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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 12


Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0052

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: La Vauguyon, Paul François de Quélen de Stuer de Causade, Duc de
Date: 1781-11-25

To the Duc de La Vauguyon

[salute] Sir

I have the honour to inclose to your Excellency, a Copy of the fresh Instructions of Congress of the Sixteenth of August last which I received by the Post the 23d instant. I have also received a further Commission, from Congress, with full Powers, to confer treat, agree and conclude with the Person or Persons vested with equal Powers, by his most Christian Majesty, and their high mightinesses the States General of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, of and concerning a Treaty of alliance, between his most Christian Majesty, the United Provinces of the Netherlands, and the United States of america.1
This Measure was apparently concerted between the Congress and the French Minister residing near them, and Seems to be very happily adapted to the present Times, and Circumstances.2
I beg Leave to assure your Excellency, that I shall be at all times ready to attend you, at the Hague or elswhere, to confer with you in the most entire Confidence, respecting this negotiation, and Shall take no material Step in it, without your approbation and Advice.
There are three Ways of proposing this Business to their High Mightinesses. 1. Your Excellency may alone propose it, in the Name of his most Christian Majesty. 2. It may be proposed jointly by the Minister of his Majesty and the Minister of the United States, or it mya be proposed, by the Minister of the United States alone and as a Consequence of his former Proposal of a Treaty of Commerce. I beg leave to submit these three Measures to your Excellencys Consideration and shall very chearfully comply with any, which you may most approve.

[salute] I have the Honour to be, with great Respect Sir, your most &c

1. In this sentence JA quotes directly from his commission of 16 Aug. (vol. 11:453).
2. See the first paragraph of JA's instructions of 16 Aug. (vol. 11:454-455).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0053

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1781-11-26

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I presume You have a Copy from Congress of their Instructions to me of the 16th. of August: but as it is possible it may be otherwise, I { 84 } have inclosed one. I have communicated them to the Duke de la Vauguion, who says they are très bien vues, très bien combinées. I shall do nothing in the business, without communicating it beforehand to him, with the most entire Confidence, and recieving his Approbation and Advice. He informs me, that he has not yet recieved any Instructions from his Court respecting it. These Instructions have arrived in a very proper time to counteract another insidious trick of the British Ministry, in agreing to the mediation of Russia for a seperate Peace with Holland.1
With unfeigned Joy I congratulate your Excellency on the glorious News of the surrender of Cornwallis, to the Arms of the Allies. How easy a thing would it be to bring this War to an happy Conclusion, if Spain and Holland would adopt the System of France, and cooperate in it with the same Honor and Sincerity? There is nothing wanting but a constant naval Superiority in the West Indies and on the Coast of the United States, to obtain Triumphs upon Triumphs over the English, in all quarters of the Globe. The Allies now carry on the War in America, with an infinite Advantage over the English, whose Infatuation nevertheless will continue to make them exhaust themselves there, to the neglect of all their possessions in other parts of the World.
I have the honor to inclose to your Excellency some proposals made to me by the House of Ingraham and Bromfield respecting the Continental Goods.2 These are two Merchants from Boston, who have established a House here. They are industrious Men, and I believe well capable of performing what they propose, which is submitted to your Excellency. With great Respect I have the Honour to be, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant3
[signed] J. Adams
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PPAmP:Franklin Papers); endorsed: “John Adams Novr. 26. 1781.”
1. For Britain’s acceptance of Russia’s mediation, see JA’s letter of 13 Dec. to the president of Congress, calendared below.
2. Not found.
3. The closing and the signature are in JA’s hand.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/