Papers of John Adams, volume 8

Resolution of the Massachusetts Council

From Benjamin Rush

217 From James Lovell, 19 October 1779 Lovell, James JA From James Lovell, 19 October 1779 Lovell, James Adams, John
From James Lovell
Dear Sir Octr: 19th. 1779

I begin to be very impatient at not hearing from you; and this not barely from the Number of days elapsed since my Information of Sepr. 28 &c. &c. but from the Opinion dropped by Mr. Lowell that we should not be able to obtain your Consent again to trust us here. It is the Desire of many that you should execute an intermediate Negociation with Holland, and you are named but others think it would be proper to make a distinct Appointment. This will be attended to on Thursday.1

Mr. Gerard went on Board the Confederacy Yesterday with Mr. J. J his Wife and other Passengers: I fear that the Gentleman who carries such Comfort with him will find Embarrassment the Consequence. 2500 per Annum will not support Introductions to the Queen of Spain if I am rightly informed.

By the Way, There is a Circumstance which you ought to know. Such is the State of our Finances that Doctr. F—— is desired to furnish 2000 Luis drs. immediately to the 2 Ministers and their Secretaries or rather 3 Secretaries to be divided,2 and his is promised immediate Replacement by the commercial Committee as well an Investment of Funds for the whole Support of the Embassies. I think from what I have seen of commercial Punctuality here, that I would not trust myself without Letters of Credit from private Persons to serve in an Emergency rising from public Negligence or Disappointment.

I have meditated myself into a sort of Capability of Chagrin at not having a Chance of voyaging with you: For you are to observe I will not consent to conclude you will not venture once more.

You affectionate humble Servant J L3

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honorable John Adams Braintree or Boston”; docketed: “Mr. Lovell. Octr. 19. 1779.”


On 18 Oct., Gouverneur Morris nominated JA; Henry Laurens and Woodbury Langdon were also nominated. At the same time a three-man committee was chosen to draw up instructions. On the 21st, the congress chose Laurens to negotiate a Dutch loan ( JCC , 15:1186, 1198).


On 16 Oct. the congress sent instructions to Franklin to supply 2,000 louis d'or (48,000 livres) to the new ministers plenipotentiary and their secretaries. The third secretary was John Laurens, chosen by the congress to serve Franklin (same, 15:1183; see also Commissioners' Accounts, 9 Aug.–12 Nov. 1778, entry for 14 Aug., vol. 6:359).


Following the signature, Lovell wrote: “Seal and send to the Navy Board the enclosed to go by two Opportunities.” This letter appears to have been sent with John Mathews' letter of 17 Oct. to the Boston Navy Board, requesting that body to ask JA about the supplies he would need for himself and his “family”—his traveling companions and his servants—and to provide him with those supplies on board the ship he was to take to France (Adams Papers).