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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 8

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 D. was recalled—that Congress did not do it—that it was done after the Members were withdrawn and Congress very thin.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.
6. The Maragatos, who lived in La Maragateria region just west of Astorga, were thought to be descendants of the original Celtiberian inhabitants. For JA's brief description of them, see Diary and Autobiography, 2:420, 421.
7. This city is about one hundred and forty miles southeast of La Coruña, more than a third of the way to Madrid. It was there that JA decided not to continue to the Spanish capital, but to proceed directly east and north to France (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:421–22; 4:231; JQA, Diary, 1:23).
8. The first of these letters is in the Adams Papers and was not used because JA did not go to Madrid (see JA to Pedro Casamayor & Co., 31 Jan. 1780, below). The second letter has not been found, presumably because it was presented to the merchants at Bayonne (JA to Lagoanere, 24 Jan. 1780, below).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0189

Author: Lloyd, Richard B.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-28

From Richard B. Lloyd

[salute] Dear Sir

Having just heard of your being returned to Paris,1 I take the earliest opportunity to offer you my sincere congratulations on your safe arrival in Europe, and I flatter myself you left Mrs. Adams and Family perfectly well.
On my departure from Paris you gave me a small commission to execute in this City, but your quitting that Metropolis almost as soon as I had reached London deprived me of the pleasure of sending you what you desired. I beg leave again to be favoured with your commands and be assured if I can be of use to you while I remain here, it will be a real pleasure to me.2 My stay in England will be but a few months. I shall at all events embark in the Spring for America, and if you know of a good opportunity by which I can convey my family across the Atlantic I shall be much obliged to you to mention it. Any news that you may think proper to communicate will be very thankfully received. Mrs. Lloyd unites with me in best respects, and believe me to be, Dear Sir, with very great esteem yr. obt. humble Servant
[signed] Richard B. Lloyd3
Direct for me at No. 41 Somerset Street Portman Square London.
1. The source of Lloyd's misinformation may have been the London Chronicle of 25–28 Dec., which erroneously reported that JA had arrived in Paris on 14 Dec. JA's appointment and mission had been reported in the 23–25 Dec. issue.
2. See JA's reply of 20 Feb. 1780 (below). The editors have found no record of JA's original “small commission” to Lloyd.
3. Richard Bennett Lloyd of Maryland (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., index).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0190

Author: Adams, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-01-13

From Samuel Adams

[salute] My dear Sir

I gladly embrace the first opportunity I have had of writing to you since you left this Country. Mr. Jona. Loring Austin is the Bearer of this Letter. He is appoint[ed] by the General Assembly to negociate an Affair in Europe which will be communicated to you by a Letter written to you by the President of the Council and signd in their Name.1 The Measure is the favorite offspring of the House of Representatives, and was adopted by many Members of the Council, I wish it may succeed to their Expectation.
The Assembly has been sitting five or six Weeks, and it is probable will rise tomorrow. Among other things, they have passed an Act for { 307 } securing to their own officers and Soldiers in the Army of the United States, a Compensation for the Depreciation of their pay.2 It is done in a Mode agreable to a Committee of Officers from the Army, so that there is no Doubt but the Rest of the Officers and the Soldiers will be satisfied with it. Money has been sent to the Army to inlist those whose three years are expired, and who may be inclind to continue in the Service. And we are well assured that great Numbers have engagd, so that there is a good Prospect of our States Batallions being well filled. Indeed there is all imaginable Reason to expect that the General will be furnished in the Spring3 with an Army better disciplined than even those which have proved their Superiority to the Enemy in several Campaigns. The more they are inured to actual Service, the more perfect they will be in Discipline; and the Courage of a Soldier in the Time of Action, in a great Measure [arises] from a Confidence in his military Knowledge. What Events may take place in the Spring we cannot certainly predict. An Army we know will be necessary, either to fight the Enemy, or to give Assurance and Stability to the skillful Negociator of Peace. The Plan you mentiond to me as having been proposd by you to Monsr. —— the last October was a twelvemonth,4 if it could be fully accomplishd, might in one of the ways above mentioned or the other, secure to us the Objects which I know your heart is much set upon as well as mine. Independence is a mere Charm, unless by Arts or by Arms we secure to our selves those Advantages we may not have the Fortitude to assert it as we ought, but by which alone we shall be enabled, under God, to maintain it. You have the Parchments and for my self I confide both in your Wisdom and Integrity.
You will see by the inclosd Paper that our Convention is adjournd. The Roads thro the Country are so blockd up by incessant and heavy Snows, that it has been impracticable for the Members to attend. It is proposd to keep it alive by short Adjournments till a sufficient Number shall arrive to proceed to the Business.5 Those among us who can rember the year 1717 say there has not been so much Snow on the Ground since that Time.
Mr. L informs me that Colo. Laurens the younger has declind going to Europe.6 “The little Gentleman”7 (he will pardon me the Joke) will, if he recollects, help <you> us to guess who will probably obtain the next choice.
The Delegates in Congress for the last year are again chosen excepting General Ward in the Room of Mr. Dana. I own it is not becoming an old Man to be mutable—and yet I am intimately acquainted with one who took his Leave of his good Friends in Philadelphia with al• { 308 } most as much Formality as if he was on his dying Bed soon after resolving to visit them once more. In your horrid Catalogue of evil Dispositions with which Age is infested we do not find Vanity. This perhaps may be common to the old and the young, tho I confess it is the more pardonable in the latter. It is difficult for a Man in years to perswade himself to believe a mortifying Truth that the Powers of his Mind whether they have been greater or less, are diminishd.
Pray assure Mr. Dana of my affectionate Regards, and Colo. Laurens if you meet with him. I am informd he is gone or going to Europe. My old patriotick Friend Mr. A L[ee], I am perswaded is before this time on his Passage to America. But if not, let him know that the Hopes of seeing him at Philadelphia is a strong Inducement to me, otherwise against my Inclination, to visit Philadelphia once more.
A Letter from Genl. Heath dated at Head Quarters Decr. 21 says “the health and Spirits of the Troops are not to be parralled. The Enemy at N Y are undoubtedly embarking a large Body of Troops from 8 to 10,000—they would have saild before this Time but have been under Apprehension that the Coast was not clear. Their Destination is said to be to the Southward but some say to the W.I. most probably both.”8
FC (NN: Samuel Adams Papers); notation: “Letter from Honl. Sal. Adams to John Adams Jany 13 1780.” No evidence has been found that JA ever received this letter.
1. See the letter immediately following.
2. The act to compensate Massachusetts' soldiers for the depreciation of military pay was passed on 13 Jan. to make good on a resolution to such effect passed on 6 Feb. 1779 (Mass., Province Laws, 5:1133–1137; 20:587–588; see also 21:262, 338).
3. Adams interlined “in the Spring.”
4. That is, JA's plan to increase the French naval presence in American waters, which he had suggested to Edmé Jacques Genet in Oct. 1778 (Genet to JA, 29 Oct. 1778).
5. The constitutional convention adjourned from 11 Nov. 1779 until 5 Jan. Short adjournments after that postponed the opening for substantial business until the 27th (Journal of the Convention, p. 48, 51–55)
6. John Laurens' letter to the congress declining the appointment was dated 6 Dec. 1779 (JCC, 15:1366).
7. JQA.
8. This is an exact quotation from Heath's letter to Gen. Artemas Ward of 21 Dec. 1779 (MHi: Heath Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0191

Author: Massachusetts Council
Author: Powell, Jeremiah
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: Dana, Francis
Date: 1780-01-13

Massachusetts Council to John Adams and Francis Dana

[salute] Gentlemen

The General Assembly having for many Reasons, and for purposes appearing to Them advantagious, taken the Resolution to negociate a { 309 } Loan of One hundred and fifty Thousand Pounds Sterling in Europe,1 to be conducted agreeable to the enclosed Instructions given to the Agent Jonathan Loring Austin Esqr. appointed for that purpose.2
The Success of this undertaking is important to This State, and We Wish to guard against every Event that may take place to defeat it. The Consequences in Case of his Death or Captivity, we design to guard against, by this Application to you. If he arrives he will want the Assistance of your Advice and Influence. If he does not, We beg you to undertake, and transact this Business (if consistent with your present Character and Engagements) otherwise appoint some suitable Person for that purpose—That the Expectations of this State be not disappointed, for which we consider this Letter as vesting either of you with sufficient Powers.

[salute] I am, In the Name & behalf of the Genl. Assembly With great Esteem, Gentn. Your most Obedt hble Servt

[signed] Jer: Powell Presidt
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Hon'ble John Adams & Francis Dana Esqrs. Paris”; notation: “(Public Service)”; docketed by John Thaxter: “President Powell to Mr. Adams & Mr. Dana 13th. Jany. 1780. Respecting a Loan for Massachusetts.”
1. Twenty thousand pounds were to be used to clothe the troops needed to fulfill Massachusetts' quota for the Continental Army. An additional sum, not to exceed twenty thousand pounds, was to be spent on goods suitable for the Massachusetts market, both purchases to be sent in the ship Protector. The remaining amount of the loan was to be held for drawing bills of exchange against or for future purchase of goods (Mass., Province Laws, 21:326–327).
2. The enclosure has not been found, but Austin's instructions are in same, 21:346–348. Austin was appointed on 11 Jan., and immediately set out for Europe, but was captured by a Jersey privateer, taken to England, and thrown into prison. He was soon released and by May was at Paris where he lodged with Francis Dana. It proving impossible to raise the needed loan, Austin returned to America in the fall of 1781 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 16:306).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0192

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Detournelle, M.
Date: 1780-01-16

To M. Detournelle

[salute] Sir

The United States of America have experienced so much Friendship from the French Court and Nation, and I have myself as their Representative heretofore received so many Civilities from many Gentlemen of your Nation, that <those I had the Honour to receive from you at Ferrol and Corunna,> Instances of Politeness <and Attention> from a french Gentleman were nothing new to me: But the particular <Marks of> Attention that I had the Honour to receive from the French Consul at Ferrol and Corunna, was Marked with so much Kindness, that I <think it my> ought to return you my best Thanks, which I beg Leave { 310 } to do in this manner, and to request you to accept them as the only Return I am at present able to make you.
I shall ever have an agreable Remembrance of the Social Hours, I was so happy as to pass with you at Ferrol and Corrunna as well as on the Way from the one to the other: and a grateful one of that Assiduity with which you exerted yourself for my Assistance. If it should ever be in my Power either in Europe or America, of returning to you or any of your Friends, similar Civilities, and Assistance, I beg you would command me, and believe me to be with great Esteem and Respect, sir, your most obedient and most humble servant.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0193

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lagoanere, Michel
Date: 1780-01-16

To Michel Lagoanere

[salute] Sir

We arrived here last night, all alive, but not very well having all taken, in Spight of all the Precautions in our Power, very great Colds. Mr. Michel Martinus, our Guide and Mr. Raymond San, and the other People with them, have done all they could, for our Comfort, and We have been well satisfied with their Conduct.
We have concluded to dismiss them at this Place and mount on Mule back for Bayonne, as the Distance will be lessend more than half in Point of Place and more <than> four times in point of Time.
We have had the Pleasure to find in Mr. Gardoqui and sons at this Place Friends ready to assist Us, in all respects. This however does not lessen our Obligations to you, for that particular Attention and Essential Assistance which you did Us the Honour to render Us at Corunna for which I beg you to accept of my Thanks, and my assurances, that if it should ever be in my Power to return the Obligation either in Europe or America, I should do it with the highest satisfaction. I shall take another Opportunity to answer more particularly your Letter to me.1 I am with great Respect and Esteem, sir your most humble and obedient servant.
1. Apparently that of 26 Dec. 1779 (above), which JA answered on 24 Jan. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0194

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-01-16

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. 3

Bilbao, Spain, 16 January 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand PCC No. 84, I, f. 234; docketed: “No. 3 Letter from John Adams Bilbao { 311 } Jany 16 1780 Read April 7.” LbC Adams Papers. LbC in Thaxter's hand Adams Papers; notations: “Recd in Congress Oct. 15. Triplicate.”; by Thaxter: “No.3.” For a discussion of the presence of two Letterbook copies, see part 2 of the Introduction: “John Adams and his Letterbooks” (above).
Adams described the hardships of his journey through Spain and the reasons for his decision to bypass Madrid. He then wrote at length about the civil and military institutions of the Province of Galicia and the potential for trade with the United States if obstacles could be removed. He also commented on the special privileges of the three Basque provinces (although he did not call them that), and on the trade with other countries that they enjoyed, suggesting what markets America might find there if successful negotiations could be entered into.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC No. 84, I, f. 234); docketed: “No. 3 Letter from John Adams Bilbao Jany 16 1780 Read April 7.” LbC (Adams Papers). LbC in Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); notations: “Recd in Congress Oct. 15. Triplicate.”; by Thaxter: “No.3.” For a discussion of the presence of two Letterbook copies, see part 2 of the Introduction: “John Adams and his Letterbooks” (above). printed: (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:230).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0195

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gardoqui, Joseph, & Sons (business)
Date: 1780-01-20

To Joseph Gardoqui & Sons

[salute] <Gentlemen>

<If you will be so good as to send to America, on Board of <<Either>> each of the Vessells now here2 to the Amount of Twenty Pounds sterling in Articles for the Use of my Family, and consign them to my Adress, and to the Care of Isaac Smith Esq of Boston, I will pay your Bills, with Pleasure and hold myself obliged besides. The Articles I wish to have sent are, become very scarce in America>

<one Piece of common Linnen>

<a few Dozens of Glass Tumblers>

<half a dozen plain Glass Decanters.>

<a few Dozens of Silk Handkerchiefs>

<two Dozens of common Table Knives and Forks.>

<Half a Dozen large and fine Blanketts.>

<half a Dozen Pounds of Green Tea.>3

1. JA left Bilbao on the 20th (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:433).
2. These were the Phoenix, James Babson, and the Rambler, Benjamin Lovett, which were owned by the Traceys of Newburyport and Andrew Cabot of Beverly, respectively (JQA, Diary, 1:30).
3. The Letterbook copy was wholly canceled by a series of large X's, presumably because of either JA's initial decision not to send any goods to America from Bilbao (see JA to AA, 16 Jan., Adams Family Correspondence, 3:258–259), or his personal presentation of his order to Gardoqui & Sons. JA did give the Gardoquis an order that was nearly identical to this one, which they shipped on board the Phoenix in February (see Gardoqui & Sons to JA, 19 Feb., below). Sending such merchandise was a convenient way for JA to get money into AA's hands, for she could sell the items she did not need at a good profit (AA to JA, 15 April, Adams Family Correspondence, 3:320–323).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0196

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gardoqui, Joseph, & Sons (business)
Date: 1780-01-24

To Joseph Gardoqui & Sons

[salute] Gentlemen

I have but just Time to inform you by the Return of our Guide, that We all arrived in safety and in rather better Health than When We took our Leave of you, at this Place, last night. After 8 or 9 Leagues of bad Way, We found the Roads excellent, and the Accommodations at the Taverns all the Way, very comfortable. I assure you We discovered two or three fine Chimneys,1 besides that which you mentioned to Us, which contributed not a little to our Health and Comfort.
We were all much pleased with the Appearance of the Country through Biscay and Guipuscoa, the Houses Seeming commodious, and properly distributed about upon the Farms, instead of appearing in little Villages of Mud Walls mouldering into Ruins. We could not help reflecting that Liberty produces similar Effects, upon the Happiness of human Kind wherever you find it.2
Mr. Dana, Mr. Thaxter and Mr. Allen, with all the Children join with me in presenting to your House, our most sincere Thanks for the Thousand Civilities and the essential assistance We received at Bilboa. <I have the Hono>
Our Guide and his People, behaved extreamly well, and did everything in their Power for our Accommodation. I have the Honour to be with much Respect and Esteem, Gentn. your most obligd & obedient sert
1. On the journey to Bilbao, JA had complained that houses and inns lacked chimneys, and that the smoke escaped only through small holes in the roof. See JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:415–429passim;4:214–231passim; Adams Family Correspondence, 3:259.
2. JA commented more extensively on the political liberties allowed the semi-autonomous Basque provinces, and on the impact of those liberties upon the local economy, in his Diary and Autobiography (2:432; 4:229–235passim).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0197

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lagoanere, Michel
Date: 1780-01-24

To Michel Lagoanere

[salute] dear sir

We have arrived Safe at this Place, but very much fatigued with our Journey and We have the Pleasure to inform you that We have received the politest Treatment from the House of Messrs. Cabarrus Pere et Fils, to whom We had the Honour to be recommended by you. The Roads, the Accommodations and our consequent state of Health has been such as to make our Journey somewhat longer than We ex• { 313 } pected, and our Expences run much higher than our Computation, We have therefore, Mr. Dana and I, received of that House the Amount of one Hundred Louis D'ors, on the Account of yours in Addition to the Three Thousand Dollars, We receivd from you at Corunna and Ferrol &c.1
We have been emboldened to receive this on your Account, rather than on that of any other, because you were so kind as to inform Us, you had some Money in your Hands of the United States, altho it was under an Attachment in your Hands. There is no manner of Doubt that the Congress, to whom We shall render an Account of the Receipt of this Money, will readily discharge you for so much. As to taking any Measures to get the Attachment taken off, We would readily undertake it, if We knew the Nature of the Attachment and the Measures proper to be taken, of which We are at present ignorant but desire to be informed by you. We have the Honour to be, with great Respect & Esteem, sir your most obligd & obedient servants
1. See Lagoanere's letter of 26 Dec. 1779 (above), in which he states that 3,000 pesos fortes (variously known as dollars, pieces of eight, etc.) had been expended on behalf of JA and his party. The sum of 100 louis d'or equaled approximately 463 pesos fortes, thus making the total owed Lagoanere 3,463 pesos fortes or approximately £825 sterling (John J. McCusker, Money and Exchange in Europe and America, 1600–1775, Chapel Hill, 1978, p. 10–11).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0198

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Bondfield, John
Date: 1780-01-31

To John Bondfield

[salute] Sir

At Bayonne, I had the Honour of yours of the 25. Decr. last,1 which was delivered me by Mr. Dufour, whom you desired to assist me with whatever I should want particularly with Money. Mr. Dufour politely offered me, Supplies of Cash, and services of any sort in which he could be usefull to me, and I was very sorry that I could not have the Opportunity of forming an Acquaintance with him: but my stay was necessarily too short at Bayonne.
You will please to accept of my Thanks, for your kind Attention to me, and for your Attachment to the Honour of the united states: But as I was supplied with Funds Sufficient for my Purposes then, I shall defer making Use of your generous Offer untill some future Opportunity when it may become more necessary.
I thank you, sir for the Intelligence contained in your Letter. I have suffered the Utmost Anxiety, on Account of the Confederation,2 not only on Account of the ship and the great Number of very respectable { 314 } Characters on Board, but on Account of the delay of a most important Embassy to Spain. Yet I am not without hopes that she put back and that We shall still have a good Account of her. I have the Honour to be with great Respect & Esteem, sir your obliged and obedient servant
1. Not found.
2. That is, the Confederacy, which was taking John Jay to Spain. See James Lovell to JA, 1 Oct. 1779, note 6; JA to Benjamin Franklin, 8 Dec. 1779, note 3 (both above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0199

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Casamayor, Pedro, & Company
Date: 1780-01-31

To Pedro Casamayor & Company

[salute] Gentlemen

On the 29th of this month, on my Arrival at this Place, I had the Honour of a polite Letter from your House, offering me your services and Assistance, particularly in the necessary Article of Cash, in Consequence of Recommendations from Mr. Lagoanere at Coruñna and Mr. Montgomery at Alicante.1 I am much obliged to you for the Honour you have done me by this Letter, and to Mr. Montgomery and Mr. Lagoanere for their Recommendations: But as many Circumstances conspired, to deprive me of the Pleasure which I very much desired of a Visit to Madrid, I had no Occasion, to trouble your House, to which I should certainly have paid my Respects, if I had gone there.
I am extreamly unhappy, to find there is no Intelligence of the Confederation, on Board of which Frigate Mr. Jay was embarked who is destined to Madrid.2 I have the Honour to be with much Respect, your most humble servant
1. The letter from Pedro Casamayor & Co. has not been found, but for the recommendations from Lagoanere and Montgomery, see Lagoanere to JA, 26 Dec. 1779, and note 8 (above); and JA to Montgomery, 31 Jan. (below).
2. See JA to John Bondfield, 31 Jan., note 2 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0200

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Montgomery, Robert
Date: 1780-01-31

To Robert Montgomery

[salute] Dear sir

Since my Arrival at this Place, which was the day before Yesterday, I had the <Honour> Pleasure of receiving a Letter from you, dated Alicante January 8. 1780,1 informing me that you had desired your Bankers D. Pedro Casamayor & Co, to wait on me at Madrid, and make me a Tender of what Money I might have Occasion for. At the same Time I received a Letter from the House of D. Pedro Casamayor { 315 } & Co, offering me every Assistance in their Power, particularly as much Money as I should have Occasion for, either on the Account of your House or another, which had done me the favour to write a Similar Letter to the same Banker.2
You will be pleased to accept of my Thanks which are the only return I can make you, for this Instance of your Politeness to me, and your generous Attachment to the Honour of the united states. I had the strongest Inclination to go to Madrid, for the Pleasure of seeing that <fine><noble> City, but it would have delayed my Journey to Paris by 15 or 20 days at least, for which Reason as well as Some others, I did not know how it might be taken by Congress or by the Court of Spain: I therefore concluded it, Safest to pursue my Route to Paris. I have not had Occasion, to make Use of the Credit, you was so kind as to offer me: but am not the less obliged to you, for the offer. I am with great Respect, Sir, your most obedient, and obliged, humble servant
1. Not found.
2. The letter from Pedro Casamayor & Co. has not been found, but for that from “another” house, see Lagoanere to JA, 26 Dec. 1779, and note 8 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0201

Author: Williams, Jonathan
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-01

From Jonathan Williams

[salute] Dear sir

I heartily congratulate you on your safe Return to Europe and thank you for your obliging Care of my Letters from my Friends, which I received last Post from Bilboa.
I shall be greatly obliged to you if you will employ a leisure half Hour in giving me a little Sketch of our public Affairs in America, so far only as is prudent for you to communicate, and proper for me to know. Please to let me know if anything has passed in Congress relative to my Accounts and public Conduct; I am extreemly sensible in whatever concerns my Reputation, and I should be very unhappy if any Stain was on it in the Opinion of that respectable Body. Doctor Franklin will inform you that I have passed through a very rigid Examination, and he will show you my Accounts as they have been re-stated and the Award of my Arbitrators on them. I hope no Testimony is neccessary to fix your Opinion of me, but notwithstanding this I beg you to cast your Eye on my Accounts and the Award.1
Now my Reputation is restored I have no Enmity to any person, nor will I ever be concerned in any Party. I shall be always ready to serve { 316 } | view my Country whenever it is in my Power to do so, but as my Object in this is more her welfare than my own Emolument I never can solicit any public Employ, and I shall always wish the Good of America may be the only point considered in the Choice of all her Officers.
I hope you will allow me to consider you in the same familiar Friendly Light you have hitherto allowed me to do and believe me to be with sincere Respect Dear Sir Your most obedient & most humble Servant
[signed] Jona Williams
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr. Jona. Williams of Nantes Feb. 1. 17<79>80”; and by John Thaxter: “Answd. 15th. Feby. 1780.” Partially lost by the tearing of the letter's fold is a computation, the purpose of which is unknown:
1. For the questions raised by the Commissioners, particularly Arthur Lee, about Williams' accounts and his reimbursement from them without furnishing proper vouchers, see the indexes in vols. 6 and 8 under Williams, Jonathan (1750–1815).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0202

Author: Tolmond, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-02

From Thomas Tolmond

The Humble Petition of Thomas Tolmond

[salute] My Lord

Humbly Sheweth that your Petitioner is a poor american just arived from Marttanico to Rochal in a french frigat.1 At my arival I got my Disscharge, and from that I travild by Land hear to, Bordeaux. A few days after I Came hear I Was taken Very Ill in the Small pox. I being a stranger in this City, not knowing Where to go, or what to do for any Quarters to Lay my Self Down in this Dissorder Which happend to me in this Contaray, I applied to the american Agant to try If it Were possable for me to get to the Hospattall. He Replied to me, that they took in no people in that Dissorder, So I was Obledge to go father. And as I was awalking along the Street A man of Some humanity I Chance to meet that took Compassion on me, altho he being a poor man, Likewise an English man. He took me in and provided Quarters for me Likewise a Doctor to atend me all on his own Expence I being Disstitute of Money when he took me in he himself being a poore man and having a great Charge on him, and I being not Capable at present to make him the Leat Satissfaction for his goodness.
I hearing of your Lordships being in town2 I humbly make my { 317 } adress to your Lordship hoping that your goodness will take this of my great Misfourtine into Consideration, and grant me such as your Lordship Shall think nessacary for me to Satissfy the poore man Who took Compassion on me, ... I am in Duty Ever Bound to Pray
[signed] Thomas Tolmond
1. Tolmond may have been a prisoner of the British, retaken by the French, and returned to France from Martinique. His fate and JA's response to this petition are unknown.
2. JA arrived in Bordeaux on 29 Jan. and left on 2 Feb. (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:433|| (entry for 31 Jan. and following)||).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0203

Author: Heimenthal, Baron de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-05

From Baron de Heimenthal

[salute] Sir

I take the liberty, to address myself to your Excellency, about a project I have send to Mr. Franklin the 20. of Septr. last;2 which contains in short the following. I propose that if I could have the honour to be admitted into the Service of the United States, with the Commission of Major, to form a small Corps of Artillery, consisting in 300. Men, divided into 6. Companies; all the particulars concerning the formation of this Corps, I explain'd very large to Mr. Franklin: the Conditions I beg'd are, that it would be allow'd to me, to provide all the officers at the formation of the Corps; a great deal of them would be of my acquaintances, Subjects of a very good instruction: for this purpose I beg'd Mr. Franklin to send me a full Power, in order to legitimate my Commission; but till this moment, I have not been favour'd with any answer: for this reason I beg you to be so good, as to communicate to me your thoughts concerning this matter, or to procure me an answer from Mr. Franklin, in order to know, if the Project would be accepted, or upon what other conditions I could have the honour to enter into the service of the United States.
I assure your Excellency, that the formation of the said Corps, would be very usefull to the service; for besides, to serve as Artillery and Infantry, the officers could be employed as Ingeneers at the same time, being instructed in Mathematics and Fortification; which allways subsist, establishing into this Corps, an Academy of Mathematics, Artillery and Fortification (like the estabishements, made by Count de la Lippe in Portugal). For this purpose I should carry with me very able Mathematicians.
The letter I wrote to Mr. Franklin, was accompanied by an anonymous one, of a Gentlemen of his acquaintance, residing some times { 318 } ago in this country; who inform'd him of my Knowledge and capacity: the said Gentlemen is a Competent Judge in Military affairs.
I beg you to favour me with an answer, as soon as possible, and to believe that I am with the greatest Respect Sir Your Excellencys most humble and most obedient Servant
[signed] Baron de Heimenthal
First Lieut. of Regt. of Artillery of
Porto, into the service of Portugal
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Baron de Heimenthal. 5. Feb. 1780. recd 6. decr. 1780.”
1. Valença do Minho is on Portugal's northern border with Spain, sixty miles north of Porto (Oporto), and fifteen miles south of the Spanish port of Vigo.
2. For the baron's letter to Benjamin Franklin, as well as its enclosure mentioned later in this letter, see Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 2:142. There is no indication that either Franklin or JA responded to Heimenthal's proposal.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0204

Author: Montgomery, Robert
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-05

From Robert Montgomery

[salute] Sir

When I was Advised of your Arrival at Corunia I had the Pleasing hopes that Your Destination Was the Court of Madrid and Accordingly porposed myself the happiness of Paying you my devoirs there in the month of Aprile. I Also Presumed on taking the Liberty of Writing My Banker in that City Messr. Peter Casamayor & Co. to Make you a Tender of their Services in my Behalf, and to Supply you with the Money you Might have Occation for in Case you Should Chuse to Accept of it for my Account, however Since I have been deprived of the Pleasure of Seing you this Spring I hope this Will Come to hand with My Sincerest Congratulations On your Safe Arrival at Paris.
You will no dout have Learn'd that the English have Thrown Suckers into Gibralter.1 It was unfortunet that Cordova had gone into porte befor those fell in with Langara's Squadron and is to be feard that this Blow will Prolonge the War At Least on this side the Atlantic. His Excellency Benjamin Franklin Esqr. Will Probably have Informd you the Trouble I have Given him in My Particular.2 On the Declaration of the War the Kings Attorney And Governor's Asessor here Insisted I Should Retire With the English Merchants Who had been Established here Notwithstanding they had Always Considered And Acknowledged Me an American Since My first Coming to the Place being yearly Enrold on the List of foraign Merchants as Such, however those became Quiet on geting What they Wanted a little Money, And I have Since Partly by Means of Mr. Franklin and Partly { 319 } { 320 } by My freinds At Madrid Obtain'd an Order from his Majesty to the Governour of this Place to Consider and Protect me as a freind and Not to Cause Nor Suffer me Any farther Molestation Whatever. I Am under Infinit Obligations in this Perticular to Dr. Barnardo del Campo Secretary to the Counsil of State and Also to the Minister the Count de Florida Blanca.
Since I had the Pleasure of Seing you I have been Remarkably Successful in Comerce and Only Wish to have it in My Power to be of Service to you or Any freind in this Quarter and have the Honour to be With the Greatest Sincerity Sir Your Most Obedient Most humble Servent
[signed] Robt Montgomery
Since Writing the Above I have Advice that Mr. Jay is Arrived at Cadiz, as Plenipotentiary to this Court. I Am Not Aquaint With this Gentleman And Should Much Esteem the favour of your Giving Me A line to him. It Would Make Me Happy to be Able to Render him Any Service here.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed by John Thaxter: “Mr. Robt. Montgomery 5th. Feby. 1780.”
1. That is, gave succor to Gibraltar. On 16 Jan. 1780, Adm. Sir George Rodney soundly defeated a Spanish squadron commanded by Adm. Don Juan de Langara. In the action Langara was captured and seven of the eleven ships of the line under his command were either taken or destroyed. Despite the presence of a large fleet of French and Spanish ships of the line at Cadiz under the command of Adm. Cordoba, Rodney's victory gave him control of the approaches to Gibraltar, thus the beleaguered garrison received the food that it needed to withstand and prolong the seige (Mahan, Navies in the War of Amer. Independence, p. 122–127).
2. For Montgomery's problems with the Spanish government and his applications to Benjamin Franklin, see his letter to JA of 6 July 1779 (above), and Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 2:101, 109, 129, 133, 165.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0205

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1780-02-12

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 Comte de Vergennes

Paris, 12 February 1780. printed: JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:243–245
With this letter John Adams formally notified Vergennes of his mission. Stating that he had been appointed to negotiate treaties of peace and commerce with Great Britain, he explained, so far as he knew it, the origins of the congress' action. He declared that his efforts would be consistent with American obligations to France and that “it is my own determination to take no steps of consequence in pursuance of my Commission, without consulting his Majesty's Ministers.” He asked Vergennes whether he should inform the British government of his arrival, commissions, and readiness to undertake negotiations when circumstances permitted; publish, to a greater extent than in the Journals of the congress, the nature of his mission; or “remain upon the reserve” { 321 } as he had done since he had arrived in Europe. Adams pledged that any British proposals to him would be reported to Vergennes, and he asked that any proposals made to France relating to American interests be disclosed to him. Finally, he requested permission to reside in France as either a public or private person, according to Vergennes' view of what was most advisable.
Although this letter was carefully phrased in the most polite and respectful language, it introduced several of the major themes that informed the antagonistic relationship between Adams and Vergennes during Adams' second diplomatic mission. Adams recognized his anomalous position in France as a minister with no official standing, charged with negotiating treaties with an enemy that showed no desire for peace and was pressing its naval war against France and Spain. Vergennes' distrust of Adams, fostered by reports placing him in an anti-French faction, was increased by this letter, as was his fear that Adams intended to undercut French and Spanish interests by initiating negotiations. For the progress of the Adams-Vergennes relationship, see the letters exchanged by the two men of 15, 19, 24, and 25 Feb. (all calendared below).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0206

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Date: 1780-02-13

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 Gabriel de Sartine

Paris, 13 February 1780. printed: JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:248.
This letter was a reply to Sartine's of 31 Dec. 1779 (same, 4:247–248), which Adams received when he arrived at Paris. In that letter the minister congratulated him on his new appointment and expressed his pleasure that he had been able to return to Europe on La Sensible. Adams thanked Sartine for his letter and indicated his gratitude for the aid given and the courtesies shown him by Gérard, La Luzerne, and Capt. Chavagnes in allowing him to make his return voyage on the French frigate.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0207

Author: Gillon, Alexander
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-14

From Alexander Gillon

[salute] Dr Sir

Permit me to Congratulate you on your happy return to Europe, and to make this enquiry after your Welfare.1 I much flatter myself that nothing but affairs of the utmost Consequence cou'd induce you to undertake the Ardous task of again quitting your happy native Country, and I am well Convinced evry inhabitant on our Continent stands highly indebted to you for this fresh proof of your Zeal for their Welfare. As one from there please to Accept of my best thanks for your unwearied Studys in our behalf, and of my Sincere wishes that no Obstacles or difficultys may prevent your Accomplishing that which { 322 } your Country hopes for, from your peculiar and particular Abilitys and experience. I have not yet reciev'd Any replys to my repeated letters to Carolina, thus am Acting almost without orders, for as I recievd undoubted proofs that last year the French goverment intended me no Aid,2 in my Business, I was Compell'd to try Ailleurs[elsewhere]. Have for that purpose been to Prussia, where I found my Assurance of Compleating what I requested, tho' found it wou'd take longer time than was proposed, but the Enemys and Supposed friends of our Country soon followd me there, and by their malicious reports and plans totally frustrated my views, by Shutting the doors to the Credit I shou'd have procured, and by preparing difficultys that Staggered me as they Carried the Appearance of a Concerted plan, to effectually prevent any American Succeeding there. It is a Consolation to me that I have clearly traced the Actors, in this and can produce proofs of their Cruelty to our distress'd Country.
I therefore timely withdrew with honor from a Country where Success woud have attended my endeavours had Secret motives that you can Judge not taken place, yet I do not lament my Jaunt as it answerd one essential pecuniary point. I had full oppertunity to Collect material Intelligence, and it is with pleasure I say that our friends in Prussia, and Saxony are very numerous, and had they been left to follow their own inclinations, I shoud have done much there. I reach'd here the 21 Xber, and as the season did not admit of my doing any thing more then Collecting the monies under my directions and gaining intelligence I have not been Idle, and it is with pleasure I assure you that this Goverment as well as its Inhabitants is altered very much in our favor lately, so much so that I have reason to be of opinion was their a gentleman here properly qualified by Congress he might be of much Service, for though they wou'd not receive him publickly, yet I am clear he wou'd evry where be receiv'd as a private gentleman, tho' they knew him to be a minister. I know they want and wish for Such person here, with proper powers. Such a person may also procure a large Sum at 5 percent Intrest for 10 a 15 years, and a very moderate Commission, but please observe it must Come direct from our Country, and to none but a Solid dutch house here. This sir is not my language but the observations that was made to me by the money lenders and brokers here. The late request of the English for the Dutch to furnish the Stipulated Assistance, Added to the threat if they do not Comply, that the ancient treaty is broke, has Staggerd some. However the States of Holland at their meeting last Month did resolve on an unlimitted Convoy. The Prince it seems is or appears to be altered in his Sentiments, and { 323 } makes no Secret of his being deciev'd by the English, Says he will do much to have the resolution of unlimited Convoy passed in the States general. Yet this late request may make some Alteration. Many are for using easy means about Mast, Spars, Timber and hemp, but in the mean while to Arm as quick as possible, but no one is for granting the Supply's the English require. Others are for entring into a Treaty with Denmark and Sweeden, if so, it is and will be a Common Cause for them to protect their Trade. A few days will enable me to Say more on this head, as the 25 Instant the States general meet, and I have oppertunitys to have Clear intelligence, so much so, that if your Excellency admits it I will be more in the way of it, and from time to time acquaint you for your Eye only what may be worth your attention. Perhaps if the French are Active at this Court, they may check the little inclination still left to aid the English.3
When your Excellency was about leaving Europe I had the honor of laying before you my requests to the French Ministers and their replys, also my requests to his Excellency B. Franklin Esqr. to which I recievd replys that the Fleet fitting out at L'orient was not Continental, and that the Alliance was lent to go the Cruize.4 Thus they cou'd not go to America as I requested, Since when I've been doing my utmost to buy or to build as far as the money wou'd admit. The Jaunt to Prussia were seem'd sure of Success, prevented my trying here, Tho as I now have borrow'd and Collected more money, can act on a larger Scale, and am promised Still a further sum here. Mr. Chaumont in October last offerd me the Ship Indian, built here by Mr. Boux, if I wou'd pay him directly £600,000 that he wou'd go directly to Mr. de Sartine and Settle a bill of Sale.5 I replyed I wish'd first to examine Said ship and her materials and to know the impediments to her getting out ere I determined. I came here with that View and find the Ship to be the best I ever Saw, well built and will readily Carry 28. 24 pounders on one Deck, must sail fast and is Compleatly fitted, as they Say, though have not Seen the Inventary, and may be got to Sea in 3 months. There is another of same kind may be launched in 8 weeks, and got ready to Sail in 4 months. It seems there is particular reasons perhaps political ones, that prevented these Ships being got out. Those reasons that depended on politics here, are now obviated, and if the objections in France are Overset and I buy them, I can fit them out not to appear as American property. There is no need of it. I am a native of Holland, have preserv'd and renewd my priveledges, thus have as much right as any dutch man to the use of the Flag. This is not only my opinion, but the voice and advice of those that can best Judge of those matters. { 324 } Now Sir as you know how and why those ships was built, and why now french property, and now know they can be got out, I take the liberty of Craving your Excellencys friendly aid to enable me to buy one or more of these Ships. I have now here 5 a 600,000 Livres to pay Cash down, and am not doubtfull but shall have all I want to fit them out. Seamen are Scarce, but I know I shall have my Share. Admit my Acquainting you what I did on my road here from Prussia. I wrote his Excellency B. Franklin Esqr. and Mr. Chaumont as per Copy of enclosed letters, whereto recievd no replys.6 On my Arrival here I waited on Mr. de Neufville Mr. Chaumonts friend, got him to write and to offer £300,000 for the Indian. Mr. Chaumont replied if Mr. Gillon will pay the first Cost and realize his offer, I may become his mediator, but she ought not to go under first Cost. I got Mr. Deneufville to again write him to enable us to see the Inventary and to examine the Materials before we cou'd determine to give Such a high price. No reply has been recievd, thus it appears as if there was no real intention to Sell them. Perhaps they think if I Can get them out they Can. I presume to the Contrary, and it is with no little difficulty that I prevail'd, for firstly she must go as a dutch vessel, next she must have the Camillas to float her over the Shoals, and then she must have men. Enfin I can either get her Sent to St. Eustatius or any Port in France, Spain or Portugal as dutch, insure them to there and receive them there, or else fit them out as dutch here till get to Sea, and then do as I like. It may be Said these vessels draw too much for Charles Town Barr. I agree to it, but that risk I take on myself, well knowing the Conveniency of the Eastern Ports and that Congress wants Such Ships, that South Carolina woud Say take them in lieu of Frigates that may Suit our Barr, yet I know that Tho' Charles Town Barr may not do for them, The barr at Beaufort will admit their going into Port Royal harbour, thus the State may keep them. If I procure them my Idea is to go North About with them and to go to Boston, where I may recieve the orders of Congress and of the State.
As I now have made your Excellency Acquainted with this whole affair, will you pardon me for Craving you to Step forth, and be the glorius Instrument of aiding your Country to have a great Assistance to her infant navy. I know they will make great difficulty but I know your friendly heart to your Country, and I know your perseverance, thus have great hopes. I do not mean to dictate to your Excellency, but I humbly presume the nearest road to success is by a direct application to Mr. de Sartine, Mr. de Vergennes and Mr. de Maurpas. If you apply without mentioning my name, they may Suppose it is for Congress and { 325 } may readily Acquiese, and you can Say you gave me the Command of them. Mr. Chaumont need not know the Affair but all this I Submit to your better Judgement. I am told the French goverment took this Ship Indian from the American Commissioners at the valuation of £300,000. That price even with Interest I woud Chearfully pay or whatever price you sold her for. If not, they Can Choose two experienced men here and I will do the Same, and let them value Said Ship Indian and all her materials, which valuation I will pay the Instant I get bill of Sail and possesion of her. Please observe that this Ship by being launched a good while requires heaving down, and I am told her bottom is Such that it must be Sheath'd. All this makes a decline in her value. As to the other Ship on the Stocks, I will either take her at a valuation as above, or else take her as she now Stands, by taking and fullfilling the Contract they entered into with the Builder, and then I can rigg and fit her out as I like, in a cheaper and better manner than the Indian is fitted out. Indeed if they will not Sell both I prefer her on the Stocks, as she will be a better Ship by not being launched, and by different methods of outfitting Ships. There will also be less noise about her, for really the other was a Town Talk. Mr. Izard was here Saw the Ships and knows my Applications. If you think proper I am Sure both he and Mr. A. Lee will Chearfully Join you in the Application on this business. I know this requires Sometime, but as letters meets with Curious delays, you'l oblige me to Say per return of post you have recievd this, that I may know it has got Safe. I inclose it to Messrs. Pache freres & Co. Bankers of Solidity Craving them to waite on you with it and to deliver it to no other person. They are friendly Gentlemen and Able Bankers. Nay so much do I dread letters not getting Safe, that was I Sure of Success I wou'd immediatly waite on your Excellency and tarry till the Business was over. However you will oblige me to Acquaint me as Soon as Convenient if it is needfull for me to be there and I will soon be with you for I have much at Heart to procure those two very fine Ships, well knowing what Service they may be to our Country. Shou'd I not Succeed in this I fear I then must determine to Invest the funds in shipping materials, Send them to a neutral port in neutral Botoms nearest our Coast, and then I return with my Officers as soon as possible to America, with a lasting proof that France though she has it in her power, wou'd not aid us in the least towards getting a Navy, for as to her not aiding me the last year may be owing to her want of all her naval force, yet there Ships being here being idle, that they Cannot or will not get them out here, is not loss to them. Thus they Can readily Spare them to you. I have been { 326 } wrote to on some good Ships to be Sold at the French ports, but as I dread that instead of aiding me to procure Seamen I might be prevented as I know they want all their men for their own ships I now submit the matter to your Excellency. I can do all the rest. Evry thing we wish is to be done in this Country if proper and Cautious methods are adopted.
I have been hinted Mr. Dana Accompanys you, if so you will much oblige me to present my best respects to him, also to your promising Son if he is with you. Please direct to me under Cover to Messrs. Nicolaas and Jacob van Staphorst Merchants here. If any news of Consequence from home shall esteem it as a favor if you will impart it to me. I will trouble you with what is doing here and am with respect—Your Excellys. most obdt. & most hble Servant
[signed] A. Gillon
NB. The highest tides here are in March and April thus that is the best times to get these Ships over the Shoals. As Mr. Chaumont and Doctor Franklin7 did not reply to my letter on this Business presume it was not Agreable to them, thus leave to you to mention it to them or not—or to deliver them the Inclos'd Copys of my last to them if they say they did not receive the Originals.
RC with two enclosures (Adams Papers); notation by Gillon at the top of the first page: “the outside Case directed by AG. please [remove?] if Open'd”; docketed on enclosed letter to Franklin: “Commodore Gillon Amsterdam 14. Feb. 1780 ans. Feb. 20.” The enclosures are described in note 6.
1. Because Gillon used only commas for punctuation, the editors have replaced them with periods here and elsewhere as has seemed appropriate. Punctuation has also been supplied on occasion.
2. Gillon presumably is referring to Sartine's refusal to give a positive answer to his requests for aid (Gillon to JA, 17 April 1779, above). In addition, Benjamin Franklin, believing that Gillon's effort would undercut his own, had refused to aid him in obtaining a loan at an interest rate higher than that permitted for the loan that Franklin had been directed to raise by the congress (Franklin to Gillon, 5 July 1779, Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:239–240).
3. The shift in Dutch opinion to which Gillon refers resulted in large part from the British seizure of a convoy of merchant ships under the protection of Dutch naval vessels off the Isle of Wight on 31 Dec. 1779. This action further weakened the English party, but did not immediately result in the decisive action by the States General that Gillon apparently expected. For a summary of Dutch relations with Britain and France in 1779 and early 1780, see Dumas to the Commissioners, 27 Jan. 1779 (above).
4. Gillon had written to JA on 17 April 1779 (above), giving a summary of his appeal to Sartine for aid. The appeal to Franklin to which he refers is probably his letter of 29 June 1779, to which Franklin replied on 5 July (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:239–240). Gillon presumably reported this exchange to JA soon thereafter, but no letter has been found.
5. For the Indien, later the South Carolina, see Richard G. Stone Jr., “'The South Carolina We've Lost': The Bizarre Saga of Alexander Gillon and His Frigate,” American Neptune, 39:159–172 (July 1979). Here and elsewhere in this letter Gillon uses the “£” sign to indicate French livres.
{ 327 }
6. Both enclosed letters were dated 1 Dec. 1779 from Frankfurt am Main. In the first, Gillon urged Franklin to exert all his influence to facilitate the purchase of the two frigates built at Amsterdam. He also proposed that his efforts be joined with those of John Paul Jones, who was already at Amsterdam. In the second letter, Gillon sought Chaumont's aid in financing the purchase of the two frigates and proposed methods of payment.
7. Gillon interlined “and Dr. Franklin.”

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0208

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-02-15

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. 4

Paris, 15 February 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand PCC, No. 84, 1, f. 243; docketed: “No. 4 J. Adams Esqr. Paris Feby. 15th: 1780 Read May 15. arrival in France. interesting News.” LbC Adams Papers. LbC in Thaxter's hand Adams Papers; notations: “Recd in Congress Oct. 15. Triplicate.”; by Thaxter: “No. 4.” 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).
Adams reported his arrival at Paris on 9 Feb. and his meetings on the 11th at Versailles with Vergennes, the foreign minister; Sartine, the minister of marine; and Maurepas, the prime minister. According to Adams, the ministers' declarations of their determination to pursue the war and provide aid were more frank and explicit than any he had heard previously from French officials. He noted that his conversation with Vergennes had led him to write to the foreign minister on 12 Feb. regarding his commission, and that Vergennes had replied on the 15th (calendared above and below). Adams then wrote that Britain was borrowing twelve million pounds for the year and making new preparations to carry on the war, but that in the face of French and Spanish efforts these actions could not greatly harm America. He informed the congress that John Jay had arrived in Spain and stated his belief that a favorable treaty could be negotiated. Finally, he reported on John Paul Jones' preparations to sail for America in the Alliance, and the difficulties faced by Arthur Lee and Ralph Izard in securing passage to America.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, 1, f. 243); docketed: “No. 4 J. Adams Esqr. Paris Feby. 15th: 1780 Read May 15. arrival in France. interesting News.” LbC (Adams Papers).LbC in Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); notations: “Recd in Congress Oct. 15. Triplicate.”; by Thaxter: “No. 4.” 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, 4:240).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0209

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Williams, Jonathan
Date: 1780-02-15

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 Jonathan Williams

Paris, 15 February 1780. printed: JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:248–249.
John Adams thanked Williams for his letter of 1 Feb. (above) and briefly commented on events in America and the settlement of Williams' accounts. He applauded Williams' stated determination to eschew any party spirit, which Adams believed had too long infected the conduct of American foreign affairs and had “injured worthy Characters on both Sides, and done Us much harm.”

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0210

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-15

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 Comte de Vergennes

Versailles, 15 February 1780. printed: JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:245
Vergennes stated that he thought it best to await the arrival of Conrad Alexandre Gérard, who presumably would bring a copy of Adams' instructions and additional information on the nature and scope of his mission, before responding to the points raised in Adams' letter of the 12th (calendared above). For the present, however, he advised Adams “to conceal your eventual Character and above all to take the necessary Precautions, that the Object of your Commission remain unknown to the Court of London.” Following this letter in the Autobiography, Adams wrote at length on the impropriety of a foreign minister having access to the confidential instructions of a diplomatic representative of another nation. In fact, Gerard had sent a summary of Adams' instructions to Vergennes on 14 Aug. 1779, the very day of their adoption (same, 4:245–247).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0211-0001

Author: Chavagnes, Bidé de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-16

From Bidé de Chavagnes

[salute] Mon cher monsieur

Si je nay pas eu l'honneur de vous ecrire depuis mon arrivée a brest, c est que ayant scau [su] a la corogne que votre projet etoit d'aller a madrid, je vous crois tout au plus rendu soit a paris, soit a versailles, mais je prends un interest trop sincere et trop vif a votre santé a celle de vos chers enfants, de messieurs denas et allain pour ne pas vous en demander des nouvelles, en vous reiterant les voeux que je forme pour quelles soint parfaites et quelles nayent point eté derangées par la longueur et duretés de vos voyages, et les sentiments de reconnoissance et D'attachement que vous m'avez inspirés avec tous les habitants de boston. Ma santé ainsi que celles de tous nos messieurs s est toujours assez bien soutenue quoyque pour venir de la corogne icy j aye eté 10 jours avec des vents contraires tres forts et une mer tres dure. La pauvre sensible n'a pas pu absolument se deshabituer de faire de l eau, mais en bien moindre quantité que par le passé. Je viens de les quitter absolument. J ose esperer que le ministre voudra bien m'accorder un mois ou 6 semaines pour me reposer un peu, aller voir madame luy demander raison de touttes les santes qu'on luy a porté, et mettre un peu D'ordre dans mes affaires. Je me suis informe a mon arrivée a brest s il y avoit un agent de l'amerique, on m'a dit que non. Je me suis en consequence adressé a mr. l'intendant, nommé mr. de la porte qui m'a assuré qu en faisant remettre vos malles, et touttes les affaires que j ay a messieurs gerard de malherbes et allain, il vous les feroit parvenir. Je les y ay fait remettre avec touttes les precautions qui ont pu dependre { 329 } de moy, trop heureux d'avoir trouvé et de trouver encor les occasions de vous estre util en quelque chose, ainsi qu'a tous vos compatriottes chez lesquels je desirerois fort pouvoir un jour vous rammener. J ignore ceque l on vat faire de moy cette année mais quelque part ou je sois destiné si je puis le scavoir je me feray un vray plaisir en m'informant de vos nouvelles de vous demander vos ordres et commissions, en vous priant d'estre bien persuadé que rien ne peut egaller les sentiments du sincere et respectueux attachement avec lequel j ay l honneur d estre pour la vie, Mon cher monsieur Votre tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur.
[signed] Bidé de chavagnes
capne des vaux
[du roy] de france
Mille compliments respectueux a messieurs denas et allain. J embrasse les chers enfants.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0211-0002

Author: Chavagnes, Bidé de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-16

Bidé de Chavagnes to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] My dear sir

If I have not had the honor of writing to you since my arrival at Brest it is because, having understood at La Coruña that your plan was to go to Madrid, I thought at the very most you would have arrived at Paris or Versailles. However, I take too strong and sincere an interest in your health, and that of your children and Messieurs Dana and Allen, not to ask you for news while reiterating my wishes for their happiness, and that they did not suffer too much from the length and duration of your travels, and the feelings of gratitude and affection that you have inspired in me for all the citizens of Boston.
My health and that of my crew remains excellent, although it took ten days to get from La Coruña to Brest against very strong, contrary winds and heavy seas. The poor Sensible could not help but take on water, but far less than previously. I have left all this behind. I dare to hope the Minister will be kind enough to grant me a month or six weeks to rest a little, visit my wife who can provide me with news of all that has happened, and put some order in my affairs.
I expected on my arrival at Brest that there would be an American agent, but was informed that there was not. I, therefore, turned to the Intendent, Mr. De La Porte, who assured me that, if I directed your trunks and belongings to Messrs. Gerard, de Malherbes and Allain, you would receive them. I delivered them with all due precaution, very glad to have found additional occasions to be useful to you and, likewise, your compatriots to whom I hope to have the pleasure of returning you some day. I know not where I will be sent this year, but wherever I am destined to go, as soon as I know, it will give me great pleasure to be informed of your news and to receive your orders and commissions. I pray that you are well pursuaded that nothing can equal the sentiments { 330 } of sincere and respectful devotion with which I have the honor to be for life, my dear sir, your very humble and very obedient servant.
[signed] Bidé de chavagnes
Captain of the Vessels
of the King of France
Many respectful regards to Messrs. Dana and Allen. I embrace the dear children.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “a Monsieur Monsieur Labbé Arnoux chez M. de chalut”; docketed: “ans. 24.”; by John Thaxter: “1780” and “Captn. Chevagne 16th. Feby. 1780.” The letter was addressed to Abbe Arnoux at Abbé Chalut's because, as the first sentence of the letter indicates, Chavagnes was unsure whether JA had arrived at Paris.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0212

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-02-17

To the President of the Congress, No. 5


[salute] Sir

It is necessary that I should inform Congress, in what manner I have been able to procure Money to defray my Expenses, in my long Journey through the greatest Parts of Spain and France, to this City.
On my Arrival at Ferrol, I was offered the Loan of Money by the French Consul Mr. De Tournelle, but at the same Time told me there was a Gentleman at Corunna Mr. Michael Lagoanere, who had heretofore acted as American Agent at that place, and who would be very happy to supply me. On my Arrival at Corunna, Mr. Lagoanere did me the Honour of a Visit, and offered me every Assistance in Cash and otherwise, telling me at the same Time, that he had some Money in his Hands, which he supposed belonged to the United States, being Part of the Proceeds of some Prizes heretofore made by Captain Cunningham—that this Money however had been attached in his Hands by some Spanish Merchant, who had commenced a Lawsuit against Captain Cunningham. I accordingly received three thousand Dollars for myself and Mr. Dana, and a Letter of Credit on the House of Cabarus at Bayonne, for as much more as I should have Occasion for. On our Arrival at Bayonne, Mr. Dana and I recieved of that House Fifty Louis D'Ors, and a Bill of Exchange on another House of the same Name and Family at Bordeaux for the like Sum, our Expences having exceeded all our Computations at Corunna, as our Journey was necessarily much longer than we expected on Account of the uncommon bad Weather and bad Roads. This Bill was paid upon Sight. So that in the whole, we have recieved the Amount of seventeen thousand four { 331 } hundred Livres, all on Account of Mr. Lagoanere of Corunna. Of this Sum Mr. Dana has recieved the Amount of four thousand nine hundred and seventy one Livres and fifteen Sols, and I have recieved twelve thousand and four hundred and twenty eight Livres and five Sols for which Sums we desire to be respectively charged in the Treasury Books of Congress.
As this Money is expended, if Mr. Lagoanere should draw upon us for it, all the Authority we have to draw upon his Excellency, the Minister here, will not enable us to pay it, and if Mr. Lagoanere should be so happy as to avoid the Attachment, and leave us to account with Congress for this Money, the small Sum we are impowered to recieve from his Excellency will go a very little Way in discharging our Expences.
We must therefore pray that Congress would forward us Authority to draw upon his Excellency for the Amount of our Salaries annually, which, without all doubt, will be paid.1

[salute] I have the Honour to be, with the highest Respect and Esteem, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant.

Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 247); docketed: “No. 5. J. Adams Esqr Duplicate of Feby. 17th: 1780, original recievd, same time Recd. May 15. 1780 monies received.” The original has not been found. LbC (Adams Papers); notations: “recd in Congress. Oct. 15 Triplicate.”; and by Thaxter: “No. 5.”
1. At this point in the Letterbook, JA continued the sentence: “as his Excellency,” and then struck out the phrase. This letter was received on 15 May; on the 31st the congress resolved to accept the solution proposed by JA. It ordered Benjamin Franklin to pay the drafts of JA and Dana “to the amount of their respective salaries” (JCC, 17:428, 476).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0213

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1780-02-18

To Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] [Dear Sir]

Whether it is that [the Art of political Lying] is better understood in England than in [any other Country, or] whether it is more practised there than [elsewhere, or whether it] is accidental that they have more Success [in making their Fictions] gain Credit in the World, I know not.
But it is certain that every [Winter, since the] Commencement of the present War with America, [and indeed for some] Years before, they sent out large Quantities of this [Manufacture over] all Europe, and throughout all America: and [what is astonish]ing is, that they { 332 } should still find Numbers [in every Country] ready to take them off their Hands.
Since my Arrival in this City, [I find they have] been this Winter at their old Trade, and have [spread Reports here] and in Holland, and in various other parts of [Europe; and no doubt] they have found means to propagate them in America [too, tending to keep] up the Spirits of their Well wishers and to sink those of [their Opponents.] Such as, that they have made new Contracts with several [German Princes,] by which they are to obtain seven thousand Men to [serve in America.] That they have so skillfully appeased the Troubles in [Ireland, that they] shall even be able to take Advantage of the Military [Associations] there, by depending upon them for the Defence of [the Kingdom, while] they draw from thence ten thousand Regular Troops [for the Service] in America. That they have even concluded a [Treaty with Russia,] by which the Empress is to furnish them with twelve Ships [of the] Line and twenty thousand Men, as some say, and twenty [Ships] of the Line and twelve thousand Men, as others relate. [This] they say, is of the greater Moment, because of an intimate Connection (I know not of what Nature it is) between Russia [and Denmark, by which] the latter will be likely [to be drawn into the War against the] House of Bourbon and America [and Denmark they say has] forty five Ships of the Line.
I know very well that the greatest part of these [Reports is false,] and particularly, what is said of Russia is so contrary [to all that I have] heard for these twelve Months past, of the [Harmony between] Versailles and Petersbourg, that I give no Credit to [it at all: but I] find that all these Reports make Impressions [on some Minds,] and, among the rest, on some Americans.
I therefore beg the favour of You, to inform me [of the exact] Truth in all these Matters, that I may take the [earliest] Opportunity of transmitting the Intelligence to Congress, [where it] is of Importance, that it should be known.1
I was much mortified, when I was the other [day at] Versailles, that I could not have the Honour of paying [my Res]pects to You: but I was so connected with other Gentlemen, [who were] obliged to return to Dinner, that I could not; but I [shall] take the first Opportunity I can get, to wait on You, and [assure] You, that I am with great Respect, Sir, your Friend and humble Servant.
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (Justin G. Turner, Los Angeles, 1958). Dupl in Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 257–260);) docketed: “Copy Feb. 18. 1780 Letter from J Adams to Monsr. Genet recd. May 15 with an answr. { 333 } dated 20th. Feb.” Severe fire damage to the recipient's copy has resulted in the loss of a substantial number of words, which have been supplied in brackets from the duplicate.
1. Using very similar language, JA asked Lafayette for essentially the same information in a letter of this same date (LbC, Adams Papers). Lafayette replied on the 19th (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0214

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1780-02-19

To James Lovell

[salute] My dear Friend

You have been so good, in sending me the Journals and above all in sending me very particular Intelligence of what has passed upon several occasions that I depend much upon the Continuance of your Favours. An early receipt of the Journals will be a great Advantage to me, and I shall not fail to make a good Use of them.
Since I have been here, I have seen Mr. I. and mentioned to him, his famous Letter and the Use that was attempted to be made of it.1 He seemed to be very much affected, declared, that it was a private Letter to his friend which he never intended nor expected nor suspected would be laid before Congress, And that it was intended only as a pleasantry between his friend and him; a merry Exultation, between Intimates upon his having judged righter than I of the sentiments of that Body.
I beg you would inform me, of the Health etc. of the Chevalier and M. M[arbois]. <how they succeed,> whether they are esteemed, and whether there are any open or secret Attacks upon them, and from what Quarter, if any. I take a great Interest in their Success, as I think them worthy Men, and Well wishers to both Countries, without partial or sinister Views.
I must earnestly Request Authority to draw upon Passy, otherwise shall be in very great distress. The sums We are impowered to draw will be but a Sprat.2 There is no doubt at all of our draughts being paid, if orderd. If Merchandise or Bills should be remitted by Congress so much the better. We shall receive no more than our due, and the Proceeds of the Merchandise or Bills will go to the Hands of Dr. F. to discharge the public demands. On the Contrary We shall be in the most awkward Situation in the World without orders to draw, if Bills and Merchandise should fail of arriving, and there will not be wanting Persons to take Advantage of it, to put Us in a ridiculous Light, whereas orders to draw will ensure Us respect from these very Persons.
I wish I could hear of the Arrival of Messrs. Laurence's father and son.3 Mr. Jay has happily arrived in Spain, and, from the great Atten• { 334 } tion and Respect that was shewn to me, I have no doubt he will soon succeed, and that Court will support as well as receive him, and I hope afford further essential Assistance to the united states, both by their Arms and their Money.
There is a difference of sentiment here respecting the Address of Congress to the People respecting their Finances,4 some People thinking that Congress have hurt their Cause by it in Europe, others that it was a wise Measure. For my own Part I think that the Measure could not be avoided, that the Evil was so great that there must be a Remedy, and that no radical Cure could be effected without laying open to the World the Inveteracy of the Distemper. Wish to know how your Plan of Taxes succeeds, or what other Methods you may fall upon. Your Friend
[signed] John Adams
1. That is, Ralph Izard's letter to Henry Laurens of 12 Sept. 1778. For an extract from that letter, see James Lovell to JA, 14 Sept. 1779 (above). Compare JA's reporting of Izard's statement of his intentions, given below, with JA's evaluation of Izard's intentions in JA to Elbridge Gerry, 17 Oct. 1779 (above).
2. A small amount (OED).
3. JA was to have a long wait before either Laurens arrived. Although appointed to negotiate a Dutch loan on 21 Oct. and to conclude a treaty of amity and commerce with the Netherlands on 1 Nov. 1779, Henry Laurens did not sail from Philadelphia until 13 Aug. 1780. Three weeks later he was captured by the British who imprisoned him in London; he did not reach Paris until Nov. 1782 (JCC, 15:1198, 1232; DAB). His son John had been appointed Benjamin Franklin's secretary on 29 Sept. 1779, but he had declined the office in December and at the time of this letter was serving with the army in South Carolina. Captured by the British at the fall of Charleston in May 1780, he was exchanged, and in Dec. 1780 he was appointed envoy extraordinary to France. He did not arrive in Europe until March 1781 (JCC, 15:1128, 1366; DAE). It should be noted, however, that JA was only assuming, based on an enclosure in Lovell's letter of 1 Nov. 1779 (above; see also Adams Family Correspondence, 3:234), that Henry Laurens had been appointed to negotiate a Dutch loan. And although JA knew of John Laurens' appointment, he had no knowledge of his refusal of the secretaryship.
4. Addresses regarding the state of American finances had been adopted by the congress on 26 May and 13 Sept. 1779, but it is unclear to which of these JA is referring. For that of 26 May, see Jonathan Loring Austin to JA, 7 July, note 2 (above). The second address, in the form of a “circular letter,” informed the American people of the congress' resolution of 1 Sept. to limit emissions of paper money to $200,000,000. It sought to allay their fears about the ability or willingness of the congress to back its emissions and to rally their support for increased taxation and loans to support this currency. Without popular confidence in this currency and support for the measures taken by the congress to maintain its value, the address argued, final victory was in doubt (JCC, 15:1051–1062).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0215

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-02-19

To the President of the Congress, No. 6

[salute] Sir

Inclosed are Copies of former Letters to Congress, and I shall continue to transmit Copies until I learn that some have arrived; for { 335 } which Reason I must request the Favour that his Excellency the President, or some Committee, may be desired to acknowledge the Receipt of Letters, so that I may know as soon as may be what Letters have arrived and which have been less fortunate.
The Art of making and spreading false News, to answer political purposes is not peculiar to Great Britain: but yet She seems to possess this Art, and the Talent of giving to her Fictions the Colours of Probability beyond other Nations: at least She seems to have more Success in making her Impostures believed, than any other.
It is her annual practice in the Winter to fabricate and export large Quantities of this Merchandize, to all parts of Europe and America, and She finds more Customers to take them off her Hands than She ought, considering how illicit the Traffick is.
This Winter her Emissaries have been more assiduous than ever, in propagating Reports.
That they have entered into new Engagements with several other petty Principalities in Germany, by which they shall hire seven thousand Men, for the service of the next Campaign in America.
That by compromising with Ireland, they shall be able to take Advantage even of the Military Associations in that Kingdom: and draw from thence a large Number of regular Troops for the Service in America, depending on the Volunteer Militia, or Associators for the Defence of the Country.
That they have made a Treaty with Russia, whereby that Power has engaged to furnish them twelve Ships of the Line and twenty thousand Troops, as some say, and twenty Ships of the Line and twelve thousand Troops according to others. This Alliance, they say too, is of the more Consequence on Account of some Connection between Russia and Denmark, who it is insinuated will follow Russia into the War, and Denmark they add, has forty five Ships of the Line, not manned it is true, but England they say, can mann them.
These Tales, one would think, are so extravagant and absurd, that they would not find a Believer in the World. Yet there are Persons who believe them in all Nations of Europe, particularly in Holland, and there is no doubt the same Song will be sung in America, and many will listen to it.1
There is nothing further from the Truth. They will find the utmost Difficulty to draw from Germany Troops enough to repair the Breaches in the German Troops made in America the last Year. The same with regard to Ireland—and as to what is said of Russia, there is not even a Colour of Truth in it, but on the contrary, the same good Understanding continues between Versailles and Petersbourg which { 336 } subsisted last Winter, Spring and Summer. As to Denmark; I have no Reason to think that She is disposed to assist Great Britain; but on the contrary that She has armed to defend herself at Sea against Great Britain: but if it were otherwise, To what purpose would her Ships of the Line be unmanned, when Great Britain cannot mann the ships of the Line She already has.
France seems determined to pursue the Naval War with Vigour and Decision in the American Seas. Mr. De Guichen sailed the beginning of January with seventeen or eighteen Ships of the Line. Seven more are now preparing at Brest with all possible Expedition supposed to be for America. These, if they all happily join the twelve Ships left there by the Comte D'Estang will make a Fleet of six and thirty Ships of the Line—and the Court seems determined to maintain the Superiority in the American Seas. This will give Scope to our Privateers, to weaken and distress the Enemies of their Country, while they are enriching themselves.
There is no News of Admiral Rodney; from whence I conclude he is gone to the West Indies.2
The English have derived such a Flash of Spirits from their late sucesses, which are mostly however of the negative Kind that they talk in a Stile very different from that of Peace.
There are two Reflections which the English cannot bear: one is that of loosing the Domination of the Colonies at the Conclusion of a Peace; because they look upon this Domination as indispensible to the Support of their naval Superiority over France and Spain: the other is, that of leaving France and Spain, or either of them, in possession of a powerful Fleet, at the Peace. Their Maxim is, to make themselves terrible at Sea to all Nations, and they are convinced that if they make a Peace, leaving America independent, and France and Spain powerful at Sea, they shall never again be terrible to any maritime Power. These Reasons convince me, that Great Britain will hazard all, rather than make Peace at present.3 Thompson's Brittannia,4 which expresses the Feelings as well as the Sentiments of every Briton, is so much to the present Purpose, that I hope I shall be pardoned for referring to it, even in a Letter to Congress.

[salute] I have the Honor to be, with the highest Esteem, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant.

[signed] John Adams
RC, with four enclosures, in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 263–266, 247–262); docketed: “No. 6. J. Adams Esr Feby. 19th: 1780. Read May 15.—Englis[h] Lyes—real Intentions of France Letters to & from the Marqs: Fayette and to & from Monsr. Genet.” These were JA's letter to Genet (above) and Lafayette (not printed, but see the letter to { 337 } Genet, note 1) of 18 Feb. and their respective replies of 20 and 19 Feb. (both below).LbC (Adams Papers); notations: “recd Congress Oct. 15. Triplicate.”; and by Thaxter: “No. 6.”
1. JA's account of British efforts at deception is, to this point, almost identical to that in his letter to Genet of the 18th (above).
2. JA's account of the movements of Louis Urbain du Bouexic, Comte de Guichen, and Adm. Sir George Rodney is approximately correct. Guichen's force of 17 ships of the line and numerous frigates sailed from Brest in early February, escorting a large convoy carrying supplies and troops for the reinforcement of Martinique. The leading vessels of the fleet arrived off the French island on 22 March. Rodney, following his successful relief of Gibraltar in January, sailed for the West Indies with four ships of the line, arriving off St. Lucia on 27 March. JA's conviction that France intended to establish naval supremacy in the West Indies was correct, but at the indecisive battle off Martinique on 17 April the two fleets were approximately equal, Guichen having 22 and Rodney 20 ships of the line (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 187–188; Mackesy, War for America, p. 323–331; see also JA to James Warren, 23 Feb., below).
3. In the Letterbook draft, JA wrote this sentence after the close, and marked it for insertion here.
4. For an almost identical reference to Thomson's Brittania, see JA to James Lovell, 16 Dec. 1779, and note 4 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0216

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1780-02-19

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 Comte de Vergennes

Paris, 19 February 1780. printed: JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:250–251.
Responding to Vergennes' letter of the 15th (calendared above), Adams sent copies of commissions, but balked at furnishing copies of his instructions, which he thought Vergennes expected him to provide (see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:246–247). He believed such an action to be inappropriate and would state only that the instructions contained nothing inconsistent with the Franco-American treaties. Adams noted that although he had confided the nature of his mission only to Vergennes and Franklin, its character had been “notorious” in America and presumably was known in London. Thus published reports should not be considered as proceeding from him.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0217-0001

Author: Gardoqui, Joseph & Sons (business)
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-19

From Joseph Gardoqui & Sons

[salute] Sir

In consequence of the orders you was pleas'd to directt us to ynvest the value of the 200. dollars in sundry goods and to ship them for America, we have now the satisfaction to enclose you an Invoice of them, being shipp'd on the Phinix Capt. James Babson who sail'd the 5th. Instant for Newburyport, where we have consign'd to our freind Mr. Nathaniel Tracy desiring of him to forward to your worthy Lady with our best respectts.
We dayly look out for the pleasure of hearing your safe arrivall at Paris, and In the mean time pray our complements to your two young Gentlemen and Mr. Thaxter wishing you all every happyness.
{ 338 } | view
Your very much esteem'd 24th. feby. say Jany.1 by the Guide was duely deliver'd us and we were vastly pleas'd to hear that the Inns to Bayonne had prov'd confortable.
Your reflections upon liberty are certainly just and consider'd the small share of it that is to be found in Europe, we are somewhat happier than other people.
You have no doubt frequent news of the Honble. John Jay, and it is with pleasure we have been ynform'd by our Brother at Madrid that he has had the satisfaction to see Mr. Carmichel who was but just arriv'd and wou'd endeavour to render him all manner of service.
Nothing new from the South except that by letters from Madrid we hear that Cordova sailed the 11th. with 28. sail of the line.2
Next tusday we shall dispatch Capt. Farris for Newburyport, so shou'd we hear of your arrivall tomorow shall comunicate it to your family.

[salute] We are with respect & unfeighn'd sincerety Sir Your most obedt. hble Servts.

[signed] Joseph Gardoqui & Sons
RC and enclosure (Adams Papers).
1. JA's letter was of 24 Jan. (above).
2. A false report; Cordoba and his fleet remained at Cadiz until July (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 174, 193).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0217-0002

Author: Gardoqui, Joseph & Sons (business)
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-01-31

Enclosure: Invoice from Joseph Gardoqui & Sons to John Adams

Invoice of Sundries shipp'd per the Phinix James Babson master for Newburyport on Account of the Honble. John Adams Esq.
No. 1 a 2.                      
1.   A Case containing                    
  4. Dozn. of tumblers     a 8.   rials     48.2          
  2. Do  Cups     8.   do.     16.       48.    
2.   a Barrell                    
  6. lb. Green tea     a 60.   rs.     360.          
  1. Dozn. Knifes           80.          
  1. Dozn. Forks           80.          
  1. Pce. of holland linen 27¼ v s.3   a 11.   rs.     299.   254        
  6. Do  Do.    150. do   8       1200.          
  6. Dozn. Barcelona Handkffs   a 104.       624.          
  12. Do  Do     102.       1224.       3867.   25  
Case, Barrell, packing and carriage paid             84.   9  
    Bal. ser               4,000.5    
[signed] Joseph Gardoqui & Sons
{ 339 }
The content of all or some notes that appeared on this page in the printed volume has been moved to the end of the preceding document.
RC and enclosure (Adams Papers).
1. This invoice is reproduced in vol. 3 of Adams Family Correspondence, facing p. 117.
2. An error for 32.
3. That is, 27¼ varas. The vara, a Spanish unit of measurement, equaled approximately 33 inches (OED).
4. The correct figure is 299.75.
5. Four thousand reals equals 500 pesos or, as they were also known, dollars. This is considerably more than the sum mentioned in the first paragraph of this letter, assuming that JA had given his order in terms of dollars as the equivalent of pesos.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0218

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-19

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] My Dear Sir

I cannot express the pleasure it gave me; when I heard of your Safe Arrival in Europe; permit me to congratulate you and myself thereon, and what is more our Country, whose true Interests I Know you have so much at heart. If I may trust the Common reports, you come in the Character of the blessed Peace Maker, who is always welcome to the Friends of Mankind; No one can wish you more success in your Mission, than I do, for your own honor and the general Good; and I am sure that Important business cannot be trusted in safer hands. How far the Common Ennemy may be disposed to Concur, I Know not, but at present He puts on the Appearance of more than common Insolence, having escapd this Summer from eminent danger, He thinks that Nothing can hurt Him, I trust however that He will be soon undeceivd, and find his Avarice and Ambition thoroughly Checkd.
Many reasons induced me to retire from Paris, soon after you had left Europe, and after staying some time at Boulogne to bathe in the Sea, I made a Circuit to this Town, where I have been for four Months, agitated by a thousand passions according to the Events, which have happend affecting our country.
The Seizure of the Dutch Ships is a matter that ought to touch all the Powers of Europe, I have written to Holland on the Subject to the Pensioner of the City of Amsterdam,1 in a manner which, I assure myself Sir, will meet with your approbation for tho the French may be bad; my Disposition was good. The private Views of the Stateholder, the Corruption of the Dutch, and the unprepared Condition of the States will prevent perhaps an immediate resentment from that Quarter, tho I should think in the End some good will arrive to Us from this desperate Step of the british Government.
Permit me, for it is certainly my Duty, to offer myself to execute whatever Commands you may please to lay on me here or Elsewhere; { 340 } the Conformity I found there was in our Sentiments will make that Duty pleasing to me. When I make this offer I assure myself you are satisfid of my Fidelity and Affection to my Country and the personal Esteem and respect with which I am Dear Sir Your Most faithful & Obt Hble Servt.
[signed] Edm: Jenings
Chez Monsieur Capelle
Rue des petits Carmes
1. That is, to Englebert Francois van Berckel. For “the seizure of the Dutch Ships,” see Alexander Gillon to JA, 14 Feb., note 3 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0219

Author: Lafayette, Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier, marquis de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-19

From the Marquis de Lafayette

[salute] Dear Sir

As I came but this morning from Versailles, it was not in my power sooner to answer to the letter you have honor'd me with,1 and this duty I now perform with the more pleasure that it is of some importance to the interests of America.
Since the first day when I had the happiness of making myself, and of being considered in the World as an American, I have always observ'd that among so many ways of attaking our liberties, and among the most ungenerous ones, treachery and falsehood have ever been the first weapons on which the British Nation have the most depended. I am glad it is in my power generaly to assure you, that the many Reports propagated by them and alluded to in your letter are not founded upon truth. New contracts with petty German Princes have not, I believe, taken place, and if any such Merchandise was sent to America it would at most consist of a few recruits. The troubles in Ireland if there is the least common sense amongst the first patriots in that country, are not, I hope, at an end, and it seems they now begin to raise new expectations. The Russian troops so much talk'd of in theyr gazettes I take to be mere Recruits for those thirty thousand Russians that Mr. Rivington had three years ago ordered to embark for America.2
Those intelligences, my dear sir, must be counter acted by letters to our friends in America. But as the Respect we owe to the free citizens of the United States makes it a point of duty for us never to deceive them, and as the most candid frankness must ever distinguish our side of the question from the cause of tyrranny and falsehood, I intend paying tomorrow morning a visit to the Minister of foreign affairs, and from him get so minuted intelligences as will answer your purpose.
{ 341 }
With the most sincere Regard and friendly affection I have the honor to Be Dear Sir Your most obedient humble servant
[signed] Lafayette M.G.3
P.S. On my Return from Versailles, my dear Sir, where I will settle the affair of arms that I had undertaken, I will impart you a project privately relating to me, that is not inconsistent with my sentiments for our country, America.4
RC (Adams Papers); docketed by John Thaxter: “Marquis de la Fayette 19th. Feby. 1780.”
1. This letter of 18 Feb. is not printed, but see JA's letter to Genet of the same date, note 1 (above).
2. This report appeared in Rivington's New York Gazette of 11 Oct. 1777.
3. Major General.
4. The nature of the “project” to be confided to JA is not known, but the “affair of arms” was probably a reference to Lafayette's ultimately successful effort to obtain “fifteen thousand stands of arms” for the Continental Army (Lafayette to Benjamin Franklin, 29 Feb. 1780, Lafayette in the Age of the American Revolution, ed. Stanley J. Idzerda and others, Ithaca, N.Y., 5 vols., 1977–1984, 2:359–360).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0220

Author: Montgomery, Robert
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-19

From Robert Montgomery

[salute] Dear Sir

I had the Pleasure of Addressing you the 5th Currente to Which Please be Referd and Since am Honour'd With your Truly Esteem'd Letter of the 31 ultimo and am Happy to Learn your Safe Arrival at Bordeaux on your Route to Paris. Your Thanks is Much more than an Equivilante for any Services I Wished to do you At Madrid. I onley Considred that as part of My duty, as well to Serve the united States as your Good Self for Whome I Shall Ever have a Perticular Regard.
You will have had a More Cirumstancial Account of what Passed at Gibralter than I Can Give you We being Distant from thence 11 days Post; but We are assured by the Master of a Small Barque in 7 days from Algeciras that two Men of War and Several Transports, Ware saild for Mahone1 it is Reported With 2000 English Troops on board for that Garison.
I beg lave to Repate My Requst of a Letter of Introduction to Mr. Jay,2 Interm have the Honour to be with the Greatest Sincerety Dear Sir your Most Obedient and Most Humble Servent
[signed] Robt Montgomery
1. Port Mahon on the island of Minorca. Reinforcements for the garrison there had been sent with the convoy that arrived at Gibraltar in January. The needs of the besieged fortress required, however, that the troops be retained there and only { 342 } supply ships were sent on to Port Mahon (Mackesy, War for America, p. 323).
2. It is not known whether JA acceded to Montgomery's request, but this is the last letter known to have been exchanged between the two men until Montgomery wrote to JA on 26 April 1783 (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0221

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dilly, Edward
Recipient: Dilly, Charles
Date: 1780-02-20

To Edward and Charles Dilly

[salute] Gentlemen

You may possibly remember a Correspondent of yours, who had six or seven Years ago the Pleasure of Writing to you sometimes and of receiving Letters from you.1 He has occasion for the Monthly and critical Reviews: the Remembrancers and annual Registers as they come out: and the Parliamentary Registers, and any other political Pamphlets of any Character that may be published in London. He requests the favour of you, to send them always by private Hands, addressed to Monsieur Antonio Ares, Negotiant chez Monsieur Hochereau, Libraire Pont neuf a Paris. For the pay for them you may draw upon him to be paid here, or he will get some Banker here to pay you in London which you please. He requests an Answer, as soon as possible and to be informed whether you will undertake to supply him or not, at what Prices and where you choose to be paid.—He wishes to know of the Welfare of Mrs. Maccauley, and of Mr. Robinson. Mr. Burgh, unhappily is no more.2

[salute] Your obliged and obedient servant

[signed] Antonio Ares3
1. At the bottom of the Letterbook copy is the notation: “Messrs. Edward and Charles Dilly, Booksellers in the Poultry, London.” The Dillys' bookshop was at No. 22 on the Poultry, a street connecting Cheapside and Cornhill (Wheatley, London Past and Present, 3:116–117). JA and Edward Dilly had corresponded in 1774 and 1775; see vol. 2:18, 171, 211; 3:2, 72. No letters from JA to Dilly are known to be extant. For a sketch of the Dillys, see Adams Family Correspondence, 1:73–74; and for a letter of 22 May 1775 from AA to Edward Dilly, see p. 200–204. Edward Dilly had died on 11 May 1779 (London Chronicle, 11–13 May 1779). A letter from Charles Dilly to JA, dated 3 Feb. 1790, is in the Adams Papers, but the editors know of no reply to the present letter.
2. Catharine Macauley, Matthew Robinson-Morris, and James Burgh were writers who favored the American cause. Burgh had died in 1775. For references to all three, see the indexes to previously published volumes of JA, Diary and Autobiography, Adams Family Correspondence, and JA, Papers.
3. This is apparently JA's first and only use of this pseudonym, and his first known use of any pseudonym in any letter not intended for publication, since his occasional use of classical names in his courtship correspondence with AA in the 1760s (see Adams Family Correspondence, vol. 1). The name “Antonio Ares” may have been suggested by “Antonio Arecs” (or “Areca”), the Spanish mule driver who accompanied JA on his journey from La Coruña to Bilbao (see Lagoanere to JA, 26 Dec. 1779, and JA to Lagoanere, 16 Jan. 1780, both above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0222

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gillon, Alexander
Date: 1780-02-20

To Alexander Gillon

[salute] Sir

I had last Evening the Pleasure of your Letter from Amsterdam, of the 14th. instant and I thank you for your kind Congratulations, on my Arrival in Europe, and for your obliging Compliments. You and I have been tossed about the World, in the service of an Infant Country in distress and danger: happy and blessed indeed shall We be if all our Labours, Hasards, and Exertions, can in any degree contribute to lay the Foundation of a free and flourishing People. I am very Sorry, you have met with so many Obstacles in your Endeavours to Serve, one of the most respectable of the states, and by serving her to promote the Security and Interest of all the others. For altho I am persuaded it is not yet agreable to the general Sentiments of People in Europe, for one State to negotiate for Loans of Money, Seperately from the rest, Yet I know that each State has a legal and Constitutional Right, according to the Terms of our Confederation, to negotiate for Loans of Money distinct from the Loans made by Congress, and by Agents distinct from those Commissioned by Congress, and to build or purchase Ships of War, at their Discretion. Being convinced therefore that your Errand to Europe, is not exceptionable in a constitutional Point of View, I certainly shall not give you any obstruction, in it, but on the contrary shall favour it, as far as is consistent with my Character. But I confess to you, I have Some doubts how far it is in Character for any one who is in the service of Congress, to become an Active Instrument in any Negotiation of a particular state, because it is certain that the service of Congress and the service of particular states do Sometimes interfere with each other particularly in the Loans of Money.
You give me much Pleasure, by your assurances that the Government and People, where you are, are much altered lately in our favour. The Thing that you wish for, is probably already done, although it may be most prudent to say, <nothing of it> little of it, at present.1 I am fully of your opinion that it must come direct, and to a solid Dutch House. Am glad to hear of the Resolution for an unlimited Convoy, and that the Prince has altered his sentiments. The English went a great Way in their late demand and Threat. One would think that mankind was not to be always treated in this Style. If the Treaty talked of with Denmark and Sweeden should, make any Progress I should be glad to be informed of it, and of the Proceedings of the states General, when they meet.
The ship you mention, I believe it is the Indian, was built and sold { 344 } to the French Court, before I first came to Europe, and therefore I know nothing but by Report and by Accident. I remember the Talk of a sum paid into the Hands of our Banker for her, and according to my Remembrance it was 600,000 Livres but may be mistaken in this. She can now be purchased only of this Government, and I dont see that it is in my Power to aid you in this Purchase. If I were to apply to the Ministers you mention, the Guise would be too thin: for they are too well informed of what passes in America, particularly with respect to me, to be made to believe that I have any Thing to do with the purchase of ships. They would therefore think me to blame to meddle in such a Thing. I have known many good Plans fail of success, for want of direct application, and the only Advice I can give you, is to apply directly to the Minister Mr. De Sartine in a respectful candid Letter, let him know your whole Design, and offer the Government as much as you think is reasonable. If it is judged consistent with the Kings service your Terms will be accepted, <otherwi>. It is totally without the Line of my Duty to interpose altho as I said before I certainly shall throw no Impediment in your Way, but on the Contrary shall favour your Application as opportunities may present themselves. I am &c
LbC (Adams Papers); notation at the head of the letter: “under Cover to Messrs Nicholas and Jacob Van Staphorst, Merchants Amsterdam Pache freres and Co. Rue Thevenot Cul de Sac de L'Etoille the Address of the Bankers in Paris where the Letter is to be left.”
1. JA is referring to the congress' decision to appoint a representative to negotiate a loan with the Netherlands. JA, Henry Laurens, and Woodbury Langdon were nominated for the position. JA had learned of this immediately before departing from Boston for Europe, and though he expected Laurens' appointment, he had not been informed of it yet (see JA to James Lovell, 19 Feb., note 3, above; Adams Family Correspondence, 3:234).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0223

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lloyd, Richard B.
Date: 1780-02-20

To Richard B. Lloyd

[salute] Dear Sir

Since my Arrival in this City, I had the Pleasure of your <kind> Letter of the 28 of December, and I thank you, sir, for your kind Congratulations, on my Arrival and obliging Enquiries after my Family, whom I left in perfect Health, as I hope Mrs. Lloyd and your little Family are. I want very much to be furnished with the critical and monthly Reviews: the Remembrancers and annual Registers as they come out: the parliamentary Registers and any other political Pamphlets of any Reputation, that may be published in London. Should be much obliged to you, if you can inform me of any Channel by which I can be sup• { 345 } plied with them and at what Rates, and in what Way to pay for them. As to a Passage, <I know of><there><is here at><are at Nantes> there are Vessells, Sometimes going from the Seaports, but the Times when they will Sail are So uncertain, that it is not easy for any Body to give you exact Information: but Some Person at the Seaports will be the most likely, to inform you. All public Vessells are under the Command of you know whom,1 whose Permission must be obtained. As to News I have none at present, but what is in the Newspapers. Should be glad to know how the Pulse beat in England, particularly, the situation of the Gentry of Brompton Row.2 I am, with Sincere Esteem, Sir your most obedient servant.
1. Presumably JA means that Benjamin Franklin controlled the activities of American naval vessels in European waters.
2. JA interlined the previous nine words. Brompton, a hamlet of Kensington between Chelsea and Knightsbridge, was a center of loyalist activity in London. Brompton Row constituted two blocks of houses facing Brompton Road in which several leading loyalists lived, including Jonathan Sewall, Thomas Hutchinson Jr., and Robert Auchmuty (Wheatley, London Past and Present, 1:280–281; Mary Beth Norton, The British-Americans: the Loyalist Exiles in England, 1774–1789, Boston, 1972, p. 74–75).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0224

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-02-20

To the President of the Congress, No. 7

[salute] Sir

Since my Arrival in Europe I have had the Mortification to see in the public Papers a Series of little Successes which our Enemies have had in the prosecution of the War. The first was a very exaggerated Account in the English Court Gazette of their Successes against the Spaniards in South America. The next was the History of the Repulse of General Lincoln and the Comte D'Estaing at Savannah and raising the Siege of that Post. These were soon followed by the Capture of the Spanish Fleet of Transport Ships by Rodneys Squadron, and the Advantage gained by that Admiral of the Spanish Ships of War, after a most gallant Resistance however, off Gibralter.
These small Triumphs, altho' chiefly of the defensive and negative Kind and a poor Compensation for the Blood and the Millions they are annually wasting, are however, abundantly sufficient to cheer the Spirits of the British Populace, and to banish from the Minds of the Ministry all thoughts of Peace upon reasonable Terms: for the English in the present War set upon a Maxim diametrically opposite to that of the Romans, and never think of Peace upon any Event fortunate to them, but are anxious for it under every great Adversity.
{ 346 }
A report of my Appointment having also been carried to England by the Cartels from Boston and being spread in Europe by various other Ways by Passengers in the Committee,1 by French Passengers in the Sensible, of whom there were a great Number, who had heard of it, in all Companies in America, and by many private Letters; and the English ministerial Writers having made Use of this, as Evidence of a drooping Spirit in America, in Order to favour their Loan of Money, I thought it my best Policy to communicate my Appointment and Powers to the French Court, and ask their Advice, as our good Allies, how to proceed, in the present Emergency. I accordingly wrote to his Excellency the Comte de Vergennes, the Letter of the twelfth of February, Copy of which is inclosed; and recieved his answer of the fifteenth, Copy of which is inclosed; to which I replied in a Letter of the nineteenth, Copy of which is also inclosed. When I shall have recieved his Excellency's Answer, I shall do myself the Honour to inclose that.
If there is any thing in these Letters of mine, which is not conformable to the Views and Sentiments of Congress, I wish to be instructed in it; or if Congress should not concur in Sentiment with his Excellency the Comte, I shall obey their Orders with the utmost Punctuality and Alacrity.
I have ever understood that Congress were first advised to the Measure of appointing a Minister to negotiate Peace, by the French Minister then at Philadelphia, in the Name of the Comte de Vergennes: however this may have been, it cannot be improper, to have some one in Europe, impowered to think and treat of Peace, which some time or other must come.
Since my last, which was of Yesterday's Date, I have had Opportunity to make more particular Inquiries, concerning the pretended Treaty with Russia, and am informed, that the English Ministry did not long since, make a formal Application by their Ambassador to the Empress of Russia, for a Body of Troops and a Number of Ships: but that the Application was opposed with great Spirit and Ability in the Russian Council, particularly by the Minister for foreign Affairs, and rejected in Council with great Unanimity, and that the Harmony between Versailles and Petersbourg remains as perfect as when I left France.2
I have the Honor to be, with very great Respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant.
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 267–270); docketed: “No. 7 J. Adams Esq Feby 20th. 1780 Duplicate <duplicate?>) Reed May 15. respectg: the Publicity of his Embassy.” LbC (Adams Papers); notations: “recd in congress Oct. 15. Triplicate.”; and by Thaxter: “No. 7.”
{ 347 }
1. Probably JA's misspelling of the name of a French vessel, the Comité, which had reached France from America in early Dec. 1779 (Jean Holker to William Temple Franklin, Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 4:24).
2. On 3 Dec. 1779 Sir James Harris, the British ambassador to Russia, had presented a proposal for an Anglo-Russian alliance. It soon shared the fate of two other such proposals made since his arrival at St. Petersburg in late 1777. By 14 Dec., Catherine II determined, as she had before, that Russia's position vis-à-vis other European powers made such a compact inadvisable (De Madariaga, Armed Neutrality of 1780, p. 121–138).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0225-0001

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-20

From Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] Monsieur

Vous avés craint d'importuner M. le Comte de Vergennes et vous m'avés fait l'honeur de vous addresser à moi1 pour savoir ce que vous devès penser de differens bruits que les anglois se sont attachés à répandre. Je suis infiniment flatté de la marque de confiance que vous avés bien voulu me donner mais j'ai cru devoir mettre votre lettre sous les yeux de ministre. Il m'a chargé de vous assurer que dans toutes les occasions il sera charmé que vous vous addressiés Directement a lui, et que vous le trouverés toujours empressé a vous Satisfaire. Il a remarque comme vous toute l'addresse que nos Ennemis mettent à faire courir de faux bruits et surtout pour faire croire à l'Europe que les américains leur font des avances pour traiter d'un arrangement avec eux. M. le Comte de Vergennes est aussi persuadé du contraire qu'il est assuré qu'il n'a point été négocié de nouveau Traité avec les Princes d'allemagne, et qu'il ne s'y fait des levérs que pour les remplacemens. Il ne juge pas plus fondée la nouvelle sur le Traité avec la Russie ni celle qui regarde la Cour de Dannemark. Il m'a dit que je pouvois avoir l'honeur de vous écrire que tous ces bruits sont faux, et que vous ne risqués rien de les présenter comme tels aux personnes sur qui vous croyés qu'ils auront pû faire quelque impression, Soit en Europe soit en Amérique.
J'ai la plus grande impatience d'avoir l'honeur de vous voir et de vous féliciter sur votre heureux retour. Comme je ne puis que rarement aller à Paris, je souhaite que vos affaires vous permettent de me faire l'honeur de venir chez moi, et accepter mon diner de famille.
J'ai l'honeur d'etre avec un respectueux attachement Monsieur Votre très humble et très obéissant serviteur
[signed] Genet

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0225-0002

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-20

Edmé Jacques Genet to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

Hesitating to bother the Count de Vergennes, you have done me the honor of addressing me1 in order to determine what to think of the var• { 348 } ious rumors that the English have taken upon themselves to circulate. I am greatly flattered by this mark of confidence that you have had the goodness to bestow on me, but thought that I should place your letter before the minister. He has directed me to assure you that he will be pleased on all occasions to have you address yourself directly to him and that you will find him always eager to give you satisfaction. He noticed, as did you, our enemies' cunning in setting about to circulate false rumors and, above all, to convince Europe that the Americans had approached them to negotiate a settlement. The Count de Vergennes is as convinced of the opposite as he is assured that no new treaty has been negotiated with the German Princes and that whatever levies have been made are only to provide replacements. Neither does he believe that there is any basis for the news regarding either a treaty with Russia or with the court of Denmark. He told me that I could have the honor of informing you that these rumors are false and that you risk nothing from presenting them as such to those persons on whom you believe they may have made some impression, either in Europe or America.
I am most eager to have the honor of seeing and congratulating you upon your happy return. Since I can only rarely go to Paris, I hope that your affairs will permit you to do me the honor of visiting me and dining with my family.
I have the honor to be, with respectful devotion, Sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Genet
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “M. Genet. 20. Feb. 1780. ansd 24. Feb. 1780.”
1. On 18 Feb. (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0226

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jay, John
Date: 1780-02-22

To John Jay

[salute] Dear Sir

I most sincerely congratulate You, on your happy Arrival in Europe, which must be the more agreeable to You, for the terrible Voyages You have had. Every good American in Europe I believe suffered a great Anxiety, from the Length of Time that passed between the day when it was known the Confederacy sailed, and the Time when the News arrived of your being at Cadiz. I too have had my Hair breadth 'Scapes, and after my Arrival, a very tedious Journey, in the worst Season of the Year, by Land. Happy however shall we be, if all our Hazards and Fatigues should contribute to lay the Foundation of a free and a prosperous People.
I hope no Accident, or disagreeable Circumstance, has happened to your Family, to whom I shall be obliged to You to present my Respects.
{ 349 }
From what I saw and heard in Spain—from the strong Assurances I recieved of the good Will of the Court and Nation, and from the great attention and Respect, that was paid me by Officers of Government of the highest Rank in the Provinces thro' which I passed, I am persuaded, You will meet with the most distinguished Reception, and I hope will soon have the Honour and Satisfaction of concluding a Treaty with Spain.
You will have the Advantage of more frequent and speedy Intelligence from Home, than we can have; at least, You will have it in your Power. There are Vessels oftener arriving from America at Bilbao and Cadiz, I think, than in France. Many of these Vessels come from Boston and Newbury Port, perhaps the most of them—so that by directing your Correspondents to send their Letters that Way, You will have them much sooner, than we can commonly obtain them; and by transmitting yours to Messs. Gardoqui and Co. at Bilbao, and Mr. Montgomery, or some other at Cadiz, your Dispatches will go more speedily and more safely than ours. For we find it almost impossible to get a Letter across the Bay of Biscay from France in a Merchant Vessel, there are so many Privateers in the Route, the danger of whom is avoided chiefly by Vessels from Bilbao, keeping near the Coast and running into Harbour in Case of Danger, and wholly by those from Cadiz.
You will excuse my mentioning to You this Channel of Intelligence, which might not possibly have occurred to You, and my wishing to make some Advantage of it to myself, by asking the Favour of your Correspondence, and that you would impart to me, the Advices You may recieve through it.1
We have nothing new here at present, but what You must have had before. Pray what think You of Peace? It seems to be the Will of Heaven, that the English should have Success enough, to lead them on to final Destruction. They are quite intoxicated with their late Advantages, altho' a poor Compensation for what they cost. My Respects to Mr. Charmichael, and believe me to be, with Respect and Esteem, Sir, your most obedient humble Servant
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (NNC: John Jay Papers); docketed: “John Adams 22 Feb. 1780.”
1. JA had become convinced that the ports of Cadiz and Bilbao were the best means for sending and receiving correspondence with America when, on or about 12 Feb., he received AA's letter of 10 Dec. 1779 via Cadiz (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:271–272, 275).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0227

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jones, John Paul
Date: 1780-02-22

To John Paul Jones

[salute] dear sir

I have the Pleasure to congratulate you, on your glorious success Since I left you at L'orient, and upon your Return to that Place, from whence I wish you safe to America.1
I obtained Permission from the Navy Board to send some small Matters home by an American Frigate now and then, and I have mentioned it to Dr. Franklin who has no Objection. We married men who run away from our Wives and Children must send them home something, to alleviate the Pains of solitude.
I have written to Mr. Moylan,2 and if you should be bound to Boston, and will be so good as to take a small Trunk for me, directed [by] me, to the Care of the Navy Board at Boston he will pack it up for me, and put it on board. It will much oblige me and a few of my Friends and be I hope no Inconvenience to you.3 If you cant conveniently take it, I should be glad if you would inform Mr. Moylan that he may not purchase the Things, and that I may wait another opportunity which will be probably from another Port. If you should take it and should go to Philadelphia, should be glad you would deliver it to Mr. Lovel or some other Massachusetts Delegate and pray him to send it, in the first Waggon to Boston. If you go to Boston, I hope you will do Mrs. Adams the Honour of a Visit, who will be glad to see Captn. Jones, and to hear from, him, who is with much Respect, your humble servant
1. After his victory over the Serapis in late Sept. 1779, Jones went to the Dutch island of Texel and remained there until 31 Dec. Anglo-French conflict over Dutch neutrality forced him to assume command of the Alliance when the Serapis and the other ships in his fleet were put under the French flag, and to depart from Texel for La Coruña and finally Lorient, where he arrived on 19 Feb. (Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 251–252, 262–263, 269–271).
2. On this date (below).
3. In a letter of 28 Feb. (DSI: Hull Coll.) Jones agreed to carry JA's trunk. Neither Jones nor the trunk, however, went to America in the Alliance. Jones went to Paris in April and did not return to Lorient until early June. In his absence Pierre Landais, who faced a courtmartial for his actions during the battle with the Serapis, and Arthur Lee, who sought passage on the Alliance, conspired to undermine Jones' authority, with the result that, soon after Jones' return, Landais seized command and ultimately sailed for America. JA's trunk finally reached Philadelphia on 18 Feb. 1781 in the sloop Ariel, Jones' new command (Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 275–276, 293–295, 301–308; James Lovell to AA, 27 Feb. 1781, Adams Family Correspondence, 4:81–83).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0228

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Moylan, James
Date: 1780-02-22

To James Moylan

[salute] Dear sir

As the Alliance is bound to America, and probably will go to Boston, I wish to avail myself of the Opportunity to send a few Necessaries to my Family, and a black Coat or two to a few Parsons in my Neighbourhood, whose Salaries are so reduced by the Depreciation of our Paper Currency that they cannot afford to buy a black Coat nor a Band1 at home.
I will inclose you the Minutes of the Things I wish to have sent.2 I have Authority from the Navy Board at Boston to send any little Matters of this Kind by any American Frigates that may be bound that Way, or I could obtain Permission, I suppose from Dr. Franklin if that were necessary, I have mentioned it to him and he made no Objection.
I wish you would be so good as to mention it to Captn. Jones,3 and if he expects to go first to an Eastern Port and will be so good as to take the Charge of them, you may direct them to the Address of John Adams of Braintree and to the Care of the Navy Board at Boston, who will see them deliverd.
I should be glad if you could distinguish the Parcels,—for Mr. Wibirt, for Mr. Shute4 and for Mr. P. B. Adams for Mr. Cranch5 and for me. Let each be seperated from the other but all packed up in one Chest or Box, and I suppose a very small one will contain the whole. If Captain Jones declines taking them, you need not take the Trouble to put them up. If he takes them, please to charge your Commissions, transmit me an Invoice and inclose another Invoice in English with the Goods. And your Orders upon me for the money shall be paid upon demand. I am sir, with much Esteem, your most obedient
1. Two strips of material hanging from a clergyman's collar (OED).
2. No invoice has been found, but see Moylan's reply of 28 Feb. (below) and JA's letter to Moylan of 6 March (LbC, Adams Papers). For a detailed account of what was sent, see James Lovell's description of the goods that he received from the Ariel in his letters to AA of 27 Feb. and 1 March 1781 (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:81–83, 85–86).
3. See JA's letter to Jones of this same date (above).
4. These were Rev. Anthony Wibird of Braintree and Rev. Daniel Shute of Hingham. They, as well as Peter Boylston Adams, had supplied JA with bills of exchange before his departure for France, presumably to pay for goods such as JA was sending (“Memorandum of Bills of Exchange,” Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 96, last page on reel).
5. “For Mr. Cranch” is interlined in John Thaxter's hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0229

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-22

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dear Sir

I did myself the Honor of writing to You, two days Ago1 by Mr. Brusch, to congratulate you on your Safe Arrival in Europe, and to Assure you of my Disposition and wish to Execute whatever Commands, you may lay on me here or Elsewhere.
As I Know your Attention to whatever may affect our Country, I take the Liberty of making an Extract out of a Letter I receivd yesterday from England, from the well instructd Correspondent, who gave Information of the intentd irruption into Connecticut, which unfortunately took place last year, of which I gave you Notice before you left Europe.2 He had written to me last Novr. of Englands Endeavouring to draw Russia into the War, and of the Backwardness then showed to enter into the business. He writes to me now in these Words.
“When I trod on Russian Ground, I had every reason to think, that my footing was firm and certain; I have not yet passed over the same kind of Soil, but my trusty Guide (acquainted with the Country to an Inch) bids me prepare for another Road. He is a Speculative Politician, what, said He, if the Czarina should be on the point of Changing her Mind, and hitherto refusing now grant Succour to England. If Lord North, having procurd an Immense Sum for the renewal of the East India Charter,3 shoud succesfully bribe the Court of Petersburgh with a great part of it, into an offensive and defensive Alliance, if the same spirited Statesman shoud procure similar Treaties from Russia and Denmark, if?”—He was proceeding, when I asked Him, whether these Courts woud not first Attempt to Negociate a Peace for England, certainly, He replied, I should think so. At this Moment the face of my Whimsical Casuist became more open, and I fanced that Truths were seald on his Lips.
I find that the Expedition under Boyle Walsingham from Ireland is to the West Indias.4
I should be glad Sir you would give me Mr. Carmichaels Address at Madrid. I fancy He has Letters for me.

[salute] I am Dear Sir Your Most Obedient & faithful Hlbe Servt

[signed] Edm: Jenings
1. Actually dated 19 Feb. (above).
2. None of the extant letters received from Jenings before JA's departure for America in June 1779 mention a planned attack on Connecticut, but see index under “Connecticut” and references there.
3. Any British plans to use “an Immense Sum” gained from the renewal of the East India Company's charter, which expired in 1780, to bribe Russia or for { 353 } any other purpose were based on wishful thinking. During his presentation of the budget in 1779, Lord North had alluded to the company's charter and the use of the sums that might be realized from its renewal to balance expenditures. But his statements were premature; opposition from the company and its supporters to the ministry's proposals for a new charter made renewal in 1779 or 1780 impossible. As a result, North could obtain only an extension of the charter; it was not renewed until 1784 (Lucy S. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, Oxford, 1952, p. 343–344, see also index under statutes; Parliamentary Hist., 20:160, 167).
4. This force, consisting of five ships of the line and two smaller vessels and intended to reinforce Rodney's fleet in the West Indies, was commanded by Como. Robert Boyle-Walsingham, originally of Ireland, but then a member of Parliament from Knaresborough in Yorkshire. Although Boyle-Walsingham received his sailing orders in March, he was windbound at Torbay until June, and in October he was lost in a hurricane with his flagship, the Thunderer (Lewis Namier and John Brooke, eds., History of Commons, 1754–1790, 3 vols., London, 1964, 3:603–605; Mackesy, War for America, p. 327–329; W. M. James, British Navy in Adversity, London, 1926, p. 440).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0230

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Samuel
Date: 1780-02-23

To Samuel Adams

[salute] Dear Sir

You will see by the public Papers, that your Committee of Correspondence is making greater progress in the World, and doing greater things in the political World than the Electrical Rod ever did in the Physical.1 Ireland2 and England have adopted it, but mean Plagiaries as they are, they do not acknowledge who was the Inventor of it.
Mr. Lee and Mr. Izard will go with this Letter in the Alliance, and probably go to Boston. They will be able to inform You of every thing of a public Nature, much better than I can do, as I have scarcely had Opportunity to look about me as Yet. They will give You few Hopes of Peace, at least very speedily.
The Associations of Counties and Committees of Correspondence in England, are very ominous to our old Acquaintances, the Refugees, as they attack unmerited Pensions in the first place—but they must do greater things than distressing these Gentry. They must necessarily produce great Commotions in the Nation. The Speakers of these Meetings go great Lengths, some of them openly justifying and applauding the Americans, and others even applauding France and Spain for stepping in to our Assistance.3
The Court here seems determined more than ever, to pursue the War with Vigour, especially by Sea, and above all in the American Seas. They have already sent seventeen Ships of the Line under M. de Guichen to reinforce M. de la Motte Piquette, and seven others are preparing at Brest. They are sending out Cloathing and Arms for fifteen thousand Men for our Army, and seem confident that the next { 354 } Campaign will be better than the last. I hope the Spirit of Privateering among Us will increase, because I think this is the Way, in which we can do the most Service to the Common Cause.
I hope You will be so good as to inform me of what passes, particularly what progress the Convention makes in the Constitution. I assure You it is more comfortable making Constitutions in the dead of Winter at Cambridge or Boston, than sailing in a leaky Ship, or climbing on foot or upon Mules over the Mountains of Gallicia and the Pyranees. My Respects to Mrs. A. and Miss H.,4 and believe me your Friend and Servant.
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (NN: George Bancroft Collection); docketed: “Paris Feb 23 1780.”
1. See JA to Elbridge Gerry of this date, and note 3; and JA to the president of the congress, 25 Feb. (both below).
2. For events in Ireland, see the letter to Gerry of this date, and note 4 (below).
3. Led by Rev. Christopher Wyvill, the county association movement began formally with a meeting in Yorkshire on 30 Dec. 1779. By the Yorkshire association's next meeting, on 28 March 1780, Parliament had received 39 petitions from similar groups in various counties, cities, and towns. Although the associations were linked by committees of correspondence and many of their petitions expressed opposition to the continuation of the war, they were only indirectly emulating the earlier American example and indicating sympathy for the American cause. The primary motivation for most of the petitioners was the war's great cost, which was inflicting hardships on merchants and landholders, and a desire for parliamentary reform. In pursuit of these objectives the petitioners proposed solutions ranging from the relatively conservative, in the outlying counties, to the quite radical, espoused by the Westminster association.
The association movement was able to generate considerable popular support; at its height it was estimated that up to one-fifth of the very limited electorate had signed petitions. Numerous bills were brought before Parliament, the most significant being that, “For the better Regulation of His Majesty's Civil Establishments, and of certain public Offices; for the Limitation of Pensions, and the Suppression of sundry useless, expensive, and inconvenient Places; and for applying the Monies saved thereby to the Public Service,” which was introduced by Edmund Burke on 11 Feb. 1780. Initially Burke's bill enjoyed some success, the high point being the passage of the section abolishing the Board of Trade by a margin of eight votes on 13 March. Eventually, though, the ministry was able to force the withdrawal of the entire bill, thus dooming any chances for success that the association movement may have had in 1780. The character of its supporters, however, gave legitimacy to the movement for parliamentary reform, and by 1782 their dissatisfaction was a significant force in the fall of the North ministry (Ian R. Christie, Wilkes, Wyvill and Reform, London, 1962, p. 68–99; Dora Mae Clark, British Opinion and the American Revolution, New Haven, 1930, p. 143–151; Allen Valentine, Lord North, 2 vols., Norman, Okla., 1967, 2:191–201; Colin Bonwick, English Radicals and the American Revolution, Chapel Hill, 1977, p. 131–143; see also Almon's Remembrancer for 1780, which contains the proceedings of many local meetings). JA offered a more detailed but less optimistic analysis of the association movement in his letter to the president of the congress of 27 Feb. (below).
4. Hannah Adams, Samuel Adams' daughter by his first marriage.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0231

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cooper, Samuel
Date: 1780-02-23

To Samuel Cooper

[salute] Dear sir

I knew not when I undertook so readily to take the Care of your Grandson what I was about, little foreseeing a Journey of near four hundred Leagues by Land, in the Extremity of Winter, over the worst Roads and the vilest Accommodations and at the same time the most expensive of all Europe.1
I think myself very happy however to have at length reached Paris, without any essential Injury to the Health of any one of the Company, although all were at several times in the Utmost danger of fatal Colds and Fevers.
I have had the Honour to pay and Receive Visits, and to dine with the Comte D'Estaing, Since my Arrival. He is much your Friend, and takes a great Pleasure in shewing certain Pictures. His Wounds are much better, and We are wishing to see him again in Command.2 He is very popular in France, as many Symptoms have shewn, in many Places, particularly in the Feast which was made at Bourdeaux, in honour of him, and lately at the opera, when an Actor attracted an Applause of a Quarter of an Hour, resounding like Thunder by going up to the Comtes Lodge and offering him a Crown of Lawrel in a Place where the Piece had offered such a Crown to an Hero.
We cannot to this day ascertain, with Precision, whether Rodney is in Gibrater or gone to the West Indies—nor whether done Gasten has joined Don Cordova—from whence I conclude that Rodney is gone to the West Indies, and upon the whole I believe Cordova and Gasten are joined.3
The Blow to D'Estaing at Savanna, that to Langaras Squadron, the succours thrown into Gibraltar, the Capture of the Caracca fleet, added to the Affair of Omoa,4 will banish all Thoughts of Peace from many Minds, which would otherwise have entertained hopes of it in England. The Ministers would not have thought of it, if all these Events had gone against them, at least that is my Opinion. In great Haste your Friend and sert
1. On this date JA also wrote to Cooper's son-in-law, Gabriel Johonnot (LbC, Adams Papers), regarding the expenses incurred by his son, Samuel Cooper Johonnot, during the journey from El Ferrol to Paris. He noted that Johonnot had given him a bill of exchange for 1,398 livres to cover his son's expenses in Europe, but that 985 livres, 7 sous had been spent in the course of the trek through Spain and France, leaving a balance of 412 livres, 13 sous. Believing that this sum would { 356 } soon be expended, JA requested that Johonnot send additional funds for his son's use.
2. Francis Dana's journal for 1779–1780 (MHi: Dana Family Papers) indicates that JA visited Estaing on 11 Feb. and dined with him on the 13th. Since the journal ends with an entry for 14 Feb., it is not known when Estaing called on JA or whether there were later visits by JA. Estaing had been wounded during the unsuccessful effort to storm the British defenses at Savannah in Oct. 1779 (Mackesy, War for America, p. 278).
3. Most of Don Miguel Gaston's fleet had reached De Cordoba by 4 Feb. (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 178).
4. Rodney's victories over the Spanish and subsequent relief of Gibraltar were important, but of even more significance in stiffening the resolve of the ministry were the earlier reports concerning the capture of Omoa, a port on the northwest coast of Honduras, and the successful defense of Savannah. News of those events, both occurring in October, reached London on the 17th and 20th of December respectively and represented the first reports of British military success in some time (Mackesy, War for America, p. 316–317; see also the London Chronicle of 16–18 and 18–21 Dec. 1779).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0232

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dalton, Tristram
Date: 1780-02-23

To Tristram Dalton

[salute] Dear Sir

Since my Arrival in this City, which was on the 9th. of this Month I had the Pleasure of your Letter concerning your Vessel which was sunk in the West Indies.1 I immediately waited on Dr. Franklin who informed me that he had received a similar Letter from you and in the Time of it applied to Court and obtained an order for your Compensation, which he transmitted to you, and which I hope you have received—if not upon Intimation of it, a Duplicate or a Repetition of the order may be obtained at any Time.
If at any Time I can be usefull to you, you have but to Command me. I hope the good Work of Privateering goes on with Spirit. I hope that those who have done so much service to their Country and to themselves in that Way will not be diverted, or relaxed in their Cause by any Syren songs of Peace, which the more charming they are the more delusive they are likely to be, as the English beyond all controversy will be encouraged by their late Successes, to prosecute the War for some time longer. These successes, which are rather of the defensive and negative Kind and a poor Compensation for the immense Cost of them, are however sufficient to chear the Populace, and embolden the Minister to proceed, not with standing the formidable associations, and Correspondences,2 which have made So great Progress, a la manière Americaine, both in Ireland and England. I am, sir with great Esteem, your old Friend and humble servant
{ 357 }
1. For Dalton's vessel, the Fair Play, see his letter to JA of 13 May 1779, and note 1 (above).
2. See JA's letter to Samuel Adams of this date, and note 3 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0233

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1780-02-23

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear Friend1

The Boston Committee of Correspondence, and the Military Associations which grew out of it, are likely to prove the greatest Engines for pulling down Tyranny, that were ever invented. The Electrical Rod, which deprives the Clouds of their Thunder, does it not so effectually, as these Committees wrest the Iron Rod out of the Hands of a Tyrant.3
Ireland has already obtained, purely by the Use of this Machine, great Advantages, and as She has not yet laid it down, She will obtain more, or give England further Trouble.4 The Counties in England are generally laying hold of it, as you will see by the public Papers.
I recieved your Letter relative to Mr. Dalton's Vessel that was sunk, since my Arrival in this City.5 Dr. F. applied in the Time of it, as he tells me, to the Minister, and obtained an Order for Compensation, which I hope Mr. Dalton has recieved. But if the Order miscarried, a Repetition of it may be obtained at any Time. Let me beg of You, to write Me by every Opportunity.

[salute] Your Friend & humble Servant

[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (MHi: Gerry-Knight Coll.); docketed: “Paris Letter His Excellency John Adams Esq Feby 23 1780 ansd Jany 10th 1781.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. Immediately after the greeting in the Letterbook copy is the canceled passage: “I will take the Liberty to inclose to you, for your private Use, and in Confidence, Copies of a few Letters I have written and received Since my Arrival. They may be of some Use.”
2. This may not be JA's first effort at a letter to Gerry in 1780. Several pages earlier in the Letterbook is an incomplete letter, dated 19 Feb., for which no recipient is given. The fragment, which like this letter begins “My dear Friend,” consists of one paragraph in which JA promised to send intelligence and the first sentence of a second paragraph in which he noted that the disposition of the European powers was the same as described in his letter of 4 Aug. 1779 to the president of the congress (above). An examination of the Letterbook and extant recipients' copies indicates that JA used this greeting only for letters to James Lovell and Elbridge Gerry. Since the Letterbook copy immediately preceding the fragment is that to James Lovell of 19 Feb. (above), it seems likely that the unfinished letter was intended for Gerry. If this was so, JA's reason for not completing the letter may have been that in content, following the opening lines, it would have been similar to the letters of the 19th to James Lovell and to the president of the congress (both above), which JA would assume Gerry would see.
3. One may view this sentence as an effort by JA to puncture what he saw as Benjamin Franklin's inflated reputation, for it is clearly a paraphrase of the epigram attributed to Turgot and attached to several portraits of Franklin in this period: “eripuit calo fulmen, sceptrumque { 358 } tyrannis,” “he snatched the lightning from heaven and the scepter from tyrants” (vol. 6:174).
4. JA refers to the volunteer and nonimportation movements in Ireland, which were founded on deeply felt grievances and resurgent Irish nationalism. There was considerable sympathy for America in Ireland, thus making JA's comments on the Irish use of American models more justified than his comments in this and previous letters regarding the English county association movement (see JA to Samuel Adams, 23 Feb., above). The expectations of JA and others that the movements in Ireland, and to a lesser degree in England, could undermine the North ministry, however, were doomed to disappointment. The perspective of Paris and Versailles led to a misapprehension as to the origins and aims of the movements and, in the case of Ireland, the ability and willingness of Britain to deal effectively with Irish grievances.
The volunteer movement was reminiscent of the American minuteman companies and resulted from the lack of any sizable body of British troops to defend Ireland. The need for extraordinary measures became clear in 1778, when John Paul Jones captured the HMS Drake at Cerrickfergus, and was made even more urgent in 1779 when a Franco-Spanish invasion seemed likely. In mid-1778, therefore, the recruitment of volunteer companies began and ultimately over 40,000 troops were raised. Catholics and Protestants alike supported the effort, but the government at London and Dublin regarded the volunteers as an extralegal force that could as well be used to seek redress of grievances as for defense.
The nonimportation movement too had American roots. Always heavily circumscribed by British restrictions, Irish trade was almost destroyed when the outbreak of war in America cost Ireland the only profitable market for its linens. The chronically depressed Irish economy thus grew worse, with thousands facing starvation. To dampen growing Irish unrest, Lord North introduced a series of trade bills on 2 April 1778 that would have ended many of the barriers to Irish trade. Opposition from British manufacturers, however, forced North to retreat, and in the end only minor changes were made. In the absence of the relief that the trade bills would have provided, the Irish economy continued to deteriorate until, at a meeting at Dublin in late April 1779, a nonimportation agreement was adopted. The movement soon became widespread and was effective in limiting Anglo-Irish trade.
The volunteer and nonimportation movements altered Ireland's relationship with Great Britain. Although the volunteer companies showed no disloyalty to the crown, they became, as the British authorities had feared, a political force in support of nonimportation and free trade. Together the two movements forced the North ministry in late 1779 and early 1780 to introduce measures that finally permitted Ireland to enjoy a relatively free trade within and without the empire. With these measures and a relaxation of restrictions on Catholics and dissenters, the North ministry successfully defused the situation and, although many in Ireland remained sympathetic to the American cause, any hope that Irish unrest would materially effect Britain's ability to carry on the war ended (W. E. H. Lecky, A History of England in the Eighteenth Century, 8 vols., N.Y., 1878–1890, 4:520–542; Cambridge Modern Hist., 6:495–498; for the Irish trade bills, see Parliamentary Hist., vols. 19 and 20).
5. Gerry's letter of 12 May 1779 (Adams Papers) concerning the destruction of the Fair Play has not been printed, but see Tristram Dalton to JA, 13 May 1779, and note 1 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0234

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-02-23

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. 8

Paris, 23 February 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand PCC, No. 84, I, f. 279; docketed: “No. 8 Feby. 23. 1780 Letter from J. Adams recd. Oct. 16. sends News Papers &c.” LbC Adams Papers; { 359 } notations: “Recd in Congress Oct. 15.”; by Thaxter: “No. 8.” and “In No. 8 were inclosed Triplicates of all the former Letters to Congress, and also a Copy of a Letter to the Marquiss de la Fayette, & his Answer, & a Copy of one to Mr. Genet and his Answer.”
Adams sent copies of and comments on the Mercure de France (the successor to Affaires de l'Angleterre et de l'Amérique), Courier de l'Europe, Gazette de France, and Gazette de la Haie. He noted that the Courier was thought to be influenced by the British ministry; that the Gazette de France was published by the French government, but was noted for its integrity; and that the Gazette de la Haie was a vehicle for British falsehoods. Regarding the Dutch paper, see vol. 6:215.
RC ( in John Thaxter's hand PCC, No. 84, I, f. 279); docketed: “No. 8 Feby. 23. 1780 Letter from J. Adams recd. Oct. 16. sends News Papers &c.” LbC (Adams Papers); notations: “Recd in Congress Oct. 15.”; by Thaxter: “No. 8.” and “In No. 8 were inclosed Triplicates of all the former Letters to Congress, and also a Copy of a Letter to the Marquiss de la Fayette, & his Answer, & a Copy of one to Mr. Genet and his Answer.” printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:514.)

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0235

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1780-02-23

To James Warren

[salute] Dear Sir

The French Court seem to be now every day more and more convinced of the good Policy, and indeed the Necessity of prosecuting the War with Vigour in the American Seas. They have been and are making great Preparations accordingly, and are determined to maintain a clear Superiority.
M. de la Motte Piquet has with him, the Hannibal, the Magnifique, the Diadem, the Dauphin Royal, the Artesien, the Reflechi, and the Vengeur, and if M. de Grace [Grasse] has joined him from Chesapeak Bay, the Robuste, the Fendant and the Sphinx, in all ten Ships of the Line.
M. de Guichen is gone to join him, with the Couronne, eighty Guns, the Triomphant, eighty, the Palmier, seventy four, the Victoire, the Destin, the Conquerant: the Citoyen, the Intrepide, the Hercule, the Souverain, all of seventy four—the Jason, the Actionaire, the Caton, the Julien, the Solitaire, the St. Michel, the Triton, all of sixty four. The Frigates the Medee, Courageuse, Gentille and the Charmante all of thirty two. He had above an hundred Sail of Vessels under his Convoy, and the Regiments of Touraine and Enghien, of more than thirteen hundred Men each, and the second Battalion of Royal Comtois and of Walsh of seven hundred men each—making in the whole more than four thousand Troops. Besides these, there are seven more preparing at Brest to sail.1
Messrs. Gerard, Jay and Charmichael are arrived at Cadiz in a French Frigate—the Confederacy having been dismasted and driven to Martinique. The Alliance carries this with Mr. Lee and Mr. Izard, who will no doubt be treated with all Respect at Boston.
{ 360 }
Notwithstanding the Commotions in England and Ireland, the Success of Prevost at Savannah, and of Rodney off Gibralter, and even the silly Story of Omoa in South America, is enough to embolden the Ministry to go on with a Debt of two hundred Millions already contracted, to borrow twelve or fourteen Millions a Year in the Beginning of a War with France and Spain—each having a greater Navy than they ever had, each discovering a greater fighting Spirit than they ever did before,2 and obliging the English to purchase every Advantage at a dear Rate.
The Premiums and Bounties, that they are obliged to give to raise Men, both for the Service by Sea and Land, and the Interest of Money they borrow, are greater than were ever given in any former Wars, even in the last Year of the last War. This cannot always last, nor indeed long. Yet I dont expect to see Peace very soon.
I have sent a Trunk to the Care of the Navy Board, for my dear Mrs. A., in which is something for Mrs. W. Pray write me as often as possible, and send the News papers to me.

[salute] Your Friend and Servant

[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr J Adams Lettr Feby. 1780.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. JA's information regarding the naval force available to the French in the West Indies, as well as the ships and troops convoyed by Guichen to Martinique, is substantially correct. With the exception of the ships of the line Hannibal, Diadem, Dauphin Royal, Reflechi, Conquerant, Jason, and Julien and the frigate Charmante, all of the vessels named participated in the battle against Rodney's fleet off Martinique on 17 April. The four ships of the line under La Motte-Piquet that were not available for the battle had left Martinique before Guichen's arrival to escort to St. Domingo merchant ships returning to France. The absence of La Motte-Piquet and his ships on the 17th may have denied Guichen a decisive victory, for their presence would have given Guichen a margin of 26 ships of the line to 20 for Rodney (W. M. James, British Navy in Adversity, London, 1926, p. 441–442; Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 187–188).
2. In the Letterbook copy, a draft, JA wrote: “each discovering a fighting Spirit, which they never did before,” and then altered it to the text given here.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0236

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Chavagnes, Bidé de
Date: 1780-02-24

To Bidé de Chavagnes

[salute] Dear Sir

I had last Evening the Honour, of your Letter from Brest, of the 16th. of this Month, and I thank you, sir for your kind Enquiries after our Health. Mr. Dana, Mr. Thaxter, the three Children and myself, are very well at present. Mr. Allen We left, in good Health at Bordeaux. We were all much incommoded with violent Colds and { 361 } threatned with dangerous Fevers in Spain, arrising from bad Weather, much fatigue and vile Accommodations, but the Salubrious Air, the innumerable delights of France, have restored Us all to very good Health and Spirits. We are all much rejoiced to hear of your Welfare and that of your Officers, to whom We request you to present our Respects.
I feel So much Affection for the good Old Sensible, that I take a Pleasure in learning that she was able to perform the Voyage to Brest and that she is still uncondemned, but not so much as to wish that Lives of Officers and People that I so much respect should be risqued in her too long.1
I hope the Minister, to whom I have had the Pleasure of expressing my Gratitude to you and your Officers for your Goodness to me and my Suite in both Passages, both by Word of Mouth and by Letter,2 will agree to your Wishes for a short Relaxation: and you may assure Madam Chevagne of our Respect and that We have not yet ceased to drink her Health, and yours at the same time.
I thank you for your Care of our Trunks, and I hope that Mrs. Gerard de Malherbes et Allain, will transmit them to me at the Hotel De Valois Rue de Richelieu.
When I shall have Occasion to return to America I dont know, but whenever that time shall come, nothing would give me so much Pleasure, as to return with you. And it is very far from being impossible or unlikely that <We> I may have once more the good Luck to navigate the Atlantic with you. I have the Honour to be with much Respect and Affection, sir your very humble and obedient servant
1. The voyage from El Ferrol to Brest was La Sensible's last as a warship. In April it and two other frigates were ordered converted to transports (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 358).
2. See JA to Sartine, 13 Feb. (calendared above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0237

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1780-02-24

To Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] Dear Sir

I have received the Letter, that you did me the Honour to write me the 20th. of this Month.
I was cautious of troubling the Minister, with an Application directly to him upon a Subject like that of my Letter to you: but I thank you, for the Trouble you have taken in laying it, before him. The kind { 362 } Expressions of his Excellencies Confidence, and his Readiness to receive any Applications directly from me, do me great Honour, and I shall not fail of paying my Respects to him upon proper Occasions.
I am happy to have his Excellencies Authority, to counteract, the delusive Artifices of our Enemies: and he may be equally assured that the Reports of Advances made by the Americans, towards an Arrangement with the English are equally groundless.
I hope to have soon the Honour of paying my Respects to you at Versailles. In the mean Time, I have a favour to request of you, which is your Assistance in procuring, some News Papers from England. I am told Dr. Franklin, and other Americans here have been under Obligations to you for procuring them by the Way of Ostend, and that they pay for them to the Post Master at Ostend. You are better acquainted with the Character and Merit of the English Papers than We are. We should be much obliged to you therefore, if you would give orders for two setts of Papers, one for Mr. Dana and one for me: one on the Court side of the Question and the other on the Country Side. Papers which commonly contain the best Intelligence.
We will pay the Expence whenever and to whomsoever you direct. And We shall be very glad to pay for your sending them to Us, in the same manner you did to Mr. Izard. I have the Honour to be with great Esteem and Respect, sir your most obedient and most humble servant.
LbC (Adams Papers); directed to: “Monsieur Genet Premier Comis de Affaires etrangeres, Rue Royal a Versailles.” The text is taken from the Letterbook copy because the RC (J. G. Turner, Los Angeles, 1958) exists only as a fragment, with extensive fire damage and the signature cut out.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0238

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-24

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 Comte de Vergennes

Replying to John Adams' letter of 19 Feb. (calendared above), Vergennes noted that Adams' account of his commissions agreed with that of Conrad Alexander Gérard and that the most important aspect of his mission, the negotiation of a peace treaty, would be announced in the Gazette de France. Adams might also publicize the peace commission in the Dutch papers, but should first send Vergennes a copy of any such article. Regarding Adams' commission to negotiate an Anglo-American commercial treaty, Vergennes advised him not to disclose it to anyone and in particular to do everything possible to prevent the British ministry from learning of it. Finally, Vergennes declared that since he was certain that Adams' instructions were in conformity with the Franco-American treaties, there was no need for him to see them.
Years later Adams analyzed Vergennes' motives for offering him the { 363 } advice in this letter. He noted that although he had seen no reason “for concealing one of my Commissions more than the other,” he had thought it prudent to follow Vergennes' counsel. He believed, however, that the letter was early evidence of Vergennes' determination to have the commission to negotiate a commercial treaty annulled. According to Adams, Vergennes' success in that undertaking indicated that it was France's policy “to keep Us embroiled with England as much and as long as possible, even after a Peace” (same, 4:252–253).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0239

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gardoqui, Joseph, & Sons (business)
Date: 1780-02-25

To Joseph Gardoqui & Sons

[salute] Gentlemen

I have not had opportunity, Since my Arrival at Paris, to pay my Respects to you, and to inform you, that We all happily arrived, on the 9th. of this Month. We have now a little Leisure to look back upon the Scenes we have passed thro Since our Arrival in Europe, and I assure you, that I reflect upon none with more Pleasure than those at Bilbao.
I find that Vessels arrive oftener, there and at Cadiz than in France, from our Part of America, and I believe I must now and then trouble you with a Letter to send Congress,1 from your Port, and request my Friends in America to write me, by the Same Channel,2 as Intelligence between the two Countries is So much wanted, and is So often interrupted.
Mr. Dana informs me that you sent a few Things to my Family by Captain Babson.3 But these will go but a little Way in the support of a large Family, even if they arrive Safe, which is very uncertain. I have therefore to request your House to Send Duplicates of the Same Things, by the next Vessell that goes to Mr. Isaac Smith of Boston, or Mr. Jackson or Tracy, or indeed any other good Man in the Massachusetts Bay, directed in the Same manner, provided you think that the Season of the Year, the Sailing of the Vessell and the Character of the Master is such as to give a fair Chance of Arriving safe. I would not Send any Thing in a wrong Season, by a dull Sailor or an absurd Captain. If you will send such Duplicates, and then Triplicates, by the next opportunity which you may think equally good, and draw upon me, for the Money, in Paris your Bills shall be punctually paid.4
Pray inform me the News of Mr. Jay, and his Reception at Madrid. I am &c.
1. See JA's letter to the president of the congress of this date, descriptive note (below).
2. See JA to John Jay, 22 Feb., note 1 (above).
3. JA had not yet received the letter { 364 } from Gardoqui & Sons of 19 Feb. (above), informing him of the goods sent in Capt. Babson's vessel. When that letter was received on 1 March, JA immediately wrote to the firm with additional instructions (LbC, Adams Papers).
4. JA originally intended to end his letter at this point, for immediately following this sentence is his usual stylized closing, which has been canceled.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0240

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1780-02-25

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dear Sir

I have this Moment your Letter from Brussells of the 19th of this Month, and I thank You for your kind Congratulations on my safe Arrival. Whether I come in the amiable and blessed Character, as You say You have heard, with the Olive Branch in my Hand, and surrounded with Doves, Lambs and Angels or not, You will learn, in due Time. At present, the common Enemy shews a Picture, of a very different Kind.
I was much disappointed on my Arrival in Paris to find that You had left it, because I had promised myself much pleasure in your Conversation, after two tedious Voyages by Sea, and a Journey by Land, in the dead of Winter, through Spain and France, infinitely more disagreeable than either, and a painful Application at Home for three Months to a difficult Subject, the Formation of a Civil Constitution in the Convention of the Massachusetts.
I left the general and particular Governments in America in great Vigour, and the Spirits of the People very high, and their Temper extreamly firm. The Paper Money gives Trouble and does Injustice to Individuals, but it has little Effect1 upon the public Mind respecting the general Cause. Indeed I percieved no more Symptoms of Doubt of the final Independence of America, than if it had been acknowledged and guaranteed by all the World. The Seizure of the Dutch Ships is a desperate Step indeed, and must touch all the Powers, as well as the Dutch, very sensibly. I should be much obliged to You for a Copy of what You wrote to the Pensioner of Amsterdam upon the Subject.2
One sees the Powers at War in different Lights, when one views them from different Cities, as I have often had Opportunity to experience, and you will have Opportunities of gaining Intelligence from Brussells, that I cannot at Paris, from England especially. You will oblige me therefore very much, and render an useful Service perhaps to our Country, by informing me of all You may learn, concerning the Designs of the English Court, their intended Expeditions, and their { 365 } Force by Sea and Land. As to Thoughts of Peace, they will never have any, while they have any little Successes, as they conduct themselves on a Maxim, diametrically opposite to that of the Romans.3
I am well persuaded, Sir, of your Fidelity and Affection to your Country, as well as of your Abilities to serve it, and have taken the Liberty to mention as much and more too to some Gentlemen in Congress, to whom I transmitted the twelve Letters on the Spirit and Resources of Great Britain.4 I also transmitted your Letter to General Gates, and had a Letter from him, acknowledging the Receipt of it, before he had the pleasure of marching into Newport, and cutting off the British Army from great Quantities of Wood, Forrage, Canon and Merchandizes, which they intended to have carried away with them, not expecting that he would have the Hardiness to take possession of the Town before, they were gone from the Harbour.5

[salute] I am, my dear Sir, your faithful and affectionate Servant.

[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); docketed: “<A> Mr A Feb 25. 1780.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. In the Letterbook copy, JA first wrote “no Effect,” and then canceled it in favor of “little Effect.”
2. In his reply of 1 March (Adams Papers) Jenings provided the text of his letter of 27 Jan. to van Berckel, the pensionary of Amsterdam.
3. See JA to the president of the congress, 20 Feb. (above).
4. See Jenings to JA, 25 April 1779, and note 2.
5. See Jenings to JA, [ca. 6?] June, and Gates to JA, 20 Aug. 1779 (both above). Gates was at Newport on 27 Oct. (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0241

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-02-25

To the President of the Congress, No. 9

[salute] Sir

Since my Letter of the twentieth, I have recieved another Letter from his Excellency the Comte de Vergennes dated the 24th. of February, to which I answered this Day; Copies of both Letters are inclosed.
I have also the Honour to inclose a Gazette, and an Application from M. Comyn of Marseilles to be a Consul for the Ports of Provence and Languedoc.1 I know nothing of this Gentleman, but what he says of himself.
By the inclosed Gazette, as well as by many others, Congress will see, of what wonderful Efficacy in pulling down Tyranny, a Committee of Correspondence is likely to be. Ireland have done great things by means of it. England is attempting great things with it, after the Example, of the Americans, who invented it, and first taught its Use: Yet all { 366 } does not seem to produce the proper Gratitude in the Minds of the English towards their Benefactors. However the Glory of the Invention is as certainly ours, as that of Electrical Rods, Hadley's Quadrant, or Inoculation for the Small Pox.2

[salute] I have the Honour to be; with the greatest Respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant,

RC is an unsigned Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, Misc. Papers, Reel No. 1, f. 39); docketed: “John Adams Feb. 25. 1780” and “dupl No. 9 J. Adams Esqr 25th Feby. 1780 Read May 15. 1780—Publicity of his Embassy.” Intended RC in Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 281); docketed: “No. 9 Feb 25th. 1780 Letter from J Adams recd. Oct 16. Publicity of his Embassy Mr. Comin's Memorial vid Feb. 20 vid March 30.” Tripl, unsigned, in Thaxter's hand (PCC, Misc. Papers, Reel No. 1, f. 29–31); docketed: “No. 9 Tripl: Feb. 25. 1780 Letter from J Adams rec'd. Oct: 16th. 80 Publicity of his Embassy Mr. Comin's memorial.” LbC (Adams Papers); notations: “No. 9” and “recd in congress Oct. 15. Triplicate”; by Thaxter: “March 31st. 1780. The Letters were delivered to M. de la Fayette on board the Hermion Frigate by Dr. Bancroft ie. those <that were delivered> him by Mr. W. Franklin.”; “Feby. 26th. 1780. This day delivered to Mr. A. Lee Triplicates of all the Letters to Congress—also a Triplicate of the Comte De Vergennes Letter of the 24th. of Feby. and the answer to it of the 25th. inclosed in the Triplicate of Number 9., and also a Number of private Letters”; and “Delivered to Mr. W. Franklin, Duplicates of all the Letters to Congress to be by him sent to Dr. Bancroft to carry to Nantes.” The Letterbook notation for 31 March was interlined between the last line of text and the notation for 26 Feb. JA wrote to Edward Bancroft on 26 Feb. (LbC, Adams Papers), requesting that, since Bancroft was reportedly leaving for Nantes on the following day, he take charge of the packet and, from there or some other port, send it by a safe conveyance to America. Lafayette reached Philadelphia on 15 May with the duplicates, and Lee on or about 16 Oct. with the triplicates. Nothing is known of the route taken by the packet containing the intended recipient's copy and its enclosures, but JA may have sent it with his letter of 25 Feb. to Joseph Gardoqui & Sons (above), who delayed forwarding it, with the result that it did not arrive until 16 Oct.
1. Neither Comyn's letter of [ante 25 Feb.] nor JA's answer of 25 Feb. (RC and LbC, Adams Papers) have been printed. In his reply JA promised only to send Comyn's application to the congress.
2. In the Letterbook this paragraph clearly was an afterthought. Written immediately below the formal closing, it was marked for insertion following the paragraph mentioning Comyn's application. JA refers, in addition to Franklin's lightning rods, to: the navigational quadrant named after its English inventor, John Hadley, but also invented, apparently independently and with some improvements, by Thomas Godfrey, a Philadelphian, in 1730; and to the pioneering work of Boston's Zabdiel Boylston, the first American physician to inoculate against smallpox, in 1721. As with Godfrey, Boylston's work followed that of English doctors by a few months, but was developed independently from African and Turkish practices. Boylston was JA's great-uncle (Raymond Phineas Stearns, Science in the British Colonies of America, Urbana, Ill., 1970, p. 514; DAB).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0242

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1780-02-25

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 Comte de Vergennes

Replying to Vergennes' letter of the 24th (calendared above), John Adams expressed his appreciation for his upcoming presentation at the French court. He also agreed to avoid publicizing his peace commission before its announcement in the “Gazette,” to submit any announcement that he might seek to have published in the Dutch papers, and to keep secret his commission to negotiate an Anglo-American commercial treaty. This is the last complete letter included in JA's Autobiography.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0243-0001

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-25

From Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] Monsieur

Je ne manquerai point de rendre compte a monseigneur le Comte de Vergennes de la lettre dont vous venés de m'honorer.1
Je vais écrire aussi à Ostende pour qu'on vous fasse venir Sous mon couvert deux gazettes les plus renommées dans chaque parti. Suivant moi c'est dans celui de l'Opposition le General advertiser imprimé par W. Parker—et dans celui du Ministere le Morning post. Ce sont les deux que je demanderai et je vous les ferai passer régulierement. En attendant je vous en prêterai des miennes quand je le pourrai. Je joins ici le general advertiser du 17. Vous me le renverrés à votre loisir. Je vous ferai connoitre les votres quand ils viendront pour qu'ils vous restent.
Oserois je vous demander des nouvelles de Mr. votre fils, et S'il est revenu avec vous. Le mien part dans huit jours pour l'allemagne.2 Je vous prie de faire agréer mes hommages à Mr. Francis Dana.
Vous êtes vous Souvenu de moi pour les nouvelles constitutions que je n'avois pas pû me procurer. Si vous n'avés pas eu le terns de les recueillir, etant resté fort peu en Amérique, cela vous est encore possible par vos amis et je vous en Serai obligé.
J'ai l'honeur d'etre avec un inviolable attachement Monsieur Votre très humble et très obéissant serviteur
[signed] Genet

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0243-0002

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-25

Edmé Jacques Genet to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I will not fail to inform the Count Vergennes of the letter with which you have honored me.1
I will also write to Ostend to ask them to send, under my name, two gazettes, the most influential in each party. To my mind they are, for the Opposition, the General Advertiser, published by W. Parker—and { 368 } for the Ministry, the Morning Post. These are the two that I will request and forward to you regularly. In the meantime, I will lend you some of my own copies when I can. I am enclosing the General Advertiser of the 17th, which you can return at your convenience. I will inform you when your own copies are sent so that you may keep them.
Dare I ask you for news of your son and whether he returned with you? My own leaves for Germany in eight days.2 Please give my regards to Mr. Francis Dana.
Did you remember my request for copies of the new constitutions I was unable to obtain? If you did not have time to gather them, being only briefly in America, you might still do so through your friends, and I would be grateful to you.
I have the honor to be, with an unshakable attachment, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Genet
RC (Adams Papers); docketed by John Thaxter: “Mr. Genet 25th. Feby. 1780 ansd. 26th Feby. 1780.”
1. Of 24 Feb. (above).
2. Edmond Charles Genet, later first minister from the French Republic to the United States and known then as “Citizen Genet.” In 1780 he was 17 years old and, after studying at Geissen and Berlin and serving on the staff of the French ambassador at Vienna, became head of the foreign ministry's translation bureau upon his father's death in 1781 (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0244

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1780-02-26

To Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] [Sir]

I have just now recieved the [Letter,] which You did me the Honor to write me yesterday[, and I] thank You, Sir, for the Loan of the English Paper[s, which I] shall carefully return, and beg the Loan of the oth[ers, as y]ou can spare them, until those shall arrive, which [you] have ordered for me: for the Trouble you have taken [in] ordering those Papers; for your kind Enquiries after my Son, who has accompanied me in all my Peregrination[s, a]nd is now at M. Pechinis Pension at Passy,1 with another [of] my Sons, and a Granchild of Dr. Cooper's, whose Name and Character You know, all three of whom I brought with me, through a dangerous Voyage and a wearisome Journey, for the Sake of giving them an early Acquaintance with this Country, its Language &c. I wish your worthy Son a good Voyage and all possible Success.2
I have made your Compliments to Mr. Dana, who desires me to return You his Respects.
I shall inclose with this, [a Projected Constitution for] the Massachusetts Bay,3 which is [now under the Consider]ation of the Conven• { 369 } tion of that State, in [which you will] see a full and true Account of all my publi[c, and most] of my private Occupations during my short [Residence] at Home. My fellow Citizens were pleased, on my [Arrival] to elect me into the Convention, whose Deliber[ations wi]th those of their Committees and Sub-Committe[s,4 took up] all my Time, until I recieved Orders to return to [Europe.]
I was not able to make a compleat Collection of American Constitutions, while I was at Hom[e:] but if You will inform me, which of the Constitutions you have not, I will write immediately to Philadelphia, and even to Congress, upon the Subject, and I dare an[swer] for it, You will be furnished with them as soon as possi[ble.]
I am, Sir, with an affectionate Attachmen[t,] your most obedient Servant.
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand with additions by JA (Justin G. Turner, Los Angeles, 1958) LbC (Adams Papers). Fire damage to the RC has resulted in the loss of a substantial number of words, which have been supplied from the Letter book copy.
1. For the school of M. Pechigny, see Adams Family Correspondence, 3:272–273, and JQA, Diary, 1:34.
2. This sentence was entered on the recipient's copy by JA after John Thaxter had copied the text from the Letterbook. The addition was then recorded in the Letterbook, perhaps by Thaxter.
3. This was one of the several copies of The Report of a Constitution, [ca. 28–31 Oct. 1779] (above), that JA had brought to Europe for distribution.
4. In the Letterbook copy this word is either “subcommittes” or “subcommittee.”

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0245

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1780-02-27

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dear Sir

I received to day, yours of the 22d. That by Mr. Brush I answered as soon as received.2
You cannot oblige me more sir, than by communicating Intelligence from E.
I have been a Witness, these 6 Years, of the annual Reports Spread by England to make it believed in America that the Russians were to interpose, and I have heard a vast deal of it, since my Arrival in Paris, in so much that I have set myself directly to Search out the Truth, and I have as high Authority as any in this Kingdom to assure you, and every other on whom that political Lye has made any Impression whether in Europe or America, that it is false, both with respect to Russia and Denmark.
I did not want this Authority for myself. I was So well persuaded of { 370 } the Interest of Russia, and Denmark and their disposition, before that I was easy.
But, indeed, it would move me, very little, if Russia, and Denmark too were to declare for G.B.—it would instantly determine Powers more momentous than both, to join Bourbon and America.3
I will thank Russia and Denmark with all my soul, however, if they will bring about a Peace, an honest Peace I mean.
There is an Expedition preparing at Brest, to ballance that of Boyle Walsingham, perhaps, so that I am not in pain about that.
Mr. Carmichael, is Secretary to the American Embassy at Madrid. His Residence I know not, but your Letter cant miscarry.
Can you inform me, how many Troops, Walsingham has, how many ships.4 Can you inform me how many regular Troops there are in Ireland? Who are the real Planners, of the late Correspondences and Associations in Ireland, and the real Leaders—and the ostensible. For in Europe, I take it the ostensible Leader is not the real one.
We have an high Story to day, of the Repeal of Poynings Law, of a Declaration of the Independancy of the Irish Legislature, on any others, and forbidding all Appeals from their House of Lords to the English House of Lords—it comes from England.5
What think you? Is there Spunk enough in the Counties to do any Thing? Or will the Cry of Sedition and Rebellion, and the Disgrace of a few Lord Lieutenants,6 frighten them, into Tranquility. Some of them Seem a little in Earnest and they go on, regularly enough, to be sure more Americans.7 The Committee of Correspondence, which my Friend Sam. Adams invented, refined it first and showed its Use, as much as Swift did the Irony, Seems to have the Same wonderful Efficacy. Heaven grant it success. Its Invention will make an Epocha in the History of the Progress of Society, and of the human Understanding.

[salute] I am with much Attachment yours

[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers). LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).
1. The dateline is in John Thaxter's hand; the remainder of the recipient's copy is by JA.
2. Presumably JA is referring to Jenings' letter of 19 Feb., which he had answered on the 25th (both above). Mr. Brush, who apparently carried the letter of the 19th, remains unidentified.
3. Probably Prussia and Austria.
4. In his reply of 5 March (Adams Papers), and in considerable detail, Jenings answered this and other questions posed by JA in this letter.
5. This report was false and, according to JA's letter to AA of 28 Feb., had been supplied by Benjamin Franklin (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:291–292). In the wake of Parliament's grant of a measure of economic independence (see JA to Elbridge Gerry, 23 Feb., note 4, above), there was renewed agitation for legislative independence through the repeal or modi• { 371 } fication of Poyning's Law of 1495 and the Irish Declaratory Act of 1719. The first provided that all previous general statutes that had not specifically been applied to Ireland were to be in force and enabled the Privy Council in England to “initiate, supervise, reject, or amend all bills” enacted or considered by the Irish Parliament. The second formally provided for the British Parliament to legislate for Ireland (Henry Campbell Black, A Law Dictionary Containing Definitions of the Terms and Phrases of American and English jurisprudence Ancient and Modern, 2d edn., St. Paul, Minn., 1910; R. Coupland, The American Revolution and the British Empire, London, 1930, p. 58–59). These efforts came to nothing, and at the time that this letter was written the Irish Parliament had not yet considered the issue. Not until 19 April did Henry Grattan, noted Irish statesman and orator, introduce a resolution calling for legislative independence; after a fifteen-hour debate, the measure was postponed and never revived (DNB; Coupland, American Revolution and the British Empire, p. 125–128; W. E. H. Lecky, A History of England in the Eighteenth Century, 8 vols., N.Y., 1878–1890, 4:550–551).
6. A reference to the removal of Henry Herbert, 10th earl of Pembroke, and Francis Osborne, marquis of Carmarthen (later 5th Duke of Leeds), as lords lieutenant of Wiltshire and the East Riding of York, respectively, because of their refusal to oppose the demands of the county associations. Both were restored to office by the Rockingham ministry in 1782 (DNB). Pembroke, and presumably also Carmarthen, received notice of his dismissal in a letter from Lord Hillsborough of 14 Feb., to which Pembroke replied on the same day. For the two letters, which were widely reprinted, see the London Chronicle of 29 Feb. – 2 March.
7. Thus in both the recipient's copy, where JA interlined “to be sure,” and the Letterbook copy.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0246

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-02-27

To the President of the Congress, No. 10

[salute] Sir

No. 10.
There are so many Gentleman of Rank going out to America, that there can be no doubt Congress will be fully informed of the State of public Affairs.
Mr. Lee, Mr. Izard, the Marquiss de la Fayette, Mr. Wharton, and many others, are going by different Vessels.
Besides these Monsieur de L'Etombe, who is appointed Consul General of France for the Northern District of America, as Mr. Holker is for the middle, and I have not yet learned who for the Southern, will go soon.1
There is an Armament preparing with the greatest Expedition at Brest, which is to be commanded by Monsieur de Ternay, and to consist of eight or ten Ships of the Line and Frigates. Six of the Line and several Frigates, as it is said, perhaps it is not yet certain nor determined, exactly how many of either, with several thousand Men, all Numbers are mentioned from six to ten thousands, under the General Officers, de la Rochambeau and Jaucourt.2 Whether this Force is destined to the Continent or the West Indies, Time will discover, at present it ought not to be known.
{ 372 }
On the other Hand, I see a Paragraph in a London Paper of the sixteenth of this Month, that the Thunderer, Torbay, Ramilies, Royal Oak, Triumph, and Egmont, are ordered for the West Indies under Captain Walsingham, the Southampton, St. Albans and Winchelsea, which were talked of to go with him, are found unfit for Service, and in so bad a Condition as to be ordered to be paid off.
Thus the French are likely to be drawn into the American Seas in sufficient force, where they have great Advantages in carrying on the War. It is much to be wished that the Spaniards could be drawn into the same Field of Battle,3 for Gibralter must be taken in America, if ever.
There are some Persons, however, who think, that the English will avenge the French, the Spaniards, and above all the Americans, upon one another, and it is certain that Parties in England are working up to a Crisis. The Petitions of the Counties, their numerous Committees of Correspondence, their Hints of Associations have most certainly alarmed the King and his Ministers to a great degree—to such a degree, that for some Time their Conduct was equivocal, giving Hopes at Times to the People, that the Crown would favour the desired Reformation, in the Expenditure of Money. But upon the News of Rodney's Success, they grew bolder, and determined, to exert all the Authority of the Crown, to suppress the Meetings of the People. Accordingly the Cry, of Faction, Sedition and Rebellion was set up in Parliament by the Majority, and the King was advised to dismiss those Lieutenants of Counties, who had favoured the Meetings of the People, Advice which he has certainly taken.
This is a decisive Measure. It will either discourage, and suppress these Meetings, Petitions, Correspondences and Associations altogether; or it will give them greater Force.
By a Debate in the House of Commons on the fourteenth of this Month, one would think that the Nation was really at the Brink of a Civil War.4 Yet I confess, I cannot think that there are any Characters at present, in whom the Nation have sufficient Confidence, to venture themselves any Lengths under their Guidance. And I believe that this spirited Conduct of the King, will defeat the Measures of the Counties, unless indeed in the Course of the next Campaign, his Arms, especially by Sea, should meet with any signal Defeat, which would re-animate perhaps, the People.
But, even supposing the People go on, and succeed so far as to effect a Change in the Ministry: the Question is, whether this would be an Advantage to Us or our Allies? I am myself, very far from being convinced that it would. There are none, of the principal Leaders of the { 373 } People, that avow any fixed Principle, that We can depend upon. None that avow a design of acknowledging our Independence or even of making Peace.
By5 Letters I have recieved from Brussels and Holland since my Arrival,6 I am told that the late desperate Step of the English in seizing the Dutch Ships, has made a great Change in the Minds of the People there, and the Government too, in our Favour. Even the Prince, declares that he has been decieved by the English, and that he will promote unlimited Convoys: that an American Minister is much wished for, who, altho' he might not be yet publickly recieved, would be able to do as much Good as if he was: that Money might be borrowed there, by such a Minister directly from Congress applying directly to solid Dutch Houses. I hope every Hour to hear of Mr. Laurens's arrival.
I have subscribed for the English Papers, but have not yet recieved any, which I am sorry for, because I can get none to inclose. As fast as they come to me I will send them. I have the Honour to inclose another Mercure de France, and to be, with the most perfect Attachment, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant.
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, 1, f. 291–294); docketed: “No. 10. Letter from J. Adams Paris Feby 27. 1780 Read May 15.—french & english Armaments preparing for the American Seas Disputes in England no prospect of serious Articles of Peace. Affairs of Holland.” LbC (Adams Papers); notation by Thaxter: “No. 10.”
1. The three consuls were Philippe André Joseph de Létombe at Boston, John (or Jean) Holker the younger at Philadelphia, and Charles François, Chevalier d'Anmours, at Baltimore (JA to AA, 27 Feb. 1780, and note 3, Adams Family Correspondence, 3:286–287). On 29 Feb., Ralph Izard wrote to JA (Adams Papers) concerning a meeting between Izard, JA, and Létombe on the following day. It is not known if the meeting took place.
2. When it sailed on 2 May the fleet under the command of Chevalier de Ternay consisted of seven ships of the line, two frigates, and two smaller warships; it escorted thirty-two transports and cargo ships carrying 5,500 troops under the command of Comte de Rochambeau. The force reached Newport in July (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 190–191). Jaucourt remains unidentified.
3. In the Letterbook the remainder of this sentence reads: “for <in my Opinion> Gibraltar must be taken in America, if ever.”
4. The debate on 14 Feb. was ostensibly over a proposal put forth by Isaac Barré to establish a committee of accounts to oversee public expenditures. This was one of the demands of the county association movement, and the debate largely centered on the propriety of that movement. During the debate George Onslow attacked the Duke of Richmond for his support of the county associations and strongly implied that Richmond was making military preparations to support their demands for reform. As reported in the London Chronicle of 12–15 Feb., Onslow stated at one point that “associations were the commencement of rebellions.” See also Parliamentary Hist., 21:74–83.
5. In the Letterbook this paragraph was written below the formal closing and marked for insertion at this point.
6. These were the letters from Edmund Jenings of 19 Feb. and Alexander Gillon of 14 Feb. (both above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0247

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Samuel
Date: 1780-02-28

To Samuel Adams

[salute] Dear Sir

The Marquiss, who loves Us, will deliver You this. He will tell You every thing.
Arbuthnot, Rodney and Walsingham are to be pitted against de la Motte Piquet, Guichen and Ternay in the West Indies. So that I hope, You will be pretty quiet. Prepare however to co-operate and rout them out of the Continent if possible. Above all let me beg of You to encourage Privateering.
The French will be superior in the American Seas this Campaign, or I am misinformed, and I have it from good Authority. Oh that Spain could be persuaded that Gilbralter is to be conquered in America. It is certainly true, and I believe only there. I have written You by Mr. Lee1 who goes in the Alliance, and took my Pen now, only to give the Marquiss a Letter to put into your Hands.

[salute] Your Friend in great Haste.

[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (NN: George Bancroft Coll.); docketed: “Letter from J A Paris 28 Feb. 1780.”
1. On 23 Feb. (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0248

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cooper, Samuel
Date: 1780-02-28

To Samuel Cooper

[salute] dear sir

This will be delived you by the Marquis your Friend. Your Grandson is well and very contented. He has seen the World, to be sure,—such a Part of it, that none of the rest can ever be superlatively disagreable to him hereafter.
Spain is a fine Country—or as my Parson Bryant said of Hezekias, he would be the best Man in the World if he had no Religion,1 so I can say that Spain would be one of the finest Countries if it had no Religion nor Government.
But enough of this: I was treated with great Distinction there in Honour of my Country but this could not make good Roads, nor comfortable Taverns. Windows and Chimneys, are necessary to this.
I have written by the Alliance, concerning your Grandsons Expences,2 which were very high: but he has seen the World.
Instead of Wishing and hoping for Peace, my dear Countrymen must qualify themselves for War, and learn the Value of Liberty by the Dearness of its Purchase. The Foundations of lasting Prosperity are laid in great military Talents and Virtues. Every sigh for Peace, untill it { 375 } can be obtained with Honour, is unmanly. If our Enemies Can be Obstinate and desperate in a wicked and disgracful Cause, surely We can be determined and persevering in the most just, the most honourable, and the most glorious Cause that ever was undertaken by Men. I am with-great Affection &c
1. On Rev. Lemuel Briant, his use of this expression in a different context, and JA's reaction to it, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:262, and JA, Works, 10:254.
2. For JA's letter to Gabriel Johonnot of 23 Feb., not printed, see his letter of the same date to Samuel Cooper, note 1 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0249

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Knox, Henry
Date: 1780-02-28

To Henry Knox

[salute] Dear sir

Your Friend the Marquis, with whom I have sometimes had the Honour to drink your Health after that of General Washington, will deliver you this. His Love of Glory is not diminished, nor his affection for America, as you see by his Return. He has been indefatigable in endeavours to promote the Welfare and Comfort of our Army, as well as to support their Honour and Character, and has had success in both.
He has had a share in convincing this Court of the Policy and Necessity of transferring their Exertions into the American seas and I hope, he will in time assist in bringing Spain into the same system. But Time is necessary to bring Nations to comprehend new systems of Policy, and every Body has some time or other an Opportunity of throwing in Light. France and Spain are not yet habituated to reasoning Upon the new Connection, nor are they yet Sensible of all the Advantages they might derive from it in the Prosecution of the War. France however is more convinced of it this Year than last. But I have not time to say more except that I am as usual your Frd

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0250

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1780-02-28

To James Warren

[salute] Dear Sir

I have written so fully to Congress and to particular Friends before, and have so little Time now, that I have little more to do than make up a Letter, for the Bearer to deliver You.
{ 376 }
The Marquiss de la Fayette is going to Boston in a Frigate, and surely he wants no Recommendation of mine—his own Merit and his Fame are enough. He has been the same Friend to Us here that he was in America. He has been very assiduous to procure Cloaths and Arms for our Army, and to promote our Interest in every other Way, within his Circle.
I can tell You nothing from Madrid as yet. But I hope Mr. Jay will succeed.
England may possibly try to get Russia and Denmark to negotiate for Peace, but She will not succeed, because She will not consent to such Terms as every American holds indispensible. Holland is very angry, but does not resent. She has been very ill treated, but cannot avenge herself. I beg that every Word I say to You about Peace, may be kept secret, because, I shall write to Congress upon that Subject all that is proper for me to say to any Body in America.
I have written You by the Alliance,1 which will sail soon. Landais is at Paris. Jones goes in the Alliance. Your Son is on Board, by2 this Time enured, I suppose, to the Sea, and to War. We have not yet learned who are our Delegates this Year, nor how the Constitution goes on.
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (DNA: RG 217, First Auditor's Accounts, Misc. Treasury Accounts, Account No. 99166); docketed: “Mr J Adams Feby. 1780.”
1. JA's letter to Warren of 23 Feb. (above).
2. At the top of the first page of the letter James Warren wrote: “See last paragraph.” A line was drawn in the left margin beside this paragraph and the preceding six words referring to Warren's son James Jr. were underlined.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0251-0001

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-28

From Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] Monsieur

J'ai écrit à Ostende pour les deux gazettes en question. En attendant je continuerai à vous en prêter des miennes, toujours le plutôt qu'il Sera possible. Je Suis charmé de Savoir que mr. votre fils est de retour en bonne Santé à Passy. Quelque jour de ce printems il faut que vous me l'envoyés avec Mr Cooper's grand child, et mr. votre autre fils. Je leur ferai voir Versailles, et je ferai en sorte qu'ils S'en retournent Satisfaits. Mon fils ne pourra point les recevoir: il part pour l'allemagne dans 4. jours et y restera un an. Mais a Son retour il aura l'honeur de faire leur connoissance. Je vous remercie des Souhaits que vous voulés { 377 } | view bien faire pour lui.—Je vous fais mes remerciemens De votre Excellent projet de constitution pour votre patrie. Je l'ai parcouru rapidement: il me paroit propre à prevenir toutes difficultés. Je le ferai traduire pour le publier tel qu'il est, et on y ajoutera les changemens, en bien ou en mal, qui auront été faits, et dont je vous prierai de me donner connoissance. Voici ci joint la liste des Constitutions qui me manquent. Je vous Serai obligé de tâcher de me les procurer.1 J'ai l'honeur d'etre avec un inviolable attachement Monsieur Votre trés humble et très obéissan[t] serviteur
[signed] Genet
Constitutions demandées par Mr Genet
New Hampshire      
Connecticut   }   if the former ones, he has them.2  
Rhode Island  
N. Carolina      

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0251-0002

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-28

Edmé Jacques Genet to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I have written to Ostend for the two gazettes in question. In the meantime, I will continue, always as soon as possible, to lend you mine. I am very happy to hear that your son has returned in good health to Passy. Some day this spring you should send me him, together with Mr. Cooper's grand child and your other son. I will show them Versailles and ensure they return satisfied. My son will be unable to receive them, as he is leaving for Germany in four days and will remain there a year. But on his return, he will have the honor of making their acquaintance. I thank you for the good wishes you sent him. I thank you also for your excellent project for a constitution for your state. I scanned it quickly and it appeared to me well suited to prevent all difficulties. I will have it translated in order to publish it as it is, and then add the changes that will be made, for better or worse, and of which you will undertake to inform me. Please find enclosed the list of the constitutions that I lack. I will be obliged if you would try to obtain them for me.1 I have the honor to be, with an unshakable attachment, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Genet
Constitutions requested by Genet
New Hampshire      
Connecticut   }   if the former ones, he has them.2  
Rhode Island  
N. Carolina      
{ 378 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mr. J. Adams Hotel de Valois rue de Richelieu”; docketed: “M. Genet. 28. Feb. 1780. ansd. 29.”
1. JA did so in his letter of 29 Feb. to the president of the congress (calendared, below). There he stated that Genet had “already translated and published the Constitutions of New York, New Jersey, Pensylvania, Maryland, Virginia and South Carolina.”
2. This sentence is in Genet's hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0252

Author: Moylan, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-28

From James Moylan

[salute] Dear sir

I received your much esteem'd letter of the 22d. with the memorandums it inclosed of the articles you wish to send to Boston by the Alliance. Captain Jones, on my application to him to permit those goods to be loaded on his vessel, immediately consented and told me he wou'd write you by this post,1 in consequence of which I shall prepair them and distinguish the property as you direct.
In Mrs. Adams's memorandum is mention'd half a Dozen: Damask Table Cloaths. Those, are not to be purchased in this Kingdom without the Napkins, say twelve to every Table cloath, and this, which the French call a sett, cost from 120 to 250 livres according to their quality. I shou'd be glad of your advice what is to be don in this case as well as to Know what colour'd velvet is meant in Mr. P. B. Adams's list and the Delph and stone ware in that of Mrs. Adams's and what quantity. You will have full time for this explination as I shall lay in the other goods in the mean time.2

[salute] I remain with much respect Dear sir Your most obedient & humble Servant

[signed] James Moylan
P.S. This letter gos under cover to my Banker as you forgot to mention the street and as I Know there are more than one Hotel de Valois in Paris.
1. Jones' letter of 28 Feb. is not printed, but see JA's letter to Jones of 22 Feb., note 3 (above).
2. JA replied on 6 March (LbC, Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0253

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1780-02-29

To Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] [Dear sir]

I have this Moment your[s of the 28. I] thank You, Sir, for your kind Invitation to my [three Sons,] to come some time in the Spring, and spend a day [at Ver]sailles, which will be very agreeable to them, and [to me.]
{ 379 }
I am happy to find that the [Report of] the Committee has your Approbation; and shall [be very g]lad to see it translated and printed as it is. [Every] Attempt of this kind may be worth preserving, and [will be a] Gratification at least to Posterity to see the gradual [Pro]gress of Society, and the slow March of the human Un[der]standing in the Science of Government.
On the Moment of the Receipt of your Letter I have written to Congress, requesting their Aid in procuring the Constitutions of Georgia and of North Carolina.1 That of the Massachusetts is at present accord[ing] to their late2 Charter: that of New Hampshire is the same.3 As soon as the Massachusetts shall have established a [new one, New Hampshire will follow their Example, and I shall undoubtedly have Copies of them as soon as they can cross the sea, and] I will send them without [Loss of time to you.]
Rhode Island and Connecticut ha[ve made no Alte]rations in their Governments, but proceed [according to] their Charters, which You already have.
The Convention of the Massachusetts[, had receive]d the Report of the Committee which I sen[t you and] had considered and agreed to the Declaration of [Rights wi]th very little Alteration, before I took my Lea[ve of them.] They then adjourned to the first of January. [I was ver]y happy to observe the Temperance, Wisdom and [Firm]ness of this Assembly, and hope they will accomplis[h their] great Work with Success. I assure You, it was [mo]re comfortable building Constitutions of Governmen[t at] Cambridge, than sailing in a leaky Ship, or4 climb[ing] over the Mountains, or lodging in the Chimneyless [and] Windowless Taverns of Galicia, Leon, Castile or [ev]en Biscay and Guipuscoa. Yet I shall look back with equal pleasure upon both, if they contribute [to lay the Foundations of a free and prosperous People.]

[salute] [I am with sincere Affection yours]

[signed] [John Adams]5
RC in John Thaxter's hand (Justin G. Turner, Los Angeles, 1958). LbC (Adams Papers). Fire damage to the recipient's copy has resulted in the loss of a substantial number of words, which have been supplied from the Letterbook copy.
1. In his letter to the president of the congress of this date (calendared, below), JA wrote: “there is so great a Curiosity throughout all Europe to see our new Constitutions; and those already published in the Languages of Europe have done Us so much Honor, that I thought I should be excuseable, in making a direct Request to Congress for their Assistance in procuring those, which Mr. Genet still desires.”
2. In the Letterbook copy, a draft, JA deleted “old” in favor of “late.”
3. JA was in error; New Hampshire was governed under its unusually concise constitution of 5 Jan. 1776. In 1784 New { 380 } Hampshire inaugurated a much more elaborate constitution based on the Massachusetts model (Thorpe, ed., Federal and State Constitutions, 4:2451–2470).
4. In the Letterbook copy JA interlined “sailing in a leaky ship or.”
5. The signature is supplied. Although it has been lost from the recipient's copy and does not appear on the Letterbook copy, there can be little doubt that JA signed the letter.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0254

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1780-02-29

To James Lovell

[salute] My dear Friend

I cannot let the Marquis go off, without a Line to you. He took leave of the King a few days ago, in the Uniform of an American Major General, and attracted the Eyes of the whole Court more than ever. He had on no doubt his American Sword2 which is indeed a Beauty, and which he shews with great Pleasure, upon proper Occasions. The workmanship is exquisite, and there are Emblems on it, representing him, in all the most remarkable Situations he has been in in America. He goes out in a Frigate of the King the Hermione from Rochfort, he carries with him Cloaths enough for the Army to make him welcome to them, if they had not known him before.
I must break off. Yours
[signed] J. Adams
Excuse one hint more about orders to draw upon you know whom,3 without which We shall be ridiculous.
1. On this date JA wrote an almost identical letter to Elbridge Gerry (LbC, Adams Papers).
2. On 21 Oct. 1778 the congress resolved that Benjamin Franklin “be directed to cause an elegant sword, with proper devices, to be made and presented, in the name of the United States, to the Marquis de la Fayette” (JCC, 12:1035). Franklin presented the sword in Aug. 1779 (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 2:134).
3. That is, to draw upon Benjamin Franklin; see JA to the president of the congress, 17 Feb., and note 1 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0255

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-02-29

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."

To the President of the Congress, No. 11

RC in John Thaxter's hand PCC, No. 84, I, f. 295; docketed: “No. 11 J. Adams Esqr Feby. 29th. 1780 the Gazette mentioned, not inclosd. Read May 15th. requests the Constitutions of each State particularly Georgia & North Carolina.” LbC Adams Papers; notations: “Recd in congress Oct. 15. Triplicate.”; by Thaxter: “No. 11.”
Responding to a request from Edmé Jacques Genet, John Adams asked for copies of American constitutions. See Genet's letter of 28 Feb. and Adams' reply of 29. Feb (both above).
RCin John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 295); docketed: “No. 11 J. Adams Esqr Feby. 29th. 1780 the Gazette mentioned, not inclosd. Read May 15th. requests the Constitutions of each State particularly Georgia & North Carolina.” LbC (Adams Papers); notations: “Recd in congress Oct. 15. Triplicate.”; by Thaxter: “No. 11.” printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:527.)
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.