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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 7

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).
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.