Papers of John Adams, volume 6

Ralph Izard to the Commissioners, 25 August 1778 Izard, Ralph First Joint Commission at Paris JA


Ralph Izard to the Commissioners, 25 August 1778 Izard, Ralph First Joint Commission at Paris Adams, John
Ralph Izard to the Commissioners
Gentlemen Paris 25th. August 1778

In a Letter which I have lately received from Florence,1 and which I have had the honour of laying before you, it is recommended that an endeavour should be made to interest the Min-393istry in favour of any Loan that may be attempted in Genoa for the United States, as it is probable the Genoese may require the security of the Court of France, for the payment of such sums as they may have it in their power to lend. The Ministry must be convinced of the ability of America, in a few years after the establishment of Peace, to discharge any pecuniary engagements she may at present have occasion to enter into; and the connexion which subsists between the two Countries, will I hope, induce them to afford us every assistance in their power. I shall be glad to know whether you think I ought to apply to the Count de Vergennes on the subject, or that the application should be made first by you, in either case I shall be ready to cooperate with you, or in any manner that shall appear most likely to produce the desired effect.

Captain Woodford, who is lately arrived in this City from Tuscany, informs me that there are some Merchants at Leghorn inclined to enter into the American Trade. He is to command a Vessel from that Port, and is apprehensive of meeting some of the Cruizers belonging to the States of Africa. This danger will probably deter many Americans from entering into the Mediterranean Trade and if possible, should be removed. The King of France, in the 8th. Article of the Treaty of Commerce has engaged to employ his good offices, and interposition with the Emperor of Morocco, and with the Regencies of Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, and every other Power on the Coast of Barbary, in order to provide as fully as possible for the convenience, and safety of the inhabitants of the United States, and their Vessels, and effects, against all violence, insult, attacks, or depredations on the part of the said Princes, and States of Barbary, and their Subjects.2 You will be so good as to inform me whether any steps have been taken by the Court of France, for the security of the inhabitants of the United States, in consequence of the above Article. I have the honour to be with great respect Gentlemen Your most obedient humble Servt.,

Ra. Izard

RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed, not by JA: “M. Izard about the Barbary States.”


For this letter of 28 July from Nicolli, see Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 2:669–670 (French text, PCC, No. 89). The letter was directed to Izard in his capacity as the yet unreceived American Commissioner to Tuscany with instructions to obtain a loan from that state ( JCC , 8:520–521; 10:120). Nicolli noted that Tuscany was unable and unwilling to make a loan to the new nation, but that Genoa might be willing to do so because of its close relations with France, particularly if the 394French government intervened on the Americans' behalf. Izard replied to Nicolli on 1 Sept. (Wharton, 2:700–701).


This sentence is an accurate paraphrase of Article 8 in the Treaty of Amity and Commerce (Miller, ed., Treaties , 2:8–9).

The Commissioners to Ralph Izard, 25 August 1778 First Joint Commission at Paris JA Izard, Ralph


The Commissioners to Ralph Izard, 25 August 1778 First Joint Commission at Paris Adams, John Izard, Ralph
The Commissioners to Ralph Izard
Sir Passi August 25. 1778

We have the Honour of your Letter of this Days Date, and shall give the earliest Attention to its Contents. We apprehend their would be no Impropriety at all, in your Application, to his Excellency, the Count de Vergennes, concerning the Subject of a Loan in Genoa, and We wish that you would apply. As We wish, however, to do every Thing in our Power to procure you Success, We shall do ourselves the Honour, to propose the Subject to his Excellency the first Time We shall see him, which will probably be, tomorrow When We Shall make an application to him also, upon the other Subject of your Letter, the Interposition of his Majesty, with the Emperor of Morocco, and with the Regencies of Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, and every other Power, on the Coast of Barbary. We have the Honour to be, with great Respect, Sir, your most obedient humble Servants.

Augst 27

P.S. Since writing the above we have spoken of the Genoese Loan to Count de Vergennes, who gave us no Encouragement to hope that France could engage, for us in that Affair.1 The other Matter will be the Subject of a proposed written Memorial.2

LbC (Adams Papers).


Despite the Commissioners' account of Vergennes' coolness, Izard wrote to Vergennes concerning the loan on 2 Sept. (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 2:701–702).


See the Commissioners to Vergennes, 28 Aug. (below). This postscript, not in JA's hand, may be the work of Arthur Lee.

From Thomas Barnes, 25 August 1778 Barnes, Thomas JA


From Thomas Barnes, 25 August 1778 Barnes, Thomas Adams, John
From Thomas Barnes
Sir Paris August 25th. 1778

Nothing gives me greater concern, than to be under, The Necessity of troubling you with a detail of my situation But distress urges me therefore with submission beg leave to Enlarge. I being one of those escaped from Fortone Prison,1 in consiquence I was luck'y in getting so far Under Your protection, and accepted of your friendship As marks of humanety, as be assured it was 395never more Wanting, However since I had the pleasure of seeing you It being last Thursday I have been very ill, without much Intermission, Afflicted with an Intermitting Fever attended with A fit every day in a violent degree, this present time I find Myselfe much better and embrace the opportunity of Letting you know that I am in a great measure destitude Of money, as I have paid 2 guineas to a Doctor and know not How much more he may demand, besides my Attendance and Lodging amount very high. I have paid 3 guineas For a passage in the Deligence, which is to proceed to Nantz on Thursday next, as by that time I am in Expectation of being eneabled to go, but without money it is Imposible. Its true I received Ten guineas but Consider I Have been here 2 weeks and my not being aversed in the French Language, renders it Imposible for me to use Frugal'ety as I would wish, as be assured I am much Improved Upon, I have used the freedom of reprisenting my situation to Doctor Franklin Yesterday, but have received no answer. Therefore am fearful I have given Offence, now beg leave To direct my sentiments to you, in hopes of meeting with Better success. Its true It would be presumtious of me to assume A Correspondence with a gentleman of his qualety as The Dignety of your stations dont render it subsiquent for Me; but the good Oppinion allways sustained by the publick of the Benevolence of Doctor Franklin besides many Proofs of it received by the helpless Americans now in bondage In the hands of the enemy has emboldened me, but not meeting With the reception I expected, thro the Idea I have of your humanity I use the freedom of calling upon you, in hopes you would make A second tryal in my behalfe which I am convinced will have The desired effect; my request is 5 guineas which with the greatest Industry I am capable of may suffice. If this request should Be granted, I inclose my direction, any obligation that Is requisite, by thursday I will wait on you, if helth will Permit and pass them, now there is a great sum of Money due to me for wages therefore you run the less Risk', money I owe at present and it must be paid or I cant Proceed. All this I hope you will take into consideration And the only Amends I can make at present is that I am a Subject to the Continent of America, and have Been in the service since the Comencment of this war I dare say suitable to my capasety I hope will suffice, wont Incroch on your time Any farther. Therefore beg leave to conclude to be Your Obediant Humble Servt.,

Thomas Barnes2 396

If you should be kind enough to feavour me with an Answer Any order you may send please to Inclose it with directions.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To the Honourable John Adams Esqr. To be left at Monsieur Franquelen a pasis”; docketed: “Dr. Thomas Barnes ans. 26. Aug. 1778.” The address page contains numerous other markings, perhaps postal, and the removal of the seal cut out several words on the reverse.


Thomas Barnes was the former surgeon of the Hampden, probably a privateer, and very likely had escaped from Forton Prison in company with Lt. Edward Leger of the Hornet on 23 July. James Leveaux had written to Benjamin Franklin from Calais on 10 Aug. concerning the two men and noted that he had paid their expenses, possibly including the 10 guineas mentioned by Barnes below ( Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S. , 1:475; Marion and Jack Kaminkow, comps., Mariners of the American Revolution, Baltimore, 1967, p. 111).


Benjamin Franklin commented on this letter and that of the previous day to him from Barnes in a brief note to JA written below the address on the present letter and from which words have been lost through the subsequent removal of the seal: “If you write to this Mr. Barnes, please to acquaint him that the Reason he had no Answer from me to his Letter was because he did not Send word where he lodg'd. I agree to the payment of 5 Guineas.” JA's reply to Barnes (not found) apparently incorporated the substance of Franklin's note and was answered by Barnes in a letter of the 27th (below).