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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 15

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0082

Author: Herman Heyman’s Sons
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-07-31

From Herman Heyman’s Sons

[salute] Sir

We are still greatly indebted to your Exelency for the Letters of Introduction your Exelency have been so Kind to favor us with for our Partner Mr. Arnold Delius for Philadelphia & Boston1 Your Exelency will therefore permit to say you our most Humble thanks for this particular mark of attention for us, and we most Sincerly wish to have it in our power to Convince Your Exelency of our Gratitude & of the great Desier to be any way of Service to your Exelency.
We had the satisfaction to see your Son Mr Adams here this spring by his Return from Sueden, and made it our Study to Render him all the Services we could and to make his stay as agreebel as in our power, we flatter us that he returned in perfect Health; and that he lieves in the most agreabel Situation which to be informes will give us much satisfaction.2
Beeing Convinced of the Patriotism which your Exelency bears for your Country we hope you’ll permit us to trouble you again with the present & to lay before your Consideration, a Plan which we lately received from one of our Principal Glass Manufactorers in upper Germany, who intends to establish a Glassmanufactory in Nord America under the Direction of our House there,3 provided it gets certain Previledges as well to the ground on which it is to be build, as likewise not to admitt at first any others Establishment of that Kind in Nord Amerca, as it would be else not practicabel to bring a Manufactory of that Kind to its extends and perfection, and beeing assured that every Manufactory will be advantageous to Nord America, in particular such as we intend to establish, which will make that Country Populus without to be troubelsome or Expensiff to it as they can mentain themself easy when ever the Manufactory is only set in Order and any way flourishing but such is the sooner and more easy to be brought in perfection if your Exelency great Influence by the Congress could bring it so far, that the Regency of Nord America grant us for some years a Monopolize for our Manufactory; Your Exelencys Wisdom and great Intelligence of His Country will teach us, if the Idea which we have of the progress of such an Manufactory as we intend to establish in Nord America { 191 } is Regular, or if it is to precipitant; we therefore can only be ruled by your Exelency Kind advise & this will determine our future stepts to this purpose, may we therefore humbly Request from your Exelency to honour us with an answer as soon as ever convenient to your Exelency, and if such gives any prospect that our Intention will be supported by your Exelency & the Congress of the united states, we shall if agreabel to your Exelency give the Necessary Instructions to our House, to make proper Aplications according to the Direction which your Exelency will be so Obliging to give us, we forwarded however allready a part of this Plan to our Partner Mr Arnold Delius at Philadelphia, to be abel to Reflect on it, and to take it in to Deliberation, but he is likewise informed that we took the Liberty to write to your Exelency about it, & in hopes to receive your Answer & avise We have a Vessell now in Loading for Philadelphia which will depart in two Month if your Exelency should wish to have any things forwarded by it please to command us & likewise when ever you find us abel to be of Service to you, having the Honour to suscribe ourselfs with the utmost Regard very Sincerely, / Your Exelency / most obedt & most humble Servts.
[signed] Herman Heymans Sons
We have taken the Liberty to address the same Content of this to his Exelency Benjamin Franklin Esq. at the Court of France residing at Paris.4
RC and enclosure (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Herman Heyman / and Sons. Bremen. / 31. July. 1783. with / a Plan of a Glass Ma / nufacture.”
1. Herman Heyman’s Sons had written to JA on 22 Feb. (vol. 14:287–289). The Heymans described their plans to establish trade between Bremen and the United States and requested letters of recommendation for Arnold Delius, whom they were sending to act as their agent in America. JA replied on 11 March and enclosed letters of recommendation to Isaac Smith Sr. and Robert Morris (both LbC’s, APM Reel 108; Morris, Papers, 7:555). In a letter of 25 July (Adams Papers), Morris indicated that in accordance with JA’s recommendation he had “put Mr. Delius in the Way of having his Business transacted to the best Advantage and shall probably assist him in establishing a permanent Connection with good Houses on this Continent.”
2. JQA was at Bremen between 6 and 12 April but does not mention the assistance provided by the firm (JQA, Diary, 1:174).
3. The enclosed plan expanded on the outline presented in the letter itself for the establishment of a glass factory in America and emphasized the need for assistance from the national or state governments in furthering the undertaking. JA did not reply, possibly because the letter was addressed to him at The Hague and arrived after his departure for Paris on the morning of 6 Aug. (same, 1:176). However, see Herman Heyman’s renewed appeal for assistance of 17 Jan. 1784 and JA’s reply of 30 Jan., both below. For an earlier appeal to JA regarding the establishment of a glass factory in America, see Jan Heefke’s letter of 7 June 1782, vol. 13:101–104.
4. The firm wrote a virtually identical letter to Benjamin Franklin on this date (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S.).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0083

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-07-31

From John Thaxter

[salute] Dear Sir,

Mr. Laurens & Son arrived here last Evening from Paris— I waited upon them immediately, and learnt that they were going over to England as soon as Mr. Barclay should arrive, which will be to day, in all probability, as he left Paris the 29th. instant.
Capt Barney, it seems, is directed to give Mr. Laurens a Passage to Portsmouth, which is but a short run from hence— Mr. Laurens will, upon landing, go off for London, & do the business he is sent upon, (which you know better than I) and then dispatch Barney— This will take up about four days at farthest after his Arrival in London— I know not the Object of his so speedy Return to England—but imagine it is to know what some folks will or will not do.—1
As this opportunity by the Packet, if She should go over, will be so good, & as the Captain has offered me a place, I mean to improve it. It will be less expensive than going to Dieppe, or even taking Passage in any other Vessel from hence.
’Tis hinted that the present Ministry are very uneasy on the Saddle, & that a Change is talked of— When I get over, I will enquire into the Truth of the matter, & inform you— Another piece of News is, that there is a large Fleet fitting out in England, but for what purpose, I have not heard— But you are in a better Situation for Intelligence than I am at present, & will therefore more easily determine the Truth or falsehood of the Reports.
You will please to remember me affectionately to your Son, & believe me to be, with an invariable Attachment, / Sir, your most obedient Servant.
[signed] J. T.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excelly. Mr. Adams.”
1. Henry Laurens’ haste in returning to England was probably owing to his desire to meet with Charles James Fox about Britain’s receiving an American minister, for which see Laurens’ 9 Aug. letter to the commissioners, and note 1, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0084

Author: Willink, Wilhem & Jan (business)
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-07-31

From Wilhem & Jan Willink

[salute] Sir

Your Excellency’s Letter for the Honourable R: Livingston Esqr. by want of Ships opportunity we recommanded this morning to the Care of Mr. Brush, and having received with the french mail the inclosed, we forward it immediately.2
{ 193 }
We have had a great deal of trouble with the Coachman, who made his acct. that the hire agreed upon of 2ƒ a day till the return made already till now
 290 days 2ƒ   ƒ580—  
and then pretended Sixty pounds for the Coach, we aft. a great deal of talking Settled with him for   ƒ750 in all  
for we Considered that if your Excellency had returned With the Coach, Said hire’d have been pay’d, so deducting of the   ƒ750—  
Said hire rent    580—  
the Coach in Reality only costs   ƒ170—  
to you and the repairs in paris at   "400  
Leaves the Coach to you   ƒ570—  
now repaired in good order, whch. we Consider at a very moderate price and cheap. We flatter ourselves your Excellency ’ll be pleased With this transaction being said ƒ750 charged to the acct. of the United States.
We pay our Compliments to the Young Mr. Adams and have the honour to be With respectfull Regard. / Sir / Your most Humb Servants
[signed] Wilhem & Jan Willink
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “To his Excellency John Adams Esqr / at the Hague.” Filmed at [5–6 Aug. 1783].
1. This date is derived from the Willinks’ reference to charging the f750 for the coach “to the acct. of the United States.” They did so on 31 July (DNA:RG 39, Foreign Ledgers, Public Agents in Europe, 1776–1787, Microfilm, Reel 1, f. 366). JA and JQA had returned to The Hague on the 30th (JQA, Diary, 1:176).
2. The letter to Robert R. Livingston may be that of 28 July, above, the only letter that JA wrote to Livingston during his visit to Amsterdam. JA may also have sent the Willinks copies of the six letters—30 and 31 July, above, and 1, 2, and 3 (2) Aug., below—that he wrote to Livingston following his return to The Hague. In a letter of 8 Aug. (Adams Papers), the Willinks indicated that they had given six letters to Eliphalet Brush, who was going to depart the following morning. The letter “received with the french mail” cannot be identified with certainty but may be John Jay’s of 26 July, above, in which Jay mentions the treaty with Denmark. See JA’s reference to that treaty and Jay in his 1 Aug. letter to Livingston, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0085

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
Date: 1783-08-01

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir

I had last evening some Conversation with D. Joas Theolonico de Almeida the envoy extraordinary of Portugal who desired to meet me to day at any hour at his House or mine.1 I promised to visit him at twelve, which I did.
{ 194 }
He said he had heard that the French Minister had proposed to the Duke of Manchester, at Versailles, to reduce the Duties upon French Wines in England, to the level of those upon Portugal Wines, and begged of me to inform him, if it was true, because if it were, Portugal must endeavour to indemnify herself by opening a Trade with America or some other Way for such a Project would be ruinous to the sale of their Wines in England which was their only Market. I answered that I had heard of Such a Project among Multitudes of others in private Conversation, but know of no Authenticity for it.
We have a Treaty, says he, made in 1703, by which we have stipulated with the English to permit the Importation of their Cloths, upon Condition that they allow the Importation of Portugal wines, upon paying one third of the Duty of French Wines, if they violate the Treaty Says he, We shall be rid of it.—2 I asked him if his Court permitted the English, or any other Nation to go to the Brazils? In the last Century says he, between 1660, and 1670, We did agree with Charles the second, who married a Daughter of Portugal,3 that the English should go to the Brazils, and after that, the Dutch sued for Permission to go there too, and we granted it. But we found it inconvenient and in 1714 or 1715 at the Treaty of Utrecht, we agreed upon an Article with Spain, to exclude all Nations from the Brazils, and as the English Ambassadors were there, we have since held that Nation bound, and have confiscated their Vessells, as well as the Dutch which ventured there.4 The English have made Sometimes strong Remonstrances, but we have always told them, if we admit you we must admit the Dutch too, and such has been their Jealousy of the Dutch, and dread of their Rivalry, that this had always quieted them, choosing rather to be excluded themselves, than that the Dutch should be admitted. So that this Commerce has been a long time carried on in Portuguese Ships only, and directly between the Brazils & Lisbon.
I asked him whether we might not have a free Communication with all their western Islands,5 and whether one or all of them might not be made a Depot for the Produce of the Brazils, so that Portuguese Ships might stop and deposit Cargoes there and American Vessells take them? He said he would write about it to his Court by the next Post. At present Brazil communicated only with Lisbon, and perhaps it might be difficult for Government to secure the Duties at the Western Islands.
I asked if there were any Refineries of Sugar at Lisbon? He said { 195 } “None.” Their sugars had been all brought here for Refinement. That all their carrying Trade with other Parts of Europe had been carried on by the English and Dutch. That their Mercantile Navigation “Marine Marchande” before this War, had been upon a very poor footing, but it was now much changed, and they began to carry on their Trade in their own Vessells.— I observed if their Trade should continue to be carried on by others, it must be indifferent to them, whether it were done in English, Dutch or American Vessells, provided it was done to their equal Advantage. But if they should persist in the desire to conduct it in their own Vessells they might purchase Ships, ready built in America, cheaper than they could build them, or buy them elsewhere, all this he said was true. That they could supply us with Sugars, Coffee, Cocoa, Brazil Wood, and even with Tea, for they had an Island called Macao near China, which was a flourishing Establishment, and sent them annually a good deal of Tea, which the Dutch actually bought very cheap at Lisbon to sell again.
He asked whether Portugal Wines had been much used in America? I answered that Port Wines, common Lisbon, and Caracavalles had been before the War frequently used, and that Madeira, was esteemed above all other wine. That it was found equally wholesome and agreeable in the heats of Summer, and the Colds of Winter, So that it would probably continue to be preferred, tho there was no doubt that a Variety of French Wines would now be more commonly used than heretofore.
He said they should have occasion for a great deal of our Fish, Grain, and perhaps Ships, or Ship Timber and naval Stores, and other Things, and he Thought there was a Prospect of a very beneficial Trade with us, and he would write largely to his Court upon it. I replied that I wondered his Court had not Sent a Minister to Philadelphia, where the Members and Ministers of Congress, and even the Merchants of the City, might throw much light upon the Subject and assist in Framing a Treaty to the greatest possible Advantage for both Countries. He said he would write for a Commission and Instructions, to negotiate a Treaty with me. I told him that I believed his Court had already instructed their Ambassador at Versailles to treat with Mr: Franklin. But that I thought Philadelphia or Lisbon, were the properest Places to treat, and that I feared mutual Advantages might be lost by this method of striking up a bargain in haste in a distant Country, between Ministers who could not be supposed to have made of Commerce a study.
{ 196 }
In a letter from Paris yesterday I am informed that a Project of a Treaty with Portugal, and another with Denmark, are to go home in Captain Barney.6 These projects have never been communicated to me nor to Mr. Jay.7 I hope that Congress will not be in haste to conclude them, but take time to inform themselves of every thing which may be added to the mutual Advantage of the Nations and Countries concerned. I am much mistaken if we have not lost Advantages, by a similar Piece of Cunning in the Case of Sweeden.
With very great Respect I have the Honour / to be, Sir your most obedient and most / humble Servant
[signed] John Adams.8
RC in JQA’s hand (PCC, No. 84, V, f. 81–84); internal address: “R. R. Livingstone Esqr: / Secretary of foreign Affairs.”; endorsed: “Mr Adams 1. Augst 1783.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 106.
1. For an earlier comment by JA regarding João Theotonio de Almeida Beja e Noronha, Portuguese minister to the Netherlands since May 1782, see vol. 13:423.
2. The Anglo-Portuguese Treaty of 1703, the provisions of which are mentioned here and in the previous paragraph, is usually known as the Methuen Treaty after the British negotiator John Methuen. It permitted Portuguese wines to be imported into England at two-thirds the duty charged on French wines, while allowing the importation of English woolens into Portugal. As a result of the 1786 Anglo-French commercial treaty, the duty on French wines was reduced to the existing levy on Portuguese wines. However, under the provisions of that treaty, duties on Portuguese wines were immediately reduced by an additional third. The Methuen Treaty was not finally abrogated until 1831 (Cambridge Modern Hist., 5:412; 8:284–285).
3. In 1662 Charles II married Catherine of Braganza, daughter of John IV of Portugal (DNB).
4. The treaty between Spain and Portugal signed at Utrecht on 6 Feb. 1715 was one of the last peace accords ending the War of the Spanish Succession. In Art. 6 Portugal promised to prohibit other Europeans from trading with or settling in Brazil; in Art. 22 Britain guaranteed the entire treaty (The Compleat History of the Treaty of Utrecht, 2 vols., London, 1715, vol. 1, part 2, p. 261, 263–264, 270; Cambridge Modern Hist., 5:456).
5. That is, the Azores.
6. Presumably Matthew Ridley’s letter of 28 July, but see also John Jay’s of the 26th, both above.
7. At this point in the Letterbook, JA wrote and then canceled “This Secrecy is I suppose for some Reason.”
8. Closing and signature in JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0086

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
Date: 1783-08-02

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir

Mr: Berenger the Secretary of the French Legation has this Moment left me He came in to inform me of the News. The Empress of Russia has communicated, to the King of Prussia, a Treaty of Alliance between the Emperor of Germany and her, defensive against the Christian Powers and offensive against the Turk. The King of Prussia has answered her “That he is very sensible, upon this Communication as one is upon the Communication of Things of Great { 197 } Importance.” Thus wrapped up in an impenetrable Reserve is this great Warrior and Statesman. We may discern by this Answer, what all the World new without it. viz that his Majesty has no Joy in this new Alliance. Still he expresses no Sorrow: and maintains a perfect Liberty to take which side he will, or neither, at his Pleasure; and the same Reserve he will probably hold to the End of the War. Mr. Berenger says, if Prussia is neutral, France must be so too, for she cannot cope by Land, with the two Empires. That this Republick is desired to declare, but does not choose it. That they are dissatisfied & the Republicans murmur a good deal and are wavering, and that the other Party will do nothing. That England hitherto has favoured an Accommodation between Russia and the Turk, & that the British Ambassador at Constantinople has co-operated with the French, to bring about an Accommodation. That the Turks have offered Russia the free Navigation of the black Sea, and Passage of the Dardanelles; and the Same with the free Navigation of the Danube to the Emperor. But they will not accept it, and are determined to drive the Turks from Europe. That France has determined to put her Army upon a War Footing, because it has been much neglected during the late War. That he believes France and Spain will Shut the Mediterranean against a Turkish Fleet, as Russia, Sweeden and Denmark, excluded Warlike Vessells from the Baltick in the last War. That this State of things gives him Great Pain and must embarass the Comte de Vergennes.— It is a great and difficult Question whether France should take a Side; if she does not, and the Empires should prevail, it will be an immense Aggrandisement of the House of Austria, which with Russia, will become two Great Maritime Powers. That England will act an insidious Part, pretend to favour Peace, secretly foment War, and join in it at the End, if she sees a favourable opportunity to crush France.1
These are Sensible Observations of Mr: Berenger, who added that a new difficulty in the Way of the definitive Treaty had arisen between England and Spain, respecting the Musqueto shore, so that more Couriers must go and return.
I confess myself as much in Pain, at the state of Things as Mr: Berenger, and therefore I wish most ardently, that we may omit no proper Means of settling our Question with every Court in Europe, and especially our Plan of Commerce with Great Britain. if this is too long left in Uncertainty, the Face of Things may soon change, so as to involve us in the complicated, extensive and long War, which seems to be now opening.
{ 198 }
My Advices from England are, that Lord Sheffield, with his Friends Deane, Arnold, Skeene and P. Wentworth, are making a Party unfriendly to us. that the Ministry adopt their Sentiments and Measures. That Fox has lost his Popularity and devoted himself to North, who has the Kings Ear, and disposes of Places. That, Burke is Mad with Rage and Passion. That the Honest Men are much disgusted that there is no Parliamentary Reform, the Merchants that Commerce does not revive. The Monied Men at their Wits end, on account of the Conduct of the Bank, and the Army and Navy disbanding in a Spirit of revolt. That it is much to be feared that in a Year there will be a Convulsion in the State and public Credit ruined. That the present Ministry cannot stand, to the Meeting of Parliament, for that nothing has been or can be done by them.2
The Prospect of returning to Paris, and living there without my Family in absolute Idleness at a Time, when so many and so great Things want to be done for our Country elsewhere is very disagreeable; If we must live there, waiting for the moving of many Waters, and treaties are there to be negotiated, with the Powers of Europe, or only with Denmark and Portugal, I pray that we may be all joined in the Business, as we are in the Commission for Peace, that at least we may have the Satisfaction of knowing what is done, and of giving a Hint for the public Good, if any one occurs to us, and that we may not be made the Sport and Ridicule of all Europe, as well as of those who contrive such Humiliations for us. I declare I had rather be Door keeper to Congress, than live at Paris as I have done, for the last Six Months.
With Great Respect I have the honour to be, / Sir, Your most obedient Humble Servant.
[signed] John Adams.3
RC in JQA’s hand (NHi:Livingston Papers); internal address: “R. R. Livingstone Esqr / Secretary of foreign Affairs.”; endorsed: “John Adams.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 106.
1. JA’s account of his conversation with Laurent Bérenger, secretary to the Duc de La Vauguyon, provides an excellent overview of the diplomatic crisis afflicting Europe in the summer of 1783 over the Eastern Question and the fate of the Ottoman Empire. At its heart was the Austro-Russian alliance of 1781, which served to advance Russia’s efforts to wrest additional territory from the Ottomans and even gain direct access to the Mediterranean, and which ensured Austria compensation for Russia’s territorial gains. Equally important, however, was the fact that it ended Russia’s alliance with Prussia, Austria’s chief rival in central Europe. Frederick the Great had good reason to be chagrined at this turn of events since it left him isolated in Europe with no obvious ally against Austrian aggression. France’s position was equally anomalous because it was allied with Austria but also had traditionally supported the Ottomans against Russian expansion. Bérenger’s assertion that the situation “must embarass the Comte de Vergennes” likely refers to the foreign minister’s service as executor of French policy during { 199 } his tenure as ambassador at Constantinople between 1756 and 1769. Great Britain remained neutral (Cambridge Modern Hist., 8:306–314; Murphy, Vergennes, p. 312–320, 333–344; Repertorium, 3:142).
2. The information provided in this paragraph is taken from Edmund Jenings’ letters of [ca. 8] and 22 July, both above.
3. In JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0087

Author: Montgomery, Robert
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-08-02

From Robert Montgomery

[salute] Sir

I have the Honour of your Esteemd Letter of the 18 June, and find it out of your Line to Give Introductions in Affairs of Commerce With which I Rest Satisfied, but more So as Not any Business of Consequence can be done with the States from hence, before the Navin: of the Medeterranian becomes Entirely free for thier Flag
I find I have Commited an Error in writing to the Moroccan Minister, as if Orderd directly by Congress to do so, but having instructions from Mr Carmichael to Say what I might think Prudent on the Subject to the Moron: Ambassador when here on his way to Viena and having Shortly after the Good fortune of a friendly Intimacy with Belzasnachi on his Return from An Embassy to Algiers1 he Encouraged Me on Mentioning this Subject to Write to his Court upon it Assureing Me it would be Attended with the Most favourable Consequenses, but that he Could not with Propriety Mention the Affair to the Emperor without Some Such Authority for doing so, in this Situation I had not time to Consult Mr Carmichael as the Ambassador Was to Sail for Tanger the first favourable wind, and thought it Better to hazard the Letter I had Already the Honour of Communicating to your Execy: than Lose So favourable An Opertunity for Obtaining a thing So Greatly useful to the Commerce of Our Contrey, If I have Absolutely done Wrong in it I hope You will Conseder that the best Are Subject to Err in which I have only Acted like any Other Man but from the best Intentions, it would truely Distress me to think it Could be Attended with any disagreeable Consequence (as you Are Pleased to Observe) to the Publick, but As to my Self I fear I Shall never be Honourd by Suffering Materially in thier Cause
As to Presents which is the Custom with the Easteren Nations I was Assured by Belgasnachi that Nothing of that Kind would be Expected from Congress being an Infant State but Just Recovering from a Long And Expensive War as A Proof which please find Inclosed Extract of Another Letter I have Received from the { 200 } Moroccan Minister dated the 6th. ulto Whereby you will find he Shews the Strongest desire of Cultivateing And fomenting the Commerce between that Countrey And the States2 in Order to which the Emperor has Already taken off one third of the Duty formerly Paid on the Mules (of which before the War we Carried Great Quantities to the West-Indias) with A Promise of Shewing Every Civillity And Respect to Any of our Vessels that May Arrive in thier Ports, In Short I beleive You will See Mr. Croco Envoy from the Emperor to their Excs the Plenipotentiaries At Paris,3 When I trust that a thing So Esential to Our Commerce As Good friendship And Harmoney with the Moores will be Seriously thought of. this and Every Other Happiness that Can Possibly Attend Our Contrey And you Sir is the Sincerest Wish of / Sir / Your Excelys: Most obedient / And Very Humble Servt
[signed] Robt Montgomery
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “To his Excy. the Honl John Adams Esqr:”; endorsed: “Mr Montgomery, at / Alicante. 2. Aug. 1783.”; notation: “Miscellaneous.”
1. The Moroccan ambassador on his way to Vienna was Said Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Malik Pasa (Repertorium, 3:241). The second Moroccan diplomat, Belzasnachi, has not been further identified.
2. The enclosed extract has not been found, but it was likely from the 6 July letter from Eliaho Leve, secretary to the Moroccan Sultan Sidi Muhammad ibn Abdallah, the content of which Montgomery summarizes in this paragraph (PCC, No. 78, XXIV, f. 428–429).
3. Giacomo Francisco Crocco had written to Benjamin Franklin from Cadiz on 15 July and would again on 25 Nov., proposing to conduct an American representative to Morocco to open negotiations for a Moroccan-American commercial treaty. Franklin responded on 15 Dec., indicating that Montgomery had exceeded his authority in proposing discussions regarding a treaty, but that in any case instructions were required from Congress before negotiations could proceed. By mid-1784, the sultan was exasperated at the delays in reaching an agreement and ordered the seizure of an American vessel. Not until 1786 was a treaty finally negotiated, and then it was by Thomas Barclay at Marrakesh (Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:549–550, 734, 738–739; Priscilla H. Roberts and James N. Tull, “Moroccan Sultan Sidi Muhammad ibn Abdallah’s Diplomatic Initiatives toward the United States, 1777–1786,” Amer. Philos. Soc., Procs., 143:246–249 [June 1999]; Miller, Treaties, 2:224–227).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0088

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
Date: 1783-08-03

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir

The Fiscal Systems of the Powers of Europe, have such an ill Influence on Commerce, that they deserve the Serious attention of Congress and their Ministers whenever they have under Consideration a Treaty with any foreign Power. In Conversation yesterday with Mr: D’Asp the Chargé des affaires of Sweeden, I enquired of him what Imposts were payable in their Ports upon the Importation and Exportation of Merchandizes, and observed to him, that I had lately { 201 } seen in the Gazettes, that the King had taken off certain duties upon the Importation of Merchandizes from America in Sweedish Ships. He agreed that such a Thing had been done. This ought to allarm us. All the Powers of Europe, who are called neutral, have felt a sudden increase of their Navigation, in the Course of the late War, and the Profits they have made, have excited a Desire to augment it still furthur. If they Should generally exact duties of our Ships, and none of their own, upon the Importation of our Produce, this will be as great a discouragement to our Navigation as it will be an Encouragement to theirs. Whether this has been alluded to in the Treaty with Sweeden, I know not for I have not seen it.2 But it ought to be carefully considered by those who negotiate the Treaties with Denmark and Portugal, the Emperor and Empress and all other Powers. We have a good Right to insist, that no distinction should be made in their Ports between their Ships and ours. That We should pay in their Ports no higher Duty than they pay in ours. I should think it therefore adviseable for Congress to instruct their Negotiators, to endeavour to obtain Equity in this Respect. This is the Time for it, if ever. If we cannot obtain it by Negociation We must think and talk of doing ourselves Justice by making similar Distinctions in our Ports, between our Vessells and theirs. But here again comes in the Difficulty of uniting our States in such Measures a difficulty which must be surmounted, or our Commerce, Navigation and Marine will Still be ruined, notwithstanding the Conservation of the Fisheries. It deserves to be considered by whom this new Method of huddling up Treaties at Paris is contrived, and for what Purposes. It may well be conjectured that it is done, with the Secret Intention of preventing these things from being attended to, for there are Persons, who had rather that any other People should have Navigation, than the Americans. I have good Reasons to believe that it was known at Versailles that Mr: Dana had well digested his Thoughts upon this Subject, which was Reason enough for some People to endeavour to take Sweeden out of his Hands, in whose department it was. Their Success is much to be lamented.
I had yesterday and the day before long Conversations with the Baron van der Capellen de Pol and Mr: Gyselaer, they both complain to me in the most Pathetic Terms, of the cruel Situation of the Friends of America and France in this Republick. They both say that they are looking round, every way, like drowning Men, for Support. The Province of Friesland their great Dependance, wavers, [and many of their] fellow Labourers ar[e disco]uraged. They both enquired { 202 } of me very earnestly, if clos[er Connect]ions could not be formed with us. If we could not agree to Warrant to each other the Liberty of Navigation, or enter into an Alliance offensive & Defensive They see, they shall be obliged to make a shameful Peace, and that the Blame of it will fall upon them, which will give a Triumph to the Court and put their Persons even in danger. They Say the King of France, by his Ambassador in July 1782. gave them a positive assurance that he would never Seperate his Cause from theirs. in Consequence of this they had instructed their Ambassadors never to seperate their Cause from his. on their Part, the agreement has been sacredly observed, but not on the other.3 With Great Britain enraged against them, with a formidable Party in the Republick furious against them, with the King of Prussia threatening them, and abandoned by France, their Prospects are they Say as disagreeable as can be conceiv’d.
There are many appearances of designs to [ex]cite the People to Seditions, and I think it probable, that the Court of London studies delays of the definitive Treaty in this hope I still believe however that the People will be wise and the Republick firm, and Submit to the immense Losses of the war, and that of Negapatnam rather then renew their old Submission to the Court and to England.
I have the Honour to be, Sir your / most obedient Servant
[signed] J. Adams.4
RC in JQA’s hand (PCC, No. 84, V, f. 93–96); addressed: “His Excellency. / Robert. R. Livingstone Esqr: / Secretary of State for the department / of foreign Affairs. / Philadelphia.”; internal address: “R. R. Livingstone Esqr: / Secretary of foreign Affairs.”; endorsed: “Mr Adams / 3 Aug. 1783.” Dupl (PCC, No. 84, V, f. 97–99). LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 106. Text lost due to a torn manuscript has been supplied from the Dupl.
1. JA wrote a second letter to Livingston on this date, enclosing five letters, four in German and one in Dutch. There he stated that they were letters that “I cannot read” and while one contained information that should be communicated to a family in Germantown, Penn., the others served “as a Specimen of Correspondences with which I am honoured too frequently” (PCC, No. 84, V, f. 101–102; LbC, APM Reel 106). Conrad Hilmer Hoburg, who wrote on 2 and 16 July from Bremen, Germany, was a bookseller who sought JA’s assistance in purchasing and transporting a library to America. Langsdorf, a judge at Idstein, Germany, wrote a pair of letters dated 22 July. The first sought information on Frederic Wernecke, who had gone to America in 1776 and reportedly was serving as a lieutenant colonel of engineers; the second indicated that a legacy of 450 Rhenish florins was due the children of Ludwig Schuhmann who had settled at Germantown. The final letter, in Dutch and dated 26 July, was from P. D. G. Le Chastillon, a Dutch marine captured by the British, who requested JA’s assistance because he had lost his livelihood as a consequence of the peace. For the five letters, and the translations done for Congress in 1787, see PCC, No. 84, V, f. 103–138.
These are the last letters that JA wrote from The Hague. Just after four o’clock on the morning of 6 Aug., he and JQA set off for Paris, where they arrived on the evening of { 203 } the 9th. For an account of the journey, see JQA, Diary, 1:176–181. JA’s departure did not go unnoticed. In a report dated 6 Aug. at The Hague, the Gazette d’Amsterdam on 8 Aug. indicated that JA was preparing to return to Paris to fulfill the commissions with which he had been charged and then probably would return to America unless he chose to go to England, which he had not yet visited. Virtually the same report appeared in the Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser of 18 August.
2. Articles 2, 3, and 4 of the 1783 Swedish-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce dealt with trade between the two nations, which was to be regulated according to the most favored nation doctrine. Those three articles were virtually identical to Arts. 2, 3, and 4 of the 1778 Franco-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce, and Arts. 3 and 4 in both treaties are very similar to Arts. 2 and 3 in the 1782 Dutch-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce negotiated by JA (Miller, Treaties, 2:5–6, 61–63, 125–126). None of the treaties prohibited the practice complained of by JA.
3. For the Dutch peace instructions that JA had sent to Congress with an 18 Aug. 1782 letter to Livingston, and specifically instructions 1 and 2, see vol. 13:246–250. JA’s absence from the Netherlands since late Oct. 1782 meant that he was hearing for the first time in person the grievances held by the Dutch, particularly by members of the pro-French and pro-American Patriot Party, against France for its perceived betrayal of Dutch interests in the Anglo-Dutch peace negotiations. JA was aware of and sympathized with their complaints, for they had been previously related to him in letters from C. W. F. Dumas, for which see vol. 14:208–211, 215–217, 221–223.
4. Closing and signature in JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0089

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-08-04

From John Thaxter

[salute] Sir,

I arrived here last Evening with Mr. Laurens & Son, Mr. Barclay, Storer & Champion— We came off Pool in Capt Barney, who left Havre de Grace on Friday last— Having luckily fell in with a Pilot Boat, & the Wind being good for Barney, we went on board the Pilot Boat & landed at Pool, Mr. Laurens thinking it most adviseable that Capt. Barney should improve the good Wind—so that he may be said to have sailed the 1st. of this month—1
Upon my Arrival in Town, I found the News Papers had got Mr. Boudinot’s Proclamation, summoning Congress to meet in the Jersey’s— I saw also a Letter from Philadelphia of the 24th. of June, mentioning the flight of Congress &ca. but that the Affair of the Army might and would be easily settled— There is some puffing in the Gazettes here about this matter, but it is so much in the old stile, & so like their language during the War, that ’tis nothing new.2
I arrived so late last Night, & have had so fatiguing a Voyage & Journey, that I have not yet been able to see any Acquaintance to know the state of Politicks— I inclose some Papers, which will be forwarded & perhaps delivered by Mr. Course, a young Gentleman who once lived with Mr. Ingraham, He will be able to tell you perhaps more News than I can possibly, after being so short a time here.3
{ 204 }
Mr. Storer desires his Respects to you, you will make my best Compliments to your Son & yr Family.
With perfect Respect, I have the honor to be, / Sir, / your most obedient & / most humble Servant.
[signed] J Thaxter Junr.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency / Mr. Adams.”; endorsed: “Mr Thaxter London / 4 August.” and “Mr Dumas”; docketed by CFA: “1783.”
1. See also Henry Laurens’ 9 Aug. letter to the commissioners, below.
2. The Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser of 4 Aug. (see note 3) contained Elias Boudinot’s proclamation of 24 June, for which see the president of Congress to the commissioners, 15 July, and note 10, above. The 24 June letter from Philadelphia has not been identified.
3. Thaxter apparently believed that JA would still be in the Netherlands when the letter arrived, for that was the destination of “Mr. Course,” who is otherwise unidentified. In a brief note written on the letter, probably on or about 11 Aug., C. W. F. Dumas said he was forwarding Thaxter’s letter to JA, who had left The Hague for Paris on the 6th, and identified its enclosed newspaper as the Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser of 4 Aug. (Adams Papers; JQA, Diary, 1:176). In the absence of a reply from JA, there is no indication as to when JA received the letter with Dumas’ note.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0090

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-08-07

From Edmund Jenings


[salute] My Dear Sir

I am much Obliged to you for your Letter of the 26th Ult. it was so long that I had heard from you, that I was fearful either mine or yours had Miscarried especially as I did not recive One from his Excellency until a Month after date.2
We Agree in the effect that the late Proclamation’s relative to the American Trade will have on the Temper of our Countrymen, who must besides at this Time be irritated on discoveries lately made, for it seems the English are at the bottom of the late disturbances at Philadelphia— two officers concerned therein are arrived in this Town. I saw, I believe one of them this Day He wears the american Cockade and the Artillery Uniform.3 The Refugees here have been some time in Expectation of an important blow being struck in America, a very notorious one said six Weeks Ago that He did not Prophecy it, but Knew it from certain Documents. This is alarming as it shows there is still a dangerous Correspondence Held up between The English Partizans on both Sides of the Water The Discovery of this may serve to unite our people & oblige them to take the most Effectual Measures to prevent Mischief in future.
I have good reason to think that the alien Duties will be taken off of America Ships trading to Ireland.
{ 205 }
I am sorry to hear you have not yet Accounts from our State with respect to your Negociation. it has passed an Act of Assembly touching the Money in the English Funds. but I Know not what it is.4
it is said that they are arming here their Navy & that a war will break out, but with whom, for what, and how to be carried on is not Settled.
I drank Tea yesterday on board the Commerce Captn Thruxton, who I understand took during the War Seventy five English Flags.5 He leaves this port next Tuesday, Doctr Bancroft goes with Him. Captn Falkner leaves Town to Day, his Ship is crouded, with Passengers.
My Ennemy arrived in Town the day before yesterday. I found myself by Accident under the same Roof & got away as soon as possible. my Pamphlet is printed & makes 30 Odd pages in Quarto— the Title is the Candor of ——— Manifested by his Behaviour to E J. a Title, which I think will never be forgiven.— I sent three of them to our Acquaintance near St Pauls, one directed for Him; another for his Lady and the third for whomever He pleases. my Letter to Him containing six Sheets of Paper which He has not Answered is inserted therein. I am told He is miserable and I am sorry for Him, He might extricate Himself from his Difficulties, but seems to be overawed.6 Many of my Acquaintance have seen the Work, and are Struck with Astonishment & Horror. & advise me by all means to send it Abroad. it will go with Captn Thruxton.7
Having finished this business thus far at least I am Easy and am ready to Attend our Friend B for now I think my Ennemy can’t do me or perhaps any one Mischief. He will have enough upon his Hands to clear up his own Character.— when B comes to London pray let Him leave His address, in Vine Street, for me [. . .] whether I am there when He calls.8
I beg my best Respects to Mrs Ridley I Hear She is Very Well I would not have the present brave boy spoilt, but there is danger of it, if He is the only one.9
How does Mr & Mrs Jay? is there no new Arrangements of Ministers yet? our Excellent Friend is, I fancy out of Patience.
My Dear Friend / Adieu.
P. S. His Excellencys Account with me will be soon settled, I owe Eight or ten Ducats to Him.
you recollect the Hints given me whilst I was at Brussells, relative to the Refugees, I have talked with the Gentleman who conveyed { 206 } them to a Noble Lord, & find <from Him> that they made a very great & useful Impression on Him.10
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Jennings / July 7. 1783 / from London” and by John Thaxter, “Rec’d Aug. 10. 1783”; notation: “21st.” Filmed at 7 July.
1. This letter was written in August rather than July. This is evident from Jenings’ reference in the sixth paragraph to Capt. Thomas Truxtun, who sailed on 13 Aug., and his reference in the seventh paragraph to the arrival of Henry Laurens, who reached London on 3 Aug. (Jay, Unpublished Papers, 2:572; Laurens to the commissioners, 9 Aug., below).
2. Jenings presumably refers to JA’s letter of 27 June, above. No letter of the 26th has been found.
3. The “officers” were Lt. John Sullivan and Capt. Henry Carberry, both of whom had been involved in the June mutiny that forced Congress to flee Philadelphia. See the letters to the commissioners from the president of Congress, 15 July, and note 11, above, and from Henry Laurens, 9 Aug., below. See also John Thaxter’s letter to JA of 7 Aug., below.
4. In its April session the Maryland General Assembly passed a law appointing an agent to recover and dispose of its Bank of England stock held by trustees appointed before the war. Samuel Chase was named to the post and soon set off for Europe. Chase’s attempt to retrieve the stock, however, was no more successful than the 1779–1780 effort in which Jenings had been involved. The matter was not resolved until 1806 (vol. 9:131; Kathryn L. Behrens, Paper Money in Maryland, 1727–1789, Baltimore, 1923, p. 88–94).
5. Capt. Thomas Truxtun, one of the most successful privateersmen of the Revolution, had turned to commercial shipping at the end of the war. Later, in the 1790s, he served with distinction as a commodore in the U.S. Navy during the Quasi-War with France (DAB).
6. Jenings’ “Acquaintance near St Pauls” was Edward Bridgen. In his pamphlet, Mr. Laurens’s True State of the Case, Henry Laurens wrote that on 6 Aug. he visited Bridgen, who informed him that Jenings had “delivered him three printed Pamphlets, entituled—‘The Candour of Henry Laurens, Esq; manifested by his behaviour to Mr. Edmund Jenings;’ one of which he said was for Mrs. Bridgen, one for Mr. Bridgen, and the third marked on the Title-page in Mr. Jenings’s handwriting, ‘For whomsoever Mr. Bridgen pleases.’ This, said Mr. Bridgen, was probably intended for you, will you take it? Aye, I replied, with all my heart; I am sure I have treated Mr. Jenings with great candour, and have no objection to seeing what he has to say upon that subject, though it appears to me to be one of Mr. Jenings’s cunning tricks, to be circulating his Book in private.” The letter mentioned by Jenings was his to Bridgen of 30 June, which was included in his pamphlet (Laurens, Papers, 16:278). For Bridgen’s role in the affair of the anonymous letters, see Jenings’ letter of 3 June, and note 2, above.
7. Jenings does not indicate it here, but the copies of his pamphlet, The Candor of Henry Laurens, were entrusted to Dr. Edward Bancroft when he sailed on the Commerce. Upon learning of this, Henry Laurens sent 42 copies of his own pamphlet, Mr. Laurens’s True State of the Case, with his 11 Sept. letter to Robert R. Livingston (Laurens, Papers, 16:338).
8. “B” is probably Thomas Barclay, U.S. consul to France, who in April had requested Jenings’ assistance in settling American accounts in Europe. Barclay had arrived in London on 3 Aug. with Henry Laurens, John Thaxter, and others (vol. 14:415; from Thaxter, 4 Aug., above).
9. Ann Richardson Ridley was pregnant and gave birth to a son, Lucius Lloyd, on 24 Sept. (JQA, Diary, 1:194). She was thereafter very ill and died on 21 Jan. 1784. She was preceded in death by Lucius, who died on 8 Jan. (MHi:Ridley Journal; from Matthew Ridley, 10 Feb. 1784, Adams Papers). Essex (1776–1796) was Ridley’s surviving son (Jay, Unpublished Papers, 2:591).
10. Presumably Jenings’ comment refers to something that he learned at Brussels and related to JA when JA resided in Paris during the peace negotiations because none of Jenings’ letters from Brussels contains any extensive comments on the loyalists.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0091

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-08-07

From John Thaxter

[salute] Sir,

The affair of surrounding the State House at Philadelphia terminated very differently from the expectations of our Enemies of all denominations— The Troops employed in this contemptuous daring Attack on the Civil Power have humbly solicited the forgiveness of Congress, while two of their Officers, the Ringleaders, have fled for safety to the Asylum of two of our choice Friends, D. & A.—1 They are here in this City—their Names are Sullivan & <Crabrey> Carberry, <both> one a foreigner<s> the other a Native, Captains in our Service—2 One of them has been but a short time in the Army— I am sorry this Affair happened, but some good may spring from it.
I dined yesterday in Company with a Portsmouth Refugee, whom I found very candid— I think his Name is Hale—3 He does not like Republican Governments, & therefore means to continue a loyal & a British Subject. He says he early took a decided part & has been uniform to the last— He wishes well to America, that is to say, all sort of Prosperity to her as far as is consistent with that of England—Admires many Characters personally in our Country—spoke of Mr. J. & you as able Politicians—he thinks America will be productive of great Men & figure in the Sciences— In short he professed a good Opinion of America, declared he was always candid & never bigotted—that he had principles, which he must adhere to, thought them such as would prevent him from being a good subject of America, & that as an honest Man he ought to remain where he was— I told him I hoped he would, & every one else of the same Sentiments.— I was cautious & reserved before him, knowing him to be a disappointed Man, and that a Phiz dressed up with the smile of Complacency often disguises a rancorous Heart— I dont know him to be of this Cast— He appeared moderate enough—but as a Stranger & a Refugee it was my business not to be open— He had a great deal to say about the two Proclamations for opening the Trade with America—thought them very necessary, but by no means inimical to that Country— He said there were prohibitory Acts here against trading with America, that were annulled by the Proclamations, & that without the Proclamations would have been in force— He could not see how America would be excluded from carrying her own productions to the Islands, or from bringing those of the { 208 } Islands to her own Ports, by the Proclamations— I asked him why Fish, Pot & Pearl Ash were excepted or rather not named in the Proclamations, & what would be the Consequence, if those Articles were exported from America in American Ships navigated by American Seamen, to the West Indies or even to G. Britain? He thought they could not be seized but might be sent back— Is not this then almost tantamount to an Exclusion? It would be ridiculous, says he, for Administration to pretend to say what America shall or shall not carry, & they were right in being silent— From all I could learn, he seemed to think it good Policy, & that it would operate as a stimulous to the Americans to bring the definitive Treaty to a close, & a Treaty of Commerce on the Carpet— Dont you think the Proclamations aimed at the Carrying Trade of our Country? That may be says he, & Britain must take Care of her own Interests.—
Since writing the above, I have waited on Mr. L. who will soon write to you— He says that Capt. Carberry has visited him, and is extremely unhappy for the part he took in the Philadelphia Mob—is very sensible of the Criminality of his own Conduct, & is much distressed here— The young fellow is a Native of America,— Sullivan is an Irishman— The former has borne a good Character—but was unfortunately led away— I hope they will be pardonned, but be made very sensible that an Error of a Moment might have produced most unhappy Consequences, & of how much Importance it is in a free Government that the Civil should be the Sovereign Power, & give not recieve the Law from the military.4
The Queen was delivered of a Daughter at 2o. Clock this morning—good News for the poor Civil List—5
’Tis lately been discovered here that Gold was very scarce, or rather the reason of it has been found out— It appears that vast Quantities of Guineas have been exported to Holland & Germany, one shilling being gained upon them in Holland, & 8 1/2 pr. Cent in Germany.— This is alarming, & there are sad Complaints about it, & some doleful Tales of Poverty— So much for endless Resources—
Mr. Jenings has published a Pamphlet, intitled the “Candor of Henry Laurens Esqr. manifested in his Conduct towards Emund Jenings,[] or a title much like it— I have not read it, nor had I heard of it ’till this morning. If there are any to be bought, I shall purchase one—but he will probably send you one— I waited on him this morning, but did not find him at home.— I have only to add my best wishes for your Health & an Assurance of that sincere Attachment { 209 } & Respect, with which I have the honor to be, Sir, / your most obed— & / most humble Servt.
[signed] T
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency / Mr. Adams.”; endorsed: “Thaxter. London / 7. Aug. 1783.”
1. Presumably Silas Deane and Benedict Arnold.
2. The changes made by Thaxter in this sentence likely reflect information obtained at his meeting with Henry Laurens mentioned in the second paragraph below.
3. This may be Samuel Hale (1747–1787), a Portsmouth, N.H., lawyer and 1766 Harvard graduate who had gone to London in 1778. In 1787 he was appointed British consul at Portsmouth but died before he could take up the post (Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, 16:368–371). JA spent an evening with Hale at Portsmouth in 1771, describing him as “a sensible young Lawyer” (JA, D&A, 2:41).
4. For the ultimate disposition of the cases of Capt. Henry Carberry and Lt. John Sullivan and their later careers, see the 15 July letter from the president of Congress to the commissioners, note 11, above; and for Henry Laurens’ account of his conversation with Carberry see his letter to the commissioners of 9 Aug., below.
5. Princess Amelia (1783–1810) was the sixth daughter of George III and Queen Charlotte and the last of their fifteen children (DNB). David Hartley announced the event to the commissioners in a letter of 12 Aug., to which the commissioners sent a congratulatory reply on the 13th (both PRO: FO 4, 2:195, 198).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0092

Author: Dalton, Tristram
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-08-08

From Tristram Dalton

[salute] Dear Sir

I did myself the Honor of writing You from Boston, the 16th Ulto, and endeavor’d to give a general State of our public Affairs. Having retired to my Country Estate since the Adjournment of the General Court, which was a little before the date of my last, I have not had opportunity to acquaint myself of the present Sentiments of the people at large on the several Matters that had agitated their Minds, as mentioned in my said Letter— In my Neighbourhood I am pleased to find the Inhabitants begin to view Things on a larger, and consequently less prejudiced, scale— They feel the Necessity of granting Congress some Money, or a Power to collect some— This Government has for near two Years collected only £50,000 of £400 thousand required—And nearly despair of obtaing any Sum adequate to the necessary demands, in the usual way of taxation—1 The longer a delay of supplies, the more dangerous the remedy of the defect—
Sensible of the absolute Necessities of furnishing the public Chest, Congress, as I mentioned to you, pressed, in the strongest and most <pathetic> pointed Terms, the Attention of the several Legislatures to this Object—& in a Pamphlet forwarded to Each of them, shewed the dangerous tendency of any further Neglects. Having an Oppy. by a careful Master of a Ship bound from this place to { 210 } London, who promises to forward a packett to yourself in a Channel that will avoid Postage, I enclose one of those Pamphlets—also another containing a Collection of Papers respecting the halfpay of the Officers, and Commutation thereof—not knowing but, by Neglect of those, whose proper Business it may be to forward all such public papers, authentick, You might be indebted to the public News-Papers for Intelligence—as has been frequently the Case—Should You have recived them from any other hand, be pleased to accept my Wishes to be of the least Service—2
Having nothing worthy your Notice to communicate, I will not tresspass on your important time, any further at present, than to renew my Assurances of being, with the most unfeigned Regards / Dear Sir / Your affectionate Friend / And most hble Servant
[signed] Tristram Dalton
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Hnble, John Adams Esqr”; endorsed: “Mr Dalton Aug. 8.”; docketed by CFA: “1783.”
1. No specific reference to a requisition from Congress for £400,000 has been found. But for previous references to that sum and to the efforts of the Mass. General Court to raise it, see vol. 13:204, 206; 14:95, 96–97.
2. The first pamphlet was entitled Address and Recommendations to the States by the United States in Congress Assembled, Phila., 1783, Evans, No. 18223. The second, published by the Mass. General Court, was A Collection of Papers Relative to Half-Pay and Commutation Thereof Granted by Congress, Boston, 1783, Evans, No. 18256. For the origins and content of each, see Dalton’s letter of 16 July, and note 4, and Cotton Tufts’ letter of 26 June, and note 5, both above.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0093

Author: Laurens, Henry
Recipient: American Peace Commissioners
Date: 1783-08-09

Henry Laurens to the American Peace Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen.

Availing my self of your consent & recommendation I embarked at le Havre on board the Washington & Sailed from thence the 1st Inst. On the 2d. at 9 o’Clõ. AM. we were within six Leagues of Poole in Dorsetshire. The Wind being very favorable, I quitted the Ship, went on board a small Hoy bound to Poole & urged Capt. Barney to proceed on his Voyage, leaving my excellent Post Carriage to take its fate on the Ship’s Deck in preference to the risque of delaying him a single hour. had the Wind been Westerly I might have detained him a few days for dispatching to Congress the result of my applications to the Ministers of this Court. I judge from the state of the Winds since I parted with Capt. Barney, he was clear of the Channel on Sunday Night the 3d. & that he is now 150 or 200 Leagues advanced on his Voyage.
{ 211 }
I arrived in London late in the Night of the 3d. on the 5th had a conference with the Rt Honblẽ. C J Fox Esqr. which I commited to writing as soon as it had ended. I shall give it in short diologue as the best way, not pretending to accuracy in every word but fully preserving the sense & substance.
Mr. Fox— I suppose Mr. L. you wish to forward the Ratification of the Provisional Articles.
L. I could wish that was done Sir, but tis not the particular business which I have in charge.
F. I understood from Mr. Hartley’s Letter which you sent me it was, but he does not speak possitively.
L. No Sir, the only business I have in Charge is to inquire, whether a Minister from the US of America would be properly received at this Court.
F. Most undoubtedly, I could wish there was one here at present, I think we have lost much time from a want of a Minister from your side.
L. then Sir, will you be so good as to ask his Majesty the Question & inform me.1
F. I’ll take the King’s pleasure tomorrow & you shall hear from me, I suppose there is already a conditional appointment of some person now in Europe.2
L. Not that I know of, tho’ I don’t know the contrary, but I have an excellent opportunity for writing to Congress & I have no doubt an appointment will be immediately made.3
F. that’s unlucky, there must be two crossings the Ocean then; If a Minister from Congress had been here we might have done our business in half the time we have already spent, but I shall certainly inform you to Morrow, this is the very time a Minister from your people is most necessary.
L. tho’ I have nothing particularly in charge except the business already mentioned, I regret the delay of both the Commercial & definitive Treaty. we had flattered our selves with hopes in March & April that both would have been finished in a few days.
F. Why as to a Definitive Treaty, I don’t see any necessity for one, or not immediately. The Provisional Articles are to be inserted in & constitute a Treaty— a Ratification of those I apprehend will answer all purposes of a Definitive Treaty they may be made definitive.— the case with respect to France & Spain differs widely, several articles in our Preliminaries with them refer to a definitive Treaty.
L. I agree with you Sir, the Provisional Articles mutually ratified { 212 } may by the consent of the Parties be made definitive, but there may be additional articles suggested & agreed to for mutual benefit.
F. that’s very true but I don’t see any at present. I very much regret the want of a Minister from America.
L. Permit me Sir to ask you, Is it intended by the Proclamation of the 2d July to exclude American Ships from the West India Trade between the United States & the British Islands?
F. Yes certainly it was so intended, in order that we might have something to Treat for, & this will a subject for Commercial Treaty.—
On the 6th. I waited upon His Grace the Duke of Portland. His Grace was equally clear & possitive as Mr. Fox had declared himself, that a Minister from the United States of America would be well received at this Court. & also regreted that an appointment had not earlier taken place.— I touched upon the Commercial & definitive Treaty refered to conversations & assurances in March & April, intimated my apprehensions of pernicios effects, which might arise from excluding American Ships from a freedom of Trade between the United States & the British West India Islands, adding what I had learned from Doctor Franklin of the Commerce intended by the Court of France to be permited between our America & the French Islands. I can only say, the Duke seemed to wish that every thing had been settled to mutual satisfaction & to hope that every thing would soon be settled.
Yesterday by desire of Mr. Fox I called upon him again, he said he had not seen the King, but that he had transmited an Account to His Majesty of my application, that we might be perfectly satisfied however, a Minister from Congress would be well received, that the appointment of one was much wished for here.4 that he must take blame to himself in some degree for the long delay of a Commercial regulation, but that business would now be soon finished. he had no objection himself to opening the West India Trade to the Americans, but there were many parties to please “& you know added Mr. Fox, the people of this Country very well.” Yes Sir, I know something of them, & I find not only the West India Planters but some of the most judiciõs Merchants anxios for opening the Trade, I have been told by some of them they should be ruined without it. “I beleive all this, said Mr. Fox but there are other people of a different opinion.” “As to the Definitive Treaty, there may as you observed be new articles necessary for mutual advantage & we may either add such to { 213 } the Provisional Articles & make the whole definitive or make a New Treaty. but I understand it is expected this should be done under the Eye of, or in concert with the Court of France which for my own part I don’t like & can’t consent to.”
I replied, “in my opinion a New Treaty definitive would be best as well for incorporating additional Articles as for clearing away some of the Rubbish in the Provisional, which contained if not nonsense, more than a little ambiguity.5 that tho’ I did not see the necessity for it now, yet I had been told it was expected our definitive Treaty should be finished in communication with the French Court. but as I had formerly observed I had received no charge on this head & spoke only the sentiments of Mr. Laurens to Mr. Fox not to a Minister of Great Britain.”
I have detailed facts as fully & fairly as memory has enabled me, I leave them with you under this one remark that we are Cooler in the Dog Days than we were at the Vernal Equinox. the Philosophy of Versailles & Passy may account for & guard against the effects of extreme changes.
I have found my presence at this juncture of some use in explaining or attempting to explain the late Mutiny at Philadelphia, the Enemies of this Kingdom & the United States had exulted, the friends to both had too much abandoned themselves to dread that the Soldiery had assumed the Reins of Government & that all the States of America were rushing into Anarchy. Capt. Carbery & Lieutt. Sullivan those rash Young Officers who led on the Mutineers to the State House, arrived a few days ago; the former has been with me expressing deep concern for his misconduct, desiros of returning with an assurance of personal safety & wanting Money for supporting daily expences, alledging that the United States “are indebted to him at least £1200. Currency exclusive of Land.” I have recommended to him to return immediately, to demean himself to the Laws of his Country & submit to the Magnanimity of Congress. he expresses a dread of undergoing a Trial. Could I afford it & were to advance Money for his living in London, should I not incur censure at home? I beg you will communicate such particulars of that disturbance & the event of it as you may have learned, & your opinion for my conduct respecting these Officers.6
Mr. Barclay will tell you of a display of the American Standard under a triumphant British Pendant at a very Capital Inland Fair. trifling as the Insult may appear it discovers a little leaven at { 214 } Center. With every good wish & with very great Respect & Esteem I have the honor to be / Gentlemen / Your faithful & Obedient / servant
[signed] Henry Laurens,
RC (NHi:Jay Papers); internal address: “Their Excellencies / The Ministers Plenipotentiary / from the United States of America / at Paris.”; endorsed: “Mr Laurens / 9 Augt. 1783.”
1. There is no evidence that the commissioners sent a reply to Laurens’ letter. But an undated reply, in John Jay’s hand, was drafted and endorsed “Dr. answr. to Mr. Laurens’s Letter of 9 Augt. 1783” (NHi:Jay Papers). There the commissioners wrote that “We have perused the notes of your Conversation with Mr. Fox, and altho in general we approve of it, yet Candor obliges us to remark, that you seem to have somewhat mistaken our Sentiments on your Proposal to speak to Mr. Fox about the Reception of an american minister by the british Court.—
“Britain having acknowledged the Sovereignty of the United States, and treated with us as with an independent nation, it followed as a natural Consequence that they wd. receive our minister. Mr. Hartley’s official Communication to us on that Subject, was in the most explicit Terms—no Doubts could remain on that Head.
“In conversing with us on this Subject, and about this Communication, you observed—that there was a wide Difference between a ministers being ceremoniously and formally recd., and his being recd. and treated in a cordial friendly manner—that we were not as yet accurately informed of the Intention of the british Cabinet on the latter point, and that you thought it would be expedient to ascertain it in a Conversation with Mr. Fox—with this Sentiment we coincided; and you promised to inform us of the Result.”
2. Charles James Fox wrote to George III on 6 Aug. and posed Laurens’ question to him, noting that since he already knew the king’s opinion on the subject, he “would have taken upon himself to have answered in the affirmative if it had not been rather pointedly put to him to take Your Majesty’s Royal Pleasure” (The Correspondence of King George the Third: From 1760 to December 1783, ed. Sir John Fortescue, 6 vols., London, 1927–1928, 6:429).
3. Laurens wrote to Robert R. Livingston on 9 Aug., enclosing a copy of this letter to the commissioners and referring specifically to the portions of the letter relating to the appointment of an American minister to Great Britain (Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:640–641).
4. George III replied to Fox on 7 Aug. but was not as positive as Fox seems to indicate. The king wrote that “as to the question whether I wish to have a Minister accredited from America, I certainly can never say that it will be agreeable to Me, and I should think it wisest for both parties if only Agents were appointed; but so far I cannot help adding that I shall have a very bad opinion of any Englishman that can accept being sent as a Minister for a Revolted State, and which certainly for many Years cannot have any stable Government” (The Correspondence of King George the Third, 6:430).
5. With regard to Laurens’ comment on the preliminary peace treaty, the commissioners in their draft reply (see note 1) responded that “the British Court prefer forming a definitive Treaty of the provisional articles, without any alterations or additions. We wish with you that certain matters in them could have been more accurately adjusted—but as at the Time of signing them, you made no Objections to any of the articles or expressions, we presume you then thought as we did, that they were in the best State that; all things considered, it was in our power to put them—”
6. See John Thaxter’s comment on Laurens’ meeting with Capt. Henry Carberry in his letter of 7 Aug., above; and for the return of Carberry and Lt. John Sullivan to America and their later careers, see the president of Congress’ 15 July letter to the commissioners, note 11, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0094

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
Date: 1783-08-10

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir.

On the sixth I left the Hague, and last night arrived here; I had several Interviews, on some of the last days, at the Hague, which I had not time to give you an Account of as a great Part of my time, was taken up with visits, to take Leave of the Court, the President, the Grand Pensionary, Greffier &c. Ceremonies which must be repeated at every coming and going, and upon many other Occasions, to the no small Interruption of Business of more Importance.
I asked the Comte de Sanafée, the Spanish Minister,1 with whom I have always been upon very good Terms, whether it might not be possible to persuade his Court, that it would be good Policy, for them to allow to the Citizens of the United States of America, a free Port in some of their Islands at least, if not upon the Continent of South America? He said he did not know, that he thought however, his Court would be afraid of the Measure, as free Ports were Nests of Smugglers, and afforded many Facilities for illicit Trade. “Le Commerce interlope.”
I asked him further whether Measures might not be taken at Madrid, to the End that the Sugars, Coffee, Cocoa &c. of their Colonies, might be carried to the free Ports of France, Holland and Denmark, in the West Indias or one of them, in Spanish vessells, that they might be there purchased by Americans? He said he was not able to foresee any Objection against this.
I asked him again, what objections there could be to admitting American Vessells to the Spanish Islands of Cuba & Hispaniola, to carry their Produce and purchase Melasses, as they did in the French and Dutch Colonies. Such a Commerce would be usefull and profitable both to them and us. He said, that he could not pretend to give any Opinion upon any of those Points, But that we must negotiate them at Madrid.
I hope Congress will instruct their Minister, to the Court of Madrid, to propose all these things and endeavour to obtain them.
The Portuguese Envoy, Don Almeida returned my Visit,2 and brought with him, a Copy of the Treaty between Spain and Portugal, made at Utrecht in 1715. This Treaty was signed under the warranty of Great Britain, and one Article of it, is, that each Nation shall confine the Commerce with their Possessions in America to their own Subjects.3 I had much Satisfaction in the Conversation of { 216 } this Minister, who, tho’ a young Man, appears possess’d of more than common Intelligence, and a desire to inform himself of every thing which can affect his Nation— He is, as he told me, a Nephew of the present prime Minister at the Court of Lisbon— He says that the King his Master (a Style which they continue to use, altho’ the Queen is the Sovereign and her Husband is but her Subject) allows but Sixty Thousand Dutch Guilders a year to his Ambassador at Versailles, which not being Sufficient for his Expenses at that Court, he is continued there because he is very rich. But that he is not a Man of Business.
He again enlarged upon the Subject of Portuguese Navigation, which has been prettily increased (tres joliment augmenté) during the late War, and would have been still doubled if the war had continued another year. That their Merchants and Mariners had pushed their Navigation, with more Spirit than Skill had sent their Wines and other Things, in Prize Vessells purchased in France and Spain, all over Europe: But that their Seamen, not being experienced, many Vessells had been lost, so that the Price of Insurance was ten Per Cent, when it was not more than three or four with other Neutral Nations. That the Profits had nevertheless been so considerable, as to excite a strong Inclination still to increase their Shipping and carrying Trade. These Observations are worth repeating to Congress, because all the other Neutral Powers have felt a like Advantage. The Commerce of the Northern Powers, was so increased, and had turned the Course of Business so much that way, to such a Degree, as occasioned to the Danish Minister, at Versailles, for example, a Loss of forty per Cent, upon his Salary. So much was the Exchange affected.
The late belligerent Powers, having observed this sudden Increase of the Commerce, of the Neutrals, and that it was owing to the sudden growth of their Navigation are allarmed. So that the Attention of all the commercial Nations, is now turned, to Navigation, Carrying Trade, Coasting Trade &c more than ever. We should be apprized of this, and upon our Guard our Navigation and Carrying Trade is not to be neglected. We have great Advantages for many Branches of it, and have a right to claim our natural share in it.
This morning I went to Passy, and found from Dr: Franklin and Mr: Jay, that nothing further had been done Since my departure but to deliver to Mr: Hartley, a fair Copy, of the Project of a definitive Treaty, which I had left with my Collegues.4 That Mr: Laurens had { 217 } been here in my absence, and returned to England. That he was of Opinion the present British Ministry would not remain a fortnight. That Mr: Hartley had been Seven Weeks without a Letter from his Principals, and then receiv’d only an apology for not having written, a Promise to write soon, and Authority to assure the American Ministers, that all would go well. The last are words of Course. There are but Three Ways, in which I can account for this Conduct of the British Ministry 1: The first is, that they foresee a Change and dont choose to commit themselves, but wish to reserve every thing for the foundation of a future opposition. That they may attack the definitive Treaty which may be made by a future Minister, as they attacked the Provisional and Preliminary ones made by the last. 2. That they are exciting secretly and insidiously the Troubles in the North, in hopes of involving France, and then assuming an higher Tone. 3. That they are in Expectation that Seditions may be excited in Holland, and the Dutch induced to renounce France and renew the ancient Alliance with England.
I see no more appearance of the Definitive Treaty, than I have done these Six Months, Mr: Hartley I am told by Mr: Jay, thinks that the French Court wish to delay the Signature, that they don’t wish to see the Peace finish’d between England and America, while matters are uncertain in the North. There are so many Considerations on both Sides of the Question, whether the French Minister wishes to finish soon or not, that it is hard to decide it.— Neither Court, possibly are very zealous to finish, while so great a Scene as the Northern War lies under so much Obscurity.
With great Esteem, I have the Honour to be, / Sir, your most obedient and most humble / Servant
[signed] John Adams.5
RC in JQA’s hand (PCC, No. 84, V, f. 141–144); internal address: “R. R. Livingstone Esqr. / Secretary of foreign Affairs.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 106.
1. Sebastián de Llano y de la Quadra, Conde de Sanafé and Vizconde de Llano, Spanish minister to the Netherlands.
2. For an account of JA’s 1 Aug. visit to the Portuguese legation, see his letter of that date to Robert R. Livingston, above.
3. Spain and Portugal reserved trade with their American colonies to their own subjects in Art. 17 of the treaty of peace signed by them at Utrecht in 1715 (The Compleat History of the Treaty of Utrecht, 2 vols., London, 1715, vol. 1, part 2, p. 268–269).
4. See the draft definitive treaty at [ante 19 July], and note 1, above.
5. The closing and signature are in JA’s hand. The ink used by JA bled through the manuscript, making his writing difficult to read. Apparently JA, upon his return to Paris, obtained a new supply of ink, which has caused severe bleed-through problems in letters and Letterbook copies in his hand (more severe in the former than the latter) beginning with his Letterbook copy of this letter and continuing through the middle of the Letterbook copy of his 13 Nov. letter to the president of Congress, below. Neither JQA nor John Thaxter used this ink when acting as JA’s secretary or amanuensis.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0095

Author: Dumas, C. W. F.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-08-12

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur,

L’Assemblée d’Hollande, fort orageuse mercr[edi j]our de votre depart d’ici, [s’es]t separée jusqu’au 27 court. Il y a eu un tumulte à Arnhem en Gueldre, où la Garnison, qui S’étoit emparée de la maison de Ville, a du se soumettre, & délivrer l’hôtel à la Bourgeoisie, qui, sur son exemple, avoit chargé à balles. Le tout s’est passé Sans effusion de sang, mais à l’avantage de la Bourgeoisie, qui s’est conduite avec une sagesse admirable.1 Nous embrassons Mr. votre fils, & vous assurons de nos respects, / De V. E. Le très-humble / & très obeissant servit
[signed] Dumas


[salute] Sir

The assembly of Holland, very stormy on Wednesday, the day you left here, adjourned until the 27th of this month. There was an uproar at Arnhem in Gelderland, where the garrison, which had taken possession of the city hall, had to surrender and give the building over to the citizenry, who, following their example, had loaded their weapons. The entire affair happened without bloodshed but to the advantage of the citizenry, who acted with admirable wisdom.1 We send our affectionate greetings to your esteemed son and our respects to your excellency from your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Paris à S. E. Mr. Adams”; endorsed: “[Mr Du]mas. 12. Aug. / [178]3.” Some loss of text due to a torn manuscript and removal of the seal.
1. On 3 Aug. the magistrates of Arnhem called out a detachment from the garrison to defend the city hall after a crowd gathered to protest the closing of the old cemetery within the walls to paupers and others who could not pay for interment. When the citizenry opposed the soldiers with arms, however, the latter saluted and retired. That evening the soldiers buried the wife of one of their sergeants in the new cemetery outside the walls for lack of funds to lay her in the old one as she had wished. The next day the citizenry exhumed the body and reinterred it in St. Janskerk (now Koepelkerk) and then proceeded to demolish the new cemetery. On 9 Aug. the continued resistance of the citizenry persuaded the magistrates to concede and reopen the old cemetery to all (Gazette d’Amsterdam, 19 Aug.).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0096

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-08-12

From John Thaxter

On Saturday last Mr. Wm. Smith (Son of I. Smith Esqr of Boston) arrived in Town— He left Boston 7th. July, & all friends were { 219 } then well— He has brought several Letters for you, which I think prudent to keep, ’till a private hand offers— The Letters from Mrs. A. Mr. Cranch & Dr. T. of Weymouth, I have not opened, as I knew the hand writing—1 In opening a large packet, for you I found four News papers &, unexpectedly, a Letter from Dr. G. of Jamaica Plains—2 This I read, & you will pardon me for retaining it, as it is rather particular— I have a Letter from Dr. Tufts, (who is this year in the Senate) in which he says, “had our Friend now with you, been here at the last Election, he would have had the Suffrages of nine tenths of the People. His Weight, Experience & Wisdom are really much wished for & greatly wanted—” What follows will be communicated another time. There were several Passengers with Mr. Smith, some of whom I have seen, & I have heard much the same language from them about this Friend.—3
Mr. Cranch, as you will see by the inclosed list of Representatives, is left out this year—4 But I know from good Authority that the Majority in favor of Thayer was very small— The Petition of Mr. Thos. Brattle for re-admission into the Commonwealth divided the old House before whom it came— Many of the Members thought favorably of the Petition & Petitioner, and were disposed to grant him the liberty of returning, but were overruled by a small Majority— Mr. Cranch was in the Minority, & he with the rest of the Gentlemen, who voted that the Prayer of the Petition might be granted, lost their Elections this Year in consequence of it. Much Pains had been taken to raise Suspicions & Prejudices against the Minority, & the Success has been so complete as to exclude almost the whole of them.—5 However, the Assembly want the Assistance of Mr. C. & repent his Absence— He is still in public business, that is in settling the old Treasurer’s Account.6
The 5. pr. Cent Duty in Massachusetts answers extremely well— Much Money is collected from it, & they appropriate it to the payment of the Interst of their particular debt.—7 Many Whalemen have been fitted out, as well as a Number of Vessells for the Cod & Mackerel Fisheries— They are very busy at Boston, & their Wharves resemble antient times. They have 8. or 10. different Flags flying there, & want only the Means of Remittance for a most flourishing Trade— These however are increasing dayly.—
The celebrated Mr. Otis [is dead.] He was killed at his Door in Andover by a [stroke of?] lightening in an instant. For 2. years past he had been very rational & began to do business— He had been rather irregular a few Months before his Death, but had become { 220 } very steady again just before this fatal Accident—8 He was once venerated, & his Memory will be ever dear to those, who knew him once to be the Man of Worth & pitied him in his decline as the Wreck of a great Character.
Congress is now held at Princetown—
There is nothing new here, that I can learn— Every thing remains in statu quo.—
I propose to leave this the latter end of this week or early the beginning of the next—
I have only a moment to add, that I / am with an invariable Respect, / Sir, / your most hble Servant
[signed] T.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excellency / John Adams Esqr / &ca &c &c / at the Hague.”; internal address: “His Excellency John Adams Es[qr.] / &c &c &c”; endorsed: “Mr Thaxter 12 Aug. / 1783. London.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. AA to JA, 30 June (AFC, 5:188–191); Richard Cranch to JA, 26 June (same, 5:185–188); and from Cotton Tufts, 26 June, above.
2. From William Gordon, 28 June, above.
3. Cotton Tufts’ letter to John Thaxter has not been found, but the “Friend” that both mention is JA.
4. The enclosure has not been found.
5. For the controversy over the return to Massachusetts of proscribed loyalist refugee Thomas Brattle, see JA to Oliver Wendell, 14 Nov. 1779, and note 2, vol. 8:289; and AA to JA, 20 June 1783, and note 5, AFC, 5:179–184.
6. The “old Treasurer” was Henry Gardner, who had died in Oct. 1782 (Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, 12:560). In Nov. 1782, the Mass. General Court resolved to compensate Richard Cranch for his service on the committee to audit and examine the accounts of the treasury, but no further reference to Cranch’s service has been found (Mass., Acts and Laws, 1782–1783, p. 350).
7. For the tax that was adopted on 8 Nov. 1782 and went into effect on 10 Dec., with the proceeds to be used “for the Payment of the Interest of public Securities,” see same, p. 91–105.
8. James Otis, who long struggled with mental illness, died on 23 May 1783 at the Andover home of Isaac Osgood, where he resided as a convalescent for most of the last two years of his life. For a few weeks in March and April 1783, Otis, seeming to have recovered his health, returned to his own home in Boston. He argued a case before the Suffolk County Court of Common Pleas, served as moderator of the Boston town meeting, and received many visitors, but his condition soon began to deteriorate again. The excitement of a dinner with Gov. John Hancock and a large company of old friends so unsettled Otis that he went back to the Osgood farm voluntarily. Six weeks later he was struck by lightning (Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, 11:247, 254, 282–286; Boston Independent Ledger, 26 May; William Tudor, The Life of James Otis, of Massachusetts, Boston, 1823, p. 481–486; Boston, 26th Report, p. 289).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0097

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
Date: 1783-08-13

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir

Yesterday, I went to Court with Dr: Franklin, and presented to the Comte de Vergennes, our Project of a definitive Treaty, who told us he would examine it, and give us his sentiments upon it. It was { 221 } Ambassadors day, and I had Conversation with a Number of Ministers, of which it is proper I should give you an Account.
The Dutch Ambassador Berkenrode, told me, that last Saturday the Comte de Vergennes, went to Paris, and dined with the Imperial Ambassador the Comte de Merci in Company with the Duke of Manchester, the Comte d’Aranda, the Prince Baratinskoy and Mr: Markoff, with their Secretaries. That after Dinner the Secretaries, in the Presence of all the Ministers, read over, compared & corrected the Definitive Treaties between France, and Great Britain; and between Spain and Great-Britain, and finally agreed upon both. So that they are now ready for Signature, by the Ministers of Great-Britain, France and Spain as Principals and by those of the two Imperial Courts, as Mediators.
The Duke of Manchester told me, that Mr: Hartley’s Courier who carried our Project of a Treaty, arrived in London last Saturday, and might be expected here, on next Saturday, on his return.
In the Evening, on my Return from Versailles, Mr: Hartley called upon me, at my house, and informed me, that he had just Receiv’d a Courier from Westminster, who had brought him the Ratification, of our Provisional Treaty under the Kings own hand and under the Great Seal of the Kingdom inclosed in a Silver Box, ornamented with golden Tossells, as usual, which he was ready to exchange to morrow morning. He informed me farther that he had receiv’d very satisfactory Letters from the Duke of Portland; and Mr: Fox, and the strongest assurances that the dispositions of his Court were very good to finish immediately, and to arrange all things upon the best Footing. That he had farther receiv’d, plenary, Authority to sign the Definitive Treaty, to morrow, or to Night if we pleased. that he had receiv’d a Draught, already formed, which he would shew us. We agreed, to go together to morrow Morning, to my Colleagues, and this morning we went out in Mr: Hartley’s Carriage, exchanged the Ratifications, and he produced to us, his Project of a definitive Treaty. It is the Provisional Treaty, in so many Words, without Addition or Diminution. it is only preceded with a preamble, which makes it a definitive Treaty. And he proposed to us, that all Matters of Discussion respecting Commerce, or other Things should be left to be discussed by Ministers to be mutually appointed to reside in London & Philadelphia. We told him that it had been proposed to us that the Ministers of the two Imperial Courts, should sign the Treaty as Mediators, and that we had answered, that we had no Objection to it. He said he had unanswerable ones. first, he had no { 222 } Authority and could not obtain any, certainly under 10. days, nor probably ever. for, 2. it would he thought give great Offence to his Court, and they never would agree to it, that any Nation should interfere between them and America. 3. for his Part he was fully against it and should write his opinion to his Court. if he was about to marry his Daughter, or set up a Son in the World, after he was of age, he would never admit any of his Neighbours to intervene, and sign any Contract he might make, as Mediators. There was no need of it.
We told him there was no need of warmth upon the Occasion, or any pretence for his Court to take Offence. That it had been proposed to us that the Imperial Ministers should sign as Mediators. our answer had been that we had no Objection: that we were willing and ready to consent to it or even to request it. His Court had a right to Consent or Dissent as it thought proper. To be sure, the Mediation could not take place without their Consent. That he might write to his Court the proposition and if he receiv’d orders to Consent or Dissent, it would be equally well in the meantime we were ready to sign the definitive Treaty, either with, or without the Mediation. whenever the other Parties were ready to sign, according to his Project just receiv’d from his Court, that is simply a repetition of the definitive Treaty.
We have agreed to this because it is plain, that all Propositions for alterations in the provisional Articles will be an endless discussion, and that we must give more than we can hope to receive. The critical state of Things in England and at the Court of Versailles, and in all the rest of Europe, are pressing Motives to get this Business finished.
Mr: Hartley told us from his Court, that they had expected an American Minister at St: James’s these three Months, and that all further Matters might be there discussed. He also announced to us the Birth of another Princess, the fifteenth Child of the Queen, upon which Event he receiv’d our Congratulations which I hope Congress will approve, and repeat by their Minister in London, for these Personal and family Compliments, are more attended to in Courts and have greater effects than may be imagined.
I lament very much that we cannot obtain an Explanation, of the Article respecting the Refugees, and that respecting Debts: but it is plain we must give more than they are worth for such Explanations: And what is of more decisive Importance, we must make a long { 223 } Delay and put infinitely greater Things at Hazard by this Means, even to purchase an Alteration at a dear Rate.
With great Regard, I have the Honour to be, / Sir, your most obedient and most humble / Servant
[signed] John Adams1
RC in JQA’s hand (PCC, No. 84, V, f. 149–152); internal address: “R. R. Livingstone Esqr: / Secretary of foreign Affairs.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.
1. Closing and signature in JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0098

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
Date: 1783-08-13

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir.

Yesterday at Versailles the Baron de Waltersdorff came to me and told me, he had delivered to Mr: Franklin, a Project of a Treaty between the Court of Denmark, and the United States, and asked me, if Mr: Franklin had shewn it to me? I answered him, that I knew nothing of it.—1 He said he wondered at that, he presumed it was because of my Absence at the Hague, for that it had been shewn to Mr: Jay. Here, by the way he was misinformed, for upon my return from Versailles I called upon Mr: Jay, on Purpose to ask him, and he assured me he had not seen it. I asked Waltersdorff, if his orders were, to propose his Project to us all. He said, no. His Court had been informed that Mr: Franklin was the Minister, authorized and empowered by Congress, to treat with all the Powers of Europe, and that they had, for this Reason sent him orders to deliver the Project to Mr: Franklin but he supposed Mr: Franklin would consult his colleagues.
The same Information I doubt not, has been given to the Court of Portugal, & every other Court in Europe viz: that Dr: Franklin is alone empowered to treat with them, and in Consequence of it, very probably Propositions have been or will be made to him, from all of them, and he will keep the whole as secret as he can from Mr: Jay, Mr: Laurens, Mr: Dana and me. Now I beg to be informed by Congress whether he has such Authority or not? having never been informed of such Powers, I dont believe he has them— I remember there was Seven Years ago, a Resolution of Congress that their Commissioners at Versailles should have Power to treat with the other Powers of Europe, but upon the Dissolution of that Commission, this Authority was dissolved with it or if not, it still resides with Mr: Deane, Mr: Lee and myself, who were once in that { 224 } Commission as well as Mr: Franklin and if it is by Virtue of this Power he acts, he ought at least to communicate with me, who alone am present.2 I think however, that neither he nor I, have any legal Authority, and therefore, that he ought to communicate every Thing of this Kind to all the Ministers here, or hereabouts, Mr: Jay, Mr: Laurens, and myself at least. It is not from the vain wish of seeing my poor name upon a Treaty that I write this. if the Business is well done, it is not of much Importance in itself who does it. But my Duty to my Country obliges me to say that I seriously believe, this clandestine manner of smuggling Treaties, is contrived by European Politicians, on Purpose, that Mr: Jay and I may not have an opportunity of suggesting Ideas for the preservation of american Navigation, Transport Trade and Nurseries of Seamen. But in another Point of View it is of equal importance. This Method reflects contempt and ridicule upon your other Ministers. When all Europe sees, that a Number of your Ministers are kept here as a kind of Satellites to Mr: Franklin in the affair of Peace, but that they are not to be consulted or asked a Question, or even permitted to know the important Negotiations which are here going on with all Europe, they fall into Contempt.3 It cannot be supposed that Congress mean to cast this Contempt upon us, because it cannot be supposed they mean to destroy, the Reputation Character, Influence and Usefullness of those, to whom in other Respects they intrust Powers of so much Consequence and therefore I am perswaded that Congress is as much imposed upon by it, as the Courts of Europe are.
I asked the Baron what was the Substance of the Treaty. He said his Court had taken for Model my Treaty with Holland. I said nothing to him in answer to this but I beg Leave to say to Congress that the Negotiation with Holland, was in very different Circumstances. We were then in the fiercest Rage of the war. a Treaty with that Republick was at that Time of as much Weight in the War as the Captivity of Burgoyne or Cornwallis. A Treaty with any Power was worth a Battle or a Siege. and no moments of Time were to be lost. Especially in a Country so divided that, Unanimity being necessary, every Proposition was dangerous. At present the Case is altered, and we may take time to weigh and inquire. The Baron tells me, that St Thomas and St: John, two of their Islands, are free Ports but that Ste: Croix which is of more importance than both is not. That foreign Vessells, our Vessells are permitted to bring our Produce and carry away half the value in Sugar &c. The Island produces communibus Annis4 Twenty Thousand Hogsheads of Sugar, and their { 225 } Melasses is better than that of the French, because they make only “Sucres brutes.”5 He says they have some Sugar Houses at Copenhagen. But notwithstanding this; I think it is worth while for Congress to try, if they cannot by the Treaty obtain a Right to take away Cargoes to the full value of those they bring. it is worth while to try too, if we cannot obtain a Tariff to ascertain the Duties to be paid on exportation and Importation. it is worth while too to get the Duties ascertained in the Danish Ports in Europe, at least that we may not pay in their Ports more than they pay in ours. or that our Vessells may not be obliged to pay more than theirs especially when we import our own produce. I pretend not to be a Master of these Commercial Subjects, but I think that Dr: Franklin has not studied the Subject more then myself, that both of us want the Advice of Mr: Laurens and Mr: Jay, and that all of us want that of American Merchants, and especially of Congress. I am therefore against this Secret and hasty Method of concluding Treaties at this Time, when they may be more maturely reflected on.
I know very well to what ill-natured Remarks these Reflections are Liable, but they shall not hinder me, from doing my duty. I do seriously believe there are Clandestine insinuations going about to every commercial Nation in the World, to excite them, to increase their own Navigation and Seamen at the Expence of ours, and that this smuggling of Treaties is one Means of accomplishing the Design. altho Mr: Franklin may not be let into the secret of it. for from long Experience and Observation I am perswaded that one Minister at least and his Dependents, would prefer that the Navigation of any Nation in the World, even that of the English should grow rather than ours. In the last Courier de L’Europe6 it is said that all the Commercial Powers are concerting Measures to clip the Wings of the Eagle, and to prevent us from having a Navy.7 I believe it. that is to say, I believe, Measures are taken with them all, to bring them into this System, altho’ they are not let into the secret Designs, and do not know from whom the Measures come, nor with what Views promoted.
With great Regard I have the Honour to be / Sir, your most Obedient and most humble / Servant
[signed] John Adams8
RC in JQA’s hand (PCC, No. 84, V, f. 157–160); internal address: “R. R. Livingstone Esqr: / Secretary of foreign Affairs.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 106.
1. Ernst Frederik von Walterstorff, chamberlain to the king of Denmark, was currently on a visit to France. He approached Benjamin Franklin about a Danish-American commercial treaty in April and presented Franklin with a draft treaty on 4 June. The { 226 } draft, with some alterations, was enclosed with Franklin’s 22 July letter to Robert R. Livingston (Franklin, Papers, 39:462, 467–468; Franklin to Walterstorff, 7 June, DLC: Franklin Papers; Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:586–587).
2. On 16 Oct. 1776 Congress issued additional instructions to the three American commissioners at Paris—originally Benjamin Franklin, Silas Deane, and Arthur Lee, but later Franklin, Lee, and JA—to negotiate treaties with other European nations represented at the French court (JCC, 6:884). When Congress appointed Franklin the American minister to France, it did not formally terminate the joint commission or rescind its authority to negotiate treaties with nations to which Congress had not sent its agents. For more on the issue and JA’s concerns, see vol. 11:118,120–121.
3. At this point in the Letterbook there is a heavily canceled passage that begins “if Congress means to cast this Contempt upon Us” and ends “on by it, as the Courts of Europe.” Both phrases, with minor variations, appear in the following sentence, but the unreadable portion of the canceled text between those phrases in the Letterbook is much shorter than the text between the similar phrases in the recipient’s copy.
4. That is, on a yearly average.
5. Raw sugar.
6. JA gives the substance of the passage appearing in the Courier de l’Europe of 5 August.
7. At this point in the Letterbook JA inserted but then canceled his closing and added the remainder of this paragraph.
8. Closing and signature in JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0099

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
Date: 1783-08-13

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir.

The Question before the French Cabinet, whether they shall involve themselves in a War against two Christian Empires, in order to support a Turkish one is of a Serious Nature on many Accounts—If the Turks should be driven out of Europe, France would lose some of the Levant Trade and some of the coasting Trade of Italy: and these commercial and Naval Considerations are reinforced by others which lie deeper in the human heart, the ancient Rivalry between the great Houses of Bourbon and Austria, and between the vast Countries of Germany and France, and between all the lesser Powers which depend upon them. To these Considerations is to be added, that an Austrian Princess is now upon the Throne of France, to whom it is no doubt a melancholy Consideration, that there is Danger of a War, between an Husband & a Brother.
The City Politicians are looking out for Alliances with Prussia, Holland, and even England but can find none—It cannot be expected that either will engage. Yet the French Minister has gone far towards compromising his Master, by augmenting the Army to a War establishment, and by threat’ning to shut up the Mediterranean Sea. In this Posture of Affairs it is not surprising that there should be a Fermentation at Versailles and since my return to Paris, I find { 227 } it is the general Topick of Conversation. Monsieur de Breteuil, late Embassador at the Court of Vienna, who is supposed to be esteemed by the Queen and connected with her Friends, is lately, about a Fortnight ago, called to the Kings Council and the Marshall de Castries who is in the same Interest, is said to be new modelling the subordinate offices in his Department.1
From these, and many other Considerations it is generally concluded that Mr: de Vergennes’s Continuance in the Ministry is precarious. Mr: Hartley last night, and to Day, began Conversation with me upon the Subject, and is very Sanguine that this Minister will continue in Place but a very short time, and assures me that the Duke of Manchester is of the same Opinion. I pretend to form no Opinion, because I have ever carefully avoided Conversations and Connections which might be misinterpreted into an Attachment to Persons or Parties in this Kingdom. I know that for the last Nine Months many sensible People have thought this Minister in a tottering Situation. Others think he will weather out the storm, which all Parties agree is preparing for him. Time will discover. One Thing is agreed on all hands, that he is not in favour with the Queen, and as he has taken up the Cause in a pretty high Tone against the Emperor and Empress, if he should now be displaced, Congress I think may infer from it, that France will not take a Part in the War. On the Contrary if he remains it is probable she will.
With great Esteem, I have the Honour to be, sir / your most obedient and most humble servant
[signed] John Adams.2
RC in JQA’s hand (PCC, No. 84, V, f. 165–166); internal address: “R. R. Livingstone Esqr: / Secretary of foreign Affairs.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.
1. Here and in his 15 Aug. letter to Robert R. Livingston, below, JA refers to the intrigue roiling the French court over whether France should support Austria in its alliance with Russia against the Ottoman Empire, for which see JA’s 2 Aug. letter to Livingston, and note 1, above. Favoring Austria were the queen, Marie Antoinette; the former ambassador to Austria and current administrator of the department of Paris, the Baron de Breteuil; and the minister of marine, the Marquis de Castries. On the other side was the foreign minister, the Comte de Vergennes, and it was he who ultimately prevailed. The conflict between the pro- and anti-Austrian factions would intensify in October when Joseph II renewed his effort to force the Dutch to open the Scheldt River with the expectation that he would receive French support, for which see C. W. F. Dumas’ 12 Dec. letter, and note 1, below. JA had previously raised the issue of Vergennes’ continuance as foreign minister in letters to James Warren of 21 March and to Livingston of 25 May (vol. 14:350–351, 495), but see JA’s 15 Aug. letter to Livingston, note 2, below.
2. Closing and signature in JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0100

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1783-08-15

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear Friend.

I have heard no News with more Pleasure than that of your design to go again to Congress, and nothing I hope has happened to divert you from your Purpose. I have lost all my Correspondents in Congress and know little what passes there. The Journals are not sent us, as I think they ought to be, regularly.
By a letter from Mr: A. Lee to my Wife, I am informed that the Committee had reported in Favour of my Resignation, and Mr: Lee thought I might depend upon the Reports being accepted— But it does not arrive here.1 We have now a Prospect of signing the Definitive Treaty in nothing variant from the Provisional one, very soon, as the Ratifications of the latter are already exchanged, and France, Spain, England and America are agreed. The Dutch I presume will sign at the same time, but not with a good Will. We have consented that the Imperial Courts should sign, by their Ministers, as Mediators, but the English have not yet consented, and probably will not. We are ready to sign with, or without a Mediation as the English please.
I believe the English have been endeavouring to perswade the French and Spaniards to sign without us and the Dutch.— Never was there a more foolish Project— The C. de Vergennes absolutely refused— Here he Shewed he had more Sense than they. This Absurdity of the English is the more astonishing, as the C. de Vergennes had said to Dr: Franklin and Mr: Hartley together, within three Days after his arrival here. “Il faut que nous finissions tous ensemble”2 But they are become a blundering Race. The Doctrine they now set up is that the Provisional Treaty was to be, and will be of itself a definitive Treaty, the Instant the definitive Treaty is signed with France, as it became a preliminary Treaty, when the Preliminaries were signed with France. This Doctrine may be true and just, but it is not the less expedient to have the Solemnities and Forms of a definitive Treaty, in our Affair, than in that of the other Nations.
We have long foreseen that we should not obtain any additional Advantages, or further Explanations, in the definitive Treaty from the present Ministry. They have committed themselves in Parliament, by disapproving the Articles, and they Stand upon so precarious Ground, that making the least Concession further to us, without, twice its Value from us, in Exchange, would excite a Clamour { 229 } against them, and cost them their Places. Thus we have no Choice left. We must finish as we begun, or not finish at all, wait another session of Parliament, and run all the risques which accompany delay, at a Time when the political Horison is very cloudy.
We have long since made to Mr: Hartley, and he has transmitted a Variety of Propositions, but his Principals have consented to none of them, and we have the best Reasons to believe, that this Ministry never will, because such Consent would lose them their Places. Unhappily, when you reason with European Ministers of State you need be less anxious to enquire whether measures are for the good of their Country or not, than, whether they are likely to preserve, or forfeit their places.
If you send a Commission to make a Treaty with Denmark or Portugal, or any other Power without sending a Minister to the Court, I wish you would insert in it, all your Ministers in Europe, and give the Power to all or any Number, or any one, who may be upon the Spot pointed out for the Negotiation, exactly as you have provided in the Commission for Peace, this is of great Importance, and is but exact Equity. I think your Method should be to resolve upon granting the Commission and then proceed to choose the Ministers to be named in it, as you do in all other Cases, and let them stand in the Commission in the order as they are chosen— I expect myself the Acceptance of my Resignation, and therefore shall not in that Case3 be one to be inserted, but Mr: Jay, Mr: Laurens and Mr: Dana ought to be inserted, if they stay in Europe, if it is only to show Respect to their Characters and give Reputation to their Names. If Mr: Laurens & Mr: Dana go home as well as I, Mr: Jay ought to be inserted, who is very able, and very willing to serve you, and who in the present Circumstances wants, as well as all your faithful Ministers, all the Support which Congress can give them— You will never have an honest Minister trumpetted by the Court where he is. Dr: Franklin alone, is, and will be trumpetted, by the Commis4 at Versailles, and their Tools.
Let me beg of you, my good Friend, to write me, and order your Letters to be delivered to Mr: Jay, and opened, or burnt by him, as you please, In Case I should be absent from Europe.
With great Affection your old Friend
[signed] John Adams.5
RC in JQA’s hand (MHi:Gerry Papers); internal address: “Elbridge Gerry Esqr: / Member of Congress.”; endorsed: “Paris Lettr / Mr Adams / Aug 15 83.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.
{ 230 }
1. JA had just received AA’s letter of 7 May in which she quoted from Arthur Lee’s letter of 23 April. Replying on 14 Aug., JA lamented that Lee’s prediction had not yet come to pass (AFC, 5:131, 152, 221).
2. It is necessary that we all finish together.
3. The preceding three words are in JA’s hand.
4. That is, clerks.
5. Closing and signature in JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0101

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
Date: 1783-08-15

To Robert R. Livingston


[salute] Sir

France England Spain and America are all agreed, but Mr: Hartley is Sanguine that the Treaty will not be signed, because he says the Comte de Vergennes dont mean to sign it. His Reasons for his opinion I know not. and I think he is mistaken. It is very certain however, that the French Minister is embarass’d and would not perhaps be sorry to find good Reasons for postponing the Signature for some time— Congress may judge in some degree, of the situation of things, by the following Conversation, which I had this morning with Mr: Brantzen, the Ambassador Extraordinary from the States General, to whom I returned the Visit he made me Yesterday when I was abroad.
He told me, that he was as far, and indeed farther than ever from an Agreement with the Duke of Manchester. He had given up he said all Pretensions to a Compensation for the unjust Damages of the War, and he had in a manner waved his Claim of the restitution of Negapatnam. But the Duke of Manchester now insisted peremptorily upon, not only all the ancient salutations from the Dutch Flagg to the English, but upon an unlimited Liberty of Navigation in all the Seas of the East Indies— He had dispatch’d an Express to the Hague the Day before yesterday who would arrive to Day, but the grand Pensionary was Sick, and the States of Holland not sitting, so that there must be some time before he could have an Answer.1 concerning the Salutes to the Flagg, there would be different Opinions, but they would be all of a Mind against the Liberty of Navigation in the Indies. He could not therefore expect from their High Mightinesses Permission to sign, and the Comte de Vergennes would be embarassed, all the other Powers were ready, and to make them wait would raise a cry. To sign without Holland, would raise a terrible Storm in Holland against the Comte, and no small one in France. And even if the States should authorize him to sign a { 231 } shameful Peace, this would raise no less Clamour in Holland and France against the Comte. He will therefore not know what to do and will seek to postpone, for the Parties of the Marquis de Castries and of Mr: de Breteuil will take Advantage of every Clamour against the Comte, as these Parties wish Mr: Breteuil in his Place. I am perswaded therefore that the Comte himself looks upon his own Situation as very hazardous. it has been so a long time. It was his Instability in his Place that made him sign the Preliminaries, for Money to carry on the War, could not be obtained without Mr: Necker and Mr: Necker would not come in with the Comte, as they were and are sworn enemies against each other. He was therefore reduced to the dilemma to make Peace or go out. I have good Reasons to believe that the Marshall de Castries disapproves of the Comte’s conduct towards our Republick. He certainly deceiv’d me. The States General did very wrong to bind me to Leave so much to the French Minister, but I thought him an honest man, and that I could trust him, so I left Things to him according to my Instructions, depending on his Word, and at last found myself the Dupe. No, not a Dupe, for I am always upon my guard not to be a Dupe, but he deceiv’d me. and when one whom I have Reason to believe an honest man deceives me, I can not call myself a Dupe, for I can do no other than believe an honest Man when he gives me his word.
In several of your Letters Sir, you have insisted on my Reciting to you, my Conversations, with foreign Ministers. You must not believe them infallible oracles, They are often mistaken in their Facts, and Sometimes wrong in their Reasonings. But these sentiments of Mr: Brantzen’s are of so much Importance that I thought proper to Recite them. it will indeed be necessary for your foreign Ministers, to be more inquisitive than we have been, and to transmit to Congress more Information concerning the Intrigues of Courts than we have done— if the Marshall de Castries and Mr: de Breteuil, who is now in the Council and Mr: Necker are not Friends to the Comte de Vergennes, and all the world here agree they are not, Congress ought to know it. Although, I would have so much Respect to the Queen as not to name her Majesty upon unnecessary occasions, yet upon this, when she is sister to the Emperor, and the Question at Court is whether there shall be a war with her brother, it is obviously a matter of so much Importance as to make it a duty to communicate it to Congress her sentiments, which all Men here agree are favourable to de Castries and Breteuil, but not partial to the present { 232 } Minister of foreign Affairs— I said in a former letter if this Minister Continues there will be War, but I am told by some if there is War he can’t continue, for neither he nor his friends can raise the money— Mr: Rayneval however affirmed positively to Mr: Hartley that nothing but Death could remove the Comte.2
All these Things shew the critical and uncertain Constitution of this Court, and the uncertainty when the definitive Treaty will be signed notwithstanding that four Powers are agreed, and therefore I can give Congress no clear Information upon that head. This is a great Chagrin to me, both on Account of the publick and myself, because I am as uncertain about my own destiny, as that of the Publick
With great Respect I have the honour to be / Sir, your most obedient, and most / humble Servant.
[signed] John Adams.3
Dupl in JQA’s hand (PCC, No. 84, V, f. 173–176); internal address: “R. R. Livingstone Esqr: / Secretary of State / for foreign Affairs.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 106.
1. The courier sent by Gerard Brantsen on 13 Aug. reached The Hague on the 15th, and a second one arrived the following day. The States of Holland convened to consider the terms of peace offered by the British on the 22d—five days earlier than scheduled— and resolved to accept them on the 26th. When the States General took up the question that same day, only five of the seven provinces agreed to the British terms. After a courier arrived from Paris on the 28th, the States General, with two provinces still demurring, instructed its negotiators to accept the British terms and to arrange to sign the Anglo-Dutch preliminary treaty on 3 Sept. at Versailles, at the same time that the Anglo-French and Anglo-Spanish definitive treaties were concluded (Gazette d’Amsterdam, 19, 26, 29 Aug., 2 Sept.; from C. W. F. Dumas, 12 Aug., above).
2. For the conflict at court, see also JA’s third letter to Livingston of 13 Aug., and note 1, above. Gérard de Rayneval was more prescient than David Hartley, whose view of the foreign minister’s tenure JA noted in his third 13 Aug. letter to Livingston, above. The Comte de Vergennes died in office on 13 Feb. 1787, in his twelfth year as minister for foreign affairs (Murphy, Vergennes, p. 206, 211, 473).
3. In JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0102

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Staphorst, Nicolaas & Jacob van (business)
Recipient: Willink, Wilhem & Jan (business)
Recipient: La Lande & Fynje, de (business)
Date: 1783-08-16

To Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje

[salute] Gentlemen

As I am about Settling my Accounts with Mr Barclay who is impowered by Congress to settle them, I must beg the favour of you, Gentlemen, to Send me, an exact Account, in detail of every order I have drawn upon you, and of every Sum of Money you have paid upon my order, from the Beginning, and of all the Money I have { 233 } received of you, jointly or Seperately, whether directly or by the Way of Mr Vander Iver at Paris,1 whether by paying off Accounts against me, or by Sending once, a few Articles to Mrs Adams.
I am Sorry, Gentlemen to give you this Trouble, but as I must produce my Vouchers to Mr Barclay, it is necessary. When I have it all in one View, I can easily Settle it, but I find it impossible to do it without. With great Respect &c
P.S. In Short, I believe, the Shortest Way, will be, for you to send me, a Copy of your whole Account, with the United States of America out of which I can with Certainty make up my own. at present I find it, impossible to do it.2
[signed] J. A.
LbC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Messrs Wilhem and Jan Willink / Nicholas and Jacob Van staphorst / and / De la Lande & Fynje”; APM Reel 106.
1. For an instance of JA’s requesting funds from the Paris banking firm of Van den Yver Frères for bills drawn on the consortium, see the commissioners’ 10 Sept. letter to the president of Congress, note 1, below.
2. In preparing his account with the United States for presentation to Thomas Barclay, JA requested updated accounts from the consortium on at least two more occasions, in his letters of 8 May and 25 Aug. 1784 (both LbC, APM Reel 107). When JA’s account with the United States was finally settled on 10 Oct. 1785, it was current to 9 Aug. 17841 Aug. 1785 (DNA:RG 39, Foreign Ledgers, Public Agents in Europe, 1776–1787, Microfilm, Reel 1, f. 266–267).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0103

Author: Fitch, Eliphalet
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-08-19

From Eliphalet Fitch

[salute] Dear Sir

The polite Attention you were pleased to shew me at Paris, and the Civility I received, thro’ your Recommendation, in Holland, having afforded me the highest Satisfaction, will ever be remember’d with the most grateful Respect.
I am happy to find by the Ratification of the Provisional Treaty that Peace is fully establish’d between Great Britain and America.— It now remains to improve this happy Event into a commercial Intercourse, founded on mutual Advantages.— Without these substantial Ties the Stipulations made by any Politicians will not prove stronger than a Spider’s Web.— In every unequal Contract the suffering Party will struggle, ’till it is fully released.— I will not however presume to enter on the Subject, as the superior Abilities, which are to regulate the Treaty of Commerce, give me the fullest Confidence that it will be settled on such a Footing, as will be satisfactory, and therefore permanent.
I have sent you by this Conveyance three Books, One of which { 234 } you will do me the Favor to place in your Library; and the others I beg you will present to Dr. Franklin and Mr. Jay.—1 In this trivial Instance, I must request that my Respect may not be measured by the very inconsiderable Sum a Book may cost, but let it be considered that in each Offering to Men, in whom Excellence is universally confess’d, I observe this pleasing Maxim—“Detur Dignissimo.”2
The Connection I hold with this Country, altho’ it could never efface the strong Impression of filial Affection which I bear to America, now leads me to wish that their mutual Interest may be speedily, and most happily combined.— The Ladies unite in their best Regards to all Friends at Paris.— I am with sincere Esteem and Respect—Dear Sir—Yr. Mt. Obedt. Humble Servt.
[signed] Elipht. Fitch
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency John Adams Esqre. / &c. &c. &c.”
1. This book has not been identified.
2. Let it be given to the most deserving.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0104

Author: Staphorst, Nicolaas & Jacob van (business)
Author: Willink, Wilhem & Jan (business)
Author: La Lande & Fynje, de (business)
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-08-19

From Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje

[salute] Sir

Being without any of your Excellency’s most Esteemed favours, Shall these principalls Serve to acquaint yoúr Excelly. that by a Letter received from Mr. Francis Dana of St. Petersbourg dated 18 July O.S. that Gentleman advises ús that thro a change of Circumstances happen Since his last Letter to ús. The Credit of £2500.— given formerly in his favour becomes Wholly unnecessary, as he proposes to return to America, and in all probability he was to take his passage directly from St. Petersbourg for Boston, in a Yatcht belonging to the Dutchess of Kingston.1
We have the Honoúr to Subscribe with dúe Regard. / Sir, / Your Excells. most Obedt. / most humb Servants.
[signed] Wilhem & Jan Willink
[signed] Nics. & Jacob van Staphorst.
[signed] de la Lande & Fÿnje
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “To his Excelly. John Adams Esqr. / at Paris.” Filmed at 9 August.
1. For Dana’s letter to the consortium of [29 July], see MHi:Francis Dana Letterbooks, Private, 1782–1784. For Dana’s voyage to Boston, where he arrived on 13 Dec., see his 29 Sept. letter to JA, and note 1, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0105

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Barclay, Thomas
Date: 1783-08-23

To Thomas Barclay

[salute] Sir

In Pursuance of the Instructions of Congress, Signified by Mr Morris their Superintendant of Finances, I have the Honour to inclose to you, an Account of the Bills of Exchange, accepted by me, in Holland in the Years 1780. 1781. 1782. & 1783.1
The Account of the Purchase of the Hotel des Etats Unis at the Hague, and of the Sums of Money, I have received, on Account of my Salary, which are all the remaining Accounts I have with the United States, Shall be Sent you in a few Days.
With great Respect and Esteem I have the Honour to be, Sir, your / most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] John Adams
LbC (Adams Papers); internal address: “The Honourable Thomas Barclay Esq / Consul General of the United States of / America, in France.”; M/JA/18, APM Reel 192.
1. The account that JA enclosed was a current copy of the running account he kept of the bills of exchange he accepted in Holland from 1780 to 1784 (M/JA/18, APM Reel 192).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0106

Author: Dumas, C. W. F.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-08-26

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur,

En réponse à l’honorée vôtre du 18e., la clef de votre Secretaire S’est heureusement retrouvée sous des Livres; & je suis sûr que personne n’a pu en faire usage, parce que votre appartement n’a jamais été ouvert, depuis votre départ, que par l’un de nous toujours présent. J’ai remis avec les autres celle que vous m’aviez laissée.1
A l’heure où j’écris, les Etats d’hollde. sont à résoudre leur accession au Traité définitif, selon les conditions dictées à la Rep.—2 Samedi dernier il y eut là-dessus, en grand Com̃itté (ou Besogne, com̃e on dit ici) les reproches les plus graves de la Législation au Pouvoir exécutif, d’abord en général, & puis en détail humiliant & sans replique. Le theme étoit, que sans la mauvaise volonté & conduite du dernier, la rep. préfereroit de continuer seule la guerre.— Le jour auparavant, la Résomption de la Résolution de persister dans celles qui concernent l’abolition du Haut Conseil de guerre, & la Com̃ission à nom̃er pour régler la Jurisdiction militaire, passa constitutionnellement, sans égard à la Lettre du St——, & malgré l’opposition de la cabale. Mes informants ajoutent, que le Gd. Pe. a bien fait son devoir pour cette conclusion, & qu’il sera soutenu com̃e il le mérite.
{ 236 }
J’écris aujourd’hui à Mr. Franklin, pour savoir com̃ent je dois, avec le plus d’économie, tirer à l’avenir, & jusqu’à-ce que le Congrès ait enfin décidé de mon sort, les 225 Louis d’or, qui me sont alloués par an pour me tirer d’affaires, c’est-à-dire, si je dois tirer, après la fin de cette année, mon salaire dans le Courant de la suivante sur Paris, ou sur Amsterdam, jusqu’aå-ce que le Congrès se soit expliqué; & je le prie en même temps d’en conférer avec vous, Monsieur.3
J’espere que le Coffre de Mr. Storer, expédié selon ses ordres par navire de Rotterdam à Rouen, avec Passeport des Etats Genx. lui est parvenu.
Je suis avec grand respect / De Votre Excellence / le très-humble & très-obéissant / serviteur
[signed] C.w.f. Dumas


[salute] Sir

In response to your esteemed letter of the 18th, the key to your writing desk has luckily been found under some books, and I am sure that no one was able to make use of it, as your apartment has never been opened since you left except with one of us always present. I put back with the others the one you had left for me.1
At the time I write, the States of Holland are deciding whether to accede to the definitive treaty, with the conditions dictated to the republic.2 Last Saturday, in a grand committee (or “Besogne,” as they say here), there were the most serious criticisms of the legislation on executive power, first in general and then in humiliating and unanswerable detail. The theme was that but for the bad faith and conduct of the latter, the republic would prefer to continue the war on its own. The day before, the resumption of the resolution to persist in the abolition of the High Council of War, and the commission to be named to exercise military authority, passed constitutionally, without regard to the letter of the stadholder and despite the opposition of the cabal. My informants add that the grand pensionary did his duty well to make this happen and that he will be continued in office as he deserves.
Today I am writing to Mr. Franklin in order to find out how in the future I might, in the most economical fashion and until Congress has decided my fate, draw on the 224 Louis d’Or that were allotted to me per year in order to tide me over, that is to say, if I should draw, after the end of this year, my salary in the course of the following on Paris or on Amsterdam, until Congress makes itself clear; and I beg Congress at the same time to confer on this matter with you, sir.3
I hope that Mr. Storer has received his trunk, shipped according to his orders by boat from Rotterdam to Rouen, with a passport of the States General.
{ 237 }
I am with great respect, your excellency’s very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] C.w.f. Dumas
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Paris à Son Exce. Mr. Adams, M. P.”
1. Before JA departed The Hague on 6 Aug., he entrusted Dumas with the key to his writing desk, in which his other keys were locked—or rather, he thought that he did so. Two days later, Dumas was obliged to write to JA to inform him that the key that he had left with Dumas in fact did not belong to the desk (Adams Papers). On 18 Aug. JA replied that the correct key had to be at The Hague as he and JQA had searched for it in Paris without success. JA added “There is now an Appearance, that the definitive Treaty will be signed in Ten days or a fortnight. You know better than I whether, our good Friends the Dutch will be ready” (IEN).
2. For the Dutch decision to accept the peace terms offered by the British, see JA’s letter to Robert R. Livingston, 15 Aug., note 1, above.
3. C. W. F. Dumas to Benjamin Franklin, 25 Aug., Nationaal Archief:Dumas Papers, Microfilm, Reel 2, f. 568–569. Congress again set out to determine Dumas’ office and pay only after Pieter Johan van Berckel, Dutch minister to the United States, raised the matter in a conversation with Robert Morris, American superintendent of finance, on 18 Dec. (Morris, Papers, 8:822). Following up in a letter the next day, Van Berckel suggested that Dumas’ long service in the American cause, which had left his family in dire straits, entitled him to the generosity of Congress (same, 8:826–829). On the 20th, Morris forwarded Van Berckel’s letter to Congress, and a week later, it was read and referred to committee (JCC, 25:841). On 30 Jan. 1784, the committee reported that “the papers in the office of foreign affairs being inaccessible,” they had been unable to ascertain either the terms under which Dumas entered the service of the United States or the sums paid to him toward his salary. The committee recommended that the American ministers plenipotentiary in Europe be directed to determine the amount due to Dumas as “a final compensation.” They further recommended that subjects of other nations not be employed in “Ministerial offices of confidence at Foreign Courts.” Congress adopted neither proposal at that time (same, 26:59–60). On 16 March, however, on the recommendation of another committee, to whom had been referred several pieces of overseas correspondence, including “sundry letters from Mr. Dumas,” Congress resolved that “it is inconsistent with the interest of the United States to appoint any person not a citizen thereof, to the office of Minister, chargé des affaires, Consul, vice-consul, or to any other civil department in a foreign country” (same, 26:143–144). A copy of the resolution was sent to Franklin and JA four days later (Dipl. Corr., 1783–1789, 1:55–56).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0107

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Jay, John
Date: 1783-08-27

To Benjamin Franklin and John Jay

[salute] Gentlemen

As I am informed that next Wednesday is appointed for the Signature of the definitive Treaties of Peace, I Suppose it will be thought proper to think of Some Conveyance of the Ratification of the Provisional Treaty, and of the Original of our definitive Treaty as Soon as it Shall be Signed To Congress. By what Vessell it will be proper to Send it, deserves to be considered as soon as possible, as it is of Importance to the Publick that the News of it, Should reach Philadelphia, with out Loss of Time.
I presume too, it will be thought proper to send The Treaties and Dispatches which may accompany them by Some carefull Hand, { 238 } and the Choice will fall naturally among the younger Gentlemen who have been imployed abroad in the Service of the Publick, in the Way of Negotiation. On this Supposition I beg Leave to propose to your Consideration, Mr John Thaxter, who had been for Some time in the Service of Congress at Philadelphia, before he came to Europe, who embarked with me at Boston about four Years ago, and has accompanied me constantly from that Time to this in a dangerous Voyage and many fatiguing Journeys, and has ever been in the highest degree industrious and faithfull in the Publick service.1
With the greatest Respect, I have the Honour / to be, Gentlemen, your most obedient and / most humble servant
[signed] John Adams.
RC (NNC:Jay Papers); internal address: “Their Excellencies Benjamin Franklin / and John Jay Esquires, Ministers Plenipotentiary / from the United States of America, for making / Peace with Great Britain.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.
1. John Thaxter had evidently returned to Paris by this time, as it was he who transcribed the Letterbook copy of this letter (APM Reel 108).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0108

Author: Dumas, C. W. F.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-08-29

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur,

Hier au soir à 8 hes. Leurs H. P. s’assemblerent; & le résultat fut l’expédition d’un Courier à 10 heures, avec l’accession de la Rép. au Traité Définitif, que nous nous attendons ici d’apprendre avoir été signé mercredi prochain 3e.1
Voilà donc la fin de toutes nos incertitudes. Je vous en félicite, Monsieur, de tout mon coeur, & je souhaite pareillement, que le navire le Washington, que l’on m’a dit de bonne part devoir être arrivé, ou près de l’être, en France, vous ait apporté de quoi finir aussi les vôtres personnelles, de la maniere qui vous soit la plus agréable.
J’ai reçu un présent pour vous du Libraire Blussé de Dordrecht: c’est le second volume des Lauriers poëtiques sur les têtes patriotiques des Capellen, Gyzelaer, &c. avec des vignettes ingénieuses & élegantes.2
On me demande de tous côtés, si & quand & com̃ent vous prendrez congé de leurs H. P.; & je réponds à tous que je l’ignore.
Vous verrez dans peu à Paris Mr. Bingham, qui m’a apporté de Mr. Livingston du 27 May, des Lettres, où il recom̃ande Mr. Bingham à mes civilités.3 Ce dernier est allé à Amsterdam, d’où il repassera par ici.
{ 239 }
Je ne sais si vous savez, Monsieur, que l’usage constant de cette Rep. à l’égard de tout Envoyé, vous assure une Médaille & chaîne d’or, lorsque vous prendrez congé de maniere ou d’autre, de 13 à 1500 florins.
Ayez la bonté, Monsieur, de m’avertir lorsque vous quitterez Paris, afin d’assurer le sort de mes Lettres, que je continuerai jusque-là de vous écrire sous les couverts usités.
J’ai un paquet pour Mr. Dana recom̃andé à mes soins par Mr. Livingston, que je lui garde ici, par-ce que je sais qu’il a ordonné tout récemmént de ne plus rien lui adresser à Petersbourg.4
Mr. Livingston me marque, que la multitude d’affaires importantes n’a pas encore permis au Congrès de penser à la mienne.
Je suis avec grand respect De Votre Exce. / le très-humble & très-obéis- / sant serviteur
[signed] C.w.f. Dumas


[salute] Sir

Last night at eight o’clock their High Mightinesses met, and the result was the dispatching of a courier at ten o’clock with the republic’s agreement to the definitive treaty, which we here expect to learn will be signed next Wednesday the third.1
Here, then, is the end to all our uncertainty. I congratulate you, sir, with all my heart, and similarly I hope that the ship Washington that I have it on good authority has arrived, or is about to arrive, in France, has also brought you an end to your personal uncertainties, in a manner agreeable to you.
I received a present for you from the Blussé publishing house in Dordrecht: it is the second volume of the poetic laurels on the Patriot heads of the Capellens, Gyselaar, etc., with ingenious and elegant vignettes.2
Everyone is asking if and when and how you will take leave of their High Mightinesses, and I answer that I don’t know.
In Paris you will soon see Mr. Bingham, who brought me some letters from Mr. Livingston dated 27 May, in which he asks me to extend a welcome to Mr. Bingham.3 The latter left for Amsterdam and will pass by here again.
I do not know if you know, sir, that the common practice of this republic toward all envoys assures you of a medal and a gold chain when you take leave in one manner or another, worth between 13 and 1500 florins.
Please be so kind, sir, as to let me know when you leave Paris, so that I can be sure my letters reach you, and I will continue until then to write to you at the usual addresses.
I have a packet for Mr. Dana entrusted to my care by Mr. Livingston, { 240 } which I am holding for him here because I know that he very recently ordered that nothing more be addressed to him at St. Petersburg.4
Mr. Livingston indicates that Congress has been too taken up with important business to think of mine.
I am with great respect your excellency’s very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] C.w.f. Dumas
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Paris à Son Excellence Mr. Adams M. P.”
1. Unlike the definitive peace treaties signed by Britain, the United States, France, and Spain on 3 Sept., the Anglo-Dutch preliminary treaty was signed on the 2d (to the president of Congress, 13 Sept., calendared, below).
2. Eerkroon op de hoofden der doorluchtige staetsmannen, burgervaderen, zeehelden, en andere personaedjen . . . vaderlandsche dichtstukken, 2 vols., Dordrecht, 1782–1783. Copies of both volumes, inscribed by Pieter Blussé of the publishing house A. Blussé & Son, are in JA’s library at MB (Catalogue of JA’s Library).
3. Robert R. Livingston’s 27 May letter introducing William Bingham has not been found. In a second letter of the same date (PCC, No. 118, f. 435–437), Livingston enclosed a packet for Francis Dana (see note 4) and informed Dumas that Congress had not acted on his application for a formal appointment and salary increase owing to the recent press of “important matters” as well as the general “slowness” of popular assemblies. Livingston also reminded Dumas that his “public character” in the service of the United States required that he not take sides in the contest between William V and the Patriot Party.
4. The packet, which included Livingston’s 27 May letter to Dana with a copy of his 1 May letter to Dana and Congress’ 22 May resolution (Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:403–404, 441–442, 451–452), never reached Dana, who departed St. Petersburg for Boston on 4 Sept. (Cresson, Francis Dana, p. 317). The resolution instructed Dana, in negotiating a commercial treaty between the United States and Russia, to stipulate that any accord be limited to a term of fifteen years and, more important, that it be subject to revision and approval by Congress before ratification. Livingston, expressing confidence that the latter part of the resolution would “make no difficulty” for Dana “since it only conforms to the powers you already have,” explained that Congress was “still anxious not to engage extensively in commercial treaties till experience has shown the advantages or disadvantages that may result from them.” For Livingston’s 1 May letter and Dana’s reaction to it, see Dana’s letter to JA, [29 July], and notes 2, 5, and 8, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0109

Author: Hartley, David
Recipient: American Peace Commissioners
Date: 1783-08-29

David Hartley to the American Peace Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen,

As the Day is now fixed for the signatures of the Definitive Treaties between Great Britain, France & Spain, I beg leave to inform your Excellencies that I am ready to sign the Definitive Treaty between Great Britain & the United States of America, whenever it shall be convenient to you. I beg the Favour therefore of you to fix the Day. My Instructions confine me to Paris as the Place appointed to me for the Exercise of my Functions, and therefore whatever Day you may fix upon for the Signature, I shall hope to receive the honour of your Company at the Hotel d’ York.
{ 241 }
I am, Gentlemen / with the greatest Respect / and Consideration / Your most obedt. Servt.
[signed] (signed) D. Hartley.
FC (PCC, No. 85, f. 412). LbC-Tr (Adams Papers); APM Reel 103.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0110

Author: American Peace Commissioners
Recipient: Hartley, David
Date: 1783-08-30

The American Peace Commissioners to David Hartley

The American Ministers Plenipotentiary for making Peace with great Britain, present their Compliments to Mr. Hartley. They regret that Mr. Hartley’s Instructions will not permit him to sign the Definitive Treaty of Peace with America, at the Place appointed for the Signature of the others. They will nevertheless have the Honour of waiting upon Mr. Hartley at his Lodgings at Paris, for the Purpose of signing the Treaty in Question, on wednesday Morning at Eight oClock.
FC (PCC, No. 85, f. 414). LbC-Tr (Adams Papers); APM Reel 103.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0111

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Boudinot, Elias
Date: 1783-09-01

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

Wednesday the third of this Month is appointed for the Signature of the Definitive Treaties of Peace. Unable to obtain, any addition or Explanation, We have been obliged to agree to sign the Provisional Articles over again with only a Preamble, making them a Definitive Treaty. No Regulation of Commerce is agreed upon, and indeed we have no Commission or Authority to make any.— We have thus lost Seven or eight months of our time.
When the definitive Treaty shall be signed, I suppose, our Commission for Peace will be executed. I expected long before this to have receiv’d my Letter of Recall to their High Mightinesses and to the Prince of Orange, in which case I should now have been at Liberty to reembark for America, but as it is not arrived, I cannot with entire Decency to Congress, or to the States General, or to the Prince, force myself away and a letter of Recall will not probably now arrive untill it will be too late for a Fall Passage, so that I shall be necessitated to undertake another Winter Voyage,1 or wait untill Spring.
{ 242 }
I beg Leave to recommend Mr. Thaxter, the bearer of this, and of the Definitive Treaty to Congress. He is descended from Several of the most ancient and honourable families in the Massachusetts. He has had the best Education which our Country affords. He has been now more than five years in the public Service and without the least reward, all that has been allowed him not having been enough for his necessary Expences He is exceeded by no one in Industry, or Fidelity, is not deficient in Address, and is well acquainted with the French Language, nor ignorant of the Dutch and has a just View of our foreign Affairs. if Congress has occasion for a Secretary of Legation & Chargé des Affaires in any part of Europe I am perswaded they will not be able to find a Man better qualified for the Place, or who has a better Title, to it, in Point of Merit
With the greatest Respect, I have the Honour to be / Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] John Adams.2
RC in JQA’s hand (PCC, No. 84, V, f. 177–178); internal address: “His Excellency E. Boudinot Esqr: / President of Congress.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.
1. At this point in the Letterbook copy there is a heavily canceled passage that cannot be read. In view of JA’s history it likely was a criticism of the conduct of American foreign policy that JA decided was inappropriate in a letter that was also a recommendation of John Thaxter. JA also wrote to AA on 1 Sept. (AFC, 5:231–233). In the first paragraph of that letter he included much the same information as in this one but then offered his observations on the obstacles that he and Francis Dana faced in the execution of their missions. Of particular note is his comment specifically aimed at Robert R. Livingston but by inference also targeting Benjamin Franklin and the Comte de Vergennes. JA wrote of Livingston that “our late Minister of foreign affairs appears to have been a mere Puppet danced upon French Wires electrified from Passy. I hope there will be, an End of this Philosophical and political Conjuration, if not, I am determined to get out of its striking Distance.”
2. In JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0112

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1783-09-03

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear Mr Gerry

The third of September, will be more remarkable for the Signature of the definitive Treaties than for the Battle of Naseby or Worcester or the Death of Oliver Cromwell.—1 We could obtain no Alteration from the Provisional Articles. We could Obtain no explanation of the Articles respecting the Tories nor any Limitation respecting Interest or Execution for Debts. I am however less anxious about these Things than others.
Our first object is to secure the Liberties of our Citizens in the { 243 } Seperate States. Our second to maintain and Strengthen the Confederation. Our Third to purge the Minds of our People of their Fears, their diffidence of themselves and Admiration of strangers, and our fourth to defend ourselves against the Wiles of Europe. My Apprehensions of the Importance of our foreign Affairs, have been much increased by a Residence of five or Six Years in Europe— I see so much Enmity to the Principle of our Governments, to the Purity of our Morals, the Simplicity of our Manners, the honest Integrity, and Sincerity of our hearts, to our Contentment with Poverty, our Love of Labour, our Affection for Liberty and our Country. I see so many Proofs of their Hatred of all this, and of their Dread of it, both as a dangerous Example among their own corrupted debauched Subjects, and as a sure and certain source of Power and Grandeur; I see so many Artifices practised to debauch every Body you send, or who comes to Europe; so many practised by them in America itself hidden, covered up, disguised under all shapes, and I see they will ever have it in their Power to Practice so many of these arts, and to succeed to such a Degree, that I am convinced no Pains or Expences should be spared to defend ourselves.
But how shall we defend ourselves? We cannot refuse to receive foreign Ministers from Sovereign Powers: Shall we recall, all our own Ministers from Europe? this is a serious Question— I confess I am for the affirmative, and would give my Voice for recalling every one, if I could not secure two Points. The first is to send Men of independent Minds, who will not be Tools, Men of Virtue and Conscience: the second is to perswade Congress to support them firmly. it is infintely better to have none in Europe, than to have Artfull unprincipled Impostors, or Men debauched with Women You may depend upon this, the Moment an American Minister gives a loose to his Passion for Women that Moment, he is undone, he is instantly at the Mercy of the Spies of the Court, and the Tool of the most profligate of the human Race. This will be called Pedantry but it is Sacred Truth, and our Country will feel it to her Sorrow if she is not aware of it in Season. if you make it a Principle that your Ministers should be agreeable, at the Court, and have the good Word of the Courtiers you are undone. No Man will ever be pleasing at a Court in General, who is not debauched in his Morals, or warped from your Interests. if therefore, you can carry Elections for Men of pure Intregrity, and unshaken firmness, it will be for your Interest to have a Number of them at the Principal Courts of { 244 } Europe for some time, two or three years at least. if you cannot, you had better send none. Men of any other Character, will be called amiable, and be said to be beloved, & esteemed and to have your Confidence but they will be made the Instruments of the most insidious and destructive designs upon your Liberties, I mean upon your Morals and Republican Virtues, which are the only Qualities which can Save our Country. for myself I dont care a Farthing. the most agreeable Thing to me would be to come home. But I pray one Thing only for myself, it is that you would determine immediately, whether I may come home or not.
It is the true Interest of our Country, to cultivate the Friendship of the Dutch: We have nothing to fear from them, as we have from the French and English. it is their Policy as well as ours to cultivate Peace and Neutrality, & we may aid each other in it.
With Sincere Affection your Friend
[signed] John Adams2
RC in JQA’s hand (MHi:Gerry Papers II); internal address: “Mr: Gerry.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 106.
1. Clearly JA is linking the American victory over the British in the American Revolution with Oliver Cromwell and his decisive victories in the English Civil War. JA’s recollection of the dates of Cromwell’s death and the Battle of Worcester—3 Sept. 1658 and 3 Sept. 1651—is correct, but the other battle occurring on 3 Sept. was the Battle of Dunbar in 1650. The Battle of Naseby took place on 14 June 1645.
2. Closing and signature in JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0113

Author: Cerisier, Antoine Marie
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-09-03

From Antoine Marie Cerisier

[salute] Monsieur

Je crois vous avoir fait connaitre que toute mon ambition se bornait à obtenir quelque place en France dans un Bureau.1 Une nouvelle attaque que je viens d’éprouver dans ma Santé me fait penser plus sérieusement que jamais au projet de revenir me fixer en France. Dans cette idée j’ai pris la liberté d’écrire directement à Mr le Comte de Vergennes; & j’ai ôsé lui marquer qu’il trouverait auprès de vous & de Mr le Duc de la Vauguyon tous les témoignages qu’il pouvait exiger, au cas qu’il voulût penser à moi. je pense que vous ne blamerez pas ce trait d’audace; Au contraire, s’il y a moyen de concerter quelque chose avec Mr le Duc, pour gagner l’arbitre Suprême des affaires en ma faveur, j’ose esperer que vous n’oublierez pas un honnête homme qui vous Sera éternellement devoué. J’ai l’honneur d’etre avec un profond respect / Monsieur votre très humble / & très obeissant Serviteur
[signed] A. M. Cerisier
{ 245 }


[salute] Sir

I believe I made it known to you that all my ambition is limited to obtaining a position in an office in France.1 A new attack that I just suffered to my health makes me think more seriously than ever about my project of coming back to settle in France. With this idea in mind, I took the liberty of writing directly to the Comte de Vergennes, and I made bold to mention to him that he would find all the witnesses he might require in you and the Duc de La Vauguyon, in case he might want to consider me. I believe you will not blame me for this stroke of audacity. On the contrary, if there is a way of working together with the duke to make the supreme arbiter of affairs look favorably on me, I dare to hope that you will not forget an honest man who would be eternally devoted to you. I have the honor of being with deep respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] A. M. Cerisier
1. See JA’s reply of 11 Sept., below. Cerisier did not obtain a post in the foreign ministry.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0114

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1783-09-03

Definitive Peace Treaty between the United States and Great Britain

In the Name of the most Holy & undivided Trinity.
It having pleased the divine Providence to dispose the Hearts of the most Serene & most Potent Prince George the third, by the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, France & Ireland Defender of the Faith, Duke of Brunswick & Lunebourg, Arch-Treasurer, and Prince Elector of the holy Roman Empire &ca: and of the United States of America to forget all past Misunderstandings and Differences that have unhappily interrupted the good Correspondence and Friendship which they mutually wish to restore; and to establish such a beneficial and satisfactory Intercourse between the two Countries upon the Ground of reciprocal Advantages and mutual Convenience as may promote and secure to both perpetual Peace & Harmony; and having for this desirable End already laid the Foundation of Peace & Reconciliation by the Provisional Articles signed at Paris on the 30th: of Novr: 1782 by the Commissioners empower’d on each Part, which Articles were agreed to be inserted in and to constitute the Treaty of Peace proposed to be concluded between { 246 } the Crown of Great Britain and the said United States, but which Treaty was not to be concluded until Terms of Peace should be agreed upon between Great Britain & France, and his Britannic Majesty should be ready to conclude such Treaty accordingly: and the Treaty between Great Britain and France having since been concluded, His Britannic Majesty & the United States of America, in order to carry into full Effect the Provisional Articles above mentioned, according to the Tenor thereof, have constituted & appointed, that is to say His Britannic Majesty on his Part, David Hartley Esqre: Member of the Parliament of Great Britain; and the said United States on their Part John Adams Esqre: late a Commissioner of the United States of America at the Court of Versailles, late Delegate in Congress from the State of Massachusetts and Chief Justice of the said State; and Minister Plenipotentiary of the said United States to their High Mightinesses the States General of the United Netherlands; Benjamin Franklin Esqre: late Delegate in Congress from the State of Pennsylvania, President of the Convention of the said State & Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States of America at the Court of Versailles; John Jay Esqre: late President of Congress, and Chief Justice of the State of New-York & Minister Plenipotentiary from the said United States at the Court of Madrid; to be the Plenipotentiaries for the concluding and signing the present Definitive Treaty; who after having reciprocally communicated their respective full Powers2 have agreed upon & confirmed the following Articles.3
Article 1st:
His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz. New-Hampshire Massachusetts Bay, Rhode-Island & Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New-York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina & Georgia, to be free sovereign & Independent States; that he Treats with them as such, and for himself his Heirs & Successors relinquishes all Claims to the Government Propriety and Territorial Rights of the same & every Part thereof.
Article 2d:
And that all Disputes which might arise in future on the Subject of the Boundaries of the said United States may be prevented, it is hereby agreed and declared, that the following are and shall be their Boundaries Viz:4 From the North West Angle of Nova Scotia, viz: that Angle which is formed by a Line drawn due North from the { 247 } Source of St Croix River to the Highlands along the said High lands which divide those Rivers that empty themselves into the River St: Lawrence from those which fall into the Atlantic Ocean, to the Northwestern most Head of Connecticut River; Thence down along the Middle of that River to the forty fifth Degree of North Latitude; From thence by a Line due West on said Latitude until it strikes the River Iroquois or Cataraquy; Thence along the middle of said River into Lake Ontario; through the Middle of said Lake until it strikes the Communication by Water between that Lake & Lake Erie; Thence along the middle of said Communication into Lake Erie; through the middle of said Lake, untill it arrives at the Water Communication between that Lake & Lake Huron; Thence along the middle of said Water Communication into the Lake Huron, thence through the middle of said Lake to the Water-Communication between that Lake and Lake Superior thence through Lake Superior Northward of the Isles Royal & Phelipeaux to the Long Lake; Thence through the Middle of said Long Lake, and the Water Communication between it and the Lake of the Woods, to the said Lake of the Woods, Thence through the said Lake to the most Northwestern Point thereof, & from thence on a due West Course to the River Mississippi, Thence by a Line to be drawn along the middle of the said River Mississippi until it shall intersect the Northernmost Part of the thirty first Degree of North Latitude. South, by a Line to be drawn due East from the Determination of the Line last mentioned, in the Latitude of thirty one Degrees North of the Equator to the Middle of the River Apalachicola or Catahouchi: Thence along the middle thereof to its Junction with the Flint River; Thence strait to the Head of St Mary’s River, and thence down along the Middle of St Mary’s River to the Atlantic Ocean. East by a Line to be drawn along the Middle of the River St Croix, from its Mouth in the Bay of Funday to its Source, and from its Source directly North to the aforesaid Highlands, which divide the Rivers that fall into the Atlantic Ocean from those which fall into the River St. Lawrence; comprehending all Islands within twenty Leagues of any Part of the Shores of the United States, & lying between Lines to be drawn due East from the Points where the aforesaid Boundaries between Nova Scotia one the one Part and East Florida on the other, shall respectively touch the Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic Ocean, excepting such Islands as now are or heretofore have been within the Limits of the said Province of Nova Scotia.
{ 248 }
Article. 3d:
It is agreed that the People of the United States shall continue to enjoy unmolested the Right to take Fish of every kind on the Grand Bank and on all the other Banks of Newfoundland, also in the Gulph of St: Lawrence and at all other Places in the Sea where the Inhabitants of both Countries used at any time heretofore to fish. And also that the Inhabitants of the United States shall have Liberty to take Fish of every kind on such Part of the Coast of Newfoundland as British Fishermen shall use, (but not to dry or cure the same on that Island) and also on the Coasts Bays & Creeks of all other of his Britannic Majestys Dominions in America, and that the American Fishermen shall have Liberty to dry & cure Fish in any of the unsettled Bays Harbours and Creeks of Nova-Scotia, Magdalen Islands, and Labrador, so long as the same shall remain unsettled, but so soon as the same or either of them shall be settled, it shall not be lawful for the sd: Fishermen to dry or cure Fish at such Settlement, without a previous Agreement for that purpose with the Inhabitants, Proprietors or Possessors of the Ground.
Article 4th:
It is agreed that Creditors on either Side shall meet with no Lawful Impediment to the Recovery of the full Value in Sterling Money of all bona fide Debts heretofore contracted.
Article 5th:
It is agreed that the Congress shall earnestly recommend it to the Legislatures of the respective States to provide for the Restitution of all Estates, Rights and Properties which have been confiscated belonging to real British Subjects; and also of the Estates Rights & Properties of Persons resident in Districts in the Possession of his Majesty’s Arms, and who have not borne Arms against the said United States. And that Persons of any other Description shall have free Liberty to go to any Part or Parts of any of the thirteen United States and therein to remain twelve Months unmolested in their Endeavours to obtain the Restitution of such of their Estates, Rights, and Properties as may have been confiscated. And that Congress shall also earnestly recommend to the several States, a Reconsideration and Revision of all Acts or Laws regarding the Premises, so as to render the said Laws or Acts perfectly consistent not only with Justice and Equity but with that Spirit of Conciliation which on the Return of the Blessings of Peace should universally prevail. { 249 } And that Congress shall also earnestly recommend to the several States, that the Estates Rights & Property’s of such last mentioned Persons shall be restored to them, they refunding to any Persons who may be now in Possession the bona fide Price (where any has been given) which such Persons may have Paid on purchasing any of the said Lands, Rights or Properties, since the Confiscation.
And it is agreed that all Persons who have any Interest in confiscated Lands either by Debts, Marriage Settlements or otherwise, shall meet with no lawful Impediment in the Prosecution of their just Rights.
Article 6th:
That there shall be no future Confiscations made, nor any Prosecutions commenced against any Person or Persons for or by Reason of the Part which he or they may have taken in the present War and that no Person shall on that Account suffer any future Loss or Damage either in his Person Liberty or Property; and that those who may be in Confinement on such Charges at the Time of the Ratification of the Treaty in America shall be immediately set at Liberty, and the Prosecutions so commenc’d be discontinued.
Article 7th:
There shall be a firm & perpetual Peace between his Britannic Majesty and the said States & between the Subjects of the one, and the Citizens of the other, wherefore all Hostilities both by Sea & Land shall from hence forth cease: All Prisoners on both sides shall be set at Liberty, and his Britannic Majesty shall with all convenient Speed, and without causing any Destruction, or carrying away an Negroes or other Property of the American Inhabitants, withdraw all his Armies, Garrisons and Fleets from the said United States, and from every Port, Place and Harbour within the same; leaving in all Fortifications the American Artillery that may be therein. And shall also order & cause all Archives, Records, Deeds & Papers belonging to any of the said States or their Citizens, which in the Course of the War may have fallen into the Hands of his Officers, to be forthwith restored and deliver’d to the proper States & Persons to whom they belong.
Article 8th:
The Navigation of the River Mississippi, from its Source to the Ocean shall forever remain free and open to the Subjects of Great Britain and the Citizens of the United States.
{ 250 }
Article 9th:
In Case it should so happen that any Place or Territory belonging to Great Britain or to the United States should have been conquer’d by the Arms of either from the other before the Arrival of the said Provisional Articles in America it is agreed that the same shall be restored without Difficulty and without requiring any Compensation
Article 10th:
The Solemn Ratifications of the present Treaty expedited in good and due Form shall be exchanged between the contracting Parties in the Space of Six Months or sooner if possible to be computed from the Day of the Signature of the present Treaty. In witness whereof we the undersigned their Ministers Plenipotentiary have in their Name & in Virtue of our full Powers signed with our Hands the present Definitive Treaty, and caused the Seals of our Arms to be affixed thereto.—5
Done at Paris, this third Day of September, In the Year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred & Eighty three.
[SEAL] D Hartley   [SEAL] John Adams.  
  [SEAL] B Franklin  
  [SEAL] John Jay  
MS (Adams Papers). For the nature of this document, see Descriptive List of Illustrations, No. 3, above. LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 109. LbC-Tr (Adams Papers); APM Reel 103.
1. At eight o’clock on the morning of 3 Sept., the American peace commissioners— JA, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay—met their British counterpart David Hartley at Hartley’s residence, the Hôtel d’York, exchanged commissions, and put their signatures and seals to the definitive treaty (commissioners to David Hartley, 30 Aug., above; Boston Patriot, 22 Feb. 1812). In light of all the commissioners had been through—particularly the disappointment of their hopes for a more substantive definitive treaty—the signing was anticlimactic. JA made no entry in his Diary to mark the event, and JQA wrote only “Signature of the Definitive Treaty” (JQA, Diary, 1:190–191). The next day JA lamented in a letter to AA that the definitive treaty was “a Simple Repetition of the provisional Treaty. So We have negotiated here, these Six Months for nothing. We could do no better Situated as We were. To day We dined with Mr. Hartley and drank Tea with the Duchess of Manchester. Thus you see We are very good Friends, quite free, easy and Social” (AFC, 5:233).
Many years later, in the Boston Patriot of 26 Feb. 1812, JA gave a fuller account of the circumstances surrounding the signing. After the formalities, he revealed, “we all went according to invitation, and Mr. Hartley with us, to Versailles, and joined all the ambassadors who had signed the other treaties, and dined amidst mutual congratulations, with the Comte de Vergennes.
“There appeared to us, however, a littleness, too much resembling low cunning, to become a great nation and a great monarch, in two instructions to Mr. Hartley. 1st. Not to accept the mediation of the two imperial courts. 2d. Not to sign the treaty at Versailles, with the other ambassadors, when the other treaties were signed.
“We were however, glad of the first, because it relieved us from the ungracious { 251 } necessity of refusing the mediation; or, if we had accepted it, from the more disgraceful necessity of refusing or neglecting to make the ambassadors the usual presents—for we had no money to spare for the purchase of gold tobacco boxes, set with pictures and diamonds. As to the second, it excited no sensations in us, but a little ridicule. Mr. Hartley glossed these things over with ingenuity and good humor. We knew they were not his own projects, and received his apologies with equal good humor. Another thing however, gave us some uneasiness. Mr. Hartley told us that the king would send us presents of five hundred pounds each. This gave us pain: for to refuse it, would be considered as an affront to his majesty; and to accept it, without returning the compliment to the British minister or ministers, would have been a meanness of which we could not and would not be guilty; and we had no money to spare for such uses. So much was said against it, that we never saw the presents and heard no more about them.”
John Thaxter delivered the definitive treaty to Thomas Mifflin at Philadelphia on 22 Nov. 1783, along with the commissioners’ 10 Sept. letter to the president of Congress describing the negotiations, below (from John Thaxter, 19 Jan. 1784, below). Mifflin in turn laid the treaty and the letter before Congress at Annapolis on 13 Dec. 1783 (JCC, 25:812). Congress finally ratified the treaty on 14 Jan. 1784 (same, 26:29). For more on the ratification, see letters of 14 Jan. from Elbridge Gerry, Arthur Lee, and Samuel Osgood to JA; and from the president of Congress to the commissioners, all below.
2. Copies of the commissioners’ [15 June 1781] commission and David Hartley’s [14 May 1783] commission were exchanged prior to the signing and are in the Adams Papers at 3 September. For the text of the American document, see vol. 11:371–374; and for the British document, see JA, D&A, 3:130–131.
3. The preamble to the definitive treaty is much different and far longer than the preamble to the preliminary treaty of [30 Nov. 1782] (vol. 14:103). For its evolution, compare the preliminary treaty with JA’s [1 Feb. 1783] “first Sketch of a Definitive Treaty” (same, p. 227–230) and the commissioners’ [ante 19 July] draft Anglo-American definitive treaty, also the work of JA, above.
4. In the preliminary treaty of [30 Nov. 1782], this sentence was at the end of Art. 1 (vol. 14:103). It was transferred to Art. 2 in the [ante 19 July 1783] draft Anglo-American definitive treaty, above, one of the few changes to find its way into the definitive treaty.
5. This is the only new article included in the definitive treaty. Its language appears in a slightly different form in both JA’s [1 Feb.] “first Sketch of a Definitive Treaty” (vol. 14:229) and the commissioners’ [ante 19 July] draft Anglo-American definitive treaty, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0115

Author: Hartley, David
Recipient: American Peace Commissioners
Date: 1783-09-04

David Hartley to the American Peace Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen,

It is with the sincerest Pleasure that I congratulate you on the happy Event which took Place Yesterday, viz, the Signature of the Definitive Treaty between our two Countries. I consider it as the auspicious Presage of returning Confidence and of the future Intercourse of all good offices between us; I doubt not that our two Countries will entertain the same Sentiments, and that they will behold with Satisfaction the Period, which terminates the Memory of their late unhappy Dissensions, and which leads to the renewal of all the antienties of Amity & Peace— I can assure you that his Britannic Majesty, and his confidential Servants, entertain the strongest { 252 } { 253 } { 254 } Desire of a cordial good understanding with the United States of America. And that nothing may be wanting on our Parts to perfect the great Work of Pacification, I shall propose to you in a very short time, to renew the Discussion of those Points of Amity and Intercourse which have been lately suspended, to make way for the Signature of the Treaties, between all the late belligerent Powers which took Place Yesterday.1 We have now the fairest Prospects before us, and an unembarrassed Field for the Exercise of every beneficient disposition and for the Accomplishment of every object of reciprocal Advantage between us. Let us then join our hearts and hands together in one common cause, for the reunion of all our antient affections, and common Interests. I am Gentlemen, / With the greatest Respect / and consideration / Your most obedt. Servt.
[signed] (signed) D Hartley.
RC (PCC, No. 85, f. 416–417). LbC-Tr (Adams Papers); APM Reel 103.
1. That is, the negotiation of an Anglo-American commercial agreement. For the commissioners’ initial reaction to Hartley’s proposal that such negotiations be resumed, see their letter of 5 Sept., and notes 1 and 2, below; and for their revised position, after receiving Congress’ 1 May resolution regarding the negotiation of an Anglo-American commercial treaty, see the commissioners’ letter of 7 Sept., below.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0116

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1783-09-05

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir,

On Wednesday the third day of this Month, the American Ministers met the British Minister at his Lodgings at the Hôtel de York, and signed, sealed and delivered the Definitive Treaty of Peace between the United States of America and the King of Great Britain. Altho’ it is but a Confirmation or Repetition of the Provisional Articles, I have the honor to congratulate Congress upon it, as it is a Completion of the work of Peace, and the best we could obtain. Nothing remains now to be done but a Treaty of Commerce— But this in my opinion cannot be negociated without a new Commission from Congress to some one or more Persons. Time, it is easy to foresee, will not be likely to render the British Nation more disposed to a Regulation of Commerce favorable to Us, & therefore my Advice is to issue a Commission as soon as may be.
There is another Subject, on which I beg leave to present to Congress my Sentiments, because they seem to me of Importance, and because they differ from many sanguine Opinions, which will be communicated to the Members of that Assembly from Partisans { 255 } both of England and France. In the late deliberations concerning an Acceptance of the Mediation of the two Imperial Courts, the British Minister refused it; and in the Conferences We had with the Comte de Vergennes upon this Subject, it was manifest enough to me, that he was not fond of our accepting it— For altho’ he maintained a perfect Impartiality of Language, neither advising Us for nor against the Measure, yet at last, when it was observed that Mr. Hartley was averse to it, he turned to Dr. Franklin and said that we must agree with Mr. Hartley, about it, with such a Countenance, Air and Tone of Voice, (for from these you must often collect the Sentiments of Ministers) as convinced me, he did not wish the Mediation should take place. It was not a Subject, which would bear insisting on either way. I therefore made no difficulty— But I am upon recollection fully of Opinion, that We should have done wisely to have sent our Letter to the Imperial Ministers, accepting the Mediation on our Part.1 The Signature of those Ministers would have given Us Reputation in Europe, and among our own Citizens. I mention these because I humbly concieve, that Congress ought in all their Proceedings to consider, the Opinion that the United States or the People of America will entertain of themselves. We may call this national Vanity or national Pride, but it is the main Principle of the national Sense of its own Dignity, and a Passion in human Nature, without which Nations cannot preserve the Character of Men. Let the People lose this Sentiment, as in Poland, and a Partition of their Country will soon take place. Our Country has but lately been a dependent one, and our People, altho’ enlightened and virtuous, have had their Minds and Hearts habitually filled with all the Passions of a dependent, subordinate People, that is to say, with Fear, with Diffidence and Distrust of themselves, with Admiration of Foreigners &ca.— Now I say, that it is one of the most necessary & one of the most difficult Branches of the Policy of Congress, to eradicate from the American Mind every remaining Fibre of this Fear and Self-Diffidence on the one hand, and of this excessive Admiration of Foreigners on the other. It cannot be doubted one moment, that a solemn Acknowledgment of Us, by the Signature of the two Imperial Courts, would have had such a Tendency in the Minds of our Countrymen— But we should also consider, upon every Occasion, how our Reputation will be affected in Europe. We shall not find it easy to keep up the Respect for Us, that has been excited by the continual Publication of the Exploits of the War. In the Calm of Peace little will be said about Us in Europe, unless We prepare for { 256 } it, but by those who have designs upon Us. We may depend upon it every thing will be said in Europe, and in the Gazettes, which any Body in Europe wants to have repeated in America, to make such Impressions upon the Minds of our Citizens as he desires. It will become Us therefore to do every thing in our Power, to make reasonable & just Impressions upon the public Opinion in Europe. The Signature of the two Imperial Courts would have made a deep & important Impression in our favor, upon full one half of Europe, as Friends to those Courts, and upon all the other half, as Enemies. I need not explain myself farther: I may however add, that Americans can scarcely concieve the decisive Influence of the Governments of Europe upon their People. Every Nation is a Piece of Clock-Work— Every Wheel is under the absolute direction of the Sovereign as its Weight or Spring. In Consequence of this, all that Moiety of Mankind, that are subject to the two Imperial Courts and their Allies, would, in Consequence of their Mediation, have been openly and decidedly our Friends at this Hour, and the other half of Europe would certainly have respected Us the more for this.— But at present, the two Imperial Courts, not having signed the Treaty, all their Friends are left in a state of Doubt and Timidity concerning Us. From all the Conversations I have had with the Comte de Mercy and Mr. Markoff, it is certain, that the two Courts wished, as these Ministers certainly were ambitious, to sign our Treaty. They and their Sovereigns wished that their Names might be read in America, and there respected as our Friends. But this is now past. England and France will be most perfectly united in all Artifices and Endeavors to keep down our Reputation at Home and abroad—to mortify our self-Conceit, and to lessen Us in the Opinion of the World. If We will not see, We must be the Dupes— We need not for We have in our own Power, with the common blessing, the Means of every thing We want. There is but one Course now left to retrieve the Error, and that is to send a Minister to Vienna, with Power to make a Treaty with both the Imperial Courts. Congress must send a Minister first, or it never will be done. The Emperor never sends first, nor will England ever send a Minister to America, until Congress shall send one to London.
To form immediate commercial Connections with that half of Europe, which ever has been, and, with little Variations, ever will be opposite to the House of Bourbon, is a fundamental Maxim of that System of American Politicks, which I have pursued invariably from the beginning of this War. It is the only means of preserving the { 257 } Respect of the House of Bourbon itself— It is the only means, in conjunction with our Connections with the House of Bourbon already formed, to secure Us the Respect of England for any long time, and to keep Us out of another War with that Kingdom. It is in short the only possible means of securing to our Country that Peace, Neutrality, Impartiality and Indifference in European Wars, which in my opinion We shall be unwise in the last degree if We do not maintain. It is besides the only way, in which We can improve and extend our commercial Connections to the best Advantage.
With great Respect, I have the / honor to be, / Sir, / your most obedient & / most humble Servant.
[signed] John Adams.2
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PCC, No. 84, V, f. 181–185); internal address: “His Excellency / Elias Boudinot Esqr / President of Congress.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.
1. Compare JA’s opinion here of the American commissioners’ accepting the Austro-Russian mediators’ participation in the conclusion of the Anglo-American definitive treaty with that in letters to Robert R. Livingston of 9, 16, and 31 July, all above.
2. In JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0117

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1783-09-05

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear Friend

You remember the Contract with Du Coudrai, and his hundred officers, and with many other officers. Coudrai was to take Rank of allmost all our Generals, to have the Command of all our Artillery and military Manufactures, and be Subject to no orders, but those of Congress or the Commander in Chief, and the Marshall M. was wanted to be that Commander in Chief— Let me beg of you that those Papers of Mr Deans may be looked up copied and preserved.— hæc olim meminisse juvabit.—1 You knew the History of our foreign affairs from that Time to this. All has proceeded from the Same Source, and all has been calculated to hold Us at Mercy. The System has appeared in the Same Light to every Minister you have had in Europe, except one.— Izard, Lee, Jay, Dana, Laurens and my self, and even Deane has at last let out the Cat.—2 No wonder then that the one, is flattered and the rest coldly received. No wonder that every Thing is desired to be thrown into the hand of that one. To this End the Ministers and Courts of Sweeden, Denmark and Portugal, have been told that this one has Power to treat with them and he alone. This is false, but Still they have been told so.— I doubt not congress have been told that those Courts & Kings, have desired, to { 258 } treat personally with the Great Philosopher. This I dont believe. because it would be an Impropriety, altogether beneath the Dignity of those Kings to dictate to Congress, to designate Persons, or attempt to influence the Elections of Congress. But if it is true, it ought to allarm and be refused for that very Reason. “Rome, n’a pas accoutumé des Rois a une telle Audace.” Kings ought not to be indulged in Such Impertinence.— Republicks Should be jealous of the Influence of Kings, and cannot be too delicate in the perfect freedom of their own Elections. They Should oblige Kings to more delicacy than to suggest their Predilections.— But it is not credible that in these Cases they have done it. What is it to them, whether the Minister they treat with, is a mere Statesman, or whether he affects a skill in Metalurgy, Mineralogy, or Electricity.
The Truth is, they have been told that one Gentleman alone is impowered by you to treat with them, which is not true. The ancient Resolution that the Commissioners at Versailles, should have Power to treat with the Courts of Europe is in force for Mr Lee Mr Deane & me as much as for Dr F.—but it is fallen and superceeded by the new Commissions with regard to Us all.—3 I rely upon it, therefore that you will insert us all, who are obliged to reside here at least upon other affairs, in the Commission you send to treat with other Powers.
You have told all Europe, that Jay was C. J. of N. York, President of Congress, Minister to Madrid—that I was C. J. of Massachusetts, Delegate in Congress, Commissioner at Versailles, Minister in holland, and at the Peace.—4 when it was known that Franklin was treating with Sweeden So slyly, the Inquiry was why were not Jay and Adams, Men of such Trust under their Country, present in Paris joined in this Business as well as that of Peace.— Comis and Under-strappers gave what Answers they pleased. a few Shruggs of the shoulders were Answer enough to answer their Purposes. This must be prevented.— if you chain Us together treat Us impartially. Support Us, or call Us home.— Such distinctions are but an artfull, <wicked> Method of Libelling Us, by letting loose Tongues and Pens, which if not paid for abusing Us, will make a Merit of doing it.— Firmness, Steadiness and Impartiallity on your Part is all that is wanting, to support Us effectually. For there is nobody that dares to attack Us openly. they all know We stand upon too strong Ground. But Secret Insinuations, indirect Implications from the Proceedings of Congress which they labour a thousand Ways to influence to their Purposes are the only Means they venture on.— it is not King, { 259 } Court, nor Nation. it is wholly owing to one french and one American Minister and their Tools. I am very happy to find you in Congress, I hope you will Stay there. You will soon see Mr Dana. He will unfold to you Scenes which will convince, if any Thing can.
My dear Friend Adieu
[signed] J. Adams
RC (MHi:Hoar Autograph Coll.); internal address: “Mr Gerry.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 107.
1. The remembrance of these things will prove a source of future pleasure (Virgil, Aeneid, Book I, line 203). JA had commented on Silas Deane, Philippe Charles Jean Baptiste Tronson du Coudray, “Marshall M.”— probably Yves Marie Desmaretz, Comte de Maillebois—and the appointment of French officers in essentially the same context in a letter to James Warren of 16 April (and notes 2 and 3, vol. 14:419). By the quotation from Virgil, JA probably means that Deane’s papers would provide a history of the whole affair, which could in the future be contemplated with pleasure because the consequences had been fortuitously avoided.
2. In a series of letters written in the spring of 1781 and published the following fall after allegedly being intercepted by the British, Deane, an intimate of Benjamin Franklin, claimed that France, in rendering assistance to the United States in the war against Britain, deliberately provided aid sufficient to prevent defeat and discourage accommodation but insufficient to permit victory. France, Deane argued, sought to prolong hostilities in order to weaken Britain at the expense of the United States (Paris Papers; or Mr. Silas Deane’s Late Intercepted Letters, N.Y., [1782], p. 27, 31, 40–43, 76–79, 99–100, 115–116, 119–120, 122–123, 124–126, Evans, No. 17509). For the publication of Deane’s “intercepted” letters, see vol. 12:204.
3. See JA’s second letter to Robert R. Livingston of 13 Aug. 1783, and note 1, above.
4. Congress enumerated the public offices held by each of the men appointed to negotiate a peace treaty with Britain—JA, Franklin, John Jay, Henry Laurens, and Thomas Jefferson—in the joint commission of [15 June 1781] (vol. 11:371–374). The preamble of the definitive treaty of [3 Sept. 1783], above, incorporated the same information for the American commissioners signing it—JA, Franklin, and Jay.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0118

Author: American Peace Commissioners
Recipient: Hartley, David
Date: 1783-09-05

The American Peace Commissioners to David Hartley

[salute] Sir,

We have received the Letter which you did us the Honour to write yesterday.
Your friendly Congratulations on the signature of the definitive Treaty, meet with cordial Returns on our Part; and we sincerely rejoice with you in that event; by which the Ruler of Nations has been graciously pleased to give Peace to our two Countries.
We are no less ready to join our endeavours than our wishes with yours, to concert such measures for regulating the future intercourse between Great Britain & the United States, as by being consistent with the Honour and Interest of both may tend to increase & perpetuate mutual Confidence & good-will.—2 We ought nevertheless to apprize you that as no construction of our Commission could { 260 } at any Period extend it, unless by Implication, to several of the proposed Stipulations; and as our Instructions respecting commercial Provisions however explicit, suppose their being incorporated in the definitive Treaty, a Recurrence to Congress, previous to the signature of them will be necessary, unless obviated by the Dispatches we may sooner receive from them.
We shall immediately write to them on the Subject, and we are persuaded that the same disposition to Confidence and Friendship, which has induced them already to give unrestrained Course to British Commerce, and unconditionally to liberate all Prisoners, at a time when more caution would not have appeared singular, will also urge their attention to the objects in question, and lead them to every proper measure for promoting a liberal & satisfactory intercourse between the two Countries—
We have communicated to Congress the repeated3 friendly assurances with which you have officially honoured us on those subjects, and we are persuaded that the Period of their being realized, will have an auspicious & conciliating influence on all the Parties in the late unhappy dissensions—
We have the honour to be Sir, / with great Respect & Esteem / Your most obedt & humble Servants
[signed] John Adams
[signed] B Franklin
[signed] John Jay
FC (PRO:FO 4, 2:220–221); internal address: “Honble D Hartley Esqr / His Britannic Majesty’s / Minister Plenipotentiary.” LbC-Tr’s (Adams Papers); APM Reel 103.
1. There are two copies of this letter in the Letterbook that Jean L’Air de Lamotte prepared for the commissioners. The first copy bears the heading “Copy of the Letter to Mr. Hartley, as 1st. sent.” The second copy is headed “Copy of the Letter to Mr. Hartley with the alterations” and except for minor variations matches the British file copy printed above. JA printed both versions in the Boston Patriot of 26 Feb. 1812, there designating the first as “the first draft.” Since there is no evidence that variant copies of this letter actually were sent to Hartley, it seems likely that after the letter was drafted and signed it was reconsidered and altered, perhaps to make it less discouraging regarding the possibility of an Anglo-American commercial agreement, but see the commissioners’ 7 Sept. letter to Hartley, below. Differences in capitalization, spelling, and punctuation between the draft version and the letter as sent have not been indicated, but for substantive differences between the two versions, see notes 2 and 3.
2. From this point through the next paragraph below, the draft of the letter reads “We must, nevertheless, candidly inform you, that we consider our Commission as terminated; and, therefore, without further Authority from Congress, will not be able to sign and conclude. All we can at present do, is, to confer with you & recommend to Congress such Propositions as may appear to us to merit their Assent: And we shall propose to them to send a Commission to Europe without delay for these important Purposes.
“The unrestrained Course already given by the States to the British Commerce with { 261 } them, & the unconditional Liberation of Prisoners, at a Time when more Caution would not have been singular, are marks of Liberty and Confidence, which, we flatter ourselves, will be equalled by the Magnanimity of his Majesty & the People of Great Britain.”
3. In the draft version, “repeated” is preceded by “Warm &.”

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0119

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1783-09-06

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] Dear Sir

I Shall never know when I have done writing to you. Our Affairs [are so] unsettled, and I am So uninformed, and uncertain about every Thing in America, th[at] you will excuse me if I give you, more Trouble than usual.
I take it for granted, that you will not recall all your present Ministers, and neglect to Send new ones, altogether. This would be to Suppose that you dont mean to make any Treaty of Commerce with England, Denmark, Portugal, Spain, or either of the Empires.—for you may depend upon it that neither the Emperor of Germany, the Empress of Russia, the King of England or of Spain will ever Send a Minister to you first. This is a Point of Delicacy and Etiquette which they will never give up. England would not give it up to France nor Vice Versâ.— it was lately agreed, that the Duke of Manchester and the Comte D’Adhemar Should cross the Pass of Calais at the Same time or at least in the Same Boat one as it went and the other as it returned. I judge from Hints from Dr Franklin that he will insinuate in his Letters to Members of Congress, that they ought not to Send to London a Minister, untill the K. of G. Britain Sends one to Congress. if this is insinuated it is insidiously done, to recommend himself to Vergennes by defeating the Measure. now in my opinion it is of more Importance you should have a Minister in London, than in all the rest of Europe and will be so for Some time. if you do not Send a Minister there I presume you will Send a Commission, for making a Treaty of Commerce with G. B. to some one or to all of your Ministers for Peace.— it should be most natural and honourable to insert in it all your Ministers in Europe.— perhaps there may be Some objection about the order in which they now Stand. This may be obviated by resolving upon the Commission, and the Number of Ministers to be inserted in it, and then proceeding to elect them in the Usual Way and let him Stand first who is chosen first or has the most Votes according to your usual Rule. in this Case neither would refuse or be offended, whichever { 262 } Stood first. if you intend to make a Treaty of Commerce with Denmark or Portugal, and that such Treaty shall be made with, the Comte de Souza Baron Waltersdorf or other Minister at the Court of Versailles, it is infinitely best that the Names of all your Ministers in Europe, Shall be inserted, and the Power given to them jointly & severally as it was in the Commission for Peace, so that all may attend if they can, or at least notified and have oppertunity to send their Hints and Advice in Writing. if you mean to have a Treaty with the two Empires or either of them, you may Send a Commission, in the Same manner, if you do not chose to Send a Minister to either of those Courts.— in this Way the Expence will be no greater than it has been, and all necessary Treaties may be made in the Course of about one Year, or a Year & an half, and then if you please you may recall every Minister you have in Europe. But I think you ought not to recall all your Ministers till this is done. our Commercial and political Systems depend too much upon having these Treaties made to have them neglected. You may Send fresh hands it is true. But fresh Hands I know by woefull Experience have so many Timidities, so many difficulties arising from a clumsiness in the Language, and are so little respected at first and untill they have learned the Language, and made themselves taken Notice of. Every Man who comes new from America has a Reputation to make, I assure you, and Connections to form before he can do much, upon the whole therefore I think it will be best that at least Some of the old Hands should be employed.
For my own Part, my first Wish is very Sincerely to go home, and the greatest Pleasure you can do me is to send me, the Acceptance of my Resignation. But if it is thought proper to refuse or neglect to send me this Acceptance, that is Letters of Recall to their High Mightinesses and the Prince of orange, I think, the Honour of Congress as well as my own honour requires that you should revive my old Commission to make a Treaty of Commerce with Great Britain. But if you insert me with the rest in a general Commission to make Treaties at Paris with England Portugal Denmark the Empires or any of these, and continue me in my Post in Holland, I will not refuse.2 in this Case I can ride, from Paris to the Hague and from the Hague to Paris often enough to do the necessary Duty in both, and can take good Care of your Loan in Amsterdam. or if you think proper to send me to Vienna, I will not refuse.— But I am determined not to be shut up croaking with the Froggs in Holland, doing { 263 } nothing, or very little while others are employed to do all your Business of Importance, in the rest of Europe. My Health besides would sink in that Country, in which I can not bear a constant Residence. Besides if Franklin is suffered to go on with his clandestine Schemes of Smuggling Treaties and thus Sacrificing the Interest and Honour of his Country and the Reputations of all her faith full servants to his own Vanity as he has done, I am determined at all Events Leave or no Leave to come home. But above all Things I pray you to determine. if you send me my Letters of Recall all is well I come home. if you send me to England, Vienna, or continue me in holland inserting me at the Same time in a Commission at Paris to make Treaties with England, the Empires Denmark Portugal or any of them, Send me my Family, for I am decidedly God willing, never to live another Year without my Wife.—3 But if I get no Answer or if I am left to grope and moap in holland, I will go home in the first Spring Ships, Leave or no Leave.— Thus my dear Friend I have laid open my Thoughts to you with Freedom, you will communicate them to whom and in what manner you think proper.— Jay is so good and wise a Man So thoroughly able and willing, that I wish him any Thing you can make him. You can find no better Materials for your choicest Work.
If you make a general Commission, and appoint a secretary to it, no Man living is fitter for it, or deserves it more than Thaxter.4
My dear Friend Farewell
[signed] John Adams.
RC (MHi:Gerry Papers); internal address: “Mr Gerry.”; endorsed: “Paris Letter / His Excellency J / Adams Esq July / 2d Aug 19 Decr / 14th 1782 / Aug 15 / Sep 3 5 5th 8 / 10 1783 / Ansd 23h / Nov 1783.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 106. Text lost due to a torn manuscript has been supplied from the LbC.
1. The Letterbook copy is dated 5 September.
2. Compare JA’s willingness here to remain in Europe as part of a joint commission to negotiate an Anglo-American commercial treaty with his earlier refusal to remain in any capacity other than minister to Britain expressed in letters to Thomas McKean of 6 Feb. and James Warren of 9 April, vol. 14:248, 388–389, and Robert R. Livingston of 16 June, above. Congress’ 1 May resolution, authorizing JA, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay to negotiate a commercial treaty with Britain, reached JA and his colleagues on 7 Sept., for which see JA’s first letter to the president of Congress of 8 Sept., below.
3. Gerry referred to this sentence and quoted part of it in his 24 Nov. letter to AA (AFC, 5:275), but see also JA’s letter to Gerry of 8 Sept., and note 4, below.
4. For a more detailed appeal on behalf of Thaxter, see JA’s 8 Sept. letter to Gerry, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0120

Author: Hartley, David
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-09-06

From David Hartley

[salute] My Dear Sir

I told you last night that I felt myself unwell with the Commencement of a complaint on my breast. I am this morning obliged to be bled. I shd be very much obliged to you if you wd be so good as to prevail upon your Collegues to favour me with a visit this morning as I really cannot come out myself. The sooner the better, because I hope with bleeding & one day’s nursing that I may get off for England tomorrow.2 I am very impatient to take that journey wch I hope may contribute to lay foundations for good things in future. I am Dear Sir / Your much obliged friend / & humble Servt
[signed] D Hartley
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “To His Excellency / J Adams Esqr &c &c &c.” Filmed at [1783].
1. This date is derived from JA’s 6 Sept. letter acknowledging Hartley’s letter of that morning reporting his “Indisposition” (private owner, 1962).
2. Hartley left Paris on the morning of 8 Sept. and reached London on the evening of the 11th (Hartley to Benjamin Franklin, 7 Sept., MiU-C:Hartley Papers; London Gazette, 9–13 Sept.), but see also Charles Storer’s letter of 13 Sept., below.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0121

Author: American Peace Commissioners
Recipient: Hartley, David
Date: 1783-09-07

The American Peace Commissioners to David Hartley

[salute] Sir,

We have the Honour of transmitting herewith inclosed an Extract of a Resolution of Congress of the 1st May last, which we have just received.
You will perceive from it that we may daily expect a Commission in due Form for the Purposes mentioned in it, and we assure you of our readiness to enter upon the Business, whenever you think proper.
We have the Honor to be with great Respect and Esteem / Sir, / Your most obedient / humble Servants
[signed] John Adams
[signed] B Franklin
[signed] John Jay
RC (PRO:FO 4, 2:224); internal address: “Honble D Hartley Esqr.” LbC-Tr (Adams Papers); APM Reel 103.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0122

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1783-09-08

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

Yesterday morning, Mr. Jay informed me, that Dr. Franklin had recieved, & soon afterwards the Dr. put into my hands the Resolution of Congress of the first of May, ordering Commission and Instructions to be prepared to those Gentlemen and myself, for making a Treaty of Commerce with Great Britain. This Resolution, with your Excellency’s Letter, arrived very seasonably, as Mr. Hartley was setting off for London, with Information from Us that our Powers were executed.1
I am very sensible of the Honor that is done me by this Resolution of Congress, & of the great Importance of the Business committed to our Care, & shall not therefore hesitate to take a part in it.2 I can attend to this Business, and at the same time have some Care of your Affairs in Holland— And in Case the present Loan should be full, in the Course of the next Winter I can open a new one, either by going to Amsterdam, or by having the Obligations sent to me, in Paris to be signed. In this way there will be no additional Expence to the Publick, as I have informed Mr. Dumas that there must be no Expence made at the Hague on my Account, or on account of Congress, but that all his Expences must be borne by himself, or he must at least settle them with Congress. I have so much regard for this Gentleman, and such an opinion of his Worth & Merit, that I cannot but recommend him upon this Occasion to Congress for the Commission of Secretary of that Legation: But as œconomy is & ought to be carefully attended to, I presume not to point out the Salary which will be proper. There are so many ways of pillaging public Men in Europe, that it will be difficult for Congress to concieve the Expences which are unavoidable in these Countries.— If the principle of œconomy should restrain Congress from sending Ministers to Vienna, Petersbourg, Copenhagen & Lisbon, they will probably send a Commission to Paris to negotiate Treaties there—because I think it will appear to be of great Importance, both in a political & commercial light, to have Treaties with those Powers. If this should be the Case, as three of Us shall be now obliged to attend at Paris the tedious Negotiation with England, we can all at the same time & with the same Expence attend to the Negotiations with the other Powers, which will afford to all an Opportunity of throwing in any hints which may occur for the { 266 } public good, & will have a much better Appearance in the Eyes of Europe & America. I do not hesitate therefore to request, that if such a Commission, or Commissions should be sent, that all your Ministers in Europe may be inserted in it. If the Arrangement should make any difficulty in America, it will make none with me— For altho’ I think there was good Reason for the Order in which the Names stand in the new Commission for Peace, & in the Resolution for a new Commission for a Treaty of Commerce; that Reason will not exist in any future Commission.3
Mr. Hartley’s Powers are sufficient to go through the Negotiations with Us, and I suppose it will be chiefly conducted at Paris— Yet we may all think it proper to make a Tour to London for a few Weeks, especially in Case any material Obstacle should arise. We are told, that such a Visit would have a good Effect at Court and with the Nation—At least, it seems clear it would do no Harm.
With the greatest Respect & Esteem, I have / the honor to be, / Sir, / your most obedient and / most humble Servant.
[signed] John Adams.4
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PCC, No. 84, V, f. 189–191); internal address: “His Excellency / Elias Boudinot Esqr / President of Congress.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.
1. The president’s letter enclosing Congress’ resolution of 1 May was dated 16 June, above. For Congress’ failure to implement the resolution, see note 2 to that letter. In referring to the commissioners’ powers as being executed, JA means that with the signing of the definitive treaty their authority to negotiate with Britain had lapsed. The arrival of the resolution led JA to write to AA once on 7 Sept. and twice more on the 10th, asking her in each to sail for Europe as soon as possible since he would be unable to return to America before the following spring (AFC, 5:236–239; Adams Papers).
2. JA felt honored by the resolution because it directly responded to his 5 Feb. letter to the president of Congress asserting the need for an Anglo-American commercial treaty and protesting the revocation of his commission to negotiate one (vol. 14:238–245).
3. Alert to the niceties of rank, title, and etiquette by which social relations were regulated in Europe, JA believed that he would have been disgraced there if Congress, having revoked his independent commissions to negotiate treaties of peace and commerce with Britain, had not placed his name first in subsequent joint commissions. See JA’s letter to Jonathan Jackson of 8 Nov. 1782, vol. 14:43–44. For a more detailed explanation of his views regarding the order of names in the past and subsequent commissions, see JA’s 10 Sept. 1783 letter to Elbridge Gerry, below.
4. In JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0123

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1783-09-08

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

As the Resolution of Congress of the first of May, has determined it to be my Duty to remain in Europe at least another Winter I shall { 267 } be obliged to say many things to your Excellency by Letter, which I hoped to have had the honour of saying upon the Floor of your house. Some of these Things may be Thought at first of little Consequence; but Time and Inquiry and Consideration will Shew them to have Weight, of this sort is the subject of this Letter.
The Views and Designs, the Intrigues and Projects of Courts, are let out by insensible degrees and with infinite Art and Delicacy in the Gazettes. These Channels of Communications are very Numerous, and they are artificially complicated in such a manner, that very few Persons are able to trace the Sources from whence Insinuations and Projects flow. The English Papers are an engine, by which every thing is scattered all over the world. They are open and free, the eyes of Mankind are fixed upon them. They are taken by all Courts and all Politicians and by almost all Gazetteers. of these Papers the French Emissaries in London even in Time of War, but especially in Time of Peace make a very great use. They insert in them Things which they wish to have circulated far and wide— Some of the Paragraphs inserted in them, will do to circulate through all Europe, and some will not, in the Courier de l’Europe— This is the most artfull Paper in the World. it is continually accommodating between the French and English Ministry. if it should offend the English essentially, the Ministry would prevent its publication. if it should Sin against the French unpardonably, the Ministry would instantly stop its Circulation. It is therefore continually under the Influence of the French Ministers, whose underworkers have many Things translated from the English Papers, and many others inserted in it originally, both to the End that they may be circulated over the World, and particularly, that they may be seen by the King of France, who reads this Paper constantly. from the English Papers and the Courier de l’Europe, many things are transferred into various other Gazettes, the Courier du Bas Rhin, the Gazette des Deux Ponts, the Courier d’Avignon and the Gazette des Pays Bas. The Gazettes of Leyden and Amsterdam are Sometimes used for the more grave and solid Objects, those of Deux Ponts and Avignon for popular Topicks the small Talk of Coffee Houses, and still smaller and lower Circles. All these Papers and many others discover a perpetual Complaisance for the French Ministry, because they are always in their Power so entirely that if an offensive Paragraph appears, the Entrance and Distribution of the Gazette may be stopped by an order from Court, by which the Gazetteer loses the sale of his Paper in France which is a great pecuniary Object.
{ 268 }
Whoever shall hereafter come to Europe, in any publick Employment, and take in the Papers above enumerated, will acknowledge his Obligations to me for mentioning them. He will find them a constant Source of Amusement, & sometimes of usefull Discoveries. I may hereafter Possibly, entertain Congress with some curious Speculations from these Gazettes, which have all their attention fixed upon us, & very often honour us with their animadversions, Sometimes with their Grave Councils, but oftener still with very sly and subtle Insinuations.
With great Respect and Esteem, I have the / honour to be, Sir, Your most obedient and / most humble Servant.
[signed] John Adams.1
RC in JQA’s hand (PCC, No. 84, V, f. 193–195); internal address: “His Excellency Elias Boudinot Esqr / President of Congress.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.
1. In JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0124

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1783-09-08

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear Mr. Gerry,

Yesterday morning, Dr. Franklin produced a Resolution of Congress, that A. F. & J. should be joined in a Commission to treat of Commerce with Great Britain. This is well, & I hope you will pursue the plan & send another Commission to the same Persons to treat with Joseph, Catharine, Denmark & Portugal. Jay & I do admirably well with the old Man. We go on very smoothly, & make him know what is right & do it, for absolutely he does not know of himself.
If you appoint a Secretary, will you let it be Thaxter? He has richly merited it. You need not give him a thousand a year, as you did Carmichael, Dana & W. T. Franklin—five hundred a year would do— But with less it would be impossible to live. Three hundred a year is really as little as a private Clerk can live upon with Decency, even when he has his Rent; his Board, Washing, Lodging, Coach when he wants it, &ca, in the Family of a Minister. I hint at Mr. Thaxter, because I think him from Experience the fittest for it— But this is the Affair of Congress, & they must do as they judge best. I hope none will complain of Expence, when it is necessary & reasonable. Compute how much my Residence in Holland has cost you— not more than five thousand pounds— Indeed it has not cost you { 269 } any thing, for you must have been at the same Expence for me as Minister of Peace, if I had lain idle at Paris. Compute next, how many Millions of Dollars the Capture of Burgoyne or Cornwallis cost you—nay how many Millions sterling? Now I say, and I can demonstrate, that the Negotiation in Holland advanced the American Cause more than the Capture of either of those Armies did. If Congress had indulged more Confidence in their Negotiations & Negotiators, they would have made more Advantage of them. I am as parsimonious of public Money, in principle & by habit, as any Man ought to be— But there is an œconomy at the Spigot & a Profusion at the Bung sometimes. Parsimony should not prevent your finishing your European System, by which you may save twenty Millions sterling in a future War. I am clear in this opinion, that, by the Expence of a few thousand pounds in Europe for two or three years to come, you will save many many Millions both in Commerce, Negotiation and War in future years. One thing more I beg may be attended to— The French dont wish you should have Ministers in Europe— They wish you may employ their little Agents to solicit for you every thing— They will therefore probably fall in with the Shoestring Ideas, in order to take you in, and secretly foment the Cry against Expence. Timeo Danaos, et dona ferentes.1 I dont think it worth while to send Ambassadors, but would continue Ministers Plenipotentiary. But I really think the Error would be less expensive in the end, to send Ambassadors to every great Court in Europe, with Salaries of six thousand sterling a year, than to recal all your Ministers, & appoint Residents only with one thousand a year, at present, & for two or three years to come. I beg you would not think of sending Residents only to the great Courts— It would sink the Reputation of our Country infinitely more than recalling all your Ministers, & sending no Residents at all. In Europe, Appearance is so decidedly necessary, that nothing can be done without it.— Your Resident could keep no Company with Ambassadors or Ministers— They would be the Scorn & Ridicule of every Commis in Office— These Commis have sixty thousand Livres a year, besides all their innumerable & unknown Perquisites.
When I was first in Holland, I used to make Visits with one Footman behind my Coach. The plainest Republicans, the severest of them all, came to me to remonstrate. Mr. Adams, Said they, you must never make a Visit with less than two Servants in Livery behind your Coach. You can neither keep up your own Reputation with our People, nor that of your Country, nor our Reputation who { 270 } associate with you & call you the American Minister, without it. “C’est trop en Bourgeois”2 This is the Fact.— It is seen and felt by every one.
The foreign Ministers at European Courts may be divided into three Classes. First.— Noblemen of high Rank and great Fortune in their Countries, who have six, eight or ten thousand Pounds from their Courts—some of whom are supposed to spend as much more out of their private Fortunes. These are commonly more fit for Parade than any thing else, or have particular Reasons for wishing to live out of their own Countries, or whose Courts have such Reasons for wishing them away. Secondly— Others who have smaller Salaries, but still handsome ones, & who spend twice as much, which they acquire by Speculations in Stocks, by making use of their Prerogatives in saving Duties upon Goods, even by secret Connections with Smugglers, by gaming & many other ways equally unfit to mention or suspect. All these Practices have been used, & perhaps are still— But Congress ought to execrate & condemn, in the most decided manner, every such thing in their Ministers. Thirdly— There are others, who have honorable Salaries, spend them honorably & are industrious & attentive to the Rights and Honor of their Country and their Masters.— Such and such only ought to be the American Ministers. The present Allowance to your Ministers, with an addition of 300. a year for a Clerk, is in my opinion as little as will possibly bear.— For besides all the expensive Articles of House, Coach, Livery Servants, Domestick Servants, Presents to the Servants at Courts, and the Pilferings of Servants, Tradesmen, Shopkeepers &ca., a great & inevitable deduction, your Ministers must keep an handsome Table, suitable to entertain genteel Company at all times, & great Company very often.3
Let me beg of you, my Friend, to write to my Wife, and advise her, whether it is prudent for her to come to me or not this Fall, or next Spring— Of this you will make no Words with any one, as it is not necessary to trouble others with the Cares of my Family.4
With great Esteem & sincere Affection, / your Friend.
[signed] John Adams.5
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (private owner, 1978); internal address: “Mr. Gerry.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 106.
1. I fear the Greeks even when they bear gifts (Virgil, Aeneid, Book II, line 49).
2. It is too common.
3. In the spring of 1783 the “happy arrival of peace” and the “reduced state of public finances” inspired Congress to take a fresh look at the arrangements of the department of foreign affairs, including the rank and { 271 } salary given to America’s overseas representatives. But it was a 11 July letter from the Mass. General Court complaining about congressional extravagance in the grant of military pensions and civil service salaries that for almost a year spurred Congress to explore decreasing the expense of national administration through the elimination of offices and the reduction of pay. Congress considered but ultimately rejected the idea of sending no ministers to foreign courts “except on extraordinary occasions.” It entertained multiple proposals to lower the salaries of ministers, set at £2,500 sterling, or $11,111.11, per year in Oct. 1779, before it settled on a new annual figure of $9,000 in May 1784 (JCC, 15:1145; 24:312, 483; 25:571–572, 577, 582–585, 606–609, 612–613, 825, 967; 26:125–127, 342–343, 349–350, 352–354; 27:367).
4. In the recipient’s copy this paragraph is crossed out, but by whom it is not known. It was omitted from the extract that was misdated 9 Sept. 1783 and published in Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:684–685. Gerry referred to the first sentence in his 24 Nov. letter to AA and told her that “I cannot think it advisable this fall as it is almost elapsed and a winters passage would be extremely disagreeable as well as dangerous” (AFC, 5:275).
5. In JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0125

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Samuel
Date: 1783-09-10

To Samuel Adams

[salute] My dear Friend,

We were very happy to have the definitive Treaty signed, altho’ We could obtain no Improvement Amendment or Alteration. The English had got so bewitched again, & began to appear to obtain such strange hopes, from the proceedings of the Army & the difference of Sentiments between Congress & some of the States, & discovered such an Inclination to sign with France & Spain without Us, that We were glad to get the Ratifications of the Provisional Treaty exchanged, & then to sign it over again for a definitive Treaty. We could do no better and were afraid of doing worse.— We have just recd. a fresh Authority to treat of Commerce with Britain. We may possibly go over to London in October for three or four Weeks, & hope to succeed tolerably, altho’ some very improper Characters have an Influence with the present Ministry. It remains to form Treaties with the two Empires, with Denmark, Portugal, Sardinia & Naples, as well as all the Barbary Powers. These things should all be done as soon as may be conveniently. If Congress should think fit to send Ministers to all or any of these, very well— But it does not appear to be necessary, & therefore they may think, in order to save Expence of sending Powers to one, or more, or all of their present Ministers in Europe.— I think if they send such Powers at all, they ought to send them to all, at least to those who are obliged to act together in Paris or London in the Commercial Negotiation with G. Britain.
Mr. Dana will soon be with you, & it is of great Importance you should send him forthwith to Congress. He can give great light in { 272 } our foreign Affairs. I recd. & answered your Letters by the Viscount and Marquiss & have written you since several times, but have no Letter from you since that time.1
You are happy with your Family, to whom please to present my Respects— Alass when shall I be so with mine. I had rather for my own personal Enjoyment be a select Man of Braintree, than Ambassador at any Court in Europe.
Mr. Jay has, I confess, disappointed me much—for altho’ I always thought him a consciencious Man, I did not expect from him so much Wisdom, Intrepidity, Perseverance and Disinterestedness, as I have found in him
Mr. Laurens has been little with Us. He is expected here daily, in his way to his Brother, in the South of France, whose precarious state will I believe detain Mr. Laurens in Europe another Winter.2
With great Regard, my dear Sir, your / Friend & Servant.
LbC in John Thaxter’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “Honble. Saml. Adams Esqr / President of the Senate”; APM Reel 106.
1. Samuel Adams wrote two letters to JA on 18 Dec. 1781, the first carried by the Marquis de Lafayette and the second by the Vicomte de Noailles (vol. 12:149–152). JA acknowledged only the former letter in his answer of 2 March 1782 (same, p. 282–284). He subsequently wrote to his second cousin on 15 June, 19, 29 Aug., and 5 April 1783 (vol. 13:125–126, 252–253, 402–403; 14:386).
2. Henry Laurens’ younger brother James had retired to Le Vigan in the south of France in fragile health in 1778. He died there on 25 Jan. 1784. Henry Laurens passed through Paris in Sept. 1783 and was at Le Vigan in early October, but by the date of his brother’s death he had returned to London (Laurens, Papers, 1:xxxix; 14:309–310; 16:343, 344, 372, 373).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0126

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1783-09-10

To the President of Congress

As I am to remain in Europe for sometime longer, I beg Leave to take a cursory view of what appears necessary or expedient to be further done in Europe, for I conceive it to be not only the Right but the Duty of a foreign Minister to advise his Sovereign according to his Lights and Judgment, although the more [extensive Information], and Superior Wisdom of the Sovereign may frequently [see] Cause to pursue a different Conduct.
With Spain no doubt Congress will negotiate by a particular Minister either the present One or another, and perhaps it would be proper that the Same should treat with Naples. [With the] two Empires, Prussia, Denmark, Portugal and Sardinia and [Tuscany], I humbly conceive it might be [proper to negotiate], and perhaps with { 273 } Hamborough, but there are other Powers with whom it is more necessary to have Treaties than it ought to be, I mean Morocco, Algiers, Tunis & Tripoli.
I presume that Congress will not think it expedient to be at the Expence of Sending Ministers to all these Powers, [if to any— Perhaps in the present state] of our Finances it may not be worth while to send any. Yet the present Time is the best to negotiate with all.— I Submit it to consideration then whether it is not adviseable to send, a Commission to Such Ministers as you judge proper, with full Powers to treat with all, to the Ministers now in Paris, or to any others. but I humbly conceive that if Powers to treat with all, or any of these states, are sent to any of your Ministers now here, [it would be for] the publick Good that they should be sent to all.— if Congress can find Funds to treat with the Barbary Powers, the [Ministers here are the best] situated, for they should apply to the Court of Versailles and their High Mightinesses, in the first Place that orders should be sent to their Consuls according to Treaties to assist Us. Ministers here may carry on this Negotiation by Letters or may be empowered to send an Agent if necessary.1
I have no private Interest in this business. My Salary will be the same my [Expences] more and Labour much increased by such a Measure: But as it is of publick Importance, I think that no unnecessary Delicacies should restrain me from suggesting these Hints to Congress. Whatever their Determination may be will be Satisfactory to me.
I have the Honour to be with the greatest Respect / your Excellencys most obedient & most humble / servant.
[signed] John Adams.
RC (PCC, No. 84, V, f. 197–198); internal address: “His Excellency Elias Boudinot Esqr. / President of Congress.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 106. Text lost due to illegibility has been supplied from the LbC.
1. Article 8 of the 1778 Franco-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce required France to use its “good Offices and Interposition” with the Barbary powers on behalf of the United States (Miller, Treaties, 2:8–9). But Art. 23 of the 1782 Dutch-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce was much more explicit in requiring the Netherlands to employ its local consuls to assist the United States in its negotiations with the Barbary powers (vol. 13:369).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0127

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cooper, Samuel
Date: 1783-09-10

To Samuel Cooper

[salute] Dear Sir,

I congratulate you upon the Ratification of the Provisional & the Signature of the definitive Treaty. You enjoy in America a pleasure, { 274 } which we in Europe are deprived of, that of seeing our Country at Peace, after all the cruel Cares of the War. If we can but get the Fisheries agoing and the West India Trade properly opened, we shall soon see our Country wear the face of Joy, and abound in plenty & prosperity— I hope too in Tranquility & Liberty.
The Articles respecting the Refugees, however, will be an unpleasant subject of Controversy for some time. The stipulations ought to be sacredly fulfilled, & the Recommendations at least decently treated and calmly considered. Errors on the side of forgiveness & Indulgence will be of the safest kind.
But the greatest difficulty remaining is, to perfect the Union of the States without endangering their Liberties. This is a knotty Problem— Yet I think the dangers greater from Disunion than too strict an Union at present. It is a great question too, how the Trade of the Continent shall be regulated, I mean their foreign Commerce. Can we maintain our Union? Can we treat with foreign Nations? Can we oblige them to any thing like Equity and Reciprocity in our Communication with them, unless our foreign Commerce is under one Direction—unless all the States lay on the same & no other Duties, & make the same and no other Prohibitions?
With great Regard, dear Sir, I am / your Friend & Servant
LbC in John Thaxter’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “Dr Cooper”; APM Reel 106.
1. JA wrote similar letters on this date to Richard Cranch and Cotton Tufts (AFC, 5:239–242).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0128

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dumas, C. W. F.
Date: 1783-09-10

To C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Dear Sir

It has ever been my intention to come in Person to the Hague, and take Leave of their High Mightinesses, with all the Respect in my Power, before my departure for America. it is still my design. If it is the usage of their High Mightinesses, as you Say it is, to make a Present of a Chain upon the occasion, it will be very agreable to me to accept it, and in the Language of my Countrymen I hope it will prove the Chain of perpetual Peace and invariable Friendship, and brighten more and more with Time.
We have recd this Week a Resolution of Congress by which it appears that Your Servant, Dr Franklin & Mr Jay, are to be associated in a new Commission to make a Treaty of Commerce with Great { 275 } Britain, which will be a Work of Some time and oblige Us all perhaps to go to London. I cannot expect therefore to embark for America this Year, perhaps not before next sum[er,] This is a little Triste, to me, but I must make the [best] of it.—
I Shall probably be continued in my Pos[t at] the Hague, untill there is a general settlement in Co[ngress,] of our foreign Affairs.— Perhaps We may have all [Liberty] to return home next Year, afte[r W]e shall have finished off, a few Things which remain, but as it is unsettled as yet, I may be still destined to remain at the Hague.— I can take no Resolution nor form any Plan while Things remain at home so loose. I could do more in America in a Month towards settling Things than I can do here in four Years. Yet I cannot go home without orders or rather against orders, when Things of so much Importance remain in Europe to be finished entrusted in Part to my Care.— I may yet bring my Family to the Hague and become a Dutchman for what I know, or I may go home in the Month of March. I can form no Guess.—
I congratulate you, on the final Conclusion of the Peace and I think I may congratulate our Friends too.— They have gained in their domestic Liberties, they have gained in their national Independence among the Powers of Europe, and they have opened to themselves American Commerce, although they have lost a little Territory and a Point or two by the War.1 The Damages done to their Trade, and all their Expences, make [a] small figure in Comparison of those of France & England. [So] that I think We may say they are the better for the War [alt]hough not so much so as they might and ought to [ha]ve been.
Let me beg of you, to make all the Inquiries concerning [ou]r Loan, which you can in Prudence, and write to Congress or Mr Morris upon the subject.—2 You would do well to turn the most of your Though[ts this] Way for there is nothing now of so much Importance to Us.
I am Surprized that the late Proceedings of the Army and the difference of Sentiment between Congress and the states instead of lessening the Credit of America, do not increase it. Are there not the manifest symptoms of a brave, enlightened and high Spirited People, jealous of every danger to their Liberties, and determined to support them against every Error in Judgment, even of their own Army their own General and their own Congress. dont you see that all these are obliged to give Way before the superiour Understanding of the Body of the People.?
{ 276 }
My Respects to your good Family, and believe me your / Friend and humble servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (DLC:Dumas Papers); addressed: “Monsieur / Monsieur C. W. F Dumas / à l’hotel des Etats Unis de l’Amerique / La Haye”; endorsed: “Paris 10e. 7ber. 1783 / E. Mr. J. Adams.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 106. Text lost due to a torn manuscript has been supplied from the LbC.
1. JA likely had not seen the text of the Anglo-Dutch preliminary peace treaty, which he received as an enclosure in a 12 Sept. letter from Gerard Brantsen (to the president of Congress, 13 Sept., calendared, below). But he knew generally of its provisions, most notably the loss of the Dutch East India Company’s establishment at Negapatam (now Nagapattinam) on India’s Coromandel Coast. The Dutch blamed lack of French support for the loss (vol. 14:235–238).
2. For Dumas’ efforts regarding the loan, see his letter of 18 Sept., and note 2, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0129

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1783-09-10

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear Friend,

As to the Trade with the West Indies, I do not think we can hope to revive it upon more favorable Terms than those before the War. If we can be admitted to carry Cargoes to G. Britain & Ireland, or G. Britain alone from the Islands, giving Bonds with Sureties to land them in some Port of those Kingdoms, it will be all we can expect. If Congress, are of the same Mind, they had better empower Us to conclude upon those Terms— To admit Us to carry Sugars and all the produce of the West Indies to other parts of Europe or to North America, without restriction, would indeed be giving up all their West India Trade in a manner.
I beg you would make a point of putting Jay and me into the Commission for treating with Denmark, Portugal and the two Empires— Place Franklin at the head of the Commission if you will. It was perfectly right to put me first in the two Commissions, in which I came out to Europe sole— But it will be now right to put Franklin first in this Commission, provided he is chosen first, or has most Votes, according to your common Rule. As the Reason, which placed me foremost in two Commissions, now ceases, it will not be amiss to follow the rule of Seniority of Ministers— If you had pursued your plan of confiding one business to one Minister, all would have been well—but as you have broke the rule, & joined a Number in two Commissions, you ought to join them in all which are to be executed in the same place. None will have a right to complain, and any other rule has ill effects in Europe and America.1
But this is not all. This method of smuggling Treaties into { 277 } Franklin’s Hands alone, is contrived by Vergennes on purpose to throw slights upon Jay and me, & to cheat you out of your Carrying Trade.
I beg it may be considered, that it ought to be insisted on by Us, with Portugal, Denmark, Germany & Russia, that American Productions, imported into their Dominions in American Vessels, navigated by American Seamen, ought to pay no higher Duties than if imported in the Ships of those Countries. This will never be insisted on, unless you put Jay & me into the Commission, or give it as a positive Instruction.
But you ought to have some Sympathy for the feelings of your Ministers, and more for their Reputations: This is hint enough for you. I beg you to write me. Our Affairs will all end extremely well, if we are supported— But if Franklin is suffered to go on with that low Cunning, and mean Craft, with which he has always acted, & by which he has done so much Mischief, the public will suffer.
your Friend.
[signed] John Adams.2
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (MHi:Hoar Autograph Coll.); internal address: “Mr. Gerry.”; endorsed: “10 Sepr 83.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 107.
1. See JA’s earlier, less-detailed comments regarding the order of names in past and future commissions, in his first letter of 8 Sept. to the president of Congress, above.
2. In JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0130

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gordon, William
Date: 1783-09-10

To William Gordon

[salute] Sir

I have recd yours of 28 June & thank you for the information it contains— In all domestick Disputes I wish our countrymen, may moderate their passions, & manifest as much mutual forbearance as possible. I dread the course of our elections if parties prevail. Every publick Man is in a dangerous & perplexed Situation at present, & as few obstacles should be thrown in his way & as much Candour & Indulgence shewn him as possible. I have had too many Obstructions contrived for me, & although I have always got the better of them, hitherto, I have felt the smart of them too sensibly, not to wish every other well meaning man excused from them.
There will be a variety of foreign interests in our Country, & We must be upon our Guard against them all. We must all think seriously of preserving our Union, which is of indispensible Importance to Us.
I am sorry my Friend Dalton declines going to Congress. More { 278 } depends upon good Men at that great Wheel, than our People at the Northward are aware. That is the principal Place to guard against foreign Projects, which will address themselves sometimes to aristocratical, sometimes to democratical, & sometimes to military Passions & Prejudices. Nothing will come amis to carry a Point. Is the[. . . .]r1 that shoestring stinginess even may be stimulated, to get every honest man out of Europe, & leave only [. . .] at a certain Court.— Timeo danaos2 The great Point has been & will be to chicane honest Men out o[f Europ]e. I don’t care how soon it prevails against me, but I would have the rest preserved & others sent.— I have [s]een so many of the curses of low cunning & mean Craft, that I begin to think Homer wrong in not damning to Infamy the Character of Ulisses.
I hope that private honesty will not be violated in any debt, & that as much moderation may be shewn towards the Tories as possible. The Stipulations should be sacred, & the Recommendations at least treated with decency & seriously considered. I cannot help saying I wish they could be complied with.— We could not obtain the Peace without them.— When I agreed, that Congress should recommend, I was sincere, I then wished & still wish that the Recommendations may be agreed to. This is unpopular no doubt, But Treaties are solemn Things, in which there should be no mental Reservations. When N. York & Penobscot are evacuated, the People may be cooler.— It will be an ugly Bone of Contention.— I always dreaded it, & would have avoided it, if it had been possible, but it was not.—
Congress have resolved, that your humble Servant, Dr F & Mr J make a Treaty of Commerce with England. I hope they will resolve that the same Men should make others with Denmark, Portugal & the two Empires. How long one or the other may detain me I know not.— F. is trying to get appointed alone to treat with Denmark & Portugal, & unfair means have been used to assist him. But I hope he will be disappointed. I am persuaded a bad Treaty will be made if he is not.— He is not too wise or knowing, not to stand in need of the Advice & Reflections & Information of others. When we are all here, why should We not be all employed?— Business has not been better done by him alone, than by others alone; nor by him alone, than by him in Conjunction with others. Jay & I have no Interest, our Salaries are no larger, our Care is more & our Expenses more for being in more Business. But this smuggling of Treaties is intended, to deprive Us of Advantages that We should endeavour to { 279 } secure. The carrying Trade should be cherished by every fair means, & this will be hurt by the Treaties if they are not more attended to than they will be by Dr F. if he makes them alone.
Your Friend & Servant.
Tr (NN:Gerry-Townsend Papers). The RC of this letter has not been found, but William Gordon copied it into his 24 Dec. letter to Elbridge Gerry. The version of the letter printed here is taken from that source. Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. Approximately three words missing.
2. JA means that the French would seek to have Benjamin Franklin left as the only American diplomat in Europe so that they could retain their influence over American policy. See JA’s 8 Sept. letter to Elbridge Gerry, above, for his use of the full quotation from Virgil.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0131

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1783-09-10

To James Warren

[salute] My dear Friend,

I received with great Pleasure yours of 24. June. The Approbation of my Countrymen is a great Pleasure and Support to me but that approbation does not extend I fancy so far as you and several others seem to imagine. if it does I am unfit for their Purposes, having neither Health nor Patience, for the arduous and trying Duties of their first Magistrate. an honour too high and a situation too delicate for me.
A Residence in the Massachusetts is the desire of my soul, and the only one where I can enjoy Life. I still hope to pass, my Evening, hastening on a pace in that Country: But Congress have tied me again to Europe by a new Commission so honourable to me, as to have really touched my heart.— Upon a very long Letter of mine they have founded this Commission and have owned it, in their Journals.1 Whoever shall compare the Letter and Commission together, will own that it does me infinite honour, and ought to silence forever every Complaint on my part for what is past. I am now indifferent who goes to England, but still think the public Good requires that some one should go.
We shall do our Utmost Endeavour to Secure to Mass. & N. Hampshire a Way to Market for their ships through the West India Islands. But N. Hampshire and Rhode Island too, should support in Congress, those Men to whom if to any body they must be indebted, for this Benefit, and not Sacrifice them to the Vanity of another, who will take little Pains about it, who is afraid to think in the day, { 280 } for fear he should not sleep at night. whose whole Time and thoughts S[eem] to be taken up, with little clandestime Projects to gratify his private Vanity and Secure to himself, and his Name exclusive Reputation, at the Expence even of others who do real Business for the Benefit of the public and who think and act wholly for its good.
our Navigation will be materially affected, by our Treaties with Denmark and Portugal, which Dr Franklin has been secretly contriving to get the exclusive Management of, as he did that of sweeden. N.H. & R. Island shd be upon their Guard, and join others in this Business who think a little about it.—
Mr Dana will soon be with you— He can give you very entertaining and instructive Histories not of Voyages and Travels alone, but of Negotiations. His defeat, comes from the same source, very secret and cunning, but very malicious to every Man and every Project, calculated for the public Good. one Man seems to have a positive Spight against every public service, that he does not exclusively perform himself.—2 He opposes it and persecutes the Agent in it with a Malice and Rancour that is astonishing. I could have formed no Idea, that Jealousy Envy and Vanity could have gone such Lengths.
I think our Country should form Treaties with the two Empires, as well as Denmark and Portugal. to these should be added, Morocco, Algiers, Tunis & Tripoli—perhaps too the Kings of Sardinia, and Naples. one Commission, may be enough for all these Purposes, in order to save Expence. But this Commission ought not to be given to one alone at Paris when three are obliged to reside there on another Negotiation. We should be all joined in it, and When We have compleated the Business We may all go home.
My best Respects and kindest Regards to your Family. My Friend Mr Otis, Seems to have been permitted to see the Building finished which he framed, and then taken away in a manner equally happy and distinguished.— He was a favourite of Nature in his Genius and in his Death.— The History of our Country I hope will do Justice to this great Character.
With great Esteem, your Frd & sert
[signed] J. Adams
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); internal address: “General Warren.”; endorsed: “Mr J. Adams / Lettr Sepr 10. 83.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 107. Text lost due to a torn manuscript has been supplied from the LbC.
1. See JA’s letters to the president of Congress of 5 Feb., and note 1, vol. 14:238–245, and of 8 Sept. (first), and note 2, above.
2. Both JA and Francis Dana suspected { 281 } that Benjamin Franklin had connived with the Comte de Vergennes to shift responsibility for the negotiation of a Russo-American commercial treaty from Dana at St. Petersburg to Franklin at Paris. See JA’s letter to Dana of 24 March, vol. 14:358–359, and Dana’s letter to JA of [1 June], above.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0132

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, Mercy Otis
Date: 1783-09-10

To Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] Madam

It is but a very few days, Since I received your Letter of the 4. of May, which affored me, as your Letters always do, a delicious Entertainment.1 Your friendly Congratulations, on the Success of my feeble Efforts, are very agreable to me, and very obliging.
You Say that I shall never retire, till weary Nature diminishes my Capacity of acting in dignified difficulty.— Give me leave to say, that the Period is already arrived. Nature is weary, the Capacity is diminished but what is more agreable to Think of, the dignified difficulties are all at an End.— I always had a Knack at a Difficulty. My Country Clients used to tell me, Mr Adams is excellent at a difficult Case. and having a reputation for this I was always vexed with them.— Few of the Race of Adam have had more difficulties fall to his share.— But I consider them as all at an End in a manner.
Probity, Madam would be not only the Surest, but the only Road to honour if Mankind were not deceived. But there are so many Ways of cheating and imposing upon the most enlightened People, that it is almost impossible to keep Steady their Approbation of the Just, their Contempt of the Vile, or their Abhorrence of the Wicked.
I believe I have never failed to Answer a Letter from Marcia, if I have I was very much to blame, and very inattentive to my own Interest, for I prize very highly her Letters, both for the Pleasure and Instruction I derive from them
I have absolutely got above all Fatigue from Pomp and Parade. it has no Effect upon me. one may be familiarized to any Thing. My house Stands in a very publick Place at the Confluence of Several, much frequented streets. there are generally half a dozen Chariots at a Time, rolling by upon the Pavements, for at least one and twenty hours out of the four & twenty making an incessant Roar, like the Falls of Niagara.— Yet I dont hear it.— I write, read, &c as if all were still.—2 The imposing Glare of a Court, at present has as little Effect on me. I am as insensible to it, as an I[ndi]an would be.
I have indeed, Madame been horribly neglected in the Article of Intelligence. I have endeavoured to correspond with Members of Congress but before my Letters could reach them they had retired.— { 282 } I have been Shamefully uninformed of what has passed at Philadelphia & Boston. But I hope for better Times.
It was with very Affecting sentiments that I learned, the Death of Mr Otis my worthy Master. Extraordinary in Death as in Life, he has left a Character, which will never die, while the Memory of the American Revolution remains, whose Foundations he laid, with an Ennergy, and with those Masterly Abilities which no other Man possessed.
With very great Respect and Esteem I have the / honour to be, Madam your sincere Friend and / very humble servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); internal address: “Mrs Warren.”; endorsed: “Mr Adams—” and “Hon: Jno Adams / Sepr 10th 1783.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 107. Text lost due to a torn manuscript has been supplied from the LbC.
1. Vol. 14:466–468.
2. JA wrote of the traffic noise outside his lodgings at the Hôtel du Roi in the Boston Patriot of 29 April 1812, recalling that “the grand hotel du Roi, place du Carrousel, where I had apartments, was situated at the confluence of so many streets, that it was a kind of thoroughfare. A constant stream of carriages was rolling by it over the pavements for one and twenty hours out of the twenty-four. From two o’clock to five in the morning there was something like stillness and silence, but all the other one and twenty hours was a constant roar, like incessant rolls of thunder. When I was in my best health I sometimes thought it would kill me.” For more on the din in the Place du Carrousel and its effect on JA, see his letter to the president of Congress, 14 Sept. 1783, note 1, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0133

Author: American Peace Commissioners
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Boudinot, Elias
Date: 1783-09-10

The American Peace Commissioners to the President of Congress

[salute] Sir,

On the third Instant, Definitive Treaties were concluded, between all the late belligerent Powers, except the Dutch, who the Day before settled and signed Preliminary Articles of Peace with Britain.
We most sincerely & cordially congratulate Congress and our Country in general, on this happy Event, and we hope that the same kind Providence which has led us thro’ a vigorous War, to an honorable Peace, will enable us to make a wise & moderate Use of that inestimable Blessing.
We have committed a Duplicate Original of the Treaty to the Care of Mr. Thaxter, who will go immediately to L’Orient, whence he will sail in the French Packet to New-York. That Gentleman left America with Mr. Adams as his Private Secretary, and his Conduct having been perfectly satisfactory to that Minister, we join in { 283 } recommending him to the Attention of Congress. We have orderd Mr. Grand to pay him one hundred and thirty Louis d’ors, on account of the reasonable Expences to be incurr’d by his Mission to Congress, and his Journey from thence to his Family at Hingham in the Massachusetts Bay. For the Disposition of the Money he is to account.1
The Definitive Treaty being in the Terms of the Provisional Articles, and not comprehending any of the Objects of our subsequent Negociations, it is proper that we give a summary Account of them.
When Mr Hartley arrived here he brought with him only a set of Instructions signed by the King. We objected to proceeding with him until he should have a Commission in Form. This occasioned some Delay—a proper Commission was however transmitted to him, a Copy of which was shortly after sent to Mr. Livingston.2
We having been instructed to obtain if possible an Article for a Direct Trade to the West Indies, made to Mr. Hartley the Proposition No 1.3
He approved of it greatly and recommended it to his Court, but they declined assenting to it.
Mr Hartley then made us the Proposition No 2. but on being asked whether he was authorized to sign it, in Case we agreed to it, he answer’d in the Negative.4 We therefore thought it improper to proceed to the Consideration of it until after he should have obtained the Consent of his Court to it. We also desired to be informed whether his Court would or would not comprehend Ireland in their Stipulations with us.
The British Cabinet would not adopt Mr Hartley’s Propositions but their Letters to him were calculated to inspire us with Expectations, that as nothing but particular local Circumstances, which would probably not be of long duration, restrained them from preferring the most liberal System of Commerce with us, the Ministry would take the earliest Opportunity of gratifying their own Wishes as well as ours, on that Subject.—
Mr Hartley then made us the Proposition No 3.5 At this Time we were informed that Letters for us had arrived in France from Philada.. We expected to receive Instructions in them, and told Mr. Hartley that this Expectation induced us to post pone giving him an Answer for a few Days.
The Vessel by which we had expected these Letters, it seems had not brought any for us. But at that Time Information arrived from America, that our Ports were all opened to British Vessels. Mr { 284 } Hartley thereupon did not think himself at Liberty to proceed, until after he should communicate that Intelligence to his Court and receive their further Instructions.
Those further Instructions never came, and thus our Endeavours as to commercial Regulations, proved fruitless. We had many Conferences & recd long Memorials from Mr Hartley on the Subject; but his Zeal for Systems friendly to us, constantly exceeded his Authority to concert and agree to them.
During the long Interval of his expecting Instructions, for his Expectations were permitted to exist almost to the last, we proceeded to make & receive Propositions for perfecting the definitive Treaty. Details of all the Amendments, Alterations, Objections, Exceptions &ca. which occurr’d in the Course of these Discussions would be Voluminous. We finally agreed that he should send to his Court, the Project or Draft of a Treaty No 4.6 He did so, but after much Time, and when pressed by France, who insisted that we should all conclude together, He was instructed to sign a Definitive Treaty in the Terms of the Provisional Articles.
Whether the British Court meant to avoid a Definitive Treaty with us, thro’ a vain Hope from the exagerated Accounts of Divisions among our People, and Want of Authority in Congress, that some Revolution might soon happen in their Favour, or whether their dilatory Conduct was caused by the Strife of the two opposite and nearly equal Parties in the Cabinet, is hard to decide.—
Your Excellency will observe, that the Treaty was signed at Paris, & not at Versailles. Mr Hartley’s Letter No. 5, & our Answer No 6. will explain this.7 His Objections, and indeed our Proceedings in general, were communicated to the French Minister, who was content that we should acquiesce, but desired that we would appoint the signing early in the Morning, and give him an Account of it at Versailles by Express, for that he would not proceed to sign on the Part of France, ’till he was sure that our Business was done.
The Day after the Signature of the Treaty, Mr. Hartley wrote us a congratulatory Letter No 7. to which we returned the Answer No. 8.—8
He is gone to England, and expects soon to return—which, for our Parts we think uncertain. We have taken Care to speak to him in strong Terms, on the Subject of the Evacuation of New-York, and the other important Subjects proper to be mentioned to him.— We think we may rely on his doing every thing in his Power to influence his Court, to do what they ought to do, but it does not appear that { 285 } they have as yet formed any settled System for their Conduct relative to the United States.— We cannot but think that the late & present Aspect of Affairs in America has had, and continues to have, an unfavourable Influence, not only in Britain but throughout Europe.—
In whatever Light the article respecting the Tories may be view’d in America, it is consider’d in Europe as very humiliating, to Britain, and therefore as being one which we ought in Honour to perform and fulfil with the most scrupulous Regard to good Faith, & in a manner least Offensive to the Feelings of the King & Court of G. Britain, who upon that Point are extremely tender.
The unseasonable & unnecessary Resolves of various Towns on this Subject, the actual Expulsion of Tories from some Places, and the avow’d Implacability of almost all who have published their Sentiments about the Matter, are Circumstances which are construed, not only to the Prejudice of our national Magnanimity and good-Faith, but also to the Prejudice of our Government.
Popular Committees are consider’d here as with us, in the Light of Substitutes to Constitutional Government, and as being only necessary in the Interval between the Removal of the former and the Establishment of the present.
The Constitutions of the different States have been translated & published, and Pains have been taken to lead Europe to believe, that the American States not only made their own Laws, but obey’d them.9 But the continuance of popular Assemblies conven’d expressly to deliberate on Matters proper only for the Cognizance of the different Legislatures & Officers of Government, and their proceeding not only to ordain, but to enforce their Resolutions, has exceedingly lessen’d the Dignity of the States in the Eyes of these Nations.
To this we may also add, that the Situation of the Army, the Reluctance of the People to pay Taxes, and the Circumstances under which Congress removed from Philadelphia, have diminish’d the Admiration in which the People of America were held among the Nations of Europe, & somewhat abated their Ardor for forming Connections with us, before our Affairs acquire a greater Degree of order & Consistance.—
Permit us to observe, that in our Opinion the Recommendation of Congress, promised in the 5th: Article, should immediately be made in the Terms of it and published; and that the States should be requested to take it into Consideration as soon as the Evacuation by { 286 } the Enemy shall be compleated. It is also much to be wished that the Legislatures may not involve all the Tories in Banishment and Ruin, but that such Discriminations may be made, as to entitle the Decisions to the Approbation of disinterested Men, and dispassionate Posterity.—
On the 7th: Inst. we received your Excellency’s Letter of the 16th: June. last, covering a Resolution of Congress of the 1st May directing a Commission to us for making a Treaty of Commerce &ca. with G. Britain. This Intelligence arrived very oportunely to prevent the Anti-American Party from ascribing any Delays on our Part to Motives of Resentment in England to that Country. Great Britain will send a Minister to Congress as soon as Congress shall send a Minister to Britain, & we think much Good might result from that Measure.
The Information of Mr Dumas, that we encouraged the Idea of entering into Engagements with the Dutch to defend the Freedom of Trade, was not well founded.— Our Sentiments on that Subject exactly correspond with those of Congress; nor did we even think or pretend that we had Authority to adopt any such Measures.10
We have Reason to think that the Emperor and Russia, & other Commercial Nations, are ready to make Treaties of Commerce with the United States. Perhaps it might not be improper for Congress to direct that their Disposition on the Subject, be communicated to those Courts, & thereby prepare the Way for such Treaties.
The Emperor of Morrocco has manifested a very friendly Disposition towards us: He expects and is ready to receive, a Minister from us, and as he may either change his Mind, or may be succeeded by a Prince differently disposed, a Treaty with him may be of Importance. Our Trade to the Mediterranean will not be inconsiderable, and the Friendship of Morrocco, Algiers, Tunis & Tripoli, may become very interesting, in case the Russians should succeed in their Endeavours to Navigate freely into it by Constantinople.
Much we think will depend on the Success of our Negociations with England. If she should be prevailed upon to agree to a liberal System of Commerce, France & perhaps some other Nations, will follow her Example; but if she should prefer an exclusive monopolizing Plan, it is probable that her Neighbours will continue to adhere to their favorite Restrictions.—
Were it certain that the United States, could be brought to act as a Nation, and would jointly and fairly conduct their Commerce on { 287 } Principles of exact Reciprocity with all Nations, we think it probable that Britain would make extensive Concessions.— but on the Contrary, while the Prospect of Disunion in our Councils, or want of Power and Energy in our Executive Departments exist, they will not be apprehensive of Retaliation, and consequently lose their principal Motive to Liberality. Unless with respect to all foreign Nations and Transactions, we uniformly act as an entire united Nation, faithfully executing and obeying the Constitutional Acts of Congress on those Subjects, we shall soon find ourselves in the Situation in which all Europe wishes to see us, Vizt. as unimportant Consumers of her Manufactures & Productions, and as useful Labourers to furnish her with raw Materials.—
We beg leave to assure Congress that we shall apply our best Endeavours to execute this new Commission to their Satisfaction, & shall punctually obey such Instructions as they may be pleased to give us relative to it.— Unless Congress should have nominated a Secretary to that Commission, we shall consider ourselves at Liberty to appoint One; and as we are satisfied with the Conduct of Mr Franklin, the Secretary to our late Commission, we propose to appoint him, leaving it to Congress to make him such Compensation for his Services as they may Judge proper.
Count de Vergennes communicated to us a Proposition (Viz No 9 herewith inclosed) for explaining the 2d & 3d Articles of our Treaty with France, in a manner different from the Sense in which we understand them. This being a Matter in which we had no Right to interfere, we have not express’d any Opinion about it to the Court.11
With great Respect, / We have the honor to be, / Sir, / Your Excellency’s / most obedient & / most humble Serts:
[signed] John Adams.
[signed] B Franklin
[signed] John Jay
RC and enclosures (PCC, No. 85, f. 370–422); internal address: “To his Excellency / Elias Boudinot Esqre: / President of Congress.” LbC-Tr (Adams Papers); APM Reel 103. For the enclosures, see notes 3–8.
1. Ferdinand Grand paid John Thaxter 130 Louis d’Or, or ₶3,120, on 12 September. On the same day JA wrote to the Paris banking firm of Van den Yver Frères, ordering it to pay Thaxter £100 for his salary, which was to be charged to the Dutch loan consortium’s account and by them to the United States (DNA:RG 39, Foreign Ledgers, Public Agents in Europe, 1776–1787, Microfilm, Reel 1, f. 187, 367; LbC, APM Reel 108).
2. For David Hartley’s commission of 14 May, which he presented to the commissioners on the 19th, see JA, D&A, 3:130–131. A copy was enclosed with the commissioners’ 24 May letter to Robert R. Livingston (vol. 14:490–492).
3. For this article, presented to Hartley on 29 April, see JA, D&A, 3:114; vol. 14:455–457.
{ 288 }
4. For Hartley’s observations on the commissioners’ proposal of 29 April and his proposed agreement, both presented to the commissioners on 21 May, see JA, D&A, 3:131–134, 123–124; vol. 14:485–486.
5. See this proposal at June 1783, calendared, above.
6. See the draft Anglo-American definitive treaty at [ante 19 July], above.
7. Hartley’s letter and the commissioners’ reply were of 29 and 30 Aug., respectively, both above.
8. Hartley’s letter and the commissioners’ reply were of 4 and 5 Sept., respectively, both above.
9. As the commissioners indicate, there had been numerous European printings of the American constitutions, the most recent being the collaboration between Benjamin Franklin and the Duc de La Rochefoucauld, Constitutions des treize États-Unis de l’Amérique, Paris, 1783. A copy of that work, with a bookplate designed by JA, is in his library at MB (Catalogue of JA’s Library). For a Dutch edition of the American constitutions, the second volume of which was dedicated to JA, see vol. 13:xii; and for more on the French edition prepared by Franklin and Rochefoucauld, see vol. 14:505. For JA’s bookplate, see Descriptive List of Illustrations, No. 4, above.
10. For Boudinot’s reference to C. W. F. Dumas and Congress’ resolution of 12 June revoking the power of its ministers in Europe to accede to the Armed Neutrality, see the 16 June letter from the president of Congress to the commissioners, and note 3, above.
11. On 20 May the Comte de Vergennes sent Franklin, in his capacity as minister to France, a proposed convention to prevent misunderstandings arising from a misinterpretation of Arts. 2 and 3 of the Franco-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce (PCC, No. 85, f. 420–421; Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:436–437). The difficulty, likely reflecting French concerns over a possible Anglo-American commercial treaty, was that Art. 2 might be interpreted to allow either the United States or France to grant an exclusive favor to a third party, thereby contravening the most favored nation clause in Art. 3 (Miller, Treaties, 2:5–6). Franklin apparently had not previously sent the proposed convention to Congress. When Congress acted on 11 May 1784, it rejected the French proposal for a convention but instructed Franklin to assure “his most Christian Majesty” that “it will be our constant care to place no people on more advantageous ground than the subjects of his Majesty” (JCC, 27:368–369). This led to an exchange of notes between Vergennes and Franklin that established an official, mutually agreed upon interpretation of Arts. 2 and 3. Vergennes wrote on 27 Aug. 1783 to request a declaration or official letter from Franklin stating the position of the United States with respect to the articles. Franklin replied on 3 Sept. and quoted directly from Congress’ resolution of 11 May. Vergennes answered on 9 Sept. that the assurances provided by Franklin were satisfactory (Miller, Treaties, 2:158–161).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0134

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-09-10

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir,

I have received a Letter from a very respectable Person in America, containing the following Words, Viz
“It is confidently reported, propagated, and believed by some among us, that the Court of France was at bottom against our Obtaining the Fishery and Territory in that great Extent in which both are secured to us by the Treaty; that our Minister at that Court favoured, or did not oppose this Design against us; and that it was entirely owing to the Firmness, Sagacity & Disinterestedness of Mr. Adams, with whom Mr. Jay united, that we have obtained those important Advantages.”1
{ 289 }
It is not my Purpose to dispute any Share of the Honour of that Treaty which the Friends of my Colleagues may be dispos’d to give them; but having now spent Fifty Years of my Life in public offices and Trusts, and having still one Ambition left, that of carrying the Character of Fidelity at least, to the Grave with me, I cannot allow that I was behind any of them in Zeal and Faithfulness. I therefore think that I ought not to suffer an Accusation, which falls little short of Treason to my Country, to pass without Notice, when the Means of effectual Vindication are at hand. You, Sir, was a Witness of my Conduct in that affair. To you and my other Colleagues I appeal, by sending to each a similar Letter with this, and I have no doubt of your Readiness to do a Brother Commissioner Justice, by Certificates that will entirely destroy the Effect of that Accusation.2 I have the honour to be, with much Esteem, / Sir, / Your most obedient / & most humble Servant.
[signed] B. Franklin
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excelly. J. Adams Esqe.”; endorsed: “Dr Franklin 10 Sept. 1783 / concerning a Letter he / recd from America.”; docketed by CFA: “This letter and it’s answer / may be found published / in the Diplomatic Correspe / vol 4th. p 163–4.5.” CFA refers to The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution, ed. Jared Sparks, 12 vols., Boston, 1829–1830, 4:163–166. Within the range of page numbers are Franklin’s 10 Sept. letter to John Jay (nearly identical to his letter to JA of 10 Sept.), Jay’s reply of 11 Sept., and JA’s reply of 13 Sept., below.
1. Franklin quotes from a [5 May] letter from Samuel Cooper, who traced accusations of obstructionism by France and supineness on the part of Franklin to letters received at Philadelphia and in Massachusetts “from some of our Plenipotentiaries at Paris, and particularly from Mr. Adams” (Franklin, Papers, 39:561–563). Cooper, who never saw the letters, likely heard reports of JA’s “Peace Journal,” an account of the Anglo-American peace negotiations made up of extracts from his Diary (JA, D&A, 3:41–96). JA sent one copy to Congress, where it was read in March 1783, and a second, longer version to AA, who by the end of April had shared it with friends, including Jonathan Jackson and William Gordon (same, 3:42–43; AFC, 5:60, 141–143; vol. 14:472–473). The accusations attributed to JA by Cooper reflect to a striking degree remarks made by JA in a 17 Nov. 1782 letter to Jackson (vol. 14:61–64). That letter, which arrived at Philadelphia at the same time as JA’s “Peace Journal,” was opened and read by the Massachusetts delegates then serving in Congress—and possibly shown to others—before it was forwarded to Jackson at Newburyport (JA, D&A, 3:42–43). For the history of JA’s “Peace Journal,” see vol. 14:xviii–xx.
Franklin immediately replied to Cooper in a letter (not found) carried by John Thaxter on his departure from Paris on 14 Sept. 1783 for delivery to “a Gentleman in Philadelphia” (from Thaxter, 19 Jan. 1784, below). Franklin subsequently enclosed “a packet” for Cooper (also not found) with a 2 Nov. 1783 letter to Richard Bache, Franklin’s son-in-law, who perhaps not coincidentally lived in Philadelphia (Bache to Franklin, 7 March 1784, CtY: Franklin Coll.). The packet probably contained what Franklin later called “my Justification” (Franklin to Jonathan Williams Jr., 16 Feb. 1786, Franklin, Writings, 9:487–488), including letters that he solicited from JA, John Jay, and Henry Laurens certifying his fidelity and zeal in the peace negotiations (see note 2), which he intended Cooper to make public at Boston (Bache to Franklin, 21 June 1784, PPAmP:Franklin Papers). But Cooper died before the packet reached him, { 290 } and Franklin by then had begun to have second thoughts. In a 26 Dec. 1783 letter to Cooper, Franklin indicated that he had written to him “a too long letter some time since, respecting Mr A.’s Calumnies, of which perhaps it was not necessary to take so much Notice” (DLC:Franklin Papers).
2. Franklin wrote almost identical letters to Jay and Laurens on this date. The two men replied, in support of Franklin, on 11 and 21 Sept., respectively (ScHi:Laurens Papers; Jay, Unpublished Papers, 2:584–585; Laurens, Papers, 16:343–344). JA replied on the 13th, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0135

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cerisier, Antoine Marie
Date: 1783-09-11

To Antoine Marie Cerisier

[salute] Dear Sir,

I am extremely sorry to find by your last Letter,1 that your Health has been attacked again, but I hope it will not have any serious Consequences. I wish all the Success you can desire to your Application to Versailles, and if I should be called upon by the Minister, or have any other Opportunity to support it, consistent with Prudence, it will give me great pleasure to do it, because I think it would be a public Service to France— But as it is wholly out of my Department, & I have not so much Credit with that Minister as I wish I had upon this Occasion, I am afraid that any voluntary Interference of mine, might do you more harm than good.
I am informed from the President of Congress, that they have resolved to send a Commission to me. Mr. Franklin and Mr. Jay, to treat of Commerce with Great Britain, so that I shall not return to America this Year— Perhaps we may find it necessary to go to London, & I may again have the pleasure of seeing you in Holland.
With great Esteem, I have the honor &c
LbC in John Thaxter’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mr. Cerisier.”; APM Reel 106.
1. Of 3 Sept., above.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0136

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sarsfield, Guy Claude, Comte de
Date: 1783-09-11

To the Comte de Sarsfield

[salute] My dear Comte Sarsefield,

I have been honoured with your two friendly Letters from Rennes, and altho’ a multiplicity of Affairs have hitherto prevented me from answering them, be assured I have not forgotten you.1 I am much pleased to find that I have been instrumental of employing your thoughts upon another subject, & I promise myself much Entertainment & Instruction in reading it. I am in no danger of losing the opportunity, because we have late Orders from Congress, which { 291 } will necessarily postpone my Return to America, until another Year— A Commission is to be sent to me, Mr. Franklin & Mr. Jay to treat of Commerce with Great Britain. This will necessarily take up much time, & altho’ We may be obliged to make a Tour to London, and I may possibly make one to Holland, I expect to pass the most of the Fall and Winter at Paris. This will I hope afford me opportunity to enjoy the good Company in the Rue Pot de Fer, not forgetting the good Cheer, nor the Speculations of the Summer at Rennes.
With great Respect & Esteem, I have the honor / to be, / my Lord, / your Lordship’s &c
LbC in John Thaxter’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “Comte Sarsefield.”; APM Reel 106.
1. Guy Claude, Comte de Sarsfield, wrote to JA on 12 July and 10 Aug. (Adams Papers). Anticipating the conclusion of the Anglo-American definitive peace treaty, Sarsfield wished to know when JA expected to leave Paris and return to America. Sarsfield had begun to compose an essay on women at JA’s encouragement and was afraid that he would not be able to complete it before JA’s departure. It is not known when JA received the essay “Deux Lettres sur Les Femmes. 1783,” dated 30 June and 4 Sept., but it can be found in a 280-page collection of Sarsfield’s writings in the Adams Papers (filmed at [ca. 1782–1783]). For the collection’s content, see vol. 13:252.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0137

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1783-09-13

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

To the President of Congress

Paris, 13 Sept. 1783. RC and enclosure (PCC, No. 84, V, f. 201–214). LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 106. With this letter John Adams sent Congress a copy of the 2 Sept. Anglo-Dutch preliminary peace treaty, which he indicated he had just received and transcribed. The treaty arrived as an enclosure with a letter of 12 Sept. from Gerard Brantsen, one of the Dutch peace negotiators (Adams Papers). Brantsen apologized for the delay in sending Adams a copy, which he attributed to a misunderstanding on the part of his secretary.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0138

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1783-09-13

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir,

I have recd. the Letter, which you did me the honor to write me on the 10th. of this Month, in which you say, you “have recieved a Letter from a very respectable Person in America, containing the following Words vizt:—‘It is confidently reported, propagated & believed by some among Us, that the Court of France was at Bottom against our obtaining the Fishery & Territory in that great Extent in which both are secured to Us by the Treaty—that our Minister at { 292 } that Court favoured or did not oppose this design against us, and that it was entirely owing to the Firmness, Sagacity & Disinterestedness of Mr. Adams, with whom Mr. Jay united, that We have obtained those important Advantages.’ ”
It is unnecessary for me to say any thing upon this subject, more than to quote the words which I wrote in the Evening of the 30th. of November 1782, and which have been recd. and read in Congress— Vizt—“As soon as I arrived in Paris, I waited on Mr. Jay, & learned from him the rise & progress of the Negotiation. Nothing that has happened since the beginning of the Controversy in 1761 has ever struck me more forcibly, or affected me more intimately, than that entire Coincidence of Principles & Opinions between him & me— In about three days I went out to Passy, & spent the Evening with Dr. Franklin, and entered largely into Conversation with him, upon the Course & present state of our foreign Affairs. I told him my opinion without reserve of the Policy of this Court, and of the Principles, Wisdom & Firmness, with which Mr. Jay had conducted the Negotiation in his Sickness & in my Absence, and that I was determined to support Mr. Jay to the utmost of my Power, in Pursuit of the same System. The Dr. heard me patiently, but said nothing.
“The first Conference we had afterwards with Mr. Oswald, in considering one point & another, Dr Franklin turned to Mr. Jay & said, ‘I am of your opinion, & will go on with these Gentlemen, without consulting this Court.’ He has accordingly met Us in most of our Conferences, & has gone on with Us in entire Harmony & Unanimity throughout, and has been able & useful, both by his Sagacity & Reputation, in the whole Negotiation.”1
I have the honor to be, very respectfully / Sir / &c
LbC in John Thaxter’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency / Benjamin Franklin Esqr.”; APM Reel 106.
1. JA quotes his Diary entry for 30 Nov. 1782, which he included in his “Peace Journal” (JA, D&A, 3:82). JA’s reference to the “Journal” as having been received and read by Congress casts considerable doubt on his later claim that he inadvertently sent it to Robert R. Livingston (Boston Patriot, 7 Sept. 1811). For JA’s decision to send the “Journal” to Congress, see vol. 14:xviii–xx.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0139

Author: Storer, Charles
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-09-13

From Charles Storer

[salute] Sir,

By Mr: Thaxter I ought in duty to have written you, and, not having done it, I fear you may be inclined to lay some neglect to my { 293 } Charge. I have only to say in apology that our time, from our arrival to Mr: Thaxter’s departure, was constantly employed—and I hope to his satisfaction, as that was our object here.—
My motive in writing to you is particular. I have acknowledgements to make for many kindnesses and Civilities. If in any measure I have been happy enough to have rendered you some service in return, the reflection will be abundantly satisfactory. I was young to be indulged with your Confidence; but was not insensible of the honor conferred upon me—and hope I have not merited your disapprobation: If, on the contrary, I may have imbibed any patriotic Sentiments, or obtained any little insight into the field of Politics & Negotiation, the Credit they may hereafter gain me shall be ever accompanied, Sir, with a gratefull remembrance of your late Indulgence.—
Enclosed I take the liberty to send you a few peices of Massachusetts & New-York Newspapers, which perhaps you may not have seen. They contain some Instructions to Representatives, & Resolves.—1
Port-Rosaway in Nova-Scotia seems to have become the Asylum of the Refugees. ’Tis said 30,000 have embarked from NYork for that place, & many are going from this Kingdom to settle there.2 They talk of their having carried a million & an half of property with them—much more than they are worth, I imagine— The Government here are about giving them every Encouragement, & Bounties; so that ’tis said they must soon outrival the New-England States— Too feeble attempts of miserable men!—
Some British Merchants have recd. letters from their old Correspondents in America, who write that they were able at the Commencement of the war to pay their debts—but that the war had so reduced them, that they could now pay only their Principal: And it has been said that the Merchants were going to remit their Interest money.— Mr: Hartley, I am told, arrived in Town last Evening, with our Definitive Treaty, & I hear your idea has been adopted, vizt. the re-signing the Provisional Treaty.—
Mr: Fitch & family, whom I saw yesterday, desire their respectfull Compts: to you & Master John, to which I would beg leave to add mine, and to assure you I shall be ever ready & happy to receive any Commands you may please to honor me with.
I have the honor to be, Sir, / Your Oblig’d, humle: servt:
[signed] Chas: Storer.
{ 294 }
1. The enclosed newspapers have not been found. However, the instructions and resolves referred to may have pertained to Art. 5 of the preliminary treaty, concerning the return of loyalists, the restoration of their property, and the payment of compensation, to which whole communities registered their aversion in the spring of 1783. See, for example, the Boston Independent Ledger of 14 April, the Boston Gazette of 5 May, the Worcester Massachusetts Spy of 22 May, the Boston Independent Chronicle of 29 May, and the New York Gazetteer of 9 and 30 June. For a more detailed account of the protests, see James Warren’s 24 June letter, and note 3, above.
2. Port Roseway (now Shelburne), Nova Scotia, is approximately 130 miles southwest of Halifax. While it was considered a desirable destination for the loyalists, the number cited by Storer is wildly inflated. The first wave, which landed in May 1783 under the auspices of the Port Roseway Associates, consisted of 3,000 refugees. By mid-1784 the population was about 7,500 but was in decline (Neil MacKinnon, This Unfriendly Soil, Kingston and Montreal, 1986, p. 5, 17, 38).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0140

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1783-09-14

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

I beg Leave to introduce to your Civilities Mr: Thaxter, who goes home with the definitive Treaty of Peace, and the original Treaty with Holland.1
Mr: Thaxter will present you a Medal, a Present to Congress, from the Province of Friesland, he will also present another to your Excellency of which I beg your acceptance.2 These were sent as Presents to me and I have no more, otherwise I should have been glad to have Sent more of them to America.
With great Respect I have the Honour to be your Excellencies / most obedient Servant.
LbC in JQA’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency the President of Congress.”; APM Reel 106. This is the last letter in Lb/JA/18. For JA and his Letterbooks, see Introduction, Part 4, above.
1. Soon after John Thaxter’s departure from Paris on 14 Sept., JA, who had been unwell for several days, was seized with a fever almost as violent as the one that had afflicted him at Amsterdam two years earlier. Weak and unable to sleep because of the din of traffic outside his lodgings at the Hôtel du Roi, JA was moved on 22 Sept. to new accommodations at the Hôtel de Rouault in Auteuil, where he and JQA resided as guests of Thomas Barclay until they left for London on 20 Oct. (JA, D&A, 3:143–144, 146). For JA’s illness at Amsterdam in 1781, see vol. 11:469–470.
2. JA sent Congress and its president the medal issued by the Société Bourgeoise of Leeuwarden to commemorate Friesland’s recognition of the United States on 26 Feb. 1782. For a description and illustration of the medal, as well as the Société’s 29 April 1783 presentation letter and JA’s later remembrance of sending the medal to Robert Morris, see vol. 14:xiv, 458–462, 463.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0141

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Morris, Robert
Date: 1783-09-14

To Robert Morris

[salute] Sir

I beg Leave to introduce to you Mr: Thaxter, and to recommend him to your Benevolence— If very hard Services constitute Merit he has it in great Perfection— When I was received in Holland it would have been natural for me to have recommended him to Congress for the Secretary to that Legation, But Mr: Dumas had been long there. and had behaved well— As Mr: Thaxter came out with me, when I was Sole in the Commission for Peace it would have been natural that he Should have been appointed Secretary for which he was extremely well qualified: but the Dr: who knows better than I do, how to provide for himself and his Connections got his Son appointed.1
I cannot expect that any Gentleman will serve the public with me if he Sees himself constantly neglected, and others appointed to honours. and Employments, who certainly have not more Merit. Mr: Thaxter has never till the last year, or rather this year been allowed enough for his Necessary Expences. The Dr: has allowed his Son three hundred a year—if this should be made up to Mr: Thaxter he would be satisfied or if Congress should think proper to appoint him Secretary to some Legation with a moderate Salary, one half of what has been given, it will be very well.— But I cannot desire any Gentleman to attach himself to me, and do the Drudgery of my Office, without Reward, when he sees others rewarded so amply.
With great and Sincere esteem I have the honour to be, Sir, your most / obedient and most humble Servant
LbC in JQA’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency Robert Morris Esqr:”; APM Reel 106.
1. That is, Benjamin Franklin’s grandson, William Temple Franklin, was named secretary to the peace commission.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0142

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Rush, Benjamin
Date: 1783-09-14

To Benjamin Rush

[salute] My dear Friend

Give me Leave to introduce to Your Acquaintance and Friendship, Mr Thaxter, who goes home with the definitive Treaty.
This Treaty which is but a Repetition of the Provisional Articles was all We could obtain, a poor Compensation for nine Months Negotiation; but I assure you We were very glad to get the Hand put to this.
{ 296 }
I was in hopes to have Soon Seen you in Philadelphia, but Congress have had the Goodness to resolve upon a Commission, very honourable to me, which will detain me, I know not how long.
I hope the States are Settling fast into order, and that all will go well. There will be disputes for Sometime about the Refugees but I hope they will have no serious ill Effect.— it would have been better for them to have had no Article, but the Reputation of national Faith and Royal honour, induced the English to insist even on this. We could obtain no Peace without it, and therefore We could not hesitate.
The Interest upon Debts I hope will be made easy, but We could obtain no stipulation for it.
With great and sincere Esteem your Frid
[signed] John Adams.
RC (private owner, 1978); internal address: “Dr Rush.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 106.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0143

Author: Dumas, C. W. F.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-09-18

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

Je vous remercie de m’avoir mis à même de pouvoir répondre aux questions qu’on me fait sur votre retour ici; & je vous félicite de la nouvelle besogne dont vous êtes chargé. Quoiqu’elle doive être un peu longue, elle ne peut que vous être agréable par son importance, en occupant tout à la fois votre activité, votre intelligence & votre fermeté.
Dans l’incertitude où vous êtes, Monsieur, si vous retournerez au Printemps prochain en Amérique, ou si vous viendrez résider avec votre famille à La Haie, je vous souhaite ce qui sera le plus de votre goût; & à ce propos, je vous demande la faveur de m’instruire de ce que le Congrès aura réglé là-dessus, dès que vous le saurez, afin que je puisse prendre les mesures nécessaires pour une retraite pour moi & ma famille; dans le temps où Vous ou votre successeur voudrez disposer de l’hôtel: car si l’on veut avoir quelque choix à cet égard, & ne pas payer trop cher, il faut louer en Janvier pour occuper en May.
Je ferai tout ce qui me sera possible pour ce que vous me recom̃andez, Monsieur, quant à l’Emprunt; & pour cet effet, j’irai passer quelques jours de la semaine prochaine à Amsterdam, où je me conduirai à cet égard avec la plus Scrupuleuse circonspection. Pour { 297 } être en état de mieux aller au but, en sondant imperceptiblement les terrains, & correspondant avec Mr. Morris avec quelque fruit, il faudroit que j’eusse une copie ou un Apperçu des conditions & engagemens réciproques de l’Emprunt actuel, que je tiendrai aussi secret que vous me le prescrirez: Savoir, du bénéfice accordé à la Direction actuelle, & jusqu’à quel point, som̃e & temps le Congrès est obligé de s’en tenir à celle-là. Vous m’en avez touché quelque chose en conversation; mais je n’en ai pas conservé une idée assez distincte, pour pouvoir me passer d’Instruction: Or la vôtre, Monsieur, me mettra en état d’agir d’abord; au lieu que je serois au moins 6 mois avant de pouvoir en recevoir une d’Amérique.2
Ma famille, sensible, com̃e elle doit l’être, à votre bon souvenir, vous présente ses respects, & vous prie de permettre que Mr. votre fils trouve ici leurs amitiés avec les miennes, qui suis avec grand respect / De Votre Excellence / Le très-humble & très-obéissant serviteur
[signed] C.w.f. Dumas


[salute] Sir

I thank you for putting me in a position where I can answer questions concerning your return here, and I congratulate you on the new duty with which you have been entrusted. Although it might be a bit protracted, it must be agreeable to you for its importance, occupying at the same time your energy, your intellect, and your steadfastness.
In the state of uncertainty that you are in, sir, as to whether you will return next spring to America or reside at The Hague with your family, I wish you whatever is most to your liking, and on this subject, I ask you the favor of letting me know what Congress decides on this matter as soon as you have word in order that I might take the necessary steps so that my family and I may withdraw elsewhere during the time when you or your successor will want to make arrangements for the legation, because if one wants to have a choice in the matter, and not pay too much, one must rent in January to take occupancy in May.
I will do everything I possibly can for whatever you recommend, sir, regarding the loan, and to this effect, I will spend several days next week at Amsterdam, where I will conduct myself with the most scrupulous circumspection. In order to be in a position to arrive at the goal, quietly sounding out the terrain, and corresponding with Mr. Morris with some fruitful outcome, I would need a copy or a sketch of the terms and agreements of the current loan, which I will keep as secret as you stipulate, in order to know the benefits of the current guidelines and what point, sum, and time Congress is required to abide by it. You touched on this in conversation with { 298 } me, but I did not retain a clear enough idea of it in order for it to provide instructions for me, and yours, sir, will put me in a position to act first, since I otherwise have to wait at least six months to receive instructions from America.2
My family, hoping, as it should, to remain in your good graces, sends their respects and asks that you pass along to your son their friendly regards with those of yours truly, who is with great respect your excellency’s very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] C.w.f. Dumas
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Paris à Son Exce. Mr. Adams M. P.”
1. Dumas was replying to JA’s letter of 10 Sept., above, which he had first acknowledged in a brief note of 16 Sept., forwarding an otherwise unidentified letter from Texel (Adams Papers).
2. There is no indication that JA sent Dumas further information on the loan that he had arranged at Amsterdam in 1782, but Robert Morris wrote Dumas on 30 Sept. 1784 to acknowledge letters of 23 Oct. and 8 Nov. 1783, neither of which has been found. Morris apologized for failing to reply sooner and thanked him for his reports from the Netherlands (Morris, Papers, 9:540).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0144

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-09-18

From John Thaxter

[salute] Sir,

I arrived here this Morning at about eleven o.Clock, and to my great disappointment found the Packet Boat had sailed four hours before my Arrival—1 She had been detained two days for me, altho’ the Wind was very favorable. I am exceedingly chagrined & mortified, tho’ I have nothing to reproach myself with; & I flatter myself the Ministers for Peace will acquit me of having made any unnecessary delays in my Journey here, when I state to them what I did to arrive here several days before the Packet would sail— On Sunday Morning the 14th. I left Paris, and after having taken the Dispatches at Passy, I travelled the whole of that day & night & on Monday ’till near 12 at night, without taking any Refreshment in any House whatever— on Tuesday Morning at 6 o.Clock, I set off again, & rode till 6 o.Clock in the Evening, when I was obliged to stop for want of Horses— At 4. o.Clock on Wednesday Morning I was in my Carriage, & could make but two posts for want of Horses, until 11 o. or 12 oClock. I was detained at one Post 3. hours, at a second four & at a third three more on that day, waiting for Horses, which prevented my arriving at L’Orient that Evening— On Wednesday Evening at 10 o.Clock to get the nearer L’Orient I sat off again, after being tormented the whole day almost for want of Horses, & about midnight found myself 4. Posts & an half from L’Orient, but being told it was impossible to enter L’Orient in the Night, I thought it best to rest myself three or four Hours, having had very little sleep— After a few { 299 } Hours I sat off again & arrived here as I before mentioned, but unfortunately four Hours too late.— I have been thus particular in stating this matter, lest the Ministers should reproach me with having travelled too leisurely— They will please to recollect, that I was dispatched under an Idea that the Packet was not to sail until the 20th. instant,—& that I arrived two days before the time. There has been so much travelling for this 10. days past on this road that the Horses are worn out with fatigue & one journeys but slowly.—
On my Arrival Mr. L’oreilhe, Mr. Barclay’s Brother in Law, came to see me immediately, & went to the Commandant de la Marine, Mr. Thevenard, your very good Friend.—2 He was exceedingly chagrined & ordered a Ship to be prepared for me instantaneously, & She is now in vast forwardness, being covered almost with Workmen— The Commandant did me the honor to visit me, & was so polite as to assure me that no time should be lost in getting ready the Ship Warwick, a pretty little Vessel, formerly designed for a Packet—3 If the Wind should come fair I expect to be at Sea in three days, perhaps sooner— Every possible Attention has been shewn me by the Commandant & Mr. Loreilhe,— my Prospects are are very fair at present of soon leaving the Port, so that I hope to arrive as soon as the Packet Boat.—
The inclosed paper, which contains my Request for a Passage, was insisted on by the Commandant and I could not avoid it, but I did not consent, until I had an Assurance that the Ship was not fitted out & sent at the Expence of the United States—4 I told him my Situation was delicate, & that of my own head I could take no one Step that would invole the States in any Expence, without consulting the Ministers for Peace. I told him I thought it of Importance that the Treaty should go as soon as possible, but that I had no right to request a Vessel to be sent on purpose— He said he thôt it necessary that the Treaty should go, & that perhaps the Evacuation of New York depended on it— I was silent on this head.— He has set every thing in Motion here to get me off, & it cannot be long first— He has been indefatigable as well as Mr. Loreilhe, & I am extremely indebted to these Gentlemen for their Attention.— As this Ship does not go at the Expence of the States, I hope my Conduct will escape Censure.
My most affectionate Regards to your Son, & believe me to be with an invariable Attachment / Sir, / your most humble Servant
[signed] J Thaxter.
{ 300 }
RC and enclosure (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency / Mr. Adams &c &c”; endorsed: “Mr Thaxter. L’orient / 18. Septr. 1783.”
1. This was the Courier de l’Europe, for which see Zachariah Loreilhe’s letter of 24 Sept., below.
2. Zachariah Loreilhe, a Huguenot, was a partner in the Lorient mercantile firm of Barclay, Moylan & Co. (Priscilla H. and Richard S. Roberts, Thomas Barclay (1728–1793), Bethlehem, Penn., 2008, p. 77). Antoine Jean Marie, Comte de Thévenard, was commandant of the port of Lorient. JA had met and socialized with him in the spring of 1779 while waiting there for passage to America on the French frigate La Sensible (JA, D&A, 2:369, 379, 389; 4:198; JA, Works, 10:25).
3. Probably the Warwick, which sailed as a packet between Lorient and New York in 1784 and 1785 (New York Journal, 6 May 1784; New York Packet, 5 May 1785).
4. Thaxter enclosed a copy of his 18 Sept. 1783 letter to Thévenard. There he indicated the importance of getting the Anglo-American definitive peace treaty to the United States and requested the earliest possible passage to Philadelphia.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0145

Author: Morris, Robert
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-09-20

From Robert Morris


[salute] Sir

I have been duly honored with your Excellency’s favors of the fifth tenth and eleventh of July— I have taken the Liberty to make some Extracts from the two latter which are transmitted in a Letter to the Governor of Massachusetts Copy whereof is enclosed—1 Permit me Sir to give my feeble Approbation and Applause to those Sentiments of Wisdom and Integrity which are as happily expressed as they are forcibly conceived.— The Necessity of strengthening our Confederation providing for our Debts and forming some fœderal Constitution begins to be most seriously felt; But unfortunately for America the narrow and illiberal Prejudices of some have taken such deep Root that it must be difficult and may prove impracticable to remove them.
I agree with you Sir in Opinion that the late Peace was not all Circumstances considered a bad one for England. It is undoubtedly a Peace equally glorious to, and necessary for America. All Ranks of Men in this Country feel as well as perceive the Benefits of it; and the Fault-Finders (for such Men there always will be) are borne down by the general Torrent of Applause—
I was happy to learn by the Washington Packet that you intended a short Trip to Amsterdam for the Purpose of urging on the Loan.2 I hope you may have met with the Success due to your Zeal and Abilities, I shall ask no greater—
with perfect Respect / I have the Honor to be / Sir / your Excellency’s / most obedient / and / humble Servant
[signed] Robt Morris
{ 301 }
RC and enclosure (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency / John Adams Esqr.”; endorsed: “Robt Morris / Financier / Septem. 20 1783.” Dupl (Adams Papers).
1. This is Morris’ letter to John Hancock of 20 September. The extracts from JA’s letters of 10 and 11 July, both above, are not with the enclosed letter to Hancock, in which Morris lauded JA’s “Sentiments on Public Credit,” suggesting that his opinions carried “double Weight” because of his diplomatic experience (Morris, Papers, 8:533–535). For Hancock’s use of the extracts, see Thomas Cushing’s letter of 26 Nov., and note 2, below.
2. Morris presumably learned of JA’s plan to go to the Netherlands from JA’s 17 July letter to Robert R. Livingston, above, which reached Congress on 12 Sept. (PCC, No. 185, III, f. 79). JA did not mention the visit in his letters to Morris.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0146

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-09-21

From James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

It is long, since I took any Opportunity of repeating Assurances of my sincere and very great Esteem for you.1 Tired most heartily of the Jealousies & Animosities which are almost inseperable from governmental Emploies, and very hardly put to it to find Bread to eat or Rayment to cloathe myself and my numerous Family, I have rarely felt any proper Disposition of Mind for an Attempt to write either usefully or amusingly to you; and have rested quiet in my Conscience under a Supposition that Members of Congress & such like were doing the former, and your most excellent Wife and very lovely Children never failed of the latter. Indeed at this very Time I feel almost willing to be called a Brute & a Blockhead for omitting to write when I knew of so good an Opportunity and was even solicited to do it by Mr. Wheelwright, as his Introduction. Lord bless the young Man! where has he been not to know that it is the Pride of your Life to do Good, and that his best Introduction would be plumply to tell you that he stood in Need of your Informations Counsells or Influence. But, tho’ I myself am perfectly sure of all this, yet his Modesty might counteract his Interest if I did not comply with his Wish; and you might be left to Time and Chance for the Discovery not only of that good Quality in Mr. Wheelwright but of his Integrity Benevolence Sobriety & Industry which make him a valuable Citizen Companion & Friend, if it was not for this short Method of the honest written Testimony of your obliged Friend and much devoted humble Servant
[signed] James Lovell
And now for one of Swifts Postscripts. Essentials omitted in the main Body of the Work.
{ 302 }
Your Lady is well, but in much and very just Affliction, as you may readily conceive and will sympathetically feel upon reading the last Paragraph but one under the Boston Head.3
I have a very great Regard for Mr. Thaxter and am moreover in his Debt two or three very kind & very entertaining Letters which I will not attempt to repay because of the latter Quality; let him therefore take a large Portion of my Affectionate Regards as his Dividend in my present Bankruptcy of Wit and Imagination.
Mr. Chs. Storer was one of my favorites when a Child, I hope he is willing to be upon the Footing of a Friend with me now without any Dread of finding me with the Ferula always in my Hand.4
I embrace your Son with Tenderness from my Esteem of his most worthy Parents.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Lovel. Sept. 21. 1783.”
1. Lovell had last written to JA on 30 Nov. [1782] (vol. 14:102). Upon leaving Congress in April of that year, Lovell was appointed receiver of continental taxes for Massachusetts, but his financial woes persisted until he was named naval officer for the port of Boston on 3 July 1784 (Smith, Letters of Delegates, 18:xix; Boston Independent Chronicle, 26 April 1782; AFC, 5:357–358).
2. For this date, see note 3.
3. Under the section headed “Boston” in the Boston Gazette of 22 Sept. 1783 was the first published report of Rev. William Smith’s death at Weymouth on the 17th and burial on the 20th. AA informed JA of her father’s death in a letter of 20 Sept., but JA first learned of his father-in-law’s death in a letter from Isaac Smith Sr. that has not been found (AFC, 5:253–255, 264–265).
4. Lovell, a teacher at the Boston Public Latin School from 1757 to 1775, counted Charles Storer among his many students. Another pupil, Harrison Gray Otis, later recalled Lovell’s distinctive use of the dreaded ferule: “He had a gymnastic style of flourishing, altogether unique—a mode of administering our experimentum ferules that was absolutely terrific” (Henry F. Jenks, Catalogue of the Boston Public Latin School, Boston, 1886, p. 19, 35–36, 92–93).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0147

Author: Dumas, C. W. F.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-09-22

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur,

Ma Lettre ne partira que demain, mais je l’écris ce matin pour la faire mettre à la poste, parce que je me propose, avant d’aller à Amsterdam, d’aller à Dort, entretenir notre Ami, non seulement sur la matiere de l’Emprunt, mais aussi, sur celle du Com̃erce entre les deux Rep., de la perfection duquel sur un plan en grand, j’ai obtenu depuis peu des notions importantes, que je lui communiquerai, ainsi qu’à Mr. Van Berckel.1
Voici une Lettre, reçue d’Angleterre dans ce moment Le papier des deux côtes du cachet s’est trouvé déchiré. Je l’ai raffermi avec des brins d’oubli; & vous verrez par le filet de papier, qui est encore { 303 } entier, sous le cachet, qu’il y a du moins apparence que la Lettre n’a pas été ouverte.2
J’ai o[ublié], Monsieur, de vous parler d’une que Mr. D[ana] a fait l’honneur de m’écrire de Petersb. en date du [8 Août] il me dit
“I expect to [ta]ke my departure in about 12 days by a convenient opportunity now offering directly from this port for Boston— I pray you to present my regards to Mr. J. Q. Adams, and to acquaint him, that I shall take his Books, &c. with me to America.— Mr. Allen returns by this opportunity also.”3
Je pense com̃e vous, Monsieur, sur l’amélioration des affaires de la Rep. par la derniere guerre: & une preuve de cela, c’est que le parti rep., par-tout, & notam̃ent en Frise & à Utrecht, loin de se rallentir, vires acquirit eundo.4 J’entrerai une autre fois dans un plus grand détail là-dessus.
Mr. De Linde, par une Résolution de Zélande du 15e., est sûr à présent d’être proposé, & par conséqt. nécessairement nom̃é, Envoyé de la rep. en Angle., dès que les ratifications du Traité entre les 2 puissces. seront échangées, & il m’a permis de vous l’apprendre, en vous présentant ses complimens, avec l’espoir dont il se flatte de vous revoir à Londres.5
Aujourd’hui la jurisdiction Militaire & l’abolition du Haut Conseil de Guerre se décide à la pluralité des 6 Villes en Zélande, contre le Pce. qui y a la 7e. voix.6 C’est singulier de voir com̃e la révolution Américaine a exalté les têtes phlegmatiques de ce pays. Je pourrois vous en citer une anecdote curieuse & interessante en preuve: mais il n’est pas temps encore de la prone[r.] Je ne veux pas avoir à me reprocher d’avoir eventé leurs mines.
Je suis avec grand respect, de Votre Exce. / le très-humble & très-humble / serviteur
[signed] C.w.f. Dumas


[salute] Sir

My letter will not leave until tomorrow, but I am writing it this morning in order to have it taken to the post office, because I am offering my services, before I go to Amsterdam, to go to Dordrecht to have a discussion with our friend not only on the subject of the loan but also about commerce between the two republics, concerning the perfection of which, in the grand scheme of things, I recently gathered important ideas that I will communicate to him as well as to Mr. Van Berckel.1
Here is a letter just this minute received from England. The paper on { 304 } both sides of the seal was torn. I closed it again with doubled strands, and you will see from the grain of the paper, which is still whole under the seal, that there is at least the appearance that the letter was not opened.2
I forgot, sir, to tell you about a letter that Mr. Dana did me the honor of writing from St. Petersburg, dated 8 August. He tells me:
“I expect to [ta]ke my departure in about 12 days by a convenient opportunity now offering directly from this port for Boston— I pray you to present my regards to Mr. J. Q. Adams, and to acquaint him, that I shall take his Books, &c. with me to America.— Mr. Allen returns by this opportunity also.”3
I agree with you, sir, about the improvement of the affairs of the republic by means of the last war, and one proof of that is that the republican party, notably in Friesland and Utrecht, far from slowing down, vires aquirit eundo.4 I will give more details on this at another time.
Mr. De Linde, by a resolution of Zeeland on the 15th, is certain to be nominated and consequently definitely named the republic’s envoy to England as soon as the treaty ratifications are exchanged between the two powers, and he has permitted me to notify you, while sending his compliments, with the hope that he will be fortunate enough to see you at London.5
Today the military jurisdiction and the abolition of the High Council of War was decided by the plurality of the six towns of Zeeland against the prince, who had the seventh vote.6 It is remarkable to see how the American revolution has stirred up the phlegmatic leaders of this country. I could cite for you a curious and interesting anecdote as proof, but this is not yet the time to trumpet it. I do not want to have to rebuke myself for having laid bare their veins of ore.
With great respect, I am your excellency’s very humble and very humble servant
[signed] C.w.f. Dumas
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Paris à S. Exce. Mr. Adams Mine. Plenipo:.” Text lost where the seal was removed has been supplied from the letterbook copy of Francis Dana’s [19 Aug.] letter to Dumas (MHi:Francis Dana Letterbooks, Private, 1782–1784).
1. In a 23 Sept. letter to Sir James Jay, Dumas indicated that he planned to meet with Cornelis de Gyselaar at Dordrecht and perhaps with Engelbert François van Berckel at Amsterdam. They would discuss Jay’s ideas about Dutch-American commerce that he had shared with Dumas in a letter of the 14th (not found). An abstract of that letter by Dumas shows that Jay credited the success of British merchants in America to their large capital, which allowed them to finance substantial stocks of goods, far-flung retail networks, and long-term credit. He suggested that Dutch merchants take the same approach and expand their presence in the United States by combining their resources in companies or societies. Dumas wrote again to Jay on 3 Oct. to report that Gyselaar had taken up Jay’s proposal with a member of the Dutch mercantile community, but the response afforded little prospect that Dutch merchants would heed Jay’s advice (Nationaal Archief:Dumas Papers, Microfilm, Reel 2, f. 585–586, 588–589; Reel 4, f. 209–212).
2. This letter has not been identified.
3. In addition to the portions from the letter of [19 Aug.] related by Dumas, Dana indicated that he had received permission { 305 } from Congress to return to America and was availing himself of the opportunity to return rather than “waiting for the conclusion of the definitive Treaties of Peace, and taking an Audience of Her Imp: Majesty.” He also indicated to Dumas that “if I mistake not, busy & calamitous scenes are about to open upon this Continent. May the New-World be long preserved in Peace, and in the uninterrupted enjoyment of all the blessings of Liberty” (MHi:Francis Dana Letterbooks, Private, 1782–1784). For what Dana left unsaid with regard to his departure, see his letters to JA of [6 June], and note 4, and [29 July], both above.
4. It acquires strength by going (Virgil, Aeneid, Book IV, line 175).
5. Britain and the Netherlands had signed a preliminary peace treaty on 2 Sept. but would not conclude the definitive treaty until 20 May 1784. The two nations ratified the peace on 10 and 15 June, respectively, and exchanged the ratifications on the 19th (Edler, Dutch Republic and Amer. Rev., p. 244; London Gazette, 26–29 June). Baron Dirk Wolter Lynden van Blitterswyck did not present his credentials as Dutch minister until 10 Nov. (Repertorium, 3:264).
6. On 22 Sept. 1783 the States of Zeeland, citing breaches of ordinary justice under the fundamental laws of the province, resolved to limit military jurisdiction to purely military offenses. On the same day the States instructed its deputies to the States General to pursue the abolition of the High Council of War and the creation of a committee to report on the proper exercise of military jurisdiction under the fundamental laws of the Netherlands (Gazette d’Amsterdam, 10, 14 Oct.).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0148

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-09-22

From John Thaxter

[salute] My dear Sir,

I expected at this date to have been at Sea; but the violent Winds from the West & N. West render it absolutely impossible to leave the Port. The Vessel that is to carry me is completely fitted & ready, & has been so ever since the 19th. instant, she having been prepared in thirty six hours after my Arrival— I am infinitely indebted to the Zeal & Activity of Monsr. Thevenard, who has done every thing for me, & treated me with the utmost Attention & Politeness, as he does every American— No Man is more beloved by our Countrymen than him, & their Attachment appears to be indeed well founded.
Mr. Le Comte de Breugnon, the President of the Council of War here, did me the honor to invite me to dine with him to day, & I am just returned from thence— A great part of the Council was present—
I am much concerned at being detained here by bad Winds—but knowing that the Packet Boat cannot have made any great progress since her Departure, I am a little consoled— ’Twas reported this morning, that She had returned to the Isle de Grais—but ’twas a mistake— The Commandant sent an Express Boat off immediately to know the Truth of it, with orders to detain her for me—but it proved to be another Vessel.—1 All I can do is to hold myself in readiness, as I do, at a Moment’s warning—
{ 306 }
I thôt it prudent to write the inclosed Letter, as I came by the Orders of the Ministers for Peace— You will please to shew it to the Gentlemen, if you think it proper.2
With the sincerest Respect & Attachment, / I have the honor to be, / Sir, / your most Hble Servt.
[signed] J Thaxter.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excelly. / Mr. Adams.”
1. Thaxter refers to the Isle de Groix off the harbor mouth at Lorient, but his information concerning the packet was mistaken, for which see Zachariah Loreilhe’s letter of 24 Sept., below.
2. Thaxter’s letter to the commissioners was dated 20 Sept. (LbC-Tr, APM Reel 103) and is very similar to his 18 Sept. letter to JA, above. Copied into the Letterbook with the 20 Sept. letter and enclosed with the 18 Sept. letter was the same brief note of the 18th to the Comte de Thévenard. That the letter to the commissioners and enclosure were copied into the Letterbook prepared for them by Benjamin Franklin’s secretary Jean L’Air de Lamotte indicates that JA shared the documents with his colleagues.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0149

Author: Loreilhe, Zachariah
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-09-24

From Zachariah Loreilhe

[salute] Sir

At the desire of Mr. Thaxter I have the honor of Informing you that the Packetboat which Sailled from hence the 18th: Instt: for Newyork, was by distress of weather obliged to put back at the Ile of Groy yesterday in the afternoon, and last night at twelve OClock there being every apearance of a favorable wind, Mr. Thaxter found it Necessary to go on board, and in Such a hurry as made it imposible for him to acquint you with this Circumstance, however the Packetboat is Still at Groy The Wind not having Permitted them to Continue their Voyage, but as it is posible a change may happen every Instant Mr Thaxter has thought it Necessary to remain on board;1
I have the honour to be with great respect / Sir / your most obedient & / humble Servant
[signed] Z: Loreilhe
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency John Adams.”
1. The packet, Courier de l’Europe, finally sailed on 26 Sept. and reached New York on 19 November. John Thaxter delivered the definitive treaty to Congress on the 22d (Pennsylvania GazettePhiladelphia Freeman's Journal, 26 Nov.; from Thaxter, 19 Jan. 1784, below).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0150

Author: Dana, Francis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-09-29

From Francis Dana

[salute] Dear Sir

I have already advised you of my determination to return to America. In pursuance of that I sailed in the Ship Kingston Capt: { 307 } Norwood, from Cronstadt for Boston, on the 28th. of August O. Stile.1 We arrived here yesterday afternoon in good order, having been twenty days from Cronstadt, eight of which we lay in the Baltic harbour, about 60 Leagues from thence, wind bound. We shall sail from hence as soon as the wind will permit us. We touch in at some port in the channel, Portsmouth if practicable. Shou’d we have a rough passage from hence ’tis not improbable I may spend the Winter in England, chiefly with my brother,2 as We find on our arrival here, that the Definitive Treaties were concluded on the 2d. & 3d. of this month.3 and I am still that miserable wretch on the Seas you have seen me to be. I was not made for that unstable element, and we shall probably arrive on our Coast in the most dangerous season of the year. If I shou’d stop in England over the winter I will write you from thence for I do not expect you will suddenly return to America. If the information of the Gazettes which I read at St: Petersbourg may be depended upon, you are destined for the Court of London, but I doubt this from what you wrote me about your return.4 However we may be disposed of let us not forget each other. I beg you to remember me affectionately to Mr: Thaxter & your Son, and to believe me to remain with the most sincere and unalterable attachment your much obliged Friend and most obedient humble Servant
[signed] FRA DANA
P.S. I have all your Son’s things with me— Mr: Allen is my fellow passenger & desires to be remembered to you & the family
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excelly: John Adams / Minister Plenipotentiary of the United-States.”; endorsed: “Mr Dana / Septr. 29. 1783.”
1. In several letters written at the end of July, Dana indicated that he would be sailing on the Duchess of Kingston’s yacht (from Dana, [29 July], note 9, above). The Kingston reached Boston on Saturday, 13 December. However, the Boston Gazette of 15 Dec. reported that “Saturday [13 Dec.] arrived here the ship Empress of Russia in 91 days from Petersburgh (Russia) but last from the Downs, in 55 days— In her came passengers the Hon. Francis Dana, Esq.; Minister from the Congress of the United States of America, to the Court of Petersburgh, and Mr. Jeremiah Allen, of this town, merchant.” The vessel was in the Downs, a roadstead in the English Channel off Deal, England, on 15 Oct., when Dana wrote to his brother Edmund (MHi:Francis Dana Letterbooks, Private, 1782–1784). Note that in a portion of AA’s 7 Dec. letter written on the 13th, she says that Dana arrived on the 12th (AFC, 5:277). The vessel’s identification—repeated in the 18 Dec. Boston Independent Chronicle—as the Empress of Russia is puzzling, but any explanation would be purely speculative in view of the official report of vessels entering or clearing the port of Boston in the 22 Dec. Boston Gazette that identified the ship as the Kingston, Capt. Norwood, from St. Petersburg.
2. Dana’s brother was Rev. Edmund Dana (1739–1823), a Harvard graduate and vicar of Wroxeter in England. He had gone to England in 1763 to study medicine, but after his marriage to Helen, daughter of the 6th Baron Kinnaird, he took up the ministry (Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, 14:414–418).
3. That is, the Anglo-Dutch preliminary { 308 } treaty was signed on 2 Sept. 1783, while the definitive treaties between Britain, France, Spain, and the United States were signed on the 3d.
4. It is impossible to know what reports Dana had seen, but considering the date of his departure from St. Petersburg, they might have been similar to the erroneous one appearing in the 5 Aug. London Morning Herald and Daily Advertiser. There it was reported that “Mr. Adams is arrived in London on the part of the American Congress; he will not, for some time, be introduced at St. James’s in his Ministerial capacity; but will appear in that situation immediately after the ratification of peace.”

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0151

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Storer, Charles
Date: 1783-10-11

To Charles Storer

[salute] Dr: Sir

I have rec’d from Mr: Ridley, some Letters from home and a Newspaper.—
My Son wrote you Sometime ago, that I was ill, and desired you to come to me— I have written you Since that I had altered my Plan both these Letters may be sent you from London, where untill Mr: Ridley rec’d your Letter of the 6. october from St: Quentin I supposed you were1
Mr: Thaxter is gone home. He sailed from l’Orient in the Packet the 26 of September with the definitive Treaty. I propose to go to London, the Week after next—how long I shall stay there I know not— I have been brought very low by another nervous Fever, and remain so weak that I can scarcely hold my Pen. a Journey to London will at least divert my mind, I hope it will recover my Health. We have rec’d Information from Congress that a Commission is to be sent to Me, Mr: Franklin and Mr: Jay to make a Treaty of Commerce with G: Britain, and I have written to the Ladies to come to me, but whether I shall receive them at the Hague or at Paris, I know not. Mrs: & Miss Adams, will Satisfy their Curiosity, by taking a Voyage; Staying in Europe, about Six Months and then returning with me, to a Philosophic Solitude.—2
Congress have done me great Honour, and given me compleat Satisfaction— I have no longer any Thing to complain of and am I believe as happy a Man, notwithstanding the Weakness of my Nerves, as the Sun shines on. My late Fever, Although it brought me down very low, has been I am perswaded of great Service to me; and I shall enjoy better Health in Consequence of it.
As to my future Destiny, I am perfectly indifferent, whether I go home, or whether I stay here, or whether I go to Holland again, to which I have no Objection except on Account of my Health— These Things are entre nous.
With great esteem your most obedient Servant.
{ 309 }
P.S. I cannot advise you to regulate your movements by any Consideration of mine— If you continue your design of going to Italy, you will not have a better Season than the present. or if you pursue, your present Plan of Studying French at St. Quentin you will do well. My Life is still to be, as it ever has been without a Plan Waiting one year, one Month, one Day, to learn what is to be my Fate the next. The blue Hills are my last Resource.
LbC in JQA’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address by JQA, “Mr: Charles Storer”; and, by JA, “aux Soins de Monsieur Brisac / Negotiant, a St. Quentin Picardie.”; APM Reel 107.
1. JQA’s letter was of 23 Sept. (from Storer, 15 Oct, below), but neither that letter nor JA’s has been found, nor has Storer’s 6 Oct. letter to Matthew Ridley been found.
2. JA wrote to AA on 14 Oct., informing her of his illness and his plans to go to London. There he wrote, “I have only to repeat my earnest Request that you and our Daughter would come to me, as soon as possible” (AFC, 5:255–256). For his initial request, made immediately after he received word of the proposed commission, see his letter to AA of 7 Sept., same, p. 236–238.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0152

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Staphorst, Nicolaas & Jacob van (business)
Recipient: Willink, Wilhem & Jan (business)
Recipient: La Lande & Fynje, de (business)
Date: 1783-10-14

To Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje

[salute] Gentlemen

I have been prevented from writing you, a long Time by another Attack of a Fever, the Rests as I Suppose of that violent one which I had at Amsterdam two Years ago which was never perfectly cured.— This last I am perswaded will be of Service to me.
I must now beg the Favour of you Gentlemen to inform me by Letter, how our Loan proceeds, and what Number of Obligations remain to be disposed of, of the Five Millions. But you will please to address your Letters to me in London under Cover to your Correspondent, who may hear of me at Mr Joshua Johnsons, Merchant, Great Tower Hill, London or you may direct your Letters to me under Cover to him.
I Shall have occasion for Some Money in London and Should be obliged to you, if you would inclose to me a Letter of Credit upon your Banker or Correspondent in that City, that he may Supply me with the Money I may Want upon my Receipts, as Mr Van den Yver has done in Paris.1
It is uncertain how long I may remain in England, as it will depend much upon the State of my Health: But probably it will not be more than five or Six Weeks. I shall write you however from Time to { 310 } Time.— You will please to give me Notice, if it Should become necessary for me to come to Amsterdam.
With great Respect, I have the Honour to be / Gentlemen &c
LbC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Messrs Wilhem and Jan Willink / Nicholas and Jacob Van Staphorst / and De La Lande & Fynje.”; APM Reel 107.
1. See the consortium’s reply of 24 Oct., directed to JA at London, but see also its letter of 16 Oct., both below. JA also applied to the Grands in Paris for a letter of credit, which Henry Grand enclosed with his letter of [14 Oct.] (Adams Papers, filmed at [1783]), to which JA replied, with his thanks, on the 17th (LbC, APM Reel 107).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0153

Author: Storer, Charles
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-10-15

From Charles Storer

[salute] Dear Sir,

I am honored by the receipt of your favor of the 11th. instant, and should not trouble again, (for I know you are not fond of receiving useless letters—) but to assure you I participate the satisfaction you say you enjoy from some late Circumstances.—
Permit me therefore first to congratulate you on the recovery of your health, & of the prospect you have of its being preserved to you in a better state than before— I am very glad you have undertaken a journey to London, as both the journey & variety I am persuaded will be of particular service to you.— Next to the restoration of your health, I rejoice in the honours you say Congress have conferred upon you— No party in that Body should, nor, had they been properly instructed, would they ever have witheld them. To speak to you of Causes would indeed be a presumption—
So Mrs: & Miss Adams will after all be favored with a sight of this old world— It will be a gratification to them I know—but six months, Sir, will give them a relish for the Blue Hills again.— Neither of the Ladies, I am persuaded will like the whirl & bustle of Europe a longer time— For what port, Sir, do you advise them to embark? I ask, to know if it may be in my power to render them any assistance on their arrival— May I ask too, if the Treaty of Commerce will be negotiated in London or Paris.—
St: Quentin I have made my abode for a while. My design is to get the french language. & here is a good Society therefore— The tour I proposed to Italy has proved but a Castle in the air, in effect—the fancy of a Youngster’s Brain— My Papa recalls me in the course of next year.— Peace being at last restored he wishes to partake the blessings of it with his Children. He hopes the next year my Sister { 311 } will be able to return with me. A parents’ feelings none but a Parent knows—and, as my duty, I obey—1
You say, Sir, you cannot advise me to regulate my movements by any Consideration of yours— If by this you mean that the idea of interrupting me should prevent your making use of me, you disappoint my wishes— My services are at your Command—& I have only to say I shall think myself honored in the employ— at the same time, Sir, as you give me leave to address you as a friend, do not think I wish to put myself too forward: On the contrary the more plainness used with me, the more satisfaction on my part—being flattered with your Confidence—
Permit me to ask, Sir, if Mr: Thaxter said anything to you about money borrowed of Mr: Laurens, while in London— He was kind enough to let us have some, as we found a difficulty in exchanging our Louis d’ors there.— Mr: Laurens was to draw on us, upon our return to Paris—but, as I did not propose to go there immediately, I paid Mr: Thaxter my proportion of the sum borrowed, that he might answer the draft more conveniently— As he did not write me on this subject before he left Paris, you will excuse my mentioning it to you— I do it, not to give you trouble about it, as I have already written to Mr: Thaxter that I would accept Mr: Laurens’ draft—but to satisfy myself if the matter has been settled, being myself a party concerned—2
I am obliged by Master John’s letter of the 23d. ulto: but yours of the 11th. inst: renders an answer thereto unnecessary.— With best Compts: to him, & assurances of perfect respect & Esteem, to yourself, I have the honor to be, Sir, / Yr: oblig’d humle: Servt:
[signed] Chas: Storer.
P S. You will probably wish to see Mr: Fitch in London. His address is No: 79. Germyn Strt:3
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “John Adams Esqr:”; endorsed: “Mr Storer / 15. Oct. 1783.”
1. Storer and his sister, Elizabeth Storer Atkinson, landed at New York in Nov. 1785 (AFC, 6:458–459).
2. Henry Laurens wrote to John Thaxter on 11 Aug. 1783 regarding the repayment of approximately £38, but nothing further is known regarding the transaction (ScHi:Laurens Papers).
3. Or Jermyn Street (London Past and Present, 2:306).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0154

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cerisier, Antoine Marie
Date: 1783-10-16

To Antoine Marie Cerisier

[salute] My dear Sir

Monsieur the Abby de Mably has prepared for the Press, some Observations upon our American Constitutions, which he has done me the Honour of addressing to me: so that I am zealous to have the Work appear to Advantage in the Impression, both as it is like to be to me, in Particular a distinguished Mark of Respect with Posterity; and what is of much more Importance, it is, probably full of Sentiments and Principles, Advice and Suggestions, which will be usefull entertaining and instructive, to all the virtuous citizens of the united States of America for Ages to come.2
Your own Sentiments in Morals and Politicks, resemble so nearly those of the Abby de Mably; you have so just a veneration for this Sage and amiable Writer; and you have the Happiness, & Prosperity of America so much at heart, that I perswade myself you will think yourself very fortunate to have the Care of the Impression of this Work committed to you An excellent Friend of us all, the Abby de Chalut, has undertaken to copy it, in a very legible Hand, and it will be sent to you Sheet by Sheet. you will correct the Press and send the sheet, printed to the Abby at Paris who will correct it again if there should be Occasion.— Mr: Holthrop will no doubt undertake to Print it upon the best paper and in the fairest Type, or if you prefer another Printer it is at your Choice: only take Care that it be one who will not trifle with the Work.3
The Abby de Mably demands an hundred and twenty Copies for himself, to give away among his friends. This has been his Rule in other Works.—
I doubt not, the Printer may Sell three Thousand Copies if he takes his Measures wisely, to dispose of as many as he can before it shall be reprinted by others.
Secrecy, I think ought to be observed as much as possible untill the Work is well advanced, indeed untill the Impression is nearly finished—4 The Printer will have it in his Power to have it translated into Dutch, Sheet by Sheet and published in that Language at the same time that it is in French; which will be to him a great Advantage and Profit.5
With great esteem, I have the Honour to / be, Sir your most obedient, and most / humble Servant.
[signed] John Adams.6
{ 313 }
RC in JQA’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mr: A. M. Cerisier sur le Cingel, vis a vis / la tour de la Monnaie, à Amsterdam.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 107.
1. The presence in the Adams Papers of what appears to be a recipient’s copy of a letter like this one to Cerisier often indicates that the letter was not sent. But see JA’s 20 Nov. letter to Cerisier, below, inquiring as to Cerisier’s progress with regard to the matters raised in this letter.
With the exception of a 17 Oct. letter to Henry Grand (to the consortium, 14 Oct., note 1, above), this is JA’s last extant letter written at Paris in 1783. Indeed, they are his last extant letters of any kind until the two written to AA on 8 Nov. (AFC, 5:264–266) and that of 9 Nov. to the president of Congress, below. This is owing to the fact that at nine o’clock on the morning of 20 Oct., JA, JQA, and a servant set out from Auteuil for London. They arrived there on 26 Oct. and initially lodged at “Osborn’s Adelphi Hotel John Street; in the Strand” but on the 29th “took private lodgings; at Mr. Stockdale’s, opposite Burlington House.” The Adamses remained at London until 2 Jan. 1784, when they set out for the Netherlands (JA, D&A, 3:146, 195; JQA, Diary, 1:196–197, 207). JA’s Diary entries for his journey and sojourn in England begin on 20 Oct. but extend only through the 27th. In 1812, however, he prepared a detailed account of his visit to England as well as his arduous winter journey to the Netherlands, which appeared in the Boston Patriot of 9, 13, and 16 May 1812. To fill a large gap in JA’s Diary, the editors included the account verbatim, following the entry for 27 Oct. (JA, D&A, 3:146–154). JQA’s Diary chronicles the period from 20 Oct. through 6 Dec., and there the younger Adams provides considerably more detail than did his father about the journey to England and subsequent stay in London (JQA, Diary, 1:195–207). However, the most detailed contemporary account by either of the Adamses appears in a remarkable series of fifteen letters written by JQA to his friend Peter Jay Munro between 26 Oct. 1783 and 13 Jan. 1784 that together constitute a virtual journal of JQA’s daily activities (NNMus). For JA’s brief summary of his activities from his departure from Paris through 9 Nov., see his letter of that date to the president of Congress, below.
JA’s arrival did not go unnoticed in the London press. The London Morning Herald and Daily Advertiser reported on 29 Oct. that on “Monday [27 Oct.] John Adams, Esq. arrived at Mr. Stockdale’s, in Piccadilly, from the Hague.” On the 30th it announced that on “Tuesday Mr. Adams, lately arrived from America, had a long conference with Mr. Fox, at his house in St. James’s Place.” On the 31st it declared that “the arrival of Messrs. Adams and Jay in England is a most fortunate incident for the news collectors; as it has afforded ample scope for their inventive genius. Whether stockjobbing purposes, Ministerial or Opposition purposes be the objects in view, certain it is, that Mr. Jay has not supped, as reported, with Mr. Secretary Fox; nor has Mr. Adams held any conference with that worthy gentleman. The fact is, that both of the Americans are here in private characters only; and as a consequence, they have not seen, nor is it probable that they wish to see a single member of the present Administration. Mr. Adams, who is first in the commission for treating with this country, has been dangerously ill in France, and he is only come to England with a view to visit Bath for the restoration of his health.” There it also noted that “Mr. Adams is accompanied to England by his son. He came last from Paris, and not from the Hague, as has been stated in the papers by mistake.”
2. This letter, written at the behest of the Abbé de Mably (to Cerisier, 20 Nov., below), seeks the publication of Mably’s Observations sur le gouvernement et les loix des États-Unis d’Amérique. On 26 Sept., presumably on Mably’s behalf, JA wrote to the Comte de Vergennes to request his intervention with the keeper of the seals so that the pamphlet could be printed in France. JA indicated that Mably’s work would be sent to America and that he would send Vergennes a copy (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., 25:327). In his reply of 4 Oct., Vergennes indicated that JA needed to address his request to the inspector of publications, a Mr. De Neville (same, 26:11, No. 5). Upon receiving Vergennes’ response, JA apparently sent it on to Mably ([post 4 Oct.], Dft, Adams Papers, filmed at [1783–1784]), but subsequently the two men decided not to pursue the matter any further in France and turned to { 314 } Cerisier and publication of the pamphlet in the Netherlands as a less troublesome alternative. Principally through JA’s efforts they were successful in their endeavor and in 1784, at Amsterdam, appeared the French text with the title noted above, along with an English translation, Observations on the Government and Laws of the United States of America, Translated from the French with a Preface by the Translator. That version contained notes, presumably by the translator. Later in 1784 a London edition appeared, Remarks Concerning the Government and the Laws of the United States of America, which retained the notes but omitted the preface.
The most obvious reason for JA’s efforts to have Mably’s work published was its format. The pamphlet took the form of four letters to JA, dated 24 July, 6, 13, and 20 Aug., at Passy. In the English editions, the first letter began, “I have just read, with all the attention which it was in my power to pay the subject, the different constitutions formed by the United States of America for their respective uses; and, in obedience to your desire, I do myself the honor to submit to your perusal my sentiments concerning them; but not without expressing my hopes that you will obligingly point out to me the light in which I ought to view them” (Mably, Remarks, p. 1–2). Mably’s format and his decision to focus on American constitutions and government may reflect JA’s effort in Jan. 1783 to discourage him from undertaking a more ambitious work chronicling the history of the American Revolution (vol. 14:165–167, 172–181).
But JA’s desire to have the pamphlet published likely owed less to his agreement with the Observations than to a personal liking for Mably and to the Frenchman’s status as an influential author who was placing information about American efforts to create stable republican governments before an otherwise ill-informed European public. For as JA later noted in his Defence of the Constitutions— referring to Mably and other European authors—“there are in the productions of all of them, among many excellent things, some sentiments, however, that it will be difficult to reconcile to reason, experience, the constitution of human nature, or to the uniform testimony of the greatest statesmen, legislators, and philosophers of all enlightened nations, ancient and modern” (JA, Defence of the Const., 1:3).
3. JA likely thought of Willem Holtrop, an Amsterdam bookseller, because he had previously published Geschiedenis van het geschil tusschen Groot-Britannie en Amerika, zedert deszelfs oorsprong, in den jaare 1754, tot op den oegenwoordigen tijd, Door . . . John Adams, Amsterdam, 1782, a Dutch translation of an abridged version of JA’s Novanglus letters (vol. 13:458), but see note 5.
4. In the Letterbook, this paragraph was written below the closing and marked for insertion at this point.
5. J. F. Rosart & Co. published French and English editions of Mably’s work in 1784, for which see the firm’s letter of 21 March, Adams Papers. But Holtrop did not publish the Dutch translation, Brieven over de regeeringsvorm en wetten der Vereenigde Staaten van Noord-America aan zyne excellentie John Adams, at Amsterdam until 1785.
6. In JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0155

Author: Dumas, C. W. F.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-10-16

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

Ma derniere du 14e. étoit partie, lorsque celle de Mr. votre fils à mon Epouse nous apprit que vous avez été fort malade, &, heureusement, mieux à présent.1 Nous prenons la part que nous devons & à l’indisposition passée, & à votre convalescence, dont nous vous félicitons de grand coeur.
Mrs. Matthieu Van Arp & Co: m’écrivent ce qui suit d’Amst. 15e Oct.
“Le Vaisseau Américain l’Elisabeth, Patron Abraham Brun, { 315 } destiné d’ici aux Indes oc[ciden]tales, a été acheté par le dit Patron ici, est [encore?] sans Papiers, & doit aller trafiquer en differen[tes] Places des Indes occidentales. Je vous prie de m’envoyer pour ce Vaisseau un Passeport, signé par Mr. Adams, ou par vous com̃e son Chargé d’Affaires.— Ce Vaisseau appartient au dit Capitaine seul en propriété; & il vous demande instamment, de faire toute la diligence possible pour lui envoyer le Passeport, & aussi réponse à celle-ci par la poste de demain, avec votre promptitude connue. Au cas que vous n’ayez pas des Passeport de Mr. Adams, je vous prie de me le marquer d’abord, & de faire ensorte que je puisse, sur votre parole, assurer, que vous avez écrit sur ce sujet par premiere poste à Mr. Adams: car ce Vaisseau est très pressé de partir incessam̃ent.”2
Je marque donc ce soir à Mrs. M. Van Arp & Co: que je vous écris en conséquence.
Agréez, Monsieur, les respects de ma famille & les miens, & permettez que j’embrasse ici Mr. votre fils. / De Votre Excellence / Le très humble & très-obéissant / serviteur,
[signed] C.w.f. Dumas
P.S. La Garnison d’Utrecht en est sortie, selon les desirs de la Bourgeoisie, avant l’arrivée des troupes destinées à la remplacer; & il a fallu pour cela changer les Patentes; & moi en voyant tout ce que je vois, je m’écrie en stile oriental O Allah! qu’est-ce qu’un Prince sans Peuple? Et que n’est pas un Peuple sans Prince, dès qu’il le veut bien?3


[salute] Sir

My last of the 14th had already left when that from your son to my wife apprised us that you had been seriously ill and, happily, are now better.1 We are as solicitous for your past indisposition as for your convalescence, which we congratulate you on wholeheartedly.
Messrs. Matheus van Arp & Company wrote the following to me from Amsterdam on 15 October:
“The American vessel Elisabeth, owner Abraham Brun, whose destination is the West Indies, was bought here by the abovementioned owner, is still without papers, and is to trade in various places in the West Indies. I ask you to send me a passport for this vessel, signed by Mr. Adams or by you as his chargé d’affaires. This vessel belongs to the aforementioned captain as the sole proprietor, and he asks you to immediately exercise all possible diligence to send him the passport and to respond to this by tomorrow’s post with your well-known promptness. In case you do not have { 316 } passports from Mr. Adams, I ask you to make a note of that for me first and in such a way that I can make assurances that by your word of honor, you have written to Mr. Adams about this by the first post, since this vessel is in a great hurry to leave immediately.”2
I am sending a note this evening to Messrs. Matheus Van Arp & Company to let them know that I am writing you about this.
Please accept, sir, the respects of my family and of yours truly, and permit me to send warm greetings here to your son. Your excellency’s very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] C.w.f. Dumas
P.S. The garrison at Utrecht has left, following the wishes of the burgesses, before the arrival of the troops assigned to replace them, and for that reason it was necessary to change the letters patent. And I, seeing all that I see, I express myself in the oriental style: Oh, Allah! What is a prince without a people? And what cannot a people do without a prince, once they desire it?3
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Paris à S. E. Mr. Adams Min. Pl. des E. U.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. Dumas’ letter of the 14th (Adams Papers) enclosed a copy of his 10 Oct. letter to Congress for JA to forward to America. Congress’ dispatch book indicates that the letter, numbered 32, reached Congress on 5 March 1784, but neither it nor five other letters dated 28 Sept. 1783, 24 Oct., 7 and 15 Nov., and 1 Dec., are in the PCC (PCC, No. 185, III, f. 95). JQA’s letter to Marie Dumas has not been found.
2. There is no indication that JA did anything regarding the letter from Van Arp & Company on behalf of the Elisabeth, and nothing further is known of the vessel.
3. The events at Utrecht are indicative of the rise of the Free Corps, Patriot military units independent of the stadholder. It was part of the Patriot Revolt and evidence of the growing ascendency of the Patriots over the Orangist forces of William V that would end with the 1787 expulsion of the stadholder and his subsequent restoration when Prussian forces occupied the Netherlands (Schama, Patriots and Liberators, p. 80–88, 103–106, 131–132). For accounts of the events at Utrecht, see the Gazette d’Amsterdam, 3, 10, 14, and 17 October. Dumas’ appeal to Allah touches directly on this conflict between William V and the people (i.e., Patriots).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0156

Author: Staphorst, Nicolaas & Jacob van (business)
Author: Willink, Wilhem & Jan (business)
Author: La Lande & Fynje, de (business)
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-10-16

From Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje

[salute] Sir!

Some time having elapsed since we had the honor of addressing your Excellency we now take the liberty of informing you Sir, of our having received Letters from Mr. Morris giving us Intelligence of certain Drafts, which he had partly already made on us and which he Should yet make, tho’ the total Amount together was much more than we now have in Cash for the United States of America.
His Excellency is in the Idea, that before this Time we Should { 317 } have provided for that which Mr. Grand may have occasion, tho’ not exactly knowing what that may be, we have given the necessary advice to Mr. Grand, that he must place no Reliance upon being furnished by us and we thought it advisable also to give your Excellency the Same notice.
It is exceedingly painfull for us in being obliged to Say, that the Success of the Loan Since the month of August is not Such as we had reason to expect, when in the Summer we had the honor of conversing with your Excellency. Besides the uncommon Scarcity of money, a principle cause of the Loans not Succeeding is the great Number of Accounts received of Disputes in America between the particular States & Congress. It is true this Intelligence is mostly communicated by the English News papers and is worthy of little or no Credit, even as we our selves look upon it, but it makes more impression upon the money Lenders, who always incline to mistrust without cause, especially at a time when thro’ a great concurrence of Loans they are not at a loss with their money. We are constantly hoping we Shall be able by receiving direct Intelligence from America to evince the Falshood of the English Accounts, or that your Excellency or the other ministers would do it, but to this time is this Hope not realized. If your Excellency was in possession of Authentic Intelligence upon this matter, we think the Publication of it would do much Service in procuring a better Success to our continual Endeavours for Selling of the Bonds.1
In Sentiments of the greatest Respect we have the honor to be / Sir! / Your Excellency’s / most obedt & hble. Servs:
[signed] Wilhem & Jan Willink
[signed] Nichs. & Jacob van Staphorst
[signed] de la Lande & fynje
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Messrs Willinks & Co. / 16. Oct. 1783.”
1. The letters from Robert Morris to the consortium cannot be identified with certainty, but by October virtually any demand from the “financier” for funds was viewed by the bankers as excessive and necessarily brought an appeal to JA. The consortium’s letter, its only extant communication to JA since [ca. 19] Aug., above, was also the first substantive report that JA had received on the progress of the Dutch-American loan since his visit to the Netherlands in late July and early August. At that time, after visiting the bankers, he observed “that there is not one foreign Loan, open in this Republick which is in so good Credit, or goes so quick as mine” (to Robert R. Livingston, 28 July, above). JA’s confidence seemed justified because from the opening of the loan in 1782 through July 1783, f3,137,000 had been raised, although most of that sum had been remitted to bankers in Paris, leaving the consortium with very little cash with which to meet any new demands. The problem was that as late as 5 Nov. Morris was apparently using the consortium’s success through July as the basis for estimating how much would { 318 } be raised in the future. However, during the next three months the situation changed drastically, with only f105,000 being subscribed: f70,000 in Aug., f25,000 in Sept., and only f10,000 in Oct. (DNA:RG 39, Foreign Ledgers, Public Agents in Europe, 1776–1787, Microfilm, Reel 1, f. 293; vol. 14:72; Morris, Papers, 8:735; to Robert Morris, 10 July, above). The consortium ascribed this decline, probably with justification, to the appearance in Dutch newspapers of troubling reports from America concerning dissension in the army, the impost and commutation controversies, and the June mutiny at Philadelphia that resulted in Congress’ flight from the city (Gazette d’Amsterdam, 11, 18, and 22 July, 22, 26, and 29 Aug., and 19 Sept.). No response by JA has been found. Certainly he would have been troubled by the discouraging news. It provided him with his first inkling of the deteriorating situation in the Netherlands. For JA’s decision to journey to the Netherlands in early 1784 after receiving even more dire reports, see the letters from the consortium of 2 and 23 Dec., Benjamin Franklin of 10 Dec., and Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst of 26 Dec., all below.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0157

Author: Morris, Robert
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-10-23

From Robert Morris

[salute] Sir

I do myself the Honor to enclose the Copy of a Letter which I have just written to Messrs. Wilhelm and Jan Willink, Nicolaas and Jacob Van Staphorst, De la Lande and Finje.1 This Letter will fully explain to your Excellency the Means I have adopted to bring our Funds into the most speedy Operation. Should the Plan meet your Approbation (which I hope may be the Case) I shall then rely on the Exertion of the great Influence you have so deservedly acquired for carrying it into Effect It will I am sure be as pleasing to you as it can be to me to find that the Disposition of our Country is turning fast towards those Measures of public Justice which can alone render her great and respected. Permit me to participate in the Satisfaction you must feel from Knowing that the honorable Sentiments so well inculcated in your Letters have greatly influenced in promoting that useful Disposition.—
I am Sir with unfeigned Esteem & Respect / your most obedient / and / huml Servant
[signed] Rm.—
FC (DLC:Morris Papers); internal address: “His Excelly. John Adams—”
1. In his letter to the Willinks, Van Staphorsts, and De la Lande & Fynje of 23 Oct., Morris alerted the loan consortium that he had drawn bills of exchange, each worth 250,000 guilders, for three Philadelphia mercantile houses (Morris, Papers, 8:658–660). Upon receiving Morris’ letter, the consortium and the firm of Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst separately wrote to JA expressing concern about the consortium’s ability to cover the amount and discussing possible steps to be taken to avoid nonpayment (23 and 26 Dec., respectively, below). Those letters were a principal motivation for JA’s decision to go to the Netherlands at the beginning of Jan. 1784; but see also the consortium’s letters of 16 Oct., above, and 2 Dec., below.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0158

Author: Staphorst, Nicolaas & Jacob van (business)
Author: Willink, Wilhem & Jan (business)
Author: La Lande & Fynje, de (business)
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-10-24

From Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje

[salute] Sir

We have the honour to acknowledge the Receipt of yoúr Esteemed favoúr of 14th. Instant. by which we observe with much Sorrow the Attack of a fever yoúr Excelly. has been troubled with, We hope it will not have been of any Continuance, but that we Shall Soon have the pleasúre to be informed of yoúr Excelly. being Restored to perfect health.
Our Last to yoúr Excelly. was of the 16th. Instt., but as we fear Said Letter will not have Reached yoúr hands before yoúr departure to London, we inclose herein its Copy for yoúr Excelly’s. perusal—.1 and as we Crave reference to it; we have the honoúr in Compliance to yoúr Excellys. desire to advice you, that the Number of Obligations Remaining to be disposed of are 1768.—.
Allways disposed to be of any Service to your Excelly. we are going to Lodge a Credit in yoúr Excelly’s. favoúr at Messs. C. & Rd. Puller in London, with Order to pay yoúr Excelly. whatever Sum of Money yoúr Excelly. maybe Wanted.—2
As we Can’t See yoúr Excells. Coming to Amsterdam Will occasion any benefit to the Loan, we think if your Excelly. particular business does not necessarily Require this Turn, yoúr Excellency may for the benefit of his health, renounce to the fatigues of Such a Voiage.
We Remain Always with the Sincerest Esteem / Sir / Yoúr Excellys. most obedt. / most humble Servants.
[signed] Wilhem & Jan Willink
[signed] Nichs. & Jacob van Staphorst
[signed] de la Lande & fynje
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “To his Excelly. John Adams Esqr. / London.”
1. The enclosure is not with this letter in the Adams Papers, but see the consortium’s original letter of 16 Oct. directed to JA at Paris, above.
2. This is the firm of Richard and Charles Puller, No. 10, Broadstreet Buildings, London (JA, D&A, 3:172). According to JA’s accounts on the last page of his Letterbook, the firm supplied him with 200 guineas or £210 on 17 Nov. and 8 Dec. (LbC, APM Reel 107).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0159

Author: Ridley, Matthew
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-10-26

From Matthew Ridley

[salute] Sir

I now inclose you four Letters received since your departure—1
Several very heavey failures have happen’d at Paris— One of them is the House of Bost Horion & Co. for upwards of 3,000,000.₶— Some others are talkd of.— The Affairs of the Caisse D’Escompte are now pretty well settled & the Managers talk of beginning to pay in Specie in the Month of Novemr:2
By the London papers I see that Barney arrived the 9th: of Septemr.— There is a Letter of Sr. Guy Carletons of the 17th. Augt: which appears to me a kind of half refusal to quit New-York— It is a whole one in some respects & the Generals disposition seems to me very ripe to refuse in toto.—3
I expect Mr. Barclay in a few days— Mrs. Ridley has been exceedingly ill; but I now begin to have Hopes— The rest of the Family Bravely & all desire to be remembered to you & Son— Be pleased to inform Mr Jay I was at Passy last Night & that all were well there, but Mrs. Jay a little impatient to hear of his safe Arrival.
With respect I have the Honor to be / Sir / Your most Obedient / humble Servant
[signed] Matt: Ridley
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency Jno. Adams Esq.”
1. The enclosed letters have not been found, but may have been the 16 Oct. letters from C. W. F. Dumas and the consortium, both above, and those of 14 Oct. from Dumas and 25 Oct. from an otherwise unidentified Frenchman named Ducher (both Adams Papers). Dumas’ was a covering letter for a 10 Oct. letter to the president of Congress, for which see Dumas’ letter of 16 Oct., and note 1, above. Ducher, writing at Paris, inquired about letters of recommendation from JA to be used when he arrived in America.
2. The Caisse d’escompte had been established by royal charter in 1776 as an undercapitalized equivalent of the Bank of England. Its suspension of specie payments in September was blamed on a shortage of specie in Europe and the French government’s excessive borrowing (Morris, Papers, 8:759; Schama, Citizens, p. 230). As Ridley indicates, the crisis was on its way to being resolved, but the failure of Bost Horion & Cie. affected him directly, for several bills drawn on that firm and remitted to him by Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst were protested (Ridley to Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, 26 Oct., MHi:Ridley Letterbooks); but see also Ridley’s letter of 27 Dec., below.
3. Sir Guy Carleton’s letter of 17 Aug. to the president of Congress reported the arrival of his “final Orders for the evacuation of this place.” He doubted, however, if the evacuation could be completed as soon as might be hoped. He attributed any delay to the increased numbers of loyalists seeking refuge within his lines because of reprisals undertaken against them. Carleton blamed the situation on Congress’ refusal to implement the recommendatory provisions in the preliminary treaty pertaining to the loyalists (PCC, No. 52, f. 217–222).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0160

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-10-27

From James Warren

[salute] Dear Sir,

Your Favours of the 20th: & 21st: of March, and the 9th: 12th: 13th: & 16th: of April, have come safe to Hand, but did not reach me till this Month, & found me on this Hill, at Work among my Potatoes, instead of being in Congress “at the great Wheel,”—1 Nor do I regret this on my own Account, I am quite contented with a private Life, & my Ambition is quite satisfied by excelling in the perfection of my Composts, the Culture of my Lands, & in the Quality & Abundance of my Crops;—but I own I sometimes wish to be at the Wheel to serve my Country, & to support her Friends, & my Own, who I am happy to say are always the same, & never more than since I receiv’d Your Letters.— for though my Ideas with regard to the Politicks & Conduct of the French Court, were in general right before, You have certainly given me some new Ones with regard to the Folly of our Own,—from this Folly (by which I mean not only Weakness but Corruption) has proceeded all the Difficulties Embarrassments, Neglects, & even Insults that You, & other honest Men have suffer’d, and the Dangers this Country has been expos’d to, and from which it has by the Vigilance, Industry, & Ability of a Few been rescued with Difficulty— The Foreign Influence (or the French & Frankleian Politicks) which produces all this is very extensive, & very strong, the Traits of it are to be seen every where, in Boston, as well as Philadelphia, but to be sure the last is the Place where the Focus is collected, & where it operates with its greatest Force. An honest Young Gentleman sent there to represent his Country, & who feels & resents with Spirit its Injuries, in a Fortnight will be soften’d, & in another Week become quite Tame & Compliant, Louisdores must have a Share in such wonderful Conversions, & I think I can observe the Effects of them at Boston— I am told that Congress since they left Philadelphia have acted with more Freedom than before, it is to be wish’d they may never return— This Influence is greatly strengthen’d by an Union with those who wish to Establish an Oligarchy, & who have nearly effected it, these play into each others Hands, & by their joint Efforts bear down all Opposition— Morris is a King, & more than a King, He has the Keys of the Treasury at his Command, Appropriates Money as he pleases, & every Body must look up to him for Justice & for Favour.— When Wilson succeeds as Minister for Foreign Affairs, Fitzwilliams is at { 322 } the Head of the Marine, & a Suitable Person succeeds Genl Lincoln, who has resign’d the War Department, when he shall say what Number of Troops shall be kept up, & have an Host of New Placemen to collect an Impost Mortgaged for Twenty-five Years, he will have us all in his Pocket;—2 It is this Alliance that makes me tremble,—the Foreign Influence might be destroy’d, or be discourag’d by the Expence, or ballanc’d by Ministers from other Courts, especially from Britain, but if this Oligarchal System is not Annihilated, I think our Liberties must be.— You will be able to Judge from all this what an Influence Money & Fortune give a Man in this Country, especially when you recollect the Character you have heard given of this Man, & his Abilities; & You will no longer wonder at the want of Intelligence, because much is to be done to accomodate Matters to their System before it is given.— This will Account for the Revocation of the Commission for a Treaty of Commerce, however fatal it may probably prove to the Interests of our Country, for the wrong Sentiments prevailing with regard to Commerce, & for the Plan of a Monoply now subsisting in Favour of France our disinterested & generous Ally;—for the Obstructions to your Negotiations in Holland:—for your Instructions at different Times,—& why no Appointment has been made to the Court of Great Britain, & for the ill Conduct of our Foreign Affairs in All respects.— No Appointment is yet made to the Court of Britain, because your Character & Conduct is so unexceptionable & Good in the Eyes of all honest Men, & the People in General, that they dare not yet treat You with that Neglect that is consistent with their Veiws, & yet they can’t wish to have You the Man—thus they Jockey, & Play into each others Hands, & gratify the Court & the Doctor.— I sincerely with all the Ardour of Friendship & Patriotism lament your want of Health & Support, I have pray’d for your Health, & done all in my Power in my small Circle to give you Support, & have very good Reasons why I have not given it in a Place where it might have been more Efficacious,— I could not go to Congress immediately on my Election which was out of Season, & Unexpected, & before I had an Oppertunity I was prevented by Sickness.—
What shall I say about your coming Home? You know that as a Friend I wish to see You,—Your Country wants You here,—Your Family would be happy to have You return,— But where & in what Situation should we have been if You & Mr Jay had not been in Europe? When I form an Idea of it I feel like a Man that has had a { 323 } Hair-Breadth Escape from a Precipice— Your Delineation of the Character & Veiws of a Young Nobleman is exceedingly Just, & shews in a convincing Light the wrong policy of our Country in their Instructions, even if it could possibly be good Policy to let down & humble their Ministers;—3 After all I don’t know that I detest any Character more than that of the Old Man, who is, as You might expect Your determin’d Enemy,— You will before this reaches You get a Paragraph of one of his Letters, which if You should by an Interval be in possession of Your right Mind will put the Matter out of Doubt;—4 How long will he live? & if he lives how long can he be able to preserve the good Opinion & Confidence of his Country? The Bubble must burst soon, or Mankind are more lost to Sentiment & Virtue, than I can suppose.— I wish instead of being a Door-Keeper for three or four Days You could be on a Seat in Congress, & have a full Swing in developing the Character & Conduct of this Man, & descanting on the false Politicks of Your Country,— I should like to be Your Colleague.—
With regard to the State of our particular Affairs, Government here is in the same Hands. Our Delegates are Gerry, Partridge, Osgood, Sullivan & Danielson,— the Wisdom of our Legislature have left out Holton & Higginson two very good & uncorrupt Men for the sake of the two last—5 The great Political Object that now engages the Contemplation of the Continent is the Support of Publick Credit, & it is indeed an Object worthy their serious Deliberations, & should be done— The Financier proposes an Impost as Part of the Plan,— Congress have recommended it by their Act,— Our Assembly in the present Session have again pass’d it, but by a small Majority of only three in the House of Representatives, this is favorable to the System I have describ’d,— I don’t like it because I think it injurious to Commerce, & dangerous to Publick Liberty, & because I think a more safe, sure, & easy Way may be devis’d for doing it—
I am, sincerely Yr Friend, / & most Hume: Servt:
[signed] J Warren
New-York is still possess’d by the Enemy, the Want of Transports, & the safety of the Loyalists have been the pretences for delaying the Evacuation, but I think they are now seriously providing for it, & I believe it will be done soon.— Great Quantities of European Goods have since the Peace pour’d in upon us from every Quarter, & most of them in Foreign Bottoms; but the miserable Market they have come to, must discourage them in future, & perhaps work a { 324 } Cure for the Evil, & leave us to import for ourselves, & on our own Bottoms.— The Abundance of fine Things have however destroyed the Ideas of Frugality which Necessity had before given, & drain’d us of our Money,—how a sufficiency has been found to purchase what has been brought us, is beyond my Comprehension.— Our Fisheries the last Season have for want of Vessels been very inconsiderable, but growing fast into Importance;— I suppose the Manufactory of Pot, & Pearl-Ashes will soon recover their former Perfection, and that the Quantities of Flax Seed will this Year be considerable.— Some Emigrations from the Old Countries, cheifly from Ireland have been made to the Southern States, but none have arriv’d here, which I wonder at;— A Moderate Proportion would be serviceable, we want Labourers, & we want Occupiers for some of our Vacant Lands,— I don’t like the predilection they shew in favour of the Southern States.— The immense Territory acquir’d by the Treaty of Peace, & the ample Provision for the Extent & Security of our Fishery gratify the most sanguine Wishes of your Friends, while Your Enemies dare not deny that we are under Providence indebted to You for these great Acquisitions—
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency John Adams Esqr”; endorsed: “Warren Oct. 27 / 1783.”
1. Vol. 14:345–356, 387–390, 401–406, 417–419. These letters, the first two of which were originally intended for Robert R. Livingston, were critical of Benjamin Franklin, France, and Congress’ conduct of foreign affairs. JA directed them to Warren at Philadelphia on the assumption that his friend was serving in Congress.
2. Warren alludes to the faction comprising Robert Morris, James Wilson, Thomas Fitzsimmons, and other Middle States nationalists that emerged in late 1782 and early 1783. Both Wilson and Fitzsimmons (1741–1811), a Philadelphia merchant, represented Pennsylvania in the Continental Congress at the time. Both were close associates of Morris and shared his commitment to strengthening the scope and power of the central government, particularly with regard to fiscal matters (H. James Henderson, Party Politics in the Continental Congress, N.Y., 1974, p. 318–321, 328–329, 342–343; DAB).
3. The Marquis de Lafayette. See JA’s 16 April letter to Warren, vol. 14:417–419.
4. Warren had seen the extract from Franklin’s 22 July letter to Livingston that Elbridge Gerry sent to AA with his letter of 18 Sept. (AFC, 5:250–252). For the entire letter, see Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:580–588; and for its origins, see the commissioners’ 18 July letter to Livingston, and Editorial Note, above. Gerry enjoined AA “to keep the Matter a profound Secret, excepting to Mr. Adams, General Warren and Lady.” AA, after seeing Warren’s reference to it in this letter, forwarded the extract to JA in her letter of 15 Dec., which JA received on 5 May 1784 (AFC, 5:278–282).
5. Dr. Samuel Holten of Danvers and Stephen Higginson of Salem served in Congress from March through Sept. 1783. Timothy Danielson and James Sullivan were chosen to replace them when the Mass. General Court held elections on 28 June, but both declined to serve. Warren, writing to JA on 26 Feb. 1784, declared “Good Providence has so Ordered for our Good that Sullivan has resigned” (Adams Papers). Holten ultimately was returned to Congress on 24 Oct. 1783, serving continuously until 1785 and again in 1787 (Biog. Dir. Cong.; Smith, Letters of Delegates, 20:xix; 21:xx). { 325 }
Warren likely objected to the election of Sullivan and Danielson because of their close political association with John Hancock. Moreover, Sullivan—notoriously combative—recently had found himself at the center of a bitter controversy when, in the spring of 1783, he was elected to the Mass. house of representatives for the city of Boston although he failed to meet the residency requirements. Danielson’s reputation also had been damaged that year, as he faced serious financial problems that nearly sent him to jail for debt. AA, in a letter of 30 June, attributed the turnover in the Massachusetts delegation to strong opposition within the state to the commutation of pay for Continental Army officers, for which see Cotton Tufts to JA, 26 June, and note 4, above (Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, 14:13, 15:304–308; AFC, 5:188–191). See also William Gordon’s letter of 28 June, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0161

Author: President of Congress
Recipient: American Peace Commissioners
Date: 1783-10-27

The President of Congress to the American Peace Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

Previous to my leaving the Chair of Congress, I take the liberty again to address you, merely as an individual that you may not be left totally without Information until the Choice of a Minister for foreign Affairs shall take place. I have pressed Congress much on this subject, and am fully convinced of the difficult Situation you must be in for want of Information from this important Office— I have the honor of acknowledging the rect of your several favours of the ———1 My last addressed to you, was on the 15th of July giving you a minute account of the Mutiny of the Soldiers in Philadelphia and of our subsequent removal to this Place—since which we have remained here tho. in but indifferent Circumstances of accommodation— Congress lately have determined to fix their place of Residence at the Head of the Delaware over the Falls of Trenton— They take in contemplation to fix another place the Falls of Potomack near Georgetown and to sit alternately at each Place year about— They have also determined to adjourn on the 8th Novr to Annapolis for their temporary residence—2 They have also passed several important Acts lately, which you will see by the several Proclamations contained in the Newspapers which I do myself the honor of transmitting herewith from the month of Sept 2d ———3 Congress have not yet taken the Appointment of a minister for foreign Affairs under Consideration, as their Time is principally taken up with previous measures of a Peace arrangement both Civil & Military— It will now be put off till the removal to Annapolis— I shall add to this Letter (I believe) several Acts of Congress In consequence of a Report on your last Official Letter we have been most Anxiously { 326 } (looking(?)) for the Definitive Treaty which is really a matter of much more importance in this Country than it is in Europe— The States at best cannot be convinced that Peace is made to any Purpose without this welcome Act, and the Conduct of the British in these States has confirmed them in the Opinion— We lately sent Baron Steuben to Canada to settle with Genl Waldenson the Time and manner of delivering up & receiving the Posts and fortifications on the Frontiers whenever that Genl should be ready so to do— He was refused even a conference on the subject— Genl Waldenson declaring that he knew of no Peace between Britain and America, that his orders were to cease Hostilities which he had carefully done but could go no further— The Baron thinks they are planning their schemes in Canada for holding the Frontier Posts for a year or two longer which would prove ruinous to these States rendition of them must be urged without delay.4 The Minister from Holland is arrived and to receive his public Audience on Friday next.5
The Effects of the Mutiny in Philadelphia are all done away— The Sergeants who were condemned to die, recd Pardon from Congress in the very last moment of despair this has had a good Effect and the Army have been disbanded without any bad consequences but unhappily without Money.6
Yesterday we gave public audience to Mr Van Berckel— Just before the Ceremony began Col Ogden arrived with the News of the completion of the Definitive Treaty, this gave a large addition to the general Joy that was already great on the occasion of the Day—7 Mr Van Berckel appears to be a person very much suited to the Manners of our People and I am very much mistaken if he does not do great honor to his Commission— I shall endeavour to enclose his address and our answer—
This Morning Congress met & made choice of a new President for the ensuing Year General Mifflin was unanimously chosen, tho’ absent I suppose he will take the Chair in a day or two— I feel myself very happy in having filled up my year and that after having devoted myself altogether to the Public Service for near eight years, I am like to retire to private Life under the blessings of so glorious a Peace— My Presidentship has also been honored by the Signature of { 327 } both Preliminary Articles & Definitive Treaty which has greatly compensated for all my other Sacrifices.
[signed] E B.
MS not found. Printed from J. J. Boudinot, ed., The Life of Elias Boudinot, 1:410–413; internal address: “To The Honble Commissioners”; notation: “Commissioners / Private.”
1. This letter points out the problem facing Congress and the commissioners in the absence of a secretary for foreign affairs, which left no one with the authority—Boudinot writes “merely as an individual” and does not actually reply to any letters received—to answer the commissioners’ letters or issue instructions. Counting Boudinot’s letter, only three letters had been addressed to the commissioners since 1 June. Since Boudinot’s last letter, of 15 July, however, Congress’ dispatch book indicates that it had received 42 letters: two from the commissioners as a group, 24 from JA, four from Benjamin Franklin, six from John Jay, and six from Henry Laurens (PCC, No. 185, III, f. 71–85).
2. For two weeks in mid-October, Congress fiercely debated prospective temporary and permanent residences for the federal government. Commencing the discussion on 6 Oct., Congress resolved the following day that buildings should be erected on the banks of the Delaware, near the falls, as a permanent meeting site. Bitter opposition from southern delegates led Congress to reconsider this decision, and the body eventually resolved on 21 Oct. to establish a second “federal town” on the banks of the Potomac. Until the government buildings on the Delaware and Potomac were completed, Congress agreed to meet alternately at Trenton and Annapolis (JCC, 25:646–660, 711–714; Smith, Letters of Delegates, 21:88, 99).
3. Asserting a congressional power established under the Articles of Confederation, Congress issued a proclamation on 22 Sept. that affirmed the United States government’s (as opposed to the individual states’) exclusive control over the purchasing or receiving of land from Indian nations. Another proclamation, approved in Congress on 25 Sept., announced the ratification of a treaty of amity and commerce between Sweden and the United States. Two additional acts, both dated 18 Oct., appeared in American newspapers prior to 27 October. One discharged soldiers of the army as of 3 Nov., thanking them for their service; the other named the second Thursday of December a day of public thanksgiving (Pennsylvania Gazette, 15 Oct.; Pennsylvania Packet, 23, 25 Oct.).
4. Rather than “Genl Waldenson” the reference should be to “Genl Haldimand.” On 20 July, Gen. Friedrich von Steuben left West Point to meet at Sorel, Quebec, with Gen. Frederic Haldimand, British commander-in-chief in Canada, regarding the transfer of British-occupied frontier posts in U.S. territories to American control. Steuben reported to George Washington that Haldimand refused to make arrangements for evacuation, denying him the right even to visit the posts. A similar mission undertaken by Lt. Col. William Hull in the summer of 1784 was also unsuccessful, and the posts in question remained in British hands for another thirteen years (John McAuley Palmer, General Von Steuben, New Haven, Conn., 1937, p. 312–314; Smith, Letters of Delegates, 20:643–645; Washington, Papers, Confederation Series, 2:10–11). On Haldimand, see also vol. 3:33.
5. Pieter Johan van Berckel, minister plenipotentiary from the Netherlands, informed the president of Congress of his arrival in the United States in a letter of 19 Oct., to which Boudinot replied on 24 October. Boudinot presented Van Berckel’s message, as well as the letter of credence enclosed in it, to Congress on 25 Oct. (Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:713–714). As Boudinot notes in the paragraph dated 1 Nov., Congress formally received Van Berckel on 31 Oct., at which time the minister addressed the delegates. Citing the Netherlands’ support of the American struggle for independence, Van Berckel congratulated Congress on the revolution’s success and pledged to nurture the commercial relationship between the two nations. Boudinot’s answer similarly emphasized the history of friendship between the Americans and Dutch, pointing specifically to the treaty of amity and commerce signed the year before (JCC, 25:780–786).
6. Maj. Gen. Robert Howe, directed by Washington in June 1783 to suppress the mutiny of Pennsylvania soldiers that drove Congress out of Philadelphia, subsequently held courts-martial at a military camp { 328 } outside the city to prosecute participants in the uprising. The court convicted two sergeants of the 3d Pennsylvania Regiment, Christian Nagle and John Morrison, sentencing them to death; four additional soldiers were to receive corporal punishment. Congress resolved on 13 Sept. to grant all of the convicted soldiers a full pardon. Congress justified its decision by arguing, “Whereas the said prisoners appear not to have been principals in the said mutiny, and no lives having been lost, nor any destruction of property committed . . . the United States in Congress assembled, have thought fit to pardon and remit.” Boudinot notified Howe of the resolution in a letter written later that day, leaving it up to him when to inform the soldiers of Congress’ intervention on their behalf. Howe waited until minutes before the two sergeants’ scheduled execution on 22 Sept. to issue the pardon. A local newspaper reported that “the two unhappy men received this most agreeable news at the awful moment when they expected to be summoned into eternity” (president of Congress to the commissioners, 15 July, above; JCC, 25:565–567; Smith, Letters of Delegates, 20:666–667; Pennsylvania Packet, 27 Sept.).
7. News of the definitive peace treaty reached Boston first, conveyed by passengers in the ship Robin-Hood, Capt. Smith, which arrived at Cape Ann on 22 October. The Boston Evening Post of 25 Oct. reported that the gentlemen on board pronounced “that the DEFINITIVE TREATY WAS ABSOLUTELY SIGNED ON THE SECOND DAY OF SEPTEMBER LAST; but that it did not come in the Ship.” When the letters and papers on the vessel became available, a letter written in London on 6 Sept. began to appear in American newspapers, claiming “The Definitive Treaty with the United States of America was also signed at Paris the third instant, by David Hartley, Esq his Majesty’s Plenipotentiary, and the Plenipotentiaries of those States” (see, for example, the Boston Independent Ledger, 27 Oct., and the Pennsylvania Packet, 6 Nov.). Word of the treaty first appeared in the Pennsylvania press on 1 Nov., after Col. Matthias Ogden arrived in New York from London to confirm the news. The Pennsylvania Packet of that date reported, “in last night’s New-York stage came passenger the reverend Mr. Rogers, from that city, which he left on Thursday afternoon. He brings us the very important and agreeable intelligence of the definitive treaty of peace being signed at Paris on the third of September last. The account was brought to New-York from Boston . . . And we have the pleasure of mentioning another channel by which this news is certified;—just as our informant came away, the ship Harford, captain Folger, arrived at New-York in 30 days from London; in her came passenger, colonel Ogden, who confirms the happy tidings beyond a doubt.”

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0162

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1783-10-29 - 1783-11-12

John Adams’ Account with John Stockdale

John Adams Esq. to John Stockdale
Oct.   29.   1 qr fools Cap 1/2  1 qr Blotting Paper   0:    1:   10  
    1 qr large thick post gilt   0:    1:    3  
  30.   Pens 1d.  1 qr blotting Paper 8d   0:    0:    9  
    1 qr fools Cap 1/2  1. d. post Gilt 1/3   0:    2:    5  
    Isabella a Play2        6  
    Wax 1.  Wafers 6d   0:    1:    6  
  31.   Tape        6  
Nov.    1.   Transactions of the Society of Arts3   0:    4:    0  
   4.   Engraving a Plate4   0:    5:    0  
    Printing 300 Cards   0:    4:    6  
{ 329 }
  12.   1 bl of Sealing Wax   0:    7:    0  
    Engraving a Plate of Arms   1:    1:    0  
    Whartons Virgil 4 vol.5   1:    4:    0  
      £ 3:   14:    3  
      2:   13:    06  
1. On 29 Oct., JA and JQA moved into apartments in London maintained by John Stockdale, where Henry Laurens had resided earlier in the year (JA, D&A, 3:149; JQA, Diary, 1:197). Stockdale, a London bookseller and printer, published JA’s A Translation of the Memorial to the Sovereigns of Europe . . . into Common Sense and Intelligible English in 1781. Later, in 1784, he would publish JA’s History of the Dispute with America, an abridged version of JA’s Novanglus letters taken from John Almon’s Remembrancer for 1775; and, in 1787–1788, JA’s three-volume Defence of the Const. (vol. 2:224; vol. 11:ix; vol. 14:266–267; JA, Defence of the Const., 2:title page).
2. David Garrick, Isabella; or, The Fatal Marriage, London, 1757. JQA’s Diary indicates that he, and probably JA, attended the play at the Drury Lane Theatre on 31 Oct. 1783 (JQA, Diary, 1:198). Sarah Siddons played Isabella, and in a 4 Nov. letter to Peter Jay Munro (NNMus), JQA wrote that “Friday evening, I went . . . to see that wonderful, wonderful, wonder of wonders, Mrs: Siddons. The most capital performer upon the Stage; not only of Europe, at present, but that ever was seen. . . . She out Garrick’s Garrick, Sir, cent per cent. she play’d that evening Isabella in the Fatal marriage: you probably know nothing of this piece: it is the deepest Tragedy I ever saw or read: and I must confess I never saw any player, so possessed of the pathetic, as this said Mrs: Siddons. all the audience were in Tears.” Neither this nor the other publications indicated at notes 3 and 5 are in JA’s library at MB. This may mean that when the Adamses left London for the Netherlands they left their books with John Stockdale, intending to retrieve them later, for which see AFC, 5:329–330, 338.
3. Presumably the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce, which JQA visited on 7 Nov. (JQA, Diary, 1:200–201).
4. This may be the bookplate described by Henry Adams in the Catalogue of JQA’s Books, p. 138–139. For more on the bookplate, see Descriptive List of Illustrations, No. 4, above. Why a second entry for the engraving of a plate of arms was included in the account and then crossed out, below, is not known.
5. Probably Joseph Warton’s The Works of Virgil, in Latin and English, 4 vols., London, 1753.
6. Subtraction is incorrect; £3.14.3 minus £1.1.0 is £2.13.3 rather than £2.13.0.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0163

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: American Peace Commissioners
Date: 1783-10-29

Instructions to the American Peace Commissioners

By The United States in Congress Assembled
To the Ministers Plenipotentiary of the United States of America, at the Court of Versailles empowered to negociate a Peace, or to any one or more of them.
First. You are instructed and authorised to announce to his Imperial Majesty the Emperor of Germany or to his Ministers the high Sense which the United States in Congress assembled entertain of { 330 } { 331 } his exalted Character and eminent virtues, and their earnest desire to Cultivate his Friendship, and to enter into a Treaty of Amity and Commerce for the mutual advantage of the Subjects of his Imperial Majesty & the Citizens of these United States.2
Secondly. You are Instructed to meet the Advances and encourage the Disposition, of the other Commercial powers of Europe for entering into Treaties of Amity and Commerce with these United States. In Negociations on this subject you will lay it down as a principle, in no case to be deviated from that they shall respectively have for their Basis the mutual Advantage of the contracting Parties on terms of the most perfect equality and reciprocity and not to be repugnant to any of the Treaties already entered into by the United States with France, and other Foreign Powers. That such Treaties shall in the first instance be proposed for a term not exceeding fifteen Years, and shall not be finally conclusive until they shall respectively, have been transmitted to the United States in Congress Assembled for their examination and final directions and that with the draughts or propositions for such Treaties, shall be transmitted all the information which shall come within the knowledge of the said Ministers respecting the same and their Observations after the most mature enquiry on the probable advantages or disadvantages & effects of such Treaties respectively.3
Thirdly. You are instructed to continue to press upon the Ministers of his Danish Majesty the justice of causing satisfaction to be made for the Value of the Ships and Goods Captured by the Alliance Frigate and sent into Bergen, and how essentially it concerns the Honour of the United States that their gallant Citizens should not be deprived of any part of those Prizes which they had so justly acquired by their valour. That as far as Congress have been informed, the estimate of those Prizes at fifty thousand pounds Sterling is not immoderate; that no more however is desired than their true value, after every deduction which shall be thought equitable. That Congress have a sincere disposition to cultivate the friendship of his Danish Majesty and to promote a commercial intercourse between his Subjects and the Citizens of the United States on terms which shall promise mutual advantage to both Nations. That it is therefore the wish of Congress that this claim should still be referred to the equitable disposition of his Danish Majesty in full confidence that the reasonable expectations of the Parties interested will be fully answered; accordingly you are fully authorised and directed after exerting your best endeavours to enforce the said claim { 332 } to the extent it shall appear to you to be well founded, to make abatements if necessary, and ultimately to accept such compensation as his Danish Majesty can be prevailed on to grant.4
Fourthly. You are further instructed to enquire and report to Congress the reasons why the expedition of the Alliance and Bon homme Richard and the Squadron which accompanied them was carried on at the expence and on account of the Court of France? Whether any part of the prophet arising therefrom accrued to the United States; or any of the expence thereof hath been placed to their account? Whether the proceeds of any of the Prizes taken in that expedition and which is due to the American Officers and Seamen employed therein is deposited in Europe, and what amount, where; and in whose hands?5
Fifthly— The acquisition of support to the Independence of the United States having been the primary object of the instructions to our Ministers respecting the Convention of the neutral Maritime Powers for maintaining the freedom of Commerce, you will observe that the necessity of such support is superceded by the Treaties lately entered into for restoring Peace. And although Congress approve of the principles of that Convention, as it was founded on the liberal basis of maintinance of the Rights of Neutral Nations and of the Priviledges of Commerce; yet they are unwilling at this juncture to become a party to a Confederacy which may hereafter too far complicate the interests of the United States with the Politics of Europe, and therefore if such a progress is not already made in this business as may render it dishonourable to recede, it is the desire of Congress, and their instruction to each of the Ministers of the United States at the respective Courts in Europe, that no further measures be taken at present toward the admission of the United States into that Confederacy.6
Sixthly. The Ministers of these United States for negociating a peace with Great Britain are hereby instructed authorised and directed to urge forward the definitive Treaty to a speedy Conclusion and unless there shall be an immediate prospect of obtaining Articles or explanations be beneficial to the United States in addition to the provisional Articles, that they shall agree to adopt the provisional Articles as the Substance of a Definitive Treaty of Peace.
Seventhly. The Minister or Ministers of these United States for Negociating a Peace are hereby instructed to Negociate an explanation of the following Paragraph of the declaration acceded to by them on the 20th of January 1783. relative to Captures viz: “That the { 333 } term should be one month from the Channel and North Sea as far as the Canary Islands inclusively whether in the Ocean or the Mediterranean.”7
Eighthly. Mr. Jay is hereby authorised to direct Mr Carmichael to repair to Paris should Mr. Jay be of opinion that the interest of the United States at the Court of Madrid may not be injured by Mr: Carmichael’s absence; and that Mr: Carmichael carry with him the Books and Vouchers necessary to make a final and compleat settlement of the account of public monies which have passed through the hands of Mr: Jay and himself; and that Mr Barclay attend Mr: Jay and Mr: Carmichael to adjust those Accounts.
Ninthly. Mr: Jay has leave to go to Bath, should he find it necessary for the benefit of his health—8
[signed] Cha Thomson secy.
FC in JQA’s hand (Adams Papers); endorsed in JA’s hand: “Copy of / Instructions 29. Oct. 1783.”
1. JA received these instructions as an enclosure to the president of Congress’ 1 Nov. letter to the commissioners, below, at London on 5 December. He had JQA copy them and then sent the original instructions and the letter on to Benjamin Franklin at Passy (to Franklin, 5 Dec.; to John Jay, 7 Dec., both below).
2. JA likely saw this instruction and the following one as proceeding from, and expanding on, Congress’ resolution of 1 May authorizing the peace commissioners to negotiate an Anglo-American commercial agreement (JCC, 24:320–321). In his 5 Dec. letter to Franklin, below, JA indicated his assumption that a commission to that purpose likely was included with a separate packet directed to Franklin. As Franklin indicated in his reply of 10 Dec., below, such was not the case, and in the absence of a commission specifically granting the commissioners plenipotentiary powers to negotiate commercial treaties with Britain and other European nations, the instructions could have no substantive effect beyond encouraging the commissioners to solicit proposals for treaties that might be negotiated when a commission arrived. Congress issued no such commission until 7 May 1784 (JCC, 26:357–362), but see note 3.
3. The principal problem with Congress’ directions for negotiating treaties with European nations, which became evident when the negotiation of a Prussian-American treaty began in March 1784, was in the final sentence of the second instruction. As Elbridge Gerry noted in his letter of 14 Jan. 1784, below, the commissioners were permitted to negotiate, but they could not sign a treaty. The unsigned draft agreement had to be sent to Congress for consideration and likely modification. This would lengthen the negotiation process and likely make the conclusion of any treaties impossible. On 22 Dec. 1783 a committee composed of Gerry, Thomas Jefferson, and Hugh Williamson presented a report proposing to supplement and amplify the instructions of 29 October. Among the suggested changes was the proviso “that a Commission be issued to Mr Adams, Mr Franklin, and Mr Jefferson giving powers to them, or the greater part of them to make and receive propositions for such treaties of amity and commerce, and to negotiate and sign the same, transmitting them to Congress for their final ratification.” This provision was included in the commission voted on 7 May 1784 (JCC, 25:821–825; 26:362). For Gerry’s account of the final resolution of the issue, see his 16 June 1784 letter to JA, Smith, Letters of Delegates, 21:685–687.
4. This instruction proceeded from Franklin’s letter of 22 July 1783 to Robert R. Livingston in which he referred to his efforts to resolve the dispute with Denmark over prizes taken by the frigate Alliance in the course of the 1779 Bonhomme Richard expedition and sent to Bergen, Norway (then under Danish rule). Bowing to British pressure, Denmark returned the vessels—Betsy, Union, and { 334 } Charming Polly—to Britain, thus depriving the Alliance’s crew of any prize money. In the years since, Franklin had pressed the American case, arguing that Denmark had acted in violation of the law of nations. He had refused a Danish offer of £10,000 in compensation, believing that the prizes were worth at least £50,000. Nothing came of this effort to resolve the issue nor of another in 1787, in the course of which John Paul Jones was sent on a mission to Copenhagen to negotiate directly with the Danish government. The dispute remained unresolved until the mid-nineteenth century (vol. 9:51; Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:583–584; Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 354–358).
5. This instruction was also the product of Franklin’s 22 July 1783 letter to Livingston. There he referred to Thomas Barclay’s examination of the European accounts and the unsettled nature of those arising from the 1779 Bonhomme Richard expedition. In fact, except for the frigate Alliance, the French government supplied the vessels and the financing for the undertaking through its agent, Jacques Donatien Le Ray de Chaumont. In 1783 the final unresolved issue was the distribution of prize money, which Chaumont had never paid out, claiming that he was still owed for fitting out the expedition. This led Congress on 1 Nov. to appoint John Paul Jones its agent to solicit, under Franklin’s direction, “for payment and satisfaction to the officers and crews for all prizes taken in Europe under his command.” Jones took three years to resolve the issue to his satisfaction, and in Oct. 1787, Congress, after considering the matter at length, put its final seal on Jones’ settlement (same, p. 182–199, 337–341; Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:585; JCC, 25:787; 32:383–384; 33:556–569, 645–646, 659–664).
6. For Livingston’s reference to the Armed Neutrality as a “dead letter,” and for the origins of this instruction in a resolution by Congress on 12 June 1783, see vol. 14:512–514; and for JA’s view of the matter, see his 7 July letter to Livingston, and note 3, above.
7. This question had been raised first in Livingston’s letter to the commissioners of 21 April (vol. 14:437). For the commissioners’ position on the issue, see their letter to Livingston of 18 July, above. No such explanation was obtained.
8. The eighth and ninth instructions proceeded from Jay’s letters of 1 June and 20 July (Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:464–465, 576). In the first he asked that William Carmichael, his secretary, be ordered to bring the accounts from Madrid to Paris so that Jay and Carmichael could settle the accounts with Barclay. In the second, he noted the poor state of his health and his desire to try “the waters of Bath for a pain in my breast.”

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0164

Author: Bridgen, Edward
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-11-01

From Edward Bridgen

[salute] Sir

When Mr Oldfield asked me to give him leave to make use of my name when he waited on your Excellency, with a card of invitation to the Revolution Club for Tuesday Next, I did not then know that it was intended not to invite the Whigs at present in Administration, which I think necessary you Sir should be informed of.1
I have the honour to be with great respect / Yr: Excellencys / most obedt: Servant
[signed] Edward Bridgen
I beg my respectful Compliments to your Son
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency John Adams.”
1. Oldfield has not been further identified, but the “Revolution Club” was The Society for Commemorating the Revolution in Great Britain. Also called the Revolution Society, it { 335 } met annually on 4 Nov. to commemorate the birthday of William III and his landing at Brixham in 1688 (Roland Thomas, Richard Price, London, 1924, p. 123). In a 5 Nov. 1783 letter to Peter Jay Munro, JQA indicates that John Jay was also invited but that neither he nor JA attended (NNMus). Nevertheless, on 6 Nov. the London Morning Herald and Daily Advertiser reported that “Tuesday [4 Nov.] there was a numerous Meeting of the Revolution Society, at the Paul’s Head, Cateaton-street, to celebrate in commemoration the anniversary of King William the Third. The number were about 300 persons. Sir Watkin Lewes in the Chair, Lord Surrey on his right, and Mr. Adams, a member of the American Congress, on the left. Many loyal toasts were drank. The King, the constitution, and the Rights of the People. After this, Sir Watkin gave, Unanimity with America and Great Britain. It was received with the loudest plaudits. Sir Watkin said that a Member of the American Congress wished to address a few words to the gentlemen present.
“Mr. Adams rose, and in a very few words expressed the desire which the United Colonies had to coincide in every thing that could advance mutual commerce.
“Mr. Adams paid a compliment to the City of London in particular, and expressed his hopes that there might be an eternal bond of friendship between the two countries.
“Dr. Price, Dr. Jebb, and many more were present, and the evening ended as all other public meetings generally do.”
Essentially the same report appeared in the Gazette d’Amsterdam of 14 Nov. and in the Boston Independent Chronicle of 8 Jan. 1784. But when JA reached the Netherlands in mid-January, the Gazette of 16 Jan. reported his arrival and in its brief notice declared “il n’est vrai, comme l’ont annoncé tous les Papiers Anglois, qu’il ait prononcé une Harangue à Londres dans une espece de Club, soi-disant Patriotique. Son Excellence n’a même jamais paru dans ladite Assemblée.” That is, it is not true, as has been announced in all the English papers, that he gave a harangue in London at a sort of club, self-styled Patriotic. His excellency never appeared at the said meeting.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0165

Author: President of Congress
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-11-01

From the President of Congress


[salute] Sir,

I have the honor of acknowledging the receipt of your several public letters under the dates of June the 23d. to July the 18th. inclusive, by Capt. Barney. Nothing is done in consequence of these letters but what is contained in the instructions inclosed in my official letter by this opportunity to the Commissioners jointly.1
Congress have not come to any further determination on your last letters, relative to your resignation; on account of the peace arrangement not being yet settled.
Perhaps there will be but very few Ministers employed in Europe, and these in the Character of Residents or simply Ministers.
The conduct of Great Britain does not appear yet very conciliating, and her measures on this side the water have rather tended to irritate than otherwise.
Congress will not be in a hurry to send a Minister to the Court of London, till they see how the definitive Treaty will end. We have an { 336 } account this day from Colo. Ogden that it was signed on the 3d. of September, and that Mr. Thaxter is on his way with it, whom we long to see.2
Your letters on the subject of our credit abroad and the strengthening and cementing the union at home, came at a happy moment, and have had a very good effect. Your Countrymen were running wild on this subject, but your observations & opinion have helped to check them, and the Legislature of Massachusetts have passed the 5 Per Cent. Impost recommended by Congress.
Mr. Van Berckel is arrived and yesterday received his first public audience of Congress. His address and our answer I send to the Commissioners jointly. He appears to justify the high opinion we had formed of the wisdom of the States of the United Netherlands. Their choice of a Minister so consonant to the temper and manners of the Citizens of these States, shew their judgment and prudence. We are much pleased with this Gentleman, and as far as I can judge from present appearances, I may venture to predict that he will cement the union of the two Republics—
I shall leave the Chair of Congress on Monday, and return to private life at Elizabeth Town, after almost eight years spent in the service of my Country. I rejoice to have seen the end of all our labours so happily accomplished, and shall ever revere those great men, who have lent an helping hand to the glorious work.
In private or public life I shall be always glad of the honor of a line from you, Sir, if but to announce your health and welfare.
I have the honor to be, with sentiments of high respect and esteem, / Sir, / Your most obedt. / & very humb. Servt.
[signed] Elias Boudinot
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “The hoñble / John Adams, Esq.”
1. For these letters, which had reached Congress on 12 Sept., see JA’s first 23 June letter to Robert R. Livingston, note 1, above. The instructions are at 29 Oct., above, and were enclosed with the president of Congress’ 1 Nov. letter to the commissioners, below. Boudinot’s letters to JA and the commissioners reached JA at London on 5 Dec. (to Benjamin Franklin, 5 Dec., below).
2. In a brief letter to Boudinot written from Elizabeth, N.J., on 30 Oct., Matthias Ogden noted, “On my arrival at New York harbour this day I found that the L’Orient Packet had not yet reached that Port with the definitive Treaty with which she sailed the 20th. of Septr.” Ogden asserted that John Thaxter would be arriving with the treaty, signed on 3 Sept., any day (PCC, No. 78, XVII, f. 361–362).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0166

Author: Wright, Patience Lovell
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-11-01

From Patience Lovell Wright

Mrs Wrights Most Respectfull Complents to Mr Adams and Lements and is Extreem Sorry she was Stept out at the moment Mr Adams did her the honour to Call on her—Cock Spur Street Mrs Wright begs he will Call again and would wait home from any other pleasure Engagement or Bussiness to have a Visit from him as her Esteem for Mr Adams is founded on the high and good principle as to Call for Atention from him— the pleasure of Seeing the Man who has undr God Saved his Coutry with those other Worthyes Calls on Mrs W to Shew all Possable Respect to him
Mrs was gone to Mr Jennings lodging at 10. oclock this mornig
Mrs Wright is now made hapy by Seeing Mr Adams Son—and has forgive her People in not detaining him— the Son of her friend has added new pleasure to the Pleasing prospect of Seeing them togethr at her house in London and also in America with the most sincer Regard this token wrote from the heart of a old friend / and most sincr humbl Servt Patience Wright2
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “John Adams Esqr”; endorsed: “Mrs Wrights Note.” Filmed at [April 1786].
1. This date is derived from JQA’s Diary entry for Saturday, 1 Nov., where he indicates that he visited “Mrs. Wright’s waxwork” (JQA, Diary, 1:198).
2. Patience Lovell Wright, a wax modeler living in London since 1772, had acted as an American spy during the Revolutionary War. In 1783 she had her exhibition rooms and her residence in Cockspur Street, Charing Cross. Wright had written to JA and John Jay on 8 March to solicit their cooperation in her plan to create a series of wax busts of prominent Americans for display at the State House (now Independence Hall) in Philadelphia (Charles Coleman Sellers, Patience Wright: American Artist and Spy in George III’s London, Middletown, Conn., 1976, p. 46–47, 138; Jay, Unpublished Papers, 2:602–603). For more on Wright, see Descriptive List of Illustrations, No. 5, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0167

Author: President of Congress
Recipient: American Peace Commissioners
Date: 1783-11-01

The President of Congress to the American Peace Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen,

I am honored by the commands of Congress to transmit you a set of instructions in consequence of your joint and seperate letters of the months of June and July last, by Captain Barney, which I do myself the honor to enclose. These were not finished till the 29th. ult. after having undergone the most mature deliberation and fullest discussion in Congress.1
{ 338 } { 339 }
Yesterday we received from Colo. Ogden the news of the signature of the definitive Treaty on the 3d. of September, and that Mr. Thaxter was on the way with the official news. We long for his arrival tho’ we have no doubt of the fact, which is also announced by the post this day from Boston.
I do most sincerely congratulate you, Gentlemen, on this most important and happy event, which has diffused the sincerest Joy throughout these States; and the terms of which must necessarily hand down the names of its American Negociators to Posterity with the highest possible honor. May the Gratitude of your Country ever be the fair reward of all your labours.
New-York is not yet evacuated, but Sir Guy Carleton has informed our Commander in Chief, that he shall get clear of it in all this month, tho’ I think they will not dare to stay much beyond the 15th. instant.2
Your &c.
[signed] E B
FC (PCC, No. 16, f. 261–262); internal address: “The Honorable / The Ministers Plenipotentiary / of the United States of America / Paris—”
1. See the enclosed instructions at 29 Oct., above.
2. Sir Guy Carleton informed George Washington of his timetable for the evacuation of New York in a message delivered orally by Daniel Parker in early October. The last British troops departed from New York City on 25 Nov. (Smith, Letters of Delegates, 21:71, 157).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0168

Author: Dudley, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-11-02

From John Dudley

[salute] sir

With all due deference—I beg Leave to Lay before you the following facts— Necessity is the motive—that frequently obliges me to actions contrary to my Inclination—hope it will Be admited to pleade in Excuse for the Liberty I take in soliciting your Intrest in my Behalf—without previous Leave— my case is as follows) I am a native of America N Carolina—was an officer in the Service of the united States—and in may 1781 was on the Lines opposite New York—had my Retreat cut of by a party of Refugeas under the command of a Mr Blawvelt2—was wounded and taken prisnor—caried in to new York from thence Sent to England—and By my Arrival the wound I had Recieved togather with hard fare I met with had got so Bad that I was obliged to Suffer the Amputation of my Left Leg— which Rendered me Incapible of Returning to my native country till { 340 } I was Entangled in Debt for common Necessaries of Life— Notwithstanding—I have made frequent applications—to this government— for that Releaf my unhappy situation had an immediate call for—and which I had Reson to Expect—and sorry I am to Say my applications—was of Little Effect— I waited in pirson on the Right Hble. Lord Sydney Late principal Secretary of State &c—and only obtained 10£ Bank Bill—and a passport to go from thence to france— which Sum would not Discharge my Board and Lodgings—my creditors finding that my Situation—immediately arrested me for a Ballence of 40£ and Being in a Strange country could not find Bail But was obliged to go to prison where I still Remain—in a State of missery and Distress—3 I have Been for three months past without one penney to Support me But Live Entirely on the prison Allowence which is only one penney Bread pr. Day—and have Been obliged to pledge Every Stich of cloathing But what is at present on my Back to Discharge my Lodgings on the Masters Side of the prison—or must Be turned on the common Side of the prison amongst the fellows where thier is no place to Ley Down on But the coald Boards I have Rote to Genl. Conway and was Honored with an Interview By his Aidecamp—and do Expect Something Done for me— But the immediate call I have for Some Assistence for present use Drive me to Look up to you for pity and commisseration—and if convenient to Honor me with an Intervew—that I may communicate the particulars of my unhappy Situation— I shall take it one of the greatest favours in Life—as I am—in prison Hungry without food (Naked without Raiment—and must Say I have not Language to Express my Sufferings— pray Dont fail—if you cannot conveniently Do me the Honor to call on me your Self—for gods sake consider my Distress and Send Some gentleman that will Be So friendly as to Attend to my case—as Speedy as possible—as term Begins this week and if I cannot find Some assistence Between this and tuesday I shall Be plunged further into Missery if possible it can Be So— the Barer of this will wait at the Doar for A verbal answer—and will Return again to me— I most Humbly pray you will Excuse my plain Language—as I can Assure you Distress Render me allmost incencible— your Humanity sir in considering my Distressed Situation—will Lay an Everlasting Obligation on me—and Shall Be most Gratfully Acknowledged—when Ever I can Effect that much wished for object of Returning to my Native country—By— / sir / Your Most Devoted / Much Distressed / Very Hble Servt. &c
[signed] John Dudley
{ 341 }
1. This is the first of four letters from Dudley recounting his harrowing experiences as a prisoner. The others are dated 14 Nov. (Adams Papers), and 19 Nov. and 30 Dec., both below. Dudley has not been identified beyond the information supplied in his letters and military records, for which see his 30 Dec. letter, and note 3, below. There are no extant replies by JA to Dudley’s appeals for assistance. This may be, as Dudley indicates in his 19 Nov. letter, because JA doubted whether he had served in the Continental Army. However, Dudley’s letter of 30 Dec. indicates that he likely met with JA, who advised him on the sorts of proofs necessary to authenticate his case. For Dudley’s most detailed account of his captivity, see the enclosure to his letter of 30 Dec., below.
For other appeals to JA by former prisoners, see those from Robert Ford and A. Moore of 10 and 11 Nov., respectively, both Adams Papers. Ford was captured in 1777 on board the Continental brigantine Lexington. In 1779 he apparently was pardoned for service in the Royal Navy, but in 1783 he sought JA’s assistance in being freed from the service (Marion and Jack Kaminkow, comps., Mariners of the American Revolution, Baltimore, 1967, p. 67). Moore, allegedly from Boston, had been captured by the British in command of a French privateer and imprisoned on suspicion of being English. He sought JA’s assistance in obtaining compensation for losses during his confinement and a berth in a new vessel.
2. Probably Tunis Blauvelt or Blanvelt, an active loyalist irregular (Sabine, Loyalists), but see also the account enclosed with Dudley’s letter of 30 Dec., below.
3. That is, he was sent to Poultry Compter, a prison maintained by the sheriff of London (London Past and Present, 3:117–118). Dudley, however, did not remain there much longer, for which see his letter of 19 Nov., note 1, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0169

Author: Adams, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-11-04

From Samuel Adams

[salute] My dear Sir

Colo John Trumbull, the Son of the worthy Governor of Connecticutt is the Bearer of this Letter.1 I give the Governor this Epithet, because I think his faithful Services to our Country intitle him to it. Yet even he has undergone the Suspicions of some, unsupported by any solid Reasons that I have heard of.2 We live in an Age of Jealousy, and it is well enough. I was led to beleive in early Life, that Jealousy is a political Virtue. It has long been an Aporism with me, that it is one of the greatest Securities of publick Liberty. Let the People keep a watchful Eye over the Conduct of their Rulers; for we are told that Great Men are not at all times wise. It would be indeed a Wonder if in any Age or Country they were always honest. There are however some Men among us, who under the Guise of watchful Patriots, are finding Fault with every publick Measure, with a Design to destroy that just Confidence in Government, which is necessary for the Support of those Liberties which we have so dearly purchas’d. Many of your Countrymen besides myself, feel very grateful to you and those of our Negociators who joynd you, in preventing the Tory Refugees from being obtruded upon us— These { 342 } would certainly have increasd the Number of such Kind of Patriots as I have mentiond; and besides, their Return would have been attended with other mischeivous Effects. Mutual Hatred and Revenge would have occasiond perpetual Quarrels between them & the People & perhaps frequent Bloodshed. Some of them, by Art and Address might gradually recover a Character & in time an Influence, and so become the fittest Instruments in forming Factions either for one foreign Nation or another. We may be in Danger of such Factions, and should prudently expect them. One might venture to predict that they will sooner or later happen. We should therefore guard against the evil Effects of them. I deprecate the most favord Nation predominating in the Councils of America, for I do not beleive there is a Nation on Earth that wishes we should be more free or more powerful than is consistent with their Ideas of their own Interest. Such a disinterested Spirit is not to be found in National Bodies; The World would be more happy if it prevaild more in individual Persons. I will say it for my Countrymen, they are, or seem to be, very grateful. All are ready freely to acknowledge our Obligations to France for the Part she took in our late Contest. There are a few who consider the Advantage derivd to her, by a total Seperation of Britain & the Colonies, which so sagacious a Court doubtless foresaw & probably never lost Sight of. This Advantage was so glaring in the first Stages of our Controversy, that those who then ran the Risque of exciting even an Appeal to Heaven rather than a Submission to British Tyranny, were well perswaded that the Prospect of such an Seperation would induce France to interpose, and do more than she has done if necessary.— America with the Assistance of her faithful Ally has secured and establishd her Liberty & Independence. God be praisd! And some would think it too bold to assert, that France has thereby saved the Being of her great Importance.— But if it be true why may we not assert it? A punctual Fulfillment of Engagements solemnly enterd into by Treaty is the Justice, the Honor & Policy of Nations. If we, who have contracted Debts, were influenced only by Motives of sound Policy, we should pay them assoon as possible & provide sure & adequate Funds for the Payment of Interest in the mean time— When we have done this we shall have the Sense of Independence impressd on our Minds, no longer feeling that State of Inferiority which a wise King tells us the Borrower stands in to the Lender3
Your Negociation with Holland, as “my old Friend” observd, is all your own—4 The faithful Historian will do Justice to your Merits { 343 } Perhaps not till you are dead. I would have you reconcile yourself to this Thought. While you live you will probably be the Object of Envy. The leading Characters in this great Revolution will not be fairly marked in the present Age. It will be well if the leading Principles are rememberd long. You, I am sure, have not the Vanity, which Cicero betrayed, when he even urged his Friend Licinius to publish the History of the Detection of Cataline in his Life Time that he might enjoy it. I am far from thinking that Part of History redounds so much to the Honor of the Roman Consul, as the Treaty of Holland does to its American Negociator
I intended to have committed the Care of the foregoing Letter to Mr Trumbull, but when he called on me I was confind to my Chamber by severe bodily Indisposition unable to attend even to the lightest Business. I am still kept at home, but hope soon to be abroad. Mr Jonn Jackson will deliver this to you if he meets you in London, other wise he will convey it by some safe hand.5 When I shall be certain of your being appointed for London, I will write to you as often as I can.—6 May Heaven bless you My Friend as I am / affectionately yours
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “recd & ansd / 1. May 1784. / S Adams.”
1. Samuel Adams’ intention that Col. John Trumbull, the artist, would carry this letter was thwarted as the final paragraph dated 4 Dec. indicates. But Trumbull did carry other letters to JA, including AA’s of 11 Nov. (AFC, 5:266–269), and enclosed them with a 27 Jan. 1784 letter from London, not found, to which JA replied on 9 Feb. (LbC, APM Reel 107). Trumbull’s father, Connecticut governor Jonathan Trumbull, may also have intended his son to carry a letter to JA. A copy of a letter from the elder Trumbull to JA dated 1 Oct. is in the Trumbull Family Papers at Ct. In his letter, the governor congratulates JA on the peace, notes that his son is going to England, and recommends him to JA’s attention. There is, however, no recipient’s copy of the letter in the Adams Papers nor any indication that JA replied to it, and given the apparent delay in John Trumbull’s departure for Europe, it seems unlikely that JA received the letter of 1 Oct. or, indeed, that it was ever sent.
2. Late in the Revolution, Gov. Jonathan Trumbull’s reputation suffered from rumors that he was trading with the British. Failing to win a majority of the popular vote and returned to office only by the ensuing vote in the General Assembly in the elections of 1780 and 1781, Trumbull requested that the legislature launch a formal investigation into his conduct, which ultimately exonerated him of any wrongdoing. The governor faced renewed opposition in May 1783, this time due to controversial political positions— particularly his commitment to strengthening the central government. Announcing in October that he would not run for reelection, Trumbull retired from public life in May 1784 (DAB).
3. Proverbs, 22:7. The full passage, in the words of King Solomon, reads “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”
4. Samuel Adams’ reference to “my old Friend” may be to JA. But it might also be to someone else who had commented on JA and the Dutch treaty or possibly shown Adams a letter from JA dealing with his negotiation of the treaty. Certainly Adams’ { 344 } observation accurately reflects JA’s opinion of the credit due to him for the treaty, but it does not appear to respond to any specific assertion in a letter from JA. See, however, JA’s remarks on the Dutch treaty’s significance in his letters to Adams of 19 Aug. 1782 and to James Warren of 19 Aug. and 6 Sept. of the same year, vol. 13:252–253, 255–256, 439–440.
5. Jonathan Jackson wrote to JA from London on 27 April 1784, explaining that he had entrusted the delivery of Samuel Adams’ letter “to the care of Doctr Parker who I am told will be a safe conveyance, & who has promised to deliver ’em himself” (Adams Papers). JA received the letter the morning of 1 May, penning a reply later that day in which he responded to Adams’ comments about refugees, the United States’ relationship with France, and the way the Revolution would be characterized by historians (NN:Bancroft Coll.).
6. Samuel Adams would have a considerable wait before JA received any such appointment. Not until 7 May 1784 did Congress commission JA, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson to negotiate treaties with Britain and other nations, and it was only in Feb. 1785 that JA was appointed to the Court of St. James ( JCC, 26:362; 28:98).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0170

Author: Morris, Robert
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-11-05

From Robert Morris

[salute] Sir

I am honored with your Excellency’s favor, of the twenty eighth of July, from Amsterdam; for which I pray you to accept my Acknowlegements. I am perfectly in Sentiment with you, that it is best to avoid Governmental Interference in the Affair of our Loan. If there were no other Reason, I should not like the Demand of grateful Acknowlegement which would be erected on that Foundation. We hear enough already of our National Obligations, and I most heartily wish, for my own Part, that we could at once acquit them all, even to the uttermost farthing; for I seriously beleive that both Nations and Individuals, generally, prove better friends when no Obligations can be charged, nor Acknowlegements and Retributions claimed on either Side.—
I am also very strongly in Opinion with you that Remittances from this Country would greatly uphold our Credit in Europe, for in Mercantile Life nothing vivify’s Credit like Punctuality and Plentiousness of Remittance. The Plan you propose to obtain them, might also be attended with some good Consequences, but there are Impediments in the Way of it’s Success, which it would be tedious to Detail, and which indeed you could not be so perfectly Master of without being on the Spot. I shall not therefore go into that Matter at present, and the more especially as we have now good Hopes that the Plan of Congress will be adopted by the States— Last Evening, I received advice that Massachusetts had acceded; and I have a double Pleasure in announcing this to you, as they certainly would not have come in but for the Sentiments contained in your Letters.1 Let me then, my dear Sir, most heartily congratulate { 345 } you on those virtuous Emotions which must swell your Bosom at the Reflection that you have been the able, the useful, and (what is above all other Things) the honest Servant of a Republic indebted to you in a great Degree for her first Efforts at independent Existence— That you may long live to enjoy these pleasing Reflections which flow from the Memory of an Active and beneficial Exercise of Time and Talents, is the sincere Wish of / Your most Obedient / and / Humble Servant
[signed] Robt Morris
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency John Adams Esqr: / Minister Plenipo: of the / United States—”; endorsed: “M. Morris / 5. Nov. 1783.”
1. For the extracts from JA’s letters forwarded by Morris on 20 Sept. to John Hancock, see JA’s letters to Morris of 10 and 11 July, notes 3 and 2, respectively, and Morris’ to JA of 20 Sept., and note 1, all above. Hancock, in conveying Morris’ letter and the accompanying passages from JA’s correspondence to the Mass. General Court, put additional pressure on the legislature by formally endorsing Congress’ proposed funding plan. The General Court had debated the controversial impost bill over the summer but taken no action; now it responded by ratifying the plan, although by a narrow margin. The engrossed bill was read before the Mass. house of representatives on 20 Oct. (Morris, Papers, 8:533–535; Tristram Dalton to JA, 16 July, and note 5, above; Mass. House, Journals, Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass., A.1b, Reel 11, Unit 1, p. 266–267; AFC, 5:288–289). See also Thomas Cushing’s letter of 26 Nov., and note 2, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0171

Author: Tufts, Cotton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-11-05

From Cotton Tufts

[salute] Dear Sir.

The Pleliminary Articles of Peace, Cessation of Hostilities &C were not announced here by Authority untill sometime in April last, from whence I conclude that Congress did not recieve Dispatches from their Ministers before the latter End of March or beginning of April. Their Confirmation of these Doings of their Ministers was not (I am informed) forwarded to France untill the middle of April and we hear that they were not received before the latter End of July or beginning of August, which must have retarded the signing of the definitive Treaty, A Matter which we have been anxiously concerned about and the Delay of which has occasioned many Speculations— But late Accounts from England give us Reason to conclude that it was signed the 3d Septr. last— If this Business is compleated I hope We shall e’er long have the Pleasure of seeing You in America—
Since the Cessation of Hostilities, Boston Harbour has been (too well) filled with foreign Vessells— Foreigners are fond of our Money and we are disposed to indulge them: We shall soon gratify them { 346 } with our current Cash, and when we have got rid of that volatile and seducing Guest, we shall grow serious— I feel most intolerably chagrined to hear my Countrymen complain of Burdens Debts Taxes &C when the unnecessary Articles & Toys brought from abroad and sold here would more than pay their Taxes And it may be asserted and I believe with Truth, that since the Cessation of Hostilities, Vessells from England France Spain Holland Denmark & Sweden have carried from this State more solid Money than would pay a fifth Part of its Proportion of the Continental Debt and still more has been carried from Philadelphia—
Congress calls upon the States for Cash, the States upon the People, and the People complain of Burdens and Scarcity of Money— This Game played by the People much longer, will play away the Honor, Dignity and Faith of the United States— But I trust it will not— There is a Crisis to all human Affairs— There must be Time for a People thrown into a Chaotic State by War, into a State of Confusion and seduced to a State of Profusion by a pernicious Paper Currency, to emerge and rise into order regain their former Habits and adopt just, solid and aeconomical Principles— In all Nations Complaint of Taxes is a common Topic.1 It is not surprizing it should be so here, where a People have sustained an expensive War and for which they were almost wholly unprovided—and have been unused to Public Debts of any great Magnitude— it will take some Time to convince them of their Ability to discharge them, but this I trust will after a while be effected. And if prudent Measures are taken, the public Debts will be discharged in a much shorter Time, than has been by some of our Enemies predicted or even imagined by many of our Friends. Congress must be cloathed with a Power, sufficient to bring the Wealth & Strength of the United States to a Point— the Necessity of this seems to be dayly more and more attended to— the more we are Concerned in National Matters, the more we shall see the necessity of some controuling Power over the whole, that shall be competent to the Preservation of the Faith Honor and Interest of the Nation: without this it appears to me to be idle to think of subsisting as a Nation of any great Importance— It has been asserted and I believe with great Truth, That the unappropriated Lands belonging to the Public will if sold at a moderate Price produce a Sum exceeding the continental Debt, but suppose We had no Lands for that Purpose the common Taxes with a judicious Impost and Excise would in Ten or Fifteen Years clear us of Debt—
{ 347 }
Congress has once & again recommended Imposts, the last Recommendation was laid before the Genl Court in May Sessions, it would have been readily complied with, had not the Appropriation of the Revenue included that part of the national Debt, which came under the Head of Commutation to the Officers of the Army in Lieu of half Pay for Life— This was a grievous Matter— Half Pay for Life or even Commutation said the opposers, is directly opposed to the Principles & Spirit of a free Republic and the Granting of it was a Stretch of Power unconstitutional &C— Be this as it will, Times & Circumstances have been such and are such at present as to convince the more judicious Part of the Community of the Necessity of making full and ample Provision according to the Spirit & Tenor of the Resolves of Congress, This Sessions past over without accomplishing the Point. In September Sessions which ended the 28th ulto. it was taken up again and a Bill passed for laying an Impost as recommended by Congress, the money raised by it to be collected by Collectors appointed by the Legislature they to be accountable to Congress and the Mony to be paid into the Treasury of the United States for discharging the Interest & Principal of the National Debt— I hope the other States will speedily fall into this Measure and I apprehend Necessity will oblige them to it—
You have no doubt heard of an high Insult offered in July last to Congress by 3 or 400 of the Pensylvania Line, they were chiefly new Recruits and headed by Serjeants an they surrounded the House in which Congress sat and under the same Roof, the ExPresident and Council of Pensylvania; they placed Guards at every Door, & demanded of Congress (with Threats) past Pay, Rations &C The Executive of Pensylvania had timely Notice of their Design, But they deliberated on their Power and the Expediency of calling out the Militia untill they were surrounded—& for some Hours were confined with Congress, after a while the Insurgents were by some People without Doors perswaded to withdraw their Guards & retire— Congress upon this removed to Trenton and it is hoped by all Friends to the Sovereignty of the United States that they never will set again at Philadelphia— This extraordinary Affair has not a little awakened the Attention of the People and I hope in the Issue will be productive of much Good— Gen. Washington upon the first Notice detached a Corps to quell secure the Insurgents but before they had arrived, the Pensylvanian Soldiers had become sensible of their Folly & sued for Pardon, the Ring Leaders were taken, some of them condemned—& have since been pardoned by Congress— at { 348 } Philadelphia they wish to cast a Veil over this disgraceful Scene, but it will leave an indelible Stain on their Government— If their Executive is incompetent to the Protection of the sovereign representative Body of the United States from Insult, It is high Time, that they have their Residence in some State where the Authority of the Government is adequate to that Purpose— This is a Story that will not sound well abroad—but We shall profit by it—
Our last Accounts are that Congress have resolved, to hold their Seat hereafter alternately in the Jerseys & Maryland— Great offers of Territory, Jurisdiction &C have been made by a Number of States to Congress to procure its Residence in their respective States—
I wrote to You in June last, requesting Your Sentiments upon the 5th & 6th. preliminary Articles of Peace, how far they are absolutely binding upon the States, whether the whole of the 5th. is merely recommendatory by Congress to the several Legislatures to be by them decided upon, In what Light the concluding part of the 5th. is to be considered Viz “and it is agreed that all Persons who have any Interest in confiscated Lands either by Debts, Marriage Settlements or otherwise, shall meet with no lawful Impediment in the Prosecution of their just Rights.” Is the 6th. Article positive and binding? I pray You by the first Conveyance to send me Your Comment upon these Matters and give me Your Opinion How far the Articles respecting Refugees Tories &C are binding2
This matter will probably come before the Genl. Court in the Winter Sessions, hitherto the Consideration of it has not been recommended by Congress, having been deferred till the Signing of the definitive Treaty— Congress will shortly sit at Annapolis in Maryland and will return to the Jerseys as soon as a proper Plan and Accommodations are provided— Our present Delegates are Messrs. Gerry, Partridge, Osgood, Sullivan & Danielson—
Before this You will (I trust) have received Intelligence of the Death of our pious worthy and amiable Friend & Relation Revd. Mr Smith on the 17th. of Septr. last—of which I gave You Notice in a Letter sent in October by a Vessell bound to France—3 This will probably come by Monsr. Feron who has for several Years resided in Boston as chief Surgeon & Physician to the French Kings Troops & Hospital, The Physicians of that Town speak of him with much Respect, as a Man of great Modesty & Ingenuity, amiable in his Manners and learned in his Profession— As he purposes for Paris, Our Medical Society will transmit by him sundry Letters One for his Excellency J. A. who richly deserves our Warmest Thanks for his kind { 349 } & friendly endeavours to promote the Interest of the Society—4 The Society at their last Meeting passed a Vote of Thanks which you will receive You have also my particular Thanks— Our Connections are well, they sincerely wish Yr Return to America, if consistent with the great Objects of Your mission, none does so more sincerely than / Yr Affectionate Friend & Very H Svt
[signed] C. T
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency John Adams Esq”; endorsed: “Dr Tufts Nov. 5. / 1784.”
1. AA observed in her 11 Nov. letter to JA that “tho the War is ceased, taxes have not. Since I took my pen, and within this hour, I have been visited by the collector with 3 tax Bills; the amount of which is 29 pounds 6 and 8 pence, the continental tax state tax and town tax, beside which, I have just paid a parish tax” (AFC, 5:269).
2. In his letter of 26 June, above, Tufts posed the same questions regarding the treaty as he does here. In his 10 Sept. reply JA dodged Tufts’ inquiries, noting that the articles mentioned were included out of necessity and refusing to elaborate on their meaning (AFC, 5:240–242). If JA answered this letter, the reply has not been found.
3. For the death of Rev. William Smith, see James Lovell’s 21 Sept. letter, and note 3, above. Tufts’ October letter has not been found.
4. Jean Baptiste Feron (d. 1833), a French surgeon and physician, operated a hospital in Boston for French sailors from 1781 to 1784. The Massachusetts Medical Society (of which Tufts was a founder) made Feron one of its first honorary members (AFC, 4:386, 388; J. Worth Estes, Naval Surgeon: Life and Death at Sea in the Age of Sail, Canton, Mass., 1998, p. 23). It is uncertain when JA received either Tufts’ letter or that from Edward Augustus Holyoke of 6 Nov., but see note 1 to Holyoke’s letter, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0172

Author: Holyoke, Edward Augustus
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-11-06

From Edward Augustus Holyoke

[salute] Sir

Your Excellencys Favours done to the Massachusetts Medical Society, call for their most grateful Acknowledgments; and it is at their Desire I now enclose to Your Excellency, the Copy of a Vote from their Records, expressive of the Gratitude they feel, & the Obligations they are Under to Your Excellency, for Your kind Attention to their Interests, & for the Honour done them, by introducing them to an Acquaintance with so respectable a Body as the Société royale de Médicine at Paris.1
to which permit Me Sir to add my own personal Thanks,—and as while We continue to prosecute the Ends of our Institution, We are promoting the Cause of Science & Humanity, so We shall still hope for the Continuance of Your Excellencys. good Offices.— I have the Honour to be with great Gratitude & Respect / Your Excellencys. most Obedient / & very humble Servant
[signed] E. A. Holyoke
RC and enclosure (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency Jno Adams Esqr. / Minister Plenipotentiary for / the United States / of America.”
{ 350 }
1. For JA’s successful efforts, at the behest of Cotton Tufts in a letter of 26 Sept. 1782 (AFC, 4:386), to establish a correspondence between the newly established Massachusetts Medical Society and the Société royale de médecine at Paris, see vol. 14 index and JA’s 10 June 1783 letter to Holyoke, above. On 15 Oct., the Massachusetts Medical Society voted unanimously to thank JA for “his early Attention to the Interests and Honor of the . . . Society, and for his assiduous Endeavours, to introduce the Institution to the Notice of the Royal Society of Medicine at Paris” (Adams Papers). It is uncertain when JA received this letter and its enclosure (see Tufts’ 5 Nov. letter, and note 4, above), for he did not reply to Holyoke until 3 April 1786 (MaSaPEM:Holyoke Family Coll.). For JA’s explanation for his failure to acknowledge Holyoke’s letter and the vote of the society, in response to an inquiry from Tufts, see his 11 March 1786 letter to Tufts, AFC, 7:87–88.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0173

Author: Ward, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-11-06

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

Our long conflict having terminated in Independence Peace, and Glory, I have returned to resume my Citizenship in Boston. Having expended my interest in the public Cause, and it being impossible to receive payment, I was led to contemplate the means of doing business without a capital in money, and have adopted a plan which I beg leave to enclose.1
Your high and important Station, and the vast national concerns committed to your care, seem to forbid my address, but, Sir, being a Son of Independence, habituated to enterprize, and long animated by your precepts and example, you will pardon the intrusion.— I ask no favours, being assured that if your precious moments are not all more nobly employed, your advice and assistance will spontaneously flow in whatever line may best answer my wishes. And in the extensive views and operations of your mind I conceive you will discover some connection between the public interest (particularly of this State) and the prosperity of my plan.— Should this be seen, your benevolence and patriotism will have another object for gratification.—
I have particularly in view the settlement of the large tracts of unlocated lands in the north Eastern parts of this State; which if wisely improved by Government, will, I conceive, pay great part of our public debt. I have laid before some of the principal members of the General Court a plan, by the execution of which, this triple advantage may be derived; by the gradual sale of the lands the debt will continually decrease, the number of people increase, and the remaining lands rise in value in such proportion that the remainder will continue to be worth more (until the greater part are sold) than the whole were before the sale of any.— This policy has often been { 351 } pursued by individuals with great success, who have purchased Townships and sold, or given away, one half to raise the value of the remainder;—and I conceive it will equally apply to the State, or Nation.—
The American funds, and new lands, open a great field for speculation, and if you should incline to vest some of your interest in them I should be happy to negotiate the same.— My expectations are sanguine with regard to the new lands in America, and I conceive that by a wise disposal of them great part of our national debt may be paid. But of this, you can best determine, under whose eye Europe & America appear at one view. Perhaps my sanguine imagination carries me in to fairy fields. I have always believed that America will in the progress of time transcend all the Empires of the world. But we want minds elevated as the station Providence hath assigned us. I will not name our errors, you have seen and felt their effects— However, political wisdom is progressive, and I trust we may grow wiser by experience. You will hear perhaps from some doubting timid folks, alarming accounts of our dissensions about commutation, imposts, and other matters, but Sir, I am a stranger to dispair, and not much troubled with fear, although these little disputes are a temporary evil, I view them as a fermentation that will subside and perhaps eventually purify and exalt popular ideas, and tend to perpetuate liberty and national happiness.
Your Embassy, Sir, was a circumstance I ever viewed with pleasure, conceiving it was pregnant with blessings to America, and successive events have overflowed the bounds of sanguine expectation— Providence hath set its seal to the wisdom of your measures and crowned your efforts.— These smiles of Heaven, and the love and gratitude of your Country, will contribute to support the energy of your mind in pursuit of public happiness— And may God forever encircle you with his favour, and shine upon you the unclouded beams of felicity— And in due time give us the pleasure of hailing you on the American shore.—
With every sentiment of affection and esteem, I have the pleasure to be, my Dear Sir, your grateful Friend and most / Obedient Humble Servant
[signed] Joseph Ward
P.S. Sir, we are now told that you are in London, where wisdom and virtue, bear a small proportion to vice and folly—but as Britons are fond of rarities, I hope the presence of an American Patriot may stun their vices and rekindle the divine sparks of liberty and virtue { 352 } in some of their bosoms. I always conceived that if it should be necessary to have an American Ambassador in London, the tried wisdom and inflexible patriotism of my honored Friend, would fix the national eye on him for the important Embassy.
I exceedingly dislike that spirit of partiality for every thing that is British, which appears in too many— I still view them as an accursed nation, whose murdering hands were restrained by merciful Heaven, against their will— I have not forgotten the fields of blood— the smoking towns—and the murdered innocents—the works of British hands.— Nor will I ever cease to detest their impious character. Had the scene been reversed, and Independence lost in the black gulph of tyranny—Good Heavens! what a scene of wretchedness— not an Hero or Patriot left alive—and their miserable wives and children become the scorn of murderers, to bear every insult and to weep out their gloomy days in hopeless calamity— The tyrants and their tools may now put on a forced smile, but I look to their cankered hearts—& conceive it is the dictate of wisdom & virtue to hold them in everlasting detestation. If Cesar, Caligula, & Charles, are justly held up for a warning to mankind as monuments of eternal infamy, why should the tyrants in our day fare better?
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency / John Adams Esqr.”; endorsed: “Ward” and in another hand “Novr 6th 1783.”
1. Joseph Ward was a cousin of and former aide-de-camp to Gen. Artemas Ward and served as commissary general of prisoners from April 1780 to the end of the war (vol. 3:238; Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 568). He was well known to JA, for between 23 Oct. 1775 and 9 Oct. 1777 the two men exchanged at least 35 letters, for which see vols. 3–5 and 8. There is no evidence that JA replied to this letter, and Ward did not write again until 12 March 1789. From that date through 11 Jan. 1811, Ward and JA exchanged 25 letters.
Ward’s enclosed plan has not been found. But in Oct. 1783, he advertised the opening of a Boston land office where he would broker the purchase and sale of houses, farms, and land as well as public securities. He claimed that “the Utility of such an Office must be conspicuous to every one . . . the vast Tracts of uncultivated Land in the Dominions of the United States, may soon invite Millions of Foreigners, as well as Natives, to settle them—which will cause innumerable Transfers of landed Property in the old Towns, and in the new Country.” Ward amassed considerable wealth through land and bond speculation, building a mansion in Newton, Mass., in 1792, but he later suffered heavy financial losses (Boston Evening Post, 25 Oct. 1783; William Carver Bates, “Col. Joseph Ward, 1737–1812: Teacher, Soldier, Patriot,” Bostonian Society, Publications, 1st ser., 4:72 [1907]).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0174

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1783-11-09

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

About the fourteenth of September I was seized at Paris with a Fever, which proved to be a dangerous one, and brought me, very { 353 } low, so that I was unable to attend to any business for some time.— on the twentieth of October, in Pursuance of the Advice of my Friends, I sett out from Auteuil a Village in the Neighbourhood of Passy for London, which City I reach’d by slow Journeys, the twenty sixth. I found my strength increase as I advanced, and my Health is so much improved that I am perswaded the last sickness has been of Service to me, having never enjoyed since my great sickness at Amsterdam, so good Health as at Present. Mr: Jay had sett off for London, about ten days before me; and since my arrival, we have been much together, and have found every thing agreeable, notwithstanding the innumerable, and incessant Lyes, and Nonsense of the Newspapers.1
As I came here in a private Capacity altogether, I have not visited any one of the Ministers, nor any one of the foreign Ambassadors, and I am inclined to think upon the whole that I shall not, unless we should receive the Commission to treat of Commerce, which Congress resolved on, the first of last May, while I stay here.
The Whig Part of the Present Administration are much embarassed with the Tory Part and their Refugees: so that the spirit of the present administration, I must in duty say is not so friendly to the United States as it ought to be, for Want of Powers however, We can reduce nothing to a Certainty. we expect every day to receive our Commission and Instructions.
Mr: Hartley thinks himself impowered to finish the Business with us, by his former Commission. The Ministry are of the same Opinion; And it is no doubt true. So that as soon as our Commission and Instructions arrive, we shall enter upon the Conferences.— But whether we shall go to Paris, or Dr: Franklin will come here, at present I know not. The Negotiation, I am perswaded, would succeed better here than at Paris.
I have the honour to be with great Respect, Sir, your / most obedient, and most humble Servant.
[signed] John Adams.2
RC in JQA’s hand (PCC, No. 84, V, f. 215–217); internal address: “The President of Congress.”; endorsed: “Letter Novr 9. 1783. / John Adams / Read. Jany 21. 1784.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 107.
1. For JA’s journey to London and newspaper reports of his arrival and activities to date, see his 16 Oct. letter to Antoine Marie Cerisier, note 1, and Edward Bridgen’s letter of 1 Nov., note 1, both above.
2. In JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0175

Author: Copley, John Singleton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-11-11

From John Singleton Copley

Mr: Copley presents his compliments to Mr: Adams, has seen Lord Mansfield and been informed that it is necessary to be early at the House, Mr Copley will go with Mr Adams and his friends at 12 o’Clock precisely, and shall be glad to know where they are to meet and thinks there will be no dificulty in gaining Admittance2
RC (PHi:Dreer Coll.); addressed: “John Adams Esquire”; endorsed: “Mr Copely” and in another hand “1783.”
1. This date is derived from accounts by JA and JQA of their attending the House of Lords at the opening of Parliament on Tuesday, 11 Nov. (JA, D&A, 3:150–151; JQA, Diary, 1:202–203). JA indicated that “Mr. Copely . . . procured me, and that from the great Lord Mansfield [William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield], a place in the house of lords, to hear the king’s speech at the opening of parliament, and to witness the introduction of the Prince of Wales, then arrived at the age of twenty one.”
The most detailed description of the event is JQA’s in his 14 Nov. letter to Peter Jay Munro (NNMus). There he wrote that the House was “this year uncommonly Crowded, because the Prince of Wales was sworn in and took his seat as Duke of Cornwall— I had a fine opportunity of seeing the King, the Prince of Wales, and all the peers, spiritual and temporal; it was a very magnificent sight indeed the Robes of the Lords were scarlet and white the Kings and the Prince of Wales’s were a Purple Velvet, with a white kind of a Cape, which came down, to about the middle of their Backs; and a Golden Chain round their necks, the King had his Crown on when he delivered his most gracious speech from the throne; he speaks (or rather reads, for he read his speech) most admirably well I believe there was not a person in the House, lost one word of what he said the speech is of no great importance to you and so I shall not say anything about it. The Prince of Wales took his oaths in a very gay manner. he look’d up,—and down,—and then on one side,—and then on the other,—and was smiling all the time; he is a very fine figure of a Man, I never saw so handsome a Prince and the King is also a very good looking Man,—but their Robes shew them to great Advantage—”
2. Artist John Singleton Copley not only socialized with JA during his 1783 sojourn in London but painted his portrait. For more on the Copley portrait of JA, see Descriptive List of Illustrations, Nos. 6 and 7, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0176

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Newport, Rhode Island, Second Congregational Church
Date: 1783-11-12

To the Second Congregational Church of Newport, Rhode Island

[salute] Gentlemen

I duely received2 the Letter you did me the Honour to write me on the 26th. of May with two addresses inclosed one to the Ministers and Churches of the reformed in Holland, the other to those in France,3 and it should have been answered sooner had not a long Sickness prevented.— I am duely Sensible of the Honour, you do me, Gentlemen by confiding this benevolent Office to my Care, and it would give me great Pleasure to be able to give you { 355 } { 356 } { 357 } encouragement to hope for Success:4 but Solicitations of this Kind are consider’d so differently in America, and in Europe, that an appointment which would be considered as very honourable in the former is regarded in the latter in a different Light. this difference of Sentiment is so real and so serious, that in the opinion of others, as well as in my own, it is inconsistent with the publick Character I have at present the honour to hold under the United States for me to accept of this.— It is agreed on all hands that my Name appearing in this Business would do a great Injury to the Loan of which I have the Care in Holland; so that I must beg the favour of you, Gentlemen, to make my Apology to the Second Congregational Church in Newport for declining a Trust, which my Regard to their Constitution as well as their Welfare, and my personal Respect for you would have induced me to accept with Pleasure had it been compatible with my Duty.
On occasion of a great Fire in Charlestown formerly and of an application of Dartmouth Colledge lately I have seen that there is such a degree of Ridicule attends such solicitations of Benevolence in Europe, that I cannot advise you to expect any Relief in this way: if you were to send an agent on Purpose, in my opinion he would not obtain enough to pay his Expences.
With great Esteem and Respect I have the Honour to be / Gentlemen, your most obedient, and most humble Servant.
[signed] John Adams.5
RC in JQA’s hand (MHi:Channing Family Coll.); internal address: “The Honourable William Ellery, Henry Marchant / Robert Stevens, and William Channing Esqrs: / a Committee of the Second Congregational / Church in Newport.—”; endorsed: “J. Adams.—” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 107.
1. In the Letterbook, where the original text and the alterations are in JA’s hand, JA originally wrote “The Hague August [2?] 1783” and then interlined “London November 12” over the original place and date. This indicates (see note 2) that JA received the church’s 26 May letter (vol. 14:498–501) during his visit to the Netherlands in July and August. It is likely the letter Matthew Ridley “received by yesterday’s Post from England” and forwarded to JA with his letter of 28 July, above. Why JA then drafted a reply in his Letterbook, but apparently did not have JQA copy it and send it off, is unknown.
2. In the Letterbook, to this point this sentence originally read “I received, to Day, from London.”
3. In the Letterbook at this point the comma appears to have been originally a period, and the remainder of the sentence was crowded into the space between the original end of the sentence and the following paragraph beginning “I am duely Sensible.”
4. In the Letterbook “But Solicitations” began a new paragraph, and this sentence continued “but having lately had occasion to try an Experiment.”
5. In JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0177

Author: Chauncy, Charles
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-11-12

From Charles Chauncy

[salute] Honorable Sir,

I heartily congratulate you upon the peace, and your instrumentality in order to its being so advantagious an one to these states. I trust, they will not be forgetful to honor and reward you for your eminent services, which have gained you the highest reputation both here and abroad.
The more special occasion of my now writing to you is, to bespeak your endeavours, so far as you may think proper, to serve the honorable John Temple, who is going to England. His view in going is, partly to render some assistance in forming a commercial treaty, (if not yet done) for wch he is well qualified, as he was for many years at the head of the custom office, and therefore knows more of our commercial affairs than perhaps any one else:1 But what he principally aims at is, to get ample and honorable reparation for the injustice done him heretofore by the then British Ministry.— It would be good policy to grant him this reparation, and might have a salutary effect in this Country, as his friends and connections here are neither few in number, nor inconsiderable in rank and consequence. So far as it may lay with you to assist him in his proposed designs, your exertions would be gratefully accepted by his connections, and by him, who, wth all due respect, is, wth thousands of individuals here, / your obliged humble Servt.
[signed] Charles Chauncy2
P. S. Mr Temple has been infamously persecuted by a party here, meerly fm Envy, or something worse; but hath at last come off victoriously, and now leaves the party in disgrace wth all honest men for their base and wicked attempt agt. him.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “The Honble. John Adams.”
1. John Temple was a native Bostonian, son-in-law of James Bowdoin, former royal customs official, and member of the numerous Temple family in England. A controversy—in which JA was tangentially involved—over his motives and support for the American cause had erupted upon his return to America in 1781 and culminated in a notorious newspaper controversy with James Sullivan, for which see vol. 11:xiv, 452. Temple and his family departed for England on 21 Nov., but he returned to America in 1785 as the first British consul general to the United States (AFC, 5:272).
2. Rev. Charles Chauncy was the minister of the First Church, Boston (AFC, 7:111). JA did not reply to this letter until 27 April 1785 (LbC, APM Reel 107). There JA apologized for not replying earlier, noted that John Temple had been appointed the British consul general at New York, and indicated that the letter would be delivered by JQA who was returning home.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0178

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1783-11-13

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

If any one should ask me what is the System of the present administration? I should answer, “to keep their places”— Every Thing they say or do appears evidently calculated to that End, and no Ideas of public Good no national Object is suffered to interfere with it.
In order to drive out Shelburne, they condemned his Peace which all the Whig Part of them, would have been very glad to have made, and have gloried in the Advantages of it. in order to avail themselves of the old Habits and Prejudices of the Nation, they now pretend to cherish the Principles of the Navigation act, and the King has been advised to recommend this in his Speech, & the Lords have echoed it, in very strong terms.
The Coalition appears to stand on very strong Ground, the Lords, and great Commoners, who compose it, count a great Majority, of Members of the House of Commons, who are returned by themselves, every one of whom is a dead Vote.1 They are endeavouring to engage the Bedford Interest with them, in order to strengthen themselves still more, by perswading Thurloe to be again Chancellor, and Mr: Pitt, whose personal Popularity and Family Weight with the Nation, is very desirable for them, is tempted with the Place of Chancellor of the Exchequer which Lord John Cavendish from mere Aversion to Business, wishes to resign.2
While they are using such means to augment their Strength, they are manifestly intimidated at the sight of those great national Objects, which they know not how to manage; Ireland is still in a State of Fermentation, throwing off the Admiralty Post office, and every other relick of British Parliamentary Authority, and contending for a free Importation of their Woollen Manufactures into Portugal, for the Trade to the East Indies, to the United States of America and all the rest of the World. in as ample manner as the English enjoy these Blessings the Irish Volunteers are also contending for a Parliamentary Reform, and a more equal Representation in their House of Commons, and are assembling by their Delegates in a Congress at Dublin to accomplish it. This Rivalry of Ireland is terrible to the Ministry. They are supposed to be at Work to sow Jealousies and Divisions between the Protestants and Catholics in Ireland.3
The East Indies exhibit another Scene, which will be formidable { 360 } to the Ministers Here center the Hopes of England; and it is certain that no System can be pursued which will give universal Satisfaction— Some require the Government to take that whole Country into their own Hands others demand aids in Cash, and Troops to the Company: Opposition will be first formed probably upon Indian affairs.
Public Credit, is the greatest Object of all— The necessary annual Expence, comprehending the Interest of the whole national Debt funded and unfunded, and the Peace establishment, will amount to near Seventeen Millions: the annual Receipts of Taxes have never yet amounted to Thirteen Millions: Here will be a deficiency then of near four Millions a year: which will render an annual Loan necesary, untill the debt will be so increased and the Stocks so sunk, that no Man will lend his Money— The Judicious, call upon Ministers for a Remedy and will embarass them with their Reproaches: but the Stock Jobbers are more numerous than the Judicious and more noisy. These live upon loans, and as long as Ministers borrow twelve Millions a Year, and employ the Stockjobbers to raise it, however certainly the Measure tends to Ruin, their Clamours will be for Ministers. an enormous Loan is the most popular Thing a Statesman can undertake so certain is the Bankruptcy of this Country. opposition will declame upon this Topick, but will make no Impression.
The United States of America, are another Object of Debate. if an Opposition should be formed, and concerted, I presume, that one fundamental of it, will be a Liberal Conduct towards us. they will be very profuse in Professions of Respect and affection for Us Will pretend to wish for Measures which may throw a veil over the past and restore, as much as possible the ancient good will. They will be advocates for some freedom of Communication with the West Indies, and for our having an equitable share of that carrying Trade &c.
Administration on the other hand I am confident will with great difficulty be perswaded to abandon the mean contemptible Policy which their Proclamations exhibit.
In my humble Opinion the only suitable Place for us to negotiate the Treaty in is London— Here with the most perfect politeness to the Ministry, we may keep them in awe, a Visit to a distinguished Member of Opposition, even if nothing should be said at it, would have more Weight with Ministers than all our Arguments— Mr: Jay is I believe, of the same opinion: But we shall not conduct the Negotiation here, unless Dr: Franklin should come over: indeed if { 361 } Congress should join us in a Commission to treat with other Powers, in my opinion, we might conduct the Business better here than at Paris— I shall however chearfully conform to the sentiments of my Colleagues.
The Delay of the Commission is to me a great embarassment, I know not whether to stay here return to Paris or the Hague. I hope every moment to receive advices from Congress which will resolve me.
I receiv’d yesterday a Letter from Mr: Hartley, with the Compliments of Mr: Fox and that he should be glad to see me, proposing the hour of Eleven to day which I agreed to.4 Mr: Jay saw him, one day this Week. Mr: Jay made him, and the Duke of Portland a Visit on his first Arrival.— they were not at home But he never heard from them untill my arrival, ten days or a fortnight after. informed of this, I concluded not to visit them and did not. But after a very long time, and indeed after Mr: Hartley’s return from Bath, Messages have been sent to Mr: Jay & me that Mr: Fox would be glad to see us.— it is merely for Form, and to prevent a Cry against him in Parliament for not having seen us, for not one Word was said to Mr: Jay of publick affairs, nor will a word be said to me.
The real Friendship of America seems to me the only Thing which can redeem this Country from total Destruction: there are a few who think so, here, and but a few and the present Ministers are not among them: or at least, if they are of this Opinion, they conceal it, and behave as if they thought America of small Importance. The Consequence will be, that little Jealousies and Rivalries, & Resentments will be indulged, which will do essential injury to this Country as they happen, and they will end in another War, in which will be torn from this Island all her Possessions in Canada, Nova Scotia, and the East and west Indies.
With great Respect I have the honour to be, Sir / your most obedient, and most humble Servant
[signed] John Adams.5
RC in JQA’s hand (PCC, No. 84, V, f. 219–222); internal address: “His Excellency the / President of Congress.”; endorsed: “Letter 13 Novr 1783 / John Adams / Read Jany 21. 1784.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 107.
1. In the Letterbook at this point, JA canceled “They are nevertheless timorous and jealous. They know the Nation.”
2. When JA wrote this letter, two days after the opening of Parliament, his appreciation of the strength of the Fox-North coalition and his sense of the likelihood of its remaining in power reflected prevailing opinion. He repeated these views on 4 Dec. in a letter to C. W. F. Dumas, below, but by 19 Dec. the coalition had fallen, to be replaced by William Pitt’s first administration, in which Pitt served as first lord of the treasury and chancellor of the exchequer and Edward Thurlow, { 362 } 1st Baron Thurlow, served as lord chancellor, the office he had held previously under North, Rockingham, and Shelburne. The coalition’s demise was then, as alluded to in the fifth paragraph of this letter, owing to the controversy that erupted over “Indian affairs,” notably the East India bills that Fox introduced on 18 Nov. (J. Steven Watson, The Reign of George III, 1760–1815, Oxford, 1960, p. 576, 578–579; Cannon, Fox-North Coalition, p. 106–144). For additional comment on the bills and the coalition’s fall, see JA’s 14 Dec. letter to the president of Congress, and note 4, below.
3. In fact, the situation in Ireland was not significantly better or worse than it had been since Parliament’s 1782 repeal of the Declaratory Act of 1720, which thereby established Irish legislative independence (vol. 13:141). The principal problem for Ireland during the tenure of the Fox-North coalition was the reluctance of the government at Westminster to do anything substantive about either constitutional or economic issues raised by political factions within Ireland because of the fragility of the coalition’s hold on power (James Kelly, Prelude to Union: Anglo-Irish Politics in the 1780s, Cork, Ireland, 1992, p. 59–60).
4. Presumably this sentence and the remainder of the letter were written on 15 Nov. 1783. David Hartley’s letter was dated the 14th and informed JA that “Mr Fox desires his Compliments to you & wd be very glad of the pleasure of your Company tomorrow morning viz Saturday at 11 o’clock forenoon” (Adams Papers). On 18 Nov., JA wrote AA that “I have been invited by the Duke of Portland and Mr. Fox to See them and I have Seen them and Mr. Burke [an]d met a cordial Reception from all three. These would [do?] right if they governed. But I am not certain, they are not Sometimes overruled or overawed” (AFC, 5:270). Nearly thirty years later JA recalled that “I was introduced by Mr. Hartley, on a merely ceremonious visit, to the Duke of Portland, Mr. Burke, and Mr. Fox; but finding nothing but ceremony there, I did not ask favours or receive any thing but cold formalities from ministers of state or ambassadors” (JA, D&A, 3:150); but see also his 28 Nov. 1783 letter to C. W. F. Dumas, below.
5. In JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0179

Author: Mather, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-11-13

From Samuel Mather

[salute] Honoured Sir,

As, from Your Discretion, Firmness of Mind and inviolable Integrity, I have expected great and good Things to be effected; You will allow me now to tell You, that my Expectation has not been disappointed.
I heartily bless the most wise and wonderful Counsellour, that you have been so happily directed and succeeded in your Foreign Embassy to the Credit, Emolument and Comfort of your own Countrey, as well as to your own Honour: And I persuade myself, that, as you have begun, You will continue to deserve well of the Community, to which You originally belong, and of which You are so useful a Member.
As I am now far advanced in Life, being now in my 78th. Year, I thought within myself, what I could do for the public Welfare and Happiness? And hence I formed the Conclusion to write the Legacy now inclosed to You: And, having written it, as I did not chuse to leave to my own Understanding, I Sent it to your Compatriot Mr.S. Adams; who Kept it for three Weeks, and then brought it Home: { 363 } And he told me, that, after his repetedly reading it, he approved it from Beginning to End, and he advised me to print it: whereupon I gave it to the Printer.1
And as I Sent one of them to his Excellency the President of Congress; I have the Comfort to inform You, that I have received his Thanks for it in a complaisant and respectful Letter from him.2
As your Talents for Serviceableness are considerable and conspicuous; and You will, I doubt not, wisely and faithfully improve them, by the Help of our Divine Redeemer sollicited and improved; I wish You continued and great Success in the Improvement of them, and the greatest Comfort and Satisfaction in Your Success both here and forever hereafter.
I commend you to the Special Guidance and Blessing of the great Lord of Heaven and Earth; and freely acknowlege myself to be / Your aged, obliged Friend / and most humble Servant.
[signed] Samuel Mather.
P. S. Mr. Temple, who brings This, has not been used tenderly here: And we think He deserves some Compensation for his rough Treatment in England.
RC (MHi:Adams-Hull Coll.); addressed: “Honble. Mr. Adams.”; endorsed: “Dr Mather / 13. Nov. 1783.”
1. Rev. Samuel Mather (1706–1785) was the son of Cotton Mather and the longtime minister of the Bennett Street Church in Boston. In The Dying Legacy of an Aged Minister of the Everlasting Gospel, Boston, 1783, Evans, No. 18032, Mather encouraged public-spiritedness and union among the states and insisted on the duty of all Americans to behave with righteousness (Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, 7:216–238). JA would have found of particular interest Mather’s exhortation that the United States avoid entanglement in European politics (p. 29), which echoed his own frequently expressed views regarding American relations with Europe. See, for example, JA’s 5 Feb. letter to the president of Congress, vol. 14:239–240. JA did not acknowledge receiving Mather’s “valuable Legacy” until his letter of 26 April 1785 (LbC, APM Reel 107), and the volume is not now in JA’s library at MB.
2. Elias Boudinot acknowledged receipt of Mather’s pamphlet in a letter of 20 Aug. 1783, affirming that the United States’ victory over Great Britain would not have been possible “independent of the special aid & overruling direction of Heaven” (Smith, Letters of Delegates, 20:565–566).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0180

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-11-15

From James Warren

[salute] My Dear Sir,

Since my last which went in a French Brigt: by way of Nantes, Copy of which you have above,1 Nothing Material has taken place, except a Resolution of Congress to erect Buildings & to reside alternately on the Delaware & Potowmack, & in the mean Time they have adjourn’d to Annapolis on the 12th Instant,— this is consider’d { 364 } by the Patriots as a Triumph. Our Friend Gerry thinks the Measure will have Beneficial, & Extensive, Consequences, & particularly that, it will strengthen the Union, & Confidence of the Southern, & Northern States;— It will at least embarrass those Measures which had been so successful while Congress sat at Philadelphia, & which would have been fully executed had it return’d there again.—2 The last Ships from London bring us Advices that the definitive Treaty was sign’d the beginning of Septemr: but no Official Account is yet Arriv’d,—nor do we hear any Thing of the Commercial Treaty,— I can suppose that many Difficulties attend that Business— Mr Temple who goes for England and designs to go also to France takes this, and will hand or forward it to You,— I think he has been use’d here very hardly,— Our G——r and his Tools have been the Immediate Actors, whether their Conduct Originated from their Own little, narrow Policy, or is deriv’d from a higher Source I don’t know,— for my Part I have not a Single Reason to suppose he ever did, or ever wished to injure this Country, and he certainly has done it Service in some Instances, and for some Cause or Other has suffer’d greatly,— You will probably see him, & hear his Account of the whole Matter;— His principal Veiws in going to Europe are to endeavour to get from the present Ministry some compensation for the Losses he sustain’d by a former Administration,—& to see and bring Dr Franklin to an explicit Declaration with respect to the Letters;—3 I wish him Success in both,— If it be convenient for You to give him any Assistance, You will in my Opinion do Service to an honest Man, and oblige those who think him so— Your Lady & Daughter spent the Day with us Yesterday, You will probably have it under their own Hands by this Oppertunity that they are well—4 I am, with great Respect, / Yr Friend & Hble: Servt:
[signed] J Warren
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency John Adams Esqr”; endorsed: “Gen. Warren / Oct. 27. 1783.”
1. Warren’s last letter was of 27 Oct., above. He copied that letter prior to beginning this one, but only about half of the postscript to the earlier letter remains with this manuscript.
2. For the decision in October regarding the future residency of Congress, see the 27 Oct. letter from the president of Congress to the commissioners, and note 2, above. For more on Elbridge Gerry’s thoughts concerning the resolution, see his 23 Nov. letter, below.
3. At the time, John Temple was generally thought responsible for acquiring and transmitting to Benjamin Franklin in the early 1770s a number of confidential letters from Thomas Hutchinson and others to Thomas Whately, member of Parliament and government official. The letters were sent to Boston and published in the newspapers, leading the province of Massachusetts, through Franklin, its agent, to petition the Privy Council for the removal of Hutchinson and other royal officials. The resulting investigation by that { 365 } body resulted in the greatest humiliation of Franklin’s career: Alexander Wedderburn’s denunciation of him before the Privy Council on 29 Jan. 1774. Franklin, a longtime acquaintance of Temple, published a statement in Dec. 1773 declaring that he was solely responsible for obtaining and communicating the letters in question, but he did not, strictly speaking, exonerate Temple of all involvement in the affair. Temple’s role in the scandal remains unclear, although he is the most likely suspect since he had both motive and access to the correspondence. Franklin never disclosed, publicly or in private correspondence, the identity of the person who gave him the letters (JA, D&A, 2:79–81; AFC, 5:272; Franklin, Papers, 19:399–407; 20:513–516; 21:37, 40).
4. AA had written to JA on 11 Nov. and would write again, this time to both JA and JQA, on the 20th (AFC, 5:266–275, 277).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0181

Author: Dudley, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-11-19

From John Dudley

[salute] Honble. sir

I have taken frequent Liberties in troubleing you with Letters stating my Distressed Situation and Soliciting your Intrest in my behalf—am Exceeding sorry to think from your not taking any notice of my necessity—and from some small Hints given me—there is a Susspition arose—that I was not in the Service of the united States or if that I was—Since which, I might have been in the British Service—from which, I feal myself much more distressed in mind—than what I have been under all my other Sufferings—as I Can verrally say I have Ever since the commencment of the Late War been an Advocate for America have faught and bleed under there Coulars, though, at Last had the hard Misfortune to fall into the hands of the British which would not have been the case had I not been wounded on Howbuck Island2 New Jersey—which wound has Since caused the amputation of my Left Leg—and that I can make it appear that Every application I have made to British government for any assistence has been under the Charector of a prisnor of war and never was Looked on in any other Light by this government—copies of my Letters to the Secretaries of States office I have now in my own hands and the Origenal Letters may be found or answered for at the office—and to gard against any thing that might Injure my Charector as an American I am Truly Anxious to give Every Satisfaction that may Be Necessary on the Subject—and if agreeable to you to hear the particulars I will on friday or Saterday Morning obtain a Day Rule and call on you—when if any thing of the kind Should be found against me I shall never have the presumption to ask any Assistince or Even Expect it But would think But Just if I was Sent confind to Amireca and there Suffer as a crimenal— I Donot wish to { 366 } take the Liberty of waiting on you without priveous Leave So that a verbal answer By the Barer will Lay an Everlasting obligation on— / Honble. sir / Your Most Devoted / Much Distressed / Very Hble Servt. &
[signed] John Dudley
1. Dudley had written to JA on 14 Nov. (Adams Papers) concerning the circumstances of his transfer from Poultry Compter to Fleet Prison, newly rebuilt since its destruction during the 1780 Gordon Riots (London Past and Present, 2:56). According to him, he was “obliged to . . . Surrender from the compter by heabus corpus to the fleet prison in Discharge of my Bail for an old action.” His distress in the new prison was “greater—as there was one penney Bread given Every Day at the compter—and was a great help would Keep me from Entirely Starving— But when I Left the compter I had not money to pay the feas which was nine and Eight pence was obliged to Leave my hat—for payment and came to the fleet without any where I was an Entire Stranger and no Charity comes to it that I am allmost Starving have not one penny— have been now two Days without food and not a Soul to call and Bring me Even a peace of Bread.” For Dudley’s most detailed account of his travails since his capture, accompanied by certificates testifying to his status as a prisoner of war, see his letter of 30 Dec., below.
2. Or Hoobock Island (now Hoboken), N.J. See Dudley’s letter of 30 Dec., note 4, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0182

Author: Smith, Isaac Jr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-11-19

From Isaac Smith Jr.

[salute] Dear sir,

The papers having announced yr. public appearance in this kingdom, I take the liberty of Congratulating you on yr. arrival in England, & on the success of yr. negociations in behalf of the United states of America.1
After much anxiety & toil, to see yr. wishes realized, to find the uncertainties of war ended, & the great object of it fully established & secured, must give you an high degree of satisfaction. America, I hope, will know how to make a proper improvement of the advantages which her independence is Capable of affording her, & that no Circumstances will arise, which may lead You hereafter to regret the part you have taken in the accomplishment of this important event.
It is an event indeed, which in my own imagination I Confess, I had postponed to a more distant period. Of the probability of success on our part in the late Contest, in the beginning of it at least, I had no idea whatever. For the issue of it however I shall not be sorry, so long as it Conduces to the happiness of America, the Country which I wish still to call my own. In this Country, Tho’ I have lived a considerable time, I Consider myself, as a stranger, & { 367 } should I be doomed to continue in exile here, it would make me extremely unhappy.—
Of public matters at Boston I have heard nothing of late. My brother was with me about two months ago. I had yesterday a letter from him, dated at Brussels, 8th instt, on his way to Paris, where I believe he expects to have the pleasure of seeing you.—2 I condole with You on the death of my Uncle Smith, of which I am just informed, & who Closed I find the scene of life with much serenity & peace.3 I flatterd myself with the thought of seeing him again in this word, tho’ advanced in years, but his lot is happier in being removed from it!—
I am sorry that my distance from town prevents me from paying my personal respects to you at present. Should you remain here thro’ the winter, perhaps I may have the opportunity of doing it. But whether I have the honour in England, or not, you will allow me to subscribe myself, with the greatest respect, dear sir, / yr. most obedt / hble servt
[signed] I Smith jr:
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “John Adams Esq. / at Mr: Stockdale’s. Book seller— / Picadilly— / London”; endorsed: “Rev. Is. Smith / ansd Decr. 4.”
1. Rev. Isaac Smith Jr. (1749–1829), the loyalist son of Boston merchant Isaac Smith Sr., was AA’s first cousin. He had graduated from Harvard in 1767 and later served as a tutor at the college, but he left America for England in May 1775. There he associated with various loyalists, including Thomas Hutchinson, and in 1778 was ordained by and ministered to the congregation of a dissenting church at Sidmouth, England. In 1784 he returned to Massachusetts, apparently suffering no serious consequences from his sojourn in England (Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, 16:523–530).
2. William Smith (1755–1816), brother of Isaac, was a 1775 Harvard graduate and Boston merchant who had sailed for Europe in July 1783. JA wrote to him on 12 Nov. that he had received “Two large Packets” for him and was forwarding the notes that had been enclosed with them (MHi:Smith-Carter Family Papers). Smith was at London when AA and AA2 reached the city in July 1784 and spent time with them before he sailed for Boston (AFC, 2:359; 5:206, 371, 372, 374, 376–380, 403, 408; JQA, Diary, 1:313).
3. JA first learned of Rev. William Smith’s death on 7 Nov. 1783, from a letter by Isaac Smith Sr. (AFC, 5:264) and mentioned it in his letter to William Smith of 12 Nov. (MHi:Smith-Carter Family Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0183

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cerisier, Antoine Marie
Date: 1783-11-20

To Antoine Marie Cerisier

[salute] Sir

Before I left Paris I wrote you, at the Desire of the Abby De Mably, on the Subject of his Letters to me, concerning our American Constitutions,. I have heard nothing more about them.1 Pray be So good as to let me know what Progress you make in printing { 368 } them. address your Letters to me, under Cover to Mr Joshua Johnson, on great Tower Hill, or to Mr John Stockdale, opposite Burlington House Piccadelly.
I have been here with my son, now these 3 or four Weeks, and have found agreable Company and curious Sights enough.— I hope it will not be many Months before I see you—But I hope to hear from you first.
[signed] Yours John Adams
RC (private owner, 1997); internal address: “Mr Cerisier.”
1. JA’s letter was of 16 Oct., above.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0184

Author: Cranch, Richard
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-11-21

From Richard Cranch

[salute] My dear Brother

Having this moment been informed that our Hond: Friend Mr: Temple is about to sail for England this Day, I gladly embrace the Opportunity of writing a few Lines to you by him.
He informs me that he shall use his Influence with those in Power, to promote the forming the Treaty of Commerce on the largest and most liberal Principles, if that Business is not already finished. His great Knowledge in the System of Trade, which his former Employment under Government furnished him with, will enable him to throw much Light on that Subject.— He also intends to get some Compensation for his Sufferings in being deprived of all his publick Employments, in which he expects that his Friend Mr. Hartly will assist him. Perhaps Mr. Temple will pay you a Visit before you return, when, your Interest with that Minister may be of Service to him.
He also wishes to get some matters respecting the bringing out of H——’s Letters, illucidated.
I have only to add that your Dear Lady and Children are well, and that I am with the highest Esteem and Affection, ever yours—
[signed] Richard Cranch
P:S. Our Hond: Friends Bowdoin1 and Warren have written more at large.
1. No letter from James Bowdoin has been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0185

Author: Gerry, Elbridge
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-11-23

From Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear Mr Adams

Mr Thaxter arrived here last Evening, by the Way of New York, with the definative Treaty, having narrowly escaped a severe storm by reaching that Port on Wednesday Evening— your Favours by him I have received with great Pleasure, as I was in Want of the Information they contain, as well as of your Sentiments on several important Subjects—2
Governor Reed will probably deliver You this, & my Confidence in him will induce me to be explicit—3
The great object of our political Enterprize with Britain is obtained; & if We have Wisdom & Virtue to improve the advantages, the Issue must be happy. “Laus Deo”4 should be the Motto of America & inscribed on every Device for commemorating this great Event; for none but atheists can be insensible of the first obligations wch. result on the Occasion.
Our Gratitude should nevertheless be shewn to such Individuals, as by their eminent Services, have been principal Instruments in promoting the Measure; & I consider it as an Act of Justice, with a meritorious Washington & Green, to rank those that are equally so in my Mind, an Adams & Jay. You well know that I am not addicted to Flattery, that I have an aversion to so contemptible a practice; but sensible as I am of the Benefits derived from your able negotiations in Europe, as well as your Services in America, give me Leave to express an Impatience, & Concern, not merely at the feeble attempts to sully the Reputations You have so nobly acquired; but also at the neglect & Indifference that has been manifested in doing that Justice to your Characters which Generosity & good Policy should in my opinion long ’eer this have exhibited; & which no Exertions on my part shall be wanting to perpetuate— indeed the Ingratitude which You have hitherto experienced is not to be imputed to the Citizens of America at large, but to some amongst them of ambitious & perhaps envious principles who think “all made for one, not One for all.”
Our Concerns are twofold, foreign & domestic.— the former by the Abilities, (entirely, by the Integrity & Abilities) of two of our Ministers, in negotiating the peace, are so far upon the best Footing. the Success of our Arms, God knows, would have been of no { 370 } Service to Us, had not the Magnanimity & Fortitude of our Ministers induced them to have departed in some Instances from their, (excuse me for calling them) servile Instructions— to compleat our external Concerns, nothing appears to me necessary, excepting Treaties of Commerce on reciprocal Terms, with every European Power that desires it. I am therefore fully of your opinion, with Respect to the Continuance of our Ministers for this purpose, & for establishing a Treaty of Amity with the Dey of Algiers & those other barbary princes that infest our Commerce, after which, I can see no necessity, but great Inconveniences in sending Ministers abroad or receiving them at Home, unless for special purposes. You will probably enquire, what Inconveniences I allude to, & the answer is, the Inconveniences of being entangled with European politics; of being the puppets of European Statesmen; of being gradually divested of our vertuous republican principles; of being a divided, influenced, & dissipated, people; of being induced to prefer the Splendor of our Court, to the Happiness of our Citizens; & finally of changing our Form of Government, established at an amazing Expence of Blood & Treasure, for a vile Aristocracy or an arbitrary Monarchy. these are the Inconveniences, or rather the deplorable Evils which I apprehend from a permanent System of Embassies, & had You seen what I have been so unfortunate as to see, after only three Years Absence from Congress, almost a total Change of political principles; had You the same Reasons for tracing those Effects to the Causes alluded to, perhaps We should not differ much in our proposals for a Remedy. We are my dear sir happily placed at a distance from civilized Nations, We are surrounded by barbarous ones, which if they could be humanized, would in my opinion be as far beyond some that boast of being civilized, as they conceive themselves to be above the others. if such a Love of Grandeur & power, as induces Men to prefer Art, Intrigue Injustice, perfidy & Inhumanity to the contrary Vertues, designate a civilized Nation, in Gods Name, may America never aspire to the delusive Honor, but may her ne plus Ultra be such a Degree of Dignity as is consistent with good Faith, & admits the Salus populi to be suprema Lex5—remote then from civilized Nations, wherein consists the policy of such Connections with them as must produce a Change of our principles both moral & political, a Change of our Government; the Loss of our internal Confidence & Tranquility; an Interest in their Broils & quarrels; in short Wars perpetual intestine or foreign? perhaps You may say { 371 } these are chimeras, mere Creatures of the Imagination; that can never be realized, by a ministerial Intercourse with European Powers: but behold the Influence already established in the United States by such Means, & then judge for Yourself, with this Assurance, if We differ in opinion on this point, that I shall with the greatest pleasure listen to your Reasons & be happy in acquiescing in them.
Our domestic affairs are much deranged in Consequence of the Necessity We have been under from the Commencement of the War of neglecting them altogether, or of using temperary Expedients— the first object of Attention is the Support of publick Credit. Independence will disgrace Us, unless We are honest in Payment of the publick Debts. this is a difficult Task! but not impracticable. an Impost has been layed or rathar proposed, & the Objections to it have been represented as manifesting a Disposition to violate the publick Faith. this Representation is neither candid nor just, & those who are opposed to the Impost have as I conceive better Reasons on their Part, for suspecting the Supporters of the Plan of a Design to establish an undue Influence, & to involve the Affairs of the Treasury in Mystery & perplexities that cannot be easily developed. the Fact seems to be this, it is difficult to form a Valuation & collect Taxes by the Confederation as it now stands. It may therefore require such an Alteration as will remedy these Defects; the former, may be removed by adopting Numbers in Leiu of property, & the latter, by enabling Congress to levy Executions on the property of Individuals of delinquent States, with provision for obliging the Treasurers thereof to reimburse the Amount of the property, with Damages, to such Individuals, out of the first Money that may be brot into the respective Treasuries— I have the fullest Confidence in the Integrity of the States, & am persuaded they will either accede to some such propositions when made by Congress, or propose others that will be equally effectual. but surely they are under no Obligation of Reason or Justice, to adopt a System for supporting publick Credit, incompatible with the principles of the fœderal Constitution, & dangerous to their Liberties— the people in some of the States have objected to the half pay or6 Commutation granted by Congress to the Army; & the Reason assigned is that this Grant was expressly made, to reimburse the Losses sustained by the Depretiation of their pay, which has been since made good. this I beleive was the Fact, & therefore the objection has much Weight, { 372 } but such a vertuous Army claims the Generosity of their Country, & I am happy to find that the opposition to the Commutation has in a great Measure subsided. indeed one Circumstance seems to have greatly increased the Opposition, the Superiority which the officers, on their Return Home, naturally assumed over their fellow Citizens, who were at least their Equals, & in many Instances Superiors before the War— your Letter to Congress on the Necessity of providing for payment of our foreign Debts has been improved for the purpose of supporting the System of Impost,7 but whether it will be finally adopted by all the States is at present problematical— some of the powers of the Superintendant of Finance, were given him at a Time when the Affairs of the Treasury were greatly deranged, by the Distruction of the paper Currency, & when the Demands of Money for supporting the War were great & indispensible, but the Exercise of these powers at the present Time is considered as being unnecessary by some of the States, & indeed as being dangerous & unconstitutional: they have therefore proposed by Instructions to their Delegates such Alterations as shall prevent the Influence apprehended from the Powers mentioned. indeed there has been lately an Alarm in the Minds of the best Republicans amongst Us, at Measures supposed to have arisen from the Influence mentioned, connected with that of the State of P——a, & a foreign Minister thorough paced in politics. to preserve therefore the fœderal ballance, Congress have determined no longer to reside in this City, but to erect Buildings for their Residence in two places, on the potowmack near George Town, & on the Deleware near Trenton; & untill the Buildings are erected, to sit alternately at Annapolis & Trenton. One fœderal town it is conceived, will collect a Number of wealthy Citizens, who with some of the foreign Ministers & the great Officers of the Departments under Congress, may form an oligarchical plan of Influence that may be subversive of our Liberties. but the alternate Residence of Congress in two places, will prevent in a great Measure such a Collection, & the Influence of one Town will counteract that of the other. the Expence of the Buildings is an object of no great Consequence, & double Archives may be kept without much Expence. this Measure was effected by a Junction of the eastern & southern States, being violently opposed by this & some others of the middle States. I confess the Measure appears to be more approved, on Account of the Quarter from whence the Opposition comes— another Species of Influence supposed to have had its Birth { 373 } in a foreign climate & to have been innocently fostered by the worthy officers of our Army, has made its Appearance under the Denomination of the Cincinnati. the Institution & Strictures thereon are inclosed for your perusal—8 a peace Establishment is proposed for garrisoning our western Frontiers & guarding the Magazines, but It is doubtful whether Congress will accept the proposition. should We have the Treasury under a Super Intendant with power to appoint all the Officers thereof; should We consent to the Impost, wch is veiwed as an intricate System for raising Supplies, without the Check constitutionally vested in the Legislatures, or the possibility of detecting Frauds in the Collection or Expenditures of the publick Monies; should We have one fœderal Town with Such Materials for an oligarchical Influence as have been mentioned; should We have a peace Establishment which by various pretences may hereafter be increased to a dangerous standing Army, not under the Controul of the respective States; should We consent to an order of Cincinnati consisting of all the Officers of the Army & Citizens of Consiquence in the united States; how easy the Transition from a Republican to any other Form of Government, however despotic! & how rediculous to exchange a british Administration, for one that would be equally tyrannical, perhaps much more so? this project may answer the End of Courts that aim at making Us subservient to their political purposes, but can never be consistent with the Dignity or Happiness of the united States.—
Your Resignation is not yet, & I flatter myself will not be accepted. The propriety of inserting Mr Jay & Yourself in the Commissions cannot I think fail of being so considered by Congress.9 if there are three Commissions, the preference may be in Rotation, in the first A, J, F in the second J F A in the third F A. J—& so on in more Commissions— Congress have determined on a circular Letter to the States for delegating a Power for a Time to regulate the Commerce of the Union, so as to counteract the commercial Systems of G Britain or other Powers unfavorable to the States10 I will endeavour if possible to comply with your request respecting Du Coudrai, shall write to Mrs Adams & give her the Information proposed, & shall be mindful of your proposals respecting Mr Thaxter; but not knowing what Members the new Congress will consist of, I can form no Conjecture of the Measures that will be adopted on any Occasion—11
Mr Jay is very friendly to You having written a Letter highly in { 374 } your Favour to Congress, recommended You as Minister to the Court of London, & declared his Refusal of the office if offerd to him—12
Your Lady & Family were well about six Weeks past. her Father died about that Time—
You will please to communicate what You think expedient to Mr Jay & Mr Dana,13 of the preceeding Scroll & be assured I am on every occasion yours sincerely
[signed] EG
in your Letters to Congress, it may be expedient to omit Circumstantials or Minutia as your General or comprehensive Letters are most acceptable.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency Mr Adams”; endorsed: “Mr Gerry 23. Novr. / 1783.”
1. This letter was forwarded to JA by Joseph Reed, mentioned by Gerry in the second paragraph, and was received on 10 Feb. 1784 (from Reed, 30 Jan., below; to Reed, 11 Feb., LbC, APM Reel 107). But JA did not reply to Gerry until 27 June (LbC, APM Reel 107). In that letter, as does Gerry in this one, JA focused on Congress’ appointment of ministers to negotiate treaties in Europe, a task complicated by John Jay’s return to America.
2. When John Thaxter reached Philadelphia with the definitive treaty on 22 Nov. 1783, he found Congress in recess. On 4 Nov. the Congress, meeting at Princeton, had adjourned with the intention of resuming deliberations at Annapolis on 26 November. Severe weather, however, prevented the quorum of nine states needed for ratification from assembling until 14 Jan. 1784 (JCC, 25:807; 26:22–23). For the ratification, see the letters of 14 Jan. from Gerry, Arthur Lee, and Samuel Osgood to JA and from the president of Congress to the commissioners, all below.
Gerry wrote to AA on 24 Nov. 1783, reporting Thaxter’s arrival with not only the treaty but also a number of letters from JA to Gerry, presumably those of 3, 5, 6, 8, and 10 Sept., all above. Believing “it will be Indispensably necessary to continue him [JA] in Europe,” Gerry quoted brief passages from JA’s letters of 6 and 8 Sept. concerning the possibility of AA’s joining him in Europe and advised AA to wait until the spring to sail. That would avoid the dangers of a winter passage, and Congress would likely by then have made a final decision regarding JA’s diplomatic role (AFC, 5:275–276).
3. Joseph Reed had been an aide to George Washington, a delegate to Congress from Pennsylvania, and the president of that state. He traveled to England in 1783 to assist John Witherspoon in raising money for the College of New Jersey and also to restore his failing health. Returning to the United States the following year, Reed died in March 1785 at age 43 (DAB; Smith, Letters of Delegates, 21:489–490; from Reed, 30 Jan. 1784, and note 1, below).
4. Praise be to God.
5. That is, salus populi suprema est lex, or, the people’s welfare is the highest law.
6. Gerry marked for insertion at this point the following note written vertically in the left margin: “The commutation was an Exchange at the Request of the officers, of five Years pay in publick Securities, for their half pay during Life.”
7. For Robert Morris’ use of JA’s letters to promote the need for the impost, see his 5 Nov. 1783 letter to JA, and note 1, above.
8. Prior to the disbandment of the army in 1783, Gen. Henry Knox—working closely with his aide-de-camp Capt. Samuel Shaw as well as fellow officers Gen. Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben and Brig. Gen. Jedidiah Huntington—created the Society of the Cincinnati, an association comprising American and foreign army officers who served during the Revolution. On 15 April, Knox finished drafting a constitution for the society, known as its “Institution,” which laid out the { 375 } purpose and structure of the organization. An assembly of delegates, after debating and revising Knox’s draft, formally approved the document less than a month later on 13 May. By November, branches of the society existed in all thirteen states.
Ostensibly formed to maintain friendships among the former officers and to provide charity for needy members and their families, the society also served as an instrument with which to collectively advocate for veterans’ interests. Operating at the national, state, and county levels, the society welcomed as members officers who met certain criteria of service, including French officers as well as honorary members approved by individual states. Membership was hereditary, incorporating not only officers but “any of their eldest male posterity, and, in failure thereof, the collateral branches who may be judged worthy of becoming its supporters and Members.”
For months, the public largely was unaware of the society’s existence. But in the fall of 1783, as word of the society’s creation began to circulate more widely, Judge Aedanus Burke of South Carolina published a harsh critique: Considerations on the Society or Order of Cincinnati, Charleston, 1783. The pamphlet, according to the title page, proved that the society “Creates, a Race of Hereditary Patricians, or Nobility.” The crux of Burke’s argument was that “this Order is planted in a fiery, hot ambition and thirst for power, and its branches will end in tyranny . . . in less than a century it will occasion such an inequality in the condition of our inhabitants, that the county will be composed only of two ranks of men; the patricians or nobles and the rabble” (p. 8, Evans, No. 17862; Minor Myers Jr., Liberty without Anarchy: A History of the Society of the Cincinnati, Charlottesville, Va., 1983, p. 15–19, 23–26, 30, 48–50, 53–54, 66, 258–265).
The pamphlet appeared first at Charleston in October, but by 12 Nov., the Philadelphia Freeman’s Journal was advertising a Philadelphia edition, and it is likely that Gerry enclosed a copy of that version of the pamphlet, together with a copy of the society’s “Institution,” with his letter to JA, but no copy is now in JA’s library at MB. For JA’s very critical view of the society, see his 28 March 1784 letter replying to one of 8 March from the Marquis de Lafayette, the head of the society’s French chapter (Lafayette, Papers, 5:201–203, 211–212).
9. For JA’s resignation as peace commissioner and minister to the Netherlands, upon which Congress never acted, see his letter to Robert R. Livingston of 4 Dec. 1782, vol. 14:112–113. Not until 7 May 1784 would the commissions envisioned by Gerry be issued for 23 treaties with countries in Europe and North Africa, and then the commissioners would be JA, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. For Congress’ earlier effort to issue commissions on 1 May 1783, which was never implemented, see the 16 June letter from the president of Congress to the commissioners, note 2, above, and vol. 14:244.
10. On 29 Sept., following the alarming report of a committee assigned to consider recent communications from foreign ministers, Congress resolved “that a committee be appointed to prepare an address to the states upon the subject of commerce, stating to them the regulations which are prevailing in Europe, the evils to be apprehended therefrom, and the steps proper to be taken to guard against and to counteract them.” That committee reported to Congress on 9 Oct., but nothing more was done until early 1784 when Congress enlarged the committee and changed its composition. The report eventually submitted to Congress on 22 April and adopted on the 30th recommended that the states grant Congress control over imports and exports for a term of fifteen years (JCC, 25:628–629, 661–664; 26:317–322).
11. Here Gerry responds specifically to JA’s letters of 5 and 8 Sept. 1783, both above.
12. On 30 May John Jay wrote Livingston to strongly recommend JA’s appointment as minister to Great Britain. Jay requested “the favor of you to declare in the most explicit Terms that I view the Expectations of Mr Adams on that head, as founded in Equity & Reason, & that I will not by any means stand in his Way. Were I in Congress I should vote for him. He deserves well of his Country and is very able to serve her. . . . I do therefore in the most unequivocal manner decline and refuse to be a Competitor with that faithful Servant of the public for the Peace in Question” (PCC, No. 89, II, f. 486–489; Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:457–458).
13. Gerry wrote a letter to Francis Dana on 26 Nov., almost certainly enclosing it with his letter to JA. JA received neither Gerry’s letter nor its enclosure until June 1784, long { 376 } after Dana had returned to America (to Gerry, 27 June 1784, LbC, APM Reel 107). He apparently kept the letter to Dana, for it remains in the Adams Papers.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0186

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Holtzhey, Jean George
Date: 1783-11-24

To Jean George Holtzhey

[salute] Sir

Since I have been in London, a number of Gentlemen have expressed a Desire to have the Medals, struck by you in Commemoration of the Connection between your Country and mine.—1
I should be obliged to you, if you would send me three of each Sort, and apply to Messrs Wilhem & Jan Willink for your Pay, who will charge it to my Account. Send them, if you please, to the Care of Mr: John Stockdale opposite Burlington House, Piccadilly, London.— The sooner they arrive here the better— I fancy Mr: Stockdale would be able to sell a great Number of them here, if you should think proper to send them to him for Sale If you could procure me also, three of those, which were struck by the Society Liberty and Zeal, in Friesland, I should be glad.2
I am Sir very respectfully your most humble Servant.
LbC in JQA’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mr: Holtzhey Medallist. Amsterdam.”; APM Reel 107.
1. These are Holtzhey’s two medals commemorating, respectively, Dutch recognition of the United States on 19 April 1782 and the signing of the Dutch-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce on 8 Oct. 1782. For a description and reproduction of the first, which JA received with a 20 Oct. 1782 letter from Holtzhey, see vol. 13:xiv–xv, 536–537, 538. For the second, which Holtzhey enclosed with his letter of 23 Dec. 1782, see vol. 14:145–146.
2. This medal commemorated Friesland’s recognition of the United States on 26 Feb. 1782 and was issued by the Société Bourgeoise of Leeuwarden. For a description and reproduction of the medal, as well as the society’s 29 April 1783 presentation letter, see vol. 14:xiv, 458–462, 463.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0187

Author: Cushing, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-11-26

From Thomas Cushing

[salute] Dear Sir

I have not had the Honor of any of your Favors for some time past. althô I have been frequently favoured with Letters, from divers commercial Houses in France and Holland, upon the Subject of Bussiness, owing to your kind mention of my Name to those Houses, for which I am oblidged to you—1 I heartily congratulate you and my Country, that You, togather with the other Commissioners, have been able to Negotiate and Settle a Peace upon such honourable & Advantageous terms: These Negotiations do you great Honor in the Estimation of the People and I sincerely hope you will { 377 } not fail to receive ample testimonials of their Gratitude— It gives us great Pleasure to hear by the last Vessells from Europe that the Definitive Treaty was signed on the Third of September last.
I sincerely wish that the Articles of the Treaty of Commerce between G Brittain and the United States, now in contemplation, may be formed by the Commissioners of the contracting Powers, upon Principles of Liberality and Reciprocity and thereby such a beneficial Intercourse be established between the two Countries as to promise and secure to both perpetual Peace and Harmony, but I very much fear from the latest intelligence from England that the Ministry are governed by such narrow and self interested Veiws that there is very little prospect at present of any such Treatys being Agreed upon—
I apprehend it will take some time before the People throughout the United States entertain just Sentiments of their Importance as a Nation, We are yet in our Infancy, Time and Experience must discover & Convince us of the necessity of supporting our Character and Credit as a Nation, and that, for these purposes, we must Invest Congress with such Powers as are essential to a Continental Government & must effectually provide them with a sufficient Fund to pay the Interest, if not, the principal of the National Debt— The Measures that have been heretofore recommended by Congress to the United States to Effect this Bussiness have not as yet been Complied with by the States, Congress last Spring repeated their recommendations upon this subject, Most, if not all, of the Southern & Middle States have Complied, The Governor opened the late Session of our General Assembly with a Speech strongly recommending a Compliance with the recommendations of Congress relative to this interesting subject & in about Ten Days after in a message, (Wherein he communicated some Extracts of yr Letters to the Financier & took occasion to mention your Name with great Honor)2 he repeatedly urged their Attention to this Bussiness and after much Debate and Altercation the Two Houses have past an Impost Acct for the Purpose of furnishing a revenue, which I imagine will meet the Approbation of Congress and I hope Connecticut Rhode Island and New Hampshire will after a little more Consideration pass simular Acts, so that I am really of Opinion that Matters with respect to the support of our Public Credit Are in a much better train than they have as yet been. Dr Holten who has just arrived from Congress Informs that they had come to a Resolution to fix their Residence at Trenton but it gave such uneasiness to the { 378 } Members from the Southern States that Congress found themselves under a Necessity to reconsider the matter and the southern & the Eastern members after some Consultation, Uniting in their Sentiments, Agreed to move for Congress’ setting Alternately at Annapolis in Maryland & at Trenton in the Jers’y’s & accordingly the Motion was Agreed to & the Measure adopted by Congress and it has been Attended with the happy Effect of removing many Jealousies that were Subsisting, & of uniting the members of Congress in all their Measures for the Public Good more than ever,
Having been informed that you had frequently complained that your Freinds had not kept you properly Informed of what was passing here, I, as one of them, could not refrain from writing you by this Opportunity, tho I am very doubtfull whether I have furnished you with any thing New—
I shall esteem my self happy in hearing from you as often as your Leisure will permit— I wish you much Health & all the Honor & Happiness you can expect in this Changeable State and remain / with great Respect / Yr Freind & Humble Servt.
[signed] Thomas Cushing
PS. It is apprehended there will be some difficulty in Settling the Line between this State & Nova Scotia however hope the Definitive Treaty will be so explicit as to prevent all Dispute—
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency John Adams Esq”; endorsed: “Mr: T. Cushing. / Boston Nov’r 26th 1783. / ansd May 7. 1784.”
1. Cushing’s last extant private letter to JA was of [ante 14] Jan. [1779], to which JA replied on 24 Feb. 1779 (vol. 7:356–357, 424–425). Cushing received JA’s 7 May 1784 reply in Aug. (from Cushing, 16 Aug. 1784, Adams Papers), but the reply itself has not been found.
2. In a speech before the Mass. senate and house of representatives on 9 Oct. 1783, John Hancock introduced extracts of JA’s letters stressing “the necessity of supporting the credit of the United States.” Praising JA’s credentials and experience, Hancock asked “What must be his feelings, and what those of our other respectable negociators abroad who have been authorised to borrow monies in the name and upon the faith of the United States, should any diversity of sentiment respecting the mode of raising supplies, be allowed to operate so far as to retard the payment even of the interest, and to stain our credit through the world!” (Boston Evening Post, 18 Oct.). See also Robert Morris’ letter of 5 Nov., and note 1, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0188

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dumas, C. W. F.
Date: 1783-11-28

To C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Dear Sir

I have been So taken up with Royal Societies and Royal Accademies, with British Musæums and Sir Ashton Levers Musæum with Wedgwoods Manufactory of Earthen Ware and Parkers of Glass, &c { 379 } that I have not had time to write you a Line.1 You Observe I say nothing of Politicks for although I have been introduced to the great Politicians at their Desire I have not found them Sufficiently well disposed to induce me to Spend much time that Way.
I think to Stay here a few Weeks and then return to the Hague unless I should in the mean Time, receive orders from Congress to go elsewhere.
Write me all the News, if you please under Cover to Mr Joshua Johnson Coopers Row, great Tower Hill, or John Stockdale, Opposite Burlington House Piccadilly.—either of these Addresses will do.—
I expect Mrs Adams, to arrive Somewhere in Europe, in France England or Holland I hope it will be Holland, and in Such a Case I shall Soon be there.
My Respects to the Ladies, and believe me / your most obedient
[signed] J. Adams
RC (PPL:Smith Manuscript Coll.); internal address: “Mr Dumas.”; endorsed: “Mr. Jn. Adams.”
1. On 4 Nov., JA, in company with JQA, John Jay, William Bingham, and William Vaughan, visited Sir Ashton Lever’s natural history museum, or Holophusikon, and the British Museum. In his later description of his visit to the first, JA noted that he had seen “Sir Ashton and some other knights, his friends, practising the ancient but as I thought long forgotten art of archery.” JQA, in his Diary, provided a more detailed description of the collections at the two museums, noting that while the British Museum’s were “much more extensive,” with regard to natural history “Sir Ashton Lever’s Collection is much more perfect” (JQA, Diary, 1:199–200; JA, D&A, 3:151). In a 5 Nov. letter to Peter Jay Munro, JQA expanded on his Diary entry for the previous day, commenting more fully on Lever’s display of “curiosities” collected in the course of Capt. James Cook’s final voyage and the fragments of Alexander Pope’s translation of The Iliad and the original of the Magna Carta that the party had seen at the British Museum (NNMus).
JA probably refers to a visit to the Josiah Wedgwood showroom in London at Newport Street and St. Martin’s Lane rather than the firm’s manufactory in distant Staffordshire. William Parker manufactured cut-glass ware and lamps at 69 Fleet Street in London. It is not known when JA visited either, but in his later account he noted that he “was not less delighted with the elegance of his [Wedgwood’s] substitute for porcelain, than with his rich collection of utensils and furniture from the ruins of Herculaneum.” With regard to Parker’s “manufactory of cut glass,” he wrote that “it seemed to be the art of transmitting glass into diamonds” (DNB; A. E. Musson and Eric Robinson, Science and Technology in the Industrial Revolution, Manchester, Eng., 1969, repr. edn., N.Y., 1989, p. 264; JA, D&A, 3:151).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0189

Author: Dumas, C. W. F.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-11-28

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

Il y a longtemps que je me serois fait un devoir de vous écrire, si j’avois eu votre adresse, qu’on vient de m’apprendre de la part de { 380 } Mr. Ridley.1 Je ne puis cependant entrer dans les mêmes détails, ni parler aussi clair, que lorsque vous êtes à Paris. Car si nous som̃es présentement bien avec la Tamise, ceux d’ici ne le sont pas encore tout-à-fait; & ils trouveroient mauvais, avec raison, que les paquebots fussent dépositaires de leurs secrets.
Les tergiversations, pour ne pas terminer avec cette rep., ne font nullement ici l’effet que se promettent ceux delà & deça qui les mettent en oeuvre. On les méprise au pied de la Lettre; & certain parti continue de gagner, en faisant tourner à son profit tous les projets de l’autre.2
On ne s’inquiete pas plus de ce qui vient de se passer sur les frontieres, que de la lenteur à terminer qu’on montre dans vos quartiers; & l’on ne doute pas que tout cela est manigancé par certaines gens ici & à B–d–c.3
On sait aussi de la meilleure main, qu’il n’est pas vrai que la Cour de Londres témoigne ne pas vouloir de Mr. De Linde; & que tout ce qui s’est dit & écrit sur ce sujet, est forgé par une cabale de Diplomatiques à L—— & à Lah——, pour faire plaisir à quelqu’un.4
Permettez, Monsieur, que Mr. votre fils trouve ici Mes amitiés.
Nous avons tous pris une part sensible à votre indisposition à Paris, & à votre bon rétablissement, & espérons que vous jouissez présentement d’une santé inaltérable.
S’il y a des nouvelles Américaines & Britañiques, ou quelque avis pour nos amis, que vous puissiez, Monsieur, me marquer sans inconvénient, je les recevrai avec plaisir & reconnoissance, & en ferai bon usage.
Je suis avec grand respect, / De Votre Excellence / Le très-humble & très-obéissant serviteur
[signed] C.w.f. Dumas


[salute] Sir

I would have made it my duty to write to you a long time ago, if I had had your address, of which I have just been apprised by Mr. Ridley.1 I cannot go into the same detail, however, nor speak as clearly as when you are at Paris. For, although we are at present in good standing with the Thames, those here are not yet completely so, and they would look askance, and with reason, on packet boats being the depositories of their secrets.
The tergiversations, while we are still on the subject of this republic, do not at all have the effect promised by those on either side who are putting them into action. They are literally held in contempt, and a certain party { 381 } continues to win out by turning to its own advantage all the projects of the other.2
One is no longer troubled by what just happened at the borders, except for the slowness in finishing up shown by your side, and one does not doubt that all this is a scheme on the part of certain people here and at B–d–c.3
I have it from a reliable source that it is not true that the Court of London shows evidence of not wanting anything to do with Mr. De Linde and that all that has been said and written on this subject has been wrought by a cabal of diplomats at London and The Hague for the pleasure of a certain someone.4
Permit me, sir, to send my friendly greetings here to your esteemed son.
We have all been greatly moved by your indisposition at Paris and by your strong recovery, and we hope that at present you enjoy unalterable good health.
If there is news, American or British, or an announcement for our friends that you might write me, sir, without inconvenience, I would receive it with pleasure and gratitude and would make good use of it.
I am, with great respect, your excellency’s very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] C.w.f. Dumas
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Londres à Son Exce. Mr. Adams, Min. Pl.”
1. On 13 Nov. Dumas sent Matthew Ridley two unidentified letters to be sent on to JA. Ridley replied on 21 Nov., indicating that the letters had been forwarded and that JA’s address was “Mrs Wallace Johnson & Muir à Londres” (MHi:Ridley Letterbooks).
2. Dumas refers to Joseph II’s 1781 unilateral renunciation of the 15 Nov. 1715 Barrier Treaty and its consequences for the Netherlands. For Dumas’ detailed explanation of the particular incident that sparked his comment, see his letter of 12 Dec. 1783 responding to JA’s of the 4th, which indicated that JA was unclear as to Dumas’ meaning, both below.
3. Dumas’ reference remains obscure.
4. Presumably this refers to Baron Dirk Wolter Lynden van Blitterswyck. The Gazette d’Amsterdam of 24 Oct. indicated that while the Netherlands would send no minister to London until after the definitive peace was concluded, the person eventually selected would surely be “Mr. de Lynden,” already nominated by the province of Zeeland. On 4 Nov. the paper reported on the lack of progress in concluding the Anglo-Dutch definitive treaty but noted the persistent rumor that Sir Joseph Yorke would be named the British minister to the Netherlands, indicating the British determination to “persiste dans l’ancien Systéme,” and also that Charles James Fox had indicated that the minister designated by the Netherlands for Britain was unacceptable to his court. In any event, Britain and the Netherlands did not exchange ministers until late 1784, and then it was Sir James Harris and Baron Lynden van Blitterswyck, respectively (Repertorium, 3:166, 264).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0190

Author: Pownall, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-11-30

From Thomas Pownall

I feel so uneasy about the manner in which you went from hence to London without your Servants—& with a Man not used to drive— { 382 } that I cannot satisfye myself without sending a Servant to know how you gott to town I hope without any accident—& that You & Your son are well.1
RC (NjMoHP); internal address: “Govr Pownall P:H:C to the Honle Mr Adams”; addressed: “The Honble Mr Adams / &c &c / &c.”
1. According to JQA’s Diary, he and JA set out for Richmond, about ten miles from London, at nine o’clock on the morning of 29 Nov. and returned that evening for dinner (JQA, Diary, 1:206). Indeed, Pownall’s concern was probably over the lateness of JA and JQA’s return to the city. According to his later account, JA’s purpose in making the excursion was to visit Pownall, former governor of Massachusetts, and Richard Penn, Pennsylvania proprietor (JA, D&A, 3:151). In a 2 Dec. letter to Peter Jay Munro, JQA expanded on his Diary entry, noting that it was reputed “to be the most Beautiful Spot in England, or perhaps in Europe; it is a pretty steep hill, which Commands a plain of a vast extent; in this Plain, you see, the river Thames, winding round and round; the midst of the Meadows, which, even at this Season, are Universally covered with Verdure.— it is a most Beautiful Spot: at a small distance from the Hill; down on the Banks of the Thames, —is Twickenham, formerly the Residence, of ALEXANDER POPE no wonder he was a Poet.— I should think, that a Man who pass’d his days, in such a Romantic Situation, can be no other than a Poet” (NNMus).
Pownall again wrote to JA, probably in Dec., when he was in London (Adams Papers, filmed at [1783]). With that letter the ex-governor sent a copy of his two-volume work, Administration of the Colonies, probably the sixth edition published at London in 1777 that is now in JA’s library at MB, bearing the inscription: “Govr Pownall presents as a Testimony of his Esteem & Respects this Copy of the following work to Mr. Adams” (Catalogue of JA’s Library). In the same letter, Pownall indicated that he would visit JA on the following day “with that Person whom He yesterday mentioned to Mr Adams.” That “Person” may have been Gustaf Adam, Baron von Nolcken, the Swedish envoy to Great Britain. In a 10 Feb. 1784 letter to the president of Congress, JA indicated that Nolcken, at the minister’s request, had been introduced to him by Pownall (LbC, APM Reel 107). For additional information on the JA-Pownall relationship, particularly with regard to Pownall’s writings about America, see Edmund Jenings’ letter of [ca. 8 July 1783], note 6, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0191

Author: Staphorst, Nicolaas & Jacob van (business)
Author: Willink, Wilhem & Jan (business)
Author: La Lande & Fynje, de (business)
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-12-02

From Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje

[salute] Sir

The relation, in which we have the honour to Stand with your Excellency concerning the American Loan, makes it our Duty to inform your Excellency with the following circumstances2
We received Some time hence a letter from Mr. Morris dated 5th August, by which he advised us that he had determined to value upon us by his drafts till the amount of half a million Florins. We calculated at that time that the ballance we had in hands, with the net Proceeds of the Cargo Tobacco of the Ship Sally,3 would not be Sufficient to pay those drafts; and that in Case we should have no opportunity to Sell one or two hundred Bonds at least, we were exposed to a disbursement of about the amount of that value. { 383 } Notwithstanding this we took the Resolution to honour the mentioned drafts, and determined that we shall advance the difficient money if at the Time of their payment we will not have so much Cash.
We did not hesitate to give Assurances of this in our Answer to Mr. Morris, exposing however at the Same Time the very disagreable Circumstances in the Business of the Loan. This our Letter to Mr. Morris was dated 11 July and we hope he’ll have received the Same Speedily. Our next and following Letters were no less discouraging, because notwithstanding our repeated Endeavours we could not make an Engagement, nor dispose of any quantity of Bonds.
When this happened in Europe, Mr. Morris must at the same Time have been in the best Expectation about the Business, since He advises us by his Letter of the 1st. October that he was informed (tho’ thro’ an indirect Channel) that your Excellency’s Journey to Holland had given a new Spring to the American Credit, and that the Loan was going on well.4 This being the Case He determined to value on us to the amount of half a million more. Which together with the other half million, makes a whole million of Florins, for payment of which we have only in Cash, the net Proceeds of the sold Tobacco included, near f400,000—
We received this advice last Sunday, and assembled in the afternoon to agree with one another, what we should do in those Circumstances?
We were very much mortified about it, apprehending that those drafts might Soon be offered for acceptance, and knowing the very little appearences, or almost impossibility of a better Success in the Loan, within the Time when the Drafts will become due. And we are sorry to inform your Excellency that our apprehensions were but too well founded, since already the next day about two hundred thousand florins were offered.
In this disagreable Position we determined to Send immediately an Express to his Excellency B. Franklin at Paris with a Letter, whereby we informed him of what was going on, and desired that he should inform, wether perhaps Mr. Grand had a Ballance in favour of the United States, and that he should order to keep that Ballance to our disposition. But if there should be no Ballance in the hands of Mr. Grand, or if the Ballance should not be of such a large Sum, then we desired that Mr. Franklin should give his ministerial word to provide us, or to do honour to our drafts till the amount of half a million of Florins, in case we should come in the necessity to make use of such an operation, which will very likely or almost certainly { 384 } be unavoidable. The Express is gone the Same evening, and we take the liberty to Send your Excellency here inclosed a Copy of our Letter to Mr. Franklin, for your perusal.5
We are very Sorry that Mr. Morris gives so much Credit to an indirect advice, the authenticity of which we are ignorant of, because it is certain, that there by he exposes the whole American Credit in Europe. For in Case the answer of Mr. Franklin should not be quite Satisfactory, and that by consequence we should be put in the necessity to decline the acceptance of the drafts, we fear it will cause a great Cry, and give a discredit to America. We hope it will not happen, and that in the meantime your Excellency and Congress will look upon our offer to Mr. Franklin for to honour Mr. Morris’s Drafts upon his promise and Guaranty, and also upon the Expedition of the Express, as proofs of our Zeal and Endeavours to remove every Thing, that might do any mischief to the american Credit.
We have the honour to remain very respectfully / Sir / Your most humble and Obedt. Servts.
[signed] Wilhem & Jan Willink
[signed] Nics. & Jacob van Staphorst.
[signed] de la Lande & fynje
P. S. After having written our Letter to your Excellency the greatest part of the holders of Mr. Morris’s drafts, being Jews, whom it doth not Suit to wait for the acceptance of their remittances have determined to make them protested, which we could not prevent. We have given for answer that we had not received the advice, and that we desired that the bills should be offered again for payment when due, which we thought to be the best answer for to preserve the Credit of the drafts as much as we possibly could. The amount of those protested bills is about f170.000—.
We are sorry to observe a Second Time, that Mr. Morris promised not to distribute his drafts till some time after the advice, and that a few days after they come up. The first time was by his letter of 5 Augt. when he had determined to draw two hundred thousand florins or perhaps till five hundred thousand, but he would only dispose of the bills as occasion might require, which must have been soon after, as we observed by the appearence of the Bills. Now by his letter of 1 Oct. the Bills for the amount of the second half Million of that date were lying in his hands to be disposed of during that month and the succeeding or perhaps even in Decr. and by the Nos. of the Bills we presume that allmost the whole Sum must have been disposed of before the 26 of October, which as much as we { 385 } know is the date of the last Letters from Philadelphia. This is very disagreable to us, and it seems but reasonable, that Mr. Morris ought to have waited Some time longer after his advice with the distribution of his drafts, by whose means it might have been possible to make some arrangement here in Europe, and to prevent the misfortune at which he has now exposed his drafts. We have again the honour to remain / Sir / Your most obedt. Servts.
[signed] Wilhem & Jan Willink
[signed] Nics. & Jacob van Staphorst.
[signed] de la Lande & fynje
RC and enclosure (Adams Papers); internal address: “to His Excellency John Adams Esqr. London.”
1. JA’s 5 Dec. letter to Benjamin Franklin, below, indicates that JA received this letter from the consortium on the 5th. He did not respond, however, until 14 Dec., below. The delay was owing to his waiting for Franklin’s reply of 10 Dec., below, but nine days having passed, JA presumably felt compelled to reply without further delay.
2. Although the consortium’s letter of 16 Oct., above, warned JA of problems with the loan, notably the falloff in subscriptions since July, this is the first letter in which they revealed the full magnitude of the crisis regarding American credit in Europe. The emergency was precipitated by letters of 5 Aug. and 1 Oct. from Robert Morris to the consortium, both of which are accurately summarized in this letter. For both the letters and a detailed examination of Morris’ motives and the circumstances leading to the crisis and ultimately to JA’s hurried journey to the Netherlands to resolve it, see Morris, Papers, 8:387–397, 564.
3. The ship Sally reached the Netherlands in the fall of 1783 with a cargo of tobacco consigned to the consortium, which realized f98,278.18 from its sale (same, p. 91, 396). For additional proceeds from the sale of tobacco carried by the Princess Ulrica and the Four Friends, which reached Amsterdam in early 1784, see Matthew Ridley’s letter of 27 Dec. 1783, note 4, below.
4. The passage from the opening parenthesis to this point is a paraphrase from Morris’ 1 Oct. letter. There, he noted that in issuing the bills of exchange he had “a little exceeded” the sums mentioned in his letters of 5 Aug. and 18 September. “But before this was done I had the Pleasure to learn (tho thro an indirect Channel) that Mr. Adams’s Journey to Holland had given a new Spring to our Credit, and that your Loan was going on well. This being the Case I determined to value on you to the Amount of half a Million more” (Morris, Papers, 8:393–394, 529–531, 564).
5. The enclosed letter to Benjamin Franklin, which the consortium accurately summarizes, is undated but was written on Sunday, 30 November. Franklin replied on 3 Dec. that he was “very Sensible of your zeal for Supporting the Credit of the united States, and the difficulties you must be exposed to in accepting all the Drafts of Mr: Morris,” but after consulting with “our Banker Mr: Grand . . . the means of assisting us are not in his hands, as to the proposition of mÿ accepting bills drawn on me at three Months, I do not See the least Probalility of my having more money to Command at that time than I have at present, So that the Expedient would be inëffëctual.” Franklin indicated that Grand planned to write to the bankers himself, which he did, also on the 3d. Grand there indicated that while he sympathized with the consortium’s predicament and would do what he could, Congress’ funds at his disposal were already committed to meet current expenses, and he had none with which to assist the consortium. The consortium enclosed copies of both letters of 3 Dec. with theirs of 23 Dec., below, and they are with that letter in the Adams Papers.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0192

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dumas, C. W. F.
Date: 1783-12-04

To C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Dear Sir.

Last Night I received your favour of the 28th Novr: and hope in future to hear often from you, although I dont expect to be informed of the Politicks of the Country, so particularly as heretofore, yet you may write freely under the Same Cover.
I should be glad, however to know, truly what has happened upon the Frontiers; I hope the Comte de Linden will be appointed notwithstanding the Paragraphs as Silly as they are impudent, which represent St: James’s as against it.1
Mr: Fox will rule the Roost here for some time. The present Ministry is very Strong in Parliament, but not so well principled nor so well disposed, towards America as they ought to be.
We are in daily Expectation of the Arrival of our Courier Barney, at Havre de Grâce—2 if he should not bring me orders of another Sort I shall come to the Hague, and wait the Arrival of my Family— My Boy desires his respects.
Your’s most respectfully.
LbC in JQA’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mr: Dumas.”; APM Reel 107.
1. See Dumas’ reply of 12 Dec., below.
2. See JA’s 5 Dec. letter to Benjamin Franklin, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0193

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Smith, Isaac Jr.
Date: 1783-12-04

To Isaac Smith Jr.

[salute] Dear Sir.

Your Favour of Novr: 19th did not find me, till yesterday, which I regret, because I should have had an earlier opportunity to thank you for your kind Congratulations.
It is indeed to me the highest Satisfaction to see my Country at Peace after so Long and so distressing a War, and much more to see her in a Situation which places her Liberties and Prosperity out of Danger— nothing which can happen will ever make me regret the Part I have taken, because it was taken upon full Deliberation, and upon the Principle of Duty as a Man and a Citizen, not only without any Prospect of bettering my private Interest but with the Sure and certain Expectation of injuring it very considerably.
I hope Sir and believe that after some Time there will be no Objection to your returning to America, if you chuse it.
{ 387 }
The News of the Death of my Father Smith notwithstanding his Advanced Age, affected me much and makes me anxious to hear from my Mrs: Adams who must be affected more tenderly.
I hope Soon to hear of the Arrival of this Lady and her Daughter in Europe, either in France England or Holland, most probably the last as that is my Home, where I should be glad to see you if I should not be so lucky as to meet you in England before I leave it.— Your Brother I hope soon to see here on his Return from Paris.
with much Esteem and Affection I am your / Fd: and Sert:
LbC in JQA’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “The Reverend Isaac Smith.”; APM Reel 107.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0194

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1783-12-05

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

Commodore Jones is just arrived from Philadelphia with Dispatches.1 Those directed to the Ministers I opened. one contained nothing but Newspapers and Proclamations. The other contained a Letter to “the Commissioners” and a Sett of Instructions. The Letter bears Date the 1. of November the Instructions the 29 of Octr.— a remaining Packet is directed to you alone, but probably contains a Commission to Us all to treat of Commerce with Great Britain.2
Mr Jay and Mr Laurens are at Bath and the bearer is inclined to go on to Paris. I shall Send on the Dispatches and depend upon your Sending Us, the earliest Intelligence, if you find a Commission (in the Packet to you,) in Pursuance of the Resolution of the first of May last, because that Parliament must do Something before they rise respecting the Trade, and their Proceedings may probably be Somewhat the less evil, for knowing beforehand that there is in Europe a Power to treat.
I Shall wait with Some Impatience to hear from you because, if there is no Commission under Cover to you, in which I am named, I Shall go to the Hague, and there take up my abode for sometime. I have just recd a Letter from Willink &Co which Shews that Money is exhausted & Credit too. He incloses me his Letter to you, but I fear you will not be able to assist him.3 With great respect &c
LbC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Dr Franklin”; APM Reel 107.
1. John Paul Jones had sailed from Philadelphia on 10 Nov. on the packet General Washington, Capt. Joshua Barney, which was bound for Hâvre de Grace, France. On 1 Dec., against Barney’s protests that the British might imprison him, Jones was { 388 } put ashore near Plymouth, England, and proceeded to London (Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 337–338). In a somewhat garbled report, the London Chronicle of 6–9 Dec. noted that “on Friday Evening [5 Dec.], about nine o’clock, the celebrated Paul Jones arrived in town from Paris, with dispatches from the American Congress for his Excellency John Adams, Esq; Mr. Jones was only twenty-two days on his passage from Philadelphia to France; and after delivering his dispatches on Friday evening, he set out the next morning at three o’clock for Paris, to proceed from thence to America.” For Jones’ mission to Europe, see the instructions to the commissioners of 29 Oct., above.
2. The president of Congress’ letters to JA and the commissioners are both at 1 Nov., above. But see also his letters of that date to Francis Dana, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and Henry Laurens in Smith, Letters of Delegates, 21:130–132, 134–135. For the content of the packet sent on to Franklin, see Franklin’s reply of 10 Dec., below. JA forwarded the letters to Jay and Laurens, then at Bath, with his letter to Jay of 7 Dec., below.
3. The consortium’s letter of 2 Dec., above.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0195

Author: Dalton, Tristram
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-12-05

From Tristram Dalton

[salute] Dear Sir

By two Gentlemen who went in Ships bound for London, and of whose arrival in that City accounts are received, I had the pleasure of writing your good Self under the 16th July—& 8th August 83, both which Letters I hope reached you safe, and found you in health— As far as time or observation permitted, I gave a sketch of the politics in this Government—and wish the present day afforded a better prospect—it does not— the Affairs of the Continent wear a gloomy face, owing, in a very considerable degree, to the almost total deficiencies of the several States, in supplying the public Chest, agreeably to the principles of the Confederation; which makes it necessary for Congress to recommend new modes, that create Jealousies—. it has ever appeared to me a selfevident truth, that to preserve their freedom and independence, the several States should immediately, and they were able, in their own way, have complied with the requisitions of Congress, which were founded on Calculations to which no reasonable objections could be made— beside doing justice to public Creditors, and thereby supporting establishing & of course extending public faith, this mode of proceedure would have stifled the Clamours of domestic sufferers—and stopped the Mouths of our internal, who I may almost say are our infernal, Enemies— Had the several States done this, it is probable that Schemes of ambitious men, now too apparent, would have slept in their bosoms—or perhaps never would have been known by the Possessors that they had them— indeed I cannot help entertaining so charitable an opinion of Mankind, as to suppose, the follies and carelessness of the many first suggest to Knaves the benefit that may { 389 } accrue to themselves by the exercise of their cunning— I ask pardon for detaining You a moment with any reflection of my own— especially as your extensive acquaintance with Men & Things may prove to the contrary—proceding to give you some account of the transactions of the G Court in their last Session—and of some public Movements in Congress which may prove of the greatest importance—
The Sessions lasted from the 24th Septr to the 28th. October— Supplying the federal Chest was the object which called the attention of all— the Recommendations of Congress were frequently read—canvassed—condemned—approved—the impost bill, referred over the preceding session, of which I gave you a full account the 16 July; taken up—laid by—the subject proposed to be taken up de novo—a Committee of both houses appointed to prepare a new bill— the proceedings in every Stage blocked by Gentn. on account of the Estimation of the public debt containing an article of 8 million dollars to pay the Commutation of the halfpay promised the Officers of the army— at length it was made a serious Question, in the House, whither any Clause relative to the Commutation or half Pay should be inserted in the bill—which, after a long & warm debate, was determined, by Yeas & Nays, in the negative— thus this point which had made so much noise thro’ the Commonwealth, was settled by their Representatives—forty of whom had instructions from their constituents not to vote any Monies to Congress, without an express proviso, that no part of the same be applied to the payment of halfpay or Commutation—
After this objection was removed the house proceeded in the bill, which, after very warm debates therein, and long Altercation with the Senate, (who were, uniformly, and almost unanimously, in favor of an impost nearly conformant to the Mode prescribed by Congress) passed—but with this exception—that all tryals for offences against the act, should be had, in the usual Manner, at the Courts of Common Pleas—with Liberty of Appeal to the Supreme Judicial Court of this Commonwealth— This bill the Governor approved—it is not to be in force untill all the other States in the Union pass similar ones—and as no further provision was made by the Legislature for establishing permanent funds, to pay the Deficiencies, which was a part of the Scheme proposed by Congress, and as that Body resolved that no part should take place without the whole was adopted, it is easily seen that the passing the impost bill alone can have no good effect— indeed the Act, as it stands, may be construed { 390 } a single, unconnected, Grant—for the Zeal of the Gentn. who were opposed to payment of the Commutation, went so far as to obtain an erasement of a Clause, that referred to the resolves of Congress, upon which it was founded— if therefore the other States are as cautious to prevent any reference to the Resolves of Congress—they may accept the Grants—1
But, my dear Sir, where shall We land, if the States suffer the public Treasury to be unsupplied—what greater sport can be afforded the Enemies of these States—or what more poignant Grief given their Friends—the End being confusion and discord with every Evil attendant— Jealousies are plentifully sowed and carefully nursed—they will grow and soon become serious—from the Measure, that I am informed, Congress has in Contemplation—nothing less than a Peace Establishment.2 It is doubted by some few in Congress, whither the Articles of Confederation give a Right to them to make such an Establishmt— If they do contain such a right, can it be prudent, nay can it be safe, to attempt the Exercise of it— Will our Northern Brethren even listen, without indignation, to the proposal of a Standing Army in time of Peace—certainly no— what commotions will rise, instanter, if the Measure is adopted— The Necessity of guarding our frontiers & maintaining our out posts by regular forces, will be a flimsey excuse to the common Sense of these Inhabitants— And yet this Measure is warmly espoused by many Gentn. in Congress—and I wish the attempt may not be made—
Congress are also about erecting a new State on the Ohio, back of Virginia—the Lands whereof are to be given to the Officers in Lieu of Commutation, & other promises—which if, as is probable, people of the military profession should settle, would greatly assist the Designs of a few Men, who it is frequently said are aiming to establish an oligarchical Government—that despairing to effect their Schemes by unnoticed Art & Design, they are endeavoring to heave all into Confusion from whence may be expected the Loss of Liberty.3 I am sorry to find it the opinion of the real friends of this Country, as of the aforegoing description, that our present Confederacy cannot long subsist— This great difference in their conduct is evident— While the former wish to see a sudden & violent dissolution take place, the well disposed aim at enlightning and awakening the Minds of the People—that another more perfect System of Confederacy may be easily slid into & adopted— I dread the Consequences, as it respects the views of other Nations and our internal Peace— if these States should ever be severed, and their Union put { 391 } afloat, must we not expect every advantage will be taken by foreign Powers?— will not the easiness, with which we may become a prey, induce the attempt, and shall we not, in the End, find ourselves in the situation of Poland—the Subjects of different Monarchs—?.
It is universally said Congress, have not sufficient Powers— whatever internal Power they may want, sure I am that their external Powers are ample— I never heard those spoken of as deficient— Now pray, Sir, what powers can be given Congress for the good of their Constituents—which can be exercised on a free people—are not the difficulties unsurmountable that must attend coercion— if Seizure of Property belonging to the Inhabitant of any deficient State, after forms prescribed have been observed, should be permitted, will it not tend to the ruin of the trade of that State, as the mercantile is the only interest, almost, which may be found out of the State—and the property within would not be easily taken—
I trouble you, my dear Sir, with many Questions, which I cannot expect answer’d in a Letter—and were You present I should trouble you with many more—for I really want your good Advice, especially as I am in a public Line— Your Country wants your Counsels— This Commonwealth wishes the Opportunity of paying that respect to Merit which I hinted in a former Letter—4 This Week I am informed that Governor Hancock intends resigning the Chair— I think the next Session will have his resignation—5
I am sorry to have the occasion to tell you that Governor Trumbull has asked Leave to resign his Office next Spring—having, in an elegant and affectionate Address, left his wholesome Advice—and ardent prayers— He assigns, as the Cause of his Wishes to retire, the infirmities of Age, being 74 years old— perhaps, Washington Like—he pants for a private Life—having filled his Station with a proportionable Eclat— it is said however that the public confusions with which the State of Connecticutt is threatned, from the Power which the lower Orders of People have possessed themselves of, blindly led by groveling ambition, is the real Cause of this worthy Magistrates’ resignation—and that, from the same reasons, will follow that of a Number of his best Councellors—6
When I look on the paper I have scrabled, Friendship almost trembles at the fear of trespassing— Should my intelligence be of the least Service or Gratification to you I regret not the time it cost me or if you’ll please to accept the Design, pardoning the deficiencies, as a small token of my Affection, I shall be happy—
Flattering myself with hopes that the present Easterly Winds may { 392 } waft me a Line from you, I remain with the greatest possible Sincerity / Dear Sir, / your unalterable Friend / & obliged hble Servant
[signed] Tristram Dalton
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Hnble, J Adams Esqre.
1. In this letter, which JA received on 1 May 1784 and answered on the 2d (Adams Papers), Dalton provides an accurate description of the actions of the Mass. General Court in its consideration of the ratification of the five percent impost. The house of representatives voted on 17 Oct. against a motion to bar the use of impost revenues for the half-pay of Continental Army officers. The bill was enacted on 20 Oct., with the proviso that the Massachusetts ratification was contingent upon approval by all states. The states did not agree to the impost and it never went into effect (AFC, 5:288–289).
2. George Washington’s call earlier in the year to create a standing federal army was rejected by Congress, and the Continental Army was disbanded on 18 October. The need for troops to protect frontier settlers prompted Congress to debate the commissioning of a new federal army in May and June 1784, but the opposition of Massachusetts delegates and others resulted in the defeat of the measure. Congress instead voted to patrol frontier posts with soldiers drawn from the militias of Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania (Carl Benn and Daniel Marston, Liberty or Death: Wars that Forged a Nation, N.Y., 2006, p. 185; JCC, 25:703; 27:428–435, 518–519, 524, 530–531, 538–540).
3. On 6 Sept. 1780 Congress called for Virginia to relinquish its claim to its western territory to the federal government, and on 20 Oct. 1783 the Assembly of Virginia agreed to do so. Congress accepted a deed to the lands on 1 March 1784, but no new state was created until the establishment of Kentucky on 1 June 1792 (JCC, 17:806–807, 26:112–117; AFC, 9:199–200).
4. In his letter of 16 July, above, Dalton had hinted that JA should return to Massachusetts and stand for governor.
5. Gov. John Hancock informed the General Court in December that he would resign before the end of the year. On 24 Dec. he reversed his decision without public explanation, having been dissuaded by Lt. Gov. Thomas Cushing, who counseled that resigning in midterm would harm his reputation. Hancock served as governor until Jan. 1785 and again from April 1787 until his death in Oct. 1793 (Harlow Giles Unger, John Hancock: Merchant King and American Patriot, N.Y., 2000, p. 302–305, 310, 330).
6. On 9 Oct. 1783 Gov. Jonathan Trumbull announced to the Conn. General Assembly that he would leave office in May 1784 after fourteen years of service. Trumbull cited as his reason “a life, worn out almost in the constant cares of office.” The period leading up to his departure was marked by protests by farmers opposed to taxes imposed on the state by Congress and supported by an assembly and governor with an increasingly nationalistic outlook (An Address of His Excellency Governor Trumbull, New London, Conn., 1783, p. 3, 4, 9, Evans, No. 17885; David M. Roth, Connecticut’s War Governor: Jonathan Trumbull, Chester, Conn., 1974, p. 73–76, 78). See also AFC, 5:289.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0196

Author: Dumas, C. W. F.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-12-05

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

J’ai le plaisir de remarquer, par l’honorée vôtre du 28e. Nov., que nous avons pensé & écrit l’un a l’autre le même jour. Nous sentons & partageons sincerement la joie que vous aurez d’embrasser bien-tôt Made. Adams & vos chers Enfans, que nous supposons venir aussi. Mon Epouse, ainsi que ma fille, languit de lui rendre leurs { 393 } devoirs; & la premiere s’empressera de lui remettre tous les Dépôts que vous avez laissés entre ses mains ici.
Com̃e je ne vois par votre Lettre, Monsieur, si vous resterez avec Madame tout de bon à Lahaie, ni par conséquent si vous voulez avoir l’hôtel entier à votre disposition & à la sienne au mois de May prochain, & qu’il m’importe cependant de prendre les arrangemens les moins ruineux pour trouvert un autre couvert pour nous, je vous demande en grace, Monsieur, de me faire au plutôt connoître clairement toutes vos intentions à cet égard, afin que je prenne mon parti là-dessus à votre satisfaction, & sans trop de perte & d’inconvéniens pour nous: car c’est aux environs du nouvel an, com̃e j’ai déjà eu l’honneur de vous en parler dans une autre Lettre, qu’on loue les maisons ici, pour les occuper au mois de May: alors on peut choisir ce qui convient; autrement il faut payer le double, pour être très mal à son aise
L’on est indigné ici, & l’on doit l’être aussi en france, de la raison pitoyable alléguée par le D—— de M——r à Versailles, pour ne pas finir la paix à Paris. Ils appellent cette raison une impudente fausseté; & l’on va prendre ici des résolutions en conséquence.1
Au cas que vous vous proposassiez, Monsieur, de passer l’hiver ici avec Madame Adams, souhaitez-vous que mon Epouse fasse votre provision de tourbes, pendant que les Canaux seront encore ouverts; car après cela on doit en payer cher de mauvaises. En ce cas faites-nous s. v. p. savoir combien de cent tonneaux vous en voulez.
Mr. Fagel, que j’ai vu au cercle, m’a chargé de ses complimens pour vous. Mr. De Gyzelaer, avec les siens, m’a prié de vous faite part de son union prochaine, dans 2 ou 3 mois avec une aimable Demoiselle.2
Ma famille vous présente ses respects, & bien leurs complimens à Mr. votre fils ainsi que les miens.
Je suis avec grand respect, De Votre Exce. / Le très-humble & très obéissant serviteur
[signed] C.w.f. Dumas


[salute] Sir

I have the pleasure of noting, from your esteemed letter of 28 November, that we thought of and wrote to each other on the same day. We feel and sincerely share the joy that you will experience in embracing Mrs. Adams and your dear children, who we suppose are also coming. My wife and { 394 } my daughter look forward to paying their respects to her, and the former will hurry to give to her all that you deposited here in her hands.
As I cannot tell from your letter, sir, if you are planning to reside with madame right here at The Hague, nor consequently if you want the whole house at your disposal and hers this coming May, and as it is important meanwhile that I make the least ruinous arrangements to find another dwelling for us, I ask you please, sir, to let me know clearly all your intentions in this matter as soon as possible, so that I can make my decision in this regard in a way that meets your needs, and without too much loss and inconvenience for us, because it is around New Year’s, as I had the honor of informing you in another letter, that houses are rented here for occupancy in the month of May. Then one can choose something serviceable. Otherwise you have to pay twice the price, only to be very uncomfortable.
Everyone is indignant here, as they must also be in France, at the pitiful reason put forward by the Duke of Manchester at Versailles for why the peace has not yet been concluded at Paris. They call this reason an impudent falsehood, and they are going to make resolutions here as a consequence.1
If you intend, sir, to spend the winter here with Mrs. Adams, would you like my wife to acquire the peat for you while the canals are still open, because after that you have to pay a high price for poor quality. In that case please let us know how many hundreds of barrels you want of it.
Mr. Fagel, whom I saw on my rounds, asked me to send his compliments to you. Mr. de Gyselaar, while sending his own, begged me to inform you of his upcoming union, in two or three months, with a fine young lady.2
My family sends you their respects as well as their compliments to your esteemed son, and please add my own.
I am with great respect, your excellency’s very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] C.w.f. Dumas
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Londres à S. E. Mr. Adams, M. P.”
1. Following the exchange of copies of the ratified Anglo-Dutch preliminary peace treaty, the Duke of Manchester informed the Dutch negotiators, Mattheus Lestevenon van Berkenrode and Gerard Brantsen, that Britain wished the negotiations for the definitive treaty to be held at either London or The Hague rather than Paris. The British diplomat gave no reason for the change, although it may be surmised that it was to be rid of any French influence on the negotiations. In Jan. 1784, following the lead of the States of Holland, the States General refused to agree to the British proposal, since it already had ministers at Paris (Gazette d’Amsterdam, 9 Dec. 1783, 6 Jan. 1784; Dipl. Corr., 1783–1789, 3:478).
2. Cornelis de Gyselaar married Catharina Geertruida Heerega at The Hague on 1 Feb. 1784 (Nieuw Ned. Biog. Woordenboek, 10:309–310).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0197

Author: Holtzhey, Jean George
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-12-05

From Jean George Holtzhey

[salute] Your Excellency!

About three month ago I receved a fine silver medal out of Your name from a gentleman Who came from Paris, on the independency of your Illustrious Republiq,1 at same time was informed that your Hon. was soon Expected here which was true, but i disovered it too late i there fore take this opportunity to return you may hearthy thanks for satisfaction you have done me, is also for the attention you pay my work in Shewing it and creating admirors. is I understandy well, you desire three medals on the declaring of the independecy, and three medals on the Treaty of friendship and Comerce between our States and your Illustrious Republic2
These Six medals in Boxes f6.6. amont att— f.37.16— which sum shall when opportunity offerts Rec. from Mess. W— & J. Willink my very good friends.
a small silver medal with the discription and Case so as was distributed here on occasion of a patriottik treat by an un known well-meaning Faterlander, have the honor to present you this, i had kapt a small number of them, to divide them amongst some few admirors for to Compleat Cabinets amongst whom i have the Honor to reekon you,3 of the medal made by the society of liberty in friesland are none to be had4 And as yoúr Hon recommends me Mr. John Stokdale (under whose Cover i send you the medals) to dispose of my medals i dos hisitate to send him on your recomendation of Each three of the medals which i have give out since the rupture if more are required shall send ’em.
having the Honor most / Obient Humbel Servant
[signed] Joan George Holtzhey
1. This is the Libertas Americana medal by Augustin Dupré that Benjamin Franklin commissioned to honor the American victories at Saratoga and Yorktown. For a description and reproduction of the medal, see vol. 14:xiii, 344.
2. For these medals, which JA requested be sent to John Stockdale in his letter to Holtzhey of 24 Nov., see note 1 to that letter, above. Stockdale acknowledged receiving the medals in his letter of 20 Jan. 1784, below.
3. This medal has not been identified.
4. For this medal by the Société Bourgeoise of Leeuwarden, see JA’s letter to Holtzhey of 24 Nov. 1783, and note 2, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0198

Author: Wythe, George
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-12-05

From George Wythe

Often had I almost resolved to write to you, to supply, in some measure, by an epistolary correspondence, the want of that conversation, which I had no other cause to regret than the interruption of it by the distance between us; and had more reasons than I can enumerate to covet. But uncertainty of communication, and a doubt whether the merit of any thing I could say would be an apology for diverting your attention from affairs incomparably more momentous hitherto kept me reluxtantly silent. Your letter, therefore, by mr Mazzei, delivered to me this day, by which I learn your wish to receive a line from me, and that too whereever you be, was received with joy.1 I accept the invitation with a pleasure one feels in renewing an acquaintance with an old friend whose company was entertaining and improving. O were our habitations so neighbouring, that

—θαμ᾿ ενθα δ᾿ εοντες εμιςγομεθ᾿ ⋅ ουδε κεν ημεας

Αλλο διεκρινε ϕιλεοντε τε τερπομενω τε,

Πριν γ᾿οτε ⋅ δη θανατοιο μελαν νεϕος αμϕεκαλυψεν!

Οδυου. Δ. 1802
A letter will meet with me in Williamsburg, where I have again settled, assisting, as professor of law and police in the university there,3 to form such characters as may be fit to succede those which have been ornamental and useful in the national councils of America. Adieu.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “G. Wythe to J. Adams.”; endorsed: “Mr. Wythe. 5 Dcer. / 1783.”
1. JA’s letter to George Wythe has not been found, but it may have been written on or about 23 June, the day on which JA wrote to Thomas Jefferson. That letter was also carried by Philip Mazzei and, like the one to Wythe, has not been found (Jefferson, Papers, 6:318). JA knew Wythe from his service in the Continental Congress, and there are numerous references to the Virginian for that period in JA, D&A. It was from Wythe’s manuscript copy that the printed version of JA’s Thoughts on Government, Philadelphia, 1776, was derived (vol. 4:65–68). But the Adams Papers Editorial Files do not record any extant correspondence prior to this letter of 5 Dec., and there is no indication that JA replied.
2. Living here we should frequently have met with each other, / nor could anything have separated us, loving and taking pleasure in each other, / until the black cloud of death shrouded us (Homer, Odyssey, Book IV, lines 178–180).
3. The College of William and Mary established the first chair of law in the United States in 1779 with the creation of the “Professorship of Law and Police.” Wythe held the position until 1790 (DAB ).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0199

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jay, John
Date: 1783-12-07

To John Jay

[salute] Dear Sir

The night before last, Commodore Jones arrived, with Dispatches from Congress. Two Packets were directed to the “Ministers,” and one larger one to Dr Franklin. The two first I opened. one of them contained nothing but News Papers,. The other contained, a private Letter from the President and a Sett of Instructions to the Ministers for Peace. These I copied, and Sent on the originals to Passy, together with the Packet to Dr Franklin, unopened.1
If it is found to contain a Comn. to Us, in conformity to the Resolution of the first of last May the Doctor will inform Us by the first Post if not by Express.
In the meantime, I wish to consult with you, if it were possible upon our new Instructions, which chalk out Some new Business for Us. I would Send you a Copy of them, if I were not afraid of ministerial Curiosity. Mr Bingham makes me think you will be Soon here.
I inclose herewith a Letter from the President to you and another to Mr Laurens, which I must beg the Favour of you to deliver to him, as I dont know his Address.2
Mifflin is the new President, and Congress have adjourned to Anapolis, and are to Set after sometime, one Year, at George Town upon Potomack and one Year on the Delaware. Coll Ogden had Arrived, with the News of the Signature of the definitive Treaty: But Thaxter had not in the first Week in November.
Barneys destination is Havre de Grace, and his orders are positive to Sail in three Weeks, for Philadelphia.
Mr Morris has drawn So many Bills upon my Bankers in Amsterdam, that a Number have been protested for Non Acceptance: So that if Mr Grand cannot assist in preventing the Protest for Non Payment the Catastrophe must now come.— This you will not mention at present.
With great Esteem, I am yours
[signed] John Adams
RC (NNC:Jay Papers); internal address: “Mr Jay”; endorsed: “Recd 8 Decr. 1783” and “Mr Adams / 7 Decr. 1783 / recd. 8 / ansd. 9 / Decr. 1783.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 107.
1. See JA’s letter to Benjamin Franklin of 5 Dec., above, and Franklin’s reply of the 10th, below.
2. For these letters of 1 Nov., see Smith, Letters of Delegates, 21:134–135.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0200

Author: Osgood, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-12-07

From Samuel Osgood

I should have done myself the Pleasure of writing to you before this Time; But since Joining Congress, we have been in an unsettled Posture.— little other Business has been done than that of determining a Place, or Places, for the future Residence of Congress.— The Discussion of these Questions bro’t into view many others, of great Importance.— The Decissions of Congress, you are undoubtedly acquainted with, respecting their future Residences.— But you may probably be uninform’d, as to the Motives & Reasons, that operated in the Minds of the Delegates of several of the States, to agree to Measures, that seem to be attended with no inconsiderable Inconveniency on several Accounts.— They are such, as have made the Measure unpopular to all those, who are not capable of discerning the absolute Necessity of placing Congress in a Situation, that will have the greatest Tendency to make them a free & independent Body—& it is more especially disagreeable to those who have long had a settled Plan of placing Congress in a Situation, where it would be morally impossible that they should not be fettered & shackled with an Influence, that would absolutely controul all their Measures.—
The Simplicity of the first Class, will operate powerfully in Support of the second, who, possess’d of no small Share of Cunning & Address, will use all their Endeavors to keep out of Sight, the true Reasons of the Measure, & at the same Time place it in such a Point of Light, as to create strong Prejudices against it in the Minds of the uninformed & unthinking Part of the Society, who are too apt, for the Sake of a little present Relief, to reject Plans that would have a Tendency to secure to them very great future Advantages.—2
When Ignorance & Cunning are combined, as is frequently the Case, against wise & politic Measures, hard is the Task of the Man, who is honestly endeavoring to oppose the Systematical Intrigue of a few, by Reasons of public Utility & Propriety.— This may be the Situation of those Members of Congress, who have supported the Propositions for two permanent Places, at which the Residence of Congress shall be alternately equal.— The Objections against it are easily adduced, & of such a Nature as will at once make sensible Impressions upon the Popular Party: or rather those who do not look beyond the present Day, nor consider the Necessity of securing { 399 } to Posterity the Blessings which are at their Disposal.— There are several Weighty Reasons to support the late Decissions of Congress.— It was necessary to accommodate the several Parts of the Continent, some of which were greatly agitated, & dissatisfied with the first Determination of Congress.— It was necessary in Order to destroy Systems, which would finally have ended in absolute Aristocracy—the Effects of which have been too apparent for several Years past— It would not have been possible, that Congress should ever have been a free & independent Body in the City of P——a.— Plans for absolute Government, for deceiving the lower Classes of People, for introducing undue Influence, for any Kind of Government, in which Democracy has the least possible Share, originate, are cherished & disseminated from thence.—
With Respect to accommodating the several States in the Union, it is a Matter of absolute Necessity.— The seven eastern States may, by the Iron Hand of voting, carry the Seat of Congress much more Northward than it really ought to be, & accommodate themselves very well— But it is unnatural to suppose that the southern States would chearfully submit to such a Decission; they openly declare that they cannot, & will not; & as a fœderal Town cannot be erected without their Concurrence; the final Event must have been, that Congress would have again fallen into the City of P——a, & there remained, until the several States for Want of Confidence in them, should have voluntarily put an End to their Existence; which, without pretending to have the Gift of Prophesying, one might easily foresee would not be a very distant Period.— As to the Matter of travelling one or two hundred Miles farther, it is of no Weight—The Climate has some—But if Congress can dispatch all their Business in the Fall & Winter, which they certainly may do in future, our pointed Objection against a southern Climate will not exist at those Seasons of the year.— I am therefore fully of the Opinion that public Harmony & Concord are Objects of no small Consequence in the Union & that private Inconvenience ought always to give Way to them.—
That Systems of Intrigue & Influence have been laid, that they are too strongly rooted already, is but too well known to those who have had a Share in public Business for these several Years past.— A Recital of the various Measures & Manœuvres, that tend to corroborate the Opinion, would be too tedious for a Letter— I need only say, that the sensible Part of those who are deeply engaged in the intriguing Plans, are most violent against the Decission of { 400 } Congress, respecting two Places of Residence, that they have ever since, had strongly marked in their Countenances, an evident Air of Dejection.— their unexpected disappointment seems to have irritated them much, & we must be prepared to meet a Torrent of Abuse & many scurrilous Observations.— The Prostitutes to Influence are capable frequently of making the wrong seem to be Right— But with a Jealous, well informed People, Truth will prevail; & there is little Danger of their condemning honest, well meant Endeavors to serve them.—
The System of Influence began, when the United States were reduced to the most deplorable Situation, on Account of their Finances; when the virtuous Spirit of the People began to Subside, & when among many an Indifference to the Cause began to be too manifest— At this fatal Moment the eagle eyed Politican of our great Ally, discovered the absolute Importance of the Aid of his Master, & the critical Situation of the United States.—3 It was then he ventured to propose that Congress should subject their Peace Commissioners to the absolute controul of a foreign Court. It was then found to be necessary to establish Ministers of State, a Financier, a Secretary at War, & a Secre[tary] for foreign Affairs.— It was necessary to place Congress in a Situation before the Close of the War that the Members of that Body, excepting a chosen few, should know little or nothing of the Negociations abroad— It was necessary to create an Office of foreign Affairs, & that the Chevalier & his Secretary should be the Persons behind the Scene to manage & direct all the Measures t[here]of.— In the Beginning of the year 1781 Congress found themselves extremely embarass’d—they had no Money, nor any Credit—the southern States were some of them abandonned to, & others of them overrun by the Enemy— The Delegates from those States found it impractible for the eastern States to afford them much Assistance; & some from Despair of other Means, & others probably from less virtuous Motives, agreed to give up the united States to foreign Power, perswading themselves & endeavoring to perswade others, that disinterested Benevolence alone, was the Principle from which that Court always acted.— All Hommage was due & it became Treason to speak, think or even look, as if one suppos’d it possible that she should do us an Injury, or act from interested Motives.— The Weakness & the Wickedness of the southern States placed the united States in a most humiliating Situation, opend the Door of Intrigue, which has been disclosing more & more every Year since— I have no Doubt their Object was to { 401 } s[erve] their own Country; & for this Purpose, they became humble devo[ted] Worshippers of the golden Image—and every Person that did not flatter, & dance attendance as much as they, was immediately set down as having a contracted, illiberal Mind.—4 Attention and a smile elated the one Party, whilst a cold formal Reception & often a pointed Neglect, mark’d evidently the point of Light in which the other was viewed.—
In this Situation was Congress, when the great Officers of State commenced— The Financier & Secretary for foreign Affairs were admirably well adapted to support, & not only so, but to become the principal Engines of Intrigue— The first mentioned Officer, is a Man of inflexible Perseverance— He Judges well in almost all Money Matters; & mercantile Transactions— He well knows what is necessary to support public Credit— But never thinks it necessary to secure the Confidence of the People, by making Measures palatable to them— A Man destitute of every Kind of theoretic Knowledge; but from extensive mercantile Negociations, he is a good practical Merchant; more than this cannot be said with Justice.— He Judges generally for himself; & acts with great Decision— He has many excellent Qualities for a Financier, which however do not comport so well with Republicanism, as Monarchy.— Ambitious of becoming the first Man in the united States, he was not so delicate in the Choice of Means, & Men for his Purpose, as is indispensably necessary in a free Government— The good Ally of the United States could assist him in Money, & he was heartily dispos’d to make her very grateful Returns— The United States abound with Men absolutely devoted.— With such a Financier and with such Materials, it is easy to conceive what an amazing Power he would