Papers of John Adams, volume 14

The American Peace Commissioners to Richard Oswald

To C. W. F. Dumas

To Francis Dana, 8 November 1782 Adams, John Dana, Francis
To Francis Dana
Dear Sir Paris November 8. 1782

The King of G. Britain, by Patent under the Great Seal of his Kingdom has created Richard Oswald Esq, to be his Minister 42Plenipotentiary to treat with the Ministers of the United States of America.1 Thus G. B. is the 3d Power in Europe, to acknowledge our Independence, She can no longer therefore contend that it is a Breach of the armed Neutrality or an Hostility against her to acknowledge American Independence.2 This is so essential a change in the State of Things that I think and Mr Jay thinks you will now have a reasonable Ground of expect Success. The K. of Sweeden has some time ago made some Advances to treat with Dr Franklin and Congress have sent him a Commission to treat with that Prince.— I See not why Neutral Vessells may not go freely to America now.— You will not mention my Name in these matters but in Confidence. Jay is as you would wish him, wise, and firm.

I am directed by an order of Congress Signified to me by their Secretary at War, to transmit them a State of the Pay Rations and subsistance of the Troops of the states General, of Russia Prussia and all the northern Powers. Will you be so good as to assist me in this? My Love to your Ward.—

Yours sincerely.

RC (MHi:Dana Family Papers); addressed by Charles Storer: “The Honble: Francis Dana Esqr. / St. Petersbourg”; internal address: “Mr Dana”; endorsed: “Mr: J. A—. Letter / Dated Novr: 8th. 1782. / Recd: Decr. 8/19—.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.


This refers to Richard Oswald's commission of 21 Sept., which he received at Paris on the 27th (vol. 13:483–485) and of which JA was informed by John Jay's letter of 28 Sept. (Adams Papers). JA probably did not actually see the new commission until he arrived at Paris, and then it was likely a copy held by either Franklin or Jay. While JA cited the passage from Oswald's commission mentioned here in his Diary entry for 3 Nov., he indicated on the copy of the commission printed in vol. 13 that he did not receive a copy from Oswald until 9 Nov., but see JA's Diary entry for 11 Nov. (JA, D&A , 3:44, 51).


For JA's earlier discussion of this issue, see vol. 13:400–402, 513.