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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 15

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The Adams Papers
C. James Taylor, Editor In Chief

Series IIISeries III
General Correspondence
and Other Papers
of the Adams Statesmen
General Correspondence
and Other Papers
of the Adams Statesmen

Papers of John Adams

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Papers of John Adams

Gregg L. Lint, C. James Taylor,
Robert F. Karachuk, Hobson Woodward,
Margaret A. Hogan, Sara B. Sikes,
Mary T. Claffey, Karen N. Barzilay
graphic here

Volume 15 • June 1783 – January 1784

The Belknap Press
of Harvard University Press
Cambridge, Massachusetts
and London, England
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This edition of The Adams Papers
is sponsored by the Massachusetts Historical Society
to which the Adams Manuscript Trust
by a deed of gift dated 4 April 1956
gave ultimate custody of the personal and public papers
written, accumulated, and preserved over a span of three centuries
by the Adams family of Massachusetts
graphic here
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The Adams Papers

Administrative Committee
Margery Adams
Charles Ames
Bernard Bailyn
Levin H. Campbell
W. Dean Eastman
Edward C. Johnson 3d
Caroline Keinath
Pauline Maier
Elizabeth Prindle
Alan Rogers
Hiller B. Zobel
Editorial Advisory Committee
Joyce O. Appleby
David Herbert Donald †
Joseph J. Ellis
Linda K. Kerber
Thomas K. McCraw
Gordon S. Wood
The acorn and oakleaf device on the preceding page is redrawn from a seal cut for John Quincy Adams after 1830. The motto is from Cæcilius Statius as quoted by Cicero in the First Tusculan Disputation: Serit arbores quæ alteri seculo prosint (“He plants trees for the benefit of later generations”).
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Descriptive List of Illustrations

John Wheelock (1754–1817) became president of Dartmouth College in 1779 in the midst of the American Revolutionary War. At the time and for years afterward Dartmouth struggled financially, and Wheelock invested considerable effort in raising funds.  
Between 1782 and 1784 Wheelock traveled to Europe with his brother James to personally solicit the support of potential benefactors in France and the Netherlands, but his trip produced a negligible return at best. Benjamin Franklin dissuaded him from attempting any appeal in France on behalf of Dartmouth for fear that it might jeopardize applications at Versailles for the benefit of the United States as a whole. Although John Adams armed him with letters of introduction to several influential men in the Netherlands (vol. 14:271, and note 2), Wheelock, as he informed Adams in a letter of 12 June 1783 (below), met few individuals in the Dutch republic willing to promote his cause in the face of popular discontent with America over the existing terms of trade. In Britain the prerevolutionary patrons of Dartmouth with whom Wheelock reconnected confirmed that bitter feelings in the wake of the Revolution precluded any hope of raising money in the mother country. Wheelock left Europe with little to show for his effort and arrived in America with even less: the brig that carried him on his return wrecked off Cape Cod, sparing his life but not his strongbox with all his papers and money.  
The origins of the portrait that appears here are not known, though Wheelock wears in it a medal that he received from London pawnbroker John Flude in 1786. An ambrotype of the original miniature was taken in 1858 at the request of Dartmouth graduate Josiah Whitney Barstow. The miniature itself has not been found (Leon Burr Richardson, History of Dartmouth College, 2 vols., Hanover, N.H., 1932, 1:188–189, 195–202, 204–209, 325; Dick Hoefnagel, “John Flude’s Medal,” Dartmouth College Library Bulletin, 32:18–30 [Nov. 1991]).  
Courtesy of Dartmouth College Library, Hanover, N.H.  
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David Hartley (1732–1813), a member of Parliament who from the start opposed Britain’s war with America, long held fast to hopes of reconciliation and reunion.  
When in early April 1783 Hartley was named British negotiator of the Anglo-American definitive peace treaty, John Adams viewed the appointment with skepticism. In a 12 April letter to Arthur Lee, Adams complained of Hartley that “he is talkative and disputacious and not always intelligible so that I expect We shall be longer about the Business than is necessary” (vol. 14:398). Adams also considered Hartley to be naïve. Three years earlier Adams had made a close study of Hartley’s thinking on Anglo-American relations and found it sadly out of touch with reality (vol. 9:148–153). As the talks got under way in late April 1783, however, Adams grew optimistic. By 16 May he was encouraged enough to write to Edmund Jenings that “Mr Hartleys disposition is very fair, and if he can follow his own Ideas, We shant be long in settling Accounts” (vol. 14:484).  
But Hartley was not free to follow his own ideas. While he favored “a loose and liberal line” originating in the principle of reciprocity and aiming at the ideal of free trade, public opinion in Britain held that the mother country had given away too much in the preliminary peace treaty and must concede no more (Morris, Peacemakers, p. 432). Hartley’s generous inclinations were kept in check by British foreign secretary Charles James Fox, who wished above all to preserve his fragile governing coalition. Hartley’s failure to convince Fox to look to the long term and make a liberal peace with America seems to confirm Adams’ earlier observation about the British peace commissioner, made in a 28 March 1780 letter to Edmund Jenings, that “so small a Pebble, never spreads a great Circle, where it falls” (vol. 9:88). In the end the definitive peace treaty signed on 3 September 1783 (below) was essentially the same as the preliminary treaty agreed to nine months earlier (vol. 14:103–109). As the American commissioners reported to Congress a week after concluding their talks with Hartley, “his Zeal for Systems friendly to us, constantly exceeded his Authority to concert and agree to them” (10 Sept., below).  
Despite the fruitlessness of his efforts—or perhaps oblivious to it—Hartley took pride in his role in the negotiations. The portrait of him painted by George Romney commemorates his participation with a scroll lying on the table beside him bearing the label “Definitive Treaty with the United States of America” (DNB; Morris, Peacemakers, p. 418–423, 426–427, 429–433, 434, 436, 437).  
Courtesy of Columbia University in the City of New York. Gift of the Estate of Geraldine R. Dodge.  
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American peace commissioners John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay signed and sealed the definitive peace treaty between the United States and Great Britain with their British counterpart David Hartley at Paris on 3 September 1783 (below). Although Henry Laurens participated in the negotiation of the definitive treaty, he did not join in the signing because he had traveled to London to confer directly with Foreign Secretary Charles James Fox and First Lord of the Treasury William Henry Cavendish Bentinck, 3d Duke of Portland, and then proceeded to Bath to take the waters there. The signing did not take place at Versailles, where Britain was to conclude definitive peace treaties with France and Spain on the same day, because Hartley’s instructions, as he explained to the American commissioners in a letter of 29 August (below), authorized him to act only at Paris.  
The American commissioners had begun to prepare for the negotiation of the definitive treaty within days of signing the preliminaries with British commissioner Richard Oswald on 30 November 1782 (vol. 14:103–109). But the preliminaries met a hostile reception in Britain, where an array of affected interests balked at the terms, and the opposition in Parliament exploited the controversy to bring down the ministry that had acceded to them. The resignation of William Petty, 2d Earl of Shelburne, on 24 February 1783 did not end the political turmoil, because the coalition that had engineered his ouster—led by Fox and Frederick, Lord North—lacked the support of the king necessary to form their own ministry, and other leaders who enjoyed royal confidence declined to act. For weeks George III maneuvered to prevent Fox and North from taking office, but the absence of any alternative finally obliged him to yield, which he did on 2 April.  
When talks on the definitive treaty got under way in late April, the American commissioners hoped for a liberal settlement of trade relations, including the opening of British ports in the West Indies to American ships. For almost three months they exchanged proposals and counterproposals with Hartley, the new British commissioner, but the talks flagged early on because Fox, the new foreign secretary, could not countenance various concessions made by Hartley. Public opinion in Britain opposed giving American ships access to British ports in the West Indies, and Fox lacked the political muscle to defy it. On 2 July the British ministry issued an Order in Council closing British ports in the West Indies to American ships. (It was the third of a series unilaterally setting terms of trade between Britain and the United States.) As a result the Anglo-American talks collapsed. On 9 August Fox instructed Hartley to submit to the American commissioners a draft definitive treaty that consisted merely of the preliminaries with a preamble. Four days later Hartley did so, and Adams, Franklin, and Jay immediately accepted. “We have agreed to this,” Adams wrote to American secretary for foreign affairs Robert R. Livingston on the { xii } same day, “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” (13 Aug., first letter, below).  
After the signing of the definitive treaty Adams retained a duplicate original, the first and last pages of which appear here. Two originals can be found in the Department of State Treaty File (vol. 14:119–120; Laurens, Papers, 16:248–254, 261, 271, 277; JA, D&A, 3:95–96; Cannon, Fox-North Coalition, p. 39–81; Morris, Peacemakers, p. 425–437; Harlow, Founding of the Second British Empire, 1:477–478; Miller, Treaties, 2:156).  
From the original in the Adams Family Papers. Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.  
4. JOHN ADAMS’ BOOKPLATE, 1783   330  
Among the items in John Adams’ 29 October 1783 account with London bookseller and printer John Stockdale is a charge of five shillings for “Engraving a Plate” (below). The entry may refer to a bookplate designed by Adams in commemoration of his diplomatic missions to France, the Netherlands, and Great Britain. In 1785 Adams engaged London seal engraver Aaron Carpenter to cut a seal with identical imagery.  
Adams based his bookplate on the coat of arms of his mother’s family, the Boylstons, which he modified to make the device his own. In the original Boylston arms, the bottom part of the shield embraces a red field with six ornate silver crosses arranged three over two over one. The top third of the shield takes in a gold field with three solid black roundels set in a row. The crest above the shield shows a striding lion, its head in profile and a cross similar to those in the base in its raised right paw. In his bookplate, Adams replaced the blank roundels with figures—a fleur-de-lis in the center and two striding lions with heads turned outward on either side. He encircled the shield and crest with a garter bearing the motto “Libertatem amicitiam retinebis et fidem” (Keep liberty, friendship, and fidelity), a paraphrase of Tacitus, Histories, Book 1.15, lines 22–24. Outside the garter Adams placed a ring of thirteen stars. At the foot of the new device he put his own name.  
Adams rarely used this bookplate, and he had no other. As a rule he indicated his ownership of a book simply by signing his name in it. In his bookplate as in so much else, however, Adams set an example for his descendants to follow. When later Adamses designed their own bookplates, they routinely incorporated the modified Boylston arms.  
The illustration of John Adams’ bookplate that appears here comes from his copy of Constitutions des treize États-Unis de l’Amérique, Paris, 1783, which can be found in his library at the Boston Public Library (Catalogue of JQA’s Books, p. 138–140, 141–144, 146–148; Charles Knowles Bolton, Bolton’s American Armory, Boston, 1927, p. 20; Catalogue of JA’s Library).  
Courtesy of the Boston Public Library.  
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John Quincy Adams described London-based wax modeler Patience Lovell Wright (1725–1786) in a 4 November 1783 letter to Peter Jay Munro as “an extraordinary Woman a very singular character” (NNMus). Abigail Adams was likewise impressed, writing to Mary Smith Cranch on 25 July 1784, in a letter begun on the 6th, that Wright was both an untidy old chatterer and a master artist (AFC, 5:376).  
The American-born Wright and her sister Rachel Lovell Wells had taught themselves to model wax and in the early 1770s won renown from Charleston to Boston for their lifelike busts and statues. Hoping to enlarge her audience and her success, Wright in 1772 moved to London and set up an exhibition space. Her portraits in wax attracted not only gentry but noble and even royal attention, affording her regular access to metropolitan circles of influence. During the Revolution Wright exploited her position to act as an American spy, gathering intelligence in Britain that she forwarded to Benjamin Franklin in France.  
On 8 March 1783 Wright wrote to John Adams and John Jay to ask for their cooperation in her plan to create a series of wax busts of prominent Americans “to present to the State House in City Philadelphia for a monument of their glory and my own good Judgment.” In a letter to Adams dated 1 November Wright lamented having missed a call by Adams during his stay in London but expressed her pleasure at having seen his son (below). Although Adams interacted with Wright socially, there is no evidence to suggest that he or Jay sat for her. (Henry Laurens did and purchased the finished bust for his daughter Mary.) Still wanting to model a bust of Adams when his wife and daughter visited her waxworks in July 1784, Wright quipped, as Abigail Adams related in her letter of the 6th to Mary Smith Cranch, “I design to have his Head” (Charles Coleman Sellers, Patience Wright: American Artist and Spy in George III’s London, Middletown, Conn., 1976, p. 10, 34–41, 49–59, 98–100, 104–118, 189, 220; Jay, Unpublished Papers, 2:602–603; Laurens, Papers, 16:367; AFC, 5:376).  
Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.  
The portrait of John Adams painted by John Singleton Copley in the autumn of 1783 commemorates the signing of the definitive peace treaty between the United States and Great Britain. The only life-size original likeness of Adams, it presents him in grand and dramatic terms.  
Adams sat for Copley during a private trip to London—Adams’ first visit to the British capital—where he arrived in the company of his eldest son on 26 October. John Quincy Adams was present at the sitting and later recalled watching Copley use a compass to { xiv } take his father’s measurements. Before the Adamses left the city on 2 January 1784, the senior Adams paid Copley and took in return a receipt that read “London Decr: 10 1783 Recd of John Adams Esquire, one hundred Guineas in full for his portrait J S Copley” (Adams Papers).  
Abigail Adams arrived in London with her daughter on 21 July 1784 and viewed the Copley portrait of her husband three days later. Because John Adams was not able to join his wife in person until 7 August, she had to resort to the painting for her first sight of him since he had left their home in Braintree en route to Europe more than four years earlier. Perhaps uncertain of her memory of him after such a long separation, Abigail Adams wavered in her estimation of the likeness. Writing to Mary Smith Cranch on the 25th of July, in a letter begun on the 6th, she declared it “very good” (AFC, 5:374). In a letter to Elizabeth Smith Shaw on the 28th, she retreated, remarking only that “It is said to be an admirable likeness” (same, 5:403–404).  
John Adams himself soon came to regard the Copley portrait with obvious discomfort. Having sent his son John Quincy back to London to await the arrival of his wife and daughter, Adams directed him in a letter dated after 6 June to ask the artist to get a frame made for the painting. He closed the topic on a note of remorse, saying “Thus this Piece of Vanity will be finished. May it be the last” (same, 5:341). Adams may have deemed the Copley portrait too aristocratic. When in 1793 John Stockdale proposed to have an engraving made of it for use as the frontispiece to a new edition of the Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, Adams replied without enthusiasm that “I have no objection, and you may do as you please: but I own I should be much mortified to see such a Bijou affixed to those Republican Volumes” (from John Stockdale, 16 March, Adams Papers; to John Stockdale, 12 May, British Museum).  
During Adams’ 1783 visit to London, Copley not only painted his portrait for pay but also welcomed him socially. After Adams returned to serve as the first American minister to Britain in July 1785, his family and the Copleys became intimate. When Abigail Adams 2d, daughter of John and Abigail Adams, married William Stephens Smith a year later, the guests at the wedding included John Singleton Copley; his wife, Susanna Clarke; and one of their daughters (Oliver, Portraits of JA and AA, p. 23–31; to Antoine Marie Cerisier, 16 Oct., note 1, below; JA, D&A, 3:170; from John Singleton Copley, [11 Nov.], below; from William Vaughan, 12 Dec., below; AFC, 7:218, 234–235).  
Receipt from the original in the Adams Family Papers. Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.  
Portrait courtesy of the Harvard University Portrait Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard Art Museum. Bequest of Ward Nicholas Boylston to Harvard College, 1828.  
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Merchant Samuel Osgood (1748–1813) represented Massachusetts in the Continental Congress from 12 June 1781 to 1 March 1784, taking a special interest in fiscal affairs. Early on he supported the efforts of Superintendant of Finance Robert Morris to reform the administration of the continental purse and make it more economical, efficient, and equitable. The reorganization, however, concentrated power in Morris’ hands, and Osgood soon found himself torn between respect for the superintendant’s skill and fear of his ambition. In the end Osgood became a driving force in a new movement to reform continental finance, one that replaced the sole superintendancy of Morris with a board of treasury that included Osgood himself as a commissioner.  
In the spring of 1783 John and Abigail Adams each approached Osgood in search of an insider’s insight into the mind of Congress. John Adams wrote to Osgood on 12 April. Remarking that “A Multitude of things have been transacted in Congress, the Grounds, Motives & Objects of which have never been explained to me,” Adams expressed a wish to revive the correspondence in which he and Osgood had engaged in 1775 when Adams sat in Congress and Osgood served in the Continental Army (vol. 14:399; vol. 3:231–234, 274–275, 294–295, 309–310, 328–330, 352–353). Abigail Adams arranged to be introduced to Osgood while he was in Massachusetts on leave from Congress. As she explained in a letter to her husband of 21 July 1783, she inquired of Osgood “respecting the situation of my Friend” and extracted a promise from him to “write you a state of publick affairs” (AFC, 5:211).  
In a long letter to John Adams dated 7 December, Osgood provided a full, frank, and sobering account of the play of congressional politics during his time as a delegate (below). He described in particular the unfriendly reception given the “Peace Journal” that Adams had sent to Congress a year earlier chronicling the negotiation of the preliminary peace treaty between the United States and Great Britain (JA, D&A, 3:41–96). Reflecting on his experience in a follow-up letter to Adams of 14 January 1784, Osgood lamented that “I have seen the Days of Servility, if not of Corruption & I weep over them” (below). As a consequence of his unhappy tenure in Congress, Osgood would later hesitate to support ratification of the Constitution, not joining the ranks of Federalists until convinced that amendments like those that became the Bill of Rights would be added to it (vol. 14:xviii–xx; ANB; Smith, Letters of Delegates, 17:xxi; 18:xix, xxvii, 322, 336; 19:xxi; 20:xix; 21:xxi, 325; Morris, Papers, 2:108, 111–114).  
Courtesy of Connie George, Oregon.  
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British foreign secretary Charles James Fox believed that this satirical print played the greatest part in the defeat of his India Bill in the House of Lords on 17 December 1783 and in the ouster of his coalition ministry a day later. One of two bills introduced by Fox in an effort to reform the administration of India, the India Bill called for a reorganization of the East India Company. The legislation met resistance not only from the opposition in Parliament and shareholders of the company but also from the press and the Crown. The public campaign waged against Fox and the India Bill in newspapers and prints fortified resistance by depicting the foreign secretary as an aspiring tyrant and his plan for India as an unconstitutional grab for patronage and power. Caricaturist James Sayers (1748–1823), who routinely used his talents to support William Pitt against Fox, Edmund Burke, and other political adversaries, joined the attack on Fox and the India Bill as a matter of course.  
The Sayers print that appears here shows Fox as an Asian potentate seated astride an elephant parading to the offices of the East India Company. On a flag at Fox’s side the motto “The Man of the People” has been obliterated and replaced with “ΒΑΣΙΛΕΓΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ” (king of kings). The elephant, Home Secretary Frederick, Lord North, Fox’s coalition partner, is led on a rope by a retainer, Paymaster Edmund Burke, author of the India Bill. The elephant driver blows a trumpet from which hangs a fringed banner showing a map of India inscribed with Fox’s initials. A raven looks down upon the scene from a chimney top, and an epigraph appears along the eave, “The Night Crow cried, foreboding luckless Tune. Shakespear,” a reference to Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 3, Act V, scene vi, line 45.  
John Adams, writing to the president of Congress from London on 14 December 1783, reported that the fate of the coalition ministry depended on the vote on the India Bill in the Lords, which in turn depended on the influence of George III. “But I think the Ministry So Strong,” Adams opined, “that unless the King is determined against it [the bill] they will carry it by a great Majority” (below). In the end the machinations of George III tipped the vote in the Lords against the India Bill, and the failure of the measure in Parliament was interpreted as a lack of confidence in the ministry requiring the removal of Fox and his governing coalition (The Historical and the Posthumous Memoirs of Sir Nathaniel William Wraxall, 1772–1784, ed. Henry B. Wheatley, 5 vols., London, 1884, 3:253–254; Cannon, Fox-North Coalition, p. 106–144; DNB; Mary Dorothy George, Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires Preserved in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum, 11 vols., London, 1935, 5:738–739).  
Courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum.  
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10. PINE TREE, DEER, AND FISH SEAL, 1816   448  
The pine tree, deer, and fish seal of 1816, commissioned by John Quincy Adams at the behest of his father, was modeled on a seal that John Adams himself had had engraved in 1783 but which now cannot be found.  
During the negotiations that resulted in the preliminary peace treaty between the United States and Great Britain, signed at Paris on 30 November 1782 (vol. 14:103–109), John Adams led American efforts to secure access to the Newfoundland fisheries and obtain expansive boundaries in the Ohio country and Maine. In a 15 December letter to Richard Cranch, he reported that “Since my Arrival here 26 October, untill the 30 of November, We had a constant Scuffle Morning noon and night about Cod and Haddock on the Grand Bank Deer skins on the Ohio and Pine Trees at Penobscat” (AFC, 5:47–48). Adams felt such pride in the successful assertion of these interests that he commissioned a seal to commemorate the achievement. Cut in 1783 the seal showed a pine tree and a deer situated side by side with a fish in water below and an arc of thirteen stars above. Used by Adams on a 10 September letter to William Gordon, the seal attracted Gordon’s notice, leading him to express his admiration in a 7 January 1784 reply (both below). Adams before he died gave the seal to his grandson and namesake. What subsequently became of it is not known.  
John Quincy Adams reprised his father’s role in negotiating an end to the War of 1812. In the talks that led up to the Treaty of Ghent, signed on 24 December 1814, the younger Adams fought in the same way for the fisheries and the boundaries and won similar concessions. His father, wishing to see their twin victories commemorated, directed him to commission a seal like that of 1783 but with the motto “Piscemur venemur ut olim” (Let us fish, let us hunt, as in the past), a phrase from Horace, Epistles, Book I, epistle vi, line 57. John Quincy Adams had the new seal engraved at London in 1816. On 3 September 1836 he sent it to his son Charles Francis Adams and in an accompanying letter asked him to someday pass it along to his own son and namesake “as a token of remembrance of my father, who gave it to me, and of yours” (Adams Papers). The pine tree, deer, and fish seal of 1816 can now be found at the Old House at the Adams National Historical Park in Quincy (Catalogue of JQA’s Books, p. 140–141, 143–144; Miller, Treaties, 2:574; Wilhelmina S. Harris, Furnishings Report of the Old House, The Adams National Historic Site, Quincy, Massachusetts, 10 vols., Quincy, 1966–1977, 5:535).  
Courtesy of the National Park Service, Adams National Historical Park.  
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At 8 o’clock on the morning of 3 September 1783, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay met David Hartley at the Hôtel d’York in Paris to sign the Anglo-American definitive peace treaty.1 For Adams, who made no diary entry to record the event, this final act of the American Revolution was anticlimactic. The war was ended and the United States stood sovereign and independent, but the treaty signed that morning was little different from the preliminary articles of the previous November.2 Adams wrote to the president of Congress that “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.”3
John Adams accurately described the result of the commissioners’ negotiations. He also identified the principal problem that would plague relations between the United States and Britain in the postwar world. That is, neither the preliminary articles nor the definitive treaty established the basis upon which trade between the two nations would be conducted. There was little doubt that Britain would resume its status as the principal trading partner of the United States. But Congress’ 1781 revocation of Adams’ 1779 commission to negotiate an Anglo-American commercial treaty denied the United States any opportunity to conclude such an agreement with the Earl { xx } of Shelburne’s ministry during the 1782 peace negotiations.4 The commissioners thought it imperative to remedy this situation by including commercial articles in the definitive treaty or by reaching an understanding with Britain that would lay the foundation for later negotiations toward either a commercial treaty or a convention. The Shelburne ministry fell, however, in late February 1783 and was not replaced by the coalition government headed by Charles James Fox and Frederick, Lord North, until early April.5 This meant that talks with David Hartley did not begin until the end of April. Hartley was amenable to resolving the commercial issues in the definitive treaty. But by mid-June the commissioners were convinced that Hartley’s wishes exceeded his powers, and Adams informed Congress that there was “no prospect of agreeing upon any regulation of Commerce.”6
This situation arose because the British attitude toward America fundamentally changed in the aftermath of the Anglo-American preliminary peace. Increasingly Britons of whatever political stripe saw the treaty provisions as overly favorable to the United States. Even before the Shelburne ministry fell in February, in part because of the Anglo-American treaty, support for further concessions was in rapid decline. And by June and July the decisive influence of John Baker Holroyd, Lord Sheffield, was being felt. He spoke in Parliament against yielding to the United States on any matters of trade and buttressed his arguments with a pamphlet entitled Observations on the Commerce of the American States with Europe and the West Indies. Sheffield argued persuasively that Britain’s economic survival depended on the preservation and enforcement of the Navigation Acts, and a parliamentary majority shared that view.7 At the same time the decision was made to regulate Anglo-American trade, not by any mutually agreed upon system, but by unilaterally issuing Orders in Council that, in particular, denied American traders access to the West Indies. All of this meant that the fragile Fox-North coalition was neither willing nor able to expand upon the preliminary treaty.
The details of the negotiations are amply dealt with in the letters and documents proceeding from the commissioners’ exchanges with { xxi } David Hartley. Of particular interest is a draft definitive treaty prepared by Adams in mid-July and submitted to Hartley in early August. It constituted the commissioners’ final effort, undertaken with little hope for success, to incorporate into the definitive treaty changes or additions desired by Congress and provisions usually found in commercial treaties.8 Hartley sent the draft to London, but it was apparently never considered seriously by the ministry. As a result, the commissioners were forced to resign themselves to signing again the preliminary articles to which only a preamble and an article on the treaty’s ratification had been added.
John Adams’ letters to Robert R. Livingston chart the growing anti-American sentiment in Britain and the declining prospects for the definitive treaty.9 He gleaned much of his information from newspapers and letters written from England by Henry Laurens and Edmund Jenings, both of whom provided detailed accounts of the changing attitudes of the British public and ministry toward America. Of particular interest is Laurens’ letter of 9 August describing his conferences with Charles James Fox earlier that month.10 Adams concluded that the British were shortsighted and mean-spirited, unable to recognize their true national interests regarding the United States. But he was also critical of Congress’ inability or unwillingness to regulate its own commerce so as to force British concessions and wondered at the American demand for the goods of its former enemy in contravention of its own interests.
Even as Adams and his colleagues pursued their desultory negotiations with Hartley, they anxiously awaited news from America about Congress’ reception of the preliminary treaty signed in November 1782. They had good reason for concern because in negotiating the treaty they had violated Congress’ instructions of 15 June 1781 to keep France informed of any negotiations and “to undertake nothing . . . without their knowledge & concurrence & ultimately to govern yourselves by their advice & opinion.”11 The commissioners’ wait ended in early July when Robert R. Livingston’s letters of 25 March and 21 April arrived, and they found their apprehensions to be fully justified.12 Livingston enclosed the ratified treaty but { xxii } sharply criticized the commissioners for their audacity in violating Congress’ instructions and notably for negotiating a separate, secret article concerning West Florida that favored Britain at the expense of France’s ally Spain.13 The commissioners were disturbed by Livingston’s criticism, attributing it to his lack of knowledge and understanding of the conditions under which the negotiations had taken place.
The often disputatious relationship between John Adams and Benjamin Franklin made John Jay the logical choice to draft the commissioners’ reply. But Adams favored the choice because he and Jay were of one mind regarding France and the peace negotiations. Thus it was that in the first portion of his draft Jay undertook a point-by-point defense of the commissioners’ negotiation of the treaty. He attributed their refusal to abide by Congress’ instructions to a fundamental conflict between American and French interests and uncertainty over the tenure of the Shelburne ministry. Franklin objected to Jay’s focus on France and the Comte de Vergennes, noting that it would be impolitic to raise such issues after the fact when the only result would be to roil Franco-American relations. The first portion of the draft was, therefore, omitted. The remainder focused on the separate article concerning West Florida and succinctly ascribed Livingston’s objections to his ignorance of the situation in Europe.14 Adams acquiesced in the decision to omit the offending portion of the draft, likely necessary if Franklin was to sign the letter. But he was unable to resist indulging his penchant for leaving nothing unsaid when to do so meant that the official record of the peace negotiations would be Franklin’s version. Thus Adams wrote letters to Livingston and Robert Morris in which he rehearsed the points made by Jay in the omitted portion of the draft and made it clear why, regardless of any sentiment to the contrary in Congress, the commissioners were fully justified in violating their instructions.15 Franklin did not permit Adams’ violation of the commissioners’ presumed agreement to omit the offending comments about France to go unchallenged. He wrote his own letter to Livingston on 22 July, there penning his famous characterization of { xxiii } Adams as “sometimes and in some things absolutely out of his senses.”16
John Adams continued to criticize Congress’ conduct of foreign policy and the deleterious influence of the Comte de Vergennes and Benjamin Franklin, but his comments are less vitriolic than in previous volumes. This may reflect the fact that with peace concluded, the joint commission was effectively dissolved. Such was the commissioners’ response to Hartley’s proposal to open commercial negotiations following the signing of the definitive treaty.17 But his less confrontational tone also owes something to the fact that following Livingston’s resignation as secretary for foreign affairs, the commissioners were given virtually no direction by Congress, receiving only three letters between the beginning of June and the end of October.18
Even when Congress did act, the result was frustration. Adams had been eager to return to Massachusetts after the completion of the negotiations for the preliminary peace treaty. He had offered his resignation in early December 1782 and had hopes of returning to America in company with the Dutch minister to the United States, Pieter Johan van Berckel, when he sailed in June. Congress, however, had never acted upon his resignation, and the delay in the start of the negotiations for the definitive treaty made an early departure impossible.19 Adams longed for the sight of the Blue Hills near his home in Braintree and a reunion with his family and friends, but with the arrival of a letter from the president of Congress in early September his outlook dramatically changed. Enclosed with the letter was Congress’ resolution of 1 May by which Adams, Franklin, and Jay were to be commissioned to negotiate an Anglo-American commercial treaty.20 Feeling honored by his new responsibilities, Adams abandoned his plans to return to America and, instead, requested that his wife and daughter join him at Paris or The Hague.21 But Congress never implemented the 1 May resolution, and no commission to negotiate European treaties was actually issued until April 1784. With the passage of time and the failure of the promised new commission to arrive, Adams and his colleagues grew increasingly frustrated.
{ xxiv }
Adams gave considerable thought to the nature and purpose of American diplomatic representation in Europe. Francis Dana’s letters in June and July contributed to this, but so too did Franklin’s efforts to conclude treaties with Sweden, Portugal, and Denmark. Dana’s letters from St. Petersburg informed Adams of his progress toward achieving Russian recognition of the United States. But on the very brink of success—it remained only for news of the Anglo-American definitive treaty to reach the Russian capital—Dana received notice of his immediate recall, thereby ending his mission. Dana attributed this turn of events to the Comte de Vergennes’ influence and his desire to keep all American negotiation with European nations in Franklin’s hands.22 Dana’s fate was confirmation of what Adams already believed, and his views are clear in numerous letters complaining of Franklin’s assumption of powers he did not possess in the negotiating of treaties with Sweden, Denmark, and Portugal.23 In a letter to James Warren, Adams laid out the problem with particular clarity: “one Man seems to have a positive Spight against every public service, that he does not exclusively perform himself.— He opposes it and persecutes the Agent in it with a Malice and Rancour that is astonishing. I could have formed no Idea, that Jealousy Envy and Vanity could have gone such Lengths.” If Congress intended that treaties be negotiated and decided to issue a commission for that purpose, it “ought not to be given to one alone at Paris when three are obliged to reside there on another Negotiation. We should be all joined in it, and When We have compleated the Business We may all go home.”24


Since John Adams’ arrival in Europe in late 1779, he had often complained to his friends in America that they failed to write and keep him adequately informed of events in Congress, Massachusetts, and the nation. Adams’ American correspondents in volume 15, particularly those from Massachusetts, provide him with considerably more substantive intelligence than in previous years. This is partly because the arrival of peace made it easier to send letters to Europe, but it also reflected the writers’ interest in Adams’ opinions. { xxv } Cotton Tufts and Richard Cranch solicited his views on the preliminary peace treaty’s provisions concerning loyalists, while others expressed their desire that he return to Massachusetts and stand for governor.25 A letter from Samuel Osgood was of particular interest because it laid out the factional divisions in Congress and the extent to which Osgood believed French influence had determined the course of American foreign policy and Congress’ response to Adams’ admonitions on the subject. In that letter and in another from Elbridge Gerry, Adams was warned about the reaction of members of Congress to his strictures on Benjamin Franklin, France, and the conduct of foreign policy.26 That their warnings had substance was evident when Franklin queried Adams and John Jay over reports from America that he had been less supportive of American interests during the peace negotiations than they had been. The reports stemmed largely from Adams’ “Peace Journal,” and Adams responded by quoting a passage from the “Journal” referring to Franklin.27
The vast ocean separating Adams from his correspondents and the time required for an exchange of letters affected Adams’ responses to the specific issues raised by his American friends. His answers tended to be cautionary, sometimes equivocal, rather than specific. But he could not avoid involvement in the debates then raging over the nation’s finances and, in consequence, the nature of the American government itself. Virtually all of Adams’ Massachusetts correspondents focused their attention on the acrimonious debates in the General Court over the twin issues of Congress’ impost and commutation.28 In 1780, Congress promised Continental Army officers who remained in service until the peace half-pay for life without specifying the source of the money. With the end of the war, many officers doubted whether the states could or would honor Congress’ commitment. Considerable unrest resulted, and the officers’ complaints, expressed in the Newburgh Addresses, raised the possibility of a military revolt against civilian authority. George Washington’s intervention relieved the immediate crisis, but Congress was forced to commute the half-pay for life into five years of full pay to be paid by Congress. The commutation and other { xxvi } obligations, such as foreign loans, were to be financed by an impost levied on the states. Thus the central government, embodied in the Continental Congress, would be significantly strengthened at the expense of the sovereign states. Superintendent of Finance Robert Morris was the chief proponent for this alteration in the constitutional relationship between Congress and the states, and he became the lightening rod for those who opposed it. In Massachusetts the debate was particularly rancorous, and Adams received detailed accounts not only of the issues involved but also of the personalities on both sides. Indeed, the opposing arguments anticipated those of the Federalist-Antifederalist debate over the ratification of the United States Constitution. Adams’ correspondents who supported the impost and commutation, such as Tristram Dalton and Cotton Tufts, later became Federalists; while those in opposition, such as Elbridge Gerry and James Warren, became Antifederalists.
Adams’ replies to the letters from America were informed by his diplomatic experience. He was convinced that the United States required a government that could be relied upon to pay its debts, observe its treaty obligations, and protect its interests in matters such as Anglo-American trade. Regarding the inquiries from Cotton Tufts and Richard Cranch as to whether Articles 5 and 6 of the preliminary peace treaty concerning the loyalists were binding or merely recommendatory, Adams refused to go beyond the articles’ language and indicated that it was incumbent on all parties to a treaty to abide by its provisions.29 With regard to the controversy over the impost, Adams came down on the Federalist side, declaring in a letter to Robert Morris that “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.”30 It is no wonder that Morris used excerpts from two of Adams’ letters to spur passage of the impost.31
The fiscal well-being of the United States and the effectiveness of its government were also of interest to Europeans. This was { xxvii } particularly so in the Netherlands, where Adams had raised a loan in 1782 and to which he paid a two-week visit at the end of July 1783. Adams’ principal reason for going was to reunite with his son John Quincy, whom he had not seen since the younger Adams departed for St. Petersburg with Francis Dana in 1781. Now returned, the sixteen-year-old had become “a Man in Understanding as well as Stature” and soon assumed a new role as his father’s secretary.32 John Adams, although absent since the previous October, was still minister to the Netherlands. His most critical task upon his arrival was to inquire about the progress of the Dutch loan. He visited Amsterdam, met with the loan consortium, and in consequence reported to Robert R. Livingston “that there is not one foreign Loan, open in this Republick which is in so good Credit, or goes so quick as mine.”33
Unfortunately Adams spoke too soon, and his optimism had an effect that he could not have foreseen. News reached Europe of the controversy over the impost and commutation and the resulting unrest in the army, but most telling for Europeans who doubted the long-term survival of the United States was the army mutiny in June over compensation that forced the Congress to flee Philadelphia.34 Dutch investors grew apprehensive over the new nation’s ability and willingness to meet its financial obligations, and subscriptions to Adams’ 1782 loan plummeted. Robert Morris, however, learned of Adams’ optimism about the loan and, taking him at his word, proceeded to issue vast sums in bills of exchange even as funds were drying up in Amsterdam. Alarmed that Morris expected his bills to be paid from the proceeds of the Dutch loan, the loan consortium wrote to Adams in October, shortly before he left Paris for London, indicating that a crisis might be in the making.35 At London, in December, Adams received additional letters from the consortium, each of them more dire in its evaluation of the situation.36 The bankers made it clear that there was no possibility of paying Morris’ bills and that if the United States defaulted on them, its financial position in Europe would be destroyed. After Benjamin Franklin informed Adams that neither he nor the bankers at Paris had the { xxviii } resources to resolve the situation, Adams had no choice but to set off in early January 1784 on a dangerous winter journey to the Netherlands in order to make a last desperate effort to salvage the situation.37 When he arrived Adams was not encouraged by what he found, writing to Franklin that “I find I am here only to be a Witness that American Credit in this Republick is dead, never to rise again, at least untill the United States Shall all agree upon Some Plan of Revenue, and make it certain that Interest and Principal will be paid.”38 It quickly became clear that the only means to remedy the situation was to negotiate a new loan. On 29 January he authorized the consortium to make the attempt, noting that “it is neither your Fault nor mine, if We cannot Succeed, yet I should wish to do every Thing in our Power.”39


John Adams’ time and attention was not devoted solely to resolving matters of high diplomacy and finance. His correspondents in Europe were numerous, and the substance of their letters was eclectic. Edmund Jenings continued his efforts, largely unsuccessful, to draw Adams into his dispute with Henry Laurens over a 1781 letter by an anonymous author seeking to sow discord among the commissioners, which by the summer of 1783 had led to a pamphlet war between Jenings and Laurens.40 C. W. F. Dumas, the acting American chargé d’affaires at The Hague, kept Adams informed of the ongoing Anglo-Dutch peace negotiations, the continuing struggle between William V and the pro-American Patriot Party, and the Austrian effort to reopen the Scheldt River, which threatened to ignite an Austro-Dutch war.41 Antoine Marie Cerisier, editor of Le politique hollandais, served as Adams’ agent when, to educate Europeans about America, he sought to publish in the Netherlands the Abbé de Mably’s Observations sur le gouvernement et les loix des États-Unis d’Amerique after fruitless efforts to obtain its publication in France.42 Adams also received numerous appeals for assistance { xxix } from merchants, prospective immigrants, and former prisoners. Perhaps the most striking appeal came from an ex-prisoner, John Dudley, who provided horrendous accounts of his capture and captivity.43
In mid-September Adams became ill and moved from his rooms at the Hôtel du Roi on the Place du Carrousel to Thomas Barclay’s residence in Auteuil, where he would later live with Abigail after she arrived in Europe. Upon recovering he decided to visit England, perhaps with some thought of emulating Henry Laurens and John Jay and partaking of the waters at Bath. John and John Quincy Adams left Auteuil on 20 October and arrived at London on the 26th.44 The two Adamses spent a little over two months there, visiting museums, attending the theater, and acting the role of tourist. John Adams met with Charles James Fox and Edmund Burke but was unimpressed, and nothing of substance resulted.45 John and John Quincy visited Parliament at least twice. The first time was at its opening on 11 November, when they heard George III’s speech and witnessed the introduction of the Prince of Wales, who had reached his majority. They visited again on 15 December to witness the debate in the House of Lords over the India Bill, the outcome of which was the fall of the Fox-North coalition and its replacement by William Pitt’s first ministry. While John Adams did comment on his visit to London, it was John Quincy Adams who provided the more interesting accounts of their time in London, particularly of the visits to Parliament and to Thomas Pownall at Richmond Hill, and their short sojourn at Bath, a “sudden Resolution of my Father’s” according to John Quincy.46 Indeed it was at Bath that John Adams received the news that convinced him that the financial crisis concerning American credit had reached such great magnitude that he must immediately set off for the Netherlands, the fate of the nation again dependent on his efforts.
The volume ends with John Adams at the U.S. legation on the Fluwelen Burgwal at The Hague. He hoped to avert disaster but had little confidence that all would go well. At the end of 1780 Adams { xxx } had reflected on the events of the previous twelve months and called it “the most anxious and mortifying Year of my whole Life.”47 He remembered it as such because he had ventured much and accomplished little. In many respects the eight months chronicled in volume 15 are similar. Adams and his colleagues “lost Seven or eight months” of their time negotiating the definitive treaty. The nature of Anglo-American commercial relations remained unresolved. Robert Morris’ bills of exchange seemed to herald the new nation’s financial ruin. There was much frustration and little satisfaction, for even his “vacation” in England ended in crisis and turmoil. But although he did not know it in January 1784, there was hope. His wife Abigail would soon join him. Congress would finally issue a joint commission to negotiate commercial treaties. A new loan in the Netherlands would succeed. And in the interim John Adams would remain as he always had been, steadfast, committed to his vision of America, ready to do whatever was necessary to advance its cause.


During the eight-month span of this volume, John Adams again used his letterbooks to provide himself with a record of his correspondence and activities. For the editors his effort continues to pay dividends because it provides a nearly complete run of his correspondence, even when the recipient’s copy is unavailable. The letterbook copies are also useful as the source for text lost from the recipient’s copy and, when they served as drafts, to compare with the letters as copied and sent. Adams also found the letterbooks useful in his role as documentary editor, for it was largely from them that he took the texts of letters that later appeared in his Autobiography and in the Boston Patriot.
In volume 15 Adams used Letterbooks 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, and 22, which correspond to reels 103, 106, 107, 108, 109, and 110 of the Adams Papers Microfilms. Detailed descriptions of the nature and content of these letterbooks appear in previous volumes, but some additional comments seem appropriate.48 Adams left Letterbooks 18 and 19 at the American legation at The Hague when he went to Paris in October 1782 to join the peace negotiations. He retrieved the letterbooks during his visit to the Netherlands in July and { xxxi } August 1783 and carried them back to Paris. When in October Adams went to England for the first time, he took Letterbook 19 with him and then brought it with him when he journeyed to The Hague in January 1784. It is notable that these two letterbooks are the first to have a substantial number of letters in John Quincy Adams’ hand. It also bears repeating that in all cases where a letterbook copy is mentioned in a descriptive note or annotation, the microfilm reel containing the letterbook is indicated.


In 2007 the editors of the Adams Papers undertook a full-scale review of the editorial practices guiding the project that resulted in a substantially revised editorial method. For a statement of that policy, see the Papers of John Adams, 14:xxix–xxxvii. Those wishing to trace the evolution of the editorial method from the beginnings of the editorial project should consult the Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, 1:lii–lxii, and the Papers of John Adams, 1:xxxi–xxxv; 9:xx–xxiii; 11:xx–xxi.


The Massachusetts Historical Society continues its efforts to make Adams family materials available to scholars and the public online. Three digital resources of particular interest to those who would use the Papers of John Adams volumes are Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, The Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive, and The Diaries of John Quincy Adams: A Digital Collection. All are available through the Historical Society’s website at www.masshist.org.
The Founding Families Digital Editions, cosponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Harvard University Press, and the Massachusetts Historical Society, provides searchable text files of the 38 Adams Papers volumes published prior to 2007 (excluding the portraits volumes) as well as 7 volumes of the Winthrop Family Papers published by the Society. The Adams Papers volumes are supplemented by a cumulative index prepared by the Adams Papers editors. The digital edition is intended not to replace the letterpress edition but rather to supplement it by widening the access { xxxii } of scholars and the public to the wealth of Adams material included therein.
The Adams Family Papers Electronic Archive contains images and text files of all of the correspondence between John and Abigail Adams owned by the Massachusetts Historical Society as well as John Adams’ diaries and autobiography. The files are completely searchable and can also be browsed by date.
The Diaries of John Quincy Adams Digital Collection provides images of John Quincy Adams’ entire 51-volume diary, which he kept for nearly seventy years. The images can be searched by date or browsed by diary volume.
Also of value to users of the Papers of John Adams is the online catalog of the John Adams Library at the Boston Public Library. The catalog includes a record of the marginalia entered by John Adams in his books as well as a growing number of digitized volumes. For additional information, see www.johnadamslibrary.org.
The letters and documents printed in this volume recount John Adams’ frustration at being unable to negotiate a more favorable definitive peace treaty, concern over the progress of the Dutch loan and America’s financial position in Europe, and activities as a tourist in London. But it is not the only documentary source that illuminates Adams’ life during this period. The 234 documents printed in and the 114 items omitted from the volume should be used in conjunction with the 72 documents for this period appearing in the Adams Family Correspondence (5:168–302). Those letters are particularly important for the eight months covered by volume 15 because many of the people writing to John Adams in Europe were also sharing information with Abigail at Braintree. Recourse should also be made to John Quincy Adams’ Diary (1:175–207), for the younger Adams described, in considerably more detail than his father, their reunion at The Hague in July and their trip to London in October. John Adams’ Diary and Autobiography (3:136–154) is useful regarding the early negotiations toward the definitive treaty, the visit to London, and the later winter journey to the Netherlands.
Gregg L. Lint
June 2009
1. Definitive Peace Treaty between the United States and Great Britain, [3 Sept. 1783], and note 1, below.
2. Vol. 14:103–108.
3. To the president of Congress, 1 Sept., below.
4. Vol. 11:434–435.
5. Vol. 14:348–349.
6. David Hartley to the American Peace Commissioners, 14 June, and note 1; to Robert R. Livingston, 23 June (first letter), both below.
7. From Edmund Jenings, 3 June, note 6, below.
8. Draft Anglo-American Definitive Peace Treaty, [ante 19 July], below. See, in particular, Arts. 4, 5, 7, and 10–19.
9. To Robert R. Livingston, 23 (2), 27 June (2), 7, 14 (second letter), and 15 July, all below.
10. Henry Laurens to the commissioners, 17, 20 June, and 9 Aug.; from Edmund Jenings, 3 June, [ca. 8], 22 July, and 7 [Aug.], all below.
11. Vol. 11:376.
14. Commissioners to Robert R. Livingston, 18 July, below. For the drafting of the letter, Franklin’s objections to Jay’s original draft, and the subsequent delay in sending the reply, see the Editorial Note to the document. For the portion of Jay’s draft omitted from the letter as sent, see note 2.
15. To Robert Morris, 5 July; to Robert R. Livingston, 9, 10, and 11 July, all below.
17. Commissioners to David Hartley, 5 Sept., below.
18. President of Congress to the commissioners, 27 Oct., note 1, below.
20. President of Congress to the commissioners, 16 June, and note 2, below.
21. To the president of Congress, 8 Sept., below; to AA, 7 and 10 Sept., AFC, 5:236–239.
22. From Francis Dana, [1], [3], [6 June], and [29 July], all below.
23. To Robert R. Livingston, 12 July, 1, 2, 3, and 13 Aug. (second letter); to Elbridge Gerry, 15 Aug., 5, 6, 8, and 10 Sept.; to William Gordon, 10 Sept., all below.
24. To James Warren, 10 Sept., below.
25. From James Warren, 24 June; from Cotton Tufts, 26 June; from Tristram Dalton, 16 July, all below; from Richard Cranch, 26 June, AFC, 5:185–188.
26. From Samuel Osgood, 7 Dec.; from Elbridge Gerry, 23 Nov., both below.
27. From Benjamin Franklin, 10 Sept.; to Benjamin Franklin, 13 Sept., both below.
28. See, for example, letters from James Warren, 24 June; Cotton Tufts, 26 June; Tristam Dalton, 16 July and 8 Aug., all below.
29. To Cotton Tufts, 10 Sept.; to Richard Cranch, 10 Sept., AFC, 5:239–241.
30. To Robert Morris, 11 July, below.
31. To Robert Morris, 10 and 11 July, notes 3 and 2, respectively, both below.
32. JA to AA, 26 July, AFC, 5:218.
33. To Robert R. Livingston, 28 July, below.
34. President of Congress to the commissioners, 15 July, below.
35. From Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje, 16 Oct., and note 1, below.
36. From Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje, 2 and 23 Dec.; and from Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, 26 Dec., all below.
37. From Benjamin Franklin, 10 Dec., and note 3, below.
38. To Benjamin Franklin, 24 Jan. 1784, below.
39. To Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje, 29 Jan., below.
40. From Edmund Jenings, 3 June, [ca. 8], 22 July, and 7 [Aug.], all below.
41. See, in particular, C. W. F. Dumas’ letters of 16 Oct., 5, and 12 Dec., all below.
42. To Antoine Marie Cerisier, 16 Oct. and 20 Nov., both below.
43. From John Dudley, 2, 19 Nov., and 30 Dec., all below.
44. To the president of Congress, 14 Sept., note 1; to Antoine Marie Cerisier, 16 Oct., note 1, both below.
45. To the president of Congress, 13 Nov., and note 4, below.
46. JA’s Account with John Stockdale, [29 Oct. – 12 Nov.], note 2; from John Singleton Copley, [11 Nov.], note 1; from Thomas Pownall, 30 Nov., note 1; from John Jay, 9 Dec., note 1; from William Vaughan, 12 Dec., note 1; to the president of Congress, 14 Dec., note 4, all below. For JQA’s accounts of the visit to England, see his Diary, 1:195–207, and his fourteen letters to Peter Jay Munro written between 26 Oct. and 29 Dec. (NNMus).
47. Vol. 10:466.
{ xxxiii }


Many have assisted in making volume 15 of the Papers of John Adams a reality. Members of the Adams Papers staff have been invaluable colleagues during the research and production of this volume, including Judith S. Graham, Louisa Catherine Adams Diary Series Editor; Beth Luey, Assistant Editor; Sara Martin, Assistant Editor; and Sara Georgini, Editorial Assistant. Transcribers past and present, including Nathaniel Adams, James T. Connolly, and Amanda Mathews, have worked tirelessly to prepare transcripts for this and future Adams Papers volumes. We would also like to thank Ann-Marie Imbornoni, who copyedited volume 15 with her usual graceful style.
The transcription and translation of foreign-language documents was undertaken by talented linguists. Zack Rogow and Renée Morel translated French documents, and longtime associates Inez Hollander Lake and Margarete Ritzkowsky did the same for Dutch and German documents, respectively. Prof. Ward W. Briggs of the University of South Carolina translated Latin and Greek passages and provided important advice on the classics. Ellen R. Cohn and Kate M. Ohno of the Papers of Benjamin Franklin kindly consulted on research problems. Edward B. Doctoroff, Head of the Library Privileges and Billing Division at Harvard University’s Widener Library, and the reference staffs at Harvard’s Houghton, Lamont, and Widener libraries, the Rare Books and Manuscripts Department at the Boston Public Library, and the New England Historic Genealogical Society provided essential access to research materials. Prof. John J. McCusker of Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas, graciously assisted us with advice on eighteenth-century finance.
The unfailing support of Harvard University Press has been vital to the success of the Adams Papers. Associate Director for Design and Production John F. Walsh has been a true friend of the project. { xxxiv } The work of Kathleen McDermott, Senior Editor for History and Social Sciences, and Abigail Mumford, Production Supervisor, has also been crucial to our efforts. Kevin Krugh, Kenneth Krugh, and the staff at Technologies ’N Typography have guided us through the production process with savvy technical expertise.
The capable staff of the Massachusetts Historical Society has provided unflagging assistance to the Adams Papers. We would particularly like to thank Dennis A. Fiori, President; Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian; Brenda M. Lawson, Director of Collections Services; Anne E. Bentley, Curator of Art; Mary E. Fabiszewski, Senior Cataloger; Nancy Heywood, Digital Projects Coordinator; Laura Wulf, Digital Projects Production Specialist; Elaine Grublin, Reference Librarian; Jeremy Dibbell, Assistant Reference Librarian; and Tracy Potter, Assistant Reference Librarian. Finally, we offer our thanks to members of the Adams Papers Administrative Committee who work diligently to ensure the success of the project.
{ xxxv }

Guide to Editorial Apparatus

The first three sections (1–3) of this guide list, respectively, the arbitrary devices used for clarifying the text, the code names for prominent members of the Adams family, and the symbols that are employed throughout The Adams Papers, in all its series and parts, for various kinds of manuscript sources. The final three sections (4–6) list, respectively, the symbols for institutions holding original materials, the various abbreviations and conventional terms, and the short titles of books and other works that occur in volume 15 of the Papers of John Adams.
The following devices will be used throughout The Adams Papers to clarify the presentation of the text.
[. . .]   One word missing or illegible.  
[. . . .]   Two words missing or illegible.  
[. . . .]1   More than two words missing or illegible; subjoined footnote estimates amount of missing matter.  
[ ]   Number or part of a number missing or illegible. Amount of blank space inside brackets approximates the number of missing or illegible digits.  
[roman]   Conjectural reading for missing or illegible matter. A question mark is inserted before the closing bracket if the conjectural reading is seriously doubtful.  
<roman>   Canceled matter.  
[italic]   Editorial insertion.  
{roman}   Text editorially decoded or deciphered.  
First Generation

  • JA
  • John Adams (1735–1826)

  • AA
  • Abigail Adams (1744–1818), m.JA 1764
Second Generation

  • AA2
  • Abigail Adams (1765–1813), daughter of JA and AA, m.WSS 1786

  • WSS
  • William Stephens Smith (1755–1816), brother of SSA

  • JQA
  • John Quincy Adams (1767–1848), son of JA and AA

  • LCA
  • Louisa Catherine Johnson (1775–1852), m.JQA 1797 { xxxvi }

  • CA
  • Charles Adams (1770–1800), son of JA and AA

  • SSA
  • Sarah Smith (1769–1828), sister of WSS, m.CA 1795

  • TBA
  • Thomas Boylston Adams (1772–1832), son of JA and AA

  • AHA
  • Ann Harrod (1774–1845), m.TBA 1805
Third Generation

  • GWA
  • George Washington Adams (1801–1829), son of JQA and LCA

  • JA2
  • John Adams (1803–1834), son of JQA and LCA

  • MCHA
  • Mary Catherine Hellen (1806–1870), m.JA2 1828

  • CFA
  • Charles Francis Adams (1807–1886), son of JQA and LCA

  • ABA
  • Abigail Brown Brooks (1808–1889), m.CFA 1829

  • ECA
  • Elizabeth Coombs Adams (1808–1903), daughter of TBA and AHA
Fourth Generation

  • LCA2
  • Louisa Catherine Adams (1831–1870), daughter of CFA and ABA, m. Charles Kuhn 1854

  • JQA2
  • John Quincy Adams (1833–1894), son of CFA and ABA

  • CFA2
  • Charles Francis Adams (1835–1915), son of CFA and ABA

  • HA
  • Henry Adams (1838–1918), son of CFA and ABA

  • MHA
  • Marian Hooper (1842–1885), m.HA 1872

  • MA
  • Mary Adams (1845–1928), daughter of CFA and ABA, m. Henry Parker Quincy 1877

  • BA
  • Brooks Adams (1848–1927), son of CFA and ABA
Fifth Generation

  • CFA3
  • Charles Francis Adams (1866–1954), son of JQA2

  • HA2
  • Henry Adams (1875–1951), son of CFA2

  • JA3
  • John Adams (1875–1964), son of CFA2
The following symbols are employed throughout The Adams Papers to describe or identify the various kinds of manuscript originals.

  • D
  • Diary (Used only to designate a diary written by a member of the Adams family and always in combination with the short form of the writer’s name and a serial number, as follows: D/JA/23, i.e., the twenty-third fascicle or volume of John Adams’ manuscript Diary.)

  • Dft
  • draft

  • Dupl
  • duplicate

  • FC
  • file copy (A copy of a letter retained by a correspondent other than an Adams, no matter the form of the retained copy; a copy of a letter retained by an Adams other than a Letterbook or letterpress copy.)

  • FC-Pr
  • a letterpress copy retained by an Adams as the file copy

  • IRC
  • intended recipient’s copy (Generally the original version but received after a duplicate, triplicate, or other version of a letter.)

  • Lb
  • Letterbook (Used only to designate an Adams Letterbook and { xxxvii } always in combination with the short form of the writer’s name and a serial number, as follows: Lb/JQA/29, i.e., the twenty-ninth volume of John Quincy Adams’ Letterbooks.)

  • LbC
  • Letterbook copy (Used only to designate an Adams Letterbook copy. Letterbook copies are normally unsigned, but any such copy is assumed to be in the hand of the person responsible for the text unless it is otherwise described.)

  • LbC-Tr
  • Letterbook copy-transcript (A transcript of an official letter or document copied into a volume of transcripts created for JA by Benjamin Franklin’s secretary Jean L’Air de Lamotte, APM Reel 103.)

  • M
  • Miscellany (Used only to designate materials in the section of the Adams Papers known as the “Miscellanies” and always in combination with the short form of the writer’s name and a serial number, as follows: M/CFA/31, i.e., the thirty-first volume of the Charles Francis Adams Miscellanies—a ledger volume mainly containing transcripts made by CFA in 1833 of selections from the family papers.)

  • MS, MSS
  • manuscript, manuscripts

  • RC
  • recipient’s copy (A recipient’s copy is assumed to be in the hand of the signer unless it is otherwise described.)

  • Tr
  • transcript (A copy, handwritten or typewritten, made substantially later than the original or later than other copies—such as duplicates, file copies, or Letterbook copies—that were made contemporaneously.)

  • Tripl
  • triplicate

  • Ct
  • Connecticut State Library

  • CtY
  • Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University

  • DLC
  • Library of Congress

  • DNA
  • National Archives and Records Administration

  • ICHi
  • Chicago Historical Society

  • ICN
  • Newberry Library

  • IEN
  • Northwestern University

  • MB
  • Boston Public Library

  • MBCo
  • Countway Library of Medicine, Harvard University

  • MHi
  • Massachusetts Historical Society

  • MaSaPEM
  • Peabody Essex Museum

  • MiU-C
  • William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan

  • NjMoHP
  • Morristown National Historical Park

  • NjP
  • Princeton University

  • NHi
  • New-York Historical Society

  • NN
  • New York Public Library

  • NNC
  • Columbia University

  • NNMus
  • Museum of the City of New York

  • PHi
  • Historical Society of Pennsylvania

  • PPAmP
  • American Philosophical Society

  • PPL
  • Library Company of Philadelphia { xxxviii }

  • ScHi
  • South Carolina Historical Society

  • ScL (ScU)
  • South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina

  • Adams Papers
  • Manuscripts and other materials, 1639–1889, in the Adams Manuscript Trust collection given to the Massachusetts Historical Society in 1956 and enlarged by a few additions of family papers since then. Citations in the present edition are simply by date of the original document if the original is in the main chronological series of the Papers and therefore readily found in the microfilm edition of the Adams Papers (see below).

  • The Adams Papers
  • The present edition in letterpress, published by The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. References to earlier volumes of any given unit take this form: vol. 2:146. Since there is no overall volume numbering for the edition, references from one series, or unit of a series, to another are by writer, title, volume, and page, for example, JA, D&A, 4:205.

  • Adams Papers Editorial Files
  • Other materials in the Adams Papers editorial office, Massachusetts Historical Society. These include photocopied documents (normally cited by the location of the originals), photographs, correspondence, and bibliographical and other aids compiled and accumulated by the editorial staff.

  • APM
  • Formerly, Adams Papers, Microfilms. The corpus of the Adams Papers, 1639–1889, as published on microfilm by the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1954–1959, in 608 reels. Cited in the present work, when necessary, by reel number. Available in research libraries throughout the United States and in a few libraries in Canada, Europe, and New Zealand.

  • Arch. Aff. Étr., Paris, Corr. Pol., É.-U.
  • Archives du Ministère des Affaires Étrangères, Paris, Correspondance Politique, États-Unis.

  • AVPR, Moscow
  • Arkhiv vneshnei politiki Rossii, Moscow.

  • Nationaal Archief
  • Nationaal Archief, The Hague. For details on the Dumas Papers microfilm edition, see JA, D&A, 3:9–10.

  • PCC
  • Papers of the Continental Congress. Originals in the National Archives: Record Group 360. Microfilm edition in 204 reels. Usually cited in the present work from the microfilms, but according to the original series and volume numbering devised in the State Department in the early { xxxix } nineteenth century; for example, PCC, No. 93, III, i.e., the third volume of series 93.

  • PCC, Misc. Papers
  • Miscellaneous Papers of the Continental Congress. Originals in the National Archives: Record Group 360. Microfilm edition in 9 reels. Cited in the present work from the microfilms by reel and folio number.

  • PRO
  • National Archives of the United Kingdom, London. Formerly Public Record Office.

  • Adams, Amer. Controversy
  • Thomas R. Adams, The American Controversy: A Bibliographical Study of the British Pamphlets about the American Disputes, 1764–1783, Providence and New York, 1980; 2 vols.

  • AFC
  • Adams Family Correspondence, ed. L. H. Butterfield, Marc Friedlaender, Richard Alan Ryerson, Margaret A. Hogan, and others, Cambridge, 1963–.

  • Amer. Philos. Soc., Memoirs, Procs., Trans.
  • American Philosophical Society, Memoirs, Proceedings, and Transactions.

  • ANB
  • John A. Garraty, Mark C. Carnes, and Paul Betz, eds., American National Biography, New York, 1999–2002; 24 vols. plus supplement.

  • Bemis, Diplomacy of the Amer. Revolution
  • Samuel Flagg Bemis, The Diplomacy of the American Revolution: The Foundations of American Diplomacy, 1775–1823, New York and London, 1935.

  • Biog. Dir. Cong.
  • Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–1989, Washington, 1989.

  • Boston, [vol. no.] Report
  • City of Boston, Record Commissioners, Reports, Boston, 1876–1909; 39 vols.

  • Burnett, Letters of Members
  • Letters of Members of the Continental Congress, ed. Edmund C. Burnett, Washington, 1921–1936; 8 vols.

  • Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S.
  • I. Minis Hays, ed., Calendar of the Papers of Benjamin Franklin in the Library of the American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, 1908; 5 vols.

  • Cambridge Modern Hist.
  • The Cambridge Modern History, Cambridge, Eng., 1902–1911; repr. New York, 1969; 13 vols.

  • Cannon, Fox-North Coalition
  • John Cannon, The Fox-North Coalition: Crisis of the Constitution, 1782–4, London, 1969. { xl }

  • Catalogue of JA’s Library
  • Catalogue of the John Adams Library in the Public Library of the City of Boston, Boston, 1917.

  • Catalogue of JQA’s Books
  • Henry Adams and Worthington Chauncey Ford, A Catalogue of the Books of John Quincy Adams Deposited in the Boston Athenæum with Notes on Books, Adams Seals and Book-Plates, Boston, 1938.

  • Cresson, Francis Dana
  • William P. Cresson, Francis Dana: A Puritan Diplomat at the Court of Catherine the Great, New York, 1930.

  • DAB
  • Allen Johnson, Dumas Malone, and others, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–1936; repr. New York, 1955–1980; 10 vols. plus index and supplements.

  • Dexter, Yale Graduates
  • Franklin Bowditch Dexter, Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College with Annals of the College History, New York and New Haven, 1885–1912; 6 vols.

  • Dict. Amer. Fighting Ships
  • U.S. Navy Department, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Naval History Division, Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Washington, 1959–1981; 8 vols.

  • Dipl. Corr., 1783–1789
  • The Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States of America, from . . . 1783, to . . . 1789, [ed. William A. Weaver], repr., Washington, 1837 [actually 1855]; 3 vols.

  • DNB
  • Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, eds., The Dictionary of National Biography, New York and London, 1885–1901; repr. Oxford, 1959–1960; 21 vols. plus supplements.

  • Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence
  • Jonathan R. Dull, The French Navy and American Independence: A Study of Arms and Diplomacy, 1774–1787, Princeton, 1975.

  • Edler, Dutch Republic and Amer. Rev.
  • Friedrich Edler, The Dutch Republic and the American Revolution, Baltimore, 1911.

  • Evans
  • Charles Evans and others, American Bibliography: A Chronological Dictionary of All Books, Pamphlets and Periodical Publications Printed in the United States of America [1639–1800], Chicago and Worcester, 1903–1959; 14 vols.

  • Ferguson, Power of the Purse
  • E. James Ferguson, The Power of the Purse: A History of American Public Finance, 1776–1790, Chapel Hill, N.C., 1961.

  • Franklin, Papers
  • The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, ed. Leonard W. Labaree, William B. Willcox, Claude A. Lopez, Barbara B. Oberg, Ellen R. Cohn, and others, New Haven, 1959–.

  • Franklin, Writings
  • The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, ed. Albert Henry Smyth, New York and London, 1905–1907; 10 vols. { xli }

  • Gipson, Empire before the Revolution
  • Lawrence Henry Gipson, The British Empire before the American Revolution, Caldwell, Idaho, and New York, 1936–1970; 15 vols.

  • Grove Dicy. of Art
  • Jane Turner, ed., The Dictionary of Art, New York, 1996; 34 vols.

  • Harlow, Founding of the Second British Empire
  • Vincent T. Harlow, The Founding of the Second British Empire, 1763–1793, London and New York, 1954–1964; 2 vols.

  • Heitman, Register Continental Army
  • Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army during the War of the Revolution, rev. edn., Washington, 1914.

  • JA, D&A
  • Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols.

  • JA, Defence of the Const.
  • John Adams, A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, London, 1787–1788; repr. New York, 1971; 3 vols.

  • JA, Papers
  • Papers of John Adams, ed. Robert J. Taylor, Gregg L. Lint, and others, Cambridge, 1977–.

  • JA, Works
  • The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: with a Life of the Author, ed. Charles Francis Adams, Boston, 1850–1856; 10 vols.

  • Jay, Unpublished Papers
  • John Jay: Unpublished Papers, ed. Richard B. Morris, New York, 1975–1980; 2 vols.

  • JCC
  • Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, ed. Worthington Chauncey Ford, Gaillard Hunt, John C. Fitzpatrick, Roscoe R. Hill, and others, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols.

  • Jefferson, Papers
  • The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, Princeton, 1950– .

  • JQA, Diary
  • Diary of John Quincy Adams, ed. David Grayson Allen, Robert J. Taylor, and others, Cambridge, 1981– .

  • Lafayette, Papers
  • Lafayette in the Age of the American Revolution: Selected Letters and Papers, 1776–1790, ed. Stanley J. Idzerda and others, Ithaca, N.Y., 1977–1983; 5 vols.

  • Laurens, Papers
  • The Papers of Henry Laurens, ed. Philip M. Hamer, George C. Rogers Jr., David R. Chesnutt, C. James Taylor, and others, Columbia, S.C., 1968–2003; 16 vols.

  • London Past and Present
  • Henry B. Wheatley, London Past and Present: Its History, Associations, and Traditions, London, 1891; 3 vols. { xlii }

  • Mackesy, War for America
  • Piers Mackesy, The War for America, 1775–1783, Cambridge, 1965.

  • Madison, Papers, Congressional Series
  • The Papers of James Madison: Congressional Series, ed. William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, and Robert Allen Rutland, Chicago, 1962–1991; 17 vols.

  • Mass., Acts and Laws
  • Acts and Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts [1780–1805], Boston, 1890–1898; 13 vols.

  • Mass., Province Laws
  • The Acts and Resolves, Public and Private, of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, Boston, 1869–1922; 21 vols.

  • Mazzei, Writings
  • Philip Mazzei: Selected Writings and Correspondence, ed. Margherita Marchione and others, Prato, Italy, 1983; 3 vols.

  • MHS, Colls., Procs.
  • Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections and Proceedings.

  • Miller, Treaties
  • Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America, ed. Hunter Miller, Washington, 1931–1948; 8 vols.

  • Morison, John Paul Jones
  • Samuel Eliot Morison, John Paul Jones: A Sailor’s Biography, Boston, 1959.

  • Morris, Papers
  • The Papers of Robert Morris, 1781–1784, ed. E. James Ferguson, John Catanzariti, Elizabeth M. Nuxoll, Mary A. Gallagher, and others, Pittsburgh, 1973–1999; 9 vols.

  • Morris, Peacemakers
  • Richard B. Morris, The Peacemakers: The Great Powers and American Independence, New York, 1965.

  • Murphy, Vergennes
  • Orville T. Murphy, Charles Gravier, Comte de Vergennes: French Diplomacy in the Age of Revolution, 1719–1787, Albany, 1982.

  • New England Historical and Genealogical Register.

  • Nieuw Ned. Biog. Woordenboek
  • P. C. Molhuysen and others, eds., Nieuw Nederlandsch Biografisch Woordenboek, Leyden, 1911–1937; 10 vols.

  • OED
  • The Oxford English Dictionary, 2d edn., Oxford, 1989; 20 vols.

  • Oliver, Portraits of JA and AA
  • Andrew Oliver, Portraits of John and Abigail Adams, Cambridge, 1967.

  • Parliamentary Hist.
  • The Parliamentary History of England, from the Earliest Period to the Year 1803, London, 1806–1820; 36 vols. { xliii }

  • Repertorium
  • Ludwig Bittner and others, eds., Repertorium der diplomatischen Vertreter aller Länder seit dem Westfälischen Frieden (1648), Oldenburg, 1936–1965; 3 vols.

  • Sabine, Loyalists
  • Lorenzo Sabine, Biographical Sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution, rev. edn. by Gregory Palmer, Westport, Conn., 1984.

  • Schama, Citizens
  • Simon Schama, Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution, New York, 1989.

  • Schama, Patriots and Liberators
  • Simon Schama, Patriots and Liberators: Revolution in the Netherlands 1780–1813, New York, 1977.

  • Scott, Armed Neutralities
  • The Armed Neutralities of 1780 and 1800: A Collection of Official Documents Preceded by the Views of Representative Publicists, ed. James Brown Scott, New York, 1918.

  • Sibley’s Harvard Graduates
  • John Langdon Sibley, Clifford K. Shipton, Conrad Edick Wright, Edward W. Hanson, and others, Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cambridge and Boston, 1873–.

  • Smith, Letters of Delegates
  • Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789, ed. Paul H. Smith and others, Washington, 1976–2000; 26 vols.

  • U.S. and Russia
  • The United States and Russia: The Beginning of Relations, 1765–1815, ed. Nina N. Bashkina and others, Washington, 1980.

  • Warren-Adams Letters
  • Warren-Adams Letters: Being Chiefly a Correspondence among John Adams, Samuel Adams, and James Warren (Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections, vols. 72–73), Boston, 1917–1925; 2 vols.

  • Washington, Papers, Confederation Series
  • The Papers of George Washington: Confederation Series, ed. W. W. Abbot and others, Charlottesville, 1992–1997; 6 vols.

  • Washington, Papers, Presidential Series
  • The Papers of George Washington: Presidential Series, ed. Dorothy Twohig, Mark A. Mastromarino, Jack D. Warren, Robert F. Haggard, Christine S. Patrick, John C. Pinheiro, and others, Charlottesville, 1987– .

  • Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick
  • The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745–1799, ed. John C. Fitzpatrick, Washington, 1931–1944; 39 vols.

  • Weber, Codes and Ciphers
  • Ralph E. Weber, United States Diplomatic Codes and Ciphers, 1775–1938, Chicago, 1979.

  • Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev.
  • The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, ed. Francis Wharton, Washington, 1889; 6 vols.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.