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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 6


Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0264

Author: Moylan, James
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-01

James Moylan to the Commissioners

[salute] Honorable Gentlemen

The Frigate Boston saild this morning with her three prizes. Captain Tucker happend accidentally to have mention'd to me, that he had your orders to take on board some goods here, but that as the wind was fair, he determind not to wait for them. If it is a disapointment to you, which in any manner can be remedied by loading them on a french bottom, I can give you freight for them on reasonable terms, by one that I shall dispatch in all the next month for America.
I am much obliged to Mr. Franklin for having advanced Mr. Ogden1 Eight Guineas, in that gentleman's way hither, which sum I desire my friend in Paris to pay him. I would have acknowledged that favor sooner, if Mr. Ogden had acquainted me therwith before. I have the honor to be respectfully Honorable Gentlemen Your assur'd hi sv
[signed] James Moylan
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honorable Plenipotentiary Ministers of the United States of America"; docketed, not by JA: “James Moylan L'Orient 1 Augt 78.”
1. Very likely Titus Ogden.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0265

Author: Jones, John Paul
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-02

John Paul Jones to the Commissioners

Captain Jones begs the Commissioners to oblige him with Copies of the following letters—or with the liberty of taking Copies of Monseigneur De Sartines letter to the Commissioners respecting Captain Jones, of their Answer to that letter, of the Commissioners letter to Lieutenant Simpson in consequence of Captain Jones' proposition in his favor, and of the paper dated the 4th of July—which being a memorandum of what Captain Jones had to communicate in conversation, he made out but one Copy.1
RC (ViU: Lee Papers); notation on first page: “(Copy)”; docketed in an unknown hand, at the head of the letter: “Augt. 2. 1778”; in two other hands on the reverse: “Captn. Jones to American Plenipos: (2 Augt. 1778.)”; “1778.”
1. For the letter from Sartine and the Commissioners' reply, see Sartine's of 5 July and note 1 (above). For the letter to Simpson of 16 July, which was prompted by those from Jones of 4 and 16 July, see Simpson's letter to the Commissioners of 3 July, note 2 (above). For the “memorandum” and its possible copying, see that document of 4 July, note 1 (above). Jones may have been permitted a copy of the letter to Sartine of 11 July, for such a document is in the Jones Papers (PCC, No. 168, f. 173).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0266-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-03

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners

[salute] Messieurs

J'ai eu l'honneur de vous envoyer copie de la Lettre que j'aiécrite à Mr. Van Berkel Pensionaire d'Amsterdam le 27 du mois passé.1 Il m'a répondu ce qui suit de l'endroit òu il est allé passer l'Eté, peu éloigné d'Amsterdam.

[salute] “Monsieur

Je vous ai bien de l'Obligation, pour la bonté que vous avez eue de m'envoyer la Copie du Traité d'Amitié et de Commerce, conclu entre la France et les Etats-Unis de l'Amérique. Et comme ç'a été à la requisition des Plénipotentiaries des dits Etats, oserois-je vous prier, de témoigner à ces Messieurs la reconnais sance de la Regence d'Amsterdam en général, et la mienne en particulier, pour cette marque de distinction: Que nous espérons, que les circonstances permettront bientôt, de donner des marques de la haute estime que nous avons pour la Nouvelle République, visiblement érigée par le secours de la Providence, pendant que l'Esprit de despotisme est domté; et que nous desirons de faire des liaisons d'Amitié et de Commerce entre les Sujets réciproques, qui Soient durables jusqu'à la fin des Siecles: Que ce qui m'afflige, c'est qu'il n'est pas dans notre pouvoir, de faire agir les autres membres du Gouvernement comme nous voudrions; dans lequel cas la République se seroit déjà comportée d'une autre façon. Mais je suis persuadé que les Américains sont trop sages, pour ne pas en pénétrer les véritables causes, et pour attribuer l'inaction de Leurs Hautes Puissances, jusqu'à-présent, à undéfaut d'estime et d'affection pour les Etats-Unis. Cette République est encore remplie de gens qui pensent comme il faut: Mais il se trouve ici, comme ailleurs, des partisans d'un (certain) systême, qui, soit par leur ignorance et stupidité, soit par la méchanceté de leur coeur, et des vues abominables, empêchent les gens de bien d'avancer autant qu'ils voudroient.
Je m'attends à des nouvelles considérables dans les circonstances actuelles de l'Europe; et je m'impatiente d'en recevoir qui soient de bonne influence sur l'affaire en question.
Je prendrai garde que le susdit Traité n'entre pas en mauvaises mains, et qu'il ne s'en fasse point de Copie avant le temps. Je suis avec beaucoup de considèration Monsieur Votre trèshumble serviteur
[signed] Signé E. F. Van Berckel.”

[addrLine] Adresse: Mr. Dumas
à La Haie

{ 345 }
Cette Lettre a paru très importante à S. E. Mr. l'Ambassadeur de France à qui je la communiquai tout de suite Samedi passé. Il en fit prendre Copie, ainsi que de la mienne du 27, a qui elle répond, pour les envoyer en Cour ce même ordinaire-ci; et il m'a fort recommandé, de ne pas manquer de vous en envoyer aussi une Copie aujourd'hui. Je suis toujours avec le plus respectueux dévouement Messieurs Votre très humble & très obéissant serviteur
[signed] Dumas2
P.S. cette Lettre étoit écrite hier 3e lorsque Mr. l'Ambassadeur de France ma fait chercher après 8 h. de soir, pour m'en communiquer une que Mr. le Chev. Grand avoit reçue le même jour à 10 h. du matin écrite du 3ie. Juillet à 11 heures du soir de Paris par Mr. son frere, pour lui annoncer l'importante nouvelle de la victoire remportée par Mr. le Cte. d'Orvilliers sur Mr. Keppel. Je vous en felicite, Messieurs, de tout mon coeur. Cela vient fort à propos pour nous ici.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0266-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-03

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

[salute] Gentlemen

I had the honor to send you a copy of the letter that I wrote to Mr. van Berckel, Pensionary of Amsterdam, on the 27th of last month.1 Writing from his summer place not far from Amsterdam, he replied with the following:

[salute] “Sir

I am greatly obliged to you for your kindness in sending me the copy of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce concluded by France and the United States of America. And, since it was sent at the request of the American Plenipotentiaries, may I ask you to convey to these gentlemen the gratitude of the Regency of Amsterdam in general, and mine in particular, for this mark of distinction; that we hope that circumstances will soon permit us to give some evidence of the high esteem in which we hold the new republic, clearly founded through the blessing of Providence, while the spirit of despotism is overcome; that we wish to establish mutual ties of amity and commerce between the parties that will endure until the end of time; and that what saddens me is that it is not yet in our power to have the other members of the Government act according to our wishes, for if such were the case, the Republic would already have behaved differently. I am persuaded, however, that the Americans are too wise not to perceive the true reasons for this and to attribute the inaction of Their High Mightinesses, so far, to any lack of esteem or affection for the United States. This Republic is still filled with people who think correctly; but here, as elsewhere, there are partisans of a (certain) system who, either through { 346 } ignorance and stupidity or meanness of heart and abominable points of view, prevent the good people from going as far as they would wish.
I am expecting some important information given the present situation in Europe and am impatiently awaiting for some news that will have a beneficial influence on the matter at hand.
I will make sure that the aforementioned treaty does not get into the wrong hands and that no copy is issued prematurely. I am, with the utmost consideration, sir, your very humble servant
[signed] Signed E. F. Van Berckel”

[addrLine] Adresse: Mr. Dumas
at The Hague

His Excellency the French ambassador, to whom I communicated it without delay last Saturday, deemed this letter very important. He had it copied as well as my letter of the 27th, to which it is an answer, and, today, sent them to the Court by the regular mail. He strongly recommended that I too not fail to send you a copy today. I am, as always, with the most respectful devotion, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas2
P.S. This letter had already been written yesterday, the 3d, when the French ambassador, after 8 in the evening, had me sought out in order to inform me of a letter received that morning at 10 o'clock by Sir [George] Grand. Written by his brother at Paris and dated 31 July at 11 in the evening, it announced the important news of Comte d'Orvilliers' victory over Keppel. I congratulate you, gentlemen, with all my heart. This could not be more timely for us here.
RC (MH-H: Lee Papers); addressed: “à Leurs Excellence Messieurs les Plénipotentiares des Etats-Unis de 1'Amerique à Paris.”
1. See Dumas' letter of 28 July (above).
2. Dumas also enclosed extracts from two ministerial dispatches. The first, from Gibraltar, gave the text of a declaration of the Emperor of Morocco. The second, from London, reported that Pennsylvania had unanimously rejected the conciliatory bills.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0267

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1778-08-04

To James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

Your kind Favor of July 1st. was brought here Yesterday from Bordeaux where Capt. Ayres has arrived, but was not deliver'd me till this day. This is only the second received from you. I have infinite Satisfaction in learning from all parts of America the prosperous Train of our Affairs and the Unanimity and Spirit of the people. Every Vessel brings us fresh Accessions of Ardour to the French and of Depression to the English in the War that is now begun in earnest.
{ 347 }
The Resolutions of Congress upon the conciliatory Bills, the Address to the people, the Ratification of the Treaty, the Answer to the Commissioners, the Presidents Letter, the Message of G[overnor] Livingston and the Letter of Mr. Drayton are read here with an Avidity that would surprise you.1 It is not one of the least Misfortunes, of G. Britain, that she has to contend with so much Eloquence, that there are such painters to exhibit her attrocious Actions to the World and transmit them to posterity, every publication of this kind seems to excite the Ardour of the French Nation and of their Fleets and Armies, as much as if they were Americans.
While American Orators are thus employed in perpetuating the Remembrance of the Injustice and Cruelty of G. Britain towards us, The French Fleet has been giving such a Check to her naval pride as she has not experienced before for many Ages. The Vessel which is to carry this will carry Information of a general Engagement between D'Orvielliers and Keppell which terminated in a disgracefull Flight of the British Fleet. We hope soon to hear of D'Estaing's Success which would demonstrate to the Universe that Britain is no longer Mistress of the Ocean. But the Events of War are always uncertain and a Misfortune may have happen'd to the French Fleet in America. But even if this should be the Case, which I dont believe, still Britain is not Mistress of the Sea, and every day will bring fresh proofs that she is not. The Springs of her Naval power are dried away.
I have hitherto had the Happiness to find that my Pulse beat in exact Unison with those of my Countrymen. I have venturd with some Freedom to give my Opinion what Congress would do with the Conciliatory Bills, with the Commissioners with the Treaty &c. &c. and every packet brings us proceedings of Congress, according in Substance, but executed in a Manner infinitely exceeding my Abilities.
Nothing has given me more Joy than the Universal Disdain that is express'd both in public and private Letters at the Idea of departing from the Treaty and violating the public Faith. This Faith is our American Glory, and it is our Bulwark, it is the only Foundation on which our Union can rest securely, it is the only Support of our Credit both in Finance and Commerce, it is our sole Security for the Assistance of Foreign powers. If the British Court with their Arts could strike it or the Confidence in it we should be undone forever. She would triumph over us after all { 348 } our Toil and Danger. She would subjugate us more intirely than she ever intended. The Idea of Infidelity cannot be treated with too much Resentment or too much Horror. The Man who can think of it with Patience is a Traitor in his Heart, and ought to be execrated as one who adds the deepest Hypocrisy to the blackest Treason.
Is there a sensible Hypocrite in America who can start a Jealousy that Religion may be in danger? from whence can this danger arise? not from France, she claims no inch of Ground upon your Continent, she claims no legislative Authority over you, no negative upon your Laws, No Right of appointing you Bishops, nor of sending you Missionaries. Besides the Spirit for cruisading for Religion is not in France. The Rage of making Proselytes which has existed in former Centuries is no more. There is a Spirit more liberal here in this Respect than I expected to find. Where has been the danger to Religion of the protestant Cantons of Swisserland from an Alliance with France, which has subsisted with entire Harmony for 150 Years or thereabouts. But this Subject is fitter for Ridicule than serious Argument, as nothing can be clearer than that in this enlighten'd tollerant Age at this vast Distance, without a Claim or Colour of Authority, with an express Acknowledgement and Warranty of Sovereignty, this, I had almost said tollerant Nation can never endanger our Religion.2
The longer I live in Europe and the more I consider our Affairs the more important our Alliance with France appears to me. It is a Rock upon which we may safely build, narrow and illiberal prejudices peculiar to John Bull with which I might perhaps have been in some degree infected when I was John Bull, have now no Influence with me. I never was however much of John Bull. I was John Yankee and such I shall live and die.
Is G. Britain to be annihilated? No such thing. A Revolution in her Government may possibly take place, but whether in Favor of Despotism or Republicanism is the Question. The Scarcity of Virtue and even the Semblance of it seems an invincible Obstacle to the latter. But the Annihilation of a Nation never takes place. It depends wholly on herself to determine whether she shall sink down into the Rank of the middling powers of Europe or whether she shall maintain the second place in the Scale, { 349 } if she continues this War the first will be her Fate, if she stops short in her mad Career and makes peace she may still be in the second predicament.3 America will grow with astonishing Rapidity and England France and every other Nation in Europe will be the better for her prosperity. Peace which is her dear Delight will be her Wealth and her Glory, for I cannot see the Seed of a War with any part of the World in future but with Great Britain, and such States as may be weak enough, if any such there should be, to become her Allies.
That such a peace may be speedily concluded and that you and I may return to our Farms to enjoy the Fruits of them, spending our old Age in recounting to our Children the Toils and Dangers we have encounter'd for their Benefit is the Wish of Your Friend & very humble Servant,
[signed] John Adams4
RC (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed by James Warren: “Mr J Adams Lettr. Passy Augt. 78”; by Mercy Warren: “Observations on the French Alliance. On the effects of their religious opinions on America.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. The “Resolutions” were apparently the report adopted on 22 April; the “Address” was that of 8 May concerning the ratification of the Franco-American treaties on 4 May; while the “Answer” and the “Presidents Letter” apparently refer to Henry Laurens' letter to the British Commissioners of 17 June (JCC, 10:374–380; 11:474–481, 457–458, 615). Gov. William Livingston's message, extracts from which were widely printed in America, was that of 29 May to the General Assembly of New Jersey dealing primarily with the ratification of the Franco-American treaties and the treachery of the tories (N.J. Archives, 2d ser., 2:231–237; see also Continental Journal and Weekly Advertiser and. Massachusetts Spy, both of 2 July). It is not clear to which of Drayton's letters JA is referring, but in Affaires de l'Angleterre et de l'Amérique (“Lettres,” vol. 12, cahier 50, p. clxiv–clxv, clxxx–cxci) are two letters by William Henry Drayton, delegate from South Carolina, dealing with the British Peace Commission and dated 17 June. That issue of Affaires also contained other material about the American reception of the British Commissioners, including Henry Laurens' letter of 17 June, extracts from the journals of the congress, and letters from the British Commissioners to the Continental Congress.
2. Warren, impressed with JA's comments on religion and America's future growth, submitted this paragraph and another passage, noted below, to the Boston Gazette, which printed them in a supplement dated 26 Oct., under the heading: “Extract of a Letter from a Gentleman of Distinction in France, to his Friend here.”
3. The remainder of this paragraph was printed in the Boston Gazette.
4. While the Letterbook copy of this letter is in JA's hand, only the signature on the recipient's copy is his. The body of the letter is in another hand, possibly that of Jonathan Loring Austin. This is the first known instance of a personal letter not being entirely in JA's hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0268

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lee, Richard Henry
Date: 1778-08-05

To Richard Henry Lee

[salute] My dear Sir

Your Letter of the 20 June, by Captain Ayrs from Boston had a quick Passage. She Sailed on the 4 July and your Letters were brought to Passi from Bourdeaux, where she arrived, the 3d of August.
I thank you sir, for the kind Expressions of your obliging Anxiety for me. The Uncertainty in which you remained so long, concerning the Fate of the Boston, must have been occasioned by the Capture of, many Vessells by which the News was Sent, together with many Bundles of English Newspapers and Pamphlets.
The prompt Ratifications of the Treaties, as well as the Dignity with which you have received the Letters from the British Commissioners, have given great Satisfaction here. The two Articles, the Compte de Vergennes agreed, when We presented your Instructions to him on that Head, should be given up.
Britain is a Spectacle, as humiliating to the Pride of human Nature, as a sot, conscious of the ruin to which he hastens, dreading its approach; yet unable to resist the Temptation to drink whenever, he sees the Bottle. Proud, malicious and revengefull still, She Seems to be willing to rush upon the thick Bosses of the Buckler,1 rather than deny herself the Gratification of indulging those detestable Passions. I dont believe they have yet given up the charming Idea of seeing you and me drawn through the Streets of London without a hurdle,2 and our Heads hung up for a pleasing shew. I feel for <many> Some worthy Characters there, who must participate [in] the <Evil> Disgrace, without sharing the Guilt: who know and wish for the true Method of extricating the Nation from further Mischief without having the Power to pursue it.
The Confederation, is an important Object, and nothing is more wished for in Europe than its Completion, and the finishing of the Seperate Governments. The Eagerness to complete the American Code, and the Strains of Panegyric in which they Speak and write of those Parts of it which have been published in Europe, are very remarkable, and seem to indicate a general Revolution in the Sentiments of Mankind upon the subject of Government.
Our Currency cannot engage our Attention too much, and the { 351 } more We think of it, the more We shall be convinced that Taxation, deep and broad Taxation, is the only sure and lasting Remedy. Loans in Europe will be very difficult to obtain. The Powers at War, or at the Eve of War, have such Vaste demands, and offer Terms So much better than ours, that nothing but Sheer Benevolence to our Cause, can induce any Person to lend Us. Besides a large foreign Debt would be a greater Evil for what I know than a paper Currency. Moreover, your large Draughts upon the Commissioners here, from various Quarters are like to consume more Money than We can borrow. We shall do however all We can.
I have hitherto had the good Fortune to preserve a good Understanding, with the Gentleman you mention,3 and shall endeavour to continue it. I have long known him to be employed, very ably and usefully for our Country, and his Merits and services, his Integrity and Abilities will induce me to cultivate his Friendship as far as I can consistently with the Public service. I wish I could converse with you freely upon this subject—but it would lead me into too long a detail. It has given me, much Grief, since my Arrival here, to find So little Harmony, among many respectable Characters. So many mutual Jealousies, and So much Distrust of one another. As soon as I perceived it, I determined, neither to quarrell with any Man here because he had quarrelled with another, or because another had quarrelled with him: nor to make any Man my bosom Friend, because he was the bosom Friend of any other. But to attend Solely to the public service and give my Voice, upon all Occasions, as I should think that Justice and Policy required, whether it agreed with the opinion of one Man or another. I cannot be more particular. If I were to take every Mans Word, I should think there was not one disinterested American here because it is very certain there is nobody here that every Body Speaks well of.
There is no doubt to be made, that private Interest has some Influence here upon Some Minds, and that our Mercantile Affairs and Competitions, have occasioned some altercation. But there is I think rather more of mutual reproaches of interested Views and Designs; rather more of Animosity, among the Americans here, than I remember to have seen any where else. I will have nothing to do with, any of these Things. I will have nothing to do with Designs and Endeavours to run down Characters to paint in odious Colours indifferent Actions, to excite or propagate Suspicions, with out Evidence or to foment or entertain { 352 } Prejudices of any Kind, if I can possibly avoid it. I am really ashamed to write to you in this enigmatical manner, which is not natural to me, but I know not how to write clearer at present. I sometimes differ in sentiment from each of my Colleagues and sometimes agree with each: yet I dont trim—at least I think I dont. It has been, and Shall be my Endeavour, to heal, and reconcile, to the Utmost of my Power. Yet I fear that some Gentlemen are gone over to America, heated with Altercation and inflamed with Prejudice. Others still remain here, it is to be feared in the Same Temper of Mind, and probably many Letters are gone over loaded. This things will make you uncomfortable probably, as they have and will make Us.
I really wish however, that you would remove the Cause of this and appoint Consulls, to do the mercantile Business. If you do not, however, I am determined, to go on, giving my Voice clearly and without Equivocation, and at the same Time, without Wrangling or ill Will.
We expect on sunday, the 9. the English Accounts of the Sea fight between D'orvilliere and Keppel which happened on the 27th. Ultimo in which the former obtained the Laurels, whatever Representation the latter may make of it. There are so many Facts, attested by so many respectable Witnesses, that there is no room to doubt, but that the Britons lost the Day. A terrible Loss indeed to a Nation who have the Empire of the Sea to maintain in order to preserve their Existence almost. It is not being Equal to France at sea—they must support a clear and decided Superiority not only to France but to France and Spain in conjunction, not to mention our states, in order to preserve their Rank among the Powers of Europe. My tenderest Respects, to all Good Men. I am, dear sir, affectionately yours.
1. That is, a small round shield often used to catch the blow of an attacker rather than ward it off (OED) .
2. A frame on which traitors were dragged (same).
3. Arthur Lee.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0269

Author: Jones, John Paul
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-06

John Paul Jones to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

By a resolve of Congress1 the Seamen who engaged to Serve in the Ranger under my Command were furnished Individually with forty Dollars, the Landsmen with Twenty Dollars Advance { 353 } in Continental Bills at the time of Entry. They have Also been supplyed with Slops from time to time to a considerable Amount. And they received a small Advance in Cash from my hands at Nantes last Winter.
I conceive it to be my Duty to represent these circumstances to you, And I naturally hope that you will Order recipts to be given to me for my indemnification, And that my Stores, and furniture &ca. be delivered up.
I beg you to recommend the Men who landed with me at Whitehaven to the Bounty of Congress Agreeable to your promise, and I have the Honor to be with Sentiments of due Esteem & Respect Gentlemen Your very Obliged very Obedient very humble Servant,
[signed] Jno P Jones
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed, not by JA: “Capt Jones 6 August.”
1. The resolution of 29 March 1777, which applied to all men entering the Continental service (JCC, 7:207).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0270

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

To Samuel Adams

[salute] My dear Sir

I had a few days ago the Pleasure of your Letter of the 21. of June, which is the only one as yet received. I have written Several1 to you, some of which I fear have miscarried.
You mention a Difference of Sentiment, among the Commissioners before my Arrival, concerning a particular Gentleman,2 and desire me to investigate the Grounds of it. If I should take the Pains, I might write you, a few sheets of Tittle tattle, which would not be entertaining to read, nor pleasant to reflect on, or afford any Satisfaction in the End. The Gentleman you mention, whom I never Saw, is allowed to have Abilities, and he has several Friends who Speak of him in Warm terms of Friendship. But I dont know of any here who suspect him of Infidelity to our Cause, or Duplicity in it. Want of Confidence, is rather a loose Expression, and does not inform Us at all of the Grounds. As I have understood, there was Some Misunderstanding between your Correspondent and him, about a Journey to Germany. And afterwards another Misunderstanding between him and the two other Gentlemen3 after the Recommendations were obtained that you have seen, about Carrying to America, the Treaty which Mr. Simeon Deane carried.
But there would be no End to Enquiries into the Grounds of { 354 } little Miffs that arise here. A Failure in a punctual Return of a Visit—a Neglect to answer a Letter, whether it is of any Consequence, or not has in Some Instances been enough to make a Misunderstanding.
The Commissioners are treated with great Freedom, here— one Gentleman writes to them from Spain4 and another from Nants,5 in a Strain that is rather offensive—another6 is very angry because the Commissioners, dont let him know of a good safe Opportunity to go to America, without Enquiring whether there is Reason or not for keeping it secret. And others take fire and write in great Wrath, if they are Modestly asked to render an Account of Monies they have received, by order of the Commissioners from their Banker. And from the Appearances of Things here I expect that America will be filled with verbal Relations and private Letters full of Complaints against one and another. This will be uncomfortable to you, and I am very sorry for it, without being able in the least degree to help it.
Between you and me, I have a difficult Task. I am between two Gentlemen of opposite Tempers. The one may be too easy and good natured upon some occasions—the other too rigid, and Severe upon some occasions. The one may perhaps overlook an Instance of Roguery, from Inadvertence and too much Confidence—the other may mistake an Instance, of Integrity for its opposite, in a very honest Man, by too much Impatience and diffidence. Yet both may be and I believe are honest Men, and devoted Friends to their Country. But this is an ugly situation for me who do not abound in Philosophy, and who cannot and will not trim. The Consequence of it may very probably be that I may have the entire Confidence of neither. Yet I have hitherto lived in friendship with both.
The best Rule in Congress, I should think would be to listen to no Relations that are not made in Writing and supported by affidavit, and to no private Letters, that are not laid before Congress—nor then any further than to <summon> call the Person charged to Account, give him Time to answer in Person or by Letter at least.
The British Flag has been found to be far from omnipotent in Europe, and I hope in America before now. Keppel has certainly been obliged to fly before D'orvilliere—but We shall hear the other side of the Question in the London Papers tomorrow or next day. I beg of you to write me as often as you can and believe me your Frd.
{ 355 }
P.S. The Abbey Chalut,7 a very respectable Character requests me to write a request to you to inquire concerning Monsieur Mornay de Persey a Gentlemen de Langres, heretofore Lt. of Infanterie in the french Regiment of [Vexin?], who about 8 Months ago passed to America, to offer his services to the States. His Father and Family are in great Anxiety, to hear from him.
Fleurys Father has also written to me in great distress for his Son, having never received a Line from him since he left France. You will gratify your Philanthropy and oblige me, if you can send any News of Either.
1. Two letters to Samuel Adams since JA's arrival in Europe are extant; these are dated 21 May (calendared above, RC, NN: George Bancroft Coll.) and 28 July (above, LbC, Adams Papers). The latter may not have been received since no recipient's copy has been found.
2. That is, William Carmichael, about whom Arthur Lee, referred to later in the paragraph as “your Correspondent,” had expressed reservations. See Samuel Adams' letter to JA of 21 June, note 2 (above).
3. Presumably Benjamin Franklin and Silas Deane.
4. Probably William Hodge; see his letter of 10 July to the Commissioners (above).
5. Probably John Ross; see the Commissioners' letter to him of 3 May (calendared above).
6. Probably Sir James Jay, who in a letter to the Commissioners of 14 April had expressed displeasure at not being permitted to take passage on the vessel carrying Silas Deane and Conrad Alexandre Gérard to America (PPAmP: Franklin Papers).
7. For the Abbé Chalut, who became a friend of the Adamses in France, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:317, and Adams Family Correspondence, 3:100. The person about whom he asked JA to enquire remains unidentified.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0271

Author: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-07

From Arthur Lee

Mr. Lee's compliments to Mr. Adams. Mr. Lee has over and over again written to Mr. Williams that the Letters shoud be delivered to him whenever he chose to call, At Mr. Lee's house and receive them, which he has refused in very indecent terms. It is this and this only that has prevented him from having them, for <I have> Mr. Lee has constantly left them out to be delivered to him when <I> He went out <myself> himself nor has he furnished any one of those things that <I have> Mr. Lee has required of him for near two months relative to the public accounts. He seems to <me> him to be making experiments how much he can provoke <me> him by every impertinence he can devise.1
{ 356 }
1. Lee's anger was probably aroused by Jonathan Williams' letter to Lee of 6 Aug., which climaxed an increasingly bitter correspondence over Williams' accounts (see Williams to Lee of 31 July; 5 [4], 6 Aug.; and Lee to Williams of 30 July and 5 Aug.; all ViU: Lee Papers).
Lee held a number of letters from Silas Deane to Williams regarding his conduct as the American commercial agent at Nantes. According to Williams, he had originally sent those letters to JA, who had then, without Williams' knowledge, given them to Lee. Although Lee implies that Williams had made no effort to regain the letters, Lee had in fact refused to deliver them when Williams had sent his servant for them on 5 Aug.
Another source of conflict between the two men was Williams' refusal to surrender his vouchers for expenditures made at Nantes, for which Lee claimed he had been waiting “for near two months.” The refusal, according to Williams, came from his fear that they might share the fate of the letters already in Lee's possession and thus make impossible any defense against such charges as might be leveled at him.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0272

Author: MacCreery, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-09

From William MacCreery

[salute] Dear Sir

I this day received the Letter which you did me the Honor to Write me under the 31st. Ultimo. Your other Letter to me was still longer on the way1 —which I mention to shew you that from some cause of which you may be ignorant, they do not come in the regular course of the Post.
I return you compliments of congratulation on the late Naval affair between the French and English Fleets—in my expectations of which, I have been much disapointed. It seems as yet quite mysterious to me—but expect soon to know more clearly how too such Fleets met and parted without having done each other more injury. Certainly Kepple must have been affraid to risk a general Battle, in which a defeat must have proved fatal to his Nation.
We have Accounts here of Byrons Fleet having been dispersed by a Gale of Wind and four of his Capital Ships put back. If this be true, and it gains Credit here—The Count DeStaing need fear nothing, and we may Shortly have a Clear Coast at home.
I entirely coincide with you in opinion respecting visits and Letters of Compliment from the Commissioners. Certainly they must be highly to blame If they were to occupy their time in such a manner. No Man can reasonably expect any advice or intelligence from them, except what may concern the whole—for Instance—shou'd they hear of any particular Naval Armament going from England, and where they were boun'd—it wou'd be { 357 } well enough to inform our Merchants in the different Ports, that they might regulate the Sailing of their Vessels accordingly. This I have no doubt they woud readily do. But by the by—I find there are many very willing to find fault—who perhaps cou'd not mend Matters.
What I intended saying to you, is chiefly concerning a matter which affects—or at least will hereafter much affect, the Trade of America to this place. I mean to France. It is respecting our Sea-men wherein almost every Vessel meets with nearly the same trouble and difficulty. And I hardly know a Captain that does not go away disgusted, and cursing the place. There are in almost every Port a set of Petifoging fellows who urge Sea-men to go to Law for their Wages—and no Articles, however signed or executed in America, are binding here. The Vessel is allways cast2 because supposed to be the ablest to pay and the wages being large in America from the present scarcity of Men, and value of the Paper Currency, it comes exceedingly heavey to pay it here at the Par of Exchange. Besides, we are allways obliged in such case, to Ship other Hands in their Room, which comes so heavey—that few Voyages can bear it. I speak feelingly on this Subject, for it has caused me much trouble and expence. I know not how to remedy this Evil—unless our Agent, or Consul at each Port was vested with a Power to decide in such matters, without having recource to the civil Power of this Country— where, being commonly ignorant of the Language and Laws, we are allway obliged to confide in People, who scarce understand what justice means. The French themselves ought to be very carefull to make matters easy to us here if they value our Trade. For although it be the Love of Gain which generaly induce one People to Trade with another—if they do not find as much liberty and ease in pursuing it at one place, as at another—they will ever prefer the least troublesome and less expensive—perhaps it may be only necessity which oblige some People at present to labour under such difficulties. There is also other grievances—amongst them the Tide waiters3 here, who are some times insufferable.
They insult People at pleasure, and are themselves the sole Arbiters of all disputes. In a late Frecas between them and some of our People, wherein the latter were exceedinly Maltreated, complaint was made to the Kings Procureur who lamented much that it did not come under his cognizance—as he wish'd much to { 358 } Chastize, if not annihilate a band of miscreants, who are become a pest to Trade and society.
I assure you, Sir, That it is my opinion, and I give it to you freely that if our Trade here meets with so much embarrassment—all the Parchment in France will not hold it. It wou'd be much better for us to pay even high Port charges, and meet none of these difficulties—than to have them and pay none.
About 10 or 12 Merchant Ships under Convoy of the Providence and Boston and a 32 Gun French Frigate, Sail'd Yesterday Morning at 3 oClock from the Mouth of this River—both our Frigates are well Man'd.
As my Vessels are now gone, I purpose returning in a few days to Bordeaux.
A Ship from Boston is arrived here. She left it the 8th. July— but brings no News of any Sort—not even a Letter nor Newspaper for any American Whatever. Indeed French Vessels rarely do—and some People dont scruple saying that they are fond of suppressing Letters.
A Letter dated in Mary Land the 18 May, forwarded to me 'tother day from Bordeaux—informs me that Pensylvania had, in her Act made to Pardon certain Offenders, excepted Jo: Galloway, S. Shoemaker, the Allens, Parson Duché4 and several others. Mary Land had not excepted any by name, but it was expected that the Tories wou'd be pretty severely handled. I am with the greatest Respect Dear Sir Your very Obedient Servt.
[signed] Will M.Creery
P.S.I have got a number of Contl. Loan office Certificates on which a Years Interest is due. Pray is the Interest on them Payable in France?
1. Probably that of 10 July (calendared above).
2. That is, an impost or charge made against a vessel (OED).
3. A customs officer (same).
4. These were Joseph Galloway, Samuel Shoemaker, and Rev. Jacob Duché. The “Aliens” were William, former Chief Justice of Pennsylvania, and his sons, William and Andrew. Two other sons, John and James, had died before the date of the Maryland letter (Sabine, Loyalists, 1:157–159, 388–391, 453–457; 2:301–302).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0273

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1778-08-09 - 1778-11-12

The Commissioners' Accounts with Ferdinand Grand

Doit Compte courant des Etats Unis par Messieurs Franklin, Lee, et Adams chez Fd. Grand

1778               Debit   Credit  
  Payé a Monsr. Ar: Lee sur reçu   {   le 17 Juin 1200.   }       6000.            
  le 9 Juillet 4800.                
Aoust 9   Pour Solde du dernier Compte         25995.   5.   6  
9   Acceptations de Mr. Franklin aux traittes de Hy. Laurens de Philadelphie du 14 9bre. a 30 Jours de vue ordre Ganot 887., Espencers 900., 1617., de la Balan 900.   4304.            
11   Mandats de Mrs. Franklin Lee et Adams de ce Jour ordre B. Chew 360., a Wm. Tryon 360., E. Hinman 720   14401            
14   idem de Mrs. Franklin Lee et Adams ordre E. Barnes et E Ledger 10 Louis a chaque   480.            
17   Mandat de Mr. Adams a J. L. Austin   720.            
19   idem de Mr. Adams a Bureau   360.            
20   idem de Mrs. Franklin Lee et Adams a J. Murphy   240.            
24   Acceptation de Mr. Franklin a une traitte de Horneca Fizeaux & ce. du 20 Aoust a vue sur B. Franklin   435.   7.          
24   Acceptation, de Mr. Francklin a une traitte de Horneca fizeaux & ce. du 20 Aoust a vue, sur Mrs. Les Deputes   646.   17.   3        
26   Mandat de Mrs. Francklin et Adams a Th: Barnes   120.            
27   idem de Mr. Adams a Hill   319.   152          
30   idem de Mr. Francklin a Hill   500.            
{ 360 } | view
7bre. 1   Acceptation de Mr. Francklin a une traitte de Horneca fizeaux & ce. du 27 Aoust a vue sur B. Franklin   115.   2.   9        
3   Payé a Mr. Arthur Lee sur reçu   4800.            
4   Mandats de Mrs. Francklin et Adams a Rolandeau 192. a J. Channing, J. Spencer, Wm. Daniel, D. Lymes, J. Fulford, Wm. Knap, D. Thomas, T. Choat 10 Louis chaque   2112.            
7   Mandats de Mrs. Lee et Adams a J. Fulford et J. Alsburn   480.            
9   Acceptations de Mrs. Francklin et Lee a traittes de J. Bonfield du 30 May a 3 uso. sur Mrs. Franklin Lee et Adams.   82684.   10.          
11   Acceptation de Mr. Francklin a une traitte de hy. Laurens du 1er. Janvier a 30 Jours de vue sur les Deputes   900.            
12   Mandats de Mrs. Francklin, Lee, et Adams a Gilbank 360., J. Gales 240., G. Sledan 192., B. Wheland 192   984.            
13   Mandat de Mr. Adams ordre Hill   236.            
17   Mandats de Mrs. Francklin Lee et Adams ordre Capn. Dick, P. Richard, J Stirgis, C. Bulkeley 480. chaque, a Mon. Radford, J. Breton 360. chaque et C. Smith 240.   2880.            
17   idem de Mrs. Franklin et Adams, ordre B. Franklin3 120., et D: Thomas 192.   312.            
17   Mandat de Mr. Adams ordre Wm. T. Franck   229.   6.   9.        
19   Acceptations de Mrs. Francklin a traitte de Hy. Laurens a 30 Jours de vue, ordre Fouquet 287., 573., 600   1460.            
22   Mandat de Mrs. Franklin et Adams a P. Hancock 600. a Ballioure4 1259.10.   1859.   10          
{ 361 } | view
24   do. de Mrs. Franklin Lee et Adams a J. L. Austin L2400. a S. Miles, P. Carter 288.   2688.            
26   Payé a Mr. Arthur Lee sur reçu   4800.            
26   Acceptation de Mr. Francklin a traittes de hy. Laurens du 14 9bre. a 30 Jours de vue ordre Dubourg 450. a Loyauté 717   1167.            
30   Mandats de Mrs. Francklin et Adams a J. Whelch 480. a Wm. Hamilton 360.   840.            
8bre. 1   Mandat de Mrs. Franklin et Adams, ord. Mr. Adams   6000.            
8   Acceptation de Mr. Francklin a une traitte de Mrs. Horneca fizeaux &ce. du 17 7bre. a vue, sur moy même   574.   17.          
8   Acceptation de Mr. Franklin a traitte de D. Walsh d'Amsterdam du 22 Juillet a vue   176.            
10   Acceptation de Mr. Franklin a une traitte de Welch et Hamilton a Bruxelles du 21 7bre. a vue, sur moy   192.            
17   Acceptation de Mr. J. Adams a traitte sur lui de J. Bondfield du 23 7bre. a 15 Jours de date   888.   12.          
17   Acceptations de Mrs. Franklin et Lee a traittes de J. Bonfield du 23 7bre. a 15 Jours de date 1404., 2952. 7.   4356.   7.          
19   Mandat de Mr. Francklin a Hill   701.   4.          
24   Payé a Mr. Franklin   2400.            
24   Acceptation de Mrs. Francklin a traitte de J. Bonfield du 29 7bre. a 15 Jours de date, sur Mrs. Franklin Lee et Adams   7407.            
31   Payé a Mrs. Francklin et Adams sur reçu   4800.            
31   Acceptation de Mrs. Franklin Lee et Adams a traitte de Heze. Ford du 7 Juillet ordre J. Ross 240. [120] et Maury 144.   264.            
{ 362 } | view
9bre. 3   Acceptation de Mr. Franklin a traitte de C. G. F. Dumas de'Amsterdam du 21 7bre. a Uso sur les Deputés.   2400.            
  Payé a Mr. Adams sur reçu de 27 courant   684.   17.   6        
  Mandats de Mrs. Franklin Lee et Adams du 3 8bre a J. Granis, J. Woodward, T. Rogers, E. Downer, C. Sterry, R. Ewart du 9 8bre. a J. [S] Barnes, B. [R] Grinnel du 17 do. a Collas, du 19 do. a C. Barnes, J. Barnes, du 23 a Wm. Spencer du 26 a Whitmarsh du 6 9bre. a J. Lee a G. Rolls, a J. Revil 240. a chaque du 17 8bre. a Hy. Moore 360.5 a A. Kirk 288.   4488.            
10   Reçu de Messrs. Franklin Lee et Adams   L370940.   17.   11   }         750000.      
  a reçevoir des dits le 30 9bre.   379059.   2.   1            
11   Acceptations de Mr. Franklin Lee et Adams a traittes de Monthieu du 9 8bre au 10 9bre   150713.            
11   Acceptation de Mr. Franklin a une traitte de Bingham de la Martinique a 3 Mois de vue   10000.            
11   de même, datée du 16 Juillet.   1682.   11.   8        
11   Traitte de hy. Laurens du 14 Juin a 30 Jours de vue acceptée par.   7792.            
  Payé a Mr. Arthur Lee sur reçu du 27 8bre.   2400.            
12   Commission sur L750000 a /12; per cent   3750.            
  Ports de Lettres, Paquets Commissionaires &ce   482.   12.          
  Pour Solde il revient a ces Messieurs   439728.   15.   7        
              L775995.   5.   6   L775995.   5.   66  
Ainsi arreté double sauf erreurs ou Ommissions
[signed] Grand
{ 363 }
RC (MH-H: Lee Papers); notation on the reverse of the 1st page: “No. 5.” Also on that page is a column of figures by Arthur Lee listing the sums received from Ferdinand Grand that are given in this account, together with an entry for 16,806 livres received from Dr. Sollier, a Paris banker. These sums, added to Lee's previous total given in the account of 30 June (above), indicate that he had received 100,525.5.6 livres since his arrival in France in 1777. See also the descriptive note for the accounts of 30 March (above).
1. This entry and those for 20, 26 Aug.; 4, 7, 12, 17 (2), 22, 24, 30 Sept.; 8, 10 Oct.; and 3 Nov. are for payments made to American prisoners.
2. A Paris tailor; see Household Accounts, [9 April] (above).
3. Apparently an error; the Foreign Ledgers, Public Agents in Europe, 1776–1787 (DNA: RG 39, Microfilm, Reel 1, f. 90), indicate that the payment of 120 livres was to Lewis Brethe.
4. According to the Foreign Ledgers (same), this was Ballier, a wine merchant.
5. The Foreign Ledgers (same, f. 91) indicate that this payment was to Henry and John Moore.
6. Because of the error noted in previous accounts the total should be 775,995.10.6 livres.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0274

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jones, John Paul
Date: 1778-08-10

Benjamin Franklin and John Adams to John Paul Jones

[salute] Sir

We do not think ourselves authorized to give any Orders concerning the Deductions to be made from the Seamen's Price1 money or Wages, of what was advanced to them. The Resolutions of Congress must be complied with as to your Stores and Furniture, we suppose there can be no Difficulty, but that M. Simpson will as he ought to deliver you your private Property upon Request.
We are not informed particularly what Receipts for your Indemnification you desire, and therefore we are not able to give any Advice concerning them. But we hope that all proper Receipts will be given you, such as you have a Right to expect, readily upon Request.
We shall recommend the Men who Landed with you at White haven to the Favour of Congress, because we think they have merited it; but least our Recommendation Should miscarry, we wish you to recommend them yourself and inclose in your Letter an extract of this Paragraph of ours.2 As these People belonging to the Ranger have done themselves so much Honour in their expedition under your Command, perhaps Congress would approve of the Deductions being made from their Wages to be paid in America that the Men may have their Price Money here.
We have received a Letter concerning Some Price Plate3 deposited by you in the Hands of a Gentleman who waits your { 364 } Orders to deliver it, which we suppose, as you are upon the Spot, you will give of Course. We are Sir, with all due Respect Your most obedient and very humble Servants
[signed] B. Franklin
[signed] John Adams4
RC (PCC, No. 168, f. 183–186); docketed: “from The American Plenipotentiaries Passy Passy Augt. 10th. 1778 Reed. Brest Augt. 17th. 1778 No.2.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. That is, “Prize money.” “Price” was an obsolete form of “prize” even in 1778 (OED). JA used the word “prize” in his Letterbook copy.
2. Jones wrote to the Marine Committee on 18 Aug. (Cal. Jones Manuscripts, p. 46).
3. Possibly the plate seized when Jones raided Lord Selkirk's mansion on St. Mary's Isle during the Ranger's expedition in April. Jones ultimately returned the plate to Lord Selkirk after paying out of his own pocket the prize shares accruing to his officers and men from its capture (Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 145–146,154–155).
4. An explanation of why this letter was not signed by all three Commissioners was inserted by JA at the bottom of his Letterbook copy: “Signed by F. and A. Lee being at Versailles, and the opportunity pressing.”

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0275-0001

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-10

Sartine to the Commissioners

Depuis la letter, que j'ai eu l'honneur de vous écrire, Messieurs le 29 du mois dernier, le Commissaire des classes a Nantes m'a marqué que l'agent des Etats unis lui avoit remis des Prisonniers Anglois qu'il avoit fait enfermer au Chateau ou l'agent pourvoit a leur Subsistance.
M. de la Porte, intendant a Brest m'a egalement ecrit au Sujet d'une prise du corsaire americain le Ranger dont le chargement deperit faute d'etre vendu; ce qui provient, Sans doute, des difficultes relatives a la perception des Droits, et a l'introduction de certaines especes de Merchandizes prohibées lorsquelles viennent d'Angleterre.
J'attends votre Reponse pour terminer un Arrangement1 qui m'a paru egalement avantageux aux deux nations. J'ay l'honneur d'etre, avec un Sincere Attachment Messieurs, Votre tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur
[signed] De Sartine

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0275-0002

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-10

Sartine to the Commissioners: A Translation

Since the letter that I had the honor to write you on the 29th of last month, the Commissionaire des Classes at Nantes has informed me that the agent of the United States has entrusted him with some British prisoners whom he had confined in the castle, the agent providing for their subsistence there.
{ 365 }
Mr. de La Porte, Intendant at Brest, has also written me concerning a prize taken by the American privateer, the Ranger, the cargo of which is spoiling from not being sold. Without a doubt this is due to the difficulties regarding the collection of duties and the introduction of certain kinds of goods which are prohibited when coming from England.
I await your reply in order to conclude an agreement1 that seems to me to be equally advantageous to both nations. I have the honor to be, with sincere attachment, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] De Sartine
1. That is, Sartine's proposed regulations for the sale of prizes and disposal of prisoners enclosed in his letter to the Commissioners of 29 July (calendared above).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0276

Author: Dobrée, Peter Frederick
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-11

Peter Frederick Dobrée to the Commissioners

[salute] Honourable Gentlemen

My Father in law has just now comunicated me the Honble. Mr. Lee's Letter of the 4 Instant which he received Yesterday, together with sundry extracts which would greatly alarm me, was not I consious of my Innocence.1 I will not take too much upon those precious moments which you so laudably dedicate to your Country, to refute the false accusations contained in the anonimous Letter, but beg you would judge whether or not a Merchant happy in his situation in life and free from any kind of conscern in Vessells as is my Father would for the sake of others send his only Son as a Spy in so well an administered a Kingdom as is France And whether it is probable, that I who have my Establishment here, my Wife, Child and Relations would sacrifice my all to give advices to People who are almost Stangers to me, as I was sent very Young to School in England, and at my return staid but a very short time at Guernsey before I came here, where I have now been three Years—as to Jersey I have laid there one night by stress of Weather and hardly know any body in that Island. Is it possible that I should have carried on the treachery I am accused of, so long unpunished—is it not natural that if I found success in this dirty business that my Relations aught to have reaped the benefit whereas none of them have armed any Privatiers as you may yourselves learn if you would be indulgent enough to make inquiries. The Chevaillier de la Poterie and the Chevaillier de Villevocque2 arrived Yesterday from thence and gone of[f] this morning for Paris they have been recommended to you by Mr. Schweighauser and are very proper { 366 } Persons to question on that subject. You know Honourable Gentlemen what it is to be falsely accused and that at my time in life a stain on ones Reputation is of the greatest consequence, I must then earnestly entreat you to discover me the author of that anonimous Letter, (which to my sorrow has been so easily believed by Monsieur Le Ray de Chaumont,) as I am determined not to leave one Stone unturned 'till I have found the inventor of such Calumnies for neither my life or fortune will ever put a stop to my inquiries.
My Worthy Father in law's nomination to the Agentcy (altho' he never asked it) has created him a number of deceitfull Ennemies who through the vilest Jealousy have since constantly endeavoured to hurt him, but his well established reputation and his unstained upright Character have set him above all their Machinations and having none to find but the Place of my birth that one has been attended to. The Continual hurry of Business and above all my Father in law's Rheumatism hinders my setting off for Paris, nevertheless I would do it imediately was I persuaded that it might help to set things in their true light. If you indulge me with an answer3 be obliging enough to give me your much valued opinion and if so I will gladly and instantly take Horse to undergo any examination and if culpable ask to be dealt with with the utmost severity but if on the contrary I shall insist upon a publick Reparation of Honour from the Wretch who has so scandalously slandered mine, fully persuaded how ready you are to lend your helping hand to injured Innocence. I have the honor to be with the utmost veneration and respect Honourable Gentlemen Your most humble most obedient most devoted Servant,
[signed] Peter Frederick Dobrée
RC (MH-H: Lee Papers); docketed, not by JA: “Dobrée to the Commisrs. on Chaumonts accusation.”
1. Dobrée, a native of Guernsey, was the son-in-law as well as partner of J. D. Schweighauser, the American commercial agent at Nantes. An anonymous letter enclosed in one from Jacques Donatien Le Ray de Chaumont to Benjamin Franklin of 5 July charged that Dobrée was an English spy, sending information on vessels bound for America to his father on Guernsey so that they might be intercepted by privateers fitted out there, some reportedly by Dobrée's father. It also questioned Schweighauser's competence and William Lee's judgment in appointing Schweighauser, considering Dobrée's background. Arthur Lee, perhaps because of the reference to his brother, was given Chaumont's letter and enclosure and opened a correspondence with him on the matter. Lee demanded the informer's name and additional proof, while Chaumont restated the charges and upheld the veracity of their author. Lee's letter to Schweighauser of 4 Aug. has not been found, but it provoked in its recipient the same outrage as in Dobrée and brought a letter to Lee, also on { 367 } 11 Aug., in which Schweighauser gave biographical information on Dobrée and strongly defended himself and his son-in-law (this and the other letters mentioned above, including Arthur Lee to Chaumont, 12, 22 July; Chaumont to Lee, 13, 27 July, are in MH-H: Lee Papers). Although the charges were serious in view of Chaumont's close relations with the Commissioners, particularly Franklin, and the successes of the Guernsey privateers, apparently nothing came of them. It is worthy of note, however, that despite Dobrée's and Schweighauser's denial that the elder Dobrée had any interest in privateers, Robert Niles wrote to the Commissioners on 22 Jan. 1779 (PPAmP: Franklin Papers) that his vessel had been captured by a Guernsey privateer owned in part by Dobrée's father.
2. Both men are also mentioned in Schweighauser's letter of 11 Aug., but there is no indication that the Commissioners ever consulted them.
3. No answer from the Commissioners has been found. Dobrée wrote a second letter to the Commissioners on 20 Aug. that contained essentially the same plea (PPAmP: Franklin Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0277

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Bradford, John
Date: 1778-08-12

To John Bradford

[salute] Sir

Your favour of 17 June is before me. I thank you, sir for your kind Congratulations on my safe arrival at Paris.
Before this arrives you will have learn'd that War is commenced in Earnest between France and England. Never was a Nation in higher Spirits than the French, or lower than the English. The Events of War, it is true are always uncertain, but there have been few Conjunctions in human affairs, when Nations have had more promising Prospects, than the two Allies have at present. Poor old England is the Cry, at present on board the British fleet, as well as in the City of London, and well it may be. I am &c.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0278

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cooper, Samuel
Date: 1778-08-12

To Samuel Cooper

[salute] My dear sir

Your kind favour of July 1st. is before me, and I feel myself much obliged to you for it, as well as for your generous Endeavours, to console my dear Mrs. Adams under her anxiety. Our Ennemies discover the Meanness of their Souls in nothing more than in the low Lyes they make and propagate merely to distress, private Families. A very great Number, have been fabricated, Simply to afflict that Lady and her Children, at least I never could divine any other <Cause> Motive.1
I have Sent, by several late opportunities, Such particular Accounts of the State of Affairs here, that I can transmit you { 368 } nothing new at this Time, except that some french Men of War at Toulon have made Som valuable English Prizes, that the Brest fleet is again put out, and that the Spaniards, by their Activity and Expence in arming at sea, are thought by the World in general to be giving unequivocal Proofs of their Intentions: altho their Court is so <deeply> profoundly secret, that nobody can Say from any Thing that comes directly from them, what they mean.
That the End of our Contest will be glorious, I have no doubt, and I wish with all my Heart it may Speedily arrive: Yet I cannot Say I am very confident it will be very Speedy. If there was <the least> Reason <in the World>, to believe that the Councils of the British Court would be wise, We might depend upon Peace, but We know that the very Reverse of what they ought to think of, they will do.
Keppell has been Sadly mauled. Byrons Fleet is probably ruined by sickness and by Tempest, and God grant that D'Estang may have captivated How. Yet we are very anxious for News from D'Estaing. He sailed through the straights the Sixteenth of May, and We have no Intelligence of him, Since. This Nation is now very anxious and impatient to hear from him. I must refer you to the public Papers, which will go by this Conveyance, and wish you a good Night. Yours most Sincerely
1. With the exception of the final sentence, the remainder of this letter was printed in the Independent Chronicle for 7 Jan. 1779.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0279

Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Date: 1778-08-13

Arthur Lee and John Adams to Sartine

Your Excellency s Letter of the Twenty ninth of July, inclosing a Plan for a System of Regulations for Prizes and Prisoners, We had the Honour of receiving in due Time, and are very Sorry it has remained, so long unanswered.
In general We are of opinion that the Regulations are very good, but We beg leave to lay before your Excellency the following observations.
Upon the second Article We observe that the Extensive Jurisdictions of the Judges of Admiralty in America, which, considering the local and other Circumstances of that Country, cannot easily be contracted, will probably render this Regulation impracticable in America. In France, it will as far as We are able to { 369 } judge of it, be very practicable, and consequently beneficial: But We Submit to your Excellencys Consideration, whether it would not be better, in America, after the Words “les dites Juges” to add, or the Register of the Court of Admiralty, or Some other Person authorized by the Judge. The Jurisdictions of the Courts of Admiralty, in America, extending for some hundreds of Miles, this Regulation would be subject to great Delays and other Inconveniences, if it was confined to the Judge. The fourth Article appears to be subject to the Same Inconveniences, and therefore to require the same Amendment.1
Upon the fourteenth Article, We beg leave to submit to your Excellencys Consideration, whether the heavy Duties upon British Merchandises and Manifactures if those are to be paid upon Prise Goods, will not opperate as a great Discouragement to the Sale of Prizes, made by American Cruisers, and whether it would be consistent with his Majestys Interest, to permit Merchandises and Manufactures taken in prizes2 made by Americans to be stored, in his Majestys Warehouses if you please, untill they can be exported to America, and without being subject to Duties.
We know not the Expence that will attend these Regulations and Procedures, in the Courts of this Kingdom: but as the Fees of office in America, are very moderate, and our People have been accustomed to such only: We submit to your Excellency, whether it will not be necessary to state and establish the Fees here, and make the Establishment, so far public, that Americans may be able to inform themselves. <We submit however>
As We are not well instructed in the Laws of this Kingdom, or in the Course of the Courts of Admiralty here, it is very possible, that some Inconveniences may arise in the Practice upon these Regulations, which We do not at present foresee. If they should, We shall beg leave to represent them to your Excellency, and to request his Majesty to make the necessary alterations.3
We submit these observations to your Excellencys Superiour Wisdom, and <are> have the Honour to be4 with sentiments of the most perfect Respect, your Excellencys, most obedient and most humble servants.5
LbC (Adams Papers); probably a draft jointly composed by JA and Arthur Lee, judging from deletions, interlineations, and a notation at the bottom of the letter (all noted below).
{ 370 }
1. Art. 2 concerned the entry of a prize into port without the intention of selling it there, and Art. 4 dealt with the sale of a prize in the port into which it was taken.
2. The preceding three words were interlined.
3. For changes made by Sartine in Arts. 2 and 14 in response to the Commissioners' request, see his letter of 29 July (calendared above) and reference there, as well as his reply of 16 Aug. (below).
4. The preceding five words were interlined.
5. A notation at the bottom of the letter explains why Franklin was not a signer: “Dr. F. concurs with us in these sentiments but as he is absent we are obliged to send the letter without his signature.”

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0280

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Laurens, Henry
Date: 1778-08-14

To the President of the Congress

[salute] Sir

I have the Honour to inclose to Congress a few of the public Papers, which contain all the News that is passing. As it is uncertain by what Vessell the Gentleman will go who takes this, the Conveyance is too precarious, to send any Thing which ought not to be known to the Enemy.
We are waiting with an impatient Anxiety, to hear from America, the last Accounts from thence having been brought by Captain Ayers and Barns from Boston neither of them later than the 3 or 4 July. We have no Advice of the Compte D'Estaings Fleet Since he passed the straights on the 16 May. I have the Honour to be &c.1
1. This may be JA's letter that was “laid before Congress by the Committee for Foreign Affairs and read” on 7 Dec. (JCC, 12:1198). JA had also written to the president of the congress on 12 Aug. That letter, printed in the Independent Chronicle for 19 Nov., reported the capture of four valuable prizes by French men-of-war at Toulon and enclosed newspapers and a letter from Spain.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0281-0001

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-14

From Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] Monsieur

J'ai traduit ce jour ci une lettre d'un armateur américain à Nantes, en datte du 8. août, qui se plaint que deux de ses vaisseaux lui ont étá enlevés en sortant de Pamboeuf, et demande certaines facilités pour la Courses. Il m'a été impossible de lire Sa Signature, et c'est la seconde fois que je me trouve dans cet embarras. Je l'ai figurée sur le papier ci joint, pour vous prier de vouloir bien me la débrouiller, afin que désormais je sois en état de faire connoitre du ministrie le nom de celui qui écrit.
{ 371 }
J'attens que vous ayés reçu quelques nouvelles d'amérique pour faire paroitre le numéro 51.1 et je vous serai très obligé de me faire parvenir le plus diligemment possible, et par la poste, tout ce que vous croirés susceptible d'etre mis au jour. Je suis avec respect Monsieur Votre très humble et très obéissant Serviteur,
[signed] Genet

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0281-0002

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-14

Edmé Jacques Genet to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I have today translated a letter dated 8 August from an American shipowner at Nantes who complains that two of his vessels were taken coming out of Paimboeuf and requests certain facilities in regard to the privateers. Because it has been impossible to read his signature, the second time that I have met with this embarrassment, I have copied it on the enclosed piece of paper and ask you to please decipher it so that I may inform the minister of the correspondent's name.
I am waiting for you to receive some news from America before issuing no. 511 and would be much obliged if you could send me, as soon as possible through the mail, all that you deem appropriate for publication. I am with respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant,
[signed] Genet
1. That is, cahier 51 of Affaires de l'Angleterre et de l'Amérique (“Lettres,” vol. 11). That issue was almost entirely devoted to news from England, particularly regarding the naval battle between Keppel and d'Orvilliers, and had but two pages containing news from America (p. cclviii–cclix).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0282

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1778-08-14

To Edmé Jacques Genet

[I] Have the Honour of yours of the 14.
By the Imitation you inclose, I have no dout that the Name of the Writer of the Letter you mention is John Ross.1 Such a Person there is at Nantes a Merchant who has been concerned in American Trade, who often corresponds with the Commissioners here by which means I am in Possession of many of his Letters and am become well acquainted with his Signature.
I shall take a great Pleasure in forwarding to you the Intelligence from America, as soon as it arrives; God grant it may be as prosperous, as the other Events of the present Campaign. I am, sir with great Respect, your most obedient servant
[signed] John Adams
{ 372 }
RC (Justin G. Turner, Los Angeles, 1958). Fire damage destroyed several words at the top of the first page.
1. “John Ross” is written in much larger script than the rest of the letter.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0283

Author: Jones, John Paul
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-15

John Paul Jones to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

I have now been five days in this place since my Arrival from Passy—during which time neither seen nor heard from Lieutenant Simpson. But Mr. Hill, who was last Winter at Passy and who sailed with me from Nantes, informs me truely—that it is generally reported in the Ranger and of course throughout the French Fleet and on Shore—That I am turned out of the Service—and that you Gentlemen, have Mr. Simpson [in] my place with a Captains Commission. That my letter of the 16th of July to you was Involuntary on my part and in Obedience only to your Orders, to avert dreadful consequences to myself.1
These, Gentlemen are not idle illgrounded conjectures, but melancholy Facts. Therefore I beseech you, I conjure you, I demand of you to Afford me Redress—Redress by a Court Martial—to form which we have now a Sufficient number of Officers in France with the assistance of Captain Hinman2 exclusive of myself. The Providence and the Boston are expected here very soon from Nantes and I am certain that they neither can nor will depart again before my friend Captain Hinman can come down here—And it is his unquestioned Right to Succeed me in the Command of the Ranger.
I have faithfully and personally supported and Fought the Dignified Cause of Human Nature ever since the American Banner first waved on the Delaware and on the Ocean. This I did when that Man did not call himself a Republican, but left the Continent and served its Enemies—And this I did when that Man Appeared Dastardly Backward and did not support me as he ought.3
I concluded by requesting you to call before you and examin for your own satisfaction Mr. Edwd. Meyrs who is now at the House of the Swee[d]ish Ambassador and who having been with me as a Volunteer can and will I am persuaded represent to you the conduct of the officers and Men towards me both before I left Brest and afterwards in the Irish Channell as well as my conduct towards them.
{ 373 }

[salute] I have the honor to be with sentiments of due Esteem and Respect Gentlemen your very Obliged very obt. very humble Servt.,

[signed] Jno P Jones
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed, not by JA: “Capt Jones Brest Augt 15 1778.”
1. Jones' comments on the rumors being spread, reportedly by Simpson, and his call for a court martial were essentially an effort to belabor an issue that had been rendered moot to most of those concerned by Jones' letter of 16 July (LbC, Adams Papers) releasing Simpson from his parole. Not until 10 Feb. 1779, a few days after receiving command of the Due de Duras, i.e. Bonhomme Richard, did Jones receive an official statement intended to counter the rumors surrounding the appointment of Simpson into the Ranger (PCC, No. 168, f. 229–231; Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 183). Even then, it was signed only by Benjamin Franklin and JA, Arthur Lee having refused (see Lee to Franklin and JA, 10 Feb. 1779, PPAmP: Franklin Papers).
2. Capt. Elisha Hinman, former captain of the Alfred, which had been captured in March, had escaped from Forton Prison to France. Finding no employment in the navy, he returned to America and took up privateering (DAB). Hinman arrived at Brest on 17 Aug. and in a letter of the 19th (PPAmP: Franklin Papers) informed the Commissioners that he was going to take passage on the Providence. Jones' reference to Hinman's right to command the Ranger was based on Hinman's seniority as a captain and reflected Jones' own preference as well (Allen, Naval Hist. of the Amer. Revolution, 2:705–706). Hinman refused to sit on a court martial because he expected to have his conduct examined by the same means upon his arrival in the United States (Abraham Whipple to John Paul Jones, [18] 19 Aug., Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:689).
3. Simpson had previously served on merchant ships, but no evidence has been found that he sailed on British ships after Great Britain became an enemy (Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 107).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0284

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-16

John Bondfield to the Commissioners

[salute] Sirs

Captain Ayres I have found in a very ill State of Health and apprehend he will not be able to proceed in the Vessel. The Brig will be ready for Sea at the reception of your dispatches. Should the Captains Health not permit to proceed you will please to give me your instructions to whom you would transfer the Command.2
These vessels being built for <quick> swift Sailing, should the plan3 I had the Honor to lay before you meet your approbation, would transport the Goods to America without Cost to the Publick.
If the employment of the Publick Funds in Europe at this day prove a Barr to the excecution, on your engaging to make Good the Payments at stated Periods say 8, 12, 15 and 18 Months or in twelve months I could undertake to execute any part you would approve to commit to my care.
{ 374 }
I flatter myself it will not be regarded presuming in laying my observations and tendering my services in a matter of Publick concern, it strikes me in a light very favorable and in its effects will be of evident advantage to the restoring to the Currency of America a confidence which its great abundance has contributed much to weaken. The exerted efforts of the States to obtain Cash by Loan or Lotteries I find have not prevented a late Emission of several Milion of dollars.
Permit me to refer to the plan laid before you for your further consideration of this subject. With due respect I have the Honor to be Sirs Your most Obedient Humble Servant,
[signed] John Bondfield
I have the pleasure to [send] this by Monsieur Le Norina of the House of Le Coutieu &c. of Cadiz whose extensive conections may merrit the Honor of your attention by the dayly interesting informations they are impowerd to give.
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers)“To The Honble. Benj. Franklin Arthur Lee. John Adams Esqr. Commissioners from Congress at Passy”; docketed: “Mr Bondfield” in another hand: “Mr Bondfield 17 Aug. 78” on the first page of the letter and in a different hand: “Bondfield.”
1. Date supplied from a second letter to the Commissioners of 17 Aug. (PPAmP: Franklin Papers), in which Bondfield referred to a letter concerning the health of Capt. Ayres sent off “yesterday.”
2. In his letter of 17 Aug. Bondfield stated that Ayres and Ayres' physician agreed that he could not survive an ocean voyage. In a letter to the Commissioners of 23 Aug. (PPAmP: Franklin Papers) Bondfield wrote that he and Capt. Ayres recommended a Capt. Hatch to take command of the Arnold, and on 27 Aug., the Commissioners replied that the decision was to be left “wholly” to Bondfield and Ayres (LbC, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 92).
3. Except for the details given here, there is no information concerning Bond field's plan, which was apparently contained in a letter to the Commissioners not now extant. In any case, the Commissioners wrote to Bondfield on 19 Aug. (same) and informed him that his plan would be submitted to the congress for its approval.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0285-0001

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-16

Sartine to the Commissioners, with a Contemporary Translation

Je m'empresse, Messieurs, de repondre aux observations que vous m'avez adressées par La Lettre que vous m'avez fait L'honneur de m'ecrire le 13 de ce mois, sur Le projet d'un reglement pour les Prises et prisonniers des Etats respectifs. Je Crois en avoir rempli l'objet par une Nouvelle redaction des Articles 2 et 14 dont je joint ici un nouveau Texte, avec des Exemplaires des { 375 } differentes loix qui ont été publiéer en dernier Lieu relativement aux Prises.1 Au surplus, Je reçevrai dans tous les tems, avec plaisir vos representations sur les inconvénients que L'éxécution du Reglement vous feroit appercevoir, et vous pouvez Etre assurés que Sa Majesté sera toujours disposée a procurer aux habitans des Etats unis toutes les facilités compatibles avec l'lntérêt de Ses finances et le commerce de Ses sujets.

[salute] J'ai L'honneur d'être avec un sincere attachement, Messieurs, votre très humble et très obeissant Serviteur.

[signed] de Sartine

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0285-0002

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-16

Sartine to the Commissioners: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

I take the earliest opportunity to answer the observations addressed to me in the letter which you did me the honor to write to me the 13th. instant on the project of a regulation for the prizes and prisonners of the respective U States.2 I Conceive that I have fulfilled the object by digesting anew the 2. and 14 Articles of which I annex another text with copies of the different Laws that have been lately published respecting Prizes. Moreover, I will at all times receive with pleasure your representations of the inconveniencies which May attend in your opinion the execution of the regulation and you may be assured that His Majesty will be always disposed to <procure> grant the inhabitants of the U States every facility compatible with the interest of his finances and the Commerce of his Subjects.

[salute] I have the honor to be with sincere attachment Gentn. Yr. m. h. & m. ob. st.

[signed] (signed) De Sartine
RC (MH-H: Lee Papers); docketed, not by JA: “Sartine on Prises” Translation (PCC, No. 83, II, f. 475)
1. For the changes made by Sartine in Articles 2 and 14, see his letter to the Commissioners of 29 July (calendared above) and references there. JA copied the enclosed articles into his Letterbook (Microfilms, Reel No. 94), but the enclosed copies of the prize laws have not been found.
2. The translator's “U States” is clearly a misreading of “Etats respectifs,” that is, the United States and France.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0286

Author: Moylan, James
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-17

James Moylan to the Commissioners

[salute] Honorable Gentlemen

The Brig Lady Washington Cap: Rowntree arrived here yesterday from James River Virginia loaded with Tobacco. She sail'd from thence the 8th. July. The Captain tells me the two army's { 376 } were then in the Jerseys, and that the Enemy's ships were still in the Delaware, in order I suppose to insure it's retreat if necessary, that General Washington's army amounted to 18,000 men,1 the people in general in high spirits and the money increasing in it's value. He gives no other account of Count D'Esting, than that his fleet was daily expected, on which account the English Naval forces were united in Delaware. I have the honor to be respectfully Honble. Gentlemen Your assurd hle. st.,2
[signed] James Moylan
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honorable Plenipotentiary Ministers of the United States of America at Passy”; docketed: “Mr. Moylan ans. Aug. 22. 1778”; in another hand between the lines of JA's docketing: “17. Aug. 78.”
1. In terms of the total forces under Washington's command, this figure is low. In June, following the Battle of Monmouth Courthouse, Washington's army consisted of 24,405 men and increased to 28,638 in July following the movement of the army to White Plains, N.Y. (Charles H. Lesser, ed., Sinews of Independence, Chicago, 1976, p. 72–73, 76–77).
2. The Commissioners' answer on the 22d emphasized their desire for information about Estaing's fleet (LbC, Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0287

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Date: 1778-08-18

The Commissioners to Sartine

We embrace this first opportunity to answer the Letter, which your Excellency did Us the Honour to address to Us, the Sixteenth of this Month.1
We have examined, with Some Attention the Alterations which your Excellency has made in the second and fourteenth Articles of the projected Regulations and are of opinion, that they will remove the Difficulties We apprehendd from the first Draught.
We thank your Excellency for the obliging Expressions of your Readiness to receive any Representations We may hereafter have occasion to make of Inconveniences arising in the Execution of these Regulations, which however We hope will not occur. We submit the whole to your Excellencys Deliberation and Decision and are, with Sentiments of the sincerest Respect, your Excellencys, most humble and most obedient servants.
1. See also Sartine to the Commissioners, 29 July (calendared above) and references there.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0288-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-18

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners

[salute] Messieurs

Depuis mes dernieres,1 il ne s'est rien passé ici qui valût la peine de vous l'écrire. Cela ne veut pas dire cependant, que je n'aie tous les jours quelque occasion d'agir pour le bien général, et par conséquent de fréquenter tous les jours l'hôtel de F——, de recevoir des intelligences et des Lettres, et d'en dormer des Extraits,2 qui passent quelque fois au Cabinet, mais le plus souvent, et même régulierement, dans certains Ports: et en servant ainsi le grand Allié de l'Union, je suis persuadé de la servir ellemême: Mais le détail de toutes ces choses, infini en lui-même, vous seroit inutile et ennuyant; outre qu'il est de nature à ne pas devoir être exposé, sans nécessité, au sort d'une Lettre. Le Chevalier3 votre ami la sait en partie. J'ai bien reçu de sa part, par les mains de M. l'Ambassadeur la Gazette d'Yorktown4 que Mr. Franklin m'a fait la faveur de lui envoyer pour moi; et la Gazette de Leide de ce jour en est toute remplie. Voici, Messieurs, copie de la Lettre que j'écrivis hier à Mr. Van Berkel Pensionnaire d'Amsterdam,5 notre bon ami. Je viens de la montrer au g——F——, qui en est fort content.
Le vaisseau de mes amis, dont j'ai eu l'honneur de vous parler il y a quelque temps,6 est parti. Je l'ai chargé d'un paquet pour le Congrès, et d'une Lettre de recommandation pour l'Officier commandant du Port où il abordera. Si son voyage est heureux, cela encouragera beaucoup de gens à l'imiter, et à répandre l'abondance, et par conséquent le bon marché des merchandises en Amérique.

[salute] J'ai l'honneur d'être avec le plus respectueux dévouement, Messieurs, Votre très humble & très obéissant serviteur

[signed] Dumas
J'envoie demain un autre paquet en Amérique, par la voie préscrite anterieurement.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0288-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-18

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

[salute] Gentlemen

Since my last letters,1 nothing worthy of writing about has occurred. That is not to say, however, that every day I have not had some occasion of acting for the general welfare of the cause and, therefore, of visiting the French embassy daily in order to receive intelligence and letters, or to provide extracts2 which sometimes are sent to the Cabinet, but more often, and even with regularity, go to certain ports. I am { 378 } convinced that by serving the great ally of the Union in this fashion I am serving her. But to detail all these things would be endless and both useless and boring to you, notwithstanding the fact that owing to their nature, these transactions should not be unnecessarily exposed to the hazardous fate of a letter. Your friend, the Chevalier,3 is, in part, aware of all this. He sent me, through the ambassador, the gazette from Yorktown,4 which Mr. Franklin did me the favor to send him for me, and today's Gazette de Leyde is filled with it. Here, Gentlemen, is a copy of the letter I wrote yesterday to our good friend Mr. van Berckel, Pensionary of Amsterdam.5 I have just showed it to the Grand Facteur who is very pleased with it.
My friends' vessel, which I had the honor to mention to you some time ago,6 has left. I entrusted to it a packet for the congress and a letter of recommendation addressed to the commanding officer of the harbor where they will land. If its journey is successful, it will encourage others to follow their example and thereby increase the amount and thus lower the prices of goods in America. I have the honor to be, with the most respectful devotion, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas
Tomorrow, I am sending another packet to America in the manner described earlier.
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “à Leurs Excellences Messieurs les Plenipotentiaires des Etats-Unis de l'Amerique Paris.”; docketed, not by JA: “Monsr Dumas la haie 18 Augt 1778” on the last page of the enclosure and in reference to it: “La Haie 17 Augt 1778 M. Dumas.”
1. That of [3 Aug.]4 Aug.(above) and 31 July (mentioned in Dumas to the Commissioners, 28 July, note 1, above).
2. Presumably extracts of dispatches from Dutch ministers abroad to Their High Mightinesses.
3. Presumably Sir George Grand.
4. Dumas is referring to the Pennsylvania Gazette, published in York, Penna., from 20 Dec. 1777 to 20 June 1778. The information in the final issue, the arrival of the Carlisle Commission in America and the deliberations of the congress concerning it, is the same as that printed in the first three pages of the Gazette de Leyde of 18 Aug., under the heading “De York Town en Pensylvanie, le 22. Juin.” The reason for the discrepancy in dates is not known.
5. The letter, omitted here, was a reply to van Berckel's letter of 31 July, which was inserted in Dumas' letter to the Commissioners of 4 Aug. (above). In it Dumas thanked van Berckel for his expressions of support for the American cause, urged him to greater efforts to hasten a rapprochement between the United States and the Dutch Republic, and pointed to the rejection by the Continental Congress of the proposals made by the British peace commission. For an English translation of this letter, see Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:687–688.
6. See Dumas' letter to the Commissioners of 17 July (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0289

Author: Ross, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-18

John Ross to the Commissioners

[salute] Honble. Gentlemen

I did myself the honour to Address You, on the 16th and 23d. Ultimo1 —Not on business of my own but that which Regards the United States, and consistent with the common Rule of Regularity, claimed an Answer long since.
Mr. Delavile holder of Mr. Ceronio's2 bills applyed to me again by letter, on last Saturday, and the bills being drawn, on public Account, shall be glad to know what Answer am to give the Gentleman.
The United States Stand (in Accounts here) indebted for a large ballance to the house of W[illing] M[orris]: and Co.—which I have represented to you and applyed for to enable me to do something towards their private concerns—but no Answer to this, neither.
The Officers of the Crown in this place, having lately, as I understand, made Sale of all the Furniture, wireing Apparel, and other effects taken out of the house of the late Mr. Thomas Morris, it is incumbent on me, in Name of Robert Morris Esqr. to Notifye Same to Mr. Lee Commercial Agent, through the Honble. Commissioners, under whose Sanctions he represents to have Acted, that he may not plead ignorance of those consequence's, which his conduct, even with the Authority he was possessed of, has incurred to the Credit, property, and reputation of Men, injured, and insulted by the Exercise of his Power's.
It gives me pain, I shoud be compeled, to make this a Subject of correspondence so long. Nevertheless, Indifferent and trifleing as the business and Credit of W[illing]: M[orris] and Co. may appear to your Honors or to the Man of business acting as Commercial Agent, and however much the Powers am possesed of, have been despised and rejected by the Honble. Gentlemen; who gave Sanction to Mr. Lee's assumed exercise of a dareing unpresidented Power, I hold myself justifiable to communicate what occurrs, to the prejudice of my absent friends in this business, untill some other Person are invested with such power's as merit the Attention of the Representatives of America.3 I have the honour to be with all due respect Honble. Gentlemen Your very obedient Serv.
[signed] Jno. Ross Esq.
RC (MH-H: Lee Papers); docketed, not by JA: “August 18th. 1778.”
{ 380 }
1. Not found.
2. Mr. Delavile remains unidentified, but the bills were those of Joseph Ceronio of Genoa, who had been the agent of Willing, Morris, & Co. at Cape Francois since at least May 1776 (Papers of Robert Morris, ed. E. James Ferguson, Pittsburgh, 1973–, 1:172).
3. A dispute over the papers of Thomas Morris that had begun with his death on 31 Jan. accounts for the tone and contents of Ross' letter. Because of the operation of the droit d'aubaine, the Commissioners, and Ross at the time, thought it advisable to get an order from the French government to take possession of Morris' papers. Because William Lee and Morris had held a joint appointment to manage American commercial affairs in Europe, Lee, after obtaining the French order, went to Nantes to receive the papers and separate the portion concerning public business from that relating to Willing, Morris, & Co., with which both Morris and Ross were associated. Ross and Silas Deane, with whom Lee exchanged numerous letters on the matter, were apprehensive about the possible examination of the Willing, Morris & Co. papers by Lee; both would have preferred to have Ross authorized to make whatever inventory was needed. When Lee reached Nantes their fears were realized, for he went through all the papers and, claiming that Ross' refusal to cooperate made any division impossible, sealed the trunk containing the papers and sent it to Paris, where, after some disagreement, it was placed under the care of Benjamin Franklin. Ross was probably informed that it could not be delivered to him without proper authorization. On 4 Sept., at the request of Robert Morris, the congress ordered the Commissioners to deliver the trunk to Morris or his agent—in this case almost certainly John Ross (Deane Papers, 2:344–346 and passim; in particular see Ross' letter to Deane of 3 March and Franklin's to Ross, apparently not sent, of 26 April; JCC, 12:879). For another letter on the same subject and in essentially the same tone, see Ross to the Commissioners, 8 Oct. (ViU: Lee Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0290

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: MacCreery, William
Date: 1778-08-19

To William MacCreery

[salute] Sir

I thank you for your favour of the 8th. I believe my Letters to you, were carried faithfully enough. The secret is that I write my Letters, at the time they are dated, but they are frequently not copied and sent untill several days after.1 This arises from a Multiplicity of Business and of Pleasure, as it is called. It is unavoidable in our situation, but it is to me the most irksome Part of our Duties.
Your Account of the Embarrassment of Trade is new to me and very interesting, but there will be soon an End to it. By the Treaty Congress, have Authority to appoint Consulls, whose Duty and Jurisdiction it is to decide Controversies and do Justice. I hope they will soon make such appointments. In the Mean Time however, the Commissioners here, are ready at all times to apply to the Court for Redress of Greivances, in which, I have no doubt they would have success. When there is any Complain the best Way is to state it in Writing to the Commissioners in cool, decent and dispassionate Language, and the Commissioners will { 381 } immediately lay it before his Majesty, or his Ministers, and We have hither to found every appearance of a sincere desire, to do Justice and give satisfaction.
It is very unfortunate that there is no Newspaper, or other public Channell through which, Intelligence, can by Us be Speedily communicated to every Part of this Kingdom. But We have not commonly, Intelligence of the Sailing of any naval Armament from England Sooner, than the Merchants have it in the sea Ports. If We had for my Part I would readily write <all Night?> to inform the American Merchants of it. Nil Americanum a me alienum puto.2 Pardon me.
I Suppose the Interest of your Loan office Certificates is to be paid here. But it cannot be done untill We have Bills of Exchange drawn for it by the Loan officer in America, who issued the Certificate.
We are all Impatience to hear from America. Nothing new at Versailles or Paris not even at the Palais Royal, except Bruits[?] of Victories in America which come from Nobody and from No where. I am &c.
1. JA was keeping at this time no less than three Letterbooks, two of which, Nos. 4 and 6 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel Nos. 92 and 94), were almost entirely devoted to the affairs of the Commissioners. No. 5 (Reel No. 93), from which the present letter is taken, was chiefly for personal correspondence.
2. I consider nothing American unsuitable for me.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0291

Author: Whipple, Abraham
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-19

Abraham Whipple to the Commissioners

[salute] Honoured Gentlemen

I had the pleasure of writing you July 311 from Paimbeufe where I had been wind bound for fifteen days. The Boston had not joined me Then. She afterwards did and August 8th we proceeded for Brest in Company. Contrary winds proving unfavourable detained us at Sea till the 14th when we arrived at Brest. I here found that Lt. Simpson had strictly attended to my Orders of July 24th and done every thing in his power to get in Readiness for the Seas. His Provisions Water &c. as directed was on board. I flattered myself with speedily putting to Sea but how was I surprized when made acquainted that none of the Prizes belonging to the Ranger were sold and that the unfortunate { 382 } Crew had not recieved a single sous for all the time they had been in France; the disagreable feelings of Men who are obliged to Relinquish property which justly belongs to them, and for which they have hazarded their lives, induced me to allow them the Respite of a day or two, to attempt settling the prizes &c. obtaining their money. I hoped this would prove satisfactory and indeed it wou'd have composed matters, had not Captn. Jones the former Commander of the Ranger interfered in a most extraordinary manner, denied the efficacy of the sales threatned he would be the Ruin of all those who meddled with the Business and by a number of similar Acts been the means of a detention where one Obstacle added to another as frivolous in their natures as hurtful in their effects, have produced Consequences highly detrimental. I wish to treat every Character with delicacy and to pay a just Respect to those whose Commissions in the service of my Country intitle them to that deference. It gives me pain that I am obliged to make those Remarks on Capt. Jones conduct and sorry I am that his late behaviour has furnished me with the disagreable Necessity ...2 but when a Man in diametrical opposition to the Interests of his Country and the real good of America is swayed by principles of self or blinded by particular passions to act against that service in which he has had the honour of Long wearing a Commission I am resolved from sentiments of Duty to Represent his Conduct with a Candid Impartiality and Leave those to determine its pernicious tendency who are my Superiors, Capt. Jones yesterday sent me a Letter a Copy of which I enclose together with my Answer.3 I doubt not it will be satisfactory to your Honours as I attempted to explain the impossibility of a Compliance with his Request in a liberal though forcible manner.
Tomorrow I am determined for Sea, wind and weather permitting not waiting for the Ranger4 if she cannot be ready for want of those affairs being accomodated, and charging the whole of the Obstacles which have retarded her to the Artifices, Insinuations, Disingenuity and Threats of Captain Jones. I will to the last moment attempt every thing in my power to accomodate these unhappy affairs, and endeavour by all possible means to get the Ranger away.

[salute] Remaining with the Readiest Attention to your Honours Orders and a peculiar pleasure in the satisfaction of Obeying them Gentlemen Your mo. Obedt. & very humb. servt.,

[signed] Abraham Whipple
{ 383 }
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed, not by JA: “Capt Whipple Brest Augt 19. 1778.”
1. Whipple's letter (PPAmP: Franklin Papers) acknowledged two letters from the Commissioners. It was from that of 16 July that Whipple's orders to Simpson of the 24th proceeded.
2. Whipple's ellipsis.
3. For these letters of 18 Aug., see Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:689–690. Jones' letter was a simple request to convene a court martial for Thomas Simpson, and Whipple's reply was an explanation of why this could not be done: first, because Capt. Hinman refused to serve, thus preventing the assembly of the required number of captains; and, second, because Whipple believed that Jones in releasing Simpson from his parole and the Commissioners in appointing him to command the Ranger had rendered the issue moot.
4. On 20 Aug. the Boston, Providence, and Ranger, the latter aided by the addition of crewmen from the Boston and Providence, sailed a short distance from the harbor at Brest and, after waiting for the return of 25 members of the Ranger's crew, set out for America on 22 Aug. (Samuel Tucker's Log, MH-H: Tucker Papers). The three vessels arrived at Portsmouth, N.H., on 15 Oct. (Allen, Naval Hist. Amer. Revolution, 1:356).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0292

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Laurens, Henry
Date: 1778-08-21

To the President of the Congress

[salute] Sir

I have the Honour to inclose to congress, the last Gazettes and a Plann of the various Manoeuvres in the late sea fight by which the masterly Movements of the French Fleet in every Situation, and the ridiculous Confusion of the late Lords of the ocean as they called themselves are Said to be truly represented. Whether it was Want of Skill in the officers, or whether it was a Want of Men to perform the necessary Motions, that occasioned the Awkwardness of the British Fleet; either supposition is equally ominous to that Nation.
The French Fleet are supposed to have Sailed yesterday and it is reported from England that theirs was to go out, soon, how truly I know not. If they both get to sea, I suppose We shall soon hear of mutual Civilities between them. After the Experiment that has been made, We are under no apprehensions here, for the Event.
We are very anxious to hear from America, having nothing from thence, since the 3d July. I have the Honour to be, with the highest Esteem and Respect, sir your most humble and most obedient servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (ScHi: Henry Laurens Papers); docketed: “Letter from [the?] honble. Ja Adams esqr. Passy Aug 21. 1778 read 5 Decr.”; in another hand: “Admiral Keppels Engagement with D'Orvilliers” For its reading before the congress, see JCC, 12:1192.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0293

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jones, John Paul
Date: 1778-08-22

The Commissioners to John Paul Jones

[salute] Sir

<Your Letter from Brest of August the 15th is before us, and We are very sorry to hear that Reports so groundless are circulated to your Disadvantage. However We trust they will do you no lasting Injury, as Insinuations so grossly false seldom hurt any but the Maker and Propagator.>
<We write this Letter that you may have it in your Powers to assure any Body you think proper, that, so far from turning you out of the service, your coming away from the Ranger to Paris was without our orders or Knowledge1 that on the sixteenth of June We gave you orders to return to America Commander of the Ranger and that this Destination was altered for no other Reason, than a Letter from M. De Sartine which We never solicited representing that he had occasion for your services, and requesting our Consent, which We readily gave, Supposing that you might be [more serviceable?] to the Common Cause, in this Way, than in any other,>2 that your Letter to Us of the 16 July,3 expressing your Willingness to drop the Dispute between you and Lieutenant Simpson, and to give up his Parole, was made as far as we know of your own voluntary Choice and certainly without any order or solicitation from Us.4<and that it appeared to Us to do honour to your Disposition, and your Character. And We hope that Lieutenant Simpson will consider it in the same Point of Light.>
<We are, sir, with Respect, your most obedient servants.>
We have5
1. That is, without the orders or knowledge of JA and Arthur Lee. Even at this late date, JA and Lee were apparently unaware of Franklin's role in bringing Jones to Paris; yet it is likely that this letter was intended to be signed by all three Commissioners. It may have been a draft that JA was proposing to his colleagues.
2. The material deleted to this point was canceled with a much heavier hand than was used for the passages deleted later in either this or the Commissioners' second letter to Jones of this date (below).
3. See Thomas Simpson to the Commissioners, 3 July (above).
4. It is not clear why this portion of the Commissioners' reply was not also canceled, unless they intended to insert it in some other letter. In any event, no letter of 22 Aug. or on the subjects dealt with in this letter and the one immediately following has been found.
5. This may indicate that the Commissioners intended to add a postscript to this letter, possibly beginning “We have written to Captain Whipple . . . ,” which, after it was decided not to send this letter, was included in the second letter to Jones of this date (below) that was also canceled.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0294

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jones, John Paul
Date: 1778-08-22

The Commissioners to John Paul Jones

[salute] <Sir>

<We have received your Letter of the 16th.1 and have written to Captain Whipple to appoint a Court Martial for the Tryal of Lieutenant Simpson provided there are a sufficient Number of officers to constitute one.2 We are3 This however is not to make any Change in the Command of the Ranger untill the Tryal is over, nor then unless the Judgment of that Court is against him. We are.>
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “not sent.”
1. An inadvertance for the 15th.
2. For this sentence as a possible postscript, see the Commissioners' first letter to Jones of this date, note 5 (above). No letter to Abraham Whipple has been found. The Commissioners may, in the meantime, have received Whipple's letter of 19 Aug. (above) and concluded that a reply was unnecessary or, more important, that he and perhaps Simpson had already sailed for America.
3. The preceding two words were canceled in the course of drafting, indicating that the letter was originally meant to end here, before it was decided to make clear the Commissioners' position on the appointment of Simpson to command the Ranger.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0295

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Schweighauser, John Daniel
Date: 1778-08-22

The Commissioners to J. D. Schweighauser

We received yours of the 18 Instant.1 Mr. Bersoll has already been informed that he must send his Accounts and Vouchers to us before we can order him to be paid therefore you will inform him that ' till he has furnished us with these for our Examination he must not expect payment and we hope that for his own sake as well as for ours he will not proceed to the indecent Violence you apprehend. We are not in Circumstances to afford any further purchases and therefore desire that the goods on hand only may be ship' d of[f] as speedily and with as little Expence as possible. You will therefore act with Regard to the Saltpetre as you judge most conducive to this End. Mr. Hall2 must also shew a Receipt for the Delivery of the Beef charged to the Ranger, before he can be paid.
With Regard to the Captain's and other Americans not actually in the Service of the 13 united States who apply to you for Money, these are our Sentiments which we desire you will consider as final, that when they are at a Seaport like Nantes where they may supply their Wants by their own Industry, there is no Reason for their asking any thing from the public, nor can we consent that any public Money should be advanced to persons in { 386 } their Situation, it is only to forward them to that Situation that we think ourselves authorised to furnish them Aids from the public Funds. We are wth. great Esteem Yours &c.,
[signed] BF
[signed] AL
[signed] JA
LbC (Adams Papers); in Arthur Lee's hand.
1. Not found.
2. Presumably Elijah Hall, former 2d lieutenant and at the time of this letter, under Thomas Simpson, 1st lieutenant of the Ranger. In the absence of Simpson, Hall would have been left in command of the Ranger during Jones' absence in Paris.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0296

Author: Finlay, George
Author: Anquetil, Thomas
Author: Allen, Hon.
Author: Bencor, Brown
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-08-22

British Prisoners of War to the Commissioners

[salute] Honorable Gentlemen

This to inform your honouers we perisoners was Taken By Capt. Tucker Commander of the Boston was Sent on Shore the 3 Instant to Nantzs and from Nantzs to this town we humble beg Your Honouers to Grant us Lebertiy to Goe home for we have no mony and no Cridet here we have Dun Nothing amiss to our knowalage more then aney other Captains th[e]y all Gott there Liberty we humbley beg your honouers will be so Good as to order ours or order Some Supply as presoners of war Gentlemen if I Due not mistake all the Comanders of americca Vessalls have had there Liberty.1 We Are your Most Humble and obident Servents,
[signed] George Finlay
[signed] Thomas Anquetil
[signed] Hon. Allan
[signed] Brown Bencor
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Right Honourable Commissioniers of the United Coulnies of America at Paris”; stamped: “ANCENIS”; docketed, not by JA: “Prisoners Letter Ancenis 22 August 78.”
1. This letter serves as an example of petitions received by the Commissioners from British prisoners. George Finlay had commanded the John and Rebecca; Thomas Anquetil, the Elizabeth; and Allan, an unidentified Scottish brig. All were taken during the Boston's short cruise in June. Brown Bencor remains unidentified. The fourth prize taken by Tucker during that expedition was the Britannia, commanded by William Baker (see Samuel Tucker to the Commissioners, 3 July, above; Philip Chadwick Foster Smith, Captain Samuel Tucker, Salem, 1976, p.104). The Commissioners apparently took no action in regard to this letter.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0297

Author: Livingston, Muscoe
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-24

Muscoe Livingston to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

My having been very unwell ever Since Capt. Tuckers departure from this place, has prevented My writing you, on the Subject, of the three prizes,1 which he Sold to Monsieure Peuchelburg,2 of L'orint for Account of Mr. Scweighauser of this place; it appears by Capt. Tuckers certificate as well as by other papers in My possession (which shall be sent you, if Necessary) that Mr. Peuchelburg assured Capt. Tucker, there was a duty of Forty thousand Livers, on the three thousand quintills of fish, which induced him to Lett, his, and Crews part of that quantity, of very fine fish, together with the three Vessells be sold for thirty thousand Livers. This Sum, was very short, of what they would have sold for, had we been allow'd the privilege of benifiting by an Article of the Treaty, now Subsisting between France and america; these Vessells was entered and claired [cleared] at Lorient, and entered here, as american property, and from America; as I am empowerd by Capt. Tucker, to apply to you, to have this Matter properly Represented, and Receive back the duties (if any is paid) take the Liberty of Requesting the Favour to be informed, whether we Must be contented, with that Loss, or how we are to be Redressed.3 I have the Honor to be with Respect Your Most Obt. H. svt.,
[signed] M. Livingston
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honble. American Commissioners a Paris”; docketed, not by JA: “M Livingston Nantes 24 Augt 78.”
1. Presumably the Britannia, Elizabeth, and an unidentified Scottish brig, all taken during the cruise of the Boston in June. For the cargoes of the three vessels, see Samuel Tucker to the Commissioners, 3 July (above).
2. Puchelberg & Co. In 1779 JA, while waiting for passage to America, had dealings with the firm and Mr. Puchelberg, whom he described as “a modest and a decent German” (Diary and Autobiography, 2:342–343, 378).
3. In their reply to Livingston of 31 Aug. (LbC, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 92), the Commissioners reported that no “certain Directions” concerning the duties on Tucker's prizes could be given since the regulations for prizes and prisoners being prepared by Sartine were not ready. They referred him, instead, to J. D. Schweighauser, who reportedly had received a list of interim duties from Jacques Necker.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0298-0001

Author: Puchelberg & Co. (business)
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-24

Puchelberg & Co. to the Commissioners

Nous avons l'honneur de remettre très humblement à Vos Excellences la lettre ci-jointe dont M. Lee1 demeurant chez M. Schweighauser a Nantes nous chargea hier à Son Passage par cette Ville Et vous voudrez bien nous faire la grace de nous en assurer la reception.
Comme nous sommes les associés du dit M. Schweighauser: c'est avec un Empressement particulier que nous avons offrit à Vos Excellences nos très humbles services dans ces quartiers. Nous serions au Comble de nos desirs d'obeir à Vos ordres Et si vos bontés, que nous osons reclamer à notre faveur vous engagent à nous accorder votre Protection; daignez être persuadés, Messieurs, que nous ferons l'impossible, de nous rendre dignes de votre Confiance par notre exacte Probité Et par l'Exécution la plus Scrupuleuse de vos Ordres.

[salute] Nous sommes avec le plus profond Respect de Vos Excellences, Les très humbles Et très Obeissants serviteurs

[signed] Puchelberg & Co.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0298-0002

Author: Puchelberg & Co. (business)
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-24

Puchelberg & Co. to the Commissioners: A Translation

We have the honor to forward very humbly to your excellencies the enclosed letter which was given to us yesterday by Mr. Lee,1 who resided with Mr. Schweighauser when he was in Nantes, and ask you to please acknowledge its receipt.
As associates of the aforementioned Mr. Schweighauser, we have been eager to offer you our humble services in this area. Our wishes would be most fulfilled in obeying your orders and, if you kindly give us your patronage, please rest assured that we will do everything in our power, through unfailing honesty and a most scrupulous execution of your orders, to be worthy of your trust.

[salute] We are, with the most profound respect for your Excellencies, your very humble and very obedient servants

[signed] Puchelberg & Co.
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed, not by JA: “Puchelberg & Co. L'Orient 24 Aug 78.”
1. This letter, presumably from William Lee, has not been found, nor is there any indication that the Commissioners acknowledged its receipt.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0299

Author: Smith, James
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-24

James Smith to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

This is to inform you that when I arrived at Calis the 4th of May 1778 I had part of my Baggage detain'd by the Custom House Officers under the pretence of their being contraband. They consist of Household Linnen and some articles included under the denomination of plate which had been in use for some time and appeared to me as necessary for the comfort of a private family unused to the Customs of this Country as wearing Apparel. Let it be observed I did not refuse to pay the duty but as the value could not be immediately assertained and the price demanded for their ransom nearly equal to the Original Cost and which I considered as an imposition not warranted by the Laws of this Country I was determined to complain upon my arrival at Paris.
Soon after my arrival I accordingly mentioned the affair to Mr. Lee considering it came within his department but was told there was no remedy but pay the duty and that his Brother altho' a public Minister had been under the same predicament and was Obliged to pay fifteen Guineas, not considering that public Ministers who are receiving the Emoluments of Office and may be under the necessity of Living with a Splendor ill suited to the Genius of rising Rebublics groaning under immense burdens and struggling with every difficulty were in a situation very different from private individuals flying with their family's from the Tyranny of Old Goverments and forsaking their private employments to seek shelter in a Kingdom in open Alliance and supposed bound by the faith of Treaty to give succour and protection to every American. What might not be felt in one case, might operate as a real grievance in the other, and will if not rectified prevent many Emigrations from Britain of its most useful inhabitants and therefore loudly demands the attention of the Commissioners.
Not satisfied with Mr. Lee's answer, yet unwilling to occupy the time of the Commissioners who are supposed to be engaged in matters of more importance I represented this affair to Mr. Grand and begged the favor that he as a French Subject would apply to the proper Officers and indeavour to inforce the propriety of granting exclusive priviledges to persons in simular circumstances which from the temper of the times must frequently { 390 } happen. Mr. Grand admitting the propriety of my reasoning and the necessity of the measure promised that he would interest himself in this business upon the broad Bottom I mentioned which would be one trouble and serve as a rule of conduct for Custom-house Officers on all future Occasions.
The matter rested in this situation till the 4th of July. Not hearing from Mr. Grand (who I understood had mentioned the matter to the Commissioners) I then related the circumstances of the Case to Doctor Franklin who promised that he would pay proper attention to it and make the application required. After a considerable lenght of time I waited on him for his answer but much to my surprise I found he did not so much as remember the Transaction and requested to know my meaning and upon explination desired I would send him a memorandum of the detained Articles. Knowing that memory is the first faculty we receive in our Infancy, and the first which leaves us in the Evening of Life I thought it most proper to convey the Memoire requested through the Channel of young Mr. Franklin supposing that duty and natural Affection would supply the imbicility incident to Old Age by reminding him of what might again slip his memory and which would be very inconvenient to me as I intend shortly leaving the Kingdom. In my letter to Mr. Franklin,1 I complained that I thought my self neglected and Ill treated in which Opinion I am happy to find I am not singular, and received a reply containing expressions which if dictated by a man in Office I hope the Genius of Our republics will never admit without serious circumspection, and can only be excused as coming from a young Gentleman who perhaps may not yet have learned, that even King's who bear the highest Offices of State, were not raised from the common level for their own benefit, that they are the Servants of their constituents; that the meanest of their countrymen demand their services as the price of their submission to the Laws when ever their various exigencies demand them and that delays and Inattention operate as Injuries which every man has a right to complain of when he finds himself neglected without incurring the sensure of indecency a privilege which I hope every man who bears the honorable tittle of an American will have spirit enough to mantain with men in Office from whom even a proud Look ought to be considered in an alarming point of view at a period of Our History where we may be in danger of Sliding from an Absolute power into an Aristocratic Tyrranny in my opinion infi• { 391 } nitely more intolerable and thereby lose the great Objects for which we have been contending.
I hope Gentlemen you will consider these reflections not intended as personal, disrespectful or derogatory to the honor of the Commission. I mean them as a complaint against what I am perswaded will not be permitted by any gentleman under your influence or supposed to be employed about your persons either in a private or public capacity. Permit me to add no man more than myself is impressed with a higher sense of gratitude for the Signal services you may have done your Country or feels a greater veneration for the persons who are appointed to fill so important a Station.
I would not be understood to ask any thing unreasonable or arrogate to myself any marks of attention more than what is due to the meanest of my Countrymen. The articles in question must appear trifeling when contrasted with the many grand Objects which must necessarily engage your attention. But this is not what I am contending for. The question to be determined is what reception or indulgences Gentlemen Emigrating from Britain to America through the Channel of this Kingdom are to expect that every man in future be able to regulate his private affairs with prudence in proportion to his circumstances. It were easy to recite perticular Cases, were [where] being obliged to sell some kinds of property (independant of the loss) manufactured in England would oblige many to abandon their intentions of removing into america to the great detriment of that Country. I myself stand in this predicament with respect to some articles which cannot be replaced within this Country or America some of which are absolutely necessary to the excersise of my Profession.
I flatter myself these circumstances have escaped your attention through a multiplicity of weightier matters and doubt not from your Credit with, and the present disposition of this Government to cement the union between the two countries by the most powerful of all motives, will with joy embrace the opportunity of granting your request and that every American may return to his Native Country under the full impression of your politeness and minute attention to their various necessities. If a formal state of my case was not delivered in writing it was because I rather wished to receive relief under a General regulation and not as a perticular favor done to an individual espe• { 392 } cially as I had been seriously informed the same had been refused to a public Minister. I Judged a verbal representation more respectable to the Commissioners besides my own feelings would not admit my asking a perticular favor of Gentlemen who from the 6th of May till the 4th of July did not think me worthy of the politeness and attention which had been shewn to others whose sentiments had been notoriously Hostile to the grand interests of America and it may be worthy of Observation that when I related the perticulars on the 4th of July to Doctor Franklin I was not given to understand that a “Memoire stating the affair addressed jointly” to the Commissioners was necessary to be adopted. I have the Honour to be with all Due Respect, Gentlemen,2 Your most Obedient most humble Servant,
[signed] James Smith3
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed in different hands: “Dr Smith”; “M. Smith Paris hotel de Saxe August 24 1778.”
1. For Smith's letter to William Temple Franklin of 14 Aug., Franklin's response of the 16th, and Smith's immediate reply protesting his treatment, see Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 4:7, 491.
2. Written below “Gentlemen” is “Mr. Lee excepted.”
3. The Commissioners answered Smith on 28 Aug. (LbC, Adams Papers) and informed him that, despite their disagreement with his position regarding his right to move his goods through France duty free, the matter had been mentioned to Vergennes and, in response to his request, included in a letter to Vergennes of the 28th (below). On 26 Sept. the Commissioners wrote to Smith and enclosed the position of the French government as expressed in a letter from Jacques Necker to Vergennes of 18 Sept., which had been enclosed in a letter from Vergennes to the Commissioners of the 26th. Necker stated that Smith's request was contrary to all regulations and could not be granted, but that he was willing, as a concession, to allow Smith to pay only the import duty, and to waive the additional charges usually levied on the exportation of such goods (all LbC, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel Nos. 92, 94).
Smith's relations with the Commissioners, as is clear from this letter, were not good. Indeed, JA reported in his Autobiography that at a meeting between Smith and the Commissioners, he was obliged to declare to Smith that “your Conduct and Language to Dr. Franklin and Mr. Lee are excessively abusive and insufferable, and if my Colleagues are of my Mind you shall commit no more such offences here without being turned out of the house.” For that and other comments by JA, as well as a sketch of Smith, see Diary and Autobiography, 4:49–50, 74–76; 2:312.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0300

Author: Izard, Ralph
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-25

Ralph Izard to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

In a Letter which I have lately received from Florence,1 and which I have had the honour of laying before you, it is recommended that an endeavour should be made to interest the Min• { 393 } istry in favour of any Loan that may be attempted in Genoa for the United States, as it is probable the Genoese may require the security of the Court of France, for the payment of such sums as they may have it in their power to lend. The Ministry must be convinced of the ability of America, in a few years after the establishment of Peace, to discharge any pecuniary engagements she may at present have occasion to enter into; and the connexion which subsists between the two Countries, will I hope, induce them to afford us every assistance in their power. I shall be glad to know whether you think I ought to apply to the Count de Vergennes on the subject, or that the application should be made first by you, in either case I shall be ready to cooperate with you, or in any manner that shall appear most likely to produce the desired effect.
Captain Woodford, who is lately arrived in this City from Tuscany, informs me that there are some Merchants at Leghorn inclined to enter into the American Trade. He is to command a Vessel from that Port, and is apprehensive of meeting some of the Cruizers belonging to the States of Africa. This danger will probably deter many Americans from entering into the Mediterranean Trade and if possible, should be removed. The King of France, in the 8th. Article of the Treaty of Commerce has engaged to employ his good offices, and interposition with the Emperor of Morocco, and with the Regencies of Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, and every other Power on the Coast of Barbary, in order to provide as fully as possible for the convenience, and safety of the inhabitants of the United States, and their Vessels, and effects, against all violence, insult, attacks, or depredations on the part of the said Princes, and States of Barbary, and their Subjects.2 You will be so good as to inform me whether any steps have been taken by the Court of France, for the security of the inhabitants of the United States, in consequence of the above Article. I have the honour to be with great respect Gentlemen Your most obedient humble Servt.,
[signed] Ra. Izard
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed, not by JA: “M. Izard about the Barbary States.”
1. For this letter of 28 July from Nicolli, see Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:669–670 (French text, PCC, No. 89). The letter was directed to Izard in his capacity as the yet unreceived American Commissioner to Tuscany with instructions to obtain a loan from that state (JCC, 8:520–521; 10:120). Nicolli noted that Tuscany was unable and unwilling to make a loan to the new nation, but that Genoa might be willing to do so because of its close relations with France, particularly if the { 394 } French government intervened on the Americans' behalf. Izard replied to Nicolli on 1 Sept. (Wharton, 2:700–701).
2. This sentence is an accurate paraphrase of Article 8 in the Treaty of Amity and Commerce (Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:8–9).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0301

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Izard, Ralph
Date: 1778-08-25

The Commissioners to Ralph Izard

[salute] Sir

We have the Honour of your Letter of this Days Date, and shall give the earliest Attention to its Contents. We apprehend their would be no Impropriety at all, in your Application, to his Excellency, the Count de Vergennes, concerning the Subject of a Loan in Genoa, and We wish that you would apply. As We wish, however, to do every Thing in our Power to procure you Success, We shall do ourselves the Honour, to propose the Subject to his Excellency the first Time We shall see him, which will probably be, tomorrow When We Shall make an application to him also, upon the other Subject of your Letter, the Interposition of his Majesty, with the Emperor of Morocco, and with the Regencies of Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, and every other Power, on the Coast of Barbary. We have the Honour to be, with great Respect, Sir, your most obedient humble Servants.
P.S. Since writing the above we have spoken of the Genoese Loan to Count de Vergennes, who gave us no Encouragement to hope that France could engage, for us in that Affair.1 The other Matter will be the Subject of a proposed written Memorial.2
1. Despite the Commissioners' account of Vergennes' coolness, Izard wrote to Vergennes concerning the loan on 2 Sept. (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:701–702).
2. See the Commissioners to Vergennes, 28 Aug. (below). This postscript, not in JA's hand, may be the work of Arthur Lee.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0302

Author: Barnes, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-25

From Thomas Barnes

[salute] Sir

Nothing gives me greater concern, than to be under, The Necessity of troubling you with a detail of my situation But distress urges me therefore with submission beg leave to Enlarge. I being one of those escaped from Fortone Prison,1 in consiquence I was luck'y in getting so far Under Your protection, and accepted of your friendship As marks of humanety, as be assured it was { 395 } never more Wanting, However since I had the pleasure of seeing you It being last Thursday I have been very ill, without much Intermission, Afflicted with an Intermitting Fever attended with A fit every day in a violent degree, this present time I find Myselfe much better and embrace the opportunity of Letting you know that I am in a great measure destitude Of money, as I have paid 2 guineas to a Doctor and know not How much more he may demand, besides my Attendance and Lodging amount very high. I have paid 3 guineas For a passage in the Deligence, which is to proceed to Nantz on Thursday next, as by that time I am in Expectation of being eneabled to go, but without money it is Imposible. Its true I received Ten guineas but Consider I Have been here 2 weeks and my not being aversed in the French Language, renders it Imposible for me to use Frugal'ety as I would wish, as be assured I am much Improved Upon, I have used the freedom of reprisenting my situation to Doctor Franklin Yesterday, but have received no answer. Therefore am fearful I have given Offence, now beg leave To direct my sentiments to you, in hopes of meeting with Better success. Its true It would be presumtious of me to assume A Correspondence with a gentleman of his qualety as The Dignety of your stations dont render it subsiquent for Me; but the good Oppinion allways sustained by the publick of the Benevolence of Doctor Franklin besides many Proofs of it received by the helpless Americans now in bondage In the hands of the enemy has emboldened me, but not meeting With the reception I expected, thro the Idea I have of your humanity I use the freedom of calling upon you, in hopes you would make A second tryal in my behalfe which I am convinced will have The desired effect; my request is 5 guineas which with the greatest Industry I am capable of may suffice. If this request should Be granted, I inclose my direction, any obligation that Is requisite, by thursday I will wait on you, if helth will Permit and pass them, now there is a great sum of Money due to me for wages therefore you run the less Risk', money I owe at present and it must be paid or I cant Proceed. All this I hope you will take into consideration And the only Amends I can make at present is that I am a Subject to the Continent of America, and have Been in the service since the Comencment of this war [ . . . ]I dare say suitable to my capasety [ . . . ] I hope will suffice, wont Incroch on your time Any farther. Therefore beg leave to conclude to be Your Obediant Humble Servt.,
[signed] Thomas Barnes2
{ 396 }
If you should be kind enough to feavour me with an Answer Any order you may send please to Inclose it with directions.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To the Honourable John Adams Esqr. To be left at Monsieur Franquelen a pasis”; docketed: “Dr. Thomas Barnes ans. 26. Aug. 1778.” The address page contains numerous other markings, perhaps postal, and the removal of the seal cut out several words on the reverse.
1. Thomas Barnes was the former surgeon of the Hampden, probably a privateer, and very likely had escaped from Forton Prison in company with Lt. Edward Leger of the Hornet on 23 July. James Leveaux had written to Benjamin Franklin from Calais on 10 Aug. concerning the two men and noted that he had paid their expenses, possibly including the 10 guineas mentioned by Barnes below (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:475; Marion and Jack Kaminkow, comps., Mariners of the American Revolution, Baltimore, 1967, p. 111).
2. Benjamin Franklin commented on this letter and that of the previous day to him from Barnes in a brief note to JA written below the address on the present letter and from which words have been lost through the subsequent removal of the seal: “If you write to this Mr. Barnes, please to acquaint him that the Reason he had no Answer from me to his Letter was because he did not Send word where he lodg'd. I agree to the [payment of] 5 Guineas.” JA's reply to Barnes (not found) apparently incorporated the substance of Franklin's note and was answered by Barnes in a letter of the 27th (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0303

Author: Read, Thomas
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-25

Thomas Read to the Commissioners

[salute] Honorable Sirs

I Received yours by Capt. Barns.1 I have been So unwell that I have not been out of my Room, am now recuiting2 fast, and in a few days to be fit to do any Business. I have got my Vessel Clean'd and near fitted, and have sent her down to Pellrene [le Pellerin].3 I understand by the agent here, that the[y] have not goods belonging to the Publick. The[y] have told me the[y] wrote your Honors to know Whether the[y] shou'd purchase. If you are not Very Desirous of my Imediate Return I Request your Honors to give me leave to Cruize for three months, with a Small Aditional Expence in Number of men. I cou'd be ready in a Short time, as I have now three months provissions and Brought thirty one men and officers here and mount twelve four pounders and have ports for two more and I think I cou'd procure as many more men, those that are belonging to the Vessel are on high Wages from twenty to ten pounds per month, which the[y] are willing to Relinquish on being paid up, and Enter on the Continental pay of Eight Dollars per month till we Return home. I have the Vanity to think by Cruizeing in the Mediteranean, if a french pass cou'd be obtained or an English on[e] that have been taken I coud Soon Repay the Expence and add Something to my Country as my Vessels Sails fast and am well Acquainted in { 397 } them Seas from Gibralter to the Gulf of Venice. The Season of the year comeing on for the Newfoundland Ships with their fish to A market makes me think it worth your Honors Notice, as we can carry but a small Quantity of goods after our Provisions on Board. If Agreeable to your Judgements Shall be glad to have you answer as soon as Possible.4 I am with Due Respect your Honors mos obedient Humble Servant,
[signed] Thos. Read
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “on public Service The Honoble Ambassadors of the United States of America M. Franklin”; docketed: “Captn. Reed. 25. Aug. 1778”; stamped: “NA[NTES].”
1. Presumably the Commissioners' letter of 29 July (LbC, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 92; see also a 2d LbC to Read of 22 Aug.), which directed Capt. Read of the Baltimore to take on cargo and prepare for his return voyage. The Commissioners' letter was apparently carried by Capt. Corbin Barnes of the Dispatch, which sailed from Paimboeuf on 29 Aug. and was shortly thereafter captured (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:497).
2. Presumably Read meant “recruiting,” that is, recovering vitality or health (OED).
3. A town on the Loire River downstream from Nantes, slightly less than halfway to Paimboeuf.
4. No response by the Commissioners to Read's proposal has been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0304

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-26

John Bondfield to the Commissioners

[salute] Sirs

Last Evening Arrived at this Port a prize Brig call'd the Archangel from Archangel for London taken by the privateer General Mifflin: Cap. Daniel M'Neil of Boston in Lat 72 North Long 25°East of London.1 The American Arms may truely be said to extend to the Poles. The views of having a privateer to Cruize in them Seas must be truely Partiotic. It can afford no other object than to destroy the British Whale Fishery from which no private benifit can result to indemnify the Charges. The Hudson Bay Ships dont fall within 20 degrees of that Station.
Since my last arrived a Boat from Boston belonging to Mr. Basmarin & Co. brought Accounts up to the 7th July which contain few if any Occurences other than already at your Hands. I have a paper of the 6th entirely barren.
Captain Ayres stil continues in a declining State. I have placed him in the Country to try if change of Air can Assist him the Doctor is of opinion he is too far gone.2
The Vessel is ready for Sea on the Shortest Notice. I have the Honor to be with due Respect Gentm. Your Most devoted Humble Servant,
[signed] John Bondfield
{ 398 }
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honble Benj. Franklin Arthur Lee. John Adams Esq Commissioners from Congress at Paris”; docketed, not by JA: “Mr Bondfield Bordeaux 26 Augt 78.”
1. That is, off the North Cape. Bondfield's surprise at the location of the capture is understandable in view of the general reluctance of privateers to cruise anywhere but in areas where enemy merchant ships were likely to be plentiful.
Daniel McNeill was an experienced and very successful privateer captain, who either commanded or held some interest in at least ten different vessels during the course of the Revolution. He later served in the United States Navy and acquired substantial real estate holdings in Boston (DAB; Allen, Mass. Privateers, p. 148 and passim).
2. Ayres died in September (Bondfield to the Commissioners, 15 Sept., PPAmP: Franklin Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0305

Author: Moylan, James
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-26

James Moylan to the Commissioners

[salute] Honorable Gentlemen

The General Mifflin Privateer Cap: McNeal arrived here yesterday. He sail'd from Portsmouth the 8th. of May last and has been for two months past cruizing in the North Seas, where, and at the mouth of the Channel, he made thirteen prizes, five of which he sunk. The rest he sent to America and this Kingdom, one of which is arrived in this port, (a french Brig loaded with suggars Coffee and Cotton from Guadeloupe) which he retook after it's being upwards of Eighty hours in possession of the enemy.1 As Cap: McNeil has got about fifty English prisoners on board, I request (being encharged with the care of his Bussiness) you will inform me, if they wou'd not procure the liberty of an equal number of our suffering Country Men now in England, and what wou'd be the means proper to be used to effect it. The important trust's of our Country, which you are invested with, will, I flatter myself, procure me your answer to this letter, without delay, in expectation of which I remain with truth Honorable Gentlemen Your assurd hl
[signed] James Moylan
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honorable Plenipotentiary Ministers of the United States of America at Passy”; docketed, not by JA: “Mr. Moyland 23. Aug. 78.”
1. The Isabelle, the subject of considerable controversy and correspondence among the Commissioners, McNeill, Moylan, and Sartine through October.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0306-0001

Author: Puchelberg & Co. (business)
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-26

Puchelberg & Co. to the Commissioners

Nous avons l'honneur de nous referer à nôtre lettre du 24 de ce mois, et celuy d'annoncer très humblement à vos Excellences que depuis hier il est arrivé sur nôtre rade un Batiment Anglo Americain de 20 Canons nommé le General Muffelin [Mifflin] commandé par le Capitaine Daniel MaKenil [McNeill] venant de Portsmouth dans La nouvelle Angleterre, c'est depuis 4 mois que le dit Capitaine est en Croisiere et il y a trois jours qu'il vient de reprendre d'un Corsaire de Guernesey un Vaisseau françois1 venant de la Guadeloupe chargé en Sucre, Caffé et Indigo. Ce Batiment se trouve déja heureusement dans nôtre port où à ce que Ton dit, le dit Capitain veut le faire vendre pour son Compte. Comme le Capitaine MaKenil ainsi que ses officiers portent l'ordonnance conforme à celle du Capitaine Tucker2 nous presumons le susdit Sieur MaKenil, Capitaine et officier des Etats unis de L'amerique auxquels il sera obligé de rendre compte de ses prises et dont ils preleveroit leur part que nous ignorons en combien elle est fixeé pour les Corsaires. Nous vous prions, Messieurs, très humblement de nous donner vos ordres à cet égard.3 Nous savons parfaittement bien ceux que vos Excellences ont prescrit à nôtre associé Mr. Schweighauser à Nantes concernant le partage des prises faites par les fregattes et nous nous y conformeronts très scrupuleusement. Nous sommes avec un profond Respect de Vos Excellences Les très humbles & très obeissants Serviteurs,
[signed] Puchelberg & Co.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0306-0002

Author: Puchelberg & Co. (business)
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-26

Puchelberg & Co. to the Commissioners: A Translation

We have the honor to refer to our letter of the 24th of this month and very humbly to inform your Excellencies that yesterday an Anglo-American vessel of 20 guns, the General Mifflin commanded by Captain Daniel McNeill, arrived in our harbor from Portsmouth, New England. This captain had been cruising for 4 months, and three days ago took back from a Guernsey privateer a French vessel1 coming from Guadeloupe bearing sugar, coffee, and indigo. This veseel is, happily, already in our harbor, where, according to rumors, the said captain wishes to sell it on his own account. However, since the commissions carried by Captain McNeill and his officers conform to that of Captain Tucker,2 we presume that Mr. McNeill, Captain and Officer of the United States of America, will be obliged to report his captures to Captain Tucker and then take the shares as established for privateers, the { 400 } amount of which we are ignorant. We humbly request that you give us your orders concerning this transaction.3 We are well aware of those your Excellencies prescribed to our associate in Nantes, Mr. Schweighauser, concerning the division of captures made by frigates and we will conform to them most scrupulously. We are, with profound respect for your Excellencies, your very humble and very obedient servants,
[signed] Puchelberg & Co.
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed, not by JA: “Pulchelberg & Co. L'Orient 26 Augt 78.”
1. The Isabelle.
2. Puchelberg & Co. may have thought that both the General Mifflin and the Boston were American naval vessels.
3. No reply by the Commissioners to this letter has been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0307

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Laurens, Henry
Date: 1778-08-27

To the President of the Congress

[salute] Sir

I have the Honour to inclose, the last Gazettes by which Congress will see the Dearth of News in Europe at present. We expect an Abundance of it at once soon, as We have had nothing from America Since 4. July.
The French Fleet went out again from Brest the seventeenth: but We have not yet heard that the English Fleet is out. While the two Fleets were in Harbour, the British East India Fleet, and another Small West India Fleet got in,—a Misfortune of no small Moment, as the British Financies, will receive by means of it, a fresh Supply of Money for the present and their Fleet a considerable Reinforcement of Seamen. I have the Honour to be with the highest Respect, sir, your most obedient, humble servant,
[signed] John Adams
RC (PCC, No. 84,1); docketed: “Letter. John Adams Passy 27 Aug. 1778 Read Jany 1. 1779.” For a reference to this letter in the Journals, see JCC, 13:10.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0308

Author: Barnes, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-27

From Thomas Barnes

[salute] Sir

This day have had the pleasure of receiving Your much desired and welcome letter.1 Have also Received the feavour asked of 5 guineas which I greatfully Acknowledge. At the same time am sensible My letter to Doctr. Franklin deserves depricating Against as it was Imperfect in every particular. Now when to late I am sensible of my eror. How[ever?]2 it is not my natural { 401 } desire to adress a Gentleman of his qualtetys in an Improper Manner. It happens to be so, therefore beg it may be ad'apted to my bad state of he'lth, and my not Being aversed with the rules You have laid down in Your letter. My not letting Doctr. Franklin know where I lodged was Certainly a great mistake in me. All this I hope he will Excuse and Adapt it to the Above reason which I hope will suffice. Now I am supplyed as far as may be Requisite for which I am much Intebted And shall allways consider myselfe vastly obligated To the present Commissioners in Consiquence thereof. As to Mr. Leger and Captain Murph3 whom You mention they are gone to Nantz as they have Proceeded from hence last Thirsday Night. The Notes You have sent I have Signed and sent them by Your Young Man. I now mean to proceed to Nantz from thence to Boston as quick as possible where I shall have an Apportunity of seeing some of your Conexions there and there abouts, where I thinke I Can with Justice say you merrit the good Appinion of Your Countrymen in general. Your time is presious Therefore wont Incroach any farther. Therefore beg Leave to be with Submission Your friend and Humble Servt. Adue,
[signed] Thomas Barnes
1. JA's letter to Barnes has not been found, but see Barnes to JA, 25 Aug., and notes (above).
2. “How” is followed by a period and a superscript which appears to be an “r.”
3. Probably John Murphy of Rhode Island, captain of the sloop Swallow. He wrote to Benjamin Franklin on 10 Aug. and is listed as having escaped from Forton Prison on 23 July, the same day as Edward Leger and, presumably, Thomas Barnes (Marion and Jack Kaminkow, Mariners of the American Revolution, Baltimore, 1967, p. 137; Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:475; Barnes to JA, 25 Aug., note 1, above).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0309

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1778-08-28

The Commissioners to Vergennes

[salute] Sir

There are several Subjects, which we find it necessary to lay before your Excellency; to which we have the Honour to request your Attention.
At a time when the Circumstances of the War may demand the Attention of Gouvernment, and without doubt call for great Expence, we are very sorry to be obliged to request your Excellency's Advice respecting the Subject of Money but the Nature of the War in America, the vast Extent of Country to defend, and this Defence having been made chiefly by Militia, engaged for { 402 } short periods, which often obliged us to pay more Men than could be brought into actual Service, and above all this War having been conducted in the midst of thirteen Revolutions of civil Gouvernment against a Nation very powerfull both by Sea and Land, has occasioned a very great Expence for a Country so young and a Gouvernment so unsettled; this has made Emissions of paper Money indispensable in much larger Sums, than in the ordinary Course of Business is necessary, or than in any other Circumstances would have been politick. In order to avoid the Necessity of further Emissions as much as possible, the Congress have borrowed large Sums of this paper Money of the possessors upon Interest, and have promised the Tenders payment of that Interest in Europe,1 and we therefore expect that Vessels from America will bring Bills of Exchange upon us for this Interest, a large Sum of which is now due.
It is very true that our Country is already under Obligations to his Majestys Goodness, for considerable Sums of Money; but the Necessities of the United States have been such, that the Sums heretofore generously <promised>2 furnished us are nearly if not quite expended, and when your Excellency considers that the American Trade has been almost entirely interrupted by the British power at Sea, they having taken so many of our Vessels as to render this Trade more advantageous to our Enemy than to ourselves, that our Frigates and other Vessels which have arrived in this Kingdom have cost us a great Sum, that the provisions of Cloathing and all the Munitions of War for our Army, except such as could make in that Country, have been shipped from here at our Expence, that the Expence we have been obliged to incur for our unfortunate Countrymen who have been prisoners in England, <added to the unavoidable Expences of the Commissioners to this and to other Courts has been very>as well as Maintenance of those taken from the Enemy3 has been very considerable, your Excellency will not be surprised when you are informed that our Resources are exhausted. We therefore <humbly?>hope the Continuance of his Majestys Generosity, and that the Quarterly payment of seven hundred and fifty thousand Livres may be continued.4 And we assure your Excellency that the Moment we are furnished with any other Means of answering this Demand, we will no longer trespass on his Majestys Goodness.
We have further to inform your Excellency that we are im• { 403 } powered and instructed by Congress to borrow in Europe a Sum of Money to the Amount of Two Million Sterling,5 which is to be appropriated to the Express purpose of redeeming so many of the Bills of Credit in America, as will be sufficient it is apprehended to restore the Remainder to their Original Value. We therefore <humbly?> request his Majesty's permission to borrow such a part of that Sum in this Kingdom as we may find Opportunity. Altho' we may be impower'd to offer a larger Interest than is usually given by his Majesty yet that we may not be any Interruption to his Majesty's Service, we are willing and desirous of limiting the Interest which we may offer, to the same that is given by his Majesty: and altho' most persons will chuse to lend their Money to his Majesty, yet there may be others desirous of forming Connections in Trade with the People of America who would be willing to serve them in this way. And perhaps nothing would have a greater Tendency to cement the Connection between the two Nations, so happily begun, or to insure to the French Nation the Benefit of the American Trade, than Connections of this kind.
By the Eighth Article of the Treaty of Commerce his Majesty has engaged to employ his good Offices and Interposition with the Emperor of Morocco and with the Regencies of Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, and the other powers on the Coast of Barbary, in order to provide as fully as possible for the Convenience and Safety of the Inhabitants of the United States, and their Vessels and Effects, against the Violence Insult Attacks or Depredations on the part of the said princes and States of Barbary and their Subjects. We have received Information that there are already American Vessels in Italy desirous of returning home, and that there are Merchants in Italy desirous of entering into the American Trade; but that an Apprehension of Danger from the Corsairs of Barbary is a Discouragement. We therefore request your Excellencys Attention to this Case; and such Assistance from his Majestys good Offices as was intended by the Treaty.
There is another thing that has occurred of late on which we <hereby?>have the Honor to request your Excellency's Advice. There are many Americans in England, and in other parts of Europe, some of whom are excellent Citizens who wish for nothing so much as to return to their native Country, and take their Share in her Fortune whatever that may be; but are apprehensive of many Difficulties in removing their property. Whether it { 404 } will be practicable and consistent with his Majesty's Interest to prescribe any Mode by which Americans of the above Description may be permitted to pass thro' this Kingdom with their Apparel, Furniture, plate and other Effects not Merchandises for Sale without paying Duties, we submit to his Wisdom. In the mean time, we have received a Letter from Dr. James Smith6 of the State of New York, who has been several Months in Paris, representing that part of his Baggage is detained at Calais by the Custom House Officers under an Idea of their being contraband that they consist of Household Linnen and some Articles included under the Denomination of plate, which had been in use for some time; if there is nothing improper in it, we should take it as a Favor if your Excellency would procure permission for the Doctor to take his Effects with him to America, without paying any Duties.
We likewise request of your Excellency a passport, for such Cartel Ship as shall be employed by the English, in sending our people, who are their prisoners, to France to be exchanged. They propose Calais as the port at which the Exchange may be made, But as the prisoners we have are at Brest, and the Expence of removing them to Calais would be considerable, we should be glad that the passport would permit the landing of our people as near Brest as maybe without Danger of Inconvenience to the State.7 We are with the greatest Respect Your Excellencys most humble and most Obedient Servants.
[signed] B Franklin
[signed] Arthur Lee
[signed] John Adams
1. On the redemption of loan certificates in Europe, see congress' resolution of 9 Sept 1777 (JCC, 8:724–725). For a critique of this measure, see E. James Ferguson, Power of the Purse, Chapel Hill, 1961,p. 36–37.
2. Here and below double angle brackets are used to indicate significant deletions made in the Letterbook copy, which almost certainly was the draft.
3. In the Letterbook copy, the passage beginning with the words “as well as” is interlined, possibly by Arthur Lee.
4. In JA's Letterbook this paragraph apparently was to end at this point. The remainder is inserted in another hand, possibly that of Arthur Lee. In addition, the words “for another Year” were inserted in pencil, and not by JA, after the word “continued,” but were then canceled.
5. For this instruction of 3 Dec. 1777, see JA to Samuel Adams, 28 July, note 3 (above).
6. See Smith to the Commissioners, 24 Aug., and note 3 (above).
7. In JA's Letterbook this paragraph and the closing were presumably added by Arthur Lee after the body of the letter was written. The paragraph, but not the closing, was first written in pencil and then traced over in ink.
As to the substance of the paragraph, it was meant to supplement a request already made of Sartine, which was re• { 405 } newed in the Commissioners' letter to the Minister of Marine on 30 Aug., to which Sartine replied on 6 Sept. (LbC, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel Nos. 92, 94). On 9 Sept. Vergennes sent the promised document, which designated either Nantes or Lorient as the point at which the British prisoners might be embarked (same, Reel No. 94). Yet the first exchange of prisoners did not occur until Feb. 1779 (Larry G. Bowman, Captive Americans, Athens, Ohio, 1976, p. 112). See also John Paul Jones to the Commissioners, 28 Aug., and note (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0310

Author: Jones, John Paul
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-28

John Paul Jones to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

I have this moment been with Mons. De la Prévalaye by Accident. That Gentleman you know, Commands here in the Absence of Comte D'Orvilliers. He has told me that as there are now no Ships of War in the Road he can no longer furnish a Guard for the Prisoners taken by the Ranger and now on board the Prize Brigantine Patience.
I could have no dependence on the Officers and Marines of the Ranger because they had suffered the Prizoners to Escape at Nantes which were taken on the Passage from America. Therefore on my arrival from the Irish Channel the 9th. of May I applied to my Friend Comte D'Orvilliers who immediately furnished a Guard of Twelve Soldiers with Officers. This Guard has been releived daily ever Since by French Boats and Seamen—has been fed and Supported altogether at the Expence of France—and has not suffered any of the Prisoners to Escape. Were Comte D'Orvilliers here, I am sure he would at my request Order the Guard to be Continued and tho' he is Absent I will Use every direct and Indirect Means to have it prolonged Until this reaches your hands.
For the Sake of Humanity I entreat you to make immediate Application to the French Minister—that my favorite Object a Cartel may not be lost after I have taken so much pains to furnish and preserve the Means of bringing it about.1
I must not loose the post; therefore I can only add that I have 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: “Captain Jones 28 Aug. Brest”; in another hand: “1778.”
1. In response to Jones' request, the Commissioners wrote to Sartine on 30 Aug. enclosing a copy of this letter (LbC, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 92). Sartine { 406 } replied on 6 Sept. that orders had been sent to Brest to continue the guard until the prisoners were finally exchanged (same, Reel No. 94). No reply to the present letter has been found. See also Commissioners to Vergennes, 28 Aug., and note 7 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0311

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-29

John Bondfield to the Commissioners

[salute] Sirs

Since my last of the 26th I an honord with your favor of the 19th.1 Commissioning the emediate purchase of fifty six pieces of Cannon say Twenty eight 24 pounders and Twenty eight eighteen pounders. From the search I have already made I suspect it will be November before they can be all colected. I propose going to the Forges next week on that Account. I shall take every precaution both with regard to price and quality that so interesting a charge requires. I presume they are for the Marine Service from the proportions and by your instructions for the Bill of Loading to be forwarded to the Marine Committee of course short guns.2 Please to inform me for what part of the United States you intend that I should forward them. I shall exert my diligence in the execution.
I am without any instructions for the Genl. Arnold Packet Boat. The Wages and other charges are very heavy on such small craft and every delay in Port appears against the Agent. Excuse my remarks which my attention and desires to be thought to do my duty occations.
Another Prize taken by the General Mifflin bound from London to Archangel is arrived at La Rochelle to the address of my friend Monsr. Jean Bte. Nairac. The Captain, not having any instructions,3 valued on4 the Gentleman as being charged with the business that may fall into that Port who I apointed to take charge of any concerns that Arrived dependant on the department I have the Honor to fill. He advises that this Vessel was the Eleventh prize taken by the privateer on that Station. The Oliver Cromwell Privateer was spoke with to the Northward of the Azores intended apparently to intercept the Quebec and Newfoundland men.
The Trading Interest at this Port begins to take the Alarm. Their ships from the West Indies by the Misconduct of the Convoy who forsook them off Bermudas are left prey for the British Cruizers. [The]ir Loss's may probably engage a more exact [ . . . ] in the Instructions that may in future be given to the Captains { 407 } having Convoys under their care and by which we may flatter ourselves to participate in the care that will be taken of the Ships bound to the United States.
We are without any arrivals on this Coast since that mentiond in my last5 of 7th July from Edenton. With due respect I have the Honor to be sirs Your most humble Servant,
[signed] John Bondfield
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honble. Benj Franklin Arthur Lee. John Adams Esq Commissioners from Congress at Paris”; docketed, not by JA: “M. Bondfield 29 Aug. 78.” A small piece torn from the top of the third page has removed parts of three words.
1. Not printed here ||(Commissioners to Bondfield, omitted)||, but see letters to the Commissioners from the Marine Committee, 10 June, and John Bondfield, 17 [16] Aug. (both above). Bondfield's fear that the cannon would not be immediately available was justified; he reported to the Commissioners on 12 Sept. that they would not be ready until Feb. 1779 (PPAmP: Franklin Papers).
2. “Short guns” were for use on ships as opposed to the longer siege or garrison guns (Albert Manucy, Artillery Through the Ages, Washington, 1949, p. 45).
3. This and the preceding comma have been supplied.
4. Perhaps, relied on?
5. That of 23 Aug. (PPAmP: Franklin Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0312

Author: MacCreery, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-30

From William MacCreery

[salute] Dear Sir

I am very much obliged to you for yours of 19th. Instant and am glad to find that there is a prospect of an end being speedily put to the troubles which arise to us in the Sea Ports of this Kingdom from our differences with Seamen, by the appointment of Consuls. I have not lost less than £100 Sterling by the People of one little Vessel. These People too, are renderd useless to our Vessels while such Money lasts them, and probably much longer—for in the expenditure of it, they commonly contract such diseases by intemperance, as render them unfit for Service.
The Winds having been for some time past, and still continuing Easterly, we have no arrivals from America; hope it will soon change, and waft us favourable Accounts from thence.
Of late several of our Captured Sea-Men, chiefly Masters of Vessels, have got to this place from England—and I have been very much vex'd at finding that in general they complain of the Conduct of the Commissioners to them. Their complaints commonly are want of Money—and want of attention.
As to the former, it is impossible for them to expect it in a very profuse manner, under our present circumstances—when { 408 } Funds I think must be pretty low with us in a Public, as well as in a Private line—and as to the latter, there can be no accounting for the whims of Men who will find a fault for a deficiency in Compliments and congratulations where People in the line of the Commissioners must—at least ought, to be much better employ'd.
However it is devoutly to be wish'd that a Provision of some kind was made for those People, in order that they might benefit by it according as they are fortunate enough to escape from the hands of the Enemy. If there cou'd for this purpose, be a Vessel appropriated at this, or any other Port, where they wou'd be received and rashions dealt out to them regularly, they wou'd all resort thither, and be ready to go on board the first Public Vessel that shou'd stand in need of them—Or—they wou'd answer to Man our Merchant Vessels which are often distress'd for want of Sea-Men in which case their expences to the Public wou'd be reimbursed here by the Agent of such Vessel—if required.
It is further advanced by these Gentlemen that their Bretheren in Gail in England, are at a loss how to account for the behavior of the Commissioners to them, having wrote several Letters to them, modestly requesting to know, if they might hope for a speedy exchange, to which they had never received any Answer. In vain did I argue the improbability of such Letters Reaching the Commissioners and the still greater uncertainty of a Letter getting back from them. They have also declared, that, if these People in Prison, were to know the Reception which they met with at Paris—the Major part of the Prisoners wou'd embrace any other means1 of getting out of their present loathsome confinement.
On the other hand—complaints are made of the treatment of the Prisoners in our hands at Brest, where 180 Men are confined on board of a small Brigg and where, in case of a high Wind, their daily subsistance is rendered very precarious—besides which, Notice has been given by an officer there, that the Guards wou'd be discontinued in a few days, in which case, many must soon escape.
I may perhaps be thought officious in entering on this Subject, People being allready employ'd to attend to these matters, however, I have this intelligence to day from a Gentleman just come from thence, and in whom I can confide. You know that I am not { 409 } ignorant of their treatment of us at New York, but even there, I assure you that their Prison-ships were not so much crowded even in the Winter Season, besides, I hope we wou'd not wish to take example from them, on the contrary, I really am perswaded, that it is the wish of the Commissioners to make them as comfortable under their misfortunes as possible, but I am well aware of the difficulties they must find in attending to all these matters and that it is impossible to have every thing done to their wish or intentions, at such distances.
It is my earnest wish to have all these complaints removed, and no one can doubt but it is the same with the Honorable the Commissioners. I know not a more probable way of effecting it, than by settling a Cartell which I hope is in their power to do. And I beg leave on this occasion to make them a tender of my services, shou'd they be in the least acceptable, or necessary. I am at present quite disengaged from business, and will freely go to England or elsewhere should they think me capable of furthering the above purpose, without any expectation of proffit or emolument. I shall only ask a reimbursement of my necessary expenses on such an expedition. Therefore, Sir, Shou'd they think, or rather, shou'd they determine on doing this, I pray you, if you think it necessary, to inform your Honorable Colleagues, of my disposition that way. You are as well acquainted with me as most People here, so that I need not Refer you to any body for a Character, but if you do not think me worthy of such confidence, I need not tell you to desist, but from what has pass'd, I have no right to expect any such thing.
I have been detain'd at this place 'till now, contrary to my expectations, and shall now remain ten days longer, that I may receive your Answer to this Letter, by which I shall govern my next movements,2 being allways Dear Sir most Respectfully Your very obedient Hble Servt.,
[signed] Will M.Creery
1. Presumably they would accept a pardon and enlist in the British Navy.
2. In his reply to MacCreery of 7 Sept. (LbC, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 93), JA strongly defended his actions and those of the other two Commissioners with regard to the escaped prisoners. He also thought it unlikely that MacCreery's services would be needed in the proposed prisoner exchange.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0313

Author: Jones, John Paul
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-30

John Paul Jones to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

I had the honor of writing to you by the last Post1 that Monsieur De la Prevalaye, the present Commandant here, had absolutely refused to continue the Guard which Comte D'Orvilliers lent me for the security of Prisoners of War taken by the Ranger, and Confined on board the Prize Brig Patience in the Road.
I then promised to use every possible means to have the Guard continued until you could make application to the French Minister of the Marine: and I am now happy to inform you that I have Succeeded thro' the Intrest of my good Friend Monsieur De la Porte the Intendant who has this day informed me that if I will obtain your consent, he will Immediately furnish a Vessel and send them with a Flag to England.
I am persuaded that you will agree with me in thinking this Offer too generous to be Rejected; as it will at once free the Public from a considerable expence and releive a number of our Unfortunate Fellow Citizens: If it is rejected I do not think it will be repeated.
The Guard has been continued, at my request, Since the 9th of May without any order from the Minister, and without any expence to America; but it will be continued no longer than Until your Answer becomes due, Unless you Procure an Immediate Order for that Purpose from the Minister of the Marine.
I apprehend that you will have Occasion only to send a proper Person here to Negociate the Exchange in England—Or perhaps, if you ask it, Monseigneur De Sartine may agree to transport them by Water to Calais: Transporting them there by Land would be Attended with great Expence; And if a direct exchange can be effected, it will be attended with the least Risque, the least trouble, and the least Expence both in time and Money.

[salute] I have 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: “Capt Jones Aug. 30. Brest” in another hand: “1778”; in a third hand: “Capt Jones Augt. 30th.”
1. See Jones' letter of 28 Aug., and note (above). No answer to this letter has been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0314-0001

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Horneca, Fizeaux & Co. (business)
Date: 1778-08-31

The Commissioners to Horneca, Fizeaux & Co.

[salute] Messieurs

Nous avons profité de l'Occasion de Mr. Whitall1 pour vous faire parvenir un Livre relie en Burane [Basane] con tenant deux cent cinq promesses de mille Florins chaque ce qui forme, un Capital de deux cent cinq mille Florins Argent Courant d'Hollande payable le premier Janvier mil sept cent quatre vingt huit a votre Domicile, garnies de dix Coupons de cinquante Florins d'Interet pour Année le tout au Porteur et signé par nous.2
Vous nous en accuserez la Reception.
Il faudra timbrer ce Livre A et consequemment de memes toutes les deux cent cinq promesses. A chaque Livraison que vous en ferez vous aurez soin de remplir les Blancs c'est à dire le Numero de la promesse que vous pouvez designer par No. 2001 si vous ne vouliez pas commencer par un pour ne pas faire voir que c'est la première, son folio, le Nom du preteur et la date du Jour de la delivraison. Vous observerez de remplir egalement touts ces Blancs sur le Talons qui restera attache au Livre quand vous en aurez coupé la promesse en feston pour le Milieu du Timbre: Etats unis de l'Amerique septentrionalle suivant le modele ce Joint en Francois. Il seroit Souhaiter que l'on trouvat sur le Talon les mémes dates donnes aux promesses afin que l'un et l'autre se rapportent exactement et puissent servir de Controlle chez vous independamment de celui que l'on aura ici. C'est pourquoi il sera essentiel que toutes les fois que vous delivrerer une ou plusieurs promesses vous en donniez exactement Avis et une Note conforme a la promesse delivrée et a son Talon.3
Il est superflu de vous observer de ne placer ces promesses que contre de l'Argent comptant4 il est bien plus sans doute de vous recommander d'operer la Vente de ces promesses avec toute la promptitude et en meme tems avec toute la prudence et la Circonspection possible pour ne rien compromettre et surtout le Credit de cet Emprunt. Pour parvenir a ce But vous serez dans le Cas de donner des Encouragements a vos Agens et de faire de fraix, pour en supprimer les details et vous mettre en meme tems et meme de ne rien menager, au lieu de cinq pour cent que portent les promesses nous vous en allouerons six sur toutes celles que vous aurez placées et cela pour toutes fraix quelconques, meme de ports de Lettres et de Remises d'Argent, ne voulant pas dans touts le Cas que ce fonds revienne au dela de six { 412 } pour cent5 toutes depenses faites. Vous observerez une Marche uniforme pour le Coupon d'Interet c'est a dire qu'en le delivrant vous vous ferez bonifier l'lnteret qui aura couru jusqu'au Jour que vous l'aurez delivré.
Enfin pour tout ce qui a Attrait a ceci vous en correspondrez directement avec nous ou ceux qui nous succederont avec qui vous vous entrendrez pour la Remise des fonds a sur et Mesure qu'ils vous entreront a fut qu'il n'y ait point de Retard en d'Interet d'Argent perdu. Nous sommes tres parfaitement Messrs Votre tres humble Serviteurs,
[signed] BF
[signed] AL
[signed] JA

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0314-0002

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Horneca, Fizeaux & Co. (business)
Date: 1778-08-31

The Commissioners to Horneca, Fizeaux & Co.: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

We take the opportunity of Mr. Whitall's1 visit to convey to you a leather-bound book containing 205 promissory notes, each worth 1,000 florins, making a capital fund of 205,000 florins lawful money of the Netherlands, to be paid on 1 January 1788 at your residence with, in addition, 10 coupons of 50 florins in interest for the year, the whole payable to the bearer and signed by us.2
You will please acknowledge their receipt.
You will stamp this book “A” and then do likewise on all 205 promissory notes. At each delivery that you will make you will carefully fill in the blanks, that is to say, with the number of the note which you may designate as 2,001 should you not wish to show that it is the first, its folio, and the date of delivery. You will also carefully fill in all the blanks in the counterfoils which should remain attached to the book after you have detached the notes at the scalloped pattern in the center of the stamp marked United States of North America, according to the enclosed model in French. It would be advisable that the same dates appear on both the counterfoil and the promissory notes in order to have a perfect match which may serve as a model for you, independent of the record we will have in our possession. Therefore, it will be essential that, with each delivery of one or more promissory notes, you keep an exact record consistent with the delivered note and its counterfoil.3
It is superfluous to mention to you not to sell these promissory notes for anything but cash.4 It is even more superfluous to recommend that you undertake the sale of these notes promptly but, at the same time, with all possible prudence and circumspection so as not to jeopardize anything, particularly the success of this loan. To achieve this end you will be able to reward your agents and cover the expenses of the operation. In order to do away with the details and, at the same time, to enable you to spare nothing, instead of the 5 percent carried by the prom• { 413 } issory notes, we will give you 6 percent on all those you have sold. This will cover any expenses, even postage and petty cash; in any case, we do not want this sum to exceed 6 percent5 for all expenses incurred. You will observe a uniform procedure for the interest coupon, that is to say, upon delivering it you will have the interest which will be accrued up to the date of delivery given to you.
Finally, for all that concerns this matter, you will correspond directly with us or our successors in order to arrange the remittance of funds as you receive them so that there will be no delay or loss of interest. We are very respectfully, gentlemen, your very humble servants,
[signed] BF
[signed] AL
[signed] JA
LbC (Adams Papers); Dft (ViU: Lee Papers). Both are in Arthur Lee's hand.
1. Joseph P. Whitall of Philadelphia, an American commercial agent in France (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 5:316).
2. Despite the hope expressed in this letter, the proposed loan was a failure because Dutch investors were not yet ready to risk investment in a cause that might still be lost. For the origin of this effort and the Commissioners' views on the difficulty of raising a European loan, see JA to Samuel Adams, 28 July, note 3 (above).
3. In the draft this paragraph was followed by another, beside which in the margin was Arthur Lee's note: “objected to and expunged.” The canceled paragraph read: “Nous n'avons pas voulu datter ces Promesses pour vous donner par la une nouvelle Preuve de notre confiance” (We have not wanted to date these promissory notes so as to give you by it, a new proof of our confidence).
This, as well as two other alterations suggested by Arthur Lee and mentioned in notes 4 and 5 below, reflect Lee's split with Franklin and JA over the financial transactions of the Commissioners. Horneca, Fizeaux & Co. were the Dutch agents of Ferdinand Grand, the Commissioners' banker who had close ties with the French government and held his position with the Commissioners partly for that reason. Lee's suspicions of France, Franklin, and thus Grand, made the use of Horneca, Fizeaux & Co. very questionable in his mind, particularly when he preferred the firm of Jean de Neufville, an Amsterdam banker, who had had previous contact with William Lee and was eager to undertake any American business that came his way. Franklin was, however, adamant about maintaining his ties with Grand and thus employing Horneca, Fizeaux & Co. in the Netherlands (Pieter van Winter, American Finance and Dutch Investment, 1780–1805, transl. and rev. James C. Riley, 2 vols., N.Y., 1977, 1:29–33). It is understandable, therefore, that Lee would object to passages in this letter that might imply that all three Commissioners had confidence in the firm; might give some freedom of action; or seemed to allow a profit that was, at least to Lee, “out of the ordinary course.”
4. At this point in the Draft was the phrase “ou contre les Marchandises que nous pouvons être dans le cas de vous demander” (or such merchandise as we might request of you). In the left margin was the note: “objected to and expunged.”
5. At this point, in the Draft's left margin, was the note: “The giving one pr. ct. in lieu of all Charges Objected to, as being out of the ordinary course and suspicious, but I was overrulld.” Lee thought that the extra 1 percent being paid Horneca, Fizeaux & Co. for expenses was excessive.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0315

Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Moylan, James
Date: 1778-08-31

The Commissioners to James Moylan

[salute] Sir

Our last to you was of the twenty second,1 since which We have received yours of the 26th., and are much pleased to hear of the good success, as well as the Adventurous and patriotic Spirit of Captn. Mc.Neal.
We have been negociating with the English for an Exchange of Prisoners, and have a Promise that it shall be accomplished, when an opportunity will present of exchanging those of C. Mc.Neal, with the rest at Nantes and Brest for a like Number of our Suffering Countrymen now in English Prisons. We expect a Pasport to send all the Prisoners to England, and another to bring an equal Number back. As soon as it arrives, you will be informed of it.
We have some Time expected a general Regulation of this Government respecting the subject of Prises and Prisoners, and have Reason to believe it will be accomplished in a few days. But an order is gone already from Government to keep the Prisoners in french Prisons. The Parols of officers however, have generally been taken. We are, sir; with Respect your humble servants.
1. Not printed here, but see Moylan's letter to the Commissioners of 17 Aug., note 2 (above).

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

Author: La Vauguyon, Paul François de Quélen de Stuer de Causade, Duc de
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1778-05-15

La Vauguyon to Vergennes

J'ai1 receu, Mr. le Comte, les depesches que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'addresser.
La2 lettre de Mr. Franklin est arrivée,3 comme Je m'y attendois; mais j'ai engagé son Emissaire,4 ainsi que je vous en avois assuré, à suspendre la demarche qui lui étoit prescrite, sans lui faire connoitre mon motif. Je lui ai temoigné qu'il me paroissoit prudent, de sonder encore les dispositions de notre ami d'Amsterdam,5 et de lui demander des nouveaux Conseils avant de S'acquitter de la Commission des Membres du Congrès. Je l'ai bien prevenu qu'il devoit uniquement parler en son nom, et s'abstenir de prononcer le mien. Il a suivi mon avis, et à trouvé notre vertueux Republicain constamment penetré du meme desir, et de la meme esperance. Il venoit me rendre compte de son entretien avec lui au moment où votre derniere depesche m'est parvenuë. Je lui ai dit alors, que, comme je n'avois recu aucun ordre relatif à la demarche dont il étoit chargé, et que je m'en avois avis que par la communication qu'il m'en avoit donnée, je ne pouvois, ni la hater, ni la suspendre, ni la diriger; que j'avois lieu de croire que le Roi verroit avec Satisfaction le rapprochement des Etats unis et des Etats generaux; mais que je savois, qu'il desiroit essentiellement que rien ne troublat la tranquillité des Hollandois, et que ses dispositions à cet égard me paroissoient egalement conformes aux veritables interets de la France, et des deux Republiques.
La lettre de Mr. Franklin a été remise hier matin. J'apprends par l'Emissaire du Congrès que notre ami d'Amsterdam a eu à cette occasion une Conversation très interessante avec le Conseiller Pensionnaire, qui lui a paru flatté de la Confiance que lui témoignoient les Chefs des Etats unis, et aussi favorablement disposé, qu'il pouvoit le desirer. Mr. de Bleiswyk n'a nullement été embarrassé du parti qu'il devoit prendre. Il a senti la necessité de faire part aux membres des Etats de Hollande du temoignage de prévenance du Congrès envers la Republique; mais pour ne pas donner à cette Communication un éclat nuisible à ses { 416 } vuës, il a cru ne devoir dans ce moment rendre aucun compte à cet égard dans l'assemblée meme. Cette demarche auroit exigé une Resolution des Etats à l'effet de prendre la lettre ad referendum, et de la communiquer aux differentes villes et au Corps des Nobles, et cette resolution, quoique provisoire, auroit pu exciter les reclamations de la part de l'Ambassadeur d'Angleterre, à qui il paroit Sage, de n'en pas fournir encore le motif. Il s'est determiné à donner secrettement à chaque Membre des Copies de la lettre. Par ce moyen les differentes villes recevront l'information necessaire pour deliberer sur cet objet interessant, et lorsque le Conseiller pensionnaire jugera convenable de faire son rapport aux Etats assemblés, chaque deputé pourra avoir une connoissance légale du voeux formel de ceux qu'il represente. Notre Ami d'Amsterdam est enchanté de la tournure que prend cette affaire, et se flatte du plus utile Succès.6
(Le reste est en écrit:)7
P.S.8 J'ai l'honneur de vous envoyer ci joint la copie de la lettre de Mr. Franklin au Conseiller pensionnaire traduite de l'Anglois.
Vous9 êtes vraisemblablement informé de la mort du Ld. Chattam, que nous venons d'apprendre.
Suite un passage chiffré d'un Chiffre que nous n'avons pas.

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

Author: La Vauguyon, Paul François de Quélen de Stuer de Causade, Duc de
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1778-05-15

La Vauguyon to Vergennes: A Translation

I1 have received, M. le Comte, the dispatches that you did me the honor to send.
Mr.2 Franklin's letter arrived3 as I expected, but I convinced the emissary,4 in accordance with my promise to you, to suspend the démarche he had been prescribed without revealing my motive. I indicated to him that it seemed wiser to me to explore deeply again the dispositions of our friend from Amsterdam5 and ask for new advice before undertaking the commission of the Members of Congress. I duly warned him that he should speak only in his own name and refrain from mentioning mine. He followed my advice and found our virtuous Republican steadfastly imbued with the same desire and hope. He had just come to give me an account of his visit with him when your last dispatch arrived. I then told him that since I had received no instructions in regard to his démarche, and since the only information I had about it was through the communication he himself had made, I could neither accelerate, suspend, nor direct it, but that I had reason to believe that the King would see the rapprochement between the United States and the States General with a favorable eye; but that I knew { 417 } that his main desire was that nothing disturb the peace of the Dutch nation, and, in this regard, his dispositions seemed to me to conform to the true interests of France and of the two republics.
Mr. Franklin's letter was delivered yesterday morning. The emissary from Congress told me that our friend from Amsterdam had, on this occasion, a very interesting conversation with the Councillor Pensionary, who seemed to be flattered by the trust shown him by the leaders of the United States and as favorably disposed as he could wish for. Mr. de Bleiswyck was in no way embarrassed by the measures he had to take. He understood the necessity of conveying to the members of the Dutch States the testimonial of the amiable dispositions of Congress toward the Republic; but, in order not to give this communication a notoriety harmful to his plans, he thought it better at present not to communicate it to the Assembly itself. Such a démarche would have required a resolution by the States, for the letter would have to be submitted ad referendum and communicated to the different towns and to the Corps of Nobles. In addition, this resolution, although provisional, might have provoked protests by the British Ambassador, and at present it seems wise not to furnish him the opportunity. He therefore decided to distribute copies of the letter secretly to each member. As a result, the different towns will receive the necessary information for their deliberations over this interesting matter; and when the Councillor Pensionary deems it appropriate to make his report to the assembled states, each deputy will be officially informed of the precise wishes of those he represents. Our friend from Amsterdam is delighted with the way things are proceeding and anticipates the greatest success.6
(The rest is in ordinary writing.)7
P.S.8 I have the honor to enclose a copy of Mr. Franklin's letter to the Councillor Pensionary, translated from the English.
You9 have probably already heard of the death of Lord Chatham, news of which has just reached us here.
There follows a ciphered passage in a code that we do not have.
Tr (Algemeen Rijksarchief, The Hague, Fagel Papers, No. 5216). This Tr resulted from the clandestine interception by the Dutch government of letters to and from foreign representatives (except the British) in the Netherlands. In view of the pro-British sympathies of those to whom copies of the intercepted letters were sent, particularly Hendrik Fagel, the griffier or secretary of the States General (see sketch in JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:5), and in accord with past practice, it is likely that the British ambassador, Sir Joseph Yorke, received a copy of this letter (Miller, Sir Joseph Yorke, p. 34). A second Tr is in the Koninklijk Huisarchief, The Hague.
1. Immediately opposite in the left margin is the notation “Von.” Presumably it is an abbreviation for “Vauguyon.”
2. Immediately opposite in the left margin is the notation “En chiffre,” probably an indication that the first paragraph was not enciphered. In the deciphered text there were numerous instances of underlining of both a few words at the beginning of lines and entire passages, but because { 418 } of its apparent randomness the editors have determined not to include such instances in the text as printed.
3. That is, the letter of 28 April from the Commissioners to Pieter van Bleiswyck, the Grand Pensionary, referred to in the present letter as the “Conseiller Pensionnaire.” A copy of that letter is included with this transcript but is not printed here.
4. That is, C. W. F. Dumas.
5. That is, Englebert van Berckel, also referred to as “notre vertueux Republicain.”
6. Besides confirming the accounts contained in Dumas' letter of 7 May, wording in this letter also suggests the French desire to deal with but one American commissioner, Benjamin Franklin. Although the letter to van Bleiswyck was also signed by JA and Arthur Lee, it was, for La Vauguyon and probably for Vergennes as well, solely “La Lettre de Mr. Franklin.”
7. Presumably this refers to the formal, stylized closing that the copyist saw no need to transcribe.
8. Immediately opposite in the left margin is the notation “En chiffre.”
9. Immediately opposite in the left margin is the notation “En écrit.”
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/