Papers of John Adams, volume 16

William Temple Franklin to John Adams, 1 August 1784 Franklin, William Temple Adams, John
From William Temple Franklin
Dear Sir, Passy, 1 Augt: 1784

I have the honor to transmit to your Excellency a Copy of the Communication made by my Grandfather to the Count de Mercy of that Part of the Instructions of Congress relative to his Imperial Majesty, & also that Ministers answer.1

We are daily in expectation of the Arrival of Mr. Jefferson who was to have sailed from N. York the beginning of last Month. Tho’ several Vessels have arrived lately from America, in the last of which came Passengers, the Chevr de la Luzerne, & Dr Bancroft, we have not received a single Line from Congress. Your Exy is I believe much in the same Situation:— It at least proves the Confidence they have in their Ministers. Mr Hartley is still without Instructions from his Court, tho’ remaining here at 5£ stg: a Day. From what I can learn I hardly think the present Ministry will make him an Instruement in the Business.

A Mr. Crawford is soon expected hither to form a Treaty of Commerce with this Nation, tho’ their Ambassador still continues.2

With great Respect & Esteem, / I have the honor to be, / Dear Sir, / Your Excellency’s, / most obedt & most / humble Servant

W. T. Franklin.

PS. I hold in readiness for your Exy. Arrival here, a Copy of the late Negotiations.

RC and enclosures (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Exy. J. Adams Esqr.”; endorsed: “W. T. Franklin / 1. Aug. 1784.”


Benjamin Franklin informed the Austrian ambassador, Comte Mercy d’Argenteau, on 30 July of the first of Congress’ 29 Oct. 1783 instructions to the commissioners (vol. 15:329, 331). He wrote that it was his purpose “to communicate to your Excellency an extract from the instructions of Congress … expressing their desire to cultivate the friendship of his Imperial Majesty, and to enter into a treaty of commerce for the mutual advantage of his subjects and the citizens of the United States, which I request you will be pleased to lay before his Majesty.” The Austrian ambassador replied the same day, promising to communicate, without delay, Congress’ sentiments to his court and indicating the favorable sentiments of Joseph II toward the United States ( Dipl. Corr., 1783–1789 , 1:384–385).


In March 1784 France requested that the Pitt ministry appoint an agent to negotiate a commercial treaty with France 288 pursuant to Art. 18 of the 3 Sept. 1783 Anglo-French Definitive Peace Treaty. George Craufurd was chosen likely because he opposed liberal trade concessions to France, with the result that the negotiations went nowhere. In 1785, after William Pitt became more enthusiastic about a French treaty, Craufurd was replaced by William Eden, who by Sept. 1786 had negotiated the desired agreement (Reginald Earl Rabb, The Role of William Eden, First Baron Auckland, in William Pitt’s Liberal Trade Policy, N.Y., 1942, p. 37–39; DNB ).