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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 7


Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0097

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-10-15

From Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] Sir

A long abscence from your Native shore would insure a Welcome to a line from me had I no other Claim to your Attention. But when I Can Recur to former Instances of friendship And indulgence, and in addition to that assure you I take up my pen in Compliance with the Repeated request of your Good Lady, I Can suppose it possible that Even the most important Negotiations may for a Moment be suspended.
Nor shall the Distance or uncertainty of Conveyance which forbids the hope of a speedy answer, Check my inclination to Converse with a gentleman, made dear to me by the high style of Friendship subsisting between him and the person who Deservedly holds the first place in my Heart. And as I have thus Early mentioned this unshaken patriot I will just hint to you that Wearied with the perplexities and Embarasments of public life, sickned by the Ingratitude and Baseness of Mankind, and sighing for the Felicity of Domestic peace, He is about to leave the Mazy paths of politics and War, and Retire to the still, unvariegated scenes of the Sequestered Roof.
I hope sir you will not be led by the Contrast which your own manner of life Exhibits (amidst the Intrigues of statsmen, and the pleasures of the Court of Versailles) to Disapprove the Resolution. Were you now in the state of Masschusets you might perhaps see Reasons sufficient to lead you to a simeler Determenation. But I shall leave it to some more Decriptive hand to Give you a true Idea of our present situation.
A state of War has Ever been Deemed unfriendly to Virtue, but such a total Change of Manners, in so short a period I beleive was never known in the History of Man.
When Rapacity and profusion, pride And servility, and almost Every Vice is Contrasted in the same Breast, when a society is without Virtue, and Goverment without Energy, it is then Necessary1 some Mas• { 142 } terly hand (who Can trace the sources of Human action) should take the Helm and New Form the Characters of the people. When such a Genius will arise, or when Contingent Circumstances will permit its Exertion, must be left till He who Rules the Empire of Creation, shall by the Fiat of His Finger Commission some Agent Endowed to Execute the Benevolent purpose.
But though such an Happy Event may not soon take place, yet I beleive the Idol which has been set up in Dura, whom all but Daniel and the Righteous three have Fallen Down and Worshiped, will soon prove to be an Image of Clay, instead of pure Gold, and that will be sufficient to Destroy the Adulation paid the Brittle pageant, though perhaps not to Root out the spirit of Idolitry.2
It is probable the Next you Receive from Mrs. A—s will give you an account of a superb Entertainment made this Day by the Count De Estainge. Some Domestic Avocations obliged me to Decline the Invitation, or I should gladly have joined the little Circle at Braintree, and made one of the party. But as I had once been on Board the Languedoc I was not impeled by Curiosity. With me the speculative would have been the principle part of the Repast, and ample as is the Feild which this Connexion, and the Circumstances leading to it afford, I thought I might as well Enjoy it in my own Apartment, as in the saloon of a Marquiss, or the state Room of the first Count in France.3
The squadrons of the House of Bourbon, fortifying the Harbour, Riding in the port of Boston, and Displaying the Ensigns of Harmony, are Events which though precipitated by the Folly of Britain, have out run the Expectations of America. And as there has not yet been time to prove the sincerity of Either party, I think most of those officers who Remember the late War, (when we Huged ourselves in the protection of Britain) look as if they Wished, Rather than beleived ancient prejudices Obliterated, and half doubting our Friendship: Reluctantly hold back that Flow of affection which in Reallity we are Ready to Return in full Measure, while the younger part unconscious of injuries, Discover an Honest Joy Dancing in their Eye, and Every Feature softned by the Wish of Mutual Confidence, Extend their arms to Embrace their New allies.4
I am not about to Charactarize those Respectable strangers which appear in our Capital. I am not Enough acquainted with their Language and Manners to judge with precission. Yet I think while the Errand on which the Count De Estainge Came out, Excites our Gratitude, the Dignity of his aspect Commands our Respect, and his Reserved affability (if I may so Express it) Heightens our Esteem. But { 143 } he is Certainly an unfortunate officer. I wish he may yet win some palm of Victory before he Returns to the arms of his sovereign.
I have been in Company with the Marquiss La Fayette but a few Minits but am told this Character Needs not an American pencil: having Reached a hight far beyond his years before he Crossed the Atlantic.
Are you sir acquanted with Mrs. Holker.5 A seperation at such a Distance from a partner possesed of so many accomplishment must be very painful. Penetrating and active, sensible and judicious, the Consel acquits himself in the Eye of the public whilst the politness of his Manners, and his agreable Deportment insures his Welcome at Every social Board. And I Could not but Wisper my Friend Portia when he lately made me a Visit that she was not the only lady who sacrificed at the shrine of public utility, the best Blessings of Friendship.
Yet such is Human Nature that Man is seldom known by his Demeanour, and the first favorable impression is too frequently forfeited by Guilt or Indiscretion long before the Conclusion of the Drama.6 I therfore only Mention two or three Distinguished Characters among us just to Remind you of a proposal of your own from which I now Expect to Reap great advantages.7
Are not the Customs and Manners of Cotemporary Nations (More Especially if Drawn by a hand Remarkable for Its perspecuity) More Interesting and Entertaining than the Dry uncertain Narations of distant ages.8 The politest Court in Europe must afford Variety Indeed.
Are you sir as much in the Good Graces of the parissian ladies as your Venerable Colligue. We often hear he is not more an Adept in politics than a Favorite of the Fair.
He has too many Complements of Gratulation and Esteem from Each quarter of the World to make it of any Consequence whither I offer my little tribute of Respect or not. Yet I would tell him as a Friend to Mankind, as a Daughter of America, and a lover of Merit, that no one more ardently Wishes for the Continuance of his Health Vigour and usefulness, and so disinterested is my Regard, that I do not wish the patriotic sage to leave the soft Caresses of the Court of France, least his unpolished Countrywomen should be more apt to Gaze at and admire the Virtues of the philosopher, than to Embrace the Man.
Every Article of Inteligence both from the Feild and the Cabinet you must have from your Numerous Correspondents, and Every Annecdote of lesser Moment Worthy your Attention you Receive under a signature more pleasing than mine.
{ 144 }
But when you look over the list of your Friends And Recollect their impatience to hear from you, you will not forget that few, very few, will be more Gratifyed with the Notices of your Welfare or the Intimations of your Regard, than Your sincere & Very Humble Servant
[signed] Marcia Warren
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mrs Warren ansd. Decr 18”; in CFA's hand: “October 15th 1778.” Tr (MHi: Mercy Warren Letterbook). Not in Mercy Warren's hand and done years later, the text of the transcript differs from the recipient's copy; the most significant changes are noted below. For additional information on the “Letterbook,” see Adams Family Correspondence, 1:93–94.
1. In the transcript the remainder of this paragraph was altered to read: “ ... that every masterly hand, who can trace the sources of human action should continue at helm and endeavour to form anew, the character of the people. But when contingent circumstances will promise success to genius qualified for such exertions, must be left to him who rules the empire of creation. He only by his Fiat can endow some agent, direct events, and give commission to execute the benevolent purpose of reformation. I fear this happy period is yet at a distance.”
2. In this paragraph, which does not appear in the transcript, Mercy Warren is probably saying that only the “Righteous three,” i.e. James Warren, Samuel Adams, and JA, have been steadfast in refusing to embrace the ambitions of the “Idol,” i.e. John Hancock. An alternative explanation would be that Daniel is her husband and the “Righteous three” are Samuel Adams, JA, and possibly Elbridge Gerry or James Lovell. Her biblical allusion is to Daniel 3.
3. Estaing's “Entertainment” was probably that described in AA's letter to JA of [21 Oct.]. In a letter to AA of 14 Oct., Mercy Warren gave essentially the same reasons for not attending, even including the references to Lafayette and Estaing in the final sentence of the paragraph. The occasion of Mercy Warren's previous visit to the Languedoc may have been that described in AA's letter to JA of [25 Oct.] (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:107–111).
4. The substance of this paragraph was included by Mercy Otis Warren in her History of the American Revolution (3 vols., Boston, 1805, 2:106–107). Whether the transcript or a draft not extant was the source of the passage cannot be determined.
5. In the transcript this sentence was altered to read “Are you acquainted with his Lady” and made a continuation of the previous paragraph. The sketch below was thus applied to Lafayette, rather than to John Holker the younger, French consul in Boston. To that end, the words “the Consel,” which appear below, were replaced by “he.”
6. In the transcript, with some minor internal differences, this and the following sentence were reversed. In its new location this sentence was followed by “A remarkable instance of this we have seen in the conduct of ****” and three lines of dashes.
7. In his letter to Mercy Warren of 8 Jan. 1776, JA had proposed an exchange of character sketches of people with whom they came in contact (vol. 3:397).
8. In the transcript, with some minor internal differences, this and the following sentence were reversed and made to form part of the preceding paragraph. At the end of this sentence the transcript has the additional comment that “I shall therefore with pleasure at any time lay aside my antique volumes, to peruse a packet of yours.”

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0098-0001

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-19

Gabriel de Sartine to the Commissioners

J'ai reçu, Messieurs, les deux Lettres1 que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'ecrire au Sujet de la reclamation que fait M. Izard des Effets pris Sur le batiment le Nil. Je vous ai observé par ma Lettre du 7 de ce mois, que l'Autorite devoit Seulement Suppléer aux Loix lorsqu'elles etoient insuffisantes; et qu'elle devenoit inutile et déplacée lorsque la Legislation etoit claire et précise. Vous devez, Messieurs, Sentir mieux que qui que ce Soit, toute la Justice de ce principe, et je ne doute pas qu'il ne se rencontre des Circonstances où vous pourrez le reclamer vous même avec fondement. La Prise du Vesseau le Nil a été déclarée bonne ainsi que celle de Sa Cargaison, en ordonner la restitution partielle, et enlever aux Armateurs une proprieté qui leur est acquise au moins provisoirement, ce seroit mêler l'Autorité a la Legislation, et introduire une forme dangereuse dans l'administration que Sa Majesté a etablie pour les Prises. Plus vous vous persuadés que la demande du Sieur Izard est conforme aux Traités, plus vous devez croire que Sa reclamation Sera accueillie et les frais d'une requête au Conseil Sont peu considerables. Il est vrai qu'il auroit été possible de les eviter, Si la proprieté de M. Izard avoit été demontrée avant le premier jugement, parce qu'alors il n'auroit été question que de constater cette proprieté qui me paroit incontestable; mais dans l'etat actuel des choses, je suis fâché de ne pouvoir lui éviter les formalités indispensables auxquelles Sa Majesté a dû assujetter ses allies comme ses propres Sujets.
J'ai l'honneur d'etre avec une consideration tres distinguée, Messieurs, Votre tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur
[signed] De Sartine2

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0098-0002

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-19

Gabriel de Sartine to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

I have received, gentlemen, the two letters1 that you did me the honor to write regarding Mr. Izard's complaint about the goods captured on the ship, the Nile. In my letter of 7 October, I indicated that the government would intervene only in such cases where the laws were insufficient and that such an intervention would be unnecessary and uncalled for when the legislation was clear and precise. You ought to be, gentlemen, in a better position than anyone else to know the justice of this principle, and I have no doubt that you will run into circumstances where you will have solid grounds to invoke it. The ship, the Nile, and its cargo have been declared a good prize and to order a partial restitution and thereby take from the privateers property they have acquired— at least temporarily—would amount to having the govern• { 146 } ment meddle with the law and introduce a dangerous precedent into the regulation of prizes established by His Majesty. The more you are persuaded that Mr. Izard's request is in conformity with the Treaties, the more you must believe that his claim will be favorably received and the cost of addressing a petition to the Council is not great. It is true that it would have been possible to avoid this if Mr. Izard's ownership had been proven before the initial judgment, because then it would have been only a question of verifying that ownership, which to me appears incontestable. But, as things stand now, I am sorry to say that he will be unable to avoid the indispensable formalities to which His Majesty has subjected his allies, as well as his own subjects.
I have the honor to be with utmost consideration, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] De Sartine2
1. For these letters, dated 12 and 13 Oct., see that of the 12th, and note 1 (above).
2. In their letter to Izard of 22 Oct. (LbC, Adams Papers), the Commissioners enclosed a copy of this letter and advised him to take action as soon as possible. On the following day Izard wrote to JA and Arthur Lee to thank them for their commendable, but “ineffectual,” efforts to recover his property (PPAmP: Franklin Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0099

Author: Livingston, Abraham
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-20

Abraham Livingston to the Commissioners

[salute] Sirs

I did myself the Pleasure to write you 10th and 22d June, to which please be referred;1 I therein acquainted you that the Honorable Commercial Committe of Congress had ordered several Vessels to this Port for Cargoes for France. The Officers and Mariners of the Ship Flammand absolutely refused to proceed to this Place from the Massachusetts State. The Mellish was destroyed by the Enemy at Bedford,2 the Ship Hayfield and Brigantine Minerva have been ordered to the West Indias, so that my hopes of sending Remittances to France on the Public Account are for the present frustrated. I think it necessary you shoud be advised thereof, and whenever any thing farther in the Mercantile line shall take Place you shall be advised thereof.
I remain with due Esteem Your most Obedient Humble Servant
[signed] Abrm Livingston3
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed, probably by William Temple Franklin: “A. Livingston 20. Oct. 1778.”
1. Neither letter has been found.
2. A former British naval transport, the Mellish was destroyed during Grey's Raid on the Massachusetts south coast in early Sept. (Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 79–80, 85; Zephaniah W. Pease, History of New Bedford, 3 vols., N.Y., 1918, 1:27; James Warren to JA, 7 Oct., note 3, above).
{ 147 }
3. Livingston, a New York merchant, was the congress' commercial agent at Charleston (Papers of Robert Morris, ed. E. James Ferguson and John Catanzariti, Pittsburgh, 1973–,3:190–191).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0100

Author: Cushing, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-10-21

From Thomas Cushing

[salute] Dear Sir

I embrace this Oppertunity by the Brigantine Saturn Rene Maillett Master (which I have dispatched for Nantes) to Acquaint you that your Family are well.1 I have lately, in Company with Mrs. Adams and a few Other Freinds, been to Visit Count D Estaing and his Fleet at Nantaskett, where we were Agreably and politely entertained.2
The Count has met with a series of Disappointments since his Departure from France, By reason of Contrary Winds he had a long passage and Arrived off the Capes of Deleware two days too late to keep the British Fleet Blocked up in Delaware river, otherways they must have fallen into his hands; at New York he found upon Tryall that there was not Depth of Water Sufficient to Admit his Largest Ships up the Harbour especially as the Enemy's Ships were then placed; At the Desire of Genll. Washington he took his Departure from thence for Rhode Island in Order to Cooperate with General Sullivan in reduceing the Enemy upon the Island of Rhode Island, he had not been gone two Days from York before a large Fleet of Transports with Provisions Arrived off Sandy Hook from Ireland which if he had staid must inevitably have fallen into his hands.
Well: as soon as every Necessary Preparation was made for the Attacking the British Troops at Rhode Island upon the very Day when the Descent was to have been made, A British Fleet Appeared off the Harbour, which Obliged the Count to go out and meet them with his Fleet, he immediately sett sail, pursued them and gained upon them, but the very Morning he had Come up with them a severe and very Unusual Storm Arose, seperated the Fleets, and the French Fleet was so Damaged and Shattered that After Calling in at Rhode Island and Informing Genll. Sullivan his Fleet was so Disabled as to not be in a Situation to Cooperate with him he proceeded to this Place to refitt to his great Mortification as well as that of Genll. Sullivan's; Thus were our fairest Prospects blasted in an Instant for the Enemy must have surrendered in the Course of Twenty four Hours.
The Counts Departure from Rhode Island and the Expedition's failing Occasined great Uneasiness and many severe Reflections upon the French. Impressed with the Importance of keeping up a good Under• { 148 } standing with our New Allies I exerted my self to the Utmost to satisfy the People that the French were not to Blame, that they had done every thing in their Power to Cooperate with us in subduing the Enemy, that Providence had Interposed by a Mighty Storm and prevented it and that we must submit, I told the People I had the best Authority for What I advanced upon this Occasion as I had oppertunity with a Committee of the Council to Confer largely with the Count upon the reasons of his Departure from Rhode Island and the Causes of the Expedition's failing, And that he had fully Satisfyed the Council that he was obligged to leave Rhode Island in Order to refitt, and that he had from his first Arrival in America done every thing in his Power to serve America and to distress their Enemies.3 The People are now in generall very well satisfyed and I am very Glad of it, for I look upon it of the last Importance to the United States to keep good faith with and to treat her Allies with the greatest Candor and to pay the most sacred Regard to the Treates they have entred into with them. This will lead them as well as the Rest of the European States to place the greatest Confidence in us and be of lasting Advantages to us.
By the last Accounts from the Southward the Enemy were about Evacuting New York One Hundred Sail of Armed Ships and Transports on the 16 had fallen Down to the Hook and on the 17 Instant Signall Guns were firring all Day for the rest to follow. It is conjectured they are bound for the West Indies,4 but least they should be Comming to Boston Genll. Washington has Ordered a Detachment of his Army to March slowly this way. Pray let me hear from you by every oppertunity and Inform me of the State of Affairs in Europe.
I Remain with great Respect Your Most Humble Servt
[signed] Thomas Cushing
The foregoing is Copy of my last; This will be handed you by Mr. Gridley, who goes to France upon Business. I recemmend him to your freindly notice: The British Fleet sailed the 20th Instant from New York, Whether they are bound is not known, some say to the West Indies, some say to this Place. I beleive their destination is to the Former. I remain with great respect yr Sincere Freind and humble servt
[signed] Thomas Cushing
Inclosed you have the latest news papers.5
RC in a clerk's hand except for the signature and the note dated 28 Oct. (Adams Papers); docketed: “Hon Mr. Cushing”; in another hand: “Oct 21st 1778.”
{ 149 }
1. From this point, this letter was translated and printed under the postscript's date of 28 Oct. in Affaires de l'Angleterre et de l'Amerique, vol. 13, “Lettres,” cahier 63, p. lv–lviii (for a note on citations of Affaires, see JA to Genet, [ante 8 June], note 1, vol. 6:192). It was probably one of the “two private Letters” enclosed in one to Edmé Jacques Genet dated [11] Dec. (RC, PWacD: Feinstone Coll., on deposit PPAmP), in which JA declared that “Mr. Cushing and Mr. A. are both of the Council, and very respectable Characters.” See JA's reply to Cushing of 8 Dec. (below). However, no letter from a “Mr. A.” has been found. That it was not from Samuel Adams, secretary of the Council, seems indicated by JA's letter to Adams of 7 Dec. (below). It may, however, have been a letter from Benjamin Austin, a Council member at the time, perhaps to his son Jonathan Loring Austin.
2. Probably the entertainment of 15 Oct., which was described by AA in her letter to JA of [21 Oct.] (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:108–109).
3. In response to a letter of 26 Aug. from Gen. John Sullivan to the President of the Massachusetts Council, the Council appointed a committee composed of Cushing, Jeremiah Powell, Walter Spooner, Jedediah Preble, and Nathan Cushing to confer with Estaing and attempt to persuade him to return at least part of his fleet to Rhode Island. The Council wrote to Sullivan on 30 Aug., reporting on the meeting and stating the reasons that made such a return impossible (Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. E.1, Reel No. 10, p. 416–417, 418, 419; Sullivan, Papers, 2:266–267, 278–280).
4. Cushing's conclusions, presented here and below, regarding the probable destination of the shipping concentrated at New York were partially correct. Assuming his numbers to be accurate, the ships that sailed out to Sandy Hook on the 16th were probably intended to be part of Como. Hotham's fleet carrying 5,000 troops under the command of Gen. Grant to the West Indies, but which did not sail until 4 Nov. The signal guns, however, may have been connected with the sailing of Adm. Byron's fleet on the 18th in search of Estaing. A violent storm broke up Byron's fleet on the 21st and forced him to put into Newport (W. M. James, British Navy in Adversity, London, 1926, p. 110–111).
5. This sentence was written in the left margin.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0101

Author: Langdon, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-21

John Langdon to the Commissioners

[salute] Sirs

The Courier d Europe Captain Raffin being ready to sail for France, I have taken the Liberty to mention a matter to you that I think will be of Advantage to our Allies as well as profit to me. My haveing a personal acquaintance with two of your Honors, Encouraged me to take this Liberty.
The British Navy were in most part furnished with Masts from this Port. I have lately furnished the Count d'Estangs Squadron with all their Masts and sent them to Boston. I shall think myself highly Honored if you would be pleased to mention to the Minister of the Marine of France or any other proper Person that I would furnish the Navy of France with Masts if any Gentleman in France will take the Contract. I will do the Business here on Commission of 5 P.Ct. for the Cargo and Disbursements and five P Ct. on the Sale of any Articles they may { 150 } send out for payment. You'll please excuse the Liberty I've taken and beleive me to be, Verry Respectfully, Your Honor's Mo. Hbl. Servt.
[signed] John Langdon1
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Hon'ble B. Franklin, A. Lee, & J. Adams (Esquires) American Plenipotentiaries At The Court of France. Per Courier Le. Europe”; docketed: “H. J. Langdons Letter. respecting Masts.”; and in another hand: “Oct. 21. 78.”
1. Langdon, a former member of the congress, had served on several committees with JA and Franklin and was, at the time of this letter, Continental agent at Portsmouth (DAB). The Commissioners sent Langdon's offer to Sartine in a letter of 25 Dec. (not found). In his reply of 8 Jan. 1779 (LbC, Adams Papers), Sartine referred the Commissioners to Leray de Chaumont, the principal agent for the company that supplied masts to the French Navy.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0102

Author: Vernon, William Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-10-22

From William Vernon Sr.

[salute] Dr Sir

The above of the 2nd. Oct. via Portsmouth by the Dutchess of Grammount Capt. Poidras. This is only to inclose a Letter for my Son, which I beg the delivery of, and to inform you of the Arrival of the Ships, Providence, Boston and Ranger at Portsmouth the 17th. Instant. The dispatches for Congress &c. are all forwarded as directed. Those Ships have Captured only Three small Prizes since they left France, a Brigantine from London for St. Augustine loaded with Provisions arrived, a Snow from Newfound Land with Fish for Cadiz, arrived, a Brigantine from Granada for Leith, with Rum supposed to be retaken. It gives me pain to relate the frequent Losses of our Continental Ships. The Raleigh Capt. Barry fell in with a Fifty Gun Ship and Frigate, the Third day after he Sail'd, whom he Ingaged about Six hours, being over Power'd by superiour strength, run his ship ashore, on an Island near Penobscot. About 90 of his Men escaped on shore, the remainder was taken, and his Ship, the next day got off by the Enemy.1

[salute] I am most respectfully Yr. Humble servt.

[salute] Sir

Nothing material hath occur'd since the above, this serve only to convey the duplicate, and best respect, being with truth Yr. Most Obedt Humble servt.
[signed] Wm Vernon
Dupl (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr Vernon Boston ans Dec. 2. 1778.” This letter, for which no RC has been found, begins in the middle of page two and continues to the top of page three. It is preceded by a triplicate of Vernon's letter of 2 Oct. (above) and followed, as printed here, by Vernon's note of 22 Oct. A triplicate of this letter was enclosed with Vernon's letter to JA of 17 Dec. (below).
{ 151 }
1. On 27 Sept. the Raleigh fought the ship of the line Experiment and the frigate Unicorn in or near Penobscot Bay. A court-martial later held the Raleigh's captain, John Barry, blameless in the loss of his ship, which was taken into the British Navy under the same name (Allen, Naval Hist. of the Amer. Revolution, 1:315–319; Dict. Amer. Fighting Ships, 6:18).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0103-0001

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-10-24

From Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] Monsieur

Je viens de traduire pour Monseigneur le Comte de Vergennes, les divers papiers de la gazette de New-York que vous trouveres dans le fragment ci-joint d'une gazette angloise du 17. de ce mois. Il n'est pas douteux que le prochain Courier de l'Europe ne contienne une traduction de ces divers papiers. Toute la france y verra un des deux cotes de la question, c'est a dire, celui sous le quel les Commissaires anglois la présentent sans voir en même tems ce que les américains peuvent y répondre, parceque les gazettes americaines oú seront sans doute les réponses convenables, pourront ne pas arriver en Europe aussitôt qu'il conviendroit. Je prens la liberté de vous prier en conséquence, non pas d'y répondre en votre nom, mais de me fournir des notes d'après lesquelles je puisse, dans le No. 58. des affaires d'angleterre, que paroitroit incessament, combattre les assertions injurieuses des Commissaires anglois, et contre le Congrez et contre ses membres, notament sur l'article des boëtes de Cartouches des troupes du général Burgoyne sur l'Etat ou sont actuellement ces troupes à Boston &c.1
J'en ferai usage, comme de réflexions et observations venant d'un particulier ignoré, et au moins nos Ennemis communs n'auront point l'avantage que l'Europe se remplisse de ses inculpations contre le Congrez et la France, sans que quelqu'un essaye de remettre les esprits sur la bonne voie.
Je suis avec respect Monsieur Votre très humble et tres obéissant serviteur
[signed] Genet
P.S. Plutot vous pourres m'envoyer vos observations, mieux ce sera.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0103-0002

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-10-24

Edmé Jacques Genet to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I have translated for his Lordship, Comte de Vergennes, the sundry articles from the New York gazette which you will find in the enclosed fragment from an English gazette of 17 October. No doubt the next Courier de l'Europe will have a translation of these various documents. As a result, France will see only one side of the question, that which the British Commissioners choose to present, without, at the same time, seeing the American response because the American gazettes, which { 152 } will undoubtedly contain suitable replies, will not reach Europe in time to be effective. I, therefore, take the liberty of asking you, not to reply in your own name, but simply to furnish me with notes from which I shall be able, in the soon to be published No. 58 of Affaires l'Angleterre, to combat the insulting assertions made by the British Commissioners against the Congress and its members, particularly respecting the article on the cartouche boxes of General Burgoyne's army and the present state of these troops in Boston, &c.1
I will make them appear to be the reflections and observations of an unknown person, and, at least, our common enemies will not have the advantage of flooding Europe with their accusations against the Congress and France without an attempt to set people's minds on the right track.
I am with respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Genet
P.S. The sooner you can send me your observations, the better.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “M. Genet”; in CFA's hand: “October 24th 1778.”
1. Genet printed French translations of the following items from Rivington's Royal Gazette of 29 Aug. that had been reprinted in the London Chronicle of 15–17 Oct.: the Carlisle Commission's protest of 7 Aug. to the congress against the detention of Burgoyne's army; the congress' declaration of 11 Aug. that it could no longer have any dealings with George Johnstone because of his attempts to bribe its members; Johnstone's declaration of 26 Aug. that he would not act as a commissioner so that the negotiations might proceed; and the declaration by the Commission's remaining members on 26 Aug. denying knowledge of Johnstone's bribery attempts and asserting that the French alliance was a French attempt to frustrate the Commission's purpose (Affaires de l'Angleterre et de l'Amerique, “Lettres,” vol. 12, cahier 50, p. ccvi–ccxlvi).
In this letter Genet was making particular reference to the statements in Johnstone's declaration regarding the cartouche boxes and the retention of Burgoyne's army “at Boston under every Indignity, contrary to the public Faith of a solemn Convention signed at Saratoga.” For the congress' refusal to permit Burgoyne's troops to depart, see JA's reply to Genet of [post 24 Oct.], and note 2 (below).
Genet followed his translations of the newspaper items with replies to the British allegations by three Americans resident in Paris. The third was JA's; the other two were probably the work of Benjamin Franklin and Arthur Lee, for Lee received a letter from Genet dated 24 Oct. (MH-H: Lee Papers) that was very similar to that written to JA.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0104

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-10-24

From James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

I was not a little surprized Yesterday at seing a Letter from you to Mr. S. Adams by Mr. Archer,1 in which you make no sort of Acknowledgement of any of my numerous Scrawls; 14 or 15 have at least gone on the Way to you.
I have felt myself lately under the Necessity of letting you go by guess as to what we are doing here. Congress have the Papers of the { 153 } Committee for foreign Affairs on their Table, and are taking their own Time to execute any Thing material for you to know; therefore I would not take upon myself to give you any Detail of those Matters, further than to say that the Presence of Mr. Deane and Mr. Carmichael seems rather to perplex than clear our Views. Those Gentlemen having been at Variance for a Season and now cordially reconciled, there is a sort of a Task in accommodating the Meaning of Expressions used at different Periods under the Influence of different Passions.2 The only Result of Interrogatories I forsee must therefore be the Loss of that Time which had better be spent in attending to our Finances. And here, by the Way, I must ask what are become of your Terrors on that Score. Not a Word of Finances in your Letter to Mr. S. A. Do you not know that our Depreciation of Currency is the main Stay of our Enemies. We must immediately Loan 60,000,000 out of Circulation and tax vigorously, or we shall be all afloat.
Can we not borrow in your Neighbourhood? But, you are a wrong Man to ask. You are averse to Debts abroad. Believe me, it is the general Opinion here that our Sons and Grandchildren ought rightfully to pay a Part of the Purchase we are now making for them. We must therefore contract abroad a Debt for the Payment of which a sinking Fund must be established here. This need not hinder us from rendering such a Provision repealable by the Sale of Property which may easily be acquired southward of Georgia and Eastward of the Province of Main.
I have been and am much unwell. I have escaped a settled nervous Fever by Care upon the most violent Symptoms. Writing hurts me. Your affectte. Frd. and Servt.
[signed] James Lovell
P.S. I find Congress has determined on something relative to Doctr. Franklin.3 Your Situation becoms the next immediate Objects. I will go abroad this Day tho little fit for Business. Your Honor and Happiness are dear to me and to many others. The Delay of republican assemblies is the only Thing against you. Your Character is esteemed. Your Ideas of distributing the Gentlemen abroad4 are the ruling Ideas here, and will be carried into Effect I am certain. I wish you had been as free in hinting your own Inclinations as some of the other Gentlemen have been. I doubt not your cordial Endeavors for friendly Intercourse with the different Commissioners, recommended by a Resolve of the 22d.5 (as before) yr.
[signed] JL
RC (Adams Papers); docketed on the second page: “Mr Lovel. ans Feb. 13. 1779”; on the fourth page: “Mr. Lovel 24. Octr. 1778.”
{ 154 }
1. Of 21 May (vol. 6:144–145, calendar entry; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:106–108).
2. On 18 Sept., Richard Henry Lee informed the congress that he had information, probably obtained from Arthur Lee, that in the previous year William Carmichael had charged Silas Deane with the misuse of public funds as well as other improprieties adversely affecting the work of the Commissioners. On 22 Sept., Carmichael was ordered to testify and did so on 28 and 30 Sept. and 5 Oct. Although Carmichael had, in 1777, been at odds with Deane, by the time of his return to America in early 1778 he was involved in a major disagreement with Arthur Lee. This may explain why, as Lovell notes here, Carmichael's testimony regarding Deane's financial activities was so equivocal (JCC, 12:927–928, 941–942, 964, 970, 984; Papers in Relation to the Case of Silas Deane, Phila., 1855, p. 141–149; Floyd B. Streeter, “The Diplomatic Career of William Carmichael,” Maryland Historical Magazine, 8:124–127 [June 1913]).
3. Benjamin Franklin was named minister plenipotentiary to France on 14 Sept., and his instructions were approved on 26 Oct. (JCC, 12:908, 1039–1052). But this letter and others referring to Franklin's new assignment, including those from Samuel Adams of 25 Oct., the Committee for Foreign Affairs of 28 Oct., and Richard Henry Lee of 29 Oct. (all below), did not reach JA until 12 Feb. 1779. The letters' delay was owing to the difficulty of finding a safe means to send the news to France. This ultimately meant that these letters, as well as Franklin's official notice of his appointment, were entrusted to Lafayette, who did not sail for France until early January (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:353; president of the congress to Benjamin Franklin, 26 Oct., Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:807–809). Therefore, despite being the earliest letters informing JA of Franklin's new position, they were not the means by which he learned of the appointment. For that, see JA to James Lovell, 27 Nov. (below).
4. See JA's letter to Samuel Adams of 21 May cited in note 1.
5. For the resolution, see the Committee for Foreign Affairs to JA, 28 Oct., and note 1 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0105

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-10-24

To Edmé Jacques Genet

[Last]1 night I was favoured with yours of the 24[th], [and nothing wou]ld give me greater Pleasure, than to be able to furnish you with any Observations or Intelligence, which might be to your Purpose.
With Regard to the Cartouch Boxes and other Arms of G. Burgoines Army, I can add nothing to what the Congress have said in their Resolutions upon the Report of their Committee on the 8 of Jany. 1778, which has been published already in the Affaires De l'Angleterre et de L'Amerique, and is found in the 9th volume from Page 294 to Page 302.2
The Congress mentioned the Cartouch Boxes, I suppose because they were mentioned by their General Gates in his Official Return: But they might have gone further, for the Truth was, that all the Arms were rendered unfit for service, either by driving over them loaded Carts, or breaking their Locks, in short every Thing in their Power was done by them to injure and destroy their Arms, contrary to the Faith of { 155 } the Convention, and there was a great Uneasiness about it, through the Country.
But it was not this Breach of the Convention alone, that induced Congress to detain the Army. It was a Discovery of the Intention of the Ennemy, to join Burgoignes Troupes to Howes instead of sending them to <the>[ . . . ] Europe.
This Intention was collected from various Considerations.
[1. It was known that the principle favored by the British Court was that, not only was it permitted, but, as good policy, it was even obligatory to deceive the rebels by promises and en]gagements which they never intended to keep. [This maxim] was formally taught in a certain Book, which was [much in] fashion at the British Court, and which the King himself [was] known to be very fond of.3
2. G. Burgoine himself, took care to declare under his Hand in several Letters that the Convention was broke on the Part of the Americans and altho that General had not even a plausible Colour for this opinion, yet the Declaration of it was sufficient Evidence of his Intention to consider himself as discharged from the Convention and consequently at Liberty to go to New York or Rhode Island if he could get there.
3. G. Burgoines Refusal to permit the Names, Age, and Description of his officers and Men to be taken, according to the Resolution of Congress, by which Measure alone, those Persons could be detected and brought to Punishment in Case they, had again served in America contrary to the Treaty, could be considered in no other Light than a Determination to withhold that sort of Evidence.
4. The Number of Transports sent to Rhode Island, might possibly have conveyed that Army to Rhode Island,4 but was altogether insufficient to transport them and their Baggage to Europe.
5. It was well known, that the British Army in America, had too Scanty an allowance of Provisions, to be able to Spare a sufficient Quantity to carry that Army home to Europe.
[But there is yet another point that should not be ignored. This is, that under the Saratoga Convention General Bourgoyne's army was obligated to pay for the provisions to] be furnished them by the Americans, [and the congress has]5 very wisely and justly resolved that they should not embark untill this Debt should be paid.
But there has been no offer of Payment.
What the British Commissioners have to do with this affair, is another Question? It is not included in their Commission.
Congress have resolved that the Army shall not embark untill the { 156 } Convention shall be ratified by the Court, that is by the King. But the King has not ratified it, nor has he empowered his Commissioners to ratify it.
But Governor Johnstone conscious of the Part he had acted, and feeling himself the Scorn of the Universe, for his Prevarications and Tergiversations, was impotent under it and makes this awkward Effort, to make a Noise in order to drown the Hisses of Mankind which had been justly excited against himself.6
As to the Situation of Gen. Burgoines Army, it was lodged in Cambridge Medford and Charlestown in Comfortable Barracks, and plentifully Supplied with Provisions. They were under a Guard of a Thousand Men of the Militia—and had no other Restraint laid upon them than was consistent with the Convention, and than their own turbulent and riotous Disposition made necessary.
It appears by the late Papers, that they are removed, I think to Rutland and other interiour Parts of the Country, where they can be better provided for, and under less Temptation to Disorder.7
[The assertions of George Johnstone concerning the treaty and the approval given by Dr. Franklin to the system of reconciliation, refer to events before my arrival] in this Country. But from what [I have heard] concerning the Treaty and from what I have known of [Dr. Frank]lin's sentiments for three or four years past, they are so [atrocious]ly false,8 that it will be easy, to set those Matters right in the Eyes of the World, which I suppose Dr. F. will do.
As you have observed it will not be proper to make Use of my Name upon this Occasion, and I dont know that you can make any Use of any of these Observations. If you can they are at your service.
I am with great Esteem, your most obedient servant
[signed] John Adams
I think G. Johnstones Declaration may be fairly considered as full Proof of his having employed the Lady to offer, the Ten Thousand Guineas to Mr. Reed, and the best office in the Kings Gift, as well as of his having written the Letters to Mr. Reed and Mr. Morris. In his answer he does not deny it—which probably he would not have failed to do, if he had not been conscious that the Ladys Testimony, and perhaps that of oth[ers] could be added to that of Mr. Reed.9
To what a fatal Degree, has this Gangreene of Corruption, arisen in British Hearts! There seems to be no Character left, in any Part of the Government, or the Army, or the Navy. Lord Howe, General How, even Admiral Keppell, all in their Turns have abandoned their Friends, their Party and their professed Principles and suffered them• { 157 } selves to be made the Tools of an Administration and a system10 which they professed to detest, for the sake of Emolument and Command and G. Johnstone in his Turn, not only throws himself into the Arms of this Administration, but descends to become the Instrument of the meanest and vilest of their dirty work.
RC (Justin G. Turner, Los Angeles, 1958). With the exception of the first paragraph, the two paragraphs preceding JA's signature, and the signature, this letter was translated into French and printed in Affaires de l'Angleterre et de l'Améique (“Lettres,” vol. 12, cahier 58, p. ccxl–ccxlvi). The tops of all four pages of this letter have been damaged by fire, with the loss of the date line, salutation, several lines of text, and various words. As a result, except in the first paragraph (see note 1), the missing portions have been supplied in brackets by reconstructing the English text from the French translation in Affaires (see notes 3, 5, and 8).
1. The missing words in tnis paragraph have been supplied from an incomplete transcript in the Edmond Charles Genet Papers (DLC).
2. In resolutions of 22 Nov., 19 and 27 Dec. 1777, and 8 Jan. 1778, the congress had prohibited the embarkation of Burgoyne's army until the Saratoga Convention had been ratified by Great Britain. Ostensibly it acted because of violations of the convention, which were outlined in several reports to the congress and included the failure of the troops to surrender their equipment in good condition (JCC, 9:948–951, 1036–1037, 1059–1064; 10:29–35); but actually the congress feared that when the soldiers reached England they would be used to replace garrison troops that would then be sent to America. Although JA had left the congress before the victory at Saratoga, he was kept fully informed of its deliberations over the fate of Burgoyne's army. JA's “Observations” on Burgoyne and his captured forces appear to be largely drawn from the letters that he had received during that period. See letters from Samuel Cooper of 22 and 24 Oct. 1777; from James Lovell of 18 Nov., 1 and 21 Dec. 1777, and 1 Jan. 1778; and from Henry Laurens of 15 Jan. 1778 (vol. 5:319–320, 321–322, 330–331, 340–341, 361–363, 379–380, 388–390).
3. In Affaires the paragraph reads: “Premierement, on savoit que le principe favori de la Cour de la Grande-Bretagne etoit que, non-seulement il etoit permis, mais qu'on devoit meme, en bonne politique, tromper des rebelles par des promesses et des engagemens qu'on pourroit se dispenser de tenir. Cette maxime avoit été enseignee dans un certain livre qui a été fort en vogue á la Cour d'Angleterre, et qu'on savoit avoir beaucoup plu aû Roi lui-même.”
4. That is, from the point of embarkation at Boston to Rhode Island.
5. In Affaires the paragraph to this point reads: “Mais il y a encore un autre point qu'il ne faut pas oublier; c'est que, par la convention de Saratoga, l'armee du General Burgoyne devoit payer les provisions qui lui seroient fournies par les Americains, et le Congres a ete.”
6. For Johnstone's declaration of 26 Aug., see Genet's letter of 24 Oct., and note 1 (above).
7. Although the Saratoga Convention provided that the troops be kept near Boston in order not to delay their embarkation, on 11 Sept. the congress authorized their removal to various parts of Massachusetts, and on 16 Oct. to Virginia (JCC, 12:902, 1016).
8. In Affaires the paragraph to this point reads: “Les assertions de George Johnstone concernant le Traite et l'approbation donnee par le Docteur Franklin au systeme de conciliation, se rapportent a des faits anterieurs a mon arrivee en Europe: mais suivant ce que j'ai oui-dire du Traite et d'apres la connoissance que j'ai des sentimens du Docteur Franklin depuis trois ou quatre ans, ce sont des faussetes si atroces.”
9. In its declaration of 11 Aug., the congress reported on letters of 11 April and 16 June from Johnstone to Joseph { 158 } Reed and Robert Morris, offering bribes for their influence in favor of the Carlisle Commission, and also on Reed's meeting with Elizabeth Ferguson, wife of a British commissary of prisoners, in which she relayed Johnstone's offer (JCC, 11:770–773; see also Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:616–617; Joseph Reed, Remarks on Governor Johnstone's Speech, Phila., 1779, p. 9–12, 16–21, 39–57).
10. The preceding three words were interlined for insertion here.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0106

Author: Adams, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-10-25

From Samuel Adams

[salute] My dear Sir

Your Favor of the 24th2 of May did not reach my hand till yesterday. The Gentleman who brought it, Mr. Archer, tells me he had a Passage of Eleven Weeks. I will show him the Respect due to the Character you give him, and properly regard such future Recommendations as may come from you.
I suppose you have been fully and officially informd of the State of our military Affairs since the Enemy evacuated this City and met with a Drubbing at Monmouth. And as publick Letters will doubtless be forwarded by this Conveyance, it is needless for me to give you a particular Detail of what has happend since. By those Letters you will be informd that Dr. Franklin is appointed Minister Plenipotentiary at Versailes. It is not yet determind how you will be disposd of; but as Congress entertain great Expectations from your Services, you may depend upon Employment being allotted for you somewhere.3 The critical Situation of the Powers of Europe in general, renders it somewhat difficult for us to determine, to which of them to make our Addresses at present. Every Cabinet I suppose is busily engagd in making the necessary Arrangements and preparing for the opening a Campaign, if War should take Place. In this Case, I should think France must be our Pole Star, while it continues,4 and our Connections must be formd with hers. In the mean time however, Holland, whose Policy is always to be at Peace, may be open for a Negociation; and in my opinion, we ought to take the earliest opportunity to tempt her.
The two main Armies at and near New York have been quiet since the Enemy retreated to that City. We have made another Expedition against Rhode Island. Our Arms were not disgracd, though we did not succeed to our Wishes. Genl. S. behavd as usual with Bravery; but some will have it that there is a Mixture of Imprudence in every thing he does. He promisd himself to share with Gates in the Glory of Victory, and as an officer of Spirit, no doubt he felt vexed with the Disappointment;5 but he was too sanguine in my opinion, when he expected that the Count D Estaing would remain there, in the Circumstances { 159 } which he was thrown into by a violent Storm he met with when in Pursuit of Lord Howe. This unforeseen and unavoidable Accident left him too much inferior to the British Squadron to run the Risque with any Degree of Prudence. It was a Misfortune which we all regret, but must bear. Knowing the high Temper of the People of my native Town, I, immediately upon hearing it, wrote to some of the principal Men6 to prevent Blame being cast on the Count for leaving Rhode Island; a Disposition which I apprehended the artful Tories (for such there are even there) would encourage with a View of discrediting our new and happy Alliance, in the Minds of injudicious Whigs. I am happy to be informd that the Count and his officers, and indeed every french Gentlemen is treated there with the highest Marks of Respect and Friendship.
For some Weeks past there have been Reports here that the Enemies Troops at N York were about to embark, as they gave out on a grand Expedition, and we are now assured that Sixteen Sail of the line and about one hundred and fifty Transports put to Sea on Tuesday the 20th Instant. Various are the Conjectures of their Destination. Whether to Boston, South Carolina or the West Indies, a few Days will decide. The Count D Estaing has sufficiently securd his Ships in Case of an Attack on them; and if they land their Troops with Intent to march them to Boston, it is my opinion they will repent of their Expedition. It appears to me most probable that the Troops are bound to the West Indies, and that the Ships of War, after having convoyd them to a certain Latitude will return for the Protection of the Garrisons which I suppose are to be left at Newport and New York. The Enemy will be loth to quit the small Portion of Land they possess within the United States; for though they must despair of subduing us by Arms, it will be necessary for them to oblige us to continue the Expence of large Armies in order to nonplus us in the Art of financiering. This may be a Method of carrying on the Contest, the most puzzling to us; but I trust we shall disappoint them.
The Marquis De la Fayette whose extraordinary Merit is fully known to you, does me the Honor of taking the Care of this Letter, and will deliver it to you.7
I am, my dear Sir, with the greatest Sincerity Your affectionate
[signed] Saml Adams
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr. S. Adams”; by CFA: “25th”; in another hand: “Oct 1778.”
1. Under this date and the heading “Lettre de Samuel Adams (a) à M. ***, á P—y,” this letter was printed in Affaires de l'Angleterre et de l'Amérique { 160 } (“Lettres,” vol. 13, cahier 65, p. clxxii–clxxv). JA sent the letter, together with letters from Richard Henry Lee of 29 Oct. and Samuel Cooper of 4 Jan. 1779 (both below) to Edmé Jacques Genet. The alterations in this letter as printed in Affaires (see notes 3, 5, and 7), as well as those in the printed versions of the letters from Lee and Cooper, resulted from suggestions JA made in his covering letter to Genet of [ca. 14 Feb. 1779] (below).
2. An inadvertance for the 21st; see vol. 6:144–145, calendar entry; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:106–108.
3. The preceding two sentences were omitted from the translation in Affaires.
4. That is, while the preparations for a possible war in Europe continued, the relations of the United States with the contending powers should be guided by French policy.
5. In Affaires the reference to Gates was omitted. Samuel Adams is apparently saying that Gen. John Sullivan had hoped to emulate, in Rhode Island, Gates' victory at Saratoga. It was these high expectations, in Adams' mind, that led Sullivan to make his imprudent remarks concerning Estaing's failure to return to support his effort against Newport (Ward, War of the Revolution, 2:593).
6. See his letters to James Warren of 12 Sept., Samuel Phillips Savage of 14 Sept., and an unknown correspondent of 21 Sept. (Smith, ed., Letters of Delegates, 10:619–621, 636–637, 677–678).
7. The remainder of the letter was omitted from the translation in Affaires.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0107-0001

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-26

Gabriel de Sartine to the Commissioners

Je n'ai répondu,1 Messieurs, qu'à la premiere partie de la Lettre que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'ecrire le 12 de ce mois, et la Seconde partie renferme des objets interessants. Sans doute, il Seroit a desirer que l'on put rendre á leur Patrie les Matelots Americains que l'habitude ou la Violence ont attaché au Service de l'Angleterre, et se procurer le double Avantage d'accroitre les forces americains en detruisant celles de leurs Ennemis. Mais les Moyens m'en paroissent aussi difficiles que vous le jugés vous mêmes, et dans l'etat actuel des Choses on ne peut se flatter d'y réussir. Vous demandéz du moins que les Sujets des Etats unis pris depuis les hostilités au service de l'angleterre vous Soient remise. Cette demande générale merite un Attention Serieuse, et je la mettrai incessament sous les yeux de Sa Majisté. A l'egard des quatre prisonniers dont vous me demandés plus particulièrement la liberté, c'est avec bien du Plaisir que je donne des ordres á Dinant pour qu'ils Soient remis a votre disposition. J'ay l'honneur d'etre avec la Consideration la plus distinguee, Messieurs, Votre tres humble et trés obeissant Serviteur
[signed] De Sartine

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0107-0002

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-26

Gabriel de Sartine to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

I only responded,1 gentlemen, to the first part of the letter that you did me the honor to write on the 12th of this month, but the second part also contains some interesting points. Without a doubt it would be desirable, if possible, to return to their mother country those American { 161 } sailors who, through either habit or violence, had been attached to the English service, and thereby achieve the double advantage of increasing American forces while decreasing those of the enemy. But the means to do so seem as difficult to me as they do to you, and in the present state of things one should not delude oneself as to the outcome. Your request that, at least, those subjects of the United States pressed into the English service since the war began be returned to you deserves careful consideration, and I will bring it to His Majesty's attention presently. As to the release of the four prisoners for whom you specifically request freedom, it is with much pleasure that I am giving orders to Dinant so that they may be placed at your disposal. I have the honor to be, with the utmost consideration, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] De Sartine
1. See Sartine to the Commissioners, 19 Oct. (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0108

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: McNeill, Daniel
Date: 1778-10-27

The Commissioners to Daniel McNeill

[salute] Sir

We received yours of the 12 Instant relative to your Prisoners. Just at the same Time, was published here the Kings Reglement, on the subject of Prizes and Prisoners, of which We inclose you a Copy. We imagined, this must have arrived with you at L'Orient, so as to make any particular order from the minister unnecessary, for We Supposed from the 7th and 15 Article, that General orders had been given to all the Ports for the Reception of Prisoners to be secured by the Kings officers, and maintained at the Charge of the United States.2 But as Mr. Moylan informs Us, in his Letter of the 213 that the Difficulty you were under by their refusing to receive them still remains, we Shall directly apply to M. de Sartine and endeavour to obtain the particular order you desire. In the mean Time We wish you to secure them carefully as an Exchange We hope is on the Point of being effected, and it is to your Honour that you will be the Means of delivering from their painfull Captivity, so many of your brave Countrymen. If the general orders are not yet arrived, and you are about to sail; you may assure the officers that if they will take Charge of the Prisoners We shall defray the Expence.
We think you are in the right in resolving to have a regular Decision about the affair of your Prize. We wish you good success in your Cruise and are &c.
{ 162 }
1. This letter was enclosed, unsealed, in a letter of the same date to James Moylan, in which the Commissioners asked him to take care of McNeill's prisoners if Schweighauser's agent, Puchelberg, would not (LbC, Adams Papers).
2. Art. 15 provided that the King would issue orders for the security and maintenance of prisoners turned over to the proper officials in French ports in accordance with Art. 7. Although the Commissioners state below that they would apply to Sartine on the matter, no letter on that subject has been found, and it was not until his letter to the Commissioners of 22 Dec. (below) that Sartine agreed to issue the necessary regulations. For the regulations, which had gone into effect on 27 Sept., see Sartine to the Commissioners, 29 July, and references there (vol. 6:334, calendar entry; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:673, 685–687).
3. In his letter of 21 Oct., Moylan had reported that McNeill would be forced to free his prisoners unless some provision was made for their security and maintenance before he departed the following week. In the same letter Moylan noted the arrival of Capt. Thomas Bell from Philadelphia with dispatches (PPAmP: Franklin Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0109

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Schweighauser, John Daniel
Date: 1778-10-27

The Commissioners to J. D. Schweighauser

[salute] Sir

We have received yours of the 27th of September,1 and approve of your Proceedings relative to the Cargo of the Therese, and if any Thing further is necessary for Us to do in that Business you will be so good as to advise Us.
We are of opinion that you should sign the Receipt to Mr. Williams, copy of which you transmitted Us, as far as the Words United States, inclusively—omitting all that follows.
If any Demands should arrise against Mr. Williams, in any of the offices or for any Articles of Reperation, which, by any Contracts he made while agent for the Commissioners, he ought to discharge, he will notify Us of it, and We shall take Care that Justice be done: But We apprehend it would not be convenient, to involve you in the Trouble of settling such Demands.
As to the Request of the Directeur <of> des Ferms, you are desired to give him, and send to Us, an Account of the Quantity of Tobacco delivered him: and leave the Price, which is settled by the Contract. However We desire you to let Us know the Customary Price of Tobacco at Markett at the Time when this was delivered.
Mr. Bondfield and Mr. Haywood, have made Us an offer of a Vessell upon Freight to America.2 We refer his Proposals to you and if you find his Proposals reasonable, you will please to contract with him for the freight of such Quantity of Effects belonging to the United States, as are now in Mr. Williams Hands or your own. You will first however receive them from Mr. Williams.
{ 163 }
1. Almost certainly an inadvertance, for this letter is a reply to Schweighauser's of 26 Sept. (above).
2. No letter containing such an offer from John Bondfield or William Haywood has been found, perhaps because the Commissioners enclosed it in this letter, but see Bondfield to the Commissioners, 12 Nov. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0110

Author: Rush, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-10-27

From Benjamin Rush

[salute] My dear friend

Your letter1 written a few days before your embarkation from [for] France, lays me under an Obligation to renew my correspondence with you. You are pleased to say my letters give you pleasure. This is eno' for me. Happy shall I esteem myself if thro' your eminent and useful Station I can convey a single idea that will add a mite to the happiness of our beloved country.
Many new events have happened in our military and political world since you left us which have opened a new system of thinking and acting among us. The Success of the army in extorting half pay for seven years from the Congress has led them to extend their Views to all the emoluments of a Standing Army.2 It is treason to oppose the Scheme in a company of Officers—many of our citizens defend it—and the idea once so horrid in the ears of an American is tollerated even among our rulers. The great Object of our Affection now is Independance—the only Objects of our fears and resentments are British commissioners now too contemptible to excite Anger. We have forgotten that we drew the Sword in defence of freedom, and we have not a single suspicion that the destruction of our republics can originate only from causes within ourselves.
The Eastern States will retain their republican Spirit. But Alas! there is a degeneracy even among them of republican virtue and manners. But the States to the westward of Hudson's river are nearly as aristocratical and monarchical as they were seven years ago. We hear as much of honor among them, as you do at the court of France. We even advertise Accounts of Duels. It is true we hate our late Sovereign on the British throne, but we have substituted an idol in the room of him <from whom> and we desire all the blessings of our present glorious revolution from his Arm Alone. We say in contempt of the very genius of republicanism, which supposes as many Servants of the public as there are freemen, that no man but our Commander in chief could have kept our Army together, and that his fall would be the extinction of our liberty. We have lost but few men in battle, and yet every campaign has wasted an Army for us. You know already my { 164 } Opinion of the cause of the misfortunes which have befallen our troops, and that I have always ascribed them to Other sources than the negligence of Officers, or the Wickedness of Commissaries and Quarter masters General.
Charecters appear in One age, and are only to be known in Another. General CONWAY who was the nerves—MIFFLIN who was the Spirit—and LEE who was the Soul of our Army have all been banished from Head Quarters. The last has been most unjustly condemned by a Court Martial for saving our Army at Monmouth on the 28 of last June.3 Genl. Washington was his accuser.4 The congress I beleive disapprove of the Sentence, but are so much Afraid of the workmanship of their own hands that they are afraid to reverse it. I blush for my Country when I tell you that several members of congress leave the house when the Affair is bro't on the carpet.
Adieu—my dear friend. Cease not to love, and serve our dear country. I expect (to speak in the puritanical phraseology of our Ancestors) to see a republican Spirit yet found out upon us. Adieu—yours—yours—yours
[signed] B: Rush
LbC (PPL: Rush Notebooks). The absence of an RC makes it unlikely that JA received this letter. It was almost certainly the one mentioned by Rush in his to Jacques Barbeau Dubourg of 10 Nov. That letter was printed in the Courier de l'Europe of 23 March 1779, an indication that it, and probably also that to JA, had been intercepted. See JA to Rush, 10 Sept. 1779 (below).
1. Of 8 Feb. (vol. 5:402–404).
2. On the soldiers' pensions, see James Lovell to JA, 16 May, and note 1 (vol. 6:124–125).
3. For the circumstances leading to the departure from the army of Generals Mifflin and Conway, see Rush to JA, 21 Oct. 1777, and note 8; and James Lovell to JA, 16 May 1778, and note 8 (vol. 5:316–319; (6:124–125). In the aftermath of the inconclusive Battle of Monmouth, Washington charged Lee with disobeying orders in failing to attack, retreating unnecessarily, and disrespect to the commander in chief. On 12 Aug., Lee was found guilty by court-martial and sentenced to be suspended from any command in the army for one year. The congress, which was required to confirm the verdict, began its discussion of Lee's case on 23 Oct. and approved the decision of the court-martial on 5 Dec. (John Richard Alden, General Charles Lee, Traitor or Patriot?, Baton Rouge, 1951, p. 212–258). For a much less sympathetic view of Lee's actions, see Ward, War of the Revolution, 2:574–586.
4. This sentence was interlined for insertion here.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0111

Author: Austin, Jonathan Loring
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-27

Jonathan Loring Austin to the Commissioners

[salute] Sirs

Had it been in my Power to acquaint your Excellencies sooner in what Manner I was to proceed, I should have done myself the Honor of addressing you, before it was too late to receive any further Dis• { 165 } patches from Passy. I have (after waiting here with great Anxeity) received Letters from my Freind, which have determined me to proceed for St. Eustatia, and expect to sail next Wednesday or Thursday. It would have been much more agreeable to me to go direct for America, but no Opportunity offers; hope I shall not be impeded in my Passage from hence to St. Eustatia by any British or other Cruisers, and should I be so fortunate as to arrive there safe, I shall doubtless be able to collect such particulars of the Situation of the American Coast, as will govern my direct Departure either for Boston or South Carolina.1
There are English papers in Town as late as the 20th Instant containing American News to the 11th September tho' I cannot congratulate your Excellencies upon any signal Success of Count D'Estaing, yet I flatter myself he is not in that very precarious Situation represented, or rather wishd for by England. Various are the Sentiments of Coffee House Commentators here, some, have taken sunk and destroyed all the French Fleet, others have carried it safe into Boston Harbor, some are marching General Clintons Army to Boston, others have taken New York and Rhode Island. The Conduct of Congress respecting the Outlawry, if I may so term it, of Governor Johns<t>ons, is condemnd by some, and highly approved by others. I hope your Excellencies will in a very short time be agreeably ascertaind in these important Points, and that Britain and Britain's Emissaries (many of whom are here) will before its too late consider their true Interest.
Your Excellencies may rest assurd I shall take particular Care of your Letters for Congress, and shall think myself honored in any further mention of me your Excellencies may judge proper to make to that Honorable Body. May all possible Success attend your Negotiations, and be happily productive of every desirable Blessing to our Native Country.
I have the Honor to be with Respect Your Excellencies most Obedient and very humble Servant
[signed] Jon Loring Austin
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “M. Austin”; in another hand: “Oct. 27. 1778.”
1. For an account of Austin's arduous voyage and the fate of the dispatches carried by him, see his letter to JA of 7 June 1779 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0112-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-27

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners

[salute] Messieurs

La respectée Vôtre du 10e. m'est parvenue Samedi dernier. Elle est parfaitement comme il la falloit. Le g F en est fort content. J'ai été le { 166 } même jour la faire lire á notre Ami, et je lui en ai délivré une copie attestée par ma signature. Elle lui a fait un plaisir extrême; et il m'a assuré, à plusieurs reprises, qu'elle en feroit un très-sensible aux Bourguemaitres de sa Ville, à qui il tardoit de savoir si, et comment vous répondriez à la démarche dans laquelle il les avoit engagés, en se faisant autoriser par eux à donner la Déclaration, et á m'écrire la Lettre, dont vous avez copies, et dont les Duplicats sont déposés a la Maison de Ville. Il m'a fort recommande de vous assurer, que la mention de l'Angleterre1 n'a nullement été faite dans le dessein de faire rien dépendre du bon plaisir de cette nation, mais seulement pour donner à entendre la situation de sa ville, qui, quant à présent, ne peut rien de plus que de souhaitter, que les Anglois soient réduits à ne pouvoir plus rien opposer á l'attraction réciproque. Enfin, il se trouve maintenant les mains suffisamment garnies, pour agir quand il sera de retour chez lui; et nous lui en laisserons le temps.
L'adresse des Marchands a été presentée á 11. hh. pp. Voici celle présentée au Prince Samedi passé.2 Notre Ami me la remit le même jour; et je l'ai cru digne de la traduire pour Vous, Messieurs. Il me demande avec anxiété de bonnes nouvelles de l'Amérique; et moi je lui réponds, que la situation de l'Amérique n'est pas á beaucoup prés si critique, et que je n'en suis pas tant en peine, que de celle de cette republique ici.
Mr. De Welderen a envoyé la réponse du Ld. Suffolk3 aux Représentations de LL. hh. pp. “La Cour de L — —, dit-il, veut bien rendre tous les vaisseaux saisis, avec depens et dommages, et payer les cargaisons de matériaux pour équipemens, qu elle retiendra; mais son Ambassadr. proposera à ll. hh. pp. de changer à cet égard les Traités, et de consentir qu'à l'avenir cet Article soit Contrebande.” Heureusement il faut l'unanimité pour ce consentement; et Amsterdam ne souffrira pas même l'ouverture d'une telle négotiation. Suffolk ajoute, “comme un trait de la modération de son roi; qu'il n'a pas encore demandé les secours que la republique lui doit fournir par les Traités.” Comme si la republique avoit garanti á l'Angleterre le monopole de l'Amérique. Cela est singulier. Au reste, nous sommes trois ici, qui croyons que cette Lettre n'a pas été conçue en Angleterre, et qu'elle n'a fait que revenir.4
Mr. le Greffier5 de LL. hh. pp. est pique au vif, de ce que l'Orateur de la deputation marchande lui a parlé très-librerrient, et, sur ce qu'il biaisoit dans sa réponse, l'a taxé d'être Anglois avec la Majorité des Grands ici. On dit qu'il n'y a que la vérite qui offense.
J'ai fini la traduction de l'Avis d'Amsterdam inséré dans les Actes de { 167 } la république le 8 Septembre.6 Je suis occupé à faire des copies pour vous, Messieurs, et pour le Congrès. Dès que la vôtre sera finie, je vous la ferai tenir avec priere d'en vouloir faire tirer deux Copies par un Copiste François entendu et exact, et de les envoyer au Congrès comme Duplicats et Triplicats de celle que je Lui enverrai d'ici: car, d'un côté, je trouve cette piece importante et utile aux Etats unis, tant par la connoissance précise et authentique qu'elle leur donnera de l'Etat actuel politique et militaire &c. de cette republique; que par l'exemple du malaise qu'elle s'est attiré depuis un siecle, en se mêlant trop de la balance chimérique des Puissances de l'Europe et de leurs guerres, en s'imposant le joug d'une Armée permanente, qui engloutit sa marine, et l'asservit en se jetant sans réserve entre les bras de son impérieuse rivale, &c. &c: et de l'autre cote, cette longue piece me prend un temps precieux, et desole ma main, qui a le malheur de trembler.7 Ma traduction a etc vue et approuvee par notre Ami. Il seroit bon de la mettre aussi en Anglois et si vous aviez un Traducteur qui entendît aussi le hollandois, je pourrai vous envoyer l'Original hollandois.
Je suis avec un grand respect, et un coeur tout Américain, Messieurs Votre très-humble et très obéissant serviteur
[signed] Dumas

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0112-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-27

C. W. F. Dumas to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

Last Saturday I had the honor to receive your letter of 10 October. It is exactly as it should be. The Grand Facteur is very satisfied with it. I went the same day to read it to our friend and gave him a copy, attested by my signature. He was extremely pleased and assured me, several times, that it would make a very good impression on the Burgomasters of his city, who were anxious to know your reaction to the demarche that he had them undertake in authorizing him to give the declaration and write me the letter, of which you have copies, and duplicates of which are at the City Hall. He strongly recommended that I assure you that the mention of England1 was made not for the purpose of having anything depend on that nation's good will, but rather only to further clarify the position of his city, which at present wishes nothing more than to see the English reduced to total impotence in opposing this mutual attraction. He finally has enough material in hand to act when he returns home, and we will give him ample time to do so.
The merchants' address has been presented to Their High Mightinesses. Here is what was presented to the Prince last Saturday.2 Our friend gave it to me the same day and, gentlemen, I thought it worth translating for you. He anxiously requested some good news from America and I told him that the situation there is not nearly so critical { 168 } as here and that I do not worry half as much about it as I do for this Republic.
Mr. De Welderen has sent Lord Suffolk's answer3 to the representations of Their High Mightinesses. “The Court of London,” he says, “is willing to return all the captured vessels, with costs and damages, and to pay for the cargoes of naval stores, which she will retain, but its Ambassador will propose to Their High Mightinesses that in this respect the Treaties be changed and that they consent that in the future this article be contraband.” Fortunately, unanimity is required for such a consent; and Amsterdam will not tolerate even the opening of such a negotiation. Suffolk then adds, “it is a measure of his king's moderation that he has not yet requested the assistance that the Republic is required to furnish in accordance with the Treaties.” As if the Republic had guaranteed England the American monopoly. This is a singular statement. Besides, at least three of us here believe that this letter was not written in England, but merely returned to its point of origin.4
The griffier5 of Their High Mightinesses was stung to the quick by the spokesman for the delegation of merchants who addressed him in a cavalier fashion and then, as he was hedging before answering, said he was just as English as the majority of noblemen here. It is said that only the truth offends.
I have finished the translation of the Amsterdam address, which was inserted in the Acts of the Republic of 8 September.6 I am now making copies for you, gentlemen, and for the congress. As soon as yours is finished, I will send it to you and ask that you have a French copyist make two exact copies and send them to congress as duplicates and triplicates of what I will send from here. I find this piece important and useful for the United States because of the precise and accurate information it gives on the current political and military situation, &c. of this Republic and the illustration provided of the difficulties that it has called upon itself during the last century by meddling too much in the chimerical balance of European powers and their wars by imposing upon itself the burden of a permanent army, which swallows its navy and saps its strength by falling wholly into the arms of its imperious rival, &c. On the other hand, this long piece consumes my precious time and tires my hand, which unfortunately trembles.7 My translation has been seen and approved by our friend. It would also be worthwhile to put it into English and, if you have a translator who understands Dutch, I could send you the Dutch original.
I am, with great respect and a thoroughly American heart, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “A Leurs Excellences Messieurs les Plenipotentiaires des Etats unis de l'Amerique a Paris”; docketed by William Temple Franklin: “Dumas 27. Oct. 1778.”
1. The words from this point to the next comma were written in the left margin for insertion here.
2. The enclosure is in the Lee Papers { 169 } (MH-H). The address, presented to the Stadholder on 24 Oct., was a protest against British seizures of Dutch ships, the response to Dutch representations against such depredations, and the British violations of and attempts to alter the Anglo-Dutch treaty of 1674 and explanatory convention of 1675. The merchants called on the Stadholder to make further protests, enlarge the navy, protect Dutch shipping by speedily deploying all naval vessels available to him, and institute convoys. An English translation of the address was printed in volume 2 of Almon's Remembrancer for 1778 (London, 1779. p. 100–102).
3. The reply of 19 Oct. by Lord Suffolk, secretary of State for the Northern Department, to the representations of 28 Sept. made by the States General through its ambassador, Comte de Welderen, was printed in the Annual Register for 1778 (p. 305–308) and volume 2 of Almon's Remembrancer for 1778 (p. 102–104). From the passages that Dumas paraphrased from Suffolk's reply, it is clear that Britain's purpose was to bring about an alteration in the Marine Treaty of 1674 and its explanatory convention of 1675 by threatening to invoke the Treaty of Defensive Alliance of 1678. To emphasize that a casus foederis justifying the invocation of the alliance by Britain existed, Suffolk referred to the French aggression, particularly its violation of “the public faith and the rights of Sovereigns, by declaring the rebellious subjects of another power to be Independent States, merely because those subjects have thought proper to call themselves such.” See also Bemis, Diplomacy of the Amer. Revolution, p. 135–136, 139–141.
4. That is, Dumas, van Berckel, and presumably La Vauguyon believed that Suffolk's response was really the work of Sir Joseph Yorke, British ambassador to the Netherlands. To some extent this belief was justified. Suffolk had contemplated and then discarded the idea of issuing a declaration setting down the British policy toward neutral trade. In a letter of 6 Oct., Suffolk sent a copy of the proposed document to Yorke for consideration and possible revision, and the reply to Welderen of 19 Oct. was largely based on the draft declaration as revised by Yorke (De Madariaga, Armed Neutrality of 1780, p. 66–68 and notes).
5. The griffier or secretary of the States General was Hendrik Fagel. A strong supporter of the Stadholder party and England, Fagel delivered to Sir Joseph Yorke copies of letters sent and received by foreign diplomatic representatives, which, with the exception of those of the British, were all opened and deciphered (Miller, Sir Joseph Yorke, p. 34; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:5). The occasion of the affront described by Dumas was the presentation of the Amsterdam address on 24 Oct.
6. For this earlier address, see Dumas to the Commissioners, 4 Sept., note 5, and references there (above).
7. The remainder of this paragraph was written below the signature and marked for insertion here.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0113

Author: Lee, Richard Henry
Author: Lovell, James
Author: Continental Congress, Foreign Affairs Committee
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-10-28

From the Committee for Foreign Affairs

[salute] Sir

While we officially communicate to you the inclosed Resolve1 the Foundation of which you cannot remain a Stranger to, we must intreat you to be assiduous in sending, to those Commissioners who have left France and gone to the Courts for which they were respectively appointed, all the American Intelligence which you have greater Opportunity than they to receive from hence, particularly to Mr. Izard and Mr. Wm. Lee.2 We do not often send more than one Set of Gazettes by one Opportunity; and we hear of several Vessels which have miscarried.
{ 170 } | view { 171 }
Congress must and will speedily determine upon the general Arrangement of their foreign Affairs. This is become, so far as relates to you, peculiarly necessary upon a new Commission being sent to Doctor Franklin. In the mean Time we hope you will exercise your whole extensive Abilities on the Subject of our Finances. The Doctor will communicate to you our Situation in that Regard. To the Gazettes and to Conversation with the Marqs. De la Fayette we must refer you for what relates to our Enemies; and close with our most cordial Wishes for your Happiness, Sir Your affectionate Friends
[signed] Richard Henry Lee
[signed] James Lovell
RC with one enclosure (Adams Papers); docketed: “Hon. Comtee. Lee & Lovell”; and in CFA's hand: “October 28th 1778. Resolution of Congress inclosed.”
1. The enclosed resolution, signed by Charles Thomson and dated 22 Oct., informed the minister plenipotentiary at the French Court and the commissioners to other European courts that the congress desired that they cultivate “harmony and good understanding” among themselves (JCC, 12:1053). Clearly resulting from reports of dissension among the American representatives in Europe, the resolution was irrelevant to JA, because since Franklin's appointment he no longer held an official position.
2. The committee's request that JA transmit intelligence to Ralph Izard, Commissioner to Tuscany, and William Lee, Commissioner to the courts at Berlin and Vienna, indicates the degree to which it was uninformed of the status of American diplomacy in Europe. Neither Izard nor Lee had been able to carry out their missions, and by the date of this letter both were residing in or near Paris.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0114

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Berckel, Engelbert François van
Date: 1778-10-29

The Commissioners to E. F. van Berckel

[salute] Sir

Upon maturely considering the Letter and declaration which we have had the honor of receiving from you,1 we are of opinion that there are some propositions relative to that <proposed treaty> business which can only be properly discuss'd2 in a personal interview. We therefore wish that you, or a person authorizd by you, woud meet one of us at Aix la Chapelle, or any other place which you may judge more convenient for conducting this business with the most perfect Secrecy.
Shoud this proposal meet with your approbation, you will have the goodness to apprize us of the time and place you think proper for the interview. It may be proper that we shoud enquire for one another, wherever we meet, under fictitious names; the fixing upon which we also wish to leave to you.
We shall be glad of an answer as soon as is convenient for you; and { 172 } have the honor to be, with great respect Sir most Obedt. & most humb Servts.3
LbC in the hand of Arthur Lee (PCC, No. 102, IV, f. 95–96).
1. For the declaration and the letter, both sent as enclosures in Dumas' letter of 2 Oct. (above), see van Berckel to the Commissioners, 23 Sept. and note 2 (above).
2. This word was interlined, for insertion at this point, above a word that was deleted and is illegible.
3. In a letter to Dumas of 22 Sept. (see Dumas to the Commissioners, 30 Oct., note 5, below), Benjamin Franklin indicated that JA and Arthur Lee had proposed that he undertake a mission to The Hague in the hope of cementing an alliance with the Netherlands and requested Dumas' advice. Dumas replied on 16 Oct. (PPAmP: Franklin Papers), indicating that the time was not yet ripe for such an effort and that it would be better if he remained the conduit for American initiatives. No later letter from Dumas to either Franklin or the Commissioners indicates any change in that opinion. That and the absence of a reply by van Berckel to this letter or any mention of it in any from Dumas, the logical means of transmission, makes it likely that this letter was a new proposal by Arthur Lee that was not approved by the other two Commissioners and, therefore, was never sent.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0115

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1778-10-29

The Commissioners to the Comte de Vergennes

[salute] Sir

We have the Honour to inform your Excellency that we are ready to execute and exchange the Declarations, concerning the Omission of the eleventh and twelfth Articles of the Treaty of Commerce, and to request your Excellency to appoint a Day to wait on your Excellency for that Purpose.1 We have the Honour to be with the most respectful Consideration Your Excellency's most obedient and most humble Servants
[signed] B. Franklin
[signed] Arthur Lee
[signed] John Adams
RC (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 5); docketed in the left margin below the salutation: “Sujet des deux articles a suprimer dans le traite avec les Etats unis.”
1. Vergennes, in his reply of 31 Oct., set 2 Nov. for the exchange and asked the Commissioners to dine with him on that day (LbC, Adams Papers). For the French and American declarations, both dated I Sept., as well as a note on their exchange, see Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:32–34. An unsigned and undated copy of the American declaration is in the Adams Papers (filmed under the date of [post 4 May 1778], Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel 349). See also an explanation of the reasons for the deletion of the two articles in vol. 6:119–120.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0116-0001

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-10-29

From Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] Monsieur

J'ai trouvé si important pour le bien commun des deux nations le Sentiment où vous vous êtes montré devant moi chez M. Izard, tou• { 173 } chant le Secours qu'il conviendroit d'envoyer actuellement à M. le Cte. d'Estaing que j'ai cru ne pouvoir me dispenser d'en hazarder l'insinuation à nos Ministres.1 Pour ne point vous compromettre a cause de votre caractere de Député du Congrez, et n'en ayant point la permission de vous, je n'ai point voulu vous nommer. Je me suis contenté de dire que je m'etois trouvé à Paris, avec plusieurs américains, et que leur voeu unanime paroissoit être que la France envoyât sans délai douze vaisseaux de ligne en Amérique pour dégager l'Escadre de Toulon.2 C'est à M. de Sartine que j'ai fait cette ouverture et je me propose de la faire demain à M. le Cte. de Vergennes. M. de Sartine a eu la bonté de m'entendre avec attention. Je ne prétens point dire qu'il ait saisi cette idée comme ce qu'il y auroit à présent de mieux à faire; ni que je le juge décidé à l'adopter; Mais aux questions qu'il a daigné me faire j'imagine au moins qu'il ne trouveroit point étrange que je mîsse sous ses yeux un Mémoire tendant à prouver la nécessité de cette expedition et la maniere d'y procéder, ainsi que l'espece d'avantages qui en résulteroient. Peut être conviendroit il de faire voir dans ce Mémoire que la saison n'est pas trop avancée, et qu'on n'a point à craindre de manquer de trouver M. le Cte. d'Estaing pour se joindre à lui. Il faudroit aussi y détailler les facilités de toute espece qu'une nouvelle Escadre francoise est sûre de trouver dans tous les ports améericains, ainsi que les pertes aux quelles s'exposéront les anglois s'ils veulent balancer ces nouvelles forces, et enfin le peu de sujet que nous avons de craindre ici que cette diminution de forces en Europe nous porte aucun préjudice. Si vous persistés toujour dans cette opinion, que peut-être, comme député vous ne prendriés pas sur vous de suggérer, dans la crainte de paroitre trop vous avancer, vis à vis d'une Cour qui a déja fait de grands efforts dans cette affaire, vous pourrés développer vos idées dans un Memoire que je pourrai présenter comme addressé à moi par un de mes amis parmi Mrs. les americains. En effet M. Lloyd, M. Pringle, M. Jennings3 et d'autres peuvent m'avoir communiqué une pareille idée, et il n'y auroit aucun inconvénient pour le Congrez de qui ils ne sont point autorisés, à ce qu'elle fût discutée ici entre nos Ministres. Vous savés comme moi que les forces réunies de Byron et du Lord Howe mettent aujourd hui vis à vis de M. d'Estaing 19. ou 20. vaisseaux de ligne et 6. de cinquante canons.4 Il me semble que c'est une position inquietante et sur laquelle on ne doit pas s'endormir ici. Je m'estimerai trés heureux si je puis promouvoir quelque bien, et surtout que ce soit d'une maniere qui vous soit agréable.
Je suis avec respect Monsieur Votre très humble et très obéissant serviteur
[signed] Genet
{ 174 }
P.S. Je vous fais mes remerciments de la lettre5 que vous aves eu la bonte de m'ecrire. Elle sera employee comme vous l'entendez.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0116-0002

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-10-29

Edmé Jacques Genet to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

The opinion you expressed to me at Mr. Izard's, concerning the assistance that could conveniently be sent to Count d'Estaing at present, seemed to me so important for the common good of our two nations that I took it upon myself to place it before our Ministers.1 In order not to compromise you, because of your position as a commissioner from the congress, and since I did not have your permission, I did not reveal your name. I was content to say that I had found myself in Paris with several Americans and that their unanimous opinion seemed to be that France should send to America, without delay, twelve ships of the line in order to relieve the Toulon squadron.2 I made this proposal to Mr. de Sartine and intend to present it to the Count de Vergennes tomorrow. Mr. de Sartine had the kindness to hear me out very attentively. I cannot claim to say that he seized upon this idea as being the best thing to do at present, nor that he has decided to adopt it; but from the questions he asked me I think that he, at least, would not find it strange if I placed before him a memorandum tending to indicate the necessity of such an expedition, the manner in which to proceed with it, and the advantages resulting from it. It would probably be wise to mention in this memorandum that the season is not too advanced and that one need not fear being unable to find Count d'Estaing in order to join with him. It would also be appropriate to detail the facilities of all kinds that a new French squadron would be sure to find in all the American ports, as well as the losses to which the British would expose themselves if they tried to counterbalance these new forces, and finally, how little we have to fear that this diminution of forces will be prejudicial to us in Europe. If you still persist in your opinion that, as a Commissioner, you cannot take it upon yourself to make this request, for fear of going too far vis-à-vis a Court which has already made great efforts in this matter, you could develop your ideas in a memorandum which I would then present as having been sent to me by one of my American friends. Indeed, Mr. Lloyd, Mr. Pringle, Mr. Jenings,3 and others could have communicated such a suggestion and there would be no awkwardness for the congress if this were then discussed here among our Ministers, since it would not have authorized it. You know as well as I do that today the combined forces of Byron and Lord Howe face Estaing with nineteen or twenty ships of the line and six of fifty guns.4 It seems to me that this is an alarming situation that cannot be ignored. I would be most happy if I could promote some good, especially in a manner that would be agreeable to you.
I am with respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Genet
{ 175 }
P.S. Thank you for the letter5 you had the kindness to write. It will be employed as you intended.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Genet”; and in CFA's hand: “Octr. 29th 1778.”
1. For JA's account of the genesis of the proposal for reinforcing the fleet, see his letter to Elbridge Gerry of 11 Sept. 1779 (below); for the proposal's formal presentation to the French government, see Commissioners to Vergennes, [ante 20] Dec. 1778[ante 9] Jan. 1779 (below).
2. Estaing's squadron had been formed at and sailed from Toulon.
3. John J. Pringle, who served as Ralph Izard's secretary; and Edmund Jenings, with whom JA later formed a close relationship; and perhaps John Lloyd of Maryland, whom JA had met at Nantes and with whom he dined several times after arriving at Passy (DAB; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:355–357; 4:67, 85, 90, 145).
4. Genet's figures for the combined fleet of Byron and Howe are substantially correct. Against it Estaing could muster eleven ships of the line and one of fifty guns (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 359, 360; Mackesy, War for America, p. 194, 198, 218). Estaing, however, never faced such a force in 1778, and, indeed, it was he who had the superior strength in his abortive efforts to engage the British at Sandy Hook in July and off Rhode Island in August (Mahan, Navies in the War of Amer. Independence, p. 66–67, 72–73).
5. Of [post 24 Oct.] (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0117

Author: Lee, Richard Henry
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-10-29

From Richard Henry Lee

[salute] My dear Sir

I am exceedingly happy to hear of your safe arrival, and I hope agreeable accommodation at Paris. At first, I doubt not, the splendid gaity of a magnificent Court, accorded not so well with the temperate manners of a sober Republican. But use reconciles most things. It may soon happen that you be desired to visit Holland, where I believe they yet retain much of that simplicity of manners which first raised that people to greatness. Our finances want the support of a Loan in Europe. 81,500,000 of dollars with increasing demands as depreciation advances with emission, cannot be cured by the slow working of Taxes. The latter is, I believe deeply gone into by all the States.2
I have seen your letter to our common friend Mr. S. Adams,3 and do most thoroughly accord with you in sentiments. The battle of Monmouth in June last, and the subsequent arrival of Count d'Esteing has kept our enemies in pretty close quarters this Campaign at N. York. The better opinion is, that they mean shortly to abandon that City. But where they intend next we are at a loss to guess. Indeed they have such a choice of difficulties, that it is not an easy matter for themselves to determine what course they shall steer. Never did Men cut a more ridiculous figure than the British Commissioners have done here. There last effort is a formal application to each State, and to all the people in { 176 } each, by a Manifesto sent in Flags of Truce. We consider this as a prostitution of the Flag, and have recommended the seizure and imprisonment of the people, and the publication of their Manifesto.4 In some instances, the Sea has saved us the trouble by previously swallowing up these silly Missives. I shall be at all times extremely glad to hear from you, being very sincerely dear Sir your affectionate friend
[signed] Richard Henry Lee5
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Hon. R. H. Lee. ans Feb. 13 1779 Oct. 28. 1778 most thorougly accords with me in Sentiments in my Letter to S. Adams.”
1. For the publication of this letter in Affaires de l'Angleterre et de l'Amérique (vol. 13, “Lettres,” cahier 65, p. clxxv–clxxvii) under this date and the heading “Lettre de M. Richard Henri Lee, un des Membres, du Congres, à M.*** a P—y,” as well as JA's role in the alterations indicated in notes 2 and 5, see Samuel Adams to JA, 25 Oct., note 1 (above).
2. The preceding three sentences were omitted from the translation in Affaires.
3. That of 21 May (vol. 6:144–145, calendar entry; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:106–108).
4. The Carlisle Commission's Manifesto and Proclamation of 3 Oct. (Evans, No. 15832) offered the state governments the same terms for peace originally sent to congress, plus a total exemption from parliamentary taxation. The Commissioners indicated, however, that if the Americans persisted in their quest for independence and the alliance with France, they could expect Britain to do whatever was necessary to return the colonies to the empire. On 16 Oct. the congress recommended that the states arrest the agents distributing the document and on 30 Oct., in a countermanifesto, condemned Britain for its barbarous conduct of the war and promised retaliation if such practices continued (JCC, 12:1015–1016, 1080–1082).
5. The signature was omitted in Affaires.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0118

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Date: 1778-10-30

Benjamin Franklin and John Adams to Gabriel de Sartine

We have been honoured with your Letter of the 26th. October, and We <request your> thank your Excellency, for the prompt and generous manner in which, you have given Liberty to four of our Countrymen, who were among the Prisoners at Dinant. Such Examples of Benevolence can not fail to make a lasting Impression on the American Mind.
Since the Recipt of your Excellencys Letter, We have received another from the American Prisoners at Brest, by which it appears that there are ten of them, from four of whom only we had received Letters when We wrote before, the other six having written to Us, but their Letters miscarried. We inclose a Copy of this Last Letter, and have the Honour to request, a similar Indulgence to all the ten.1
By a Letter, We received last night from L'orient,2 We have the Pleasure to learn, that Three Whaling Vessells bound to the Coast of { 177 } the Brazils have been taken by his Majestys Frigates, or by French Cruizers, and sent into that Port. It is very probable that the three Masters of these Vessells and every one of their Sailors, are Americans.
We are happy in this opportunity of communicating to your Excellency some Intelligence, which We have been at some Pains to collect, and have good Reasons to believe exactly true.3
The English the last Year, carried on a very valuable Whale Fishery on the Coast of Brizil, off the River Plate4 in South America, in the Latitude Thirty five south and from thence to Forty, just on the Edge of Soundings off and on, about the Longitude Sixty five from London.
They have this Year about seventeen Vessells in this Fishery, which have all sailed in the Months of September and October.
All the officers, and almost all the Men belonging to these seventeen Vessells are Americains, from Nantuckett and Cape Cod in the Massachusetts excepting two or three from Rhode Island, and perhaps one from Long Island.
The Names of the Captains are Aaron Sheffield of Newport, [] Goldsmith and Richard Holmes from Long Island, John Chadwick, Francis May, Reuben May, John Meader, Jonathan Meader, Elisha Clark, Benjamin Clark, William Ray, Paul Pease, Bunker Fitch, Reuben Fitch, Zebbeda Coffin, and another Coffin all of Nantuckett —John Lock Cape Codd— [] Delano Nantuckett, Andrew Swain Nantuckett, William Ray Nantuckett.5
Four or five of these Vessells go to Greenland—the Fleet sails to Greenland the last of February or beginning of March.
There was published last Year in the English News Papers, (and the same Imposture has been repeated this year) a Letter from the Lords of the Admiralty to Mr. Dennis De berdt6 in Coleman Street, informing Mr. De berdt that a Convoy, should be appointed to the Brazil Fleet. But this We have certain Information, was a Forgery, callculated merely to deceive American Privateers, and that no Convoy was appointed or did go with that Fleet either last Year or this.
For the Destruction or Captivity of a Fishery so entirely defenceless, for not one of the Vessells has any arms, a single Frigate or Privateer, of twenty four or even of Twenty Guns, would be quite sufficient. The Beginning of December would be the best Time to proceed from hence, because they would then find the Whaling Vessells nearly loaded.
The Cargoes of these Vessells, consisting of Bone and Oyl, will be very valuable, and at least four hundred and fifty of the best kind of7 seamen <in the whole World,> would be taken out of the Hands of the { 178 } English and might be <put into> gained into the American service, to act against the Ennemy. Most of the officers and Men wish well to their Country,8 and would gladly be in its Service, if they could be delivered from that they are engag'd in. But whenever, the English Men of War or Privateers have taken an American Vessell, they have given to the Whalemen, among the Crews their Choice either to go on Board a Man of War and fight against their Country or to go into the Whale Fishery. So many have chosen the latter as to make up most of the Crews of seventeen Vessells.
We thought it proper to communicate this Intelligence to your Excellency that if you find it compatible with his Majestys service, to order a Frigate from hence or from the West Indies, to take from the English at once to9 profitable a Branch of Commerce and so valuable a Nursery of Seamen, you may have an opportunity of doing it. If not, no Inconvenience will ensue.10 We have the Honor to be.11
LbC (Adams Papers.) LbC in Arthur Lee's hand (PCC, No. 102, IV, f. 113–114).
1. For this letter of 21 Oct., see that from the Commissioners to Sartine of 12 Oct., note 8 (above).
2. Richard Grinnell's letter of 23 Oct. (PPAmP: Franklin Papers), which reported the capture of three whalemen on their way to the “Braizels” by the Belle Poule and the Vengeur. The whalers were the brig Enterprize, Capt. Paul Pease, the ship Pitt, Capt. Francis Macy, and one other not identified.
3. The following eight paragraphs are based on information obtained from Richard Grinnell and are a close paraphrase of JA's Diary entry for 7 Oct. (Diary and Autobiography, 2:319–320). See also JA to the Mass. Council, 13 Sept. 1779, and notes (below).
4. Rio de la Plata, between Uruguay and Argentina.
5. This paragraph is almost identical with one appearing in the Diary, even to the extent of having blank spaces before Goldsmith and Delano in place of their first names. The only significant differences are that the Diary lists Richard Holmes as being from New York and the last name of Francis May and Reuben May is given as “Macy.” In addition, JA ended the paragraph in the Diary with the note that “Holmes and Chadwick are returned home.”
6. Denis De Berdt, the younger, was further identified in a Diary entry for 12 Oct. as managing the whale fishery for Robert Bartholomew, who, with several others, controlled it from London (same, 2:322).
7. Benjamin Franklin interlined the preceding two words for insertion here in place of the deleted phrase “in the whole World.”
8. The remainder of this sentence was interlined by Benjamin Franklin.
9. Possibly an inadvertence for “so,” but JA may have meant “too.”
10. In his reply of 6 Nov. (LbC, Adams Papers), Sartine thanked the Commissioners for the information and promised to lay the matter before the King. In a letter to Sartine of the same date, Franklin and JA suggested the frigate La Gloire for the mission against the whaling fleet (Arch. de la Marine, Paris, B1, vol. 87).
11. At the bottom of his Letterbook copy, Arthur Lee stated that this letter was “Signed by the other two Commissioners, Mr. Lee objecting to the acknowledgement of giving up the American subjects capturd in the Enemy's vessels <as> being a favor.”

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0119-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-30

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners

[salute] Messieurs

J'eus l'honneur de vous écrire Mardi 27 une Lettre très intéressante. L'adresse dont elle vous portoit copie a déjà fait divers grands effets. 1.° L'Assemblée d'hollande, dont ils croyoient ici être débarrassés aujourdhui, reprendra ses Séances mercredi prochain; en attendant Mrs. d'Amsterdam feront un tour chez eux, pour revenir Mardi avec quelques nouvelles instructions. 2.° Le Corps des Nobles de la Province, qui avoit déjà fait imprimer un Contre-avis, pour l'opposer dans l'Assemblée à celui d'Amsterdam, l'a prudemment supprimé. 3.° Un grand personnage,1 jaloux, avec raison, de l'amour du peuple, voyant par cette requête qu'il ne s'agit pas d'un simple <faction> parti dans la Régence d'Amsterdam, comme on cherche à le lui persuader, mais que le mécontentement augmente et devient général, paroît allarmé; le parti Anglois est consterné; Sir Y. envoya Dimanche un Exprès en Angleterre dans un Pinque de Pêcheur de Scheveling, apparemment pour leur faire part de ce qui se passe, et leur conseiller de baisser de ton et filer plus doux.
M. le G. p., en lisant hier à l'Assemblee la réponse de Suffolk, témoigna par son ton et ses gestes qu'elle lui déplaisoit. J'ai fait part à quelques marchands d'Amsterdam de cette reponse, avec un bon Commentaire pour leur governe.
Dans ma Lettre du 232 j'ai parlé à Mr. Franklin en gros d'une démarche que j'avois faite. J'ai le plaisir aujourdhui de pouvoir vous la dire avec son bon effet. Vous savez, Messieurs, par mes précédentes, qu'il restoit encore un prétexte à Mr. le Gp. pour rester dans l'inaction, savoir qu'il ne pouvoit communiquer le Traité sans votre consentement: pour lui ôter ce prétexte, j'ai demandé à [g.F.]3 le seul Exemplaire imprimé qu'il en avoit; et il a eu la bonté de me le ceder. Avec cela je fus le 22 demander audience à Mr. le Gp. Je lui remis le Traité imprimé de votre part, ajoutant que par déférence pour la Cour de F— vous aviez attendu qu'elle le publiât la premiere; que maintenant vous pensiez avoir à tous égards satisfait au contenu de votre Lettre,4 et qu'il pouvoit faire la démarche qu'il jugeroit la plus agréable à cette république. Le voyant interdit, et en peine de ce qu'il pourroit me dire, j'ai poussé la pointe, en lui faisant entendre, qu'il vous devoit au moins un retour de politesse; que vous vous y attendiez; et pour le lui prouver, je lui remis l'Extrait suivant, signé de mon nom, de la Lettre de Mr. Franklin du 22 Septembre.
“We have made Overtures to the G. p. We took that to be a regular { 180 } and Kind mode of proceeding. We expect an answer. If he gives us none, we shall naturally conclude, that there is no disposition in their HH. M. to have any connection with the United States of America; and I believe we shall give them no farther trouble. At least that would be my opinion. I know your nation, having been frequently there, and much esteeming the people, and wishing for a firm Union between the two republics. On the other Side, our Virgin State is a jolly one, and, though at present not very rich, will in time be a great fortune to any suitor; and where she has a favourable predisposition, it seems to be well worth cultivating.”5
Les endroits soulignés sont les petites additions que j'ai faites pour lier et approprier les morceaux extraits.6
Il lut attentivement, et marqua par un sourire agréable que la fin lui plaisoit. Je lui dis en me levant, que j'étois prêt à faire passer tout ce qu'il voudroit me remettre pour vous Messieurs, et que je le priois de me considérer comme aussi zélé pour le bien et la prosperité de cette republique, dans le sein de laquelle je me plaisois depuis si longtemps, qu'ami des Américains. Il me répondit, Je n'en doute pas. J'allai de là rendre compte à notre ami; et en lui donnant le double de l'Extrait ci-dessus, avec attestation comme quoi il étoit conforme à celui remis le même jour à Mr. le G. p., je lui fis entendre, que je remettois-là à sa Ville de quoi pouvoir faire un jour des reproches bien graves, si l'on supprimoit l'ouverture. Il en convint, et me remercia beaucoup.
Les choses en resterent là jusqu'au 28 au matin, qu'une personne de poids, et en qui nous pouvons avoir toute confiance, en exigeant que je ne vous la nommasse pas à présent, m'a dit ce qui suit: “Vous êtes requis, de prier Mr. Franklin, de ne point trouver étrange ni incongru de la part de Mr. le Gr. P. s'il ne répond pas encore à la Lettre; et de lui faire entendre qu'il y a des raisons fortes, mais secrettes, qui imposent la nécessité de différer.”
Je me suis apperçu, au reste, que notre Ami, jusque-là irrité contre le Gp., s'est assez radouci sur son sujet.
J'ai bien reçu les papiers interessants, dont Mr. Lee m'a favorisé en date du 22 Oct.; et après en avoir communiqué le contenu à certaines personnes ici, j'en ai envoyé Copie au Gazettier de Leide, afin qu'il puisse rectifier dans son supplément, ou dans une feuille suivante, les inexactitudes où ses autres Correspondants l'ont fait tomber sur les mêmes articles dans sa gazette d'aujourdhui.7 Je me recommande à la continuation de ces faveurs, et de son bon souvenir et amitié, et suis avec un très grand respect, Messieurs Votre très humble et très obéissant serviteur
[signed] Dumas
{ 181 }
P.S. J'allois fermer, lorsqu'on m'a apporté une brochure hollandoise de 180 pages in 8vo. qui vient de sortir de dessous la presse, et qui est annoncée publiquement en vente chez tous les Libraires de la Republique sous ce titre: Examen de la Conduite de la Grande-Bretagne à l'égard de la Hollande, depuis l'origine de la République jusqu'à ce jour; Par un Hollandois bien intentionne; Pour servir à faire connoître le Caractere des Anglois8 dans leur conduite envers les Américains. Cette Piece, bien faite, est tout ce qu'on peut imaginer de plus violent contre les Anglois. Ce que j'ai fait paroître, est la douceur-même en comparaison. Elle chagrinera certainement beaucoup le parti Anglois, et est très propre à irriter la Nation de plus en plus centre l'Angleterre. Tout ceci doit vous faire comprendre combien la fermentation gagne en ce pays; et aussi la conduite qu'on doit tenir ici pour bien manoeuvrer.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0119-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-30

C. W. F. Dumas to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

On Tuesday, the 27th, I had the honor to send you a very interesting letter. Already the address, a copy of which was enclosed, has had several important results. I. The Assembly of Holland, which people here thought would be finished today, will resume its sessions next Wednesday. In the meantime, the gentlemen from Amsterdam will go home in order to return Tuesday with some new instructions. 2. The Corps of Nobility of the province, which had already printed up a counter-address, to oppose that of Amsterdam in the Assembly, has prudently withdrawn it. 3. An important personage1 with good reason to be jealous of the people's affection and seeing that this petition does not come from a mere party in the Regency of Amsterdam, as people around him have sought to persuade him, but rather expresses a discontent that is increasing and becoming general, seems to be alarmed. The English party is also concerned: on Sunday, Sir Joseph Yorke sent an express to England in a fisherman's pink from Scheveling, apparently to inform them of events and advise them to moderate and soften their tone.
Yesterday, as he read Suffolk's reply to the Assembly, the Grand Pensionary showed by his tone and gestures how much it displeased him. I informed some merchants from Amsterdam of this with a full commentary for their guidance.
In my letter of the 23d,2 I spoke to Mr. Franklin in general terms of the demarche that I had undertaken. Today, I have the great pleasure to inform you of its good results. You are aware from my previous letters, gentlemen, that the Grand Pensionary's sole excuse for remaining inactive was that he could not communicate the treaty without your consent. To deprive him of this pretext I asked [the Grand Facteur]3 for his only printed copy, which he was kind enough to give me. With that in hand, on the 22d I went to request an audience with the Grand Pen• { 182 } sionary. I gave him the printed treaty on your behalf, adding that out of deference to the Court of France you had awaited its first printing by the French Court, but that now, thinking that the obligations as presented in your letter4 had been fulfilled in every respect, you felt he could proceed in the manner that he judged would be most agreeable to this Republic. Seeing him taken aback and at a loss for words, I pursued the point by making him understand that, at the very least, he owed you the courtesy of a reply; that you were expecting one; and to prove it I gave him the following extract, signed by me, from Mr. Franklin's letter of 22 September.
“We have made Overtures to the Grand Pensionary. We took that to be a regular and Kind mode of proceeding. We expect an answer. If he gives us none, we shall naturally conclude, that there is no disposition in their High Mightinesses to have any connection with the United States of America; and I believe we shall give them no farther trouble. At least that would be my opinion. I know your nation, having been frequently there, and much esteeming the people, and wishing for a firm union between the two republics. On the other Side, our Virgin State is a jolly one, and, though at present not very rich, will in time be a great fortune to any suitor; and where she has a favourable predisposition, it seems to be well worth cultivating.”5
The underlined portions are the little additions that I made to tie together the excerpted passages and make them coherent.6
He read it carefully and by a smile indicated that the ending pleased him. As I arose, I told him that I was prepared to convey to you anything he might like and beseeched him to consider me as zealous for the welfare and prosperity of this Republic, in which I have enjoyed living for so long, as I am a friend of the Americans. He answered, / do not doubt it. I then went to render an account of this interview to our friend and to give him a copy of the aforementioned excerpt, with an attestation of its conformity to the one delivered the same day to the Grand Pensionary. I gave him to understand that I was thereby giving his city something that might one day be used to raise some serious charges if this overture was repressed. He agreed and thanked me profusely.
There things stood until the morning of the 28th, when an important person in whom we can have full confidence, but who requested anonymity, told me the following: “You are requested to please tell Mr. Franklin that he should not find it strange or incongruous on the part of the Grand Pensionary if he does not answer the letter just yet and to make him understand that there are important, but secret, reasons which impose the need for delay.”
Moreover, I have noticed that our friend, who until now had been greatly irritated by the Grand Pensionary, has rather softened his attitude toward him.
I had the honor of receiving the interesting papers that Mr. Lee favored me with under the date of 22 October. After communicating their { 183 } content to certain people here, I sent a copy to the printer of the Gazette at Leyden so that he can correct in his supplement, or in the following issue, the inaccuracies contributed by his other correspondents on the same subjects in today's paper.7 I recommend myself to his good remembrance and friendship and request a continuation of these favors, and am with great respect, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas
P.S. I was about to close when I received a Dutch book of 180 pages in octavo. Fresh from the press, it is advertised publicly as being on sale at all the bookstores of the Republic under the title: Examen de la Conduite de la Grande-Bretagne à l'égard de la Hottande, depuis l'origine de la République jusqua'à ce jour; Par un Hollandois bien intentionné; Pour servir à faire connoître le Caractere des Anglois8 dans leur conduite envers les Américains. This piece is well done and, as one might expect, is very violent against the English. What I had published is mildness itself by comparison. Certainly it will greatly embarrass the English party and is well suited to arouse this nation even more against England. All this should help you gauge the degree to which the ferment increases in this country, as well as the conduct that should be followed to take advantage of it.
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “à Leurs Excellences Messieurs les Plénipotentiaires des Etats-Unis de l'Amérique à Passy”; docketed by William Temple Franklin: “Dumas Oct. 30. 78.” LbC (Algemeen Rijksarchief, The Hague, Eerste Afdeling, Dumas Papers, vol. 1).
1. Presumably the Stadholder, William V.
2. In that letter Dumas stated that he had made a demarche that he thought would greatly embarrass certain men and provide the friends of the American cause with a powerful weapon of great potential (PPAmP: Franklin Papers).
3. Supplied from the Letterbook copy; Dumas left a blank space in the recipient's copy.
4. The Commissioners to van Blieswyck, 28 April, in which they promised to transmit a copy of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce (vol. 6:61–62).
5. The recipient's copy of Franklin's letter has not been found. However, in an enclosure to this letter Dumas supplied a much more extensive extract from the Franklin letter than he inserted above. From that it is clear that Dumas' presentation to the Grand Pensionary was accurate, but with two significant differences. The first was Franklin's continuation of the fifth sentence which there reads: “At least that would be my opinion; for I think that a young State like a young Virgin, should modestly stay at home, and wait the Application of Suitors for an Alliance with her; and not run about offering her Amity to all the World, and hazarding their Refusal.” The second was his request for Dumas' advice on whether, if he should undertake a mission to The Hague as proposed by JA and Arthur Lee, he would be received as “a Minister of the States of America.” See also the Commissioners' letter to van Berckel of 29 Oct. (above).
6. This sentence was written in the left margin beside the quoted passage.
7. The “papers” sent by Lee were printed in the Gazette de Leyde of 3 Nov. and comprised an extract from a letter dated 3 Oct. at La Coruna (apparent recipient's copy at ViU: Lee Papers) and a captured letter by a British officer at Sandy Hook dated 23 Aug. The Coruna letter reported the arrival of the American privateer Vengeance with numerous prisoners taken in the capture of the British packets Harriot and Eagle, while that from America dealt with the French fleet's ar• { 184 } rival in American waters and blamed Estaing's inability to gain a decisive victory over Adm. Howe on chance and bad weather. The officer also stated that the British position was greatly weakened by the absence of Byron's fleet and might, if that situation continued in the presence of a French fleet of superior strength, result in the abandonment of New York as well as other American possessions.
Lee's “papers” were important to Dumas because the Gazette of 30 Oct. had printed a letter from La Coruna dated 3 Oct., which noted the arrival of the Vengeance, but also contained a very critical account of Estaing's actions by Wingate Newman, captain of the Vengeance. Newman believed that Estaing's unwillingness or inability to engage and defeat the British fleet under Howe stood in the way of a prompt end to the war. See also Dumas' letter to the Commissioners of 4 Nov. (below) and an extract of a letter from Newman on the voyage of the Vengeance printed in the Boston Gazette of 11 Jan. 1779.
8. The remainder of this title was interlined for insertion at this point. The whole title is Dumas' translation from the Dutch: Onderzoek van Groot-Brittanjes Gedrag, ten Opzichte van Holland. Zedert de Opkomste der Republicq tot nu toe. Door een welmend Hollander. Dienende tot opmaking van het Nationale Character der Engelschen in haar gedrag me de Americaanen (1778). This pamphlet had originally been published in French in 1756, ostensibly at Paris but actually at The Hague, and is attributed to Louis Joseph Plumard de Dangeul, with the first full Dutch translation appearing in 1757. With the exception of the introduction, to which material had been added to bring it up to date, the version published in 1778 was identical to those of 1756 and 1757 (W. P. C. Knuttel, Catalogue van de Pamfletten-Verzamel berustende in de Koniklijke Bibliotheek, 7 vols., The Hague, 1889–1920).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0120

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-10-31

To Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] Sir

Your obliging Letter of the 29 is now before me. It would ill become me <born and educated in the Wilderness>, ignorant of the Commerce, Finances, Views and in one Word the Policy of France, to presume to advise, the Direction of her Armies. The accidental Conversation you mention was among Friends and with that Frankness which is tolerated in all Men in such kind of Companies.
One Question you propose is what Advantages would result from sending a powerful Reinforcement to the Count D'Estaing.
I answer, if such a Reinforcement should arrive safe, it would probably destroy the British Power in America.
In order to see this in a full Light, let Us compute the Number of Mouths which Britain has there to feed. There are 20,000 Men on Board their Fleet, 15,000 land Forces and 15,000 Inhabitants of New York and Newport. In all 50,000 People. This Computation is moderate.
The Provisions for supporting these People, must go from Britain, Ireland and Nova Scotia. If you had a superiority of Naval Power there you might intercept so many of their Transports of Provisions, as to { 185 } retaliate upon the English their humane Doctrine of STARVATION. If 12 ships of the Line should go, they with those already there would give such a superiority, as would necessitate the English either to let their fleet and Army fall into your Hands and ours, or to Send an Additional Reinforcement to How.
Now I conceive it is the interest of France to carry as much of the British naval Power to America as possible, because she can there combat them to great Advantage—1. because The French fleet can be there supplied with Provisions, in what ever Ports of the United States they may happen to be, whereas the English can get no Provisions there but must bring all from Europe. 2. because the French Fleet will have better Accommodations, both of Tradesmen and Materials to refit. 3. Because the French Fleet, being newer and better ships can stand the American Seas better than the English.
The Season of the Year, will require that all the Men of the Fleet should be furnished with Plenty of thick Warm Woolen Cloathing and Blanketts, and particularly thick milled Mittens for their Hands, without which in the cold Weather, they cannot handle the rigging: But I apprehend, that the Voyage may be performed with Safety, especially as Captains Jones and McNeill are here, and three Whaling Captains are lately taken, who with their Crews might be taken on board the Fleet, and they are perfect Masters of the American seas and Coasts.
I would not be understood that there is no Risque. D'Estaing, Biron, How are Witnesses that no season of the Year is exempt from storms: But I conceive that with good ships and good Pilots the Risque is not very great.
It is not very important whether the 12 ships go directly to the Port where D'Estaing is or not. But there is little doubt they may find him at Boston, because I think, at present it is his best Policy to stay there and endeavour to intercept Transport Vessells from Europe and Nova Scotia, and the Men of War that may cruise on that Coast: provided Lord Hows fleet is not so near as to endanger him.
How far the Commerce of this Nation will be exposed, and what other Inconveniences may insue in Europe, I have not Information enough to judge.1
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “not sent.”
1. For JA's reason for not sending this letter, see his to Elbridge Gerry of 11 Sept. 1779 (below); for the ultimate fate of the proposal for sending naval reinforcements to America, see the Commissioners to Vergennes, [ante 20] Dec. 1778 – [ante 9] Jan. 1779 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0121

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Schweighauser, John Daniel
Date: 1778-11-01

Benjamin Franklin and John Adams to J. D. Schweighauser

Passy, 1 November 1778. Dft, heavily damaged, MH-H: Lee PapersBenjamin Franklin and John Adams asked Schweighauser to help Mme. Gerard, wife of the French minister to the United States, obtain the return of portraits of herself and her son that she had attempted to send to her husband. According to the attached copy of a letter of 26 Oct. from Mme. Gerard to the Commissioners, the portraits were put on board a vessel chartered by Jonathan Williams that was taken and sent into Guernsey. Schweighauser, because his son-in-law was a native of that island, thus seemed to be the logical person to render assistance. No further mention of the matter has been found.
Dft, heavily damaged, (MH-H: Lee Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0122

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Ross, John
Date: 1778-11-03

The Commissioners to John Ross

[salute] Sir

We have received yours of the twenty seventh of October,1 inclosing a Copy of a Resolution of Congress of the 11. Aug. 1778.2
We shall <conform ourselves exactly> pay the strictest Attention and Obedience to this Resolution of Congress, and to all others, as far as shall be in our Power; and shall be always ready to receive your Accounts and to settle them, and pay the Ballance if any should appear due,3 out of the Proceeds of the Cargoes mentioned in the Resolution, as soon as We shall receive them.4<We have><But we [ha?]d not heard the Reason of y>5
In Relation to the affair of the Le Brune6 As We are strangers to the Nature and Circumstances of it, We are not qualified to form any opinion, and if We were fully informed, We have no Authority to give any Advice, concerning it.7 If it is in a Course of Law, We cannot with Propriety interfere, unless in case of flagrant Injustice, which must be made clearly to appear, and even then We can interfere, only by Application to the <King or his> Minist<ers>ry. We return you all the Papers relative to this affair, and, are, with due Respect, sir, your most obedient humble servants
1. Not found.
2. In this resolution of I Aug., not the nth, the congress resolved that the Commissioners were to pay Ross' expenses in regard to The Queen of France, formerly La Brune, from the proceeds of the cargoes of the tobacco ships Speedwell, Braxton, Governor Johnson, and Morris (JCC, 11:739–740).
3. Benjamin Franklin interlined the preceding five words for insertion here.
4. Ross continued his efforts to obtain reimbursement without first submitting his accounts, as is indicated by the Commissioners' reply of 29 Dec. (LbC, Adams Papers) to his letters of 15 and 24 Dec. (not found). The Commissioners restated their position there in essentially the { 187 } same words used here.
5. The canceled passage was in Benjamin Franklin's hand.
6. See Ross to the Commissioners, 8 Oct., and note 2 (above).
7. The following sentence was written below the closing and marked for insertion at this point.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0123-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-11-03

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners

[salute] Messieurs

Après le départ de ma Lettre du 30 Oct. j'allai souhaitter un bon voyage à notre Ami, qui reviendra <Mardi prochain> ce soir.
Mr. Baker Secretaire de l'Amirauté d'Amsterdam avoit fait une visite de commande à Mr. le Pensionaire Van Berkel. Celui-ci, sentant qu'on vouloit le sonder, prit le parti de s'expliquer trés fortement.
“Monsieur, lui dit-il, que l'Amiraute prenne garde au Pré-avis qu'elle donnera la semaine prochaine: s'il est de nature à rendre inutiles les représentations faites et à faire à la Cour de Londres, en encourageant, par sa complaisante mollesse, la dite Cour à agir toujours comme elle a fait, je vous déclare, et vousfais serment, que je prendrai ce Pré-avis ad referendum, pour ensuite le communiquer à toute la Bourse.”1
Cette démarche auroit des suites sérieuses: elle attireroit certainement à LL. hh. pp. une troisieme Adresse, porteroit le mécontentement à son comble, &c. C'est conformément au Pré-avis des Amirautés, que se prennent ordinairement les Résolutions quant aux Convois, aux ordres plus ou moins pressants et rigoureux à donner aux Capitaines, &c. Je suis avec un très-grand respect, Messieurs, Votre très-humble et tres obéissant serviteur
[signed] Dumas

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0123-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-11-03

C. W. F. Dumas to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

Following the dispatch of my letter of 30 October, I went to wish our friend a good trip. He will return this evening.
Mr. Baker, Secretary of the Amsterdam Admiralty, made a command appearance before the Pensionary, Mr. van Berckel, who, sensing that the Secretary wished to sound him out, took the opportunity to express himself in no uncertain terms.
“Sir,” he said to him, “let the Admiralty be warned about the preliminary advisory it will issue next week: if it is of a nature to render useless the representations that have been or will be made to the Court of London by encouraging the said Court, through an apathetic accommodation, to act as it always has, I announce and swear to you that I will take this preliminary advisory ad referendum and communicate it to the Bourse.”1
{ 188 }
Such a démarche would have serious consequences. It would certainly bring a third Address to Their High Mightinesses, raise the dissatisfaction to its maximum, &c. It is in conformity with the preliminary advisory of the admiralty that decisions are usually made regarding convoys, the urgency and strictness of orders given to captains, &c. I am with very great respect, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “a Leurs Excellences Messieurs les Plenipotentiaries des Etats-Unis de l'Amerique a Passy”; docketed by William Temple Franklin: “M. Dumas 3d Nov. 78.” LbC (Algemeen Rijksarchief, The Hague, Eerste Afdeline, Dumas Papers, vol. 1).
1. In the Letterbook copy this quotation was heavily revised for style, but not content. Van Berckel's fear was soon confirmed (see Dumas' letter of 10 Nov., below). The Amsterdam Admiralty's policy regarding convoys and the seizure of Dutch ships could differ from that of Amsterdam's representatives to the States General because of the peculiarity of Dutch naval administration. The Dutch navy was a reflection of the decentralized and complex organization of the government of the Netherlands, which almost assured that no decisive action could be taken in time of crisis. No central agency, but rather five separate admiralty colleges for the regions of Amsterdam, the Meuse, North Holland and West Friesland, Zeeland, and Friesland had responsibility for the navy. Although united under the Stadholder as Admiral-General and subject to the authority of the States General, each had considerable independent authority and differed sharply in their conduct of business. Each college consisted of an eightto twelve-member board composed of representatives from the region under the admiralty's jurisdiction, as well as from areas outside it, including the inland provinces whose primary concern was the augmentation of the army. The Admiralty of Amsterdam, for example, had eleven members, six from Holland and the others from Guilderland, Zeeland, Friesland, Overijssel, and the city of Amsterdam. As a result, the policy decided upon and issued in the form of a preavis might or might not accurately reflect the interests of a particular region, depending on the degree to which the Stadholder and the members from outside the admiralty's jurisdiction influenced the deliberations. At the same time, the position taken by a single admiralty college might frustrate concerted action by all five (F. P. Renaut, Le crepuscule d'une puissance navale: La marine hollandaise de 1776 a 1783, Paris, 1932, p. 49–52).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0124

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Schweighauser, John Daniel
Date: 1778-11-04

The Commissioners to J. D. Schweighauser

We have at length obtained a sight of Mr. Bersoles Accounts,1 and take this opportunity to communicate to you, our Observations upon them.
As by the Resolutions of Congress, the whole of all Vessells of War, taken by our Frigates belong to the officers and Men: nay farther as they have even an Additional Encouragement of a Bounty upon every Man and every Gun, that is on board such Prizes: it was never the Intention of Congress to be at any further Expence, on Account of such Prizes.2
{ 189 }
Every Article of these Accounts therefore that relates to Repairs of the Drake or Funiture for the Drake, must be charged to Captain Jones, his officers and Men and come out of the Proceeds of the sale of the Drake, or be furnished upon her Credit, and that of the officers and Men of the Ranger. It would certainly be a Misapplication of the public Interest, if we should <be> pay3 any Part of it.
In the next Place, all those Articles of these Accounts, which consist in Supplies of Slops or other Things furnished the officers and Men of the Ranger, must be paid for by them not by Us. Their shares of Prize Money, in the Drake the Lord Chatham and other Prizes, made by the Ranger, will be abundantly Sufficient to discharge these Debts, and in no such Cases can We justify, advancing any Thing to officers or Men.
As the Lord Chatham belongs half to the public and half to the Captors, all necessary Expences, on her Account should, be paid, a Moiety out of the Captors half and the other Moiety out of the half that belongs to the United States.
All necessary supplies of Munition, and Repairs, to the Ranger, and of Victuals to her Company, We shall agree to pay at the Expence of the United States. For the sustenance of the Prisoners, of all the Prizes, after they were put on shore, We suppose the United States must pay.4
These Rules are so simple, and Captain Jones being now at Brest, it should seem that Captain Jones and your Agent might very easily settle this matter.
We have received your Favour of the 29, of last Month.5 We wrote you on the 27th. and advised you to proceed against Mr. P. Dudoyer.6 We are glad to find, that Mr. Williams has delivered, the Effects according to the Inventory inclosed to Us, and, approve of the Receipt you have signed.
You have our Permission to draw Bills upon Us, to the Amount of such Part of your Account as may be necessary to you to which We shall pay all due Honour.
That poor fellow Barns,7 you will8 do well to supply with Necessaries and send home, but dont give him any Mony he has not discretion to use it.
You have our hearty Consent to employ, as many of the Prisoners as you think proper,9 and as are willing to engage in your Service.
We thank you for the News from Brest, and wish you to enquire of Captain Bell and the other American <Captains> Masters lately arrived What Dispatches they brought for Us. We have received, some Packetts of Newspapers, and two or three scattering Letters, but not a { 190 } Word from Congress or any Committee or Member of Congress, which is to Us, unaccountable, and <incites suspicions> leaves room to fear that some Accident has happend to our Dispatches.
We are, &c.
1. Accounts not found, but for Bersolle and John Paul Jones' financial dealings with him in connection with the Ranger and its prizes, see vol. 6:index and references there.
2. See the resolutions of 30 Oct. and 15 Nov. 1776(JCC, 6:913, 954).
3. This word was interlined by Benjamin Franklin.
4. This sentence was interlined at the end of this paragraph.
5. Not found.
6. The letter of 27 Oct. was in response to Schweighauser's of 26 Sept., complaining about Pettier du Doyer (both above).
7. Probably Thomas Barnes (vol. 6:394–396, 400–401).
8. This word, as well as “supply with Necessaries and,” was interlined by Benjamin Franklin.
9. The remainder of this sentence was in Franklin's hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0125-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-11-04

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners

[salute] Messieurs

Ma derniere est d'hier. Je viens de chez notre Ami; et je prends le parti, quoique ma Lettre ne puisse pas partir aujourd'hui, de vous rendre notre conversation pendant qu'elle est encore fraiche dans ma Mémoire.
Mrs. d'Amsterdam sont revenus avec des instructions vigoureuses de leurs commettants. Ils seront peut-être suivis d'une troisieme adresse plus sérieuse encore que les précédentes. Si l'on continue d'éluder, Amsterdam déploiera alors d'autres ressources, qu'on ne veut pas encore me dire. L'affaire des convois sera sur le tapis la semaine prochaine. Sir J. Y. présenta avant-hier un Mémoire,1 plus modéré pour la forme, mais toujours insidieux pour le fond, de la part de sa Cour, 1.° pour demander des Commissaires, avec qui il confereroit, pour convenir du sens des Traites par rapport aux matieres qu'on voudroit interdire: 2.° pour déclarer, que sa Cour desire que la Republique n'accorde pas les Convois en question; ne pouvant consentir à laisser passer les dites matieres. Il trouvera des adversaires formidables en ceux d'Amsterdam, fermement résolus à la négative absolue sur ces deux points. On a déjà prévenu là-dessus, dans le particulier, un grand personnage et le Gp. L'irritation contre les Anglois gagne aussi quelques Membres de la Noblesse.
Le projet, que vous savez, est dressé, consistant en quelques additions et changemens à la base à vous connue. Il est entre les mains des Bourguemaîtres, pour examiner le tout; après quoi l'on m'en délivrera { 191 } une Copie, pour vous en transmettre une pareille, afin que Vous l'examiniez, Messieurs, semblablement, et que vos Observations là-dessus puissent leur revenir par mon Canal.
Il m'a répété, de la part de Mrs. les B——res, que leur intention n'est nullement, de faire dépendre les futures connexions de la permission de la G. B.: au contraire, que leur desir est que LL. hh. pp. puissent, avec le temps, prendre le parti le plus salutaire, mieux ne le peuvent2 presentement: circonstance qu'ils ont cru ne devoir pas plus vous cacher, que leur situation actuelle, leurs voeux, et leur attente, que vous voudrez concourir aux demarches qu'il est en leur pouvoir de faire pour tâcher de les réaliser.
Après cela, je ne saurois, Messieurs, vous donner une idée plus claire du tout, que celle-ci. Nous correspondons avec une Minorité, qui a ce grand avantage sur celle d'Angleterre, que si cet Etat ne veut pas se déclarer notre Ami, il ne peut pas être non plus notre ennemi, à cause de l'unanimité requise par la Constitution: et cela seul est déjà beaucoup, et doit nous engager à seconder et fortifier cette Minorité.
Chaque fois que je vois notre Ami, il me prie de ne pas manquer, quand je saurai quelque bonne nouvelle des affaires en Amerique, de la lui communiquer sur le champ. Il en fait un trop bon usage, pour que j'y manque lorsque la chose dependra de moi.
Les deux Lettres que je dois à la bonté de Mr. A. Lee, ont été insérées dans la Gazette de Leide.3 Le Courier du Bas-rhin a fait une très-belle Apostrophe à Mr. Jos. Reed Membre du T. h. Congrès; elle mérite que vous la voyiez.4 Je voudrois pouvoir vous joindre ici cette feuille No. 88, p. 764, mais je n'ai que celle-là, qui va partir dans un paquet pour le Congrés.
Je suis avec un tres grand respect, Messieurs Votre très humble et trés obeissant serviteur
[signed] Dumas

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0125-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-11-04

C. W. F. Dumas to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

My last was of yesterday. I have just returned from seeing our friend and, although this letter cannot be mailed today, take the opportunity to give you an account of our conversation while it is still fresh in my mind.
The gentlemen from Amsterdam returned with strong instructions from their constituents. This perhaps will result in a third address, even more serious than the previous ones. If the evasions continue, Amsterdam will use other means, of which they could not yet tell me. The matter of the convoys will be brought up next week. The day before yesterday Sir Joseph Yorke presented a memorandum,1 more moderate in { 192 } form, but still insidious in content, from his Court: 1. to request commissioners with whom he could confer in order to reach an agreement on the interpretation of the treaties regarding prohibited goods; 2. to declare his Court's desire that the Republic not grant the convoys in question since it cannot allow the said goods to pass. He will find formidable adversaries in those from Amsterdam who are strongly resolved in the absolute negative on these two points. In particular, they have already informed a high personage and the Grand Pensionary of this fact. The irritation with the English is beginning to reach even some members of the nobility.
The project, as you know, has been drawn up consistent with some additions and fundamental changes of which you are also aware. It is now in the hands of the Burgomasters who will examine the whole and then deliver a copy to me for transmission to you, gentlemen, for your own examination, after which your observations can be returned to them through me.
He repeated to me, on behalf of the Burgomasters, that they have no intention to make future relations dependent upon Great Britain's permission, but rather they desire that Their High Mightinesses be able, with the passage of time, to pursue a more favorable course than they can at present.2 They thought that this circumstance should not be concealed from you any more then their present situation, and their wishes and expectation that you will concur in the demarches they are able to make for their realization.
I cannot give you, gentlemen, a clearer picture than this. We are dealing with a minority which has this great advantage over the British party: if this state cannot declare itself your friend, it cannot be your enemy either, because of the unanimity required by the Constitution. This alone is of great importance and should encourage us to support and strengthen this minority.
Each time I see our friend, he reminds me not to forget to communicate any favorable news that I might receive of events in America. He makes too good a use of such information for me to forget, when and if it is within my power.
The two letters that I owe to the kindness of Mr. A. Lee, have been inserted in the Gazette de Leyde.3 The Courier du Bas-Rhine has given a very fine tribute to Mr. Joseph Reed, Member of the very honorable Congress, which merits your attention.4 I would like to send you this issue, No. 88, p. 764, but it is the only copy I have and must be enclosed in a packet for Congress.
I am, with very great respect, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “a Leurs Excellences Messieurs les Plénipotentiaires des Etats-Unis de l'Amérique a Passy.”
1. This memorial is printed in the Annual Register for 1779 (p. 421) under the date of 22 Nov. Dumas gives an accurate account of its tone and substance.
{ 193 }
2. In the French text the preceding ten words were interlined to replace a passage that was heavily canceled and cannot now be determined.
3. For the letters sent by Arthur Lee, see Dumas' letter of 30 Oct. (above).
4. This issue of the Courier du Bas-Rhin has not been found and thus it is impossible to identify the item to which Dumas refers. The editor's comment probably concerned Joseph Reed's refusal of a bribe offered by George Johnstone, member of the Carlisle Commission, through the agency of Elizabeth Ferguson. Reed described the bribe attempt and his rejection of it in a written statement that he supplied to William Henry Drayton and which Drayton included in his letter of 18 July to the members of the Carlisle Commission (Smith, ed., Letters of Delegates, 10:295–302, and note 8, p. 303). Drayton's letter was widely printed in America and Europe (Boston Gazette, 10 Aug.; London Chronicle, 1–3 Sept.; Affaires de l'Angleterre et de l'Amérique, vol. 12, “Lettres,” cahier 58, p. cxcix–cciii).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0126

Author: Gilbank, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-11-04

John Gilbank to the Commissioners

[salute] May it please Your Excellency's

I took the liberty some time ago to write to your Excellency's informing you of the Situation in which I found myself,1 and requesting to be supplied with Money for necessary Expences in the manner in my Letter mentioned or otherwise as should seem meet.2
Not having since that time been favoured with any Answer, I am under the necessity of applying to Your Excellency's again to be informed, by your Authority, of your resolution in that Behalf; At the same time scarce doubting but that it will be in my favour, When you shall consider that, a negative resolve will preclude me from availing myself of the Opportunity which offers of going to America, and that without a proper supply it will be impossible for me to fulfill my Duty to the Congress.
Your Excellency's cannot I flatter myself think my request unreasonable when you shall consider the Contents of my former letter and that not only my stay here has been unavoidable but that it will be requisite to provide several things for a Sea voyage.
Your Excellency's will likewise rest assured that had it been possible to have avoided an Application of this Kind it wou'd have been a matter productive of the highest satisfaction to me, as never in my Life did I perceive my feelings so much hurt as to be under the necessity of making it. But precluded, by my Attachment to the Cause of America, from receiving Support or protection from my Family; What must I do? Application to private Gentlemen is equally disagreable to me as wou'd be a pistol Ball thro' the head, and I wou'd as soon make use of the one as the other; besides I believe every American Gentleman in Europe has occasion enough for what he is possessed of in this part of the World. To whom then must I apply, hard as the task is, but those from whom I have some right to <look up to> expect protection? If I { 194 } had not been unlucky enough to have been again taken in my last Attempt to go to America, I had not needed any Supplies; nor have I ever, notwithstanding the many and large Sums I have unavoidably expended, made any Application till I was obliged to it.
I flatter myself your Excellency's will order me the Supply I request, but above all I intreat to be honoured with your resolution thereon in as short a time as the Post will permit, as I received a letter yesterday which informs me the Ship will be ready in fifteen days.
I beg pardon of Your Excellency's for troubling you so long but hope you will think the uneasiness of Mind I feel arising from my Mortifying situation, a sufficient reason for taking that Liberty. I have the honour to be Your Excellency's most obedient humble Servant
[signed] J. Gilbank
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “M. Gilbank”; and in another hand: “Gillbank no Date.” The reason for the notation “no Date” remains obscure.
1. John Gilbank, a 1st lieutenant in the 4th South Carolina Artillery Regiment, had been captured three times after going on leave for reasons of health in 1777. He ultimately sailed for America on the General Livingston and arrived at Yorktown, Va., on 22 July 1779 (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 247; Gilbank to the president of the congress, 23 July 1779, PCC, No. 78, X, f. 149–150). His letter of 6 Oct. has not been found, but it was the first of ten letters to the Commissioners, the last dated 21 Jan. 1779. For the Commissioners' response to Gilbank's request, see their letter of 10 Nov. (below).
2. Suitable, fit, or proper (OED).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0127

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Date: 1778-11-05

The Commissioners to Gabriel de Sartine

We have the Honour of your Excellencys Letter of the 5th. of this Month, but as the Memoire, of the French surgion, which your Excellency proposed to transmit to Us, was, by some Accident omitted to be inclosed in your Letter, We are ignorant of his Case, and consequently unable to inform your Excellency whether it is in our Power to afford him any Relief. If your Excellency, will have the Goodness to send Us the Memoire, We will answer your Letter without Delay.1
In the Mean Time, We may acquaint your Excellency that the United States, have not adopted any Precautions, for sending Succours to their subjects <residing> imprisond in England. We have ventured, without orders or Permission from the United States, to lend small sums of Money to Persons who have escaped from Irons and Dungeons in Great Britain, to bear their Expences to Nantes, L'Orient or Bourdeaux. But We have sent no succour to them while in England { 195 } except a small sum of Money put into the Hands of Mr. Hartley2 to be disposed of by him for the Relief of such as should most want it.
We shall consider every Frenchman taken by the English on Board of American Vessells, in the same light as if he was an American by Birth, and entitled to the same Assistance from Us, as Americans are in the same situation. We have the Honour to be
1. Sartine's letter of the 5th (LbC, Adams Papers) inquired about the “Precautions” taken by the Commissioners in regard to American prisoners in England and should have included a memorial from Jacques Fraissignes, a prisoner at Alresford, England, who had been captured on an American ship, Le Gest. The memorial reached the Commissioners in a letter from Sartine of 16 Nov. (LbC, Adams Papers). No further mention of this matter has been found. Contemporary copies of Sartine's letters, as well as the memorial dated 16 Sept., are in the Franklin Papers at the Library of Congress (Worthington C. Ford, comp., List of the Benjamin Franklin Papers in the Library of Congress, Washington, 1905, p. 63).
2. On 18 April, Ferdinand Grand was ordered to pay David Hartley 3,600 livres to aid American prisoners in England (vol. 6:2).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0128

Author: Montgomery, Robert
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-11-06

From Robert Montgomery

[salute] Dear Sir

From the Many favours and Civilitys I Received whilst I had the Honour of Paying you My Respects at Passy1 I am Bound in duty and Gratitude to Make you a Tender of My best Acknowledgements, which Please Accept.
Since My Return to My House here about ten days Agoe I find no other Novelty than An Order from Court to the Governours of All the Sea-ports of Spain that they Shall Permit all Cruising Vessels to Bring in Condem and Sell their Prizes without Shewing Partiality to any of the States Now at War. There is Also Orders that all Foraigen Merchents Residing in Spain Shall Attend the Governour in Person and give in Writeing their Names and the Nation of which they Are Subjects. This was done here Yesterday and I the Only Person that Subscribed America. This Last Order has given Rise to Many Surmises, as it is Regular with Spain to Order All Merchents Who Are Subjects of any Nation they Are At War With to Retire from this Countrey dureing the War.
Should Any thing Elce worth your Notice Occur, whilst I am permited the Honour of Addressing you, You may depend on being duly Advised In term. I Am Respectfully Dear Sir Your Most Obed' Humble sert,
[signed] Robt Montgomery
{ 196 }
As I dont take the Liberty of Writeing Dr. Franklin Pray Present My Complements and best Respects to that Gentleman.
Arrived here Last Tuesday the Brigantine Mary Amilia Capn. French from St. Johns N F Land with fish who off the Western Islands spoak the Eagle of 74 Guns Capn. Duncan from N. York to England haveing Lord Howe on board haveing Left Admiral Byron in Command.2
1. Montgomery had taken an oath of allegiance at Passy on 8 Sept. (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 4:272).
2. Howe had resigned his command on 11 Sept. and sailed for England on the 25th (Gruber, Howe Brothers, p. 322, 324).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0129

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Laurens, Henry
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1778-11-07

The Commissioners to the President of the Congress

[salute] Sir

We have the Honour to inclose a Copy of the Declaration concerning the 11 and 12 Articles of the Treaty of Commerce,1 which we have received from his Excellency the Secretary of State for foreign Affairs,2 in exchange for a similar one signed by us, in Pursuance of the Instructions of Congress.
We have also the Honour to inclose Copies of a Correspondence with his Excellency Mr. de Sartine, the Secretary of State for the Marine, concerning Cases of Rescues and Recaptures,3 that Congress may, if they judge proper, take some Resolution on this Head. It seems to be equitable that the same Rule should be observed by both Nations.
We also inclose Copies of a Correspondence on the Subject of Negotiation with the Barbary States.4 We do not find ourselves authorized to treat with these Powers, as they are not in Europe; And indeed, we are not furnished with Funds for making them Presents.
We have had the Honour of a Letter from the Auditor general,5 inclosing the form of Bills of Exchange to be drawn upon us for the Interest due upon Loan Office Certificates, and acquainting us that this Interest will amount to two Millions and an half of Livres annually.6 When it was proposed to pay the Interest here, we had no Idea of so much being borrowed.
We shall pay the most punctual Obedience to these and all other Orders of Congress as long as our funds shall last; But we are obliged to inform Congress that7 our Expences on Prisoners being great, and being drawn upon by Order of Congress from various Quarters, and receiving no Funds from America, we suffer the utmost Anxiety least { 197 } we should be obliged to protest Bills. We have exerted ourselves to the Utmost of our Power to procure Money, but hitherto with little Success;8 And we beg that some Supplies may be sent us as soon as possible.
We are very unhappy that we are not able to send to Congress those Supplies of Arms, Ammunition and Cloathing which they have ordered; But it is absolutely impossible for want of funds;9 And Mr. Beaumarchais has not yet informed us whether he will execute the Agreement made for him with you or not.
We have the Pleasure to inform Congress that M. Mathew Ridley of Maryland has made a Present to the United States of a valuable Manuscript upon naval Affairs, which he has left with us.10 We shall take the first Opportunity of a frigate to send it to Congress.
We inclose to Congress Copies of a Correspondence between the Embassador of the King of the two Sicilies and us11 which, as his Majesty is the eldest Son of the King of Spain,12 is considered as an Event indicative of the good will of a greater Power, altho' this is respectable.
It is of great Importance to penetrate the Councils of an Enemy, in Order to be prepared before hand against his Designs: We should therefore be happy to advise Congress of the Intentions of Great Britain, as far as we can conjecture.
We have every Reason to believe that the hostility of the Disposition of the British Court has no other Bounds than those of their Power. Their Threats however, of large Reinforcements and of Russian Auxiliaries, are without foundation. The Interest of the King of Prussia and of the Empress Queen (who both choose at present to preserve decent Terms with Great Britain) to preserve13 a close Alliance between England and Russia, we apprehend, will prevent it. In short, we can see no Probability of Englands forming any Alliance against America in all Europe: or even against France. Whereas on the other Side, from the astonishing Preparations of Spain, the Family Compact and other Circumstances, and from the insolent Tyranny of the English over the Dutch and their consequent Resentment, which has shewn itself in formidable Remonstrances, as well as by Advances towards a Treaty with us, there is Reason to believe that if Great Britain perseveres in the war, both these Powers will be at length involved in it.14
The English, the last year carried on a very valuable whale fishery on the Coast of Brazil, off the River Plate in South America, in the Latitude thirty five south and from thence to fourty, just on the Edge of Soundings off and on, about the Longitude sixty five from London.
{ 198 }
They have this year about seventeen Vessels in this fishery, which have all sailed in the Months of September and October.
All the Officers and almost all the Men belonging to these seventeen Vessels are all Americans, from Nantucket and Cape Cod in the Massachusetts Bay, excepting two or three from Rhode Island, and perhaps one from Long Island.
The Names of the Captains are Aaron Sheffield of New-Port, [ . . . ]Goldsmith and Richard Holmes from Long Island, John Chadwick, Francis May, Reuben May, John Meader, Jonathan Meader, Elisha Clark, Benjamin Clark, William Ray, Paul Pease, Bunker Fitch, Reuben Fitch, Zebedda Coffin, and another Coffin, all of Nantuckett —John Lock Cape Codd— [ . . . ]Nantuckett, Andrew Swain Nantuckett, William Ray Nantuckett.
Four or five of these Vessels go to Greenland. The fleet sails to Greenland the last of February or beginning of March.
There was published last year in the English News Papers, (and the same Imposture has been repeated this year) a Letter from the Lords of the Admiralty to Mr. Dennis de Berdt in Coleman Street, informing M. de Berdt that a Convoy should be appointed to the Brazil fleet.
But this, we have certain Information, was a forgery, calculated merely to deceive American Privateers, and that no Convoy was appointed or did go with that fleet, either last year or this.
For the Destruction or Captivity of a fishery so entirely defenceless; (for not one of the Vessels has any Arms) a single frigate or Privateer of twenty four or even of twenty Guns would be quite Sufficient.
The Beginning of December would be the best Time to proceed from hence, because they would then find the whaling Vessels nearly loaden.
The Cargoes of these Vessels, consisting of Bone and Oil will be very valuable; and at least, four hundred and fifty of the best kind of Seamen would be taken out of the Hands of the English, and might be gained into the American Service to act against the Enemy. Most of the Officers and Men wish well to their Country, and would gladly be in its Service, if they could be delivered from that they are engaged in. But whenever the English Men of war or Privateers have taken an American Vessel, they have given to the whalemen among the Crews, their Choice either to go on Board a Man of war and fight against their Country, or to go into the whale fishery. So many have choosen the Latter as to make up most of the Crews of seventeen Vessels.
We thought it proper to communicate this Intelligence to the Congress, that if they find it proper to order a frigate, to take from the { 199 } English at once so profitable a Branch of Commerce and so valuable a Nursery of Seamen, they may have an Opportunity of doing it; if not, no Inconvenience will ensue.
We had the Honour to write to Congress on the 20 July,15 17 of September of which we have sent Duplicates and triplicates and to which we beg leave to refer. By this Opportunity we shall send the News Papers which contain all the public Intelligence.
With great Respect we have the Honour to be Sir your most obedient humble Servants
[signed] B Franklin
[signed] Arthur Lee
[signed] John Adams
Post. Script. We inclose a Number of Notes of Hand, fourty seven in Number, which have been taken from our unhappy Countrymen who escaped from England, to whom we have lent Money, as they had no other Way of Subsistance.
RC with 13 enclosures (PCC, No. 85, f. 193–238); docketed: “Letter from B Franklin A Lee J Adams Passy Novr. 7. 1778 Read Feby 24”; in another hand: “The Two Sicilies. Morocco.” LbC (Adams Papers). In the Letterbook copy, which is clearly a draft, a blank space was left where the date would go.
1. For the French declaration dated I Sept. (not printed), see the Commissioners to Vergennes, 29 Oct., note 1 (above).
2. In the Letterbook copy, “the Secretary of State for foreign Affairs” was interlined as a replacement for “the Comte de Vergennes,” which was canceled.
3. These letters, which concerned the recapture of the Isabelle by Capt. Daniel McNeill of the General Mifflin, were the Commissioners to Sartine, 10, 17, and 27 Sept.; and Sartine to the Commissioners, 16 and 21 Sept. (all above).
4. These letters were the Commissioners to Vergennes, 28 Aug. (extract enclosed; for the full letter, see vol. 6:401–404) and 1 Oct. (above); Vergennes to the Commissioners, 27 Sept. (above) and 30 Oct.; and Sartine to Vergennes, 21 Sept. Neither Vergennes' letter of 30 Oct. nor Sartine's of 21 Sept. is printed in this volume, but see that from Vergennes of 27 Sept., note 1 (above).
5. See John Gibson to the Commissioners, 8 Aug. (PPAmP: Franklin Papers).
6. In the Letterbook the following sentence was interlined by Benjamin Franklin.
7. In the Letterbook the words from this point to the third comma below were interlined by Benjamin Franklin.
8. In the Letterbook the remainder of this sentence was interlined by Benjamin Franklin.
9. In the Letterbook the remainder of this sentence was interlined by Benjamin Franklin.
10. See Ridley to the Commissioners, 29 Sept. (above).
11. Domenico Caracciolo's letter of 8 Oct. and the Commissioners' reply of the 9th (both above).
12. The Commissioners are in error here. In 1778 the King of the Two Sicilies was Ferdinand, third son of Charles III of Spain. The eldest son of Charles III was mentally impaired; thus Charles' second son was designated heir apparent and became Charles IV in 1788 (Larousse, Grand dictionnaire universel).
13. “Preserve” is a copyist's error for “prevent,” which appears in the Letterbook copies of both JA and Arthur Lee (PCC, No. 102, IV, f. 119–120) and accords with the actual policies of Frederick and Maria Theresa.
14. The following eleven paragraphs were taken directly from the letter of 30 Oct. from Benjamin Franklin and JA to { 200 } Sartine (above). JA, after entering the first words of the following paragraph in his Letterbook, wrote “See the Letter of Oct. 30 1778 to M. de Sartine, transcribe all that relates to this Subject.”

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0130

Author: Schweighauser, John Daniel
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-11-07

J. D. Schweighauser and Others to the Commissioners

[salute] Honbl: Gentlemen

The repeated Captures of American Vessells, many of which notwithstanding the Convoys we have had off this Coast have been taken the day after their Separation, and the Knowledge obtained by Our Enemies of the time of Our Vessells sailing, which induces them to cruize at a greater distance to watch the Moment that the French Frigates part from their Convoy, incline us to wish for more effectual Protection.
In Addition to these Reasons we beg leave to represent, That many American Gentlemen, Several of whom are in the Publick Service and have already experienced the Horrors of an English Prison and others more Than Once taken on their Passages from hence to America and carried to England, propose to embark on board the present Outward bound Vessells: And as well on their Account as the Importance of the Supplies these Ships will carry to Our Country we trust your Endeavours will be joined to ours to obtain from the Minister of the Marine a sufficient Convoy for the whole Voyage.
With a View of giving you as little Trouble as possible we have written to Monseiur de Sartine,1 and We request you to use your Interest at Court to enforce our Petition.2
The Ships here and at Rochelle to the Number of Twelve or more will be ready in the Course of the present Month, by the End of which we hope the desired Convoy may be directed to arrive here.
We have the Honour to be with great Respect Honble. Gentlemen Your most Obedient & most humble Servants
[signed] J. D. Schweighauser Agent of the United States of America
[signed] Matthew Mease
[signed] Jno. Gilbank
[signed] William Haywood
[signed] John Lloyd
[signed] Nics. Martin
[signed] Ebenr. Atwood
[signed] Peter Collas
[signed] John Spencer
[signed] Jno. Grannis
[signed] Joseph Belton
[signed] Jos. Wm Spencer
[signed] Joseph Hill Jennings
[signed] Richd. Grubb
[signed] Alexr. Dick
{ 201 }
[signed] Phil Rd. Fendall
[signed] Danl. Blake
[signed] Clemt. Smith
[signed] Joshua Johnson
[signed] Matt: Ridley
[signed] Jona. Williams
[signed] Cha: Ogilvie
[signed] J. Grubb
[signed] Josiah Darrell
[signed] Cyprn. Sterry
[signed] Wilm Jenney
[signed] Christopher Bassett
[signed] Robert Ewart
[signed] Jno. Tyler
[signed] Daniel Kenney
[signed] Stephen Johnson
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “Letter, from Several Gentlemen at Nantes, for Convoy, ansd.”; in another hand: “Nov. 7. 1778.”
1. With the exception of William Haywood, all the subscribers below also signed the letter to Sartine of 7 Nov., and were joined by T. Blake, John Bondfield, Robert Elliot, John Ross, and Branford Smith (Arch. de la Marine, Paris, 82, vol. 413).
2. In their reply of 11 Nov., the Commissioners thanked the subscribers and promised to apply immediately to Sartine for a convoy (LbC, Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0131

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Williams, Jonathan
Date: 1778-11-08

To Jonathan Williams

[salute] Dear Sir

I have received your obliging Favour of the 27 of October,1 and am very much obliged to you for the Trouble you have taken, in sending me the Rum.
I have not yet received it, but as soon as it comes, I will send a Dozen to Dr. Bancroft and a Dozen to Mr. Alexander as you desire: But I must decline accepting the Remainder as a Present, for obvious Reasons, one among others is that there is no Justice in your putting yourself to the Expence of my Maintenance here, whatever occasion I may have for the Charity of my Friends at home. Please to draw upon me for the Expence of this Spirit, and your Bill shall be paid at sight. I am, with much Esteem, your humble servant
1. Not found, but see Williams to JA, 12 Nov. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0132

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Gilbank, John
Date: 1778-11-10

The Commissioners to John Gilbank

[salute] Sir

We have received your Letter of October the sixth, and wish it was in our Power to do more for officers in your situation than We do, altho that amounts in the whole to a large sum. But as We have al• { 202 } ready lent you as much Money as We have <lent>1 been able to lend to other officers of your Rank and in your Circumstances, <it is not in our Power>2 we cannot without a blameable Partiality <to> lend you any more. We, are, sir your most obedient humble servants3
1. The following four words were interlined by Benjamin Franklin.
2. The following two words were interlined by Benjamin Franklin.
3. On 12 Sept. the Commissioners had ordered that 360 livres be paid to Gilbank (vol. 6:360). Their refusal to provide additional funds was not unusual, for on 11 Nov. (LbC, Adams Papers) they wrote an almost identical letter to Capt. William Hamilton and Lt. John Welch who, through payments approved on 30 Sept. and 10 Oct., had together received 1,032 livres (vol. 6:361).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0133-0001

Author: Maire, Jacques Le
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-11-10

From Jacques Le Maire

[salute] Monsieur

Le Traité que M. Lee a fait avec M. Bonnefil1 pour faire passer tous les effets qui sont ici pour le gouvernement de Virginie, fixant mon depart à la fin du present mois, j'ose, Monsieur, Solliciter une lettre de recommandation de votre part en ma faveur auprès de Mr. le gouverneur de la Virginie; veuillez également m'envoyer la reponse de la lettre que je vous ai aportée emanée de lui.2 Je vous en suplie avec d'autant plus d'empressement que connoissant votre belle ame et votre équité me Justifiera du Zele que j'ai apporté à remplir exactement ma Mission. J'ose sans prevention, reconnoitre dans ma conduite un attachement inviolable et très desinteressé au service des provinces unis auquel je me voue tout entier, trop heureux si je peux vous prouver la Verité de ces Sentimens dont je vous prie de me croire penetré.
J'ai l'honneur d'Etre avec un profond respect Monsieur Votre très humble et très obeissant serviteur
[signed] Le Maire
[signed] Rue de la Casserie a Nantes

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0133-0002

Author: Maire, Jacques Le
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-11-10

Jacques Le Maire to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

My departure being fixed at the end of this month by the contract made by Mr. Lee with Mr. Bonnefil1 to transport the goods here belonging to Virginia, I dare, sir, to solicit a letter of recommendation from you in my favor for the Governor of Virginia. Also be so kind as to send me the reply to the letter I delivered to you from him.2 I apply to you all the more eagerly knowing that your generosity and sense of justice will justify the zeal that I have exercised in the faithful fulfillment of my mission. Without prejudice I venture to recognize in my conduct an inviolable and disinterested attachment to the service of the United { 203 } Provinces to which I am entirely devoted, and I am very happy if I can prove to you the truth of the sentiments of which I pray you know me to be imbued.
I have the honor to be, with deep respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Le Maire
[signed] Rue de la Casserie in Nantes
1. That is, Bondfield. William Lee reported to Gov. Thomas Jefferson on 24 Sept. 1779 and 15 Aug. 1780 that Arthur Lee had chartered the ships that carried Virginia's property to America and that, so far as he knew, it had all gone by the Governor Livingston, the Hunter, and the Mary Feron (Jefferson, Papers, 3:90–93, 551). According to John Bondfield's letter to the Commissioners of 23 Jan. 1779 (below), those three vessels were wholly owned by himself, William Haywood, and James Price.
2. JA did not respond to this letter, nor did he mention it in his reply of 8 Dec. (LbC, Adams Papers) to a second letter from Le Maire of 3 Dec. (Adams Papers). Le Maire's second letter again asked for JA's reply to Gov. Patrick Henry's letter of 5 March (vol. 5:408–410), but did not request a recommendation. As a result, JA's reply of 8 Dec. was essentially a covering letter for his to Patrick Henry of the same date (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0134-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-11-10

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners

[salute] Messieurs

Ma derniere, de 4e. partit le 6e. Demain sera un jour important, et qui aura des suites très sérieuses, si Amsterdam mollit Nous savons déjà quel sera l'avis préalable des Amirautés. Le Committé nommé pour conférer là-dessus avec Mrs. de l'Amirauté a fait son rapport, que voici:
1.° On refusera d'entrer en pourparler avec Sir Y. sur le sens des Traités quant aux Matieres de Construction et Agrets. 2.° On insistera fortement sur la restitution des Vaisseaux saisis. 3.° L'Amirauté prendra certains arrangemens particuliers, pendant ces troubles, avec les Commerçants du pays, c'est-à-dire, en bon françois, suspendra les Convois, quant aux susdites matieres.1 Cette queue gâte tout le reste.
Notre Ami m'a paru un peu embarrassé. Il a écrit, pour qu'on lui envoie quelques-unes des meilleures têtes de la Bourse, afin de profiter de leurs avis sur cette queue, qu'il appelle un vraie sottise. Une autre personne,2 très choquée de cette même queue, dit qu'Amsterdam peut, si elle tient ferme pour l'observation rigoureuse des Traités et d'une parfaite neutralité, s'opposer avec succès à cette manoeuvre. Si non, que la soumission servile de la nation au fouet des Anglois lui attirera aussi celui des Francois, qui la priveront non seulement des privileges dont ils l'ont fait jouir jusqu'ici chez eux, mais qui saisiront ses vaisseaux à l'instar des Anglois.3
{ 204 }
Il faut donc vous attendre, Messieurs, que ma premiere vous apprenne la nouvelle, ou d'une opposition forte et efficace de la ville, ou d'un coup de foudre lance contre le Commerce et la Navigation de cette Nation. On pourra dire alors, quidquid delirant Britanni, plectuntur Belge.4 Ce sera leur propre faute.
Vraisemblablement tout cela traînera un peu encore: car notre Ami m'a dit, que l'Assemblée provinciale ne finira pas cette semaine. Comme je ne puis le voir aujourdhui, parce qu'il dîne en ville, je lui ai écrit la Lettre, dont voici copie.5
Je suis avec un très-grand respect, Messieurs, Votre très-humble et très obéissant serviteur
[signed] Dumas

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0134-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-11-10

C. W. F. Dumas to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

My last, of the 4th, left on the 6th. Tomorrow will be an important day and, if Amsterdam softens its position, will have serious consequences. We already know what the preliminary advisory of the Admiralties will be. The committee named to confer on this matter with the gentlemen of the Admiralty has made the following report: 1. They will refuse to enter into negotiations with Sir Joseph Yorke on the interpretation of the Treaties regarding naval stores. 2. They will strongly insist upon the restitution of the captured vessels. 3. The Admiralty will make certain specific arrangements with the country's merchants during these troubles, or, to put it more plainly, convoys will be suspended for the said materials.1 This last point ruins all the rest.
Our friend seemed a little embarrassed. He has written to ask that some of the best minds of the Bourse be sent to him in order that he might profit from their advice on this last point, which he characterizes as being plain foolishness. Another person,2 extremely displeased by the same thing, says that Amsterdam can successfully oppose this maneuver if it holds firm for the strict observance of the Treaties and a perfect neutrality. If not, the nation's servile submission to the British whip will also draw down upon her that of the French, who will not only withhold the privileges she has thus far enjoyed in France, but will also follow the British example in capturing her vessels.3
You should, therefore, prepare yourselves, gentlemen, for my next letter, which will inform you of either the city's strong and successful opposition, or the thunderbolt struck against the commerce and navigation of this nation. Then we can say quidquid delirant Britanni, plectuntur Belge.4 It will be their own fault.
This situation will very likely linger a while, for our friend has told me that the Provincial Assembly will not adjourn this week. Since I cannot see him today, because he is dining in town, I wrote him a letter, a copy of which is enclosed.5
{ 205 }
I am, with great respect, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas
RC with one enclosure (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “à Leurs Excellences Messieurs les Plénipotentiaires des Etats-Unis de l'Amérique à Passy.”; docketed by William Temple Franklin: “Dumas. 10. Nov. 78.”
1. Dumas gives an accurate summary of the main conclusions of this report, which was put before the Assembly on 6 Nov. and printed under that date in Secrete Resolutien van de Edele Groot Mog[ende] Heeren Staten van Holland en Westvriesland (The Hague, 16 vols., 1670–1796, 13:444–454). It was officially proposed for adoption on 11 Nov. (Resolutien van de Heeren Staten van Holland en Westvriesland, 231 vols., 1524–1793, 2 [1778]:1250–1251, 1253) and approved on the 18th. For Dumas' comments on its passage and Amsterdam's reaction to it, see his letters of 13 and 20 Nov. (below).
2. This person cannot be positively identified, but it was probably La Vauguyon, the French ambassador. See his statement to members of the Dutch government reported in Dumas' letter of 13 Nov. (below).
3. That is, if the Netherlands did not require Great Britain to observe the treaties of 1674–1675, particularly those articles declaring that free ships made free goods, France would rescind its regulation of 26 July 1778 concerning neutral commerce insofar as it applied to Dutch ships. The first article of that regulation, which could be revoked in six months if Britain did not grant the same privileges, permitted neutral ships to trade unmolested to or from an enemy port not blockaded, except in contraband. Even then the neutral ship would not be seized unless the contraband made up three-fourths or more of its cargo (Martens, ed., Recueil des principaux traités d'alliance, 4:198; English translation of the regulation in vol. 2 of Almon's Remembrancer for 1778, London, 1779, p. 355–357; see also Dumas' letter of 13 Sept., note 5).
France's primary objective was to have neutral nations do what it could not achieve with its own limited naval resources, that is, to force Britain to permit relatively unrestricted trade with France, particularly in naval stores, which were not included in the French list of contraband (Bemis, Diplomacy of the Amer. Revolution, p. 138–139). In the case of the Netherlands this came down to the demand that the States General provide unrestricted convoys or, in other words, convoys from which vessels carrying naval stores, particularly ships timbers, would not be excluded. This was a step that, except for Amsterdam, even the Assembly of Holland, much less the States General, was reluctant to take because of the inevitable Anglo-Dutch naval confrontation that it would produce. For the application of pressure by Britain and France in support of their respective positions and its impact on the deliberations of the Assembly of Holland and the States General, see Dumas' later letters, particularly that of 16 Jan. 1779 (below).
4. The British set the policy, but it is the Belgians who suffer. This is presumably a paraphrase of Horace's “quicquid delirant reges, plectuntur Achivi,” the kings set the policy but it is the Greeks that suffer.
5. In his letter to van Berckel, Dumas reiterated his position that Amsterdam, and by implication the United Provinces, must stand firm against British demands and in support of the strict observance of the Anglo-Dutch treaties in order to preserve its neutrality.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0135

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Date: 1778-11-12

The Commissioners to Gabriel de Sartine

[salute] Sir

Last Night, We had a Letter from Nantes a Copy of which we have the honour to inclose to your Excellency.1
{ 206 }
The Subject of it appears to us, of great Importance to the United States, as well as to the Individuals, Frenchmen and Americans, who are interested in the Vessels destined to America, to a considerable Number of Gentlemen and others who are going Passengers in this Fleet, and ultimately to the common Cause.
It gives us great Pleasure to find so large a Number of Vessels going out upon this Occasion. Their Cargoes are much wanted, to enable our Countrymen to sustain the War.
We therefore most chearfully join with the Subscribers to the Letter, who have also petitioned your Excellency in requesting a strong Convoy to protect these Ships quite home to America.
Upon this Occasion, We cannot refrain from submitting to your Excellency our Opinion, that the more of the Kings Ships are sent to America the more certainly France maintains a Superiority of naval Power in the American Seas, the more likely it will be that she will have the Advantage in the conduct of the War. Because the French having the Ports and the Country, the Provisions, the Materials and the Artificers of America open to them, and the English being obliged to derive all these Things from Europe, the former have a vast Advantage of the latter in the Conduct of the War, in that Quarter of the World. Not to mention that the French Ships being newer and in better Condition than the English, are better able to sustain the American Seas.
Your Excellency will2 excuse our suggesting one Reflection, that whatever Vessels of War are sent to America, they should be plentifully furnished with Marine Woolen Cloaths, especially Blanketts and Gloves or Mittens, without which it is extreamly difficult for the Men to do their Duty in the cold Season upon the Coast.3
We are with great Respect Your Excellency's, most obedient and most humble Servants.
[signed] B Franklin
[signed] Arthur Lee
[signed] John Adams
RC (Arch. de la Marine, Paris, B7, vol. 459); docketed: “les deputes des Etats unis de l'amerique la 12. 9bre. 1778.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. See J. D. Schweighauser and Others to the Commissioners, 7 Nov. (above).
2. In the Letterbook the following three words were interlined by Benjamin Franklin as a substitute for “permit Us to suggest.”
3. Compare this and the preceding paragraph with JA's unsent letter of 31 Oct. to Edmé Jacques Genet (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0136

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1778-11-12

The Commissioners to the Comte de Vergennes

[salute] Sir

The Alliance between this Kingdom, and the United States of America, is an Event of such Magnitude in their History, that We conceive it would be highly pleasing to our Constituents, to have the Picture of <their> his Majesty their illustrious <Friend and> Ally, to be kept in some Public Place where the Congress sits.
We would carefully avoid every Thing which would be disagreable <to the King and Queen>, and would therefore submit this Proposal to your Excellencys Consideration: and if you should be of opinion that no offence would be given, We request, your Excellencys kind offices, to procure Us for the Benefit of our Constituents, the Pictures of their Majestys the King and Queen, that Posterity, as well as those of the present Generation who may never have an opportunity of seeing those Royal Personages, may become acquainted with the nearest Resemblances of them, which the Arts have devised.1
1. If sent, this letter brought no results. It was not until 1784 that portraits of the King and Queen arrived in America, and then it was in response to the congress' request contained in its congratulatory message of 15 June 1779 to Louis XVI on the birth of his first child, Marie Thérèse Charlotte (JCC, 14:737; 26:239–241).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0137

Author: Williams, Jonathan
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-11-12

From Jonathan Williams

[salute] Sir

My last1 informed you of my Intention to send you by the Messagerie2 a Case of old W. India Spirit, and at the same time I requested you to send a dozen to Mr. Alexander and a dozen to Dr. Bancroft. I have now to inform you that it left Nantes last Saturday accompanied with an acquit a Caution which I request you to return to me properly indorsed at the Bureau at Paris. I must beg your particular attention to this formality, as otherwise I shall be subject to pay a heavy Duty and perhaps a Fine, Rum being contraband.
I have the honour to be with great Respect Sir Your most obed Ser.
[signed] Jona Williams
P.S. There is a Packet in the Case, addressed to Mr. Alexander, which please to send to him.3
{ 208 }
1. Of 27 Oct. (not found), but see JA to Williams, 8 Nov. (above).
2. The state-controlled overland shipping company (Larousse, Grand dictionnaire universel).
3. The postscript was written in the left margin.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0138

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-11-12

John Bondfield to the Commissioners

[salute] Sirs

Having concluded with Mr. Schweighauser for the publick freight the two Ships1 are ready and will proceed the begining of Next Week for Penbeuf. We have apply'd for a Convoy for the Ships which we have room to flatter ourselves will be granted and will thereby secure their passage from hence to the Loire, as there will be no delay at Nantes in the Loading all being ready both to Ship and Load before the twenty fourth we hope all will be ready for Sea. The Merchants at Nante have petitiond for a Convoy to sail in all this month and to take the Ships to the American States as these two Vessels will be very Valuable and their Cargoes being the States Property it may be presumed your application would eventualy Secure the Convoy. At all events we must Wait until one is apointed and shall not attempt to Sail without which if orderd for the whole Route will be very Acceptable.
I have inclosd the Bond2 but Mr. Livingston esteems it safer to retain the Command in his own hand. As Owners of the Vessel we have indorsed his appointment on the back of the Commission and have subscribed with him to the alteration in the Bond.
I shall leave this to Day for Bordeaux and at my Arrival shall imediately attend to your Instructions tutching the Cannon belonging to Mr. Le Bertin.3
I have the honor to be with due Respect Sirs Your most Obedient Humble Servant
[signed] John Bondfield
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honble. Benj Franklin Arthur Lee. John Adams Esqrs. Commissioners from Congress at Paris”; docketed: “M. Bondfield”; in another hand: “J. Bondfield 12 Novr. 1778.”
1. The Governor Livingston and the Chasseur (Bondfield to the Commissioners, 9 Jan. 1779, below).
2. Probably the bond for the Governor Livingston dated 26 Oct. 1778 and signed by Bondfield, William Haywood, and Muscoe Livingston (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 3:432).
3. Apparently these instructions were in a letter not now extant, but see Bondfield's letter of 21 Nov. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0139-0001

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-11-12

Gabriel de Sartine to the Commissioners

Mr. Defleury, Messieurs, m'a réprésenté que son fils unique, s'embarqua en 1776 pour se rendre en Amerique, ou il a servi les Etats Unis dans l'Armée du General Washington, avec assez de distinction pour mériter le grade de lieutenant Colonel, mais qu'ayant ête fait prisonnier et conduit au fort St. Augustin il n'a pas encore pû obtenir son Echange, et il se trouve dans l'Etat le plus deplorable.1 La Distinction que ce jeune militaire à merité au service des Etats Unis, parle en sa Faveur, et je suis persuadé, Messieurs, que vous aurez égard a la demande du Sr. Defleury, et je vous serai obligés de comprendre cet officier dans le premier Echange des Prisonniers. J'ai l'honneur d'etre avec la Consideration la plus distinguée, Messieurs, Votres tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur
[signed] De Sartine

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0139-0002

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-11-12

Gabriel de Sartine to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

Mr. De Fleury, gentlemen, has informed me that in 1776 his only son embarked for America where he has served the United States in General Washington's army with enough distinction to merit the rank of lieutenant colonel, but that having been made prisoner and taken to Fort St. Augustine he has been unable to obtain his exchange and finds himself in a most deplorable state.1 The distinction this young man has earned in the service of the United States speaks in his favor, and I am sure, gentlemen, that you will consider Mr. De Fleury's request, and I would be grateful if you included this officer in the first exchange of prisoners. I have the honor to be, with the most distinguished consideration, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] De Sartine
1. No evidence has been found that Lt. Col. of Engineers Francois Louis Teissèdre de Fleury was ever captured. Indeed, at the time of this letter he was presumably serving with Washington's army, having returned from the expedition against Newport. For the elder Fleury, see his letter to JA of 26 April, note 1 (vol. 6:56–57). For his son's career, see the same letter and references there as well as Mark M. Boatner III, comp., Encyclopedia of the American Revolution, N.Y., 1966.
In their reply of 17 Nov., the Commissioners promised to write to the congress and recommend that it secure Fleury's exchange as soon as possible, but no further mention of this matter has been found (NN: Berg Collection).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0140

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
DateRange: 1778-11-12 - 1779-02-11

The Commissioners' Accounts with Ferdinand Grand

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

1778       Debit   Credit  
Novemb.   12   Pour Solde du précédent Compte.         439728.   15.   7.  
    Pour une traite de Mr. Hy. Laurens Président du 7. 9bre. 1777. à 30. jours de vue, dont ces Mrs. ont été debités deux fois au lieu d'une.         900.1      
  12   Acceptation de M. B. Franklin à une traite de J. Philips du 28. Septemb. à uso   1200.            
  17   Payé à Mr. Arthur Lée sur recu   4800.            
  18   Acceptation de Mr. B. Franklin, à traite de Ph. Hancock de Bruxelles du 2. 7bre. à vue   124.   5.   9.2        
  23   Acceptation de M. B. Francklin à traite de Daroy et Moylan du 17. 9bre. à vue   246.   15.          
  28   Mandat de Mrs. Lée et Adams à John Brown   480.            
  28   Acceptation de Mrs. B. Franklin à traite de Rt. Niles de Bordeaux du 9. 9bre. à vue   240.            
  30   Mandat de Mrs. Franklin, Lee et Adams a J. Adams   240.            
  30   Mandat de M. John Adams a Son ordre   285.            
Decembre   1   Mandat de Mrs. Franklin, Lée et Adams à La plaine   840.            
  2   Mandat de M. J. Adams payé à Jardy   265.   10.          
  4   Autre de Mrs. Franklin, Lée et Adams à Luther Turner   240.            
  7   Acceptation de Mr. B. Franklin, traite de J. D. Schweighauser de Nantes du 17. 9bre. à 8 jours de date.   9954.   18.          
{ 211 } | view
  14   Mandats de Mrs. Franklin, Lee et Adams à L. Brook 288. à R. Brook 288. à A. Blée [C. Blue], Coggeshall, E. Butes, G. Sugar 192. chaque   1344.            
  14   Acceptation de B. Francklin, à traite de Horneca Fizeaux & C. d'Amsterdam du 12. 9bre. à vue   114.   11.          
  16   Payé à Mr. J. Adams Sur Son reçu   2400.            
  16   Payé à Mrs. Franklin et Adams sur recu   5000.            
  19   Acceptation de M. Arthur Lée a traite de Th. Diggs de Bristol, du 5. Xbre à un jour de vue, sur A. Johnston   803.   13.   3.3        
  28   Acceptation de M. B. Francklin a traite de Greenleaf de Rotterdam du 11. Xbre. a vue   159.            
  28   Mandat de Mrs. Franklin, Lée et Adams, du 24 Courant   480.            
  29   Ditto de Mrs. Franklin et Adams à Young   240.            
  30   Acceptation de M. B. Francklin, à traite de W. Bingham de la Martinique du 16 Juillet à 3 mois de vue   600.            
  31   Mandat de Mr. B. Franklin   2400.            
  31   Acceptations de Mr. B. Franklin du 19 Xbre. à deux traites du Loan office, du 31. 8bre. de 1500. et du 9. 9bre. de 600.   2100.            
1779                  
Janvier   2   Mandats de Mrs. Franklin Lée et Adams à R. Moor 360. à Hyfield et J. M. Carthy 192. chaque, R. Robinson, Shoemaker, J. Cobb, J. Williamson 240. chaque, Wm. Doliver 144   1848.            
  2   Acceptation de Mr. B. Franklin du 1er. Janvr. a traite du Loan office du 20. 8bre. ord. N. Gilman.   120.            
{ 212 } | view
  4   Mandat de Mr. B. Franklin du 29 Xbre. à Par ordre   131.   10.          
  5   Acceptation de Mr. B. Franklin à traite de Wm. Bingham du 26. Juillet, à 3 mois vue   6600.            
  7   Mandats de Mrs. Franklin, Lée et Adams du 6 Courant à Rt. Niles 288., Meredith 192., J. Brehon, J. Verbers 240. chaque   960.            
  8   Mandat de Mrs. Franklin et Adams à Rt. Niles   192.            
  8   Acceptation de Mrs. Lée et Adams, à traite de Wm. Lée de Francfort du 4 Xbre. à un mois de date   24000.            
  9   Acceptation de Mr. B. Francklin du 30. 7bre. à traite de Wm. Bingham de la Martinique du 15. Juillet a 3 mois vue   4400.            
  9   Acceptation de Mr. B. Franklin du 31. 8bre. à la traite de Wm. Bingham du 11 Août. à 2 mois de vue   4144.   18.          
  12   Acceptation de Mrs. Lée et Adams au Mandat de R. Izard à vue   12000.            
  12   Payé à M. Arthur Lée sur reçu.   4800            
  12   Payé à Mrs. Francklin et Adams sur reçu   4800.            
  19   Mandat de Mrs. Francklin Lée et Adams, a officers   240.            
  19   Pour une remise de J. Williams sous ce Compte a été crédité mal à propos   2400.            
  22   Mandats de Mrs. Lée et Adams à S. Merchant à J. Arnold 240. chaque   480.            
  26   Acceptation de M. Francklin, à traite de Wm. Bingham du 10 Août. à 2 mois de vue   15000.            
{ 213 } | view
  26   Acceptations de Mr. B. Franklin à 74. traites du Loan office, 4 de ces traites sont acceptés du 24. Xbre., 14 du 16 ditto, 18 du 22 ditto, et 38 du 19 ditto   34950.            
  28   Mandat de Mrs. Franklin et Adams à Hog 240. W. Davis 240   480.            
Fevrier   6   Acceptation du Dr. Francklin du 26. Xbre. à 14. traites du Loan office et du 27. Xbre. à 34 autres aussi du Loan office   43260.            
  6   Acceptation du Doctr. Franklin à une traite de Schweighauser de Nantes du 16. Janvr. à 10 jours de date   10550.            
  8   Ditto   19450.            
  11   Payé à Mr. Arthur Lée sur reçu   12000.            
  11   Ports de Lettres, Paquets, Comissions &c   318.   9.          
  11   Pour solde il revient a ces Messieurs   202946.   5.   7.        
      L440628.   15.   7.   L440628.   15.   7.4  
Ainsi arété quadruple sauf Erreur ou Omission
[signed] Grand
{ 214 }
RC (MH-H: Lee Papers). This account was later copied into the Foreign Ledgers, Public Agents in Europe, 1776–1787 (DNA: RG 39 [Microfilm]), where errors in addition were corrected, and entries sometimes contain additional information. The account printed here should be used in conjunction with the other accounts submitted by Ferdinand Grand of 30 March, 30 June, and 9 Aug. 1778 (vol. 6:2–6, 246–247, 359–362), as well as with the household accounts of 9 April (vol. 6:16–20) and 1 Oct. 1778 (above).
1. In the Foreign Ledgers, Public Agents in Europe, 1776–1787 (DNA: RG 39 [Microfilm], f. 92, 97) this entry is amplified. On the page containing entries for payments to foreign officers it is noted that the credit was made “by Ferdinand Grand for Henry Laurens Bill charged as for Le Balm by mistake 9. Augt.” For that entry, see vol. 6:359. Le Balm appears there as “de la Balan.”.
2. This entry and those for 28, 30 Nov., 1, 4, 14 (2) Dec., and 2, 7, 19, 22, 28 Jan., are for payments to American prisoners.
3. Beginning in March 1780, Thomas Digges would become a frequent correspondent, under a variety of pseudonyms, of JA. In the transaction noted here Digges used the name Alexander Johnston. A mark in the left margin beside this entry refers the reader to an explanatory note at the bottom of the page. There Arthur Lee wrote “for money lent on the public Account to Capt. Alexander Dick a prisoner, and for which he left his Receit at Passy.” The receipt has not been found. The transaction is more fully explained in the Foreign Ledgers, Public Agents in Europe, 1776–1787 (DNA: RG 39 [Microfilm], f. 104). There, on the page pertaining to payments made to Thomas Digges in 1778 and 1779, the entry reads “To Ferdinand Grand paid his Bill on Alexander Dick under the fained name of Alexander Johnston £32.6 English a 28 15/16” That is, the exchange rate was 28 15/16 pence per ecu of 3 livres.
4. Because of the error noted in previous accounts (see descriptive note) the total should be 440,629. . 7 livres.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0141-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-11-13

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners

[salute] Messieurs

Les affaires deviennent ici extrêment sérieuses. La résolution (dont ma lettre du 10 vous parle) de refuser les convois aux Matieres marines, n'est pas encore formellement prise ici. On a décidé seulement, que Mercredi prochain on prendra à cet égard une résolution à la pluralité. Mrs. d'Amsterdam ont protesté contre cette pluralité, comme contraire à la Constitution, qui, dans ce cas, demande l'Unanimité; et ils ont fait insérer leur protest dans les Actes.1 Pour le coup ils se sont vus abandonnés de toutes les autres villes. Mr. Van Berkel a soutenu héroiquement, dans l'Assemblée, les efforts de tous: on peut dire qu'il a eu2 toute la province, et par conséquent, toute la republique sur le corps, excepté sa ville. Ces Mrs. partirent hier pour Amsterdam, faire rapport au Conseil de la Ville. Si ce Conseil soutient sa Régence, et si le Corps des Marchands éleve de nouveau la voix, comme il y a toute apparence, ils doivent réussir dans leur juste cause. Si le Conseil, contre toute apparence, mollissoit, Mr. V. B. assure qu'il ne reviendra pas ici, mais qu'il laissera faire à qui voudra la triste figure.
{ 215 }
Mr. l'Ambassadeur de France a de son côté déclaré verbalement, il y a déjà plusieurs jours, aux principaux personnages du Gouvernement, et par eux à tous les Pensionaires des Villes,—Que le Roi s'attend à ce que la Republique fasse respecter le Pavillon Hollandois, et protege efficacément, et sans renvoi, son Commerce, dans toute l'extension de ses Traités de 1674 &c entr'elle et l'Angleterre, sur la foi desquels pose la confiance accordée à ce Pavillon; et que, si la Republique ne répond point à une si juste attente, et prétend modifier quelque partie de ces Traités au préjudice du Commerce, le Roi est irrévocablement déterminé à priver la nation des faveurs, dont sa Majesté, par pure affection, et sans y être obligée par aucun Traité, l'a fait jouir jusqu'ici dans les Ports de France.3
Je fais part aujourdhui de cela aux Amis d'Amsterdam pour le publier en pleine Bourse.
Je pars dans une heure pour où ma presence a été jugée nécessaire dans cet intervalle.
Je suis avec un très grand respect, Messieurs Votre trés humble et trés obéissant serviteur
[signed] Dumas

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0141-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-11-13

C. W. F. Dumas to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

Things are becoming extremely serious here. The resolution (mentioned in my letter of the 10th) to refuse convoys to naval stores has not yet been formally adopted. It has been decided only that next Wednesday a resolution in this regard should be adopted by a plurality. The gentlemen from Amsterdam have protested against this as being contrary to the Constitution which, in this case, requires unanimity, and have registered their formal protest in the Actes.1 For the moment, they have seen themselves abandoned by all the other towns. Mr. van Berckel has heroically supported their efforts in the Assembly: one could say that, with the exception of his city, he was assaulted by2 the entire province and, by extension, the whole Republic. These gentlemen left yesterday for Amsterdam to report to the council of the town. If the council upholds its regency, and if the corps of merchants again raises its voice, as seems most likely, they should succeed in their just cause. If the council, against all probability, weakens, Mr. van Berckel swears that he will not return here, but rather will let whoever so wishes cut a sorry figure for himself.
A few days ago the French ambassador declared verbally, to the principal members of the government and through them to all the pensionaries of the towns, that the King expects the Republic to insure that the Dutch flag is respected, and to protect its trade effectively and without delay, to the full extent of her Treaties of 1674 &c with England, on the strength of which rests the respect accorded her flag; and that, if { 216 } the Republic does not meet so just an expectation and tries to modify any part of those Treaties to the detriment of trade, the King is irrevocably determined to deprive the nation of the privileges which his Majesty, through sheer affection and without being obligated by any treaty, has thus far allowed her to enjoy in the harbors of France.3
Today I am informing our friends from Amsterdam of this in order to have it disclosed to the full financial community.
I leave in an hour for where my presence has now been judged necessary.
I am, with great respect, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “à Leurs Excellences Messieurs les Plenipotentiaires des Etats-Unis de l'Amérique à Passy”; docketed by William Temple Franklin: “Dumas 13 Nov 78.”
1. For the publication of this protest, see Dumas' letter of 20 Nov., note 1 (below).
2. The following six words were interlined.
3. See Dumas' letter of 10 Nov., note 3 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0142-0001

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-11-14

Gabriel de Sartine to the Commissioners

J'ai mis Sous les yeux de Roy, Messieurs, les Raisons qui pouvoient determiner Sa Majesté à accorder la Liberté au Sujets des Etats Unis prissoniers en France; mais elle à pensé Sagement que cette Faveur ne devoit être acordée qu'à ceux qui ont été pris Sur des Batimens americains et forcés de servir contre leur patrie. En Consequence, Messieurs il Seroit nécéssaire que vous prissiez la Peine, d'en faire former un Etat certifié par vous, que vous voudres bien m'addresser afin qu'il n'y ait en effet que les bons et fideles Sujets des Etats Unis qui jouissent de la Grace que sa Majesté veut bien leur accorder.1 J'ai l'honneur d'etre avec la Consideration la plus distinguee, Messieurs, Votre tres humble et tres obeissant Serviteur
[signed] De Sartine

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0142-0002

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-11-14

Gabriel de Sartine to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

I have placed before the King, gentlemen, the reasons which might convince His Majesty to grant freedom to the subjects of the United States who are prisoners in France. He thought wisely, however, that this favor should be accorded only to those who have been taken on American ships and forced to serve against their country. Therefore, gentlemen, it will be necessary that you take the trouble to assemble a list, certified by you and kindly addressed to me, so that only the good and faithful subjects of the United States may benefit from the favor that His Majesty kindly wishes to grant.1 I have the honor to be, with { 217 } the most distinguished consideration, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] De Sartine
1. In their reply of 17 Nov. (LbC, Adams Papers), the Commissioners thanked the King for “his Goodness” and promised to submit the required certificates, which they did in a letter of 7 Jan. 1779 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0143

Author: Smith, James
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-11-15

James Smith to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

I have the honour to enclose you the Testimony of Mr. Anthy. Payn1 concerning the detention of my Goods at Calis with the names of the Officer by whom they were taken and the Servant of Mr. Payn who was also eye witness to the transaction and lives at the Hotel Lyon d'Argent at Calais. It may be also proper to inform you that a Gentleman who I have been given to understand by Mr. Williams is the private Agent2 of the Commissioners at Calais together with Mr. Whitall and Miss Farrel were made acquainted with the circumstances of the case at the time it happened and may be brought as colaterol evidences to the truth of this matter if necessary.
Seized and Detained goods I am informed by Mr. Williams are usually deposited in different Bureaus therefore merit different inqueries. This circumstance may have escaped you when you represented my Case to the Minister and consequently explains this answer “J'ai pris à cet egard les Informations les plus exactes, et il en resulte qu'il ne s'est trouvé absolument aucune Trace à Calais de l'Affaire dont il S'agit.”3 If this is not the Case it manifestly appears that the Officers of the Customs mean to defraud me of my property and it will depend upon your efforts whether they shall be allowed to do it with impunity.
As I have affairs to settle in England before I can return to America and which requires my immediate presence I should be glad you would send me a pass for me and my Family.4 If my remonstrance against any part of your conduct shall either through prejudice or resentment influence you to refuse me this request I am willing to give the most solemn assurances of my affection and Duty to my Country. I thought it within the line of my duty to express freely my opinion upon certain points. The Zeal I have constantly professed by my conduct for that Glorious cause in which you are engaged will never suffer me to flatter any man, neither shall the misconduct of others in the least abate my Ardor and under this influence I think proper to tender you my will• { 218 } ingness to exicute faithfully any commission that shall promote the interests and independancy of America.
I have the honour to be Gentlemen Your Most Obedient Humble Servant
[signed] James Smith
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “To Doctor Benjn. Franklin Arthur Lee and John Adams Commissioners for the United Independant States of America At Passi”; docketed: “Dr. Smith ans. 17th:”; by William Temple Franklin: “Dr. Smith Nov 15. 78 ansd 17th.”
1. Not found.
2. Presumably James Leveux, who had acknowledged his appointment to assist Americans at Calais in a letter to Franklin on 20 May (Franklin, Papers, 26:515) and to whom the Commissioners had written on 9 Nov. (LbC, Adams Papers), concerning his expenditures to aid American prisoners.
3. That is: In this regard I have collected the most exact information with the result that absolutely no trace of the matter with which he concerns himself has been found at Calais. This passage is taken directly from Vergennes' letter to the Commissioners of 17 Oct. (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 5), which was a reply to the Commissioners' letter of 28 Aug. (vol. 6:401–405). In his letter Vergennes suggested that the Commissioners might be mistaken about the town in which the seizure had taken place.
4. In their reply to Smith of 17 Nov. (LbC, Adams Papers), the Commissioners stated that in regard to his property they had again written to Vergennes and had enclosed the statement by Anthony Paine. In that letter, also of the 17th (LbC, Adams Papers), it was suggested to Vergennes that Smith's property might be in the office containing goods detained, rather than seized. Vergennes replied on 18 Dec. (below). In regard to securing a passport, the Commissioners told Smith that, if he had not already done so, he would have to take an oath of allegiance to the United States.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0144

Author: Gilbank, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-11-16

John Gilbank to the Commissioners

[salute] Honourable Gentlemen

Not having received from you any Answer to two letters which I have had the honour to write to you,1 requesting to be supplied with Money to enable me, with the first Opportunity, to join my Regiment; And as a Convoy is very shortly expected, and the Vessels will be ready to sail, I am compelled to trouble you a third time on the subject, and to assure you that, without such Supply, it will be utterly impossible for me to proceed any further.
I beg leave to submit to your Consideration, That my requisition is by no means unreasonable, as it falls far short of what is due to me from the Continent of North America.
It is I believe the Custom of every Nation to supply an Officer, (who shall happen to be taken Prisoner, and, without Breach of Parole, can arrive at any place where there is an Ambassador, Consul or other person in a public Capacity of the Country to which he belongs,) at least, to the Amount of his pay, to enable him to join his Station. No Am• { 219 } bassador would refuse to supply him, I dare venture to say, to a much greater Amount, if that should not be sufficient, rather than surfer him to want the Protection he has a right to expect.
If that was not the Case, I do not know what Gentleman would risque his life and Connections, and leave all that is dear to him for the Service of his Country. It certainly is enough to bear all the hardships attendant upon Captivity and Disappointment when it is impossible to come at Relief; But to be exposed to sufferings worse than Captivity itself, and to endure all the Contempt attendant upon want, when within the reach of Protection, is too much.
Many Arguments might be used to enforce the reason and Necessity of affording such Supplies to Officers in such Situations, But it would be an insult upon the Understanding to endeavour by that means to point it out, As self reflection upon such a subject must of Course be sufficient to convince.
It appears to me, that Congress will very chearfully allow any Accounts on that head; As I am certain they would wish, and do all in their power, (and sure 'tis their duty) to relieve an Officer of theirs in distress, when that distress is brought upon him by reason of their Service. Wherefore I hope, as soon as the post will admit, (No time being to be left) to receive an Order for such reasonable supplies, as occasion may require and I can assure you I will not abuse that Privilege.
I need not again mention the great Expence it has been to me in endeavouring to get thus far on my way, after the many disappointments I have met with; and that this application, if to have been avoided, woud not have been made, As I would wish to be thought possessed of a Spirit superior to such Meanness; At the same time I can't think any Wrong (tho' my feelings suffer) in asking what I think I have a right to expect.
If it shou'd be your absolute Determination not to supply me (tho' I can't see with what reason or propriety a State Officer shou'd be preferred in that respect to a continental one, which is the Case; [There being a State Officer now here who has an Order to receive what he may want;]2 As I think if any preference is due 'tis to a Continental one, He being subject to much greater inconveniences, tho' I wou'd not wish any to be made, As every Officer in the service of the Country ought in similar Situations to be treated alike;) I hope you will not refuse to favour me with an Answer, and the reason of your refusal, As it is a Subject well worthy the legislative Consideration, and on which future instructions ought to be given; Which Answer will enable it to come before the legislature in a proper manner.
{ 220 }
But in such Case What I am to do, I know not. In a strange Country without friends. In a Country too where without the Expectation of tenfold interest 'tis impossible to procure Sixpence to save one from perdition. Deprived of those at home. And refused the protection I expected, with some reason, to receive; is a situation not to be wished! and will require something more, than I am capable of, to extricate myself from!
I will not trespass longer on your Patience at present than to mention that it has been hinted to me by a Gentleman who was lately at Paris, That some Censures have fallen from you on Gentlemen in the Continental Service trifling away their time and not doing All they can to join their Country. If that Censure is by any means aimed at me, I must beg leave to insist, That my Stay here has been unavoidable, and that I have not suffered any Opportunity to escape me, As no Ship whatever has sailed from hence to America since I have been here but those which sailed the day or two after I arrived, and which were so full of Passengers as not to be able to take in any other, and of which I instantly informed you; Neither do I recollect to have heard of any sailing from any other Port; And if I had, I cou'd not have availed myself of them by reason of the want of Money to defray travelling Expences; And if I shou'd be prevented by the same reason from taking Advantage of the Opportunity which will shortly offer, I must beg leave to protest against any delay being occasioned by any fault of mine, and that without Supplies it will be impossible to go.
If there is any Officer in particular who has delayed and trifled away his time let him be held forth, but a general Censure promiscuously thrown out, I conceive to be, not only ungenerous, but unjust. As to myself I am sure I have no pleasure in staying here but on the Contrary great Dissatisfaction, and would be glad to embrace any Opportunity of getting away.
I flatter myself You will not take any thing herein mentioned as meant disrespectfully, As I would always wish to treat Gentlemen, especially in a public Character, with All the respect due to them, At the same time not omitting to say any thing necessary to be said.
I am with respect Honourable Gentlemen Your most Obedient and humble Servant
[signed] Jno. Gilbank,
1st. & eldest Lieutenant of the Continental
Regiment of Artillery of South Carolina3
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “Mr. Gilbank”; in another hand: “16 Novr 78.”
{ 221 }
1. Of 6 Oct. (not found) and 4 Nov. (above). The Commissioners had replied to the letter of 6 Oct. on 10 Nov. (above).
2. Brackets in the original. The “State Officer” cannot be positively identified, but it may have been Capt. Jacques Le Maire who was seeking military supplies for Virginia. He had written from Nantes on 10 Nov. (above).
3. Gilbank received no reply either to this letter or one very similar in content and tone that he wrote on 17 Nov. (PPAmP: Franklin Papers). As a result, he renewed his demands for funds in letters of 28 Nov. and 15 Dec. (both PPAmP: Franklin Papers). The first emphasized the imminent departure of Muscoe Livingston and the Governor Livingston, and ended with the statement that “I shall hope, Gentlemen, not be treated with so much Contempt, as not to be favoured with an Answer Which I think my Station entitles me at least to expect.” Gilbank's letter of 15 Dec. was written in the same tone and demanded that he either be sent 1000 livres “or that you will give me Leave to draw upon you, by next Tuesday's post, for that Sum to be placed to the Account of the honourable continental Congress in part of pay due to me; Your Silence on which head will be deemed Your approbation of the latter Proposition.”

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0145-0001

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-11-16

Gabriel de Sartine to the Commissioners

J'ai reçû, Messieurs, avec la Lettre, que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'ecrire, le 12 de ce mois, la Copie de celle qui vous a été Adressée par M. Schweighausser Agent des Etats Unis de l'Amerique Septentrionale à Nantes, au Sujet de l'Escorte qu'il demande, ainsi que plusieurs Negociants Americains, pour un certain nombre de Navires qu'ils doivent expedier vers la fin du mois. J'aurois été fort aise que les Circonstances m'eussent permis de les faire escorter jusqu'à leurs destinations; mais au moyen de celles qu'il a plu au Roi d'assigner à ses fregates et autres Batimens, je ne puis vous offrir de faire convoyer ceux dont il S'agit, que jusqu'au dela des Capes.1 J'ai l'honneur d'etre avec la plus parfaite Consideration, Messieurs, votre tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur
[signed] De Sartine

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0145-0002

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-11-16

Gabriel de Sartine to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

I have received with the letter that you did me the honor to write on the 12th of this month, gentlemen, the copy of the letter addressed to you by Mr. Schweighauser, agent for the United States of North America at Nantes, on the subject of the escort that he, together with several other American merchants, requests for a number of vessels that they hope to send off toward the end of the month. I would be most pleased if present circumstances permitted me to have them escorted all the way to their destinations, but in view of the ports to which it has pleased the King to assign his frigates and other vessels, I cannot offer to have those in question convoyed any farther than the Capes.1 I have the honor to be, with utmost consideration, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] De Sartine
{ 222 }
1. Another, and perhaps more important reason for the reluctance to provide convoys was recorded by JA in his Diary. There he wrote that John Lloyd, one of the merchants who had signed the Schweighauser letter of 7 Nov. (above), had informed him “that the french officers of Marine consider Convoys a disgracefull Service. They hate to be ordered to convoy Merchant Vessells” (Diary and Autobiography, 2:357). For a letter from Vergennes setting the “Capes” at the northwestern corner of Spain as the limit for convoys, see his letter to the Commissioners of 29 April (vol. 6:73–74, and note 2).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0146

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Date: 1778-11-17

The Commissioners to Gabriel de Sartine

[salute] Sir

We have received the Letter which your Excellency did Us the Honour to write to Us, on the 14 of this Month,1 and in answer to the <Proposal> Enquiry, contained in it, We beg Leave to acquaint your Excellency that there is not now in France, nor to our Knowledge, in Europe, any Frigate or other Vessell of War, belonging to the United States. If there was, We should not hesitate to order her, forthwith, upon an Enterprise against the English Whale Fishery on the Coast of Brazil2 because, those Vessells now in that Fishery destroyed or taken and their officers and Men captivated the English can never revive this fishery, there being no such sett of Hands, in any <other> Part of the <World> British Dominions, none but the Americans having yet learned the Art of Killing that sort of Whales; and because We apprehend that Wounding the English in their Fisheries and Commerce is wounding their Vital Parts. Nor is there any Privateer, in this Kingdom, belonging to Americans, that We know of excepting the General Mifflin Captain McNeil, if indeed, he is not yet Sailed, as We expected he would have done before now. But We have no Authority over, this or any other Privateer. They all follow the orders of their owners. And We suppose, as Captain McNeil has been so long from home, and has made a Cruise already so extensive, hazardous and fatiguing, it is not likely that he would venture to undertake this other Expedition without the orders or Knowledge of his owners.
1. Sartine had suggested that the proposed expedition against the whale fishery seemed particularly well suited for an American privateer and asked whether such a vessel was available (LbC, Adams Papers).
2. The remainder of this sentence was written at the end of the letter for insertion here.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0147

Author: Williams, Jonathan
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-11-17

From Jonathan Williams

[salute] Sir

By the Tenor of your Favour of the 8th Instant I apprehend I have committed an Indiscretion. The Satisfaction I feel in contributing to your Pleasure was my only motive and I beg that may be considered as my excuse.
The Rum cost me nothing, I cannot therefore fix a price, but Billy Franklin is my Banker in small affairs and you may settle it with him as you think proper.
I am with great Respect, Sir Your most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] Jona Williams

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0148-0001

Author: Adams, John
Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Franklin, William Temple
Date: 1778-11-20

Benjamin Franklin and John Adams to William Temple Franklin

You are to go by the shortest Road to Dieppe, and make all the Dispatch possible.1
At Dieppe enquire for Mr. Baron, Merchant there, and take his Advice whether to go off to the Ship, or to acquaint the Captain with your Arrival2 send him the Letters you have for him, and desire him to come and meet you on shore. The last is safest for the Intelligence you may obtain, as well as for you, if the Weather should be stormy.
You are to make all the Enquiries noted in the Paper annexed; and put down the Answers in Writing; as well as other Matters he may communicate to you: in which be very exact and clear.
You are to enquire if he wants Hands, and acquaint him that there may probably be some to be had here at his Return from his Cruise, if that should occasion a Diminution of his Numbers.
You are to keep an exact Account of your Expences, and use the utmost Frugality therein:3 By this, your Diligence and Expedition in going and Returning, and your Exactness in executing these Orders, you will recommend yourself to our Approbation.
[signed] B Franklin
[signed] John Adams
RC with one enclosure (NIC). The instructions and the first page of the enclosure containing questions one through fifteen are in Benjamin Franklin's hand. The canceled question and those numbered sixteen through nineteen appear on the second page of the enclosure and are in JA's hand.
1. On 17 Nov. a man claiming to be Capt. Job Prince of the privateer Concord wrote to Le Baron at Dieppe, announcing his arrival with a Dieppe shallop recaptured from two English privateers and requesting supplies and advice for a proposed cruise against British shipping (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 4:276). On the 18th both Le Baron and Prince (same, 1:534) wrote to Franklin: the first to report his provisioning of the Concord and probably to enclose Prince's letter of the 17th; the second to announce that he had important information for the Commissioners that could not be trusted to writing and to request advice on his intended cruise and the disposal of prizes.
With the letters from Le Baron and Prince in hand, JA and Franklin decided to send Temple Franklin to Dieppe, carrying these instructions and two letters of the same date from Benjamin Franklin (The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, ed. Albert Henry Smyth, 10 vols., N.Y., 1907, 7:201–202). The first, to Le Baron, approved moderate expenditures for provisioning the Concord; the second, to Prince, stated that Temple Franklin could be trusted with whatever he wished to communicate to the Commissioners.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to Le Baron of 21 Nov. (same, 7:202) indicates that the younger Franklin was to leave later that day. In the interval between the drafting of the instructions of 20 Nov. and Temple Franklin's departure, JA and Benjamin Franklin had second thoughts and prepared a second set of instructions (see below under [21 Nov.?]) that, in part, superseded those of the 20th. When Temple Franklin arrived at Dieppe he found that Prince and the Concord had sailed, thus justifying the doubts about Prince expressed jointly in the second set of instructions, by Franklin alone in his letter to his grandson of 26 Nov. (same, 7:203), and by Le Baron in a letter to Franklin of the 30th (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:539).
Initially JA and Franklin may have thought that this “Job Prince” was either Capt. Job Prince or his son, Job Prince Jr., of Boston. However, although both men had interests in numerous privateers during the war, there is no record that either had any connection with a vessel named Concord and the dates of bonds bearing their names make it likely that both were in America in the fall of 1778 (Allen, Mass. Privateers, p. 66–278 passim).
A garbled account of this affair appeared in the London Chronicle of 12–15 Dec. The report, dated 29 Nov. at Paris, stated that on 20 Nov. a vessel with dispatches from the congress had arrived at Nantes. The captain, after requesting a guard to prevent his crew from going ashore, sent an express to Franklin asking him to send someone “to whom he might explain the object of his dispatches. Dr. Franklin immediately sent his grandson; and it has been said since he is gone that there has been a bloody battle in America, and that 6,200 men of Washington's army have gone over to the English.”
2. The words “with your Arrival” were written in the wide left margin, probably after the body of the letter.
3. The degree to which Franklin and JA wished to keep this mission secret, even from Arthur Lee, is indicated by the payment of Temple Franklin's expenses at Dieppe, not from the funds held by Ferdinand Grand, but rather those used for the household at Passy (Household Accounts, 1 Oct. 1778 to 21 Feb. 1779, entry for 21 Nov., above).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0148-0002

Author: Adams, John
Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Franklin, William Temple
Date: 1778-11-20

Enclosure: List of Enquiries

1. Force of his Vessel, Number of Men, &c.
2. What time he left America, and from what Port.
3. What Instructions he had from Congress.
{ 224 }
4. If he knows the Contents of his Dispatches.
5. Ask for News, and Newspapers.
6. What Account there was of Differences between Count D'Estaign's People and those of Boston.
7. Whether he was well supply'd with Necessaries there and Provisions.
8. Whether he was repair'd and sail'd; and where Suppos'd to be bound.
9. What the present situation of the Armies.
10. Whether Burgoyne's Corps continu'd entire, or were much diminish'd by Desertion &c. and where canton'd.
11. Whether the great Ships are finish'd, that were building.1
12. What the present State of Paper Money.
13. Whether Taxes are begun, to sink it.
14. If he is acquainted with any late Resolutions of Congress material for us to know.
15. What Persons of Note have of late taken the Oath of Allegiance to the States.
<Whether the C. D Estaing found Provisions, Masts and other Materials and Workmen as he wanted?>
16. Where the Enemies Fleet were in America?
17. Whether any and what Vessels were bound to France from any Part of America?
18. Whether the Providence Boston and Ranger had arrived and with what Prizes?2
19. Where the Warren Rawley Alliance and other Continental Frigates?
The content of all or some notes that appeared on pages 224 and 225 in the printed volume has been moved to the end of the preceding document
RC with one enclosure (NIC). The instructions and the first page of the enclosure containing questions one through fifteen are in Benjamin Franklin's hand. The canceled question and those numbered sixteen through nineteen appear on the second page of the enclosure and are in JA's hand.
{ 225 }
1. Presumably a reference to the three ships of the line that the congress had authorized in 1776, but whose construction had later been suspended. William Vernon Sr. had mentioned the suspension in his letter to JA of 26 May (vol. 6:156, and note 2).
2. For this and the following question, see the letters from William Vernon Sr. of 2 and 22 Oct. (both above) and 17 Dec. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0149-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-11-20

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners

[salute] Messieurs

De retour ici depuis Mercredi matin, j'appris après-dîner de notre Ami, que l'acte de despotisme, que ma derniere du 13 Nov. vous annonçoit, a été consommé dans l'Assemblée provinciale après une Séance de 3 heures, et que l'avis préalable avec sa queue, dont je vous ai rendu compte dans ma Lettre du ioe., a été résolu à la pluralité: sur quoi la Ville d'Amsterdam a fait insérer un Protest formel contre cette Résolution, la déclarant nulle, pour avoir été prise d'une maniere contraire à la Constitution de cet Etat, qui, dans ce cas, veut l'unanimité: Protest, dans lequel sont indiquées les suites que cette affaire pourra avoir de la part de la ville lésée.1 S. Y. n'a eu rien de plus pressé, que { 226 } d'envoyer en Angleterre une Pinque de Scheveling, avec la nouvelle de ce prétendu triomphe de son Parti ici. Sa Cour ne manquera pas de faire étalage de ce succès dans le Parlement et dans les Papiers: il paroît avoir été mendié pour cet effet.2 On se gardera bien de faire mention du Protest, qui fait que ce succès n'est dans le fond que de la fumée, laquelle sera bientôt dissipée: car ceux de la grande Ville ont averti, que si l'on tarde ici de faire imprimer son Protest avec la Résolution, elle le fera imprimer chez elle, afin qu'au moins cette nation ici ne soit pas induite en erreur. On prévoit deux suites de tout cela, trèssérieuses: l'une le coup de foudre prédit dans ma Lettre du 10e.; l'autre, la Clôture d'une grande Caisse, dont on ne voit pas comment les autres pourront se passer.
Je pourrois entrer dans de plus grands détails; mais, outre que le temps me manque, je crains de les confier au papier. J'ajouterai seulement que demain matin ceux de la grande Ville partent, et avec eux toute la gloire Belgique. Les autres ont honte de leur propre ouvrage, n'osent se vanter, et baissent la tête. On fait même, tant qu'on peut, courir le bruit, que la fameuse Résolution a été prise unanimément et conforme aux desirs de la grande Ville.
Pour achever de vous peindre notre Village, je vous dirai qu'il y a prodigieusement de Boue: on ne voit que cela, dès qu'on met le pied dehors. Bienheureux celui qui peut se tenir chez soi, et ne converser qu'avec sa pantouffle: si elle ne lui dit rien d'agréable, du moins elle ne lui en impose pas.
Vous ne sauriez croire, Messieurs, combien vos ennemis se sont acharnés à répandre, dans la circonstance présente, pour soutenir les esprits de leur parti et déprimer ceux du vôtre, des contes à l'infini de prétendues divisions et mésintelligences entre les Américains-mêmes, aussi bien qu'entre eux et les françois. On pourroit les mépriser et en rire: mais ce qui désole nos meilleurs amis, c'est qu'il ne vient point de nouvelles directement de l'Amérique par la France. Je prie Dieu qu'il en arrive bientôt, et des meilleures; et suis avec un très-grand respect, Messieurs, Votre très-humble et très obéissant serviteur
[signed] Dumas
Les Etats de la Province se rassembleront dans 3 semaines.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0149-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-11-20

C. W. F. Dumas to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

I returned here Wednesday morning and, after dinner, learned from our friend that the act of despotism, described in my last of 13 November, had been consummated in the Provincial Assembly after a three-hour session. Also, the preliminary advisory together with its concluding provision, described in my letter of the 10th, has been resolved { 227 } by a plurality. The City of Amsterdam has inserted a formal protest against the resolution, declaring it null from having been adopted in a manner contrary to the constitution of the state which, in this case, requires unanimity, and another protest indicating the actions that could be taken by the injured city.1 Sir Joseph Yorke could hardly wait to send a pink from Scheveling to England with the news of the supposed triumph of his party here. His court will not fail to show off this success in Parliament and the newspapers: it apparently having been solicited to that end.2 They will take care that no mention is made of the protest, which essentially makes this success only smoke that will soon dissipate: for those from the great city have warned that if the publication of their protest against the resolution is delayed here, they will have it printed at home so that at least this nation would not be misled. Two very serious consequences were forseen: first, the thunderbolt I predicted in my letter of the 10th; and second, the closing of a great treasury, which it is difficult to see how the others can do without.
I could go into greater detail, but, in addition to a lack of time, I am afraid to put it in writing. I will only add that tomorrow morning those from the great city are leaving, and with them all the glory of Belgium. The others are ashamed of their own work and, instead of boasting, bow their heads. The rumor is even being circulated that the said resolution has been adopted unanimously and conformed to the desires of the great city.
To complete my description of our village, I will tell you that there is an enormous quantity of mud: that is all you see as soon as you set foot outside. Happy is the man who can stay home and converse only with his slipper: if it has nothing pleasant to tell him, at least it will not try to take unfair advantage of him.
You would not believe, gentlemen, how your enemies have struggled to spread, in the present circumstances, endless tales about alleged divisions and misunderstandings between the Americans themselves, as well as between them and the French, in order to boost their party's morale and depress that of ours. One could despise them and laugh, but what distresses our best friends is that no news comes directly from America by way of France. I pray to God that some will arrive soon, and that it is favorable, and am, with very great respect, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas
The Provincial States will reassemble in three weeks.
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “à Leurs Excellences Messieurs les Plénipotentiaires des Etats-Unis de l'Amérique à Passy”; docketed by William Temple Franklin: “M. Dumas. 20 Nov. 1778.”
1. Amsterdam's protests against both the method of adoption and the resolution itself were printed in Secrete Resolutien van de Edele Groot Mog[ende] Heeren Staten van Holland en Westvriesland (The Hague, 16 vols., 1670–1796, 13:455–463). Amsterdam ultimately carried out the threat to publish its protest, for in his letter of 18 Dec. (below), Dumas reported that he had received the document comprising 20 { 228 } pages in folio. This publication was entitled Protesten en Aantekening der Stad Amsterdam, in de Registers van Haar Ed. Gr. Moog. Vergadering geinsereert; tegen de Resolutien by meerderheid van stemmen aldaar genemen, op de klagten der Nederlandsche Kooplieden, over het neemen en opbrengen hunner Schepen, door de Engelschen; the title page gives no information on its publication other than the date, “1778.” It contained the committee report on the preliminary advisory of the Admiralty (p. 1–9), the actions taken by the Assembly on 11 Nov. in anticipation of the passage of the resolution on the 18th (p. 9–10), Amsterdam's protest against the method of adoption (p. 11), and the protest against the resolution itself (p. 12–20). The latter was composed of a short preamble and a resolution adopted by the Vroedschap of Amsterdam on 17 Nov. (Algemeen Rijksarchief, The Hague, Eerste Afdeling, Dumas Coll., Inventaris 2). A second edition, with some differences in the title and pagination, was apparently published in 1779 at Breda by J. F. Berkmeyer (L. D. Petit, ed., Bibliotheek van Nederlandsche Pamfletten-Vezameling in de Bibliotheek van Johannes Thysius te Leiden, 4 vols., The Hague and Leiden, 1882–1934).
2. No mention of the resolution has been found in any English papers surveyed, perhaps because of the reservations of the British government about it, which were reported in Dumas' letter of 18 Dec. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0150

Author: Walshe, John
Author: Wardell, Jonathan
Author: Hills, S.
Author: Moore, William
Author: Borland, Archibald
Author: Douglas, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-11-20

John Walshe and Others to the Commissioners

Memorial of the Officers late of his Britanic Majesty's Sloop Drake, Captn. Wm. Moore of the Patience Brig, Archibald Borland of the Tryal Schooner, John Douglass of the Sally Sloop, Prisoners on board the said Brig.1
Sheweth.
That your Memorialists were brought into this Road of Brest on the 7th May last and on the 11th were put on board this Vessel and allowed the Cabin to be in, which they were untill September 11th. when a French Officer came on board and turned them out, and placed the Guard in the said Cabin, since which, they have been among the Foremast Men, and not allowed to walk the Quarter Deck.
That they are under the continual apprehension when it blows hard, of driving on shore and loosing their Lives on the Rocks, the Anchors being too light, and the Cables rotten, and not fit to be trusted, and no Spare Anchors and Cables to bring the Vessel up, shou'd she part from those she is moored with.
That the Seamen are in danger (should they escape the Rocks) of perishing on board, there being no lower Deck in this Vessel, and some of the People on board have not Clothes to skreen them from the Cold in Winter, and others that are oblig'd to lie on the wet Ballast in the Hold, not having Beds, it is needless to observe how unfriendly these Things are to Health.
That they are informed they are allowed a Pound of Bread, a Pound { 229 } and a half of Beef and half a Pint of Brandy a Day, which allowance they have never2 since the departure of the Ranger received, and the quantity they do receive bad in Quality, the Bread in particular being full of Vermin and not fit for Men to eat.
That they are in danger of going altogether without Provisions and Water, in boisterous Weather, the Vessel lying a great way from the shore, which renders it hazardous for a Boat to attend us, and <we> they have never more than three Days Provisions on board at a time, and a Gale of Wind at the approaching Season, may last two or three Weeks.
That it is now seven Months since they have been confin'd within the narrow Limits of a Vessels Sides, and have suffered in their Health, for want of Exercise, therefore request that the American Plenipotentiaries take it into their most serious consideration and admit them on Parole, and favour them with an Answer.3
And your Memorialists subscribe themselves with due respect their most Obedt. Servants
[signed] John Walshe—Master late of the Drake
[signed] Jno Wardell—Purser Ditto
[signed] S. Hills—Surgeon Ditto
[signed] Wm. Moor—Captain of the Patience
[signed] Archd. Borland —Tryall
[signed] John Douglas —Sally
N.B. Since the departure of the Ranger, two good Cables were taken away from this Vessel, and two under sized ones substituted.
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “Memorial from Prisoners of the Drake”; in another hand: “Nov. 20. 1778.”
1. That is, they were imprisoned on the Patience.
2. The following six words were interlined for insertion at this point.
3. This memorial was enclosed in John Paul Jones' letter of 9 Dec. (below). There is no indication that the Commissioners took any action to alleviate the prisoners' situation in response to either their memorial or Jones' plea on their behalf.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0151

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Williams, Jonathan
Date: 1778-11-21

To Jonathan Williams

[salute] Sir

I have received your Favour of the 12 and yesterday, the Rum was brought here consisting of forty Eight Bottles. Two I Suppose had been used to wet the Whistle of the Porters.
I paid Seventy five Livres1 and the Man was or pretended to be wroth that I gave him no more.
{ 230 }
Mr. Alexander Shall have his Dozen and his Packet and Dr. Bancroft, his.
I beg of you to draw upon me for the Cost of the Rum which shall be paid immediately.2
Inclosed you have the Acquit Caution, as you desired.
I am your humble servant.
1. This sum was paid by JA on 20 Nov. (Household Accounts, 1 Oct. 1778 – 23 Feb. 1779, above).
2. No record of a payment to Williams for the rum has been found, but see Williams to JA, 17 Nov. (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0152

Author: Adams, John
Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Franklin, William Temple
Date: 1778-11-21

Benjamin Franklin and John Adams to William Temple Franklin

Upon reconsidering Job Prince's Letter, it is observable, that there is not a single Circumstance mention'd in it by which one may [be] assured that it is either an honest Letter or a Forgery and a Trick to get into their Power from us some Person of Confidence from whom or from the Letters we might write by him they might pick out some useful Intelligence. The releasing a French Fisherman taken perhaps by a Comrade for that purpose, might be only to commence an Intercourse and procure Trust on our Part. This Captain may be the same Genius that so artfully trapanned Burnel.2 You are therefore by no means to go on board his Vessel. But write to him that you have Letters for him from the Commissioners which you are to deliver only into his own Hands, and request his comming on shore to receive them. In the meantime communicate the Suspicion to Mr. Baron, and by his Means obtain Authority to seize the Captain and his Boats Crew as soon as they land, and have the Men separated and examined each by himself. If on Examination they appear to be true Men and not artful Enemies from Dover or Guernesey, you may then give him the Letters, and acquaint him with the Reasons of his being so examined, which he cannot take amiss.
It seems strange that a Ship after so long a Voyage should not chuse to enter any Port: That she should come in preference to lie off Dieppe: That the Captain in his Letter to us should not relate a Syllable of News of any kind, should say Nothing of the Port he came from, the Time of his Departure, should suppose us acquainted with every particular concerning his Vessel and her Destination,3 tho' he has lost { 231 } | view the Dispatches, and yet tell us that tho' he knows the Intention of Congress he wants our Orders for his Cruise.
[signed] B Franklin
[signed] John Adams
RC in Benjamin Franklin's hand (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); titled: “Private Instructions to W. T. Franklin.”
1. For this date as well as the letter from Job Prince, see Benjamin Franklin and JA to W. T. Franklin, 20 Nov. (above).
2. Capt. John Burnell and Lt. William Morris of the Md. privateer Montgomery had been captured by an English cutter in the harbor at Cherbourg in June 1777 (NEHGR, 32 [1878]:188, 306–307; PCC, No. 196, X, f. 115).
3. The following six words were interlined for insertion at this point.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0153

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-11-21

John Bondfield to the Commissioners

[salute] Sirs

I attended yesterday to the Vissit made by the Inspector of the Artillery of the Cannon laying at this Port belonging to Monsr. Le Bertin. The report is as favorable as can be given as to their appearance which is all that can be said of them until Proved. The following is the list given me in by the person who has them under his care.
77   Cannon du Calibre de   36£   du poids de   75     quintx   la piece foreé et tourné  
8    Do   24£    do   55   1/2   quintx    Do  
5    Do   12£    do   33   1/2   quintx    Do  
Les fraix d'epreuve des   pieces de   36£   vont environ de   80£   la piece  
  celles   24£    Idem   57    idem  
  celles   12£    idem   27    idem1  
There are in other Ports more belonging to the same concern on the same Mold. You will please to observe that the proving [of such?] heavy Artilery amounts to a considerable Sum. [Sh]ould you see fitting to order the proving be assured of my due attention as also to the quality of the Powder which being a perquisite of the Captain of the Port is made frequently with very little precaution.
Monsieur de La Touche has been so obliging as to order a frigate to take our Ships round from La Rochelle to Nantes where I expect they are arrived and loading the Various Articles there lodged which Mr. Schweighauser assured us would be prepared ready at their Arrival.
The latest Arrivals we have at this Port is from Alexandria of 20 Septembre of course we are without any intelegence other than is at your hands.
I have the Honor to be with due Respect, Sirs Your most Obedient Humble Servant
[signed] John Bondfield
{ 232 }
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honbe Benj Franklin Arthur Lee John Adams Esqrs Commissioners from Congress at Paris”; docketed: “Mr Bondfield Letter”; in another hand: “J. Bondfield 21. Nov. 78.” The removal of the seal resulted in the loss of two words.
1. Bondfield here reports on his effort to procure cannon for the ship of the line America, as directed in the Commissioners' letter of 19 Aug. (not found, but see Bondfield's letter of 29 Aug., vol. 6:406–407). His figures indicate that, in quintals or hundredweights and after being bored and turned, a 36-pounder weighed approximately 7,500 pounds; a 24-pounder 5,550 pounds; and a 12-pounder 3,350 pounds. The cost of proving the cannon, according to his figures here, would be 6,751 livres.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0154

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Montgomery, Robert
Date: 1778-11-24

To Robert Montgomery

[salute] Sir

Your Favour of the Sixth of this Month, reached me, three days ago, I am much obliged to you, for communicating to me, the Intelligence contained in it. These orders of Government, afford no Ground for any decisive Conclusions respecting the Intentions of Spain, yet they discover that the Court is attentive to the Progress of the War, and We may expect that the more they think upon the Subject, the Sooner, they will be convinced of the Importance of it, to their Interests, and of the Wisdom of their taking a Part in it.
I can give you, no News from America, because Several Vessells have arrived at Bilboa, which left Boston and Newbury Port later than any We have from America.
All the News We have here respects the Captures of French Vessells by the English Privateers, and of English Privateers, by the French Men of War, in which they have been very Successfull. The Number of British Sailors, which has been captivated, is very considerable much more so than the Number of French Sailors taken by the English, which is perhaps a greater Loss to them, than the Capture of larger Portions of their Property, would have been.
I Shall be much obliged to you, for the Continuance of your Favours, because Intelligence is the soul of War, as it is indeed of every Thing human, but ispecially because every Thing that happens in Spain in Consequence of orders from Government, is important. I am, with much Respect, Sir, your humble servant.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0155

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Schweighauser, John Daniel
Date: 1778-11-25

The Commissioners to J. D. Schweighauser

[salute] Sir

In Answer to your Letter of the seventeenth Instant,1 We desire you { 233 } would ship to America, all the Goods belonging to the United States, of every sort. And consequently to write for no more Workmen, but dismiss, immediately, all that remain if any.
We can give you no Directions about the Articles “entreposed” for the Coast of Guinea: because We understand nothing about the Matter. We neither understand, why, they were entreposed—nor what entreposing is.2
It is impossible for Us to apply to the Minister, without understanding the subject and knowing what Minister We are to apply to, and what Favour We are to apply for.
We leave it to your Judgment, to remove the salt Petre in the cheapest And best Manner for the Interest of the states.
1. Not found.
2. Schweighauser's meaning is no clearer to the editors than it was to the Commissioners, but “entreposed” may have been Schweighauser's attempt to anglicize the French word “entreposer,” which means to warehouse or store.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0156-0001

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-11-25

Gabriel de Sartine to the Commissioners

Le Roi a fait expedier, Messieurs, des Passeports pour quatre Batimens anglois, qui doivent venir d'un Port etranger a Dunkerque, il est egalment necessaire de les mettre a l'abri d'insulte de la Part des Corsaires Americaines, et Je vous prie de m'envoyer a c[e]t Effet quatre Lettres ostensibles ou Passeports, dont ils puissent1 Se Servir dans l'occasion. Je vous observe, qu'ils doivent être en blanc ne pouvant être remplis, que Sur les Lieux.2 J'ai l'honneur d'etre, avec beaucoup de Consideration, Messieurs, votre tres humble et tres obeissant Serviteur
[signed] De Sartine

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0156-0002

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-11-25

Gabriel de Sartine to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

The King, gentlemen, has sent passports for four English vessels which are to come from a foreign port to Dunkerque. It is equally necessary that they be protected from insult by American privateers and I ask you to send me, in this regard, four open letters or passports, which they could1 use if needed. Please note that they must be left blank since they can only be filled out on the spot.2 I have the honor to be, with the utmost consideration, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] De Sartine
{ 234 }
1. In copying the French text JA wrote the following five words in larger letters than the remainder of the letter.
2. The Commissioners enclosed the four requested documents, to be completed as Sartine wished, in their letter to Sartine of 30 Nov. (LbC, Adams Papers), which he acknowledged on 1 Dec. (DLC: Franklin Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0157

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Samuel
Date: 1778-11-27

To Samuel Adams

[salute] My dear sir

Yesterday the B. Parliament met. The 2d of Decr., We shall have the Speech. We hope to make Inferences from it of the Intentions of Spain, as well as Great B.1
Among the innumerable Falshoods that the English Emmissaries propagate every Year, to keep up the Spirits of stockjobbers and others, one has constantly been that Russia will take a Part with them. This is repeated lately. But I have taken some Pains to inform myself, and I think you may depend upon it, that there is an Understanding between this Court and that of Russia, and this last has taken an Engagement with the former, not to assist England in any Way. There is also a good Understanding with Prussia. In short England has not and cannot obtain a Single Ally in all Europe.
Nobody pretends to penetrate the Mysteries of Spanish Councils: but the late order from Court to take the Names of all foreign Merchants in the Kingdom, and the other to admit all armed Vessells to bring in their Prizes condemn and sell them in the Ports of the Kingdom are considered as preparatory Steps, and the Edict of the K. of the two Sicilies, the eldest son of the K. of Spain2 to admit the American Flagg into his Ports, is looked upon as an unequivocal Indication of the Designs of Spain.
The French Marine has hitherto shewn itself in every Encounter equal at least to the British, in the Bravery and Skill both of officers and Men: But the French Merchants have not exerted themselves in Privateering so much as the English, and have not had so much success.
What Reinforcement will be sent to the Comte D'Estaing, I cannot say: But of one Thing I am sure that the only wise Method of conducting the War would be to send a clear superiority of naval Force to America, an opinion which has been suggested and will be urged where it ought.
What Shall I say on the subject of Money? We can get no Answer from Mr. B. ——3 respecting the Contract. I shudder for fear, our Army should not be well supplied in the approaching Winter. But can { 235 } do no more than has been done. And knowing what they have done and suffered I am at no Loss what th[ey] will do and suffer. But I should be happier if I was more sure they would be warm.
Crossing the ocean does not cure a Man of his Anxiety. But We are contending for as great an Object as ever Men had in View, and great Difficulties and Dangers, will lay the Foundation of a free and flourishing People broad and deep, in great Virtues and Abilities. I am my dear sir, your Friend and servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (NN: George Bancroft Collection); docketed: “From J Adams Esq Passy Novr 27. 1778.”
1. JA's reference is to George III's speech of 26 Nov. opening the session, the newspaper account of which he presumably expected to reach Paris by 2 Dec., but which in fact was delivered to him on the evening of the 1st (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:125). In it the King strongly attacked France's unprovoked entry into the war, noted the mixed success of his war measures, regretted the failure of the Carlisle Commission, and promised renewed efforts to achieve victory and restore peace. Although Spain was not mentioned by name, George III did state that “the great armaments of other powers ... must necessarily engage our attention” (Parliamentary Hist., 19:1277–1279).
2. SeeCommissioners to the president of the congress, 7 Nov., and note 12 (above).
3. Beaumarchais.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0158

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1778-11-27

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear Sir

I have not received a Line, nor heard a Syllable from you Since my Arrival, but I know your incessant Application to things of the first Moment, and therefore presume you have good Reasons.
Our Ennemies are Still in a Delirium: and are pleasing themselves with Hopes that Clinton will be more bloody than How. Nothing is so charming to their Imaginations as Blood and Fire. What an Heart must this People have?
The Two Howes are in a sort of Disgrace, and now Clinton is to do wonders. The Howes have returned, without Laurels, with melicious Tempers bloody Hands, and the pleasing Reflection that their Names are hearafter to be recollected, by all virtuous and humane Men with those of Alva and Grizler.1
I think there should be a Clubb formed in London of all the Sages and Heroes that have returned from America—Bernard, Hutchinson and Train,2 Gage, How, Howe, &c. &c. &c.3 and to be sure Burgoigne. What a respectable society it would be? How entertaining to hear them in Turn recounting their memorable Deeds of Fraud and Violence in America, and their glorious tryumphant success?
{ 236 }
You will see by the Papers, which I shall send by this opportunity that there is great Animosity, in Holland vs England. Sir J.——4 it is said flatters the Prince, with Hopes of marrying his Daughter to the Prince of Wales, and the Prospect of having a Daughter Queen of England is too tempting for a Prince to resist. Yet he cannot do great Things, and there is a spirit rising in the Low Countries which will give England Trouble. The situation of that Republic is so defenceless, and they consider England in such a state of Desperation, ready to do any Mad Thing, that I dont expect they will very soon take any decisive Part in our Favour, but the Determination against taking any Part against Us is decisive. They wish America independant. It is their Interest. They wish to see England humbled. She is too overbearing. Yet they are afraid to provoke England, by any open Engagement against her. Yet they have discoverd a manifest solicitude least America should in a Treaty with G. B. agree to exclude the Dutch from some Part of their Trade. And they have Reason for this suspicion.
It is a delicate Thing to negociate with this People, but We have constant Intelligence, from them, and shall watch every favourable Opportunity. Their Purses, their sailors and ships have been employed against Us from the Beginning, and England could not possibly do without them, I cannot therefore but wish, that something may turn up, to awaken the old Batavian Spirit. I am as ever your Friend & sert
[signed] John Adams
RC (H. L. Seaver, Mass., 1956); docketed: “Braintree Letter Mr. J. Adams Novr 27 1778.”
1. See JA to the president of the congress, 20 Sept., and note 2 (above).
2. Presumably JA means Hutchinson and his followers.
3. The following five words were interlined for insertion here.
4. Sir Joseph Yorke.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0159

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1778-11-27

To James Lovell

[salute] My dear Sir

It is now a Year, Since I left you, and I have heard very Seldom from you, since that Time. I have written as often as I could, but so many Vessells have been taken that I fear you have heard as seldom from me.
There is no News, any where excepting the innumerable Reports circulated in every Part of Europe, by the Emmissaries of England, every one of which I know to be false: they still however find Stockjobbers and other Persons to believe them. These Lyes are calculated to make it believed, that there are great Dissentions between the { 237 } French and Americans, and between the Americans with one another. No Extravagance is too great. Ten Thousands of General Washingtons Army gone over to Clinton. C. D'Estaing making a Procession through the Streets of Boston with the Hoste, and Seizing a Meeting House for a Chappell and the D——knows what.
I Suffer as much for Want of Intelligence from A. as we used to Suffer in Congress for Want of it from Europe.
Mr. D. writes a Gentleman here, that on the 14 of September Congress took up forein Affairs, and determined to have but one Commissioner here.1 If this is the Case I shall be at a Loss, how to conduct myself, unless you recall me. Dr. F. no doubt will be appointed for this Court: if you appoint me for any other, especially that which is mentioned to Me Vienna, it will be more disagreable to me than to be recalled. Because Vienna, is the Court of all Europe, as I conceive at present, the least likely to receive your Agent. I should therefore be reduced to the Necessity of residing at Paris in Idleness, or of travelling to Germany and living there in greater Idleness Still in either Case at a great and useless Expence.
In Time of Peace, nothing would give me greater Pleasure, than travelling: but at present my Heart is too much affected, with the Miseries of this War, for me to take Pleasure in a mere Gratification of Curiosity, or even in a Pursuit of Taste in Arts, or Knowledge in the Sciences.
To return home immediately, Some Persons here say would give offence, and be wrong. To Wait to write for Leave, would be loosing Time, and putting you to Some Expence. However, I will determine nothing untill I know what is done. Remember me with the tenderest affection, and greatest Respect to your Colleagues and all others that deserve it, and believe me your Friend.
1. Silas Deane's letter to Benjamin Franklin of 15 Sept. (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:496). For an excerpt from that letter, see JA to AA, 27 Nov., note 4 (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:123). In his letter to AA, JA also expressed his puzzlement over what the congress expected him to do, assuming that the report of Franklin's appointment was correct.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0160

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Date: 1778-11-28

To Arthur Lee

The Bearer, is first Lt. of the Boston—was sent by the Navy Board at Boston to S. Carolina and thence to France Commander of the Dispatch: but was taken. I think our Rule has been to lend Lts. of the { 238 } Frigate's twenty Guineas, but considering Browns unhappy Circumstances on Account of Cloaths, and knowing his long Attachment to our Cause and his uncommon Merit, I wish he could have more but have not ventured to propose it.1 Dr. F. is gone out.
RC (MH-H: Lee Papers); addressed: “Hon. Mr. Lee Rue de Battail N. 5 Chaillot”; docketed: “This was accompanied with an Order on the Banker for 20. Louis dores signd by Mr. Adams.”
1. JA's plea was successful, for on 28 Nov. the Commissioners ordered Ferdinand Grand to pay Lt. John Brown 480 livres (Commissioners' Accounts, [12 Nov. 1778- 11 Feb. 1779], above). Brown was with Capt. Hector McNeill when the Boston captured the frigate Fox in June 1777, but no mention of him in command of a vessel called the Dispatch or its capture has been found (Allen, Naval Hist. of the Amer. Revolution, 1:206).
The next day JA made a similar request of Lee (MH-H: Lee Papers) on behalf of a privateersman, Lt. John Adams of Boston, which was also successful, an order being issued on the 30th to pay Adams 240 livres (Commissioners' Accounts, [12 Nov. 1778–11 Feb. 1779], above).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0161

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-11-28

John Bondfield to the Commissioners

[salute] Sirs

Tho' we are without any interesting inteligence in this or the neighbouring Ports I hold it my duty to advise you that so it is. The Merchants from their heavy Loss's are obliged to contract their concerns which unfortunately will be sensibly felt by the short Exports for the United States. Excepting three small Cutters belonging to Virginia it is three Months since any expedition went from hence.
Messr. Beaumarchais and Co. have bought a vessel of 24 Gunns that is to Sail about the 10th of next Month for Rochfort there to join the Roderique and the Drake bought by the same Company. These Vessels I am told are to be reinforced by two ships or Frigates. It will be a fine Convoy for our two Ships at Nantes if it dont too long detain as the fierre Roderique was not hove down [when?] I past Rochfort ten days ago that I much doubt if they will be at Sea of two Months.1 The inteligence of Monsr. La Motte Piquet having fallen in with a Jamaica fleet outward bound is confirmd to Us by Letters this Post from Britaigne.2 Our Privateers have not yet sent us in any Capital Prizes. The English Ships keep in Fleets that a vessel of Value is not to be met singly.
The Farmers General begin to doubt that the abundant supplies they were to receive from Spain, the Brazils, the Ulkraine and Holland of Tobacco will not make up the short Imports from Virginia and are tampering with the holders to engage all at Market before a rise take place. No capital Stock can be expected for many Months. A start in { 239 } this article very sudden may be expected which may probably engage the Merchants to renew their speculation to America.
I have the Honor [to be?] with due Respect Sirs Your most Obedient Humble Servant
[signed] John Bondfield
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honble. Benj Franklin, Arthur Lee, John Adams, Esqrs. Commissionairs du Congré a Paris”; docketed: “Mr. Bonfeild”; in another hand: “J. Bondfield 28 Nov. 1778.” The removal of the seal has resulted in the loss of two or three words.
1. In a letter of 12 Dec., Beaumarchais requested that Sartine supply the Fier Roderigue with the men needed to fill out its crew and thereby permit its immediate departure. With ten merchant ships in its convoy, the Fier Roderigue apparently sailed in April 1779 and arrived off Grenada in late June or early July. There, pressed into service as part of the French fleet under Estaing that met the British under Byron on 6 July, it was heavily damaged (Louis De Loménie, Beaumarchais et son temps, 2 vols., 3d edn., Paris, 1873, 2:162–164; Laporte to JA, 4 April 1779, below).
2. It was reported that La Motte-Picquet, at sea since late October with four ships of the line and several frigates, had taken seven British ships and a frigate escorting them (London Chronicle, 14–17 Nov., 1–3 Dec.).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0162

Author: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1778-11-28

Arthur Lee to Benjamin Franklin and John Adams

[salute] Gentlemen

Your Letter1 informing me of the Alteration of your Intention, not having reached my House till some time after the Hour you had appointed for setting out for Versailles, I was gone before it arrived. I informed Count Vergennes, that you were coming, and we waited till 5' O'Clock under no small Embarressment, especially myself, to conceive what detained you.
Count Vergennes says, that as there was such bad Management last year in dispatching our Ships, as to detain the Convoy Six Weeks; he wishes we would write him, when the Ships, for which we now desire a Convoy, will certainly be ready to sail, and he will do all in his Power to obtain what we desire.2
I have the honor to be with the greatest Respect Gentlemen, Your Mos. Ob Servt.
[signed] Arthur Lee
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed by William Temple Franklin: “Hon. A. Lee Nov. 28. 1778.”
1. In JA's hand and docketed by the kitchen boy who received it, the one-sentence letter, dated “Friday Morning” [27 Nov.], asked “that the Journey to Versailles may be postponed to Sunday at 8 O Clock in the Morning for several particular Reasons besides the bad Weather” (NNPM).
2. Vergennes' request led the Commissioners to write to J. D. Schweighauser and the other merchants at Nantes (LbC, Adams Papers), who had written to both Sartine and the Commissioners on 7 Nov. (above). The Letterbook copy, which served as the draft, is dated 27 Nov., probably erroneously in view of the { 240 } present letter. Arthur Lee's copy in his letterbook is dated 28 Nov., Lee having placed an “8” over the original “7” (PCC, No. 102, IV, f. 128).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0163-0001

Author: Quillau, M
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-11-29

From M. Quillau

[salute] Monsieur

Je viens de voir Monsieur Dubourg à qui je dois l'honneur et l'avantage d'être Connu de vous, qui m'a dit que vous m'avies écrit au sujet de Livres que vous voulies vous procurer. Il faut que la personne que vous aves chargée de votre lettre, ne se soit point acquittée de sa Commission, Car je n'ai reçu aucune lettre de votre part. Si elle me fut parvenue, vous deves etre persuadé que j'aurois mis toute la diligence possible pour executer ce dont vous me chargies par cette Lettre. Aussitot que par une nouvelle lettre; vous m'aures instruit des Livres que vous souhaiter avoir, je m'empresserai à vous les faire parvenir le plus promptement possible.1
J'ay l'honneur d'etre avec Respect, Monsieur, Votre très-humble et très-obeissant serviteur
[signed] Quillau

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0163-0002

Author: Quillau, M
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-11-29

Quillau to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I have just seen Mr. Dubourg, to whom I owe the honor and pleasure of being known to you. He told me that you had written me concerning some books you would like to procure. The person to whom you gave the letter must not have carried out his commission, for I never received any letter from you. If it had reached me, you can be assured that I would, with the utmost diligence, have undertaken to carry out your request in that letter. As soon as I receive a new letter with your instructions as to what books you wish to have, I will hasten to send them as soon as possible.1
I have the honor to be with respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Quillau
1. Neither JA's letter nor any reply to this one has been found. JA had dealt with Quillau earlier, having paid him 192 livres on 30 June and 170 livres on 9 July (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:331). There is, however, no evidence of any later transactions and, indeed, JA's personal accounts indicate that most of his book purchases were made from the longestablished firm of Paris booksellers, C. and J. Hochereau (same, 2:327, 331–336, 343, 435–438).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0164

Author: Smith, James
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-11

James Smith to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

Your very extraordinary letter of the 17 of Novr.1 I have received and acknowledge myself Obliged to you for the representation of my Case to his Excellency the Count De Vergennes.
{ 241 }
You say you do not think you can consistantly Grant my request unless I previously Subscribe the decliration and take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America and that when I comply with this condition you will then give the Customary Passport to Calis. If this Customary Passport shall be sufficient to obviate all impediments to my passage to Dover I can understand the Consistency of these expressions otherwise I am at a loss to guess your meaning. I could have no Objection to take the Oaths of Allegiance when I arrive in America But I submit it to your farther Consideration whether this is the proper time and place for such a Measure to a person in my circumstances. The active part I have taken upon every occasion to manifest my Atatchment to the interest of my country through out the whole of this controvercy is no equivocal proof of my sincerity and I am not a little surprised that you should make my taking the Oath of Allegiance a condition when you must be sensible how fatal that measure might prove to my Liberty and even Life should it transpire in England before I could finish my private business. What a happy opportunity would a discovery of this kind Afford a wicked Abandoned Ministry to wrack their vengance upon me whose conduct has rendered him Obnoxious by every effort to oppose them within the compass of his Abilities. Is this the reward of Public Virtue? And Shall the Official Guardians of our lives furnish the very means of our distruction without any one possible benefit to our country.
I have attentivly perused all the public acts of the Congress and I do not find that they insist upon imposing the Oath of Allegiance upon any person going to England. It is not there that our Enemies can do us mischief. To suspect a mans fidelity with out assigning reasons and insist upon this condition at the time the necessity of his Affairs Oblige him to go amongst his Enemies is a Species of Cruelty and Abandoned profligacy which for the honor of human nature I cannot suppose you intentionally Guilty. You certainly did not consider the consequences of such a proceedure and I am obliged from the respect I owe the commission and for the honour of my Country not to Suppose from any misunderstanding between us that you mean any thing more by this extraordinary propo[s]al than to manifest an inconsiderate Zeal for the Cause of our Country. Did you tender the Oath of Allegiance to Doctor Bancroft Mr. Austin and Mr. Williams whose connection with the British minister you was acquainted with.2 Without any disparagement to the Characters of those worthy Gentlemen why am I to be suspected more than others. Had you entrusted me with the secrets of Goverment upon which the interests and welfare of our Country depended this conduct would be justifiable. If any thing has been { 242 } wispered to my prejudice which has given any just grounds of Suspicion and thereby abused your private Confidence, Let him bring his Charges openly. Let me be confronted before witnesses. Let him come from his lurking hole, assume the Character of a Generous open Enemy, and not secretly Stab me in the dark like a private Assassin.
When I wrote that I was willing to give the most Solemn Assurances of my affection and duty to my Country, could it be supposed that I meant to expose myself to the wispers of secret Enemies and the Rage of a Merciless disapointed and consequently inveterate Administration. It must have occurred to you from a moments reflection that I could only mean such assurances as were binding upon a man of honor and yet would not subject me to the laws of England. When I requested a Passport I intended to pay you the usual compliments payed to the public Ministers of my Country. It gives me pain to remind you that the power werewith you are invested was never given to distress or indanger the Lives and liberties of your Countrymen and I sincerely wish for the honor of the Commission that you may be able to explain your selves in such a manner as to wipe away the foul imputations and suspicions which such behaviour may make you liable to in the opinion of the World, and that private resentment has no share in this transaction. Whatever be your determination I beg you will be speedy in your resolutions as my private affairs are suffering by my absence.3 I beg leave to Subscribe my self Gentlemen Your much injured Countryman and Humble Servt.
[signed] James Smith
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed on the last page: “Dr. Smith”; on the first page by William Temple Franklin: “Dr. Smith.”
1. Not printed; but see Smith to the Commissioners, 15 Nov., note 4 (above).
2. Edward Bancroft and Jonathan Williams had been residents in England before the war, and Bancroft and Jonathan Loring Austin had been there in 1777 and 1778 respectively. Any connection with a specific “minister,” however, remains speculative.
3. No reply from the Commissioners has been found, nor is there any evidence that Smith ever took the oath of allegiance.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0165

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Vernon, William Sr.
Date: 1778-12-02

To William Vernon Sr.

[salute] Dear Sir

This Evening I had the Pleasure of yours of the Twenty Second of October, with Duplicate of another of the same day and Triplicate of another of the Second of October, neither of which have arrived.
I have before received one Letter from you inclosing 2 Letters to your Son. I answered your Letter,1 and forwarded those to your son which he has since informed me he received.
{ 243 }
Your Son is at a Place called Montauban, a manufacturing Town, in the Province of Guienne, not very far from Bourdeaux. He lives with Mr. Revellat ainé, one of the principal Negociants of that City, a Gentleman of very good Character. Here, your Son, will have an Opportunity of tracing Commerce to its first Sources, and of acquiring the Language, at the Same Time, in both of which I am informed he is very assiduous. The Description, which M. Revellat gave me of his Conduct, the other Day, when he was at Passy, having been introduced to me, by a Letter from him,2 was very much to his Honour which from what I know of him I was well inclined to believe.
I thank you, Sir, for the full and clear Accounts you have given me from Time to Time of the State of our little Navy: and not withstanding the long Catalogue of Disasters that has attended it, I Still build great Hopes upon it. I am extreamly happy to hear of the Arrival of the Providence, Boston and Ranger, but am disappointed that they made no more Prizes. While the Merchant Fleets of Great Britain are covering all the Seas, it is to me astonishing that our Frigates take no more of them. I lament with You the Loss of the brave Captains Chew and Skimmer.
Your Letter to your son shall be forwarded forthwith,3 So shall all others you may intrust to my Care. I am, with great Respect, your hum sert.
[signed] John Adams
RC (RNHi: Vernon Papers); docketed: “John Adams Esqr Decr. 2nd 1778 Answerd Apl.” and “Mr. Quesnel from the City of Rouen.” The reference to “Mr. Quesnel” remains obscure.
1. Vernon's letter was of 26 May, while JA's reply was dated 27 July (vol. 6:156–157, 324).
2. That is, by a letter from William Vernon Jr., which has not been found.
3. The letter to William Vernon Jr. was enclosed in JA's letter to the younger Vernon of this date (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0166

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Vernon, William Jr.
Date: 1778-12-02

To William Vernon Jr.

[salute] Dr Sir

This Evening, I received the inclosed in a Letter from your Father.1 He writes that he has never herd from you nor me—I have wrote him several Times. Soon after Mr. Revellat was here, I had accounts from America that Congress were about to take into Consideration the State of foreign Affairs, and I did not know but they might make Such Alterations in the System of Their Affairs here as might render any assistance to me in the Character of a Clerk unnecessary.2 I have waited to this Moment without Intelligence, excepting, by the Packet received { 244 } this day, that Congress on the 12 of October had Still foreign Affairs under Consideration. We shall soon learn their Determination, and that will determine me, mean Time, I am with Esteem
1. The letterfrom Vernon Sr. was that of 22 Oct. (above).
2. JA is referring to the clerkship that he had offered William Vernon Jr. in a letter of 15 Sept., but which Vernon had declined in his reply of 26 Sept. (both above). JA's observation that soon he might no longer need a clerk is significant because this is the only extant letter written to anyone in Europe, prior to the official end of the Joint Commission in February 1779, in which JA indicates that the congress might be considering a revision of its diplomatic establishment in Europe.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0167

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1778-12-02

To James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

Last Night, I received your Letter of Octr. 7th by a Special Messenger from M. De Sartine, who writes me that he knows not how where nor by whom it arrived.1 I mention this that it may serve as an Answer in some Measure to the Complaint in your Letter, that neither you nor my other Friends have heard from me. I have wrote very often, to you and them but there is Strange Management with Letters and most that We write are sunk in the Sea.
I Sincerely grieve for my Country in the News that you are not of either House. But it is Some Comfort to me to think that I shall be Soon a private Farmer, as well as you, and both pursueing our Experiments in Husbandry. The longer I live and the more I see of public Men, the more I wish to be a private one. Modesty is a Virtue, that can never thrive, in public. Modest Merit! is there Such a Thing remaining in public Life? It is now become a Maxim with some, who are even Men of Merit, that the World esteems a Man in Proportion as he esteems himself, and are generally disposed to allow him, to be what he pretends to be.
Accordingly, I am often astonished at the Boldness with which Persons make their Pretensions. A Man must be his own Trumpeter—he must write or dictate Paragraphs of Praise in the News Papers, he must dress, have a Retinue, and Equipage, he must ostentatiously publish to the World his own Writings with his Name, and must write even some Panegyricks upon them,—he must get his Picture drawn, his statue made, and must hire all the Artists in his Turn, to set about Works to Spread his Name, make the Mob stare and gape, and perpetuate his Fame. I would Undertake, if I could bring my Feelings to bear { 245 } it, to become one of the most celebrated trumpeted, Admired, courted, worshipd Idols in the whole World in four or five Years. I have learned the whole Art I am a perfect Master of it. I learned a great deal of it from Hutchinson and the Tories, and have learned more of it since from Whigs and Tories both, in America and Europe.2 If you will learn the Art I will teach it you.
I have not yet <learned to> begun to practice this. There is one Practice more which I forgot. He must get his Brothers, Cousins, sons and other Relations into Place about him and must teach them to practice all the same Arts both for them selves and him. He must never do any Thing for any Body who is not his Friend, or in other Words his Tool.
What I am going to say, will be thought by many to be practicing upon some of the above Rules. You and I have had an ugly Modesty about Us, which has despoyled Us of, almost all our Importance. We have taken even Pains to conceal our Names, We have delighted in the shade, We have made few Friends, no Tools, and what is worse when the Cause of Truth, Justice, and Liberty have demanded it We have even Sacrificed Those who called themselves our Friends and have made Ennemies.
No Man ever made a great Fortune in the World, by pursuing these Maxims, We therefore do not expect it, and for my own Part I declare, that the Moment, I can get into Life perfectly private, will be the happiest of my Life.
The little Art and the less Ambition with which I see the World full disgusts and shocks me more and more. And I will abandon it to its Course, the Moment I can do it with Honour and Conscience.
Remember me, Sir, in the most respectfull Manner to your good Lady, whose Manners, Virtues, Genius, and Spirit will render her immortal, notwithstanding the general Depravity. I am, her & your Friend
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll).; docketed: “Mr. J. A. Lettr 2 Decr 78.”
1. Sartine's letter (not foundAdams Papers) also served to transmit letters from AA of 29 Sept. and 10 Oct. From JA's comments in his letter to AA of 3 Dec., the content of her letter of 10 Oct. (not found) was apparently similar to Warren's of 7 Oct. (above). Their arrival together may explain JA's tone in this letter, which was to some degree duplicated in his letters to AA of 2 and 3 Dec. (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:94–96, 124–126, 128–130).
2. JA's strictures on the pursuit of fame were stimulated by Warren's comments on the conduct of John Hancock in his letter of 7 Oct. (above). That letter reflected Warren's dismay over Hancock's role in the rise of factions in Massachusetts politics and the consequent decline of the position of himself and his friends. While JA clearly had Benjamin Franklin in mind when he replied, his comments were more general and less personal than { 246 } Warren's. JA never disputed Franklin's position as the preeminent American in France and his frustration at Franklin's appointment as minister to France was not directed at Franklin, but toward the congress for its apparent refusal to either recall him or appoint him to a new position. Thus JA could write more as an observer than as a participant with a position to defend, and Franklin became a kind of generic seeker of fame rather than an enemy to be denounced.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0168-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-12-02

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners

[salute] Messieurs

J'ai l'honneur de vous envoyer aujourdhui la Résolution1 dont je vous ai tant parlé. Ce qui l'a un peu retardée, c'est mon dernier voyage à Amsterdam, un rhume fort incommode que j'en ai rapporté, et les trois copies que j'en ai fait faire, pour les envoyer successivement au Congrès. Cette Piece mériteroit bien d'être imprimée, tant en François, qu'en Anglois pour le service des Etats-Unis, à cause de l'intime connoissance qu'elle donne de l'état respectif des Finances, de la Politique, et des forces terrestres et navales de cette Republique. C'est le Parti Anglois qui intrigue, pour que la republique augmente les premieres, et continue de négliger les dernieres: s'il réussissoit, il est indubitable qu'on engageroit tout de suite la republique à prendre le parti de l'Angleterre. Jugez de là, Messieurs, de quelle importance est la fermeté de la grande ville.
Le calme où nous sommes présentement, durera encore 10 à 12 jours, jusqu'à-ce que les Etats de la Province se rassemblent. Dieu nous envoie d'ici-là quelque grande et bonne nouvelle d'Amérique: j'en ferois plus d'un bon usage, et elle produiroit peut-être plus d'un bon effet. Le London Evening-post du 26 Nov.2 nous fait esperer que Clinton a été fort mal mené.
Je suis, avec un très-grand respect, Messieurs Votre très-humble et très-obéissant serviteur
[signed] Dumas

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0168-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-12-02

C. W. F. Dumas to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

Today I have the honor to send you the resolution1 of which I have already spoken. What delayed me a little was my recent trip to Amsterdam, a bothersome cold which I brought back with me, and the three copies which I had to make to send in successive letters to the congress. This piece fully deserves to be published in both French and English for the service of the United States because of the intimate knowledge that it displays respecting the finances, politics, and the ground and naval forces of this Republic. It is the English party that schemes to have the Republic increase the former and continue to neglect the latter. If it were to succeed, there is no doubt that the Republic would immediately { 247 } be put to the service of England. Judge, therefore, gentlemen, of what importance is the strong resolve of the great city.
The period of calm in which we are now will last another ten to twelve days, until the States of the Province reconvene. May God send us before then some great and good news from America. I would put it to more than one good use, and it might produce more than one good result. The London Evening Post of 26 November2 makes us hope that Clinton has been very roughly handled.
I am, with great respect, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant,
[signed] Dumas
RC with one enclosure (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “à Leurs Excellences Messieurs les Plénipotentiaires des Etats-Unis de l'Amérique à Passy, pres Paris.”
1. This was Dumas' 22-page French translation of Amsterdam's resolution against the augmentation of the army, which had been placed before the Provincial States on 8 Sept. and promised to the Commissioners. See Dumas' letters of 4 and 9 Sept., and 27 Oct. (all above).
2. The London Evening Post of 26 Nov. carried a report, apparently obtained from vessels that had left New York on 19 Oct., that Gen. Clinton had gone out with two-thirds of his Army to attack a convoy of 300 wagons carrying supplies to Boston for the use of Estaing's fleet. The escort, however, proved to be stronger than expected, forcing Clinton to retreat to New York. No account of such an engagement has been found in American sources.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0169

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Laurens, Henry
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1778-12-03

To the President of the Congress

[salute] Sir

I have the Honour to inclose to Congress, the latest News Papers: As they contain the Speech at the Opening of Parliament,1 and Some of the Debates in both Houses upon the Addresses in Answer to it, they are of very great Importance. I learn by Some Newspapers, and private Letters that an opinion has been prevalent in America, that the Ennemy intended to withdraw from the united States, and considering the cruel Devastations of the War, and the unfortunate Situation of our Finances nothing would give me so much Joy as to see Reasons to concur in that opinion, and to furnish Congress with Intelligence in Support of it.
But I am sorry to say that the Reverse is too apparent. We may call it Obstinacy or Blindness, if We will, but such is the state of Parties in England, so deep would be the Disgrace, and perhaps so great the personal Danger to those who have commenced and prosecuted this War, that they cannot but persevere in it, at every Hazard. And nothing is clearer in my Mind, than that they never will quit the united States, untill they are either driven or starved out of them.
{ 248 }
I hope therefore that Congress will excuse me, for suggesting that there is but one Course for Us to take, which is to concert every Measure and exert every Nerve, for the total Destruction of the British Power within the united States. I have the Honour to be with the most respectfull Consideration sir, your most humble, and most obedient servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 25–28); docketed: “2 Letter from J. Adams Passy Decr. 3. 1778 Read March 4. 1779 Referred to Mr G Morris Mr Drayton Mr Paca.” JA's letter of 8 Dec. to the president of the congress (below) was also read on 4 March. The “2” may indicate that this letter was considered after that of the 8th.
1. This is the first of four letters to the president of the congress enclosing copies of the King's speech of 26 Nov., the others being dated 6, 7, and 8 Dec. That of the 6th, read by the congress on 25 Feb. 1779, was a simple letter of transmission that noted only the importance of the speech for understanding British intentions (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 29—30; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:851). The letter of the 7th, existing only as a Letterbook copy (Adams Papers), may have been superseded by that of the 8th (below) and not sent, for there is no evidence that the congress ever received it. In his letter of the 7th, JA stated that it could be inferred from the speech that the British had neither allies nor any prospects of gaining any, feared the appearance of additional enemies, and would prosecute the war as long as possible. JA also noted the surprising amount of opposition in Parliament, which he believed would grow.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0170

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1778-12-05

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] Dr Sir

It is necessary that you should be minutely informed, of the minutest and most secret Springs of Action here, if it is possible. Yet the Danger is so great of our Letters, being taken and getting into English News Papers, that it is very discouraging to a free Correspondence.
I will however take all the Precaution in my Power, to have the Letters sunk, but if all these fail and my Letters become public the World must take them as they find them, and I hope they will do more good upon the whole than Harm.
This Court and Nation appears to me, to be well convinced of the Utility to their Interests of the American Alliance. But notwithstanding this they appear to me to have too much Diffidence of Us. Too much Diffidence of the People of America, and too much Reserve towards the Commissioners here. I am not Satisfyed in the Cause of this.
Whether they think, that the obstacles of Language Religion, Laws, Customs and Manners are Obstacles in the Way of a perfect Friendship, which cannot be removed, and therefore that they shall loose our { 249 } Connection as soon as Britain, comes to her senses, or whether they are Embarrassed by the Conduct of Spain, and are acting in this reserved manner, and with an Appearance of Irresolution in hopes of her coming in, or whether they have any Prejudices against the Personal Characters of the Commissioners, and are loth to be unreserved with them, for fear they should communicate either indiscreetly, or by design any Thing to the English, or to any Body here, who might convey it to England1 or whether all these Motives together have a share in it, I know not.
Thus much is certain, that ever since I have been here, I have never seen any Disposition in any Minister of state to talk with any of the Commissioners, either upon Intelligence from Spain, or England, upon the Designs or Negociations of Either, or any other Court in Europe, or upon the Conduct of the War by sea or Land, or upon their own Plans and Designs of Policy or War.
If this Reserve was ever thrown off, to any one, I should think, that putting it on to others, had some personal Motive. But it is exactly equal and alike to all three.2
Each Commissioner here, before I came, had his own set of Friends, Admirers, and Dependants, both among the French and Americans. Two Households united in some degree against one, very unjustly I fear and impolitically. But this set the Friends of the two, to injuring the third, in Conversation, and they cant forbear to do it, to this day. This Dissention I suspect has made the Ministry cautious, lest in the Course of Altercations, improper Use should be made of free Communications.
For my own Part however Odd you may think it in me to say it3 I have no Friends, much less Dependants here, and am determined to have none, for I am convinced that Competitions among these have done the Evil: But I am determined, if I am continued here to have free Communication, with the Ministry upon these subjects and to search them to the Bottom. The Ministry are candid Men and sensible, and I am sure that some Ecclaircissements would do good.
However, I am reckoning without my Hoste, for by the Bruits which Mr. D's Letters have Scattered, I may expect that the first Vessell will bring my Recall, or Removal to some other Court. But wherever I am, my Heart will ever be axious for the good of our Country, and warm with Friendship for her Friends, among whom you <are> will ever be reckoned, in the formost Rank, by your most obt
{ 250 }
1. The previous eleven words were inserted into the text.
2. The “Diffidence” of the French government discussed by JA in this and the preceding four paragraphs had important consequences for American foreign policy. As JA indicates, Vergennes' failure to consult with the Commissioners prevented them from informing the congress of the aims, conduct, and possible consequences of French policy. Their inability to provide adequate intelligence was of special significance in regard to Spain's attempt to mediate between France and Great Britain, which had begun the previous April. No mention of the mediation can be found in any of the Commissioners' letters to the congress between April 1778 and the end of JA's first mission in February 1779. In instructions of 26 Oct. to France's minister at Philadelphia, Conrad Alexandre Gerard, Vergennes directed him to use the prospect of a successful mediation to draw from the congress its peace ultimata in order to moderate the American objectives and bring them into line with those of France and Spain (Gérard, Despatches and Instructions, p. 358). Gerard, with a zealous regard for his instructions, emphasized the chances for a successful outcome of the Spanish effort and the urgent need for a determination of peace objectives. The congress, lacking any independent assessment of the mediation by its representatives in Europe, was forced to rely on his interpretation of events. Thus the congress took a more optimistic view of the mediation than was warranted, particularly in view of Vergennes' belief, indicated in his instructions to Gerard and which he must have held even more strongly by the date of this letter, that the Spanish mediation would fail and that Spain would enter the war regardless of what the congress did.
Although correct in his appreciation of the problems that might result from French “Diffidence,” JA erred in assuming that the “reserve” was “exactly equal and alike to all three” Commissioners. In his instructions to Gerard of 26 Oct., Vergennes stated that he had not informed the Commissioners about the Spanish mediation because of an injunction of secrecy by Spain and because he feared Arthur Lee and his associates (same, p. 358). Whether this included JA is uncertain, but Vergennes saw no danger in consulting with Benjamin Franklin, as is clear from a conversation that took place between the two, probably between the date of JA's letter to Gerry and 25 Dec. In his instructions to Gerard of that date, Vergennes noted that it had become clear to Spain in the course of its mediation effort that Britain would not recognize American independence or enter into negotiations in which that was to be considered. As a result, Spain had suggested a long truce, similar to that of 1609 between Spain and the Netherlands. Vergennes then wrote that he had concluded that the Spanish proposal merited attention and had not hesitated to communicate it to Benjamin Franklin under the seal of secrecy and unknown to his two colleagues (same, p. 451).
Secret consultations seemed appropriate because by December, Vergennes was aware that the congress had elected Franklin to be its minister plenipotentiary to France and also because the French minister could be reasonably sure that Franklin would not divulge the conversations to the congress. In an instruction to Gerard of 19 Feb. 1779, Vergennes indicated that he was convinced that Franklin would not inform the congress of either Vergennes' confidence or his own ideas because he would fear to inform them of something in which his two colleagues had no part (same, p. 535).
In the short run the situation that developed was advantageous to France, but in the long run it created serious problems for the Franco-American alliance. By consulting secretly with Franklin, Vergennes effectively prevented news of the Spanish mediation from reaching the congress through any source other than the French minister in Philadelphia, thereby permitting France to exert an inordinate amount of influence on the deliberations over the American peace ultimata. Indeed, Franklin's first mention of the mediation was in a letter to the Committee for Foreign Affairs of 26 May 1779, by which time Spain was about to enter the war under the terms of the Franco-Spanish Convention of Aranjuez, which had been signed on 12 April (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:186; Henri Doniol, { 251 } Histoire de la participation de la France à l'etablissement des Etats-Unis d'Amérique, Paris, 1886–1892, 5 vols., 3:803–810).
Of even more importance was the fact that by excluding Arthur Lee and JA from the consultations, Vergennes relied on Franklin's views as an accurate representation of American policy and objectives. The problem with this assumption can be seen in Vergennes' statement in his instruction to Gérard of 25 Dec., that Franklin had declared to him that nothing was of less importance to the colonies than Great Britain's recognition of their independence because it existed in fact and was irrevocable, and that the only thing that they held sacred was their close and constant union with France. As a result, Franklin held the opinion that America could, without inconvenience, accept a long truce (Gérard, Despatches and Instructions, p. 451).
Franklin was correct in saying that for the United States, British recognition of American independence could only confirm what already existed. In concluding from that, however, that the United States in 1778 or 1779 would agree to a cessation of hostilities based on anything less than direct negotiations with Britain to secure a definitive peace treaty was a serious misrepresentation. The American response to the British Parliament's conciliatory bills and the Carlisle Peace Commission in April and June 1778, as well as the draft peace ultimata presented to the congress on 23 Feb. and those ultimately adopted on 14 Aug. 1779, clearly indicated that the sine qua non was direct negotiations with British representatives empowered to treat with the United States as an independent, sovereign state (JCC, 10:374–380; 11:615; 13:239–244; 14:956–960).
In accepting Franklin's view, which he may have put forward because it was what he believed Vergennes wanted to hear, Vergennes could not fail to develop a perception of American policy that was considerably different from that held by JA, Arthur Lee, and others, and to ascribe all conflicting statements by Americans to an anti-French or pro-English party. Thus the real dangers of too much “Diffidence” toward the three Commissioners, and secret consultations with only one of them, were that they prevented France from obtaining a true understanding of the American view of the Franco-American relationship and of the objectives to be sought in a peace, while they deprived the United States of any basis upon which to judge French motives.
3. The previous eleven words were interlined for insertion here.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0171

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

John Bondfield to the Commissioners

[salute] Sirs

A french Brig belonging to La Rochelle arrived at this port the 2d Instant from Boston, he left that port the 4 November in Company with Adml. D'Estaing with all his fleet reinforced by some American Frigates. The Report circulated in Boston their intent was against Halifax, the Season was far advanct for an attempt of that nature.1 He kept company thirty Six hours, the Fleet steerd N.E., he struck off for France.
A vessel equipt by Messr. Decater freind to Monsr. Rey de Chaumont arrived at Pray.2 His procés verbal contains that he saild from Boston with the Fleet the 4th. Novr., his orders from the Admiral was to keep under his Stern, a Gale of Wind on the 7th. seperated him from the Fleet, not having any rendezvous assi[gned] he stood for France.
{ 252 }
A report prevails of Ad. Byrons leaving N York the 2 Novr with 17 Ships 100 Transports having on board 5000 Troops.3 I cannot trace the Source of this advice to bring it to a certainty.
The Boston, Providence, and Ranger Arrived safe at Boston with many prizes eight days before the Brig saild.
I have the Honor to be with due Respect Sirs Your most Obedient Humble Servant
[signed] John Bondfield
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honble. The Commissioners from Congress Passi”; docketed: “Mr Bondfield.” in another hand: “J. Bondfield s Decr 1778.”
1. Estaing's real destination was Martinique. Here and elsewhere in this paragraph the editors have supplied periods and commas for clarity.
2. Both the friend of Chaumont and the location named by Bondfield remain unidentified.
3. On the same day that Estaing left Boston, Como. William Hotham left New York with eight ships convoying 5,000 troops under Gen. James Grant to Barbados (Mahan, Navies in the War of Amer. Independence, p. 100).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0172

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1778-12-06

To James Lovell

[salute] Dear sir

Yours of 12 Oct.1 We have received, by which We learn that foreign affairs were under Consideration. Mr. D. had wrote on 14 Sept.2 that they were then under Consideration. From the Time taken We have reason to Expect they will be well digested. There are great Expectations here among the interested. Mr. D and others have written in a manner which makes it expected that one will be left alone here. But what is to be done with the other two is left to conjecture. If I am recalled, I Shall have nothing to do but get home if I can. If appointed to another Court, I shall be in Some Perplexity, because I see no Probability of being received at present. However I can digest nothing, till I know the Premisses.
If the Plan of having only one here is adopted, it will be in my opinion absolutely necessary that maritime and commercial affairs should be put into other Hands, and the public Money too. The one who will be left here, is not sufficiently attentive to Business, to have So large a Field of it, nor Sufficiently parcimonious to have the Disposition of so much Money, in our <pernurious> necessitous Circumstances. This is not said from any unfriendly Motive for I have none: but it is impartial Truth, and such as the public Interest demands of me that I should tell.
The K's Speech, I have already Sent to Congress by Several opportu• { 253 } nities, you will see that he dreads the great Armaments of other Powers in the plural. He must mean Holland and Spain. You will see also that the opposition is more Strong than it ever was before, in both Houses. I will omit no opportunity of sending the other Papers, with the debates as they come, and I pray they may go safe, but immense Numbers of our Dispatches are Sunk in the Sea. I beg of you to write as often as possible to
[signed] J. A.
1. A brief letter informing the Commissioners of the congress' deliberations and enclosing newspapers (PPAmP: Franklin Papers).
2. JA meant Silas Deane's letter of 15 Sept. (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:496).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0173

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Rush, Benjamin
Date: 1778-12-06

To Benjamin Rush

[salute] Dr Sir

I had the Pleasure of a Letter from you,1 a few days before I Sailed from Boston, which I have never been able to answer.
I think I find more to do here; more Difficulty to do right and at the Same Time give Satisfaction, than I did, you know where.2
We Suffer here extreamly for Want of Intelligence from America, as We did there, and as I fear you do still for Want of it from Europe.
We have very imperfect Information concerning the State of the Army especially its Health, which you used to have the Goodness to inform me of sometimes. I hope it is better than it was heretofore.
I should be very happy to hear from you as often as you can, and to know the state of the Hospital as well as Army in General, and every Thing that relates to Government or War. There is a periodical Pamphlet in French under the Title of the <Courier de L'Europe>3 Affairs D'Angleterre & De L'Amerique, in which Intelligence and Letters from America are published, for the Information of the People in Europe.
I have a Strong Curiosity to know, the Artifices, and Subterfuges, with which the Tories still keep alive each others Hopes. When England has not and cannot get an ally, and many Nations are preparing to league themselves against her. When her Merchants are breaking, her Manufacturers Starving, and they are obliged to take them into public Pay, under the Name of Militia, to prevent their Picking Pocketts, robbing on the High Ways, and plundering in Companies all before them.
I have but one Peace of Advice to give. I never had any other. “Be not deceived.” Tho B. is in a deplorable Situation, the Administration { 254 } will neither Acknowledge our Independance nor withdraw their Troops. You must kill, Starve or take them all.4 Your Frid & sert.
[signed] John Adams
RC (CtY: Franklin Papers). LbC (Adams Papers).
1. JA's reference is probably to Rush's letter of 22 Jan, which was received on 6 Feb., rather than to Rush's letter of 8 Feb. The letter of the 8th could not have arrived before JA sailed for France, and there is no evidence that AA forwarded it. JA, however, had answered the letter of 22 Jan. on 8 Feb., thus making his statement in the present letter confusing (Benjamin Rush, Letters, 1:190–192, 199–200; vol. 5:402–404). It is possible that JA forgot that he had replied on 8 Feb.
2. Presumably in the congress.
3. This cancellation does not appear in the Letterbook copy, indicating that it was made from the recipient's copy and was not a draft as was often the case.
4. Through Rush's efforts this final paragraph, with minor changes, was printed in the Pennsylvania Packet, 25 March 1779, as an “Extract of a letter from an American Gentleman in a high position at the Court of France, dated Passy (near Paris) Dec. 6th” (Rush to JA, 19 Aug. 1779, below). It was widely reprinted, see for example the Virginia Gazette (Dixon and Nicholson), 9 April; the Connecticut Courant, 20 April; and the Boston Gazette, 26 April 1779.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0174

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sherman, Roger
Date: 1778-12-06

To Roger Sherman

[salute] Dear Sir

From the long Series of arduous services, in which We have acted together, I have had Experience enough of your accurate Judgment, in Cases of Difficulty, to wish very often that I could have the Benefit of it here.
To me it appears that there will be no more cordial Friendship, nor for many Years to come any long Peace, between G. B. and America, and therefore the French Alliance is and will be an important Barrier to Us, and ought to be cultivated with perfect Faith and much Tenderness. But Still it is a delicate and dangerous Connection. There is Danger to the Simplicity of our Manners and to the Principles of our Constitution, and there may be dangers that too much will be demanded of Us.
There is Danger that the People and their Representatives, may have too much Timidity in their Conduct towards this Power, and that your Ministers here may have too much Diffidence of themselves and too much Complaisance for the Court. There is Danger, that French Councils and Emmissaries and Correspondents, may have too much Influence in our Deliberations.
I hope that this Court will not interfere, by Attaching themselves to Persons, Parties, or Measures in America. It would be ill Policy, but no Court is always directed by sound Policy, and We cannot be too much { 255 } upon our Guard. Some Americans, will naturally endeavour to avail themselves of the Aid of the French Influence, to raise their Reputations, to extend their Influence, to strengthen their Parties, and in short to promote the Purposes of private Ambition and Interest. But these Things must be guarded against. I wish for a Letter from you, as often as you can, and that you would believe me your Frnd.1
1. Assuming that this letter was sent (no recipient's copy has been found), it is remarkable for two reasons: it is the first letter in which JA clearly stated his apprehensions about the French alliance; and it was to Roger Sherman, whom JA knew well from having served with him on important committees at the congress, but who, according to the Adams Papers Editorial Files, had no previous correspondence with JA. One can only speculate on JA's reasons for unburdening himself to Sherman, rather than to one of his intimates, but it may have been owing to Sherman's standing in the congress, as well as to JA's high regard for him. JA described Sherman to AA in a letter of 16 March 1777 as “an old Puritan, as honest as an Angell and as <stanch as a blood Hound> firm <as a Rock> in the Cause of American Independence, as Mount Atlass” (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:176).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0175

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Samuel
Date: 1778-12-07

To Samuel Adams

[salute] My dear Sir

On the 21 May, I wrote you a very long Letter, on the Subject of foreign Affairs in general, and particularly in this Country: on the 28 July, I wrote you another lengthy Letter, on the 7 August I wrote you again in answer to yours of 21 June, which is all I have ever received from you, on the 27 November I wrote you again.2 I hope Some of these have reached you, but So many Vessells have been taken that I fear Some have miscarried.
I wish I could unbosom myself to you without Reserve, concerning the State of Affairs here, but you know the danger. The two Passions of Ambition and Avarice, which have been the Bane of Society3 and the Curse of human Kind, in all ages and Countries, are not without their Influence upon our Affairs here, but I fancy the last of the two has done the most Mischief. Where the Carcass is there the Crows will assemble, and you and I have had too much Experience of the Greediness with which the Loaves and Fishes were aimed at under the old Government, and with which the Continental Treasury has been Sought for under the new, to expect that the Coffers of the American Banker here, would not make Some Mens Mouths Water. This appetite for the Bankers Treasure, I take to have been the Source of most of the Altercations and Dissentions here.
{ 256 }
Your old Friend is a Man of Honour and Integrity, altho to be very frank and very impartial, he cannot, easily at all Times any more than your humble servant govern his Temper,4 and he has some Notions of Elegance Rank and Dignity that may be carried rather too far. He has been of opinion that the public Money has been too freely issued here, and has often opposed. The other5 you know personally, and that he loves his Ease, hates to offend, and seldom gives any Opinion untill obliged to do it. I know also and it is necessary you should be informed, that he is overwhelmed with a Correspondence from all Quarters, most of them upon trifling subjects, and in a more trifling Style; with unmeaning Visits from Multitudes of People, chiefly from the Vanity of Having it to say that they have Seen him. There is another Thing which I am obliged to mention, there are So many private Families, Ladies and Gentlemen that he visits So often, and they are So fond of him that he cannot well avoid it, and So much Intercourse with Academicians, that all these Things together keep his Mind in Such a constant State of Dissipation, that if he is left alone here, the public Business, will Suffer in a degree beyond Description, provided our Affairs are continued upon the present footing.
If indeed you take out of his Hands the public Treasury, and the Direction of the Frigates and continental Vessells that are sent here and all Commercial affairs, and intrust them to Persons to be appointed by Congress, at Nantes and Bourdeaux, I should think it would be best to have him here alone, with such a secretary as you can confide in, but if he is left here alone, even with such a secretary, and all maritime and Commercial and pecuniary as well as political affairs, are left in his Hands, I am perswaded, that France and America both will have Reason to repent it. He is not only so indolent that Business will be neglected: but you know that altho he has as determined a soul as any Man, yet it is his constant Policy, never to say Yes or no decidedly, but when he cannot avoid it: and it is certain, in order to preserve the Friendship between the two Countries your Minister here must upon some occasions speak freely and without Reserve, preserving Decency and Politeness at the same Time.
Both he and the other Colleague,6 were I am sorry to say it, in a constant opposition to your old Friend; and this Misunderstanding was no secret, at Court, in the City, or in the seaport Towns, either to French, English or Americans, and this was carried So far, that Insinuations, I have been told have been made at Court against your old Friend, not by Either of his Colleagues, that I have ever heard, but probably by somebody or other emboldened by and taking Advantage of the Misunderstanding among the three, that he was too friendly to { 257 } the English, too much attached to Ld. Shelbourne, and even that he corresponded with his Lordship and communicated Intelligence to him. This whoever suggested it, I am perfectly confident was a cruel Calumny, and could not have made an Impression if the Colleagues had contradicted it, in the manner that you and I should have done. You and I had opportunity to know his invariable Attachment to our Cause long before Hostilities commenced, and I have not a Colour of Ground for Suspicion, that from that Time to this he has deviated an Iota from the Cause of his Country in Thought, Word, or Deed. When he left England or soon after, he wrote a Letter of mere Compliment to his Lordship, a mere Card to bid him farewell, and received such another in Return, which he assures me are all the Letters that ever passed between them, and I have not a doubt of the Truth of it.7
The other Gentleman8 whom you know, I need not Say much of—You know his Ambition his Desire of making a Fortune and of promoting his Relations. You also know his Art and his Enterprise. Such Characters are often usefull, altho always to be carefully watched and controuled, especially in such a Government as ours.
There has been so much said in America, and among Americans here, about his making a Fortune by Speculating in English Funds, and by private Trade that it is saying nothing new to mention it. Our Countrymen will naturally desire to know if it is true, and it will be expected of me that I should say something of it. I assure you I know nothing about it. An intimate Friend of his,9 who recommended, the Major to you, certainly Speculated largely in the Funds, from whence the suspicion arose that, the other was concernd with him, but I know of no Proof that he was. Combinations, Associations, Copartnerships in Trade have been formed here, in which he and his Brothers are supposed to be connected, but I know nothing more than you do about them. But10 supposing it was proved that he speculated and traded, the Question is whether it was justifiable. Neither you nor I Should have done it, most certainly.11 Nor would it have been forgiven or excused in either of Us. Whoever makes Profits in public Life, neither of Us must be the Man. But does not prove it unlawful in him. If he did not employ the public Money, nor so much of his Time as to neglect the public Business, where is the Harm? That is the Question. And it ought to be remembered, that he was here a long Time, not as Ambassador, Envoy, Commissioner, Minister, or in any other Trust or Character from Congress, but merely as an Agent for the Committees of Commerce and Correspondence.
Some of the Gentlemen of Character, who are now in America from this Country, particularly the Minister and Consul, although their { 258 } Characters are very good, it is to be feared, have had Prejudices insinuated into them, against your old Correspondent.12 I am extreamly Sorry for this, because I think it is against a worthy Character, and because it will be likely to have unhappy Effects both with you and abroad.
The other Gentleman,13 whose Consolation, when left out by his first Constituents was that he stood well with the Body to which he was sent, consoled himself also, when recalled by that Body, with the thought that he was esteemd by that Court, where he had resided. This no doubt will be displayed in all its variegated Colours. The Letter from the Minister, expressing high Esteem, the Present from an higher Personage, and above all the Fleet and the Magnificence that accompanied it, will be all repeated and rung in Changes14 in order to magnify Merit. Yet I am Sorry to see in the Newspapers such Expressions as these Mr.——“ who was the principal Negociator”—such Expressions if true, ought not to be used, because they have only a Tendency to occasion Division and Animosity, and cannot do any Good. But there is Cause to doubt the Justice of them. In short I think upon an Examination of the Treaties and a Comparason of them with the Treaties and Instructions sent from Congress, I think it is probable that there was not much Discussion in the Case. I wish with all my Heart there had been more.
This Letter is not so free as I wish to write you, but still it is too free, to be used without Discretion. You will use it accordingly only for the public Good. Knowing the Animosity that has been in two against me here, which I believe to have been carried unwarrantable Lengths, knowing the Inveteracy of many subaltern and collateral Characters, which I think is injurious, to the Individual as much as the Public, and knowing that you will have these Things in Contemplation and much at Heart I have said thus much of my sentiments upon these subjects which I hope will do no Harm.
Believe me to be your Friend
[signed] John Adams
RC (NN: Emmet Collection); docketed: “from J Adams Passy Decr 7 1778.” Samuel Adams enclosed extracts from this letter in his own letter to James Warren of 24 March 1779 (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.). Warren may later have sent these extracts to JA, for a document in Samuel Adams' hand entitled “Extracts of a letter from France dated Decr. 7th 1778” is in the Adams Papers. LbC (Adams Papers).
1. The Letterbook copy, dated 5 Dec., was clearly the draft.
2. For the letters of 21 May, 28 July, 7 Aug., and 21 June, see vol. 6:144–145, { 259 } calendar entry (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:106–108), 325–327, 353–355, 226–227. JA's letter of 27 Nov. is printed above.
3. The Letterbook has “Liberty” for “Society.”
4. In the Letterbook this description of Arthur Lee begins: “One of the Commissioners, your old Friend, I take to be a Man of Honour and Integrity, yet to be very frank he cannot easily govern his Temper.”
5. Referring to Benjamin Franklin, this sentence in the Letterbook originally began “The Dr.,” “other” being interlined as a replacement.
6. In the Letterbook this sentence, obviously referring to Silas Deane, begins: “Both he and his Colleague, who is or has been lately with you.”
7. JA is substantially correct in his characterization of Arthur Lee's letter to Lord Shelburne of 23 Dec. 1776 and Shelburne's reply of I Feb 1777. In the latter, either inadvertently or in reference to the date received, Shelburne states that Lee's letter was of 3 Jan. (R. H. Lee, Arthur Lee, 1:62–63; 2:354–355). However, Lee did write to Shelburne on 10 Dec. 1777 with news of the northern armies (PCC, No. 102, II, f. 11–12).
8. Silas Deane. For an examination of Deane's financial transactions, referred to in this and the following paragraph, see Thomas Perkins Abernethy, “Commercial Activities of Silas Deane in France,” AHR, 39 (1934):477–485; Julian P. Boyd, “Silas Deane: Death by a Kindly Teacher of Treason?,” WMQ, 3d ser., 16:319–336 (July 1959).
9. Probably Dr. Edward Bancroft. In the Letterbook version of this sentence, “the Major” was interlined as a replacement for a heavily canceled word: “Wrixon.” Maj. Elias Wrixon, a former British Army officer who sought employment in the Continental Army, was appointed chief engineer for the army in Canada on 12 April 1776, a position he declined because it carried only the rank of colonel. Both JA and Samuel Adams served on committees that considered Wrixon's qualifications and made recommendations on his employment. JA's Autobiography states that Samuel Adams strongly supported Wrixon, and Richard Smith's diary for 25 March 1776 indicates that Adams presented a committee report recommending Wrixon's appointment as adjutant general in Canada (vol. 4:17, 148; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:382362; Wrixon to the president of the congress, 23 April 1776, PCC, No. 78, XXIII, f. 273; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:407–408). Although no letter to Samuel Adams urging Wrixon's appointment has been found, such a recommendation might have come from Edward Bancroft. Bancroft, certainly a close associate of Silas Deane, had written to Benjamin Franklin on 23 Dec. 1775 in support of Wrixon (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:177–178).
10. In the Letterbook JA began a new paragraph here.
11. In the Letterbook this sentence ended “it is true” in place of “most certainly,” and the following three sentences did not appear.
12. The “Minister and Consul” were Conrad Alexandre Gérard and John Holker the younger. Samuel Adams' “old Correspondent” was Arthur Lee.
13. Silas Deane. For his replacement as a delegate to the congress by the Connecticut General Assembly in 1775, see vol. 3:279. For his recall from France and subsequent return to America, see his letter to JA of 8 April, note 2, and references there (vol. 6:10–15).
14. In the Letterbook the remainder of this sentence was interlined and marked for insertion at this point.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0176

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1778-12-07

The Commissioners to the Comte de Vergennes

To His Excellency Count de Vergennes, Minister & Secretary of State for foreign Affairs:1
At the time the American War began there was very little real Money in that Country, the same having been constantly drawn out as { 260 } fast as it came in to pay for British Manufactures and Importations of foreign Goods by the British Merchants, with the Duties and other Expences occasioned by their Monopoly.
This Scarcity of Money, together with the Stoppage of Commerce by the War, would have made it difficult for the People to pay Taxes in support of it; And the new Governments were scarcely sufficiently settled at first to venture upon imposing them.
The Congress therefore issued Paper Bills in Lieu of Money, which during the first and most Part of the second Year, answered well the Purposes for which they were emitted, in Supporting a vigorous internal Defence, and furnishing a Marine Force which greatly annoyed the Enemy's Commerce.
But the too great Quantity of this Currency (which, tho' the War called for it and required it to be issued, was much more than the diminish'd Commerce could find Employment for) at length naturally occasioned a Depreciation of its Value, which being once begun, could not easily be stopt, or recovered; And it fell so low, as that seven or eight Dollars in Paper have been valued at not more than one of Silver.
The Treaty with France and the Naval Aid sent from thence having given a more general Confidence in the Stability of the new Government, and in the publick Ability to discharge and pay off the Bills; And Congress, in Proportion as they could supply the Treasury by Borrowing the old Bills of the Possessors upon Interest, having forborne to issue new Ones; they have now recover'd so much Credit, as that the Difference is not at Present more than three for one.2
But a principal Means of recovering and supporting so much of their Credit, has been a Promise made by the Congress, to pay the Annual Interest by real Money in France.3 This Promise was made for all the Bills that were borrowed before the Month of March 1778, which it is Said amount to near fourty two Millions of Livres Tournois, the Interest whereof at the Rate of six Per Cent, will be two Millions and an half.
The Congress hoped to fulfill this Promise by Means of Remittances to be made hither of American Produce; or by Loans of Money to be procured in Europe from private Persons, on the Credit of the States; or finally by a Subsidy or Loan from their great and good Friend and Ally his most Christian Majesty. Those Remittances have been mostly intercepted or prevented. The Wars in Europe, and the Demand for Loans of Money on the Credit of more settled States, have made it more difficult to borrow on Account of the Congress. Thus their only { 261 } remaining Hope at Present is in the Wisdom and Goodness of his most Christian Majesty.
The Bills of Exchange will probably begin to arrive in December being drawn in September by the Congress Treasurer on the Commissioners here for Payment of the Interest due. And they will continue to be drawn till the Month of March next, and to arrive till the May following. In America those Bills of Exchange will be purchased of the Proprietors who are not in Trade, by Merchants who are; and will be sent here to pay for the Manufactures and Produce of France which those Merchants would import into America.
The Commissioners will begin to accept, and will pay those Bills as far as the Money they now have, or which they can hereafter borrow, will enable them to go. But if they cannot compleat the whole; If they are obliged to protest any of them; it will be attended with the most mischievous Effects. As not only the Schemes of Commerce will be deranged, and the beginning Correspondence between the Merchants of the two Nations be nipt in the Bud; but the public Credit of American Paper will be ruined, and can no longer be made Use of as an Instrument to continue the War; which will give great Advantage to Britain, by disabling one of the Allies from co-operating against her.
On the Contrary, if the Bills of Exchange now coming are punctually paid here (which Some have doubted, and therefore the Promise of the Congress has not had the full Effect intended) the Paper Money will, with the Aid of the Taxes4 which are begun to be levied for calling in and diminishing the Quantity, recover its Value and Importance, and the Congress will be enabled to continue the Use of that Instrument for the Payment of their Forces and the Annoyance of the common Enemy.
Such is the Fertility of the Lands and Industry of the People in America, that being no longer impoverish'd by the British Monopoly, there is not the least Doubt to be made of their future Ability of repaying with Interest and Thankfulness such Aids of Money as his Majesty in his Goodness shall think fit to afford them.
The Commissioners therefore pray that his Majesty would graciously take the Premises into Consideration, and compleat the good Work of securing the Liberties of America which he has so magnanimously and successfully commenc'd, by giving Orders for furnishing such Sums from Time to Time as may be wanted for the Purpose abovementioned.5
[signed] B Franklin
[signed] Arthur Lee
[signed] John Adams
{ 262 }
RC (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 5); docketed: “Joint à la lettre de M. Franklin &a. du 7. Xbr. 1778.”
1. The date, written at the close of the letter, and the title are in Arthur Lee's hand and appear to have been afterthoughts. This document, which should be compared with the Commissioners' similar request of 28 Aug. (vol. 6:401–404), was sent under a covering letter of the same date in which it is referred to as a “Memorial” (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 5). Arthur Lee's journal indicates that the Commissioners held a conference on 4 Dec. to discuss this appeal to Vergennes, which had been drafted by Benjamin Franklin. According to Lee, JA “observed 'that he thought we ought to state the interest France had in supporting us, how little the expense was in proportion to that interest, and not make it a matter of mere grace.' It was his opinion, he said, 'that this court did not treat us with any confidence, nor give us any effectual assistance.'” Lee supported JA's position and the question of the sufficiency of French naval assistance was taken up. Franklin opposed making the present letter any stronger or injecting new issues until “we saw the effect of begging it [additional financial aid] as a favour” (R. H. Lee, Arthur Lee, 1:404–406). It seems likely that one result of this exchange over the extent and sufficiency of French aid was the Commissioners' letter to Vergennes requesting that additional naval forces be sent to American waters ([ante 20] Dec. 1778 – [ante 9] Jan. 1779, below).
2. This statement is misleading because it implies that the emission of currency by the congress had been or was about to be substantially diminished. Although it is undoubtedly true that the congress wished to restrict emissions and follow the course outlined here—such a resolution had been proposed in April 1778, but not acted upon—the emissions in fact continued through 1778 at an enormous rate and even increased in 1779. For those two years the total was $188,200,000, a fivefold increase over the previous three years (JCC, 10:323; E. James Ferguson, Power of the Purse, Chapel Hill, 1961, p. 30).
3. This resolution was adopted on 10 Sept. 1777. On 8 April 1778 a resolution was placed before the congress in an effort to extend its provisions, but no action was taken (JCC, 8:730–731; 10:323).
4. The need to raise revenue and call in paper money caused eight of the thirteen states to pass tax laws in 1777, a course taken by only three states over the previous two years. This movement toward taxation received added impetus with the congress' adoption, on 22 Nov. 1777, of a series of economic measures to be recommended to the states, including the requisition of funds from each according to its ability to pay (Ralph V. Harlow, “Aspects of Revolutionary Finance,” AHR, 35 [1929]:66; JCC, 9:953–958).
5. The French government, because it had made two payments in November totaling 750,000 livres (Commissioners' Accounts with Ferdinand Grand, [9 Aug. – 12 Nov.], vol. 6:362), may not have seen this request as particularly urgent. In any event, no additional funds were received until a payment of 250,000 livres was made in June 1779 (Foreign Ledgers, Public Agents in Europe, 1776–1787, DNA: RG 39 [Microfilm], f. 107).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0177

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cushing, Thomas
Date: 1778-12-08

To Thomas Cushing

[salute] Sir

I had the Favour of a Letter from you some time ago which I answered immediately,1 but so many of my Letters are among the Fishes of the sea, that I fear that may be one.
You know very well that is a long time that I have had a very bad { 263 } Opinion of the Designs and Dispositions of the B. Court towards America. I assure you I have not conceived a more favourable Idea, since my Arrival in Europe.
The Malignity of their Intentions is one of the deepest Die, and their Inveteracy is such that nothing but Want of Power will prevent their Annihilating Us. It has been said by Merchants who have made fortunes out of our Labour, at their own Tables even with Americans in Company, that if every Man Woman and Child in America were upon one Plank in the Ocean and it was in their Power to sink or save it, they would sink,2 and I learn that Expressions of such deep rooted Rancour are so common, and have been so for Years, that it is much to be apprehended it is a general sentiment.
Our Bayonets, under God must be our Defence. We are contending for all the Ends of Government. The best Government and the Worst are set before Us—Prosperity and Adversity for Posterity are set before Us—We have nothing to do but make the Choice, and surely no Man of Reflection and feeling will hesitate. I wish for the Continuance of your favours & have the Honour to be your vy humble sert
[signed] John Adams
RC (NhD); docketed: “Honle. Jno. Adams Esqr Letter Decr. 8. 1778.”
1. For Cushing's letter of 9 June, see JA's reply of 25 July, vol. 6:315–316.
2. The preceding passage was underlined, presumably by Cushing, with a different color ink than that used for the text.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0178

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1778-12-08

To Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] Dear Sir

I had last Night, very late your Card, respecting Mathews.1 I cannot recollect that any Thing was ever done in Congress, respecting him or his Conspiracy. I remember too have heard of the Transaction at the Time, but it was not an affair of sufficient Moment to excite any <extensive> Allarm, or make any extensive Impression; and I believe it was thought so little of, as never to have been sent to Congress.2 If it had, I think I should have known and remembered it, for no Man attended Congress more incessantly than I did from Septr. 1774 to Novr. 1777. I remember to have been told by the Judge Advocate who attended the Tryal of Sedgwick an officer of the Army who I think was tryed by a Court Martial, for some Conduct <connected with> in the same affair that there was no Plan, or Concert whatsoever.3 That there was Evidence against a few Individuals of Treasonable Wishes and Speeches, { 264 } but no <concerted Plot> digested Plot. The Papers relative to this affair have taken up much more Room than they deserve.
In your last Number Gen. Washington is quoted as Writing to Congress after Burgoines Captivity that <now>, then was the favourable Moment for Treaty.4 You may depend upon it that this is false. I read every Letter he wrote upon that occasion and I know there was no such Idea in any of them. I know fa[r]ther, that so rapid and irresistable Ways [i.e. was] the popular Torrent the contrary Way, that such a sentiment would have lost even General Washington the Confidence <of his Army, and> of his Country and even of his Army. But there is no End to the Lyes, that our Ennemies make and propagate, from every quarter of the World5 in Excuse of their own Injustice and Inhumanity and I am weary of complaining of them. The Gazettes of the united Provinces and of Germany, are filled with Fictions, by the Emmissaries of Great Britain, and almost every Newspaper in their Dominions is equally crouded with them, and no Improbability is too gross.6 And indeed it is not to be wondered at, for if they had not previously set all the Laws of God and Man at Defyance they would never have begun this War, but having begun it, they have not hesitated at any atrocious Enormity, nor will they hesitate. For my own Part I think that all Christendom and indeed all Humanity, ought to unite in order to arrest the Massacres and Conflagrations that are meditated under the Colour of such Forgeries, as all the Neighbourhood should unite to kill or chain a mad Dog. Dont print this Letter because all that know me will know from the Egotism of it, and other Characteristicks that it comes from your Friend
[signed] John Adams7
1. Genet's note (Adams Papers), undated but probably written on the 7th, was a request for information on the alleged conspiracy in June 1776 involving David Matthews, mayor of New York City. Genet planned to deal with the incident in the next issue of Affaires de l'Angleterre et de l'Amérique, “Journal,” under the date of Sept. 1776 and wished to know what action the congress had taken and how the affair had ended. The arrangement of the “Journal” volumes of Affaires makes it difficult to determine when a particular issue appeared and thus, with certainty, whether Genet was deterred by this letter or carried out his plan. If the latter was the case then it was most likely done in Affaires, “Journal,” vol. 12, p. 207–208. There, under Sept. and Oct. 1776, Matthews is referred to under the heading “Découverte d'un Traitre auprès du Général Washington.” An earlier reference under June, July, and August, is in Affaires, “Journal,” vol. 11, p. 187–193. For additional information on the conspiracy, see Samuel Cooper to JA, 1 July 1776, note 1; and William Tudor to JA, 7 July 1776, and note 2, vol. 4:356, 367–369.
2. The investigation was carried out by a committee of the New York Provincial Congress headed by John Jay (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:1152–1183).
3. In the summer of 1776 William Tudor, judge advocate and a frequent correspondent of JA, would have been in• { 265 } volved in any court-martial stemming from the Matthews conspiracy. In late July and early Aug. 1776 Tudor was in Philadelphia and met with JA (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:63, 89). But if the two men discussed the Matthews affair and a court-martial connected with it then JA's memory had dimmed with the passage of time. There is no evidence that any army officer was tried, but on 26 June a member of Washington's personal guard, Thomas Hickey, was court-martialed for treason in connection with the conspiracy and on the 28th was executed (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 5:161–162, 170, 179, 182 and note, 193–195).
4. The quotation from Washington appeared in Affaires, “Lettres,” vol. 12, cahier 60, p. ccci. Although he printed it, Genet doubted its accuracy and included a note at the bottom of the page in which he stated that the item had not been found in any American paper of the time and it was well known that the English ministry had engaged in previous fabrications.
5. The remainder of this sentence was interlined.
6. The following two sentences were written below the closing for insertion at this point.
7. In addition to the Adams-Genet correspondence for December, printed and mentioned here and below, two other letters, both to Genet, are noteworthy. The first was of [ca. 3 Dec.] (RC, J. G. Turner, Los Angeles, 1958) and contained a long passage taken from Cotton Tufts' letter of 5 Aug. (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:68–70), concerning the French fleet and a valuable prize taken by it. Although JA clearly intended it for publication in Affaires, Genet did not use it, apparently because he already had a letter giving the same information (see “Lettres,” vol. 13, cahier 63, p. lv). The second, of 11 Dec. (RC, PWacD: Feinstone Coll., on deposit PPAmP), transmitted two letters for Genet's consideration and possible inclusion in Affaires. The first enclosure was Thomas Cushing's letter of 21 Oct. (above), which Genet printed (Affaires, “Lettres,” vol. 13, cahier 63, p. lv–lviii). For the second enclosure from a “Mr. A.,” possibly Benjamin Austin, see Thomas Cushing's letter of 21 Oct., note 1 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0179

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Henry, Patrick
Date: 1778-12-08

To Patrick Henry

[salute] My dear Friend

Mr. Le Maire, writes me1 that he is about returning. I wrote you on the 9 July a long Letter in Answer to the one he brought,2 which is the only one I have received from you, altho by a Letter from Lisbon,3 from a Master of a Vessell taken by the English and carried in there, I learn that he had Letters for me which he sunk.
I wish, I would give you hopes of Peace. And I would not excite a needless alarm. But by the Hints in both Houses of Parliament in the present session, and by possitive Information, from Persons in England who pretend to know, They the Cabinet, are not only determined to pursue the War, at all Hazzards, but to alter the Mode of it, and make it more bloody and fiery if that is possible. Clinton and Byron with their Army and Fleet are to ravage the sea coast and bombard the seaport Towns—the Army in Canada is to be reinforced, and Parties of Regulars, with as many Tories and Indians, and [as] they can perswade to join them, are to burn and massacre, upon the Frontiers of Mass Bay, N. York, N. Jersey, Pensylvania, Virginia the Carolinas &c.
{ 266 }
This Kind of Sentiments it is pretty certain at present, occupy their Thoughts, please their Imaginations and warm their Hearts.
I know very well, that they have already done as much of this humane Work as they had Power to do, and dared to do. I know also that they must ask Leave of the French as well as Americans, and probably of other Powers, to do more Mischief than they have done. I know too that this Plan will be their certain and their Speedy destruction, because it will unite America more decisively, and it will excite that Earnestness4 Activity and Valour which alone is wanting to compleat their Destruction, and because, by relaxing their Discipline, and becoming less cautious and guarded than they have been, Desertions and Diseases will be more frequent among their Troops and they will more frequently expose themselves to the Snares and Attacks of ours.
The Spirits of the Nation are terribly sunk, the stocks are very low, lower than ever last War, and there is a Stronger Minority in both Houses than ever there was before. But they are now playing a desperate Game, and I think that the true Principle of their Conduct now, is not expecting ever to get America back, they mean to extinguish in the Hearts of the English Nation ever kind Sentiment towards America, that they may be and by wish to give them up and consider them forever in future with all the <Malice,> Envy, Jealousy and Hatred that they feel towards the French.
There is so great a Body of People in the Nation who are terrified at the Foresight of the Consequences of American Liberty—the Loss of the West India Islands of Canada Nova Scotia and the Floridas—a dangerous Rival in Commerce and naval Power, worming them out of their East India Trade, and other Branches—An Assylum, for all, Conspirators, and Minorities in Great Britain, that the Ministry expect such Disgrace and Danger to their Heads from giving it up, that they dare not do it, untill they have wrought the Nation into the rankest Hatred against America,5 and reduced her to the lowest possible degree of Weakness.
Many Persons, and I believe the Body of the Nation, foresee more Grandeur and Prosperity to America, and more Humiliation to themselves, in the Train of the Consequences of American Independence, than the Americans themselves do. It is certainly an Object worth contending for another Campaign, and many other Campaigns afterwards, if there was nothing in View but the future Grandeur, Glory and Prosperity of our Country. But We are contending for all the Ends of Government, for nothing less than the Difference between the best Form of Government, that ever existed, and the Worst that ever was { 267 } formed even in Imagination, for Aristotle himself never thought of such a Government, as that of Ten or fifteen Men in a little Island, composing the Legislature of a vast Continent 3000 Miles off.
You cannot do me more Honour, or give me more Pleasure than by Writing often. Remember me, to all that I knew, particularly to Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Wyth two Characters, which no Circumstances of Time or Place will ever induce me to forget. I have the Honour to be, with great Respect, <your> and Affection, your Friend and sert.
1. For Capt. Jacques Le Maire's letter of 3 Dec. (Adams Papers), see his earlier one of 10 Nov. (above). JA wrote to Le Maire on 8 Dec. (LbC, Adams Papers), entrusting to his care this letter to Patrick Henry.
2. Henry's letter of 5 March is in vol. 5:408–409. For JA's reply of 9 July, see vol. 6:273, calendar entry; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:153–154.
3. Not found.
4. “Earnestness” was interlined.
5. This comma was done over a period and the remainder of this sentence appears to have been an addition.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0180

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Paine, Robert Treat
Date: 1778-12-08

To Robert Treat Paine

[salute] Sir

I have now been Eight Months in Europe, and have received very few Letters from America, and I fear my friends have received very few from me, both I suppose, not owing to a failure in Writing but to Miscarriages in the Conveyance.
Nothing is of more importance than to be informed of the Designs of the Ennemy. By all that I can learn from every Quarter they [are] as hostile as possible. Yet their Power is very limited.
Their ruling sentiment towards Us has heretofore been Contempt: but it is now Fear. They dread Us as the most formidable Rival, that ever arose against them. They fear We shall take from them their four remaining Provinces on the Continent, their West India Islands, their East India Trade, their Whale and Cod Fisheries, their naval Power, their People even they expect will migrate by Thousands. They fear that We shall drain away so many sources of their Financies, As to bring upon them a national Bankrupcy, and this they fear would produce an Arbitrary Government in Form. In short all the Chimeras that Fables have faigned or fear conceived, as well as many real Dangers to them. These fears have arrived too late. But still they will stimulate them to desperate Attempts. And you cannot be too early apprized of the Danger or too well prepared to meet it. It is our Lot to live in these disagreable Times and we must discharge our Parts as well as We can. { 268 } I hope We shall get honourable through our Difficulties some time or other. So Wishes your humble sert
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi: R. T. Paine Papers); addressed: “The Honourable Robert Treat Paine Esqr Attorney General of the State of Massachusetts Bay Taunton To be sunk in Case of Capture”; docketed: “John Adams Esqr Decr. 8. 1778.”

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0181

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Laurens, Henry
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1778-12-08

To the President of the Congress

[salute] Sir

I have the Honour to inclose, to Congress one other Copy of the Speech, at the opening of Parliament, together with the Debates in Consequence of it.1
The Hints in those Debates, especially those given out by Lord Suffolk, are confirmed by the general Strain of Intelligence from London.
Letters from Persons, who are supposed to know, announce the Determination of the Cabinet to be, That Clinton and Biron with their Fleet and Army shall ravage the Coast, and bombard and burn the Towns, that their Army in Canada shall be reinforced and that Parties of Regulars, with such Tories and Indians as they can perswade to join them, shall ravage, burn and Massacre on the Frontiers of Massachusetts Bay, New York, New Jersey, Pensylvania, Virginia and the Carolina's.
These magnificent Menaces, We know, it is not in their Power to execute, entirely. Yet We may depend they will do as much [as they can. They will] neither Acknowledge our Independence nor withdraw their Fleets and Armies, nor shall We ever get rid of them but by destroying them or making them Prisoners, untill the Nation is so exhausted and their Credit so sunk that the Minister can raise no more Money.
It has been usual to consider this as a Ministerial War, but I have ever thought they would Sometime or other discover it to be a national War. The few Men in the Nation who think seriously of this Business See clearly in the long Train of Consequences of American Independance, the Loss of their West India Islands, a great Part,2 of their East India Trade, the total Loss of Canada, Nova Scotia, the Floridas, all the American Fisheries,3 a Diminution of their Naval Power, as well as national Bankruptcy and a Revolution in their Government in Favour of Arbitrary Power. And the Nation in general has a confused Dread upon its Spirits of all these Things. The Inference they draw from all this is to go on with the War, and make it more cruel, which is the Way in the opinion of Impartial Persons, to make all those gloomy { 269 } Visions Realities, whereas the only Way to prevent them is to make Peace, now, before a total Alienation <of> takes Place on both Sides.
However all that We can do is to be prepared for the Worst that they can do. I have the Honour to be, with the greatest Respect, sir your most obt servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 33-35); docketed: “Letter from Jn Adams Passy Decr. 8. 1778 Read March 4. 1779 Referred Mr. G. Morris Mr. Drayton Mr. Paca.” LbC (Adams Papers). A tear in the manuscript has resulted in the loss of several words which have been supplied from the Letterbook copy.
1. This is the fourth letter from JA to the president of the congress giving details of the King's speech and the parliamentary debate over it. For the others, see JA's letter of 3 Dec., and note 1 (above). Lord Suffolk, in the speech referred to below, declared that the Franco-American alliance made the vigorous prosecution of the war all the more necessary, regardless of past reverses, if a “secure and honourable peace” were to be achieved (Parliamentary Hist., 19:1288–1291).
2. “Islands” comes at the end of the line, without a comma, in the recipient's copy, but is followed by one in the Letterbook copy. “Part” is not followed by a comma in the Letterbook copy.
3. The Letterbook has “all the American Fisheries both of Cods and Whales.”

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0182-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-12-08

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners

[salute] Messieurs

Le Calme dont vous parloit ma Lettre du 2, a cessé plutôt que je ne croyois. On étoit déjà inquiet, depuis quelques jours, de la baisse des fonds Anglois; et les Lettres venues de l'Angleterre augmentoient les transes de nos rentiers. D'un autre côté, le refus de faire imprimer ici le Protest de la grande ville contre la résolution du 18e. Nov.1 avoit engagé cette ville à le faire imprimer, et à le distribuer non seulement chez elle, mais à l'envoyer à toutes les autres villes de la province: ce qui avoit consterné le parti Anglois, qui ne s'étoit pas attendu que la Ville effectueroit sa menace à cet égard. Voilà où en étoient les choses, lorsqu'hier matin le Mémoire ci-joint2 mit le comble à l'embarras de ce parti. Mr. l'Ambassadeur a eu la bonté ce matin de me donner luimême une Copie de ce Mémoire, afin de vous en faire part, Messieurs, ainsi qu'au T[rès] h[onorable] Congrès. Ce Mémoire a déjà été envoyé à toutes les Provinces et Villes, comme sujet de convocation et de Délibération. Les Etats de la Province d'hollande se rassembleront le 16. Les villes viendront alors munies de nouvelles Instructions. Je vous rendrai, Messieurs, un compte exact de ce qui s'ensuivra. Je ne doute pas que ce ne soit une nouvelle résolution conforme à ce Mémoire. Par conséquent la manoeuvre Britannique ici tournera à la confusion de l'Ouvrier.
{ 270 }
Je suis avec un très-grand respect, Messieurs Votre très-humble et très-obéisst. serviteur
[signed] Dumas

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0182-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-12-08

C. W. F. Dumas to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

The calm of which I spoke in my letter of the 2d has ended much sooner than I had anticipated. There already had been uneasiness for several days about the fall in the English funds, and the letters from England have increased the qualms of our fundholders. On the other hand, the refusal to publish the great city's protest against the resolution of 18 November1 has forced this city to print and distribute it, not only at home, but to all the other towns of the province. This has shocked the English party, which did not anticipate that the city would carry out her threat in this regard. This was where things stood until yesterday morning, when this party was further embarassed by the enclosed mémoire.2 This morning His Excellency the Ambassador had the kindness to give me a copy of the mémoire so that I might send it to you, gentlemen, and also to the very honorable congress. It has already been sent to all the provinces and towns, as a subject for meeting and deliberation. The States of the Province of Holland will reconvene on the 16th and the towns will return armed with new instructions. I will send you, gentlemen, a precise account of what ensues, which I do not doubt will be a new resolution in accordance with this mémoire. Thus the British maneuver will have resulted only in its own confusion.
I am, with great respect, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas
RC with one enclosure (PPAmP Franklin Papers); addressed: “à Leurs Excellences Messieurs les Plénipotentiaires des Etats-Unis [de] l'Amérique à Passy”; docketed by William Temple Franklin: “M. Dumas 8 Dec. 78.”
1. For this protest, see Dumas' letter of 20 Nov. (above).
2. The enclosed memorial of 7 Dec. was the formal, written version of the verbal representation made by La Vauguyon early in November. The Ambassador demanded a clear and precise statement of the United Provinces' determination to maintain a strict neutrality and declared that if any derogation of that neutrality was permitted, then France would withdraw the privileges enjoyed by Dutch vessels under the ordinance of 26 July regarding neutral commerce. For the ordinance of 26 July, see Dumas' letter of 10 Nov., note 3; and for La Vauguyon's earlier statement concerning it, see Dumas' letter of 13 Nov. (both above). An English translation of this memorial is in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:854–855.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0183

Author: Jones, John Paul
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-12-09

John Paul Jones to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

It is my duty to forward to you the within Memorial of Facts1 from Gentlemen whom the fortune of War made Prisoners to the American { 271 } Arms under my command. In their application to me they observe that “I am well acquainted with their situation.”2 The late treatment which these unfortunate Men have met with appears to me to carry with it a degree of severity which cannot be Justified by reason nor by Law, and which is by no means compatible with the dignified Humanity of our Imperial Republic. It is my duty to inform you that out of two hundred Prisoners there now remains only an hundred and thirty one on board the Patience. It is pretended that the rest have been disposed of agreeable to your Orders—but this I cannot believe. I cannot believe that you have Ordered any of these Prisoners to be carried away in the continental Ships or Privateers after having returned their Names and Rank for exchange to the Court of London, and after their having cost America a very considerable expence in Victuals for several Months. Far less can I believe that you have Ordered some Prisoners to be set at liberty without a Parole—While others, who have subscribed the within Memorial, being exactly of the same Rank and then in the same Situation, are held Prisoners. One of the Men who have been thus set at liberty, I myself detected communicating intelligence to the Enemy. When even the Cables of the Prison Ship could not escape the Rapine at Brest, it is not strange that these poor prisoners should complain. The Fellow who now holds the Rod over their wretched Heads, has menaced them if they “dared to complain”3—And would have intercepted their Memorial had I not prevented it. This Riou4 is the Scoundrel who by his falsehoods promoted discord in the Ranger and got the deluded People to appoint him thier particular Agent. Before that time he never could call Twenty Louis his own—and he is now too Rich for his former profession of Kings Interpreter. He does not denay that he is a Scoundrel, for as I have called him Oftener than once before Witnesses—and so every Person of Sense thinks him at Brest.
If the exchange of Prisoners does not take place immediately I conceive it would be the most eligable Method to have the people on board the Patience Landed. They are convinced that if you should think fit to return them an Answer it will never come to their hands thro' the Means of any person who calls himself Agent at Brest—and they, having full confidence in the honor and humanity of the Revd. Father John professor of English and Chaplain to Comte D'Orvilliers at Brest, have desired me to inform you that, thro' that Gentleman, they beg you to favor them with an Answer. In granting their request you will confer a very singular Obligation on, Gentlemen, Your most Obedient and very humble Servant
[signed] Jno. P Jones
{ 272 }
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed, not by JA: “P. Jones L'Orient 9e Xbre. 1778.”
1. John Walshe and others to the Commissioners, 20 Nov. (above).
2. An accurate paraphrase of John Walshe and others to Jones, 20 Nov. (PCC, No. 168, I, f. 163).
3. Jones may be quoting from a personal conversation with the prisoners because these words do not appear in either their memorial or their letter to Jones.
4. D'Albert de Riou wrote to the Commissioners on 23 Oct. regarding the privateer Hampden and its prize the Constance and there described himself as a Brest merchant and interpreter to the King. For that letter, see the Commissioners to Sartine, 7 Jan. 1779 (below). Jones' criticism of Riou's treatment of the prisoners apparently brought no response from the Commissioners.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0184

Author: Jones, John Paul
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1778-12-09

John Paul Jones to Benjamin Franklin and John Adams

[salute] Gentlemen

I have the honor to inform you that this day Arrived here a Virginia Pilot boat from Boston in 23 days.1 The master reports—that Comte Destaing had saild from thence a fortnight before on a Secret destination—that the Summerset was lost on Cape Cod, the materials saved and the Crew Prisoners2—that the Providence, Boston, and Ranger were Arrived having taken two or three Merchant Vessels—That the Enemy were embarking their Stores and provision at N. York—That the Raleigh was chaced ashore to the Eastward of Boston, the Crew made Prisoners and the Ship got off by the Enemy3—that it was reported that three of Byrons Fleet were ashore on Nantucket Shoals,4 and that Barbados and Granadoes &ca. were taken.5
I have the honor to be, with due esteem & respect Gentlemen, your most Obedient and very humble Servant
[signed] Jno P Jones
RC (NhD: Ticknor Autograph Coll.).
1. This was the schooner Dauphin, which had left Boston on 16 Nov.; it was identified in another letter to the Commissioners of 9 Dec. from the Lorient mercantile firm of Gourlade & Moylan. That letter contained the same information as this one from Jones (PPAmP: Franklin Papers), adding only that the Dauphin had brought no letters for the Commissioners.
2. The 64-gun ship of the line Somerset was driven aground during a storm on 2 Nov. An account of the wreck appeared in the Boston Gazette of 9 Nov. and is reprinted in Adams Family Correspondence, 3:118.
3. For the Raleigh, see William Vernon Sr. to JA, 22 Oct., and note 1 (above).
4. Sightings of two overturned vessels and the masts of a third were reported in the Boston Gazette of 16 Nov.
5. On the day that the Dauphin left Boston the Boston Gazette printed the erroneous report that the French had captured three or four West Indian islands in addition to Dominica, taken in September. According to the Boston Independent Chronicle of 19 Nov., the islands were Montserrat, Nevis, St. Christopher, and Antigua.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0185

Author: Lee, William
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-12-09

William Lee to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

Conformable to the resolution of Congress, of which a Copy is inclosed,1 I have drawn on you the 4th instant for Twenty four Thousand Livres at One Months date payable to Mr. Grand, which you will please to pay due honor to, by acceptance and payment when at maturity, and place the same to the Account of Congress.
'Tis generally beleived that a Congress will be held in the course of the Winter, between Ministers from the Courts of Versailles and Petersburg to endeavor at a reconciliation between the Emperor and King of Prussia;2 I am assured that G. Britain has prevail'd on the Court of Petersburg to take advantage of this opportunity to negotiate also an accommodation between France and G. Britain. It is to be proposed to France to relinquish her Treaties and engagements with America, but what advantages G. Britain means to offer as an inducement to France I have not yet properly learnt. I have no doubt that France will reject with disdain Such an ignominious attempt upon her Honor, even if her solid and substantial interests were out of the question, but still I think it adviseable to give you the information that you may act as you think proper on the occasion.
I have the Honor to be with very great Regard Gentlemen Your most Obedt. & most Humble Servant
[signed] W: Lee
RC with one enclosure (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “Hon. Wm. Lee Ans Jany 13 1779.”
1. Lee enclosed the third paragraph of the resolution of 7 May 1778, which empowered commissioners at other courts to draw bills of exchange for their expenses on the Commissioners at Paris (JCC, 11:473).
2. Lee's report of the Franco-Russian intervention to reconcile Austria and Prussia over the question of Bavarian succession, which resulted in the Peace of Teschen, was accurate, but his reference to a Russian effort to mediate between France and Great Britain was premature (Bemis, Diplomacy of the Amer. Revolution, p. 73–74).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0186

Author: Gunnison, Benjamin
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-12-14

Benjamin Gunnison to the Commissioners

[salute] Dear Sir

I have just arrived and tak the Liberty To Right to your Honour to in form you of The Condision of the Brig morris. After a Passig of forty two Days I have arrived in Roscoff In the Province of Britancy and shall weight your in structions. I did intend for Nants or Bourdaux but from violant gaills of wind I had on this Coast have been obliged to { 274 } make this port as my Riggin and sails are much Dammiged on the passig by voilant gails of wind. But I belive they would answar to Carry with a llittal Repair the Brigg To Carry hur to Morlaix should you Chuse to have hur Carried to that place as it not above four Leags Distance from wheir she now lays. I am Dear Sr your very humb to Serve and Obey
[signed] Benja Gunnison1
Post Crip
Sr as the Kings frigget Serin Commanded by Mr Cunat Dumeny Esqr2 is now hear and Expects to stay should the wind not shift befour I Receve your answar he offars his servis to Escort the Brig to Nants or Bourdaux.
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honble The Commissoners of the United States of america at Paris”; docketed: “Gunnison”; in another hand: “Gunnison 14 Dec. 1778.”
1. No reply has been found, but on 28 Dec. the Morlaix mercantile firm of Cornic et fils, having twice written to Franklin with no reply, wrote to the Commissioners asking advice on what action to take regarding the Morris and its cargo of tobacco (PPAmP: Franklin Papers). On 2 Jan. the Commissioners informed J. D. Schweighauser of the Morris' arrival and ordered him to weigh the tobacco, deliver it to the Farmers General, and reimburse Cornic et fils, who were informed of these orders in a letter of the same day, for any money advanced to the Morris (both LbC, Adams Papers). On 14 Jan. the Commissioners wrote to Gunnison, ordering him to deliver his cargo to Schweighauser and to follow Schweighauser's instructions insofar as they did not conflict with his orders from the congress (LbC, Adams Papers).
2. Presumably Gunnison is referring to the French corvette Serin commanded by Duménil (Vicomte de Noailles, Marins et soldats français en Amérique pendant la guerre de l'indepéndence des Etats-Unis, 1778–1783, Paris, 1903, p. 374).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0187

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-12-15

From Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] Sir

I Cannot but think myself a sufferer by the Many Captures on American Navigation, for as you are undoubtedly a Gentleman of the strictest Veracity, I must suppose the Watery Damsels that Attend the ouzy Board of the Grey Headed Neptune, are much more Fortunate than the Woodland Dames of America. Otherways, Notwithstanding the Bussy and important scenes in which You are ingaged a folio from the Court of France Must have Reached Braintree, and one Octavo sheet at least would have found Its way to Plimouth before this.
But if by thus Frequently Leting Down the Most Weighty secrets of state, as well as the sociel Communications of the Friendly Heart, the Dark Counsels of the Deities Below do not Gain an influance sufficient to Embarass your Negotiations, we Can better forgive this pecu• { 275 } lation of the Nereides, as we may suppose the Females Beneath, have some Curiosity as well as Those who walk upon the surface of a World, where knowledge is Circumscribed within such Narrow Limits, and the sex too often Forbidden to taste the Goldden Fruit.
But perhaps You May have forgot Through the Multiplicity of your Avocations, And the Magnitude of the objects, And say surely I Never promissed to write to more than one Lady, on the Western side the Atlantic. But that Lady has Furnished me with it written testimony signed by yourself,1 that the first safe Conveyance should Forward some observations, and Remarks, to Mrs. W——n, which if Collected by Mr. Adams must surely be a treasure.
And I have still a Further Demand upon you. You May Recollect six years ago, at a Certain Fire side, where many Political plans were Laid, Discussed, and Digested, you said2 it was your Opinion, the Contest Between Britain and America would not be setled till your sons, and my sons, were able to Visit, and Negotiate at the Different Courts of Europe. A Lady Replied (Though perhaps not from prescience, presentiment, or anything but presumption,) that you Must do this Work yourselves. And that she Expected from you, a pleasing Naration of the Different Customs Manners, Genius, and Taste of Nations with whom we were little acquainted.3
You have been absent almost a year, and None are yet arrived. You Must Remember sir, that when we are Descending a precipice, the Velocity is much more Rapid than when we Mount: Though Expectation points us to the summit, and hope spreads her Wings to accelerate our Motion.4
And if you postpone your Communications by the year, I Cannot Expect to Receive many, for if no premature stroke precipitates the Moment, the sun will not Revolve Many times round this Inconsiderable Globe, before I hope to tread the starry pavement, And Look Down with pity, on the Regalia of princes, the Empires of a Day, the pomp of Royalty, and Even the pride of Republican or Aristocratic Grandeur.
I Wrote you a long Letter Dated October 15th. which went in a packet Forwared by the Count De Estaign. It was Void of poetick Imagery, or any Flights of Fancy, but Contained many solemn Truths, which if that packet arrived safe, were doubtless Corroborated by better Hands.
I write this in a solitary Hour. Mr. Warren yet at the Navy Board, Exerting all the powers of a Good Head and an Excellent Heart, to put the affairs of the American Marine on a Respectable Footing: as far as { 276 } falls within His Department. We have hitherto been unfortunate by sea, the Causes shall leave for others to Investigate.
Mrs. Adams will Doubtless write you by this Conveyance.5 She has latly made me an agreable Visit, and I often see her on my way to the Capital: whither I Repair when I Can leave my little Family, which now Consists of only my two younger sons in the parlour, the three Elder being at an age that makes it proper they should leave the parental Roof. Probably you do not Remember any of them, but I shall in a few days have a young person with me, whom you will Never forget, one Miss Naby Adams, who I Expect will spend the Winter at Plimouth.6
There are Certain Moments in the lives of the Greatest philosophers, and polititians, when the Mind is Relieved, and Gathers fresh Vigour, from some trivial interruption accidentally Thrown in the way.
This Reflection quiets the Bussy Monitor within, who sometimes Wispers, why do you Break in (by Recounting the uninteresting occurrances that fall in your way) on the important Moments of a Gentleman whose time is not his own.
And I wish the same Reflection would have an influance on Him so far as to unbend his Mind Enough to write a person very Avaritious of the Notices of the Worthy, and of Every Attainable Means of improvement in this scanty portion of Existence.
This Gos by Capt. Landais of the Alliance with whom I have a son.7 I took up my pen Intending only a few lines to let you know Notwithstanding the Convulsions of Nations, the Fluctuation of Events, And the Vicissitudes of time, there are yet a few, a very few, of Your acquaintance whom you most Esteemed in the Days of Tranquility who Remain Invariably the same. Nor Can I lay it down, till I have told you that both you, and your Country have lost a Friend in the Death of Coll. Otis: who after long and patiently waiting to be Called from his; post, Bid Adieu to Mortality, the 9th of Nov. 1778.
When He paid this last Debts to Nature, both public and private Virtue Might justly Mourn the Deseased patron, while a large tribute of Gratitude Mingle'd with tears, is Due to the Memory of an Excellent Father, from your unfeigned Friend and Humble servant
[signed] Marcia Warren
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mrs Warren. December 15th 1778.” Tr (MHi: Mercy Warren Letterbook). For the nature of the transcript, see Mercy Warren's letter to JA of 15 Oct., descriptive note (above).
1. Mercy Warren's reference is to JA's letter to AA of 25 April (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:17).
2. In the transcript, to this point, this { 277 } sentence was altered to read: “I claim it as my right, doubtless you will accede to the validity of the claim, when you recollect that six years ago, by the Plymouth fire side, where many plans originated, and were discussed and digested, you observed in a moment of dispondency that.”
3. In the transcript an additional sentence was added: “You assented a compliance, if the prediction took place.” Compare Mercy Warren's remarks in this paragraph with those made in the next to last paragraph of her letter to JA of 10 March 1776, as well as with the passage added to that paragraph in the transcript of that letter (vol. 4:49–52, and note 4).
4. In the transcript, “Thus time in advance is beheld with rapture by youth, while age looks back with regret on the past” was added.
5. This was AA's letter to JA of 13 Dec. (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:135–136).
6. AA2 visited the Warrens in Plymouth from about 20 Dec. 1778 to 9 April 1779 (see Adams Family Correspondence, 4:index).
7. James Warren Jr. was about to sail as a 1st lieutenant of marines on board the Continental frigate Alliance (Charles R. Smith, Marines in the Revolution, Washington, 1975, p. 475).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0188

Author: Lee, William
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-12-15

William Lee to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

I had the Honour of writing to you the 9th instant and then mention'd the Congress that it is generally beleived will take place this Winter between Ministers from the Courts of Versailles and Petersburg to accommodate the difference between the Emperor and King of Prussia; and that I was inform'd G. Britain had prevail'd on the Court of Petersburg to endeavour at the same time to mediate a Peace between France and G. Britain, and from farther information I have reason to beleive that G. B. has certainly such a plan in agitation. Reflecting on this business it occurr'd to me that it wou'd be serviceable for America to have an Agent at this Congress, who might counteract the schemes of G. B. and if it was not in his power to bring Russia entirely over to our interests, her attachment to our Enemies might be renderd less forceable.
For this purpose I conceive in the present State of things, a Stranger might be able to render us more service, than an American, and therefore I have sounded a Gentleman on the Subject, who is now in the King of Prussias Service, and has been formerly employed by his Majesty in some negotiations with the Court of Petersburg. His reply is as follows, “Dans ce cas la il falloit m'employer sous Mains, ou publiquement. Si je dois le faire publiquement, il seroit necessaire de quitter le service du Roi. Si je puis le faire avec avantage je ne hesiterois pas; alors il falloit me marquer les conditions pour lesquelles je devois sacrifier mon Poste. Je crois de puvoir etre utile au Congrès dans ses differentes negociations avec les Cours du Nord, connoissant les affaires, le façon de trailer, et meme presque la plupart des Ministres. Si { 278 } je devois agir sous mains, je serai prêt d'observer l'interet des Americains à le Congrès qu'aura lieu pour terminer les differences entre les puissances de l'Europe. Aussi dans ce cas la il falloit des conditions acceptable. Je ne pourrai pas aller et demeurer qu'aux frais de Congres Americain et outre cela les Etats Unies pourroient me gratifier à mesure de mes services et de leurs effets. Si je travail sous main sans pouvoir venir au bout sans me declarer comme chargé d'affaire il me sera permis de me decharger dabord de ma Commission pour ne pas perdre mon tems et causer des depenses inutilement. Ou si on veut que je me déclare du moins clandestinement au Roi, comme Commissaire des Etats-Unis, et que cela ne pourroit pas subsister avec le service du Roi, il faudroit me garantir un dedommagement avec avantage pour pouvoir prendre ma demission et me sacrifier uniquement au Service du Congrès.”1
Thus you have the Gentlemans propositions and if you are of opinion with me, that the measure is in itself adviseable, I would beg leave to offer as my Idea, that he should be engaged to attend the Congress and act, as an unauthorized individual, under such instructions as you may think proper to give him with a reasonable allowance for his expences, and a promise that if his negotiation is succesful he will be fully recommended to Congress for an adequate reward. I shall not proceed farther in this business without your concurrence and therefore beg your answer as soon as is convenient.
That you may not be surprized at my not mentioning the Gentlemans Name, 'tis necessary to say, that it is at his desire, his Name is concealed until your determination is known; but I can assure you that he is a Gentleman of reputation, a Man of Literature and an author of approved Fame.2
I have the Honour to be with great Regard Gentlemen your most Obedient & most Hble Servt.
[signed] W: Lee
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “Hon. Wm. Lee. ans Jay 13. 1779.”
1. Translation: In this case I should be used either under cover or publicly. If I am to do the work publicly, I would have to leave the service of the King. If I can do so to advantage, I will not hesitate, in which case the reasons why I should give up my present position should be indicated. I think I could be very useful to [the American] Congress in its various negotiations with the Northern Courts, since I know their concerns, their manner of negotiating, and even most of their ministers. If I were to act secretly, I would be prepared to look after the interests of the Americans at the Congress which will meet to end the differences between the European powers. In this case, too, the conditions would have to be acceptable. I could not go and remain except at the expense of the American Congress and, in addition, the United States would have to compensate me proportionately for my services and their effects. If I work secretly, unable to iden• { 279 } tify myself as a chargé d'affaires, I should first be permitted to discharge my present commission in order that I not waste time and money. Or, if I was to declare myself, at least in a clandestine fashion, to the King as Commissioner of the United States, and this function could not coexist with being in the King's service, then I should be guaranteed advantageous compensation to enable me to tender my resignation and dedicate myself solely to the service of [the American] Congress.
2. The agent proposed by Lee remains unidentified.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0189

Author: Schweighauser, John Daniel
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-12-15

J. D. Schweighauser and Others to the Commissioners

[salute] Honbl. Gentlemen

We are favour'd with yours of the 5th. instant together with duplicates of your favours of the 11th and 27 Ultimo.1 The original of the first never came to hand, the last we received in due course of post.
We hold ourselves greatly obliged to you for the trouble you have taken, in endeavouring to obtain a sufficient Convoy, for the Vessels bound to America, for the whole Voyage.
We have been honoured with a letter from the Secretary of State for the Marine, informing us that he could not grant a Convoy farther than Cape-Finister, and as we did not look upon one, that far, and no farther, as an object worthy our attention, we had given up all thoughts of renewing our application, until we were honoured with yours of the 27th which has revived our hopes, and we flatter ourselves that it may be in your power to procure a Convoy to the westward of the western Islands2 if not for the whole Voyage.
In our former letter3 we mentioned that the Vessels would be in readiness by the end of the last month, many of them were ready to sail at that time, and have waited ever since for a favourable opportunity of geting out, and as your honours must be sensible that the trade cannot be carried on to the advantage of either Country, unless it is properly protected, we have not the smallest doubt, but that you will take every step in your power to procure a sufficient Convoy as soon as possible, by which means America will be supplied with a large quantity of goods, and many of us get safe to our desired homes.
We have the honour to be with great Esteem and Respect Honbl. Gentlemen Your most obedient and most humble Servants
[signed] J. Dl. Schweighauser
[signed] Danl. Blake
[signed] Cha. Ogilvie
[signed] Phil Rd. Fendall
[signed] John Lloyd
[signed] Josiah Darrell
[signed] J. Grubb
[signed] Matthew Mease
[signed] Jno. Gilbank
[signed] Robert Elliot
[signed] H. Thompson
{ 280 }
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed, not by JA: “from several Gentn. at Nantes Dec. 15. 78.”
1. The Commissioners' letter of 5 Dec. (LbC, Adams Papers) merely transmitted their letters of 11 and 27 Nov., neither of which is printed, but see Schweighauser and Others to the Commissioners, 7 Nov., note 2; and Arthur Lee to Benjamin Franklin and JA, 28 Nov. (both above).
2. Presumably the Azores.
3. That of 7 Nov. (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0190

Author: Vernon, William Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-12-17

From William Vernon Sr.

[salute] Dear sir

The foregoing of the 22nd. of Octr. is copy of my last. Being yet without any of your favors, since you left N. England gives me Pain, for many Reasons, that are too delicate to touch upon; I hope my Son, has not forfeited your friendship, by ill conduct and mis-behaviour.
Since my last, we have lost the Brigantine Resistance that was given to Capt. Burke. She was sent out as far as Cape Cod, to look for Count de Estaings Fleet, that was expected here, after the Rhode Island expedition was given up, missing of them, he stood to the Southward, and the Third day fell in with Lord Hows Fleet, who captured him?
We have now in this Harbour, the Continental ships, Warren, Providence, Boston, Queen of France, and the Dean, the last full Man'd and ready to sail, the Others are in great forwardness and may sail in Three Weeks, if it was possible to get Men for them, which we shall never be able to accomplish, unless some method is taken to prevent desertion, and a stopage of Private ships sailing, until our ships are Man'd, their infamous practice of seduceing our Men to leave the ships, and taking them off at an out Port, with many other base methods, will make it impossible ever to get our ships, ready to sail in Force, or Fleets, or perhaps otherwise then single ships, from whom we cannot expect any great matters; indeed it hath generally proved fatal—I wish, I hope and pray for an Embargo, upon all Private ships, whether Arm'd or Merchants ships may take Place thro' the United States, until the Fleet is Man'd.2 This is the only method, that can be taken—they elude our utmost efforts at Present; and at a most enormous expence, it was truely great before you left us. But you can scarsely form an Idea of the increase and groth of the extravagancy of the People in their demands for Labour &c. Dissipation hath no bounds at present, when or where it will stop, I dare not predict.
The ship Built at Norwich is given to Capt. Harding and call'd the Confederacy, near ready to sail, she is a fine Frigate, its said exceeds the Alliance if possible?3
{ 281 }
The Trumbul remains in Connecticut River, perhaps may never be able to get out of that hole, unless Camels are built to carry her out.4
The Ranger at Portsmouth, in good forwardness. I think. Capt. Simpson will be able to get his Men for that ship very soon?
The Two ships that were sunk in the Deleware their upper Works burn't by the Enemy are now got up, and fitting at Phila.5
The Brigantine Genl. Gates and sloop Providence, are out upon a Cruise—thus you have a general state of remains of the Navy.
I have taken up much of your Time in this detail. If its any satisfaction to you, I shall have pleasure in being your most Obedt. Hble. servt.
[signed] Wm Vernon
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr. Vernon 177<9>8”; in a different hand: “October 22d.” This letter begins on the second page of the recipient's copy, being preceded by a triplicate of Vernon's letter of 22 Oct. (above).
1. JA did not receive this letter until his return to Paris in 1780 (JA to Vernon, 16 March 1780, RNHi: Vernon Papers).
2. Vernon's is an accurate account of the problems faced by the Continental Navy in its competition with privateers for seamen. Privateers offered the prospect of less discipline and more prize money because they concentrated on destroying commerce and avoided, whenever possible, battles with enemy naval vessels. Embargoes, bounties, advances on pay, and the equalization of the prize shares alloted the crewmen of privateers and naval vessels had no lasting effect. For a more detailed discussion of the issues raised by Vernon, see Charles O. Paullin, The Navy of the American Revolution, Cleveland, 1906, p. 144–149; Allen, Naval Hist. of the Amer. Revolution, p. 48–51.
3. The Confederacy was launched on 8 Nov. at Norwich, Conn., and in Dec. was at New London being outfitted for sea. It displaced 959 tons and was armed with 28 twelve-pounders and 8 six-pounders, while the Alliance was 900 tons with 28 twelve-pounders and 8 nine-pounders (Dict. Amer. Fighting Ships).
4. The Trumbull, launched in 1776 at Chatham, Conn., was not floated over the sand bar at the mouth of the Connecticut River until the summer of 1779. Then, as Vernon suggested, it was done by the use of “Camels,” large casks filled with water which were tied to the vessel's sides and pumped dry to reduce the draft (Allen, Naval Hist. of the Amer. Revolution, 2:498).
5. For the burning of the Effingham and the Washington, see Vernon's letter to JA of 20 May, and note 5 (vol. 6:143, 144). The congress resolved on 8 April 1779 to sell, rather than repair, the hulks (JCC, 13:432).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0191

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, Mercy Otis
Date: 1778-12-18

To Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] Madam

A few days ago I had the Pleasure of your obliging letter of the 15 of October. It came by the Post, and single, not a line from any other Person, so that I know not by what means it reach'd L'orient. It was not, however the less welcome to me, its intrinsic Excellence, would have recommended it, whoever had written it. The Merit of the writer would have made it dear to me if the Letter itself had been indifferent, a supposition not very easy to make in this case.
{ 282 }
I am sorry very sorry for our Common Country that the unshaken Patriot you mention should think of retiring but I cannot blame him because my own thoughts are constantly running the same way and I am determined with submission to do the same thing.
I hope however Madam that there is not so total a change of Manners, as some appearances may indicate, paper Currency fluctuating in its Value will ever produce appearances in the Political, commercial, and even the Moral World, that are very shooking1 at first sight, but upon Examination they will not be found to proceed from a total Want of Principal but for the most part from Necessity.
Who will take the helm Madam, and indeed who will build the ship I know not but of one thing I am well convinced that a great part of the Evils you mention arise from the neglect to model the constitution and fix the Government. These things must be finished, and the dispute who shall be the head, is much less important than whether we shall have any. I am happy Madam to learn that so many of the most respectable strangers have had an opportunity to visit you. I am pleased with this because it has given you an opportunity of speculating upon those illustrious characters, and because it has given them an opportunity of observing that their new Ally can boast of Female Characters equal to any in Europe.
I have not the honor to know Mrs. Holker, she lives at Rouen at a distance however I have gratified Mr. H's father with a sight of his sons Portrait drawn by a Lady, which he could not read without the tears gushing from both his eyes.
As to Portraits Madam I dare not try my hand as yet. But my Design is to retire, like my Freind, and spend all my leisure hours in writing a history of this revolution. And with an Hand2 as severe as Tacitus, I wish to god it was as eloquent, draw the Portrait of every character that has figured in the business. But when it is done I will dig a Vault, and bury the Manuscript, with a positive injunction, that it shall not be opened till a hundred years after My Death.
What shall I say, Madam, to your Question whether I am as much in the good graces of the Ladies as my venerable Colleague. Ah No! Alas, Alas No.
The Ladies of this Country Madam have an unaccountable passion for old Age, whereas our Country women you know Madam have rather a Complaisance3 for youth if I remember right. This is rather unlucky for me for I have nothing to do but wish that I was seventy years old and when I get back I shall be obliged to wish myself back again to 25.
{ 283 } { 284 }
I will take the Liberty to mention an anecdote or two amongst a multitude to shew you how unfortunate I am in being so young. A Gentleman introduced me the other day to a Lady. Voila, Madame, says he, Monsieur Adams, notre Ami, Le Colleague de Monsieur Franklin! Je suis enchante de voir Monsieur Adams. Answer'd the Lady. Embrassez le, donc. Reply'd [the Gentleman]. Ah No, Monsieur, says the Lady, il est trop jeune.4
So that you see. I must wait patiently, full 30 years longer before I can be so great a favorite.
Madam I can give you no news. The Lords and Commons have refused to <Comply> censure5 the Manifests6 of the Comissionners. That unhappy Nation are going on in their Frenzy, but there is an awfull Gloom and Melancholy among them and with reason. I am Madam with every sentiment of Respect your affectionate Freind and humble servant
[signed] John Adams
Mrs. Warren will pardon my sending her a Letter, in another Hand Writing when she knows, that a little Friend of hers is the Clerk, who desires to send his profound Respects.
RC in JQA's hand (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “J Adams Esqr Decr 18th 1778 Passy.” LbC (Adams Papers). This letter was copied by JQA from the Letterbook and is, with another of the same date to AA (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:138–139), the first known instance in which JQA acted as his father's secretary. The emendations indicated below, the signature, and the postscript are by JA.
1. JQA's misreading of “shocking.”
2. The preceding four words were interlined by JA to correct an omission by JQA from the Letterbook.
3. JQA misread this word as “Complisance.” JA interlined the missing “a.”
4. Although JA corrected most of JQA's misreadings and omissions, he unaccountably did nothing about JQA's revisions in punctuation. Such changes as JQA made have little, if any, effect on the reading of this letter, except in regard to this anecdote, which is almost impossible to understand without reference to the Letterbook copy. As a result, the punctuation and the bracketed words, beginning at “Voila,” are supplied from the Letterbook.
5. In the Letterbook the word is “censure.” JA interlined his correction of JQA's misreading.
6. “Manifesto” in the Letterbook.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0192-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-12-18

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners

[salute] Messieurs

J'ai vu notre Ami. Il y a deux Committés, pour besogner, l'un sur de nouvelles plaintes auxquelles les Anglois viennent de donner lieu; l'autre sur la réponse à faire au Mémoire de Mr. l'Ambassadeur de France, dont je vous ai envoyé copie.1 On ne saura le résultat que la semaine prochaine.
On m'a envoyé d'Amsterdam, afin d'en faire part au Congrès, la { 285 } Protestation imprimée de cette ville contre la Resolution du 18. Cette importante Piece est de 20 pages in folio.2 Ainsi j'aurai bien à faire avant avoir traduit, et tiré copie double et triple, &c.
Si l'on ne fait pas une réponse satisfaisante à la France, Amsterdam protestera encore.
L'Amirauté, disoit-on, ne donneroit son Préavis pour une Résolution, que la semaine prochaine; mais les mesures étoient secrettement prises pour en faire passer un ce matin, où l'on promet de belles choses à la France, sans rien changer, en attendant, au Convoi refusé pour les provisions navales. Mr. l'Ambassadeur en ayant eu le vent, est allé remettre aujourd'hui, de grand matin, au g. P., avant qu'il sortît pour l'Assemblée, une note si énergique, que je ne crois pas qu'on pourra éviter, après cela, de donner une réponse précise, un oui ou un non, qui conservera aux sept provinces le Commerce de la France, ou qui le leur fera perdre.
Malgré la note de Mr. l'Ambassadeur, le parti Anglois a prévalu dans l'Assemblée, et tous, excepté Amsterdam, ont adopté, à la pluralité, l'avis de l'Amirauté. Là-dessus Amsterdam a délivré sa Protestation, dans laquelle confirmant ses précédentes Protestations, et spécialement celle contre la Résolution du 18 Nov., elle déclare en outre, se tenir non responsable et déchargée de toutes les suites désavantageuses à la republique que pourra avoir la réponse non Satisfactoire qui va être donnée à la France. Notre Ami m'a fait lire ce Protest, qui est court, et aussi modéré quant à la forme, que fort quant à la chose.3
On m'a laissé prendre copie de la résolution et de la protestation. On m'a assuré de très bonne part, qu'une Lettre du Comte de Welderen est arrivée, par laquelle la Cour de Londres n'est pas contente non plus de la résolution prise par cet Etat le 18 Nov. Ainsi, ceux qui ont voulu tant ménager la dite Cour sont bien mal payés de leur complaisance. [N'ou]vriront-ils-pas les yeux [à la] fin? Je n'en sais rien. Ce qui est certain, [c'est] que la Résolution prise par la pluralité des Etats d'Holl[ande le] 19 de ce mois, n'a pas encore été portée aux Etats-Generaux. L'Assemblée d'Hollande, qui devoit se séparer cette semaine, a été ajournée à Mardi prochain. Les Députés de Villes partiront Jeudi. Vont-ils chercher de nouvelles Instructions, pour une autre réponse, que Mr. l'Ambassadeur de France puisse recevoir? Cela sepeut. Il n'y a que ceux d'Amsterdam qui restent ici, parce qu'ils n'ont pas besoin d'ad referendum:Stat sententia civitatis.4
{ 286 }
La Lettre de l'Envoyé Comte de Welderen consiste dans le Reglement de la Cour Britannique qui lui a été remis par Suffolk, par lequel les Vaisseaux de Roi et Armateurs Britanniques sont autorisés à saisir tous les Navires neutres portant en France des munitions de guerre terrestre, ou navales, c'est-à-dire, mâts, &c. Ce Reglement est directement contraire à la résolution du 18 Nov., par laquelle les Etats refusent de laisser mettre en question cet Article, que les Traités leur assûrent.
En attendant que je puisse, Messieurs, vous donner le dénouement de tout cela, je crois devoir vous faire part d'une Lettre singuliere qui m'a été écrite et de ma réponse. L'Ecrivain, Avocat, et frere du Fiscal du Conseil d'Etat, vint en Carosse la laisser lui-même à ma porte avec un paquet et une Carte de visite. Parmi les Pieces du Procès étoit aussi copie d'une Lettre qui vous a été écrite l'année passée, et de votre réponse Messieurs, au sujet d'un vaisseau Hollandois de Rotterdam, pris en mer, conduit et déclaré bonne prise à Charlestown.5
Je fus chez Lui en conséquence; il me dit qu'il étoit lui-même l'un des Interessés dans ce Navire; qu'il y étoit pour 10,000 florins &c. Enfin il me dit Mais Monsieur, Vous avez pourtant été chargé de quelque affaire auprès des Etats; du moins elle a passé par vos mains; on me l'a assuré positivement. Je répondis: Si cela étoit, je serois bien indiscret de le dire. Mais, Monsieur, croyez en ma Lettre; faites-en l'usage qu'il vous plaira: montrez-là à Mr. le G. P. et à tout autre, qui vous instruiront mieux que moi de ce que vous voulez savoir.
J'ai fait part de tout cela à G. F. qui m'a fort approuvé.
J'ai porté cette Lettre avec moi à Amsterdam où certaines personnes [ . . . ] conférer avec eux sur des entreprises qui pourroient être très favorables à l'Amérique. [Je] donnerai les mouvements nécessaires pour porter [à un?] certain point de maturité, avant de vous en pa[rler?] Demain je repartirai pour la Haie, d'où je vous apprendrai ce qui aura été résolu quant à la réponse à faire à la Cour de france. Je suis avec un très grand respect, Messieurs, Votre très-humble et très-obeissant serviteur
[signed] Dumas

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0192-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-12-18

C. W. F. Dumas to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

I have seen our friend. There are two committees: one to work on the new British complaints; the other on the response to be given to the French Ambassador's mémoire, of which I sent you a copy.1 We will not know the result until next week.
{ 287 }
The protest published by Amsterdam against the resolution of the 18th was sent to me so that I might send a copy to Congress. This important document is 20 pages in folio.2 I will thus have much work to do, first translating it and then having it copied in duplicate and triplicate &c.
If a satisfactory response is not made to France, Amsterdam will protest again.
We were told that the Admiralty would not give its preliminary advisory regarding the resolution until next week, but measures were secretly taken to issue one this morning that promises fine things to France without, in the meantime, changing anything regarding the refusal of convoys for naval stores. Early this morning the Ambassador, having heard of it, visited the Grand Pensionary, before he left for the Assembly, to deliver a note so strong that I do not think that it will be possible to avoid giving a precise yes or no answer, which will either maintain or destroy the commerce of the seven provinces with France.
Despite the Ambassador's note, the English party has prevailed in the Assembly, and all but Amsterdam have adopted by a plurality the Admiralty's position. Thereupon Amsterdam delivered its protest which, after confirming her previous protests, especially against the resolution of 18 November, declared that she considers herself not responsible for and thus free from all the unfavorable consequences for the Republic that might result from the unsatisfactory answer to be given to France. Our friend made me read this protest which is as short and moderate in form as it is strong in content.3
I have been permitted to make a copy of both the resolution and the protest. On good authority I have been assured that a letter from Count Walderen has arrived which indicates that the Court of London is no longer content with the resolution taken by this state on 18 November. Thus have those who were so eager to spare the said Court been badly paid for their complaisance. Will they not finally open their eyes? That I do not know. What is certain is that the resolution taken by a plurality of the States of Holland on the 19th of this month has not yet been brought before the States General. The Assembly of Holland, which was to separate this week, has been adjourned to next Tuesday. The delegates of the towns will leave Thursday. Are they going to seek new instructions for another response that the French ambassador can receive? It is possible. Only the Amsterdam delegates remain, for they do not need ad referendumstat sententia civitatis.4
The letter from the Envoy, Count Welderen, contains the order of the British Court, given him by Suffolk, by which the Royal Navy and British privateers are authorized to seize all neutral vessels carrying mu• { 288 } nitions for land or naval forces, that is to say masts, &c., to France. This ruling is directly contrary to the resolution of 18 November, in which the States refused to call into question this article guaranteed them by their treaties.
Until I can give you, gentlemen, the outcome of all this, I think that I should inform you of a curious letter that I received and my reply. The writer, a lawyer and brother of the State Council's fiscal agent, came by coach to deliver it, together with a package and a visiting card. Among some legal documents, gentlemen, was a copy of a letter written to you, last year and your reply regarding a Dutch vessel from Rotterdam, captured at sea, taken into Charleston, and there declared good prize.5
As a result, I went to see him and was told that he was one of those interested in the vessel, having invested 10,000 florins, etc. Finally, he said to me: But sir, you have nevertheless been entrusted with some business matters by the States or, at least, they have passed through your hands. I have positive assurances of it. I replied: if that was so, I would be very indiscreet to admit it. But, sir, please believe my letter; make whatever use of it you please; show it to the Grand Pensionary or anyone else, who will tell you far better than I what you wish to learn.
The Grand Facteur, to whom I told all this, fully approved.
I carried this letter with me to Amsterdam, where certain persons [had invited me?] to confer with them on some undertakings which could be very beneficial to America. [I] will make the necessary moves to bring [this matter to?] fruition before [speaking?] to you [about it?]. Tomorrow I leave for The Hague, whence I will inform you as to what will have been resolved regarding the answer to be given the French Court. I am, with very great respect, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas
RC (MH-H: Lee Papers). LbC (Algemeen Rijksarchief, The Hague, Eerste Afdeling, Dumas Coll., Inventaris I, p. 242–243). Water damage to the recipient's copy has resulted in the obliteration of several words. In the section of the letter dated 22 Dec. these have been supplied, in brackets, from the Letterbook copy. The section dated 28 Dec., however, does not appear in the Letterbook and missing words there are conjecturally supplied.
1. See Dumas' letter of 8 Dec. and note 2 (above).
2. For this pamphlet protesting the resolution of 18 Nov., see Dumas' letter of 20 Nov., note 1 (above). No translation by Dumas has been found.
3. The Duc de la Vauguyon's note or mémoire of 19 Dec., the Provincial Assembly's response, and Amsterdam's protest were copied by Dumas and sent to the Committee for Foreign Affairs as enclosures in his letter of 7 Jan. 1779 (PCC, No. 93, I, f. 258–259). For the text of an explanatory note to the mémoire of the 19th, see Dumas' letter of 12 Jan. to the Commissioners (below). In his note La Vauguyon demanded a precise explanation of the means by which the United Provinces intended to maintain a perfect neutrality and declared that the absence of such an explanation would be seen as partiality and result in the implementation of the measures promised in his mémoire of 7 Dec. The resolution { 289 } adopted by the Assembly in response to La Vauguyon's representations did not mention convoys for ships carrying materials for naval construction, the real issue, but only reiterated the Assembly's desire to maintain a perfect neutrality and intention to put the issue before the States General. Amsterdam's protest is summarized accurately by Dumas.
4. That is, to carry back an answer—the decision of their city stands.
5. This was a letter from Franco and Adrianus Dubbeldemutts to the Commissioners of 30 Oct. 1777. The Rotterdam firm sought the Commissioners' help in recovering its sloop Chester which, bound for Rotterdam with a cargo of dyewoods and hides, had been seized by American privateers on 14 June 1777 and brought to Charleston, S.C., where it was condemned. Because the privateers had put the Chester's captain ashore at St. Eustatius, he was unable either to testify concerning the sloop's ownership or appeal the ruling within the statutory time limit. In their reply of 10 Nov. 1777, the Commissioners deplored the seizure and promised to send all of the documents in their possession to the congress for its consideration. Not until 24 July 1786, however, did the congress authorize a new trial for the Chester (Franklin, Papers, 25:122–124, 147–148; PCC, No. 45, f. 93–254 passim; JCC, 30:423–424).
Immediately following this paragraph Dumas inserted copies of two letters, which have been omitted. The first, dated 4 Dec. 1778, was from H. J. d'Oldenbarneveld, also known as Witte Tullingh. Understanding that Dumas handled the interests of the Americans, had a commission from the congress, and was friendly with Franklin, Tullingh requested Dumas to use his influence for the recovery of the Chester. In the second, dated 6 Dec., Dumas denied that he held any such commission, but agreed to do what he could in the case.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0193-0001

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-12-18

The Comte de Vergennes to the Commissioners

L'on vient enfin de decouvrir, Messieurs, Les Effets du Dr. James Smith de New York.1 Ils sont a la Douane de Calais, et consistent en un Paquet contenant 12 Napes, 12 Couteaux et 12 fouchettes de fer, a Viroles d'Argent.2 Si M. Smith pretend introduire ces effets dans le Royaume, il ne Sauroit se dispenser d'en acquitter les Droits ordinaires, Mais Si Son Intention est de les renvoier en Amerique il Sera libre de le faire et n'aura aucune Droits a Payer, pourvû qu'il ait l'Attention de se pourvoir d'un Acquit a Caution.
J'ai l'honneur d'etre tres parfaitement, Messieurs, votre tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur
[signed] De Vergennes

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0193-0002

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-12-18

The Comte de Vergennes to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

The effects of Dr. James Smith of New York have, gentlemen, finally been found.1 They are at the customs office at Calais and consist of a package containing 12 table cloths and 12 knives and forks of iron with silver ferrules.2 If Mr. Smith plans to bring these goods into the Kingdom, he cannot avoid paying the regular charges, but if he intends to return them to America, then he will be free to do so without having to pay any charges, provided that he takes the trouble to obtain an Acquit à Caution.
{ 290 }
I have the honor to be very sincerely, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] De Vergennes
1. See Smith's letter to the Commissioners of 15 Nov., and notes 3 and 4 (above).
2. The following is a one-page document found in the Franklin Papers (PPAmP) and docketed: “Brought from M. Grand's to Passy, Decr 27th. 1778.”
List of Dr. Smith's Effects detain'd at
Calais.
2. Middle siz'd Diaper Table Cloths.
2. Ditto of Huckaback.
8. Diaper Breakfast Cloths.
1. Diaper Towel.
12. Green handle Knives and Forks tiped with Silver.
The whole wrapped up in an Ell of Crocus.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0194

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1778-12-19

To James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

It is unhappy that So many People in America, should perswade themselves that the Ennemy intend to evacuate New York and Rhode Island. This opinion cannot fail to damp their Ardour, and Slacken their Nerves. But you may depend upon it, they mean no such Thing. On the Contrary it is their unalterable Resolution, to maintain the Possession of both, as long as they can. Indeed either without the other would be in a manner useless to them. Without Rhode Island, their Fleet could not remain in the United States, during the Winter—Without New York and the Resources of Provisions from Long Island, Staten Island, and frequent Excursions into the Jerseys, for Depredation, they could not well subsist their Army. It is therefore certain that they will keep both, untill you destroy or captivate them all.
They have it now in Contemplation to fortify New York at a vast Expence and if they do this, they will oblige you to keep a great Army constantly up, Winter and summer at an infinite Expence, without being able to prevent them from making frequent Inroads upon you by Surprise, pillaging, burning and laying Waste.
There have been great Debates in the two Houses of Parliament, concerning the Manifesto of the Commissioners, and the Minorities appear to have a just Sense of its horrid Nature, but it has been Sanctifyed by triumphant Majorities in both, and it is past a doubt, that the Cabinet intend to execute it as far as they shall be able. Burn the sea coast and massacre upon the Frontiers, is now the Cry. This will harrass, distress, exhaust, and at length divide, and then Will conquer for think of it as you will the Hope of Conquest is not yet given up.
{ 291 }
Ministers, Ambassadors, Generals, Admirals are all together by the Ears, in England, accusing, reproaching, and threatning each other.1 No allies their Fleet rotten, Army small, Funds low, gloomy, desponding Stupid, yet all together dont discourage Administration.
There has been no Engagement between the two Fleets, since the first, and I fancy there will not be another, very Soon. The attention of both Nations turns towards the Islands in the West Indies.
You have all the Intelligence from Holland, from the Same Hand which sends it here.2 There is a monarchical, and a Republican Party there, from which division, as their Constitution requires Unanimity We are Safe from their taking Part against Us, but I fear We may infer from it too that they will not take a Part in our favour. Spain is as enigmetical as ever. We are impatiently waiting for Advice of your Determination upon foreign affairs, according to the Bruits propagated here, I expect to be recalled. Wherever I may be, I shall be your Friend.
1. For JA's more detailed comments on these controversies, as well as the debates in Parliament mentioned above, see his letter to Francis Dana of 25 Dec., and notes (below).
2. C. W. F. Dumas.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0195

Author: Schweighauser, John Daniel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-12-19

From J. D. Schweighauser

[salute] Sir

In compliance with your order1 I have made enquiries for a Vessell bound to Boston but have found none—during my search I was told Yesterday that Cap. McNeil was lately arrived and imediately sent to know when he would take your few articles. He told me that it is true he offered it while his Ship laid at L'Orient, but that since that time he had taken-in, goods and Passengers and that he had no room left. I expressed my surprize and represented to him that one hogshead more or less was not an object in such a Ship as his,—but he repeated his refusal—which puts me under the necessity of waiting for another occasion at which time I shall take care to have them shipt in due time. I am most respectfully Sir Your mo. humble & mo. obedient Servant
[signed] J. Dl. Schweighauser
1. JA had written on 8 Dec. (LbC, Adams Papers) to ask Schweighauser to send wine, sugar, and tea to Braintree by the first available ship. JA's letter is largely quoted in the notes to his letter to AA of 9 Dec., informing her of his intention (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:131). Schweighauser had acknowledged JA's request on 12 Dec. (Adams Papers). It is not known whether these goods were actually sent or ever received.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0196-0001

Editorial Note

The Commissioners' letter or memorial to Vergennes of early January 1779 is highly significant. Despite its long dissertation on the evils of the Carlisle Commission's manifesto of 3 October 1778 and its appeal for a French declaration to counter the manifesto's effects, the principal object of the letter was the dispatch of naval reinforcements to America. John Adams later wrote to Elbridge Gerry (11 Sept. 1779, below), that it represented the culmination of Adams' long effort to persuade his colleagues that an appeal to the French government for additional aid was necessary. He had pursued that objective since October, when he engaged in conversations with Ralph Izard and Edmé Jacques Genet on the subject and had been encouraged by the latter, in a letter of 29 October (above), to compose a memorandum that might be submitted to the appropriate ministers.
Adams wrote such a paper (to Genet, 31 Oct., above), but did not send it because, as he stated in his letter to Gerry, he determined that the participation of Benjamin Franklin and Arthur Lee was needed to give the appeal additional impact. Such unified support was not automatic, particularly in the case of Franklin, because implicit in a request for additional naval forces was a criticism of France's past efforts, an echo of American criticism of Admiral Estaing for his failures at New York and Newport earlier in 1778. For this reason presumably, Adams told Gerry, Lee entered into the project with “zeal,” while Franklin did so with “moderation.” What may have made such a letter more palatable to Franklin was the Carlisle Commission's manifesto, which by December had become an issue, as can be seen in Ralph Izard's letter to Adams of 22 December (below). The manifesto, proposing a change in the character of the war, justified an appeal for more naval aid, which would then not be seen as a criticism of previous French efforts.
{ 293 }
Upon that basis the drafting of the letter began in mid-December. Four drafts have been found, and there may have been a fifth that is not extant. The first draft was by Arthur Lee. According to John Adams in his letter to Gerry, Lee's draft was too short. As a result, Adams wrote in his Letterbook a second, much longer draft, which is printed as No. I. It became the basis for the letter as actually sent. Arthur Lee then copied John Adams' draft, incorporating insertions and deletions made in the course of its composition, thus producing a third draft on which Lee entered his alterations, while Franklin made his revisions in Adams' Letterbook. For a more detailed comment on these three drafts and the possibility that there was another, see the descriptive note to No. I. For a fourth extant draft, see the descriptive note to No. II.
The recipient's copy (No. II) shows the effects of intensive editing, being half as long as Adams' initial draft, with whole paragraphs removed, repositioned, or considerably shortened. Many changes were made for the sake of clarity or to avoid repetition, but protocol was the prime consideration in the decision to direct the letter to Vergennes rather than to Louis XVI. Other changes were of more substance, as for example, those in portions of the memorial that dealt with the French alliance, made to avoid any implication that the Commissioners' memorial was an ultimatum and that the lack of a favorable response to its requests would lessen the attachment of the United States to the alliance.
The Commissioners' letter brought no response from Vergennes beyond his reply of 9 January (below) acknowledging its receipt. Vergennes' decision to ignore the plan probably resulted from three considerations: his belief that French assistance was adequate; a plan, presumably unknown to the Commissioners, to invade England with a combined French and Spanish force in the event that Spain entered the war; and the French navy's size, which prevented any substantial augmentation of its forces in American waters at that time. It is significant that the request for “a powerful Fleet of thirty or forty sail” in Adams' Letterbook draft was scaled down in the recipient's copy to “sending of a powerfull Fleet sufficient to secure a naval superiority” (No. II, note 6).
Despite the lack of a positive response from Vergennes, John Adams did not abandon his belief that the dispatch of additional French ships was a necessity, as is apparent in his letter to Gerry in September 1779, as well as in the letters between him and Lafayette of 21 February and 9 April (both below). The drafts and the resulting letter to Vergennes provide a fascinating glimpse of the Commissioners' efforts to deal with the French government on a most sensitive issue: the amount of material aid to be supplied the United States.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0196-0002

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1778-12-20

I. John Adams' Draft of the Commissioners to the Comte de Vergennes

[salute] Sir

<Certain><The> Some late Proceedings of the common Ennemy, are of a Nature so extraordinary, and may if not in some Way or other controuled, produce Consequences so <disagreable>[injurious] not only to <all the belligerent Powers>[France and the United States], but by their Example to other Nations, that We have thought it our Duty, to Submit a few observations upon them, to <the>[your Excellency's] Superior Lights and Judgment <of his Majesty and his Council>.2
The Earl of Carlisle, Sir Henry Clinton and William Eden Esq. his Britannic Majestys Commissioners, appointed for Purposes Sufficiently known, have seen fit on the third day of October 1778 to publish a Manifesto in America, in which, among many other exceptionable Paragraphs (not necessary to be here remembered,) are the following (Words vizt.)
“But if there be any Persons, who divested of mistaken Resentments, and uninfluenced by Selfish Interests, really think that it is for the Benefit of the Colonies to Seperate themselves from Great Britain, and that So Seperated they will find a Constitution more mild, more free, and better calculated for their Prosperity, than that which they heretofore enjoyed, and which We are empowered and disposed to renew and improve; with Such Persons we will not dispute a Position, which Seems to be Sufficiently contradicted by the Experience they have had. But We think it right to leave them fully aware of the Change, which the maintaining Such a Position, must make in the whole Nature and future Conduct of this War; more especially when to this Position is added the PRETENDED Alliance with France. The Policy, as well as the Benevolence of Great Britain, have thus far checked the Extremes of War, when they tended to distress a People Still considered as our Fellow Subjects, and to DESOLATE a Country Shortly to become again a Source of mutual Advantage: But when that Country professes the unnatural Design, not only of estranging herself from Us, but of mortgaging herself and her Resources to our Ennemies, the whole Contest is changed; and the Question is, how far Great Britain may, by every Means in her Power, DESTROY or RENDER USELESS a Connexion contrived for her Ruin and for the Aggrandisement of France. Under Such Circumstances, the Laws of Self Preservation must direct the Conduct of Great Britain, and if the British Collonies are to become an ACCESSION to France, will di• { 295 } rect her to render that ACCESSION of as little avail as possible to her Ennemy.”
The Congress, on the Thirtyeth of October, in a Resolution, a Copy of which We have the Honour to inclose, holding in just abhorrence, the Threats in the British Manifesto, <unanimously determined> declared with great solemnity and perfect Unanimity, that if their Ennemies dared to execute their Manaces and persist in their Plan of Barbarity, that they would take a Vengeance So exemplary, as should deter all others, who might hereafter be under a Temptation to imitate Great Britain.3
Motions have been made in both Houses of the British Parliament, to address the King to disavow the barbarous Clauses in the Manifesto of his Commissioners <,>[;]<and We have read with Pleasure the virtuous Detestation of the wisest and best Men in that Nation against this Measure.> But these Motions have been rejected, by Majorities in both Houses, and the Manifesto Stands, avowed by King Lords and Commons, an eternal Monument of <their Revenge, their> Inhumanity, <their malevolent Passions> and <their anti> unchristian Policy.4
<The Artifice, of representing, that the united States, had mortgaged themselves and their Resources to France—[and that]5 the Connection between the two Countries [was] formed for the Ruin of Great Britain, is very obvious. They know full well, the Americans have made no Mortgages of themselves or their Resources, but for their own Preservation. That the Connection was not made for the Ruin of G.B. or for any Ruin, but for the Independance of the united States, which is but another Word, for their Preservation from Ruin.6 Indeed if the United States had formed an Alliance with France, for the Purposes of ruining Great Britain, it would have been but an Imitation of her Example, a Retaliation—and much more excuseable than her Alliances with Germans Indians, and Negroes for the Ruin of the United States—but.>
<The Artifice of calling that a pretended Alliance, which their own Feelings as well as their Consciences, attested and which the Interests of their Posterity will acknowledge to be a real Alliance, <is too litt> an Artifice so unworthy of any great Character, and much more so of Characters representing Nations and Sovereigns, is however So little important, as scarcely to be worth an observation.>7 That the Aggrandisement of France, would be a Consequence of this Connection, We acknowledge to have foreseen and <all> America would join with Us, <in [ . . . ] from> from her essential Interests as well as her Gratitude in avowing this is Part of the Proclamation. But G.B. must thank her own Injustice Ingratitude and Impolicy for this.
{ 296 }
The Declaration <amounts, to a formal annonciation><of>[announces] a Settled Design, to make their Utmost Exertions in the <horrid> barbarous Work of Conflagration and Massacre.8 There is to be “a Change in the Nature and Conduct of the War.” <We know of no>[A] Change for the Worse <that it is possible for them to make>[must be horrible indeed!]9<unless it be to burn every House they can put fire too, and to murder upon the Spot every Soldier at least if not every Woman and Child that unfortunately shall fall in their Way. Whether Such a Change would be for the Worse is a Point that may be disputed. This would put our People upon their Guard, and prevent their making so many Prisoners as they have, to be destroyed, by the lingering Torments of Hunger Cold, and Disease.>
<They have already burned [burnt] as many of our Towns, as they had Power <to burn>, and <dared> Courage to burn.> They have burned the beautiful Towns of Cha[r]lestown, Falmouth, <Bedford> Norfolk, Kingston, Bedford, and Egg Harbour and German Flatts.10 It is true they left Boston and Philadelphia, unburnt, but in all Probabi[li]ty, it was merely the dread of a Superiour Army, and of immediate Destruction that in these Cases restrained their Hands. Not to mention they have more Secret <treacherous> Friends in Boston <and> Philadelphia and New York than in all America besides.
They have not indeed hitherto murdered upon the Spot, every Woman and Child that unfortunately fell in their Way, nor have they in all Cases refused Quarter to the soldiers that at times have fallen into their Power, tho they have in <Some>[many]. <Yet they have gone great Lengths>[They have also done their utmost] in seducing Negroes and Indians to commit inhuman Bucheries, upon the Inhabitants, <in some Instances> Spearing neither Age nor sex, <or>[nor] Character.
<Alltho they have not in all Cases refused Quarter to the soldiers <they> and sailors <they have made Prisoners>[that have fallen into their hands.] Yet t>[T]hey have done what is perhaps worse [than refusing them quarter]. They have thrust <them>[the prisoners] into such Dungeons, <confined> loaded them <in> with such Irons, exposed them to such lingering Torments of Cold Hunger and Disease, as has probably destroyed greater Numbers than they could have <murdered>[had an Opportunity of murdering], if they had made it a Rule to give no Quarter. Many others they have in a most tyrannical and inhumane Manner compelled by Force, to serve and fight against their Relations and Countrymen, on Board their { 297 } ships<, a>[. A] Destiny to many brave and generous <Men> Minds more terrible than Death itself.
This is not exaggeration, but serious and melancholly Truth<, i>[. I]t is therefore difficult to comprehend, what they mean by a Change in the Nature and Conduct of the War. But there is no doubt to be made that they meant to be understood to threaten something, more cruel, more terrible and more desolating than any Thing they have yet done, greater Extreams of War <than we have yet felt>—Measures that shall distress the People <more>, and desolate the Country more, than any Thing We have yet felt.
All this is to be done to destroy and render Useless, our Connection with France, to prevent Us as an Accession to France, from becoming usefull to her, at least in any great degree.
<Here is a Change indeed of the Principle of the War.>[The object of the war is now entirely changd.] Heretofore their Massacres and Conflagrations, were to reclaim Us to Great Britain. [But] Now <indeed> despairing of that End, despairing of seducing, deceiving and dividing Us, the Sole Principle of their former Policy, and perceiving that We shall be faithfull to our Treaties, and consequently lost to them, their Principle now is by destroying Us to make Us <less usefull>[useless] to France.
<The Language here <is artfull>, Accession to France, is indeed artfull, but So grossly fallacious, that the <lowest> least discerning of the People for whom it was intended cannot be deceived by it. They meant to insinuate that our Connection with France, would make Us for the future an Accession to France in the Same manner, as We were formerly an Accession to Great Britain. They knew otherwise very well, and that the United States are no more an Accession to France, than Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, the Empire or any other Sovereign State in Alliance with her, or than Holland Portugal, Prussia or Russia is an Accession to Great Britain. Yet such are the Artifices that our Ennemies are capable of Using, and such is the Principle upon which our Destruction is to be accomplished if they can effect it.>
This Principle ought to be held in Utter Execration, not only by all Christians, but by all civilized Men and Nations. If it is once admitted as a Principle that Powers at War, have a Right to do whatever, will weaken or terrify an Ennemy, <there is no> or make him less powerfull it is not possible to foresee, where it will end. It would be very easy to burn the great Cities of Europe, and <this would weaken>[and bring infinite calamities on]11 the Nations to whom they belong. The Sav• { 298 } ages, who torture their Prisoners, do it to make themselves terrible <to> And their Ennemies less powerfull in Battle. In short all the Assassonations all the Horrors of the Savage ages,12 all the Desolations that in ancient times have been practiced by the Scourges of Mankind, may be introduced again and justified by this Shocking Principle.
The persevereing Cruelties of our Ennemies, have heretofore more than once exasperated the Minds of the People in America So much, as to excite Apprehensions that they would proceed to Retaliation, which if once commenced might be carried to horrible Extremities; to prevent which the Congress issued an Address exhorting to Forbearance and a farther Tryal by Examples of Generosity and Lenity, to recall their Ennemies to the Practice of Humanity amidst the Calamities of War. In Consequence of which neither the Congress of the united States, nor any of the States apart, have ever exercised or authorized the Exercise of <this> the Right of Retaliation. Their Ennemies however continued their Barbarities, till the issue of War turning against them, put one of their Armies, and <many thousands><Six> Several Thousands of other Prisoners into the Power of the States. From that time, till lately, their Conduct towards those Citizens of the united states, whom they had made Prisoners, was less Stained with atrocious <Insolence and> Inhumanity.13 At least their Cruelties were more disguised, under Professions of Care and Tenderness.
But Since they have found that all the Arts of their Commissioners could neither intimidate nor seduce the Congress nor the People,14 but that both are unalterably determined Not only to maintain their Sovereignty, but their Alliance with France, with perfect Faith, they have become outrageous,15 thrown off all Disguises, and the three Branches of their Government in the Face of all Europe, have avowed the Manifesto, Part of which We have before recited.
Congress, <in order still to restrain their impious Hand> have published their Manifesto in Answer, in order still if possible to restrain their impious Hands.
It is manifestly the Policy of the Common Ennemy, whatever may be their Pretences to disgust the People of America, with their new Alliance, by <convincing>[attempting to convince] them that instead of Sheilding them from future Distresses it has accumulated Additional Calamities upon them.16
Certainly nothing can more become any Character that is both great and good, than to stop the progress of their Cruelties, <and> disappoint their Purpose,17 and vindicate the Rights of human Nature and of all { 299 } Society, <with an> which with such shameless Boldness, are set at open Defyance by this <Savage> Proclamation.
We therefore beg Leave to suggest to Consideration, whether it would not be eligible for his Majesty to interfere, by some Declaration to the Court of London, and to the World, bearing Testimony against this barbarous Mode of War, and giving assurances that he will join the United States in practising Retaliation if G. Britain shall make it necessary.
There is another Measure, however, which would more effectually put a Stop to their new Mode of War, and seems to bid fairer than any other, to bring the whole War to a Speedy Conclusion,18 that of sending immediately to the Coast of America, a powerfull Fleet of Thirty or forty sail, to Secure a naval Superiority over the Ennemy in those Seas. Such a Measure as this, to all human Probability acting in Conjunction with the Armies of the United States, would take and destroy the whole of the British Power both by sea and Land, in that Country. It would put their Wealth and Commerce into the Power of France, and19 reduce her to the Necessity of Suing for Peace.
Upon a naval Superiority in those Seas depend, not only the rich Commerce of their Islands, and the Dominion of the Islands themselves,20 but the supply of the Armies and Fleets with Provisions and every Necessary.
The Ennemy have near four hundred Transport ships, constantly employed in the service of their Fleet and Army in America, passing backwards and forwards from New York and Rhode Island to England, Ireland, Nova Scotia, the West India Islands and other Places. Great Numbers of these would necessarily fall into the Hands of the French Fleet, and as Prizes go to a sure and Speedy Market in the United States. By this Means also great Numbers of Seamen, on board those Transports would fall into french Hands, a loss that England cannot repair.
It is conceived that it would be impossible for G.B. to send So great a Fleet, after the French into that part of the World. Their Men of War, now in Europe are too old too rotten, too ill manned, and their Masts and Yards are of two bad Materials to endure such a Navigation. The Impossibility of the English obtaining Provisions, Artists and Materials of every Kind in that Country, which would be easy for the French, makes it Still clearer that they cannot send so great an Additional Force to America. And furthermore the Fear of Spain's interfering with her powerfull Navy would restrain them. Whereas France has { 300 } little to fear in Europe from them, as the Numbers and Excellence of her Armies are an ample security against the feeble land Forces of Great Britain in Europe.
Such a naval Superiority in the American Seas, would farther, open immediately such Commerce between the United States, and the <West India Islands><<dutch and Spanish but especially the>> French West India Islands, as would be of great Utility to both, would give new Spirits and fresh Vigour to both, would enable our People to supply themselves with those European as well as West India Articles which they now most Want, and to send abroad Such of the Produce of the Country as they can Spare.
The late Speedy Assistance and Reperation of his Majestys Fleet under the Comte D'Estaing at Boston, will shew the Advantages which this Country must enjoy in carrying on a naval War, on a Coast friendly to her and hostile to her Ennemy. And these Advantages we trust will in future be much more Sensible, because the appearance of the Fleet this time was sudden and unexpected, and the last <Season>[Harvests] in that Part of the Country unfavourable.21
It is true that the Comte found a Difficulty in obtaining Bread at Boston. But <<this is no just objection, and>> as this <<Subject>>[Circumstance] may not be perfectly understood We beg Leave to enlarge a little in Explanation of it.
Of all the thirteen united States of America, the Massachusetts Bay alone, has never raised its own Bread. Their Soil or Air is unfavourable for the Culture of Wheat, and their Fisheries and other Branches of Trade, enabled them to import flour and Corn so easily from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, that it has been computed that about fifty-thousand People Inhabitants of the sea Port Towns Boston, Salem, Marblehead and Newbury Port, were annually fed with Corn imported, the Province not producing a sufficient Quantity for its Inhabitants.
Since this War commenced the Inhabitants have raised more grain than before but still not enough and they have supplied the Deficiency partly by Land in Waggons from Connecticutt and the state of New York, and partly by sea from Pensylvania, Maryland And Virginia, by small Vessells, with Skillfull Navigators which all the Vigilance of the British Frigates, has never been able wholly to prevent.
This Year unfortunately the southern States, for good Reasons of State however, had laid a Strict Embargo on Grain, which cutt off entirely this Channell of Supply from Boston. General Burgoines Army near 6000 Men, were at Cambridge, within a League of Boston and { 301 } must be Supplyed with Bread. So that in the Moment when his Majestys fleet arrived in Boston Harbour So great was the real Scarcity of Bread among the Inhabitants, and so great the fears of Famine arising from the sudden Addition of so great a Demand,22 probably a little fomented among Sailors by treacherous Individuals concealed23 as to produce the Insult and Injury, to some of the french Guards which every good Man in Boston laments and abhors. Yet notwithstanding, a sufficient Quantity was brought by Land. And We think it may be depended on that no fleet his Majesty may send, will ever want for Bread in any Part of the United States<.>[, especially if a little previous Notice is given of the Ports they may touch at.]
We beg leave before We close this long Memorial to observe, that altho the ruling Passion of Great Britain towards her Colonies was Contempt it is now most effectually changed towards the United States for another which is much more violent, we mean fear.
They fear the united States in Alliance with France as the most dangerous Rival that has ever risen against them. In the long Train of Consequences of American Independance they see or fancy that they see, <the> Canada, Nova Scotia and the Floridas following the other thirteen—their West India Islands in the Hands of the French—the Americans trading to the East Indies—the French and Americans drawing off their Fisheries both of Cods and Whales—the French obtaining all Kinds of Timber of Construction <and> naval stores, Masts and Yards, cheaper and of better Quality than they. Their Commerce and Consequently finances So diminished that they shall not be able to sustain <its> their Credit at its height, national Bankrupcy, and a Revolution in their Government. Nothing less than these frightfull objects Staring in their Faces could have produced, so <universal> general a Ratification of a Manifesto so outrageous as that We have been considering. And these will stimulate them to Exertions which will probably make more of these fearfull Apprehensions, Realities than would otherwise happen. But these Apprehensions, these Exertions, <and> the Passions they have excited in their own Breasts as well as in the Americans, added to the situation of the two Countries, and the Nature of their Commerce all conspire to induce Us to consider great Britain as likely to be <forever hereafter> for Ages our natural Ennemy, and consequently France as our natural Friend. And as it is obvious to all Europe, that nothing less is at stake in this Contest between France and England, than the Dominion of the Sea, at least the Superiority of naval Power, We do not expect that G.B. will easily give it up, or ever indeed without some decisive Effort, Some capital Stroke on the Part { 302 } of France. Such an Effort and such a Blow is the Measure of Sending a Great Fleet to America, which We have taken the Liberty to propose. With such an Exertion, We see nothing in the Course of human affairs, that can possibly prevent France from obtaining this naval Superiority, without delay. Without it the War may languish for many Years, to the infinite Distress of our Country to the exhausting both of France and England, and the Question at last left to be decided by another War.
We are the more zealous to represent these Things to <<his Majesty>>[your Excellency], as all our Correspondence from England for some Time past has uniformly represented, that the Intention of the Cabinet, is conformable to the Spirit of the Manifesto. That all Parties grow more out of Temper with the Americans, that it is become fashionable, with the Minority as well as with the Majority and the Administration to abuse Us, both in and out of Parliament. That all Parties perceiving that We are forever lost as fellow subjects, join in Speaking of Us, in the bitterest Terms and in heartily wishing We could be well chastised, that great Clamours are raised about our Alliance with France, as an unnatural Combination to ruin them. That Multitudes of Fictions are framed and propagated, to make it believed that the People of America, are weary of the Government of Congress, that there are great Dissentions in our Army, and that nothing is wanting to make the People desert France, and resign their Independance, but a Speedy and powerfull Reinforcement of Clintons Army and a Spirited Exertion of a Fleet with it—to make descents on the sea Coasts, while murdering and desolating Parties are let loose upon the Frontiers of the Carolinas, Virgini[a], Pensylvania, N.J., N.Y. and N. England. And that Very early in the Year, they will carry all these Projects into Execution, as far as they can, unless Spain should soon openly join its fleet to that of France, in which Case it is hardly credible that they should send any more of their Force out of Europe. That Strong Hopes are entertained that Spain will not join—That a pacific Negociation is going on with Spain, to cede Gibralter to her. That their best Politicians think it would be better to give Spain Gibralter than suffer the great Branches of the House of Bourbon to be confederated with America in a War against them. That all their Regiments of Infantry, are to be Sent in February to America to reinforce Gen. Clinton, and their Place supplied, by an Act of Parliament, obliging each Parish in the Kingdom to furnish a certain Number of Men, a Measure that if Ministers move it will certainly take Place.
This whole system, may as we <humbly> conceive be totally de• { 303 } feated, and the <whole> Power of Great Britain now in America, <totally> captivated or destroyed, even without the Interposition of Spain, which however We ardently wish, by the Measure We have proposed of sending thirty or forty ships of War forthwith to America.
There are two other Arguments in favour of this Measure, that We beg Leave to suggest.
The two principal sources of Unhappiness in America, at present, and the two principal Causes of Disputes <[ . . . ] Army, and among the People are> altho all these Controversies are very far from being dangerous, to the Confederation, are the <unhappy>[depreciated] state of their Currency, and the <inconsiderable>[remaining] Number of Persons who secretly wish from Sinister Motives to become again subject to G.B.
The Maintenance of such a Fleet in America, would circulate so much Cash and Bills of Exchange, there as would in a great Measure relieve them from the Evils of a depreciating Currency, and this Money would all return to France for Goods, thereby cementing the Connection and extending the Trade between the two Countries.
And the Appearance of such a Fleet would annihilate Toryism in every state in America.
LbC (Adams Papers). The Letterbook copy is a draft with numerous additions and deletions—in ink by JA and in pencil by Benjamin Franklin—and takes up eight full pages in the Letterbook, making it twice as long as the recipient's copy (No. II). Additions by Franklin are enclosed in double parentheses. JA's deletions are indicated by single angled brackets, while those by Franklin appear in double angled brackets. Where both marked a deletion, it is enclosed in triple angled brackets. The Letterbook copy constitutes the second extant draft, and proceeded from Arthur Lee's earlier, undated, and much shorter draft (MH-H: Lee Papers), with some deletions, on four pages, each approximately half the size of a page in JA's Letterbook. For portions of Lee's draft used by JA, see notes 13–21. A copy of a third draft, dated 20 Dec. 1778, is in PCC, No. 102, III, f. 1–10. It was made by Ludwell Lee, who, at the bottom of the final page, certified it “to be a true copy from the original Letter in possession of the Hble Arthur Lee Esqr.” The “original Letter” has not been found.
The draft in the PCC poses some problems when compared with the Letterbook and recipient's copies in determining when and by whom changes were made. The copy made by Arthur Lee from the Letterbook was clearly a third draft, for Ludwell Lee's copy of it incorporates the changes made by JA in the course of his drafting. It also includes, as interlineations, the changes that appear on the Letterbook copy in Benjamin Franklin's hand, indicating that Lee probably consulted the Letterbook after making his own changes and transferred those by Franklin to his copy. On the final page of Ludwell Lee's draft, however, there is a notation in Arthur Lee's hand stating that “the Paragraphs, parts and words marked were left out in { 304 } the letter that was sent. Those with a mark only, were Dr. Franklin's corrections; those with hooks [parentheses] added, Mr. Lee's.” Despite this, many of the changes that are in Franklin's hand on the Letterbook copy are enclosed in parentheses on the PCC copy, thus raising questions regarding who actually made what changes, a problem that the editors have been unable to resolve. Moreover, when the revisions made on the third draft are compared with those incorporated into the recipient's copy, it is clear that many of the changes were not entered on the draft. This may indicate that there was a later draft, now lost (for a fourth extant draft, see No. II), on which additional changes were indicated or that the unrecorded changes were made by JA when he recopied his draft to produce the final version of the letter. In order to facilitate comparisons between the Letterbook copy and the recipient's copy, major changes marked on the third draft are indicated in the notes that follow. For notes regarding matters of substance referred to in the draft, see No. II.
1. For this date, which is derived from the third extant draft, see the descriptive note.
2. On the third draft this paragraph was reduced in length and put into the form that appears in the recipient's copy.
3. This paragraph was followed by a wide gap, indicating that JA may have intended to add more, perhaps a quotation from the countermanifesto. In addition, on the third draft it and the preceding two paragraphs were marked for deletion, but the form of the single paragraph that replaces them in the recipient's copy was not indicated.
4. On the third draft this paragraph was reduced to a single sentence and put into the form that would appear in the recipient's copy.
5. Franklin's insertion was intended to replace the dash, which was not canceled.
6. To this point this paragraph was interlined in a wide gap between the preceding and succeeding paragraph. The remainder of the paragraph was written in the left margin and marked for insertion at this point.
7. The remainder of this paragraph was interlined. Franklin did not mark the interlined passage for deletion, but his marginal mark here shows some uncertainty. Moreover, JA may have added the interlined passage after Franklin marked his deletion, so it cannot be assumed that Franklin approved of the remainder of the paragraph. In any event, it was not retained in the recipient's copy.
8. In the third draft this and the preceding two paragraphs were marked for deletion, but no substitute language, such as appears in the recipient's copy was indicated.
9. The remainder of this paragraph also appears in the third draft, indicating that it was first canceled after Arthur Lee had copied it.
10. JA added “and German Flatts” above the line.
11. In the Letterbook Franklin's insertion is mostly illegible and has here been supplied from the third draft. It appears that Franklin intended the final word to be “upon” rather than “on.”
12. To this point in the paragraph and through the previous seven paragraphs, all of the changes that were “inserted into the recipient's copy were marked on either the Letterbook copy or the third draft. From this point to the end of the letter, however, except for the canceled passage mentioned in note 22, the third draft, like the Letterbook copy, contains no significant canceled passages or important insertions, despite the fact that over half the remaining material was not included in the recipient's copy.
13. To this point this paragraph is taken, with only a few changes, from Arthur Lee's initial draft.
14. To this point this sentence is taken almost directly from Arthur Lee's draft.
15. “Have become outrageous” is taken from Arthur Lee's draft.
16. This paragraph is taken almost verbatim from Arthur Lee's draft.
17. Including the canceled “and,” the passage beginning “to stop the progress” and continuing to this point is an exact { 305 } quotation from Arthur Lee's draft.
18. The remainder of this sentence was taken, with some changes in word order, from Arthur Lee's draft.
19. The remainder of this sentence was taken from Arthur Lee's draft.
20. To this point this sentence is taken, with minor changes, from Arthur Lee's draft.
21. This paragraph was taken, with only minor changes, from Arthur Lee's draft.
22. To this point this paragraph, as well as the two preceding ones, were inserted in JA's letter to Edme Jacques Genet of [30 Dec. 1778] (below). The substance of the remainder of this paragraph was also included in that letter. In the third draft the text from this point to “and consequently France as our natural Friend. And as” in the second paragraph that follows was marked for omission.
23. From the previous comma, this passage was interlined.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0196-0003

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1779-01-09

II. The Commissioners to the Comte de Vergennes

[salute] Sir

Some late Proceedings of the Enemy, have induced us, to submit a few Observations to your Excellency's superior Lights and Judgement.
His Britannic Majesty's Commissioners, in their Manifesto of the 3d of October, have denounced “a Change in the whole Nature and future Conduct of the War,”2 they have declared “that the Policy as well as Benevolence of Great Britain, have thus far checked the Extremes of War,” when they tended to “distress the People, and desolate the Country.” That the whole Contest is changed, that the Laws of self Preservation, must now direct the Conduct of Great Britain, that these Laws, will direct her, to render the United States of as little avail as possible to France, if they are to become an Accession to her. And by every means in her Power, destroy, and render Useless the new Connection contrived for her Ruin.
Motions have been made and supported by the wisest Men in both Houses of Parliament to address the King to disavow these Clauses; But these Motions have been rejected by Majorities in both Houses, so that the Manifesto stands avowed by the three Branches of the Legislature.3
Ministers of States have made in Parliament a Question, concerning the meaning of this Manifesto. But no Man who reads it and knows the History of their past Conduct in this War, can doubt its import.
There is to be “a Change in the Nature and Conduct of the War,”—A change for the worse must be terrible indeed!
They have already burnt the beautiful Towns of Charles Town, Falmouth, Norfolk, Kingston, Bedford, Egg Harbour, and German Flatts,4 besides innumerable single Buildings and smaller Clusters of Houses, wherever their Armies have march'd. It is true, they left Boston and Philadelphia unburnt, but in all probability it was merely the dread of { 306 } a Superior Army, that in those Cases restrained their Hands, not to mention, that burning these Towns would have been the Ruin of the few Secret Friends they have still left, of whom there are more in those Towns than in all America besides.
They have not indeed murdered upon the Spot, every Woman and Child, that fell in their Way, nor have, in all Cases refused Quarter to the Soldiers, that at times have fallen into their Power, tho' they have in many; they have also done their utmost in seducing Negroes and Indians to commit inhuman Butcheries upon the Inhabitants sparing neither Age, Sex, nor Character. Altho they have not in all Cases refused Quarter to Soldiers and Sailors, they have done what is worse than refusing Quarter: they have thurst their Prisoners into such Dungeons, loaded them with Irons, and exposed them to such lingering Torments, of Cold, Hunger and Disease, as have destroyed greater Numbers, than they could have had an Opportunity of murdering, if they had made it a Rule to give no Quarter. Many others they have compelled by Force, to serve and fight on Board their Ships against Fathers, Brothers, Friends and Countrymen, a Destiny to every Sensible Mind more terrible than Death itself.
It is therefore difficult to comprehend, what they mean by a Change in the Conduct of the War; yet there seems to be no Room to doubt that they mean to threaten something more cruel—greater Extremes, Measures that shall distress the People and lay waste the Country, more than any thing they have yet done.
The object of the War is now entirely changed. Heretofore their Massacres and Conflagrations were to divide Us, and reclaim us to Great Britain. Now despareing of that End, and perceiving that we shall be fait[h]ful to our Treaties, their Principle is by destroying us, to make us useless to France.
This Principle ought to be held in Abhorrence, not only by all Christians, but by all civilized Nations. If it is once admitted, that Powers at War, have a Right to do whatever will weaken or terrify an Enemy, it is not possible to foresee where it will end. It would be possible to burn the great Cities in Europe.
The Savages who torture their Prisoners do it to make themselves terrible: in fine all the Horrors of the barbarous Ages may be introduced again and justified.
The Cruelties of our Ennemies, have heretofore, more than once, exasperated the Minds of the People so much, as to excite Apprehensions that they would proceed to Retaliation, which if once commenc'd might be carried to extremities, to prevent which the Congress issued { 307 } an Address,5 exhorting to Forbearance, and a farther Tryal by Examples of Generosity and Lenity, to recall their Ennemies to the Practice of Humanity, amidst the Calamities of War. In consequence of which, neither the Congress, nor any of the States apart, have ever exercised, or authorised the Exercise of the Right of Retaliation.
But now that the Commissioners vested with the Authority of the Nation, have avowed such Principles, and published such Threats, the Congress have by a Resolution of the 30th. of October, solemnly, and unanimously declared that they will retaliate.
Whatever may be the Pretences of the Enemy, it is the manifest Drift of their Policy, to disgust the People of America, with their new Alliance, by attempting to convince them, that instead of shielding them from Distress, it has accumulated, additional Calamities upon them.
Nothing certainly can more become a great and amiable Character, than to disappoint their Purpose, stop the Progress of their Cruelties, and vindicate the Rights of Humanity, which are so much injured by this Manifesto.
We therefore beg leave to suggest to your Excellency's Consideration, whether it would not be adviseable for his Majesty to interfere, by some Declaration to the Court of London, and to the World, bearing his Royal Testimony against this barbarous Mode of War, and giving assurances that he will join the United States in Retaliation, if Great Britain by putting her Threats in Execution should make it necessary.
There is another Measure however, more effectual to controul their Designs, and to bring the War to a speedy Conclusion; that of sending a powerfull Fleet sufficient6 to secure a naval Superiority over them in the American Seas. Such a naval Force, acting in concert with the Armies of the United States, would in all human Probability, take and destroy the whole British Power, in that Part of the World: It would put their Wealth and West Indian7 Commerce into the Power of France, and reduce them to the Necessity of suing for Peace.
Upon their present naval Superiority in those Seas depend, not only the Dominion and the rich Commerce of their Islands, but the supply of their Fleets and Armies with Provisions and every Necessary. They have near 400 Transports, constantly employed in the Service of their Fleet and Army in America, passing from New-York and Rhode Island, to England, Ireland, Nova Scotia and their West India Islands, and if any one Link in this Chain was struck off—if their Supplies from any one of these Places should be intercepted, their Forces could not subsist. Great Numbers of these Vessells would necessarily fall into the { 308 } Hands of the French Fleet, and go as Prizes to a sure Market in the United States: great Numbers of Seamen too would become Prisoners, a Loss that England cannot repair.
It is conceived that it would be impossible for Great Britain to send a very great Fleet after the French, into those Seas. Their Men of War now in Europe are too old too rotten, too ill mann'd, and their Masts are of too bad Materials, to endure such a Navigation; the Impossibility of their obtaining Provisions, Artists and Materials, in that Country, which would be easy for the French, makes it still clearer, that they cannot send a great additional Force, and the Fear of Spains interfering with her powerful Navy would restrain them. Wheras France has nothing to fear in Europe from them, as the Numbers and excellence of her Armies, are an ample Security against the feeble Land Forces of Great Britain.
This Naval Superiority would open such Commerce between the United States and the French West India Islands, as would enable our People to supply themselves with the European and West India Articles they want, to send abroad the Produce of the Country, and by giving fresh Spirits and Vigour8 to Trade, would employ the Paper Currency, the want of which Employ has been one Cause of its Depreciation.
The Maintenance of such a Fleet, in America, would circulate so many, Bills of Exchange, as would likewise in a great Measure relieve them from that Dangerous Evil. And these Bills would all return to France for her Manufactures thereby cementing the Connection and extending the Trade between the two Countries.9
Such a naval Superiority, would contribute very much to extinguish the Hopes of the remaining Number of Persons who secreetly wish from sinister motives to become again subject to Great Britain, and would enable the People of the several States to give such Consistency, and Stability to their Infant Governments, as would contribute greatly to their internal Repose, as well as to the Vigour of their future Operations against the common Enemy.
The late speedy supply and Reparation of his Majesty's Fleet at Boston, will shew the Advantages, which this Country must enjoy, in carrying on a Naval War, on a Coast Friendly to her and hostile to her Ennemy. And these Advantages will in future be more sensible, because the appearance of the Fleet, before was unexpected, and the Harvests in that Part of the Country had been unfavourable.
It is obvious to all Europe, that nothing less is at Stake in the present Contest than the Dominion of the Sea, at least the superiority { 309 } of naval Power, and we cannot expect that Great Britain will ever give it up, without some decisive Effort on the Part of France. With such an Exertion as that of sending a superior Fleet to America, we see nothing in the Course of human Affairs, that can possible prevent France from obtaining such a Naval Superiority without Delay. Without it, the War may languish for Years to the infinite Distress of our Country to the exhausting both of France and England, and the Question left to be decided by another War.
We are the more earnest in representing these Things to your Excellency, as all our Correspondence from England for some time has uniformly represented that the Intention of the Cabinet, is conformable to the Spirit of the Manifesto; that all Parties grow more and more out of Temper with the Americans, that it is become fashionable with the Minority as well as the Majority and Administration to reproach us, both in and out of Parliament, that all Parties join in speaking of Us in the bitterest Terms, and in heartily wishing our Destruction: that great Clamours are raised about our Alliance with France as an unnatural Combination to ruin them. That the Cry is for a speedy and powerful Reinforcement of their Army, and for the activity of their Fleet in making Descents on the Sea Coast, while murdering and desolating Parties are let loose upon the Frontiers of the Carolinas, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New-Jersey, New-York and New-England, and that very early in the Year they will carry all these Projects into execution.
This whole System, may as we conceive be defeated and the Power of Great Britain now in America totally subdued (and if their Power is subdued there, it is reduced every where) by the Measure we have the honour to propose. We submit the whole merely as our Opinions to your Excellency's superior Wisdom, & have the honour to be, with the greatest Respect Your Excellency's, most obedient and most humble Servants.
[signed] B Franklin
[signed] Arthur Lee
[signed] John Adams
RC (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 7); docketed on the first page: “rep. le <8> 9,” “Les deputès americains demandent que la france oppose des Secours efficases aux [me]nacer que contient le manifeste des deputès anglois en amerique,” and on pages 5, 9, and 13: “[ . . . ] suite avant le 9. Janvr. 1779.” LbC (Adams Papers); this is the fourth extant draft (for three earlier drafts see No. I). Undated and written on a loose sheet folded in half to make four pages, it is very similar to the recipient's copy, with only a few changes by JA and Franklin, some of which are indicated in the notes that follow. It was laid in between pages 1 and 2 of the second ex• { 310 } tant draft (No. I; p. 112 and 113 of the Letterbook) and was filmed immediately following those two pages in the Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 92. At the top of the first page is a notation by CFA: “The American Commissioners to Count de Vergennes first draught Paris 1. January. 1779. Dipl. Correspondence 1.500.” When CFA wrote this note he was unaware that JA's Letterbook contained an earlier draft and concluded that the fourth draft, probably found among JA's loose papers, constituted his first effort. The reference in the notation is to Jared Sparks, ed., Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution, 12 vols., Boston, 1829–1830. In 1852 when CFA published this same draft in JA, Works, 7:72–77, he had become aware of the earlier one (No. I) and wrote in a note at the end of the printed letter: “it is proper to state that the original draft of this letter bears the marks of considerable reduction in extent and tone from the hand of Dr. Franklin.”
Two additional copies of the letter to Vergennes, both in John Thaxter's hand and done from the fourth extant draft, can be found in the PCC, No. 85, f. 240–249 and in the Edward Davis Townsend Collection at the Huntington Library. The first is part of the copy made by Thaxter of Lb/JA/4, containing the Commissioners' letters during JA's first mission to France, for transmission to the congress (see Introduction, part 2, John Adams and his Letterbooks). The second, probably made at the same time, was enclosed in JA's letter to Elbridge Gerry of 11 Sept. 1779 (below). On both copies JA wrote in the dateline and the name of the intended recipient and on that in the PCC supplied the Commissioners' names.
1. As previously published in volumes or correspondence edited by Jared Sparks, CFA, and Francis Wharton, this letter has been assigned the date of 1 January 1779. That date, however, was apparently supplied conjecturally by Sparks and then accepted in later editions. The editors have been unable to find supporting evidence for such a date; in fact all of the extant copies of the letter as sent bear only the month and year: January 1779; and Vergennes' reply of 9 Jan. (below) refers to the letter as being undated. Therefore, it has been thought more accurate to date the letter in terms of Vergennes' reply.
2. “Denounce” is used here in the now obscure meaning of “announce” or “promulgate” (OED). For the full text of the passage from which this and later quotations were taken, see No. I. For the manifesto, see Evans, No. 15832.
3. For debates over motions opposing the manifesto offered by Thomas William Coke in the House of Commons on 4 Dec. and by the Marquis of Rockingham in the House of Lords on 7 Dec., as well as a protest signed by 31 members of the House of Lords, see Parliamentary Hist., 19:1388–1402; 20:1–46.
4. Charlestown, Mass.; Falmouth (now Portland), Maine; Norfolk, Va.; Kingston, N.Y.; Bedford (now New Bedford, then part of Dartmouth), Mass.; Egg Harbor, N.J.; German Flats (now Herkimer), N.Y.
5. See JCC, 12:1080–1082.
6. Originally this passage in the fourth draft read “a powerfull Fleet of Thirty or Forty Sail,” as it did in No. I. The deletion of the exact size of the force requested and the substitution of “sufficient” are in Benjamin Franklin's hand.
7. These two words were inserted by Franklin in the Letterbook.
8. The remainder of this sentence was inserted by Franklin in the Letterbook to replace the canceled passage: “would be of great utility to both.”
9. This paragraph is based on the final paragraph of No. I. By the time it was inserted into the fourth extant draft it had undergone considerable changes, none of which were indicated on any of the drafts referred to in No. I. In the fourth draft it read: “The Maintenance of such a Fleet, in America, would circulate so <much Cash and> many Bills of Exchange, as would likewise in a great Mea• { 311 } sure relieve them from <the next> that dangerous Evil. <they have now to fear, a depreciated Currency. This Money> And these Bills would all Return to France for <Goods> her Manufactures, thereby cementing the Connection and extending the Trade between the two Countries.” The insertion of the words “many,” “likewise,” “that dangerous,” and “her Manufactures” was by Franklin. The deletions were marked by both Franklin and JA.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0197

Author: Izard, Ralph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-12-22

From Ralph Izard

[salute] Sir

A considerable time has elapsed since I had the honour of conversing with you on the subject of the Proclamation, and Manifesto of 3d. Octr. issued by the British Commissioners in America.
Every attempt should be made to prevent their carrying their bloody purposes into execution. The more I think on the subject, the more I am convinced that it would be proper for the Representatives of our Country at this Court, to urge the Ministry to transmit a firm, and spiritted Declaration to the Court of England, setting forth the resolution of the King to retaliate, if any mode of carrying on the war in America should be adopted, but such as can be justified by the custom, and Law of Nations. I was happy to find that you agreed with me in opinion. Mr. Lee was afterwards consulted about it, and approved of the measure; and you both, promised that the business should be entered into immediately.
I have since waited on you at Passy, to request that you would allow of no delay in a matter of so great importance; and I have done the same to Mr. Lee. I can not help expressing to you my astonishment at finding that there has not yet been any Memorial presented to the Ministry on this subject. You have frequently expressed your uneasiness to me at the dissipated life which Dr. Franklin led; and at his inattention to, and almost total neglect of the public business.
For God's sake do not allow his misconduct to operate more to the injury of our cause, than what must arise from absolute necessity. His name would certainly add weight to the application; but should he refuse to concur in it, there can be no impropriety in your applying as an individual, if not as a Commissioner. The distresses of our Country, the sanguinary purposes of both Houses of Parliament, and the alarming preparations making by the enemy, call aloud for every exertion on our part. The cruelties threatened by the Manifesto are declared to be intended to render the accession of America to France “of as little avail as possible to her.”
The Court of France might with propriety reply, that as Jamaica, { 312 } and the other English West India Islands are a great accession of strength to her enemies, the same reason might be supposed to exist, for destroying the property, and extirpating the inhabitants by fire, and sword.
I entreat that you will take in good part what I have said, and written to you on this subject. It can not possibly have proceeded from any other motive but that of an anxiety, <for t> occasioned by the calamities of our Country, and a sincere desire of attempting every thing that seems likely to afford relief to them.
I have the honour to be Sir with esteem Your most obedient humble Servant
[signed] Ra. Izard1
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Hon. Mr Izzard 22 Dec. 1778.”
1. No reply by JA to this letter has been found, but for the application to Vergennes that was its object, see the Commissioners' to Vergennes, [ante 20] Dec. 1778 – [ante 9] Jan. 1779 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0198

Author: Gardner, Shubael
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-12-22

Shubael Gardner to the Commissioners

Gentlemen you will Excuse all in these From one that is not used to adress in Such undertaking as the present. But Being prompt By your known Com' and abilatys I hope you will Accept my offering as Simple as it may appear.
There has Sundry men Belonging to the united States of North America Ben Brought in here that knowd Not what to Do Being in a friendless place they Being monyless have Enterd into the whalfisherry to Save themselves from a man of war as they Could be protected in that trade, there is I think none in the trade that would have Gone if they Could have Done any thing Else, it was against there wills Soarly as I have hard them Say often. Namely: Benjamin Clark, Elisha Clark; Francis Macy: Paul Pease: John Lock: William Folger.1 I Believe if they with their men Could have the Liberty to Go to America they would with all their harts. Now I have to Inform there is in Denan prison a youth John Blyth by Name Son of John Blyth Taken with Benjm. Clark in Brig Falkland. His father is a Sincear Friend to all Americans which I have provd often Both By Day and night and Likewise all the Family: their has been more then Forty Secreted in the house Sence I have Known it and Some Coming and Goiing Every week. They have hurt themselves in welth by it, But I Truss not in Futer for Sundry men has Experencd their Kindness Namely Benjamin { 313 } Hill Mr. Tuck Harmon Corter David Lyman Mr. Pulsifurd: Doct. Seegar, Matthew Coxdrill Charls Phipping Enoch Buts and Sundry more we have on hand at presant that Lately Broke prison Lately2 and Expect more Daly which will meet the Like as Long as in their powers.
Now Gentlemen if you would Deign to Read this and Give it its proper waight I Should be imboldend to ask one favour for them. Thats to make your intersesion for to Gitt the Lad Cleard from prison and Send him home to them as it may be the means of Sundry others Gitting Clear as well French as Americans which may be usefull for your fellow Citticans for the futer.3
Them that are Friends to America are almost Exosted. I Can Speek for one, But I have Some money in my hands Belonging to America and think it Cant Be applyd Better then by helping the Distressed of my Countrymen.
Gentlemen men I hope you will Excuse all Falts in your Hum Servant
[signed] Shubael Gardner
Capt. Barnard is Now almost Ready to Sail, Capt. Joseph Chace:4 Capt. Jeames McCobbe: Capt. John McCarty are Jest Going From hence to France who Can Give more purticallars than I Can Rite.
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “To Honble. Commisioners of the United States of North America in Paris France”; docketed: “Shubael Gardner”; in another hand: “Shubael Gardener Dec. 22. 78.” The editors have supplied several periods in this virtually unpunctuated text.
1. With the exception of Folger, the Commissioners already knew of the involvement of these men and several others in the English whale fishery and had sent the information to Sartine in a letter of 30 Oct. (above). Gardner does not mention it here, but he too was involved in that enterprise, as the Commissioners had learned on 12 Oct. (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:322).
2. Benjamin Hill, Sewall Tuck, Hammon Corter, Dr. George Seger, Matthew Cogshall, and Enoch Butts had all escaped from Forton Prison (William Richard Cutter, “A Yankee Privateersman in Prison in England, 1777–1779,” NEHGR, 33:36–37 [Jan. 1879]). The other three men remain unidentified.
3. No reply has been found.
4. See Joseph Chase's letter of 1 Jan. 1779 regarding the prisoner at Dinant (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0199-0001

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-12-22

Gabriel de Sartine to the Commissioners

Vous etes sans Doute informés, Messieurs, qu'il arrive souvent dans Les Ports de france des sujets des Etats-Unis qui s'échappent des Prisons d'Angleterre, et comme La plupart de ces Marins se trouvent depourvus des Choses les plus necessaires, plusieurs Commissaires des Ports ou vous n'avez pas d'Agent et qui ont deja fait quelques Avances { 314 } a des sujets des Etats-Unis echappés des Prisons d'Angleterre, me demandent d'etre authorisés a leur fournir Les Objets de premiere necessité, je vous prie Messieurs de me faire connoitre votre Intention sur cet objet et si vous desirez qu'ils soient traités comme Les Prisonniers francois Le sont lorsqu'ils reviennent d'Angleterre.
A légard des Prisonniers que Les Batimens des Etats-Unis pourroient faire sur Les Anglois; par L'Article 15 du Reglement du Roi du 27 7bre dernier,1 il est dit qu'il sera donné des Ordres par sa Majesté pour que Les Prisonniers que Les Corsaires Americains ameneront en france soient conduits, gardés et nourris dans ses Places et Chateaux aux fraix des Etats-Unis. Je me propose de donner des Ordres dans Les Ports afin que ces Prisonniers y soient traités et nourris comme ceux qui ont été fait par Les Batimens de sa Majesté. Vous voudrez bien, Messieurs me faire connoitre si ces Dispositions vous sont agreables, et donner a vos Agens dans Les Differens Ports, Les Ordres que vous Jugerez convenables.
J'ai l'honneur d'etre &c.,
[signed] De Sartine

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0199-0002

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-12-22

Gabriel de Sartine to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

You are undoubtedly aware, gentlemen, that United States citizens who have escaped from English prisons often arrive in French ports, and since most of these sailors find themselves without articles of first necessity several Commissioners of Ports where you have no agent and who have already made some advances to these escapees request me to authorize them to furnish these objects. I request that you gentlemen, make known to me your intentions concerning this matter and whether you wish them to be treated like French prisoners returning from British jails.
Regarding prisoners that might be taken from the British by American vessels, Article 15 of the King's ordinance of 27 September last,1 states that His Majesty will give orders that prisoners brought to France by American privateers will be escorted, guarded, and fed in his establishments and chateaus at the expense of the United States. I propose to issue orders in the ports so that such prisoners there will be treated and fed as those that have been taken by His Majesty's vessels. Please, gentlemen, inform me whether these arrangements are agreeable to you and give your agents in the different ports the orders you judge appropriate.
I have the honor to be, &c.,
[signed] De Sartine
FC in William Temple Franklin's hand (DLC: Franklin Papers).
1. For the regulations, see Sartine to the Commissioners, 29 July, and references there (vol. 6:334, calendar entry).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0200-0001

Author: Horneca, Fizeaux & Co. (business)
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-12-24

Horneca, Fizeaux & Co. to the Commissioners

[salute] Messieurs

Nous n'avons reçu que le 15 La Lettre dont vous nous aves honnorés le 6 du Courant;1 nous avons Informés Exactement nôtre Sr. Grand, Actuellement à Paris, de ce qui est Relatif au plaçement des Promesses des Etats Unis de L'Amerique. Il vous en aura sans doute Egalement fait part, tous ce que nous avons pú êcouler Jusqu'a prêsent, de ces Promesses se Reduit à 51. mais nous ne doutons point qu'avec un peu de patiençe nous ne parvenions peu à peu, à plaçer le Reste, et à pouvoir ensuitte agir pour des Objets de Considêration. Il faut pour cela êtablir et mênager le Credit de ces Effets, et Il faut pour ÿ parvenir agir avec Circonspection et avec Reservé, car en voulant forcer les choses nous ne ferions que Reculer, et nuire à l'avenir; Nous vous prions Messieurs, de vouloir bien vous Reposer surtout Nôtre Zêle, et nos soins à contribuër au bien de la chose, et être persuadés que les Intêrets que vous voulés bien nous confier nous occupent et nous attachent autant que les nôtres prôpres.
Nous attendrons les Ordres que vous Jugerés à prôpos de nous donner, pour la disposition de vos fonds en nos mains, pour nous ÿ conformer.
Nous sommes avec un Dêvouëment Respectueux Messieurs Vos tres Humbles & tres Obeissants Serviteurs
[signed] Horneca fizeaux Comp.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0200-0002

Author: Horneca, Fizeaux & Co. (business)
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-12-24

Horneca, Fizeaux & Co. to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

It was not until the 15th that we received the letter that you honored us with of the 6th instant.1 We have precisely informed Sir Grand, currently in Paris, of that which is relative to the placement of the promissory notes of the United States of America. He undoubtedly will also have told you that all we have been able to place up to now is 51, but we do not doubt that with a little patience we will succeed, little by little, in placing the rest and then be able to proceed to some important business. For this it is necessary to establish and maintain the credit of these notes, and for that it is necessary to proceed with circumspection and reserve. By trying to force these things we would only be taking a step back, thereby jeopardizing the future. We beseech you, gentlemen, to trust above all in our zeal and our attention to the success of the project, and to be persuaded that the interests that you were kind enough to confide to us occupy and engage us as much as our own.
We will await the orders that you will judge appropriate, and to which we will conform, for the disposition of your funds in our hands.
We are with respectful devotion, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servants
[signed] Horneca, Fizeaux & Co.
{ 316 }
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “Mess. Horneca, Fizeau's & Co.”; in another hand: “24 Dec. 1778.”
1. In that letter (LbC, Adams Papers) the Commissioners noted that they had received no “intelligence” concerning the progress of the loan and asked for news so that they could inform their “Constituents, and regulate our Conduct in other Things.”

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0201

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dana, Francis
Date: 1778-12-25

To Francis Dana

[salute] dear Sir

In Some of the latest Letters from England, We are told, that they grow more and more out of humour with the Americans every day, and that it is the Fashion now of the Minority, as well as the Friends of Administration to abuse them, both in and out of Parliament. In a Particular Mr. Powis Mr. Fox &c. express their Abhorrence of Congress—call them the worst of Tyrants and Say they deserve to be treated as savages for Shamefully violating the Convention of Saratoga. In truth all Parties are disposed to Speak very harshly of them, and heartily wish that they could be well drubbed; as they plainly perceive, they are forever lost, as fellow subjects. A great Clamour is also raised about the Treaty of Alliance, with France, it is called an unnatural Combination to ruin England. That the Minority deserve little Credit for their late Interference about the Commissioners Manifesto, as very few of them acted from any other Motive than Opposition to Ministry.1 That it is not to be conceived with what Strange Fictions Your old Friend the Governor,2 amuses the Members of both Houses. He has let both his Imagination and his Tongue loose. He says that the present General Assembly of Massachusetts Bay is composed of a Majority of Tories, that they are impatient to throw off, the Congress Yoke and conciliate with England. That the several Assemblies of the thirteen States are not considered by a vast Majority of the Inhabitants, as their legal Representatives, because Congress have imposed an Oath of Abjuration, upon all Persons who elect, or shall be elected Members of Assembly, and not a Fifth Part of the People of the thirteen States have taken this Oath. That there are great Dissentions in the American Army, and nothing is wanting to make the Rebells desert France, and throw off their Independance, but a Speedy and powerfull Reinforcement of Clintons Army, and a Spirited Exertion of a Fleet with it; these to make descents on different Parts of the Sea Coast, while Parties3 are let loose upon the Frontiers of the Carolinas, Virginia, Pensylvania, New York, and Massachusetts Bay. That these Measures will be attempted to be carried into Execution early in the Spring, there is not the Smallest doubt, unless the Spaniard shall Soon openly join his { 317 } Fleet with that of the French, in which Case they will not think it prudent to send any more of their Force to North America. That however, Strong hopes are entertained, that the Spaniard will not unite with France. That many of the best informed of their Statesmen are of opinion, that it would be better, at present to give Spain Gibralter, than suffer the great Branches of the House of Bourbon to be confederated, in a War against them. They have ventured even to drop Hints of this Kind to Some of the Leaders in opposition. That their officers and public Affairs, are in an extraordinary Way—their Admirals in the Channell service, are at an irreconcileable Variance. Keppell complaining in the House of Commons against Palliser, and the latter filing a String of Charges in the Admiralty against Keppell. This has produced an order for a Court Martial on the 7th of Jany. and an Act of Parliament, for trying him at Land.4 Lord How unemployed, and disobliged. His Brother, making a positive Charge against one of the Ministers.5 The late Ambassador at the Court of Versailles, suggesting such Information about the Treaty, as must bring on a Serious Enquiry, into the Conduct of another of their Ministers.6 General Keppell has resigned,7 and will not Act under Amherst, that all the great military People freely express their dislike of him, Say that he is all Grimace and possesses no shining military Talents &c. That all the Regiments of Infantry are to be sent in February to America, and their Place to be immediately supplied by new Regiments, to be raised by an Act of Parliament, not yet passed however, obliging each Parish in the Kingdom to furnish a certain Number of Men, a bold Measure, to be sure, but if moved by Ministers, it will go through, as that for the Militia did before.
The Tryal of Keppell, will work up Parties to a Frenzy. Palliser I think would never have ventured upon So daring a step, if he had not assurances of the highest support. Keppell has had a vast Popularity, especially in the Navy. If the Ministry aim at his Life, and it is said that four of the Charges against him, are capital, it is as desperate an Effort as ever they made. Whether they succeed in destroying his Life or not, they will certainly destroy or greatly injure his Reputation. Where all these Things will End, I know not. G. Burgoine had certainly some Colour, when he said that he saw his Country8 under every Symptom of immediate Dissolution. The Proceeding of Palliser is conjectured to be set on by Mr. James Twitcher, who is Supposed to be a favourite, there is in the Nation as vast a Mass of Prejudice, against Twitcher and his Patron as there is in favour of Keppell. What the Effect of all will be Time must discover, but We must be prepared
{ 318 } { 319 }
for the Effect, of all these Fermentations, which may possibly turn upon Us.
I am &c.
1. JA is largely summarizing the proceedings of Parliament from its opening on 26 Nov. through approximately 17 Dec. His observations on the debates and the positions of both the ministry and opposition are essentially correct. Few members of the opposition, with the exception of Edmund Burke, were willing to support independence for the American colonies. Instead, they continued their routine charges of incompetence against the North ministry and, with the Franco-American alliance and the outbreak of war with France, saw the vigorous prosecution of the French war as Britain's primary interest and, to some degree, the best means to win back the American colonies (Parliamentary Hist., 19:1277–1402 passim; 20:1–94 passim; Parliamentary Reg., 11:1–193 passim).
Condemnations of the Continental Congress by both friends and opponents of the ministry appeared frequently during the debates. Charles James Fox, a leader of the opposition and perhaps the leading exponent of the position outlined by JA, declared during the debate over the King's speech and in reference to the treatment of Burgoyne's army: “I think the conduct of the Congress is blameable in the highest, and that they have departed from every principle that ought to bind men” (Parliamentary Reg., 11:10). Others, such as Thomas Powys, were more general and severe in their condemnations. On 4 Dec., while professing opposition to the Carlisle Commission's manifesto, he declared that if the members of the congress were “put to the most exemplary punishment, they should all fall unpitied by him, because they really deserved every severity that could be inflicted on them” (Parliamentary Hist., 19:1393–1394). William Conolly and Archibald MacDonald, the speakers immediately preceding Powys, took the same line. Conolly stated that he would support the manifesto only “if the Congress, that assembly of men who had set every right of nature and humanity at defiance, could be seized and punished according to their deserts,” but he thought they would escape (same, 19:1390–1391). MacDonald, in supporting the manifesto, referred to the Americans' “unnatural alliance” and declared that “by their alliance with France, the natural enemy of our country, they had forfeited all right to clemency” (same, 19:1392–1393).
2. George Johnstone, former governor of West Florida, was seen by many in England as an authority on American affairs. His statements regarding the relative strengths of whigs and tories in America were made in the debates over the King's speech and later during those over the army estimates on 14 Dec. In the first instance he declared that “two thirds of the people of North America wish to return to their ancient connection with Great Britain, and that nothing but a surrounding army, and the diffidence they have in our support, prevented it” (same, 19:1354). On the 14th he stated that discontent was so general in Pennsylvania “that out of 32,000 electors who voted for the first Congress, only 600 and odd had taken the abjuration oath to qualify them to vote for another Congress,” and that in “New England, the Whigs and Tories were so nearly equal in the provincial assembly, that the Whigs had only a majority of two” (same, 20:77).
3. A reference to Britain's expanded use of its Indian allies on the frontier, the prospect of which was a major reason for opposing the Carlisle Commission's manifesto in both houses of Parliament.
4. The Keppel-Palliser affair was the cause celebre of the new session of Parliament. It proved to be an embarrassment to the North ministry because it showed the government's fundamental weakness, the divisions between it and the military and naval officers ordered to carry out its policies, and it highlighted the problems inherent in the involvement of generals and admirals in politics. Ostensibly the affair concerned the men's behavior during the battle off Ushant in July. Many, { 320 } however, recalled the trial and execution of Admiral Byng in 1757 and saw it as an effort by Lord Sandwich, First Lord of the Admiralty and the “James” or “Jemmy Twitcher” mentioned by JA below, to find a scapegoat in the person of an opposition admiral for his failure to attain a decisive victory.
Keppel complained privately that Palliser had failed to obey his signal to reform the line of battle at Ushant, and thus prevented the British fleet from reengaging the French under Orvilliers. The matter remained private until an open letter by Palliser defending his conduct led Keppel to raise the issue during debates over the naval estimates on 2 Dec. Palliser, considered by many to be the creature of Lord Sandwich, then demanded that Keppel be tried on the capital charges of incompetence in preparing to engage, breaking off the fight prematurely, running away, and failing to pursue the enemy. On 11 Dec. the Admiralty agreed to a court-martial and, because of Keppel's health, the Commons on 17 Dec. and the Lords on the 23d passed a bill permitting the trial to be held on land. The court-martial began at Portsmouth on 7 Jan. and ended on 11 Feb. with Keppel's complete exoneration. The decision was greeted with riotous celebrations, during which the Admiralty, as well as the homes of Palliser, Sandwich, North, and Germain, were attacked (Mackesy, War for America, p. 239–243; Alan Valentine, Lord North, 2 vols., Norman, Okla., 1967, 2:56–59; Parliamentary Hist., 19:1379–1385; 20:91–111; London Chronicle, 22–24 Dec.).
5. Lord Richard Howe had aroused considerable animosity among the government's supporters by not coming directly to London after resigning his command in America and returning to England without notice. With the opening of Parliament, both he and Sir William Howe called for an inquiry into their conduct, and on 4 Dec., during the debate over the Carlisle Commission's manifesto, Sir William charged that the failure of British arms in America resulted from his lack of support from Germain (Gruber, Howe Brothers, p. 325–332; Parliamentary Hist., 19:1394–1395).
6. On 7 Dec. Lord Stormont, former ambassador to France, stated in the House of Lords that he had had early knowledge of the Franco-American commercial treaty of 6 Feb. and had promptly communicated the intelligence to Lord Weymouth, Secretary of State for the Southern Department. Lord Grafton then asked why, if that was the case, Weymouth had denied certain knowledge of the treaty on 5 March (Parliamentary Hist., 20:26–29).
7. Gen. William Keppel, brother of Adm. Keppel, resigned his commission as commander of the militia at Cox Heath Camp on 11 Dec. and was soon involved in the debates over his brother's court-martial (Mackesy, War for America, p. 243–244).
8. The remainder of this sentence is a direct quotation from a speech by Burgoyne during the debate over the King's speech opening Parliament as related in the Parliamentary Hist., 19:1360.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0202

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1778-12-29

The Commissioners to the Comte de Vergennes

[salute] Sir

We have been favoured with a Letter signed by many Gentlemen of Nantes and dated the fifteenth of this Month, informing us that most of their Vessels were ready to sail to America, and that others were expected to be ready immediately, so that the Convoy need not wait at all, but might be ordered as soon as Convenience will permit.
These Gentlemen are very desirous of a Convoy through the whole { 321 } Voyage, if it might any Way consist with his Majesty's Service. But if this cannot be granted, they hope for such a Protection at Least as far as to the Westward of the Western Islands.
It is of so much Importance to our Countrymen to be supplied with Goods of various kinds, and especially with warlike Stores, and there are so many belonging to the United States and to the Commonwealth of Virginia as well as to the Individuals now ready to go, that We cannot avoid interesting ourselves with your Excellency that a sufficient Convoy may be appointed, and that as soon as possible to Rendezvous at Nantes.
We have the Honour to be with great Respect Sir Your Excellency's most obedient and most humble Servants
[signed] B Franklin
[signed] Arthur Lee
[signed] John Adams
RC (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 5); docketed: “M. de R. Rep. le 9 Jer. 1779”; and in the left margin: “Convois que demandent les deputés americains pour des expeditions preter á partir.” Joseph Mathias Gérard de Rayneval presumably wrote the reply of 9 Jan. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0203

Author: Gilbank, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-12-29

John Gilbank to the Commissioners

[salute] Honourable Gentlemen

Since my last informing you of my having drawn upon you for one thousand Livres in conformity to a prior Letter1 I learn that Mr. Livingstones Ship is arrived and that in about fifteen days hence she will sail, Which Circumstance has induced me to trouble you again to remind you of my Wants and to hint to you what a very disagreable thing it will be not only to me but to the public in general if I am not as I ought put in a Situation to leave this place along with the rest of our Countrymen. The people here in that Case must know the reason which I wou'd wish to keep them ignorant of, as they will have a Strange Idea of a people who are unable (much more UNWILLING) to assist an officer who by the chance of War is unable to avoid applying to their representatives for such Assistance as every Nation in such Cases affords <and> according to the Rank of the person applying; And it will be cold Encouragement for Young Gentlemen to enter into their Service even on the most pressing Emergency, if they are to be exposed to the horrors of Prison and the Contumely of not being able to discharge just and only necessary Debts when within reach of a { 322 } power which ought to protect them, and after escaping in an honorable manner from the hands of an Enemy, especially when the Country they are serving is indebted to them.
If Gentlemen wou'd consider that it is for no advantage to himself that a Young Man wou'd enter into the Army I think they wou'd not hesitate a Moment to assist him to the Utmost of their power in such a situation as I find myself—I have risqued and lost every Connection of my own—and am denied (if to neglect is to deny) the Protection and assistance of the Power for whom I have risqued and lost every thing.
I wou'd wish to conceal matters of this sort from the World to prevent the Evils which will arise therefrom but 'twill be impossible to do it lo[ng]er than the sailing of the Vessel, if I am left unpr[ovid?]ed, in Which Case it will be for Congress to determine whether You are right in refusing or I wrong in asking what I think you ought to accede to and I to receive—Proper and Suitable support according to the Rank I bear in the Army of the united States.
If not too much trouble, be please to ask Mr. Izard if the State of Carolina in his Opinion, shou'd Congress refuse to do it, wou'd not indemnify any Expense you incur on such a head.
Mr. de Sartine if applied to, I am sure will inform you 'tis the practice of all Nations and most justly.
I am sorry to give you the Expence of so much postage, but I can't blame myself as it might have been prevented by a speedy and ingenuous, (not studied and cautious) polite and explicit Answer, as there have some Months passed since our first Correspondence.
I hope to finish a Correspondence disagreable I dare say on both Sides, to me I am sure peculiarly by receiving notice of my draft being duly honoured, by the first post. In Expectation of which I am Honourable Gentlemen Your most obedient humble servant
[signed] Jno. Gilbank
[signed] Chez Madame Boucher a la Fosse
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “Aux Honorables Les Honbles. Messrs. Franklin, Lee et Adams, Ecurs. Ambassadeurs Americains a Paissy ou Chaillot preés de Paris”; docketed: “M. Gilbank”; in another hand: “Gilbank 29 Deer. 78.” A small tear in the MS has resulted in the loss of portions of two words.
1. Gilbank had written on 24 and 26 Dec. (PPAmP: Franklin Papers) to report his draft on the Commissioners. The “prior letter” was presumably that of 15 Dec. (see Gilbank to the Commissioners, 16 Nov., note 3, above).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0204

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1778-12-30

To Edmé Jacques Genet

[As many] Gentlemen may apprehend [that one is exposed to a shortage of]2 Provisions, <especially of Bread> in America, from the Difficulty which the French Fleet found at Boston, to obtain a Supply, especially of Bread, I beg Leave to suggest to you, an Observation or two upon that Subject.
It would be Sufficient to Say, that the Comte D'Destaing, did, in Fact obtain, a Sufficient Quantity, altho the Price was Somewhat high, and that a French Fleet may always depend upon a Supply even at Boston, altho it will be dearer, there than in other Parts of the united States.
Of all the thirteen united States of America, the Massachusetts Bay alone, has never raised its own Bread. Their Soil, or Air, is less favourable for the Culture of Wheat, and their Commerce enabled them to import Corn, and Flour, So easily, from Pensilvania, Maryland, and Virginia, that it has been computed that about Fifty thousand People, Inhabitants of the Seaport Towns of Boston, Salem, Newbury Port, and Marblehead, were annually fed with Corn, imported, the Province not producing a Sufficient Quantity for its Inhabitants.3
Since the Commencement of this War, the Inhabitants have raised more Grain, than before, but Still not So much as they wanted, and the Deficiency has been Supplied, partly, by Land, in Waggons, from the States of Connecticutt and New York, and, partly, by Sea, from Pensylvania, Maryland and Virginia by Small Vessells, with Skillfull Navigators, which [all the Vigilance of the British Frigates, has never been able wholly to prevent.]
This Year, the Southern States, for good Reasons of [State however, had] laid an Embargo on Grain, which cutt off, entirely this Channell of Supply from Boston, and rendered the Article of Bread very Scarce and dear, and what added to the Misfortune, was the Demand for General Burgoines Army near Six Thousand Men, who were in Barracks at Cambridge, within a League of Boston. So that in the Moment when the Fleet arrived in their Harbour, So great was the real Scarcity of Bread among the Inhabitants, that the Sudden and unexpected Addition of so large a Demand excited Apprehensions among some of the People of a Famine.
But it may be depended on, that there is no other Part of the united States, but produces more Grain that it consumes. It may also be depended on that even at Boston any Fleet that may be sent there, may { 324 } procure Supplies of Bread, at all Times, paying only the Additional Price of transporting it to that Town by Land.
It was this Scarcity of Bread, which excited or at least gave the Pretence to the Disturbances that happened on the first Arrival of the Fleet.4
[There were in the port several privateers of which, in general, the crews were more or less English, Scottish, and Dutch sailors. There were also some] Deserters, not only from General Burgoines [army, but also from sever]al Corps of Prisoners at discretion of whom there [are]5 upwards of five thousands in the several states, and other Deserters, from the Main Army of the English, and their several Outposts, have at times inlisted on board of Privateers. A Number of Persons, As it is Supposed of this Discription, pretending a Want of Bread, and probably stimulated by secret Ennemies, went to the Bake houses, and began a Bickering, which proceeding from Words to Blows, produced the Disorders which every good Man in Boston abhors.
It is not indeed Surprizing. The Wonder is that there were not more and greater Quarrells. For the Sailors, of every Nation of the Earth, Seem to have a Kind of mixed Passion of Contempt and Hatred towards the sailors of all other Nations. It is the opinion of all who come from Boston that had a British Fleet of the same Size, lain in that Harbour so long in Time of the profoundest Peace and Strictest Friendship between England and America, there would have been more Quarrells and Disturbances between them and the Inhabitants, which is much to the Honour of the French Fleet and its Commander, and is the best of Proofs of Discipline and good order.
Whenever French and Spanish, English and Portuguese Sailors come together, they fight as naturally as Cats and Dogs, or if they chose to be compared to Animals of a nobler Nature, as the Elephant and Rhinoceros. Indeed, the English Sailors, of London and Bristol, and [even those of Salem and Marblehead in America are never found together unless fighting among themselves with fists or clubs. Such is the sailor's nature] and Character. And they [display] their Heroism in this Way, as in contending [among] Cannon Balls.6
I mention these Things for your particular Consideration. Perhaps it would not be prudent, to say any Thing in your Publication, concerning, the Affray at Boston. But you will Use your own Pleasure.7
The affair of Bread at Boston is of Importance to [be] well understood. All other Provisions, especially Beef and Pork, are very plenty there and of good Quality. The Resources of these Articles are inexhaustible in New England. The Cornucopia is there poured out. The { 325 } English intend to render this Resource Useless to France. They may as easily dry up the Ocean. If they were to burn the Town of Boston, which however they must ask leave of a brave and hardy Race of Men to do, this Resource would remain to France undiminished. An Harbour in which all the Fleets of Europe may ride securely, and a Country abounding with Provisions of every Kind excepting Bread, and even enough of that to be had by Land for a little higher Price.
Accept the Respects of your
[signed] John Adams
RC (PWacD: Feinstone Coll., on deposit PPAmP). The tops of all four pages of this letter have been damaged by fire, with the loss of the dateline, salutation, and several lines of text. As a result, except for the dateline and portions of the fifth and sixth paragraphs (see note 3), missing text has been supplied in brackets by reconstructing the English text from the French translation in Affaires de l'Angleterre et de l'Amérique (see notes 1, 2, 5, and 6).
1. This letter probably was written sometime between 20 and 29 Dec. The former date is that of a copy of an early draft (PCC, No. 102, III, f. 1) of the Commissioners' letter to Vergennes of [ante 20] Dec. 1778 – [ante 9] Jan. 1779 (above); drafts of the letter contained several paragraphs on the Boston riots that JA appropriated for this letter, but which were deleted from the Vergennes letter as finally sent (see note 4). The latter date is one day prior to JA's letter to Genet (below), containing additional assurances of the good will of Bostonians toward France and the French fleet which may have been intended to supplement those in the present letter. The time that it would have taken Genet to show JA's letter to Vergennes and then draft his reply of 1 [Jan.] (below) seems to preclude JA's having written after the 29th.
The letter was put to good use. Virtually all of it, without signature, appeared with other letters under the general heading “Extraits de diverses lettres écrites de Boston” in Affaires de l'Angleterre et de l'Amérique (“Lettres,” vol. 13, cahier 63, p. xlix, lxiii–lxvii). To justify its inclusion with the other letters and further conceal JA's authorship, the letter was dated 4 Nov., the approximate date of a letter sent from Boston that would arrive in France in time to be included in an issue of Affaires printed in early January.
2. In Affaires this paragraph begins: “Comme plusieurs personnes peuvent croire qu'on est exposé à manquer de.”
3. This and the following three paragraphs are almost identical to corresponding paragraphs in Commissioners to Vergennes, [ante 20] Dec. 1778 – [ante 9] Jan. 1779, No. 1 (above). Words lost through fire damage in the next two paragraphs have, therefore, been supplied from that document in brackets.
4. For the Boston riots, see James Warren to JA, 7 Oct., note 5 and references there (above).
5. In Affaires this paragraph begins: “Il y avoit alors dans le Port plusieurs corsaires dont en général les equipages avoient plus ou moins de Matelots Anglois, Ecossois et Hollandois. Il y avoit aussi quelques déserteurs, non-seulement de l'armée de Burgoyne, mais encore de divers corps de prisonniers sur leur parole, dont le nombre est.”
6. In Affaires the text of this paragraph following Bristol reads: “et en Amérique meme ceux de Salem et de Marblehead ne se sont jamais trouvés ensemble sans se disputer d'adresse à coups de poing ou de gourdin. Telle est la nature et le caractere du Matelot; et il attache autant d'honneur à la bravoure héroïque qu'il montre de cette maniere, que si le canon étoit de la partie.”
7. This paragraph, which did not appear in Affaires, was set off, probably by Genet, by a vertical line placed next to it in the left margin.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0205

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1778-12-30

To Edmé Jacques Genet

M. Adams is very Sorry, it is not in his Power to Send Monsieur Genet a Copy of the Manifesto of Congress. He lent the only Copy he had to Mr. Lee, who promised, Yesterday, to send a Copy to M. Genet, this Morning. M. A. gave to Monsieur Garnier a Translation of it into French done by a young Gentleman here, which Mr. Garnier has probably sent.1 I have Seen, in a Virginia News Paper, an Answer to the incendiary Manifesto,2 which well deserves a Place in your Pamphlet. I requested it for you. But the Gentleman, who had the only one sent it to England, So that you may expect to find it in the English News Papers.
Several Gentlemen have arrived here, [within] a few Days, from Boston who all give the most agreable Accounts of the Union and Resolution of the People, and particularly of the agreable Impression that the Comte D'Estaing and his Officers and People, have left of themselves, in the Minds of the Inhabitants. They all agree, that no British Fleet in Times of the greatest Security, could have lain there, and communicated so much with the Inhabitants, without exciting [more] Uneasinesses and Disturbance.
With great Respect, your most obedt.
[signed] John Adams
RC (Justin G. Turner, Los Angeles, 1958). Words lost to fire damage are supplied in brackets from a transcript in the Edmond Charles Genet Papers (DLC).
1. In a letter of 26 Dec., Genet had requested a copy of Congress' response to the Carlisle Commission's manifesto, which had been brought to his attention by a “M. Garnier” (RC, Adams Papers; JCC, 12:1080–1082). This was probably Charles Jean Garnier, secretary of the former French ambassador to Great Britain (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:298). Genet printed a translation of the countermanifesto, perhaps that supplied by JA through Garnier, in Affaires de l'Angleterre et de l'Amérique, “Lettres,” vol. 13, cahier 62, p. xxiii–xxvii.
2. Probably the reply to the Carlisle Commission's manifesto signed “Americanus” that appeared in the Virginia Gazette of 30 Oct. and was reprinted by John Almon, without signature, in vol. 2 of his Remembrancer for 1778 (London, 1779, p. 133–137). It has not been found in Affaires.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0206-0001

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-01-01

From Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] Monsieur

J'ai lu à M. le Comte de Vergennes ce qui concerne M. le Comte d'Estaing, dans le billet dont vous m'avés honoré. Il m'a recommandé d'en faire mention dans mon Journal. Mais ce sera pour le numéro d'après celui qui paroitra demain. J'y ai mis une piece anglois—Signée Fire and Sword2 qui vous amusera.
{ 327 }
Je suis avec respect Monsieur Votre très humble et très obéissant Serviteur,
[signed] Genet
Je veillerai sur la piece de la Virginie dans les papiers anglois.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0206-0002

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-01-01

Edmé Jacques Genet to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Dear Sir

I read to Count Vergennes that which concerns the Count d'Estaing in the note with which you honored me. He recommended that I mention it in my journal. But it will have to appear in the number after that which will appear tomorrow. I have also included an English piece—signed Fire and Sword,2 which should amuse you.
I am, with respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant,
[signed] Genet
I am keeping an eye out for the piece from Virginia in the British papers.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “m. adams député du Congrez a Passy”; docketed: “M. Genet”; by CFA: “1779.”
1. Undoubtedly written in January, as it is a reply to JA's letter of [ante 30 Dec.] as well as that of 30 Dec. (both above).
2. Presumably the satirical piece published by Genet in Affaires de l'Angleterre et de l'Amérique under the heading: “Conseils aux Ministres Anglois pour donner à la proclamation ou manifeste du 3 Octobre encore plus d'efficacité”; and the signature: “Le Fer & le Feu” (“Lettres,” vol. 13, cahier 62, p. xxvii–xxxi). It listed monetary rewards as incentives for carrying out the Carlisle Commission's manifesto of 3 Oct. (Richard Henry Lee to JA, 29 Oct. 1778, note 4, above). Among them were £5,000 for burning a town of 1,000 houses, £30 for the scalp of a member of congress, and £5,000 for the scalp of General Washington.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0207

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-01-01

From James Warren

[salute] My Dear Sir

I keep no Copies of Letters and therefore am Unable to refer to the dates or the Contents. I know I have wrote you many and some of them very Lengthy. The Contents may be of no great Consequence whether they are lost or received. How many you have wrote me, you can best tell, only one has yett reached me. I have been now ten days from the Capital, and therefore Unable to give you such Intelligence as I might if there. However I beleive you will not get much from there at this Time Nothing very Remarkable haveing taken place the last three weeks I was at Boston. The Papers that will be sent by the Navy Board by this Good Oppertunity and your Friend the Marquiss Fayate will give you every thing you can wish to know from here.1 The principal Subject of Conversation seems to be a Letter lately published by Mr. Deane Attacking with great Freedom the Character and Conduct of Doctr. Lee, and Indeed that of his whole Family.2 This Letter { 328 } if neither Elegant or Nervous, is Calculated to Command the Attention, and fix the prejudices of the People and is designed to strike deep, as neither Congress or Individuals that Compose it are spared.
It is no difficult Matter to Engage the prejudices of the people in a Country where Jealousy is Excited on the Slightest Surmise.
Whether the Author has sufficient Grounds for his Charges against Doctr. Lee, and for his Complaints against Congress, or whether this is a political dust he designs to avail himself of, you can better tell in France than I can here. If Dr. Lee and his Connections are guilty of Treachery or any Misconduct I hope they will be discovered and they punished, but I must own at present I doubt it, and Some People think the Author might as well have bent his Attention to clear himself from some Insinuations not much to his Advantage. However let Matters be as they May this has a Tendency to Lessen the Confidence of the People in <their> Congress, and to Create Factions that may Injure the Common Cause. The Tories have by such means a full Swing for their Arts, which they Improve to the greatest Advantage. I say Nothing to you of the State of our Currency and other difficulties we have to Struggle with. The Enemy still retain N York and R Island. The French and English Squadrons are supposed to be gone to the West Indies, from whence we Expect great Events. Mrs. Adams writes you by this opportunity. Your pretty Daughter is here on a Winter's Visit to Mrs. Warren. She is very well, and wont own that she is not happy. I am with every Wish for Your Happiness Your Friend & Servt
[signed] J Warren
1. Lafayette carried the official notification of Franklin's appointment as the minister plenipotentiary to France, and letters from AA to JA of 13 and 27 Dec. and presumably that to JQA of 15 Dec. 1778 (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:135–138, 139–141; see also James Lovell to JA, 24 Oct., note 3, above).
2. For JA's reaction to the attack on the Lees and their loyalty to the American cause in Silas Deane's address, “To the Free and Virtuous Citizens of America,” first printed in the Pennsylvania Packet of 5 Dec. 1778 and then reprinted in the Boston Independent Chronicle of 31 Dec., see his letter to Vergennes of 11 Feb. 1779 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0208

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1779-01-01

John Bondfield to the Commissioners

[salute] Sirs

I have the Honor to pay my most respectful Compliments of Season wishing prosperity to all your undertakings.
We are without any Arrivals since I had the Honor to write you the 5th Ultimo. By Letters from Nantes I am inform'd the Chasseur is { 329 } | view Loaded and all is ready for the other Ship which contrary winds have detaind near two Months at Isl of Rhé not more than 24 hours sail from Nantes.1 I rejoice to learn a Convoy is appointed as we may thereby promise ourselves more protection than merchant Ships could otherways give to each other. The continued advices of Captures has Stagnated all private expeditions. Premiums out or home are at 60 P Cent which absorbs the Capital. I have the Honor to be respectfully Sirs Your very hhb Servant
[signed] John Bondfield
Loss's sustained at this [port?] since January 1778
Ships going or coming from the West Indies taken   48  
Ships going or coming from the United States   56  
 lost on the Coast of America and the Islands   31  
  135  
Most of them ships from 200 to 500 tons.
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honble. Benjn. Franklin, Arthur Lee & John Adams Commissrs. from Congress at Paris”; docketed: “J. Bondfield 1 Jan. 79. to Commrs.”
1. The Chasseur and the Governor Livingston (see Bondfield's letter of 9 Jan., below).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0209

Author: Chase, Joseph
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1779-01-01

Joseph Chase to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentelmen

These are to Request you to give your asistance To Benjamin Clark, William Folger, John Locke, Frances Macy, John Headon, Thorndrick Chase, Reuben Chase, John <B>2 and <a> Numbers of others, Americans Now Prisoners in Different Prisons in France Dinant Mayenne3 in Britange &c. which I Think are as good Subjects as any America has as I know thay given Numbers of donations to asist the Americans in England Such as has got out of fourtune Prison and Else whare and done all that is in there power to get them To France. And I am Very Certain that they would be Very glad to go in the American Service as I know the greatest part of them has been obliged to go in the English Service being First Taken by and ceeped on Bord of Man of War and gard Ships for a number of months. Some longer Some Shorter.
If you will be So kind as to get them Clear of Prison you Much Oblige your Humble Servant
[signed] Joseph Chase
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “Mr Chases Request concerning Americans”; in another hand: “M. Chases Request concerg. Americans.”
1. An inadvertance caused by the change to a new year.
2. Together with Caleb Gardner and Ecobud Clark, mentioned by Chase in a letter of 8 Feb. (PPAmP: Franklin Papers), the men listed here had all been involved in the English whale fishery. John Blyth, the last listed, whose surname Chase begins and then crosses out, and Clark, Folger, Lock, and Macy were all known { 330 } to the Commissioners. Chase renewed his plea, particularly for the release of his brother, Reuben Chase, in his letter of 8 Feb. No reply to this letter has been found, nor is there any indication that the Commissioners took any action on Chase's request.
3. Dinan is in Brittany, but Mayenne, where the prisoners were presumably housed in the castle for which it is noted, is in the old province of Maine.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0210-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1779-01-01

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners

[salute] Messieurs

De retour ici Mardi au soir, j'allai voir notre Ami. Il me dit qu'il n'y avoit encore rien de fait, mais que, malgré tout ce qui se pourroit passer encore le lendemain, les choses finalement iroient bien. Je compris son idée. Il me dit aussi, que le crédit excessif de Sir J. Y. auprès d'un grand personnage se manifestoit de plus en plus; et qu'il n'y avoit plus moyen de douter, que ce dernier n'eût des engagemens secrets avec son Cousin.1
Je fus le lendemain mercredi après diner chez Mr. l'Ambassadeur de F——. Pendant qu'il avoit été faire un tour de Promenade, l'Agent des E. Généraux avoit porté chez lui la réponse au Mémoire. On lui dit de revenir. Son Excellence, qui s'attendoit déjà au contenu, me dit qu'il la renverroit: et il le fit.2 Il me dit aussi, qu'il avoit toute prête la Déclaration, par laquelle les sujets de l'Etat sont exclus du Reglement du Roi en faveur des Neutres, et privés des faveurs dont ils jouissent dans ses ports; et que cette Déclaration sera bientôt notifiée et publique.
G——F——pense, que cette affaire fera autant de bien aux Anti-Anglois, que la prise de Bergopzoom3 leur fit de mal il y a passé 30 ans; et que le temps viendra où les autres devront avoir recours à celui-ci, pour faire lever l'anathême, que leur complaisance pour——4 leur attirera présentement.
Mercredi au soir je fus chez notre Ami. Il ne put me donner qu'un instant. La réponse des Et. Généraux au Mémoire de la France est la même que celle prise à la pluralité par les Et. d'hollande, à quelques additions près, qui ne disent rien. Les Députés n'ont pas même consulté leurs Provinces respectives là-dessus: autre coup porté à la Constitution. L'un de ces Messieurs, avec qui j'ai eu occasion d'en discourir, m'a dit pour toute excuse, ce n'est pas la premiere fois que nous l'avonsfait. Je lui ai repliqué, qu'une fille de joie peut en dire tout autant. J'ai vu une Lettre, de très-bonne main de l'une de ces provinces, où l'on fait des censures et reproches graves de cette façon d'agir. La Frise est celle de toutes qui peut le moins se passer du Commerce de la France.
{ 331 }
Il y a aujourdhui grand Concert à l'Hôtel de France. La Cour y est. Mr. l'Ambassadeur fait le rebours de se qui se pratique au théatre; il commence par le divertissement, et finira par la tragédie. On se flatte néanmoins ici, qu'il ne se pressera pas, parce qu'on a fait sousentendre que l'on avoit convoqué toutes les Amirautés, pour délibérer plus amplement sur les convois. Mais on n'a pas dit, ce que pourtant tout le monde sait, qu'on a envoyé la réponse, qu'il a refusé de recevoir, à Mr. de Berkenrode5 à Paris, pour tâcher de l'y faire agréer: peine perdue.
Notre Ami est fortuné. Il a, dans tout ceci, le plus beau rôle à remplir, et il en viendra à bout à sa gloire. Il marche à grands pas sur les traces des jadis grands hommes de la Republique. D'un autre côté, le Mémoire de France est venu admirablement à propos seconder la fermeté de la grande Ville. Je ne doute pas, Messieurs, que la suite ne vous fasse voir l'importance de ce qui se passe ici, et combien les démarches du Serviteur des E. U. ici, auxquelles vous avez concouru, ont été utiles à l'affaire.
Nous venons de recevoir d'Angleterre la confirmation du retour de leurs Commissaires: l'expédition de Campblell contre la Caroline échouée.6 Byron sorti de N. York avec 15 Vaisseaux, battu de la tempête le 2 Nov., rentré à Rhode-Island avec 10 délabrés; le Sommerset de 64 canons et le Cornwall de 74 péris; le Bedford traîné démâté à N. York; le Culloden revenu en mauvais état en Angleterre: D'Estain, sorti de Boston le 4 poursuivant Hotham et Grant, ou allant conquérir peut-être les Isles Angloises, &c. Il y a si longtemps, Messieurs, que vous ne me donnez plus des nouvelles de l'Amérique, que je dois bien vous parler de celles que l'ennemi nous en donne.
Mr. l'Ambassadeur attendra jusque vers le milieu de ce mois que les Etats d'hollande se soient rassemblés; et alors, s'ils ne se mettent pas parfaitement en regle, il frappera le grand coup.
On me mande de Hambourg du 29 Xbre., que le bruit court, que le Prince Henri se démettra du Commandement de l'Armée, qui sera conféré au Prince de Prusse;7 mais que cela mérite confirmation: que le Prince Repnin est à Breslau,8 où il reçoit de grands honneurs: que c'est-là que se font présentement les Plans d'Opérations pour la Campagne prochaine: que les Russes feront diversion en Hongrie: que c'est pour la communication avec leur Corps que le Roi9 veut maintenir ses Postes dans la Haute-Silesie: qu'il est en bonne santé et gai: qu'on travaille à deux nouveaux Traités de Commerce, l'un entre les Cours de { 332 } Berlin et de Saxe, l'autre entre celles de Berlin et Petersbourg: Qu'il n'y a nulle apparence à la paix en Allemagne.
Dieu la donne glorieuse et fertile en bénédictions aux Et. U. C'est mon voeu de tous les jours. Puissions-nous, Messieurs, Vous et moi, célébrer ensemble dans le cours de cette nouvelle année cet heureux évenement.
Je suis avec un très-grand respect, Messieurs, Votre très-humble et très-obéissant serviteur
[signed] D

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0210-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1779-01-01

C. W. F. Dumas to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

Upon returning here, Tuesday evening, I went to see our friend. He told me that nothing had been decided yet, but that, in spite of all that might still happen tomorrow, things would end well. I knew what he meant. He also told me that Sir Joseph Yorke's excessive influence on an important person manifested itself more and more, and that there was no doubt that the latter had made secret arrangements with his cousin.1
After dinner on the following day, Wednesday, I visited the French ambassador. While he was out walking, the States General's answer to the memorandum was delivered by its agent, who was told to return. His Excellency, who already knew its content, told me that he would reject it and did so.2 He also told me that he had in readiness the declaration by which the citizens of the state are to be excluded from the King's regulation in favor of neutrals and deprived of the privileges they enjoy in his ports, and that the declaration will soon be made official and public.
The Grand Facteur thinks that this affair will benefit the anti-British party as much as the taking of Bergen-op-Zoom3 harmed them thirty years ago, and that the time will come when the others will have to have recourse to the latter in order to lift the opprobrium which their catering to []4 has brought upon them.
Wednesday evening I went to see our friend. He could spare me only a moment. The States General's response to the French memorandum is the same as that taken in the plurality by the States of Holland, with a few minor, meaningless additions. The members did not even consult their respective provinces on the matter: another blow to the constitution. One of these gentlemen, with whom I had the opportunity to speak, told me, as the only excuse, that this is not the first time that we have acted in this manner. I replied that a prostitute could say the same. I have seen a letter from a very important official of one of the provinces in which he censures and reproaches such behavior. Friesland is the one province that can least do without French trade.
Today, there is a big concert at the French embassy. The Court is { 333 } there. The ambassador is doing the reverse of what is done in the theater: he begins with the entertainment and will end with the tragedy. People here flatter themselves, however, that he will not proceed too urgently, because it is understood that all the Admiralties have been summoned to deliberate more extensively on the matter of convoys. What is not openly said, but known by all, is that they have sent the response, which the ambassador refused to receive, to Mr. de Berkenrode5 in Paris in order to seek agreement there: but in vain.
Our friend is lucky. He has in all this played a prestigious role and will achieve glory in the end. He is following in the footsteps of the Republic's great men of old. On the other hand, the French memorandum was very timely in promoting the resolve of the great city. I do not doubt, gentlemen, that the events which will follow will show you the importance of what passes here, and how much the démarches of the servant of the United States, in which you have concurred, have proved useful in this affair.
We have just received confirmation from England of the return of their Commissioners. Campbell's expedition against Carolina failed.6 Byron sailed from New York with 15 vessels, was hit by a storm on 2 November, and returned to Rhode Island with 10 cripples; the Somerset of 64 guns and the Cornwall of 74 were lost, the Bedford towed dismasted to New York, and the Culloden returned to England in poor condition. D'Estaing sailed from Boston on the 4th in pursuit of Hotham and Grant, or perhaps to conquer the English islands, &c. It has been so long, gentlemen, since you have given me any news from America, that I am reduced to telling you what I hear from the enemy.
The French ambassador will wait until about the middle of the month when the States of Holland will reconvene, and then, if they do not place themselves in perfect compliance with the regulation, he will carry out his threat.
From Hamburg, the 29th of December, I am informed that there is a rumor, which needs confirmation, that Prince Henry will step down from the command of the army, which will then be conferred upon the Prince of Prussia;7 that Prince Repnin is in Breslau,8 where the operational plans for the next campaign are being made, and is receiving high honors; that the Russians will create a diversion in Hungary; that it is for communication with their army that the King9 wishes to maintain his posts in Upper Silesia; that he is in both good health and spirits. Also, that two new treaties of commerce are being worked on, one between the Courts of Berlin and Saxony, the other between those of Berlin and Petersburg; and that there is no sign of peace in Germany.
May God bestow glorious and fruitful benedictions upon the United States. This is my daily wish. May we, gentlemen, you and I, celebrate together, in the course of this year, this happy event.
{ 334 }
I am, with a very great respect gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] D
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “à Leurs Excellences Messieurs les Plenipotentiaires des Etats-Unis de l'Amérique à Passy”; docketed by William Temple Franklin: “M. Dumas 1. Janry. 79.”
1. That is, the Stadholder, William V of Orange, had made secret arrangements with his cousin, George III. In extracts from this and other letters to the Commissioners that he enclosed in his letter to the Committee for Foreign Affairs of 7 Jan. (PCC, No. 93, I, f. 255), Dumas replaced “son Cousin” with “la Cour de Lond.”
2. La Vauguyon rejected the answer on 30 Dec., the same day that it was adopted by the States General in the form of a secret resolution (Edler, Dutch Republic and the American Revolution, p. 117).
3. Located in the southwestern corner of the Netherlands, the fortress of Bergen-op-Zoom was taken by the French in 1747 (Cambridge Modern Hist., 6:248).
4. In the extracts from this letter sent to the Committee for Foreign Affairs, Dumas replaced the blank with “la Cour de L.”
5. The effort by Mattheus Lestevenon van Berkenrode, Dutch ambassador to France, to present to Vergennes the States General's response to La Vauguyon's mémoire was unsuccessful. On 5 Jan., Berkenrode informed the States General that Vergennes had refused to accept the answer, requested that it be withdrawn, and advised that in the future the States General negotiate with La Vauguyon (Edler, Dutch Republic and the American Revolution, p. 120). In fact, the only acceptable reply would be one declaring unequivocably the determination of the United Provinces to protect its vessels, particularly those carrying ships' timbers, through the use of convoys.
6. Lt. Col. Archibald Campbell's objective was Georgia rather than the Carolinas. Leaving New York at the end of Nov., Campbell captured Savannah on 29 Dec. and shortly thereafter, following the arrival of additional troops from Florida under the command of Gen. Augustine Prevost, all of Georgia was in British hands (Ward, War of the Revolution, 2:679–681; Mackesy, War for America, p. 234).
7. The change in command from Prince Henry of Prussia to his nephew, Prince Frederick William (later Frederick William II), did not take place.
8. Prince Nicolai Vasilievich Repnin had arrived at Breslau on 20 Dec. with powers to mediate between Austria and Prussia. In May he signed the Treaty of Teschen ending the War for the Bavarian Succession (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale).
9. Frederick II, or Frederick the Great of Prussia.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0211

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Date: 1779-01-02

The Commissioners to Gabriel de Sartine

[salute] Sir

We had the Honour of receiving your Excellency's Letter of the 22d, and are much obliged to you for the Interest you take in what concerns the unhappy Prisoners who may escape from England. We have not been inattentive to that Subject. There are Persons who Supply them at Bourdeaux, Brest, l'Orient, Nantes and Dunkirk. A Gentleman at Calais1 has voluntarily done this service for which We have directed him to draw upon us for his disbursements; And We Shall as readily discharge what may have been disbursed by your Commissaries when We have their Accounts.
{ 335 }
As there is very little Probability of any Prisoners coming to other Ports, We will not give your Excellency the Trouble you are so good as to offer to take.
The Regulation your Excellency proposes relative to the Prisoners We may take from the Enemy and bring into the Ports of France, is entirely agreeable to us; and We shall direct our Agents accordingly who will readily deliver such Prisoners to the Persons your Excellency may appoint to receive them, having already requested us to procure written <Answers> Orders2 from you, without which your Commissaries were unwilling to take Charge of them.3
We have the Honour to be4
LbC in Arthur Lee's hand (Adams Papers).
1. James Leveux (see James Smith to the Commissioners, 15 Nov. 1778, above).
2. Benjamin Franklin substituted “Orders” for “Answers.”
3. This whole paragraph was bracketed in the left margin; it is not known by whom, or for what purpose.
4. In his reply of 13 Jan. (MS, in French, PCC, No. 102, IV, f. 181; English translation, Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:22), Sartine agreed that measures had been taken regarding American prisoners in most French ports, but noted that the Commissioners apparently had neglected to provide for those entering the ports of Normandy and asked that this omission be corrected. He then stated that the requested accounts were forthcoming and that orders had been sent to all French ports for the reception of English prisoners brought in by Americans.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0212

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1779-01-03

To James Lovell

[salute] Sir

I Suffer So much Uneasiness, on Account of the State of Things here, that I cannot fail to communicate my Anxieties, so [to?] some one in Congress, <which you may>
We are very much Straightened for Funds, and you send Us no supplies, and yet you draw upon Us, from America from the West Indies, and from many other Quarters. We are continually exposed to the <Insolen> Reproaches, and the Insolence of American Prisoners who escape from England, Ireland, Scotland, Jersy, Guernsy because We do not furnish them with as much Money as they want. We lend them more than We can afford and yet We [are] obliged to pay away large Sums of Money for Purposes less necessary.
It is a delicate subject that I am about to touch, and I suppose Gentlemen will think hard of it, but my duty to the public demands of me that I should State Facts for your Information, and for the Information of all others to whom you may think proper to communicate them.
The three Commissioners at this Court, in the Article of their Ex• { 336 } pences merely1 consumed ten Thousand Pounds Sterling, in the first Year. The Commissioner to the Empire last Feby. received two thousand Pounds sterling, and on the 4 of December drew on Us for one Thousand more. The Commissioner, to the Grand Duke had Two Thousand Pounds Sterling in February and two days ago told me, he must draw for more. So that at the most moderate Computation, you will have three thousand Pounds each to pay for five Commissioners, whereas in my Opinion, one Commissioner is all that is wanted, and he might live upon three Thousand Pounds. But then you must appoint Consuls to manage the Commercial Business. Twelve thousand Pounds a Year would go a great Way in, relieving the Wants of our Countrymen, suffering in Prison or escaping from it. Besides the Waste of Money, We are accumulating a Debt here which will be a heavy Load, <and> give great Discontent and excite great Clamours hereafter.
Reports are propagated here, that Congress are about sending out a greater Number of Commissioners, and all I suppose must draw, Upon Passy. If this should be the Case it is my duty to tell you, that their Bills and ours both, will in my opinion be protested. It will be impossible they should be paid.
With both the Commissioners, that to Vienna and that to Tuscany, I have a good Understanding, and think them honourable and worthy Men. But there is not in my opinion any Probability of their being received, and therefore their Missions are totally Useless.
My opinion and Advice therefore is, to recall, every Commissioner, You have in the World, excepting one to this Court and one to Spain. And appoint Consuls or Commercial Agents at Nantes and Bourdeaux.
Recall me, and Leave Dr. F. here alone, but then you must take from him, all Money Matters all commercial and maritime matters. His Character, has excited such an Enthusiasm, that it would do us great Harm to recall him—and one alone is enough.2
LbC (Adams Papers); notation following the close: “Feb. 13 1779. The foregoing Letter was never sent nor copied, the Account of the Commissioners Expences, upon further Deliberation having been found too inaccurate and much exagerated.”
1. JA may have been using an obsolete definition of “merely” to mean “absolutely” or “completely.”
2. Although not sent, this letter reflected JA's long held views concerning the expense of maintaining three Commissioners at the French Court and the need for consuls. See, for example, his letters to Samuel Adams, 21 May 1778, and to the Committee of Commerce, 24 May 1778 (vol. 6:144–145, 150, calendar entries; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:106–108, 111–112).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0213

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1779-01-04

To Edmé Jacques Genet

[The resolve] of Congress of the 10 October, [that]2 you have inserted in your No. 62 is another Forgery.3 It has internal Marks of it enough.
1. Congress are not so much allarmed. They know the Ennemy have not the Power, tho they very well know they have the Will to do the Mischief.
2. Congress, would never recommend the building of such Hutts. There are Houses enough in the Country to receive the Inhabitants of the Towns, even in Case of such an Extremity.
3. Congress would never recommend the Burning the Houses of the Tories. They would sooner banish or Harry them and confiscate their Houses to carry on the War.
[A simple glance is sufficient] to any Man who knows [the country]4 and the Congress to perceive Marks of the Beast, in such ridiculous Fictions. Yet they impose of British Mobs, Ministers and Members of Parliament.5
[signed] John Adams
RC (CLjC). This letter was translated into French and printed in Affaires de l'Angleterre et de l'Amérique (“Lettres,” vol. 13, cahier 63, p. lxxxiii). Fire damage at the top of the page has resulted in the loss of the salutation, dateline, and several words. As a result, except for the salutation which is not reproduced in Affaires, the dateline and other missing portions have been supplied in brackets by reconstructing the English text from the French translation in Affaires.
1. In Affaires the dateline read: “De P.*** le 4 Janvier 1779.”
2. In Affaires this paragraph begins “L'arrête du Congrès du 10 Octobre que.”
3. Printed on pages xxii and xxiii of cahier 62, the fictitious resolve noted an expected final British attempt at the destruction of American towns and directed Americans living in threatened areas to build huts at thirty miles distance and, if the attack came, to destroy all tory property. In the reply to this letter and his apology for being duped (cahier 63, lxxx–lxxxii), Genet gave as the source for the resolution a New York gazette, probably Rivington's Royal Gazette because the Courier de l'Europe of 22 Dec., cited in Genet's apology, contains the “resolve” of 10 Oct., the congress' countermanifesto of 30 Oct., and a reply to the latter by a loyalist writer; and all appeared under a heading that implied they were from the Royal Gazette of 18 Nov. The London Chronicle of 17–19 Dec. carried the same pieces with the same heading. The countermanifesto and the answer were printed in the Royal Gazette of 18 Nov., but the spurious resolve was not, nor did it appear in the other paper, Hugh Gaines' New York Gazette and Weekly Mercury. The resolve, therefore, was probably taken by Genet from an English newspaper that cited Rivington and was fabricated in England, not America. Further evidence of the resolve's wide circulation in Europe and its evident authenticity in the minds of those who read it can be seen in its appearance in the Gazette de Leide of 5 Jan.
4. In Affaires this sentence begins “Il suffit d'un simple coup d'oeil à toute personne connoissant le pays.”
{ 338 }
5. In this sentence JA's probable meaning is obscured by his use of “impose of.” The “of” may have been an inadvertence for “on,” but he meant “to obtrude or 'put' (a thing) upon (a person) by false representations; to palm or pass off” (OED). JA means that an effort is being made to impose false rumors or statements on the British people and politicians regarding the policy of the congress on the conduct of the war. Genet's French translation of the paragraph in Affaires is clearer than the sentence as JA wrote it. It reads: “Cependant elles reussissent a merveille pour tromper le vulgaire Anglois, les Ministres et les Membres du Parlement.” Translation: Yet they succeed to perfection in deceiving the British mob, ministers, and members of Parliament.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0214

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Schweighauser, John Daniel
Date: 1779-01-04

The Commissioners to J. D. Schweighauser

[salute] Sir

We are honoured with yours <of> without a date.1 We wrote you on the Second of this Month2 to which We refer. We have written to Mr. Gilbank several Times that We could furnish him with no more Money, and that We should protest his Bills. If he will not believe Us, When the Bills arrive if they ever do, which We hope they will not, our <Protest> Refusal and the consequent Protest Will Convince him. We have been trifled with too much by that Gentleman, and hope We shall be so no more.
We have made the most pressing application in our Power to <Mr. De Sartine,> the Ministry, for the Convoy, and hope to suceed, but have not yet an Answer. We approve of [y]our Tenderness to the Prisoners. We wish to hear whether you have recovered the Cargoe of the Therese.
1. Not found.
2. Not printed, but see Benjamin Gunnison to the Commissioners, 14 Dec. 1778, and note 1 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0215

Author: Cooper, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-01-04

From Samuel Cooper

[salute] My dear Sir

Four days ago I received the Favor of your Letter of Aug: 12th.,2 and it gave me the highest Pleasure to hear you were well. The Marquiss de la Fayette will do me the Honour to take the Charge of this Letter who carries with him the Esteem and Affection of the Army and the States. His Intrepidity and Discretion, his Conduct in the Field, in Council, and in all private Circles have gained him an uncommon Reputation. He has done our Country no small Service, and reflected no little Honour upon his own with which at this trying Season we are so happy as to be allied.
{ 339 }
You will know before this reaches you the Affairs of the Count d'Estaing, who is in my Opinion an Officer of great Ability and Merit, and accomplished every Thing that human Prudence and Fortitude could effect in his Circumstances. The Winds and Weather were against him; and tho he felt his Disappointments most sensibly, he commanded himself greatly upon every trying Occasion, and conducted with equal Wisdom and Resolution. He did every Thing in his Power for the Service on which he was sent, and tho not equal to what would have been done, had he arrived sooner, it was yet much. I had the Pleasure of spending a day, not long before he left us with your good Lady and a Number of the Count's Officers at Col. Quincy's in Braintree.3 All admired the good Order, and polite Behavior of the Officers of the Fleet of which the Count gave the Example as well as the <Orders> Injunction.
You will see by our Papers that Mr. Deane has opened a public Contest here. He attacks the Family of the Lee's—and is supported by a Number of Pens. Common Sense4 defends them—Congress seem to be divided upon this Point5—I have had no Letters from any of our Friends there, and know little more than the public Papers. As Mr. Deane is to have an Hearing before Congress,6<of> which he complains he has been denied, the Matter may perhaps be stopped, and7 the Discussions in the Papers cease. At present we form no Judgement here, and take no Side, waiting for further Information and the Decision of that Body.8 We must expect Altercations and Divisions of this Kind, and perhaps by awakening in the People a more particular Attention to our public Affairs, they may produce common Good.
Our Enemies still keep a Garrison in New York and Rhode Island, and the Count it is supposed is now in the West Indies. Byron has been torn to Pieces with Storms, and wasted by Sickness, and was not able to follow the Count till six or seven Weeks after his Departure; The latter had all the Appearance of a good Season off, having escaped by Detention here, the Storm that shatter'd Byron's Fleet, and obliged him to repair from this Coast to Newport, in Order to refit9—Referring you to the Papers, that go by this Opportunity, and to the Marquiss for Details of News, I am, my dear Sir, with the warmest Respect and Attachment, Your most humble servant
[signed] Saml: Cooper
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Dr Cooper”; in another hand: “4 Jan'y 1779.”
1. Under this date, with the heading “Lettre de M. Samuel Cooper (Pasteur de la principale Eglise de Boston) à M. *** à P——y,” and with some alterations (see notes 5, 7, 8, and 9), this letter was printed in Affaires de l'Angleterre et de l'Amérique (“Lettres,” vol. 13, cahier 65, p. clxxvii–clxxix). It, together with letters { 340 } from Samuel Adams of 25 Oct. and Richard Henry Lee of 29 Oct. 1778 (both above), was sent with JA's letter to Edmé Jacques Genet of [ca. 14 Feb.] (below).
2. Vol. 6:367–368.
3. It is impossible to determine when Cooper was in company with AA at Col. Josiah Quincy's house, but for her meetings with Estaing and other French officers, see her letters to JA of [21] and [25 Oct. 1778], and that from Isaac Smith Sr. to JA of 9 Nov. 1778 (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:108–111, 117–118).
4. In a series of articles in the Pennsylvania Packet (15, 29, 31 Dec. 1778, and 2, 5, 7, 9 Jan. 1779), Thomas Paine answered Deane's address “To the Free and Virtuous Citizens of America,” which had appeared in the Packet of 5 Dec. 1778.
5. In Affaires Cooper's comments on the newspaper controversy, beginning with “He attacks the Family” and proceeding to “this Point,” were omitted.
6. The date of Deane's hearing was to have been 7 Dec. 1778; but on that day, because of the uproar over his address, he was ordered to put his report in writing. On 22, 23, and 31 Dec., Deane read his account before the congress, which then informed him that he would be notified of further orders. Although Deane was not again called before the congress, it was not until 20 Aug. 1779 that he was released from attending it (JCC, 12:1192, 1200–1201, 1265–1266; 13:930).