Papers of John Adams, volume 9

Enclosure: A Draft of an Article: A Translation

To Arthur Lee

To the Comte de Vergennes, 30 March 1780 JA Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de


To the Comte de Vergennes, 30 March 1780 Adams, John Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
To the Comte de Vergennes
Sir Paris March 30th 1780 Hotel de Valois Rue de Richelieu

I have the honour of your Excellency's letter of this day, in answer to mine of the 21st. of this month. Untill the receipt of it, I had taken it for granted that the presentation of every Ambassador was regularly inserted in the Gazette of France; and untill very lately, several days since the date of my letter to your Excellency of the 21st. of this month, I had supposed that the presentations of Ministers Plenipotentiary were constantly inserted likewise. The information that your Excellency has given me, that the presentations neither of Ambassadors nor Ministers Plenipotentiary have ever been inserted, has perfectly satisfied me, and I doubt not will equally satisfy my Countrymen who have heretofore been under the same mistake with myself. I approve very much your Excellency's proposition of inserting my presentation, in the Mercury of France, and I shall take measures to have it repeated in the foreign gazettes.1 I have the honour to be with the most entire consideration your Excellency's most obedient and most humble Servant,

John Adams

RC in Francis Dana's hand (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 11;) endorsed: “30 Mars Article a ete envoyé au Mercure.” LbC (Adams Papers;) notation by John Thaxter: “N.B. all the past Letters have been sent to Congress.” That is, all of the letters exchanged with Vergennes since JA arrived at Paris.


Although JA states that he is satisfied with the announcement to be inserted in the Mercure de France, his letters of 2 April to Jeremiah Allen, John Bondfield (first letter), Edmund Jenings (and note 1), and William Lee (all below) indicate that he did not believe the announcement in the Mercure to be explicit enough concerning his powers to negotiate. For the clearest indication of JA's rejection of the Mercure piece as a guide for announcements in “foreign gazettes,” see his letter to Jenings of 2 April (and note 1, be-100low), which formed the basis for the announcements that appeared in various London newspapers during the second week of April.