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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 7

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).
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.