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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 7

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0263

Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Pringle, John Julius
Date: 1779-02-12

Arthur Lee and John Adams to John Julius Pringle

[salute] Sir

We have received your Letter of Feb. 9. offering your Services to the public by going to England to negotiate an Exchange of Prisoners. We have considered this Subject and judging it necessary to send some Person upon this Business, We have determined to accept of your Proposition, and We desire you to prepare yourself for the Journey, with all convenient Dispatch. Your Instructions shall be prepared immediately.1
We are Sir your humble Servants
[signed] Arthur Lee
signed only
John Adams
LbC in William Temple Franklin's hand (Adams Papers). This letter was enclosed in the preceding letter from JA to Lee and appears before that letter in JA's Letterbook.
1. This letter may be considered the last official act by Arthur Lee and JA as members of the joint commission to the French court. Benjamin Franklin's official notification of his appointment as minister plenipotentiary arrived on 12 Feb., presumably after this letter had been drafted and sent (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:353). Franklin did not go forward with Pringle's appointment, reverting instead to his plan to name Edward Bancroft as agent. But Bancroft apparently did not go to England either. According to David Hartley, to whom Franklin had written concerning a safe conduct for Bancroft, the British ministry saw no need for an American agent in England to expedite the exchange, In any event, the first shipload of American prisoners reached France on 1 April (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., { 406 } 2:35; Catherine Prelinger, “Benjamin Franklin and the American Prisoners of War in England during the American Revolution,” WMQ, 3d ser., 32:275–276 [April 1975]).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0264

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-02-13

To the Committee for Foreign Affairs

[salute] Gentlemen

I had Yesterday, the Honour of your Favour of the 28 Octr. inclosing a Resolution of Congress of the 22 of the same Month, to which I Shall give all the Attention in my Power.2 I have great Satisfaction in the Reflection, that I have hitherto endeavoured3 with much Sincerity, to conform to the Spirit of it.
What you recommend to me, viz. to communicate to the Ministers of other Courts, Such Intelligence as I may receive, will not in future be so much in my Power.4 But as far as I can while I Stay in Europe, I Shall endeavour to comply. Indeed it is a long Time that we have had no Intelligence to communicate. Three Vessells we know have been taken, each of which had many Letters, and two of them public Dispatches. One that Sailed from Philadelphia 4 Nov. another 24. and one from Boston the 20. And We fear that many others are lost. The Dispatches in all these were Sunk, and the Letters too.
It would be agreable to me, indeed, if I were able to throw any Light on the Subject of Finances: As to a Loan in Europe all has been done which was in our Power to do but without the desired Effect. (Economy and Taxation, comprehend all the Resources, I can think of.
We expect the Honour of a Visit from the Marquiss de la Fayette this Morning,5 whom We Shall receive with Gratitude, for his gallant and glorious Exertions, in one of the best Causes in which an Hero ever fought.
Accept of my Thanks for your kind Wishes for my Happiness,6 and believe me to be your affectionate Friend
[signed] John Adams
RC (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 37–40; docketed: “Letter from J Adams Passy Feby 13. 1779 Read Aug 20.”) LbC (Adams Papers).
1. This letter, and those of the same date to Richard Henry Lee and James Lovell (both below), are the first by JA following the arrival on 12 Feb. of the official notification of the congress' decision to dissolve the Joint Commission.
2. For the resolution of 22 Oct. 1778, calling for harmony among American diplomats in Europe, see the Committee's letter of 28 Oct., and note 1 (above).
3. In the Letterbook the remainder of this sentence reads “with <great> much Sincerity <and Anxiety> to conform to this Spirit of <this Resolution> it.”
4. In the Letterbook this sentence continues “<as I am now out of Employment.>
5. There is a canceled closing at this point in the Letterbook where JA intended to end the letter. The comments on Lafayette, which are interlined, were { 407 } an afterthought.
6. From this point in the Letterbook the closing reads “and believe me to be, <with great Sincerity,> your affectionate Friend.”
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.