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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 8


Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0126

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

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 Searles name being previously withdrawn.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).
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, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/