Diary of John Adams, volume 4
Commissioners to Jonathan Williams Sir Passi May 25. 1778.
Your Favours of May 11. and 18. are now before Us.2 We shall this day acquaint Captain Jones, how far it is in our Power to comply with his desires and in what manner.
Your Letter of the Eighteenth informs Us, of a dispute between Mr. Schweighausser and you, concerning the disposal of the Rangers Prizes, and you are still of Opinion that you have Authority to interfere in the disposal of Prizes, and that you should be chargeable with neglect of Duty, if you did not, untill your former Orders are recalled.3
The Necessities of our Country, demand the Utmost Frugality, 115which can never be obtained, without the utmost Simplicity, in the management of her Affairs. And as Congress have Authorised Mr. William Lee, to superintend the commercial Affairs in general, and he has appointed Mr. Schweighausser, and as your Authority is under the Commissioners at Paris only: We think it, prudent and necessary for the public Service to revoke, and We do hereby revoke, all the Powers and Authorities heretofore granted to you, by the Commissioners Plenipotentiary of the United States of America at Paris or any of them, to the End, that hereafter, the Management of the Affairs maritime and commercial, of America, may be under one sole Direction, that of Mr. Schweighausser, within his district. As to the Merchandizes and Stores of every kind, which you have on hand at present, We leave it to your Choice, either to ship them to America yourself, or to deliver them over to Mr. Schweighausser, to be shipped by him.
It is not from any Prejudice to You, Mr. Williams, for whom We have a great respect and Esteem, but merely from a desire to save the public Money, to prevent the Clashing of Claims and Interests, and to avoid Confusion and delays, that We have taken this Step.
We have further, to repeat our request, that you would lay your Accounts before Us, as soon as possible, because untill We have them, We can never know, either the State of our Finances, or how far the Orders of Congress for Stores and Merchandizes to be shipped to America, have been fullfilled. We are Sir with great respect, your most obedient, humble Servants
B. Franklin, Arthur Lee, John Adams. Jonathan Williams Esqr. Nantes.