Papers of John Adams, volume 16

251 William Bingham to John Adams, 26–27 June 1784 Bingham, William Adams, John
From William Bingham
Dr sir— Amsterdam June 26th 1784

When I had last the pleasure of Seeing you, I was not altogether determined what Route I Should take— I rather inclined to the Idea of returning by the Hague—1

From a Desire of introducing more Variety & Novelty in my Excursion thro this Country, I have now resolved on passing thro’ Utrecht, for which place I Shall take my Departure in a few Days—

If you Should have no further occasion for the Resolves of Congress which I left with you, I Shall thank you to forward them to me directed to the Care of Mess W & J Willink—2

I have received Letters of a late Date from Philadelphia— On a Notification to Congress, (on the part of Dr Franklin) of Mr Jay’s Intention to embark for America, they proceeded to the Nomination of a Person to fill his Place, when Mr Jefferson was appointed, who was on the point of Departure for Europe—

Mr Jay is appointed Minister of foreign Affairs;—in the propriety of this Choice, I have no doubt you will Sincerely concur with me.

I return you many Thanks for your polite Attentions during our Residence at the Hague

Mrs B desires her best Compliments to you, to which please to accept of those of / Dr sir / Your obed hble servt

Wm Bingham June 27th 1784—

I have this Moment received the Journals of Congress untill 5 May, by which I find that the report of the Committee on the reduction of the Civil List, mentioned the discontinuance of the Agent at the Hague, as well as a considerable reduction in all the Departments, Superintendant of finance, foreign Ministers &c &c— As the Journals do not come down to So low a Date as to make known whether this Arrangement was adopted by Congress I think it would be prudent not to impart the disagreable Intelligence to Mr Dumas—3

RC (Adams Papers).


JA wrote to JQA on 21 June that “Mr. Bingham and his Lady have been here and Spent a few Days with me. I introduced them to the Princess of Orange and the young Princess conversed with her, very agreably in English. Last Evening came an Invitation to them to sup at Court this night, but they went off on Saturday [19 June] for Amsterdam” ( AFC , 5:351).


On 26 June JA wrote to Wilhem & Jan 252 Willink, requesting the firm to send Bingham the Journals of Congress that Bingham had left with him (LbC, APM Reel 107).


On 5 May resolutions were offered to reduce the number of governmental offices as well as salaries. It was proposed to discontinue the “Agent at the Hague” and to reduce the salaries of “the Superintendant of finance” and “the three foreign ministers.” None of the resolutions was adopted ( JCC , 26:342–348).

John Adams to Elbridge Gerry, 27 June 1784 Adams, John Gerry, Elbridge
To Elbridge Gerry
Dear Sir The Hague June 27. 1784

I received your Favours by Mr Reed and by Coll Herman, and am much obliged to you for your friendly Sentiments and instructive Communications.1

Your Plan of a Commission to treat with the maritime Powers, has not it Seems been adopted, and the departure of Mr Jay for New York, has now rendered it, impracticable. Congress We are told is adjourned. Mr Jay, and Mr Laurens as well as Mr Dana may be present at the Session in October. and what will be the Result of the Advice of all, I cannot pretend to conjecture.

if Congress persist in the Plan of negotiating at Paris, with England and the other maritime Powers they must Send a Commission. nothing can be done without Powers. But to whom? to Franklin and me? or will they Send any new Hands? in my Opinion the Method of negotiating at Paris, had better be broken up, and a Minister Sent to England with Power to negotiate, with Some of the other Powers, as well as the Court of St James’s, and Power Sent to the Minister at Versailles, or him at the Hague to treat with the rest, or part to one, and part to the other. But if you continue to negotiate with all at Paris, you should accredite to the King, all the Ministers you employ. this is absolutely necessary, in order, to keep up, the respect to your Ministers which is their due. Without it, they are not intituled to any of the Prerogatives of the Law of Nations. accordingly this is the constant Practice. e.g. Mr Markoff, was lately joined with the Prince Baratinskoi, as Min. Plen. accredited to the King of France, authorised at the Sametime to Sign the Treaty of Peace as Mediator. Mr Brantzen was Sent to Paris by Holland to negotiate the Peace, jointly with Mr Berkenrode. He was made Ambassador Extraordinary to the King of France, at the Sametime that he had a Full Power with Berkenrode to make the Peace. It is in vain to think of keeping up your Character in Courts and with Diplomatick Bodies, with out conforming to their old established 253 Usages, which they regard as Sacred. if you join me, therefore, with Franklin or any other, to treat in France, I shall expect to have a Letter of Credence to the King. And this Expectation is the more reasonable as I have heretofore resided at the Court of Versailles with the Powers Rank and Character of Min. Plen. and I cannot now reside there, without it, but in a State of Degradation.

Congress will I hope, write a polite Letter to every Sovereign of Europe, with whom they have no Treaty, informing them of the final Establishment of their Independance, and desiring to live in Friendship. These Letters may be Sent to your Ministers at Versailles, the Hague, or elsewhere or Some to one and Some to others, under a Flying Seal of the United States and Signed by the President and secy, to be transmitted.

It is given out here, in France and in England that Franklin is determined to go home. if So I Should have no Objection to going there, Sole or connected with others, for finishing these Negotiations, provided you pass a Resolution to defrey the Expence of the Removal of my Family Furniture &c from hence.

N. B. Yet I believe that the Scheme is to get Billy Franklin appointed in the Place of the old Gentn. Sweeden is only a stalking Horse.

LbC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mr Gerry.”; APM Reel 107.


These are Gerry’s letters of 23 Nov. 1783, which Joseph Reed enclosed with his of 30 Jan. 1784, and 14 Jan., which was carried by Col. Josiah Harmar (vol. 15:369–376, 447, 449–450, 472). JA received both letters long before he drafted his reply, the first on 10 Feb. and the second in early April (to Reed, 11 Feb.; from Benjamin Franklin, 31 March, both above). But the existence of this letter only as a LbC likely indicates that JA did not send this letter on the same grounds that he failed to send the replies to Samuel Osgood’s letters of 7 Dec. 1783 and 14 Jan. 1784 (vol. 15:398–414, 452–455) that he drafted on 9 April, above, and 30 June, below. For JA’s reasons for delaying his responses to Gerry and Osgood, see Draft Letters to Samuel Osgood, 9 April, Editorial Note, above, and the replies that he actually sent to Gerry and Osgood of 12 and 13 Dec., respectively, both below.