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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 8

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).
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.