A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 13

Docno: ADMS-06-13-02-0149

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Laurens, Henry
Date: 1782-08-15

To Henry Laurens

[salute] Dear Sir

By a certain anonimous Letter you have had a Specimen of the infernal Arts which have been and are practised, to create Misunderstandings among American Ministers. There has been an uninterupted succession of them ever since I have been in Europe. Whether they are to be attributed to Inventions of Our Ennemies or to Still baser Intrigues of pretended Friends, or to impudent { 241 } Schemes of interested Candidates and Competitors for the little favours which American Ministers have Sometimes to bestow, or to all of these to gether I know not. The latter Supposition is most probable.1 Enough of this however.
It Seems that your Friend Oswald2 is Still at Paris and Fitzherbert has taken the Place of Grenville. He is Said to be authorised to treat with the four Powers at War with G. B.3 Pray what is your Opinion of this? Ought We to accept of Such Powers? Can We, consistently, treat with any Man who has not full Powers to treat with the Ministers of “the United States of America.”?4 I have one Thing to propose to you, Sir, in Confidence. It is, if you approve it, to endeavour to get Mr Jennings appointed Secretary to the Commission for Peace. I wish Congress would appoint him.5
I can give you no News from hence, except that I have been happy enough to obtain a little Money for Congress So that <by Christmas> they may draw immediately as soon as they Send their Ratification of my Contract, for about Thirteen or Fourteen hundred Thousand Guilders. This, you may mention to Congress, or to any body else in America if you write. They Money is in hand of Messrs Willinks &c but cannot be drawn out, but by Congress, after the Receipt of the Ratification.
The Treaty of Commerce, will probably pass the States of Holland this day.

[salute] With invariable Esteem and Respect, I have the Honour to be, dear sir, your most obedient and most humble sert

LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “chez Madame Babut et Labouctiere a Nantes.”
1. For the anonymous letters, see that of 20 May, that JA received from Monitor and note 1, above; also, compare JA's suspicions as to the source of the letters expressed here with those in his letter of 7 June to Edmund Jenings, above.
2. Henry Laurens and Richard Oswald were longtime business associates, and Oswald had been of assistance during Laurens' captivity in the Tower of London (Laurens, Papers, 15:478–480).
3. See this report in the Gazette d'Amsterdam of 13 August.
4. See Laurens' reply of 25 Aug., below.
5. That is, JA wanted Jenings appointed rather than Benjamin Franklin's grandson, William Temple Franklin, the person who ultimately served in that capacity.

Docno: ADMS-06-13-02-0150

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jay, John
Date: 1782-08-17

To John Jay

[salute] Sir

The States General have chosen Mr Brantzen Minister to negotiate for Peace. Yesterday he did me the honour to dine with me. He is represented to me to be a good Man and well fixed in the true { 242 } System. I have very authentic Information that his Instructions will be such as France and America as well as his own Country ought to wish them.1
I have Letters from Boston 17 June2—grand Rejoicings on the Birth of the Daughin, every where. The States giving Strong Instructions to their Delegates in Congress, to consent to no Peace Short of Independence, and without Concert with France. The offers by Carlton are highly resented, taken much worse from the present Ministry than they would have been from the former. The Instructions from the States to Congress are to resent as an Insult every offer, which implys a deviation from their Treaties, or the Smallest Violation of their Faith.
I am promised tomorrow a Copy of Mr Fitzherberts Commission. I wish to know whether You or the Dr have had any Conferences with him, and what passed; we are told of a Mr Vaughan3 and Mr oswald at Paris. Have they any Powers and What?
This will be delivered you by Mr Barclay the Consul, a worthy Man whom I beg Leave to Introduce to you.

[salute] With great Regard I have the Honour to be, Sir, your most obedient servant

[signed] J. Adams
N. B. Mr Brantzen told me, he should go home to Guilder land for 8 days then return here for 8 or 10 days more: so that it will be three Weeks perhaps before he Setts out, on his Journey to Paris.
RC (NNC: John Jay Papers); endorsed: “Mr Adams 17 Augt. 1782.”
1. For the instructions given to Gerard Brantsen, burgomaster of Arnhem, as well as Alleyne Fitzherbert's commission mentioned in the second paragraph below, see JA's letter of 18 Aug. to Robert R. Livingston, below.
2. JA indicates that he received more than one letter of 17 June, but the only letter that can be positively identified is AA's of 17 June, to which JA replied with a first and second lettertwo letterson 17 Aug. (AFC, 4:326–329, 364–366). But AA's letter is apparently not the one to which JA refers in this paragraph, because AA mentions only the issue raised in the final sentence.
3. Benjamin Vaughan, who served as Shelburne's confidential observer at the peace negotiations (JA, D&A, 3:54).
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.