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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 9

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0117

Author: Wilson, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-20

From James Wilson


[salute] Sir

Your Inclination to oblige will excuse the Trouble, which I intend to give you. I was nominated by Mr. Gerard to be Advocate General for the French Nation in the United States, subject to the Ratification of the King.1 If his Majesty shall be pleased to honour me with his Commission, I have requested that two hundred Pounds Sterling may be appropriated for the Purchase of Books; and have taken the Liberty to mention you to Mr. Gerard, as the Gentleman, who would perform the good Office of purchasing them for me. I aim at a good Collection of Treaties, and of Books on the Laws of Nations, the Laws maritime, and the Laws of France respecting Navigation and commercial Affairs. I wish to have also some of the best Books on the History and Policy of the Kingdom. You can form the Catalogue much better than I can do. Mr. Deane will be good enough to take the Care of sending them to America.
{ 223 }
I have been favoured, by Mr. Marbois, with the Perusal of the Plan of a Constitution for Massachussets, reported by a Committee of the Convention of that Commonwealth. From the masterly Strokes of profound Jurisprudence, and of refined and enlarged Policy, which distinguish that Performance, I can easily trace it to its Author. The Constitution of every State in the Union is interesting to the Citizens of every other State; as each spreads, in some Degree, its Influence over all. For this Reason, I feel a very sensible Pleasure, when I see a Prospect that happy Governments will be established around me. This Sentiment has, in no Instance, been more highly gratified, than by the Plan reported for the Government of Massachussets.
I have the Honour to be, with the greatest Esteem, Sir Your most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] James Wilson
Dupl (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr. Wilson. 20 April. Duplicate. recd. 21st. of June. and. 24. June 1780;” addressed: “His Excellency John Adams Esquire Hotel de Valois Rue de Richlieu.” The intended recipient's copy, which JA received later, is also in the Adams Papers.
1. In anticipation of profiting from a greatly expanded Franco-American trade, Wilson had proposed his appointment as “advocate-general” to John Holker, French Consul-general at Philadelphia, in Dec. 1779. Although Holker and Silas Deane, after Deane's return to France in July as Wilson's agent in various matters, strongly supported his candidacy, the French court balked at Wilson's fee and did not grant him the desired appointment (Charles Page Smith, James Wilson: Founding Father, 1742–1798, Chapel Hill, 1956, p. 140–142).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0118

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-21

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Dear Sir

The Letter your Excellency did me the honour of writing to me Yesterday,1 gives me the first Information of the Resolution mentioned as taken by the State of Maryland relating to their Money in England. If there is no Mistake in the Intelligence, (which I apprehend there may be) and such a Power as is supposed should come to my Hands, I shall then take your Excellency's Recommendation, (which has great Weight with me) into Consideration. At present I can only say that I shall not name my Nephew Mr. Williams. For tho' I have a great Opinion of his Ability, and Integrity, and think that by his early Declaration and Attachment to our Cause, and Activity in its Service, he has a good deal of Merit with the States in general, I know of none that he has with Maryland in particular; and as the other four are Natives of that State, I think the Choice ought to be { 224 } from among them. Mr. Williams will however be very sensible of the Honour done him by being put into the Nomination.
With the greatest Respect, I have the Honour to be Your Excellency's most obedt. and most humble Servant.
[signed] B Franklin
1. JA's letter was dated 19 April (above).
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.