Papers of John Adams, volume 5

From Elbridge Gerry

To Elbridge Gerry

From James Lovell, 8 December 1777 Lovell, James JA


From James Lovell, 8 December 1777 Lovell, James Adams, John
From James Lovell
Dear Sir Decr. 8th. 1777

Since my signing a letter to you with Colo. Lee1 an excellent opportunity of sending to France presented; and the Colonel in his way home has carried a Packet to Baltimore, which will go to the Commissioners in a swift sailing armed Vessel.

No: 1 contained

Triplicates of Letters dated Octr. 31st. Novr. 1st. and Novr 8th2

No. 2

A Letter of Decr. 1st. and Resolves respecting Frenchmen3

Sept. 8. 13. 14. 14

Oct 4. 10. 13. 21

Novr. 7. 7 14. 15. 7

No. 3

Letter of Decr. 2d. with a Commission for F. L. A. with a Scheme of Genl. Conway's approved by the marine Committee.4

Resolve to recall S. D:5 Appointment of J. A.—Do. Carmichael 3 Resolves and Instructions Novr. 22. One of Novr. 10 for Importation of Sundries. One of Decr. 3 Loan 2,000,000

Triplicate of Sepr. 10 Interest on Loan Certificates

Triplicate of Octr. 18. respecting Georgia giving commission to raise men in France.

Triplicate of Octr. 21 Power over commercial Agents6


Duplicate Letter to S. D. conveying Resolve of Recall.

Letter of Decr. 8th. to S. D. directing his Return to America.

I now send you copies of No. 3 except Conways scheme and the triplicate Resolves, which you will carry yourself or seal and forward agreable to the request mentioned by Colo. Lee Decr. 3d.

It is not possible for me to send Copies of No. 2 by this opportunity. I will send them by way of Sth. Carolina or Boston shortly.

You will make use of the letter to the marine Board herewith sent,7 when you think proper; and you will, in a joint consultation with the Gentlemen of that Board, make every thing convenient and agreable to yourself.

Having opposed several attempts of Jemmy 8 to do away the resolve of Recall, I found a necessity to offer something this day myself, as no limited time had been fixed to Dean's Powers. I send a letter for you to seal.9 I think I have spread as small a Plaister as possible for a great Sore.

Mr. Dana is a most thorough and active member; has been put into the Board of War, marine Committee, and afterward put at the head of the Treasury by the sollicitation of the members of that Board at Duanes Departure; upon which Mr. Dana was excused from the Board of War. Mr. Geary is yet at Head Quarters. We hope there was a general Engagement last friday.10

Mr. Read11 has refused to go a Commissioner to the western Frontiers. He is greatly chagrined at not being put upon the new Board of war, after his name had been mentioned to Genl. Washington.

If you should refuse to go over the water, which I pray you may not, He or Livingston would be chosen.

Excuse me to Mr. S. Adams. I am obliged to sit steadily in Congress to make up 9 Colonies,12 and I have a deal of drudgerey to go through from a deficiency of Clerks.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honourable John Adams Esqr Boston”; docketed: “Letter Mr Lovell to me. contg. a List of the Papers he had sent me”; in another hand: “Dec 8 1777”; additional and much later docketing.


That of 3 Dec. (above).


Letters from the Committee for Foreign Affairs of 31 Oct. and 8 Nov. are in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 2:421–423. The letter dated 1 Nov. has not been found, but it was apparently a letter of introduction for Col. Ewen [Ewing?] (Lovell to JA, 21 Dec., second letter, below).


The letter dated 1 Dec. is in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 2:437–438. All the resolutions respecting French officers 352are in the Journals on the dates listed, except that none was found for 21 Oct. The repetition of dates signifies that more than one resolve was adopted on that day ( JCC , 8:721–722, 740, 743–744; 9:765, 792, 799, 875–878, 902–905, 930–931). The resolutions provided for pay to various French officers for serving in the Continental Army and, for those returning to France, travel expenses to and from the United States.


Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 2:438–441. “F. L. A.” means Franklin, Lee, and Adams. In the letter of 2 Dec. it was suggested that American frigates use Mauritius as a base from which to cruise off the Coromandel coast to prey upon India's internal trade and British ships headed for China. Prizes would be sold in Mauritius. In the letter Conway's name is not associated with this scheme, but it is the only proposal that would have involved the approval of the Marine Committee.


The recall of Silas Deane was voted on 21 Nov. ( JCC , 9:946–947).


All the resolves mentioned are in the Journals (same, 9:952, 883, 989–990; 8:730–731; 9:821, 825).


Henry Laurens to the president of the Navy Board in Boston (JA to Committee for Foreign Affairs, 24 Dec., below).


James Duane of New York, one of Deane's supporters (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members , 2:582, note 2).


Not identified.


See Elbridge Gerry to JA, 8 Dec. (above).


Joseph Reed was appointed on 20 Nov. one of three commissioners to go to Fort Pitt; his refusal to accept caused George Clymer to be chosen as a replacement ( JCC , 9:944–945, 1001, 1018). Reed had been elected to the congress in Sept. but did not take his seat until 1778 (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members , 2:lxiv; 3:lix).


Since Massachusetts had authorized any two of its delegates to cast a vote for the state (Amended Credentials, 4 Feb., above), and Gerry was temporarily absent, Lovell's presence for voting purposes was essential. The reference to “nine” probably means that with absences and tie votes in other delegations, effective votes by nine states were about all that could be expected, and nine votes were required for important legislation. In late 1777 Delaware had no representation, and for a few weeks between mid-November and mid-December, New Jersey had none either. In this period the Virginia delegation alone tied on three occasions (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members , 2:xl–xlii, liv–lvi; JCC , 9:970, 980, 1010). On the use of the term “colonies” instead of “states,” see Jefferson to JA, 16 May, note 2 (above).