Papers of John Adams, volume 18

To Isaac Smith Sr.

From Matthew Robinson-Morris

211 From John Adams to the Marquis of Carmarthen, 13 March 1786 Adams, John Carmarthen, the Marquis of
To the Marquis of Carmarthen
Grosvenor Square March 13: 1786. 1

Mr Adams presents his Compliments to the Right Honourable the Marquis of Carmarthen and acquaints his Lordship that Mr Jefferson, Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States at the Court of Versailles is now here and as they have something to communicate to his Lordship relative to the Affairs of the United States, they request a Time when they may have the Honour to pay their Respects to his Lordship, before the Levy on Wednesday.2

LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 112.


Thomas Jefferson, on his first—and only—visit to England, arrived in London on 11 March and took up residence at No. 14 Golden Square in Soho, a short walk from the American legation ( AFC , 7:156). In a letter of 12 March, Jefferson informed John Jay of his arrival and that he had seen JA on the evening of the 11th and again the following day (Jefferson, Papers , 9:325–327). The only difficulty resulting from Jefferson’s arrival was that he had forgotten to bring a letter of credit from Ferdinand Grand, leading JA, on 17 March, to write to the London banker Louis Tessier, arranging for Jefferson to draw “Small sums of Money for his Expences here” (LbC, APM Reel 112).

Jefferson came in response to JA’s 21 Feb. letter, above, wherein his presence was requested because of JA’s seemingly promising exchanges with Tripoli’s ambassador in London, and the possibility of completing the Portuguese-American commercial treaty. But, as JA indicates in this letter, and Jefferson in his 12 March letter to Jay, the two men, in their role as joint commissioners, also had business with the British government. JA had submitted a draft Anglo-American commercial treaty to Carmarthen on 29 July 1785 but had never received a substantive response. Now the time to conclude an agreement was growing short because the joint commission to negotiate an Anglo-American treaty was limited to “a Term not exceeding two years” and would expire on 12 May 1786 (vols. 16:196, 207–209; 17:225–236, 280–282). For the result of the commissioners’ representation to Carmarthen, see their letters to Carmarthen of 4 April and to John Jay of 25 April, both below.


Jefferson was presented to King George III at the levee on Wednesday, 15 March ( Jefferson’s Memorandum Books , 1:614).