Papers of John Adams, volume 13

From John Loveney

To Edmund Jenings

From John Jay, 2 August 1782 Jay, John JA


From John Jay, 2 August 1782 Jay, John Adams, John
From John Jay
Paris 2d. Augt. 1782 Sir

Your friendly Letter of the 8th. Ult. should not have remained so long unanswered, had I not been obliged by Sickness which lasted several Weeks to postpone writing to any of my Correspondents. Mrs. Jay has also been much indisposed—Indeed neither of us have been blessed with much Health since we left America.


Your Negociations in Holland have been honorable to yourself as well as useful to your Country—I rejoice in both, and regret that your Health has been so severely taxed by the Business of your Employment. I have also had my Share of Perplexities, and some that I ought not to have met with. I congratulate You on the Prospect of your Loan's succeeding, and hope your Expectations on that Subject may be realized. I commend your Prudence however in not relying on appearances—they deceive us sometimes in all Countries.

My Negociations have not been discontinued by my leaving madrid. The Count d'Aranda is authorized to treat with me, and the Disposition of that Court to an Alliance with us seems daily to grow warmer.1 I wish we could have a few Hours Conversation on this Subject, and others connected with it—as we have no Cypher, I must be reserved. I had flattered myself with the Expectation of seeing you here, and still hope that when your Business at the Hague will admit of a few Weeks absence, you may prevail upon yourself to pay us a Visit. I really think that a free Conference between us might be useful as well as agreable—especially as we should thereby have an opportunity of making many Communications to each other that must not be committed to paper.2

Mr Oswald is here, and I hear that Mr Fitzherbert is to succeed Mr Grenville.3 Ld. Shelburne continues to profess a Desire of Peace—but his Professions unless supported by Facts can have little Credit with us. He says that our Independence shall be acknowledged—but it is not done, and therefore his Sincerity remains questionable. War must make peace for us—and we shall always find well appointed armies to be our ablest Negociators.

The Entrigues you allude to, I think may be also traced at Madrid, but I believe have very little Influence anywhere except perhaps at London. Petersburgh and Copenhagen in my opinion wish well to England, but are less desirous to share in the War, than in the Proffits of it—perhaps indeed further accessions of power to the House of Bourbon may excite Jealousy, especially as America as well as Holland is supposed to be very much under the Direction of France.

Did you receive my Letters of 18 March and 15 Ap.?4 Think a little of coming this Way.

I am Dear Sir with great Esteem & Regard Your most obt. & very h'ble Servt John Jay

P.S. Mr Carmichael is at Madrid.


RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Jay Aug. 2. recd & ansd 10 1782.” Dft (NNC); notation: “Mr. J. Adams 2d Aug 1782 in ansr to 8 July.”


Jay's negotiations with the Conde de Aranda, the Spanish ambassador to France, began in early August, centered on the western boundary of the United States, and came to nothing. This was partly due to Jay's lack of fluency in either French or Spanish. But the lack of agreement was also the product of Spain's continued refusal, despite Jay's hopes, to recognize the United States and of its desire, supported by France, to keep the western border as far to the east of the Mississippi River as possible (Morris, Peacemakers , p. 306–307).


At this point in Jay's draft is the following paragraph that he did not copy into the letter sent to JA: “As to Negotiations for peace—they have been retarded by the late Changes in the british ministry. I have very little confidence in that Court and shall always expect more from this.>” The canceled passage is supplied from Richard B. Morris, ed., John Jay, Unpublished Papers, 17451784, 2 vols., N.Y., 1975, 1980, 2:267–268.


Appointed by Lord Shelburne in July to replace Thomas Grenville as British peace commissioner, Alleyne Fitzherbert, the British minister resident at Brussels, arrived at Paris on 2 Aug. (Morris, Peacemakers , p. 291, 305; Repertorium , 3:167). Although bearing a commission authorizing him to enter into peace negotiations with all the belligerent states, Fitzherbert was primarily responsible for negotiations with France, Spain, and the Netherlands, while Richard Oswald acted as the principal negotiator with the American peace commissioners.


Vol. 12:334–335, 410.