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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 12

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0265

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-04-13

From John Bondfield

[salute] Sir

We have advices from Edenton in North Carolina so late as the 14th March brought by a vessel arrived at this port the 9th Instant one of my Letters contains “It is reported an attack against Charles Town is preparing by General green 2000 Militia of this State is orderd emidiately to join him and all the Troops from Virginia have marchd some time past.” By the Captain I learn a Number of Transports were arrived at Charles Town the English gave out they had Troops on board. They received certain advices to the contrary that they arrivd in Ballast and was there to wait the event that in case of Nessessity the British army might have the means to retreat to New York or Jamaica.
By a Packet arrived at Couronna from the Havannah we have advice of the arrival of Comre Gillon at that Port with five rich homewardbound Jamaica Men, a fortunate event as it will ease the State of South Carolina from the heavy expence of that outfit having we flatter ourselves werewith to reimburss the Engagements enterd into in Europe by Mr Gillon on that account.
We are at a loss to construe the Intentions of the British ministry in stoping the Issueing of Commissions against American Vessels and calling in them that are out. If under these circumstances a Vessel of mine should be carried into England by a Privateer or other Commissiond Vessel not having a Commission against amer• { 407 } ica only against France or other the Belegerant Powers in Europe is it your opinion that being reclaimd by my agent as my property she would be recoverd. I should be obliged to you for your sentiments being an object of the greatest Interest in a Commercial line.

[salute] Renewing my congratulation on your Progress I have the Honor to be with due respect Sir your most Obedient Humble Servant

[signed] John Bondfield
We have two Vessels for Philadelphia will sail in about 1 month.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0266

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-04-13

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

Inclosed with this I send to your Excellency the Pacquet of Correspondence between Mr Hartley and me which I promised in my last.1 You will see we have held nearly the same Language which gives me Pleasure.
While Mr Hartley was making Propositions to me, with the Approbation or Privity of Lord North, to treat separately from France, that Minister had an Emissary here, a Mr Forth, formerly a Secretary of Lord Stormonts, making Proposals to induce this Court to treat with us. I understand that several Sacrifices were offer’d to be made, and among the rest Canada to be given up to France. The Substance of the Answer appears in my last Letter to Mr Hartley. But there is a Sentence omitted in that Letter which I much liked, viz: “that whenever the two Crowns should come to treat, his most Christian Majesty would shew how much the Engagements he might enter into were to be rely’d on by his exact observance of those he already had with his present Allies.”2
If you have received anything in consequence of your Answer by Digges, you will oblige me by communicating it. The Ministers here were much pleased with the Account given them of your Interview, by the Ambassador.

[salute] With great Respect, I am, Sir, Your most obedient & most humble Servant.

[signed] B Franklin
You will be so good as to return me the Papers when you have a good Opportunity.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Dr Franklin. Ap. 13. 1782.”
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1. Of 31 March, above. The packet likely included David Hartley’s letters to Franklin of 2 and 24 Jan., 1 and 28 Feb., 11, 12, and 21 March; and Franklin’s replies of 15 Jan., 16 Feb., 31 March, 5 and 13 April (Franklin, Papers, 36:359–365, 472–476, 525–526, 623–624, 684–685, 688–689, 435–438, 583–585; 37:18–19, 78–79, 94–96, 143–144). Hartley’s letters centered on proposals for a separate peace, while Franklin’s replies sought to dispel any notion on the part of Hartley and the North or Rockingham ministries that such an outcome was possible.
2. The British emissary, Nathaniel Parker Forth, reportedly offered negotiations on the basis of a worldwide uti possidetis and concessions that included the restoration of full French sovereignty over Dunkerque (Morris, Peacemakers, p. 254). Such proposals might well have been acceptable to France in mid-1781, but by spring 1782 the war’s progress and the unsettled British political situation made negotiations as proposed by Forth and Hartley and implied by Digges as unacceptable to France as they were to the United States. Franklin reported to Hartley that France’s reply to Forth declared
“that the King of France is as desirous of peace as the King of England, and that he would accede to it as soon as he could with dignity and safety: but it is a matter of the last importance for his most Christian majesty to know whether the court of London is disposed to treat on equal terms with the allies of France” (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 5:304).
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.