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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 8

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0080

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Jay, John
Date: 1779-08-04

To the President of the Congress

[salute] Sir

At the Close of the Service, on which Congress have done me the Honour to Send me, it may not be amiss to Submit a few Reflections { 109 } to their Consideration on the general State of Affairs in Europe, So far as they relate to the Interests of the united States.1 As the Time approaches, when our Relations, with the most considerable States in Europe, will multiply, and assume a greater Stability, they deserve the Attention of Americans in general, but especially of those composing their Supream Council.
France deserves the first Place, among those Powers with which our Connections will be the most intimate. And it is with Pleasure, that I am able to assure Congress, that from the Observations I have made during my Residence in that Kingdom, I have the Strongest Reasons to believe, that their august Ally, his Ministers and Nation, are possessed of the fullest Perswasion of the Justice of our Cause, of the great Importance of our Independance to their Interests, and the firmest Resolution, to preserve the Faith of Treaties inviolate, and to cultivate our Friendship with Sincerity and Zeal. This of the more Consequence to Us, as this Power, enjoys in Europe at this Hour, an Influence, which it has not before experienced, for many Years.2
Men, are So sensible of a constant Tendency, in others, to Excesses, that a Signal Superiority of Power, never appears, without exciting Jealousies, and Efforts to reduce it. Thus when Spain, under Charles the fifth and his successor, made herself dangerous, a great Part of Europe, united against her; assisted in Severing the united Provinces from her; and by degrees greatly diminished her Power. Thus when France, under Louis the fourteenth, indulged the Spirit of Conquest too far, a great Part of Mankind, united their Forces against her, with such success, as to involve her in a Train of Misfortunes, out of which she never immerged, before the present Reign. The English, in their Turn, by means of their Commerce, and extensive settlements abroad, arose to a Degree of Oppulence, and naval Power, which excited more extravagant Passions in her own Breast, and more tyrannical Exertions of her Influence than appeared in either of the other Cases. The Consequence has been Similar, but more remarkable. Europe Seems to be more universally and Sincerely united in the Desire of reducing her, than they ever were in any former Instance. This is the true Cause, why the French Court never made War, with so universal a Popularity among their own subjects, So general an Approbation of other Courts, and such unanimous Wishes among all Nations for her Success, as at this Time.
The Personal Character of the King, his declared Patronage of Morals and Oeconomy, and the great strokes of Wisdom, which have marked the Commencement of his Reign; The active Spring that has been given to Commerce, by the Division of the British Empire and { 110 } our new Connections with his subjects; all these Causes, together with the two Treaties of Peace, which have been lately signed under his Auspices and his Mediation, have given to this Power a Reputation,3 which the last Reign had lost her.
The first of these Treaties, has determined those Controversies, which had for a long Time divided Russia and the Port,4 and the Parties have been equally Satisfyed with the Conditions of their Reconciliation, a Circumstance the more honourable for the french Ministry, and the Chevalier de St. Priest their Ambassador at Constantinople, as it is uncommon. The ancient Confidence of the Porte in the Court of Versailles has revived and the Coolness, or rather Enmity, which had divided France and Russia for near Twenty Years, gives Place to a Friendship, which is at this Time in all its fervour, and will probably be durable, as these Powers, have no Interest to annoy each other, but, on the contrary, are able to assist each other in a manner, the most efficacious.
The Peace of Germany, Signed at Teschen, the thirteenth of last May, has not equally Satisfyed the Belligerent Powers, who were, on the one Part the Emperor,5 and on the other the King of Prussia, and the Elector of Saxony, his Ally. From the Multitude of Writings, which have appeared before and during this War, in which the Causes, the Motives, and the Right of it are discussed, it appears, that in 1768 [i.e. 1778], at the Extinction of one of the Branches of the House of Bavaria, which has been Seperated from its Trunk for near five Centuries, the House of Austria, thought itself able, and Priests and Lawyers, among their own subjects, were complaisant enough to tell her she had a Right, to put herself, in Possession of the best Part of the Patrimony, of the extinguished Line. The King of Prussia, to whose Interests this Augmentation of Power, would have been dangerous, has crowned an illustrious Reign, by displaying all the Resources of military Genius, and profound Policy, in Opposition to it. While he contended in the Field, France negotiated, and the Work begun by his Arms, was compleated by the Cabinet of Versailles.6 The Palatine House of Bavaria, the Duke of Deux Ponts, and particularly the Elector of Saxony, have obtained all that they could reasonably demand, and the Empire has preserved its Ballance of Power, in Spight of the Ambition of its Head: the King of Prussia, has covered himself with Glory, to which he put the last finishing stroke, by not demanding any Compensation for the Expences of the War: All Parties have been Satisfied, except the Emperor, who7 has disordered his Finances; ruined his Kingdom of Bohemia; with immense Forces, has not obtained any { 111 } Advantage over his Adversary and consequently has destroyed among his own Troops the opinion they had of their Superiority; and in fine, has sustained the Loss the most sensible for a young Prince, just beginning to Reign, the Reputation of Justice and Moderation. It is the Influence, the Address, and Ability of the french Ministry, joined to the Firmness of Russia, which have compleated the Work: and Louis the Sixteenth has restored in Germany, to the Nation over which he reigns, that Reputation, which his Grand father had lost. The Merit of the Chevalier de la Luzerne, who was Ambassador, in Bavaria during the Transaction of this Business, and that of Mr. Marbois the Secretary to that Embassy, in accomplishing an Affair of Such Importance, which was rendered peculiarly delicate, by the late Family Connection, between the Courts of Vienna and Versailles8 was probably a Motive for sending them now to America, a Mission of no less importance, and no less Delicacy. It is not probable, however, that they could have succeeded so soon, if England could have afforded Subsidies to the Emperor.
The Revolution in America, in which, the French King has taken an earlier and a greater Part, than any other Sovereign in Europe, has operated so as to conciliate to him, a Consideration,9 that is universal. The new Minister, will give to Congress, Information the most precise in this Respect and touching the Part, which Spain is taking at this Time, for which Reason I shall refrain from entering into it, and content myself with observing That all these Considerations ought to induce Us to cherish the Alliance of France; and that every good Citizen of the United States ought to endeavour to destroy the Remains of those Prejudices, which our ancient Rulers have endeavoured to inspire into Us. That We have nothing to fear, and much to hope from France, while We conduct Ourselves with good sense, and Firmness, and that We cannot take too much Pains to multiply the Commercial Relations, and Strengthen the political Connections between the two Nations:10 Provided Always, that We preserve Prudence and Resolution enough, to receive implicitly, no Advice whatsoever, but to judge always for ourselves; and to guard Ourselves against those Principles in Government, and those Manners, which are So opposite to our own Constitution, and to our Characters, as a young People, called by Providence to the most honourable and important of all Duties, that of forming Establishments for a great Nation and a new World.11
In the opinion of Some, the Power, with which We shall one Day, have a Relation the most immediate, next to that of France, is Great Britain. But it ought to be considered that this Power, looses every Day { 112 } her Consideration, and runs towards her Ruin. Her Riches in which her Power consisted, she has lost with Us, and never can regain. With Us, she has lost her Mediterranean Trade, her Affrican Trade, her German and Holland Trade, her Ally Portugal, her Ally Russia, and her natural Ally the House of Austria; at least by being unable to protect these as she once did, she can obtain no succour from them. In short, one Branch of Commerce has been lopped off, after another; and one political Interest Sacrificed after another, that she resembles the melancholly Spectacle of a great wide Spreading Tree that has been girdled at the Root.12 Her Endeavours to regain these Advantages, will continually keep alive in her Breast the most malevolent Passions towards Us. Her Envy, her Jealousy, and Resentment, will never leave Us, while We are, what We must unavoidably be, her Rivals, in the Fisheries, in various other Branches of Commerce, and even in naval Power. If Peace should unhappily be made, leaving Canada, Nova Scotia, the Floridas, or any of them, in her Hands, Jealousies, and Controversies will be perpetually arrising. The Degree therefore of Intercourse,13 with this Nation, which will ever again take Place, may justly be considered as problematical, or rather the Probability is that it will never be so great as some Persons imagine. Moreover, I think that every Citizen, in the present Circumstances, who respects his Country, and the Engagements she has taken ought to abstain from the Foresight of a Return of Friendship, between Us and the English, and Act as if, it never was to be.
But it is lawful to consider that which will probably be formed between the Hollanders and Us. The Similitude of Manners, of Religion and in Some Respects of Constitution; the Analogy, between the Means, by which the two Republicks arrived at Independancy; but above all the Attractions of commercial Interests, will infallibly draw them together. This Connection will not probably shew itself, in a public Manner before14 a Peace, or a near Prospect of Peace. Too many Motives of Fear or Interest place the Hollanders in a Dependance on England, to suffer her to connect herself openly, with Us, at present.15 Nevertheless, if the King of Prussia could be induced to take Us by the Hand, his great Influence, in the united Provinces, might contribute greatly to conciliate their Friendship for Us. Loans of Money, and the operations of commercial Agents or Societies, will be the first Threads of our Connections with this Power.
From the Essays, and Inquirys, of your Commissioners at Paris, it appears that Some Money, may be borrowed there; and from the Success of Several Enterprizes by Way of St. Eustatia, it Seems, that the { 113 } Trade, between the two Countries is likely to increase,16 and possibly Congress may think it expedient to send a Minister there. If they shall, it will be proper to give him a discretionary Power, to produce his Commission, or not, as he shall find it likely to suceed: to give him full Powers and clear Instructions concerning the Borrowing of Money: and the Man himself, above all, should have consummate Prudence; of a Caution and Discretion that will be Proof, against every Tryal.
If Congress could find any certain Means, of paying the Interest, annually in Europe, commercial and pecuniary Connections would Strengthen themselves, from day to day: and if the Fall of the Credit of England should terminate in Bankruptcy, the seven united Provinces having nothing further to dissemble, would be zealous for17 a Part of those rich Benefits which our Commerce offers to the maritime Powers; and by an early Treaty with Us, Secure those Advantages, from which they have already discovered strong symptoms of a Fear of being excluded, by Delays. It is Scarcely necessary to observe to Congress, that Holland has lost her Influence, in Europe to such a Degree, that there is little other Regard for her remaining, but that of a prodigal Heir, for a rich Usurer, who lends him Money, at an high Interest. The State, which is poor, and in Debt, has no political Stability: Their Army is very small, and their Navy less. The immense Riches of Individuals, may possibly be, in some future Time, the great Misfortune of the Nation, because her Means of Defence, are not proportioned to the Temptation which is held out, for some necessitious, avaricious and formidable Neighbour to invade her.
The active Commerce of Spain, is very inconsiderable: of her passive Commerce, We shall not fail to have a Part. The Vicinity of this Power, her Forces, her Resources, ought to make Us, attentive to her Conduct. But if We may judge of the future by the Past, I should hope, that We have nothing from it, to fear. The Genius and the Interest of the Nation, inclines it to repose. She cannot determine upon War, but in the last Extremity, and even then, she Sighs, for Peace. She is not possessed of the Spirit of Conquest, and We have Reason to congratulate ourselves that We have her, for the nearest, and the principal Neighbour. Her Conduct towards Us, at this Time, will perhaps appear equivocal and indecisive: her Determinations appear to be solely, the Fruit of the Negotiations of the Court of Versailles: But it ought to be considered, that she has not had Motives so pressing, as those of France to take in Hand our Defence.18 Whether she has an Eye upon the Florida's, or what other Terms she may expect from Congress, they are, no doubt, better informed than I am. To their { 114 } Wisdom it must be submitted to give her satisfaction, if her Terms are moderate and her offers, in Proportion. This Conduct, may conciliate her Affection and shorten delays, a Point of great Importance, as the present Moment appears to be decisive.
Portugal,19 under the Administration of the Marquis de Pombal, broke Some of the shackles, by which she was held to England. But the Treaty, by which a permanent Friendship, is established, between the Crowns of Spain and Portugal,20 was made in 1777, an Event that the English deplore, as the greatest Evil, next to the irrecoverable Loss of the Colonies, arising from this War: because they will, now, no longer [be] able to play off Portugal against Spain, in order to draw away her Attention as well as her Forces, as in former Times. But as Portugal has not known how to deliver herself, entirely from the Influence of England, We shall have little to hope from her: on the other Hand, Such is her internal Weakness, that We have absolutely, nothing to fear. We shall necessarily have Commerce with her, but whether she will ever have the Courage to sacrifice the Friendship of England for the sake of it, is uncertain.
It would be endless to consider that infinite Number of little sovereignties, into which Germany is divided; and develope all their political Interests: This Task is as much beyond my Knowledge, as it would be useless to Congress, who will have few Relations, friendly, or hostile, with this Country, excepting in two Branches of Commerce, that of Merchandises and that of Soldiers. The latter infamous and detestible as it is, has been established between a Nation, once generous, humane and brave,21 and certain Princes as avaricious of Money, as they are prodigal of the Blood of their subjects: And such is the Scarcity of Cash, and the Avidity for it, in Germany, and so little are the Rights of Humanity understood or respected, that sellers will probably be found as long as Buyers. America will never be found in either Class.
The states of Germany, with which We may have Commerce of an honourable Kind, are, the House of Austria; one of the most powerfull in Europe. She possesses, very few Countries, however near the Sea. Ostend is the principal City, where she might have established a Trade of Some Consequence, if the Jealousy of the maritime Powers, had not constantly opposed it. France, Spain, Holland and England, <are> have been all agreed in this opposition, and the Treaty of Utrecht, ratified more than once by subsequent Treaties, have so shackled22 this Port, that it will be impossible to open a direct Trade to it, without some new Treaty,23 which, possibly may not be very distant. England may possibly make a new Treaty with Austria and agree to Priviledges for { 115 } this Port, in order to draw away Advantages of American Trade from France and Spain, and to such a Treaty Holland may possibly, acquiesce, if not acceed.
The Port of Triest, enjoys a Liberty, without Limits, and the Court of Vienna is anxious to make its Commerce flourish. Situated however as it is, at the Bottom of the Gulph of Triest, the remotest Part of the Gulph of Venice, tedious and difficult as the Navigation of those seas is, We could make little Use of it, at any Time, and none at all, while this War continues.24 This Court would seize with Eagerness, the Advantages that are presented to her by the Independance of America, but an Interest more powerfull restrains her, and altho She is certainly attentive to this Revolution, there is Reason to believe she will be one of the last Powers to acknowledge our Independance. She is so far from being rich that she is destitute of the Means of making War, without subsidies as is proved by the Peace which has lately been made. She has Occasion for the Succours of France or of England, to put in Motion her numerous Armies. She conceives easily, that the Loss of Resources and of Credit of the English, has dissabled them to pay the enormous subsidies, which in former Times they have poured out into the Austrian Coffers. She sees therefore, with a Secret Mortification, that she shall be hereafter more at the Mercy of France, who may choose her Ally, and prefer at her Pleasure, either Austria or Prussia, while neither Vienna nor Berlin, will be able, as in Times past, to choose between Paris and London, Since the latter has lost her past oppulence and pecuniary Ressources.
It is our Duty to remark these great Changes in the system of Mankind which have already happened in Consequence of the American War. The Allienation of Portugal from England, the Peace of Germany and that between Petersbourg and Constantinople, by all which Events England has lost and France gained Such a superiority of Influence and Power, are owing entirely to the blind Diversion of that Policy and Wealth which the English might have still enjoyed, from the Objects of their true Interest and Honour to the ruinous American War.25
The Court of Berlin, flatters herself, that the Connections, which have heretofore so long united France and Prussia, will renew themselves sooner or later. This system is more natural, than that which subsists at this Day. The King of Prussia, may then wait without Anxiety, the Consequences of the present Revolution, because it tends to increase the Ressources of his natural Ally.26 The jealousy between the Emperor and the King of Prussia, and that between the Houses of { 116 } Bourbon and Austria, are a natural Tye between France and Prussia. The Rivalry between France and Great Britain, is another Motive too natural and too permanent for the former to suffer the King of Prussia to be long the Ally of the latter.27 One of the favourite Projects of Prussia, that of rendering the Port of Embden a Place of flourishing Trade, interests him more powerfully in our Independance. Silesia, one of his best Provinces, has already felt the Influence of it, and, sensible of the Force that Empires derive from Commerce, he is earnestly desirous to see it introduced between America and his states, which gives ground to believe, that as Austria will be one of the last, so Prussia, will be one of the first to acknowledge our Independance, an Opinion, which is rendered more probable, by the Answer which was given by the Compte De Schulemberg, to Mr. A. Lee.28 And the Influence of the King of Prussia in the United Provinces, which is greater than that of any other Power, arising from his great military Force, the Vicinity of his Dominion and his near Relation to the stadholder, and the Prince of Brunswick, is an additional Motive with Us to cultivate his Friendship.29
The Electorate of Saxony, with a fruitful soil, contains a numerous and industrious People, and most of the Commerce, between the East and West of Europe passes through it. The Fairs of Leipzic, have drawn considerable Advantages for these four Years from our Trade. This Power will see with Pleasure, the Moment which shall put the last Hand to our Independance.
The Rest of Germany, excepting Hamborough and Bremen, has no Means of opening a direct Commerce with Us. With the latter, We can have no Connection at present, in the former all the maritime Commerce of the lower Germany, is transacted. Here We shall have Occasion soon to establish an Agent or Consul.
Poland, depopulated by War, and a vicious Government, reduced by a shamefull Treaty to two thirds of her ancient Dominion;30 destitute of Industry and Manufactures, even of the first Necessity; has no Occasion for the Productions of America. Dantzic sees her ancient Prosperity diminish every day. There is therefore little Probability of Commerce, and less of any political Connection between that Nation and Us.
Russia,31 Sweeden and Denmark, comprehended under the Denomination of the Northern Powers, have been thought by some to be interested in our Return to the Domination of Great Britain. Whether they consider themselves in this Light or not, their late Declarations against the Right of England to interrupt their Navigation,32 and their { 117 } Arming for the Protection of their Commerce, on the Ocean and even in the English Channel, are unequivocal Proofs of their Opinion concerning the Right, in our Contest, and of their Intentions not to interfere against Us. It is very true that the Objects of Commerce, which they produce, are in many Respects the Same, with those of America, yet if We consider that We shall have Occasion to purchase from them large Quantities of Hemp and Sail Cloth, and that our Productions of Timber, Pitch, Tar and Turpentine, are less profitable with Us, without Bounties, than some other Branches of Labour, it is not probable that We shall lower the Price of these Articles, in Europe so much as some Conjecture, and consequently our increased Demand upon those Countries for several Articles will be more than a Compensation to them, for the small Loss they may sustain, by a trifling Reduction in the Price of those Articles. It is not probable that the Courts of Petersbourg Stockholm and Copenhagen, have viewed with perfect Indifference the present Revolution. <Yet> If they have been apprehensive of being hurt by it in some Respects, which however I think must have been a Mistaken Apprehension,33 Yet the Motive of humbling the Pride of the English, who have endeavoured to exercise their Domination even over the northern Seas, and to render the Sweedish and Danish Flagg, dependant on theirs, has prevailed over all others, and they are considered in Europe, as having given their Testimony against the English in this War.
Italy, a Country which declines every day, from its ancient Prosperity offers few Objects to our Speculations. The Priviledges of the Port of Leghorn, nevertheless, may render it usefull to our ships, when our Independance shall be acknowledged by Great Britain. If We once flattered ourselves, that the Court of Vienna might receive an American Minister, We were equally in Error respecting the Court of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, where an Austrian Prince reigns, who receives all his Directions from Vienna in such a manner, that he will probably never receive any Person in a public Character, untill the Chief of his House, shall have set him the Example.
The King of the two Sicilies, is in the Same Dependance on the Court of Madrid, and We may depend upon it, he will conform himself to all that she shall suggest to him. This Prince has already ordered the Ports of his Dominions to be open to American Vessells public and private, and has ordered his Ambassador at Paris to apply to your Commissioners for a Description of the American Flagg, that our Vessells might be known and receive no Molestation, upon their Appearance, in his Harbours.34
{ 118 }
The Court of Rome, attached to ancient Customs, will be one of the last to acknowledge our Independance, if We were to solicit for it. But Congress will probably never send a Minister to his Holiness35 who can do them no service, upon Condition of receiving a Catholic Legate or Nuncio in Return, or in other Words an ecclesiastical Tyrant, which it is to be hoped the united States will be too wise ever to admit into their Territories.
The States of the King of Sardinia, are poor and their Commerce is very small. The little Port of Villa Franca, will probably See few American Vessells, nor will there be any close Relations either commercial or political between this Prince and Us.
The Republic of Genoa, is Scarcely known at this Day, in Europe but by those Powers, who borrow Money. It is possible that some Small Sums might be obtained here, if Congress could fall upon Means of insuring a punctual Payment of Interest in Europe.
Venice heretofore so powerfull, is reduced to a very inconsiderable Commerce, and is in an entire state of Decay.
Switzerland is another Lender of Money, but neither her Position nor her Commerce, can Occasion any near Relation with Us.
Whether there is any Thing in these Remarks, worth the Trouble of reading them, I shall submit to the Wisdom of Congress, and subscribe my self with the highest Consideration, Your most obedient and most humble servant.36
[signed] John Adams
RC (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 69); docketed: “Letter from J Adams Braintree Aug. 4. 1779 State of European powers Read Aug 20.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. Some years later JA explained to Mercy Otis Warren that this letter's materials “had been collected in Europe and on the passage, and committed to writing” before his arrival at Boston on 3 Aug. JA drafted the full text in his Letterbook, leaving increasingly generous spaces between sections as he proceeded so that he could add sentences later, which he did in some cases (JA to Mercy Otis Warren, 28 July 1807, MHS, Colls., 5th ser., 4:374–375).
2. Added to the sentence in the Letterbook is a final clause: “a Felicity which arises from several Causes.”
3. After “Reputation” the Letterbook has “and a Stability.”
4. When it seemed that renewed war between the Ottoman Empire and Russia over control of the Crimea might break out, Comte de Saint-Priest more than once warned that the Porte (the imperial government of Turkey) was ill-prepared. Austria added her voice as well. On 21 March the Porte signed the convention of Ainali-Kavak, which reaffirmed the Crimea's independence, agreed upon in the Treaty of Kutschuk-Kainordji in 1774, but gave to the Sultan some face-saving concessions (M. S. Anderson, The Eastern Question, 1774–1923, London, 1966, p. 6–7).
5. Joseph II, of the Holy Roman Empire, was the son of Maria Theresa and co-regent with her over the Hapsburgs' Austrian and Hungarian domain.
6. On 15 Jan. 1778 the Hapsburgs had signed an agreement with the Elector of Palatine, heir to the childless and deceased Elector of Bavaria, that ceded Bavaria to the Austrian house in return for certain concessions. The agreement ignored the rights of the heir presumptive, Duke Charles II of Zweibrücken-Birken• { 119 } feld (Duke of Deux Ponts), to the Elector Palatine. Frederick II (the Great) of Prussia, in his own interest, supported the claims of Duke Charles II.
Frederick's and Joseph's armies faced each other across the Elbe River, but actually there was little fighting because neither side wanted to take any great risks. Maria Theresa, fearful of war, sought to have France and Russia mediate. Given France's obligations in the war against Great Britain, it welcomed peace. Negotiations were greatly encouraged by the peace signed between Russia and the Porte in March 1779, for the easing of trouble with the Ottomans left Russia free to aid Prussia against Austria (Cambridge Modern Hist., 6:630–633).
7. After “who” in the Letterbook, JA interlined “deprived of the Subsidies of England or of France.”
8. Marie Antoinette, a daughter of Maria Theresa, had married Louis XVI in 1770.
9. The Letterbook has “Consideration and Respect.”
10. The Letterbook reads “Connections which now bind that nation to Us.”
11. The Letterbook reads “and <almost> a new World.”
12. This and the preceding sentence were written in the margin of the Letterbook, their place in the text indicated with a mark.
13. The Letterbook has “of Intimacy and of Intercourse.”
14. The Letterbook has “before a certain Laps of Time” in place of the phrase about peace. Not until April 1782 did the Dutch recognize the independence of the United States.
15. The Letterbook adds “otherwise than in a clandestine manner” to this sentence. The following sentence was written at the bottom of the Letterbook page, with its place in the text indicated by a mark.
16. Some idea of the extent of trade of this small Dutch West Indian island is suggested by contemporary reports. A Dutch rear admiral stationed at St. Eustatius for thirteen months, 1778–1779, reported that 3,182 ships sailed from the island. Another reporter claimed that 12,000 hogsheads of tobacco and 1,500,000 ounces of indigo came from North America in exchange for European goods. Military supplies flowed to the colonies from St. Eustatius beginning in 1774 and continued at a high level despite British protests (J. Franklin Jameson, “St. Eustatius in the American Revolution,” AHR, 8:686–687 [July 1903]).
17. The Letterbook reads “would <make Haste> be zealous to unite themselves with Us, and to take.”
18. Following “Defence,” the Letterbook continues: “against the English. It is much to be wished that the Event <will> may justify the opinion that is entertained of her pacific Disposition. <In the mean Time, We ought to endeavour to give her Satisfaction> To their Wisdom.” The sentence about the Floridas does not appear in the Letterbook.
19. The Letterbook begins this paragraph: “It is not necessary to Say many things of Portugal. Under the Administration of.”
20. The treaty signed at San Ildefonso on 1 Oct. 1777 was really a preliminary to the treaty establishing amity and a defensive alliance signed on 24 March 1778, and was particularly important to Spain's calculations regarding a potential war with Britain (Cambridge Modern Hist., 6:375).
21. The Letterbook reads “between <the generous the brave, the humane English> a Nation once generous, humane and brave.”
22. The Letterbook reads “the Letter and Spirit of the Treaty of Utrecht . . . are thought to have so shackled.”
23. The Letterbook reads “without a <Revolution> new Treaty.”
24. This sentence on the unfavorable location of Trieste was interlined in the Letterbook.
25. The Letterbook reads “<the disgraceful,> the ruinous, <the barbarous> American War.”
26. JA did not anticipate the drain that the American Revolution would put on the resources of France.
27. This and the preceding sentence were interlined in the Letterbook.
28. JA probably refers to the letter of 16 Jan. 1778 from Baron von Schulenberg, the Prussian minister of war, in which he said in part: “his majesty wishes that your generous efforts may be crowned with success ... he will not hesitate to acknowledge your independence whenever France, which is more interested in the event of this contest, shall set the exam• { 120 } ple” (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:473). Actually, Frederick saw the Revolution as an opportunity to build up his country's trade while Britain and France were waging war. He did not recognize American independence until Britain did.
29. The substance of this sentence, minus the reference to the Prince of Brunswick, was inserted at the end of the paragraph in the Letterbook.
30. The first partition of Poland was engineered by Prussia, Russia, and Austria in Feb. 1772 (Cambridge Modern Hist., 6:357).
31. In the Letterbook JA wrote, and then canceled: “Russia, Sweeden and Denmark, may be placed in a different Point of sight.”
32. See Edmund Jenings to JA, 15 May, note 4 (above).
33. The “if” clause was not included in the Letterbook.
34. See Domenico Caracciolo to the Commissioners, 8 Oct. 1778, and the Commissioners' reply of the 9th (both above).
35. The Letterbook has “a Pope” for “his Holiness.”
36. This final paragraph is not in the Letterbook.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0081-0001

Author: La Luzerne, Anne César, Chevalier de
Author: French Minister to the U.S.
Author: Barbé-Marbois, François de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-08-07

From the Chevalier de La Luzerne and François Barbé-Marbois

Le Chevalier de la Luzerne et m. de marbois sont bien sensibles au souvenir de Monsieur Adams1 et ont appris avec bien de plaisir que son indisposition n'avait point eu de suites.
Le Docteur Cooper ne prechera point aujourd'hui: M. le Chevalier de la Luzerne espere avoir une autre occasion de l'entendre.
M. de marbois a pris des arrangemens avec M. Cushin pour assister aujourd'hui à un autre sermon.
Nous esperons avoir l'honneur de voir aujourd'hui Monsieur Adams ou chez lui ou sur la Fregatte ou nous allons diner.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0081-0002

Author: La Luzerne, Anne César, Chevalier de
Author: French Minister to the U.S.
Author: Barbé-Marbois, François de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-08-07

Chevalier de La Luzerne to John Adams: A Translation

The Chevalier de la Luzerne and M. Marbois are very moved by the remembrance from Mr. Adams1 and learned with a great deal of pleasure that his indisposition has had no serious consequences.
Dr. Cooper will not preach today: M. le Chevalier de la Luzerne hopes to have another opportunity to hear him.
M. de Marbois has made arrangements with M. Cushing to attend another sermon today.
We hope to have the honor of seeing Mr. Adams today either at his home or on board the frigate where we shall dine.
RC (DSI: Hull Coll.); addressed: “A Monsieur Monsieur John [Adams]”; docketed by John Thaxter: “Card Chevr. d. la Luzerne”; in an unidentified hand: “1779”; by CFA: “August 7th.”
1. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0082

Author: Braintree, town of
Author: Thayer, Ebenezer Jr.
Date: 1779-08-10

John Adams' Credentials to the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention

The Inhabitants of the Town of Braintree, being Legally Assembled on the Ninth day of August instant, pursuant to Legall Warrants, made choice of the Honble. John Adams Esqr. to Represent them in a State Convention, appointed to be convened and held at Cambridge on the first day of September next, for the purpose of Framing a New Constitution.1
[signed] Attest Ebenr. Thayer junr Town Cler[k]
MS (M-Ar: vol. 160, p. 190); docketed: “Braintree.”
1. This attestation of JA's election to the forthcoming state constitutional convention is on the verso of the broadside of 15 June calling for the election of convention delegates from each of the towns entitled to representation in the General Court. Elected by freemen 21 years and over who were inhabitants of a town, the delegates could equal in number the representatives proportioned to each town according to a formula adopted in 1776 (Mass., Province Laws, 5:502–503).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0083

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1779-08-13

To James Lovell

[salute] My dear Sir

Since I have had Opportunity to converse, a little in this Country, and to read a few Gazettes, I find that Questions have been agitated here in the Newspapers, and in private Circles, as well as in Congress, concerning his Excellency the Comte De Vergennes and Mr. A. Lee which seem to make it necessary, that I should Send the inclosed Copies.1 You can judge better than I, whether it will be of any public Utility to lay them before Congress. My first Letter and his Excellencys Answer, I can see no Objection to laying before Congress: But as the rest contain little besides mutual Compliments, perhaps it will be as well to conceal them. I submit the whole, however, to your Discretion, and am with much Esteem, your Friend
[signed] John Adams
RC (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 85); docketed: “Aug. 13. 1779 Hon. J Adams to James Lovell recd. 30 answd. 31st. with a Correspondence between Mr. Adams and Count de Vergennes concerning Mr. Deane's Publication of Decr. 5th. 78, Mr. Arthur Lee's Character and Mr. Adams Conduct in France. read in Congress and laid on the Table by Mr. Lovell Sepr. 27th. 1779.”
1. JA's letters to Vergennes of 11, 16, and 27 Feb., and Vergennes' replies of 13 and 21 Feb. (all above). JA also sent copies on this day to Samuel Adams, saying that he had “been asked a Thousand Questions which may all be answered by { 122 } the inclosed Copies” and telling Adams that he had transmitted copies to Lovell (NN: Bancroft Coll.). All the letters were laid on the table by Lovell the same day for inspection by the members, although the Journal for 27 Sept. makes no mention of the fact.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0084

Author: Rush, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-08-19

From Benjamin Rush

[salute] My Dear sir

The same Opinion of your Abilities and Zeal for our country which made me rejoice in your accepting of an embassy to France, leads me to rejoice with most of your countrymen in your Safe return to your native Shores. I am sure you cannot be idle nor unconcerned 'till the Vessel in which our All is embarked is safely moored. We stand in greater Need than ever of men of your principles. You may be much more useful here than you could have been in the cabinet of Lewis 16th. I reprobate the time and manner in which you were recalled. But I have seen — and felt too much of the indelicacy of the Congress to their faithful Servants to be surprised at their behaviour to you.1 It is to be hoped that2 All is for the best. And that all will end well.
I beg leave now to Acknowledge the receipt of two letters from you, the One just before you sailed from Boston and the Other dated at Passy in France. The last contained intelligence of an interesting nature which I published,3 and which the conduct of the Court of Britain has proved to be true. I was not unmindful of you in your Absence— But had the misfortune of hearing that a very long and particular letter which I wrote to you last winter4 was thrown into the Sea to prevent its falling into the hands of the enemy. I would have wrote a second and a third time, but knowing Something of the cabals of Congress respecting their commissioners, I was afraid my letters would have reached Paris while you were on your passage to America.
I congratulate you upon the present favourable complexion of our Affairs both in Europe and in this Country. Divine providence has saved us in Spite of all that we have done to ruin Ourselves. It would require a Volume to give a history of the political proceedings within and out of doors last winter in our city. The Continental money is now breathing its last among us. Our committees have added their illegal and unconstitutional Violence to the ignorance and negligence of the Congress in order to destroy it.5 Nine tenths of our Contracts now are in gold and silver—Sterling money — or the produce of the Country. The laws of the state prohibiting the circulation of hard money are as much trambled on as the regulations of our committees.
{ 123 }
With best compts. to Mrs. Adams I am my Dear sir your sincere and Affectionate friend
[signed] Benjn. Rush
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honble. John Adams Esqr. at Braintree near Boston”; franked: “free E Gerry”; docketed: “Dr. Rush Aug 19. 1779.”
1. Rush is probably lamenting here the failure of the congress to act upon his recommendations for improving hospital service, which led finally to his resignation as physician general in Jan. 1778 (vol. 5:318–319; Benjamin Rush, Letters, 1:199–200).
2. The previous six words in this sentence and “that” in the following sentence were interlined.
3. Those of 8 Feb. 1778 (vol. 5:402) and 6 Dec. 1778 (above, and see note 4).
4. Presumably that of 27 Oct. 1778 (above).
5. A reference to popular committee actions to curb price rises and stop the monopolization of goods as a way to protect the currency. In Pennsylvania these efforts were mounted by those who supported the state's extremely democratic constitution. Rush was a vigorous opponent of that document (Robert L. Brunhouse, The Counter-Revolution in Pennsylvania, 1776–1790, Harrisburg, 1942, p. 68–72). As “Leonidas” in the Pennsylvania Packet, 3 July 1779, Rush lectured the congress on the shortcomings of its fiscal policies (Benjamin Rush, Letters, 1:229–237).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0085

Author: Gates, Horatio
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-08-20

From Horatio Gates

[salute] Sir

Had I not expected you here before this Time, on your Way to Philadelphia, where I conceived your safe and speedy Arrival must be anxiously wished for by all Patriots, you would, long since, have received a congratulatory Letter from me. It would have been congratulatory indeed; for, whatever Station you maybe in, I firmly believe, Sir, you will prove eminently useful to your Country. Your Return will render abortive many Machinations against her.
I stand indebted to your Kindness for the Receipt of a very sensible Letter, signed Jean Clement, dated Paris the 2nd of June last, the Writer of which informs me that, should I not recollect his Hand-writing, you will explain the Particulars. I should be glad to know from you, whether Counsellor Edmund Jennings, of Maryland, be the Writer.2
Believe, Dear Sir, that it will be a singular Happiness to me, if ever I can give you Proofs of the affectionate Respect of Your most obedient humble Servant
[signed] Horatio Gates
RC (Adams Papers); the addressee's name, inscribed at the bottom of the letter, is given inadvertently as “Honourable Samuel Adams.”
1. On 22 Oct. 1778, the congress had appointed Gates as commander of the eastern district (JCC, 12:1038).
2. For Jenings' use of the pseudonym Jean Clement, see his letters to JA of 10 March, and note 12, and [ca. 6?] June (both above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0086

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-08-20

From James Lovell

[salute] Dear, respected Sir

I am to acknowledge the Receipt of your Favors of Decr. 19, Feb. 191 and Feb. 20 the 1st. on the 16th, the two latter yesterday by Mr. Partridge.2 I ought also to profess myself obliged by your long Letter this day read in Congress dated at Braintree.3
I am quite pleased with finding I had formed a just Opinion of the several Character mentioned in these your Letters to me;4 And should have readily consented to more than seperating the joint Officers, if any Thing would have answered the Purpose of some here but a downright disgracing of them.
By Conversation with Mr. S. A. my Scrawls to Portia and a Resolve or two lately sent her you will find the Stage we are at respecting the Business which has caused you Uneasiness while abroad.5
Mr. D—— is discharged from further Attendance, here; and has an Allowance for the Time he has been disgracing us and betraying us to disgrace ourselves. But he is not yet done. He expects to be paid for going again to France after his Papers and for the Time necessary to settlement of his Accounts. That Business relative to you mentioned in one of your public Letters read Today6 is referred to the Treasury. Be assured you have not an Enemy amongst us; but whether you will hear properly from this quarter hangs on Tomorrow or the next day or the next, &c.
Though my Heart would be more at Ease if you was in Europe than it is at Present in regard to probable Negociations; yet, I must, in a decided Case, congratulate you on your safe Arrival among your Relations. I presume your little Secretary7 is with you; and I hope he is in Health, with the whole Circle of your beloved ones.
The Bearer is 24 Hours earlier upon me than I expected; so that I take up my Pen only that he may not go without a visible Assurance of being with a continued sincere Esteem Sir, your obliged Friend and humble Servant
[signed] Jas. Lovell
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honorable John Adams Esqr. Braintree”; docketed: “Mr. Lovell Aug. 20. 1779,” and, in JA's later hand, “relative to Mr. Deane.”
1. This is likely the letter that JA, in his Letterbook, dated 13 Feb. (above). It was not unusual for JA to draft a letter in his Letterbook and delay sending it. But see Elbridge Gerry to JA, 24 Aug., note 1 (below).
2. George Partridge, elected to the congress from Massachusetts in June (JCC, 14:980; Adams Family Correspondence, 3:208, note 5).
3. That of 4 Aug. (above).
4. Arthur Lee, Izard, Silas Deane, and Franklin (JA to Lovell, 20 Feb., above).
5. Lovell wrote to AA on 16 and 19 { 125 } July and 9 and 11 Aug. (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:211–213, 219–223). In his letter of 9 Aug. he sent copies of two resolutions passed on 6 Aug., setting salaries for the American Commissioners and making provision for examination of their accounts (JCC, 14:928–929).
6. That of 3 Aug. (above), which expresses JA's willingness to submit his accounts.
7. JQA.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0087

Author: Gerry, Elbridge
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-08-24

From Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear Friend

I have only Time by this Days post to express the pleasure I feel on the News of your safe Arrival to your Family and Friends, and the prospect of an agreable and early Interveiw with You. The Letters to me which You mention in your's to Mr. Lovell1 never came to Hand, or I should certainly have acknowledged the Receipt of them; altho I have been under the Necessity of giving up my most agreable Correspondent<s>. I am much informed by your sensible Letter to Congress, which has been justly admired as an accurate History of the Relations, Inclinations, Interests, and Dependencies, of the several Powers of Europe; and I fully agree with You in your private History of Men and Things. Many of our Friends, by a Discovery of their personal Attachments and other impolitic Measures, must now be sensible that they have in great Measure defeated their honorable Intentions of supporting patriotism and Integrity, and developing Conduct which from present appearances, is disgraceful to our Country and the Cause in which We are engaged: but not approving their policy, I presume that I must not expect their Confidence. Your Letter relative to Expences is referred to the Board of Treasury, and will be answered by the next post.2 Pray make my Compliments to Mrs. Adams, and inform me what she will say, if I should again think it my Duty to promote your Appointment to an Embassy in Europe; she cannot justly impute it to the Want of tender Feelings, which married Ladies will rarely allow to Batchelors, When she is truly informed of my Impatience to join your sacred order.3 However I shall never wish to see any of my Friends in important offices under Congress untill they have adopted a Resolution, that no <Member> person shall be appointed to any office of profit of the united States, during the Time of or within twelve Months after his being a Member of Congress.4 I remain sir in Haste with the sincerest Esteem your Friend and very huml. sert.
[signed] E Gerry
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Hona. John Adams Esq at Boston”; franked: “free E Gerry”; docketed: “Mr. Gerry”; by CFA: “August 24th 1779.”
{ 126 }
1. No extant letter from JA to Lovell refers to letters written to Gerry. It could be that a letter of 19 Feb., of which no Letterbook copy exists, but which Lovell said that he received, contains the reference or it may have been in a postscript to a letter for which there is no extant recipient's copy.
2. For the reply from the Board of Treasury, see JA's letter to Gerry of 20 Sept., note 1 (below).
3. Gerry did not marry until 1786, but for an earlier courtship, see Adams Family Correspondence2:94–95.
4. On 25 Sept., Gerry seconded a motion in the congress barring the appointment to an office of profit of any member of the congress. After an unsuccessful attempt to extend the bar for nine months after a member retired, the original motion lost (JCC, 15:1105–1107).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0088

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-08-24

From James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

I am much chagrined at not having a Line about you by last Post. I did not expect one from you. You are so sick of Party abroad that you would not venture to have any thing to do with Individualities, here. Every Line that I read from France, like as yours have done, confirms me in an Approbation of the part I have taken all along through the contests of many months back relative to our Commissioners at foreign Courts. We have now in our different Committees Vouchers sufficient to prove that Mr. A Lee has been greatly abused——greatly provoked——and, in that Predicament, has conducted so as to give his Enemies an Advantage in some points. I hope his Brothers, who are both now out of Congress, will publish several peices, which have lately passed through my Hands; particularly a Letter to Carter Braxton being strictures upon one of his intercepted at Sea.1
I send you three Gazettes which I beg you will inclose to A L, with or without a Letter as you please.2 The Navy Board will forward them by the Vessels which go from Boston. It will be a Satisfaction to him to see that the Falsehood and Malice of the Address of Decr. 5–78; is appearing more and more daily here.
Mr. D——, by a late Application to have his Pay during a Return to France and settlement of our Business which he was forced to leave by our Order of Decr. 8–77, in a very loose condition, has put us upon a fair occasion of doing Justice to ourselves for the Abuses which he has gone into of our over Lenity months ago. I will send you the little foolish part of the vexatious Report of the Committee of 13 which related to you.3 It will show the Spirit of that Committee as well as Izards overheat.
I am persuaded that Watchmen of Integrity are necessary for us abroad; but I would not chuse to emply4Jealousy or Suspicion for such Ends; they never see truly all round. I am in hope that a Treaty of { 127 } Alliance will shortly be formed with Spain, and I am sure that then Mr. L will think he can resign with honor. He would now appear to do it thro fear or thro pet.

[salute] Yr. affectionate humble Servant

[signed] James Lovell
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr Lovell Aug. 24. 1779,” and, in JA's later hand, “Mr. Deane's public Address. Mr. Izzards Petulance &c.”
1. A reference to Arthur Lee's letter of 22 May, which answered the charges in Carter Braxton's intercepted letter of 26 Dec. 1778 to John Ross, extracts from which appeared in Rivington's Royal Gazette of 3 Feb. There Braxton had asserted that the Lees were “actuated by . . . base principles” and were “full of ... artifice and intrigue,” and expressed the hope that Deane might help to reveal their true character. Lee's long and angry reply, finally published in the Virginia Gazette (Dixon, Hunter, Nicolson) of 9 Oct., virtually accused Braxton of treason.
2. See Lovell to JA, 31 Aug., postscript, and JA to Lovell, 10 Sept. (both below).
3. See enclosures in Lovell to JA, 14 Sept. (below).
4. Either an obsolete form of “imply” (OED), or “employ.”

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0089

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1779-08-27

To Elbridge Gerry?

[salute] My dear Sir

I have written, many Times to you, Since I left you, but have never received one Line, except that which accompanied my Commission, which I received at the Same Time.1
Are you of the Board of Treasury Still?2 If you are, I believe I must transmit to you my Accounts and Vouchers, and beg the favour of you to get them passed. I wish to have this Affair off my Mind, which will then be at Ease. If there is a Ballance due to me, I have abandoned my Family and Affairs, so long that I have Occasion enough for it. If the Ballance is due from me, I must pay it, if able, if not I must borrow it.
This will go, I Suppose by the new Plenipo. or the new secretary, who are good Sort of Men. You will be pleased I fancy with their Conversation. They are Sensible Folk, and of Rank.
I am about to assist in the Formation of a new Constitution—a Subject which has been, out of my Head, so long, that I have forgotten, most of the Reflections I ever had about it. Cant you give Us, a few Hints? Your Children, are to have the Benefit of the good, and the Injury of the Evil, that may be in it, as well as mine. You are therefore as much bound as I, to help lay the foundation stones, because you have, or ought to have, as many Children as I.
Seems to me, you wise folks, have managed foreign Affairs, some what curiously, but deep and humble Submission, becomes Us foolish ones.
Dont you intend to Appoint a secretary to the new Commission at { 128 } Versailles? Dont you intend to appoint Consuls, or a Consull to manage, maritime and commercial Affairs? If you dont there will be, more Trouble for you, e'er long.
Dft (Adams Papers); docketed in an unknown hand: “J Adams to Elbridge Gerry Aug 27th 1779.” The letter's presence in the Adams Papers suggests that it was not sent; there is no Letterbook copy.
1. The editors know of letters from JA to Gerry of 9 July (vol. 6:273, calendar entry; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:149–150), 27 Nov., and 5 Dec. 1778 (both above). If this letter is to Gerry, JA refers to Gerry's letter of 3 Dec. 1777, but Gerry also wrote on 8 Dec. 1777 and 25 Jan. 1778 (vol. 5:343–344, 349–350, 394–398). All of those letters, however, were received before JA left America in Feb. 1778. The only letter known to have been written to JA by Gerry while JA was in France was dated 12 May 1779 (Adams Papers), and was not received until JA returned to Paris in 1780. For that letter, see Tristram Dalton to JA, 13 May (above, and note 1) and JA's reply to Gerry of 23 Feb. 1780 (below).
2. Gerry had not served on the Board since 1776, according to standing committee lists compiled by Worthington C. Ford for 1777, 1778, and 1779 in JCC.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0090

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-08-31

From James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

I yesterday received yours of May 14 from L'Orient1 and Aug. 13th. from Braintree with several valuable Papers. I hope to be able to write shortly to you on those Topics which are the Subject of your Correspondence with de Vergennes. At present, as I have been for several days past, I am engaged in a severe wrestling Match with a Chap who has laid many on their Backs here lately. He is known in the Country you have just arrived from by the name of Trépas. I must own he appears to gain upon me particularly Today, tho I follow the advice of Sr. Jas. Jay and two other Gentlemen my Colleague Holten and Mr. Peabody of New Hampshire.2 I give none of this History to my Family. And I desire you will use it only as an apology to you for saying no more now.
[signed] James Lovell
I now send Papers which in my last I desired you to forward to A L.3
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr Lovell 31. Aug. 1779.”
1. Not found.
2. Despite the the usual translation of trépas, in a poetical sense, as death, Lovell meant that he had been ill. Sir James Jay was the older brother of John and had been knighted in 1763 by George III when he offered the King the governors' address from King's (now Columbia) College. Jay, Samuel Holten, and Nathaniel Peabody were all physicians (DAB).
3. See Lovell to JA, 24 Aug. (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0091

Author: Chase, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-09-03

From Samuel Chase

[salute] Dear Sir

I most cordially congratulate You on Your safe Arrival to your Country, Family and Friends. I was honoured with a letter from You last Winter,1 which I should have answered, but what was worthy of your Notice or conveying Information could not with Prudence be intrusted to Paper without a Cypher. Our political Climate has been greatly changed since I had the Pleasure of Seeing You last in Philadelphia. The Spirit of Discord and Faction has gone forth. Intrigue and Cabal has found a Way into our Great-Council-Fire. If I should meet You at Philadelphia, I may be more explicit; in the mean Time if I can render You any Services be pleased to lay your Commands. I shall only add that each Party will endeavor to join You to their Interest. I think your Honor and Character will be more safe, by rejecting both. I doubt not You will excuse this free but sincere advice. I am encouraged to this freedom from your kind and friendly letter from Paris.
A Sloop called the Porpas is arrived at this City from Amsterdam. Tho' embarked in the Commercial World, I have no other Connection with the Owners, than Friendship. I perceive there are a Number of Crates of Earthen and Stone Ware (I beleive 25) shipped to You. If You incline to dispose of them here, I wish You would give Me the preference of the Purchase. I will give You as much as any one. The highest price given here for European Goods, a sorted Cargo, was 70 for 1—that [is] 70£/ Conti: for what cost 1£/ Sterling. I presume Articles so liable to break, would not bring or be worth so much as Cloths, Linen &c. &c.
If You will let Me know what price You will take, I will pay You in Philadelphia, or I will procure a Draft on Boston. You will inclose your order for Delivery, if I elect to take them at your Price. If You should not chuse to sell them here, I shall be glad to render You any Services respecting the Conveyance of them where You may please to order them. By our Laws the purchaser from You can retail them at no more than 30 per Cent.2
I beg to be remembered to Mr. Hancock and my other Friends in Boston.
Accept my best Wishes for your Health and Happiness, and beleive Me to be Dear Sir, Your Affectionate and Obedient Servant
[signed] Saml. Chase
{ 130 }
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr. Chase”; by CFA: “Septr. 3d 1779.” On the blank fourth page of Chase's letter is the draft of JA's reply of 23 Sept. (below).
1. Not found.
2. “An act for the more effectual preventing forestalling and engrossing” (Session Laws, 1779, Ch. XVII, Laws of Maryland, Annapolis, [1779], Evans, No. 16333).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0092

Author: Knox, Henry
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-09-04

From Henry Knox

[salute] Dear Sir

To the numerous congratulations which you have received on your safe arrival in America, permit me to add my tribute, and to felicitate you on your safe return to your Family, friends and Country, and event which I am certain gives you true pleasure and happiness, whatever motives produc'd it, Whether Faction, Ambition, or—as I am a very bad Statesman—true policy in order to procure proper information of the politics of Europe.1
Thank Heaven and the ability and Industry of some-body The State of Europe appears to be such as will in proper time effectually confirm That Peace, Liberty and Safety which America has been so long sighing for.
If it is your design to pass through Camp to Congress I pray you to make me so happy as to take up your residence with me for the time you shall be in Camp.

[salute] I am Dear sir with great Respect and Affection Your Humble Servt.

[signed] H Knox
1. The second dash in this sentence is supplied.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0093

Author: President of Congress
Author: Jay, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-09-07

From the President of the Congress

[salute] Sir

On the 20th. August last I had the Pleasure of recieving and communicating to Congress your Favors of the 3d. and 4th. of that month. Be pleased to accept my Congratulations on your safe Return to your Family and Country. Yours of the 27 Feby. and 1st. March last came to Hand about ten Days ago. An Expectation of having Commands from Congress to transmit, induced me to delay writing 'till now.
I have the Honor to be Sir with great Respect & Esteem Your most obedient and h'ble Servant
[signed] John Jay
RC (Adams Papers). On the reverse side JA wrote out a copy (or draft) of his reply to Jay of 23 Sept. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0094

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Belton, Jonas
Date: 1779-09-10

To Jonas Belton

[salute] Sir

I have received your Letter of the 14 of August,1 and have the Pleasure in Answer to it, to inform you, that I Saw your son, Several Times in France, and in particular, Some time in the Month of February, or Beginning of March last, at Dr. Franklins House, consulting with him about Some of his Philosophical or mechanical Inventions or Projections. He was in good Health. I thank you, Sir, for your complaisant Congratulations, on my Return to my native Country, and am &c.
LbC (Adams Papers); directed to: “Mr. Jonas Belton of Groton New London County, Connecticutt.”
1. Not found. Capt. Jonas Belton, whose military title came from his service in the Connecticut militia in the 1750s, kept a tavern west of Center Groton (Connecticut Colonial Records, 9:241, 422; 10:263; Charles R. Stark, Groton, Conn., 1705–1905, Stonington, Conn., 1922, p. 134, 402). His son was Joseph Belton; see vol. 6:37, and J. D. Schweighauser and others to the Commissioners, 7 Nov. 1778 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0095

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1779-09-10

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear Friend

I received by last Post your obliging Letter of 24 of August. The sight of your Hand Writing, gave me more Pleasure than you are aware. I would send you Copies of my Letters to you, if they were not out of Date at this Time. Thank you for your Compliment on my Letter to Congress. It is a long dull story; but I think Several Things appear from it, that are of great Importance. It appears that the general Arrangement of Interests and Designs in Europe, is more favourable for Us, than even the most Sanguine of Us could have expected. That We have no Reason to fear that England will be able to form one Alliance against Us. That if she should, that one will be the House of Austria, notwithstanding there is an excellent Austrian Princess on the Throne of France, in which Case Prussia and Russia too, would join France and Us. That Prussia and Holland should be cultivated, and what perhaps is of as much Importance as all the rest, it appears from it that France has already derived the most solid and essential Advantages from our Seperation from G. Britain, and Alliance with her; that she will continue to desire still greater Benefits, and therefore, that We may rely on her Friendship, without Sacrificing any essential Right or Interest, from a servile Complaisance to her, much less to the low Intrigues of a few Hucksters.
I have done your Message to Portia: she desires me to tell you that { 132 } there is great Encouragement1 to undertake Embassies to Europe—and that she is very happy to hear of so certain a Sign of Grace, as your Impatience to join, our Sacred Order.
Your Resolution, that no Person shall be appointed to any office within twelve Months of his being a Member of Congress may be too much. I should rather prefer a Resolution, never to appoint any Man abroad that they do not personally know. Yet I think that Resolutions so universal, had better be avoided in either Case.
You have Several very great Men, by all Relation, who have joined you, since I left you.2 No doubt they are thought Superiour to others who have gone before them. If they are both in Abilities and Virtues I wish them success.
I have a great Desire to see the Journals, at before and after my appointment to go to France—and all the Journals. I should be greatly obliged to you for them. I should also be very happy to be informed by what Majority I was chosen and who was for and against and who else in Nomination. I never heard, a Word on the subject, and have very particular Reasons for enquiring.3 Pray dont forget again to write to your old and sincere Friend
[signed] John Adams
Thank you for voting me clear of Suspicions &c. dishonourable to the states. I have a Bone to pick with Adams and Lovel for their Votes on that Occasion.4
RC (CtNhHi, Oct. 1956). LbC (Adams Papers).
1. “Encouragement” is underlined in the Letterbook copy.
2. Among the numerous men who had begun their service in the congress after JA left in the late fall of 1777, he probably was thinking of those like Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer (Md.), John Fell (N.J.), James Searle (Va.), and William Henry Drayton (S.C.). All four were wealthy and prominent in their own states; they had been active patriots and held important public offices (all in DAB).
3. The previous seven words are not in the Letterbook copy. For Gerry's reply to these questions, see his letter of 29 Sept., and notes 3–5 (below).
4. JA is referring to the congress' resolution of 20 April regarding the conflicts between Benjamin Franklin, Silas Deane, Arthur Lee, Ralph Izard, and William Lee. See Lovell to JA, 13 June, note 8 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0096

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Laurens, Henry
Date: 1779-09-10

To Henry Laurens

[salute] My dear Sir

I had the Pleasure of a very agreable private Letter from you, while in Paris, which I answerd, having executed your Orders, as soon as received. Whether you received my Answer I dont know.1
I have had a Stormy Voyage, but not more so than the Scaene you have been in, at Land. I wish I may have escaped with as much Hon• { 133 } our, as you have done:2 but have little Reason to believe it, for I can assure you, without a Compliment, that no Character Stands better, in Europe, than that of President Lawrence except with a few Stockjobbers and Monopolizers, for these last are in Europe as well as America, and neither of these Tribes dare Say any Thing against it.
I long to embrace you a la francoise, but I fear it will be Some Years before I Shall have that Pleasure, unless you will do this Part of the Continent the Honour of a Visit, which would be much for your Health, and give great Pleasure to the People this Way but to none more than your affectionate Friend and very humble Servant
[signed] John Adams
I left Commodore Gillon, and the Captains Robinson and Painter,3 with their under Officers at L'orient, intending home as soon as they could get a Passage, having not succeeded so well as I could wish. These are worthy Officers and deserve as well as if they had succeeded better. You have no doubt Letters from them which make it unnecessary for me to be more particular.
RC (J. W. P. Frost, Maine, 1975.)
1. Laurens wrote on 19 May and JA replied on 27 July 1778 (vol. 6:137, 322–323).
2. A reference to Laurens' resignation as president of the congress on 9 Dec. 1778 (see JA to the president of the congress, 27 Feb., above).
3. Like Gillon, William Robertson was commissioned in the South Carolina navy; Painter, who has not been identified, probably had a similar commission (Charles Oscar Paullin, The Navy of the American Revolution, Cleveland, 1906, p. 435).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0097

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1779-09-10

To James Lovell

[salute] My dear Sir

By the last Post, I had the Pleasure of yours of August 20 and 24. It was not for Want of Affection, that I did not write particularly to you and to many other Gentlemen, but from Want of Time. And since my Arrival to this Time, I have been obliged to go to Boston, Cambridge &c., so often, my good old Town of Braintree having taken it into their Heads, upon my Arrival, to put me into the Convention, that I have not been able to write, excepting on the 13 of Aug. inclosing some Copies of Letters which I wish to hear you have received.
You tell me, that you send me three Gazettes, which you desire me to inclose to A. Lee: but I find but two Gazettes and in neither of them is there a Word relative to the subject You mention.
You say too, that you will send me, a Part of the Report of a Com• { 134 } mittee of 13 relative to me. But in the Journal you inclose, 19th to 24 July, there is nothing like it.
In a late Letter of yours to W. You quote a Letter to H. which says that I did not succeed extravagantly in France, because I attached myself to L. the Madman.1 Does Congress receive such Evidence as this? Anonimous Letters, from Frenchmen to Frenchmen? or even from Americans to Americans?2 do they encourage this? Do they expose the Characters of their servants so much? Do they encourage foreign <Ministers and> Consuls or even Ministers to attack the Characters of their Ministers abroad with such Weapons?3 Do they permit, foreign Ministers, and even Consuls, or commercial agents to become Partisans for or against Persons or systems? Mr. H's Master will not encourage him in it, I am well perswaded? and Mr. Holker May depend upon it, his Master or rather his Masters' Master4 shall know it, if he does <not conduct himself better> make himself busy in Party Matters. I wish to know whether this letter was from Monthieu or Chaumont, or from whom? If the Latter, I shall make you laugh: if the former, Swear. I hope it was from neither.
However, I hope my Countrymen, will believe the King, whose sentiments of me and my Conduct, are certified to me, by the Comte De Vergennes in the Letters I inclosed to you the 13 of August, rather sooner, than the anonimous Correspondent of Mr. H. The Chevalier de la Luzerne, and Mr. Marbois, will inform you, if you ask them, what my Character was in France, although I am perswaded, they will never be Party Men. I know they dare not, for they have positive Instructions against it from the King.5
In your Letter of the 20th, you assure me in strong Terms that “I have not an Enemy, amongst you.”6 I am very Sure, there is no Man there who has any just Cause, to be my personal Enemy: But I think there must be many, in political Opposition to me. By the Hint you give of Iz's over heat, I dont know what to guess. Is it possible that Iz. should have written, to my Disadvantage? It is very true, that I thought him, sometimes <indiscreet and> imprudent, and that I uniformly and firmly refused to have any Concern in the Dispute between him and F. either before or after my Arrival in France: But I always told him this and my Reasons for it, so frankly and I always preserved with him and he with me, So friendly a personal Acquaintance, that altho I am very sensible he thinks I ought to have inserted myself more in their Quarrells, yet I think it is impossible, he should have written against me. However I thought him too hot, and therefore it is very probable he thought me too cool. Reasonable Men will judge. <I never, can sufficiently.>
{ 135 }
I never heard in my Life, of any Misunderstanding among any of the Commissioners, that I can recollect, untill my Arrival at Bourdeaux. I had not been on shore an Hour before I learn'd it. When I arrived at Paris I found that it had arrived to a great Hight. Each Party endeavoured, to get me to inquire into the subjects of their Quarrells, and to join them. But I refused to have any Thing to do with their personal7 Disputes, and determined to treat every one of them as the Representative of the united states, to endeavour to cool and soften their Animosities as far as I could, and in all public Questions, impartially to give my Judgment according to Justice and good Policy. These Maxims, I invariably pursued, and I could challenge any of them, of any side to say that I ever deviated from them.
If you recollect, what has been done—that I was struck, in an instant <out of political Existence> in the sight of all Europe and America out of political Existence, that the scaffold, was cutt away, and I left sprawling in the mire,8 that not a Word was said to me—that I was neither desired nor directed to Stay or go—that I was never impowerd to draw a farthing of Money, to subsist me in Europe or even to pay the Expences of my Journey to a seaport—nor for my Passage home. That Dr. F. was not even authorized to advance a shilling for me. That he is Strictly culpable for doing it, altho he genteelly ran the risque.9 That the World was left to conjecture, what had brought upon me this Vengeance of my sovereign: whether it was for Gambling in the stocks: whether it was for forming commercial Combinations for my private Interest in all the seaport Towns in France, and in all the states of America; or whether it was for Treason against my Country, or Selling her Interest for Bribes. And all this after, I had undertaken to obey the Commands of Congress, at many Hazards of my Life and Liberty, Commands unsolicited by me, and given when I was absent: I think you must reconsider your Opinion concerning my Friends and Enemies in Congress. However, I shall not whine to Congress much less storm in News Papers, concerning the personal Treatment of me—unless I should be driven to the Necessity of a candid Appeal to the World. This would oblige me to lay open So many Things and Characters that had better be concealed that such Necessity must be very evident before I shall venture upon it.10 I dont dread however, for myself, nor much for the publick, taking Mr. D in his own Way but I should go a little deeper than Mr. <P. did> Paine did.11 But it is a melancholly Consideration, and of <no promising> a very dangerous and destructive Tendency, that so many Characters, as meritorious as any that ever served this Continent, should be immolated not to Divinities but to a Gang of Pedlars. Write me, when you can & believe me your F.
{ 136 }
I thank you, for your kind Attention to my dear Portia, in my Absence, but your Rogueries are so bewitching that I should, have some hesitation about trusting you nearer together, than Philadelphia and <Boston> Braintree.
1. In a letter to James Warren of 13 Aug., Lovell quoted an extract from a letter in French dated 7 Dec. 1778, which was laid on the table in the congress by Gouverneur Morris on 3 May. Because John Holker, agent of France for its marine, supplied the fragment, Lovell concluded that the French letter was to him. As translated by Lovell the extract read, “Mr. J. Adams the Deputy does not succeed here further than is reasonable: He appears to be intirely devoted to Mr. Lee, who, as you know, is a sort of mad-man” (Warren-Adams Letters, 2:117–118).
2. The previous six words are interlined.
3. The phrase “with such Weapons” and the sentence that follows are interlined.
4. The previous five words are interlined.
5. The previous two sentences are interlined.
6. The opening quotation mark is supplied. JA changed only the pronouns.
7. This word is interlined.
8. The passages “in the sight of all Europe and America” and “that the scaffold ... in the mire” are interlined. Compare this passage with that in JA's letter to AA of 28 Feb. (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:181).
9. This sentence is interlined, and the long one following it is written lengthwise along the margin, its place in the text indicated with a mark.
10. This sentence and the clause beginning with “unless” which precedes it are interlined.
11. This sentence is written in the bottom margin, its place in the text indicated with a mark. For Paine's attack on Deane, see Edmund Jenings to JA, 25 April, note 1 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0098

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Marchant, Henry
Date: 1779-09-10

To Henry Marchant

[salute] My dear Sir

A few Days before I Sailed from America, I had the Pleasure of a Letter from you, on the subject of a Law for Confiscations,1 but my Engagements in a new Scaene of Adventures, made it impossible to attend to the subject, or answer the Letter. And Since, my Peregrination, not having received any Letters from you, and being occupied in a manner you may well imagine, I have not I confess done my Duty to you.
I believe the Scaene of Affairs you have been in, has been as disagreable as mine. I fancy We both deserve Commisseration, and shall have it—from Posterity, and from those of the present Generation, who may be in Similar Circumstances, if any such there can be. Yet I confess I am of old Dr. Cutlers2 Mind “I hate to be pitied.”
I had the inexpressible Pleasure, of finding on my Arrival my own Family and all my Connections in perfect Health—a fine Season, which promised Abundance of every Necessary for the People; our military and political Affairs in a much better Condition than I ex• { 137 } pected, and infinitely less of Discontent and ill Humour, among all Sorts of People than I left when I went away.
I joyfully congratulate you on the fair Prospect of Affairs, that lies all around Us, except the affair of our Currency. But as this neither kills nor Wounds, nor starves any body, I do not suffer it to darken the scaene very much. We shall blunder along through, with tolerable Comfort, I think, the remainder of the Voyage.
Our maritime Power, has become an astonishing Thing. The Destruction of Thirty Eight Vessells at Penobscott is scarcely felt, and near 30 Privateers I am told have sailed since the Embargo.3 Wonders have been done this Year and greater will be done next. Poor Britania! I feel that kind of Compassion for thee, that I have sometimes felt, for an habitual Drunkard, who knew that he was ruining soul, Body and Estate, yet could not resolve to keep the Cup from his Lips.
I took my Pen, only to pay my Respects to you; to ask your further Correspondence and to assure you that I am your Frid & sert
[signed] John Adams
1. That of 22 Dec. 1777 (vol. 5:363). When he wrote, Marchant, like JA, had just left the congress. He returned to the congress in the summer of 1778 and served until the end of Nov. 1779 (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 3:lx; 4:lxii).
2. Perhaps Rev. Timothy Cutler, Harvard 1701, Congregational apostate and early Anglican leader in Boston (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 5:45–67).
3. The clause about privateers is interlined; JA appears to have first written “40 Privateers,” and then heavily written a “3” over the “4.” Presumably a large number of privateers sailed because their crews were the more readily obtainable as a result of congressional action on embargoes. See John Bondfield to the Commissioners, 3 Oct. 1778 (above). A number of states had embargoes on provisions, which served a twofold purpose. Keeping needed food supplies within a state helped hold down prices (Pennsylvania Archives, Phila. and Harrisburg, 1852–1935; 119 vols. in 123, 1st ser., 7:588) and also kept such supplies out of the clutches of British warships. Such embargoes could cause temporary hardship elsewhere; earlier in the year both Rhode Island and Massachusetts turned to the congress for help in acquiring food supplies from states with embargoes (JCC, 13:130, 152, 257, 449). On 11 Aug. the Pennsylvania Supreme Executive Council sought the advice of the congress on whether to extend the state's embargo past 1 Sept., when it was scheduled to expire (Pennsylvania Colonial Records, 1683–1790;, Phila. and Harrisburg, 1851–1853; 16 vols., 12:70–71;). The first committee report on Pennsylvania's query recommended that all states end their embargoes by 1 Oct., but the congress voted to recommit the report. On 21 Aug., the congress voted to recommend extension of all embargoes to 1 Jan. 1780 and urged the inclusion of a specified list of grains and meat products and the adoption of an embargo by every state. At the same time it called for an end to restrictions on inland trade. A later attempt to return to the 1 Oct. expiration date, as first recommended, was defeated (JCC, 14:953–954; 986–987; 15:1036–1037). An additional reason for success in privateering was the presence of French naval forces in the West Indies, which drew British frigates away from the North American coast (see James Warren to JA, 13 June, above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0099

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Jay, John
Date: 1779-09-10

To the President of the Congress

[salute] Sir

Looking over the printed Journals of Congress of the fifteenth day of last April, I find in the Report of the Committee, appointed to take into Consideration the foreign Affairs of these united States, and also the Conduct of the late and present Commissioners of these States; the two following Articles.
“1. That it appears to them that Dr. Franklin, is Plenipotentiary, for these States at the Court of France, Dr. A. Lee Commissioner for the Court of Spain, Mr. William Lee Commissioner for the Courts of Vienna and Berlin, Mr. Ralph Izard Commissioner for the Court of Tuscany: that Mr. J. Adams was appointed one of the Commissioners at the Court of France in the Place of Mr. Deane, who had been appointed a joint Commissioner with Dr. Franklin and Dr. A. Lee, but that the Said Commission of Mr. Adams is Superseeded by the Plenipotentiary Commission to Dr. Franklin.
“3d. That in the Course of their Examination and Enquiry, they find many Complaints against the Said Commissioners, and the political and commercial Agency of Mr. Deane which Complaints, with the Evidence in Support thereof are herewith delivered, and to which the Committee beg Leave to refer.”
The Word “Said” in the third Article refers to the Commissioners mentioned in the first, and as my Name, is among them, I learn from hence, that there were Some Complaints2 against me, and that the Evidence in Support of them was delivered in to Congress by the Committee.3
I therefore pray, that I may be favoured4 with Copies of those Complaints and Evidences,5 and the Names of my Accusers and the Witnesses against me, that I may take such Measures, as may be in my Power to justify myself to Congress. I have the Honour to be with great Respect, Sir your most obedient and most humble servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 89); docketed: “John Adams Esq 10th. Sepr. 1779 Read 29.” LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “<not sent> sent.”
1. The Letterbook has an original date of “August 17” crossed out and “September 10” substituted. Since the Letterbook copy comes after a series of letters written in August, it is likely that JA intended to enter a letter on 17 Aug. and then changed his mind. When he wrote this letter, the first of eight dated 10 Sept. entered in the Letterbook, he placed it on the same page, which was blank except for the date of 17 August.
2. The Letterbook reads: “that there were <many Complaints or to Speak more certainly> Some Complaints <[ . . . ]t>.”
3. At this point in the Letterbook, the following paragraph is crossed out: “As, { 139 } the Recall of Mr Deane, was made, by Congress, when I was absent and as I had the honour of being elected and to receive a Commission from Congress, without the smallest solicitation, or indeed the least Expectation, or Desire when I was five hundred Miles distant at least. As I readily undertook this arduous office and have executed it, <to the entire satisfaction of the August sovereign to whom I was sent> through many Hazards of my life and Liberty, to the <entire> particular satisfaction of that August Sovereign to whom I was sent, I think I have a Claim upon the Justice of my Country that, my Reputation may not be permitted to be Stained, unless I deserve it.” In the margins at the bottom of the page opposite the first part of the paragraph and again at the top of the next page opposite the second part of the paragraph is the word “erased.”
4. The Letterbook has: “I therefore humbly request that Congress would favour me.”
5. See enclosures in James Lovell to JA, 14 Sept. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0100

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Roberdeau, Daniel
Date: 1779-09-10

To Daniel Roberdeau

[salute] My dear Friend

I have not the less Affection for you, not the less pleasing Remembrance of the social Hours at York Town, for not having written since my Departure. Whatever may be thought of it, I have been very busy, and about such Objects and in such scaenes, as left me no Heart to write, except upon necessary Business. If you have ever suspected that I have not thought of you often enough, you have no greater Complaint against me than my Wife and Children, and as I have been so happy as to make this matter up with them, I dont despair of succeeding with you. How does Mrs. Clymer and Miss Betsy, your son and Daughters.1 These I suppose are grown beyond my Knowledge. I am sure my own Children are in a manner. I shall see them all I hope some time or other. But whether I do or not I wish them all the Prosperity, that you can reasonably desire for them. My affectionate Respects to them all.
But above all I wish you Joy of your happy Marriage, since I left you and desire you would present my best Respects to Mrs. Roberdeau.2
These pleasing Family scaenes make me forget, the turbulent political ones in which, We have both been tossed. I think however that the worst is past, and this is a Consolation for all.
As you Speak French, so well, you will of Course have much Conversation with the Chevalier de La Luzerne and Mr. Marbois. I should be obliged to you, if you will present my Compliments to them. If I am not much deceived you will find them worthy of their Places, and of particular Respect. They will neither propagate Irreligion nor Immorality, nor Corruption, nor Servility nor bad Policy—unless they should be changed.
{ 140 }

[salute] I am with great Esteem and Respect, sir your Frd & most obedient sert

1. On the Roberdeau family, see Adams Family Correspondence, 2:352–353.
2. Roberdeau, whose first wife died in the winter of 1777, had married Jane Milligan on 2 Dec. 1778 (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0101

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Rush, Benjamin
Date: 1779-09-10

To Benjamin Rush

[salute] My dear Friend

I am indebted to you, for more Letters than I can repay at present. But declaring myself a Bankrupt, You must except of a few shillings in the Pound. Indeed I suspect the Debt is greater than I know of. I saw in the Courier de L'Europe, Part of a Letter from you to Dr. Dubourg,1 which was intercepted, in which you refer him to me for a long Letter you wrote me upon our military affairs &c. But this Letter nor any other from you never reached me in France.2
I was sensibly afflicted at this Loss, for there are no Letters, I prize more than yours, because none are to me more instructive, and in Europe I was terribly tormented for Want of Information from this Country.
How goes on your Government? When I arrived I found the Massachusetts, in Sober Earnest, endeavouring at last to frame a Constitution. The People have done themselves Honour in chosing a great Number of the most respectable Men, into the Convention, and there has been hitherto great Harmony among them. My native Town of Braintree did me the Honour to choose me, into this society of Worthies, upon my first Arrival, and although I foresee I shall have a laborious Piece of Business of it; yet I am much pleased with the Opportunity of having a share in this great Work. Yet it is impossible for Us to acquire any Honour, as so many fine Examples have been so recently set Us; altho We shall deserve some degree of Disgrace if We fall much short of them. It will not be easy to please this People: But I hope We shall succeed—if We do not, I dont know what will be the Consequence.
We must send to Europe, or to the other states for what I know for a set of Legislators. My best Respects to your agreable Family, and all our Friends in Philadelphia, and believe me your Frid & sert.
1. For Jacques Barbeu Dubourg, who was well known to Franklin and had been a correspondent of Rush, see Benjamin Rush, Letters, 1:77, note 1. Rush's { 141 } letter to Dubourg was dated 10 Nov. 1778 and appeared in the Courier de l'Europe of 23 March 1779. The letter to JA that Rush mentioned to Dubourg was almost certainly that of 27 Oct. 1778 (above), which dealt largely with military affairs.
2. “Nor any other from you” and “in France” are interlined.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0102

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1779-09-11

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] Dear Sir

Early last Fall, in Conversation with Several Gentlemen, who are acquainted with Ministers of State, I laboured to convince them of the Policy and Necessity of sending Strong Reinforcements to the Compte D'Estaing. Mr. Chaumont particularly, coming into my Chamber, one Morning in his Way to Versailles, I begged him to mention it to the Compte De Vergennes, and Mr. De Sartine and endeavoured to possess him with my Reasons. On his Return he told me he had done it, and that they had hearkened to him attentively. About the same Time I had a long Conversation with Mr. Garnier, late secretary to the French Embassy in England, who told me soon afterwards that he had been to Versailles on Purpose to <re>present my Reasoning to the Ministry and that they had heard him, with Pleasure. Soon afterwards I met Mr. Genet, who is the first Comis1 of the Office of foreign Affairs, at Mr. Izards. I began a Conversation with him, upon the same subject, and entered into the Reasons at large. Both these Gentlemen, I mean Genet and Izard appeared pleased with the Conversation. A few days afterwards I had a Letter from Genet,2 in which he informed me, that he had been impressed upon Reflection on what I had said to him, with such a sense of its Importance, that he had waited on Mr. De Sartine, and the Compte De Vergennes, the next Morning to propose it to them, that he had been very patiently heard by them, and desired to state his Reasons in Writing, in order to which he desired my Assistance. Upon considering the matter, I thought, that if I should enter into a Correspondence with a Comis, upon this subject alone, instead of proposing it, to my Colleagues, and joining with them, it would not have so much Weight, at Court; it would excite Jealousies in my Colleagues, and be against the Maxim by which I had invariably conducted My self, to do nothing with out consulting them.
Instead therefore of answering Genets Letter,3 I applied my self to get my Colleagues to join me, in a direct Application to Court. I proposed it to them. Mr. Lee entered into it with Zeal, Dr. F. with Moderation. I desired Mr. Lee to draw up, a Letter. He did, it was a very handsome one, but short. I told him I thought We had better be more { 142 } particular, in our Reasons. He agreed, and desired me to attempt a Draught. I took a Time, and wrote a Treatise, which I shewed my Colleagues. They said that the Observations were very well, but too long for a Minister of State to read. I thought so too, and desired Dr. F. to take the Letter Book as he had an happy faculty of Writing shortly and clearly, and make a Draught. He took the Book, and after some short time, returned it with a few Corrections to my Treatise, saying that upon reading it again he thought it would do very well, and that it was not worth while to make a new Draught. However I thought the Length of it, would weaken it, and it was too hastily and incorrectly written. I therefore undertook to make a new Draught, Copy of which I send you. It was agreed to by my Colleagues, signed by all three of Us,4 sent to Court, and answered by the Compte De Vergennes, that it contained Matters of great Importance, and should be considered in due time.5
Whether these Negotiations had any Influence at Court, I cant say, but it is certain that the Compte De Grass, was sent in December, with one Reinforcement to the Compte D'Estaing, and Mr. De la Motte Piquet, in the spring with another, besides some other scattering ships, and if the Compte D'Estaing is now upon this Coast, this fact may be another Commentary on the Letter.
On the first Arrival of the Marquis De la Fayette in Paris, I made him a Visit and finding him alone, had two Hours Conversation with him, in which I entered into all these Things, and had the Pleasure to find him well acquainted with our Affairs, and heartily disposed to serve Us. He told me, he would represent every one, of my Arguments as from himself to the Ministry, which was what I desired, because I knew that his Character was so high and he was so beloved at Court, that he would be always there, and constantly in Conversation on our affairs. The next Morning however, fearing he might forget, or not be perfectly possessed of my Meaning, I wrote him the Letter,6 Copy of which is inclosed, which he has since told me in Conversation he approved in every Part, and would represent at Court, and by his answer to my Letter,7 a little before I sailed, he told me, he had been constantly representing and had in some Measure succeeded.
I send these Things to you in Confidence—you will not expose me. I would not appear to arrogate to my self what belongs to others, nor would I wish to be thought by you and my other Friends to have been idle and Useless. As to being idle the public Letter Book, which is almost all in my Hand Writing, will sufficiently shew that I was not so.
You can have no adequate Idea of the Difficulty We had in doing { 143 } Business, while We acted together. But although it was become necessary to appoint one Minister alone at that Court, it is still necessary to go farther, to appoint a secretary to the Commission, and to give the Management of all maritime and commercial Affairs to a Consul, to reside at Nantes. There is a Gentleman in Paris, whose Name I will venture to mention to you, Edmund Jennings Esqr., Councillor at Law of Maryland. This Gentleman appears to me, to have Such Abilities, such extensive Knowledge, and so much Candor and Moderation, that I cannot but think he would be very usefull as secretary to the Commission. And I would fain hope he would accept it. He is not upon bad Terms with F. nor too much an Idolater of him, which is exactly the Character that a Secretary to the Commission ought to have, in Relation to the Minister. There are Gentlemen in Congress who know him. Mr. D's Wish is to have Dr. Bancroft made Secretary. If this should happen, America ought to retire and weep. F's Desire, no doubt would be to have his Grandson, but he is too young and too nearly connected. I rely upon your Discretion to make Use of this Letter only for the public Good, and am with great Affection your Frd
[signed] John Adams
RC (NjHi); docketed: “Braintree Letter Hona. J Adams Esq. Sep 11 2 Inclosures 1779.” For the enclosures, see notes 4 and 6.
1. That is, clerk.
2. That of 29 Oct. 1778 (above).
3. In his Letterbook JA did draft a reply to Genet, dated 31 Oct. (above), but he did not send it.
4. Commissioners to Vergennes, [ante 20] Dec. 1778–[ante 9] Jan. 1779, No. II, and descriptive note (above). The enclosure is now in the Edward Davis Townsend Collection at the Huntington Library.
5. Vergennes to the Commissioners, 9 Jan. (above).
6. JA to Lafayette, 21 Feb., and descriptive note (above). The enclosure is now in the collections of the New-York Historical Society.
7. Lafayette to JA, 9 April (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0103

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1779-09-11

To James Warren

[salute] My dear Friend

I was told in Boston that Mr. Avery and Mr. Wendell had been proposed for Judges of the Inferior Court for the County of Suffolk, in the Room of my Friend Pemberton.1 I said not a Word, but since I have been at home, I have reflected upon this and altho these Gentlemen have amiable Characters I cannot think them So well qualified for this Place as Mr. Cranch, whose great Natural Abilities, and whose late Application to the study of the Law and to public affairs, made him occur to my Mind.2 It is the first Time of my whole Life, that I recollect that I ever proposed a Relation of mine, for a Place,3 and I cer• { 144 } tainly should not have done it in this Case, if he had not been, entirely without my Knowledge untill my Arrival, been brought into public View. If you think as I do, that the public will be as faithfully and ably served by such an Appointment, as by any other, and will mention it to Mr. Sever,4 who is acquainted with him, perhaps it may be proposed in Council. There is but one objection that I know of, and that is, he is my Brother. This may be enough. <My most>

[salute] In haste yours

[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “The Honourable James Warren Esqr of the Continental Navy Board Boston”; docketed: “Mr. J Adams. Lettr. Sepr. 1779.”
1. Neither John Avery nor Oliver Wendell was appointed to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Samuel Pemberton (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 14:384–389; 13:367–374; 11:161–162).
2. Richard Cranch, married to AA's sister Mary, was then a member of the House of Representatives (Mass., Province Laws, 21:4). Cranch was named to the common pleas court in 1780 (William T. Davis, History of the Judiciary of Massachusetts, Boston, 1900, p. 151).
3. In a letter of 2 May 1775, JA hinted to Joseph Palmer “in Behalf of [his] Brothers, if Either of them should have an Inclination to engage in the Army” (vol. 3:1, and note 7).
4. William Sever was then a Council member (Mass., Province Laws, 21:3).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0104

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Whipple, William
Date: 1779-09-11

To William Whipple

[salute] My old Friend

How do ye? Here I am, after, escaping storms, thunder, lightning, the Gulph Stream British Squadrons, Cannon Balls, and what is ten Thousand Times worse than all of them the Neglect and Contempt of Congress. Dont you think me a Philosopher, to pronounce these Words Neglect and Contempt with so much Deliberation Patience and Tranquility?
When Dr. Fs new Commission arrived, there was much Pains taken to perswade me to stay. Dr. F. advised me to take a Journey to Geneva, others to Amsterdam. Mr. Chaumont offered me, his House in the Country during the War.1 Dr. Bancroft the confidential Friend of F. D. and C. told me, he had a Letter from Charmichael, in which he was told that the Gentlemen of that side of the House,2 intended to send me to Spain, in the Room of Lee. The Marquis de la Fayette told me that Mr. G. Morris told him, that they intended to send me to Spain.3 By Letters from R. H. Lee and Lovell and S. Adams, I was told they intended to send me to Holland.4
Although it was flattering enough to me to find, that both sides professed to be willing to employ me somewhere, yet I knew very well it { 145 } would be so long before they would be able to agree and determine the Place, that I thought it my Duty to return home, that they might have Time enough to deliberate upon it, rather than stay there, eating public Bread without doing any Thing to earn it5 in a situation both painfull and ridiculous like that of Ariel wedged by the Waiste in the middle of a rifted Oak.6
I have been conning over your Journals, but cannot yet comprehend many Things. You must have had many Things and much Information that I am a stranger to, I think. Quere whether I am not nearly enough like a Member of Congress to be intrusted with Some of your secrets, not such as you are enjoyned to keep so, but others. When you return call and see me.

[salute] Your Frid & most obt sert

[signed] John Adams
1. See Chaumont to JA, 25 Feb. (above).
2. That is, those supporting Silas Deane.
3. This sentence was written at the bottom of the letter, its place in the text indicated with a mark.
4. See letters from Richard Henry Lee and Samuel Adams of 29 and 25 Oct. 1778 respectively (both above). No letter from James Lovell mentioning Holland has been found. All three were supporters of Arthur Lee and would not have wanted to give Lee's commission to Spain to JA.
5. The phrase “eating public Bread . . . to earn it” is interlined.
6. JA alludes to Shakespeare's The Tempest, Act I, scene ii, lines 274–279, but Ariel was imprisoned in “a cloven pine.”

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0105

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1779-09-13

To the Massachusetts Council

[salute] May it please your Honours

While I resided at Paris, I had an opportunity of procuring from London, exact Information, concerning the British Whale Fishery on the Coast of Brazil, which I beg Leave to communicate to your Honours, that if any Advantage can be made of it, the Opportunity may not be lost.1
The English, the last Year and the Year before, carried on, this Fishery to very great Advantage, off of the River Plate, 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 had Seventeen Vessells in this Fishery, which all Sailed from London, in the Months of September and October. All the Officers and Men, are Americans.
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, Reu• { 146 } ben Fitch, Zebbeda Coffin, and another Coffin,[]Delano, Andrew Swain, William Ray, all of Nantuckett, John Lock, Cape Cod. Four or five of these Vessells went to Greenland. The Fleet Sails to Greenland, yearly, the last of February, or the Beginning of March.
There was published, the Year before last, in the English Newspapers, and the Same Imposture was repeated last Year, and no doubt will be renewed this, a Letter from the Lords of the Admiralty to Mr. Dennis De Berdt in Colman Street, informing him, that a Convoy should be appointed to the Brazil Fleet. But this, I had 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 the Year before.
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 sufficient. The Beginning of December, would be the best Time to proceed from hence, because the Frigate 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 of Seamen, would be taken out of the Hands of the English, and might be gained into the American service to act against the Ennemy. Most of the Officers and Men wish well to this Country, and would gladly be in its service, if they could be delivered, from that they are engaged in. Whenever an English Man of War, or Privateer, has taken an American Vessell, they have given to the Whalemen among the Crew, by order of Government, their Choice, either to go on Board a Man of War, and fight against their Country or go into the Whale Fishery; such Numbers have chosen the latter as have made up the Crews of these seventeen Vessells.
I thought it my Duty to communicate this Intelligence to your Honours, that if So profitable a Branch of Commerce, and so valuable a Nursery of Seamen, can be taken from the English it may be done. This state has a peculiar Right and Interest to undertake the Enterprise, as almost the whole Fleet, belongs to it.
I have the Honour to be, with the highest Consideration, your Honours most obedient & most humble servant
[signed] John Adams2
Read and sent down
[signed] John Avery D Secy.
Read—and the House being first enjoined secresy on the subject matter thereof—Orderd That the Honbl. General Warren, and Mr. { 147 } [Caleb] Davis of Boston, with such as the Honble. Board shall join be a Committee to consider the same—and report what is proper to be done thereon.
Sent up for Concurrence
[signed] John Hancock Spkr.
Read and Concurred and Moses Gill Eqr. is joined.
[signed] John Avery D Secy.
RC (M-Ar: vol. 210, p. 216–218A); docketed: “Letter from Honbl. John Adams & Report thereon” and “Resolve on a Letter from Honbl John Adams Letter to transmit the same to the Honble Congress October 6th. 1779.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. JA copied the following four paragraphs virtually verbatim, even retaining the blank spaces for Goldsmith and Delano in place of their first names, from his Letterbook copy of Benjamin Franklin's and his letter to Sartine of 30 Oct. 1778 (above), which in turn follows the text of JA's Diary entry of 8 Oct. (Diary and Autobiography, 2:319–320).
2. A note in JA's hand at the bottom of the Letterbook copy reads: “on the 19 Oct. 1779 wrote the same to Congress, concerning this Fishery.” See PCC, No. 84, I, f. 97. JA's letter, with “an extract from the proceedings of the general court,” arrived in the congress on 1 Nov. It was read but not referred to a committee for action (JCC, 15:1231). Apart from changes made necessary by its being sent to the congress, the letter was little altered. JA omitted the statement that he procured his information from London on whaling off Brazil and that it was “exact.” In concluding, he mentioned his unsuccessful effort with his colleagues in Paris to persuade the French to take action. He also mentioned his appeal to the Massachusetts Council but noted, correctly as it turned out, that after the disastrous Penobscot Expedition, the state was unlikely to act.
3. A mistake for the 14th.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0106-0001

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-09-14

From James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

Your favor of Aug. 4 came yesterday to hand with the Pamphlets.1 If the Chevalier does not take his Bias at Bethlehem or Easton where he is to be documented 2 or 3 days,2 I shall continue in the hopes which your good Judgement has inspired.
We have indeed had a stormy Time; and some Villains, I guess wanted to get hold of the Helm and the main Stays at a critical Moment.
We are going to tell S[pain] she may have the Fl[orid]as before she asks, and we shall be too bashful even to tell her we wish to get at the hundred of thousands of Acres of Virginia freely in Boats by that River on whose Banks they lay.3
The dull letter4 you mention has been received, and I believe wished never to have been written, by the poor Drudges in the Secretary's Office who are called upon for Copies by every lazy Member, and I assure you that is more than the sanctified Number 13.5
{ 148 }
It would have been better for W H D if he had been of the Class; but he did, as does another whose broken Constitution is at this minute wishing pen and ink banished from his Sight for a Month.6
I have sent the Journals to your Family and shall continue the Numbers as they come out. By way of small politics; I send the Copy of a rough Copy in part of Something I sent you when we were stumbling in the dark about Ultimata.7
RC (Adams Papers); with three enclosures. The enclosures were filmed under the date of 13 June and appear immediately after the recipient's copy of James Lovell's letter to JA of that date (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 350). The first enclosure, designated “No. 1” and docketed “Mr Lovel June 13. 1779 'Je crains M. A. L. et ses entours.' Vergennes,” is not identical to the recipient's copy of 13 June (above), and the annotation pertaining to matters common to both documents is not repeated here. As a result, the two versions should be compared. The second enclosure, designated “No. 2” and docketed “Izard,” was copied from the committee's report of 24 March (PCC, No. 25, I, f. 101; JCC, 13:363–368). The passage is written on the verso of a piece of paper cut from the address page of a letter by George Washington, probably to the president of the congress, and bears the words “His Ex” and “Go. Was,” the first portion of Washington's signature endorsing the letter. The third enclosure, designated “No. 3,” labeled “Copy,” and docketed “Izard,” comprises less than two pages of Izard's full letter of this date, which is approximately seven and one-half pages long (PCC, No. 89, I, f. 90–97; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:710–714).
1. No letter of 4 Aug. from JA to Lovell has been found.
2. Bethlehem and Easton, Penna., were on a common route to Philadelphia from New England, and Lovell may have feared that Gérard would meet La Luzerne there and, in the process of documenting or instructing him, would communicate his bias for Deane. In fact, Gérard and La Luzerne met at Bristol, Penna.
3. The instructions to the American Peace Commissioner adopted on 14 Aug. provided as one of the ultimata that the western boundary of the United States would be the Mississippi River, thus taking in the vast claims by Virginia and other states. Such an ultimatum had also appeared in the draft committee report of 23 Feb. on the objects to be pursued in any peace negotiations. There an additional ultimatum had provided “that free commerce be allowed to the subjects of the United States with some port or ports below the southern boundary of the said states.” The draft document also provided that if Britain ceded Florida to the United States it could be receded to Spain “for an adequate compensation” (JCC, 14:956–960; 13:239–244).
The instructions of 14 Aug. mentioned neither a port on the Mississippi nor the ultimate disposition of Florida. Instead, those questions were dealt with in instructions to the American minister charged with negotiating a treaty with Spain, which were being considered when Lovell wrote. Adopted on 29 Sept., the instructions provided that Spain, should it accede to the Franco-American alliance, would not be precluded from obtaining Florida and, indeed, that if Florida were conquered, the United States would guarantee Spain's possession, “provided always, that the United States shall enjoy the free navigation of the River Mississippi into and from the sea.” In addition, the minister was directed to “endeavour to obtain some convenient port or ports” on the Mississippi below the southern border: the 31st parallel (same, 15:1118–1120). Lovell, however, still thought that acquiring port rights should be an ultimatum in a Spanish treaty. Without a port or ports to which the produce of the western lands could be taken for shipment and through which they could be supplied, the acquisition of those lands in a peace treaty was of doubtful value.
The instructions of 29 Sept., intended to allay Spanish fears regarding American intentions toward Spanish possessions in North America, came to nothing. The United States, in Art. 8 of the peace treaty of 1783, gained the same right that Britain had acquired in Art. 7 of the definitive Anglo-French peace treaty ending the Seven Years' War: to navigate the Mississippi from its source to the sea. But Spain's acquisition of the Floridas in 1783 gave it control of both banks of the Mississippi below the 31st parallel, and thus a strong legal position for denying free passage to the sea. Not until Pinckney's treaty of 1795 did Spain agree to permit American vessels to navigate the Mississippi through its territory and make the concession meaningful by allowing American citizens to land goods at New Orleans or some other place within its territory (Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:155, 321–322, 337; Samuel Flagg Bemis, Pinckney's Treaty, Baltimore, 1926, p. 1–4, 42, 51–55)
4. JA to the president of the congress, 4 Aug. (above).
5. The reference is to the demand for more copies than one for each state of JA's long letter of 4 Aug. on political conditions in the various European states (above).
6. William Henry Drayton, delegate from S.C., had died on 4 Sept. (Samuel Holten's Diary, Burnett, ed., Letters, 4:401). Lovell means that it would have been better for Drayton if he had not written so much (i.e. been lazy), “but he did, as does another” (i.e. Lovell). Lovell had also been ill, but recovered to live a long life.
7. That is, Lovell copied his letter to JA of 13 June (above), which JA did not receive until his return to Europe in 1780.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0106-0002

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-06-13

Enclosure: James Lovell to John Adams


[salute] Dear Sir

I shall not look through my Almanac to see whether I have written to you 22 or 24 Letters, I shall go upon the easier task of acknowledging all I have had from you—Decr. 6 1778 received Feb. 16 1779 answered 17th. and Sepr. 26. 1778 received Mar 4 1779 answered Apr. 28th.
3 months ago Mr. Gerard communicated to us in a private audience that Spain was mediating and that we ought to take speedy measures for Peace. London Gazettes tell the same. It has seemed astonishing that neither Doctr. Franklin Mr. Lee nor you should hint this, if you did not give it authoritatively. And we have some wise men here who are sure they could fish out all the Court Secrets. In the various attempts to pull down A Lee, to make way for some one to go from hence who knows all the present Circumstances of America and therefore could negotiate properly, your (the Commissioners)1 want of Ability to give us Information such as we wish for or fancy can be obtained, is said to spring from the Suspicions of the french Court respecting one of you: And something like an attempt to dictate a Choice here has been made. An Extract of a Letter from Count de Vergennes has been quoted “Je crains Mr. Ar. Lee et ses entours”: and it is said that therefore the Communication before mentioned came through Mr. Gerard. But this is inconsistent with what is alledged in other Cases. Mr. Deane was directed to tell Doctr. Franklin certain things, which he did not chuse to tell Doctr. Lee; or, as he wishes to have it believed, which he was forbidden to tell him. I am persuaded Doctr. Franklin would not readily blab any matter to Mr. Lee which the Court might confidentially tell him. But it may be said the Doctr. was perhaps at that period only on a par with Mr. Lee and you so that he could not officially convey the news of a Negociation from France to us without consulting Mr. Lee. It has been attempted to persuade us that Spain is disgusted with Mr. Lee. If more than Innuendoes had been adduced, we should have made a new appointment, perhaps; tho it is a very delicate matter. Mr. { 149 } Deane says the Lees are unfit to deal with a “gallant” nation. To tell you the plain Truth of the matter, I believe the men who want to get his place in Negociation would be very gallant on certain Points. The eastern States are charged with wanting what they have no right to, and what is of “no interest to the southern States.” Plenty are these local Sentiments lately and R H Lee and Mr. Laurens are squinted at as two monsters on the other Side of the Susquehanna, who can be found to pursue points in which the Southern States have “no interest.” I expect, however, that we shall in a few days be able to join in some Ultimata for Peace to be ready at the moment when Britain shall come to her Senses. She is quite wild and foolish yet, in my opinion.
You will be able by our motly Journals and my Comments from Time to Time to understand what we are about. For instance you will know when I tell you why I voted to have your name inserted April 20th. page 10. A majority against me had resolved 1st. that the names should be added, 2dly. that Doctr. Franklin's should be inserted, but did not proceed by yeas and nays, therefore I was entrapped not having my nay to show in the first I was forced to go through uniformly; it being as true that Suspicions and Animosities had been minuted by the Committee respecting you as respecting the rest; for the Report did not say mutual Suspicions &c. It was calculated to open the Door for several new Elections.2
RC (Adams Papers); with three enclosures. The enclosures were filmed under the date of 13 June and appear immediately after the recipient's copy of James Lovell's letter to JA of that date (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 350). The first enclosure, designated “No. 1” and docketed “Mr Lovel June 13. 1779 'Je crains M. A. L. et ses entours.' Vergennes,” is not identical to the recipient's copy of 13 June (above), and the annotation pertaining to matters common to both documents is not repeated here. As a result, the two versions should be compared. The second enclosure, designated “No. 2” and docketed “Izard,” was copied from the committee's report of 24 March (PCC, No. 25, I, f. 101; JCC, 13:363–368). The passage is written on the verso of a piece of paper cut from the address page of a letter by George Washington, probably to the president of the congress, and bears the words “His Ex” and “Go. Was,” the first portion of Washington's signature endorsing the letter. The third enclosure, designated “No. 3,” labeled “Copy,” and docketed “Izard,” comprises less than two pages of Izard's full letter of this date, which is approximately seven and one-half pages long (PCC, No. 89, I, f. 90–97; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:710–714).
1. The two words in parentheses were interlined for insertion here.
2. In the recipient's copy of 13 June this paragraph is much longer and provides detailed information regarding the charge against JA and Izard's letter to the president of congress. The omission of that material here probably results from the inclusion of the two extracts, which made such a detailed treatment redundant, and probably thus indicates that the extracts were not included with the original letter sent to France.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0106-0003

Author: Continental Congress, Foreign Affairs Committee
Date: 1779-03-24

Enclosure: Extract from a Foreign Affairs Committee Report

[salute] Charge

That Mr. John Adams threatned Mr. Izard with the Displeasure of Congress in his opposing the 11th. and 12th. Articles of the Treaty of Commerce; and, that the said Mr. John Adams entertained Expectations that Congress would be inattentive to the Interests of nine States of America to gratify the Eaters and Distillers of Melasses.
Evidence. Mr. Izards Letter to the President 12th. Sepr. 1778.
RC (Adams Papers); with three enclosures. The enclosures were filmed under the date of 13 June and appear immediately after the recipient's copy of James Lovell's letter to JA of that date (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 350). The first enclosure, designated “No. 1” and docketed “Mr Lovel June 13. 1779 'Je crains M. A. L. et ses entours.' Vergennes,” is not identical to the recipient's copy of 13 June (above), and the annotation pertaining to matters common to both documents is not repeated here. As a result, the two versions should be compared. The second enclosure, designated “No. 2” and docketed “Izard,” was copied from the committee's report of 24 March (PCC, No. 25, I, f. 101; JCC, 13:363–368). The passage is written on the verso of a piece of paper cut from the address page of a letter by George Washington, probably to the president of the congress, and bears the words “His Ex” and “Go. Was,” the first portion of Washington's signature endorsing the letter. The third enclosure, designated “No. 3,” labeled “Copy,” and docketed “Izard,” comprises less than two pages of Izard's full letter of this date, which is approximately seven and one-half pages long (PCC, No. 89, I, f. 90–97; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:710–714).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0106-0004

Author: Izard, Ralph
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Jay, John
Date: 1778-09-12

Enclosure: Ralph Izard to President of the Congress

The Melasses business would certainly have proved the source of continual disputes, if it had not been altered;1 but the mischief which might have been expected from that is beyond <doubt> comparison less than what is pointed out in my letter to Mr. Lee of 18th. May.2 My apprehensions on this subject were communicated to the Commissioners at this Court; but I am sorry to say that they made no impression upon them. Mr. Lee alone seemed to think it possible I might be { 150 } right; the other two Gentlemen were perfectly satisfied. Dr. Franklin's usual consciousness of infallibility was apparent; and Mr. Adams insinuated that the business of the Treaties was put intirely into the hands of the Commissioners at this Court, and nobody else had any right to give their opinions about them; that he understood I had objected to the 11th. and 12th. Articles in the Treaty of Commerce, respecting Melasses, but he believed I should find myself greatly mistaken in that matter; that he did not doubt but these Articles would be extremely popular in Congress and that they would be very angry when they were informed that I had objected to them. I answered that I was sensible the Conclusion of the Treaties was committed solely to the Gentlemen he mentioned; but that the principles in which I had been educated militated against the other part of his Opinion; that I had thought it my duty to oppose the proceedings of the King and Parliament of Great Britain when they were injurious to my Country; that the same motives had occasioned my opposition to the articles in question; that I had submitted my objections to the Treaty to the President and hoped that he would make them known to Congress; that if they thought I had done wrong, I should of Course be informed of it by him; that I should in that case look upon myself to be no longer fit to be employed, when my opinion differed so totally from that of my Employers, and should request the favor of the President to procure the Leave of Congress for me to return to my own Country. I have had the Satisfaction however, of finding that Mr. Adams as well as his Countrymen Doctr. Franklin and Mr. Deane have been mistaken in their Expectation that Congress would be inattentive to the Interests of nine States of America, to gratify the Eaters and Distillers of Melasses.
RC (Adams Papers); with three enclosures. The enclosures were filmed under the date of 13 June and appear immediately after the recipient's copy of James Lovell's letter to JA of that date (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 350). The first enclosure, designated “No. 1” and docketed “Mr Lovel June 13. 1779 'Je crains M. A. L. et ses entours.' Vergennes,” is not identical to the recipient's copy of 13 June (above), and the annotation pertaining to matters common to both documents is not repeated here. As a result, the two versions should be compared. The second enclosure, designated “No. 2” and docketed “Izard,” was copied from the committee's report of 24 March (PCC, No. 25, I, f. 101; JCC, 13:363–368). The passage is written on the verso of a piece of paper cut from the address page of a letter by George Washington, probably to the president of the congress, and bears the words “His Ex” and “Go. Was,” the first portion of Washington's signature endorsing the letter. The third enclosure, designated “No. 3,” labeled “Copy,” and docketed “Izard,” comprises less than two pages of Izard's full letter of { 151 } this date, which is approximately seven and one-half pages long (PCC, No. 89, I, f. 90–97; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:710–714).
The content of all or some notes that appeared on pages 151 and 152 in the printed volume has been moved to the ends of the preceding documents: James Lovell to John Adams, 14 Sept. 1779 and 13 June 1779.
{ 152 }
1. The “Melasses business” stemmed from the controversy surrounding Arts. 11 and 12 in the Franco-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce as originally negotiated, but which were later deleted. For Ralph Izard's, as well as Arthur Lee's, earlier objections to the two articles and a detailed examination of the reasons for their deletion, see the Committee for Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners, 14 May 1778, and note 4; and the Commissioners' reply of 29 July, and note 1 (vol. 6:116–120, 332).
2. Arthur Lee, who had been appointed Commissioner to the Court at Madrid, never received Izard's letter, which was largely devoted to his concern that provisions of the Franco-American Treaty of Alliance might prevent the United States from acquiring the Floridas (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:586–588).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0107

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Knox, Henry
Date: 1779-09-19

To Henry Knox

[salute] Dear Sir

I have had the Honour of your Letter of the 4th of this Month, and I thank you for your obliging Congratulations on my Return, which gives me Happiness, whatever Passions or Reasonings produced it.
You have Cause to thank Heaven, that the state of Europe is so favourable. It is Scarcely possible it should be more so. France is already elevated to the highest Degree of Reputation and England depressed to almost the lowest of Contempt in Consequence of this Revolution. [It] is1 Under Heaven the general Wisdom of the present Reign in France and the universal Depravation and Folly, of that of England and2 the general Ability of American Councils and, Arms, that have done it. Washingtons Negotiations have done more in Europe, than all our Ambassadors, but Gates was the successfull Minister that brought the Treaty to a Crisis at the particular Time when it was done. By mentioning these Names in particular I dont mean to exclude, a Multitude of other Officers who had a proportional share in the Work, more especially the American Artillery and its worthy Commander.3
This is very free and very saucy — so that you must not say much about it, but believe me, with Affection & Respect, your Frid & sert
I have no Expectation of going to Congress, and therefore must wait for the Pleasure of seeing you, untill you make a Visit, this Way, which I hope will be soon.
1. The preceding two words are interlined; the word “It,” or perhaps “T,” is illegible.
{ 153 }
2. The preceding five words are interlined.
3. Knox himself.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0108

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Rush, Benjamin
Date: 1779-09-19

To Benjamin Rush

[salute] Dear Sir

I had the Pleasure of yours of August 19, by the last Post, and thank you for your kind Congratulations on my Return. You judge right, when you Suppose, that I cannot be idle, but my Industry will probably be directed, in a different manner, in future. My Principles1 are not in Fashion. I may be more usefull here, as you observe, than in the Cabinet of Louis the 16. But let me tell you, that that Cabinet, is of great Importance, and that there ought to be Somebody there, who knows Somewhat of the Affairs of America, as well as Europe, and who will take the Pains to think, and to advise that Cabinet, with all proper Delicacy, in certain Circumstances.
I have little2 to Say about the Time and manner of my being Superceeded. Let those reflect upon them selves, who are disgraced by it, not I. Those who did it, are alone disgraced by it. The Man who can shew a long Series of disinterested Services to his Country, cannot be disgraced even by his Country. If she attempts it, she only brings a Stain upon her own Character and makes his Glory the more illustrious.3
We have Cause to congratulate ourselves, on the favourable Appearance of Affairs in Europe and America. There is not one Symptom in Europe against Us. Yet I must own to you, that I think France and Spain are yet to be convinced, of the true Method of conducting this War. It is not by besieging Gibralter nor invading Ireland, in my humble Opinion, but by sending a clear Superiority of naval Power into the American Seas, by destroying or captivating the British Forces here by Sea and Land, by taking the West India Islands and destroying the British Trade, and by affording Convoys to Commerce between Europe and America, and between America and the french and Spanish Islands, that this War is to be brought to a Speedy Conclusion, happy for Us, and glorious as well as advantageous to our Allies.4
These were the Objects of all my Negotiations, and I dare hazard all, upon the good Policy of them. I fear that these Ideas, will now be forgotten: I cannot but wish that Congress would give positive Instructions to their Minister, nay that they would make a direct Application themselves to their Ally, to this Purpose. Mr. Gerry can shew you, in Confidence, some Papers upon the subject.5
{ 154 }
I have a great Curiosity to know, the History of the political Proceedings, within and out of Doors, last Winter. I confess myself, unable to comprehend it. I am more puzzled at the Conduct of those who ought to have been my Friends than at any Thing else.6 However I have not Lights enough to form a Judgment.
You Speak French So perfectly, and love good Men so much, that I wish you to be acquainted with the Chevalier De la Luzerne, and Mr. Marbois. Those Gentlemen were making Enquiry after a certain Letter, that you was very partial to. I enclose it to you and request you to give it them from me, with my most affectionate and respectfull Compliments.7

[salute] I am with much Affection, your Friend & sert

[signed] John Adams
RC (DLC: photostat of recipient's copy). LbC (Adams Papers).
1. The Letterbook has “Men of my Principles.”
2. The Letterbook has “nothing” deleted in favor of “little.”
3. In the Letterbook, “brings a Stain upon her own Character and” is interlined, and “more illustrious” replaces “greater.”
4. The Letterbook simply has “glorious for our Allies.”
5. In the Letterbook this sentence does not contain the words “in Confidence.” JA is referring to his letter to Elbridge Gerry of 11 Sept. (above) and its enclosures.
6. See Lovell to JA, 13 June, note 8 (above).
7. The remainder of this sentence is not in the Letterbook. Since Rush in his reply (12 Oct., below) refers to a pamphlet that he was to present to La Luzerne, and JA calls it a letter, it may have been JA's Thoughts on Government, which Rush, writing as “Ludlow,” had made use of in an essay in the Pennsylvania Journal, 28 May 1777, to attack his own state's new unicameral constitution (see vol. 4:69).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0109

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-09-19

To the Board of Treasury

[salute] Gentlemen

By the last Post, I had the Honour of a Letter, from your secretary, inclosing, by your order Copy of the Resolutions of Congress of the Sixth of August relative to the Allowance to the late Commissioners, and their Accounts, together with the Resolution of your Honourable Board of the 26 of August, requesting me to inclose my Accounts and Vouchers to the Board of Treasury, that they may take order thereon.1
I have the Honour to transmit, by my worthy Friend, Mr. Lowell,2 my Accounts in the first Place, the Account of Monies drawn for by Dr. Franklin and me jointly, and the Expenditure of them. These Monies from the Time of my Arrival at Passy the 9 of April 1778, to the End of August following, were received by Mr. Franklin, and the Account kept by him of the Expenditure. The Account marked A, is a Copy of the Account he gave me,3 but he never shewed me, any of the { 155 } Vouchers, and I never compared them, So that Mr. Franklin, <is> I suppose holds himself4 accountable for them.
From the first of October, untill the new Commission arrived, the Account was kept by me. At the End of each Month, I carried My Account and Vouchers in to Dr. Franklin. We looked them over together and signed the Account, except the last, when Dr. Franklin being so ill of the Gout and I being engaged in settling my Affairs in order to come away, it was omitted. However I transmit the Vouchers, for all the Time that the Account was kept by me, but I have one Request to make, with respect to these but more especially with respect to my private Vouchers, which is that when the Honourable Board have made the Use of them they intend they would deliver them to Mr. Gerry to be returned to me, being necessary for the security of my Reputation as well as against new Demands of Payment. The Account thus kept by me, and signed monthly by my Colleague and myself, is marked B.5 The large Articles of Family Expences and Postage of Letters, are here inserted only in the large. Dr. Franklin has the original Books of Account of all these Particulars, with other Receipts in them.
The Accounts marked C,6 is my private Account of Monies received by me Singly, and includes, what Money I received of the Navy Board at Boston, before my Departure, what I received of the Continental Agents, at Bourdeaux, Nantes, L'orient &c. what I received of Mr. Franklin, out of the Monies drawn for jointly and what I received of Mr. Grand the Banker, either with my own Hand or by draughts upon him, the Amount of all which, exclusive of a Draught for Mr. Deanes Furniture is[]7 Livres.
The Account, marked D, is a particular Account of all my Expences, the Amount of which is[]8
This includes, the Expenc of all my Journeys, from Bourdeaux to Paris, from Paris to Nantes from Nantes to Brest, from Brest Back again to Nantes, the Expences of Cloathing, for my self and servants, and in general all my particular Expences of every kind. During the Time that the joint Account was kept by Mr. Franklin, the Honourable Board will see that Mr. Franklin paid all those Articles, out of joint stock which I was paying for out of my particular. The Effect to the public is the Same, but it was necessary to make the Observation in order to explain the Articles.
The Honourable Board will also see, in this Account of mine, several Articles for Books. I found myself in France, ill versed in the Language, the Literature, the Science, the Laws, Customs and Manners of that Country, and had the Mortification to find my Colleagues, very { 156 } little better informed than myself, vain as this may seem.9 I found also that Dr. Franklin, Mr. Deane and Mr. Lee, had expended considerable sums for Books, and this appeared to me, one of the most necessary, and Usefull Ways in which Money had ever been Spent in that Country. I therefore did not hesitate to expend the <small> sums, mentioned in this Account in this Way, in the Purchase of such a Collection of Books, as were calculated to qualify me for Conversation and for Business, especially the science of Negotiation. Accordingly the Books are a Collection, of Books concerning the french Language and Criticism, concerning french History, Laws, Customs and Manners, but àbove all a large Collection of Books on the public Right of Europe, and the Letters and Memoirs of those Ambassadors and public Ministers who had acquired the fairest Fame and done the greatest services to their Countries in this Way.10
The Honourable Board will judge whether this is a “reasonable Expence” and whether it ought, or ought not to be deducted from the Allowance. I shall <not be dissatisfied if it is.> submit to their Judgment with entire Satisfaction.11
All the Articles in, both Accounts, which were for my Son, will no doubt be deducted from the Allowance. Yet I ought to observe, that Mr. Izard and Mr. William Lee, have supported their <whole large> Families, Dr. Franklin has two Grandsons and Mr. A. Lee a Nephew. Mr. Deane two Brothers, and afterwards a son, all that I desire is that I may, be treated like the others.12
I departed from my own House the 13 of February 1778, and happily arrived at it again the 2d of August 1779. How far the Hon. Board will judge the Resolution of Congress, allowing 3 Months after the Recall, applicable to me, I dont know. Indeed whether I am recalled to this Moment, I dont know. All I desire is, a reasonable Compensation for the Time I was actually in the service, and this was in fact from the day that I received my Commission, which was in Decr. 1777, for from that Day I was obliged to avoid all engagements in private Business, and to devote my self to the Preparation for my Voyage as much as at any Time after.13
I shall send by this Opportunity all the Vouchers I have. When I was making Journeys from Place to Place, it was impossible for me, to take Receipts of Postilions, Tavernkeepers, and twenty other sorts of People for small sums, but I presume, no Man will say his Expences have been or could be less than mine.14 The United states have no House Rent, or Hire of Chariots, or Horses or Horsemen, or servants, or furniture of Houses to pay for me. None of these Things except the { 157 } | view servant who went with me, were ever added to the public Expences on my Account. There are two or three small sums in the Account paid to Mr. Austin, for services while he acted as my Secretary, perhaps six Weeks, which is all the Expence, the public bore for secretaries to me. I dont mention this as a Virtue or Merit, for I am convinced it was an Error, and I would never advise any other Gentleman to follow my Example in these particulars.
I was obliged to be at some Expence for Bedding, on Board the Sensible in my Passage home, as the Board will see.
I submit the whole to the Consideration of the Board, only requesting that I may be informed, what Articles are allowed in the settlement of my Account, under the Head of reasonable Expences and what are not.

[salute] I have the Honour to be, with great Respect to the honourable Board, their most obedient & most humble servant

LbC (Adams Papers). Enclosuers not found.
1. For this letter, dated 2 Sept. (Adams Papers), see JA to Elbridge Gerry, 20 Sept., and note 1 (below).
2. See JA to John Lowell, 21 Sept. (below).
3. See Household Accounts, 9 April–24 Aug. 1778 (vol. 6:16–20).
4. The previous four words are interlined.
5. See Household Accounts, 1 Oct. 1778–23 Feb. 1779 (above).
6. See the listing of personal expenditures in JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:325–344. See also the editorial comment on these expenses in Adams Family Correspondence, 3:221–222.
7. Left blank in the Letterbook. Adding the figures given in the Diary, and excluding the 4,294 livres for Deane's furniture, the total is 28,357 livres, virtually that given by JA (28,355. 3. 3) in the account following this letter (see note 8).
8. Left blank in the Letterbook. Although the accounts that JA submitted, which were marked A-D, have not been found, Account D is probably that following this letter, which gives the total of expenses as 13,855.16. o livres.
9. The last five words of the sentence are interlined.
10. The phrases “acquired the fairest Fame and” and “to their Countries” are interlined.
11. The committee that reported on JA's accounts recommended allowing his expenditures for books (JCC, 15:1383).
12. The committee on JA's accounts held that neither congressional authorization nor custom justified reimbursement for money spent on a son's education (same).
13. JA figured the total as twenty months' service, from early Dec. 1777 to early Aug. 1779; see the “Account of John Adams” immediately following this letter.
14. The rest of the paragraph was written after the closing, its place in the text indicated with a mark.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0110

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-09-19

Account of John Adams with the United States

The United states of America to John Adams Cr  
By the Total of Monies received1   28,355:   3:   3  
{ 158 } | view
The United states of America to John Adams Dr  
To the Total of my Expences   13,855:   16:   0  
To twenty Month's allowance at the Rate of 11,428 Livres per Annum2   19,046:   0:   0  
  32901:   16:   0  
  28355:   03:   3  
  Ballance   4546:   12:   9  
To Expences at Boston, upon the public Business and Postage of Letters, in my public Capacity since my Return   48      
  Ballance due to me.   4594:   12:   9  
Errors excepted
[signed] John Adams
Upon the Revision of my Accounts I find that of Monies received, somewhat larger than I had imagined and that of Expences, a good deal less. By attempting to keep a <particular> minute Account, I must have forgotten and omitted many Articles, to my own Disadvantage, but this is the fault of no one, but myself, and the loss must be mine.
If the Honourable Board do not approve of this state, they will make what alterations they judge right. It is very probable there may be Errors in Casting and otherwise. The Business of keeping Accounts is a very dull Occupation to me, and that of transcribing them and casting anew, Still more so. I confess I have not Patience for it. The Board will correct it as they think just. If they Adjudge me in Debt the Ballance shall be paid to their order on demand.
[signed] John Adams
MS in JA's hand (Adams Papers); docketed: “Accounts”; with the following summary beside the docketing:
Total of Monies received   28,355:   3:   3  
Total of Expences   13,855:   16:   0  
  14,699:   7:   3  
For Twenty Months service at 11,428 Liv. per Month   19,046:   0:   0  
  4346:   12   9  
There are two errors in this summary. First, the correct difference between money received and the total paid is 14,499. 7. 3, which would leave the proper balance owing to JA (before postage expense) of 4,546.12. 9 (which JA gives correctly in the full account on the inside page; see text above). Second, the salary figure allotted was per year, not per month. Filmed under Aug. 1779 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 350), this is presum• { 159 } ably a copy of Account D, enclosed with JA to the Board of Treasury, 19 Sept. (above).
1. This figure agrees with the total of the amounts recorded in JA's Diary as received, less an amount of 4,294 livres for Deane's furniture. See JA to the Board of Treasury, 19 Sept., note 7 (above).
2. For the derivation of this figure, see JA to Elbridge Gerry, 20 Sept., note 1 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0111

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1779-09-20

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear sir

I have transmitted my Account to the Board of Treasury, according to their Directions together with my Vouchers, and have desired that these last may be delivered to you after the Board should have done with them. I must beg the favour of you to receive them and transmit them to me by a safe Hand.
I see that Congress have allowed to their Commissioners, one half of what they voted in the Beginning of Things to give the secretary to the Commission, not half, I suppose of what I could very honourably have earned at Home in my Profession—not half to be sure of what, some Gentlemen of the Bar, have actually earned since my departure. As Congress have been so moderate in the Salary, I presume they dont intend to be stingy in the Article of Expences.1
If I had known before I left France, of even this Allowance, I could have made a very honourable as well as handsome Advantage of it: but nothing being settled I did not dare to run the Risque, as I knew not what Temper or Principles prevailed.
I have received, a sum in the whole, over and above my Expences, part of it is gone to Jersey and Guernsy2 and part is by me in Cash and part is foolishly spent in a manner I am ashamed to tell.3 It was necessary to take some Cash with me, in order to bear my Expences in Case of Captivity or in Case of landing at Philadelphia, Virginia or South Carolina as might have been my fortune.4 If I could have brought it hence in Goods, it would have been happy for my family, but this I could not do because I must come home in a French Frigate, which was so incumbered with Passengers and their Baggage that I had not the Confidence to add to the Cargo more than was indispensible. In short I have been very, genteely <duped> bubbled, as every other modest and virtuous Man is like to be.
What is the Reason that you and I cannot Speculate in Change Ally, that We cannot trumpet our own Praises, that We cannot avail ourselves of our public Characters to get private Credit in Trade, and make Fame and Fortune like other Men? I begin to believe that We { 160 } had better leave it to those who can.5 This is the Way to get Popularity and Power. This is the Way I find to obtain the Confidence of the People. This is the only Way in which they will suffer any Man to do them good.
You said something to me in one of your Letters which I did not understand. That you had not approved of the Policy of some and therefore did not expect their Confidence. I dont know whose Confidence is meant here.6 It will be a long Time before you will loose mine, I believe. You must depart from those fair, honourable, virtuous, benevolent and publik Spirited Principles, or you must loose that Sagacity and Judgment, which I ever found in you, before my Confidence in you will be lost or diminished. What your Conduct has been in Congress since I parted from you, I know not, but some of your Votes that I have seen were more consistent with Truth, Justice and sound Policy, than others that I see in the same Page. Pray let me know a little of these Things, and believe me, with unabated Affection your Frid.
1. On 6 Aug. the congress had resolved “that an allowance of 11,428 livres tournois per annum, be made to the several commissioners of the United States in Europe for their services, besides their reasonable expenses respectively” (JCC, 14:928). JA received this resolution and another by the Treasury Board of 26 Aug., ordering that it be sent to him, as enclosures in a letter of 2 Sept. from Robert Troup, secretary of the Board of Treasury, which also asked him to submit his accounts (Adams Papers). It was from the resolution of 6 Aug. that JA derived the figure given for his annual salary in his accounts printed under the date of [ca. 19 Sept.] (above). JA's complaint concerned the apparent incongruity between the congress' action in 1779 and that taken in 1776. When the Commissioners were first appointed the congress did not set a precise salary, but rather, in a resolution on 28 Sept. 1776 that was postponed and may not have been acted on later, declared “that the Commissioners should live in such stile and manner at the court of France, as they may find suitable and necessary to support the dignity of their public character” and “that besides the actual expences of the commissioners, a handsome allowance be made to each of them as compensation for their time, trouble, risque and service.” At the same time a salary of £1,000 per year was proposed for the Commissioners' secretary (JCC, 5:833–834). These resolves, even if not formally adopted, were considered while JA was at the congress, and he presumably would have assumed that the salary allowed the Commissioners would be higher than that of their secretary. However, £1,000 was equal to approximately 24,000 livres, a far cry from the 11,428 livres allowed in 1779, thus explaining JA's anger at the miserliness of the congress.
2. JA may be referring to money he furnished to Americans imprisoned on these islands who escaped or were exchanged, but he may also be speaking of goods sent by him to America that were captured by the islands' notorious privateers. See, for instance, his letters to AA of 26 July 1778, and note 2, and 6 Nov. 1778, in Adams Family Correspondence, 3:66–67, 114–116.
3. The clause beginning with “and part is foolishly spent” is interlined.
4. “My fortune” is interlined as a replacement for “the case,” perhaps because JA had already used “case” twice in the sentence.
{ 161 }
5. The remainder of this paragraph is squeezed in, in smaller writing, before the next paragraph.
6. JA refers to Gerry's letter of 24 Aug. (above). Gerry did not specifically resolve JA's uncertainty in his reply of 12 Oct., but felt he had generally enlightened JA in his long letter of 29 Sept. (both below).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0112

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: McKean, Thomas
Date: 1779-09-20

To Thomas McKean

[salute] My dear sir

It is a long Time, Since I had the Pleasure to see you, but my Esteem is not at all diminished. None of Us have any Thing to boast of in these Times, in Respect to the Happiness of Life. You have been in disagreable Scaenes no doubt—mine have been much worse than I expected.
I never heard of any Jealousy, Envy or Malevolence, among our Commissioners, at Paris, untill my Arrival at Bourdeaux. Judge of my surprise, Grief and Mortification, then, when I heard at Bourdeaux, and found on my Arrival at Paris, the Heat and Fury to which it had arisen. Both Sides most earnestly besieged me, in order to get me to join their Party, but I Saw the only Part a Man who had either Conscience or Honour could take, in my Situation, was to join neither. Accordingly I invariably and firmly refused to have any Thing to do with their Disputes, before my Arrival, or after it, any farther than they might, unavoidably be intermixed, with the public Questions, in which my Office obliged me to give an Opinion, and then to give it impartially for the public Good. I accordingly lived, not only in Peace but in Friendship to all Appearance, with both Sides. If there was any Animosity, in either against me, personally, it was very artfully concealed from me, and certainly never had any just Cause.1 Since my Arrival here, I am informed that I have been honoured with a little of the Ill humour of both sides, and I beg your Assistance in Congress, that I may be informed of the Particulars as I have requested.2
Congress have done the only Thing that could dissolve the Charm that is left one alone. An opposition in Parliament, in an Assembly, in a senate, in Congress is highly usefull and necessary to ballance Individuals, Bodies, and Interests one against another, to bring the Truth to Light and Justice to prevail. But an opposition in a foreign Embassy in the Circumstances of this Country and of Europe, is Ruin. There can be no secrecy, no Confidence, where such an opposition takes Place, much less where there now are Such infernal Quarrells, as were between my Colleagues. It would be better to employ a single Man of sense, even although he should be as selfish and interested as is possible consistent with Fealty to his Country, than three virtuous Men of { 162 } greater Abilities, any two of whom should be at open Variance with each other. It would be better to employ a single Stockjobber, or Monopolizer. It <would be> is better still no doubt to employ one Man of Virtue and Ability.
I presume Congress intend to appoint a secretary to the Commission, and Consuls for the Management of Commercial and maritime matters. It is highly necessary. Franklin is a Wit and a <droll> Humourist, I know. He may be a Philosopher, for what I know, but he is not a sufficient Statesman, he knows too little of American Affairs or the Politicks of Europe, and takes too little Pains to inform himself of Either. He is too old, too infirm3 too indolent and dissipated, to be sufficient for the Discharge of all the important Duties of Ambassador, Secretary, Admiral, Commercial Agent, Board of War, Board of Treasury, Commissary of Prisoners, &c. &c. &c. as he is at present in that Department, besides an immense Correspondence, and Acquaintance, each of which would be enough for the whole Time of the most active Man in the Vigour of Youth.
Yet such is his Name on both Sides the Water, that it is best, perhaps that he should be left there. But a secretary and Consuls should be appointed to do the Business, or it will not be done, or if done it will not be done by him, but by busy People who insinuate themselves into his Confidence without either such Heads or Hearts as Congress should trust.
I took my Pen, chiefly to pay my Respects to you, but it ran insensibly into Politicks, in which the public is so much Interested, that I will neither blot, nor alter.4

[salute] I am, with great Esteem and Respect sir, your most obedient servant

[signed] John Adams
RC (PHi: McKean Papers); docketed: “Lre.—Honble. John Adams. Braintree. Septr. 20th. 1779. No. 19.” LbC (Adams Papers). Illegible canceled words have been supplied from the Letterbook.
1. In the Letterbook, the preceding seven words are interlined. Earlier in the sentence JA also interlined “personally” and substituted the word “artfully” for “hypocritically.” Compare JA's account here of the conflict between the Commissioners with that in his letter to James Lovell of 10 Sept. (above).
2. See JA's letters of 10 Sept. to Elbridge Gerry, the president of the congress, and James Lovell (above).
3. The word “infirm” is taken from the Letterbook, for it is illegible in the recipient's copy, where it is interlined. This whole passage on Franklin's inability to fulfill all his functions was labored over in the Letterbook, as is evident from interlining, the addition of a sentence written in the margin, and clauses of another written out of order. In one sentence the original phrasing is even harsher on Franklin: “He knows <very> too little of American Affairs, <and less> of the Politics of Europe and takes <very> too little Pains to inform himself of either.”
4. In place of this paragraph, the Let• { 163 } terbook has “I write plainly, but confidentially. I write to you, because I believe you have not been heated with any of the personal Disputes between or Concerning the Commissioners.”

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0113

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Holker, John
Date: 1779-09-21

To John Holker

[salute] Sir

A Day or two before my Embarkation at L'orient, Mr. Chaumont came to me and told me that he had shipped a Quantity of Tea, for Boston, and that he wished to lay out, the Proceeds of it, in Land, desired Permission to consign it to me and that I would, purchase Land for him with the Money.
I told him that I was not a Merchant, and should not be likely to sell his Tea to Advantage, but that As I had an extensive Acquaintance in the Massachusetts, I might possibly be of service to him in a Purchase of Land, and that I would readily do him any service, in that Way, in my Power. In Consequence of this Conversation he sent me, forth-with, an open Letter to you, desiring you to sell the Tea, and let me have the Money to buy him the Land. The enclosed is a Copy of this Letter.1
I have waited long in hopes of the Betsys Arrival, but there is now no Room to doubt that she is taken or lost.2
I shall preserve the original Letter, for the sake of clearing up, Mr. Chaumonts Character, because there are Insinuations in these Parts, that Mr. Chaumont is suspected to have written a Letter to you, an Extract of which was laid before Congress, purporting that I had not suceeded in France, very well.3 How far I have suceeded, I can appeal to your Sovereign, and his Ministers, and as long as I keep this Letter, to Mr. Chaumont himself, who I think, from this Letter and several others that I have in my Possession must be innocent of that Extract. You will oblige me exceedingly, by informing me, who the Writer was.4 At the very time, when I was employed in France, in giving Extracts to your Father of my Letters, in which your Character was mentioned with Honour, and upon all Occasions in Conversation, endeavouring to support your Interest, You, it seems, was engaged in furnishing Extracts against me. Both of Us might be very honestly employed, but which of Us was the most generously employed and the most politically for the Union and Interest of the Allies, must be judged of, by our sovereigns, unless I have other Reparation for what I deem an Injury. I have the Honour to be, with great Respect, sir your most obedient humble servant
[signed] John Adams
{ 164 }
LbC (Adams Papers); directed to: “M. Holker, Agent <General de la Marine> of the Marine of France, et Consul at Philadelphia.” A signed copy of this letter (Charles Hamilton, sale No. 33, 1969) reportedly bears a notation by JA: “My letter to Mr. Holker, not sent.” This letter's query about a letter from Chaumont commenting on JA's success as a Commissioner is probably enough to explain why it was not sent, but the reason for its absence from the Adams Papers is unknown.
1. See Chaumont to JA, 13 June, and note 1 (above).
2. See JA to Chaumont, 5 Oct. (below).
3. See JA to James Lovell, 10 Sept., note 1 (above).
4. From this point up to the closing sentence, the text was written at the bottom of the letter, its place in the main body indicated with a mark.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0114

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1779-09-21

To James Lovell

[salute] My dear Sir

In one of your late Letters, you hope that a Treaty with Spain, will Soon be made.1 I wish I knew your Intelligence, which is undoubtedly better than mine: I have suspected, for I can call it no more than suspicion, that Spain intended to wait untill the Negotiation for Peace.
In another you Say, you should be easier in your Mind, if I were in Europe, when you consider what Negotiations are likely to take Place.2 I wish you had told me, what you mean. Have you any Prospect of Negotiation with England? I am told you have been making a Plan of a Treaty of Peace.3 Is it finished? Can you communicate it to me? Have France and Spain put you upon determining the Terms on which you will make Peace, at this early Hour, and are you to be bound by these Terms three Years hence, or even next Year. Should you be obliged to spend additional Millions, to devote more thousands of lives, to expose more Towns to the Flames, are you after this to make Peace on the same Terms you would now, even although you should gain Advantages decisive in the mean Time?
Let me beg of you to send me, all the Journals as they come out. I have a great Curiosity to know what Compliments you have paid or will pay to the late Minister.4 No doubt Pains will be taken to get Compliments, Thanks, Certificates of even Impartiality or even an Address for what I know, for there is no bounds to some Peoples Modesty. Cant you certify Holkers Impartiality, too?
Pray inform me, from whom is Holkers Commission? Is it from G[érard]? I have ever understood he had none from the King. Pray from whom is Valenais Commission?5
You hope A. Lee will soon make a Treaty with Spain. Whether he does or not, if he continues in Commission to that Court, pray order { 165 } him to Spain, positively. He will do no good, at Paris believe me. I respect his past services, I know his Attachment to America, and I believe his Integrity. But I know his Prejudices, and his Passions, <his selfish>. His Countenance is disgusting, his Air, is not pleasing, his Manners are not engaging, his Temper is harsh sour and fierie, and his Judgment of Men and Things is often wrong. Virtue itself is said to be not always amiable.
Isard, is still worse—do you know an Ambassador, we once sent into Canada who negotiated every thing into total Confusion.6 Such another is this.
I believe such a Group of Characters as Lees,7 Isard and Deane, never were before selected out for Ambassadors. I declare if it was a new Thing, I never could in Conscience give my Vote for either. Three more imprudent Men I dont know. I dread the Consequence of Lee's going to Spain. He will be watched. He will be provoked, and he cannot govern himself. Yet the most perfect Reserve, the most perfect Prudence, will be necessary in that Nation, and the most profound Admiration of that Court. If there is not more Dissonance, from that Quarter I shall be happily disappointed.
I am determined not to conceal from you, any of my Apprehensions, lest more Disgrace should come upon Us, in Consequence of my silence. I have been silent perhaps too long already.
1. Lovell to JA, 24 Aug. (above).
2. Lovell to JA, 20 Aug. (above).
3. As early as 17 June the congress formally appointed a committee to prepare a commission for “the minister who may be appointed to negotiate a peace,” and on 14 Aug. the instructions for the peace commissioner, to whose duties had been added the negotiation of an Anglo-American commercial treaty, were adopted, thus ending the debate over peace ultimata that had begun in February (JCC, 14:744, 956–966; see also Lovell to JA, 13 June, note 2, above).
4. JA may have originally intended to end his letter with this sentence, because two lines below, in the left margin, appears “<Mr. Lovell>.” The following sentence is written neatly around this deletion.
Gerard's farewell speech to the full congress was given on 17 Sept., a response being returned by the president (JCC, 15:1065, 1072–1074). They were as complimentary as JA had imagined they would be.
5. For earlier questions about Holker's status, see the Committee for Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners, 21 June 1778 (vol. 6:227–228), and the Commissioners' reply of 17 Sept. 1778 (above). Holker's commission of 15 July 1778 to be consul for Pennsylvania as well as Joseph de Valnais' of 21 Jan. 1779 to be consul at Boston were signed by Gérard (PCC, No. 128, f. 7; No. 167, f. 367).
6. Probably Samuel Chase, who accompanied Franklin, Charles Carroll, and Father John Carroll to Canada in April 1776. JA had been a good friend of Chase until Chase, in July-Aug. 1776, made the mistake of blaming New England troops for the failure in Canada (vol. 4:26–29, 450, 451).
7. JA added an “s” to Lee to include William Lee.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0115

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lowell, John
Date: 1779-09-21

To John Lowell

[salute] My dear sir

I am uncertain whether you said you should sett off for Philadelphia on Wednesday or Thursday, which obliges me to send an Express to Town to day as I fear you may be gone before I can get into Town tomorrow.
The two Packetts in brown Paper contain all My Accounts and Vouchers, which I am ordered to transmit to the <Navy> Treasury Board, and I dare not trust them by an Hand less friendly and carefull than yours. I am sorry to give you the Trouble of such large Packetts, but it will be doing me an essential service, if you will be so good as to take them. I wish you a pleasant Journey. My most affectionate Respects, to all enquiring Friends at Philadelphia. I am, your Fried & sert
[signed] John Adams
RC (DLC: photostat of recipient's copy); docketed: “Mr. J Adams Septr. 79.”

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0116

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-09-21

From James Lovell

[salute] My dear Sir

By a Letter from one of the most lovely of Women in your Quarter of the Continent, I find you are engaged about a governmental Constitution for Massachusetts Bay.1 And by another Letter from a Friend of a different Sex I find that, after a free and full Discussion of Principles you have determined to constitute a free Republick.2 From the unanimous Result of your past Deliberations I am led to hope that the Report of the Committee of 313 will happily meet with an unanimous Acceptation.
I take you now out to the Practice of the Humility which you profess in one of your Letters written in France.4 I want you to read think and judge in Support, if you can honestly, of that very Congress which has been so “——what shall I call it? in regard to you.”5 I think the Remarks or Observations in the last Pages of the Pamphlet, now sent for the Exercise of your Genius and Humility, are very good.6 Brother Dana has now and then appeared to me to dissent from my Ideas of the necessary Powers to be with the Arbiter of Peace and War in Admiralty Concerns. You will oblige me by conversing with him after you have read what I now send.
I can not repeat to you what I have scrawled to S A respecting the State of the Business which concerns the Honor of A Lee for whom you performed a capital Act of Justice on the 11th. of February.7 I { 167 } have taken up my Pen at a Table, while Congress in Committee of the whole is inventing Ways to get money, after having resolved to stop the Press.
The Tragedy will soon be over if the States will not instantly supply us with Monies for greater Expences than ever were before known for supporting an Army.
Having been very ill I find myself hurt by the Addition of private friendly Correspondence to what lays upon me alone of a public Kind just at this Moment of the sailing of Mr. Gerard.8 By Moment I mean no more or less than 24 uncertain hours. He may go this Afternoon or not till Tomorrow. Don't you inform the Enemy. It is a Secret that has only been known to every body in this City 8 or 9 Days.

[salute] Your most affectionate humb Servt

[signed] J L
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr. Lovell 21. Sept. 1779.”
1. No recent letter from AA to Lovell has been found. Her last known letter to him was that of 28 July (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:214–215).
2. On 3 Sept. the convention unanimously resolved “That the Government, to be framed by this Convention, shall be a free Republic” (Journal of the Convention, p. 24). Lovell's correspondent remains unidentified.
3. Also on 3 Sept., the convention turned the drafting task over to a committee comprised of 26 delegates chosen by all the counties with representatives present; 4 delegates were elected at large. Although the convention intended a committee of 31, no one was available to represent Dukes and Nantucket counties taken together as one (Journal of the Convention, p. 26–30).
4. The letter to which Lovell refers cannot be identified with any certainty.
5. An index hand in the margin calls attention to a note at the bottom of the page: “For Explanation of the Blank consult my lovely Correspondent Portia.” No letter by either Lovell or AA has been found, however, in which such a quotation appears.
6. The pamphlet has not been identified.
7. That is, JA's letter to Vergennes of that date, a copy of which, along with others, he had sent to Lovell (JA to Lovell, 13 Aug., above).
8. Gérard did not sail for another month, and then it was on the frigate Confederacy in company with John Jay (Morris, Peacemakers, p. 1).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0117

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Chase, Samuel
Date: 1779-09-23

To Samuel Chase

[salute] Dear Sir

I had yesterday the Pleasure of your kind Letter of the 2d1 of this Month. I should not have sat down in so much Haste as I am in at present, even to acknowledge the Receipt of it, if it was not for the Extraordinary Intelligence it contains, of some Merchandizes shipped to me from Amsterdam, in the sloop Porpus. There must be some Mistake in this, as I knew nothing of it. I never heard nor dreamed of a sloop Porpus, nor of any Goods of any Kind shipped or to be shipped to me from Amsterdam. If there is not Some other Person of the same { 168 } Name, for whom they were intended, Somebody must have made Use of mine by Mistake or by Malice.
I thank, you, sir, for your friendly Advice. I have had and Still have an Opinion of my own, but I have been joined to no Faction, nor attached to any Party, farther than that Party was supported by Justice and by Truth, which are the only foundations, according to my Creed of sound Policy. I am, sir, with much Respect & Esteem, sir your most obedient servant
Dft (Adams Papers). The draft is on the blank fourth page of Chase's letter to JA of 3 Sept. (above).
1. Chase's letter is clearly dated the 3d.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0118

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Jay, John
Date: 1779-09-23

To the President of the Congress

[salute] Sir

I had Yesterday the Honour of your Letter of the Seventh of this Month. I thank you, sir, for your obliging Congratulations on my Return to my Family and Country.
The Reason why my Letters of the 27th of February and the 1st of March arrived so late, was, that they were delivered at the Time of their Date to Gentlemen, then bound to the seaport who expected to sail directly for America but were disappointed of Passages untill the Vessells Sailed under the Convoy of the Sensible. I have not my Letter Book here, but I dont remember that they contained any Thing of much Consequence, so that I suppose the Inconvenience of their late Arrival, was not much.
You will be pleased to make my most respectfull Compliments to the Members of Congress, and believe me to be with great Respect and Esteem, sir your most obedient humble servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 93); docketed: “Letter from J. Adams Sept 23. 1779 Read Octr. 4.”

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0119

Author: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-09-24

From Arthur Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

I cannot omit this opportunity of congratulating you, on your being again in the bosom of those you love; after delays so many and so mortifying. I have signifyd my hope to our firm friend,1 that you will be immediately sent to Congress as a Member, where I hope you and M. de la Luzerne will be able to put a stop to those unworthy proceedings, { 169 } by which little and malignant Spirits joind with the bad ambition of some, and the hearted enmity to our cause in others, are endeavoring to found their own fortunes on the disgrace and ruin of the public.
It is whispered to me here, that D'Estaing's destination, after beating Byron, was to You;2 and that N. York must be taken by this time. God send it may be so, for with that all their other holds must fall, and peace be restord to our harrassd Country. All the fleets are in their Harbours, to avoid the storms of the Aequinox. Next month they will be out again, that of Spain and France 65 in number, that of England 45. The invasion is still talkt of, for next month. The Alliance after losing three months, is at length in the irish channel, on a cruise with Jones. We have not yet heard of their doing any thing. I wrote in the most pressing terms to Dr. Franklin, the 1st. of May, to let her convoy the american Ships, then at Brest, and especially the Supplies for the public and for Virginia. The answer was; She is not mannd.3 Mr. Izard and I, have since endeavord in vain to have her and Jones's squadron sent to the assistance of Carolina,4 and then to sweep our Coast of the enemy's Cruisers. The answer was, Jones's squadron belongs to others, and is not under my direction; I have only lent them the Alliance.
The Council at Passy, is composd of the same honorable Members as when you left it; with the re-inforcement of Saml. Wharton, Saml. Petrie, and the Alexanders, by a marriage concluded between one of the Daughters and Jonathan Williams. This august and natural family compact, with those respectable Allies, will I hope promote the public as well as private Interests.5 One advantage is pretty sure—Pultney and Johnstone will be silencd about the approbation given before Alexander to the terms of the british Commissioners.
Mr. Izard and my Brother are deliberating on their return, in which they find great difficulties.
May I ask to be presented to Mrs. Adams, and some other female Patriots of your acquaintance; in whose Society, I have no doubt you feel more than a compensation for all your sufferings. My young friend, I hope, will not forget that I have an affection for him, and high expectations from his genius and application.

[salute] Farewell

[signed] A.L.
RC (Adams Papers). Tripl, signed by Lee, but not in his hand (Adams Papers).
1. Samuel Adams. See Lee's letterbook copy of his letter to Adams of 19 Sept. in PCC, No. 102, III, f. 91–94.
2. The fleets of Byron and Estaing fought in the West Indies in July, and the British suffered heavy damage. Although not technically defeated, the British failed to take Grenada from French control. Estaing, despite his orders to return to Europe, heeded the pleas of { 170 } Americans to come to their aid in the South, where the British had seized Georgia. His siege of Savannah in cooperation with American troops was an expensive and discouraging failure (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 160–161).
3. For Lee's appeals to Franklin, see his letter to JA of 2 June and note 2 (above).
4. The triplicate has “S. Carolina.”
5. To this point the paragraph was quoted virtually verbatim by AA in a letter of 28 Feb. 1780 to Mercy Otis Warren. Lee's letter was not received until February, well after JA had returned to Europe (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:281, 288). Samuel Wharton was a Philadelphia merchant and friend of Franklin; Samuel Petrie was an English lawyer who associated with Franklin (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., index and 4:26, 82). Mariamne Alexander, one of the daughters of William Alexander Jr., married Williams. Her father, of Scottish origin, was well known to Franklin in England prior to the Revolution. In 1776 he took up residence in France, where he became a secret agent for Sir William Pulteney, who earlier had sought to obtain peace through talks with Franklin (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:62, note 6note 1 and references there).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0120

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-09-27

From James Lovell

Not knowing, my dear Sir, how certain Things now in agitation may this day be terminated here, I chuse to state, at this time, some Proceedings two days old, that I may not be thought to give them a Gloss in the Stile of an After-Prophet turned Historian or Painter.
For a Ground Work I refer you to the Report of the Committee of 13 with its consequent Yeas and Nays, which is certainly now in your Hands in print;1 and also to what you must have some how or other come to the Knowledge of, respecting a long Struggle about Cod and Hadock;2 and further, to your own Reading and Judgment concerning the parliamentary Propriety of appointing a Man to carry into effect by all the Powers of skilful Negociation, a Measure to which he has been opposed Tooth and Nail in the whole preparatory Progress of it.3 Nor can I omit to call to your mind what I already must have written either to you or the lovely Portia,—that the Lentor4of Proceedings here should account for the appearances of Injustice done you by an Assembly, 9/10ths of which profess, and probably have, an Esteem for you.
Two Things are to be transacted with Britain, a Major and consequent Minor,5 as soon as her Madness and Folly begin to subside. But only one Agent is to manage them. The Commissions are drawn and Instructions also. The Blanks are to be filled. Doctr. F—— was nominated, out of order. This led one Man to suggest that he should find himself obliged when such a Nomination should again be attempted, and done in order to follow it with the Nomination of Doctr. L—as a much more suitable Character, which he would endeavor to make plain { 171 } by various Testimonies in his Possession part known and part yet unknown to the Assembly.6 A Question was then moved by a Gentleman in that Company named Mathews and seconded by one named Lovell7 that no Member, while there acting, or for nine Months after, should be elected to a place for which he or another for him received8 &c.—by Yeas and Nays the nine months part was lost and the other part by the previous Question.
J Adams was nominated by Mr. Laurens and J Jay by Mer[iwether] Smith. Adjurned to meet on the next day (Sunday) at 10 oClock, met; baloted; 5 for J A, 4 for J J, 3 could not agree. On a 2d Tryal 6 for J A, 5 for J J; one could not agree. The mover of the motion above not being likely to consent with his Colleague to carry it into effect, The Baloting was postponed.9
It had been frequently pressed on the Members to order some Resolves now on the Table, and but very lately passed (respecting Points on which the Temper of Spain towards us greatly depends) to be forwarded to the Commissioner at that Court, as Answers to the Questions which he hinted to us in 6 days after the Treaties with France, again on the 2d of Apr., again plainly and urgently for our Answer on Augst. 27, again more urgently on Oct. 19, again on Decr. 5th. &c. &c.10 A cut and dried Commission such as must pass hereafter was produced moved for and seconded out of order. A Motion was then made and seconded for chusing a Minister plenipotentiary to do exactly what a Commissioner is now fully authorised to do; as much so, exactly, as were the 3 at the Court of France. The Pretence for this was the accepted 2d. Paragraph of a Report, vid Apr. 15th that Ministers plenipotentiary were only necessary at Versailles and Madrid.11 The Spirit and Intent of which Paragraph lay in the word only and not in a technical use of Ministers as setled by France and us on the Arrival of Mr. Gerard. Some good and not young Men, on this question, saw not the Trap under the Chaff.12 Who could deny that we have assented to additional parade and expence in a Minister above a Commissioner? Who could deny that two Persons would be on pay, for a time, <together> at once, to do the same business? Who could deny that A. Lee's compleat Vindications were on the Table of Congress? This last Matter and all characterising was said to be untimely, as much as in a question about creating a Quarter Master General when we had a Quarter Master; for that A Lee stood as fair for nomination to the new Commission as any Man else, and then we should be allowed full Liberty to speak to Character. A majority can thus kill but it requires seven to make alive. But seven thus killed.13 For, Mr. Laurens tho' he spoke against the Question voted for it, and then nominated A Lee. This last act of { 172 } | view his in such a desperate case does not make up for depriving a much injured man of the advantage of showing that he was artfully knocked down by six upon a presumption that seven could not be found to assist in recovering him from the Violence of the Blow.14 Mr. J Adams was also nominated for Spain by Mr. Paca, Mr. J Jay by Mr. Mercer of Virga. <Mr. [ . . . ]>15
This Accomodation Scheme had been proposed in Whispers early in the Morning, to provide places for the two nominated the day before.16 One to have a Post of the highest honor, and the other to take the Post of a Man murdered on purpose to make Room.
Are not these doings a compleat Appendix to the Report of the Committee of 13 and the proceedings thereon months ago? Look at the Names. ≡ Here I must join in an old Exclamation of F[rancis] L[ightfoot] L[ee] when he had seen a whole day wasted. “What d——d dirty Work is this of Politicks!”
I will now state the votes, Remarking that, being Sunday, Mr. McKean was able to attend; but your sworn Friend the Farmer will alone finish it.17 N Yk. is represented by Mr. Jay and Mr. Lewis, not by one. N Jersey by Mr. Fell and Mr. Houston. Contt. by Mr. Huntingdon or Mr. Root.18
1st. Ballot   2d. Ballot   1st.   2d  
JA   JA   JJ   JJ  
N H   "   N Yk   "  
Mass   "   Maryl.   "  
R Is   "   Virg   "  
Contt.   "   Nth. Car.   "  
Delaw.   "   4   N Jers.  
5   Pens     5  
Vote. For a Minister for Sp——    
Yea   divid   Nay  
   Contt.   R Is   N. H.  
   N Yk   Pens   Mas:  
   N Jersey   2   Del.  
   Maryl     3  
   Nth C      
   Sth C      
{ 173 }
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr. Lovel 27. Septr. 1779 Ballots for Ministers to Spain and for Peace.”
1. See Lovell to JA, 13 June, note 8; Lovell to JA, 24 Aug.; and JA to Lovell and to Gerry, 10 Sept. (all above).
2. Debates on fishing continued throughout the summer to 14 Aug., when the congress agreed on a statement dealing with the fisheries and placed it not in the instructions for negotiating peace but in those for securing a commercial treaty. Thus disagreement over fishing rights would not delay the signing of a peace treaty. The successful campaign to get JA chosen negotiator for peace and commerce with Britain assured strong advocacy for the fishery interests (JCC, 13:241–242, 14:963–966; and see index to JCC; Stinchcombe, Amer. Rev. and the French Alliance, p. 66–76).
3. Evidently John Jay.
4. Slowness (OED).
5. A treaty of peace and a commercial treaty.
6. The “testimonies” probably included the correspondence between Vergennes and JA defending the character of Arthur Lee, and which Lovell formally presented in the congress on this day, 27 Sept.; see JA to Lovell, 13 Aug., note 1 (above), and Lovell to JA, 28 Sept. (first letter), and note 2 (below). Lovell himself was probably the “one Man” who threatened to nominate Arthur Lee (see Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:446, note 5).
7. John Mathews of S.C. made this motion. The Journal states that Gerry, not Lovell, seconded it (JCC, 15:1105–1106). Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:431–432, note 3, discusses this discrepancy.
8. Lovell is paraphrasing the motion as reported in the Journal. There it continues from this point “any salary, fees, or emolument of any kind” (JCC, 15:1105).
9. That is, Mathews would not support Laurens' nomination of JA. See Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:442.
10. Letters from Arthur Lee repeatedly mentioned what Spain would desire as a price for support and requested the congress' instructions on the matter. The letter in August should have been dated the 31st (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:492, 536, 699, 801, 850). On the debates regarding concessions that America might make to Spain, see Lovell to JA, 14 Sept., note 3 (above).
11. JCC, 13:456.
12. The motion by Meriwether Smith and William Paca to make the American representative to the Spanish court a minister plenipotentiary, thus equaling the status of Franklin at the French court, was a maneuver to oust Arthur Lee, who held the lower rank of commissioner to that country, without actually having to vote for his recall (same, 15:1109). Thus when, on 13 Oct., Lee's letter of 31 May was received, asking that he be recalled, Lovell moved and the congress resolved “that Mr. A. Lee be informed of Mr. Jay's appointment, and that, agreeably to his request, he is at liberty to return to America” (same, 15:1165–1166). When JA was appointed to negotiate treaties of peace and commerce with Great Britain, he too was given the rank of minister plenipotentiary (same, 15:1113).
13. Seven states voted to create a minister plenipotentiary to Spain (same, 15:1109–1110).
14. Presumably Lovell means that Laurens, by voting for the question even though he was a supporter of Lee, made it possible for Lee's opponents to insure his defeat by getting a minister plenipotentiary substituted for a commissioner. If Laurens had voted against the question, South Carolina's vote would have been divided and thus not counted.
15. The deleted name is too heavily struck out to be read. Laurens, a partisan of JA, called Paca's nomination of JA an example of divide and conquer, for Adams' supporters included a number who also supported Lee. The actual vote, however, produced only one vote for Lee and the rest for Jay, with three states not counted because divided (Laurens' “Notes of Proceedings,” Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:437–438).
16. That is, JA and John Jay.
17. John Dickinson, whom JA had made an enemy by calling him a “piddling Genius” (vol. 3:89), would do the voting for Delaware when McKean would be unable to attend the congress the next day. The third Delaware delegate was not in attendance during these votes (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:l–li).
{ 174 } | view
18. That is, Connecticut, unlike New York and New Jersey, permitted its vote to be cast by a single member. See Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:447–448, note 12.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0121

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-09-28

From James Lovell


[salute] Dear Sir

Yesterday in Whispers the proposal was made to send JA to Spain, the Baloting for that business being first called for. But Conecttt. and Pensylvania discovered a total abhorrence of the Consequences in the second Balot; therefore the Plan was dropped; and the Balots were N Hamp A Lee, R Is. Pensyl Sth. Car. no Vote.
For the 2 other Commissions J A the only Nomination. All the States but one for Doctor. Frankling. If this was not the Pidler it might be the Oddity of Virginia.1   My Colleagues Connectt.   }J Jay  
N. Yk  
N Jersey  
N Car.  
Prior to the Choice for Spain I produced your two first Letters as appertaining to the only one point which had ever appeared incontestible against A L, Je crains Mr. Lee et ses Entours.2 For the Minister disavowing on Feb. 13th. his having adopted Prejudices such as were attempted to be inspired in America; And proving his Disavowal by an Appeal to his Conduct to you “ensemble et séparément” shows either that he meant only avec ses Entours, or that he felt convinced he had been drawn into unjust doubts, and intended to show double Confidence in future.
The whole Members even Jay praise “my Perseverance” but he says “in Friendship to Arthur.” Time will show whether it has not been to prevent Congress from an Act of Injustice, and to maintain the Sacredness of the Approbation or Disapprobation of our united Supremacy; which is what the <Officer> Servant of Republicks should look up to rather than to Salaries and Perquisites, which the Levity of Monarchies makes their Servants catch while they can, without striving to deserve them. I am freed from a Load. For I have long practiced upon David's Rule. Away with Sackloth and Ashes when evitables become inevitable.3 J J desires me to be as true to him “only while he continues { 175 } to do honestly.” That I most assuredly will, and to every Name that the public Choice shall fall on. But I cannot forget the past so far as not to think that, if S Deane is not stone blind he may now see from what Source he got his Fund of Advice towards Measures apparently his own.
Carmichael, Houston and Mr. Jays Brother Livingston are talked of as secretaries to the Embassies.4 Gerry tells me Dana may be induced to go with you.5
And now, my very dear Sir, as to the main Point. America ought not to pardon you if you put its Peace to the Hazard of a second Ballot; As an Individual I swear I never will. And, as to Portia, if I can by my utmost Industry find out that only one Tear or even a Sigh comes from her, I will burn all her past Letters, much as I now regard them; and if I should ever again speak or write to her, she may expect I shall call her Daphne or Cloe or even Lais. I will allow her a little <Sorrow> Regret if she will not let it amount to a Sigh, while she considers with me that you cannot be here to manage the Vermont Cause. You must give all possible Information to Massachusets Government through [an] able Man or Committee before you go from thence or hence.6
I have tired all my Pens yesterday and Today in conversing with those I love southward and eastward.
Heaven protect you
[signed] J L
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr. Lovell 28 Septr. 1779 Ballots for Ministers for Peace and for Spain.” Some mutilation along the edges.
1. Elbridge Gerry also thought that it was John Dickinson, Delaware's only delegate in attendance on this date, who voted for Franklin, who had not been nominated, making his vote out of order (Gerry to JA, 29 Sept., below; Lovell to JA, 27 Sept., note 17, above). Casting such a vote was also the sort of thing Meriwether Smith of Virginia might have done. Smith was notorious for being odd and was sometimes called Dogberry or the Fiddle (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:260–261, notes 1 and 2).
2. See Lovell to JA, 13 June and note 3 there. JA's “two first letters” that Lovell produced were JA's letter to Vergennes of 11 Feb. and Vergennes' reply of 13 Feb. (both above), copies of which JA had sent to Lovell with his letter of 13 Aug. (above). Both letters defended Lee's character.
3. 2 Samuel 12:15–23.
4. William Carmichael and William C. Houston were members from Maryland and New Jersey, respectively. Henry Brockholst Livingston was Jay's brother-in-law (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:lii, lvi, 444).
5. This paragraph was apparently written after the letter was completed. The first sentence is crowded into the space between the paragraphs preceding and following it, while the second sentence is written in the left margin.
6. The issue of Vermont had been before the congress for some months. JA was something of an expert on the conflicting claims of Massachusetts, New York, and New Hampshire to land west of the Connecticut River (see “Report to the General Court on Massachusetts Boundaries,” [March-May 1774], vol. 2:22–81).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0122

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-09-28

From James Lovell


Mr. Jay having resigned the Chair on account of other public Engagements, the Honble. Mr. Huntingdon was Elected President of Congress. Tomorrow, will be chosen Secretaries for
France     Spain     and the Negociator  
Peter Scull   {   Mr. Carmichael   {   Jno. Trumbull1  
  by     by     by  
Mr. Atlee   Mr. Hewes   Mr. Laurens  
Col. John Lawrence2     Mr. Searle     Jona. Trumbull3  
  by       by       by  
Mr. Gerry     Mr. Armstrong     Mr. Holton  
        Hble. Francis Dana  
        Mr. Peabody  
By authority from A.L, some time dormant, a Suit will be commenced instantly against D——e for Defamation.4
Your Favor from Passi Novr. 27. 1778 reached me this day, said to be by Capt. Jno. Brown. Your Situation as therein described was more strongly painted in your Letter of the 10th. of this month received also Today. I mean in that part of it which was intended to make me “reconsider my Opinion concerning your Friends and Enemies in Congress.” Shall I do as you wish me according to our Rules and Orders? I consent. We vote to reconsider we make no ammendment but we are not obliged to put a Question again upon the Proposition, it stands in as much force as ever.
But tho I do not go into the Conclusions you supposed I ought to make, I shall pursue what I had undertaken and in part accomplished before the tardy Post came in. You shall know not only that you are to have a Skipper, but a Purser also. The first shall know his ubi and quando the second his quantum and his unde derivetur. A Committee is appointed for the Purpose, Laurens Gerry and somebody else.5
There seems to be an Infinity of Good Humour in Consequence of the late Elections. I suppose if C——l succeeds on <This day> The morrow we shall go on swimming in the smooth Pool of Complacency.
{ 177 }
The Chance is for him against his present single Competition.6 I am not distressed about the Event tho I think I have seen full Proof of an Instance or two of radical Disingenuity in him.
Suffer me now, dear Sir to assume the Freedom of giving you some Advice. Your Honor is among my very interesting Concerns. Having in preremptory Language declared my Opinion of your duty to accept, I will most ingeniously tell you every Objection against it in my Mind, and then advise you how to lessen the force of those objections. You will have decided ultimata and negotiable propositions to carry with you. The whole world knows that the latter are almost totally dependent upon antecedent Secresy. But such has been the Servility of some here that I have little doubt of the Knowledge of our Transactions having been regularly conveyed to our Ally already.7 This is not a fatal Circumstance, As both He and the Mediational Powers must, of Custom and Necessity, be made more or less acquainted with them by you. But there have been at Times such Declarations of the Right of the Delegates of a sovereign independent State to convey to their State matters respecting its Salvation, tho ordered, here, to be on secret Journals that I have little Scruple of the whole of our Proceedings being known to <Virginia New York Sth. Carolina as well as to Drayton Jay and Smith> several States as well as to all their Delegates. In your Answer therefor of Acceptance, I advise you to hint delicately the Disadvantages which you are entitled to apprehend from the Nature of the Constitution of the Supremacy which prepares your Instructions, the Risque you foresee of your own Discretion being inpreached in Consequence of the Want of it in some one or many others, and, at best, of your Abilities as a Negociator being evidenced in fine only by the bare Execution of the strictly defined Parts of the Business proposed to you. You may conclude your Acceptance with saying as many fine Things about your Integrity as the vainest Rascal on Earth coud do, and I promise you, a Syllable of what you utter on that Topic will not be disbelieved by The Delegates In Congress Of The United States Of America.
Should the State of Mass. incline to keep me here, at a most enormous Expence to them, tho to the Starvation of my Family, I will be as true to you as to John Jay. And I assure you I herein make a bigger Promise than your Observations upon the general Run of the Children of Adam will at first lead you to imagine.
I will aim to know possitively the author of the Letter respecting Monsieur l'Ami d'un Fol.8 I will deliver to Dr. Rush and Genl. Roberdeau your Letters to them.
And now, then, (as G Morris elegantly begins his Paragraphs) my { 178 } esteemed Friend, having tried your Eyes almost as much as you do every Body's, I have mended my Pen and enlarged my Alphabetic Conveyancers, for the sole Purpose of advising you to do often the same, especially when writing to public Bodies.9
[signed] J L
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr Lovel septr. 27. & 28 Ballots for Secretaries. L'Ami d'un Fol”; and in an unknown hand: “1779.”
1. Probably John Trumbull (b. 1756, soldier, painter, and youngest son of Gov. Jonathan Trumbull of Conn.; he was seeking a congressional appointment about this time (DAB).
2. John Laurens, son of Henry Laurens.
3. Jonathan Trumbull Jr. (b. 1740), soldier and elder son of Gov. Jonathan Trumbull (DAB).
4. Setting this sentence off from the rest of the text are, in the left margin, four short parallel lines above and two short parallel lines below the sentence.
5. Lovell's meaning in this paragraph is unclear and, in view of JA's reply of 17 Oct. (below), it is questionable whether even he understood what Lovell was trying to say. In the order that they appear the Latin words translate as: where, when, how much, and whence derived. Thus one explanation may be that, in responding to JA's letters of 27 Nov. 1778 and 10 Sept. 1779 (both above), Lovell was indicating his intention to insure JA's independence from Benjamin Franklin in regard to both direction and compensation. Lovell's first objective was realized since JA's commissions came directly from the congress and allowed him to act independently. Regarding the second, despite Lovell's efforts noted in his letter of 1 Oct. (below), both JA and John Jay were to receive their funds from Benjamin Franklin upon their arrival in Europe (Lovell to JA, 19 Oct., and note 2, below). The issue of compensation continued to concern JA, as can be seen by his letters to the president of the congress of 17 Feb. and to James Lovell of 29 Feb. 1780 (both below). Further confusing the situation is the fact that no three-man committee with Gerry and Laurens as members was created on 28 Sept., or on any other date in 1779, but see Gerry's letters of 29 Sept. and 12 Oct. (both below).
6. Armstrong withdrew Searle's name, leaving Carmichael unopposed; Dana and John Laurens were also chosen (JCC, 15:1115, 1127–1128).
7. The instructions for the minister plenipotentiary to negotiate peace and a commercial treaty with Great Britain had been adopted by the congress on 14 Aug. (same, 14:956–962). In a dispatch of the same date Gérard sent Vergennes a summary of the instructions (Gérard, Despatches and Instructions, p. 846–850).
8. See JA to Lovell, 10 Sept., note 1 (above). Above and below this paragraph in the left margin are double parallel lines.
9. This paragraph is written in a much clearer and quite different-looking hand from the whole preceding text, in part because of Lovell's new pen point.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0123

Author: Barbé-Marbois, François de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-09-29

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

From François Barbé-Marbois

printed: JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:174 (JA's English translation); for the French text, see JA, Works, 7:116–117.
Barbé-Marbois was touched that the American people had chosen a peace negotiator who was unprejudiced and without passion except for the welfare of his country. He hoped that John Adams would again take his son John Quincy Adams to Europe so that the young man could learn to value France and ready himself for future service to his country. He ended by observing that France was perceiving more each day the value of its alliance with America.
printed: (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:174 (JA's English translation); for the French text, see JA, Works, 7:116–117).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0124

Author: Gerry, Elbridge
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-09-29

From Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear Mr. Adams

It is with the greatest pleasure, that I inform You of the late Arrangement of our foreign affairs, in which You are appointed to negotiate the Treaties with G Britain and our Friend Mr. Dana to be your Secretary. Mr. Jay is to negotiate with Spain, Mr. Carmichael to be his Secretary, and Colo. John Laurens, Son of the late president Laurens, to be Secretary to Doctor Franklin.
I shall not be able at this Time to give You a History of the proceedings of Congress, relative to their foreign Affairs; the Embarrassments Difficulties and Delays attending this Business, in Consequence of the Disputes between the late Commissioners, have exceeded every thing of the Kind, which I have before met with: so far have some of their Friends in Congress been influenced by Attachments and prejudice, as to render it impossible to preserve their Friendship and Confidence, and at the same Time to act with becoming Freedom and Independence.
I flatter myself that You will not hesitate a Moment, at accepting the highest office of Honor and Trust, under the united States, when elected thereto by the Voice of eleven States. Indeed it may be called unanimous, as there was only a single Vote for Doctor Franklin, who was not in Nomination, and it was said to have been put in by Delaware, at that Time represented by your old Friend Mr. D[ickinso]n. Great Exertions were made to send You to Spain, and Mr. Jay on the other Embassy, but the Opposition of your Friends produced from the Gentlemen in Favour of Mr. Jay, a proposal of Accomodation, in Consequence whereof he was appointed by eight States. The Appointment of Mr. Dana is in my humble Opinion of the next Importance, and should he accept it, he may1 stand Candidate for the next Vacancy in Europe.
It is almost Time to acknowledge the Receipt of your esteemed Favours of the 27th of Novr. 1778, and of the 10th and 11th Instant. The first is of so early a Date as not to require an Answer; and a prudent Use shall be made of the last. Agreable to your Request in the other, I transmit by the Bearer Mr. []2 the Journals of Congress to the present Time, as far as they are printed, those for 1778 are now in the press. With Respect to the Circumstances of your first Appointment, It was in Consequence of a Nomination which I ventured to make, after having endeavoured to discover your Sentiments on the Subject. I remember You was more reserved than I tho't You ought to have been, and two of your Collegues then in York Town, to whom I proposed { 180 } the Matter, objected to it, as not being agreable to You. When the Nomination was made, if I rightly remember, the one that remained in Congress after You left it,3 expressed his Doubts on the Occasion, but being determined to try the Experiment, I informed the House that I had communicated to You my Design of Nomination, and that, altho You was very silent on the Affair, I was fully persuaded You would not decline the Duty. This fixed the Matter in the Minds of your Friends. Mr. R. Livingston was nominated by New York,4 and by recurring to the printed Journals, You will find the Voters in your Favour distinguished by Dots, Volo. 3d, page 547.5 It is some Time since this Transaction happened, and I may be mistaken in some points, but I further recollect, that in conferring with You, I mentioned my former Intention of nominating You in the Fall of the Year 1776, and that Mr. R H Lee told me, You had informed him, that You would not accept the Appointment if made, which last Circumstance, not being remembered by You, was an additional Argument in my Mind for pushing your Election at York Town.
I conceived myself bound by every principle of Honour, Integrity, and policy, to “vote You clear of Suspicion &c. dishonorable to the States.” When the Question was proposed for inserting your Name in that Resolution, I opposed it as unjust, And the inclosed Copy of the futile Charge against You, and Evidence to support it, will I think warrant my Conduct. If unjust, then surely it was impolitick, as your future Usefulness would have been destroyed for a Time, at least I conceived it so, and was therefore bound in Honor not to sport with your Character. I mean not however to thro' a Reflection on the Conduct of Gentlemen of a different Opinion, they probably6 had a different View of the Subject, and may be highly commendable for a Measure, which it would have been criminal in me to have adopted.7 While I am on this Subject, give me Leave to observe, that your Letter to Congress, desiring a Copy of the Charges against You was yesterday read,8 on which I moved the House to comply with your Request; but It was objected to from several Quarters as an improper Measure, since the House had almost unanimously, by your late Appointment, rejected the Charge, and had in the first Instance cleared You of the Animosities subsisting amongst the other Commissioners. It was also said, that the Admission of Weight in the Charge, was dishonorable to the House, which in that Case would have been in Duty bound to postpone Your Appointment, untill You were acquitted of the Charge. The Objections were agreable to my Mind and I withdrew the Motion, at the same Time informing the House, that I should furnish You with the papers requested.
{ 181 }
Upon the Whole, I am of Opinion, that in the Esteem of Congress, your Character is as high as any Gentleman's in America. That as much is obtained in the Arrangement and Determinations of our foreign Affairs as could be expected. That if Matters had been driven further, We should have been more deeply involved in Animosities and Dissention, and have put a total Stop to our foreign Negotiations. That in Consequence thereof, We must, on the Return of Monsr. Gerard, have sunk in the Esteem of our Ally, of the Court of Spain, and of all Europe. That Doctor Franklin ought to be recalled.9That however some late Measures may not be equal to our Wishes, It becomes our indispensible Duty to support them with Vigour, and to listen no more to Insinuations without Evidence to support them. That an able, upright, firm Friend to America, is greatly injured in Doctor Lee, as well by the Impolicy of some of10 his11 Friends, as by the undeserved Reproach of his Enemies. But that his Usefulness being destroyed, had it been practicable to have continued him in office, he could not have served with Satisfaction to himself, or Advantage to the publick. I have been well informed that Hints have been thrown out here, relative to my Votes for recalling Doctor Lee, which I do not relish: I have however suppressed my Feelings, because it is extremely injurious to the publick Interest, to have their Servants involved in Disputes with each other. I shall return prepared to justify my Conduct in every point, and should any Attempts be made to misrepresent it, I shall be under the Necessity of shewing, that it has been ever directed in Congress by disinterested publick Motives; that it has been always free from Views, of extending my personal Interest or Influence, or of supporting private Attachments; and I think I can answer for the policy of the Measures which I have adopted. Perhaps You may think this deviating from Delicacy, but conscious of the Rectitude of my Intentions, I cannot bear the Breath of Reflection. I voted for the Recall of all the Commissioners included in the Resolution of the 20th of April last,12 as an indispensible Obligation arising from the Resolution itself, and also, as a preliminary Measure for fully enquiring into the Conduct of those Gentlemen, that the Character of each may be fairly known, and represented to the publick. The States divided on Doctor Lee and he was continued in Office, contrary in my Opinion to every principle of Government, where a Majority is to rule. This happened by the Mode in which the Question was put, “shall he be recalled,” instead of “shall he be continued.” In the latter Case a Division would have lost the Question, and he would have been recalled, which the States who were against him being apprized of, conceived the Matter as it stood, both unreasonable and unfair. After Congress had finished their In• { 182 } structions, relative to negotiations, a Question arose, who should execute them? Reference being then made to a Resolution of the 15th of April last, “That Ministers plenipotentiary for these States, are only necessary for the present, at the Courts of Versailes and Madrid,” a Motion was made, “That a Minister plenipotentiary in Leiu of a Commissioner be appointed to negotiate a Treaty of Alliance, and Amity and Commerce, between the united States of America, and his catholic Majesty,” and the Question was carried as follows, six Ayes, one no, and four divided. Massachusetts was amongst the latter, Mr. Holton and myself, aye, Mr. Lovell and Mr. Partridge, no.13 I tho't it necessary to agree to this Imposition, as it was consonant to the Resolution of the 15th of April; as it would give the States a fair Oppertunity of electing their Minister; and thereby of correcting the Error mentioned—as a Decision of the Question in the negative would have postponed a Negotiation with Spain,—and for some14 Reasons before mentioned, and others with which I shall not15 trouble You. To convince You of the Necessity of this last Measure, I need only inform You, that before the Resolution was proposed, Congress endeavoured to appoint a Minister to negotiate the peace, and failed in the Attempt,16 there being six States for Yourself, five for Mr. Jay, and one divided. Those who were for Mr. Jay, then declared, they would never alter their Votes, unless they had a fair Oppertunity of electing a Minister for Spain, and accomodating Matters to the Sense of a Majority of the States, which was prevented by the Failure of a Vote of the States when divided.
One Word with respect to your Instructions, pray give me your Opinion on the Boundaries of Massachusetts Bay,17 and if any thing is amiss, Mr. Samuel Adams, if he thinks it expedient, may inform the State thereof, that they may give Directions for having it rectified in Congress.
Cannot You attend to the Settlement of the Vermont Affair on the first of Feby. next, agreable to certain Resolutions sent to Massachusetts,18 which by her Delegates has claimed a Right to the Jurisdiction of those Lands.
I should not have troubled You with such a Volume of small politics, did I not conceive it impracticable19 to weary the patience of a great politician. My best Respects to Portia, her Irony is by sovereign power turned into Fact.20 I wish that our Friend General Warren may peruse this Letter, and no other person at present, as it may otherwise by the Cause of my commencing Disputes, which I wish to avoid. Brother Dana may correct my Information relative to your first Election. Adeiu my dear Friend with Assurace of Sincerity in your very huml Sert21
[signed] E Gerry
{ 183 }
Is not Caution necessary in sending Letters or papers, which on certain Occasions ought not to be communicated? It sometimes happens that one Friend is nearly sacrificed to support another.22
I was on a Commitee which reported £3000 ster' per Year for each of the Ministers and £1000 ster per Annum for each of their Secretaries, the Salary to begin and end as prescribed by a former Resolution relative to the Commissioners; but I expect a Reduction of the first Sum will be made by some of our patriots,—and am in Favour of £2500 sterling for the first and half that Sum for the Secretaries.23
RC (Adams Papers); with two enclosures, both in a clerk's hand and not printed here: the charge against JA reported by a congressional committee on 24 March; the full text of Ralph Izard's letter to the president of the congress, 12 Sept. 1778 (for both, see enclosures with James Lovell's letter of 14 Sept., above). The second enclosure was docketed: “Mr. Izard 12 Sept 1778”; and by CFA: “See Mr Sparks' Diplom. Correspond. Volume 2d. p 434.” Dft (MHi: Gerry-Knight Coll.); docketed: “Copy of a Letter to Mr. J Adams Sepr. 29 1779.” Significant differences between the recipient's copy and the draft are noted below.
1. The draft substituted “may” for “will.”
2. Left blank in both the recipient's copy and the draft.
3. James Lovell. Samuel Adams left Philadelphia with JA on 11 Nov. 1777, and, until Francis Dana's arrival six days later, only Gerry and Lovell were in attendance (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:267; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:li-lii).
4. No mention of Robert R. Livingston's nomination has been found. According to Henry Laurens, the men nominated besides Adams on 21 Nov. 1777 were Dana, James Wilson, Joseph Reed, the Marquis de Lafayette, and R. H. Lee. Lafayette's name was apparently withdrawn, and Lee declined nomination (JCC, 9:947, note; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:569).
5. This is the Journals of Congress, vol. 3, Phila., 1779. The copy referred to by Gerry is now in JA's library at the Boston Public Library (Catalogue of JA's Library). Because there was no recorded roll call for JA's election as Commissioner on 28 Nov. 1777, Gerry made his marks beside a roll call of the same date on another matter that appears on p. 347. As indicated by Gerry, JA won six states: New Hampshire (Folsom), Massachusetts (Dana, Gerry, and Lovell), Rhode Island (Ellery), Connecticut (Dyer, Law, and Williams), Pennsylvania (Morris, Roberdeau, and Clingan), and Virginia (R. H. Lee, F. L. Lee, and Harvie). The delegations of New York (Duane and Duer), Maryland (Smith and Rumsey), North Carolina (Penn and Harnett), and Georgia (Langworthy), and Jones of Virginia were in the minority. Gerry placed dots beside Laurens and South Carolina, but at the bottom of the page he wrote “N.B. So. Carolina did not vote on the above Occasion, but was represented by Mr Laurens.”
6. In the draft “may” is crossed out before “probably.”
7. To this point in the paragraph Gerry refers to the resolution of 20 April that cited Franklin, Deane, Izard, and Arthur and William Lee for improper conduct, and he quotes JA's reference to that resolution in the postscript to his letter of 10 Sept. (above). For “the futile charge” and the “evidence,” see the enclosures to James Lovell's letter of 14 Sept. (above). The “Gentlemen of a different Opinion” from Gerry in regard to having JA's name included in the resolution were James Lovell and Samuel Adams. For Lovell's explanation of his action, see his letter of 13 June, and note 8 (above).
8. To the president of the congress, 10 Sept. (above).
9. This sentence was interlined in the draft.
10. In the draft the preceding two words were interlined.
11. At this point in the recipient's copy { 184 } is a symbol “#” to refer JA to the following note written by Gerry in the left margin: “I am informed, and I think from the best Authority, that a Resignation of Mr. Lee's, conceived in Terms that would do Honor to any Man on Earth, has been in the Hands of <his> a Friend of his in Congress, and suppressed two Months, by which Means he has been prevented from avoiding a Supersedence.” In the draft the symbol follows “friends.”
12. On 21 April the congress decided to vote separately for the recall of each of the Commissioners named in the vote of 20 April. Gerry voted to recall Franklin (22 April), Arthur Lee (3 May), and Ralph Izard and William Lee (8 June). Gerry's Massachusetts colleagues opposed each recall, and only the motions affecting Izard and William Lee were passed (JCC, 13:490; 14:542, 700–701, 703–704).
13. Gerry seconded the motion to add “in lieu of a commissioner” as an amendment (JCC, 15:1112–1113). For a confirmation of his reason given immediately below, see Lovell to JA, [1 Oct.] (below).
14. In the draft “some” was substituted for “many.”
15. In the draft Gerry wrote “at present” after “shall not,” but then deleted it.
16. The draft originally read: “before the Resolution was adopted, Yourself and Mr J were in Nomination to negotiate the peace, and Congress could not agree in an Appointment.”
17. JA's instructions of 16 Oct. ||regarging peace and commercial treaties|| and his commissions of 29 Sept. (all calendared below) were sent to him in a letter of 20 Oct. from the president of the congress (below). Since the instructions described the boundaries that JA was to secure for the United States, Gerry wanted the Massachusetts boundaries verified.
18. The resolutions, passed in congress on 24 Sept., were also sent to New Hampshire and New York. In essence, the action would have given congress the power to hear the disputes and make decisions according to the methods prescribed in the Articles of Confederation, although that document had not yet been accepted by all the states. The congress, after the states had taken suitable legislative action, was to begin its hearings on 1 Feb. 1780 JCC, 15:1096–1099).
19. The draft has “impossible.”
20. See AA's message for Gerry in JA's letter of 10 Sept. (above).
21. In the draft this paragraph was written in the margin with the following postscript: “NB I shall direct my long Letter to the Honorable, His Excellency John Adams Esqr.”
22. In the draft this paragraph was written along the margin of page six with many deletions and substitutions. Along the margin of page seven is another draft of the same paragraph, probably written before the text on page six, which was entirely crossed out with many words made illegible.
23. The final paragraph is not found in the draft. Gerry was named with John Mathews and Jesse Root on 28 Sept. The committee reported the next day, but the congress postponed action and then recommitted the report on 1 Oct. As Gerry suspected would happen, the ministers' salaries were set finally, on 4 Oct., at £2,500, but the committee report recommending £1,000 for secretaries was let stand (JCC, 15:1118, 1128, 1135, 1143–1145).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0125

Author: La Luzerne, Anne César, Chevalier de
Author: French Minister to the U.S.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-09-29

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

From the Chevalier de La Luzerne

printed: JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:173–174 (JA's English translation); for the French text, see JA, Works, 7:115.
Praising John Adams for “moderation and Equity,” La Luzerne assured him that the appointment as minister to negotiate the peace would be as widely approved in Europe as in America and offered passage to France on the frigate La Sensible.
printed: (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:173–174 (JA's English translation); for the French text, see JA, Works, 7:115).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0126

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-09-29

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

John Adams' Commissions to Conclude Treaties of Peace and Commerce with Great Britain

printed: JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:178–180; illustration of the peace commission facing 4:194.
Although both documents were dated 29 September, two days after Adams' appointment as minister plenipotentiary to negotiate treaties of peace and commerce, their final form was not agreed to until 4 October, when the decision was also made to backdate them to 29 September JCC, 15:1113, 1141, 1143. The commissions named John Adams as the congress' authorized representative with full powers to negotiate and conclude treaties of peace and commerce. They were sent to Adams as enclosures in the letter from the president of the congress of 20 October (below). Adams' instructions regarding the Anglo-American peace and commercial treaties were dated 16 October (calendared below).
printed: (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:178–180; illustration of the peace commission facing 4:194.)

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0127

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-10-01

From James Lovell

The Resolve of the 26th. of Sepr. for appointing a Minister plenipotentiary for Spain was reconsidered on the 27th. and the words in lieu of a Commissioner were added, by the Urgency of Brother Gerry least our State should appear to be against an Alliance with Spain. On this Mass: was divided and Sth. Carolina.1 All the rest stood as the day before.
On the 28th. Order for Tomorrow for appointing Secretaries and a Person to examine accounts in Europe agreable to the Resolve of Augst. 6th.
The Nominations you know except in the last Case Mr. Joshua Johnston2 Brother to Gov. Johnston of Maryland.
A Committee to draught a Commission for Spain and Commissions for the Secretaries.
Another Committee to report Salaries. Mathews Gerry Root3
Carmichael for Spain. Mr. Searles name being previously withdrawn. I wish therefore you would blot it from my former letter as it is blotted from our Journals.4
Mr. Dana for Peace
Col. John Laurens, for France
Mr. Joshua Johnstone for Accounts
Committee reported Salaries
{ 186 }
Report of the Committee recommitted upon my Suggestions as to unde derivetur.5
Your Return in the Frigate which brought you must be more agreable than even one of ours with a new set of Faces. If Dana does not consent, The answer should be immediate. For though I do not think the Door for your Business is yet opening, the Delay of the Frigate is to be considered, not withstanding Mr. G——d has kept ours more than two Months.6
I wish heartily I could render you such Service as I think Dana can. It is tripping no Man to become your Secretary though in a former Case I should have been charged with putting my foot against the faithful Bancroft.7
Pray miss no possible Chance to inform A L of what has happened. It may reach him before an Authenticated account by Mr. Jay; and be a warning to take his Measures. I wa[nt] him immediately here to see his Suit8 which was commenced 3 or 4 days ago. He can have no Accounts to cause Delay. And as he has Power to borrow Money; he cannot be obliged to apply to F——. I will suggest the Thought of empowering you to make sure of a Loan if possible. I am persuaded the English would many of them seize the Opportunity of serving Us and themselves all under one.
You will have a decent Commission this Time. I wish I could see your old one; as do the Secretary and Mr. Laurens between whom there have been formal Proceedings in doors respecting some Indecencies of the former.9

[salute] Yr. affectte

[signed] J L
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr. Lovell Octr. 1. 1779.”
1. Lovell and George Partridge voted “no”; Holten supported Gerry. For South Carolina, Laurens voted “no”; Mathews, “ay” (JCC, 15:1112–1113).
2. Edmund Jenings had recommended Johnson to JA as a possible consul (Jenings to JA, 2 June, above).
3. See Elbridge Gerry to JA, 29 Sept., and note 23 (above).
4. See Lovell's second letter to JA of 28 Sept. (above). JA did not blot out James Searle's name.
5. For an earlier reference to salaries and their “unde derivetur,” see Lovell to JA, 28 Sept. (second letter), note 5 (above).
6. On the delays of the frigate Confederacy, which was to carry Gérard back to France, as well as Jay to Spain, see the summation in Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:385, note 3.
7. For JA's opinion of Bancroft as a possible secretary, see JA to Gerry, 11 Sept. (above).
8. Lee's suit against Silas Deane for libel (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:423–424, note 9).
9. On the controversy between Charles Thomson and Henry Laurens, see Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:392, 397–399, 401–408. Their dispute over the physical state of JA's first commission appears on p. 398 and p. 405. Soon after JA's first commission was issued, Lovell noted that it had been misdated by the { 187 } secretary Charles Thomson, but Thomson, as well as President Henry Laurens and others, thought the mistake was “of no consequence” (Lovell to JA, [post 17 Dec. 1777], vol. 5:356; see also the commission as printed, and as an illustration in vol. 5:333–335). JA commented on the physical condition of the commission in his reply to Lovell of 25 Oct., and he complained about Arthur Lee's name preceding his in that document in his letter of 18 Oct. to Elbridge Gerry (both below).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0128

Author: Marchant, Henry L.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-10-02

From Henry Marchant

[salute] Dear Sir

By the last Post I was highly gratified by your kind and very polite Favour of the 10th. of Sepr. The Notice and Recollection of my former Letter sufficiently convinces me that You have not forgot an old Friend. In your Absence I had frequent Temptations to write You; but I was affraid of being amongst the Number of troublesome and useless Correspondants.
We have finished Our foreign Affairs that mostly pressed upon Us. Your Appointment will convince You, that however aukward your Situation has been, it was not from any Alteration of Sentiment towards you since your first Appointment as one of Our Commissioners at Paris. I must hope, however urksome the Task, you will once more be induced to quit the Rank of a Citizen to become a Servant of the Publick. We must all look back at Our first setting out; and take Spirit from those Principles which first annimated Our Souls; and while we lament that torpid, base degeneracy, which hath seised too many, we must not suffer Ourselves to faint, or repine at Our Burthens. Mr. Dana is appointed Secretary; I rather wish for, than expect his Acceptance, yet I will hope that every Obstacle will give Way to the good of his Country.
If Mr. Dana goes he will be ready there should another Minister be wanted thro' Death, Sickness or otherwise. I shall rejoice to hear of your safe Arrival at Paris; And shall esteem myself truely happy in your Correspondance; for with great Esteem I am your, sincere Friend & Servt.
[signed] H. L. Marchant
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr. Marchant”; and by CFA: “October 2d 1779.”

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0129

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1779-10-04

To James Lovell

[salute] My dear Sir

I have heard much of your Deliberations concerning a Peace—and you drop Hints to me, of Apprehensions of Negotiations in Europe. I hate these Innuendoes—pray Speak out, and tell me what you mean.1 { 188 } Do you verily expect Peace? Do you seriously expect Negotiations for Peace?
What is at stake for Britania? What will be the Consequence to her of American Independence? Is not the Empire of the Sea at stake? Do you think that Britain had not rather loose, her West India Islands, and the Remainder of her Colonies in America by War, than by Peace? Do you think she can bear the Thought of being rivalled in Commerce and in naval Power by Us? But I am grown too easy to think, So I will save my self the Trouble of Writing and you that of reading, Stuff, and send you a little Sense in harmonious Numbers from Thompson, who Speaks the Soul of every Englishman. Britannia sings to her Sons.2
LbC (Adams Papers). The recipient is not named, but the first paragraph indicates that JA is writing to James Lovell.
1. See JA to Lovell, 21 Sept., note 3 (above).
2. The rest of the letter consists of lines 166–299 (end) from James Thomson's Britannia, published originally in 1729, which alerts the British to defend liberty from the plague of luxury and protect their far-flung trade as the basis of their power.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0130

Author: Laurens, Henry
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-10-04

From Henry Laurens

[salute] My Dear Sir

The receipt and perusal of your favour of 10th Ultimo afforded me a very high satisfaction—the answer with which you honored my Letter of May 1778. has not yet reached me.1
From the earliest intelligence of your return to America I felt a strong disposition to wait on you with a line or two of sincere congratulation on your happy return to your family and American freinds, but there were certain irresistible pullbacks to the intended operation. I am not addicted to commonplace Ceremony and I perceived it extremely difficult to compose a palatable address, of blended gratulation and condolence to an exaustorated fellow-Citizen who had deserved well of his Country and who at the same time stood in the most awkward situation that an honest susceptible mind can be reduced to. Sent, without his own desire and probably inconsistently with his Interest and inclination, on an ambassy beyond the Atlantic—kept unemployed—and in the course of a few Months virtually dismissed without censure or applause and without the least intimation when, or in what manner he was to return and report his proceedings—from these and other considerations I found myself constrained to wait future events—these, tho' a little clumsily brought forth, have happened as I wished, and { 189 } now My Dear Sir, I not only congratulate you on a safe return but I have another opportunity of rejoicing with my Country Men on the judicious choice which Congress have made in their late election of a Minister Plenepotentiary to treat—in due time be it understood—with his Britanic Majesty on Peace and Commerce. The determination of Congress in this instance, will be grateful to the People of these States and may expiate the queernesses of some of the queerest fellows that ever were invested with rays of sovereignty.
Let me intreat you Sir, for my Country's sake, to accept the appointment without hesitation or retrospection, you know “whereof we are made.” Wisdom and Patriotism forbid exceptions on account of past circumstances. I speak in pure truth and sincerity and will not risque offence by uttering a word respecting your fitness or peculiar or exclusive fitness for the important Office, but I will venture to add, it is necessary you should accept and stand ready to execute it, your determination to do so, will make the true freinds of American Independence happy, and will abate their apprehensions, from incompetency or negligence in other quarters—not that I beleive you will be directly the object of negotiation, the Pride of our haughty Enemy will lead him to manoevre by mediation and my Ideas teach me to suppose, you are for some time to remain behind the Curtain, but the moment cannot be far distant, according to present appearances, when you will step on the Stage and act a part, productive of substantial good to your Country, of honorable fame to yourself and to your posterity. My prayers and good wishes for your success will be accompanied by the utmost exertions of my feeble powers to insure it.
I pay no regard to the slanders of stock jobbers, Monopolizers nor any of the various tribes and Classes of the Enemies of our Peace. It gives me some satisfaction however to know that better Men think well of me, but I draw an infinitely more solid consolation from this knowledge, that I have uniformly striven to persevere faithfully and disinterestedly in the service of my Country; this well founded assurance will in every event, however untoward, calm the mind and secure that Peace which neither the great nor the little World can give, or rob me of. I have, now, no hope of embracing you corporeally, on this or the other Continent to which you are going, but as a good Citizen and fellow labourer in the common Cause, my Heart will embrace you at whatever distance we may be from each other, be this as it shall happen, should we be permitted to come within reach, I tell you plainly and I know you will not be dipleased, I shall prefer shaking hands in the old American stile.
{ 190 }
Should I be detained in Congress the ensuing Winter I mean to ask leave in the Spring to visit Massachusets and New Hampshire as one of the last of my terrestrial peregrinations; that journey finished—I hope the times will give me leave to withdraw and learn to die, a science I most devoutly wish to enter upon with a sedulousness which the present day prohibits.
Commodore G's ill success in France may possibly abate a little of his fervor for accomplishing every thing by the force of his own powers, his expences being fruitless will make no inconsiderable deduction from our Carolina finances and I am sorry to hear that when he returns to Charles Town he will be asked unpleasant questions respecting his general conduct and Don Juan de Miralles complains heavily of one of his transactions at Havanna,2 these are things of no immediate concern to you, nor would it be instructive to say, 'tis difficult to judge of Man from appearances.
I wish I had time to speak of the awful state of our national debt and Credit, the field is too wide for the Compass of a Letter, but beleive me Sir, while we are decorating our fabric we are censurably careless of the foundation. Censure if ever it comes, will not light wholly on those whom the pious Duffield3 calls “the great Council of these States.” Each State at too late a day will find cause to apply blame to itself. We are at this moment on the brink of a precipice and what I have long dreaded and often intimated to my freinds, seems to be breaking forth a convulsion among the People. Yesterday produced a bloody scene in the streets of this City, the particulars you will probably learn from other freinds—and from circumstances which have come to my knowledge this Morning there are grounds for apprehending much more confusion.4 The Enemy has been industriously sapping our fort and we gazing and frolicing. Peradventure we, meaning every State, may improve the present alarm to good purpose—but what shall we do by and by and not far distant, for quieting an hungry and naked Army. Shall we call forth a grand Convention in Aid of the great Council? This may become absolutely necessary.
I will presume on your kindness and freindship to trouble you by the next Post with a Packet for my freinds in Europe and no further in the mean time but to subscribe with great truth, Dear sir, Your faithful, obliged and affectionate freind & servant
[signed] Henry Laurens
RC (Adams Papers); docketed by JQA: “H. Laurens. 4. Octr. 1779.”
1. JA replied to Laurens' letter of 19 May on 27 July 1778 (vol. 6:137, 322–323).
2. Alexander Gillon began his journey to France from Havana (D. E. Huger-Smith, “Commodore Alexander Gillon and the Frigate South Carolina,” S.C. Hist. { 191 } and Geneal. Mag., 9:194–195 [Oct. 1908]). Miralles was the unofficial Spanish representative in Philadelphia.
3. Rev. George Duffield was appointed chaplain by the congress on 1 Oct. 1777 (JCC, 8:756).
4. The attack by local militiamen on the home of James Wilson occurred on 4 Oct., indicating that Laurens finished this letter on 5 Oct. See Benjamin Rush to JA, 12 Oct., note 4 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0131

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Chaumont, Jacques Donatien, Leray de
Date: 1779-10-05

To Leray de Chaumont

[salute] Sir

As the Sensible is expected to sail in a few days, it is proper that I should embrace the Opportunity to inform you, of your Misfortune in the Loss of the Betsy and all your Effects which were on Board of her.1 Somewhere near the grand Bank of Newfoundland, in a very foggy Night she fell in with a British sloop of War, which conducted her to Newfoundland. We missed her in the Morning, and were a long time anxious least some Misfortune had befallen her worse than Captivity. But a few days ago, a Cartel from Hallifax brought to Boston, Captain Cazneau, and the other Persons, on Board who have given the foregoing Account of their Disaster.
It is proper that I should inform you that wild Lands are now taxed in this state, and perhaps in all the others, to such a Degree that perhaps you would be discouraged from the Purchase, as these Produce no immediate Profit to answer the Demand. You however, will judge for yourself.
We have had our Spirits elevated here, by Rumours of the Count D'Estaing upon our Coast: But have nothing certain. We are anxiously waiting for Intelligence from Europe, from whence We expect to hear of great Events.
I wish Somebody or other would convince the Courts of France and Spain that their true Interest lies, in transferring more of their Exertions into the American Seas. A clear decided Superiority of naval Power, in the West Indies and on the Coast of North America, has such Advantages for conducting this War to a Speedy, successfull and glorious Conclusion, that I cannot but wonder that any other Policy is thought of. Perhaps I may be too selfish or too patriotic in this sentiment to be a good Ally. But I think I can demonstrate the Position upon French and Spanish Principles Simply. Is it not their Interest to conduct the War, in that manner which will the Soonest depress the Power of their Ennemies and increase their own. If the British Power in N. America and the West India Islands were broken, what have they left? Every other Advantage which France and Spain can justly { 192 } wish, will follow of Course. But I will not tease you with my Small Politicks. My Respects to your agreable Family, and to Dr. Franklin, and to all Passy. I am, with much Respect, your most obedient servant
[signed] John Adams
1. See Chaumont to JA, 13 June (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0132

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Date: 1779-10-06

To Gabriel de Sartine

[salute] Sir

The Sensible intending to Sail in a few Days, it is my Duty to embrace the Opportunity of acknowledging my Obligations to his Majesty and to your Excellency, for the Favour of a Passage, in this Frigate, which was rendered the more honourable and agreable to me, by the Company of his Excellency the Chevalier De la Luzerne and Mr. Marbois, two Characters that I have every Reason to believe, will be peculiarly usefull and acceptable in this Country.
Your Excellency will permit me, also to express my Obligations to Captain Chavagne and the other Officers of the Frigate for their Civilities, as these Gentlemen upon all Occasions discovered a particular Attention and solicitude, to render all the Circumstances of the Voyage as agreable as possible to me, and the other Passangers, as well as to protect the Merchant Vessells under their Convoy.
I hope and believe they have neither seen nor heard any Thing here, among the People of this Country, but what has a Tendency to give them a favourable Opinion of their Allies. I have the Honour to be with the highest Consideration, your Excellencys, most obedient and most humble servant

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0133

Author: Lee, Richard Henry
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-10-08

From Richard Henry Lee

[salute] My dear Sir

I congratulate you most sincerely on your safe return to your family and your country. I hope you found the former in good health, and the latter I am very sensible will be at all times benefitted by the assistance of so able a Citizen, and the more especially at this time, when the most important of all sublunary things is under consideration, the establishing of government. Independent of general principles of philan• { 193 } thropy I feel myself much interested in the establishment of a wise and free republic in Massachusetts Bay, where yet I hope to finish the remainder of my days. The hasty, unpersevering, aristocratic genius of the south suits not my disposition, and is inconsistent with my ideas of what must constitute social happiness and security. It is not long since I received your favor of Feb. 13 from Paris.1 So far as immediate personal ease and happiness is the object, it is beyond doubt that the life of a private Citizen is more desirable than any public character whatever, and such especially as call us far from home. But my friend we must consider that individual happiness flows from the general felicity, and that the security of the whole is the safety of particulars. What must become of the American cause and character, if her councils at home and abroad are to be filled and conducted by half Tories, weak, ambitious, avaricious, and wicked men? These considerations induce me to wish that you may not give up the thoughts of public service until our affairs are better settled. I wish with all my heart that the Chevalier de la Luzerne and Monsr. de Marbois had originally came here. I do assure you that it would greatly have benefitted the cause of the Alliance and the United States. Such scenes of wicked intrigue have been exhibited as I never expected would take place in America until maturity of times and luxury with its concomitant train of vices had ripened us for destruction. You will no doubt be fully informed by others concerning the proceedings of a faction dangerous to our country and very disgraceful also.
I had written thus far and stopped, having no opportunity of immediate conveyance, when my friends from Philadelphia informed me of the crowning work of more than a years intrigue—that malice is at last glutted even to satiety.2 It seems however, that the party have been under a necessity of suffering one proper man to be employed, and I am well pleased to see, even the wicked sometimes compelled to do right. I heartily wish you success in your negotiation, and that when you secure one valuable point for us (the fishery) that you will not less exert yourself for another very important object, the free navigation of Mississippi, provided guilty Britain should remain in possession of the Floridas. I totally despair of the navigation from any other advocation. Before this reaches Boston you will no doubt have heard of Count D'Esteings arrival on our coast. Should fortune favor us, with this aid we may expect to remove our unprincipled enemies from N. York and R. Island.3 To this if we can add Nova Scotia, we may be pretty indif• { 194 } ferent about the future operations of Great Britain. I shall be at all times happy to hear from you, and in return will furnish you with such intelligence as this part of the world produces.

[salute] With singular esteem and affection I am dear Sir most sincerely yours

[signed] Richard Henry Lee
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honorable John Adams in Boston favored by Colo. Loyeaute”; docketed: “Richd. Hen. Lee. Octr. 8. 1779 ansd. March 15. 1780” and “R. H. Lee. Chantilly Oct. 8. 1779 recd on Board Le Sencible. Novr. 14th. 1779. just about to sail”; and by CFA: “ansd. March 15th 1780. The answer to this Letter is published in the life of R. H. Lee by his grandson Volume 2d. p 137.”
1. In addition to his letter to Lee, JA wrote to the Committee for Foreign Affairs, of which Lee was a member (both above).
2. The maneuvers leading to the displacement of Arthur Lee through the appointment of John Jay as minister to Spain.
3. Despite the fact that Estaing's efforts at Savannah proved ineffectual, the British abandoned Newport on hearing of his arrival (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 162).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0134

Author: Knox, Henry
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-10-10

From Henry Knox

[salute] Dear Sir

I received your obliging favor of the 19th last month by Mr. Lowell, for which I thank you.
Mr. Gerard has been to Camp, and has return'd to Philadelphia, to embark on board of the Confederacy for France, on board of the same Ship Mr. Jay and his Family embark. Mr. Gerard made us happy, politically so I mean, by informing us of your appointment as sole Minister plenipotentiary for the purpose of negociating a peace, and that you were to embark on board the frigate le sensible for France, to reside in Paris, untill an opportunity for so desirable an event should present itself.
Heaven send you a safe passage and a speedy opportunity of exercising your abilities in bringing the War to an Isue, and presenting to your Country the object of their wishes and prayers, Peace, Liberty and Safety.
I have taken the liberty to enclose a packet for Mr. Jonathan Williams in France, in which there is a Letter for my Brother1 who I expect is in France. Should you see him previous to seeing Mr. Williams I shall be much obliged by your breaking open the packet and taking out the Letter for my brother.

[salute] I am Dear sir with the highest Respect Your most Obedient Humble servt

[signed] H Knox
{ 195 }
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “General Knox.”
1. William Knox, who had gone to Europe earlier in 1779 (Thomas Morgan Griffiths, Major General Henry Knox and the Last Heirs to Montpelier, Monmouth, Maine, 1965, p. 8–9).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0135

Author: Gellée, Nicolas Maurice
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-10-11

From Nicolas Maurice Gellée

[salute] Dear Sir

I hope this Letter will reach you safe at Home amongst your Family and Friends. Supposing you are no less famish'd for News from this Side of the Atlantic than we are for American ones, I'll tell you the State of Affairs in Europe is almost the same as when you left it. Spain, tho' she is declared, four Months ago, seems as yet unconcerned about your Independance. The joint Fleets of France and Spain amounting to 66 Vessels of the Line have cruized during two Months, without any Success against Sir Charles Hardy who brought his 45 Sails back to Portsmouth, a single one, the Ardent of 64 Guns having been taken on Account of its Crew refusing the Service. It was reported that Count d'Orvilliers who had recently lost his daughter and his Son, was so troubled with Grief, he missed two fine Occasions of engaging a Battle. Others said that it was not the Fault of Count d'Orvilliers but of the Wind. Such was the Language held in France. The British Marine Officers in general, and Sir Lockart Ross in particular were so much roused when Sir Charles Hardy gave the Signal to get away from the French Fleet, he was obliged to shew his Instructions wherein it was recommended to him not to venture. The Bulk of the People in England look'd upon that Conduct as shameful and tarnishing the British Name; So that an equal Discontent prevailed in both Countries. But the few prudent People think that this Campaign being inactive was on one Side of much Advantage to Great Britain as it gives her Leisure to display her whole Strength and Ressources; And, on the other, no less detrimental to France, as it renders fruitless the enormous Expences incurred by the Preparatives of a Descent designed to be made in England and which did not take Place. However, Count d'Orvilliers is recalled and Count Du Chaffault appointed his Successor.1 Both Fleets are again to set at Sea immediately. Gibraltar is invested by a Spanish Army.
Reports are spread of an Alliance to be made this Winter between England and Russia, in Case no decisive Event shall take Place before the Return of the respective Fleets.
Captain Jones gives much Trouble to the English. He undertook { 196 } lately to make himself Master of the Fleet coming from the Baltic. The Convoy consisting of two Ships of War (the one of 40 Guns and of the best of the British Navy) surrendered to him, but he missed the others.2 Two strong Squadrons have been sent after him. He took during his Cruize a vast Number of Ships; And his own Benefit amounts to no less than 15,000 Pounds sterling.
I heard with much Concern of the Destruction of the American Squadron at Penobscot. I hope Sir G. Collier shall account for it to Count d'Estaing, and the British Barbary be retaliated as it deserves.
Lately after your Departure, strange Reports were spread, I don't know from what Quarter they came, about you and Mr. Samuel Adams. It was said and printed he headed a Conspiration contriv'd to surrender Boston to the English; And that you were gone to London, having, during your Station in France, entertained an illicit Correspondence with the British Ministry. I endeavoured to shew the Absurdity of this Latter Assertion, the more as you did embark in the same Ship with Chevalier de la Luzerne. But you know the People in this Country are very ignorant of American Affairs, And ill designing <People> Men are not at a Loss to indulge their Malignity.3 Had I kept a Copy of Count de Vergennes's last Letter to you, I think there was truely an Occasion it should have been made Use of.
You see by the Date of this Letter I dwell no more at Passy. Early in June, perceiving that since the Commission was dissolved, I was no more in the Confidence, and young Mr. Franklin took upon himself the sole interessant Business, I desired a Conference with Dr. Franklin, in Order to know the true Motive of that Change. He told me that I could see the Business was not, for the Present, so considerable as it had hitherto been; that there was no Scope for my Talents; that the Change I complained of did not arise of any Mistrust; But that, as far as he saw, one Secretary was now sufficient. In the mean Time, he desired me very politely to stay there on the same footing, untill I had provided for another Station of greater Trust and Emolument; But I did not think proper to remain a Burthen to the Public, being almost unuseful in the Business, and I retired to my Family whence I send you these Lines.
I will however, in my private Capacity of a sincere Well-wisher to the American Cause, communicate an Observation, which cannot have escap'd your Perspicacity. You had many Occasions to remark that the Subjects of the United States being quite ignorant of French Customs and Manners was a spring of frequent Altercations and Law-Suits; even that the extensive Signification of the fourth Article of the Treaty { 197 } of Commerce had not been attended to when redacted.4 I had, long ago, begun an Explanation of it which I thought the more necessary as the Subjects of the United States are thereby intitled to many Privileges they did not as yet enjoy. If you think such an Explanation as well as an Idea of the Rights and Duties established in the various Parts of Europe, might [make?] me instrumental to the Congress in their Conduct not only with France, but also in the Redaction of the Treaties to be made with the other European Powers, indicate a safe Occasion, and I'll send the whole to you, as the most Part is already done.
The Abbe's are very well and remember you very tenderly. I wrote to you in July, inclosing a Letter from them5 and your remaining News-Papers; But I apprehend the Bearer has been taken in the Voyage.
Tho' I don't know of Mistress Adams, but by her Letters, please to present my Respects to her and my Compliments to your Son.

[salute] With the more respectful Attachment, I have the Honor to be Dear Sir Your most obedient & most humble Servt.

[signed] N M Gellée
1. Largely as a result of Spain's wishes, France and Spain had made plans to invade England in the vicinity of Falmouth, but first they had to find and defeat the English under Hardy. The difficulties that the would-be invaders confronted are set forth in detail by Jonathan Dull in French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 150–158. Comte d'Orvilliers was not recalled but resigned for personal reasons (same, p. 164).
2. In the famous sea battle on 23 Sept. between John Paul Jones' Bonhomme Richard and the Serapis, Jones captured the Serapis but lost his own ship. The timber convoy from the Baltic escaped (Morison, John Paul Jones, ch. 13).
3. To this point the paragraph was quoted by AA virtually verbatim, though with some rearrangement of material, in her letter of 28 Feb. 1780 to Mercy Otis Warren; it is referred to in AA to JA, 26 Feb. 1780, and in AA to Elbridge Gerry, 13 March 1780 (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:288, 281–283, 298–299).
4. Arts. 3 and 4 of the Franco-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce were reciprocal grants of most-favored-nation status in trade between the two nations (Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:5–6).
5. Neither this letter nor the enclosure from Abbés Arnoux and Chalut has been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0136

Author: Gerry, Elbridge
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-10-12

From Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear sir

I have received from Mr. Lowell your Accounts and Vouchers, and shall deliver them to the Board of Treasury; how far they will be able to comply with the proposition of returning the latter, which is contrary to their usual Practice, I am unable to say, but will use my best Endeavours to accomplish it.
{ 198 }
Having lately explained to You some Matters, relative to our internal political Manoeuvres, It is needless to trouble You farther on that Subject. I must however acknowledge, that your good Opinion is flattering to the person who is so happy as to enjoy it, and at the same Time that it exceeds his Merit, it cannot fail of increasing his Desires of deserving it.
I mentioned in my last,1 that Doctor Bancroft and Sir James Jay will probably be nominated, if Mr. Dana declines his Appointment, to the office of Secretary; since which the Powers thereof are enlarged with the Commission of Charge D'Affairs, in Case of the Absence or Death of the principal,2 and the office is so desirable as to be sought, by others of Influence and abilities. It is uncertain therefore, who will succeed in the new Appointment, and it is for the Interest of the publick, to prevail with Mr. Dana, if he has any Doubts, to annul them on this Occasion, and accept the office.
I am happy to find that the State of Massachusetts has your Assistance in forming a Constitution, and am informed, that You are clearly in Favour of giving to the Governor a negative Power, in legislative Matters.3 This is a great Question, and I am fully persuaded that You have traced it, to its original principles, compared it with the Circumstances of the Times, weighed with Accuracy the Advantages and Disadvantages resulting from each Determination thereof, and finally decided in favour of the proposition, but granting, that upon a general Scale, the Measure is wise, yet is there not too much Reason to apprehend from it, great Injuries, and that the Community will be endangered, thereby? And may not this be prevented by giving to the Governor a negative, only so far as the proceedings of the Legislature may affect the <[security?]> powers of the Executive? Indeed I have but little Time to attend to such Matters, and well knowing your Sentiments to have been on all Occasions against arbitrary and dangerous powers, I am not much concerned about the Event. One Maxim however, in Matters of Government I think to be just, that the Officers are generally best, whose powers are least subject to Abuse. I remain sir with the warmest Sentiments of Friendship and Esteem your very huml sert.
[signed] E Gerry
The Salary of a Minister is fixed at £2500 sterl. and of his Secretary at £1000.
Your Appointment I think ought not to be divulged at present, but find that [it] is generally known, and as generally approved.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr. Gerry Octr. 12”; and by CFA: “1779.”
{ 199 }
1. Gerry's letter of 4 Oct. has not been found, but is acknowledged by JA in his reply of 25 Oct. (below).
2. For the duties of the secretaries as stated in a draft commission approved by the congress on 9 Oct., see JCC, 15:1159–1160.
3. Gerry's source for this information is not known, but it was likely a member of Massachusetts' constitutional convention, and perhaps of the committee of thirty members appointed to draft the document. JA did indeed favor an absolute veto power for the governor; see Report of a Committee, ante 28 Oct.[ca. 28–31 October] (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0137

Author: Lowell, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-10-12

From John Lowell

[salute] Dear Sir

I have but a few Minutes in which I can write, and I cannot devote one of them to any other, than the main Purpose of this Letter. You must accept the Appointment which Congress has lately made you, a more important and more critical one never fell in your Way. Every restraining Motive must be forgotten or banished. Your Choice was unanimous, save one Vote, yet, there are not a few, who wish you, being appointed, may refuse, that the Election from another Quarter may take Place, and no other New England Man will be chosen, the Interest of America requires, blind as some People are to it, that a New England Man should negotiate a Peace. Our Friends in NE. ought and <shall> will, if the Provision is not adequate, make it so: they ought not to expect you will go on sacrifising your whole little Fortune to their Good, but if they are so ungratefull, I think you will yet do it. I have ventured on the Friendship I feel for you and I flatter, myself you have for me, to add this Weight to a Scale which I hope will preponderate without. I am told that even an Hesitation or Delay may be dangerous. You have every Wish that I can form for your Success and Happiness, I am your Friend & Servt.
[signed] J Lowell

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0138

Author: Rush, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-10-12

From Benjamin Rush

[salute] My Dear friend

Accept of my thanks for your early and puntual Attention to my letter.1 I have ever thought myself honoured in your friendship, and shall be happy at all times in cultivating a correspondence with you.
In your first letter2 you enquire after the state of our goverment. The best answer I can give to your Question, is that I am Afraid to commit my Opinion of men and measures in our state to writing. I often think of, and sometimes mention to friends that I can trust, a { 200 } Speech of yours the first time you saw a printed copy of the constitution of Pensylvania. “Good God! (said you) the people of Pensylvania in two years will be glad to petition the crown of Britain for reconcilliation in order to be delivered from the tyranny of their constitution.”3 The perfection of goverment consists in providing restraints against the tyranny of rulers on the one hand, and the licentiousness of the people on the other. By our constitution we are exposed to all the miseries of both without a single remedy for either. You will hear from some Other Quarters of an insurrection <among> in our city. The objects of the Mob were unknown or confusedly understood. They were enraged chiefly by liquor. Their leaders abandoned them—and sheltered themselves under their Offices. A battle ensued at the house of Col: Wilson whose only crime was having plead in some cases for the tories. Our Streets for the first time were Stained with fraternal blood. Seven were killed, and 19 wounded.4 Among the former was a Captain Robt: Campbell who had lost an arm in fighting against the enemies of our country on Staten Island under Genl. Sullivan. He fell in defending Wilson's house. He was a <brave, and> most acomplished Officer and gentleman. Since this melancholy Affair we have had a calm in our city. But Every face wears the marks of fear and dejection. We look over our Shoulders, and then whisper when we complain to each Other in the Streets of the times. I feel the slave stealing upon me every day. O! liberty—liberty I have worshipped thee as a Substance, but——A patient calls for me in a hurry, and Obliges me to conclude myself your most Affectionate friend & Hble servt.
[signed] Benjn. Rush
PS: I have been so very busy for these two past5 that I have not paid a single visit to any body but to Sick people. I shall not fail of waiting upon the Chevr. De la Luserne and his Secretary, and presenting your compliments and pamphflet to him. I am devoted to the French Alliance. You may see my tho'ts upon this Subject in a piece signed Leonidas published about 2 months ago in Dunlap's paper.6 I perfectly agree with you in your plan of prosecuting the War. Congratulations upon your new, and most honourable embassy!
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Dr. Rush Octr. 12. 1779.”
1. JA to Rush, 19 Sept., in answer to Rush's letter of 19 Aug. (both above).
2. That of 10 Sept. (above).
3. This document was signed on 28 Sept. 1776, and immediately printed, so JA's comment must date from that time. JA's objections to the Pennsylvania constitution are not known in detail, but included its unicameralism and lack of a single and powerful executive.
4. The battle at “Fort Wilson,” occurred on 4 Oct., at James Wilson's home in Philadelphia. Local militiamen who supported Pennsylvania's radical constitution and price controls fought with Wilson's friends and political allies, who { 201 } opposed the constitution and all price controls. A host of conflicting accounts of the event's causes and casualties was generated, and major disagreements about the battle remain. A full modern account is John K. Alexander, “The Fort Wilson Incident of 1779: A Case Study of the Revolutionary Crowd,” WMQ, 3d ser., 31:589–612 (Oct. 1974).
5. The unit of time was inadvertently omitted.
6. “To the Freemen of North America, On the French Alliance,” in the Pennsylvania Packet, 24 Aug. (see Benjamin Rush, Letters, 1:241, note 7).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0139

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-10-14

From James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

I inclose to you the decent Fashion in which we1 it was yesterday opinioned to let the World know Mr. Lee has a Successor.2 Pray strive by Mr. Issac Smith's Knowledge of the Sailing of Vessels to let Arthur get the paper before his Foes.
The 3 Ministers are to have per An: £2500 sterling. Their Secretaries £1000 in full of Services and Expences. To commence at Outset and finish in 3 months after a Recall being notified. So that they may get home as they can But will by seperate Resolution be provided for out.3
The funds are to be settled by a recommitment. I judge the Report will get only the addition of order to the Commercial Committee of Produce or Bills to be deposited subject to the Officers Draughts. But I have hinted your being Authorized to obtain a Loan as the others are. And I think you will readily obtain more than Pocket Money from either truly whig Englishmen or such as are desirous of buying our good Graces in America that they may afterwards pluck us in the Way of Commerce.

[salute] Adieu Dear Sir yrs.

[signed] J L
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr Lovell.” Originally filmed under the date [Sept. 1779] in Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 350.
1. Thus in MS.
2. For Lovell's motion of 13 Oct., regarding Arthur Lee and to which he refers, see his letter to JA of 27 Sept., note 12 (above). The enclosure was probably Lovell's letter to Lee notifying him of Jay's appointment and conveying a copy of the congressional resolution (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:377–378).
3. Presumably Lovell means that the congress would arrange for passage on a ship when the ministers were bound for their posts.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0140

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-10-14

From James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

I inclose to you a Peice of Intelligence1 perhaps altogether new. The uti possidetis offered by Spain will appear alarming perhaps to some { 202 } but we are told She acted upon full Knowledge that King George the 3d of England had sworn in his Cabinet that he would not acknowledge our Independence. Spain at least knew that we would never enter into any commercial Treaty without a total relinquishment of the 13 States by Britain: I am glad her offer was rejected. I own I do not like such Experiments.
I do not see how you and the others lately elected to Missions from hence will get immediate Supply but by the Way of Doctr. F—— to whom a Promise will be made of speedy Repayment and also of the Establishment of Funds directly for the Purpose of supporting all Embassies from the United States. I will give you an Account of the Decision upon a Report to be made Tomorrow morning.

[salute] Yrs. affectionately

[signed] J L
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honorable John Adams Boston”; docketed: “Mr Lovell Octr. 14. 1779.”
1. Exposé des motifs de la conduite du Roi Très-Chrétien, relativement à l'Angleterre, Accompagné d'un pareil Exposé de ceux qui ont déterminé le Roi notre Maître dans le parti qu'il a pris à l'égard de la même Puissance was published both in Paris and, with a slightly different title, in Madrid in 1779. Both were French translations of the Spanish Manifesto published in Madrid in 1779. A copy of the Exposé, as reprinted in Affaires de l'Angleterre et de l'Amérique (“Letters,” vol. 15, cahier 78, p. cxliii–ccx) is among JA's books (Catalogue of JA's Library). English translations of the component parts of the publication, entitled respectively the French and Spanish manifestos, were published in the Remembrancer and Annual Register for 1779 and also appeared in the London newspapers (for example, the London Chronicle for 22–24 July, 30 Sept. – 2 Oct., and 2–5 Oct.). The Spanish ultimatum, the terms of which are indicated in the Spanish (section 21) and French manifestos, provided that each belligerent would continue to hold the territory in its possession at the time that the truce was declared, a provision for uti possedetis that would have left large chunks of American territory in British hands. In fact, nothing that Spain proposed was in the American interest. The French manifesto appeared in the Pennsylvania Packet of 6 Nov. and Boston's Independent Chronicle of 25 Nov. No American printing of the Spanish manifesto has been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0141

Author: Kalb, Johann
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-10-15

From Johann Kalb

[salute] Sir

I heard with a great deal of pleasure your happy return to Boston and your appointment by Congress as plenipotentiary for the next Peace, they could not commit Such an important Trust to abler hands than yours. I wish with all my heart you may have the earliest opportunity of going to work, and to Settle all matters to the greatest honor Glory and happiness for the United States and yourself.
The Chevr. de la Colombe1 having been in Marquess de la Fayette's family while he Staid in our army, and a Supernumerary aid de Camp { 203 } to me this Campaign, But his father desiring him to come home, I request the Favour of you to admit as a Passenger into the Same Frigate you are to Sail in. The Count de la Luzerne hath favoured him with a letter for Monsr. de Chavannes2 to the Same purpose.
I wish you most Sincerely, a Speedy and happy Passage, a lasting health and Success in all your undertakings.
With great Esteem and Respect I have the honor to be Dear Sir Your most obedient and very humble Servant
[signed] The Baron de Kalb
P.S. Would you do me the favour of forwarding the inclosed by Some other Vessel then your own in case Chev. de la Colombe is to Sail in your Company (he having one for Made. de Kalb of the Same contents,) or to convey it yourself if Chv. de la Colombe was not to Sail with you.
1. La Colombe had been commissioned a lieutenant on 1 Dec. 1776 and was promoted to captain on 15 Nov. 1777 (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 166).
2. Bidé de Chavagnes, captain of La Sensible on which JA was to sail.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0142

Author: President of Congress
Author: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-10-16

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

John Adams' Instructions Respecting a Peace Treaty with Great Britain

Philadelphia, 16 October 1779. printedJA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:181–183.
Although dated 16 October, the instructions had been adopted on 14 August (JCC, 14:956–960). Controversy over who was to be named to negotiate the peace treaty and who was to undertake the mission to Spain had delayed their being copied for transmission to John Adams. The sine qua non of the instructions was that no negotiations could take place unless the British government agreed to negotiate with Adams as the representative of an independent, sovereign state. Adams was also required to ensure that the peace treaty did not conflict with the existing French alliance and that the western boundary was the Mississippi River. Although the cession of Canada and Nova Scotia to the United States and a guarantee of American fishing rights were listed as desirable objects in a peace treaty, John Adams was not to consider them as ultimata in the negotiations. Finally, Adams could agree to a truce during the negotiations so long as all British forces were withdrawn from the United States. See also John Adams' commission, dated 29 September, to negotiate an Anglo-American peace treaty (calendared above), and the index for additional information regarding the formulation of the instructions and the controversy surrounding them. John Adams received the instructions as an enclosure in the letter of 20 October from the president of the congress (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0143

Author: President of Congress
Author: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-10-16

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

John Adams' Instructions Respecting a Commercial Treaty with Great Britain

Philadelphia, 16 October 1779. printed: JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:183–184.
Like those for the peace treaty (calendared above), these instructions had been adopted on 14 August (JCC, 14:960–962), but because of controversy within the congress their copying for transmission to Adams had been delayed and they bore the date of 16 October. Adams was required to ensure that nothing in an Anglo-American commercial treaty conflicted with the Franco-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce and that such a treaty be established on principles of equity and reciprocity. Moreover, no treaty was to be concluded that did not explicitly guarantee American fishing rights on the banks of Newfoundland. This requirement resulted from the controversy that had surrounded efforts to make such a guarantee an ultimatum for the peace negotiations, which was resolved only when it was agreed to compromise and make fishing rights a sine qua non in any commercial negotiations. See also John Adams' commission, dated 29 September, to negotiate an Anglo-American commercial treaty (calendared above), and the index for additional information on the formulation of the instructions and the controversy surrounding them. Adams received the instructions as an enclosure in the letter of 20 October from the president of the congress (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0144

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Barbé-Marbois, François de
Date: 1779-10-17

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

To François Barbé-Marbois

Braintree, 17 October 1779. printedJA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:176–177.
John Adams, after thanking Barbé-Marbois for his letter of 29 Sept. (calendared above) congratulating him on his new appointment, said that John Quincy Adams probably would not be accompanying him on his new mission to Europe. He then noted the “agreable hours” he had spent with Barbé-Marbois and expressed the hope that all would go well in Philadelphia. Finally, Adams offered to carry any dispatches and private letters that might be awaiting passage to France.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0145

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1779-10-17

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear Gerry

I am infinitely obliged to you for your Favour of 29 of september and for the Journals. These are so much wanted in Europe, that if I should go there, there is nothing of so small Expence that I so much wish as 20 or 30 setts of them. They are an handsome Present. Cant Congress or some Committee order them to me.
The Appointment of Mr. Dana is as unexpected as my own. No { 205 } Man could be found better qualified or disposed. I hope he will accept. I had an Hours Conversation with him Yesterday on the subject. You know his objections arising from his Connections but they must1 be overcome. But if he should decline for Gods sake dont give me a Man, that will necessarily hate me, or that I must necessarily hate. If Lovel would accept,2 his Knowledge of French and his incessant Application, would do great Things. I should never quarrell with him nor he with me, because both aiming at the same object, and thinking much alike of the Means of Attaining it, We should have no Cause of Difference, and whenever we differed in sentiment it would be with Temper and Candor.
If it was possible for human Nature, in my situation in Paris to keep itself clear of Suspicions and Animosities, injurious or dishonourable to the States, I was innocent of them. It is true, I had an opinion of my own of Men and Things, and by this opinion I guided my Judgment and gave my Voice: But that I ever did join in any Party Schemes, give aid to any Faction or Cabal, propagate any Jealousies, foment or encourage any Animosities, or harbour or conceive any suspicions, that were not forced upon me, by Mens Words and Actions, I utterly deny. I am too well acquainted however with the Nicety of your Situation in Congress at that Time, and with the Difficulty of forming a Judgment upon Scraps of Evidence to harbour any Resentment against the Gentlemen, whose Names, will stand in this Case in the View of Posterity, against me, against Truth and against Justice. Several of them were and are still I am fully perswaded my Sincere Friends and among the Foremost Friends of their Country. But I must confess that the Sight of Such Names on that Side of the Page, frightened me when I saw them, and tingled a little in my Veins.3
Mr. Izs. Letter contains Several Things of Importance, but that Part of it which respects me, is not fairly, because not fully represented. I apprehend he does not mean to say that I said, “that Congress would be inattentive to the Interest of nine states to gratify the Eaters &c.”4 I declare I never said any such Thing, nor had such a Thought in my Heart. I knew too much of the Sense and the Justice of Congress to suppose it. I should myself have detested it as much as any of them. Besides I never used any such invidious Language to Mr. Izard. I take this Part of his Letter to be a Specimen of Mr. Izs. Wit and Humour, a kind of funny Exultation to his Friend, in Confidence, for having judged so much better of the Interest of our Country than I did, and penetrated So much deeper than I had, into the Hearts of Congress.5
It would fill a Volume to detail all the Conversations between this { 206 } Gentleman and me. I shall just hint at a few Heads. I was surprised and chagrined to hear, on my Arrival in France, of the Disputes between Dr. F. and Mr. L. and Mr. I.—had I known of them before I sailed, I would not have gone, at least not upon such a Footing as I did. Finding them rooted and ineradicable, I determined with my self, to have nothing to do with any disputes which happened before my Arrival, and I fairly informed both sides of this my Resolution, and that I came there believing them all Friends to their Country and to me, and would treat them all as such, unless they compelled me to do otherwise.
Mr. Iz. however, would not let me alone, but often repeated his Request of my Opinions concerning several Points. One was, whether the Commissioners at Passy were not bound by a Resolution of Congress to communicate to him the proposed Terms of the Treaty before it was signed. Another was whether it was his Duty to go to Tuscany. Another was concerning the 11. and 12 Articles. Another was concerning the Articles concerning the Fishery &c. These Conversations were between him and me.6 At Sometimes I endeavoured to perswade him to excuse me, at others I rhodomontaded it, with him, and endeavoured to divert him from it, in that Way. But he would not give it up, and finally insisted so much upon it, that I told him frankly, on the first Point that I thought the Commissioners were not obliged to communicate the Treaty proposed to him, before it was signed. That Congress never intended it. On the second Point that I thought it was his Duty to be in Tuscany not in Paris. At Tuscany he might gain Intelligence or borrow Money, but at Paris he could do nothing but what was expected from others. On the 3d Point that I did not consider the 11. and 12 Articles in so important a light, as he seemed to do, that I had no Reason to think from any thing I had heard in Congress that they would be unpopular there. And that upon the whole I did not think that when Congress came to be informed, that he risided in Paris instead of going to Tuscany, that he insisted so much upon the Commissioners informing him of the Treaty before it was signed, which I was perswaded they never intended, and that he made so much dispute about the 11. and 12 Articles, which I had no Reason to think they would be so much afraid of, as he said he was, I did not think that Congress would approve of his Conduct. I will not Say that I never added that I believed Congress would be very angry with him, but I do not recollect the time and Place of my Using so strong Expressions, nor indeed my Using them at all. Yet as Mr. Iz. affirms I did, I have no doubt7 it is true, because I fully believe him to be a Man of Honour, and incapable of saying designedly the Thing that is not.
{ 207 }
There is indeed another Point, in which I dealt very freely with Mr. Iz. between him and me, and upon this Head I might tell him as a faithfull Friend that I believe Congress would be very angry with him, and that is the Freedom of his Expressions about the French at times, which appeared to me, very impolitic and dangerous, but as this is a very delicate Point, I beg that you would keep this to yourself as much as possible and indeed the rest of this Letter, excepting that you may shew as much of it as you will to Lovell.8 I have so full a Perswasion of Mr. Izards good Principles and Affections and of his general good Character, that I would not injure his Reputation for my right Hand, and am extreamly sorry that this Clause in his Letter has laid me under the Necessity of Saying thus much.
Cannot Something be done, to protect the Characters of your servants abroad from Slander, and to restrain the Malice which will eternally abuse them if there is not. Would it not be well for Congress to enjoin it upon their servants abroad, never to say any Thing in any of their Letters public or private to the Disadvantage of each others Characters or Conduct, without giving Notice before hand to the Party to be accused. And for Congress to resolve that they will not proceed to consider Complaints or Accusations, untill the Party has Notice and Opportunity to justify himself. There is so much of a Party Spirit among those who are connected with our Affairs abroad, that if something is not done, you will be forever teised with Charges, and the best Characters will suffer.9 With great Affection your Friend
[signed] John Adams
RC (IHi); docketed: “Massts. Letter Hona. J Adams Esqr. Octr 17. 1779.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. In the Letterbook “they must” was substituted for “I hope they will.” On Dana's “Connections,” see JA to Henry Marchant, 25 Oct., and note 1 (below). Dana, however, also had reservations about the nature of the position; see Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 15:206–207.
2. Comma supplied from Letterbook.
3. JA, here and in the following paragraph, is referring to the enclosures (not printed) in Gerry's letter of 29 Sept. (above). See the descriptive note to that letter as well as James Lovell's letters to JA of 13 June and 14 Sept. (both above).
4. Opening quotation marks supplied from Letterbook.
5. Compare this evaluation of Izard's comment in the letter to Henry Laurens with that in JA's letter to James Lovell of 19 Feb. 1780 (below), after he had had an opportunity to question Izard about the letter.
6. Although JA refers to conversations, a number of letters were exchanged dealing with the views of the two men on treaty language. See JA to Izard, 20, 25 Sept., and 2 Oct. 1778 and Izard to JA, 24, 28 Sept., and 8 Oct. 1778 (all above).
7. In the Letterbook “it is most pro[bable]” is deleted in favor of “I have no doubt.”
8. The exception that concludes the sentence is not in the Letterbook.
9. This final paragraph was an after-thought, squeezed into the Letterbook after the subscription “Mr. Gerry” had been entered, and the dateline for another letter of 17 Oct. to La Luzerne (below), had been written.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0146

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1779-10-17

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] Dear sir

As to the Boundaries of Mass. I have asked Mr. A. about them but he did not recollect them. The Council appointed a Committee,1 within a few days after my Arrival, to ascertain them and did me the Honour to put me upon it, altho not a Member of Either House, with Mr. Bowdoin and Mr. S. A. but we have never met, and now it would be improper. They will appoint a new one I suppose.
As to the Claim to Vermont, the Gen. Court in 1774 appointed Mr. Bowdoin and me a Committee to state their Claim to those Lands. Mr. Bowdoin left it to me, and I Spent most of the Winter in rummaging the Books and Papers, in the Balcony of Dr. Sewals Meeting House, where the New England Library of Mr. Prince was kept, in the Library of Dr. Mather which came down to him, from his father Grandfather and Great Grandfather, and in Johnny Moffats Collection of Papers and Records,2 and wrote a lengthy I cannot say an accurate State of the Massachusetts Claim, a particular Examination of the Claim of New York, and a similar Discussion of that of New Hampshire.3 Mr. Bowdoin revised and reported it, a few Days before Governor Gage removed the General Court to Salem. At Salem it was read in both Houses, but they soon chose Delegates to Congress and were dissolved. The Report was left with the Clerk of the House.4 I have enquired of him, and he cannot find it. There is no other Copy, that I know of. The first rough blotted Draught, was left in my Table Drawer, in my office in Boston, when the Regulars shut up the Town. The Table Papers and all, were carried off, when they left the Town.
There was a Mr. Phelps, an Inhabitant of the Grants, who furnished me, with some Minutes, which he would perhaps produce now. Governor Hutchinson, drew a state of the Massachusetts Claim, much shorter than mine, tho it is well done, which is in a Volume of the Journals of the House which I have in 1762, 3, or 4 I forget which.5 But the Examination of the Claims of N.Y. and N.H. is to be found no where. I hope however that Mr. Adams will find the Report, it cost me much Labour, and if I dont misremember contained much Information, concerning these Questions. If the Report is not found by Mr. Adams, if Phelps is living,6 it is possible, he may have it, or a Copy of it. I will endeavour to point out Some Things to some Gentlemen, that might not readily occur to them, before I go.
My Respects to Dr. Holton and Mr. Partridge. With great Affection, Adieu
[signed] John Adams
{ 209 }
RC (VtU); docketed: “Braintree Letter Hona. John Adams Esqr. Octr. 17. 1779.”
1. No record of this appointment has been found.
2. The library of Rev. Thomas Prince (1687–1758) numbered some 1,500 books and pamphlets and comprised one of the largest in early New England. When he died, it was placed in the Old South Church. Samuel Mather (1706–1785), son of Cotton Mather, had accumulated a library even larger than Prince's (both DAB). “Johnny Moffat” was probably John Moffat (1704?–1777), the nephew and assistant of John Smibert, the painter. After Smibert's death in 1751, Moffat continued as a dealer in paints, canvas, and brushes in the artist's shop on Queen Street (now Court Street), Boston, near JA's law office. Moffat's will indicates that he had a substantial library (Henry Wilder Foote, John Smibert, Cambridge, 1950, p. 34, 68–70, 255–256).
3. See “Report to the General Court on Massachusetts Boundaries,” in vol. 2:22–81.
4. Samuel Adams (Mass., House Jour., 1773–1774. p. [249]).
5. Hutchinson's report, accepted by the House in Dec. 1763, appears in Mass., House Jour., 1763–1764, p. [277–307].
6. Charles Phelps died in 1789.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0147

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: La Luzerne, Anne César, Chevalier de
Date: 1779-10-17

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

To the Chevalier de La Luzerne

John Adams, thanking La Luzerne for his letter of 29 Sept. (calendared above) congratulating him on his appointment as minister to negotiate the peace, confessed to some diffidence about his ability to undertake so difficult a task. He added, however, that the unanimity with which the congress had acted, after that body had been so long distressed over its foreign affairs and divided in its opinion of most of its diplomats, gave him a deep sense of the honor done him. Adams then expressed his regard for La Luzerne, and his confidence that La Luzerne's negotiations would benefit both allies and strengthen the ties binding them. He closed by thanking La Luzerne for arranging his passage to France on La Sensible, and promised that, as soon as he received his dispatches from congress, he would decide whether to return to Europe on that ship.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0148

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1779-10-17

To James Lovell

And What, my dear sir, shall I say to your Favours of the 27. and 28 of september, which came by the last Post? The Unanimity of my Election surprises me, as much, as the Delicacy Importance, and Danger, of the Trust distresses me. The appointment of Mr. Dana to be the Secretary, pleases me more than my own to be Minister, Commissioner, Negotiator, call it what you will. I have communicated to him, your Letters in Confidence and all other Material Intelligence I had, and hope he will not decline, but you know the Peculiarities of { 210 } his situation,1 and if he should refuse, I hope you will not force your Name out of Nomination again, altho you have not been absent 9 Months.2 I did not suppose that such Characters would be wishing to go, as secretaries, because I did not know your Place, other wise I should not have mentioned Mr. Jennings to Mr. Gerry3 for one to Dr. F. Your Mastery of the Language and your Indefatigability would make you infinitely Useful in any of these Departments.
I rejoice that you produced my Letter to the C. Vergennes and his Answer before the Choice because it contained a Testimony in favor of Mr. L. which was his due.4 I am, very much affected at his Recall, because I know his Merit, and therefore I am glad I was not placed in his stead, because suspicions would have arisen and Reflections would have been cast upon me, as having favoured his Removal in order to make room, which I certainly did not.
I am infinitely obliged to you for these Letters, and for that received the Post before last, but I really tremble for your Health.5 Let me intreat you, for the sake of our Country to take care of this. I am a tolerable Boguer,6 but if I was to apply myself as you do, I should soon, go to study Politicks in another Sphere.
Yet I am so selfish as to beg the Continuance of your favours to me, and I pledge myself to you, I will not be in debt, any more than may be made by the intrinsic difference in the Value of the Letters, which will be unavoidable.
Thank you, for the Extract of Mr. Izs. Letter. I am not a little surprized at its Contents. It was written I see, to his Friend, and I suppose intended in Confidence. I am fully perswaded, he did not intend that the whole should have been laid before Congress. I utterly deny that I ever used to him any such Language, as the indecent Paragraph that closes what he Says. about me. Indeed that is manifistly his own Inference, and in his own Words, from what he says he had heard me Say, and draws the same from what Dr. F. and Mr. D. had said upon the same subject.
I further deny that I ever threatned him with the Displeasure of Congress, for writing his Opinion concerning those Articles to Congress, or for suggesting them to the Commissioners.
But to enter into all the Conversations that have passed between Mr. Iz and me, respecting those Articles, and many other Points, in order to give a full and fair Representation of those Conversations would fill a small Volume.7 Yet there never was any Angry, or rude Conversation between him and me, that I can recollect. I lived with him on good Terms, visited him and he me—dined with his family, and his family with me, and I ever told him, and repeated it often, that I should be { 211 } always obliged to him for his Advice, Opinions and sentiments upon any American subject, and that I should always give it its due Weight, altho I did not think myself bound to follow it, any farther than it seemed to me to be just.
As Congress has declined giving me, the Charges vs. me, by their Authority, and have upon the whole acquitted me, with so much Splendor, it would look like a Littleness of soul in me, to make myself anxious or give them any further Trouble about it. And as I have in general so good an opinion of Mr. Izs. Attachment to his Country, and of his Honour, I shall not think myself bound to take any further Notice of this Fruit of his Inexperience in public Life, this peevish Ebullition8 of the Rashness of his Temper. I have written a few other Observations to Gerry on the same subject. You and he will compare these with them, for your private satisfaction, but be sure that they are not exposed where they will do harm to the public to Mr. Iz. or me unnecessarily.9
If I should go abroad cant you send me 20 or 30 compleat setts of the Journals. They are much wanted in Europe. A sett of them is a genteel present—and perhaps would <give> do me <more Re[spect?]> and the public more service than you are aware. If Congress, or some Committee would order it, I should be very glad.
1. See JA to Gerry, 17 Oct. (first letter) and note 1 (above); and JA to Henry Marchant, 25 Oct. and note 1 (below).
2. See Gerry to JA, 24 Aug. and note 4; and JA to Gerry, 10 Sept. (both above).
3. In JA to Gerry, 11 Sept. (above).
4. See Lovell to JA, 28 Sept. (first letter) and note 2 (above).
5. “These Letters” are presumably Lovell to JA, 27 Sept., and 28 Sept. (first and second letterstwo letters), referred to at the head of this letter (all three above). “That received the Post before last” is Lovell to JA, 14 Sept. (above), with its important enclosures. Lovell had mentioned his bad health in his letter of 14 Sept., and in his letters of 31 Aug. and 21 Sept. (both above), which JA must have received by this date.
6. Possibly from “bogue,” to take part in or (later) to work (Dict. of Americanisms).
7. JA altered “Volumes” to “a small Volume.”
8. A boiling over, as of the passions (OED).
9. The two final sentences of the paragraph were squeezed into the text after the initial draft was completed. In the Letterbook this letter appears before the first letter of this date to Gerry.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0149

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1779-10-18

To Elbridge Gerry

Secret as the Grave.

[salute] Mon cher Ami

Looking over your Letter1 again, I find several Things unanswered. I should be Sorry to think that Mr. D. was the only vote against me. I had rather believe it was Some other State, than that this Gentleman { 212 } voted vs. from a personal Pique founded on so futile an Affair, So innocently intended and so unlukily divulged, as the only semblance of anything personal between me and him. In public Questions I never differed from that Gentleman in my Opinion, without carrying my Point, except in the 2d Petition, and Time has discovered that in this as well as all others, in which I differd from him I was right and he wrong. I had not then and never had since any personal Ill will or Dislike to that Gentleman, nor by the unluky Expression did I mean to express that he had not great Ingenuity, and a good Heart. But his Connections, or preconcieved Opinions at that time appeard to me to have drawn him from that great, masterly and daring System, that the Times appeared to me to make indispensible, and he had Influence enough at that time with one state S.C to carry the Point by a bare Majority, to the great Injury of the Cause, in my Anxiety and Mortification upon that Occasion to a bosom friend in Confidence, my Passions broke out into that ridiculous Expression, which I was then and have been ever since very sorry for—enough of this however.2
I thank you for the History of my first Appointment, which gives me much Satisfaction, as a Gentleman Mr. B. Deane, wrote something by me to Dr. B, from Mr. Hancock which had given me some Uneasiness3—that Mr. H. told him he was extreamly sorry Mr. D. was recalled—that Congress did not do it—that it was done after the Members were withdrawn and Congress very thin. But I find I was appointed by seven states, which is enough to remove this Imputation. I am glad I was absent, and more glad still that Mr. S. Adams was so—and more glad than all the rest that he was against my going.4 I have my Reasons. You know, if any Man knows, and I Swear that no human Being knows the Contrary, that I never solicited, this nor any other Employment abroad. If I had not refused to be nominated when F., D. and Lee were first appointed, it would have been because the four New England states, Virginia, Georgia, and I believe New Jersey, could not have made a Vote. But I refused as a whole Clubb knows, and insisted on Deane, and A. Lee. In F[ranklin] we all then agreed. If I had not declined when W. Lee and Is[ard] were appointed and when R. H. Lee nominated me, I believe there is no doubt I should have been chosen. But in Truth I was never very desirous of exposing myself, to the sea and the Ennemy, and had too much Diffidence of my own Qualifications to solicit this Honour. I have great Reason to believe, however, that I should have been nominated and appointed <20> at different times,5 that I can recollect if it had not been for my Name sake. His motives are easier guessed than expressed. So much for this. { 213 } But altho I have never before solicited, suffrages, I will now begin. I suspect that I shall go to France and live there, without much Negociation with England for some time, not in Idleness I promise you, for I am now as confident that I can render important services to my Country in Europe as I once was diffident of it. My Request is, that in Case there should be no Business to do as Negotiator with England, and in Case you should send to Holland or Prussia, that you would employ me to one of those Places, without any Additional salary, or Emoluments unless it should Occasion Additional Expences to be allowed by Congress. Or if there should be a Vacancy, in France or Spain, that I may fill it up—unless you think it is necessary that I should attend only to England and wait her Motions, in which Case I shall be content. I said before and repeat, that I dont mean to have double salaries or any Additional Emoluments. But I hate to live upon the public Bread without earning it, with the sweat of my Brow.
I must confess myself, very nearly of your Opinion in all the Articles of your Political Creed excepting as to the Recall of Dr. Franklin. I know as well as Dr. L. or Mr. Iz. every Thing that is to be said for this Measure, but his Name is so great in Europe and America and the People have rested upon him in their own Minds so long, however erroneously, it would take so much Time and Pains to let the People into the Grounds, Reasons and Motives of it, that I have ever hitherto hesitated at it.
The Recall of Dr. Lee and Mr. Izard, will give them Opportunity and Provocation, I suppose to go great Lengths in laying open foreign Affairs. And if they are restrained by that Delicacy Moderation and Discretion which ought to characterize, foreign Ministers from these Infant States, I shall be happy.
My dear Friend, there has been a kind of Fatality that has attended, the Representation of the Mass, from the Beginning. Her Delegates never stood by one another, <nor it has seemed> like those of other States. There is a Jealousy if not an Envy, you know against her, which has appeared to me to endeavour to take Advantages against her, and her Advocates. I could mention innumerable Instances. In little Things this appears as well as in great. Let me mention some that are Personal to myself, in perfect Confidence to you insisting at the same time that you never shew this Letter to any living Being.
Silas Deane is but of Yesterday and of Nothing in this Cause in Comparison of me. I was known in Europe and <vastly> celebrated as a Writer, in this Controversy vs. G.B more than fourteen Years ago. S. Ds Name was never heard in it, six years ago. I had been elected every { 214 } Year with all most Unanimous Votes by a great state, D. was left out by an almost unanimous Vote by a middling state. In the first Commission S.D. was arranged before A. Lee. But when my Commission was made out, I was placed after A. Lee.6 Lee was a young student in Law, after being a Phicician and a Preceptor to Ld. Shelbournes Children, just beginning to open Cases at the Bar under the Auspices of Mr. Dunning.7 I had been a Barrister at Law from the year 1761, had been in the fullest <and most important> Practice for fifteen Years at the Bar; had been Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Bay, by an unanimous Vote of Council to my Commission,8 had been in Congress from the Beginning, had been President of the Board of War from its Creation, had been long a Member and sometime President of your Committee of Appeals in maritime Causes, had been upon that Committee which laid the foundation of the Navy, and been on allmost all the Committees for establishing disciplining and healing the Army, had been on the Committee for declaring Independency, and that for preparing a Treaty with France, a Measure that you know I was forced, with your Aid to push aganst all the great Folks in Congress, even the deified Franklin. Yet I was placed in the Commission after Mr. Lee.9
Is it possible, sir that the Massachusetts Bay, should ever be respected, or her Rights respected if the Men she most respects are thus to be slighted.
Is it possible that Congress should be respected, if she suffers those Men upon whom she has as her Records show most depended from the Beginning, those Men who have formed and disciplined her Navy and Army, who have supported her Independance, who have promoted and formed her Alliances,10 thus to be postponed.11
In the present Instance, Mr. Jay is made Minister Plenipotentiary, I Commissioner.12 This no doubt is done to give Mr. Jay Rank of me, and a Title above me, in order to maintain the superiority of New York above the Massachusetts Bay. Mr. Jays Name was never heard till 1774, mine was well known in Politicks in 1764.
These Things are of more Importance in Europe than here to the Public, but these13 are of too much here. If the Mass. is to be made the Butt and Sport in this Manner you will soon see it abandoned by all Men of Spirit, or you will see it, break the Union, for myself I care <very>14 Nothing at all, for my Children I care but little for these Things, but for the public I care much. It is really important that Congress should not dishonour their own Members, it is really important that the Delegates of Mass Bay should support each other['s] Honour and Characters,15 which never can be done if such little { 215 } stigmas are suffered to be fixed upon them, so unjustly. It is really important that Congress should not dishonour, the Man in one Moment upon whom they confer in the same Moment the most important Commission for ought I know which they ever issued.16 I could return to my Practice at the Bar, and make Fortunes for my Children and be happier, and really more respected, than I can in the hazardous, tormenting Employments into which they have always put me. I can be easy, even under the Marks of Disgrace they put upon me, but they may depend upon it they either mistake their own Interest in putting me into these Employments, or in putting these Brands upon me—one or the other.
I am not at all Surprized at your Impatience under the Reflections you mention. I had heard an hint of them, with great Regret. But I am sure, they must be unjust, and that they have made no Impressions here. You stand on sure ground that of eternal Justice and Truth in the Vote about me, and are very far from being chargeable with a Fault in the other Votes, altho I cannot say I should have voted with you in every one of them, I mean for recalling F. and L. Yet there are so many weighty Arguments for them that I cannot blame you.
It has been reported in Europe that Mr. Deane laid before Congress, a Testimony from the King of France in his own Hand Writing, highly in favour of Mr. Deane. This was so extraordinary, so out of all the Rules of the Court and Maxims of the Monarchy that it was disbelieved. I wish you would inform me of the Fact, and send me a Copy, if there is such an original.17
LbC (Adams Papers). According to AA, this letter was never sent (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:192–193).
1. That of 29 Sept. (above).
2. John Dickinson was the author and chief supporter of the second petition to George III that the congress agreed to on 5 July 1775, but which went unanswered by the King (JCC, 2:127, 158–162). For JA's opinion of the petition, his disagreement with Dickinson, and the genesis of his reference to Dickinson as a “piddling genius” in his letter of 24 July 1775 to James Warren, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:316–317; and vol. 3:89–93 and notes there.
3. The passage is unclear but apparently JA is referring to a letter from Hancock to Silas Deane which contained the substance of what follows—Hancock's regret over Deane's recall and his assertion that JA was elected a commissioner by a congress “very thin.” See JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:145. Possibly Barnabas Deane, Silas' brother, used Hancock's expression of support in a letter to Edward Bancroft which was sent in care of JA.
4. This is the only mention the editors have found that Samuel Adams opposed JA's going to France in 1778.
5. “At” and “different” are interlined separately, suggesting that JA first wrote “20 times,” then “20 different times,” and finally “at different times.” The various congressional appointments of Franklin, Deane, Arthur Lee, William Lee, and Ralph Izard, on 26 Sept. and 22 Oct. 1776, and 1 Jan., and 1, 7, and 9 May 1777, make JA's exaggeration more understandable (see Edmund C. Burnett, The Continental Congress, N.Y., 1941, p. { 216 } 208–211).
6. See commission in vol. 5:333.
7. John Dunning (1731–1783), known by reputation to JA from at least 1775 (vol. 2:412), was one of England's most eminent lawyers and a supporter of the Wilkite free speech and petition movements. In 1782 he became a close advisor to Lord Shelburne in the latter's ministry (DNB).
8. JA never served in this position and resigned in Feb. 1777 (vol. 5:79).
9. JA might also have argued that, according to the Journals (21, 28 Nov. 1777), he had been appointed a Commissioner “in place of” and “in the room of” Silas Deane and, therefore, should have occupied Deane's position in the precedence of Commissioners as established in the original commission of 30 Sept. 1776 (JCC, 9:947, 975; 5:833).
10. To this point this paragraph was quoted in AA to Gerry, 4 Aug. 1781, but AA concluded the sentence: “to be slandered and disgraced” (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:192).
11. Or possibly “postposed” (now archaic). Both words have as a secondary meaning: “to place in an inferior position” (OED).
12. JA was mistaken. His commission, dated 29 Sept., named him minister plenipotentiary, but it was not sent to him until it was enclosed in the letter of 20 Oct. from the president of the congress (below).
13. Or possibly “there.” AA changes the word to “they” in her letter to Gerry (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:192).
14. The appearance of the text suggests that JA began to write “very little.”
15. To this point in the paragraph AA quoted these sentences virtually verbatim in her letter to Gerry (same, 4:192).
16. The rest of this paragraph was quoted virtually verbatim by AA in letters to both James Lovell and Gerry (same, 4:185, 192–193).
17. This final paragraph was an after-thought, written in after the subscription “Mr Gerry” had been crossed out.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0150

Author: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1779-10-18

Resolution of the Massachusetts Council

Ordered that the honourable John Adams Esqr. have the Loan of one Qto: vol: entitled “All the Memorials of the Courts of Great-Britain and France, since the peace of Aix la Chapelle, relative to the limits of the Terrotories of both Crowns in North America &c.”1 now belonging to the Library in the Council Chamber, to be returned by him into said Library so soon as he shall have done with the same.2
[signed] Attest, Jno. Avery D Sey.
MS (M-Ar: vol. 175, p. 651a); docketed: “Order permitg. Honble: John Adams Esqr. to have the Loan of one Qto: vol: of the Mems. of the Courts & [of] Gt. Britain & France since the peace of Aix la Chapelle Octr. 18th. 1779.”
1. This was: Great Britain, Commissioners for Adjusting the Boundaries for the British and French Possessions in America, All the Memorials of the Courts of Great Britain and France, Since the Peace of Aix la Chapelle, Relative to the Limits of the Territories of Both Crowns in North America; and the Right to the Neutral Islands in the West Indies (The Hague, 1756).
2. JA's earliest acknowledgment that he had learned of his appointment was on 17 Oct. (letters ||to Gerry, La Luzerne, and Lovell|| of that date, above); thus he lost little time in seeking to prepare himself for his new mission.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0151

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-10-19

From James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

I begin to be very impatient at not hearing from you; and this not barely from the Number of days elapsed since my Information of Sepr. 28 &c. &c. but from the Opinion dropped by Mr. Lowell that we should not be able to obtain your Consent again to trust us here. It is the Desire of many that you should execute an intermediate Negociation with Holland, and you are named but others think it would be proper to make a distinct Appointment. This will be attended to on Thursday.1
Mr. Gerard went on Board the Confederacy Yesterday with Mr. J. J his Wife and other Passengers: I fear that the Gentleman who carries such Comfort with him will find Embarrassment the Consequence. 2500 per Annum will not support Introductions to the Queen of Spain if I am rightly informed.
By the Way, There is a Circumstance which you ought to know. Such is the State of our Finances that Doctr. F—— is desired to furnish 2000 Luis drs. immediately to the 2 Ministers and their Secretaries or rather 3 Secretaries to be divided,2 and his is promised immediate Replacement by the commercial Committee as well an Investment of Funds for the whole Support of the Embassies. I think from what I have seen of commercial Punctuality here, that I would not trust myself without Letters of Credit from private Persons to serve in an Emergency rising from public Negligence or Disappointment.
I have meditated myself into a sort of Capability of Chagrin at not having a Chance of voyaging with you: For you are to observe I will not consent to conclude you will not venture once more.

[salute] You affectionate humble Servant

[signed] J L3
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honorable John Adams Braintree or Boston”; docketed: “Mr. Lovell. Octr. 19. 1779.”
1. On 18 Oct., Gouverneur Morris nominated JA; Henry Laurens and Woodbury Langdon were also nominated. At the same time a three-man committee was chosen to draw up instructions. On the 21st, the congress chose Laurens to negotiate a Dutch loan (JCC, 15:1186, 1198).
2. On 16 Oct. the congress sent instructions to Franklin to supply 2,000 louis d'or (48,000 livres) to the new ministers plenipotentiary and their secretaries. The third secretary was John Laurens, chosen by the congress to serve Franklin (same, 15:1183; see also Commissioners' Accounts, 9 Aug.–12 Nov. 1778, entry for 14 Aug., vol. 6:359).
3. Following the signature, Lovell wrote: “Seal and send to the Navy Board the enclosed to go by two Opportunities.” This letter appears to have been sent with John Mathews' letter of 17 Oct. to the Boston Navy Board, requesting that body to ask JA about the supplies he would need for himself and his “family”—his traveling companions and his servants—and to provide him with those supplies on board the ship he was to take to France (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0152

Author: Rush, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-10-19

From Benjamin Rush

[salute] My Dear friend

I cannot help troubling you with a second Answer to your letters1 on purpose to congratulate you upon the Success of your Schemes for prosecuting the war in the Southern states. Count D'Estang has done wonders. He will be acknowledged by posterity as one of the deliverers of our country. We have just heard that he is safely arrived with all the trophies of his American conquests off the Capes of Virginia. The joy of the Whigs among us is great, and for a while we have forgotten the distresses of our late convulsion<s> in the prospect of the speedy deliverance of our country from the Oppression of Great Britain. The Spirit of our militia is up, and we talk of nothing but of fea[s]ting upon the Spoils of our enemies in New York. Monsr. Gerard with Mr. Jay and their respective Suites sailed this day. I envy them the transports they must feel in announcing the joyful tidings of America being freed, to the French Court. Alas! poor Great Britain! Methinks She must now feel the “utmost exacerbation of human misery” if I may be allowed to borrow a strong expression from Dr. Johnson. Some of our tories say they wait only for Great Britain to acknowledge our independance to induce them to change their political conduct, But if she perseveres in carrying on the war Another year, I am much mistaken if it will not be a desideratum on the other side the water for the united states to acknowledge the independance of Great Britain previous to a negociation. I rejoice most devoutly in all the calamities that impend that devoted country, and pray that the manifestations of the divine Vengance upon her may deter individuals and nations from imitating her crimes as long as the world shall endure, and thus the sufferings of that abandoned people will eventually add to the quantity of human happiness.
Our Congress it is said are more united than they have been for these two years past. Their late Appointments give universal satisfaction. The Whigs out of doors commit their liberties and indepandance in a negociation for peace with full confidence to you. Has Mr. Dana consented to act as Secretary to your embassy. You must be happy with him. He appears to be an honest man, and well acquainted with the true interests of America.
I had not had time nor room in my former letters to inform you that soon After you sailed from this country I resigned my commission of physician General to the hospitals of the united States in consequence of the neglect with which the Congress treated my complaints of Dr. Shippen's malpractices.2 I have ever since lived a most unrepublican life—wholly devoted to my family and my patients. Dr. Morgan (who { 219 } suffered so unjustly from Dr. Shippen's misrepresentations of his conduct as Director General) has impeached him of maladmi[ni]stration in his Office. His witnesses are numerous, and his proofs of the Doctor's peculation so irrefragable, that I have no doubt of his being broken. In any of the European Armies he would be hanged. From the time I Accepted of my commission till the time of my resignation which was not quite a year he murdered 4500 of our countrymen by his inhumanity and injustice. This will be proved before his Court martial. He has amassed a princely fortune by selling wine and Other hospital Stores out of the hospital magazines.3

[salute] With most respectful Compts. to Mrs. Adams in which my dear Mrs. Rush joins I am my Dr. sir yours—yours—yours—

[signed] B Rush
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Dr. Rush Octr. 19. 1779.”
1. JA's letters of 10 and 19 Sept. Rush's first reply was of 12 Oct. (all above).
2. Rush resigned on 30 Jan. 1778, two weeks before JA sailed for France, but his letter of 8 Feb. informing JA of his action presumably did not arrive in time. For Rush's previous criticisms of Shippen, see his letters to JA of 21 Oct. 1777, 22 Jan., and 8 Feb. 1778 (vol. 5:316–319, 394, 406; Benjamin Rush, Letters, 1:190–192, 199–200).
3. Dr. John Morgan gathered evidence and initiated the charges leading to Dr. William Shippen Jr.'s court-martial. The trial began on 14 March 1780 and continued intermittently until 27 June. In his testimony at the trial, Rush repeated the charges contained in this letter, but the proceedings ultimately came to nothing. Shippen was returned to his position and continued to serve until his resignation in 1781 (Rush to Morgan, [June? 1779], and notes; Rush to Mrs. Rush, 17 March 1780, and notes, Benjamin Rush, Letters, 1:225–229, 247–249).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0153

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1779-10-20

To the President of the Congress

[salute] Sir

Mr. Schweighauser of Nantes, who is a Native of Switzerland, observing me, as I was, one Day at his House, looking with some Attention, upon a Stamp, of the heroic Deed of William Tell,1 asked me to take a few of them to America, as a Present from him, which I agreed to do, with Pleasure. He, accordingly Sent, on Board the Frigate a Box, containing as he told me, one Stamp for each of the thirteen states neatly framed and glazed, which he desired me to present to Congress as a Small token of his Respect. The Box, has never been opened, but I hope the Pictures are safe; and with Permission of Congress I will deliver it to the Navy Board, in Boston, to be by them transmitted to the Delegates from the several states, or to their order. I have the Honour to be with great Respect, sir your most obedient servant
[signed] John Adams
{ 220 }
RC (PCC, No. 84, I, 101–104); docketed: “Letter from J. Adams Esqr. Dated Braintree Octr. 20th. 1779 read Nov. 1. Picture of Tell from Mr. Schweighauser.” The JCC (15:1231) indicates that a letter of this date was read on 1 Nov., but the letter described there is JA's letter of the 21st (below), which according to its docketing was also read on 1 November.
1. The 18th century produced a number of copper engravings of Tell shooting the apple off his son's head. The editors have been unable to establish which engraving JA may have seen and helped bring to the United States.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0154

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: UNKNOWN
Date: 1779-10-20

To Unknown

[salute] Sir

I expect to return to Europe, very soon, and should be very happy to carry with me such Intelligence as may be of Use, to the common Cause, particularly, respecting the Numbers and real Force of our Enemies in this Country. I know not where to apply with so much Probability of success, as to you sir, who must have made this a constant Object of Attention and Enquiry and who have undoubtedly the best Opportunities of, learning the real strength of the Enemy at New York, R. Is., Georgia, Hallifax, Canada and the West India Islands. It would be of great Use to such Gentlemen as Represent the United states in Europe to be possessed of this Information, as well as the real strength and Numbers of our Army from Time to Time.
I therefore have taken the1
1. The unfinished letter may have been intended for George Washington.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0155

Author: President of Congress
Author: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-10-20

From the President of the Congress

[salute] Sir

I have the honour to transmit you herewith enclosed Two Commissions wherein you are Authorized and appointed Minister Plenipotentiary from these United States to Negotiate Treaties of Peace and Commerce with Great Brittain; Accompanied with instructions in each Case, for your government in the Execution of those Several Commissions.1
For your further Information and benefit, are enclosed Copies of the Instructions to the honble. Ben. Franklin and John Jay Esqr. our Ministers Plenipotentiary at the Courts of Versailes and Madrid.2
Also two Acts of Congress of the 4th and 15th Instant Ascertaining your Salary and making provision for your Subsistance on your Arrival in France.3
{ 221 }
The nature and Importance of the Trust committed to your charge, will, I perswade my self engage your Immediate Attention and induce you to undertake the Service, and Embark for France without loss of time.
Wishing you a prosperous Voyage and Success in your Embassy I have the honour to be with Sentiments of the highest Esteem & Regard—Your humble Servant
[signed] Saml. Huntington President
P.S The honbe. Frances Dana Esqr. is appointed your Secretary.
RC (Adams Papers); with eight enclosures.
1. The two commissions, approved on 4 Oct. but dated 29 Sept., and the first and secondtwo sets of instructions, adopted on 14 Aug. but dated 16 Oct., are calendared (above).
2. Franklin's instruction as received from Huntington was undated, but, using another copy in his possession, JA copied it into his Autobiography under the date of 16 Oct. (Diary and Autobiography, 4:185–187). The instruction, adopted on 14 Aug., noted that recognition of American rights to the Newfoundland fishery was to be a provision in an Anglo-American commercial treaty rather than a peace ultimatum. The reason for this, although not stated, was that France had refused to make any commitment regarding the fishery in the Treaty of Alliance and thus would not agree to continue the war to obtain recognition of America's fishing rights in the peace treaty. Franklin was, therefore, ordered to seek an additional article to the alliance, providing that if Britain disturbed either party in the exercise of its rights to the Newfoundland fishery the other would join in a war to protect and preserve those rights. It was a futile effort from the beginning, but see JA's comments on the instruction in his Autobiography (same, 4:187).
Jay's instructions for negotiating a treaty with Spain are printed in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:352–353, 374–375.
3. The text of the two resolutions is in JCC, 15:1145, 1179–1180.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0156

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1779-10-21

To the President of the Congress

[salute] Sir

So many Advantages might be derived to the united States in the Conduct of the War; in furnishing the Army and Navy; in augmenting the Value, or at least in preventing the further Depreciation of their Currency; in lowering the Prices of Goods; in Supplying the Wants of the People and in preventing Murmurs and Discontents, that I have ever thought it, of very great Importance, in some Way or other to procure Convoys to their Trade, to and from the West India Islands and Europe.
France and Spain, have such Advantages of England, in carrying on the War, in the American Seas, and would receive such Assistance from our Commerce, Privateers and growing Navy, that I have ever thought it a main Principle of their Policy to maintain a constant and decided Superiority of Naval Power, in the West Indies and upon the Coasts of this Continent.
{ 222 }
I would therefore with due Defference to the Superiour Wisdom of Congress, beg Leave to submit to their Consideration, whether it would not be expedient for them, either by a direct Representation1 from themselves to the French and Spanish Courts, or by Instructions to their Plenipotentiary Ministers, to endeavour to convince those Courts, that their true Interest lies, in adopting this Plan. It is certainly their Interest reasoning upon French and Spanish Principles, simply, to conduct this War, in such a manner, as has a tendency, in the shortest Time, and with the least Expence to diminish the Power of their Ennemies, and increase their own. Now, I would submit it to Congress, whether it may not be easily demonstrated, that these Ends may be obtained, the most easily, in this Way. A Representation from Congress, either directly or by Instructions to their Ministers, shewing what Assistance, in Provisions, Artists, Materials, Vessells of War, Privateers, Land Armies, or in any other Way, France and Spain might depend upon receiving from these states either for Money, or as the Exertions of an Ally,2 would have great Weight.
Much has been already Said to the French Ministry, upon these subjects and not wholly without Effect: Yet much more may be said, to greater Advantage and perhaps to better Purpose, for they are extreamly well disposed to do what can be made to appear to them, for the Advantage of the common Cause.
I have the Honour to inclose Some Papers on this subject. One, is a Letter from the Commissioners, to his Excellency the Comte De Vergennes, which he received the Beginning of January last. The other is a Letter from me to the Marquis de la Fayette, in February, with his Answer.3

[salute] I have the Honour to be, with great Respect, your Excellencys, most obedient servant

[signed] John Adams
RC (PCC, No. 84, I, 105–106/2); docketed: “Letter from Hon John Adams Esqr. Dated Braintree 21st Octr. 1779. read Novr. 1 4 Papers inclosed No. 1 Commissioners Letter to Ct. de Vergennes No. 2 JA to the Marqs. de Fayette No. 3 Marqs. in Answer No. 4 JA to the Presd of Congress Oct. 19–79.” JA's letter of 19 Oct. to the president of the congress is not printed, but see JA to the Massachusetts Council, 13 Sept., and note 2 (above). LbC (Adams Papers).
1. For “Representation” the Letterbook has “Application.”
2. The Letterbook copy does not have “either for Money or as the Exertions of an Ally.”
3. For the first letter, which Vergennes acknowledged on 9 Jan., see the Commissioners to Vergennes, [ante 20] Dec. 1778 – [ante 9] Jan. 1779 (above). JA's letter to Lafayette is that of 21 Feb.; the marquis replied on 9 April (both above). In the JCC the receipt and description of these enclosures is garbled (15:1231).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0157

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1779-10-25

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] Dear Sir

Yours of the 4. is before me.1 Mr. Dana, I think will accept. I have no personal Objection to either of the Gentlemen you mention.2 You know more of the political Character of one of them, than I do. With the other I never had any personal Misunderstanding. He has Abilities and he has had his Merit. But he has been in the Center of Disputes so much, that you must have learned perhaps more of his public Conduct than I have done, certainly enough to determine your Judgment.3 Mr. D and the D[octo]r are much attached to him; Mr. L. and Mr.[], much against him.4 He has formerly written some Things well on the American Question. In France he wrote one good Thing. But he has had Connections in Change Alley, which in my Opinion ought to be renounced forever by him, if he is appointed to any Place, because I have no Imagination that any Thing can be concealed from Ld North, that is written to any one in Change Alley. I mention nothing of Religion nor Morals, for in these Respects, I suppose Objections are no stronger, than against others, whom it would be Blasphemy to Attack.5 I mention these Things in Confidence.
Pray let me know, what is become of my Accounts and Vouchers; and whether there are any Objections to, or Speculations about them.

[salute] Adieu

[signed] John Adams
RC (DLC, photostat in Gerry Papers). LbC (Adams Papers.)
1. Gerry's letter of 4 Oct. has not been found, but see his letter of 12 Oct. (above).
2. According to Gerry's letter of 12 Oct., these were Sir James Jay, John Jay's brother, and Dr. Edward Bancroft. With the exception of the sentence immediately following, the remainder of this letter deals with Bancroft, who is described in terms similar to those used by JA in his Autobiography. There he indicates that the “one good Thing” that Bancroft wrote in France, which has not been otherwise identified, appeared in Affaires de l'Angleterre et de l'Amérique (Diary and Autobiography, 4:71–74).
3. In the Letterbook JA first ended his letter at this point. He then extended it through the sentence discussing “Change Alley,” and then again through “I mention these Things in Confidence.” Finally, he added the query about accounts and vouchers.
4. Silas Deane, Franklin, Arthur Lee, and probably Ralph Izard are intended here. In the Letterbook, immediately after the blank space left in place of the fourth name, “bitter” was lined out in favor of “much.”
5. That is, Franklin.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0158

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Laurens, Henry
Date: 1779-10-25

To Henry Laurens

[salute] My dear Sir

Your Favour of the fourth of the Month, gave me great Pleasure. But I am afraid that you and Some others of my Friends felt more for { 224 } me, in the Aukward Situation, you mention, than I did for myself, 'tho I cannot Say, I was wholly insensible. I could not help laughing a little at the figure I cutt, to be sure. I could compare it, to nothing, but Shakespeares Idea of Ariel, wedged by the Waist, in the Middle of a rifted Oak,1 for I was Sufficiently Sensible that it was owing to an unhappy Division in Congress, and Pains enough were taken to inform me, that one Side were for Sending me to Spain, and the other to Holland, So that I was flattered to find that neither Side had any decisive Objection against trusting me, and that the apparent Question was only, where? But I assure you, that all my Sprawling, Wriggling, and brandishing my Legs and Arms in the Air,2 like Ariel, never gave me half the Pain, that the Picture of Congress in my Imagination at that time, excited. When I saw a certain Appeal to the People;3 that no Animadversion was made on it; that you resigned &c., Congress appeared to me to resemble a Picture in the Gallery of the C. De Vergennes and I trembled for the Union and safety of the states.
The Picture represents a Coach, with four Horses, running down a steep Mountain, and rushing on to the middle of a very high Bridge, over a large River. The Foundations of the whole Bridge, give Way, in a Moment, and the Carriage, the Horses, the Timbers, Stones and all, in a Chaos are falling through the Air down to the Water. The Horror of the Horses, the Coachman, the Footmen, the Gentlemen and Ladies in the Carriage, is Strongly painted in their Countenances and Gestures, as well as the Simpathy and Terror of others in Boats upon the River and many others on shore, on each side of the River.4
That I was sent without any solicitation of mine, directly or indirectly, is certainly true; and I had such formidable Ideas of the Sea and of British Men of War, Such Diffidence of my own Qualifications to do service in that Way, and Such Uncertainty of the Reception I should meet, that I had little Inclination to Adventure. That I went against my pecuniary5 Interest is most certainly so, for I never yet served the public without loosing Money by it. I was not however, as you suppose kept unimployed. I had Business enough to do, as I could easily convince you. There is a great Field of Business there and I could easily shew you that I did my share of it. There is so much to do, and So much difficulty to do it well, that I rejoice with all my Heart to find a Gentleman, of such Abilities, Principles and Activity, as Coll. Laurens, without a Compliment, undoubtedly is, appointed to assist in it. I most Sincerely hope for his Friendship and an entire Harmony, with him, for which Reason, I should be very happy in his Company in { 225 } the Passage, or in an Interview with him, as Soon as possible, in Europe. He will be, in a delicate situation, but not so much so, as I was, and plain sense, honest Intentions, and common Civility, will I think be sufficient to secure him and do much good.
Your kind Compliments on my Safe Return, and most honourable Re-Election, are very obliging.
I have received no Commission, nor Instructions, nor any particular Information of the Plan, but from the Advice and Information from you and Several others of my Friends at Philadelphia, and here,6 I shall make no Hesitation to say, that notwithstanding the Delicacy, and Danger of this Commission, I suppose, I shall accept it,7 without Hesitation, and trust Events to Heaven as I have been long used to do.
It is a Misfortune to me, to be deprived of the Pleasure of shaking Hands with you, at the Foot of Pens Hill, Eleven miles from Boston, where there lives a Lady, however, who desires me to present her best Respects, and ask the Favour of a Visit, when you come to Boston, that She may have an opportunity of Seeing a Gentleman, whose unshaken Constancy, does so much Honour and Such essential Service to his Country.
The Convulsions at Philadelphia, are very affecting and alarming but not entirely unexpected to me. The state of Parties and the Nature of their Government, have a long time given me disagreable Apprehensions. But I hope they will find some Remedy.
Methods will be found to feed the Army, but I know of none to cloath it, without Convoys to trade, which Congress, I think would do well to undertake, and perswade France and Spain, to undertake as soon as possible.
Your Packetts for your Friends in Europe, will give me Pleasure, and shall be forwarded with Care and dispatch. With great Truth and Regard, I am, sir, your Friend and servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (ScHi); docketed: “John Adams Esquire 25 October 1779 Rcd 8th. Novem.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. See JA to William Whipple, 11 Sept., and note 6 (above).
2. Compare the image in JA to AA, 28 Feb., in Adams Family Correspondence, 3:181.
3. That of Silas Deane, dated 5 Dec. 1778. The congress' failure to condemn this address caused Laurens to resign the presidency of that body.
4. This painting has not been identified.
5. “Pecuniary” was interlined, and “Money,” at the end of this sentence, does not appear in the Letterbook draft copy.
6. In the Letterbook JA does not set off “and here” from “Philadelphia,” suggesting that “here” modifies “my Friends,” and is not an introductory phrase to his statement of intent.
7. In the Letterbook JA interlined “not-withstanding the Delicacy and Danger of this Commission.”

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0159

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1779-10-25

To James Lovell

Mr. Joshua Johnson, is a Merchant settled with his Lady and Family at Nantes. I was honoured with many of his Civilities in that City, and with a good deal of his Conversation. He is a sensible genteel Man has a good Character, and I believe is as well qualified, for the service you mention1 as any <Man> American now in Europe: His affections sentiments and Acquaintances are, supposed to be on a particular side:2 but I believe his Conduct has been, prudent and unexceptionable.
The french Frigate would be as agreable a Conveyance for me as I wish; I should be very sorry to delay her. I dont expect to have much direct Negotiation, for some time, but I do expect a great deal of indirect, roundabout, and very ridiculous Manoeuv[r]ing. If I go at all I had rather go without delay, because I hate a state of suspence—and in my present situation I can engage in no other Business public or private. I was running fast into my old <Business> Profession, but this will put total stop to it, for being uncertain when I shall go, I cannot undertake any Mans Business and give him my Word to go through with it.
If Dana should not go, you will find that, Bancroft will be set up—but I think you would certainly carry it, and you may depend upon it, no Man would make me happier. Dana however will accept. He spent yesterday with me, and I am persuaded he will go.
I will inform A. L[ee]. by the 1st Opportunity. He cannot be delayed. He not only had Power to borrow Money, but has I believe considerable sums in his Hands from Spain. Spain has sent him <to my Knowledge> from Time to Time large sums, and she will continue to supply Mr. Jay, so that he will have no Trouble. I shall be in a different Predicament. You are mistaken about the English. There is no Money to be got there. Small sums may be borrowed in France or in Amsterdam, so that I wish to be furnished with full Powers to borrow. But I beg one favour more, and that is for an order to draw in Case of Necessity and in Case other Resources fail on Dr. Franklin, or on the Banker of the United States3 for a sum not exceeding My salary Yearly, and also for a Resolution of Congress, or a Letter from the Commercial Committee requesting the Continental Agents, in Europe and America, to furnish me Aids and supplies of Cash &c.,4 and to the Captains of all American Frigates, to <assist me> afford me a Passage out or home upon demand, so as not to interfere with other orders they may have however, or prevent their Cruising,5 I to pay for my { 227 } Passage to Congress, or be accountable for it. Mr. Dana should have the same Resolution of Congress and Letter from the Commercial and Marine Committee, one from each for each of Us. And perhaps the same to Mr. Jay and Mr. Charmichael.6 I hope I shall find the Funds provided for me sufficient, but if I should not I may be in the Utmost distress and bring upon my self and you <great> Disgrace. Franklin will supply me, and so will any Agent in France, if they have a Resolution of Congress, or even a Letter from the Commercial Committee.
I dont know what Indecencies you mean in my Commission. I have looked it up, and have it before me.7 It is on a large sheet of Paper, written very well all in the Hand Writing of our much respected Secretary. Signed by, President Laurens. Sealed with his seal, and attested by the Secretary. It is not upon Vellum, nor Parchment it is true, and the Paper is not the best, but I believe as good as any We had at that Time. Upon the whole I think it a very decent, respectable and Honourable <Condition> Commission. It was treated with great Respect at Versailles, and I see no Reason to object to it. Pray let me know what the Question is about it?
1. See Lovell to JA, [1 Oct.] (above).
2. JA probably alludes to the fact that Johnson had lived in London for several years before the Revolution as a factor for an Annapolis firm, and that his wife, Catherine Nuth, was English, so that his English connections were fresher than his American ones.
3. JA interlined “and in Case other Resources fail,” and “or on the Banker of the United States.” For the congress' orders to Franklin to assist the new ministers plenipotentiary, see JCC, 15:1183.
4. JA interlined “and supplies of Cash &c.”
5. The remainder of this sentence was interlined.
6. JA interlined this sentence.
7. See Lovell to JA, [1 Oct.], note 8 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0160

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Marchant, Henry
Date: 1779-10-25

To Henry Marchant

[salute] Dear sir

I have the Pleasure of yours of Octr. 2. Give me leave to assure you that, I never received a troublesome or useless Letter from America, during my Absence. We had enough such from many Parts of Europe to be sure—but none from America, and I should have thought myself under particular Obligations to you, for your Correspondence. If I should be so happy as to go with Mr. Dana, as I flatter myself I shall, I shall depend upon your constant Advice to him or me or both, to both the more agreable. We shall want it.
I assure you notwithstanding the Aukwardness of the situation you { 228 } hint at, I did not find the Rank of a Citizen either so inconvenient or so dishonourable, as to wish very impatiently to advance out of it. I have ever considered the service of the Public as a Duty, a real Duty, but this service may be performed by the Citizen as well as by the senator, or the Consul, the General or the Ambassador. It is easier performed, in the first Character than in any, and with the least Risque and Anxiety.
I would fain hope there is not so much of that Degeneracy you hint at, in Reality, as some Appearances indicate. The Misfortune is that ten vicious Persons in a society of an hundred are able to defeat very often the virtuous Intentions and Efforts of the other Ninety. But this will not always last. The national Character will work its Effects in Time.
Mr. Dana's Appointment makes me very happy, and his Acceptance will make me more so. I have no doubt of it, myself, from the Conversations I have had. The Judge1 will be the greatest Obstacle, but I dont intend to take any Denial, of the Judge, whom I have undertaken to convert or perswade.
Where is the Comte D'Estaing. He must come here this Year or next, or both. You must sett some Springs and Wheels in Motion to get him along, and to get him reinforced from Time to Time.2 We must have a superiour naval Force in the West Indies and on the Coast of this Continent. England will never be brought to her senses untill this Plan is adopted. Get Convoys to Trade, and a superiour naval Power in the American seas, and all will be easy, I think. I am with great Esteem, yor frid & sert
1. Edmund Trowbridge, distinguished jurist and uncle of Francis Dana, who was to be his heir (DAB).
2. It is likely that JA was addressing Marchant simply as a member of the congress, for his two standing committee assignments—Appeals and Treasury—would have given him no particular responsibility for promoting greater naval activity (JCC, 15:1445, 1447).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0161-0001

Editorial Note

Of the eleven states that adopted constitutions during the Revolutionary period, Massachusetts, ratifying its document in 1780, was the last. { 229 } (Connecticut and Rhode Island, both with corporate charters that granted broad autonomous powers, did not revise their organic law until the nineteenth century.) The General Court had drafted a constitution which it presented to the towns in 1778, but they overwhelmingly rejected it for a variety of reasons, ranging from its lack of a bill of rights to its being written and presented for approval in dangerous times when many voters were away on military service. A few towns asserted that a constitution ought to be drafted by a convention specially chosen for that sole purpose, on the grounds that constitutional law should be superior to mere acts of legislation. Nearly everyone was agreed, even in 1778, that any constitution must have the approval of the people. Responding to these objections, Massachusetts perfected the modern constitutional convention and ratification procedure that has since been used almost exclusively in framing organic law in the United States. In taking this final step, Massachusetts built on the constitutional traditions of Pennsylvania and Delaware, whose 1776 constitutions were drawn up by special conventions that were distinct from the established legislatures of those states, but whose work was not submitted to the voters for approval (J. Paul Selsam, The Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776, A Study in Revolutionary Democracy, Phila., 1936, p. 162–164, 211–212; John A. Monroe, Colonial Delaware, A History, N.Y., 1978, p. 253).
Massachusetts not only refined the American system of constitution-making, but produced the longest and most detailed constitution of the Revolutionary era. This document contributed several important principles that were adopted by other states as they revised their constitutions as well as by the framers of the United States Constitution. Most of these principles were espoused and articulated by John Adams, who played the key role in drafting a constitution that has lasted to the present day, although it has acquired more than one hundred amendments. The Massachusetts Constitution, with its provision for a strong, independent executive, instituted a true check-and-balance system. The other early state constitutions concentrated power in the hands of legislatures, which in most instances elected their chief executives. Pennsylvania provided for no governor at all, and New York's independently elected governor had to share his limited veto power with others and exercised more restricted appointive powers than were provided in Massachusetts. Nearly all of the states had sought to create an independent judiciary in their 1776–1777 constitutions by prescribing tenure during good behavior, but John Adams had already played a crucial role in establishing this principle through his Thoughts on Government (1776), which strongly influenced the drafting of several of those early constitutions (vol. 4:65–93).
The Massachusetts Constitutional Convention met in Cambridge on 1 September 1779. Each town had been authorized to choose as many delegates as it was entitled by law to send to the General Court, but the franchise was opened without regard to property holdings to “every { 230 } Freeman, Inhabitant of [a] town, who is twenty one years of age” (Journal of the Convention, p. 6). According to the official journal, over three hundred delegates were chosen. Comparison of the delegate list with the roster of representatives to the General Court reveals that towns generally sent far more men to the convention than they sent to the House, a sign perhaps that the task ahead was viewed as serious indeed. The main business during the week-long first session was to name a drafting committee made up of representatives from each county, totaling twenty-seven men, plus four members chosen at large. The actual number selected, however, was only thirty because the two island counties, Dukes and Nantucket, together entitled to one committeeman, sent no delegates to Cambridge. After organizing this committee, the convention adjourned to 28 October, when a full draft constitution was to be presented for consideration.
The drafting committee, meeting in Boston on 13 September, named a subcommittee, comprised of James Bowdoin, the convention's president, Samuel Adams, and John Adams, to do the preliminary work. The subcommittee turned the writing of a draft over to John Adams. According to an account he wrote in 1812, Adams' fellow subcommittee members took exception to only “one Line of no consequence” in his completed draft, and this he deleted. The full drafting committee, again according to Adams, substituted a qualified executive veto for the absolute veto that Adams favored and struck out the governor's power to appoint militia officers (JA to William D. Williamson, 25 Feb. 1812, MeHi). Adams' memory was faulty for both these changes were made by the full convention. The committee's printed Report of a Constitution (the document that follows) includes neither of these alterations.
The only contemporary clue we have to changes made by the full committee is furnished in two letters, both written by Adams while the convention was meeting in its second session. In answer to Elbridge Gerry's plea that an executive veto be limited to any attempt by the legislature to “affect the powers of the Executive” (to JA, 12 Oct., above), Adams replied, “I am clear for Three Branches, in the Legislature, and the Committee have reported as much, tho aukwardly expressed” (4 Nov., below). On the same day he wrote to Benjamin Rush: “If the Committee had boldly made the Legislature consist of three Branches, I should have been better pleased” (also below). What Adams meant was that the unqualified veto of the governor made him in effect a third branch, giving him the critical checking power that a “Reservoir of Wisdom” should have over the legislators, who comprised a reservoir of liberty (to Gerry, 4 Nov.). Despite the absolute veto that the Report of a Constitution gives to the governor, it specifically declares, in Chapter II, Section I, Article I, that “The department of legislation shall be formed by two branches.”
John Adams' remarks to Gerry and Rush are the only evidence known to the editors which suggests that his draft was significantly altered by { 231 } the committee before it was printed and offered to the convention. He did disclaim authorship of Article III of the Declaration of Rights, which provided tax support for religion, and we know from other sources that Chapter VI, Section I, which protected the interests of Harvard College, was largely drafted by a committee appointed by that institution (JA to William D. Williamson; JA, Works, 4:258, note 2). But until contrary evidence appears, we can only assume that Adams' draft, with the exceptions noted, was largely that of the printed Report.
In stating that the committee's draft was virtually Adams' own, it should be understood that it was not all original. John Adams was pleased to have a role in designing a new constitution, which he had long urged his political colleagues in Massachusetts to do, but he recognized that it was “impossible for Us to acquire any Honour, as so many fine Examples have been so recently set Us” (JA to Benjamin Rush, 10 Sept., above). Adams borrowed liberally from these examples. Formal bills of rights had been written for the constitutions of five of the original states in 1776—Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and North Carolina—and for Vermont in 1777, and several states without such formal bills included similar rights in their descriptions of governmental agents and their powers (Thorpe, ed., Federal and State Constitutions; Max Farrand, “The Delaware Bill of Rights of 1776,” AHR, 3:641–649 [July 1898]). In drafting Massachusetts' Declaration of Rights, Adams was greatly influenced by the order of listing and some of the language found in Pennsylvania's declaration. Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware also offered several ideas. All of the states had before them the great state papers of English history—Magna Charta and its revision, the Great Charter of 1225, the Petition of Right (1628), the Bill of Rights (1689), and the Act of Settlement (1701). In drafting the Frame of Government, Adams drew upon the Massachusetts Charter of 1691, his own Thoughts on Government, and even the rejected Constitution of 1778 for some of his language.
If Adams borrowed, he also made significant contributions of his own. The true check-and-balance system, originally described by him in Thoughts on Government, with its independent executive and independent judiciary, has already been mentioned. Less often noticed by historians has been Adams' organization of the Frame of Government into chapters, sections, and articles, which makes the Massachusetts Constitution much easier to read and refer to than the simple consecutive listing of articles or sections that characterizes every other early state constitution. This major innovation was incorporated into the New Hampshire constitution (1784) and the United States Constitution. Adams also changed the basis of representation in the House from the number of voters to the number of ratable polls, which included, with some exceptions, all free males sixteen years of age and above. This change would allow counting for representation purposes those who were too young or who had too little property to vote, but who had to
{ 232 } | view { 233 }
pay a tax or have their father or master pay it for them. Thereby apprentices and grown sons still living on the family farm would become part of the population that Adams thought the representative body should reflect.
Adams himself was pleased with the convention's acceptance without change of his second section under Chapter VI, “The Encouragement of Literature, &c.,” which spelled out in broad terms a positive role for government in promoting education, science, and the arts in both public and private institutions. One immediate object that he had in mind as he drafted this section was an academy of men interested in the arts and the natural sciences, and especially the natural history of America, that would be based in Massachusetts and would rival the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia and emulate the great academies of England and France. He had suggested founding such an academy to Samuel Cooper in August 1779, shortly after his return to America, and the hint was soon taken up (JA to Benjamin Waterhouse, 7 Aug. 1805, MHi). In 1780 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts chartered the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Three less conspicuous innovations deserve mention. Taking language from the 1691 charter, Adams detailed the powers of the legislature far more specifically than was done in other early state constitutions. He also called for limits on the legislative power to suspend habeas corpus. Only Georgia among the other states had even mentioned this important right, and Georgia did not address the problem of suspension. The power of the General Court in this area became one of the most hotly debated issues in the convention; a twelve-month time limit for suspension was added to Adams' article, but some delegates were greatly disappointed that the convention did not further limit this suspensive power. Finally, Adams gave the governor and Council and the Senate power to request a judicial opinion upon important questions of law. The convention extended this power to the House as well, while confining the right to give such an opinion to the Supreme Judicial Court. This legislative power was not found in the other state constitutions.
The number and significance of the alterations that the convention made in Adams' draft are greater than usually realized and need passing mention if only to place his authorship in proper perspective. As noted above, Adams himself singled out as particularly important, if unfortunate, two revisions: the two-thirds legislative vote that could override a governor's veto, which New York had employed in 1777 and which was adopted in the United States Constitution; and the election of officers by members of the militia in preference to appointment by the governor. The convention also rejected Adams' proposed rotation in the office of governor, a feature common to nearly all of the 1776 constitutions. This clause would have prevented a man from serving more than five one-year terms out of seven. The explicit requirement that major { 234 } officeholders be Christians was limited by the convention to the governor and his lieutenant, but the oath of office for councilors and legislators required swearing or affirming a belief in the truth of the Christian religion. In addition, the convention broadened Adams' proposed property qualifications for legislators to include personal property as well as freeholds of stated value. And in the Declaration of Rights the convention dropped the reference to the right of free speech which Adams had copied from the Pennsylvania declaration, although the delegates retained liberty of the press. They also provided for compensation when private property was taken for public purposes.
Some of the convention's additions corrected Adams' oversights. For example, he neglected to provide for the House the right to judge the qualifications of its members, and for the Senate, a quorum. He made no provision for amendments, although he was quite aware that any constitution would require them. One of the convention's more significant additions was the inclusion of a definition of town inhabitancy that was in line with traditional practices, which were designed to keep indigent and disorderly outsiders from claiming to be inhabitants of a town. And the convention was far more specific than Adams in guarding against plural officeholding, an abuse much complained about in the provincial period.
Finally, the convention rejected Adams' scheme of allowing towns with too few ratable polls for representation in the House to associate with larger towns in jointly choosing a representative, a device Adams had adapted from the Constitution of 1778. Small towns themselves felt that in associating, their influence would be lost; they wanted every town to have at least one representative, regardless of size. The convention, however, would yield no more than making provision for travel pay out of the public treasury to encourage small and poor towns already enjoying a right to representation to continue to send a member to the House.
The Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 occupies a central position both in America's constitutional tradition and in John Adams' thought. The long months of drafting, revision, and ratification greatly refined America's constitution-making procedure, and prepared the way for the United States Constitution. In its principles and its structure, Massachusetts' document was the culmination of that process of turning away from legislative-centered government to embrace a system of checks and balances, strong, popularly elected executives, and independent judiciaries. This tradition, advanced so effectively by Adams himself in Thoughts on Government, had gradually gained momentum, particularly with the adoption of New York's constitution of 1777. After 1780, Americans faced a clear choice between Pennsylvania's legislative-centered form of government and the tripartite Massachusetts model, a choice resolved in Massachusetts' favor with the ratification of the United States Constitution in 1787–1788.
For John Adams, too, Massachusetts' new constitution marked both a { 235 } culmination and a turning point. As political thought and organic law, Adams' Report of a Constitution summarized nearly two decades of reading, thinking, and writing about balanced constitutions and just, durable governments. Its sources were varied, ranging from Greek, Roman, and British political thinkers whom Adams had long admired, especially James Harrington, to his own published writings and a wide range of American constitutions. These last-named included documents that Adams revered, like the Massachusetts Charter of 1691, and those he thought serviceable, like the Virginia and Maryland constitutions of 1776 and Massachusetts' own rejected Constitution of 1778, but also those of which he was highly critical, notably Pennsylvania's Constitution of 1776. John Adams left no doubt in his correspondence that he thought the American constitutional tradition was vigorous and healthy, and he believed that America's best constitutions were far superior to those in operation in Europe, as he would argue at great length in his Defence of the Constitutions of the United States (1787–1788).
At the same time, however, Adams was disappointed that the convention proved unreceptive to his absolute executive veto. Writing to Elbridge Gerry, he declared that without this power the executive, a sound government's “Reservoir of Wisdom,” would be run down by an aggressive legislature “like a Hare before the Hunters” (4 Nov., below). This disappointment seems to foreshadow the decline of John Adams' political optimism and of his receptivity to further constitutional innovation, as well as his growing concern that aristocracies in all forms threatened the vitality of balanced republican government. And his mounting anxiety over this concern would soon color his political thought so strongly that by the late 1780s he had moved out of the mainstream of America's still evolving constitutional tradition, a tradition to which he had contributed so much. What he left behind was America's most carefully balanced state constitution, the last great practical statement of the classical British commonwealth tradition and, not incidentally, the oldest functioning written constitution in the English-speaking world.
John Adams wrote the substance of the Report of a Constitution between 13 September and mid-October 1779, largely in Braintree, and presented it for revision to his subcommittee colleagues, and then to the full drafting committee, in mid- and late October. He presumably attended the full drafting committee sessions in October, and probably the full convention sessions of 28–30 October and 1–3 November as well. His attendance in the week after 4 November, when his correspondence resumes and he was preparing to sail again for Europe, seems less likely. No manuscript notes, rough drafts, or finished copies of Adams' text, or any detailed references to the committee sessions, are known to the editors.
The Report of a Constitution was distributed to the convention delegates in two parts. The first fifteen pages, through the end of the Declaration of Rights, were passed out to the members on order of the convention on Friday morning, 29 October. The entire pamphlet of fifty { 236 } pages, upon which the text below is based, was distributed on Monday, 1 November. Only the Library of Congress is known to have a copy of the fifteen-page first section, lacking the portion of the Frame of Government which begins on the bottom half of page fifteen. Copies of the complete pamphlet survive in several libraries and archives, often with annotations made by the delegates who first received them. When Adams departed for Europe on 15 November, he took with him several copies of the Report, which he gave to various acquaintances and officials in France and Holland, and even to some in England. He arranged for the Report to be printed in London and Paris in the spring of 1780, and later that year he had the adopted constitution printed in England, France, and the Netherlands (JA to Edmé Jacques Genet, 26 Feb., below; Thomas Digges to JA, 14 April 1780, Adams Papers; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:413; Adams Family Correspondence, 3:228, 349; 4:267). His preliminary version of the Massachusetts Constitution provoked much interest and admiration abroad.
The annotation below indicates specific sources that Adams drew upon, as well as all major alterations to the Report made by the convention. Most minor changes of phrasing are not noted. And since the focus is on John Adams, only occasional account is taken of the debates in the convention, of the proposals that failed, or of the sharpness of division in the votes on some provisions. For a fuller description of the convention's work, see Robert J. Taylor, “Construction of the Massachusetts Constitution,” Amer. Antiq. Soc., Procs., 90 (1980):317–346. The Massachusetts Charter of 1691 and the Revolutionary-era constitutions of all the states can be found in Thorpe, ed., Federal and State Constitutions; volume three gives the Massachusetts texts. For the rejected Constitution of 1778, see Robert J. Taylor, ed., Massachusetts, Colony to Commonwealth, Chapel Hill, N.C., 1961, p. 51–58.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0161-0002

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1779-10-28 - 1779-10-31

The Report of a Constitution or Form of Government for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

The report of
or form of
for the
of Massachusetts:

Agreed upon by the Committee—to be laid before the Convention of delegates, assembled at cambridge, on the First Day of September, A. D. 1779; and continued by Adjournment to the Twenty-eighth Day of October following.
{ 237 }
TO the Honorable the Convention of Delegates from the several Towns in the State of Massachusetts, appointed for the forming a new Constitution of Government for the said State.
Your Committee, in Pursuance of your Instructions, have prepared the Draught of a new Constitution of Government for this State; and now make Report of it: which is respectfully laid before you, in the following Pages, for your Consideration and Correction.
In the Name of the Committee,
[signed] James Bowdoin, Chairman.

A Constitution or Form of Government for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

THE end of the institution, maintenance and administration of government, is to secure the existence of the body-politic; to protect it; and to furnish the individuals who compose it, with the power of enjoying, in safety and tranquility, their natural rights, and the blessings of life: And whenever these great objects are not obtained, the people have a right to alter the government, and to take measures necessary for their safety, happiness and prosperity.2
The body politic is formed by a voluntary association of individuals: It is a social compact, by which the whole people covenants with each citizen, and each citizen with the whole people, that all shall be governed by certain laws for the common good. It is the duty of the people, therefore, in framing a Constitution of Government, to provide for an equitable mode of making laws, as well as for an impartial interpretation; and a faithful execution of them, that every man may, at all times, find his security in them.
We, therefore, the delegates of the people of Massachusetts, in general Convention assembled, for the express and sole purpose of framing a Constitution or Form of Government, to be laid before our Constituents, according to their instructions,3 acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe, in affording to this people, in the course of His providence, an opportunity of entering into an original, explicit, and solemn compact with each other, deliberately and peaceably, without fraud, violence, or surprize;4 and of forming a new Constitution of Civil Government, for themselves and their posterity; and devoutly imploring His direction in a design so interesting to them and their posterity, DO, by virtue of the authority vested in us, by our constituents, agree upon5 the follow• { 238 } ing Declaration of Rights, and Frame of Government, as the CONSTITUTION of the COMMONWEALTH6 of Massachusetts.


A DECLARATION of the RIGHTS of the Inhabitants of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Art. All men are born equally free and independent,8 and have I. certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights: among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting their property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.
II. It is the duty9 of all men in society, publicly, and at stated seasons, to worship the SUPREME BEING, the great creator and preserver of the universe. And no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained, in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshiping GOD in the manner10 most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience; or for his religious profession or sentiments; provided he doth not disturb the public peace, or obstruct others in their religious worship.11
III. Good morals being necessary to the preservation of civil society; and the knowledge and belief of the being of GOD, His providential government of the world, and of a future state of rewards and punishment, being the only true foundation of morality, the legislature hath therefore a right, and ought, to provide at the expence of the subject, if necessary, a suitable support for the public worship of GOD, and of the teachers of religion and morals; and to enjoin upon all the subjects an attendance upon their instructions, at stated times and seasons: Provided there be any such teacher, on whose ministry they can conscientiously and conveniently attend.
All monies, paid by the subject to the support of public worship, and of the instructors in religion and morals, shall, if he requires it, be uniformly applied to the support of the teacher or teachers of his own religious denomination, if there be such, whose ministry he attends upon: otherwise it may be paid to the teacher or teachers of the parish or precinct where he usually resides.12
IV. The people of this commonwealth have the sole and exclusive right of governing themselves, as a free, sovereign, and independent state; and do, and forever hereafter shall, exercise and enjoy every power, jurisdiction, and right, which are not, or may not hereafter, be by them expresly delegated to the United States of America, in Congress assembled.
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V. All power residing originally in the people, and being derived from them, the several magistrates and officers of government, vested with authority, whether legislative, executive or judicial, are their substitutes and agents, and are at all times accountable to them.13
VI. No man, nor corporation or association of men, have any other title to obtain advantages, or particular and exclusive privileges, distinct from those of the community, than what arises from the consideration of services rendered to the public; and this title being in nature neither hereditary, nor transmissible to children, or descendents, or relations by blood, the idea of a man born a magistrate, law-giver, or judge, is absurd and unnatural.14
VII. Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men: Therefore the people alone have an incontestible, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity and happiness require it.15
VIII. In order to prevent those who are vested with authority from becoming oppressors, the people have a right, at such periods and in such manner as may be delineated in their frame of government, to cause their public officers to return to private life, and to fill up vacant places by certain and regular elections.16
IX. All elections ought to be free; and all the male inhabitants of this commonwealth, having sufficient qualifications, have an equal right to elect officers, and to be elected for public employments.17
X. Each individual of the society has a right to be protected by it in the enjoyment of his life, liberty and property, according to standing laws. He is obliged, consequently, to contribute his share to the expence of this protection; to give his personal service, or an equivalent, when necessary: But no part of the property of any individual can, with justice, be taken from him, or applied to public uses, without his own consent, or that of the representative body of the people: In fine, the people of this commonwealth are not controulable by any other laws, than those to which their constitutional representative body have given their consent.18
XI. Every subject of the commonwealth ought to find a certain remedy, by having recourse to the laws, for all injuries or wrongs which he may receive in his person, property or character: He ought to obtain right and justice freely, and without being obliged to purchase it; compleatly, and without any denial; promptly, and without delay; conformably to the laws.19
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XII. No subject shall be held to answer for any crime or offence, untill the same is fully and plainly, substantially and formally, described to him: He cannot be compelled to accuse himself, or to furnish evidence against himself; and every subject shall have a right to be fully heard in his defence, by himself or his council, at his election; to meet the witnesses against him face to face, to produce all proofs that may be favourable to him;20 to require a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the country, without whose unanimous consent, or his own voluntary confession, he cannot finally be declared guilty, or sentenced to loss of life, liberty or property.
XIII. In criminal prosecutions, the verification of facts in the vicinity where they happen, is one of the greatest securites of the life, liberty and property of the citizen.21
XIV. No subject of the commonwealth shall be arrested, imprisoned, despoiled, or deprived of his property, immunities or privileges, put out of the protection of the law, exiled, or deprived of his life, liberty or estate, but by the judgment of his peers or the law of the land.22
XV.23 Every man24 has a right to be secure from all unreasonable searches and seizures of his person, his houses, his papers, and all his possessions. All warrants, therefore, are contrary to this right, if the cause or foundation of them be not previously supported by oath or affirmation; and if the order in the warrant to a civil officer, to make search in suspected places, or to arrest one or more suspected persons, or to seize their property, be not accompanied with a special designation of the persons or objects of search, arrest or seizure; and no warrant ought to be issued but in cases and with the formalities prescribed by the laws.
XVI. In all controversies concerning property, and in all suits between two or more persons,25 the parties have a right to a trial by a jury; and this method of procedure shall be held sacred; unless, in causes arising on the high-seas, and such as relate to mariners wages, the legislature shall hereafter find it necessary to alter it.
XVII. The people have a right to the freedom of speaking, writing and publishing their sentiments: The liberty of the press therefore ought not to be restrained.26
XVIII. The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defence. And as in time of peace standing27 armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature; and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority, and be governed by it.
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XIX. A Frequent recurrence to the fundamental principles of the constitution, and a constant adherence to those of piety, justice, moderation, temperance, industry and frugality, are absolutely necessary to preserve the advantages of liberty, and to maintain a free government: The people ought, consequently, to have a particular attention to all those principles, in the choice of their officers and representatives: And they have a right to require of their law-givers and magistrates, an exact and constant observance of them, in the formation and execution of the laws necessary for the good administration of the commonwealth.28
XX. The people have a right, in an orderly and peaceable manner, to assemble to consult upon the common good; give instructions to their representatives; and to request of the legislative body by the way of addresses, petitions, or remonstrances, redress of the wrongs done them, and the grievances they suffer.29
XXI. The power of suspending the laws, or the execution of the laws, ought never to be exercised but by the legislature, or by authority derived from it, to be exercised in such particular cases only as the legislature shall expresly provide for:30 and there shall be no suspension of any law for the private interest, advantage, or emolument, of any one man or class of men.
XXII. The freedom of deliberation, speech and debate in either house of the legislature, is so essential to the rights of the people, that it cannot be the foundation of any accusation or prosecution, action or complaint, in any other court or place whatsoever.
XXIII. The legislature ought frequently to assemble for the redress of grievances, for correcting, strengthening and confirming the laws, and for making new laws as the common good may require.
XXIV. No subsidy, charge, tax, impost or duties ought to be established, fixed, laid, or levied, under any pretext whatsoever, without the consent of the people or their representatives in the legislature.
XXV. Laws made to punish for actions done before the existence of such laws, and which have not been declared crimes by preceeding laws, are unjust, oppressive, and inconsistent with the fundamental principles of a free government.31
XXVI. No man ought in any case or in any time, to be declared guilty of treason or felony by any act of the legislature.32
XXVII. No magistrate or court of law shall demand excessive bail, or sureties, impose excessive fines, or inflict cruel or unusual punishments.
XXVIII. IN time of peace, no soldier ought to be quartered in any { 242 } house without the consent of the owner; and in time of war such quarters ought not to be made, but by the civil magistrate in a manner ordained by the legislature.
XXIX. No person can in any case be subjected to law martial, or to any penalties or pains, by virtue of that law, except those employed in the army or navy, and except the militia in actual service, but by authority of the legislature.33
XXX. It is essential to the preservation of the rights of every individual, his life, liberty, property and character, that there be an impartial interpretation of the laws, and administration of justice. It is the right of every citizen to be tried by judges as free, impartial and independent as the lot of humanity will admit. It is therefore not only the best policy, but for the security of the rights of the people, and of every citizen, that the judges34 should hold their offices as long as they behave themselves well; and that they should have honorable salaries ascertained and established by standing laws.
XXXI. The judicial department of the State ought to be separate from, and independent of, the legislative and executive powers.35


The Frame of Government.
The people inhabiting the territory heretofore called the Province of Massachusetts-Bay, do hereby solemnly and mutually agree with each other, to form themselves into a free, sovereign, and independent body-politic or state, by the name of THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS.
In the government of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the legislative, executive, and judicial power, shall be placed in separate departments, to the end that it might be a government of laws and not of men.37
Art. I. The department of legislation shall be formed by two branches, a Senate and House of Representatives; each of which shall have a negative on the other.
They shall assemble once, on the last Wednesday in May, and at such other times as they shall judge necessary,39 every year; and shall be stiled, THE GENERAL COURT of MASSACHUSETTS.
And the first magistrate shall have a negative upon all the laws—that he may have power to preserve the independence of the executive and judicial departments.40
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II. The General Court shall forever have full power and authority to erect and constitute judicatories and courts of record, or other courts, to be held in the name of the Commonwealth, for the hearing, trying, and determining of all manner of crimes, offences, pleas, processes, plaints, actions, matters, causes and things, whatsoever, arising or happening within the Commonwealth, or between or concerning persons inhabiting, or residing, or brought within the same; whether the same be criminal or civil, or whether the said crimes be capital or not capital, and whether the said pleas be real, personal, or mixt; and for the awarding and making out of execution thereupon: To which courts and judicatories, are hereby given and granted full power and authority from time to time to administer oaths or affirmations, for the better discovery of truth in any matter in controversy or depending before them.41
III. And further, full power and authority are hereby given and granted to the said General Court, from time to time, to make, ordain, and establish all manner of wholesome and reasonable orders, laws, statutes, and ordinances, directions and instructions, either with penalties or without; so as the same be not repugnant or contrary to this Constitution, as they shall judge to be for the good and welfare of this Commonwealth, and for the government and ordering thereof, and of the subjects of the same, and for the necessary support and defence of the government thereof; and to name and settle annually, or provide by fixed laws, for the naming and settling all civil officers within the said Commonwealth; such officers excepted,42 the election and constitution of whom are not hereafter in this Form of Government otherwise provided for; and to set forth the several duties, powers and limits of the several civil and military officers of this Commonwealth, and the forms of such oaths43 as shall be respectively administred unto them for the execution of their several offices and places, so as the same be not repugnant or contrary to this Constitution;44 and also to impose fines, mulcts, imprisonments, and other punishments; and to impose and levy proportional and reasonable assessments, rates, and taxes, upon the persons of all the inhabitants of and residents within the said Commonwealth, and upon all estates within the same; to be issued and disposed of by warrant, under the hand of the Governor of this Commonwealth for the time being, with the advice and consent of the Council, for the public service, in the necessary defence and support of the government of the said Commonwealth, and the protection and preservation of the subjects thereof, according to such acts as are or shall be in force within the same; and to dispose of matters { 244 } | view and things whereby they may be religiously, peaceably, and civilly governed, protected, and defended.45
And that public46 assessments may be made with equality, there shall be a valuation of estates within the Commonwealth taken anew once in every ten years at the least.47
I. There shall be annually elected by the freeholders and other inhabitants of this Commonwealth, qualified as in this Constitution is provided, forty persons to be Counsellors and Senators for the year ensuing their election, to be chosen in and by the inhabitants of the districts into which the Commonwealth may from time to time be divided by the General Court for that purpose: And the General Court, in assigning the numbers to be elected by the respective districts, shall govern themselves by the proportion of the public taxes paid by the said districts; and timely make known to the inhabitants of the Commonwealth, the limits of each district, and the number of Counsellors and Senators to be chosen therein; provided that the number of such districts shall be never more than sixteen nor less than ten.49
And the several counties in this Commonwealth shall, until the General Court shall determine it necessary to alter said districts, be districts for the choice of Counsellors and Senators (except that the counties of Dukes-County and Nantucket shall form one district for that purpose) and shall elect the following number for Counsellors and Senators, viz.
Suffolk     6  
Essex     6  
Middlesex     5  
Hampshire     4  
Plymouth     3  
Barnstable     1  
Bristol     3  
York     2  
Dukes County   }   1  
and Nantucket  
Worcester     5  
Cumberland     1  
Lincoln     1  
Berkshire     2  
II. The Senate shall be the first branch of the legislature; and the Senators shall be chosen in the following manner, viz. There shall be a meeting on the first Monday in April annually, forever, of the inhabitants of all the towns50 in the several counties of this Commonwealth, to be called by the Selectmen, and warned in due course of law, at least seven days before the first Monday in April, for the purpose of { 245 } electing persons to be Senators and Counsellors: And at such meetings every male person51 of twenty-one years of age and upwards, resident in such towns one year next preceeding the annual election of Senators,52 having a freehold estate within the Commonwealth, of the annual income of three pounds, or other real or personal estate of the value of sixty pounds, shall have a right to give in his vote for the Senators for the district.53
The Selectmen of the several towns shall preside at such meetings,54 and shall be under oath, as well as the Town-Clerk, to preside impartially, according to their best skill and judgment; and to make a just and true return.
The Selectmen shall receive the votes of all the inhabitants of such towns55 qualified to vote for Senators, and shall sort and count them in open town-meeting, and in presence of the Town-Clerk, who shall make a fair record, in presence of the Selectmen, and in open town-meeting, of the name of every person voted for, and of the number of votes against his name; and a fair copy of this record shall be attested by the Selectmen and the Town-Clerk, and shall be sealed up, directed to the Secretary of the Commonwealth for the time being, with a superscription, expressing the purport of the contents thereof, and delivered by the Town-Clerk of such towns, to the Sheriff of the county in which such town lies, thirty days at least before the last Wednesday in May annually; or it shall be delivered into the Secretary's office seventeen days at least before the said last Wednesday in May; and the Sheriff of each county shall deliver all such certificates by him received into the Secretary's office seventeen days before the said last Wednesday in May.
And the inhabitants of plantations unincorporated, qualified as this Constitution provides, who are or shall be empowered and required to assess taxes upon themselves toward the support of government, shall have the same privilege of voting for Counsellors and Senators in the plantations where they reside, as town inhabitants have in their respective towns; and the plantation-meetings for that purpose shall be held annually on the same first Monday in April, at such place in the plantations respectively, as the Assessors thereof shall direct; which Assessors shall have like authority for notifying the electors, collecting and returning the votes, as the Selectmen and Town-Clerks have in their several Towns by this Constitution. And all other persons living in places unincorporated (qualified as aforesaid) who shall be assessed to the support of government by the Assessors of an adjacent town, shall have the privilege of giving in their votes for Counsellors and { 246 } Senators, in the town where they shall be assessed, and be notified of the place of meeting by the Selectmen of the town where they shall be assessed for that purpose accordingly.
III. And that there may be a due convention of Senators on the last Wednesday in May annually, the Governor, with five of the Council, for the time being, shall, as soon as may be, examine the returned copies of such records; and fourteen days before the said day he shall issue his summons to such persons as shall appear to be chosen by a majority of voters, to attend on that day and take their seats accordingly: Provided nevertheless, that for the first year the said returned copies shall be examined by the President and five of the Council of the former Constitution of Government; and the said President shall, in like manner, issue his summons to the persons so elected, that they may take their seats as aforesaid.
IV. The Senate, however, shall be the final judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of their own members;56 and shall, on the said last Wednesday in May annually, determine and declare who are elected by each district, to be Senators by a majority of votes: And in case there shall not appear to be the full number of Senators returned elected by a majority of votes for any district, the deficiency shall be supplied in the following manner, viz. The members of the House of Representatives, and such Senators as shall be declared elected,57 shall take the names of twice the number of Senators wanting, from those who shall be found to have the highest number of votes in such district, and not elected; and out of these shall elect, by ballot, a number of Senators, sufficient to fill up the vacancies in such district: And in this manner all such vacancies shall be filled up in every district of the Commonwealth; and in like manner all vacancies in the Senate, arising by death, removal out of the State, or otherwise, shall be supplied as soon as may be after such vacancies shall happen.
V. Provided nevertheless, that no person shall be capable of being elected as a Senator who is not of the Christian religion, and58 seized in his own right of a freehold within this Commonwealth, of the value of three hundred pounds at least,59 and who has not been an inhabitant of this Commonwealth for the space of seven years, three of which60 immediately preceeding his election, and in the district for which he shall be chosen.
VII [VI].61 The Senate shall have power to adjourn themselves, provided such adjournments do not exceed two days at a time.
VIII [VII]. The Senate shall choose its own President, appoint its own officers, and determine its own rules of proceedings.
IX [VIII]. The Senate shall be a court with full authority to hear { 247 } and determine all impeachments made by the House of Representatives, against any officer or officers of the Commonwealth, for misconduct and mal-administration in their offices. But previous to the trial of every impeachment, the members of the Senate shall respectively be sworn, truly and impartially to try and determine the charge in question, according to evidence. Their judgment, however, shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold or enjoy any place of honor, trust, or profit, under this Commonwealth: But the party so convicted, shall be, nevertheless, liable to indictment, trial, judgment, and punishment, according to the laws of the land.62
House of Representatives.
I. There shall be in the legislature of this Commonwealth, a representation of the people, annually elected, and founded in64 equality.
II. And in order to provide for a representation of the citizens of this Commonwealth, founded upon the principle of equality, every corporate town, containing one hundred and fifty rateable polls, may elect one Representative: Every corporate town, containing three hundred and seventy-five rateable polls, may elect two Representatives: Every corporate town, containing six hundred rateable polls, may elect three Representatives; and proceeding in that manner, making two hundred and twenty-five rateable polls the mean increasing number for every additional Representative.65
And forever hereafter the least number of rateable polls necessary to entitle a corporate town to elect one Representative, when increased by the addition of a number equal to half the said least number shall be the mean increasing number of rateable polls for every additional Representative any corporate town may elect.
And to prevent hereafter the House of Representatives from becoming unweildy, and incapable of debating, and deliberating by the great additions it would continually receive from the increasing settlement, and population of this Commonwealth, no corporate town shall, from and after the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety, be entitled to elect one Representative, unless it shall contain two hundred rateable polls; nor to elect two Representatives unless it shall contain five hundred rateable polls; nor to elect three Representatives unless it shall contain eight hundred rateable polls; and so proceeding in that manner, making by the aforesaid rule three hundred rateable polls the mean increasing number for every additional Representative. And every tenth year, from and after the { 248 } said year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety, and until such time as the number of Representatives, which may be elected for this Commonwealth, shall not exceed the number of two hundred, the least number of rateable polls, which at that time any corporate town must contain to entitle it to elect one Representative: shall be increased by the addition of fifty; and the least number aforesaid, thus increased by the said addition, shall be the number of rateable polls any corporate town must contain to entitle it to elect one Representative: and the number of Representatives any corporate town may elect shall be regulated accordingly by the rules aforesaid.
The freeholders and other inhabitants of this Commonwealth, qualified to vote for Representatives, living in corporate towns, which severally shall contain a less number of rateable polls than is necessary to entitle them respectively to elect one Representative, shall, nevertheless, have a right to associate with some town or towns adjoining, for the election of Representatives; and in such cases the voters thus united, shall have a right to elect the same number of Representatives as they would have done were they inhabitants of one corporate town; which Representatives may be elected out of either of the associated towns indifferently: And the legislature shall from time to time determine what towns shall thus associate, the manner of the association, and the method and manner of calling and conducting the meetings of the associated towns for the election of Representatives.
III. The members66 of the House of Representatives shall be chosen by written votes; and no person shall be qualified, or eligible, to be a member of the said House, unless he be of the Christian religion,67 and for one year at least next preceeding his election shall have been an inhabitant of, and have been seized in his own right of a freehold of the value of one hundred pounds within the town or towns he shall be chosen to represent;68 and he shall cease to represent the said town or towns, immediately on his ceasing to be a freeholder within the same.
IV. Every male person, being twenty-one years of age, and resident69 in any particular town in this Commonwealth for the space of one year next preceeding, having a freehold estate within the same town, of the annual income of three pounds, or other estate, real, or personal or mixt,70 of the value of sixty pounds, shall have a right to vote in the choice of a Representative or Representatives for the said town, or for the towns united as aforesaid.71
V. The members of the house of Representatives shall be chosen annually in the month of May, ten days at least before the last Wednesday of that month,72 from among the wisest, most prudent, and virtuous of the freeholders.
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VI. The house of Representatives shall be the Grand Inquest of this Commonwealth; and all impeachments made by them, shall be heard, and tried by the Senate.
VII. All money-bills shall originate in the house of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments, as on other bills.
VIII. The house of Representatives shall have power to adjourn themselves; provided such adjournment shall not exceed two days at a time.
IX. Not less than sixty members of the house of Representatives, shall constitute a quorum for doing business.
X. The house of Representatives73 shall chuse their own Speaker, appoint their own officers, and settle the rules and orders of proceeding in their own house: They shall have authority to punish by imprisonment, every person74 who shall be guilty of disrespect to the house, in its presence,75 by any disorderly, or contemptuous behaviour; or76 by threatning or ill-treating any of its members; or, in a word, by obstructing its deliberations; every person guilty of a breach of its privileges, in making arrests for debts, or by assaulting one of its members during his attendance at any session, or on the road, whether he be going to the house or returning home; in assaulting any one of its officers, or in disturbing him in the execution of any order, or procedure of the House; in assaulting or troubling any witness or other person, ordered to attend the House, in his way in going or returning, or in rescuing any person arrested by order of the House.
XI. The Senate shall have the same powers in the like cases; and the Governor and Council shall have the same authority to punish in like cases. Provided that no imprisonment on the warrant or order of the Governor, Council, Senate, or House of Representatives, for either of the above-described offences, be for a term exceeding thirty days.77


Executive Power.
Art. I. There shall be a supreme executive Magistrate, who shall be stiled, THE GOVERNOR OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS; and whose Title shall be—HIS EXCELLENCY.79
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II. The Governor shall be chosen annually; and no person shall be eligible to this office, unless at the time of his election, he shall have been an inhabitant of this Commonwealth for seven years next preceeding; and unless he shall at the same time be seized in his own right of a Freehold within the Commonwealth, of the value of One Thousand Pounds; and unless he shall be of the Christian Religion.
III. Those persons, who shall be qualified to vote for Senators and Representatives within the several towns of this Commonwealth, shall, at a meeting to be called for that purpose, on the first Monday of April annually, give in their votes for a Governor to the Selectmen, who shall preside at such meetings; and the Town-Clerk, in the presence and with the assistance of the Selectmen, shall, in open town-meeting, sort and count the votes, and form a list of the persons voted for, with the number of votes for each person against his name; and shall make a fair record of the same in the town books, and a public declaration thereof in the said meeting, and shall, in the presence of the inhabitants, seal up copies of the said list, attested by him and the Selectmen, and transmit the same to the Sheriff of the county thirty days at least before the last Wednesday in May;80 or shall cause returns of the same to be made to the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth seventeen days at least before the said day, who shall lay the same before the Senate and the House of Representatives, on the last Wednesday in May, to be by them examined; and in case of an election by a majority of votes81 through the Commonwealth, the choice shall be by them declared and published: But if no person shall have a majority of votes, the House of Representatives shall, by ballot, elect two out of four persons who had the highest number of votes, if so many shall have been voted for, but if otherwise, out of the number voted for; and make return to the Senate of the two persons so elected; on which, the Senate shall proceed, by ballot, to elect one, who shall be declared Governor.
IV. The person chosen Governor, and accepting the trust, shall, in the presence of the two Houses, and before he proceed to execute the duties of his office, make and subscribe the following declaration, and take the following oaths, to be administred by the President of the Senate: viz.—
I, A. B. being declared duly elected Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, do now declare, that I believe and profess the christian religion, from a firm persuasion of its truth; and that I am seized and possessed in my own right of the property required by law, as one qualification for that office.
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I, A. B. do solemnly swear, that I bear faith and true allegiance to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent on me as a Governor of this Commonwealth, according to the best of my abilities and understanding, agreeably to the rules and regulations of the Constitution; and that I will not attempt or consent to a violation thereof. So help me GOD.82
V. The Governor shall have authority from time to time, at his discretion, to assemble and call together the Counsellors of this Commonwealth for the time being; and the Governor, with the said Counsellors, or five of them at least, shall and may, from time to time, hold and keep a Council, for the ordering and directing the affairs of the Commonwealth according to law.83
VI. The Governor, with advice of Council, shall have full power and authority, in the recess of the General Court, to prorogue the same from time to time, not exceeding ninety days in any one recess of the said Court; and during the Session of the said Court, to adjourn or prorogue it to any time the two Houses shall desire, and to dissolve the same at their request, or on the Wednesday next preceeding the last Wednesday in May; and to call it together sooner than the time to which it may be adjourned or prorogued, if the welfare of the Commonwealth shall require the same.84
VII. In cases of disagreement between the two Houses, with regard to the85 time of adjournment or prorogation, the Governor, with advice of the Council, shall have a right to adjourn or prorogue the General Court,86 as he shall determine the public good shall require.
VIII. The Governor of this Commonwealth for the time being, shall be the commander in chief of the army, and navy, and of all the military forces of the State, by sea and land; and shall have full power by himself, or by any chief87 commander, or other officer or officers, to be appointed by him88 from time to time, to train, instruct, exercise, and govern, the militia and navy; and, for the special defence and safety of the Commonwealth, to assemble in martial array, and put in warlike posture, the inhabitants thereof, and to lead and conduct them, and with them to encounter, expulse,89 repel, resist, and pursue, by force of arms, as well by sea as by land, within or without the limits of this Commonwealth; and also to kill, slay, destroy,90 and conquer, by all fitting ways, enterprizes, and means whatsoever, all and every such person and persons as shall, at any time hereafter, in a hostile manner attempt, or enterprize the destruction, invasion, detriment, or annoyance of this Commonwealth; and to use and exercise, over the { 252 } army and navy, and over the militia in actual service, the law-martial in time of war, invasion, or rebellion,91 as occasion shall necessarily require; and also from time to time to erect forts, and to fortify any place or places within the said Commonwealth, and the same to furnish with all necessary ammunition, provisions, and stores of war, for offence or defence; and to commit from time to time the custody and government of the same, to such person or persons as to him shall seem meet: and in times of emergency the said forts and fortifications to demolish at his discretion;92 and to take and surprize, by all ways and means whatsoever, all and every such person or persons, with their ships, arms, ammunition, and other goods, as shall, in a hostile manner, invade, or attempt the invading, conquering, or annoying this Commonwealth; and in fine,93 that the Governor be intrusted with all94 other powers incident to the offices of Captain-General and Commander in Chief, and Admiral, to be exercised agreeably to the rules and regulations of the Constitution, and the laws of the land.95
Provided, that the said Governor shall not, at any time hereafter, by virtue of any power by this Constitution granted, or hereafter to be granted to him by the legislature, transport any of the inhabitants of this Commonwealth, or oblige them to march out of the limits of the same, without their free and voluntary consent, or the consent of the General Court;96 nor grant commissions for exercising the law-martial upon any of the inhabitants of this Commonwealth, without the advice and Consent of the Council of the same.
IX. The power of pardoning offences, except such as persons may be convicted of before the Senate by an impeachment of the House, shall be in the Governor, by and with the advice of Council: But no charter of pardon, granted by the Governor, with advice of the Council, before conviction, shall avail the party pleading the same notwithstanding any general or particular expressions contained therein, descriptive of the offence or offences intended to be pardoned.97
X. All judicial officers, the Attorney-General, the Solicitor-General, all Sheriffs, Coroners, Registers of Probate, and Registers of Maritime Courts,98 shall be nominated and appointed by the Governor, by and with the advice and consent of the Council; and every such nomination shall be made by the Governor, and made at least seven days prior to such appointment.
XI. All officers of the militia shall be appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Council; he first nominating them seven days at least before the appointment.99
XII. All monies shall be issued out of the treasury of this Commonwealth, and disposed of100 by warrant under the hand of the Gov• { 253 } ernor for the time being, with the advice and consent of the Council, for the necessary defence and support of the Commonwealth; and for the protection and preservation of the inhabitants thereof, agreeably to the acts and resolves of the General Court.
XIII. All public Boards, the Commissary-General, all superintending Officers of public magazines and stores, belonging to this Commonwealth, and all commanding Officers of forts and garrisons within the same, shall once in every three Months officially, and without requisition, and at other times, when required by the Governor, deliver to him an account of all goods, stores, provisions, ammunition, cannon with their appendages, and small arms with their accoutrements, and of all other public property whatever under their care respectively; distinguishing the quantity, number, quality, and kind of each, as particularly as may be; together with the condition of such forts and garrisons: and the said commanding Officers shall exhibit to the Governor, when required by him, true and exact plans of such forts, and of the land and sea, or harbour or harbours, adjacent.
And the said Boards, and all public Officers, shall communicate to the Governor, as soon as may be after receiving the same, all letters, dispatches, and intelligences, of a public nature, which shall be directed to them respectively.
XIV. And to prevent an undue influence in this Commonwealth, which the first magistrate thereof may acquire, by the long possession of the important powers and trusts of that office; as also to stimulate others to qualify themselves for the service of the public in the highest stations, no man shall be eligible as Governor of this Commonwealth, more than five years in any seven years.101
XV. As the public good requires, that the Governor should not be under the undue influence of any of the members of the General Court, by a dependence on them for his support — that he should, in all cases, act with freedom for the benefit of the public — that he should not have his attention necessarily diverted from that object to his private concerns — and that he should maintain the dignity of the Commonwealth in the character of its Chief Magistrate — it is necessary, that he should have an honorable stated salary, of a fixed and permanent value, amply sufficient for those purposes, and established by standing laws: and it shall be among the first acts of the General Court, after the commencement of this Constitution, to establish such salary by law accordingly.
Permanent and honorable salaries shall also be established by law for the Justices of the Superior Court.102
And if it shall be found, that any of the salaries aforesaid, so estab• { 254 } lished, are insufficient, they shall, from time to time, be enlarged as the General Court shall judge proper.
Lieutenant-Governor,104 and the ascertaining the Value of the Money mentioned in this Constitution, as Qualifications to Office, &c.
I. There shall be annually elected a Lieutenant-Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, whose title shall be—HIS HONOR105—and who shall be qualified, in point of religion, property, and residence in the Commonwealth, in the same manner with the Governor. He shall be chosen on the same day, in the same manner, and by the same persons.106 The return of the votes for this officer, and the declaration of his election, shall be in the same manner: And if no one person shall be found to have a majority of votes,107 the vacancy shall be filled by the Senate and House of Representatives, in the same manner as the Governor is to be elected, in case no one person has a majority of the votes of the people to be Governor.
II. The Lieutenant-Governor shall always be, ex officio, a member, and, in the absence of the Governor, President, of the Council.108
III. Whenever the chair of the Governor shall be vacant, by reason of his death, or absence from the Commonwealth, or otherwise, the Lieutenant-Governor, for the time being, shall, during such vacancy,109 have and exercise all the powers and authorities, which by this Constitution the Governor is vested with, when personally present.
IV. The respective values, assigned by the several articles of this Constitution, to the property necessary to qualify the subjects of this Commonwealth to be electors, and also to be elected into several offices, for the holding of which such qualifications are required, shall always be computed in silver at the rate of six shillings and eight pence per ounce.
V. And it shall be in the power of the legislature from time to time, to increase such qualifications of the persons to be elected to offices, as the circumstances of the Commonwealth shall require.110
Council, and the Manner of setling Elections by the Legislature; Oaths to be taken, &c.112
I. There shall be a Council for advising the Governor in the execu• { 255 } tive part of government, to consist of nine persons besides the Lieutenant-Governor, whom the Governor, for the time being, shall have full power and authority, from time to time, at his discretion, to assemble and call together. And the Governor, with the said Counsellors, or five of them at least, shall and may, from time to time, hold and keep a Council, for the ordering and directing the affairs of the Commonwealth, according to the laws of the land.
II. Nine Counsellors shall, out of the persons returned for Counsellors and Senators,113 be annually chosen, on the last Wednesday in May, by the joint ballot of the Senators and Representatives assembled in one room.114 The seats of the persons, thus elected into the Council, and accepting the trust shall be vacated in the Senate; and in this manner the number of Senators shall be reduced to thirty one.
III. The Counsellors, in the civil arrangements of the Commonwealth, shall have rank next after the Lieutenant-Governor.
IV. Not more than two Counsellors shall be chosen out of any one county115 of this Commonwealth.
V. The resolutions and advice of the Council shall be recorded in a register, and signed by the members present; and this record may be called for at any time by either House of the legislature; and any member of the Council may insert his opinion contrary to the resolution of the majority.
VI. Whenever the office of the Governor and Lieutenant-Governor shall be vacant, by reason of death, absence, or otherwise, then the Council, or the major part of them, shall, during such vacancy, have full power and authority, to do, and execute, all and every such acts, matters and things, as the Governor or the Lieutenant-Governor might or could, by virtue of this Constitution, do or execute, if they, or either of them, were personally present.
VII. And whereas the elections appointed to be made by this Constitution, on the last Wednesday in May annually, by the two Houses of the legislature, may not be compleated on that day, the said elections may be adjourned from day to day until the same shall be compleated. And the order of elections shall be as follows, the vacancies in the Senate, if any, shall first be filled up, the Governor and Lieutenant-Governor shall then be elected; provided there should be no choice of them by the people: and afterwards the two Houses shall proceed to the election of the Council.
VIII. The Lieutenant-Governor, Counsellors, Senators, and Members of the House of Representatives, shall, before they enter on the execution of their respective offices, make and subscribe the same dec• { 256 } laration, and take the same oath, (mutatis mutandis) which the Governor is directed by this Constitution to make, subscribe and take.
And every person, appointed to any civil or military office of this Commonwealth, shall, previous to his entering on the execution of his office, make and subscribe the following declaration, (mutatis mutandis) viz.—
I, A. B. being appointed do now declare, that I believe and profess the christian religion, from a firm persuasion of the truth thereof.
And he shall likewise take an oath of the form following, (mutatis mutandis) viz.—
I, A. B. do solemnly swear, that I will bear faith, and true allegiance to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; that I will faithfully and impartially discharge, and perform all the duties incumbent on me as []according to the best of my abilities and understanding, agreeably to the rules and regulations of the Constitution; and that I will not attempt, or consent to, a violation thereof. So help me GOD.
Provided notwithstanding, that any person, so appointed, who has conscientious scruples relative to taking oaths, may be admitted to make solemn affirmation, under the pains and penalties of perjury, to the truth of the matters, contained in the form of the said oath, instead of taking the same.116
Secretary, Treasurer, Commissary, &c.
I. The Secretary, Treasurer and Receiver-General, and the Commissary-General, Notaries-Public, and Naval-Officers, shall be chosen annually, by joint ballot of the Senators and Representatives in one room. And that the citizens of this Commonwealth may be assured, from time to time, that the monies remaining in the public Treasury, upon the settlement, and liquidation of the public accounts, are their property, no man shall be eligible as Treasurer and Receiver-General more than five years successively.
II. The records of the Commonwealth shall be kept in the office of the Secretary,118 who shall attend the Governor and Council, the Senate and House of Representatives, in person, or by his Deputies, as they shall respectively require.


Judiciary Power.
Art. I. The tenure, that all commission officers by law hold in their offices, shall be expressed in their respective com• { 257 } missions. All judicial officers, duely appointed, commissioned and sworn, shall hold their offices during good behavior:120 Provided nevertheless, the Governor, with consent of the Council, may remove them upon the address of both Houses of the legislature:121 and all other officers, appointed by the Governor and Council, shall hold their offices during pleasure.122
II. No Justice of the Superior Court of Judicature, Court of Assize, and General Goal Delivery, shall have a seat in the Senate, or House of Representatives.123
III. The Senate, nevertheless, as well as the Governor and Council, shall have authority to require the opinions of the Judges upon important questions of law, and upon solemn occasions.124
IV. In order that the people may not suffer from the long continuance in place of any Justice of the Peace, who shall fail of discharging the important duties of his office, with ability or fidelity, all commissions of Justices of the Peace shall expire, and become void, in the term of seven years, from their respective dates; and upon the expiration of any commission, the Governor and Council may, if necessary, renew such commissions, or appoint another person, as shall most conduce to the well-being of the Commonwealth.
V. The Judges of Probate of Wills, and for granting letters of administration, shall hold their courts at such place or places, on fixed days, as the convenience of the people shall require. And the legislature shall, from time to time, hereafter appoint such times and places: until which appointments, the said courts shall be holden at the times and places, which the respective Judges shall direct.
VI. All causes of marriage, divorce and alimony, shall be determined by the Senate;125 and all appeals from the Judges of Probate shall be heard, and determined, by the Governor and Council, until the legislature shall, by law, make other provision.


Delegates to Congress, Commissions, Writs, Indictments, &c. Confirmation of Laws,—Habeas Corpus,—and enacting Style.
Art. I. The delegates of this Commonwealth to the Congress of the United States of America,127 shall, on the second Wednesday of November, if the General Court be then sitting, or on the second Wednesday of the Session next after,128 be elected annually, by the joint ballot of the Senate, and House of Representatives, assembled together in one room.129 They shall have commissions { 258 } under the hand of the Governor, and under the great seal of the Commonwealth; but may be recalled at any time within the year, and others chosen and commissioned, in the same manner, in their stead.
II. All commissions shall be in the name of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, signed by the Governor, and attested by the Secretary, or his Deputy; and have the great seal of the Commonwealth affixed thereto.130
III. All writs, issuing out of the clerk's office in any of the courts of law, shall be in the name of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. They shall be under the seal of the court, from whence they issue. They shall bear test of the Chief Justice, or first, or senior Justice of the court,131 to which they shall be returnable, and be signed by the clerk of such court.
IV. All indictments, presentments, and informations, shall conclude, “against the peace of the Commonwealth and the dignity of the same.”132
V. All the statute-laws of the Province, Colony, or State, of Massachusetts-Bay, the common law, and all such parts of the English or British statutes, as have been adopted, used and approved in the said Province, Colony, or State,133 and usually practiced on in the courts of law, shall still remain and be in full force, until altered or repealed by the legislature; such parts only excepted as are repugnant to the rights, and liberties, contained in this Constitution.
VI. The privilege and benefit of the writ of Habeas Corpus shall be enjoyed in this Commonwealth, in the most free, easy, cheap, expeditious, and ample manner; and shall not be suspended by the Legislature, except upon the most urgent and pressing occasions, and for a short and limited time.134
VII. The enacting Style, in making and passing all acts, statutes and laws, shall be—“Be it enacted by his Excellency the Governor,135 the Senate, and House of Representatives, in General Court assembled, and by the Authority of the same.”—Or, “By his Honor the Lieutenant-Governor,” &c. or, “The Honorable the Council,” &c. as the case may be.


The University at Cambridge, and Encouragement of Literature, &c.
The University.137
Art. I. Whereas our wise and pious ancestors, so early as the year one thousand six hundred and thirty six, laid the { 259 } foundation of Harvard-College, in which University many persons of great eminence have, by the blessing of GOD, been initiated in those arts and sciences, which qualified them for public employments, both in Church and State: And whereas the encouragement of Arts and Sciences, and all good literature, tends to the honor of GOD, the advantage of the christian religion, and the great benefit of this, and the other United States of America—It is declared, That the PRESIDENT and FELLOWS of HARVARD-COLLEGE, in their corporate capacity, and their successors in that capacity, their officers and servants, shall have, hold, use, exercise, and enjoy all the powers, authorities, rights, liberties, privileges, immunities and franchises, which they now have, or are entitled to have, hold, use, exercise and enjoy: and the same are hereby ratified and confirmed unto them, the said President and Fellows of Harvard College, and to their successors, and to their officers and servants, respectively, for ever.
II. And whereas there have been at sundry times, by divers persons, gifts, grants, devises of houses, lands, tenements, goods, chattles, legacies and conveyances, heretofore made, either to Harvard-College in Cambridge, in New-England, or to the President and Fellows of Harvard-College, or to the said College, by some other description, under several Charters successively: IT IS DECLARED, That all the said gifts, grants, devises, legacies and conveyances, are hereby forever confirmed unto the President and Fellows of Harvard-College, and to their Successors, in the capacity aforesaid, according to the true intent, and meaning of the donor or donors, grantor or grantors, divisor or devisors.
III. And whereas by an act of the General Court of the Colony of Massachusetts-Bay, passed in the year one thousand six hundred and forty two, the Governor and Deputy-Governor, for the time being, and all the magistrates of that jurisdiction, were with the President, and a number of the Clergy, in the said act described, constituted the Overseers of Harvard-College: And it being necessary, in this new Constitution of Government, to ascertain who shall be deemed Successors to the said Governor, Deputy-Governor, and Magistrates: IT IS DECLARED, That the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, Council and Senate of this Commonwealth, are, and shall be deemed, their Successors; who, with the President of Harvard-College, for the time being, together with the Ministers of the congregational churches, in the towns of Cambridge, Watertown, Charlestown, Boston, Roxbury, and Dorchester, mentioned in the said act, shall be, and hereby are, vested with all the powers and authority belonging, or in any way appertaining to the Overseers of Harvard College; provided, that noth• { 260 } ing herein shall be construed to prevent the Legislature of this Commonwealth from making such alterations in the government of the said university, as shall be conducive to its advantage, and the interest of the Republic of Letters, in as full a manner as might have been done by the Legislature of the Province of the Massachusetts-Bay.
The Encouragement of Literature, &c.
Wisdom, and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people, being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties; and as these depend on spreading the opportunities and advantages of education in the various parts of the country, and among the different orders of the people, it shall be the duty of legislators and magistrates, in all future periods of this Commonwealth, to cherish the interests of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries of them; especially the university at Cambridge, public schools, and grammar schools in the towns; to encourage private societies and public institutions, rewards and immunities, for the promotion of agriculture, arts, sciences, commerce, trades, manufactures, and a natural history of the country; to countenance and inculcate the principles of humanity and general benevolence, public and private charity, industry and frugality, honesty and punctuality in their dealings, sincerity, good humour, and all social affections, and generous sentiments among the people.

CHAPTER VII. and last.139

Continuance of Officers, &c.
To the end there may be no failure of justice, or danger arise to the Commonwealth from a change of the form of government, all officers, civil and military, holding commissions under the government and people of Massachusetts-Bay, in New-England, and all other officers of the said government and people at the time this Constitution shall take effect, shall have, hold, use, exercise, and enjoy all the powers and authority to them granted or committed, until other persons shall be appointed in their stead: And all courts of law shall proceed in the execution of the business of their respective departments; and all the executive and legislative officers, bodies and powers, shall continue in full force, in the enjoyment and exercise of all their trusts, employments and authority, until the General Court, { 261 } and the supreme and executive officers, under this Constitution, are designated, and invested with their respective trusts, powers and authority.


PAGE 5. 10th and 11th Line of the Preamble, read, Prosperity and Happiness.
In Lieu of the last Paragraph in the 6th Page, substitute the following.
“WE, therefore, the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe, in affording us, in the course of His providence, an opportunity of entering into an original, explicit and solemn compact with each other, deliberately and peaceably, without fraud, violence, or surprize; and of forming a new Constitution of Civil Government for ourselves and posterity; and devoutly imploring His direction in so interesting a design, DO agree upon, ordain and establish, the following Declaration of Rights, and Frame of Government, as the CONSTITUTION OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS.
PAG. 7, Chap. I, Art. I.l.1. Read “All men are born free and equal,” omitting the words “equally141 and independent.”
Art. 2. l. 1. Read, “It is the Right as well as the Duty.” 1. 6. Read, “in the manner and season most agreeable.”
PAG. 15. Chap. II. Next under the 1st Section, insert the Contents of it, viz.—The Legislature, or General Court.
PAG. 23. For Art. VII. read VI. for VIII. r. VII. and for IX. r. VIII.
PAG. 39. l. 8 from bot. for “County,” read “District.”
MS not found. Reprinted from (The Report of a Constitution or Form of Government for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Boston, Benjamin Edes & Sons, 1779 Evans, No. 16352).
1. The typesetting of the Report may have begun as early as 28 Oct., but was completed on the 30th or 31st. The copies were distributed to the convention on Monday, 1 Nov. See note 140.
2. The convention put “happiness” third in this trio of goals.
3. In the completed and ratified Constitution, all references to delegates assembled in convention for the purpose of drafting a constitution as instructed were eliminated, and all third-person references to Massachusetts' citizens, such as “to this people” and “to them and their posterity,” were changed to first-person forms.
4. The preceding eight words were transposed to follow “opportunity.”
5. The convention inserted “ordain and establish” after “agree upon.”
6. The rejected Constitution of 1778 had referred to the “State of Massachusetts Bay.” Virginia called itself a “Commonwealth” in its 1776 constitution, and JA promptly endorsed the term. He urged it upon Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant for New Jersey in July 1776 and told Francis Dana in August of that year that he hoped Massachusetts would adopt it (vol. { 262 } 4:397, 466). “Commonwealth” had also been favored over “state,” although not exclusively, in Pennsylvania's constitution of 1776, and was used interchangeably with “state” in the constitutions of Maryland (1776) and Vermont (1777). It would later be employed in Kentucky.
A “commonwealth” indicated a society in which ultimate political power was vested in the people, a meaning not automatically implied in the word “state.” For JA the term declared a connection between Revolutionary America and England's seventeenth-century Commonwealthmen, especially James Harrington. An unnamed delegate to the Massachusetts convention sought to honor Harrington even more directly when, on 9 Nov., he moved that Massachusetts rename itself the “Commonwealth of Oceana,” after Harrington's great theoretical tract of that name, published in 1656. See note 37.
7. The convention decided to confine chapter designations to the Frame of Government, and to call the Declaration of Rights “Part the First,” and the Frame “Part the Second.” In the annotation of the Declaration of Rights, references to articles in the constitutions of other states are to the declarations or bills of rights, which were often numbered separately from the portions of those documents dealing with the form or frame of government.
8. “Born equally free and independent” had a different ring to it from “born free and equal,” the language chosen by the convention. JA borrowed most directly from Pennsylvania's Art. I, which in turn was taken from Virginia's Sect. I. The convention found the Declaration of Independence more compelling. Over time JA grew increasingly insistent that men were not born equal and that there was no way they could be made equal if one meant more than equality in the eyes of God or in the application of the laws. JA's letters to John Taylor of Caroline in 1814 (JA, Works, 6:447–521) give his fullest views on the subject.
9. The convention added that it was “the right as well as” the duty of men to worship God.
10. The words “and season” were added after “manner,” a change that perhaps made Sundays less exclusively the major day for worship. The use of the term “subject” here and in Arts. III, XI, XII, and XIV is unique to the Massachusetts declaration. Other bills of rights use “man,” “person,” or “freeman” everywhere. It may be that “subject” was an inadvertent retention of old usage. Before the Revolution all Americans were subjects of the crown, that is, owed allegiance to the king of Great Britain. The term lingered on and came to mean a person subject to the laws as distinct from a citizen, who enjoyed political rights. But this distinction seems not to have been made by JA, for in Art. X he uses the term “individual” and in Arts. XV and XXVI, “man.”
11. Some of the language of Art. II is taken almost verbatim from Maryland's Art. XXXIII.
12. According to JA's own account, he did not write Art. III: “The Article respecting Religion. . . was the only Article which I omitted to draw. I could not satisfy my own Judgment with any Article that I thought would be accepted: and farther that Some of the Clergy, or older and graver Persons than myself would be more likely to hit the Taste of the Public” (JA to William D. Williamson, 28 Feb. 1812, MeHi). In a more revealing oral statement, JA elaborated: “I found I could not sketch, consistent with my own sentiments of perfect religious freedom, with any hope of its being adopted by the Convention, so I left it to be battled out in the whole body” (as stated to Josiah Quincy and recorded in the latter's diary entry for 31 May 1820, in Edmund Quincy, Life of Josiah Quincy, Boston, 1867, p. 379). If JA really thought that “Some of the Clergy, or older and graver Persons” could draft a more popular article, however, he was mistaken. Art. III of the Report caused over a week of contentious debate, and was completely rewritten. The final version was one of the least liked parts of the finished document, and Samuel Eliot Morison demonstrated that the article did not secure the required two-thirds vote for ratification in 1780, although it was declared, with the rest of the Constitution, to be ratified (Morison, “The Struggle over the Adoption of the Constitution of Massachusetts, 1780,” MHS, Procs., 50 (1916–1917): { 263 } 353–411). Massachusetts did not end state support of religion until 1833 (Amendment XI).
13. Art. V, borrowed freely from Pennsylvania's Art. IV, which resembles Virginia's Sect. 2, was adopted without change.
14. Art. VI, the idea for which is contained in Virginia's Sect. 4, but which is expanded here, was adopted without change.
15. Art. VII was borrowed freely from Pennsylvania's Art. V, which in turn owed to Virginia's Sect. 3. JA neglected to include a provision for amending the Constitution in the Frame of Government, but see note 139.
16. The convention changed “as may be delineated in” to “as they shall establish by,” and added “and appointments” after “regular elections.” Art. VIII is largely paraphrased from Pennsylvania's Art. VI.
17. The convention deleted the word “male,” although in the Frame of Government voting rights were restricted to males. During the convention more than one attempt was made to exclude “male” from voting qualifications, but the move attracted little support (Journal of the Convention, p. 92, 120–121, 136). Possibly the deletion of the term in Art. IX had no more significance than that specific voting qualifications were thought best confined to the Frame of Government, as suggested by the addition to this article of the phrase “as they shall establish by their frame of government” after “having sufficient qualifications.” Art. IX is generally patterned after Pennsylvania's Art. VII, which owed a few phrases to Virginia's Sect. 6. That elections “ought to be free” is from declaration No. 8 of England's Bill of Rights of 1689.
18. Art. X is a paraphrase of Pennsylvania's Art. VIII, but omits mention of that state's protection for those conscientiously opposed to bearing arms. The convention added to Art. X the following: “And whenever the public exigencies require, that the property of any individual should be appropriated to public uses, he shall receive a reasonable compensation therefor.”
19. Art. XI was patterned after Maryland's Art. XVII, which in turn virtually copied Delaware's Art. 12. The principle of free justice is embodied in Magna Charta, Nos. 36 and 40.
20. The preceding three rights—to have counsel, to confront witnesses, and to produce proofs—were arranged in reverse order by the convention. It then added to this article JA's Art. XIV, exactly as written. The rest of JA's Art. XII, from “to require a speedy trial,” was omitted in favor of a paragraph that reads: “And the legislature shall not make any law, that shall subject any person to a capital or infamous punishment, excepting for the government of the army and navy, without trial by jury.” The convention made no mention elsewhere of the need for unanimity for juries or speedy and public trials. Art. XII, as JA wrote it, has parallels with Pennsylvania's Art. IX, but there is great similarity among all the early bills of rights in providing these particular guarantees.
21. Adopted by the convention without alteration, Art. XIII most nearly parallels Maryland's Art. XVIII, which closely resembles Delaware's Art. 13, but JA limited the application of the principle to trials for crimes.
22. The phrases introduced by “but” are from Magna Charta, No. 39.
23. This article, and every succeeding article in the Declaration of Rights, was renumbered after the convention incorporated JA's Art. XIV into Art. XII. Thus the revised Declaration had thirty articles rather than thirty-one.
24. Perhaps for consistency, the convention preferred “subject” to “man,” but otherwise it made no changes in Art. XV. See notes 10 and 32. JA's Art. XV, now XIV, was modeled on Pennsylvania's Art. X, but the word “unreasonable” seems to be JA's contribution.
25. After “persons” the convention added this qualifier: “except in cases in which it has heretofore been otherways used and practiced.” JA's language most nearly follows Pennsylvania's Art. XI; the final reference to causes on the seas and mariners' wages, however, is unique.
26. JA took Art. XVII (now XVI) almost verbatim from Pennsylvania's Art. XII. The other four states that wrote bills of rights in 1776 provided only for liberty of the press. The convention, after deliberate consideration, rewrote the first half of the article to read: “The Liberty of the press { 264 } is essential to the security of freedom in a state,” and deleted JA's reference to free speech. Boston, when it had the finished constitution under consideration, vigorously protested the convention's failure to provide for free speech (Boston Record Commissioners, 26th Report, p. 132). This right was not added to the Massachusetts Constitution until 1948 (Amendment LXXVII).
27. The convention dropped the word “standing” but otherwise left Art. XVIII (now XVII) intact. The principles that standing armies require consent and that “Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions” are in England's Bill of Rights, Nos. 6 and 7. JA, who followed Pennsylvania's Art. XIII, preferred “common defence” to Pennsylvania's “for the defence of themselves and the state.” North Carolina, which also mentioned the right to bear arms (Art. XVII), did not include self-defense at all. The other states associated arms-bearing with militia service.
28. Accepted without amendment, Art. XIX (now XVIII) derives largely from Pennsylvania's Art. XIV.
29. Accepted without amendment, Art. XX (now XIX) was taken from Pennsylvania's Art. XVI. Virginia's bill did not include the right of assembly nor the right to petition the legislature. Delaware (Art. 9) and Maryland (Art. XI) included the latter but not the former. The right to petition the king was stipulated in England's Bill of Rights, No. 5.
30. The remainder of Art. XXI (now XX) was omitted. Art. XXI drew on both Virginia's Sect. 7 and Maryland's Art. VII, the latter for “authority derived” from legislation. The principle stated goes back to England's Bill of Rights, Nos. 1 and 2.
31. Arts. XXII–XXV (now XXI–XXIV) were adopted as written. These four articles correspond roughly to Maryland's Arts. VIII, X, XII, and XV. JA expanded these articles, rearranged phrases, and sometimes chose a synonym, but the order and substance plainly indicate borrowing. England's Bill of Rights, Nos. 9 and 13, supplied the principles for the first two of these articles, and both Magna Charta, No. 12, and the Petition of Right, citing the Statutum de Tallagio non concedendo of Edward I, established precedent for the third.
32. The convention again substituted “subject” for “man” (see notes 10 and 24, above). Art. XXVI (now XXV) most nearly parallels Maryland's Art. XVI.
33. Arts. XXVII–XXIX (now XXVI–XXVIII) were adopted without alteration. The first is closest in wording to Virginia's Sect. 9, both drawing upon England's Bill of Rights, No. 10. JA's Art. XXVIII expands a little on Delaware's Art. 21 and Maryland's Art. XXVIII, these being identical in wording. The principle was also enunciated in the Petition of Right. JA's Art. XXIX is a rephrasing and expansion of Maryland's Art. XXIX.
34. The convention added “of the supreme judicial court” after “judges,” and adopted the rest of Art. XXX (now XXIX) without change. Both Delaware (Art. 22) and Maryland (Art. XXX) expressed the principle of impartial justice, but only Maryland sought to secure it in its bill of rights through tenure and fixed salaries. JA had long been an advocate of both.
35. The convention entirely rewrote Art. XXXI (now XXX) to spell out carefully the principle that each of the three branches of government should never exercise the powers of either of the other two. The convention concluded the article by transposing from JA's preface to the Frame of Government the final phrase beginning, “to the end” (see note 37).
36. The convention substituted “Part the Second.”
37. This sentence was deleted by the convention except for the celebrated last clause, which was transposed to end the revised Art. XXX that closed the Declaration of Rights. JA had first used this clause in his seventh Novanglus letter (6 March 1775, vol. 2:314), and would use it again, in somewhat different form, in his Defence of the Constitutions, vol. 1, letter 26, “Dr. Price” (JA, Works, 4:403–405). In both places he credits the passage to James Harrington's Commonwealth of Oceana, and points out that the principle received its first recognizable formulation from Aristotle. See L. H. Butterfield, “A government of laws and not of men,” Harvard Magazine, 77:19–20 (Nov. 1974).
38. Before “Section I,” the convention inserted “Chapter I,” and under that, “The Legislative Power.” The printer { 265 } failed to print under “Section I” of the committee draft, “The Legislature, or General Court,” as noted in his errata (below). The convention changed this to “The General Court.”
39. The opening clause was altered to read: “The legislative body shall assemble every year”; and after “necessary,” the convention replaced “every year” with “and shall dissolve and be dissolved on the day next preceeding the said last Wednesday in May.”
40. In one of its most far-reaching decisions, the convention replaced this paragraph, which gave the governor an absolute veto, with two new ones called Art. II, providing for an override of a veto by a two-thirds vote of each branch of the legislature. All his life JA continued to believe that this revision was a serious error, even though the framers of the U.S. Constitution adopted the idea. He believed the chief executive should hold the balance between the two chambers, one ideally representing numbers, the other, property. JA was probably not surprised by the convention's action, however, for he had predicted several years before that Massachusetts would not accept an unqualified executive veto (JA to Roger Sherman, 20 July 1789, JA, Works, 6:432; JA to Elbridge Gerry, 4 Nov. 1779 [below]; JA to James Warren, 12 May 1776, vol. 4:182).
41. Art. II (now III) was adopted without change. Except for the substitution of “Commonwealth” for phrases indicating the king and his province, the extension of court jurisdiction to cover causes “concerning” as well as between inhabitants or persons brought within the state, and the addition of “or affirmations” after “oaths,” Art. II was taken verbatim from the Charter of 1691 (Thorpe, ed., Federal and State Constitutions, p. 1881).
42. The phrase “such officers excepted” was dropped by the convention.
43. The convention added “or affirmations.”
44. The convention changed the wording from this point up to “within the same” to read: “and to impose and levy proportional and reasonable assessments, rates, and taxes, upon all inhabitants of, and persons resident, and estates lying, within the said Commonwealth; and also to impose, and levy, reasonable duties and excises, upon any produce, goods, wares, merchandize, and commodities whatsoever, brought into, produced, manufactured, or being within the same.”
45. The final clause beginning “and to dispose of matters and things” was dropped. This long first paragraph of Art. III (now IV) was taken verbatim from the Charter of 1691, with the exception of modifications to eliminate reference to the king and his province and a few other minor changes (Thorpe, ed., Federal and State Constitutions, p. 1882). Other early state constitutions did not list in detail the powers of their legislatures.
46. The first three words of this paragraph were replaced with a passage that continued existing taxing practices, including the poll tax: “And while the public charges of government, or any part thereof, shall be assessed on polls and estates, in the manner that has hitherto been practiced; in order that such. ...” The polls paid about one-third of the taxes raised by the province and state governments. At the time of Shays' Rebellion there was some protest over the proportion of taxes levied on polls, particularly since it had risen a few points. In the Revolutionary period in Connecticut complaints also arose over the inequity of poll taxes. Maryland's Art. XIII in its Declaration of Rights condemned “the levying taxes by the poll” as “grievous and oppressive” and deserving of abolition (Robert J. Taylor, Western Massachusetts in the Revolution, Providence, 1954, p. 138–139; Robert J. Taylor, Colonial Connecticut, A History, Millwood, N.Y., 1979, p. 42).
47. The convention added here “and as much oftener as the General Court shall order.”
48. The convention repeated “Chapter I” before “Section II.”
49. The convention changed the final provision to read: “provided that the number of such districts shall never be less than thirteen; and that no district be so large as to intitle the same to choose more than six Senators.”
50. Altered to read: “of each town.”
51. “Person” changed to “inhabitant.” See note 53.
52. The one-year residency requirement was dropped.
53. The convention added after “dis• { 266 } trict”: “of which he is an inhabitant. And to remove all doubts concerning the meaning of the word 'Inhabitant' in this Constitution, every person shall be considered as an inhabitant, for the purpose of electing and being elected into any office, or place within this State, in that town, district or plantation, where he dwelleth, or hath his home.” The use of the term “inhabitant” and its definition here grew out of an investigation made by delegate Levi Lincoln at the request of the convention. Lincoln reported on a law of 1767, last renewed in Nov. 1779, which required town approval for one to acquire the status of an inhabitant as a way of protecting towns from poor or undesirable persons who might become an expense (Journal of the Convention, p. 71; Mass., Province Laws, 4:911–912; 5:1124–1125). In using terms like “resident” JA had not been sufficiently precise; “reside” did not suggest the permanency of “inhabit.” When the convention revised JA's provision affecting taxes, it made sure that both “all inhabitants” and “persons resident” would be subject to levies (see note 44).
54. Except for the word “impartially,” the rest of the paragraph was discarded. The next paragraph was merged with this one. “Impartially” was followed by “and shall receive.”
55. The convention inserted after “towns” the words “present and.”
56. The convention dropped “however,” and added after “members”: “as pointed out in the Constitution.”
57. The passage following “declared elected,” up to the semicolon, was altered to read: “shall take the names of such persons as shall be found to have the highest number of votes in each district, and not elected, amounting to twice the number of Senators wanting, if there be so many voted for.”
58. The words “of the christian religion, and” were deleted, although unsuccessful attempts were made in the convention to substitute “Protestant” (Journal of the Convention, p. 75).
59. The convention added here “or possessed of personal estate to the value of six hundred pounds at least, or of both to the amount of the same sum.” An effort to reduce the property qualification to £300, real or personal, failed (same). By including personal estate, the convention opened membership in the Senate to well-to-do men without important land-holdings.
60. The convention reduced the residency requirement to a simple five years in the Commonwealth prior to election, the candidate being an inhabitant of the district at the time of his candidacy.
61. Arts. VI, VII, and VIII were misnumbered by the printer. See Errata (below).
62. In Thoughts on GovernmentJA had mentioned impeachment as a way of removing judges, probably having in mind the attempt of the Massachusetts House of Representatives to impeach Justice Peter Oliver, in which JA himself was heavily involved (vol. 2:7–17). Here all officers are subject to impeachment, as several other early state constitutions provided. Much of the language of this article was copied from Art. XX of the Constitution of 1778.
The convention added to this section on the Senate an Art. IX, which provided a quorum of sixteen for conducting business. JA had neglected to define a quorum for the upper house.
63. The convention repeated “Chapter I” before “Section III.”
64. “In” was replaced with “upon the principle of.”
65. The rest of Art. II was deleted. Some convention members expressed fears that the House would grow too large, but most were willing to leave that worry to the future. In the vigorous debates over representation that took place in the convention, efforts were made to permit every town, regardless of size, to have one representative; or, if not that, to associate with some other town to elect a representative, as JA proposed in this article, adapting the idea from Art. VI of the Constitution of 1778. The only compromise the majority would make was to permit incorporated towns with fewer than 150 ratable polls which then enjoyed the right to choose a representative to continue to exercise that right (William Cushing's notes on the debates, [Oct.? 1779], “Commissions,” Cushing Papers, MHi; Journal of the Convention, p. 122–123).
Also as a part of Art. II, the convention gave the House the right to fine { 267 } towns qualified to send a representative if they failed to do so and stipulated that travel costs from and to home once in a session would be paid out of the public treasury. It rejected a proposal to have salary as well as travel so paid (Journal of the Convention, p. 124). In the provincial period both pay and travel were charged to each town sending a representative; consequently, many towns found it cheaper not to be represented.
66. “Every member” was substituted for “The members.”
67. The provision requiring a representative to be a Christian was deleted, but efforts were made in the convention to restore the requirement, and also to add “Protestant” after “christian” (same, p. 97).
68. In this clause the convention deleted “or towns” after “town,” and provided for an alternative property qualification—any estate ratable at £200.
69. The convention's failure to change “resident” to something like “an inhabitant of” was probably an oversight. See note 53.
70. “Any estate” was substituted for “other estate,” and the convention struck out “real, or personal or mixt.”
71. The final phrase was deleted.
72. The rest of the paragraph was dropped. JA may have been influenced by Pennsylvania's wording: “the house . . . shall consist of persons most noted for wisdom and virtue” (Sect. 7, Thorpe, ed., Federal and State Constitutions, 5:3084).
73. Here the convention inserted: “shall be the judge of the returns, elections, and qualifications of its own members, as pointed out in the Constitution.” JA's failure to include these principles, which he provided for the Senate, must have been an oversight.
74. The convention inserted here “not a member.”
75. The convention transposed “in its presence” to follow “behaviour.”
76. The rest of this article was rewritten. The convention did not give special mention to House officers, nor did it extend immunity from arrest to cases of debt. It did specifically forbid the arrest of witnesses or others ordered to appear before the House.
77. An additional paragraph to Art. XI gave the two legislative branches power to try all cases of breach of their privileges.
78. The convention relabeled this Chapter II.
79. JA took the honorific for the governor from Art. II of the Constitution of 1778.
80. At this point the convention stipulated that the sheriff was required to send the returns to the secretary's office seventeen days before the last Wednesday in May. The addition caused minor changes in wording. The selectmen's sending the returns directly to the secretary was kept as an alternative procedure.
81. Altered to “all the votes returned,” with “through the Commonwealth” being deleted.
82. The convention removed Art. IV, rewrote the two-part oath so that it would cover the governor, lieutenant governor, Council members, and legislators, and transferred the whole oath to a separate chapter that covered a variety of subjects, Chapter VI. The first part of the oath was kept substantially intact despite the convention's elimination of “christian” from the qualifications for Council members and legislators. The second part of the oath, now meant as well for any person appointed or commissioned, was greatly lengthened. One had to declare that Massachusetts was rightfully “a free, sovereign and independent State,” that one abjured Great Britain and all other foreign powers, civil and ecclesiastical, and that no one could discharge the taker from the oath's obligations. Quakers were specifically allowed to make affirmation rather than swear.
83. “According to law” was struck out in favor of “agreeably to the Constitution and the laws of the land.” Art. V, which became Art. IV, was taken nearly verbatim from the Charter of 1691 (Thorpe, ed., Federal and State Constitutions, 3:1878), though with a quorum of five, not seven.
84. The convention reversed the order of the two situations, putting first what could be done during a session and second what could be done during a recess. The convention did not provide that a dissolution of the legislature could, like an adjournment, be at the request of the two houses, and it changed the day for dissolution to that preceding the last Wednesday in May. Added to Art. VI (now V) was the governor's power to { 268 } change the place of meeting of the General Court if communicable disease threatened, or if the lives of the members might be jeopardized by any other cause.
85. The words “necessity, expediency or” were inserted here.
86. The convention included the stipulation that the governor's adjournment could not exceed ninety days.
87. The word “chief” was struck out.
88. “To be appointed by him” was deleted.
89. The convention preferred “repel, resist, expel and pursue.”
90. Rewriting produced “slay and destroy, if necessary.”
91. The passage was altered to read: “war or invasion, and also in time of rebellion, declared by the Legislature to exist,” which last phrase significantly limited the governor's power.
92. The governor's power to establish and demolish forts and fortified places was deleted.
93. “In fine” was dropped.
94. The convention inserted “these and.”
95. The convention added “and not otherwise.”
96. The rest of Art. VIII (now VII) was struck out. If it had remained, it could have caused confusion with respect to Art. XXIX (now XXVIII) in the Declaration of Rights, which requires legislative, not Council, approval for imposing martial law upon civilians. The convention concluded the present article: “except so far as may be necessary to march or transport them by land or water, for the defence of such part of the State, to which they cannot otherwise conveniently have access.” The convention had in mind the possible need to go through New Hampshire to reach the district of Maine. With minor modifications made necessary by changed circumstances, this entire article, in the version presented in the Report, was taken almost verbatim from the Charter of 1691 (Thorpe, ed., Federal and State Constitutions, 3:1884).
97. The denial of any pardon power before conviction was more extensively stated here than in any other early state constitution and was a departure from English practice. William Blackstone held that a royal pardon could be pleaded at arraignment, before judgment, or to prevent carrying out a judgment (Commentaries, 4 vols., Phila., 1771–1772, 4:258, 392, 394–395). Only New Jersey and New York limited the timing of a pardon. New Jersey permitted pardons “after condemnation,” a term of uncertain meaning, since it could mean either a jury's verdict of guilty or a judge's sentence. New York gave the governor power to pardon “those convicted of crimes,” except murder or treason. Probably JA's intention was to prevent those charged with crimes from being pardoned before the facts of their crimes were exposed to public view. See Robert J. Taylor, “Lawyer John Adams and the Massachusetts Constitution,” Boston Bar Journal, 24:25–26, (Oct. 1980).
98. The convention dropped “Registers of Maritime Courts.”
99. The convention replaced this article with a much longer one that denied the governor the power to appoint militia officers, in favor of the old tradition under which the officers were elected by the militiamen. These in turn were to elect field officers, who were to elect brigadiers. Major generals were to be chosen by the two legislative houses, each with a veto on the other. The governor was limited to commissioning officers elected and determining their rank in order of seniority. Commanding officers were left free to name their adjutants and aides. Only the adjutant general was to be named by the governor.
100. Altered to read “No monies . . . but by warrant.” Art. XII (now XI) was provided with an exception inserted after “disposed of”: “(except such sums as may be appropriated for the redemption of bills of Credit or Treasurers notes, or for the payment of interest arising thereon).” JA's language in Art. XII came nearly verbatim from Art. XXXIII of the Constitution of 1778, except that in the 1778 document, the Senate rather than the Council had to approve the warrants.
101. The convention deleted Art. XIV's provision for rotation in the office of governor. Most other early state constitutions made some such provision.
102. Changed in accordance with the new name of the state's highest court to read: “Justices of the supreme judicial court.” See Chapter IV, Art. III, and note 124.
103. The convention inserted “Chapter II” above “Section II.”
{ 269 }
104. The convention deleted the rest of this heading (see note 110).
105. JA took this honorific from Art. II of the Constitution of 1778.
106. This sentence was completely rephrased by the convention.
107. “Votes” was changed to “all the votes returned.”
108. Art II was rearranged and expanded to read: “The Governor, and in his absence the Lieutenant-Governor, shall be President of the Council, but shall have no vote in Council: And the Lieutenant-Governor shall always be a member of the Council except when the chair of the Governor shall be vacant.”
109. Here the convention inserted: “perform all the duties incumbent upon the Governor, and shall.”
110. The convention transferred the substance of Arts. IV and V to the new Chapter VI, where they appeared in condensed form as Art. III. Instead of “respective values, assigned . . . to” property in the draft's Art. IV, the new article refers to all “sums of money” mentioned. For the draft's Art. V the convention limited the legislature's right to increase qualifications “as to property” only.
111. The convention inserted “Chapter II” above “Section III.”
112. The convention deleted “Oaths to be taken, &c.” (see note 116).
113. The phrase “out of the persons returned for Counsellors and Senators” was moved down to follow “annually chosen,” and “from among” was substituted for “out of.”
114. At this point the convention provided that if “there shall not be found upon the first choice, the whole number of nine persons who will accept a seat in the Council, the deficiency shall be made up by the electors aforesaid from among the people at large; and the number of Senators left shall constitute the Senate for the year.” The convention then dropped JA's last clause, since under the new alternative provision, the Senate could have more than thirty-one members.
115. The word “county” should have been “district.” This printer's error was acknowledged in the errata page at the end of the Report (below).
116. The convention removed Art. VIII from this section and incorporated its substance into Chapter VI, Art. I, at the end of the Constitution.
117. The convention inserted “Chapter II” above “Section IV.”
118. Inserted here was: “who may appoint his Deputies, for whose conduct he shall be accountable.” The word “who” that follows was replaced with “and he.”
119. The convention relabeled this Chapter III.
120. The convention inserted the following: “excepting such concerning whom there is different provision made in this Constitution.”
121. Removal of judges by address was taken from England's Act of Settlement of 1701, Sect. 7. South Carolina also provided for removal by address of the legislature in both its 1776 and 1778 constitutions (Thorpe, ed., Federal and State Constitutions, 6:3246, Art. XX; 6:3254, Art. XXVII). The provision for address in Maryland's 1776 constitution required a two-thirds vote of all members in each legislative house (Declaration of Rights, Art. XXX, in Thorpe, ed., Federal and State Constitutions, 3:1689).
122. The clause following the colon was struck out.
123. JA's Art. II was dropped because the new Chapter VI, Art. II, in the Constitution as adopted, listed these justices and many other officeholders as disqualified from a seat in the General Court.
124. The convention modified Art. III (now II) to allow the House as well as the Senate to seek a judicial opinion, not from “the Judges,” but from “the Justices of the supreme judicial court.”
125. “Shall be determined by the Senate” was struck out.
126. The convention relabeled this Chapter IV, and shortened its title to “Delegates to Congress.” The other matters treated in Arts. II–III and V–VII were moved to the new Chapter VI, at the end of the Constitution, where they became Arts. IV–VIII.
127. “Of America” was deleted.
128. The time of election was changed to “some time in the month of June annually” with no reference to whether the General Court was sitting.
129. Added here was the following: “to serve in Congress for one year, to commence on the first Monday in November then next ensuing.”
130. Art. II became Art. IV under the { 270 } new Chapter VI.
131. The convention changed “the Chief Justice ... of the court” to “the first Justice.” JA's language closely parallels that of Art. XXXI in the Constitution of 1778. This article became Art. V of the new Chapter VI.
132. The convention dropped Art. IV from the Constitution.
133. In changing Art. V to Art. VI under the new Chapter VI, the convention shortened the wording to this point by avoiding repetition and eliminating “the common law, and all such parts of the English or British statutes.” The new article begins: “All the laws which have heretofore been adopted.” JA took his language largely from Art. XXXII of the Constitution of 1778.
134. Art. VI became Art. VII under the new Chapter VI. The proper limitation to put upon the legislative suspension of the privilege of habeas corpus was one of the more extensively debated issues in the convention. The final wording of Art. VII substituted for JA's concluding phrase: “for a limited time not exceeding twelve months.” A number of convention members sought greater curbs on this legislative power. They would have restricted suspension to not more than forty days and applied it only in wartime to those “charged with being in the interest of the enemy.” These proposals were voted down 21 to 14 in February, when relatively few delegates were in attendance. A tie vote on the twelve-month limitation was broken by convention president James Bowdoin, who supported it. A proposal to restrict suspension to “time of war, rebellion, or invasion, declared or apprehended by the Legislature” brought another tie vote, with Bowdoin upholding the simple twelve-month limitation (Journal of the Convention, p. 66–67, 92–93, 149–150, 168). The U.S. Constitution, in Art. I, Sect. 9, permits suspension only “when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.” The town of Boston later protested against the insufficient limits in the state document (Boston Record Commissioners, 26th Report, p. 133). Of the early state constitutions, only Georgia's declared that “the principles of the habeas-corpus act shall be a part of this constitution” (Art. LX; Thorpe, ed., Federal and State Constitutions, 2:785). If Georgia's reference is to the English statute of 1679 (31 Car. 2, c. 2), however, that act offered no protection against legislative suspension.
135. Art. VII became Art. VIII in the new Chapter VI. The convention deleted all reference to the governor, the lieutenant governor, and the Council. JA's inclusion of the chief magistrate is in keeping with his insistence that he should be considered a third branch of the legislature. The convention copied the enacting style of the Constitution of 1778 (Art. XIII).
136. The convention relabeled this Chapter V.
137. This section of the constitution was drafted mainly by a Harvard College committee. Convention president James Bowdoin had alerted Harvard's president that the drafting committee had been instructed to prepare an article confirming the school's privileges. A committee of the Harvard Corporation prepared Arts. I and II, which were approved by the full Corporation and by the Overseers, and then submitted to the convention's drafting committee for approval. Art. III was apparently written by the drafting subcommittee, and thus perhaps by JA, rather than by the College (JA, Works, 4:258–259, note 2).
138. JA gave a detailed account of the genesis of this section of the constitution, one that he regarded as particularly his and a source of great satisfaction in that the convention accepted it without alteration (except that “legislators and magistrates” became “legislatures and”). Of central importance was his keen interest in the natural history collections that he had seen on his travels to and from the Continental Congress and in France, and his admiration for the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia and the learned societies of France and England. These feelings prompted JA, at a dinner held at Harvard on 24 Aug. 1779 to honor the new French minister to the United States, the Chevalier de La Luzerne, to propose to the Rev. Samuel Cooper the founding of a learned society in Boston that might emulate those of Philadelphia and Europe. Cooper and others took up this idea, and in May 1780 they secured a charter for the American Academy of Arts and Sciences from the Massachusetts legislature (JA to { 271 } Benjamin Waterhouse, 7 Aug. 1805, MHi; and see JA, Works, 4:259–260, note 1; and Adams Family Correspondence, 3:224–226, note 3).
Although he does not mention it, JA may also have been encouraged to include this section in his draft by a passage in Pennsylvania's constitution, which he had found so useful as a guide in listing the fundamental rights of all citizens. That document, in Sect. 44, not only called for the establishment of schools in each county but added “all useful learning shall be duly encouraged and promoted in one or more universities.” Coincidentally, the General Court on 28 May 1779 had appointed a five-man committee, composed of Robert Treat Paine, John Pickering, Col. Loammi Baldwin, Theophilus Parsons, and Samuel Phillips Jr., to prepare a resolve “for the encouragement of learning in this State” (Mass., House Jour., 1779–1780, 1st sess., p. 10). Although no report appears to have been made, all of these legislators except Baldwin were later members of the convention, and Paine, Parsons, and Phillips were members of the committee of thirty assigned to draft the constitution. These possible influences in no way detract from JA's enlightened conception of government's positive role in promoting the intellectual, cultural, and technological advancement and well-being of its people, a conception that his son, as president, took for his own.
139. The convention relabeled this last part of the Constitution “Chapter VI,” and completely revised and greatly expanded it. The new chapter's Art. I, which contained the oaths of officeholding, drew upon and expanded parts of the Report's Chapter III, Sect. I (on the governor), and Sect. 3 (the Council). Art. II applied the prohibition against plural officeholding made in Chapter IV of the Report (the judiciary) far more broadly and in much greater detail. Art. III came from Chapter III, Sect. 2 (lieutenant governor); and Arts. IV–VIII from Chapter V (delegates to congress, etc.). The specific articles or parts of articles transferred are indicated in the notes to those chapters and sections. The Report's “Chapter VII. and last” then became Art. IX of the new chapter, and the convention added Arts. X and XI. Art. X provided for amendment of the Constitution by a procedure to be instituted in 1795. JA had neglected to include a scheme for amendment, presumably through oversight. According to William Gordon, JA had delivered a speech in an early session of the convention in which he argued that “it was impossible for human wisdom to form a Plan of Government that should suit all future emergencies, and that therefore periodical revisions were requisite” (Independent Chronicle, 4 May 1780). Art. XI provided for enrolling the constitution on parchment and depositing it in the secretary's office.
140. On Thursday afternoon, 28 Oct., the convention ordered the printing of the Declaration of Rights, whose fifteen-page text was distributed the following morning. The printer, without altering this first section, then continued setting type for the rest of the Report, and on Monday morning, 1 Nov., the entire fifty-page pamphlet was distributed to convention members. This list of “errors” on the last page of the Report includes alterations made by the convention in the Preamble and in Arts. I and II of the Declaration of Rights. The last-named change occurred on Saturday morning, 30 Oct. Thus the printer set the type for the “Errata” late on Saturday or on Sunday. The other errors listed, which appear on pages 15, 23, and 39 of the text, were printer's errors. See the Journal of the Convention, p. 35, 36, 38; and the concluding section of the Editorial Note preceding the text of the Report (above).
141. The printer omitted “free” at this point.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0162-0001

Author: Chavagnes, Bidé de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-11-01

From Bidé de Chavagnes

[salute] Mon cher monsieur

Je me faisois une grande feste, samedy dernier, D'avoir Ihonneur de vous voir, de diner avec vous et de boire a votre santé chez monsieurs { 272 } alain,1 mais 1'utilité de votre travail pour le bien public m'a fait supporter plus aisement cette privation, j eus cependant eté bien content de pouvoir vous parler moy même au sujet des besoins urgents ou commence a se trouver la fregatte du roy de france que j ay vu avec tant de plaisir destinée a vous transporter et les votres en France. J avois deja eu Ihonneur de vous prevenir que sous peu les farines et le biscuit nous manqueroint, n en ayant plus que pour 20 ou 25 jours. II me seroit impossible de prendre la mer avec ce peu de vivres, monsieur de valnais et tous les françois en cherchent inutilement depuis 4 jours. II fait en consequence aujourdhuy une demande au conseil de 25 barils de farine et 50 quintaux de biscuit.2 La confiance qui vous est si legitiment acquise parmy vos concytoyens le credit que vous vez auprès du conseil me font esperer que vous voudrez bien appuyer cette demande et je ne doute point du succès s il n'est impossible.
J eus eté bien aise aussi de vous demander conseil au cas d'evenement sur une chose tres importante pour moy. Las voicy. On a eu connoissance dans la baye de 2 fregattes angloise une de 44 canons, I autre de 40. Les 5 fregattes qui sont icy doivent partir incessamment. On m'a donné un avis incertain que le conseil d'apres la nation pourroit me faire la demande de sortir avec elles, ceque j eus certainement prevenu tant par honneur que par le grand desir que j aurois d estre utile a votre nation, d un autre coté si la vieille sensible avoit un choc ou un coup de vent un peu appuyé dans ce moment je ne repondrois plus de pouvoir de cette année entreprendre la traversée d europe. J ay mandé a monsieur le chevalier de la luzerne que je vous demanderois dans tout cecy votre appuy et vos conseils. II ma donné a vous je l'en remercie.
J attends par monsieur de fleury qui vous remettra cette lettre un mot de vous en consequence, des nouvelles de votre santé que m'est chere ainsi que celle de votre famille. Heureux pour moy le moment qui me procurera le bonheur de vous posseder a bord de la sensible et de vous y reiterer de vive voix les sentiments du sincere et respectueux attachement avec lesquels j ay lhonneur d'estre Mon cher monsieur Votre tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur.
[signed] Bidé de chavagnes

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0162-0002

Author: Chavagnes, Bidé de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-11-01

Bidé de Chavagnes to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] My dear sir

I was greatly looking forward to having the honor of seeing you, dining with you, and drinking to your health at Mr. Allen's1 house last Saturday, but the usefulness of your work for the public good has allowed me to bear this deprivation more easily. And yet, I would have liked to have been able to speak with you personally about the urgent needs that { 273 } are beginning to be felt by the frigate of the King of France, which I have seen with great pleasure destined to carry you and your family to France. I already had the honor of informing you that we will soon be out of flour and biscuits, having only enough to last 20 or 25 days. It would be impossible for me to to go to sea with so few provisions. Mr. de Valnais and all the Frenchmen have been searching in vain for the last four days. As a result, he is asking the Council today for 25 barrels of flour and 50 quintals of biscuits.2 The reputation which you have so legitimately acquired among your fellow citizens and your influence with the Council makes me hope that you will agree to support this request, the success of which I do not doubt unless it is absolutely impossible to grant.
I would also have liked to ask your advice on another matter of great importance to me. Alas, here it is. Two British frigates are known to be in the bay, one of 44 guns, the other of 40. The five frigates anchored here are to leave immediately and, although it is not certain, I have learned that the Council, on behalf of the nation, might ask me to go out with them. I am certainly predisposed to this as much by the honor as by my great desire to be useful to your nation, but on the other hand, if the old Sensible had an engagement or encountered a storm, even a little prolonged, I would be unable to guarantee that it could undertake a crossing to Europe this year. I have informed the Chevalier de La Luzerne that I would request your support and advice on this matter. He put me at your service, for which I am grateful.
I await, through Mr. de Fleury who will deliver this letter, word from you giving me news of your health, which is so dear to me, as well as that of your family. Happy will be the moment when I have you aboard La Sensible and can reiterate personally the sentiments of sincere and respectful attachment with which I have the honor to be, my dear sir, your very humble and very obedient servant.
[signed] Bidé de Chavagnes
1. Probably Jeremiah Allen, who was to sail on La Sensible with the Adams party. For JA's description of Allen, see his letter of 18 Dec. to Michel Lagoanere (below).
2. The records of the Council, sitting in executive session during the recess of the General Court, have nothing about Valnais' request for provision (Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. E.I, Reel No. 11).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0163

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-11-01

From James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

Your Favor of Octr. 17th. came this day to hand by the Post and contains such flattering Sentiments in regard to my subserving your Mission as almost to intoxicate me into a Wish that I had not spurned much personal Honor and family Emolument in pursuing a comparitively evident public Interest. But, nearly drunken as you have made { 274 } me, depend upon it I am sober enough to distinguish between the Champaign with which my Regale began and the adulterated Cup which you hold out to me while you pledge yourself, in Case of future Correspondence, not to be in debt more than by the Difference in the intrinsic Value of the Letters will be unavoidable. Let me ask you where you learnt such Language. It is not roman, it is not even french, and I am sure it is not such english as you were accustomed to talk before you travailed into strange Countries. Be that as it may, un peu égaré,1 you recover your whole Self again shortly after, in the Affair of Mr. Iz. I shall pursue your Injunctions.
I sat about giving you some Idea of the Temper of Congress as to the Ultimata by extracting the Propositions and offered Amendments, but I found myself soon bewildered.2 You may by a little Conversation with our Friend S A know more than a great deal of my Fatigue in the Way mentioned would convey. In short the great Difference sprung from our varying Quantum of Obsequiousness to the Dictations of a Foreigner as they were retailed to us through the mouths of either Fear or Roguerey, and not from our being wide of each other in Opinion of our Rights, if we were in Condition to assert them or if our Ally would consent to join in a determined Assertion. But this said some must be quite on new Ground and not on the subsisting Treaties, for the whole End of these is the Assurance of our Independence formally or tacitly. And France to be sure would never think, at least would never insist that a common Right in the Fishery was included in our Independence in Matters of Commerce.3 For if this should be done, the Principle established would let in other nations, which France and England would both chuse not to do. I am greatly pleased with the Confirmation by your travailed Experience to Sentiments springing from my own natural Temper—that the way to insure the lasting Regard of France is by showing independent Virility instead of colonial Effeminacy.
The Bearer unexpectedly calls me to seal. I see my Correspondence with Portia is all over. She cannot write because I should see the mark of the Tear on the Paper.
Heaven bless you both
[signed] J L
I do not think it will be easy for me to send you the Vols. you wish by Way of Boston but if you can borrow a few Sets there I will be upon Honor to repay them as Opportunity serves and I will attend to chances from this River but I cannot promise 20 setts.4
{ 275 }
RC with two enclosures (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr Lovel Nov. 1. 1779 Ultimata. Fisheries &c.” Enclosures not printed here; see notes 2 and 4. According to JA's docketing on one enclosure, it was “recd. on Board La Sensible Novr. 14 1779.”
1. That is, a bit astray.
2. To inform JA of the issues raised during the debates over the peace ultimata adopted on 14 Aug. and included in JA's instructions of 29 Sept., Lovell apparently had intended to send him copies of the various resolutions proposed during the debates, together with their amendments. Lovell presumably was defeated in his undertaking by the vast number of motions proposed during the six months of debate. He did, however, enclose several extracts from the Journal. First, he transcribed resolutions Nos. 3–6 as reported by a committee of five on 23 Feb. 1779. These had to do with fishing rights off Newfoundland and curing rights on its shores, the right to navigate the Mississippi, trade from ports on that river outside the southern boundary of the United States, and the future status of Nova Scotia (JCC, 13:241–242). Opposite the sixth resolution, Lovell indicated that it was voted down on 17 June (same, 14:742). Next he transcribed the third resolution as amended by the committee of the whole and the substitute for it offered and adopted on 22 March (same, 13:348–352). Then he transcribed a motion further to alter resolution No. 3 and the substitute adopted on 24 March (same, 13:371–373). Finally, he included an unsuccessful proviso offered on 24 March to the resolution on navigation of the Mississippi (same, 13:369–371). Lovell concluded his transcriptions with this comment: “Since which a free Navigation is insisted on, perhaps it will delay the proposed Treaty with Spain.”
3. In this paragraph Lovell is referring to the efforts of Conrad Alexandre Gérard (the “Foreigner”), under instructions from Vergennes, to limit the objectives to be sought by the United States in a peace treaty. The italicized phrase is from Art. 2 of the Treaty of Alliance: “The essential and direct End of the present defensive alliance is to maintain effectually the liberty, Sovereignty, and independance absolute and unlimited of the said united States, as well in Matters of Gouvernement as of commerce.” It was further stated in Art. 8 that the two parties “mutually engage not to lay down their arms, until the Independence of the united states shall have been formally or tacitly assured by the Treaty or Treaties that shall terminate the War” (Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:36–37, 38–39). In a letter to the president of the congress on 22 May, Gérard gave France's interpretation of its obligations under the Treaty of Alliance and, in particular, the two articles just noted. He observed “First. That the king has engaged to procure for the United States, by means of arms, the acknowledgment of their independence, and that his majesty is faithful to fulfill this obligation. . .; Second. That he has made no other engagements than those expressed in the stipulations of the treaty” (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:177). France, therefore, would not prolong the war to secure formal, as opposed to tacit, recognition of American independence. Nor would it do so to procure American fishing rights on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland or a western boundary on the Mississippi River, neither of which was mentioned in the treaty. Lovell's main concern was American fishing rights, which French pressure had already caused to be relegated to an object to be achieved in an Anglo-American commercial treaty, rather than in a peace ultimatum. He suggested that JA speak with Samuel Adams, perhaps because he had been a member of the committee that had prepared the draft peace ultimata, but more likely because he was in Massachusetts and would be able to provide a more candid account of the French efforts to limit American ambition than Lovell could in a letter (JCC, 13:194–195).
4. Lovell also enclosed copies of two other resolutions, the first calling for a letter to Franklin requesting him to supply money to the ministers plenipotentiary to Spain and Great Britain, and the second authorizing the appointment of a person to negotiate a loan from Holland. Also included was a copy of the letter to { 276 } Franklin naming ministers and their secretaries and stating the salaries for each, as well as for Franklin himself. A final extract from the Journal gave the names of the three persons nominated to negotiate a Dutch loan on 18 Oct., of whom JA was one (same, 15:1179–1180, 1186; see Lovell to JA, 19 Oct., note 1, above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0164

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1779-11-04

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My Friend

Yours of Octr. 12 has been, seven days, by me. Am happy to learn that my Accounts and Vouchers arrived Safe, by Mr. Lowell. I know not how the Board will explain, the three Months after Notice of Recall, as applied to me. If they were to allow three Months after my Arrival, it would be no more than just.
Mr. Dana, I presume will accept, and sail with me, in <seven> a few days.
I am clear for Three Branches, in the Legislature, and the Committee have reported as much, tho aukwardly expressed. I have considered this Question in every Light in which my Understanding is capable of placing it, and my Opinion is decided in favour of Three Branches. And being, very unexpectedly called upon to give my Advice to my Countrymen, concerning a Form of Government, I could not answer it to myself, to them, or Posterity, if I concealed or disguised my real Sentiments. They have been received with Candor, but perhaps will not be adopted. In such a State as this, however, I am perswaded, We never shall have any Stability, Dignity, Decision, or Liberty, without it. We have so many Men of Wealth, of ambitious Spirits, of Intrigue, of Luxury and Corruption, that incessant Factions will disturb our Peace, without it. And indeed there is too much reason to fear with it. The Executive, which ought to be the Reservoir of Wisdom, as the Legislature is of Liberty, without this Weapon of Defence will be run down like a Hare before the Hunters. But I have not Time to enlarge.1
I am more Solicitous about the Means of procuring, the salary you mention, than the sum of it. I can make it do, if I can get it. But I wish I had Power to borrow Money, and also Power to draw upon, Dr. Franklin, or the American Banker, in Case of Necessity. I should get it, in that Way.
Mr. Jay, will have no Difficulty, for Spain will undoubtedly, furnish him, as they did Mr. Lee, who I believe, but am not certain, has some Spanish Money remaining in his Hands. I know not how much, and may be mistaken in Supposing he has any.
You think my Appointment ought not to be divulged: but it was public in Boston and in every Bodys Mouth upon Change, before I { 277 } heard a lisp of it. If it is generally approved I am happy. Happy and blessed indeed shall I be if I can accomplish my Errand, and give general Satisfaction in the End.
Let me beseech you by every Feeling of Friendship as well as Patriotism, to continue your Favours, and transmit me the Journals, News Papers, Pamphlets, as well as your Advice, from Time to Time. My Importance in that Country will depend much upon the Intelligence, that shall be sent me by my Friends, more than you can imagine. If you intend that I shall do you any good, keep me constantly informed, of every Thing. The Numbers, the Destinations of the Army, the state of Finance. The Temper of the People—military operations. The state and the Prospects of the Harvests, the Prices of Goods—the Price of Bills of Exchange—the Rate between silver and Paper. Nothing can come amiss. The Growth or decline of the Navy, the Spirit and success of Privateers, the Number of Prizes,—the Number, Position, Exertions and designs of the Enemy.
Your Election comes on, this Month, and it is sure.2 I wish I was as sure of getting safe to France. God bless you.
1. In this paragraph JA is referring to the Report of a Constitution that, following his draft, granted to the Massachusetts' governor an absolute veto. This power would make the governor a “third branch” of the legislature. JA's statement at the end of the paragraph's first sentence that his preference for three branches had been “aukwardly expressed” by the committee may refer to Chap. II, Sect. I, Art. I, of the Report, which provided for a legislature in two branches, a senate and a house of representatives. This may reflect a committee alteration of some part of JA's original text, which spoke of “three branches.” See Report of a Constitution[ca. 28–31 Oct.,] and Editorial Note (above).
2. Gerry was reelected to the congress on 18 Nov. (Mass., Province Laws, 21:242, note 1).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0165

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1779-11-04

To James Lovell

[salute] Dr sir

Yours of Octr. 14, and 19, are received. The Exposé des Motifs, is indeed news to me.1 I dislike, the Experiment, as much as you, and am equally happy, the offer <did not suc> was rejected.
Mr. Jay, will find no Embarrassment, I presume, for Spain has all along furnished Mr. Lee with Money, in very considerable sums, and will continue it, I doubt not to the Minister. But I shall have precarious subsistance, without Authority to borrow Money, and even with such a Power, without that of drawing on Dr. F. or the American Banker, for the Amount of my salary. Mr. Dana the same. I would not { 278 } make Use of such a Power, but in Case of Necessity, and I have no doubt Dr. F. and the French Ministers, would in such Case contrive to supply me. If France was to grant <a> larger <subsidy> sums than she has, even a large subsidy, it would be no new Thing. She has done it many a Time for much smaller Motives. I am confident the Court have no Aversion to me. They would on the Contrary be, pleased to supply me, if it went to further.2 As to private Letters of Credit, I know not where to procure them. <But> I shall run the Risque.
Mr. Lowell, had no Authority from me, nor had any other Person to drop the Hint you mention.3 He hinted it as his opinion, or conjecture I Suppose. I never made any peevish Speeches, or came to any Resolution or made any Promisses about it. It is very true I had laid aside all Expectations or Thoughts about any Employment abroad, and was running fast into my old private Business, and should have certainly been removed to Boston with my family, in order to pursue it, in all its Branches, if I could possibly have got an House.4 As to going to Holland, or on any other Errand to any other Court, I should like it very well. But it must be as you judge best.

[salute] Adieu.

1. See Lovell to JA, 14 Oct., 2d letter, note 1 (above).
2. Thus in MS.
3. See Lovell to JA, 19 Oct. (above).
4. The following two sentences appear after a short space in the line, and in a somewhat larger, less careful hand, suggesting that JA added them as an afterthought. They refer to a report in Lovell's letter of 19 Oct. (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0166

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lowell, John
Date: 1779-11-04

To John Lowell

[salute] Dear sir

I thank you for your Favour of the 12 Oct. and for the Trouble you took in conveying my Accounts and Vouchers to the Treasury.
I am too fond of the Approbation of my Country men, to refuse, or to hesitate about accepting an appointment made with So much Unanimity, after all the Contests about foreign affairs and I am too nearly of your Opinion in some other Points too.
No Man knows better than you, how much my private Interest has suffered by my Inattention to my Business: how this new Appointment will operate, I know not. I shall be in a better Situation, than before because I know, what to depend upon. I hope I shall be able to support my Family. It is too late for me to think1 of great Things, in Point of Fortune.
{ 279 }
The friendly sentiments you express, are reciprocal. They were conceived early in life, and will not easily wear out.
I must commit my family, in Some measure to your Care. My dear Mrs. Adams will have occasion, perhaps for your Advice, which I know you would readily offer her.2 I am with much Esteem, yours
[signed] John Adams
1. The Letterbook concludes the sentence with “of making an Estate.”
2. For Lowell's response to this request, and to AA's letter to him of 29 Nov. (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:240), see his letter to AA of 15 Dec. (same, 3:250). In that letter, Lowell noted that JA's letter had reached Philadelphia after he had set out on his return to Boston and thus he had not received the letter until shortly before 15 Dec.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0167

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1779-11-04

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

To the President of the Congress

Replying to the president's letter of 20 Oct. (above), John Adams acknowledged receiving his commissions and instructions and expressed his appreciation of the high honor done him. In regard to his mission, Adams declared that he was determined to “make no hesitation to accept it, and devote myself, without Reserve, or loss of Time to discharge the Duties of it,” but warned that its success depended upon receiving timely intelligence from the congress and avoiding premature disclosure of his instructions. Finally, he reported that he would be sailing in eight to ten days.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0168

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Rush, Benjamin
Date: 1779-11-04

To Benjamin Rush

[salute] My dear Sir

Your favours of Octr. 12 and 19 are before me. I should not have left the first Seven days unanswered, if had not been for my new Trade of a Constitution monger. I inclose a Pamphlet as my Apology. It is only a Report of a Committee, and will be greatly altered no doubt. If the Committee had boldly made the Legislature consist of three Branches, I should have been better pleased.1 But I cannot enlarge upon this subject.
I am pained in my inmost soul, at the unhappy Affair, at Coll Wilsons.2 I think there ought to be an Article in the Declaration of Rights of every State, Securing Freedom of Speech, Impartiality, and Independance at the Bar. There is nothing on which the Rights of every Member of Society more depend. There is no Man so bad, but he ought to have a fair Tryal, and an equal Chance to obtain the ablest { 280 } Council, or the Advocate of his Choice, to see that he has fair Play, and the Benefit of Truth and Law.
Dont be dismayed, you will yet find Liberty a charming Substance. I wish I had Leonidas,3 cant you send it, after me?
Thank you, for your Congratulations, on my new and most honourable Appointment.4 If it is possible, for Mortals to honour Mortals, I am honoured,—with an Honour, however, that makes me, tremble. Pray, help me, by corresponding constantly with me, and sending me, all the Pamphlets, Journals, News &c. to a little success, as well as honour.
Your Congratulations on the Count D'Estaings operations, are conceived in Terms flattering enough. I will please myself, with the Thought,5 untill the contrary appears, that I had Some Share in bringing him here. If he only liberates Georgia and Rhode Island, which Seems to be6 already done, it is a great success. Altho I go to make Peace, yet if the old Lady, Britania will not suffer me to do that, I will do all I can in Character, to Sustain the War, and direct it in a sure Course. I must be prudent, in this, however, which, I fear is not enough my Characteristick, but I flatter myself, I am rather growing in this Grace. In this Spirit, I think, that altho, We have had Provocations enough to excite the warmest Passions against Great Britain, yet it is our duty to silence all Resentments in our deliberations about Peace, and attend only to our Interests, and our Engagements with our allies.
Nothing ever gives me So much Pleasure, as to hear of Harmony in Congress. Upon this depends our Union, Strength, Prosperity and Glory. If the late Appointments give Satisfaction I am happy, and if the Liberties and Independance of our Country, are not safe in my Hands, you may Sware it is for Want of Brains, not of Heart. The Appointment of Mr. Dana, could not be mended.7 He will go, and I shall be happy. You have given me Pain by your Account of the Complaints against the Director.8 I am sorry, very sorry!
What will you say, if I should turn your Thoughts, from Politicks to Philosophy? What do you think of Dr. Franklins Theory of Colds. He is fixed in the opinion that We never take Cold, from the cold Air. And wants the Experiments of Sanctorius tried over again.9 Suppose you should make a Statical Chair, and try, whether Perspiration is most copious in a warm bed, or stark naked, in the open Air. I assure you, these Branches of Physicks, come within the Circle of the Sciences of the statesman, for an unlucky Cold (which I have been much subject to all my days) may stop him, in his Career, and dash all { 281 } his schemes; and it is a poor Excuse to say, he foresaw and provided against every Event, but his own sickness.
My Partner, whose tender Health and numerous Family, will not permit her, to make me, as happy, as Mr. Jay, joins with me, in the kindest Compliments to you and Mrs. Rush. Adieu
[signed] John Adams
RC (DLC); docketed: “Novr. 4 1779.”LbC (Adams Papers).
1. See Report of a Constitution, [ca. 28–31 Oct.]; and JA to Elbridge Gerry, 4 Nov. (both above).
2. See xBenjamin Rush to JA, 12 Oct., and note 4 (above).
3. See Benjamin Rush to JA, 12 Oct., and note 6 (above).
4. In the Letterbook, “honourable indeed!” follows “Appointment.”
5. The following four words do not appear in the Letterbook.
6. The Letterbook has “is” for “seems to be.”
7. JA uses the now rare definition of mend, “to improve in quality,” to mean that the appointment was just right (OED).
8. Dr. John Morgan. See Benjamin Rush to JA, 19 Oct., note 3 (above).
9. Franklin first explained his theory of colds to JA in Sept. 1776 (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:418–419), but he first advanced these ideas in the 1740s, basing them in part on the work of Santorio Santorio (d. 1636), called Sanctorius, a professor of medicine at Padua and author of De Medicina Statica (London, 1712). Sanctorius, who developed various “statical” devices in his experiments, was a pioneer in the physiology of metabolism (Franklin, Papers, 3:33, note 2; 3:417; 20:103, note 2).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0169

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Chavagnes, Bidé de
Date: 1779-11-05

To Bidé de Chavagnes

[salute] My dear Chevalier

I have received all my Dispatches from Congress, and shall be ready to embark, and sail with you in Eight days, at farthest.
The Persons who will go with me, will be, Mr. Dana, who is Secretary to my Commission, and Charge D'Affaires, Mr. Thaxter, my private secretary, My two sons John and Charles, and one servant for me and another for Mr. Dana, in all seven Persons. Mr. Dana, is a Gentleman of principal Rank in this Country, a Member of Congress, and a Member of the Council of Massachusetts Bay, and now in a very important Commission, which makes it necessary for me to request that a particular Attention may be paid to his Accommodation, and that he may be accommodated, as well, at least as myself.
I am ignorant what has been agreed upon between Congress, and their Excellencies the Chevalier de la Luzerne and Mr. Gerard, concerning the Terms, upon which I am to go in the Frigate. Who is to be at the Expence of my Passage, and whether the Continental Navy Board, are to lay in stores and Accommodations for me,1 or whether I am to do it, myself. Or whether you are to be allowed for our Passages by the King.
{ 282 }
I beg the Favour of you sir, to let me know whether, I am to make any Preparations for the Passage of Provisions or Bedding or any Thing else, and what it should be.
My two little Sons may Sleep in the Same Bed. Or one of them may sleep with me, and the other with Mr. Thaxter. If you can let Mr. Thaxter Swing with my little John in his Cot, it will do.2
I should be obliged to you, if you will inform me, whether you would choose that I should go on Board, with my Suit, at Boston or send a Boat for Us at Braintree, after you shall have fallen down to Nantasket Road.
1. For a request to the Navy Board regarding supplies, see James Lovell's letter of 19 Oct., note 3 (above).
2. JA first ended the text here, and then inserted the last paragraph at the foot of the page.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0170

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1779-11-07

To the President of the Congress

[salute] Sir

I have the Honour to enclose to Congress Copy, of the Letter Book of the Commissioners at the Court of Versailles, during the Time that I had the Honour to be one of them.1
As the Letter Book was kept by me, and almost wholly in my Hand Writing, the Minister plenipotentiary consented that I should bring it home with me leaving him a Copy, which was done.
As there may be many Things in it, which Congress may have Occasion to know, I have prevailed with Mr. Thaxter to copy it. I shall submit to the Consideration of Congress, whether he ought to have any Allowance, for this service, and how much.
As Mr. Thaxter, will accompany, me to Europe, in the Character of my private secretary, if Congress think proper to allow him any Thing for these Copies, I can pay him, in Europe, if it is thought proper.
I chose to mention Mr. Thaxters going with me to Congress because that Jealousies have arisen, heretofore concerning private secretaries. Mr. Thaxter is known to Congress,2 and I think I can safely confide in his Fidelity, Dilligence, and Discretion. And from the Experience I have had in Europe I am fully convinced, that it is my duty, to take with me Some one of this Character. I have the Honour to be with great Respect, sir your most obedient servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (PCC, No. 84, 1, f. 121); docketed: “Letter from John Adams Novr. 7. 1779 Read 22. Q Mr. Thaxter to be paid for copying.” LbC (Adams Papers).
{ 283 }
1. For this Letterbook, see part 2 of the Introduction: “John Adams and his Letterbooks” (above); and vol. 6:22. The copy by Thaxter is docketed: “Copies sent by Mr. J Adams and recd, by the president of the congress Novr. 22d. 1779. vid Mr. A's Letter Novr. 7th. 1779 and a Question relative to Mr. Thaxter's Services.” It now comprises f. 124–225 of PCC, No. 84, 1.
2. Canceled here in the Letterbook is “and to Mr Dana, by whom he is much esteemed.” Thaxter had worked in the office of the secretary of the congress (Henry Laurens to JA, 15 Jan. 1778, vol. 5:388).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0171

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1779-11-08

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear sir

The Letters inclosed on the Spirit and Resources of G.B. were written by Edmund Jennings Esq.1 Perhaps it will be well to publish them.
Be so good as to deliver the Essex result2 to the Chevalier, who is curious to collect Things of This kind. I hope he is well beloved among you.
We are told here that Silver is exchanged in Philadelphia for Paper. Will you be so good as to inform my dear Portia, from time to time of the Rate, at which such Exchanges are made? She and I too have been, plaguyly jockied, here in this Matter.
LbC (Adams Papers). This is the final LbC for the period 1778–1779 to be recorded in Lb/JA/5 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 93). For a discussion of this Letterbook, see part 2 of the Introduction: “John Adams and his Letterbooks” (above).
1. See Jenings to JA, 25 April, note 2 (above).
2. Twelve Essex County towns, meeting in convention in Ipswich in April 1778, stated their reasons for rejecting the Massachusetts Constitution of 1778 and set forth the principles upon which they thought a government ought to be established (Result of the Convention of Delegates Holden at Ipswich in the County of Essex . . ., Newburyport, 1778, Evans, No. 15858). On the relation between the Result and JA's Thoughts on Government (1776), and for JA's later assessment of the Result's importance, see vol. 4:71.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0172

Author: McKean, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-11-08

From Thomas McKean

[salute] My dear Sir

On my return from the circuit a few days ago I was honoured with your letter of the 20th. Septemr. last, and proud to find that I was not forgotten by one I so much esteem. You must have had your difficulties in these times, I know, I too have had my full share of the anxieties cares and troubles attending the present war. For sometime I was { 284 } obliged to act as President of the Delaware State and as Chief Justice of this; General Howe had just landed Aug. 17771 at the head of Elk River, when I undertook to discharge those two great trusts. The consequence was to be hunted like a fox by the enemy and envied by those, who ought to have been my friends. I was obliged to remove my family five times in a few months, and at last fixed them in a little Log house on the banks of the Susquehanna above an hundred miles from this; but safety was not to be found there, for they were soon obliged to remove again, occasioned by the incursions of the Indians. In decemr. 1777 I went again into Congress, where for some months the United States had but nine voices and thirteen members, sometimes only eleven. [ . . . ] their affairs almost desperate.2 When the war is over we shall talk of these matters more at large. Cur jubes me renovare dolorem.3
Since the date of your letter I suppose you have been fully informed of what has passed in Congress respecting our foreign Ministers, and particularly yourself. You might have been Minister to Spain, which would have been a more permanent Appointment than that of Minister Plenepotentiary to negotiate a peace, but your friends had a greater regard to the interest of their Country than to your's; however I rest assured you will have peace (if to be obtained at all) on such terms, as will intitle you to the gratitude of that Country, and to secure such a proof of it as to render the present employment not only more honorable but more beneficial than the other.
You have escaped the obliquy but not the jealosy of <all> one of the parties in Congress, tho' the latter is almost done away. I have not been able to find that any of your Colleagues have censured you; they have been rather silent respecting you, tho' Doctor Arthur Lee <seems to> considers4 you as an honest man and as his friend. In short he seems willing to submit his conduct abroad to your decision. Upon the whole I really think he has been not well treated either by Messrs: Franklin or Dean, or by Congress. His fate almost renders it dangerous to serve in a public character abroad.
Do not my friend be discouraged by what I have said; difficulties, public and secret attacks, will eternally attend public Characters and high Stations. The man who discharges his Trust with fidelity and according to the best of his abilities will always have the consolation of his own mind (a consolation the world cannot give) and he may be happy in the approbation of his country, but will never be miserable in the want of it—he will always also find a distinguishing, a worthy few, to support and applaud him.
{ 285 }
Doctor Franklin, I really believe, would have been recalled last April only for myself. The intention in some Gentlemen in Congress appeared to me to be the removal of all our foreign Ministers in order to make way for themselves. My fears were, that a change of men, at that critical period, would imply both in Europe and America a change of measures, and I was reluctant to give up old servants for new men, whom I would not so well confide in.
Doctor Franklin still continues Minister Plenepotentiary at the court of Versailles, Colo: Laurens (the son of the late President of Congress) is appointed his Secretary. Mr. Jay is appointed Minister to the court of Madrid and Mr. Carmichael his Secretary. Mr. Laurens was appointed last Monday Commissioner to the United Provinces for the purpose of negotiating a treaty of Amity and Commerce, but particularly a Loan of money, and he has the nominating his own Secretary. Your's is the Post of danger, and of honor; Our friend Mr. Dana is appointed your Secretary. Nothing is yet done, but some Consuls must be appointed.
You percieve the freedom with which I write to you. I correspond with none, except officially, but in this way, tho' I am induced to be more free with you, because, notwithstanding I hereby compliment myself, I am certain we have had the same views throughout this whole contest, the good of our country and the happiness of mankind; we have also acted openly and without guile. It will give me great pleasure to hear from you often, and when you are on t'other side the Atlantic I will as frequently communicate what passes here.
Count D'Estaing has not been heard from since the 4th. of October, nor have we had a line from General Lincoln, but we flatter ourselves all is well.

[salute] I am, dear Sir, with sincere esteem, Your most obedient humble servant

[signed] Tho M:Kean5
Dft (PHi: McKean Papers); docketed by McKean: “Rough draft of a Lre. to the Honoble. John Adams Esq; Novr. 8th. 1779. No. 20.”
1. This date is interlined very faintly. Its appearance is quite different from other interlineations in this letter, and it may have been added later, in another hand.
2. The preceding two sentences are interlined.
3. Why do you ask me to renew my grief? McKean adapted a well-known line from Virgil: Infandum, regina, jubes renovare dolorem (Aeneid, bk. 2, line 3).
4. McKean altered this from “seems to consider” to “considers.”
5. According to McKean in his letter to JA of 18 Dec. 1780 (PHi: McKean Papers), this letter was carried by John Lowell on his return to Boston from Philadelphia; it has not been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0173-0001

Author: Chavagnes, Bidé de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-11-12

From Bidé de Chavagnes

[salute] Mon cher monsieur

D'après lespece de certitude que m'avoit donné monsieur allaine que j aurois Ihonneur et le plaisir de vous voir jeudy et de diner chez luy avec vous ce qui en grande partie m'a fait remercier monsieur déné a cambridge pour le même jour. Je me flattois de pouvoir prendre avec vous les arrangements qui vous eussent convenus pour votre embarquement qui reglera avec les vents notre depart.
J eusse eté bien aise aussi de vous confier une reflexion qui m'est venue et qui m'a paru d'une tres grande importance pour la sureté de votre mission, pour vos personnes pour toutte la fregatte. Enfin, voicy la chose. Dans la saison avancée comme elle l'est sujette a de gros coups de vents d un jour a lautre; ayant d ailleurs le projet de passer dans le Sud du Banc de st. georges pour eviter les 2 grosses fregattes angloises donts 2 batiments nous ont assurés la croisiere a peuprès fixée dans le nord du dit banc. Si de 50 a 100 lieues d'icy le moindre combat ou evenement malheureux nettoit, comme cela est tres possible la fregatte dans le cas de relacher dans un de vos ports du nord ou du Sud de cette baye ou côte jusqu'a rhodes ysland, avec des cartes peu exactes, personne icy qui connoisse ces atterrages, les dangers me paroitroint evidents. Dans la journée de demain qui me paroit vous estre necessaire pour vos affaires a boston, et qui, par des retardements que nous avons eprouvés pour quelques petites affaires definitives, ne pourra que contribuer au meilleur ordre de la fregatte, ne vous seroit il pas possible de nous procurer un genereux cytoyen pilotte de ces côtes qui put en venant en france avec vous, servir en votre nom sa patrie pour laquelle vous vous sacrifiez si genereusement. Je regarde cela d une si grande consequence que pour n'avoir rien a me reprocher je ne puis pas me dispenser de vous entretenir de cela le plutot possible.
Si cela peut vous convenir je mettray surement a la voile dimanche a midy precis et demain je me propose D'avoir lhonneur de vous voir a votre commodité, le matin ou le soir ou vous voudrez si vous voulez me le faire dire, et de vous reiterer les sentiments sinceres et respectueux avec lesquels j ay lhonneur d'estre Mon cher monsieur. Votre tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur.
[signed] Bidé de chavagnes
capne. des vaux. du roy.
Amoins que je ne recoive ce soir vendredy les effets que vous avez la bonté de me faire procurer jusquicy, je nay rien [re]venir.2

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0173-0002

Author: Chavagnes, Bidé de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-11-12

Bidé de Chavagnes to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] My Dear Sir

Mr. Allen's assurance that I would have the honor and pleasure of seeing and dining with you at his house on Thursday was my major reason for declining Mr. Dana's invitation to Cambridge of the same day. I flattered myself that I would be able to make suitable arrangements with you for your embarkation which will, with the winds, govern our departure.
I also would have liked to share with you the following observation, which occurred to me and seemed of very great importance for the safety of your mission, yourselves, and the frigate. In a word, here is the situation. The season is advanced, subject to heavy squalls from one day to the next, and, moreover, we plan to pass south of St. Georges' Bank in order to avoid the two large English frigates, which we are assured are cruising somewhat to the north of the said bank. The dangers seem obvious to me if, as is very possible, the smallest engagement or misfortune occurred within 50 to 100 leagues from here and the frigate, with inaccurate maps and persons unfamiliar with the approaches, put into one of your ports on the north or south sides of this bay or on the coast as far down as Rhode Island. In the course of tomorrow, which appears to us both to be necessary for the settlement of your affairs in Boston and which, from the delays we have experienced in dealing with minor problems, can only contribute to the well-being of the frigate, would it not be possible for you to procure a courageous citizen, a pilot for these coasts, who could come to France with you to serve, in your name, his country for which you sacrifice yourself so selflessly. I consider this matter of such great consequence that in order to have nothing to reproach myself for I cannot refrain from informing you of it at the earliest possible moment.
If it is convenient for you I will definitely set sail on Sunday, precisely at noon, and tomorrow propose to have the honor of meeting you at your convenience, morning or evening and at the location of your choice, there to reiterate the sincere and respectful sentiments with which I have the honor to be, my dear sir, your humble and very obedient servant.
[signed] Bidé de Chavagnes
Captain of the vessels of the King
Unless I receive this evening, Friday, the things you had the kindness to procure for me so far, I will have nothing to return.2
RC (Adams Papers). Filmed under Oct.-Nov. 1779, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 350.
1. Chavagnes' mention of Thursday in the first paragraph, and “this evening, Friday” in the postscript, and the fact that the frigate did sail on Sunday, 14 Nov., date this letter to Friday, 12 Nov. See also JA to Samuel Cooper, 14 Nov. (below).
2. It is not known what items JA was supplying to Chavagnes.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0174

Author: Cooper, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-11-14

From Samuel Cooper

[salute] My dear Sir

The very kind Readiness which you express'd to me, to allow my Grandson1 to be a Companion to your Sons in the Voyage to France has laid me under an Obligation that I can never forget: Accordingly I now commit him to you happy in the Perswasion that he will pursue his Studies with them under your Eye, and Direction. His Father who accompanies him to the Ship will most gratefully acknowledge your Goodness in this Trouble, and will put into your Hands what shall be necessary to defray the Expence, and will make further Provision as it shall become necessary. Allow me to ask the Favor of you to treat him as your own, and return him with your Sons. I shall not fail to write you by the next Opportunity to France. May God preserve and bless you my dear Sir, and prolong your Life an important Blessing to your Country and the World. I have not had an Opportunity to speak to Mr. Dana of my Boy. You will be so kind as to present my best Respects and good Wishes to him, and commend my Son to his kind Regard.

[salute] I am Sir, with the greatest Esteem an Affection Your most obedt. humle: Servant

[signed] Samuel Cooper
1. This was Samuel Cooper Johonnot, the eleven-year-old son of Lt. Col. Gabriel Johonnot, who was being sent to Europe for his education, first at Passy and then at Geneva. For sketches of father and son, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:418; and JQA, Diary, 1:2–3.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0175

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cooper, Samuel
Date: 1779-11-14

To Samuel Cooper

[salute] My dear Sir

This Moment I recieved your kind favor of this day's date. Coll. Johonnot and my young Friend, Sammy Cooper, are well on Board. This young Gentleman, Sir, shall have the best Care taken of him, in my power, and the same with my own.
Your kind Assurances that you will inform Me of what passes, give me great pleasure, and will be of great use to Me. I shall write You as often as possible. My best Respects, Compliments, Affections, Duties &ca. to all I leave behind, to whom they are due. Your Friend
[signed] John Adams
LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers). This is the first of JA's letters to be recorded in Lb/JA/8 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 96). This Letterbook is discussed in part 2 of the Introduction: “John Adams and his Letterbooks” (above).
{ 289 }
1. JA, JQA, and the rest of their party had gone aboard La Sensible on the previous day. Later on the 14th the frigate sailed out to King's Roads (now President Roads), the main harbor entrance, between Deer and Long islands, and on the 15th set sail for Europe. For accounts by JA and JQA of their leave taking and the sailing of La Sensible, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:400, 402, note 3; 4:191; and JQA, Diary, 1:2–3.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0176

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Wendell, Oliver
Date: 1779-11-14

To Oliver Wendell

Mr. Adams, has this Moment Mr. Wendells Billet,1 and in answer Says, that Mr. Brattle came to Paris when I was there, soon after my Arrival and spent some Weeks there. He was in Company with Mr. Joseph Waldo. Mr. Brattle expressed on all occasions, the best affections to the American Cause, and was treated with Civility by the Commissioners. During the whole Time of my Residence at Paris, I frequently heard of Mr. Brattle in London, and of his Piety to his Country and Charity to many American Prisoners. I was well informed that several of these were relieved from great Distress by Mr. Brattle at a considerable Expence, from his private Purse. If this may be of any Use, Mr. Brattle is very welcome to it, being all that I know.2
[signed] John Adams
RC (M-Ar: vol. 185, p. 12.)
1. Oliver Wendell, Boston merchant and at this time conservator of loyalist property, had received two letters from Thomas Brattle inquiring whether he could be accepted as a citizen of Massachusetts once again. Brattle's sister Catherine was the widow of Wendell's brother, John Mico Wendell (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 13:370–371; Mass., Province Laws, 21:274). JA had recommended Wendell to AA as a merchant who could assist her in financial transactions in his absence, and AA soon took advantage of this opportunity; see Adams Family Correspondence, 3:241–2423:241, 242.
2. Despite his known services to American prisoners, Thomas Brattle continued to be thought of as a refugee from the Revolution (he had gone abroad because of the decline of trade), and the Massachusetts General Court refused to permit his return. Staying in Rhode Island, where he had arrived from England in Nov. 1779, he served on Gen. Varnum's staff and performed useful services for the French, which brought him a commendation from Louis XVI. After the war, through resort to the courts, Brattle obtained recognition of his citizenship rights in Massachusetts and the return of property confiscated from his loyalist father, William, and inherited by Thomas. His estate in Cambridge became famous for its horticulture and landscaping (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 14:568–572).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0177

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-11-16

From James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

Not a Line by yesterday's Post from either you or Mr. Dana; nor indeed from any Person whatever in Massachusetts.
{ 290 }
The Principles of Equality in the Treaty between France and us being held up as a model for future Treaties may betray Negotiators into an Error; because tho' the Equality in regard to France and America is conspicuous, yet Partiality to France compared with other Powers has been established; particularly in the XIX Art: of our incorrect copy:1 “On the contrary no Shelter or Refuge” &c.
In the XIII Article, same Copy, French and Americans shall enjoy reciprocal Rights in the respective Dominions. The banished Americans cannot be allowed this under the Title of the Subjects of the King of Gr. Br.
The respective States of our Union who have passed Laws in their sovereign, independent Capacity, will not consent to repeal them, for the Sake of readmitting into their Bosoms capital Villains.
This was hinted yesterday by Sth. Carolina and will produce an Instruction if you or we find it necessary.
If I do not accomplish to send you by Palfrey2 or Foster3 the Orders of Credit you mentioned in your last I will most assuredly see that you shall not be without them. There is no trusting to Expedition in the Remittances of Funds by our Committees, nor indeed to Expeditiousness of any Kind here though we are reduced to a few now; the Gem'men for the most part taking themselves home to warm Lodgings, while the Drudges alas must sleep but few hours under slight Coverings and alone.
I will if I have Time say more respecting the Subject of your past Letters. Affectionately
[signed] J L
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honble. John Adams Esqr. Braintree”; docketed: “Mr Lovell Nov. 16. 1779 ansd. 16 March.”
1. Incorrect in the sense that Arts. 11 and 12, which the United States and France had agreed to remove from the treaty, had been eliminated from the text of the treaty then in use in America. Thus, Lovell is referring to Art. 17 of the treaty as ratified (and to Art. 11, as ratified, in the following paragraph).
2. The congress had voted to give leave to William Palfrey of Massachusetts, pay master general of the Continental Army, so that he might visit his family (JCC, 15:1268).
3. Possibly Dr. Isaac Foster, deputy director of the Eastern Department of medical services for the Continental Army. Although Foster's headquarters were in Boston, he was in Philadelphia during the winter of 1779–1780 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 14:262–268).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0178

Author: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-04

From Arthur Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

You had an opportunity of seeing the commencement of this business of Jones and the Alliance, of which I enclose you the suite.1 Capt. { 291 } Landais has been orderd from Amsterdam to Passy by Dr. Franklin where the Doctor, M. Chaumont2 and Dr. Bancroft have held a Court of Enquiry upon his conduct,3 and their report, I am told, is to be transmitted to Congress. In the mean time Jones has taken possession of the Alliance, and it is much if she ever sees America more. I make no remark upon the whole of this business. Woud to God such proceedings coud be prevented rather than punished! The Pallas belongs to a company at Nantes. The Bon Homme Richard was also private property. They both had Privateers Commissions. Yet a Ship of war of the United States was put in partnership with these Privateers and her Captain subjected to the orders of the Captain of Chaumonts Privateers.4 All this was done with the disagreement between the Captains notorious, and in spight of repeated applications from Mr. Izard, Commodore Gillon, and myself, to let her go as convoy to the supplies and Merchandise for America, and assist in protecting our Coast and Commerce from the depredations of the Enemy. The first excuse was, that she was not mannd, and this after you had written that she had a good Crew;5 the last was that the Squadron was not under his, Dr. Franklin's, direction.(a)6 These excuses are under his hand.
The fleets and Armies on both sides have retird into winter quarters. Not a word of or from D'Estaing on whose success our weal or woe so much depends. I am waiting here in great anxiety and impatience for instructions from Congress. I cannot too strongly recommend the utmost vigilance and fortitude to save our Country from the calamities with which she is threatend from a continuance of the war with the rage of open enemies on the one hand and the wickedness of pretended friends on the other.
With very great regard, I am Dear Sir Your most Obedient & very Humble Servant
(a)His words were—“Capt. Jones's Squadron is not under my direction; I only lent them the Alliance, in consequence of a request which I coud not well refuse.” Probably this request will turn out to be from the same person that requested Jones of us.7 Independent of Dr. Franklin's knowing this request to be a mere contrivance, to cover the job; it was so unjust as well as so unworthy that he coud and ought to have refusd it. He has read the Bible, and can quote it when it suits his purpose; and Nathan8 woud have furnished him with a proper answer to such a request.
The[y] write me from Amsterdam that M. Chaumont has dissmissd Jones from the command of the Privateers, who has taken command of the Alliance, where, I am confident, he will soon raise a mutiny.
{ 292 }
RC in Ludwell Lee's hand to the complimentary close, thereafter by Arthur Lee (Adams Papers); docketed: “Letter from A. Lee.”; in another hand: “Decr 4th 1779.” The letter was probably sent to America, since Lee could not have known of JA's return on this date.
1. Enclosure not found.
2. Leray de Chaumont, acting for the French government, served as paymaster for the specially assembled squadron commanded by Jones (Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 192).
3. On Pierre Landais, see Landais to JA, 9 March, note 2 (above). When he failed to support John Paul Jones during the battle with the Serapis, Jones brought charges which led to the court of inquiry. Franklin reported to the president of the congress in a letter of 4 March 1780, in which he enclosed the minutes of the court. He wrote: “I have not presumed to condemn or acquit him, doubting as well my Judgment and my Authority” (PCC, No. 82, 1, f. 201). Minutes of the inquiry are in the Franklin Papers (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 4:496).
4. Lee's view that the Pallas and the Bonhomme Richard, under Jones' command, were nothing but privateers ignores the fact that the French navy outfitted and maintained the ships. See Franklin to JA, 24 April, note 1 (above).
5. Lee is referring to Franklin's letter of 3 May, in reply to his letter of the 2d (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:153–154; Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 2:71). JA had written to Franklin on 29 April that “the Alliance has now a very good Crew” (above), a letter that Franklin probably did not receive before writing to Lee on 3 May.
6. Lee inserted the (a) to refer the reader to the postscript, but despite the quotation marks, the first of which have been supplied, no letter from Franklin to Lee containing the passage alleged by Lee to be “his [Franklin's] words” has been found. The passage may be a paraphrase of one in a letter from Franklin to Alexander Gillon of 5 July, which Gillon may have shown Lee. In that letter Franklin stated that “the little squadron which you suppose to be in my disposition is not, as you seem to imagine, fitted out at the expense of the United States, nor have I any authority to direct its operations. It was from the beginning destined by the concerned for a particular purpose. I have only, upon a request that I could not refuse, lent the Alliance to it, hoping the enterprise may be more advantageous to the common cause than her cruise could be alone” (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:239–240).
7. That is, Sartine. See Sartine to the Commissioners, 5 July 1778, vol. 6:265; and Franklin to JA, 24 April 1779 (above).
8. Nathan was sent by God to reprove David for his wickedness (2 Samuel, 12:1–12).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0179

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1779-12-08

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I have the Honour to inform your Excellency, that Congress having judged it proper to appoint me to a new Mission in Europe I embarked on the thirteenth of November,1 at the Instance of The Chevalier de La Luzerne and Mr. Gerard, on Board the same Frigate that carried me to America. Soon after We got to sea a formidable Leake in the ship discovered itself so as to oblige Us to keep two Pumps, constantly going by Night and Day, which induced the Captain [to] think it necessary to put into this Place, where We have just now cast Anchor.
Whether I shall go to Paris by Land or wait for the Frigate is uncertain; I believe the former, as the latter might detain me, four or five
{ 293 } | view { 294 }
Weeks. I have dispatches for your Excellency from Congress, which I shall carry with me, and News papers. These latter contain little remarkable save the Evacuation of Rhode Island by the Enemy, and the Compte D'Estaings Progress in Georgia, in Cooperation with General Lincoln, which was in a fair Course of success.2
I hope the Confederacy, which sailed from Philadelphia, three or four Weeks before Us, with Mr. Gerard and Mr. Jay, who is appointed Minister plenipotentiary for Spain, has happily arrived,3 and made it unnecessary for me to enlarge upon the general state of Affairs in America, which were upon the whole in a favourable Train. I hope to have the Honour of saluting you at Passy in a few Weeks, and am with4 sir, your most obedient servt
[signed] John Adams
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers.); addressed: “A Son Excellence Monsieur Monsieur Franklin Ministre Plenipotentiaire des Etats Unis de L'Amerique, a Passy pres Paris”; docketed: “J. Adams Decr. 10. 79.” LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).
1. The date on which JA boarded La Sensible; the vessel left Boston Harbor on 15 Nov. His voyage is recounted in JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:402–404|| (entry for 24 Nov. and following)||, 4:191–194|| (entry for 5 Nov. and following)||; JQA, Diary, 1:3–10|| (entry for 15 Nov. and following)||; and Adams Family Correspondence, 3:235–239|| (JA to AA, 15 and 20 Nov.; JQA to AA, 20 Nov.)||.
2. On 28 Oct. the Independent Chronicle reported that the British evacuation of Newport had been completed on the 25th. The Boston Gazette on 1 Nov. listed Estaing's alleged victories in Georgia.
3. John Jay sailed on 20 Oct. 1779 in the Continental frigate Confederacy, but storm damage forced the vessel into St. Pierre, Martinique, in mid-December. There Jay transferred to the French frigate Aurora, which arrived at Cadiz on 22 Jan., making a total voyage of 95 days (Morris, Peacemakers, p. 1–7). This was in sharp contrast to JA's 24-day passage.
4. A blank space appears here; the Letterbook copy has “great Respect.”

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0180

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1779-12-11

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear Sir

I have escaped, the Rage of the Sea and the Vigilance of British Men of War, and the Treachery of a Leaky ship: but have got the Mountains of Asturias, and the Pyrenees to pass with all the Snows. It is a monstrous Journey to Paris, at least three hundred and twenty Leagues. The Roads, Taverns, Mules and every Thing inconvenient as We are told, and the Expence great enough.
This Part of the World is filled with Rumours as well as yours. They talk much of Commotions in Ireland &c. &c: but I can get nothing certain here. The Removal of D'Orvillier occasions much Speculation: But Duchauffaud is universally allowed to be an excellent officer.1
I cant see a Ray of Hope of being much employed untill after another Campaign, in Negotiations for Peace: But I see that some Seeds may be advantageously sown, wherever I go. There are many mistaken { 295 } notions concerning our Affairs which are easily rectified, and much Information may be given and received.
Nothing is of more Importance than to give the French and Spaniards just Ideas of the Resources they may draw from the United States, by carrying on the War with Vigour, in the American Seas. They have as yet no adequate Conception of the Advantages they have of the English, in that Quarter—in the facility of procuring Supplies of materials, Artisans, and Provisions, at a time when the English must draw all from Europe.
It now appears to me, very easy to reduce the English in N. York. A Superior Fleet, Stationed at Rhode Island, or cruising on the Coast of America, or playing between the Continent and the Islands, would cutt off their supplies so as to ruin them.
This Port of Ferroll is a grand Thing. I had no Idea of it. The Works are astonishing.2
I find much Civility here, and many Professions of good Will to the states. Some of the Spaniards, have not yet got out of their Heads the Idea, of mauvaise Exemple:3 But when they are led to consider the Difference between their Colonies and the English, that there is no Probability or Possibility of their ever undertaking as the English did, to subvert the fundamentals of an Established Government—and the Nature of their Governments which can suppress in an instant the first Symptom of discontent, they easily give it up. I am in great Haste, yours
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi: Gerry-Knight Coll.); docketed: “Ferrol Letter His Excellcy J Adams Esr Decr. 11 1779.”
1. On Orvilliers' replacement by Du Chaffault, see Gellée to JA, 11 Oct., note 1 (above).
2. In addition to its naturally well-protected harbor, which required ships to enter one at a time, El Ferrol possessed a heavy complement of forts and supporting dockyards and arsenals (Edinburgh Gazetteer). See also JQA's description of El Ferrol in his Diary entry of 8 Dec. (JQA, Diary, 1:9–10); and JA to AA, 11 Dec. (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:243).
3. JA uses the English version of this phrase, “bad Example,” in his Diary entry of 14 Dec., where he explains it more precisely and adds another Spanish fear, that an independent United States might “become ambitious and be seised with the Spirit of Conquest [and] aim at Mexico and Peru.” He then gives a spirited critique of both the “bad Example” and the American ambition arguments (Diary and Autobiography, 2:408). In his Autobiography, however, JA gives a quite different view of Spanish attitudes toward the Anglo-American conflict and its implications for the Spanish empire (same, 4:224–225).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0181

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1779-12-11

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

To the President of the Congress, No. 1

El Ferrol, Spain, 11 December 1779. Dupl in John Thaxter's hand PCC, No. 84, 1, f. 227; docketed: “No. 1 J Adams Esqr original by { 296 } Capt. Trask from Corunna to Newbury Port, Mass. Bay. Duplicate of Decemb 11th 1779 Original receivd. Recd. May 15. 1780 orig read March 27.” The “original” has not been found. LbC Adams Papers. LbC in JA's and in Thaxter's hand Adams Papers; notations: “Recd in Congress Oct. 15. Triplicate.”; by Thaxter: “No. 1.” For a discussion of the presence of two Letterbook copies in the Adams Papers, see part 2 of the Introduction: “John Adams and his Letterbooks” (above).
John Adams informed the congress of the reason for the emergency landing at El Ferrol, his good treatment at the hands of French and Spanish officials, and the necessity of traveling overland to Paris. He reported on the condition of French and Spanish fleets, Du Chaffault's appointment as commander of the Brest fleet, and John Paul Jones' capture of “a Forty four Gun Ship” (the frigate Serapis). Finally, he advised the congress that he did not expect to be able to initiate negotiations for peace soon and dismissed the rumor that Russia and Holland were seeking to act as mediators.
Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, 1, f. 227); docketed: “No. 1 J Adams Esqr original by Capt. Trask from Corunna to Newbury Port, Mass. Bay. Duplicate of Decemb 11th 1779 Original receivd. Recd. May 15. 1780 orig read March 27.” The “original” has not been found. LbC (Adams Papers). LbC in JA's and in Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); notations: “Recd in Congress Oct. 15. Triplicate.”; by Thaxter: “No. 1.” For a discussion of the presence of two Letterbook copies in the Adams Papers, see part 2 of the Introduction: “John Adams and his Letterbooks” (above). printed: (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:195.)

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0182

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lagoanere, Michel
Date: 1779-12-16

To Michel Lagoanere

[salute] Sir

I am So little acquainted with the Language and Usages of this Country that I am under a Necessity of troubling some Gentleman so much as to ask the favour of his Advice and Assistance, in order to pass through the Kingdom of Spain, in my Way to Paris.
I therefore beg the favour of you2 to inform me, whether I can have Carriages, Horses Mules &c. in this Place, to carry me to Bayonne, Bilboa, or Madrid. At what Price I can hire a Coach large enough for four Persons, at what Price I can hire a Chaise or Cabriolet, which will carry two Persons. The Consul of France3 has assured Me, that he will furnish me with a Man acquainted with the Spanish Language, and the Roads. Whether it is best to hire Mules by the Day, and how much I must give: or whether it would be most prudent to hire Mules and Carriages to go to Madrid, and depend upon getting Carriages and Horses there for the rest of the Journey to Bayonne.
My own Inclination is to go to Madrid, and from thence to Bilbao and thence to Bayonne.
I have with me, three Gentlemen, The Honourable Francis Dana Esq., Mr. Allen and Mr. Thaxter. Besides those I have three Children, from 8 to 12 Years of Age and three servants, one of Mr. Dana and one of Mr. Allen—making in all Ten Persons.
I should be obliged to you, sir for your Advice, what will be the best Way for me to travel, how many Carriages Mules &c. to take and what Road.
{ 297 }
I should also be obliged to you for a short sketch of the Route We are to take, and the Names of the principal Places We are to pass through.
I should be obliged to you for your Answer in Writing4 & am, with great Respect, sir your most obedient servant.
1. JA and his party had arrived at La Coruña from El Ferrol the previous evening. For accounts of the one-day journey, which both JA and John Thaxter estimated at about twenty miles, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:409; JQA, Diary, 1:13; and Adams Family Correspondence, 3:251, 252.
2. Lagoanere was described by JA in a letter 16 Jan. 1780 to the president of the congress as “a Gentleman who has acted for some time as an American Agent at Corunna” (calendared, below; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:230). For JQA's description of him, see JQA, Diary, 1:18.
4. In his very friendly and informative reply of 17 Dec. (Adams Papers), Lagoanere answered JA's questions in considerable detail, telling him of possible problems in preparing for the trip and giving the approximate charges for hiring carriages and mules. He also described the routes to Bayonne and the advantages of going there by way of Madrid. Lagoanere closed his letter by stating that “J'ai l'honneur de remettre a Notre Excellence un Itineraire des Routes de ce Royaume.” This was probably Joseph Mathias Escrivano's Itinerario español, o guia de caminos, para ir desde Madrid a todas las ciudades . . ., 3d edn., Madrid, 1767, which is in JA's library at the Boston Public Library, where it bears the notation “Presented by Mr. Lagoanere, American Agent at Corunna to John Adams, Decr. 20, 1779” (Catalogue of JA's Library). The titlepage is reproduced in JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:following 130.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0183

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1779-12-16

To James Lovell

[salute] My dear Friend

Providence has favoured me, with a very unexpected Visit to Spain. It is somewhat of a Contretems, to be sure, that the Minister for Spain should be at this Time in France, where I hope he is, altho' We have no Account of his Arrival:1 and the Minister of Peace, who ought to be in Paris, in the remotest part of Spain. But so it is—The Captain of the Sensible, finding the Leak in the Ship dangerous, was determined to put into the first port, and I cannot blame him, altho' I did not advise him to it, and here I am, with the prospect of the Mountains of Asturias and the Pyrenees before me.
If the Business of my Commission is not retarded by my accidental Journey, through Spain, I shall have no Reason to regret it. I have been treated with as much Civility, and with a more studied Attention and Respect, in this Country, than I ever was in any other. If I had Time, there is nothing but what I could have the fairest opportunities to see, in Company with the first People of the Country.
I really dont know whether to go through Madrid or not—whether { 298 } it will be most respectful to this Nation in my Situation to go to Madrid or to avoid it.2
I shall inclose to Congress all the News Papers, I can beg or find, or I had almost said steal: but there is not much News. No great Things have been done in Europe, excepting keeping the English Fleet in Torbay—that indeed is a great thing.3
The English Maxim is to make themselves terrible at Sea to all the Nations of Europe—read Thompson's Brittannia.4 But cooped up in Torbay, they are not dreaded by any Body. They will be less dreaded next Year than this.
The Eyes of Europe are turned upon Ireland next to America. There are many Reports—that France has sent over large Sums of Money—ten thousand Stands of Arms &c. &c. &c.: but I pay little Attention to such Tales. Ireland will give England Inquietude, but I have not much Faith as yet in the Menaces of Revolt and Independence and Insurrections and all that.
Nothing is more delusive than the private Letters and paragraphs of Letters, that are read in the great Towns of Europe from Paris, London, Amsterdam, Madrid &c. unless it be the Articles of News in the Newspapers. There is this Difference—the private Letters are the Errors of Ignorance—those of the Gazettees are the Impostures of Knavery—both equally false and deceitful.
My Journey from Ferrol to Paris will be vastly expensive, and I must intreat that Congress would not delay to make some provision for supplying me, with means to discharge this as well as all other Expences. Mr. Jay, I think will find no Difficulty. His Wants will all be supplied and he will enter soon on business. I shall, I fear, find great difficulty to get Cash to bear my Expences, and have nothing in direct Consequence of my Commission to do for a long time. I hate to be idle.
My Love, and Duty &c. where due—particularly to your Colleagues. You have a new Sett probably e'er now.

[salute] I am with much Affection Your's

LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).
1. See JA to Benjamin Franklin, 8 Dec., note 3 (above).
2. JA would puzzle over this decision until he reached Astorga on 4 Jan. 1780, when he decided to proceed directly to France without passing through Madrid (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:421–422; 4:231.
3. This was an erroneous report that JA may first have seen in the Independent Chronicle of 23 Sept. It reported the arrival at Boston from Amsterdam in 56 days of a Capt. Coffin with news that a French and Spanish fleet of 54 sail was blockading Adm. Sir Charles Hardy's fleet of 30 ships in Torbay on the Devonshire coast. Hardy had been at Torbay in July, but he had been forced there by the weather. By the time Coffin arrived at Boston, the French and Spanish forces { 299 } had retired to Brest, without having engaged Hardy's force in what had been expected to be a decisive battle (Mackesy, War for America, p. 284–297).
4. Perhaps JA had in mind lines 179–181 of James Thomson's Britannia: “But on the Sea be terrible, untam'd, / Unconquerable Still; let none escape / Who shall but aim to touch your Glory there.” JA had quoted at great length from Britannia in his letter to Lovell of 4 Oct. (above; poetry not printed).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0184

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1779-12-16

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

To the President of the Congress, No. 2

La Coruña, Spain, 16 December 1779. RC in John Thaxter's hand PCC, No. 84, I, f. 231.; docketed: “No. 2 Letter from J. Adams Corunna Decr. 16. 1779 Read March 27. 1780.” LbC Adams Papers. LbC in Thaxter's hand Adams Papers; notations: “Recd in Congress Oct. 15. Triplicate.”; by Thaxter: “No. 2.” and “NB. Nos. 1 & 2 were sent by Captain Trask bound to Newbury Port from Corunna.” For a discussion of the presence of two Letterbook copies in the Adams Papers, see part 2 of the Introduction: “John Adams and his Letterbooks.”
John Adams reported his arrival in Spain, journey from El Ferrol to La Coruña, and answers to numerous questions from Spanish officials about the progress of the war and the appointment of an American minister plenipotentiary to Spain. He noted the “prevailing Opinion,” mistaken as it turned out, that Spain would receive the American minister, recognize American independence, and conclude a treaty. He then described measures taken to improve the coordination between the French and Spanish fleets and stated his belief that war would last at least another year. Finally, Adams reported rumors of a Russian mediation and his opinion that Russia, as a preliminary, would insist on British recognition of American independence, a concession he believed Britain would make with even greater reluctance than the cession of Gibraltar to Spain.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 231.); docketed: “No. 2 Letter from J. Adams Corunna Decr. 16. 1779 Read March 27. 1780.” LbC (Adams Papers). LbC in Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); notations: “Recd in Congress Oct. 15. Triplicate.”; by Thaxter: “No. 2.” and “NB. Nos. 1 & 2 were sent by Captain Trask bound to Newbury Port from Corunna.” For a discussion of the presence of two Letterbook copies in the Adams Papers, see part 2 of the Introduction: “John Adams and his Letterbooks.”printed: (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:204).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0185

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cermeño, Don Pedro Martin
Date: 1779-12-18

To Don Pedro Martin Cermeño

Mr. Adams presents his Compliments to the Governor of Corunna,1 and informs him according to his desire, express'd last Evening, that the Names of the Persons for whom he requests a Passport, from His Excellency, the Governor of this Province, are as follow
John Adams, a Ministre, plenipotentiary from the United States of America
The Honourable Francis Dana Esqr., Secretary, to Mr. Adams's Commission, a Member of Congress, and a Member of the Council of the Massachusetts Bay.
Mr. John Thaxter, private Secretary to Mr. Adams
{ 300 }
John Quincy Adams a Son of Mr. Adams of about twelve Years of Age
Charles Adams another Son of Mr. Adams, near 10 Years of Age.
Mr. Jeremiah Allen a private Gentleman, of Boston in the Massachusetts2 accidentally <travelling> in Company,3 he is a Merchant travelling with a View of establishing a private Commerce in Spain as well as France.
Samuel Cooper Johonnot, another Infant of 10 or 11 Years of Age, a Grandson of a particular Friend of Mr. Adams's in Boston going to Paris for an Education in the University there.
Joseph Stevens a Servant of Mr. Adams
John William Christian Fricke a Servant of Mr. Dana
Andrew Desmia a Servant of Mr. Allen
Mr. Adams requests a Passport for all these Persons4 to go to Madrid, and from thence to Bilbao and from thence to Bayonne in their Way to Paris, with Liberty at the Same Time to go directly to Bayonne by the nearest Road without going to Madrid or to Bilbao, as it is uncertain whether Mr. Adams will have the Time to gratify his Inclinations with the Sight of those Cities or not.
1. As the passport that resulted from this letter (see note 4) makes clear, JA was addressing Don Pedro Martin Cermeño, governor of the province of Galicia, not the military governor of La Coruña, Galicia's administrative capital.
2. The preceding five words were interlined for insertion here.
3. The remainder of this sentence was interlined.
4. Only JA is named in the passport, the rest of the party being described by their relationship to him. The document, in Spanish, is in the Adams Papers, dated 18 Dec., and is reproduced in JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:following 290.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0186

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lagoanere, Michel
Date: 1779-12-18

To Michel Lagoanere

[salute] Sir

I thank you for your ready Answer to my Letter of the Sixteenth and for the Itinerary.1
After deliberating as maturely as I can, upon the Contents of your Letter of the 17th, I have concluded, to go to Madrid, and therefore request that you would hire a Coach of four Places, and a Cabriolet of two Places, and Mules for the other four Persons as soon as possible. If a Cabriolet cannot be had there must be two other Mules.
We are all determined to Strip ourselves as bare of Baggage as possible and carry nothing but what is of indispensable Necessity. The rest We shall leave here in Chests which We shall ask the favour of the { 301 } french Consul to send on Boa[r]d the frigate the Sensible, to be transported to Brest there to be left in the Care of Mr. Constintin the American Agent, or Mr. Moylan at L'orient, or Mr. Schweighauser at Nantes or Mr. Bonfield at Bourdeaux, either of which Gentlemen will inform me at Paris of the Receipt of them. Captain Chavagne will readily take this Trouble upon himself. Or if the Consul can send them by any other Frigate it will be as well.
I shall Submit it to you entirely to make the best Bargain you can for the Carriages and Mules, and to give me a Copy of the Contract in Writing. And I pray, if it is possible that We may be ready to sett off, upon our Journey by Monday Morning.2 I have the Honour to be, with much Respect, sir your most obedient Servant
1. See JA's letter of the 16th, note 4 (above).
2. That is, the 20th. JA and his party did not leave, however, until the 26th. See Lagoanere's letter to JA of that date, and note 1 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0187

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Detournelle, M.
Date: 1779-12-19

To M. Detournelle

[salute] <Sir>

<I have received So many Civilities, of various Kinds from you, and the Vice Consul at Ferrol, that I shall ever hold myself under particular obligations to both, and I take this Method to express to you and to him my Thanks.>
<I should be obliged to you, if you would make a Memorandum of the Cash furnished me by the Vice Consul, and which may be furnished me by you, as also of all the Expences you have been at, on my Account and that of my family and let me have it, as soon as possible, that I may give you, some proper Voucher to insure you the Repayment of it.>
<Let me beg one favour more, and that is a List of the Titles of those Books you mentioned to me, concerning the Rights, Powers <<and>> Duties and Obligations of Consuls and Embassadors.2>
1. The entire letter was canceled out with a large X. JA dined with Detournelle on the 19th, making a letter unnecessary.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0188-0001

Author: Lagoanere, Michel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-26

From Michel Lagoanere

[salute] Monsieur

J'ai crû devoir differer de repondre a la depeche que Vôtre Excellence m'a fait l'honneur de m'adresser le 18 du Courant jusqu'a ce que { 302 } je pusse rendre compte de Succès de mes demarches pour l'execution de Ses ordres. Je n'ai rien negligé pour y parvenir, mais j'ai eu la mortification d'éprouver que tous mes soins n'ont pas été suffisants a cet égard et qu'il ne m'a pas été possible de faire preparer les choses aussi promptement que Vôtre Excellence le desiroit pour Son départ.
Le Carosse qui S'attendoit de Madrid en cette ville et qu'un homme que j'avois envoyé a Betanzos2 pour l'arreter afin d'en avoir la préférence a attendu inutillement pendant deux jours3 S'en étoit retourné avant d'y arriver. II ne m a plus resté de ressource pour le remplacer que celle de Louer des chaises. J'ai envoyé a St. Jacques pour entraiter avec un particulier d'ici nommé Ramon Sanz qui en tient de Louage et qui étoit alors dans la ditte Ville et a Son arrivée je Suis convenu avec lui qu'il en fourniroit trois pour le prix de trente doublons ou quatre Vingt dix piastres fortes4 chacune jusqu'a Madrid sous les différentes conditions que contient le contrat que j'ai l'honneur de remettre a Vôtre Excellence avec la traduction.5 J'ai payé d'avance et a Compte au dit Ramon Quatre Vingt dix piastres fortes.
J'ai loué également trois mulets de selle pour les trois domestiques a trente piastres fortes chacune pour aller a Madrid ou a Bayonne sous la condition de payer une piastre forte de plus pour chaque jour que Vôtre Excellence jugera a propos de s'arretter dans la route et en outre Six reaux vellon par jour jusqu'a l'arrivée a Madrid ou a Bayonne pour raison de nourriture a chacun des deux garçons qui partent pour avoir Soïn de ces trois mules et de celle du guide que M Le Consul de France vous a procuré. Sans rien de plus, La nourriture des mules et tous autres fraix, S'il y en a, devant être a la charge des Conducteurs a qui il a été payé d'avance et a Compte quarante Cinq piastres fortes.
Le Nommé Michel Martinez qui doit vous Servir de guide, de pourvoyeur, et d'interprette dans la route jusqu'a Madrid ou Bayonne est ajusté pour le prix de cinquante piastres fortes dans lequel est Compris le Loyer et la nourriture de Sa mule qui est a Sa charge et quant a Sa nourriture personnelle il a été convenu qu'il l'a prendroit avec les Domestiques. Il a aussi reçu d'avance et a Compte Quinze piastres fortes.
J'ai encore Loué au Maragato6 nommé antoine Arecs deux mulets qui doivent Suivre les voitures et porter jusqu'a la Concurrence de Six quintaux pezant jusqu'a Astorga7 pour le prix de Dix piastres fortes et en outre deux piastres fortes qu'il a été Convenu de lui allouer pour Sa détention ici pour ne partir qu'avec les voitures et les Suivre faisant en tout Douze piastres fortes Sans rien de plus pour quelque raison que ce soit Si ce n'est dans le cas ou Vôtre Excellence jugeroit a propos de le détenir dans la route que Sa depense et celle de Ses mulets devra être { 303 } payée pendant tous le temps de Sa détention a moins qu'il ne fut lui même forcé de Se detenir par la neige ou le mauvais temps. II a reçu d'avance et a Compte 2 piastres fortes.
Monsieur Le Consul de france S'est chargé de faire embarquer les côffres et les malles que Vôtre Excellence lui a laissé Sur la premiere frégate ou Vaisseau de guerre qui sortira de ce port pour france aux adresses qui y Sont mises et j'aurai Soin d'écrire pour prevenir les personnes qui devront les retirer pour les tenir a la disposition de Vôtre Excellence.
J'ai l'honneur de remettre a Vôtre Excellence un état des debours qui ont été faits par moi qui comprend Les Deux cents piastres fortes que lui a compté le Vice Consul de france au ferrol, l'argent que je lui ay compté moi même et les payements que j'ai fait ici Le tout montant a Soixante mille reaux de veillon ou Trois mille piastres fortes, et comme je me trouve dépositaire de fonds provenants des prises faites par le Cutter La Revanche Sous le Commandement de M Gustavus Conyngham qui sont Saisir en mes mains par la justice de pays et dont la propieté d'un autre Coté est elle même contestée je laisse a la justice et a la pénetration de Vôtre Excellence de prendre les arrangements qui lui paroitront les plus convenables pour me mettre a l'abri de toute espece d'evenement soit qu'il faille justifier de l'emploi de cette quantité vis a vis des propriétaires qu'els qu'ils soient soit que je Sois forcé en justice de représenter immediatement la somme totale Saisie dans mes mains.
Je remets également a Vôtre Excellence la lettre pour MM Pre. Casamayor et Companie Banquiers a Madrid et celle pour MM Cabarrus Pere et fils Jeune negociants a Bayonne qu'elle a bien voulu me permettre d'avoir l'honneur de lui présenter.8
Il ne me reste qu'a Souhaiter a Vôtre Excellence le plus heureux voyage a lui demander Sa protection, et a desirer qu'elle veuille bien me procurer les occasions de lui prouver ma reconnoissance mon Zele et le respect profond avec lequel Je Suis Monsieur Votre tres humble et très obeissant Serviteur
[signed] Michel Lagoanere

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0188-0002

Author: Lagoanere, Michel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-26

Michel Lagoanere to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I thought that I should postpone answering the letter of 18 December, which Your Excellency did me the honor to send, until I could give you an account of the success of my efforts in the execution of your orders. I neglected nothing, but am mortified to find that all my pains have been insufficient and it has been impossible to prepare things as promptly as Your Excellency wished for his departure.
{ 304 }
Anticipating the coach from Madrid, I sent a man to Betanzos2 to intercept and reserve it. He waited for two days, to no avail,3 and returned before its arrival. My only recourse then was to rent chaises. I sent to St. Jacques to negotiate with Ramon Sanz, a man from here who rents them and was then in the said town, and on his return we agreed that he would furnish three chaises at thirty doblons or ninety pesos fortes4 each to go to Madrid in accordance with the various stipulations in the contract, which I have the honor to remit to Your Excellency with a translation.5 I paid the said Ramon, in advance and on account, ninety pesos fortes.
I have also rented three saddle mules for the three servants at thirty pesos fortes each, to go to Madrid or Bayonne on condition of paying one additional peso for each day Your Excellency stops along the way and another six reals de vellon per day until your arrival at Madrid or Bayonne to feed the two boys in charge of the mules, and the guide obtained by the French consul. That is all, the feeding of the mules and other expenses that might occur being the responsibility of the boys, who were paid in advance and on account forty-five pesos fortes.
Michel Martinez, who is to serve as your guide, supplier, and interpreter on the road to Madrid or Bayonne, has agreed to the sum of fifty pesos fortes, which includes the rental and feeding of his mule and, in regard to his own food, he has agreed to take his meals with the servants. He also has received, in advance and on account, fifteen pesos fortes.
In addition, I rented from a Maragato,6 Antoine Areca, two mules, which will follow the chaises and carry up to six quintals as far as Astorga,7 for the price of ten pesos fortes and an additional two pesos fortes has been agreed upon to allow for his remaining here until the departure of the chaises, and then to follow them, making in all twelve pesos fortes with no additional charges, unless Your Excellency wishes to stop on the road in which case he will be reimbursed for his own expenses and for his mules during the period of his detention unless he, himself, was detained because of snow or bad weather. He has received, in advance and on account, two pesos fortes.
The French consul has taken it upon himself to put the chests and trunks Your Excellency left with him aboard the first frigate or man-of-war leaving this port for France and the addresses marked on them, and I will write to ensure that the people who receive them will hold them for Your Excellency's disposition.
I have the honor to remit to Your Excellency a statement of disbursments made by me, which includes the two hundred pesos fortes furnished by the French vice consul at Ferrol, the money I provided, and the payments that I have made here, the whole amounting to sixty thousand reals de vellon or three thousand pesos fortes. And as I find myself custodian of the funds arising from the prizes taken by the cutter Revenge, Captain Gustavus Conyngham, which were entrusted to me by { 305 } the courts of the country, and of which the ownership is being contested, I leave to Your Excellency's justice and sagacity the arrangements which will seem to him most appropriate to protect me from any difficulties that might arise were we forced to justify the use of these funds to the owners, whoever they may be, and were I forced to produce in court these funds, which are known to be in my hands.
I send also the letters for Messrs. Pre. Casamayor and Company, bankers in Madrid, and for Messrs. Cabarrus, father and son, merchants at Bayonne, which you wished me to convey to you.8
It only remains for me to wish Your Excellency the happiest of trips, ask God's protection, and hope that you will give me every occasion to prove to you my gratitude, zeal, and the profound respect with which I am, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Michel Lagoanere
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr Lagoanere 26. Decr. 1779.” For enclosures see notes 5 and 8.
1. On this day at “half after two” in the afternoon, JA and his party set off for Paris, where they arrived on 9 Feb. 1780. Lagoanere accompanied the party to its first stop at Betanzos. For accounts by JA and JQA of this long and arduous journey, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:415–435; 4:213–240; JQA, Diary, 1:19–32; Adams Family Correspondence, 3:258–260. John Thaxter's letters to AA, Adams Family Correspondence, 3:267, 276–278, and Francis Dana's Journal, 1779–1780, MHi, supplement these accounts.
2. About fifteen miles southeast of La Coruña, this town, the ancient capital of Galicia, was the first stop on the road to Madrid.
3. Lagoanere interlined “a attendu inutillement pendant deux jours.”
4. Since 1686 Spain had possessed two money systems. The first, the more valuable of the two and referred to here as “forte,” was the moneda de plata antigua, which was the money used to settle accounts. The second was the moneda devellon, which was used for everyday commercial transactions. In this passage Lagoanere is referring to both types of money in terms of their different values and is, for the most part, careful to distinguish between them. The relation between a doblon and a peso was one doblon to four pesos, but, according to Lagoanere, three pesos fortes equaled one doblon de vellon. Approximately the same difference in value can be seen later in the letter when Lagoanere gives the total of the disbursements made by him on behalf of JA and his party. There he refers to 60,000 reals de vellon equaling 3,000 pesos fortes. The relation between the peso and the real was 1:32; thus, had the transaction been conducted wholly in moneda de plata antigua, the amounts would have been 3,000 pesos fortes or 96,000 reals fortes (John J. McCusker, Money and Exchange in Europe and America, 1600–1775, Chapel Hill, 1978, p. 98–100).
5. Not found.