Papers of John Adams, volume 14

From Robert Morris, 19 January 1783 Morris, Robert Adams, John
From Robert Morris
Sir Office of Finance 19th. Jany 1783—

Altho’ I have not yet been honored with any Letters from your Excellency I cannot omit the Occasion of Writing which offers itself by Mr. Jefferson.1 Having already congratulated you on the Acknowlegement of our Independence by the States General, and on the rapid Successes of your Labors equally splendid and useful. I hope when this Letter shall have reached your Hands I may have the additional Cause of Congratulation that the Loan you have opened in Holland shall have been compleated, this is a Circumstance of great Importance to our Country and most particularly so to the Department which I have the Honor to fill— Whatever may be the Success of it whether general or partial I pray your Excellency to favor me by every Conveyance with every minute Detail which can tend to form my Judgment or enlighten my Mind. For the more perfect Security of our Correspondence, I do myself the Honor to enclose the Counterpart of a Cypher to the Use of which you will soon become familiarized and I hope you will be convinced that any Confidence with which you may honor me shall be safely reposed and usefully employed for the public Benefit—

I have the Honor to be / with perfect Respect / Sir / your Excellency's / most Obedient / & / humble Servant

Robt Morris

Mr. Jefferson will charge himself with the Delivery of the Cypher mentd—.2

RC and enclosures (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency / John Adams Esqr. / Minister Plenipotentiary / of the United States / of America”; endorsed: “Mr Morris / 19. Jan. 1783 / recd & / ansd 21 May 1783.” Dupl (Adams Papers).


In anticipation of his departure for Europe, Morris delivered this and other letters to Thomas Jefferson on 24 January. On 7 April, following his decision not to go, Jefferson returned the letters to Morris, who in turn gave them to John Vaughan, brother of Benjamin. John Vaughan presumably forwarded this letter from London when he 200arrived there in early May (Morris, Papers , 7:360, 673, 697–698).


The cipher that Morris intended for JA has not been found, and JA does not mention it in his reply of 21 May, below. Jefferson likely returned it with the letter on 7 April, and Morris may have decided not to entrust it to John Vaughan.

Mentioned neither by Morris in this letter nor by JA in his reply are copies of two congressional resolutions that are with this letter in the Adams Papers and may have been enclosed with it. The first, adopted on 27 Dec. 1782, approved JA's purchase of the legation at The Hague. The second, voted on 31 Dec., instructed the joint peace commissioners “to obtain for the citizens and inhabitants of the United States a direct commerce to all parts of the British dominions and possessions” in any commercial agreement with Great Britain ( JCC , 23:832, 838).

Declarations of the Suspension of Arms and the Cessation of Hostilities between the United States and Great Britain, 20 January 1783 Adams, John
Declarations of the Suspension of Arms and the Cessation of Hostilities between the United States and Great Britain

Versailles, 20 January 1783. MS of declarations in French; English translation by John Pintard (PCC, No. 84, IV, f. 323–330). FC's of declarations and Arts. 1 and 22 of the Anglo-French preliminary peace treaty in French (Adams Papers). LbC's of declarations in French and Arts. 1 and 22 of the Anglo-French preliminary peace treaty in French (Adams Papers); APM Reel 109. LbC-Tr's of declarations in French and English and Arts. 1 and 22 of the Anglo-French preliminary peace treaty in French (Adams Papers); APM Reel 103. PRINTED (French and English): Miller, Treaties, 2:108–110. On 18 January the Comte de Vergennes wrote to Benjamin Franklin to request that he and John Adams come to Versailles on the morning of 20 January to attend the signing of the preliminary peace treaties concluded by Great Britain with France and Spain. Two purposes were served by the presence of the Americans and by declarations that they and Alleyne Fitzherbert signed at the ceremony. First, the documents signified that the preliminary Anglo-American peace treaty was in effect pursuant to the statement in its preamble that it would not be considered as concluded until peace was established between France and Great Britain. Second, because the Anglo-American preliminary treaty did not establish the conditions governing a cessation of hostilities, the declarations made it clear that it would be implemented according to the treaties signed with France and Spain, with the specific examples being Arts. 1 and 22 of the Anglo-French treaty. For the formal implementation of the armistice by Great Britain and the United States, see the proclamations by George III and the American Peace Commissioners of 14 and 20 Feb., respectively, both below. For a detailed examination of the documents, see Miller, Treaties , 2:111–112. For John Adams' account of the signing of the declarations, his dispatch of them to America, and Congress' resulting action, see his 22 January letter to Robert R. Livingston, and notes, below.