poor state of British affairs in America. All our friends here ask if you inform me of any of this since it is news that only the British would want concealed, while we would wish it publicized. My reply is that you notify me only of news received by you that is proved authentic.
The British papers inform us of Lord Chatham's death and the arrival of General Burgoyne.
The Grand Facteur has just told me of the return to Brest of the Ranger, which has spread so much terror in Ireland and Northern England, with its prize the armed chaloupe the Dragon.6
RC (MH-H: Lee Papers)
1. That is, on 15 May the Grand Pensionary distributed copies of the Commissioners' letter to him of 28 April (see Dumas to the Commissioners, 7 May; and the Commissioners to Pieter van Bleiswyck, 28 April, both above).
2. A direct quotation from the Commissioners' letter to van Bleiswyck of 28 April (above).
3. No letter instructing Dumas has been found. It may have been enclosed with a copy of the treaty in a letter of 2 June, apparently not extant, that reached Dumas on the 10th (see Dumas to the Commissioners, 11 June, below).
4. Not found (see the Commissioners to van Bleiswyck, 28 April, note 1, above).
5. This pamphlet, in Dutch and modeled after Lee's “Memorial for Holland,” has not been found. According to Lee, his “Memorial” was written in 1777 but not sent because of his journey to Spain in February of that year. On 31 March it was finally sent to Dumas, who reportedly made some additions, which Lee praised in a letter to Dumas on 4 June (R. H. Lee, Arthur Lee, 1:138, 141–142; a copy of the “Memorial” is printed on p. 138–141; see also PCC, No. 83,1, f. 173–176).
6. That is, the twenty-gun British sloop of war Drake.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0105

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Fleury, François Louis Teissèdre de
Date: 1778-05-20

To Fleury

Passy, 20 May 1778. printed: JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:104. In his reply to Fleury's letter of 26 April (above), Adams noted the excellent reputation of François Louis Teissèdre de Fleury, then serving with the Continental Army, and congratulated Fleury and his wife “upon the honor of having such a Son.” He then stated, to remove any uneasiness, that the younger Fleury's “Pay and Appointments” should be adequate for his subsistence.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0106

Author: Vernon, William Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-20

From William Vernon Sr.

[salute] Dear sir

The preceeding is Copy of my last, via Bilboa.1 I have noted, that we have run out the Warren Capt. Hopkins from Providence, he happily escaped the vigilance of the Enemy, received the Fire of Two Ships in the River, as he passed them without any meterial damage, several ships follow'd him out from Newport and pursued a day or Two, he out saild them. He was ordered to Boston immediately, the severity of the weather and being badly Man'd, obliged him to run as far to the southward as the Latt:24d.o, upon his Passage he Captured the ship Neptune Capt. Smallwood from Whitehaven, bound to New York, with salt and dry Goods, great part of which he took on board his ship. The Ship with the Salt, was retaken within Six hours sail of Boston; also a Snow from St. Eustatia going to Ireland Loaded with Flax-seed and Fustick which Arrived safe at Bedford, this Vessil was cover'd with fictitious Dutch Papers. The Warren anchored safe in Boston Harbour after being at Sea five Weeks.2 We next dispatched the Columbus, with only Twenty five Men on board, leaving all her stores, except just sufficient to run her to New London, she was drove on shore at Point-Judith, by two or Three Frigates, the same Night, the next day the Enemy sat her on fire under cover of their Ships, who were annoy'd by a few Troops from the shore, with Three feild Peices, Killed them fourteen Men and wouned Twenty. I think they Paid a high price for the Hull of an old Ship, as our people strip't her Sails Rigging &c.3 The 30th. of April we sent down the Providence Capt. Whipple, having on board about 170 Men, who was ordered to the first Port in France he cou'd make, to be under the direction of the Commissioners, where we hope she is safe Arrived,4 no dispatches was sent by this Ship, as she was to pass a dangerous passage; however in a brisk Wind and dark Night she got out safe, receiveing a heavy fire from the Lark, which was the uppermost ship, who's Fire she returned with Spirit and good effect, Kill'd a number and Wounded many Men, much disabled the Ship; the lower-most Ship by this alarm, was prepared to receive the Providence, who was obliged to pass her very near, gave her their Fire, that was returned with good success, but we have not yet heard the particulars, as they ever endeavour to conceal their Losses.
{ 143 }
You find how injudiciouly our Ships have been confined in Providence River at a vast expence, when they might have been employed to good purposes. The Ship Virginia is Captured in Chesapeake bay, perhaps imprudently. The Randolph Capt. Biddle was lately blown up to windward of Barbadoes, in an engagement with the Yarmouth a 64 Gun Ship, every Soul perished except four; this is an unfortunate stroke of Providence, which we must submit too without repineing, yet we cannot but regret the loss of so brave an officer and Crew. The loss of the Alfred on her passage home from France we lament, not so much for the Ship, as the gallant and worthy Capt. Henman, Officers and Crews being in the hands of a Cruel Enemy, and the shameful cowardly manner in not being supported by the Rawleigh Capt. Thompson, who saw him engaged with an 18 Gun Sloop of Warr, whom he had obliged to sheer off, and a 20 Gun ship bearing down upon her within Two Mile, which Two ship he maintain'd the conflict with upwards of a hour, while Capt. Thompson lay within Two or Three Mile a spectator to the Capture; soon as the Alfred struck her Colours, the Enemy gave Chase to the Rawleigh who flee'd with all the Sail she cou'd croud, lightening his Ship by throwing over board, Provisions Cables &c. &c., and had certainly parted with his Guns, had not some Passengers interposed; I am verily sorry to say thus much respecting this matter, but they are truths too notorious to pass over in silence. A report prevails that the Enemy have burn't our Galleys and shiping upon the Delaware that were above the City; its not said the Two Frigates that was sunk are distroyed.5 Are we not Dear sir compensated in those Losses by the glorious Treaties of Alliance of Amity and Commerce which were executed the 6th. of Febry. last at Paris and unanimously ratified by Congress the 4th. Instant, I think sir they are magnanimous founded in our Independency equality and reciprocity; upon which I most sincerely congratulate you and our oppressed Country.6
Inclosed is a Letter for my son, which please do me the favor to forward him. Not having heard of your Arrival, am at a Loss where to direct to him. Yet I am perfectly happy in his being under your patronage, and cannot doubt of his being Place'd in such a situation that he may in Time, be qualified to serve his Friends and Country with reputation, provided he is prudent and assiduous, your Friendly advice and notice, I am perswaded he will have in proportion to his merits, I cannot ask more, I { 144 } wou'd not even wish to perplex a Friend with the care and trouble of an unworthy son, all I cou'd possibly hope or desire in such case, wou'd be his interposition in saving unnecessary expence and squandering of Money to no good effect. I pray sir you will give me your sentiments freely upon the behaviour and whole Character of my son, which will be esteemed as the greatest favor. Please to make my most respectful compliments acceptable to your Hon'ble Colleges, and believe me truely Your most Obedient Humble servt
Dupl (Adams Papers); RC not found. The Dupl was included in Vernon's letter of 26 May (below, see descriptive note).
1. That is, a triplicate (RC not found) of Vernon's letter of 9 March (above) was included in his letter of 26 May (below).
2. In escaping down the Providence River, the 32-gun frigate Warren, commanded by John Burroughs Hopkins, had one man wounded, lost its mizzen yard, and sustained damage to its main yard and hull. It arrived in Boston on 23 March (Allen, Naval Hist. of the Amer. Revolution, 1:26; William Vernon to the Navy Board, 25 March, “Vernon Naval Papers,” p. 229–230; Boston Gazette, 30 March).
3. Originally built in 1774 as the Sally, the 24-gun armed ship Columbus, commanded by Hoysted Hacker, attempted its escape on the night of 27 March (Dict. Amer. Fighting Ships, 2:150; Allen, Naval Hist. of the Amer. Revolution, 1:220).
4. The Providence, a 28–gun frigate commanded by Abraham Whipple, arrived at Paimboeuf, France, on 30 May (Dict. Amer. Fighting Ships, 5:397). Whipple informed the Commissioners of his arrival in a letter to Benjamin Franklin of 31 May (PPAmP: Franklin Papers), to which the Commissioners replied on 6 June (calendared below). The Navy Board for the Eastern Department sent, under a covering letter of 9 April (PPAmP: Franklin Papers), newspapers to that date.
5. Vernon's account of the loss of the frigates Virginia, Capt. James Nicholson; Randolph, Capt. Nicholas Biddle; Alfred, Capt. Elisha Hinman; and the Washington and Effingham, both uncompleted and burned by the British in early May, is substantially correct. So too is his description of the conduct of Capt. Thomas Thompson of the Raleigh, who was later court martialed and dismissed from the navy (Samuel Tucker to JA, 9 May, note 3, above; Allen, Naval Hist. of the Amer. Revolution, 1:296–299,301–304,310–311; compare Vernon's account here with that by William Ellery in his letter to Vernon of 25 April, “Vernon Naval Papers,” p. 237–239; see also letters to the Commissioners from Samuel Tucker and William Bingham of 27 and 29 May, respectively, both below).
6. This praise of the Franco-American treaties is taken almost verbatim from William Ellery's letter to Vernon of 6 May (“Vernon Naval Papers,” p. 241).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0107

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Samuel
Date: 1778-05-21

To Samuel Adams

Passy, 21 May 1778. printed: JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:106–108. Adams commented on, among other things, the probability of a European war, the movements of the French and British fleets, and the possibility of wider European support for the Revolution. He then discussed the large amounts of money expended on supplies and the Commissioners' expenses. Regarding the latter, Adams proposed that to lower expenses and increase efficiency, the three Commissioners be { 145 } reduced to one, the other two to be sent elsewhere or recalled. He recommended, in particular, separation of the office of minister from that of commercial agent. Samuel Adams replied on 25 Oct. (Adams Papers).
John Adams' letter, together with those of 24 May to the Commerce Committee (probably not sent) and of 25 May from the Commissioners to John Bondfield, John Paul Jones, J. D. Schweighauser, and Jonathan Williams, each drafted by Adams (all calendared below), firmly defined, as he saw it, his role as a Commissioner. He would strive to bring order to the Commissioners' affairs, particularly in regard to finances and the often conflicting demands of those claiming to act as American commercial agents.
The letters and JA's comments on them in his Autobiography indicate his frustration, belief in the need for immediate action, and recognition that his position would be controversial. Adams wrote to Samuel Adams out of the belief that “our whole System was wrong and that ruin to our Affairs abroad and great danger and confusion in those at home, must be the Consequence of it” (Diary and Autobiography, 4:106).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0108

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Massachusetts General Court
Date: 1778-05-22

Benjamin Franklin and John Adams to the Massachusetts General Court

Passy, 22 May 1778. printed:JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:110. Citing the usual practice under the law of nations of allowing six months after the commencement of hostilities for subjects of both sides to remove their property, Adams and Franklin requested that, if possible, the General Court return to Joseph Parker of London property seized by Massachusetts in the spring of 1775.
Whether recipient's copy or draft, the letter (MiU-C: Presidents Collection) was begun by Adams and finished by Franklin. It has a statement to that effect at the bottom of the second page by Parker, who was to transmit the letter to the General Court (see Diary and Autobiography, illustration facing 4:131).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0109-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-22

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners

[salute] Messieurs

Les Etats d'Hollande se sont séparés aujourdhui; et chacun part demain pour sa Ville. Je viens de souhaiter un bon Voyage à notre Ami. Il a vu le G—P—, qui lui a témoigné être fort embarrassé entre le desir qu'il a, Messieurs, de répondre d'abord à votre Lettre, d'une maniere qui vous fasse connoître combien il est sensible à votre politesse, et s'en trouve flatté, avec son { 146 } espérance, que le temps viendra où il pourra entretenir ouvertement une telle correspondance et liaison,—et la gêne, que lui impose sa Place, de ne pouvoir, dans une réponse par ecrit, Vous donner, avant d'y être autorisé par l'Etat, les Titres qui sont dûs à Votre dignité. Il a donc prié notre Ami, de m'engager à aller un de ces jours chez lui, comme de moi-même, et comme pour lui demander S'il avoit quelque réponse à me remettre. Son intention est de me faire alors une réponse verbale, arm de vous la faire parvenir de sa part. J'ai dit à notre Ami, que comme je vous avois écrit,1 Messieurs, par le dernier ordinaire, pour m'envoyer la Copie du Traité que vous aviez promise au G—P—, et à laquelle il S'attend selon votre Lettre, je croyois devoir attendre que j'eusse reçu cette Copie, parce qu'alors je pourrois me présenter tout naturellement et nécessairement au G—P—, sans affecter de lui demander réponse. Notre Ami a trouvé cela fort bon. J'avois d'ailleurs une autre raison pour ne pas me presser d'y aller: e'est qu'avant tout je consulterai làdessus un Oracle plus sûr que celui de Calchas.2 Du reste notre Ami m'a assuré, que le G—P— est très fort d'accord avec la Ville d'Amsterdam, et par conséquent tres bien intentionné pour ménager avec elle le rapprochement des deux Républiques.
Notre Ami m'a priéinstamment de lui procurer de votre part, Messieurs, des nouvelles authentiques de delà, et NB sur-tout, de la réception qu'aurontfaite les Etats-Unis aux Commissaires Britanniques envoyés pour traiter avec eux. Je lui ai dit, qu'il pouvoit d'avance être sûr qu'ils n'y feront rien qui vaille, à moins qu'ils ne fussent chargés d'accéder sans réserve au Traité entre la France et les Etats-Unis. Il m'a répliqué qu'il le croyoit comme moi; mais qu'il lui falloit le fait authentiqué; et que l'usage qu'il en fera sera important, et produira un grand bien.
Il m'a dit aussi, que la Province d'Hollande s'est refusée tout net à la délibération, dans l'Assemblée des Etats-Généraux, pour l'augmentation des troupes, et que la Ville d'Amsterdam en particulier, s'est déclarée absolument contre cette augmentation, sur-tout, tant que le cas existera où une telle augmentation pourroit impliquer, directement ou indirectement, l'état dans la querelle de l'Angleterre avec la France; que les autres Provinces n'ont pas laissé, par complaisance pour quelqu'un qui en a beaucoup trop pour Sir J—Y—, de convenir qu'on dresseroit et proposeroit un plan d'augmentation; mais que cette convention ne produira rien de réel, malgré les mouvemens que se donne Sir { 147 } J. Y. pour faire accroire le contraire ici et chez lui. Effectivement, sans la Hollande, et surt-out sans Amsterdam, les autres Provinces ne peuvent rien en ceci: elles ne paient toutes Six ensemble que le tiers de la dépense generate, et Amsterdam seule paie les 2/3 des 2/3 restants.
Voici, Messieurs, en François, le même piece que j'eus l'honneur de vous envoyer l'ordinaire dernier en Hollandois.3 Vous comprendrez, en la lisant, qu'elle est lâchée à propos.
Ma lettre ne pourra partir que Mardi prochain. Mais j'ai cru devoir l'écrire d'abord en sortant de chez notre Ami, pendant que j'ai la Mémoire fraiche de son entretien. Il part fort gai et content de ce qui s'est passé pendant cette Assemblée.
Voici la traduction d'une Lettre Allemande, que je viens de recevoir. Je ne trouve rien de croyable dans le paragraphe premier, que, peut-être, le rappel des Officiers volontaires; mais la France, si le fait est vrai, peut avoir de tout autres raisons pour cela, que celles que l'Ecrivain s'imagine.4
J'ai montré ce qui précede au g—F— samedi passé, qui, sur le point de faire un voyage, en a fait prendre copie pour son usage par un de ses commis. Je ne pourrai le consulter qu'à son retour, à la fin de cette semaine.
Mr. l'Ambassadeur de France est absent depuis quelques jours. Il est allé à Amsterdam &c, pour tenir compagnie à Made, la Duchesse de Chartres et a Made. la Princesse de Lamballe,5 qui sont venues faire un tour en Hollande. Il m'a lu d'une Lettre, qu'il avoit reçue Vendredi passé, que Mr. Sym. Deane, qui avoit porté le Traité au Congrès, en est revenu le 11e. de ce mois à Brest; et que la nouvelle étoit arrivée en France, que Quebec étoit au pouvoir des Etats-Unis.6 J'attends, Messieurs, que vous me donniez, ces nouvelles vous-mêmes, afin que je puisse les communiquer à notre Ami, et au G—P—: ce qui présentement est essentiel.
J'ai le bonheur d'avoir ici Mr. Sam. W. Stockton,7 et de lui rendre quelques petits services. Il partira demain pour Leide, Amsterdam et l'Allemagne. Il a laissé à mes soins la Lettre ci jointe.

[salute] Je suis avec le plus sincere respect, Messieurs Votre très humble & très obéissant serviteur

[signed] D

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0109-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-22

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

The Dutch States General ended their session today, and each member will be leaving for his town tomorrow. I have just come from wishing our friend a good trip. He saw the Grand Pensionary, who told him that he was torn between his desire, on the one hand, to answer your letter in a way that would demonstrate how much he appreciates your courtesy in these dealings and is flattered with the hope that the time will come when he will be able to correspond openly with you; and, on the other hand, the constraint that his position puts him in of being unable to give you in writing, before the state authorizes him to do so, the titles due your station. He therefore asked our friend to have me visit him one day as if, on my own behalf, I was asking him if he had an answer to give me. He intends to give me a verbal reply that I could then transmit to you as coming from him. I told our friend that, since in my last letter1 I had asked you to send me the copy of the treaty that you had promised the Grand Pensionary in your letter to him and which he is expecting, I thought that I should wait until I received that copy because then I could approach the Grand Pensionary naturally and out of necessity without having to resort to the pretext of asking him for an answer. Our friend approved. I had another reason for not rushing over. I want first to consult an oracle more reliable than that of Calchas.2 Moreover, our friend has assured me that the Grand Pensionary is very much in accord with the town of Amsterdam and thus fully intends to arrange with it the rapprochement of the two republics.
Our friend has pressed me to provide him with accurate intelligence from you, and N.B. particularly on the reception given by the United States to the British Commissioners sent to negotiate with them. I have told him that he could rest assured that they would be totally ineffectual unless they had been instructed to accede, without reservations, to the treaty between France and the United States. He replied that he believed as I did, but that he needed the fact authenticated, and that the use he would make of it would be both important and productive of much good.
In addition, he told me that, in the assembly of the States General, the Province of Holland categorically refused to discuss the troop increase, and that the town of Amsterdam, in particular, declared itself to be absolutely against such an increase, especially so long as a situation remained in which such an increase might involve the state, directly or indirectly, in the quarrel between Great Britain and France. Nevertheless, the other provinces, to accommodate someone who is far too compliant with Sir Joseph Yorke, have agreed to draft and propose a plan for an increase. Nothing substantial, however, will come out of it despite Sir Joseph Yorke's attempts to have the contrary believed here and in his own country. Indeed, without Holland, and { 149 } particularly without Amsterdam, the other provinces can do nothing in the matter since all six together pay only a third of the total budget, Amsterdam alone paying ⅔ of the remaining ⅔.
You will find enclosed, in French, the document that I had the honor to send you in my last letter in Dutch.3 You will see, in reading it, that it has been released at the appropriate time.
My letter cannot go before next Tuesday, but I thought it best to write it as soon as I left our friend, while the interview was still fresh in my mind. He departed in good-spirits, satisfied with what took place during this assembly.
Here is the translation of a German letter I have just received. I find nothing believable in its first paragraph except, perhaps, the recall of the volunteer officers. If that is true, France may have had reasons for doing so that are quite different from those imagined by the writer.4
I showed what precedes to the Grand Facteur last Saturday, and, as he was about to depart on a trip, he had a copy made for his own use. I will not be able to consult with him until he returns at the end of the week.
The French ambassador has been away for a few days. He has gone to Amsterdam, &c., to accompany the Duchess of Chartres and the Princess of Lamballe,5 who have come for a tour of Holland. He read me an excerpt from a letter he received last Friday that said that Mr. Simeon Deane, who carried the treaty to congress, had returned on the 11th of this month to Brest and that news had reached France that Quebec was now under the control of the United States.6 I am waiting for this news from you so that I can communicate it to our friend and to the Grand Pensionary, an essential step at this time.
I have the pleasure of Mr. Sam. W. Stockton's7 presence here and am rendering him some small services. He will be leaving tomorrow for Leyden, Amsterdam, and Germany. He left the enclosed letter with me.

[salute] I am, with the most sincere respect, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant

[signed] D
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “Dumas 22 May 1778"; with enclosure.
1. That of 19 May (above).
2. Calchas was a Greek soothsayer noted for his prophecies during the Trojan War. As usual when considering a new course of action, Dumas wished to consult with La Vauguyon.
3. Arthur Lee's “Memorial for Holland,” printed under the title of Avis aux Hollandois (Dumas to the Commissioners, 2 June, below).
4. The letter, dated 15 May from Berlin, and omitted here, reported on the continuing conflict between Prussia and Austria over succession to the Bavarian throne. In the first paragraph the writer noted that the French volunteers had been ordered to withdraw and ascribed it to an alteration of French policy in favor of Austria, which, if true, would be contrary to French interests. The remainder of the { 150 } letter commented on the general military situation in Germany.
5. Louise Marie Adélaide de Bourbon-Penthièvre, duchesse de Chartres and later Orléans (1753–1821), and her sister-in-law, Marie Théresè de Savoie-Carignan, princesse de Lamballe (1748–1792), were important figures at the French court, the latter being superintendent of the Royal Household and a sometime favorite of Marie Antoinette (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale).
6. Obviously erroneous information.
7. Samuel Witham Stockton (1752–1795) served as William Lee's secretary (Benjamin Rush, Letters, 1:604).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0110

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Continental Congress, Commerce Committee
Date: 1778-05-24

To the Commerce Committee

Passy, 24 May 1778. printed:JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:111–112. John Adams described the confusion that resulted from the multiplicity of commercial agents, often operating from the same ports, each claiming his authority from a different source. Adams recommended that order be imposed by designating a person in each of the principal ports as the sole American agent. He also suggested that appointment of one or more consuls by the congress might be appropriate. Realizing that his effort to bring order to the Commissioners' finances was controversial, Adams noted that its “Consequence has been, so many Refusals of Demands and Requests, that I expect much Discontent will arise from it, and many Clamours.” See also JA to Samuel Adams, 21 May (calendared above).
JA may have had second thoughts about this letter. The lack of a formal closing, the presence of what is apparently the only extant copy in Lb/JA/5, the absence of the notation “sent” on the Letterbook copy, as well as the general tone of this letter make it unlikely that it was sent.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0111

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Bondfield, John
Date: 1778-05-25

The Commissioners to John Bondfield

Passy, 25 May 1778. printed:JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:116. Replying to Bondfield's letters of 12 (above) and 17 May (not found), the Commissioners' letter, drafted by Adams, commended Bondfield for his efforts to keep them informed and asked him to send an account of his disbursements and to send future accounts monthly so that the Commissioners could avoid running into debt.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0112

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jones, John Paul
Date: 1778-05-25

The Commissioners to John Paul Jones

Passy, 25 May 1778. printed:JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:112–114. Responding to Jones' letters of 9 and 16 May (both above), the Commissioners' letter, drafted by Adams, congratulated him on his arrival at Brest, requested an account of his voyage, and advised him of { 151 } their preference that his prisoners be exchanged in Europe rather than sent to America in the Drake. The Commissioners expressed regret that Jones had not sent them a detailed account of his cruise and the prizes taken and requested a copy of a congressional resolve on the disposal of prizes. The Commissioners then gave Jones several reasons for refusing his draft in favor of Bersolle. Finally, taking a paragraph from Arthur Lee's unsent letter to Jones of 17 May (DLC: Franklin Papers), they noted that Lt. Thomas Simpson would have to be sent to America because of the impossibility of convening a court martial in France and questioned Jones' judgment in ordering Simpson's arrest because of the “troublesome” consequences of such an act in a foreign country.
Unknown to Adams and Lee, this letter may have initiated a correspondence between Jones and Benjamin Franklin. In his first letter, dated 27 May and answered by Jones on 1 June, Franklin sought to mitigate the effect of the Commissioners' letter of the 25th and ended with the statement that “it will always be a pleasure to me to contribute what may lie in my power towards your advancement and that of the brave officers and men under your command” (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:599; Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:433). Later letters of 1 and 10 June offered Jones a post that he had unsuccessfully sought during an earlier visit to Paris in January, the command of the Indien, a frigate built for the United States at Amsterdam and then transferred to France because of problems with Dutch neutrality. With the offer of a new command came an invitation to visit Paris to consult on the matter, a request that Jones agreed to in a letter to Franklin of 6 June (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:599–600; Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 120–124, 174; Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:436).
Franklin, in his letters of 1 and 10 June, made it clear that Adams and Lee were and would remain ignorant of the proposed new command in order to preserve secrecy, a situation that significantly affected the later correspondence and activities of the three Commissioners in regard to Jones (see, in particular, the Commissioners to Jones, 16 June, calendared; Arthur Lee to JA, 5 July, and note 1, both below). Although the need to preserve security was certainly a consideration, the withholding of information from Adams and Lee can also be seen as an indication of Franklin's dominant position within the Commission and, possibly, his desire to cut off from the substantive work of the Commission two members that he believed to be a part of a faction arrayed against him. These interpretations help explain a passage in Adams' Autobiography. There he declared that with the letter here under review and some others written at the same time, all of which he was doubtful that Franklin would sign, “the Die was cast.” Rumors became rife that “Mr. Adams had joined with Mr. Lee against Dr. Franklin” (Diary and Autobiography, 4:116–117).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0113

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Schweighauser, John Daniel
Date: 1778-05-25

The Commissioners to J. D. Schweighauser

Passy, 25 May 1778. printed:JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:115. Drafted by Adams, this letter, through enclosed extracts from letters of 25 May to John Paul Jones (calendared above) and Jonathan Williams (calendared below), informed Schweighauser that he was the authorized American agent at Brest. The Commissioners directed him to send monthly accounts and to inform them of unusual proposed expenses so that they would not run into debt.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0114

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Williams, Jonathan
Date: 1778-05-25

The Commissioners to Jonathan Williams

Passy, 25 May 1778. printed: JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:114–115. Replying to Williams' letters of 11 and 18 May (both above), this letter, drafted by Adams, advised Williams that he had no power to act at Brest in regard either to prizes or to American commerce. J. D. Schweighauser was the American agent in that port, having received his powers from the congress through his appointment by William Lee. The Commissioners, therefore, revoked Williams' powers in order to save money and prevent confusion and delay. He was immediately to deliver all stores and merchandise in his possession to Schweighauser and send his accounts to the Commissioners.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0115

Author: Simpson, Thomas
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-25

Thomas Simpson to the Commissioners

[salute] May it please your Honours

I addressed you on the 8th. of this Instant on a very disagreeable affair, not recieving any answer, or order from your Honours, I concluded my letter had miscarried, or your attentions were required on greater objects, and therefore was determined to rest a while, until you might be at leisure, to think on the matter, I had wrote you of.1 But the treatment I have since recieved from Captn. Jones constrains me to be again troublesome, which, when I relate it, hope will Apologize with your Honours, for my excuse. On Wednesday the 20th Instant between the hours of nine and ten in the forenoon, Captn. Jones came on board the Drake, with a French Officer, and without previous notice ordered me to go with that Officer on board the Admiral (I must make a digression to inform you, that this was the first time he gave me an opportunity, to speak to him since my parting with him on board the Ranger, the 25th. of April in the evening, which preceded the day, he sent his written instructions to me { 154 } by his boat on board the Drake,) I told him, I was sensible that I was under Arrest, and that I was entirely innocent of his charge again me, that I shou'd have given him that satisfaction before, if he had given me opportunity, that I had attended to his order of Arrest, and kept to my confinement, Observed to him, that I had nothing to do with the French Admiral, that he cou'd not possibly be any way connected with our dispute. He answered that he would have no Altercation, and desired the Officer to take me away, I accordingly obeyed; but If I was surprized at being sent on board the Admiral's Ship, what can you think Gentlemen, my astonishment and distress must be, to find after I was in the boat, that the Admiral's ship he told me of, was an Old prison ship that lies in the Port of Brest, which is called the Admiral, kept by an Officer and a guard of Soldiers, to put disorderly persons of every denomination, as a punishment. I was confined [there] that day, and the night following, not a person that I knew suffered to speak to me, Mr. Benjamin Hill, a Gentleman, that was with me in the Drake, came to bring my bed, but was not admitted to speak.
Thursday morning the 21st. Another French Officer came on board the Prison ship about 9 o'the clock, and told me I must go with him to the Pontaniou. I was then a little cheered, thinking Captain Jones was about to treat me like a Gentleman, but to my great disappointment and Affliction, when arriving at the Pontaniou, I found it to be the common Goal, where I was ordered to be locked up in one of the rooms, and no person of my accquaintance to be suffered to see me. The Goaler has been so kind as to carry a letter for me to Comte D'orvilliers, I addressed myself to him, as Captn. Jones told me it was the Comte's orders that I shou'd be treated in the manner heretofore related, the Comte told the Goaler, that he had given Captn. Jones liberty (on his application) to put me in the prison, that he had nothing to do with our dispute, the Goaler asked the Comte; who was to provide for me his answer was Captn. Jones, which he has not yet done, unless it be ill treatment. I have wrote another letter to the Intendant, he is now out of town, but the Commissary has this day told the Goaler, that I may write to your Honours, which I instantly embrace, it being the fifth day of my confinement.
May it please your Honours such actions are cruel, and oppressive, very unbecoming an American Officer, very unbecoming those people, who are Struggling in one of the most glorious { 155 } causes that mankind ever undertook. I offered Captn. Jones if he wou'd consent to my taking any room on shore, I wou'd confine myself as close, as he pleased, or desired him to confine me to my apartment in the Ranger, which is the proper place for my confinement, If people will be so rigorous. No, that favor, even if it was one, was denied. No Officer was ever treated in such a manner in the British navy, and I am sensible there is no Officer (God forbid there shou'd,) but Captn. Jones in the American Navy, wou'd treat his Lieutenant in such a manner, for nothing but an imaginary fault. I appeal to all the Officers of the Ranger and by their account of my behaviour, am willing to Stand or fall.
Gentlemen pray let my situation plead for me with you, for your friendly interposition, let me be order'd to America. I'll go any way that you please, and deliver myself at the first place I arrive, where there are Gentlemen to try me, let Captn. Jones send his charge written. I can have none but written evidence and defence. I am innocent, I fear no trial, if that cannot be, may I beg to be removed to Bourdeaux, on board the Boston, here are passages often enough, or Mr. Williams your Agent can send me from Nantes to America. I shou'd not be thus troublesome; but my unhappiness is great, confined in a foreign prison, no shadow of a Trial, or release, I can be of no service to my country, but on the contrary, my treatment when known, which soon must be, will be a discouragement, and deter every one from entering to serve in the Navy. I beg your honours pardon, and hope you'll excuse this long incorrect State of the matter, have inclosed a Copy of the letter I before wrote you, with a Copy of Cn. Jones Instructions, a copy of his order for my Arrest, and declaration of Mr. Hills, with the people, that were on board the Drake; by which your Honours may be accquainted with matters of fact.2 I shou'd be glad to have those people sworn, but my situation will not admit of it.
I cannot conclude without, again, in the most earnest manner, Supplicating your assistance, knowing no other persons in this country to whom I can Apply for redress, my case is still more distressing as I cannot speak the French language, and no American admitted to come to see me in the Prison. I humbly beg a line or two in answer by return of the Post. And am Your honours most Obedient and very humble Servant.
[signed] Thom Simpson
{ 156 }
I neglected to observe to your Honours, that Captn. Jones never made a Signal to speak withe me at the time of our parting, which if he found, there was a misunderstanding of his verbal order he ought to have done.
If your Honours will Oblige me with answer—I beg it as a favour You'll direct the Letter agreeable to the Underwritten.
A Monsieur Monsieur Chevalier Consierge De La prison Royal De Pontaniou a Brest
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “Lt. Simpsons Letters. May 25 1778.”
1. Although a letter in answer to Simpson's of 8 May had been drafted on the 16th, it was not sent. The Commissioners did not reply until 3 June (calendared below).
2. For Jones' instructions, see Simpson's letter to the Commissioners of 8 May, note 1 (above). Two copies of Jones' arrest order of 7 May are in the Franklin Papers (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 4:259). One is almost certainly the copy enclosed in this letter, and it is likely that the other was included with Simpson's letter of 8 May, despite the absence of any mention there of such an enclosure. The declaration by “Mr. Hills,” Midshipman Benjamin Hill, and the other members of the Ranger's crew who had been aboard the Drake with Simpson was dated 16 May (PPAmP: Franklin Papers). It contained, with some additional details, the same information as was in Simpson's letter of the 8th.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0116

Author: Vernon, William Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-26

From William Vernon Sr.

[salute] Dear sir

The Two foregoing Letters are Copys,1 thinking it necessary to transmit at least Three Copys these precarious Times, which I shall think no trouble in transcribing, if a single line thereof gives you the least satisfaction. The building the 74 Gun Ships are order'd to be stoped for the present, I suppose it to be in consequence I [of?] what You requested me to write Mr. Ellery upon the subject.2 Nothing New in the Naval department since my last.
The Enemy from Newport made an excursion upon the Main Yesterday morning, they Landed about 700 Men at Warren at Day light, under the command of Col. Cambell they burn't a number of boats that was collected there the last Winter, sat Fire to the Baptist Meeting House which with three or four other buildings were consumed, the Militia collecting to the number of 120 they retreated towards Bristol made a stand, two or three Mile from that Town, while a number Rob'd and plundered the { 157 } Inhabitants destroy'd furniture &c. &c, sat Fire to the Episcopal Church and 22 of the best dwelling houses in the Town, retreated hastily down to the Ferry landing, opposite to Rhode Island, where a Frigate an Arm'd Brigantine and several Cutter was ready to receive them on board under cover of their Guns which constantly Fir'd upon our People who pursued and harassed them in their retreat and embarkation, altho' not a fourth part of their number. Col. Barton (who took Prescot) was Wounded with one private we made three Prisoners, and its very probabil Kill'd some and Wounded many, as much blood appeared upon the Hill where they made a stand and several were seen to fall. Thus ended this burning thieveing Expedition in six hours from their Landing after retreating 8 Mile and stealing Twenty respectabe Inhabitants out of their beds, whom they took away, we suppose to Starve and Murder on board their Prison ships, as they have done with some Thousands before.3 I forgot to tell you Ten days past they sent a party into the Eastward sound and Rob'd the Elizabeth Islands of 1500 sheep and 100 Cattle, burn't some buildings &c. they did not Land at the Vineyard, return'd to Newport with their booty.
We are impatient to hear of your safe Arrival. I am most respectfully, Dr. sir your obedt. Hble servt
[signed] Wm Vernon
RC (Adams Papers) The address portion of this letter has been lost and a portion of the surviving MS cut off, leaving only a fragmentary docket entry: “M[r. Vernon's Letter 26 May 1778] ans. [27 July 1778].” The RC begins in the middle of page 3 and continues to the middle of page 4, being preceded by a Tripl of a letter dated 9 March and a Dupl of a letter dated 20 May (both above).
1. See descriptive note.
2. What JA directed Vernon to tell William Ellery is unknown, but it apparently had an immediate effect. On 20 Nov. 1776 the congress had authorized the construction of three 74–gun ships of the line but only one was ever begun, the America, at Portsmouth, N.H. It was that ship whose construction was stopped, a decision made by the Marine Committee in response to letters from Vernon and William Whipple received in early March 1778. In commenting on the two letters, Ellery stated that the action was taken because “these huge ships are too costly and unwieldy.” Congress ratified the decision on 29 May, ordering at the same time that the ship be altered to carry 56 gun's. Three years later, following a decision by the congress on 23 June 1781, construction was resumed and the America was completed as a 74–gun ship of the line. It never, however, saw service in the Continental Navy, being instead presented to France on 3 Sept. 1782 as a replacement for the Magnifique, which had gone aground in Boston Harbor (JCC, 6:970; 11:555; 20:692; 23:543; Dict. Amer. Fighting Ships, 4:567–568; William Ellery to William Vernon, 16 March, “Vernon Naval Papers,” p. 221–224).
3. For a British account of this raid, see Rivington's Royal Gazette, 10 June 1778. See also W. H. Munro, History of Bristol, R.I., The Story of the Mount Hope Lands, Providence, 1880, p. 209–218.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0117

Author: Tucker, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-27

From Samuel Tucker

[salute] Sir

I am ready for Sea and waiting for a wind after a teadious fatigueing Jobb. I heartily Congratulate you with the News of Capt. Jones takeing the Drake and make no doubt but any of us Could Compleat Such an Undertaking Was our People Unanimous but Sir their has bein a Consparicy Carred on board the Boston this three weeks Past betwen the English att Bourdeaux and my men to take the Ship to England but I Luckly Discoverd the Plot. I have Sent Mr. Livingston to town with the Evedence against them to Secure the Villians one by the Name of Wire another by the name of Watts and Mr. Munrow Who Deserted the Ship. This I done by advice of the majestrates and military offercers of this Place on Catching the Raskel with his Last Message to my People to know their minds. Those Deserters who had Run before had agreed by Perswations of the English Villians att Town to Come on board and ask my Pardon for transgresing with Pison Conceald about them and opeum. The Rascles where to Broach a Cask of water for forty Who were to be Concernd Pison the offercers by their Victles and to assasanate me by the way of a Sentenal Who was to be well Rewarded for his Vallour but thanks to god I am Seldom or Ever off my gaurd in war time Even in a family where well acquainted.
Prehaps Sir when the matter is finishd Mr. Bondefield1 will give you a Just account as my time will not Premit me to Stay my tarry has bein Long in Bourdeaux and I was almost ashamd to Write but I Cannot Boast of being well mand but my Ship is Extraordinary well fited att great Expence but hope nevertheless to pay my Country for all the Expence I Shall be att. Sir I have Received your trunk of Mr. Bondfield and hope to Deliver it with Pleasure and your Leter to Mr. Smith2 in Boston Where I hope to See your Honnour and Mast. Jack in the Course of two years but Soonner Sir you Cannot be Expected.
My Complements Sir to Mast. Jack and Mast. Jesse3 that I am Very well. Hopeing these may be Presented your Honnour and them in Like Situation. My Number of men on board is 182 men and Boys amongst which is 40 Seamen. Some of the before mentioned that I Shall take Very good Care off. Sir Your most Obedt. Humble Servt
[signed] Saml Tucker
Sir I have Just heard the Confirmation of Capt. Bidle being Sunk by the Seaford of 64 guns by Runing alongside her in the { 159 } Night fired a broad Side into the Seaford taking her to be an Endiaman in the transport Service. The Seaford Returnd below and aloft blew up the Raindolph and all perrishd but two men one of which was Seen in Martinaco by a Gentleman in this Port Who Declares he had the account from that Seaman formaly of the Raindolph.4
I am Sir heartily Sorry for So fine a man—and Valliant Crew and my Contrys Loss.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Captn. Tucker. May 27. 1778”; in another hand: “Capt Tucker Blay May 27. 78.”
1. See Bondfield to the Commissioners, 6 June (below). Tucker wrote to the Commissioners on 28 May (Adams Papers), giving them essentially the same information contained in this letter, adding only that he had lost several crew members who had died of “Pluricy fever.” For additional information on the conspiracy, see Philip Chadwick Foster Smith, Captain Samuel Tucker, Salem, 1976, p. 48–49; “Journal of William Jennison,” in Charles R. Smith, Marines in the Revolution, Washington, 1975, p. 349. Although the unrest among members of Tucker's crew subsided so as to permit him to embark on his planned cruise, it resurfaced when the Boston put into Port Louis on 2 July (see James Moylan to the Commissioners, 8 July, note 2 and references there, below).
2. This letter, presumably to Isaac Smith Sr., has not been found. For the trunk put on board the Boston, see John Bondfield to JA, 28 April, note 1 (above).
3. That is, JQA and Jesse Deane.
4. Tucker's description of the destruction of the Randolph differs from other accounts but may have some substance. The Randolph, apparently after some initial confusion over the identity of its opponent, fought the 64–gun Yarmouth, which reported picking up four survivors of the explosion (Allen, Naval Hist. of the Amer. Revolution, 1:296–298; see also the accounts in William Vernon Sr. to JA, 20 May, above; William Bingham to the Commissioners, 29 May, below). That Tucker's account came from two survivors on Martinique is questionable in view of William Bingham's letter of 29 May from that island, which makes no mention of the two men. However, since the Yarmouth would not have taken the rescued men to Martinique, there could have been two additional survivors unknown to it and, perhaps, even to Bingham. Moreover, although it was more usual for Indiamen, because of their size and rows of painted gunports, to be mistaken for ships of the line, to reverse the mistake does not seem improbable.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0118

Author: Jones, John Paul
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-27

John Paul Jones to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

I have now to fulfil the promise made in my last1 by giving you an Account of my late Expedition. I sailed from Brest the 10th of April. My Plan was extensive: I therefore did not at the beginning wish to incumber myself with Prisoners. On the 14th I took a Brigantine between Scilly and Cape Clear bound from Ostend with a Cargo of Flax-seed for Ireland; sunk her and proceeded into St. Georges Channell. On the 16th I took the Ship Lord Chatham bound from London for Dublin, with a Cargo consist• { 160 } ing of Porter and a variety of Merchandize; and almost within sight of her Port: this Ship I manned and Ordered for Brest.
Towards the Evening of the day following the Weather had a promising appearance and the Wind being favorable I stood over from the Isle of Man with an intention to make a descent at Whitehaven: at Ten I was off the Harbour with a party of Volunteers, and had every thing in readiness to land, but before Eleven the Wind greatly increased, and shifted so as to blow directly upon the shore; the Sea encreased of course and it became impossible to effect a landing: this Obliged me to carry all possible sail so as to clear the Land and to await a more favorable Opportunity.
On the 18th in Glenluce Bay on the South Coast of Scotland I met with a Revenue Wherry; it being the common practice of these Vessels to board Merchant Ships, the Ranger then having no external appearance of War, it was expected that this rover would have come alongside: I was however mistaken, for tho the Men were at their Quarters yet this Vessel outsailed the Ranger and got clear in spite of a severe Cannonade.
The next Morning off the Mull of Galloway I found myself so near a Scotch coasting Schooner loaded with Barley that I could not avoid sinking her. Understanding that there was Ten or Twelve sail of Merchant Ships, besides a Tender Brigantine with a number of Impressed Men on board, at Anchor in Loughryan in Scotland I thought this an Enterprize worth my attention but the Wind, which at the first would have served equally well to sail in or out of the Lough, shifted in a hard Squall so as to blow almost directly in with an appearance of bad Weather; I was therefore obliged to abandon my Project.
Seeing a Cutter off the Lee Bow steering for the Clyde I gave chace in hopes of cutting her off; but finding my endeavours ineffectual I pursued no further than the Rock of Elza. In the Morning I fell in with a Sloop from Dublin which I sunk to prevent Intelligence.
The next day the 21st being near Carrickfergus a Fishing boat came off which I detained: I saw a Ship at Anchor in the Road which I was informed by the Fishermen was the British Ship of War Drake of 20 Guns. I determined to Attack her in the Night: my Plan was to overlay her Cable and to fall upon her Bow so as to have all her decks open and exposed to our Musquetry &ca. at the same time it was my intention to have secured the Enemy by { 161 } Graplings so that had they cut their Cables they would not thereby have attained an Advantage. The Wind was high, and unfortunately the Anchor was not let go so soon as the Order was given; so that the Ranger was brought up on the Enemies quarter at the distance of half a Cables length. We had made no Warlike appearance, of course had given no Alarm; this determined me to cut immediately, which might appear as if the Cable had parted; and at the same time enable me, after making a Tack out of the Lough, to return with the same Prospect of advantage which I had at the first: I was however prevented from returning; as I with difficulty weathered the Light house on the Lee side of the Lough, and as the Gale increased. The Weather now became so very Stormy and severe and the Sea ran so high that I was obliged to take Shelter under the South Shore of Scotland.
The 22d introduced fair Weather; tho the Three Kingdoms as far as the Eye could reach were covered with Snow. I now resolved once more to attempt Whitehaven: but the Wind became very light so that the Ship could not, in proper time, approach so near as I had intended. At Midnight I left the Ship with two Boats and 31 Volunteers: When we reached the outer Peir the day began to dawn; I would not however abandon my Enterprize, but dispatched One boat under the direction of Mr. Hill and Lieutenant Wallingsford with the necessary combustables to set fire to the Shipping on the North side of the Harbour; while I went with the other party to attempt the South side. I was successful in scaling the Walls and Spiking up all the Cannon on the first Fort; finding the Sentinals shut up in the Guard house they were secured without being hurted; having fixed Sentinals, I now took with me one Man only (Mr. Green) and spiked up all the Cannon on the Southern Fort, distant from the other a Quarter of a Mile.
On my return from this Business I naturally expected to see the Fire of the Ships on the North side as well as to find my own party with every thing in readiness to set Fire to the Shipping on the South. Instead of this I found the Boat under the direction of Mr. Hill and Lt. Wallingsford returned, and the party in some confusion, their Light having burnt out at the instant when it became necessary. By the strangest Fatallity my own Party were in the same situation, the Candles being all burnt out: The day too came on apace yet I would by no means retreat while any hopes of Success remained. Having again placed Sentinals a light was { 162 } obtained at a House disjoined from the Town; and Fire was kindled in the Steerage of a large Ship which was surrounded by at least an Hundred and Fifty others, chiefly from Two to Four hundred Tons burthen, and laying side by side aground, unsurrounded by the Water.
There was besides from Seventy to an Hundred large Ships in the North Arm of the Harbour aground clear of the Water and divided from the rest only by a stone peir of a Ships height. I should have kindled Fires in other places if the time had permitted. As it did not, our care was to prevent the one kindled from being easily extinguished: after some search a Barrell of Tar was found and powered into the Flames, which now asscended from all the Hatch ways. The Inhabitants began to appear in Thousands and Individuals ran hastily towards us. I stood between them and the Ship on Fire with a pistol in my hand and ordered them to retire which they did with precipitation. The Flames had already caught the Rigging and began to ascend the Main Mast. The Sun was a full Hours march above the Horizon; and as Sleep no longer ruled the World, it was time to retire: we embarked without Opposition; having released a number of Prisoners as our Boats could not carry them. After all my People had embarked I stood upon the Peir for a considerable space yet no person advanced. I saw all the Emeninces round the Town covered with the amazed Inhabitants.
When we had rowed to a considerable distance from the shore the English began to run in vast numbers to their Forts. Their disappointment may easily be imagined when they found I suppose at least Thirty heavy Cannon (the Instruments of their Vengeance) rendered useless. At length however they began to Fire. Having as I apprehend either brought down Ships Guns or used One or two Cannon which lay on the Beach at the foot of the Walls dismounted and which had not been spiked. They Fired with no direction and the Shot falling short of the Boats, instead of doing us any dammage afforded some diversion; which my People could not help shewing by discharging their Pistols &ca: in return of the Salute.
Had it been possible to have landed a few hours sooner my Success would have been complete: not a single Ship out of more than Two hundred could possibly have escaped; and all the World would not have been able to save the Town. What was done however is sufficient to shew, that not all their boasted { 163 } Navy can protect their own Coasts—and that the Scenes of distress which they have occasioned in America may soon be brought home to their own doors. One of my People was missing and must, I fear, have fallen into the Enemies hands after our departure. I was pleased that in this Business we neither Killed nor Wounded. I brought off Three Prisoners as a sample.
We now stood over for the Scotch shore and I Landed at noon on St. Marys Isle with one Boat only and a very small party. The Motives which induced me to land there are explained in the within Copy of a Letter which I have written to the Countess of Selkirk.2
On the Morning of the 24th I was again off Carrickfergus; and would have gone in had I not seen the Drake preparing to come out. It was very moderate and the Drakes boat was sent out to reconnoitre the Ranger—as the Boat advanced I kep't the Ships stern directly towards her and tho' they had a Spy Glass in the Boat, they came on within Hail, and alongside. When the Officer came on the Quarter deck he was greatly surprised to find himself a Prisoner! altho' an Express had arrived from Whitehaven theNight before. I now understood, what I had before imagined, that the Drake came out in consequence of this Information, with Volunteers against the Ranger. The Officer told me also that they had taken up the Rangers Anchor. The Drake was attended by Five small Vessels full of People; who were led by motives of curiosity to see an Engagement. But when they discovered the Drakes boat at the Ranger's stern they wisely put back. Alarm smokes now appeared in great abundance extending along both sides of the Channel. The Tide was unfavorable so that the Drake worked out but slowly; this obliged me to run down several times and to lay with Courses up and Main Top-Sail to the Mast. At length the Drake weathered the Point; and having led her out to about mid-channell, I Suffered her to come within hail: the Drake hoisted English Colours and at the same instant the American Stars were displayed on board the Ranger. I expected that Preface had been now at an end; but the Enemy soon after hailed, demanding what Ship it was? I directed the Master to answer the American Continental Ship Ranger—that we waited for them and desired they would come on. The Sun was now little more than an Hour from setting, it was therefore time to begin. The Drake being astern of the Ranger I ordered the Helm up and gave her the first broadside, the Action was warm, { 164 } close, and obstinate; it lasted an Hour and five minutes when the Enemy called for Quarters—her Fore and Main Topsail yards being both cut away and down on the Cap. The Fore top Gallant yard and Mizen Gaff both hanging up and down along the Mast. The 2d Ensign which they had hoisted shot away and hanging over the Quarter Gallery in the Water. The Jib shot away and hanging into the Water—her Sails and Rigging entirely cut to peices. Her Masts and Yards all wounded and her Hull also very much Galled.
I lost only Lieutenant Wallingsford and one Seaman (John Dougal) killed, and Six Wounded; among whom are the Gunner (Mr. Falls) and Mr. Powers3 a Midshipman, who lost his Arm. One of the wounded (Nathaniel Wills) is since dead—the rest will recover.
The loss of the Enemy in killed and Wounded was far greater. All the Prisoners allow that they came out with a number not less than an Hundred and Sixty Men; and many of them Affirm that they amounted to an Hundred and Ninety. The Medium may perhaps be the most exact Account, and by that it will appear that they lost in Killed and Wounded 42 Men.
The Captain and Lieutenant were among the Wounded—the former, having received a Musquet Ball in the Head the Minute before they called for Quarters, lived and was sensible for some time after my People boarded the Prize. The Lieutenant survived two days. They were Buryed with the Honors due to their Rank and with the Respect due to their Memory.
The Night and almost the whole day after the Action being moderate greatly faciliated the refitting of both Ships. A large Brigantine ran so near the Drake in the Afternoon that I was Obliged to bring her too, she belonged to Whitehaven and was bound for Norway. I had thoughts of returning by the South Channel but the Wind shifting I determined to pass by the North and round the West Coast of Ireland. This brought me once more off Belfast Lough on the Evening of the day after the Engagement.
It was now time to release the honest Fishermen whom I took up here on the 21st. And as the poor fellows had lost their Boat, she having sunk in the late stormy Weather, I was happy in having it in my Power to give them the necessary Sum to purchase every thing new which they had lost. I gave them also a good Boat to transport themselves ashore and sent with them { 165 } Two infirm Men on whom I bestowed the last Guinea in my Possession to defray their travelling Expences to their proper home at Dublin. They took with them One of the Drakes Sails which would sufficiently explain what had happened to the Volunteers. The grateful Fishermen were in Raptures and expressed their Joy in three Huzzas as they passed the Rangers Quarter.
I again met with contrary Winds in the Mouth of the North Channel but nothing remarkable happened till on the Morning of the 5th Current. Ushant then bearing SEBE distance 15 Leagues, when seeing a Sail to leeward steering for the Channel, the Wind being favorable for Brest and the distance triffling I resolved to give chace. Having the Drake in Tow, I informed them of my intention and Ordered them to cast off. They cut the Hawser. The Ranger in the Chace went lasking4 between the NNE and NNW.—it lasted an Hour and Ten minutes, when the chace was hailed and proved a Swede. I immediately hauled by the Wind to the Southward. After cutting the Hawser the Drake went from the Wind for some time, then hawled close by the Wind steering from SSE to SSW as the Wind permitted; so that when the Ranger spoke the Chace the Drake was scarce perceptable. In the course of the day many large Ships appeared steering into the Channel, but the extraordinary Evolutions of the Drake made it impossible for me to avail myself of these favorable circumstances. Towards Noon it became very Squally and the Wind backed from the SW to the West. The Ranger had come up with the Drake and was nearly abrest of her, tho' considerably, to leeward when the Wind shifted. The Drake was however kept by the Wind; tho' as I afterward understood, they knew the Ranger and saw the Signal which she had hoisted. After various Evolutions and Signals in the Night, I gave chase to a sail which appeared bearing SSW the next Morning at a great distance. The chase discovered no intention to speak with the Ranger; she was however at length brought too and proved to be the Drake. I immediately put Lieutenant Simpson under Suspension and Arrest for disobedience of my Orders dated the 26th Ultimo Copy whereof is here inclosed.5 On the 8th both Ships Anchored safe in this Road, the Ranger having been Absent only 28 days.6 Could I suppose that my letters of 9th and 16th Current (the first advising you of my Arrival and giving reference to the Events of my Expidition—the last advising you of my Draft in favor of Monsr. Bersole for Twenty four thousand Livers and as• { 166 } signing reasons for that demand) had not made due appearance I would hereafter as I do now inclose Copies. Three posts have already arrived here from Paris since Comte D'Orvilliers shewed me the Answer which he received from the Minister to the letter which inclosed mine to you—yet you remain Silent. Monsr. Bersole has this moment informed me of the Fate of my Bill the more extraordinary as I have not yet made use of your Letter of 10th Jany. last whereby I then seemd entitled to call for half the Amount of my late draft, and I did not expect to be thought extravagant when on the 16th I doubled that demand. Could this indignity be kept secret I should disregard it. But tho' it is already public in Brest and in the Fleet as it affects only my private Credit I will not complain. I cannot however be silent when I find the Public Credit under the same disgrace. I conceive that this might have been prevented. To make me completely wretched Mr. Bersole has told me that he now stops his hand not only of the necessary Articles to refit the Ship but also of the daily Provision. I know not where to find tomorrows dinner for the great number of Mouths which depend on me for Food. Are then the Continental Ships of War to depend on the Sale of their Prizes for a daily Dinner for their Men? “Publish it not in Gath.”7 My Officers as well as Men want Cloathes to cover their Nakedness and the Prizes are precluded from being sold before further Orders arrive from the Minister. I will ask you Gentlemen if I have deserved all this? Whoever calls himself an American Agent ought to be present here.
I am unwilling to think that you have intentionally involved me in this sad delema at a time when I ought to expect some enjoyment, therefore I have as formerly the honor to be with due Esteem and Respect Gentlemen Your very Obliged very Obedient very humble Servant
[signed] Jno. P. Jones
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “C. Jones May 27. 1778.”
1. That of 16 May (above). For a lengthy account of Jones' voyage and its effect on British morale, together with identifications of the ships and men mentioned by Jones, see Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 129–163.
2. A copy of Jones' letter of 8 May to Lady Selkirk, perhaps that enclosed in this letter, is in the Adams Papers and is docketed by JA: “J. P. Jones to Lady Selkirk. 8. May 1778”; in another hand: “Copy of a Letter from Capt Jones to Lady Selkrig May 8. 78.” For a printed copy of the letter to Lady Selkirk together with the Earl of Selkirk's reply to Jones that was never received, see Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 148–150, 151–154.
3. See Pierce Powers to the Commissioners, 22 June (below).
4. That is, sailing neither by nor with the wind (OED).
5. Enclosure not found, but for Jones' { 167 } instructions to Simpson of 26 April, see Lt. Simpson's letter to the Commissioners of 8 May, note 1 (above). For another account of the events leading to Simpson's arrest, see Elijah Hall and others to the Commissioners, 30 May (below).
6. The present letter was drafted in two parts (PCC, No. 168, I, f. 79–90, 91–92). The first ends at this point, while the second repeats the initial sequence of the recipient's copy, preceded by the word “(Introduction)”; then comes the remainder of the letter designated as the “(Conclusion).”
7. See 2 Samuel, 1:20 or Micah, 1:10.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0119

Author: Continental Congress, Commerce Committee
Author: Ellery, William
Author: Hutson, Richard
Author: Adams, Thomas
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-28

The Commerce Committee to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentn

You will receive this by Thomas Read Esqr who was Captain of the Frigate Washington but is now Commander of the Armed Brigantine Baltimore. This Brigantine was intended for A dispatch Vessel, but now hath A Cargo on board of Forty Nine hhds. of Tobacco which was all she coud take in and accomodate her men. We have addressed her to John Danl. Schweighauser Merchant in Nantes, and have directed him to dispose of the net proceeds of her Cargo, and also a balance which he hath in his hands belonging to these States according to your Order. We have order'd Captain Read to wait for and pursue your directions, and have desired Mr. Schweighauser to Ship such Goods on board the Baltimore, belonging to these States, as Captain Read can receive consistantly with your directions.
We have the pleasure to inform you that the Frigate Dean Captain Nicholson, the Queen of France Captain Green and the Henrietta Captain Brown are safely arrived at Boston and our Agent there in A Letter of the 13th May advises us that “they had another valuable Arrival from France Yesterday” which we hope is the Duke de Choiseuil.1 We are with the greatest Respect, Your most obed hble servants
[signed] William Ellery
[signed] Richd. Hutson
[signed] Thos. Adams
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers) addressed: “The Honorable The Ambassadors of the United States of America at Paris”; designated, perhaps to identify it as a 2d copy: “B.”; docketed: “Comtee. of Commerce May 28. 1778 ansd. July 29”; and later, also by JA, immediately below the docket entry: “came by the Saratoga Captn. Read.” The last entry is clearly erroneous, perhaps the result of the passage of time. JA apparently mistook this letter for one of those that had been brought by the brigantine Saratoga, Capt. Murray, that reached Nantes on 3 July (William MacCreery to JA, 4 July, below). The Baltimore arrived at Nantes on or about 22 July; see the Commissioners' letter to J. D. Schweighauser of 27 July (LbC, Adams Papers).
{ 168 }
1. The frigate Deane arrived at Boston on 13 May after first stopping at Portsmouth, N.H. (Independent Chronicle, 14 May). The Queen of France probably arrived in Boston during the first week of May (Marine Committee to John Green, 19 June, in Charles Oscar Paullin, ed., Outletters of the Continental Marine Committee and Board of Admiralty, 2 vols., N.Y., 1914, 1:262). The “Henrietta Captain Brown” may have been the Henrietta Brown that sailed from St. Nazaire on or about 3 March (Deane Papers, 2:390). The “valuable Arrival” has not been identified.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0120

Author: Bingham, William
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-29

William Bingham to the Commissioners

[salute] Honble Gentn

I have done myself the Honor of writing Several Letters to Congress upon the Subject of Remittances, for Debts I have contracted in this place on public Account; in Some of which I requested Liberty to draw upon you Gentlemen for the Amount, as being the most Sure and eligible Plan of procuring Payment.1 I have not as yet received any Answers to my Letters, but expect them with great Impatience.
Should they not arrive, and Remittances fail me, I Shall be under the Necessity of drawing upon you for the Sum of Livs. 100,000 Tournois, to preserve my Credit, and enable me to pay due honor to the Engagements I have entered into, on the Public Account.
Nothing but the most pressing Demand for this Sum, and the fullest Assurance of my Drafts being punctually honoured, could induce me to take this Liberty, without having first obtained yours and Congress's Permission. But I am fully confident that it cannot be the Intention of Congress that their Agents Should be reduced to Difficulties, or their Credit Suffer, by a failure in their Payments.
The Congress is indebted to me a much larger Sum, and Should I receive Remittances from America in Produce, I Should find the greatest Difficulty in disposing of it, for mercantile operations are almost Suspended here, from the Appearance of an approaching War.
Besides, Several French Vessels have lately been taken, and carried into English Ports, for no other Reason than their having American Produce on board, which has made the Owners of Vessels very cautious of receiving it on Freight untill War is openly declared.
It gives me Pain to impart to you the disagreeable News of the Loss of the Randolph and Alfred Frigates. The Circumstances { 169 } that attended the Capture of the Alfred, greatly aggravate the Misfortune. She fell a Sacrifice to the Cowardice of Capt. Thompson Commander of the Raleigh, who declined giving her any assistance, during her Engagement with the Ceres and Ariadne Sloops of War, the one of 18 and the other of 22 Guns. I have transmitted to Congress a full and circumstantial Account of this unfortunate Event, and I hope the base and infamous Conduct of Capt. Thompson will meet with a proper and condign Punishment.
The Stroke of Misfortune that befel the Randolph proceeded from a very different Cause, from an intemperate and indiscreet Courage. Capt. Biddle had the Confidence to attack the Yarmouth a 64 Gun Ship and was Sunk in the Engagement. Out of 305 Persons of which the Crew consisted, but four were Saved.
A Captain of a Vessel that was taken and carried into Domenica informs me that the Day before he Sailed from Boston Mr. Deane arrived there from France.2 There is no late News of any Consequence from the Armies. I have the honor to be with great Respect Gentn. Your obedt. hble servt
[signed] Wm Bingham
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers) docketed: “Wm. Bingham St Pierre May 29 78.”
1. See Committee for Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners, 16 April (above).
2. That is, Simeon Deane.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0121

Author: Trumbull, Jonathan
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-29

Jonathan Trumbull to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

This will be handed to you by Capt. Robert Niles (Commander of the Schooner Spy own'd by this State) and has in Charge Dispatches from the Honorable Continental Congress which I was desir'd to forward Imediately to you, hope he may have a Good Passage, and Arive Safe.1 The Article of Lead is much wanted in this State and would desire that you would putt as much on Board, the Spy as Capt. Niles shall Judge Suffecient to take on Board, to putt her in Trim for Sailing and Supply him with Cash Suffecient for his Disbursments during his Stay in France, and One hundred and Twenty Four pounds Lawfull Money, which I have Agreed to advance for Capt. Niles and his Mate, also as much more as will pay Each of his Seamen One Months pay, the Amount must Refer you to Capt. Niles.2 I am, with great Esteem and Consideration Gentlemen Your most Obedient most hble Servant
[signed] Jonth; Trumbull
{ 170 }
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers) addressed: “The Honorable Commissioners of the United States of America at Paris. Per Packet Capt Robt Niles. Commander.”; franked: “On Public Service Jonth; Trumbull”; docketed in an unknown hand: “Jon. Trumbull to Commrs. 29 May 1778. by Capt Niles (who came in 22. Days).”
1. The Marine Committee, in a letter of 5 May, had requested Trumbull to prepare the Spy “to carry dispatches to France.” These were the ratified copies of the Franco-American treaties received by Trumbull in a letter from the Committee for Foreign Affairs dated 19 May (Charles Oscar Paullin, ed., Outletters of the Continental Marine Committee and Board of Admiralty, 2 vols., N.Y., 1914, 1:235; MHS, Colls., 7th ser., 2 [1902]:234; see also Foreign Affairs Committee to [Jesse] Brown, in Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 3:258–259, and note 3). On the morning of 3 July the Spy reached Brest, and the first set of the ratifications to arrive in France was immediately sent to Paris, where it was received on the 8 th (Thomas Simpson to the Commissioners, 3 July, below; JA to James Lovell, 9 July, calendared below).
JA, who informed Arthur Lee of the newly arrived ratifications in a letter of [8 July] (MH-H: Lee Papers), apparently added one of the sets that arrived later to his personal files, for the Adams Papers contain ratified copies of the treaties signed and sealed by President Henry Laurens.
2. For the Commissioners' response to Trumbull's requests regarding the Spy, see their letters of J. D. Schweighauser and Trumbull (both below||, that to Schweighauser quoted in note 1 there||). On its return voyage the Spy was captured by a Jersey privateer (Robert Niles to Benjamin Franklin, 27 Oct., Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:522).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0122

Author: Hall, Elijah
Author: Cullown, David
Author: Green, Ezra
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-30

Elijah Hall and Others to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

The Petition and Remonstrance of Us the Subscribers Officers of the american continental Ship of War Ranger humbly sheweth—
That our Friend and Brother Officer Lt. Thos. Simpson; was on the 24th of April last sent on board Our Prize the Sloop of War Drake, to take the Command; with this Order among others, to keep within a Cable's length (or thereabout) on Our starboard Quarter. On the 4th. of May Instant took the Drake in Tow, on the Morning of the 5th. our Commander gave Orders to ware [wear] Ship and give chace to a Vessel which we saw to Leward. The Master haling the Drake inform'd them, that we should ware Ship, and gave Orders to cast off the Harser and make sail; but unfortunately for Mr. Simpson he, with his Officers, and Men, misunderstood the Orders; and as there was no Signal given for waring Ship (which till then had been the constant Practice) concluded they were to keep their Course; which the[y] did accordingly.
This Gentlemen is the suppos'd Offence for which Mr. Simpson was arrested and confined, first on Board the Drake; then in { 171 } a guard Ship, in the port of Brest; and for a Week past in a common dirty Goal; without any provision made for his comfort or Support, except what the humane Goaler has been pleas'd to afford Him; and till this Day debarr'd the Liberty of seeing any One, to whom He might make known his wants; he has even been deny'd Pen and Ink.
Such Treatment Gentlemen we are bound to say (in justice to the Injured, to Ourselves, and country) is what we think not only new, and unheard of; but very unjustifiable Arbitrary and Inhumane; it gives general uneasiness on board, both among Officers and Men; and must if allow'd of persisted in greatly injure the Cause of Liberty; and perhaps totally defeat Us in the important pursuit in which we are engaged.
Mr. Simpson ever maintain'd an unspotted Character behaving in such a manner as to command the Respect and Esteem of all who had the happiness of his Acquaintance and since He has been in the Service; has conducted himself in every respect as became an Officer and a Gentleman.
We join with Mr. Simpson in earnestly requesting that He may be brought to a speedy Trial; if it can't be done here, pray He may be sent to America as soon as may be; and in the mean Time beg your Honors would take His case into Consideration, and give such advice respecting Him as your prudence shall direct. We are with due Respect Gentn. Your most Obedt. & very huml. Servts.
[signed] Elijah Hall Lieutt.
[signed] David Cullown Master
[signed] Ezra Green Surgeon
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers) docketed: “Officers Petn for Lt. Simpson. 30 May 1778.”

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0123

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05

From James Lovell

[salute] My dear Sir

In aid to your scrutiny after the real robber of the Commissioners Dispatches, I send what I think a good Confirmation of Folgiers honesty. By comparing the Governor's2 letter with Folgier's Examination you will find the Governor led into a mistake about the number of Seals broken, by Folgiers forgetting that the outside Cover of the whole had anything more than “Dispatches” wrote on it. He told us differently 2 days after we had { 172 } sent an Express to Nth. Carolina. I am glad he did forget it at first as it strengthens eventually the nature of the Evidence.
You must not wonder that I make so much of this matter. It is of the highest Importance to you to be guarded against Bosom-Traitors yourself and to tear them from your Colleagues. I must add that no one here thinks Folgier's Employment by them a discreet Choice, tho he does not appear to be the Arch Traitor. Affectionately your Friend
[signed] James Lovell
May 25th. 1777 The Commissioners refer to Letters of March 14 and Apr. 9th. which have never reached Us, nor any Letter since May 25th.3
RC (Adams Papers) addressed: “To The Honble John Adams Esqr. Paris”; docketed: “Mr. Lovell”; in another hand: “25 May 1777”; by JA: “This date is a Mistake. It Shd. have been 1778.”
1. This letter was very likely written in May 1778, between the 16th and the 28th. In his letter to Lovell of 26 July (below), JA acknowledged this letter and another of the 16th, while on the 28th the congress voted to pay Folger the balance of his account (JCC, 11:544–545).
2. Neither the express sent to Gov. Caswell nor his reply has been found, but see James Lovell to JA, 13 Jan., note 5 and references there (above).
3. That is, in their letter to the Committee for Foreign Affairs of 25 May 1777, the Commissioners had referred to the two letters mentioned by Lovell. On the RC the two dates have been underlined and in the margin is the notation: “not come to hand March 1778 J. Lovell” (PCC, No. 85).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0124-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-02

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners

[salute] Messieurs

J'ai l'honneur de vous confirmer mes trois dernieres Lettres, savoir celle en forme de Journal, du 7 au 15e May; une autre du 19e; et la derniere du 22 au 26e May.
Mr. l'Ambassadeur de France est de retour en bonne santé.
Le g—— F—— est d'avis que je n'accepte point, entant que réponse à votre Lettre,1 celle que le G—— P—— voudra peut-être me faire de bouche quand je le verrai. Mais il s'attend, ainsi que moi, que vous m'envoyiez au plutôt la Copie du Traité, en conséquence de mes deux dernieres Lettres, afin que je puisse la présenter au G—— P——, ainsi qu'à la Régence d'Amsterdam, et que le G—— P—— ait le temps, avant que les Etats se rassemblent, de faire circuler cette Piece parmi les Membres, comme il a fait de la Lettre. Les Etats se rassembleront le Ier Juillet; ainsi il n'y a point de temps à perdre. Le g—— F—— a lu I'avis aux Hollandois, l'a trouvé bien, et a envoyé un des Exemplaires que je lui ai donnés à la Maison.
{ 173 }
Vous verrez, Messieurs, par la Traduction ci-jointe,2 dont le g—— F—— a fait prendre copie, que la danse va enfin commencer en Allemagne. Laissons-les faire: il n'y a point de mal à cela pour nous. L'ennemi seul y perd le reste de ses ressources.3
Lorsque Mesdes. la Duchesse de Chartres et Princesse de Lamballe arriverent de France à Rotterdam, elles se firent conduire à l'Auberge un peu avant leur suite, en négligé. Il y avoit dans la Salle une Tabagie d'Hollandois, qui les prirent pour des Actrices qu'on attendoit: ils poserent pourtant leurs pipes, parégard pour le Sexe: mais l'un d'eux leur demanda, quels étoient leurs rôles dans la troupe? Nous jouons quelquefois les grands rôles, dit Made, la Duchesse. Ces Princesses ont été entre autres à Gouda, voir faire des Pipes, et en ont emporté une grande boete pleine, de toute grandeur et figure, depuis la mesure de Brobdignac jusqu'à celle de Liliput. A Utrecht le nommé van Mollem avoit mis sa plus belle Robe de Chambre de Chits,4 pour leur montrer sa fameuse fabrique de soies: ce fut pour les Princesses l'homme de Porcelaine.
On vient de me régaler du vers suivant, pour être mis au bas du portrait de Mr. Franklin,

Eripuit calo fulmen, sceptrumque tyrannise.5

Je trouve ce vers admirable, sublime, préférable à tout ce que j'ai vu là-dessus, seul digne enfin de la place pour laquelle il est fait.
Je suis avec toute la vénération & le respect imaginable, Messieurs, Votre tres humble & tres obéissant serviteur
[signed] C. Dumas

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0124-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-02

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

I have the honor to confirm my last three letters, namely that of 7 to 15 May in the form of a journal, another of the 19th, and the last of 22 to 26 May.
The French ambassador returned in good health.
The Grand Facteur is of the opinion that I should not accept, as a reply to your letter,1 what the Grand Pensionary will perhaps tell me verbally when we meet. But he expects, as do I, that you, in response to my last two letters and as soon as possible, will send me a copy of the treaty which I will then present to the Grand Pensionary and the Regency of Amsterdam so that the former may have time, before the States reassemble, to circulate this document, as he did the letter, among its members. The States will reconvene on 1 July, so there is no { 174 } time to lose. The Grand Facteur read the Avis aux Hollandois, found it good, and sent the copy I gave him to his House.
You will see by the enclosed translation,2 copied out by the Grand Facteur, that the dance is finally about to begin in Germany. Let them do it; it will do us no harm, the only result being the loss by the enemy of some of its remaining resources.3
When the Duchess of Chartres and the Princess of Lamballe arrived from France at Rotterdam they, dressed informally and without waiting for their attendants, asked to be taken to the Inn. In the smoking-room some Dutchmen took them for the actresses that were expected in town. They put away their pipes in deference to their sex, but one asked them what roles they played in the troupe. We sometimes play the leading roles, replied the Duchess. The princesses visited, among other places, Gouda, where they watched the making of pipes and brought back a boxful in all shapes and sizes, from Brobdignag to Lilliput. At Utrecht, van Mollem, attired in his sumptuous dressing gown made of chite4 in order to show them his famous silk factory, was, for the princesses, the porcelain man.
I have just been offered the following verse to be placed at the bottom of Mr. Franklin's portrait:

Eripuit calo fulmen, sceptrumque tyrannise.5

I find the line to be both admirable and sublime, preferable to any that I have seen and the only line worthy of its intended location. I am, with all the reverence and respect imaginable, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] C. Dumas
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers) docketed: “Dumas 2. June 1778.”
1. That is, the Commissioners' letter of 28 April to Pieter van Bleiswyck (above).
2. The enclosure, dated 26 May at Berlin, described the preparations and readiness for war of the Prussian and Austrian armies. In the writer's opinion, any chance for peace had vanished. The enclosure (MH-H: Lee Papers) became separated from the present letter, probably as it passed among the Commissioners.
3. The “enemy” is presumably Great Britain, which, should war break out in Germany, would lose her reservoir of foreign troops.
4. That is, cloth imprinted by wood blocks in durable colors and imported from India (Emile Littré, ed., Dictionnaire de la langue française ..., 4 vols. and suppl., Paris, 1881–1884).
5. He snatched the lightning from heaven and the scepter from tyrants. Dumas' source for this famous and widely quoted inscription attributed to Turgot is unknown, nor can the portrait under which it was to appear be determined with any certainty, for it accompanies many representations of Franklin, even a “vase de nuit” given by Louis XVI to Comtesse Diane de Polignac in recognition of her ostentatious adoration of Franklin (Charles Coleman Sellers, Benjamin Franklin in Portraiture, New Haven, 1962, p. 108). For an interesting essay on Turgot and the attribution of this quotation to him, see “Benjamin Franklin and John Slidell at Paris,” in Works of Charles Sumner, 15 vols., Boston, 1870–1883, 8:1–38.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0125

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Bondfield, John
Date: 1778-06-03

To John Bondfield

Passy, 3 June 1778. printed:JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:126. Adams acknowledged Bondfield's letter of 26 May (not found), enclosing an account for expenses of JA's party in Bordeaux and the trip to Paris, and approved one for goods shipped to AA.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0126

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jones, John Paul
Date: 1778-06-03

The Commissioners to John Paul Jones

Passy, 3 June 1778. printed:JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:123–124. The Commissioners, as a result of letters from Lt. Thomas Simpson and appeals by others on his behalf, determined that Jones' treatment of Simpson was too harsh and desired that Simpson be allowed to give his parole and return to America, there to be tried by a court martial. The Commissioners also requested that Andrew Fallon, taken prisoner when Jones captured and then scuttled the brigantine Dolphin on 14 April, be permitted to give his parole.
Fallon, bound to Esher, Holland, “to embrace a religious life,” gave his parole on 11 June (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 4:263,490; Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 135).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0127

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Date: 1778-06-03

The Commissioners to Sartine

Passy, 3 June 1778. printed:JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:125–126. Protesting duties charged on goods purchased for the Boston at Bordeaux, listed in an accompanying account, on the grounds that as a ship of war it was not liable for them, the Commissioners desired Sartine to take corrective action. They also requested that the prizes put in the hands of the commandant at Brest by John Paul Jones be turned over to J. D. Schweighauser because of the heavy charges to be paid on their sale owing to their having been placed improperly in the commandant's charge. Finally, if it was not thought improper,, the Commissioners wished to issue a letter of marque to a vessel outfitted at Dunkirk.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0128

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Simpson, Thomas
Date: 1778-06-03

The Commissioners to Thomas Simpson

Passy, 3 June 1778. printed: JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:124. This letter informed Simpson that the Commissioners had ordered John Paul Jones to grant a parole so that he could go to Nantes in order to take the first opportunity to sail for America.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0129

Author: Hall, Elijah
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-03

Elijah Hall to Benjamin Franklin and John Adams

[salute] Gentlemen

I request your Honours Favour in behalf of the Officers and Men, that you would point out some Method to bring the Prizes to sail, which we took on the late Cruize, as we are much in want of Cloathing and other Necessaries which we cannot do without. Many of Us have Wives and Children now suffering in America, the Time for which most of the People engag'd being now almost expired, and no prospect of going Home to relieve their distressed Families, as there was annex'd to their names the following sentence—and while absent from the eastern States which they declare to Capt. Jones that they know nothing of at signing, and of which they think he means to take an advantage; this and many other Deceptions they Charge Capt. Jones with; of which, I think it my Duty to inform you; He promised them half their Wages in France, which he has not done. Mr. Simpson is put in a common Goal for a supposed Breach of Orders who always supported the best of Characters from His Youth up. I humbly beg You would remove Him to some place suitable to a Gentleman of his Rank till there is an Opportunity to send Him home for Trial, which is his earnest desire, that so he may have justice done Him. All the People are dissatisfied with Capt. Jones, which is the sole Cause of the Disorder on board the Ship, which He charges His Officers with, that they have not kept good Order nor Discipline. I never knew of any disorderly Action till they found they were deceived and unfairly dealt with; they are well disciplined and will Load and Fire Cannon as fast as any Men in Europe. The late action is a proof of it, although Capt. Jones gives them no honour, for it is reported about Brest that Capt. Jones said he was oblig'd to drive His Officers and Men to Quarters; which is scandalous to the last degree. I will venture to say that no Officers or Men were ever more willing for engaging than those of the Ranger, or ever behaved better; not a Man or Boy ever flinch'd from his Quarters to my knowledge during the action. Capt. Jones's mode of Government is so far from that of Ours that no American of Spirit can ever serve with cheerfulness under Him. I beg your Honours would remove Me from under his Command Where I can do honour to myself and service to My Country. If this cannot be done must beg leave of your Honours to resign although I had much rather serve my bleeding { 177 } Country.1 I have done every thing in my Power to keep peace and Harmony amongst the People; since we arriv'd here they are determined not to go out from this Port with Capt. Jones unless they are to go to America. We passed by many merchant Ships the last Cruize and left them unmolested; we went to get Honour and not Gain—we might as well have sent ten sail of Vessels into this Port as we did those that have arrived (had they not been retaken). We have been seven Months from America and not two of them at Sea, the most of Our time spent in Cutting our Masts and yards and altering Sails, to little or no purpose. Mr. Bursole has deny'd us all Supplies we can get no Beef but from the Kings Slaughter House and what we get is very Bad; we have three Hundred People to Feed. I hope Your Honours will take it into Consideration and adopt such measures as you shall see fit. I have the honour to be Gentn. your humble Servant
[signed] Elijah Hall
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers) addressed: “The Honourable The Commissioners for the United States of America At Paris au soins de Mr. grand Banquier Rue mort-marthe”; docketed: “Elijah Halls Letter from on Board the Ranger June 3. 1778.” The “3” was interlined and in another hand. Although addressed to “The Commissioners,” the caption for this letter is derived from Hall's notation at the bottom of the last page of text: “The Honourable Messrs. Franklin & Adams.”
1. There is no evidence that the Commissioners acted on Hall's request. He was, however, soon free from Jones' command, for when the Ranger later sailed for America under the command of Thomas Simpson, Hall served as her first lieutenant. By 1782 Jones and Hall had become reconciled (John Henry Sherburne, Life and Character of the Chevalier John Paul Jones, Washington, 1825, p. 363–364; Augustus C. Buell, Paul Jones, 2 vols., N.Y., 1902, 2:79–80).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0130

Author: Jones, John Paul
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-03

John Paul Jones to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

Your letter of the 25th Ultimo I received by Yesterdays post: I frankly ask your pardon for the undue liberty which I took the 16th Ultimo when I ventured to sign a draft upon you for the purpose of supplying the people under my Command with necessary Cloathing &ca.—and I promise you never to be guilty of the like Offence again.
I hope you do not however mean to impute to me a desire to receive “Presents of the public Money”1 —or even to touch a Dollar of it for any private purpose of my own ? On the contrary I need not now assert that I stepped forth at the beginning from { 178 } Nobler motives? My Accounts before I left America testify that I am more than Fifteen hundred pounds in Advance for the Public Service exclusive of any concern with the Ranger. And as for Wages I never received any.
Had I not previously determined to keep the Prisoners here they would have been sent away in the Drake long before now: My embarrassed Situation will in the Eye of Candor Appologize for my not sending you a more early information of the particulars of my Cruise and of the Prizes which I have made.
On my passage from America I took two Brigantines both from Malaga for England. The one Arrived safe at Nantes and being sold by Messrs. Morris and Williams the Captors part thereof was paid to them. The other Arrived at Bourdeaux and was, I understand, sold by Mr. I. H. Delap who, tho' he had my Orders to remit the Captors part immediately into the hands of Mr. Williams of Nantes, yet he still retains it in his own hands.2 On my late Expedition Three prizes were Sunk. The Ship Lord Chatham was sent here to remain under the care of the Intendant, she now remains in the port locked and Nailed up under a Guard; the Ship of War Drake with her Stores on board and the Brigantine Patience in Ballast are with the Ranger at Anchor in the Road. Monsr. de Sartine can inform you that the Sale of the prizes are precluded until he sends further Orders here.3 Had it been otherwise I cannot see how you could suppose that I had created Agents to dispose of the public property and yet if I had done this perhaps my public wants would Justify me.
The Rules whereby Congress hath been pleased to Command me to regulate my Conduct in the Navy authorize me to Issue my Warrant to the Agent &ca. and I humbly conceive that it is his province to furnish you with an Estimate of the Amount of the Expence. If you wish for an Estimate from me, unacquainted as I am with prices, besides the delay, it may be very far from exact.
When you determined to change the Continental Agent I could wish you had sent that information in a Letter to meet me here on my Arrival, as I had advised you of my intention to return to Brest—all disagreeable Altercation might then have been avoided. My Situation is not now mended by your last. The Gentleman you mention being at Nantes and no person appearing in his behalf at Brest.
{ 179 }
A space of Sixteen Months is now elapsed since Congress thought of me so as to put under my Command Seven times my present Force, leaving me at full Liberty how and where to apply it—and if I am not now Capable of supporting the Internal Government of a single Sloop of War—I wish that some person more deserving had my place and that I were in America to answer for my Misconduct. I have “well considered”4 and yet shall persist in Justifying the Steps which I have taken and to which you allude.
I am happy in having it in my power to furnish you with the inclosed Resolution of Congress respecting the Capture of the Enemies Ships of War5 agreeable to your desire. And if you are in possession of any Resolution of Congress which will Authorize me to send Lieutenant Simpson—to America &ca. I should be Obliged to you for a Copy of it.
I thank you with all my Heart for your Congratulation which I am extremely sorry that I have not better merited. I have the Honor to be Gentlemen Your very Obliged very Obedient very humble Servant
[signed] Jno P Jones
RC (PPAmP:Franklin Papers); docketed: “C. Jones. June 3. 1778 inclosing a Resolve of Congress relative to the Division of Prizes.”
1. In their letter of 25 May (calendared above) the Commissioners stated that “we have no Authority to make presents of the public Money, to Officers or Men, however gallant or deserving, for the purpose of providing their Families with Cloathing, or for any other.”
2. The prize sold by the Delaps was the subject of a letter from Jones to the Commissioners of 10 June in which they were requested to order the Delaps to conform to Jones' original instructions regarding the captor's share of the proceeds from the sale. On 24 June the Commissioners, enclosing a copy of Jones' letter of the 10th, wrote to the Delaps requesting an account of the prize so that the proceeds could be distributed. The letter to the Delaps and its enclosure are printed in JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:142; the recipient's copy of the Jones letter is in PPAmP: Franklin Papers. The Commissioners' letter of the 24th was apparently effective. On 16 July, Jonathan Williams wrote to the Commissioners (PPAmP: Franklin Papers) announcing that he had received a remittance from the Delaps and enclosing a letter (not found) that he had written to the crew of the Ranger on the matter.
3. See Sartine to the Commissioners, 20 June (below).
4. In their letter of 25 May (calendared above), the Commissioners, in reference to Jones' arrest and imprisonment of Thomas Simpson, had stated that “as the Consequences of an Arrest in foreign Countries, are thus extremely troublesome, they should be well considered before they are made.”
5. Enclosure not found, but it was the resolution of 30 Oct. 1776 in which the congress awarded the full value of any enemy warship captured by a Continental vessel to the officers and men of that vessel (JCC, 6:913)

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0131-0001

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-03

Sartine to the Commissioners

J'ai recû, Messieurs, La Lettre que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'écrire Le 16 du Mois passé pour demander qu'il soit accordé une fregate du Roi aux frères Basmarin Raimbeaux et Cie. pour etre emploié a proteger Le Commerce qu'ils font a l'Amerique et en même terns user de Represailles pour Les Pertes que Les Anglois Leur ont fait essuyer en dernier Lieu. Je voudrois qu'il me fut possible de me preter a ce que vous paroisser desirer; Mais sa Majesté a desiré que quant a Present il ne feroit detaché aucun de ses Batimens du service qu'ils remplissent, pour etre accordés a des Particuliers. J'ai l'honneur d'etre &c.
[signed] De Sartine

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0131-0002

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-03

Sartine to the Commissioners: A Translation

I received the letter that you did me the honor to write the 16th of last month, asking that one of His Majesty's frigates be given to Basmarin, Raimbeaux & Cie. to protect their commerce with America and also for use in retaliatory action for the losses the British have caused them of late. I wish that it was possible for me to be agreeable to your request, but His Majesty wishes, for the time being, not to relieve any of his vessels from service to grant them to private persons. I have the honor to be &c
[signed] De Sartine
MS (DLC: Franklin Papers); a copy, probably by Arthur Lee.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0132

Author: Ranger, crew of
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-03

Ranger Crew Members to the Commissioners

To the honourable the Commissioners of the United States of North America, the Petition of the Jovial Tars Now on board the Continental Sloop of war Ranger, most humbley Sheweth,
That your Petitioners regard and love For their Countrey, and dutey to there ancient fore Fathers, have most of them left there wives, and Familey Cruized the wide Atalantick, in the most dangerous places, greatley Damadgeing and distressing, our enemys, and all the Satisfaction and recompence we receive for our Labour, are, Vain and Flattering promisses, likewise arbitrary Proceedings, which Causes a general murmer and uneasiness among all on Board. They therefore think it there Duty to make application to your honours for releive, From there pressent Greiveances.
{ 181 } { 182 }
That the greates number of them entered in the Service particulraly upon Mr. Simpsons our first Leiutenants account knowing him to be a Gentelman of honour, Worthey and capeable of his Officeships, and who is now confined inocentley, as we think in a Lousey Dirtey french Goal.
That they that entered for a Cruize, or a Twelve month Expected to be discharged at the expireation of that time, But Capn. Jones, since there entry and without there Concent, has ordered an uncertain term of time to be wrote Against there names, rendering them subservient to him during his absence from the eastern States, which we think Arbitrary and unconstitutional, and must when heard of in America be a hindrance and a preventment For aney Seamen to enter into the Service, or Depending upon the honours of Commanders, Like ours.
There is a number of Prizes brought into this port, but no Satissaction, or account for them, unless Your honours, will take it into Consideration, in those Material affairs, and to See Justice done by the captors. On our first arrival in France we brought in tow [two] prizes2 one of which fetchd not half the first cost, and the other deliverd to Mr. Delap of Bourdeaux of which can get no Account, or Satisfaction for.
We have been Lying in different ports in France since the first of December last and onley made one Cruize, and that to perfection had we our rights, But we can expect no more when we see our, Faithfull, true and Fatherley Officer our first Leiutenant used so abruptley, and we beleive and what wee have Seen without a Cause, thus have we been Deluded from our Freinds, Famileys by ungratefull and False Promises and deceitfull Advertisements, we have fought and Taken, Ships Sunk and Destroyd them and all the conslation we can send to our distressed and perhaps Famishing wives and Children, is, that there prizes is in the Hands of him, who has Deceived us, from the Begining.
We humbley pray you be pleased to take our Case into consideration and render us some veiw and Satisfaction Of what we have gone thro with and to Send us home and not For us to Let our poor wives, and Famileys Suffer with Dispair,3 and we in dutey bound will ever pray.
[signed] Ebenezer Watson
[signed] William Young
[signed] Saml. Odiorne
[signed] Samuell Lock
[signed] John Garoin
[signed] Daniel Sargent
[signed] Robert Moore
[signed] John Roberts
{ 183 }
[signed] William Allen
[signed] Simon Staple
[signed] John Colbath
[signed] John Bettenham
[signed] Daniel Jacobs
[signed] Robert Poor
[signed] Edmund Boyenton
[signed] Peter Sontgerath
[signed] Oliver Crommett
[signed] William English
[signed] Joseph Rackyeft
[signed] Mark Staples
[signed] William Jones
[signed] John Parsons
[signed] Amos Kenneston
[signed] Eprahm Grant
[signed] Thomas Low
[signed] Obadiah Donell
[signed] Charles Ward
[signed] William Finnel
[signed] Nicholas Caverly
[signed] Daniel Sargant
[signed] Andrew Anderson
[signed] Joseph La Plant
[signed] John Monson
[signed] William Pirkins
[signed] Francies Andros
[signed] Charles Balls
[signed] James Smith
[signed] Gabriel Gautier
[signed] James Rickor
[signed] James Laighton
[signed] William Shores
[signed] Sam'l Ball
[signed] Edward Shapleigh
[signed] John Brown
[signed] Benjamin Racklett
[signed] Reuben Ricker
[signed] Charles Framton
[signed] Thomas Staples
[signed] Darby Dayley
[signed] Caleb Emery
[signed] Daniel Jackson
[signed] John Walker
[signed] Daniel Nelson
[signed] Daniel Sherburne
[signed] Davis Woodde
[signed] Willam Gerrith
[signed] Amos Abbot
[signed] Charles Gaudraw
[signed] Thomas Adams
[signed] Scipio Africanus
[signed] Theophilus Simpson
[signed] Joseph Mathieu
[signed] Willim Stacy
[signed] Joseph Afrin
[signed] James Robarts
[signed] Samuel Holbrook
[signed] John Casey
[signed] Cato Calite
[signed] Joseph Fernald
[signed] Thomas Becke
[signed] Abraham Knight
[signed] Reuben Hanscom
[signed] Solomen Hutchings
[signed] John W. Grohmarney
[signed] William Dahuere
[signed] John Doelan
[signed] Stephon Dickson
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “Petition from the Rangers Men June 1778.”
1. The petition may have been sent with Hall's letter of 3 June (above), for it lacks any separate address, and specific grievances mentioned by the crew members parallel those in Hall's letter.
Sometime later the Commissioners received a second petition (PPAmP: Franklin Papers), dated 15 June and signed by 28 members of the crew, that stated essentially the same grievances, particularly in { 184 } regard to the conditions of enlistment. It too was docketed by JA: “Petition from the Rangers Men.”
2. These were the brigantines Mary and George, bound for England from Malaga (Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 114–115).
3. In fairness to Jones, it should be noted that on 25 May the Commissioners had refused to honor a bill that he had drawn on them for 24,000 livres, the money intended in part for distribution to the Ranger's officers and men for the support of their families (see Jones to the Commissioners, 16 May, and the Commissioners to Jones, 25 May, calendared, both above).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0133

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Bondfield, John
Date: 1778-06-04

The Commissioners to John Bondfield

Passy, 4 June 1778. printed:JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:127. Replying to letters (not found) from Bondfield of 26 and 30 May, the first enclosing accounts for the purchase of supplies for the Boston, and the second reporting on the conspiracy against the Boston and enclosing an affidavit on the episode, the Commissioners approved Bondfield's purchases, noting that the price of beef seemed too high, and expressed their hope that the Boston would soon sail and thus reduce expenses. The Commissioners further reported that the affidavit had been sent to the Ministry, expressed their concern, and declared that every effort should be made to punish those involved.
See also, Samuel Tucker to JA, 27 May (above); and Bondfield to the Commissioners, 6 June (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0134

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: North, Frederick, Lord
DateRange: 1778-06-04 - 1778-06-06

The Commissioners to Lord North

Passy, 4 or 6 June 1778. printed:JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:127–128; not sent. The Commissioners appealed “for an immediate Exchange of Prisoners in Europe.” They protested the treatment of American prisoners “in a manner unexampled, in the practice of civilized Nations” and promised retaliation if such treatment continued.
Although the letter bears no date, in the Autobiography it immediately follows a letter to Vergennes dated 4 June and is introduced by a statement, “on the same day We wrote to Lord North.” However, in the Letterbook from which Adams derived the text (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 92), the letter follows a series of items dated 4 June and immediately precedes a number of letters dated 6 June. Additional doubt is cast on a 4 June date by the placement of an Arthur Lee copy of the letter (misdated 6 May) between a letter dated 5 June and one of the 6th (PCC, No. 102, IV, f. 11).
Adams' Letterbook copy provides no indication that the letter was sent, but notations on a draft in DLC: Franklin Papers and on Arthur Lee's copy indicate specifically that it was not. An explanation may be that direct correspondence with Lord North became unnecessary. A letter of 5 June from David Hartley to Benjamin Franklin gave the Commissioners an apparently firm proposal for an exchange of prison• { 185 } ers (see the Commissioners to John Paul Jones, 10 June, calendared below).
The text of Adams' Letterbook copy incorporated the additions and deletions made during the drafting process. This is particularly true of the final paragraph, which in the draft, with deletions indicated, read: “Most earnestly we beseech your Lordship, no longer to sacrifice the essential interests of Humanity to Claims of Sovereignty, <the vainess of which the Issue of our most solemn Appeal to Heaven has sufficiently proved. It is a fatal Mistake by which you seem to have been mislead to think —that when you trampled upon Humanity you triumphed over us.> which your Experience must by this time have convinc'd you <are become impracticable> are not to be maintained.”

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0135

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Schweighauser, John Daniel
Date: 1778-06-06

The Commissioners to J. D. Schweighauser

Passy, 6 June 1778. printed:JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:129. The Commissioners, in reply to Schweighauser's letter of 1 June (not found), directed him to provide, frugally, whatever repairs and supplies were needed by the Providence, newly arrived at Paimboeuf near Nantes, and promised to obtain information on how French customs regulations would affect his efforts on behalf of the frigate.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0136

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Whipple, Abraham
Date: 1778-06-06

The Commissioners to Abraham Whipple

Passy, 6 June 1778. printed:JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:128–129. The Commissioners congratulated Whipple on his escape from the British blockade of Rhode Island, voyage to France, and arrival with the frigate Providence at Paimboeuf, all of which had been recounted in his letter to Benjamin Franklin of 31 May (PPAmP: Franklin Papers). He was also informed that J. D. Schweighauser at Nantes would assist him in obtaining whatever supplies and repairs were needed.
On the previous day two letters, the one advising Whipple to come to Brest, and the other requesting Samuel Tucker, after a three or four weeks' cruise, to come to Brest for further directions, had been drafted, probably by Arthur Lee, but not sent (PCC, No. 102, IV, f. 10–11).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0137

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-06

John Bondfield to the Commissioners

[salute] Honorable Sirs

I am not favord with any of your Commands since the 18th Ultimo. All the advertizements1 containd therein are at Sea and some of them far advancd on their Passage.
{ 186 }
I had the honor to write you the 12. 16. 26 and 30th2 Ultimo per post which I suppose got duely to hand,3 to the last I shall be confirmd next Post as the honor paid to my drafts will be notified me by the Holders.
Since Cap. Tuckers departure from hence I have been obliged to discharge on the Ships Account Sundry debts not brought in before the closing of them. I transmitted and Cash sent him down of which Anext is the detail.4 I expect some other small Accounts will appear that I dont yet know of. I shall discharge what may appear due to the inclosed Account and draw for the same as occation serves.
The affair of the Conspiracy has been examin'd by the proper officers appointed by the Intendant. There dont appear sufficient ground to detain the Parties Accused it is probable tho denied peremptory that conversation had pass'd to the effect laid against them but that any steps taken in consequence cannot be proved, the Intendant paid every attention so attrocious an act Merritted and would most certainly have given every Satisfaction could the Act have been brought home. I have the Honor to be Honble Sirs Your most Obedient Humble Servant
[signed] John Bondfield
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honble. Benj Franklin Arthur Lee & John Adams Esqrs. Commissioners of Congress at Paris”; docketed: “Mr. Bondfield 6 June 1778. inclosing some remaing Accts. of the Boston.”
1. No letter to Bondfield of 18 May has been found, but the advertisements were probably copies of the circular letter by JA and Benjamin Franklin reporting that a British fleet had sailed.
2. Letters for the last three mentioned dates not found.
3. In the remainder of this sentence Bondfield is apparently saying that he expects to be informed by the next post as to whether the drafts mentioned in his letter of 30 May will be honored by their holders.
4. That is, Bondfield sent cash to Samuel Tucker and has “anext” a detailed account of the transaction to this letter. This enclosure has not been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0138

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-06

Sartine to the Commissioners

Marly, 6 June 1778. printed:JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:129–130 (JA's English translation); for the French text, see JA, Works, 7:15–16. Sartine here injected himself into the Commissioners' dealings with Bersolle and John Paul Jones. The Minister of Marine called on the Commissioners, “for the conservation of your Credit,” to reconsider their refusal to honor Jones' bill drawn on Bersolle and to pay for the supplies sent to Jones from the royal magazines. Sartine also requested reimbursement for purchasers of goods stolen by Jones' crew { 187 } from one of his prizes, the Lord Chatham, and later recovered. Finally, he recommended that the Commissioners determine whether Jones' imprisonment of Thomas Simpson had been proper.
Adams believed that Sartine's intervention was unwarranted, reflecting the general effort to circumvent the orders of the Commissioners and the congress in order to “throw the American Business and Profits into the hands of the Tools of the Minister and his Understrappers” (Diary and Autobiography, 4:130).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0139

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-07

From James Warren

[salute] My Dear Sir

We are yet in A State of Uncertainty whether you are Arrived in France or England, and Consequently whether you are now Acting As An Embassador or suffering as Prisoner. All we know is that the last Ship from France brings no Account of you tho' you had been out 7 weeks when she left Rochfort. The Enemy have Circulated a Report that the Boston was taken, and mention the Name of the Ship that Captured her.1 But I don't Incline to give Credit to it, and think there are reasons to doubt it. As I think myself Interested in the Event, I am Anxious to hear of your safe Arrival.
Nothing for several weeks has got in from any part of Europe tho' the winds have been remarkably favourable. Our Curiosity is therefore wrought up to A high Key, to hear what is passing in Europe, whether there be A declaration of War between France and England and whether any other Powers have Acknowledged our Independence, and Concluded a Treaty with us. Thus stand matters with regard to foreign News.
With regard to domestic News, I am Informed by my Friends at Congress that our Army is very respectable both with regard to Numbers and discipline. The Baron d Stubun has performed wonders in regulateing the discipline of the Army. They are well Cloathed, and well provided with Provisions, Arms, and Ammunition, and Congress have determined that the Officers who serve to the End of the war shall receive half pay for 7 Years, and the Soldiers have 80 dollars, which has given satisfaction to the first, and Contentment to the last, and prevented both resignations, and desertions but no operations of Consequence have yet taken place. The Enemy have made one or two Excursions which the Papers we shall send you will give an Account of, but were by our last Accounts Immured in Philadelphia, and { 188 } prepareing to leave it.2 Where they will next go is a Subject of Conjecture. Some think they will leave the Continent, Others that North River, Connecticut or this State is their Object.
No Material Alteration in our Currency, it is rather better. Goods of all kinds are much more plenty. Some are Cheaper but they dont yet fall in proportion to the demand for money which is become very Considerable, and I think must in time have its Effect. The produce of the Country is yet Extravagantly deare and is the principle Cause of keeping down the value of our Currency. The Countrymen have so long had the Advantage of high prices that they dont feel the want of money so much as the Merchants, and Tradesmen. Connecticut as well as some Other States have passed a regulateing Act which Operates much as ours did. They are Nevertheless Obstinate in Adhereing to it, and have sent down a Committee to Induce our Court to come into the Measure this Session many Members I hear are fond of it. It stands at present suspended for an Answer to A Letter wrote Congress.3
The Court met here and frighted with the Appearance of danger of the Small Pox, after Election adjourned to Watertown, where they now are. The Papers will Announce to you that I am no longer A Member of the General Court. My Town did not Chose me, and the Court did not Compliment me with An Election at the Board, so that were I dismissed from the Navy Board I should be truly A private Man, and an Independent Farmer, and should be as Contented and satisfied with my situation as ever you saw one, for really I am Tired of public Life, tho' I was determined never to desert the Colours I helped to hoist. If you Enquire how all this came to pass I must tell you it is oweing to various Causes. The people feel themselves Uneasy and dont know the reason. They have therefore shifted their Members more generally than ever. I scorned to make or suffer any Influence in my favour. The Tories and the Influence from Boston, and some other places had their full play, which are the reasons I am not in the House. The greater part of the C[ouncil] from Envy, and other reasons never loved me and the Complextion of the House, Consisting of Members (the most Influential of them) whose politicks are very different from Mine, and who are of the moderate Class which you know I never belonged to may Account for my not being Elected. But above all the partiality of my Friends which has rendered me Obnoxious to a Certain great { 189 } Man,4 and his numerous party by holding me up to view in Competition with him. The Policy therefore has been to get me out of sight, and prevent my being an Obstacle to his Glory, and Ambition.
The returns are not yet made from the several Towns of their Approbation or disapprobation of the Form of Goverment sent to them. But I beleive it is pretty Clear that the Majority have decided against it in much less time than the Convention took to decide in its favour. The Town of Boston (whose wise Observations you will see in the Papers) and the County of Essex have had A great Share, and Influence in this determination for you must know it has become very popular to find fault with the doings of the General Court or Convention, by those who can't mend them, and A little Clamour much more A great one may easily damn any measure good or Bad.5
The Great Man Tarried here till after Election, and then went off with the Pomp and retinue of an Eastern Prince.6 I was not in the List of his Attendants and was not Solicitous enough to Officiously Offer my service, and to receive that Honour. I suppose the Sin is Unpardonable. I must suffer the Consequences of his frowns, and be Content to be ranked Among those who never Adulate and flatter.
Your Friend Adams is at Congress. Gerry and Dana propose to return when Mr. Hancock and Doctr. Holton7 who is your Successor Arrive.
This is the third Letter I have wrote you since your departure.8 I hope the others as well as this will reach you. This is to go by a packet that Carries public Letters for you and the Other Commissioners or rather Embassadors, the Captain of which is to deliver them to you in Person so that the danger of the Seas Excepted the Opportunity is fine. I have Accordingly Informed your Lady of it, and Expect her Letters in Tomorrow which I presume will Inform you that the Family are well.9 My Love to Master John, and beleive me to be with Great Sincerity Your Assured Friend & Humbl. Servt.
[signed] J Warren
1. The source of this report, allegedly printed in a New York paper, has not been found. It was, however, apparently widespread and was noted by AA in letters to John Thaxter||(including note 4)||, James Warren, JA||(10, 18, and 30 June)||, and James Lovell between 21 May and 30 June (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:24 and note 4;34, 35, 41, 51).
2. The last large body of British troops left Philadelphia for New York city on the morning of 18 June, crossing the Delaware River into New Jersey (John W. Jackson, { 190 } With the British Army in Philadelphia, 1777–1778, San Rafael, Calif., 1979, p. 263).
3. On 27 April the Massachusetts Council, noting its objections to a “regulating” or price control bill, had written to the congress in the hope of deterring it from pressing for the passage of such a law (PCC, No. 65,1). The letter reflected Massachusetts' unhappy experience in attempting to enforce controls. Pressure on the state to renew price control arose from a congressional resolution (see Henry Marchant to JA, 22 Dec. 1777, note 2, above). The letter of 27 April was read before the congress on 21 May, perhaps with some effect, for on 4 June the congress resolved that the states should “repeal or suspend” their laws “limiting, regulating, or restraining the Price of any Article, Manufacture or Commodity” (JCC, 11:517, 569).
4. That is, John Hancock.
5. The Massachusetts towns turned down the Constitution of 1778 by a margin of approximately 5 to 1. For Boston's “objections” see the Independent Chronicle of 4 June. For the comments of other towns on the proposed constitution, together with the “Essex Result,” see Oscar and Mary Handlin, eds., The Popular Sources of Political Authority: Documents on the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780, Cambridge, 1966. See also William Gordon's four letters in opposition to the constitution printed in the Continental Journal of 2, 9, 16, and 23 April, and the Independent Chronicle of 2,9, 16, and 30 April.
6. John Hancock left Boston on 3 June, escorted by “a detachment of American Light Dragoons” and “attended by a number of respectable Gentlemen from this town [Boston] to Watertown, where an elegant entertainment was provided” (Continental Journal, 4 June). See also AA's comment on “Our Great Man” and his delay in returning to the Continental Congress in her letter of 21 May to John Thaxter (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:26).
7. Dr. Samuel Holten had been elected to replace JA on 10 Feb. and officially took his seat in the congress on 22 June, but may have been present as early as the 20th (JCC, 11:629 and note 3; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 3:iv).
8. This is the first extant letter from Warren since JA's departure for Europe in February, the others probably having been lost at sea.
9. See Warren's letter to AA of 2 June and her letters to JA and JQA of 10 June (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:31, 35–36, 37–39).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0140

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1778-06-08

To Edmé Jacques Genet

I do myself, the Honour to transmit you a Small Bundle of Newspapers, for your Perusal, out of which you will Select any Thing that you think proper for Publication, in your very valuable Collection of Affairs D'Angleterre et L'Amerique.1
Looking over the Remembrancer, for the Year 1775,1 found to my Surprize, having never seen this Remembrancer before, two Letters from a Gentleman in the Province of Massachusetts Bay, to his Friend in London, one dated Feb. 10 1775 and the other Jany 21. 1775. They are found in Pages 10.11 and 12 of the Remembrancer for that Year.2
These Letters were written by me, and as I kept no Copies of them and never heard of their Publication, I had wholly forgotten them, but finding them in this Work, I recollect them very well.
{ 191 }
If you think them worth inserting in your Collection [ . . . ][Ameri?]cans acted with Frankness,[ . . . ] broke out, and, with the Utmost faithfullness a [ . . . ] informed our Friends in England, what their Ministers were about and what would be the certain Consequence of their Temerity. The Letters you will see were written in great Haste and without the least Reserve. The History of the Events of War, from the Date of these Letters to this Day, has been no more nor less than a Completion of the Prophecies contained in them.
In Page 24 and onwards to the End of Page 32, and again from Page 45. to Page 54 you will find an History of the Dispute with America; from its origin in 1754, to the Present Time.3
This is a brief Abstract of a series of Letters which were also written by me, in the Winter of the Year 1775, the Tendency of all which was to shew, the Ruinous Tendency of the Measures of the British Administration, to convince the Nation of the Necessity of changing their System, and if they did not, but persisted in it and attempted to carry it into Execution by Force of Arms, it would infallibly end in the total Loss of their Collonies.
[ . . . ][that?] Time, or not, they have since had some Cause to consider. But they will not consider, and they will probably persist in the indulgence of their Passions, untill they shall be reduced to Weakness and Distress enough. France has no Reason to regrett this, for She will gain, by every Degree of Wealth and Power that Britain throws away, in this Contention, especially in that particular Branch which has been her Pride and Glory, Commerce, and the Dominion of the sea.
This Publication, is a full Confutation of all the Calumnies against Us, both in Parliament and Newspapers, that We concealed our Designs of Independency, and professed to have no such Designs.
In this Publication and in many others, as well as in Multitudes of private Letters, they were frankly told that however distant the People then were from Wishing Independency, yet if they once commenced Hostilities against Us, it would be impossible to restrain the Americans from cutting asunder forever, the Ligaments, which bound the two Countries together. [ . . . ]. If you should think of doing it, [ . . . ] be glad to see it before it is printed as there are many [inac]curacies in the Print, which ought to be corrected.

[salute] I have the Honour to be, with the Utmost Gratitude for the { 192 } Pains you have taken, in communicating our Affairs to the World, sir your most Obedient humble servant

[signed] John Adams
RC (PWacD: Feinstone Coll., on deposit PPAmP); the top of each page has been damaged by fire, with the loss of the dateline and portions of several sentences.
1. Affaires de l'Angleterre et de l'Amérique was an irregular, clandestine publication of the French Foreign Ministry that was ostensibly published in Antwerp (Anvers) but actually printed in Paris from early 1776 through late 1779. Its editor was Edmé Jacques Genet, director of the Foreign Ministry's translators bureau and father of Edmond Charles, controversial minister to the United States from the French Republic in 1793 (for a sketch of the two Genets as well as a short survey of Affaires, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:354–355; see also Gilbert Chinard's brief examination of Affaires and its place in French policy in Newberry Library Bulletin, 2d ser., 8:225–236 [March 1952]).
Seventeen volumes of Affaires were published, divided into 2 series: “Journal” and “Lettres.” It should be noted, however, that as numbered internally there are only 15 volumes, both series having separate volumes numbered 11 and 12. The “Journal” was intended as an account of the progress of the Revolution from 1776, but with some earlier material, and appeared in 82 cahiers (actually 79 because of a misnumbering that omitted Nos. 45, 46, and 47) and made up parts of vols. 1–6 and all of vol. 8 and its separate volumes numbered 11 and 12. The “Lettres,” supposedly from a Dutch banker in London to a friend in Antwerp containing the latest news from England together with current letters from America, appeared in 61 cahiers and made up the remaining parts of vols. 1–6 and all of vols. 9, 10, and 13–15, plus its separate volumes numbered 11 and 12.
Because of the difficulty in determining, particularly in regard to the “Journal,” the point at which one cahier ends and another begins, citations of each series of Affaires will take the following form: for “Journal,” reference will be made to volume and page number; for “Lettres,” volume, cahier, and page number will be indicated. In all cases the guide will be Paul Leicester Ford's collation of Affaires in PMHB, 13:222–226 (July 1889).
2. The two “Letters,” for which JA gives the correct page numbers, were printed in John Almon's Remembrancer or Impartial Repository of Public Events (London, 1775; see also vol. 2:214–216, 391–393). Despite JA's interest in having them reprinted and Genet's apparent agreement expressed in his letter to JA of 8 June (below), the two “Letters” never appeared in Affaires.
3. This piece, for which JA gives the correct page numbers and title as it appeared in Almon's Remembrancer, was composed of extracts from Novanglus, Nos. II–VI, and never appeared in Affaires (see also vol. 2:233–306).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0141

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-08

From Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] Honour'd Sir

The News papers you So kindly transmit me will be carefully perus'd and will afford, I dare say, many interesting articles to my publication which has no other aim than paying to your Country the justice that is due to enlighten'd courage. I had noted in the remembrancer the letters you mention the 1st. of which begins with these words You have no doubt.1 To be Sure { 193 } they'll please excessively my readers being So prophetical, and impress'd with genuine love for your former metropolis. The other papers giving an account of the origin of war I had also destin'd to publication. I am very oblig'd to you Sir, for the Kind leave you grant me of giving them to light with your Sanction: and I won't fail to lay them all under your Eyes when ready for the press.
I am Sorry you was at the trouble to send me a messenger on purpose. For the future, any parcel you may have occasion to transmit me, may be Sent to the post office, as I pay no postage.

[salute] I am with the truest respect Hond. Sir Your most humble and obedient Servant

[signed] Genet
RC (Adams Papers); quotation footnoted by CFA on the first page: “for 1777. p 203” (see note 1, below).
1. Genet gives here the opening words of the first of two letters “To a Friend in London” mentioned by JA. CFA, not having access to JA's letter of [ante 8 June] and thus being unaware that JA had written the two letters “To a Friend in London,” apparently searched the Remembrancer and concluded that Genet was referring to a letter on p. 203 of the volume for 1777 entitled “Copy of a letter from an English Gentleman at Paris, dated July 28, 1777.” That letter, beginning with the words “You will, no doubt, have heard,” was largely devoted to an account of the activities of the privateer General Mifflin and its exchange of salutes at Brest.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0142

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-08

From James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

I fear I omitted to send the Resolve of May 5th. with 3 past Packets. I shall be vexed if it does not reach you with the Ratifications as, on the Timing of it depends much of its Propriety. I was strangely betrayed by its having been dated the 4th. in a mistaken Alteration, when A.B.C. were sent Eastward.1
By Letters Yesterday from Mr. Beaumarchais I find Mr. Deane is probably on this Continent so that we may know the exact State of our Account with Mr. Hortales.2 The present Cargo in the fier Roderigue is to be sold outright for Cash or Produce, Congress having the first Offer [if?] it belongs to Mr. Beaumarchais not to Hortales & Co. I hope there is no mystery in this, for I really approve of the Thing. I am glad it does not belong to the Continent: but I wish to know whether any of those Vessels lately taken belong to Mr. B. and whether this would not have belonged to H had it been lost. This may be an amusing Speculation for you.
{ 194 }
Mr. D's Recall I find is attributed very much to Plots of A.L. You know this to be unjust, and that Facts are as in my Letter to Dr. Franklin.3
All Things speak the Enemy's departure from Philadelphia. Intending to pass across the Jersies to Staten Island they found the Militia to a Man ready to waylay them and that some Continentals were detached. They have therefore given an Air of Peace to their Motions, and asking for an immediate Exchange of Prisoners “because they are going away.” They are levelling their Works, as we repeatedly hear tho the cautious General has not yet told us the latter part but he was surprized that they “still” remained on the 1st. They meant however to celebrate the 4th. there,—the birthday of their foolish King.
Mr. S.A. has come forward, and Things go on very well here except that we want many Lessons on Finance. Give them to us,—with a little Practicability, if you please, wrought into your nicest Systems. Affectionately,
[signed] JL
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honble John Adams Esqr. One of the Commissioners &c, Paris”; docketed: “Mr Lovell ans. Sept. 25. 1778”; in another hand: “June 8 1778.” An LbC of JA's answer (Microfilms, Reel No. 93) is dated 26 Sept.
1. That is, Lovell feared that the resolution deleting Articles 11 and 12 of the Franco-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce (JCC, 11:459–460) had not been included when the Committee for Foreign Affairs sent copies—“A. B. C.”— of the Franco-American treaties to the Commissioners. Lovell's fears were groundless: the resolution of 5 May had been received, and France had agreed to delete the two articles.
2. These letters may have been those from Beaumarchais & Co. of 23 March and from Mr. Chevallie, supercargo of the ship Fier Roderigue, of 28 May that were read before the congress on 8 June (JCC, 11:576). Silas Deane did not arrive in America until 9 July (Deane Papers, 2:468–469).
3. Lovell to Franklin, 15 May (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 3:242).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0143

Author: Warren, James
Author: Deshon, John
Author: Navy Board in Boston
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-08

The Navy Board for the Eastern Department to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

Agreeable to the directions of the Honorable Marine Committee, We have provided the Scooner Dispatch, Corbin Barns Master, for the purpose of Conveying to you some Packetts of Great Importance; which are to be forwarded to you through the Council of this State.1 We have therefore only to wish them Safe to { 195 } your hands, and to desire that your Orders may be given to furnish the Captain, with such Supplies as may be necessary to provide for his return, and to defrey his Expences there, Among which by Contract is a months pay, to be Advanced to himself and Crew, and a Gratification to him of One hundred—dollars, in lieu of primage,2 he would have been intitled to on a Merchant Voyage. We presume the Council will give you the American Intelligences. We shall only Transmit you by this Oppertunity the Gazzettes published here Since our last3 and beg leave to Subscribe ourselves with the Greatest respect Your most Obedt: humble Servts.
[signed] J Warren
[signed] J. Deshon
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honble: The Commissioners of the United States of America Paris”; docketed: “Navy Board June 8 1778 ans. July 29.”
1. In accordance with orders dated 5 May from the Marine Committee, the Navy Board prepared the Dispatch for sea so that it might carry additional copies of the ratified Franco-American treaties to France (Charles Oscar Paullin, ed., Outletters of the Continental Marine Committee and Board of Admiralty, 2 vols., N.Y., 1914, 1:234). The Committee for Foreign Affairs, under a letter dated [15?] May (R. H. Lee, Letters, ed. Ballagh, 1:407), sent the packets containing the treaties to the Massachusetts Council, which in turn sent them on to the Commissioners under a covering letter dated 9 June (PPAmP: Franklin Papers).
2. The allowance made by the shipper to the master and crew for the loading and care of the cargo.
3. Presumably that of 9 April (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:393).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0144-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-09

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners

[salute] Messieurs

Ma derniere étoit du 2 de ce mois. Vous verrez par les deux traductions ci-jointes à quoi en sont les affaires en Allemagne, et que l'on peut s'attendre, d'un ordinaire à l'autre, à apprendre que les hostilités ont commencé en Allemagne.1
Il paroît ici, depuis quelques jours, une brochure remplie de déclamations, mal cousues ensemble, contre l'Angleterre, sous le titre Le voeu de toutes les nations, et l'intérêt de toutes les Puissances, dans l'abaissement et l'humiliation de la Gr. Br.2 Il y a une Epitre dédicatoire à la tête, qui s'adresse à Mr. Franklin. Le g—F— a voulu savoir ce que j'en pensois: j'ai répondu, Si desint vires, tamen est laudanda voluntas.3 C'étoit justement ce qu'il en pensoit aussi. Au reste, je ne vous parle, Messieurs, de cette production, que parce que, toute mal bâtie qu'elle est, elle trouve { 196 } beaucoup d'acheteurs et de Lecteurs ici à La Haie parmi les gens du premier rang.
Je languis, Messieurs, de recevoir ce que je vous ai demandé.4 Le g—F—, et notre Ami, et le G—— P—— aussi, S'y attendent comme moi. Il seroit bon de ne pas laisser trop de vuide à présent sur la Scene.
Au reste la démarche qui a été faite a déjà produit un grand bien, d'un côté en fortifiant et augmentant les bonnes dispositions des bien intentionnés; de l'autre en décourageant toujours plus les malintentionnés, en diminuant leurs ressources, et leur espoir de pouvoir engager la republique à quelque démarche qui favorise leurs vues. Il y a 3 à 4 mois qu'ils ne m'auroient pas laissé faire impunément ce que j'ai fait dernierement.
Ce que vous venez de lire, Messieurs, étoit écrit, lorsque la Lettre dont Mr. A. Lee m'a favorisé en date du 4e. Juin, m'est parvenue.5 L'approbation qu'il a bien voulu donner aux additions que j'ai faites à la derniere piece, m'a causé une satisfaction aussi pure et aussi vraie, qu'est le zele qui me les a dictées, sur la connoissance que j'ai des gens à qui elle s'adresse. Continuons seulement, comme nous avons Si bien commencé, à lier une bonne et forte partie ici; et tout ira bien. Le Lion Belgique est déjà moins, qu'il ne l'a été, entre les dents et grifes du Lion Britannique: on en a déjà bien limé et rogné à ce dernier: le temps viendra où on lui arrachera tout-à-fait la proie qu'il croyoit tenir.
Je suis avec le dévouement le plus respectueux, Messieurs, Votre très humble & très obeissant serviteur.
[signed] D

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0144-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-09

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

My last was dated the 2d of this month. You will see by the two enclosed translations what the state of affairs in Germany is and that one may expect, any day, to hear that hostilities have begun.1
In the last few days a pamphlet, badly assembled and filled with declamations against Great Britain, has appeared under the title of Le voeu de toutes les nations, et l 'intérét de toutes les Puissances, dans l'abaissement et l'humiliation de la Grande Bretagne.2 It begins with a dedicatory letter addressed to Mr. Franklin. The Grand Facteur asked what I thought of it and I replied si desint vires, tamen est laudanda voluntas,3 which was exactly what he also thought. I only mention this publication because, despite being awkwardly put together, it has found here at The Hague many buyers and readers among people of the first rank.
I languish, gentlemen, in the expectation of receiving that which I requested from you,4 as do also the Grand Facteur, our friend, and the { 197 } Grand Pensionary. It would be wise not to leave too much of a void [vuide] here at present.
The démarche taken so far has already produced a good effect, on the one hand, in strengthening and increasing the good dispositions of the well-intentioned, and, on the other hand, in discouraging even more the ill-intentioned by diminishing their resources and their hope of engaging the Republic in some démarche favorable to their views. Three or four months ago they would not have permitted me, with impunity, to do what I have done of late.
What you have just read, gentlemen, was written before Mr. A. Lee's letter of 4 June reached me.5 The approbation he kindly gave to the additions that I made to the recent piece, based as they were on the knowledge I have of the people to whom it is addressed, gave me a satisfaction as pure and sincere as the zeal that dictated them. Let us continue what we have already so well begun—to recruit a good, strong party here—and all will be well. Already the Belgian lion has begun to slip from the teeth and claws, now considerably filed and clipped, of the British lion, and the time will come when the prey he thought was in his grasp will be torn from him. I am, with the utmost devotion and respect, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant.
[signed] D
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “à Leurs Excellences Messieurs les Plenipotentiaires de l'Amérique septentrionale à Paris.”; docketed: “Dumas 9. June 1778.”
1. The two translations were of letters from Berlin and Hamburg dated 29 May and 2 June. They reported that war was imminent, contrasted the excellent condition and preparation of the Prussian army with the poor state of the Austrian, and noted the regret with which the French volunteers left the Prussian forces.
2. This pamphlet has not been found.
3. If strength be lacking, nevertheless the willingness ought to be praised.
4. That is, Dumas was awaiting the copy of the Franco-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce that he had requested in his letter to the Commissioners of 19 May (above, and note 4).
5. Arthur Lee wrote in regard to Dumas' publication of Lee's “Memorial for Holland,” the “dernier piece” referred to by Dumas below. See Dumas to the Commissioners, 19 May, note 6 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0145

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jones, John Paul
Date: 1778-06-10

The Commissioners to John Paul Jones

Passy, 10 June 1778. printed:JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:135. The Commissioners requested a list of Jones' prisoners for a possible exchange and noted the arrival of Jones' account of his differences with the Ranger's crew, about which he would soon receive their opinion.
The request for a list of Jones' prisoners, together with a similar demand to Abraham Whipple on 23 June (Diary and Autobiography, 4:140), stemmed from David Hartley's letter to Benjamin Franklin of 5 June announcing a prisoner exchange and requesting a list of those held by the Americans (Edward E. Hale and Edward E. Hale Jr., Franklin in { 198 } France, 2 vols., Boston, 1887–1888, 1:203). Franklin, in a reply of 16 June on behalf of the Commissioners, promised to procure the lists and suggested procedures to be followed (same, 1:203–204). Adams copied Franklin's reply into his Letterbook and later included it, with some alterations, in his Autobiography, where Adams mistakenly gives himself and Lee as cosigners (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 92; Diary and Autobiography, 4:138–139; compare JA's two versions with Arthur Lee's copy in PCC, No. 102, IV).
It is, however, unlikely that Jones received the present letter. On or about 10 June, the date on which he paroled Thomas Simpson, Jones left Brest for Passy, arriving there on or about the 18th (Simpson to the Commissioners, 3 July, below; Jones to James Gooch, 18 June; and to Rev. Father John, 18 June, both in ViU: Lee Papers).
Jones' report of troubles with his crew was contained in those portions of his letter to Franklin of 1 June (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:433), shown to JA and Arthur Lee, and to which Franklin replied on the 10th, giving there additional information on the proposed prisoner exchange (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:610).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0146

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Schweighauser, John Daniel
Date: 1778-06-10

The Commissioners to J. D. Schweighauser

Passy, 10 June 1778. printed:JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:134–135. The Commissioners, responding to Schweighauser's letter of 4 June (not found), commended him for refusing to pay 1,200 livres to William Morris, possibly an escaped prisoner (Deane Papers, 2:258), and reminded him that no disbursements could be made without the Commissioners' orders. Schweighauser was directed to act with Capt. Whipple in the disposal of a prize and to evaluate the Flammand, a ship offered by John Joseph Monthieu for a voyage to America. Finally, in a postscript, he was ordered to pay John Paul Jones' expenses to and from Paris.
This postscript, written in a darker ink than the text, was appended to the wrong letter in Adams' Letterbook (Microfilms, Reel No. 92), for neither he nor Lee knew on 10 June that Franklin had invited Jones to Passy, and Jones did not arrive there until after the 16th (see Commissioners to Jones, 25 May, calendared above; 16 June, calendared below). It was probably intended to be part of the Commissioners' letter to Schweighauser of 23 June (calendared below).
The following paragraph was deleted in JA's Letterbook: “The Fusees from Berlin, the Druggs from Marseilles, and the Remittances from London being Subjects which We in our Capacity of Commissioners at this Court have nothing to do with, our Mr. Arthur Lee will write you in particular concerning them.” Arthur Lee notes in his Letterbook (PCC, No. 102, IV, f. 13) that “this paragraph being in the Letter drawn by Mr. Adams, Dr. Franklin refused to sign it, because he said it would be acknowledging Mr. Lee's right to manage the affairs of Spain. The Letter was detained a day to erase this paragraph.”
{ 199 } | view
Franklin's objection was presumably twofold. He probably saw the paragraph as implying that Arthur Lee was responsible for everything not explicitly stated in the Commissioners' instructions and commission to the French Court. Franklin may also have believed that it indicated a change in his status vis-à-vis Arthur Lee in regard to Spain. Both men had been commissioned to the Spanish Court: Franklin on 2 Jan. 1777 and Lee on 5 June 1777 (JCC, 8:521–523, note). Franklin did not act under his commission, but Lee went to Spain in 1777 in an unsuccessful effort to gain Spanish recognition. If Lee was seen as responsible for transactions not directly related to the French Court, it might be inferred that he had superseded Franklin in dealings with Spain. This would have been unacceptable to Franklin even had he been on good terms with Lee. In the absence of such a relationship it was presumably intolerable.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0147

Author: Continental Congress, Marine Committee
Author: Lee, Richard Henry
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-10

Marine Committee to the Commissioners

[salute] Honorable Gentn

There is wanted for A fifty Six Gun Ship now building at Portsmouth in the State of New Hampshire, Twenty eight 24 pounders Cannon and Twenty eight 18 Pounders which We request you will order to be shipped for that Port or the Port of Boston by the first Opportunity.1 Should the Continental Frigates Boston and Providence be in France when this gets to hand they may take in those Cannon and in that case you will please to ship an equal number of each Size Sufficient to Ballast Said Frigates, as we shall have Occasion for more than will be wanted for the 56 Gun ship. We request your attention to this business and are Honorable Gentn with great respect Your very Obedt. servants,
[signed] Richard Henry Lee. C.M.
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honorable the Commissioners of the United States of North America at Paris”; docketed: “Letter Marine Comtee. June 10 1778. for 28. 24 Pounders and 28 18s.”; in an unknown hand: “Order for Cannon”; calculations, perhaps by JA:
3000     1680  
56     24  
18000     6720  
15000     3360  
168000     40320.  
The first calculation may be the weight of 56 twenty-four-pounders; the second may be the total weight of the ammunition for them at 30 twenty-four-pound-shot per gun.
1. These cannon were for the ship of the line America. In a letter of 19 Aug. the Commissioners ordered John Bondfield to procure the needed cannon (LbC, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 92). Bondfield reported his progress in letters to the Commissioners dated 29 Aug. (below) and 12 Sept. (PPAmP: Franklin Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0148-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-11

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners

[salute] Messieurs

Hier matin je reçus de Sir G——Gd. le paquet contenant la respectée vôtre du 2e. Juin.1 En conséquence je me transportai d'abord chez le g—— F——. Il étoit hors de ville pour tout le jour, dont j'employai le reste à tirer d'abord une Copie du Traité, pour les cas où je pourrois dans la suite des évenemens en avoir besoin pour le service auquel j'ai l'honneur d'être employé. Ce matin le g—— F—— m'a avoué, que l'endroit de votre Lettre, Messieurs, où vous me référez à sa direction, l'embarrassoit un peu. Je lui ai offert d'attendre qu'il eût écrit à Sa Maison; mais sans rien répondre à cela, il m'a dit, qu'en sa qualité de g—— F——,2et authentiquement, il ne pouvoit point me diriger à cet égard, c'est-àdire, ni me conseiller la démarche, ni m'en empêcher (voilà la réponse d'Office): mais que, comme particulier, il croyoit que les inconvéniens de ne pas la faire seraient beaucoup plus grands, que ceux qu'il pourroit peut-être y avoir de la faire; qu'entre autres, après avoir fait espérer cette Copie, qui étoit attendue en conséquence avec beaucoup d'empressement et d'intérêt, il y auroit de la mauvaise grace debiaiser, et paroître se rétracter; et qu'ainsi il me conseilloit de l'aller remettre à sa destination (Voilà la vraie intention): que je devois seulement dire au G—— P——, que j'avois ordre de lui remettre la Traité pour son information, afin que, dans le temps qu'il le jugeroit à propos, il pût en faire son rapport aux Etats de la Provinces &c.; mais qu'en même temps, par juste égard pour la C—— de F——, qui n'avoit pas encore jugé à propos de faire imprimer et publier ce Traité, j'avois à le prier de n'en distribuer ni laisser prendre à personne des copies.
Je lui ai demandé S'il étoit à propos d'en envoyer aussi une Copie à notre Ami pour la Régence de sa Ville, et d'avertir de cela le G—— P——? Il m'a répondu Assurément, mais avec la même réquisition de ne point en faire prendre copie. Je suis donc occupé actuellement à tirer une 2me. Copie, pour l'envoyer à notre Ami.
Ce Soir, à 8/12; h, le g—— F—— vient de me faire dire, de lui aller parler encore demain, avant d'aller chez le G—— P——.
J'ai eu ce matin une conférence avec le g—— F——, dont voici le resultat. Il y a 2 ou 3 articles où les nôtres sont favorisés par préférence à d'autres: il peut être convenable, il peut aussi ne l'être pas, qu'on en soit instruit ici présentement; convenable, parce qu'ils pourroient servir d'appas ici, pour détacher les gens { 201 } de——,3 et les faire entrer dans nos vues; non convenable, parce que cela pourroit exciter l'idée à ces gens de hazarder certaines demandes, que nous ne savons pas si la Maison jugeroit à propos d'accorder, selon les circonstances. Ces réflexions, et l'ordre exprès que vous me donnez, Messieurs, to take the advice of——, as to the propriety of delivering it at present, nous ont fait convenir, que j'attendrai qu'on ait écrit et reçu réponse:4 Si elle est pour l'affirmative, je passerai outre avec plus de sûreté, et vous rendrai compte en son temps du suivi; si non, nous avons déjà concerté une Lettre ostensible, que vous pourrez m'écrire pour commenter ces paroles de votre Lettre du 28 Avril au G—— P—— of which we shall speedily sendYEa copy, to be communicated if you think proper to, &c. En attendant, le g—— F—— m'a demandé le T—, pour en faire prendre une copie pour son usage; et j'acheverai la Copie destinée pour notre Ami, afin que tout Soit prêt en cas de besoin: et dans l'intervalle la Copie originate, ainsi que les deux de ma main, resteront sous la Clef, afin de ne faire leur effet que quand il sera jugé à propos.
Il y a déjà quelque temps, Messieurs, comme vous avez pu vous en appercevoir, que j'ai gardé le silence sur les dépêches des Ministres de ce pays dans l'étranger; c'est que la personne dont j'ai eu occasion de les tenir pendant quelque temps est absente, et que les mouvemens que je puis prudemment me donner, pour trouver quelque intriguant nécessiteux qui me les procure régulierement, ne m'ont pas encore réussi.5
On dit que S. J. Y. a fait quelque démarche pour tâter le pouls à cet Etat au sujet de l'inquiétude que donnent à son Maître les dispositions formidables qu'il voit faire sur les côtes opposées aux siennes. Je n'ai pu encore découvrir ce qui en est, parce qu'avec la belle saison tous ceux que je connois sont absents. Ce que je sais bien, c'est que les uns ne voudront, et les autres ne pourront rien faire pour lui. Il éprouvera que

Donec eris felix, multos numerabis Amicos:

Tempora si fuerint nubila, solus eris.6

Je viens de voir la belle et forte Résolution de l'honorable Congrés, au sujet du Conciliatory-Bill, et des Commissaires qui le suivent.7 J'ai interrompu ma Lettre pour vite porter cette mâle Piece au g—— P——, qui a bien ri de mon Empressement, quand il en a su le sujet. Il dit que je ne cherche que plaie et bosse: cela est vrai; mais il en est bien aise aussi dans le sens qu'il l'entend. { 202 } Je lui prête régulierement ces feuilles; et si je ne les lui envoie pas dès leur reception, il me les fait demander.
Je suis bien respectueusement, Messieurs, Votre très humble & très obeisant serviteur
[signed] D

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0148-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-11

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

Yesterday morning I received, from Sir George Grand, the packet containing your letter of 2 June1 and decided that I should go first to the Grand Facteur. He, however, was to be out of town all day so I used the time to make a copy of the treaty in case I needed one in future dealings connected to the Mission with which I have the honor charged. This morning, gentlemen, the Grand Facteur confessed to me that he was somewhat embarrassed by the portion of your letter putting me under his direction. I suggested that he wait until he had written to his House but, without responding to that, he said to me that, genuinely, in his capacity as Grand Facteur,2 he could not direct me in this regard; that is, he could neither advise me on nor prevent my démarche (that is the official answer). In his private capacity, however, he believed that the difficulties that might result from not making the demarche would be much greater than those that might result from going through with it. Among other things, it would show poor taste to be evasive and appear to go back on one's word after having fostered the hope of receiving this copy which, as a result, is awaited with much anticipation and interest. He thus advised me to carry it to its intended conclusion (there is the true plan), telling the Grand Pensionary only that I received the order to give him the treaty for his information so that, when he deemed it appropriate, he might report on it to the States of the Provinces &c. Nevertheless, at the same time, from a due regard for the Court of France, which has not yet deemed it appropriate to print and publish the treaty, I should request him not to distribute or give copies to anyone.
I asked him if it was appropriate to send a copy to our friend, for the regency of his city, and to inform the Grand Pensionary about it? He replied, certainly, but with the same request that it not be copied. I am now busy, therefore, making a second copy for our friend.
This evening, at 8:30, the Grand Facteur asked me to confer with him tomorrow before going to see the Grand Pensionary.
These are the results of my conference this morning with the Grand Facteur. In the treaty are two or three articles that clearly favor us at the expense of others, and it may or may not be proper to disclose this fact here. It may be appropriate because it could act as a bait in order to detach the people from—,3 and make them share our views; but inappropriate because it could encourage them to hazard certain requests that we do not know if the House, depending on the circum• { 203 } stances, would judge proper to grant. These thoughts and the express order you gave me to take the advice of —, as to the propriety of delivering it at present, have led us to conclude that I should await an answer from you.4 If it is affirmative, I will carry on with a greater sense of security and give you in due time an account of what ensues. If it is negative, however, we have already composed an ostensible letter that you would send me commenting on these remarks in your letter of 28 April to the Grand Pensionary: of which we shall speedily send your Excellency a copy, to be communicated if you think proper to, &c. In the meantime, the Grand Facteur has asked me for the treaty in order to have a copy made for his own use, and I will finish the copy intended for our friend so that everything will be ready when needed. For the time being, the original and the two copies made by me will remain under lock and key so as to produce their effect when and only when judged appropriate.
For a while now I have not mentioned the dispatches from this country's ministers abroad. This is because the person from whom I have had occasion to obtain them is away for some time and the efforts that I can prudently make to find some needy intriguer who might procure them for me on a regular basis have been so far unsuccessful.5
Rumor has it that Sir Joseph Yorke has taken some démarche to check the pulse of this state because of the concern felt by his master regarding the formidable measures taken on the opposite coasts. I have not yet been able to discover the truth of the matter because, with the summer weather, everyone I know is away. What I do know is that some will not want to and others will be unable to do anything for him. He will realize that:

Donec eris felix, multos numerabis Amicos:

Tempora si fuerint nubila, solus eris.6

I have just seen the honorable congress' glorious and powerful resolution concerning the Conciliatory Bill and the Commissioners following it.7 I interrupted my letter to take this manly document to the Grand Pensionary who, when he learned of its content, laughed at my eagerness and remarked that I always go to such great lengths. This is true, but it is also true that he is satisfied with the trouble I take. I lend him these accounts regularly, and, if I do not send them to him as soon as they arrive, he asks for them. I am very respectfully, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] D
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “A Leurs Excellences Messieurs les Plenipotentiaires des Etats-Unis de l'Amerique Paris.”; docketed: “Dumas 11. June 1778.”
1. Not found, the letter contained the copy of the Franco-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce that Dumas had been so anxiously awaiting.
2. That is, La Vauguyon in his role as French ambassador.
3. Presumably from Great Britain or the pro-British party.
{ 204 }
4. The passage quoted by Dumas is apparently from the Commissioners' letter of 2 June, noted above. His deletion of a word or words may be due to the Commissioners' use of the words “the French Ambassador,” or some other phrase that Dumas believed to be too explicit. Dumas' letter of 27 June (below) indicates that the Commissioners' reply to his request for advice was probably to proceed.
5. By the time that he wrote to the Commissioners on 16 June, Dumas had apparently solved this problem. See note 1 to his letter (below).
6. While you prosper you will have plenty of friends; but when your sky is cloudy, you will be left to yourself.
7. The committee report adopted by the congress on 22 April (JCC, 10:374–380), which, translated into French, was printed in the supplement to the Gazette de Leyde for 16 June.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0149

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-13

John Bondfield to the Commissioners

[salute] Honble. Sirs

I took the liberty to draw on your honors as the most assured means to obtain a certainty of my letters in course getting to your hands.1 I am much obliged for the punctual honor you have paid to my drafts. I have to ask your excuse for not more particularly explaining the cause of the price of fresh Beef. The Pound of that article at Bordeaux is forty Ounces, during Lent which reignd all the time the ship consumed fresh Provision, One Butcher Farms the supplies for the Town, pays very heavy for the exclusive privaledge which of course falls on the consumer. That as well as every other article I took due attention to obtain on the lowest terms and that by the most surest of means paying Cash for every Article in this as in every other circumstance that may be committed to my care of a strickt adherence to my duty permit me to assure you. The Frigate put to Sea the 7th Instant in Company with two french Frigates and several Merchant Men Bound for the United States. They were met off Isl Dieu2 by a vessel arrived two days past. I am with due Respect your honors Most Obedient Humble Servant
[signed] John Bondfield
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honble. Benj Franklin Arthur Lee, John Adams. Esqrs Commissioners from Congress at Paris”; docketed: “<Schweighauser. 13. June.> Mr Bondfield”; in another hand: “13. June 78.”
1. Bondfield's meaning in this sentence is not wholly clear, but he wrote a second letter of this date (PPAmP: Franklin Papers) acknowledging the Commissioners' letter of 25 May (calendared above), commenting on the passage of letters between Paris and Bordeaux, and promising to keep the Commissioners informed of his activities.
2. The Ile d'Yeu, misspelled here and in Samuel Tucker's logbook (MH-H). The vessel may have been the brig Virginia, Capt. Jones, mentioned in the Boston's log. Tucker stated that he sailed on 6 June in company with “twenty Sale of Ships, Brits, &c, a French Frigate and Sloop of { 205 } War.” A letter to the Commissioners from James Moylan of 12 June (PPAmP: Franklin Papers) stated that the Boston was then watering at the He de Groix, located just off the entrance to the harbor at Lorient, and would sail on the following day with the French frigate L'Oiseau.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0150

Author: Archer, Henry Waldegrave
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-14

H. Archer to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

I presume to trouble you with the communication of my design to enter into the army, and becoming a citizen of the united States. Though a native of England, I feel myself quite attached to America, and firmly persuaded that I shall carry thither dispositions entirely consonant to its welfare, and that my affection to her will not be the less in being only a Son by adoption. From infancy, I considered myself a member of the British Empire at large, including the Colonies of North America. Warped by no blind partiality, or local attachment, while their union with the Parent State subsisted, I wished equally for the happiness of the whole. Upon their division my predilection is strong for that part, where the free principles of the ancient constitution are likely to be most vigorous and lasting. Upon the first rise of the dissentions between them, dissentions, that reflect as much honor on the one as infamy on the other side; from my own observations of things, confirmed by the opinions, and conversation of those I most esteemed, I decided, that the opposition of the Americans was sanctified by justice, as well as recommended by good policy; in the progress I admired the wisdom with which this opposition was conducted, applauded the firmness with which it was supported, and rejoiced at the success with which it has been attended. Ambitious of military fame, and of military distinction, it was not consistent with my Notions to engage in the Army of the King of Great Britain; where the former of these, was not to be acquired at all, as even Valour in the support of Tyranny, and Injustice is reproachful, nor the latter, but by interest, and the too frequent <exercise> Sacrifice of virtuous principles. An immediate entrance into his Service would have obliged me to war against my conscience, and against those, whom I ardently wish to prevail. Nor is it by any means eligible for me to defer entering into the British Service till the War with America is ended, for besides the loss of time, and delay of preferment, there are more powerful discouragements. I have too much reason to believe that the Military pro• { 206 } fession, even hereafter, will not be very honorable in Great Britain. From the degeneracy of the People, the corruption of their Representatives, and the wickedness of those in power, the Army may probably become, before a distant period the devoted instruments of despotic sway, and like the disgraceful Pretorian Bands ready to sell their services to such as would supply their debaucheries with the most profusion, and such as were most ready to favor their rapaciousness and violence. On the contrary, in the service of the united States, I shall during the present contest, bear arms in a cause my conscience approves, and which reflects honor on its humble supporters, and where there is reason to believe, that should my services be required in future, it will be on the side of justice, liberty, and Glory, and where in short the disciplined Soldier, and the free Citizen are not incompatible.
I cannot indeed boast of being much qualified to make my services welcome, or important, but this I can promise, that the small qualification I do possess, or may acquire shall be exerted on every occasion to the utmost. I have been some time at the Royal Academy at Chelsea, endeavouring to attain a knowledge of military affairs. As soon as I was of age, I left it, and disposed of as much of my property as amounted to about five hundred pounds. With what I have left of that, I wish to take the quickest opportunity of getting to America, and entering into one of the Regiments of Horse. I shall be glad to serve first as a Volunteer at my own expence with a view of giving such proofs of my zeal and unfeigned attachment to America as may entitle me to some notice. You may perhaps be inclined to think there was no occasion to trouble you with my design. I was induced to do it, by these, among other reasons, Your approbation and Patronage would be extremely satisfactory and encouraging; and as I must necessarily have passed thro' Paris, I was desirous of paying my respects to you, who deservedly possess so high a trust from the united States, which if I had failed to do, it might there, suggest a suspicion that I was afraid you might have known or discovered something to my disadvantage. At the same time, I was in hopes you would be kind enough to give me your advice and assistance about the most expeditious method of arriving in America. I propose doing myself the honor of waiting on you next Tuesday in company with Monsr. le Baron de Ridberg, till which I postpone mentioning other particulars. I have the honor to be with the { 207 } greatest and most unfeigned Esteem, Gentlemen, Your very hble & obt. Sert.
[signed] H. Archer1
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “To Their Excellencies B. Franklin A. Lee J. Adams Ministers Plenipotentiary of the united States. Passy.”; docketed in an unknown hand: “Archer.”
1. Probably Henry Waldegrave Archer, who was appointed cornet of light dragoons on 1 Jan. 1779 and ended the war as a captain, thus attaining his goal of serving in the American army (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 73). On 4 Aug. 1779 Archer wrote to the congress giving his thanks for the honor, a brevet appointment as captain, bestowed him on 26 July following the American victory at the Battle of Stony Point, news of which he carried to the congress (PCC, No. 78, 1, f. 291; JCC, 14:890; see also Ward, War of the Revolution, 2:906, note 18). When Archer left France for America he carried letters from JA to Samuel Adams of 21 May; to Isaac Smith Sr. of 17 June (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:106–108, 139–140); and to AA of 16 June (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:44, and note 2). In a letter to JA and Benjamin Franklin (PHi: Franklin MSS) that was undated, but almost certainly done shortly after 16 June, Archer thanked the two men for their assistance and particularly for their “recommendatory letters.”

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0151

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Date: 1778-06-15

The Commissioners to Sartine

Passy, 15 June 1778. printed:JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:135–137. The Commissioners, in answer to Sartine's letter of 6 June, indicated their reasons for refusing the drafts drawn on them by Bersolle, and, by implication and tone, their displeasure at Sartine's interference in the Commission's affairs. The Commissioners further noted that it was highly irregular for merchants or naval captains to make drafts without prior approval and that the continuance of such practices would deprive the Commissioners of control over expenses and might ultimately result in their bankruptcy. The Commissioners declared their willingness to pay for goods supplied to John Paul Jones from the royal magazines, agreed that restitution should be made for goods stolen from the Lord Chatham by Jones' crew, and reported their decision to send Lt. Simpson to America for trial. In addition, the Commissioners requested that the sale of the Lord Chatham and other prizes be expedited so as to provide funds for the Commissioners to defray the cost of keeping ships in port and for the captors to purchase necessities. Finally, the Commissioners acquiesced in the naming of Botsen, about whom they knew little, for possible employment by the French as a pilot on the American coast.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0152

Author: Sayre, Stephen
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-15

From Stephen Sayre

[salute] Sir

As my information is only from the public papers, I am left in uncertainty whether I am writing to Mr. John, or Mr. Samuel { 208 } Adams. Some Letters have pass'd between the latter Gentleman and myself, on the subject of American Controversy. As I ask only for a short reply, on a matter of simple justice; I trust I shall not be disappointed, tho I am ignorant as to which of those great Characters I write.1
You cannot be a stranger to the circumstance of my having attended Mr. Lee to Berlin, at the public expence. I thought it somewhat hard, to be told at Berlin, which was done in clear and express terms, that I should be no longer consider'd in that service, or expect the least support from the Commissioners, whether I return'd to Paris with Mr. Lee, or not—at the same time I don't say they acted unjustly.
As a private Gentleman, having no expectation given me that the most humiliating attendance at Paris could give me any Employment, I chose to remain at Berlin, where I could live more at ease and at less expence. Having wrote to my friends in Congress from Paris, by all the Ships sent by the Commissioners from the month of April 1777, to September or October—I waited with impatience for Answers. Think then, how great must be my astonishment, to learn, that tho' the Commissioners had many Letters sent to their care for me, they have neither sent them, or given me any reasons why they with'old them. Surely this is a ground of complaint, and a conduct that sets all conjecture at difiance.
I am willing to suppose some strange accidents may have concur'd to disappoint me. I could wish, that urgent national business were an Apology for neglecting an individual, tho' intitled to some decent attention, from the highest Characters. I have a right to some reply, as a private man—my whole public conduct makes it a matter of indispensable justice.
Of you, Dear Sir, I request the high favour, to learn the Cause, and to state it to me with candour. If you suffer any arguments to dissuade you from a reply, which [I?] may expect from your own feelings, you will thereby condemn me before I am heard.
Let me add one word of congratulation on the glory acquired by the United States of America, and that I am with great esteem and respect your [ . . . ][obe]dient & very humble Servant
[signed] Stephen Sayre
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “To the honorable—Adams Esqr Member of the American Congress now at Paris”; docketed: “Mr. Stephen Sayres Letter. 15. June 1778 from Copenhagen.”; in an unknown hand: { 209 } “Stephen Sayre Amsterdam”; passage in an unknown hand and apparently done considerably later than the other entries: “tous les françois aiment M. franklin ils admirent ses talents ils respectent ses vertus tous les americains partagent ces sentiments avec M. franklin.” The reference in the second docketing to “Amsterdam” is unclear because Sayre was apparently not in that city until mid–1779 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 14:212).
1. Stephen Sayre, Princeton B.A. and Harvard M.A., had at various times been a merchant, London banker, pamphleteer, and Sheriff of London. In 1775 he had been imprisoned in the Tower of London on charges of high treason, against which he had been successfully defended by Arthur Lee, and was the self-described chief founder of the Society of Supporters of the Bill of Rights (same, 14:204–211). In this last capacity he had written to JA on 15 Oct. 1773 to notify him of his election to membership in the Society (vol. 1:353–354)
The present letter, apparently not acted on by either JA or the Commissioners, shows Sayre in another role: freelance diplomat. It reflects the split that had developed between him and Arthur Lee when he served as Lee's secretary during the ill-fated Berlin mission in 1777 to secure recognition for the United States. When the mission failed and Lee returned to Paris, Sayre claimed without authorization to be an official American agent in Berlin. Apparently this pose was maintained during the time Sayre spent in Copenhagen and Stockholm, from Dec. 1777 through early 1779, attempting to promote, according to his later statements, a league of armed neutrals. By mid–1779 the Commissioners, particularly Franklin, had disavowed his activities and referred him to the congress for the compensation he sought (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 14:210–212; DAB).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0153

Author: Whipple, Abraham
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-15

Abraham Whipple to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

Had the honour of Recieving your Letter1 per Capt. Jones, beg leave to mention there are no Orders relative to my Prisoners, which should be glad to Recieve. Am Repairing my Masts and will make the Old Ones serve, New Ones being very expensive. Shall be as frugal as possible. Capt. Jones acquaints me you have some Cloathing and Arms for the United States it is in my Power to Carry considerable, if I know timely the Quantity and Largeness of Bales; that I may stow the Ship Accordingly. The Ship will be graved and in readiness to take in in twelve Days. My Midshipmen are Arrived having made their escape to St. Maloes. The Prize Brigantine is safe at the Isle of Rea.2 I have Ordered her round here, and shall deliver her to Charge of Mr. Schweighaser on Arrival at Nantes. Have the Honour to be Your most Obedt. very Humble Servt.
[signed] Abraham Whipple
NB My Masts are now on shore a Repairing with all possible Expedition.
{ 210 }
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “Captn. Ab. Whipples Letter. Paimbeuf 15 June 1778.”
1. That of 6 June (calendared above).
2. Presumably the He de Ré, located off La Rochelle in the Bay of Biscay southeast of Paimboeuf. The brigantine captured by the Providence had been recaptured by the British and was in turn recaptured by a French vessel (Allen, Naval Hist. of the Amer. Revolution, 1:356). The returned midshipmen may have been members of the prize crew put aboard the brigantine by Whipple, who had managed to escape from the British ship that made the initial recapture.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0154

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jones, John Paul
Date: 1778-06-16

The Commissioners to John Paul Jones

Passy, 16 June 1778. printed:JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:137–138. Jones was ordered to prepare for a voyage to America on which he would harass the British as much as possible, specific mention being made of the vulnerability of the Newfoundland fishery and the transports passing back and forth between England and America. The Commissioners also directed Jones to carry, but not to await, whatever dispatches might reach him from the Commissioners or the French government and to put on board whatever cargo he could, so long as it did not impair the fighting and sailing qualities of the Ranger.
These orders could not have reached Jones at Brest, for he had already left that place and must have been nearing Paris (Jones to the Commissioners, 3 June, note 2, above). They are curious in view of the correspondence that had passed between Jones and Franklin. The text, together with Arthur Lee's surprise at Jones' arrival (to JA, 5 July, below), indicates that the Commissioners, on the 16th at least, believed that Jones would remain at Brest and thus be able to leave for America immediately (see also Commissioners to Jones, 22 Aug. [1st], below).This is another indication that JA and Arthur Lee were acting without full information and that an effort was being made to conceal Franklin's dealings with Jones. Lee's letter of 5 July indicates that Jones received his orders after his arrival, perhaps on 23 June, the date on which very similar instructions were sent to Capt. Abraham Whipple of the Providence (Diary and Autobiography, 4:140–141).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0155-0001

Author: Fleury, François Louis Teissèdre de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-16

From Fleury

[salute] Monsieur

Je suis trop reconnoissant des bontés dont vous mavés honnoré1 pour ne pas vous exprimer a cet egard tous les sentiments que je vous dois. Receves done monsieur l'homage dun pere sensible que vous venes de tranquiliser, et qui se glorifie davoir un fils au service dune nation dont vous donnés la plus haute idee. Je ne metonne point monsieur quil cherche a si distinguer, si { 211 } touts ceux qui l'habitent j pensent comme vous. Le bonheur dobtenir lextime des gens tells que vous est faite pour donner de lemulation. Je suis enchanté que mon fils ait eu lavantage de fixer desja votre attention par la renommée quil tache de sacquerir. Il seroit tres heureux pour lui que son zele vous inspirat le desir de le connoitre. Sil apprenoit jamais la complaisance dont vous maves comblé. Je ne doute pas quil ne fait tres empressé de vous en temoigner sa sensiblité. Oseray je vous prier monsieur de maccorder toujour la meme grace dont vous venes de me combler. Je vous aurois une obligation infinie de minstruire de ce qui sera relatif a mon fils. Pardonnés mon importunité, mais je suis pere je nay que cet enfant. Il servoit au regiment de rouergue il j etoit extimé et cheri de ses chefs et de ses camarades. Une noble ardeur la fait passer aux insurgens j'ay cedé a sa resolution glorieuse, mais vous sentes que ce sacrifice de ma part fait gemir la nature. Jen seray cependant monsieur de domagé si mon fils se rend utile a votre nation et si je suis asses heureux pour vous inspirer asses dinterest pour que vous daignes me randre dans loccassion le service que jose implorer de votre generosité. Crojes monsieur que tout ce qui mappartien ainsi que moy serons toujour empressés de meriter cette grace par les sentiments distingués et respectaux avec les quels je suis, Monsieur Votre tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur,
[signed] De fleury
Vous mobligeries bien sensiblement monsieur si lorsque vous ecrires a lamerique vous voulies bien me faire le plaisir de demander des nouvelles de mon fils et lui permettre de metre une de ses letters pour moy dans celles que vous recevres, ne doutant pas qu'il ne men ait ecrit pleusieurs que je nay pas recues, jen ignore la cause.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0155-0002

Author: Fleury, François Louis Teissèdre de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-16

Fleury to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I am too grateful for the aid you accorded me1 not to express, in this regard, all the sentiments due you. Accept therefore, sir, the homage of a sensitive father whom you have just reassured and who is honored to have a son in the service of a nation of which you give the highest idea. It does not surprise me that he should wish to distinguish himself there if its inhabitants are all like you. Success in earning the esteem of people such as yourself can only foster emulation. I am delighted that my son has already had the good fortune to draw your attention by the reputation that he sought to achieve. He would be most fortunate if his zeal inspired in you a desire to make his acquaintance. If made { 212 } aware of your generosity he will show you, I do not doubt, his appreciation with eagerness. Dare I ask you to continue the aid with which you have honored me thus far? I would be eternally grateful if you could inform me of matters pertaining to my son. Forgive my importunity, but I am a father who has this only child. He was serving in the Rouergue regiment, where he earned the esteem and affection of his officers and comrades. A noble spirit spurred him to join the insurgents, and I yielded to his glorious resolve, but I am sure that you understand that nature laments my sacrifice. Yet, I would feel greatly repaid if my son makes himself useful to your country, and if I am fortunate enough to awaken sufficient interest in you to help me in this matter out of your kind generosity. Be assured, sir, that I and all that belongs to me will always strive to deserve this blessing with the same respect and faithfulness with which I am, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant,
[signed] De Fleury
I would be greatly obliged if, when you write to America, you would be kind enough to ask for news of my son and permit him to send his letters to me with those received by you, for I know that he has written several which, inexplicably, never reached me.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr. De Fleuri 16 June 1778”; in an unknown hand: “Monsr le Fleury St Hipolite 16 June 1778.”
1. See Fleury's letter to JA of 26 April (above) and JA's reply of 20 May (calendared above).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0156

Author: Bingham, William
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-16

William Bingham to the Commissioners

[salute] Honble Gentn

It is a long time Since I have had the honor of receiving any of your Commands, and am the more surprized at it, as a Packet Boat has arrived with Dispatches for the General,1 informing him of a Treaty of Alliance and Commerce being concluded on betwixt the Court of Versailles and the United states of America.
Should this Treaty cause any material Change in the political or commercial System of Affairs; Should it stipulate any new Advantages for the French Commerce; or Should it entitle our Trade to a more free and full Indulgence in their Ports, and a more open Protection from their Flag; Should it determine any new Line of Conduct with regard to Foreign Powers, or the reciprocal Services to be expected of each other; Should any common object employ the Attention of the contracting Parties, which requires their acting in Concert, I humbly think that I should be made acquainted with its Contents, that I might act in { 213 } Conformity thereto, and as far as my Small Influence will reach, cooperate accordingly.
As Agent for the United States of America in the West Indies, every Circumstance that regards the Country that I represent, and that forms a Subject of Controversy, immediately falls under my Notice and Attention;—but how shall I govern myself with any Degree of Prudence or Precision, or according to the Terms that the Treaty prescribes, when I am entirely ignorant of what it contains.
I have taken the liberty of laying these Thoughts before you Gentlemen, from the Impulse of a Motive which you cannot but think commendable from a Sincere desire of obtaining Such Information as is essentially necessary to the Discharge of my Trust with Reputation to myself, and Credit to my Employers. I have the honor to be with unfeigned Respect Honbl. Gentn. Your most obedt. & very hble Servant
[signed] Wm Bingham
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “William Bingham”; in another hand: “June 16. 78.”
1. Comte d'Argout, the governor of Martinique (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 7:288).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0157

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-16

John Bondfield to the Commissioners

[salute] Honble. Sirs

I had the Honor to write you the 13.13 and 14th Instant.1 Mr. Emery receiv'd letters from Capt. Cunningham at Corrunha advising their Arrival at that Port from Cadiz having made four Prizes in the Passage.2 We have it reported the Boston fell in with two privateers, one of eighteen Guns she took, the other got off.3 I cannot trace it so as give implicite faith.
The Jersey Privateers stil continue upon the Coast of Spain they have taken a vessel belonging to Bayenne having Tobacco on board from the Cape and a small schooner with eighty hhds from Edenten.
Letters from Lisbon mention the arrival of a Vessel at that Port from the Western Islands that fell in with the Fleet under Comte D'Estaing near to Tercera4 the 23 May.
Captain de Siau is come down, A suitable vessel is purchased to mount 24 nine pounders two hundred and forty men and a small tender is on the stocks which together are to be compleatly equipt and at Sea by the 20th July. I am with due respect Your honors Most Obedient H Servant
[signed] John Bondfield
{ 214 }
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honble Benj. Franklin. Arthur Lee John Adams Esqr. Commissioners from Congress at Paris”; docketed: “Mr. Bondfield 16 June 1778.”
1. Neither the second letter of the 13th nor that of the 14th has been printed here. For the former, see the first letter of the 13th (note 1, above); for the latter, see Joy Castle to the Commissioners, 22 June (note 2, below).
2. John Emery, a Bilbao merchant, in writing to Arthur Lee from Bordeaux on 10 June (MH-H: Lee Papers), had referred to a letter from La Coruña of 18 May reporting the capture of four prizes by Gustavus Conyngham and the Revenge. Although four prizes were mentioned, only three, all captured on 4 May (the brigs Maria, Dispatch, and Siren), can be identified as likely to have been mentioned in a letter of 18 May (Cruises of Conyngham, ed. Neeser, table facing p. 152).
3. Punctuation for this sentence editorially supplied. The report was erroneous; no mention of such an encounter appears in Samuel Tucker's log for the Boston (MH-H).
4. That is, Terceira, an island in the central Azores.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0158-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-16

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners

[salute] Messieurs

Le feuillet ci-joint a èté écrit à diverses reprises en allant et venant hier et aujourd'hui.1 J'en ai donné connoissance aussi à Mr. Lee à Vienne; excepté de ce que vous verrez renfermé dans des crochets.2
Le g—— F—— ne m'a pas encore rendu le Traité, qu'il m'avoit demandé pour le faire copier. Il le gardera peut-être, jusqu'à-ce que la permission de le remettre à sa destination soit arrivée. Je lui ai demandé S'il l'avoit fait copier; il m'a dit pas encore: ainsi j'attendrai qu'il m'en reparle lui-même.
Je suis avec beaucoup de respect, Messieurs, Votre très humble & très obéissant serviteur