Papers of John Adams, volume 17

Descriptive List of Illustrations

Guide to Editorial Apparatus

xix Introduction

On 2 June 1785, John Adams reported to John Jay that on the afternoon of the previous day he had been ushered “into the Kings Closet, the Door was Shut, and I was left with his Majesty.”1 Thus began perhaps the most dramatic event in Adams’ diplomatic career, his formal audience with King George III that inaugurated his tenure as the first U.S. minister to Great Britain. Adams’ account indicates that the encounter was an emotional experience for both men. George III could not have been happy, despite his courtesy, at receiving as a diplomat a former rebel and signer of the Declaration of Independence. But for him, receiving new diplomats was routine, a task he had performed hundreds of times. For Adams, however, the audience marked the culmination of the American Revolution even more certainly than had his signing of the definitive peace treaty on 3 September 1783, an act he thought anticlimactic at best.2 The provincial lawyer-turned-diplomat had staked his future on the Revolution’s success, and now he stood before his former monarch as the minister from the sovereign and independent United States. In 1779 he had gone to Europe with commissions as minister plenipotentiary to negotiate an Anglo-American treaty of peace and another of commerce. In 1781 Congress, at the behest of France, made him one of three commissioners to negotiate the peace and annulled his commission to conclude a commercial agreement. Adams always believed that his two 1779 commissions, particularly the latter, had made him the de facto minister to Great Britain.3 Congress’ action, Adams wrote to Elbridge Gerry in late April 1785, marked “my Coat with a Stain for Conduct which merited a Statue, and I have been from that moment determined, it Should be wiped out.”4 By its 1785 xxcommission Congress reversed the insult to Adams’ reputation and restored him to the position that was rightfully his own.

Volume 17 of the Papers of John Adams chronicles eight months of Adams’ diplomatic career. It was a period of intense effort and multiple responsibilities. While Adams took up his new duties as minister to Great Britain, he remained minister to the Netherlands and one of the joint commissioners charged with negotiating commercial treaties with the nations of Europe and North Africa. The letters and documents touch on a wide range of subjects, from the implementation of the Anglo-American peace treaty to negotiations with the Barbary States; from bankruptcy in the eighteenth-century financial world to the ordination of bishops for the American Episcopal Church; from trade negotiations with England to the strengthening of Congress’ power under the Articles of Confederation.

Most of Adams’ correspondents in these pages are familiar from earlier volumes. This is, however, the first volume in which there is a substantial correspondence with Thomas Jefferson. Over forty letters were exchanged. Many of them dealt with the commissioners’ business, but they also touched on the two men’s lives in Paris and London, and they are supplemented by the seventeen letters for the same period exchanged between Jefferson and Abigail Adams.5 Numerous letters also passed between John Adams and Jay, the majority by the former, as Adams sought to keep Jay informed of his efforts to promote American interests. Also noteworthy is Adams’ correspondence with John Jebb and Philip Mazzei regarding republican government. But through it all, Adams’ letters retain a candor that sets them apart from those of his contemporaries. He lays out with great clarity the problems he faced and his efforts to resolve them. Once again the reader is able to share his optimism when things went well, his despair when they did not, and his growing frustration as it became clear that the presence of an American minister in London did not guarantee progress in resolving the issues that remained between the United States and Great Britain.


When Congress appointed John Adams minister to Great Britain it intended to name a new minister to the Netherlands. But several efforts to do so failed, with the result that Adams continued as the xxiU.S. minister to the States General until his return to America in 1788.6 When the States General learned that Adams had assumed his post in London without presenting a formal recall to the States, however, it caused considerable consternation. The matter was ultimately settled amicably through an exchange of letters between Adams and Hendrik Fagel, secretary to the States General, facilitated by C. W. F. Dumas, then acting as chargé d’affaires in Adams’ absence from The Hague.7

Adams’ new position required that the furnishings from the Hôtel des États-Unis at The Hague be transferred to the new legation at No. 8 Grosvenor Square, London. He sent instructions regarding the removal of the goods to the loan consortium, which was to oversee the operation; to Dumas, who, with his wife, Marie, was to superintend the packing at the legation; and to Christian Lotter, Adams’ former servant, who was to assist with packing and accompany the goods to London. Unfortunately misunderstandings over the shared responsibility made a relatively simple task the cause of considerable acrimonious correspondence.8 Lotter and Adams’ property finally reached London on or about 27 June 1785.9

Adams’ most important duty as minister remained the management of the Dutch-American loans raised by the consortium composed of Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje. Of particular importance was the loan raised in 1784, for which he received Congress’ ratified copy in late April 1785.10 The funds obtained from the loans remained vital to the financial well-being of the United States, and a portion of the proceeds would finance negotiations with the Barbary States. This responsibility took on new urgency following the bankruptcy of De la Lande & Fynje, which Adams learned of in late June from the remaining members of the consortium. The firm’s failure resulted from excessive involvement in trade with the United States at a time when the American market was glutted with foreign merchandise. Adams immediately notified the Board of Treasury so that it could seize the firm’s assets in the United States in order to protect the proceeds from the consortium’s loan in its xxiipossession.11 Fortunately the bankruptcy, while distressing to Adams, did not materially effect the funds available to the United States and had no lasting consequences.

As de facto chargé d’affaires, Dumas was responsible for safeguarding American interests in the Netherlands. In that capacity he was present, with William Short, on 10 September when the Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Thulemeier, Prussian minister to the Netherlands, signed the Prussian-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce.12 He was also the principal source of information on events in the Netherlands for both Adams and Congress. Indeed, his letters to Congress were sent open for Adams to read before he forwarded them to America. Of particular importance were his reports on the threatened Austro-Dutch war and the progress of the ongoing conflict between the pro-French Patriot Party and the pro-British Orangists, partisans of the stadholder, William V. It was from Dumas that Adams learned that through French mediation the Treaty of Fontainebleau had resolved the Austro-Dutch dispute and, much to the delight of the Patriots, a Franco-Dutch treaty of alliance had been concluded.13


John Adams’ appointment to London created problems for him as minister to the Netherlands, but it also affected his efforts as joint commissioner. He remained a member, with Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, of the joint commission established in May 1784 to negotiate commercial treaties with the nations of Europe and North Africa. With Adams in London and Franklin and Jefferson at Passy and Paris, respectively, there were problems in coordinating their activities. This was true with respect to the final adjustments made to and the signing of the Prussian-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce, but it also was evident with regard to the proposed Anglo-American commercial treaty and, in particular, the proposed negotiations with the Barbary States.


One of the objectives of Adams’ mission to London was to create a stable Anglo-American commercial relationship that was truly reciprocal. But it was as joint commissioner, rather than minister to Great Britain, that he would undertake to do so by negotiating an Anglo-American commercial treaty, taking over the task from his colleagues, who, with Adams’ approval, had offered to go to London in December 1784 for negotiations.14 Franklin and Jefferson prepared a draft treaty, largely based on treaties already proposed to various states, including the nearly completed treaty with Prussia, which they sent him in early July 1785.15 After making minor changes in his colleagues’ draft, Adams enclosed it in a 29 July letter to the Marquis of Carmarthen, the British foreign minister.16 He heard nothing further about the treaty until 3 April 1786 when Carmarthen’s undersecretary informed Adams that because the original draft concerned matters other than trade, a new draft focusing on commerce should be prepared.17 A new version was accordingly drafted by Adams and Jefferson and submitted to Carmarthen the following day, but nothing resulted from their effort.18

Of more immediate interest to the commissioners in April 1785 was the completion of the Prussian-American treaty that they had negotiated by correspondence with the Prussian minister at The Hague, the Baron von Thulemeier.19 In early May, Thulemeier sent them the welcome news that the treaty had been approved and requested them to prepare a copy for signature. The final copy, with minor adjustments, was sent to the Prussian minister on 26 May by Franklin and Jefferson, since Adams had left for London.20 The only issues remaining before the final signature of the treaty by Thulemeier at The Hague on 10 September were the mechanics of having it signed by four people in different locations and questions about the exchange of French and English copies.21


But the most pressing of the commissioners’ concerns in April 1785 was the prospect of negotiations with the Barbary States: Algiers, Morocco, Tripoli, and Tunis. Morocco’s capture of the brig Betsy in October 1784 led the commissioners to write Congress regarding the need for such negotiations and also about their lack of funds to finance such an undertaking and the inability of the commissioners themselves to travel to North Africa.22 In the meantime they collected information on European negotiations with the Barbary States, and in April 1785 they received a long report from the Marquis de Lafayette on such negotiations and the tribute paid by European nations to obtain agreements and stop piratical depredations on their ships.23 But in March, even before receiving the commissioners’ letters, Congress acted, sending new commissions and instructions for the Barbary negotiations that authorized the commissioners to appoint an agent to conduct the actual negotiations and to use $80,000 from the Dutch loans to finance the undertaking.24

The commissioners did not learn of Congress’ action until the end of May, and the issue soon took on new urgency with the capture of two American ships by Algiers and reports that the Algerians had declared war on the United States.25 Letters from the Americans captured by the Algerians provided an additional impetus for action.26 Before his return to the United States, Franklin set down the points to be included in a treaty with the Barbary States, which Jefferson expanded and sent to Adams in early August.27 From Congress the commissioners had learned that John Lamb, a Connecticut merchant and shipowner with experience in the North African coast, was bringing copies of Congress’ resolutions and was a suitable person to undertake the negotiations. Lamb’s arrival was delayed, however, with the result that in early September, Adams and Jefferson determined that they would send Thomas Barclay, the American consul to France, to conduct the negotiations. The two men then began drafting Barclay’s commission, letter of credence, and instructions as the sole American negotiator. After Lamb arrived at Paris in mid-September the commissioners decided that Barclay xxvwould go only to Morocco, while Lamb would proceed to Algiers, Tripoli, and Tunis. Then it became necessary to draft two new sets of documents and to go through the laborious process of having them signed by Adams in London and Jefferson in Paris. By early October the documents were complete, but neither Barclay nor Lamb reached their destinations until early 1786, and then only Barclay actually negotiated a treaty.28


On 8 April 1785, John Adams was thinking about his possible appointment as minister to Great Britain. That day he wrote to his friend the Dutch minister in London concerning the protocol for introducing a new minister at the British court.29 In fact, Congress had acted on 24 February. Adams first learned of it on the evening of 26 April.30 The news was confirmed on 2 May with the arrival of John Jay’s 18 March letter enclosing his commission, instructions, and letter of credence. In his reply Adams thanked Congress for its confidence and the honor of the appointment, but he noted that the successful execution of his mission would be “no easy Task. I can promise nothing but Industry. the Prospect of Success is far from being encouraging.”31

But Elbridge Gerry, whose letters kept Adams apprised of the proceedings of Congress, informed Adams that his appointment had not been uncontested. Moreover, his critics had accused him of possessing the “Traits of a weak passion” or vanity that would permit “an artful Negotiator” to flatter him “out of important objects.” Incensed by such reflections on his character and abilities, Adams replied in two letters. In the first he made clear his fitness for the task. The second, which for obvious reasons went unsent, was a long paean to vanity as evidence of confidence in one’s own abilities and as a major component in the lives of great men.32


The Adamses immediately began preparations to move from their pleasant home in the Paris suburb of Auteuil to London. There, in July, they would take up residence in the new legation at No. 8 Grosvenor Square.33 Of first importance was sending John Quincy Adams off to America and Harvard. He left on 12 May entrusted with his father’s letters to friends, including one to Benjamin Waterhouse concerning the younger Adams’ education to date, and a scheme for selling Massachusetts whale oil to France.34 John Adams met with the Duke of Dorset, the British ambassador to France, took his leave of the French court, and settled matters with his fellow commissioners, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. When all was finished, Adams, his wife, Abigail, and daughter, Nabby, departed Auteuil by carriage on 20 May for London, amusing themselves on the way by reading Jefferson’s newly published Notes on the State of Virginia. 35 They reached their destination on the 26th and took up temporary residence at the Bath Hotel in Piccadilly.

Adams’ first task upon his arrival was to meet with the Marquis of Carmarthen, the British foreign secretary, to present his commission and arrange for his formal reception by George III. He did so on 27 May in company with his secretary and future son-in-law William Stephens Smith, who reached London the day before the Adamses.36 Smith, however, served as secretary for a relatively short time, leaving London in early August to attend Prussian military maneuvers and not returning until early December. Adams likely rued the day he gave Smith permission to go, particularly in September and October when he was faced with the task of preparing the documents for the Barbary negotiations. What is lacking in the correspondence in this volume is any clear indication of Adams’ opinion of Smith, although he knew that his friends Elbridge Gerry and Rufus King had reservations about Smith at the time of his appointment. Moreover, Charles Storer would inform him in a November letter that Smith had been part of the opposition to Adams’ appointment as minister.37


A London newspaper noted John Adams’ arrival as minister by declaring, “An Ambassador from America!—Good Heavens, what a sound.”38 This likely reflected British public opinion regarding the presence of a minister from the lost American colonies, but Adams’ initial meetings with Carmarthen and his subsequent audiences with the king and queen went well. He knew, however, that a courteous reception did not mean that the issues dividing the United States and Great Britain would be resolved quickly or at all. Indeed, the first six months of Adams’ mission to London as recounted in this volume are a study in frustration because the British government made no substantive response either to his representations respecting the principal objects of his mission—the resolution of outstanding issues from the Anglo-American peace treaty and the normalization of Anglo-American trade—or to the proposed Anglo-American commercial treaty that he offered in his role as one of the American commissioners.

There were two reasons for this. First, the British government doubted the extent of Adams’ powers to negotiate and the Continental Congress’ ability to enforce upon the states the outcome of any negotiations. Dorset initially raised this issue in March concerning the powers of the commissioners and Congress.39 In their reply to Dorset the commissioners indicated that the query had been rendered moot by the appointment of a minister to Great Britain.40 That the British government did not agree became clear when Carmarthen raised the question at his first formal conference with Adams on 17 June. Adams assured Carmarthen of his ample powers and of Congress’ full authority to conduct foreign policy, but his assurances apparently had little effect.41 By late September, in a letter to Carmarthen, Adams found it necessary to again refute the British view but with no more effect than his earlier effort.42

The second reason that the British refused to negotiate was that Anglo-American trade had returned to its prewar channels and was regulated by the existing Navigation Act governing trade with foreign nations and, under the terms of the American Manifest Act of 1783, by Orders in Council.43 Since the American states proved themselves unable to regulate trade in their own favor, there was no xxviiireason to negotiate a commercial agreement that Congress might or might not be able to enforce upon the states.

While Adams sought to refute British doubts about Congress’ powers, and to a degree its legitimacy, he too had reservations about the effect of the Articles of Confederation on the conduct of foreign policy. There is considerable correspondence between Adams and his American friends concerning the problems posed by the Articles, drawing him into the growing national debate of the nature and powers of the central government. In earlier volumes the concerns had been over Congress’ need for an independent source of revenue and its ability to regulate trade. Now the debate centered on Article 9, which granted Congress the exclusive power to negotiate treaties “provided that no treaty of commerce shall be made whereby the legislative power of the respective states shall be restrained from imposing such imposts and duties on foreigners as their own people are subjected to, or from prohibiting the exportation or importation of any species of goods or commodities whatsoever.” The power retained by the states rendered doubtful the viability of any most favored nation clause that might be included in a commercial treaty. The issue was first raised in an April 1785 letter from Storer and led Adams, thereafter, to advocate altering the article and to comment on it in letters to Tristram Dalton and Jay.44

John Adams’ principal responsibility as minister under Congress’ instructions was to resolve the issues remaining from the Anglo-American peace treaty. These included the British evacuation of the frontier posts, compensation for or restoration of property—notably slaves—taken when British forces evacuated the United States, the payment of prewar debts, and the determination of the date on which hostilities ended in American waters. Of these matters, the question of the debts was the most important from the British point of view, and, in fact, Adams’ first official act as the American minister was a conference with Scottish merchants over how an agreement over their payment might be achieved.45 These issues were the subject of Adams’ conferences with Carmarthen on 17 June and 20 October, and with William Pitt on 24 August.46 But his representations there, as well as his proposed convention on the cessation of hostilities and his November memorial on the evacuation of the xxixfrontier posts, brought no discernible results.47 Indeed Adams’ attitude after six months in London can perhaps be best summed up by his comment to Jay regarding the memorial. He would demand the posts’ evacuation, but “it will not be done . . . and I shall have no Answer. They have not the Courage to refuse, any more than to comply. I have no Answer to any of my Letters or Memorials to the Ministry nor do I expect any, before next Spring. perhaps not then.”48

But for the United States, the management of Anglo-American trade was of paramount importance, more important even than the settlement of the issues over the peace treaty. Adams’ inability as minister to obtain any modification of British commercial policy toward the United States and as commissioner to even begin substantive negotiations for a commercial treaty clearly indicated the British attitude toward the United States and the ultimate futility of his mission. Virtually all of the letters to Adams from America, particularly those from Massachusetts, touched in one way or another on the disastrous effect that the lack of a treaty and the inability of Congress or the individual states to counter British discriminatory trade regulations was having on the American economy. Of particular interest are letters from the merchants Tristram Dalton, Stephen Higginson, and Jonathan Jackson,49 but also important are those from Samuel Adams, Elbridge Gerry, and William Gordon.50 They commented on the large number of British ships carrying British goods in Boston Harbor, and the dearth of cargoes for American ships all because of the British Navigation Act and prohibitive duties, particularly on American whale oil. In his letters to America, Adams stressed the need for countervailing regulations by the United States, but he also emphasized the general support in Great Britain for the Navigation Act and the likelihood that the Pitt ministry would do nothing that ran counter to public opinion. As an example, he sent a long account of the House of Commons’ debate over the Newfoundland Trade Bill, which was intended to ensure that Newfoundland, unable to supply itself, received adequate provisions. Despite the easy availability and low cost of supplies from xxxAmerica, the question of American ships carrying American produce was never raised. The only disagreement was whether British ships could carry American produce or whether Newfoundland should be supplied by British ships from British possessions.51

Despite his inability to resolve the issues of most consequence to the United States, not all of Adams’ efforts as minister came to naught. In October he presented a memorial to Carmarthen concerning the plight of Richard Low, John Lyddiard, and other Americans pressed into service on Royal Navy warships and not released at the war’s end. Carmarthen forwarded the memorial to the Admiralty, which soon indicated that it would release the Americans.52 In October Adams also presented to the foreign minister correspondence between Capt. Henry Edwin Stanhope, a British naval officer, and Gov. James Bowdoin of Massachusetts. Stanhope had been assaulted on the streets of Boston by a former sailor under his command, leading to an acrimonious exchange between Stanhope and Bowdoin, which when presented to Congress, led to a resolution and orders to Adams to raise the matter with the British government. This matter too was submitted by Carmarthen to the Admiralty, which admonished Stanhope for his actions and recalled him to England.53 Richard Henry Lee and Jay, probably because of Adams’ 1784 efforts to facilitate the ordination of Mason Locke Weems, drew him into the American Episcopal Church’s effort to have its own bishops ordained. This led to a meeting between Adams and John Moore, the archbishop of Canterbury, in January 1786.54 He also did a final service for his colleague Benjamin Franklin when he arranged to have his property exempted from customs duties when he stopped in England on his return to America.55

As November 1785 ended, little had changed since John Adams had reached London in May. The Anglo-American commercial relationship remained overwhelmingly to the British advantage. The issues arising from the peace treaty remained unresolved. Adams was increasingly frustrated at the lack of progress and pessimistic about xxxiany change in British policies toward the United States. His experiences led him to conclude that less depended upon Britain and more on a change in American attitudes and policy that would permit the new nation to dispense with an “Impatience of Temper a restlessness of Disposition” that prevented it from presenting a united front in support of its interests. To Jay he declared that “it is the earnest Wish, of all who desire our Prosperity, that this dangerous Spirit may be checked, as far as it can be, consistently with Reason and Justice.”56


During the eight months covered by this volume, John Adams used Letterbooks 19 and 23, which correspond to reels 107 and 111 of the Adams Papers Microfilms. The first has been fully described in a previous volume.57 The second, labeled on its spine, “Letter / Book / No. 1 / 1785,” begins with Adams’ 26 May letter to the Marquis of Carmarthen announcing his arrival in London. Chronologically the final Letterbook copy is of Carmarthen’s letter of 28 February 1786. But in fact the final copy in the Letterbook was done by John Quincy Adams in 1834 when he transcribed his father’s 10 June 1785 letter to Hendrik Fagel before sending a file copy in his father’s hand to “Princess Victoria of England.” The letters not in John Adams’ hand are at the beginning of the Letterbook mostly in the hand of William Stephens Smith, secretary to the legation. Following Smith’s departure in August to visit the Prussian military maneuvers, a variety of hands appear, including those of Charles Storer, Abigail Adams, Abigail Adams 2d, and even Paul R. Randall, the secretary to John Lamb, who was charged with negotiating treaties with Algiers and Tunis.


No substantive changes have been made in the editorial method since 2007, when the editors undertook a comprehensive review of the project’s editorial practices that resulted in significant changes. For a statement of the policy as then determined, see the Papers xxxii of John Adams, 14:xxix–xxxvii. Those interested in following the evolution of the editorial method from the beginnings of the editorial project should consult the Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, 1:lii–lxii, and the Papers of John Adams, 1:xxxi–xxxv; 9:xx–xxiii; 11:xx–xxi.


The Massachusetts Historical Society continues its efforts to make Adams family materials available to scholars and the public online. The Packard Humanities Institute contributes significantly to all Adams Papers’ digital projects. Four digital resources of particular interest to those who use the Papers of John Adams volumes are the Adams Papers Digital Editions; The Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive; The Diaries of John Quincy Adams: A Digital Collection; and the Online Adams Catalog. All are available through the Historical Society’s website at

The Adams Papers Digital Editions, cosponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Harvard University Press, and the Massachusetts Historical Society, provides searchable text files of the 41 Adams Papers volumes published prior to 2010 (excluding the portraits volumes). The Adams Papers volumes are supplemented by a comprehensive index prepared by the Adams Papers editors. The digital edition is intended not to replace the letterpress edition but rather to supplement it by widening the access of scholars and the public to the wealth of Adams material included therein.

The Adams Family Papers Electronic Archive contains images and text files of all of the correspondence between John and Abigail Adams owned by the Massachusetts Historical Society as well as John Adams’ diaries and autobiography. The files are completely searchable and can also be browsed by date.

The Diaries of John Quincy Adams Digital Collection provides images of John Quincy Adams’ entire 51-volume Diary, which he kept for nearly seventy years. The images can be searched by date or browsed by diary volume.

The Online Adams Catalog represents a fully searchable electronic database of all known Adams documents at the Massachusetts Historical Society and other public and private repositories. This digital conversion of the Adams Papers control file was xxxiiisupported by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and the Massachusetts Historical Society, and was initiated by Packard Humanities Institute funds in 2009. The Online Adams Catalog allows the public online access to a database of over 110,000 records of documents related to the Adams family. Cross-reference links are supplied for at least 30 percent of the records in the catalog to the online, printed, and microfilm editions, or websites of the appropriate repository, including the Adams Papers Digital Editions, the Adams Family Papers Electronic Archive, and the 608 reels of the Adams Papers Microfilms. Each record contains information on the author, recipient, date of the document, and the location of the original, if known.

Also of value to users of the Papers of John Adams is the online catalog of the John Adams Library at the Boston Public Library. The catalog includes a record of the marginalia entered by John Adams in his books as well as a growing number of digitized volumes. For additional information, see

The letters printed in this volume chronicle John Adams’ final two months at Auteuil, his move to London, and his activities as the first American minister to Great Britain, minister to the Netherlands, and joint commissioner to negotiate commercial treaties with the nations of Europe and North Africa. It is not, however, the only documentary source for Adams’ life and times. The 332 documents printed and 192 documents omitted should be used in conjunction with the documents for the period appearing in the Adams Family Correspondence, 6:81–477. Abigail’s letters deal with her move to London, her involvement in securing the house at 8 Grosvenor Square for the new legation, her own audience with Queen Charlotte, the public reception of her husband as minister to Great Britain, and her daily life as wife of the minister. Nabby’s letters, particularly those to her brother John Quincy, comment on her new life in London and the people she encountered, her rejection of Royall Tyler, and the introduction of her future husband, William Stephens Smith. John Quincy Adams’ correspondence, particularly his letters to his sister, depicts his final days in France, voyage to America, reception by his father’s friends in New York and Boston, and the opening of his studies for entrance into Harvard. John Quincy’s Diary covers much the same material, but often in more detail. John Adams’ Diary and Autobiography, 3:175–181, provides an xxxivaccount of his taking leave of the French court and the visits he received and returned while in London.

Gregg L. Lint June 2013


To John Jay, 2 June 1785, below.


Vol. 15:250.


Vol. 14:238–245.


To Elbridge Gerry, 28 April, below.


See AFC , 6:index.


Vol. 16:566.


To C. W. F. Dumas, 11 May, 13 June; from Dumas, 7, 8, 21 June; to Hendrik Fagel, 10, 20 June; from Fagel, 14, 17 June; Memorial to the States General, 13 June, all below.


To the consortium, 29 May; from the consortium, 17 June; from Christian Lotter, 7 June; from C. W. F. Dumas, 17 June, and note 1, all below.


AFC , 6:197.


To John Jay, 24 April, and note 1, below.


From Wilhem & Jan Willink and Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, 28 June, 12 July; to Wilhem & Jan Willink and Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, 2 July; from De la Lande & Fynje, 1 July; to the Board of Treasury, 2 July, all below. In the notes, references to the “consortium” or “loan consortium” prior to 28 June refer to the three-member consortium and thereafter to the two remaining firms.


The American commissioners to William Short, 5 Aug., and note 1, below.


To John Jay, 24 Nov., first letter, and note 2, below.


Vol. 16:193–202, 207–209, 446–447. While JA had plenipotentiary powers as minister to Great Britain, his instructions were devoted almost wholly to negotiations regarding issues remaining from the Anglo-American peace treaty (same, p. 529, 548–549).


From Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, 8 July, below.


To the Marquis of Carmarthen, 29 July, below.


From William Fraser, 3 April 1786 (Adams Papers).


JA and Thomas Jefferson to the Marquis of Carmarthen, 4 April 1786 ( Dipl. Corr., 1783–1789 , 1:602–604).


Vol. 16:373–420.


From the Baron von Thulemeier, 3 May, 17 June 1785; to Thulemeier, 11 May; Thulemeier to the commissioners, 3 May, and note 4, all below.


Prussian-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce, 10 Sept., calendared; from William Short, 23 Aug., 5 Sept., all below.


Vol. 16:423, 471.


The Marquis de Lafayette to the commissioners, 8 April, below.


Vol. 16:559–565.


From Thomas Jefferson, 6 Aug., and note 3, below.


From Richard O’Bryen, Isaac Stephens, and Zaccheus Coffin, 27 Aug.; to O’Bryen, 6 Oct., both below.


From Thomas Jefferson, 6 Aug., and note 1, below.


Barbary Negotiations, 12 Sept. – 11 Oct., below.


To the Baron Lynden van Blitterswyck, 8 April, below.


To Samuel Mather, 26 April, and note 3, below.


To John Jay, 4 May, below.


To Elbridge Gerry, 28 April, and note 4, 2 May, both below. Gerry’s letter and previous warnings that JA had received concerning the ill effects of his writings on some members of Congress likely played a role in the care with which he drafted the accounts of his audiences with King George III on 1 June and with Queen Charlotte on 9 June, and his decision to encode both reports, although he would later send the uncoded original to Gerry. Insofar as John Jay was concerned JA’s accounts of his initial efforts in London were evidence that he had “been in a Situation that required much Circumspection—I think you have acquitted yourself in a manner that does you Honor” (To Jay, 2 and 10 June, both below; from Jay, 26 Aug., Adams Papers; to Gerry, 6 July, below).


John Adams’ Lease for the American Legation at No. 8 Grosvenor Square, [9 June], below.


To Benjamin Waterhouse, 23 April; from the Marquis de Lafayette, 8 May, and note 2, both below.


To Thomas Jefferson, 22 May, and note 2, below.


John Adams’ Memorandum of a Meeting with the Marquis of Carmarthen, 27 May; to John Jay, 29 May, both below.


Vol. 16:544; from WSS, 4 Aug.; to WSS, 5 Aug.; from Charles Storer, 23 Nov., all below.


London Morning Herald and Daily Advertiser, 8 June.


Vol. 16:577–578.


Commissioners to the Duke of Dorset, 16 May, below.


To John Jay, 17 June, below.


To the Marquis of Carmarthen, 26 Sept., below.


Vol. 15:33–34.


From Charles Storer, 13 April; to Tristram Dalton, 26 April; to John Jay, 8 May, all below.


To John Jay, 6 June, below.


To John Jay, 17 June, 25 Aug., 21 Oct., all below.


To the Marquis of Carmarthen, 14 and 27 July; Memorial to the Marquis of Carmarthen on the Frontier Posts, [30 Nov.], all below.


To John Jay, 24 Nov., first letter, below.


From Tristram Dalton, 11, 19 April, 21 July; from Stephen Higginson, 8 Aug.; from Jonathan Jackson, 10 Aug.; to Higginson, 4 Oct.; to Jackson, 1 Oct., all below.


From Samuel Adams, 2 July; from Elbridge Gerry, 25 April, 14 July, 3 Aug.; from William Gordon, 8 April, all below.


To John Jay, 25 Oct., below.


Memorial to the Marquis of Carmarthen Concerning Richard Low, 17 Oct, and notes; to John Jay, 21 Oct., and note 2, both below.


From James Bowdoin, 10 Aug.; from Samuel Adams, 16 Aug.; to John Jay, 21 Oct., and note 3, all below.


From Richard Henry Lee, 24 Oct., and note 1; from John Jay, 1 Nov., third letter; from William White, 26 Nov., all below.


To William Fraser, 18 July, below.


To John Jay, 24 Nov., second letter, below.


Vols. 13:xxii–xxiii; 16:xxxi–xxxii.