Papers of John Adams, volume 16

Thomas Barclay to John Adams, 1 August 1784 Barclay, Thomas Adams, John
From Thomas Barclay
Dear Sir, Paris 1. Augt. 1783— [1784]

I am favd. with your letter of the 19th. of last Month, and am Extremely glad to find your things have at length reach’d you— The few Articles that still remain shall Continue here untill you Come, as I do not think it will be right to put you to the Expence of Carriage—

Doctor Bancroft arrived from Philadelphia a few days ago.1 Mr. Jefferson is Certainly Joined in a Commission with you and Doctor Franklin to make Treaties with the Maritime Powers. He intends to Embark in the packet from New York, and as soon as he arrives it is Expected you will Come here—

There do’s Not look to be any appearance of the Doctor’s being recalled—though he often seems to long for it— Mr. Humphries who was one of General Washingtons aides when he resigned, is appointed Secretary to the Commissioners for Making the Treaties— I shall see the Chevalr. la lucern I expect to day, and if he brings any News of Consequence from America, I will send it by Next post to You—2 Congress had appointed a Committee to do business, and adjourned untill October then to meet at Trenton— Mr. Morris declared his Intention to Resign, and a Board of Treasury is to take up his department—

As you will Certainly be here in the Course of a few weeks, perhaps it may be as well to leave the final settlement of your account alone untill you Come—and in the Mean time I will prepare a State of it for your Inspection—

Mr. Jay is appointed Secretary for Foreign affairs— M. Ridley is Now here and returns to England in a few days, he informs Me I am Indebted to you 377 livres 5 sols, which I shall pay you when we meet— Commodore Jones is still here—

I am Very truly / Dear Sir— / Your affet

Thos Barclay

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mr. Adams at the Hague—”; endorsed: “Mr Barclay / 1. Aug. 1784.” Filmed at 1 Aug. 1783.


Dr. Edward Bancroft returned to France on the same vessel that carried the Chevalier de La Luzerne (William Emmett O’Donnell, Chevalier de La Luzerne, Bruges, 1938, p. 248).


Anne César, Chevalier de La Luzerne, 287 French minister to the United States since 1779, took leave of Congress in a 21 April 1784 letter to the president, despite not having received a formal letter of recall from the Comte de Vergennes. He embarked for France a month later and reached Paris on 29 July. Not until early 1788 would Congress receive a formal notice of his recall, and then it was after La Luzerne’s appointment as ambassador to Great Britain (same, p. 248–249; Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 6:794–795).

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 ).