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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 15

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 soon acquire.— He stood in need of foreign Support, & they stood in need of him; thus far the political Machinery was in Unison; & republicanism grated harsh Discords.—
The Secretary for foreign Affairs was a Man of more acquired Knowledge, & less natural Ability—A Person as completely devoted to promote all the Views & Wishes of our good Ally, as his Minister & Secretary could possibly be.— His Office was mestireous, & secret to all those, who ought to have a perfect Knowledge of all it contain’d— It was undoubtedly public to all those, to whom it ought to have been a profound Secret— Two foreigners were private Secretaries in that Office; one of which it is probable was <a Disciple of the Sorbonne> educated a Jesuit—the other had been a french Priest.—5 With this Arrangement, it is impossible to suppose that any Thing of { 402 } Importance, would not be communicated immediately to such as the Interest of the united States required, should not know it.— More real Injury resulted from this Arrangement, than could possibly have done, if there had been no Office & no pretended Secrets.— It was a Snare to our faithful foreign Ministers, & a secure Asylum, to such as were dispos’d to prostrate the Honor & Dignity of the United States, before the polluted Shrine of Monarchy. In this Situation it was impossible to support an honest Man; All our foreign Ministers, excepting one, have felt very severely the Effects of this unaccountable System.— It is strange that so many, who seem to be republicans, were so easily drawn into the Snare, & that they either could not, or would not see, that it was giving up at once, all the Priviledges for the Preservation of which we had freely lavish’d our Blood & Treasure.—
It was fortunate for the United States, that the Secretary at War, was a true Republican, & totally oppos’d to Intrigue & aristocratical Measures—had Genl. Schuyler, who nearly carried the Choice, been plac’d in that Office, It is a great Question in my Mind, whether it would have been practicable for Congress, to have disbanded their Army.—6 The Financier only wanted a Person in that Office who would go any Lengths with him: a Number of Officers as well as Citizens were ripe for the Measure— It had undoubtedly been deliberately digested—And the Finance Office was probably the Center of Motion.— I am well informed that an Attempt was made to draw in the late Secretary at War—But he checkd it, with a Firmness, that will always do him Honor.— such a Triumvirate, would have been too powerful for the United States; & Heaven only knows what Kind of a Form our fœderal Government would have assum’d.— The present, by that Party, is held in the utmost Detestation, & they will persevere inflexibly in their Attempts for any Alteration, by Intrigue, & by open Force, when Matters are matured, & promise more Success, than at present.—
These Plans, in which our good Allies, were undoubtedly more than idle Spectators, originated in the Beginning of the Year 1781 & operated fully before the End of the Year.
Having given you a general View of the prevailing politics of Congress at that Time, I hope it will not be altogether useless to communicate to you, as far as my Memory serves me, The Reasons that were urged in Support of several important Decissions of Congress respecting our foreign Ministers.— The first took Place in June 1781 a few Days before I Join’d that Body.— It respected your { 403 } Commission for Peace— The Business was all matured before I arrived, therefore I am not well able to say, what suggested to Congress the Idea of an Alteration— However I had not to look any farther, to satisfy myself, after I had perused the several Letters that pass’d between you & the C. de V——s respecting the Resolutions of Congress of the 18th. of March 1780; & also the Publication of your Commission, for a commercial Treaty with great Britain.—7 That you might be restricted as to the free exercise of your own Judgment, If Nature had not made you servile & submissive, it was expedient that you should pointedly instructed— I find by the secret Journals, that after a New Instructions were made out for you alone, before the final Completion, the Report was recommitted, with Directions to the Committee to confer with the Chevalier.— I find the Committee reported to Congress several Amendments propos’d by him, the most material of which was “and you are ultimately to govern yourself by the Advice of the Minister of his most Christian Majesty.” &ca— The Amendments were all said to be carried in the affirmative; the yeas & nays on the above Clause, shew that there were but Eight States in Favor of it— And it has always been a Question whether the Instructions were valid, as nine States never agreed to them & the Confederation requires the Assent of nine States, on all Questions relating to Treaties.— But it was not sufficient to let it rest here; A Treaty of Peace was a very important Matter to the united States; too much so, to be committed to any Individual.— Two great Objects in that Treaty, would be, the Fishery & western Territory: & local Views might operate too powerfully in the Mind of a single Person: He would certainly urge that most, which would be most beneficial to the Part of the Continent from which he might happen to be taken.— The Ultimata with Respect to the Limits of the united States agreed upon in 1778 or 1779 being repeated,8 there was some Reason, why there should be more than one Peace Commissioner, Indeed there would have been a very good Reason for it, considering the general Terms of the last Instructions, had not that humiliating Clause been inserted, which made all our Peace Commissioners a mere Cypher. The Names of those Commrs. who nobly dared to act contrary to the Intention of that inglorious Restriction will be immortalized, by every true American.— Congress having agreed upon five Commissrs.—The infamous Instructions made out for you, were adopted verbatim for the five—And the Objectionable Parts were warmly debated again in Congress.— However Eight States agreed to them; & it is a very great Misfortune at this Time, that we { 404 } cannot from the Journals, show that there were no more the Yeas & Nays not being call’d. That there were no more, I am sure as an Individual, having the Names of the Persons who were willing to submit their dearest Interests to Judges deeply concern’d in the Decision.— It was objected at the Time, that Eight States were not competent to pass such Instructions & that the Articles of Confederation invested no Power in Congress by which they could make a foreign Court the Arbiter of Peace [&] War for the united States.— I have as yet no Reason to alter my Opinion, which is, that both were unconstitutional. To make War nine States are necessary: but the Confederation is not as explicit respecting the making of Peace— It is held by some, that seven States only are necessary—& some who assisted in framing the Confederation, say, that this was the Idea of the Framers— But an Idea so replete with Inconsistency, seems to me Inadmissable.— The Purport of Instructions, which containd those degrading Restrictions you are fully acquainted with; but by what I have colle[cted] from Mr. T——r,9 you are not so fully acquainted with some Endeavors in Congress to procure a Repeal of those Objectiona[ble] Parts.— After the C. de— V——s was made acquainted with the unbounded Confidence, that Congress by those Instructions placed in the Ministers of his most Christian Majesty, he wrote to Congress, in the Name of his Master, a Letter expressing the Satisfaction that the Confidence gave, & the Moderation that would be discovered in the Use of the Power; that all his Exertions would be to promote the Welfare of his Ally.— But intimates, that he has been informed that the Measure was not unanimously agreed to in Congress.— And that if the Want of unanimity is likely to produce any Division in Congress, that may tend to destroy the Union & Harmony of that Body, he would willingly relinquish a Deposit, so delicate in its Nature, & of such great Importance— He suggests the fresh Obligations his Master is laid under, by this confidential Commission, to render every possible Service to the United States— But if Congress should see fit to withdraw the Power, the Obligation will be lessened, & the United States must in Consequence thereof, be particularly attentive to their own Interests— The Meaning of which, needs no Comment.— If I do not misremember the above is nearly the Purport of the Letter.— Notwithstanding this, in the Space of fifteen Months, three several Attempts were made in Congress, to revise & alter those Instructions, But to no Purpose.— Those who severely reprobated them, were not clear, that it was expedient to withdraw them. It had become a Matter of { 405 } Delicacy, & the Situation of the United States, was not so happy, as to encourage them to do an act that would probably wound the feelings, if not give great Offence to the C. de. V——s— I am not uneasy now, that the Power was not withdrawn— I am happy that the Intention of the Instructions were gloriously eluded.—
I have Reason to beleive, that those Members who warmly supported the Measure at first, have been made to fear the Resentment of the united States.— They have endeavored to explain to Congress the Reasons of the Measure.— They offer no better, than the extremely exhausted Situation of the Country at that Time, & the Despondency, evident from the small Exertions of all the States.— Doctor. Witherspoon has been candid enough on the floor of Congress, to hint at a better Reason, which was, your obstinate Dispute with the C. de. V.s I have always suppos’d, that the object was to clip your Wings, & make you more tame & docile; & that if they had at first adopted the Idea of having five Commissioners, they would not have made them mere Spectators.—
After the Provisional Treaty arriv’d, some were heartily pleas’d, & others discovered a Degree of Mortification— It was evident that our Commrs. acted for themselves—that they put a proper & rational Construction upon their Instructions— But it was said that they had grossly disobeyed them— That the Court of F——e must unavoidably be extremely irritated; that instead of making the most confidential & unreserved Communications to, & instead of being governed in the least by the Advice of the Ministers of his most C—— M.—— They had made, & signed a Treaty, without their Knowledge or Concurrence.—not only so they had entered into a private Stipulation with the Minister of great Britain of little or no Consequence to the United States, as pointedly against the Court of Madrid, as it was in favor of G—— B——n.— It was not only unwise to encourage G—— B——n to carry war into the Floridas, but it was an extraordinary, & unnatural Disobedience of Instructions. Our Commissioners must be immediately censured, & positively directed to communicate the secret Article; otherwise Congress would become Partners in their criminal Secrecy.— These Observations did not operate so as to ensure the Party of Success, in a censuring Resolution— It was tempered— A Proposition was made expressing the great Satisfaction of Congress in the Conduct of their Commrs. & obliquely censuring them, for that Secret Article— This was not palatable— It was then said that his most C—— M—— had instructed his Minister here, to remonstrate to Congress in severe Terms, against { 406 } the Conduct of our Commrs.; & that Congress would act wisely, to anticipate the Business— But this had no better Effect—& the Matter subsided—10 It was a Matter of Surprize and Astonishment to the Franklinites, that the God of Electricity consented to act with you secretly. However, if I might be allowed to form an Opinion, it would be, that the electrical Machine discharged itself invisibly—for where there is unbounded Confidence, surely there is no Reason for the least Reserve— He does not consider his most C—— M—— as an Ally, but as a Father to the United States whenever he mentions him it is in this Light.—
The next act of Congress of Consequence, was the recalling your Commission for entering into a commercial Treaty with G. B.11 The Debates upon this Question were not so warm, & lengthy as upon the above.— The principal Reason that was urged, for taking it from you, was that there were in Effect two Commissions for the same Purpose: It was insisted upon, that the Ministers for Peace were empowered by their Commission to make such Commercial Stipulations in a Treaty of Peace, as should be found necessary—that this virtually repealed the Commission to you— To set the Matter in a clear Point of Light, that there might be no Interference in the Negociations, that the Business might be all done in Concert, seven States revoked your Commission— These were some of the Observations made Use of at the Time— But I suppos’d then, & am more confirmed in my Opinion now, that it was a foreign Manœuvre, not merely to mortify you, but the real Intention at that Time was, to have no Commercial Treaty with G—— B——n This Sentiment prevail’d very much at that Time; And it is not destitute of warm Advocates now.— It is the same with Respect to a commercial Treaty with the Court of St. Petersburgh.— It has been too apparent, that the Court of Verseilles are very anxious to confine our Trade as much, as possible, to themselves.— It was not till some Time after this Event, that the Delegates of Masstts. in examining the Instructions to which the Peace Commrs. were referred, as containing the Expectations & Wishes of Congress, found that not a single Word respecting the Fishery, was to be found therein.— This obliged them to move for the Instruction that afterwards pass’d respecting the same—which was long before Congress, & met with an unaccountable Opposition; the Reason is probably containd in a Letter Mr. J—— transmitted to Congress.—12 It may not be useless to make some Observations upon this Letter.— It contained Sentiments which were suppos’d by some to be predominant in that Persons { 407 } Mind, before the Reception of it.— It was an unexpected & extreme Mortification to the Party—& I beleive the Secretary for foreign Affairs handed it immediately to Congress, without consulting them; for I am perswaded if he had done it, the Result would have been, that Congress should never see that Copy.— But they received it, & the only alternative was, to invalidate it— It was therefore asserted that Mr. M——s never wrote it.— he, who was soon made acquainted with it, I am informd, positively disowns it— But, say they, consider the Improbability of it— here is a Copy & a Translation too, why is not a Copy of the Original furnish’d— This Letter must have come thro British Hands, & it is a mere Peice of cunning of theirs, to decive and Prejudice our Ministers against a faithful Ally— But if it was not a Forgery—it is of little Consequence for Time has discov[ered] that the C. de V——s paid no Attention to it as he has not taken any one of the Measures pointed out in that Letter However it was thot best to beleive it a Forgery: & that Mr. J—— was unreasonably Jealous.— Many of the Party in Congress were undoubtedly very much disappointed in Mr. J—— He tho’t & acted like a wise & an independant Man; & they did not wish him to think or act himself.— It was not expected that he would take so decided a Part in favor of the Fishery, as it was said, t[hat] he once tho’t it of no considerable Import[ance] to the United States— It was therefore apprehended that you & Mr. L——s would unite in favor of them, & that the other two would not Care much about them.— It was expected that this Division would frequently happen, until Mr. J——[’s] Letters discovered him to be a faithful & cautious Minister.— a little Time before this, It was moved & debated, with as much warmth as any Question had for a long Time occasioned whether Mr. Laurens, as one of the Peace Commissioners should be suspended, until he should have informed Congress, whether he really addressd the Commons of G—— B——n in the shameful Stile of the Petition or Memorial, printed as his among the Deb[ates] of the House of Commons of G. B——n—13 If it was really his he had discovered so much Weakness, & so deeply wounded the Honor & Dignity of the United States, that he ought not on any Account to be continued in his important Trust— There was too much Truth in the Observation— But as the Members of the eastern States relied on him, to Join with you in supporting Our Claim & Right to the Fisheries, they could not consent to his Suspension, had it not been for this, he would certainly have been suspended—had they then known the decided Part Mr. J would take—& that the other would have { 408 } discovered a Degree of unexpected Flexibility in some Instances, he would have been suspended— But I conceive from very different Motives— I have no Doubt that the Aim of the Party was to weaken your Support— they only know what they meant, but this was my Opinion at the Time— It remains yet a Mistery, whether he was the real Author of that humiliating Peice, published as his.—
It was concluded by some in Congress from a Passage or two in Mr. Laurens’s Letter to them, after he first met you in Holland, that he was not well pleased with the Reception you gave him—or that you did not properly Estimate the Value of his Services, in not accepting of his Assistance in negociating a Loan.—14 I beleive some wish’d at that Time to make a Difference between you, if possible; & the systematical Junto were capable of framing here, & disseminating there, (& vice versa) what they pleas’d.— If I remember rightly the Passages hinted at, were not of much Consequence, & did not seem to be dictated by Disappointment.—
You will pardon me in candidly mentioning to you the Effects of your long Journal, forwarded after the signing of the provisional Treaty.—15 It was read by the Secretary in Congress.— it was too minute for the Delicacy of several of the Gentlemen.— they appeared very much disposed to make it appear as ridiculous as possible; several ungenerous Remarks were made upon it, as being unfit to be read in Congress, & not worth the Time expended in reading it.— The Day after it was read, the Delegates of Masstts. found on the Table of Congress your Letter addressd to J. Jackson or the Delegates— A Passage in that Letter led them to conclude that your Journal was not intended for Congress, as you mention that you had enclosed for his Perusal a Journal; & there was none enclosed.— They therefore agreed to move that the Journal might be delivered to them— This Motion soon found Opponents. It was then said that it contained Matters of great Importance, which you had not mentioned in your other Letters—but we examined your other Letters, & found all the great Matters touch’d upon, & the smaller ones omitted.— The Secretary for foreign Affairs, was sent for to know whether it came address’d to him; he produced three several Covers with your Seal, all directed to him, and the foldings corresponded to those of the Journal: after this, we let the Matter subside, as we found we should loose the Question; & also, that a Number of the Members were convinced, that there was some Mistake: nothing was said against it afterwards.— Whatever your Intentions were { 409 } respecting your Journal, it was necessary for us to take the Measure we did; & it had a very happy Effect.—
By a Letter lately received from Mr. D—— it is probable he has left the C——t of St. P—— sometime since.—16 If my Memory would serve me at this distant Day, to relate the various Manœuvres with Respect to him, it might serve to show how compleatly the System has operated here, as well as in Europe.—
Mr. Dana’s Character was fix’d as an Antigallican, from the first Letter he wrote to Congress from St. P——, after he had confer’d with the french Minister at that Court.— He wrote as an independent Man ought to— He gave his Sentiments freely upon the politicks of France. This Mode of thinking, however well founded, was very unpalatable to Congress in general. At that Time he ought not to have committed his own Tho’ts to Paper—much less ought he to have wrote so freely against Gallican Measures without Cyphers.— as Congress never received but One Copy which was either the Duplicate, or triplicate, the others must have fallen into Hands of our Ally—And consequently injure us extremely— The frequent Instances of her Generosity forbids every illiberal Sentiment— It indicates a little, contracted & Jealous Mind which would enter into the Minutæ of their Politicks, & take every Opportunity to make unfavorable Inferences from mere Appearances only.— This seem’d to be the Light in which this Letter was viewed— It was necessary therefore to point out to Mr. D—— the Line of Conduct which he ought to pursue: to let him know that Congress would not listen to any Insinuations against our great & good Ally, & to damp that Ardor which he seem’d to discover, for displaying his Ministerial Commission— A Lengthy Report was consequently made upon his Letter; the Work of John Morin Scott, in which Mr. D——’s Conduct was criticized upon unreasonably—& set in a very unfavourable point of Light— This Report could not obtain the Sanction of Congress; It was therefore referred to the Secretary for foreign Affairs, for a new Draught, which was not much less severe. It was agreed that both Draughts should be postponed, & a short Resolution was proposed, & adopted— I mention this Circumstance, because I am informed, that previous to the sending forward the Resolution, Mr. R. R. L——n forwarded one of those unauthentic Draughts; which, if true, was an unpardonable Peice of Cunning in him—for there was a Debate in Congress how those Drafts should be disposed of; & it was the Sense of Congress, that they should die.— That Mr. L——n was { 410 } capable of this, is but too evident, from many Specimens of his Disposition to Intrigue.—17 Ever afterwards, the Systematical Junto, levelled their envenomed Shafts against him Mr. D.—& however important it might be to the united States, to have a Treaty with the Empress, they preferred the Sacrifice of that Advantage, rather than that Mr. D should have the Honor of negociating that Treaty. so strong has the Current been in favor of Gallican Politicks, that I am perswaded the Party here, were mortified at your Success with the united Netherlands, & were very content with the Ill Success of Mr. Jay as well as Mr. D.—
It was long since evident that Mr. J—— & Mr. Carmichael did not agree entirely— But before it had fully opened—there was an Attempt made in Congress, to transfer Mr. C—— to the Minister at Verseilles— The Motion set forth, that his Services were no longer necessary at the Court of Madrid, & that a Secretary was necessary to the Commission at Verseilles that Mr. Carmichael be accordingly appointed to the said Commission, or to this Purport.—18 It is not the Usage to make such Appointments without a Nomination & Ballot— It was therefore objected to. The Question was divided, & agreed to, that Mr. C——’s Services were not necessary at the Court of Madrid. The Party who made the Motion were very much perplexed how to vote—for if they should agree to it & then not obtain the Transfer, they would defeat themselves— This really happened.— near two years ago, & they have been very content to let Mr. C—— continue from that time to this.—
The Marquis La Fayette has zealously interested himself in all our important Matters—he assumes the Language [of] a true born American, & is a very popular Character in the Country— But if I Mistake not he is deeply immersed in European Politicks: which are the worst that can possibly exist for America— When he last left this Country he went with an evident Design to assist our Commrs. in negociating the Peace it was pretty plainly intimated that he wish’d to be one of the Number—had he been added to them, it would not have been more extraordinary, than some other Matters that have taken Place— An Instruction however to you to consult & advise with him, was carried—19 I do not apprehend you were much the wiser for the Informa[tion] you might have obtain’d from that Quarter. few Americans are worthy to be trusted in some of the most important Concerns of the United States—& not a single Foreigner.—
Doctor Franklin has long been urging Congress to m[ake] his Grandson a Minister; his last Letter presses them on this Subject & { 411 } is accompanied with a particular Requ[est] purporting to be from the Minister of Sweden.—20 Nothing is to be feared from these Instances—for I am sure at present, that Congress will not make him a Minister; & I hope the Period never will arrive.— It is said he has served an Apprenticeship; But with such a Master, & such Examples, [he] must be tenfold the wore for it.—
The little Conversation I had with Mr. Thaxter led me to this narrative— I wish I had Time to arrange it better & not only so, but to examine our foreign Papers, from which, I doubt not that I could make many Extra[cts] that would be worthy of Communicating.—
You will I think be convinced that french Politicks have a great Ascendency among us— They have taken very deep R[oot] May Heaven finally extricate us from all foreign Intrigues.—
RC (NN:Samuel Adams Papers); endorsed “recd 5. April” and “osgood Decr 7. 1783.” Some loss of text due to a tight binding.
1. Although JA received this letter on 5 April 1784, he apparently did not send a reply until 30 June (LbC, APM Reel 107). On 9 April, however, he drafted two responses (Adams Papers), both considerably longer than that of 30 June, but neither was likely sent because his comments therein on Benjamin Franklin, the French, and perhaps Henry Laurens would have reignited the controversies that Osgood had cautioned JA to avoid.
Samuel Osgood, Harvard 1770, served in Congress from 1781 to 1784 and would be the first postmaster general under the Constitution from 1789 to 1791 (Biog. Dir. Cong.). JA had written to him on 12 April 1783 upon hearing that he was a member of Congress, resuming a correspondence that had been dormant since 1775 (vol. 14:399–401). Osgood wrote this letter in response—the most detailed and accurate account of the workings of Congress that JA had received from an ally since he had returned to Europe in 1779. The report is similar to those he received from James Lovell and Elbridge Gerry in 1779, during the interval between his first and second diplomatic missions. For more on Osgood, see Descriptive List of Illustrations, No. 8, above.
2. The first page ends at this point. In his letter of [14 Jan. 1784], below, Osgood indicates that the first page was originally intended for someone other than JA, but there is no indication of who that might have been.
3. Osgood refers to the Chevalier de La Luzerne, the French minister to the United States, and his secretary, François de Barbé-Marbois.
4. Presumably a reference to Daniel, 3, and the golden image set up by Nebuchadnezzar.
5. Pierre Étienne Du Ponceau (1760–1844) and Rev. John Peter Têtard (1722–1787) were on Robert R. Livingston’s staff. Du Ponceau, who was educated by Benedictine monks at St. Jean Angely and at the Episcopal college at Bressuire in Poitou, served as Livingston’s undersecretary from Oct. 1781 to June 1783 (DAB). Têtard served in the Continental Army as a chaplain and interpreter before joining Livingston’s staff as an interpreter (Morris, Papers, 5:277).
6. When Congress created the post of secretary at war on 7 Feb. 1781, members initially considered appointing former general Philip Schuyler, a close associate of Robert Morris, who had resigned his commission in 1779 after being acquitted by a court-martial. Schuyler, however, refused to be considered for the post unless his rank was restored, and Congress turned to other candidates. After members decided that Gen. Henry Knox and Gen. Nathanael Greene could not be spared from field duties, Gen. Benjamin Lincoln was appointed to the post (same, 2:234–235).
7. Osgood refers to Congress’ decision on 15 June 1781 to create, under pressure from the Chevalier de La Luzerne, a joint commission to negotiate a peace treaty in lieu of JA as the sole negotiator (vol. 11:368–370). { 412 } The contentious correspondence between JA and the Comte de Vergennes in 1780 had two parts. In June the two men sparred over JA’s refusal to support the exemption of French merchants from the effects of Congress’ 18 March 1780 revaluation of the continental currency. Congress later commended JA for his representations regarding the revaluation (vol. 9:427–430). In July a more serious exchange took place over JA’s plans to execute his mission to negotiate treaties with Britain and his reservations about the sufficiency of French aid to the United States. This brought a cessation of correspondence between JA and Vergennes and led Congress to admonish JA, advising him to be more circumspect in his comments regarding the execution of his mission and French support for the American cause (same, p. 516–520).
8. JA’s Oct. 1779 instructions as sole peace negotiator had declared as a prerequisite to any peace treaty a northern U.S. boundary on the Great Lakes and a western boundary on the Mississippi River. As a result of pressure by the French, the June 1781 instructions to the joint commission transformed the 1779 ultimatum into a discretionary goal of the negotiation and made the sanctity of the Franco-American alliance the only prerequisite to a treaty. The change thwarted the interests of southern states that claimed land along the Mississippi and set up a regional conflict between northern and southern states. See vol. 8:185, 203; 11:374–377; JA, D&A, 4:178–183.
9. John Thaxter.
10. The separate article of the Anglo-American peace treaty negotiated by the American commissioners without France’s knowledge would have set the boundary of West Florida farther north if Great Britain recovered the territory from Spain than if it was retained by Spain. On 19 and 21 March 1783 motions were made in Congress to disclose the contents of the article to France, an effort that was dropped when news of the definitive treaty reached the United States on 24 March. The separate article was not included in the preliminary treaty as ratified by Congress (vol. 14:23, 108–109, 364, 437–438). See also the commissioners’ letter to Livingston, 18 July, and note 3, above.
11. On 12 July 1781 Congress revoked JA’s 1779 commission to negotiate a commercial treaty with Great Britain, an issue to which he would refer frequently in the coming years. After a 5 Feb. 1783 letter from JA seeking an explanation and appealing for new powers, Congress passed a resolution on 1 May empowering the American commissioners to negotiate a commercial agreement. Instructions were never issued, however, and it would not be until 7 May 1784 that the commissioners would be assigned powers to negotiate commercial treaties with 23 nations, including Great Britain. See vol. 11:380, 435; 14:244.
12. Osgood alludes to John Jay’s 18 Sept. 1782 letter to Livingston in which Jay enclosed Barbé-Marbois’ 13 March intercepted letter to Vergennes. In that letter, which Barbé-Marbois falsely claimed was a forgery, La Luzerne’s secretary suggested arguments Vergennes might use to thwart U.S. claims to the Newfoundland fisheries. See vol. 14:47, 496. Livingston responded to Jay on 30 Dec. discounting the intercepted letter, seeking information on its origin, and questioning Jay’s motivation for sending it. In a 22 July 1783 letter to Livingston, Franklin also commented on the Barbé-Marbois letter, calling its British source “a suspicious channel” of transmission and expressing certainty that despite the letter the French wished the American commissioners to be unconstrained in their pursuit of peace (Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:175, 581).
13. On 20 Dec. 1781 Edmund Burke, at the behest of Laurens, had petitioned the House of Commons on Laurens’ behalf. Burke characterized Laurens as a reluctant patriot and noted his failing health, owing to the privations suffered since becoming a prisoner in the Tower of London following his capture on 3 Sept. 1780. The petition was printed in the Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser of 22 Dec. 1781, and Laurens was paroled from the tower on the 31st. He traveled to the Netherlands to consult with JA in April 1782 and was released from bail on the 26th (Laurens, Papers, 15:xxxvi–xxxvii, 456–458).
In a letter of 30 May 1782, Laurens declined his appointment as a member of the joint peace commission (same, 15:518–526). On 17 Sept., Congress reaffirmed Laurens’ appointment, resolving that the reasons for it remained and that “his services in the execution of that trust cannot be dispensed with” (JCC, 23:584). But controversy soon { 413 } erupted, principally owing to questions concerning Burke’s petition and Laurens’ part in its presentation. On 19 Sept., James Madison offered a resolution to the effect that the portion of Congress’ resolutions of the 17th relating to Laurens should not be sent. Madison charged that if Laurens had signed or played any role in the petition then “he had thereby wounded the honor and dignity of the United States in such a manner that he was no longer fit to be entrusted with the character of a public minister, much less to be solicited to continue his services as the negotiator of a peace.” In the end, after considerable debate, Madison’s motion failed of adoption. But as Osgood, who voted against the motion, indicates, doubts remained about the petition and Laurens’ loyalty (Smith, Letters of Delegates, 19:182–192).
14. In his 30 May 1782 letter to the president of Congress reporting on his visit with JA in the Netherlands, Laurens wrote that he was rebuffed in his offer to assist in the negotiation of a loan. At their first meeting JA welcomed his offer of assistance, Laurens said, but in the second meeting he told him that all necessary steps had been taken and there was nothing further to do (Laurens, Papers, 15:522).
15. In his 30 June 1784 reply to this letter (LbC, APM Reel 107), JA indicated that the dispatch of his “Peace Journal” to Livingston rather than Jonathan Jackson was the result of a hasty, last-minute decision. He would later call it an error or an inadvertence. In fact the dispatch of the journal to Congress was probably owing to his desire to have his own account available to compete against those of his colleagues Franklin and Jay. The journal’s candor in describing the negotiations initially prompted criticism when it was read before Congress, but its ultimate effect on JA’s role as peace negotiator was negligible (vol. 14:xviii–xx; JA, D&A, 3:41–43).
16. Francis Dana wrote Livingston on 8 and 17 Aug. 1783 to inform him that he had terminated his attempts to be recognized by the Russian court and would soon leave St. Petersburg. Dana arrived in Boston on 12 Dec., five days after Osgood wrote this letter (Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:636, 655–658, 739).
17. In a 15 Sept. 1781 letter to the president of Congress, written soon after his arrival in Russia, Dana reported that the Marquis de Vérac, French minister to Russia, had advised him that the Russian court was unlikely to receive him until after an Anglo-American peace treaty was signed and that he should consequently not seek to present his credentials. Dana initially rejected the advice and questioned Vérac’s motives in giving it: “He possibly may have other reasons for his opinions, which he chooses to keep to himself; but surely such can not serve as rules by which to regulate my conduct while I remain ignorant of them, nor can I imagine it to be my duty or the expectation of Congress that I should blindly fall into the sentiments of any man, especially when I think this backwardness to give proper support to our cause at the courts of Europe may be accounted for on other principles” (Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:684–685, 711). Dana expressed similar views in a letter to JA of [8 Sept.] (vol. 11:478–482).
Dana’s letter reached Congress on 15 March 1782 and was apparently among dispatches from foreign ministers referred to a committee composed of James Madison, John Morin Scott, and Daniel Carroll. In a 23 April letter to Edmund Randolph, Madison made his view clear, calling Dana’s plan to present his credentials over the objections of Vérac a “rash step.” Livingston shared Madison’s view and on 27 May asked Congress to review the draft of a letter to Dana dated 10 May in which he called Vérac’s advice “sound and just” and directed Dana to follow it. Consideration of the letter was postponed, however, in favor of the passage of a resolution instructing Dana not to present his credentials “untill he shall have obtained satisfactory assurances that he will be duly recd. and recognized in his public Character.” Livingston’s letter was ordered returned to him without comment, but after receiving it, the secretary sent Dana a new letter, dated 29 May, enclosing the 10 May draft and the resolution (Madison, Papers, Congressional Series, 4:180–183, 274–275; JCC, 22:140–141, 301; Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 5:411–414, 446–447).
18. Livingston on 9 May 1782 recommended that William Carmichael be removed from service under Jay at the Court of Madrid and placed in Paris as secretary to Franklin. Congress agreed to the measure on 10 July, but Carmichael never left Madrid. From June 1782, when Jay himself departed { 414 } for Paris, until June 1794 Carmichael served as U.S. chargé d’affaires in Spain (Madison, Papers, Congressional Series, 4:279, 282; JCC, 22:258, 307, 380; DAB).
19. On 23 Nov. 1781, just before the Marquis de Lafayette departed the United States for France, Congress resolved “that the secretary of foreign affairs acquaint the ministers plenipotentiary of the United States that it is the desire of Congress that they confer with the Marquis de la Fayette.” Lafayette carried a letter from Livingston to JA enclosing the resolution and forwarded it to him upon arrival. JA politely acknowledged receipt on 20 Feb. 1782 but declined to engage in meaningful consultation. In a 16 April 1783 letter to James Warren, JA called Lafayette “an amiable Nobleman” but one who harbored “seeds of Mischief to our Country if We do not take Care” and labeled Congress’ order “ill judged” and “an humiliation” to the American peace commissioners (JCC, 21:1134–1135; vol. 12:76, 77, 248–249; 14:417–418).
20. Osgood refers to Franklin’s letter to Robert R. Livingston of 22 July in which he recommended that Congress appoint William Temple Franklin the U.S. minister to Sweden and enclosed a letter from Baron Erik Magnus Staël von Holstein, the Swedish minister to France. Franklin renewed his appeal in his 26 Dec. letter to the president of Congress, but the younger Franklin never received a ministerial appointment (Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:483, 586, 746–747).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0201

Author: Jay, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-12-09

From John Jay

[salute] Dear Sir

Last night I recd. your obliging Favor of the 7 Inst. & the Letters mentioned to be enclosed with it— The one for Mr Laurens was immediately sent to his Lodgings.
The Circumstances you mention are interesting, and will afford matter for Deliberation & Comments when we meet. My Return to London will depend on one of two Things Vizt. on being satisfied that I am to expect little or no Benefit from the Waters—or (in Case of their being useful) on my having reaped all the advantage they can afford me. They have I think done me some, but as yet not much good— My Physician tells me more Time is necessary—
I perfectly approve of your not having sent me Copies of any private Papers; which is probably of the less Importance as our Commission is not yet come to either of our Hands; tho’ perhaps it may, as you observe, be enclosed in the Packet directed to Doctr. Franklin— my Letters make no mention of it.
From what I heard you say at London I had flattered myself that you intended soon to visit this Place— it is worth your seeing, and you would find it agreable—1 Be pleased to make my Compts. to your Son, and believe me to be / Your Friend & Servt.
[signed] John Jay
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excelly. / John Adams Esqr. / minister plenipotentiary from the United / States of America &ca. / at Mr Stockdale’s Bookseller— / Piccadilly— / London”; internal address: “Mr Adams”; endorsed: “Bath 9. Dec 1783 / Mr Jay.”
{ 415 } { 416 }
1. In fact, JA and JQA did visit Jay at Bath. According to JQA the trip “was a pretty sudden Resolution of my Father’s.” The two left London on the morning of 22 Dec. and traveled to Oxford and then, on the 24th, went on to Bath. In his letters to Peter Jay Munro of 23 and 29 Dec. (NNMus), JQA describes in considerable detail the colleges at Oxford and the sights at Bath, including the Royal Crescent, which in 1787 AA would visit and describe in turn (AFC, 7:xvi–xvii, 447–448, 449). JQA reported seeing John Jay, Munro’s uncle, “several times. he looks better, than he did while in London and thinks the waters have done him some good.” JA apparently intended to emulate Jay and take advantage of the waters, but on the 27th he hurriedly returned to London, arriving there on the evening of the 28th. Five days later, on 2 Jan. 1784, he set off for the Netherlands (JQA to Munro, 13 Jan. 1784, NNMus). For what spurred JA’s abrupt departure, see Benjamin Franklin’s letter of 10 Dec. 1783, and note 3, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0202

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-12-10

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir,

I received the Letter you did me the honour of writing to me the 5th. Instant by Commo. Jones, with the Dispatches he brought. The Packet directed to me alone, contain’d only a Letter to the Magistrates of Hambourg,1 and a Diploma of Doctor of Divinity from the College at Princetown for the Reverend Mr Wren:2 No Commission, nor any Mention of it; so that it seems to have been forgotten or dropt. Perhaps our Letter which went with the Definitive Treaty may remind the Congress of it.
I received the Letter you mention from Messrs Willink & Compa. I immediately consulted Mr Grand, who brought me a Sketch of his Account with Mr Morris, by which it appeared that it was not in our Power to give Relief. I hope your Presence in Holland may be of Service3
With great Respect I have the honour to be / Sir / Your most obedient humble Servant
[signed] B Franklin
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Honble John Adams Esqe.
1. For the 1 Nov. letter from the president of Congress to the Burgomasters and Senate of Hamburg, see Smith, Letters of Delegates, 21:133. The letter proceeded from Congress’ resolution of 29 Oct. expressing its appreciation of the proposals made by the city’s representative, John Abraham de Boor, regarding the establishment of a commercial relationship between the United States and the city of Hamburg (JCC, 25:757–758).
2. Rev. Thomas Wren of Portsmouth, England, had long been associated with Benjamin Franklin in efforts to assist American prisoners of war in England. In his 22 July letter to the president of Congress, Franklin said that “some public notice should be taken of this good man” and expressed the hope “that some of our universities would confer upon him the degree of Doctor” (Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:588). Princeton acted at its commencement on 24 Sept., and Congress resolved on 29 Sept. to thank Wren “for his humane and benevolent attention to the citizens of these United States who were prisoners at Portsmouth.” The diploma and the resolution were enclosed with a letter from the president of Congress to Wren of 1 Nov. (Varnum Lansing Collins, The Continental Congress at Princeton, Princeton, N.J., 1908, p. 156–157; { 417 } JCC, 25:632; Smith, Letters of Delegates, 21:136–137).
3. For the consortium’s letter to Franklin, his meeting with Ferdinand Grand about it, and the 3 Dec. letters from Franklin and Grand to the consortium in reply, see the consortium’s 2 Dec. letter to JA, and note 5, above.
Although he never replied to or even acknowledged it, JA probably received this letter at Bath on 27 Dec. (from John Jay, 9 Dec., note 1, above). The crux of this paragraph is that if the financial crisis was to be resolved it was JA’s responsibility to do so. It was imperative, therefore, that JA immediately return to London and go on to the Netherlands, a decision that took on additional urgency when on the day after his arrival in London he received the consortium’s letter of 23 Dec., below, with its enclosed letters from Franklin and Grand. That this letter was responsible for JA’s decision to deal with the situation at Amsterdam himself seems at odds with his retrospective account first published in the Boston Patriot in 1812 and republished in JA, D&A, 3:151–152. There JA attributes his abrupt departure from Bath and subsequent Dutch journey to receiving “dispatches from America, from London, and from Amsterdam, informing me that the drafts of congress by Mr. Morris . . . had exhausted all my loan of the last summer . . . and that an immense flock of new bills had arrived.” But JA seems, from the distance of almost forty years, to have conflated all the dispatches, regardless of origin, received at London prior to visiting Bath (to Franklin, 5 Dec., above; to the president of Congress, 14 Dec., below). JA clearly had not received Franklin’s 10 Dec. letter when he wrote on 14 Dec. to him and the consortium, both below, indicating in each his need to know Franklin’s course of action so that he could determine his own. Nor does it seem likely that he received the 10 Dec. letter before, according to JQA, his “sudden Resolution” to visit Bath (JQA to Peter Jay Munro, 23 Dec., NNMus). Considering JA’s anxiety over the looming “Catastrophe to American Credit” (to Franklin, 14 Dec., below), it is inconceivable that he would have contemplated taking the waters if he had received the letter at London.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0203

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

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur,

Je satisferai de mon mieux à votre desir dans l’honorée votre du 4e. court., concernant ce qui se passe sur les frontieres. Vous vous rappellerez d’abord, que l’Empereur avoit révoqué le Traité de Barriere. Selon ce Traité, qui n’a jamais été observé dans tous ses points ni d’un côté ni de l’autre, certains petits Territoires étoient cedés à la rep. près de ses Forts en Flandres en 1715 & 1718. Si vous regardez la Carte, vous trouverez l’embouchure de l’Escaut, & par conséquent la Navigation d’Anvers, fermée par les deux Forts hollandois, de Lillo au N. Est & Liefkenshoek au S. Ouest de la riviere. En suivant le rivage du coté de ce dernier fort vers le N. Ouest, vous verrez la miserable village & terre marécageuse de Doel, le tout ne valant pas, dit-on, 1000 Ducats, & qui est dans le cas de ces territoires de la Barriere. Autre fois la Garnison de Liefkenshoek enterroit ses morts dans le cimetiere de l’Eglise de ce village: Mais, depuis plusieurs années, elle enterroit dans les fossés du Fort. Au mois d’Octobre passé, un Soldat meurt à Liefkenshoek, &, sous prétexte qu’il étoit Catholique, & devoit pourrir en terre benite, le { 418 } Com̃andant le fait enterrer à Doel avec un Cortege de 30 hom̃es armés dit-on à cartouches & bayonettes. Le Bailli Autrichien allegue l’ordre de l’Empereur qui défend à touts Militaires étrangers de marcher sous les armes sur son territoire, verbalise, met arrêt sur la troupe hollandoise, qui, ne se laissant pas arrêter, retourne au Fort. Peu de jours après, Mille, tant fantassins que cavaliers de Gand, par ordre de la Cour de Bruxelles, marchent, par le territoire de la rep. c’est-à-dire, par un chemin plus long, afin de pouvoir user de représailles, & vont jetter le cadavre déterré dans les fossés de Liefkenshoek; quelques autres jours après, ils occupent aussi le fort St. Donat & quelques redoutes près de L’Ecluse en Flandres, situés Sur un semblable petit territoire en litige depuis la révocation arbitraire du Traité de Barriere.1 Ces voies de fait ont été suivies de Mémoires de la Cour de Bruxelles, remis au Ministre de la rep. à Bruxelles, d’autres présentés ici par Mr. De Reischach,2 où, entre autres, on demande satisfaction de l’insulte com̃ise par la garnison de Liefkenshoek, avec quelques insinuations doucereuses sur un accom̃odement amiable de toutes choses. Les républicains ici ne doutent pas, que cette noise n’ait été suscitée par le D—— de B. W. & par les mauvais Conseillers, tous ses créatures, qu’il a laissés au Pce. en quittant,3 & enfin par plusieurs Mines. étrangers tant ici qu’à Londres, qui forment, disent-ils, avec les Anglomanes de ce pays, une Cabale, pour détacher la Rep. de la Frce., & la rembarquer dans l’ancien systême Anglo-Autrichien.
On assure, que peu après l’occupation du fort St. Donat, &c. l’Envoyé de l’Empr. eut un Entretien avec le St——r, que celui-ci se pressa de noter par écrit, qu’il montra à quelques membres du Gouvernemt., mais qui ne fut point goûté, portant que l’Empr., dans sa réponse (encore à faire) aux propositions provisionelles de L. H. P. consentira sans doute avec plaisir à la Com̃ission proposée pour arranger les frontieres; mais que, com̃e la Gr. Br. avoit été garante du Tr. de Barre. annullé recem̃ent par l’Empr., sa M. desiroit que la rép. achevât la paix le plutôt le mieux, separémt. & sans la Fce., avec la Gr. Br., parce qu’il convenoit que celle-ci garantît aussi ces nouveaux arrangemens.— Cette anecdote a reçu depuis un degré de probabilité de plus, par la proposition du D. de Manchr. aux plenipes. de la rep. à Paris, de régler le Traité définitif séparément de la fce. soit à Lahaie ou à Londres.— Ces propositions, qui découvrent des vues hostiles dans les Cabinets de Londres & de Vienne contre la fce., n’étoient déjà nullement du goût des républicains d’ici, lorsque le 30 Nov. on reçut la nouvelle de la défaite des Angl. { 419 } aux Ind.4 or., qui, jointe à celle que les Marates ont déjà violé la paix dont les Anglois se sont tant réjouis & vantés, doit faire conclure, que ces Repns. n’auront guere de peine à maintenir leur systême, contre la cabale qui voudroit les embarquer avec l’Empr. & les Angl. contre la fce. & la Pr.; car selon une autre anecdote, des plus accréditée, le R. de P. doit avoir écrit très-sérieusement à un gd. persge. ici, pour lui conseiller de se guérir de son Anglomanie, & de rétablir une boñe harmonie entre ces rep. & lui, pour son bien & intérêt & celui de sa maison; com̃e d’un autre côté il est clair que l’Empr., passionné pour s’agrandir du côté des Turcs, doit craindre, dès qu’il sera engagé avec eux, d’avoir le R. de Pr. & la Fce. sur les bras, & par conséquent aussi indirectement cette rep., Si elle n’est rengagée dans les liens de la Gr. Br.
Voilà, pour le coup, assez de politique. Vous trouverez, Monsieur, une continuation désagréable de Stagnation dans l’Emprunt, causée surtout par celui que la Hollde. vient de résoudre en faveur de la Compe. des Indes or. de 8 millions de florins.
Agréez, Monsieur, les respects de ma famille, & permettez que nous présentions ici nos amitiés à Mr. votre fils.
Je suis avec grand respect, / De Votre Excellence / Le très-humble & très-obéissant / serviteur
[signed] C.w.f. Dumas


[salute] Sir

I will do my best to satisfy your desire expressed in your esteemed letter of the 4th of this month concerning what is happening on the frontiers. You will recall, first of all, that the emperor revoked the Barrier Treaty. According to this treaty, which was never observed in all its provisions by one side or the other, certain small territories were ceded to the republic near its fortresses in Flanders in 1715 and 1718. If you look at the map, you will find the mouth of the Scheldt, and thus navigation to Antwerp, shut by two Dutch fortresses: Lillo northeast and Liefkenshoek southwest of the river. If you follow the bank on the side of the latter fortress to the northwest, you will see the wretched village and swampy terrain of Doel, the whole of which, they say, is not worth 1,000 ducats and lies within one of those barrier territories. Formerly the Liefkenshoek garrison buried its dead in the cemetery of this village’s church but for several years has used the fortress’ ditches for burials. Last October a soldier died at Liefkenshoek, and under the pretext of his being a Catholic who had to be buried in sanctified ground, the commander had him buried at Doel by a cortege of thirty armed men, who, they say, had cartridges and bayonets. The Austrian bailiff, citing the emperor’s order forbidding all foreign military personnel { 420 } from marching under arms in his territory, placed under arrest the Dutch troops, who, refusing to be arrested, returned to the fortress. A few days later a thousand troops from Ghent, as many infantrymen as cavalry, marched by order of the Court of Brussels through the territory of the republic, that is to say, by a roundabout route, in order to retaliate, and threw the disinterred body into the ditches of the Liefkenshoek fortress. Several days later they also occupied the St. Donat fortress and several redoubts near the canal locks in Flanders, situated on a similar small territory under dispute since the arbitrary revocation of the Barrier Treaty.1 Those assaults were followed by memorials from the Court of Brussels, delivered to the minister of the republic at Brussels, and others presented here by Baron von Reischach,2 in which, among other points, they demanded satisfaction for the insult committed by the Liefkenshoek garrison, along with several honeyed insinuations about an amicable accommodation of all matters. The republicans here have no doubt that this quarrel was instigated by the Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel and by the bad advisors, all his creatures, whom he bequeathed to the prince when he left,3 and also by several foreign ministers, both here and at London, who, it is said, are forming a cabal with the Anglomanes of this country to detach the republic from France and return it to the old Anglo-Austrian system.
It is certain that not long after the occupation of the St. Donat fortress, etc., the emperor’s envoy had a meeting with the stadholder, which the latter hurried to put down in writing, and which he showed to several members of the government, but which was not to their liking. It stated that the emperor, in his response (still to come) to the provisional propositions of Their High Mightinesses, would undoubtedly consent with pleasure to the proposed commission to set the borders. But as Great Britain was the guarantor of the Barrier Treaty recently annulled by the emperor, His Majesty desired the republic to make peace with Britain as soon as possible, and without France, because it was suitable for Britain to also guarantee the new arrangements. This anecdote has since become somewhat more plausible with the Duke of Manchester’s proposal to the republic’s plenipotentiaries at Paris to settle the definitive treaty separate from France, at either The Hague or London. These proposals, which reveal the hostile views of the governments at London and Vienna toward France, were already not to the liking of the republicans here, when on 30 November news was received of the English defeat in the East Indies4 and that the Mahrattas had already violated the peace that the English so rejoiced in and boasted of. This news leads us to conclude that these republicans will not have much difficulty maintaining their position against the cabal that is trying to align them with the emperor and the English against France and Prussia. According to another anecdote from the most credible sources, the king of Prussia has written very seriously to a great personage here to counsel him to cure himself of his Anglomania and to reestablish a good harmony between this republic and himself, for his own good and { 421 } self-interest as well as that of his house. On the other hand it is clear that the emperor, passionate about expanding in the direction of the Turks, must fear, once entangled with them, having the king of Prussia and France on his hands and by consequence and indirectly also this republic, if it has not resumed its ties with Great Britain.
So, for the moment, enough politics. You will find, sir, a disagreeable continuation of the stagnation in lending, caused above all by the loan that Holland just undertook on behalf of the East India Company in the amount of eight million florins.
Please accept, sir, the respects of my family, and permit us to extend here our friendly greetings to your son.
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. M. Adams Min. Plenip.”; endorsed: “Mr Dumas / 12. Dec. 1783.”
1. Dumas’ account of the October events at the fortresses of Lillo and Liefkenshoek and the town of Doel, all within the boundaries of the Austrian Netherlands, is accurate and may have been derived from newspaper reports. His analysis of the origins of the conflict, particularly his assigning a role to the Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, is less so. Among Joseph II’s objectives upon assuming the throne was an end to the Dutch occupation of the barrier fortresses provided for in the 1715 Barrier Treaty and the reopening of the port of Antwerp on the Scheldt River, the navigation of which had been closed by the 1648 Treaty of Münster. In 1781—with France, Britain, and the Netherlands distracted by the ongoing war—Joseph II accomplished his first objective by unilaterally abrogating the Barrier Treaty, for which see vol. 11:308. The effort to reopen the Scheldt, however, had to await the war’s end because Joseph sought and expected French support for the undertaking. The incident at Liefkenshoek provided a pretext for Austrian action, and in the immediate aftermath the Dutch removed the officer responsible and relaxed its enforcement of its rights respecting the navigation of the Scheldt. But when the Austrians in May 1784 presented new demands and in October sought to sail their vessels to and from Antwerp, the Dutch position hardened. With an Austro-Dutch war appearing almost certain, France intervened in favor of the Netherlands. The French action, and the subsequent 8 Nov. 1785 Treaty of Fontainebleau, resolved the crisis. Although the Scheldt remained closed, the treaty confirmed the abrogation of the Barrier Treaty, returned the fortresses of Lillo and Liefkenshoek to Austrian control, and compensated Austria through additional enhancements to its sovereignty over the Austrian Netherlands (Walter W. Davis, Joseph II: An Imperial Reformer for the Austrian Netherlands, The Hague, 1974, p. 120–133).
2. Hendrik van Hop was the Dutch minister to the Austrian Netherlands. Baron Franz von Reischach was the Austrian minister to the Netherlands (Repertorium, 3:82, 266).
3. For the Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, formerly William V’s chief advisor and bête noire of the Patriot Party, see vol. 11:395. He was forced to leave The Hague in 1782 and the country in 1784.
4. The Anglo-French conflict in India ended in June 1783 when news arrived of the signing of the preliminary peace treaty in February. In the months previous, the French naval forces in the area, commanded by Chevalier Bailli de Suffren, managed in a series of battles to wrest control of the seas from the British admiral Sir Edward Hughes. This permitted Suffren to capture the British base at Trincomalee and land substantial forces at Cuddalore, thus threatening all of southern India (Mackesy, War for America, p. 494–501). Complicating the situation for Britain was the continuation of the Second Mysore War by Tipu Sahib, following the death of his father, Haidar Ali, Sultan of Mysore, in 1782. That conflict would not end until the 1784 Treaty of Mangalore, which { 422 } restored the status quo ante bellum (Karl J. Schmidt, An Atlas and Survey of South Asian History, Armonk, N.Y., 1995, p. 62). For the British the cessation of hostilities with both the French and Tipu Sahib came at an opportune time and preserved their nascent empire in India.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0204

Author: Vaughan, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-12-12

From William Vaughan

[salute] Dear Sir

On my return into the City after doing myself the pleasure of paying you my respects, I found some engagements on my hands in the line of business which will oblige me to make our excursion on Thursday or Friday instead of Wednesday. which I had mentioned to your son this Morning: If convenient & I do not hear further from you I hope I shall have the pleasure of seeing you & your Son to breakfast on Thursday or Friday about 10 Clock that we may sally forth all the Morning & to expect the pleasure of your company to dinner after the fatigues of the day.1 I could have put the questeon to you at Mr Copleys had you been less engaged: I am with great respect / Dear Sir / Your most obedt. / humble Servant.
[signed] W Vaughan
1. Neither JA nor JQA mention an excursion with William Vaughan in mid-December. However, Vaughan’s letter was of Friday, 12 December. A week later, on the 19th, JQA wrote Peter Jay Munro that “this morning I went and saw the Tower” and saw some “very rich things among which is the Imperial Crown of Great Britain; which is valued at a million Sterling.” Afterwards, JQA’s party “went to Bedlam [Bethlehem Hospital], and saw there a great Number of Fools and Madmen, but as, that is no more than what we see every day in the Street, and in Society, there is no Necessity of my giving you a detailed account of the poor wretches I saw there” (NNMus).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0205

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1783-12-14

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

Permit me to congratulate you, on your Election to the Chair, and to wish you and the Members of Congress in general much Satisfaction at Anapolis.2
on the Fifth of this Month, Captn Jones arrived at my Lodgings in Piccadilly, with Dispatches from the late President Mr Boudinot.— The Letters addressed to “the Ministers Plenipotentiary of the United States” I opened, And found a Set of Instructions but no Commission. Probably there is a Commission, under Cover to Dr Franklin.— Captain Jones went on to Paris the Same night.
on the Eleventh, Mr Boudinot arrived, with other Dispatches of { 423 } an older date; but these were in the Same Situation with the former. Those Letters addressed to “The Ministers[”] contained nothing but duplicates of Information recd long ago respecting the Mutiny at Philadelphia3 Wereas a larger Packet addressed to Dr Franklin, leaves room to Suppose that it contains a Commission or other Papers for Us all.— Upon Several former Occasions, Papers of Great Importance, which belonged to all “the Ministers for Peace” have been inclosed to the Address of Dr Franklin alone, and Several Inconveniences have happened in Consequence of this Irregularity, upon former Occasions. Upon this there is reason to fear, that a greater Evil may be caused by it.— I would therefore request that in future, Papers intended for “the Ministers” may be addressed to them, that when they Arrive to the Hands of one, he may open them, peruse the Contents and Send them forward to his Colleagues or go and carry them as the Circumstances may require. I shall Send off, by a private Hand the last Dispatch to Dr Franklin this day.— But must wait the return of Post, or a Courier to know the Contents. Mr Jay is at Bath waiting also returns from Paris. The Anxiety caused by this Suspence is not the worst Thing.— much prescious Time in very critical moments is lost by it.
I rejoice that I ventured over to this Island, for many Reasons— I have recovered my Health, gratified my Curiosity, and resolved Several Doubts.— I wish I could give an Account, of what I see, and hear, which would be more pleasing to my own Feelings, and more Satisfactory to Congress.— But I can find no Traces, of that Principle which was professed by Mr Oswald very Sincerely I beleive, and by the Ministry who imployed him in making Peace.— the Principle I allude to was to cede to America every Thing she could reasonably wish, in order to obliterate past Unkindnesses, and restore mutual Friendship.— Mr Fox and Mr Burke have quite as little good will to America as my Lord North or my Lord Mansfield.— And all Parties still listen to the Same kind of Councillers which has misled this deluded and devoted Kingdom these twenty Years.— A Galloway a Deane an Arnold, are not to this moment without an Influence, and I need not Say to Congress what is the Tendency of their Councils.
Mr Fox has leave to bring in a Bill, to Support another Proclamation like that which has already done So much Mischief to their own West India Islands, and Things will not be put on a better Footing, uless by Treaty. if a Commission has arrived in either of the Packets to Dr Franklin We shall soon see. But if not, and it is expected that We treat by Virtue of the Instructions We shall be { 424 } disappointed, for that will not be received as a Commission, not having any seal.
There are Rumours of a Change of Ministry. The K. is Said to be dissatisfied with the East India Bills. Tomorrow, when one of the Bills is to have a Second Reading in the House of Peers, the matter will he decided. if it fails, there will be a Change of Ministry and a dissolution perhaps of Parliament. But I think the Ministry So Strong, that unless the King is determined against it they will carry it by a great Majority.—4 In this Case, I look upon the Rubicon to be past against the East Indies as much as it ever was against America: and France & Spain have nothing to do but whet their Scissars for the favourable Moment to clip the other Wing.— if Oppression and Extorsion, Rapacity and Violence are lessened, by taking that immense Country into the Hands of Ministers, I am much mistaken. it is natural, that the King Should be allarmed. his Ministers for twenty Years, have proved So unsuccessfull and therefore so unskillfull, in conducting the Administration of his Dominions abroad, that it is no Wonder he should be afraid of this new Experiment.
LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 107.
1. The absence of a copy of this letter in the PCC and its abrupt end in the Letterbook make it unlikely that it was sent.
2. Thomas Mifflin. The previous president, Elias Boudinot, had indicated in a 3 Nov. postscript to his 27 Oct. letter to the commissioners, above, that Mifflin had been chosen president that morning.
3. This is Elias Boudinot’s younger brother, Lewis. But the younger Boudinot had already, on 29 Sept., sent Benjamin Franklin the 15 July letter from the president of Congress to the commissioners in which the events of the mutiny were recounted, for which see note 12 to that letter, above. JA’s comment seems to indicate that Boudinot brought another copy of the 15 July letter.
4. JQA and presumably JA attended at least a portion of the 15 Dec. debate in the House of Lords on the India Bill—one of two bills drafted by paymaster Edmund Burke and introduced by foreign secretary Charles James Fox in a controversial effort to reform the administration of India (JQA to Peter Jay Munro, 19 Dec., NNMus). The India Bill proposed a reorganization of the East India Company. It called for the appointment of seven commissioners, initially named by Parliament but subsequently chosen by the king, to oversee the company’s political activities. It also provided for the appointment of nine assistant commissioners to supervise the company’s commercial ventures.
The India Bill aroused resistance in and out of Parliament. The opposition in both houses denounced the bill for violating the charter of the company and infringing the prerogatives of the crown. They charged that Fox only wanted patronage and that he intended to seize India for his own ends. The shareholders of the company objected to the bill as an expropriation of their property, while the directors insisted that the company’s financial difficulties had been overstated. Newspapers disseminated and enlarged the arguments and accusations. Caricaturists, too, played a significant role in the attack.
The controversy generated in response to the India Bill presented an opportunity not only to defeat the legislation but to topple the governing coalition led by Fox and home secretary Frederick, Lord North. In the House of Commons, where the coalition had a substantial majority, the bill passed by a comfortable margin on 3 December. But in { 425 } the House of Lords, where passage normally would have been a foregone conclusion, the bill failed in a narrow though stunning upset. Resentful of Fox for his efforts to increase ministerial authority at the expense of royal prerogatives, George III conspired with the opposition to kill the India Bill and unseat the coalition ministry. In an extraordinary maneuver, the king acted to influence the debate in the Lords by making it known, through Lord Temple, that “whoever voted for the India Bill were not only not his friends, but he should consider them as his enemies.” The king’s intervention proved decisive, swaying in particular several bishops. When on 16 Dec. the opposition moved to cut off debate on the bill and adjourn, the measure carried by eight votes, sealing the fate of the Fox-North coalition. A day later the bill itself was rejected by nineteen votes. Having made it appear that the coalition ministry could no longer command the support of Parliament, George III brought the intrigue to a close on the 18th, serenely requiring Fox and North to surrender their seals of office. A new ministry headed by William Pitt took over the next day (Cannon, Fox-North Coalition, p. 106–145). For a caricature that helped to foment resistance to the India Bill, see Descriptive List of Illustrations, No. 9, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0206

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dumas, C. W. F.
Date: 1783-12-14

To C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Sir

I have received your Favour of the fifth of this Month and wish it were in my Power to inform you precisely whether I am to reside in future at the Hague, or not. But it is not.— Congress have Sent, by Capt. Jones, Powers to me jointly with the other Ministers At the Peace to treat with all the Powers of Europe, that may be disposed to treat, and this together with the difficult Work of treating with this Country, where I now am will oblige me to be with my Colleagues, for Sometime: Nevertheless, when my Family arrives, it is my Intention to reside with them at the Hague, and it will be necessary for Us to have the whole House.
This is all I can Say, untill I know more clearly the Intentions of Congress.
I have a Letter from the President of Congress of Nov. 1. in which he Says “Yesterday We gave a public Audience to Mr Van Berckel. just before the Ceremony began Coll Ogden arrived with the News of the Completion of the Definitive Treaty. This gave a great Addition to the General Joy that prevailed on the Occasion of the Day. Mr Van Berckel appears to be a Person, very much Suited to the manners of our People, and I am much mistaken if he does not do great Honour to his Commission.[”]1
Thomas Mifflin Esq is the new President, & Congress have adjourned to Anapolis.
With much Esteem &c
LbC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mr Dumas”; APM Reel 107.
{ 426 } { 427 }
1. If this is a direct quotation from the 1 Nov. letter from the president of Congress to the commissioners as received by JA, then the recipient’s copy, not found, differed substantially from the file copy in the PCC, the source for the letter as printed above.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0207

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1783-12-14

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

The Day before Yesterday, Mr: Boudinot called upon me, with Dispatches from the President of Congress, his Brother. There were two Letters addressed to the “Ministers” and these I opened but found little or Nothing but Duplicates of Dispatches, receiv’d by you before I left Auteuil.
There are two letters, and one large Packet addressed to you, which I have the Honour to transmit by Mr: Little page.
Mr: Jay and I are waiting, for Advices from your Excellency. if this Packet or that by Captn: Jones contains a Commission to treat with Great Britain, it will be necessary that we should return, to Paris, or that you should come to London very soon— I am also very anxious to hear whether it is possible for you to Save Mr: Morris’s Bills at Amsterdam from a Protest for Non payment.1 If it is not, many Individuals will be disappointed, and the Catastrophe to American Credit must come on.
With the greatest Respect, I have the Honour to be, Sir, your / Most obedt:
LbC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency Benjn: Franklin Esqr:”; APM Reel 107.
1. Franklin replied to this letter on 3 Jan. 1784, below, but by then JA was on his way to the Netherlands. For the arrival of that letter at The Hague and an account of JA’s effort to resolve the crisis over Robert Morris’ bills, see his letter to Franklin of 24 Jan., below.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0208

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Staphorst, Nicolaas & Jacob van (business)
Recipient: Willink, Wilhem & Jan (business)
Recipient: La Lande & Fynje, de (business)
Date: 1783-12-14

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

[salute] Gentlemen

I have received your Letter of the Second of December and am extreamly Sorry to learn, that a Number of Mr Morris’s Bills have been protested.
You did very prudently in writing immediately to Mr Franklin, to { 428 } enquire if Mr Grand could afford you, any Assistance. I hope you have received a favourable Answer.
I am waiting for Answers from Mr Franklin to Letters written to him, to determine whether I am to return to Paris or the Hague. But I dont know that I could be of any Service to you, if I were in Holland.
With much Esteem &c
LbC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Messrs Wilhem and Jan Willink / Nicholas and Jacob Van Staphorst / and de la Lande & Fynje”; APM Reel 107.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0209

Author: Sullivan, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-12-21

From James Sullivan

[salute] My Dear Sir

To trouble you with a Letter merely by way of compliment, or to have it known that I assume the freedom of writing to you is quite out of the way of my practice. nor can I say any thing respecting our Confederation, or constitution, but what you are perfectly acquainted with— but as Mr Cranch tells me that you complain of the remisness of your friends on this side the water for not giving you particular information respecting our Situation, I shall be as full on the Subject as the compass of a letter will admit of—
The treaty of peace gives more universal Satisfaction than any thing of the kind in a free Country ever did before. the right to the fishery crowns all, and holds a distinguished place in the treaty. as we have no reason to doubt of your similar exertions in securing us a right to go to market with our fish and other produce, so we heartily wish you may be blessed with Similar Success. that part of the treaty which relates to the property of Refugees or loyalists, gave the only damp which the public mind Suffered from the Negotiation: but even this was Soon lost in wonder that the Court of London did no more for those unhappy mistaken people. the Southern States are before hand with us in thier disposal of tory property. whether this is owing to our Attorney Generals being too much involved in great matters seems now to be a very serious question. the public voice is against him for Negligence, though no one doubts of his integrity. he defends himself by saying that the act for confiscation, of it self, confiscates all the Estates of the persons therein described, but this principle is by no means likely to prevail.2 the truth is that some Gentlemen of the bar engaged on the other side had address enough to get the trials postponed in hopes of releif from { 429 } the treaty of peace. our System as to this matter is quite disranged but the treaty is to be preserved inviolate let what may result from it. our affairs as a nation are by no means dangerous, but at the same time they are far from being as we would wish them to be. we have a debt of ten millions Sterling upon us, our rescources are very ample. the great one of trade is quite untouched, but all our Means for discharging this debt avails us nothing, without wisdom, and power to Manage them. the ability of aranging & improving our rescources to advantage you are Sensible Sir can not be brought to light without a confidence being placed some where by the public, Congress seem to be the only body of men capable of receiving the Confidence of the confederated States, and yet I am exceedingly affraid that they never will obtain enough of it, to Support, with any kind of dignity, and reputation the federal Government. there is a concurrance of unhappy circumstances to obstruct this desirable event, and So Effectually do they opperate in Rhode Island and Conecticut that each attempt to furnish Congress with powers adequate to the Government ends in disappointment; the half pay granted the Officers of the Army, or rather the Commutation of five years Whole pay for it has done much to weaken the Congressional influence. General Washington combats the undue prejudice with less Success than he deserves, but with more than was at first expected. the Salaries of the servants of Congress residing within the States are too high for the New England taste. the remove of Congress from Philaa. has given the people there a licence to Scribble in a manner which neither does honor to that City, or a benefit to the public. a member returning from Congress as it is Said asserts that Congress had borrowed thirty six Millions of Livres which are never accounted for, this was told to sundry of the members of the house on the day assigned for the second reading of the bill enclosed, which passed only by a majority of six, an Extract of one of your Letters to Mr. Moris did us much service on this great occasion.3 Secret servies, or rather charges for them are illy calculated to Establish in republican Governments a Confidence in their rulers. this tale of 36 millions is plumply denied, and it is asserted that it came from a disappointed member. another difficulty arises from a report that the french Nation has a party in Congress, which receive Bribes to betray the Cabinet. a Gentleman of public notice but who was not early devoted to the fate of his Country, but who has been a member, at a public dinner within a few weeks past took the freedom to aver this to be the Case, and our Philosophizing politicons propose { 430 } to bring in a British Interest to balance the french, and money seems to be considered as the medium of this Species of corruption. but this is all on the dreadful Idea, of our being in the Last Stages of corruption, a corruption not instigated by ambition or the Love of wealth, but one arising from a Sordid disposition, united with a total disregard to national Safety and Character, this has raised and cannot fail Still to raise Jealousies against Government, and to Stir up uneasiness and discontent. I think that the member of Congress who Should take money on any pretense whatever of a foreign Sovereign, ought to be sacrificed without even the formalites of Law, and one who would condescend to take a lesson in politicks from a foreign ambassador ought to be recalled with all the marks of contempt he woud deserve— but I beleive our Countrymen have more integrity than to be thus bribed, and that these stories are hatched and Spread by those who never were in favour of our Independence I can easily concieve however that nearly the same evils may flow from an imaginary as from a real corruption. there may be two raging parties subsisting upon a supposition that each other is bought, and so become the Sport of nations and the objects of distrust and Jealousy, in the same manner, as if both were bribed.4 I have no doubt that there are various nations who by their influence in our Councils would Govern us if they could, they would take advantage of our youth inexperience and even our Necessities this ought to teach us to be cautious but not to quarrel.
I wish on the whole that Congress may have the powers necessary to conduct the federal Government, and our necessities will finally compel us Either to relinquish our Ideas of being a nation, or to support the union by proper Methods—
our Government here goes on tolerably well it wants Energy— our parties here are not extensive, there is an unhappy distance between the Governor and the president of the Senate—5 as no one that I know of, knows the reason so no one takes any part in the matter, each hath the full suffrages of the people. the Street talk is that the Governor is going to resign his office, how that will be I know not, his health is however too bad to engage much in public business
our Judges intend next term to appear in their Robes— want of health, a small fortune and a great Family have been my apology for leaving the Bench and going to the bar; the groanings of the Gentlemen I left there are unutterable but their salaries do not rise—
You have probably seen the Letter of Congress which I inclose. I have been by men whom I regard accused of being a party man for { 431 } attacking Mr Temple, but God knows that it arose from no such motive, but from full Evidence of his having received money of the British ministry for his coming out in 1778 and finding from his conversation that he meant to create distrust and Jealosy with regard to our foreign ministers, and our Congress, I attacked him to prevent his obtaining an influence, and beleive that in no instance did I ever do my Country more Essential service— as soon as the enclosed resolve was passed he Saild for London6
Doctor Cooper lays very ill I beleive he will die there is a universal and uncommon concern for him
I expect to Set off for Congress in March, but think I could do more good on the Boston Seat—7
I will know close this tedious Letter by expressing the general wish for your health & happiness, but particularly for your return to this State—
I am Sir with the highest / Sentiments of Esteem & real friendship / Your Most obedt. Hble Servt
[signed] James Sullivan
December 2[ ]
The Revd. Doctor Cooper is given over by his Physicians perhaps he will be numbered with the dead within a few hours.8 Congress as it is said have forsaken their plan of building a federal Town because they doubt whether the Confederation gives them Authority for it— it is said they will adjourn from April next to November. the President of the Senate has been very unwell but has recovered You Lady & Family all well—
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “The Honble. Mr. Adams”; endorsed: “Mr Sullivan. 21 / Decr. 1783.” Some loss of text due to a torn manuscript.
1. JA received this letter in April 1784 and drafted a reply on the 20th (Adams Papers). The presence of the reply in the Adams Papers and the fact that it is apparently incomplete may mean that it was never sent.
2. Confiscation acts approved by the Mass. General Court in 1779 required Attorney General Robert Treat Paine to initiate action against tory estates before the property could be sold. Paine was slow to bring claims, depending upon haphazard reporting by town committees to identify estates. Critics charged that low prices realized in the sales that did occur benefited insiders, but the true cause of the low prices was likely a lack of cash on the part of potential buyers. Criticism of his lack of vigor in prosecuting confiscations would plague Paine until he left office in 1790 and was succeeded by Sullivan (Edward W. Hanson, “Robert Treat Paine, Attorney General,” Massachusetts Legal History, 8:108–110, 122 [2002]; DAB).
3. For Morris’ use of extracts from JA’s letters of 10 and 11 July, above, see Morris’ letters to JA of 20 Sept., and note 1, and 5 Nov., and note 1, both above.
4. Sullivan’s denunciation of foreign bribes may have resulted from a rumor, almost certainly unfounded, that earlier in 1783 JA had written a letter accusing Sullivan, John Hancock, and Samuel Cooper of being “pensioners” to France. In AA’s 27 Dec. letter to JA, she attributed the rumor to Sullivan’s bitter rival, John Temple (AFC, 5:289–290, note 13).
{ 432 }
5. The bitter antagonism between Hancock and Samuel Adams dated from 1775 and stemmed from political rivalry and Adams’ disdain for Hancock’s opulent lifestyle. Despite a Sept. 1782 report by William Gordon that the rivalry was cooling, it continued unabated until the two reconciled in 1788 (vol. 13:452, 453; Harlow Giles Unger, John Hancock: Merchant King and American Patriot, N.Y., 2000, p. 201–202, 206, 211, 259–265, 286, 311, 318–319).
6. For Sullivan’s newspaper war with John Temple, see vol. 11:449–452 and AFC, 5:289–290, note 13. Sullivan’s enclosure has not been found but was almost certainly a copy of a 22 Oct. resolution by the Mass. General Court that released Temple from a 4 Dec. 1781 bond in which he pledged he would “not directly or indirectly give any intelligence to the enemies of the United States.” Temple departed Massachusetts for England on 21 Nov. 1783 (Supplement to the Acts and Resolves of Massachusetts, ed. Edwin M. Bacon, Boston, 1896, p. 190; Massachusetts Spy, 27 Nov.).
7. Sullivan was elected to Congress in June 1783 but never served. He resigned in Feb. 1784 and was replaced by Francis Dana (Burnett, Letters of Members, 7:lxix).
8. Rev. Samuel Cooper died on 29 December. For reports on his death and funeral, see William Gordon’s 7 Jan. 1784 letter, and note 13, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0210

Author: Staphorst, Nicolaas & Jacob van (business)
Author: Willink, Wilhem & Jan (business)
Author: La Lande & Fynje, de (business)
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-12-23

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

[salute] Sir

We do ourselves the honour in answer to your Excellency’s esteemed favour of 14 dec̃:, to hand you inclosed Copy of the Letters both of Doctor Franklin Esqr and mr. Grand, by whch. you’ll be pleased to observe that the Contents are by no means favourable to our purpose.2
By the Washington Packet, we have again been favoured with His Excellency’s Mr. Robt. Morris Eqr.’s letters, with advice of new drafts to the Amount of 750.000 f whch: is nothing Less than an augmentation of the difficulties, we Labour with,3 to dispose the undertakers, and money Lenders to take obligations, whch. all to no purpose, Since they Seem informed, that the Emperor and Russia to the Example of Sweden, will augment the intrest, whch: expedient France actually Sets on foot with their Loan to open in Jany of 100 millions of Livres.
This has already induced us to offer them some higher premium, to whch. we thought ourselves fully authorised by the Circomstances, and drafts of Mr. Morris to prevent their being protested (when due) of nonpayment, whch. his Excellency writes us to prevent at all events, we have taken in consideration if it was not proper to apply to the Regency of our City, to obtain for the undertakers some facilities. by whch. means we might permove them to take Somuch Obligations, that we were able to do due honour to all { 433 } the drafts of the Super Intendant of Finance; we are therefore Sorry to See your Excellency is uncertain, whether he is to Come in Holland. Since We Suppose, that a proper application made in your respective Quality to our Regencÿ, might not prove unsuccessfull, however as no time can be lost, to Leave Space to our Regency for deliberating on this Subject to have their resolution before the bills become due. we take the liberty to pray your Excellency, in Case you are not to Come here very Soon, to favour us, with a letter in your Quality for our Minister Pensionaire Van Berckel Esqr. by whch. you pray him, to dispose favourably on the request, we present to the Regencÿ to promote the Course of the loan, whch. condescention will be looked upon by Congress, as a real proof of our City of their Friendship to the United States, who’ll not fail to put the right value on the Same.4
if this expedient may not yet prove Successfull in this application to the Magistrate, there remains one Way left, and the only one, that Your Excellency is pleased to authorize us, to make a new Loan of 4 millions of f, of whch. the intrest comes out against 6 % P An, when we Should not be destitute of hopes of Succeeding, but Without doubts we fear to be obliged to allow to the undertakers Some more premium, which we Shall not do, but in the greatest necessitÿ, & with particular economy.5 And, as His Excellency Robt. Morris Esqr mentions us, he pays Said intrest in America, we Venture to Suppose, that he Can have no objection to allow the Same here, the more, as not only All his drafts Should be honoured by it, and yet a considerable Sum become to his disposal, whilst their is no prejudice to Credit in augmenting the intrest, and only following the Example other powers have given, and to whch. our State admiralties, East Ind Comp: Shall be obliged to Come, to find money for the large loans, they Stand in need to make; by whch. we conclude, that those powers, who resolve the first to augment the intrest, will succeed, and leave it very uncertain for them, who afterwards follow, to be equal happy, in Case your Excellency approves of our ideas, and might judge proper to Send us at all events an authorisation, we pray to add an assurance to it, that the Loan done in Consequence Shall be duely approved and ratifyed by Congress.
We shall inform his Excellency Robt Morris Esqr: of this our application to your Excellency, and hope to convince here by both you and him of our uninterrupted endeavours for the intrest of Congress.
{ 434 }
We have the honour to be with respectfull / Regard / Sir / Your Excellency’s Most Humble / and Obedient Servants
[signed] Wilhem & Jan Willink
[signed] Nics. & Jacob van Staphorst.
[signed] de la Lande & fÿnje
RC and enclosures (Adams Papers); internal address: “To his Excellency John Adams Esqr. London.”; endorsed: “Willinks & Co. / 23 Decr 1783 / ansd. 29.”
1. This letter confirmed JA in his decision, likely made initially at Bath upon receiving Benjamin Franklin’s letter of 10 Dec., above, to go to the Netherlands to deal personally with the financial crisis. But see also the 26 Dec. letter from Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, below, in which the two bankers were even more insistent that JA should come to Amsterdam.
2. For the enclosed letters of 3 Dec. from Franklin and Ferdinand Grand, see the consortium’s letter of 2 Dec., note 5, above.
3. Presumably Robert Morris’ letters to the consortium of 23 Oct. and 5 Nov., but it was the first that represented “an augmentation of the difficulties, we Labour with.” There Morris indicated that on 21 Oct. he had drawn three bills of exchange, “each for two hundred and fifty thousand current Guilders” (Morris, Papers, 8:658–660, 734–736).
4. This is the consortium’s first indication that it was considering seeking the Amsterdam Regency’s participation in the loan in order to provide an immediate injection of cash with which to honor Morris’ bills of exchange. If when he received this letter JA had not already determined to go immediately to the Netherlands he likely would have written to his friend Engelbert François van Berckel, pensionary of Amsterdam. No letter from JA to Van Berckel has been found, but JA’s apparent failure to write almost certainly had no more effect on Amsterdam’s decision not to participate than did his mid-January arrival in the city. Then, as it had in 1782 when JA and the consortium contemplated the city’s participation in the first Dutch-American loan, Amsterdam ultimately refused to set a precedent by participating in a foreign, as opposed to a domestic, loan (vol. 13:483; to Benjamin Franklin, 24 Jan. 1784, below).
5. This is the consortium’s first mention of the possibility of raising a new loan. When JA visited Amsterdam in Jan. 1784 to consult with the bankers, he found that the circumstances were as dire as they had described. As a result, and after exploring other options, JA wrote to the consortium on 1 Feb. authorizing it to initiate negotiations for a new loan (LbC, APM Reel 107), and on 9 March he signed a contract for a loan of 2 million florins (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0211

Author: Staphorst, Nicolaas & Jacob van (business)
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-12-26

From Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst

[salute] Sir

At the beginning of this Week having many Letters to dispatch relating to the Business of the United States, we agreed together upon their Contents, and every one of us charged himself with part of the Work. Mr. Willink promised to write a Letter to your Excellency, and a short Time before the departure of the Mail, he Sent it to the other Houses for Signing. We observed he had not been very fortunate in the Expression of our common Ideas, however there being no Time for composing another Letter, we put our Names under his composition.
But being in doubt wether your Excellency will sufficiently { 435 } understand the meaning, and the Matter being very interesting for the United States, we hope your Excellency will excuse us if we endeavour to Supply the Defect of that Letter. If the Matter was of less importance, we would not do it for Reasons, which will be very appearent to your Excellency; but we presume that those Reasons ought to be postponed, when there is Danger, that, by too much Delicacy, the Intrests of the United States might Suffer. We venture this Step without the knowledge of our Compagnons, in the Intention only to Serve your Excellency; we depend therefore upon your Friendship, that you’ll do us the Favour not to mention any Thing about this addres in your Letters to the three Houses.
Your Excellency is informed, that by the present Situation concerning the Loan, and the Dispositions of the Treasurer, we have been in the very disagreable necessity to decline the acceptance of half a million Guilders, and again of Seven hundred and fifty thousand Guilds. We are informed that if the last mentioned Sum should return thro’ want of Payment, Congres is not to pay any Charges upon their return, in consequence of an agreement made with the Houses, who took the Bills. But we presume that notwithstanding this, it will be a great advantage to the States, if we are able to pay them; and we know that the Expences, attending the Return of the half Million and the disappointment resulting from it, will be of such Consequences, that we don’t doubt but we are not only authorised to exert our utmost endeavours to dispose of a Quantity of Bonds, but even to allow some more Remedium to the Undertakers, than we stipulated at the beginning with your Excellency. It is allmost impossible at this Time to obtain an Engagement with these Gentlemen, unless we should make Such Stipulations, which however we look upon as very prejudicial.
Considering this, and besides that the not paying of the Drafts would occasion a Stagnation of Commerce in the Spring, because Several Bills are remitted to Such People, who are to send out Goods to their Amount; we thought it merited the Attention of our Government, and we have therefore mentioned the Matter to a couple of very Patriotic Members of our Magistracy, and desired their Assistance for Such Encouragements as may facilitate the Business. We had the Satisfaction that they were fully convinced of the fatal Consequences of the Return of the Bills, and that they promised to assist us in a further Application, which, on this Assurance we have determined to make. We are in hopes it will be effectual, but we believe at the Same Time, that your Excellency being { 436 } present, and aproving of our Idea, would give a great weight to our adres: and therefore, we should wish, that in case your other important Business would permit that Step, your Excellency would make a trip to this Country. However considering the present Season, and that perhaps other important Things, concerning the United States, may make it impossible for your Exce. to comply with our desire, we request you’ll write a Letter to Mr. Van Berckel, Pensionary of this City to recommend the Business, and we have Reason to think this will do very well.
Mr. Willink has added another Scheme of a new Loan for four Mills. at 6 pco. It is true that the Interests of Loans are rather augmented Since the Time you opened the Loan for the United States, and we don’t decline that plan, in case we should have the misfortune of a disappointment from the Magistracy, however we for our private opinion should prefer first to compleat the former Loan at 5 pco. Besides this we think it is necessary to inform your Excellency, that whenever you should give the preference to this Scheme, and authorise us to put it in Execution, it will not be done without granting a Remedium to the undertakers.
We have the Honour to remain very respectfully / Sir / of your Excellency / the most humb. and Obed. Servts.
[signed] Nics. & Jacob van Staphorst.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “M. Vanstaphorsts / 26. Decr. 1783.”

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0212

Author: Ridley, Matthew
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-12-27

From Matthew Ridley

[salute] Dear Sir

I was honored with your two esteem’d Favors of the 18t. & 21st. Ulto.1 I should have been a better Correspondent to you since your departure had I not been & still continue to be, under the greatest distress of a kind for Mrs Ridley’s health. I fear she will not recover.
I am happy to hear that you have profited so well by your Journey— May you continue to reap every advantage from it, you can wish—
If we may believe Reports from England, those People are at this time in great confusion— The most of them may mean well, but they have not the understanding to execute; and as to those who take the lead, I believe they may know how to do right, but as you observe their oppositions Parties & Passions prevent them—
You may remember I told you that there would be a change in the { 437 } Comptroller-ship— do you recollect that I told you one was a half-commonsense, another an Honest Man & the third a Knave? I lay my Life you are at no loss to guess which prevailed.—2 A New Loan is opened for 100 Millions & I am told it fills pretty fast—
The King has given permission for the French Officers who served in America to wear the Badge of the Cincinati— Major L’Enfant is come over with Barney & was charged with the application for the permission & also to get the several emblematical Medals struck.—3 As there is no doubt the Heirs will be as good Men as the Fathers, the Order I am told is to be Hereditary; but this is confined to the Military only— a few Honorary Members are to be admitted; but their Medals, after their Deaths, are to grace the Cabinets of the Curious.—
You will have no doubt heard that Mr Morris’s Bills on Holland are noted. It makes great noise & particularly in Holland— I wish you may be able to do something effectual in this Business, otherways I fear the effect of it—
Congress I learn are a moving Body— By the last Accounts they were going to Annapolis— I wish you were in America— Without flattery I think you might be of essential service—
The Alliance after having taken onboard her Carg[o for Vir]ginia was obliged to put into Phila where she has [been u]nloaded—4
The Affairs of the Caisse-Descompte seem to be arranged.—
I beg to be kindly remembered to your son & remain with esteem & Respect / Dear Sir / Your most Obedt servt
[signed] Matt: Ridley
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excellency / John Adams Esqr.”; endorsed: “Mr Ridley. Decr. 27. / Ansd. Jany. 25. 1784.”; notation: “favd by / Mr Barclay.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. Neither letter has been found.
2. The three men characterized by Ridley, probably in conversation with JA, cannot be identified with certainty. But in November Charles Alexandre de Calonne replaced Henri François de Paule Lefèvre d’Ormesson as French finance minister. The new minister was the last under Louis XVI to attempt the reform of the French fiscal system. The 1787 need to resolve the ongoing financial crisis led him to call together an Assembly of Notables, which in turn led to the meeting of the Estates General and the subsequent slide of France into revolution (Morris, Papers, 8:759; Murphy, Vergennes, p. 403–404).
3. Pierre Charles L’Enfant left America in Nov. 1783 charged by the Society of the Cincinnati with contacting other French officers who had served in America and forming a chapter in France. He was also to obtain reproductions of the society’s diploma, or certificate of membership, and the eagle that served as its membership badge. His efforts soon bore fruit. On 18 Dec. Louis XVI gave his blessing to the society and agreed be its patron, and on 7 Jan. 1784 the first meeting of the French branch was held in Paris (DAB; Minor Myers Jr., Liberty without Anarchy: A History of the Society of the Cincinnati, Charlottesville, Va., 1983, p. 146–149). For reproductions of the diploma and the eagle, both designed by L’Enfant, see same, between pages 176 and 177.
4. In August 1783 the frigate Alliance, { 438 } Capt. John Barry, had loaded 500 hogsheads of tobacco in Virginia consigned to the loan consortium in Amsterdam. Sailing for Europe on 21 Aug., the vessel soon began to leak badly and was forced to put in at Philadelphia on the 27th. In letters of 18 Sept. and 9 Oct., Robert Morris informed the consortium of the Alliance’s misfortune and indicated that the tobacco was being reloaded on two other vessels, the Princess Ulrica, Capt. Anders Askelin, and the Four Friends, Capt. Peter Cornelis (Morris, Papers, 7:736; 8:529–531, 597–598). The Princess Ulrica was damaged on its voyage. A letter from Robert W. Fox, dated 23 Dec. at the London Coffeehouse, indicated that he had received word from his firm, George C. Fox & Sons of Falmouth, England, that “a Swedish Ship loaded with 480 Hhds of Tobacco at Philadelphia for Amsterdam by Rob. Morris” had been forced to put in at that port for repairs (Adams Papers). No response by JA to that letter has been found. When the Princess Ulrica and the Four Friends reached Amsterdam, their cargoes were sold for f26,157.9. and f4,277.10., respectively (DNA:RG 39, Foreign Ledgers, Public Agents in Europe, 1776–1787, Microfilm, Reel 1, f. 135, 259).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0213

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Staphorst, Nicolaas & Jacob van (business)
Recipient: Willink, Wilhem & Jan (business)
Recipient: La Lande & Fynje, de (business)
Date: 1783-12-29

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

[salute] Gentlemen.

I have just received the Letter, you did me the Honour to write me on the 23d: instt: and approve very much of your proposed application to the Regency of Amsterdam. But I hope to consult with you, more particularly very soon.— I shall sett off as soon as possible, but as I must go round by Calais and Antwerp. and the Season is extremely rigorous, and travelling very bad, I fear it will be ten Days before I can pay my Respects to you at Amsterdam. I will however lose as little Time as possible.1
With great Regards I have the Honour to be, Gentlemen, your most Obedient, Humble Servant.
LbC in JQA’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “Messrs: Wilhem and Jan Willink / Nicholas and Jacob Van Staphorst / and De la Lande and Fynje.”; APM Reel 107.
1. For an account of JA’s harrowing journey, which followed a different route, see his 24 Jan. 1784 letter to Benjamin Franklin, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0214-0001

Author: Dudley, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-12-30

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."

From John Dudley

[salute] Honble. sir

Inclosed I send you the two certificates you advised me to right for as vouchers to the Truth of what I represented relative to my being a prisnor of war—1 Likewise I have taken great pains to find out Capt. James Commins Commander of the Confederate which Ship I was Illegally Sent from my native Country in— I have had the good fortune to find he is now at home reseding at grenwich— the { 439 } Cruel treatment I Recd. from him I did not Care to mention till I found him in being—which I now Likewise Inclose a Coppy of the reception I have met with and the Cause and manner of my being Sent to England—which I am ready to take my oath to the truth of it in presense of Capt. Commins—which he cannot Deny if he Should offer to do it I can prove it by one of his officers belonging to the Same Ship, now in London— I have Shown those certificates to Colonel Harrison and the other Long Detail of my Sufferings which he has been So kind as to go round and Shew them to Colonel Forrest Mr. Watson Mr. West Mr. Eliott &c whom is all well Satisfyed to the truth of my representation and ready and willing to assist me in geting my Liberty and only waits to hear you are Satisfied of the truth when I shall in a few Days have my Liberty—2 one of those gentlemen was with me this Day in prison returned those Vouchers and Desired I would without Loss of time Send them to recieve your Approbation that you are Satisfyed and if So a Line returned by post togather with thse two certificates to Shew them— I shall Soon be out of my troubles and Able to Efect that much wished for object of returning to my native Country—when I Shall Ever after pray and Dare vouch for my friend and relations on my arrival to Joyn me in that acknowledgment for your friendly Interest in Extricating me from ruin and Missery, and will on geting my Liberty think it a Duty Incumbant on me to give Every further Satisfaction that may be required and to return thanks to all my Countrymen for once more Seting me at Liberty— I most Humbly pray you may parden the Language of this, and admit that my present unhappy Situation render me Incapable of Expresing my Self—as I could wish—if I am So happy as for these vouchers to meet your Approbation and Induce you to Send a Line in answer to Shew my friends if Directed to No 78 Lombard Street it will be sent Immediately to me I am / Honble. sir / your Most Devoted / and Much obliged / Most Hble Servt.
[signed] John Dudley

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0214-0002

Date: 1783-12-30


The following is a True State of the Treatment of John Dudley—to Shew how Illegual he was sent from his native country—how he came to fall into the hands of the British and where his station was at that time—
J— D, is a native of N Carolina Late belonging to the 2nd. Regt. of said State—which Regt. he Left on thier March from west point to { 440 } Joyn the Southeron Army—in order to Join Colonel Henry Lees Legen. which he did—and after being some time with the Colonel— was appointed to the Rant of Lieutt, in a company of Jersey troops commd. by John Outwater Esqr. ordered to be Stationed at hackinsack for the protection of that quarter, it being near the Lines of new york—and by the resignation, of the above named commander, the said D—— had, for some Short time the comd. of the company—3 till on the night of the 30th of May 1781—he marched from his post— towards new york—with a Small party of men, with Intent to Storm a house belonging to Mr. Wm. Byard on Howbuck Island,4 which was, a harbour for those Refugeas that yoused to plunder the Inhabitants and on the 31 at Day Light he Arrived on the Island— where his retreat was cut of by a Supirior numer of refugeas under the command of a Mr. Blawvelt when a Scirmage Ensued and he Recd. a wound in his Left Leg that caused him to fall into the hands of Mr. B’s party, who took him to newyork, where he was Detained till the 4 of June, 81, when through the Interest of some american friends then residing in new york that formerly knew him—he obtained a parole from Major Duleney—then Adgt. Genl. of the British foreces5—to go out in the Jerseys and to Return in Six Days— it being late in the afternoon he proposed to Leave newyork yearly the next morning at which time—he went Down to the water Side—in order to cross the Northriver— but finding no boat ready and not wishing to be Ditained—he hired a barg for two Dollors—to Set him a cross to wehock— but had not Long Left the Shoar befor he saw a boat push of and come after him—and when coming up with him—a man, on board the name of Mc.michal a refugea officer—Said these words, Mr. Dudley, you must return to New york— D—— made this reply, by whose orders— I have a parole from Majr. Duleney—and should be glad to know what athority you have to remand me back again— on which Mc.michal said Let me see it— D—— refused to give it in his hands—but held it open before him— after reading it—he said it is of no concequence— you must return with me—and do not make any words but git into this Boat— on which—D—— obayed his orders—and after Seting Down in his Boat Insisted to know of him what was the cause of his calling him back, and that he thought he Did it on his own account—and could not answer for his conduct— he said he Could and would do it—but contrary to the Expectation of D—— Instead of being carried back to New york—Mcmichal ordered the Boat to pull Down the river—and run a Long side of the confederate, then Droping Down to the hook to convoey the cork { 441 } fleet home—where he ordered D—— on board—and reported to the commander of said Ship—Mr. James Commins that he had brough him one of those rebels that had so Long been troublesome on the Lines—and one that had some time before been a Spy and caused a Number of British to be cut of and that he beged particular care might be taken that he Did not make his Escape before they got to Sea as he would be further troublesome if he was not sent out of the country— with that Mcmichal took his Leave of Commins, and went on Shoar— D—— used Every Endeavour to make his Escape togather with the officers that had been taken in the Genl. Washington from Virginia, whom was confind—on Board the Confederate— but finding it could not be Done—and seeing the Ship was puting to sea—he went on the quarter deck intending to know why he was to be taken to England—as being a prisnor of war from the Land Service—but on his approaching near the Commander he was stoped by a Leiut. Gray—who says where are you going Sir— D—— I want to speak to the commander— Gray—go back you rascal—you have been a rebel Long Enough and been very troublesome— D—— then Endeavoured to reason with gray—but to no purpose— gray repeted again—go Down you rascal and Do your Duty, when I get you in the Blew water I will punish you—you now Deserve hanging—and further Says—go you up and Clear the pendant—which was then tangled—which D—— refused—and sayed I am a prisnor of war and can See no reason why I should be on board this Ship— gray—then took up the one End of a roope and struck him—and further Said pull of your hat you rascal or I will have you tied to the gangway and whiped— D—— then see what he had to Depend on—submited—to his hard fate—went Down betwen Decks—and in a few Days was throne into a violent fever—with the trouble it was to him of Leaving his native country and not having but small hopes of Ever returning— the fever togather with the hard fare he met with caused the wound in his Leg to Mortify and in a very short time after rendered him Incapible of siting up and to all appearance was past recovery not withstanding his Illness he had no place to Ley Down but on the coald and naked Decks—and repetedly trod on by the Seamen at work because he could not get out of the way— he seeing himself in such a Dismal situation—he got a half sheet of paper of one John Saint a prisnor and as well as he could Lay on his belley and rote a petition to capt. Commins to see if he could not move him to pity— which was Delivered to him—but to no purpose. he never saw proper to take any notice of it, but Let him remain in that situation { 442 } near ten Days without any nourishment at Length the quarter master and a young Mitshipman passing by saw him and Spoke—and after hearing his Distress seemed to take some pity on him—gave him a Hamock and had it slung in the sick bay—for him and he carried and put into it— they Likewise gave him a small quantity of shugar and tea—which the prisnr. used to prepare for him— this small assistance renderd. his Distressed Situation some more comfortable— he remained in this situation without any other assistance and having gone through various seens of Ill treatment tow teadeous to mention—till the Ship arrived in the Downs where he was Lifted out in a hamock past all hopes of recovery—and sent on shoar at Deal—where he Lay till crismus Day when his Leg was amputated and—the 24 of May 1782 was Dismised from that place to come to London—and arrived as far as chatham where he was taken sick and Lay three weeks and on his recovery had not one farthing of money—but was in that week condition obliged to take his time and walked on his Crutches to gravesend which took him three Days, where he told his situation and got his pasage to London in one of the Boats— and on his arrival in London he got into St. Thomases Hospital till he got able to go about when he made publick to this governmt the reception he had met with but all to Little purpose further particulars would be two teadeous to mention
RC and enclosures (Adams Papers). This letter has three enclosures. The first two, certificates from Thomas Peck and Evan Nepean, are with this letter in the Adams Papers and are discussed in note 1. The third, endorsed “Dudley a / prisoner,” is printed here but was filmed with Dudley’s letter of 19 Nov., above.
1. The first certificate, dated 1 Dec., was from Thomas Peck, “Surgeon & Agent for Sick & Hurt Seamen at Deal.” Peck wrote that Dudley had been “received from His Majesties Ship Confederate at Deal Hospital on the 27th: July 1781 for cure of wounded Leg, which Leg was Amputated there, and he discharged from thence to London on the 24th of May 1782.”
The second was from Evan Nepean, a former undersecretary of state in the Shelburne ministry, later known for his service with the Admiralty (DNB). Nepean, writing at the bottom of a letter from Dudley dated 1 Dec. 1783, declared that “I have not at any time, considered him, in any other respect, than, as a Prisoner of War.” This responded to Dudley’s explanation in his letter to Nepean that he needed such a certification because “I made application to Mr. Adams—for mony to pay my Dues in England—had not the Least Doubt he would see me Effectually Releasd and sent to my native country—but to my Sudden Suppriss he brought my politiceal conduct in question—Says I have never made any application to British goverment— as a prisnor of war and that he Does not think I have Ever been Looked on in that Situation, but that he thinks I have Since captured by the British been an officer with them and taken an active part against the Americans.” Dudley also indicated that he had “appointed tomorrow [2 Dec.] to Settle the Business with Mr. Adams and am unprepared to Bring my American comission or other vouchers to convinc him.” There is no record of any meeting between JA and Dudley on 2 Dec., nor is there any indication that JA responded to this letter with its enclosures, and there is no subsequent { 443 } correspondence between JA and Dudley.
2. The five men mentioned by Dudley presumably were Americans resident in London and likely included the merchants Col. Uriah Forrest and Elkanah Watson Jr. and the painter Benjamin West.
3. Dudley is listed as a sergeant on a 6 Feb. 1778 payroll of Capt. Clement Hall’s 2d N.C. Regiment. The official register of New Jersey soldiers in the Revolution notes his service as a private in Capt. John Outwater’s Bergen County Company of N.J. State Troops. Outwater’s “resignation” may have come as a result of his wounding in March 1780. No record has been found of Dudley’s service in Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee’s dragoons (DNA:RG 93, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775–1783, Microfilm, Reel 79, f. 16, 17; William S. Stryker, comp., Official Register of the Officers and Men of New Jersey in the Revolutionary War, Trenton, 1872, p. 403, 580; Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 345, 422).
4. Almost certainly William Bayard, wealthy New York merchant and loyalist, who possessed a large estate, confiscated by the state of New Jersey, on Hoobock Island, now part of Hoboken (Sabine, Loyalists).
5. Oliver De Lancey Jr., in 1781 a lieutenant colonel and assistant adjutant general (Worthington Chauncey Ford, comp., British Officers Serving in the American Revolution 1774–1783, Brooklyn, N.Y., 1897, p. 59; Sabine, Loyalists).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0215

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1784-01-03

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I received the Letter you did me the Honour of writing to me by Capt. Jones, and immediately answer’d it, acquainting you that my Packets contain’d no Commission, nor any Mention of one.2 I have just receiv’d another Letter from you, dated the 14th past, with a Number of Dispatches, but they are Duplicates only and as old as July; they contain nothing of the Commission neither, except the Vote that directs the making it out, which is dated in May. It seems to be forgotten. It was by no means possible for me to save Mr Morris’s Bills. I was in hopes that if you had gone to Amsterdam you might have done something towards it. With great Respect, I have the Honour to be, / Sir, / Your Excellency’s most obedt / & most humble Servant
[signed] B Franklin
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excelly. John Adams Esqre.
1. This letter was sent to London and then forwarded to JA in the Netherlands, where he received it at Amsterdam. He acknowledged it in his 24 Jan. letter to Franklin, below. On the day that Franklin wrote, JA and JQA were at Harwich, having left London the previous day, and were awaiting passage for the Netherlands. They sailed on the 5th (JA, D&A, 3:152; JQA to Peter Jay Munro, 13 Jan., NNMus).
2. JA’s letter was of 5 Dec., to which Franklin replied on the 10th, both above.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0216

Author: Gordon, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1784-01-07

From William Gordon

[salute] My dear Sir

You have very fairly & fully discharged your epistolary account of the preceeding year; which is an encouragement for me to begin { 444 } anew.1 There is both pleasure & profit in corresponding with You; & notwithstanding some desponding expressions, I trust your strength & spirits will not be exhausted, till the business is completed. Finesse & subtilty are ministerial qualifications; & the only effectual way to outwit court-politicians is by being honest, for of that they have no idea. A propos, learnt while upon my southern tour, that Marbois denies his having written such a letter as has been pretended.2 He says, that the British might intercept a letter of his, but that they have deciphered it wrong, & charge him with expressions that are not in it (This from one who had been of Congress) in order to exculpate himself. But when Marbois had his first interview with friend Gerry, he lookt so queerly as seemed to imply that he felt guilty, & almost disconcerted our steady Patriot. I could wish with You, that the Americans would never practise the sublimated refinements of European Politicks; but, from what I have observed, imagine that human nature will act alike in all quarters of the world. Should the Millenium commence on this side the Atlantic, as some divines conjecture, you may then have a greater share of virtue, than an equal quantity of mankind in any other part of the globe at the same period. But commence where it will, I should be glad to have it commence, that so the inhabitants of these lower regions might have a stronger resemblance to those of the upper. Pray let me have the History of the shrew’d Dutchmen’s being taken in. You have raised my curiosity, & me thinks you ought to gratify it.3 I am so pleased with the character you have given me of Mr Jay, & his conduct has so effectually removed the suspicions I had entertained, that I must pray you to present my most cordial respects to him.4 They are of little intrinsic value, & yet may please him more than the most fulsome adulation. Thus much as to yours of Apr 15th, excepting that I have endeavoured to use it for public benefit in a discretional way. I should have gone on further by daylight; but have been called off by an account of Callahan’s vessel & cargo being lost off Cape Cod. Am a sufferer to a small amount, but am easy upon hearing that the Capt Passengers, 13 or more, & men are all safe.5 Must finish by candle, that it may go tomorrow. Should not the following scrip be equally good, it may be legible, & perhaps sensible tho’ inferior to Youngs Night Thoughts.6
Your device is admirable—thirteen stars guarding, a fish, a deer, & an oak with a new star sprouting from the top of it.7 Lest You should not have written to Mr Gerry I copied yours of Sept 10th & forwarded it by post to Annapolis;8 You will have heard of Congress’s { 445 } having removed to that spot, & all about it, through Mr Thaxter, as I suppose, therefore shall be silent upon that. The paragraph respecting moderation &c with your opinion of Mr Jay is upon the road to Govr Clinton at New York, with a request to keep it out of print for the present: but I thought it might strengthen his hands, & tend to cool down the madness of some violent partizans, who while they claim the character of whigs are practising the absurdities of toryism, like your divines who are fire-hot for moderation.9
I say with You treat every public man with as much candour & indulgence as possible; but then I add, let it be such public men as are worthy & deserving, & not such as have forfeited all indulgence & whose behaviour entitles them to no candour, & who by being public men are a detriment to the public & will make the public contemptible. I refer to those who mean well for themselves only & are not well-meaning in any other sense. Let them meet with obstacles & smart under them till they retire into obscurity, & leave the stage for actors who are well principled. I am fully in the opinion of its being of indespensible importance to keep the Union. But I am not for being betrayed under that plea, into a violation of the Confederation & the great fundamentals upon which it was established, & into a mode of congressional government, that, by not suiting the northern climate however well adapted for the southern, will after a time bring on fresh wars & fightings among ourselves, & make the whole one great empire, or break us into smaller ones, instead of remaining separate states, united by confederation, under a Congress freely chosen by the powers of each state. Your words to Congress, I suppose upon the importance of the Union, have been swelled & played off to answer the purpose of getting the Impost in[to] the hands of Congress for a long run of years & to be collected by their own servants.10 What is your real opinion upon the subject I know not: but I remember what Burgh says, all government is arbitrary, that is, tends to it.11 Sure I am, from the good information recd when I was about Congress at Princeton last fall, that there are individuals in that body of tyrannical principles, or they would never have talk’t as they did against calling the Financier to an account because they had left it with him to manage—& that Congress had a right to keep up a standing army in a time of peace. I doubt not but that your Machiavelians can turn themselves into all shapes & can play upon any string whether aristocratic, democratic, civil or military or even a shoe-string. You have my assent & consent to execrate in the strongest terms low cunning & mean { 446 } craft. Your declaration, “but treaties are solemn things, in which there should be no mental reservations” deserves to be written in characters of gold; but there are few courts whether Protestant or Popish, that will adhere to it at heart.12 Last monday sennight died Dr Cooper in the 59th year of his age, after a six weeks illness. He was buried the friday following. The weather was bad, but the funeral very large.13 What the Governor will do, now he has lost his prime minister remains to be known. A few weeks back, he would resign; yes he would, & swore to it. The Council was summoned, to be eye & ear witnesses of the extraordinary event. The day came, when lo! the mouse appeared upon the green cloth—his friends alias enemies had advised him to the contrary. Risum teneatis.14 Should he not obtain the vote of the people the next year, & the election lie between him Bowdoin & Lincoln & the house be of the same complexion, I am told he will not have the chair.15 But my paper informs me it is high time to subscribe Your sincere friend & very huml Servant
[signed] William Gordon
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excellency John Adams Esqr / To the Care of / Messrs De Neufville’s / Merchants / Amsterdam”; endorsed: “Dr Gordon. Jan. 7. 1784.” Some loss of text due to a torn manuscript.
1. JA and Gordon wrote two letters each in 1783. JA wrote on 15 April and Gordon on 10 May (vol. 14:410–412, 472–473). Gordon wrote again on 28 June, and JA responded on 10 Sept., both above.
2. Gordon had traveled to Philadelphia and New Jersey in the autumn of 1783 to petition Congress to grant access to George Washington’s papers for his use in writing a history of the American Revolution. Congress approved his petition on 25 May 1784 (MHS, Procs., 63:498–503; JCC, 27:427–428). For François Barbé-Marbois’ intercepted 1782 letter to the Comte de Vergennes criticizing American efforts to secure their right to the Newfoundland fisheries, see JA to Robert R. Livingston, 10 July 1783, and note 3, and Samuel Osgood to JA, 7 Dec., and note 12, both above.
3. In his 15 April 1783 letter to Gordon, JA alluded to the Netherlands’ reliance on France in its peace negotiations with Britain. He believed that such trust compromised the Dutch position, just as it would have that of the United States if the American peace commissioners had not negotiated with Britain separately from France in violation of their instructions. JA wrote that “we need not wonder at the simplicity & innocence, the amiable unsuspecting Confidence of our own Countrymen, when we see the old experienced Dutchmen taken in, the history of wh: is very curious” (vol. 14:408, 409, 412).
4. In his letter of 30 Nov. 1782, Gordon had written that an unnamed person had criticized Benjamin Franklin and John Jay as “unfit for the business” of negotiating the peace. In his letter of 15 April 1783, JA responded that “your Countryman was never more mistaken than wn: he spoke slightly of Mr: Jay, wm: I wd. not scruple to pit against the proudest Statesman in Europe. Our Country was never better represented than by him” (vol. 14:101, 102, 412).
5. The Boston Evening Post of 10 Jan. 1784 reported that a “violent storm” on 2 Jan. had caused the brig Peace and Plenty, bound from London to Boston under Capt. John Callahan, to go aground off the Cape Cod town of Truro. The paper noted that “Capt. Callahan had several ladies and a number of gentlemen on board, passengers, from London, who, we rejoice to hear, were, together with all the seamen . . . happily saved from perishing; though several of them were nearly exhausted when they reached the { 447 } shore.” The cargo was salvaged and auctioned in Boston on 24 Jan. (Boston Independent Chronicle, 22 Jan.). Among the passengers were John Wheelock and his brother James, who were returning from their unsuccessful mission to raise funds for Dartmouth College (Leon Burr Richardson, History of Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H., 1932, p. 208).
6. Edward Young, The Complaint; or, Night Thoughts on Life, Death, and Immortality: In Nine Nights.
7. The “device” affixed to JA’s 10 Sept. 1783 letter to Gordon, above, was apparently the seal that he had commissioned after the conclusion of the preliminary peace treaty between Great Britain and the United States on 30 Nov. 1782. Sporting a pine tree, a deer, and a fish, the seal commemorated JA’s efforts in the negotiations to establish expansive boundaries for the new nation and guarantee American access to the Newfoundland fisheries. Although JA had acquired the pine tree, deer, and fish seal by 13 May 1783, when he used it on a letter to Antoine Marie Cerisier (vol. 14:478–479), he resorted to the Boylston family seal at the signing of the definitive treaty on 3 Sept. (Catalogue of JQA’s Books, p. 136–137, 140–141). For a later version of the pine tree, deer, and fish seal, see Descriptive List of Illustrations, No. 10, above.
8. The only extant copy of JA’s 10 Sept. letter, above, is Gordon’s transcription included in his 24 Dec. letter to Elbridge Gerry (NN:Gerry-Townsend Papers). For Gordon’s complete letter to Gerry, see MHS, Procs., 63:500–502 (1929–1930).
9. Gordon’s letter to New York governor George Clinton has not been found, but Clinton was trying to control whig mobs that were attacking loyalists remaining in New York following the British evacuation of the city on 25 November. While the governor urged restraint, his more radical political allies sought revenge for loyalist actions against the whigs during the occupation (Paul A. Gilje, The Road to Mobocracy: Popular Disorder in New York City, 1763–1834, Chapel Hill, N.C., 1987, p. 74–77).
10. Presumably a reference to Morris’ use of extracts from JA’s letters of 10 and 11 July, above, to lobby for the passage of the impost bill, for which see Morris’ letters to JA of 20 Sept., and note 1, and 5 Nov., and note 1, above. In his letters to Morris, JA made clear his support for the establishment of an impost to fund repayment of the Dutch loans.
11. Presumably the quotation is from James Burgh’s Political Disquisitions, 3 vols., London, 1774–1775, but the quotation, if it is one, has not been precisely located. For a reference to Burgh along much the same lines, see Mercy Otis Warren’s 10 March 1776 letter to JA, vol. 4:50.
12. Gordon quotes JA’s 10 Sept. 1783 letter, above.
13. That is, Rev. Samuel Cooper died on 29 December. The Boston Continental Journal of 1 Jan. 1784 announced Cooper’s death after he had “been confined to his Chamber with a Disorder of the Lethargick Kind for upwards of six Weeks.” On 8 Jan. the Salem Gazette reported on Cooper’s funeral, where the sermon was delivered by John Clarke of the First Church. It noted “the presence of a great concourse of spectators, whose melancholy countenances bespoke the loss of a great character.” The first page of the Boston Independent Chronicle’s 8 Jan. issue contained a lengthy monody “on the much lamented DEATH of the Reverend SAMUEL COOPER, D. D.,” which ended “We mourn a brother, and a patriot, dead!” He was also remembered in Phillis Wheatley, An Elegy, Sacred to the Memory of that Great Divine, the Reverend and Learned Dr. Samuel Cooper, Boston, 1784 (Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, 11:211; Evans, No. 18726).
14. Refrain from laughing.
15. For John Hancock’s reversal of his decision to resign, see Tristram Dalton’s letter of 5 Dec. 1783, and note 5, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0217

Author: Gerry, Elbridge
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1784-01-14

From Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear Friend

The definitive Treaty is this Day ratified by Congress, & I have but a few Moments, by Colonel Hermer, who is charged with the Delivery thereof,1 to inform You that Mr Dana is arrived & { 448 } { 449 } requested to attend Congress. I have suggested to some of my Friends the good policy of appointing him to a Seat in Congress, & to him the Advantages to be at this Time expected from the Measure; & I flatter myself, it will be adopted.2
The Dispatches by Mr Thaxter have been committed, & a Report is made for authorizing Yourself, Doctor Franklin & Mr Jay to negotiate Treaties with every power mentioned in your Letters. the general principles of the Treaties are stated in the report, conformable to which You are to be authorized to enter into them, without first reporting to Congress, as was proposed by the Resolutions of October last, past at princeton. those proceedings appeared to me calculated to defeat every Treaty & confine our Commerce to France & Holland, for after You had formed the projects, as they are called, & sent them to America, projects of another Nature would have been contrived here to have made Alterations which would have in Effect rendered null your proceedings. I hope the report will pass as it now stands & that You will be expeditious in the Business—3
I observe by your Letters that according to your Orders, You have reported your conferences to the Secretary of foreign affairs.4 your Information is useful, exceedingly so, but as the other Commissioners have not adopted the same Mode, I suspect they have not received similar Instructions, & that the original plan on this Side was, to discover to the other, your Communications; to prevent or destroy this Confidence You have there established, & to make this appear as an unfortunate Accident, which nevertheless ought to be attended with your recall. be this as it may, I think the Interest of yourself & Mr Jay is at this Time well supported in Congress— I have not Time to revise, much less to correct, & therefore must bid You adieu, after requesting my best Respects to Mr Jay his Lady & Mr Carmichael, if in paris— your Family was in Health by the last Letters from Home, but Doctor Cooper was given over by his Physicians— be assured my dear sir I am on every Occasion Yours / sincerely
[signed] E. G.
I shall propose to Congress a Resolution for approving in proper & honorable Terms the Negotiations of their plenipoes who negotiated the peace, but cannot say whether the Measure will be successful5
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Gerry. 14. Jan. / 1784. Anapolis.”
1. Col. Josiah Harmar (1753–1813) of Philadelphia was one of three couriers assigned to carry copies of the ratified definitive treaty to Europe. Harmar traveled overland to New { 450 } York and sailed on a French packet on 21 January. When the vessel ran aground he returned to port and embarked on another ship on 17 February. He reached Paris on or about 31 March, the day on which Benjamin Franklin wrote JA to announce the arrival of the treaty (Adams Papers; DAB; Morris, Peacemakers, p. 448).
2. Appointed a Massachusetts delegate to Congress on 11 Feb., Francis Dana presented his credentials at Annapolis on 24 May (JCC, 27:418–419).
3. For the object of Gerry’s concern and its ultimate resolution, see the 29 Oct. 1783 instructions to the commissioners, and note 3, above, and Gerry’s 16 June 1784 letter to JA in Smith, Letters of Delegates, 21:685–687.
4. It is unclear to which of Robert R. Livingston’s several directives concerning the content of JA’s correspondence Gerry is referring. On 20 Nov. 1781 Livingston wrote that “your letters leave us in the dark relative to the views and principles of each party [Patriot and Anglomane], which is no small inconvenience to us, as we know not how to adapt our measures to them.” More confrontational, and likely more disturbing to JA, were Livingston’s comments in his letter of 5 March 1782. There he wrote “but, Sir, tho’ your letters detail the politicks of the Country, tho’ they very ably explain the nature and general principles of the Government, they leave us in the dark with respect to more important facts. . . . You have not introduced us to any of the leading Members of the great Council. You have not repeated your private conversations with them, from which infinitely more is to be collected than from all the Pamphlets scattered about the streets of Amsterdam.” Livingston noted in particular that “none of your letters take the least notice of the french Ambassador at the Hague, is there no intercourse between you? If not, to what is it to be attributed?” (vol. 12:74, 296).
5. There is no indication that Gerry or anyone else offered such a resolution.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0218

Author: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1784-01-14

From Arthur Lee

[salute] Dear Sir.

The Ratification having this day, the first on which nine States were represented, been unanimously passed; a special Messenger will be immediately dispatchd with it which gives me an opportunity of writing a few words to you which may arrive speedily & safely.
The department of foreing Affairs being not yet filld, the business is of course in disorder & neglected. The arrangement of that department, & the appointment of a Minister to England, will soon be taken up. I cannot say who will be chosen Secretary for foreign Affairs; but I think you stand fairest for the Embassy to the Court of St. James.1 Dr. F. has desird leave to resign unless his grandson is appointed Minister to some Court. Neither of these things has been yet noticd. The latter I beleive will hardly be agreed to.2 The resignation many desire to accept, & if it can be carried Mr. Jay’s merit, will probably place him in the old man’s place. We are sensible that to the firmness & integrity of yourself & of the former Gentleman, we owe the peace, the good conditions, & our escape from the snares of an artful friend. Snares infinitly more dangerous to the Independence, honor & happiness of the U. S. than the arms of the most powerful Enemy can ever be.
{ 451 }
Powers to you Mr Jay & Dr. F. (provided he remains) will be sent, I beleive, soon, constituting you joint negociators of treaties with such Nations as may propose to be so connected with us. The present Express goes so instantaneously that it cannot as I wishd be done in time for him.
The 5 Pr Ct. Impost gains ground but Connecticut & Rhode Island seem very little disposd to it as yet. The Commutation or halfpay to the Army is strongly remonstrated against by the former. Virginia has passed an Act for ceding all the ultramontane Country, northwest of the Ohio, to the U. S.3 This is the fund on which I rely for the payment of our public debt, & supporting the future expence of the Union. The finest & most fertile Country in the world, if properly managd will be a source of wealth to the U. S. superior to that of any Power upon Earth. The Officers of our late Army, have constituted themselves a perpetual Body under the title of Cincinnati. Genl. Washington is at their head. It gives alarm to the People, & this seems to increase. To one of your discernment it is unnecessary to say what may probably be the consequences of such an Association. It is conjecturd that the french are at the bottom of it. What intentions some may have in it, I will not conjecture; but very manifestly it may be productive of Monar[chy] in this Country.
If you think it will be acceptable to Mr. Jay, I shoud wish you to make my respects to him. His conduct abroad has given me the highest opinion of his abilities & virtue.
Col. Harmar (who is sent with the Ratification) is a gentleman of very approvd integrity, & on whom you may rely shoud you want a person of such a character.
[signed] AL.
P.S. Mr. Dana arrivd at Boston from Petersbourg a few weeks since
P.S. I presume you have heard that Dr. F. has written to Congress against you. His enmity you cannot be a stranger to, & you will be inducd to dispise this effort of it, when I assure you it, has no manner of effect. It is however justice due to him to say that he allows you to be sensible & honest.4
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Lee 14. Jan. 1784 / ansd 6 April. / recd 5.th. / Arthur Lee.” Filmed at 14 Jan. 1783. Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. Congress appointed John Jay secretary for foreign affairs on 7 May but did not appoint JA minister to Great Britain until 24 Feb. 1785 (JCC, 26:355; 28:98).
2. Benjamin Franklin offered his resignation several times, most notably in letters to the president of Congress or Robert R. Livingston of 12 March 1781, 5 Dec. 1782, 22 July { 452 } 1783, and, in a letter not yet received by Congress, 26 Dec. 1783 (Franklin, Papers, 34:446–447; 38:416–417; Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:585–586, 746–747). Congress did not approve Franklin’s return until 7 March 1785 (JCC, 28:122). For Franklin’s efforts to convince Congress to provide a diplomatic post for William Temple Franklin, see Samuel Osgood’s letter of 7 Dec. 1783, and note 20, above.
3. On 20 Oct. the Va. General Assembly voted to cede its land claims northwest of the Ohio River to the United States, and on 1 March 1784, Congress accepted title to the land. The significance of Virginia’s cession was that it, together with those by other states, permitted Congress to begin efforts to organize and administer the territory. The most important result of this effort was the adoption of the 1787 Northwest Ordinance (JCC, 26:112–117; 32:334–343).
4. Lee refers to Franklin’s criticism of JA in his 22 July 1783 letter to Robert R. Livingston, as being “in some things absolutely out of his senses.” For the full quotation and its origins, see the Editorial Note to the commissioners’ 18 July letter to Livingston, above. The only previous letter in this volume to mention Franklin’s charge was James Warren’s of 27 Oct., and note 4, above. But see also AA’s letter of 15 Dec., with which she enclosed an extract from Franklin’s letter, AFC, 5:278–282.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0219

Author: Osgood, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1784-01-14

From Samuel Osgood

[salute] Sir.—

I had the Pleasure of seeing Mr. Thaxter your late Private Secretary at Philadelphia.— Congress were then on their Way to this Place— He being anxious to return to Masstts. it was not tho’t expedient for him to come on here, as he delivered his Dispatches to the President of Congress in Philadela. & as it did not seem probable that Congress would be soon assembled at this Place.— This is the first Day we have had nine States assembled.— About fifteen Days since, having then no Prospect of nine States, it was moved that seven States should proceed to ratify the Definitive Treaty— The Competency of seven States, was urged upon these Grounds, that Nine States had ratified the Provisional Treaty, the Articles of which constituted the definitive. That Nine States did in October last instruct our Ministers commissioned to make Peace to adopt the Provisional Articles as a definitive Treaty unless farther Advantages for the United States could be obtain’d.— That the Ratification had become mere Matter of Form— That seven States might expedite it & the United States would be bound thereby.— That the Time for exchanging Ratifications would expire on the 3d of March That if not exchanged on or before that Time, the Provisional Treaty would be at an End, & it would be in the Option of G. B.n after that Time to accept it, or not as she should think proper. These Assertions, excepting the Matters of Fact, were very warmly opposed—& Congress being pretty equally divided—the Matter was of Course delayed till { 453 } this Day— I hope Colo. Hermer who is entrusted with the Ratification will arrive before the Time expires for exhanging it.—2
In some of your Letters you seem to be in Opinion that there is an absolute Necessity of braceing up the Confederation That Funds are necessary for supporting the Credit of the United States— I cannot collect your Ideas precisely— But I am apprehensive that if you were here, you would find it very difficult to establish Funds that would not have a Tendency to destroy the Liberties of this Country.— Our Embarassments are very great— Our Danger lies in this— That if permanent Funds are given to Congress, the aristocratical Influence, which predominates in more than a Major Part of the United States will finally establish an arbitrary Government in the United States— I do most heartily wish there was no continental Treasury & that our Debt was equitably divided among the several States.— In the Way of this, lays our foreign Debt—perhaps it would be better to establish Funds for this alone.— But it is impossible to say what the States will do as to Funds— Congress have none as yet & I am apprehensive they will not have any permanent ones— many of the States are very Jealous.— Every State imagines or pretends to imagine that they have very large Demands against the United States— The Accounts are unadjusted & I fear it is the Policy of some States to keep them forever in that Situation.— This becomes every Day more & more serious— Our State is very deeply interested in it.— She is now uneasy about it & that Uneasiness must encrease—for her Delegates however powerful & Eloquent will never be able, to argue the Money out of the Pockets of the Citizens of another State into those of our own—At least appearances are against it at present Time will discover whether our Union is natural; or rather whether the Dispositions & Views of the several Parts of the Continent are so similar as that they can & will be happy under the same Form of Government.— There is too much Reason to beleive they are not—
I have been in Congress sometime & intend to leave it forever in four or five Weeks—3 I have not done myself the Honor to write you from Time to Time; for which Omission I hold myself inexcuseable— Tho I don’t know of any Information I could have communicated, which would have essentially altered any Thing— I have seen the Days of Servility, if not of Corruption & I weep over them.—
Congress, I think will certainly adjourn the Beginning of May next to the first Monday in November following4 The Business has { 454 } greatly diminished since Peace took Place There are a few Objects of great Magnitude which require the Assent of Nine States.— Our Army is dismissed saving about five hundred Men— It now remains with Congress to determine whether they will maintain any Men at the Expence of the United States— The Question has been warmly debated in Congress—but no Decision— The Opponents say that the Confederation gives Congress no Power to keep up Troops in a Time of Peace— There is an inconquerable Aversion in many to any Thing that looks like a standing Army in Time of Peace— They will therefore have no Nest Egg. & why may not every State provide for its own Garrisons— The Confederation speaks this Language.— The Question will not obtain in the present Congress.— The Civil List must be put upon a new footing before Congress Adjourn— A very important Report respecting the future Negociations with the Indians is now before Congress & will require very close Attention This is a very delicate Business as it respects the several States I expect N—— Y——k will purchase all our western Territory of the Indians, before we know it— They are really to cunning for M——tts in Matters of Land.—5
A general Plan for entering into Commercial Treaties must be matured & adopted before the Recess.— And I think by the present Appearance in Congress the Interest of the United States will be the governing Principle Last November bro’t about a capital Revolution in Congress the Limitation of three Years, struck off a Number indeed all the prime Actors in the late strange & unnatural System of our foreign Affairs.— Our State have instructed us to urge a new Arrangement of the Office of Finance— They seem to apprehend that such an Office in the Hands of one Person is incompatible with the Liberties of this Country— A Board in Commission is their Object.— The one & the other have very weighty Objections— I wish there was no Occasion for either. I understand the united Netherlands have no public Chest.—
Our late Officers having formed themselves into a Society by the Name of the Cincinnati— The Institution begins to be attended to & by many judicious Persons it is thot that in Time it will be very dangerous— It is suggested that the Idea did not originate on this Side the Atlantic—Latet Anguis in Herba.—6 surely this Country will not consent to a Race of Hereditary Patricians.— There are many others besides the Officers whose Names ought & will be immortalized for their Conduct during the late War.—
If you should receive a long Letter, the Writer desires you to { 455 } consider that the first Sheet was not intended for you—7 The short Notice he had of this Opportunity did not permit him to Copy it— He was obliged to send it in the present Form or not at all— The Beginning of it will be unintelligible With very great Respect / I am Sir Your most humble Servt.
[signed] Samuel Osgood
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency J Adams.—”; endorsed: “Mr Osgoods Letter / recd 5 April. 1783.” Filmed at 14 Dec. 1783.
1. JA did not send a reply to this letter until 30 June 1784 (LbC, APM Reel 107), but see note 1 to Osgood’s letter of 7 Dec. 1783, above.
2. With only seven of the nine states needed to ratify the definitive treaty present, Congress on 23 Dec. 1783 passed a resolution calling on absent members to hasten to Annapolis or risk missing a 3 March 1784 deadline for the exchange of ratifications in Europe. For the next three weeks a vociferous debate ensued about whether members should ratify with only seven states present. Thomas Jefferson was opposed, drafting a resolution on [27 Dec.] 1783 stating that a seven-state ratification would constitute a “breach of faith in us, a prostitution of our seal, and a future ground, when that circumstance shall become known, of denying the validity of a ratification.” Members were nearing a compromise that would have dispatched a provisional ratification to Europe, when the arrival of delegates from Connecticut and South Carolina on 13 and 14 Jan. 1784 allowed the immediate and unanimous ratification by nine states. The treaty reached Europe more than three weeks past the deadline, but the British took no notice and exchanged ratifications at Paris on 12 May (JCC, 25:836–837; Jefferson, Papers, 6:424–426; Morris, Peacemakers, p. 447–448).
3. Samuel Osgood’s career in Congress ended with his final vote on 1 March despite an appointment that lasted until 1 November. During March members debated whether Osgood should be excluded from further service owing to a three-year term limitation in the Articles of Confederation. A resolution barring him from further service failed to pass on 23 March, but Osgood nevertheless departed Annapolis in early April (Biog. Dir. Cong.; JCC, 26:120–121, 136–137, 156–160; Smith, Letters of Delegates, 21:434–435, 485, 519).
4. Congress remained in session until 3 June and reassembled in Trenton, N.J., on 1 Nov. (JCC, 27:555–556, 641).
5. Osgood refers to the report and its supplement, approved on 15 Oct. 1783, that set down the parameters for negotiations with the Native American tribes in the middle and northern departments (JCC, 25:680–693). As Osgood notes, the principal issue for Massachusetts was the effect of the instructions on its western land claims vis-à-vis New York, a concern that the Massachusetts delegation expressed in a 16 Oct. letter to the General Court (Smith, Letters of Delegates, 21:67–68). But Congress also resolved on 15 Oct. “that the preceding measures of Congress relative to Indian affairs, shall not be construed to affect the territorial claims of any of the states, or their legislative rights within their respective limits” (JCC, 25:693).
6. A snake in the grass.
7. While Osgood may have intended the first page of the 7 Dec. letter, above, for some otherwise unidentified correspondent, the remaining pages clearly were intended for JA.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0220

Author: President of Congress
Author: Mifflin, Thomas
Recipient: American Peace Commissioners
Date: 1784-01-14

The President of Congress to the American Peace Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen,

This Day, nine States being represented in Congress, Vizt: Massachussetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, { 456 } Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina & South Carolina, together with one Member from New Hampshire and one Member from New-Jersey, The Treaty of Peace was ratified by the Unanimous Vote of the Members; This being done, the Congress by an unanimous Vote, ordered a Proclamation to be issued, enjoyning the strict and faithful Observance thereof; and published an earnest Recommendation to the several States in the very Words of the 5th Article— They have likewise resolved, that the Ratification of the Definitive Treaty of Peace between the United States & Great Britain be transmitted, with all possible Dispatch, under the Care of a faithful Person, to our Ministers in France, who have negotiated the Treaty; to be exchanged; & have appointed Colonel Josiah Harmar to that Service. He will have the Honor of delivering to you the Ratification; together with Copies of the Proclamation of Congress2 and of their Recommendation to the States conformably to the 5th. Article.3
I take the Liberty of recommending Colonel Harmar to you as a brave and deserving officer, and am, with the highest Respect and Esteem, / Gentlemen, / Your obedient, and / most humble Servant
[signed] (signed) Thomas Mifflin.
RC and enclosures (Adams Papers); internal address: “To the honourable / John Adams / Benja Franklin / John Jay, & / Henry Laurens / Esquires—”; endorsed: “President Mifflins / Letter / Jan. 14. 1784.”
1. Charles Thomson, the secretary of Congress, had written to the commissioners on 5 Jan. to announce that the definitive treaty had arrived. He noted, however, that the difficulty in assembling a quorum of nine states, owing in part to the weather, was delaying its ratification (Smith, Letters of Delegates, 21:262).
2. For Congress’ 14 Jan. proclamation of the treaty, see JCC, 26:29–30.
3. For Congress’ unanimous 14 Jan. resolution recommending that the states conform to the terms of Art. 5 relating to loyalists and their property, the language of which is quoted in the resolution, see JCC, 26:30–31.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0221

Author: Carmichael, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1784-01-15

From William Carmichael


[salute] Sir

Mr Barry delivered me some days ago your Excellencys favor of the 20th Novr. at the Same time he put into my hands Mr Ficths Note which I own surprized me greatly—1 The Warmth of Mr Barrys heart led him to exagerate the civilities I showed him which proceeded in the first instance from the manner in which your Excy recommended him to me— These are Duties which admit of no { 457 } recompense, or the pleasure which we have in fulfilling them is totally destroyed— In a word I must make a return equal to the Value of the present made me— This is a circumstance far from being agreable, for it was a purchase which I should not have made. Your Excy will pardon me for taking the Liberty to request that you would endeavor to Learn the price of the Watch. The Makers name is Ths. Hawkins and the Case has the Coat of Arms and the Motto of the Hindford Family engraved on it—2
I find myself in precisely the Same Situation of which your Excy complains. I have had but two letters in 15 Months from Congress— I am determined not to remain much longer in Europe, if I have not the means of rendering my country the Services that it has a right to demand from those whom it pays— In the month of Septr I advised Congress of the Appointment of a Minister from this Court to the States & that he would not proceed thither unless one in the Character of Minister from America should be named for this place— I have no answer to my letters—3 Perhaps the Idea of the Gentlemen you mention not to have any Ministers in Europe, may have taken place— If we are to have Ministers in the Different countries with which we shall have Treaties, The expence of our department for Foreign Affairs will be heavy—
At Present they think here that in General the Americans are averse to this Nation— I beleive this opinion arises from the Advices they receive from England & by the representations of Persons who wish to inspire such Ideas— There are no complaints made against our Countrymen, for smuggling— The French and English are accused of pushing the Contraband business to a higher point than ever since the peace— This will occasion a stop to be put to all open & direct Intercourse between The Spanish French & English Islands, except with the Isle of Trinity4 to which certain previledges are accorded— The Bank established here in the course of last year has yeilded more than five pr Ct. in nine months to the Accionists—5 It will probably have the exclusive right for the extraction of Dollars— Next Month a fleet is expected from Vera Cruz with 20 million of Pesos in Specie besides the valuable produce of that part of the World— I shall esteem it as a very great favor & honor, if your Excy would have the goodness to write me a few Lines whenever you receive news from America that can be communicated with propriety in this Mode of Correspondence With the highest Sentiments of respect I have the honor to be / Your Excellencys / Most Obedt Humble Sert
[signed] Wm. Carmichael
{ 458 }
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Charmichael / 15. Jan 1784. / ansd 22. of April.”
1. JA had written to Carmichael, John Jay’s secretary who was then acting in the role of chargé d’affaires at Madrid in Jay’s absence, on 18 June 1783 to introduce a “Mr Barry” (LbC, APM Reel 108; DAB). Nothing further is known about Barry.
2. Thomas Hawkins was a watchmaker at the Royal Exchange in London who had been in business since 1777. Eliphalet Fitch likely sent a watch decorated with the Hyndford coat of arms because he suspected that a connection might exist between Carmichael and the family of John Carmichael, created first Earl of Hyndford in 1701. The arms of that family are described as argent, a fesse tortilé azure and gules, with a crest featuring an arm in armor, embowed, holding a broken spear, all proper. The family motto was “Toujours prest,” or “Always ready.” There is no known close connection between the titled family and Carmichael, the son of a Scottish immigrant to Maryland (Catalogue of the Museum of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers of London, 2d edn., London, 1902, p. 56; DNB; DAB; Thomas Robson, The British Herald; or, Cabinet of Armorial Bearings of the Nobility and Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland, 3 vols., Sunderland, England, 1830).
In his reply of 22 April 1784 (LbC, APM Reel 107), JA sympathized with Carmichael’s concern over the value of Fitch’s gift and his evident desire to reciprocate. He noted that Fitch, upon sailing for Jamaica, sent him “a Present of choice old Madeira Wine and Jamaica Spirit” in return for JA’s kindnesses. JA indicated that he had not considered refusing the gift and advised Carmichael to “keep the Watch untill you see Mr Fitch or give it away to a Friend. never trouble your head to send him any equivalent. rather Send him back the Watch itself. But I dont think that is worth while.”
3. Within the time span indicated by Carmichael, the PCC includes letters that Robert R. Livingston had written on 28 Nov. 1782 and 7 May 1783 (Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:88–89, 408–409). For the same period there are twelve letters from Carmichael, but none since 30 August. No letter dated in Sept. has been found, but Carmichael’s letter of 30 Aug. gave an account of his presentation to Charles III on 23 Aug. and reported that the king had appointed a minister to the United States, the 24-year-old Marqués de Múzquiz, son of the Spanish finance minister (same, 6:663–667). But, in fact, no minister was sent. The first official Spanish diplomatic representative was Diego de Gardoqui, who arrived in May 1785 with the rank of “Plenipotentiary Chargé des Affaires” (Repertorium, 3:445; JCC, 28:402).
4. Trinidad.
5. Charged with procuring supplies for the Spanish Army and Navy, the Bank of San Carlos was allowed a 10 percent profit on its expenditures. In his 30 Dec. 1782 letter to Livingston, Carmichael gave an account of the bank’s organizational meeting and indicated that it was to commence operations in April 1783 (same, 6:184–187). The “Accionists” were the shareholders.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0222

Author: Staphorst, Nicolaas van
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1784-01-16

From Nicolaas van Staphorst

[salute] Sir

I take the liberty in consequence of our conversation of yesterday evening with two Gentlement of the Council, commissaries in the Business of our claim to the Regency, to request your Excellency that you’ll be so kind to come at my house this morning at eleven o Clock, where you’ll also find Mr. Willink, and when we’ll communicate to your Excellency the proposals of said two members of the council, and perhaps be desired to have an enterview with them at the Stadhouse.1 I beg to let me know in answer wether I shall have { 459 } the honour to receive your Exce. at the stipulated hour, at my house, near the Beulingstraat, and am with much respect / Sir / Your most obedt. Servt
[signed] Nics. van Staphorst.
1. JA arrived at The Hague on Sunday, 12 Jan., and on Wednesday the 15th went to Amsterdam to meet with the bankers (JQA to Peter Jay Munro, 16 Jan., NNMus). The possibility of turning to the Regency of Amsterdam for assistance with the financial crisis facing the United States had been raised in the consortium’s letter of 23 Dec. 1783 and that of 26 Dec. from Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, both above. JA presumably met with the agents of the regency but to no avail, as he indicates in his 24 Jan. 1784 letter to Benjamin Franklin, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0223

Author: Cranch, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1784-01-17

From John Cranch

[salute] Sir;

I have never found so much difficulty in prevailing upon myself to do any indifferent action, as in this of convincing myself that it is not too great a presumption to address a few lines to you, with the little present of game which will wait your acceptance about the same instant:1 In truth I could willingly have sent the gift, without at all disclosing the giver, could I, at the same time, have been less sensible of that awkward distress which the ingenerous mind ever feels, on finding itself obliged to an unknown benefactor; and it is upon this consideration, Sir, added to the faith which the whole world warrants me to place in that candour and liberality of Sentiment which illustrate the solid parts of your great character, that I am induced to avail myself of the same oppertunity to profess the duty and respect I owe to you, both as my relation,2 and as the most eminent patriot and statesman of the age:
But Sir, I may not thus trespass on your delicacy or your time: Suffer me only to intreat that you will have the goodness not to reject my humble present; nor, if possible, this my still humbler overture towards obtaining the honor of being known to you; and permit me to add, that if I can render you any service during your stay in Europe, I shall esteem it no less a pleasure to execute, than an honor to receive, any commands you may think proper to oblige me with.
I am, most respectfully, and with best wishes for your good health & welfare, / Sir / Your obedient / Humble Servant
[signed] John Cranch.
{ 460 }
P.s. As I cannot repress the vanity of imagining that you may possibly think me not unworthy of some slight inquiry, it is expedient I should request you to direct any letter you may be pleased to favor me with, “To mr. Cranch, an attorney, at Axminster, in Devonshire;”—and any question concerning my character or situation, to my agent mr. Harrison senr. to be heard of at his son’s chambers in Barnard’s Inn.
I have a strong inclination (but, without your permission, cannot presume so far) to send you a copy of an interesting letter that I have received by this day’s post from a friend of mine just settled in Cascobay: By “interesting” I would be understood to mean peculiarly so to yourself, as a principal guardian and patron of the interests of the illustrious Republic:3
[signed] J. Cr
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr John Cranch / Axminster in Devon- / shire. 17. Jan. ansd 31. 1784.”
1. With this letter Cranch sent a basket containing two hares, for which see John Stockdale’s letter of 20 Jan., below. Cranch continued his contributions of food for the Adamses’ table when they took up residence in London following JA’s appointment as minister to Great Britain (AFC, 6:382–383; 8:31).
2. At this point Cranch inserted an asterisk in reference to a note in the left margin: “Mr. Cranch of Braintree is my uncle.”
3. JA requested a copy of the letter in his reply of 31 Jan., below, and received it as an enclosure to Cranch’s letter of 11 Feb. (Adams Papers). The letter was from Thomas Hopkins, who wrote from Falmouth, Mass. (now Portland, Maine). Hopkins had first gone to Boston and Braintree, where he met Richard Cranch, who recommended that he go to Falmouth in pursuit of his business interests. Hopkins’ letter is a commentary on the opportunities for Anglo-American trade, the unfortunate policies leading to Britain’s loss of its American colonies, and the bright prospects for the new nation.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0224

Author: Heyman, Herman
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1784-01-17

From Herman Heyman

[salute] Sir.

I had the satisfaction to lay before Your Exellency by the Letter, I took the Liberty to address your Exellency the 31 July last, a Plan of a Glass Manufactory which I intended to Establish in one of the United Provinces of Nord America for your Consideration and beg’d most Humbly from Your Exellency the favor to grant me your Skilful Advise on that head, but am hetherto deprived of the honour to receive any Reply from Your Exellency, but this does not prevent me to venture again to address of Your Exellency a second Letter, flattering myself that what ever concerns the Prosperity and Extension of Your good Country will be agreabel received from Your Exellency and there fore have the honour to inform you that three other { 461 } Gentlemen with me Considered most Earnestly on that Plan all the time since and taking every things back and forwards find that it can’t but be very avantageous as well to Your good Country, as likewise to the Concerners to Errect a Glass Manufactory in some part of the United States, and we chased Maryland to be the properest Country for it, beeing a spot of Land where by all the Discription we Read it groes the most plenty of Wood, one of my three friends Mr. John fried: Amelong who had the Manage of a Glass manufactory here in Germany will go himself in the spring by the first Vessell over to Baltimore and take the Direction of the intended Establishing Glass-Manufactory, he Carries besides him 80 more families all Experiented to our purpose in the Vessell for Baltimore,2
I can’t but Expect that our Ardent wishes to encrease our Connection with the United States can’t but be satisfactory to Your Exellency, and this gives me the agreabel Aspects that you’ll grant us Your Kind Assistance and Protection in our Undertaking, and inform us to who our friend Mr. Amelong must make his first Aplication at Baltimore or in the State of Maryland, to Errect the Manufactory and to receive some part of Land fit for the Establishment directed and Your Exellence Opinion would be the best Guide for us if we may Expect that Government will grant us every Assistance and give certain Priviledges, and a part of Land at rent to it, or if we must purchase the latter and perhaps not find the Reception to full fill our wishes, and according as such Considerabel Undertaking merits, I can’t but expect it by what I Know that the Congress wishes are to enlarge, and Populate the United States and I am assured Our small transport or may I call it establishing Colonie will give both Pleasure to the Congress and Honnor to us, as they are all People of the best Conduct Virtue, and understanding, and not like many others which [. . .] in America, beeing Rejected in Germany, I shall there[fore] most Humbly beg from Your Exellency the favor to grant our Mr. Amelong some of the best Letters of Introduction & Recommandation for the states of Maryland that he may meet a agreabel Reception, and not be detained at his arrival to bring our Speculation to an Accomplishment and Perfection, and through this exposed to a very Considerabel loss by mentaining the many families with out Emploiing them to our Intention
Give me leave to assure your Exellency of my most devoted Respects and of my sincere Regard with I have the honnour to Remain / Sir / Your most Obedt humbl Servt.
[signed] Herman Heyman
{ 462 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To / his Excellency John Adams Esq / Ambassador of the 13 United / States of Nord America / residing at the / Hague”; endorsed: “Mr Herman Heyman / ansd Jan. 30. 1784.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. On 19 Jan., Heyman wrote a nearly identical letter to Benjamin Franklin and for the same reason (PPAmP:Franklin Papers). That is, Franklin had not yet replied to his previous letter of 31 July 1783.
2. John Frederick Amelung (1741–1798) is one of the most noted early American glassmakers. Having previously worked at his brother’s mirror-glass factory in Grünenplan, Germany, Amelung sailed for America in 1784 with 68 German glassmakers and associated equipment. He established his glass-house near Frederick, Md., calling it the New Bremen Glassmanufactory. There he produced window glass and other products, but he is best known for his signed and dated engraved presentation pieces. Following a stroke in 1794, he ceased his glassmaking activities, and in 1795 he went bankrupt (Grove Dicy. of Art). In his pamphlet, Remarks on Manufactures, Principally on the New Established Glass-House, Near Frederick-Town, in the State of Maryland [Frederick, Md.], 1787, Evans, No. 20189, Amelung gave a brief history of glassmaking and the establishment of his factory and, as Heyman did, sought public support for the undertaking. There Amelung also noted that he went to America with letters of recommendation from JA and Franklin to leading figures in Maryland. In JA’s case this probably refers to his 30 Jan. 1784 reply to Heyman, below, which JA said Amelung could take with him as an introduction.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0225

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1784-01-19

From John Thaxter

[salute] Dear Sir,

’Tis two Months this day since I arrived at New York— I delivered the Treaty & Dispatches on the 22d. Novr. to General Mifflin, the President of Congress, then at Philadelphia— One delay & another prevented my reaching home ’till the middle of December— I am ashamed that I have omitted writing so long—but Visits & Sickness have prevented.—
Mr. Gerry wrote you so largely upon the general state of Affairs & the projects of Parties that I could have nothing to add— He wrote in November by Mr. Reed of Philadelphia—since which time I have not heard a syllable from Congress or any of its Members.—1
The Impost recommended by Congress & the Commutation with the Officers of the Army have not as yet met with the Approbation of the States of Connecticut & Rhode Island— ’Tis very probable however that Connecticut will soon consent to the Impost & make Provision for the Officers— I was told so at least— Rhode Island must then fall in— ’Tis rather unfortunate, that these Matters have been so long delayed,—or that some new plan has not been adopted— Because it renders very precarious the punctual payment of the Interest of our foreign Debts, & keeps in an unhappy Suspence a Class of Men to whom the different States are indebted— I { 463 } mean our Officers— But all will go right in time— Our Countrymen commonly feel right—& will act right; but chuse to take their own time.
Various Opinions are entertained respecting the Cincinnati—Some think it will tumble of itself—others the reverse—some suppose it the Child of Resentment—the fruit of a supposed Neglect of the Army.— ’Tis most certainly an Institution without the Sanction of the Confederacy or any particular State— Whether it is a domestic or foreign Plant I know not—but it may become a very rank & poisonous Weed in the state Garden. ’Tis planned upon a great Scale—its honors are hereditary; but only in the Families of the Officers— Foreigners may be admitted as honorary Members. I don’t see either its Necessity or Utility— One of its Objects is the support of the exalted Rights of human Nature— It is very melancholy indeed, if, just after a Revolution, one of whose professed Objects was the Recovery and Establishment of the Rights of America, a Society, consisting of Military Characters & subjects of an absolute Monarchy, should become necessary for the further support & Maintenance of those Rights.— I wish well to our officers, believe them very deserving— I am confident they spurn the Idea of an Injury to America— But what their successors may be, ought not to be trusted to Chance, nor should they have it in their Power by any Institution to become dangerous to Society.— If my Ideas are wrong, I wish to be corrected & set right— I speak but for myself.— I think I have seen enough of hereditary honors & distinctions to convince me they are hereditary Poisons.—
The Judges of our supreme Court put on their Robes next Term— and the Barristers their Gowns—2 The Court have lately made some new Barristers—Mr. Morton, I think, is the youngest.3 I mean to attend the next Session, which will be in February—& in the Spring to quit this County. The Bar is now crouded, & more are coming on— I am fortunate in being single, & hope to scrabble at least as a Batchelor— A single Man, if industrious, need not starve in our Country.—
I forwarded your Letter to our Governor, & have since had the honor of paying my Respects to him— He recieved & treated me politely—mentioned the Contents of your Letter & wished to render me every Service in his Power.— You will permit me here, Sir, to express again my sincere thanks to you for the friendly Letters you have written in my behalf—4 I wish my Merit was equal to your { 464 } favorable Opinion. Whatever it may be in a political view is the fruit of your excellent Example & Instruction— Your different Negotiations were admirable Lessons in Politicks to me. I shall ever consider myself as having been highly benefited in falling under your Tuition both in Law & Politicks— My Improvements were not equal to my Advantages— I am not blind to my Infirmities— I boast only of my Fidelity while connected with you & employed in the Service.
I had the pleasure of seeing Mrs. A. & Daughter very well last Evening on my Return from Boston— They propose to join you in the Spring. I wish you that Happiness most sincerely— They have acted very wisely in putting off their Embarkation ’till the Spring— Winter Passages are commonly rough & unpleasant.—
You will hear of the Death of Dr. Cooper before this reaches you— ’Tis a great loss to the Parish & Town— I found that I brôt a Letter for him from Dr. F—but it was inclosed to a Gentleman in Philadelphia, ’tho I was bound directly to Boston5 Dr. F derived his Information, I fancy, respecting the Reports that prevailed about him in the Negotiation for Peace, from Coll: Q— I am told he wrote the Dr. about them, & enquired if they were true?— He wrote the Dr. fully, what was said about him here— It was very natural for one so anxiously concerned for the Reputation of his Friend—6
I hope something considerable will be done in the Fisheries this year— Ship building is carried on briskly— Three Vessells are fitting out for China— This discovers an enterprizing Spirit—but will carry off too many hard Dollars.—
I am very happy to hear that you have so well recovered of your Fever— Accept, Sir, my best Wishes for a Continuation of your Health— Please to present my most respectful Compliments to Mr. Jay & Lady—& affectionate Regards to Master John.
With the greatest Respect, Sir, / your most humble Servant.
[signed] J. T.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excelly. Mr. Adams.”; endorsed: “Mr Thaxter / 19. Jan. 1784.”
1. From Elbridge Gerry, 23 Nov. 1783, above.
2. The use of English-style attire in Massachusetts courts was discontinued during the Revolution but briefly resumed in the postwar years. The Supreme Judicial Court opened on 17 Feb. 1784 with a procession of judges in scarlet robes and barristers in black silk gowns. The Boston Continental Journal viewed the ceremony as a patriotic occasion: “Some British Officers who were in town, it is said, muttered invidious expressions on this occasion, and have since secreted themselves to avoid that resentment which their impotent malice would have certainly brought on them from a spirited populace!” The use of a tertiary system in which Massachusetts lawyers were styled “attorney” { 465 } for their first two years of practice, “counselor” for their next two years, and “barrister” thereafter was discontinued after the 1784 ceremony (Boston Continental Journal, 19 Feb.; Arthur M. Alger, “Barristers at Law in Massachusetts,” NEHGR, 31:206–208 [April 1877]).
3. Thirty-two-year-old Boston lawyer Perez Morton was among those graduating to the rank of barrister in the 17 Feb. ceremony (Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, 17:555–557).
4. JA wrote to John Hancock on 5 Sept. 1783, introducing Thaxter and stating further that “His Behavior has been uniformly agreable to me, & his Industry, Fidelity & Zeal exemplary and uncommon” (LbC, APM Reel 108). He wrote similar recommendations to the president of Congress on 1 and 14 Sept., Elbridge Gerry on 6 and 8 Sept., Robert Morris on 14 Sept., and Benjamin Rush on 14 Sept., all above. Thaxter was familiar with the content of at least the Gerry letters, as the 6 Sept. Letterbook copy and the 8 Sept. recipient’s copy are in his hand.
5. Thaxter carried Benjamin Franklin’s “too long letter . . . respecting Mr. A.’s calumnies,” not found, to which Franklin referred in his 26 Dec. letter to Samuel Cooper (DLC:Franklin Papers). For more on the correspondence between Franklin and Cooper concerning JA’s criticism of Franklin’s conduct during the Anglo-American peace negotiations, see Franklin’s letter of 10 Sept., and note 1, above.
6. Thaxter also carried Franklin’s 11 Sept. letter to Col. Josiah Quincy of Braintree (Franklin, Writings, 9:93–96). Franklin was belatedly replying to Quincy’s letters of 25 May and 17 Dec. 1781, neither of which has been found. Franklin there mentions recent criticism of his actions as peace commissioner, but his comments seem to indicate that Quincy in 1781 was concerned about Franklin’s involvement in JA’s conflict with the Comte de Vergennes over Congress’ revaluation of its currency and the execution of his diplomatic mission (vol. 9:427–430, 516–520). Franklin had written to the president of Congress on 9 Aug. 1780, enclosing copies of the correspondence between JA and Vergennes and noting the sharp differences between JA and himself on how to deal effectively with the French government (Franklin, Papers, 33:160–166; Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:18–19). Quincy likely learned of the controversy from copies of Franklin’s letter sent to people in Massachusetts, including AA, or even directly from AA, who was enraged at the aspersions cast by Franklin on her husband (AFC, 4:172–180, 190–193).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0226

Author: Stockdale, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1784-01-20

From John Stockdale

[salute] Sir

(domestic News)
I have received by the packet some Medals inclosed in a Letter directed for You for which I paid 16/8 & shall not open it til I receive Your instructions1
I this day received a Basket sealed up & directed for You, as I suspected it was some sort of Game I resolved in the presence of Dr. John Jebb to commit an act of felony & break the Seals, with an intent for Dr. Jebb to seal it up again with his seal, should it prove to be any thing else,— but as it appear’d to be two fine Hares unaccompanyed with any Letter, I took the liberty to offer one to Dr Jebb in Your name which he very politely refused, desiring me at the same time to remember him to You in the Strongest terms, I am now left in the distrest situation of being oblig’d to eat (with the { 466 } assistance of my little family) both the Hares we shall do ourselves the pleasure after dinner of Drinking, Yours, Your Sons. & familys Good Health in a glass of fine old Madeira, which I had from a friend.—2
(Political News)
Mr. Wm. Pitt rises every day higher in the estimation of the People & no doubt will be minister many Years, this night four of Mr. Fox’s friends in the House of Commons got up & begd. for a Coalition of Parties, which in fact is nothing less than Mr. Fox’s coming on his Knees to Mr Pitt, but you may rely upon it that Mr Pitt will never Join Lord North.—3
A very full Court at the Queens Birth Day Yesterday the Portuguese Ambassador was over turn’d in St. James’s St. in his Carriage but not hurt, but a Gentlemans Servt. who was near had both his legs broke by the accident.—
I am Sir Your much obligd / & very Humble Servant
[signed] J. Stockdale
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excy. John Adams Esqr. / Minister Plenipotentiary from / the United States of America / to the United Provinces of the / Low Countries / Hague”; endorsed: “Mr Stockdale / Jan. 20. ansd 31. 1784.”
1. For the medals, see Jean George Holtzhey’s letter of 5 Dec. 1783, above.
2. For the hares, see John Cranch’s letter of 17 Jan. 1784, above, and JA’s reply to Cranch of 31 Jan., below.
3. Stockdale presumably refers to the Commons debate on 20 Jan. over “Rumours of a Union of Parties.” Parliament was in the midst of a constitutional crisis. William Pitt had taken office on 19 Dec. 1783 because of the India Bill’s defeat in the House of Lords despite having been approved by the House of Commons. The defeat, and thus Pitt’s replacement of the Fox-North coalition, was principally owing to the disclosure of George III’s opposition to the bill. But even after Pitt formed his ministry the faction in Parliament allied to Charles James Fox retained a majority. Thus the Pitt ministry was charged with being the creature of George III, the product of the unconstitutional use of his prerogatives. This resulted on 16 Jan. 1784 in the Commons resolving, by a margin of 205 to 184, “that the appointments of his Majesty’s present ministers were accompanied by circumstances new and extraordinary, and such as do not conciliate or engage the confidence of this House; the continuance of the present ministers in trusts of the highest importance and responsibility, is contrary to constitutional principles, and injurious to the interests of his Majesty and his people.” During the debate on 20 Jan., the substance of which was that there would be no coalition, Fox stated very clearly the fundamental issue that divided him and his party from Pitt: “One set of men think that the opinion of the House of Commons ought not to guide the sovereign in the choice of ministers who may have the confidence of the people; while the other set of men think that no ministry can or ought to stand, but on the confidence and support of the House of Commons. The one party stand upon prerogative, the other upon responsibility and the constitution” (Cannon, Fox-North Coalition, p. 145, 147; Parliamentary Hist., 24:360–392). See also JA’s 14 Dec. 1783 letter to the president of Congress, and note 4, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0227

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1784-01-24

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

Desirous of doing all in my Power, to Save Mr Morriss Bills, I determined to go to Amsterdam, and accordingly, Sett off, the Beginning of this Month from London, in a Season too rigorous for Pleasure.— At Harwich we were obliged to wait Several Days for fair Weather, which when it arrived brought us little Comfort as it was very cold And the Wind exactly against Us. The Packetts were obliged to put to Sea and I embarked in one of them. We were more than Three Days in advancing Thirty three Leagues with, So unsteady a Course, and Such a tossing Vessell that We could not keep a fire, the Weather very cold and the Passengers all very Seasick. As We could not, on Account of the great Quantities of Ice upon the Coast, reach Helvoet, We were put on Shore on the Island of Goree, where We got a Boors Wagon1 to carry our Baggage and We walked about Six Miles to the Town of Goree. not finding Iceboats here We were obliged to go in open Boors Waggons across the Island to Middle Harness. Here We were detained Several Days in very bad Lodgings unable to find Boats to carry Us over the Arm of the Sea to Helvoet. at Length Iceboats appeared, and We embarked amidst a Waste of Ice which passed in and out evey day with the Tide, and by the Force of Oars, & Boathooks Sometimes rowing, in the Water, and sometimes dragging on the Ice, which would now & then break & let us down, in the Course of the Day We got over, and thought ourselves lucky, as the last Boat which passed got stuck in the Ice and was carried out with the tide and brought in again, So that they were out from 9 in the Morning to one O Clock the next night before they reached the opposite Shore. We could not reach Helvoet, but landed on the Dyke about two Miles from it, and took Boors Waggons again for the Brille, which We reached at Night. Next Morning We took Ice Boats again to cross another Water obstructed with Ice as before, and then a Third the Maese, which We found Sufficiently frozen to walk over on the Ice. another Boors Waggon carried Us to Delft, and from thence a Coach to the Hague. after the Rest of a day or two I went to Amsterdam.2 Our Bankers had applied to the Regency, and I offered to enter into any reasonable Contract, and to pledge the Faith of the United States for the Performance of it. but all in vain, The Gentlemen of the Regency, Seemed very desirous of doing something for Us, if they { 468 } could. But as usual, they are so afraid of making a Precedent, and that other Powers, as much distressed for money as We, would take Advantage and demand the Same favour, that they dare not, and our Bankers were advised to take back their Application, to avoid a certain decision against Us.— Yesterday I returnd to the Hague.
I Should look back with <Pleasure, upon the> less Chagrin, upon the disagreable Passage from London, if We had Succeeded, in obtaining the Object of it, but I find I am here only to be a Witness that American Credit in this Republick is dead, never to rise again, at least untill the United States Shall all agree upon Some Plan of Revenue, and make it certain that Interest and Principal will be paid. There has Scarcely an Obligation been Sold Since the News of the Mutiny of Soldiers in Philadelphia and the diversity of Sentiments among the States about the Plan of Impost.
I have no Information from Congress or Mr Morris, but am told by our Bankers there are Bills to the Amount of Thirteen hundred Thousand Guilders which must be sent back, a terrible disappointment to great Numbers of People! Some of the Bills become payable, the Beginning of March, and the Rest being much the greatest Part in May.
At Amsterdam I recd the Honour of yours of the 3 of this Month.
LbC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Dr Franklin.”; APM Reel 107.
1. Farm wagon.
2. JA left London on 2 Jan., landed on the island of Goeree on the 8th, reached The Hague on the 11th, and went to Amsterdam on the 14th. The account given here should be compared with that JA compiled in 1812 and published in the Boston Patriot, JA, D&A, 3:152–153, and JQA’s contemporary account in his letters to Peter Jay Munro of 13 and 16 Jan. 1784, NNMus. The Gazette d’Amsterdam of 16 Jan. included a report from The Hague dated two days earlier relating that JA had returned from Paris and London and appeared before the States General to announce that he was again in residence at The Hague. Benjamin Franklin likely first learned of JA’s arrival from C. W. F. Dumas’ letter of 15 Jan., which indicated that JA had reached The Hague and gone to Amsterdam (DLC:Franklin Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0228

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Ridley, Matthew
Date: 1784-01-25

To Matthew Ridley

[salute] Dear Sir

I recd, last Week, at Amsterdam, your Favour of Decr. 27. and Sympathize, most Sincerely with you, in your Affliction but I Still hope, Mrs Ridley will recover.
As an Article in our Confederation, Stipulates, that “no State Shall confer any Title of Nobility” and as the Genius of our { 469 } Governments is averse to all Such Distinctions, I am no Friend to the Errand of Major L’Enfant.1 I wonder, what the Roman, in Heaven, thinks, of the Use We are making of his Name and his Plough! I wonder, whence our Officers derived their Authority, to assume Such Honnours, and to institute Such decorations, without Leave of Congress or the States. if Congress had ordered a Medal to be Struck, and presented to every officer, no Objection would have been made: but the present mode, will, I fear give rise to very disagreable Debates and Dissentions. I have been informed that this whole Scheme, was first concerted, in France and transmitted, from thence, by the Marquis? Is this true or not? It is with Congress and the States to determine, whether it Shall be permitted. to me, it Seems an Inroad upon our Liberties. I dare Say the officers do not consider it, in that Light.2
To my mortification I must inform you, that I despair of doing any Thing to prevent the Bills from going back. I have made a painful Journey to Holland, in Packet Boats, Iceboats and Boors Waggons, in a very Severe Season to do all I could, but I find nothing can be done. I made a Journey last Summer in extream Heat, and another this Winter in extream Cold, both to no Purpose. The Heat cost me a Fever, and the Cold has hurt, my Health, but the greatest Chagrin of all is to find that I wear out, the feeble Remains of me, for nothing. I have but one comforable Reflection, which is, that when the States find their Credit compleatly and certainly undone, they will take effectual Measures to recover it, by establishing a Revenue for the Payment of Interest.
Remember me, respectfully and affectionately to Mrs Barclay, Mrs Ridley and the Children.
How is the Drs Complaint of the Stone, Gravel &c
LbC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mathew Ridley Esq.”; APM Reel 107.
1. The relevant passage in Art. 6, paragraph 1, of the Articles of Confederation reads “nor shall the united states in congress assembled, or any of them, grant any title of nobility.”
2. This is the only extant letter by JA to anyone at Paris in which he criticizes the Society of the Cincinnati, but he was apparently equally unreserved in expressing his opinion of the society in conversations with acquaintances at Amsterdam. For the result of his comments, see the Marquis de Lafayette’s letter of 8 March in which he defended the society against JA’s criticism, Lafayette, Papers, 5:201–203.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0229

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Staphorst, Nicolaas & Jacob van (business)
Recipient: Willink, Wilhem & Jan (business)
Recipient: La Lande & Fynje, de (business)
Date: 1784-01-29

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

[salute] Gentlemen

when I left Amsterdam, I despaired of doing any Thing to prevent the Bills of Exchange from being Sent back.— It is possible however that Something may have Since happened, to give Us better hopes.— I should be obliged to you, if you would inform me, whether there is yet any Ground to expect any Aid from the venerable Regency of your City, or not. The Commerce of the City is much interested in it: and the City has a Right to do what it will with its own: and therefore no other Power can take Advantage of the Precedent, Since We are not demanding a Right, but requesting a Favour. Surely if the City Sees, that without hurting itself, it can confer a Favour on a Friend, and thereby greatly promote it’s own Commerce, it has a Right to do it, without fearing that other Powers differently circumstanced should claim a like Indulgence.
Since my Return to the Hague, I have reflected as maturely as I can, upon the Proposition of a new Loan, on a different Plan, Suggested in one of your Letters to me in London. It would be with great Reluctance, that I should consent to raise the Interest, but yet I would do it, rather than the Bills should go back.— I therefore request of you Gentlemen to consider of this matter, and consult with the Undertakers, and if you can be Sure of obtaining the Cash to Save the Bills, by a new Plan, I would agree to it. But yet, I could not, I think go beyond Six Per Cent including your Commissions, the two Per Cent to the Undertakers and in short including Interest and all Charges.1
It is neither your Fault nor mine, if We cannot Succeed, yet I should wish to do every Thing in our Power, and I request your Sentiments upon the Subject.— It would be imprudent to talk of a new Plan if We were not previously certain of Success in obtaining the Money.
I have the Honour to be, with Esteem / Gentlemen your most obedient and / most humble servant
LbC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Messrs W. & J. Willink / Nich: & Jacob Van Staphorst / & / De la Lande & Fynje”; APM Reel 107.
1. For the proposed new loan, see the consortium’s letter of 23 Dec. 1783, above. In fact, with the regency’s refusal to become involved, the consortium was apparently already hard at work laying the groundwork for a new loan, for which see their reply of 31 Jan. 1784, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0230

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Heyman, Herman
Date: 1784-01-30

To Herman Heyman

[salute] Sir

I have received the Letter you did me the Honour to write me on the 17. of this Month.
I wish Sincerely well to your Plans of Connection with America, but as they are of a private Nature I have no more Authority to give you Advice or Assistance, than any private Citizen.
I cannot give you any Encouragement, that Congress or the State of Maryland, or any other of the United States, will give you any publick Aid.— The Country is all open to the Enterprizing who, if they can find their Interest in Emigration have full Scope to exert their Skill, Talents & Industry: But the publick will be cautious of interfering.
I would not, on the one hand, discourage your Attempt nor on the other inspire you will false hopes. Your Plan is vast, and the Expence must be very great, So that if you Should not meet with Success the Disappointment might be Serious.— Wood it is true is plenty, but Labour is very dear. There have been Several Attempts to introduce the Manufactory of Glass into America. One at Braintree near Boston, my native Place,1 and one or more, at Philadelphia. These Succeeded to a certain degree, but I believe never made any great Fortune.
If your Friend Mr John Fried. Amelong goes to Maryland I would recommend him to the Civilities of his Excellency the Governor of that State, and any of the Members of their Legislature, and any of the Members of Congress now Sitting at Anapolis. Any of these Personages would have the Goodness to give thier Advice to Mr Amelong, and he may take this Letter with him if you please, as an Introduction. But he must not from thence expect any publick Assistance.2
With great Esteem and Respect &c
LbC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mr Herman Heyman / at Bremen.”; APM Reel 107.
1. JA was well aware of the glassworks that had operated in the Germantown section of Braintree because it had been operated by his own brother-in-law Richard Cranch and Cranch’s brother-in-law Joseph Palmer (AFC, 1:18).
2. There are no extant letters by JA recommending John Frederick Amelung to anyone in Maryland, so it is likely that he carried this letter as an introduction (from Herman Heyman, 17 Jan, and note 2, above).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0231

Author: Reed, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1784-01-30

From Joseph Reed

[salute] Sir

Considerations purely of a private Nature having brought me to this Kingdom I take the very first Moments to present your Excelly. my most respectful Regards & to regret that the Length of my Voyage has deprivd me of the Oppy. of doing it personally as I am inform’d you have left this City very lately.1 I also take this Occasion through our respectable Friend Mr. Laurens to forward a Packet which our Friend Gerry with whom I spent the last Day in America intrusted to my Care in so special a Manner that I feel myself particularly happy in forwarding so as to ensure its safe Arrival (very uncommon Accidents excepted).2 As I doubt not he has communicated more perfectly than I can pretend to do the Occurrences of America deserving your Notice, it would be superfluous to repeat what he has said so much better. But as even a Repetition of pleasing Circumstances is not wholly ungrateful to those who feel for the Publick as you do, I think I may venture to assure you that the American Union has been strengthened rather than weakned by the Events of the last Summer. The Removal from Philada. & the prohibitory Restrictions pass’d here have contributed to this, in an eminent Degree & substituted a new Bond of Union to that which the Peace & a Cessation of the Influence of common Danger had in some Measure dissolved. Its Operation in America has very much alarm’d those who though their Bodies are there have Hearts yet in Great Brittain. They have through our publick Papers treated Congress with some indecent Abuse, but it is rather the Ebulletion of disappointed local Party, than the sense of the People. The Operation of these Events is also perceptible on the State of our Funds & we had when I left America more favourable Prospects of their Establishment than at any Period for 12 Months past.— Genl. Washington pass’d thro Philadelphia about the 15 December on his Way to Annapolis where (to use his own Expression) he intended to leave his Coat & Cockade—3
Dr. Witherspoon also arrived in the same Ship but not on any publick political Business he prays me to present his particular Respects. And if we can supply any Information or in any Respect be useful to you, you will please to command us without Reserve pointing out the Channel of Connyance which your own Discernment & better Acquaintance with the Country will suggest.—
{ 473 }
With every Sentiment of Respect & Esteem which I may with the utmost Justice assure you America feels for your Person & Services permit me to add my own in a particular Manner & believe me / with very great Truth & Regard / Dr. Sir / Your Excelly. most Obedt & / very Hbble Servt.
[signed] Jos: Reed
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excelly Mr. Adams”; endorsed: “Mr Reed London Jan. 30 / ansd Feb. 11. 1784.”
1. Reed had come to England with John Witherspoon. Mentioned later in the letter, Witherspoon was a Presbyterian minister, president of the College of New Jersey, and signer of the Declaration of Independence. The two men had been commissioned by the college to seek funds in England to pay for the institution’s rehabilitation from the effects of the war, but their efforts ultimately proved futile (DAB; Varnum Lansing Collins, President Witherspoon: A Biography, 2 vols., Princeton, 1925, 2:138–143).
2. This was Elbridge Gerry’s letter of 23 Nov. 1783, above, which JA received on 10 Feb. 1784 (to Reed, 11 Feb., LbC, APM Reel 107). For JA’s 27 June reply to Gerry, see note 1 to the 23 Nov. 1783 letter.
3. George Washington passed through Philadelphia on his way to Annapolis to formally present his resignation to Congress, which he did on 23 December. For Washington’s address and Congress’ response, see JCC, 25:837–839.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0232

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cranch, John
Date: 1784-01-31

To John Cranch

[salute] Sir

Your Favour of the Seventeenth of this Month, was delivered to me, last night.— I left London on the third of this Month1 So that your kind Present of Game, afforded a Regall, to Mr Stockdale in Piccadilly, but I am not less obliged to you for it, than if I had been so fortunate as to receive it myself.— I beg you sir to accept my Sincere Thanks for it.
As the Nephew of my most valuable Brother Cranch I should have been happy to have met you in England. if the Time would have permitted, I should have wished to have made an Excursion to that Part of England where the Relations of my Friend Mr Palmer and those of my Brother reside.2 and if you sir, or any of your Friends should travail in Holland, I should be very glad to see them at the Hague.
I Should esteem it, as a favour if you would Send me a Copy of the Letter you allude to from Casco Bay.3 You may Address your Letter to me, at the Hague, by the Post.
I am, with great Regard for yourself and / your Connections, Sir your most obedient / and obliged humble servant
LbC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mr John Cranch / an Attorney at Axminster / in Devonshire.”; APM Reel 107.
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1. According to JQA’s 13 Jan. letter to Peter Jay Munro (NNMus), he and his father left London at seven o’clock on the morning of 2 January.
2. JA, AA, and AA2 would visit the Cranch and Palmer relatives, including John and Joseph Cranch and John Palmer, in 1787. See JA, D&A, 3:203–210; AFC, 8:175–176.
3. For this letter from Thomas Hopkins, which Cranch enclosed with his reply of 11 Feb. (Adams Papers), see Cranch’s letter of 17 Jan., note 3, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0233

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Stockdale, John
Date: 1784-01-31

To John Stockdale

[salute] Sir

Your Favour of the 20th. was Sent me last night, and put me into a Fit of good Humour which continues to this moment.
The Letter containing the Medals, I beg you to open and deliver one set to Mr West and another to Mr Whiteford, in my Name.—1 You will please to make a Minute of the Postage you pay for me, which I will remit you.
The Hares were well disposed of, and I hope gave Pleasure to the little Family.— You could not have offerd one of them more properly than to Dr Jebb, for whom I have the highest Esteem, as one of the best Citizens of the little Commonwealth of the just upon Earth.
If I did not know that the Burthen of the State lies So heavily upon your shoulders I would invite you, to take a Trip to the Hague. <and drink a Glass of finer old Madeira than that you had from your Friend> I would not advise you to come in this Season to travel in Iceboats and Boors Waggons as I did.
It gives me Pleasure to hear that Mr Pitt rises in the Esteem of the People, because he has a fair Character and promisses great Things: nevertheless a Friend to Old England would wish for a Coalition, But Mr Fox is of So peremptery a Cast, and not always in the right, that I fancy it will be difficult, to form any Coalition in which he is not the Essence.
it will ever give me Pleasure to hear of your Welfare and to receive a Spice of the Politicks of the day, / with much Esteem, Sir your very humble / srt.
LbC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mr. John Stockdale Piccadilly.”; APM Reel 107.
1. The medals were to go to Benjamin West, the artist, and Caleb Whitefoord, secretary to Richard Oswald during the 1782 Anglo-American peace negotiations.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0234

Author: Staphorst, Nicolaas & Jacob van (business)
Author: Willink, Wilhem & Jan (business)
Author: La Lande & Fynje, de (business)
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1784-01-31

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

[salute] Sir

We are favoured with the honour of your Excellency’s letter of 29 of this month, whch. should have compiared Yesterday With us.
Mr. Wm Willink did himself the honour to wait on your Excellency the night before your departure, to inform you of the unsuccessfullness of all our repeated endeavours, and notwithstanding the favourable dispositions of our Regency, Considerations of so much importance with them opposed their good intentions, that they Could not be prevailed upon disposing favourable on our request.
We have however since not been quiet, but daily occupied we are in conference with the undertakers, by offering them an extraordinary premium on the remainder of the 2 Millions, and as they’ll meet Monday morning with us to make some demands, we Should wish to receive in answer to this your Excellencies order, if we Should conclude with them, in case we could Succeed with a sacrifice of 4 to 5 Per C: on that amount, for all the extraordinary gratifications and allowances, whch. we Suppose preferable in this Juncture above a tentamen of negotiating a new Loan against Six Per C: intrest, whch. however your Excellency Seems to consider, (So as we Surely have always done) preferable to the return of the bills, if however receiving your Excellency’s authorisation to the mentioned proposals. we could not succeed, it is very well you consent to our consulting with the undertakers. abt. a new Loan, with whom we Should by no means do any thing but on Security of getting the money.1
but we want to observe to your Excellency, that the intrest of 6 Per C: is in favour of the money Lenders, and can by no means bear the charges on the Loan, So the charges must not only be payed besides the intrest, but we are in real apprehension, that instead of having been 4 1/2 Per C. in all, would amount by the Juncture of the time to 6 Per C: all together, to whch. it Should be necessary to submit, and therefore we Should be of opinion to allow rather the extraord: premium of 4 to 5 Per C. on the remainder obligations in our hands; but we Submit with respect our Judgment to your Excellencies more enlightened understanding.2
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moreover we press the undertakers Seriously because we got information that the bank of philada. Stops payment, on acct. of false banknotes brought in circulation, whch. circumstance how prudent occasioned confusion there, and if it becomes publick, before we are able to conclude the matter, we are really fearfull, all our endeavours shall entierly miscarry, Some consider that for this fatal event, we must conclude the Sooner the better if possible, and not Stand on a triffle of a Percent more or less, whch. we Submit all to your Excelly’s. consideration, and beg the favour of your advice, if any thing of this Circumstance is known to you, as we should yet doubt of the veracity of this advice dated 9 dec:3
We have the honour to remain with great esteem / Sir / Your most Humb & Most / Obedient servants
[signed] Wilhem & Jan Willink
[signed] Nichs. & Jacob van Staphorst
[signed] de la Lande & fynje
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “To his Excellency / John Adams Esqr / Hague”; endorsed: “Messrs Willinks & Co / 31. Jany. recd & ansd / 1. Feb. 1784.”
1. In his reply of 1 Feb., JA authorized the consortium to proceed with its negotiations for a new loan (LbC, APM Reel 107).
2. The terms offered should be compared with those in the proposed loan described in the 4 Feb. letters from the consortium (Adams Papers) and Wilhem & Jan Willink (JA, Works, 8:175) and in the contract for the second Dutch-American loan of 9 March (Adams Papers). In the course of their negotiations, the consortium managed to diminish the ultimate cost of the loan by lowering the stated interest rate from 6 percent to 4 percent but allowing the purchasers of the notes a larger “gratification” or “gratuity” than might otherwise have been the case.
3. This is a reference to the Bank of North America established by Robert Morris at Philadelphia in 1781. There were numerous instances of counterfeiting during this period, but there is no indication that the bank stopped payment on its bank notes as a consequence (Morris, Papers, 1:66–68; 7:28; 8:300–303; 9:308).
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.