Papers of John Adams, volume 15

From Samuel Mather

From John Dudley

From James Warren, 15 November 1783 Warren, James Adams, John
From James Warren
My Dear Sir, Milton Novemr 15th: 1783.

Since my last which went in a French Brigt: by way of Nantes, Copy of which you have above,1 Nothing Material has taken place, except a Resolution of Congress to erect Buildings & to reside alternately on the Delaware & Potowmack, & in the mean Time they have adjourn’d to Annapolis on the 12th Instant,— this is consider’d 364by the Patriots as a Triumph. Our Friend Gerry thinks the Measure will have Beneficial, & Extensive, Consequences, & particularly that, it will strengthen the Union, & Confidence of the Southern, & Northern States;— It will at least embarrass those Measures which had been so successful while Congress sat at Philadelphia, & which would have been fully executed had it return’d there again.—2 The last Ships from London bring us Advices that the definitive Treaty was sign’d the beginning of Septemr: but no Official Account is yet Arriv’d,—nor do we hear any Thing of the Commercial Treaty,— I can suppose that many Difficulties attend that Business— Mr Temple who goes for England and designs to go also to France takes this, and will hand or forward it to You,— I think he has been use’d here very hardly,— Our G——r and his Tools have been the Immediate Actors, whether their Conduct Originated from their Own little, narrow Policy, or is deriv’d from a higher Source I don’t know,— for my Part I have not a Single Reason to suppose he ever did, or ever wished to injure this Country, and he certainly has done it Service in some Instances, and for some Cause or Other has suffer’d greatly,— You will probably see him, & hear his Account of the whole Matter;— His principal Veiws in going to Europe are to endeavour to get from the present Ministry some compensation for the Losses he sustain’d by a former Administration,—& to see and bring Dr Franklin to an explicit Declaration with respect to the Letters;—3 I wish him Success in both,— If it be convenient for You to give him any Assistance, You will in my Opinion do Service to an honest Man, and oblige those who think him so— Your Lady & Daughter spent the Day with us Yesterday, You will probably have it under their own Hands by this Oppertunity that they are well—4 I am, with great Respect, / Yr Friend & Hble: Servt:

J Warren

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency John Adams Esqr”; endorsed: “Gen. Warren / Oct. 27. 1783.”


Warren’s last letter was of 27 Oct., above. He copied that letter prior to beginning this one, but only about half of the postscript to the earlier letter remains with this manuscript.


For the decision in October regarding the future residency of Congress, see the 27 Oct. letter from the president of Congress to the commissioners, and note 2, above. For more on Elbridge Gerry’s thoughts concerning the resolution, see his 23 Nov. letter, below.


At the time, John Temple was generally thought responsible for acquiring and transmitting to Benjamin Franklin in the early 1770s a number of confidential letters from Thomas Hutchinson and others to Thomas Whately, member of Parliament and government official. The letters were sent to Boston and published in the newspapers, leading the province of Massachusetts, through Franklin, its agent, to petition the Privy Council for the removal of Hutchinson and other royal officials. The resulting investigation by that 365body resulted in the greatest humiliation of Franklin’s career: Alexander Wedderburn’s denunciation of him before the Privy Council on 29 Jan. 1774. Franklin, a longtime acquaintance of Temple, published a statement in Dec. 1773 declaring that he was solely responsible for obtaining and communicating the letters in question, but he did not, strictly speaking, exonerate Temple of all involvement in the affair. Temple’s role in the scandal remains unclear, although he is the most likely suspect since he had both motive and access to the correspondence. Franklin never disclosed, publicly or in private correspondence, the identity of the person who gave him the letters (JA, D&A , 2:79–81; AFC , 5:272; Franklin, Papers , 19:399–407; 20:513–516; 21:37, 40).


AA had written to JA on 11 Nov. and would write again, this time to both JA and JQA, on the 20th ( AFC , 5:266–275, 277).