Papers of John Adams, volume 14

To Francis Dana, 5 February 1783 Adams, John Dana, Francis
To Francis Dana
Dear Sir, Paris February 5th. 1783.

Your's of December 30th., I recieved last Night.1 Orders are long since gone from Mr. Grand to his Correspondent at St. Petersbourg, to furnish You the Money You want.— You will find our Treaty inaccurate and blundering, but You will pardon all our Bulls, when You know the Haste and the Danger We were in, and think that We have done very well.


I should advise You not to hesitate a Moment about administering the Oath of Allegiance.— I have done it.— Dr. Franklin has done it— Mr. Lee has done it— It will do no harm now & then.

You ask my Opinion in a former Letter about coming away— I cannot advise You to come away before You recieve an Answer and Leave from Congress.— Mr. Livingston has resigned the Office of foreign Affairs—tho’ We have no official Information of it, know not the Cause, nor who is talked of for a Successor.2

I did not write You an Account of the Signature of the Peace and Armistice on the 20th. of January, because I knew You would have it sooner twenty ways.

I have no News of my Son, since Stockholm, nor indeed of his leaving that Place, which distresses me much.

With great Esteem, I have the honor to be, / Sir, / your most obedient & / most humble Servant.

John Adams.3

RC in John Thaxter's hand (MHi:Dana Family Papers); internal address: “Mr. Dana.”; endorsed: “Mr: J: Adams's Letter / Dated Feby: 5th. 1783 / Recd.—23d.—O.S. / Treaty & Armistice sign'd / Jany: 20. 1783.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.


Of [10 Jan.], above.


Robert R. Livingston resigned on 2 Dec. 1782, and JA may have learned of his planned departure from a congressional resolution enclosed with Livingston's letter of 19 Dec., above. But Congress did not act expeditiously to appoint a successor, and Livingston retired to his New York estate in June. The position remained vacant until 7 May 1784 when John Jay was named his successor ( DAB ; JA, D&A , 3:168).


In JA's hand.

To C. W. F. Dumas, 5 February 1783 Adams, John Dumas, C. W. F.
To C. W. F. Dumas
Sir Paris Feb. 5 17831

I recd last night your Favour of 30 of January, with the Copies of Letters inclosed.—2 I am not at all Surprized at the Sentiments expressed in those Copies, nor am I able to give any Satisfactory Answer to the pungent Questions, which I read there.— I feel very Sincerely afflicted for our Friends without being now able, and without having ever been able to do them any Service.— I could tell you a very true Story, which would convince you, that the United States run a great Risque of as bad a Peace, as that of Holland, and that there is no Thanks to the Minister that your Correspondent thinks hard of, that We had not a worse.—3 Unsuspecting Confidence is ever dangerous in Negotiations. The States General Should have had a Minister in London as soon as Mr Rayneval went there, and instead of being instructed to trust so much to another, they should have been instructed to have conducted their Affairs wholly 247themselves.— You knew the Situation I am in and therefore I rely upon your honour to communicate nothing of this to the Duke de la Vauguion. You knew I never liked the French Minister of foreign affairs. I had great Reasons to distrust him. which you knew not, but the World may one day see.

As to the proposed Negotiation, for the Freedom of Navigation, Mr Dana has full Power to treat.— And if France and Spain will come into a Treaty with Holland upon the Subject, Mr Franklin Mr Jay Mr Laurens and myself will treat, En Attendant Mr Dana. But between You and me I doubt whether, the French Minister, will be for Such a Treaty. This is merely from Conjecture not Knowledge, so that no dependence can be placed upon it.4 if the English are cunning they will make a Merit with Holland of agreeing to the Liberty of Navigation. and I suspect this is their Instruction if they get Negapatnam.

with great Esteem &c

LbC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mr Dumas.” APM Reel 108.


Immediately to the left of the dateline is a notation: “See the last Leaf but two in this Book.” JA is referring to the Letterbook copy of his second letter to the president of Congress on 8 Sept. 1783, in which he commented at length on the French foreign ministry's manipulation of the press (Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 6:681–683).


The letters enclosed by Dumas have not been identified, but see Dumas’ letter of 30 Jan., note 3, above.


The Comte de Vergennes.


JA originally ended the letter here, then entered the following sentence below the closing and marked it for insertion at this point.