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John Adams autobiography, part 1, "John Adams," through 1776
sheet 25 of 53, September 1775 - August 1776

The Committee after as much deliberation upon the Subject as they chose to employ, appointed me, to draw up a Plan and Report. Franklin had made some marks with a Pencil against some Articles in a printed Volume of Treaties, which he put into my hand. Some of these were judiciously selected, and I took them with others which I found necessary into the Draught and made my report to the Committee at large, who after a reasonable Examination of it, agreed to report it. When it came before Congress, it occupied the Attention of that Body for several days. Many Motions were made, to insert in it Articles of entangling Alliance, of exclusive Priviledges, and of Warrantees of Possessions: and it was argued that the present Plan reported by the Committee held out no sufficient temptation to France, who would despize it and refuse to receive our Ambassador. It was chiefly left to me to defend my report, though I had some able Assistance, and We did defend it with so much Success, that the Treaty passed without one Particle of Alliance, exclusive Priviledge, or Warranty.
I have omitted some things in 1775 which must be inserted. On the 18th ofNovember September 1775. It was resolved in Congress, that a Secret Committee be appointed to contract for the Importation and delivery of any quantity of Gunpowder, not exceeding five hundred Tons. That in case such a quantity of Gunpowder cannot be procured to contract for the Importation of so much Saltpetre, with a proportionable quantity of Sulphur, as with the Powder procured will make five hundred tons. That the Committee be impowered to contract for the importation of forty brass field Pieces, six pounders, for 10,000 Stand of Arms and twenty thousand good plain double bridle musket Locks. That the said Committee be impowered to draw on the Treasurers to answer the said Contract. That the said Committee consist of nine members, any five of whom to be a quorum. The Members chosen Mr. Willing, Mr. Franklin, Mr. Livingston, Mr. Alsop, Mr. Deane, Mr. Dickinson, Mr. Langdon, Mr. McKean and Mr. Ward. On the Eigth of November 1775. On Motion resolved That the Secret Committee appointed to contract for the Importation of Arms, Ammunition &c. be impowered to export to the

foreign West Indies, on Account and risque of the Continent, as much provision, or any other produce (except horned Cattle, Sheep, hogs and Poultry) as they may deem necessary for the Importation of Arms, Ammunition, Sulphur and Saltpetre. See the Journals of Congress for 1775. Page 238. Wednesday November 8. 1775 and the Note.
(See Journals of Congress for the Year 1775 page 272. and 273.) It was resolved that a Committee of five be appointed for the sole purpose of corresponding with our Friends in Great Britain, Ireland and other parts of the World, and that they lay their Correspondence before Congress when directed. Resolved that Congress will make provision to defray all such Expenses as may arise by carrying on such a Correspondence and for the payment of such Agents as they may send on this Service. The Members chosen Mr. Harrison, Dr. Franklin, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Dickinson and Mr. Jay.
This last provision for an Agent was contrived I presume for Mr. Deane who had been left out of the Delegation by the State, but instead of returning home to Connecticutt, remained in Philadelphia, soliciting an Appointment under the two foregoing Committees, as an Agent of theirs first in the West Indies and then in France. Unfortunately Mr. Deane was not well established at home. The good People of Connecticutt thought him a Man of Talents and Enterprize, but of more Ambition than Principle. He possessed not their Esteem or Confidence. He procured his first Appointment in 1774 to Congress by an Intrigue. Under the pretext of avoiding to committ the Legislature of the State in any Act of Rebellion, he got a Committeeof three appointed with some discretionary Powers, under which they undertook to appoint the Members to Congress. Mr. Deane beingone of the three was obliged to Vote for himself, to obtain a Majority of the Committee. On the 3 of November 1774 The Representatives indeed chose Mr. Deane among others, to attend Congress the next May. But on the second Thursday of October 1775 The General Assembly of Governor and Company left him out. On the 16. of Jan. 1776 The New Delegates appeared in Congress. See the Journal Vol. 2. page 24 and 25. To the two SecretCommittees, that of Commerce and that of Correspondence, Mr. Deane applied, and obtained of them Appointments as their Agent.

Dr. Franklin also gave him private Letters one to Dr. Dubourg of Paris a Physician who had translated his Works into French and Mr. Dumas at the Hague, who had seen him in England. With these Credentials, Mr. Deane went first to the West Indies and then to France. The Use he made of his Powers We shall hereafter see. He was a person of a plausible readiness and Volubility with his Tongue and his Pen, much addicted to Ostentation and Expence in Dress and Living but without any deliberate forecast or reflection or solidity of judgment, or real Information. The manner in which he made Use of his Powers We shall see hereafter. I had hitherto, however, thought well of his Intentions and had acted with him on terms of entire Civility.
Within a day or two after the Appointment in Congress of the Committee of Correspondence, Mr. Jay came to my Chamber to spend an Evening with me. I was alone, and Mr. Jay opened himself to me, with great frankness. His Object seemed to be, an Apology to me, for my being omitted in the Choice of the two great Secret Committees of Commerce and Correspondence. He said in express terms, "that my Character stood very high in Congress with the Members universally, and he knew there was but one Thing which prevented me from being universally acknowledged to be the first Man in Congress, and that was this, there was a great Division in the House, and two Men had effected it, Samuel Adams and Richard Henry Lee, and as I was known to be very intimate with those two Gentlemen, many others were jealous of me." . . . My Answer to all this was, that I had thought it very strange, and had imputed it to some secret Intrigue out of Doors, that no Member from Massachusetts had been elected on either of those Committees. That I had no Pretensions to the distinction of the first Man in Congress: and that if I had a clear title to it, I should be very far from assuming it, or wishing for it. It was a Station of too much responsibility and danger in the times and Circumstances in which We lived and were destined to life live. That I was a Friend very much Attached to Mr. Lee and Mr. Adams, because I knew them to be able Men and in

in the cause of their Country. I could not therefore become cool in my friendship for them, for the sake of any distinctions that Congress could bestow. That I believed that too many commercial Projects and private Speculations were in contemplation by the composition of those Committees: but even those had not contributed so much to it, as the great division in the House on the Subject of Independence and the mode of carrying on the War. Mr. [illegible Mr. Jay and I however parted good Friends and have continued such without interruption to this day 8 of March 1805. There is a Secret in this Business, that ought to be explained. Mr. Arthur Lee in London, had heard some insinuations against Mr. Jay as a suspicious Character, and had written to his Brother Richard Henry Lee or to Mr. Samuel Adams or both: and although they were groundless and injurious, as I have no doubt, my Friends had communicated them too indiscreetly, and had spoken of Mr. Jay too lightly. Mr. Lee had expressed doubts whether Mr. Jay had composed the Address to the People of Great Britain and ascribed it to his Father in Law Mr. Livingston afterwards Governor of New Jersey. These Things had occasioned some Words, and Animosities which Uniting with the great Questions in Congress, had some disagreable Effects. Mr. Jays great Superiority to Mr. Livingston in the Art of Composition would now be sufficient to decide the question if the latter had [not] expressly denyed having any share in that Address.
Congress resolved, That a Committee of Congress be appointed by the name of a board of War and Ordinance to consist of five members, with a secretary, Clerks &c. and their extensive Powers are stated, Vol. 2. page 209 of the Journals. On the 13th. Congress having proceeded to the Election of a Committee to form the board of War and ordinance, the following Members were chosen Mr. J. Adams, Mr. Sherman, Mr. Harrison, Mr. Wilson and Mr. E. Rutledge, and Richard Peters Esq. was elected Secretary. The Duties of this Board kept me in continual

Cite web page as: John Adams autobiography, part 1, "John Adams," through 1776, sheet 25 of 53 [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society. http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/
Original manuscript: Adams, John. John Adams autobiography, part 1, "John Adams," through 1776. Part 1 is comprised of 53 sheets and 1 insertion; 210 pages total. Original manuscript from the Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
Source of transcription: Butterfield, L.H., ed. Diary and Autobiography of John Adams. Vol. 3. Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1961.
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