Papers of John Adams, volume 7

To Gabriel de Sartine

From Jonathan Williams III

To the Comte de Vergennes, 16 February 1779 JA Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de To the Comte de Vergennes, 16 February 1779 Adams, John Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
To the Comte de Vergennes
Sir Passy. February 16. 1779

Last Evening, I had the Honour of your Letter of the thirteenth of this Month, in answer to mine of the Eleventh.

I thank your Excellency, for the Politeness, with which you have agreed to my Proposition of a Conference upon the Subject of Mr. Deanes Address, to the People of the united States.

At the Time, when my Letter of the Eleventh, was written and Sent to your Excellency, there were three Commissioners here, Representatives of Congress, between whom it appeared to me, Mr. Deanes Address had a tendency to destroy all Confidence, as well as between your Excellency and them, for which Reason I thought it my Duty,1 to endeavour by a Conference with your Excellency, to lessen those Evils as far as should be in my Power.

But, within a few Hours, after my Letter, of the Eleventh was Sent,2 the Arrival of the Aid de Camp, of the Marquiss de la Fayette, with Dispatches from Congress to Dr. Franklin, and from their Committee of foreign Affairs, to me, informing me of the new Arrangement, by which Dr. Franklin, is constituted Minister plenipotentiary, here, and I am restored to the Character of a private Citizen; so wholly changed the Scene, and the Characters here, that I now think I have no right to do, what, if I had continued in the Character of a Commissioner here, I should have thought it my indispensible Duty to do.

This masterly Measure,3 which has my most hearty Approbation, and of the Necessity of which I was fully convinced before I had been 417two Months in Europe has taken away the Possibility of those Dissentions which I so much apprehended.

I Shall not, therefore give your Excellency, any further,4 than to take an early Opportunity of paying my Respects in order to take Leave, and to assure you, that I Shall leave this Kingdom, with the most entire Confidence in his Majestys Benevolence to the united States, and inviolable Adherence to the Treaties,5 between the two Powers; with a Similar Confidence, in the good Disposition of his Majestys Ministers of State, and of this Nation towards Us: and with an Heart impressed with gratitude, for the many Civilities6 which I have received, in the Short Space of Time that I have resided here, at Court, in the City, and in the Country, and particularly, from your Excellency. I have the Honour to be, with the highest Consideration, your Excellencys, most obedient and most humble Servant

John Adams

RC (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 7); docketed: “M. de Reyneval M. Adams rep. le 21 fev. il fait part de la nomination de M. franklin en qualite de Ministre Plenipotentiaire du Congres.” LbC (Adams Papers).


The Letterbook has “indispensible” crossed out before “Duty.”


JA's letter of the 11th was sent on the morning of the 12th (see JA's letter to Vergennes of 11 Feb., descriptive note, above).


In the Letterbook “of Congress” follows “Measure.”


In the Letterbook “Trouble” follows “further.”


The Letterbook originally read “to the Faith of the Treaties.”


After “gratitude” the Letterbook reads “for that Candour and sincerity, that Politeness and Civility for the many Civilities.”