Papers of John Adams, volume 6

Jonathan Trumbull to the Commissioners, 29 May 1778 Trumbull, Jonathan First Joint Commission at Paris JA


Jonathan Trumbull to the Commissioners, 29 May 1778 Trumbull, Jonathan First Joint Commission at Paris Adams, John
Jonathan Trumbull to the Commissioners
Gentlemen Hartford May 29th. 1778

This will be handed to you by Capt. Robert Niles (Commander of the Schooner Spy own'd by this State) and has in Charge Dispatches from the Honorable Continental Congress which I was desir'd to forward Imediately to you, hope he may have a Good Passage, and Arive Safe.1 The Article of Lead is much wanted in this State and would desire that you would putt as much on Board, the Spy as Capt. Niles shall Judge Suffecient to take on Board, to putt her in Trim for Sailing and Supply him with Cash Suffecient for his Disbursments during his Stay in France, and One hundred and Twenty Four pounds Lawfull Money, which I have Agreed to advance for Capt. Niles and his Mate, also as much more as will pay Each of his Seamen One Months pay, the Amount must Refer you to Capt. Niles.2 I am, with great Esteem and Consideration Gentlemen Your most Obedient most hble Servant

Jonth; Trumbull

RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers) addressed: “The Honorable Commissioners of the United States of America at Paris. Per Packet Capt Robt Niles. Commander.”; franked: “On Public Service Jonth; Trumbull”; docketed in an unknown hand: “Jon. Trumbull to Commrs. 29 May 1778. by Capt Niles (who came in 22. Days).”


The Marine Committee, in a letter of 5 May, had requested Trumbull to prepare the Spy “to carry dispatches to France.” These were the ratified copies of the Franco-American treaties received by Trumbull in a letter from the Committee for Foreign Affairs dated 19 May (Charles Oscar Paullin, ed., Outletters of the Continental Marine Committee and Board of Admiralty, 2 vols., N.Y., 1914, 1:235; MHS, Colls. , 7th ser., 2 [1902]:234; see also Foreign Affairs Committee to [Jesse] Brown, in Burnett, ed., Letters of Members , 3:258–259, and note 3). On the morning of 3 July the Spy reached Brest, and the first set of the ratifications to arrive in France was immediately sent to Paris, where it was received on the 8 th (Thomas Simpson to the Commissioners, 3 July, below; JA to James Lovell, 9 July, calendared below).

JA, who informed Arthur Lee of the newly arrived ratifications in a letter of 8 July (MH-H: Lee Papers), apparently added one of the sets that arrived later to his personal files, for the Adams Papers contain ratified copies of the treaties signed and sealed by President Henry Laurens.


For the Commissioners' response to Trumbull's requests regarding the Spy, see their letters of J. D. Schweighauser and Trumbull (both below, that to Schweighauser quoted in note 1 there). On its return voyage the Spy was captured by a Jersey privateer (Robert Niles to Benjamin Franklin, 27 Oct., Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S. , 1:522).