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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 7


Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0011

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-09-08

John Bondfield to the Commissioners

[salute] Sirs

This morning Arrived the Privateer Schooner Success—Attwood Master from Virginia. She left Cheasapeak Bay 13 July. The Captains { 14 } inteligence consists that the ninth Comte d'Estaing saild from the Bay for New York remained in the Bay five French Frigates.1
Some English Prisoners are brought in here taken by American Privateers their enlargement or detention is optional in the Captures no claim under your Authority being made of them and as being prisoners of the States the French Government dont appear to enterfer.
There are frequent Altercations betwixt Masters and their Seamen being matters of a Civil Maratime Nature between parties not Subjects in this Kingdom are not Connoisable in their Courts by Which the injured are sometimes agreivd without redress.
In One of my former I mentiond to you an Advantage that I apprehended would result should all Vessels belonging to the States be order'd to make their Report to your Constituents2 thereby enabling them to transmit you circumstantial Accounts of all that related thereto as well as the earliest information. I am attentive to procure as Authentic Accounts as private Curiosity will permit which of course being bounded I am not so interestingly inteligent to you as at all times I should esteem myself happy to be.
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 Esq Commissioners from Congress Paris”; docketed: “Mr Bondfield 8. Septr. 1778”; in another hand: “Bondfield Septr. 8th.”
1. This is probably the first report of Estaing's arrival in America to reach the Commissioners directly from America (see Commissioners to the president of the congress, 11 Sept., below). The news had been eagerly awaited ever since the departure of the fleet of twelve ships of the line and five frigates from Toulon on 13 April because of the expectation that a decisive battle would be fought between Estaing and Adm. Richard Howe. The fleet's slow passage and missed opportunities, however, doomed such hopes. Estaing arrived off the mouth of Delaware Bay—not the Chesapeake—on 8 July, ten days too late to prevent the escape of the British fleet from Delaware Bay to the safety of New York. On 11 July, Estaing arrived off Sandy Hook, but was again unable to join the battle when he determined that the shallowness of the entrance and the strength of the defenses would not permit him to force his way into New York Harbor. On the 29th the fleet arrived off Newport, R.I., where Estaing hoped, in conjunction with an American army, to dislodge the British from the town and harbor. The plan failed because of a lack of coordination between the Franco-American forces and the arrival of Howe's fleet off Point Judith on 9 Aug. The following day the French fleet put to sea in an attempt to close finally with the British, but a storm intervened and so damaged Estaing's ships that he was obliged to go to Boston for repairs, arriving there on the 28th. In November, his repairs completed, Estaing sailed for the West Indies, thus ending, without decision, the first major French challenge to British supremacy in American waters (Allen, Naval Hist. of the Amer. Revolution, 1:327–333; Mahan, Navies in the War of Amer. Independence, p. 63–78; Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 122–123). For JA's concern at receiving no information on Estaing's fleet, see vol. 5:xxviii, note 43, and references there.
{ 15 }
2. No such proposal has been found, but it may have been part of the plan referred to, but not described, by Bondfield in a letter of 17 [16] Aug. (vol. 6:373–374, and note 3). By “your Constituents,” Bondfield apparently means American agents in European ports.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0012

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Williams, Jonathan
Date: 1778-09-09

To Jonathan Williams

[salute] My dear sir

Your Favour of the 3d1 I duely received and am very much obliged to you for the Trouble you have taken in Writing to my dear Mrs. Adams, and in sending her a few Merchandises to the amount of 229 Livres: 6 s: 9 d which Sum I will immediately pay to Mr. W. T. Franklin as you desire,2 and I should have been very glad to have paid an additional sum for your Commissions.
We are in the Midst of an Awefull Pauze in the Political Concert,3 but I suppose a few Hours will set all the Instruments in Motion together. May the Musick be as ravishing to the Allies as the strains of Orpheus.
I am with much Esteem your most obedient servant
1. Not found.
2. On 9 Sept., JA paid the required sum to Temple Franklin for the goods shipped by Williams on the Dispatch, Capt. Corbin Barnes, which sailed from Paimboeuf on 29 Aug. with the Spy, Capt. Robert Niles, both of which were captured by privateers from Jersey and Guernsey (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:334, 335; Niles to Benjamin Franklin, 27 Oct., Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:522).
3. JA's reference here may be to a number of things then being or about to be considered by the two governments, including the disposition of prizes in French ports, the exchange of prisoners, the settlement of Beaumarchais' accounts, the inability of the United States to borrow money in Europe, and the general deterioration of the Commissioners' finances.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0013

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1778-09-09

Benjamin Franklin and John Adams to the Massachusetts Council

Passy, 9 September 1778. RC in Adams' hand PPAmP. printed (with enclosure): Magazine of American History, 12:462–463 (Nov. 1884). Franklin and Adams sent the Council a letter of 10 Aug. from Thomas Hutchinson to Dr. James Lloyd of Boston, concerning land owned by Hutchinson's sister, Grizell Sanford, and enclosing his and his sister's powers of attorney. Franklin and Adams had opened the letter because they believed it unwise to permit any communication from Hutchinson to go to America without examination, but left it up to the Council to decide what to do in the matter. No record of any action by the Council has been found.
RC in Adams' hand (PPAmP). printed (with enclosure): Magazine of American History, 12:462–463 (Nov. 1884).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0014

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

The Commissioners to C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Sir

We received yours1 in which you hint that it is wished by some of our Friends that the Commissioners would propose a Treaty to your Government. It would really be a great Pleasure to them to be instrumental in cementing a Union between the two Republics of Holland and the United States, by a Treaty of Amity and Commerce, similar to that lately concluded with France, or varying where Circumstances might require it. But having received no Answer from the Grand Pensionary, to a Letter2 they respectfully wrote his Excellency some Months since, expressing their Dispositions to such a good Work, they apprehend that any further Motion of the Kind, on their part, would not at present be agreeable, tho' they still hold themselves ready to enter upon such a Treaty whenever it shall seem good to their High Mightinesses. We are with Esteem Your very humble Servants
[signed] B Franklin
[signed] Arthur Lee
[signed] John Adams
RC (Dr. Frederick M. Dearborn, N.Y., 1956).
1. See 4 Sept. (above).
2. Commissioners to Pieter van Bleiswyck, 28 April (vol. 6:61–62).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0015

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

The Commissioners to John Ross?

[salute] Sir

<Yours of the 29 of August1 We duely received. We return you the Contract inclosed in it.>
<We are neither instructed nor authorised, to discharge your Debts, whether contracted in a private Capacity or otherwise, and if We were, our Finances would not enable Us to do it, at present.2 In one of your Letters you Say you have certain Merchandises on Hand to ship to America, which you will not ship untill you have our orders. If you had told Us that these Goods were purchased with the Money which the Commissioners sent you and had given Us an Account as We demanded, We should have done what would have appeared to Us proper, in that Business. But as it is, We can give no orders. <If you have any Goods, by you belonging to the United States, We wish you to deliver them to Mr. Schweighauser, who will send them to America, as soon as We shall order it to be done,> nor Advice. <You must do your own Business.>>
{ 17 }
<We take no Notice of the manner in which We have been treated by you in refusing to account to Us, for a very large sum of Money which was intrusted to you by the Commissioners, and in several Letters. We leave it to you to revise your Letter Book, reconsider your Conduct and follow the Dictates of your Conscience: but We expect it as a favour that We may be troubled with no more of your Letters, unless they are better adapted to your Character and to ours, and to the public service of our Country. We><are, with all due Respect, your, humble servants.>
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “not sent.” The portions of this letter in double angle brackets were canceled before those in single angle brackets.
1. No letter of 29 Aug. has been found that would seem to warrant this response. However, it is probable that John Ross, a merchant at Nantes with whom the Commissioners had a long-standing dispute over accounts and other matters, was the intended recipient (see, for example, Commissioners to Ross, 13 April, vol. 6:28–29, calendar entry; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:50–51). In addition, the Commissioners' letter to Ross of 30 Sept. (below) states that they are returning a contract that Ross had sent them in an earlier, unidentified letter.
2. The remainder of this paragraph was written after the closing and marked for insertion here. It was apparently intended as an alternative to the original final paragraph, which had been canceled.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0016-0001

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

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners

[salute] Messieurs

Je fus hier 2 fois chez le g—— F——, et 2 fois chez notre ami. Voici ce qui se passa hier matin à l'Assemblée d'Hollande. Amsterdam présenta son avis pour la non-augmentation de l'Armée, afin d'être inséré dans les Actes de la Republique, ajoutant, que puisque par-là-même il alloit être imprimé pour l'usage de chacun des Membres, qui pourroient le lire à loisir, on ne vouloit pas exiger de la patience de l'Assemblée, d'enécouter présentement la Lecture. Le g—— P—— insista, que puis qu'elle alloit être insérée, elle devoit être lue; et qu'il alloit le faire en sa qualité: on lui répondit, que si cela ne fatiguoit ni le Lecteur, ni le reste, cele ne fatigueroit point les donneurs de l'avis. Le g—— P—— lut, et ne put s'empêcher de marquer par de violentes contorsions sur son siege, les passages fréquents qui lui déplaisoient. Le Corps de la Noblesseécouta d'un air refrogné, et déclara, qu'encore que l'avis qu'il avoit déjà fait insérer, pour protester ne quid respublica detrimenti capiat,1 &c. fût suffisant, cependant il se proposoit de faire insérer un avis contrecelui d'Amsterdam. Dort2 alors prit la parole, pour se réserver de s'opposer à l'insertion d'un tel contre-avis, comme contraire à la constitution, et de permettre seulement l'insertion d'un nouvel avis sur la { 18 } chose-même, mais non comme contre l'avis d'un autre membre de l'Etat. Harlem, à son tour, déclara, que sans s'embarrasser de se rien réserver pour ou contre la forme, elle adhéroit quant au fonds à l'Avis d'Amsterdam. Après tout, l'Avis d'Amsterdam est inséré, comme il devoit l'être. On va l'imprimer pour être distribué à tous les Membres. Il y en aura une centaine d'Exemplaires surnumeraires, dont j'en aurai un, que je me ferai un devoir de vous traduire et envoyer, Messieurs, en son temps.3
Notre Ami est tout à la fois content du succès, et irrité contre le g——P. Il m'a dit que sa conduite n'est point celle d'un homme d'Etats et fin Courtisan à la fois, comme on l'avoit cru:4 que s'il avoit voulu, faire ce dernier rôle tout en s'entendant sérieusement avec le Parti républicain, on lui auroit aidé à le faire: mais qu'il a perdu la confiance d'Amsterdam, qui est persuadée qu'il fait et fera, par complaisance, tout pour, &c.5 Que si on avoit encore quelques doutes là-dessus; je n'avois qu'a aller lui demander quelle réponse il avoit à faire à votre Lettre,6 Messieurs, et que je verrois ce qu'il me diroit. J'ai dit que je n'avois point d'ordre pour cela à produire ou alléguer. Eh bien, m'a-t-il dit, allez-y comme de vous-même. Je lui ai fait sentir que je ne pouvois pas me commettre ainsi, sans vous commettre aussi, Messieurs. Il m'a observé de son côté, en souriant, qu'il falloit donc croire ce qu'il venoit de m'en dire. J'ai tout de suite fait part de cette conversation au g——F——, qui m'a approuvé.
J'ai l'honneur, Messieurs, de vous confirmer ma Lettre du 4 de ce mois, et d'attendre celui de votre réponse en conséquence. La partie de la Régence d'Amsterdam, que notre Ami se propose de tâter, c'est le Conseil entier de la Ville: car jusqu'ici il s'en est tenu aux Bourguemâitres seulement. S'il réussit, il pourra s'ensuivre des deliberations et de demarches importantes. Le Parti avec lequel vous allez de plus en plus entrer en liaison, Messieurs, par mon canal, c'est, comme en Angleterre, le Parti Whig ou républicain, avec cet avantage qu'il a sur l'opposition Angloise, que dans le sujet principal qui les divise présentement ici, la pluralité des suffrages ne peut rien contre lui. Nous sommes donc présentement sur la seule bonne voie qu'il y ait, pour arriver au point d'éloigner cet Etat de vos ennemis, et de le rapprocher peu à peu de la France et de l'Amérique.
J'ajouterai historiquement, que Harlem et Dort ont pour Pensionaires Mrs. Van Zeeberg et Boschart, deux hommes de grande capacité, bons républicains, et amis de notre ami.
Je suis avec mon respectueux dévouement, Messieurs Votre tré-shumble & trés-obéissant serviteur, &c.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0016-0002

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

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

[salute] Gentlemen

Yesterday I met twice with the Grand Facteur and twice with our friend.
Here is what happened in the Assembly of Holland yesterday morning. Amsterdam presented its proposal, to be inserted in the acts of the republic, opposing an increase in the size of the army, adding that since it would be printed for the use of each member who could then read it at leisure, it seemed unnecessary to try the patience of the Assembly by reading it aloud at the present time. The Grand Pensionary insisted, however, that because it would be inserted, it should be read and that he would do so in his own capacity. They responded that if it did not fatigue either the reader or the audience it would certainly not tire the originators of the proposal. The Grand Pensionary read it and could not refrain from indicating, by violent contortions on his chair, the frequent passages that displeased him. The Corps of Nobility listened sullenly and declared that in addition to the proposal it had already inserted, which was sufficient ne quid respublica detrimenti capiat,1 &c., it intended to introduce another against that of Amsterdam. Dort2 then spoke and invoked its prerogative to oppose the introduction of such a counter-proposal as being contrary to the Constitution, and to permit only the insertion of a new proposal on the same issue, but not as against the proposal of another member of the State. Harlem, in its turn, declared that, without caring to pronounce itself either for or against this formality, it agreed with the substance of Amsterdam's proposal. Finally, the proposal from Amsterdam was inserted as planned. It will be printed and distributed to all the members. There will be a hundred extra copies, of which I will have one that I will translate and send you, gentlemen, in due time.3
Our friend is both delighted by this success and irritated at the Grand Pensionary. He told me that the Grand Pensionary's conduct was not, as we had previously thought, that of a statesman and shrewd courtier4 and that if he had wished to play the latter role while being in actual agreement with the Republican party, they would have aided him in his effort. But he has lost the trust of Amsterdam, which is now convinced that he is doing and will do everything out of complaisance for &c.5 He added that if one had any doubts about it, all that I had to do was to go and ask him what would be his answer to your letter,6 gentlemen, and I would see what he told me. I said that I had no orders that could be produced or even alleged in order to do so. Well, he said, go on your own behalf. I made him to understand that I could not thus commit myself without compromising you too. He observed, smilingly, that I would, therefore, have to believe him. I immediately reported this conversation to the Grand Facteur, who agreed with me.
I have the honor, gentlemen to confirm my letter of the 4th of this month and await your reply. The part of the Regency of Amsterdam { 20 } that our friend intends to approach is the entire council of the city, having until now limited himself to the burgomasters. If he succeeds, important deliberations and démarches may follow. The party with which you will, through me, have increasing contact, gentlemen, is, as in England, the whig or republican party, but with this advantage over its British counterpart: that in regard to the principal subject now dividing the parties, the plurality of suffrages can do nothing against it. We are, therefore, now proceding down the only route that can succeed in alienating this state from your enemies and, little by little, draw it closer to France and America.
I will add, for the historical record, that Harlem and Dort have for Pensionaries Messrs. Van Zeeberg and Boschart, two very capable men, good republicans, and friends of our friend.
I am, with respectful devotion, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant.
RC (MH-H: Lee Papers); addressed: “à Leurs Excellences Messieurs les Plénipotentiaires des Etats-Unis de l'Amérique à Paris.”
1. That the state suffer no harm.
2. That is, Dordrecht, located on the southern boundary of the province of Holland, almost directly south of Amsterdam.
3. Dumas reported on the progress of the translation in his letter of 27 Oct., but it was not ready for transmission to the Commissioners until he wrote on 2 Dec. (both below).
4. See Dumas to the Commissioners, (17 July) vol. 6:298–304.
5. Presumably the Stadholder and his party.
6. That of 28 April from the Commissioners to the Grand Pensionary (vol. 6:61–62).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0017

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Beaumarchais, Pierre Augustin Caron de
Date: 1778-09-10

The Commissioners to Caron de Beaumarchais

[salute] Sir

In a Letter We have received from the Committee of Commerce of the 16 May1 We are informed that they had <>ordered Several Vessells lately to South Carolina for Rice, and directed the Continental Agents in that state to consign them to <y>our Address.<>
In the Letter from Mr. Livingston to Us dated Charlestown So. Carolina 10. June 1778 he has Subjected the Cargo of the Theresa [Thérèse] to our orders.2
In your Letter to Us dated Passi 8. September 1778,3 you “demand that the Cargo arrived in your own proper Vessell should be sold and the Money remitted to you in Part for a Discharge of what is due to you by the Congress.”
We are at a Loss to know how you claim the Therese as your proper Vessell, because Mr. Monthieu claims her as his, produces a written { 21 } contract for the Hire and demurrage of her, part of which We have paid and the Remainder he now demands of Us.
However, sir, We beg Leave to state to you, the Powers and Instructions We have received from Congress, and to request your Attention to them as soon as possible, and to inform you that We are ready to enter upon the Discussion of these Matters at any Time and Place you please.
But untill the Accounts of the Company of Roderique Hortalez and Co. are settled for what is passed, and the Contract proposed, either ratified by you and Us, or rejected by one Party: We cannot think We should be justified in remitting you the Proceeds of the Cargo of the Therese.
We will however give orders to our Agent4 for the sale of the Cargo, and that the Proceeds of Sale be reserved, to be paid to the House of Roderique Hortalez and Co. or their Representative, as soon as the Accounts shall be settled or the Contract ratified.
The Powers and Instructions alluded to above are as follow.5
By a Copy of a Contract between a Committee of Congress, and Mr. Francy dated the 16th of April last, We perceive that the seventh Article,6 respecting the annual Supply of Twenty four Millions of Livres, shall not be binding upon either of the Parties, unless the same shall be ratified by Roderique Hortalez and Company, and the Commissioners of the United States at Paris.
We take this opportunity to inform you, sir, that We are ready to confer with Roderique Hortalez and Company, or any Person by them authorized for this Purpose, at any Time and Place that they or you shall appoint.
We have the Honour to be, sir, your most obedient and most humble servants.
1. Vol. 6:127–128. Except for the change from “your” to “our,” made necessary because this letter was by the Commissioners, the last part of the sentence is an exact quotation from the letter of 16 May.
2. Livingston's letter has not been found, but following this sentence in the Letterbook is a large space, perhaps originally intended for the insertion of a quotation from that letter.
3. Actually, Beaumarchais' letter was dated 5 Sept. and, although docketed by JA, was to Benjamin Franklin (PPAmP: Franklin Papers). The Thérèse, referred to in that letter and below, was one of the vessels that John Joseph Montieu, in a contract of 15 Oct. 1776 between himself, Silas Deane, and Roderigue Hortalez & Cie., had agreed to provide in order to carry merchandise supplied by Beaumarchais to America (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 7:691–692; JCC, 6:690). Beaumarchais also provided surety for the vessels to the extent of advancing one-half the cost of shipping the goods. According to his letter to Silas Deane of 14 Oct. 1776, Beaumarchais' participation { 22 } was necessary to obtain the ships (Deane Papers, 1:316–318). The question for the Commissioners was whether the goods shipped in the Thérèse and other vessels were the gift of the French government or were purchased from Roderigue Hortalez & Cie., that is, Beaumarchais. In the latter case Beaumarchais' claim on the cargo of the Thérèse would have substance under the terms of the contract between the congress and his agent, Francy, approved on 7 April and signed on 16 April 1778, but not yet implemented by the Commissioners (JCC, 10:316–318, 356).
4. See the Commissioners to J. D. Schweighauser, 13 Sept. (below).
5. At this point is the note: “see the Letter to Count Vergennes.” This is the Commissioners' letter of the 10th (below). Presumably that letter or the portion of it containing the “Powers and Instructions” was to be inserted here in the recipient's copy.
6. See JCC, 10:317–318.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0018

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Date: 1778-09-10

The Commissioners to Gabriel de Sartine

[salute] Sir

Captain Daniel McNeill of Boston in the State of Massachusetts Bay Commander of the American Privateer, which has been so successfull against the Common Enemy in the North seas and White seas had the Fortune to retake a French Vessell1 from a Guernsey Privateer,2 after she had been in the Enemy's Possession <more than> three days, which Prize he has brought into Port Louis.
He represents to Us that he has met with some Difficulties in disposing of her and her Cargo, which cannot be removed untill your Excellencys Sentiments shall be known upon the Matter.3
We have the Honour to recommend his Case to your Excellencys Consideration, and to request that such Relief may be afforded him, as may consist with the Laws of the State,4his Majestys Interest, and the Treatys in Force between the two Nations. We have the Honour to be,
1. The Isabelle. For McNeill's voyage and the developing controversy over the Isabelle, see letters to the Commissioners from James Moylan and Puchelberg & Co. of 26 Aug. (vol. 6:398–400).
2. Benjamin Franklin interlined the following twelve words for insertion at this point and may originally have intended the passage to read “in the Enemy's Possession more than 80 hours,” James Moylan's words in his letter of 26 Aug. In this sentence Franklin also interlined the words “French” and “Prize.”
3. McNeill was apparently in Paris at this time, thus his representations to the Commissioners were probably made orally, but see his letter of 15 Sept. (below).
4. Benjamin Franklin interlined the preceding five words, probably for insertion at this point. He may also have underlined the following three words at the same time, possibly to indicate that his interlineation should be substituted for them in the recipient's copy.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0019

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1778-09-10

The Commissioners to the Comte de Vergennes

[salute] Sir

By some of the last Ships from America, we received from Congress certain Powers and Instructions, which we think it necessary to lay before your Excellency, and which we have the Honor to do in this Letter.1
We have the Honor to enclose to your Excellency a Copy of the Contract made between the Committee and Mr. Francy, a Copy of Mr. Francy's Powers, and a Copy of the list of Articles to be furnished, according to that Contract, that your Excellency, may have before you all the Papers relative to this Subject.2
We are under a Necessity of applying to your Excellency upon this Occasion, and of requesting your Advice.
With Regard to what is passed, we know not who the Persons are, who constitute the House of Roderigue Hortalez & Company, but we have ever understood, and Congress has ever understood, and so have the People in America in general, that they were under Obligation to his Majestys good will, for the greatest part of the Merchandizes, and Warlike Stores heretofore furnished, under the Firm of Roderigue Hortalez & Company. We cannot discover that any written Contract was ever made between Congress or any Agent of theirs, and the House of Roderigue Hortalez & Co., nor do we know of any living Witness, or any other Evidence, whose Testimony can ascertain to us, who the Persons are that constitute the House of Roderigue Hortalez & Company, or what were the Terms upon which the Merchandises and Munitions of War were supplied, neither as to the Price, nor the Time or Conditions of Payment.
As we said before, we apprehend that the United States hold themselves under Obligation to his Majesty, for all these Supplies, and we are sure it is their Wish and their Determination to discharge the Obligation to his Majesty, as soon as providence shall put it in their Power. In the mean time, we are ready to settle and liquidate the Accounts according to our Instructions, at any time and in any Manner, which his Majesty, or your Excellency shall set out to us.
As the Contract for future Supplies is to be ratified, or not ratified by us, as we shall judge expeditious we must request your Excellencys Advice as a favor upon this Head, and whether it would be safe or prudent in us to ratify it, and in Congress to depend upon Supplies from this Quarter, because if we should depend upon their Resource for Supplies, and be disappointed, the Consequences would be fatal to { 24 } our Country.3 We have the Honor to be with all Respect Your Excellencys most Obedient and very humble Servants
[signed] B Franklin
[signed] Arthur Lee
[signed] John Adams
RC (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol. E.-U., vol. 4); docketed: “M. de R office des Commissaires du Congrès &c. Septembre 10. Rec. Le 14. 7bre.” The “R,” which appears here and in later letters, presumably refers to Joseph Mathias Gérard de Rayneval, first secretary in the French foreign office.
1. The two and a half pages that follow contain three long quotations, which have been omitted. The first was the text of a congressional resolution of 13 April authorizing the Commissioners to “determine and settle” the compensation due Roderigue Hortalez & Cie. for supplies furnished before 14 April (JCC, 10:342). The second was the first paragraph of the Commerce Committee's letter to the Commissioners of 16 May instructing the Commissioners to determine what proportion of the supplies sent to the United States had been the property of Roderigue Hortalez & Cie., and what proportion belonged to the French government (vol. 6:127–128). The third passage contained the text of two resolves of 16 May directing the Commissioners to obtain, if they had not already been shipped, a list of goods and medicines from Roderigue Hortalez & Cie., and to request a convoy for the ships carrying the supplies (JCC, 11:505).
2. The enclosures have not been found, but for the contract and the powers of Francy, Beaumarchais' agent in America, see JCC, 10:316–318, 320-321.
3. It is unlikely that this letter led to a clarification of the situation regarding Roderigue Hortalez & Cie., for Vergennes apparently did not respond in writing, at least no letter has been found. However, he made the position of the French government clear in his instructions to Conrad Alexandre Gérard of 16 Sept. (Gérard, Despatches and Instructions, p. 294). Regarding the goods supplied by Beaumarchais, Vergennes informed Gérard that “le Roi ne leur a rien fourni, qu'il a simplement permi à M. de Beaumarchais de se pourvoir dans ses arsenaux à charge de remplacement; qu'au surplus j'interviendrois avec plaisir pour qu'ils ne fussent point pressés pour les remboursements des objets militaires.” Translation: the King has furnished them nothing, that he has simply permitted M. Beaumarchais to obtain supplies from the King's arsenals at the cost of replacement, and that, moreover, I would intervene with pleasure so that they [the congress] are not pressed for the reimbursement of the military stores.
As to the contract between the congress and Roderigue Hortalez & Cie., Vergennes wrote to Gérard that “je ne connois point la maison Roderigue, Hortalez et Cie. et que je ne puis répondre pour Elle, il m'est impossible d'avoir une opinion soit sur sa solidité, soit sur sa fidélité à remplir ses engagements.” Translation: I know nothing of the house of Roderigue, Hortalez & Cie. and thus I cannot answer for it. It is impossible for me to have an opinion on either its soundness or faithful fulfillment of its agreements.
Despite his apparent unwillingness to reply to the Commissioners' questions, in the instructions of 16 Sept., Vergennes ordered Gérard to transmit his responses to the congress. Gérard made use of the instructions in early 1779 when he was forced to respond to Thomas Paine's charge in a Philadelphia newspaper that the supplies obtained through Roderigue Hortalez & Cie. had been “a present” from France (from Edmund Jenings, 25 April 1779, note 1, below).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0020

Author: Williams, Jonathan
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-09-10

Jonathan Williams to the Commissioners

[salute] Honble. Gentlemen

Monsieur Montaudouin has this Day received a Letter from Monsieur Kergariou Commander of the French Frigate L'oiseau off Bellisle, informing him that the Guernsey and Jersey Privateers which infest this Bay, obtain Provisions at Bilboa under the Flag of the United States, pretending to be Americans.
I think it my Duty to give you this Information and hope some Means may be found to prevent further Imposition.
I have the honour to be with great Respect Honble Gentlemen Your most obedient Servant
[signed] Jona Williams
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “Mr Williams Sept. 10”; in another hand: “78.”

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0021

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Laurens, Henry
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1778-09-11

To the President of the Congress

[salute] Sir

I have the Honour to inclose to Congress, the latest Gazettes. We have no other Intelligence than is contained in them.
Since the 11. July the Date of Lord Howes Letter, announcing the Arrival of the Compte D'Estaing off Sandy Hook,1 We have not a syllable from America by Way of England. In France We have nothing from America Since 3 July. This long Interval leaves a vast Scope for Imagination to play, and accordingly there is no End to the Speculations, prompted by the Hopes and Fears of the Nations of Europe. We are Weary of Conjectures, and must patiently wait for Time to end them. I have the Honour to be, with very great Respect, sir your most obedient servant2
[signed] John Adams
RC (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 17); docketed: “Letter from J. Adams Sept. 11. 1778. Referred to Comee on foreign affrs.” LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “favd by 1st Lt in the service of So Car. and by Capt John Gale.”
1. Howe's letter, as printed in the English newspapers, reached JA and the other Commissioners on 30 Aug. (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:319; see also London Chronicle, 22–25 Aug.).
2. This letter was probably that read before the congress on 12 Dec. (JCC, 12:1214).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0022

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Bondfield, John
Date: 1778-09-11

The Commissioners to John Bondfield

[salute] Sir

Yours of the fifth instant1 We have received. We wish better Health to Captain Ayers,2 and a safe Passage to his Vessell, which is at sea { 26 } before now no doubt, if not however she is to sail forthwith, without further orders.
Your Draughts for the Account inclosed will be duely honoured. But you must distinguish that Part of it, which belongs to Mr. Adams in his private Capacity from the other Articles of the Account, and from those which were advanced to him for his own Captain Palmes's and Dr. Noels Expences at Bourdeaux and from thence to Paris.
For the Articles Sent by you, to Mr. Adams's Family in America, to the amount of Eight hundred and Eighty Eight Livres and twelve Sols, together with your Commissions on that sum, you will please to draw on Mr. Adams in his private Capacity who will honour your Draught at Sight. For the Remainder draw on the Commissioners, who will pay the Draught the same Respect.3
This however is not to affect a Question, which remains to be discussed between you and the other Continental Agents, concerning the Amount of your Commissions. Nor is this to be considered as a settlement of your Accounts. You have charged five Per Cent Commissions. But We apprehend this Commission is too high, and that many Persons would be willing to do the Business for <Three> Two Per Cent. <or less.>
We are sir, your humb sert
1. Not found.
2. John Ayres of the Arnold Packet.
3. The portion of Bondfield's account relating to JA included 1,404 livres advanced at Bordeaux and the sum mentioned here for goods sent to America. JA's personal accounts indicate that both amounts were paid on 25 May (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:328–329), but see also JA's letter to Bondfield of 3 June (vol. 6:175, calendar entry; Diary and Autobiography, 4:126). The remainder of the accounts apparently totaled 82,684.10 livres, which the Commissioners' accounts from 9 Aug. to 12 Nov. indicate had been ordered paid on 9 Sept. (vol. 6:360).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0023-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-09-11

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners

[salute] M.

En me referant à mes deux dernieres du 4 et 9 de ce mois, je continue aujourdhui, que j'ai appris de notre ami, que demain, dans l'Assemblée d'Hollande, on s'occupera d'une matiere très importante, savoir des déprédations commises par les Anglois tout récemment sur nombre de vaisseaux hollandois; que tous les négociants d'Amsterdam en Corps vont incessamment faire présenter une adresse à LL. hh. pp., pour demander la protection qui leur est due de la part du Souverain; démarche, qui, si les Anglois ne se mettent pas à la raison, et en regle quant à la neutralité de la république, entraîneroit enfin necessaire• { 27 } ment des mesures et suites très sérieuses; comme de forcer la republique à user de représailles, <et de la jeter entre les bras de La France et de l'Amérique> &c. En attendant la Commerce est mort à Amsterdam, parce que personne ne veut assurer. J'attends, Messieurs, ce que je vous ai demandé par ma Lettre du 4; Voilà de bonnes conjonctures pour battre ce fer tout chaud. L'avis d'Amsterdam sera imprimé la semaine prochaine. J'irai à Amsterdam un peu après notre ami; et je l'y verrai.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0023-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-09-11

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

[salute] Gentlemen

In reference to my last two letters of the 4th and 9th of this month, I can add today some new information I received from our friend. Tomorrow, during the meeting of the Assembly of Holland, a very important matter will be brought up concerning the depredations recently made by the British on a number of Dutch vessels. All the Amsterdam merchants, as a body, will present an address to Their High Mightinesses, requesting the protection due them from their sovereign. This démarche, if the British refuse to behave reasonably and in accordance with the Republic's neutrality, would ultimately and inevitably entail some very serious measures and consequences, such as forcing the Republic into reprisals, <and throwing it into the arms of France and America> &c. Meanwhile, all trade is at a standstill in Amsterdam because no one wants to give insurance.
I am still waiting, gentlemen, to receive what I requested in my letter of the 4th; the circumstances seem favorable for striking while the iron is hot. Amsterdam's motion will be printed next week. I will go to Amsterdam shortly after our friend, and will see him there.
LbC (Algemeen Rijksarchief, The Hague, Eerste Afdeling, Dumas Papers, vol. 1).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0024

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

John Bondfield to the Commissioners

[salute] Sirs

I have receiv'd from every Forge from Angoulerme to Bayonne returns of their proposals and offers for the Cannon you Commission'd me to purchase.1 Not One of them will engage to compleat the delivery before February. The dryness of the Season deprives them of a supply of water nessessary to execute the Work in Less time. I have survey'd the Arsenals hoping to find there to Borrow and to replace, but the Armaments have drain'd from every quarter and I learn that the two New Frigates Launcht at St. Malo are obliged to wait for their Artillery. Thus circumstanced I have concluded to close with the Forges of Petigore2 where the quality of the Iron the extent of the { 28 } Works and the Capital of the Concern'd to which add the inland Navigation to Bordeaux leaves no room to apprehend a disapointment at the time limitted. And we are allways certain of meeting with Vessels going from hence every ten or fifteen days.
We have had strong westerly Winds the three days past without any Arrivals from 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 Esq Commissioners from Congress at Paris”; docketed: “M Bondfield”; in another hand: “12 Sept. 78.”
1. The cannon were for the ship of the line America. See the Marine Committee to the Commissioners, 10 June (vol. 6:199). Angoulême is approximately 75 miles northeast and Bayonne approximately 100 miles south of Bordeaux.
2. Présumably Périgueux, a city on the Isle River, 65 miles east-northeast of Bordeaux.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0025

Author: MacCreery, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-09-12

From William MacCreery

[salute] Dear Sir

I Received the Letter which you did me the Honor to write me under the 7th. Instant, by todays Post and observe with concern, that your many efforts to effect an exchange of Prisoners, hath heretofore proved ineffectual.
It gives me much concern to find that my suspiscions of our Public finances being low in this country, were so well founded. It must render the situation of yourself and Colleagues very irksome. I am not less concern'd that designing men shou'd endeavour to create new embarrassments. I am disgusted at finding there are those who descend to unfair means of increasing them. A very recent instance of it has opened my Eyes a good deal, but as you justly observe, all such malevolence will be brought to light, and the real Freind to his Country appear in his just light, and reflect the disgrace due to these wicked and mistaken Men. I sincerely pray God that it may ever be the case with us, that truth and innocence may ever prove superior to deception and detraction.
The next time that I shall have the Honor to Write you, will be, I beleive, from Bordeaux.
I am allways Dear Sir very Respectfully Your obedient hble Servt.
[signed] Will M.Creery

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0026

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Schweighauser, John Daniel
Date: 1778-09-13

The Commissioners to J. D. Schweighauser

[salute] Sir

The Therese has arrived at [Nantes]2 and her Cargo is consigned to Us. We have determined to make Sale of this Cargo, and reserve the Proceeds for a particular Purpose. We therefore, hereby request and impower you, to demand and recive her Cargo,3 make sale of it to the best possible Advantage, transmit Us an Account sales as soon as may be, and reserve the Proceeds of Sale for our further orders.
We have the Honour to be informed by His Excellency, M. de Sartine, that he has taken Measures concerning the Prisoners, and We have the Pleasure to inform you that We have, received from this Minister a Passport for a Cartel Ship to come from England to Nantes or L'orient, with American Prisoners, which ship we hope will take off, of your Hands and ours all the British Prisoners, now in France, which have been taken by American Vessells public or private. This Passport We transmitted to England, Yesterday. <We are with great Respect>, &c. We hope, at length that these unhappy People, both British and Americans, who have been so long in Captivity, will be restored in a very short time to their Liberty. If they are not, it shall not be our fault.
We wish the Balimore to sail as soon as possible, having no particular orders to give concerning her.
We take notice that you have charged five Per Cent for Commissions which we think too much, we are willing to allow you the Customary Commission, which we understand is two Per Cent.
1. The recipient's copy apparently bore the date of 14 Sept. (Schweighauser to the Commissioners, 24 Sept., below).
2. The location of the Thérèse was not given in the Letterbook copy, which served as a draft, and is supplied from Beaumarchais' letter to Benjamin Franklin of 5 Sept. (PPAmP: Franklin Papers). See also the Commissioners to Beaumarchais, 10 Sept. (above).
3. Capt. John H. Richard of the Thérèse was informed of this order in a letter of 17 Sept. from the Commissioners (LbC, Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0027-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-09-13

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners

[salute] Messieurs

Quoique ce ne soit pas aujourdhui jour de poste, je commencerai par vous dire, que l'Assemblée d'Hollande, après avoir duré longtemps hier, est enfin venue à la Résolution, de porter l'équipement de cette République, pour le temps qu'il y aura guerre entre la F—— et l'Angle• { 30 } terre, indépendamment de l'Escadre qu'il y a aux Indes occidentales, à 32 tant Vaisseaux de Ligne que Frégattes, et 8000 hommes d'Equipage, pour servir en Europe, principalement dans la Manche, et dans la Mer du Nord. Ces 32 vaisseaux seront prêts partie en Janvier prochain, et partie dans les cours de l'année prochaine.1
L'Adresse de toute la Bourse d'Amsterdam est arrivée, et fera le sujet des Délibérations suivantes.2 Cela fera que l'Assemblée se tiendra quelques jours encore.
On a parlé au G p: que l'on s'attendoit à des démarches vigoureuses de la part du Gouvernement et d'un grand personnage, non seulement quant aux réclamations à faire, mais aussi quant aux voies les plus efficaces pour obliger les Anglois à laisser observer à la republique la plus exacte neutralité, et quant aux ordres qu'on donnera aux Capitaines des Vaisseaux de guerre à cet égard. Sur ce que le G p. biaisoit làdessus, on lui a dit tout rondement, que le Parti dans la Republique qui voudroit frustrer cette juste attente, se déclareroit par-là manifestement pour l'Angleterre, et seroit un Parti Anglois, prêt à sacrifier les Hollandois aux Anglois. Je tiens tout cela de source.
L'Adresse a été lue, tant dans l'Assemblée de LL. hh. pp., que dans celle d'Hollande; et l'on continue de s'en occuper sérieusement.
Ce n'est pas tout. Rotterdam s'éveille enfin aussi: il est arrivé une adresse pareille d'un certain nombre de Marchands de cette Ville. Ceux de Dort se plaignent aussi. On leur a enlevé, et restitué, à la vérité, quelques vaisseaux; mais ils y sont pour 300 Livres sterling de fraix, qu'ils réclament comme juste. L'Envoyé de la Republique à Londres a écrit ici les noms de 3 vaisseaux restitués par l'Angleterre; et parmi ces 3 s'en trouve malheureusement un qu'on ne peut pas dire restitué, puis qu'il a été repris en pleine mer par un Vaisseau de guerre Hollandois, Cap. Van Braam. Il a écrit aussi, qu'il avoit fait des représentations à la Cour de Londres contre de pareilles saisies, comme étant contraires aux principes du Droit de la Nature et des Gens; après quoi il fait entendre, qu'il suspendra ses démarches ultérieures à cet égard et sur ce ton jusqu'à-ce qu'il sache que ses Maîtres l'approuvent. On diroit qu'il a quelques doutes, que ceux-ci veuillent que le Sujet Hollandois soit traité par l'Anglois selon ces principes.
Tout cela, Messieurs, embarrasse et désole le Parti Anglois ici.
Je viens de recevoir, Messieurs, les respectables vôtres du 9 et 10 de ce mois.3 J'ai tout de suite été chez le G—— F—— (où j'ai entrée à toute heure du jour, come un Enfant de la Maison). Il est très content de la { 31 } Lettre. En lisant le passage qui a rapport à votre précédente démarche, cela vaut de l'or, a-t-il dit, et notre ami en pourra tirer grand parti. Je vais en tirer Copie, pour la laisser à notre Ami, après lui avoir montré l'original.
Outre l'adresse d'Amsterdam, il est arrivé ce matin une Députation du Commerce d'Amsterdam au Prince, pour le même sujet.
Il est arrivé une 2e. adresse de Rotterdam. Elle est d'un seul Marchand, nommé Dubbel de Mutz:4 mais c'est la plus forte de toutes, et curieuse d'ailleurs pour les particularités qu'elle renferme. Voici celle qu'on m'en a dite. Les patrons des Navires Hollandois conduits en Angleterre, doivent y subir, comme des criminels sur la sellette, des interrogatoires de 30 pages in folio, où on leur demande tout ce qu'ils ont fait chez eux et sur mer depuis leur naissance, les voyages qu'ils ont faits, et en quelles qualités; les marchandises ou cargaisons qu'il y avoit dans les vaisseaux où ils se sont trouvés pendant toute leur vie; et l'on prie LL. hh. pp. de faire entendre fortement au Roi d'Angleterre, qu'il n'a que faire de se mêler des affaires de leurs sujets. Demain on s'occupera sérieusement de la besogne touchant les captures, et les adresses auxquelles elles ont donné lieu. Si la Résolution qu'on doit prendre en conséquence n'est pas assez vigoureuse pour obliger les Anglois à respecter le pavilion Hollandois, Amsterdam aimera mieux qu'on n'en prenne aucune, plutôt qu'une Résolution molle, qui rende les Anglois encore plus insolents.
Le g—— F—— desirant d'avoir l'Adresse du Commerce d'Amsterdam, je la lui ai procurée; et il l'a fait copier par ses Commis. C'est une piece de 15 pages in folio, forte pour les choses, et modérée dans la forme. Je dois la rendre dans une heure; autrement j'en ferois tirer copie pour moi aussi. Les principes sur lesquels on s'y fonde, sont le Droit de la Nature et des gens, l'équité naturelle, et le Traité entre l'Angleterre et la Hollande du 1/11 Dec. 1674 et 30 Dec. 1675, conclu alors pour la sûreté des Anglois-mêmes, pendant que la Hollande étoit en guerre avec la France;5 et l'on y demande à LL. hh. pp. de pourvoir promptement et efficacement à la sûreté du Commerce de ce pays, non seulement par les plus sérieuses représentations à la Cour Britannique sur les excès passés, et pour les faire cesser, mais aussi par une protection suffisante de vaisseaux de guerre, &c.
La résolution prise aujourdhui aux Etats d'Hollande, pour faire de fortes représentations, et protéger le Commerce, est bonne. Voilà, ce que le temps me permet ajourd'hui d'ajouter. J'ai laissé ma Lettre ou• { 32 } verte jusqu'au dernier moment, pour pouvoir vous dire cette importante nouvelle.
Je suis avec le plus respectueux dévouement Messieurs Votre très humble & très obéissant serviteur
[signed] Dumas
Tous, le Prince-même, Sont convenus que la conduite des Anglois est insupportable.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0027-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-09-13

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

[salute] Gentlemen

Although today is not post-day, I will begin by informing you that, after a long session yesterday, the Assembly of Holland has finally resolved that as long as France and Britain are at war and in addition to the squadron in the West Indies, it would increase the Republic's forces by 32 ships of the line and frigates, and 8,000 crewmen, to serve in Europe, mainly in the Channel and the North Sea. Of these 32 vessels, part will be ready by next January and the rest during the course of the next year.1
The address by the Bourse of Amsterdam has arrived and will be the topic of the next deliberations.2 The Assembly will thus be in session a few more days.
They told the Grand Pensionary that they would expect some vigorous démarches by both the government and an important personage, not only on the demands to be made, but also on the most effective means of compelling the English to allow the Republic to observe the most exact neutrality and on the orders to be given to captains of warships in this regard. In response to the Grand Pensionary's evasions on this head, they told him very frankly that the party that would frustrate this legitimate expectation would be declaring itself manifestly in favor of England and would be an English Party, ready to sacrifice the Dutch to the British. I heard all this from good sources.
The address has been read, both in the assembly of Their High Mightinesses and in that of Holland, and continues to be under serious consideration.
There is more. Rotterdam is finally waking up: a similar address was received from a number of merchants of that city. Those of Dort are also complaining. As a matter of fact, several of their vessels were seized and then returned, but they had to spend 300 pounds sterling which they demand as justice. The Republic's envoy in London sent here the names of 3 vessels which were returned by Britain, but among those, one cannot properly be called restored since it was taken back by a Dutch warship, Captain van Braam. He also wrote that he had made remonstrances to the London Court against such captures as being contrary to the principles of the law of nature and nations, adding that he will suspend further action in that vein and tone until he is sure that his { 33 } superiors approve. One could say that he has some doubts as to whether they wish the Dutch subject to be treated by the British according to these principles.
All this, gentlemen, greatly embarrasses and distresses the English party here.
I have just received, gentlemen, your letters dated the 9th and 10th of this month.3 I immediately went to the Grand Facteur (where I am received at all hours of the day, like a child of the House). He is very pleased with the letter. While reading the passage concerning your previous démarche, he said this is worth gold, and our friend will be able to make much of it. I am going to make a copy and leave it with our Friend, after having shown him the original.
In addition to the Amsterdam address, there arrived this morning a delegation from Amsterdam's Chamber of Commerce to meet with the Prince on the same subject.
A second address from Rotterdam has arrived. It comes from a single merchant named Dubbel de Mutz,4 but it is the strongest of them all, and rather curious for the details it reveals. Here is the one I was told of. The masters of Dutch ships taken to England must undergo, on the spot and as if they were criminals, interrogatories of 30 pages in folio that ask them to tell everything they ever did, at home and at sea, since their birth; the voyages they have made, and in what capacity; the merchandise or cargo aboard the vessels they were on during their entire life. Their High Mightinesses are requested to let the King of England know in no uncertain terms that he cannot interfere in the affairs of their subjects. The issue of the captures will be seriously considered tomorrow, together with the addresses they have given rise to. If the resolution adopted is not strong enough to force the British to respect the Dutch flag, Amsterdam will urge that there be none, for a feeble resolution would only make the British even more insolent.
Since the Grand Facteur wished to have a copy of the address of the Amsterdam merchants, I procured it for him and he had it copied by his secretaries. It is 15 pages in folio, strong in content, but moderate in form. I have to return it in an hour, otherwise I would have made a copy for myself. The principles on which it is based are those of the law of nature and nations, natural equality, and the treaty between Great Britain and Holland of 1/11 December 1674 and 30 December 1675, concluded at the time by the British for their own protection, while Holland was at war with France.5 It asks Their High Mightinesses to attend promptly and effectively to the security of this country's commerce, not only through the serious representations to the British Court for past excesses in order to bring them to an end, but also through a sufficient force of men-of-war, &c.
{ 34 }
The resolution taken today by the States of Holland to make stronger representations and to protect the country's trade is satisfactory. This is what time allows me to add today. I left my letter open until the last moment, in order to be able to report this important news.
I am with the most respectful devotion, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas
Everyone here, even the Prince, thinks that the British behavior is intolerable.
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed by William Temple Franklin: “Dumas. Sept 13. 78”; in another hand: “M Dumas public.”
1. This resolution of the provincial assembly, entitled “Authorisatie op Gedeputeerden ter Generaliteit omtrent het bevorderen van een Equipage voor 1779” [Authorization for the deputies to the Admiralty about the promoting an Equipage for 1779] (Resolutien van de Heeren Staaten van Holland en Westvriesland, 1778, 2:959–961) and intended for presentation to the States General of the United Provinces, was adopted in response to the proposal presented by Amsterdam on 8 Sept. See Dumas' letters to the Commissioners of 4 and 9 Sept. (both above). After much procrastination and in the face of strong pressure from Amsterdam and France, the States General adopted the substance of this resolution—the outfitting of 32 warships—on 26 April 1779, in the form of a secret resolution. See Benjamin Franklin to JA, 10 May, and note 4 (below).
2. This address, translated into English as “from the merchants, proprietors of vessels, and exchange insurers,” was printed in vol. 2 of Almon's Remembrancer for 1778 (London, 1779, p. 92–96). Also in the Remembrancer were memorials from “the Merchants and owners of ships” of Rotterdam and from “the Merchants, Proprietors of vessels, and Exchange Insurers” of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Dordrecht (p. 96–99).
3. Only the letter of the 9th (above) has been found.
4. Possibly either Franco or Adrianus Dubbeldemuts. See Dumas to the Commissioners, 18 Dec., note 5 (below).
5. The desire of the merchants of Amsterdam and other Dutch cities to base their commerce on the principles set down in the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1674 and Explanatory Convention of 1675, and to have those principles respected by Britain, is understandable, but their hopes were unrealistic. Those agreements had been initiated by the English in order that they might take over the carrying trade during the Franco-Dutch war then in progress. Art. 1 of the treaty declared that each party could trade unmolested with states at war with the other signatory, and Art. 8 provided that free ships made free goods. The explanatory convention dealt with Art. 1 and stated that the vessels of either party could trade from a neutral to a belligerent port, and vice versa, as well as from one belligerent port to another (George Chalmers, ed., A Collection of Treaties between Great Britain and Other Powers, London, 1790, p. 177–178, 182–183, 189–191). At the time this allowed English ships to conduct an unrestricted trade with France, except in contraband as listed in Art. 3 (same, p. 178–179), even to the extent of taking over the carrying trade that normally would have been the exclusive province of French ships.
In 1778 the British were unwilling to permit the Dutch to obtain any commercial advantage from the agreements. In the Seven Years' War the British government made its positions clear. Its promulgation of the Rule of 1756 effectively annulled the convention and Arts. 1 and 8 of the treaty by prohibiting a neutral from taking over any trade, i.e. with the French colonies, in time of war that was not open in time of peace. In addition, a clear distinction came to be made between trading with an enemy and for an enemy, the latter being, for all intents, prohibited so as not to permit a neutral { 35 } state to benefit from the war. For a discussion of the Treaty of 1674 and the Convention of 1675, and the efforts by the British to diminish their effect, see Richard Pares, Colonial Blockade and Neutral Rights, 1739–1763, London, 1938, chaps. 3 and 4.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0028

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Vernon, William Jr.
Date: 1778-09-15

To William Vernon Jr.

[salute] Dear sir

The Correspondence of the Commissioners here is so extensive, that it is impossible for me to do without the Assistance of a Clerk, and Mr. Jonathan Loring Austin who has been so good as to assist me for some Months past is now obliged to leave me, in order to return to Boston.
If you are not determined to go immediately into a Compting House, and can think of Spending a little time at Passi, and at the same time of drudging very hard at your Pen, for very small Emoluments, I wish you would come forthwith to Paris and engage with me. You will live with me, so that you will be at no Expence for your subsistance, and I shall be able to allow you, the same that is allowed to others, which will possibly afford you enough to pay for your Cloathing if you are frugal in that Article. This is all the Encouragement I can offer. You will, perhaps in this situation have an opportunity of conversing with good Company, of Seeing Paris, and of learning the french Language, better, than any where else. And in this Interval you may look out for future Employment and Connections. I beg an immediate answer—for if you decline or neglect to answer I must engage some other Person. I am, with Esteem, your friend & servant.1
1. The recipient's copy was enclosed in a letter of the same date to John Bondfield (LbC, Adams Papers), asking him to transmit it to Vernon.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0029

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-09-15

John Bondfield to the Commissioners

[salute] Sirs

Referring to what I had the Honor to write you the 12th Current. Yesterday arrived from Virginia the Cutter Tartar Capt. Southcomb. He left York River the 29th July. Private Letters by him are dated the 21st of same contain no accounts other than them at hand. He reports a report of Comte d'Estaing having taken five English Frigates, that New York was closely blockt up and no doubt of the entire of the English Forces would fall into the hands of United Allied Forces.1
{ 36 }
With due respect I have the honor to be Sirs Your most Obedient Humble Servt
[signed] John Bondfield
I attended the last earthly services to Capt. Ayres the 13th instant who I had decently Interd as is allow'd to Protestants at this place.
Mr. W. Franklins Commission will be forwarded this Week.2
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honble Benj. Franklin Arthur Lee John Adams Esq Commissioners from Congress at Paris”; docketed, not by JA: “Bondfield Sept. 15. 78.”
1. An overoptimistic report; see Bondfield's letter to the Commissioners, 8 Sept., and note 1 (above).
2. Bondfield is presumably speaking of William Temple Franklin, but his meaning is unclear. No commission or mention of one for Temple Franklin has been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0030

Author: Grinnell, Richard
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-09-15

Richard Grinnell to the Commissioners

I would Inform the Honnourabel Board of Commisioners that I Took Passage with Capt. Barns1 as did Capt. Peter Collis2 and Sailed from Penbufe [Paimbeauf] on the 29th august and on the First of September Being in the Lattitude 46°:00′ and Longitude 9°:00′ we ware Taken by the Speedwell Cutter Belonging heare mounting twelve Guns and Commanded by Capt. Abraham Bushall who Treated me and Capt. Collis moore Like Brothers than Like Prisoners and Gave us Every thing Belonging to us. Two Days after wee war Taken wee fell in with the Schooner Spy Capt. Niles who had been taken by a Privateere Belonging to Jersey. Capt. Niles Toald me that all the Papers ware Thrown overboard as was all Capt. Barnses. Capt. Barns is Still on board the Privateer her Cruse not Beeing out yet.
I would Inform your Honnours that a Number of Prizes are daly brought In heare and I thought my Duty to take the first Opertunity of Informing your Honnours of our misfortains and I make no Dout but you will Recive this as Mr. Dubery is So Good as Send it to his Son in Nants who will Take the first opertunity to Send it you.3
I am your Honnours much obliged humble Servt.
[signed] Richd. Grinnell
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “To The Honnourabel Benjaman Franklin Lee and Adams Comissieners from the United States of amarica att Passy in france”; docketed: “Captn. Grinnells Letter Septr. 15. 1778.”
1. Capt. Corbin Barnes of the schooner Dispatch.
2. Collas, a native of Guernsey, was the son-in-law of Benjamin Franklin's sister Jane (Franklin) Mecom and, in the course of the Revolution, was captured no less { 37 } than five times (Letters of Benjamin Franklin and Jane Mecom, ed. Carl Van Doren, Princeton, 1950, p. 23).
3. Thomas Dobrée of Guernsey was the father of Peter Frederick Dobrée of Nantes. The younger Dobrée was the son-in-law of J. D. Schweighauser, American commercial agent at Nantes. Because of his ties to Guernsey he had been anonymously accused of conspiring to give information on American shipping to the Guernsey privateers (J. D. Schweighauser to the Commissioners, 11 Aug., MH-H: Lee Papers; Peter Frederick Dobrée to the Commissioners, 11 Aug., and note 1, vol. 6:365–367; see also Robert Niles to the Commissioners, 22 Jan. 1779, below).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0031

Author: McNeill, Daniel
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-09-15

Daniel McNeill to the Commissioners

[salute] Honorable Gent.

On my Cruize in the Ship Genl. Mifflin of Boston, and on August the 22 Instant being about fifty Leagues West and North of the Island Oshant att 9 AM saw Three Sail of Vessells bearing ENE from us about five Leagues Distance Standing to the ENE, which I took to be Enemies by the Course they Steared. I gave them Chase, as soon as they found I was in Chase of them, they spoke each other, and one bore away before the wind. It being in the Western Board, the others Kept their wind and lay by for me to come down to them, which I endeavoured to do with all possible Dispatch and showed English Collours but as soon as they found I was a Ship off force, they hauled their wind and stood from me I still pursuing the largest which Kept before the wind, and att 2 PM brought her too. She proved to be a Brig from Guardelope bound to Bordeaux called the d'Isabelle Capt. Js. Dubray, of One hundred and Sixty Tons loaded with Sugar Coffee and Cotton, the Privatear by whom she was Captured was Called the Prince of Orange mounting Six Caridge Guns and Comanded by Philip Amy of Guarnsey—and that he was Captured by said Privatear on the Ninteenth of August and Six AM and retaken by me on the 23 Instant at 2 PM. which makes Eighty hours that she was in their possession by the Coppy of their Commission she was taken in Lattitude 46d:30m North and Longitude 5:00 West from London.
I am likewise Informed that the former Owners intend to lay Claim to her.
Therefore beg your Honours to apply to the french Ministry, that said Vessell may be tryed according to the Laws of the Cuntry as Specifyed in my Commission, or that I may have liberty to proceed with her to America—or that I may have Liberty to dispose of her, leaving the Net Proceeds in good hands till it may be determined by Congress.1
{ 38 }
I am Gentlemen your most Obedt very humble sert.
[signed] Danl McNeill
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed, not by JA: “Capt. McNeill Septr. 15. 1778.”
1. See the Commissioners' letter to Sartine of 10 Sept. (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0032

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Chaumont, Jacques Donatien, Leray de
Date: 1778-09-16

To Leray de Chaumont

[salute] Sir

As our Finances, are at present in a Situation, seriously critical, and as I hold myself accountable to Congress, for every part of my Conduct, even to the smallest Article of my Expences, I must beg the Favor of you to consider what Rent we ought to pay you for this House and Furniture, both for the time past and to come.
Every part of your Conduct towards me, and towards our Americans in general, and in all our Affairs, has been polite and obliging, as far as I have had an Opportunity of observing; and I have no doubt it will continue so, yet it is not reasonable, that the United States should be under so great Obligation to a private Gentlemen, as that two of their Representatives should occupy for so long a time so elegant a Seat with so much Furniture and such fine Accommodations without any Compensations, and in order to avoid the Danger of the Disapprobation of our Constituents on one hand, for living here at too great or at too uncertain an Expence, and on the other the Censure of the World for not making sufficient Compensation to a Gentleman who has done so much for our Convenience, it seems to me necessary, that we should come to an Ecclaircissement upon this Head.
As you have an Account against the Commissioners, or against the United States for several other Matters, I should be obliged to you if you would send it in as soon as possible, as every day makes it more and more necessary for us to look into our Affairs with the utmost Precission.
I am Sir with much Esteem and Respect Your most Obedient & very humble Servant
[signed] John Adams
RC in Jonathan Loring Austin's hand (Adams Papers); docketed: “John Adams to Le Ray de Chaumont Passy Sepr. 16 1778.” As indicated by a notation on its first page, this letter is in the Adams Papers because it was purchased by HA2 from Goodspeed's Bookshop of Boston in March 1949. LbC (Adams Papers).
1. In JA's Letterbook this letter is dated 15 Sept., and at the foot of the copy is the note: “wrote the 7th. sent 15th.” When JA copied Chaumont's reply of 18 { 39 } Sept. (below), in his Letterbook (Adams Papers), he noted: “Copy of Mr De Chaumonts answer to my Letter to him of the 15.” However, on the recipient's copy a “1” was inserted before the original “7,” which was written over twice, probably by JA, changing it first to “5,” then to “6.”

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0033-0001

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-09-16

Gabriel de Sartine to the Commissioners, with a Contemporary Translation

J'ai recu, Messieurs, La Lettre1 que vous m'avez fait L'honneur de m'ecrire au Sujet du navire francois L'isabelle—que le Corsaire americaine le General Mifflin a repris Sur un Corsaire de Guernsey.
Dans La these generale, vous connoissez les dispositions de L'ordonnance de la marine de 1681 que adjudge aux Capitaines preneurs les Batimens repris lorsqu'ils ont été pendant 24 heures en la main de L'Ennemi, et qui ne leur en accorde que le tiers,2 pour frais de Recousse, lorsqu'ils les ont repris avant les 24 heures.3 Les Corsairs Americains joüiront, en France Sans difficulté du benefice de cette loi, Si elle a été adoptée par les Etats unis, de maniere que les Corsaires francois Soient assurés d'eprouver le meme traitement pour les Reprises qu'ils pourront conduire dans les ports de L'Amerique Septentrionale.
Les Loix angloises n'accordent, au contraire, aux Corsaires, qu'un huitième de la Valeur des Batimens repris pendant les premieres 24 heures; un Cinquieme pendant le Second Jour, un Tiers, pendant le 3e. et le 4e, et ensuite la moietié,4 ce qui laisse, au moins, dans tous les Temps, L'autre moietié, aux proprietaires perdeurs. Il est possible que les Etats unis preferent ces Loix, qui, moins avantageux pour les Corsaires, et plus favourables aux premieres Proprietaires des Batimens repris, peuvent meriter cette preferance Sur celles de France.5 Dans ces Circonstances Les Regles de la Reciprocité observé entre les deux Puissances Exigent qu'il Soit pris un arrangement pour adopter la Roy [Loi] de L'une des deux nations, et qu'il soit observé pour les Corsaires respectifs,6 et en Attendant, je Suis persuadé que vous pensées Comme moi, que le Corsaire Americaine, Le General Mifflin ne peut exiger, en france, que le meme Avantage que dans un Cas, semblable, un Corsaire francois, auroit obtenu dans L'Amerique Septentrionale.
Cette discussion, au Surplus, n'aura peut etre pas lieu, dans L'affaire particulier dont il S'agit. Je viens d'Etre informé que le proprietaire francois reclame Son Batiment comme repris Sur des Pirates, en offrant de payer le Valeur du tiers au Corsaire americain, qui l'a delivré. { 40 } C'est la disposition de L'article 10 du Titre des Prises de L'ordonnance de 1681 qu'il paroit juste d'appliquer a Ce Cas particulier.7 S'il Se trove que le Corsaire de Guernsey, Soit du nombre de ces pirates, dont les Depredations ont forcé Sa Majesté d'ordonner des Represailles generales, et qu'il n'ait pas été pourvu des nouvelles Lettres de Marque, que le Cour de Londres n'a fait expedier qu'au mois d'áoût pour courir Sur Les Batimens francois, ce qui est annonce par la Declaration du Capitaine de L'isabelle.8 Cette question Sera necessairement Soumise a la decision des Tribunaux, et je ne pourrois que veiller a Ce que la justice la plus prompte Soit rendue au Corsaire americain. Je vous prie, dans tous les Cas, de me marquer Ce que vous pensés, sur la question principale, en Supposant des Loix differentes chez les deux nations, sur le fait des Reprises ou Recousses.
J'ai L'honneur d'etre avec une parfaite Consideration, Messieurs, Votre tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur
[signed] De Sartine

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0033-0002

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-09-16

Gabriel de Sartine to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

I have received the letter1 which you did me the honor to write to me on the subject of the French Ship Isabella which the American Privateer General Mifflin recaptured from a Guernsey privateer.
In the general Thesis, you may see the Dispositions of the Ordinance of the Marine of 1681 which adjudges to Captains captors of recaptured vessels when they have been during 24 Hours in the Enemies hands, a Third,2 for the charges of rescue, when they are retaken before the 24 Hours.3 The American privateers shall enjoy in France, without difficulty the benefit of this Law, if it has been adopted by the U States in such a manner as that the French privateers may be assured of experiencing the same treatment with respect to the recaptures they may conduct into the ports of No. America.
The English Laws on the contrary grant a privateer only one Eighth of the value of the vessels retaken within the first 24 Hours, a Fifth within the second day, a Third within the 3d. and 4th. and afterwards one half,4 which leaves at least in every case, the other half to the losing proprietors. It is possible that the U States, as these Laws are less advantageous to the privateers, and more favorable to the Original proprietors of recaptured vessels, would give the preference to those of France.5
In these circumstances the Rules of reciprocity observed between the two powers require that arrangements be taken to adopt the Law of one of the two nations which shall be observed by the respective { 41 } privateers6 and in the meantime I am persuaded that you will think with me that the American privateer General Mifflin ought not to exact in France, other advantages than what in a similar case a French Privateer would meet with in North America.
This discussion moreover should not take place perhaps in the particular affair in question. I am just informed that the French proprietor claims his vessel as retaken from Pirates, offering to pay a third of its value to the American privateer which delivered it. This is Agreable to the 10th Article under the title of prizes of the Ordinance of 1681 which appears justly applicable to this particular case.7 If it should be found that the Guernsey privateer falls under the description of those pirates whose depredations have obliged His Majesty to order general reprisals, and that she has not been furnished with new Letters of Marque, which the Court of London did not grant before the month of August to cruize against French vessels as appears from the declaration of the Captain of the Isabella.8 This question will be necessarily submitted to the decision of the Tribunals; and I cannot do otherwise than see that the most prompt Justice be rendered to the American privateer. I request at any rate that you will be pleased to give me your opinion on the principle question, taking for granted the different Laws of the two nations with respect to Reprisals or rescues.
I have the honor &c.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation at the head of the letter: “Prises.” Translation by John Pintard (PCC, No. 85, f. 217–218).
1. That of 10 Sept. (above).
2. In the translation, to this point, the sentence should read: In the general thesis, you may see in the dispositions of the Ordinance of the Marine of 1681 which awards recaptured vessels to the captains who have retaken them, when they have been in enemy hands for at least 24 hours, a third.
3. These provisions are taken from Book 3, Sect. 9, Art. 8, of the “Ordonnance de la Marine” issued at Fontainebleau in Aug. 1681 (Recueil générale des anciennes lots françaises depuis l'an 420, jusqu'à la révolution de 1789, 29 vols., Paris, 1821–1833, 19:334).
4. See 29 Geo. 2, chap. 34, sect. 24, better known as the Prize Act of 1756.
5. In the translation this sentence should read: It is possible that the United States may prefer these laws to those of France because, while they are less profitable to the privateers, they are more advantageous to the original owners of the recaptured vessels.
6. In regard to recaptures the United States, as of the date of the letter, was governed by a resolution adopted on 5 Dec. 1775, which, with minor differences, followed the English practice (JCC, 3:407). The “Ordinance ascertaining what captures on water shall be lawful” of 1781, however, after stating certain exceptions in which the time in possession of the enemy was to have no effect, adopted the French practice (JCC, 21:1155–1156).
7. That is, Book 3, Sect. 9, Art. 10 of the Ordinance.
8. Louis XVI ordered the issuance of letters of marque against British ships on 10 July, which was followed on 5 Aug. by George III's similar order in regard to French ships (London Chronicle, 25–28 July; 4–6 Aug.). As Sartine notes, it was { 42 } unlikely that the British document would have been in the hands of a Guernsey privateer as early as 22 Aug., the date on which the Isabelle was recaptured. Without such a letter of marque the privateer, under the law of nations and of France, would be considered a pirate.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0034

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Laurens, Henry
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1778-09-17

The Commissioners to the President of the Congress

[salute] Sir

The last letter which We have had the Honour to write jointly to Congress, was of the Twentyeth of July,2 and as We have Sent Several Copies of it by different opportunities, We hope one of them at least will come Safe to hand.
Since our last there has been an important Action at Sea, between two very powerfull Fleets, in which, in our Opinion the French had a manifest and great Advantage, but as all the News Papers in Europe are full of this Transaction, and We have taken in our seperate Capacities, every opportunity, to transmit these Papers to Congress, We think it needless to be more particular, concerning that Event, in this Letter.3
The French Fleet, on the seventeenth, of <this> last Month, again put to sea <but whether the British Fleet was out, or not We have not yet learnt>, and on the twenty Second, Admiral Keppell Sailed.
By the best Intelligence from <England> London, the Populace are amused, and the public Funds are Supported, by Hopes, given out, by Administration, of Peace, by an Acknowledgment of American Independance; but as the Credulity of that <infatuated and abandoned> Nation has no Bounds, We can draw no Inference from this General Opinion, that such is the Intention of Government. We suppose this Rumour to be a Consequence of the insidious, Determination of the Cabinet to propose Independance on Condition of a Seperate Peace.
We are here, at this Moment, in a State of the most anxious and critical suspense, having heard nothing from the Compte D'Estaing, nor from America since the <beginning> Eleventh of July.4
<This Suspense is unfortunate for Us, in our Negotiations for Loans of Money which we are very sensible, is a Subject of the last Importance.>
Congress will be informed by our Mr A. Lee, what success he has had in his Negociations at the Court of Spain.5
We have taken Measures in Amsterdam for borrowing Money of the Dutch but what Success We shall have We cannot yet say.
We have also asked Leave of this Gouvernement to borrow Money, in this Kingdom; but having no answer, We cannot say whether We shall have Permission or not.
We have, Yesterday6 applied for a Continuation of the Quarterly { 43 } Payment of 750 thousand Livres. What the answer will be We know not. If it is in the Negative, the Consequence, must be very plain, to Congress and to Us. <We must leave this Kingdom, if our Crediters and the Crediters of the United States will permit Us.>
It is at all Times wisest and safest both for the Representative and his Constituents, to be <open,> candid, <and Sincere.>; and We should think ourselves criminal, <in a very high [degree?],> if We should disguise, our just Apprenhensions. Congress will then be pleased to be informed, that all the Powers of Europe, are now armed or arming themselves, by Land or sea or both, as there seems to be an universall apprehension of a General War. Such is the situation of European Nations, at least, that no one can arm itself without borrowing Money. Besides this The Emperor and the King of Prussia are at actual War,—all this together has produced this Effect, that <England,> France, England, the Emperor, Spain, Prussia, at least are borrowing Money, and there is not one of them, that We can learn but offers, better Interest than the United States have offered. <Can We reasonably hope to succeed?>7 There can be no Motive then but Simple Benevolence, to lend to Us.
Applications have frequently been made to Us, by Americans, who have been Some time abroad, to administer the oath of allegiance to the United States and to give them Certificates that they had taken such oaths. In three Instances We have yeilded to their Importunity. In the Case of Mr. Moor of New Jersey, who has a large Property in the East Indies which he designs to transfer, immediately to America—in the Case of Mr. Woodford of Virginia a Brother of General Woodford, who has been Sometime in Italy, and means to return to America with his Property, and Yesterday, in the Case of Mr. Montgomery of Philadelphia, who is settled at Alicant in Spain, but wishes to send Vessells and Cargoes of his own Property to America.8
We have given our opinions to these Gentlemen, frankly that such Certificates are in Strictness legally void, because, there is no Act of Congress which expressly gives Us Power to administer Oaths.
We have also given two or three Commissions, by means of the Blanks with which Congress intrusted Us,—one to Mr. Livingston and one to Mr. Amiel, to be Lieutenants in the Navy.9 And in these Cases We have ventured to Administer the oaths of Allegiance. We have also in one Instance administered an Oath of Secrecy to one of our <Clerks> Secretaries10 and perhaps it is necessary to administer such an oath as well as that of allegiance to all Persons whom We may be obliged, in the extensive Correspondence We maintain, to employ.
We hope We shall not have the Dissapprobation of Congress for { 44 } what in this Way has been done: but We wish for explicit Powers and Instructions upon this Head.
There are among the Multitude of Americans, who are scattered about the various Parts of Europe, Some, We hope many, who are excellent Citizens, who wish to take the oath of allegiance and to have some Mode prescribed by which they may be enabled to send their Vessells and Cargoes to America, with Safety from their own Friends American Men of War and Privateers.
Will it not be practicable for Congress, to prescribe some Mode of giving Registers to ships, Some mode of Evidence to ascertain the Property of Cargoes, by which it might be made appear to the Cruisers and to Courts of Admiralty, that the Property belonged to Americans abroad. If Congress should appoint Consulls, could not some Power be given to them. Or would Congress impower their Commissioners, or any other?
Several Persons from England have applied to Us to go to America.11 They profess to be Friends to Liberty, to Republics, to America. They wish to take their Lot with her—to take the oath of allegiance to the states and to go over with their Property. We hope to have Instructions, upon this Head, and a Mode pointed out for Us to proceed in.
In Observance of our Instructions to inquire into Mr. Holkers Authority,12 We waited on his Excellency the Compte de Vergennes, presented him with an Extract of the Letter concerning him, and requested to know, What Authority Mr. Holker had. His Excellencys Answer to Us was that he was surprized, for that Mr. Holker had no Verbal Commission from the Ministry. But that Mr. Vergennes being informed that Mr. Holker was going to America, desired him to write to him from Time to Time <that> the State of Things and the Temper <and designs> of the People.
We have given orders to Mr. Bondfield at Bourdeaux, to ship to America Twenty Eight Twenty four Pounders and 28 Eighteens, according to our Instructions. By his answer to Us, it will take some little time, perhaps two or three Months, to get these Cannon, at a good Rate and in good Condition.
Our Distance from Congress, obliges Us very often to act, without express Instructions upon Points in which We should be very happy to have their orders. One Example of which is the Case of the American prisoners in England. Numbers have been taken and confined in Goals. Others, especially Masters of Vessells are set at Liberty. We are told there are still 500 in England. Many have escaped from their { 45 } Prisons, who make their Way, to Paris, Some by the Way of Holland, others by Dunkirk, and others by means of Smuggling Vessells in other Parts of this Kingdom. They somehow get Money to give to Guards, in order to escape. Then they take up Money in England, in Holland, in Dunkirk and elsewhere, to bear their Expences to Paris. There they apply to Us, to pay those past Expences, and to furnish them Money to defray their Expences to Nantes, Brest and other seaport towns. When arrived there they apply to the American Agent for more Money. <For this> Besides this Bills of their drawing are brought to Us from Holland and other Places. All this makes a large Branch of Expence. We have no orders to Advance Money in these Cases. Yet We have ventured to advance considerable sums. But the Demands that are coming upon Us from all Quarters are likely to exceed, so vastly, all our Resources, that We must request possitive Directions, whether We are to advance Money to any Prisoners, whatever? If to any whether to, Masters and seamen of private Merchant Vessells, and to officers and Crews of Privateers, as well as to officers and Men in the Continental service. We have taken unwearied Pains, and have put the states to very considerable Expence, in order to give Satisfaction to these People, but all We have done, has not the Effect. We are perpetually told, of discontented Speeches, and We often receive peevish Letters, from these Persons, in one Place and another, that they are not treated here with so much Respect as they expected, nor furnished with so much Money as they wanted.13 We should not regard these Reflections if We had the orders of Congress.
[signed] Signed by the three Commissioners
1. This letter appears in JA's Letterbook between letters dated 28 and 30 Aug. The delay in completing it may have resulted in part from a desire to explain more fully the Commissioners' dealings with Americans in Europe, to obtain additional information on the naval situation, and to observe the progress of the effort to obtain a Dutch loan. The congress, however, probably never received the letter: no recipient's copy has been found, the copies in the PCC have their origin in either JA's or Arthur Lee's Letterbook (PCC, Nos. 84, I; 85; 102, IV; 105), and there is no reference in the JCC to a letter of this date. The letter may have been among those that the Commissioners entrusted to Jonathan Loring Austin on his return to America, but which Austin, upon arriving at St. Eustatius, transferred to another ship which was later captured (Austin to the Commissioners, 27 Oct. 1778, and to JA, 7 June 1779, both below; Austin to Franklin, 10 June 1779, Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 2:92).
3. The battle off Ushant between the fleets of d'Orvilliers and Keppel on 27 July. The return of the fleets to sea in August produced no major engagement (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 122).
4. Apparently a reference to the letters, newspapers, and other documents, including the ratified Franco-American treaties, that were received around that date.
5. Possibly a reference to Lee's letter of 31 Aug. to the Committee for Foreign Affairs concerning subjects to be taken up { 46 } in negotiations with Spain (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:699). In any case, the reference was not made more specific or put in the past tense in any of the later copies of this letter.
6. That is, in the Commissioners' letter to Vergennes of 28 Aug. (vol. 6:401–404). The reference was not corrected in later copies of the letter.
7. Apparently the letter ended at this point on 29 Aug. The remainder of the letter has no substantial deletions and the last sentence of this paragraph and all that follow appear to be written with a different pen.
8. William Moore applied to the Commissioners in a letter of 20 June and took an oath of allegiance on the 23d. Thomas Woodford took his oath on 20 Aug. Robert Montgomery wrote to Benjamin Franklin on 5 April and again in May and took his oath on 8 Sept. (vol. 6:225; Franklin, Papers, 26:242–243; Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:432; 4:264, 270, 272).
9. Muscoe Livingston was commissioned on 19 April (vol. 6:30; Franklin, Papers, 26:316; JCC, 20:769), and Peter Amiel on or about 10 Aug., for an oath of allegiance of that date is in PPAmP: Franklin Papers.
10. The secretary was probably William Temple Franklin.
11. See, e.g., Henry Waldegrave Archer to the Commissioners, 14 June (vol. 6:205–207; see also Franklin, Papers, 26:616, note 1).
12. For John Holker and his mission to America, see the Committee for Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners, 21 June (vol. 6:227–228). Attached to that letter is a note giving the substance of this paragraph.
13. See, e.g., William MacCreery to JA, 30 Aug. (vol. 6:407) and JA's reply of 7 Sept. (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0035

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Date: 1778-09-17

The Commissioners to Gabriel de Sartine

[salute] Sir

We have this Morning the Honour of your Excellencys Letter of the Sixteenth, relative to the french Brigantine the Isabella retaken, by the American Privateer the General Mifflin, from a Guernsey Privateer, after having been Eighty Hours in his Hands.
We have the Honour to agree perfectly, with your Excellency, in your Sentiments of the Justice and Policy of the Principle of Reciprocity between the two Nations, and that this Principle requires that French1 Ships of War or Privateers Should have the Same Advantage <in such> in Cases of Rescues <or> and Recaptures, that the American<s> Privateers enjoy in France.
We are So unfortunate, at present, as to have no Copy of any of the Laws of the United States, relative to such Cases, and are not able to recollect with Precision, the Regulations in any of them:2 But We are informed by Captain McNiell, that by the Law of Massachusetts Bay, if a Vessell is retaken within 24 Hours, one Third goes to the ReCaptors, after twenty four hours, untill 72 hours, one half, after Seventy two Hours, and before 96 Hours, Three Quarters, and after Ninty Six hours the whole.3
All that We have Power to do in this Case, is to convey to Congress a Copy of your Excellencys Letter, and of our Answer,4 and We have { 47 } no dout that Congress will readily recommend to the several States <similar> to make Laws giving to French Privateers, ether the Same Advantages that their own Privateers have in such Cases in their own Ports, or the Same Advantages that the French Privateers injoy in the Ports of this Kingdom, in such Cases, by the Ordinance of the King. And We wish your Excellency would signify to Us, which would probably be most agreable to his Majesty.
If the Case of this Vessell must come before the public Tribunals, upon the Simple Question, whether she was retaken from a Pirate or not, that Tribunal We doubt not will decide, with Impartiality: but We cannot refrain from expressing to your Excellency, that We think the original owner, will be ill advised if he should put himself to this Trouble and Expence.
We presume not to dispute the Wisdom of the ordinance of the King which gives to the Recaptor from a Pirate, only one third; because We know not the Species of Pirates which was then in Contemplation, nor the Motifs to that Regulation. But your Excellency, will permit Us to Observe, that this Regulation is so different from the general Practice and from the Spirit of the Law of Nations, that there is no doubt it ought to receive a Strict Interpretation, and that it is incumbent on the original Proprietor to make it very evident, that the first Captor was a Pirate.
In the Case in Question, the Guernsey Privateer, certainly had a Commission from the King of Great Britain, to cruise against American Vessells at least. But admitting for Argument Sake, that he had no Commission at all. The Question arises, whether the Two Nations of <England an> France and England, are at War or not. And altho there has been no formal Declaration of War on either side, yet there seems to be little doubt that the two Nations have been at actual War at least from the Time of the mutual Recal of Embassadors, if not from the Moment of the British Kings, most Warlike speech to his Parliament.
Now if it is Admitted that the two Nations are at War, We believe it would be without a Precedent in the History of Jurisprudence, to adjudge the Subjects of any Nation to be guilty of Piracy for any Act of Hostility committed at sea against the subjects of another Nation at War.
Such a Principle would for what We see conclude, all the Admirals and other officers of both Nations, guilty of the same offence.
It is not the Want of a Commission as We humbly conceive, that makes a Man guilty of Piracy: But committing Hostilites against human Kind, at least against a Nation not at War.
{ 48 }
Commissions are <the best kind> but one Species of Evidence, that Nations are at War: But there are many other Ways of proving the same Thing.5
Subjects and Citizens, it is true, are forbidden by most civilized Nations to arm Vessells for cruising against even Ennemies, without a Commission from the sovereign: but it is upon Penalty of Confiscation or some other perhaps milder Punishment, not on the Penalties of Piracy.
Moreover, perhaps Prizes made upon Ennemies, by subjects or Citizens without Commission from their sovereigns, may belong to the sovereign not to the Captor, by the Laws of most Nations, but perhaps no Nation ever punished as Pirates their own subjects or Citizens, for making a Prize from an Ennemy without a Commission.
We beg your Excellencys Pardon for detaining you so long, from objects of more Importance, and have the Honour to be
1. The following four words were interlined by Benjamin Franklin for insertion here.
2. For the current and later regulations adopted by congress concerning recaptures, see Sartine's letter of the 16th, note 6 (above).
3. No act passed by the Massachusetts General Court with provisions such as those described by Capt. McNeill has been found. However, “An Act for Amendment of ... 'An Act for Encouraging the Fixing Out Armed Vessels ... ,'” adopted on 13 April 1776 (Mass., Province Laws, 5:476), contained essentially the same language as the resolution on recaptures approved by the Continental Congress on 5 Dec. 1775 (see note 2).
4. The copies were enclosed in the Commissioners' letter of 7 Nov. to the president of the congress (below).
5. The following two paragraphs were written after the closing and marked for insertion at this point.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0036

Author: MacCreery, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-09-17

From William MacCreery

[salute] Dear Sir

I did my self the Honor to write you a few Lines from Nantes about 8 days ago,1 and left it on Monday last. On my arrival here the day before yesterday, I found several Letters from Baltimore for me—the latest dates were the 13th July. They contain nothing new but they—with some Virginia Papers down to the 17th. of the same Month give me much more pleasure and satisfaction than the Copy of a Letter which I saw 'tother day from Mr. Simeon D. to his Brother Silas which was intercepted by the English and publish'd in one of the London Evening Papers.2 I thank God that it does not seem in the least probably by my Accounts that we are to trust in any wise to “the Chapter of accidents for further successes.” On the contrary, the People are much { 49 } more United in that Country than they ever were, the most obstinate Tory being now clearly convinced of the Wickedness and weakness of Great Britain. It is not to me surprizing that a few Men in whatever Station shou'd be call'd to account by Congress. It must be expected that some, out of our many and various characterised leaders will deserve it, and I hope that most Respectable Body will ever be forward in calling to account any and every Person whatever who is or shall be amenable for any Crime or supposed Crime, more espescially when it seems to concern the whole community. I assure you, that the Letter above refer'd to, has given me much uneasiness. It does however, afford me one comforting reflection, that the Americans will see it, and if there be any justice in what it contains respecting them, hope they will coolly reflect upon the impropriety of their conduct, and leave it no more in the power of Man to scandalize them so in Europe. If it be not so, hope the author will be sufficiently frightened to prevent his attempting a thing of the sort in future.
There arrived here last Night a Brigantine with 1[40?] hhds Tobacco from Baltimore. My Letters by her are dated the 20th. July and mention no news. I saw the Captain this morning who tells me they had a very long passage, and cou'd not tell me any thing whatever interesting to you or the Public. Another Prize of the Genl. Mifflin's is arrived here last night from the Baltick. I saw two more of hers at La Rochelle and there is in all about 6 come in for her.
I have the Honor to be with the greatest Respect Dear Sir Your very Humble Servt.
[signed] Will M.Creery
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honorable J. Adams at Passÿ near Paris”; docketed: “Mr. McCreery. ans Sept. 25.”; by CFA: “M. McCreery Septr 17th 1778.”
1. Presumably his letter of 12 Sept. (above).
2. The Deane Papers (2:465–468) contains what is apparently an extract of the intercepted letter, undated and listed as having been “published in Lloyd's Morning Post, August 26, 1778.” The letter deals primarily with Simeon Deane's efforts to expand the Deane brothers' commercial interests, but it also goes into some detail about the opposition to Silas at the Continental Congress, particularly the role of the “two Adams's.” The quotation given by MacCreery below, apparently from the letter as printed in the newspaper, does not appear in the version printed in the Deane Papers, See also Adams Family Correspondence, 3:186–188.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0037-0001

Author: Horneca, Fizeaux & Co. (business)
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-09-17

Horneca, Fizeaux & Co. to the Commissioners

[salute] Messieurs

Nous avons reçu, la Lettre dont vous nous avez honnorés le 31 du Mois passé, et qui ne nous est parvenuë que le 15 du courant.1
{ 50 }
Par nôtre précedente du 7 nous vous avons accusé la Reception, par M. Whitall, du Livre, contenant 205 Promesses des Etats Unis de L'Amerique de Courant F. 1000 chaque, payable au Ir. Janvier 1788, rêvetuës de 10 de 50 pour les Interêts, à 5 pour Cent par Année, le tout au Porteur, Sous vos Signatures formant un Capital de courant F. 205000, avec les Interets.
Nous allons travailler à la Negotiation de ces Effets, avec tout le Zêle, et la Prudence, dont nous Sommes capables, en prenant les Prêcautions necessaires pour mênager le Credit des Etats, dans ce debut, nous y employerons tous les Moyens que 50 Ans d'Experience, nous ont acquis.
Nous nous conformerons à tous Egards aux Instructions que vous nous donnés, en cottant La A tant le Livre, que chaque promesse, dont nous remplirons les blancs, en les numerotant, nous observerons de les couper en festons et de remplir le Talon qui restera attaché au Livre, pour Servir de Controlle, sans avoir besoin pour cela du Modêle que vous nous annonçez, Ce qui ne s'est pas trouvé dans votre Packett.
Il est bien entendu que nous ne lacherons aucun de ces Effets, que contre Argent comptant, et qu'a mêsure que nous en placerons, nous vous en donnerons avis, accompagné d'un Bordereau exact, et conforme aux Premisses dêlivrées et au Talon.
Cet Emprunt êtant le premier qui se soit fait en ce Genre, et dans cette forme, nous ne pourrons savoir, si l'on exigera quelque autentiçité, ou formalité, avant que d'avoir consulté nos Courtiers, et autres emploÿes dans ces Sortes de Negotiations.
Mais nous allons sans perte de Temps, nous en occuper avec eux et traitter de maniere à obtenir la prêfêrençe, sur les Levées qui Sont ouvertes pour diverses Puissançes, d'Allemagne, du Nord, &ca. qui rendent l'argent tres rare.
L'allouançe que vous nous accordés, nous mettra en Etat de nous la procurer, et nous Souscrirons aux Conditions que vous nous prescrivez, de nous charger de tous les frais quelconque, de commission, Courtage, Gratifications, Posts de Lettres, remises d'argent, même du Paÿement des Coupons d'Intêrets, que nous ferons gratis, quoÿque nous retirions 2 pour Cent de touttes les Course, que nous servons pour ces dêtails minutieux, et embarrassants; au moÿen d'une augmentation d'un pour Cent sur les Intêrets, ce qui fera une diminution de 10 pour Cent sur le Capital, ainsy pour chaque F. 1000 que nous negotierons, nous vous remettrons 900. net de tous fraix quelconque, et vous n'aurez qu'a nous faire entrer les Interets à Raison de 5 pour Cent, à mêsure de leur Echêances, pour les Payer aux Porteurs ce qui surpri• { 51 } mera tous dêtails et comptes, autres que ceux de nôtre Reçette et Remise.
Il est d'ailleurs bien entendu, que nous nous ferons paÿer avec le Capital, des Promisses, l'Intêret des coupons qui auront couru, Ce que nous vous le bonifiërons.
Nous espêrons, Messieurs, que vous aprouverez cet Arrangment, sans lequel nous Serions obligéz d'avançer de nôtre Argent, les Gratifications, et Génêralement tous les autres fraix, pour n'en etre rembourçéz qu'en 10 Ans, chaque Année un dixieme, ce qui n'est pas praticable, vú surtout la somme ou nous avons esperançe de porter vôtre Emprunte.2
Nous avons l'honneur d'etre tres respectueusement, Messieurs, <Votres> Vos tres humble et tres Obeissants serviteurs
[signed] Horneca, Fizeaux & Comp.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0037-0002

Author: Horneca, Fizeaux & Co. (business)
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-09-17

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

[salute] Gentlemen

We have received the letter that you did us the honor to send the 31st of last month, but which did not arrive until the 15th.1
In our letter of the 7th, we acknowledged the receipt, from Mr. Whitall, of the book containing 205 promissory notes of the United States of America, each for 1,000 florins current payable on 1 January 1788 and accompanied by 10 of 50 florins for the interest of 5 percent per year payable to the bearer and under your signature, amounting to a capital of 205,000 florins current plus interest.
We will undertake the negotiation of these bills with all the zeal and prudence of which we are capable, taking the necessary precautions to safeguard the credit of the states, and employing in this new offering all the resources that 50 years of experience have given us.
We will conform, in every respect, to the instructions that you have given: stamping both the book and each promissory note with the letter “A,” numbering the blanks on the counterfoils while making sure that they are detached in a scalloped pattern, and filling out the counterfoils that will remain attached to the book as a means of control; without having need for the model that you said you were sending, but which we did not find enclosed in the package.
It is, of course, understood that we are not to place any of these bills against anything but cash-money and that, as they are placed, we shall send you a notice accompanied by a detailed memorandum matching the delivered promissory notes with their counterfoils.
This loan being the first that we have made of this type and in this form, we have no way of knowing beforehand if some proof of authenticity or other formality will be asked of us before having consulted our broker and others employed in these kinds of transactions.
{ 52 }
We will, however, start the proceedings immediately in order to obtain a preference over the offerings opened by several powers of Germany, the North, &c., which make money very scarce.
The allowance which you have granted will enable us to get this advantage, and we shall abide by the conditions that you have prescribed, taking upon ourselves all the expenses such as commission, brokerage, gratuities, postage, remissions of money, and even the payment of the interest-coupons. This we will do at no charge, although we will take out 2 percent on all commissions, to cover the minutiae and petty details, by increasing by one percent the interest, which will represent a 10 percent decrease on the capital. That is, for each 1,000 florins we negotiate, we will remit to you 900 florins free of all charges whatsoever and you will have only to enter the interest at 5 percent, as it comes due, for payment to the bearers, thus eliminating all accounting details other than our receipts and remissions.
It is also understood that we will be paid from the capital of the promissory-notes; the interest on the coupons which will have accrued, we will credit to you.
We hope, gentlemen, that you will approve this arrangement, without which we would be obliged to advance from our own money to pay the gratuities and general expenses, for which we would not be reimbursed until 10 years later, at one tenth per year. This is not practicable, particularly in view of the sum that we hope to raise with your loan.2
We have the honor to be very respectfully, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servants
[signed] Horneca, Fizeaux & Co.
1. Vol. 6:411–413.
2. Horneca, Fizeaux & Co.'s proposal to take their service charge of 10 percent off the top, rather than at the rate of onetenth of that amount per year, was refused by the Commissioners in a letter of 2 Oct. (LbC, Adams Papers). There the Commissioners stated that to do so would be to exceed the interest rate of 6 percent to which they were limited and to which they had to adhere.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0038

Author: Lee, William
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-09-17

William Lee to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

I wish to have a conference with you on a Subject1 that very materially concerns our Country which at present is a profound Secret to our Enemies or their Agents and must remain so 'till compleated, or the success will be interrupted; any hour therefore tomorrow (at 12 oClock or afterwards) when you are alone, that you may please to appoint, I will do myself the honour of waiting on you, and in the mean time I have the Honour to be with great regard, Gentlemen, Your most Obliged & Obedt. Humble Servant.
[signed] W. Lee
{ 53 }
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “Wm Lee.”; in another hand: “Sept. 17. 78.”
1. The draft treaty of amity and commerce between the United States and the Netherlands, signed on 4 Sept. at Aix-la-Chapelle by William Lee and Jan de Neufville. A copy of the draft, in the hand of William Lee, is in the Adams Papers and was probably given to the Commissioners by Lee when they met. See Dumas to the Commissioners, 4 Sept., and note 2 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0039-0001

Author: Chaumont, Jacques Donatien, Leray de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-09-18

From Leray de Chaumont

[salute] Monsieur

J'ay receu La lettre que vous m'avez fait L'honneur de m'ecrire Le 16 de ce mois, pour Scavoir quel est le pris du Loyer de ma maison que vous habitez pour le passé et pour L'avenir. Quand Je Consacray, Monsieur, ma maison a M. Franklin et a Ses Confreres qui voudroient vivre avec luy, Je me Suis Expliqué que je n'en voulois aucune retribution; parceque Je Sentois que vous aviez Besoin de tous vos moyens pour envoyer des Secours a votre patrie, ou pour soulager vos freres Sortants dés fers de vos ennemis. Laissez Je vous en suplie, Monsieur, subsister cet arrangement que J'ay fait dans un tems ou le Sort de votre patrie etoit problematique; quand elle Jouira de toutte Sa Splendeur, de pareilles Sacrifices de ma part Seroient Superflus et indignes d'elle: mais actuellement ils peuvent luy estre utils, et Je Suis trop heureux de vous les offrir. Les etrangers n'ont que faire, Monsieur, d'estre informée de mon precedé puisque vous voulez eviter leur Critique a ce Sujet. Tant pis pour Ceux qui n'en feroient pas autant que moy S'ils etoient a mesure, et tant mieux pour moy d'avoir immortalisé ma maison en y Recevant M. Franklin et Ses Confreres.
J'ay L'honneur d'estre avec le plus parfait respect Monsieur Votre tres humble et tres obeissant Servt
[signed] Leray de Chaumont1

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0039-0002

Author: Chaumont, Jacques Donatien, Leray de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-09-18

Jacques Donatien Leray de Chaumont to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I have received the letter that you did me the honor to write on 16 September, asking me the rental price of my house in which you have been and will continue to reside in the future. When, sir, I lent my house to Mr. Franklin and his colleagues who wished to live with him, I explained that I did not want compensation because I felt that you needed all your resources to send aid to your country or to help your brothers escaping from the shackles of your enemy. Please, sir, let this arrangement, which I made at a time when your country's fate was still undecided, continue until it enjoys its full glory and such sacrifices on my part become superfluous and unworthy of your nation. But at present they can still be very useful and I am only too happy to be able { 54 } to do you this service. Strangers, sir, need not be informed of this arrangement since you wish to avoid criticism on the subject. Unfortunate are those who, had they the means, would not do as I do, and blessed am I to have immortalized my house by lodging Mr. Franklin and his colleagues.
I have the honor to be with the utmost respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Leray de Chaumont1
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr Chaumont 18 Septr. 1778.”
1. Also in the Adams Papers, but undated, is a note that may have been an enclosure in this letter. In it, perhaps in reference to JA's letter of 16 Sept., Chaumont asked JA to indicate exactly what accounts he wished to speak with him about.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0040

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: American Prisoners in Great Britain
Date: 1778-09-19

The Commissioners to the American Prisoners in Great Britain

[salute] Gentlemen

Altho We have not written to you directly, for some time You may be assured, We have not been unmindfull of your Interests, your Comfort or your Liberty. We have been engaged, a long time, in negociating a Cartell of Exchange. This Work We found attended with many Difficulties, but at last have obtained Assurances from England that an Exchange shall take Place. We have also obtained from the Government of this Kingdom, a Passport for a Vessell to come from England to Nantes or L'orient, with American Prisoners, there to take in British Prisoners in Exchange. We now sincerely hope, that you will obtain your Liberty. We cannot certainly say however that all, will be immediately2 exchanged, because We fear, We have not an equal Number, to send to England. Those that remain if any will be those who have been the latest in Captivity and consequently have suffered the least.
While the British Government, refused to make any Agreement of Exchange <We> the Commissioners here never discouraged their Countrymen from escaping from the Prisons in England, but on the contrary, have lent small sums of Money, sufficient with great Œconomy, to bear their Expences to some Seaport <Town>, to such as have made their Way hither. But if the British Government should, honourably keep to their Agreement to make regular Exchanges We shall not think it consistent with the Honour of the United States to encourage such Escapes, or to give any Assistance to such as shall escape.
Such Escapes hereafter, would have a Tendency to excite the British Administration to depart from the Cartell—to treat the Prisoners that { 55 } remain with more Rigour and to punish those that escape if retaken with more severity.
On the other Hand, We have now obtained Permission of this Government to put all British Prisoners, whether taken by Continental Frigates, or by Privateers, into the Kings prisons, and We are determined to treat such Prisoners precisely as <you are> our Countrymen are treated in England to give them the same Allowance of Provisions, and Accommodations and no other. We therefore request you to inform Us with Exactness, what your Allowance is from the Government that We may govern ourselves accordingly. <I> We have the Honour to be, with much Respect and Affection your Countrymen and humble servants.
1. This date is taken from an apparently contemporary copy that appears at the beginning of the journal of Timothy Connor (DLC). Connor, a prisoner at Forton Prison, Portsmouth, wrote in his journal on 1 Oct., probably in reference to this letter, that “Mr. Wren came and brought us the news of his having a letter from Dr. Franklin in France where he positively affirms that we shall be exchanged very soon.” Although Connor notes in his journal for the following day that this report engendered “great hopes of an exchange,” such did not occur until Feb. 1779 (Larry G. Bowman, Captive Americans, Athens, Ohio, 1976, p. 112).
2. This word, written in a different ink from that used in the rest of the letter, was interlined for insertion here, probably by Benjamin Franklin. The substitution of “We” for “I” in the last sentence of the letter may also have been done by Franklin. The remaining cancellations were by JA.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0041

Author: Austin, Jonathan Loring
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-09-19

Jonathan Loring Austin to the Commissioners

[salute] Sirs

On Tuesday Morning, as I have already had the Honor of informing Your Excellencies, I shall set out for Holland, and from thence embrace the first Opportunity of returning to America, after an Absence of Twelve Months.
Permit me to request a Letter of Recommendation to Congress: also to the Council of the State of Massachusetts Bay,1 from whom I was more immediately dispatch'd with the important News of the Fate of General Burgoyne and his Army; an Event which has been so very favorable for our Country throughout Europe. Any other Letters, whether for public Assemblies or Individuals, shall gratefully esteem.
I am so well acquainted with the State of your present Finances, that I would not ask the least Consideration for my Time, Expences, the Risque of crossing the Atlantic, or my constant Attendance upon you since my Arrival, had I a Fortune to support this Expence, in ad• { 56 } dition to several others I have been at during this War; or even if the Difficulty of making immediate Remittances, was attended with less Risque. If I had sufficient Property in France, or if I had not exceeded the Credit which the Gentlemen of the Board of War at Boston gave me on the House of Mssrs. Phaine Penet & Co. Merchants in Nantes, (which Credit would have been enlarged had I requested it, as it was only Money lent me) I would not have troubled your Excellencies at this time, for what you may imagine necessary for my Expences to Holland and probably back again, even now if you think fit, I will be answerable for any Monies you may advance me, either to Congress or to You in France.2
I have the Honor to be with Respect Your Excellencies most Obedient and very humble Servant
[signed] Jon Loring Austin
PS. I beg Leave to enclose our Address, that if any Gentlemen here shoud incline to speculate to the Northward, you'd be so kind as to recommend our House to them, and doubt not we shall be able to give them as great Satisfaction as any other Person whatever. My time its true has been so much employed for the Public, that I have not made that Proficiency in the French Language I otherwise might have done, yet doubt not I shall soon be able to inform them of everything relative to my proceedings, in French.3
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “M. J. L. Austins Letter to Comrs Sep. 19. 1778.”
1. The Commissioners wrote letters recommending Austin to the president of the congress and to the Massachusetts Council on 22 Sept. (both LbC's, Adams Papers).
2. In the letter to the Massachusetts Council of the 22d, the Commissioners stated that they had advanced 100 louis to Austin, for which he was to be accountable to the congress.
3. This letter was enclosed in another of the same date, addressed to and docketed by JA, in which Austin requested that, if JA approved of the letter, he place it before the other Commissioners (PPAmP: Franklin Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0042

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Izard, Ralph
Date: 1778-09-20

To Ralph Izard

[salute] Dear Sir

You have once or twice mentioned to me, in Conversation, certain Expressions in the Treaty,1 relative to the Fishery, on the Banks of Newfoundland, which you apprehend, may be hereafter liable to different Constructions, and become the subject of Controversy, if not the Cause of War, but as it is very posible I may not have perfectly comprehended your Meaning, I should be much obliged to you if you would state it in Writing, together with the Historical Facts, which are fresh in your Memory for the Illustration of it.
{ 57 }
If I understood you, your apprehension arises from the Tenth Article of the Treaty “That the United States, their Citizens and Inhabitants shall never disturb the Subjects of the most Christian King, in the Enjoyment and Exercise of the right of Fishing on the Banks of Newfoundland, nor in the indefinite and exclusive Right, which belongs to them on that Part of the Coast of that Island which is designed by the Treaty of Utrecht, nor in the rights, relative to all, and each of the Isles, which belong to his most Christian Majesty, the whole comformable to the true Sense of the Treaties of Utrecht and Paris.”
“Les Etats Unis, leurs Citoyens et habitans ne troubleront jamais les Sujets du Roi tres Chretien, dans la Jouissance et Exercise du droit de peche Sur le bancs de terre neuve, non plus que dans la Jouissance indifinie et exclusive que leur apartient Sur la partie des Cotes de cette isle designè dans le Traitè d'Utrecht, ni dans les Droits relatifs a toutes et chacun des Isles qu'apartiennent a Sa majestè tres Chretienne le tout conformement au veritable sens des Traites d'Utrecht et de Paris.”
You mentioned to me the Names of two Places, from the one of which to the other, the French formerly claimed a right to fish, and to exclude all other Nations, and that such a Right was claimed in the Negociations of the last Peace, and you was apprehensive that such a Claim, might in future Times be revived.
I should be very happy to receive your Sentiments fully upon this subject as it is no doubt of Importance, to Us all. I am with much Esteem and Affection, your Friend and humble sert.
1. The Franco-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce (Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:3–34).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0043

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Laurens, Henry
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1778-09-20

To the President of the Congress

[salute] Sir

I have the Honour to inclose, the latest Gazettes, which contain all the News of Europe. The News from America by the Way of London, which is contained in the Courier de L'Europe of the fifteenth instant, has raised our Expectations and encreased our Anxiety.1 We are not without Apprehensions that the Compte D'Estaing, may fall in with the combined Fleets of How and Biron.
The English are beginning to elevate their Heads a little; and to renew their old insolent Language, both in Coffeehouses and in daily Papers. The Refugees from America, unable to bear the Thought of being excluded forever [from] that Country, and still less that of soliciting for Pardon from their injured Countrymen, and returning to see { 58 } established Principles, which they detest and Forms of Government against which they have ever combatted, are said to be indefatigable, in instilling hopes into the King and Ministers, that by persevering another Campaign, and sending Twenty thousand more Men to America, the People will be worn out and glad to Petition for Dependance upon them. They flatter themselves and others with hopes that Spain, will remain Neuter, and that by intriguing in France, they can get the French Ministry changed, and then that they shall have little Trouble from this Quarter. Nothing can be more whimsical, more groundless, or ridiculous than all this. Yet it is said to amuse and please the credulous Multitude in that devoted Island.
Those who pretend to know the Bosoms of the Persons highest in Power in that Kingdom, say, that they delight themselves with the Thought, that if it is not in their Power to reduce America, once more to their Yoke yet they are able to harrass, to distress, and to render miserable those whom they cannot subdue. That they have some little Compunction at the Thought that they shall be ranked in History with the Phillips and Alvas, the Alberts and Grislers2 of this World but this instead of producing Repentance and Reformation as it ought, engenders nothing but Rage, Envy and Revenge.
This Revenge however, is impotent. Their Marine and their Finances, are in so bad Condition, that it is with infinite difficulty they can cope with France alone even at sea: and it seems to be the Intention of Providence, that they shall be permitted to go on with their Cruelties, just long enough to wean the affection of every American Heart, and make room for Connections between Us and other Nations, who have not the Ties of Language of Acquaintance and of Custom to bind Us. I am, with the most perfect Respect, sir your most obedient humble servant.3
1. The Courier de l'Europe, to which JA had subscribed on 18 July, was a French-language newspaper, published in London, with a wide circulation on the Continent (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:331). The issue of 15 Sept. noted the arrival of dispatches, their content unknown, from Lord Howe, the appearance of part of Byron's fleet at New York, and the departure of Estaing's fleet from Sandy Hook. It also contained Washington's letter of 1 July to the president of the congress reporting on the Battle of Monmouth.
2. Philip II of Spain ordered the Duke of Alva to suppress the religious revolt in the Netherlands in 1567. Albert I of Austria directed his bailiff in Switzerland, Herman Gessler, to put down the nationalist revolt that, according to tradition, was led by William Tell. For JA's earlier reference to these same characters, see Adams Family Correspondence, 2:225.
3. The existence of this letter only as a Letterbook copy and its absence from the PCC make it likely that it was never received. It was probably that described by Jonathan Loring Austin as “your Letter for Congress,” which he carried with him { 59 } on his voyage to St. Eustatius, where he transferred it to another ship that was later captured (from Austin, 7 June 1779, below).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0044

Author: Izard, Ralph
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-09-21

Ralph Izard to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

I have received information that the Ship Nile, Captn. Goldsmith has been taken, and carried into Marseilles. She was bound from London to Leghorn, and had on board Twenty Packages of Baggage belonging to me. These Packages are marked, and numbered in the following1 manner AB A Monsieur Monsieur Antoine Martinelli Negotiant, pour remettre a Monsieur l'Abbé Niccoli a Livourne No. 1 a 20.
My own name does not appear, because it was apprehended that it might have occasioned the detention of the things at the Custom House in London. I am to request the favour of you to take such measures as you may think proper,2 that the above mentioned Packages may be delivered to such person as shall be authorised by me to receive them. I have the honour to be Gentlemen Your most obedient humble Servant
[signed] Ra. Izard
RC (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 4, no. 167).
1. Interlined at this point was an “X,” apparently in reference to a note at the bottom of the page: “X au 17. Mars.” The meaning of this note is unclear to the editors.
2. The Commissioners enclosed this letter in one to Vergennes of 22 Sept. (PCC, No. 102, IV, f. 59), which requested that the baggage be released. On 26 Sept. the Commissioners wrote to Izard informing him of Vergennes' reply of the previous day (both LbC's, Adams Papers). Vergennes had refused to consider the question, although he did refer in passing to the rule that enemy ships make enemy goods, and referred Izard and the Commissioners to Sartine, the Minister of Marine, for a final decision. The Commissioners recommended that Izard follow that course and did so themselves in a letter to Sartine of the 26th (LbC, Adams Papers); see the Commissioners to Vergennes, 26 Sept. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0045

Author: Livingston, Muscoe
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-09-21

Muscoe Livingston to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

Your Favour of ——1 I have Received and will answer Immediately on My Return to Nantes at which place, I have Left all the papers, Rilative, to that business; I shall have a very fine Ship Ready for Sea, Immediately, and would be Very glad to take in, two or three hundred Tons of the publick goods, which Now Lays at Nantes for America; as to the Freight, I Really am unacquainted with; but If you will be So Obliging, as write Me a Line to Nantes, aquainting what you will give, { 60 } with the quantity of goods you will Ship Me, will be particularly Obliged. I have The Honor to be Gent. Your Ob, and H, Sert
[signed] M. Livingston
Please Let me have your answer by Return of post. Please direct to Me under cover to Mr. Schweighauser Nantes.
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honble. American Commissioners a Paris”; docketed: “M. W. Livington from Bordeaux.”; in another hand: “21 sept. 78.”
1. Presumably that of 31 Aug. (LbC, Adams Papers) concerning the sale of the Boston's prizes, to which no reply other than this letter has been found. See also Livingston's letter of 24 Aug. (vol. 6:387, and note 3).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0046-0001

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-09-21

Gabriel de Sartine to the Commissioners, with a Contemporary Translation

J'ai reçu, Messieurs, la lettre que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'ecrire le 17 de ce mois. Je ne doutois pas que les reflexions que je vous proposois Sur la Necessité d'etablir pour les reprises faites en mer une parfaite reciprocité entre les deux nations ne vous parussent de toute Justice. Je Suis fâché que vous n'ayez pas entre les mains une Copie des loix des Etats unis relativement à cet Objet, cela auroit prevenu quelques difficultés que l'espace du tems et la distance des lieux pourront rendre plus frequentes. Le reglement de la baye de Massachusetts que le Capitaine McNeil vous a rapellé S'eloigne des loix angloises et Se rapproche de celles de France. Les reglemens de l'Angleterre, en laissant dans tous les Cas la moietié du batiment au premier proprietaire, paroissent plus conformes aux Interets du Commerce qu'il ne faut jamais oublier au milieu même de la Guerre. Mais il Seroit, Surtout essentiel que les differentes provinces des Etats Unis adoptissent Sur cette matiere des loix uniformes et invariables; de maniere qu'il n'existat pas pour chacune des Provinces des loix particulieres, que l'ignorance des Armateurs ne leur permettroit pas d'appliquer aux differens Etats, ce qui entraineroit, necessairement des Difficultes qu'une Legislation commune peut éviter.
A l'egard de la question de fait de la reprise du Navire l'isabelle faite par le Capitaine McNeil, je n'ai fait que vous indiquer les Motifs de Reclamation que les Proprietaires de ce batiment croyent avoir, et Sur lesquels ils S'appuient dans la lettre qu'ils m'ont addressée; ce n'est pas à l'Administration à les approfondir, la Connoisance en étant reservée aux tribuneaux; mais Si la decision des tribuneaux est contraire au pre• { 61 } mière Proprietaire, Vous trouverez Surement convenable, que le tiers, ou même la Moitié du produit de ce batiment Soil deposé entre les mains de tel officier public qui sera préposé a cet Effet, jusquà ce que les deux nations soient convenues des loix, qui Seront respectivement Suivies à l'egard des Vesseaux repris Sur l'Ennemi commun.
J'ai l'honneur d'etre, avec la plus parfaite Consideration, Messieurs, Votre tres humble et tres obeissant Serviteur.
[signed] De Sartine

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0046-0002

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-09-21

Gabriel de Sartine to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

I have received the letter which you did me the honor of writing to me the 17th. instant. I made no doubt but that the reflexions which I made on the necessity of Establishing a perfect reciprocity between the two Nations with respect to reprisals at sea, would appear just to you. I am sorry that you have not at hand a copy of the Laws of the U States on this Subject which might have prevented some difficulties that the distance of time and place may render frequent. The Regulations of Massachusets Bay which Capt. McNeill has informed you of is different from the English Laws and more like the French. The Regulation of England by leaving at any rate one half of the vessel to the first owner, appears most conformable to the Interests of Commerce, which ought never to be forgotten even in the midst of War. But it would be more especially essential that the different provinces of the U States should adopt on this head uniform and invariable laws, so that there should not exist in any of the provinces particular laws, which the ignorance of Owners of vessels will not permit them to apply to the different States, and which would necessarily bring on difficulties that might be avoided by a common Legislation.
With respect to the question of Fact concerning the recapture of the ship Isabella by Capt. McNeill, I have only pointed out the motives which the proprietors of this vessel conceive they have for reclaiming it, and on which they ground their pretensions in the letter which they have addressed to me; it belongs not to the administration to investigate them, the cognizance thereof being reserved to the Tribunals, But if the decision of the Tribunals is adverse to the first proprietor, you will surely conceive it proper, that the Third, or even one half of this vessel should be deposited in the hands of such public Officers as shall be appointed for that purpose untill the two nations have agreed on Laws which shall be respectively followed with respect to Vessels recaptured from the Common Enemy.
I have the honor &c.
{ 62 }
LbC (Adams Papers). Translation by John Pintard (PCC, No. 85, f. 218–219).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0047

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1778-09-22

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

<In order that <I> We may <be> understand one another,> Upon looking over the Account1 of the Expenditure of the Money for which We have jointly drawn upon the Banker Since my Arrival at Passi, I find some Articles charged, for Similar ones to which I have paid in my seperate Capacity. I dont mean to be difficult about these Things but that <each of Us may> We may have a Plan, for the future, I beg leave to propose. That the Wages and Expences of the Maitre D'hotel and Cook, and of all the servants, their Cloaths and every other Expence for them, the Wages, Cloaths and other Expences of the Coachman, the Hire of the Horses and Carriage, the Expences of Postage of Letters, of Expresses to Versailles and Paris, and else where of Stationary Ware, and all the Expences of the Family, should be paid out of the Money to be drawn from the Banker by our joint order.
If to these, Dr. Franklin chuses to add the, Washer womans Accounts, for our servants &c. as well as ourselves, I have no objection. Receipts to be taken for Payments of Money, and each Party furnished with a Copy of the Account and a sight of the Recipts once a Month if he desires it.
The Expence of a Clerk for each, may be added if Dr. Franklin pleases or this may be a seperate Expence, as he chuses.
Expences for Cloaths Books and other Things and transient pocket Expences to be seperate.
Or if any other Plan is more agreable to Dr. Franklin, Mr. Adams begs him to propose it.
The accounts for our sons at school may be added if Dr. Franklin chooses it, to the General Account—or other wise. For my own Part, when I left America I expected, and had no other Thought, but to be at the Expence of My sons subsistence and Education here in my private Capacity, and I shall still be very contented to do this, if Congress should desire it. But while other Gentlemen are maintaining and educating large familys here, and enjoying the exquisite Felicity of their Company at the Same time, perhaps Congress may think it proper to allow this Article to Us as well as to them, and I am sure I do not desire it, nor would I choose to accept it, if it was not allowed to { 63 } others, altho, perhaps the Duties Labours and Anxieties of our station may be <as> greater <as that of> than those of others.2
I am sir your Inmate and obedient servant
1. These were the household accounts for the period from 9 April to 24 Aug. (vol. 6:16–20) that JA had received from William Temple Franklin on 13 Sept. (JA to Benjamin Franklin, [6] Sept., above).
2. JQA and Benjamin Franklin's grandson, Benjamin Franklin Bache, attended the private boarding school kept by M. Le Coeur in Passy (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:15). The question about payments for their education presumably arose from JA's discovery, when he examined the household accounts, that 451.18 livres had been paid on 23 April for “Benjamin F. Bache's Schooling” (vol. 6:16), whereas JA had paid Le Coeur 365.5 livres on 11 June from his own funds (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:329). The household accounts for 1 Oct. 1778 – 23 Feb. 1779 (below) indicate that later payments, on 14 Oct. and 22 Dec., were made from the Commissioners' funds, but when JA submitted his accounts to the congress these expenditures were disapproved (JCC, 15:1383).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0048

Author: Williams, Jonathan
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-09-22

Jonathan Williams to the Commissioners

[salute] Honble Gentlemen

When I had the honour to lay my Accounts before you, I left the general one unfooted intending to compleat it after Examination. I now send it properly closed and settled to the 30th May 1778.1
You have also inclosed the account of the Magazine, Invoice of Arms repaired, and your general Account since that Period, all settled to the 10th September 1778, Balance in your Favour seven thousand three hundred eighty Six Livres 18/9. I have since received a Bill for Bayonnet Sheaths use in the magazine amounting to three thousand three hundred ninety one Livres 12. This with the Articles mentioned at the Foot of the general Account will leave a Balance of about eleven thousand Livres in my Favour, for which I shall take the Liberty to draw on you giving advice accordingly.
Duplicates of all my Accounts are transmitted to Congress.
I am sorry to inform you that the Dispatch Capt Barnes who sailed from this port the 29th Ultimo is taken and carried into Guernsey.
I have the Honour to be with great Respect Honble Gentlemen Your most obedient & most humble Servant
[signed] Jona Williams
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed by William Temple Franklin: “F.8. Mr. Williams Lettr. Sept. 1778.”
1. Jonathan Williams' accounts with the Commissioners for the period from 12 May 1777 to 30 May 1778 are in the Lee Papers at the University of Virginia (Lee Family Papers, Microfilms, Reel 3, f. 767–772). Included with these accounts are others dealing with such matters as the repair of arms, the outfitting of ships, { 64 } and the merchandise consigned to Williams that he still had on hand or had sent to America (same, f. 773–805). These accounts should be compared with those in Foreign Ledgers, Public Agents in Europe, 1776–1787 (DNA, RG 39 [Microfilm], f. 25, 51, 53). None of the accounts mentioned by Williams below have been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0049

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Lee, William
DateRange: 1778-09-22 - 1778-09-26

The Commissioners to William Lee

[salute] Sir

We have considered, with some Attention the Papers which you have laid before Us, containing a Project of a Treaty to be made between the Republic of the United Provinces, and that of the United States of America.2
As Congress have entrusted to Us the Authority of treating with all the States of Europe, excepting Such as have particular Commissioners designated by Congress to treat with them, and as no particular Commissioner has been appointed to treat with their High Mightinesses: We have already taken such Measures as appeared to Us Suitable to accomplish So desirable a Purpose as a Friendship between two Nations So circumstanced as to have it in their Power to be extreamly beneficial to each other in promoting their mutual Prosperity. And We propose to continue our Endeavours, in every Way consistent with the Honour and Interest of both.
But We do not think it prudent for many Reasons3 to express at present any decided4 Opinion concerning the Project of a Treaty which you have done Us the Honour to communicate to Us.5
We cannot however conclude without expressing a ready Disposition to treat upon <so great> an Object, which6 besides laying a foundation of an extensive Commerce, between the two Countries would have a very forcible Tendency to Stop the Effusion of human Blood; and prevent the further Progress of the Flames of War. We have the Honour to be with the Utmost Respect, sir your most obedient and most humble servants.
1. In the Letterbook this letter follows one of 22 Sept. and immediately precedes one of 26 Sept.
2. See Lee to the Commissioners, 17 Sept., and note 1 (above).
3. “For many Reasons” was interlined for insertion here.
4. This word was interlined for insertion here.
5. The Commissioners' response to Lee concerning his negotiation of a draft treaty with the Netherlands can be seen as a reprimand for his assumption of powers not given him by the congress. It is also an indication of the Commissioners' concern that his negotiation of a treaty with an equally unauthorized representative from Amsterdam, Jan de Neufville, would undermine the delicate negotiations then being carried on with Pieter { 65 } van Bleiswyck, the Grand Pensionary, through C. W. F. Dumas. Indeed, the Commissioners were still awaiting a response from van Bleiswyck to their previous overtures (Commissioners to Dumas, 9 Sept., above). Assuming that Franklin made them known to his colleagues, the Commissioners were probably also influenced by Dumas' letters to Franklin of 3, 8, and 11 Sept. (PPAmP: Franklin Papers), in which he expressed his reservations about the Lee-Neufville efforts (see Dumas to the Commissioners, 4 Sept., and note 2, above).
6. The following twelve words were interlined for insertion here.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0050-0001

Author: Berckel, Engelbert François van
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-09-23

E. F. van Berckel to the Commissioners

Le soussigné, Conseiller Pensionaire de la Ville d'Amsterdam, a l'honneur de faire savoir à tous les Messieurs qui se trouvent duement qualifiés de la part du Congrès des Etats-Unis de l'Amérique, qu'il se trouve autorisé par Mrs. les Bourguemaîtres de la dite Ville, de déclarer en leur nom, que, dans la supposition que le dit Congrès rientrera pas avec les Commissaires Anglois dans des Engagemens, qui pourroient être nuisibles ou préjudiciables au Commerce de la République des Pays-Bas Unis en Europe, directement ou indirectement,1 les Bourguemaîtres susdits seront entierement disposés à diriger, de leur côté, les affaires, autant qu'il dépendra d'eux, de la sorte, que, dès que l'Indépendance des dits Etats-Unis en Amérique sera reconnue par les Anglois, il pourra être arrêté et conclu au plutôt un Traité d'Amitié perpétuelle entre cette République et les dits Etats-Unis, contenant des avantages réciproques, par rapport au Commerce entre les sujets des deux nations, les plus étendus.
Le soussigné a Thonneur d'ajouter, que c'est l'intention des dits Bourguemaîtres que l'on fasse usage de cette déclaration où l'on le jugera convenable; ne doutant nullement qu'on ne le fasse avec le ménagement nécessaire, pour qu'il n'en transpire rien auprès de ceux qui pourroient être intéressés à faire échouer, s'il étoit possible, ou bien à rendre difficile, l'exécution d'un plan, qui n'a d'autre but que celui d'avancer le bonheur et les véritables intérêts réciproques des deux Républiques.2
[signed] E. F. Van Berckel

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0050-0002

Author: Berckel, Engelbert François van
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-09-23

E. F. van Berckel to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

The undersigned, Councilor Pensionary of the City of Amsterdam, has the honor to inform all the gentlemen who find themselves duely commissioned by the congress of the United States of America, that he finds himself authorized by the burgomasters of the city to declare in their name that, assuming the said congress will not enter into any agreement with the English commissioners that would be harmful or prejudicial { 66 } to the trade of the Republic of the Netherlands in Europe, either directly or indirectly,1 the aforementioned burgomasters will be entirely disposed to facilitate matters on their part and as much as may depend upon them, so that as soon as the independence of the said United States in America is recognized by the English, it will be able to at once settle and conclude a treaty of perpetual friendship between this Republic and the said United States containing the broadest reciprocal advantages in trade between the subjects of the two nations.
The undersigned has the honor to add that it is the intention of the said burgomasters that the present statement be used as will be deemed appropriate, not doubting that it will be used with all the necessary precautions so that nothing will occur to aid those who would like to see such a project fail or at least made difficult to implement, when its sole purpose is to increase the happiness and true reciprocal interests of the two republics.2
[signed] E. F. Van Berckel
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers). Although the letter printed here constituted the recipient's copy for the Commissioners, it was not the original MS signed by van Berckel, but a copy made by C. W. F. Dumas from the original sent to him by van Berckel. Dumas sent his copy to the Commissioners enclosed in a letter of 2 Oct. (below), adding at the bottom of the copy: “Copie fidele, faite sur l'original qui m'a été adressé, et qui est entre mes mains, à La Haie 2e. Octobre 1778. C. G. F. Dumas.”
1. The italics here are Dumas' (see Dumas to the Commissioners, 2 Oct., below).
2. The declaration by the burgomasters of Amsterdam was, at its heart, an exercise in self-defense against the possible consequences of the Lee-Neufville treaty signed at Aix-la-Chapelle on 4 Sept. (see Dumas to the Commissioners, 4 Sept., note 2, above). Unable to deny its existence, the burgomasters sought to define the agreement as merely an effort to prepare the ground for the eventual conclusion of a treaty after the formal recognition of American independence by Great Britain.
This intention is even more clearly expressed in the letter of 23 Sept. from van Berckel to Dumas (PPAmP: Franklin Papers), which Dumas also copied and enclosed in his letter to the Commissioners of 2 Oct. There van Berckel stated that the burgomasters' declaration made it clear that they did not intend to conclude an agreement separately from the States General, but only to make advance preparations for a treaty when an opportunity presented itself. He also noted that the States General could not conclude a treaty without Amsterdam's consent and approval of the draft. To save time, however, such a draft could be examined even before Britain recognized American independence.
Van Berckel closed his letter by suggesting that the preliminary work might be accomplished by using the Franco-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce as a model. That document could be submitted to experienced Amsterdam merchants, who would then suggest what changes were necessary.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0051

Author: Izard, Ralph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-09-24

From Ralph Izard

[salute] Dear Sir

I must apologize for not having given you an immediate answer to your Letter of 20th. instant, which would have been the case if I had { 67 } not been much employed in writing, on account of the sudden departure of Mr. Blake1 for Nantes. It has been my constant wish that as soon as Great Britain shall be compelled, by the virtuous exertions of our Countrymen, to abandon her plans of conquest, we may enjoy the blessings of Peace, uninterrupted by disputes with any Power whatsoever. Contentions with France, ought above all others to be avoided from every consideration. It is upon this account that I have suffered great uneasiness from some articles in the Treaties with this Court, which I fear will in some future day be productive of much discontent, and mischief. Two of those Articles have been pointed out by Congress, and by their direction have been altered.2 The little time which was spent in examining the Treaties, may be the reason why some other parts may have escaped their attention; and I wish they may not occur to them when it is too late. Had the “alterations that were proposed on either side,” to be made from the Treaty originally transmitted by Congress to the Commissioners at this Court, been communicated to me, some good might possibly have been derived from it. I have no doubt but it was the indispensible duty of those Gentlemen to have made such communication, and if any evils should be sustained in consequence of their persisting in their refusal to make them, in spite of every application on my part, they ought to be answerable for them to their Country.3
This, however, is not the proper time, nor place for the discussion of those points. I shall therefore proceed to take notice of that part of the Treaty only, which you have done me the honour to ask my sentiments upon.
The 8th. Article4 of the original Treaty proposed by Congress contains the following words. “The most Christian King shall retain the same rights of fishery on the banks of Newfoundland, and all other rights relating to any of the said Islands, which he is entitled to by virtue of the Treaty of Paris.”
The 13th. Article of the Treaty of Utrecht contains the following, “It shall be allowed to the subjects of France to catch fish, and to dry them on land, in that part only, and in no other besides that, of the said Island of Newfoundland, which stretches from the place called Cape Bonavista, to the northern point of the said Island, and from thence running down by the western side, reaches as far as the place called Point Riche.”5 The French pretended that in consequence of the above Article, they had an exclusive right to fish on such parts of the coast of Newfoundland as are therein described, but the claim was never admitted by England; indeed the Treaty of Utrecht does not af•
{ 68 } { 69 }
ford any grounds for such a claim. The 5th. Article of the Treaty of Paris says, “The subjects of France shall have the liberty of fishing, and drying on a part of the coasts of the Island of Newfoundland, such as it is specified in the 13th. Article of the Treaty of Utrecht.” The words “indefinite, and exclusive right,” make no part of either of the above Treaties, yet they are inserted in the 10th. Article of our Treaty of Commerce; and that it may seem as if no innovation was intended, that right is claimed as having been “DESIGNED” by the Treaty of Utrecht; and the whole is to be [not such as it is specified, but]6 conformable to the “true sense” of the Treaties of Utrecht, and Paris.
Perhaps my apprehensions on this subject may be groundless; and should that not be the case, perhaps they may be useless.7 I am induced to mention this last observation, by the conversation which I had with you about the Fishery, at Mr. Bertin's at Passy, in which we differed totally respecting the importance of it to America in general, and particularly to the State of Massachuset's Bay. You were of opinion that the Fishery was not only an object of no consequence, but that it was, and always would be a prejudice to New England. If this should really be the case, some consolation may be derived from it, when the probability of being excluded from part of it is considered. Since the advantages of Commerce have been well understood, the Fishery has been looked upon by the naval Powers of Europe as an object of the greatest importance. The French have been encreasing their Fishery ever since the Treaty of Utrecht, which has enabled them to rival Great Britain at Sea. The Fisheries of Holland were not only the first rise of that Republic, but have been the constant support of all her Commerce, and Navigation.
This branch of trade is of such concern to the Dutch, that in their public prayers, they are said to request the Supreme Being “that it would please him to bless the Government, the Lords the States, and also their Fisheries.” The Fishery of Newfoundland appears to me to be a mine of infinitely greater value than Mexico, and Peru. It enriches the Proprietors, is worked at less expence, and is the source of naval strength, and protection. I have therefore thought it my duty to give my sentiments on this subject to my friend Mr. Laurens.
If my reasons appear to him to have any weight, it is probable they may be communicated to the Delegates of those States who will be more immediately affected. If not, they will be suppressed, as they ought to be, and neither they, nor anybody else will be troubled with them. I am Dear Sir with great regard Your friend & humble Servant
[signed] Ra. Izard
{ 70 }
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr Izzard. ans. Septr. 25. 1778.”
1. Presumably William Blake who had come from Nantes to Paris in early September and was the husband of Izard's niece Anne Izard (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 4:8, 9; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:182, and references there).
2. That is, Arts. 11 and 12 of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce. For their deletion, see the Committee for Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners, 14 May, and note 4; Commissioners to the Committee for Foreign Affairs, 29 July, and note 1 (vol. 6:116–118, 119–120, 332). For the significance of Izard's reference to the articles in this letter to JA, see James Lovell to JA, 13 June 1779 (below).
3. Izard is referring to the Treaty Plan of 1776 and is assuming powers that he was never intended to have. Neither the instructions sent to the Commissioners at Paris regarding the plan nor Izard's own instructions of 1 July 1777 as Commissioner to Tuscany required that he or any other American holding a diplomatic commission from the congress be consulted during the negotiation of a treaty with France. Izard's instructions, which were also sent to the Commissioners at Paris, did state that the Commissioners were to send Izard a copy of the treaty plan together with whatever changes in its provisions had been made during the course of negotiations (JCC, 5:813–817; president of the congress to Izard, 1 July 1777; Committee for Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners, 2 July 1777, Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:360–362). Clearly the congres' intent was to insure that any treaty that Izard negotiated with Tuscany did not conflict with others already concluded.
4. In the Treaty Plan of 1776, as adopted by the congress on 17 Sept. and inserted in the Secret Journals, the provision referred to by Izard appears as Art. 3 (vol. 4:291). The same provision, however, is placed at the end of Art. 8 in the copy of the plan that was sent to the Commissioners in Europe (MH-H: Lee Papers; see also Lee Family Papers, Microfilm, Reel 2, f. 695). The texts originated from two different sources within the congress.
When the members of the congress came to debate the treaty plan, a copy of the draft, as revised in committee, was printed for their use. Two copies of the printed version appear in PCC, No. 47, and changes made during the debates have been entered on both of them. The first copy contains written insertions by Charles Thomson, secretary of the congress, and it became the official text of the plan printed in the Secret Journals. The second copy was kept by James Wilson, a member of the committee that had drawn up the treaty plan and that subsequently was directed to draft instructions concerning it. This second copy probably formed the basis for the version sent to the Commissioners. The provision concerning French fishing rights on the coast of Newfoundland was adopted during the debates, and was recorded by both Thomson and Wilson in the bottom margin of the first page, immediately below Art. 8. Thomson noted in the left margin of his copy that this was to be a new article inserted after Art. 2; Wilson did not. When it came time to prepare a copy of the treaty plan for the Commissioners, the copyist, apparently using Wilson's version, included the addition at the end of Art. 8. The resulting discrepancy in numbering did not prevent each version from having 30 articles since a second error in transferring changes was made. A long amendment that was appended to the last sentence of Thomson's Art. 30 was made into a new article, numbered 30, by the copyist.
There is no indication that anyone was aware at the time of the differences between the official text of the treaty plan and the copy sent to the Commissioners. Instructions from the congress concerning the plan clearly referred to the articles as they appear in the Thomson version (vol. 4:300–302). If the Commissioners noticed the conflict between their instructions and the treaty plan, they made no mention of it. Nevertheless, the Wilson version did guide the Commissioners, affecting the form, but not the substance, of the final treaty. In the Franco-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce signed on 6 Feb. 1778, Art. 10 is the equivalent of Art. 3 in the Thomson copy and Art. 8 in Wilson's. In addition, Art. 30 in the official text (29 and 30 in the Wilson version) appears as Arts. 29 and 30 in the signed { 71 } document.
5. This is an exact rendering of a portion of Art. 13 of the Treaty of Utrecht (Lewis Hertslet, ed., Hertslet's Commercial Treaties, 12 vols., London, 1840-1871, 1:237–239). The area mentioned in the treaty encompassed approximately five hundred miles of coastline.
6. The brackets appear in Izard's text.
7. When the Treaty Plan of 1776 was composed and the Franco-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce negotiated, the American recognition of French rights on the coast of Newfoundland contained in Arts. 3 and 10 of the respective documents represented a concession important to France, but of little apparent cost to the United States. There seemed to be little chance that the United States would ever be in a position to challenge the French status on the island and without such a concession France would have been very reluctant to conclude a treaty. In that context Izard's long dissertation over the dangers of including Art. 10 in the treaty of amity and commerce seems excessive, although his concern over the American fishery is understandable in light of his conversation with JA described later in the letter.
Izard's arguments do have significance in light of what actually did occur, but which could not have been forseen by Izard or anyone else in September of 1778: Britain's decision to share its fishing rights with the United States in the peace treaty. Had the United States not renounced any claim to the French rights, it is possible that Britain, in full control of the island at the time of the negotiations, would have sought to remove France from Newfoundland and sour Franco-American relations by assigning the French fishing rights to the United States. Such an offer would have been difficult for the American negotiators to refuse, regardless of any treaty connection with France. In the end, however, French fishing rights were reconfirmed in the Anglo-French treaties of 1783 and 1814 (Art. 3, Definitive Treaty of Peace between Great Britain and the United States, 3 Sept. 1783, Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:153–154; Clive Perry, comp., An Index of British Treaties, 1101–1968, 3 vols., London, 1970, 2:85).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0052

Author: Schweighauser, John Daniel
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-09-24

J. D. Schweighauser to the Commissioners

[salute] Honourable Gentlemen

I have received but Yesterday the Letter with which you have honoured me the 14 Instant, covering one the 17th. for Capt. Richard together with the Bill of Loading and Invoice of 895 Barrels of Rice and thirty one of Indigo shipped by Mr. A. Livingston1 of Charles Town and Subject to your particular orders.2 I imediatly have been to Mr. Peltier du Doyer who I knew had the Care and direction of this Vessell to comunicate to him your Commands and beg that he would deliver me that Cargo, he has replied to my great astonishment that it was all sold except 18 or 20 Casks of Indigo of a very inferior Quality and that he had acted according to Mr. De Beaumarchais's positive orders, and already begun making him remittances. I could not help expressing my Surprize and reflecting on the Imprudence of such an Action, as both he and the Captain render themselves responsable for the whole as he ingeniously confesses that he has had no Bill of Loading from said Beaumarchais. As this Affair seems altogether extraordinary I have postponed doing any thing 'till I receive your further Orders which { 72 } you may depend will be strictly followed. I am extreamly happy to learn that the Exchange of prisoners will at last soon take place and I sincerely congratulate you on this affair as this will releive a number of Beings from Misary, and who will be indebted to you for this act of Humanity. Besides this affair will save a considerable Expence to the United States.
In regard to my Commission at 5 Per Cent, which you think is two much I must beg that you would be kind enough to consider the trouble and Expence which attend this Business. The Captains not understanding the Language demand a Person from my Counting House to wait upon them most part of the day. The Outfit or repairs of the Ships employ two or three more to buy numberless articles and the strict Examination of all those Accounts is as you will judge very fatiguing. Besides the Care of the Prisoners is I can assure you no small task. If I am allowed but 2 Per Cent I must necessarily charge the 2 Per Cent I allow to my Correspondents at Brest and L'orient with the travelling Expenses of the Person I send to help them which I have not done as I include this in my Commission. When Mr. Penet came here at the beginning of this rupture to transact Business under my Inspection the Honourable Comittee allowed 5 Per Cent. Mr. Thomas Morris had the same perquisite. All these reasons persuade me that I had the same right if not greater since they had much less to do as you will yourselves confess. Many would do this Business for the usual Commission but be persuaded that they would take care to get it another way. However to cut short I humbly submit this to your Justice persuaded that if you consider my trouble you will not think my Demands unreasonable. Being with true Consideration most respectfully Your Most devoted and Most obedient Servant Honourable Gentlemen
[signed] J. D. Schweighauser
FC in Hezekiah Ford's hand (PCC, No. 102, IV, f. 69). Ford served as Arthur Lee's secretary.
1. Probably Abraham Livingston of Charleston, S.C. See his letter to the Commissioners of 20 Oct. (below).
2. For the Commissioners' letters to Schweighauser and Capt. Richard, see the Commissioners to Schweighauser, 13 Sept., notes 1 and 3 (above). The enclosed “Bill of Loading and Invoice” have not been found, but they were for the cargo of the Thérèse (Commissioners to Beaumarchais, 10 Sept., above).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0053

Author: Izard, Ralph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-09-25

To Ralph Izard

[salute] Sir

I have received with much Pleasure, your Favour of Yesterdays Date. No Appology was necessary, for the delay of So few days, to an• { 73 } swer a Letter the Contents of which did not, from any public Consideration, require haste. My most fervent Wishes, mingle themselves with yours, that the happy Time may soon arrive, when We may enjoy the Blessings of Peace uninterrupted by disputes, with any Power whatever: But alas! my <private opinion is> Apprehensions are very Strong, that We are yet <a great Way> at a distance from So great a Felicity.
You will readily, acknowledge the Impropriety of my entering into the Question concerning the Duty of the Commissioners here, to have made the Communications of the Treaty, which you mention: But of this you may be assured that I shall at all Times, hold myself obliged to you for the Communication of your sentiments, upon any public affair.
I am therefor sorry that in your Letter you have confined yourself to that Part of the Treaty, upon which I particularly requested your Sentiments. And I now take the Liberty to request your Sentiments upon every Part of the Treaty, which you conceive liable to doubtfull Construction, or capable of producing Discontent or Dispute. For I have the honnour to be fully of your Opinion that it is of very great Importance to be upon our guard and avoid every Cause of Controversy with France as much as possible.1 She is, and will be2 in Spight of the obstacles of Language, of Customs, Religion and Government, our natural Ally against G. B. as long as she shall continue our Ennemy, and that will be at least as long as she shall hold a foot of Ground in America, however she may disguise it, and whatever Peace or Truce she may make.
You have mortified me much by mentioning a Conversation at Mr. Bertins, which if you understood me perfectly and remember it right had either too much of Phylosophy or of Rhodomontade, for a Politician, especially for a Representative of the United States of America, and more especially still for a Citizen of the Massachusetts Bay.
Your sentiments of the Fishery as a source of Wealth of Commerce and naval Power are perfectly just, and therefore this Object will and ought to be attented to with <the Utmost> Precision and cherished with <the most anxious> Care.
Nevertheless Agriculture is the most essential Interest of America, and even of the Massachusetts Bay, and it is very possible to injure both, by diverting too much of the Thoughts and Labour of the People, from the Cultivation of the Earth, to Adventures upon the Sea. And this in the opinion of some Persons has been a fault in the Massachusetts Bay. Experience had taught Us, in the Course of this War, that the Fishery was not so essential to our Welfare as it was once { 74 } thought. Necessity has taught Us to dig in the Ground instead of fishing in the sea for our Bread, and We have found that the Resource did not fail Us. The Fishery was a source of Luxury and Vanity that did Us much Injury: yet this was the Fault of the Management, not of the Fishery. One Part of our Fish went to the West India Islands for Rum and Molasses to distill into Rum, which injured our Health and our Morals—the other Part went to Spain and Portugal for Gold and Silver the whole of which, almost went to London, Sometimes for valuable Articles of Cloathing, but too often for Lace and Ribbons.
If therefore the Cessation of the Fishery for twenty years to come was to introduce the Culture of Flax and Wool, which it certainly would do as far as would be necessary for the Purposes of Decency and Comfort, if a Loss of Wealth should be the Consequence of it, the Acquisition of Morals and of Wisdom would perhaps make Us gainers in the End.
These are vain Speculations I know. The Taste for Rum and Ribbons will continue, and there is no Means, for the New England People to obtain them So convenient as the Fishery, and therefore the first opportunity will be eagerly embraced to revive it.
As a Nursery of Seamen and a source of naval Power it has been and3 is an object of serious Importance, and perhaps indispensably necessary to the Accomplishment and the Preservation of our Independance. I shall therefore always think it my Duty, to defend and secure4 our Right to it, with all Industry and Zeal, and shall ever be obliged to you for your Advice and Co operation. Pardon the Length of this Letter, and believe me, with much <respect> Esteem your Friend and servant.
LbC (Adams Papers); directed to Izard at “Hotel Thoulouse, Rue Jardinier Faubourg St. Germain.”
1. In drafting this letter JA ended the paragraph at this point and then, leaving a small space, began the next, but in reviewing the draft he apparently decided to add the sentence that immediately follows. Because of the limited space available, however, the final 21 words, beginning with “shall hold a foot of ground,” were written at the bottom of the page and marked for insertion.
2. The preceding three words were interlined for insertion here.
3. The preceding three words were interlined for insertion here.
4. The preceding two words were interlined for insertion here.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0054

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: MacCreery, William
Date: 1778-09-25

To William MacCreery

[salute] Sir

Yours from Bordeaux of the 17th I have received—and congratulate you on your agreable Accounts from America. My Accounts altho not { 75 } quite so late as yours, are from unquestionable Authority and to the same Effect.
The Letter you mention as intercepted and published in a London Paper, has every fretfull angry Symptom of Disappointment in visionary schemes of Gain. If every Man in the service of the United States, from President Laurens down to the youngest Clerk in the secretarys office1 from General Washington down to the lowest officer in his Army, from Dr. Franklin down to the <least considerable> lowest servant in his Family are not liable to be called to Account by Congress, when they think proper, and especially if they have received and expended sums of Money belonging to the Public, what is to become of the United States. The Mines of Potosi2 would soon be exhausted.
There is not in the science of Government an Aphorism more essential than this That every Man should be called to an Account for public Money entrusted to him. And persons will be obliged to account with more or less3 Strictness, in exact Proportion as the Commonwealth is well or ill regulated.
This Letter has given me no Uneasiness at all. It will do no harm. A Cask of new Wine, must have its Fermentation and a little Skimmed Milk poured into it is excellent to make the Liquor perfectly fine.
There is a Thrust at me in this Letter that dont surprize me at all, because (as I never knew a Man displaced from a Trust, but his friends were some of them angry with his successor,) I did not4 expect to escape so common a Calamity. But the two A's were 500 miles off at the time when the Deed was done, and certainly had no hand in it. For my own Part I had as many thoughts of a Voyage to the Moon as to France, when I received the News of my Commission, and the Prospect of an horrid Winters Voyage, through I knew not how many British Men of War, <had so> not knowing how I should be received if I should against Probability be so lucky as to arrive in France had so few Charms in my Eyes that I had less Inclination to come than I have now to return, if Congress should order it.
If I brought my Brothers over with me, and was about introducing them into extensive Connections in Trade, as this would both be lawfull and laudible I suppose they would be as much disappointed and think themselves and me as much injured if Congress should recall me. But I should not be of their opinion. <So much for a very frivolous Business, yours &c.>
If I had been strongly against Mr. Deane, I should certainly avow it, and make no secret of it at all. I have never been used to disguise my sentiments of Men, whom I have been against, in public Life, and I certainly should not begin, with Mr. Deane, <he certainly> who is not { 76 } and never was a Man of Importance enough, to make me deviate from a Rule that I have observed all my Life, vizt when obliged to be a Mans Ennemy to be openly and generously so.
So much concerning a very frivolous affair, from your most obedient
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “not sent.”
1. The preceding twelve words were interlined for insertion here.
2. A Bolivian town noted for the silver mines in its vicinity.
3. The preceding two words were interlined for insertion here.
4. This word was interlined for insertion here.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0055

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1778-09-26

To James Lovell

[salute] My dear sir

The day before Yesterday, I received yours of June 8.1 We had before received the Resolve of May 5, and the 11th and 12 Articles are agreed to be expunged altho the formalities are not yet passed.
There is no Mystery in the Fier Roderique, I believe. It is certain that the Commissioners here, had no Concern with her. The Affair of the Company of Roderique, is in a good Way of Negociation I think, if you dont take any Steps in it, before you hear from Us. We have written to the Minister and to Mr. B. largely upon the subject, and expect their answer.
You Say Mr. D's Recall is attributed to Plotts of A. L., and that I know this to be unjust. I believe it to be unjust, having never to my Recollection, heard of any Dislike between the two Gentlemen, untill my Arrival in France. What the Motives were, to his Recall, I know not, as you know I was <Five hundred Miles off> at home at the Time. I can only conjecture, from what I saw and heard in Congress before I left it.
In a Letter from Mr. Simeon Deane2 to his Brother, genuine or forged I know not, it is Said the two A ——s are Strongly against you. The Members of Congress who were with me any Time, know very well that I have been for him they also know very well that Some Instances of his Conduct, were very misterious to me, and that as then informed, I disapproved them: but I believe nobody knows any one Member of Congress who did approve them. At least I dont recollect one, altho all treated him and his Character with great Tenderness. I mean his extravagant Contracts with foreign officers, made without the least Authority. Made indeed at a Time, when he had no Commission from Congress. <Mr> The Letter Writer Says he knows not to what Lengths, the two A's intend to push their “Factions.” I dont { 77 } know what he means by their Factions, but I suppose they would pursue their Integrity and their Duty to their <Country> Constituents, So far as to vote for Mr. Deans Settling his Accounts, either with Congress or Somebody appointed by Congress.
I never in my Life knew a Man displaced from a Trust, but he and his Friends were angry with his successor. I therefore expected this, and am not dissappointed. But by what Magic, Magnetism or Electricity the two A ——s <and> at 500 Miles distance could effect this Wonderfull Phenomenon, I leave other Philosophers to explain.
You charm me, with your Account of Mr. S. A's Arrival and the agreable Train of Things. Indeed your Proceedings, which have arrived in Europe, have pleased all your Friends and confounded your Enemies. I am told they have had a wonderfull Effect even in England.
Time will give you the best Lectures on Finance. Your Tether is limited and when you get to the End of it, Necessity will drive you to Taxation as your only Resource.
I am always vexed, when I see Paragraphs in your Newspapers or in private Letters that the Paper Money is rising in its Value. I know this to be impossible, and as it is not true it does no good. Nothing can raise the Value of it much, but calling it in and burning some of it. So much for this Lesson. I will give you another, next Letter if I dont forget it. Yours affectionately.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “<not> sent.”
1. Vol. 6:193–194.
2. See William MacCreery to JA, 17 Sept., and note 2 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0056

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1778-09-26

The Commissioners to the Comte de Vergennes

[salute] Sir

We had last Evening the Honour of your Excellencys Letter of the twenty fourth of this Month, in Answer to ours of the twenty Eighth ultimo relative to the Liberty for Americains to pass through this Kingdom with their Effects, in their Way home, Duty free, inclosing Copy of a Letter from Mr. Necker to your Excellency, upon the same subject. We shall take the Liberty to pursue the Rules prescribed by M. Necker as there may be occasion.1
At the same Time We had the Honour of your Excellencys Letter of the Twenty fifth,2 relative to Mr. Izzards Goods. The Question, your Excellency mentions, We apprehend cannot arise in this Case, whether an Ennemys ship makes Ennemies Merchandises, because by the Sixteenth Article3 of the Treaty of Commerce, your Excellency { 78 } will recollect, that an Exception is made of Such Goods and Merchandises as were put on board such ships before the Declaration of War, or after such Declaration, if so be it were done without Knowledge of such Declaration. Ignorance of the Declaration of War not to be pleaded, after two Months.
Mr. Izzards Goods, were shipped, before any Declaration of War, or at least two Months had not passed away, after the first Appearances4 of War, and before they were shipped.
We have referred Mr. Izzard to his Excellency, M. de Sartine, and shall have the Honour to apply to him ourselves, according to your Excellencys Advice as early as possible.5 We have the Honour to be, with the most perfect Consideration, your Excellencys most obedient and most humble servants
[signed] Arthur Lee
[signed] John Adams
N.B. Dr. Franklin is in the Country.
[signed] A. Lee
RC in JA's hand (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 4); docketed: “transit des effets des Amèricains retournant en Amerique.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. Vergennes' letter and its enclosure are not printed, but see James Smith to the Commissioners, 24 Aug., and note 3, where the date of Vergennes' letter is given erroneously as 26 rather than 24 Sept. (vol. 6:389–392). For the Commissioners' letter to Vergennes of 28 Aug., see vol. 6:401–405.
2. Not printed, but see Izard to the Commissioners, 21 Sept. (above).
3. The Commissioners here follow the American practice of referring to the articles of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce as originally numbered, before the deletion of Arts. 11 and 12. By this date the French practice, however, was to refer to the articles as numbered after the removal of the two articles, thus making the original Art. 16 the new Art. 14 (see Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:32). Subsequent editorial references to the articles will follow the revised numbering.
4. In the Letterbook copy the preceding two words were interlined as a replacement for “Declaration,” which was deleted.
5. No reply from Vergennes has been found, but the Commissioners also asked for restoration of Ralph Izard's merchandise in a letter to Sartine of this same date (LbC, Adams Papers), to which Sartine replied on 7 Oct. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0057

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-09-26

From John Bondfield

[salute] Sir

By last post I receivd your favor of the 15th. Instant.1 I have forwarded your Letter to Mr. William Vernon at Montaban and have wrote him to set of[f] with all diligence for Paris. I hope the short time he has been up the Country will have contributed to render his services to you more useful. I have remitted him fifty Pounds to defray his Expences. He has receivd a Letter from Mr Hayley of London to value on him for £100 sterling as he wants it. He has been amongst { 79 } some of my freinds whose example I am convincd have made no ill impression on his Conduct, they are People of high esteemation in that Country. I have drawn on you as advised in my General Letter2 of this Day for 888.12 amount of the little adventure shipt Per the Boston to which you will please to let due honor be given.
I apprehend the Packets from America must have been intercepted otherways some would have come to hand. To your Commands at any time for Articles you may desire to ship for your family of my attention permit me to make to you my strongest Assurance.
I am with great Respect Sir Your very hbl Servant
[signed] John Bondfield
1. Not printed, but see JA to William Vernon, 15 Sept., note 1 (above).
2. No letter from Bondfield to the Commissioners of this date has been found. For the goods shipped on the Boston, see JA to Samuel Tucker, 29 April, and note 3 (vol. 6:73). JA sent Bondfield a bill of exchange for 888.12 livres on 25 May, which was paid by Ferdinand Grand on 17 Oct. (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:329; Commissioners' Accounts,[9 Aug. – 12 Nov.], vol. 6:359–362).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0058

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-09-26

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Dear Sir

I very much approve your Plan with regard to our future Accounts—and wish it to be followed.
The Accounts that have been shown you, are only those of the Person1 we had entrusted with the receiving and paying our Money; and intended merely to show how he was discharged of it. We are to separate from that Account the Articles for which Congress should be charged, and those for which we should give Credit.
It has always been my Intention to pay for the Education of my Children, their Clothes &c. as well as for Books and other Things for my private Use; and whatever I spend in this Way, I shall give Congress Credit for, to be deducted out of the Allowance they have promis'd us. But as the Article of Clothes for ourselves here is necessarily much higher than if we were not in public Service, I submit it to your Consideration whether that Article ought not to be reckoned among Expences for the Publick. I know I had Clothes enough at home to have lasted me my Lifetime in a Country where I was under small Necessity of following new Fashions.
I shall be out of Town till Monday; when I return we will if you please, talk farther of these Matters, and put the Accounts in the Order they are hereafter to be kept.
{ 80 }
With great Esteem, I am, Your most obedient humble Servant.
[signed] B Franklin
I inclose a Letter just receiv'd from Mr. Ross.2 Some Answer should be sent him. I have not had time. Enclos'd are his late Letters.
If any good News arrives my Servant may be sent Express to me with it.
1. William Temple Franklin. For the Household Accounts kept by him from JA's arrival at Paris on 9 April to 24 Aug., see vol. 6:16–20.
2. That of 22 Sept. (not found), to which the Commissioners replied on the 30th (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0059

Author: Vernon, William Jr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-09-26

From William Vernon Jr.

[salute] Sir

I was this morning honoured by the receipt of your letter of the 15th instant. The embarrassment which your kind proposal has afforded me is inexpressible. Being left to judge for myself at a very inexperienc'd time of life, at a distance from every friend, whom, the necessity of an immediate answer renders it impossible for me to consult. From you, Sir, who I trust art my Father's friend, and mine, I request advice.
Whether will an incessant application of ten or eleven hours per day at my Pen answer the purposes for which I left my native Country, which were to acquire a knowledge of the French Language and to qualify myself for business. To make myself Master of the Language will require a degree of study as well as practice in conversation; my youth also demands some application to different branches of litterature, in order to dispel that ignorance which is the natural attendent of it. In my humble opinion, Sir, by incessant writing these ends cannot be answered.
But if on the other hand you ask only a moderate application of six or seven hours per day, I ought certainly to embrace the opportunity of rendering some service to my Country (which will ever be the height of my ambition) and of being near and serviceable to a Person who has been and still is so useful to it. The small emoluments which you mention will have no influence on my determination for it is my benefit in regard to education which I seek, and not interest.
If Sir after considering the motives of my residence in France, you still think it advantagious for me to accept your offer (of the great advantage of which I am very sensible) you will have the goodness to { 81 } inform me in your answer to this letter,1 upon the receipt of which, if conformable to your advice, I will immediately set out for Paris.
I have the honour to be with the greatest respect Sir Your most obedt. most humb. Servant
[signed] William Vernon junr.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A l'Honorable John Adams Ecuyer, un des Deputés des Etats Unis de l'Amerique à Passi”; docketed: “M. Vernon.”; in another hand: “26th Sept 1778”; postmarked: “MONTAUBAN.”
1. No reply by JA to this letter has been found. On 30 Sept., Vernon, apparently realizing that he had not given JA his address, wrote that any reply should be addressed “to the care of Messrs. St. Geniés and Revellat freres Negociants Montauban” (Adams Papers). In the same letter he thanked JA for his correspondence and for forwarding letters to him.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0060

Author: Schweighauser, John Daniel
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-09-26

J. D. Schweighauser to the Commissioners

[salute] Honourable Gentlemen

Last post I have had the honour of writing to you laying before you Mr. Peltier du Doyer's answer to my demand of the Thereze's Cargo and beging your directions in that affair, but after reflection I have thought that it was proper to lay an arrest in his Hands claiming the delivery of those goods on my Bill of Loading to prevent his remitting the proceeds to Paris, before I received your Answer,1 which I have done this morning, and which I doubt not you will approve.
The Inventory of the Arsenal is totally compleated and I would send it you this post but Mr. Williams wants me to Sign the annexed receipt which I have refused doing 'till I know that you accept the Articles of “reparation which remain unfurnished which the said Williams stands engaged for giving him my draft on you for the same &ce.”2
The Directeur des fermes, has sent several times to ask the Account of the Tobacco Per the Baltimore sold to them, I request that you would be kind enough to remember to send me the Condition of Sale that I may finish this Affair.
I am always most respectfully Your most devoted and most obedient Servant
[signed] J.D. Schweighauser
FC (in the hand of Hezekiah Ford) (PCC, No. 102, IV, f. 70).
1. Schweighauser is referring to his letter of 24 Sept. (above). In their reply of 27 Oct. (below) to this letter of the 26th, the Commissioners inadvertently referred to it as being of the 27th.
2. Jonathan Williams had written to the Commissioners on 24 Sept. (PPAmP: Franklin Papers) and requested that they direct Schweighauser to sign the receipt and accept the merchandise on hand, but on such letter from the Commissioners has been found. Also missing are the receipt, from which Schweighauser seems to be quoting, and the inventory.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0061

Author: Wharton, Joseph Jr.
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-09-26

Joseph Wharton Jr. to the Commissioners

[salute] Honorable Gentlemen

You need not I presume be informed of the difficulties which the People of the United States continue to suffer through the great scarcity of Salt. To lessen these difficulties, and at the same time to benefit myself, I propose during the present Winter to send several Cargoes of that necessary Commodity to our Countrey, and I wish to do it from Portugal rather than any where else, on account of the superior goodness of the Salt of that Kingdom, as well as to escape the danger of Capture by Brittish Cruisers, to which, Vessells going from France are Particularly exposed. You have been pleased to inform me, that there is no resolution of Congress against trading to the United States directly from Portugal, and therefore beg leave to sollicit the favor of Passports from you for the Vessells which I may cause to be loaded with Salt in Portugal for America. Such Passports I conceive will be highly necessary to remove the apprehensions which Merchants and Masters may have in that Kingdom from the supposed unfriendliness of Portugal and the United States towards each other, as well as to procure the Protection of American Ships of War and Privateers, which they may not other wise give, on account of similar erroneous apprehensions in their Commanders.
I am with the greatest respect, Honorable Sirs, Your most humble & most obed Servant
[signed] Jos Wharton1
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honorable Benjamin Franklin Arthur Lee and John Adams Esquires”; docketed: “Mr Jos. Whartons Letter. 26. Septr. 1778. praying Passports.”
1. Joseph Wharton Jr. was the son of Joseph “Duke” Wharton, the Philadelphia merchant (Appletons' Cyclo. Amer. Biog.). The fate of the plan to send salt to the United States is unknown, and no response to this letter has been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0062

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Date: 1778-09-27

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 21 instant, relative to the Isabella, retaken from a Guernsey Privateer, by Captain McNeil in the General Mifflin.
As it is extreamly probable that the Compte D'Estaing has retaken several American Vessells from the English, We shall no dout Soon have Intelligence, what has been done in those Cases.
We have advised Captain McNeil, to have one Third of the Produce { 83 } of the Isabella in the Hands of such public officer as your Excellency, shall point out, to be repaid to him or restored to the original Proprietor of the Isabella hereafter, according to the Rule which shall be adopted by the two Nations, and to this Captain McNeil has agreed. <We have the Honour to be> Captain McNeil will have the Honour to deliver this Letter to your Excellency, and is ready to give your Excellency any assurance you may require of him, and to take the Charge of your Dispatches respecting this Affair, if your Excellency is disposed to do him the Honour to entrust them to his Care.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0063-0001

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-09-27

The Comte de Vergennes to the Commissioners, with a Contemporary Translation

Dans la Lettre que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'ecrire, Messieurs le 28 du mois dernier vous avez rapellé la promesse que le Roi a faite par l'Article 8 du Traite d'Amitie et de Commerce Signe le 6 fevrier dernier de S'emploïer auprès des Regences Barbaresques, pour procurer aux Sujets des Etats unis toute Sûreté dans la Mediterranée pour leur Commerce et leur navigation. J'ai communiqué votre demande à M. de Sartine, au Département de qui elle ressortit, et vous verrez par la reponsé de ce Ministre dont vous trouverez, une copie ci-jointe, qu'il l'a trove bien fondée, mais qu'avant de pouvoir prendre les ordres du Roi, à cet égard, il a besoin de plusieurs éclaircissements.1 Je vous prie, Messieurs, de vouloir bien me les addresser, et d'etre assurer d'avance que le Roi Sera voluntiers, tout ce qui Sera en Son Pouvoir pour complaire aux Etats Unis, et pour faire agréer leurs vües aux differents Princes de la Cöte de Barbaric. J'ai l'honneur d'étre tres parfaitement; Messieurs votre trés humble et tres obéïssant Serviteur.
[signed] De Vergennes

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0063-0002

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-09-27

The Comte de Vergennes to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

In the letter which you did me the honor to write to me the 28th. of last month, You recall the promise which the King has made in the 8th Article of the Treaty of Friendship and Commerce signed the 6th. February last, to employ his good offices with the Regencies of Barbary, to procure for the subjects of the United States, every security in the Meditteranean for their Commerce and Navigation. I have communicated your request to M. de Sartine, to whose department this { 84 } subject belongs, and you will find by this Ministers answer, copy of which you have inclosed, that he thinks it well founded, But before the orders of the King are taken in this respect, he requires several eclaircissements.1
I request of you Gentlemen to Address them to me, and to be beforehand assured that the King will very willingly do whatever is in his power to satisfy the United States and to render their wishes approved of by the Princes of Barbary.
I have the honor to be &c.
[signed] De Vergennes
LbC (Adams Papers). Translation by John Pintard (PCC, No. 85, f. 183).
1. In the enclosed letter to Vergennes of 21 Sept., Sartine asked whether the United States sought to negotiate treaties with the Barbary States or only wished France to use its influence to insure respect for the American flag. Sartine considered the latter course to be unwise and probably fruitless since the Barbary governments, unless they received some tangible benefits, were likely to pay lip service to the French request, while continuing their depredations on American commerce. Sartine believed that it would probably be easier and more effective to negotiate treaties, and in that case he needed to know what powers and instructions the Commissioners had in that regard so that the French government could concert its efforts with those of the United States (LbC, Adams Papers; translation by John Pintard, PCC, No. 85, f. 187–188).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0064

Author: Izard, Ralph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-09-28

From Ralph Izard

[salute] Sir

I am favoured with your Letter of 25th., and agree with you in opinion that there is no necessity of discussing the question respecting the Commissioners, now; inconveniencies might arise from it, and no valuable purpose could be answered that I know of. I agree with you likewise that if the Fishery of New England has proved injurious, by introducing Luxury, and Vanity, it must be the fault of the People, rather than of the Fishery. If the quantity of money which is acquired by the Fishery, affords an argument for the discontinuance of it, I am afraid it may be applied with equal propriety against every other industrious means of introducing wealth into the State. The passion for Ribbons, and Lace, may easily be checked by a few wholesome, sumptuary Laws; and the money that has hitherto been employed upon those articles will be found very useful towards sinking our enormous national Debt. This Debt, I fear, will not be sunk during my life; till that is done, I do not think that any danger to our morals is to be apprehended from our excessive Riches.
I should be obliged to you if you would let me know whether you think the reasons which are given in my last Letter, respecting the Treaties, are well founded. I am very willing to communicate my sentiments to you on the other articles; but submit it to you whether it { 85 } would not be better that this should be done verbally, rather than by Letter. I have the honour to be with much esteem Your friend, & humble Servant
[signed] Ra. Izard
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr Izzard. 28 Sep ans. Septr. 1778.” JA's answer was actually dated 2 Oct. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0065

Author: Ridley, Matthew
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-09-29

Matthew Ridley to the Commissioners

[salute] Honourable Sirs

Meeting accidentally, when in London, with a Manuscript Book of the Commissioners of the English Navy, a few Years back; containing a very accurate description of the Dimensions, Guns, Men &ca. of most Ships then in Commission; various calculations for the purpose of Ship building and repairing; the duties of the several Officers in their different stations on board Ships of War, and other matters, I conceived it might be of very material service, to those concerned in the Navy of the United States, and therefore secured it. I now beg leave, Honourable Sirs, through you to present it to Congress. Should they think it worthy their acceptance: and that it should be the means of only a small advantage to their Navy, I shall esteem myself happy, as having, by any means, contributed thereto. Possessing property in the State of Maryland, it is my earnest desire that I may derive my only security therein, from the joint Powers of the United States; and that those of their Navy may encrease, long flourish, and as their Land exertions, already are, become, the Wonder of the World, is the sincere Wish of Honourable Sirs Your most Obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] Mattw: Ridley1 of Baltimore in the state of Maryland
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honorable Commissioners of the United States of America”; docketed: “Mr Ridley. <ansd.>”; in another hand: “Sep. 29. 78.”
1. In a letter of 22 Oct. (LbC, Adams Papers) the Commissioners thanked Ridley, a Maryland merchant, for the manuscript and promised to send it to America by the first safe opportunity (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:357). No indication has been found as to when or if the gift reached the congress.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0066

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Ross, John
Date: 1778-09-30

The Commissioners to John Ross

[salute] Sir

We have received your Letter of the twenty second of September,1 and take this Opportunity to say, that We have no Authority, either to give you Orders or Advice, any further than respects the large Sum of Money, which the Commissioners put into your Hands sometime ago. { 86 } Of the Expenditure of this Money, We have demanded an Account, which you have refused to give Us.
With your private Concerns We have nothing to do. If you have any Power derived from the honourable Committee of Congress, to that Committee you must be responsible and look for Instructions. We can never justify interfering in those Affairs, much less could We be justified in Advancing more Money, to a Gentleman who has refused to give Us an Account of a large sum already intrusted to him, not to mention the Circumstances of Indecency, with which that Refusal was accompanied, and with which most of your Letters since have been filled. We return you the original Contract, which you inclosed to Us, Sometime ago.2
That you may Save yourself for the future the Trouble of writing Letters to Us, We now assure you, that it is our fixd Determination to have nothing further to do with you, or any Affairs under your Care, untill you have laid before Us, and settled your Account of the public Money you have received from the Commissioners, unless We have Instructions from Congress, which with the most perfect Attention, We shall ever observe. We are, sir, your humble servants.
[signed] B Franklin
[signed] Arthur Lee
[signed] John Adams
P.S. It is proper you shoud be informd that there appears from Mr. Williams's Accounts to have been a farther advance made to you of twenty thousand Livres3 for which we likewise expect you will without delay account with us.
[signed] B Franklin
[signed] Arthur Lee
[signed] John Adams
RC (MiD); LbC (Adams Papers). In the recipient's copy, the postscript is in Arthur Lee's hand.
1. Not found.
2. In the Letterbook copy, JA originally intended to end the letter here.
3. No reference to this advance has been found in Williams' accounts (see Williams to the Commissioners, 22 Sept., note 1, above).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0067

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1778-10-01

The Commissioners to the Comte de Vergennes

[salute] Sir

We have received, the Letter which your Excellency, did Us the Honour, to write to us, on the twenty seventh of the last Month: together with a Copy of a Letter from the Ministre of the Marine to your Excellency, of the twenty first of the Same Month.
{ 87 }
Convinced of the Propriety of those Ecclaircisements, which his Excellency demands, We had recourse to our Instructions from Congress, and although we have Powers and Instructions to treat, and conclude Treaties, with all the European Powers, to whom no particular Minister has been sent by Congress, yet we cannot find that our Powers extend to conclude Treaties, with the Barbary States.
We are, nevertheless instructed, to endeavour to obtain Passes for the Vessells of the United States, and their Subjects, from those Powers, through the Mediation and Influence of his most Christian Majesty, which we therefore request his Excellency, to endeavour to procure, provided he Sees no danger in the Attempt or material Objection to it.
We have, however the Honour to agree with his Excellency in Opinion, that an Acknowledgment of the Independance of the United States, on the Part of those Powers and a Treaty of Commerce between them and Us, would be beneficial to both, and a Negociation to that End not unlikely to succeed, because there has been, heretofore Some Trade between them and Us, in the Course of which our People and Vessells were well received.
We therefore Submit it to his Excellency's Judgment, either to commence a Negociation for Passes for American Vessels, immediately, or to wait untill we can write to Congress, and obtain Powers, to treat with those States and conclude Treaties of Commerce, with them, when we Shall request to commence, and conduct the Negociation, through the Mediation, and under the Auspices of his Majesty.
We have the Honour to request his Excellencys Advice hereupon.1
We address this to your Excellency, as We have done many other Things, which we suppose must be referred to other Departments, because your Excellency, being the Ministre for foreign Affairs, we have understood, that we have no right to apply in the first Instance, to any other: But if we have been misinformed, or ill-advised, in this, and there is no Impropriety in our making immediate Application to other Ministers, upon Subjects which we know to be within their Departments, we request your Excellency to give Us an Intimation of it; And for the future we will avoid giving unnecessary Trouble to your Excellency.
We have the Honour to be, with Sentiments of the most entire respect, your Excellencys most obedient and most humble servants
[signed] B Franklin
[signed] Arthur Lee
[signed] John Adams
{ 88 }
RC in JA's hand (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 5).
1. In his reply of 30 Oct., Vergennes stated that full powers from the congress were necessary before France could act and would have to include both the authorization to propose such payments as might be required by the Barbary States and the money needed to meet their demands (LbC, Adams Papers; translation by John Pintard, PCC, No. 85, f. 231–232).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0068-0001

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-01

Gabriel de Sartine to the Commissioners

Des raisons particulieres, Messeurs, m'ayant determiné a proposer a Sa Majesté d'accorder au Sieur Fagan trois passeports pour trois navires anglois qui doivent transporter des Marchandises de France, en Angleterre sous une caution convenable. Le Sieur Fagan desireroit que les corsaires americains ne troublassent pas cette navigation protégée par sa Majesté. Je vous prie de vouloir bien lui donner a cet égard toutes les Suretés qui Seront en votre pouvoir, et lui accorder les Passeports, ou tel autre Acte que vous croirez propre, à assurer la Tranquilité de ce Commerce dont l'objet ne consistera que dans des Marchandises appartenantes a des Francoise.1
J'ai l'honneur d'etre avec une Consideration tres distinguée Messieurs, Votre tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur.
[signed] De Sartine

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0068-0002

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-01

Gabriel de Sartine to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

Some specific reasons have convinced me, gentlemen, to ask His Majesty to grant Mr. Fagan passports for three British vessels which will carry goods from France to England under suitable guarantees. Mr. Fagan does not want American privateers to trouble this voyage protected by His Majesty and, therefore, I kindly request that you give him, in this regard, all the assurances within your power and to grant him passports, or such other documents that you deem appropriate, to ensure the safety of this trade involving only merchandise belonging to Frenchmen.1
I have the honor to be, with utmost consideration, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant.
[signed] De Sartine
1. Acceding to Sartine's request, the Commissioners in a letter of 2 Oct. announced that they had given Fagan three written requests, all that they were empowered to do, asking commanders of American armed vessels to permit Fagan's ships to proceed to England (LbC, Adams Papers). These documents have not been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0069

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1778-10-01 - 1779-02-23

Household Accounts of Benjamin Franklin and John Adams at Passy

1778               1778            
Octr.   1   Passy Octr. 1. 1778                      
    Sir1
Pay to the honble. John Adams Esqr., or order the Sum of Six thousand Livres, and Charge the Same to Account of the Commissioners  
6000.                    
    B. Franklin2
John Adams  
                   
              Oct.   2   Cabaret for Stationary, per Receipt   84.   10.    
                6   Washerwomans Account for D. Franklin   78.      
                12   Dennis Account   42.   6.    
                14   Monsieur Le Cours Memoire, for the Schooling of M. John Quincy Adams, for one Quarter ending the 13th   477.   16.    
                  Monsieur Montagne his Account of Family for the Month of August   1391.   9.   6.  
                  for the Month of September ...   1397.   19.   3.  
                  Postage of Letters in the Month of August   117.   1.    
                  Ditto in the Month of September   228.   2.    
                  The Receipt for the four forgoing sums amounting in all to 3134: 11s: 9d is dated the 1st of October.        
{ 90 } | view
                  Memoire of M. De Chaumont, for five Months Use of the Voiture Horses &c. and Postage of Letters ending 10 Octr   1732.      
                  Memoire of M. De Chaumont for the Chival De Cabriolet ending 10 October   248.   2.   6.  
                  Memoire de Peruquier, for dressing Mr. Adams's Wig, for Six Months ending 9 Octr   48.      
                15   Mr. Adams's shoemakers Account   49.      
                  Ballance remaining in hand   105.   13.   9.  
                    6000.3      
Oct.   31   Ballance remaining on the other side   105.   13.   9.         Oct. 31. The above Account was examined, and compared with the Receipts and found right by us,        
    Received of Mr. Grand the Sum of Four Thousand Eight hundred Livres, tournois, on Account by Us.   4800.             B Franklin4
John Adams.  
     
    B Franklin
John Adams  
4905.   13.   9.                
              Novr.   3   Paid for the Roulage of Wine from Bordeaux   170.   8.   4.  
{ 91 } | view
                  addition paid   11.   [8.]5    
                4   Paid Mr Montagne for Family Expences, Post of Letters, his Wages, and other Articles up to the last of October according to his Books of Account in which he has given another Receipt ...   1963.   11.   2.  
                20   Paid for Duties &c. for 50 Bottles of Rum   75.      
                21   Paid Mr. W. T. Franklin for his Expences to Dieppe 16 Louis   384.      
                  Paid Stevens Account   493.   16.    
                30   Paid Le Roy the Tailer his Bill   257.   15.    
              Decr.   1   Paid Dennis Account for Wages from the 20 May to 20 Novr. and Allowance for Wine &c.   153.      
                  Paid Dennis Account for Dinners, at Paris &c.   28.   18.    
                4   Paid Mr. Fremont, for his Account of Family Expences for the Month of November   1165.   8.   6.  
{ 92 } | view
                  Paid Mr Fremont for his Account of Postage of Letters   78.   17.    
                6   Paid the Glazier for his Memoire   153.      
                  Another Small Memoire   6.      
                    4930.   5.   8.  
                    4905.   13.   9.  
                  Ballance in favour of Mr. Adams   24.   11.   11.  
                  Passy, Dec. 11. 1778. The above Account was examined, compar'd with the Receipts, and found right, by us,        
                  B Franklin
John Adams  
     
Decr.   16   Received Decr. 16 1778 of Mr. Grand Five Thousand Livres Tournois on Account by Us   5000.                    
    B. Franklin
John Adams  
                   
      4899.   2.   11.                
    Ballance Spent by Mr. Adams for which he is accountable.   100.   17.   1.                
                  Ballance brought forward   24.   11.   11.6  
                20   Washerwomans Account   45.   4.    
                22   Monsieur Pichinis Memoire   310.   15.    
                  Arbelots Memoire   34.      
                  Calais Memoire   178.   16.    
                  Coimets Memoire   204.      
                  Paid for Washerwoman for Dr. F.   86.      
                  Mr. Le Cour Memoire for B. F.   781.   10.    
{ 93 } | view
                  For Mr. F's. Italian Master   30.      
                  Fencing Master ...   84.      
                30   Delivered Mr. W. T. F. for Dr. Franklin, 4 Louis   96.      
                  Paid for mathematical Instruments for Mr. Ad.   36.      
                  Paid for a Pair of little Gloves for Mr. Adams   11.      
              1779            
              Jany.   4   Paid Mr. Fremont for Family Expences   1841.   2.    
                  for Postage of Letters   244.   4.    
                8   Paid Louis Tardy for Worsted stockings for Mr. Adams   44.      
    Jan. 13. 1779. The opposite Account was examin'd, compar'd with the Accounts and found right agreable to the Receipts,             13   Paid the Maistre D'Hotel of M. Chaumont in Part for the Voiture Horses &c. from Oct 10 to Jany. 10   780      
    B. Franklin
John Adams  
            Taken by Mr. Adams to pay for Some school Books for his son John Quincy Adams   33.      
{ 94 } | view
                  Paid the Surgeons Bill for attending Stephens, after his Fall from the Carriage   12.      
                    4876.   2.   11.  
                  Paid for Razors for Dr. Franklin and Mr. Adams   23.      
                    4899.   2.   11.  
Jany.     By Ballance   100.   17.   1.                
    An order on Mr. Grand for   4800.                    
      4900.   17.   1.                
    Sum total on the other side   4734.   3.   7.                
    Ballance in Mr. Adams's Hands for which he is accountable for this and the last Months. But the Money is all gone.7   166.   13.   5.8                
                25   Paid the Remainder of M. Chaumonts Account   600.   8.    
                28   Duties on D'Andaye   37.   2.   1.  
                  Tapissions Memoire   70.      
                29   Paid Hill the Taylors Account   344.   1.    
                31   Paid Mr. Whithall for the Remembrancers   53.      
              Feb.   1   Paid for L'Histoire philosophique et politique des Etablissimens des Europeans dans les deux Indes,9 for Mr. Adams 48 Livres, for 3 ounces of lenitive Electuary10 2 L, for a Writing Book 3 Liv. for a Nick. Buckle 5 Livres—for Ditto in all for which no Receipt { 95 } | view was taken   58.      
                  Paid the Washerwoman for Mr. Adams   14.      
                3   Paid the Wood Merchant for Wood   470.   10.    
                  Paid M. Fremont Maitre D'hotel for Family Expences to the 1 Feby   1421.   5.   6.  
                  Paid Ditto for Postage of Letters   335.   17.    
                  Paid Francois Memoire   12.      
                7   Paid Taylors Bill Dieu donnés Memoire for Dr. F.   322.      
                  Paid Ditto for Dr. F.   500.   9.    
                9   Paid Chaberts Bill for shoes for M. Adams   10.      
                10   Paid the Glazier   12.   18.    
                12   Paid Stevens his Memoire for Wages and Wine   252.      
                23   Paid De Bause his Memoire   107.   15.    
                  Paid Dennis Memoire for Wages &c.   89.   10.    
                  Paid Dennis other Memoire   23.   8.    
                    4734.   3.   7.  
{ 96 }
LbC (Adams Papers); FC in William Temple Franklin's hand (PPAmP: Franklin Papers). For JA's assumption of the responsibility for keeping the household accounts, see his letter to Franklin of [6] Sept., and note 3 (above); and the descriptive note to the household accounts for [9 April – 24 Aug.] (vol. 6:21). The household accounts printed here should be compared with the earlier set (vol. 6:16–20), as well as with JA's personal accounts in JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:325–342.
1. Ferdinand Grand.
2. JA copied Benjamin Franklin's signature here and in the entries in this column for 31 Oct. and 16 Dec.
3. The total expenditure for this period was 5,894. 6. 3 livres.
4. Franklin's signature on this certification, as well as on those dated 11 Dec. and 13 Jan., was in his own hand. Only JA signed the corresponding certifications on Temple Franklin's copy.
5. In the Letterbook an ink blot makes it difficult to determine whether JA wrote an “8” or a “o.” Temple Franklin construed it as a “o” and entered it as such on his copy, but the sum given by JA for the total expenditures for the period, 4,930. 5. 8 livres, indicates that he meant it to be an “8.”
6. That is, the balance owed JA and thus an expenditure.
7. JA did sign the corresponding certification for the period from 25 Jan. to 23 Feb. on William Temple Franklin's copy of the accounts. The absence of Benjamin Franklin's signature from the certification was probably owing to the fact that he was too ill with the gout to conduct business (JA to the Board of Treasury, 19 Sept. 1779, below).
8. This should be 166.13. 6 livres.
9. By Guillaume Thomas Francois, Abbé Raynal. Two sets of this work remain in JA's library: a Geneva, 1780, edition and an English translation, London, 1777 (Catalogue of JA's Library).
10. A gentle laxative (OED).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0070

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Izard, Ralph
Date: 1778-10-02

To Ralph Izard

[salute] Sir

I have the Pleasure of yours of the 28th, and agree with you in Sentiment that if the Money which has heretofore been Squandred upon Articles of Luxury, could for the future be applied to discharge our national Debt, it would be a great Felicity. But is it certain that it will? Will not the national Debt itself, be the Means, at least a Temptation to continue if not increase the Luxury? It is with great Pleasure that I see you mention Sumptuary Laws? But is there Room to hope that our Legislaters will pass such Laws, or that the People have or can be perswaded to acquire those Qualities which are necessary to execute such Laws?
I wish your Answer may be in the Affirmative, and that it may be found true in Fact and Experience. But much Prudence and Delicacy will be necessary I think, to bring all our Countrymen to this just Way of thinking1 upon this Head. There is Such a Charm to the human Heart in Elegance, it is so flattering to our self Love to be distinguished from the World in general by extraordinary Degrees of Splendor in Dress in Furniture, Equipage, Buildings &c and our Country• { 97 } men by their Connections with Europe, are so much infected with the Habit of this Taste and these Passions that I fear, it will be a Work of Time, and Difficulty if not quite impracticable to introduce an Alteration,2 to which besides the great Inequalities of Fortune, introduced by the late Condition of our Trade, and Currency and the late Enterprizes of Privateers are dangerous Ennemies.
You ask my opinion whether the Reasons in your last Letter, are well founded.
It is observable that the French Court, were not content with the Treaty proposed by Congress, which contained all, in my opinion, which is contained in the Article as it now Stands in the Treaty of the 6 of Feb.3
What Motive they had for inserting the Words “Indefinite and exclusive” is left to conjecture. The suspicion that they meant more than the Treaty proposed by Congress expressed, arises from a Fact which you remember vizt. that the French at the Time of the last Peace claimed more. I wish to know if there is any Letter or Memorial, extant in which such a Claim is contained, or whether it was only a Verbal Claim made by their Embassadors. Whether any of the Magazines of that Time mention and discuss any such Claim.
If the Fact is incontestible that they made such Claim, it is possible that it may be revived under the Words “indefinite and exclusive.” But I hope it will not, and I hope it was not intended when these Words were inserted. Yet I confess I cannot think of any other Reason for inserting them. The Word indefinite is not amiss—for it is a Right of catching fish and drying them on Land, which is a Right indefinite enough. But the Word Exclusive is more misterious. It cannot mean that Americans and all other Nations shall be “excluded” from the same right of fishing and drying on Land between the same Limits of Bonavista and Riche.4 It would be much easier to suppose, that the following Words “in that Part only and in no other Besides that” gave rise to the Word “exclusive.” That is that right, of fishing and drying, within those limits, for which We have excluded ourselves from all others. I will undertake to shew better reasons, or at least as good for this sense of the Word exclusive, as the most subtle Interpreter of Treaties can offer for the other—altho I think them both untenable.
My opinion further is this, that as Contemporaneous Exposition is allowed by all Writers on the Law of Nations to be the best Interpreter of Treaties as well as of all other Writings; and as Neither the Treaty of Eutrecht, or the Treaty of Paris in 1763 ever received such an Interpretation, as you are apprehensive may hereafter be contended for5 { 98 } and as the uninterupted Practice has been against such a Construction; So I think that the Treaty of Paris of the 6 of Feb. 1778 is not justly liable to such a Construction, and that it cannot be attempted with any Prospect of success.
I agree with you however, that as We are young States, and not practiced in the Art of Negociations, it becomes Us to look into all these Things with as much Caution and Exactness as possible, and furnish ourselves with the best Historical Lights and every other honest Means of Securing our Rights, for which Reason I requested your sentiments upon this subject in Writing, and continue to desire in the same Way your Observations upon the other Parts of the Treaty. Reduced to Writing such Things remain in Letters and Letter Books,6 as well as more distinctly in Memory and the same Man or other Men may recur to them at future opportunities, whereas transient Conversations, especially among Men who have many Things to do and think of, slip away and are forgotten. I shall make Use of all the Prudence I can, that these Letters may not come to the Knowledge of improper Persons, or be used to the disadvantage of our Country, or to you or me, in our present Capacity.
I am &c
1. The following three words were interlined for insertion here.
2. The remainder of this sentence was interlined for insertion at this point.
3. JA refers to Art. 10 of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce (Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:10).
4. For the applicable text for Art. 13 of the Treaty of Utrecht, see Izard's letter of 24 Sept. (above).
5. The following eleven words were interlined for insertion here.
6. The following seven words were interlined for insertion here.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0071

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Laurens, Henry
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1778-10-02

To the President of the Congress

[salute] Sir

I have the Honour to inclose the latest Gazettes by which Congress will perceive, that We have no Intelligence from America, Since the Departure of the Comte D'Estaing from Sandy Hook. Our Anxiety is very great, but We hope that a few Hours will relieve it.
In the Midst of a War in Germany, and between France and England, there was scarcely ever a greater Dearth of News in a Time of profound Peace.
Captain McNeil the Bearer of this, makes the most Conversation, having taken and destroyed I think Thirteen Vessells in the course of his last Cruise Six of which have safely arrived in France. The others { 99 } not destroyed he sent to America. His Cruise, will occasion a great Disappointment to the Enemy, having deprived them of a great Quantity of naval stores upon which they depended. I have the Honour to be, with entire Respect, sir your most obedient humble servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 21); docketed: “Letter of J Adams Passy Oct. 2. 1778 Read Feby. 25. 1779.”

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0072

Author: Vernon, William Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-10-02

From William Vernon Sr.

[salute] Dear Sir

The preceeding is copy of my last, of the 26th. May,1 being without any of your favors,2 which I promised my self the happiness of receiving before this date, and of the pleasure of hearing that my Son, was Placed with some Gentleman of business, where he might acquire a competent knowledge of business and such other accomplishments, as wou'd make him a useful member of society.
I shall not take up your Time, in giving you the American news, the Public News Papers, transmited will give you every transaction. We have to regret the Loss of the brave Capt. Chew, commander of the Brigantine Resistance, who was Kill'd in an action, with a Twenty Gun Ship, near Barbadoes,3 and also of that worthy Commander of the Brigantine Genl. Gates, Capt. Skimmer who fell engaging a Letter of Mark Ship, in the first of the Action; his Leiutenant fought the Brigantine and brought the Prize into this Port, which proved of no great Value, being Loaded with Fish from Newfd. Land.4
The Brigantine Resistance was given to Capt. Bourk who was sent out to look for the French Fleet under the Command of Count de Estaing, as far as Cape-Cod only unhappily fell in with the British Squadron the Third day, was taken. The Warren and Raleigh are both out, the Dean will sail in a few days. The Ship Alliance built at Salisbury is given to Capt. Peter Landais, she is in the Road near half Man'd, esteemed the finest Frigate ever built in America, I think the Commander a sensible modest Worthy deserving Gentleman.5 I have given you a short detail of what hath turn'd up in the Naval department since my last, except some few captures the Continental Ships have made. The Prize taken by the Boston, under the care of Mr. Welch, had she arrived safe wou'd have been of more Value, then all that have got in, unfortunatly she was retaken in sight of the Land in this Bay.6
{ 100 }
I am extreemly impatient of a Line from you, which I hope, shall soon have the pleasure of receiving.
I am with the greatest sincerity Dr sr Yr. Obedt. Servt.
Tripl (Adams Papers). No recipient's copy or duplicate of this letter has been found. The triplicate was an enclosure in a duplicate of Vernon's letter of 22 Oct. (below, see descriptive note). Occupying the first page and a half of the MS, it was followed by the duplicate of the letter of 22 Oct., which was in turn followed by a brief covering letter dated 22 Oct.
1. That is, a duplicate (not found) of Vernon's letter of 26 May (vol. 6:156–157), which was apparently enclosed in the recipient's copy of the present letter.
2. JA had written to Vernon on 27 July (vol. 6:324), but that letter had not been received as late as 17 Dec., the date of another letter to JA from Vernon (below).
3. Samuel Chew and one of his lieutenants were killed on 4 March in a battle with a British privateer (Allen, Naval Hist. of the Amer. Revolution, p. 314).
4. John Skimmer was killed on 3 Aug., in the midst of a seven-hour battle with the brigantine Montague (Dict. Amer. Fighting Ships, 3:42; Mass. Soldiers and Sailors).
5. Pierre Landais, a French naval officer, arrived in America in Dec. 1777 with a Continental commission from Silas Deane. Landais and the Alliance sailed for France on 14 Jan. 1779, carrying Lafayette and the official notification of Franklin's appointment as minister to France. Landais later showed an unfitness for command and in Jan. 1781 was court-martialed and dismissed from the navy (DAB). In the spring of 1779, as he waited at Brest with the intention of returning to America on the Alliance,JA met Landais and recorded his unfavorable impressions of the man in his Diary (Diary and Autobiography, 2:368–369, 372–373, 375).
6. For JA's account of his part in the capture of the Martha on 11 March, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:285–287;4:24–25. The vessel was recaptured shortly thereafter by the British frigate Rainbow (K. G. Davies, ed., Documents of the American Revolution, 1777–1783, Shannon and Dublin, 21 vols., 1972–1981, 13:337).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0073-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-02

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners

[salute] Messieurs

Si vous n'avez pas eu de mes nouvelles depuis ma derniere du 13 au 18 Sept, je n'en ai pas moins été occupé au service des Etats-Unis, comme Sir G.1 pourra vous l'attester. De 10 jours que j'ai passés à Amsterdam, j'en ai employé un aux ordres du g—— F——, deux avec notre Ami, et les sept autres, renfermé dans une Chambre, à écrire sur vos Promesses2 615 Numeros, 2460 folios, 2255 fois A, et 2255 fois Passy 31. Aoust 1778; au moyen de quoi, le jour-même de mon départ, on a pu commencer à les placer avec succès: ce qui m'a bien consolé de l'ennui d'une telle corvée. Sir G. vous en dira davantage, et sur-tout de la part que notre Ami a eue à ce succés.
Malgré les représentations sérieuses que cet Etat fait faire à la Cour de Londres, je sais de très bonne part, que la dite Cour les éludera, et { 101 } continuera de tolérer et encourager les pirateries de ses sujets. J'en donne avis aujourdhui à divers amis à Amsterdam, ou j'ai vu une fermentation à la Bourse, qui me fait augurer qu'on obligera enfin le Lion Belgique3 à montrer tout de bon ses dents et ses griffes.
Voici, Messieurs, Copie de deux Pieces4 qui m'ont été remises. J'y ai souligné les endroits essentiels, qui pourront vous faire connoitre le vrai esprit et l'intention de ces Pieces, et la maniere dont on s'attend que vous y répondrez.
Ayez donc la bonté de m'adresser, <une Declaration> dans le même esprit, une Lettre que je puisse montrer; et une Declaration semblable, que je puisse remettre à notre Ami de votre part, qui 1.° rassurent les Hollandois sur la crainte que les Anglois ne réussissent à les faire exclure, en tout ou en partie, directement ou indirectement, du Commerce des Etats-Unis: 2.° ou vous approuverez les préparatifs que notre Ami me propose, pour accélérer la conclusion d'un Traite de Commerce avec les Provinces-Unies des Pays-Bas, quand l'occasion s'en présentera; et notamment l'Examen qu'il offre de faire faire du Traité avec la France par d'habiles Commerçants, pour parvenir mutatis mutandis à dresser le Projet d'un Traité de Commerce entre les deux Republiques qui puisse être proposé ensuite au Congrés, afin de savoir le plutôt possible s'il auroit son agrément.
L'intention de ceci est, en attendant, non seulement 1.° d'avoir un tel projet, approuvé, tout prêt à produire dés que LL. hh. pp. auront pu reconnoître l'Indépendance; mais aussi 2.° de profiter des circonstances qui se présenteront, pour engager la Ville d'Amsterdam dans des démarches, qui pourront amener plutôt cette reconnoissance, qu'elle n'arriveroit autrement. Quant à mon Ministere en cette besogne, il est calculé comme un Medium entre vous Messieurs, et ceux d'Amsterdam afin de ne commettre ni votre caractére, ni leur surete, par une correspondance plus directe.
Le G—— F—— est absent. Ses Commis ont pris copie pour lui des 2 pieces ci-jointes; et elle sera certainement envoyee a la Maison. On l'attend a tout moment; et je lui montrerai, et remettrai, s'il le desire copie de cette Lettre ici: car dans tout ceci je ne fais pas un pas sans sa participation et approbation.
Voici une Lettre recue d'Angleterre pour Mr. Saml. Wm. Stockton Esqr. Ne sachant ou il est depuis le depart de Mr. Wm. Lee de Francfort avec lequel il etoit-la, je crois que le moyen le plus sur de la lui faire parvenir, est de vous l'adresser. Nous sommes tous ici dans une impatience extreme d'apprendre ce qui s'est passe en Amerique.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0073-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-02

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

[salute] Gentlemen

Although you have had no news from me since my last of 13–18 September, I have nevertheless, as Sir Grand1 will attest, been busy in the service of the United States. Of the ten days I spent in Amsterdam, I employed one in waiting on the Grand Facteur, two with our friend, and the other seven shut up in a room writing 615 numbers, 2460 folios, 2255 times A, and 2255 times Passy 31. Aoust 1778 on your promissory notes.2 As a result, on the day of my departure they were being placed successfully, which more than made up for the boredom of such a chore. Sir Grand will tell you more about this, especially of our friend's part in this success.
Despite the serious remonstrances that this state is making at the Court of London, I know for sure that the said court will evade them and continue to tolerate and encourage the piracy of its subjects. I am reporting this today to several friends in Amsterdam where I have seen unrest at the exchange, which leads me to believe that the Belgian Lion3 will finally be forced to bare its teeth and claws.
Enclosed are copies of two pieces4 that were given to me. I underlined the essential passages to inform you of their true nature and intention and the manner in which you are expected to respond.
Have, therefore, the goodness to send me, <a declaration> in the same spirit, a letter that I can show around and also a similar declaration that I can send to our friend on your behalf, which will: 1. calm the Dutch fear that the British might succeed in having them excluded—in whole or in part, directly or indirectly—from trade with the United States; 2. approve the preparations suggested to me by our friend in order to speed up the conclusion of the treaty of commerce with the United Provinces of the Netherlands when the occasion presents itself, particularly the examination of the commercial treaty by able merchants that he proposes be made in order to succeed mutatis mutandis in preparing a draft treaty between the two republics that could then be submitted to congress in order to learn, as soon as possible, whether or not it would have its approval.
In the meantime, the aim is not only: 1. to have such a document approved and ready for the time when it will be possible for Their High Mightinesses to recognize the independence; but also: 2. to profit from the circumstances that will present themselves to draw the city of Amsterdam into these demarches thus greatly facilitating the recognition that would never come otherwise. My role in this is to be an intermediary between you gentlemen and those of Amsterdam in order to expose neither your position nor their safety by a more direct correspondence.
The Grand Facteur is away. His clerks have made copies for him of the two enclosures which will certainly be sent to his House. He should be back soon and I will show and, if he wishes, give him a copy of this { 103 } letter, for in this matter I do not take a step without his participation and approval.
Here is a letter received from England for Samuel William Stockton, Esqr. Because I am unaware of his whereabouts since his departure from Frankfort with Mr. William Lee, I think the safest way to forward this letter is to send it to you. All of us here are very impatient to learn what is happening in America.
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed, not by JA, on the fourth page: “Dumas 2d Oct. 78”; and on eighth page: “Dumas 2d Oct. 1778.”
1. Sir George Grand, brother of the Commissioners' banker, Ferdinand Grand.
2. For the promissory notes, see the Commissioners to Horneca, Fizeaux & Co., 31 Aug. (vol. 6:411–413).
3. For an earlier reference by Dumas to the Belgian Lion, see his letter to the Commissioners of 9 June (vol. 6:197).
4. For the two enclosures, both dated 23 Sept., see van Berckel to the Commissioners, 23 Sept., and notes (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0074

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-03

John Bondfield to the Commissioners

[salute] Sirs

We are yet without any Arrivals from any part of America, from Carolina as an embargo is in force for the exporting of Rice,1 it is not extraordinary, but from all the other Provinces some Vessels may be expected as there are many french Vessels in Virginia Maryland and No. Carolina, should vessels belonging to the States be wanting, which I apprehend is rather the Case, some of the other ought to get out.
A Ship belonging to Mr. Ross sold at this Port. The people belonging to her shipt in America for the Round demand their Wages.2 Mr. Ross's Agent at this place refuses payment unless the Seamen will consent to a deduction of two thirds of what they were shipt at alledging Continental Money is of more value and refuses to settle with them on any other terms. They have had recourse to the Court of Admiralty who has referd them to referees of their Own Chusing. All to whom the Seamen have applied for want of experience in the Nature of our Currencey have declined that the poor people find themselves entirely destitute of redress. I spoke to Mr. Delap to whom the Vessel is addrest and represented to him not only the injury I thought he did the People in not complying with the Usuages of Trade in like cases but also the Stab it gave to the Credit of the Continental Money in this Country by giving it a value so short <of> and what it was our duty by every means to suport My talk had no effect, only being by him objected too as a referee, an Act to which I had declined, to avoid giving offence, but finding the People are without prospect of redress being dayly importuned as the only person here settld to whom they can { 104 } have recourse for advice I have recommended to them to lay their Case before you and to solicite your Protection.
I have forwarded by the Routier directed to you at Passi two Hogsheds of what is here esteemed prime tonics of Medoc. They will be at Passi by the reciept of this. I refer sending the other two til you give me your opinion of these if they please shall send you two more of the same if otherways will change for another growth. I preferd sending them in the Hhds which are cased to sending them in Bottles as the Carriage of the Bottles would cost as much as the Wine and by being carefully Bottled and Corked by your People will in a few Days be equally Good <if not better>. The Carriage from this to Paris is at the rate of ten Livres per hundred weight. A hhds of Wine cased is estimated at 625 to which of course is 62.10 per hhd.
I hope in a few days to transmit you some inteligence interesting.3 I am with due Respect Sirs your very hhb Servant
[signed] John Bondfield
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honble. Benj Franklin Arthur Lee John Adams Esqrs. Commissioners from Congress at Paris”; docketed: “Bondfield 3 Octr. 1778.”; in another hand: “Bondfiel 3 Oct. 1778”; notation, probably by Benjamin Franklin: “with Supplements of the Arnold Packets Accounts.” No such enclosure was found.
1. An embargo on the export of rice and other commodities, to last until 15 Nov., had been recommended by the congress on 8 June. On 19 Aug. the embargo was relaxed to permit the export of produce, including rice, to pay for military supplies, and on 2 Sept. it was further revised to provide for the shipment of food to other colonies. On 10 Nov. the congress recommended that the embargo on the export of rice be continued until military operations against East Florida were underway, but no longer than 31 Jan. 1779 (JCC, 11:578, 815–816; 12:861, 1121).
2. See Thomas Grant and Joses Hill to the Commissioners, 3 Oct. (below), which was probably enclosed in Bondfield's letter.
3. Bondfield wrote again on 6 Oct. to inform the Commissioners that although he still had no news of Estaing's fleet, a small cutter about to arrive might have letters. He also noted that the Fier Roderigue, outfitted by Beaumarchais and carrying tobacco from Virginia, was about one day's sailing from Rochefort, its destination (PPAmP: Franklin Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0075

Author: Grant, Thomas
Author: Hill, Joses
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-03

Thomas Grant and Joses Hill to the Commissioners

[salute] May it please your Honours

We the Subscribed first and Second Mate, for us and eight more Sailors, of the Snow the Nancy of Edington [Edenton] Nord Caroline, James Morrisson Master, enterd her the 3d of May this Year, according to the Subscribed Indenture, to stire her either to Spain or France loaden and bring her back in any Port of the united Provinces [i.e. United States], for the stipulated Quantity of Pounds monthly Wages, of { 105 } which Captin Morrisson paid us on hand advancing a Month in hard Dollars, two and a half per Pound. We happily arrived at Bordeaux about the middle of July, got the second Months Wages in French Money, twelve and an half livers per Pound, and discharged the Snow. Meanwhile, the Correspondent of the Owners at Bordeaux Mr. Delap sold the Snow contrary to Agreement, and the 27th. August we were orderd a Shore and to quit the Vessel or Snow. Captin Morrisson left us in the Lurch, and directed us to Mr. Delap, who would but pay us with 300 per Cent Damage and put us on other Vessels for America; which we absolutely refused and could not comply with. We therefore were necessitated for an Interpreter and Translator named John Cotter. This Man went with us to the Admirality Attorney Mr. Bonnet the 10th. September, who sent us to the Attorney General of the royal Admirality; He, after hearing sent us back to Mr. Bonnet for Procurration. Mr. Bonnet orderd us to translate the Indenture; We went to him the 11th September with the Translation, but he told us cooly, having spoken with the Attorney General that it was but a Difference in Currency, he would not assist us, and warned our Translator not to involve us into a dangerous Lawsuit. Then we were obliged to seek for Help by the Consul of the United Congres Mr. Bonfield,1 who wrote us a Petition to the Admirality which we translated and presented the 16th September.
A Monsieur de Navarre, Conseiller au Parlement et Juge L'Amirauté de Guienne
Thomas Grant Contremaitre du Senau La Nancy d'Edington de la Caroline Septentrionale Captiaine James Morrisson, sollicite trés humblement tant pour lui que pour les neuf autre Marins ses Compagnons du dit Senau et represente a L'Amirauté royale de Bordeaux Que nous Suppliants très humbles sommes entré au Bord du dit Senau la Nancy en la Caroline Septentrionale pour une Voyage ou en Espagne ou La France, et retour dans les Provinces unis, conformement aux Articles signés de Part et d'autre le 3 Mai de cette Année, en recevant davance un Mois de Gages le Pound compté a deux Dollars et demi convenus. Etant heureusement arrivé a Bordeaux Vos Suppliants très humbles recurent leur Gages pour le Second mois en Argent de France douze livres et demi par Pound convenu; Mais dans cet Intervalle et que le Vaissau fut totalement dechargé ils virent avec Etonnement que le Proprietaires avoient vendus Le Senau par leur Correspondant ici. Il rest a nous les tres humbles Sollicitants le Payement de leur Gages dus jusqu'au Tems de leur dechargement du Senau et aussi 'lndemnité { 106 } usuelle des Marins congedies chez l'Etranger. Les Suppliants très humbles se sont addressé au Capitaine pour le dit Payement qu'il nous a refusé sous des Conditions qu'ils jugent etre injustes. Et comme les Suppliants très humbles ne sont pas capables de finir le Different a l'aimable et se voyant reduit à la Necessité de supplier très humblement L'Amirauté royale de faire comparoitre le Capitaine devant vous et de juger notre Cas comme vous le trouvez droit, et que nous attendons et nous y soumettons avec tout le Respect.2
This Petition composed by Mr. Bonfield was kindly received by the Judge Mr. Navarre, who returned it some hours after and with it addrest us to the Attorney Mr. Combret, since Mr. Bonnet refused to assist us. The 19th. September we appeared before the Admirality with our Attorney; The Captin being cited came not, but Mr. Bonnet represented him or more Delap, and declared that his Party did not as yet fournish him with the Materials he beggd the Court to be excused. On the 23rd September the Case was presented at the Session by our Attorney. The Attorny General spoke much about Difference in Currency which was respectfully opposed, and the Sentence was:
Puis Combret et Bonnet ensembles, Le Procurreur du Roi faisant Droit du Requis de Partie de Combret, avons condamné et condamnons celle de Bonnet de payer a la dite Partie de Combret les Gages qui lui ont été promis, conformement a son Engagement jusqu'au Moment ou il a eté congedié. Ensemble pour le Tems qui lui est necessaire pour retourner au Lieu, d'où il est party; Et en outre de sa Nourriture et Conduite jusqu'au dit Lieu, Deduction faite toute Fois de ce qui lui a été deja payé; A raison de quoy les Parties conviendront d'Experts Negotians de la presente Villi; ou faute parelles d'en convenir, il en sera par nous pris le Nommé d'Office, tant pour fixer le montant des dites Gages et Nourriture ou Conduitte que pour en regler le Prix argent de France en Egard et a Concurrence de ce que luy a été promis de la Province ou l'Engagement a ete passé, avec Depens.3
We were consequently order'd to chuse an Expert, and having no Harm nor Thought of Lawyers Tricks and Turns of Law, we chused above said Mr. Bonfield against his Will, and proposed him at the Session of the Admirality the 26th of September; and the Court orderd the Attorney of the opposite Party to propose our Expert. But Delap, not the Captin, for he never appeard, rejected Mr. Bonfield as too partial in the Case being the american Consul. And he chuse for his Expert a young Irish Mr. McCarrie; only to vex and detain us.
{ 107 }
Mr. Bonfield addrest us to Mr. Mainard Merchant Broker, who refused it, telling us Mr. Bonfield was the only Man in Town who understands our Case. We were directed to Messrs. Teziers who answered, in like Cases we apply ourselves to Mr. Bonfield, when we find ourselves involved with the Crew; telling us Mr. Delap was in the wrong to reject such an able Expert. We went lastly to Mr. Poncett who beg'd of us to be excused and that he knew nothing of Nord Carolina's Currency. Our Attorney Combret madly persisted for an Expert, went in the Country, and transmitted our Case to his Confrater the Attorney Cassenave. As we were unable to find an Expert being strangers, We beg'd the Admira[lity t]o chuse for both Parties Experts d'office, at the Session of the 30th. [Septem]ber, but it was refused.
We deserted and basely tosst [ . . . ]4 Mariners falsly deluded from our Nord Caroline humbly beg your Hon[ours] of a speedy assistance as your Honours thinks proper to accquaint the admirality here of the true Value of a Nord Caroline Pound &ca. &ca. in french Money, and the usual Allowance paid per Months in Strange Countries to bring back poor deserted and basely deluded Mariners.5
And we shall as in Duty bound ever pray
[signed] Thomas Grant
[signed] Joses Hill
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “Petition from Sailors, at Bordeaux.” The absence of an address is an indication that this letter was probably enclosed in John Bondfield's of 3 Oct. (above).
1. For Bondfield's role in this affair, see his letter to the Commissioners of 3 Oct. (above).
2. Translation: Thomas Grant, master's mate of the snow the Nancy of Edenton, North Carolina, Captain James Morrisson, very humbly requests, for himself as well as for nine other sailors, his companions on the said snow, permission to inform the Royal Admiralty board of Bordeaux that we, the very humble petitioners, entered on board the said snow, the Nancy, in North Carolina, for a voyage to either Spain or France and return to the United Provinces in accordance with the articles signed by each party on 3 May of this year, receiving one month's wages in advance, with the pound worth two dollars and a half, as agreed. Having had the good fortune of reaching Bordeaux, your very humble petitioners received their wages for the second month in French currency, as agreed, at twelve and a half livres to the pound. But in the interval between this and when the vessel was unloaded, we learned, to our great astonishment, that the owners had sold the snow through their agent here. There remains to the very humble petitioners the payment of their wages until their discharge from the snow and also the usual indemnity given to sailors dismissed while still in a foreign country. The very humble petitioners, having addressed themselves to the captain for the said payment, which he refused them under conditions that they deem unfair, and unable to resolve this dispute amicably, find themselves reduced to the necessity of very humbly requesting the Royal Admiralty to summon the captain before it and to judge our case as it sees fit, a decision that we will await and submit to most respectfully.
3. Translation: In regard to the parties of Combret and Bonnet, the royal attorney has decided in favor of the Combret party's claim and sentences the Bonnet party to pay to the said Combret party the wages promised in conformity with its hiring contract, until the time it was dismissed, together with an indemnity for { 108 } the time necessary to return to its original point of departure, in addition to food and transportation. Yet, what has already been paid will be taken into account, and the parties will agree upon the choice of expert merchants from this town or, if they fail to agree, we will designate one officially, to establish both the amount of said wages, food, and transportation, and the price of French currency in relation to what had been promised in the province where the hiring originally took place. With costs.
4. At this point the MS is torn, and one or two words are missing.
5. No response by the Commissioners to this plea has been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0076

Author: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-10-06

From Arthur Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

You have often complaind that taking care of the public Papers, and having the business of the Commission done in your rooms; was an unequal share of the public burthen apportiond to you.
Whatever may be my sentiments on that point, yet to remove, as far as I can with propriety, all cause of discontent; I am willing to appropriate a room in my House for the meeting and deliberations of the Commissioners, and the custody of the public Papers; provided regular hours are appointed for those meetings, and that business. I will answer for the regular arrangement and preservation of the public Papers, and that the business of the public shall always be dispatchd before that of Individuals.
Shoud this arrangement be agreable to you, and Dr. Franklin concurrs; the execution of it will meet with no moments delay from me.
I have the honor to be with the greatest esteem Dear Sir Yr. most Obedt. Servt.
[signed] Arthur Lee

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0077-0001

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-07

Gabriel de Sartine to the Commissioners

J'ai recu Messieurs, la lettre que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'ecrire le 26 du mois dernier,1 par laquélle vous appuiez la demande de M. Izzard ministre des Etats unis en Toscane, qui reclame des effets chargés sur le navire anglois le Nil pris par le corsaire de Marsielle le Cesar. C'est par [erreur] que vous avez cité dans votre lettre, l'article 16 du traité fait entre sa majesté et les Etats unis[;] mais l'article 14 paroit se rapporter particulierem[ent] à la question;2 il ne renferme d'ailleurs que des dispositions connues dans les differéns traités de Commerce et fondées sur le Droit public, et je [ne] vois pas qu'il puisse rigoureusement s'appliquer [à] l'espece presente. M. Izzard n'est { 109 } point nommé dans le connoissement des effets qu'il reclame. Il n'existe même aucune piece qui prouve que ce n'est pas pour le compte anglois que ces bagages chargés par un anglois, sont adressés au Sr. Martinelli pour remettre au Sr. Abbé Niccoli. Sans doute, Messieurs, si le gouvernement avoit a décider sans la participation des Tribunaux, votre assertion et celle de M. Izzard, seroit d'un très grand poids. Mais sa Majesté a abandonné le produit entier des Prises aux armateurs, le conseil des Prises a jugé bonne le 20 du mois dernier celle du navire le Nil. Placé entre les interessés dans l'armement du corsaire françois, le tribunal des Prises, et le reclamateur, le gouvernement ne peut prendre sur lui de prononcer sur cette question; c'est tout ce qu'il pouroit se permettre dans le cas où les loix seroient insuffisantes; mais ici les loix générales sont connues, elles décident sur la légitimité des reclamations d'effets chargés avant les hostilités, et M. Izzard en s'adressant aux tribunaux doit en attendre toute la justice et tous les égards que l'on aura toujours en france pour les sujets des Etats unis.
J'ai l'honneur d'être avec la considération la plus distinguée, Messieurs, Votre très humble et trés obéissant serviteur,
[signed] de Sartine

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0077-0002

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-07

Gabriel de Sartine to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

I have received, gentlemen, the letter that you did me the honor to write the 26th of last month,1 in which you support Mr. Izard, United States Minister to Tuscany, in his request for the restitution of certain belongings carried aboard the British vessel, the Nile, which was captured by the Caesar, a privateer from Marseilles. It is by error that in your letter you have cited Article 16 of the treaty between His Majesty and the United States, for Article 14 would appear to relate particularly to the question.2 It, however, contains only provisions found in the various commercial treaties and based on public law, and I do not see how it could be rigorously applied in the present case. Mr. Izard is nowhere mentioned in the bill of lading for the property he reclaims, nor is there anything that would prove that this baggage was not loaded for the English account, by an Englishman, since they are addressed to Sr. Martinelli, to be forwarded to Sr. Abbé Nicoli. Without a doubt, gentlemen, if the government alone could make a decision, without the participation of the courts, your assertion and that of Mr. Izard would carry very great weight. But His Majesty has given over the entire proceeds from the capture to the privateers, the Council on prizes having declared the Nile a good prize on the 20th of last month. Caught between the owners of the French privateer, the prize court, and the claimant, the government cannot take it upon itself to rule in this matter. It could only consider doing so if the laws proved insufficient; but in this case the general laws are well known and must decide the legitimacy of { 110 } claims on property loaded before the hostilities, and Mr. Izard, in addressing himself to the courts, should expect all the justice and consideration that they will always have in France for subjects of the United States.
I have the honor to be with the utmost consideration, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant,
[signed] De Sartine
RC (MH-H: Lee Papers); docketed: “Sartine on Izards Effects.” LbC (Adams Papers). Words missing because the MS is torn on the right margin have been supplied from the Letterbook.
1. Not printed, but see the Commissioners to Vergennes, 26 Sept., and note 5 (above).
2. For the different French and American numbering of the treaty's articles, see the Commissioners to Vergennes, 26 Sept., note 3 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0078

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-10-07

From James Warren

[salute] My Dear Sir

As I keep no Copies of the Letters I write to you, and have been so Careless as to keep no Memorandum of them I cant recollect either the Number or Contents. But this I am certain of, that they are both Numerous and Lengthy, and that I have not received a Single Line from you. This is equally a subject of Complaint among all your Friends, and I am to be satisfied while I dont find myself distinguished by any perticular Marks of Neglect. I dont write to the Embassador, or make any distinction between the Embassador and the Delegate. I write to my Freind and use no kind of Ceremony, I leave that to the great; and the numerous Courtiers about you, supposeing that my usual familiarity, Carelessness, and sincerity may at least please by way of variety. I know you wish to be minutely Informed of the true state of your Native Country, and I wish I could recollect on the short Notice I have of this opportunity every thing I Conceived would gratify your Curiosity. As I have but little time I must leave the great Movements of Congress, and the General State of America to the official Letters of Congress, and those perticular ones, you will receive from your Friends, at Philadelphia, the great Seat of Intelligence, and Confine myself pretty much to our own Affairs, and situation.
I dare say before this reaches you, you will be Informed of the Train of Misfortunes that have Attended Count d Estaing Squadron, and the Consequent ill success of the second Rhode Island Expedition,2 since which the Enemy have with their usual humanity destroyed the Town of Bedford, and plundered Marthas Vineyard as you will see by the Papers we shall Inclose you per this Opportunity.3 They have for some { 111 } time past been Inactive and still, their Fleet principally at New York, which by the Addition of Byron's Squadron now all Arrived is formidable not less than 17 sail of the Line and a Number of Frigates, with a 60 gun ship and 2 Frigates Cruising on our Coast. Boston with the French Fleet now here has been supposed their principle Object, and I once did beleive they would Attempt that, and the destruction of the Sea Coasts of this State but the Season is now so far Advanced, I think they will not risque such an Expedition, besides the Count has by fortifying Georges Island and other parts of the Harbour made it Impregnable by Sea.4 I think no Squadron in Europe could force their way into this Harbour while the French Fleet remain here, and at this Season of the Year it would be Madnes to make an Attempt by Sea when in this Bay a Single Night may prove the destruction of the whole of them. I think an Attack by Land equally Improbable because if they make it from Rhode Island, and should be able to penetrate to this Town, and not be Able to Carry it their retreat and supplies would at least be very uncertain. The Conjectures of their future Operations are various, most People think the Enemy will leave the United States, and we are now Informed they have Embarked 12 Regiments at New York soon after the Arrival of a packet there from England. A few days will decide upon all our Uncertainties.
The French Officers and Seamen in this Squadron behave themselves Extreemly well, they are indeed the most peaceable quiet and orderly set of Men in their profession I ever saw. But there has Notwithstanding been several disagreable riots and Quarrels between them and the English Sailors5 here, I beleive set on by the Tories, who wish to blow up a Breeze between us and our new Allies.
I wish it was in my power to tell you that the Number and Influence of the Tories here were reduced, but I think they gain ground fast. This I Impute to the Coincideing of the Ambitious Veiws of a Certain Gentleman6 here, with the wicked and Timourous veiws of others. Things at present Appear to be in a strange way. We have no Constitution nor have we any probability of geting one. A Bill for Confiscateing the Tories Estates has had two readings in the House. I am told there is no probability of its succeeding on the third,7 so far from it that even some Members on the B —— Seat have without reserve Expressed their Sentiments that they should be suffered to return Tempora Mutantur.8 Our <Bill> Act prescribeing an Oath of Allegiance has had no Effect. Most of the Tories to whom it was tendered9 have swallowed it without difficulty. Few Towns have had resolution enough to Tender it, and where it has been Tendered and refused and { 112 } the refusers Committed for Transportation, the Council have not had resolution enough to Carry it into Execution so that while they Complain that their Laws and resolutions are not Executed they themselves set the Example.
A Certain Assembly in this State would make a strange Appearance to you, who have been acquainted with vigorous Measures upon the most steady, and vigorous principles. Mr. John Pickering is now the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Mr. Nathel. Gorham who Mr. Adams Calls my Cousin, is Member for Lunenburge where he has resided since the destruction of Charlestown. Edward Bacon is Member for Barnstable &c. &c. The Boston Members I presume you know. I have before told you that I have no Share in the Conduct of Matters. I was left out by my Town. I have given you the Causes of it. When I quit the Navy Board I shall be a Simple honest Farmer, and shall have Nothing to do but humbly to look at the Conduct of public Men, and public Measures.
Mr. Paine has never Attended Congress since you left us. Mr. Dana is Just returned. Genl. Hancock went last June, after he had taken Care of the public here at Election. He returned very soon finding the Climate did not agree with him, he was not gone but about six weeks. It used to agree with him better than with any of you. Perhaps the air in the Presidents Seat is purer than it is in more humble Stations. After his return he went on the R. Island Expedition and there staid Just long enough to gain among the Multitude the popular Ecclat, and then left it so soon as to make the more discerning laugh.10 He is makeing great Entertainments and figureing11 away in a most magnificent manner. The Eyes of many People are open and see his views and Motives, and some of the Judicious think Nothing Necessary but to veer away rope.12 Last week this day was Assigned for the Choice of Delegates, this early Assignment was the policy of some Men to strike at <Mr.> some of the present delegates with more certain success, and perticularly at Mr. Adams.13 If the great Man fails he will be Mortified indeed. Yesterday the House voted him a Marquee with all its furniture and apparatus for to do them Justice they are very respectful, and ready to gratify him, but this Vote was Unanimously Non Concurred by the Council,14 and this is not the only mortification in that way.
The Boston, and other frigates have sent in a prize they took since they left France.15 Your Lady will write you by this Oppertunity.16 She was here Yesterday. Mrs. Warren is to dine with her tomorrow. You will please to make My Respectful Compliments to Your Associates & Beleive Me to be Your Assured Friend
[signed] JW
{ 113 }
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Warren ansd dec. 2.”; in another hand: “Oct 1st 1778.”
1. Although dated 7 Oct., portions of this letter were clearly written on the 8th, probably early in the day since Warren is aware of the actions of the Council, but not the House. See notes 4, 13, and 14 (below).
2. For the movement of Estaing's fleet to Newport and his ill-fated effort to meet the British fleet, see John Bondfield to the Commissioners, 8 Sept., note 1 (above). The operation, the first coordinated effort by the allies and commanded on the American side by Gen. John Sullivan, got off to a bad start because of the slowness with which the American army was assembled. This delayed the attack until 9 Aug., eleven days after the arrival of the French fleet and the very day on which Howe's fleet appeared. Even before the attack was to begin, relations between the French and American commanders were strained. It was at least partly for this reason that Estaing refused to reinforce the American army after his return from his foray against the British and instead sailed to Boston for refitting. His departure resulted in massive desertions among the militia and left Sullivan with no alternative but to retreat. He did so in good order from 28 to 30 Aug., just before the arrival of a large body of British reinforcements for the Newport garrison.
Because of the high hopes for the mission's success, especially among New Englanders, strong anti-French feelings were aroused, and were heightened by indiscreet remarks by Sullivan. Vigorous efforts by George Washington, John Hancock, and others, who recognized the absolute necessity of maintaining and preserving the Franco-American alliance, were required to restore calm (Ward, War of the Revolution, 2:588–594).
3. The attacks on New Bedford, then part of Dartmouth, of 5 Sept., and on Martha's Vineyard of 10–14 Sept., as well as on other towns of Massachusetts' southern coastline, are known collectively as Grey's Raid. The operation was led by Maj. Gen. Charles Grey, using troops originally sent to reinforce Newport, and was intended both to harass and to procure, particularly on Martha's Vineyard, supplies for the British army (Leonard Bolles Ellis, History of New Bedford, Syracuse, N.Y., 1892, p. 109–127; Charles Edward Banks, History of Martha's Vineyard, 3 vols., Boston, 1911, 1:367–383). See also detailed accounts in the Boston Gazette for 14 and 28 Sept. Warren's enclosed accounts have not been found.
4. The remainder of this letter was written with a different pen, and at least the end of the letter was written on 8 Oct.
5. Riots had occurred on 8, 26, 27 Sept. and 5 Oct. The first, which resulted in the death of one French officer and the wounding of another, was ostensibly the result of a bread shortage. The later riots indicate, however, that the disorders were more likely due to disappointment over the failure of the Newport expedition and, even more important, to the large influx of sailors and the low regard of the French and American sailors for each other. Warren here presents the official view that the riots were instigated by the tories and “English sailors,” the latter probably a reference to English deserters serving on American ships. The Massachusetts Council did take immediate action, for on the day following the first riot it issued a proclamation offering a reward of three hundred dollars for information about the perpetrators of the incident (Stinchcombe, Amer. Rev. and the French Alliance, p. 58–60; William M. Fowler, Baron of Beacon Hill, Boston, 1980, p. 239; Boston Gazette, 14 Sept.).
6. John Hancock. In this letter and in earlier ones to JA of 7 June (vol. 6:187–190) and to Samuel Adams of 30 Sept. (Warren-Adams Letters, 2:47–50), Warren charges Hancock with leading a counterrevolution to undermine the whig principles and power of the “Adams faction” in order to promote his election as governor under whatever constitutional system Massachusetts might adopt. As perceived by Warren, it was for this reason that Hancock blocked both his reelection to the Massachusetts House and his appointment to the Council, went off to lead the militia in Rhode Island, and sought Samuel Adams' removal as a delegate to the congress. Hancock could also be seen as the force behind the rebirth of “toryism” because of his need for the support of mer• { 114 } chants and moderates in Boston (Stephen E. Patterson, Political Parties in Revolutionary Massachusetts, Madison, 1973, p. 197–202).
7. The bill, “An Act to Confiscate the Estates of Certain Notorious Conspirators Against the Government and Liberties of the Inhabitants of the Late Province, Now State, of Massachusetts Bay,” came up for its third reading on 7 Oct. and was passed by the House on the following day by a vote of 90 to 63. The Council, however, notified the House on 14 Oct. that it had referred the bill to a committee that would prepare a new draft to be presented at the beginning of the next session. The bill was not passed until 23 April 1779 (Mass., House Jour., 1778–1779, 2d sess., p. 70, 71, 78; Mass., Province Laws, 5:966–967).
8. Since times have changed. The Boston members of the Massachusetts House, to whom Warren is apparently referring, were John Hancock, William Phillips, Caleb Davis, Ellis Gray, John Lowell, Joseph Barrell, and Thomas Dawes; the last two had been elected to replace Oliver Wendell and John Pitts, who had been named to the Executive Council (Boston Record Commissioners, 26th Report, p. 18, 24). In his letter to Samuel Adams of 30 Sept., noted above, Warren wrote that “even in the House a motion has been made and supported by several B—Members to Admit Treasurer Gray, Doctr. Gardner, Jemmy Anderson, etc.” These were Harrison Gray, Sylvester Gardiner, and James Anderson, all notorious tories who were named in the proscription act passed on 16 Oct. (Mass., Province Laws, 5:912–918). In a letter of 23 Oct., John Avery, on behalf of the General Court, sent 100 copies of the act to the Commissioners, and indicated that another 400 copies would be sent by four different ships (PPAmP: Franklin Papers).
9. The preceding five words were interlined for insertion here.
10. For John Hancock's role in the election, which resulted in Warren being denied office, and his departure from Boston for the Continental Congress, see Warren to JA, 7 June, and note 6 (vol. 6:187–190). Hancock took his seat on 19 June and received a leave of absence on 9 July. His short stay can be traced both to his disappointment at not being reelected president in place of Henry Laurens and to his desire for military glory in the proposed Newport expedition. Hancock returned to Boston and, as the senior major general on the Massachusetts establishment, received command of the 6,000-man militia force being sent to Rhode Island. He did not, however, arrive on the scene until 9 Aug., the day on which both Howe's fleet appeared off Newport and the Franco-American assault was to begin. When Estaing returned after his unsuccessful effort to meet the British fleet and announced his decision to go to Boston for refitting, Hancock soon decided on his own return and arrived there on the 26th, even before Sullivan had managed to withdraw his army to safety. Some thought that Hancock intended to convince Estaing to return to Newport, but more probably the rapid movement was the result of his desire to avoid being tied to a military failure (JCC, 11:621, 677; Fowler, Baron of Beacon Hill, p. 230–234).
11. That is, playing a conspicuous or distinguished part or seeking admiration and respect. Warren may, however, be using the word in another sense: that is, appearing ridiculous (OED).
12. That is, to let out rope (OED).
13. On Wednesday, 30 Sept., the House set the election of delegates to the congress for Friday, 2 Oct., but on that day postponed the selection until Thursday, 8 Oct. On the 8th the House elected John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Elbridge Gerry, James Lovell, Francis Dana, Samuel Holten, and Timothy Edwards (Mass., House Jour., 1778–1779, 2d sess., p. 60, 64, 71–72). With the exception of Edwards, who apparently never served, this was the same delegation that had previously represented Massachusetts. For a more detailed account of the effort to unseat Samuel Adams, see Warren's letter to Samuel Adams of 18 Aug. (Warren-Adams Letters, 2:41–43; and also note 6).
14. A “Marquee and Appendages,” or large officer's field tent, was approved for Hancock by the House on 7 Oct. and rejected by the Council on the following day (Mass., House Jour., 1778–1779, 2d sess., p. 69, 71).
15. This vessel arrived at Boston on 2 Oct. and was probably the brig Sally, which had been captured on 24 Aug. { 115 } (Boston Gazette, 5 Oct.; Philip Chadwick Foster Smith, Captain Samuel Tucker, Salem, Mass., 1976, p. 54).
16. JA acknowledged a letter from AA of 10 Oct. (not found) in his of 20 Feb. 1779 (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:174).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0079

Author: Izard, Ralph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-10-08

From Ralph Izard

[salute] Sir

I have received your favour of 2d. instant, in which you desire to know if I think there is room to hope that our Legislators will pass such Laws as will apply the money hitherto spent in articles of Luxury, towards the discharge of the National Debt; or “that the People have, or can be persuaded to acquire those qualities which are necessary to execute such Laws.” It is with the greatest pleasure that I reflect upon the past conduct of the Congress, as it appears to me to have been founded in wisdom, and in virtue. I reflect with pleasure likewise on the conduct of the democratical branch of the Legislatures in most of the Provinces of America, previous to the late Revolution.
Contests frequently arose between the Governor, and Council on one side, and the Representatives of the People on the other; in which the latter have, almost invariably, supported the interests of their Country, against the arbitrary proceedings of those Officers of the Crown. From these circumstances my hopes are derived, that when the Monster Prerogative shall no longer be known in our Country, and the authority of the whole Legislature shall proceed from the same source, such measures only, as are thought to be for the public good, will be adopted. I do not recollect an example of the proceedings of the House of Representatives being disapproved of by the body of the People at large, in any part of America, except in Pennsylvania; and in that instance the latter were in the right. I allude to the time when the Indians on the Frontiers of that Province had murdered many of the inhabitants, and the ridiculous spirit of Quakerism, and Nonresistance had so far possessed the minds of a majority of the Assembly, that they refused to pass a proper Militia Law for their protection.1 I am therefore of opinion that the Legislatures will enact proper Laws, and that the People will pay obedience to them.
My apprehensions that the French Ministry mean more by our Treaty, respecting the Fishery, than is expressed in the one proposed by Congress, do not arise from the remembrance of the fact which I mentioned to you. My suspicions are founded upon the Treaty itself; and they are corroborated by the fact which I remember to have heard spoken of in 1763. Whether there are any Letters, or Memorials extant, in which the claim alluded to is contained, I can not tell. It will { 116 } be proper to enquire about it, and I fear we shall have ample time to do it, before the restoration of Peace. You say, “it is observable that the French Court were not content with the Treaty proposed by Congress”; which you think contains all that is contained in the Article as it now stands in the Treaty of 6th. February. The French are thought to be remarkably sagacious in their Negotiations, and it is not probable that they would have changed the Article in question, but for some substantial purpose; especially as the plain, and explicit words of Congress were rejected, and very equivocal terms substituted in their place. I can not agree with you in thinking the word “Indefinite” is not amiss. My objection to it proceeds from it's being a direct contradiction to the Treaty of Utrecht, to which the Article refers. The right of the French to fish by virtue of that Treaty, is so far from being “Indefinite,” that it is as clearly defined, and limitted as words can make it. The French could not intend by the words “exclusive right,” to exclude themselves from all places but such as are stipulated. When a man is confined in Prison, and excluded from the benefit of taking the air, he does not add this exclusion to the catalogue of his rights. It is unnecessary to say any thing more on this explanation of the word, as you allow it to be untenable. In this I agree with you, as well as in the opinion that the Treaty of Paris of 6th. February 1778, is not justly liable to such a construction as I am apprehensive may be attempted to be put upon it. If Justice, and Right were certainly to be established, I should have no uneasiness about the Treaties; but I am afraid of troublesome, and ambitious neighbours, either at sea, or land. Advantage will, I fear, be taken of ambiguous, and equivocal expressions in the Treaties, to set up claims, which if complied with will be inconsistent with our interests, and safety; and if opposed, will involve us in disputes. Equivocal expressions should always be avoided in business of every sort; but especially in Treaties, this Rule should be carefully observed, and nothing but the clearest terms made use of, which will leave no scruple, or doubt in the mind, nor admit of explanations, different from the intentions of the Parties who treat.
Distrust is often the Mother of safety; and the persons charged with the management of the affairs of Princes, have not by their conduct in general, invalidated that Maxim. I approve of your reasons for desiring my observations in writing on the Treaties; and my objections are removed by the promise you have made. I have therefore been very plain in offering you my sentiments on part of them; and shall communicate them on such other parts as appear to me the most exceptionable. In the mean time I hope to receive the same confidence from you; and { 117 } beg the favour of you to let me know if there are no parts of them that you disapprove of. I have the honour to be with great regard Sir Your most obedient humble servant
[signed] Ra. Izard
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr Izzard 8 Oct 1778.”
1. Izard refers to the Paxton Boys affair. In the winter of 1763–1764, settlers from Paxton township, Lancaster County, angered by what they perceived to be the refusal of the Pennsylvania Assembly to support their legitimate demands for protection against Indian attacks, massacred twenty peaceful Indians at Conestoga and Lancaster, and then marched on Philadelphia to present their demands (Joseph E. Illick, Colonial Pennsylvania, N.Y., 1976, p. 237–238; Franklin, Papers, 11:22–29, 42–47,69–75,80–83).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0080

Author: Collas, Peter
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-08

Peter Collas to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

The 6 of August last I weant from hence to Nants Intended for Boston and on the 29th sailed from Nants for Boston On board of the Dispatch, Coben Barns master1 and On the ferst of September was Captured by the Ennemies and Carred in to Guernsey,2 from there I gott to England and made the best of my way for France. At my Arivall a Calais where According to custom my Trunk was Searched and in it found the following Articles which was Stoped from me on a Suposition that they were English manufactur'd Viz—17 1/2 Ells of Linin I pound of Sowing Silk 3 Ells of Tafity with Triming for a Cloack 6 pares of black Calaminco Shoes 39 Neckleses. 1 fan—1 paper Containing 2 Ells of Gaze 1½ Ells Rubon and a 2 hand Kerchief One Silk and the Other Gaze—2 pounds Thread.
As those Articles where purchesed in Nants and french Manifactur I begg and preay for your Assistance to Recover those Articles which Articles I declare to have bought in France.3 I am with Due Respects your most humble & Obedient Servant
[signed] Peter Collas
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed at the top of the first page: “Honorable Benjamen Franklin Arther Lee & John Adams Esqrs. Commissioners for the 13 Unitide States of America”; docketed: “C Collas. 8. Octr.”; in another hand: “78.”
1. For the capture of the Dispatch, Capt. Corbin Barnes, see Richard Grinnell to the Commissioners, 15 Sept. (above).
2. While at Passy, in addition to giving this statement concerning the seizure of his property, Collas apparently gave the Commissioners detailed information on the defenses of the island of Guernsey (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:321–322).
3. On 9 Oct. the Commissioners wrote to Jacques Necker (LbC, Adams Papers), asking for his assistance in the matter and enclosing a copy of Collas' letter. There is no indication of the effect of the Commissioners' intervention, but on 11 Nov. Collas wrote to Benjamin Franklin to remind him of his promise to inquire about the seized merchandise (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:531).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0081-0001

Author: Caracciolo, Domenico, Marchesse di Villa Marina
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-08

Domenico Caracciolo to the Commissioners, with a Contemporary Translation

[salute] Messieurs

Je Suis persuadé, qu'il est dèja a Votre Connoissance, que le Roi de Deux Siciles mon Maitre à Ordonnée de tenir Ouverts les Ports dans tous ses domaines au Pavillion des Etats Unis de L'Amerique au moyen de quoi pour eviter tous espece d'equivoque dans ces tems, que la mer est couverte des armateurs de differente Nations, et aussi des Pirates, je vous prie de me faire Savoir les Couleurs du Pavillon des etats Unis de l'amerique et aussi la forme des Expeditions de mer pour mieux Connoitre la légalité des Patentes, qu'on à L'usage de presenter dans les Ports pour avoir l'entrée libre.1
J'ai l'honneur d'Etre avec la plus parfaite Consideration Messieurs Votre tres humble et tres obeissant Serviteur
[signed] L'Ambassadeur de Naples2

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0081-0002

Author: Caracciolo, Domenico, Marchesse di Villa Marina
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-08

Domenico Caracciolo to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

I am persuaded that you already know that the King of the two Sicilies my master, has ordered the ports of all his dominions to be kept open to the Flag of the United States of America, for which reason, to avoid every possible mistake at this time, when the Seas are covered with the privateers of different Nations, and likewise with Pirates, I request you to inform me of the Colours of the Flag of the U States of America and likewise with the form of the clearances, the better to know the legality of the papers which it is customary to present in ports to gain free admission.1
I have the honor to be with the most perfect regard Gentlemen Yr. mo. hum. and mo. obd. Svt.
[signed] The Ambassador of Naples2
RC (DLC: Franklin Papers); docketed: “Letter from the Neapolitan Ambassador 8: 8bre 1778 Ans 9th.” Translation by John Pintard (PCC, No. 85, f. 238).
1. On 19 Sept., Ferdinand I, King of the Two Sicilies, in order to observe the most exact neutrality of Europe, had issued an edict setting down the conditions under which ships of all the belligerent nations could enter his ports (Martens, ed., Recueil des principaux traités d'alliance, 4:227).
2. Domenico Caracciolo, Marchesse di Villa Marina, was the Ambassador of Naples, or more properly the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, from 1771 to 1781 (Repertorium der diplomatischen Vertreter aller Länder, 3:423).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0082

Author: Ross, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-08

John Ross to the Commissioners

[salute] Honorable Gentlemen

By the tuisdays post, I had the honor of your favour 30th. Ultimo now before me. And I find thereby, a want of Authority, deprivs me of either instructions or Advice from you in the concerns of the Public, farther thin what respects the large Sume of money put into my hands by the Honorable the Commissioners.
It has been all along my own Opinion, that am only responsible to the Honorable Committee of Congress for my management and am happie You say so. Nevertheless, altho' unauthorized to interfere with me, I beg leave to conceive your power's not only sufficient to give Advice when asked, in all the concerns of the United States, but your assistance and directions on every necessary application.
It gives me concern that circumstances of Indecencey, shoud be imputed to me, am truely at a loss to recollect in what Instance, Unless an Zeal to discharge a truste reposed in me be construed as Such.
I cannot however intertain an Idea, that the Honorable Gentlemen Mr. Franklin and Mr. Adam's, who am pirsuaded never intended me, nor any honest Man, an unprovoked injury, Can Suspect me capable of Indecencey in the least degree to them. If any part of my correspondence admit of a construction tending to it, I declare it without any such intention. And I hope ever to pay The Honorable Representatives of the States, that Attention and respect due to their Characters.
In the many improper Applications I have had, without power's to interfere with me, No great penetration is necessary to trace out its Origine and intention. Decencey, I beg leave to observe, is as much due to me, and to every Man, in a private Character (while that line of conduct and principle is preserved, which I hope ever to maintain) as to those in the most exalted Station. Thus admited, Let me once more beg the further liberty to remind the Honorable Plenipotentiarys of America, What Decencey, and delicacey have been preserved to individuals of unexceptionable Characters, members of the united States, In a measure of Seizing their private property and private Correspondence, and executed under an Assumed Right in particulare, in an Arbitrary Government for purposes best known to those Gentlemen who plan'd, and conducted the business.1 The Commercial Agent Mr. Wm. Lee as late as last February, with a decencey peculiare to himself addressed me without power to render him my Accounts. The Honorable A. Lee Esqr. followed the example by a Similare Application Assumeing the { 120 } Authority to himself and Colleagues. And the Honorable the representatives of America in France, was influenced Soon thereafter to apply likewise. Surely! repeated, peremptor[y], Applications on this Subject, coud not but have had certain ends to Answer, Such as I conceived from its manner, not the most favourable nor reputable to my Charactere. And this opinion is Justifyed, as it immediately Succeeded the less Delicate measure against my Neighbours and Friends, whose unlimited confidence I have always experienced. How far the Injurys and insult they have sustained thereby, is to be Vindicated, I leave to the consideration of those concerned.
The money put into my hands by the Honorable Commissioners, have been fully Accounted for in the purchases made by me by order of the Honorable Committee of Congress for the United States. And I have had late Assurances, that I may expecte funds, not only to replace such advances as I received from the Commissioners but to satisfye my other demands—beleive me, I shall be glade how soon am enabled to bring those matters to a Setlement.
At same time, from the duty I owe to my own Character, and that precaution justifiable to counteract every Malevolent Attempt to hurt me, by Insinuations or otherwise, in the Event of a miscarriage, Permit me again to repeat, that I cannot Venture to Exercise my own Judgement, in forwarding the remaining part of the property still in France, (consisting of Blankets, Clothing &c.) in consequence of Your interferance already, without a concurrance and positive instructions, circumstances, I intreate your consideration of, that You may determine how far am entitled to it, as well as the Consequences to the States from the delays already incurred.
The Wages due to the Officers and Crew of the Ship La Brune, shoud not be considered as advances to me, the Order of the Board at Boston is recommended to the American Agent in France, for the honour of the United States,2 and altho my Family stands for the debt, it was incumbent on me to send it forward, but if refused I must pay it, chargeing a Commission and Interest on the Advances, which might be saved to the States by a Compliance with the order in the line recommended.
My Letter to Mr Williams3 woud show the Application of the Twenty thousand Livres furnished me by order of Mr. Deane. In the meantime, as this is likely to be the last Letter with which I shall trouble You untill I hear from America,4 I beg the further freedom to mention the Copy of your Letter to Mr. Hodge5 lately received from him, on the Subject of his Right and Assumption to the Management { 121 } of the Cutter Revenge &c. Being partly interested in this correspondence, which however I conclude shoud not have taken place, if Mr. Deane Acted under any Authority, in a certain line of business to my knowledge solely under his Management, and that the Honorable A L Esqr did but recollect and represent his own early knowledge of that transaction. Therefore, that the Honorable writers of the letter to Mr. Hodge, may not intertain suspicions of a Clandestine Assumption and right on the part of the present Owners, I send herewith Copies of a Correspondence on the subject between the Honorable A. Lee and me6 previous to a conclusive agreement, or Mr Hodges geting possession. Had there then been any reasonable objection to the Sale of that Part of the Public Property, The Honorable Commissioners ought to have determined it immediately, Not only in point of duty, but from that Justice due to those of their Constituents, who Act with openness and Candour, and without design of fraud or imposition. I have the honour to be with all due Respect Honorable Gentlemen Your very Obedt. Servt.
[signed] Jo. Ross
RC (ViU: Lee Papers); docketed, not by JA: “John Ross”; in another hand: “John Ross to Ministers Plenipy. (8 Octr. 1778.)”; in a third hand: “Octor. 8th. 1778.”
1. Ross is referring to the papers in the possession of Thomas Morris at the time of his death in January, which were seized by William Lee and later placed under the custody of Benjamin Franklin. For this controversy, see Ross to the Commissioners, 18 Aug., and note 3 (vol. 6:379–380).
2. For La Brune, later the 28-gun Continental frigate Queen of France, see the Commissioners to Ross, 3 May (vol. 6:80, calendar entry; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:89–90). Ross' meaning is unclear, but he may be referring to the wages due the crew for the period between Sept. 1777, when he purchased the vessel, and Feb. 1778, when he sold it to the Commissioners. No order from the Eastern Navy Board at Boston has been found.
3. No letter from Ross to Williams on this matter has been found.
4. At this point and later, immediately after the word “Respect” in the closing sentence of the letter, there appears an “X,” the purpose of which remains unclear.
5. The Commissioners to John [William?] Hodge, 19 April, to which William Hodge had replied on 10 July (vol. 6:41, 280–284).
6. Ross' enclosures have not been found, but they apparently included copies of letters from Lee to Ross of 26 Nov. and 24 Dec. 1777, and from Ross to Lee of 3 and 16 Dec. 1777. Lee enclosed extracts from those letters, his comments on Ross' charges, and copies of the letters from the Commissioners to Ross of 30 Sept. and from Ross to the Commissioners of 8 Oct. in a letter to the Committee for Foreign Affairs of 19 Oct. 29 Nov. (PCC, No. 83, II, f. 511–514; No. 83, 1, f. 345–356).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0083

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: McNeill, Daniel
Date: 1778-10-09

To Daniel McNeill

[salute] Sir

The Bearer of this Captain Richard Grinnell, is well qualified, I believe for Some Place in your ship, if you have any vacant. He has a { 122 } Strong Inclination to take seventeen Whalemen on the Coast of Brazil.1 If you have an Inclination for so glorious an Enterprize, I am Sure you cannot engage in one, more for the Honour and Interest of your Country. In all Events, whether you can give Grinnell a Place or not, or whether you go a Whaling or not, I wish you could accommodate him with a Passage, because he is I think, honestly and zealously a Friend to his Country. I beg your Pardon, sir, for this Freedom, to which I have not the least right, and am with much Esteem your humble servant.
1. Following his release by the Guernsey privateers who had interrupted his return to America, Grinnell had gone to Passy and given JA and the Commissioners detailed information on the British whaling fleet, including the number of ships so engaged, the names of their captains, and the best means to attack and destroy the fleet. In addition, he and Peter Collas described the defenses of the island of Guernsey (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:320–322; see also Grinnell to the Commissioners, 9 July, vol. 6:275–277; and 15 Sept., above). The information on the whaling fleet was included in a letter to Sartine of 30 Oct. (below), and noted in various other letters by the Commissioners.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0084

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Caracciolo, Domenico, Marchesse di Villa Marina
Date: 1778-10-09

The Commissioners to Domenico Caracciolo

[salute] Sir

We are this Moment honoured with your Excellencys Letter of the Eighth of this Month, and We thank your Excellency for the Information, that his Majesty the King of the two Sicilies, hath ordered the Ports of his Dominions to be open to the Flagg of the United States of America.1 We should be glad to have a Copy of his Majesty's Edict for that purpose, in order to communicate it to the Congress, who we are confident will be much pleas'd with this Mark of his Majesty's Benevolence.
It is with <much> Pleasure on this Occasion2 that We acquaint your Excellency, the Flagg of the United States of America, consists of thirteen Stripes Alternately red, white and blue. A small Square in the upper Angle next the Flagg Staff is a blue Field, with thirteen white Stars, denoting a new Constellation.3
Some of the States have Vessells of War, distinct from those of the United States. For Example, the Vessells of War of the state of Massachusetts Bay have sometimes a Pine Tree, and South Carolina a Rattlesnake in the Middle of the thirteen stripes.
Merchant ships have often only thirteen Stripes. But the Flagg of the United States ordained by Congress, is the thirteen Stripes and thirteen Stars as first described.
{ 123 }
The Commissions of Ships of War belonging to the United States, as well as those of Privateers, are all signed by the President of the Congress, and countersigned by the Secretary.4
Each State may have a different Method of Clearing Merchant5 Vessells outward bound, and6 a different Form in the Papers given; We therefore are not able to give your Excellency certain Information respecting all of them. The Massachusetts Bay, has only a Naval Officer in each Port who Subscribes a Register, a Clearance, and a Pass for the Castle in Boston Harbour.
We have the Honour to be with the most perfect Respect, your Excellencys most obedient and most humble servants.
1. The remainder of this paragraph was interlined for insertion here and, like all of the interlineations noted below, was done by Benjamin Franklin in a darker ink than the rest of the letter.
2. The previous three words were interlined for insertion here. Originally they were intended to follow “that We.”
3. The description of the American flag given here is different from that in the resolution adopted by the congress on 14 June 1777 (JCC, 8:464). The resolution provided for stripes “alternate red and white,” rather than red, white, and blue.
4. This paragraph was interlined.
5. This word was written below the line for insertion here.
6. The following eight words were interlined.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0085

Author: MacCreery, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-10-09

From William MacCreery

[salute] Dear Sir

I did myself the pleasure to write you a few Lines just before my departure from Nantes, and afterwards on my arrival at this place.1
Two Small Vessels arrived here from Baltimore a few days ago. They had both long passages, the latest dates I had by them was the 16th. of August, and the only news contained in them, That a large Number of Vessels had got into Chesapeak Bay, which occasion'd a considerable fall in Goods of almost every Sort, particularly Salt. My Freinds there had not a doubt, but that if the Bay kept clear of the Enemy during this Winter, that Goods wou'd become as plenty and cheap as they cou'd wish. The best proof I have of the plenty of the most essential Goods, is, that my orders are chiefly for Wines and Brandy's.
I understand that there has been lately sent out from Brest, 6 Men of War and Six Frigates, Ordered to <a Cruize in> three different districts to course in, two of each, in each district.2 The Bell Poulle is one of them, and has allready taken Two of the Enemies Cruizers, one of 22, the other of 14 Guns, and retaken a F. E. India-man.3
I expect shortly to receive some Bills such as you hinted at in a late { 124 } Letter4 which you did me the Honor to write me, hope matters will be better with the Honorable Commissioners when I receive them, than you then expected. Shou'd they be obliged to refuse them, it wou'd be a great disapointment, but be it as it may, must submit with patience, and wait till something more favourable may turn up.
I am with the greatest Respect Dr Sir Your very Ob. Servant
[signed] Will M.Creery
1. MacCreery's letters of 12 and 17 Sept. (above).
2. The London Chronicle of 8–10 Oct. carried a report, dated 28 Sept. from Paris, that “orders have been sent for the three following small detachments to sail, viz. the Triton of 64 guns, and the St. Michael of 60 guns, with three frigates; the Vengeur of 64 guns, with two or three frigates; and the Le Fier of 50 guns, with two frigates.”
3. The same issue of the London Chronicle noted above also reported that the 20-gun privateer Peter had taken the French East Indiaman Aquilon, but then, with its prize, had been taken by a French man-of-war.
4. JA's letter to MacCreery of 7 Sept. (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0086

Author: Barnard, Tristram
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-09

Tristram Barnard to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

Your humble petionner hath ben from America this four years in the English Services though not in Goverment Services of any kind nither have I any kind of pretentions or clames to any honour in Supporting the just cause of America any further then Releveing many prisoners with Money and means to make thare Escape from England.
Therefore wishing to be of more Services then I have ben I have a Desire to Encounter with all the troubles let them be what thay may in America and humble beg your Asistences So far as to give me your pass that I may go from London to Spain and take in Such Goods that may be of Services to the Riseing States of America and not be Subject to be captor'd by any of the States Vesslls. This coply'd with I hope will be Sum Services to America and give me an Opportunity of Exerting my Self in the preasent Cause.
Wich is the real Desire of your Humble Petisionner
[signed] Tristram Barnard1
NB Gntlemen if you think proper to grant my request there is two Gntlemen in London that hath ben takend and brought to England who have sum property there and we three intend to bye a vessll and go to Spain with the English convoy and from thence to America.2 Your Answer as Soon as convenant is the request of yours to Serve
[signed] TB
{ 125 }
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honble Commitionners of The United States of America”; docketed, not by JA: “Tristram Bernards Papers.”
1. Barnard was probably at Passy when he wrote this letter. This is indicated by letters to Franklin from John Channing and G. Williams of 24 Aug. and 2 Oct. respectively, which introduced Barnard and recommended him for his services to American prisoners. The Commissioners acted very quickly on his case, and on 13 Oct. Barnard took oaths of allegiance and of his intention to settle for life in America (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:482, 506; 4:274). On his return to America, Barnard apparently turned to privateering. Between 23 Nov. 1779 and 11 Feb. 1782 he commanded or had an interest in at least four vessels: the brigantines Charming Nancy, Queen of Spain, and Massachusetts, and the brig Venus (Allen, Mass. Privateers, p. 96, 247; PCC, No. 196, X and XV).
2. No further information regarding Barnard's friends or their plans has been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0087

Author: Barnard, Tristram
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-09

Tristram Barnard to the Commissioners

[salute] Gntlemen

As thier hath ben a moust Valueable Whale fishry discoverd by the people of England Since the preasent contest with America and a thing of the utmoust Consequence to the above poeple—if it is your minds to destroy it I Should be glad to give you all the information that is in my Power to affect the Same. I have ben in the busaness my self and was very Senceable I was doing Rong, therefore quited the busaness and Ackowledge, wich I trust your honours think more commendable then to proceed.
There is 15 Sail in the Employ, 5 Ships and 10 Brigg. Thay have all Saild by this time but 2, thay are moustly Americans and would be glad to git home if thay knowd any way.2 Thay Saild in company this Season 3d of Octo[ber] and allways stop at the Cape De Varda Islands3 outward bound and cruse betwen the Lattds of 26 Degrees South and 38 Do, in the Longd. from 46 to 62 West. As the Shore Extends NE by N and SW by S the bank lays as the Shore doath 40–50 and 70 Leagues from the Land and these Vessells are to be met with within about 6–8 or 10 Leagues of the bank.
The fishry is comonly over in all April and I am informd thay are Ordered to the Island Santeslena4 to com home with the Eastindia Men.
Any further information required on the Occation that is in my power to give I shall moust Willingly Comply With from your moust Obedent Servent
[signed] Tristram Barnard
NB thay have no Guns, thay brought to England Last Season upon an average about 55 tuns5 of Oil moust of it Worth £70 per ton. At { 126 } this preasent time it is worth in America £100 per ton as I am informed.
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honble Commitionnes of the United States of America”; docketed: “C. Tristram Bernards Letter.”
1. Although listed in the Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S. (1:511) as being part of the letter from Barnard of 9 Oct. (above), the docketing and address indicate that it was a separate letter, probably written soon after the 9th. The Commissioners had just received detailed information on the British whaling fleet from Richard Grinnell (JA to Daniel McNeill, 9 Oct., and note 1, above) and it would have been natural for them to ask another person, experienced in the whale fishery, for comments.
2. For the names of the American whaling captains, most of them from Nantucket, see the Commissioners to Sartine, 30 Oct. (below).
3. Cape Verde Islands.
4. The island of St. Helena, run by the British East India Company.
5. A reference to the casks or tuns in which the oil was placed. Fifty-five tuns of whale oil would equal 13,860 old wine gallons (OED). An old wine gallon contains slightly less than the U.S. gallon.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0088

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Date: 1778-10-10

To Arthur Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

I have sometimes complained, that having no Place [appointed] for the public Papers, nor any Person to keep them in order, was [an] Inconvenience and Interruption to the public Business; I have added[, that] to have the Papers in my Chamber, as they are in disorder, and many [Persons] going to them at Pleasure, taking out Some, and removing others, was un[equal] upon me, as making me in a Sort responsible for the order, which [I] could not preserve, and for Papers themselves which I could not secure: Besides that it occasioned continual Applications to me alone, and necessitated me, to Spend a great Part of my Time, in writing orders, Notes of [Hand,] Copies of Letters, Passports, and twenty other Things, which ought at [all] Times to be written by our Clerks; at least as long as it is thought necessary to put the public to the Expence, of keeping so ma[ny.]
I have not asked Dr. Franklins opinion concerning your Proposal [of a] Room in your House, for the Papers, and an Hour to meet there; because I knew it would be in vain: for I think it must appear to [him] as it does to me, more unequal still. It cannot be expected that two should go to one, when it is as easy again for one to go to two: not to mention Dr. Franklins Age, his Rank in the Commission, or his Character in the World: nor that nine tenths of the public Letters, are constantly brought to this House, and will ever be carried where Dr. Franklin is.
I will venture to make a Proposition in my Turn in which I am very { 127 } Sincere. It is, that you would join Familys with Us. There is Room enough in this House to accommodate Us all. You shall take the Appartments which belong to me at present, and I will content myself with the Library Room and the next to it. Appoint a Room for Business, any that you please, mine or another. A Person to keep the Papers, and certain Hours to do Business.
This Arrangement will save a large sum of Money to the Public, and as it would give us a Thousand Opportunities of conversing together1 which now We have not, and by having but one Place for our Countrymen and others to go to, who have occasion to visit Us, would greatly facilitate the public Business. It would remove the Reproach We lye under, of which I conf [ess myself] very much ashamed, of not being able to agree together, and [will render] the Commission more respectable, if not in itself, yet in the [Eyes of] the English the French and the American Nations,2 and [I am] Sure, if we judge by the Letters We receive, it wants to be made [more] respectable, at least in the Eyes of many Persons of the L[atter.]
If it is any objection to this, that We live here, at no Rent, I [will] agree with you in fixing the Rent or leave the House.
As I Suppose the Proposal I made of appointing Mr. W. T. Franklin to take the Care of the Papers, occasioned your Letter of the sixth Instant, I cannot conclude this Answer to it, without repeating that Proposal. This Appointment can be but temporary, as a [secre]tary will probably arrive from Congress, e'er long.
But in the mean Time Mr. Franklin, who keeps Papers in good order, and [writes] very well, may be of more service to Us than he is at present. We [shall] then have a Right to call upon him to do Business, and We shall [know] what situation he is in, and what reward he is to have.
I3 agree perfectly with you, that an Hour should be fixed for Business and I beg Leave to propose Nine O Clock in the Morning, to which Hour and from thence to any other Hour in the Day, you please, I will endeavour to be punctual. If you have any Objection to this Hour, you will be so good as to name another. I am, dear sir, with an earnest Desire and a Settled4 Determination to cultivate an Harmony, nay more a Friendship,5 with both my Colleagues,6 as far as I can consistently with the public service, and with great Respect and Esteem, your Friend and Colleague
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers). LbC (Adams Papers). Where damage to the right margin has resulted in the loss of letters and words, these have been supplied from the Letterbook and are placed in brackets. This was one of { 128 } twelve letters written by JA, from this date through 6 Sept. 1785, that were sent to JQA by Richard Henry Lee, Arthur Lee's grandnephew, who had used them in preparing his Life of Arthur Lee, LL.D. (2 vols., Boston, 1829). JQA received the letters, and an additional one from Arthur Lee to JA written in 1788, in 1827 and 1828. In April 1837, as JQA was organizing his papers, he reread them and was deeply affected by the memories they evoked. In his Diary he wrote: “I now read them all, and they took me back a full half century, and more; even to the days of my boyhood. The Letters written at different times mark each the feelings and the interests of a different epoch.” JQA, then nearly seventy, continued: “there is a character of romantic wildness about the memory of my travels in Europe, from 1778 to 1785, which gives to it a tinge, as if it was the recollection of something in another world. Life was new—everything was surprizing—everything carried with it a deep interest” (JQA, Diary, 26 April 1837, Memoirs, 9:352–353).
1. In the Letterbook copy this word was followed by “upon the pub,” which has been canceled.
2. In the Letterbook this passage, from the preceding comma, reads: “yet in the Eyes <both> of the English Nation the French Nation, and above all the American Nation.”
3. In the Letterbook this paragraph began: “But whether you approve of these Ideas, or not.”
4. In the Letterbook JA substituted “Settled” for “fixed.”
5. In the Letterbook “Friendship” was originally followed by “between,” which was canceled.
6. In the Letterbook the following ten words were interlined for insertion. In that passage “my duty” originally followed “consistent with,” but was canceled.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0089

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

The Commissioners to C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Sir

We have received yours of the 2d Instant, with the Declaration sign'd by Mr. Van Berikel, and his explanatory Letter to you,1 which give us much Pleasure, as they show the good Disposition of that respectable Body, the Burgomasters of Amsterdam towards the United States of America, and their Willingness, as far as may depend on them, to promote, between the Republick of the United <States> Low Countries in Europe and the said States, “a Treaty of perpetual Amity containing reciprocal Advantages with respect to Commerce between the Subjects of [the] two Nations.” As that Body must be better acquainted than we with the Methods of doing public Business in their Country, and appear to be of Opinion that some previous Steps can be taken by them which may faciliate and expedite so good a Work, when Circumstances shall permit its coming under the Consideration of their HH. MM. we rely on their Judgement, and hereby request they should take those Steps, as explain'd in M. Van Berikel's Letter. And they may2be assured that such a Treaty <will be very agreable to> as is above described would at this time meet with no obstacle on the Part { 129 } of the United States of America, who have great Esteem and Respect for your Nation; and that nothing will be wanting on our Part to accomplish the End proposed. We would only remark, that the Mentioning it in the Declaration as a Thing necessary to precede the Conclusion of such a Treaty that American Independence should be acknowledged by the English, is not understood by us, who conceive there is no more Occassion for such an Acknowledgement before a Treaty with Holland, than there was before our Treaty with France. And we apprehend that if that Acknowledgement were really necessary,3 or waited for, England <would probably> might endeavour to make an Advantage of it in the future Treaty of Pacification, to obtain for it some Privileges in Commerce, perhaps exclusive of Holland. We wish therefore that Idea to be laid aside, and that no farther Mention may be made to us of England in this Business.
We are, Sir, Your most obedient humble Servants.4
Dft (ViU: Lee Papers); docketed by Benjamin Franklin: “Rough to M Dumas Treaty”; in another hand: “The Commrs. to M. Dumas Oct. 16th. 1778.” This mis-dating is due to the fact that at first glance the date can be read as 16. However, Arthur Lee's uncorrected copy of the draft in his Letterbook (PCC, No. 102, IV, f. 75–76) was dated the 10th; Dumas refers in his letter of 27 Oct. (below) to the recipient's copy (not found) as being of the 10th; and Arthur Lee's notation is dated 13 Oct. (see note 4). The marginal notes by Franklin and Lee (see notes 2 and 3) indicate that the draft was done at Passy and sent to Lee, who returned it with his suggestions. All alterations in the draft are in Franklin's hand. The text is worn at the right margin and on the fold in the center.
1. For the declaration, as well as an extract from van Berckel's letter to Dumas, see van Berckel to the Commissioners, 23 Sept., and note 2 (above).
2. At this point, immediately before “be,” at the beginning of a line, Lee inserted an “X” and, in the left margin of the first page, wrote: “M. Vanberkle's Letter proposes to have the commercial Treaty with France examined and accommodated to our present object, by some Merchants of Amsterdam. I submit therefore whether we can with propriety assur[e] them that such a treaty would be agreable before we have seen it; and whether it woud be better [to] say—They may be assured that a treaty founded upon the principles of reciproci[ty] and fair intercourse woud at this time meet with no obstacle on the part of the United States. I put in, at this time, to leave room for them to apprehend that if delayd it may meet with obstacles. A. Lee.”
Responding to Lee's comments, Benjamin Franklin noted in the top margin of the first page: “The Remark in the Margin is not founded; the Words such a Treaty evidently refer to the foregoing Description of the Treaty, which is taken from the Burgomasters own Declaration. B F.” Lee may also have underlined the passage, including the portion that was deleted, beginning with “be” and ending with “States.” The sixteen words beginning with “as is above described” and ending with “on the part of” were later interlined for insertion. The underscore under “the United States” was erased.
3. Immediately after “necessary” Lee inserted an “a” and, in the left margin of the draft's second page, noted: “Or waited for, England &c. It seems to me that this apprehension cannot be pressed upon them too often, or too much; and there• { 130 } fore I wou'd propose to add the above, and leave out probably which weakens the argument. A. Lee.” Lee's proposed insertion, as well as “might” as a substitute for “would probably,” were interlined.
4. After the alterations suggested by Lee had been inserted and the recipient's copy prepared, the revised draft was returned to Lee. Immediately below the comment quoted in note 3 he wrote: “Chaillot. Oct. 13th. 1778. I cannot help repeating my opinion that a personal interview to state and urge the Arguments for an immediate conclusion woud succeed; and that such a treaty woud prevent our Enemies from venturing upon another campaign. A. Lee.” In view of the political situation in the Netherlands and van Berckel's letters to the Commissioners and Dumas of 23 Sept., Lee's proposal had no chance of succeeding and such an initiative was never attempted, but see Dumas' letter of 30 Oct., note 4 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0090

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

Ralph Izard to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

I have just been favoured with a communication of M. de Sartine's Letter to you of 7th. instant, in which I am referred to a course of Law for the recovery of my Baggage, on board the Ship Nile, carried into Marseilles by a French Privateer. This I can not approve of, as my claim is founded on an Article in the Treaty which expressly declares that the goods of an American put on board of an enemy's Ship before the declaration of war, or even two Months after such declaration, “shall be well, and truly restored without delay, to the Proprietor demanding the same.”1 I am the more surprized at M. de Sartine's Letter, as he promised me, upon my application to him several days ago that they should be restored. This promise was made after he had seen a copy of the Bill of Lading, and knew that my name did not appear upon any part of it. The reason which has already been given for this circumstance appears to me so good a one, that I am astonished at finding it offered now as a cause of detention. What proofs may be thought necessary in support of my claim I know not. My name is in many of the Books, and one of the Boxes contains a great number of my papers with my name upon them.
I am clearly of opinion that this ought to be looked upon as sufficient proof, and that I ought not to be involved in the trouble, and expence of a Lawsuit. Should M. de Sartine continue of a different opinion I should be glad to know what other proof will be expected. The Testimony of my Merchant in London who shipped the things shall be procured if necessary; and likewise that of the Merchant in Leghorn, and the Abbe Niccoli to whom they were addressed. In the mean time as I understand by M. de Sartine's Letter that the ship was adjudged a good Prize on the 20th. of last Month, the goods may be sold, unless an immediate stop be put to it by a Letter from the Min• { 131 } istry. As I understand that you are going tomorrow to Versailles, I must beg the favour of you to speak to M. de Sartine about this matter. I am very desirous to avoid, if possible, all cause of uneasiness, or contest with France; and therefore I hope that in this instance I shall not upon any pretence whatever be deprived of my property.
I have the honour to be Gentlemen Your most obt. hble Servt
[signed] Ra. Izard
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “Mr. Izards Letter 10 Octr. 1778.”
1. Art. 14 of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce. The opening quotation marks have been supplied.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0091

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Date: 1778-10-12

The Commissioners to Gabriel de Sartine

[salute] Sir

The Letter which your Excellency did Us the Honour to write to Us on the Seventh of this Month, We duely received.
In our Letter of the twenty Sixth of the last Month respecting the Goods of Mr. Izard on board the Nile, we cited the Sixteenth Article of the Treaty of Commerce, in Support of Mr. Izards claim, which your Excellency thinks an Error, and that it is the Fourteenth Article which most nearly relates to this Case. We cited the Article as it stood in the original Treaty, where it is the Sixteenth: Your Excellency cites it as it Stands in the Treaty as it is now agreed to be amended, leaving out two Articles the 11 and 12. But your Excellency and We all mean the Same Article, which appears to Us to apply to Mr. Izards Case as clearly, Strictly, and fully, as it could have been contrived to do, if his Case had been in Contemplation at the Time when the Treaty was made, and Specially meant to be provided for. The Words of the Article are, that such Goods, as were put on Board any ship belonging to an Enemy before the War, or after the Declaration of the same without the Knowledge of it, shall no Ways be liable to Confiscation, but shall well and truely be restored without Delay to the Proprietor demanding the Same. <And two Months are allowed after the Declaration of War> Ignorance of the Declaration of War, not to be pleaded more than two Months after the Declaration.
Now by the Bill of Lading, which We had the Honour to inclose to your Excellency, it appears that the Goods were shipped, in the Month of April last, at a Time, when certainly two Months had not elapsed from and after the Declaration of War. But if other Evidence of this Fact, viz the Time when the Goods were shipped is necessary Mr. { 132 } Izard can certainly obtain it from England altho it would be attended with a good deal of Trouble and Expence.
As to the Question whether the Goods are Mr. Izards Property or not, Mr. Izard in a Letter to Us dated the 10th of this Month assures Us, that his Name is in many of the Books and that one of the Boxes contains a great Number of his Papers, with his Name upon them. That “the Testimony of his Merchant in London, who shipped the Things shall be procured, if necessary and likewise that of the Merchant in Leghorn, and the Abbe Niccoli to whom they were addressed.”2
<We lay no Stress upon the Rank and Character of the Gentleman who claims these Goods, because We are very sensible that all Men alike ought to submit to the Laws, and that no Distinctions should be made.>3
We are Sensible that his Majesty has granted, the whole of the Property, which shall be taken from the Ennemy, and shall be lawful Prize to the Captors, and the Encouragements of Adventurers in this Way is of So much Importance, to our <states> Country as well as to this, that We wish them <all imaginible success> to enjoy all the Profits and Advantages of their Prizes. But the Captors in this Case must be sensible, that the Goods belong to A Friend not an Ennemy and therefore <that they can not be lawful Prize> not included in his Majesty's Grant.4
We are only desirous of what is right, and as We hold ourselves bound to do all in our Power to assist our Fellow Citizens in maintaining their Rights and of omitting no Advantage that they are entituled to by the Treaty: and as the Treaty is so express that Goods so circumstanced shall be restored without Delay, and upon demand, and as Mr. Izard apprehends he ought not to be put to the Trouble delay and Expence of a Law Suit upon this Occasion, We have thought it our Duty to write again to your Excellency upon the subject.
We beg leave to lay another subject before your Excellency. There are, We are informed, on Board the Fox and Lively,5 as there are on board almost every ship in Admiral Keppells and Lord Howes Fleets, Numbers of American Seamen who <detest> abhor the service into which by one of the most <extraordinary Exertions> extravagant Flights of Tyranny and Cruelty that ever was heard of among Men, they have been forced, and compelled to fight against their Country and their Friends. These seamen we should be glad to deliver from the Prisons in this Kingdom, and from a misery and Captivity infinitely more detestible on Board of British Men of War. We therefore beg Leave to propose to your Excellency, that an Inquiry may be made, and a List { 133 } taken of the Natives of America, among the Crews of the Fox and Lively, and <We offer your Excellency an equal Number of British Prisoners now in our Possession in this Kingdom in Exchange for them, provided they will take the oath of Allegiance to the United States> the Men delivered to us.6 This would be attended with many happy Consequences. It would relieve many of our Countrymen from present Confinement, and the most dismal Prospects, and would furnish our Vessells with a Number of excellent Sailors<,and save Us the Expence of maintaining so many british Prisoners>.
It may be proper to inform your Excellency, that before this War began, one third Part of the Seamen belonging to the then whole British Empire, belonged to America. If We were able to command the services of all these Sailors, <your Excellency will allow> it would be of great Importance in the common Cause. It would take away one third of the whole. Those employed in the American service would, be able to fight, another of the two thirds remaining to G. Britain, and consequently would leave to France no more than one third of the seamen belonging to the British Empire before the War for <Britain> France to contend with. But alass this is not the Case. Various Causes, too many to be here explained have concurred to prevent this. But We are very desirous of alluring back to their Country as many as possible of those We have lost, and the Plan We have now proposed to your Excellency, appears to be one probable Means of doing it. We shall suggest others hereafter as opportunity occurs.7
Since the forgoing was written We have received Letters from Robert Harrison, John Lemon, Edward Driver and John Nichols, Prisoners in Dinant Castle,8 representing that the[y] Were taken by English Frigates in American Privateers forced into the service on Board the Fox and now taken by the French, and praying that We would interceed for their Liberty if possible that they may return to their Country.
1. The final paragraph of this letter, dated the 15th, indicates that it was not sent until at least then. While completing this letter, the Commissioners wrote a brief note to Sartine on 13 Oct. (LbC, Adams Papers; date supplied from Arthur Lee's Letterbook copy in PCC, No. 102, IV, f. 83). They informed him that they would reply to his letter of 7 Oct. (above) concerning Ralph Izard's captured merchandise in more detail later, and called on him to stop the sale of Izard's property until the matter could be decided in the courts. In a letter to Izard of the same date, the Commissioners informed him of their request that the sale of his goods be stopped and enclosed a copy of Sartine's letter of 7 Oct. (LbC, Adams Papers).
2. The opening quotation marks have been supplied from Izard's letter
3. This paragraph was canceled and re• { 134 } placed with that which immediately follows. The new paragraph was written below that which now follows it and marked for insertion in place of the canceled paragraph.
4. The preceding six words were written in pencil by Benjamin Franklin. The Commissioners, in this paragraph, are asking for a favor not provided for in the Treaty of Amity and Commerce. Art. 14 and its provision regarding the return of goods put on an enemy ship before news of the outbreak of war had been received constituted the only possible argument in support of the return of Izard's property. That provision, however, was the exception to the general rule, also set down in Art. 14, that enemy ships made enemy goods (Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:14–15). Thus, if the Commissioners' first argument was not accepted, there was no reason for the French to return the goods even if definitive proof was offered that they belonged to Izard.
5. The frigates Lively and Fox, captured on 9 July and 10 Sept., respectively, were at Brest (London Chronicle, 21–23 July; 8–10 Oct.).
6. Benjamin Franklin interlined the preceding five words in pencil for insertion here.
7. In the Letterbook this paragraph and the next were written below the letters of 13 Oct. to Ralph Izard and Sartine mentioned in note 1.
8. There were two letters, both directed to Benjamin Franklin. Harrison wrote on 7 Oct.; Lemon, Driver, and Nichols on the 12th (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:509, 514). The Commissioners wrote on 15 Oct. to the American prisoners, who were held in a 14th-century castle in the northwestern French town of Dinan (LbC, Adams Papers; Larousse, Grand dictionnaire universel). The letter informed them of the Commissioners' application to Sartine and requested additional information on the captive Americans. On 21 Oct., in a letter signed by the four men already mentioned as well as by William Keating, William Berry, Abraham Fairman, John Williams, Robert Bongass, and James Handly (PPAmP: Franklin Papers), the prisoners acknowledged the Commissioners' letter of the 15th and reiterated their desire for freedom in order to serve the American cause. For Sartine's response to the Commissioners' request, see his letter of 26 Oct. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0092

Author: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-10-12

From Arthur Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

I have hoped for Leisure to answer your favor1 as fully as, in my own Vindication, it demands. There are matters touched in it, which imply a Censure upon me, which a recapitulation of facts, I am satisfied, would convince you is unjust.
But as I dispair of sufficient Leisure for some time, I must content myself with replying to what is immediately necessary.
A desire to remove as much as I could the Cause of your complaint, was the motive I stated to you for writing, and I <expect> repeat to you it was the only one. I mentioned my Objections to your other Plan, when you proposed it; if you think them of no weight, let that, or any other, that will be most agreeable to you and Doctor Franklin, be adopted; and it will have my most hearty concurrance.
With regard to the proposal of coming to live with you, nothing would give me more pleasure, were it practicable. I thank you for the Civility of offering me your room, but it would be impossible for me to do so unhandsome a Thing, as to desire that of any Gentleman. The { 135 } Living upon the Bounty of a common Individual, I always objected to; besides, in the best of my Judgement, that Individual appears to me justly chargable with the foul play used with our Dispatches.2 Till I see reason to think otherwise, I should hold myself inexcusable both to my Constituents and myself, If I were to put myself so much in his Power. The House I am in, at all events, I must pay for this <year> Half Year, therefore, it would not save this Expence. To live together was what I proposed, and laboured to effect, tho' in vain, when the Commissioners first came here. I thought it would be attended with every good Consequence, and there was nothing I desired more. But under all the Circumstances of that Proposition now, and the inveterate habits3 that have taken Place; it appears to me to be attended with insuperable Objections. I am, however, open to Conviction, and shall be most happy in finding any practicable means of effecting the Ends you propose.
Having to dress, breakfast, dispatch Letters4 and do the necessary family Affairs, before I come to you; I find 11 O'Clock the soonest I can engage for.
I had the same earnest desire, you express, prompted as well by my own Inclination, and Interest, as by my wish for the public Good, to cultivate Harmony and Friendship with both my Colleagues, and nothing ever gave me more uneasiness, than the Impossibility that I have hitherto found of effecting it.
I am with the greatest respect & esteem, Dear Sir. Yours most sincerely
[signed] A. Lee
RC in Hezekiah Ford's hand (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr A Lee Octr. 1778”; in CFA's hand immediately before “Octr.”: “12.”
1. That of 10 Oct. (above).
2. That is, the theft of the Commissioners' dispatches that had been entrusted to John Folger for transmission to America (James Lovell to JA, 13 Jan., and note 5, vol. 5:384, 385). No evidence implicating Chaumont in the affair has been found, but it was not Lee's first accusation connecting him with the stolen dispatches. In a letter of 3 June, Lee had informed James Lovell that in his opinion the British ministry had employed Chaumont to seize the dispatches (R. H. Lee, Arthur Lee, 2:141–142; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 3:27, note).
3. This word is written over another, which the editors have been unable to read. The alteration was perhaps to correct an error in copying from Arthur Lee's original draft, which has not been found.
4. This word was interlined for insertion here, probably by Arthur Lee.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0093

Author: McNeill, Daniel
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-12

Daniel McNeill to the Commissioners

[salute] Honorable Gentlemen a Passy

After my Arrivall here I applyed to the Agent1 to recive the prisoners who promised he would the next morning, upon which I sent { 136 } them a Shoar, but they ware refused to be Landed by the Comadant for want of Orders from the Ministry to that purpose, therefore was oblidged to Carry them onboard again, but shall not be able to Carry them out of France without turning at least twenty Americans a Shoar, after all the trouble and Expence they have been at since they have made their Escape from England which will be very hard on them as there is no opportunity here for them to go home, therefore beg your Honours would send me word what I must do with them as soon as you possibly can. Should likewise beg the favour of your Honours oppinion how you think the Law suit will go in reguard of the Isabelle as you will see by the proposall2 of the former propriators to the Admiralty, by falcehood and every other Artifice that they can invent they intend to prolong it and make it as Difficult as possible.3 There is Another arrived at Brest taken by Capt. Pickerin4 belonging to the same Owners and under the same Circumstances, which makes it necessary that we should proceed in a proper manner, which should be very glad to Know, as I have wrote to Capt. Pickerin on the Subject and shall wait till I hear from you. I am Most Honorable Gentl Your very humble Servt
[signed] Danl McNeill
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honorable Commissioners of the United States of America Att the Court of France Att Passy”; docketed: “Captn. McNeills Letter. ansd Octr. 27. 177]8]”; in another hand immediately below “Letter”: “Oct. 12. 78”; and a third hand at the top of the address page: “Capt. McNeil.”
1. Probably the commissary for prisoners; see James Moylan to the Commissioners, 12 Oct. (PPAmP: Franklin Papers). In that letter Moylan gave essentially the same account regarding the prisoners as did McNeill, adding only that four or five of them had escaped.
2. Presumably an enclosure, which has not been found.
3. In his letter of the 12th, James Moylan reported that the Isabelle's owners had offered McNeill one-third of the vessel's value for the recapture. This offer being unacceptable, McNeill had decided to go through the courts, and credentials for Leray de Chaumont to act in the matter were sent by the next mail. The choice of Chaumont was appropriate because of his close relationship with Sartine, Minister of Marine (John Bigelow, “Franklin's Home and Host in France,” Century Magazine, 35:750 [March 1888]).
4. Thomas Pickering, of Portsmouth, N.H., captain of the privateer Hampden, was killed in action against an East Indiaman on 8 March 1779 (Richard Francis Upton, Revolutionary New Hampshire, Hanover, N.H., 1936, p. 110–111). Pickering's prize was La Constance; see the Commissioners to Sartine, 7 Jan. 1779, and note 1 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0094-0001

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-12

Gabriel de Sartine to the Commissioners

Je n'ay point oublié, Messieurs, L'Intéret que vous prenez a M. Jones et la Demande que vous avez faite de lui accorder un Batiment { 137 } armé qui puissé le transporter en Amerique.1 Le Roi a qui j'en ai rendu Compte est disposé a donner cette facilité a ce Capitaine. Mais Je desire prealablement de Scavoir s'il sera possible de composer de Matelots Americains l'Equipage du Batiment qui sera fourni a M. Jones, parceque l'Activité et le Nombre des Armemens de Sa Majesté ne permettroit pas de lui donner un Equipage francois. J'attendrai ce que vous voudrez bien me marquer a ce Sujet pour prendre les Derniers Ordres de Sa Majeste.
J'ai l'honneur d'etre &c.
[signed] De Sartine

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0094-0002

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-12

Gabriel de Sartine to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

I have not forgotten, gentlemen, the interest you took in Mr. Jones and your request that he be granted an armed vessel to carry him to America.1 The King, to whom I have rendered a report, is disposed to give the captain this facility. But I would like to know, beforehand, if it would be at all possible to make up the crew of the vessel, which will be provided Mr. Jones, from American sailors, since the activity and the number of His Majesty's ships in commission would not allow him to provide a French crew. I will await your response on this subject before receiving the final orders of His Majesty.
I have the honor to be, &c.
[signed] De Sartine
RC (DLC: Franklin Papers).
1. The Commissioners' representations to Sartine on behalf of John Paul Jones may have been made in person, for no letter on the subject has been found. Jones' letters for this period indicate that by the date of this letter he was almost frantic for a ship, having refused or been denied the commands of the French vessels Indien, L'Epervier, and Renommee and the captured British frigates Lively and Fox. Apparently this letter produced no tangible results, for no reply from the Commissioners has been found. It was not until 10 Nov. that Jones learned of the availability of the French East Indiaman Le Duc de Duras, which he renamed Bonhomme Richard (Anna Farwell De Koven, The Life and Letters of John Paul Jones, N.Y., 1913, 1:369–388; Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 174–181).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0095

Author: Whitmarsh, William Jr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-10-12

From William Whitmarsh Jr.

[salute] Sir

Being a Townsman of yours and having suffered in the Grand Cause I have Made my Aplication To Mr. Coffyn in Behalf of the United States of Amirica for a Small Sum of Money sufficent to Bear my Exepences while in France which will be no Longer then I Can Geet a Vessell Bound To America which By the Assistance of Mr. Coffyn I hope will not be Long. Sir My affairs Stands thus1
I was Taken a Vollenteer with Capn. Henry Johnson in the Sloop { 138 } Yankey.2 Carried from England To the East Indias From Whence I Made My Escape. I Came home in an English East Indiaman. Left Madrass the 6th. of February arrived in England the 6th. of august. Imprest. 13th. the 27th. at London Sept. 25. at Flushing.3 Octr. 7. at Dunkirque, as for Perticulars Excuse me Sir at Presant. Pray Sir Please To mention me in your Letters To America for my wife nor any Other of my friends or Relations Knows not wether I am dead or a Live. Sir I was Borne in Braintree in the Reverend Mr. Saml. Nileses Parish. My Father prehaps you May Very well Know—he was a Leuitnt. in the Western war.4
Sir5 Mr. Coffyn Continues favours To all Americans that Chance To Come through France in Consequence of that I have Wrote Several Letters and Lodged them or Directed them To Be Loged in such Parts of London as may be most Convenient for them To fall in with.
Sir I Can not write in Particular which way we Propose To Gett To America But Rely Intierly on Mr. Coffyns Good Conduct.
Sir Please If Opertunity Favours, ither in your directions To Boston Braintree or Marblehead. This Sir Desire in Case any Mishap Might Befall us.6
NB. By saying us, there is on[e] Capn. Geo. Smith, of Nantuckitt,7 Bound the Same way.
Sir I Begg the Favor of Subcribing my self a True Born American
[signed] William Whitmarsh Junr.
Left Marblehead8 the Place where I am Setled 8. June 1776. with Capn. Henry Johnson.9
Sir. Mr. Elbridge Gerry which was one of the Delagates of the Honorable Conteninl. Congress. and Lives in Marblehead in his fathers Mantion house Opposite myun.
Pray. Sir Remamber me To Mr. Gerry—and he will forward the Same.
Sir I Begg Pardon for Coa[lin]g you honor in Such a Manner. But To Make it appear that I was absolutely an American.10
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Wm Whitmarsh ansd Oct 19”; in CFA's hand: “1778?.” JA's reply has not been found.
1. JA's Diary entry for 22 Oct. provides a far more detailed account of Whitmarsh's adventures than does this letter and is apparently based on notes taken by JA during an interview with Whitmarsh (Diary and Autobiography, 2:322). It seems likely, therefore, that after writing this letter Whitmarsh went to Paris to present his case to the Commissioners and perhaps, in light of the last paragraph, to deliver it personally to JA. If so, his visit bore fruit because on 26 Oct. he received 240 livres from the Commissioners (Commissioners' Accounts with Ferdinand Grand, [9 Aug. – 12 Nov.], vol. 6:362).
2. Whitmarsh and Capt. Henry Johnson { 139 } were captured when the Yankee was taken by the English sailors made prisoner from its prizes (Allen, Mass. Privateers, p. 328).
3. Flushing, or Vlissingen, is a port in the Netherlands.
4. William Whitmarsh Jr. was born on 26 Dec. 1748; his father, William Sr., served as a lieutenant in the 1756 Crown Point expedition and filled various town offices in Braintree (Braintree Town Records, p. 795, 284, 297, 377, 434; Pattee, Old Braintree and Quincy, p. 375).
5. The preceding two paragraphs appear on page one of tbe letter, while this, the following four paragraphs, and the signature were written on page three. The location of the remaining paragraphs is given in notes 6 and 10 (below).
6. As written, this paragraph makes little sense. Whitmarsh may have intended to clarify it with what, in this reconstruction, appears as the final three paragraphs of the letter. These are centered on page two, below the place and date, with wide margins above and below, and were probably intended to be inserted in the body of the letter, but there is no indication at what point this was to be done.
7. The preceding two words were written below this paragraph, in the left margin, with a single brace indicating somewhat ambiguously their intended location.
8. The following six words were written above the line, probably for insertion here.
9. This sentence was inclosed in braces and appears to have been intended to accompany the two paragraphs that follow. However, its position on the page could be an indication that it was to be part of the dateline.
10. This paragraph was placed in the left margin of page three. Its position, the appearance of the writing, and the slightly different colored ink make it likely that it was written last, perhaps after Whitmarsh had reached Paris. It would explain Whitmarsh's apology for “Coa[lin]g” on JA for assistance.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0096

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-10-13

John Bondfield to the Commissioners

[salute] Sirs

By Letters this day from Couronna we have advice that the 30th Ultimo arrived at that Port an American privateer of 20 guns. She left Boston 14 August. He reports that Adml. How with the reinforcement he had receivd went down to Rhode Island. He there found Comte D'estaing who on his approach stood out to meet him. A Gale of wind prevented their engageing. Both Fleets sufferd severely by the Storm many ships being dismasted. Admiral How was returnd to New York and Comte d'Estaing had retaken his Post before Rhode Island.1 New Port was invested by the American Army. The privateer in her Passage took two packet Boats One from New York to England the other from England to New York many officers of Rank on board. He has brought Prisoners into Couronna, four Colonels four Majors Eighty others of differ[ent?] degrees.2
A French Frigate has sent into Vigo3 a Lisbon Packet with fifty Thousand pounds Sterling in Specie.
An Engagement betwixt a Spaniard and an English Privateer has occationd the sending from Ferol Two Spanish Frigates in quest of the Privateer with orders to bring her into Port if met with.4 I hope to be favor'd in course of post with the Letter of Marque for the Ship Liv• { 140 } ingston, requested by my last.5 Mr. Livingston writes me the Ship is in great forwardness. I should be sorry to have her detain'd. She will mount twenty Guns, is burthen 400 tons and will be mannd proportionally.
The French Merchants are in a most Critical State. All their ships are on the Seas coming home without Convoy. Upwards of fifty Sail are already taken. The Loss is estimated at One Milion Sterling. Premiums on them are at from 45 to 60 per cent.6 Their west India Trade is attended at this day with Charges as heavy as to the American States and more exposed. We ought to benefit by the present Opening but so great a stagnation has taken place that we see not a trantient adventurer. There are in this Port four Virginia Pilot Boats which all will not carry one hundred and fifty Tons, they are to load Salt and some triffling stock of Habadashery.
Had I your Commissions I could at this Day lay in a most Suitable Assortment of Coarse Woollens such as Blankets, Cloths, Moltens, Baizes, flannells, frizes, in short all articles of the most useful and highest Nessessity for this Winter the whole amounting to About Two hundred Thousand Livres. The goods are here in Store and could be Shipt in five Days, a most seasonable Supply it would prove to the States. Term for Payment say twelve Months if required could be obtain'd. All could be shipt without a days Delay as the object would be sufficient to load a Vessel which I could either Charter or purchase as you would most approve. Recommending this Humbly to your serious Consideration I am with due Respect Sirs Your most Obedient Humble Serv
[signed] John Bondfield
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honble. Benj Franklin Arthur Lee. John Adams Esqrs. Commissioners from Congress at Paris”; docketed, not by JA: “Bourdeaux Bondfield 13 Oct. 1778.”
1. Presumably Bondfield means that Estaing returned to his anchorage off Newport, from whence he almost immediately departed for Boston.
2. The Massachusetts privateer Vengeance, Capt. Wingate Newman, captured the packets Harriot and Eagle on 17 and 21 Sept. From the latter Newman seized four lieutenant colonels, three majors, and one coronet of dragoons, whom he delivered to the British commissary at La Coruna in return for an equal number of American prisoners (Allen, Mass. Privateers, p. 314).
3. A town approximately twenty miles north of the Spanish-Portuguese border on the northwestern coast of Spain.
4. A closing bracket was inserted here. A copy of the letter to this point is now in the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 5). No indication of how or why the extract was communicated to the foreign ministry has been found.
5. Bondfield had written on 10 Oct. to request a letter of marque for the Governor Livingston, named for Philip Livingston and to be commanded by Muscoe Livingston, which was to be ready for sea by 1 Nov. (PPAmP: Franklin Papers). Although a letter of marque was apparently issued on or about 26 Oct., the Livingston { 141 } did not sail until 10 May 1779, then with a cargo of military supplies, and did not arrive in America until 22 July. Livingston, however, was not on board as is evident from his letter to JA of 17 June (below; Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 3:432; PCC, No. 78, X, f. 149; V, f. 381).
6. That is, the cost of insuring a vessel and cargo was from 45 to 60 percent of their value. For an earlier reference by Bondfield to the need for convoys and the high cost of insurance, see his letter to the Commissioners of 10 April, and note 7 (vol. 6:23–25).

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
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