A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
close

Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 15


Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0029

Author: Laurens, Henry
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-06-25

From Henry Laurens

[salute] Dear Sir,

I beg leave to refer you to my Letters of the 17th. and 20th. Instant to the American Ministers.
I had very early applied to Ramsden one of the most celebrated opticians in London for the Spectacles which you desired me to { 56 } procure for you he was dilatory in finishing them and occasioned the loss of an excellent opportunity for transmission, they came to me just as I was leaving London in that circumstance I caused them to be packed up with an Article for Mr Jay, and another for Count Moustier in a little Box directed to yourself and Mr. Jay which I left in the hands of Mr. Bridgen to be forwarded by the first proper conveyance, intending to have done what I am now performing by another hand, immediately upon my arrival at Bath.1 But I was attacked by a fever on the road and obliged to take to bed as soon as I had alighted, this is the first day I have been able to write and even now I remain in a very feeble State. I directed Ramsden to put up a pair of spare Glasses of a different focus from those fixed in the frame, one or the other ’tis probable will suit your Eye, possibly both. His Bill accompanies the Articles and will shew the cost.
I am with great Respect and Regard, / Dear Sir, / Your obedient humble servant,
[signed] Henry Laurens.
I had almost omitted to inform you that your two Packets for Mr. Secretary Livingston and Letter for Arthur Lee Esqr. were dispatched under my own cover to the Secretary the 17th. Instant by the hands of Mr. John Vaughan who I suppose is now on his voyage in a Packet from Falmouth to New York—2
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency / John Adams Esquire. / Paris.”
1. JA’s spectacles were obtained from the Piccadilly shop of Jesse Ramsden (1735–1800), one of the most celebrated British producers of precision scientific and optical instruments of the eighteenth century (DNB). Laurens’ execution of this commission is of particular significance because JA had long complained about problems with his eyes (AFC, 5:401), but this letter and JA’s reply of 12 July, below, contain the first references in any of JA’s correspondence to date to his obtaining and wearing glasses. In letters to John Jay and Elénore François Elie, Comte de Moustier, of 25 June, Laurens indicated that he had obtained from Ramsden and was sending a “little Pocket-compass” to the former and “a spying Glass” to the latter (NNC:Jay Papers; ScHi:Laurens Papers).
2. The letter to Arthur Lee was likely that of 12 April, JA’s most recent extant letter to his former colleague (vol. 14:397–399). The content of the packets intended for Robert R. Livingston cannot be determined with certainty, but they were likely sent under cover of JA’s 2 June letter to Livingston (PCC, No. 84, IV, f. 395). There JA indicated that he was sending Livingston letters that had been saved and returned to him when the vessel carrying them had been lost. He hoped that the secretary had received the originals of the letters. Congress’ dispatch book indicates that the 2 June letter arrived on 15 Aug. and contained “copies of sundry old letters” (PCC, No. 185, III, f. 75). The packets were carried by Benjamin Vaughan’s brother John (1756–1841). Vaughan had gone to America in 1782, returned to England in early 1783 carrying letters for JA and his colleagues, and was now returning to the United States where he would settle permanently and serve as the longtime secretary of the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia (Morris, Papers, 4:79; vol. 14:199–200; JA, D&A, 3:226).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0030

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dumas, C. W. F.
Date: 1783-06-26

To C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Sir

It is Sometime Since I had a Line from you or my Son. I hope all is well.1
I can give you no News. There is a Species of Witchcraft governs in England which keeps them from knowing their own Minds.— and a similar malignant Spirit reigns in America and prevents Us from getting any Intelligence from thence.—
I sometimes feel Wroth enough, to wish for the Revival of an old Spirit to hang these Witches.— Yet We should find it difficult to get at, the true ones; So I believe I m[ust] recur to my old Resource, Patien [ce.]2
It is now Six Months that I have been waiting in expectation that the next Week would bring me Something certain. and I am now as uncertain as I was Six months ago.
you will be so good as to inform me when you receive the Ratification of the Treaty and when Mr Van berckel Sails.3 and give my Love to my Boy and tell him not to forget his Promises.
Yours
[signed] John Adams.
RC (private owner, 1990); internal address: “Mr Dumas.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108. Text lost due to a torn manuscript has been supplied from the LbC.
1. The last letter from JQA that JA had received was of 6 June (AFC, 5:168), but on 24 June letters were written to him by both the younger Adams (same, p. 184) and Dumas, above.
2. For an earlier comment by JA on patience and an anecdote concerning his supply thereof, see vol. 12:389, 390.
3. Pieter Johan van Berckel, the newly appointed Dutch minister to the United States, sailed on 26 June (vol. 14:490).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0031

Author: Tufts, Cotton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-06-26

From Cotton Tufts

[salute] Dear Sir

If ever Wisdom Fortitude Patience & Perseverance were necessary, they were peculiarly so in the late Negociations in which You have been engaged. I thank Heaven for the large Display of these Virtues You have given and for the Success with which Your Labours have been crowned— I had long feared the Machinations of ——— fortunately for America her Negociators knew her Interest and they have neither been duped or ensnared by Friends nor conquered by Enemies, they have obtained Terms, much more honorable than { 58 } could have been expected and had the Articles with respect to the Refugees have been omitted it might have been added, equal to our utmost Desires— But this could scarce have been hoped for, where on the Side of our Enemy Honor the Faith of the Nation & the most sacred Promises were pledged for their Security— You had a just Notion of Your Countrymen, their Bitterness and Resentment against that Set of Men cannot be conquered but by great Length of Time were they to be admitted here, their scituation must be very uncomfortable, especially the most of those that were proscibed— As the Articles which respect them will probably e’er long be discussed in the several Legislatures, I must entreat You to favour me with Your Sentiments by the first Conveyance relative to the 5 & 6th. Articles. Is the whole of the 5th. to be considered merely as recommendatory by Congress to the several Legislatures to be by them decided upon or is the conluding Part of the 5th. to be considered as binding & absolute Viz. “And it is agreed that all Persons, who have any Interest in confiscated Lands either by Debts Marriage Settlements or otherwise, shall meet with no lawful Impediment in the Prosecuttion of their just Rights”? Is the 6th. positive & binding or only recommendatory?2
That which was the fond Intention of the Parties to be binding I wish may be faithfully complied with, But I fear that in some a pungent Sense of past Injuries, in others a narrow and contracted Spirit will prevent that Liberality of Sentiment which might be productive of the greatest Good— On one hand the fond & irreconcileable Enemies of our Country & Constitution ought to be excluded on the other those whose Absence has not been grounded on Enmity and who may make good Subjects, ought to be admitted—this I think Policy requires—
Once more the County of Suffolk have placd me on the public Theatre—3 I find the Field large and capacious an unbounded Prospect lies before the Legislator— I start, I tremble, but when or where we shall fiz down, I am sometimes weary of conjecture— One false Step may tarnish all our hard earnt Glory, stamp an indelible mark of Infamy on our national Character and entail Misery on unborn Millions— To bring order out of Confusion and to reduce a Multitude to a just Decision requires more Wisdom and Patience than is commonly allotted to Mankind and is hard to be obtained where the Rulers are numerous and without a System to regulate all their Movements—
Congress have recommended the Establishment of a permanent { 59 } Fund for the Payment of our national Debt, included in this Debt is Five Millions of Dollars agreed upon between Congress and the Army in Lieu of half Pay for Life promised their Officers &c— This Commutation is much reprobated in the Country & excites great Clamour—4 Those who wish to do Justice, and without Delay to adopt Measures for settling the national Credit on a firm Basis, find themselves not a little embarrassed—
Connecticut I am informed has voted their Officers & Soldiers One Years full pay as an Adequate Reward— It is said Rhode Island has done the same— & What Measures will be taken here I am not able to say, tho there have been frequent Debates in the House of Representatives on this Subject, Yet I am apt to think that the Question will not be determined in the present Session—perhaps they may sever the National Debt and provide Funds for the Payment of that part of it which is foreign— But as imposts & Excise are recommended for this Purpose—the Work will go on but slowly— the Discussion of this Subject in a Body consisting of so many Members as compose the House & Senate will take up much Time and the Season of the Year calling for the Country Gentlemen to attend their Farms, this important Matter will I fear pass over to another Session—
Yesterday was laid before us a most affectionate Letter from Genl Washington, taking his Leave of this Legislature & being about to resign his Military Command and retire into private Life—without any other Emolument & Reward, than the pleasing Satisfaction of having served his Country, he breathes forth the most benevolent Wishes for the Happiness of the United States and manifests a Concern for their Interest & Welfare—political, moral & religious— truly affecting—5
I have already exceeded the bounds of a Letter & must conclude by renewing my Request that You would favour me by the first oppy with yr. Sentiments upon the 5 & 6th. preliminary Articles—
I am with great Respect & Esteem / Yr. affe. Friend & H Sert
[signed] C.T—
{ 60 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excellency John Adams Esq”; internal address: “His Excellency John Adams Esq—”; endorsed: “Dr Tufts. June 26. / ansd 10. Sept. 1783.”
1. To some degree this letter was AA’s doing. In her 30 June letter to JA she wrote that “I have engaged our Friend Dr. Tufts to write you fully upon political matters,” but see also Richard Cranch’s reference to Tufts’ writing to JA on “Publick Affairs” in his letter of 26 June, AFC, 5:187, 190.
2. Article 5 of the preliminary peace treaty directed that Congress should “earnestly recommend” to the states that either the “Estates, Rights and Properties” be restored to the loyalists from which they had been taken or restitution be paid for their losses. Tufts quotes the final sentence of the article, the only one not phrased as a recommendation. Since neither it nor Art. 6 were set down as recommendations to be made by Congress to the states, the implication is that these provisions were binding rather than recommendatory (vol. 14:106–107). However, in his 10 Sept. reply to Tufts, JA refused to provide any guidance. He wrote that “the[se] Articles must be [explained] by a Consideration of the [words] of them and the whole Treaty, [and] I do not consider myself at Liberty to Say any Thing about their Meaning any more than if I had [drawn] a Will, I could explain the [Intention] of the Testator. Give it as generous a Construction as you can, and call in Christian Charity as well as public Faith and human Policy to your [Aid]” (AFC, 5:240–241).
Richard Cranch posed essentially the same questions as did Tufts regarding Arts. 5 and 6 in his letter of 26 June. Responding to Cranch on 10 Sept., JA was only slightly more forthcoming than in his reply to Tufts, declaring that “the Treaty must Speak for itself. I do not Think myself qualified for a Commentator, nor should think myself at Liberty to comment if I knew how. From the Treaty itself, the Stipulations may be easily distinguished from the Recommendations. The former should be Sacred and the latter coolly considered, at least” (same, p. 185–188, 239–240).
3. Tufts was a member of the Mass. senate.
4. As Tufts indicates, there was no more divisive issue in Massachusetts in 1783 than the commutation of pay for Continental Army officers and its link to the proposed impost intended to pay the national debt and finance Congress’ administration of the national government. In fact, the controversy was a national one and mirrored the later conflict between the Federalists and Antifederalists over the U.S. Constitution, for both centered on the division of power between the states and central government. On 21 Oct. 1780, Congress promised Continental Army officers who remained in service until the peace half-pay for life without, however, specifying whether the money was to be paid by Congress or the states. By 1783 many of the officers lacked confidence in the states’ ability or willingness to honor the promise. This, combined with general dissatisfaction with Congress’ inability to adequately finance the army, led the officers in early March to demand a new and more reliable arrangement. George Washington’s 15 March response to the officers’ demands did much to defuse the situation, but Congress was forced to act and on 22 March adopted its commutation resolution. Instead of half-pay for life, the officers would receive “five years’ full pay in money, or securities on interest at six per cent. per annum . . . the said securities to be such as shall be given to other creditors of the United States.” Congress rather than the states would provide the compensation and the only means by which it would have the funds to do so would be if the proposed impost was adopted, providing it with adequate income from a source independent of the states.
The commutation and the impost were key elements in the plans of those seeking to establish a stronger central government, most notably Robert Morris. For such proponents, commutation was important because it obliged a significant constituency— Continental Army officers—to support Congress over the states if it hoped to obtain compensation. In Massachusetts this played directly into the fears, very prevalent in New England, of a standing national army, which were only enhanced by the later controversy over the Society of the Cincinnati (JCC, 18:960–962; 24:207–210; Ferguson, Power of the Purse, p. 155–164; vol. 14:410). For comments by those on both sides of the commutation and impost issues, see James Warren’s letter of 24 June, above, as well those from Tristram Dalton of 16 July, 8 Aug., and 5 Dec.; Elbridge Gerry of 23 Nov.; William Gordon of 7 Jan. 1784; Samuel Osgood of 7 Dec. 1783 and [14 Jan. 1784]; and James Warren of 27 Oct. 1783, all below, and from Warren of 26 Feb. 1784, Warren-Adams Letters, 2:235–238.
5. This is Washington’s very long circular letter to the states in which he announced his resignation but also addressed the commutation controversy. The General Court printed the letter together with other documents as a pamphlet entitled A Collection of Papers Relative to Half-Pay and Commutation Thereof Granted by Congress, Boston, 1783, Evans, No. 18256. Richard Cranch and Tristram Dalton sent JA copies of the pamphlet with their letters of 18 July 1783 (AFC, 5:204–206) and 8 Aug., below, respectively.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0032

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1783-06-27

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dear Sir

What are We to infer from the Indecision of the present Ministers?— Do they expect to draw their Country out of her Embarrassments; to preserve her Credit,; to avoid a Bankruptcy; to Settle a Plan with Ireland; to pacify Scotland &c &c &c, by a Sour Countenance towards America? We desire nothing but our natural Advantages in Commerce? if these are refused can it be expected that our People will be easy? a Share in the Commerce of the West India Islands Seems to be pointed out by nature to the United States. it is as necessary or as usefull to the Islands as to Us, and to Britain too as she will see and feel by Experience.
The last Ministry had adopted the only Plan, which can give Satisfaction or be durable, and the Inactivity of the present Sett, will, one should think bring in the former with their Measures.
It is alarming to be kept here so long in Suspence, and gives occasion to much Anxiety. The Measures taken now will have lasting Consequences.— I dont See So good a Prospect of finishing now as I did Six months ago.— Pray keep my Name out of Sight, but let me know your Sentiments upon the Times.
yours
[signed] J. Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mr Jennings.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0033

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
Date: 1783-06-27

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir,

Yesterday Dr: Franklin, Mr: Jay, & myself met to prepare the Definitive Treaty, and made so much progress in it, that tomorrow we shall be ready to communicate to Mr: Hartley the result: But I have small hopes of obtaining any thing more by the Definitive Treaty.—2
The Duke of Manchester & the Comte d’Aranda have arranged every thing between England & Spain, and are ready to finish for their two Courts.3 France, I presume, waits only for Holland, or perhaps for some other negotiation with the Imperial Courts. If all the other parties were now to declare themselves ready, we should be puzzled. In such a Case, however, I am determined, (and I believe, but don’t know, that my Colleagues would join me) to declare { 62 } myself ready to sign the Provisional Treaty, totidem verbis,4 for a Definitive one. From all I can learn, I am persuaded we shall gain nothing by any further negotiation: If we obtain any thing, by way of addition or explanation, we shall be obliged to give for it more than it is worth. If the British Minister refuses to agree to such Changes as we may think reasonable, & refuses to sign the Provisional Articles as Definitive ones, I take it for granted France will not sign till we do. If they should we are still safe, for the Provisional Articles are to constitute the Treaty, as soon as France has made Peace— And I should rather leave it on that footing than make any material Alteration.—
I have put these several Cases, because I should be surprized at nothing from the present British Ministry. If they have any plan at all, it is a much less generous one, towards America, than that of their immediate Predecessors. If Shelburne, Townshend, Pitt &c: had continued, we should have had every thing settled, long ago, to our entire satisfaction; and to infinite advantage to Great-Britain & America, in such a manner as would have restored good humor & affection, as far as, in the nature of things, they can now be restored. After the great point of the acknowledgement of our Independence was got over, by issuing Mr: Oswald’s last Commission,5 the Shelburne Administration conducted towards us like men of Sense & Honour. The present Administration have neither discovered understanding or sincerity— The present Administration is unpopular, and it is in itself so heterogeneous a Composition that it seems impossible it should last long. Their present design seems to be, not to commit themselves by agreeing to any thing. As soon as any thing is done, somebody will clamor: While nothing is done, it is not known what to clamor about.
If there should be a change in favor of the Ministry that made the Peace, and a dissolution of this profligate League, which they call the Coalition, it would be much for the good of all who speak the English language. If Fame says true, the Coalition was formed at Gambling Tables, & is conducted, as it was formed, upon no other than gambling principles.— Such is the state of a nation which stands tottering on the brink of a precipice with a debt of Two hundred & fifty six millions Sterling on its Shoulders. The interest of which, added to the Peace establishment only, exceeds, by above a million annually, all their Revenues, enormously & intolerably as they are already taxed.—
{ 63 }
The only chance they have for Salvation, is in a reform, & in recovering the affection of America. The last Ministry were sensible of this, & acted accordingly: The present Ministry are so far from being sensible of it, or careing abt: it, that they seem to me to be throwing the last dice for the destruction of their Country—
I have the honor to be, Sir, / Your humle: Servt:
[signed] John Adams.6
RC in Charles Storer’s hand (DLC:Boudinot Papers); addressed: “Robert. R. Livingston Esqr: / Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs / Philadelphia.”; internal address: “R. R. Livingston Esqr:”; endorsed: “His Excy John Adams / 27th. June 1783.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.
1. In the Letterbook is the notation by John Thaxter: “July 4th. deliverd to Mr. Barclay to forward to America.”
2. The commissioners communicated twice with David Hartley on 29 June regarding the definitive treaty, both below.
3. George Montagu, the 4th Duke of Manchester, was the newly appointed British ambassador to France. Pedro Pablo Abarca de Bolea, Conde de Aranda, was his Spanish counterpart. They were charged with making the final arrangements for the Anglo-Spanish definitive treaty (Repertorium, 3:162, 430–431).
4. In so many words.
5. For Richard Oswald’s second commission, dated [21 Sept. 1782], which authorized him to negotiate with the “Thirteen United States of America,” see vol. 13:483–485.
6. In JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0034

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
Date: 1783-06-27

To Robert R. Livingston

A few Vessells have arrived in England from various Parts of America, and have probably made the Ministry, Merchants and Manufacturers less anxious about a present Arrangement of Commerce. Whether these Vessells have rashly hazarded these Voyages against the Laws of their Country, or whether they have Permission from Congress or their States We are not informed.
It would have been better no doubt to have had an Agreement made before the Trade was opened: but the Eagerness of both Sides may not easily be restrained. Whether it is practicable for Congress to Stop the Trade I know not: or whether it would be expedient if practicable, I doubt.
The Ballance of Parties in England is so nicely poised, that the Smallest Weight shifts the Scales. In Truth, nothing can be done without changing the Ministry, for whatever is done raises a Cry Sufficient to shake those who do it.— In this Situation it is a Question whether it is best for Us to keep Things in suspence, or bring { 64 } them to a decision. if Congress were to prohibit all Trade with England untill a Treaty of Commerce was made or Some temporary Convention at least, it might bring on a decision by exciting a Cry against the Ministry for not making a Convention.— But the Moment a Convention is made a Cry will be raised against them for making it.— The present Ministry, to judge by their motions hitherto will hazard the Clamour, for not making one rather than that for making one. They think it the least dangerous to them, especially Since they have Seen so may American Vessells arrive in England and have heard that British ships are admitted to an Entry in the Ports of America, particularly Philadelphia.
The most difficult Thing, to adjust in a Treaty of Commerce will be the Communication We shall have with the West India Islands. This is of great Importance to Us and to the Islands, and I think to Great Britain too. Yet there is a formidable Party for excluding Us at least from carrying the Produce of those Islands to Great Britain.
Much will depend upon the Minister you first send to London. An American Minister would be a formidable Being to any British Minister whatever. He would converse with all Parties, and if he is a prudent cautious Man, he would at this Moment have more Influence there than you can imagine.
We are chained here, in the only Spot in the World, where We can be of no Use. if my Colleagues were of my Mind We would all go together to London, where We could negotiate the definitive Treaty, and talk of Arrangement of Commerce to some Purpose.— However, one Minister with proper Instructions, would do better in London than four. He would have the Artifices of French Emmissaries to counteract as well as English Partisans. for you may depend upon it, the French See with Pleasure the Improbability of our coming soon and cordially together, as they Saw with manifest Regret the appearances of Cordial Reconciliation under the former Administration. These Sentiments are not unnatural, but We are under no Obligation, from mere Complaisance to Sacrifice Interests of Such deep and lasting Consequence. For it is not merely mercantile Profit and Convenience that is at Stake. future Wars, long and bloody Wars may be either avoided or intailed upon our Posterity, as We conduct wisely or otherwise the present Negotiation with Great Britain.
With great Respect and Esteem I have / the Honour to be, Sir, your most obedient / and most humble servant
[signed] John Adams
{ 65 }
RC (PHi:Gratz Coll.); addressed: “His Excellency / Robert R. Livingston Esqr. / Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs / at / Philadelphia.”; internal address: “Secretary Livingstone.”; endorsed: “His Excy John Adams Esr / June. 27 1783.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.
1. In the Letterbook is the notation by John Thaxter: “July 4th. deliverd Mr. Barclay to forward to America.”

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0035

Author: Gordon, William
Recipient: Adams, John
DateRange: 1783-06-28 - 1783-07-02

From William Gordon

[salute] My dear Sir

Should you find in this ms a deal of the caput mortuum1 don’t wonder, for the weather is & has been very hot for several days. The last wednesday the house opposite to the old brick2 was so violently hot, that in their zeal against the absentees they broke the good frame of government you had a hand in erecting. The brains were for providing that persons taken up as such, should have a trial by jury to determine whether they came under the description in the act of 1778; the tongues determined that the matter should be left to the determination of two justices, & in case these judged them guilty, the Governor was to transport them. The voters were a hundred one way, & thirty the other. The latter are likely to publish a spirited sensible protest, if they prosecute what was proposed the last thursday.3 Mr Sullivan who enjoys his seat unconstitutionally is the dux gregis:4 & I shall not be surprised, after what I have heard, should he manage the ignoramuss, of whom there is not a precious few, & lead them into a violation of the articles of peace, by pleading that no more confiscations means not that no more property shall be confiscated upon the acts already made; but that no more confiscating-acts shall be made. How will these matters read in the European papers after all we have talked, published & fought on the side of Liberty! Mr Sullivan’s family lived at Menotomy5 a great part of 1782— He had an office at the same time in State Street, where he used to do business; on the friday or saturday he repaired to his family & continued with them till monday, & did not bring his family to dwell in town till October. Boston however chose him, & the house by a very small majority upon the case when before them determined in his favor: Upon which a piece was published signed Selden; but I have not yet done with him.6 Could you have thought, that the definition given by the convention of an inhabitant was not sufficiently clear, when it saith, where he dwelleth, or hath his home? We make such wild steerage, that I am ready to say to You again & { 66 } again, Come over & help us. I cannot tell whether the superior bench is yet filled up; if not, the prevailing politicians may keep a place open & upon your arrival pretend to honor you by offering the same, meaning to fix you on the bench, lest you get into the chair. This being to go by a trusty hand, & there being no doubt of its safe delivery, shall be more open & communicative than otherwise: but trust to your prudence not to let any one see the contents who may remit or bring them back.
We have not yet brought the Harvard College treasurer chosen in 1773 to settle his accounts. He is now hard pressed, but some think he will still contrive to postpone the business. On May the 6th when we had our semi-annual meeting, it was “voted unanimously that upon the day to which this meeting shall be adjourned this board will come to a final resolution respecting the measures necessary to effect a settlement of the late treasurers accounts in case they shall not be then settled, & that the secretary be & is hereby directed to furnish him with a copy of this vote.” The conversation that passed explaind the meaning of final resolution viz advising the corporation to sue.7 Some said, that I had fairly taken in ——— the French Dr, who was present.8 We adjourned for five weeks, the first three of which the party was well & could have attended the business, the other two he was or would be ill. He met us at the adjournment, pleaded his having been ill & gave us more promises, that he hoped to be well enough, in seven or eight days to finish it, & if so should certainly do it. I considered his presence as designed to prevent freedom of speech; was jealous before I went that he would manoeuvre in that way; & was resolved to speak, told him how long we had been trifled with, that he had been giving us nothing but promises &c &c, & then declared I should make a motion whether seconded or not, & accordingly moved that the Corporation should be advised to sue him—no second— After that made another motion—no second. (The corporation thought I had given him such a lecture, ie one & another of them, that if he would not settle after that they should despair). At length we adjourned for a fortnight. The fortnight was out last tuesday: he had been ill, & we adjourned for another fortnight. I gave hints about publishing the whole history of the affair if it was needful: this may possibly make him afraid of delaying much longer, lest a publication should discover him to the world. He will have Sullivan’s support as being of his party— Genl Danelson,9 Judge Cushing & his Honor are in the number of his courtiers. Come over & keep the Yankees from ruining their own { 67 } reputation, by a repetition of elections, that are not thought scandalous by people at large only because they are not known; but, which if they proceed on from year to year, will at length be known; for there is no hiding always the ointment of the right-hand which betrayeth itself.10
The Roxbury Instructions were chiefly manufactured by Selden— the introduction, the last period of the paragraph about refugees, & the closing paragraph by others. After much debate I lowered the tone designed to have been used, by the violent men, about the refugees, to its present form. Wish other towns had testified their gratitude to our negotiators.11
We begin to feel the scarcity of money. Having no exports, & buying goods drains off our cash. Many adventurers will be greatly disappointed in their hopes of gain. Vessels from Sweden Denmark &c will not carry away good reports when they return. We have not sufficient materials wherewith to freight them. It will take time to procure the same.
We have fine prospects, hay excepted which is like to fall very short. The Indian Corn & English grain look well— The former exceeding dear, eight shillings lawful the bushel.
The remainder devoted to more important matters.
The French, from what I learn, mean to have parties. My intelligence comes I apprehend from the Spanish negotiator,12 or what you please to call him, at Philadelphia & his party; which is excessively mad with the French, upon finding that they were not sincere, & wisht them not to gain either Gibraltar or Jamaica. Tis said, that they have had ever since 1762 to the number of 535 emissaries in different parts of the Continent, who are in their pay; & that they have been increased— that silver tongue became acquainted with a French Irishman who lived obscurely in 1774 & entered upon good pay Jany 177513 —that the French on the western side of the Mississippi are to be secured to the French interest, that so they may be used when they may be wanted—that the French attempted to get the Priests of Canada into their pay but could not succeed—that divisions are to be promoted between the South & North, that there may be an opening for France to get by it—that every Col in the continental army may have, if he pleases, upon credit to the amount of a thousand pounds sterling in goods which the merchants are to supply, but the court are to be at the risk of answering for them— that Col Ogden of the Jersey line is gone already upon that business to France14 —that the Marquis is to come & reside in the country to { 68 } support & increase the French interest. I am jealous that the policy of the French court is no ways favorable to the interests of America, & that could they effect it, they would make us wholly dependent upon themselves. Should they mean ill, they will most probably labour, that Congress may at length possess imperial power, that so they may have to purchase them at an easier price than a strong party in every state, a la mode de Sweden, which they possess, now the king has been made arbitrary, at a less cost than before.15
The Southern gentry are going back to their aristocratic or monarchical principles. They never were genuine sons of Liberty, they were sons only occasionally & by accident. It will require much wisdom to keep the States united. The South is foolishly jealous of the North. There are in several respects no very agreeable prospects; but de republica non est desperandum.16 We have seen the clouds blow over repeatedly, when there was the fear of a most dreadful approaching storm. One great evil among us is, that persons will not unite their endeavours to serve the public cause. Each is busy in attending to his own adventure, not considering that if the ship is lost they must all suffer. May not American liberty be like Jonah’s gourd which came up in a night & perished in a night!17
Was in town yesterday. The delegates chosen to go to Congress are Messrs Gerry, Partridge, Sullivan, Dalton & Danielson. Mr Dalton I am told declines going. Have no great opinion of Sullivan & Danielson.18 Young Dawes the lawyer two days ago secured Danielson by a single writ for a debt due to Mrs Leverett of twenty seven hundred pounds interest included, the original was contracted about ten years before the war. Danielson presented a petition to the General Court praying that he might be discharged from the writ, pleading that he had been long & was still in the public employ; that he offered to pay the debt with paper money when current, & that Mrs Leverett refused taking it; & that he apprehended the money was due at London & would go there. The house instead of rejecting the petition at once with disdain appointed a committee to consider it. Yesterday Dawes presented a counter-petition or remonstrance. The matter was not settled when I left town about five.19 Can scarce think that Danielson will carry his point. Should he, it must alarm all kind of creditors, & lead them to fear that sooner or later, there may be a general court, that will venture to spunge our all debts.
{ 69 }
Bad unprincipled men with craft & abilities, unless there are capable men of approved characters & in the esteem of the country to counteract them, will soon run us upon rocks & quicksands.
You have much upon your hands to excuse you from writing lengthy epistles, but hope you will let me in for as good a composition as the rest of your correspondents receive; which will much oblige Your sincere friend & very humble servant
[signed] William Gordon
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency John Adams Esqr.”; endorsed: “Dr Gordon June 28 / ansd. Sept. 10. 1783.”
{ 70 }
1. Dead head.
2. That is, the Old State House, which was opposite to the “Old Brick,” or First Church.
3. In 1778 the General Court adopted “An act to prevent the return to this state, of certain persons therein named, and others, who have left this state, or either of the United States, and joined the enemies thereof” (Mass., Province Laws, 5:912–918). It provided that if people proscribed in the act returned to Massachusetts they were to be apprehended by local authorities—selectmen, committees of correspondence, etc.; taken before a justice of the peace, who would order them jailed; and then transported from the state by the provincial Board of War. But in 1783 the Board of War did not exist, and thus there was no entity empowered to transport a proscribed returnee. This led the Mass. house of representatives, on 25 June, to adopt a revised law to remedy the situation. The new act provided “that in case any person now stands committed by any Magistrate, or hereafter shall be committed to any goal in this Commonwealth, by two Justices of the Peace, in pursuance of the act aforesaid, such Magistrate or Justices shall immediately certify the same commitment to the Governor of the Commonwealth, who shall immediately, or as soon as may be, at the expence of the Commonwealth, cause such person so committed, to be transported to some part or place within the dominions of the King of Great Britain.” Gordon’s objection, as well as that of the 25 members of the house of representatives who entered their dissent, centered on the fact that under the original law and its revision the proscribed person was to be imprisoned and transported without any right to a jury trial (Mass., Acts and Laws, 1782–1783, p. 499–500; Mass. House, Journals, Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass., A.1b, Reel 11, Unit 1, p. 112–118). While that might have been appropriate in 1778, the commonwealth in 1783 was subject to the Constitution of 1780, wherein Art. 12 of the Declaration of Rights provided that “no subject shall be arrested, imprisoned, despoiled, or deprived of his property, immunities, or privileges, put out of the protection of the law, exiled, or deprived of his life, liberty, or estate, but by the judgment of his peers, or the law of the land. And the legislature shall not make any law, that shall subject any person to a capital or infamous punishment, excepting for the government of the army and navy, without trial by jury.”
4. Leader of the flock or herd.
5. An area in West Cambridge, now Arlington, Mass.
6. The article signed Selden in the Boston Independent Chronicle of 26 June 1783 was a reply to one from Grotius that had appeared in the Boston Gazette of 3 February. Gordon’s reference to the article here and his later mention of the role of Selden in the Roxbury instructions (see note 11) makes it likely that Gordon was the author. The Grotius article, possibly by James Sullivan, opposed the impost requested by Congress because the right to levy it had not been specifically granted to Congress under the Articles of Confederation, and Art. IV of the Declaration of Rights in the Mass. Constitution of 1780 specifically stated that “The people of this commonwealth have the sole and exclusive right of governing themselves, as a free, sovereign, and independent state; and do, and forever hereafter shall, exercise and enjoy every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not, or may not hereafter, be by them expressly delegated to the United States of America in Congress assembled.” Selden called upon Grotius, if he held the Mass. constitution in such reverence, “to do honour to your integrity by applying these maxims to the case of James Sullivan, Esq.,” and he quoted the relevant passage of the constitution regarding residency requirements. A second article signed Selden, also addressed to Grotius, appeared in the Independent Chronicle of 21 Aug. and again took Grotius to task over his devotion to the Mass. constitution.
7. Almost from the moment of his appointment as Harvard’s treasurer, John Hancock was at odds with the Board of Overseers over the performance of his duties and custody of the college’s financial records. Gordon’s proposal in 1783 that the overseers sue the treasurer was not adopted, but it prompted Hancock to remove from Harvard two students whose educations he was financing and send them to Yale. The records were still being sought at Hancock’s death in 1793, and Harvard did not regain custody of the final volume until 1936 (Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, 13:429, 437–439, 445).
8. Samuel Cooper. He and Gordon were overseers by virtue of Ch. V, Sect. I, Art. III of the Mass. Constitution of 1780, which named as overseers the ministers of the congregational churches in the towns of Cambridge, Watertown, Charlestown, Boston, Roxbury, and Dorchester.
9. Timothy Danielson (1733–1791) of Brimfield, Mass., Yale 1756, was a former general in the Mass. militia. He had served many years in the legislature and since 1778 he had been a member of the Governor’s Council. In 1780 and 1783 he was chosen as a Massachusetts delegate to the Continental Congress but never served (Dexter, Yale Graduates, 2:410–411; Burnett, Letters of Members, 5:lvii, 7:lxviii).
10. Proverbs, 27:16.
11. The Roxbury instructions, intended to guide its representative at the next session of the General Court to begin in June, were adopted on 19 May and addressed to Thomas Clarke (Boston Independent Chronicle, 29 May). Like the Selden articles (see note 6), the instructions emphasized the need to observe the provisions of the Mass. constitution, and, in particular, Clarke was to “guard against the least breach of it in the House of Assembly by the introduct[ion o]r continuance of all unqualified [represe]ntatives.” This is significant because it was Clarke who moved to consider James Sullivan’s qualifications as Boston’s representative (from James Warren, 24 June, note 5, above). The paragraph on refugees ended by instructing Clarke “to use your influence, that the absentees do not return,” and the final paragraph concerned the militia. The instructions also declared that “we heartily bless God, that the war has terminated so honorably and advantageously; and take this opportunity of certifying our gratitude to our American Negociators.”
12. Presumably Francisco Rendón, secretary to the original Spanish observer in America, Juan de Miralles, and his successor upon Miralles’ death in April 1780 (Bemis, Diplomacy of the Amer. Revolution, p. 88–89).
13. Samuel Cooper, described by Gordon in essentially the same terms in a letter to JA of 7 Sept. 1782, had been receiving a French subsidy since 1779 (vol. 13:451, 13:453). Cooper’s alleged acquaintance, the “French Irishman,” has not been identified.
14. Col. Matthias Ogden of the 1st New Jersey Regiment had received leave to go to Europe and reached Paris on 12 July 1783 (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 418; to Livingston, 13 July, below). Ogden had served under the Marquis de Lafayette, who procured an invitation for Ogden to attend a reception for Louis XVI after his arrival in France, but there is no indication that he had any other purpose in going to France than to promote Franco-American trade (Lafayette, Papers, 5:140). By November he was back in America, bringing with him the first report of the 3 Sept. signing of the definitive treaty and a letter for AA (from the president of Congress, 1 Nov., below; AFC, 5:270).
15. Gordon is apparently referring to the French involvement in Gustavus III’s 1772 coup d’état against the Swedish Diet. For an earlier reference to it and to the Comte de Vergennes’ role as French ambassador to Sweden, see vol. 14:372.
16. Despair not for the republic.
17. Jonah, 4:6–10.
18. The previous delegation had consisted of Elbridge Gerry, Nathaniel Gorham, Samuel Osgood, Stephen Higginson, and Samuel Holten. Gerry was retained because he was not present and thus did not vote in favor of commutation as did his colleagues (JCC, 24:210). Of the new members chosen, only George Partridge attended. Tristram Dalton and James Sullivan were replaced by Samuel { 71 } Osgood and Francis Dana, respectively, but no replacement was apparently chosen for Timothy Danielson (Burnett, Letters of Members, 7:lxvii–lxix). See also AA’s comments on the selection of delegates in her letter of 30 June, AFC, 5:189–190, 191.
19. The petition by Timothy Danielson and counterpetition by Thomas Dawes were both presented on 1 July and referred to committee (Mass. House, Journals, Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass., A.1b, Reel 11, Unit 1, p. 137–138).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0036

Author: American Peace Commissioners
Recipient: Hartley, David
Date: 1783-06-29

The American Peace Commissioners to David Hartley

Answers to Mr Hartley’s six Propositions for the definitive Treaty1
To the 1st This Matter has been already regulated in the 5th and 6th Articles of the Provisional Treaty to the utmost extent of our Powers: The Rest must be left to the several States—
2d. All the Lakes, Rivers and Waters, divided by the Boundary Line or Lines, between the United States and his Britannic Majesty’s Territories, shall be freely used & navigated by both Parties during the whole extent of such Division. Regulations concerning Roads, Carrying-Places and any Land Communications between said Waters, whether within the Line of the United States or that of his Majesty, together with the Navigation of all Waters & Rivers in America belonging to either Party, may be made in a Negotiation of a Treaty of Commerce—2
3d & 4th That in all Places belonging to the United States in the Country adjoining to the Water-Line of Division, and which during the War were in his Majestys Possession all Persons at present resident, or having Possessions or Occupations, as Merchants or otherwise, may remain in the peaceable enjoyment of all civil Rights, and in Pursuit of their Occupations until they shall receive notice of Removal from Congress, or the State to which any such Place may appertain; and that upon any such Notice of Removal, a Term of two Years shall be allowed for selling or withdrawing their Effects, and for settling their Affairs—
5th That his Britannic Majesty’s Forces not exceeding in number, may continue in the Posts now occupied by them, contiguous to the Water Line, until Congress shall give them Notice to evacuate the said Posts; and Garrisons of their own shall arrive at said Posts for the Purpose of securing the Lives, Property and Peace of any Persons settled in that Country, against the Invasion or { 72 } Ravages of the Neighbouring Indian Nations, who may be suspected of retaining Resentments in consequence of the late War—
6th The Consideration of this Proposition may be left to the Treaty of Commerce
RC (PRO:FO 4, 2:115–116). LbC (Adams Papers); APM, Reel 109. LbC-Tr (Adams Papers); APM Reel 103.
1. This reply to Hartley’s proposals of [19 June], above, and the “Propositions” for a definitive treaty that immediately follow presumably were made with the hope that substantive negotiations would ensue, resulting in a definitive treaty considerably more comprehensive than the preliminary treaty of [30 Nov. 1782] (vol. 14:103–108). However, when JA published the commissioners’ response in the 12 Feb. 1812 Boston Patriot, he wrote, “one would think that these answers were sufficiently complaisant and conciliatory to have satisfied the coalition cabinet; but although there is no doubt Mr. Hartley’s propositions were made by their order, he never could obtain their consent to insert them or any thing else in the definitive treaty, but the preliminary articles.”
2. With minor changes in language, this paragraph and the following two were incorporated into the draft definitive treaty of [ante 19 July], below, as Arts. 15, 16, and 17.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0037

Author: American Peace Commissioners
Recipient: Hartley, David
Date: 1783-06-29

The American Peace Commissioners to David Hartley

Propositions made to Mr Hartley for the Definitive Treaty—
1st To omit in the Definitive Treaty, the Exception at the End of the 2nd Article of the Provisional Treaty, viz, these words, “Excepting such Islands as now are, or heretofore have been within the Limits of the said Province of Nova Scotia[”]1
Article
2dly The Prisoners made respectively by the arms of his Britannic Majesty and the United States, by Land and by Sea, not already set at Liberty, shall be restored reciprocally & bonâ fide immediately after the Ratification of the definitive Treaty, without Ransom, and on paying the Debts they may have contracted during their Captivity, and each Party shall respectively reimburse the Sums which shall have been advanced for the subsistence & maintenance of the Prisoners, by the Sovereign of the Country, where they shall have been detained according to the Receipts and attested Accounts, and other Authentic Titles which shall be produced on each side.
Article
3dly His Britannic Majesty shall employ his good Offices and { 73 } Interposition with the King or Emperor of Morocco or Fez, the Regencies of Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli, or with any of them, and also with every other Prince, State or Power of the Coast of Barbary in Africa and the Subjects of the said King, Emperor, States and Powers, and each of them, in order to provide as fully & efficaciously as possible for the Benefit, Conveniency and Safety of the said United States, and each of them, their Subjects, People and Inhabitants, and their Vessels and Effects, against all Violence, Insults, Attacks or Depredations on the Part of the said Princes & States of Barbary or their Subjects.
Article
4thly If War should hereafter arise between Great Britain and the United States, which God forbid, the Merchants of either Country then residing in the other, shall be allowed to remain Nine Months, to collect their Debts, & settle their Affairs, and may depart freely, carrying off all their Effects, without Molestation or Hindrance. And all Fishermen, all Cultivators of the Earth, and all Artificers & Manufacturers, unarmed & inhabiting unfortified Towns, Villages, or Places, who labour for the common Subsistence & Benefit of Mankind, and peaceably follow their respective Employments, shall be allowed to continue the same, and shall not be molested by the armed Force of the Enemy in whose Power, by the Events of War they may happen to fall; but if any thing is necessary to be taken from them for the use of such armed Force, the same shall be paid for at a reasonable Price. And all Merchants or Traders with their unarmed Vessels employed in Commerce exchanging the Products of different Places, and thereby rendering the Necessaries, Conveniences & Comforts of Human Life more easy to obtain and more general, shall be allowed to pass freely unmolested. And neither of the Powers, Parties to this Treaty, shall grant or issue any Commissions to any private armed Vessels empowering them to take or destroy such trading Ships or interrupt such Commerce
Article
5thly And in Case either of the contracting Parties shall happen to be engaged in War with any other Nation, it is farther agreed in order to prevent all the Difficulties & misunderstandings that usually arise, respecting Merchandize heretofore called Contraband, such as Arms, Ammunition and Military Stores of all Kinds, that no such Articles carrying by the Ships or Subjects of one of the Parties to the Enemies of the other, shall on any account be deemed { 74 } Contraband, so as to induce Confiscation & a Loss of Property to Individuals. Nevertheless it shall be lawful to stop such Ships, and detain them for such length of time, as the Captors may think necessary to prevent the Inconvenience or Damage that might ensue from their proceeding on their Voyage, paying however a reasonable Compensation for the Loss such Arrest shall occasion to the Proprietors. And it shall farther be allowed to use in the Service of the Captors, the whole or any Part of the Military Stores so detained, paying to the Owners the full Value of the same
Article
6thly The Citizens and Inhabitants of the said United States, or any of them, may take and hold real Estates in Great Britain, Ireland, or any other of his Majesty’s Dominions, and dispose by Testament, Donation, or otherwise, of their Property, real or personal, in favour of such Persons, as to them shall seem fit; and their Heirs, Citizens of the said United States or any of them, residing in the British Dominions or elsewhere, may succeed them Ab intestato, without being obliged to obtain Letters of Naturalization
The Subjects of his Britannic Majesty, shall enjoy on their Part, in all the Dominions of the said United States, an entire & perfect reciprocity, relative to the Stipulations contained in the present Article2
Article
7thly The Ratifications of the definitive Treaty shall be expedited in good & due form, and exchanged in the space of five months, (or sooner if it can be done) to be computed from the Day of the signature—3
8thly Query Whether The King of Great Britain will admit the Citizens of the United States to cut Logwood in the District allotted to his Majesty by Spain, and on what Terms—4
RC (PRO:FO 4, 2:117–120). LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 109.
1. This proposal was incorporated into the revised Art. 2 of the commissioners’ draft definitive treaty of [ante 19 July], below.
2. With some changes in language, proposals 2–6 were incorporated into the draft definitive treaty of [ante 19 July], below, as Arts. 9–13.
3. With some changes in language, this proposal was incorporated into the closing of the draft definitive treaty of [ante 19 July], below, and was the only proposal made by the commissioners on 29 June to be, in substance, included in the definitive treaty of [3 Sept.], as Art. 10, below.
4. With some changes in language, this proposal appears as Art. 14 of the draft definitive treaty of [ante 19 July], below.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0038

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

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."

Proposals for an Anglo-American Commercial Agreement

[Paris], June 1783. LbC-Tr’s in Jean L’Air de Lamotte’s hand (Adams Papers); APM Reel 103. The two proposals calendared here, one by David Hartley and the other by John Jay, are dated June in the Letterbook, but any effort to arrive at an exact date is problematical. They were likely done sometime after 21 May but prior to Hartley’s letter to the commissioners of 14 June, above, and perhaps even before his memorial of 1 June enclosed with that letter. Hartley’s proposal was likely done first, because it is a modification of one he had offered the commissioners on 21 May (JA, D&A, 3:123–124). The original offer permitted Americans to import to or export from any British port, home or colonial, whatever had been permitted prior to the war without restriction. As modified, Americans were prohibited from establishing a direct trade between Britain and the West Indies. John Jay, noting the difficulty of immediately concluding a permanent Anglo-American commercial treaty, proposed a temporary convention instead. Under the agreement, Britain would be prohibited from carrying slaves to the United States, “it being the Intention of the said States entirely to prohibit the Importation thereof.” The convention would also permit an expansion of Irish-American trade. To a degree both proposals reflected the parliamentary debates over Anglo-American commercial relations, but neither had any likelihood of being implemented because of the policies of the Fox-North coalition and the decision to use Orders in Council to regulate Anglo-American trade.
[Paris], June 1783. LbC-Tr’s in Jean L’Air de Lamotte’s hand (Adams Papers); APM Reel 103. The two proposals calendared here, one by David Hartley and the other by John Jay, are dated June in the Letterbook, but any effort to arrive at an exact date is problematical. They were likely done sometime after 21 May but prior to Hartley’s letter to the commissioners of 14 June, above, and perhaps even before his memorial of 1 June enclosed with that letter. Hartley’s proposal was likely done first, because it is a modification of one he had offered the commissioners on 21 May (JA, D&A, 3:123–124). The original offer permitted Americans to import to or export from any British port, home or colonial, whatever had been permitted prior to the war without restriction. As modified, Americans were prohibited from establishing a direct trade between Britain and the West Indies. John Jay, noting the difficulty of immediately concluding a permanent Anglo-American commercial treaty, proposed a temporary convention instead. Under the agreement, Britain would be prohibited from carrying slaves to the United States, “it being the Intention of the said States entirely to prohibit the Importation thereof.” The convention would also permit an expansion of Irish-American trade. To a degree both proposals reflected the parliamentary debates over Anglo-American commercial relations, but neither had any likelihood of being implemented because of the policies of the Fox-North coalition and the decision to use Orders in Council to regulate Anglo-American trade.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0039

Author: Staphorst, Nicolaas & Jacob van (business)
Author: Willink, Wilhem & Jan (business)
Author: La Lande & Fynje, de (business)
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-07-01

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

[salute] Sir

We take the liberty to trouble your Excellency on a demand of Mr Grand, to remit to him the remainder of what we have in cash for Congress on acct. of some disposition made on him by his Excellency Robt. Morris Esqr.
By his writing it Seems to us Said Gentleman has not indicated a credit on us to him and his Excellency having made a beginning to draw directly on us, and considering the bills on Mr Laurens and the Sum in Cash not very Large, we find not proper for us to Satisfy Mr Grand’s demand without orders of His Excellency of whom we may receive letters in a few days.
We think it however prudent for us to make our address to your Excellency to desire your directions on this Subject, and if you judge convenient for the intrest of Congress that we remit to Mr. { 76 } Grand, what is in Cash we’ll perform it but be so good to advice us at the Same time, how we are then to behave if further drafts of his Excellcy Mr Morris Esqr. are presented on us, or bills on Mr. Laurens accepted by your Excellency? as by the actual scarcity of money, the bonds are not readily taken of, but we have no doubt but with some patience it will do very well, as Several people promise us to take of them as Soon as they get ready money.
We have the honour to remain with respectfull consideration / Sir / Your Excellencys Most / Humble and most Obedt Servants
[signed] Wilhem & Jan Willink
[signed] Nichs. & Jacob van Staphorst
[signed] de la Lande & fynje
RC (Adams Papers). Filmed at [5–6 Sept. 1782].
1. This date is derived from JA’s letter to the consortium of 5 July, below. Although JA does not mention receiving this letter, he there advises the consortium to supply the funds requested by Ferdinand Grand, according to instructions received from Robert Morris. He likely also enclosed Morris’ letter of 29 April instructing the consortium to remit whatever funds Grand required, for which see note 1 to the 5 July letter.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0040

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
Date: 1783-07-03

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir,

On the last Ambassador’s day, wh: was last Tuesday,2 Dr: Franklin, Mr: Jay & myself, waited on Monsr: de Vergennes, who told us he tho’t he had agreed with the Duke of Manchester, but that his Grace had not yet recd. the positive approbation of his Court—3 The Comte advised us to make a visit, all together, to the Ambassadors of the two Imperial Courts. Accordingly yesterday morng: we went, first, to Mr: le Comte de Mercy-Argenteau, the Ambassador of the Emperor of Germany, & King of Hungary & Bohemia. His Excellency was not at home, so we left our Card. We went next to the Prince Bariatinski, Minister Plenipotentiary from the Empress of Russia: Our Servant asked if the Prince was at home, & recd. for answer that he was— We were shewn into the Prince’s Apartment, who recd. us very politely. While we were here Mr: Markoff came in. He also is a Min: Plenipo: adjoined to the Prince in the affair of the mediation. I told him we proposed to do ourselves the honor of calling on him. He answered, “comme vous etes un ancien Connoissance, Je sera bien aise de vous voir.”4 Whether this was a turn of politeness, or whether it was a political distinction, I know not. We shall soon know by his returning or not returning our Visit— The { 77 } Prince asked where I lodged, & I told him. This indicates an intention to return the visit—
We went next to the Dutch Ambassador’s, Mr: l’Estevenon de Berkenrode: He was not at home, or not visible. Next, to the Baron de Blome, Envoy Extraordinary of the King of Denmark not at home. Next to Mr: Markoff’s. The Porter answered that he was at home. We alighted & were going to his Appartment, when we were told he was not come in. We left a Card & went to the other Dutch Ambassador’s, Mr: Brantzen, who was not at home. En passant we left a Card at the Swedish Minister’s & returned home,5 the heat being too excessive to pursue our visits any farther—
Thus we have made visits to all the Ministers, who are to be present at the Signature of the Definitive Treaty. Whether the Ministers of the Emperial Courts will be present, I know not. There are many appearances of a Coldness between France & Russia, and the Emperor seems to waver between two opinions, whether to join in the war that threatens, or not.6 Perhaps the Ministers of the Imperial Courts will write for Instructions, whether to return our visit or not.—
After I had begun this letter, Capn: Barney came in and delivered me your Duplicate of No: 12. Novr: 6th. 1782. Duplicate of No: 14.— Decemr: 19th: 1782. & Triplicate of No: 16. April. 14th. 1783. and the original of your letter of 18th. April. 1783. not numbered. This last contained my Accot:— But, as I have never recd. any of this money from Dr: Franklin or Mr: Grand, but have my Salary from Messrs: Willinks & Company at Amsterdam, I am extremely sorry you have had so much trouble with this affair— Altho’ in your latest letters you say nothing of my resignation, or the acceptance of it, I expect to receive it soon, & then I shall have an opportunity to settle the affair of my Salary, at Philadelphia—7
After reading your letters to me, I went out to Passy to see those addressed to us all. Dr: Franklin, Mr: Jay & myself, (Mr: Laurens being still in England,) read them all over together— We shall do all in our power to procure the advantages in the Definitive Treaty, to which we are instructed to attend.—8
The State of Parties is such in England that it is impossible to foresee, when there will be a Ministry who will dare to take any step at all. The Coalition between Ld. North & his Connections, and Mr: Fox & his, is a rope of sand. Mr: Fox, by pushing the vote in the House of Commons disapproving the Peace, and by joining so many of the old Ministers in the new Administration, has justly excited so { 78 } many jealousies of his Sincerity, that no Confidence can be placed in him by us. I am extremely sorry that the most amiable men in the nation, Portland & the Cavendishes, should have involved themselves in the same reproach. In short, at present, Shelburne, Townsend, Pitt & the Administration of which they were Members, seem to have been the only one, who, for a moment, had just notions of their Country & ours. Whether these men, if now called to Power, would pursue their former ideas, I know not. The Bible teaches us not to put our Trust in Princes and, a fortiori, in Ministers of State.—9
The West India Commerce now gives us most anxiety. If the former British Ministry had stood, we might have secured it fm. England, and, in that case, France would have been obliged to admit us to their Islands, se defendendo.—
The first maxim of a Statesman, as well as that of a Statuary, or a Painter, should be to study nature—to cast his eyes round about his Country & see what advantages the Creation has given it. This was well attended to in the Boundary between the United-States & Canada, and in the Fisheries. The Commerce of the West-India Islands falls necessarily into the natural system of Commerce of the United-States. We are necessary to them, & they to us—and there will be a Commerce between us. If the Government forbid it, it will be carried on clandestinly— France can more easily connive at a Contraband Trade, than England: But we ought to wish to avoid the necessity of this, or at least the temptation—
I believe that neither France nor England will allow us to transport the Productions of their Islands to other parts of Europe. The utmost we may hope to obtain would be permission to import the productions of the french Islands into France, giving bond to land them in some port of that Kingdom, and the Productions of the English Islands into some port of Great-Britain, giving bonds to land them there. It must, however, be the care of the Minister, who may have to negotiate a Treaty of Commerce with Great-Britain, to obtain as ample Freedom in this Trade, as possible.—
While I was writing the above, my Servant announced the Imperial Ambassador, whom I rose to receive. He said he was happy that the Circumstances of the Times afforded him an opportunity of forming an acquaintance with me, which he hoped would be improved into a more intimate one. I said his Excellency did me great honor, & begged him to sit—which he did, & fell into a Conversation of an hour. We run over a variety of Subjects, particularly the { 79 } Commerce which might take place, between the United-States and Germany, by the way of Trieste & Fyume, and the Austrian Netherlands, and the great disposition in Germany to migration to America. He says he knows the Country, round about Trieste, very well, havg: an estate there—that it is a very extensive & a very rich Country, which communicates with that maritime City, & that the navigation of the Adriatic Sea, tho’ long, is not dangerous. I asked him what we should do with the Barbary Powers. He said he thought all the Powers of the world ought to unite in the suppression of such a detestable race of Pirates. That the Emperor had lately made an insinuation to the Porte upon the Subject. I asked him if he thought France & England would agree to such a project—that I had heard that some Englishmen had said, “If there were no Algiers, England ought to build one”— He said he could not answer for England— It is unnecessary to repeat any more of the Conversation, which turned upon the sober, frugal & industrious Character of the Germans, the best Cultivaters in Europe, and the dishonorable Traffic, of some of the German Princes, in Men, a Subject which he introduced & enlarged on himself. I said nothing about it. Rising up to take leave he repeated several Compliments he had made when he first came in, and added, “Monsieur, Monsr: le Comte de Vergennes me fera l’honneur de diner chez moi un de ces jours et j’espere d’avoir celle de votre Compagnie. Nous y parlerons d’une affaire, sur laquelle Monsr: de Vergennes vous parlerez auparavant”—10
This shows there is something in agitation; but what it is I cannot conjecture: whether it is to induce us to make the Compliment to the two Imperial Courts to sign the Definitive Treaty, as Mediators: whether there is any project of an association for the liberty of navigation, or whether it is any other thing I cannot guess at present; but I will write you as soon as I know— Whatever it is we must treat it with respect; but we shall be very carefull how we engage our Country in measures of Consequence, without being clear of our Powers, & without the Instructions of Congress— I went out to Passy & found, from Mr: Jay, that he had made his visit there, in the course of the day; but had said nothing to Dr: Franklin or him about the dinner with the C. de Vergennes.
In the Course of the day I had visits from the Prince Bariatinsky & Monsr: de Markoff, the two Ministers of the Empress of Russia. The Porter told these Gentlemen’s Servants that I was at home, but they did not come up—they only sent up their Cards. While I was gone to Passy, Monsr: de Blome, Envoy Extraordinary from the King { 80 } of Denmark, called & left his Card. Thus the point of Ettiquette seems to be settled, & we are to be treated in Character by all the Powers of Europe.—
I have the honor to be with great respect & Esteem, Sir, / Your most obedient, / humle: Servt:
[signed] John Adams.11
RC in Charles Storer’s hand (PCC, No. 84, IV, f. 436–441); internal address: “R. R. Livingston Esqr:LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.
1. In the Letterbook is the notation by John Thaxter: “July 4th. delivered to Mr. Barclay to forward to America.”
2. 1 July.
3. The Comte de Vergennes means that he and the British ambassador, the Duke of Manchester, had agreed on the terms of the Anglo-French definitive treaty. He informed the Chevalier de La Luzerne, the French minister to the United States, that as of 21 July “France agrees perfectly with England, on every point respecting their Treaty” (JCC, 25:588). For an additional indication of the Anglo-French agreement on the treaty, see note 10.
4. As you have been known for a long time, I will be delighted to see you. Ivan Sergeevich Bariatinskii and Arkady Markov reported on the commissioners’ 2 July visit in a 6 July letter to Catherine II and enclosed the formal note announcing the commissioners’ visit, presumably similar to those left at other embassies and legations (U.S. and Russia, p. 198–199).
5. The Swedish ambassador was Gustav Philip, Graf von Creutz.
6. Since the 1774 Treaty of Kutschuk-Kainardjii there had been repeated rumors of a new war between Russia, allied with Austria, and the Ottoman Empire. The impetus for such reports was Russia’s annexation of the Crimea, but the expected Russo-Turkish war did not begin until Aug. 1787, with Austria joining the conflict in Feb. 1788 (Cambridge Modern Hist., 6:674–676). For additional information regarding the Eastern Question and the “Coldness between France & Russia,” see JA’s 2 Aug. letter to Livingston, and note 1, below.
7. For the letters delivered by Capt. Joshua Barney of the General Washington, see vol. 14:34–36, 138–140, 407–410. No letter from Livingston dated 18 April is in the Adams Papers. If such a letter existed it may have been a covering letter for the 18 April letter from Lewis R. Morris, one of Livingston’s secretaries, which enclosed JA’s accounts (same, p. 426–427). Alternatively it may be a reference to the Morris letter, the date line of which indicated that it was from the “Office for Foreign Affairs.” JA replied to the letter of 6 Nov. on 23 Jan. (same, p. 203–205), but no specific replies to the other letters have been found. For JA’s concern over the payment of his salary by Benjamin Franklin through Ferdinand Grand, see vol. 14:ix–x.
8. Capt. Barney delivered Livingston’s letters to the commissioners of 25 March, 21 April, 28 May, and 31 May (vol. 14:361–364, 435–438, 503–504, 512–514) to Passy the previous day (Laurens, Papers, 16:231–232). JA replied to the four letters, in whole or in part, on 7, 9, 10, and 11 July; but see also his letter to Robert Morris of 5 July, all below.
The most important of Livingston’s letters were those of 25 March and 21 April, the latter of which enclosed the ratified preliminary treaty. In both Livingston criticized the commissioners’ decision to violate their instructions and negotiate and sign the preliminary treaty without informing France. For the history of the commissioners’ 18 July reply to those letters, see the Editorial Note and the reply itself at 18 July, and note 2, which contains an omitted portion of John Jay’s draft, below.
9. Psalms, 146:3.
10. Sir, the Comte de Vergennes will do me the honor of dining at my house one day soon, and I hope to have the honor of your company. There we will discuss some business, about which Mr. de Vergennes will speak to you beforehand.
The Austrian ambassador, Florimond Claude Mercy d’Argenteau, is referring to the dinner meeting that occurred at his house on 9 Aug. and was attended by the representatives of the mediating powers, the British and Spanish ambassadors, and the Comte de Vergennes. There the diplomats agreed on the final details and the signing { 81 } of the Anglo-French and Anglo-Spanish definitive peace treaties. That such a gathering was contemplated as early as 3 July indicates the progress that had been made in the negotiations between Britain, France, and Spain. That Mercy d’Argenteau would invite JA, and by implication his colleagues, and JA’s expectation that they would attend, indicate the Austrian’s assumption that the Anglo-American negotiations were equally far along. In the end the Americans did not attend, in part owing to their reluctance to participate in the Austro-Russian mediation, but also because they were awaiting a response from London to their final proposals for a definitive treaty. See JA’s 7 July letter to Livingston, and note 4, for his further comments on the invitation, and his first letter of 13 Aug. for an account of the meeting, both below.
11. In JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0041

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Morris, Robert
Date: 1783-07-05

To Robert Morris

[salute] Sir

Your two Favours of the 12 and 29 of May, were delivered me on the third of this Month by Captain Barney.1 Every Assistance, in my Power, shall be given to Mr Barclay, Mr Grand will write you, the Amount of all the Bills which have been paid in holland which were accepted by me.2 You may banish your fears of a double Payment of any one Bill.— I never accepted a Bill without taking down in writing a very particular description of it, nor without examining the Book to see whether it had been accepted before. I sent regularly in the Time of it Copies of these Acceptances to Dr Franklin, and I have now asked him to send them to me, that I may copy them & send them to you The Dr has promised to look up my Letters and let me have them. The Originals are at the Hague, with Multitudes of other Papers, which I want every day. Among the many disagreable Circumstances, attending my Duty in Europe, it is not the least that instead of being fixed to any one Station, I have been perpetually danced about from Post to Pillar, unable to have my Books and Papers with me unable to have about me, the Conveniences of an House Keeper, for Health, Pleasure or Business, but yet subjected in Many Articles to double Expences.
Mr Livingston has not informed me of any determination of Congress upon my Letter to you of 17 of November, which distresses me much on Mr Thaxters Account, who certainly merits more than he has received or can receive without the favour of Congress.3
I thank You Sir most affectionately for your kind Congratulation on the Peace. Our late Ennemies always Clamour against a Peace. But this one is better for them than they had Reason to expect after So mad a War. our Countrymen too, I Suppose are not quite Satisfyed. This Thing and that Thing Should have been otherwise—no doubt.— if any Man blames Us, I wish him no other Punishment { 82 } than to have if that were possible, just Such another Peace to negotiate exactly in our Situation.— I cannot look back upon this Event without the most affecting Sentiments. When I consider the Number of Nations concerned, the Complications of Interests extending all over the Globe, the Characters of Actors, the Difficulties which attended every Step of the Progress, how every Thing laboured in England France, Spain & Holland <untill a divided>, that the Armament at Cadiz was upon the Point of Sailing which would have rendered another Campain inevitable,4 that another Campaign would have probably involved France in a Continental War as the Emperor wd in that Case have joined Russia against the Porte: that the British Ministry was then in So critical a Situation that its duration for a Week or a Day depended upon his making Peace. that if that Ministry had been changed it could have been Succeeded, only either by North & Company or by the Coalition: that it is certain that North & Co. nor the Coalition, would have made Peace upon any terms that either We or the other Powers would have agreed to. that all these difficulties were dissipated by one decided Step of the British and American Ministers, I feel too Stronly a gratitude to Heaven for having been conducted Safely through the Storm, to be very Solicitous whether We have the Approbation of Mortals or not. A Delay of one Day might and probably would have changed the Ministry in England in which Case all would have been lost.— if after We had agreed with Mr Oswald We had gone to Versailles to shew the Result to the Comte de Vergennes you would have been this moment at War and God Knows when or how you would have got out.— What would have been the Course? Mr De Vergennes would have Sprinkled Us with Compliments, the holy Water of a Court. He would have told Us “you have done, Gentlemen, very well for your Country.” You have gained a Great deal— I congratulate you upon it, but you must not Sign till We are ready. We must Sign all together here in this Room.— What would have been our Situation? We must have Signed against this Advice as Mr Laurens Says he would have done, and as I believe Mr Jay and I should have done, which would have been the most marked affront that could have been offered, or We must have waited for France & Spain, which would have changed the Ministry in England and lost the whole Peace, as certainly as there is a World in being. When a few frail Vessells are navigating among innumerable Mountains of Ice, driven by various Winds and drawn by Various Currents, and a narrow Crevice appears to one by which all may escape, if that one improves the { 83 } Moment and sets the Example, it will not do to stand upon Ceremonies and ask which shall go first, or that all may go together.5
I hope you will excuse this little Excursion and believe me to be, with great Respect and Esteem, sir your most obedient / and most humble sert
LbC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mr Morris”; notation in John Thaxter’s hand: “July 11th. delivered Capt / Barney.”; APM Reel 108.
1. For Morris’ letter of 12 May, see vol. 14:476–477; and for the account of bills drawn on JA and Henry Laurens at Amsterdam enclosed with it, see Morris, Papers, 8:26–27. For Morris’ letter of 29 May, see same, p. 129–130. The letter of the 12th was similar to letters of the same date to Benjamin Franklin and John Jay, all three of which were enclosed with Morris’ 12 May letter to Thomas Barclay, the American consul to France charged with settling accounts in Europe (same, p. 27–30, 32–33). For JA’s efforts to provide Barclay with an accounting, particularly of his acceptance of bills of exchange, see his letters to Barclay of 9 July and 23 Aug, both below, and Barclay’s letter to Morris of 23 Oct., Morris, Papers, 8:660–662.
2. No letter from Ferdinand Grand to Morris enumerating the bills accepted and paid by JA in the Netherlands has been found, but see his letter to Morris of 20 July, same, p. 315–319.
3. JA’s 17 Nov. 1782 letter to Morris was a plea to Congress to provide a more adequate salary for John Thaxter. Although Morris submitted JA’s letter to Congress upon its arrival in March 1783, no action was taken regarding Thaxter’s salary until 1786 (vol. 14:65–66).
4. Following the failure of Franco-Spanish operations against Gibraltar in Sept. 1782, the two nations assembled a fleet at Cadiz, commanded by the Comte d’Estaing, for a planned attack on Jamaica. But the fleet never sailed, largely owing to delays in preparations and progress in the negotiations between Britain, France, and Spain (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 307–308, 317–319, 333). For a similar comment by JA regarding the effect of the preliminary Anglo-American peace on the sailing of the fleet, see vol. 14:329.
5. JA is writing to Robert Morris, but his comments on the peace negotiations echo John Jay’s justification of the commissioners’ violation of their instructions by negotiating and then signing the preliminary peace treaty without informing France. Jay’s justification was contained in a portion of his original draft of the commissioners’ 18 July 1783 letter to Robert R. Livingston that was later omitted. Compare, in particular, Jay’s observation there regarding the consequences of informing the Comte de Vergennes of the planned signing of the treaty and JA’s in this letter. JA’s comments are also notable because they likely mean that the decision to remove that portion of the draft letter to Livingston was made, or at least contemplated, on or about 5 July. For a history of the commissioners’ 18 July letter to Livingston, see the Editorial Note and the letter itself at 18 July, and note 2, which contains the omitted portion of Jay’s draft, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0042

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Staphorst, Nicolaas & Jacob van (business)
Recipient: Willink, Wilhem & Jan (business)
Recipient: La Lande & Fynje, de (business)
Date: 1783-07-05

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

[salute] Gentlemen,

I have signed & Mr Grand will this day forward, the two thousand & three Obligations you sent me, which compleats the 5003.
Inclosed is a Copy of Mr. Morris’s Letter to you of 30. of April 1783, & Mr. Grand’s original Letter to me of this day’s date. The { 84 } Circumstances are such as to make it necessary you should comply with Mr. Morris’s Orders as soon as possible by furnishing to Mr. Grand all the Succour in your Power,1 having Attention to the Credit you have given to Mr. Dana & the other Expences incurred already, which I mentioned in a former Letter.2
I have the honor to be, Gentlemen / your humble Servt.
LbC in John Thaxter’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “Messs. Willinks, / Van Staphorsts / & / De La Lande & Fynjé”; APM Reel 108.
1. Although JA does not mention receiving it, the paragraph to this point is likely a response to the consortium’s letter of [ca. 1 July], above, asking for JA’s guidance regarding remittances to Ferdinand Grand. JA here provides that guidance, but no copy of Grand’s letter to him has been found. The enclosed letter from Robert Morris to the consortium, however, may be that dated 29 April. There Morris wrote that “Mr. Grand will I beleive stand in Need of funds and therefore I am to request that you make Remittances to him as great as your Funds will admit.” For their information he indicated that he had drawn on them bills totaling f300,706 (Morris, Papers, 7:758–760). See also the consortium’s reply of 7 July, below.
2. JA had requested the credit for Francis Dana in his letter to the consortium of 13 May (LbC, APM Reel 108). For that letter and the consortium’s assurance that they would provide the needed funds, see their letter of 22 May, vol. 14:486–487.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0043

Author: Tufts, Cotton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-07-05

From Cotton Tufts

Yesterday Our Independance was celebrated in a decent yet joyful Manner—a solid Joy possessed every Heart, none of those Wildnesses which are often seen even in high Life and too often mark the Rabble on such occasions were any where seen on this Day— The Genl Court had previously agreed to meet and render publick Thanks to the supreme Disposer of all Events, not only for the Blessing of Independance but for the Cessation of Hostilities & the Advantageous Peace held out in the Prelimy Articles and a definitive Treaty of which we have Reason shortly to expect—. Dr. Cooper our present Chaplain was requested to lead in the Devotions of the Day, We repaired to his Church preceded by the Artillery Company of this Town with a Band of Musick the Genl Court followed in procession to the Church where seats were assigned the Members— The Meeting was opened by a Short Address from the Doctor., a Psalm was sung after which he made an Excellent Prayer An Anthem closed the Solemnity—after which1 an Oration was delivered by Dr. Warren on the Principles of our Revolution and of <Commonwealths the> of Republics—shewing that Virtue is the actuating Spirit—that must move & animate the whole and without wch. { 85 } Republics must fall— After the Performancs were ended The Genl Court were escorted by the Artillery Co. to the Senate Chamber, where a Cold Collation was provided, where the Citizen & the Legislator mixed, regaled themselves Drank their Toasts and so Retired— The Senate returned to their Deliberations at 4°C PM— And the Day ended with Peace & Joy2
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excellency John Adams / Minister for the / United States of America.”
1. An asterisk at this point directs the reader to the following note at the bottom of the page: “This oration would have done Honour to any of the greatest orators of Antiquity.” For the oration by Dr. John Warren, younger brother of Dr. Joseph Warren who had died at Bunker Hill, see An Oration, Delivered July 4th, 1783, at the Request of the Inhabitants of the Town of Boston, Boston, 1783, Evans, No. 18292.
2. Tufts’ account of the festivities on 4 July is similar to those published in the Boston newspapers, but included less detail. The Independent Chronicle of 10 July, for example, indicated that upon the General Court’s return to the senate chamber thirteen toasts were offered, the sixth of which was to “the American Ministers at the Courts of Europe,” while the seventh expressed the hope that it would be “a long and happy peace.”

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0044

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
Date: 1783-07-07

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir,

We cannot as yet obtain from Mr: Hartley or his Principals an explicit consent to any one proposition whatever: Yet England & France, & England & Spain are probably agreed, and Holland I suppose must comply. Our last resource must be to say we are ready to sign the Provisional Treaty, totidem verbis, as the Definitive Treaty. I think it is plain that the British Ministry do not intend to sign any Treaty till Parliament rises. There are such dissentions in the Cabinet, that they apprehend a Treaty laid before Parliament, if it did not obtain advantages, of which they have no hopes, would furnish materials to overthrow them. A new Administration is talked of under Lord Temple.—2
The West-India Commerce is now the Object wh: interests us the most nearly. At dinner with the Duc de la Vauguyon, on Saturday last, he told me, that he believed the Commerce between the French West-India Islands & the United-States, wd. be confined to Ships built in France & navigated by French Seamen. So then, Monsieur le duc, said I laughing, you have adopted the ideas of the British Navigation Act. But what if the United-States shd. adopt them too, and make a law, that no Commerce shd. be carrd. on with any West-India Islands, French, English, Spanish, Dutch, or Danish, but in Ships built in America & navigated with American { 86 } Seamen? We can import Sugar from Europe . . . But give me leave to tell you, that this Trade can never be carrd. on by the French: Their vessells are all large and navigated by a great number of Seamen, & your navigators are too slow. The Trade itself was only proffitable to us as a System—and little vessells, with a few hands, run away, at any season of the year, from any Creek or River, with a multitude of little Articles collected in haste.— Your Merchants & Mariners have neither the patience to content themselves with much & long labor, & dangerous voyages for small proffit—nor have they the œconomy, nor can they navigate vessells with so few hands.— “Aye, but we think,” says the Duke, “if we don’t try, we shall never learn to do these things as well & as cheap as you.” The Duke told me, some days before, that he had had a great deal of Conversation with the Comte de Vergennes, & he found he had a great many good ideas of Commerce. The Comte himself told me a few weeks ago, “in our regulations of the Commerce, between our Islands & you, we must have regard to our Shipping & our nurseries of Seamen for our Marine, for, smiling politely enough, without a Marine,” says he, “we cannot go to your Succour”— In short, France begins to grow, for a moment, avaritious of Navigation & Seamen: But it is certain, that neither the form of Government, nor the national Character, can possibly admit of great Success in it . . . Navigation is so dangerous a business & requires so much patience, & produces so little proffit, (among nations who understand it best, & have the best advantages for it, where Property is most secure, Lawsuits soonest & cheapest ended, & by fixed certain laws,) that the French can never interfere much, with the Dutch or Americans, in Ship-building or Carrying-Trade. If any French Merchants ever begin to carry on this Commerce, between America & the Islands, they will break to peices very soon, and then some new plan must be adopted . . . The English, for aught I know, will make a similar law, that the Communication, between us & their Islands, shall be carried on in British-built Ships, or Ships built in Canada & Nova-Scotia, & navigated by British Seamen. In this case we must try what we can do with the Dutch & Danes— But the French & English will endeavor to persuade them to the same policy, for the Duc de la Vauguyon told me, he tho’t it a common Tie, (Lien commun.) In this they will not succeed, & we must make the most we can of the Dutch friendship, for luckily the Merchants and Regency of Amsterdam had too much wit to exclude us from their Islands by the Treaty. Happily Congress will have a Dutch Minister, with whom they may consult upon this { 87 } matter, as well as any others—but I should think it would not be convenient to invite an English or a French Minister to be present at the Consultation.—
I am at a loss, Sir, to guess what propositions, made to us, Congress have been informed of, which they had not learned from us. None have been made to us. The Dutch Ambassadors did once propose a meeting to us, & had it at my house. Dr: Franklin came, but Mr. Jay did not, and Mr: Laurens was absent. The Ambassadors desired to know, whether we had power to enter into any engagements, provided France, Spain, & Holland should agree to any, in support of the Armed-Neutrality.3 We shewed them the Resolution of Congress of the 5th: October 1780. and told them that Mr: Dana had been since vested with a particular Commission to the same effect. We never heard any thing further about it. Not seeing, at the time, any probability that any thing would come of this, nor intending to do any thing of any Consequence in it, if we should hear further of it, without the further orders of Congress, we did not think it necessary to write any thing about it, at least till it should put on a more serious appearance.— If the Comte de Mercy’s dinner, to which we are to be invited with the Comte de Vergennes, should produce any Insinuations on this Subject, (which I do not however expect,) we shall inform you, & request the orders of Congress.—4
With great respect, I have the honor to be, Sir, / Your Most Obedient / huml: Servt:
[signed] John Adams.5
RC in Charles Storer’s hand (PCC, No. 84, IV, f. 444–447); internal address: “Robert. R. Livingston Esqr: / Secretary of State for Foreign-Affairs.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.
1. In the Letterbook is the notation by John Thaxter: “July 11th. delivered to Capt. Barney.”
2. George Nugent Temple Grenville, the 2d Earl Temple, recently had served as lord lieutenant of Ireland and would play a significant role in the downfall of the Fox-North coalition in December (DNB; to the president of Congress, 14 Dec., note 4, below). However, neither the source nor the nature of the rumors that JA mentions has been found.
3. JA refers to Livingston’s 31 May letter to the commissioners. There Livingston wrote that he had learned “that important Propositions have been made you from Holland.” The proposal was that to advance Anglo-Dutch peace negotiations the United States should accede to the Armed Neutrality and sign either a quadrilateral treaty supporting neutral rights with France, Spain, and the Netherlands or, alternatively, a bilateral agreement with the Netherlands. JA was mystified by Livingston’s reference to the proposal, which had originated with Engelbert François van Berckel, because neither the Dutch request nor a subsequent meeting with the Dutch peace negotiators regarding it had been mentioned in any letter from JA or his colleagues. In fact, Livingston had learned of the Dutch initiative from extracts of letters written by C. W. F. Dumas to a number of correspondents, including JA, that Dumas sent to Livingston in March. For the initial proposal, the commissioners’ response to it, and Congress’ decision on 12 June to revoke the power of its ministers in Europe to accede to the Armed Neutrality, { 88 } see vol. 14:208–211, 217–219, 512–514. In a letter written to Livingston on 27 July, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and Henry Laurens said essentially the same thing about the Dutch proposals that JA does here (Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:600).
4. For the dinner meeting on 9 Aug., attended by neither the American commissioners nor the Dutch peace negotiators, see JA’s letters to Livingston of 3 July, and note 10, above, and his first letter of 13 Aug., below.
5. In JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0045

Author: Staphorst, Nicolaas & Jacob van (business)
Author: Willink, Wilhem & Jan (business)
Author: La Lande & Fynje, de (business)
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-07-07

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

[salute] Sir

We received at three ô clock the honour of your Excellencies Esteemed favour of 5 inst, in consequence of whch. we assure Mr. Grand to provide him in a Month time with one Million and a half Livres on acct. of the United States in consequence of the respected orders of his Excellency R. Morris Esqr Super Intendant of Finance, part of whch. will remit him the first mail the 10 inst. and we beg Leave to assure your Excellency of our uninterrupted endeavours to promote the Succes of the Loan, whch. gains daily confidence, Whch. is the chief point we aim at, and have no doubt but by acting with prudence and management, we’ll become Able to Satisfy fully your Excellencys expectation in Course of time1
We remain with respectfull regard / Sir / Your Excellency’s Most / Humle & Obedt Servants
[signed] Wilhem & Jan Willink
[signed] Nichs. & Jacob van Staphorst
[signed] dela Lande & fynje
Mr. Grand advice us the expedition of the Signed 2003 obligs. when received by us we inform your Excellency of it
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “To his Excellency John Adams / Esqr Paris.”
1. For the consortium’s remittance of 10 July, see JA’s letter to Robert Morris of that date, and note 1, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0046

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

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

I have reciv’d your Excellencys Letters of the 16th of May2 & the 9th of June— I had written to your Excellency oftener if I had not my Doubts whether you were at Paris, imagining that when Mr Laurens left that Place, all business had been at an End, & that you had returned too.
{ 89 }
on my Arrival here I begged the Gentleman who had caused certain writings to be published to return me the original work. He told me could not do it, the Mode of setting things for the Press requiring that it should be cut into Peices for the distribution of them into several hands at a Time. all that is not published He has returnd me, consisting of two Sheets. I sent you regularly those, which have Seen the Light3
The Treaty with Holland has been published six weeks it is subjoined to a new publication of the Constitutions the whole makes a Handsome Volume in Octo Consisting of a print of Genl Washington a Dedication Preface, American State Papers, including the Declaration of Rights non importation Agreements, Last Petition to the King Declaration of Independance articles of Confederation &c, the Constitutions of the several States Treaty of Amity & Commerce with France, Treaty of Alliance, Treaty of Amity & Commerce with the States General Convention between the States General & the United States, a Copy of the Provisional Articles signed at Paris, & a list of Presidents of Congress.4 If I can get a good Conveyance I will send it to your Excellency together with a Pamphlet published by Ld Sheffield, but supposed to be composed by a Junto formed by Dean Arnold Wentworth Skene &c &c5 and at the same time I shall enclose a Book published by Govr Pownal—entitled a Memorial to the Sovereigns of America, written in the same Manner as a former Memorial was. & containing as that did matter, that deserves attention.— it is sent by the Author to the Abbé Needham at Brussells to be translated into French for fear that &c.6
your Excellency askd me several Questions with respect to this Country & the Definitive Treaty. I have sent to Mr Ridley. a News paper which contains the Debate in Parliament last Week.7 in which I think may be seen the true Temper of this Country towards America, I shall convey several of these Papers Abroad, & our Friends will Act Accordingly
I cannot think that the Ministry will Stand as it is whether it stands or not is of little Consequence to America, there being hardly a Man in England who has any Idea of the true Manner in which this Country ought to Conduct herself towards the United States. Burkes Policy & Idea of Trade prevail throughout & the Seeds of Dissention seem to be sewn between the Father & Son. Fox will never be forgiven for the part He has Acted, He Knew He was not liked by the Father, & therefore paid his Courts to the Son.8 the chance of the Sons succeeding to the Throne may give Fox weight { 90 } with his Colleagues & He may continue in place but will not have any Influence, unless He proposes desperate Measures, & affects to dispise the people of which He has already given such Strong Proofs that His Popularity is gone. Lord North is looked up to by all the needy people for He disposes of almost all the places & by consequence He has the chief Wieght.
How goes on Parties in America I Hope there are none yet formed, but I see much personal Invective in many Quarters. This may lead to Mischief
Talking of personal Matters I must inform Your Excellency that I have written a long Letter to Mr B in answer to an Extraordinary one of the 28th of Janry last.9 if He shews it to Mr L it will bring on an Eclaircissement.
I am with the greatest Respect / Sir / Your Excellencys / Most Obedient Humble Servant
[signed] Edm: Jenings
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency / John Adams Esqr”; endorsed in an unknown hand: “Mr. Jenings.”; notation: “June 1783.” Filmed at [June 1783].
1. This date is derived from Jenings’ letter of 22 July, below, in which he provides a brief account of the content of this letter and indicates that it was sent “about a fortnight ago.”
2. Vol. 14:484.
3. JA had asked Jenings to retrieve the manuscript copies of his “Letters from a Distinguished American” in his letter of 9 June, above. For the copies that he was able to recover, Nos. 11 and 12, see vol. 9:578–588. Both bear evidence of Jenings’ editorial efforts and provide an indication of his probable contributions to the ten letters that were published.
4. William Jackson, comp., The Constitutions of the Several Independent States of America, London, 1783. For Jackson and the origins of the publication, see vol. 14:375.
5. John Baker Holroyd, Lord Sheffield, Observations on the Commerce of the American States with Europe and the West Indies, London, 1783. For the significance of the pamphlet, see Jenings’ letter of 3 June, and note 6, above. There is no indication that the loyalists Silas Deane, Benedict Arnold, Paul Wentworth, or Philip Skene played any part in its creation.
6. The pamphlet by Thomas Pownall, former governor of Massachusetts, was entitled A Memorial Addressed to the Sovereigns of America, London, 1783. As Jenings indicates, it was a follow-up to his earlier pamphlet, A Memorial, Most Humbly Addressed to the Sovereigns of Europe, on the Present State of Affairs, between the Old and New World, London, 1780. For JA’s publication of a revised version of Pownall’s first Memorial, in French and English, see vol. 9:157–221. Pownall’s first pamphlet called on the “Sovereigns of Europe,” including George III, to recognize that a new system had arisen in America and to take steps to incorporate it into the European economic and political systems. The 1783 pamphlet, on the other hand, offered advice to the “Sovereigns of America” on fulfilling the promise of its new system so as to “become a Nation to whom all Nations will come; a Power whom all the Powers of Europe will court to Civil and Commercial Alliances; a People to whom the Remnants of all ruined People will fly, whom all the oppressed and injured of every nation will seek to for refuge” (p. 138). John Turberville Needham translated the 1780 pamphlet, but there is no record of a French edition of Pownall’s later effort (vol. 12:28). For JA’s November visit to Pownall’s residence at Richmond Hill outside London, see Pownall’s letter of 30 Nov., and note 1, below.
7. There is no way to know to which of the debates in Parliament Jenings refers. On 24 { 91 } and 27 June the Commons considered compensation for loyalists, but the rhetoric was no more hostile to the United States than one would expect in such debates (Parliamentary Hist., 23:1041–1045, 1050–1058).
8. Jenings refers to the controversy over creating an establishment for George, Prince of Wales, who would come of age on 12 Aug. 1783. The issue did not bring down the government, but it did highlight the conflict between Charles James Fox and George III. Among the many reasons that the king despised Fox was his friendship with the Prince of Wales. He believed that his son’s profligate and dissipated lifestyle and resulting indebtedness were owing primarily to Fox’s influence. Fox, as the prince’s advocate, proposed a salary of £100,000, but George III refused any sum above £50,000, the amount ultimately provided (Cannon, Fox-North Coalition, p. 95–99). For the 23 June debate in the House of Commons over this issue, see Parliamentary Hist., 23:1030–1041; and for a later comment by AA on the prince’s debts, see AFC, 7:180.
9. Edward Bridgen’s letter of 28 Jan. and Edmund Jenings’ brief reply of 4 Feb. and much longer one of 30 June comprise the final sixteen pages of Jenings’ 37-page pamphlet, The Candor of Henry Laurens, Esq.; Manifested by His Behaviour to Mr. Edmund Jenings, London, 1783 (from Jenings, 3 June, and note 2, above). Bridgen indicated in his letter that he initially thought William Lee to be the author of the anonymous letter at the center of Jenings’ dispute with Henry Laurens, a belief that he considered Jenings to have confirmed by his silence. Lee had since convinced Bridgen that he was not the author, but Bridgen’s original statements to the contrary had placed him in a bad light, and he blamed Jenings for the situation in which he found himself. More important, according to Bridgen, “it seems that you told Mr. Laurens, that it was at my request that you shewed the Anonymous Letter to Mr. A. Be pleased to refer to my letter on that subject, and you will find yourself mistaken.” In his replies Jenings denied ever having implied that Lee was the author and questioned why Bridgen would have expected Jenings not to send a copy of the anonymous letter to JA when Bridgen had already sent one to Laurens. The gist of Jenings’ replies was that he blamed Bridgen for all of the misunderstandings regarding the anonymous letter and thus for the dispute between himself and Laurens. Jenings indicated on the final page of his pamphlet that “to this Letter [that of 30 June], which was delivered to Mr. Bridgen’s servant, at his door, no answer has been given.”

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0047

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Barclay, Thomas
Date: 1783-07-09

To Thomas Barclay

[salute] Sir

I have recd the Letter you Yesterday did me the Honour to write me, and will lay before you, all the Accounts I have, which are little more than Sums of Money recd. for my Salary as Soon as I can get at my Books and Papers, which are at the Hague.1
Mr Grand will be able to furnish you with the Account of the Monies paid by him or by the House of Horneca Fizeaux & Grand at Amsterdam for the Bills of Exchange drawn by Congress upon Mr Laurens & me in Holland and accepted by me.
These together with the Purchase of the Hotel des Etats Unis at the Hague, the History of which you remember, and I hope will not forget, as your Testimony will be necessary perhaps for my Justification,2 will make all the Accounts of / sir your most obedient and most / humble servant
{ 92 }
LbC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Thomas Barclay Esqr / Consul General of the / United States in France.”; APM Reel 108.
1. Barclay’s letter of 8 July (Adams Papers) announced that he and Matthew Ridley were at Auteuil and ready to receive JA’s accounts.
2. For Barclay’s role in JA’s 1782 purchase of the U.S. legation at The Hague, see vol. 12:237, 275.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0048

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
Date: 1783-07-09

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir,

Since the dangerous fever I had in Amsterdam, 2. years ago, I have never enjoyed my health:2 Thro’ the whole of the last Winter & Spring I have suffered under weaknesses & pains, wh: have scarcely permitted me to do business: The excessive heats of the last week or two have bro’t on me a fever again, which exhausts one in such a manner as to be very discouraging & incapacitates one for every thing: In short, nothing, but a return to America, will ever restore my health, if even that should do it. In these Circumstances, however, we have negotiations to go thro’, and your dispatches to answer.—
The liberal Sentiments in England, respecting Trade, are all lost for the present, & we can get no answer to any thing: It is the same thing with the Dutch. One of the Dutch Ambassadors told me yesterday at Versailles, that now for five weeks the English had never said one word to them, nor given them any answer. These things indicate that the Ministry don’t think themselves permanent.—
The C. de Vergennes asked Dr: Franklin & me yesterday if we had made our visits. We answd. we had, & that they been promptly returned.— The thing in agitation, says the Comte, is for you to determine, whether your Definitive Treaty shall be signed under the mediation of the two Imperial Courts, or not. Ours & the Spanish Treaty with England are to be so finished, & if you determine in favor of it, you have only to write a letter to the Ministers of the Imperial Courts, who are here. I told him, in the present Case, I did not know what a mediation meant.3 He smiled; but did not seem to know any better than I; at least he did not explain it. We told him we wd. determine upon it soon. How we shall determine I cannot say. For my own part, I see no harm in accepting the mediation, nor any other good, than a Compliment to the two Empires. In Europe it may be thought an honour to us, & therefore I shall give my { 93 } voice, as at present informed, in favor of it, as it seems rather to be the Inclination of the C. de Vergennes that we should.—
Your late Dispatches, Sir, are not well-adapted to give spirits to a melancholy man, or to cure one sick of a fever. It is not possible for me at present to enter into a long detail in answer to them. You will be answd. I suppose by all the Gentlemen, jointly— In the mean time I beg leave to say to you a few words upon two Points—4
1st.— The Seperate Article never appeared to me of any Consequence to conceal from this Court. It was an agreement we had a right to make—it contained no injury to France or Spain: indeed I know not what France has, or ever had, to do with it. If it had been communicated to this Court, it wd. probably have been, by them, communicated to Spain, and she might have tho’t more about it, than it was worth.— But how you can conceive it possible for us to treat at all with the English, upon supposition that we had communicated every, the minutest, thing to this Court, when this Court were neither obliged, nor thought proper to communicate any thing whatever to us, I know not. We were bound by Treaty no more than they to communicate. The Instructions were found to be absolutely impracticable.— That they were too suddenly published is very true.—
2dly.— A Communication of the Treaty to this Court, after it was agreed upon, & before it was signed, wd. infallibly have prevented the whole Peace. In the first place, it was very doubtfull, or rather, on the contrary, it is certain the English Minister never wd. have consented that we should communicate it. We might, it is true, have done without his Consent or Knowledge—but what would have been the Consequence? The French Minister would have said the Terms were very good for us, but we must not sign ’till they signed: and this would have been a Continuance of the war for another year at least— It was not so much from an apprehension that the French wd. have exerted themselves to get away from us terms that were agreed on, that they were withheld. It was then too late, & we have reason to apprehend that all of this kind had been done which could be done. We knew they were often insinuating to the British Ministers things against us, respecting the Fisheries, Tories &c. during the negotiation—and Mr: Fitzherbert told me the C. de Vergennes had “fifty times reproached him for ceding the Fisheries, and said it was ruining the English & French Commerce both.”— It was not suspicion—it was certain knowledge, that they were against { 94 } us upon the points of the Tories, Fisheries, Mississippi, & the Western-Country. All this Knowledge, however, did not influence us to conceal the Treaty— We did not, in fact, conceal it— Dr: Franklin communicated the Substance of it to the Comte, & Mr: Rayneval. So did I. In a long Conversation, with the Comte & Mr: Rayneval together, I told them the substance of what was agreed, and what we further insisted on, & the English then disputed.—
But the signing before them is the point. This we could not have done, if we had shewn the Treaty & told them we were ready. The Comte would certainly have said to us, you must not sign till we sign. To have signed after this would have been more disagreable to him & to us too: Yet we must have signed or lost the Peace. The Peace depended on a day. Parliament had been waiting long & once prorogued. The Minister was so pressed he could not have met Parliament & kept his place, without an agreement upon terms, at least with America— If we had not signed the Ministry would have been changed and the Coalition come in—and the whole world knows the Coalition would not have made Peace upon the present terms & consequently not at all this year. The Iron was struck in the few critical moments when it was of a proper heat, & has been moulded into an handsome vessell: If it had been suffered to cool, it wd. have flown in Pieces like Glass.— Our Countrymen have great reason to rejoice that they obtained so good a Peace, when & as they did. With the present threat’ning appearances of a Northern war, which will draw in France, if our Peace was still to be made, we might find cause to tremble for many great advantages that are now secured. I believe the Comte himself, if he were now to speak his real Sentiments, wd. say he is very glad we signed when we did, & that without asking his Consent. The Duc de la Vauguyon told me & Mr: Brantzen, together, last Saturday, “if you had not signed when you did, we should not have signed when we did”— If they had not signed when they did, D’Estaing would have sailed from Cadiz, and in that case nobody wd. have signed to this day.— It is not possible for men to be in more disagreable Circumstances than we were. We are none of us men of principles or dispositions to take pleasure in going against your Sentiments, Sir, much less those of Congress: But, in this case, if we had not done it, our Country would have lost Advantages beyond Computation.—
On Monday, Sir, we pursued our visits & today we finish. Yesterday at Court all the foreign Ministers behaved towards us, without reserve, as Members of the Corps Diplomatique—so that we shall no { 95 } longer see those lowering Countenances, solemn looks, distant Bows, & other peculiarities, which have been sometimes diverting & sometimes provoking, for so many years.—
With great respect & Esteem, I have the honor to be, / Sir, / Your Most Obedt: / humle: servt:
[signed] John Adams.5
RC in Charles Storer’s hand (PCC, No. 84, IV, f. 448–451); internal address: “Robert. R. Livingston Esqr:.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.
1. In the Letterbook is the notation by John Thaxter: “July 11th. delivered to Capt. Barney.”
2. For JA’s 1781 illness, the long-term effects of which he repeatedly refers to, see vol. 11:469–470.
3. On 10 July the commissioners wrote to the Comte de Vergennes and requested “a Copy of the Offer made by the two Imperial Courts of their Mediation” (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., 25:24). For the result, see the commissioners’ draft letter to Ivan Sergeevich Bariatinskii and Arkady Markov of [ante 16] July, below.
4. The “Dispatches” to which JA is replying, which included the ratified preliminary Anglo-American peace treaty, are Livingston’s letters to the commissioners of 25 March, 21 April, 28 and 31 May (vol. 14:361–364, 435–438, 503–504, 512–514). The commissioners’ own reply is dated 18 July, but see the Editorial Note to that letter, both below, for information about its composition and likely dispatch to Livingston. Compare also JA’s account here of the climax of the Anglo-American peace negotiations and the signing of the preliminary treaty without informing France with the account in his letter to Robert Morris of 5 July, above.
5. In JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0049

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
Date: 1783-07-10

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir,

In the present violent heat of the Weather, and feverish state of my own health, I cannot pretend to sit long at my Pen, and must pray you to accept of a few short hints only.
To talk, in a general stile, of Confidence in the French Court &ca. is to use a general language, which may mean almost any thing, or almost nothing.— To a certain degree, and as far as the Treaties and Engagements extend, I have as much Confidence in the French Court, as Congress has, or even as you, Sir, appear to have.
But if by Confidence in the French Court is meant, an Opinion that the French Office of foreign Affairs would be Advocates with the English for our rights to the Fishery, or the Mississippi River, or our Western Territory, or Advocates to persuade the British Ministers to give up the Cause of the Refugees, and make a parliamentary provision for them, I own I have no such Confidence, and never had.— Seeing and hearing what I have seen and heard, I must have been an Idiot to have entertained such Confidence— And having no such Confidence, I should be more of a Machevilian, or a Jesuit, than I ever was, or will be, to counterfeit it to you or to Congress.
{ 96 }
Mr. Marbois Letter is to me full proof of the principles of the C. de Vergennes. Why? Because I know, (for it was personally communicated to me upon my passage home by Mr. Marbois himself) the Intimacy and the Confidence there is between these two— And I know farther, that that Letter contains Sentiments concerning the Fisheries diametrically opposite to those, which Mr. Marbois repeatedly expressed to me upon the Passage, vizt. “That the Newfoundland Fishery was our right, and we ought to maintain it.” From whence I conclude, that Mr. Marbois Sentiments have been changed by the Instructions of the Minister. To what purpose is it, where this Letter came from? Is it less genuine, whether it came from Philadelphia, Versailles, or London? What if it came thro’ English Hands? Is there less weight, less evidence in it, for that? Are the Sentiments more just, or more friendly to Us, for that?
Mr. Rayneval’s Correspondence too with Mr. Jay. Mr. Rayneval is a Chef du Bureau. But we must be very ignorant of all Courts not to know, that an Under Secretary of State dares not carry on such a Correspondence without the Knowledge, Consent and Orders of the Principal.
There is another point now in agitation, in which the French will never give Us one good word. On the contrary, they will say every thing they can think of to persuade the English to deprive Us of the Trade of their West India Islands. They have already, with their Emissaries, been the chief Cause of the Change of Sentiments in London on this head against Us.
In general, they see with pain every appearance of returning real & cordial Friendship, such as may be permanent between Us and Great Britain. On the contrary they see with pleasure every Seed of Contention between Us. The Tories are an excellent Engine of Mischief between Us, and therefore very precious.— Exclusion <of> from2 the West India Islands, will be another.
I hold it to be the indispensible duty of my Station, not to conceal from Congress these Truths. Dont let Us be Dupes, under the Idea of being grateful. Innumerable Anecdotes happen daily to shew that these Sentiments are general.3
In Conversation a few Weeks ago with the Duke de la Vauguyon, upon the subject of the West India Trade, I endeavoured to convince him, that France & England both ought to admit Us freely to their Islands. He entered into a long Argument, to prove that both ought to exclude Us. At last I said, “the English were a parcel of Sots to exclude Us— for the consequence of it would be, that in 15 { 97 } or 20 Years we should have another War with them.” “Tant mieux! Tant mieux! Tant mieux! Je vous en felicite—” cried the Duke, with great pleasure. “Tant mieux pour nous,” says I, because we shall conquer from the English in that Case all their Islands, the Inhabitants of which would now declare for Us, if they dared— But it will be not the better for the English. They will be the Sots and Dupes, if they lay a foundation for it.— “Oui Monsieur, says the Duke, je crois que vous aurez une autre guerre contre les Anglais.”—4 And in this wish he expressed the feelings and the Vows of every Frenchman upon the face of the Earth.
If therefore We have it in Contemplation to avoid a future War with the English, dont let Us have too much Confidence in the French, that they will favor Us in this View.
I have the honor to be, with great Respect / and Esteem, / Sir, / your most obedient & / most humble Servant.
[signed] John Adams.5
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PCC, No. 84, IV, f. 452–454); internal address: “R. R. Livingston Esqr / Secretary for foreign Affairs.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.
1. In the Letterbook is the notation by John Thaxter: “July 11th. delivered to Capt. Barney.”
2. The cancellation and the interlined “from” are in JA’s hand.
3. This letter should be compared to JA’s letter to Livingston of 25 May, vol. 14:492–496. Both are replies to Livingston’s 4 Jan. letter to John Jay, which was in turn a reply to Jay’s letters of 4 and 18 Sept. and 13 Oct. 1782. It was Jay’s letter of the 18th that had enclosed François Barbé-Marbois’ intercepted letter mentioned in the fourth paragraph above. Specifically JA is replying to Livingston’s statement in his 4 Jan. 1783 letter that if Jay’s suspicions of French motives, which were very similar to JA’s, “should have been taken up too hastily, it is to be feared that, in defiance of all that prudence and self-possession for which you are happily distinguished, it will discover itself in a reserve and want of confidence which may afford hopes to our artful antagonists of exciting jealousies between us and our friends” (Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:177).
4. As modernized and translated, the entire conversation reads: At last I said, “the English were a parcel of sots to exclude us, for the consequence of it would be that in fifteen or twenty years we should have another war with them.”
“So much the better! So much the better! So much the better! I congratulate you,” cried the Duke, with great pleasure.
“So much the better for us,” said I, “because we shall conquer from the English in that case all their islands, the inhabitants of which would now declare for us, if they dared. But it will be not the better for the English. They will be the sots and dupes, if they lay a foundation for it.”
“Yes, sir,” said the Duke, “I think you will have another war with the English.”
5. In JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0050

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Morris, Robert
Date: 1783-07-10

To Robert Morris

[salute] Sir,

Upon the receipt of the Dispatches by Barney, I sent off your Letters for Messs. Willinks & Co. and I recd. last Night an Answer to { 98 } the Letter I wrote them upon the Occasion. They have engaged to remit Mr. Grand a Million & an half of Livres in a Month, which has relieved Mr. Grand from his Anxiety.1
This Court has refused to Dr. Franklin any more Money. They are apprehensive of being obliged to take a part in the Northern War, and their own Financiers have not enough of the Confidence of the Public to obtain Money for their own purposes.
Your design of sending Cargoes of Tobacco & other things to Amsterdam to Messs. Willinks & Co. is the best possible to support our Credit there. The more you send, the more Money will be obtained. Send a Minister too—residing there he may promote it much— It is a Misfortune, that I have not been able to be there— But this Post cannot be deserted— Instruct your Minister to enquire, whether the House of Hope could be persuaded to engage with Willink in a new Loan.2 This should be done with Secrecy & Discretion. If that House would undertake it, you would find Money enough for your purpose; for3 I rely upon it the States will adopt a Plan immediately for the effectual payment of Interest. This is indispensible. The foundation of an happy Government can only be laid in Justice; and as soon as the Public shall see, that Provision is made for this, you will no longer want Money.
It is a Maxim among Merchants and monied Men, that “every Man has Credit, who does not want it.”— It is equally true of States. We shall want it but little longer, if the States make Provision for the payment of Interest, & therefore we shall have enough of it. There is not a Country in the World, whose Credit ought to be so good because there is none equally able to pay.
Inclosed is a Pamphlet of Dr. Price for your Comfort.4 You will see by it, that the only Nation we have reason to fear wants Credit so much, that She is not likely to have it always, & this is our Security.
By some hints from Mr. Hartley, he will probably return to London, & not be here again. The present Ministry is so undecided & feeble, that it is at least doubtful, whether they will make the definitive Treaty of Peace.
With great Esteem, I have the honor &c
LbC in John Thaxter’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “Hon: R. Morris Esqr. / Superintendant of Finances”; notation: “July 11th. delivered to Capt. Barney.”; APM Reel 108.
1. That is, JA’s letter to the consortium of 5 July and the consortium’s reply of the 7th, both above. The consortium wrote to JA on 10 July (Adams Papers) to inform him that on that day it had remitted ₶417,554.17.3 to Ferdinand Grand. The consortium also noted { 99 } that Morris’ 8 May letter instructed them to pay any drafts drawn on Henry Laurens (Morris, Papers, 8:17–18). They, therefore, enclosed five drafts drawn on 6 July 1780 totaling f2,750.
2. Hope & Co., a leading Amsterdam banking firm, had been suggested to JA in 1782 as a candidate to undertake the loan that the consortium ultimately raised. For JA’s comments on Hope & Co. in that context, see vol. 12:434–435. But for JA’s reference to a new loan to be raised solely by the Willinks, see his 11 July 1783 letter to Morris, and note 1, below.
3. From this point to the end of the following paragraph, Morris copied JA’s comments on the necessity for the United States to scrupulously pay its foreign debts and enclosed them with letters to John Hancock of 20 Sept. and Elias Boudinot of 12 Nov. (Morris, Papers, 8:268–269, 533–535, 756–757; MHi: Sedgwick Family Papers). For Morris’ purpose in using this extract and another much longer one from JA’s 11 July 1783 letter, see Morris to JA, 20 Sept., and note 1, below.
4. Probably Richard Price’s The State of the Public Debts and Finances at Signing the Preliminary Articles of Peace in January 1783; with a Plan for Raising Money by Public Loans, and for Redeeming the Public Debts, London, 1783.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0051

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
Date: 1783-07-11

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir

As there are certain particulars, in which it has appeared to me that the friendship of a French Minister has been problematical at least, or rather not to exist at all, I have freely mentioned them to Congress; because I hold it to be the first duty of a public Minister in my Situation, to conceal no important Truth of this kind from his Masters.
But Ingratitude is an odious Vice, & ought to be held in detestation by every American Citizen. We ought to distinguish therefore between those points, for which We are not obliged to our Allies, from those in which We are.
I think then We are under no particular Obligations of Gratitude to them for the Fisheries, the Boundaries, Exemption from the Tories, or for the progress of our Negotiations in Europe.
We are under Obligations of Gratitude for making the Treaty with Us when they did; for those Sums of Money which they have generously given Us, and for those even which they have lent Us, which I hope We shall punctually pay, and be thankful still for the Loan; for the Fleet & Army they sent to America, & for all the important Services they did. By other mutual Exertions a dangerous Rival to them, and I may almost be warranted in saying, an imperious Master both to them and Us, has been brought to Reason, and put out of the Power to do Harm to either. In this respect, however, our Allies are more secure than we. The House of Bourbon has acquiered a great Accession of Strength, while their hereditary Enemy has been weakened one half, and incurably crippled.
{ 100 }
The French are besides a good natured and humane Nation, very respectable in Arts, Letters, Arms and Commerce, and therefore Motives of Interest, Honour & Convenience join themselves to those of friendship and gratitude to induce Us to wish for the Continuance of their friendship & Alliance. The Provinces of Canada & Nova Scotia, in the hands of the English, are a constant warning to Us to have a Care of ourselves, & therefore a Continuance of the friendship and Alliance of France is of Importance to our Tranquility & even to our Safety. There is nothing will have a greater effect to overawe the English, and induce them to respect Us and our Rights, than the Reputation of a good Understanding with the French. My Voice and Advice will therefore always be for discharging, with the utmost Fidelity, Gratitude & Exactness, every Obligation We are under to France, & for cultivating her friendship and Alliance by all sorts of good Offices— But I am sure that to do this effectually, We must reason with them at times, enter into particulars and be sure that We understand one another. We must act a manly, honest independent, as well as a sensible part.
With great Respect, I have the honor / to be, / Sir, / your most obedient & / most humble Servant.
[signed] John Adams.2
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PCC, No. 84, IV, f. 456–458); addressed: “His Excellency / Robert R. Livingston Esqr. / Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs / at / Philadelphia.”; internal address: “Honble. Robert R. Livingston Esqr. / Secretary of foreign Affairs.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.
1. In the Letterbook is the notation by John Thaxter: “July 11th. delivered Capt. Barney.”
2. In JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0052

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Morris, Robert
Date: 1783-07-11

To Robert Morris

[salute] Sir

In my Letter to you of Yesterday, I hinted in Confidence at an Application to the House of Hope. This is a very delicate Measure. I was induced to think of it merely by a Conversation which Mr Van Berkel who will be Soon with you as he Sailed the 26 June from the Texel, had with Mr Dumas.— it would be better to be Steady to the three houses already employed, if that is possible.1 You will now be able to converse freely with that Minister upon the Subject. I Should not advise you to take any decisive Resolution at Philadelphia but leave it to your Minister to Act as shall appear to him best upon the Spot. The Houses now employed are well esteemed and I { 101 } hope will do very well. But no House in the Republick has that force in the Reins of that of Hope.
All depends, however, upon the Measures to be taken by Congress and the States for ascertaining their Debts and a regular discharge of the Interest.— The Ability of the People to make such an Establishment cannot be doubted: and the Inclination of no Man who has a proper Sense of publick Honour can be called in Question. The Thirteen States in Relation to the discharge of the Debts of Congress, must consider them Selves as one Body, animated by one Soul.— The Stability of our Confederation at home, our Reputation abroad, our Power of Defence, the Confidence and affection of the People of one state towards those of another all depend upon it. Without a Sacred Regard to publick Justice no Society can Subsist. it is the only Tie which can unite Mens Minds and Hearts in pursuit of the common Interest.2
The Commerce of the World is now open to Us, and our Exports and Imports are of So large amount, and our Connections will be so large and extentensive that the least Stain upon our Character in this respect will loose Us in a very short time Advantages of greater pecuniary Value than all our Debt amounts to.— The Moral Character of our People is of infinitely greater worth than all the sums in question. Every hesitation every Uncertainty about paying or receiving a just Debt, diminishes that Sense of the Moral Obligation of publick Justice which ought to be kept pure and carefully cultivated in every American Mind. Creditors at home and abroad, the Army the Navy, every Man who has a well founded Claim upon the Publick, has an unalienable Right to be Satisfied, and this by the fundamentable Principles of Society. Can there ever be Content and Satisfaction? can there ever be Peace and order? Can there ever be Industry, or Decency without it.? To talk of a Spung3 to wipe out this Debt, or of reducing or diminishing it, below its real Value in a Country so abundantly able to pay the last farthing, would betray a total Ignorance of the first Principles of national Duty and Interest.— Let Us leave these odious Speculations to Countries that can plead a Necessity for them, and where Corruption has arrived at its last Stages. Where Infamy is Scarcely felt, and Wrong may as well assume one Shape as another Since it must prevail in Some.
I have &c
LbC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Hon R. Morris Esq. / Superintendant of Finances.”; notation by John Thaxter: “July 11th. delivered to Capt. / Barney.”; APM Reel 108.
{ 102 }
1. The proposal that the Willinks alone be entrusted with a new loan was made by Pieter Johan van Berckel in a conversation with C. W. F. Dumas that Dumas related in his 30 May letter to JA (vol. 14:508–512). See also JA’s 5 June reply to Dumas, and note 1, above.
2. Morris copied a portion of this letter, comprising this paragraph and the following one, and enclosed it and an extract from JA’s letter of 10 July, above, in his letters to John Hancock of 20 Sept. and Elias Boudinot of 12 Nov. (Morris, Papers, 8:275–276, 533–535, 756–757; MHi:Sedgwick Family Papers). For Morris’ purpose in doing so, see his 20 Sept. letter to JA, and note 1, below.
3. Or “sponge,” one meaning of which is a method to cancel or wipe out debts without payment (OED).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0053

Author: Dumas, C. W. F.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-07-11

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur,

En réponse à l’honorée vôtre du 26 Juin, j’ai déjà eu l’honneur de vous rendre compte dans une précédente, qui, j’espere, vous est parvenue, de l’Echange des ratifications. Voici copie de ma note sur ce sujet, concertée avec nos amis, & approuvée par eux, com̃e conforme à l’usage en tel cas; & de la résolution dont, à ma requisition, copie m’a été envoyée du Greffe depuis peu de jours.1
Voici une Lettre que je suppose d’Amérique.2 Puisse le contenu vous dédom̃ager amplement de l’ennui que vous causent les Sorcieres, en attendant que leur ami aux pieds fourchu les emporte.
Mr. Van Berckel a fait voile le 26 du passé avec son Escadre de 3 Vaisseaux de guerre & un Brig; & vraisemblablement ils sont plus près de l’Amerique à present que de l’Europe.3
Mr. Votre fils est en compagnie des Dames que vous lui avez recom̃andées, & vous assure de ses respects avec ma famille.
J’ai exécuté les com̃issions de Mr. Storer & aurai l’honneur de lui écrire la semaine prochaine.
Nos Amis, toujours in high Spirits, depuis huit jours absents, reviendront la semaine prochaine.4
On a découvert ici le nid du Ouderwetse patriot & du Post na den Nederrhyn. Le Libraire & l’Imprimeur, qui n’ont peut-être pas 3000 sols ensemble, ont payé chacun 3000 florins d’Amende, pour racheter leur fustigation; & l’Auteur s’est sauvé en poste à Cleves.5
J’ai été remercier ces Dames & Mr. Boylston, de la bonté qu’elles ont eue de se charger d’une boete que vous avez bien voulu, Monsieur, leur remettre de la part de notre Cousin Baron pour Made. Dumas, qui est sensible com̃e elle le doit à cette faveur.6
Je suis avec grand respect, De Votre Excellence / le très-humble & très-obéis / sant serviteur
[signed] C.w.f. Dumas
{ 103 }

Translation

[salute] Sir

In response to your esteemed letter of 26 June, I already have had the honor in a previous letter, which I hope that you received, of rendering you an account of the exchange of the ratifications. Here is a copy of my note on the subject, concerted with our friends and approved by them, as conforming to the usage in such an instance, and a copy of the resolution, which was sent to me by the greffier a few days ago at my request.1
Here is a letter that I suppose is from America.2 May the contents compensate amply for the troubles that the witches caused you, while waiting for their friend with the cloven hooves to carry them away.
Mr. Van Berckel sailed on the 26th of last month with his squadron of three warships and a brig, and they are likely by now closer to America than Europe.3
Your son is in the company of the ladies whom you recommended to him, and he sends you his respects, as does my family.
I executed the commissions of Mr. Storer and will have the honor of writing him next week.
Our friends, always in high Spirits, have been gone for eight days and will return next week.4
The nest of the Ouderwetse Patriot and of the Post naar den Neder-Rhyn was discovered here. The bookseller and the printer, who do not have perhaps 3,000 sols between them, each had to pay a fine of f3,000 to buy their way out of a beating, and the writer fled by post to Cleves.5
I thanked the ladies and Mr. Boylston for the kindness that they showed in carrying the box that you sent with them from our cousin the baron to Madame Dumas, who is thankful, as she should be, for this favor.6
I am with great respect, your excellency’s very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] C.w.f. Dumas
RC and enclosures (Adams Papers); internal address: “Paris à Son Excellence Mr. Adams, Min. Pl.”; endorsed: “Mr. Dumas / 11th. July 1783.”
1. For Dumas’ account of the exchange of ratifications, see his letter of 24 June, and note 1, above. With this letter he enclosed copies of his 5 June letter to Hendrik Fagel announcing his readiness for the exchange and Fagel’s 24 June report (in French and Dutch) to the States General on the actual exchange.
2. This letter has not been identified.
3. Pieter Johan van Berckel reached Philadelphia on 9 Oct. and presented his credentials to Congress on the 31st (vol. 14:490). For an account of Congress’ reception of Van Berckel, see the president of Congress’ 27 Oct. letter to the commissioners, and note 5, below.
4. The States of Holland was in recess and would reassemble on 16 July (Gazette d’Amsterdam, 8 July).
5. The Gazette d’Amsterdam of 4 July indicated that publication of the Post van den Neder-Rhyn and the Post naar den Neder-Rhyn had been suspended. The first was ardently Patriot, while the second, a parody of the other, was ardently Orangist. In its issue of 15 July the Gazette reported that the bookseller Van Os and the printer Rogatsnick had each been fined f3,000. It also indicated that Philippe Verbrugge, presumably the author of the Ouderwetse Patriot, or old-fashioned patriot, had been arrested.
6. The Dumas’ cousin has not been identified.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0054

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Laurens, Henry
Date: 1783-07-12

To Henry Laurens

[salute] Dear Sir

Last Night I received your Favour of 25. Ult. The Box I had received a few days before, and had delivered to Mr Jay and the Comte de Moustier, the Articles addressed to them. The Spectacles fit my Eye very well, and I thank you Sir for your Care in procuring them. As soon as I shall have the Pleasure to See you, I will pay you the Cost of them according to the Receipt which came with them.
I am sorry to hear of your Fever, occasioned I Suppose like mine, which is but just passed, by the uncommon heats of the Weather.— I hope Sir, you will return here as soon as possible. The Journey will re-establish your health.— I cannot ascertain any time for the Signature of the definitive Treaty: But We are given to Understand, that France, Spain and England are agreed and it cannot be long before We shall be called upon. Barney is arrived, and brings Advices some days in June. The Preliminary Treaty of 30 Nov. is ratified, and a certain Company are not hanged, nor censured.—1 Congress are forming establishments for paying their Debts, and all will go tolerably well.— a little Impatience for the Evacuation of New York. Every Thing between Mr Hartley and Us is as loose and indeterminate as when you left Us.
Dr Franklin has recd and communicated your Letters to the American Ministers.2
I hope a few Weeks will put an End to the Uncertainties and Anxieties of the idle Life I have led for Six or 8 months. I would not pass such another Space for any Thing.
With great Esteem and Regard, I am / dear sir, your most humble & obedient / servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (ScL [ScU]:Kendall Coll.); internal address: “His Excellency Henry Laurens Esq / Bath.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.
1. In his letter to JA of 6 March, Laurens had suggested hanging, presumably facetiously, as Congress’ possible penalty for the commissioners’ violating its instructions to consult with and follow the advice of France in their peace negotiations with Britain (vol. 14:317).
2. Benjamin Franklin wrote to Laurens on 6 July that “we have been honoured with several of your Letters, and we have talk’d of writing you, but it has been delayed” (Laurens, Papers, 16:231). Laurens had written to the commissioners on 10 June (LbC-Tr, APM Reel 103) and 17 and 20 June, both above.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0055

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
Date: 1783-07-12

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir

Reports have been spread, that the Regency of Algiers has been employed in fitting Ships to cruise for American Vessels. There are reports too, that Spain has an Armament prepared to attack their Town. How much truth there may be in either, I cannot pretend to say.
Whether Congress will take any Measures for treating with these piratical States must be submitted to them. The Custom of these Courts, as well as all those of Asia & Africa, is to recieve Presents with Ambassadors. The Grand Pensionary of Holland told me, that the Republick paid annually to the Regency of Algiers an hundred thousand Dollars. I hope a less Sum would serve for Us— But in the present State of our Finances, it would be difficult to make payment.
Mr. Montgomery, of Alicante, has ventured to write a Letter to the Emperor of Morocco; in consequence of which his Majesty was pleased to give Orders to all his Vessels to treat American Vessels with all friendship. Mr. Montgomery ventured too far however, in writing in the Name of the United States, and what will be the consequence of the deception, I know not.2
Dr. Franklin lately mentioned to Mr. Jay & me, that he was employed in preparing with the Portuguese Ambassador a Treaty between the United States and Portugal. The next Ambassador’s day at Versailles I asked him, if we could be admitted to the Brasils?— He said, No— They admitted no Nation to the Brasils. I asked, if We were admitted to the Western Islands? He said he thought Madeira was mentioned. I told him, I thought it would be of much Importance to Us to secure an Admission to all the Azores, & to have those Islands, or some of them, made a Depot for the Sugars, Coffee, Cotton, Coccoa &ca of the Brasils.3 He liked this Idea, & went immediately and spoke to the Ambassador upon it. He said the Ambassador had told him, that they could furnish us with these Articles at Lisbon 15. pr. Cent cheaper, than the English could from their West India Islands. This Treaty I suppose will be submitted to Congress, before it is signed, and I hope Congress will give a close attention to it, in order to procure an exemption from as many Duties as possible, and as much freedom & security of Trade in all their { 106 } Ports of Europe & the Western Islands, as possible. If any particular Stipulations should be necessary, concerning the free admission of all the Articles of our Produce, as Rice, Wheat, Flour, Salt-Fish, or any other, the Members of Congress may readily suggest them. I could wish, that the Court of Lisbon had sent a Minister to Philadelphia, to negotiate the Treaty there. I wish that Advantages may not be lost, by this method of preparing Treaties here, by Ministers who have made no particular Study of the Objects of them— Benefits on both sides may escape attention in this way. A good Treaty with Portugal is of so much consequence to Us, that I should not wonder if Congress should think it necessary to send a Minister to Lisbon to compleat it.
I have the honor to be, with great / Respect, / Sir, your most obedient & / most humble Servant.
[signed] John Adams4
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PCC, No. 84, IV, f. 460–462); addressed: “His Excellency / Robert R. Livingston Esqr. / Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs / at / Philadelphia”; internal address: “Hon. R. R. Livingston Esqr / Secretery of foreign Affairs.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.
1. In the Letterbook is the notation by John Thaxter: “Deliverd to Capt. Barney by J. Thaxter at Havre de Gräce 29. July 1783.”
2. For Robert Montgomery’s effort to open negotiations with Morocco and Congress’ negative reaction to it, see his letter of 27 May, and note 1, vol. 14:501–502, as well as JA’s reply of 18 June, above, and Montgomery’s further explanation of the initiative in his letter of 2 Aug., below.
3. Benjamin Franklin indicated to Livingston in his 22 July letter that he had proposed a commercial treaty, similar to that with Sweden, to the longtime Portuguese ambassador to France, Vicente de Sousa Coutinho, and was awaiting the draft treaty’s return from Lisbon. Franklin enclosed the draft treaty with that letter (Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:583, 588–591; Repertorium, 3:317). Article 3 of the draft permitted Americans to trade with Portuguese possessions in Europe as well as Madeira and the Azores, but not with Brazil. In fact, the exclusion did not matter because the treaty was never concluded.
4. In JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0056

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
Date: 1783-07-13

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir

Yesterday Collo: Ogden arrived with the originals, of what we had before received in Duplicates by Capn: Barney. The Ratification of the Dutch Treaty had been before recd. & exchanged.2 The Ratification of Their High-Mightinesses is in the safe Custody of Mr: Dumas at present, at the Hague.—
I believe we shall accept of the mediation of the two Imperial Courts at the Definitive Treaty, as it is a mere formality—a mere Compliment, consisting wholly in the Imperial Ministers putting their names & Seals to the parchment, & can have no ill effect. The { 107 } Inclination of the C. de Vergennes seems to be that we should accept it, and as he calls upon us to decide, in the Affirmative or Negative, I believe we shall give an answer in the affirmative—
The Empress has promised to receive Mr: Dana, as soon as the Definitive Treaty shall be signed, & he has prepared a Treaty of Commerce, wh: will be valuable if he can obtain it—3
The Emperor of Germany has caused to be intimated, several ways, his inclination to have a Treaty of Commerce with us; but his rank is so high, that his House never makes the first formal advance. I shd. think it adviseable that we should have a Treaty with that Power for several reasons.
1st. Because, as Emperor of Germany, and King of Bohemia & Hungary, he is at the head of one of the greatest Interests & most powerfull Connections in Europe— It is true, it is the greatest weight in the Scale, which is & has been fm. age to age, opposite to the House of Bourbon. But for this very reason, if there were no other, the United-States ought to have a Treaty of Commerce with it, in order to be in practice with their Theory, and to shew to all the world that their system of Commerce embraces, equally & impartially, all the Commercial States & Countries of Europe—
2.dly. Because the present Emperor is one of the greatest men of this Age. The wisdom & virtue of the man, as well as of the Monarch; his personal Activity, Intelligence & accomplishments; his large & liberal principles, in matters of religion, Government & Commerce, are so much of kin to those of our States—perhaps indeed so much borrowed from them, & adopted in imitation of them, that it seems peculiarly proper we shd. shew this respect to them.—
3dly: Because that, if England should ever forget herself again so much as to attack us, she may not be so likely to obtain the Alliance or Assistance of this Power against us. A Friendship, once established in a Treaty of Commerce, this Power will never be likely to violate, because she has no Dominions near us, & can have no Interest to quarrel with us.—
4thly. Because the Countries, belonging to this Power upon the Adriatic Sea, & in the Austrian Flanders, are no inconsiderable Sources of Commerce for America— And, if the present negotiations, between the two Imperial Courts, & the Porte, should terminate in a free Navigation of the Danube, the Black Sea, & the Archipelago, the Emperor’s hereditary Dominions will become very respectable Commercial Countries.—
5thly. Because, altho’ we have at present a pleasant & joyfull { 108 } prospect of friendship & uninterrupted Alliance with the House of Bourbon, which I wish may never be obscured, yet this friendship & Alliance will be the more likely to continue unimpaired for our having the friendship & Commerce of the House of Austria: And (as in the vicissitudes of human affairs all things are possible) if in future times—however unlikely at present—the House of Bourbon should deal unjustly by us, demand of us things we are not bound to perform, or any way injure us, we may find in the Alliance of Austria, England and Holland a resource against the Storm. Supernumerary Strings to our Bow & provisions against possible Inconveniences, however improbable, can do us no harm.—
If we were not straitened for money, I should advise Congress to send a Minister to Vienna: But as every mission abroad is a costly Article, & we find it difficult at present to procure money for the most necessary purposes, I should think it proper for Congress to send a Commission to their Minister at Versailles, London, Madrid, Petersbourg or the Hague, who might communicate it to the Court of Vienna, by means of the Imperial Ambassador. The Emperor in such Case wd. authorise his Ambassador at that Court to prepare & conclude a Treaty, and in this way the business may be well done without any additional expence.—
Mr: Favie, Chargé des Affaires of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, the Emperor’s Brother, has called upon me so often to converse with me upon this Subject, that I doubt not he has been employed, or at least knows it will be agreable to his Court & their Connections, altho’ he has never made any Official insinuations about it.— This Gentleman has been employed by the Republic of Ragusa to consult American Ministers upon the subject of Commerce too. I have told him the American Ports were open to the Ragusan Vessells, as well as all others, and have given him the address, by which they propose to write to Congress.4
I have the honor to be, Sir, / Your huml: Servt:
[signed] John Adams.5
RC in Charles Storer’s hand (PCC, No. 84, IV, f. 464–467); addressed: “His Excellency / Robert. R. Livingston Esqr: / Secretary of State for foreign-Affairs. / Philadelphia.”; internal address: “Robert. R. Livingston Esqr:.LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.
1. In the Letterbook is the notation by John Thaxter: “Delivered to Capt. Barney by J. Thaxter at Havre de Grace 29th. July 1783.”
2. In addition to the dispatches from Congress, Col. Matthias Ogden carried letters of introduction from Lewis R. Morris and Benjamin Lincoln of 29 and 30 April, respectively (both Adams Papers). The ratified copies of the Dutch-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce brought by Ogden and dated 23 Jan. are probably those in the Adams Papers at that date.
{ 109 }
3. See Francis Dana’s letter of [6 June], and note 4, above, and vol. 14:369–370.
4. Francesco Favi, chargé d’affaires of the Tuscan legation at Paris since 1780, also acted as the representative of the Republic of Ragusa (now Dubrovnik, Croatia) on the Dalmatian coast of the Adriatic (Repertorium, 3:451; Franklin, Papers, 33:214).
5. In JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0057

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
Date: 1783-07-14

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir,

The United States of America have propagated far & wide in Europe the Ideas of the Liberty of Navigation and Commerce. The Powers of Europe, however, cannot agree as yet, in adopting them in their full extent. Each one desires to maintain the exclusive dominion of some particular Sea, or River, and yet to enjoy the liberty of navigating all others. Great Britain wishes to preserve the exclusive dominion of the British Seas, & at the same time to obtain of the Dutch a free Navigation of all the Seas in the East Indies. France has contended for the free use of the British and American Seas, yet She wishes to maintain the Turks in their exclusive dominion of the Black Sea, and of the Danube, which flows into it thro’ some of their Provinces, and of the Communication between the Black Sea & the Archipelago, by the Dardanelles. Russia aims at the free Navigation of the Black Sea, the Danube, and the Passage by the Dardanelles, yet She contends that the Nations, which border on the Baltic, have a right to controul the Navigation of it. Denmark claims the Command of the Passage of the Sound, and by the late Marine Treaty, between the Neutral Powers, it was agreed that the Privateers of all the belligerent Powers should be excluded from the Baltic.2 France and Spain too begin to talk of an exclusive Dominion of the Mediterranean, and of excluding the Russian Fleet from it, or at least France is said to have menaced Russia with a Fleet of Observation in the Mediterranean, to protect her Commerce to the trading Sea Port Towns of the Levant— But as England possesses Gibraltar, and the Emperor of Morocco the other Side of the Straights, France & Spain cannot command the Entrance, so that it will be difficult for them to support their pretensions to any exclusive dominion of the Mediterranean, upon the Principle, on which the Northern Powers claim that of the Baltic, and the Porte, the Passage of the Dardanelles.
France at present enjoys a large Share of the Trade to the Levant. England has enjoyed a share too, and wishes no doubt to revive it. The Emperor & Empress, if they succeed in their Views of throwing { 110 } open the Danube, Black Sea and Archipelago, will take away from France and England a great part of this Trade— But it is not likely that England will join with France in any opposition to the Emperor and Empress.
In order to judge of the Object, which the two Empires have in view, we should look a little into the Geography of those Countries.
The Project of setting at liberty the whole Country of ancient Greece, Macedonia & Illiricum, & erecting independent Republicks in those famous Seats, however splendid it may appear in Speculation, is not likely to be seriously entertained by the two Empires, because it is impracticable. The Greeks of this day, altho’ they are said to have Imagination & Ingenuity, are corrupted in their Morals to such a degree, as to be a faithless perfidious Race, destitute of Courage, as well as of those principles of Honor and Virtue, without which a Nation can have no Confidence in one another, nor be trusted by others.
The Project, of conquering the Provinces of Albany, Romelia, Valachia, Moldavia & little Tartary from the Turks, & dividing them between the two Empires, may be more probable—3 But the Turks in Asia & Europe together are very powerful, and, if thoroughly awakened, might make a great resistance: So that it is most probable the two Imperial Courts would be content, if they could obtain by Negociation, or by Arms, the free Navigation of the Danube, Black Sea and Archipelago. This freedom alone would produce a great Revolution in the Commerce of Europe. The River Don or Tanais, with its Branches, flows through the Ukraine, and a considerable part of the Russian Dominions, into the Black Sea. The Danube flows very near Trieste, thro’ the Kingdom of Hungary & then thro’ a Turkish province, into the Black Sea. If therefore the Black Sea and the Danube only were free, a Communication would be immediately opened between Russia & Hungary, quite to Trieste, to the great Advantage of both Empires— But if at the same time the Passage of the Dardanelles was laid open, all the Levant Trade would be opened to the two Empires, and might be carried to Trieste, either by the Danube, or thro’ the Archipelago and the Gulph of Venice. This would be such an Accession of Wealth, Commerce and Naval Power to the two Empires, as France is jealous of, & may be drawn into a War to prevent. It is a question, how the King of Prussia will act. It is the general Opinion, that as he is advanced in Years, loves and enjoys his Laurels and his Ease, and cannot hope to gain any thing by War, he will be neuter. If he is, the Issue cannot be { 111 } foreseen. The Emperor is vastly powerful, and his Preparations are immense. Perhaps France may not think it prudent to declare War. I should be sorry to see her again involved in a War, especially against the Principles She has lately espoused with so much Glory and Advantage.
For my own part, I think Nature wiser than all the Courts and States in the World, & therefore I wish all her Seas & Rivers upon the whole Globe free, & am not at all surprised at the desire of the two Empires to set those near them at liberty.
I think, however, that whatever turn these Negociations may take, they cannot directly affect Us, altho’ we may be remotely interested in the freedom of the Levant Trade, and of the Seas and Rivers in the Neighbourhood of it.
I have the honor to be, with great Esteem & / Respect, / Sir, your most obedient & / most humble Servant
[signed] John Adams.4
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PCC, No. 84, IV, f. 468–471); internal address: “Honble. R. R. Livingston Esqr / Secretary of foreign Affairs.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.
1. In the Letterbook is the notation by John Thaxter: “Delivered to Capt Barney by J. Thaxter at Havre de Grace 29th. July 1783.”
2. JA refers to the League of Armed Neutrality, created by Russia in 1780, and specifically to the 8 May 1780 declaration by Denmark concerning the neutrality of the Baltic and to the 9 July 1780 Russo-Danish convention for an armed neutrality. Both documents referred to the Baltic as a closed sea, but the first declared that “His Majesty could not admit thereto armed vessels of the Powers at war for the purpose of committing acts of hostility against any one whatsoever” (Scott, Armed Neutralities, p. 290, 299–307).
3. Albany, Rumelia, Walachia, Moldavia, and Little Tartary were Ottoman provinces that now form parts of Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, and Ukraine.
4. In JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0058

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
Date: 1783-07-14

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir,

A Jealousy of American Ships, Seamen, Carrying Trade, and naval Power, appears every day more & more conspicuous. This Jealousy, which has been all along discovered by the French Minister, is at length communicated to the English. The following Proclamation, which will not increase British Ships and Seamen, in any proportion as it will diminish those of the United States, will contribute effectually to make America afraid of England, & attach herself more closely to France. The English are the Dupes, and must take the Consequences.
This Proclamation is issued in a full Confidence, that the United States have no Confidence in one another: that they cannot agree to { 112 } act in a Body as one Nation: that they cannot agree upon any Navigation Act, which may be common to the thirteen States. Our proper Remedy would be to confine our Exports to American Ships— To make a Law that no Article should be exported from any of the States in British Ships, nor in the Ships of any Nation, which will not allow Us reciprocally to import their Productions in our Ships. I am much afraid there is too good an Understanding upon this Subject between Versailles & St. James’s.
Perhaps it may be proper for Congress to be silent upon this head, until New York, Penobscot &ca are evacuated. But I should think that Congress, would never bind themselves by any Treaty, built upon such principles. They should negotiate, however, without loss of time, by a Minister in London— A few Weeks delay may have unalterable Effects.
The Proclamation is as follows, vizt.
At the Court at St. James’s the 2d. of July 1783.
Present
The King’s most Excellent Majesty in Council.
Whereas by an Act of Parliament, passed this Session, intituled an “Act for preventing certain Instruments from being required from Ships belonging to the United States of America, and to give his Majesty, for a limited time, certain powers for the better carrying on Trade and Commerce between the Subjects of his Majesty’s Dominions, & the Inhabitants of the said United States,” it is amongst other things enacted, that during the Continuance of the said Act, “it shall and may be lawful for his Majesty in Council, by order or Orders to be issued & published from time to time to give such directions, and to make such regulations, with respect to duties, drawbacks, or otherwise, for carrying on the Trade & Commerce between the People & Territories belonging to the Crown of Great Britain, & the People & Territories of the said United States, as to his Majesty, in Council, shall appear most expedient & salutary, any Law, Usage, or Custom to the contrary notwithstanding”:2 His Majesty doth therefore, by & with the Advice of his Privy Council, hereby order & direct, That Pitch, Tar, Turpentine, Hemp & Flax, Masts, Yards & Bowsprits, Staves, Heading, Boards, Timber, Shingles, & all other Species of Lumber; Horses, Neat Cattle, Sheep, Hogs, Poultry, and all other species of live Stock & live Provisions; Peas, Beans, Potatoes, Wheat, Flour, Bread, Biscuit, Rice, Oats, Barley, & all other species of Grain, being the Growth or Production of { 113 } any one of the United States of America, may, until further Order, be imported by British Subjects, in British built Ships, owned by his Majesty’s Subjects, & navigated according to Law, from any Port of the United States of America, to any of his Majesty’s West India Islands; and that Rum, Sugar, Molasses, Coffee, Cocoa Nuts, Ginger, & Pimento, may, until further order, be exported by British Subjects, in British built Ships, owned by his Majesty’s Subjects, & navigated according to Law, from any of his Majesty’s West India Islands, to any Port or Place within the said United States, upon payment of the same Duties on Exportation, and subject to the like Rules, Regulations, Securities and Restrictions, as the same Articles by Law are or may be subject & liable to, if exported to any British Colony or Plantation in America: And the right honourable the Lords Commissioners of his Majesty’s Treasury, and the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, are to give the necessary directions herein, as to them may respectively appertain.
Stephen Cottrell.
One of the most remarkable things in this Proclamation is, the Omission of Salt Fish, an Article which the Islands want as much as any that is enumerated. This is no doubt to encourage their own Fishery, & that of Nova Scotia, as well as a Blow aimed at ours. There was in a former Proclamation, concerning the Trade between the United States and Great Britain, an Omission of the Articles of Pot Ash and Pearl Ash.3 These Omissions discover a choice Love for New England. France, I am afraid, will exclude Fish too, and imitate this Proclamation but too closely, if indeed this Proclamation is not an Imitation of their System, adopted, as I believe it is, upon their Advice & Desire.
These however are impotent efforts. Without saying, writing, or resolving any thing, suddenly, let us see what Remedies or Equivalents we can obtain from Holland, Portugal, Denmark. Let us bind ourselves to nothing—reserve a right of making Navigation Acts, when we please, if we find them necessary or useful. If we had been defeated of our Fisheries, we should have been wormed out of all our Carrying Trade too, & should have been a mere Society of Cultivators, without any but a passive Trade. The Policy of France has succeeded, and laid in these Proclamations, if persisted in, the sure Source of another War between Us & Britain.
The English Nation is not however unanimous in this new System, as Congress will see by the inclosed speculations, which I know to have been written by a confidential Friend of my Lord { 114 } Shelburne, I mean Mr. Benjamin Vaughan.4 This Minister is very strong in the House of Lords, & Mr. Pitt in the House of Commons has attached to him many Members in the Course of this Session. If that Sett should come in again, we shall have a Chance of making an equitable Treaty of Commerce. To this End, a Minister must be ready, and I hope, in Mercy to our Country, that such an Opportunity will not be lost by delays, in Complaisance to our Allies.
I have the honor to be, with great Respect, / Sir, / your most obedient & / most humble Servant
[signed] John Adams.5
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PCC, No. 84, IV, p. 472–475); internal address: “Honble. R. R. Livingston Esqr. / Secretary of foreign Affairs.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.
1. In the Letterbook is the notation by John Thaxter: “Delivered to Capt Barney by J. Thaxter at Havre de Grace 29th. July 1783.”
2. This was the American Manifest Bill, for which see David Hartley’s 14 June letter to the commissioners, and note 1, above.
3. This was the Order in Council of 6 June.
4. In the Letterbook JA interlined the preceding five words, but the enclosure has not been identified. Benjamin Vaughan was a friend of JA’s and Benjamin Franklin’s and had been the Earl of Shelburne’s unofficial observer at the peace negotiations in 1782 (JA, D&A, 3:54). Vaughan, like Shelburne, was an advocate of free trade and of the fewest possible restrictions on British trade with the United States. He would later publish anonymously New and Old Principles of Trade Compared; or, a Treatise on the Principles of Commerce between Nations, London, 1788.
5. In JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0059

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
Date: 1783-07-15

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir,

Inclosed are Copies of Papers, which have passed between Mr. Hartley and the American Ministers.2 We have not thought it prudent to enter into any written Controversy with him, upon any of these Papers. We have recieved whatever he has offered us.— But he has offered nothing in the Name of his Court, has signed nothing, and upon Enquiry of him, we have found that he has never had Authority to sign officially any Proposition he has made.
I think it is evident, that his Principals, the Coalition, do not intend to make any Agreement with us about Trade, but to try Experiments by their Proclamations. I think too, that they mean to postpone the definitive Treaty as long as possible. We can get no Answer, and I believe Mr. Hartley gets no decisive Answers to any thing.
Inclosed also is a Pamphlet, intituled Observations on the American States, said to have been published by Lord Sheffield, and to have been composed by four American Renegadoes.3 The Spirit of it { 115 } needs no Comments. It deserves to be attended to, however, by Congress. It is a fatal Policy as it appears to me; to See a British Ambassador at Versailles, & a French Ambassador at St. James’s, & no American Minister at the latter. This is admired at Versailles, I doubt not, but not because they think it for our Interest.4
I have the honor to be, with great Respect, / Sir, / your most obedient & / most humble Servant.
[signed] John Adams.5
RC and enclosures in John Thaxter’s hand (PCC, No. 84, IV, f. 476–503); internal address: “Honble. R. R. Livingston Esqr / Secretary of foreign Affairs.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108. For the enclosures, see note 2.
1. In the Letterbook is the notation by John Thaxter: “Deliverd Capt Barney as mentioned in the preceeding Letter—”
2. There are five enclosures with this letter in the PCC: David Hartley’s proposals to the commissioners of [19 June], the commissioners’ two sets of proposals to Hartley of 29 June [I] [II], Hartley’s letter to the commissioners of 14 June, and Hartley’s memorial of 1 June. With the exception of the memorial, all of the documents are printed above at their dates. For the memorial, see Hartley’s letter of 14 June, and note 2. In the PCC these enclosures are numbered 4 through 8, indicating that there may have been three more, but if so they have not been identified.
3. This reference to Lord Sheffield’s pamphlet is an indication that JA had received Edmund Jenings’ letter of [ca. 8 July], above, for there Jenings mentions the four loyalists: Silas Deane, Benedict Arnold, Paul Wentworth, and Philip Skene, but see note 4, below.
4. In the Letterbook this paragraph ended with an additional sentence that JA canceled: “Which of the two Courts Mr Deane who is Said to be one of the Authors of the Pamphlet is Serving I know not, one Thing I firmly believe viz that he got his Ideas at Versailles.”
5. In JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0060

Author: President of Congress
Author: Boudinot, Elias
Recipient: American Peace Commissioners
Date: 1783-07-15

The President of Congress to the American Peace Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen,

As Congress have not yet elected any Minister for Foreign Affairs, and knowing the importance of your Being fully informed of every public transaction relative to these States, I have concluded that you would not think it amiss to hear from me on the subject of the removal of Congress to this place, tho’ I cannot consider this communication as official but merely for your information in my Individual capacity.
The State of our Finances making it indispensably necessary to abridge the public expences in every instance that would not endanger the union, we concluded to reduce the army by discharging all the Soldiers enlisted for the War, with a proportionate number of Officers, on condition that the discharge should operate no otherwise than as a furlough, until the ratification of the Definitive { 116 } Treaty. This not only eased us of a heavy disbursement of ready Cash for subsistence money and Rations, but gratified many of the army who wished to be at home in the early part of the Summer, to provide for the following Winter. Three months pay was ordered, which could no otherwise be complied with, but by a paper anticipation of the Taxes, payable in six months.2
By an inevitable accident, the Notes did not arrive at the army till six days after the Soldiers were discharged and had left the camp. This, together with some difficulty in settling their accounts, created an uneasiness among the Troops; but by the General’s Address and the good conduct of the Officers, they all retired peaceably to their different States, tho’ without a single farthing of cash to buy themselves a meal of Victuals.
In the Barracks in Philadelphia and at Lancaster, in the State of Pennsylvania, there were a number of new Recruits, who had been enlisted since the months of December and January last, and who had not yet taken the field; these Soldiers having not been brought under any regular discipline, made many objections against accepting their discharges and gave their Officers reason to fear some difficulty in getting rid of them; but the Secretary at War thought he had satisfied them by assuring them of the like pay with the rest of the army. On the 15th. of June a petition was received from the Serjeants, requiring a Redress of their grievances, in a very turbulent and indecent Style, of which no notice was taken;3 but on the 18th. we received the letters No. 1 and 2.4 A Committee was immediately appointed to confer with the Executive Council of Pennsylvania, and to endeavour to get them to call out the Militia to stop the Mutineers; but to no purpose; the Council thinking that the Citizens would not choose to risque themselves when fair means might do. The first Report of the Committee, contained in No. 3 will shew their proceedings.5 On the 19th. the troops arrived and joined those at the Barracks in the City, who had been encreased in number by a few companies of old Soldiers arrived the day before from Charles Town. The whole being very orderly and quiet, Congress adjourned on Friday the 20th., as usual, till Monday morning. On the 21st. one of the Committee called on me and informed, that the Soldiers at the Barracks were very disorderly and had cast off the authority of their Officers—that it was suspected they had a design, the following night, against the Bank; and advised me to call Congress without delay. This I did, to meet in half an hour. The Soldiers by accident hearing of it, very fortunately hastened their designs a day or two { 117 } sooner than was intended. The Members of Congress had just got together, except one, when the State House (in which also The President and Supreme Executive Council were then sitting) was surrounded by about three hundred armed Men with fixed Bayonets under the command of seven Serjeants. Congress immediately sent for Genl. St. Clair and demanded the reason of this hostile appearance, who informed of his having just arrived in Town from his seat in the Country in obedience to the orders of Congress of the day preceding; that he had received information from the Commanding Officer of the mutinous disposition of the Troops, who had marched from the Barracks contrary to the orders of their Officers; and that the Veteran Troops from Charles Town had been unwillingly forced into the measure. The President of the State then appeared, and produced the insolent paper of which No. 4 is a copy, which had been sent into him by the Serjeants.6
Congress determined they would enter on no deliberations while thus surrounded; but ordered Genl. St. Clair immediately to endeavour to march the Mutineers back to the Barracks by such means as were in his power.
After several prudent and wise measures the General prevailed on the Serjeants to return to their Barracks, convincing them that if they were aggrieved they had a right to make it known in a decent manner, thro’ any persons they might think proper to appoint. But previous to this, after waiting surrounded by this armed force for near three hours, Congress broke up and we passed thro’ the files of the Mutineers without the least opposition, tho’ at times before our adjournment, the Soldiers, many of whom were very drunk, threatened Congress by name.
The Mutineers had taken possession of the powder House and several public Arsenals in this City, with some Field pieces from the public Yard.
In the evening Congress met and made a House and came to the resolutions contained in No. 5.7 and broke up without adjournment. The Committee not being able to meet the Council till Sunday morning were then prevailed on to wait for an answer till monday morning and then received the answer contained in the 2d. Report No. 6.8 However hoping that the Council would change their sentiments, the Committee did not think proper to give me their advice till Tuesday at two O’Clock in the Afternoon. In the mean time the Mutineers kept in arms, refusing all obedience to their Officers, and in possession of the powder House and Magazines of Military { 118 } Stores. On Tuesday morning the Officers reported to me that the preceding evening the Serjeants, notwithstanding some talk of a submission and return to their duty, had presented six Officers with a commission each as in No. 7.;9 and on one refusing to accept it they threatened him with immediate death—and that, at the time of the Report, they were getting very drunk and in a very riotous state. By the second Report of the Committee you will be acquainted with the particulars of the transaction, with the addition that the behaviour of the six Officers was very mysterious and unaccountable. At two O’Clock agreeably to the advice of the Committee, I summoned Congress to meet at this place on Thursday the 26th. of June, issued the Proclamation No. 8 and left the City.10
As soon as it was known that Congress was going, the Council were informed, that there was great reason to expect a serious attack on the Bank the night following, on which the President of the State collected about One hundred Soldiers and kept Guard all night. On Wednesday it was reported that Congress had sent for the Commander in Chief with the whole Northern Army, and the Militia of New-Jersey, who were to be joined by the Pennsylvania Militia, in order to quell the mutiny; which was no otherwise true than ordering a detachment of a few hundred men from the North River. The Serjeants being alarmed, soon proposed a submission, and the whole came in a Body to the President of the State, making a most submissive acknowledgment of their misconduct, and charging the whole on two of the Officers, whom they had commissioned to represent their grievances, a Capt. Carbery and Lieutenant Sullivan, who were to have headed them, as soon as they should have proceeded to violences. These Officers immediately escaped to Chester and there got on board of a Vessel bound to London. The Serjeants describe the plan laid by these Officers as of the most irrational and diabolical nature, not only against Congress and the Council, but also against the City and Bank. They were to be joined by straggling parties from different parts of the Country, and after executing their horrid purposes were to have gone off with their plunder to the East Indies. However incredible this may appear the letters No. 9 & 10 from Sullivan to Colo. Moyland, his Commanding Officer, from Chester and the Capes clearly shew that it was a deep laid scheme.11 It appears clearly to me that next to the continued care of divine Providence, the miscarriage of this plan is owing to the unexpected meeting of Congress on Saturday, and their decided conduct { 119 } in leaving the City, until they could support the fœderal Government with Dignity.
It is also said that two of the Citizens have been concerned in this wicked plot, but they are not yet ascertained. They were certainly encouraged by some of the lower class as well as by the general supineness in not quelling the first movement. Some very suspicious circumstances attending the conduct of the other four Officers, who were commissioned by the Serjeants have caused them to be arrested. The whole matter has so far subsided. The detachment under Genl. Howe from the Northern Army has arrived in the vicinity of the City and a Court of enquiry is endeavouring to develope the whole affair.12
The Citizens are greatly chagrined at the predicament in which they stand and endeavour to lay the blame on the Council for not calling on them and proving them, while the Council justify themselves by the advice of the Militia Officers, whom they called together for that purpose. The Citizens are universally petitioning Congress to return to the City, assuring us of their constant protection.
You will excuse me for tiring you with so circumstantial an account, which nothing but the necessity of preventing the many falsehoods that are generally propagated on these occasions and the propriety of your being well informed, would ever have justified me in.
I do myself the honor to send herewith the News-papers, and particularly a Circular Letter of Genl. Washington to the different States, which in my opinion gives the finishing stroke to his inimitable Character.
I have committed this letter to the care of my younger Brother, who is bound for London, having been in the Merchant service at that port for several years, but who, I have the best evidence is well attached to the interests of this Country, and who can inform you of many particulars relating to the State of things here.13
I have the honor to be &c.
[signed] E. B
FC (PCC, No. 16, f. 211–218); internal address: “The Honorable / The Ministers Plenipotentiary / of the United States &c. at / Paris.”
1. The recipient’s copy of this letter and its enclosures have not been found. Benjamin Franklin replied to it on 1 Nov., noting that he had just received a duplicate, the original not having arrived (Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:721). No specific reference by JA to this letter has been found other than in his letter to the president of Congress of 14 Dec., below, in which he wrote that “Mr Boudinot” (for whom see note 13, below) { 120 } had arrived with dispatches for the commissioners that “contained nothing but duplicates of Information recd long ago respecting the Mutiny at Philadelphia.” The lack of any substantive reply to this letter by either JA or Franklin is likely owing to their having seen accounts of the “Mutiny” and copies of at least some of the enclosures in European or American newspapers.
2. In this paragraph Boudinot paraphrases Congress’ resolution of 26 May (JCC, 24:364). For the decision to provide the furloughed officers and men with three months’ pay and the circumstances that led to the notes’ arriving after most of the soldiers had departed for home, mentioned in the following paragraph, see Morris, Papers, 8:45–49.
3. The petition actually was received on 13 June, but it is not mentioned at that date in the JCC. However, James Madison’s account of debates for that date indicates that “the mutinous memorial from the Sergeants was recd. & read. It excited much indignation & was sent to the Secretary at war.” For the content of the petition, which is apparently not extant, see Madison, Papers: Congressional Series, 7:141, note 1.
4. In the left margin is the notation “letters from Colo. Butler & Colo. Henry, on the files of Congress.” In the letters, both dated 17 June, Cols. William Henry and Richard Butler reported the departure of “armed soldiers” from the camp at Lancaster for Philadelphia, Butler also enclosing the orders by which he had unsuccessfully sought to prevent the troops’ leaving (PCC, No. 38, f. 37, 45, 123). Note that these and the other enclosures are printed with this letter in Dipl. Corr., 1783–1789, 1:6–29.
5. In the left margin is the notation “See Journals of Congress July 1. 1783.” The enclosure was the first report entered into the JCC on 1 July. It contained an account of the 19 June meeting between a congressional committee headed by Alexander Hamilton and the supreme executive council of Pennsylvania at which the council refused to call out the militia to prevent the troops on the road from Lancaster from joining the already mutinous Philadelphia garrison. With the report are the committee’s orders to Maj. William Jackson, assistant secretary at war, directing him to persuade the troops to return to their camp, while “avoiding whatever may tend to irritate” (JCC, 24:413–416).
6. In the left margin is the notation “Message to Council dated by the Sergeants.” The undated letter signed by James Bennett on behalf of the noncommissioned officers and soldiers of the Philadelphia garrison contained seven demands, five of them seeking the compensation due them for their service and the other two extending the settlement to all members of the Pennsylvania line wherever they might be and providing for a settlement for the troops that had arrived from Lancaster (PCC, No. 38, f. 27–36).
7. In the left margin is the notation “Resolutions of Sat. 21. June.” Congress resolved that Pennsylvania should take action to support the public authority; that should no effectual action be taken, then Congress should move to Trenton or Princeton, N.J.; and that George Washington should be informed of the situation so that he could take what action he thought expedient “for suppressing any disturbances” (JCC, 24:410).
8. In the left margin is the notation “See Journals July 1.” This is the second report entered into the JCC of 1 July (see note 5). Dated 24 June, it is an account of the meeting between the congressional committee headed by Alexander Hamilton and the supreme executive council of Pennsylvania in the wake of Congress’ resolutions of 21 June (see note 7). When requested to act in accord with the first resolution of 21 June, the council refused and was then advised by the committee that Congress’ only recourse would be to abandon the city and call upon the forces under Washington’s command to restore order (same, 24:416–421).
9. In the left margin is the notation “See files of Congress.” The document, dated 23 June and signed by James Bennett, commissioned six officers to represent the noncommissioned officers and soldiers in Philadelphia and admonished them “to remember that every effort in your power must be exerted to bring about the speedy & most ample justice; And even to use compulsive measures should they be found necessary” (PCC, No. 38, f. 24).
10. In the left margin is the notation “See page 47. this Book.” The proclamation, after recounting the threat to Congress posed by the mutinous soldiers and the inability of Pennsylvania to provide adequate security for its deliberations, summoned the members of Congress to meet at Princeton on 26 June (PCC, No. 16, f. 202–204). The reference to “page 47” in the marginal note is owing to { 121 } the fact that the proclamation and Boudinot’s letter are in the president’s letterbook for the period 1781 to 1787. When Boudinot assumed the presidency on 5 Nov. 1782 he numbered the page containing his first letter p. 1 rather than p. 156, as it would otherwise have been.
11. In the left margin is the notation “See files of Congress.” Although Boudinot seems to indicate that he is sending two letters from Lt. John Sullivan to his commanding officer, Col. Stephen Moylan, only one has been identified, that of 30 June (PCC, No. 38, f. 41–44). Proclaiming his continued attachment to the United States, Sullivan ascribed the actions of himself and his associate, Capt. Henry Carberry, to the injustices experienced from the political leadership during their service. He closed by declaring, “let what bad men there are at the helm of government observe from this instance, how dangerous it is to drive men of honor to desperation.”
Lt. John Sullivan of Pennsylvania and Capt. Henry Carberry of Maryland were officers in the 4th Continental Dragoons and the 11th Pennsylvania Regiment, respectively. At the end of June the two men took passage for England on a British ship lying off Chester, Penn., and reached London in early August. Neither man remained long abroad, Carberry returning to America in 1784 and Sullivan in 1785. Although neither Carberry nor Sullivan was ever convicted of any offense connected with the June mutiny, Carberry’s later career proved happier than Sullivan’s. Carberry managed to rehabilitate himself and resume his career, serving as a captain in the U.S. Army from 1791 until his resignation in 1794 and, during the War of 1812, as a lieutenant colonel in the 36th U.S. Infantry. Sullivan, on the other hand, had his claim to pay and commutation denied by Congress in 1786 owing to his “having withdrawn himself from the United States without leave,” and that body ordered his arrest in 1787 for incendiary activities on the Spanish-American frontier (Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 3:310–312; Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 143, 527; JCC, 30:355; 33:675–676). For the arrival of Sullivan and Carberry in London, see letters from Edmund Jenings to JA of 7 [Aug.] 1783, and from Henry Laurens to the commissioners of the 9th, both below.
12. In consequence of a letter from Boudinot dated 21 June, Washington on 25 June ordered a force commanded by Maj. Gen. Robert Howe to proceed to Philadelphia and suppress the mutiny then in progress. Howe reached Princeton on the evening of 30 June and shortly thereafter moved on to Philadelphia (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 27:35–36; Smith, Letters of Delegates, 20:349–350, 388–389).
13. This is Lewis Boudinot, a merchant seaman. Apparently about to embark on his return voyage to America, he wrote to Benjamin Franklin on 29 Sept. from Falmouth, England, indicating that he was forwarding through the French ambassador the dispatches entrusted to him by his brother (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 3:111). These are presumably the dispatches Franklin refers to in his letter to the president of Congress of 1 Nov. (Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:721–722). The younger Boudinot evidently had returned to England by 14 Dec., when JAwrote to the president of Congress and reported Boudinot’s arrival at London on 11 Dec. with additional dispatches, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0061

Author: American Peace Commissioners
Recipient: Bariatinskii, Ivan Sergeevich
Recipient: Markov, Arkady
DateRange: 1783-07-01 - 1783-07-15

The American Peace Commissioners to Ivan Sergeevich Bariatinskii and Arkady Markov

To their Excellencies The Prince Bariatinskoy, and Mr De Markoff Ministers Plenipotentiary from her Majesty the Empress of all the Russias.
The Subscribers, Ministers Plenipotentiary, from the United States of America, for making Peace with Great Britain, have the Honour to inform the Ministers from Her Majesty the Empress of { 122 } Russia, that the United States of America, on the fifteenth day of June 1781 having been informed by his most Christian Majesty, that their Imperial Majesties the Emperor of Germany, and the Empress of Russia, actuated by Sentiments of Humanity, and a desire to put a Stop to the Calamities of War, had offered their Mediation to the belligerent Powers, in order to promote Peace, constituted the Subscribers together with the Honourable Henry Laurens and Thomas Jefferson Esquires, their Ministers Plenipotentiary, giving and granting to them, or Such of them as Should assemble, or in Case of Death, Absence, Indisposition or other Impediment of the others to any one of them, full Power and Authority in their Name and on their Behalf, in Concurrence with his Most Christian Majesty to accept in due Form the Mediation of thier Imperial Majesties the Emperor of Germany and the Empress of Russia.2
The Subscribers have also been informed by his Excellency the Comte de Vergennes, that his Most Christian Majesty and his Britannic Majesty, have accepted the Mediation of their Imperial Majesties in the definitive Treaty of Peace about to be concluded between those Powers
The Subscribers therefore in the Absence of the Honourable Henry Laurens and Thomas Jefferson, have the Honour to inform your Excellencies that by Virtue of their Commission aforesaid Copy of which is inclosed, they are ready in Behalf of the Said United states of America to accept the Mediation of their Imperial Majesties in the definitive Treaty of Peace to be concluded between his Britannic Majesty and the Said States.
Signed.
Dft in JA’s hand (PPAmP:Franklin Papers).
1. This date is derived from JA’s 16 July letter to Robert R. Livingston, below, indicating that the commissioners had shown the Comte de Vergennes their draft letter to the ministers of the imperial courts. There is no evidence, however, that either this letter to the Russian ministers or a similar one (if such a letter was drafted) to the Austrian ambassador was ever presented. For the origins of this effort, see JA’s 9 July letter to Livingston, and note 3, above.
2. This paragraph is taken largely from the 15 June 1781 joint commission to accept the Austro-Russian mediation (vol. 11:370–371).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0062

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
Date: 1783-07-16

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir,

Yesterday we waited on the Comte de Vergennes at Versailles, and shew him the Project of a Letter to the Ministers of the two Imperial Courts, which he read and approved.2 We told him, that we { 123 } were at a loss what might be the effect of the Mediation—possibly we might be involved in difficulties by it—possibly the British Ministers might persuade the Mediators to offer Us their Advice upon some points, respecting the Royalists for example, which we could not comply with. The Comte said, that he had told them that as soon as he had fully agreed with England upon all points, their Mediation should be accepted, and they should sign the Treaty as such, & we might agree to it in the same manner. He said we were not obliged to this, but as they were to be present & sign one Treaty, it would look better to sign both.— It would be a very notorious public and respectable Acknowledgment of Us, as a Power, by those Courts. Upon this footing we left the Letter with him to be shewn to the Imperial Ministers.
We asked the Comte if he had seen the British Proclamation of the 2d. of July—3 He answered, he had. I asked him, if the King had determined any thing on the subject of salt-Provisions and salt Fish? whether we might import them into his Islands? He said we might depend upon it, they could not supply their Islands with Fish—That we had two free Ports in their Islands St. Lucie and a Port in Martinique. By the 32d. Article of the Treaty of Commerce, these free Ports are secured to us.—4 Nothing, he said, was determined concerning salt Beef and Pork, but the greatest difficulty would be about Flour. I told the Comte, that I did not think it would be possible, either for France or England to carry on the Commerce between the Islands and Continent. It was profitable to us only, as it was part of a System—That it could not be carried on without loss in large Vessels navigated by many Seamen, which could sail only at certain Seasons of the Year, &ca.
Upon the whole, I was much pleased with this Conversation, & conclude from it, that we shall do very well in the French West India Islands—perhaps the better in them, the worse we are treated by the English.
The Dutch and Danes will, I doubt not, avail themselves of every Error, that may be committed by France or England. It is good to have a Variety of Strings to our Bow, & therefore I wish we had a Treaty of Commerce with Denmark, by which a free Admission of our Ships into their Ports in the West Indies might be established— By means of the Dutch, Danes and Portuguese, I think we shall be able to obtain finally proper Terms of France and England.
The British Proclamation, of the 2d. of this Month is the Result of Refugee Politicks— It is intended to encourage Canada and Nova { 124 } Scotia, & their Fisheries to support still the ruins of their Navigation Act, and to take from us the Carriage even of our own Productions. A System, which has in it so little respect for us, and is so obviously calculated to give a Blow to our Nurseries of Ships and Seamen, could never have been adopted but from the opinion, that we have no common Legislature for the Government of Commerce. All America, from Cheasapeak to St. Croix, I know love Ships and Sailors, and those Ports to the southward of that Bay have advantages for obtaining them when they will, & therefore I hope the thirteen States will unite in some Measures to counteract this Policy of Britain, so evidently selfish, unsocial, and, I had Almost said, hostile. The question is, what is to be done? I answer, perhaps it will be most prudent to say little about it at present, & until the definitive Treaty is signed, & the States evacuated. But after that I think, in the Negotiation of a Treaty of Commerce with Great Britain, Congress should tell them, that they have the Means of doing Justice to themselves. What are those means? I answer, let every State in the Union lay on a duty of five per Cent. on all West India Articles imported in British Ships, and upon all their own Productions exported in British Ships.— Let this Impost be limited in duration, until Great Britain shall allow our Vessels to trade to their West Indies. This would effectually defeat their Plan, and encourage our own Carrying Trade, more than they can discourage it.
Another way of influencing England to a reasonable Conduct is, to take some Measures for encouraging the Growth in the United States of West India Articles.— Another is, to encourage Manufactures, especially of Wool & Iron, among ourselves. As Tilt Hammers are now not unlawful, and Wool may be water born, much more may be done now than could have been done before the War.—5 But the most certain method is to lay on duties on Exports & Imports by British Ships. The Sense of a common Interest and a common danger, it is to be hoped, will induce a perfect Unanimity among the States, in this respect. There are other ways of serving ourselves, and making Impressions upon the English, to bring them to reason.— One is to send Ships immediately to China. This Trade is as open to Us, as to any Nation: And if our natural Advantages are envied Us, we should compensate ourselves in any honest way we can.
Our natural Share in the West India Trade is all that is now wanting to complete the Plan of the Happiness and Prosperity of our Country— Deprived of it, we shall be straitened and shackled in { 125 } some degree. We cannot enjoy a free use of all our Limbs without this. With it, I see nothing to desire—nothing to vex or chagrine our People—nothing to interrupt our Repose, or keep up a dread of War.
I know not what permission may be expected from Spain to trade to the Havanna, but should think that this Resource ought not be neglected.
I confess I do not like the Complexion of British Politicks. They are mysterious and unintelligible. Mr. Hartley appears not to be in the Secret of his Court. The things, which happen, appear as unexpected to him as to Us. Political Jealousies and Speculations are endless. It is possible the British Ministers may be secretly employed in fomenting the Quarrel between the two Imperial Courts and the Porte, and in secretly stirring up the French to join the Turks in the War. The prospect of seeing France engaged in a War may embolden them to adopt a System less favorable to Us. The Possibility of these things should stimulate Us, I think, to form, as soon as possible, Treaties of Commerce with the principal Powers, especially the Imperial Courts, that all our questions may be decided. This will be a great advantage to Us, even if we should afterwards be involved in a War. I put this Supposition with great Reluctance— But if England should, in the Course of a few Years or Months, have the Art to stir up a general War in Europe, and get France and Spain seriously involved in it, which is at least a possible Case, She may assume a Tone and Conduct towards Us, which will make it very difficult for Us to avoid taking a Part in it. If such a deplorable Circumstance should take place, it will be still a great Advantage to Us to have our Sovreignty explicitly acknowledged by those Powers, against whom we may be unfortunately obliged to act. At present they are all disposed to it, and seem desirous of forming Connections with Us, that we may be out of the question.
The Politicks of Europe are such a Labyrinth of profound Mysteries, that the more one sees of them, the more Causes of Uncertainty and Anxiety we discover. The United States will have Occasion to brace up their Confederation, and act as one Body with one Spirit. If they do not, it is now very obvious that G. Britain will take Advantage of it, in such a manner, as will endanger our Peace, our Safety, and even our very Existence. A Change of Ministry may, but it is not certain that it will, give Us better Prospects.
I have the honor to be, with great Respect, / Sir, / your most obedient & / most humble Servant.
[signed] John Adams.6
{ 126 }
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PCC, No. 84, V, f. 1–6); internal address: “R. R. Livingston Esqr. / Secretary of foreign Affairs.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.
1. In the Letterbook is the notation by John Thaxter: “Delivered to Capt Barney as before mentioned by J Thaxter—”
2. At [ante 16] July, above.
3. For the text of the Order in Council of 2 July and JA’s initial comments thereon, see his second letter to Livingston of 14 July, above.
4. This is Art. 32 in the 1778 Franco-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce as originally negotiated but Art. 30 in the treaty as ratified after the removal of Arts. 11 and 12 (Miller, Treaties, 2:26–27, 32–33).
5. The Iron Act of 1750 prohibited the use of tilt hammers in American ironworks, and the Woollen Act of 1699 prohibited the American export of wool cloth either overseas or in intercolonial trade (Gipson, Empire before the Revolution, 1:219–220; 3:227). But see JA’s 1775 comment in the fourth number of Novanglus that the prohibition of tilt hammers was never executed, vol. 2:261.
6. In JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0063

Author: Dalton, Tristram
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-07-16

From Tristram Dalton

[salute] Dear Sir

Under the 26th last April, I did myself the Honour of addressing you, being most sincere in my Congratulations on the happy Issue of the several Important Negotiations, which had been entrusted to your Care—1
With ardent Pleasure the People of this Commonwealth contemplate your expected Return this Fall— The highest Honor They can confer awaits you in the Spring—2 This Sentiment is not founded in the prejudice of Friendship, but on the general Gratitude of an obliged free Community—
Agreeable to my promise, I will attempt giving you a breif Account of the Politics prevailing in this State—tho’ it will be very imperfect, it must convince that, as yet, we are far from being settled in a System which alone can continue us in that respectable Situation, the Revolution has placed the United States—. For the same disposition reigning in some of the other States in the Union, if persevered in, Congress will soon be, only the Shadow of Sovereignty— and a Mark of Contempt—
The General Court of this Com̃onwealth was adjourned last friday, to the 24th September, after sitting six weeks, and doing nothing toward supplying the Continental Treasury— you must be acquainted with the early, repeated, and earnest recommendations of Congress, that Funds be established for the payment of the Interest and Principal of the National Debt—and with the plan, proposed to the several States to grant a five per Cent Impost, as part of a permanent Revennue for this purpose— The fate of these Recommendations, defeated in the Execution, by the noncompliance of the { 127 } State of Rhlsland, you must also know.—3 Congress, after waiting as long as their Necessities, and longer than the Honor and Safety of the Country, permitted, varied their recommendations in some Instances, limiting the continuance of the Impost Act, which was at first proposed to be in force untill all the public Debts were discharged, to the Term of twenty five years— They also, in a Pamphlet, forwarded an Estimate of the whole Debt, foreign and domestic—in which was included five million dollars, as a Commutation of the halfpay for Life, heretofore promised the Officers of the American Army—and the Papers which, at the time the s’d halfpay was granted, induced Congress to make this promise—4 This Communication appeared necessary as the Subject of it had caused great Clamour in NEngland; and it came in season for our G Court to form an opinion upon—5 Facts were so justly stated as ought to have alarmed—and Consequences, fatal to the Union, so truly depictured, as ought to have united the Court in some effectual Measures to supply the public Chest— They did not— A Bill granting the Impost required but under very different regulations was brought into the House & passed It was returned by the Senate concurred as taken into a new Draft which conformed entirely to the Plan proposed by Congress— A Coalition was, in vain, attempted— Two Objections were made by the House, which could not be removed— One, That Congress should have a power of levying and collecting these duties by such rules and regulations as they might think proper; provided these Rules were not repugnant to the Constitution of this Government, might have been qualified, by referring every Question relative to Seizures, to the Courts of Common Pleas in the first Instance, with Liberty of Appeal to the Supreme Judicial Court—tho’ even with this restriction of Tryals, in Courts of our own Establishments, some Gentlemen were scrupulous as to the Right of the Legislature to levy any Monies, that should not be first placed in the Treasury of this Commonwealth, to be thence issued by Warrant from the Governor &c— However had this been the only Objection, the Bill would have passed into a Law— The more material One, and what seems at present insuperable, is the raising in any way, Monies to pay the Commutation of the Officers half pay for Life— Perhaps no One Step has raised such universal Clamor, as the Idea of this reward—or Debt—has done in NEngland. The Inhabitants seem convulsed— Many Towns instructed their Representatives on the Measure strictly forbidding them to make provision for any part of it—
{ 128 }
Whither their Apprehensions are well founded or no—whither the Brave should be thus rewarded—whither the Expense of such grants can be easily borne or no—is not a point of secondary Consideration with them— The Idea of Pensioners, which they apply in this Case, is abhorrent— They fought to get clear of such Vipers of the British Establishments, They will have none of their own making— Congress, say they, had a right to make peace and War—to incur reasonable Expenses—&c— But Congress had no Right to do wrong—and this is wrong— In these Sentiments, the House clogged the bill, with a Proviso that no part of the Monies raised thereby should be appropriated toward the payment of the halfpay for Life, or the Commutation thereof— With this the Senate would have complied—but the House went farther— They added, that as this Act was not to be in force untill all the States in the Confederation passed similar Ones, the same proviso to prevent the Appropriation of any part of the Monies arising therefrom to the payment of the half Pay or the Commutation should constitute a part of the Acts—which prevented the other Governmt. from acting their own Sentiments— to this the Senate would not consent and of course the Bill was dropped— The other recommendations of Congress to raise the deficiencies, which They estimated at three fifths, the Court did not take any Notice of any further than to read—alledging that their Constituents could not bear any more Taxes in the usual Manner— What is really alarming—of the 400 thousand pounds required by Congress of this State in 1781—tho’ the half was soon after assessed—and the second Moiety some time since, not 50 thousand pounds, an Eighth of the whole, has yet reached the Receiver’s hands—and, what is too vile for a Man to think, some Members of the Countys of Berkshire and Hampshire, endeavoured to obtain a clandestine Order from the Court to stay Executions for payment of the first Moiety which were ordered to be issued last Jany—debating the Matter even when the Secretary came in from the Governor to adjourn the Court, in Consequence of a joint Committee’s having waited on him to request the Adjournment— The Motion for staying the Executions having been made after the Committee was gone to his Excellency—
What but Chicanery—low Artifice & Design can be expected from such Men— Thank God there are some of Sense, Learning, Candor & liberal Sentiments belonging to the House—whose Influence I depend much upon—tho’ not so much as I do on the general Reflections which must take place on a review of our critical Situation— Like Children, just left to go alone, We shall learn to walk at the { 129 } Expence of many a fall—the Marks of some of which will be carried thro’ Life—it being well if a Limb or some useful Part of the Body Politic does not receive a fatal Injury— For Want of raising our proportion of Monies in our own Way, and putting them into the Continental Treasury, We must give that Power to Congress, which, in future time, may lead to undue Influence— If a free People cannot— or will not—take Care of themselves—they <will> must, from Necessity, place their Rights in the hands of those who may not pay so scrupulous Attention to essential Priviledges—or what are thought such— The People of these States have so large a Share of common Sense— and Observation, that They will not suffer themselves to be ruined by the Ignorance or Self Interest of a few— They begin to be sensible of the absolute Importance of supporting the Union—without which We are not known as a Nation—and in dissolving which, we are exposed as a prey to any stronger Power who has Art enough to keep up a division—
At the Close of the Session, many of the most rigid Members, opposed to the half Pay and of Course to the Impost Bill as recommended by Congress, soften’d—and felt the Necessity of spirited Measures to supply the public Chest— I am in hopes the next Meeting of the Court will be more decisive, on this important Point— A circular Letter from General Washington, wherein He takes an affectionate Leave of the several States, and fully points out the Dangers they are exposed to from their own Conduct, giving his warmest Advice, was received, and read to the GCourt—and appeared to have a good Effect—
Congress are in a difficult Situation— Blamed by the Northern States for what they have done for the Officers of the Army—pressed by the Army for a Compliance with their promises as to former pay— unsupplied, by all the States, with Monies—and no hopeful Prospect of a regular System in their funds being established— What must this August Body be thought of by the Powers of Europe?
The City of Philadelphia has suffered them to be drove from them by a Body of 350 Soldiers, under the Command of Seargants— They now sit at PrinceTown— On their Advice to General Washington, He sent two Regiments of the Massachusetts Line, under the Command of General R. Howe, to quell the Mutineers—who submitted, the next day after their Insurrection— As No Congress could be found They dispersed—and are not to be heard of—
Any other People would be ruined for suffering things to go thus far— These States will feel very evil Consequences—but after having { 130 } smarted a while they will recover from their Languor—and render the Confederacy still respected—
I wish It in my power to afford you a better Account of the Situation of these States— Facts will not permit— I have frequently recollected an Observation you made to me when discoursing on a Constitution of Government formed to last for Ages—“That half a Century was far enough for a Man to look forward in planning a form of Government”— I am convinced of the Truth of the Observation—And wish I did not almost adopt another Opinion that few, If any, Bodys of People are capable of governing themselves—
I had the pleasure of seeing Mrs Adams this day—and obtaining a promise that your Daughter, with whom my eldest Daughter was so happy as to form an Acquaintance at Haverhill this Summer, might spend a little time at my Country House—which Visit I find will be quite agreeable to the young Ladies—6 This is a new fruit of our Friendship, which I look on with much Satisfaction— extending my best Wishes to every Thing that is dear to You for I am with the greatest Sincerity— / Dear Sir Your affectionate and / Obliged Friend—
[signed] Tristram Dalton
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Hn’ble John Adams Esqr / Paris”; internal address: “The Honble John Adams Esqr”; endorsed: “Mr Dalton. July 16. / ansd. sept. 10. 1783.”
1. Vol. 14:444–445.
2. Presumably Dalton is referring to the recurring desire, at least of JA’s friends, that upon his return to America he be elected governor of Massachusetts. See, for example, James Warren’s letter of 24 June, above; vol. 14:101, 102; AFC, 5:185–186.
3. The 5 percent impost, first proposed in 1781, was finally defeated in Dec. 1782. This was owing partly to Rhode Island’s steadfast opposition but ultimately to Virginia’s decision to reconsider its initial approval and reject the tax (vol. 14:139, 140).
4. This is the Address and Recommendations to the States by the United States in Congress Assembled, Phila., 1783, Evans, No. 18223 (JCC, 25:986–987). The address was approved on 26 April and on the 29th the supporting documents to be included with the address were entered in the JCC. In addition to the estimate of the national debt, they included the contracts for loans entered into by Benjamin Franklin and JA with the French government and the Dutch loan consortium, respectively, and the Newburgh Addresses and George Washington’s response (JCC, 24:277–283, 285–311). On 13 June the Mass. house of representatives ordered the printing of one thousand copies of the address (Mass. House, Journals, Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass., A.1b, Reel 11, Unit 1, p. 78).
5. The remainder of this letter concerns the Mass. house of representatives’ unproductive and divisive deliberations over Congress’ commutation of pay for Continental Army officers and the impost intended to implement it and service the national debt. The debates began on 5 June and continued until 11 July, the day of adjournment (same, p. 52, 59, 72, 91, 101, 108, 124, 137–140, 144, 145, 148, 155, 157–159, 165–167, 170, 173). Dalton’s observations reflect his attendance at the sessions as speaker of the house and flesh out the otherwise spare journal accounts of the debates. Not mentioned by Dalton is the 11 July address to Congress from the Mass. General Court that he signed as speaker. The address was read by Congress on 31 July, referred to committee, and { 131 } then debated from 16 to 19 Sept., with the final response adopted on the 25th. The General Court attacked the commutation, as well as the pay given to civil officers, for essentially the same reason given by Dalton in the following paragraph, that is, the fear that by its largesse to the military and civil officers, Congress was establishing a civil list similar to that in Great Britain and was thereby exalting certain groups of Americans over their fellow citizens and thereby purchasing their allegiance.
Congress had little problem with Massachusetts’ objections to the pay of civil officers and, with the war over, voted to reduce salaries and staff. But despite conciliatory proposals made in the course of the debates, there would be no compromise over the commutation. On this issue Congress, in its final resolution of 25 Sept., declared that it was fully within its powers under the Articles of Confederation to establish the compensation due the officers of the Continental Army and that to compromise on that issue would be to diminish its power and undermine the union. Indeed, Congress declared that “no State in this Confederacy can claim (more equitably than an individual in a society) to derive advantages from a union, without conforming to the judgment of a constitutional majority of those who compose it; still, however, they conceive it will be found no less true, that if a State every way so important as Massachusetts, should withhold her solid support to constitutional measures of the Confederacy, the result must be a dissolution of the union; and then she must hold herself as alone responsible for the anarchy and domestic confusion that may succeed, and for exposing all these confederated states (who, at the commencement of the late war, leagued to defend her violated rights) an easy prey to the machinations of their enemies, and the sport of European politics” (JCC, 24:483; 25:571–573, 577–587, 606–613).
6. For Dalton’s meeting with AA and his invitation to AA2 to visit his daughter Ruth at Spring Hill, the family’s summer residence near Newburyport, see AFC, 5:201–202, 211.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0064

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
Date: 1783-07-17

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir,

Last evening Mr. Hartley spent two hours with me, and appeared much chagrined at the Proclamation, which had never been communicated to him by his Principals.2 He has too much contempt of the commercial abilities of the French—and consequently said that the French could derive but little benefit from this step of his Court, but thought the Dutch would make a great advantage by it. I endeavoured to discover from him, whether he suspected that his Court had any hand in stirring up the two Imperial Courts to make War upon the Turks. I asked him, what was the state of their Mediterranean Trade & Levant Trade? He said it was dead, and that their Turkey Company was dead, and therefore he did not think his Court cared much about either, or would ever do any thing to prevent the Empires. He thought it possible, that they might rather encourage them.
I am quite of Mr. Hartleys Mind, that the Dutch will profit of all English Blunders, in regulating the West India Trade, and am happy that Mr. Van Berckel will be soon with Congress, when its Members & Ministers may communicate thro’ him any thing they wish to { 132 } their High Mightinesses. They may enquire of him, what are the Rights of the East and West India Companies? To what an extent our Vessels may be admitted to Surrinam, Curacao, Demerary, Essequibo, Berbice, St. Eustatia? What we may he allowed to carry there? And what we may bring from thence to the United States, or to Europe? Whether we may carry Sugars &ca. to Amsterdam, Rotterdam &ca. There are at Rotterdam and Amsterdam one hundred and twenty seven or eight Refineries of Sugar. How far these may be affected &ca.
I lay it down for a rule, that the Nation, which shall allow us the most perfect liberty to trade with her Colonies, whether it be France, England, Spain or Holland will see her Colonies flourish above all others, and will draw proportionably our Trade to themselves— And I rely upon it the Dutch will have sagacity to see it, and as they are more attentive to mercantile profit than to a military Marine, I have great hopes from their friendship. As there will be an Interval before the signature of the definitive Treaty, I propose a Journey of three weeks to Amsterdam and the Hague, in hopes of learning in more detail the intentions of the Dutch in this respect. I am in hopes too of encouraging the Loan, to assist our Superintendant of Finances. The Dutch may be a great resource to us in Finance and Commerce. I wish that Cargoes of Produce may be hastened to Amsterdam to Messs. Willinks and Co.; for this will give vigour to the Loan— And all the Money we can prevent England and the two Empires from obtaining in Holland, will not only be Nerves for us, but perhaps be useful too to France in her Negotiations.
I have spent the whole forenoon in conversation with the Duke de la Vauguyon. He thinks that England wishes to revive her Trade to the Levant, to Smyrna, Aleppo &ca., & her Carrying Trade in Italy: And altho’ She might be pleased to see France involved in War with the Emperor and Empress, yet he thinks her Funds are not in a condition to afford Subsidies to either, and therefore that She will be perfectly neutral. Quere, however, whether, if by a Subsidy or a Loan of a Million or two a year She could make France spend eight or ten Millions, She would not strive hard to do it? The Duke thinks France will proceed softly—endeavor, if possible, to avert the furious Storm that threatens, and to compose the disputes of the three Empires, if possible— But she will never suffer such an usurpation as the conquest of the Turkish Provinces in Europe. France will certainly defend Constantinople. He thinks that the Empress of Russia { 133 } has not revenues, & cannot get Cash to march & subsist vast Armies, and to transport great fleets, and that the Emperor has not revenues neither to support a long War.
This is however a serious business, and France lays it so much to heart, and looks upon the chance of her being obliged to arm so probable, that I presume this to be the principal Motive of her refusal to lend Us two or three Millions of Livres more.
As to our West India Questions, the Duke assures me, that the French Ministry, particularly the Comte de Vergennes, are determined to do every thing they can consistent with their own essential interests, to favor and promote the Friendship and Commerce between their Countries & ours— That they, especially the Comte, are declared Enemies of the French fiscal System, which is certainly the most ruinous to their Commerce, and intend to do every thing they can to make alterations to favor Commerce— But no Change can be made in this, without affecting their Revenues, and making Voids, Failures and Deficiencies, which they cannot fill up. They must therefore proceed softly— That France would favor the Commerce between Portugal and America, because it would tend to draw off that Kingdom from her Dependence on England— That England, by her commercial Treaty with the Portuguese in 1703, have turned them into an English Colony, made them entirely dependent, and secured a Commerce with them of three Millions Value. France would be glad to see this, or as much of it as possible, turned to America.
The Duke agrees fully with me in the Maxim, that those Colonies will grow the most in wealth, Improvements, Population and every sort of Prosperity, which are allowed the freest communication with us, and that we shall be allowed to carry Lumber, Fish, and live-Stock to their Islands, but that the Exports of their Sugars to us he thinks must be in their own Ships, because they are afraid of our becoming the Carriers of all their Commerce—because they know & say, that we can do it cheaper then they. These Sentiments are different from those, which he mentioned to me a few days ago, when he said, the West Indian Trade with us must be carried on in French Bottoms.
The Duke said, the English had been trying to decieve us, but were now developing their true Sentiments. They pretended for a while to abolish the Navigation Act, and all distinctions, to make one People with us again—to be friends, brothers &ca, in hopes of { 134 } drawing us off from France, but not finding Success, they were now shewing their true plan. As to the pretended System of Shelburne, of an universal free Commerce, altho’ he thought it would be for the good of Mankind in general, yet for an English Minister it was the plan of a Madman, for it would be the ruin of that Nation. He did not think Shelburne was sincere in it— He only meant an Illusion to Us— Here I differ from the Duke, & believe that the late Ministry were very sincere towards us, and would have made a Treaty with us, at least to revive the universal Trade between us upon a liberal plan. This Doctrine of ruin, from that plan, to the English, has been so much preached of late in England by the French, and by American Refugees, who aim at establishments in Canada & Nova Scotia, & by the old Butean Administration, and their Partisans, that I dont know whether any Ministry could now support a generous Plan. But if Temple, Thurlow, Shelburne, Pitt &ca should come in, I should not despair of it. It is true the Shelburne Administration did encourage the Ideas of cordial perfect friendship, of entire reconciliation of affections, of making no distinctions between their People and ours, especially between the Inhabitants of Canada & Nova Scotia & us, & this with the professed purpose of destroying all Seeds of War between Us. These Sentiments were freely uttered by Fitzherbert, Oswald, Whiteford, Vaughan, and all who had the confidence of that ministry, & in these Sentiments they were, I believe, very sincere— And they are indeed the only means of preventing a future War between us & them; and so sure as they depart from that plan, so sure, in less than fifteen years, perhaps less than seven, there will break out another War. Quarrels will arise among Fishermen, between Inhabitants of Canada & Nova Scotia & us, & between their People & ours in the West Indies, in our Ports, and in the Ports of the three Kingdoms, which will breed a War, in spight of all we can do to prevent it. France sees this & rejoices in it, & I know not whether we ought to be sorry— Yet I think we ought to make it a Maxim to avoid all Wars, if possible, and to take Care that it is not our fault, if we cannot. We ought to do every thing, which the English will concur in, to remove all Causes of Jealousies, & kill all the Seeds of Hostility, as effectually as we can, and to be upon our guard, to prevent the French, Spaniards and Dutch from sowing the Seeds of War between Us, for we may rely upon it, they will all do it, if they can.
I have the honor to be, with great / Respect, / Sir, / your most obedient & / most humble Servant
[signed] John Adams.3
{ 135 }
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PCC, No. 84, V, f. 7–12); internal address: “Honble. R. R. Livingston Esqr / Secretary of foreign Affairs.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.
1. In the Letterbook is the notation by John Thaxter: “Delivered Capt. Barney at Havre de Grace by J. Thaxter.”
2. Presumably the Order in Council of 2 July, for which see JA’s second 14 July letter to Livingston, above.
3. In JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0065

Author: American Peace Commissioners
Recipient: Hartley, David
Date: 1783-07-17

The American Peace Commissioners to David Hartley

[salute] Sir,

We have the honour to inform you that we have just received from Congress their Ratification in due Form of the Provisional Articles of the 30th. of November 1782, and we are ready to exchange Ratifications with his Britannic Majesty’s Ministers as soon as may be.
By the same Articles it is stipulated, that his Britannic Majesty shall with all convenient Speed, and without causing any Destruction or carrying away any Negroes or other Property of the American Inhabitants, withdraw all his Armies, Garrisons and Fleets from the United States and from every Port, Place & Harbour within the same.2 But, by Intelligence lately received from America, and by the inclosed Copies of Letters and Conferences between General Washington and Sir Guy Carleton, it appears that a considerable Number of Negroes belonging to the Citizens of the United States, have been carried off from New-York, contrary to the express Stipulation contained in the said Article. We have received from Congress their Instructions to represent this matter to you, and to request that speedy and effectual Measures be taken to render that Justice to the Parties interested which the true Intent and meaning of the Article in Question plainly dictates.3
We are also instructed to represent to you, that many of the British Debtors in America have in the Course of the War sustained such considerable and heavy Losses by the Operation of the British Arms in that Country, that a great Number of them have been rendered incapable of immediately satisfying those Debts: we refer it to the Justice and Equity of Great Britain, so far to amend the Article on this Subject, as that no Execution shall be issued on a Judgment to be obtained in any such Case but after the Expiration of three Years from the Date of the definitive Treaty of Peace. Congress also think it reasonable that such Part of the Interest which may have { 136 } accrued on such Debts during the War shall not be payable, because all Intercourse between the two Countries, had, during that Period, become impracticable as well as improper, it does not appear just that Individuals in america should pay for Delays in payment which were occasioned by the civil and military Measures of Great Britain. In our Opinion the Interest of the Creditors as well as the Debitors requires that some Tenderness be shewn to the Latter, and that they should be allowed a little Time to acquire the Means of discharging Debts which in many Instances exceed the whole Amount of their Property.4
As it is necessary to ascertain an Epocha, for the Restitutions and Evacuations to be made, we propose that it be agreed, that his Britannic Majesty, shall cause to be evacuated the Posts of New-York, Penobscot5 and their Dependences, with all other Posts and Places in Possession of his Majesty’s Arms, within the United States, in the Space of three Months after the Signature of this definitive Treaty, or sooner if possible, excepting those Posts contiguous to the Water Line, mentioned in the fourth Proposition, and these shall be evacuated, when Congress shall give the Notice therein mentioned.6
We do ourselves the honour of making these Communications to you, Sir, that you may transmit them and the Papers accompanying them to your Court, and inform us of their Answer.
We have the honour to be, / Sir, / Your most obedient and / most humble Servants
[signed] John Adams.
[signed] B Franklin
[signed] John Jay
RC (PRO:FO 4, 2:139–140); internal address: “Dd. Hartley Esqr.Dft (Adams Papers). LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 109. LbC-Tr (Adams Papers); APM Reel 103.
1. Although dated 17 July and presumably sent to David Hartley on that day, this letter probably was drafted and prepared for the commissioners’ signature on the 11th. The draft has “17” written over “11” in the dateline; is a fair copy, likely in William Temple Franklin’s hand; and has JA’s canceled signature below the closing. It was on 2 July that the commissioners had received Robert R. Livingston’s letters of 25 March, 21 April, 28 and 31 May, the ratified treaty being enclosed with the April letter (to Livingston, 3 July, and note 8, above). At some point, however, the commissioners decided to alter the final sentence of the second paragraph (see note 3) and to add new paragraphs on the evacuation of British forces and the payment of debts (see notes 4 and 5). The original content of the letter and changes all proceed from Livingston’s letters and their enclosures, particularly the April and May letters. Why, with three commissioners present at Paris, these revisions took six days is unknown. There is no reply by Hartley to this letter and the ratified copies were not exchanged until 13 Aug., following the arrival of the British ratification from London (to Livingston, first letter of 13 Aug., below). JA submitted this letter to be printed in the Boston Patriot, 12 Feb. 1812, but said nothing about its drafting.
2. To this point this paragraph is derived { 137 } from Congress’ resolution of 26 May, which in turn quoted from Art. 7 of the preliminary treaty (JCC, 24:363–364; vol. 14:107). That resolution and its supporting documents were enclosed in Livingston’s letter of 28 May (vol. 14:503–504).
3. In the draft this sentence read “We have received from Congress their Instructions to remonstrate upon this Violation of the Treaty, and to take such Measures for obtaining Reparation as the Nature of the Case will admit.” With the exception of the word “Violation,” it was an accurate paraphrase of the 26 May resolution’s final sentence (JCC, 24:363–364). The revision presumably reflects a desire to make the letter to Hartley less confrontational and avoid creating additional obstacles to the conclusion of the definitive treaty.
4. With the draft is a paper with this paragraph and the following one in JA’s hand marked for insertion at this point. This paragraph, calling for a three-year moratorium on the payment of debts, was intended as a revision of Art. 4 of the preliminary treaty and stemmed from a resolution adopted by Congress on 30 May and included with Livingston’s letter of the 31st (JCC, 24:372–376; Miller, Treaties, 2:98; vol. 14:512–514). The alteration was not made.
5. In the paragraph as drafted by JA the sentence continued “Niagara Detroit, Mihilimackinac.”
6. The reference to the “fourth Proposition” is to David Hartley’s fourth proposal of [19 June] as modified by the commissioners in their first letter of 29 June, both above. As it appears here the passage is virtually identical to Art. 18 of the [ante 19 July] draft definitive treaty, below. In fact, it was probably copied from that document. According to JA’s letter to Livingston of 10 Aug., below, he prepared that document before he left for the Netherlands on the 19th. By the date of this letter to Hartley that document was likely completed or very near completion. Although considered by Hartley and the commissioners, the proposition’s inclusion in this letter and the draft treaty was likely owing to Livingston’s statement in his letter of 21 April that “the 7th: Article leaves the time for the evacuation of New York upon so loose a footing, that I fear our troublesome Guests will long continue to be such unless a day is fixed for their departure in the definitive Treaty” (vol. 14:436–437). The passage was not included in the [3 Sept.] definitive treaty, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0066

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
Date: 1783-07-18

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir,

There is cause to be solicitous about the State of things in England. The present Ministry swerve more & more from the true System for the prosperity of their Country & ours. Mr: Hartley, whose Sentiments are at bottom just, is probably kept here, (if he was not sent at first) merely to amuse us, & to keep him out of the way of embarrassing the Coalition, in Parliament
We need not fear that France & England will make a common Cause against us, even in relation to the Carrying-Trade to & from the West-Indies: altho’ they may mutually inspire into each other false notions of their Interests at times, yet there can never be a Concert of operation between them. Mutual emnity is bred in the blood & bones of both—and Rivals & Enemies at heart they eternally will be— In order to induce both to allow us our natural right to the carrying Trade, we must negotiate with the Dutch, Danes, Portuguese, & even with the Empires; for the more friends & resources we have, the more we shall be respected by the French & { 138 } English—and the more freedom of trade we enjoy with the Dutch possessions in America, the more will France & England find themselves necessitated to allow us—
The present Ministers in England have very bad advisers; the Refugees & Emissaries of various other Sorts—and we have nobody to watch, to counteract, to correct, or prevent any thing—
The U: States will soon see the necessity of uniting in measures to conteract their Enemies, & even their friends. What powers Congress shd. have for governing the Trade of the whole—for making or recommending prohibitions or Imposts, deserves the serious Consideration of every man [in] America. If a constitutional, legislative Authority cannot be given them, a sense of common danger & necessity should give to their recommendations all the energy upon the minds of the people, which they had 6. years ago—
If the union of the States is not preserved, & even their unity in many great points, instead of being the happiest people under the Sun, I don’t know but we may be the most miserable. We shall find our foreign Affairs the most difficult to manage of any of our Interests— We shall see—feel them disturbed by invisible agents & Causes, by secret Intrigues, by dark & misterious insinuations, by concealed Corruptions of a thousand sorts, Hypocrisy & Simulation will assume a million shapes,—we shall feel the evil, without being able to prove the Cause— Those, whose penetrations reach the true Source of the evil will be called suspicious, envious, disappointed, ambitions: In short, if there is not an authority sufficiently decisive to draw together the minds, affections, & forces of the States in their common foreign Concerns, it appears to me we shall be the sport of trans-atlantic Politicians, of all denominations, who hate liberty in every shape, & every man who loves it, & every Country that enjoys it. If there is no common Authority, nor any common Sense to secure a revenue for the discharge of our engagements abroad for money, what is to become of our honor, our justice, our faith, our Credit, our universal, moral, political & commercial Character? If there is no common power to fulfill engagements with our Citizens, to pay our Soldiers & other Creditors, can we have any moral Character at home? Our Country will become the Region of everlasting discontents, reproaches & animosities, and, instead of finding our Independence a blessing, we shall soon become Cappadocians enough to wish it done away—2
I may be tho’t gloomy; but this ought not to discourage me from { 139 } laying before Congress my apprehensions.— The dependence, of those who have designs upon us, upon our want of affection to each other, & of authority over one another, is so great, that, in my opinion, if the U: S: do not soon shew to the world a proof that they can command a common revenue, to satisfy their Creditors at home & abroad—that they can act as one people, as one nation, as one man in their transactions with foreign nations, we shall be soon so far despised, that it will be but a few years, perhaps but a few mths: before we are involved in another war— What can I say in Holland, if a doubt is started, whether we can repay the money we wish to borrow. I must assure them in a tone, that shall exclude all doubt that the money will be repaid. Am I to be hereafter reproached with deceiving the Moneylenders? I cannot believe there is a man in America who wd. not disdain the supposition, & therefore I shall not scruple to give the strongest assurances in my power: But, if there is a doubt in Congress, they ought to recall their Borrowers of money.—
I shall set off tomorrow for Holland, in hopes of improving my health, at the same time that I shall endeavor to assist the loan & to turn the Speculations of the Dutch Merchts:, Capitalists & Statesmen towards America. It is of vast importance that the Dutch shd. form just ideas of their Interests, respectg: their Communication between us & their Islands & other Colonies in America. I beg that no time may be lost in commencing Conferences, with Mr: Van Berkel upon this Subject as well as that of money—but this shd. not be communicated to the French or English; because, we may depend upon it, both will endeavor to persuade the Dutch to adopt the same plan with themselves. There are jealousies, on both sides the Pas of Calais,3 of our Connections & Negotiations with the Dutch: But while we avoid, as much as we can, to enflame this jealousy, we must have Sense, firmness & Independance enough not to be intimidated by it from availing ourselves of advantages that Providence has placed in our power. There ever have been & ever will be, suspicions of every honest, active & intelligent American, & there will be, as there has been, insidious attempts to destroy, or lessen your Confidence in every such Character. But if our Country does not support her own Interests & her own Servants they will assuredly fall. Persons, who study to preserve or obtain the Confidence of America by the favor of European Statesmen or Courts, must betray their Country to preserve their places.—
{ 140 }
For my own part, I wish Mr: Jay & myself almost any where else but here. There is scarce any other place, where we might not do some good. Here we are in a state of annihilation—
I have the honor to be, Sir, / Your humle: servt.
[signed] John Adams.4
RC in Charles Storer’s hand (PCC, No. 84, V, f. 13–16); internal address: “Robert. R. Livingston Esqr:.LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.
1. This letter was among those from JA that Congress received on 12 Sept. (PCC, No. 185, III, f. 78–80). It was copied by at least two delegations, Pennsylvania and Connecticut, and sent to their respective governors (Smith, Letters of Delegates, 21:14, 33–35).
It is also JA’s last letter from Paris until that of 10 Aug., after his return from the Netherlands. At the bottom of the Letterbook copy is the notation “See the Holland Letter Book Vol. 3,” for which see APM Reel 106. This is one of the Letterbooks that JA left at the U.S. legation at The Hague when he went to Paris in Oct. 1782 and the one in which he entered his letter of 23 July, below, his first following his return there the previous day.
2. When in the first century B.C. the Romans conceded to them the right to live under their own laws, the Cappadocians, declaring themselves unable to bear the freedom, asked to be excused from it and to have a king appointed for them (Strabo, Geography, Book XII, ch. ii, sect. 11).
3. That is, the Pas de Calais, the French name for the Strait of Dover, the narrowest part of the English Channel.
4. In JA’s hand.

Editorial Note

The drafting and dispatch of the commissioners’ 18 July letter to Robert R. Livingston has a curious history. What transpired and the consequences thereof reveal much about the relations between the commissioners, particularly John Adams and Benjamin Franklin.
On 2 July, Capt. Joshua Barney delivered to Passy letters from Robert R. Livingston, most notably those of 25 March and 21 April(to Livingston, 3 July, note 8, above). In those two letters Livingston criticized the commissioners for violating Congress’ instructions by negotiating and then signing the preliminary peace treaty without informing France, and he indicated his dissatisfaction with certain provisions, especially the separate article dealing with West Florida (vol. 14:361–364, 435–438). On the day following the letters’ arrival, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay met at Passy to consider their response.
Neither Adams nor his colleagues were pleased with Livingston’s strictures. In their view the secretary for foreign affairs failed to appreciate the difficulty of the negotiations or the need to complete them while the Shelburne ministry remained in office. A response was clearly needed, but who would frame the reply and what form would it take? Years later Adams explained that he and John Jay agreed as to the substance of the response, { 141 } but when Jay asked him “to draw up the answer in form,” he declined and insisted that Jay undertake the task. This was owing to Livingston’s longstanding, and well-known, prejudice against Adams’ diplomacy, the history of conflict between Adams and the Comte de Vergennes, and Adams’ past remarks about Congress’ conduct of foreign policy. But the most important reason for the choice of Jay was the “importance to us all, that we should all agree in our answer to Mr. Livingston,” and Adams thought it “more probable that Dr. Franklin would agree to subscribe a draught of Mr. Jay, than his other colleague” (Boston Patriot, 15 Feb. 1812).
John Jay completed his draft, probably on or about 5 July, and Adams was pleased with the result of his friend’s labors. This was particularly true of the first portion of the document, in which Jay presented a spirited, uncompromising defense of the commissioners’ efforts to deal with the inherent conflict between French and American interests in a peace treaty and their resulting decision to violate Congress’ instructions. Adams later declared that “it was a great consolation and a high gratification to me, to see recorded the testimony of Mr. Jay, to so complete a justification of every thing I had ever said or written concerning the king, the nation, the court, or the minister of foreign relations” (same, 19 Feb. 1812).
And there lay the crux of the problem facing the commissioners. For if Jay’s response was simply a rehearsal of Adams’ views of the peace negotiations, the conduct of foreign policy, and the proper course for Franco-American relations, there was little chance that Benjamin Franklin would agree. And such was the case. Upon reading the draft Franklin wrote to Jay, asking “whether it may not be adviseable to forbear, at present, the Justification of ourselves, respecting the Signature of the Préliminaries; because That matter is, at present, quiet here; No Letter sent to the Congress is ever kept secret; The Justification contains some Charges of unfavourable Disposition in the Ministers here towards us, that will give offense & will be deny’d.” Moreover, “the Congress do not call upon us for an Account of our Conduct, or its Justification. They have not by any Resolution blamed us. What Censure we have received is only the private Opinion of Mr. L.” Finally, he noted that Henry Laurens, then in Bath, England, was concerned in the matter and should be consulted prior to any final decision on the letter’s content (LbC-Tr, APM Reel 103). Franklin’s concern is evident from his 6 July letter to Laurens indicating that he wanted the South Carolinian at Paris “on many Accounts, and should be glad of your Assistance in considering and answering our public Letters. There are Matters in them of which I cannot conveniently give you an Account at present” (Laurens, Papers, 16:231–232). At this point, 5 or 6 July, it must have been clear to Adams and Jay that Franklin would refuse to send the reply at least until Laurens was consulted if the letter remained in its current form. Adams later asserted “that Dr Franklin would have signed it too, rather than have been singular,” but that is more the product of the vagaries of Adams’ memory in 1812 than a reflection of reality in July 1783 (Boston Patriot, 19 Feb. 1812).
{ 142 }
Benjamin Franklin’s desire to consult Henry Laurens was probably the reason why almost two weeks passed before the final text of the letter to Livingston was determined. The commissioners at Paris likely expected Laurens to receive Franklin’s letter at Bath by the 11th or 12th and be at Paris by the 16th or 17th. But Laurens did not get the letter until the 17th and arrived only on the 23d (Laurens, Papers, 16:241). In the meantime the reply, if it was not to be delayed indefinitely, had to go with Capt. Joshua Barney of the packet General Washington; he was about to return to America with the commissioners’ dispatches, and John Adams was leaving for the Netherlands on the 19th (to Livingston, 23 July, below). Therefore, pressed for time, Adams, Franklin, and Jay, on or about 18 July, prepared a fair copy of the letter for signature prior to Adams’ departure. Presumably then, in order to obtain Franklin’s signature, the final decision was made to omit Jay’s draft opening. Adams would later recall that “I thought it would be cruel in me, to constrain his signature to so perfect a vindication of me, and condemnation of himself. We all now lived and conducted business together in tolerable harmony and good humour; I therefore readily agreed to accommodate the letter to the Doctor’s taste. Enough however was left, and signed and sent to congress to justify us all” (Boston Patriot, 19 Feb. 1812). When Henry Laurens arrived at Paris five days later and was shown the signed letter, he drafted a new opening of his own (LbC-Tr, APM Reel 103). But with Barney’s departure imminent it presumably was decided to send the letter as signed rather than await John Adams’ return, and as Laurens played no role in its drafting he did not add his signature.
The initial decision to defer sending the letter as drafted by John Jay and the final one to send it without the opening paragraphs had consequences. As early as 5 or 6 July, John Adams probably realized that Jay’s ringing defense of the commissioners’ negotiation of the Anglo-American peace treaty was unlikely to be included in any letter signed by himself, Franklin, and Jay. It is also probable that Franklin viewed the deferral as at least a tacit agreement between himself and his colleagues that they would not raise issues in their letters to America that would undermine a united response to Livingston’s letters. If this was so, it was an assumption not shared by Adams, who apparently decided that if the commissioners as a group were unable or unwilling to reveal to Congress and the world the truth about French efforts to compromise American interests during the peace negotiations, he would do so himself. Therefore, beginning with his 5 July letter to Robert Morris and continuing in letters of 9, 10, and 11 July to Robert R. Livingston (all above), Adams incorporated the substance of Jay’s opening, thereby raising the very issues that Benjamin Franklin thought too impolitic to reveal to Congress. It is likely that Franklin soon learned of his colleague’s “indiscretion,” and it was that knowledge and an unwillingness to allow views he thought dangerous to Franco-American relations to go unchallenged that led him to write his memorable letter to Livingston of 22 July. There, after expressing his belief in the fundamental benevolence of France and the Comte de Vergennes toward the United { 143 } States, Franklin turned his attention to JA, declaring that “one of my colleagues is of a very different opinion from me in these matters” and “I am persuaded . . . that he means well for his country, is always an honest man, often a wise one, but sometimes and in some things absolutely out of his senses” (Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:581–582).
The history of the composition and dispatch of the 18 July letter to Livingston clearly was important to the commissioners at the time. This is evident from the fact that all of the relevant documents, including Jay’s draft opening, Franklin’s note regarding the draft, Henry Laurens’ alternative draft, and the 18 July letter itself are all present in the letterbook chronicling the peace negotiations and prepared by Jean L’Air de Lamotte, for which see APM Reel 103. It was from that source that John Adams copied those four documents and published them in the Boston Patriot of 15 and 19 February 1812, apparently the only instance in which all four have appeared together.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0067-0002

Author: American Peace Commissioners
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
Date: 1783-07-18

The American Peace Commissioners to Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir,

We have had the honour of receiving by Capt. Barney your two Letters of the 25th: of March and 21st of April, with the Papers referred to in them.1
We are happy to find that the Provisional Articles have been approved & ratified by Congress, and we regret that the Manner in which that Business was conducted, does not coincide with your Ideas of Propriety. We are persuaded however that this is principally owing to your being necessarily unacquainted with a Number of Circumstances, known to us who were on the Spot, and which will be particularly explained to you hereafter, and, we trust, to your Satisfaction, & that of the Congress.2
Your Doubts respecting the Separate Article we think are capable of being removed, but as a full State of the Reasons and Circumstances which prompted that Measure would be very prolix, we shall content ourselves with giving you the general Outlines.
Mr. Oswald was desirous to cover as much of the Eastern Shores of the Missisippi with British Claims as possible and for this purpose we were told a great deal about the ancient Bounds of Canada & Louisiana &ca &ca &ca The British Court who had probably not yet adopted the Idea of relinquishing the Floridas, seemed desirous of anexing as much Territory to them as possible, even up to the Mouth of the Ohio— Mr. Oswald adhered strongly to that Object as well to render the British Countries there of sufficient Extent to be, (as he express’d it) worth keeping & protecting, as to afford a convenient Retreat to the Tories for whom it would be difficult { 144 } otherwise to provide; and among other Arguments he finally urged his being willing to yield to our Demands to the East, North and West, as a further Reason for our gratifying him on the Point in Question. He also produced the Commission of Govr. Johnson extending the Bounds of his Government of W. Florida up to the River Yassous and contended for that Extent as a Matter of Right upon various Principles which however we did not admit.3
We were of Opinion that the Country in Contest was of great Value both on Account of its natural Fertility, and of its Position; it being in our Opinion the Interest of America to extend as far down towards the Mouth of the Missisippi as we possibly could. We also thought it adviseable to impress Britain with a strong Sense of the Importance of the Navigation of that River, to their future Commerce on the interior Waters from the Mouth of the River St Lawrens to that of the Missisippi, and thereby render that Court averse to any Stipulations with Spain to relinquish it. These two objects militated against each other; because to inhance the Value of the Navigation was also to inhance the Value of the Countries contiguous to it, and thereby disincline Britain to the Dereliction of them. We thought therefore that the surest Way to reconcile & obtain both Objects would be by a Composition beneficial to both Parties. We therefore proposed that Britain should withdraw her Pretensions to all the Country above the Yassous and that we would cede all below it to her in Case she should have the Floridas at the End of the War, and at all Events that she should have a Right to navigate the River throughout its whole Extent. This Proposition was accepted, and we agreed to insert the contingent Part of it in a separate Article, for the express purpose of keeping it secret for the present. That Article ought not therefore to be consider’d as a mere Matter of Favour to Britain, but as the Result of a Bargain, in which that Article was a “quid pro quo.” It was in our Opinion both necessary & justifiable to keep this Article secret. The Negotiations between Spain France & Britain were then in full Vigour, and embarrass’d by a Variety of clashing Demands. The Publication of this Article would have irritated Spain, and retarded if not have prevented her coming to an Agreement with Britain. Had we mentioned it to the French Minister, he must have not only informed Spain of it, but also been obliged to act a Part respecting it that would probably have been disagreable to America, and he certainly has reason to rejoice that our Silence saved him that delicate and disagreable Task. This was an Article in which France had not the { 145 } smallest Interest, nor is there any thing in her Treaty with us, that restrains us from making what Bargain we pleased with Britain about those or any other Lands, without rendering Account of such Transaction to her or any other Power whatever. The same Observation applies with still greater Force to Spain, and neither Justice or Honour forbid us to dispose as we pleased of our own Lands, without her Knowledge or Consent. Spain at that very time extended her Pretensions and Claim of Dominion not only over the Tract in Question, but over the Vast Region lying between the Floridas and Lake Superior; and this Court was also at that very Time soothing & nursing of those Pretensions by a proposed conciliatory Line for splitting the Difference. Suppose therefore we had offer’d this Tract to Spain in Case She retained the Floridas, should we even have had Thanks for it? or would it have abated the Chagrin she experienc’d from being disappointed in her extravagant and improper Designs on that whole Country? we think not.—
We perfectly concur with you in Sentiment, Sir, “That Honesty is the best Policy” but untill it be shewn that we have tresspass’d on the Rights of any Man or Body of men, you must excuse our thinking that this Remark as applied to our Proceedings was unnecessary.4
Should any Explanations either with France or Spain become necessary on this Subject, we hope & expect to meet with no Embarrassments. We shall neither amuse them nor perplex ourselves with ostensible and flimsy Excuses, but tell them plainly that as it was not our Duty to give them the Information, we consider’d ourselves at Liberty to withhold it, and we shall remind the French Minister that he has more Reason to be pleased than displeased with our Silence. Since we have assumed a Place in the Political System of the World let us move like a Primary & not like a Secondary Planet.
We are persuaded, Sir, that your Remarks on these Subjects resulted from real Opinion, and were made with all Candour and Sincerity. The Best Men will view Objects of this Kind in different Lights even when standing on the same Ground; and it is not to be wonder’d at that we who are on the Spot and have the whole Transaction under our Eyes should see many Parts of it in a stronger Point of Light then Persons at a Distance, who can only view it through the dull Medium of Representation.
It would give us great Pain if any thing we have written, or now write respecting this Court, should be construed to impeach the { 146 } Friendship of the King & Nation for us. We also believe that the Minister is so far our Friend, and is disposed so far to do us Good Offices, as may correspond with, and be dictated by his System of Policy for Promoting the Power, Riches and Glory of France. God forbid that we should ever sacrifice our Faith, our Gratitude, or our Honour, to any Consideration of Convenience; and may he also forbid that we should ever be unmindful of the Dignity and independant Spirit which should always characterize a free and generous People.—
We shall immediately propose an Article to be inserted in the Definitive Treaty for postponing the Payment of British Debts for the Time mentioned by Congress.5
There are, no doubt, certain Ambiguities in our Articles, but it is not to be wonder’d at when it is consider’d how exceedingly averse Britain was to Expressions which explicitly wounded the Tories; and how disinclined we were to use any that should amount to absolute Stipulations in their Favour.
The Words for restoring the Property of Real British Subjects were well understood and explained between us not to mean or comprehend American Refugees. Mr. Oswald and Mr. Fitz-Herbert know this to have been the Case, and will readily confess and admit it. This mode of Expression was preferr’d by them as a more delicate Mode of excluding those Refugees, and of making a proper Distinction between them and the Subjects of Britain whose only particular Interest in America consisted in holding Lands or Property there.6
The 6th. Article vizt. where it declares that no future Confiscations shall be made &ca ought to have fixed the Time with greater Accuracy: We think the most fair and true Construction is, that it relates to the Date of the Cessation of Hostilities. That is the Time when Peace in Fact took Place, in consequence of Prior informal tho’ binding Contracts to terminate the War. We consider the Definitive Treaties as only giving the Dress of Form to those Contracts, and not as constituting the Obligation of them. Had the Cessation of Hostilities been the Effect of a Truce, & consequently nothing more than a temporary Suspension of War, another Construction would have been the true one.7
We are Officially assured by Mr. Hartley that positive Orders for the Evacuation of New-York have been dispatched, and that no avoidable Delay will retard that Event. Had we proposed to fix a Time for it, the British Court would have contended that it should { 147 } be a Time posterior to the Date of the definitive Treaty and that would have been probably more disadvantageous to us than as that Article now stands.
We are surprized to hear that any Doubts have arisen in America respecting the Time when the Cessation of Hostilities took Place there. It most certainly took Place at the Expiration of one Month after the Date of that Declaration in all Parts of the World whether Land or Sea that lay North of the Latitude of the Canaries.8
The Ships afterwards taken from us in the more Northerly Latitudes ought to be reclaimed and given up: We shall apply to Mr. Hartley on this Subject, and also on that of the Transportation of Negroes from New York contrary to the Words and Intention of the Provisional Articles.—9
With great Esteem, we / have the honour to be, / Sir, / Your most obedient / & most humble / Servants.
[signed] John Adams.
[signed] B Franklin
[signed] John Jay
RC (PCC, No. 85, f. 300–313); internal address: “The honble: / Robt. R. Livingston Esqr”; endorsed: “Joint Commissioners / July 18. 1783.” FC-Pr (Adams Papers). LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 109. LbC-Tr (Adams Papers); APM Reel 103.
{ 148 }
1. Vol. 14:361–364, 435–438, but the letter also deals with issues raised in Livingston’s letters of 28 and 31 May (same, p. 503–504, 512–514), for which see notes 5 and 9.
2. With the exception of the following paragraph, the text of the letter as sent to Livingston and printed here is likely identical to the draft prepared by John Jay. But in the draft at this point, a passage consisting of 22 paragraphs was removed. The deleted text is as follows:
“Your Doubts on that Head appear to have arisen from the following Circumstances.
“1. That we entertained and were influenced by Distrusts and Suspicions, which do not seem to you to have been altogether well founded.
“2. That we signed the Articles, without previously communicating them to this Court.
“3. That we consented to a separate Article, which you consider, as not being very important in itself, and as offensive to Spain.
“4. That we kept, & still keep, that Article a secret.
“With respect to the first, Your Doubts appear to us some what singular. In our Negociation with the British Commissioner, it was essential to insist on, and, if possible, to obtain his Consent to four important Concessions, viz,
“1. That Britain should treat with us as being what we were, vizt. an independent People.
“The French Minister thought this Demand Premature, and that it ought to arise from, and not precede, the Treaty.
“2. That Britain should agree to the Extent of Boundary we claimed.
“The french Minister thought the Demand extravagant in itself, and as militating against certain Views of Spain, which he was disposed to favour.
“3. That Britain should admit our Right in common to the Fishery.
“The french Minister thought this Demand too extensive.
“4. That Britain should not insist on our reinstating the Tories.
“The french Minister argued, that they ought to be reinstated.
“Was it unnatural for us, Sir, to conclude from these Facts, that the french Minister was opposed to our succeding on these four great Points, in the Extent we wished? To us it appeared evident, that her Plan of a Treaty for us, was far from being such an one, as America wd. have preferred; and, as we disapproved of his Model, we thought it imprudent to give him an Opportunity of moulding our Treaty by it.
“Whether the Minister was influenced by what he really thought would be best for France, is a Question, which, however easy, or however difficult, to decide, is not very important to the Point under Consideration. Whatever his motives may have been, certain it is, that they were such as militated against our System; and as, in private Life, it is deemed imprudent to admit opponents to full Confidence, so, in public affairs, the like Caution seems equally proper.
“But, admitting the force of this Reasoning, why, when the Articles were compleated, did we not communicate them to the french Minister, before we proceeded to sign them? for the following Reasons, Sir!
“As Lord Shelburne had excited Expectations of his being able to put a speedy Termination to the War, it became necessary for him, either to realize those Expectations, or to quit his Place. The Parliament having met, while his Negociations with us were pending, he found it expedient, to adjourn it for a short Term, in Hopes of then meeting it with all the Advantage, which he might naturally expect, from a favorable Issue of the Negociation. Hence it was his Interest to draw it to a close before that Adjournment expired; and to obtain that End, both he and his Commissioner prevailed upon themselves to yield certain Points, on which they would, probably, have been otherwise more tenacious.— nay, we have, and then had, good Reason to believe, that the Latitude allowed by the British Cabinet for the Exercise of Discretion, was exceeded on that Occasion.
“You need not be reminded, Sir! that the King of G. Britain had pledged himself in Mr. Oswald’s Commission [21 Sept. 1782, vol. 13:483–485] to confirm and ratify, not what Mr. Oswald should verbally agree to, but what he should formally sign his name and affix his Seal to.
“Had we communicated the Articles, when ready for signing to the french Minister, he doubtless would have complimented us on the Terms of them; but at the same time he would have insisted on our postponing the Signature of them, until the Articles, then preparing between France Spain & Britain, should also be ready for signing— He having often intimated to us, that we shd. all sign at the same Time and Place.
“This would have exposed us to a disagreeable Dilemma.
“Had we agreed to postpone signing the Articles, the British Cabinet might, and probably would, have taken Advantage of it. They might have insisted that, as the Articles were Res infectæ, and as they had not authorized Mr. Oswald to accede to certain Matters inserted in them, they did not conceive themselves bound in honor or Justice to adopt Mr. Oswald Opinions, or permit him to sign and seal, as their Commissioner, a Number of Articles, which they did not approve. The whole Business would thereby have been set afloat again; and the Minister of France would have had an Opportunity, at least, of approving the Objections of the British Cabinet, and of advising us to recede from Demands, which, in his Opinion, were immoderate, and some of which were too inconsistant with the Views and Claims of Spain to meet with his Concurrence.
“If, on the other hand, we had refused to postpone the signing, and supposing that no other ill consequence wd. have resulted, yet, certainly, such refusal would have been more offensive to the French Minister, than our doing it without his Knowledge, & consequently without his Opposition. Our withholding from him the Knowledge of these Articles, until after they were signed, was no Breach of our Treaty with France, and, therefore, could not afford her any Ground of complaint against the United States. It was indeed a Departure from the Line of Conduct prescribed by our Instructions; but we apprehend that Congress marked out that Line for their own Sake, and not for the Sake of France. They directed us to ask and be directed by the Advice of the French Minister, because they supposed it would be for the Interest of America to receive and be governed by it; It was a Favor She asked from France, and not a Favor that she promised to, And we withheld from, France. Congress, therefore, alone have a Right to complain of that Departure. As to the Confidence which ought to subsist between Allies, we have only to remak, that as the French Minister did not think proper to consult us about his Articles, our giving him { 149 } as little Trouble about ours, was perfectly equal and reciprocal” (LbC-Tr in Jean L’Air de Lamotte’s hand, APM Reel 103).
3. George Johnstone served as governor of West Florida from 1763, following Spain’s cession of the territory to Britain under the terms of the Treaty of Paris ending the Seven Years War, until 1767. In 1764, at his recommendation, the northern border was moved from the 31st parallel to “a Line drawn from the Mouth of the River Yasons [Yazoo], where it unites with the Mississippi due East to the River Apalachicola” (DNB; Gipson, Empire before the Revolution, 9:203). This is the same language used in the separate article (vol. 14:108–109). If the separate article did not come into force, as it did not since Britain returned West Florida to Spain under the terms of the Anglo-Spanish peace treaty, the northern boundary was to be at the 31st parallel as provided in Art. 2 of the Anglo-American preliminary peace treaty (vol. 14:103, 105).
4. This is a reference to Livingston’s 18 March 1783 letter to the president of Congress, a copy of which he had enclosed with his 25 March letter to the commissioners. There, he characterized as duplicitous the commissioners’ negotiation of the separate article and their determination to keep it secret from both France and Spain. He lamented “the resentment it discovers to Spain and the distrusts it manifests of France,” which might well offer aid and comfort to Britain and compromise the French alliance. He was “persuaded that the old maxim, ‘Honesty is the best policy,’ applies with as much force to States as to individuals.” And he believed that Congress should make clear that its past professions of fidelity to France and the alliance had not “been made . . . to mask deceit” (Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:313–316; vol. 14:364).
5. This provision was derived from Congress’ resolution of 30 May, which Livingston enclosed in his 31 May letter to the commissioners (JCC, 24:372–376; vol. 14:512–514, and note 1). The commissioners had already proposed it in their 17 July letter to David Hartley (and note 4), above, and would include it as part of Art. 4 in their draft Anglo-American definitive treaty of [ante 19 July], below.
6. This refers to Art. 5 of the preliminary treaty, which referred to three categories of individuals: “real British Subjects”; “Persons resident in Districts in the Possession of his Majestys Arms, and who have not born Arms against the Said United States”; and “Persons of any other Description” (vol. 14:106). It was the last group that presumably defined the loyalists.
7. That is, 20 Jan. 1783, the day on which the Anglo-French preliminary peace treaty was signed. According to the preamble to the Anglo-American preliminary peace treaty, it would not become effective until the British and French had concluded peace. That day at Versailles, JA and Benjamin Franklin, on behalf of the United States, and Alleyne Fitzherbert, on behalf of Great Britain, signed declarations marking the suspension of arms and the cessation of hostilities between the two countries. The date of 20 Jan. for the cessation of hostilities was also given in the proclamation to that effect signed by JA, Franklin, and Jay on 20 Feb. (vol. 14:103, 200, 281, 284–285).
8. This was the language used in the proclamation of the cessation of hostilities and is derived from Arts. 1 and 22 of the Anglo-French preliminary treaty because the Anglo-American preliminary treaty did not specify the conditions governing the end of hostilities (same, p. 200, 281, 284–285).
9. Regarding the “Transportation of Negroes,” the issue had been raised in Livingston’s letter of 28 May (vol. 14:503–504), and the commissioners had indicated their concern over it in their 17 July letter to David Hartley, above. It was dealt with in Art. 7 of the draft Anglo-American definitive treaty of [ante 19 July], below.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0068

Author: Dumas, C. W. F.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-07-18

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

La mienne du 11e. étoit partie, lorsque Mr. Fitch me fit remettre l’honorée vôtre du 12 Juin. Nous lui avons tout de suite fait les { 150 } honneurs de l’Hôtel & de Lahaie à Lui, à ses Dames, à Mrs. Boilston & Grierson; & à leur départ nous les avons accompagnés dans leur Yacht jusqu’à Delft.1 Nous som̃es grandement obligés à V. E. de nous avoir introduits en si digne & aimable Compagnie. Ils voudroient bien posséder pendant quelque temps Mr. votre fils en Angleterre, & j’ai dû promettre à Made. Fitch de vous en écrire Monsieur. Je m’acquitte; quoiqu’il en couteroit à notre coeur de nous séparer de Mr. votre fils, à l’agréable compagnie duquel nous som̃es tellement accoutumés, que ce ne sera qu’avec les plus vifs regrets que nous nous en verrons privés tôt ou tard.
Nous finissons aujourd’hui Caligula, dont il aura l’honneur de vous présenter la version de sa façon. Nous continuerons par la vie de Claude. Nous avons fini le 4e. Livre de l’Enéide & le Pseudolus de Plaute. Nous lisons l’Andrienne de Terence. Il se porte à merveille.2
Je voudrois pouvoir en dire autant de notre ami de Gyzelaar, qui part aujourd’hui pour Dort. Nous vivons ici dans une inaction politique, quant aux affaires générales, qui a sa source dans celle de Paris. Il faut espérer qu’après la prorogation du Parlement, le Ministere Anglois, délivré de ce Contrôleur incom̃ode, pensera plus sérieusement à terminer, & que par conséquent vous nous honorerez bientôt de votre présence ici.
L’Auteur du Ouderwetse Patriot &c. a eu la bêtise de se laisser prendre & coffrer à Delft.3
Ma famille avec notre jeune Squire vous présentent Mr. leurs obéissances. Je suis avec grand respect, De Votre Excellence / Le très-humble & très obeissant / serviteur
[signed] C.w.f. Dumas

Translation

[salute] Sir

Mine of the 11th had been sent when Mr. Fitch forwarded to me your esteemed letter of 12 June. Right away we gave the grand tour of the legation and The Hague to him and his ladies and to Mr. Boylston and Mr. Grierson. When they left, we accompanied them on their yacht as far as Delft.1 We are greatly indebted to your excellency for having introduced us to such dignified and agreeable company. In England they would very much like to host your esteemed son for some time, and I had to promise Mrs. Fitch to write to you, sir. I am fulfilling my obligation, even though it costs our hearts dearly to separate from your worthy son and his agreeable company, to which we have become so accustomed. It will only be with the sharpest regrets that we will be deprived of him sooner or later.
{ 151 }
Today we are finishing Caligula, which he will have the honor of presenting to you in his own version. We will continue with the life of Claudius. We have finished the fourth book of the Aeneid and Plautus’ Pseudolus. We are reading Terrence’s Andria. He is doing wonderfully.2
I would like to be able to say the same of our friend Gyselaar, who is leaving today for Dordrecht. More generally, we live here in a state of political inactivity, which is rooted in that of Paris. We may hope that after the prorogation of Parliament, the English minister, freed from this troublesome superintendent, will think more seriously about finishing up and consequently that you will honor us with your presence here.
The writer of the Ouderwetse Patriot etc. was foolish enough to let himself be caught and locked up in Delft.3
My family with our young squire sends you, sir, our humble greetings. I am with great respect, your excellency’s very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] C.w.f. Dumas
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Paris à Son Excellence Mr. Adams Min. Pl. des E. U.”
1. Eliphalet Fitch, West Indian planter and JA’s second cousin through the Boylston family, and his wife Mary were traveling with another of JA’s second cousins, Ward Nicholas Boylston. JA wrote to Dumas on 12 June introducing Fitch and requesting that he be shown the U.S. legation at The Hague. That day JA also wrote to the loan consortium, introducing Fitch to its members and asking that they show him “what is remarkable in the City [Amsterdam]” (both LbC, APM Reel 108). JA wrote to JQA on 12 June to introduce Fitch, and JQA’s 14 July Diary entry indicates that he was at Delft with “Monsr. Fitch et sa compagnie,” who had departed for England (AFC, 5:173; JQA, Diary, 1:175; JA, D&A, 1:295, 3:134). Grierson has not been identified, but he was likely the same person that JQA dined with on 14 Nov. when he was in London (JQA, Diary, 1:203). Fitch thanked JA for his kindnesses in a letter of 19 Aug., below.
2. For an earlier comment by Dumas on JQA’s studies, see his letter of 23 May, vol. 14:487–490.
3. For the Ouderwetse Patriot, see Dumas’ letter of 11 July, and note 5, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0069

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1783-07

Draft Definitive Peace Treaty between the United States and Great Britain

(Project for) the definitive Treaty of Peace and Friendship, between his Britannic Majesty and the United States of America, concluded at    the    Day of    1783.
In the name of the most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, & Holy Ghost. So be it.
Be it known to all those, to whom it shall or may, in any Manner, belong.
It has pleased the most high to diffuse the Spirit of Union & Concord among the Nations, whose Divisions had Spread Troubles in { 152 } the four Parts of the World, & to inspire them with the Inclination to cause the Comforts of Peace to succeed to the Misfortunes of a long and bloody War, which, having arisen between Great Britain and the United States of America, in its Progress communicated itself to France, Spain, and the United Netherlands.
Consequently the United States of America did, on the fifteenth Day of June, in the Year of our Lord, One thousand, seven hundred and Eighty one, name and appoint their Ministers Plenipotentiary, and resolve, ordain and grant their Commission in the following Words, Vizt.
(Here insert it.)
And his Majesty the King of Great Britain did on the twenty first Day of September, in the twenty second Year of his Reign, issue his Commission under the great Seal of Great Britain to Richard Oswald Esqe. in the Words following, Vizt.
(Here insert it)
And his said Britannic Majesty, on the one Part, and the said United States of America, on the other, did lay the Foundations of Peace in the Preliminaries, signed at Paris the thirtieth of November last, by the said Richard Oswald Esqr. On the Part of his said Majesty, and by the said John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay & Henry Laurens Esquires, on the Part of the said United States, in Virtue of their respective full Powers aforesaid, and after having mutually shown to each other their said full Powers in good Form, and mutually exchanged authenticated Copies of the same.
And his said Britannic Majesty did, on the twenty fourth day of July in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty two, and in the twenty second Year of his Reign, issue his Commission signed with his Royal Hand, and under the great Seal of G. Britain, to Alleyne Fitz Herbert Esqr. in the following Words, Vizt.
(Here insert it)
And the said Alleyne Fitz Herbert, on the Part of his said Britannic Majesty, and John Adams & Benjn. Franklin, in the necessary absence of the said John Jay & Henry Laurens, on the part of the said United States, did, at Versailles, on the twentieth Day of January last, communicate to each other their full Powers aforesaid, in good Form, and agreed upon an Armistice in the Words following.
{ 153 }
(Here insert it)
And his Britannic Majesty did on the    Day of    in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty three, and in the twenty third Year of his Reign, issue his Commission, signed with his Royal Hand, and under the great Seal of Great Britain, to David Hartley Esqr. in the folloing Words, Vizt.
(Here insert it)
And now the said David Hartley, Minister Plenipotentiary of his said Britannic Majesty, in behalf of his said Majesty on the one Part, and John Adams, Benjn. Franklin, & John Jay, Ministers Plenipotentiary of the said United States of America, in behalf of the said States, on the other, having communicated to each other their aforesaid full Powers in good Form, and mutually exchanged authenticated Copies of the same, have, by Virtue thereof, agreed, and do hereby agree & conclude, upon the Articles, the Tenor of which is as follows, Vizt.2
Whereas reciprocal Advantages and mutual Convenience are found, by Experience, to form the only permanent Foundation of Peace and Friendship, between States, it is agreed to form the Articles of this Treaty on such Principles of liberal Equity & Reciprocity, as that partial Advantages, those seeds of Discord, being excluded, such a beneficial and satisfactory Intercourse between the two Countries may be established, as to promise and secure to both perpetual Peace & Harmony.3
Article, 1st.
The same as Art. 1st. of the Prely. Treaty, but finishing at “every Part thereof.”4
Article 2d.
The same as Art. 2d. of the Prely. Treaty, but commencing with the remaining Part of Art. 1st.and that all Disputes” &c. & ending with the Words, “And the Atlantic Ocean.”5
Article, 3d.
The same as Article 3d. of the Preliminary Treaty.
Article, 4d.
It is agreed, that Creditors, on either Side, shall meet with no lawful Impediment to the Recovery of the full Value in sterling Money of all Bonâ fide Debts heretofore contracted;6 excepting that { 154 } the respective Governments on both Sides, may, if they think proper, pass Acts directing, that, in Consideration of the Distresses and Disabilities brought on by the War, and by the Interruption of Commerce, no Execution shall be issued on a Judgment to be obtained in any such Case, until after the Expiration of three Years from the Date of this Definitive Treaty; nor shall such Judgments include any Allowance of Interest for the Time that passed during the War, & until the signing hereof.
Article, 5th.
And whereas Doubts have arisen concerning the true Construction of the 5th. Article of the provisional Treaty, and Great Difficulties are likely to arise in its Execution, it is hereby agreed, that the same shall be declared, void and omitted in this definitive Treaty.
And, instead thereof it is agreed, that as exact an Account as may be, shall be taken by Commissioners to be appointed for that Purpose on each Part, of all Seizures, Confiscations, or Destruction of Property, belonging to the adherents of the Crown of Great Britain in America, (exclusive of Prizes made at Sea, and Debts mentioned in the preceeding Article) and also an Account of all Seizures, Confiscations, or Destruction of Property, belonging to the adherents of the United States, residing either therein, or in Canada; and the said Property being duly appraised and valued, the Accounts thereof shall be compared, and the Ballance shall be paid in Money by the Party which has suffered least, within one Year after such adjustment of the said Accounts. And it is farther agreed, that all Persons who have any Interest in confiscated Lands, either by Debts or Marriage Settlements, or otherwise, shall meet with no lawful Impediment in the Prosecution of their just Rights.7
Article, 6th.
The same as Art. 6th. of the Preliminary Treaty.
Article, 7th.
There shall be a firm and perpetual Peace between his Britannic Majesty and the said States, and between the Subjects of the one and the Citizens of the other.8 And his Britannic Majesty shall, with all convenient Speed, and without causing any Destruction, or carrying away any Negroes, or other Property of the American Inhabitants, withdraw all his Armies, Garrisons, and Fleets from the said United States, & from every Port, Place, and Harbour, within the { 155 } same, leaving, in all Fortifications, the American Artillery, that may be therein. And shall also order and cause all Archives, Records, Deeds, and Papers, belonging to any of the said States, or their Citizens, which, in the Course of the War, may have fallen into the Hands of his officers, to be forthwith restored and delivered to the proper States & Parsons, to whom they belong. And all Destruction of Property, or carrying away of Negroes, or other Property, belonging to the American Inhabitants, contrary to the above Stipulation, shall be duly estimated and compensated to the Owners.9
Article, 8th.
The Navigation of the Rivers Mississippi & St. Laurence, from their Sources to the Ocean, shall for ever remain free & open to the Subjects of Great Britain and the Citizens of the United States.10
Article, 9th.
The Prisoners Made respectively by the arms of his Britannic Majesty, & the United States, by Land & by Sea, not already set at Liberty, shall be restored, reciprocally and bonâ fide, immediately after the Ratification of the Definitive Treaty, without Ransom, and on paying the Debts they may have contracted during their Captivity: and each Party shall respectively reimburse the Sums, which shall have been advanced for the subsistence and maintenance of their Prisoners, by the Sovereign of the Country, where they shall have been detained, according to the Receipts, and attested Accts. and other authentic Titles, which shall be produced on each Side to Commissioners, who shall be mutually appointed for the Purpose of settling the same.11
Article, 10th.
His Britannic Majesty shall employ his good offices and Interposition with the King or Emperor of Morocco or Fez, the Regencies of Algiers, Tunis and Tripoly, or with any of them, and also with every other Prince, State, or Power of the Coast of Barbary in Africa, & the Subjects of the said King, Emperor, States, and Powers, and each of them, in order to provide, as fully & efficaciously as possible, for the Benefit, Conveniency and Safety of the said United States, and each of them, their Subjects, People & Inhabitants and their Vessels and Effects against all Violence, Insult, Attacks or Depredations, on the Part of the said Provinces & States of Barbary or their Subjects.12
{ 156 }
Article, 11th.
If War, should hereafter arise between Great Britain & the United States, which God forbid, the Merchants of either Country then residing in the other, shall be allowed to remain 9 Months to collect their Debts and settle their Affairs, and may depart freely, carrying off all their Effects, without Molestation or Hindrance. And all Fishermen, all Cultivators of the Earth, and all Artisans or Manufacturers, unarmed & inhabiting unfortified Towns, Villages or Places, who labour for the common Subsistence and Benefit of Mankind, and peaceably follow their respective Employments, shall be allowed to continue the same, and shall not be molested by the armed force of the Enemy, in whose Power, by the Events of War, they may happen to fall; but, if any Thing is necessary to be taken from them for the Use of such armed Force, the same shall be paid for at a reasonable Price. And all Merchants or Traders, with their unarmed Vessels employed in Commerce, exchanging the Products of different Places, & thereby rendering the Necessaries, Conveniences, and Comforts of human Life more easy to obtain, and more general, shall be allowed to pass freely unmolested. And neither of the Powers, Parties to this Treaty, shall grant or issue any Commission to any private armed Vessel, impowering them to take or destroy such trading Ships, or interrupt such Commerce.13
Article, 12.
And in Case either of the contracting Parties shall happen to be engaged in War with any other Nation, it is farther agreed, in order to prevent all the Difficulties & misunderstandings that usually arise, respecting the Merchandize heretofore called Contraband, such as Arms, Ammunition, and military Stores of all Kinds, that no such Articles carrying by the Ships or Subjects of one of the Parties to the Enemies of the other, shall, on any Account be deemed Contraband, so as to induce Confiscation and a Loss of Property to individuals; Nevertheless, it shall be lawful to stop such Ships, and detain them for such Length of Time as the Captors may think necessary, to prevent the Inconvenience or Damage, that might ensue from their proceeding on their Voyage, paying, however, a reasonable Compensation for the Loss such arrest shall occasion to the Proprietors. And it shall farther be allowed to use in the Service of the Captors the whole or any Part of the military Stores so detained, paying to the Owners the full Value of the same, to be ascertained by the current Price at the Place of its Destination.14
{ 157 }
Article, 13th.
The Citizens and Inhabitants of the said United States, or any of them, may take and hold real Estates in Great Britain, Ireland, or any other of his Majesty’s Dominions, and dispose by Testament, Donation, or otherwise, of their Property, real or Personal, in favour of such Persons as to them shall seem fit; and their Heirs, Citizens of the said United States, or any of them, residing in the British Dominions, or elsewhere, may succeed them ab intestato, without being obliged to obtain Letters of Naturalisation.
The Subjects of his Britannic Majesty shall enjoy, on their Part, in all the Dominions of the said United States, an entire and perfect Reciprocity, relative to the Stipulations contained in the present Article.15
Article, 14.
His Britannic Majesty consents that the Citizens of the United States may cut Logwood as heretofore, in the District allotted to his Subjects by the Treaty with Spain, on Condition that they bring or send the said Logwood to Great Britain or Ireland, and to no other Part of Europe.16
Article, 15th.
All the Lakes, Rivers, and Waters, divided by the Boundary Line or Lines between his B. My’s. Territories and those of the United States, as well as the Rivers mentioned in Art:    shall be freely used & navigated by the Subjects & Citizens of his said Majesty, and of the said States, in common over the whole Extent or Breadth of the said Lakes, Rivers and Waters. And all the carrying Places, on which side soever situated of the sd. dividing Waters, or between the said Rivers and the Waters or Territories of either of the Parties, may and shall be freely used by the Traders of both, without any Restraint, Demand of Duties, or Tax, or any Imposition whatsoever, except such as the Inhabitants of the Country may be subject to.17
Article, 16th.
That in all Places, belonging to the United States, or either of them, in the Country adjoining to the Water Line of Division, and which, during the War, were in his Majesty’s Possession, all Persons at present, resident or having Possessions or Occupations as Merchants, or otherwise, may remain in the peaceable Enjoyment of all civil Rights & in pursuit of their Occupations, unless they shall within seven Years from the Date hereof receive Notice, from { 158 } Congress, or the State to which any such Place may appertain, to remove, and that upon any such Notice of Removal a Term of two Years shall be allowed for selling or withdrawing their Effects, and for settling their Affairs.
Article, 17th.
It is further agreed That his Britannic Majesty’s forces not exceeding    in Number, may continue in the Posts now occupied by them, contiguous to the Water Line, until Congress shall give them Notice to evacuate the said Posts, and American Garrisons shall arrive at said Posts for the Purpose of securing the Lives, Property and Peace of any Persons, settled in that Country, against the Invasion or Ravages of the Neighbouring Indian Nations, who may be suspected of retaining Resentments in Consequence of the late War.
Article, 18th.
It is farther agreed, that his Britannic Majesty shall cause to be evacuated the Ports of New-York, Penobscot and their Dependences, with all other Posts and Places in Possession of his Majesty’s Arms within the United States, in three Months after the signing of this Treaty, or sooner if possible, excepting those Posts, contiguous to the Water Line above mentioned, which are to be evacuated on Notice as specified in Art:   18
Article, 19th.
It is agreed that all Vessels, which shall have been taken by either Party from the other, after the Term of twelve Days within the Channel or the North Seas, or after the Term of one Month any where to the Northward of the Latitude of the Canaries inclusively, or after the Term of two Months between the Latitude of the Canaries and the equinoxial Line, or after the Term of five months in any other Part of the World, all which sd. Terms are to be computed from the 3d. Day of Feby. last, shall be restored.19
His <sacred> said Britannic Majesty and the said United States promise to observe, sincerely and bonâ fide, all the Articles contained and settled in the present Treaty; and they will not suffer the same to be infringed, directly or indirectly, by their respective Subjects & Citizens.20
The solemn Ratifications of the present Treaty, expedited in good and due form, shall be exchanged in the City of London, or { 159 } Philadelphia, between the contracting Parties, in the Space of    Months, or sooner if possible, to be computed from the Day of the Signature of the present Treaty.
In Witness whereof, We, the underwritten, their Ministers Plenipotentiary, have signed with our Hands, in their Name, and in Virtue of our full Powers, the present definitive Treaty, & have caused the Seal of our Arms to be put thereto.
Done at    the    Day of    1783.—
LbC-Tr in Jean L’Air de Lamotte’s hand (Adams Papers); APM Reel 103.
{ 160 }
1. This date is derived from JA’s assertion in his 10 Aug. letter to Robert R. Livingston, below, that he completed this draft treaty prior to his departure for the Netherlands on 19 July and that during his absence “a fair Copy” had been prepared and delivered to David Hartley. None of the commissioners’ letters indicate when this happened, but JA wrote in his first letter to Livingston on 13 Aug., below, that “the Duke of Manchester told me, that Mr: Hartley’s Courier who carried our Project of a Treaty, arrived in London last Saturday.” Since Saturday was the 9th, and assuming that Hartley sent the draft off immediately and that it reached London in three or four days, it seems likely that Hartley received the draft on 5 or 6 August.
The draft treaty was the final effort by JA and his colleagues to go beyond the preliminary articles signed on 30 Nov. 1782. The draft contains some of the elements of a commercial treaty (see notes 12–16) but does not actually deal with the conditions under which trade would take place since the commissioners had no power to conclude a commercial agreement. The draft includes the articles from the preliminary treaty, some of them significantly altered. Others are derived from proposals advanced during the five months that the commissioners waited for the negotiation of the definitive treaty to begin, and some proceed from the actual negotiations with Hartley. The commissioners could have had little expectation of success, and by 21 Aug. 1783 their doubts had been confirmed. On that date Benjamin Franklin wrote to Henry Laurens that “it is come finally to this, that the ministers propose our signing, as a definitive treaty, the preliminary articles, with no alterations or additions” (Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:658). Note that the articles from the preliminary treaty indicated below were included in the definitive treaty, but unless otherwise indicated the other proposed articles, passages, or alterations were not.
2. To this point, except for the final paragraph referring to Hartley, the preamble is taken virtually verbatim from JA’s “first Sketch of a Definitive Treaty” of [1 Feb.] (vol. 14:227–230). When JA prepared the draft either he or his secretary was overzealous in his copying, for the references to Alleyne Fitzherbert in paragraphs 8 and 9 were retained despite Fitzherbert’s replacement in April by the Duke of Manchester (vol. 14:402). Compare this preamble with the much shorter opening to the [3 Sept.] definitive treaty, below, which does not include the commissions of the British and American signatories.
3. This paragraph is taken directly from the [30 Nov. 1782] preliminary treaty (vol. 14:103).
4. This alteration, removing the final sentence of Art. 1 and making it the opening sentence of Art. 2, is one of the few instances where a change appearing in this draft was incorporated into the definitive treaty.
5. This change removed the words “excepting Such Islands, as now are, or heretofore have been within the Limits of the Said Province of Nova Scotia” (vol. 14:105). It was the first of the eight proposals that the commissioners presented to Hartley in their second letter of 29 June 1783, above.
6. To this point this article is identical to Art. 4 in the preliminary treaty (vol. 14:106) and was retained in Art. 4 in the [3 Sept.] definitive treaty, below. The remainder of the article was derived from Congress’ resolution of 30 May that Livingston enclosed in his 31 May letter to the commissioners (JCC, 24:372–376; vol. 14:512–514, and note 1). In their letter of 18 July to Livingston, above, the commissioners indicated that they would propose including in Art. 4 language reflecting the substance of Congress’ resolution, and in fact they had done so in their 17 July letter to Hartley, and note 4, above.
7. Despite being only recommendatory, Art. 5 of the preliminary treaty regarding the restoration of loyalist property was the most controversial article in the treaty and was retained unchanged in the definitive treaty. But in the draft article proposed here as a substitute, only the final sentence was retained from the preliminary treaty. To a significant degree the proposed article reflected the position advanced by Franklin during the negotiation of the preliminary treaty, specifically in a paper read to the negotiators on 29 Nov. 1782 (vol. 14:88–89, note 7; Franklin, Papers, 38:376–377).
8. With two exceptions, indicated here and in note 9, this article is substantially the same as Art. 7 in the preliminary and definitive treaties. At this point in the preliminary treaty is the passage “wherefore all Hostilities both by Sea and Land Shall then immediately cease; all Prisoners, on both Sides Shall be Set at Liberty” (vol. 14:107). Presumably the first part of the passage was removed because hostilities had already ceased and were unlikely to be renewed, while the second portion dealing with prisoners likely was omitted because of the draft’s new Art. 9.
9. This sentence was added as a consequence of Congress’ resolution of 26 May 1783 and had been proposed to Hartley in the commissioners’ letter of 17 July, and note 2, above.
10. The inclusion of the right to navigate the St. Lawrence River in Art. 8 was a significant change from the preliminary treaty. If access to the St. Lawrence was raised previously in the course of the commissioners’ negotiations with Richard Oswald or Hartley, no record of that discussion has been found.
11. Except for the appointment of commissioners to settle the amount due, this article is virtually the same as that presented to Hartley by the commissioners on 29 April (JA, D&A, 3:115) and included as Art. 2 of the proposals made to Hartley in their second letter of 29 June, above. Such a provision was also among those that the commissioners proposed for the definitive treaty in Dec. 1782, and it reflected the substance of Congress’ 30 May 1783 resolution concerning prisoners, which Livingston had enclosed with his letter of 31 May (vol. 14:119–120, 512–514; JCC, 24:375–376).
12. This article is virtually identical to Art. 8 in the 1778 Franco-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce and closely resembles Art. 23 of the 1782 Dutch-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce (Miller, Treaties, 2:8–9, 78). It was among the commissioners’ Dec. 1782 proposals for the definitive treaty (vol. 14:119–120) and was Art. 3 of the proposals made in their second letter to Hartley of 29 June 1783, above.
13. This article was among the commissioners’ Dec. 1782 proposals for the definitive treaty and represented a position long held by Franklin (vol. 14:119–120, and note 3). The text of the article here is taken virtually verbatim from a proposal made by Franklin on or about 13 Dec., which JA thought “a good Lesson to Mankind at least” (Franklin, Papers, 38:444–445; JA, D&A, 3:96). It had appeared as Art. 4 of the proposals made to Hartley in the commissioners’ second letter of 29 June 1783, above. For the implementation of this provision, in almost identical language, see Art. 23 of the 1785 Prussian-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce, Miller, Treaties, 2:178–179.
14. This article appeared as Art. 5 of the proposals made to Hartley in the commissioners’ second letter of 29 June, above. For its implementation, in almost identical language, see Art. 13 of the 1785 Prussian-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce, Miller, Treaties, 2:171–172.
15. This article appeared as Art. 6 of the proposals made to Hartley in the commissioners’ second letter of 29 June, above. Compare the language here with that in Art. 6 of both the 1782 Dutch-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce and the 1783 Swedish-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce, Miller, Treaties, 2:65–66, 127–128.
16. Stated here as a positive concession to the United States, this article appeared as a query regarding the possibility of such a permission in the commissioners’ second letter to Hartley on 29 June, above.
17. Articles 15, 16, and 17, with some further alterations, are derived from Hartley’s proposals 2 through 5 in his letter of [19 June] as revised by the commissioners in their first letter to him of 29 June, both above.
18. For this article, see the commissioners’ 17 July letter to Hartley, and note 6, above.
19. The language for this article is derived { 161 } from the British and American armistice proclamations dated [14] and [20 Feb.], respectively. The reference to 3 Feb. as the date from which the various time periods should be computed is owing to that being the date on which Britain and France exchanged ratifications of their preliminary peace treaty (vol. 14:264–266, 281–285).
20. This paragraph and the remaining two paragraphs of the draft are taken virtually verbatim from JA’s “first Sketch of a Definitive Treaty” of [1 Feb.] (vol. 14:228–229). This paragraph and the next one appear there as Arts. 10 and 11; the final paragraph is unnumbered. This paragraph does not appear in the [3 Sept.] definitive treaty, below, but the following two were included.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0070

Author: Carmichael, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-07-22

From William Carmichael

[salute] Sir

I received a few days ago the Letter which you did me the honor to write me the 18th Ulto. by Mr Barry—1 It will be a pleasure for me to show my respect for your Excellencys recommendation, by rendering every personal civility & service to that Gentleman, which the nature of my situation in this Country will permit—
When the Ct. de Rechteren—Minister from Holland at this Court left Spain, I took the Liberty of giving him a letter for you— I know not whether he has ever had the occasion of presenting it—2
The negotiation of the Definitive Treaty cannot go on more Slowly than our Affairs go on here— I have no powers to forward them, & I see with regret that a Treaty of commerce may possibly be adjusted with G. Britain before one with us becomes an Object of Consideration— It will be difficult After cessions are once made to that court to procure a participation in objects—Which will then be regarded as rights by another Nation— Your Excellencys long Experience & more Intimate knowledge of our Situation & Affairs will enable you to Judge much better than I can presume to do on these points—
Here we expect every day the news of the signature of the Definitive Treaty— Spain seems disposed to take an active part with France against the designs of the two Imperial Courts— The Armament against Algiers has been dispersed by bad weather & obliged to take shelter in Alicant & the Different ports on that Coast—
I know not whether I can be of any use to your Excellency in this part of the World— If I can, I beg you to beleive me, when I assure that it will be a great satisfaction to prove to your Excy / How much I am / Your very Humble Sert
[signed] Wm. Carmichael
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excy. John Adams.”
1. William Carmichael was John Jay’s secretary. He had remained at Madrid when Jay went to Paris in 1782 for the peace negotiations and was acting as chargé d’affaires { 162 } (JA, D&A, 4:76–77). JA’s 18 June letter informed Carmichael of Congress’ ratification of the preliminary Anglo-American peace treaty on 12 April and introduced a “Mr Barry” (LbC, APM Reel 108). “Barry” remains unidentified, but he may have been introduced to JA by Eliphalet Fitch. In his 20 Nov. letter to Carmichael, JA noted Barry’s “Connection” to Fitch (LbC, APM Reel 107). See also Carmichael’s letter of 15 Jan. 1784, below.
2. Carmichael had written to JA on 12 Nov. 1782 (Adams Papers). There he introduced Count Jacob Godefroy van Rechteren, Dutch minister and then ambassador to Spain between 1773 and 1793, who was returning to the Netherlands for a visit (Repertorium, 3:269).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0071

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-07-22

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

I had Yesterday the Honor of receiving your Excellencys Letter of the 27th of June; it surely ought to have arrived before.— I did myself the pleasure of sending to your Excellency about a fortnight ago several Peices cut out of News Papers. and in my Letter sent therewith informed you that the Treaty with Holland was printed with other Treaties at the End of a new Edition of the Constitutions of America.1
your Excellencys Letter is of so old a date That I imagine the Queries therein are now answered by what you have received since from America and what you have Observed in the letter & Spirit of the late Proclamations relative to the Commerce of the United States with G B and the West Indias. the Latter manifestly shew the Temper of this Country, which I had long since room to Guess at by the Conversation I had some time Ago with Mr. Burke.2 the Intelligent Men here however are by no means satisfy’d with the Commercial System adopted by the Ministry, for Knowing more of the Practice of Trade they foresee fatal Consequences attending what has been done. the Government had better have left Trade to itself for a little while. it is said however that this is but a Temporary Order3 not recollecting what Mischief has Already ensued from temporary Acts of Parliamentary which being Answered by Temporary resolutions of Congress & the different States have produced permanent Evils to the Kingdom. but nothing can teach this people Wisdom they are ignorant in Spite of Experience and wicked notwithstanding their Afflictions. a New Edition is coming out of Lord Sheffields Pamphlet on the Commerce of America. Deane, Arnold Skene Wentworth &c are his Lordships Friends, Advisers & Instructors. and your Excellency will Judge of the Knowledge and Temper in which it is written with such Men at his Lordships Elbow. a { 163 } Pamphlet is published—at the low price of two pence (for dispersion,) to Advise the People Against Emigration, it talks most Abusively of America as the Devils Country without shewing that this is the Land of Angels.4
It seems Evident to me, that the present Arrangement will not continue until the next meeting of Parliament. every part of its Composition is distrusted & the Whole together is detested both by King & people. Fox has lost all his Popularity and avows the most desperate Principles in order to render Himself Agreable to the Court & to concur with Lord North. Burke is supposed to be Mad, He has certainly acted in fits of rage, must unbecoming of any ones Character, & thereby has rendered Himself most Troublesome to his Colleagues. the dependants look up to Lord North, whose Influence prevails in the disposal of Places. His counsils will be followed in all things, if any one opposes them, they will be soon turned out. the King & He acting, it is supposed, in Concert.
The honest part of the Nation, there are some honest—are highly dissatisfied that nothing has been done leading to a reform of the Constitution; the trading part grumble much at seeing that Commerce does not revive to the degree it was imagined it would at the Peace; the Monied Men are at this Moment at their Wits End in consequence of the Conduct of the Bank. & The Army & Navy are disbanding in a spirit of Revolt. I cannot but think upon the whole there will be in the Course of an Year some great Convulsion in the State. and that public Credit will be ruined if it were worth while the United States might send all their Ships, Brigs, Sloops & Pilot boats for the body of this people. they would return loaded with them a means of Conveyance being only wanting for Thousands to quit this Country. In America they might be entered as Manufactures as well as those of Brass & Iron. are
By the Papers it appears that Silas Deane is the American Agent He dines, it is said, as Such with Mr Fox.5
But what Sir is doing in America, are you Satisfied I spent last Friday afternoon with Dr P. He has receivd Letters from Boston complaining of Luxury. & informing Him of a religious dispute arising on Matters, which as I understand them, do not tend to render Men wiser or better or more happy.6
I have seen a Dissertation on the political-Union of the 13 United States, it has great & deep Objects in view—7 I wish I could talk with your Excellency on the Matter. I have seen many Invectives { 164 } published by leading Men against one Another I have seen them with Sorry. There needs must be disputes, among Men young in Goverment & in Politics, having their Passions & their Ambitions on float, but there ought to be Decency too. the next Generation will I Hope be better Educated.
I have Kept myself in Readiness to Attend Mr Barclay and stil do so. altho I have recommended it to him to excuse me for his own Sake & the publicks, both of which I have reason to think may be affected by the inveterate Animosity of my Ennemy, if I concern myself therewith— I have drawn up an Account of the whole matter, that has passed between, us. and I am Easy, I propose to disperse it among my Friends here & in America I would not do it, if it was not Absolutely Necessary.
I beg your Excellency would Speak to Mr Barclay & that you woud give me directions what to do. About my coming Staying here or going Elsewhere
I am with great Respect / your Excllencys Most Obedient Humble Servant
[signed] Edm: Jenings
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Jennings 22 July 1783.”
1. This is Jenings’ letter of [ca. 8 July], above.
2. For Jenings’ conversation with Edmund Burke on 9 April, see his letter of the 11th, vol. 14:393–397.
3. Jenings refers to the American Manifest Act, adopted in April and renewed yearly until 1797 (Hartley to the commissioners, 14 June 1783, note 1, above). It provided the authorization for the Orders in Council of 14 May, 6 June, and 2 July, regulating Anglo-American commerce.
4. Almost certainly A Plain Letter to the Common People of Great Britain and Ireland, Giving Some Fair Warning against Transporting Themselves to America, London, 1783. It was advertised in the London Public Advertiser at “2d. or 14s. per Hundred to those who give them away” (Adams, Amer. Controversy, 2:893–894).
5. The London Morning Herald and Daily Advertiser reported on 11 July that “on Tuesday evening [8 July] Silas Deane, Esq. arrived from France, and will be introduced at the Levee this day. His business is to settle the new mode of American commerce.” On 16 July the paper amplified its earlier report, explaining that “the American Commissioners, we are told, are far from being well pleased with their great and good allies, on account of certain propositions relative to commerce, which they think not so favorable to the United States; and this, it is alledged, is the reason of Mr. Deane’s unexpected visit to this country.” It then declared that “this messenger of the revolted Colonies, we understand, is not sent over to make any long stay, but only to solicit a few particular explanations.”
6. Presumably the controversy over the doctrine of universal salvation then raging between the Arminians and Calvinists in Boston. For accounts of the dispute with reference to three major participants—Charles Chauncy, Samuel Mather, and John Clarke— see Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, 6:456–459; 7:233–234; 18:397–400.
7. Although it cannot be determined with certainty, this is probably Pelatiah Webster’s A Dissertation on the Political Union and Constitution of the Thirteen United States of North-America, which had been published at Philadelphia earlier in 1783 (Evans, No. 18300; Pennsylvania Packet, 24 April). Webster, the author of numerous works on economics, advocated a stronger central government along the lines of that created by the U.S. Constitution (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0072

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
DateRange: 1783-07-23 - 1783-07-24

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir

On Saturday last, I left Paris, and arrived here last night.2 This Morning, I sent Mr: Dumas to Mr. Van Berckel and Mr Gyselaer to inform them of my arrival and to desire a Conversation with them upon the Subject of the Commerce, between the United States and the Dutch Establishments in the West Indies.
Mr: Van Berckel told Mr Dumas “That St: Eustatius and Curacao were open to the Vessels of all Nations, and to the Commerce of all the World; but that it was not the Interest of the West India Company alone, but that of the whole State, that obliged them to Confine the Commerce of their Sugars to themselves, because of the great Number of their Refineries of Sugar; That, all their own Sugars were not half enough to employ their Sugar Houses, and that at least one half of the Sugars refined in Holland, were the Production of the French West India Islands.”
I suppose that Some of these Sugars may have been carried first to St. Eustatius, and brought from thence to Holland, and some others may have been purchased in the Ports of France and Imported raw from thence. I dont know that Dutch Vessels were permitted to purchase Sugars in the French Islands and export them from thence. This Matter deserves to be examined to the Bottom— If France has not Sugar-Houses for the Refinement of her own Sugars but is obliged to carry them, or to permit their being carried to Amsterdam and Rotterdam for Manufacture, why should she not be willing that the same Sugars should be carried, by Americans to Boston, New-York and Philadelphia. Surely France has no predeliction for Holland rather than America. But what is of more Weight, all the Sugars which America takes will be paid for in Articles more advantageous to the Islands and to France than the pay that is made by the Dutch— If any Sugars refined in Holland are afterwards sold in France, surely it would be more for the Interest of France or rather less against her Interests to have the same Sugars refined in America and afterwards sold in France, because the Price of them would be laid out by us in France. There is this difference between us and the Dutch and all other Nations. We spend in Europe all the Profits we make and more, the others do. not— But if the French Sugars refined in Holland are afterwards sold in other ports of Europe, it would be just as well that we should sell them. We have { 166 } Sugar-Houses as well as the Dutch and ours ought not to be more obnoxious to French Policy or Commerce, than theirs.
Sugars are a great Article. There is a great Consumption in America It is not the Interest of any Nation that has Sugar to sell, to lessen the Consumption there. all such Nations should favour that Consumption, in order to multiply purchases and quicken the Competition by which the Price is rais’d. None of these nations then will wish to prevent, our having Sugar, provided we offer as high or a higher Price. how they will be able to arrange their Plans so that we may have enough for our own Consumption, without having more, without having some for Exportation, I don’t know.
We have now St: Eustatius, and Curacao St: Lucie and Martinico St: Thomas’s and St: Martin’s, no less than six free Ports in the West-Indies, and perhaps England may be induced, necessitated indeed to add two more to the number and make Eight. At these free Ports it will be hard if we cannot find Sugars, when we carry there all our own Productions in our own Ships. And if the worst should happen and all the Nations who have Sugar Islands should forbid Sugars to be carried to America in any other than their own bottoms, We might depend upon having enough of this Article at the free Ports to be brought away in our own Ships, if we should lay a Prohibition or a Duty upon it, in foreign Ships. To do either, the States must be united, which the English think cannot be. perhaps the French think so too, and in time they may persuade the Dutch to be of the same opinion. It is to be hoped we shall disappoint them all. in a Point so just and reasonable when we are contending only for an equal Chance for the Carriage of our Productions, and the Articles of our own Consumption, when we are willing to allow to all other Nations even a free Competition with us, in this Carriage, if we cannot unite, it will discover an Imperfection and weakness in our Constitution which will deserve a serious Consideration.
Mr. Viscer, Pensionary of Amsterdam, who came in to visit me when I had written thus far, Shew me a List of the Directors of the West India Company and refers me to Mr. Bicker of Amsterdam as one of the most intelligent of them— He says that the Colonists of Surinam, Berbice, Essequibo, & Demerary, have been in decay and obliged to borrow money of the Merchants at home and have entered into Contracts with those Merchants to send them annually all the productions of their plantations to pay the Interest and Principal of their Debts; that this will make it difficult to open the trade.
Soon after Mr: Viscer went out, Mr. Van Berckel came in. I { 167 } entered into a like Conversation with him, and told him that I thought the decay of their Plantations in the West-Indies had been owing to the Rivalry of other Nations especially the English, whose Islands had greater advantages from a freer communication with North America; and I thought it might be laid down as a rule that these Islands would flourish most in Population, Culture, Commerce and Wealth which had the freest Intercourse with us and that this Intercourse would be a natural Means of attracting the American Commerce to the Metropolis. He thought so too.
I then mentioned to him the Loan and asked him if he thought that the States General, the States of Holland, or the Regency of Amsterdam, would be likely in any way to aid us? He said No. That the Country was still so much divided, that he could not depend upon any assistance in that Way That the Council of Amsterdam was well enough disposed: but that the Burgomasters were not so: That Mr: Temminck Mr: Huygens, and Mr: Rendorp were not to be depended on in such an affair.3 That therefore our only Resource was to endeavour to gain upon the publick opinion and the spirit of the Nation, and that in this Respect he would do me all the service in his Power. He thought that the present Uncertainty about the definitive Treaty, and the Fate of the Republick would be an Obstacle, but the definitive Treaty once signed, he thought our Loan would succeed very well. I asked him whether he thought that the Junction of three houses in my Loan was any obstruction to it: and whether any one of them, or whether any other house would do better? I told him what his Brother now I hope in Philadelphia, had said to Mr: Dumas. viz: that the House of Willem and Jan Willink alone, would succeed sooner, than the three. I asked him whether he thought the House of Hope, either alone or in conjunction with that of the Willinks or any other would undertake it? He said this might well be, and that if they saw their Interest in it, they would, for those Mercantile Houses had no other Object in view. He promised me to make enquiry into this Matter, and let me know the Result.
Upon this Occasion I must inform Congress, that it is absolutely necessary they should send another Minister to this Republick, without Loss of Time, because, our Three present Houses before they would undertake the Loan, extorted a Promise from me, not to open another with any other House untill the five Millions should be full.4 This Engagement I took for myself alone however, and expressly premised that Congress should not be bound by it. That { 168 } Congress should be perfectly free, and that any other Minister they might send here, should be perfectly free to open another Loan when and with whom they pleased. A new Minister therefore may open a Loan when he will with Hope, Willink, or whom he will and I am persuaded it would succeed to a good Amount.
I made Visits to day to the Grand Pensionary, the Secretary Fagel, the President of the Week, and Mr: Gyzelaer, and return’d visits to Mr: Van Berckel and Mr: Viscer. Mr: Gyzelaer says that at present there is no ready money (Argent comptant) in the Republick, but in two Months, there will be, and the Loan will go very well.
At noon I went to the House in the Grove to make my Court to the Prince and Princess of Orange
The Prince either happened to be in a Social humour or has had some political Speculations lately, for he thought fit to be uncommonly gracious and agreeable. He made me Sit, and Sat down by me, and entered into familiar Conversation about the Negociations of Peace.— He asked many Questions about it, and the probability of a speedy conclusion of the definitive Treaty.— at length he asked me if Mr. Franklin was left alone? I answered that Mr: Jay was with him— He asked if I return’d before the Signature? I answered such was my Intention. He asked whether Mr: Franklin was an Ambassador? I answered that he was a Minister plenipotentiary only.
He asked if none of us were Ambassadors? I answered, that we all had the same rank of Ministers Plenipotentiary, and that Congress had never yet made an Ambassador. He said he was Astonished at that. That he had a long time expected to hear that We had display’d the Character of Ambassadors— I asked his Highness what Reason he had for this, and what advantage there was in it? Why says he, I expected that your Republick would early assert her right to appoint Ambassadors. Republicks have been generally fond of appointing Ambassadors, in order to be upon a Footing with crowned Heads.— Our Republick says he, began very early. We had eight Ambassadors at the Peace of Munster, one for each Province and one Supernumerary— And we always choose to appoint Ambassadors for the sake of being upon an equality with crowned Heads. There are only crown’d Heads, Republicks, and the Electors of the Empire who have a Right to send Ambassadors; All others can only send Envoys and Ministers-Plenipotentiary. Princes cannot send Ambassadors.— I cannot as statholder, nor as Prince nor in any other Quality, send a { 169 } Minister of any higher order, than an Envoy or Minister Plenipotentiary. He asked me what was the Reason, the Congress had not made use of this Right? I answered his Highness that really I did not know. it was a Subject I had never much reflected on perhaps Congress had not. or they might think it a Matter of Ceremony and of Shew rather than Substance, or might think the expence greater than the Advantage.— He said it was very true, the Dignity of the Rank must be supported, but he thought the Advantage worth more than the Expence.6
I am utterly at a Loss for his Highness’s motives for entering so minutely into this Subject. Whether Mr: Van Berckel before his Departure had mentioned it, whether he thought he should please me by it— Whether he thought to please Congress by it. Whether he affected to interest himself in the Honour of the United States, or whether any of the Politicians of this or any other Country have put him upon it, or whether it is mere Accident, I know not. They are the Words of a Prince, and I have reported them very exactly.
I have the Honour to be, with great Respect / and Esteem, Sir, your most obedient and / most humble Servant
[signed] John Adams.7
RC in JQA’s hand (PCC, No. 84, V, f. 17–25); internal address: “Robert R. Livingstone Esq. Secretary of State / for the Department of foreign Affairs.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 106. JQA had acted as JA’s secretary at least twice before, in 1778 and 1780 (vol. 7:284; 10:390), but this is the first time that he served as such on a sustained basis, continuing in that role when JA returned to Paris and after John Thaxter departed for America in Sept. 1783. On 7 Sept. JA wrote to AA and commented on JQA as his secretary, describing him as “a very good one. He writes a good hand very fast, and is very Steady, to his Pen and his Books” (AFC, 5:237–238). The LbC is in Lb/JA/18, entitled “Holland Vol. 3.” It is one of the Letterbooks that JA left at the U.S. legation at The Hague when he went to Paris in Oct. 1782. This letter appears immediately after JA’s 12 Oct. 1782 letter to Livingston, where he indicated his intention to “set off for Paris next Week” (vol. 13:528–529). Immediately below that letter in the Letterbook JA wrote “The Hague July 23 1783.— I Satt off in october for Paris where I arrived on the 26th of Oct. 1782, where the Peace has been made and I returned here last Night.” See also note 2.
1. “Tuesday” is in JA’s hand, but that was the 22d, the day he arrived. The canceled date is difficult to read and its identification is very conjectural. It could with equal justification be given as 24 or 25, but see note 5.
2. JA’s official reason for going to the Netherlands was to advance the Dutch loan and take care of other business that had arisen during his absence, but it is likely that he was more interested in and excited at reuniting with JQA. He had not seen his son for over two years, since 2 July 1781 when JA left Amsterdam for Paris to deal with the Comte de Vergennes over the proposed Austro-Russian mediation. Five days later JQA set out for St. Petersburg as Francis Dana’s secretary. In his Diary entry for 22 July 1783, JQA noted that “A 11 heures du soir mon Pere arriva de Paris,” and on the following day he announced JA’s arrival to AA in a letter largely devoted to his journey from St. Petersburg to The Hague. On the 26th JA wrote AA that “my Son is with me in good health. I had a tender Meeting with the dear { 170 } Companion of my Voages and Journeys, and have been very happy with him, ever Since. He is grown a Man in Understanding as well as Stature. He gives a very intelligent and entertaining Account of his Travels to and from the North. I shall take him with me to Paris, and Shall make much of his Company” (vol. 11:404; JQA, Diary, 1:87, 89, 176; AFC, 5:214, 216–219).
3. For a 1782 proposal by JA that the Regency of Amsterdam take part in the Dutch-American loan that proved no more fruitful than this one, see vol. 13:455, 456, 458–459, 461, 462.
4. For JA’s 1782 promise to the loan consortium that made it impossible for him to consider a new loan, see his 5 June 1783 letter to C. W. F. Dumas, and note 1, above.
5. In the Letterbook this section is dated “the 25th July” and was changed here to the “24th.” This may, perhaps, explain the problem with the dateline. If JQA was copying the letter on either the 24th or the 25th he may have included that date rather than the dates 23 and 24 July, when the sections were actually written.
6. JA’s conversation with William V at the “House in the Grove”—Huis ten Bosch or Maison de Bois as it was variously called— about diplomatic rank is interesting in view of his comment that it was a subject he “had never much reflected on.” This may be true with regard to the titles of ambassador and minister, but see his comments on rank in his 8 Nov. 1782 letter to Jonathan Jackson, vol. 14:43–44. There was no difference in function, for example, between an ambassador plenipotentiary and a minister plenipotentiary, both having full powers to negotiate. There was, however, a distinction in rank, and until the mid-twentieth century the exchange of ambassadors, rather than ministers, generally indicated the importance of the relations between two nations. But the United States, partly to avoid the taint of Old World, monarchist, antirepublican diplomacy, did not appoint ambassadors to any country until 1893 (Great Britain and France) and not to the Netherlands until 1942 (Richardson Dougall and Mary Patricia Chapman, United States Chiefs of Mission 1778–1973, Washington, 1973, p. 57, 109, 160).
7. Closing and signature in JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0073

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
Date: 1783-07-25

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir

It is the general opinion here both among the Members of the States, and the Hotel de la France, that the Delays of the definitive Pacification, are contrived by the Court of London, in order to set all their Instruments at work, in this Republic, to induce it to renew its ancient connections with Great-Britain, particularly their Alliance offensive and Defensive, by which each Power was bound to furnish the other if attack’d a certain Number of ships and Troops.1 against this the patriotic Party is decided and they are now very well satisfied with the Grand Pensionary Bleiswick, because he openly and roundly takes their side, and the Court is said to be discontented with him for the same Reason There is, (no doubt,) an Intelligence, and Correspondence between the two Courts of London and the Hague, to bring about this Point. The Grand Pensionary told me yesterday that the Court of London desired it, and there were persons here who desired it, and he knew very well who they were: but that most certainly they would not carry their point. Van { 171 } Berckel Vischer and Gyzelaer all assured me of the same, and added that the fear of this had determined them not to send a Minister to London, but to go through with the Negociation at Paris, altho’ they were all highly dissatisfied with the Conduct of France, and particularly with that of the Comte de Vergennes
They all say, he has betrayed and deserted them, played them a very bad Trick (Tour) and violated his repeated promises to them. They dont in the least spare Mr Berenger and Mr: Merchant, who conduct the French affairs here in the Absence of the Duc de la Vauguion, but hold this Language openly and freely to them. These Gentlemen have sometimes found it hard to bear, and have winced and sometimes even threat’ned but the answer has been more mortifying still. “Do as you please Drive the Republick back into the Arms of England if you will, suppress all the Friends of France if you choose it,” and some of them have said “we will go to America.” They all say that France had the Power to have saved them, that the Acquisition of Tobago was no equivalent to France for the Loss of the Republick &c, &c, &c.2 They are all highly pleased with the Conduct of their own Ambassador Brantzen, with his Activity, Intelligence and Fidelity. They all say they would send a Minister to London to negotiate there, if they were sure of being able to carry an Election for a Man they could depend upon. But the Court here, would have so much Influence in the Choice, that the should run a risque of sending a Man who would insensibly lead them into a revival of the old Tyes, with England, which they say, is enslaving the Republick to that Kingdom.
I learn here from all Quarters a Confirmation of what I had learned before at Paris, from Mr: Brantzen and the Duc de la Vauguion viz: that the Duke of Manchester, had given them no answer, nor Said a Word to them for Six Weeks in answer to the Propositions, they had made, among which, one was the offer of an equivalent for Negapatnam.3 They offered some establishments in Sumatra and Surat. lately the Duke of Manchester has receiv’d a Courier, and has given an Answer, that a real Equivalent might be accepted. No answer is given to any other Point, and this is vague, so that another Courier must go to London, & return. Parliament is now up, and perhaps the Ministry may now, be more attentive and less timorous.
With great Respect I have the Honour / to be, Sir your most obedient & most / humble Servant
[signed] John Adams4
{ 172 }
RC in JQA’s hand (PCC, No. 84, V, f. 37–39); internal address: “Secretary Livingstone.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 106.
1. JA presumably refers to the Anglo-Dutch alliance of 1678. When invoked it required the Dutch to supply Britain with 30 ships and 6,000 troops. The Netherlands’ failure to honor this commitment was one of the reasons for the outbreak of the Anglo-Dutch War in 1781 (vol. 9:47–48), and British anger at this perceived betrayal by an ally contributed to the long delay in reaching an Anglo-Dutch peace settlement.
2. This repeats a comment made by the Dutch Patriots in early 1783, which C. W. F. Dumas related to JA in a letter of 4 Feb., that the Netherlands was more important to France than Tobago and that if the Comte de Vergennes did not wish to see the newfound Franco-Dutch relationship destroyed he needed to recognize and act on this (vol. 14:235–238).
3. See JA’s 9 July letter to Livingston, above.
4. In JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0074

Author: Jay, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-07-26

From John Jay

[salute] Dear Sir

I hope I may by this Time congratulate You on your safe Arrival, and happy meeting with your Son at amsterdam. Mr. Laurens is here, & in better Health than I have heretofore seen him since he left America— His Stay will probably be short, for his Permission to return creates Doubts in his Mind as to the Propriety of his continuing to act with us, unless by our particular Request;1 and Mr Hartley has as yet no Answer from his Court. Mr Laurens talks of returning this Fall—
as this Letter may be inspected before it reaches you, it will not be very interesting. The Draft of a Treaty with Denmarck is prepared, and will be sent I beleive with Barney. I’ve not seen it—2 Mr Laurens thinks a change in the british Ministry probable, but of whom the next will be formed is uncertain. We have had no Accounts from America since you left us, except certain Paragraphs in English News papers which you have doubtless seen—
I consider your Loan as in some degree our Spes altera,3 and hope you will be able to render it at least equal to our present Exigences. You would derive honor, & our Country Advantage from it.
Should any thing worth communicating occur, you shall hear from me again. present my Compts. to your Son, & believe me to be with great Esteem & Regard / Dear Sir / Your most obt. Servt.
[signed] John Jay
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency John Adams Esqr.”
1. On 1 April, Congress voted permission for Henry Laurens to return to the United States. Robert R. Livingston enclosed the resolution in a letter of 8 May, which Laurens acknowledged on 27 June (Laurens, Papers, 16:192–193; Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:507–508).
2. The draft treaty with Denmark, sent to { 173 } Benjamin Franklin by the Danish minister on 8 July, was enclosed with Franklin’s 22 July letter to Livingston (Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:519–527, 586). On 22 Oct. the congressional committee to which it had been referred reported and suggested changes to ensure reciprocity. The report apparently was taken up again in December, but no indication of what, if any, action was taken regarding it has been found, and, in any case, the treaty was never concluded (JCC, 25:720–722).
3. Hope for the future.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0075

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-07-27

From John Thaxter

[salute] Sir,

Mr. Storer and myself arrived here this morning, after a very fatiguing Journey; tho’ I am apprehensive much less so than your’s, considering the extreme heats— Normandy is, I believe unequalled in the Riches of its Soil— Grains of all kinds in vast abundance cover an extensive Country— We saw also charming fields of Clover and Honey Suckle, such as would have delighted your Eyes— But Flanders must have afforded you more Charms at this Season— A hardy laborious Race of People are to be seen cultivating & improving these blessings of Nature. I have not been more delighted, or fatigued, a long time—
Before We left Paris, we disposed of your things as you directed— your Trunks are at Mr. Barclay— the Key of the small one I delivered sealed up (directed to you) to Mrs. Barclay, who will return it to your Order— In the small Trunk you will find the Keys of the large one in a piece of Paper. The great Maps, Tea things & Servant’s Hats are at No. 60. Rue de Clery.—2 I have also paid off all your Accounts—but was obliged to take up at your Bankers seventy Louis d’Ors to finish the Business— Tho’ it did not require the whole, yet they left but a small Residue—
Andrew, as I foresaw he would be, was thunderstruck at the Idea of a Dismission— He intreated & begged so pathetically, as almost to force me to join in the Stream of Grief— He was extreamly affected—professed the highest Respect and attachment to you, & lamented with much feeling the Necessity that forced him from your Service— As he was so earnest to get to America, I could think of no other way of sending him over & grtifying his Wishes than writing to Capt. Barney— As I did not choose to make use of your Name in the Business without your Consent, I wrote in my own Name—but did not recieve an Answer till I came to this place, where the Capt. told us in Andrew’s presence (for he came with us & at a Risque) that he would take him with pleasure, & make him Steward of the Cabbin with an Allowance of 12. dollars a Month.— This proposal met { 174 } the Wishes of Andrew entirely— He is now happy, & I not a little so that he finds an Employment in quitting your Service.
I went to Passy & got the Letters you mentioned—have copied them & brought them with me, together with all your other Letters, which will be delivered to day to Capt. Barney— He will sail as soon as Mr. Barclay arrives, & he is expected to day or tomorrow at farthest. I shall not fail to inform you when he does sail.3
You may depend on it, Sir, you will be informed in season to be present at the Signature of the ———4
I am determined at present to cross the Water for [a] few days— If you should leave the Hague sooner than [you ex]pected when you left us, you will be so go[od] as to direct to me at No. 7. Basinghall Street, London, that I may meet you in Season. I am persuaded however, I shall return before you. I long to send you the Sea Breeze we have here— Let me intreat you, Sir, to try the Sea Bath— Scheveling is near you— One Retreat a day from the Bogs, & putrified Air of the City will do no harm—but enable you to do business with more ease & Comfort— Besides there is nothing that cools & composes more a diplomatic Head; that has been disturbed by the piddling Politicks of weak or ——— Brothers, than a Sea Bath.—
Mr. Storer, Capt Barney & Brother join in Respects to you.5 With an invariable Attachment & Regard, I have the honor to be, Sir, &c
my Regards to Master John & Mr. Dumas’s family.
[signed] J. T
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excellency / John Adams Esqr / Minister Plenipo. &c &c &c / at the / Hague.”; internal address: “His Excelly Mr. Adams.”; endorsed: “Mr Thaxter 27. July / Havre de Grace.” and, possibly in CFA’s hand, “1783.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. Thaxter wrote to AA on 29 July about his journey from Paris to Havre de Grâce, including considerably more detail about the country through which he passed and the people he encountered (AFC, 5:219–220).
2. This is Matthew Ridley’s residence (JA, D&A, 3:37).
3. For further details on Thaxter’s journey and his arrival in London on 3 Aug., see his letters to JA of 31 July and 4 Aug., both below.
4. The definitive peace treaty.
5. Capt. Joshua Barney’s brother was probably William Stevenson Barney (b. 1754), who had served as a marine with him on the frigate Virginia in 1777 and 1778 (Charles R. Smith, Marines in the Revolution: A History of the Continental Marines in the American Revolution 1775–1783, Washington, 1975, p. 430–431).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0076

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
Date: 1783-07-28

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir

I find upon Inquiry, that there are in this Republick at Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Dort, near 130 Sugar Houses. The whole of the { 175 } raw Sugars produced, in Surrinam, Berbice Essequibo & Demarary, were wrought in these houses. and besides, raw Sugars were purchased in Bourdeaux & Nantes, after being imported from the French Islands in French Bottoms: raw Sugars were also purchased in London, which went under the general Name of Barbadoes Sugars, although they were the Growth of all the English Islands, and imported to London in Brittish Bottoms. I have learned farther, that great Quantities of raw Brazil Sugars were purchased in Lisbon, and that these were cheaper than any of the others. All these raw Sugars were imported into Amsterdam Rotterdam and Dort, and there manufactured for Exportation.
We must endeavour to obtain a Share in this Trade especially with Lisbon, or the Western Islands. Since it is certain that Neither Portugal, France nor England have been able to manufacture all their raw sugars, but each of them sold considerable Quantities to the Dutch, I Suppose that We may undoubtedly purchase Such Sugars in future in Lisbon, Bourdeaux, Nantes, London, and perhaps in Ireland and carry them where We please, either home to America, or to Amsterdam, or to any Part of Europe, and there sell them: and in this Way promote our own carrying Trade as well as enable ourselves to make Remittances.— I cannot See why the English or French Should be averse to their Sugars going to America directly and if they insist upon carrying them in their own ships, We may Still have enough of them.— The Dutch have the most pressing commercial motives to bring home their West India Produce: yet they would really gain the most by opening a free Communication with Us, because they would the most Suddenly make their Colonies flourish by it.
Melasses and Rum We shall have probably from all the Islands English French and Dutch in our own Bottoms, unless the three Nations should agree together to keep the whole Trade of their Islands in their own ships which is not likely.
I have made all the Inquiry I could, and have Sown all the seeds I could, in order to give a Spur to our Loan. Three Thousand Obligations, have been Sold and the other 2000 are signed. But at this Time there is a greater Scarcity of Money than ever was known The Scarcity is So great that the Agio of the Bank, which is commonly at four or five Per Cent fell to one and an half.2 The Directors at length Shut up the Bank and it continues shut. The English omnium which at first was sold for Eight and Ten Per Cent Profit, fell to one & an half.3 This Scarcity of Money will continue untill the { 176 } arrival of the Spanish Flota at Cadiz. Seven Eighths of the Treasures of that Flota, will come here and make Money Plenty.4 Then we may expect that my Obligations will sell.
In the Mean Time, I have great Pleasure, in assuring you that there is not one foreign Loan, open in this Republick which is in so good Credit, or goes so quick as mine. The Empress of Russia opened a Loan of five Millions, about the Same time when I opened mine. She is far from having obtained Three Millions of it.— Spain opened a Loan with the House of Hope, at the same Time, for two Millions only, and you may depend upon it, it is very far from being full.— Not one Quarter Part of the Loan of France, upon Life Rents, advantageous as it is, to the Lender is full.— in Short, there is not one Power in Europe whose Credit is so good here as ours. Russia and Spain too, allow of facilities to Undertakers and others, in disposing of their Obligations, much more considerable than ours, yet all does not Succeed.— You will See Persons and Letters in America, which will affirm that the Spanish Loan is full and that France & Spain can have what Money they will here. Believe me this is all Stock Jobbing Gascoignade.— I have made very particular Inquiries, and find the foregoing Account to be the Truth.— Of all the sons of Men, I believe the Stockjobbers are the greatest Lyars. I know it has been given out that the Spanish Loan, which was opened at Hopes, was full the first day. This I know has been affirmed, in the hearing of Americans, with a Confidence peculiar, and with a design I Suppose, that it should be written or reported to Congress.— But I am now assured that it is so far from being true, that it is not near full to this hour. Let me beg of you Sir, to give Mr Morris an Extract of this, because I am so pressed for Time that I cannot write to him.5
Upon farther Inquiry concerning Sugars, I find, that the Dutch were used to purchase annually considerable Quantities of the raw sugars of Spain, as well as of France England and Portugal. Some of these, they obtained by a clandestine Trade, between Couracao, and the Havannah and st Domingo, but the greater Part were purchased at Cadiz. I Suppose our Merchants and Masters of Vessells, will be as adroit at inventing and executing Projects of illicit Trade as others. But this is a Resource that Congress and the States cannot depend on, nor take into their Calculations. illicit Trade will ever bear, but a small Proportion to that which is permitted. And our Governments Should take their Measures for obtaining by legal and honourable Means, from Spain Portugal, France, England Holland and { 177 } Denmark all the West India Productions, which our People may want for Consumption for Manufacture and for Exportation.
With great Respect I have the Honour to be / Sir your most obedient and most humble / servant
[signed] John Adams.
RC (PCC, No. 84, V, f. 45–48); internal address: “R. R. Livingstone Esq. / Secretary of foreign Affairs.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 106.
1. According to JQA’s Diary, he and JA left The Hague at six o’clock in the morning on 26 July and arrived at Amsterdam at one o’clock in the afternoon. On the 28th, he and his father dined with Wilhem Willink (JQA, Diary, 1:176).
2. The agio was the premium paid for bank money, or money of account, over current money, or money in circulation (John J. McCusker, Money and Exchange in Europe, 1600–1775, Chapel Hill, N.C., 1978, p. 18–19).
3. The omnium, traded on the London market, comprised the combined considerations given by the British government in order to raise a loan (OED).
4. The Gazette d’Amsterdam of 12 Aug. contained a 22 July report from Madrid that the fleet that had sailed from Havana on 1 June had reached Cadiz. On 15 Aug., the paper indicated that the fleet’s cargo had included 12,933,692 pesos in gold and silver, approximately £2,053,762 sterling. By JA’s calculation this meant that approximately £1,797,041 would come to the Netherlands (McCusker, Money and Exchange in Europe, p. 106).
5. See JA’s 28 July letter to Robert Morris, below. JA means that he does not have time to write another letter to Morris, containing the information in this letter. In the Letterbook the letter to Morris appears before this one to Livingston.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0077

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Morris, Robert
Date: 1783-07-28

To Robert Morris

2plicate.

[salute] Sir,

Upon Enquiry of those who best know, I see no probability of Success from any Application to Authority in this Country, for Reasons which I have explained to our Minister of foreign Affairs. Our only Resource is in the public Opinion, & the favor of the Nation.
I know of nothing, which would operate so favorably upon the Publick, as the Arrival of a few Vessels with Cargoes of American Produce, addressed to your Bankers, and appropriated to the payment of Interest. The Report of such an Event would greatly augment our Credit, by spreading the Opinion of our Ability & Disposition to pay.
It would be presumption in me, at this distance, to undertake to advise you, who are upon the Spot, and are much better informed— But I beg leave to suggest the question, whether an Application of Congress to the States would not succeed? Suppose Congress should represent to the States the Necessity of an Exertion, in order to obtain a Loan at present, to enable You to satisfy the most urgent demands of the Army, and other public Creditors, until the States { 178 } can agree upon some permanent establishment, & should recommend to each State to furnish a Cargo of its own Produce in proportion to its Rate upon the List— For example, South Carolina & Georgia, a quantity of Rice or Indigo—Virginia & Maryland of Tobacco—Pennsylvania, of Wheat or Flour, and the Northern States, of Fish or any other thing— Suppose these Cargoes, which need not be expensive for the thirteen States, should be sent to Amsterdam, or any where else in Europe, the proceeds of Sale to be remitted to Amsterdam to your Bankers: The Reputation of this, if well planned, adopted and executed, would give a strong Impulsion to your Loan here.
I am but just arrived, & have not yet seen our Bankers. Saturday & Sunday are generally spent at Country Seats. But before I leave this place, I shall be able to inform you more precisely, whether you may depend on any thing from hence.1 No Pains of mine shall be spared. The British Stocks are so low, that We may hope for something. If a Minister is sent to London, you should give him a Commission to borrow Money. If he conducts the Matter with Secrecy & Caution, he may probably obtain a considerable Sum there. There are monied Men in that Country, who wish Us well. There are others, who may easily be inspired with more Faith in our Funds, than they can rationally have in their own. If, upon advising with proper Persons, he should not judge it prudent to open a Loan there, he might easily put things in a Train for some Individuals to purchase Obligations in your Loan in Amsterdam— So dismal are the Prospects in England, that many Men are upon the Wing to fly, & some would be willing to transfer their Property across the Atlantic.
With great Respect, I have the honor to be, / Sir, your most obedient & / most humble Servant
[signed] John Adams.2
Dupl in John Thaxter’s hand (PCC, No. 84, V, f. 53–54); internal address: “Robert Morris Esqr / Superintendant of Finances.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 106.
1. See Morris’ reply of 5 Nov., below, and JA’s 28 July letter to Robert R. Livingston, above.
2. In JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0078

Author: Ridley, Matthew
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-07-28

From Matthew Ridley

[salute] Sir

I have the Honor to inclose you a Letter received by yesterday’s Post from England—1
M Jay has already advised you of the arrival of M Laurens here. { 179 } He returns tomorrow by the way of Havre— I do learn that anything is new is stirring— He thinks there will be a change in Ministry— If there is I imagine it will only be a change to strengthen the King’s Party.— They say little or nothing about the Treaty the Commerce or definitive treaty.— M L. has some thoughts of his Sons going with Barney; but I do not believe he will He, himself talks of embarking from England in October.—
M Barclay & M Hunt go for Havre to Morrow.— I imagine Barney will sail immediately after they get there.2 I am informed he carries the Treaty with Denmark & another with Portugal. I have the Honor to be / Your Excellencys / Most Obed. & mt hbl sert
[signed] Matt: Ridley
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excellency / J. Adams”; endorsed: “Mr Ridley 28. July 1783.”
1. This letter cannot be positively identified, but it may be that of 26 May from the Second Congregational Church of Newport, R.I. (vol. 14:498–501). See JA’s 12 Nov. reply to that letter, which may have been drafted in August, below.
2. Thomas Barclay, Henry Laurens, Henry Laurens Jr., John Thaxter, and others left Capt. Joshua Barney’s vessel, the General Washington, off Poole, England, and traveled to London. John Hunt continued on to America (Morris, Papers, 8:508). For the progress of the travelers and their arrival in England, see John Thaxter’s letters to JA of 31 July and 4 Aug., and Henry Laurens’ 9 Aug. letter to the commissioners, all below; for Barney’s voyage to Philadelphia, where he arrived on 9 Sept., see Laurens, Papers, 16:248.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0079

Author: Dana, Francis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-07-29

From Francis Dana

[salute] My Dear Sir

’Tis done. The bolt of your Vulcan has hit its aim.1 The idea you mentioned to me some time since, relative to the use of the Credit I had asked for, and which in reply I told you was not new to me, that the same had been repeatedly thrown out here by persons, whom to suspect of sinister or interested views wou’d be deemed by some a most damnable political heresy, has crossed the Atlantic and gotten possession of Congress. I am told they will not buy a Treaty at this day.2 But pray remark what I have said in my Letter to you of the 21st. of last May relative to this subject, particularly in the last paragraph of it beginning thus “Besides I shou’d not be surprised.”3 You may turn also to my letter of the 26th. of the same month.4 But contemptible beyond all contempt, (pardon the expression) is the construction upon my Instructions. Wou’d it not put a Pettifogger out of Countenance to be detected in such a miserable thing. Pray my { 180 } Friend are you sufficiently versed in the diplomatic science to develop the whole meaning of the term “communicate,” and of the double &c? These Lord Coke observes are very pregnant often times. And that Gentleman has read Lord Coke, and must therefore be an excellent Commentator.5 But least he shou’d not have read the Text thrõ when he made his comment, I have laid it out at its full length before him. He may now comment upon it at leisure. I have thought it too plain to need any of mine. Do not imagine my Friend that I am angry, shall I say, at this Dutch Commentator. No, I have other feelings respecting him, and our much abused Country. I recollect the cause of the Instruction we received relative to the Fishery at our departure— I recollect the fatal revocation of your powers to conclude a Commercial Treaty with G: Britain.6 I call it fatal because, if I am not deceived, We have lost forever the most important advantages of a free Commerce with the British West Indies by that measure. We might have obtained every thing at the conclusion of our preliminary Treaty if our Commissioners had had that Power. This is evident from the Bill of Mr: Pitt the Chancellor of the Exchecquer.7 This last stroke, I think, tops the system. A more favourable moment for negotiating a commercial Treaty here, will in all probability, never happen. The present views of Great Britain give us many advantages to draw forth convenient concessions. Can Russia see with indifference Great Britain holding out special favours for the encouragement of our Naval Stores? But I need not enter into particulars with you on these subjects, who have surveyed them on all sides. I send you enclosed my letter to Mr: Livingston—8
I have several times acquainted Congress of my wish & intention to return to America as soon as I had concluded a commercial Treaty with Her Imperial Majesty. In consequence of this, they have by a resolution approved of my returning “provided I shou’d not be engaged in a Negotiation with this Court at the time of receiving the resolution in which Case it is the desire of Congress that I shou’d finish such negotiation before I return.” I am not engaged in any, as I have not yet had my Audience; and to communicate but not to sign is beyond my comprehension, and I believe woud surpass theirs also. If I shou’d break thrõ this cobweb I shou’d find myself stopped short by the other matter which is essential. What is to be done in such circumstances? I answer the wisest part appears to me, is to get out of them as soon as possible. But for this last difficulty I wou’d demand my Audience as soon as the definitive { 181 } Treaty is concluded, enter immediately upon the negotiation of a Treaty of Commerce, and maugre all comments sign, ah, and seal too, “the form and terms of a Treaty” I shou’d agree upon, with Her Majesty’s Ministers. As it is, I say to myself be gone. And will be gone.9 And may God grant I may soon have the pleasure of meeting you in our Country, and all Friends well— I will take Master John’s things under my own care. Adieu my dear Sir / Your’s &c &c
[signed] FRA DANA
P.S. I pray you to present my most respectful regards to Mr: Jay of whom I hear every thing I cou’d wish— You will not write me again— Desire Mr. Thaxter to take all my matters under his care, along with him when he returns to America. Mr: Allen will take his passage with me. I believe he will find his account in coming here.
RC and enclosure (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency John Adams / Minister Plenipotentiary &c”; endorsed: “Mr Dana. July 18. / 1783.” Filmed at 18 July.
1. Dana refers to JA’s letter of 22 February. There JA referred to Dana’s instructions as “Chains Strong Chains” and declared that “there is a Vulcan [the Comte de Vergennes] at Versailles whose constant Employment it has been to forge Chains for American Ministers” (vol. 14:286).
2. This entire letter is a commentary on Robert R. Livingston’s letter of 1 May, which transmitted Congress’ 1 April resolution approving Dana’s return to the United States but more importantly contained Livingston’s interpretation of Dana’s powers under his commission and his sense of Congress’ attitude toward the negotiation of a Russo-American treaty. Here Dana specifically refers to his request for funds to pay the customary fee to the Russian negotiators for signing a treaty. He had requested the funds in his letter of 18 Nov. 1782 to Livingston and of 25 Nov. to JA. In a 24 March 1783 letter to Dana, JA indicated that Benjamin Franklin questioned whether the fee to the Russians was necessary and wondered whether Dana was being “imposed on.” JA suggested that Dana procure a certificate from other diplomats indicating that the payment was necessary. Clearly Dana believed that Franklin’s view (see note 3) had been sent to America and was what motivated Livingston’s comment that “I am persuaded that it is the wish of Congress rather to postpone any treaty with Russia than to buy one at this day” (Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:54–56, 403–404; JCC, 24:227; vol. 14:81–83, 358–359).
3. Of [1 June], and note 7, above, in which Dana indicates his suspicion that Franklin, with Vergennes’ support, wanted to negotiate any Russo-American treaty at Paris. Hence his comment in this letter on Livingston’s reference to buying a treaty, for which see note 2.
4. Of [6 June], above.
5. In his letter of 1 May, Livingston observed that, “with respect to a commercial treaty, none can be signed by you. Your powers only extend to ‘communicate with her Imperial majesty’s ministers on the subject of a treaty,’ &c., but not to sign it” (Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:403). Livingston was referring to Dana’s instructions of 19 Dec. 1780, the sixth of which directed him to “assure her Imperial Majesty and her ministers of the sincere disposition of these United States to enter into a treaty of friendship and commerce with her” and authorized him “to communicate with her Imperial Majesty’s ministers on the form and terms of such treaty, and transmit the same to Congress for their ratification.” However, Dana’s commission of the same date appointed him a minister plenipotentiary “authorized in our name, and on behalf of the United States, to propose a treaty of amity and commerce between these United States and her said Imperial Majesty, and to confer and treat { 182 } thereon with her ministers, vested with equal powers, . . .; transmitting such treaty for our final ratification. And we declare in good faith that we will confirm whatsoever shall by him be transacted in the premises” (JCC, 18:1166–1173). As Dana indicates, Livingston’s construction seems somewhat tortured since there would be little point for either Dana or the Russian representatives to enter into any negotiations if he could not sign the final treaty. And if the final product of the negotiations was unsigned then it would effectively be a draft, leaving Congress nothing to ratify. Indeed, this was essentially the position taken by Dana in his reply to Livingston of 27 July 1783 (Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:597–598). For Coke’s comment on Sir Thomas Littleton’s use of “&c.,” see Sir Edward Coke, The First Part of the Institutes of the Lawes of England; or, Commentarie upon Littleton, London, 1628, sect. 10.
6. In 1779 France opposed making the American claim to fishing rights on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland one of the peace ultimata for the Anglo-American peace treaty, so Congress instead made it a sine qua non for the proposed Anglo-American commercial treaty, both of which JA was commissioned to negotiate. When in 1781, again at France’s behest, Congress removed JA as the sole peace commissioner and created the joint peace commission, it also, almost as an afterthought, revoked his commission to conclude an Anglo-American commercial treaty. For these incidents and the shared conviction of JA and Dana that there was evidence of not just a fundamental conflict between French and American interests but a French policy of subordinating American interests to their own, see the indexes to vols. 8 through 14.
7. The American Intercourse Bill (vol. 14:333).
8. Dana’s letter to Livingston of 27 July 1783 is much like this one to JA. The principal difference is that Dana’s anger and frustration at the termination of his mission so close to success are even more evident. “This letter,” he wrote, “has come very opportunely to hand, as we are in expectation every moment of receiving the account of the conclusion of the definitive treaty of peace, when I should have immediately had my audience of her Imperial majesty. I shall now think it expedient to decline that honor, for it would be a very useless ceremony to take an audience of reception one day when the next I must ask one of departure” (Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:597–598).
9. In his letter to Livingston of 27 July and two others of [29 July] to the loan consortium and to the Amsterdam merchant Duncan Ingraham Jr. (same; MHi:Francis Dana Letterbooks, Private, 1782–1784), Dana indicated that he would be sailing for Boston aboard the Duchess of Kingston’s yacht in about three weeks, but see Dana’s letter of 29 Sept., and note 1, below. The yacht was presumably the vessel that the exiled Elizabeth Chudleigh, Countess of Bristol and self-proclaimed Duchess of Kingston, had sailed to St. Petersburg on in 1777 (DNB).

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0080

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
Date: 1783-07-30

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir

I have been the more particular in my letters to you, concerning that extensive Manufacture and Commerce of refined Sugars, in this Country because the Proximity of all the Sugar Colonies to us, renders a share in it naturally usefull and convenient both to us and them. Fifty Thousand Hogsheads of raw Sugars are annually wrought in this Republick and exported at a great Profit to Germany, Denmark, Sweeden, Russia, Poland and Italy.
At Amsterdam I visited a number of respectable Merchants in order to discover their sentiments concerning the Communication between us, and their Islands and Sugar Colonies.— They all agree { 183 } that St: Eustatius and Curaçao, are and will be commercial Islands, open and free to all our Vessells. St: Martin’s is divided between the French, the Danes and the Dutch, whose share of it does not flourish. The Colonies, upon the Continent, of Surinam, Berbice, Demerary and Essequebo are at a greater distance from us. But they will be open to our Vessells and their Cargoes, because they all agree, that those Colonies, cannot Subsist without our Horses, Lumber, and Provisions, nor without the sale to us of their Melasses. We shall be allowed to take in return Melasses, with which some Quantities of Sugar, Coffee, and other Produce, are always Smuggled as they say. But altho’ nothing has been as yet determined it is the general Opinion that the Produce of the Colonies must be brought home in Dutch Ships as heretofore, Melasses excepted.
From the Secretary of the West India Company, I have obtained a few Minutes, in so bad French that I almost despair of rendering it intelligible I have attempted it, however in the following Translation. viz.
“In the Grant of the West India Company, renewed or more properly newly erected in the year 1700, continued in 1730, prolonged afterwards in the year 1760 for two years, and in the year 1762. from the first of January, to the 31st. of December 1791, are found the Limits fixed, only for the Inhabitants of these Seven united Provinces under the name of the united Company of these Provinces upon the Coast and Country of Africa, computing from the Tropick of Cancer, to the Southern Latitude of the Equinoxial Line, with all the Islands in this district situated upon the said Coast, and particularly the Islands of St: Thomas, Annebon, Island of Principa, and Fernando Polo, as also the Places of Essequebo and Baunominora situated upon the continental Coasts of America, as also the Islands of Curaçao, Amaba and Buonaire all the other Limits of the ancient Grant being open for the Commerce of all the Inhabitants of the Republick without exception, upon Condition however, that if the Company Oriental and Occidental should judge proper to navigate to the Islands situated between the Coasts of Africa, and America beginning at the Assention and further South, or any of them, and should occupy it before any other, should have a private Grant with exclusion of all other, for so long time as it shall occupy its places, and in case they should desist, these Places should return under the Second Class open for the Navigation of every Individual of the Republick, paying an Acknowledgment &c.
That the said Particulars, trading in the said Districts, shall be { 184 } obliged to acknowledge the Western Company, and to pay them for the Right of Convoy, and consequently in form of Acknowledgment, viz: for the Productions and Merchandizes for the West Indies, two per Cent and returning from thence into these Provinces two per Cent more, for the Commodities in return. and further the Ships navigating to Places, further distant in America, contained in the ancient Grant both in going and returning, should pay, five Florins per Last, or more or Less, according as their High Mightinesses shall judge proper to determine hereafter. observing nevertheless, that these five Florins per Last, shall not be demanded of Ships navigating to the Carabbee Islands, which shall pay the ordinary duty for Convoy to the Colledges of the Admiralty, from which they sail, and the said private Navigators shall be held, moreover, for the Satisfaction of the Western Company, to give sufficient Caution, that they will not Navigate nor cause to be Navigated, the Places contained in the first Class ceded to the said Company, with Exclusion of all others.
And if any one is found to act Contrary, and to navigate to any Place situated in the prescribed Limits, and granted to the Company, his Ship and Cargo Shall be confiscated and attacked in Force, by the Ships belonging to the said Company and if such ships and Merchandizes or Commodities shall be sold, or entered into any other Country, or foreign Port the owner and his Accomplice Shall be liable to Execution, for the Value of the said ships and Merchandizes or Commodities.
The Company has also the Right to require an Acknowledgment of all tho[se] who shall navigate, import or export any Merchandize to or from Places belongin[g to] the said Company notwithstanding they may be Subject and may belong to the Domination of other things or Princes, situated within the Limits stipulated in [the] Grant; and especially of every foreign Vessell, bringing any Commodities or Merchan[dizes,] from the West Indies or the Limits stipulated in the Grant, unto these Provinces, whether upon its own account on freight, or on Commission, whether such foreign Vessell shall come directly, from the West Indies and the Limits of the Gra[nt,] into these Provinces, or whether she shall have carried her Cargo to other Count[ries] or Kingdoms for what Reason so ever this may be. Exception, only in case the Merc[han]dizes of the Proprietor, should by Negotiation, be changed in nature, and that the Duty of this Country, fixed to the Place, should be Paid, which any { 185 } one alledging shall be obliged to prove, Sufficiently, according to the Amount of the Merchandizes.
Declaring, moreover, for further Elucidation of the said, Grant, that under the Name of the New low Countries, in Consequence of the three per Cent, which [the] Company has a right to require for the Merchandizes sent there or bought from thence, is understood, that part of North America, which extends itself West and South of the northern Part of Newfoundland as far as the Cape of Florida, to the River of Oronoque, and the Islands of Curaçao. For what concerns the other Places of Am[erica] contained in the most ancient and precedent Grant in regard to the five Florins per Last, upon the Vessells there navigating shall be understood all the Caraibbee Islands, Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola and Porto Rico as also all the Coasts and Countries computing from the river Oronoque, aforesaid, by the straights of Magellan, Le Maire or other passages or Straights situated under these, as far as the streight of Anjan, both upon the Sea of the North, and the Islands situated on the other side, and between them, as also the Southern Countries situated between the two Meridians, touching at the East the Cape of Good Hope and in the West, the Eastern part of New Guinea inclusively”
If this Paper is not very clear to Congress, it is not more so to me, and perhaps to the Dutch themselves. There is a Dispute likely to arise between the West India Company and the Colledge of the Admiralty about it; which will [be] explained further, as it proceeds, by whatever Minister you may send here.
Upon the whole Matter of our Communications with the European Establishments in the West Indies—We shall carry freely our Commodities to the French and Dutch, excepting perhaps Flour to the French, which however will be carried I suppose to St Lucie and Port Royal, as well as to St: Eustatius and Curaçao, St: Thomas and St: Martin’s, and there sold to any Nation that will purchase it. Melasses and Rum we shall bring away freely from the French and Dutch. And if we can obtain of them the Liberty of carrying Sugars, Coffee &c. from their Possessions in the West Indies to their Ports in Europe giving Bonds with Surety, to land them in Such Ports it will be as much as we can expect, if they will allow raw Sugars, Coffee, Cotton &c. to be sent freely to the United States in their own Vessells, this would be an Advantage for us, tho’ not so considerable as to bring them in ours.
What the English will do is uncertain. We are not to take the Late { 186 } Proclamation for a Law of the Meeds.2 The Ministry who made it are not firm in their seats, if Shelburne comes in we shall do better; and to be prepared to take Advantage of so probable an Event, you should have a Minister ready. We have one infallible Resource if we can unite in laying a Duty or a Prohibition But this Measure need not to be hastily taken, because by Negotiation I apprehend the Point may be carried in England; to this end it may be proper to instruct your Minister, and authorize him to Say that the States will find themselves obliged against their Inclinations, to lay a Prohibition or an heavy Duty upon all the West India Goods, imported, and all American Productions exported in British Bottoms, if the Trade is not regulated by Treaty upon an equitable Footing.
With great Respect and Esteem, / I have the Honour to be, Sir, your / most obedient and most humble / Servant
[signed] John Adams.3
RC in JQA’s hand (PCC, No. 84, V, f. 57–63); internal address: “R. R. Livingstone Esqr: / Secretary of foreign Affairs”; endorsed: “Mr Adams 30 July / 1783.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 106. Text lost due to a tight binding has been supplied from the LbC.
1. JA and JQA returned to The Hague on this date (JQA, Diary, 1:176).
2. A reference to Daniel, 6:15: “Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.”
3. In JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0081

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
Date: 1783-07-31

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir

The last Evening, at Court, in the House in the Grove, where all the foreign Ministers supped, the Comte Montagnini de Mirabel, the Minister Plenipotentiary from the King of Sardinia, took an opportunity to enter largely into Conversation with me. As he and I were at a Party of Politicks while the greatest Part of the Company were at Cards, for two or three hours, We ran over all the World, but nothing occurred worth repeating except what follows.1
The Comte said, that his advice to Congress would be, to write a circular Letter to every Power in Europe, as soon as the definitive Treaty should be signed and transmit with it a Printed copy of the Treaty. In the Letter, Congress should announce that on the 4th of July 1776. the United States, had declared themselves a sovereign State, under the Style and Title of the United States of America; { 187 } that France on the 6th: of Feby: 1778 had acknowledged them, that the States General, had done the same on the 19th: of April 1782. that Great Britain, on the 30th: of Novr: 1782 had signed with them a Treaty of Peace, in which she had fully acknowledg’d their Sovereignty, that Sweeden had entered into a Treaty with them, on the 5th: of Feb’y 1783. and that Great-Britain had concluded the definitive Treaty, under the Mediation of the two Empires if that should be the fact. &c. Such a Notification to all the other Powers would be a regular Procedure, a Piece of Politeness, which would be very well receiv’d, and the Letter would be respectfully answered by every Power in the World, and these written Answers would be explicit, and undeniable Acknowledgments of our Sovereignty. it might have been proper to have made this Communication in form, immediately after the Declaration of Independence: it might have been more proper to have done it, after the Signature of the provisional Treaty: But that it was expected it would be done after the definitive Treaty. That these circular Letters might be transmitted to your Ministers for Peace, or such of them as may remain, or to any of your Ministers in Europe, to be by them delivered to the Ministers at the Court where they are or transmitted any other way.— That Congress must be very exact in the Etiquette of Titles, as this was indispensable and the letters could not be answered, nor received without it. That we might have these Titles, at the C. de Vergennes’s office, with Precision &c.
The Comte then proceeded to Commerce, and said that all the Cabinets of Europe had lately turned their Views to Commerce, so that we should be attended to, and respected by all of them— He thought we should find our account in a large Trade in Italy, every Part of which had a constant demand for our Tobacco and Salt-Fish at least. The Dominions of the King his Master, could furnish us in exchange, Oranges, Citrons, Olives, Oyl, Raisins, Figs, Anchovies, Coral, Lead, Sulphur, Allum, Salt, Marble of the finest Quality and gayest Colours, Manufactures of Silk, especially silk Stockings 20 per Cent cheaper than France, Hemp, and Cordage— He said we might have great Advantages in Italy in another respect. We had it in our Power to become the Principal Carriers for the People of Italy, who have little skill or Inclination for Navigation or Commerce The (Cabotage) carrying Trade of Italy had been carried on by the English, French and Dutch; The English had now lost it, the French had some of it, but the Dutch the most who made an { 188 } immense Profit of it, for to his Knowledge, they sold in the Baltick and even in Holland many Italian Productions, at a Profit of five or Six for one. That we should have the Advantage of them all. By bringing our Tobacco and Fish to Italy, we might unload at some of their Ports, take in Cargoes upon Freight, for other Ports of Italy, and thus make coasting Voyages untill we had made up our Cargoes for return, or we might take in Cargoes on freight for Germany or the Baltick. The Dutch, he said would be the greatest Losers by this Rivalry, but as long as the Italians and Americans would be honestly gainers, neither need be anxious for that. That there was a very good Port, in his Masters Dominions, which was perfectly free, where we might go in and out at Pleasure, without being subject to Duties, searches or Visits.— We then made a Transition to Turkey; The Comte, could not for his Part blame the Emperor for wishing to open the Negotiation of the Danube. His Kingdom of Hungary was one of the finest Countries in the World. It was one of the most fertile, producing in great Abundance, Wines of various sorts all excellent, tho’ Tockay was the best: Grains of every Sort, in great Quantities, Metals of all Sorts, Gold, Silver, Copper, Iron, Quick silver; yet all these Blessings of Nature were rendered in a manner useless by the Slavery of the Danube.— The Emperor was very unfortunate, in having the Danube enslaved on one Side, and the Scheld on the other, and in this Age when the Liberty of Navigation and Commerce, was the universal cry, he did not wonder at his Impatience under it.— He did not think, that England would meddle in the Dispute, as her Trade to the Levant had declined— The Dutch had some still; but France had now the greatest part of it to Smirna, Alexandria, Aleppo in short to all the Trading Towns of Turky in Asia, for this is what is understood by the Levant Trade.— France he thought could not venture to engage in the War, in earnest, in the present State of her Finances.
I have learnt, Since I came here, that France is desirous that this Republick should declare her self concerning this Turkish War— But she will avoid it, Unhappily. France has lost much of her influence here. Her friends fear, that the Odium of loosing Negapatanam, will fall upon them, among the People. The English and the Statholderians, are endeavouring to detach the Republick entirely from France, and to revive the ancient Connections, particularly the ancient Alliance, offensive and defensive, in the Treaty of 1674. A Mr: Shirly at Paris, has lately proposed to Mr: Boers, and Mr: Van der Pere, two Agents of the Dutch East India Company who have been a year or { 189 } two at Paris and are reputed to be in the Statholders interest, that England had the best dispositions towards the Republick, and would give them ample Satisfaction, if they would treat distinctly from France, and renew the ancient cordial Friendship, and proposed an interview with the Dutch Ambassadors upon this Subject. The Agents proposed it, but Brantzen refused, to the great Satisfaction of the principal Republicans. Yet Mr: Berenger tells me, that some of the Republican Members begin to be afraid, and to think [they] shall be obliged to fall in with the English
Upon conversing with many People in Government, and out of it in Amsterdam as well as the Hag[ue,] they all complain to me of the Conduct of France. They all confess that the Republick has not done [So] much in the War as she ought, but this is the Fault of the Friends of England they say, not those [of] France, and the worst Evil of all, that befalls the latter, are the reproaches of the Former, who now say insultingly “This comes of confiding in France” “We always told you, you would be cheated &c” Fr[ance] ought they say, to have considered this, And not have imputed to the Republick the Faults of her Enem[ies] because the Punishment falls wholly on her Friends.
I mention these things to you, because, altho’ we are not immediately interested in them, t[hey] may have consequence which may affect us. And therefore you ought to know them. I think, however upon the whole the Republick will stand firm, and refuse to receive the Alliance tho’ they Sacrifice Negapatnam— France wishes to win the Republick into an Alliance, but feels an Aw[kward]ness about proposing it; and indeed, I doubt whether she would now succeed— she might have suc[ceeded] heretofore— But in plain English Sir, the Comte de Vergennes has no Conception of the right w[ay of] negociating with any free People, or with any Assembly Aristocratical or Democratical. He can[not] enter into the Motives which Govern them, he never penetrates their real System, and never app[ears] to Comprehend their Constitution—with Empires, and Monarchs; and their Ministers of S[tate,] he negotiates aptly enough.
With great Respect I have the Honour / to be, Sir your most obedient and most / humble servant
[signed] John Adams2
RC in JQA’s hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 335–338); internal address: “R. R. Livingstone Esqr: / Secretary of State for foreign Affairs.”; endorsed: “Mr Adams 31 July 1783.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 106. Text lost due to a tight binding has been supplied from the LbC.
{ 190 }
1. For JA’s very favorable view of the longtime Sardinian minister Count Carlo Ignazio Domenico Montagnini di Mirabello, “the most learned ambassador I ever knew,” see vol. 13:425.
2. In JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0082

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

From Herman Heyman’s Sons

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0083

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

From John Thaxter

[salute] Dear Sir,

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0084

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

From Wilhem & Jan Willink

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0085

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

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0086

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

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0087

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

From Robert Montgomery

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0088

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

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0089

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

From John Thaxter

[salute] Sir,

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0090

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

From Edmund Jenings

21st.

[salute] My Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0091

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

From John Thaxter

[salute] Sir,

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0092

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

From Tristram Dalton

[salute] Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0093

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

Henry Laurens to the American Peace Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen.

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0094

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

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir.

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0095

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

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur,

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

Translation

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0096

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

From John Thaxter

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0097

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

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0098

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

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir.

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0099

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

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir.

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0100

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

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear Friend.

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0101

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

To Robert R. Livingston

(2plicate)

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0102

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

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

[salute] Gentlemen

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0103

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

From Eliphalet Fitch

[salute] Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0104

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

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

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0105

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

To Thomas Barclay

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0106

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

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur,

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

Translation

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0107

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

To Benjamin Franklin and John Jay

[salute] Gentlemen

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0108

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

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur,

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

Translation

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0109

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

David Hartley to the American Peace Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen,

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0110

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

The American Peace Commissioners to David Hartley

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0111

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

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0112

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

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear Mr Gerry

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0113

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

From Antoine Marie Cerisier

[salute] Monsieur

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

Translation

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0114

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

Definitive Peace Treaty between the United States and Great Britain

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0115

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

David Hartley to the American Peace Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen,

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0116

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

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir,

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0117

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

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0118

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

The American Peace Commissioners to David Hartley

[salute] Sir,

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0119

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

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0120

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

From David Hartley

[salute] My Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0121

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

The American Peace Commissioners to David Hartley

[salute] Sir,

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0122

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

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0123

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

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

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