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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 7

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.
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.