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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 9

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0073

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Allen, Jeremiah
Date: 1780-04-02

To Jeremiah Allen

[salute] Dear Sir

Last night I received yours of the 27 of March from Libourne, which gave me great Pleasure, and relieved my Mind from a Burthen as I had been under Anxiety least you should have been sick, as I had made many Enquiries after you, and could hear nothing, not even where you was. Mr Thaxter never received your letter.
The Report you mention is but one of a Million lies, that are circulated by Artfull People for various Purposes. I have had particular Reasons for concealing my public Character hitherto, but you knew it sufficiently before you came from America, altho you never knew it from me. But I have now no longer any Reasons for secreting my Mission. I have the Honour to be, a Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States of America vested with full Powers, to treat and agree, with the Ambassadors or Plenipotentiaries of France England, { 102 } or any other states whom it may concern, relating to the Reestablishment of Peace1 and have had the Honour, in this Character to be presented to the King and Royal Family at Versailles. There is no other Person in Europe who can make a Peace on behalf of America, and you may be assured, and so may all who enquire of you, that I have not made Peace, and that I shall not and cannot make Peace untill France <and England> shall do the same.2 You may assure them too that Congress have not, because England has never empowerd any body to treat with them, and if she had or should,3 congress could not make Peace without France. You will make a discreet Use of this Letter. Direct for me, a l'hotel de Valois Ruë de Richelieu, a Paris. Pray write me, the Productions, Manufactures, Commerce and Remarkables of the Place where you are.
I hope soon to have the Pleasure of seeing you in Paris, and showing you some of its Curiosities. I am with great Regard, sir your most obt. servant.
1. The remainder of this sentence was interlined for insertion at this point.
2. A reference to Art. 8 of the Franco-American treaty of alliance, which prohibited either party from concluding a separate peace (Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:38–39).
3. Comma supplied.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0074

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Bondfield, John
Date: 1780-04-02

To John Bondfield

[salute] Dear Sir

I have had particular Reasons, which rendered it my Duty, to say little about my Mission to Europe, until lately, when these Reasons were all removed, by the settlements of certain Points, needless to mention.
I am now therefore at Liberty to inform You that I have the Honor to be a Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States of America, vested with full Powers to treat and conclude with the Ambassadors and Plenipotentiaries of France, England, and all other States whom it may concern, the Great Work of Pacification.1
I took this Method, Sir, to inform You of this that You may obviate the idle and designing Reports that are propagated, at Bordeaux, I hear,2 as well as in other places, that America has or intends to make Peace seperately, than which nothing can be more false and injurious.
My Embassy was not the Effect of any sudden Elevation or depression of Spirits, any sanguine Hopes or desponding Fears, arising from any Incidents in the Course of the War, prosperous or adverse, but { 103 } the Result of long deliberations upon a plan of Policy, which had been more than a Year under Consideration of Congress. It was thought to be necessary to have a Minister in Europe, whose business it should be to think of Peace, to hear all propositions that should be made, tending to that great and desirable End, and empowered to enter into Conferences, Negotiations and Treaties without Loss of Time, whenever the Belligerent Powers should be disposed to them.
In this public Character I have had the Honor to be presented to the King and Royal Family, at Versailles on the seventh day of last Month, which is the more proper to be mentioned to You, because I have recieved from the Comte de Vergennes, an Account, in a Letter3 of the Reason why it was not inserted in the Gazette of France, vizt. that it was the established Custom, never to insert in the Gazette the presentation neither of Ambassadors nor Ministers Plenipotentiary, which is also the Reason why the presentation of Dr. Franklin and Mr. Lee were not inserted.4 I can rely upon your Discreetion to make no Use of this Letter that will be hurtful to the public, or your most obedient humble Servant.
LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers.)
1. This is a paraphrase of a portion of JA's 29 Sept. 1779 commission to negotiate a peace treaty (calendar entry, vol. 8:185; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:178–179).
2. From Jeremiah Allen's letter of 27 March (above).
3. Of 30 March (above).
4. Probably a reference to the presentation of Benjamin Franklin, Arthur Lee, and Silas Deane on 20 March 1778 (Bemis, Diplomacy of the Amer. Revolution, p. 65).
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.