Papers of John Adams, volume 7

To Leray de Chaumont, 25 February 1779 JA Chaumont, Jacques Donatien, Leray de To Leray de Chaumont, 25 February 1779 Adams, John Chaumont, Jacques Donatien, Leray de
To Leray de Chaumont
Sir Passy Feb 25. 1779

I have this Moment the Honour of your kind Billet of this Days Date, and I feel myself under great Obligations for the genteel and generous offer of your House, at Blesois: But, if I do not put Dr. Franklin to Inconvenience, which I shall not do long, my Residence at Passy is very agreeable to me.

To a Mind as much Addicted to Retirement, as mine, the Situation you propose would be delicious indeed, provided my Country were at Peace and my Family with me: but, Seperated from my Family, and with an Heart bleeding with the Wounds of its Country, I should be the most miserable Being on Earth, in Retreat and Idleness. To America therefore, in all Events and at all Hazards, I must attempt to go, 427provided I do not receive Counter orders, which I can execute with Honour, and with Some Prospect of Advantage to the public service.

I thank you, sir, and your Agreable Family, for all your Civilities Since my Arrival, at Passy, and I have the Honour to be, with great Respect, your most obedient and most humble servant.

John Adams1

LbC (Adams Papers). MS, French translation by N. M. Gellee (Adams Papers). The translation generally follows the text of the Letterbook copy and may have formed the basis for the letter as sent to Chaumont. The only major difference between the two documents is that the translation omits the final sentence of the second paragraph. For Gellee, see his letter of 15 March to JA (below).


In his reply of 3 March (Adams Papers), Chaumont expressed his regret at JA's departure because of his hope that by delaying he might have been able to serve the American cause in other European courts. On his own initiative, he advised JA to be sure to take formal leave from the French ministers, especially Vergennes.