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Full text of "The diplomatic correspondence of the American Revolution, being the letters of Benjamin Franklin, Silas Deane, John Adams, John Jay, Arthur Lee, William Lee, Ralph Izard, Francis Dana, William Carmichael, Henry Laurens, John Laurens, M. de Lafayette, M. Dumas, and others, concerning the foreign relations of the United States during the whole Revolution; together with the letters in reply from the secret committee of Congress, and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, also the entire correspondence of the French ministers, Gerard and Luzerne, with Congress"

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Count de Vergennes to B. Franklin. Versailles, 
August 23cl, 1782, - . - - - 3 

Expresses, a wish to promote the commerce between 
France a:;il Amfric;i. 

Thomas Townshend to Richard Oswald. Wlulc- 
hall, September 1st, 17S2, - _ _ _ 4 

The King is ready to treat with the Commissioners 
on the footing of unconditional independence. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Passy, Sept. 3d, 17S2, 4 

Allowance made to his grandson for various public ser- 
vices. — Submits his own account to the disposal of 
Congress. — Encloses letters (inserted in the note) 
from Mr Jay and Mr Laurens, expressing their re- 
gin-d for his grandson. 

To John Jay. Passy, September 4th, 17S2, - 9 

Mr Oswald's courier arrives, with directions to acknow- 
ledge the independence of Amciica. 

Robert R. Livingston to B. Franklin. Philadel- 
phia, September 5th, 1782, - - - - 10 

Complains of want of information from Europe. — 
Movements of the British troops in the south. — Im- 
portance of the West India trade to the United 
States. — Right of the States to cut logwood. 

Richard Oswald to B. Franklin. Paris, September 
5th, 17S2, 15 

Enclosing an extract from a letter of the Secretary of 
Slate, regarding the negotiation. 



To Richard Oswald. Passy, Sept. 8th, 1782, - 15 

Requesting a copy of the fourth article of his instruc- 
tions, given in the note. 

To Earl Grantham. Passy, Sept. 11th, 1782, - 16 

Prospect of peace. 

Robert R. Livingston to B. Franklin. Philadel- 
phia, September 12th, 1782, - - - - 17 

Presenting Mr Paine's worlc addressed to the Abb6 

Robert R. Livingston to B. Franklin. Philadel- 
phia, September 12th, 1782, - - - - 18 

Necessity of further supplies of money. 

To David Hartley. Passy, September 17th, 1782, 18 

The preliminaries formerly received, inadmissible. 

Robert R. Livingston to B. Franklin. Philadel- 
phia, September 18th, 1782, - - - - 19 

Congress declines accepting Mr Laurens's resignation; 
alters Dr Franklin's powers. 

Mr Secretary Townshend to Richard Oswald. 
Whitehall, September 20th, 1782, - - - 20 

The commission passing with the change proposed by 
the American Commissioners. 

Richard Oswald to B. Franklin. Paris, Septem- 
ber 24th, 1782, 21 

Transmitting a copy of Mr Townshend's letter to him- 

Count de Vergennes to B. Franklin. Versailles, 
September 25th, 1782, . _ . _ 21 

Aspect of affairs dubious. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Passy, Sept. 26th, 1782, 22 

Reply to his complaints of want of information. — De- 
lays of the negotiation. 

Count de Vergennes to B. Franklin. Versailles, 
October 3d, 1782, 23 

Granting the exequatur empowering the United States' 
Consul to act in France. 

David Hardey to B. Franklin. Bath, Oct. 4th, 1782, 24 

Sends a proposition for a temporary commercial con- 
vention. — The dissolution of the union of the States 

To Robert R. Livingston. Passy, Oct. 14th, 1782, 25 

Progress of the negotiation. — Acknowledges the re- 
ceipt of Ministers' salaries. 

To John Adams. Passy, Oct. 15th, 1782, - 28 

Delay in the negotiations. 



From T. Townshend to B. Franklin. Whitehall, 
October 23d, 1782, 29 

Introducing Mr Strachey. 

To Thomas Townshend. Passy, Nov. 4th, 1782, 30 

Regrets the obstructions to the negotiations. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Passy, Nov. 7th, 1782, 31 

Introducing the Baron de Kermelin. 

Robert R. Livingston to B. Franklin. Philadel- 
phia, November 9th, 1782, - - - - 31 

Sweden proposes to acknowledge the independence of 
the United States. — Advantage of obtaining an ac- 
knowledgment from the States of Barbary. — Diffi- 
culties in the exchange of prisoners.-~Affair of Lip- 
pincott. — Mr Boudinot elected President. 

Robert R. Livingston to B. Franklin. Philadel- 
phia, November 21st, 1782, - ... 34 

Mr Jefferson added to the commission. — Mr Burgess, 
an English merchant, not permitted to settle in 

To Richard Oswald. Passy, Nov. 26th, 1782, - 36 

Indemnification of American royalists. — Resolutions of 
Congress on the subject. — Act of the Pennsylvania 
assembly for procuring an estimate of the damages 
committed by the British. — Characters of the I'oyal- 
ists. — Inexpediency of discussing the measure. 

Robert R. Livingston to B. Franklin. Philadel- 
phia, November 27th, 1782, - - - - 44 

Messrs Lamarque and Fabru. 

To Count de Vergennes. Passy, Nov. 29th, ] 782, 45 

The preliminary articles of peace between England and 
the United States agreed on. 

Robert R. Livingston to B. Franklin. Philadel- 
phia, December 3d, 1782, - - - - 45 
To Robert R. Livingston. Passy, Dec. 4th, 1782, 46 

Encloses a copy of the preliminary articles. — Those 
between England and the other powers not signed. — 
No definitive treaty will be signed till all are agreed. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Passy, Dec. 5th, 1782, 46 

Difficulties of conveying information to America. — Has 
asked for further supplies from France. — History of 
the negotiations. — The principal preliminaries be- 
' tween France and England agreed to. — Proceed- 

ings in regard to Sweden. 

To Count de Vergennes. Passy, Dec. 15th, 1782, 54 

Informing him that a passport has been received from 
England for the Washington. 

Count de Vergennes to B. Franklin. Versailles, 
December 15th, 1782, - - - - 55 

Expresses bis astonishment at the despatching of the 


Washington. — Complains tliat the preliminaries have 
been concluded without any communication with 

To Count de Vergennes. Passy, Dec. 17th, 1782, 56 

Causes of the sailing of the Washington. — A^o peace 
will take place between England and America with- 
out the concurrence of France. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Passy, Dec. 24th, 17S2, 53 

The Swedish Ambassador exchanges full powers wiih 
Dr Franklin. 

Robert R. Livingston to B. Franklin. Philadelphia, 
January 2d, 1783, 60 

Enclosing various resolutions of Congress. — Regrets 
the departure of the French fleet. — Financial dis- 
tresses of America. 

Robert R. Livingston to B. Franklin. Philadelphia, 
January 6th, 1783, 62 

Financial distress. — Subjects of negotiation. — Contin- 
gent expenses of foreign Ministeis. 

To RichaVd Oswald. Passy, January 14th, 1783, 66 

Enclosing propositions for abolishing privateering. 

Count de Vergennes to B. Franklin. Versailles, 
January 18th, 1783, 69 

Desiring a conference with the Commissioners. 
To Count de Vergennes. Passy, Jan. 18th. 17S3, 70 

Promising to be present at tlie conference. 

Benjamin Vaughan to B. Franklin. Paris, Janu- 
ary ISth, 1783, 70 

Pressing him to be at Versailles the next day. — State 
of England, 

To John Adams. Passy, January 19th, 1783, - 72 

Acquainting him with Vergennes's desire for a confer- 

To Robert R. Livingston. Passy, Jan. 21st, 1783, 72 

Preliminaries signed between France, Spain, and Eng- 

John Jay to B. Franklin. Paris, Jan. 26th, 1783, 73 

Dr Franklin's grandson appointed Secretary to the 
commission without being solicited by him. 

From M. Rosencrone, Minister of Foreign Affairs 
in Denmark, to M. de WalterstorfF. Copenha- 
gen, February 22d, 1783, - - - . 74 

Directing him to learn Dr Franklin's views in regard to 
a treaty of commerce between Denmark and the 
United States. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Passy, March 7th, 1783, 76 

Treaty with Sweden signed. — The English Ministry 
changed. ' 



David Hartley to B. Franklin. London, JVIarch 

12tl), 17S3, 76 

Enclosing conciliatory propositions, and a sketch of a 
provisional treaty ol" commerce. — Changes in the 

To David Hartley. Passy, March 23d, 1783, - 83 

Expresses a desire for a reconciliation. 

Robert R. Ijivingston to B. Franklin. Philadelphia, 
]VIarc!i26ih, 1783, 84 

Regrets that the Commissioners should find it necessa- 
ry to conceal anything from France ; and that the 
commercial article is struck out — The attempts to 
inflame the army. — Remits bills for the salaries of 
the Ministers. 

From the city of Hamburg to Congress. March 

29th, 1783, 88 

Proposing the establishment of commercial connexions. 

David Hartley to B. Franklin. London, March 
31st, 1783, 91 

Enclosing Supplemental Treafj' between Great Britain 
and tiie United States of INorlh America, separate 
article to be referred to the Definitive Treaty, and 
paper mentioned in the close of Mr Hartley's letter. 

M. Salva to B. Franklin. Algiers, April 1st, 1783, 95 

Inlorming him of an attempt by the Algerincs to seize 
American vessels. 

To the Grand Master of Malta. Passy, April Gth, 

1783, - - - - - - - 96 

Requesting protection for Americans in the ports of 

To M. Rosencrone. Passy, April 13th, 1783, - 97 

Relative to a treaty between Denmark and the United 
States. — Asks reparation for the seizure of American 
prizes in the Danish ports. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Passy, April 1 5tl), 1783, 98 

Proposals of Denmark. — Delay in the negotiation of 
the JDefinilive Treaty. — Mr Hartley substituted in 
the room of Mr Oswald. — Propositions for the re- 
newal of the commerce between England and the 
United States. — Receives applications of persons 
wishing to emigrate to America. — Financial cmbar- 
rassments of France. 

Charles J. Fox to B. Franklin. St James's, April 

19th, 1783, 104 

Introducing Mr Hartley. — Esprcsses a desire to cflect 
a reconciliation of the two nations. 

To Robert R.Livingston. Passy, April 27th, 1783, 104 

Introducing the Count del Vcome. 


Count de Vergennes to B. Franklin. Versailles, 
May 5ti), 17S3, 105 

Acknowledges the receipt of a copy of the three arti- 
cles discussed b_v the Commissioners and Mr Hart- 
ley. — Complains of the infrequent appearance of the 
Commissioners at Court. 

To Count de Vergennes. Passy, May 5th, 1783, 105 

The Commissioners prevented by sickness from ap- 
pearing at Court. 

To David Hartley. Passy, May 8ih, 1783, - 1C6 

Desires the abolition of i>rivateering. 

Robnrt R. Livingston to B. Franklin. Philadelphia, 
May 9th, 1783, 107 

Infringements of the Provisional Treaty by the British. 
— Arrival of vessels in the American ports. 

Robert R. Livingston to B. Franklin. Philadelphia, 
May 31st, 1783, 109 

Determination of the Court of Appeals in case of the 
Portuguese vessel. — Recommends the demands on 
Denmark to be urged. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Passy, June 12th, 1783, 1 10 

The ratification of the treaty with Sweden received. — 
Treaty with Denmark going on. — Portugal proposes 
to treat. — Delay of the Deiiniiive Treaty with Jklng- 
land. — Or Bancroft. 

The Ambassador from Sweden to B. Franklin. 
Paris, June 1 3th, 1783, - - - - 112 

Requesting that Mr VV. T. Franklin raay be sent to the 
Swedish Court. 

From the Grand Master of Malta to B. Franklin. 

Malta, June 21st, 17S3, - - - - 112 

Promising protection to Americans in the ports of 

To Henry Laurens. Passy, July 6th, 1783, - 113 

Delays of the negotiations. — Mr Laurens's presence 

From M. Rosencrone, Minister of Denmark, to B. 

Franklin. Copenhagen, July 8ih, 1783, - 114 

Enclosing a Counter Project of a Treaty between the 
United States and Den.n.Trk. 

Explanation of the Counter Project of a Treaty of 
Amity and Commerce received from Denmark, 130 

Giacomo F. Crocro to B. Franklin. Cadiz, July 
15ih, 1783, 135 

Informing him that the Emperor of Morocco is readj' to 
enter into a treaty with the United States. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Passy, July 22d, 1783, 136 

Justifies the signature of the Provisional Treaty with- 



oat conimunicatin"^ to the French Court. — Expresses 
his confidence in France. — Conlrary opinion of one 
of iiis coileagnes. — Reason for .striking a commer- 
cial article out of the ])rcliininaries proposed. — Ad- 
vantagesof free trade — Moderation of France — The 
Ambassador of Portugal desires to fonn a treaty 
witli t!ie United Stales — Corresp<mdence with the 
Danish Minister. — Inclination of Sa.^ony and Prus- 
sia to engage in the American comnu-rce. — Afiair 
of tfie Bon Homme Richard. — Recommentis his 
grandson for tlie diplomatic service. — General de- 
sire of the European powers to engage in com- 
merce with the United Stales. — The American con- 
stitutions translated into French, produce a favora- 
ble effect. — Dangers from tlie Barbary powers. — 
Kindness of Mr Wren to the American prisoners 
near Portsmouth. 

Plan of a Treaty with Portugal, - - - - 150 

Enclosed in the preceding. 

From the Pope's Nuncio to B. Franklin, - - 153 

Proposing the appointment of an Apostolical Vicar 
Bishop in tlie United States. 

To Count de Vergennes. Passy, Aug. 16ih, 1783, 159 

The English iMinistry reject the propo.sitions of the 
Commissioners and of their own Ministers. — Pro- 
pose the preliminaries slightly changed as a defini- 
tive treaty. — The other Commissioners are inclined 
to sign this. 

M. de Rayneval to B. Franklin. Versailles, Au- 
gust 29th, 1783, 160 

Count de Vergennes consents to the signing the treaty 
nt Paris instead of Versailles. 

To the President of Congress. Passy, August 31st, 

1783, - - - - ' - - - IGI 

The English Ministry have agreed to sign the articles 
formerly proposed as a definitive treaty. 

To David Hartley. Passy, September 6th, 17S3, 161 

Expresses his esteem for Mr Fos. — Intelligence of tlie 
American people. — Their nii.^undcrstandings much 
exag?erated. — Complains of the delay in evacuating 
IVew York. 

To John Jay. Passy, September 10th, 1783, - IC3 

Quotes a letter from America, which accuses him of 

/ favoring France, in her opposition lo granting the 

fishery, and the whole territory demanded by the 

Americans. — A|)pea's to Mr Jay for the falsehood 

of the assertion. 

John Jay to B. Franklin. Passy, Sept. 11 th, 17S3, 164 

Dr Franklin agreed and acted with the oilier Coni- 
nii<sioners respecting the bi>undaiies and fi.-:hrrir.<. 
— On former occnsioii.s he had also lunintaincd the 
same claims on these points. 



John Adams to B. Franklin. Passy, September 

13th, 1T83, - 165 

Dr Franklin agreed with the other Commissioners in 
the management of the negotiation. 

To the President of Congress. Passy, September 
13th, 1783, 166 

Relations with Morocco ; with Portugal. — False re- 
ports of disunion, kc. in the United States injuri- 
ous to the American cause. — Count de Vergennes 
refuses to sign the Definitive Trenty v-'nb England 
before that between England and the United States 
was signed. 

To Lewis R. Morris. Passy, Sept. 14th, 1783, - 169 

Relative to accounts. 

David Hartley to B. Franklin. Bath, September 
24th, 1783, - - - - - - 170 

E.'jpects to receive instructions for a convention on the 
basis, that American ships shall not bring foreign 
manufactures into Great Britain, nor trade directly 
between the West Jndies and Great Britain. 

To the President of Congress. Passy, September 

27th, 1783, 171 

Encloses a copy of the Definitive Treaty. — E.^pects 
Mr Hartley to negotiate a treaty of commerce. 

To David Hartley. Passy, October 16th, 1783, 172 

Advantages of a perpetual peace between England, 
France, and America. 

To David Hartley. Passy, October 22d, 1783, 173 

Reports of the divisions in America unfounded. 

To the President of Congress. Passy, November 

1st, 1783, 173 

Financial difficulties of France ; failure of payment by 
the Caisse dEscompte. — Relations with Sweden, 
Denmark, and Portugal. — Claims of Du Calvet for 
supplies to the army in Canada. 

Giacomo Francisco Crocco to B. Franklin. Cadiz, 
November 25th, 1783, 176 

Informs Dr Franklin that he is appointed by the Em- 
peror of Morocco to conduct to that Court tiie Min- 
ister of the United States. — Demands ^1500 for his 
expenses to Paris. 

To William Carmichael. Passy, Dec. 15th, 1783, 177 

Accounts of tlie proceedings and demands of M. Crocco. 

To Giacomo Francisco Crocco. Passy, December 

15th, 1783, - - - - • - - 179 

Mr J;iy is the suitable person for M. Crocco's appli- 



To the President of Congress. Passy, December 

25th, 17S3, - 180 

Mr Hartley refuses to go to Versailles to sign the De- 
finitive Treaty. — 111 will of the British Court to- 
wards America. — Has the American constitutions 
translated in French, which produce a favorable im- 
pression. — Relations with Denmark, Portugal, Mo- 
rocco, and Germany. — The expense of Commodore 
Jones's espeditioa paid entirely by the King of 
France. ■ 

To Robert Morris. Passy, Dec. 25th, 1783, - 187 

Unreasonableness of the complaints against taxes. — 
Property is the creature of society. — Lafayette has 
conferences with the Ministers, relative to the new 
commercial regulations. 

To the President of Congress. Passy, December 
26th, 1783, 188 

Recommends Mr Hodgson as Consul in London. 

David Hartley to B. Franklin. London, March 2d, 
1784, 189 

Promises to apply for the despatch of the ratification 
of the treaty by Great Britain, on the arrival of that 
by Congress. 

To Charles Thompson. Passy, March 9th, 1784, 190 

Ratifications exchanged with Sweden. — Receives nu- 
merous applications from persons wishing to settle 
in the United States. 

To the President of Congress. Passy, May 12th, 
1784, 191 

Mr Hartley arrives to exchange ratifications of the 
Definitive Treaty. — Proclamation relative to .Ameri- 
can commerce with the British colonies. — Proposed 
regulations of the commerce with the French col- 

David Hartley to B. Franklin. Paris, June 1st, 

1784, 192 

Defects of form in the ratification of the treaty by 

To David Hartley. Passy, June 2d, 1784, - 193 

Answers to the objections made in the preceding leltor. 

To the President of Congress. Passy, June IGth, 
^784, - 196 

Symptoms of resentment against America on the part 
of Great Britain. 

Consular Convention, - - - - - 193 

Consular convention between France and the United 

To Count de Mercy Argenteau. Passy, July 30th, 

1784, 208 

Dr Franklin, Mr Jefferson, and Mr Adams are np- 



pointed to negotiate a trenfy of commerce with the 

Count de Mercy Argenteau to B. Franklin. Paris, 
JulySOth, 17S4, 209 

Assures Ur Franklin of the disposition of the Emprror 
to form commercial connexions with the United 

Count de Vergennes to B. Franklin. Versailles, 

August 27ili, 17S4, 210 

Requesting a declaration, in an official form, that Con* 
gress will in no case treat any nation more favora- 
bly than France in commercial privileges. 

To Count de Vergennes. P;Tssy, Sept. od, 17S4, 210 

Transmits a Resolution of Congress, declaring that no 
people shall be placed on more advantageous ground 
in the commerce with the United States than the 
French subjects. 

Count de Vergennes to B. Franklin.' Versailles, 
September 9th, 1784, 211 

Expresses the satisfaction of tlie King wiih the resolu- 
tion of Congress, contained in llie preceding letter. 
— The United States shall enjoy a complete reciproc- 
ity in France. 

Count de Mercy Argenteau to B. Franklin. Paris, 
September 2Stl-i, 1784, - - - - 211 

The Emperor has agreed to the propositions of Con- 
gress concerning commercial regulations between 
the two powers. 

To Charles Thompson. Passy, October 16th, 1784, 212 

The C'<mimissioners have made propositions of treat- 
ing to all the European powers. 

To Charles Thompson. Passy, Nov. 11th, 1784, 213 
To the President of Congress. Passy, February Stb, 

1785, - 213 

Receives the Resolve of Congress, respecting the Con- 
sular convention, too late to suspend the signing. 

To the President of Congress. Passy, April 12th, 
1785, 214 

Introducing M. de Chaumont, the younger. 

To Count de Vergennes. Passy, May 3d, 1785, 215 

Informs liim that he has received permission to return 
to America. 

M. de Rayneval to B. Franklin. Versailles, May 
Stb, 1785, 216 

Regrets to hear of his approaching departure from 

To John Jay, Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Passy, 

May lOth, 17S5, 216 

Prepares for his return to America. 



To Charles Thompson. Pas<:y, May 10th, 1785, 217 
Count de Vergennes to B. Franklin. Versailles, 
May 22d, 17S5, 217 

Regrets his intended departure for the United States. — 
Assures him of the esteem of the King-. 

To Thomas Barclay. Passy, June I9ih, 17S5, 218 

Relative to his charges for salary as Minister JPlenipo- 

M. de Castries to B. Franklin. Versailles, July 10th, 

1785, 220 

Would have ordered a frigate for Dr Franklin, had 
he sooner known of his intention of leaving France. 

To John Jay, Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Phila- 
delphia, September 19th, 1785, - - - 220 

Informs him of his arrival in the United States. — 
Signs a treaty of commerce and friendship with 
Prussia before leaving Europe. 

To Ml- Grand, banker at Paris. Philadelphia, July 
11th, 1786, 222 

Requests information concerning the gift of three mil- 
lions of livres from the King, of which only"two mil- 
lions appear in the accounts. 

M. Durival to Mr Grand. Versailles. August 30th, 

1786, - '- - - - - - 223 

The King's gift amounted to three miKions, indcnon- 
dently of the million advanced to the United Siatr* 
by tile Farmers-General. 

M. Dufival to Mr Grand. Versailles, September 
5th, 1786, 224 

Declines communicating to him the receipt taken for 
the first million advanced by the King, June 10th, 

Mr Grand to B. Franklin. Paris, Sept. 9ih, 1786, 224 

States that ho received only three millions ; the first 
million having been advanced previous to his ap- 

M. Durival' to Mr Grand. Versailles, September 
10th, 1786, - 225 

The Minister still persists in declining to communicate 
the receipt for the first inillion to Mr Grand. 

Mr Grand to B. Franklin. Paris, Sept. 12ih, 1786, 226 

Professes himself unable to discover who received the 
first million. 

To Charles Thompson. Philadelphia, January 27ih, 

1787, 226 

Conjectures that the million advanced .Tune 10th, 1776, 
must have been delivered to Beaumaichais. 



To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, No- 
vember 29ih, 1788, 2ii8 

Requesting the settlement of his accounts, whicli have 
been three years before Congress, it having been 
asserted in the newspapers that he is indebted to 
the Uaited States- 

— e©©— 

Committee of Foreign Affairs to John Adams. York, 
in Pennsylvania, December 3d, 1777, - - 241 

Enclosing his commission as Commissioner to France. 

To Henrv Laurens, President of Congress. Brain- 
tree, December 23d, 1777, - - - - 242 

Accepting his appointment as Commissioner. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Braintree, 
December 24th, 1777, 243 

Acknowledging the receipt of his commission, with 
other documents accompanying. 

To Samuel Adams. Passy, May 21st, 1778, - 244 
State of Europe. — Disposition of the powers towards 
America. — Afi'airs of the United States in France 
in groat confusion. — Expenses of the Commission- 
ers. (Information on this subject in the note, p. 245.) 
— Proposes remedies. 

To the Commercial Committee. Passy, May 24th, 

1778, .--.-.. 248 

American affairs in France in great confusion ; at- 
tended with much delay and expense. — Remedies 

To James Lovell. Passy, July 9th, 1778, - 250 

The ratification of the treaty with France gives great 
satisfaction in that country. — War between France 
and England appears inevitable. — Effect of the war 
of Bavarian succession on the policy of Germany. 

To James Lovell. Passy, July 26th, 1778, ' - 251 

Mr Deanes claims, services, and complaints. — Victo- 
ries of the army the best negotiators in Europe. 

To the President of Congress. Passy, July 27th, 

1778, 254 

Policy of England to separate America from France. 

To Samuel Adams. Passy, July 28ih, 1778, - 256 

British Commissioners authorised to offer indepen- 
dence to America, on condition of her breaking off 
her connexions witli France. — .America is bound by 
alliances to reject such proposals. — The pro.ximity 
of the British colonies to the United States will al- 


ways render Great Britain an enemy. — France and 
America reciprocally important to each other. — The 
alliance of France will secure the rest of the con- 
tinent. — Necessity of imposing taxes in the United 
States to support the national credit. 

To James Warren. Passy, August 4tli, 1778, - 259 

The proceedings of Congress relative to the Concilia- 
tory Bills, ratification of the treaty, answer to the 
Commissioners, &.c. produce a favorable eficct in 
Europe. — Expresses his abhorrence of the idea of 
infidelity to France. — Dangers to the Protestant reli- 
gion from the French alliance imaginary. — Probable 
effects of the separation of America on the power of 
Great Britain. 

To Richard Henry Lee. Passy, Aug. 5ih, 1778, 26.2 

Necessity of taxation to support the national credit. — 
Dissensions among the Americin agents. 

To Henry Laurens, President of Congress. Passy, 
August 27th, 1778, ----- 266 

To the President of Congress. Passy, September 

7th, 1778, 266 

Great preparations of Spain ; their object is unknown. 

To tlie President of Congress. Passy, September 

11th, 1778, 267 

To M. Ray de Chaumont. Passy, Sept. 15lh, 1778, 268 

Requesting him to fix the rent of his house, occupied 
by Mr Adams and Dr Franklin. 

M. Ray de Chaumont to John Adams. Passy, 

September ISth, 1778, - - - - 269 

Declines receiving any compensation for his house. 

To the President of Congress. Passy, September 
20th, 1778, 270 

The American refugees in England encourage the no- 
tion, that another campaign will compel the colonies 
to return to submission. — The marine and finances 
of England are in a miserable condition. 

To Ralph Izard. Passy, September 25th, 1778, 271 

Agriculture the most essential interest of America, even 
in Massachusetts. — Evils of the fisheries ; they pro- 
n)ote luxury, and injure morals ; arc useful as a 
source of naval power. 

Tq Ralph Izard. Passy, October 2d, 1778, - 274 

Relative to the insertion of the words ' indefinite and 
exclusive' in the tenth article of the Treaty of Amity 
and Commerce. 

To the President of Congress. Passy, October 2d, 

1778, ... - _ - - 277 

Committee of Foreign Affairs to John Adams. 

VOL. IV. c 



Philadelphia, October 2Sth, 177S, - - - 277 

Requests him to keep the Commissioners at the other 
Courts informed of all events in America. 

To the President of Congress. Passy, December 
3d, 177S, 278 

The opinion that the Eng'lish intend to withdraw from 
the United States, unfounded. — The British power 
there must be destroyed. 

To Elbridge Gerry. Passy, December 5ih, 1778, 279 

Reserve of the French Ministry towards the Commis- 
sioners. — Dissensions of the Commissioners. 

To the President of Congress. Passy, December 
6th, 1778, ------- 281 

Enclosing the King's speech. 

To Roger Sherman. Passy, December 6th, 1778, 282 

Value and dangers of the connexion with France. 

To the President of Congress. Passy, December 
8th, 1778, ------- 283 

Plan of the British to prosecute the war by devastat- 
ing the country. — The war is not a ministerial but 
a national one. 

The Commissioners to John Paul Jones. Passy, 
May 25th, 1778, ----- 284 

Congratulations on his successes. — Prospect of obtain- 
ing an exchange of prisoners. — Refuse the payment 
of his bill of exchange drawn on the Commission- 
ers. — Offer to furnish his men with slops. 

The Commissioners to John Paul Jones. Passy, 
June 3d, 1778, ------ 287 

Desiring the release of Lieut. Simpson under arrest for 
disobeying orders. 

The Commissioners to Lieut. Simpson, of the Ran- 
ger. Passy, June 3d, 1778, - - - 288 

The Commissioners have requested Captain Jones to 
set him at liberty. 

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Passy, Feb- 
ruary 1st, 1779, ------ 289 

Difficult to obtain a loan in Europe. 

To Samuel Adams. Passy, February 14th, 1779, 290 

Expresses his satisfaction with (he appointment of Dr 
Franklin as Minister Flenij)otentiary to France. — 
Disputes of the former Commissioners. — The French 
Court and nation unanimous in support of American 
independence. — The policy of France popular in 
Europe. — Discontents in Great Britain. 

To Count de Vergennes. Passy, Feb. 16th, 1779, 294 

The recall of liis commission has rendered unneces- 
sary the conference he had requested with the Min- 
ister relative to Mr Deane's address. 



To the Marquis de Lafayette. Passy, February 

21st, 1779, - - - - - - 295 

Financial difficulties of America would be remedied by 
lelieving the country of the necessity of supporting 
large forces ; the naval superiority of France in the 
American seas would easily eflect this relief. 

Count de Vergennes to John Adams. Versailles, 

February 21st, 1779, 298 

Desires an interview with Mr Adams, to express the 
satisfaction of the King with his conduct. 

To Count de Vergennes. Passy, Feb. 27th, 1779, 299 

Expresses his sense of the King's indulgent senti- 

To John Jay, President of Congress. Passy, Feb- 
ruary 27th, 1779, - - - - - 299 

Intends to return to America. — Tumults in Great Bri- 
tain. — Little prospect of obtaining a loan in Europe. 
— Economy and taxation necessary to relieve the 
financial difficulties. 

To John Jav, President of Congress. Passy, March 
1st, 1779, - - 302 

Conditions of the British loan. 

M. de Lafayette to John Adams. St Germain, 

April 9th, 1779, - - - - - - 303 

Asks leave to send a French ofiicer to America with 
Mr Adams. 

To Arthur Lee. L'Orient, June 9th, 1779, - 305 

Relative to the charges made against Mr Lee. 

To the President of Congress. Braintree, August 

3d, 1779, - 307 

Returns home in the Sensible, in company with M. de 
la Luzerne. — Character of the Minister, Luzerne ; 
of the Secretary to the Embassy, Marbois. 

To the President of Congress. Braintree, August 
4th, 1779, - - 311 

View of the state of Europe. — France. — War of Bava- 
rian succession. — Great Britain. — Holland. — Spain. 
— Portu2:al. — German States. — Austria. — Prussia. — 
The northern powers. — Italy. 

To James Lovell. Braintree, August loth, 1779, 325 

Enclosing letters concei'ning Count de Vergennes and 
Arthur Lee. 

To the President of Congress. Braintree, Septem- 
ber 10th, 1779, ------ 326 

Requesting a copy of the complaints, evidences, wit- 
nesses, kc. reported by a Committee of Congress to 
exist against the Commissioneis. 



To the President of Congress. Boston, September 

23cl, 1779, - 327 

To James Loveli. Braintree, October 17th, 1779, 328 

Regrets Mr Lees recall. — Denies Mr Izard's charges. 

To Samuel Huntington, President of Congress. 
Braintree, October 19th, 1779, - - - 331 

British whale fishery on the South American coast. — 
The crews American prisoners of war. 

To Samuel Huntington, President of Congress. 

Braintree, October 20th, 1779, - - - 333 

Present of an engraving of the exploit of William Tell 
for each State from Mr Schweighanser. 

To the President of Congress. Braintree, October 
21st, 1779, ------ 333 

Advantages of convoys for the American trade ; of 
maintaining a superiority of naval power in the 
American seas. 

To Henry Laurens. Braintree, Oct. 25th, 1779, 335 

His appointment as Commissioner not sought by him. 
— Opinion of Colonel Laurens's abilities. — Difficul- 
ties at Philadelphia. 

To the President of Congress. Braintree, Novem- 
ber 4th, 1779, - 337 

Accepting the commission of 'Minister for negotiating 
peace and commerce with Great Britain. 

Instructions for a treaty of peace with Great Britain, 339 
Instructions for a treaty of commerce with Great 

Britain, 342 

To the President of Congress. Braintree, Novem- 
ber 7th, 1779, - 344 

Transmits a copy of the letter book of the Commission- 
ers at the Court of Versailles. 

To B. Franklin. Ferrol, December 8th, 1779, - 345 

Informs him of his arrival at Ferrol, being obliged to 
put in there, in consequence of a leak. 

To the President of Congress. Ferrol, December 
nth, 1779, 346 

Arrival at Ferrol. — Attentions of the Spanish and 
French officers. 

To the President of Congress. Corunna, Decem- 
ber 16th, 1779, - 348 

Disposition of Spain. — Report of the intended media- 
tion of Russia on the basis of independence. 

To the Governor of Corunna. Corunna, Decem- 
ber 18th, 1779, 351 

Names of the persons for whom Mr Adams wishes for 
passports to Bayonne. 


M. de Sartlne to John Adams. Versailles, Decem- 
ber 31st, 1779, ------ 352 

To the President of Congress. Bilboa, January 

16th, 1780, ~ - - - - - 352 

Sketch of the northwestern provinces of Spain. 

To the Count de Vergennes. Paris, Feb. 12th, 1780, 360 

Informs him of his mission. — Intends to talie no meas- 
ures without consulting the French Ministers. — Re- 
quests advice as to the course to be pursued in 
making known his mission. 

To M. de Sartine. Paris, February 13th, 1780, 363 

Thanks for his being permitted a passage in the Sen- 

Count de Vergennes to John Adams. Versailles, 
February 15th, 1780, - - - - - 363 

Advises him to conceal the object of his commission 
for a time. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, February 

1 5th, 1780, 364 

Arrives in Paris. — Has a conference with the French 
Ministers. — Supplies to be sent from France. — Pre- 
parations of England. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, February 

17th, 1780, 366 

Supplied with money by M. Lagoanere at Corunna. 

To the Marquis de Lafayette. Paris, February 

18th, 1780, - - - - - - 368 

Requesting- information concerning the reports circu- 
lated by the British, of their preparations for the en- 
suing campaign. 

To M. Genet, First Secretary for the department of 
Foreign Aftairs. Paris, February 18th, 1780, 370 

Same subject as the preceding. 

M. de Lafayette to John Adams. Paris, February 
19th, 1780, '-371 

The accounts of the British abovementioned are with- 
out foundation. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, February 

19th, 1780, ------ 373 

^ False reports circulated by the British as to their 

means for the next campaign. — Naval preparations 
of Fiance. — The importance of the colonies in main- 
taining the naval supremacy of Great Britain, will 
render her averse to a peace. 

To the Count de Vergennes. Paris, Feb. 19th, 1780, 376 

His instructions contain nothing inconsistent with the 
treaty between France and tiic United Status. 



M. Genet to John Adams. Versailles, February 
20ih, 1780, - 377 

Falsehood of theBritish reports mentioned pp. 368, 370. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, February 

20th, 1780, 378 

Exaggeration of the English successes in South Amer- 
ica and the United States. — Account of his proceed- 
ings in France. — Application of England to Rus- 
sia rejected. 

To John Jay, Minister Plenipotentiary at Madrid. 

Paris, February 22d, 1780, - - - - 380 

Congratulates him on his arrival. — Communication 
with America more easy from Spain than from 

To the President of Congress. Paris, February 
23d, 1780, ------ 382 

Transmitting French journals ; gives their character. 

To Samuel Adams. Paris, February 23d, 1780, 383 

Committees of Correspondence established in Eng- 
land. — Naval preparations of France. — Supplies for 
the American army from that power. 

To General James Warren. Paris, Feb. 23d, 1780, 385 

French naval force at sea, and preparing at Brest. — 
British resources. 

Count de Vergennes to John Adams. Versailles, 

February 24th, 1780, 386 

Expresses himself catisfied with Mr Adams's powers 
and instructions.— Advises secrecy in regard to his 
powers for negotiating a treat}' of commerce. — His 
mission to negotiate a peace will be publicly an- 

To the Count de Vergennes. Paris, February 25th, 

1780, - - - - - - - 388 

Promises to comply with the advice contained in the 
preceding letter. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, February 
25tb, 1780, 388 

Committees of Correspondence formed in Ireland and 

To the President of Congress. Paris, February 

27th, 1780, 389 

Preparations at Brest composed of land and sea forces. 
— Violence of parties in England. — Seizure of Dutch 
ships by the English alienates the Dutch. 

To Dr Cooper of Boston. Paris, Feb. 28lh, 1780, 392 

The Americans must not indulge the hope of peace. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, February 
29lh, 1780, - - - - - - 393 

JNI. Genet translates the American constitutions. 



To the President of Congress. Paris, March 3d, 
1780, 394 

Character of Admiral Rodney. — Intends to adopt a 
system of devastation on the American coast. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, March 4ih, 

1780, ------- 395 

Successes of Admiral Rodney. — French naval force. 

To Samuel Adams. Paris, March 4th, 1780, - 399 

Mr Izard's views of the policy to be adopted at the 
French Court. — Mr Adams's opinions difierent. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, March 8th, 

1780, - 400 

Is presented at Court. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, March Sth, 
1780, - - 401 

To the President of Congress. Paris, March 10th, 
1780, 401 

Rodney's successes. 

To the President of Congress. Passy, March 12th, 
1780, 403 

Quotes an observation of M. de INIably concerning the 
establishment of the English empire of the sea. — The 
Americans must produce a balance of power by 
sea. — English naval force. 

To Edmund Jennings. Paris, March J 2th, 1780, 407 

Chatham's doctrine of a constitutional impossibility of 
acknowledging the independence of America. — Ef- 
fects of the interposition of France and Spain on the 

To the President of Congress. Passy, March 14th, 
1780, - - - - - - - 411 

Clinton's expedition. — State of affairs in England and 

To the President of Congress. Passy, March 14th, 

1780, 414 

English forces. 

To James Lovell. Paris, March 16th, 1780, - 415 

Refugees. — His accounts. — Reason of avoiding giving 
accounts of the state of affairs in France. — Approves 
the plan of distinct ministers. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, March 18lh, 

1780, - - 413 

French militarj' preparations. — Armed neutrality of 
the northern powers. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, March 19th, 
1780, 420 

British fleet in the channel. — Reported capture of des- 
patches from the Court of I ranee. 



To the President of Congiess. Paris, March 20th, 
1780, 422 

Transmits the Morning Post and the General Adver- 
tiser. — Virulence of parties. 

To the Count de Vergennes. Paris, March 21st, 
1780, 423 

Informing the Minister that his presentation at Court 
has not been announced. 

To William Lee. Paris, March 21st, 1780, - 424 

Rumors of change in the British Ministry. — A truce 

To the President of Congress. Paris, March 23d, 
1780, - - 426 

The abolition of the Board of Trade and Plantations 
carried against the Ministry. — The opposition are 
disposed only to a separate treaty — Tlie fatal con- 
sequences of a truce to America. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, March 24th, 
1780, 429 

Discussions on salaries of colonial officers, and pen- 
sions of refugees. — Requests instructions as to com- 
pensations to the refugees in case of negotiations ; 
and whether the citizens of each power shall have 
the right of citizens in the dominions of the other. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, March 24th, 
1780, - 431 

Account of Admiral Rodney's cruise. — Preparations 
in Spain. — Dissensions in England. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, March 26th, 

1780, 435 

Free commerce with the colonies granted to Ireland. — 
Proceeding in the Irish Parliament thereon. — State 
of Ireland. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, March 29th, 

1780, 440 

Affairs of Holland. — History of the dispute with Eng- 

Count de Vergennes to John Adams. Versailles, 
March 30lh, 1780, 443 

Presentations of Ministers are not announced in the 
Gazette de France. — Proposes to announce it in the 

To the Count de Vergennes. Paris, March 30th, 
1780, 444 

Approves the announcement of liis presentation in the 

To the President of Congress. Paris, March 30th, 
1780, - - - - - - - 445 

Explains the reason, why his presentation was not 


announced in the Gazette. — Docs not npprove of 
the concealment of his powers to treat ol commerce. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, March 30th, 

17S0, - - - - - - - 446 

Dispute between the Irish volunteers and the royal 
troops at Dublin. 

To Arthur Lee, at J/Orient. Paris, March 31st, 
17S0, 448 

Difficulties between the Commissioners. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, April 3d, 

17S0, 449 

Policy of the Stadtholder. — Inclination of the Dutch 
nation. — Petition to their High Mightinesses to equip 
a naval force. — Memorial of Sir J. Yorke. — Answer 
of the States-General. — Reply of Sir J. Yorke. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, April 3d, 
1780, 468 

Memorial of the Congress of County Committees re- 
commending reforms in the expenditure, in elections, 
annual Parliaments, &c. — Proceedings of particular 
committees thereon. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, April 4ih, 
1780, 465 

Attack of an English privateer on a Swedish frigate. 
To the President of Congress. Paris, April 6th, 

1780, 466 

Decree of the Admiralty in the case of a Dutch ship, 
captured by an English man-of-war, while sailing- 
for a French port, loaded with naval stores under a 
Dutch convoy. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, April 7ih, 

1780, 473 

Rumors of an armed neutraliiy of the northern pow- 
ers. — Violations of tlie neutrality of the Turkish wa- 
ters by the English and French naval forces. — Rep- 
resentations of the Porte. — Sentiments of Russia on 
the English attack of tlie Dutch convoy. 

To William Carmicliael, Secretary of the American 

Embassy at Madrid. Paris, April 8th, 1780, - 480 

Reason for the delays of Spain. — Events in America. 
/ — State of England. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, April 8th, 

1780, 463 

List of the naval losses of the T^nglish since the Ijc- 
ginning of the war. 





To the President of Congress. Paris, April 10th, 

1780, 484 

Proceedings of England and Holland relative to the 
granting of convoys to Dutch ships. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, April 10th, 

1780, -.-.... 488 

Memorial of the Russian Envoy, Prince Gallitzin, to the 
States General, comnnunicating the declaration of 
his Court to the belligerent powers, and inviting the 
concurrence of the Slates. — The declaration men- 
tioned in the foregoing Memorial, asserting the de- 
termination of Russia to protect her subjects in the 
rights of neutrals, and proposing to establish the 
principles that free ships make free goods ; that an 
efficient force is necessary to constitute a blockade, 

To the President of Congress. Paris, April lllh, 
1780, 493 

Proceedings of the counties, k.c. in England in favor 
of reforms. — Resolutions of the county of York in 
favor of economical and parliamentary reform, of 
triennial parliaments, and condemning the carrying 
on of the war in America. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, April 14th, 
17S0, 497 

Violations of neutrality. — Prospect of an armed neu- 
trality of the north. — Proceedings in Holland. 

To the President of Congress. . Paris, April 15th, 
1780, 501 

Quotations from the European papers. — From an En- 
glish paper proposing the independence of the 
United States, the giving up of Nova Scotia and 
Canada. — Russia gives notice to France that she 
is arming to protect her neutrality. 

To M. de Sartine. Paris, April 16ih, 1780, - 507 







VOL.. IV. 






Versailles, August 23d, 1782. 

I have received the letter you did me the honor of 
writing to me on the 9th instant, as well as the memorial 
enclosed in it. 1 communicated the paper to the Marquis 
de Castries, and I make no doubt, but that the Minister 
will take into consideration its contents, as far as circum- 
stances will permit. We are desirous to adopt every 
measure, that may tend to the prosperity of the commerce 
established between France and the United States, and we 
shall neglect nothing to accomplish this object to the uni- 
versal satisfaction of the two countries. Congress will 
greatly facilitate our labor, if they will communicate their 
ideas and wishes on this subject ; and I make the request 
with greater confidence, as 1 am convinced that that assem- 
bly desires as much as we do to establish, on an advan- 
tageous and solid basis, the commercial concerns between 
France and America. 

I have the honor to be, he. 




Whitehall, September 1st, 1782. 


I have received and laid before the King your letters 
of the 17th, 18th, and 21st ultimo; and 1 am command- 
ed to signify to you his Majesty's approbation of your con- 
duct in communicating to the American Commissioners the 
fourth article of your instructions ; which could not but 
convince them, that the negotiation for peace, and the ces- 
sion of independence to the Thirteen United Colonies, 
were intended to be carried on and concluded with the 
Commissioners in Europe. 

Those gentlemen having expressed their satisfaction con- 
cerning that article, it is hoped they will not entertain a 
doubt of his JMajesty's determination to exercise, in the 
fullest extent, the powers with which the act of Parliament 
has invested him, by granting to America, full, complete, 
and unconditional independence, in the most explicit man- 
ner, as an article of treaty. 



Passy, September 3cl, 17S2. 

I have just received yours, No. 13, dated the 23d of 
June. The accounts of the general sentiments of our peo- 
ple, respecting propositions from England, and the rejoic- 
ings on the birtli of the Dauphin, give pleasure here ; and 
it affords me much satisfaction to find the conduct of Con- 
gress approved by all who hear or speak of it, and to see 


all the marks of a constantly growing regard for us, and 
confidence in us, among those in whom such sentiments 
are most to be desired. 

I hope tlie affair of Captain Asgill was settled as it ought 
to be, by the punishment of Lippincott. Applications have 
been made here to obtain letters in favor of the young 
gentleman. Enclosed I send you a copy of the answer 
I gave to that made to me. 

I had before acquainted M. Tousard, that his pension 
would be paid in America, and there only, it being unrea- 
sonable to expect that Congress should open a Pay Office 
in every part of the world, where pensioners should choose 
to reside. I shall communicate to him that part of your 

You wish to know what allowance I make to my private 
Secretary. My grandson, William T. Franklin, came 
over with me, served me as a private Secretary during the 
time of the Commissioners ; and no Secretary to the Com- 
mission arriving, though we had been made to expect one, 
he did business for us all, and this without any allowance 
for his services, though both Mr Lee and Mr Deane at 
times mentioned it to me as a thing proper to be done, and 
in justice due to him. When I became appointed sole 
Minister here, and the whole business, which the Commis- 
sioners had before divided with me, came into my hands, 
I was obliged to exact more service from him, and he was 
indeed, by being so long in the business, become capable 
of doing more. At length, in the beginning of the year 
1781 when he became of age, considering his constant 
close attention to the duties required, and his having there- 
by missed the opportunity of studying the law, for which 
he had been intended, 1 determined to make him some 


compensation for the time past, and fix some compensation 
for the time to come, till the pleasure of Congress respect- 
ing him should be known. I accordingly settled an ac- 
count with him, allowing him from the beginning of Decem- 
ber 1776 to the end of 1777, the sum of 3,400 livres, and 
for the year 1778, the sum of 4,000 livres, for 1779, 4,800 
livres, and for 1780, 6,000 livres. Since that time I have 
allowed him at the rate of three hundred louis per annum, 
being what I saw had been allowed by Congress to the Sec- 
retary of Mr William Lee, who could not have had, I im- 
agine, a. fourth part of the business to go through ; since 
my Secretary, besides the writing and copying the papers 
relative to my common ministerial transactions, has had all 
those occasioned by my acting in the various employments 
of Judge of Admiralty. Consul, purchaser of goods for the 
public, fee. &c. besides that of accepting the Congress 
bills, a business that requires being always at home, bills 
coming by post, from different ports and countries, and 
often requiring immediate answers, whether good or not ; 
I and to that end, it being necessary to examine by the 
books, exactly kept of all preceding acceptances, in order 
to detect double presentations, which happen very fre- 
quently. The great number of these bills makes almost 
sufficient business for one person, and the confinement they 
occasion is such, that we cannot allow ourselves a day's 
excursion into the country, and the want of exercise has 
hurt our healths in several instances. 

The Congress pay much larger salaries to some Secre- 
taries, who, 1 believe, deserve them ; but not more than my 
grandson does the comparatively small one 1 have allow^ed 
to him, his fidelity, exactitude, and address in transacting 
business, being really what one could wish in such an offi- 


cer ; and the genteel appearance a young gentleman in 
his station obliges him to make, requiring at least such an 
income. I do not mention the extraordinary business that 
has been imposed upon us in this embassy, as a foundation 
for demanding higher salaries than others. I never solici- 
ted for a public office, either for myself, or any relation, 
yet I never refused one, that I was capable of executing, 
when public service was in question, and I never bargained 
for salary, but contented myself with whatever my constit- 
uents were pleased to allow me. The Congress will there- 
fore consider every article charged in my account, distinct 
from the salary originally voted, not as what I presume to 
insist upon, but as what I propose only for their consider- 
ation, and they will allow what they think proper. 

You desire an accurate estimate of those contingent ex- 
penses. I enclose copies of two letters,* which passed 
between Mr Adams and me on the subject, and show the 
articles of which they consist. Their amount in different 
years may be found in my accounts, except the article of 
house rent, which has never yet been settled ; M. de Chau- 
mont, our landlord, having originally proposed to leave it 
till the end of the war, and then to accept for it a piece of 
American land from the Congress, such as they might 
judge equivalent. If the Congress did intend all contin- 
gent charges whatever to be included in the salary, and 
do not think proper to pay on the whole so much, in that 
case I would iiumbly suggest, that the saving may be most 
conveniently made by a diminution of the salary, leaving 
the contingencies to be charged ; because they may neces- 
sarily be very different in different years, and at different 

•See these letters above, pp. 218,238. 


I have been more diffuse on this subject, as your letter 

gave occasion for it, and it is probably the last time 1 shall 

mention it. Be pleased to present my dutiful respects to 

Congress, assure them of my best services, and believe me 

to be, with sincere esteem, he. 


P. S. As you will probably lay this letter before Con- 
gress, I take the liberty of joining to it an extract of my 
letter to the President, of the 12th of March, 1781, and 
of repeating my request therein contained, relative to my 
grandson. I enclose, likewise, extracts of letters from 
Messrs Jay and Laurens, which both show the regard 
those gentlemen have for him, and their desire of his being 
noticed by the Congress.* B. F. 

* The following are the extracts of the letters alluded to in this place. 


Madrid, Apiil 25th, 17S1. 

The letters herewith enclosed from Dr Franklin were left open 
for my perusal ; the short stay of ray courier at Paris not allowing 
time for copies to be made of the information conveyed in and with it. 

I perceive that Dr Franklin desires to retire ; this circumstance calls 
upon me to assure Congress, that I have reason to be perfectly satisfied 
with his conduct towards me, and that I have received from him all the 
aid and attention I could wish or exj)ect. His character is very high 
here, and I really believe, that the respectability he enjoys throughout 
Europe has been of general use to our cause and country. 



Madrid, April 21st, 1781. 

By the letter from Dr Franklin, herewith enclosed, and which he 
was so obliging as to leave open for my perusal, I find he Ii.ts requested 
permission to retire, on account of his age, infirmities, kc. How far his 
health may be impaired I know not. The letters I have received from 



Passy, September 4th, 1782. 

Dear Sir, 
Mr Oswald's courier being returned, with directions to 
him to make the independence of America the first article 
in the treaty, I would wait on you if I could, to discourse 

liim bear no marks of age, and there is an acuteness and sententious 
bi'svity in them, which do not indicate an understanding injured by 
years. I have many reasons to think our country much indebted to 
him, and I confess it would mortify my pride as an American, if his con- 
stituents should be the only people to whom his character is known, and 
that should deny to his merit and services the testimony given them by 
other nations. .Justice demands of me to assure you, that his reputa- 
tion and respectability are acknowledged, and have weight here, and 
that I have received from him all that uniform attention and aid, wliich 
were due to the importance of the affairs committed to me. 

The affectionate mention he makes of his only descendant, on whom 
the support of his name and family will devolve, is extremely amiable, 
and flows in a delicate manner from that virtuous sensibility, by which 
nature kindly extends the benefits of parental affection, to a period 
beyond the limits of our lives. This is an affectionate subject, and minds 
susceptible of the finer sensations are insensibly led at least to wish 
that the feelings of an ancient patriot, going, in the evening of a long 
life early devoted to the public, to enjoy repose in the bosom of philo- 
sophic retirement, may be gratified by seeing some little sparks of the 
affection of his Country rest on the only support of his age ami hope 
of his family. Such are (he effusions of my heart on tliis occasion, 
and I pour them into yours, from a persuasion, that they will meet with 

a hospitable reception from congenial emotions. 



. . . Leagues \V. of Ortcgal, June 9th, 1781. 

I snatch a moment to pay my last respects to your Excellency, and 

to mention a matter, which has occurred to me since my being on board. 

I have frequently reflected upon the mention, wiiirii your Excellency 

has/fliade of retiring from your present important station, and have 

VOL. IV. . 2 


on the subject ; but as I cannot, I wish to see you here 
this evening, if not inconvenient to you. 

With great esteem, I have the honor to be, dear Sir, 
your most obedient and most humble servant, 



Philadelphia, September 5th, 1782. 


Having written to you lately, I should not again trouble 

you so soon, were it not necessary to remind you, that 

your last letter is dated in March, since which there have 

been frequent arrivals from France ; and since which loo 

never varied the opinion, which I took the liberty of giving you once at 
the Count de Vergennes', viz. that the best arrangement ■would be to 
give your Excellency an active, intelligent Secretary of the Embassy, 
who might relieve you from the drudgery of office ; and that your 
country should not be deprived of the advantages of your wisdom and 
influence. The difficulty hitherto has been to find a person properly 
qualified. The advantages, which your grandson derives from his 
knowledge of the language, and manners of the people, and his having 
been so long in your office, and with your Excellency, are very great. 
The prejudices, which have been entertained against him, may be re- 
moved by a personal introduction to Congress, especially if it is com- 
bined with rendering a popular service. I take the liberty of proposing 
to your Excellency, therefore, if you can spare Mr Franklin for the' 
purpose, to commit to his care the second remittance of money, and to 
hasten his departure with that, and as much of the public supplies of 
clothing, &ic. as may be ready to accompany it. I am persuaded, that 
in public bodies, the want of a personal acquaintance is a great objection 
to appointing a man to any important office. 

The Engageante's boat demands my letter. I have written in the 
greatest haste upon a subject, which I hope your Excellency will turn 

to public utility. 

I am, he. 



we have reason to believe, the most interesting events 
have taken place in Europe. 

We learn from private letters and common fame, that 
Mr Adams was received by the United Provinces in his 
public character, on the 19th of April. We have yet no 
account of this interesting event, nor of the measures he has 
pursued to accomplish our other objects in Holland. Since 
then Mr Laurens, it is said, has been liberated, has trav- 
elled to Holland and to France, has entered upon the 
execution of his trust, but has left us to gather events so 
interesting to him and to us from private letters, and the 
public prints. Mr Jay tells us on the 24th of May, that 
he is about to set out for Paris, and that he presumes Dr 
Franklin has assigned the reasons for this step. Doctor 
Franklin has told us nothing. 

As to jMr Dana, if it were not for the necessity of draw- 
ing bills in his favor, we should hardly be acquainted with 
his existence. It is commonly said, that republics are 
better informed than monarchs of the state of their for- 
eign affairs, and that they insist upon a greater degree of 
vigilance and punctuality in their Ministers. We, on the 
contrary, seem to have adopted a new system. The ig- 
norance, in which we are kept, of every interesting event, 
renders it impossible for die sovereign to instruct their ser- 
vants, and of course forms them into an independent privy 
coiThcil for the direction of their affairs, without their advice 
or concurrence. I can hardly express to you what [ feel 
on this occasion. I blush wlien I meet a member of Con- 
gress, who inquires into what is passing in Europe. When 
the General applies to me for advice on the same subject, 
which must regulate his movements, I am compelled to 
inform him, that we have no intelligence but what he lias 


seen in the papers. The following is an extract of bis 
last letter to me. "But how does it happen, that all our 
information of what is transacting in Europe should come 
to hand through indirect channels, or from the enemy ; or 
does this question proceed from my unacquaintedness with 

But let me dismiss a subject, which gives me so much 
pain, in the hope that we shall in future have no further 
cause of complaint. 

Since the evacuation of Savannah, the enemy have by 
the general orders contained in the enclosed papers, an- 
nounced the proposed evacuation of Charleston. We are 
in daily expectation of hearing, therefore, that tranquillity 
is restored to the Southern States. Several circumstances 
lead us to suppose, that they entertain thoughts of abandon- 
ing New York sometime this fall. You only can inform 
us, whether this step has been taken in consequence of 
any expectations they entertain of a general peace ; or 
with a view to pursue the system, which the present admin- 
istration appears to have adopted, when they so loudly rep- 
robate the American war ; and whether, by withdrawing 
their troops from hence they only mean to collect their 
force and direct it against our allies. This knowledge 
would render such an alteration in our system necessary, 
that it affords us new reasons for regretting our want of 
information on these important points. 

The Marquis de Vaudreuil has unfortunately lost the 
Magnifique, sunk by running on a rock in the harbor of 
Boston, where he is now, with the remainder of his fleet, 
except three refitting at Portsmouth, consisting of twelve 
sail of the line. This has enabled Congress to show their 
attention to His Most Christian Majesty, and their wish to 


promote his interests as far as their circumstances will per- 
mit, by presenting him the America, of seventyfour guns. 
Enclosed are their resolves on that subject, and the answer 
given by the Minister of France. The ship is in such a 
state, that she may by diligence be refitted for sea in about 
two months; and from the accounts I hear of her, she 
will I believe prove a fine ship. The General is collect- 
ing the army. The last division of the French troops 
marched from here this morning. When collected, they 
will, I presume, repair to their old post, at the White 
Plains, and perhaps endeavor to accelerate the departure 
of the enemy. 

I am sorry you did not pursue your first design, and en- 
large in your letter upon the subjects, which you imagined 
would be discussed in the negotiations for peace. It might 
have changed our sentiments, and altered o;ir views- on 
some points. Two things are of great moment to us, one 
of which at least would meet with no difficulty, if France 
and England understand their true interests ; I mean the 
West India trade, and the right to cut logwood and ma- 
hogany. Without a free admission of all kinds of provis- 
ions into the Islands, our agriculture will suffer extremely. 
This will be severely felt at first, and when it remedies 
itself, which it will do in time, it must be at the expense 
of the nations that share our commerce. It will lessen the 
consumption of foreign sugars, increase the supplies which 
the poorer people anjong us draw from the maple, &tc. and 
by reducing the price of provision, and rendering the culti- 
vation of lands less profitable, make j)roportionable increase 
of our own manufactures, and lessen our dependence on 
Europe. This will, I must confess, in some measure check 
our population, and so far I regard it as an evil. Tile mer- 


chants and farmers, if precluded at a peace from the advan- 
tages, which this commerce gave ihem while connected 

with England, * Then a variety of arguments on 

this subject, arising as well fi-om the general interests 
of France, as from her political connexion with us, might 
be urged to show the wisdom of adopting the same liberal 
sentiments on this point, which has of late distinguished her 
in so many others. But if she should not be able to over- 
come her ancient prejudices, I believe they will be found 
to have less influence on the British, whom you will press 
earnestly on this head. Besides the general interest of the 
kingdom, there is with them a powerful West India interest, 
to plead in behalf of a free importation of provisions into their 
Islands. If I mistake not, the present wishes of the nation, 
as well as the professions of administration, lead to every 
measure, which may wear away our present resentments, 
and strengthen the connexion between us and them. 

The logwood trade we have some claim to, from our 
continued exercise of the right. Nor can England pretend 
to exclude us from it, without invalidating her own title, 
which stands upon the same ground. If Spain admits the 
right in England, she gains nothing by excluding us, since 
in proportion as she diminishes our commerce in that arti- 
cle, she increases that of Great Britain. Other manufac- 
turing nations are interested in exciting a competition be- 
tween us at their markets. 

When you write to me, be pleased, to be very particular 
in your relation of every step, which leads to a negotiation. 
Everything of this kind must be interesting. 
I have the honor to be. Sir, 


*The sense is broken here, owing to the omission of three lines in cy- 
pher, the key to which could not be found. 



Paris, September 5th, 1782. 


In consequence of the notice I have just now had from Mr 
Jay of your desire of an extract from my last letter from the 
Secretary of State, regarding the proposed treaty on the 
subject of American affairs, and my authority in relation 
thereto, I take the liberty to send the same enclosed, 
which, together with the powers contained in the commis- 
sion, which I had the honor of laying before you and Mr 
Jay, I am hopeful will satisfy you of the willingness and 
sincere desire of his Majesty to give you entire content on 
that important subject. 

This extract I would have sent before now, if I had 
thought you wished to have it before I had the honor of 
waiting on you myself; which was only delayed until I 
should be informed by Mr Jay, that you were well enough 
to see me upon business. 

I heartily wish you a recovery of your health, and am, 
with sincere esteem and regard, Sir, your most obedient 
humble servant, 



Pass}', September 8th, 1782. 

I have received the honor of yours, dated the r)tli in- 
stant, enclosing an extract of a letter to your Excellency, 
from the right honorable Thonias Townshend, one of his 
Majesty's principal Secretaries of State, wherein your 


conduct in communicating to us the fonrih article of your 
instructions appears to have been approved by his Majesty. 
I suppose, therefore, that there is no impropriety in my 
requesting a copy of that instruction ; and if you see none, 
I wish to receive it from you, hoping it may be of use in 
removing some of the difficulties that obstruct our pro- 

With great and sincere esteem, I am. Sir, your Excel- 
lency's most obedient and most himible servant, 



Passy, September llth, 1782. 

My Lord, 

A long and severe indisposition has delayed my ac- 
knowledging the receipt of the letter your Lordship did me 
the honor of writing to me by Mr Fitzherbert. 

You do me justice in believing, that 1 agree with you in 
earnestly wishing the establishment of an honorable and 
lastins; peace ; and I am happy to be assured by your 

* Copy of the Fourth Article of liis Majesty s instructions to Ricliard 
Oswald, for his government in treating with the Commissioners of the 
Thirteen United Colonies of America for a truce or peace, the said in- 
structions being dated the 31st day of July, 1782, viz. 

"4th Article. In case you find the American Commissioners are not 
at liberty to treat on any terms short of independence, you are to de- 
clare to them, that you have authority to make that concession. Our 
ardent wish for peace, disposing us to purchase it at the price of acced- 
ing to the complete independence of the Thirteen Colonies, namely, 
New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New 
York New Jersey, Pennsylvania, the Three lower Counties on the Del- 
aware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Geor- 
gia, in North America." 


Lordship, that it is the system of the IMinisters with whom 
you are co-operating, I know it to be the sincere desire 
of the United States, and with such dispositions on both 
sides there is reason to hope, that the good work in its 
progress will meet with little difficulty. A small one has 
occurred in the commencement, with which i\Ir Oswald 
will acquaint you. 1 flatter myself that means will be 
found on your part for removing it ; and my best endea- 
vors in removing the subsequent ones (if any should arise) 
may be relied on. 

I had the honor of being known to your Lordship's 
father. On several occasions he manifested a regard for 
me, and a confidence in me. I shall be happy if my con- 
duct in the present important business may procure me 
the same rank in the esteem of his worthy successor. 

I am, with sincere respect, my Lord, j-our Lordship's 
most obedient and most humble servant, 



Philadelphia, September 12lh, 1782. 

1 haive nothing to add to mine of the 5th instant, but to 
congratulate you on the safe arrival of two vessels from 
Holland, having on board the goods left by Commodore 
Gillon, and to present you in the name of Mr Paine, with 
three copies of a late work of his addressed to the Abbe 
Raynal, in which he takes notice of some of the many 
errors with which his work abounds. The Abbe has a 
fine imagination, and he indulges it. The enclosed reso- 
lution contains an important fact, which I am using means 

VOL. IV. 3 


to ascertain ; but from the ill success 1 have hitherto met 
with in every similar attempt, I am fearful that it will be 
very long before I can effect it. 

I have the honor to be, Sir, with great respect and 
esteem, your most obedient humble servant, 



Philadelphia, September 12th, 1782. 


Since writing the above, I have received the enclosed 
resolutions of Congress. I have already anticipated all 
that can be said upon the subject of the last ; the melan- 
choly tale of our necessities is sufficiently known to you, it 
has been too often repeated to need recitation. 

Mr Morris, who writes from an empty Treasury amidst 
perpetual duns, will speak more feelingly. In short, 
money must be obtained for us at any rate, whether we 
have peace or war. France having already done much 
for us, and it not being probable that we shall extend our 
demands beyond the present, she may think it wise not to 
let us open accounts with a new banker, since the debtor is 
always more or less under obligations to the creditor. 

I have the honor to be. Sir, with respect and esteem, 


Passy, September 17th, 1782. 

My dear Friend, 
Since those acknowledged in my last, I have received 
your several favors of August the 16th, 20th, and 26th. 


I have been a long time afflicted with the gisavel and gout, 
which have much indisposed me for writing. I am even 
now in pain, but will no longer delay some answer. 

I did not perfectly comprehend the nature of your ap- 
pointment respecting the refugees, and I supposed you 
would in a subsequent letter explain it. But, as I now find 
you have declined the service, such explanation is become 

I did receive the paper you inquire about, entitled Pre- 
liminaries, and dated May, 1 782, but it was from you, and 
I know nothing of their having been communicated to 
this Court. The third proposition, "that in case the nego- 
tiation between Great Britain and the allies of America 
should not succeed, but the war continue between them, 
America should act and be treated as a neutral nation," 
appeared at first sight inadmissible, being contrary to our 
treaty. The truce too seems not to have been desired by 
any of the parties. 

With unalterable esteem and afiection, I am, my dear 

Friend, ever yours, &c. 



Philadelpliia, September IStli, 1782. 

Just after closing my despatches, I was favored willi 
yours of the 25th of April, and the 25ih and 29th of June. 
The ships that brought them were so unfortunate as to be 
chased into the Delaware by a superior force. The Eagle 
was driven ashore and sunk. The papers and intney 
were however happily saved, and [)art of the crew. But 


Captain la Fouche, not having been since heard of, is sup- 
posed to be taken. The otlier frigate has arrived safe, 
with all the passengers of both ships. 

As 1 am just about to leave town for a short time, I will 
not touch upon the important subject mentioned in your 
letters, which will on account of my absence be committed 
to a special committee. 

I would only observe to you, that the resolution in my 
last shows the sense of Congress on the subject of money 

You will see by the annexed resolutions, that Congress 
have refused to accept Mr Laurens's resignation, and that 
they have made some alteration in your powers. 

I send the papers, which contain the little news we 
have, and am, Sir, 


Whitehall, September 20lh, 1782. 


I received, on Saturday last, your packets of the lOili 
and 11th of this month. 

A meeting of the King's confidential servants was held 
as soon as possible, to consider the contents of them, and 
it was at once agreed to make the alteration in the com- 
mission proposed by Dr Franklin and Mr Jay. I trust that 
the readiness with which this proposal has been accepted, 
will be considered as an ample testimony of the openness 
and sincerity with which the government of this country is 
disposed to treat with the Americans. 


The commission is passing with as much despatch as 
the forms of office will allow j but I thought it material 
that no delay should happen, in giving you notice of the 
determination of his Majesty's Council upon this subject. 
You will receive the commission very soon after this 
reaches you. 

I am, with great regard, he. 



Paris, September 24ih, 1782. 

Having received, by a courier just now arrived, a letter 
from Mr Secretary Townshend, in answer to mine, which 
went by the messenger, despatched from hence on the 
12th, I take this opportunity of Mr Whiteford to send you 
a copy of it. I hope he will bring good accounts of your 
health, which I sincerely wish, and am your Excellency's, 




Versailles, September 25ili, 1782. 

I have the honor to send you my despatches for the 
Chevalier de la Luzerne. The paci<et is voluminous, but 
it contains many duplicates. 

I should be glad if it were in my power to inform him, 
that our treaty is in as good progress as yours, but this is 
far from bein"; the case. I cannot even foresee what will 


be the issue, for difBculties raultiply. It will be well for 
you to forewarn the Congress to be prepared for whatever 
event may arise. I do not despair ; I the rather hope ; but 
as yet all is uncertainty. 

I have the honor to be, Sir, 



Passy, September 26th, 1782. 

I have just received your No. 15, dated the 9th of 
August, which mentions your not having heard from me 
since March. I have, however, written sundry letters, 
viz. of April the 8tb, and June the 12th, June the 25th 
and 29th, August the 12th, and September the 3d, and 
sent copies of the same, which I hope cannot all have 

The negotiations for peace have hitherto amounted to 
little more than mutual professions of sincere desires, &ic., 
beirtg obstructed by the want of due form in the English 
commissions appointing their plenipotentiaries. The ob- 
jections made to those for treating with France, Spain and 
Holland were first removed, and by the enclosed* it 
seems that our objections to that for treating with us will 
now be removed also, so that we expect to begin in a few 
days our negotiations. But there are so many interests to 
be considered and settled, in a peace between five different 
nations, that it will be well not to flatter ourselves with a 
very speedy conclusion. 

* This refers to Mr Oswald's commission, which will be found in the 
Correspondence of the Commissioners for negotiating peace. 


I mentioned, in a former letter, my having communi- 
cated to Count de Vergennes the state of American com- 
merce, which you sent me, and my having urged its con- 
sideration, &£c. En,closed is a copy of a letter received 
from that Minister on the subject. 

The copy of General Carleton's letter, and the bills of 
exchange, which you mentioned as enclosed, do not ap- 
pear. I hope soon to have a better opportunity of writing, 
when I shall be fuller. 

With great esteem, &,c. 




Versailles, October 3d, 1782. 
1 have the honor to return you the commission appoint- 
ing Thomas Barclay consul of the United States, to re- 
side in France, and I endorse the exequatur, which is 
requisite for the exercise of his functions. I must inform 
you, that the latter of these will require the Admiral's sig- 
nature previously to its being registered, either by the Se- 
cretary of the Admiralty at L'Orient, where Mr Barclay 
intends to fix his residence, or by those of other ports of 
the kingdom, where commercial considerations may re- 
quire his presence. 

I have the honor to be, Sic. 





Bath, October 4tl), 1782. 

My Dear Friend, 

I only write one line to you, to let yon know that I am 
not forgetful of you, or of our common concerns. I have 
not heard anything from the Ministry yet ; I helieve it is a 
kind of vacation with them, before the meeting of Parlia- 
ment. I have told you of a proposition, which I have had 
some thoughts to make as a kind of copartnership in com- 
merce. I send you a purposed temporary convention, 
which I have drawn up. You are to consider it only as 
one I recommend. The words underlined are grafted 
upon the proposition of my Memorial, dated May 19th, 
1778. You. will see the principle, which I have in my 
thoughts to extend for the purpose of restoring our ancient 
copartnership generally. 

1 cannot tell you what event things may take, but my 
thoughts are always employed in endeavoring to arrange 
that system upon which the China Vase, lately shattered, 
may be cemented together, upon principles of compact and 
connexion, instead of dependence. 

I have met with a sentiment in this country which gives 
some alarm, viz. lest the unity of government in America 
should be uncertain, and the States reject the authority of 
Congress. Some passages in General Washington's letter 
have given weight to these doubts. I do not hear of any 
tendency to this opinion ; that the American States will 
break to pieces, and then we may still conquer them. I 
believe all that folly is extinguished. But many serious 
and well disposed persons are alarmed, lest this should be 
the ill-fated moment for relaxing the powers of the union , 


and annihilating the cement of confederation, {vide Wash- 
ington's letter,) and that Great Britain should thereby lose 
her best and wisest hope of being reconnected with the 
American States unitedly. I should for one tbink it the 
greatest misfortune. Pray give me some opinion upon 

You see there is likewise another turn, which may be 
given to this sentiment by intemperate and disappointed 
people, who may indulge a passionate revenge for their 
own disappointments, by endeavoring to excite general 
distrust, discord, and disunion. I wish to be prepared 
and guarded at all points. 

I beg my best compliments to your colleagues ; be so 
good as to show this letter to them. I beg particularly my 
condolence (and I hope congratulation) to Mr Adams ; I 
hear that he has been very dangerously ill, but that he is 
again recovered. I hope the latter part is true, and that 
we shall all survive to set our hands to some future com- 
pacts of common interest, and common aflection, between 
our two countries. 

Your ever affectionate, 



Passy, October 14ih, 17S2. 


I have but just received information of this opportunity, 
and have only time allowed to wrile a few lines. 

In my last of the 26th past, I mentioned tliat the negotia- 
tion for peace had been obstructed, by the want of due form 
in the English commissions appointing their plenipotentia- 

TOL. IV. 4 


ries. In that for treating with us, the mentioning our States 
by their public name had been avoided, which we objected 
to ; another is come, of which I send a copy enclosed. We 
have now made several preliminary propositions, which the 
English Minister, Mr Oswald, has approved, and sent to 
his Court. He thinks they will be approved there, but 1 
have some doubts. In a (ew days, however, the answer 
expected will determine. By the first of these articles, the 
King of Great Britain renounces for himself and succes- 
sors, all claim and pretension to dominion or territory within 
the Thirteen United States ; and the boundaries are de- 
scribed as in our instructions, except that the line between 
Nova Scotia and New England is tathe settled by Commis- 
sioners after the peace. By another article, the fishery in 
the American seas is to be freely exercised by the Amer- 
icans, wherever they might formerly exercise it while 
united with Great Britain. By another, the citizens and 
subjects of each nation are to enjoy the same protection 
and privileges, in each others' ports and countries, respect- 
ing commerce, duties, &:c. that are enjoyed by native sub- 
jects. The articles are drawn up very fully by Mr Jay, 
who I suppose sends you a copy; if not, it will go by the 
next opportunity. If these articles are agreed to, I appre- 
hend little difficulty in the rest. Something has been men- 
tioned about the refugees and English debts, but not insist- 
ed on, as we declared at once, that whatever confiscations 
had been made in America, being in virtue of the laws of 
particular States, the Congress had no authority to repeal 
those laws, and therefore could give us none to stipulate for 
such repeal. 

I have been honored with the receipt of your letters, Nos 
14 and 15. I have also received two letters from Mr 


Lewis R. Morris, both dated the 6th of July, and one dated 
the 10th of August, enclosing bills for 68,290 livres, 


In all 149,426 livres, 
being intended for the payment of Ministers' salaries for the 
t\\o first quarters of this year. But as these bills came so 
late, that all those salaries were already paid, 1 shall make 
no use of the bills, but lay them by till further orders ; and 
the salaries of different Ministers not having all the same 
times of falling due, as they had different commencements, 
I purpose to get all their accounts settled and reduced to 
the same period, andsend you the state of them, that you 
may be clear in future orders. I see in one of the esti- 
mates sent me, that a quarter's salary of a Minister is 
reckoned at 14,513 livres, in the other it is reckoned 
16,667 livres, and the bill for 9,756* livres is mentioned 
as intended to pay a balance due on the remittance of the 
68,290 livres. Being unacquainted with the state of your 
exchange, I do not well comprehend this, and therefore 
leave the whole for the present, as I have said above. 
Permit me only to hint for your consideration, whether it 
may not be well hereafter to omit mention of sterling, in 
our appointments, since we have severed from the country 
to which that denomination of money is peculiar ; and also 
to order the payment of your Ministers in such a manner, 
that they may know exactly what they are to receive, and 
not be subject to tlie fluctuations of exchange. If it is that, 
which occasions the difference between 14,533 for the first 

•This was not merely to pay a balance, but an excess on account of 
contingencies. Xote by Mr Livingston. 


quarter, and the 16,667 for the second, it is considerable. 
1 think we have no right to any advantage by the exchange, 
nor should we be liable to any loss from it. Hitherto we 
have taken 15,000 for a quarter, (subject however to the 
allowance or disallowance of Congress) which is lower than 
the medium between those two extremes. 

The different accounts given of Lord Shelburne's char- 
acter, with respect to sincerity, induced the Ministry here 
to send over M. de Rayneval, Secretary to the Council, to 
converse with him, and endeavor to form by that means a 
more perfect judgment of what was to be expected from 
the negotiations. He was five or six days in England, 
saw all the Ministers, and returned quite satisfied, that they 
are sincerely desirous of peace, so that the negotiations 
now go on with some prospect of success. But the Court 
and people of England are very changeable. A litde turn 
of fortune in their favor sometimes turns their heads ; and 
I shall not think a speedy peace to be depended on, till I 
see the treaties signed. 1 am obliged to finish. 

With great esteem, &ic. 



Passy, October 15tb, 1782. 


A long and painful illness has prevented my correspond- 
ing with your Excellency regularly. 

Mr Jay has, I believe, acquainted you with the obstruc- 
tions our peace negotiations have met with, and that they 
are at length removed. By the next courier expected 
from London, we may be able perhaps to form some judg- 
ment of the probability of success, so far as relates to our 


part of the peace. How likely the other powers are to 
settle their pretensions, I cannot yet learn. In the mean 
time, America is gradually growing more easy, by the ene- 
my's evacuation of their posts ; as you will see by some 
intelligence I enclose. 

With great respect, I have the honor to be, k,c. 



Whitehall, October 23d, 1782. 
As Mr Strachey is going from hence to Paris, with some 
particulars for Mr Oswald, which were not easily to be ex- 
plained in writing, I take the liberty of introducing him to 
your acquaintance, though I am not sure that he is not a 
little known to you. The confidential situation in which he 
stands with me, makes me particularly desirous of present- 
ing him to you. 

I believe, Sir, I am enough known to you, for you to 
believe me, when I say, that there has not been from the 
beginning a single person more averse to the unhappy war, 
or who wishes more earnestly than I do, for a return of 
peace and mutual amity between Great Britain and Amer- 

I am, with great regard, Sir, your most obedient humble 




Passy, November 4tli, 1782. 


I received the letter you did nre tlic honor of writing to 
nie by Mr Strachey, and was much pleased with the op- 
portunity it gave me of renewing and increasing my ac- 
quaintance with a gentleman of so amiable and deserving a 

I am sensible you have ever been averse to the mea- 
sures that brought on this unhappy war ; I have, therefore, 
no doubt of the sincerity of your wishes for a return of 
peace. Mine are equally earnest. Nothing, therefore, 
except the beginning of the war, has given me more con- 
cern than to learn at the conclusion of our conferences, 
that it is not likely to be soon ended. Be assured, no en- 
deavors on my part would be wanting to remove any 
difficulties that may have arisen, or even if a peace were 
made, to procure afterwards any changes in the treaty that 
might tend to render it more perfect, and the peace more 
durable. But we, who are here at so great a distance 
from our constituents, have not the possibility of obtaining 
in a few days fresh instructions, as is the case with your 
negotiators, and are therefore obliged to insist on what is 
conformable to those we have, and at the same time ap- 
pears to us just and reasonable. 

With great esteem and respect, I have the honor to 
be, Sir, &;c. 




Passy, November 7th, 1782. 

The Baron de Kermelin, a Swedish gentleman of dis- 
linction, recommended strongly to me by his Excellency, 
the Ambassador of that nation to this Court, as a person 
highly esteemed in his own, purposes a journey through 
North America, to view its natural productions, acquaint 
himself with its commerce, and acquire such information 
as may be useful to his country, in the communication and 
connexion of interests that seem to be growing, and prob- 
ably may soon become considerable between the two 
nations. I therefore beg leave to introduce him to you, 
and request that you would present him to the President 
of Congress, and to such other persons as you shall think 
may be useful to him in his views, and 1 recommend him 
earnestly to those civilities, which you have a pleasure in 
showing to strangers of merit. 
1 have the honor to be, he. 



Philadelphia, November 9th, 1782. 

Dear Sir, 
Mr Stewart, informing me that he shall set out tomor- 
row for Paris, will be the bearer of this, and dupli- 
cates of my last letters. The want of time will prevent 
my sending Mr Jay duplicates of the resolutions formerly 
enclosed to him, which will be the more unnecessary as 
you will communicate those you receive with this, if my 
former letters containing them have not reached him. 


We are much flattered by the proposals of Sweden, 
and feel all the force of its Minister's observations ; every 
new acknowledgment lays the foundation of others, and 
familiarizes Great Britain with the idea of acknowledging 
us as sovereign and independent. I feel some pleas- 
ure, too, in thinking that you are to be the instrument of 
procuring us new connexions, and beg leave to remind 
you of another which calls upon your attention, though 
it seems to have been forgotten in the hurry of business. 
I mean that with the States of Barbary. The good dis- 
positions of the Court of France towards us, and the 
enlarged policy by which their measures are actuated, 
together with the coolness that at present subsists between 
the Emperor of Morocco and Great Britain, (if we are 
well informed) seem to point out this as the -favorable 
moment for making ourselves known to him. As Mr 
Jay is now with you, I wish you would consult upon 
the means of bringing this about, so that we may not 
be shut out of the Mediterranean in future. 

1 know you will start a very obvious objection. But 
as this can only be removed by your influence where you 
now are, we rely upon you for the means as well as for 
the manner of treating. I have not thought it necessary 
to say anything to Congress on this subject, nor shall I, 
till you give me hopes that something may be done in it. 

The only political object of a general nature, that has 
been touched upon in Congress since my last, is the ex- 
chano'e of prisoners, which seems at present to be as far 
as ever from being effected. The propositions on the side 
of the enemy were to exchange seamen for soldiers, they 
having no soldiers in their hands ; that the soldiers so 
exchanged should not serve for one year against the 


United States ; that the sailors might go into immediate 
service ; that the remainder of the soldiers in our hands 
should be given up at a stipulated price. 

Congress rejected this proposal as unequal ; as letting 
loose a force, which might be employed against our allies 
in the West Indies ; as making no provision for the pay- 
ment of the large balance due to us for the maintenance of 
prisoners. They further required, that General Carleton 
should explicitly declare, that the powers he gives to his 
Commissioners for negotiating an exchange are derived 
from the King of Great Britain, so that any engagement 
for the payment of the debt they have incurred may be 
considered as binding upon the nation. Wiih respect to 
Mr Laurens, they have come to no decided opinion. The 
Committee to whom it was referred, reporting that, 

"With respect to the inforrnalion contained in the ex- 
tract of Sir Guy Carlelon's and Admiral Digby's letter 
of the 2d of August, Hhat after Mr Laurens was dis- 
charged, he declared that he considered Lord. Cornivallis 
as freed from his parole,'' your Committee conceive it 
sufficient to observe, that no intimation having been re- 
ceived of such a fact, except, from the said extract, and 
Congress having given no directions to that purpose, the 
consideration thereof would in their opinion be premature, 
and ought therefore to be deferred." Since which, though 
letters have been received from IMr Laurens, they have 
come to no resolution, unless their direction to him to pro- 
ceed in the business of his mission may be considered as 

General Carleton has sent out the trial of Lipplncott, 
which admits the murder of Ilucidy, !jut justilics Lippincolt 
under an irregular order of the Board of llefugees. So 

VOL. IV. 5 


paltry a palliation of so black a crime would not have been 
admitted, and Captain Asgill would certainly have paid the 
forfeit for the injustice of his countrymen, had not the in- 
terposition of their Majesties prevented. The letter from 
the Count de Vergennes is made the groundwork of the 
resolution passed on that subject. I shall transmit you the 

I suppose I need not tell you, that the enemy contrived 
to get off the Eagle and to carry her to New York. \ou 
will find, in the enclosed papers, a very polite letter from 
Captain Elphingston ; it is easier to be so in word than in 
deed among the British. Digby has refused to permit 
him to comply with his engagement, at least so far as his 
share of the prize is concerned, and insists upon dividing 
the baggage of the officers, and sharing the eighth pair of 
breeches, he. 

On the 4th instant, Mr Boudinot was elected President 
in the room of Mr Hanson, whose term of service had ex- 
pired. Mr Lewis Morris will enclose bills purchased here 
at six shillings and three pence, currency, for five livres, 
to the amount of your last quarter's salary, ending the first 
of October. 

I have the honor to be, Sir, he. 



Philadelphia, November 21st, 1782. 

Congress a few days since passed the enclosed resolu- 
tion. No. 1, by which they have added Mr Jefferson to 
the commission for concluding a peace. The established 
character of this gentleman gives me reason to hope, that 


his appointment will be very acceptable to you, and the 
other gentlemen in the commission. [ have not yet learned 
whether he will take the task upon him, but I have reason 
to believe he will, the death of his wife having lessened, in 
the opinion of his friends, the reluctance which he has 
hitherto manifested to going abroad. I think it would be 
proper to make a formal annunciation of this resolution to 
the Court of France. You will naturally give such a repre- 
sentation of Mr Jefferson's character, as will secure to him 
there that esteem and confidence which he justly merits. 
The resolution. No. 2, needs no comment ; or if it does, 
Mr Morris will prove the able commentator. I resign the 
task to him. 

For what end are the show of negotiations kept up by 
England, when peace upon the only terms she can possibly 
expect to obtain it is far from her heart 1 Her Ministers, 
like some Ministers of the Gospel, who are unwilling to 
quit the pulpit when they have tired out their hearers, ex- 
pect to keep the people together by calling out at every 
period, "now to conclude," while they continue the same 
dull tale for want of skill to wind it up. 

By accounts from Jamaica, we learn that the British 
have recovered most of their settlements on the Bay. 
Some attention will, I hope, be paid in the treaty of peace 
to secure to us the sliare we formerly had in the logwood 
trade; it was a valuable remittance to us, and the low 
price at which we were enabled to sell renders it impor- 
tant to other nations, that we should not be excluded from 
furnishing it as usual. You will find by the enclosed 
paper, that INIr Burgess, an English merchant, was not 
permitted to settle at Boston and obtain the rights of citi- 
zen^ship, upon principles which must be alarming to Eng- 


land. It shows at the same lime the respect that is paid to 

the resoUnlQiis of Congress, notwithstanding all that lias 

been said and written to prove the contrary. 

1 atn, Sir, &tc. 


P. S. 1 forgot to mention, that I am solicited by Mr 
Barlow to transmit to you proposals for printing a work of 
his, which you will find described in the enclosed pro- 
posals, as they are accompanied with a specimen of his 
poetry, which is as much as I have seen of it. You will 
judge yourself how far it deserves the patronage he wishes 
you to give it. 


Passy, November 26th, 1782. 

You may well remember, that in the beginning of our 
conferences, before the other Commissioners arrived, on 
your mentioning to me a retribution for the royalists, whose 
estates had been confiscated. I acquainted you that noth- 
ing of that kind could be stipulated by us, the confiscation 
being made by virtue of laws of particular States, which 
the Congress had no power to contravene or dispense 
with, and therefore could give us no such authority in our 
commission. And I gave it as my opinion and advice, 
honestly and cordially, that if a reconciliation was intended, 
no mention should be made in our negotiations of those 
people ; for they having done infinite mischief to our prop- 
erties, by wantonly burning and destroying farm-houses, 
villages, and towns, if compensation for their losses were 
insisted on, we should certainly exhibit again such an ac- 


count of all the ravages they had committed, which would 
necessarily recall to view scenes of barbarity that must in- 
flame, instead of conciliating, and tend to perpetuate an 
enmity that we all profess a desire of extinguishing. Un- 
derstanding, however, from you, that this was a point your 
Ministry had at heart, I wrote concerning it to Congress, 
and I have lately received the following resolution, viz. 

^^B\j the United States, in Congress assembled.''^ 

September 10th, 17S2. 

"Resolved, That the Secretary for Foreign Affairs be, 
and he is hereby directed to obtain, as speedily as possi- 
ble, authentic returns of the slaves and other property, 
which have been carried off or destroyed in the course of 
the war by the enemy, and to transmit the same to the 
Ministers Plenipotentiary for negotiating peace. 

"Resolved, That, in the meantime, the Secretary for 
Foreign Affairs inform the said ]\linisters, that many thou- 
sands of slaves, and other property, to a very great 
amount, have been carried off, or destroyed by the 
enemy ; and that in the opinion of Congress, the great 
loss of property, which the citizens of the United States 
have sustained by the enemy, will be considered by the sev- 
eral States as an insuperable bar to their making restitu- 
tion or indemnification to the former owner of property, 
which has been, or may be forfeited to, or confiscated by 
any of the States." 

In consequence of these resolutions and circular letters 
of the Secretary, the Assembly of Pennsylvania, then sit- 
ting, passed the following act, viz. 


"State of Pennsylvania, in General Assembly.''^ 

Wednesday, September ISth, 1782. 
"The bill, entitled 'An Act for jjrocuring an estimate of 
the damages sustained by the inhabitants of Pennsylvania, 
from the troops and adherents of the King of Great Brit- 
ain during the present war,' was read a second time. 

"Ordered to be transcribed, and printed for public con- 

Extract from the minutes. 

Peter Z. Lloyd. 
Clerk of the General Assembly. ^^ 

"Wliereas great damages, of the most wanton nature^ 
have been committed by the armies of the King of Great 
Britain, or their adherents within the territory of the Uni- 
ted States of North America, unwarranted by the practice 
of civilized nations, and only to be accounted for from th& 
vindictive spirit of the said King and his officers ; and 
whereas an accurate account and estimate of such dama- 
ges, more especially the waste and destruction of property, 
may be very useful to the people of the United States of 
America, in forming a future treaty of peace, and, in the 
meantime, may serve to exhibit in a true light to the 
nations of Europe the conduct of the said King, his IMinis- 
ters, officers, and adherents; to the end, therefore, that 
proper measures be taken to ascertain the damages afore- 
said, which have been done to the citizens and inhabitants 
of Pennsylvania, in the course of the present war within 
this State ; Be it enacted by the House of Representa- 
tives of the freemen of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 
in General Assembly met, and by the authority of the 


same, that in every county of this State, which has been 
invaded by the armies, soldiers, or adherents of the King 
of Great Britain, the Commissioners of every such county 
shall immediately meet together, each within their county, 
and issue directions to the assessors of the respective 
townships, districts, and places within such county, to call 
upon the inhabitants of every township and place, to fur- 
nish accounts and estimates of the damages, waste, spoil, 
and destruction, which have been done and committed as 
aforesaid, upon the property, real or personal, within the 
same township or place, since the first da)' of 
which was in the year of our Lord 177 , and the same ac- 
counts and estimates to be transmitted to the Commissioners 
without delay. And if any person or persons shall refuse 
or neglect to make out such accounts and estimates, the 
said assessors of the township or place shall, from their 
own knowledge, and by any other reasonable and lawful 
method, take and render such an account and estimate of 
all damage done or committed, as aforesaid ; Provided 
always, that all such accounts and estimates to be made 
out and transmitted as aforesaid, shall contain a narrative 
of the time and circumstances ; and if in the power of the 
person aggrieved, the names of the General, or other offi- 
, cers or adherents of the enemy by whom the damage in 
any case was done, or under whose orders the army, de- 
tachment, party, or persons, committing the same, acted at 
that time, and also the name and condition of the person 
or persons, whose property was so damaged or destroyed, 
and that nil such accounts and estimates be made in cur- 
rent money, upon oath or aOirmation of the sufibrer, or 
of others having knowledge concerning the same; and that 
in every case it be set forth, whether the ])arty injured 


hath received any satisfaction for his loss, and by whom 
the same was given. 

"And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, 
that the said Commissioners, having obtained the said 
accounts and estimates from the assessor of tlie several 
townships and places, shall proceed to inspect and register 
the same in a book, to be provided for that purpose, dis- 
tinguishing the districts and townships, and entering those 
of each place together ; and if any account and estimate 
be imperfect, or not sufficiently verified and established, 
the said Commissioners shall have power, and they, or any 
two of them, are hereby authorised to summon and compel 
any person, whose evidence they shall think necessary, to 
appear before them at a day and place appointed, to be 
summoned upon oath or affirmation, concerning any dam- 
age or injury as aforesaid ; and the said Commissioners 
shall, upon the call and demand of the President, or Vice 
President of the Supreme Executive Council, deliver, or 
send to the Secretary of the said council, all or any of the 
original accounts and estimates aforesaid, and shall also de- 
liver, or send to the said Secretary, copies of the book 
aforesaid, or any part or parts thereof, upon reasonable 
notice. And be it furlher enacted by the authority afore- 
said, that all losses of negro or mulatlo slaves and servants,^ 
v^lio have been deluded and carried away by the enemies 
of the United States, and who have not been recovered or 
recompensed, shall be comprehended within the accounts 
and estimates aforesaid ; and that the Commissioners and 
assessors of any county, which had not been invaded as 
aforesaid, shall nevertheless inquire after, and procure ac- 
counts and estimates of any damages suffered by the loss 
o'" such servants and slaves, as is herein before directed as 
to other property. 


"And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, 
that the charges and expenses of executing this act, as to 
the pay of the said Commissioners and assessors, shall be 
as in other cases ; and that witnesses shall be rewarded 
for their loss of time and trouble, as witnesses summoned 
to appear in the courts of quarter sessions of the peace ; 
and the said charges and expenses shall be defrayed by 
the commonwealth ; but paid, in the first instance, out of 
the hands of the Treasurer of the county, for county 
rates, and levies upon orders drawn by the Commissioners 
of the proper county." 

We have not yet had time to hear what has been done 
by the other assemblies ; but I have no doubt that similar 
act5 will be made use of by all of them, and that the mass 
of evidence produced by the execution of those acts, not 
only of the enormities committed by those people, under 
the direction of the British Generals, but of those commit- 
ted by the British troops themselves, will form a record 
that must render the British name odious in America to 
the latest generations. In that authentic record will be 
found the burning of the fine towns of Charlestown, near 
Boston ; of Falmouth, just before winter, when the sick, 
the aged, the women and children, were driven to seek 
shelter where they could hardly find it ; of Norfolk, in the 
midst of winter ; of New London, of Fairfield, of Esopus, 
he. besides near a hundred and fifty miles of well settled 
country laid waste ; every house and barn burnt, and n)any 
hundreds of farmers, with their wives and children, butch- 
ered and scalped. 

The present British JMinisters, when they reflect a little, 
will certainly be too equitable to suppose, that their nation 
VOL. IV. 6 


lias a right to make an unjust war, (which they have al- 
ways allowed this against us to be,) and do all sorts of un- 
necessary mischief, unjustifiable by the practice of any in- 
dividual people, which those they make war with are to suf- 
fer without claiming any satisfaction ; but that if Britons, or 
their adherents, are in return deprived of any property, it 
is to be restored to them, or they are to be indemnified. 
The British troops can never excuse their barbarities. 
They were unprovoked. The loyalists may say in excuse 
of theirs, that they were exasperated by the loss of their 
estates, and it was revenge. They have then had their 
revenge. Is it right they should have both 9 

Some of those people may have merit in their regard 
for Britain, and who espoused her cause from affection ; 
these it may become you to reward. But there are many 
of them who were waverers, and were only determined to 
engage in it by some occasional circumstance or appear- 
ances ; these have not much of either merit or demerit ; 
and there are others, who have abundance of demerit res- 
pecting your country, having by their falsehoods and mis- 
representations brought on and encouraged the continuance 
of the war ; these, instead of being recompensed, should 
be punished. 

It is usual among Christian people at war to profess 
always a desire of peace ; but if the Ministers of one of 
the parties choose to insist particularly on a certain article, 
which they have known the others are not and cannot be 
empowered to agree to, what credit can they expect should 
be given to such professions .'' 

Your IVlinisters require that we should receive again 
into our bosom those who have been our bitterest ene- 
mies, and restore their properties who have destroyed 


ours, and this, while the wounds they have given us are 
still bleeding ! It is many years since your nation expelled 
the Stuarts and their adherents, and confiscated their 
estates. Much of your resentment against them may by 
this time be abated ; yet, if we should propose it, and 
insist on it as an article of our treaty with you, that that 
family should be recalled and the forfeited estates of its 
friends restored, would you think us serious in our pro- 
fessions of earnestly desiring peace ? 

1 must repeat my opinion, that it is best for you to drop 
all mention of the refugees. We have proposed, indeed, 
nothing but what we think best for you as well as our- 
selves. But if you will have them mentioned, let it be in an 
article, in which you may provide, that they shall exhibit ac- 
counts of their losses to the Commissioners, hereafter to be 
appointed, who should examine the same, together with 
the accounts now preparing in America of the damages 
done by them, and state the account, and that if a balance 
appears in their favor, it shall be paid by us to you, and 
by you divided among them as you shall think proper. 
And if the balance is found due to us, it shall be paid by 

Give me leave, however, to advise you to prevent the 

necessity of so dreadful a discussion by dropping the 

article, that we may write to America and stop the inquiry. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 




Philadelphia, November 27th, 1782. 

An opportunily offering from this port to write directly 
to you, I do not choose to hazard anything by the post, 
which carries this to Boston, particularly as I did not hear 
till just now, that a frigate was to sail from thence, and it 
is uncertain whether this will arrive in time to go by her. 
This then only accompanies the newspapers, which con- 
tain all the public information now in circulation. 

The Memorials of Messrs la Marque and Fabru are 
transmitted to South Carolina, as it is a matter in which 
the United States are not concerned. It is to be hoped, 
that the State will do justice to the claimants, if, as assert- 
ed, Gillon acted under authority from them. He has just 
left this with his ship, not in the most honorable manner, 
having, as I am informed, been arrested by order of the 
proprietor of the ship for his proportion of the prize money. 
The sheriff stands in the gap. - 

The Swiss officer mentioned in yours, I have sent to 
Edcnton to get information about. You shall have the 
result of inquiries in my next. 

As your grandson will probably choose to continue in 
the line he is in, I cannot but think he might find important 
advantages from opening a correspondence with this of- 
fice. His diligence and accuracy in collecting and trans- 
mitting intelligence would procure him friends here. My 
attachment to you will render me desirous to place them 
in the best light. 

I am, Sir, &ic. 




Passy, Norember 29t)i, 1782. 


I have the honor to acquaint your Excellency, that the 
Commissioners of the United States have agreed with ^Ir 
Oswald, on the preliminary articles of the peace between 
those States and Great Britain. Tomorrow I hope we 
shall be able to communicate to your Excellency a copy 
of them.* 

With great respect, I have the honor to be, Sir, your 
Excellency's most obedient and most humble servant, 



Philadelphia, December 3d, 1782. 

I have just now received the certificates required by 
MrWallier. The vessel which carries my oilier despatches 
having been long detained, I embrace the opportuniiy to 
forward them. Nothing new since my last, except that, 
by a gentleman who left Charleston the 4th instant, we 
learn, that the British had dismounted their cannon, and 
were certainly on the point of leaving it. 
I am, Sir, &c. 


" These articles will be found in the Correspondence o< the Com- 



Passy, December 4th, 1782. 


We detain the Washington a little longer, expecting an 
English passport for her in a few days, and as possibly 
some vessel bound for North America may sail before her, 
I write this line to inform you, that the French prelimi- 
naries with England are not yet signed, though we hope 
they may be very soon. Of ours I enclose a copy. The 
Dutch and Spain have yet made but little progress, and as 
no definitive treaty will be signed till all are agreed, there 
may be time for Congress to give us further instructions, 
if they think proper. We hope the terms we have ob- 
tained will be satisfactory, though, to secure our main 
points, we may have yielded too much in favor of the 
royalists. The quantity of aid to be afforded us remains 
undecided. I suppose something depends on the event of 
the treaty. By the Washington you will be fully informed 
of everything. 

With great regard, I have the honor to be, &cc. 



Passy, December 5th, 1782. 

I am honored by your several letters, Nos 16, 17, 18 
and 19, dated September 5th, 13th, 15th, and ISth. I 
believe that the complaints you make in them of my not 
writing, may ere now have appeared less necessary, as 
many of my letters written before those complaints must 
have since come to hand. I will nevertheless mention some 


of the difEciilties your Ministers meet with, in keeping up a 
regular and punctual correspondence. We are far from 
the seaports, and not well informed, and often misinformed 
about the sailing of vessels. Frequently we are told they 
are to sail in a week or two, and often they lie in the ports 
for months after, with our letters on board, either waiting 
for convoy, or for other reasons. The post office here is 
an unsafe conveyance ; many of the letters we received by 
it have evidently been opened, and doubtless the same 
happens to those we send ; and at this time particularly, 
there is so violent a curiosity in all kinds of people to know 
something relating to the negotiations, and whether peace 
may be expected, or a continuance of the war, that there 
are few private hands or travellers, that we can trust 
with carrying our despatches to the seacoast ; and I imag- 
ine that they may sometimes be opened and destroyed 
because they cannot be well sealed. Again, the observa- 
tion you make, that the Congress Ministers in Europe 
seem to form themselves into a privy council, transacting 
affairs v/ithout the privity or concurrence of the sovereign, 
may be in some respects just ; but it should be considered, 
that if they do not write as frequently as other Ministers 
here do to their respective Courts, or if when they write, 
their letters are not regularly received, the greater distance 
of the seat of war, and the extreme irregularity of convey- 
ances may be the causes, and not a desire of acting with- 
out the knowledge or orders of their constituents. There 
is no European Court, to which an express cannot be sent 
from Paris in ten or fifteen days, and from most of them 
answers may be obtained in that time. There is, 1 im- 
agine, no Minister who would not think it safer to act by 
orders than from his own discretion ; and yet, unless you 


leave more to the discretion of your Ministers in Europe 
than Courts usually do, your affiiirs may sometimes suffer 
extremely from the distance which, in the time of war 
especially, may make it five or six months before the 
answer to a letter shall be received. I suppose the Min- 
ister from this Court will acquaint Congress with the 
King's sentiments, respecting their very handsome present 
of a ship of the line. People in general here are much 
pleased with it. 

I communicated, together with my memoir demanding a 
supply of money, copies of every paragraph in your late 
letters, which express so strongly the necessity of it. I 
have been constant in my solicitations both directly, and 
through the Marquis de Lafayette, who has employed him- 
self diligently and warmly in the business. The negotiations 
for peace are, I imagine, one cause of the great delay and 
indecision on this occasion beyond what has been usual, as 
the quantum may be different if those negotiations do or 
do not succeed. We have not yet learnt what we may 
expect. We have been told that we shall be aided, but it 
cannot be to the extent demanded ; six millions have been 
mentioned, but not as a sum fixed. The Minister tells 
me still, that he is working upon the subject, but cannot 
yet give a determinative answer. 1 know his good will to 
do the best for us that is possible. 

It is in vain for me to repeat again what I have so often 
written, and what I find taken so little notice of, that there 
are bounds to everything, and that the faculties of this 
nation are limited like those of all other nations. Some of 
you seem to have established as maxims the supposi- 
tions, that France has money enough for all her occasions, 
and all ours besides ; and that if she does not supply 


US, it is owing to her want of will, or to my negligence. 
As to the first, I am sure it is not true, and to the 
second, I can only say I should rejoice as much as any 
man in being able to obtain more ; and I shall also re- 
joice in the greater success of those who may take my 
place. You desire to be very particularly acquainted with 
"every step which tends to negotiation." I am, therefore, 
encouraged to send you the first part of the journal, which 
accidents, and a long severe illness interrupted ; but which, 
from notes I have by me, may be continued if thought 
proper. In its present state, it is hardly fit for the inspec- 
tion of Congress, certainly not for public view. I confide 
it therefore to your prudence. 

The arrival of Mr Jay, Mr Adams, and Mr Laurens, 
has relieved me from much anxiety, which must have con- 
tinued, if I had been left to finish the treaty alone ; and 
it has given me the more satisfaction, as I am sure the 
business has profited by their assistance. 

Much of the summer has been taken up in objecting 
against the powers given by Great Britain, and in removing 
those objections. Tiie not using any expressions, that might 
imply an acknowledgment of our independence, seemed at 
first industriously to be avowed. But our refusing other- 
wise to treat, at length induced them to get over that 
difficulty, and then we came to the point of making propo- 
sitions. Those made by Mr Jay and me before the 
arrival of the other gentlemen, you will find in the pnpcr 
A, which was sent by the British Plenipotentiary to Lon- 
don for the King's consideration. After some weeks, an 
under secretary, Mr Strachey, arrived, wiili whom we hud 
much contestation about the boundaries and other articles' 
which he proposed and we settled ; some of which he car- 

VOL. IV. 7 


ried to London, and returned with the propositions, some 
adopted, others omitted or ahered, and new ones added, 
which you will see in paper B. We spent many days in 
disputing, and at length agreed on and signed the prelimi- 
naries, which you will see by this conveyance. The Brit- 
ish Minister struggled hard for two points, that the favors 
granted to the royalists should be extended, and all our 
fishery contracted. We silenced them on the first, by 
threatening to produce an account of the mischief done by 
those people, and as to the second, when they told us they 
could not possibly agree to it as we requested it, and must 
refer it to the Ministry in London, we produced a new 
article to be referred at the same time, with a note of facts 
in support of it, which you have, C* Apparently, it 
seemed, that to avoid the discussion of this, they suddenly 
changed their minds, dropped the design of recurring to 
London, and agreed to allow the fishery as demanded. 

You will find in the preliminaries some inaccurate 
and ambiguous expressions, that want explanation, and 
which may be explained in the definitive treaty, and as the 
British Ministry excluded our proposition relating to com- 
merce, and the American prohibition of that with England 
may not be understood to cease merely by our concluding 
a treaty of peace, perhaps we may then, if the Congress 
shall think fit to direct it, obtain some compensation for the 
injuries done us as a condition of our opening again the 
trade. Every one of the present British Ministry has, 
while in the Ministry, declared the war against us as un- 
just, and nothing is clearer in reason, than that those who 
injure others by an unjust war, should make fiill reparation. 

* The papers alluded to in this letter will be found in the Correspon- 
dence ol the Commissioners for negotiating j>cace. 


They have stipulated too, in these preliminaries, that in 
evacuating our towns, they shall carry off no plunder, 
which is a kind of acknowledgment that they ought not to 
have done it before. 

The reason given us for dropping the article re- 
lating to commerce, was, that some statutes were in the 
way, which must be repealed before a treaty of that kind 
could be well formed, and that this was a matter to be 
considered in Parliament. 

They wanted to bring their boundary down to the 
Ohio, and to settle their loyalists in the Illinois country. 
We did not choose such neighbors. 

We communicated all the articles, as soon as they 
were signed, to Count de Vergennes, (except the sepa- 
rate one) who thinks we have managed well, and told 
me that we had settled what was most apprehended as 
a difficulty in the work of a general peace, by obtain- 
ing the declaration of our independency. 

December \Ath. I have this day learnt, that the princi- 
pal preliminaries between France and England are agreed 
on, to wit. 

1st. France is to enjoy the right of fishing and drying 
on all the west coast of Newfoundland, down to Cape 
Ray. ]\Iiquelon and St Pierre to be restored, and may 
be fortified. 

2d. Senegal remains to France, and Goree to be re- 
stored. The Gambia entirely to England. 

3d. All the places taken from France in the East Indies 
to be restored, with a certain quantity of territory round 

4th. In the West Indies, Grenada and the Grenadines, 
St Christophers, Nevis and Montserat, to be restored to 


England. St Lucia to France. Dominique to remain 
with Fiance, and St Vincents to be neutralized. 

5th. No Commissioner at Dunkirk. 

The points not yet quite settled are the territory round 
the places in the Indies, and neutralization of St Vincents. 
Apparently these will not create much difficulty. 

Holland has yet hardly done anything in her negotiation. 

Spain offers for Gibraltar to restore West Florida and 
the Bahamas. An addition is talked of the island of Gua- 
daloupe, which France will cede to Spain in exchange for 
the other half of Hispaniola, and Spain to England, but 
England, it is said, chose rather Porto Rico. Nothing yet 

As soon as I received the commission and instructions 
for treating with Sweden, I waited on the Ambassador . 
here, who told me he daily expected a courier on that sub- 
ject. Yesterday he wrote a note to acquaint me, that he 
would call on me today, having something to communicate 
to me. Being obliged to go to Paris, I waited on him, 
when he showed me the full powers he had just received, 
and 1 showed him mine. We agreed to meet on Wednes- 
day next, exchange copies, and proceed to business. His 
commission has some polite expressions in it, to wit ; "that 
his Majesty thought it for the good of his subjects to enter 
into a treaty of amity and commerce with the United States 
of America, who had established their independence so 
justly merited by their courage and constancy ;" or to that 
effect. I imagine this treaty will be soon completed ; if 
any difficulty should arise, I shall take the advice of my 

I thank you for the copies of Mr Paine's letter to the 
Abbe Raynal, which 1 have distributed into good hands. 


The errors we see in histories of our times and affairs 
weaken our faith in ancient history. JNL Billiard d'Auber- 
teuil has here written another history of our revolution, 
which however he modestly calls an essay, and fearing that 
there m.ay be errors, and wishing to have them corrected, 
that his second edition may be more perfect, he has brought 
me six sets, which he desires me to put into such hands in 
America, as may be good enough to render him and the 
public that service. I send them to you for that purpose, 
by Captain Barney, desiring that one set may be given to 
Mr Paine, and the rest where you please. There is a 
quarto set in the parcel, which please to accept from me. 
I have never learnt whether the box of books I sent to 
you, and the press to Mr Thompson, were put on board 
the Eagle or one of the transports. If the former, perhaps 
you might easily purchase them at New York ; if the latter, 
you may still receive them among the goods for Congress, 
now shipping by Mr Barclay. If they are quite lost let 
me know it, that I may replace them. 

I have received several letters from your office with bills 
to pay Ministers' salaries. Nothing has yet been done with 
those bills, but 1 have paid Mr Laurens 20,000 livres. 

I have this day signed a common letter to you drawn up 
by my colleagues, which you will receive herewith. We 
have kept this vessel longer for two things, a passport pro- 
mised us from England, and a sum to send in her; but she 
is likely to depart without both, being all of us impatient 
that Congress should receive early intelligence of our pro- 
ceedings, and for the money we may probably borrow a 

I am now entering on my TSth year ; public business 
has engrossed fifty of them ; I wish now to be, lor ll;e liiilo 


time I have left, my own master. If I live to see tin's 
peace concluded, I shall beg leave to remind the Congress 
of their promise then to dismiss me. I shall be happy to 
sing with old Simeon, now lettest thou thy servant depart 
in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation. 
With great esteem, &;c. 



Passy, December 15th, 1782, 

I have the honor to acquaint your Excellency, that our 
courier is to set out tomorrow at ten o'clock, with the de- 
spatches we send to Congress, by the Washington, Captain 
Barney, for which ship we have got a passport from the 
King of England.* If you would make any use of this 

* Copy of a Passport given to the Ship Washington, to carry over the 
Preliminary Articles. 

Geokge the Third, by the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, 
France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, and so forth. To all Ad- 
mirals, Vice Admirals, Captains, Commanders of our ships of war, or 
privateers, Governors of our forts and castles, customhouse comptrol- 
lers, searchers, fcc , to all and singular our officers, and military and 
loving subjects whom it may concern, greeting. Our will and pleasure 
is, and we do hereby strictly charge and require you, as we do like- 
wise pray and desire tlie officers and ministers of all Princes and 
States, in amity with us, to permit and suffer the vessel called the 
Washington, commanded by Mr Joshua Barney, belonging to the 
United Stales of North America, to sail from either of the ports of 
France, to any port or place in North America, without any let, hin- 
derance, or molestation whatsoever ; but on the contrary, affording the 
said vessel all such aid and assistance as may be necessary . 

Given at our Court of St James, the tenth day of December, 17S2, 
io tlie 23d year of our reign. By his Majesty's command. 



conveyance, the courier shall wait upon you tomorrow at 
Versailles, and receive your orders. 

I hoped I might have been able to send part of the aids 
we have asked, by this safe vessel. I beg that your Ex- 
cellency would at least inform me what expectations 1 
may give in my letters. I fear the Congress will be re- 
duced to despair, when they find that nothing is yet ob- 

With the greatest and most sincere respect, I am, Sir, 
your Excellency's most obedient and most humble servant, 




Versailles, December lolh, 1782. 


I cannot but be surprised. Sir, that after the explanation 
I have had with you, and the promise you gave, that 
you would not press the application for an English jjass- 
port for the sailing of the packet Washington, that you 
now inform me, you have received the passport, and that 
at ten o'clock tomorrow morning your courier will set out 
to carry your despatches. I am at a loss. Sir, to explain 
your conduct and that of your colleagues on this occasion. 
You have concluded your preliminary articles without any 
communication between us, although the instructions from 
Congress prescribes, that nothing shall be done without the 
participation of the King. You arc about to hold out a 
certain hope of peace to America, without even informing 
yourself on the state of the negoiiaiion on our pari. 

You are wise and discreet, Sir ; you pcrfccily under- 


Stand what is due to propriety ; you have alfyour life per- 
formed your duties. I pray you to consider how you 
propose to fulfil those, which are due to the King ? 1 am 
not desirous of enlarging these reflections ; I cooimit thenti 
to your own integrity. When you shall be pleased to re- 
lieve my uncertainty, I will entreat the King to enable me 
to answer your demands. 

I have die honor to be, Sir, with sincere regard, your 
very humble and obedient servant, 



Passy, December 17th, 1782. 
I received the letter your Excellency did me the honor 
cf writing to me on the 15th instant. The proposal of 
having a passport from England was agreed to by me the 
more willingly, as I at that time had hopes of obtaining 
some money to send in the Washington, and the passport 
would have made its transportation safer, with d)at of our 
despatches, and of yours also, if you had thought fit to 
make use of the occasion. Your Excellency objected, as 
I understood it, that the English Ministers by their letters 
sent in the same ship, might convey inconvenient expecta- 
tions into America. It was therefore I proposed not to 
press for the passport, till your preliminaries were also 
agreed to. They have sent the passport without being 
pressed to do it, and they have sent no letters to go under 
it, and ours will prevent the inconvenience apprehended. 
In a subsequent conversation your Excellency mentioned 
your intention of sending some of the King's cutters, 


whence I imagined, tiiat detaining the Washington was no 
longer necessary ; and it was certainly incumbent on us to 
give Congress as early an account as possible of our pro- 
ceedings, who will think it extremely strange to hear of 
them by other means, without a line from us. I acquainted 
your Excellency, however, with our intention of despatch- 
ing that ship, supposing you might possibly have something 
to send by her. 

Nothing has been agreed in the preliminaries contrary 
to the interests of France ; and no peace is to take place 
between us and England, till you have concluded yours. 
Your observation is, however, apparently just, that in not 
consulting you before they were signed, we have been guilty 
of neglecting a point of bienseance. But as this was not 
from v^ant of respect for the King, whom we all love and 
honor, we hope it will be excused, and that the great 
work, which has Intherto been so happily conducted, is so 
nearly brought to perfection, and is so glorious to his 
reign, will not be ruined by a single indiscretion of ours. 
And certainly the whole edifice sinks to the ground imme- 
diately, if you refuse on that account to give us any further 

We have not yet despatched the ship, and I beg leave 
to wait upon you on Friday for your answer. 

It is not possible for any one to be more sensible than 1 
am, of what I and every American owe to the King, for 
the many and great benefits and favors lie has bestowed 
upon us. All my letters to Anicrica are proofs of iliis ; 
all tending to make the same impressions on llie miiuis ol 
my cciintryinen, that I felt in my own. And I boiieve, 
that no Prince was ever more beloved and respected by 
his own subjects, than the King is by the people of the 

VOL. IV. 8 


United States. The English, I just now learn, flatter 
themselves they have already divided us. 1 hope this little 
misunderstanding will therefore be kept a secret, and that 
they will find themselves totally mistaken. 

With great and sincere respect, I am, Sir, your Excel- 
lency's most obedient and most humble servant, 



Passy, December 24th, 1782. 


Sundry circumstances occurring since mine of the 5th 
and 14th, have hitherto retarded the departure of our de- 
spatches. They will now go under the security of a Brit- 
ish passport, be accompanied by a simi of money, and by 
some further intelligence from England, which shows the 
still unsettled state of minds there, and, together with the 
difficulties and small progress in the Dutch and Spanish 
negotiations, makes the speedy conclusion of peace still un- 

The Swedish Ambassador has exchanged full powers 
with me. I send a copy of his herewith. We have 
had some conferences on the proposed plan of our treaty, 
and he has despatched a courier for further instructions 
respecting some of the articles. 

The Commissioners have joined in a letter to you, 
recommending the consideration of a proposal from Mr 
Bridgen, relating to copper coin. With this you have a 
copy of that proposal, and a sample of the copper. If it 
should be accepted, I conceive the weight and value of the 
pieces (charge of coinage deducted) should be such that 


they may be aliquot parts of a Spanish dollar. By the 
copy enclosed, of an old letter of mine to JMr Bridgen, 
you will see the ideas I had of the additional utility such a 
coinage might be of, in communicating instruction.* 

December 25th. Enclosed is a copy of a letter just re- 
ceived from the Count de Vergennes, upon the present 
state of negotiation with England. f 

With great regard, I have the honor to be, Sec. 


Powers of the Swedish Ambassador to treat. 


Gustavus, by the Grace of God, King o*f Sweden, of the 
Goths and Vandals, he. &c. he. Heir of Norway, Duke of 
Sleswick-Holstein, of Stormaria, and of Ditmarsen, Count of 
Oldenburgh and of Delmenhorst, he. he. makes known, 
that the United States of North America, viz. New Hamp- 
shire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New 
York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, the Counties of New Cas- 
tle, Kent, and Sussex, on the Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, 
North and South Carolina, and Georgia, having obtained die 
fruit of their courage and constancy, and their Independence 
being duly and solidly acknowledged and established ; We, 
in consequence of our desire to concur with them in the 
establishment of certain fixed rules, by wliirli a reciprocal 
and advantageous commerce may be carried on between 
Sweden and North America, which may be pcrntanent 
between the two nations, have nominated, constituted, and 

* See tliis letter in Vi)limie HI. p. 1(">. 

t This refers to a letter, wliidi has been ahcndy printed under n 
wrong date. See above, p. 21. 


appointed, and by these presents do nominate, constitute, 
and appoint our very dear and well beloved Count Gus- 
tavus Philip de Creutz, our Ambassador Extraordinary at 
the Court of France, Knight and Commander of our 
Orders, pnd we give him full powers to confer with whom- 
soever the United States shall have furnished with their 
powers in due form, to agree on, conclude, and sign such 
Treaty of Amity and Commerce between us and the 
said United States, as shall be reciprocally advantageous 
to our subjects, promising, on our word of a King, to agree 
to everything that our said Ambassador shall stipulate, 
promise, and sign in virtue of the present power, as like- 
wise to make out the ratifications in proper form, and to 
deliver them to be exchanged at such time as shall be 
agreed on by the treaty so to do. In faith of which, we 
have signed these presents with our own hand, and have 
caused our royal seal to be thereunto affixed. 



Philadelphia, January 2d, 1783. 


I was honored with your letters by the Danae. f con- 
gratulate you upon the promising state of our negotiations, 
since peace begins to be no less desirable here than else- 

But I will not enter into that subject at present, as I 
mean to write very fully both to Mr Jay and you by Mr 
Jefferson, who will sail in company with this frigate in the 
Romulus, a ship of fortyfour guns. Lest, however, any 


accident should happen to prevent his arriving so soon as 
the Emerald, I enclose a resolution of Congress, whicli 
was suggested by the proposition you mention to have 
been made to Mr Oswald, on the subject of commerce. 
For my own part, I presume that it is already included in 
your propositions, but as we have yet been favored only 
with that short note of them, which has been transmitted 
by you, we can form no accurate judgment on the subject. 
You can hardly conceive the embarrassments that the 
want of more minute details subjects us to. 

You will learn from the Count de Rochambeau, that 
the French army sailed the 24th ult. Perhaps it were 
to be wished that they had remained here, at least till 
New York and Charleston were evacuated, or rather till 
the peace. Congress have, however, given them a good 
word at parting, as you will see by the enclosed resolves. 
Not being consulted, they could interpose no objections to 
their departure, though they were not without many rea- 
sons for wishing to detain them. 

Our finances are still in great distress. If the war con- 
tinues, a foreign loan in addition to those already received 
will be essential. A plan for ascertaining what shall be 
called contingent expenses, is under the consideration of 
Congress, as well as the objections you have stated with 
respect to the mode of paying your salaries, which will, I 
believe, be altered. The allowance to Mr Franklin has 
been confirmed, and your inoderation and his upon this 
point have done you both honor in the opinion of C'on- 

I have the honor to be. Sir, &lc. 




Philadelpliia, January 6th, 1783. 


1 have before me your letters of the 25th and 29th of 
June, 12th of August, 3(1 and 20th of September, and 14th 
of October last. Several matters contained in them have 
already been answered, and some others I am unable to 
reply to, till Congress have decided on such propositions as 
I have submitted to their consideration. 

The convention relative to consuls has been objected to 
by Mr Barclay, on account of its prohibiting the consuls 
from trading. As the funds of Congress leave them no 
means of affording an adequate sup])ort to persons who are 
qualified, they fear, that the only inducement to accept the 
appointment will be taken away by this prohibition. Mr 
Barclay's letter on that subject is under consideration. 

I see the force of your objections to soliciting the addi- 
tional twelve millions, and I feel very sensibly the weight 
of our obligations to France, but every sentiment of this 
kind must give way to our necessities. It is not for the 
interest of our allies to lose the benefit of all they have 
done, by refusing to make a small addition to it, or at least 
to sec the return that our commerce will make them sus- 
pended by new convulsions in this country. The army 
have chosen committees ; a very respectable one is now with 
Congress. They demand with importunity their arrears 
of pay. The treasury is empty, and no adequate means 
of filling it presents itself. The people pant for peace; 
should contributions be exacted, as they have heretofore 
been, at the point of the sword, the consequences may be 
more dreadful than is at present apprehended. I do not 


pretend to justify the negligence of the States in not pro- 
viding greater supplies. Some of them might do more 
than they have done ; none of them all that is required. 
It is my duty to confide to you, that if the war is continued 
in this country, it must he in a great measure at the ex- 
pense of France. If peace is made, a loan will be abso- 
lutely necessary to enable us to discharge the army, that 
will not easily separate wiiliout pay. I am sorry that nei- 
ther J\lr Jay nor you sent the propositions at large, as you 
have made them, since we ditier in opinion about the con- 
struction to be put on your commercial article, as you 
will find by a resolution enclosed in my letter. 

I wish the concession made of our trade may be on con 
ditions of similar privileges on the part of Great Britain. 
You will see that without this precaution, every ally that 
we have, that is to be treated as the most favored nation, 
may be entitled to the same privileges, even though ihcy 
do not purchase them by a reciprocal grant. 

As to confiscated property, it is at present in such a 
state, that the restoration of it is impossible. English debts 
have not, that I know of, been forfeited, unless it be in one 
Stale, and 1 should be extremely sorry to see so little in- 
tegrity in my countrymen, as to render the idea of with- 
holding them a general one ; however, it would be well to 
say nothing about diem, if it can conveniently be done. 

I am more and more convinced, that every means in 
your power must be used to secure the fisheries. 'I'hey 
arc essential to some States, and we cannot but hate the 
nation, that keeps us from using this common favor ol Pro- 
vidence. It was one of the direct objects for carrying on 
the war. While I am upon this subject, I cannot but ex- 
press my hope, that every means will bo used to guard 


against any mistrusts or jealousies between you and France. 
The United States have shown their confidence in her by 
their instructions. She has repeatedly promised to pro- 
cure for us all we ask, as far as it lies in her power. Let 
our conduct leave her without apology, if she acts other- 
wise, which I am far from suspecting. 

With respect to the seamen you mention, I wish if any 
further order is necessary, than that which Mr Barclay al- 
ready has, that you would give it so far as to enable him 
to state their accounts, and transmit them to Mr Morris. 
As the treaty with Holland is concluded, I hope you have 
made some progress in that with Sweden, a plan of which 
has been transmitted ; another copy will go by Mr Jef- 

I am glad to find you have some prospect of obtaining 
what is due on the Bon Homme Richard's prize money. 
That matter has been much spoken of, and occasioned 
some reflection, as it is alleged that M. Chaumont was im- 
posed on the officers as their agent by the Court, and of 
course that they should be answerable for his conduct, 
which certainly has been very exceptionable. 

Congress have come to no determination, as to the size 
or expense of the pillar they propose to erect at Yorktown. 
What I wished of you was to send me one or two plans, 
with estimates of the expense, in order to take their sense 

As to the designs of Spain, they are pretty well known, 
and Mr Jay and Congress concur so exactly in sentiment 
with respect to them, that I hope we have now nothing to 
fear from that quarter. 

Congress have it now under consideration to determine 
what should be allowed as contingent expenses. I believe 


house-rent will not be allowed as such. I mentioned in 
my last what respected your grandson, to which I have 
nothing to add. I agree with you in sentiment, that your 
salaries should not depend on the fluctuations of the ex- 
change, and have submitted that part of your letter to 
Congress. I believe they will direct a stated sum to be 
paid. Waiting for this determination, 1 am prevented from 
drawing bills at this time. As to the money received from 
me, you will be pleased to replace with it the two quarters' 
salary you had drawn before it came to hand. You will 
have bills for a third quarter, which have been sent on 
some time since. 

Several important political events have taken place here 
lately. The evacuation of Charleston, the saihng of the 
French fleet and the army, the decision of the great cause 
between Connecticut and Pennsylvania, in favor of the 
latter, the state of the army, &ic., all of which I should 
enlarge upon, if this was not to be delivered by Mr Jeffer- 
son, who will be able to inform you fully on these points 
and many others, that you will deem important to a right 
knowledge of the present state of this country.* 

I enclose a state of the trade between these States and 
the West Indies, as brought in by a Committee of Con- 
gress, and referred to me. It may possibly afford yon 
some hints, and will serve to show how earnestly we wish 
to have this market opened to us. 
I have the honor to be, &:c. 


* Mr Jefferson did not go, as w.ns here expected. See lii» reasons 
in liis Memoir, Correspondence, 4'C. Vol. I. p. 41. 
VOL. IV. 9 



Passy, January 14tb, 1783. 


I am much obliged by your information of your intend- 
ed trip to England ; I heartily wish you a good journey, 
and a speedy return, and request your kind care of a 
packet for Mr Hodgson. 

I enclose two papers, that were read at different times 
by me to the Commissioners ; they may serve to show, if 
you should have occasion, what was urged on the part of 
America on certain points ; or may help to refresh your 
memory. I send you also another paper, which I once 
read to you separately. It contains a proposition for im- 
proving the law of nations, by prohibiting the plundering 
of unarmed and usefully employed people. I rather wish 
than expect, that it will be adopted. But 1 think it may 
be offered with a better grace by a country, that is likely to 
suffer least and gain most by continuing the ancient prac- 
tice ; which is our case, as the American ships, laden only 
with the gross productions of the earth, cannot be so val- 
uable as yours, filled with sugars or with manufactures. 
It has not yet been considered by my colleagues, but if 
you should think or find that it might be acceptable on 
your side, I would try to get it inserted in the general 
treaty. I think it will do honor to the nations that es- 
tablish it. 

With great and sincere esteem, I am, Sir, your most 
obedient and most humble servant, 



Propositions relative to Privateering, communicated to 

Mr Oswald. 


It is for the interest of humanity in general, that the 
occasions of war, and the inducements to it shoidd be 

If rapine is abolished, one of the encouragements to war 
is taken away, and peace therefore more likely to continue 
and be lasting- 

The practice of robbing merchants on the high seas, a 
remnant of the ancient piracy, though it may be acciden- 
tally beneficial to particular persons, is far from being profit- 
able to all engaged in it, or to the nation that authorises it. 
In the beginning of a war, some rich ships, not upon their 
guard, are surprised and taken. This encourages the 
first adventurers to fit out more armed vessels, and many 
others to do the same. But the enemy at the same time 
become more careful, arm their merchant ships better, and 
render them not so easy to be taken ; they go also more 
under protection of convoys ; thus while the privateers to 
take them are multiplied, the vessels subject to be taken, 
and the chances of profit, are diminished, so that many 
cruises are made, wherein the expenses overgo the gains ; 
and as is the case in other lotteries, though particulars 
have got prizes, the mass of adventmers are losers, the 
whole expense of filling out all the privateers, during a 
war, being much greater than the whole amotnil of goods 
taken. Then there is the naUonal loss of all the labor of 
so many men during the lime ilicy have been employed in 
robbing; who besides spend what ihey get in riot, drunk- 
enness, and debauchery, lose their habits of industry, are 
rarely fit for any sober business alter a peace, and serve 


only to increase the number of highwaymen and house- 
breakers. Even the undertakers, wlio have been for- 
tunate, are by sudden wealth led into expensive living, 
the habit of which continues when the means of support- 
ing it ceases, and finally ruins them ; a just punishment 
for their having wantonly and unfeelingly ruined many 
honest innocent traders and their families, whose subsist- 
ence was employed in serving the common interests of 

Should it be agreed and become a part of the law of 
nations, that the cultivators of the earth are not to be 
molested or interrupted in their peaceable and useful em- 
ployment, the inhabitants of the sugar islands would per- 
haps come under the protection of such a regulation, 
which would be a great advantage to the nations who at 
present hold those islands, since the cost of sugar to the 
consumer in those nations, consists not merely in the price 
he pays for it by the pound, but in the accumulated 
charge of all the taxes he pays in every war, to fit out 
fleets and maintain troops for the defence of the islands 
that raise the sugar, and the ships that bring it home. But 
the expense of treasure is not all. A celebrated philoso- 
phical writer remarks, that when he considered the wars 
made in Africa, for prisoners to raise sugars in America, 
the numbers slain in those wars, the numbers that, being 
crowded in ships, perish in the transportation, and the 
numbers that die under the severities of slavery, he could 
scarce look on a morsel of sugar without conceiving it 
spotted with human blood. If he had considered also the 
blood of one another, which the white nations shed in 
fighting for those islands, he would have imagined his sugar 
not as spotted only, but as thoroughly dyed red. On these 


accounts I am persuaded, that the subjects of the Em- 
peror of Germany, and the Empress of Russia, who have 
no sugar islands, consume sugar cheaper at Vienna, and 
Moscow, with all the charge of transporting it after its 
arrival in Europe, than the citizens of London or of Paris. 
And I sincerely believe, that if France and England were 
to decide, by throwing dice, which should have the whole 
of their sugar islands, the loser in the throw would be the 
gainer. The future expense of defending them would 
be saved ; the sugars would be bought cheaper by all 
Europe, if the inhabitants might make it without interrup- 
tion, and whoever importe<l the sugar, the same revenue 
might be raised by duties at the custom houses of the na- 
tion that consumed it. And, on the whole, 1 conceive it 
would be better for the nations now possessing sugar col- 
onies to give up their claim to them, let them govern them- 
selves, and put thorn under the protection of all the pow- 
ers of Europe as neutral countries, open to the commerce 
of all, the profits of the present monopolies being by no 
means equivalent to the expense of maintaining dicm. 



Versailles, January 18(li, 1783. 

It is essential that I slioidd have ihc honor of conferring 
with you, Mr Adams, and your other colleagues, who are 
in Paris. I therefore pray you to invite these gentlemen 
to come out to Versailles with you on Monday, before ten 
o'clock in the morning. It will be well, also, if you will 
bring your grandson. It will be necessary for much writ- 


ing and translating from English into French to be done. 
The object for which I ask this interview is very interest- 
ing to the United States. 

I have the honor to be, Sir, 



Passy, January 18tli, 1783. 


Agreeably to the notice just received from your Excel- 
lency, I shall acquaint Mr Adams with your desire to see 
us on Monday before ten o'clock, at Versailles ; and we 
shall endeavor to be punctual. My other colleagues are 
absent ; Mr Laurens being gone to Bath, in England, to 
recover his health, and Mr Jay into Normandy. 1 shall 
bring my grandson, as you direct. 

With great respect, I have the honor to be, &;c. 



Paris, January 18th, 1783. 

My Dearest Sir, 
I cannot but in the most earnest manner, and from 
recent circumstances, press your going early to Versailles 
tomorrow ; and I have considerable reason to think, that 
your appearance there will not displease the person whom 
you address. I am of opinion, that it is very likely that 
you will have the glory of having concluded the peace by 
this visit ; at least I am sure, if the deliberations of tomor- 
row evening end unfavorably, that there is the strongest 
appearance of war ; if they end favorably, perhaps little 
difficulty may attend the rest. 


After all, the peace will have as much that is con- 
ceded in it, as England can in any shape be made just 
now to relish, owing to the stubborn demands, princi- 
pally of, Spain, who would not, I believe, upon any mo- 
tive recede from her conquests. What I wrote about 
Gibraltar arrived after the subject, as I understand, was 
canvassed, and when it of course must have appeared 
impolitic eagerly and immediately to revive it. 

You reproved me, or rather reproved a political scheme 
yesterday, of which I have heard more said favorably 
by your friends at Paris, than by any persons whatever in 
London. But do you, my dear Sir, make this peace, and 
trust our common sense respecting another war. Eng- 
land, said a man of sense to me the other day, will come 
out of the war like a convalescent out of disease, and must 
be re-established by some physic and much regimen. I 
cannot easily tell in what shape a bankruptcy would come 
upon England, and still less easily in what mode and de- 
gree it would affect us ; but if your confederacy mean to 
bankrupt us now, I am sure we shall lose the great fear 
that would deter us from another war. Your allies, there- 
fore, for policy and for humanity's sake, will, I hope, stop 
short of this extremity ; especially as we should do some 
mischief to others, as well as to ourselves. 

I am, my dearest Sir, your devoted, ever affectionate, 
and ever obliged, 




Passy, January 19tli, 1783. 

Late last night I received a note from Count de Vergennes, 
acquainting me that it is very essential he should have a 
conference with us, and requesting that I would inform my 
colleagues. He desires that we may be with him before 
ten on Monday morning. If it will suit you to call here, 
we may go together in my carriage. We should be on 
the road by eight o'clock. 

With great regard, I have the honor to be, &:c. 



Passy, January 21st, 1783. 

I have just received your letters of November 9th and 
December 3d. This is to inform you, and to request you 
to inform the Congress, that the preliminaries of peace be- 
tween France, Spain, and England, were yesterday signed, 
and a cessation of arms agreed to by the Ministers of those 
powers, and by us in behalf of the United States, of which 
act, so far as relates to us, I enclose a copy. I have not 
yet obtained a copy of the preliminaries agreed to by the 
three Crowns, but hear, in general, that they are very ad- 
vantageous to France and Spain. I shall be able, in a day 
or two, to write more fully and perfectly. Holland was not 
ready to sign preliminaries, but their principal points are 
settled. Mr Laurens is absent at Bath, and Mr Jay in 
Normandy, for their healths, but will both be here to 
assist in forming the Definitive Treaty. 1 congratulate 


you and our country on the happy prospects afforded us 
by the finishing so speedily this glorious Revolution, and 
am, with great esteem, Sir, &c. 



Paris, January 26th, 1783. 


It having been suspected, that I concurred in the ap- 
pointment of your grandson to the place of Secretary to 
the American commission for peace at your instajice, I 
think it right, thus unsolicited, to put it in your power to 
correct the mistake. 

Your general character, the opinion I had long enter- 
tained of your services to our country, and the friendly 
attention and aid with which you had constantly favored 
me after my arrival in Spain, impressed me with a desire 
of manifesting both my esteem and attachment by stronger 
evidence than professions. That desire extended my re- 
gard for you to your grandson. He was then indeed a 
stranger to me, but the terms in which you expressed 
to Congress your opinion of his being qualified for another 
place of equal importance, were so full and satisfactory, as 
to leave me no room to doubt of his being qualified for the 
one above jnentioned. I was, therefore, happy to assure 
you, in one of the first letters I afterwards wrote you from 
Spain, that in case a Secretary to our commission for 
peace should become necessary, and the appointment be 
left to us, I should take that opportunity of evincing my 
regard for you, by nominating him, or words to that etlect. 

VOL. IV. ] 


What 1 then wrote, was the spontaneous suggestion of my 
own mind, unsolicited, and 1 believe unexpected by you. 

When I came here on the business of that commission, 
1 brought with me the same intentions, and should always 
have considered myself engaged by honor, as well as incli- 
nation, to fulfil them, unless I had found myself mistaken 
in the opinion I had imbibed of that young gentleman's 
character and qualifications ; but that not being the case, I 
found myself at liberty to indulge my wishes, and be as 
good as my word. For I expressly declare, that your 
grandson is, in my opinion, qualified for the place in ques- 
tion, and that, if he had not been, no consideration would 
have prevailed upon me to propose, or join in his appoint- 

This explicit and unreserved statement of facts is due 
to you, to him, and to justice, and you have my consent to 
make any use of it that you may think proper. 

I have the honor to be, Sir, with great respect, 




Copenhagen, February 22d, 1783. 


As 1 know you are on the point of making a tour to 
France, I cannot omit warmly recommending to you to 
endeavor, during your stay at Paris, to gain as much as 
possible, the confidence and esteem of Mr Franklin. 

You will recollect. Sir, what I said to you in our conver- 
sations, of the high respect which all the King's Ministry 
have for that Minister. You have witnessed the satisfac- 


lion with which we have learned the glorious issue of this 
war for the United States of America, and how fully we are 
persuaded, that it will be for th.e general interest of the two 
States to form, as soon as possible, reciprocal connexions 
of friendship and commerce. Nothing, certainly, would 
be more agreeable to us, than to learn by your letters, that 
you find the same dispositions in Mr Franklin, and in that 
case it seems to me the shortest way of accelerating those 
new connexions would be to take the treaty between the 
Congress and the States-General for the basis, and that 
Mr Franklin should communicate to us his ideas on the 
changes or additions, which he might think reciprocally 
useful in the treaty of commerce, which Congress might 
conclude with us. 

We should eagerly and frankly reply to such over- 
tures ; and, as soon as the changes thus agreed on 
shall have met the approbation of Congress, one of the 
persons commissioned by that body, then in Europe, 
might, in order to gain time, come here with full powers to 
conclude, leaving on both sides the most particular stipu- 
lations for the negotiations of the Ministers which those 
States shall, in the sequel, send to reside with each other. 

I shall finish, Sir, with hoping that you may happily ter- 
minate the visits you have proposed to make to the 
different parts of France ; and it is with sentiments of the 
most distinguished respect, that 
I have the honor to be, &z,c. 




Passy, March 7th, 1783. 

I but this moment hear of this opportunity, by which T 
can only send you a line to acquaint you, that I have con- 
cluded the treaty with Sweden, which was signed on 
Wednesday last. You will have a copy by the first good 
opportunity. It differs very little from the plan sent me ; in 
nothing material.* The English Court is in confusion by 
another change of Ministry, Lord Shelburne and his friends 
having resigned ; but it is not yet certainly known who will 
succeed, though Lord North and Mr Fox are talked of as 
two, they being reconciled ! ! I cannot add, but that I am, 
with great esteem, Sir, &;c. 


P. S. The change in the Ministry is not supposed of 
any importance respecting our definitive treaty, which 
must conform to the preliminaries ; but we shall see. 


London, March 12th, 1783. 

My Dear Friend, 
It is a long while since I have heard from you, or indeed 
since I wrote to you. I heartily congratulate you on those 
pacific Clients, which have already happened, and I wish to 
see all other final steps of conciliation succeed speedily. I 
send you copies of two papers, which I have already cora- 

* This treaty is printed in the public Journals of Congress, Vol. IV. p. 
241, under the date of July 29th, 1783. 


municated to Mr Laurens ; the one called Conciliatory 
Propositions, in March, 1783; the other A Sketch of a 
Provisional Treaty of Commerce for opening the Ports be- 
tween Great Britain and the United States of America 
without Delay ; to each of which is prefixed a short state of 
the argument on each head. 

As for the news of this country, you have doubtless 
heard, that Lord Shelburne's administration has for some 
time been considered as at an end ; although no other has 
been as yet substituted in the place of it. It was under- 
stood yesterday, and I believe vvidi good foundation, that 
what is now called the Pordand party have been applied 
to, and they are now considered as the party most likely 
to succeed. As far as my wishes go, such an event would 
be most satisfactory to me. I have known the Duke of 
Portland for many years, and by experience I know him to 
be a nobleman of the strictest honor, and of the soundest 
whig principles, sincere and explicit in every thought and 
transaction, manly in his judgment, and firm in his conduct. 
The kingdom of Ireland, of which he was lately Lord Lieu- 
tenant, bears unanimous testimony to diis character of him. 
The Cavendish family, (a good whig name) Mr Fox, Lord 
Fitzwilliam, &tc. he. form the core of his system and con- 
nexions. I most earnestly wish to see a firm administration 
upon a whig foundation, which I should consider as a solid 
basis, on the part of this country, for a perpetual corres- 
pondence of amity and conciliation with America. I am 
very anxious to hear of your health. God bless you. 

Ever your most affectionate, 



Coyiciliatory Propositions, March, 1783. 

Terms of peace having been agreed upon between Great 
Britain and France, on the 20th of January, 1783, there 
need not be any further delay in proceeding to conclude 
the proposed treaty between Great Britain and the United 
States of America, upon the basis of the provisional articles 
of the 30th of November, 1782. 

It is to be observed, that none of the articles of the pro- 
visional treaty are to take effect, until the conclusion of the 
definitive treaty with America, at which lime likewise all 
places in the American States, in possession of the British 
arms, are to be evacuated, and the British army withdrawn 
from the United States (by article 7.) If therefore it 
should be wished on the part of Great Britain to bring for- 
ward the fifth article respecting the loyalists, before the con- 
clusion of the definitive treaty with America, the bayonet 
should be withdrawn from the American breast, by the vol- 
untary removal of the British troops with all convenient 
despatch. This condition of the removal of the troops is 
likewise necessary, before any provisional terms of com- 
merce with America can take place. 

By the 6th article of the provisional treaty, all future 
confiscations in America are precluded, although the pros- 
ecutions at present subsisting are not to be stopped before 
the definitive treaty. But if the substantial pledge of re- 
turning amity on the part of Great Britain, viz. the removal 
of the troops should be voluntarily anticipated, it would be 
but reasonable that all prosecutions should be immediately 
abated on the part of America ; and to facilitate the re- 
moval of the troops, the loyalists may be permitted to 
remain in safety and unmolested, (if they choose to remain) 



from the period of removing the troops, until twelve months 

after the definitive treaty. 

There is another article of the provisional treaty, the de- 
lay of which is much to be lamented, viz. the mutual 
release of prisoners of war on both sides. As this is an 
article of reciprocity, both sides from principles of human- 
ity are equally interested to bring it forward into effect 
speedily, that those unhappy captives may not alone suffer 
the miseries of war in the time of peace. 

Upon these considerations, the following supplemental 
terms of a treaty between Great Britain and the United 
States are proposed. 

1. That the British troops shall be withdrawn with all 
convenient speed. 

2. That the commissioners on both sides do proceed to 
the conclusion of the definitive treaty. 

3. That the commissioners do speedily negotiate a provi- 
sional convention of commerce (hereunto annexed) to take 
place immediately. The terms of this temporary conven- 
tion, not to be pleaded on either side in the negotiation of 
final and perpetual treaty of commerce, between Great 
Britain and the United Slates. 

4. That the commissioners do negotiate a perpetual 
treaty of commerce. 

5. That all prosecutions of the loyalists in America be 
immediately abated, and that they be permitted to remain 
until twelve months after the definitive treaty, unmolested 
in their endeavors to obtain restitution of their estates. 

6. That all prisoners on both sides be immediately re- 

7. That intercourse of amity and commerce do imme- 
diately take place between Great Britain and the United 
States of America. # 


Sketch of a Provisional Treaty of Commerce. 

As soon as preliminaries of peace are signed with any 
independent States, such as Spain, France, and Holland, 
the course of mutual commerce emerges upon the same 
terms and conditions as were existing antecedent to the 
war, the new duties imposed during the war excepted. 
The case between Great Britain and America is different, 
because America, from a dependent nation before the war, 
emerges an independent nation after the war. The basis, 
therefore, of a provisional treaty between Great Britain and 
the United States would be simply to arrange such points 
as would emerge after the war. impracticable and discord- 
ant to the newly established independence of the American 
States, and to leave all others, as much as possible, un- 
touched. For instance, that all instrun)ental regulations, 
such as papers, bonds, certificates, oaths, and all other 
documents should be, between Great Britain and the 
United States, upon the same footing, and no other than 
as between Great Britain and any other independent 
nation, but that all duties, drawbacks, bounties, rights, 
privileges, and all pecuniary considerations, should emerge 
into action and effect as before. I say emerge as before, 
not stipulated for any fixed term, because I am speaking 
of a provisional treaty, not of a provisional bill of com- 
merce, for a specified period. By this means, all diffi- 
culties, which otherwise would be accumulated, and 
obstruct a temporary and provisional act are avoided in 
limine. The ports will be immediately opened, upon 
specified and known conditions. If the legislature of 
either country thinks proper to introduce on its own part 
any new conditions or regulations, even previous to the 



intended treaty of commerce, that will not shut the ports 
again generally but only operate pro tanto according to the 
case; on which side soever any novel condition should 
arise, the other will likewise be at liberty to make any cor- 
responding regulations as between independent nations. 
The great object is to open the ports between Great Brit- 
ain and the United States, immediately on the signature 
of preliminaries of peace, as between France and Great 
Britain. By the proposition above stated. Great Britain 
and France, and Great Britain and the United States re- 
spectively, on the subject of intercourse of commerce, 
would emerge again after the war into situations relatively 
similar to their situation before the war. 

The Crown of Great Britain is enabled by the Concilia- 
tory Act of 1782 to repeal, annul, make void, or suspend, 
for any time or times, the operation and effect of any act 
of Parliament, or any clause, provision, matter, or thing 
therein contained, relating to the colonies or plantations 
now become the United States of America ; and, there- 
fore, the crown is not only competent to conclude, but 
likewise to carry into effect any provisional treaty of com- 
merce with America. The first foundation must be laid 
in the total repeal of the Prohibitory Act of December, 
1775, not only as prohibiting commerce between Great 
Britain and the United States, but as the corner stone of 
the war ; by giving up universally all American property 
at sea to military plunder, without any redress to be ob- 
tained by law in any British Court of Admiralty. After 
this, all obstructions from the act of navigation and other 
acts regulating the commerce of the States of America 
(formerly dependent upon Great I^rilain,) may be re- 
moved. Instructions may be sent to the Commissioners of 

VOL. IV. 1 1 


the customs to dispense with bonds, certificates, &ic. vvhicli 
by the old laws are required to be discharged or attested 
by supposed governors, naval or customhouse officers in 
America. The questions of drawbacks, bounties, &ic. 
after opening the ports, may remain free points of discus- 
sion and regulation, as between States having no commer- 
cial treaty subsisting between them. As the Crown is com- 
petent to open an intercourse of commerce with America 
by treaty, this mode is preferable to any act of Parlia- 
ment, which may be only a jealous and suspicious con- 
vention e.T parte. This mode by treaty avoids the accu- 
mulated difficulties, which might otherwise obstruct the first 
opening of the ports by act of Parliament, and above all, 
it secures an alternate binding part of the bargain, which 
no act of Parliament can do. 

Breviate of the treaty, viz. Provisional for intercourse 
and commerce between Great Britain and the United 
States of America. 

1. That all ports shall be mutually open for intercourse 
and commerce. 

2. And therefore the King of Great Britain agrees to 
the repeal of the prohibitory acts, viz. IG Geo. 3, chap. 5, 
&,c. The King of Great Britain likewise agrees by in- 
structions, according to the laws of Great Britain, to his 
Commissioners of customs and other officers, to remove all 
obstructions to American ships either entering inwards or 
clearing outwards, which may arise from any acts of Par- 
liament heretofore regulating the commerce of the Ameri- 
can States, under the description of British colonies or 
plantations, so as to accommodate every circumstance to 
the reception of their ships, as the ships of independent 


3. All duties, drawbacks, bounties, rights, privileges, 
and all other money considerations shall remain, respecting 
the United States of Anierica, upon the same footing as 
they now remain respecting the province of Nova Scotia in 
America, or as if the aforesaid States had remained de- 
pendent upon Great Britain. All this subject to regula- 
tions or alterations by any future acts of the Parliament of 
Great Britain. 

4. On the part of the States of America, it is agreed 
that all laws prohibiting the commerce of Great Britain 
shall be repealed. 

5. Agreed upon the same part, that all ships, and 
merchandise of the British dominions shall be admitted 
upon the same terms as before the war, except any 
imposts laid dunug the war. All this subject to future 
regulations or alterations by the legislatures of the Ameri- 
can States respectively. 

6. The principles and spirit of this treaty to be sup- 
ported on eidier side by any necessary sujiplemental ar- 
rangements. No tacit compliance on the part of America 
in any subordinate points to be argued at any time here- 
after to the prejudice of their independence. 


Pnssy. Miurli 2:^.1, 1783. 

Dear Sir, 
1 received the letter you did me the lionor ol writing lu 
me, requesting a recommendation to America, ol Mr Josh- 
ua Grigby. I have accordingly written one, and having 
an opportunity the other day, i sent it under cover lu Mr 
Benjamin Vaughan. The general proclamations you wished 


for suspending, or rather putting an end to hostilities, are now 
published ; so that your "heart is at rest," and mine with it. 
You may depend on ray joining my hearty endeavors with 
yours, in "cultivating conciliatory principles between our two 
countries ;" and I may venture to assure you, that if your 
bill for a provisional establishment of the commerce had 
passed as at first proposed, a stipulation on our part in the 
definitive treaty, to allow reciprocal and equal advantages 
and privileges to your subjects, would have been readily 
agreed to. 

Whh great and sincere esteem, I am ever, he. 



Philadelphia, March 26th, 1783. 

I need hardly tell you, that the intelligence brought 
by the Washington diffused a general pleasure. We had 
long been in suspense with respect to the negotiations, and 
had received no other lights on that subject, than those the 
speech of his Britannic Majesty and Mr Townshend's 
letters threw upon it. These were by no means sufficient 
to dissipate all our apprehensions. 

The terms you have obtained for us comprise most of 
the objects we wish for. I am sorry, however, that ) ou 
found it necessary to act with reserve, and to conceal your 
measures from the Court of France. I am fearful that 
you will not be able to produce such facts, as will justify 
this conduct to the world, or free us from the charge of 
ingratitude to a friend, who has treated us not only justly 
but generously. 


But tliis is a disagreeable subject, and I refer you for 
my sentiments, and those of Congress, to my letter, in 
answer to the joint letter from our Ministers. I am sorry 
that the commercial article is stricken out ; it would have 
been very important to us to have got footing at least in 
the British West Indies, as a means of compelling France 
to pursue her true interest and ours, by opening her ports 
also to us. 

We have just learned by a vessel from Cadiz, that the 
preliminary articles for a general peace were signed the 
20th. The abstract of the treaty sent me by the Marquis 
de Lafayette, does the highest honor to the moderation 
and wisdom of France. Never has she terminated a war 
with more glory, and in gaining nothing but that trophy 
of victory, Tobago, she has established a character, which 
confirms her friends, disarms her enemies, and obtains a 
reputation that is of more value than any territorial ac- 
quisitions she could make. 

We have been in great distress with respect to our 
army. Pains were taken to inflame their minds, and 
make them uneasy at the idea of a peace, which left them 
without support. Inflammatory papers were dispersed in 
camp, calling them together to determine upon some mad 
action. The general interposed, postponed the meeting to 
a future day, on which he met them, and made them an 
address, that will do him more honor than iiis victories. 
After which they passed several resolves, becoming a pa- 
triot army. Congress are seriously engaged in endeavor- 
ing to do them justice. I am in great hopes, that we shall 
shortly be brought back to such a situation, as to be enabled 
to enjoy the blessings you have laid the foundation of. 

I received from Mr Franklin the papers relative to the 


Portuguese vessel, which I have caused to be laid before 
the Court of Appeals, where the cause is now depending. 
The cargo having been condemned, and the yacht acquit- 
ted at Boston, I doubt not but full justice will be done to 
the proprietors on the rehearing. You know so much of 
our constitution as to see, that it is impossible to interfere 
further in these. matters, than by putting the evidence in a 
proper train to be examined. I have had the proceedings 
in the case of the brig Providentia transmitted to me from 
Boston, with a full state of the evidence, which I have 
examined. The cargo is condemned and the vessel ac- 
quitted, an allowance for freight having been made by the 
court. The evidence does not admit a doubt of the jus- 
tice of this decree. Should the Court of Denmark not 
be satisfied with this account, I will cause a copy of the 
proceedings to be transmitted to you for their satisfaction. 
I hope this mark of attention to them will induce them to 
acknowledge the injustice they have done us, in the de- 
tention of our prizes. This object should not be lost 
sight of. 

I thank you for your present of M. d'Auberteuil's Essay, 
and shall dispose of the copies he has sent in the way you 
recommend. I could hardly have believed it possible, 
that so many errors and falsehoods, that would shock the 
strongest faith on this side of the water, could be received 
as orthodox on the other. 

I remit bills for the salaries of our Ministers. It is im- 
possible, that I can adjust their accounts here ; you must 
settle with them, and they repay you out of the drafts I 
have made In their favor when they have been overpaid. 
Congress have, in pursuance of your sentiment, in your 


letter of October, passed the enclosed resolution.* So 
that on the quarter's salary due in April, there will be a 
deduction of all you gained by the course of exchange ; 
and the payments will be reduced to par, at which rate 
they will always be paid in future. This deduction 
amounts on your salary to eight thousand three hundred 
and ihirtysix livres, as will appear from the account that 
will be stated by Mr Morris. I shall pay your bills into 
the hands of Mr Robert Morris, wliom you have constitut- 
ed your agent. The bills for the other gentlemen, who 
may not be with you, are committed to your care. As the 
bills are drawn in their favor, they can only be paid on 
their endorsement. 

Congress will, I believe, agree very reluctantly to let 
you quit their service. The subject, together with ^Ir 
Adams's and Mr Laurens's resignation, is under the con- 
sideration of a committee. If they report before this vessel 
sails, you shall know their determination. 

On the arrival of the Triumph from Cadiz, which 
brought orders for recalling the cruisers of his Britannic 
Majesty, Congress passed the enclosed resolution, which 
I transmitted with the intelligence we had received to 
Carleton and Digby. I sent my Secretary with my let- 
ters, and expect him back this evening. 1 am anxious to 
know how the first messenger of peace has been received 

* March ^lh, 1783. "Resolved, that the salaries of the Ministers and 
other ofSceis of the United Stales in Europe be estimated in future 
in dollars, at the rate of four shillings and sixpence sterling per 

"That they be paid in bills of exchange upon France or Holland, 
at the rale of five livres five sous lurnoii per dollar, without regard 
to the variations, which may be occasioned by the course of ex- 


by them, as well as to discover through him what steps 
they propose to take for the evacuation. 

I ought to thank you for your journal before I conclude. 
The perusal of it afforded me great pleasure. I must 
pray you to continue it. I much wish to have every step, 
which led to so interesting an event as the treaty, which 
established our Independence. And though both Mr Jay 
and Mr Adams are minute in their journals, for which I 
am much obliged to them, yet new^ light may be thrown 
on the subject by you, who, having been longer acquainted 
with the Courts both of London and Versailles, have the 
means of more information relative to their principles and 

I have the honor to be. Sir, &c. 




March 29(h, 1783. 

Right Noble, High, Mighty, Most Honorable Lords, 
Since, by the preliminary articles of peace, concluded 
lately between the high belligerent powers, the illustrious Uni- 
ted States of North America have been acknowledged free, 
sovereign, and independent, and now since European pow- 
ers are courting in rivalry the friendship of your High 

We, impressed with the most lively sensations on the 
illustrious event, the wonder of this, and the most remote 

* The original of this singular paper is not preserved, and the transla- 
tion is here given, as found in Dr Franklin's public correspondence. 


future ages, and desirous fully to testify the part which we 
take therein, do hereby offer your High Mightinesses our 
service and attachment to the cause. 

And in the most sincere disposition of heart, we take the 
honor to wish, so as from Omnipotent Providence we do 
pray, that the most illustrious republic of the United States 
of America may, during the remotest centuries, enjoy all 
imaginable advantages to be derived from that sovereignty, 
which they gained by prudence and courage. 

That, by the wisdom and active patriotism of your illus- 
trious Congress, it may forever flourish and increase, and 
that the High and Mighty Regents of those free United 
States may, with ease and in abundance, enjoy all manner of 
temporal happiness ; and at the same time we most obse- 
quiously recommend our city to a perpetual friendly intelli- 
gence, and her trade and navigation in matters reciprocally 
advantageous to your favor and countenance. 

In order to show that such mutual commerce with the 
merchant houses of this place may undoubtedly be of com- 
mon benefit, your High Mightinesses will be pleased to give 
us leave to mark out some advantages of this trading city. 

Here reigns a free unrestrained republican commerce, 
charged with but few duties. 

Hamburg's situation upon the river Elbe is. as if it were 
in the centre of the Baltic and the North Sea, and as canals 
are cut from the river through the city, goods may be 
brought in ships to the magazines in town, and from thence 
again to all parts of the world. 

Hamburg carries on its trade with economy. It is the 
mart of goods of all countries, where they can be purchased 
not only of good quality, but somntimcs cheaper than at 
first hand. 

VOL. IV. 12 


Here linen, woollen goods, calicoes, glass, copper and 
all other numerous produce of manufactured wares of the 
whole German Empire, are bought in by Portuguese, 
Spaniards, the English, Dutch, French, and other nations, 
and from hence further transported. In exchange whereof, 
considerable quantities of North American goods, much 
wanted in Germany, may be taken. 

M. Penet, who in your country is honored with several 
offices, has sojourned here for some time, and with all who 
had the honor of his acquaintance, borne the character of 
an intelligent, skilful, and for reciprocally advantageous 
commerce, a well disposed and zealous man, will certainly 
have the complaisance to give your High Mightinesses fur- 
ther explanation of the advantages of this trading place, 
which we have but briefly touched upon. 

We now intercessionally and most obsequiously request 
your High Mightinesses to Aivor and countenance the trade 
of our merchants, and to suffer them to enjoy all such 
rights and liberties as you allow to merchants of nations in 
amity ; which in gratitude and with zeal we will in our 
place endeavor to retribute, not doubting that such mutual 
intercourse may be effected, since a good beginning there- 
of is already made on both sides, by the friendly reception 
of the vessels that have arrived in either country. 

In further testimony of our most attentive obsequious- 
ness and sincere attachment, we have deputed our citizen, 
John Abraham de Boor, who is charged with the concerns 
of a considerable merchant house, whrch, like several other 
merchant houses of good report and solidity in this city, is 
desirous of entering with merchants of your country into 
reciprocal commerce. He is to have the honor to present 
to your High Mightinesses this our most obsequious mis- 


sive ; wherefore we most earnestly recommend him to 
your favorable reception. He has it from us in express 
charge, most respectfully to give your High Mightinesses, 
if required, such upright and accurate accounts of our sit- 
uation and constitutions, as may be depended upon, and at 
the same time in person to testify the assurance of the 
most perfect respect and attachment, with which atten- 
tively we remain, Right Noble, High, Mighty, and most 
honorable Lords, your most obsequious and devoted Bur- 
gomaster and Senate of the Imperial free City of Ham- 

Given under our City Seal, the 29th of March, 1783. 


London, March, 1783. 

My dear Friend, 

I send you a paper entitled Sujyplemeiital Treaty, the 
substance of which I sent you some time ago, as I read it 
in part of a speech in die House of Commons. 1 have 
given a copy of it to Mr L., as the giounfis upon which 
my friend, the Duke of Portland, would have wished that 
any administration, in which he might have taken a port, 
should have treated with the American ^linisters. All 
negotiations for the formation of a ^linistry in concert 
with the Duke of Portland are at an end. 

The tenth article, which is supposed to be referred to 
the definitive treaty, is a renewal of the same proposition, 
which I moved in Parliament some years ago, viz. on the 
9th of April, 177S. I sec nothing inconsistent with that 
proposition, either in the declaration of indepcndt'iicc or 
in the treatv with France. Let it therefore remain, 


and emerge after the war, as a point untouched by the 
war. I assure you my consent should not be wanting 
to extend this principle between all the nations upon 
earth. I know full well, that those nations to which you 
and I are bound by birth and consanguinity, would reap 
the earliest fruits from it. Owing no man hate, and 
envying no man's happiness, I should rejoice in the lot 
of my own country, and on her part say to America, 
JVos duo turha sumus. 1 send you, likewise, enclosed 
with this, some sentiments respecting the principles of 
some late negotiations, drawn up in the shape of Parlia- 
riientary motions by my brother, who joins with me in 
the sincerest good wishes to you for health and happiness, 
and for the peace of oiu- respective countries, and of man- 

Your ever affectionate, 


Supplemental Treaty between Great Britain and the 
United States of JVorth America. 

1. That the British troops be withdrawn from the Uni- 
ted States with all convenient speed. 

2. That all further prosecutions of loyalists in America 
be immediately abated, and that they be permitted to re- 
main until twelve months after the definitive treaty with 
America in safety and unmolested, in their endeavors to 
obtain restitution of their estates. 

3. That all ports shall be mutually opened for inter- 
course and commerce, between Great Britain and the 
United States. 

4. Agreed on the part of Great Britain, that all Pro- 
hibitory Acts shall be repealed, and that all obstructions to 
American ships, either entering inwards or clearing out- 


wards, shall be removed, which may arise from any acts 
of Parliament, heretofore regulating tiie commerce of the 
American States, under the description of British Colonies 
and Plantations, so as to accommodate every circumstance 
to the reception of their ships, as the ships of independent 

5. Agreed on the part of Great Britain, that all duties, 
rights, privileges, and all pecuniary considerations shall 
remain, respecting the United States of America, upon the 
same footing as they now remain respecting the Province 
of Nova Scotia, or as if the said States had remained de- 
pendent upon Great Britain. All this subject to regula- 
tions and alterations by any future acts of the Parliament 
of Great Britain. 

6. On the part of the American States it is agreed, 
that all laws prohibiting commerce with Great Britain shall 
be repealed. 

7. Agreed on the part of the American States, that all 
ships and 'merchandise of the British dominions shall be 
admitted upon the same terms as before the war. All 
this subject to future regulations or alterations by the 
Legislatures of the American States respectively. 

8. That all prisoners on both sides be immediately re- 

9. The spirit and principles of this treaty to be sup- 
ported on either side by any necessary supplemental ar- 
rangehnents No tacit compliance on the part of the 
American States in any subordinate points to be urged at 
any time hereafter in derogation of their independence. 

Separate Article to be referred to the Definitive Treaty. 

10. Neither shall the independence of the United States 


be construed any further than as independence, absolute 
and unlimited in matters of government, as well as com- 
merce. Not into alienation, and therefore the subjects of 
his Britannic Majesty and the citizens of the United 
States shall mutually be considered as natural born sub- 
jects, and enjoy all rights and privileges as such in the 
respective dominions and territories, in the manner hereto- 
fore accustomed. 

Paper mentioned in the Close of Mr Hartley's Letter, 

1. That it is the opinion of this House, that whenever 
Great Britain thought proper to acknowledge the indepen- 
dence of America, the mode of putting it into effect most 
honorably for this country, would have been, to have made 
the declaration of independence previous to the com- 
mencement of any treaty with any other power. 

2. That a deviation from that line of conduct, has the 
effect of appearing to grant the independence of America 
solely to the demands of the House of Bourbon, and not, 
as was the real state of the case, from a change in the sen- 
timents of this country, as to the object and continuance 
of the American war. 

3. That when this House, by its vote against the further 
prosecution of offensive war in America, had given up the 
point of contest, and adopted a conciliatory disposition, the 
pursuing those principles by an immediate and liberal ne- 
gotiation upon the basis of independence, at the same time 
expressing a readiness to conclude a general peace with 
the allies of America upon honorable terms, would iiavo 
been the most likely way to promote a mutual and bene- 
ficial intercourse between the two countries ; to establish 


peace upon a firm foundation ; and would have prevented 
the House of Bourbon from having a riglit to claim any 
further obligations from America, as the asserlors of their 

4. That the Minister, who advised the late negotiations 
for peace, has neglected to make use of those advantages, 
which the determination of the House put him in posses- 
sion of; that, by his delay in authorising persons properly 
to negotiate with the American Commissioners, he has 
shown a reluctance to acting upon the liberal principles of 
granting independence to America, as the determination of 
Great Britain upon mature consideration of the question ; 
and has by such methods given advantage to the enemies 
of this country to promote and confirm that commerce and 
connexion between the United States of America and 
themselves, which during the contest have been turned 
from their natural channel with this country, and which 
this peace so concluded has not yet contributed to restore. 



Algior.i, April 1st, 1783. 


The imminent danger to which the vessels of your 
nation were exposed, which sailed in March last from 
Marseilles, and which owed their safety to the god of the 
seas alone, emboldens me to cali your attention to this 

Some secret enemies, (whom I know) having giving in- 
formation to this regency of their departure, nine armed 
ships immediately sailed to wait for them at Cape Palos. 


It is to be presumed that the Americans had passed the 

Algiers has many ships, and the politics of certain Eu- 
ropean powers do not restrain them from paying tribute to 
enjoy peace ; they make use of these human harpies as a 
terror to the belligerent nations, whose commerce they 
chain to the car of Algerine piracy. We saw an exam- 
ple of this, when his Imperial Majesty, to protect his flag, 
made use of the Firman of the Sublime Porte. It was 
attacked, and five prizes were brought into this port in 
1781, four of which with ballast were restored in Febru- 
ary,'17S2, at the claim of a Capapigi Bashaw of the Porte, 
and of M. Timone, the Imperial Agent, who was expelled, 
and whose correspondent I am, having been his Secretary 
on this occasion, and having revealed to his Highness, 
Prince Kaunitz Rietberg, Minister at the Court of Vienna, 
horrors and crimes which would have remained unpunished 
but for my pen. 

Humanity alone. Sir, has engaged me to give you this ad- 
vice. 1 request you will be pleased to keep it secret ; your 
prudence will effect what may be necessary on this occasion. 
I have the honor to offer you every information respect- 
ing this port, and flatter myself that 1 shall succeed therein. 
I think to depart from this in May or June next for Mar- 
seilles, and to leave these barbarian pirates. 
1 have the honor to be, he. 



Passv, April 6th, 1783. 

My Lord, 
I have the honor to address to your Eminent Highness 
the medal, which I have lately had struck. It is a horn- 


age of gratitude, my Lord, which is due to the interest 
you have taken in our cause, and we no less owe it to your 
virtues, and to your Eminent Highness's wise administra- 
tion of government. • 

Permit .me, my Lord, to demand your protection for 
such of our citizens as circumstances may lead to your 
ports. I hope that your Eminent Highness will be pleased 
to grant it to them, and kindly receive the assurances of 
the profound respect with which I am, my Lord, he. 



Passy, April 13th, 1783. 


Monsieur de VValterstorfF has communicated to me a 
letter from your Excellency, which affords me great pleas- 
ure, as it expresses in clear and strong terms the good dis- 
position of your Court"* to form connexions of friendship 
and commerce with the United States of America. I am 
confident that the same good disposition will be found in 
the Congress ; and having acquainted that respectable 
body with the purport of your letter, I expect a com- 
mission wmII soon be sent, appointing some person in Eu- 
rope to enter into a treaty with his Majesty the King of 
Denmark for the purpose desired. 

In the meantime, to prepare and forward the business as 
much as may be, I send, for your Excellency's considera- 
tion, such a sketch as you mention, formed on the basis of 
our treaty with Holland, on which I shall be glad to rc- 

* The Court of Doninark. Sec the letter referred to, p 7-! of this 

TOL. rv. 13 


ceive your Excellency's sentiments. And I hope that this 
transaction when completed, may be the means of pro- 
ducing and securing a long and happy friendship between 
our two nations. 

To smooth the way for obtaining this desirable end, as 
well as to comply with my duly, it becomes necessary for 
me on this occasion to mention to your Excellency the 
affair of our three prizes, which, having during the war 
entered Bergen as a neutral and friendly port, where they 
might repair the damages they had suffered, and procure 
provisions, were, by an order of your predecessor in the 
office you so honorably fill, violently seized and delivered 
to our enemies. I am inclined to think it was a hasty act, 
procured by the importunities and misrepresentations of the 
British Minister, and that your government could not, on 
reflection, approve of it. But the injury was done, and I 
flatter myself your Excellency will think with me, that it 
ought to be repaired. The means and manner I beg 
leave to recommend to your consideration, and am, with 
great respect, Sir, &:c. 



Pnssy, April 15th, 1783. 

You complain sometimes of not hearing from us. It is 
now near three months since any of us have heard from 
America. I think our last letters came with General de 
Rochambeau. There is now a project under considera- 
tion for establishing monthly packet boats between France 
and New York, which I hope will be carried into execu- 


tion ; our correspondence then may be more regular and 

I send herewith another copy ol" the treaty concluded 
with Sweden. I hope, however, that you will have re- 
ceived the former, and that' the latification is forwarded. 
The King, as the Ambassador informs me, is now employed 
in examining the duties payable in his ports, with a view of 
lowering them in favor of America, and thereby encourag- 
ing and facilitating our mutual commerce. 

M. de Walterstorfi, Chamberlain of the King of Den- 
mark, formerly Chief .Justice of the Danish West India 
Islands, was last year at Paris, where I had some acquaint- 
ance with him, and he is now returned hither. The news- 
papers have mentioned him as intended to be sent INIinis- 
ter from his Court to Congress, but he tells me 110 such 
appointment has yet been made. He assures me, how- 
ever, that the King has a strong desire to have a treaty of 
friendship and commerce with the United States, and he 
has communicated to me a letter, which he received from 
M. Roseucrone, the Minister for Foreign Afi'airs, express- 
ing that disposition. 1 enclose a copy of the letter, and if 
Congress shall approve of entering into such a treaty with 
the King of Denmark, of which I told M. de Walterstorfi' 1 
made no doubt, they will send to me, or whom else ihey shall 
think proper, the necessary instructions and powers for that 
purpose. In the meantime, to keep the business in train, I 
have sent to that iNlinister for his consideration, a tr^nnsla- 
lion of the plan, mutatis mutandis, which I received from 
Congress for a treaty with Sweden, accompanied by a let- 
ter, of whicli likewise I enclose a cf)py. I think it would 
be well to make it one of the instructions to wlio(\ cr is 


commissioned for the treaty, that he previously procure 
satisfaction for the prizes mentioned in my letter. 

The definitive treaties have met with great delays, partly 
by the tardiness of the Dutch, but principally from the dis- 
tractions in the Court of England, where for six or seven 
weeks there was properly no Ministry, nor any business 
effected. They have at last settled a Ministry, but of such 
a composition as does not promise lo be lasting. The 
papers will inform you who they are. It is now said, 
that Mr Oswald, who signed the preliminaries, is not to 
return here, 'but that Mr David Hartley comes in his 
stead to settle the definidve. A Congress is also talked of, 
and that some use is to be made therein of the mediation 
formerly proposed of the Imperial Courts. Mr Hartley 
is an old friend of mine, and a strong lover of peace, so that 
I hope we shall not have much difficult discussion with 
him ; but I could have been content to have finished with 
Mr Oswald, whom we always .Oound very reasonable. 

Mr Laurens, having left Bath, mended in his health, is 
daily expected at Paris, where Messieurs Jay and Adams 
still continue. Mr Jefferson has not yet arrived, nor the 
Romulus, in which ship 1 am told he was to have taken his 
passage. I have been the more impatient of this delay, 
from the expectation given me of full letters by him. It is 
extraordinary, that we should be so long without any arri- 
vals from America in any part of Europe. We have as 
yet- heard nothing of the reception of the preliminary arti- 
cles in America, though it is now nearly five months since 
they were signed. Barney, indeed, did not getaway from 
hence before the middle of January, but copies went by 
other ships long before him ; he waited some time for the 
money he carried, and afterwards was detained by violent 


contrary winds. He had a passport from England, and I 
hope arrived safe ; though we have been in some pain 
for him, on account of a storm soon after he sailed. 

The English merchants have shown great eagerness to 
reassume their commerce with America, but apprehend- 
ing that our laws prohibiting that commerce, would not be 
repealed till England had set the example by repealing 
theirs, a number of vessels they had loaded with goods, 
have been detained in port, while the Parliament have been 
debating on the repealing bill, which has been altered two 
or three times, and is not agreed upon yet. It was at first 
proposed to give us equal privileges in trade with, their 
own subjects, repealing thereby with respect to us, so much 
of their navigation act, as regards foreign nations. But 
that plan seems to be laid aside, and what will finally be 
done in the affair is uncertain. There is not a port in 
France, and few in Europe, from which I have not receiv- 
ed several applications of persons desiring to be appointed 
consuls for America. They generally offer to execute 
the office for the honor of it, without salary. I suppose 
the Congress will wait to see what course commerce will 
take, and in what places it will fix itself, in order to find 
where consuls will be necessary, before any appointments 
are made, and perhaps it will then be thought best to send 
some of our own people. If they are not allowed to trade, 
there must be a great expense for salaries. If they may 
trade, and are Americans, the fortunes they make will 
mostly settle in our own country at last. The agreement 
I was to make here respecting consuls, has not yet been 
concluded. The article of trading is important. I think 
it would be well to reconsider it. 

I have caused to be struck here the medal, which I for- 


merly mentioned to you, the design of which you seemed 
to approve. I enclose one of them in silver, for the Presi- 
dent of Congress, and one in copper for yourself; the im- 
pression on copper is thought to appear best, and you will 
soon receive a number for the members. I have pre- 
sented one to the King, and another to the Queen, both in 
gold, and one in silver to each of the Ministers, as a monu- 
mental acknovvledgHfent, which may go down to future 
ages, of the obligations we are under to this nation. It is 
mighty well received, and gives general pleasure. If the 
Congress approve of it, as I hope they will, I may add 
something on the die (for those to be struck hereafter) to 
show that it was done Ly their order, which I could not 
venture to do till 1 had authority for it. 

A multitude of people are continually applying to me 
personally, and by letters, for information respecting the 
means of transporting themselves, iamilies, and fortunes to 
America. I give no encouragement to any of the King's 
subjects, as I think it would not be right in me to do it, 
without their sovereign's approbation ; and, indeed, few 
cffor from France but persons of irregular conduct and 
desperate circumstances, whom we had better be w'ithout ; 
but 1 think there will be great emigrations from England, 
Ireland, and Germany. There is a great contest among 
the ports, which of them shall be of those to be declared 
free for the American trade. Many applications are made 
to me to interest myself in the behalf of all of them, but 
having no instructions on that head, and thinking it a mat- 
ter more properly belonging to (he consul, 1 have done 
nothing in it. 

I have continued to send you the English papers. You 
will often see falsehoods in them respecting what I say and 


do, &Z-C. You know those papers too well to make any 
contradiction of such stuff" necessary from me. 

Mr Barclay is often ill, and I am afraid the settlement 
of our accounts will be, in his hands, a long operation. I 
shall be impatient at being detained here on that score, 
after the arrival of my successor. Would it not be well to 
join Mr Ridley with Mr Barclay for that service ? He 
resides in Paris, and seems active in business. I know 
not indeed whether he would undertake it, but wish he 

The finances here are embarrassed, and a new loan is 
proposed by way of lottery, in which it is said by some 
calculators, the King will pay at the rate of seven per cent. 
I mention this to furnish you with a fresh convincing proof 
against cavillers of the King's generosity towards us, in 
lending us six millions this year af five per cent, and of liis 
concern for our credit, in saving by that sum the honor of 
Mr Morris's bills, while those drawn by his own officers 
abroad have their payment suspended for a year after they 
become due. You have been told that France might help 
us more liberally if she would. This last transaction is a 
demonstration of the contrary. 

Please to show these last paragraphs to Mr Morris, to 
whom I cannot now write, the notice of this ship being 
short, but it is less necessary, as Mr Grand writes him 

With great esteem, Sec. 

P. S. Mr Laurens is just arrived. 



St James's, April 19tli, 1783. 


Allhoiigh it is unnecessary for me to introduce to your 
acquaintance a gentlemen so well known to you as Mr 
Hartley, who will have the honor of delivering to you this 
letter, yet it may be proper for me to inform you, that he 
has the full and entire confidence of his Majesty's Minis- 
ters upon the subject of his mission. 

Permit me, Sir, to take this opportunity of assuring you 
how happy I should esteem myself, if it were to prove my 
lot to be the instrument of completing a real and substan- 
tial reconciliation between two countries, formed by nature 
to be in a state of friendship one with the other, and 
thereby to put the finishing hand to a building, in laying 
the first stone of which I may fairly boast that I had some 

I have the honor to be, with every sentiment of regard 
and esteem, Sir, your most obedient humble servant, 

C. J. FOX. 


Passy, April 27th, 17S3. 
The Count del Veome, an Italian nobleman of great 
distinction, does me the honor to be the bearer of this. I 
have not the satisfaction to be personally acquainted with 
this gentleman, but am much solicited by some of my par- 
ticular friends, to whom his merits and character are 
known, to afford him this introduction to you. He is, I 
understand, a great traveller, and his view in going to 
America is merely to see the country and its great men. 


I pray you will show him every civility, anrl afford him that 
counsel, which as a stranger he may stand in need of. 
With great respect, I am, he. 




Versailles, May 5tli, 1783. 

I have received the two letters of yesterday and today, 
which you have done me the honor to write to me, and a 
copy of the three articles discussed between tiie Commis- 
sioners of the United States and Mr Hartley. You are 
aware that 1 shall want a sufficient time to examine them, 
before submitting to you the observations, which may relate 
to our reciprocal interests. Receive, in the meantime, 
my sincere thanks for this communication. 

1 hope to have the honor of seeing you tomorrow at 
Versailles. I trust you will be able to be present wiih the 
foreign Ministers. It is observed, that the Commissioners 
from the United States rarely show themselves here, and 
inferences are drawn from it, which I am sure their con- 
stituents would disavow, if they had a knowledge of them. 
I have the honor to be, &ic. 



Pnsiy, May 5tli, 1733. 
It was my intention to pay my devoirs at Versailles to- 
morrow. I thank your Excellency, nevertheless, for your 

VOL. IV. 14 


kind admonition. I omitted two of the last three days 
from a mistaken apprehension, that heing holidays there 
would be no Court. Blr Laurens and Mr Jay are both 
invalids ; and since my last severe fit of the gout, ray legs 
have continued so weak, that I am hardly able to keep 
pace with the Ministers who walk fast, especially in going 
up and down stairs. 

I beg you to be assured, that whatever deficiency there 
may be of strength, there is none of respect in, Sir, your 
Excellency's most obedient and most humble servant, 



Passj', May 8th, 1783. 

Dear Friend, 
I send you enclosed the copies you desired of the papers 
I read to you yesterday.* I should be happy if I could 
see, before I die, the proposed improvement of the law of 
nations established. The miseries of mankind would be 
diminished by it, and the happiness of millions secured and 
promoted. If the practice of p-.ivateering could be profit- 
able to any civilized nation, it might be so to us Ameri- 
cans, since we are so situated on the globe, as that the 
rich commerce of Europe with the West Indies, consisting 
of manufactures, sugars, he. is obliged to pass before our 
doors, which enables us to make short and cheap cruises, 
while our own commerce is in such bulky, low priced arti- 
cles as that ten of our ships taken by you are not equal in 
value to one of yours, and you must come far from home 
at a great expense to look for them. I hope therefore 

" See the Proposition about privatceiing, p. 67 of lliis vohime. 


that this proposition, if n)ade iiy us, will appear in its true 
light, as having humanity only for its motive. I do not 
wish to see a nev/ Barbary rising in America, and our long 
extended coast occupied by piratical^ States. I fear lest 
our ])rivateering success in the two last wars, should already 
have given our people too strong a relish for that most mis- 
chievous kind of gaming, mixed blood ; and if a stop is 
not now put to the practice, mankind may hereafter be 
more plagued with American corsairs, than they have been 
and are with the Turkish. Try, my friend, what you can 
do, in procuring for your nation the glory of being, though 
the greatest naval power, the first who voluntarily relin- 
quished the advantage that power seems to give them, of 
plundering others, and thereby impeding the mutual com- 
munications among men of the gifts of God, and rendering 
miserable multitudes of merchants and their families, arti- 
zans, and cultivators of the earth, the most peaceable and 
innocent part of the human species. 

With great esteem and affection, I am ever, my dear 

friend, yours most sincerely, 



Philadelphia, May 'Jth, 17S3. 

Dear Sir, 

We have yet had no information from you subsequent 
to the signature of prelimiuary articles by France, Spain, 
and Great Britain ; though we have seen a declaration for 
the cessation of hostilities signed by you, Mr Adams, and 
Mr Jay. 

We grow every day more anxious for tin; ilefiniiivo 
treaty, since we have as yet discovered no inclination in 


the enemy to evacuate their ports ; and in sending off the 
slaves, they have directly infringed the provisional treaty, 
though we on our part have paid the strictest regard to it. 
This will be more fully explained by the enclosed cojiy of 
a letter from General Washington, containing a relation of 
what passed between him and General Carleton at a late 
interview. Let me again entreat, that no doubt may be 
left in the treaiy relative to ihe time and manner of evacua- 
ting their ports here. Without more precision and accuracy 
in this than we find in the provisional articles, we shall soon 
be involved in new disputes with Great Britain. 

Our finances are slill greatly embarrassed. You may in 
part see our distress, and the means Congress are using to 
relieve themselves, by the enclosed pamphlet, which I wish 
you and your colleagues to read, but not to publish. 

The enclosed resolution imposes a new task upon you. 
I hope you will find no great difficulty in procuring the 
small augmentation to the loan which it requires. Be as- 
sured that it is extremely necessary to set us down in 

None of the States, though frequently called upon, have 
sent me the estimates of their losses by the ravages of the 
British, except Connecticut and Rhode Island, and their 
accounts are extremely imperfect. Such as they are I en- 
close them. For my own part, I have no great expectation 
that any compensation for these losses will be procured ; 
however, if possible it should be attempted. Commissioners 
might be appointed to ascertain them here. 

Great part of the prisoners are on their way to New 
York, and the whole will be sent in a few days. They 
will amount to about six thousand men. 

Our ports begin to be crowded with vessels. There is 


reason to fear that a superabundance of foreign articles 
will, in the end, produce as much distress as the want of 
them has heretofore occasioned. 
I have the honor to be, he. 



Philadelphia, May 31st, 1783. 

I informed you sometime since, that I had written to the 
Court of Appeals on tiie subject of the Nossa Senhora da 
Soledado Sun Miguel e Almas, and laid before them the 
papers you sent me. The cause has since been determined 
in such a way as will, I hope, be satisfactory to her Portu- 
guese Majesty. I enclose the copy of a letter from the 
first Judge of the Court of Appeals on that subject. 

Nothing has yet been done as to the acceptance of your 
resignation, nor will, as I believe, anything be done very 
hastily. Many think your task will not be very burden- 
some now, and that you may enjoy in peace the fruit of 
your past labors. 

As this will probably be the last letter, which I shall have 
the pleasure of writing to you in my public character, I 
beg leave to remind you of the affairs of the Alliance and 
the Bon Honmie Richard, which are still unsettled. I 
must also pray you not to lose sight of the vessels detained 
by his Danish Majesty. This will be a favorable opportu- 
nity to press for their restitution. I do not see how they 
can decently refuse to pay for them. Great Britain is 
bound in honor to make them whole again. 

Preparations for the evacuation of New York still go on 


very slowly, while the distress of our finances has com- 
pelled us to grant furloughs to the greater part of our 

If it were possible to procure any addition to the last 
six millions, it would be extremely useful to us at present. 

An entire new arrangement with respect to our foreign 

department is under consideration. What its fate will be, 

1 know not. 

I am, &.C. 



Passy, June 12tli, 1783. 


I wrote to you fully by a vessel from Nantes, which I 
hope will reach you before this. If not, this may inform 
you that the ratification of the treaty with Sweden is come, 
and ready to be exchanged when 1 shall receive that from 
Congress; that the treaty with Denmark is going on, 
and will probably be ready before the commission for sign- 
ing it arrives from Congress. It is on the plan of that pro- 
posed by Congress for Sweden. 

Portugal has likewise proposed to treat with us, and the 
Ambassador has earnestly urged me to give him a plan for 
the consideration of his Court, which I have accordingly 
done, and he has forwarded it. The Congress will send 
commissions and instructions for concluding these treaties 
to whom they may think proper ; it is only upon the old 
authority, given, by a resolution, to myself with IMessrs 
Deane and Lee, to treat with any European powers, that I 
have ventured to begin these treaties in consequence of 
overtures from those Crowns. 


The definiiive treaty with England is not yet concluded, 
their Ministry being unsettled in their minds as to the 
terms of the cojnmercial part ; nor is any other definitive 
treaty yet completed here, nor even the preliminaries signed 
of one between England and Holland. It is now five 
months since we have had a line from you, the last being 
dated the 13th of January; of course we know nothing 
of the reception of the preliminary articles, or the opinion 
of Congress respecting them. We hoped to receive before 
this time such instructions as might have been thought 
proper to be sent to us for rendering more perfect the defi- 
nitive treaty. We know nothing of what has been ap- 
proved or disapproved. We are totally in the dark, and 
therefore, less pressing to conclude, being still (as we have 
long been) in daily expectation of hearing from you. By 
chance only, we learn that Barney is arrived, by whom 
went the despatches of the Commissioners, and a consid- 
erable sum of money. No acknowledgment of the re- 
ceipt of that money is yet come to hand, either to me or 
M. Gerard. I make no doubt that both you and Mr 
Morris liave written, and [ cannot imagine what has be- 
come of your letters. 

With great esteem, &c. 


P. S. I beg leave to recommend to your civilities the 
bearer of this, Dr Bancroft, whom you will find a very in- 
telligent, sensible man, well acquainted with tbe state of 
affairs here, and who has heretofore been employed in 
the service of Congress. I have long known him, and 
esteem him highly. B. F. 




Paris, June 13th, 1783. 


I have just received his Majesty's ratification of the 
treaty of commerce concluded with the United States, 
which 1 will have tlie honor to send you as soon as it can 
be exchanged for the one from Congress. 

Permit me, Sir, on this occasion to repeat the request 
which the Ambassador has made you respecting Mr 
Franklin, your grandson. He had the honor to tell you, 
that it would afford the King a pleasure to have a person 
residing with him, in the capacity of the Minister of Con- 
gress, who bears your name in conjunction with such esti- 
mable qualifications as young Mr Franklin possesses. He 
charged me before he departed, to repeat to you the same 
assiu-ances, and you will allow me to add, on my part, my 
best wishes for the success of this matter. 
I have the honor to be, &ic. 




Malta, June 21st, 1783. 

I received with the most lively sensibility the medal, 
which your Excellency sent me, and the value I set upon 
this acquisition leaves my gratitude unbounded. This 
monument of American liberty has a distinguished place in 
my cabinet. 


Whenever chance or commerce shall lead an}' of your 
fellow citizens or their vessels into the ports of my Island, 
I shall receive them with the greatest welcome. They 
shall experience from me every assistance they may claim, 
and I shall observe with infinite pleasure any growing con- 
nexion between that interesting nation and my subjects, 
especially if it will tend to convince your Excellency of 
the distinguished sentiments with which I am, Sir, he. 

The Grand Master, 



Passy, July 6th, 1783. 

Dear Sir, 

We have been honored with several of your letters, and 
we have talked of writing to you, but it has been delayed. 
I will therefore write a few lines in my private capacity. 

Our negotiations go on slowly, every proposition being 
sent to England, and answers not returning very speedily. 

Captain Barney arrived here last Wednesday, and 
brought despatches for us as late as the first of June. The 
preliminary articles are ratified. But General Carleton, 
in violation of those articles, has sent away a great number 
of negroes, alleging, that freedonj having been promised 
them by a proclamation, the honor of the nation was con- 
cerned, Sic. Probably another reason may be, that if they 
had been restored to their masters, Britain could not have 
hoped anything from such another proclamation hereafter. 

Mr Hartley called yesterday to tell us, that he had re- 
ceived a letter from Mr Fox, assuring him that our sus- 
picions of affected delays or change of system on their side 

VOL, IV. 15 


were groundless ; and tliat they were sincerely desirous to 
finish as soon as possible. If this be so, and your health 
will permit the journey, I could wish your return as soon 
as possible. I want you here on many accounts, and 
should be glad of your assistance in considering and an- 
swering our public letters. There are matters in them 
of which I cannot conveniently give you an account at 

Nothing could be more seasonable than success in the 
project you proposed, but we have now very little expec- 

Please to give my love to your valuable and amiable son 
and daughter, and believe me, with sincere esteem, he. 




Copenhagen, July 8lh, 1783. 

It was with the greatest alacrity, that I laid before his 
Majesty the letter you did me the honor to write to me, as 
also the project of a treaty of amity and commerce that ac- 
companied it. The King observed, with the greatest satis- 
faction, the assurances contained in that letter, of the good 
disposition of Congress to form connexions of amity and 
commerce with his kingdoms, such connexions being 
equally conformable to the interests of the two States, and 
to his Majesty's sincere desire to cement, by every possi- 
ble means, that harmony, union, and confidence, which he 
wishes to establish forever between his Crown and the 
United States. 


The enclosed Counter Project differs in nothing essential 
from the project sent by you, being dravrn up entirely con- 
formable to the same principles, which you will be certainly 
convinced of, "Sir, by the note explaining the reasons for 
adding some articles, and only giving a different turn to 
others, so that I flatter myself, that 1 shall soon hear that 
you are perfectly satisfied with them, having observed the 
most perfect reciprocity carefully established throughout. 

As to the object mentioned in the letter with which you 
have honored me, you already know. Sir, his Majesty's 
generous intentions towards the individuals in question, and 
his Majesty is the more induced to avail himself of the first 
opportunity to manifest these intentions, as he thinks he may 
reasonably hope that Congress will also consider them as 
a distinguished proof of his friendship and esteem foi- that 
respectable body. 

There remains nothing further for me to add, but thai 
the King will adopt with great pleasure the most proper 
means to accelerate the conclusion of the treaty, which we 
have begun. For myself, it will be the most agreeable 
part of my office. Sir, to assist in perfecting such happy 
connexions with a minister of such universal reputation 
as yourself; and it is with sentiments of the most distin- 
guished regard, that I have the honor to be, he 


Counter Project of a Treaty xcith Denmark. 

Counter Project of a Treaty of Amity and Commerce 
between his Majesty, the King of Denmark and Norway, 
and the United States of America. 



His Majesty, the King of Denmark and Norway, and the 
United States of America, wishing to fix in an equitable 
and permanent manner the regulations necessary in the 
commerce, which they are desirous to establish between 
their respective countries, conceive that they cannot accom- 
plish this object better, than by taking as the basis for their 
conventions, the most perfect equality and reciprocity, 
leaving to each party the liberty of making such interior 
regulations, with respect to commerce and navigation, as 
shall appear suitable, and founding the advantages of com- 
merce on reciprocal utility, and the just laws of free com- 
petition. It is in consequence of these principles, and of 
mature deliberation, that the contracting parties have 
agreed upon the following articles. 


There shall be a firm, inviolable, and universal peace, 
and a true and sincere friendship, between his Majesty, the 
King of Denmark and Norway, his heirs and successors, 
on the one part, and the United States of America on the 
other, and between the citizens and subjects of the said 
powers, and likewise between the countries, islands, cities, 
and places situated within their respective jurisdictions, and 
the people and inhabitants thereof, of whatever rank or 
condition they may be, without exception of persons or 


The subjects of his Majesty, the King of Denmark and 
Norway, may frequent the countries and latitudes of the 
United States, reside and trafiic there in all kinds of mer- 
chandise and effects, the importation or exportation where- 
of is not, or shall not be prohibited, and in all places where 


the navigation or commerce are not, or shall not be re- 
served solely for the citizens and inhabitants of the United 
States ; and they shall not pay in the ports, harbors, roads, 
countries, islands, cities, and places of the United States, 
other or greater duties or imposts of any kind or denomina- 
tion whatever, than such as the most favored nations pay, 
or shall pay. They shall, moreover, enjoy all the rights, 
liberties, privileges, and exemptions, with respect to trade, 
navigation, and commerce, which the most favored nations 
do or shall enjoy, and they shall also conform to the laws and 
ordinances, which the said nations are, or shall be bound to 
observe, whether in passing from one port to another of 
the dominions of the said States, or in returning from any 
part, or to any part of the world whatever. 


In like manner, the citizens and inhabitants of the 
United States of America may frequent the States of his 
Majesty, the King of Denmark and Norway, reside and 
traffic there in all kinds of merchandise and effects, the 
importation or exportation whereof is not, or shall not be 
prohibited, and in all places where the navigation and 
commerce are not, or shall not be reserved solely to his 
Danish Majesty's subjects, and they shall not pay in the 
ports, harbors, roads, countries, islands, cities, and places 
belonging to his said Majesty, other or greater duties and 
imposts of any kind or denomination whatever, than such 
as the most fa\ored nations do, or shall pay. Tiiey shall, 
moreover, enjoy all the rights, liberties, privileges, and ex- 
emptions, which the most favored nations do, or shall 
enjoy, and they shall also conform to the laws and ordi- 
nances which the said nations arc, or shall be bound to 


observe, whether in passing from one port to another of his 
Danish Majesty's dominions, or in going to, or returning 
from any part of the world whatever. And the United 
States of America, with their subjects and inhabitants, shall 
allow his Danish Majesty's subjects peaceably to enjoy their 
rights in the countries, islands, establishments, and seas, in 
the East and West Indies, without molestation or opposition. 


His Majesty, the King of Denmark and Norway, shall 
use every means in his power to protect and defend all the 
vessels and effects belonging to the citizens or inhabitants 
of the said United States of America, as shall be in his 
ports, harbors, or roads, or in the vicinity of his territories, 
countries, islands, cities, and places, as far as his jurisdic- 
tion extends, as to the sea, and shall use his efforts to re- 
cover and cause to be restored to the lawful proprietors, the 
vessels and effects which shall be taken from them within 
the extent of his said jurisdiction, and his ships of war, or 
any other convoys whatever, sailing under his authority, 
shall, on all occasions where there may be a common ene- 
my, take under their protection all the vessels belonging to 
the citizens or inhabitants of the United States, or any of 
them which may be holding the same course, or going the 
same route, and they shall defend the said ships as long as 
they shall hold the same course, or follow the same route, 
against every attack, force, or violence of the common 
enemy, in the same manner as they are bound to defend 
and protect the vessels belonging to his said Majesty's 


In like manner, the said United States and their ships 
of war, sailing under their authority, shall protect and de- 


fend, in conformity with the preceding article, all the 
vessels and effects belonging to the subjects of his Danish 
IMajesty, and shall use all their efforts to recover and cause 
to be restored the said vessels and effects, which shall 
have been taken within the extent of the jurisdiction of the 
said States, and each of them. 


It is agreed and determined that every merchant, captains 
of merchant vessels, or others, his Danish Majesty's subjects, 
shall have entire liberty in all places within the dominions 
and jurisdiction of the United States of America, to manage 
themselves, their own affairs, and to employ whomsoever 
they please to manage them, and they shall not be obliged 
to make use of any interpreter or broker, nor to pay thera 
any fee, unless they make use of them ; and with respect 
to the time and manner of loading or unloading their ships 
and whatever belongs to them, they shall always be con- 
sidered and treated as the most favored nations, and shall 
pay no fee or salary, which the said nations are not bound 
to pay in similar cases. The citizens, inhabitants, and 
subjects of the United States of America shall reciprocally 
have and enjoy the same privileges and liberties in all the 
places belonging to his Majesty, the King of Denmark 
and Norway. 


Whenever one of the contracting parties shall be at war 
with other powers, the communication and free commerce 
of the subjects of the other party with the States of the 
said powers, shall not on that account be interrupted. 
On the contrary, in this case it is agreed and stipulated, 
that every ship and vessel of the neutral party may freely 


navigate from port to port, and on the coasts of the States 
at enmity with the other party, and that the vessels and 
ships being free, shall likewise secure the liberty of mer- 
chandise ; so that everything shall be judged free which 
shall be found on board of the vessels belonging to the 
subjects of one of tiie contracting parties, although the 
loading, or part of it, should belong to the enemies of one 
of them ; it being, nevertheless, well understood, that con- 
traband goods shall be always excepted ; and it is also 
agreed, that this same liberty shall extend to the persons 
of such as shall be found on board of the free vessel, even 
though they should be enemies of one of the two contrac- 
ting parties, and they shall not be taken from on board the 
said vesselsi unless they are military characters, and actu- 
ally in the service of the enemy. 


The merchant vessels of one of the two contracting 
parties, coming either from a port belonging to the enemy, 
or from their own, or a neutral port, and navigating 
towards a port of an enemy of the other, shall be bound 
every time they shall be required, to exhibit, as well on 
the high seas a.s in port, their passports, or sea letters, and 
other public documents, which shall expressly prove that 
their loading is not of that kind, which is prohibited as con- 
traband ; it being well understood, nevertheless, that in all 
cases, where such merchant vessels shall be escorted by 
one or more vessels of war, the simple declaration of the 
officer commanding the convoy, that these vessels do not 
carry any contraband goods, shall be considered as fully 
sufficient, and they shall not require to examine ihe i)apers 
of the escorted vessels. 



It shall no sooner be found by the sea letters, passports, 
or other public documents, or by the verbal declaration of 
the commanding officer of the convoy, that the merchant 
vessels are not laden with contraband goods, than they 
shall be at liberty to continue their voyage without any 
hlnderance ; but if, on the contrary, the exhibition of the 
said passports or other documents, in case the vessels are 
not escorted, tends to discover that the said vessels carry 
merchandise reputed contraband, consigned to an enemy's 
port, it shall not, however, be permitted to break open the 
hatches of the said vessels, nor to open any chest, case, 
trunk, bale, package, or cask, which shall be found on 
board, or to displace or overturn the least part of the mer- 
chandise, whether the vessel belongs to his Danish IMajes- 
ty's subjects, or to the citizens or inhabitants of the United 
States, until the cargo has been landed in presence of the 
officers of the Courts of Admiralty, and that the inventory 
has been made of it. And it shall not be permitted to 
sell, exchange, or alienate the merchandise reputed con- 
traband, in any manner whatever, before trial has been 
held and legally finished, to declare them contraband, and 
that the Courts of Admiralty shall have pronounced them 
confiscated, without any prejudice, nevertheless, to the ves- 
sels or to the merchandise, which by virtue of the treaty 
shall be considered free. It shall not be permitted to re- 
tain these merchandises under pretence, that they have been 
intermixed with the contraband merchandise, and still less 
confiscate them as legal prizes. In case where a part 
only, and not the whole of the loading, shall consist of con- 
traband merchandises, and that the commander of the ves- 
sel consents to deliver them up to the privateer, which shall 

VOL. IV. 16 


have discovered them, then the captain, who shall have 
made the prize, after having received the merchandise, 
must immediately release the vessel, and shall not in any 
wise prevent the continuation of his voyage ; but in case 
the contraband merchandise cannot all be taken on board 
the captor, then the captain of the said vessel shall be at 
liberty, notwithstanding the offer to deliver the contraband 
goods, to conduct the master to the nearest port, in con- 
formity to what is i)rescribed above. 


In order to obviate entirely every disorder and violence, 
it is stipulated, that whenever the merchant vessels and 
ships of the subjects and inhabitants of one of the two par- 
ties, navigating alone, shall be met by any vessel of war, 
privateer, or armed vessel of the other party, the said ves- 
sels of war, privateers, or armed vessels, shall remain on 
iheir part constantly out of cannonshot, and shall not send 
above two or three inen in their boats on board the mer- 
chant vessels or ships, to examine the passports or other 
documents, which shall prove the property and cargoes of 
the said vessels or ships. Such of the vessels of war, 
privateers, or armed vessels of the one party, as shall 
molest or damage in any manner whatever the ships or 
vessels of the other, shall be obliged to answer for it in 
their persons and properly, and consequently, to render 
satisfaction for all damage and interest over and above the 
reparation due for the insult shown the flag. 


It is agreed that everything that is found laden by the 
respective subjects or inhabitants on board of vessels be- 
longing to the enemies of the other parly, or to their sub- 


jects, shall be confiscated without distinction of prohibited 
merciiandise, in like manner as though it belonged to 
the enemy, excepting always such effects and merchan- 
dise as shall have been put on board of said vessels, before 
the declaration of war, or e?en after said declaration, if, at 
the time of lading, it was unknown, so that the merchan- 
dises of the subjects of the two contracting parties, whether 
they are of the number termed contraband or otherwise, 
which, as has just been said, shall have been laden on 
board of a vessel belonging to the enemy before the war, 
or even after the declaration, when it was not known, shall 
in no wise be subject to confiscation, but shall be faithfully 
and bona fide returned without delay to their proprietors 
who shall claim them, it being well understood, neverthe- 
less, that it shall not be permitted to carry into the enemy's 
ports merchandise of a contraband nature. And in or- 
der that every dissension may be avoided, it is agreed, that 
after the term of six months being elapsed from the decla- 
ration of war, the respective subjects, from v/hatever part 
of the world they may come, shall not allege the ignorance 
mentioned in the present article. 


All vessels and merchandise of whatever nature soever, 
whenever they shall have been recovered from the hands 
of pirates on the high seas, shall be brought into some port 
of one of the two States, and shall be delivered to the care 
of the officers of the said port, in order to be restored en- 
tire to their true proprietor, as soon as he shall have duly 
and sufiiciently proved his properly. 

articll; XIII. 
The ships of war belonging to the two j)arties, as also 
those of their subjects which are armed, shall conduct at 


full liberty wheresoever they please, the prizes they shall 
have made from their enemies, without being obliged to pay 
any other duties than such as the most favored nations ; 
the said vessels or the said prizes, on entering into the ports 
of his Danish Majesty, or of the said United States, shall 
not be subject to be stopped or seized, nor shall the officers 
of the places have any power to take cognizance of the va- 
lidity of the said prizes, which shall go out, and be freely 
conducted in full liberty, to the places mentioned in the 
commissions, which the captains of the said vessels shall be 
obliged to produce. 


In order to favor as much as possible the commerce on 
both sides, it is agreed, that if a war should happen between 
his Majesty, the King of Denmark and Norway, and the 
United States of America, (which God forbid) nine months 
after the declaration of war shall be granted to the subjects 
on both sides to collect, sell, and transport freely, the mer- 
chandise and efFects belonging to them, and to withdraw 
themselves ; and if anything is taken from them, or if any 
injury is done to them during the above prescribed time, by 
one of the two parties, full and entire satisfaction shall be 
given them in this respect. 


No subject of his Majesty, the King of Denmark and 
Norway, shall take a commission or letter of marque (to arm 
any vessel or vessels, for the purpose of acting as a priva- 
teer against the said United States, or any of them, or 
against their subjects, people, or inhabitants, or against 
their property, or that of any among them) from any Prince 
whatever, with whom the said United States shall be at 


war. In like manner no citizen, subject, or inhabitant of 
the said United States, or of any of them, shall demand or 
accept of any commission or letter of marqne (to arm any 
vessel or vessels, to cruise against the subjects of his said 
Majesty, or any of them, or their property) from any Prince 
or State whatever, with whom his Majesty shall be at war; 
and if any one of either nation should take such commis- 
sions or letter of marque, he shall be punished as a pirate. 


In case the vessels of the subjects and inhabitants of one 
of the two contracting parties should approach the coasts of 
the other, without however designing to enter into the port, 
or to discharge the cargo, or to break bulk after having 
entered, they shall be at liberty to depart^or to pursue 
their voyage without molestation, in the same manner as 
is practiced by the vessels belonging to tho most favored 


The liberty of navigation and commerce, mentioned in 
the 7th article of this treaty, shall extend to all kinds of 
merchandises, excepting those which are designated by the 
name of contraband. Under this name of contraband, or 
prohibited merchandise, are only to be comprehended, 
arms, cannon, powder, matches, pikes, swords, lances, 
spears, halberts, mortars, petards, grenades, saltpetre, 
fusils, balls, bucklers, helmets, drums, coats of mail, and 
other arms of that kind fit to arm soldiers, swivels, shoul- 
der belts, horses with their equipages, and all other in- 
struments of w'ar whatever, excepting always the quantity 
that may be necessary for (he defence of t!ie vessel and 
such as compose the crew. All other effects and mer- 


chnndisc not expressly designated above, of whatever kind 
or denomination they may be, and however fit they may 
be, even for the building, the repairing, and equipment of 
vessels, or for the making of any machine or warlike in- 
strument by land or by sea, shall not be considered as 
contraband, and they may consequently be transported and 
conducted in the freest manner by the subjects of llie two 
contracting parties to places belonging to the enemy, ex- 
cepting, nevertheless, such as shall be actually besieged, 
blocked up or invested, and such shall only be considered 
so, where the vessels of the power that attacks shall be so 
near, and posted in such a manner, as that there shall be 
evident danger to enter. 

ARTICLE xviii. 

The passports or sea letters, which shall prove the 
property of the neutral vessels, according to the tenor of 
the Sth Article of the present treaty, shall be prepared 
and distributed according to the model which shall be 
agreed on. Every time that the vessel shall have re- 
turned to its own country, it shall be furnished with new- 
passports of the like kind ; at least, these passports must 
not be of an older date than two years after the time the 
vessel has returned last to its own country. Moreover, 
the vessels being loaded, must be provided with such cer- 
tificates, or manifests, or other public documents, as are 
commonly given to vessels which depart from the ports 
iVom whence they have last sailed, containing a specifica- 
tion of the cargo, of the place from whence the vessel has 
departed, and that of her destination, in order that it may 
be known whether there are any contraband effects on 
board of the vessels, and whether they are destined to 
carry \hem to ati enemy's country, or not. If the names 


of the persons to whom the effects on board belong, are 
not expressed in the said documents, this omission shall 
not, however, give cause for confiscation, as the IVeedora 
of the vessel secures the freedom of the effects. 


Should it happen that the ships or vessels of one of the 
two contracting parties, or of their subjects, should strike 
against the rocks, or strand, or be shipwrecked on the 
coast of the other, the respective subjects shall enjoy both 
for their persons ind their ships and vessels, effects and 
merchandise, all the aid and assistance possible, as the 
inhabitants of the country, and shall only pay the same ex- 
penses and duties, which the proper subjects of the State 
on whose coasts they shall have stranded or have been 
shipwrecked, are subject to in similar cases. 


If the subjects or inhabitants of one of the two parties, 
compelled by storm, or by the pursuit of pirates, or of the 
enemy, or by any other accident, find themselves cor.- 
strained to take refuge with their ships in the rivers, bays, 
ports, and roads belonging to the other, they thall be re- 
ceived and treated with every humanity and kindness, and 
they shall be permitted likewise to refresh and to furnish 
themselves at a just price with every kind of provisions, 
and everything necessary for the maintenance and support 
of their persons, and for the reparation of their ships, pro- 
vided they carry on no commerce contrary to the laws and 
ordinances of the place or port into which they have 


It is agreed, that the subjects of each of the contracting 
parties, and their ships, vessels, merchandise, and effects, 


shall not be subject to an embargo or detention in any of 
the countries, islands, towns, places, ports, or domains 
whatever of the other party, for any military expedition, 
public or private use, in any manner whatever, and in 
cases of seizure, detentions, or arrests for debts contracted, 
or faults committed by any subject of one of the parties in 
the States of the other, the said seizures, detentions, or 
arrests shall be made only by order and authority of the 
justice, and according to the ordinary means ; and with 
regard to debts and faults, process ought to be made by 
way of equity, and agreeably to the forms of the justice of 
the place. 


The two contracting parties have mutually granted per- 
mission to have in their respective ports, consuls, vice con- 
suls, agents, and commissaries, which they shall appoint 
ihemselves, and whose functions shall be regulated by a 
particular convention whenever either of the parties wish 
to establish it. 


The subjects of his Majesty, the King of Denmark and 
Norway, may in the country of the United States of Amer- 
ica dispose of their effects by testament, donation, or other- 
wise; and their heirs, subjects of his said Majesty, shall 
succeed them, without any impediment in all their effects, 
moveable and immoveable, either by testament or ab intes- 
tat ; so that they may lake possession of the inheritance, 
either by themselves, or by attorney, and dispose of it 
as they please, after having discharged the different duties 
established by the laws of the Stale where the said succes- 
sion shall have been left ; and in case that the heirs of the 


said dead subjects should be absent or minors, and that the 
deceased shall not have appointed guardians or executors, 
the property left shall then be inventoried by the Notary 
Public, or by the magistrate of the place, and disposed of 
in such manner that they may be kept and preserved for the 
legal proprietors ; and, supposing that there should arise a 
dispute about such inheritance among several pretenders, 
then the Judges of the places where the effects of the de- 
ceased shall be found, shall decide the process by a defini- 
tive sentence agreeably to the laws of the country. The 
contents of the present article shall be reciprocally ob- 
served, with respect to the subjects of the United States of 
America, in the States of his Danish Majesty. 


A perfect liberty of conscience shall be granted to the 
subjects and inhabitants of each party within the respective 
States, and they may, consequently, freely attend the wor- 
ship of their religion without being disturbed or molested, 
provided that they submit, as to the public demonstration, 
to the ordinances and laws of the country. 


His Majesty, the King of Denmark and Norway, and 
the United States of North America, have agreed, that the 
present treaty shall be in full effect during the space of 
fifteen successive years, reckoning from the day of its rati- 
fication ; and the two contracting parties reserve to them- 
selves the power of renewing it at the expiration of that time. 


The present treaty shall be ratified on both sides, and 
the ratifications shall be exchanged within the space of 
eight months from the date of the signature. 

VOL. IV. 17 



Of a Treaty of .^mity and Commerce received from Den- 


Although the simple comparison of the enclosed Coun- 
ter Project, with the Project proposed by Mr Franklin, 
evidently proves the attention that has been shown on our 
part here to the negotiation set on foot, and which, in the 
main, has been agreed upon as to the principles, which 
have been adopted for the basis of a treaty, as well as the 
most essential stipulations, we could not avoid, however, 
explaining more distinctly certain points of the Counter 
Project J and the eclaircissements that will be given of 
them will at the same time prove the amicable intentions, 
with which it has been endeavored to facilitate the conse- 
quences of an affair too important to die welfare of the 
two nations, not to merit the attention and cares of the 
powers which govern them. 

The second and third articles will regulate the conduct 
of the reciprocal subjects in the respective States. Taking 
things as they now are, it is easily perceived that the stipu- 
lations of the said articles, although apparently reciprocal, 
give however superior advantages to the United States. 
For, according to the system of commerce, which subsists 
in Denmark and Norway, the most favored nations pay 
there no greater imposts or other duties than the proper 
subjects of the State, and the proper subjects of the State 
enjoy considerable diminutions widi respect to unprivi- 
leged nations, as well for their vessels as their merchan- 
dise. It is evident, therefore, that the subjects of the 


United States of America being received among the most 
favored nations in Denmark and Norway, would not only 
gain by that means a competition with the said most 
favored, but also a preference over several other nations, 
even in the neighborhood of Denmark, with whom no tpea- 
ties of commerce have been concluded, and who, there- 
fore, are still in the number of unprivileged, as to navi- 
gation and commerce, in the States of his Danish Majesty. 
On the other hand, if the advantages, which would result 
from these articles, as to the commerce of the subjects of 
Denmark in the territories of the United States, are con- 
sidered, the said advantages would be confined to the sim- 
ple competition with every other foreign nation ; but, as 
there is no nation that we knovv^ of, which actually pays in 
the territories of the United States other or greater duties, 
than what the privileged or most favored nations are bound 
to pay, the Danish subjects would not find in the territories 
of the United States the same preference, which the sub- 
jects of the United States would obtain in Denmark and 
Norway. The preceding considerations are not advanced 
for the purpose of taking any advantage, but they are 
pointed out only to show the impartiality and good will, with 
which we desire to contribute to the mutual connexions 
of amity and commerce between the two nations, who will, 
it is to be hoped, more and more unite. As to the periods 
inserted in these articles, they do not essentially change 
the stipulations projected by the IMinister of the United 
States; they only add therein some proper determination 
to prevent every misunderstanding on the subject of the 
reciprocal liberties and privileges, and to guaranty son^e 
rights, which the subjects of his J^anish Majesty enjoy with 
respect to certain countries and colonies, as Iceland, Green- 


land, Finmarson, Faro, the establishment of Tranquibar, 
and, in certain respects, the Islands of St Croix, St Thomas, 
and St John ; and if, at any time, it should please the United 
States to reserve for its own subjects similar rights, with 
respect to certain places, or certain kinds of merchandise, 
and to exclude therefrom every foreign nation, the same 
stipulations shall then suit their intentions. In like manner 
the same mark of reciprocity has been given to every 
change, excepting only the last clause of the third article, 
which has not been susceptible of the same turn, consider- 
ing the local position of the United States, and which, un- 
doubtedly for the same reason, has been inserted in the 
treaty of the United States with Holland, in the same man- 
ner as it is here in the Counter Project. 

After having pointed out the privileges, which the sub- 
jects of his Danish Majesty enjoy in the islands of St Croix, 
St Thomas, and St John, it will not be useless to observe, 
that it is only the commerce and navigation between the 
said islands and Europe, which Denmark has appropriated 
to itself in any manner ; but the commerce, which is con- 
ducted between those islands and North America, although 
always subject to the same interior regulations on both 
sides, has been for a long while authorised by his Danish 
Majesty's commercial laws, and his said Majesty has, 
moreover, granted to the islands of St Thomas and St John 
privileges, which will give the commerce of these islands, 
with America in particular, a freer course, and very differ- 
ent from that of the commerce of the colony. The advan- 
tages, which the United States may derive from a more 
close commercial connexion with the said privileged isl- 
ands, and whose ports, distinguished by the security they 
insure to vessels, appear to invite the commercial subjects 


of America, are too evident to need any circumstantial 
detail. There shall only be added, therefore, to what has 
been said, this single observation, that his Danish Majesty, 
having it very much at heart to open every possible road 
to industry and commerce, finds himself much disposed to 
favor the connexion in question, and that, if for this pur- 
pose the United States, after the conclusion of the present 
treaty, which shall fix the general commercial points be- 
tween the contracting parties, should desire a particular 
convention to agree upon the reciprocal and local advan- 
tages proper to accomplish this object, his said Majesty 
would willingly come into it, provided that the United 
States were equally disposed on their part to facilitate the 

The fourth and fifth articles have only been modified in 
order to remove the doubts, which might arise with respect 
to the defence and protection due to the vessels belonging 
to the respective subjects. It is only in cases of attack 
from the common enemy, against whom it was conceived 
possible to confine each other by these articles ; for in case 
that one of the parties was at war and the other at peace, 
the vessels belonging to the neutral party could not protect 
the vessels belonging to the belligerent party, without taking 
a part and quitting its neutrality. 

The privileges of the most favored nations undoubtedly 
guaranty to the respective subjects the favors mentioned 
in the sixth, eleventh, fourteenth, and seventeenth articles of 
the Project. For this reason it has appeared, that it would 
be better to reduce the points detailed in these articles 
to the number of general liberties of the most favored na- 
tions, and this is what has been done in the sixth, thir- 
teenth, sixteenth, and tvventyfirst articles of the Counter 


Project, contenting ourselves here with the assurance, that 
the subjects of his Danish Majesty in the cases mentioned 
here, as well as in any other, shall he regarded and treated 
in the territories within the dominions of the United States 
as the most favored nations, and in expectation that the 
United States will not demand anything more in these res- 

The seventh, eighth, and ninth articles of the Coun- 
ter Project only contain the spirit and ideas of the fif- 
teenth, seventh, and eighth articles of the Project, to 
which has been added some further stipulations, conforma- 
ble to the principles, which have been established and 
acknowledged with respect to die commerce of neutral 
nations in time of war. 

The term of two months, which has been proposed in 
the ninth article, and that of sis months named in the 
twelfth article of the Project, did not appear to correspond 
with the extent of commerce, which is carried on, particu- 
larly with the East Indies, nor with difficulties, which the 
merchants or inhabitants sometimes find in arranging their 
aflJairs to change their abode. It is for this reason, that 
instead of two and six months, the terms six and nine 
months have been substituted, it being nevertheless well 
understood, that from the friendship and good understand- 
ing, which is about being strengthened between the two 
nations, the subjects of neither party will ever have cause 
to take refuge on account of a rupture. 

Although no fault has been found as to the merchandise, 
which the Project has called contraband, or not contraband 
in time of war, there is however reason to think, that it 
would still be better for the convenicncy of the contracting 
parties, only to name in express terms the contraband, 


Without detailing the free merchandise, with respect to 
which no belter explanation could be given, as it appears, 
than by agreeing that everything that is not called con- 
traband shall be comprehended in the number of free mer- 
chandise ; consequently, on this principle, the seventeenth 
article of the Counter Project has been arranged, and at the 
end of the article has been added the definition of a port 
that is blocked up. 

The new articles that liave been proposed on this side 
principally turn on reciprocal points and favors, which jus- 
tice and equity demand, and which humanity and the 
rights [of nations ordinarily grant, even without stipulation 
by express conventions ; but it is usage that has introduced 
them into treaties, and it is conceived that it is no less 
necessary to conform thereto. 

As to the passports mentioned in the eighteenth article 
of the Counter Project, there is nothing easier than to agree 
about them after the conclusion of the treaty, or at the 
time when it is concluded, and the models that shall be 
agreed on can then be officially exchanged and published 
in case of necessity. 


Cadiz, July IGth, 17S3. 

His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor of Morocco, did me 
the honor to appoint me to be the bearer of his answer to 
the United Provinces of North America, witii which he is 
willing to sign a treaty of peace and commerce, and in 
consequence has already given orders to his Captains of 
men of war not to molest on the open seas the American 


vessels, which agreeable news 1 have already given to Mr 
Richard Harrison. According to my instructions, I am to 
accompany to the Court of Morocco the Ambassador, that 
will be appointed to conclude the treaty of peace. I pre- 
sume, that your Excellency is already acquainted, that the 
travelling expenses and other charges of ambassadors, or 
envoys, sent to Europe by the Emperor of Morocco, are to 
be paid by the Court, or Republic, that demands his 
friendship. In a few days I intend to set out for Madrid, 
where I will remain till I receive your Excellency's answer 
to this letter, directed to William Carmichael, the United 
States Charge d'Affaires at the Court of Spain, who, I 
make no doubt, will receive orders to supply me with the 
money I may want on the occasion. 

As soon as I arrive at Paris I shall have the satisfaction 
to entertain at large your Excellency on the present nego- 
tiation, not doubting it will soon be concluded to the advan- 
tage of both Courts. 

In the meantime I remain, most truly, Sir, &;c. 


P. S. I was obliged to call on a friend to write you 
this letter in English, otherwise I could only do it in the 
Italian language. G. F. C. 


Passy, July 22d, 1783. 

You have complained, sometimes with reason, of not 
hearing from your Foreign Ministers ; we have had cause 
to make the same complaint, six full months having inter- 


vened between the latest date of your preceding letters and 
the receipt of those by Captain Barney. During all this 
time we were ignorant of the reception of the Provisional 
Treaty, and the sentiments of Congress upon it, which, if we 
had received sooner, might have forwarded the proceedings 
on the Definitive Treaty, and, perhaps, brought them to a 
conclusion, at a time more favorable than the present. But 
these occasional interruptions of correspondence are the 
inevitable consequences of a state of war, and of such re- 
mote situations. Barney had a short passage, and arrived 
some days before Colonel Ogden, who also brought de- 
spatches from you, all of which are come safe to hand. 
We, the Commissioners, have in our joint capacity written 
a letter to you, which you will receive with this. 

I shall now answer yours of March the 26th, May the 
9th, and May the 31st. 

It gave me great pleasure to learn by the first, that the 
news of peace diffused general satisfaction. I will not 
now take it upon me to justify the apparent reserve, re- 
specting this Court, at the signature, which you disapprove. 
We have touched upon it in our general letter. I do not 
see, however, that they have much reason to complain of 
that transacuon. Nothing was stipuluted to their preju- 
dice, and none of the stipulations were to have force, but 
by a subsequent act of their own. I suppose, indeed, that 
they have not complained of it, or you would have sent us 
a copy of the complaint, that we mi2;ht have answered it. 
I long since satisfied Count de Vergennes about it here. 
We did what appeared to all of us, best at the time, and if 
we have done wrong, the Congress will do right, after hear- 
ing us, to censure us. Their nomination of five persons to 
the service seems to mark, that they had some dependence 
VOL. IV. 18 


on our joint judgment, since one alone could have made 
a treaty by direction of the French iViinistry as well as 

I will only add, that with respect to myself, neither the 
letter from M. Marbois, handed us through the British 
negotiators, (a suspicious channel) nor the conversations 
respecting the fishery, the boundaries, the royalists, &c. 
recommending moderation in our demands, are of weight 
sufficient in my mind to fix an opinion, that this Court 
wished to restrain us, in obtaining any degree of advantage 
we could prevail on our enemies to accord, since those 
discourses are fairly resolvable, by supposing a very natural 
apprehension, that we, relying too much on the ability of 
France to continue the war in our favor, and supply us 
constantly with money, might insist on more advantages 
than the English would be willing to grant, and thereby 
lose the opportunity of making peace, so necessary to all 
our friends. 

I ought not, however, to conceal from you, that one of 
my colleagues is of a very different opinion from me in 
these matters. He thinks the French Minister one of the 
greatest enemies of our country, that he would have 
straitened our boundaries, to prevent the growth of our 
people ; contracted our fishery, to obstruct the increase of 
our seamen ; and retained the royalists among us, to keep 
us divided ; that he privately opposes all our negotiations 
with foreign Courts, and afforded us, during the war, the 
assistance we received only to keep it alive, that we might 
be so much the more weakened by it ; that to think of 
gratitude to France is the greatest of follies, and that to be 
influenced by it would ruin us. He makes no secret of 
his having these opinions, expresses them publicly, some- 


limes in presence of the English Ministers, and speaks of 
hundreds of instances which he could produce in proof of 
them. None, however, have yet appeared to me, unless 
the conversations and letter abovementioned are reckoned 

If I were not convinced of the real inability of this 
Court to furnish the further supplies we asked, I should 
suspect these discourses of a person in his station might 
have influenced the refusal, but I think they have gone no 
further than to occasion a suspicion, that we have a con- 
siderable party of antigallicans in America, who are not 
tories, and consequently, to produce some doubts of the 
continuance of our friendship. As such doubts may here- 
after have a bad effect, I think we cannot take too much 
care to remove them ; and it is, therefore, I write this to 
put you on your guard, (believing it my duty, though I 
know that I hazard by it a mortal enmity) and to caution 
you respecting the insinuations of this gentleman against 
this Court, and the instances he supposes of their ill will to 
us, which I take to be as imaginary as I know his fancies 
to be, that Count de Vergennes and myself are continually 
plotting against him, and employing the newswriters of Eu- 
rope to depreciate his character, &c. But as Shakspeare 
says. "Trifles light as air," he. I am persuaded, however, 
that he means well for his country, is always an honest 
man, often a wise one, but sometimes, and in some things, 
absolutely out of his senses. 

When the commercial article, mentioned in yours of the 
26th, was struck out of our proposed preliminaries by the 
British Ministry, the reason given was, that sundry acts of 
Parliament still in force were against it, and must be first 
repealed, which I believe was really their intention, and 


sundry bills were accordingly brought in for that purpose ; 
but new Ministers with different principles succeeding, a 
commercial proclamation totally different from those bills 
has lately appeared. I send enclosed a copy of it. We 
shall try what can be done in the Definitive Treaty 
towards setting aside that proclamation, but if it should be 
persisted in, it will then be a matter worthy the attentive 
discussion of Congress, whether it will be most prudent to 
retort with a ^similar regulation in order to force its repeal, 
(which may possibly tend to bring on another quarrel) or to 
let it pass without notice, and leave it to its own inconven- 
ience, or rather impracticability in the execution, and to the 
complaints of the West India planters, who must all pay 
much dearer for our produce under those restrictions. 

1 am not enough master of the course of our commerce 
to give an opinion on this particular question, and it does 
not behove me to do it ; yet 1 have seen so much embar- 
rassment and so little advantage in all the restraining and 
compulsive systems, that I feel myself strongly inclined to 
believe, that a State, which leaves all her ports open to all 
the world upon equal terms, will, by that means, have 
foreign commodities cheaper, sell its own productions 
dearer, and be on the whole the most prosperous. 1 have 
heard some merchants say, that there is ten per cent differ- 
ence between Will you buy 9 and fVill you sell 9 When 
foreigners bring us their goods, they want to part with 
them speedily, that they may purchase their cargoes and 
despatch their ships, which are at constant charges in our 
ports ; we have then the advantage of their Will you buy 1 
And when they demand our produce, we have the advan- 
tage of their Will you seW^ And the concurring demands 
of a number also contribute to raise our prices. Thus 


both those questions are in our favor at home, against us 

The employing, however, of our own sliips and raising a 
breed of seamen among us, though it should not be a mat- 
ter of so much private profit as some imagine, is neverthe- 
less of political importance, and must have weight in con- 
sidering this subject. 

The judgment you make of the conduct ol France in 
the peace, and the greater glory acquired by her modera- 
tion than even by her arms, appears to me perfectly just. 
The character of this Court and nation seems, of late 
years, to be considerably changed. The ideas of aggran- 
disement by conquest are out of fashion, and those of 
commerce are more enlightened and more generous than 
heretofore. We shall soon, I believe, feel something, of 
this in our being admitted to a greater freedom of trade 
with their Islands. The wise here thinl: France great 
enough ; and its ambition at present seems to be only that 
of justice and magnanimity towards other nations, fidelity 
and utility to its allies. 

The Ambassador of Portugal was much pleased with 
the proceedings relating to their vessel, which you sent 
mc, and assures me they will have a good effect at his 
Court. He appears extremely desirous of a treaty with 
our States ; I have accordingly proposed to him the plan 
of one (nearly the same with that sent me for Sweden) 
and after my agreeing to some alterations, he has sent 
it to his Court for approbation. He told me at Ver- 
sailles, last Tuesday, that he expected its return to him 
on Saturday next, and anxiously desired that I would 
not despatch our packet without it, that Congress might 
consider it, and, if approved, send a commission to me or 
some other Minister to si2,n it. 


I venture to go thus far in treating, on tlie auiliority only 
of a kind of general power, given formerly by a resolution 
of Congress to Messrs Franklin, Deane, and Lee ; but a 
special commission seems more proper to complete a treaty, 
and more agreeable to the usual forms of such business. 

I am in just the same situation with Denmark ; that 
Court by its Minister here has desired a treaty with us. 
I have proposed a plan formed on that sent me for Swe- 
den ; it has been under consideration some time at Copen- 
hagen, and is expected here this week, so that I may 
possibly send that also by this conveyance. You will have 
seen by my letter to the Danish Prime Minister, that I did 
not forget the affair of the prizes. What 1 then wrote, 
produced a verbal offer made me here, of £10,000 ster- 
ling, proposed to be given by his Majesty to the captors, if 
I would accept it as a full discharge of our demand. I 
could not do this, I said, because it was not more than a fifth 
part of the estimated value. In answer, I was told that the 
estimation was probably extravagant, that it would be diffi- 
cult to come at the knowledge of their true value, and that 
whatever they might be worth in themselves, they should 
not be estimated as of such value to us when at Bergen, 
since the English probably watched them, and might have 
retaken them in their way to America ; at least, they were 
at the common risk of the seas and enemies, and the in- 
surance was a considerable drawback j that this sum might 
be considered as so much saved for us by the King's 
interference ; for that if the English claimants had been 
suffered to carry the cause into the common courts, they 
must have recovered the prizes by the laws of Denmark j 
it was added, that the King's honor was concerned, that 
he sincerely desired our friendship, but he would avoid. 


by giving this sum in the form of a present to the cap- 
tors, the appearance of its being exacted from him as 
the reparation of an injury, when it was really intended 
rather as a proof of his strong disposition to cultivate a 
good understanding with us. 

I replied, that the value might possibly be exaggerated ; 
but that we did not desire more than should be found just 
on inquiry, and that it was not difficult to learn from Lon- 
don [what sums were insured upon the ships and cargoes, 
which would be some guide ; and that a reasonable abate- 
ment might be made for the risk ; but that the Congress 
could not, in justice to their mariners, deprive them of any 
part that was truly due to those brave men, whatever 
abatement they might think fit to make (as a mark of their 
regard for the King's friendship) of the part belonging to 
the public ; that 1 had, however, no instructions or au- 
thority to make any abatement of any kind, and could, 
therefore, only acquaint Congress with the offer, and the 
reasons that accompanied it, which I promised to state 
fully and candidly (as I have now done) and attend their 
orders, desiring only that it might be observed, we had 
presented our complaint with decency, that we had charg- 
ed no fault on the Danish government, but what might 
arise from inattention or precipitancy, and that we bad 
intimated no resentment, but had waited with patience and 
respect the King's determination, confiding, that he would 
follow the equitable disposition of his own breast, by doing 
us justice as soon as he could do it with conveniency ; 
that the best and wisest Princes sometimes erred, that it 
belonged to the condition of man, and was, therefore, in- 
evitable, and that the true honor in such cases consisted 
not in disowning or hiding the error, but in making ample 


reparation ; that, though I could not accept what was of- 
fered on the terms proposed, our treaty might go on, and 
its articles be prepared and considered, and, in the mean 
time, I hoped his Danish Majesty would reconsider the 
offer, and make it more adequate to the loss we had sus- 
tained. Thus that matter rests; but I hourly expect to 
hear further, and perhaps may have more to say on it be- 
fore the ship's departure. 

I shall be glad to have the proceedings you mention 
respecting the brig Providentia. I hope the equity and 
justice of our Admiralty Courts, respecting the property 
of strangers, will always maintain their reputation, and I 
wish particularly to cultivate the disposition of friendship 
towards Ub, apparent in the late proceedings of Denmark, 
as the Danish Islands may be of use to our West India 
commerce, while the English impolitic restraints continue. 

The Elector of Saxony, as I understand from his Min- 
ister here, has thoughts of sending one to Congress, and 
proposing a treaty of commerce and amity with us. Prussia 
has likewise an inclination to share in a trade with America, 
and the Minister of that Court, though he has not directly 
proposed a treaty, has given me a packet of lists of the 
several sorts of merchandise they can furnish us with, 
which he requests me to send to America for the informa- 
tion of our merchants. 

I have received no answer yet from Congress to my re- 
quest of being dismissed from their service. They should, 
methinks, reflect, that if they continue me here, the faults 
I may henceforth commit, through the infirmities of age, 
will be rather theirs than mine. I am glad my journal 
afforded you any pleasure. I will, as you desire, endeavor 
to continue it. I thank you for the pamphlet; it contains a 


great deal of information respecting our finances. We 
shall, as you advise, avoid publishing it. But I see they 
are publishing it in the English papers. I was glad I 
had a copy authenticated by the signature of Secretary 
Thompson, by which I could assure Count de Vergennes, 
that the money contract I had made with him was ratified 
by Congress, he having just before expressed some uneasi- 
ness to me at its being so long neglected. I find it was 
ratified soon after it was received, but the ratification, ex- 
cept in that pamphlet, has not yet come to hand. I have 
done my best to procure the further loan directed by the 
resolution of Congress. It was not possible. I have writ- 
ten on that matter to Mr Morris. I wnsh the rest of the 
estimates of losses and mischiefs were come to hand ; they 
would siill be of use. 

Mr Barclay has in his hands the affair of the Alliance 
and Bon Homme Richard. I will afford him all the as- 
sistance in my power, but it is a very perplexed business. 
That expedition, though for particular reasons under 
American commissions and colors, was carried on at the 
King's expense, and under his orders. M. de Chaumont 
was the agent appointed by the Minister of Marine to 
make the outfit. He was also chosen by all the captains 
of the squadron, as appears by an instrument under their 
hands, to be their agent, receive, sell, and divide prizes, 
&;c. The Crown bought two of them at public sale, and 
the money I understand is lodged in the hands of a re- 
sponsible person at L'Orient. M. de Chaumont says he 
has given in his accounts to the iMarine, and that he has 
no more to do with the affliir, cxce|)t to receive a balance 
due to him. That account, however, is I believe unset- 
tled, and the absence of some of the captains is said to 

VOL. IV. 19 


make another difficulty, which retards the completion of 
the business. I never paid or received anything relating 
to that expedition, nor had any other concern in it, than 
barely ordering the Alliance to join the squadron at M. 
de Sartine's request. I know not whether the other cap- 
tains will not claim a share in what we may obtain from 
Denmark, though the prizes were made by the Alliance, 
when separate from the squadron. If so, that is another 
difficulty in the way of making abatement in our demand, 
without their consent. 

I am sorry to find, that you have thoughts of quitting 
the service. I do not think your place can be easily well 
supplied. You mention, that an entire new arrangement, 
with respect to foreign affairs, is under consideration. I 
wish to know whether any notice is likely to be taken in it 
of my grandson. He has now gone through an appren- 
ticeship of near seven years in the Ministerial business, 
and is very capable of serving the States in that line, as 
possessing all the requisites of knowledge, zeal, activity, 
language, and address. He is well liked here, and Count 
de Vergennes has expressed to me in warm terms his very 
good opinion of him. The late Swedish Ambassador, 
Count de Creutz, who has gone home to be Prime Minis- 
ter, desired 1 would endeavor to procure bis being sent to 
Sweden, with a public character, assuring me, that he 
should be glad to receive him there as our Minister, and 
that he knew it would be pleasing to the King.* The 
present Swedish Ambassador has also proposed the same 
thing to me, as you will see by a letter of his, which I 
enclose. f One of the Danish IMinisters, M. Walterstorff, 

* Sec the Swedish Ambassador's letter, p. 112. j Sec p. 112. 


who will probably be sent in a public character to Con- 
gress, has also expressed his wish, that my grandson may 
be sent to Denmark. But it is not my custom to solicit 
employments for myself, or any of my family, and I shall 
not do it In this case. I only hope, that if he is not to be 
employed in your new arrangement, 1 may be informed of 
it as soon as possible, that while I have strength left for it, 
I may accompany him in a tour to Italy, returning through 
Germany, which I think he may make to more advantage 
with me than alone, and which I have long promised to 
afford him, as a reward for his faithful service, and his 
tender filial attachment to me. 

July 25th. While I was writing the above M. Walter- 
storff came in, and delivered me a packet from JM. Rosen- 
crone, the Danish Prime Minister, containing the project of 
the treaty with some proposed alterations, and a paper of 
reasons in support of them.* Fearing that we should not 
have lime to copy them, I send herev/iUi the originals, re- 
lying on his promise to furnish me with copies in a few 
days. He seemed to think, that the interest of the mer- 
chants is concerned in the immediate conclusion of the 
treaty, that they may form their plans of commerce, and 
wished to know whether I did not think my general power, 
above mentioned, sufficient for that purpose. I told him I 
thought a particular commission more agreeable to the 
forms, but if his Danish Majesty would be content for the 
present with the general authority, formerly given to me, I 
believed I might venture to act upon it, reserving by a sep- 
arate article to Congress the power of shortening the term 

* See M. He Rosencrone's letter, and the other papers lierc mentioned, 
p. 115 ct scqq. 


in case any part of the treaty should not be to their mind, 
unless the alteration of such part should hereafter be 
agreed on. 

The Prince de Deuxponts was lately at Paris, and ap- 
plied to me for information, respecting a commerce which 
is desired between the Electorate of Bavaria and America. 
I have it also from a good hand at the Court of Vienna, 
that the Emperor is desirous of establishing a commerce 
with us from Trieste, as well as Flanders, and would 
make a treaty with us if proposed to him. Since our trade 
is laid open, and no longer a monopoly to England, all 
Europe seems desirous of sharing in it, and for that pur- 
pose to cultivate our friendship. That it may be better 
known everywhere, what sort of people, and what kind of 
government they will have to treat with, I prevailed with 
our friend, the Due de la Rochefoucault, to translate our 
book of Constitutions into French, and I presented copies 
to all the Foreign Ministers. I send you one herewith. 
They are much admired by the politicians here, and it is 
thought will induce considerable emigrations of substantial 
people from different parts of Europe to America. It is 
particularly a matter of wonder, that in the midst of a cruel 
war, raging in the bowels of our country, our sages should 
have the firmness of mind to sit down calmly and form 
such complete plans of government. They add consider- 
ably to the reputation of the United States. 

I have mentioned above the port of Trieste, with which 
we may possibly have a commerce, and 1 am told that 
many useful productions and manufactures of Hungary 
may be had extremely cheap there. But it becomes ne- 
cessary first to consider how our Mediterranean trade is to 
be protected from the corsairs of Barbary. You will see 


by the enclosed copy of a letter* I received from Algiers, 
the danger two of our ships escaped last winter. I think 
it not improbable, that those rovers may be privately en- 
couraged by the English to fall upon us, and to prevent 
our interference in the carrying trade ; for I have in Lon- 
don heard it is a maxim among the merchants, that if 
there were no Algiers, it would he worth England's while 
to build one. I wonder, however, that the rest of Europe 
do not combine to destroy those nests, and secure com- 
merce from their future piracies. 

I made the Grand Master of JMalta a present of one of 
our medals in silver, writing to him a letter, of which I en- 
close a copy ;f and I believe our people will be kindly 
received in his ports ; but that is not sufficient ; and per- 
haps now we have peace, it will be proper to send Minis- 
ters, with suitable presents, to establish a friendship with the 
Emperor of Morocco, and the other Barbary States, if pos- 
sible. Mr Jay will inform you of some steps, that have been 
taken by a person at Alicant, without authority, towards a 
treaty with that Emperor. I send you herewith a few 
more of the abovementioned medals, which have given 
great satisfaction to this Court and nation. I should be glad 
to know how they are liked with you. 

Our people, who were prisoners in England, are now 
all discharged. During the whole war, those who were in 
Forton prison, near Portsmouth, were much befriended by 
the constant charitable care of Mr Wren, a Presbyterian 
minister there, who spared no pains to assist them in their 
sickness and distress, by procuring and distributing among 
them the contributions of good christians, and prudently 

* See p. 96. t See above, p. 95. 


^dispensing the allowance I made them, which gave him 
a great deal of trouble, but he went through it cheerfully. 
I think some public notice should bu taken of this good 
man. I wish the Congress would enable me to make him 
a present, and that some of our universities would confer 
upon him the degree of Doctor. 

The Duke of Manchester, who has always been our 
friend in the House of Lords, is now here as Ambassador 
from England. I dine with him today, 26th, and if any- 
thing of importance occurs, I will add it in a postscript. 
Be pleased to present my dutiful respects to the Congress, 
assure them of my most faithful services, and believe me 
to be, with great and sincere esteem. Sir, &;c. 



Plan of a Treaty of Amity and Commerce between Her 
Most Faithful Majesty, the Queen of Portugal and Algarva, 
and the United States of North America. 

Her Most Faithful Majesty, the Queen of Portugal and 
Algarva, and the United States of North America, anxious 
to fix in an equitable and permanent manner the regula- 
tion, which ought to be observed with regard to the com- 
merce they wish to establish between their respective 
countries, conceive that they cannot more effectually attain 
this end than by observing as the basis of their arrange- 
ment the most perfect equality and reciprocity, allowing 
each party the liberty of making such interior regulations 
respecting their commerce and navigation as may best suit 
them, resting the advantages of commerce on its reciprocal 
utility and the lawsof a just concurrence. In consequence 


of these principles, and of a mature deliberation, Her Most 
Faithful Majesty and the United States have agreed on the 
following articles. 


There shall be a firm, inviolable, and universal peace, . 
and a sincere amity between Her Most Fahhful Majesty, 
the Queen of Portugal, her heirs and successors, and the 
United States of North America, as well with respect to 
the citizens and subjects of the said two parties as their 
people, islands, cities, and places situated within their 
respective jurisdictions, and between their people and in- 
habitants of all classes, without exception of persons and 
places, similar to what has been already established with 
the most favorite powers. 


The subjects of Her Most Faithful Majesty may freely 
frequent and reside in the United States, and traffic in all 
kinds of effects and merchandises, whose importation or 
exportation is^not or shall not be prohibited, and they shall 
not pay in the ports, harbors, roads, countries, islands, 
cities, and places within the United States, other or greater 
duties or imposts of any kind whatever, than such as the 
most favored nations are, or shall be, obliged to pay. And 
they shall enjoy all the rights, liberties, privileges, immuni- 
ties, and exemptions with respect to trade, navigation, and 
commerce, whether in going from one port of the said 
States to another, or in going there, or returning from any 
part or to any part of the world whatever, which the said 
nations do or shall enjoy. 


In the like manner the citizens and inhabitants of the 


United States of Norlh America shall freely frequent and 
reside in the States of Her Most Faithful Majesty in Eu- 
rope ; also in Madeira and the Azores, and trade there in 
all kinds of effects and merchandises, the importation and 
exportation of which is not, or shall not be prohibited, and 
they shall not pay in the ports, harbors, roads, countries, 
islands, cities, and places of the Queen of Portugal, other 
or greater duties of any kind whatsoever than such as the 
most favored nations are, or shall be, bound to pay ; and 
they shall enjoy all the rights, liberties, privileges, immuni- 
ties, and exemptions as to trade, navigation, and commerce, 
whether in going from one port of Her Most Faithful Ma- 
jesty's States to another, or in going there, or returning 
from any part of the world whatever, which the said na- 
tions do or shall enjoy. 


Her Most Faithful Majesty shall use every means in her 
power to protect and defend all the vessels and property 
belonging to the subjects, people, and inhabitants of the 
said United States, which shall be in her ports, harbors, 
or roads, against any violence whatever that may be com- 
mitted by the subjects of her said Majesty, by punishing 
such as shall violate these principles. 


The preceding article, shall be in like manner recip- 
rocally and exactly observed on the part of the United 
States, with respect to the vessels and property belonging 
to the subjects of her said Majesty, which shall be found in 
their ports, harbors, or roads, against any violence that may 
be committed by the subjects of the United States. 



If any squadrons or vessels of war touch at the ports, or 
enter into the seas in the neighborhood of Her Most Faith- 
ful Majesty's States^ they shall conform to the regulations 
already established with respect to the other most favored 
maritime powers. 


The United States of America likewise oblige them- 
selves reciprocally to observe with exactitude the stipula- 
tions contained in the above article. 


It is likewise agreed and determined that every mer- 
chant, captains of merchant vessels, or other subjects of 
Her Most Faithful Majesty, shall have entire liberty in all 
places within the dominion or jurisdiction of the United 
States of America, to manage themselves their own affairs, 
and to employ therein whomsoever they please, and that 
they shall not be obliged to make use of any interpreter 
or broker, nor to pay them any fee, unless they do employ 
them. Moreover, the masters of the vessels shall not be 
obliged, in loading or discharging their vessels, to employ 
workmen, appointed for that purpose by public authority, 
but they shall be entirely free to discharge or load them- 
selves their vessels, and to employ, in loading or discharg- 
ing, such persons as they shall think proper for the pur- 
pose, without paying any fee, under the title of salary, to 
any other person whatever, and they shall not be obliged 
to put any kind of merchandise in other vessels, or to re- 
ceive them on board, and wait to be loaded any longer 
time than what they please, and all and every of the citi- 
zens, people, and inhabitants of the United States of Amer- 

VOL. IV, 20 


ica shall have, and shall reciprocally enjoy, the same priv- 
ileges and liberties in all the aforesaid places within Her 
Most Faithful Majesty's jurisdiction in Europe. And, as to 
what concerns contraband goods, which may be introduced 
in Hierchant vessels belonging to either nation, they shall 
be obliged to suboiit to the visit of the officers appointed 
in the two States, to prevent the said contraband, and, for 
that purpose to conform to the established regulations, or 
such as shall be established within the respective States. 


Full and entire liberty of conscience shall be granted to 
the inhabitants and subjects of each party, and no one shall 
be molested with respect to his worship, provided he sub- 
mits, as far as respects the public demonstration, to the laws 
of the country. The inhabitants and subjects of either 
party, who shall die in the territory of the other party, shall 
be permitted to be buried in suitable and decent places, 
which shall be assigned for that purpose, and the two con- 
tracting powers shall provide, each within its own jurisdic- 
tion, that the respective subjects and inhabitants may obtain 
certificates of death, in case they shall be required to de- 
liver them. 


The subjects of the contracting parties may, within the 
respective States, freely dispose of their property, movea- 
ble and immoveable, either by testament, donation, or 
otherwise, in favor of such persons as they may think 
proper, and their heirs, wherever they may dwell, shall 
receive these successions, even ab intestato, either in per- 
son or by attorney, without the necessity of obtaining 
letters of naturalization. These inheritances, as well as 


the capitals and effects, which the subjects of the two 
parties, in changing their residence, would carry from the 
place of their abode, shall be exempted Irom any duties 
on the part of the government of the two respective States. 
The contents of this article shall in no wise derogate from 
the ordinances published against emigrations, or which 
shall hereafter be promulgated within the dominions of the 
two powers, the exercise of which they reserve to them- 


If, hereafter, a war should happen between Portugal 
and the United States, which God forbid, the space of nine 
months shall be granted to the merchants of either coun- 
try residing at that time in the other, to collect their debts 
and put their affairs in order, and they may depart with all 
their effects without let or molestation. All fishermen, 
farmers, artizans, or manufacturers, unarmed and residing 
in cities, places, and villages not fortified, who work for 
the subsistence and welfare of mankind, and who peace- 
ably exercise their respective employments, shall be al- 
lowed to continue their occupations uithout molestation 
from the armed forces of the enemy, in whose power they 
may fall through the events of war ; but should it be ne- 
cessary to take anything from them for the use of the 
army, they shall be paid for diem at a reasonable price. 
All traders and merchants, whose vessels shall not be 
armed for war, but employed in the commerce of ex- 
changing the productions of different countries, and there- 
by rendering the wants, conveniencies, and comforts of life 
easier to be obtained and more universal, shall be permit- 
ted to pass freely, and without molestaiioii. Neither of 
the contracting powers shall grant a commission to any 


privateer, authorising it to take or destroy such merchant 
vessels, or to interrupt such commerce. 


In order to remove and prevent on both sides every 
difficulty and misunderstanding, that commonly happen re- 
specting merchandise heretofore denominated contraband, 
and which shall be judged such by the powers of Europe 
in their respective treaties, that is to say, arms and war- 
like stores, it has been agreed, that in case where one of 
the contracting parties shall be engaged in a war against 
any other nation, none of these articles carried in the 
vessels, or by the subjects of one of the parties to the ene- 
mies of the other, shall be considered contraband under 
any pretext whatever, nor be confiscated or taken away as 
such from any individual. It shall, nevertheless, be lawful 
to stop such vessels, and to detain them as long as the 
captors shall think necessary to prevent the inconvenien- 
cies or damages that may result from the continuation of 
their voyage, by paying, however, to the proprietors a rea- 
sonable compensation for the loss, which such detention 
may occasion ; moreover, the captors shall be permitted to 
use, in whole or in part, the warlike stores thus detained, 
provided that they pay the full value thereof to the pro- 


All vessels and merchandise of whatsoever kind, that 
shall be recovered from pirates of the high seas, shall be 
brought into some port of one of the two States and deliv- 
ered to the care of the officers of the said port, in order 
that they may be completely restored to their true propri- 
etor, as soon as he shall have duly and sufficiently proved 
his property. 



None of Her Most Faithful Majesty's subjects suall take 
a commission or letter of marque to arm any vessel or 
vessels for the purpose of acting as privateers against the 
United States, or any of them, or against their subjects, 
people, or inhabitants, or against their property, or that of 
the inhabitants of either of them, from any prince what- 
ever, with whom the said States shall be at war. In like 
manner, no citizen, or subject, or inhabitant of the afore- 
said United States, or any of them, shall demand any com- 
mission or letter of marque to arm any vessel or vessels to 
cruise against the subjects of Her Most Faithful Majesty, 
or any of them, or their property, from any prince or State 
whatever with whom the said Queen shall be at war ', and 
if any one belonging to either nation takes such commis- 
sion or letter of marque, he shall be punished as a pirate. 


In case the vessels, subjects, and inhabitants of one of 
the two contracting parties shall approach the coasts of the 
other, without designing, however, to enter into the port, 
or, after having entered, without intention to discharge their 
cargo, or to break bulk, they shall be at liberty to depart 
or to pursue their voyage without molestation. 


It is stipulated by the present treaty, that free vessels 
shall secure the liberty of the persons who shall be on 
board, even should they be the enemies of one of the two 
contracting parties, and they shall not be taken out of the 
said vessels unless they are military characters, and actu- 
ally in the enemy's service. 



The two contracting parties mutually grant permission 
to maintain in their respective ports, consuls, vice consuls, 
agents, and commissaries, whose functions shall be regula- 
ted by a particular convention, whenever either party may 
be pleased to establish it. 


The present treaty shall be ratified on both sides, and 
the ratifications shall be exchanged in the space of eight 
months, or sooner if possible, reckoning from the date of 
the signature. 


Her Most Faithful Majesty, the Queen of Portugal and 
Algarva, and the United States of North America, agree 
that the present treaty shall be in full force, reckoning 
from the date of its ratification, and the two contracting 
parties reciprocally promise to observe it exactly. 



The Apostolical Nuncio has the honor to send Mr 
Franklin the enclosed note, which he requests he will 
be pleased to forward to the Congress of the United 
States of North America, and support it with his credit. 

July 28th, 1783. 


Before the revolution, which has just been completed in 
North America, the Catholics and missionaries of those 


provinces depended, as to their spiritual concerns, on the 
Apostolical Vicar, resident in London. It is well known 
that ti)is arrangement can no longer exist ; but as it is es- 
sential that the Catholic subjects of the United States 
should have an ecclesiastic to govern them in their relig- 
ious concerns, the congregation de Propaganda Fide 
existing at Rome for the establishment and conservation of 
missions, has come to the determination of proposing to 
Congress to establish, in some city of the United States of 
North America, one of their Catholic subjects, with the 
powers of Apostolical Vicar, and in the character of 
Bishop, or simply in quality of Apostolical Prefect. 

The establishment of an Apostolical Vicar Bishop ap- 
pears the most eligible, the more so as the Catholic 
subjects of the United States would find diemselves in a 
situation to receive confirmation and orders in their own 
country, without being obliged to go for that purpose to 
the country of a foreign power. And as it might some- 
times happen, that among the subjects of the United 
States, there might be no person in a situation to be 
charged with the spiritual government, either as Bishop 
or Apostolical Prefect, it would be necessary, in such 
circumstances, that Congress should consent to choose 
him from among the subjects of a foreign nation the most 
friendly with the United States. 


Passy, August 16tli, 1783. 


I have the honor to inform your Excellency, tliar the 
English Ministry do not agree to any of the propositions 


that have been made, either by us or by their Minister 
here ; and they have sent over a plan for tlie definitive 
treaty, which consists merely of the preliminaries formerly 
signed, with a short introductory paragraph, and another at 
the conclusion, confirming and establishing the said prelim- 
inary articles. My colleagues seem inclined to sign this 
with Mr Hartley, and so to finish the aflair. 
I am, with respect. Sir, your Excellency's, &:c. 




Versailles, August 29tl), 1783. 

1 have informed the Count de Vergeunes of the 
difficulty, which Mr Hartley has made to signing at Ver- 
sailles, and this Minister has directed me to say, that noth- 
ing ought to prevent your signing at Paris on Wednesday 
next, the day proposed for the signature of the other 
treaties ; but I request you to fix the hour with Mr Hart- 
ley at nine o'clocU in the morning, and to send here an 
express immediately after your signature is completed. 

M. de Vergennes is desirous of being informed of the 
completion of your labors at the same time with his own. 
You receive for Wednesday a note of invitation, as well as 
for your colleagues and Mr Hartley ; I presume that the 
latter will make no difficulty. 

I have the honor to be, Sir, with perfect consideration, 
your most obedient humble servant, 




Passy, August 31st, 1783. 


After a continued course of treating for nine months, 

the English Ministry have at length come to a resolution to 

lay aside, for the present, all the new propositions, that 

have been made and agreed to, their own as well as ours ; 

and they offer to sign again as a Definitive Treaty, the 

articles of November the 30th, 1782, the ratifications of 

which have already been exchanged. We have agreed to 

this, and on Wednesday next, the third of September, it 

will be signed, with all the definitive treaties, establishing 

a general peace, which may God long continue. 

I am, with great respect. Sec. 



Passy, September 6tli, 1783. 

My Dear Friend, 
Enclosed is my letter to Mr Fox. 1 beg you would 
assure him, that my expressions of esteem for him are not 
mere professions. I really think him a great man, and I 
would not think so if I did not believe he was at bottom, 
and would prove himself a good one. Guard him against 
mistaken notions of the American people. You have de- 
ceived yourselves too long with vain expectations of reap- 
ing advantage from our little discontents. We are more 
thoroughly an enlightened people, with respect to our po- 
litical interests, than perhaps any other under Heaven. 
Every man among us reads, and is so easy in his circum- 
VOL. iv. 21 


Stances as to have leisure for conversations of improve- 
ment, and for acquiring information. Our domestic mis- 
understandings, when we have them, are of small extent, 
though monstrously magnified by your microscopic news- 
papers. He who judges from them, that we are on the 
point of falling into anarchy, or returning to the obedience 
of Britain, is like one who being shown some spots in the 
sun should fancy, that the whole disk would soon be over- 
spread with them, and that there would be an end of day- 
light. The great body of intelligence among our people, 
surrounds and overpowers our petty dissensions, as the 
sun's great mass of fire diminishes and destroys his spots. 
Do not, therefore, any longer delay the evacuation of New 
York, in the vain hope of a new revolution in your favor, 
if such a hope has indeed had any effect in occasioning 
the delay. It is now nine months since the evacuations 
were promised. You expect with reason, that the people 
of New York should do your merchants justice in the pay- 
ment of their old debts ; consider the injustice you do 
them in keeping them so long out of their habitations, and 
out of their business, by which they might have been en- 
abled to make payment. There is no truth more clear to 
me than this, that the great interests of our two countries 
is a thorough reconciliation. Restraints on the l\-eedom of 
commerce and intercourse between us, can afTord no ad- 
vantage equivalent to the mischief they will do, by keeping 
up ill humor and promoting a total alienation. Let you 
and me, my dear friend, do our best towards advancing 
and securing that reconciliation. We can do nothing, 
that will in a dying hour afford us more solid satisfac- 

I wish you a prosperous journey, and a happy sight of 


your friends. Present my best respects to your good 
brother and sister, and believe ine ever, with sincere and 
great esteem, yours affectionately, 



Passv, September iutii, 1783. 


I have received a letter iVom a very respectable person 
in America, containing the following words, viz. 

"It is confidently reported, propagated, and believed by 
some among us, that the Court of France was at the bot- 
tom against our obtaining the fishery and territory in that 
great extent, in which both are secured to us by the 
treaty ; that our Minister at that Court favored, or did not 
oppose this design against us, and that it v/as entirely owing 
to the firmness, sagacity, and disinterestedness of Mr 
Adams, with whom Mr Jay united, that we have obtained 
these important advantages." 

It is not my purpose to dispute any share of the honor 
of that treaty, which the friends of my colleagues may be 
disposed to give them, but having now spent fifty years of 
my life in public offices and trusts, and having still one 
ambition left, that of carrying the character of fidelity at 
least to the grave with me, I cannot allow that I was be- 
hind any of them in zeal and faithfulness. I therefore 
think, that I ought not to suffer an accusation, which falls 
little short of treason to my country, to pass without notice, 
when the means of effectual vindication are at hand. 
You, Sir, were a witness of my conduct" in that afiiiir. To 
you and n)y other colleagues I appeal, by sending to each 


a similar letter with this, and 1 have no doubt of your 
readiness to do a brother Commissioner justice, by cer- 
tificates, that will entirely destroy the effect of that accu- 

I have the honor to be, with much esteem, &ic. 



Passy, September 11th, 1783. 

I have been favored with your letter of yesterday, and 
will answer it explicitly. I have no reason whatever to 
believe, that you were averse to our obtaining the full ex- 
tent of boundary and fishery secured to us by the treaty. 
Your conduct respecting them throughout the negotiation 
indicated a strong, a steady attachment to both those 
objects, and in my opinion promoted the attainment of 

I remember, that in a conversation, which M. de Ray- 
neval, the first Secretary of Count de Vergennes, had 
with you and me, in the summer of 1782, you contended 
for our full right to the fishery, and argued it on various 

Your letters to me, when in Spain, considered our ter- 
ritory as extending to the Mississippi, and expressed your 
opinion against ceding the navigation of that river, in very 
strong and pointed terms. 

In short. Sir, I do not recollect the least difference in 
sentiment between us respecting the boundaries or fisheries. 
On the contrary, we were unanimous and united in ad- 
hering to, and insisting on them. Nor did I perceive the 


least disposition in eitlier of us to recede from our claims, 
or be satisfied with less than we obtained. 

I have the honor to be, with great respect and esteem, 




Paris, September ISth, 1783. 


I have received the" letter, which you did me the honor 
to write me on the 10th of this month, in which you say 
you have received a letter from a very respectable person 
in America, containing the following words, viz. "Jt is 
confidently reported, propagated, and believed by some 
among us, that the Court of France was at the bot- 
tom against our obtaining the fishery and territory in 
that great extent, in which both are secured to us by the 
treaty ; that our Minister at that Court favored, or did 
not oppose this design against us, and that it was entirely 
owing to the firmness, sagacity, and disinterestedness of 
Mr Adams, with whom Mr Jay united, that we have ob- 
tained those important advantages." 

It is unnecessary for me to say anything upon this sub- 
ject, more than to quote the words which I wrote in the 
evening of the 30th of November, 1782, and which have 
been received and read in Congress, viz ; "As soon as I 
arrived in Paris, I waited on Mr Jay, and learned from 
him the rise and progress of the negotiation. Nothing that 
has happened, since the beginning of the controversy in 
1761, has ever struck me more forcibly or affected me 

* See other letters from Mr Jav respecting Dr Franklin, above, pp. 


more intimately, than thai entire coincidence of principles 
and opinion between bim and nie. In about three days 
I went out to Passy, and spent the evening with Dr Frank- 
lin, and entered largely into conversation with him upon 
the course and present slate of our foreign affairs. I told 
him my opinion without reserve of the policy of this 
Court, and of the principles, wisdom, and firmness with 
which Mr Jay had conducted the negotiation in his sick- 
ness and' my absence, and that I was determined to sup- 
port Mr Jay to the utmost of my power in pursuit of the 
same system. The Doctor heard me patiently and said 

"^he fast conference we had afterwards with Mr Os- 
wald in considering one point and another, Dr Franklin 
turned to Mr Jay and said, 'I am of your opinion, and 
will go on with these gentlemen without consulting this 
Court.' He has accordingly met us in most of our con- 
ferences, and has gone on with us in entire harmony and 
unanimity throughout, and has been able and useful, both 
by his sagacity and reputation, in the whole negotiation."* 
I have the honor to be, very respectfully. Sir, 



Passy, September 13th, 1783. 

1 received a few days since, the private letter your Ex- 
cellency did me the honor of writing to me of the loth of 

* For further inforination on this subject, and particularly for an 
account of the part taken by Dr Franklin in the negotiation before lie 
vas joined by Mr Jay and Mr Adams, see the North American Review 
for January, 1830, p. 15 ct seqq. 


'June. I regret with you the resignation of the late Secre- 
tary. Your present cares are increased by it, and it will 
be difficult to find a successor of equal abilities. 

We found no difficulty in decyphering the resolution of 
Con°-ress. The Commissioners have taken no notice of it 
in our public letter. 

I am happy to hear that both the- device and workman- 
ship of the medal are approved with you, as they have the 
o-ood fortune to be by the best judges on this side of the 
water. It has been esteemed a well-timed, as well as a 
well-merited compliment here, and has its good effects. 
Since the two first, which you mention as received, I have 
sent by different opportunities so many, as that every mem- 
ber of Congress might have one. I hope they are come 
safe to hand by this time. 

1 wrote a long letter to Mr Livingston by Mr Barney, to 
w^hich I beg leave to refer, enclosing a copy. 

We had, before signing the definitive treaty, received 
the ratification of the preliminary articles by his Britannic 
Majesty, exchanged with us by Mr Hartley for that of the 
Congress. I send herewith a copy of the first and last 

In a former letter I mentioned the volunteer proceedings 
of a merchant at Alicant, towards obtaining a treaty be- 
tween us and the Emperor of Morocco. We have since 
received a letter from a person who says, as you will see 
by the copy enclosed, that he is sent by the Emperor to 
be the bearer of his answer to the United States, and that 
he is arrived in Spain on his way to Paris. He has not 
yet appeared here, and we hardly know what answer to 
give him. I hope the sending a Minister to that Court, 
as recommended in mv last, has been taken into consider- 


ation, 01- at least that some instructions respecting that 
nation have been sent to your Minister in Spain, who is 
better situated than we are for such a negotiation.* 

The Minister from Denmark often speaks to me about 
the proposed treaty, of which a copy went by Mr Barney. 
No commission to sign it, nor any instructions from Con- 
gress relating to it are yet arrived ; and though pressed, I 
have not ventured to do anything further in the affair. 

1 forward herewith a letter to the Congress from the 
city of Hamburg. f I understand that a good disposition 
towards us prevails there, which it may be well to en- 

No answer has yet been given me from the Court of 
Portugal, respecting the plan of a treaty concerted between 
its Ambassador here and me. He has been unwell and 
much in the country, so that I have not seen him lately. 
I suspect that the false or exaggerated reports of the dis- 
tracted situation of our government, industriously propa- 
gated throughout Europe by our enemies, have made an 
impression in that kingdom to our disadvantage, and in- 
clined them to hesitate in forming a connexion with us. 
Questions asked me, and observations made by several of 
the foreign Ministers here, convince me that the idle 
stories of our disunion, contempt of authority, refusal to 
pay taxes, &c. have been too much credited, and been 
very injurious to our reputation. 

I sent before a copy of the letter 1 wrote to the Grand 
Master of Malta, with a present of our medal. With this 
you will have a copy of his answer. J I send also a copy 
of a note I received from the Pope's Nuncio.^ He is 

« See p. 135 of this volmiic. + See p. 88. t p. 112. § p. 158. 


very civil on all occasions, and has mentioned the possibil- 
ity of an advantageous trade America might have with the 
Ecclesiastical State, which he says has two good ports, 
Civita Vecchia, and . 

This Court continues favorable to us. Count de Ver- 
gennes was resolute in refusing to sign the definitive 
treaty with England before ours 'was signed. The Eng- 
lish Ministers were offended, but complied. I am con- 
vinced that Court will never cease endeavoring to disunite 
us. We shall, I hope, be constantly on our guard against 
those machinations, for our safety consists in a steady 
adherence to our friends, and our reputation in a faithful 
regard to treaties, and in a grateful conduct towards our 
benefactors. ■^ 

I send herewith sundry memorials recommended to my 
care by Count de Vergennes, viz. one respecting a claim 
of Messieurs Fosters, of Bordeaux, one of M. Pequet, 
and one of M. Bayard. The Congress will take such 
notice of them as they shall think proper. 

With great esteem and respect, I have the honor to 

be. he. 



Passy, September 14th, 1783. 

I received by the Washington the bills and accounts 

mentioned in yours of the 5th of June, and shall soon send 

you an account of the disposition of the money. 

" Mr Morris was a Secretary in the Department of Foreign Afiairs. 

VOL. IV. 22 


My account as stated by you appears to be correct. 
With much esteem, I have the lionor to be, &ic. 



Bath, September 24lh, 1783. 

My Dear Friendj 
I am at present at Batli, with ray dearest sister, whom I 
have found as well as I could have expected, and I hope 
with reasonable prospect of recovery in time. I have seen 
my friends in the ministry, and hope things will go on well ; 
with them I am sure all is right and firm. The chief part 
of the Cabinet Ministers are out of town, but there will be a 
full cabinet held in a few days, in which a specific propo- 
sition, in the nature of a temporary convention, will be given 
in instructions to me. I imagine nearly upon the ground of 
my memorial of May 19th, 1783, which I delivered to the 
American Ministers, viz. "American ships not to bring for- 
eign manufactures into Great Britain, nor to trade directly 
between the Briti^i West Indies and Great Britain ;" all the 
rest to be as before the war. I expect that something to this 
effect will be their determination in the affair, and if it should 
be so, 1 shall hope not to meet with difficulty on your parts. 
1 want to see some specific beginning. As to any further 
proposition respecting the trade between Great Britain and 
the BriUsh West Indies, I doubt whether any such can be 
discussed before the meeting of Parliament. I wish to 
look forward not only to the continuation of peace between 
our two countries, but to the improvement of reconciliation 
into alliance, and therefore 1 wish the two parties to be dis- 
posed to accommodate each other, without the strict ac- 
count by weights and scales, as between aliens and stran- 


gers, actuated towards each other by no other principle 
than cold and equalizing indifference. Friendly disposi- 
tions presumed have their fairest chance of being realized, 
but if we should set out presuming against them, the good 
which might have happened may be prevented. Pray re- 
member me to your three colleagues, and to all friends. 

Yours, ever most affectionately. 


P. S. I have put in a word for our Quaker article, and 
I hope with some impression. 


Passy, September 27tli, 1783. 


Mr Thaxter, late Secretary of Mr Adams, who is charg- 
ed with all our despatches, that were intended to go by the 
French packet boat, writes from L'Orient, tiiat though he 
arrived there two days before the time appointed for her 
sailing, he missed reaching her by four hours ; but another 
light vessel was fitting, and v/ould sail the 21st instant, in 
which he hoped to arrive at New York, nearly as soon as 
the j>acket. We shall send duplicates by the next from 

In the meantime I enclose a printed copy of the Defini- 
tive Treaty, which I hear is ratified. Indeed we have the 
ratification of the preliminaries. 

Mr Hartley, wiien he left us, expected to return in three 
weeks, in order to proceed with us in forming a treaty ojf 
commerce. The new commission, that was intended for 
us, is not yet come to hand. 

With great respect, I have the honor lo be, Sir, ficc. 




Pnssv, October 16tb, 1783. 

My Dear Friend, 

1 have nothing material to write to you respecting public 
aifairs, but I cannot let Mr Adams, who will see you, go 
without a line to inquire after your welfare, to inform you 
of mine, and assure you of my constant respect and attach- 

I think with you, that your Quaker article is a good one, 
and that men will in time have sense enough to adopt it, 
but I fear that time is not yet come. 

What would you think of a proposition, if I should make 
it, of a compact between England, France, and America ^ 
America would be as happy as the Sabine girls, if she 
could be the means of uniting in perpetual peace her father 
and her husband. What repeated follies are those re- 
peated wars ! You do not want to conquer and govern 
one another. Why then should you be continually em- 
ployed in injuring and destroying one another ? How many 
excellent things might have been done to promote the 
internal welfare of each country ; what bridges, roads, 
canals, and other useful public works and institutions, tend- 
ing to the common felicity, might have been made and 
established with the money and men foolishly spent, durin'' 
the last seven centuries by our mad wars in doing one 
another mischief ! You are near neighbors and each have 
very respectable qualities. Learn to be quiet and to res- 
pect each other's rights. You are all christians. One is 
The Most Christian King, and the other Defender of the 
Faith. Manifest the propriety of these titles by your future 
conduct. "By this," says Christ, "shall all men know that 


ye are my disciples, if ye love one another." Seek peace, 

and insure it. 

Adieu, yours, &c. 



Passy, October 22d, 1783. 

I received my dear friend's kind letter of the 4th instant 
from Bath, with your proposed temporary convention, which 
you desire me to show to my colleagues. They are both 
by this time in London, where you will undoubtedly see and 
converse with them on the subject. The apprehension 
you mention, that the cement of the confederation may be 
annihilated, &,c. has not, I think, any foundation. There 
is sense enough in America to take care of iheir own china 
vase. I see much in your papers about our divisions and 
distractions, but I hear little of them from America ; and 
T know that most of the letters, said to come from there 
with such accounts, are mere London fictions. I will con- 
sider attentively the proposition abovementioned, against the 
return of my colleagues, when I hope our commission will 
have arrived. 

I rejoice to hear that your dear sister's recovery ad- 
vances, and that your brother is well. Please to present 
my affectionate respects to them, and believe me ever 

yours, &1C. 



Passy, November 1st, 1783. 

Enclosed is a copy of my last, which went by the Eng- 


lisli packet. I heard after 1 wrote it, that lljc Frencli 
packet putting back by contrary winds, Mr Thaxter had an 
opportunity of getting on hoard her, and that she sailed 
the 26th of September. 

The mentioned new conunission is not yet come to hand. 
Mr Hartley is not returned, and I hear will stay for the 
meeting of Parliament, which is .to be the 11th instant, and 
he will not come hither till the recess for the Christmas 
holidays. Mr Jay went to England about three weeks 
since on some personal affairs ; and Mr Adams followed 
last week to see that country, and take some exercise dur- 
ing this vacancy of business. 

This Court is now at FontainbleaUj but will return to 
Versailles in a few days. Its good disposition towards us 
continues. The late failure of payment in the Caisse 
d'Escompte, an institution similar to the Bank of England, 
occasioned partly by its having gone loo far in assisting the 
government with money, and the inability of the govern- 
ment to support their credit, though extremely desirous of 
doing it, is a fresh proof that our not obtaining a further 
loan was not occasioned by want of good will to assist us, 
as some have unjustly supposed, but by a real want of the 
means. Money is at present unaccountably scarce here ; 
what is arrived and expected in Spain since the peace it 
is thought will set things right. The government has pro- 
posed a second lottery for this year, by which they bor- 
row twentyfour millions, and it is filled readily. This 
helps, and the Caisse d'Escompte goes on again with its 
operations, but it is said the interest paid by the lottery j)lan 
is nearly seven per cent. 

I have received the duplicates of your Excellency's let- 
ter, of the 15th of July, to the Commissioners, which is 


very satisfactory, though it came to hand but lately. The 
first sent, via New York, has not yet appeared. I have 
sent copies of it to the Hague and Madrid. The sub- 
stance is published in several papers. 

I have acquainted the Minister of Sweden, that I have 
received the ratification of the treaty, and he has written 
to me that he shall be in town in a few days, when he will 
make the exchange. The conclusion of the Danish treaty 
waits only for the commission and instructions from Con- 
gress. The Ambassador of Portugal informed me lately, 
that his Court had our proposed plan under consideration, 
and that we should soon hear from them. I sent it to 
Congress by Barney, and hear the shij) is arrived. A 
commission and instructions will be wanting for that also, 
should the Congress be disposed to conclude a treaty with 
that nation. 

I see by the public prints, that the Congress have ratified 
the contract I made with the Minister here, respecting the 
loans and aids we had received, but the ratification itself, 
though directed to be sent me, has never come to hand, 
and I am ofteti asked for it. I beg it may be forwarded by 
the first opportunity. 

There has been with me lately M. Pierre du Calvet, a 
merchant of Montreal, who, when our army was in Canada, 
furnished our generals and officers with many things they 
wanted, taking their receipts and promissory notes for pay- 
ment ; and when the English repossessed the country, he 
was imprisoned, and his estate seized, on account of the 
services he had rendered us. He has shown me the orig- 
inals of his papers, which I think are genuine. He pro- 
duced also a quantity of Congress paper, vvliirh he says 
he receivefl in payment for some of the supplies, and which 


appeared to me of our first emissions, and yet all fresh and 
clean, as having passed through no other hands. When 
he was discharged from prison, he could not ohtain per- 
mission to go into the United States to claim the debt, but 
was allowed to go to England ; and from thence he came 
hither to solicit payment from me. Having no authority to 
meddle with such debts, and the sum being considerable, I 
refused, and advised liim to take passage for America, and 
make his application to Congress. He said he was grown 
old, much broken and weakened by near three years' im- 
prisonment, and that the voyage from Canada to London 
had like to have been too much for him, he being sick all 
the way; so that he could not think of another, though dis- 
tressed for want of his money. He appears an honest 
man, and his case a hard one. I have therefore under- 
taken to forward his papers, and I beg leave to recommend 
them to the speedy consideration of Congress, to whom I 
request you would be pleased to present my dutiful re- 
spects, and assure them of my most faithful services. 
With great esteem and regard, &z;c. 



Cadiz, November 25tli, 1783. 

On the 15th of July last, I had the honor to acquaint 
your Excellency of my arrival in Europe, and that I was 
appointed by his Majesty, the Emperor of Morocco, bearer 
of the answer to the Congress, Sovereign of the Thirteen 
United States of North America, and that according to my 
instructions, I was to meet at Paris the Ambassador, that 


would be appointed by the Congress, to sign at the Court 
of Morocco the treaty of peace and commerce, agreeably 
to the proposals made to his Imperial Majesty, by Robert 
Montgomery, in his letter dated at Alicant, the 4th of 
January, 1783. Since I have been at the Court of Madrid, 
where I had some commissions from the Emperor, and to 
see the execution of them, I came to this place, from 
whence I intend to embark in three or four months for 
Barbary, unless in the meantime I should receive an an- 
swer from your Excellency, with orders, that Mr Richard 
Harrison should give me for my travelling charges fifteen 
hundred hard dollars, although the Courts of Europe are 
accustomed to allow the Ministers of my master at the rate 
of ten pounds sterling per day, while they are in Europe, 
to defray their expenses, besides presents for their good 
offices in those important affairs. 

His Imperial Majesty was graciously pleased at my so- 
licitation to agree at the request of Congress, to grant them 
a treaty of peace, (which other powers in Europe could not 
obtain but after many years) and my return, without the 
full execution of his commands, I apprehend may forever 
indispose him against the United Provinces. 
I remain most truly. Sir, he. 



Passy, December loth, 1783. 

My Dear Friend, 
1 am much concerned to find by your letter to my 
grandson, that you are hurt by my long silence, and that 
you ascribe it to a supposed diminution of my friendship. 
VOL. IV. 23 


Believe me, that is by no means the case, but I am too 
mucli harassed by a variety of correspondence, together 
with gout and gravel, which induce me to postpone doing 
what I often fully intend to do, and particularly writing, 
where the urgent necessity of business does not seera to 
require its being done immediately, my sitting too much 
at the desk having already almost killed me, besides, since 
Mr Jay's residence here, I imagined he might keep you 
fully informed of what was material for you to know, and 
I beg you to be assured of my constant and sincere es- 
teem and affection. 

I do not know whether you have been informed, that a 
Mr Montgomery, who lives at Alicant, took upon himself, 
(for I think he had no authority,) to make overtures last 
winter in behalf of our States, towards a treaty with the 
Emperor of Morocco. In consequence of his proceed- 
ings I received a letter in August, from a person who ac- 
quainted me, that he was arrived in Spain by the Emperor's 
order, and was to come to Paris, there to receive and 
conduct to Morocco the Minister of Congress appointed to 
make that treaty, intimating at the same time an expecta- 
tion of money to defray his expenses. I communicated 
the letter to Mr Jay. The conduct of Mr Montgomery 
appeared to us very extraordinary and irregular, and the 
idea of a messenger from Morocco coming to Paris to 
meet and conduct a Minister of Congress appearing absurd 
and extravagant, as well as the demand of money by a 
person unknown, I made no answer to the letter, and I 
know not whether Mr Jay made any to Mr Montgomery, 
who wrote about the same time. But I have lately re- 
ceived another letter from the same person, a copy of 
which I enclose, together with my answer open for your 


perusal, and it is submitted to your discretion whether to 
forward it or not. The Mr Crocco, who writes to me, 
having been, as he says, at Madrid, you possibly may 
know more of him than 1 can, and judge whether he is 
really a person in credit with the Emperor, and sent as he 
pretends to be, or not rather an Escroc, as the French call 
cheats and impostors. 

I would not be wanting in anything proper for me to do 
towards keeping that Prince in good humor with us, till 
the pleasure of Congress is known, and therefore would 
answer Mr Crocco if he be in his employ ; but am loth 
to commit myself in correspondence with a Fripon. It 
will be strange if, being at Madrid, he did not address 
himself to you. 

With great and unalterable regard, I am ever, my dear 
friend, yours most aftectionately, 



Passy, December loth, 1783. 

I have just recei^^ed the letter you did me the honor of 
writing to me the 25th past. I did indeed receive your 
former letter of July, but being totally a stranger to the 
mentioned proceedings of Mr Montgomery, and having no 
orders from Congress on the subject, I knew not how to 
give you any satisfactory answer, till I should receive fur- 
ther information ; and I communicated your letter to Mr 
Jay, Minister of the United States for Spain, in whose dis- 
trict Mr Montgomery is, and who is more at hand than I 
am for commencing that negotiation. 


Mr Jay, who is at present in England, has possibly writ- 
ten to yon, though his letter may have miscarried, to ac- 
quaint you, that Mr Montgomery had probably no author- 
ity from Congress to take the step he has done, and that 
it was not likely that they, desiring to make a treaty with 
the Emperor, would think of putting his Majesty to the 
trouble of sending a person to Paris to receive and conduct 
their Minister, since they have ships, and could easily land 
him at Cadiz, or present him at one of the Emperor's 
ports. We have, however, written to Congress, acquaint- 
ing them with what we had been informed, of the good 
and favorable disposition of his Imperial Majesty, to enter 
into a treaty of amity and commerce with the United 
States, and we have no doubt but that, as soon as their 
affairs are a little settled, which, by so severe a war car- 
ried on in the bowels of their country, by one of the most 
powerful nations of Europe, have necessarily been much 
deranged, they will readily manifest equally good disposi- 
tions, and take all the proper steps to cultivate and secure 
the friendship of a monarch, whose character I know they 
have long esteemed and respected. 

I am. Sir, &ic. 



• -I Passy, December 25th, 1783. 

Not having heard of the appointment of a new Secre- 
tary for Foreign Affairs, I take the liberty of addressing 
this despatch directly to your Excellency. I received by 
Captain Barney a letter from the late President, directed 
to the Commissioners, dated November the 1st, with a set 


of instructions, dated the 29th of October, a resolution of 
the same date respecting Hamburg, and another of the 
1st of November, relating to Captain Paul Jones, all which 
will be duly regarded. 

Captain Jones, in passing through England, communi- 
cated these papers to Mr Adams then at London. Mr 
Adams, disappointed in not finding among ihem the com- 
mission we had been made to expect, empowering us to 
make a treaty of commerce with England, wrote to me, 
that he imagined it might be contained in a packet that 
was directed to me, and requested to be immediately in- 
formed, adding, that in case no such commission was come 
he should depart directly for HoFland ; so I suppose he is 
now there. Mr Laurens is gone to England, with an in- 
tention of embarking soon for America. Mr Jay is at 
Bath, but expected here daily. The English Ministers, 
the Duke of Manchester and Mr Hartley, are both at 
present in Parliament. As soon as either of them returns, 
we shall endeavor to obtain an additional article to the 
treaty, explaining that mentioned in the instructions. 

The affairs of Ireland are still unsettled. The Parlia- 
ment and volunteers are at variance ; the latter are uneasy, 
that in the late negotiations for a treaty of commerce be- 
tween England and America, the British Ministers had 
made no mention of Ireland, and they seem to desire a 
separate treaty of commerce between America and that 

It was certainly disagreeable to the English Ministers, 
that all their treaties for peace were carried on under the 
eye of the French Court. This began to appear towards 
the conclusion, when Mr Hartley refused going to Ver- 
sailles, to sign there with the other powers our definitive 


treaty, and insisted on its being done at Paris, which we 
in good humor complied with, but at an earlier hour, that 
we might have time to acquaint Count de Vergennes be- 
fore he was to sign with the Duke of Manchester. 

The Dutch definitive treaty was not then ready, and the 
British Court now insists on finishing it either at London 
or the Hague. If, therefore, the commission to us, which 
has been so long delayed, is still intended, perhaps it will 
be well to instruct us to treat either here or at London, 
as we may find most convenient. 

The treaty may be conducted, even there, in concert 
and in the confidence of communication with the Minis- 
ters of our friends, whose advice may be of use to us. 

With respect to the British Court, we should, I think, be 
constantly upon our guard, and impress strongly upon our 
minds, that though it has made peace with us, it is not in 
truth reconciled either to us, or to its loss of us, but still 
flatters itself with hopes, that some change in the affairs of 
Europe, or some disunion among ourselves, may afford 
them an opportunity of recovering their dominion, punish- 
ing those who have most offended, and securing our future 
dependence. It is easy to see by the general turn of the 
ministerial newspapers, (light things, indeed, as straws and 
feathers, but like them they show which way the wind 
blows) and by the malignant improvement their Ministers 
make, in all the foreign Courts, of every little accident or 
dissension among us, the riot of a few soldiers at Philadel- 
phia, the resolves of some town meetings, the reluctance to 
pay taxes. Sic. all which are exaggerated, to represent our 
government as so many anarchies, of which the people 
themselves are weary, and the Congress as having lost its 
influence, being no longer respected. I say it is easy to see 


from this conduct, that they bear us no e,ood will, and that 
they wish the reality of what they are pleased to imagine. 
They have, too, a numerous royal progeny to provide for, 
some of whom are educated in the military line. In these 
circumstances we cannot be too careful to preserve the 
friendships we have acquired abroad, and the union we 
have established at home, to secure our credit by a punc- 
tual discharge of our obligations of every kind, and our 
reputation by the wisdom of our councils ; since we know 
not how soon we may have a fresh occasion for friends, for 
credit, and for reputation. 

The extravagant misrepresentations of our political 
state in foreign countries, made it appear necessary to give 
them better information, which I thought could not be 
more effectually and authentically done, than by publishing 
a translation into French, now the most general language 
in Europe, of the Book of Constitutions, which had been 
printed by order of Congress. This I accordingly got 
well done, and presented two copies handsomely bound to 
every foreign Minister here, the one for himself, the other 
more elegant for his Sovereign. It has been well taken, 
and has afforded matter of surprise to many, who had con- 
ceived mean ideas of the state of civilization in America, and 
could not have expected so much political knowledge and 
sagacity had existed in our wilderness. And from all parts 
I have the satisfaction to hear, that our constitutions in 
general are much admired. I am persuaded, that this 
step will not only tend to promote the emigration to our 
country of substantial people from all parts of Europe, by 
the numerous copies I shall disperse, but will facilitate our 
future treaties with foreign Courts, who could not before 
know what kind of government and people they had to 


treat with. As, in doing this, I have endeavored to fur- 
ther the apparent views of Congress in the first publication, 
I hope it may be approved, and the expense allowed. I 
send herewith one of the copies. 

Our treaties with Denmark and Portugal remain unfin- 
ished, for want of instructions respecting them from Con- 
gress, and a commission empowering some Minister or 
Ministers to conclude them. The Emperor of Morocco, 
we understand, has expressed a disposition to make a 
treaty of amity and commerce with the United States. A 
Mr Montgomery, who is a merchant settled at Alicant, has 
been, it seems, rather forward in proposing a negotiation, 
without authority for so doing, and has embarrassed us a 
litde, as may be seen by some letters I enclose.* Per- 
haps it would be well for the Congress to send a message 
to that Prince, expressing their respect and regard for him, 
till such time as they may judge it convenient to appoint 
an Ambassador in form, furnished with proper presents to 
make a treaty with him. The other Barbary States, too, 
seem to require consideration, if we propose to carry on 
any trade in the Mediterranean, but whether the security 
of that trade is of sufficient importance to be worth pur- 
chasing, at the rate of the tributes usually exacted by those 
piratical States, is a matter of doubt, on which I cannot at 
present form a judgment. 

I shall immediately proceed, in pursuance of the first 
instruction, to take the proper steps for acquainting his Im- 
perial Majesty of Germany with the dispositions of Con- 
gress, having some reason to believe the overture may be 
acceptable. His Minister here is of late extremely civil 

* The letters from G. F. Crocco, see pp. 135 and 176. 


to me, and we are on very good terms. I have likewise 
an intimate friend at that Court. 

With respect to other powers, it seems best not to make 
advances at present, but to meet and encourage them when 
made, which I shall not fail to do, as I have already done 
those of Sweden, Denmark, and Portugal. Possibly 
Hamburg, to whom 1 have forwarded the letter of Con- 
gress, may send a Minister to America if they wish for a 
treaty to conclude it there. They have no Minister here. 
I have lately received a memorial from the Minister of 
Denmark, respecting a ship of that nation, the Providentia, 
taken by one of our privateers and carried into Boston. I 
enclose a copy of it, and request to be furnished with 
■directions and informations for the answer. It may be 
well to send me a copy of the proceedings in the Courts. 
From a perusal of the papers communicated with it, I am 
satisfied that the cargo was clearly British property. 

We have hitherto entered into no engagements respect- 
ing the armed neutrality, and, in obedience to the fifth in- 
struction, we shall take care to avoid them hereafter. The 
treaty between this Court and the United States for regu- 
lating the powers, privileges, &;c. of consuls, is at length 
completed, and is transcribing in order to be signed. I 
hope to transmit a copy by the next packet. I have re- 
ceived the Congress ratification of the two money treaties, 
which will be soon exchanged, when I ^all send copies of 
them with that of Sweden. 

I have given, and shall continue to give. Captain Paul 

Jones all the assistance in my power, towards recovering 

the prize money ; and I hope it may soon be accomplished. 

When Mr Jay retm-ns, I shall desire him to make the 

inquiry directed in the fourth instruction, respecting the 

VOL. IV. 24 


expedition under that Commodore, and report thereon to 
Congress. In the meantime I can answer respecting one 
of the questions, that the King paid the whole expense, 
and that no part of it has ever been placed to the account 
of Congress. There exists indeed a demand of one 
Puchelberg, a person in the employ of M. Schweighauser, 
of about thirty thousand livres, for provisions and other 
things furnished to Captain Landais, after he took the Al- 
liance out of the hands of Captain Jones ; but as the siiip 
was at that time under the King's supply, who having bor- 
rowed her for the expedition when fitted for sea, and just 
ready to sail with Mr Adams, had ordered her to be deliv- 
ered in the same condition, free of all charges accrued, or 
accruing, by her being in Holland and in li' Orient, and as 
M. Puchelberg had not only no orders from me to furnish 
Captain Landais, but acted contrary to my orders given 
to M. Schweighauser, and contrary to the orders of M. 
Schweighauser himself, I refused to pay his account, which 
besides appeared extravagant, and it has never yet been 

I shall do my best in executing the third instruction, re- 
specting our claim upon Denmark. I have written to Lon- 
don to obtain if possible an account of the sums insured 
upon the ships delivered up, as such an account may be 
some guide in the valuation of the prizes. 

A Captain Williams, formerly in the British service, and 
employed upon the lakes, has given me a paper containing 
information of the state of the back country. As those 
informations may possibly be of some use, I send herewith 
the paper. Mr Carmichael has sent me the accounts of 
the money transactions at Madrid. As soon as Mr Jay re- 
turns they will be examined. 


Be pleased to present my dutiful respects to Congress, 

and assure them of my most faithful services. 

With great esteem and regard 1 have the honor to 

be, &.C. 



Passy, December 25tli, 1783. 
The remissness of our people in paying taxes is highly 
blameable, the unwillingness to pay them is still more so. 
I see in some resolutions of town meetings, a remonstrance 
against giving Congress a power to take, as they call it, the 
people's money out of their pockets, though only to pay the 
interest and principal of debts duly contracted. They 
seem to mistake the point. Money justly due from the peo- 
ple is their creditor's money, and no longer the money of 
the people, who if they withhold it should be compelled to 
pay by some law. All properly indeed, except the sav- 
age's temporary cabin, his bow, his matchuat, and other 
little acquisitions absolutely necessary for his subsistence, 
seems to me to be the creature of public convention. 
Hence the public has the right of regulating descents, and 
all other conveyances of property, and even of limiting the 
quantity and uses of it. All the property that is necessary 
to a man for the conservation of the individual, and the 
propagation of the species, is his natural right, which none 
can justly deprive him of; but all property superfluous to 
such purposes is the property of the public, who by their 
laws have created it, and who may therefore by other laws 
dispose of it whenever the welfare of the public shall desire 
such disposition. He that docs not like civil society on 


these terms, let him retire and live among the savages. 
He can have no right to the benefits of society, who will 
not pay his club towards the support of it. 

The Marquis de Lafayette, who loves to be employed 
in our affairs, and is often very useful, has lately had 
several conversations with the Ministers and persons con- 
cerned in forming new regulations, respecting the com- 
merce between our two countries, which are not yet 
concluded. I thought it therefore well to communicate 
to him a copy of your letter, which contains so many sen- 
sible and just observations on that subject. He will make 
a proper use of them, and perhaps they may have more 
weight, as appearing to come from a Frenchman, than they 
would have if it were known, that they were the observa- 
tions of an American. I perfectly agree with you in all 
the sentiments you have expressed on this occasion. 

I am sorry for the public's sake, that you are about to 
quit your office, but on personal considerations, I shall 
congratulate you ; for I cannot conceive of a more hap- 
py man, than he who having been long loaded with public 
cares finds himself relieved from them, and enjoying pri- 
vate repose in the bosom of his friends and family. 

With sincere regard and attachment, I am ever, dear 
Sir, yours, &c. 



Passy, December 26tli, 1783. 

If the Congress should think it fit to have a consul for 

the United States in London, and do not appoint one of our 

own countrymen to that office, I beg leave to mention the 

merits of Mr William Hodgson, a merchant of that city, 


who has always been a zealous friend of America, was a 
principal promoter of the subscription for the relief of 
American prisoners, and chairman of the committee for 
dispensing the money raised by that subscription. He also 
took the trouble of applying the monies I furnished him 
with, when the subscription was exhausted, and constantly 
assisted me in all the negotiations I had with the British 
Ministers, in their favor, wherein he generally succeeded, 
being a man of weight and credit, very active, and much 
esteemed for his probity and integrity. These his services, 
continued steadily during the whole war, seem to entitle 
him to the favorable notice of Congress, when any occa- 
sion offers of doing him service or pleasure. 
With great respect, I have the honor to be, he. 



London, March 2d, 1784. 

My Dear Friend, 
Will you be so good as to transmit the enclosed to Mr 
Jay ? I am sorry that we are going to lose him from this 
side of the Atlantic. If your American ratification should 
arrive speedily, 1 might hope to have the pleasure of see- 
ing him again before his departure. As soon as I hear 
from you of the arrival of your ratification I will imme- 
diately apply for the despatch of the British ratification. 
I wish very much to have the pleasure of conversing with 
you again. In hopes that that time may come soon, I 
have nothing further to say at present. Believe me always 
to be, what you have always known me to have been, a 
friend of general philanthropy, and particularly your ever 

most affectionate 




Passv, March 9tli, 1784 


I received a few days since a letter from Annapolis, 
dated June the 5th, in your hand writing, but not signed, 
acquainting the Commissioners with the causes of delay 
in sending the ratification of the Definitive Treaty. The 
term was expired before that letter came to hand, but 1 
hope no difficulty will arise from a failure in a point not 
essential, and which was occasioned by accidents. I have 
just received from Mr Hardey a letter on the subject, of 
which I enclose a copy. 

We have had a terrible winter, too, here, such as the 
oldest men do not remember, and indeed it has been very 
severe all over Europe. 

I have exchanged ratifications with the Ambassador of 
Sweden, and enclose a copy of that I received from him. 

Mr Jay is lately returned from England. Mr Laurens 
is still there, but proposes departing for America next 
month, as does also Mr Jay, with his family. Mr Adams 
is in Holland, where he has been detained by business and 
bad weather. These absences have occasioned some de- 
lays in our business, but not of much importance. 

The war long expected between the Turks and Rus- 
sians is prevented by a treaty, and it is thought an accom- 
modation will likewise take place between them and the 
Emperor. Everything here continues friendly and favor- 
able to the United States. I am pestered continually with 
numbers of letters from people in different parts of Europe, 
who would go to setde in America, but who manifest very 
extravagant expectations, such as I can by no means en- 
courage, and who appear otherwise to be very improper 


'persons. To save myself trouble, I have just printed 
some copies of the enclosed little piece, which I purpose 
to send hereafter in answer to such letters. 

Be pleased to present my dutiful respects to Congress, 
and believe me to be, with sincere esteem, dear Sir, &.c. 



Passy, May 12th, 1784. 


In my last I acquainted your Excellency, that Mr Hart- 
ley was soon expected here to exchange ratifications of the 
Definitive Treaty. He is now arrived, and proposes to 
make the exchange this afternoon. I shall then be ena- 
bled to send a copy. Enclosed is the new British Pro- 
clamation respecting our trade with their Colonies. Ft is 
said to be a temporary provision, till Parliament can as- 
semble and make some proper regulating law, or till a 
commercial treaty shall be framed and agreed to. Mr 
Hardey expects instructions for planning with us such a 
treaty. The Ministry are supposed to have been too busy 
with the new elections, when he left London, to think of 
those matters. 

This Court has not completed its intended new system 
for the trade of their Colonies, so that I cannot yet give a 
certain account of the advantages that will in fine be allow- 
ed us. At present it is said we are to have two free ports, 
Tobago and the Mole, and that we may carry lumber and 
all sorts of provisions to the rest, except flour, which is 
reserved in favor of Bordeaux, and that we shall be per- 
mitted to export coffee, rum, molasses, and some sugar, for 
our own consumption. 


We have had under consideration a commercial treaty- 
proposed to us by the King of Prussia, and have sent it 
back with dur remarks to Mr Adams, who will I suppose 
transmit it immediately to Congress. Those planned with 
Denmark and Portugal wait its determination. 

Be pleased to present my dutiful respects to the Con- 
gress, and believe me to be, with sincere and great es- 
teem, Sir, &1C. 


May I3th. I now enclose a copy of the ratification of 
the Definitive Treaty, on the part of his Britannic Majesty. 


Paris, June 1st, 1784. 


I have the honor to inform you, that I have transmitted 
to London the ratification on the part of Congress of the 
Definitive Treaty of peace, between Great Britain and the 
United States of America, and I am ordered to represent 
to you, that a want of form appears in the first paragraph 
of that instrument, wherein the United States are men- 
tioned before his Majesty, contrary to the established cus- 
tom in every treaty in which a crowned head and a repub- 
lic are parties. It is likewise to be observed, that the term 
definitive articles is used instead of definitive treaty, and 
the conclusion appears likewise deficient, as it is neither 
signed by the President, nor is it dated, and consequently, 
is wanting in some of the most essential points of form 
necessary towards authenticating the validity of the instru- 

I am ordered to propose to you. Sir, that these defects 


^in the ratification should be corrected, which might very 
easily be done, either by signing a declaration in the name 
of Congress for preventing the particular mode of expres- 
sion, so far as it relates to precedency in the first para- 
grapii, being considered as a precedent to be adopted on 
any future occasion, or else by having a new copy made 
out in America, in which these mistakes should be cor- 
rected, and which might be done without any prejudice 
arising to either of the parties from the delay. 

I am, Sir, with great respect and consideration, &ic. 



Passy, June 2d, 1784. 


I have considered the observations you did me the honor 
of communicating to me, concerning certain inaccuracies 
of expression, and supposed defects of formality, in the in- 
strument of ratification, some of which are said to be of 
such a nature as to affect the validity of the instrument. 

The first is, *'tl)at the United States are named before 
his Majesty, contrary to the established custom observed in 
every treaty in which a crowned head and a republic are 
the contracting parties." With respect to this, it seems to 
me we should distinguish between that act in which both 
join, to wit, the treaty, and that which is the act of each 
separately, the ratification. It is necessary, that all the 
modes of expression in the joint act should be agreed to 
by both parties, though in their separate acts each party is 
master of, and alone unaccountaLle for its own mode. 
And, on inspecting the treaty, it will be found that his 
vox*. IV. 25 


Majesty is always regularly named before the United 
States. Thus, "the established custom in treaties between 
crowned heads and republics," contended for on your part, 
is strictly observed ; and the ratification following the treaty 
contains these words. "Now know ye, that we, the 
United States in Congress assembled, having seen and 
considered the definitive articles aforesaid, have approved, 
ratified, and confirmed, and by these presents do approve, 
ratify, and confirm the said articles, and every part and 
CLAUSE THEREOF," &.C. Hereby all those articles, parts, 
and clauses, wherein the King is named before the United 
States, are approved, ratified, and confirmed, and this sol- 
emnly under the signature of the President of Congress, 
with the public seal affixed by their order, and counter- 
signed by their Secretary. 

No declaration on the subject more determinate or more 
authentic can possibly be made or given, which, when con- 
sidered, may probably induce his Majesty's Ministers to 
waive the proposition of our signing a similar declaration, 
or of sending back the ratification to be corrected in this 
point, neither appearing to be really necessary. I will, 
however, if it be still desired, transmit to Congress the ob- 
servation, and the difficulty occasioned by it, and request 
their orders upon it. In the meantime I may venture to 
say^ that I am confident there was no intention of affi-onting 
his Majesty by their order of nomination, but that it re- 
sulted merely from that sort of complaisance, which every 
nation seems to have for itself, and of that respect for its 
own government, customarily so expressed in its own acts, 
of which the English among the afibrd an instance, 
when in the title of the King they always name Great Bri- 
tain before France. 


The second objection is, "that the term definitive articles 
is used instead of definitive treaty.''^ If the words definitive 
treaty had been used in tlie ratification instead of definitive 
articles, it might have been more correct, though the dif- 
ference seems not great nor of much importance, as in the 
treaty itself it is called the present Definitive Treaty. 

The other objections are, "that the conclusion likewise 
appears deficient, as it is neither signed by the President, 
nor is it dated, and consequently is wanting in some of the 
most essential points of form necessary towards authenti- 
cating the validity of the instrument." The situation of 
seals and signatures, in public in^ruments, differs in differ- 
ent countries, though all equally valid ; for when all the 
parts of an instrument are connected by a ribband, whose 
ends are secured under the impression of the seal, the 
signature and seal wherever placed are understood as re- 
lating to and authenticating the whole. Our usage is, to 
place them both together in the broad margin near the 
beginning of the piece, and so they stand in the present 
ratification, the concluding words of which declare the 
intention of such signing and sealing to be giving authen- 
ticity to the whole instrument, viz. "//i testimony whereof, 
We have caused the seal of the United States to be here- 
unto affixed ; Witness his Excellency Thomas Mifflin, Es- 
quire, President;" and the date supposed to be omitted, 
perhaps from its not appearing in figures, is nevertheless 
to be found written in words at length, viz. "this fourteenth 
day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand 
seven hundred eightyfour," which made the figures unne- 

With great esteem and respect, I have the honor to be, 




Passy, June 16th, 1784. 


My letter by Mr Jny acquainted your Excellency, that 
the ratifications of the Definitive Treaty were exchanged. 
A copy of the British part was also sent by him. 

Mr Hartley remained here expecting instructions to 
treat with us on the subject of commerce. The bustle at- 
tending a new election and meeting of Parliament, he 
imagined might occasion the long delay of those instruc- 
tions. He now thinks that the affair of the American 
trade, being under the consideration of Parliament, it is 
probable no treaty will be proposed till the result is 
known. Mr Jay, who sailed for America the first instant 
from Dover, and who saw thsre several of our friends 
from London before his departure; and Mr Laurens who 
left London the 6th to go on in the Falmouth packet, 
will be able to give you more perfect informations than 
I can, of what may be expected as the determination of 
the British government respecting our intercourse with 
their Islands ; and, therefore, I omit my conjectures, only 
mentioning, that from various circumstances there seems 
to be some lurking remains of ill humor there, and of 
resentment against us, which only wants a favorable op- 
portunity to manifest itself. 

This makes it more necessary for us to be upon our 
guard, and prepared for events, that a change in the 
affairs of Europe may produce ; its tranquillity depending, 
perhaps, on the life of one man, and it being impossible 
to foresee in what situation a new arrangement of its 
various interests may place us. Ours will be respected in 


proportion to the apparent solidity of our government, the 
support of our credit, tlie maintenance of a good under- 
standing with our friends, and our readiness for defence. 
All wliich I persuade myself will be taken care of. 

Enclosed I send a copy of a letter from Mr Hartley to 
me, respecting some supposed defects in tlie ratification, 
together with my answer, which he has transmitted to 
London. The objections appeared to me trivial and 
absurd, but I thought it prudent to treat them with as 
much decency as I could, lest the ill temper should be 
augmented, which might be particularly inconvenient, while 
the commerce was under consideration. There has not 
3'et been time for Mr Hartley to hear whether n)y answer 
has been satisfactory, or whether the Ministers will still 
insist on my sending for an amended copy from America, 
as they proposed. 

I do not perceive the least diminution in the good dispo- 
sition of this Court towards us, and I hope care will be 
taken to preserve it. 

The Marquis de Lafayette, who will have the honor of 
delivering this to you, has, ever since his arrival in Eu- 
rope, been very industrious in his endeavors to serve us 
and promote our interests, and has been of great use on 
several occasions. I should wish the Congress might 
think fit to express in some proper manner their sense of 
his merit. 

My malady prevents my going to Versailles, as I can- 
not bear a carriage upon pavement, but my grandson goes 
regularly on Court days to supply my place, and is well 
received there. The last letters I have had the honor of 
receiving from you, are of the 14th of January. 
With great respect, I am. Sir, Stc. 




Convention between His Most Christian Majesty and 
the Thirteen United States of North America, for the pur- 
pose of determining and fixing the functions and preroga- 
tives of their respective consuls, vice consuls, agents, and 

His Majesty, The Most Christian King, and the Thirteen 
United States of North America, having, by the 29th 
article of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce concluded 
between them, mutually granted the liberty of having in 
their respective States and ports, consuls, vice consuls, 
agents, and commissaries, and being willing in conse- 
quence thereof, to determine and fix in a reciprocal and 
permanent manner the functions and prerogatives of the 
said consuls, vice consuls, agents, and commissaries, His 
Most Christian Majesty has nominated the Sieur Charles 
Gravier, Count of Vergennes, Baron of Welfording, &ic. 
Counsellor of the King in all his Councils, Commander of 
his Orders, Head of the Royal Council of Finances, Coun- 
sellor of the State of the Sword, Minister and Secretary of 
State, and of his Commands and Finances ; and the 
United States, Mr Benjamin Franklin, their Minister 
Plenipotentiary to His Most Christian Majesty, who, after 
having communicated to each other their respective full 
powers, agreed upon what follows. 


The consuls and vice consuls, nominated by His Most 
Christian Majesty and the United States, shall be bound to 
present their commissions on their arrival in their respec- 
tive States, according to the form which shall be there 


established. There shall be delivered to them without 
any charges the Exequatur necessary for the exercise of 
their functions ; and, on the exhibition they shall make of 
the said Exequatur, the governors, commanders, heads of 
justice, public bodies, tribunals, and other officers, having 
authority in the ports and places of their consulates, shall 
cause them to enjoy, as soon as possible, and without diffi- 
culty, the pre-eminences, authority, and privileges, recipro- 
cally granted, without exacting from said consuls and vice 
consuls, any duty under any pretext whatever. 


The respective consuls shall have power to establish 
vice consuls in the different ports and places of their de- 
partments, where necessity shall require. There shall be 
delivered to them likewise the Exequatur necessary to the 
exercise of their functions, in the form pointed out in the 
preceding article, and on the exhibition, which they shall 
make of the said Exequatur, they shall be admitted and 
acknowledged in the terms and according to the powers, 
authority, and privileges, stipulated by the 1st, 4th and 
5th articles of the present convention. 


The respective consuls and vice consuls may establish 
agents in the different ports and places of their depart- 
ments, where necessity shall require ; these agents may be 
chosen among the merchants, either national or foreign, 
and furnished with a commission from one of the said 
consuls. It shall be their business, respectively, to render 
to their respective merchants, navigators, and vessels, all 
possible service, and to inform the nearest consul or vice 
consul of the wants of the said merchants, navigators, and 


vessels, without the said agents otherwise participating in 
the immunities, rights, and privileges, attributed to the 
consuls and vice consuls, and without power to exact from 
the said merchants any duty or emolument whatever, 
under any pretext whatever. 


The consuls and vice consuls, officers of the consulate, 
and in general, all persons attached to the consular func- 
tions, shall enjoy respectively a full and entire immunity 
for their persons, their papers, and their houses. The list 
of the said persons shall be approved and inspected by the 
executive power of the place of their residence. 

They shall be exempt from all personal service and pub- 
lic offices, from soldier's billets, militia, watch guard, guar- 
dianship and trusteeship, as well as from all duties, taxes, 
impositions, and charges whatsoever, except the real estates 
of which they may be proprietors, which shall be subject 
to the taxes imposed on the estates of all other individuals. 

They shall place over the outward door of their house 
the arms of their sovereign, without this mark of distinction 
giving to the said house the right of asylum for any male- 
factor or criminal, so that in case it should happen that any 
maiefaclor or criminal take refuge there, he shall be in- 
stantly d(ilivered up on the first requisition, and without 


Generally, in all cases whatever, which concern the po- 
lice or administration of justice, where it may be necessary 
to have a juridical declaration from the said consuls and 
vice consuls respectively, the governors, commandants, 
chief justice, public bodies, tribunals, or other officers 


whatever of their respective residence there, having au- 
thority, shall be bound to inform them of it, by writing to 
them, or sending to them a military or civil officer to let 
them know, either the object which is proposed, or the 
necessity there is for going to them to demand from them 
this declaration, and the said consuls and vice consuls 
shall be bound on their part to comply faithfully with what 
shall be desired of them on these occasions. 


The consuls and vice consuls respectively may estab- 
lish a chancery, where shall be deposited the consular acts 
and deliberations, all effects left by deceased persons, or 
saved from shipwreck, as well as testaments, obligatiops, 
contracts, and, in general, all the acts and proceedings 
done between, or by, persons of their nations. 

They may, in consequence, appoint for the bminess of 
the said chancery capable persons, receive them, adminis- 
ter an oath to them, give to them the keeping of the seal, 
and the right of seal, commissions, judgments, and other 
acts of the consulate, as well as there to discharge the 
functions of notaries and registers. 


The consuls and vice consuls respectively shall have 
the exclusive right of receiving in their chancery, or on 
board of vessels, the declarations and all other acts, which 
the captains, masters, seamen, passengers, and merchants 
of their nation would make there, even their testaments and 
other dispositions of last will, and the copies of the said 
acts duly authenticated by the said consuls, or vice consuls, 
and under the seal of their consulate shall receive fiiiih in 
law in all the tribunals of France and the United States. 
VOL. IV. 26 


They shall have also, and exclusively, the right to inven- 
tory, liquidate, and proceed to the sale of the moveable 
effects of the estates left by subjects of iheir nation who 
shall die within the extent of the consulate. They shall 
proceed therein with the assistance of two merchants of 
their said nation, of their own choosing, and shall deposit 
in their chancery the effects and papers of the said estates, 
and no officer, military or civil, or of the police of the 
country, shall trouble them or interfere therein, in any 
manner whatsoever ; but the said consuls and vice con- 
suls shall not deliver up the same and their product to the 
lawful heirs, or their attornies, until they shall have dis- 
charged all the debts, which the deceased shall have con- 
tracted in the country, by judgment, by acts, or by notes, 
the writing and signing of which shall be known and certi- 
fied by two principal merchants of the nation of the said 
deceased, and in all other cases the payment of debts can- 
not be ordered but on the creditor's giving sufficient and 
local security to repay the sums unduly received, principal, 
interest, and costs, which securities, however, shall remain 
duly discharged after a year in time of peace, and two 
years in time of war, if the demand in discharge cannot be 
formed before these delays, against the heirs who shall 
present themselves. 


The respective consuls and vice consuls shall receive 
the declarations, '■'■consulats" and other consular acts from 
all captains and masters of their respective nations on ac- 
count of average losses sustained at sea by leakage, or 
throwing merchandises overboard, and those captains and 
masters shall leave in the chancery of the said consuls and 
vice consuls, the *'consulats," and other consular acts, 


whicli they may have had made in othei- ports on account 
of the accidents, that may have liappened to them on their 
voyage. If a subject of His Most Christian Majesty and 
a citizen of the United States are interested in the said 
cargo, the average shall be fixed by the tribunals of the 
country, and not by the consuls or vice consuls ; and 
the tribunals shall admit the acts and declarations, if any 
should have been passed before the said consuls and vice 
consuls ; but when only the subjects of their own nation, 
or foreigners, shall be interested, the respective consuls or 
vice consuls, and in case of their absence or distance, 
their agents furnished with their commission, shall officially 
nominate skilful persons of their said nation to regulate 
the damages and averages. 


In case, by storms or other accidents, French ships or 
vessels shall run ashore on the coasts of the United States, 
or the ships and vessels of the United States shall run 
ashore on the coasts of France, the consul 'or vice con- 
sul nearest to the place of shipwreck shall do whatever he 
may judge proper, as well for the purpose of saving the 
said ship or vessel, its cargo and appurtenances, as for the 
storing and security of the efiects and merchandise saved. 
He may take an inventory, without any ofticers military, of 
the custom house, justices, or the jjolice of the country 
interfering, otherwise than to facilitate to the consuls, vice 
consuls, capiain and crew of the vessel shipwrecked, or 
run ashore, all the assistance and favor, which they shall 
ask, either for the celerity and security of the salvage and 
effects saved, or to prevent all disturbances. 

To prevent even any kind of dispute and discussion in 


the said cases of shipwreck, it has been agreed that where 
no consul or vice consul shall be found to attend to the 
salvage, or that the residence of the said consul or vice 
consul, (he not being at the place of shipwreck) shall be 
further distant from the said place than that of the compe- 
tent territorial judge, the latter shall immediately there pro- 
ceed therein with all the celerity, safety, and precautions 
prescribed by the respective laws ; but the said territorial 
judge shall retire on the coming of the consul or vice con- 
sul, and shall resign to him the procedures by him done, 
the expenses of which the consul or vice consul shall cause 
to be reimbursed to him. 

The merchandise and effects saved shall be deposited 
in the custom house, or other nearest place of safety, with 
the inventory of them, which shall be made by the consul 
or vice consul, or in their absence by the judge who shall 
have had cognizance thereof, and the said merchandises and 
effects shall be afterwards delivered, after levying there- 
from the costs, and without form 'of process to the propri- 
etors, who being furnished with a replevy from the nearest 
consul or vice consul, shall reclaim them by themselves, 
or their attornies, either for the purpose of re-exporting 
the merchandises, and in that case they shall pay no kind 
of duties of exportation, or for the purpose of selling ihem 
in the country if they are not prohibited ; and in this latter 
case, the said merchandises being averaged, there shall be 
granted them an abatement of the entrance duties propor- 
tioned to the damages sustained, which shall be ascertained 
by the verbal process formed at the time of the shipwreck, 
or of the vessels running ashore. 


The consuls and vice consuls shall have, on board of the 
vessels of their respective nations, full power and jurisdic- 
tion in matters civil. They shall cause to be executed 
the respective laws, ordinances, and rules concerning navi- 
gation, on board the said vessels, and for this purpose, they 
shall go there without being interrupted by any officer or 
otlier person whatsoever. 

They may cause to be arrested every vessel carrying the 
flag of their respective nation. They may sequester 
them, and even send them back respectively, from the 
United States to France, or from France to the United 
States. They may cause to be arrested without difficulty, 
every captain, master, sailor, or passenger of their said re- 
spective nation. 

They may cause to be arrested or detained in the 
country the sailors and deserters of their respective nations, 
or send them back, or transport them out of the country. 

It shall be sufficient proof, that the sailors and deserters 
belong to one of the respective nations, that their names 
be written in the ships' registers, or inserted in the roll of 
the crew. 

One and the other of these proofs concerning sailors 
and deserters being thus given, no tribunals, judges, and 
officers whatsoever shall in any manner whatever take cog- 
nizance of the complaints, which the said sailors and de- 
serters may make, but they shall, on the contrary, be 
delivered up on an order signed by the consul, or vice 
consul, without its being in any one's power in any man- 
ner to detain, engage, or withdraw them. And to attain 
to the complete execution of the arrangements contained 
in this article, all persons having authority shall be boi::id 


to assist the said consuls or vice consuls, and, on a simple 
requisition signed by them, they shall cause to be detain- 
ed and guarded in prison at the disposal and expense of 
the said consuls and vice consuls the said sailors and de- 
serters, until they shall have an opportunity to send them 
out of the country. 


In cases where the respective subjects shall have com- 
mitted any crime, they shall be amenable to the judges of 
the country. 


All differences and suits between the subjects of His 
Most Christian Majesty settled in the United States, or be- 
tween the citizens and subjects of the United States set- 
tled in France, and all differences and suits concerning 
commerce between the subjects of His Most Christian 
Majesty, and one of the parties residing in France or else- 
where, and the other in the United States, or between the 
citizens and subjects of the United States, one of the 
parties residing in the United States, or elsewhere, and the 
other in Franco, shall be determined by the respective 
consuls, either by a reference to arbitration, or by a sum- 
mary judgment, and without costs. 

No officer, civil or military, shall interfere or take any 
part whatever in the affair. Appeals shall be carried be- 
fore the tribunals of France, or the United States, to whom 
it may appertain to take cognizance thereof. The consuls 
or vice consuls shall not take cognizance of disputes or 
differences, which shall arise betwixt a subject of His 
Most Christian Majesty and a citizen of the United States. 
But the said disputes shall be brought before the tribunals, 
to which the defendant shall be amenable. 



The general utility of commerce having caused to be 
established in France tribunals and particular forms to 
accelerate the decision of commercial affairs, the mer- 
chants of the United States shall enjoy the benefit of these 
establishments in France, and the Congress of the United 
States shall recommend to the Legislatures of the different 
States to provide equivalent advantages, in favor of the 
French merchants, for the prompt despatch and decision of 
affairs of the same nature. 


The subjects of His Most Christian Majesty and those 
of the United States, who shall prove that they belong to 
the body of the respective nations, by the certificate of the 
consul or vice consul of the district, mentioning their names, 
surnames, and place of their settlement, as inscribed in 
the register of the consulate, shall not lose, for any cause 
whatever in the respective domains and States, the quality 
of subjects of the country of which they originally were, 
conformably to the eleventh article of the treaty of amity 
and commerce, of the 6th of February, 1778, of which 
the present article shall serve as an interpretation in case 
of necessity, and the said subjects respectively shall enjoy 
in consequence exemption from all personal service in the 
place of their setdenient. 


If any other nation acquires, by virtue of any conven- 
tion whatever, either in Franco or in the United States, a 
treatment more favorable with respect to the consular pre- 
eminences, powers, authority, antl privileges, the consuls, 
vice consuls, and agents of I lis Most Christian Majesty, or 


the United States, reciprocally shall participate therein^ 
agreeably to the terms stipulated by the second, third, and 
fourth articles of the treaty of amity and commerce, con- 
cluded between His Most Christian Majesty and the United 



The ratification of the present convention shall be given 
in proper form and exchanged on both sides, within the 
space of six months, or sooner if possible. 

In faith whereof, we, the underwritten, Ministers Pleni- 
potentiaries of His Most Christian Majesty, and the United 
States of North America, have signed the present conven- 
tion, and have thereto affixed the seal of our arms. 

Done at Versailles, the 29th of July, one thousand seven 
hundred and cightyfour. 



Passv, July 30th, 1784. 

I have the honor to communicate to your Excellency 
an extract from the instructions of Congress to their late 
Commissioners for treating of peace, expressing their de- 
sire to cultivate the friendship of his Imperial Majesty, and 
to enter into a treaty of commerce for the mutual advan- 
tage of his subjects and the citizens of the United States, 
which I request you will be pleased to lay before his Maj- 
esty. The appointing and instructing Commissioners for 
treaties of commerce with the powers of Europe generally 
has, by various circumstances, been long delayed, but is 


now done, and I have just received advice, that Mr Jef- 
ferson, late Governor of Virginia, commissioned with Mr 
Adams, our Minister in Holland, and myself, for that ser- 
vice, is on his way hither, and may be expected by the 
end of August, when we shall be ready to enter into a 
treaty with his Imperial Majesty for the above purpose, if 
such should be his pleasure. 

With great and sincere respect, &ic. 




Pari*, July 30tl), 1784. 


I have received the letter you did me the honor to write 
to me this morning, and I shall lose no time to transmit 
the contents to my Court. 

The sentiments of the Emperor towards the United 
States of America make me foresee the satisfaction, which 
his Majesty will have to enter into reciprocal, suitable, and 
advantageous connexions with them. 1 have not the least 
doubt but that measures will be instantly taken on this 
subject to concert with you. Sir, and with the appointed 
Ministers Plenipotentiary, and as soon as the answer from 
my Court shall come, I shall instantly communicate it to 

I have the honor to be, k,c. 

VOL. IV. 27 




Versailles, August 27th, 1784. 

Ycu have communicated to me an extract from the in- 
structions, which Congress addressed to you on the llih of 
May last, which imports that the United States will in no 
case treat any other nation with respect to commerce more 
advantageously than the French. This disposition is 
much the wisest, as it will prevent those misunderstandings, 
which might arise from the equivocal terms in which the 
2d article of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce, signed 
February 6th, 1778, is conceived. But that the resolu- 
tion of Congress on this subject may be clearly stated, 
it would be best, Sir, that you furnish me with it in 
the form of a declaration, or at least in an official note, 
signed by yourself. I have no doubt that you will adopt 
one of these two forms. 

1 have the honor to be, Sec. 



Passy, September 3(1, 1784. 


I have the honor to transmit to your Excellency, by 
order of Congress, a resolution of theirs, dated the 11th of 
May last, which is in the words following, viz. 

^^Resohcd, That Doctor Franklin be instructed to ex- 
press to the Court of France, the constant desire of Con- 
gress to meet their wishes ; that these States are about to 


' form a general system of commerce, by treaties with other 
nations ; that, at this time, they cannot foresee what claim 
might be given to those nations by the explanatory propo- 
sitions from the Count de Vergennes, on the 2d and 3d 
articles of our Treaty of Amity and Commerce with His 
Most Christian Majesty, but that he may be assured it will 
be our constant care to place no people on more advan- 
tageous ground tlian the subjects of his Majesty." 
With great respect, I am, &ic. 




Versailles, September 9th, 17S4. 
Sir, . 

I have received the letter, which you did me the honor 
to write me the 3d instant. You there declare in the 
name of Congress, that the United States will be careful 
not to treat any other nation, in matters of commerce, 
more advantageously than the French nation. This 
declaration, founded on the treaty of the 6th of February, 
1778, has been very agreeable to the King; and you, Sir, 
can assure Congress, that the United States shall con- 
stantly experience a perfect reciprocity in France. 
I have the honor to be, very sincerely, Sir, &ic. 




Paris, September 2Sli), 17S4. 

With respect to tiie proposition of the United States of 
America, that 1 forwarded to my Court, concerning the 


arrangements of commerce to be adopted by the respec- 
tive dominions, I have received the order, Sir, which 1 
have the honor to communicate to you, that his Majesty, 
the Emperor, has agreed to the said proposition, and that 
he has directed the Government General of the Low Coun- 
tries to adopt measures to put it in execution. 

When the particulars respecting this matter shall be sent 
to me, I shall instantly communicate them. 

I avail myself of this opportunity to renew the assur- 
ances of the most perfect attachment, with which I have 
the honor to be, &:c. 



Pasiy, October 16th, 1784. 

Dear Sir, 

It was intended by the Commissioners to write a joint 
letter to Congress, but I am afraid the opportunity may be 
missed. This may serve to inform you, that propositions 
of treating have been made by us to all the powers of Eu- 
rope according to our instructions, and we are wailing for 
their answers. There are apprehensions here of a war 
between the Emperor and Holland, but, as the season is 
not proper for opening a campaign, I hope the winter will 
give time for mediators to accommodate matters. We 
have not yet heard that Mr Jay has accepted the Secre- 
taryship of Foreign Affairs. 

I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately, 




Passy, November 11th, 1784. 

Dear Friend, 
1 received your kind letter of August 13th, with the 
papers annexed, relative to the affair of Longchamps. I 
hope satisfaction will be given to M. Marbois. The Com- 
missioners have written a joint letter to Congress. This 
serves to cover a few papers relative to matters with which 
I was particularly charged in the instructions. I shall 
write to you fully by the next opportunity, having now 
only time to add, that I am, as ever, 

Yours most affectionately, 


P. S. I executed the instructions of October 29th, 

1783, as soon as I knew the commissions for treating with 
the Emperor, &.c. were issued, which was not till July, 

1784. The three letters between the Emperor's Minister 
and me are what passed on that occasion. B. F. 


Passy, February 8th, 1785. 

I received by the Marquis de Lafayette the two letters 
you did me the honor of writing to me the 11th and 14th 
of December, the one enclosing a letter from Congress to 
the King, the other a resolve of Congress respecting the 
convention for establishing consuls- The letter was iuime- 
diately delivered and well received. The resolve came 
too late to suspend signing the convention, it having been 
done July last, and a copy sent so long since, that we now 


expected the ralificaiion. As that copy seems to have 
miscarried I now send another. 

I am not informed what objection has arisen in Con- 
gress to the plan sent me. Mr Jefferson thinks it may 
have been to the part, which restrained the consuls from all 
concern in commerce. That article was omitted, being 
thought unnecessary to be stipulated, since either party 
would always have the power of imposing such restraiiits 
on its own officers, whenever it should think fit. 1 am, 
however, of opinion that this or any other reasonable arti- 
cle or alteration may be obtained at the desire of Con- 
gress, and established by a supplement. 

Permit me, Sir, to congratulate you on your being called 

to the high honor of presiding in our national councils, and 

to wish you every felicity, being with the most perfect 

esteem, Sic. 



Passy, April 12th, 1785. 

M. de Chaumont, who will have the honor of presenting 
this line to your Excellency, is a young gendeman of ex- 
cellent character, whose father was one of our most early 
friends in diis country, which he manifested by crediting 
us with a thousand barrels of gunpowder and other mili- 
tary stores in 1776, before we had provided any apparent 
means of payment. He has, as I understand, some de- 
mands to make on Congress, the nature of which I am 
unacquainted with ; but my regard for the family makes 
me wish, that they may obtain a speedy consideration, and 
such favorable issue as they may appear to merit. 


To this end, I beg leave to recommend him to your 
countenance and protection, and am, with great respect, &,c. 



Passy, May 3d, 1785. 


I have the honor to acquaint your Excellency, that I 
have at length obtained, and yesterday received, the per- 
mission of Congress to return to America. As my malady 
makes it impracticable for me to pay my devoirs at Ver- 
sailles personally, may I beg the favor of you, Sir, to ex- 
press respectfully for me to his Majesty, the deep sense I 
have of all the inestimable benefits his goodness has con- 
ferred on my country ; a sentiment that it will be the busi- 
ness of the little remainder of life now left me, to impress 
equally on the minds of all my countrymen. My sincere 
prayers are, that God may shower down his blessings on 
the King, the Queen, their children, and all the royal fam- 
ily, to the latest generations ! 

Permit me, at the same time, to offer you my thankful 
acknowledgments for the protection and countenance you 
afforded me at my arrival, and your many favors during 
my residence here, of which T shall always retain the most 
grateful remembrance. 

My grandson would have had the honor of waiting on 
you with this letter, but he has been some time ill of a 

With the greatest esteem and respect, and best wishes 

for the constant prosperity of yourself, and all your amiable 

family, I am. Sir, your Excellency's most obedient and 

most humble servant, 





Versailles, May 8th, 1785. 

I have learned with the greatest concern, that you are 
soon to leave us. You will carry with you the affections 
of all France, for nobody has been more esteemed than 
you. I shall call on you at Passy, to desire you to retain 
for me a share in your remembrance, and renew to you 
personally the assurances of the most perfect attachment, 
with which 1 have the honor to be. Sir, &;c. 



Passy, May 10th, 1786. 

Dear Sir, 

I received your kind letter of the 8th of March, enclos- 
ing the resolution of Congress, permitting my return to 
America, for which I am very thankful, and am now pre- 
paring to depart the first good opportunity. Next to the 
pleasure of rejoining my own family will be that of seeing 
you and yours well and happy, and embracing once more 
my little friend, whose singular attachment to me I shall 
always remember. 

I shall be glad to render any acceptable service to Mr 
Randall. 1 conveyed the bayberry wax to Abbe de Cha- 
lut, with your compliments, as you desired. He returns 
his with many thanks. Be pleased to make my respect- 
ful compliments acceptable to Mrs Jay, and believe me 
ever, with sincere and great respect and esteem, &c. 



P. S. The striking of the medals being now in agita- 
tion here, I send the enclosed for consideration. B. F. 


Passy, May 10th, 1785. 

Dear Sir, 
An old gentleman in Switzerland, long of the Magistracy 
there, having written a book entitled Du Gouvernement des 
McBurs, which is thought to contain many matters, that 
may be useful in America, desired to know of me how he 
could convey a number of the printed copies, to be distrib- 
uted gratis among the members of Congress. I advised 
his addressing the package to you by way of Amsterdam, 
whence a friend of mine would forward it. It is accord- 
ingly shipped there on board the Van Berckel, Captain W. 
Campbell. There are good things in the work, but his 
chapter on the liberty of the press appears to me to con- 
tain more rhetoric than reason. 

With great esteem I am, ever, &ic. 




Versailles, May 22d, 1786. 

I have learnt with much concern of your retiring, and of 
your approaching departure for America. You cannot 
doubt but that the regrets, which you will leave, will be 
proportionate to the consideration you so justly enjoy. 

I can assure you, Sir, that the esteem the King enter- 
voL. IV. 28 


tains for you, does not leave you anything to wish, and that 
his Majesty will learn with real satisfaction, that your fel- 
low citizens have rewarded, in a manner worthy of you, 
the important services that you have rendered them. 

I beg, Sir, that you will preserve for me a share in your 
remembrance, and never doubt the sincerity of the interest 
I take in your happiness. It is founded on the sentiments 
of attachment of which I have assured you, and with 
which I have the honor to be, he. 



Passy, June 19th, 1785. 


With respect to my continuing to charge £2500 sterling 
per annum as my salary, ol which you desire some ex- 
planation, I send you, in support of that charge, the reso- 
lution of Congress, which is in these words. 

"In Congress, October 5th, 1779. Resolved, that each 
of the Ministers Plenipotentiary be allowed at the rate of 
two thousand five hundred pounds sterling per annum, and 
each of their Secretaries at the rate of one thousand 
pounds sterling per annum, in full for their services and 
expenses respectively. That die salary of each of the 
said officers be computed from the time of his leaving his 
place of abode, to enter on the duties of his office, and be 
continued three months after the notice of his recall." 

The several bills I afterwards received, drawn on the 
Congress banker, Mr Grand, for my salary, were all calcu- 
lated on that sum, as my salary ; and neither the banker 
nor myself has received notice of any change respecting 


me. He has accordingly, since the drawing ceased, con- 
tinued to pay me at the same rate. I have, indeed, heard 
that a resolution was passed last year, that the salaries of 
Plenipotentiaries should be no more than £2000 sterling 
per annum. But the resolution, I suppose, can relate only 
to such Plenipotentiaries as should be afterwards ap- 
pointed j for I cannot conceive that the Congress, after 
promising a Minister £2500 a year, and when he has 
thereby been encouraged to engage in a way of living for 
their honor, which only that salary can support, would 
think it just to diminish it a fifth, and leave him under the 
difficulty of reducing his expenses proportionably ; a thing 
scarce practicable ; the necessity of which he might have 
avoided, if he had not confided in their original promise. 

But the article of salary, with all the rest of my ac- 
counts, will be submitted to the judgment of Congress, 
together with some other considerable articles I have not 
charged, but on which 1 shall expect, from their equity, 
some consideration. If, for want of knowing precisely the 
intention of Congress, what expenses should be deemed 
public, and what private, I have charged any article to 
the public, which should be defrayed by me, their 
banker has my order, as soon as the pleasure of Congress 
shall be made known to him, to rectify the error, by trans- 
ferring the amount to my private account, and discharging 
by so much that of the public. 

I have the honor to be, Sic. 





Versailles, July 10th, 1785. 


I was not apprized, until within a kw hours, of the 
arrangements which you have made for your departure. 
Had I been informed of it sooner, I should have proposed 
to the King to order a frigate to convey you to your own 
country, in a manner suitable to the known importance of 
the services you have been engaged in, to the esteem you 
have acquired in France, and the particular esteem which 
his Majesty entertains for you. 

I pray you, Sir, to accept my regrets, and a renewed 
assurance of the most entire consideration, with which I 
have the honor to be. Sir, your very humble and very 
obedient servant, 


Philadelphia, September 19th, 1785. 

I have the honor to acquaint you, that I left Paris the 
12th of July, and, agreeable to the permission of Congress, 
am returned to my own country. Mr Jefferson had re- 
covered his health, and was much esteemed and respected 
there. Our joint letters have already informed you of our 
late proceedings, to which I have nothing to add, except 
that the last act I did, as Minister Plenipotentiaiy for 
making treaties, was to sign with him, two days before I 
came away, the treaty of friendship and commerce that 


had been agreed on with Prussia,* and which was to be 
carried to the Hague, by Mr Short, there to be signed by 
Baron Thulemeyer on the part of the King, who, without 
the least hesitation, had approved and conceded to the new 
humane articles proposed by Congress. Mr Short was 
also to call at London for the signature of Mr Adams, 
who I learnt, when at Southampton, was well received at 
the British Court. 

The Captain Lamb, who, in a letter of yours to Mr 
Adams, was said to be coming to us with instructions re- 
specting Morocco, had not appeared, nor had we heard 
anything of him ; so nothing had been done by us in that 

I left the Court of France in the same friendly dispo- 
sition towards the United States, that we have all along ex- 
perienced, though concerned to find that our credit is not 
better supported in the payment of the interest money due 
on our loans, which, in case of another war, must be, 
they think, extremely prejudicial to us, and indeed may 
contribute to draw on a war the sooner, by affording our 
enemies the encouraging confidence, that those who take 
so little care to pay, will not again find it easy to bor- 
row. 1 received from the King, at my departure, the 
present of his picture set round with diamonds, usually 
given to Ministers Plenipotentiary, who have signed any 
treaties with that Court; and it is at the disposition of 
Congress, to whom be pleased to present my dutiful 

I am, with great esteem and regard, Sic. 


" Sec this Treaty at large in the public Joxirnnh of Congress, Vol. IV. 
p. 639. 


P. S. Not caring to trust them to a common con- 
veyance, 1 send by my late Secretary, who will have 
the honor of delivering them to you, all the original 
treaties I have been concerned in negotiating, that were 
completed. Those with Portugal and Denmark continue 
in suspense. B. F. 


Philadelphia, July 11th, 17S6 


1 send you enclosed some letters, tlial have passed be- 
tween the Secretary of Congress and ine, respecting three 
millions of livres, acknowledged to have been received, be- 
fore the treaty of February, 1778, as don gratuit from the 
King, of which only two millions are found in your ac- 
counts ; unless the million from the Farmers-General be 
one of the three. I have been assured, that all the money 
received from the King, whether as loan or gift, went 
through your hands ; and as I always looked on the mil- 
lion we had of the Farmers-General to be distinct from 
what we had of the Crown, I wonder how I came to sign 
the contract, acknowledging three millions of gift, when, 
in reality, there was only two, exclusive of tliat from the 
Farmers ; and, as both you and I examined the project 
of the contract before I signed it, I am surprised, that 
neither of us took notice of the error. 

It is possible, that the million furnished ostensibly by the 
Farmers, was in fact a gift of the Crown, in which case, 
as Mr Thompson observes, they owe us for the two ship 
loads of tobacco, which tliey received on account of it. 1 
must earnestly request of you to get this matter explained, 


that it may stand clear before I die, lest some enemy 
should afterwards accuse me of having received a million 
not accounted for. 

I am, he. B. FRANKLIN. 



Versailles, August 30th, 1786. 

I have received the letter, which you did me the honor 
to write on the 28th of this month, touching the advance of 
a million, which you say was made by the Farmers-Gen- 
eral to the United States of America, the 3d of June, 
1777. I have no knowledge of that advance. What 
I have verified is, that the King, by the contract of the 
25th of February, 17S3, has confirmed the gratuitous gift, 
which his Majesty had previously made, of the three mil- 
lions hereafter mentioned, viz. one million delivered by 
the Royal Treasury, the 10th of June, 1776, and two 
other millions advanced also by the Royal Treasury, in 
1777, on four receipts of the Deputies of Congress, of the 
I7th of January, 3d of April, 10th of June, and 15th of 
October, of the same year. This explanation will. Sir, I 
hope, resolve your doubt, touching the advance of the 3d 
of June, 1777. I further recommend to you. Sir, to 
confer on this subject with M. Gojard, who ought to be 
better informed than we, who had no knowledge of any 
advances, but those made by the Royal Treasury. 

I have the honor to be, &;c. 





Versailles, September 5th, 1786. 


I laid before the Count de Vergennes the two letters, 
which you did me the honor to write, touching the three 
millions, the free gift of which the King has confirmed in 
favor of the United States of America. The Minister, 
Sir, observed that this gift has nothing to do with the mil- 
lion, which the Congress may have received from the 
Farmers-General in 1777 j consequently he thinks, that 
the receipt, which you desire may be communicated to 
you, cannot satisfy the object of your view, and that it 
would be useless to give you the copy which you desire. 

I have the honor to be, with perfect attachment, &tc. 



Paris, September 9th, 1786. 

My Dear Sir, 
The letter you honored me with, covered the copies of 
three letters, which Mr Thompson wrote you to obtain an 
explanation of a million, which is not to be found in my 
accounts. I should have been very much embarrassed in 
satisfying and proving to him, that I had not put that million 
in my pocket, had I not applied to M. Durival, who, as 
you will see by the answer enclosed, informs me, that there 
was a million paid by the Royal Treasury, on the 10th of 
June, 1776. This is the very million about which Mr 
Thompson inquires, as I have kept an account of the 
other two millions, which were also furnished by the Royal 


Treasury, viz. the one million in January and April, 1777, 
the other in July and October of the same year, as well 
as that furnished by the Farmers-General in June, 1777. 

Here then are the three millions exactly, which were 
given by the King before the treaty of 1778, and that 
furnished by the Farmers-General. Nothing then remains 
to be known, but who received the first million in June, 
1776. It could not be myself, as I was not charged with 
the business of Congress until January, 1777. I therefore 
requested of M. Durival a copy of the receipt for the one 
million. You have the answer, which he returned to me. 
1 wrote to him again, renewing my request, but as the 
courier is just setting off, I cannot wait to give you his 
answer, but you will receive it in my next, if I obtain 

In the meanwhile, I beg you will receive the assurances 

of the sentiments of respect, with which 1 have the honor 

to be, my dear Sir, he. 




Versailles, September 10th, 1786. 

I have laid before the Count de Vergennes, as you 
seemed to desire, the letter which you did me the honor 
to write yesterday. The Minister persists in the opinion, 
that the receipt, the copy of which you request, has no 
relation to the business with which you were intrusted on 
behalf of Congress, and that this piece would bo useless in 
the new point of view in which you have placed it. In- 
voL. IV. 29 


deed, Sir, it is easy for you to prove, that the money in 
question was not delivered by the Royal Treasury into 
your hands, as you did not begin to be charged with the 
business of Congress until January, 1777, and the receipt 
for that money is of the 10th of June, 1776. 

I have the honor to be, with perfect attachment, Sir, Sic. 




Paris, September 12tl), 1786. 


I hazard a letter in hopes it may be able to join that of 
the 9th at L'Orient, in order to forward to you the answer 
I have just received from M. Durival. You will there see, 
that notwithstanding my entreaty, the Minister himself re- 
fuses to give me a copy of the receipt which I asked for. 
I cannot conceive the reason for this reserve, more espe- 
cially since, if there has been a million paid, he who has re- 
ceived it has kept the account, and it must in time be 
known. I shall hear with pleasure, that you have been 
more fortunate in this respect in America than I have been 
in France ; and 1 repeat to you the assurance of the senti- 
ments of res;ard, with which I have the honor to be, he. 



Philadelphia, January 27th, 1787. 

Dear Friend, 
You may remember, that in the correspondence between 
us in June last, on the subject of a million free gift of the 
King of France, acknowledged in oiu- contract to have been 


received, but which did not appear to be accounted for in 
our banker's accounts, unless it should be the same with 
the million said to be received from the Farmers-General, 
I mentioned, that an explanation might doubtless be easily 
obtained by writing to Mr Grand, or -Vlr Jefferson. I know 
not whether you have accordingly written to either of them, 
but being desirous tbat the matter should speedily be cleared 
up, I wrote myself to Mr Grand a letter upon it, of which 
I now enclose a copy, with his answers, and several letters 
from M. Durival,* who is Chef du Bureau des Fonds (and 
has under his care the finance) des Affaires Etrangeres. 

You will see by these letters, that the million in question 
was delivered to somebody, on the 10th of June, 1776, 
but it does not appear to whom. It is clear, however, that 
it could not be to Mr Grand, nor to the Commissioners from 
Congress, for we did not meet in France till the end of 
December, 1776, or beginning of January, 1777, and that 
banker was not charged before with our affairs. 

By the Minister's reserve in refusing him a copy of the 
receipt, I conjecture it must be money advanced for our use, 
to M. de Beaumarchais, and that it is a Mystere du Cab- 
inet, which perhaps should not be further inquired into, un- 
less necessary to guard against more demands than may be 
just from that agent ; for it may well be supposed, that if 
the Court furnished him with the means of supplying us, 
they may not be willing to furnish authentic proofs of such a 
transaction, so early in our dispute with Britain. Pray tell 
me, has he dropped his demands, or docs he still continue 
to worry you with them ? 

I should like to have these original letters returned to 
me, but you may if you please keep copies of them. It is 

" See tliese letters, pp. 223, 224, 225. 


true the million in question makes no difference in your 
accounts with the King of France, it not being mentioned 
or charged, as so much lent and to be repaid, but stated as 
freely given. Yet, if it was put into the hands of any of 
your agents, or ministers, they ought certainly to account 
for it. I do not recollect whether Mr Deane had arrived 
in France before the 10th of June, 1776 ;* but from his 
great want of money, when I joined him a few months 
after, I hardly think it could have been paid to him. Pos- 
sibly Mr Jefferson may obtain the information, though Mr 
Grand could not, and I wish he may be directed to make 
the inquiry, as I know he would do it directly ; I mean if, 
by Hortalez and Go's further demands, or for any other 
reason, such an inquiry should be thought necessary. f 

I am, &,c. 



Philadelphia, November 29th, 1788. 


When I had the honor of being the Minister of the 
United States at the Court of France, Mr Barclay arriving 
there, brought me the following resolution of Congress. 

"Resolved, that a commissioner be appointed by Con- 
gress, with full power and authority to liquidate, and finally 
to settle, the accounts of all the servants of the United 

** Deane did not arrive in Paris till tlie first week in .July. 

tTliis matter was not cleared up till 1794, when Gouverneur Morris 
was American Minister in Paris. By application to the government he 
procured a copy of the receipt of the person, who received the million 
of francs on the tenth of June, 1776. It proved to be Beaumarchais, as 
Dr Franklin had conjectured. See Pitkin's History of the United States, 
Vol. I. p. 422. 


States, who have been intrusted with the expenditure of 
public money in Europe, and to commence and prosecute 
such suits, causes, and actions, as may be necessary for 
that purpose, or for the recovery of any property of the 
said United States in the hands of any person, or persons, 

"That the said commissioner be authorised to appoint 
one or more clerks, with such allowance as he may think 

"That the said commissioner and clerks, respectively, 
take an oath before some person duly authorised to admin- 
ister an oath, faithfully to execute the trust reposed in 
them respectively. 

"Congress proceeded to the election of a commissioner, 
and ballots being taken, Mr T. Barclay was elected." 

In pursuance of this resolution, and as soon as Mr Bar- 
clay was at leisure from more pressing business, I rendered 
to him all my accounts, which he exan)ined, and stated me- 
thodically. By his statement he found a balance due me 
on the 4th of May, 1785, of 7,533 livres, 19 sols, 3 den. 
which I accordingly received of the Congress banker;, 
the difference between my statement and his being only 
seven sols, which by mistake I had overcharged ; about 
three pence halfpenny sterling. 

At my request, however, the accounts were left open for 
the consideration of Congress, and not finally settled, there 
being some articles on which I desired their judgment, and 
having some equitable demands, as I thought them, for ex- 
tra services, which he had not conceived himself empow- 
ered to allow, and therefore I did not put them in my 
account. He transmitted the accounts to Congress, and 
hod advice of their being received. On my arrival at 


Philadelphia, one of the first things f did was to despatch 
my grandson, William T. Franklin, to New York, to obtain 
a final settlement of those accounts : he having long acted 
as my secretary, and being well acquainted with the trans- 
actions, was able to give an explanation of the articles, that 
might seem to require explaining, if any such there were. 
He returned without effecting the settlement, being told 
that it could not be made till the arrival of some docu- 
ments expected from France. What those documents 
were, I have not been informed, nor can I readily conceive, 
as all the vouchers existing there had been examined by 
Mr Barclay. And T, having been immediately after my 
arrival engaged in the public business of this Stale, waited 
in expectation of hearing from Congress, in case any part 
of my accounts had been objected to. 

It is now more than three years that those accounts 
have been before that honorable body, and, to d)is day, no 
notice of any such objection has been communicated to 
me. But reports have, for some time past, been circula- 
ted here, and propagated in the newspapers, that I am 
greatly indebted to the United States for large sums, that 
had been put into my hands, and that I avoid a settlement. 
This, together with the little time one of my age may ex- 
pect to live, makes it necessary for me to request earn- 
estly, which I hereby do, that the Congress would be 
pleased, without further delay, to examine those accounts, 
and if they find therein any article or articles/which they 
do not understand or approve, that ihey would cause mo 
to be acquainted with the same, that I may have an oppor- 
tunity of offering such explanations or reasons in support 
of them as may be in my power, and then that the ac- 
counts may be finally closed. 


I hope the Congress will soon be able to attend to this 
business for the satisfaction of the public, as well as in con- 
descension to my request. In the meantime, if there be 
no impropriety in it, I would desire that this letter, to- 
gether with another* relating to the same subject, the 
copy of which is hereto annexed, may be put upon their 

With every sentiment of respect and duty to Congress, 
I am, Sir, Sic. 


^ A letter to Mr Barclay, written in France, see p. 218, 









John Adams was a delegate in the first Continental 
Congress, and one of the most active, zealous, and effi- 
cient members of that body. For three years his labors 
in Congress were incessant, and of the most valuable kind. 
It is said of him, that he belonged to more committees than 
any other individual, and he discharged the duties of each 
with remarkable promptness and energy. 

The foreign affairs of the United States having assumed 
an important aspect, Mr Adams was appointed a Commis- 
sioner to France in the place of Silas Deane, who had 
been recalled. This appointment took place on the 28th 
of November, 1777, and in the following February he em- 
barked from Boston. After a long and disagreeable pas- 
sage of fortyfive days he arrived in France. Here he de- 
voted himself to the duties of his mission, in conjunction 
with his colleagues, till Dr Franklin was appointed Minis- 
ter Plenipotentiary to the Court of France, and the com- 
mission was dissolved. Having no longer any charge to 
execute in Europe, Mr Adams left Paris on the 8th of 
March, 1779, for Nantes, where he proposed to embark 
for his own country. Various accidents and unexpected 
causes of delay kept him there till the 14lh of June, when 
he sailed in the French frigate, the Sensible, in company 
with M. de la Luzerne, who was coming to the United 
States in the character of Minister Plenipotentiary, as suc- 
cessor to M. Gerard. The French government had vol- 
untarily proffered to Mr Adams a passage in this vessel, 
after his disappointment in not sailing in the American 


frigate Alliance, as he at first expected. The Sensible 
arrived in Boston on the 3d of August. 

But he was not long allowed to remain a spectator only 
of public events. On the 27th of September he was again 
chosen by Congress to represent his country abroad, as 
Minister Plenipotentiary for negotiating a treaty of peace 
and a treaty of commerce with Great Britain, when that 
nation should be found in a humor to recognise the inde- 
pendence of the United States, and enter into bonds of 
friendship. A task more honorable, momentous, and diffi- 
cult could not have awaited him, nor one bearing more 
emphatical testimony of the confidence of his countrymen 
in his wisdom, abilities, integrity, and patriotism. On this 
second mission he sailed in the same frigate, which had 
brought him from France ; accommodations for this pur- 
pose having been offered to Congress by the French Min- 
ister in Philadelphia. The vessel sprang a leak on the 
passage, and the captain was obliged to put into Ferrol, in 
Spain, where he arrived on the 8th of December. From 
this place, that he might avoid further hazards and uncer- 
tainty of a sea voyage in the depth of winter, Mr Adams 
resolved to proceed by land to the point of his destination. 
He reached Paris on the 9th of February, 1780. The 
extreme badness of the travelling at this season had de- 
tained him nearly two months on the road. 

By the terms of his commission, the place of his resi- 
dence was not prescribed, but for the present he chose to 
fix himself in Paris, as amicable relations already subsisted 
between the French Court and Congress, and he was in- 
structed to consult the French Ministry in regard to any 
movements, that might be made in effecting a treaty with 
England. He held a correspondence with Count de Ver- 


genries, respecting the time and manner of carrying his 
instructions into execution, and on other topics ; in all of 
which, however, his opinions and those of the French Min- 
ister were somewhat at variance. There seeming no pros- 
pect that Great Britain would soon be inclined to peace, 
and Mr Adams having no special reasons for remaining at 
the French Court, he made a tour to Holland in the begin- 
ning of August, leaving his Secretary, Mr Dana, in Paris. 
Meantime Congress had assigned to him another duty. 
Mr Henry Laurens had been appointed, as early as No- 
vember, 1779, to negotiate a loan of ten millions abroad, 
but having been prevented by various causes from depart- 
ing on this service, Congress, on the 20th of June follow- 
ing, authorised Mr Adams to engage in the undertaking, 
and prosecute it till Mr Laurens, or some other person in 
his stead, should arrive in Europe. This commission 
reached Paris four weeks after he had left that city, and 
Mr Dana proceeded with it to Holland. EfForts were im- 
mediately made to procure a loan in that country, which 
were for a long time ineffectual, but which at last suc- 

• Mr Laurens sailed for Holland in August, 1780, but was 
captured a few days afterwards by a British frigate, which 
conveyed him to Newfoundland, whence he was sent to 
England and imprisoned in the Tower. When this intelli- 
gence reached Congress, it was resolved to transfer his 
appointment to another person, and on the 29ih of Decem- 
ber Mr Adams was commissioned to negotiate a treaty of 
amity and commerce with tlie United Provinces, and he 
was furnished with separate letters of credence as Minister 
Plenipotentiary to the States-General and to the Prince of 
Orange. The state of parties in Holland, and particularly 


the influence of England there, rendered unavailing all 
advances of the American Minister towards a treaty. 

It having been intimated to Mr Adams, by the Due de 
la Vauguyon, French Ambassador in Holland, that a treaty 
of peace was in prospect through the mediation of Russia 
and Austria, and that Count de Vergennes would be glad 
to see him on the subject at Versailles, he set off for Paris 
on the 6th of July, 1781. He had several interviews 
with the Count de Vergennes, and a correspondence of 
some length. After remaining three weeks at Paris and 
Versailles, without perceiving any apparent indications, 
that this project for a negotiation would come to maturity, 
he returned again to Holland. 

On the 14th of June Congress appointed four other 
Commissioners, in conjunction with Mr Adams, to nego- 
tiate a treaty of peace, namely, Benjamin Franklin, John 
Jay, Henry Laurens, and Thomas Jefferson, and the first 
commission of Mr Adams for this purpose was annulled. 

A misunderstanding having grown up between England 
and the United Provinces, chiefly on account of the part 
taken by the latter in joining the northern powers to carry 
into operation the plan of the armed neutrality, the French 
Court thought it a good opportunity for the United States 
to seek a treaty of alliance with Holland. This step was 
accordingly recommended to Congress through the French 
Minister at Philadelphia, and, in consequence of this sug- 
gestion, new powers were conferred on Mr Adams, dated 
August the 16th, by which he was commissioned to nego- 
tiate a treaty of alliance with Holland, limited in duration 
to the continuance of the war with England, and conform- 
able to the treaties then subsisting with France. 

The political relations between the several Provinces of 


Holland were such, however, that the process of negotia- 
tion went on heavily and slowly. The English interest 
still continued strong, even after the war had begun, and 
embarrassments of various kinds were thrown in the way, 
which required no common share of sagacity, firmness, and 
perseverance to overcome. All these at length yielded, 
and on the 8th of October, 1 782, a treaty of commerce 
between the United States and Holland, and a conven- 
tion concerning recaptures, vverr; signed at the Hague. 

Dr Franklin and Mr Jay had now been for three or 
four months actively engaged in the negotiation of peace 
at Paris. Having thus brought affairs to a happy issue in 
Holland, Mr Adams hastened to join the Commissioners, 
and arrived in Paris before the end of October. From 
that time till the Preliminary Articles were signed, No- 
vember the 30th, he applied himself unremittingly with his 
colleagues to the details of the negotiation. He also took 
part in the discussions respecting the Definitive Treaty, 
which followed from time to time, and was one of the 
signers of that instrument. 

In the winter of 1784 he was in Holland. In January, 
1785, he was appointed the first American Minister Pleni- 
potentiary to the Court of St James's. While in England, 
he wrote his Defence of the American Constitutions. In 
the year 1788 permission was granted him to return home, 
where he arrived after an absence of almost nine years, 
during the whole of which period he had been employed 
in services of the highest responsibility and importance. 
He was shortly afterwards elected Vice President of the 
United States, under the first Presidency of Washington. 



York, in Pennsylvania, December 3d, 1777. 

Dear Sir, 

With great pleasure to ourselves we discharge our duty, 
by enclosing to you your commission for representing these 
United States at the Court of France. We are by no 
means willing to admit a thought of your declining this im- 
portant service, and therefore we send duplicates of the 
commission, and the late resolves, in order that you may 
take one set with you, and send the other by another 

These are important papers, and therefore we wish 
they may be put into the hands of a particular and care- 
ful person, with directions to deliver them himself into the 
hands of the Commissioners. Mr Hancock, before he 
left this place, said that he intended to send a gentleman 
to France on some particular business. Cannot we pre- 
vail to get this gentleman to undertake the delivery of our 
packet to the Commissioners, they paying the expense of 
travel to Paris, and back again to his place of business .'' 

VOL. IV. 31 


It is unnecessary lo mention the propriety of directing 
these despatches to be bagged with weight proper for sink- 
ing them, on any immediate prospect of their otherwise 
falling into the enemy's hands. 

We sincerely wish you a quick and pleasant voyage, 
being truly your affectionate friends, 

R. H. LEE, 


Braintree, December 23d, 1777. 


Having been absent on a journey, I had not the honor 
of receiving your letters until yesterday, when one, of the 
2Sth of November, enclosing a resolution of Congress of 
the same day, and another of the 3d of December, enclos- 
ing a commission for Dr Franklin, Dr Lee, and myself, to 
represent the United States at the Court of France, were 
delivered to me in Boston. 

As I am deeply penetrated with a sense of the high 
honor, which has been done me in this appointment, I can- 
not but wish I were better qualified for the important trust, 
but as Congress are perfectly acquainted with all my defi- 
ciencies, I conclude it is their determination to make the 
necessary allowances; in the humble hope of which, I 
shall submit my own judgment to theirs, and devote all the 
faculties I have, and all that I can acquire, to their service. 

You will be pleased to accept of my sincere thanks, for 
the polite manner in which you have communicated to me 
the commands of Congress, and believe me to be, with 
the most perfect respect and esteem, he. 




Braintree, December 24th, 1777. 

Having been absent from this State, 1 had not the 
honor of your favor of December 3d, until the 22d, when 
it was delivered to me with its enclosures, viz. a letter 
from the President to the Navy Board at Boston, and a 
private letter of December 8th, from Mr Lovell. At the 
same time, I received a packet directed to Benjamin 
Franklin, Arthur Lee, and John Adams, Commissioners of 
the United Stales of America, in France, under seal. I 
also received a packet unsealed, containing 

1. Copy of a letter dated the 2d of December, from the 
Committee of Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners. 

2. A duplicate of a commission of the 27th of Novem- 
ber, to the Commissioners. 

3. A duplicate of a resolve of December 3d ; duplicates 
of resolves of November 20th and 2lst, and duplicates of 
resolves of November 10th and 22d. i 

4. Two letters unsealed, to Silas Deane, Paris. 

5. Two printed handbills, one containing messages, &ic. 
between the Generals Bourgoyne and Gates ; the other, a 
copy of a letter. Sic. from Mr Strickland. The packet 
under seal, I shall do myself the honor to forward by the 
first conveyance, and the other shall be conveyed, God 
willing, with my own hand. 

1 have the honor to be, with the greatest esteem, &c. 




Passy, May 21st, 1778. 

Dear Sir, 

I have never yet paid my respects to you since my ar- 
rival in Europe, for which seeming neglect of duty, the 
total novelty of the scenes about me, and the incessant 
avocations of business, and ceremony, and pleasure, (for 
this last, I find in Europe, makes an essential part of both 
the other two,) must plead my excuse. 

The situation of the general affairs of Europe is still 
critical and of dubious tendency. It is still uncertain 
whether there will be war between the Turks and the 
Russians, between the Emperor and the King of Prussia, 
and indeed between England and France, in the opinion 
of many people. My own conjecture, however, is that a 
war will commence, and that soon. 

Before this reaches you, you will be informed that a 
strong squadron of thirteen capital ships and several frig- 
ates has sailed from Toulon, and that another squadron is 
ordered to sail from Spithead. Whatever I .may have 
heard of the destination of the first, I am not at liberty 
to mention it. We have no intelligence that the latter 
has sailed. 

Chatham the great is no more, but there is so much of 
his wild spirit in his last speech yet left in the nation, that 
I have no doubt but the administration will put all to the 

We are happy to hear by the frigate, La Sensible, 
which has returned to Brest, that the treaty arrived safe 
at Casco Bay. We hope to have the earliest intelligence 
of the ratification of it. The Commissioners from Eng- 


land, of the 22d of April, will meet, as we suppose, with 
nothing but ridicule. The King of Prussia is yet upon 
the reserve concerning America, or rather forgetting his 
promise, has determined not to acknowledge our indepen- 
dence at present. His reason is obvious ; he wants the 
aid of those very German princes, who are most subser- 
vient to Great Britain, who have furnished her with troops 
to carry on the war against us, and, therefore, he does not 
choose to offend them by an alliance with us at present. 
Spain is on the reserve too, but there is not the least doubt 
entertained here of her intention to support America. In 
Holland there is more friendship for us than I was aware 
of before I came here ; at least, they will take no part 
against us. 

Our affairs in this kingdom I find in a state of confusion 
and darkness, that surprises me. Prodigious sums of 
money have been expended, and large sums are yet due ; 
but there are no books of account, nor any documents from 
whence I have been able to learn what the United States 
have received as an equivalent. 

There is one subject which lies heavily on my mind, 
and that is the expense of the Commissioners. You have 
three Commissioners at this Court, each of whom lives at 
an expense of at least three thousand pounds sterling a 
year, I fear at a greater expense ; few men in the world 
are capable of living at a less expense than I am. But I 
find the other gentlemen have expended from three to four 
thousand a year each, and one of them from five to six. 
And by all the inquiries I have been able to make, I can- 
not find any article of expense which can be retrenched.* 

* In another letter, which Mr Adams afterwards wrote to Mr Samuel 
Adams, he says the account of the Commissioners' expenses here given 


The truth is, in my humble ophiion, our system is 
wrong in many particulars. 

1. In having three Commissioners at this Court j one 
• in the character of Envoy is enough. At present, each of 
the three is considered in the character of a public Minister 
Plenipotentiary, which lays him under an absolute neces- 
sity of living up to this character, whereas, one alone 
would be obliged to incur no greater expense, and would 
be quite sufficient for all the business of a public Minister. 
2. In leaving the salaries of these Ministers at an un- 
certainty, you will never be able to obtain a satisfactory 
account of the public monies while this system continues ; 
it is a temptation to live at too great an expense, and gen- 
tlemen will feel an aversion to demanding a vigorous ac- 

is "exaggerated," and "put much too high," owing to his having been 
but a short time in Paris, and not being accurately informed on the sub- 
ject. Sec this letter hereafter, dated February 14th, 1779, in the 
present volume. 

By a letter from Mr Arthur Lee, dated May 9th, 1778, containing a 
transcripjt from the banker's books, it appears, that from December, 
1776, to March, 1778, u period of fifteen months, Silas Deane received 
on his private account, ^20,926; Arthur Lee, ^12,749; and Dr 
Franklin, ^12,214. See Arthur Lee's Correspondence, Vol. IL p. 169, 
where the above sums are stated in livres, and they are here reduced to 
dollars by the rule practised at that time, of allowing five livres and 
eight sols to the dollar. The fractions are omitted in the reduction. 
It must be observed, that the above payments are not a specification of 
the amounts actually received for the period in question, because the 
Commissioners may have had other expenses for which they afterwards 
drew on the banUer, but these sums may serve as a tolerably correct in- 
dication of their expenses, and were probably intended as such by Mr 
Lee. At this time no fixed salary was allowed, but Congress resolved 
that all expenses should be paid, and that such an additional compen- 
sation should be granted, as might afterwards be deemed expedient by 


3. In blending the business of a public Minister with 
that of a commercial agent. The business of various de- 
partments is by this means so blended, and the public 
and private expenses so confounded with each other, that 
I am sure no satisfaction can ever be given to the public 
of the disposition of their interests, and I am very confi- 
dent, that jealousies and suspicions will hereafter arise 
against the characters of gentlemen, who may, perhaps, 
have acted with perfect integrity and the fairest inten- 
tions for the public good. 

My idea is this ; separate the offices of public Ministers 
from those of commercial agents ;* recall, or send to some 

On the 1st of June, 1778, Mr Lee wrote to Congress; "I am of opin- 
ion, with our colleague, Mr Adams, that it would be better for the 
public, that the appointment of your public Ministers were fixed, in- 
stead of being left at large, and their expenses indefinite. From expe- 
rience, I find the expense of living ir> that character cannot well be less 
than three thousand pounds sterling a year, (§13,333) which I believe is 
as little as is allowed to any public Minister beyond the rank of consul." 
Arlhur Lee's Correspondence, Vol. II. p. 165. 

The original mode of paying Ministers abroad continued, however, 
till October 4th, 1779, when Congress, 

Resolved, That each of the Ministers Plenipotentiary, be allowed at 
the rate of two thousand five hundred pounds sterling (511,111) per an- 
num ; and each of their Secretaries at the rate of one thousand pounds 
sterling (§4,444) per annum, in full for their services and expenses re- 

"That the salary of each of tlie said officers be computed from the 
time of leaving his place of abode to enter on the duties of his office, 
and be continued three months after notice of his recall." Secret 
Journals, Vol. If. p. 272. 

The salaries continued fixed at the above sums during the remainder 
of the revolution, and till May 7th, 1784, when the salary of Ministers 
was reduced to §9000, and that of Secretaries to §3000 per annum. 

* Dr Franklin expresses this opinion very strongly on several occa- 
«ions ; and after he was api)ointcd Minister Plenipotentiary, with the 
duties of commercial agent attached to his office, he repeatedly solicited 


Other Court, all the public Ministers but one at this Court ; 
determine with precision the sum that shall be allowed to 
the remaining one for his expenses, for his salary; and 
for his time, risk, trouble, &;c. ; and when this is done, see 
that he receives no more than his allowance. The incon- 
veniences arising from the multiplicity of Ministers and the 
complication of business are infinite. 

Remember me with the most tender affection to my 
worthy colleagues, and to all others to whom you know 
they are due. 

I am your friend and servant, 



Passy, May 24th, 1778. 


I find that the American affairs on this side of the 
Atlantic are in a state of disorder, very much resembling 
that which is so much to be regretted on the other, and 
arising, as I suppose, from the same general causes, the 
novelty of the scenes, the inexperience of the actors, and 
the rapidity with which great events have succeeded each 
other. Our resources are very inadequate to the demands 
made upon us, which are perhaps unnecessarily increased 
by several irregularities of proceeding. 

We have in some places two or three persons, who 
claim the character of American agents, agent for commer- 
cial affairs, and continental agent, for they are called by all 
these different appellations. In one quarter, one gentle- 
Congress to separate these duties, and to leave him in charge only of 
those branches of business, which pertained (o him in the character of 
Minister. See Franklin's Correspondence, Vol. III. pp. 90, 108, 119, 131. 


man claims the character from the appointment of Mr 
William Lee, another claims it from the appointment of the 
Commissioners at Passy, and a third from the appointment 
of the Commercial Committee of Congress. This intro- 
duces a triple expense, and much confusion and delay. 
These evils have been accidental, I believe, and unavoid- 
able, but they are evils still, and ought to be removed. 

One person at Bordeaux, another at Nantes, and a 
third perhaps at Havre de Grace, or Dunkirk, would be 
amply sufficient for all public purposes, and to these per- 
sons all orders from Congress, or the Commercial Com- 
mittee, or the Commissioners at Paris, ought to be ad- 
dressed. To the same persons all public ships of war, 
and all other ships belonging to the United States, and 
their prizes, ought to be addressed ; and all orders for the 
supplies of provisions, clothing, repairs of vessels, &.c. as 
well as all orders for shipping of merchandises, or warlike 
stores for the United States, ought to go through their 
hands. We have such abuses and irregularities ever}- day 
occurring, as are very alarming. Agents of various sorts 
are drawing bills upon us, and the commanders of vessels 
of war are drawing upon us for exi)enses and supplies, 
which we never ordered, so that our resources will soon 
fail, if a speedy stop is not put to this career. 

And we find it so difficult to obtain accounts from agents 
of the expenditure of monies, and of the goods and mer- 
chandises shipped by them, that we can never know the 
true state of our finances, or when and in what degree we 
have executed the orders of Congress for sending them 
arms, clothes, medicines, or other things. 

in order to correct some of the abuses, and to bring our 
affairs into a little belter order, I have constantly given my 
vol,. IV. ?>2 


voice against paying for things we never ordered, against 
paying persons who have never been authorised, and 
against throwing our affairs into a multiplicity of hands in 
the same place. But the consequence has been so many 
refusals of demands and requests, that I expect much dis- 
content will arise from it, and many clamors. Whether the 
appointment by Congress of one or more consuls for this 
kingdom would remedy these inconveniences, I must sub- 
mit to their wisdom. 

I have the honor to be, &cc. 



Passy, July 9lh, 1778. 
My Dear Friend, 

I had yesterday the honor of receiving the despatches 
from Congress, which were sent by the Saratoga from Bal- 
timore, arrived at Nantes, convoyed in by the Boston, 
Captain Tucker, (who was returning from a short cruise, 
and who has sent in four prizes,) and those by the Spy, 
from New London, arrived at Brest, and the inexpressible 
pleasure of your private letters by the same vessels. You 
acquaint me, that you had written to me eight or nine 
times, which has given me some anxiety, as these letters 
are the first I have received from you or from any member 
of Congress, since my arrival in France. 

The ratification of the treaty gives universal joy to this 
Court and nation, who seem to be sincerely and deeply 
rejoiced at this connexion between the two countries. 

There is no declaration of war as yet at London or 
Versailles, but the ships of the two nations are often fight- 
ing at sea, and there is not the smallest doubt but war will 


be declared, unless Britain should miraculously have wis- 
dom given her to make a treaty with the Congress like 
that which France has made. Spain has not made a 
treaty, but be not deceived nor intimidated, all is safe in 
that quarter. 

The unforeseen dispute in Bavaria has made the Em- 
press Queen and King of Prussia cautious of quarrel- 
ling with Great Britain, because her connexion with a 
number of the German Princes, whose aid each of those 
potentates is soliciting, makes her friendship, or at least her 
neutrality in the German war, of importance to each. 
But this will do no hurt to America. 

You have drawn so many bills of exchange upon us, 
and sent us so many frigates, every one of which costs us 
a large sum of money, so many merchandises and munitions 
of war have been sent, whether arrived or not, and we ex- 
pect so many more drafts upon us, that I assure you I am 
very uneasy concerning our finances here. We are labor- 
ing to hire money, and have some prospect of success, but 
I am afraid not for such sums as will be wanted. 

Let me entreat you to omit no opportunity of writing 

me ; send me all the newspapers, journals, he. and believe 

me your friend and servant, 



I*a5sy, July 'Jrttli, 1778. 

My Dear Friend, 

Your favors of IMay 16th and 25th, by Captain Barnes 

reached me yesterday. These, with those by Nile^ from 

Connecticut, and those by the Saratoga iVoni Baltimore, 

arc all that I have received fi-oin vou, or iVoin jmiv bo(l\ at 


Congress; which gives me pain, because your other loiters 
must have miscarried, and I iiold your letters in so high 
esteem, that I cannot be willing to lose one. 

The robbery of Folger's packet, by all that I can learn, 
must have been committed by a traitor, who made his 
escape to England. But Dr Franklin and Mr Lee, who 
were acquainted with this transaction, will, 1 suppose, devel- 
ope the mystery as far as they are able. One of these 
gentlemen has some other suspicions, but I believe the fugi- 
tive to England was the only thief. 

Mr Deane, whom you mention, is no doubt with you 
before now, but if the Count d'Estaing has not been able 
to strike a decisive blow before the arrival of Byron, I 
should fear that some misfortune has befallen him since the 
junction of Byron and Howe. We are, however, anxious 
to know the naval manoeuvres in America, as well as those 
of the armies. Mr Deane complains of ill treatment, and 
claims great merit for his services. I shall not add to the 
ill treatment, nor depreciate the merit, but it will never do 
for Congress to dread the resentment of their servants. 
I have heard a great deal in this country concerning his 
conduct ; great panegyrics and harsh censures. But I be- 
lieve he has neither the extravagant merit that some per- 
sons ascribe to him, nor the gross faults to answer for, 
which some others impute or suspect. I believe he was a 
diligent servant of the public, and rendered it useful ser- 
vice. His living was expensive, but whether he made the 
vast profit to himself that some persons suspect, I know 
not, or whether any profit at all. One thing I know, that 
my family will feel that I shall not imitate him in this fac- 
ulty, if it really was his ; for which reason 1 wish Congress 
would determine, what allowance we shall have for our 



time, that I might know whether my family can live upon 
it or not. 

Extravagant claims to merit are always to be suspected. 
General Gates was the ablest negotiator you ever had in 
Europe,* and next to him, General Washington's attack 
upon the enemy at Germantown. I do not know, indeed, 
whether this last affair had not more influence upon the 
European mind than that of Saratoga. Although the at- 
tempt was unsuccessful, the military gentlemen in Europe 
considered it as the most decisive proof that America 
would finally succeed. 

And you may depend upon it, although your agents in 
Europe were to plead with the tongues of men and angels, 
although they had the talents and the experience of JN^aza- 
rin, or the integrity of d'Asset, your army in America will 
have more success than they. 

I foresee there will be diversities of sentiment concern- 
ing this gentleman, (Deane,) and perhaps warm debates. 
Perhaps there will be as much as there has been about a 
General in the northern department. All that I request is, 
that I may not be drawn into the dispute. Europe has 
not charms enough for me to wish to stay here to the ex- 
clusion of abler negotiators, much less at the expense of 
heat and divisions in Congress. How well united you 
were in the choice of me I never was informed, and how 
soon attempts may be made to displace me 1 know not. 
But one thing I beg of my friends, and one only, that if 
any attempt of that kind should be made, they would give 
me up, rather than continue my residence at the expense 
of debates in Congress, and by the favor of small majo- 

* The capliire of Burgoync was tlic iininedialc cause of llic (rcalv of 
alliance between France and tiic Uuilcd States. 


If 1 were capable of speculating in English funds, or of 
conducting private trade, 1 might find opportunities here to 
make a private profit, and might have inducements from 
private considerations to continue here ; but this will never 
be my case, and I am very well persuaded that Congress 
will never grant me so much for my services here, as 1 
could earn by my profession in Boston, to which I will return 
with submission to old ocean, old Boreas, and British men 
of war, the moment I am released from this station. I wish 
however that Congress would determine what allowance 
they will grant, that honest men may not be made or sus- 
pected otherwise. As to the public, I am fully persuaded 
that its interests are not at all concerned in my residence 
here, as there is a great plenty of persons quite as well 


I am, &c. 



Passv, July 27th, 1778. ■ 


I thank you for your kind congratulations on the favor- 
able appearances in our American concerns, and for so 
politely particularizing one of the most inconsiderable of 
them, my safe arrival in France, which was after a very 
inconvenient passage of fortyfive days. 

Your letter to Mr I/ard I had the pleasure to send to 
him immediately in Paris, where he resides, the Court of 
Tuscany being so connected with that of Vienna, as to 
discourage hitherto his departure for Italy. He did me 
the honor of a visit yesterday, when we had much conver- 
sation upon American affairs. 

Your other letter to your daughter-in-law, I have for- 


warded by a safe opportunity. You may depend upon 
my conveying your letters to any of your friends by the 
best opportunities, and with despatch. The more of your 
commands you send me, the more pleasure you will give 


War is not declared, that is, no manifesto has been pub- 
lished, but each nation is daily manufacturing materials for 
the other's manifesto, by open hostilities. In short. Sir, 
the two nations have been at war ever since the recall of 
the Ambassadors. The King of France has given orders 
to all his ships to attack the English, and has given vast 
encouragement to privateers. 

The King of Great Britain and his council have deter- 
mined to send instructions to their Commissioners in 
America to offer us independency, provided we will make 
peace with them, separate from France. This appears to 
me to be the last effort to seduce, deceive, and divide. 
They know that every man of honor in America must 
receive this proposition with indignation. But they think 
they can get the men of no honor to join them by such a 
proposal, and they think the men of honor are not a ma- 
jority. What has America done to give occasion to that 
King and council to think so unworthily of her. 

The proposition is in other words this ; "America, you 
have fought me until I despair of beating you, you have 
made an alliance with the first power of Europe, which 
is a great honor to your country and a great stability to 
your cause, so great that it has excited my highest re- 
sentment, and has determined me to go to war with 
France. Do you break your faith with that power and 
forfeit her confidence, *as well as that of all the rest of 
mankind forever, and join me to beat her, or stand by 


neuter and see me do it, and for all this 1 will acknowl- 
edge your independency, because 1 think in that case you 
cannot maintain it, but will be an easy prey to me after- 
wards, who am determined to break my faidi with you, as 
I wish you to do yours with France." 

My dear countrymen, I hope you will not be allured 
upon the rocks by the syren song of peace. They are 
now playing a sure game. They have run all hazards, 
but now they hazard nothing. 

I know your application is incessant and your moments 
precious, and, therefore, that I ask a great favor in re- 
questing your correspondence, but the interests of the pub- 
lic, as well as private friendship, induce me to do it. 
I am, he. 



Passy, July 28th, 1778. 

My Dear Sir, 

The Sovereign of Britain and his Council have deter- 
mined to .instruct their Commissioners to offer you inde- 
pendence, provided you will disconnect yourselves from 

The question arises, how came the King and Council 
by authority to offer this ? It is certain that they have it 

In the next place, is the treaty of alliance between us 
and France now binding upon us? 1 think there is not 
room to doubt it ; for declarations and manifestos do not 
make the state of war, they are only publications of the 
reasons of war. Yet the message of the King of Great 
Britain to both houses of Parliament, and their answers to 


that message were as full a declaration of war as ever was 
made, and accordingly hostilities have been frequent ever 
since. This proposal, then, is a modest invitation to a gross 
act of infidelity and breach of faith. It is an observation 
that I have often heard you make, that "France is the nat- 
ural ally of the United States." This observation is, in my 
opinion, both just and important. The reasons are plain. 
As long as Great Britain shall have Canada, Nova Scotia, 
and the Floridas, or any of them, so long will Great Britain 
be the enemy of the United States, let her disguise it as 
much as she will. 

It is not much to the honor of human nature, but the fact 
is certain, that neighboring nations are never friends in real- 
ity. In the times of the most perfect peace between them, 
their hearts and their passions are hostile, and this will cer- 
tainly be die case forever between the thirteen United 
States and the English colonies. France and England, as 
neighbors and rivals, never have been and never will be 
friends. The hatred and jealousy between the nations 
are eternal and irradicable. As we, therefore, on the one 
hand, have the surest ground to expect the jealousy and 
hatred of Great Britain, so on the other we have the 
strongest reasons to depend upon the friendship and alli- 
ance of France, and no one reason in the world to expect 
her enmity or her jealousy, as she has given up every pre- 
tension to any spot of ground on the Continent. The 
United Slates, therefore, will be for ages die natural bul- 
wark of France against ihe hostile designs of England 
against her, and France is the natural defence of the 
United States against "the rapacious spirit of Great Britain 
against them. France is a nation so vastly eminent, having 
been for so many centuries what they call the dominant 
VOL. IV. 33 


power of Europe, being incomparably the most powerful 
at land, that united in a close alliance with our States, and 
enjoying the benefit of our trade, there is not the smallest 
reason to doubt, but both will be a sufficient curb upon the 
naval power of Great Britain. 

This connexion, therefore, will forever secure a respect 
for our States in Spain, Portugal, and Holland too, who will 
always choose to be upon friendly terms with powers, who 
have numerous cruisers at sea, and indeed in all the rest of 
Europe. I presume, therefore, that sound policy as well 
as good faith will induce us never to renounce our alli- 
ance with France, even although it should continue us for 
some time in war. The French are as sensible of the 
benefits of this alliance to them as we are, and they are 
determined as much as we to cultivate it. 

In order to continue the war, or at least that we may do 
any good in the common cause, the credit of our currency 
must be supported. But how ? Taxes, my dear Sir, 
taxes. Pray let our countrymen consider and be wise ; 
every farthing they pay in taxes is a farthing's worth of 
wealth and good policy. If it were possible to hire money 
in Europe to discharge the bills, it would be a dreadful 
drain to the country to pay the interest of it. But I fear it 
will not be. The house of Austria has sent orders to Am- 
sterdam to hire a very great sum, England is borrowing 
great sums, and France is borrowing largely. Amidst such 
demands for money, and by powers who offer better terms, 
I fear we shall not be able to succeed. 

Pray write me as often as you can, and believe me your 

friend and servant, 




Passy, August 4th, 1778. 

My Dear Sir, 
Your kinti favor of July the 1st was brought here 
yesterday from Bordeaux, where Captain Ayres has ar- 
rived, but was not delivered to me till this day. This is 
the second only received from you. I have infinite satis- 
faction in learning from all parts of America the prosperous 
train of our affairs, and the unanimity and spirit of the 
people. Every vessel brings us fresh accessions of ardor 
to the French, and of depression to the English, in the 
war that is now begun in earnest. 

The resolutions of Congress upon the Conciliatory Bills, 
the address to the people, the ratification of the treaty, 
the answer to the Commissioners, the President's letter, 
the message of G. Livingston, and the letter of Mr 
Drayton, are read here with an avidity that would surprise 
you. It is not one of the least misfortunes of Great 
Britain, that she has to contend with so much eloquence ; 
that there are such painters to exhibit her atrocious actions 
to the world, and transmit them to posterity. Every pub- 
lication of this kind seems to excite the ardor of the 
French nation, and of their fleets and armies, as much as 
if they were Americans. 

While American orators are thus employed in perpet- 
uating the remembrance of the injustice and cruelty of 
Great Britain towards us, the French fleet has been giving 
such a check to her naval pride, as she has not expe- 
rienced before for many ages. The vessel, which is to 
carry this, will carry information of a general engagement 
between d'Orvilliers and Keppel, which terminated in a 


disgraceful flight of the English fleet. We hope soon to 
hear of d'Estaing's success, which would demonstrate to 
the universe, that Britain is no longer mistress of the 
ocean. But the events of war are always uncertain, and 
a misfortune may have happened to the French fleet in 
America. But even if this should be the case, which I do 
not believe, still Britain is not mistress of the sea, and 
every day will bring fresh proofs that she is not. The 
springs of her naval power are dried away. 

I have hitherto had the happiness to find that my pulse 
beat in exact unison with those of my countrymen. I 
have ventured with some freedom to give my opinion, as 
to what Congress would do with the Conciliatory Bills, with 
the Commissioners, with the treaty, he. he. and every 
packet brings us proceedings of Congress, according in 
substance, but executed in a manner infinitely exceeding 
my abilities. Nothing has given me more joy, than the 
universal disdain that is expressed both in public and pri- 
vate letters, at the idea of departing from the treaty and 
violating the public faith. This faith is our American 
glory, and it is our bulwark. It is the only foundation 
on which our union can rest securely, it is the only support 
of our credit both in finance and commerce ; it is our sole 
security for the assistance of foreign powers. If the Brit- 
ish Court with their arts could shake it, or the confidence 
in it, we should be undone forever. They would triumph 
over us, after all our toil and danger. They would subju- 
gate us more entirely than they ever intended. The idea 
of infidelity cannot be treated with too much resentment 
or too much horror. The man who can think of it with 
patience is a traitor in his heart, and ought be execrated 
as one, who adds the deepest hypocrisy to the blackest 


Is there a sensible hypocrite in America, who can start 
a jealousy, that religion may be in danger ? From whence 
can this danger arise ? Not from France, she claims no 
inch of ground upon your continent. She claims no legis- 
lative authority over you, no negative upon your laws, no 
right of appointing you bishops, nor of sending you mis- 
sionaries. Besides, the spirit of crusading for religion is 
not in France. The rage for making proselytes, which 
has existed in former centuries, is no more. There is a 
spirit more liberal here in this respect, than I expected to 
find. Where has been the danger to the religion of the 
Protestant cantons of Switzerland, from an alliance with 
France, which has subsisted with entire harmony for one 
hundred and fifty years, or thereabouts ? But this subject 
is fitter for ridicule than serious argument, as nothing can 
be clearer than that in this enlightened tolerant age, at this 
vast distance, without a claim or color of authority, with 
an express acknowledgment and warranty of sovereignty, 
this, I had almost said tolerant nation, can never endanger 
our religion. 

The longer I live in Europe, and the more I consider 
our affairs, the more important our alliance with France 
appears to me. It is a rock upon which we may safely 
build. Narrow and illiberal prejudices, peculiar to John 
Bull, with which I might perhaps have been in some de- 
gree infected when I was John Bull, have now no influence 
over me. I never was, however, much of John Bull. I 
was John Yankee, and such I shall live and die. Is Great 
Britain to be annihilated ? No such thing. A revolution in 
her government may possibly take place. But whether in 
favor of despotism or republicanism, is the question. The 
scarcity of virtue, and even die semblance ot it, seems an 


invincible obstacle to the latter. But the annihilation of a 
nation never takes place. It depends wholly on herself to 
determine whether she shall sink down into the rank of 
the middling powers of Europe, or whether she shall main- 
tain the second place in the scale. If she conlinues this 
war, the first will be her fate, if she stops short in her jnad 
career and makes peace, she may still be in the second, 
predicament. America will grow with astonishing ra- 
pidity, and England, France, and every other nation in 
Europe will be the better for her prosperity. Peace, 
which is her dear delight, will be her wealth and her glory, 
for I cannot see the seed of a war with any part of the 
world in future, but with Great Britain, and such States as 
may be weak enough, ii any such there should be, to be-' 
come her allies. That such a peace may be speedily con- 
cluded, and that you and I may return to our farms to en- 
joy the fruits of it, spending our old age in recounting to 
our children the toils and dangers we have encountered for 
their benefit, is the wish of your friend, 



Passy, August 5tb, 1778. 

My Dear Sir, 

Your letter of the 20th of June, by Captain Ayres, from 
Boston, had a quick passage. He sailed on the 4th of 
July, and your letters were brought to Passy from Bor- 
deaux, where she arrived the 3d of August. 

I thank you. Sir, for the kind expressions of your oblig- 
ing anxiety for me. The uncertainty in which you remain 
so long, concerning the fate of the Boston, must have been 
occasioned by the capture of many vessels by which the 


news was sent, together with many bundles of English 
newspapers and pamphlets. The prompt ratification of 
the treaties, as well as the dignity with which you have 
received the letters from the British Commissioners, has 
given great satisfaction here. The two articles, the Count 
de Vergennes agreed, when we presented your instructions 
to him on that head, should be given up. 

The confederation is an important object, and nothing 
is more wished for in Europe than its completion, and the 
finishing of the separate governments. The eagerness to 
complete the American code, and the strains of panegyric 
in which they speak and write of those parts of it, which 
have been published in Europe, are very remarkable, and 
seem to indicate a general revolution in the sentiments of 
mankind upon the subject of government. Our currency 
cannot engage our attention too much. And the more 
we think of it, the more we shall be convinced, that taxa- 
tion, deep and broad taxation, is the only sure and lasting 
remedy. Loans in Europe will be very difficult to obtain. 
Tiie powers at war, or at the eve of war, have such vast 
demands, and ofier terms so much better than ours, that 
nothing but sheer benevolence to our cause can induce any 
person to lend us. Besides a large foreign debt would 
be a greater evil, for what I know, than a paper currency. 
Moreover, your large drafts upon the Commissioners here, 
from various quarters, are like to consume more money 
than we can borrow. We shall do however all we can. 

I have hitherto had tlie good foriune to preserve a good 
understanding with the gentleman you mention, and shall 
endeavor to continue it. I have long known him to be 
employed very ably and usefully for our country, and his 
merits and services, his intocrity and abilities, will induce 


me to cultivate his friendship, as far as I can, consistently 
with the public service. I wish 1 could converse witli you 
freely upon this subject, but it would lead me into too long 
a detail. It has given me much grief, since my arrival 
here, to find so little harmony among many respectable 
characters ; so many mutual jealousies, and so much dis- 
trust of one another. As soon as I perceived it, I deter- 
mined neither to quarrel with any man here, because he 
had quarrelled with another, or because another had quar- 
relled with him j nor to make any man my bosom friend, 
because he was the bosom friend of any other ; but to attend 
solely to the public service, and give my voice upon all 
occasions, as I should think that justice and policy required, 
whether it agreed with the opinion of one man or another. 
I cannot be more particular. If I were to take every man's 
word, I should think there was not one disinterested Amer- 
ican here, because it is very certain, that there is nobody 
here, that everybody speaks well of. There is no doubt to 
be made, that private interest has some influence here 
upon some minds, and that our mercantile affairs and com- 
petitions have occasioned some altercation. But there is, 
I think, rather more of mutual reproaches of interested 
views and designs, rather more of animosity among the 
Americans here, than I remember to have seen anywhere 
else. I will have nothing to do with any of these things. 
1 will have nothing to do with designs and endeavors to 
run down characters, to paint in odious colors indifferent 
actions, to excite or propagate suspicions without evidence, 
or to foment or entertain prejudices of any kind, if I can 
possibly avoid it. I am really ashamed to write to you in 
this enigmatical manner, which is not natural to me ; but 
I know not how to write clearer at present. 1 sometimes 


differ in sentiment from each of my colleagues, and some- 
times agree with each ; yet I do not trim, or at least I think 
I do not. It has been and shall be my endeavor to heal 
and reconcile, to the utmost of my power. Yet 1 fear, that 
some gentlemen are gone over to America, heated with 
altercation and inflamed with prejudice. Others still re- 
main here, it is to be feared, in the same temper of mind, 
and probably many letters are gone over loaded. These 
things will probably make you uncomfortable, as they have 
and will make us. I really wish, however, that you would 
remove the cause of this, and appoint consuls to do the 
mercantile business. If you do not, however, I am deter- 
mined to go on, giving my voice clearly and without equiv- 
ocation, and at the same time without wrangling or ill will. 
We expect on Sunday, the 9th, the English accounts of 
the sea fight between d'Orvilliers and Keppel, which hap- 
pened on the 27th ult. in which the former obtained the 
laurels, whatever representation the latter may make of it. 
There are so many facts, attested by so many respectable 
witnesses, that there is no room to doubt, but that the Brit- 
ons lost the day ; a terrible loss indeed to a nation, who 
have the empire of the sea to maintain, in order almost to 
preserve their existence. It is not being equal to France 
at sea ; they must support a clear and decided superiority, 
not only to France, but to France and Spain in conjunc- 
tion, not to mention our States, in order to preserve their 
rank among the powers of Europe. My tenderest respects 
to all good men. 

I am, dear Sir, affectionately yours, 

VOL. IV. 34 



Passy, August 27th, 1778. 
I have the honor to enclose the last gazettes, by which 
Congress will see the dearth of news in Europe at present. 
We expect an abundance of it at once soon, as we have 
nothing from America since the 4th of July. 

The French fleet went out again from Brest the 17th, but 
we have not yet heard that the English fleet is out. While 
the two fleets were in the harbor, the British East India 
fleet, and another small West India fleet, got in ; a misfor- 
tune of no small moment, as the British finances will re- 
ceive by means of it a fresh supply of money for the 
present, and their fleet a considerable reinforcement of 

I have the honor to be, with the highest respect, &tc. 



Passy, September 7tli, 1778. 


I have the honor to enclose to Congress all the news- 
papers I have by me, enough to show that we have nothing 
very important here at present. The French and British 
fleets are again at sea, and we hourly expect intelligence 
of a second battle ; but our expectations from America are 
still more interesting and anxious, having nothing from 
them since the 3d of July, except what is contained in the 
English gazettes. 

Events have probably already passed in America, al- 
though not known in Europe, which will determine the 


great question, whether we shall have a long war or a 
short one. The eyes of all Europe are fixed upon Spain, 
whose armaments by sea and land are vastly expensive 
and extremely formidable, but whose designs are a pro- 
found, impenetrable secret ; time, however, will discover 
them. In the meantime, we have the satisfaction to be 
sure, that they are not inimical to America. For this, we 
have the word of a King, signified by his Ministers, a 
King, who they say never breaks his word, but, on the 
contrary, has given many striking proofs of his sacred re- 
gard to it. 

I have the honor to be, with the greatest esteem, &ic. 



Passv, Septeinbt'r lllli, 1778. 


I have the honor to enclose to Congress the latest 
gazettes. We have no other intelligence, than is contained 
in them. 

Since the 11th of July, tlie date of Lord Howe's an- 
nouncing the arrival of the Count d'Estaing off Sandy 
Hook, we have not a syllable from America, by the way of 
England. In France, we have nothing Irom America 
since July 3d. This long interval leaves a vast scope for 
imagination to play, and, accordingly, there is no end to 
the speculations prompted by the hopes and fears of the 
nations of Europe. We aiv weary of conjectures, and 
must patiently wait for time to end them. 

I have the honor to he, with great respect, &ic. 




Passy, September 15th, 1778. 


As our finances are, at present, in a situation seri- 
ously critical, and as I hold myself accountable to Con- 
gress for every part of my conduct, even to the smallest 
article of my expenses, 1 must beg the favor of you to 
consider what rent we ought to pay you for this house and 
furniture, both for the time past and to come. Every part 
of your conduct towards me, and towards our Americans 
in general, and in all our affairs, has been polite and oblig- 
ing, as far as 1 have had an opportunity of observing, and I 
have no doubt it will continue so ; yet it is not reasonable, 
that the United States should be under so great an obligation 
to a private gentleman, as that two of their representatives 
should occupy, for so long a time, so elegant a seat, with 
so much furniture and so fine accommodations without any 
compensation ; and in order to avoid the danger of the 
disapprobation of our constituents on the one hand, for living 
here at too great or at too uncertain an expense, and on 
the other, the censure of the world for not making suffi- 
cient compensation to a gentleman, who has done so much 
for our convenience, it seems to me necessary that we 
should come to an eclaircissement upon this head. 

As you have an account against the Commissioners, or 
against the United States, for several other matters, I should 
also be obliged to you, if you would send it in as soon as 
possible, as every day renders it more and more necessary 
for us to look into our affairs with the utmost precision. 

I am. Sir, with much esteem and respect, your most 
obedient, humble servant, 





Passy, September 18th, 1778. 


I have received the letter, which you did me the honor 
to write to me on the 1 5th inst, making inquiry as to the 
rent of my house, in which you live, for the past and the 
future. When I consecrated my house to Dr Franklin, 
and his associates, who might live with him, I made it fully 
understood that I should expect no compensation, because 
I perceived that you had need of all your means to send to 
the succor of your country, or to relieve the distresses of 
your countrymen escaping from the chains of their ene- 
mies. I pray you, Sir, to permit this arrangement to 
remain, which 1 made when the fate of your country was 
doubtful. When she shall enjoy all her splendor, such 
sacrifices on my part will be superfluous, or unworthy of 
her, but, at present, they may be useful, and I am most 
happy in offering them to you. 

There is no occasion for strangers to be informed of my 
proceeding in this respect. It is so much the worse for 
those, who would not do the same if they had the opportu- 
nity, and so much the better for me, to have immortalized 
my house by receiving into it Dr Franklin and his asso- 

I have the honor to be, Sir, with the most perfect 

respect, &c. 





Passy, September 20tli, 1778. 


I have the honor to enclose llie latest gazettes, which 
contain all the news of Europe. The news from America 
by the way of London, which are contained in the Courier 
de VEurope of the 15th instant, have raised our expectations 
and increased our anxiety. We are not without appre- 
hensions, that the Count d'Estaing may fall in with the 
combined fleets of Howe and Byron. 

The English are beginning to elevate their heads a little, 
and to renew their old insolent language, both in coffee 
houses and in daily papers. The refugees from America, 
unable to bear the thought of being excluded forever from 
that country, and still less that of soliciting for pardon from 
their injured countrymen, and returning to see established 
principles, which they detest, and forms of government, 
against which they have ever combated, are said to be 
indefatigable in instilling hopes into the King and Ministers, 
that by persevering another campaign, and sending twenty 
thousand more men to America, the people will be worn 
out, and glad to petition for dependence upon them. 

They flatter themselves and others with hopes, that 
Spain will remain neuter, and that by intriguing in France, 
they can get the French Ministry changed, and then that 
they shall have litde trouble from this quarter. Nothing 
can be more whimsical, more groundless or ridiculous, than 
all this. Yet it is said to amuse and please the credulous 
multitude in that devoted island. Those, who pretend to 
know tlie bosoms of the persons highest in power in that 
kingdom, say, that they delight themselves with the thought. 


that if it is not in their power to reduce America once Aore 
to their yoke, yet they are able to harass, to distress, and 
to render miserable those whom they cannot subdue. That 
they have some little compunction at the thought, that they 
shall be ranked in history with the Philips and Alvas, the 
Alberts and Gislers of this world ; but this, instead of pro- 
ducing repentance and reformation as it ought, engenders 
nothing but rage, envy, and revenge. This revenge, how- 
ever, is impotent. Their marine and their finances are in 
so bad a condition, that it is with infinite difficulty they can 
cope with France alone, even at sea ; and it seems to be 
the intention of Providence, that they shall be permitted to 
go on with their cruelties, just long enough to wean the 
affection of every American heart, and make room for con- 
nexions between us and other nations, who have not the 
ties of language, of acquaintance, and of custom to bind us. 
I am, with the most perfect respect, Sir, your most obe- 
dient, humble servant, 



Passv, September 25th, 1778. 

I have received with much pleasure your favor of yes- 
terday's date. No apology was necessary for the delay of 
so few days to answer a letter, tlie contents of which did 
not, from any public consideration, require haste. My 
most fervent wishes mingle themselves with yours, that the 
happy time may soon arrive when we may enjoy the bless- 
ings of peace, uninterrupted by disputes with any power 
whatever. But alas ! my apprehensions are very strong, 
that we are yet at a distance from so great a felicity. 


You will readily acknowledge the impropriety of my en- 
tering into the question concerning the duty of the Com- 
missioners here, to have made the communications of the 
treaty, which you mention. But of this you may be assu- 
red, that I shall at all times hold myself obliged to you for 
the communication of your sentiments upon any public 
affair. I am therefore sorry, that in your letter you have 
confined yourself to that part of the treaty, upon which I 
particularly requested your sentiments. And 1 now take 
the liberty to request your sentiments upon every part of 
the treaty, which you conceive liable to doubtful construc- 
tion, or capable of producing discontent or dispute, for I 
have the honor to be fully of your opinion, that it is of very 
great importance to be upon our guard, and avoid every 
cause of controversy with France as much as possible. 
She is, and will be, in spite of the obstacles of language, 
of customs, religion, and government, our natural ally 
against Great Britain as long as she shall continue our 
enemy, and that will be at least as long as she shall hold a 
foot of ground in America, however she may disguise it, 
and whatever peace or truce she may make. 

Your sentiments of the fishery, as a source of wealth, of 
commerce and naval power, are perfectly just, and there- 
fore this object will and ought to be attended to with pre- 
cision, and cherished with care. Nevertheless, agriculture 
is the most essential interest of America, and even of the 
Massachusetts Bay, and it is very possible to injure both, 
by diverting too much of the thoughts and labor of the 
people from the cultivation of the earth to adventures 
upon the sea. And this, in the opinion of some persons, 
has been a fault in the Massachusetts Bay. Experience has 
taught us in the course of this war, that the fishery was not 


SO essential to our welfare as it was once thought. Neces- 
sity has taught us to dig in the ground instead of fishing in 
the sea for our bread, and we have found that the resource 
did not fail us. 

The fishery was a source of luxury and vanity, that did 
us much injury ; yet this was the fault of the management, 
not of the fishery. One part of our fish went to the West 
India Islands for rurn, and molasses to be distilled into rum, 
which injured our health and our morals ; the other part 
went to Spain and Portugal for gold and silver, almost the 
whole of which went to London, sometimes for valuable 
articles of clothing, but too often for lace and ribands. If, 
therefore, the cessation of the fishery for twenty years to 
come was to introduce the culture of flax and wool, which 
it certainly would do as far as would be necessary for the 
purposes of decency and comfort, if a loss of wealth should 
be the consequence of it, the acquisition of morals and of 
wisdom would perhaps make us gainers in the end. 

These are vain speculations I know. The taste for rum 
and ribands will continue, and there are no means for the 
New England people to obtain them so convenient as the 
fishery, and therefore the first opportunity will be eagerly 
embraced to revive it. As a nursery of seamen, and a 
source of naval power, it has been, and is an object of seri- 
ous importance, and perhaps indispensably necessary to the 
accomplishment and the preservation of our independence. 
I shall therefore always think it my duty to defend and 
secure our rights to it with all industry and zeal, and shall 
ever be obliged to you for your advice and co-operation. 

Pardon the length of this letter, and believe me, with 
much esteem, your friend and servant, 

VOL. IV. ' 35 

274 J<^HiN ADAMS. 


Passy, October 2d, 1778. 


I have the pleasure of yours of the 28th, and agree with 
you in sentiment, that if the money, which has heretofore 
been squandered upon articles of luxury, could for the 
future be applied to discharge our national debt, it would 
be a great felicity. But is it certain that it will ? Will not 
the national debt itself be the means, at least a temptation 
to continue, if not increase the luxury ? It is with great 
pleasure that I see you mention sumptuary laws. But is 
there room to hope that our Legislatures will pass such 
laws ? Or that the people have, or can be persuaded to 
acquire those qualities, that are necessary to execute such 
laws ? I wish your answer may be in the affirmative, and 
that it may be found true in fact and experience. But much 
prudence and delicacy will be necessary, I think, to bring 
all our countrymen to this just way of thinking upon this 
head. There is such a charm to the human heart in ele- 
gance, it is so flattering to our self-love to be distinguished 
from the world in general by extraordinary degrees of 
splendor, in dress, in furniture, equipage, buildings, k,c. 
and our countrymen, by their connexion with Europe, are 
so much infected with the habit of this taste and these pas- 
sions, that I fear it will be a work of time and difficulty, if 
not quite impracticable, to introduce an alteration ; to 
which the late condition of our trade and currency, besides 
the great inequality of fortune, and the late enterprises 
introduced by privateers, are dangerous enemies. 

You ask my opinion, whether the reasons in your last 
letter are well founded- It is observable, that the French 


Court were not content with the treaty proposed by Con- 
gress, which contained all, in my opinion, which is con- 
tained in the article as it now stands in the treaty of the 
6th of February. What motive they had for inserting the 
words, "indefinite and exclusive," is left to conjecture.* 
The suspicion, that they meant more than the treaty pro- 
posed by Congress expressed, arises from a fact, which 
you remember, viz. that the French at the time of the last 
peace claimed more. I wish to know if there is any letter 
or memorial extant, in which such a claim is contained, or 
whether it was only a verbal claim made by their Ambas- 
sadors. Whether any of the magazines of that time 
mention and discuss any such claim. If the fact is incon- 
testible, that they made such a claim, it is possible that it 
may be revived under the words "indefinite and exclu- 
sive." But I hope it will not, and I hope it was not in- 
tended when these words were inserted. Yet I confess I 
cannot think of any other reason for inserting them. The 
word indefinite is not amiss, for it is a right of catching 
fish and drying ihein on land, which is a right indefinite 
enough. But the word exclusive is more mysterious. It 
cannot mean that Americans and all other nations shall be 
"excluded" from the same right of fishing and drying on 
land, between the same limits of Bonavista and Riche. It 
would be much easier to suppose, that the following 
words, "in that part only, and in no other besides that," 
gave rise to the word "exclusive ;" that is, that right 
of fishing and drying within those limits, for which we 
have excluded ourselves from all others. I will under- 
take to show better reasons, m- at least as good, for this 

•This alludes to a clause in the lOtli Article of the Treaty i>f Amity 
and Commerce between France and the United Slate*. 


sense of the word exclusive, as the most subtle interpreter 
of treaties can offer for the other, although I think them 
both untenable. 

My opinion further is this, that as contemporaneous eji- 
position is allowed by all writers on the law of nations to 
be the best interpreter of treaties, as well as of all other 
writings, and as neither the treaty of Utrecht, or the treaty 
of Paris in 1763, ever received such an interpretation as 
you are apprehensive may hereafter be contended for, and 
as the uninterrupted practice has been against such a con- 
struction, so I think that the treaty of Paris of the 6th of 
February, 1778, is not justly liable to such a construction, 
and that it cannot be attempted with any prospect of suc- 
cess. I agree with you, however, that as we are young 
Slates, and not practised in the art of negotiation, it be- 
comes us to look into all these things with as much caution 
and exactness as possible, and furnish ourselves with the 
best historical light, and every other honest means of secur- 
ing our rights. For which reason I requested your senti- 
ments upon this subject in writing, and continue to desire 
in the same way your observations on other parts of the 
treaty. Reduced to writing, such things remain in letters 
and letter books, as well as more distinctly in the memory, 
and the same men or other men may recur to them at 
future opportunities, whereas transient conversations, es- 
pecially among men who have many things to do and to 
think of, slip away and are forgotten. I shall make use of 
all the prudence I can, that these letters may not come to 
the knowledge of improper persons, or be used to the dis- 
advantage of our country, or to you or me in our present 

] am, k,c. 




Passy, October 2d, 1778. 


I have the honor to enclose the latest gazettes, by which 
Congress will perceive, that we have no intelligence from 
America since the departure of the Count d'Estaing from 
Sandy Hook ; our anxiety is very great, but we hope that a 
few hours will relieve it. In the midst of a war in Germany, 
and between France and England, there was scarcely ever 
a greater dearth of news in a profound peace. 

Captain Mc Neil, the bearer of this, makes the most 
conversation, having taken and destroyed, I think, thirteen 
vessels in the course of his last cruise, six of which have 
safely arrived in France, the others, not destroyed, he sent 
to America. His cruise will prove a great disappointment 
to the enemy, having deprived them of a great quantity of 
naval stores, upon which they depended. 

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, &tc. 


Philadelphia, October 28th, 1778. 

While we officially communicate to you the enclosed 
resolve, the foundation of which you cannot remain a stran- 
ger to, we must entreat you to be assiduous in sending to 
those Commissioners who have left France, and gone to 
the Courts for which they were respectively appointed, all 
the American intelligence, which you have greater oppor- 
tunity than they of receiving from hence, particularly to 


Mr Izard and Mr William Lee. We do not often send 
more than one set of gazettes by one opportunity ; and we 
hear of several vessels which have miscarried. 

Congcess must and will speedily determine upon the gen- 
eral arrangement of their foreign affairs. This is become, 
so far as regards you, peculiarly necessary, upon a new 
commission being sent to Dr Franklin. In the meantime 
we hope you will exercise your whole extensive abilities 
on the subject of our finances. The Doctor will commu- 
nicate to you our situation in that regard. 

To the gazettes, and to conversation with the Marquis de 
Lafayette, we must refer you for what relates to our ene- 
mies, and close with our most cordial wishes for your 

Your affectionate friends, 

R. H. LEE, 



Passy, December 3d, 1778. 

I have the honor to enclose to Congress the latest news- 
papers. As they contain the speech at the opening of 
Parliament, and some of the debates in both Houses, upon 
the addresses in answer to it, they are of very great im- 
portance. I learn by some newspapers and private letters, 
that an opinion has been prevalent in America, that the 
enemy intended to withdraw from the United States ; and 
considering the cruel devastations of the war, and the un- 
fortunate situation of our finances, nothing would give me 
so much joy, as to see reasons to concur in that opinion, 
and to furnish Congress with intelligence in support of it. 


But I am sorry to say the reverse is too apparent. We may 

call it obstinacy or blindness, if we will, but such is the state 

of parties in England, so deep would be the disgrace, and 

perhaps so great the personal danger to those who have 

commenced and prosecuted this war, that they cannot but 

persevere in it at every hazard, and nothing is clearer in 

my mind, than that they never will quit the United States 

until they are either driven or starved out of them. I 

hope, therefore, Congress will excuse me for suggesting, 

that there is but one course for us to take, which is to 

concert every measure, and exert every nerve, for the 

total destruction of the British power within the United 


I have the honor to be, &;c. 



Fassy, December 5th, 1778. 

Dear Sir, 

It is necessary that you should be minutely informed of 
the minutest and most secret springs of action here, if it 
is possible. Yet the danger is so great of our letters being 
taken, and getting into English newspapers, that it is very 
discouraging to a free correspondence. I will, however, 
take all the precaution in my power to have the letters 
sunk, but if all these fail, and my letters become public, 
the world must take them as they find them, and I hope 
they will do more good upon the whole than harm. 

This Court and nation appear to me to be well con- 
vinced of the utility to their interests of the American alli- 
ance. But notwithstanding this, they appear to me to have 
too much diffidence of us, too much diffidence of the 


people of America, and too much reserve towards the 
Commissioners here. I am not satisfied in the cause of 
this. Whether they think, that the obstacles of language, 
religion, laws, customs and manners, are obstacles in the 
way of a perfect friendship, which cannot be removed, 
and therefore that they shall lose our connexion as soon as 
Britain comes to her senses ; or whether they are embar- 
rassed by tlie conduct of Spain, and are acting in this re- 
served manner, and with an appearance of irresolution in 
hopes of her coming in ; or whether they have any pre- 
judices against the personal characters of the Commission- 
ers, and are loth to be unreserved with them, for fear they 
shall communicate either indiscreetly or by design any- 
thing to the English, or to anybody here, who might con- 
vey it to England ; or whether all these motives together 
have a share in it, I know not. Thus much is certain, 
that ever since I have been here, 1 have never seen any 
disposition in any Minister of State to talk with any of the 
Commissioners, either upon intelligence from Spain or En- 
gland, upon the designs or negotiations of either, or any 
other Court in Europe, or upon the conduct of the war 
by sea or land, or upon their own plans or designs of 
policy or war. If this reserve was ever thrown off to any 
one, I should think, that putting it on to others had some 
personal motive. But it is exactly equal and alike to all 

Each Commissioner here, before 1 came, had his own 
set of friends, admirers, and dependents, both among the 
French and Americans. Two households united in some 
degree against one, very unjustly, I fear, and very impoliti- 
cally. But this set the friends of the two to injuring the 
third in conversation, and they cannot forbear to do it, to 


this day. This dissension, I suspert, has made the Minis- 
try caiiiious, lest in the course of allercaiions, improper use 
should be made of free communications. For my own 
part, however odd you may think it in me to say it, I have 
no friends, much less dependents, here, and am determined 
to have none, for I am convinced, that competitions among 
these have done the evil ; but I am determined, if I am 
continued here, to have free communication with the Min- 
istry upon these subjects and to search them to the bottom. 
The Ministry are candid men and sensible, and I am sure, 
that some eclaircissements would do good. 

However, I am reckoning without my host, for by the 
bruits, which Mr Deane's letters have scattered, I may ex- 
pect, that the first vessel will bring my recall or removal to 
some other Court. But wherever I am, my heart will 
ever be anxious for the good of our country, and warm 
with friendship for her friends, among whom you will ever 
be reckoned in the foremost rank, by your most obedient, 



Passy, December 6th, 1778. 

I have had the honor to enclose to Congress the speech 
at the opening of the British Parliament by several oppor- 
tunities, but as it opens the intention of the enemy, and 
warns us to be prepared for all the evils, which are in their 
power to inflict, and not in our power to prevent, I en- 
close it again in another form. 

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, 

VOL. IV. 36 



Passy, December 6tli, 1778. 
Dear Sir, 
From the long series of arduous services in which we 
have acted together, I have had experience enough of your 
accurate judgment, in cases of difficulty, to wish very often 
that I could have the benelit of it here. To me it appears, 
that there will be no more cordial friendship, nor for many 
years to come any long peace between Great Britain and 
America, and therefore the French alliance is and will be 
an important barrier to us, and ought to be cultivated with 
perfect faith and much tenderness. But still it is a deli- 
cate and dangerous connexion. There is danger to the 
simplicity of our manners, and to the principles of our con- 
stitution, and there may be danger that too much will be de- 
manded of us. There is danger, that the people and their 
representatives may have too much timidity in their con- 
duct towards this power, and that your ministers here may 
have too much diffidence of themselves, and too much 
complaisance for the Court. There is danger, that French 
councils, and emissaries, and correspondents may have too 
much influence in our deliberations. 

I hope that this Court will not interfere, by attaching 
themselves to persons, parties, or measures in America. 
It would be ill policy, but no Court is always directed by 
sound policy, and we cannot be too much upon our guard. 
Some Americans will naturally endeavor to avail them- 
selves of the aid of the French influence, to raise their re- 
putation, to extend their influence, to strengthen their 
parties, and in short to promote the purposes of private 


ambition and interest. But these things must be guarded 

I wish for a letter from you as often as you can, and that 
you would believe me your friend, 



Passy, December 8th, 1778. 


I have the hoaor to enclose to Congress one other copy 
of the speech at tlie opening of Parliament, together with 
the debates in consequence of it. 

The hints in those debates, especially those ^iven out 
by Lord Suffolk, are confirmed by the general strain of 
intelligence from London. Letters from persons, who are 
supposed to know, announce the determination of the cabi- 
net to be, that Clinton and Byron, with their fleet and army, 
shall ravage the coast, and bombard and pillage the towns, 
that their army in Canada shall be reinforced, and that 
parties of regulars, with such tories and Indians as they can 
persuade to join them, shall ravage, burn, and massacre on 
the frontiers of Massachusetts Bay, New York, New Jersey, 
Pennsylvania, Virginia and the Carolinas. 

Their magnificent menaces we know it is not in their 
power to execute entirely, yet we may depend they will 
do as much as they can. Tiiey will neither acknowledge 
our independence, nor withdraw their fleets and armies, 
nor shall we get rid of them, but by destroying them, or 
making them prisoners, until the nation is so exhausted, 
and their credit so sunk, that the Minister can raise no 
more money. 

It has been usual to consider this as a ministerial war, 

284 JOHN ADAMS. . 

but I have ever thought, they would some time or other 
discover it to be a national war ; the few men of the 
nation, who think seriously of the business, see clearly in 
the long train of consequences of American independence 
the loss of their West India Islands, a great part of their 
East India trade, the total loss of Canada, Nova Scotia, 
the Floridas, all the American fisheries, a diminution of 
their naval power, as well as national bankruptcy, and a 
revolution in their government in favor of arbitrary power. 
And the nation in general has a confused dread of all 
these things upon its spirits. 

The inference they draw from all this is to go on with 
the war, and make it more cruel, which is the way in the 
opinion of impartial persons to make all their gloomy vis- 
ions realities, whereas the only way to prevent them is 
to make peace now, before a total alteration takes place 
on both sides. However, all we can do is to be prepared 
for the worst they can do. 

1 have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, &:c. 



Passy, May 25ili, 1778. 

Your favors of May 9th and 16th from Brest, we duly 
received. We congratulate you on your success, and safe 
arrival at Brest, as well as on the honor you have acquired 
by your conduct and bravery in taking one of the King's 

As we have some expectation of obtaining an exchange 
of prisoners from England, we would advise you to keep 


those you have made securely confined, though in a man- 
ner most consistent with humanity, till we have an answer 
from thence. For if we can get an equal number of our 
own seamen to man the Drake, she will be an additional 
strength to you in a future expedition. Whereas sending 
her with the prisoners to America, will not only weaken 
you by the hands you must spare to navigate her, and to 
keep the prisoners in subjection, but will also hazard their 
being retaken. We should have been happy to have been 
early informed of the particulars of your cruise, and of the 
prizes you have made, of which we have no authentic 
advice to this hour. 

Your bill of exchange in favor of M. Bussolle for tvven- 
tyfour thousand livres, which you inform us you mean to 
distribute among the brave officers and men to whom you 
owe your late success, has been presented to us by M. 
Chaumont. We are sorry to inform you, that we have 
been under the disagreeable necessity of refusing payment, 
and that for several reasons ; first, because your applica- 
tion should have been made to M. Schweighauser, who is 
the person regularly authorised to act as Continental Agent 
at Brest, and we are determined that all American con- 
cerns, within our department, shall go through his hands, 
as long as he shall continue in the character of American 
Agent, or at least until we shall find it necessary to order 
otherwise. Secondly, because the bill is drawn for an ex- 
pense, which we have no right or authority to defray. We 
have no authority to make presents of the public money to 
officers or men, however gallant and deserving, for the 
purpose of providing their families with clothing, or for any 
other purpose, nor to advance them money upon the credit 
of their share of prizes, nor have we authority to advance 


them any part of their pay or bounties ; all these things 
belong to Congress alone, and must be done by the proper 
Boards in America. Our authority extends no further than 
to order the necessary repairs to be made to your ship, to 
order her to be furnished with necessary victuals, which 
we are ready to order M. Schweighauser to do as soon as 
we shall be informed by you what repairs and victuals are 
wanted, with an estimate of the amount of the expenses. 

There is one thing further, which we should venture to 
do for the benefit of your men. Upon a representation 
from you of the quantity of slops necessary for them, we 
should order M. Schweighauser to furnish your ship with 
them ; not more however than one suit of clothes for each 
man, that you may take them on board of your ship, and 
deliver them out to the men as they shall be wanted, 
charging each man upon the ship's books with what he 
shall receive, that it may be deducted out of his pay. 

Lieutenant Simpson has stated to us your having put 
him under arrest for disobeying orders. As a court mar- 
tial must, by order of Congress, consist of three captains, 
three lieutenants, and three captains of marines, and these 
cannot be had here, it is our desire that he may have a 
passage procured for him by the first opportunity to Amer- 
ica, allowing him whatever may be necessary for his de- 
fence. As the consequences of an arrest in foreign coun- 
tries are thus extremely troublesome, they should be well 
considered before they are made. If you are in posses- 
sion of any resolution of Congress, giving the whole of ships 
of war when made prizes to the captors, we should be 
obliged to you for a copy of it. We should also be obliged 
to you for a particular account in whose hands the prizes 


made by you are, and in what forwardness is the sale of 

thera. We have the honor to be, &ic. 



Passy, June 3d, 1778. 


We have received sundry letters from Lieutenant Simp- 
son, and sundry certificates from officers and others, con- 
cerning his behavior in general, and particularly upon that 
occasion in which he is charged with disobedience of 
orders. Without giving or forming any decided opinion 
concerning his guilt or innocence of the crime laid to his 
charge, we may venture to say, thst the certificates we 
have received are very favorable to his character, and at 
least afford reason to hope, that he did not mean to diso- 
bey his orders. Be this however as it may, we are con- 
strained to say, that his confinement on board of any other 
ship than the Ranger, and mucii more his confinement in 
a prison on shore, appears to us to carry in it a degree of 
severity, which cannot be justified by reason or law. We 
therefore desire you would release Mr Simpson from his 
imprisonment, and permit him to go at large upon his 
parole to go to Nantes, there to take his passage to Amer- 
ica by the first favorable opportunity, in order to take his 
trial by a court martial. 

We request you to transmit to us as soon as possible, 
an account of what is due to Lieutenant Simpson, accord- 
ing to the ship's books, for wages. 

An application has been made to us in behalf of Mr An- 


drew Fallen, one of the prisoners lately made by you, and 
his case represented with such circumstances as have in- 
duced us to request you to let Mr Fallen go where he 
will, after taking his parole in writing, that he will not com- 
municate any intelligence, which may be prejudicial to the 
United States, that he will not take arms against them dur- 
ing the war, and that he will surrender himself prisoner of 
war, whenever called upon by Congress, or their jNlinisters 
at Paris. We are. Sir, &ic. 



Passy, June 3d, 1778. 

We have received several letters from you, and several 
certificates from officers and others, respecting your beha- 
vior in general, as well as particularly relative to the charge 
of disobedience of orders, for which you have been con- 
fined. It would be improper for us to give any opinion 
concerning this charge, which is to be determined only by 
a court martial. But we have requested Captain Jones to 
set you at liberty upon your parole to go to Nantes, there 
to take your passage to America by the first favorable 
opportunity, in order to take your trial by a court martial.* 
We are, Sir, your humble servants, 


* See a letter from Paul Jones on this subject in the Commissioners' 
Correspondence, Vol. T. p. 399. 



Passy, February 1st, 1779. 


I had yesterday the honor of your favor of the 2Sth of 
October, enclosing a resolution of Congress, of the 22d of 
the sanne month, to which I shall give all the attention in 
my power.* I have much satisfaction in the reflection, 
that I have hitherto endeavored whh much sincerity to 
conform to the spirit of it. What you recommend to me, 
viz. to communicate to the Ministers of other Courts such 
intelligence as I may receive, will not in future be so much 
in my power ; but as far as I can, while I stay in Europe, 
I shall endeavor to comply. Indeed, it is a long time that 
we have had no intelligence to communicate. Three 
vessels we know have been taken, each of which had 
many letters, and two of them public despatches ; one 
that sailed from Philadelphia the 4th of November, another 
that sailed from the same port the 24th, and another that 
sailed from Boston on the 20th. These letters and des- 
patches were all sunk, and we fear that others are lost. 

It would be agreeable to me, indeed, if I were able to 
throw any light on the subject of finances. As to a loan 
in Europe, all has been done that was in our power to this 
end, but without the desired effect. Taxation and econ- 
omy comprehend all the resources that I can think of. 

We expect the honor of a visit from the Marquis de 
Lafayette this morning, whom we shall receive widi grati- 
tude for his gallant and glorious exertions in one of the 
best causes in which a hero ever fought. 

• See the proceedings of Congfress on Foreign Affairs, Octoher 22d, 
1778, in the Secret Journals, Vol. II. p. 107. 

VOL. IV. 37 


Be pleased to accept my thanks for your kind wishes 
for ray happiness, and believe me to be your affectionate 



Passy, February 14tb, 1779. 

My Dear Sir, 

The Marquis de Lafayette did me the honor of a visit 
yesterday, and delivered me your favor of the 25th of 
-October. I am not sorry, as things have been ordered, 
that mine of May 24th did not reach you till the 24th of 
October, because, as the new arrangement* was previously 
made, it cannot be said that I had any hand in accom- 
plishing it. Yet I am glad the letter has arrived, because 
it will show that the new system is quite agreeable to me, 
that is, the appointment of a single Minister here. Believe 
me. Sir, it was become very necessary. 

How Congress will dispose of me, I do not know. If it 
is intended that I shall return, this will be very agreeable to 
me ; and I think that this is the most probable opinion, be- 
cause Mr Deane's "Address" was on the 5th of December. 
Congress soon after resolved to enter on foreign affairs 
and go through them. The Alliance sailed on the 14th of 
January, and there is no resolution arrived here respecting 
me. I think, therefore, that it is my duty to return, and 
that is my present determination ; but whether I shall go 
to Amsterdam, and from thence to St Eustatia, or to 
Spain, and thence home, or in a French man-of-war to 

* Dissolving tlie commission in Paris, and appointing Dr Franklin 
Minister Plenipotentiary. ' 


Martinique, or an American frigate to America, I have not 
decided. Some hint that I am to go to Holland, others to 
Spain. This last implies the removal of Mr Lee, which 
would give me much pain on many accounts. 1 think 
him a faithful raaa and able. Yet what the determina- 
tion will be upon the complaint of Mr Deane, I cannot 
say. This is a subject which I cannot write or talk 
about ; I would not feel such another sensation to be made 
a prince. I confess 1 expected the most dismal conse- 
quences from it, because I thought it would render busi- 
ness and confidence between us three totally impractica- 
ble ; that it would destroy all confidence between this Court 
and us, and that it would startle Spain; that it would 
alienate many in Holland from us, and that it would en- 
courage the Ministry in England and disconcert opposition 
so much, that they \yould even make another vigorous 
campaign, besides all the evils it would produce among 
you. But the arrival of Dr Franklin's commission has 
relieved me from many of these fears. This Court have 
confidence in him alone. But I think they were cautious, 
even of him, when he had two colleagues, to whom he was 
obliged to communicate everything, one of whom was 
upon as bad terms with him as with Mr Deane. 1 have 
had a kind of a task here, as Mr Lovell expresses him- 
self; determined to be the partizan of neither, yet to be 
the friend of both, as far as the service would admit. I 
am fixed in these two opinions, that leaving the Doctor 
here alone is right, and that Mr Lee is a very honest and 
faithful man. 

You say that France should be our polar star in case war 
should take place, I was, I confess, surprised at this ex- 
pression. Was not war sufiiciently declared in the King of 


England's speech, and in the answers of both Houses, and in 
the recall of his Ambassador ? Has it not been sufficiently 
declared by actual hostilities in most parts of the world ? 1 
suspect there will never be any other declaration of war. 
Yet, there is in fact as complete a war as ever existed, 
and it will continue, for you may depend upon it, the King 
of France is immovably fixed in your support, and so are 
his Ministers. Every suspicion of a wavering disposition 
in this Court concerning the support of American inde- 
pendence is groundless, is ridiculous, is impossible. You 
may remember, that several years ago, several gentlemen 
were obliged to reason, to show that American indepen- 
dence was the interest of France. Since my arrival in 
this Kingdom, I never yet found one man, nor heard of 
more than one, who doubted it. If the voice of popularity 
is anything, I assure you that this voice was never so 
unanimous in America in favor of our independence as it 
is here. It is so much so, that if the Court were to depart 
from its present system in this respect, it is my clear opin- 
ion it would make this nation very unhappy, and the Court 
too ; but I again repeat, that the Court is as fixed as the 
nation. And this union of sentiment arises out of such 
principles in nature, as, without a miracle, cannot alter. 
Common sense in America supported independence; 
common sense in France supports the alliance, and will 
support it to the last. Nay, the common sense of Eu- 
rope supports the common sense of France. 

By the way, my regards to Mr Paine, and tell him, 
that I do not agree with him in his ideas about natural ene- 
mies. It is because England is the natural enemy of 
France, that America in her present situation is her natu- 
ral friend ', at least, this is one cause, although there are 


many others. Some of them are more glorious for human 

France scarcely ever made a war before, that was pop- 
ular in Europe. There is not a State, that 1 can hear of> 
but applauds her, and wishes her success. And in point of 
finance and naval strength, and in skill and bravery of offi- 
cers, she seems to be superior to England. You may be 
surprised to hear me say naval strength, yet if you consider 
the wretched state of the British Navy, as to masts, yards, 
rigging, and men, you will not wonder, although their 
number of ships may be superior. I therefore think, that 
all is safe. We may have further trouble, and trials of our 
faith and patience. But trouble is to you and me familiar, 
and I begin to think it necessary for my health. 

There is one thing in my letter to you exaggerated ; the 
expenses of the Commissioners. I had been here but a 
short time, and wrote according to the best guess I could 
make, from what I had heard ; but I now think I put it 
much too high, yet I cannot say exactly.* 

February 20th. There is not the least appearance of 
the embarkation of troops for America, nor any intelli- 
gence of transports taken up. The national discontent is 
great, and tumults have arisen in Edinburgh and Lon- 
don. AccoiKling to present appearances, they will have 
occasion for so many of their troops to keep their populace 
in order, as to be able to spare few for America. Their 
proclamations are all alike from Burgoyne's to those of the 
Commissioners. The weaker they are, the more they puff. 

I am, he. 


• See tlic statement here referred to, in a letter dated May 2Ist, 
1778, p. 245, of the present volume. 



Passy, February 16tli, 1779. 


Last evening I had the honor of your letter of the 13th 
of this month, in answer to mine of the 11th.* 

I thank your Excellency for the politeness with which 
you have agreed to my proposition, of a conference upon 
ihe subject of Mr Deane's "Address to the People of the 
United States." 

At the time when my letter of the 11th was written and 
sent to your Excellency, there were three Commissioners 
here, representatives of Congress, betv/een whom it ap- 
peared to me Mr Deane's Address had a tendency to 
destroy all confidence, as well as between your Excellency 
and them, for which reason I thought it my duty to endea- 
vor, 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 oi" the 11th was 
sent, the Aid-de-Camp of the Marquis de Lafayette ar- 
rived, with despatches from Congress to Dr Franklin, 
and from their Committee of Foreign Afiliirs to me, in- 
forming me of the new arrangement by which Dr Franklin 
is constituted Minister Plenipotentiary here, and I am re- 
stored to the character of a private citizen ; by which, 
so wholly changed are the scene and the characters here, 
that I now think I have no right to do what, if I had con- 
tinued in the character of a Commissioner, I should have 
thought it my indispensable duty to do. 

This masterly measure of Congress, which has my most 

* These letters relate to Silas Deane and Arthur Lee, and may be 
found in Arthur Lee's Correspondence, Vol, II. pp. 224, 227. 


hearty approbation, and of the necessity of which I was 
fully convinced before I had been two months in Europe, 
has taken away the possibilities of those dissensions, which 
I so much apprehended. I shall not, therefore, give your 
Excellency any further trouble, than to take an 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 Majesty's benevolence to the United 
States, and inviolable adherence to the treaties between 
the two powers, with a similar confidence in the good dis- 
position of his Majesty's Ministers of State and of this na- 
tion towards us, and with a heart impressed with gratitude 
for the many civilities which I have received, in the short 
space I have resided here, at Brest, in the city, and in the 
country, and particularly from your Excellency. 

I have the honor to be, Sec. 



Passy, February 21st, 1779. 

My dear Marquis, 

The conversation with which you honored me last eve- 
ning, has induced me to give you the trouble of this letter 
upon the same subject. 

It is certain that a loan of money is very much needed 
to redeem the redundancy of our paper bills, and without 
it, it is impossible to foresee what will be the consequence to 
their credit, and therefore every service, that may be ren- 
dered in order to obtain it from this kingdom, from Spain, 
or Holland, will be a most acceptable service. 

But without some other exertions, even a loan perhaps 
would be but a temporary relief; with them a smaller loan 


might siifBce. You know perfectly well, that the enemy 
in America are at present very weak, and in great distress 
in every part. They are weak in Canada, weak in Hal- 
ifax, weak in Rhode Island, weak in New York, weak in 
the Floridas, and weak in every one of the West India 
Islands. A strong armament of ships of the line, with five 
thousand troops, directed against Halifax, Rhode Island, 
or New York, must infallibly succeed. So it must against 
the Floridas, so it must against Canada, or any one of tlie 
West India Islands. 

You are very sensible, that in this state of weakness, the 
British possessions in America depend upon each other for 
reciprocal support. The troops and ships derive such 
supplies of provisions from Canada and Nova Scotie, that 
if these places or either of them were lost, it would be diffi- 
cult, if not impossible, for the other to subsist. The West 
India Islands derive such supplies from the Floridas, that 
if they v;ere lost the others could hardly subsist. Their 
fleets and armies in Canada, Halifax, Rhode Island, New 
York, and the Floridas, receive supplies of rum, sugar, mo- 
lasses, he. from the West India Islands, without which 
they could scarcely subsist. Every part of their posses- 
sions in America, both on the continent and in ihe islands, 
receives constant supplies from Europe, from England, 
Scotland, and Ireland, without which they must fall. You 
perceive, therefore, that their dominions in America at 
present form such a chain, that the links mutually support 
each other in such a manner, that if one or two were taken 
away, the whole, or at least the greater part, must fall. 
In this state of things then, the obvious policy is to send a 
strong squadron of ships of the line to co-operate with the 
Count d'Estaing and the American army, in some expedi- 


tion directed against New York, Rhode Island, Halifax or 
perhaps all of them in course. Five or six thousand troops 
would be quite enough. Above all, it is indispensably ne- 
cessary to keep a clear naval superiority, both on the coast 
of the continent, and in the West Islands. This together 
with French and American privateers would make such 
havoc among the enemy's transports, passing from one of 
their possessions to another, as must ruin their affairs. The 
French have a great advantage in carrying on this kind of 
war in America, at present. The British ships are badly 
manned and in bad repair. They cannot send them into 
the American seas, without the utmost terror for their own 
coasts. And when they are in America, they have not 
such advantages for supplies of provisions, naval stores, 
&;c. as the French. 

The devastation, which was made among their ships of 
the line, frigates, transports, and traders, in the American 
seas the last summer, shows how much might be done, if a 
stronger force were sent there. As long as the enemy have 
possession of New York and Rhode Island, so long it will 
be necessary for us to keep up large armies, to watch their 
motions, and defend the country against them, which will 
oblige us to emit more paper, and slill further to increase 
the depreciation. Now as long as they maintain the do- 
minion of those seas, their troops will be protected by the 
cannon of their ships, and we could not dislodge them with 
an army, however large, at least we could not keep posses- 
sion of those places. But if their force was captivated in 
those seas, as it might easily be by a sea force, co-operating 
with the land forces, we might reduce our army and innu- 
merable other articles of expense. We need not emit any 
more paper, and that already out would depreciate no fur- 
voL. jv. 38 


ther. I should be happy to have further conversation with 
you, Sir, upon these subjects, or to explain anything by 
letter, which may be in my power. 

With the highest sentiments of esteem and respect, I 
have the honor to be, he. 




Versailles, February 21st, 1779. 

I have received the letter, which you have done me the 
honor to write me on the IGth of this month. Although 
you are to be henceforth without a public character in 
France, be persuaded that the esteem and consideration, 
which you have justly acquired, are by no means dimin- 
ished, and I flatter myself. Sir, that you will not deprive 
me of the pleasure of assuring you of it by word of mouth, 
and being at the same time the interpreter of the favorable 
sentiments with which the King honors you. They are 
the consequence of the particular satisfaction, which his 
Majesty has received from the wise conduct you have held 
during the whole time of your commission, as well as the 
zeal you have constantly displayed, both for the cause 
of your country, and for the support of the alliance which 
attaches it to his Majesty. 

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, &;c. 




Passy, February 27tli, 1779. 

I have received the letter, which your Excellency did 
me the honor to write me on the 21st of this month. 
This testimony from your Excellency of those indulgent 
sentiments, with which his Majesty is pleased to honor my 
sincere intentions, cannot fail to be preserved by me and 
my posterity as a most precious monument ; and what is 
of infinitely more importance, it cannot fail to give great 
satisfaction to my country, to find that a servant of theirs, 
who has been honored with no small share of their confi- 
dence in the most dangerous of times, and most critical 
circumstances, has been so happy as not to forfeit the 
confidence of their illustrious ally. 

I have the honor to be, &tc. 



Passy, February 27th, 1771). 


By the new arrangement, which was brought by the 
Marquis de Lafayette, I find myself restored to the char- 
acter of a private citizen. 

The appointment of a single Minister at the Court of 
Versailles was not unexpected to me, because 1 had not 
been two months in Europe before I was convinced of the 
policy, and indeed of the necessity, of such a measure. 
But I ever entertained hopes, that when the news of such 
an alteration should arrive, the path of my own duty would 


have been made plain to me by the directions of Congress, 
either to return home or go elsewhere. But as no infor- 
mation that we have received from Congress has expressed 
their intentions concerning me, I am obliged to collect 
them by implication, according to the best of my under- 
standing, and as the election of the new Minister Plenipo- 
tentiary was on the fourteenth of September, and the Al- 
liance sailed from Boston the fourteenth of January, and in 
this space of four months no notice appears to have been 
taken of me, I think the only inference that can be made 
is, that Congress have no further service for me on this 
side the water, and that all my duties are on the other. I 
have accordingly given notice to his Excellency, M. de 
Sartine, and to his Excellency the Minister Plenipotentiary 
here, of my intentions to return, which I shall do by the 
first frigate that sails for any part of the United States, 
unless I should receive counter orders in the meantime. 
In a matter of so much uncertainty, I hope I shall not incur 
the disapprobation of Congress, even if I should not judge 
aright of their intentions, which it is my desire as well as 
ray duty to observe, as far as I can know them. 

By the papers enclosed vvidi this. Congress will perceive 
the discontented and tumultuous state of the three king- 
doms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, which is so great 
and so rapidly increasing, that the United States will have 
little to fear from reinforcements of their enemies the en- 
suing campaign. All their forces will be necessary to keep 
in order their own riotous populace, and to replace those 
which are daily consuming in the West Indies. There is, 
however, no prospect of their evacuating either New York 
or Rhode Island. The possession of those places is so 
indispensable for the preservation of their West India and 


Other trade, as well as of their other dominions in Ameri- 
ca, that nothing but the last necessity will induce them to 
give them up. 

The greatest source of danger and unhappiness to the 
States then probably will be a depreciating currency. 
The prospect of a loan in Europe, after every measure 
that has been or could be taken, I think it my duty to say 
frankly to Congress, is very unpromising. The causes of 
this are very obvious, and cannot be removed ; the state of 
our country hself, and the course of exchange, would be 
sufficient to discourage such a loan, if there were no other 
obstruction, but there are many others. There are more 
borrowers in Europe than lenders, and the British loan it- 
self will not be made this year at a less interest than seven 
and a half per cent. 

I see no hope of relief, but from economy and taxation, 
and those I flatter myself will be found sufficient, if the 
people are once convinced of the necessity of them. 
When a people are contending not only for the greatest 
object, that any people ever had in view, but for security 
from the greatest evil that any nation ever had to dread, 
(for there is at this hour no medium between unlimited 
subjugation to Parliament and entire sovereignty) they 
must be destitute of sense as well as of virtue, if they are 
not willing to pay sufficient sums annually to defray the 
necessary expense of their defence in future, supported as 
they are by so powerful an ally, and by the prospect of 
others, against a kingdom already exhausted, without any 
ally at all, or a possibility of obtaining one. As diis is the 
first time I have had the honor to address myself to Con- 
gress, since we received the news of your Excellency's 


appointment to the chair, you will please to accept of my 
congratulations on that event. 
1 have the honor to be, with the highest esteem. &c. 



Passy, March 1st, 1779. 

My last letter to Congress was on the twentyseventh of 
last month ; since which an account of the new loan is 
received from London, and as this may, perhaps, afford to 
Congress the clearest proof of the weakness of their ene- 
mies, it is of importance, that it should be transmitted to 
them. Some accounts say, that the loan is to be seven 
millions, others eight. The conditions of the loan are, in 
general, the established interest of three per cent, an an- 
nuity for three and three quarters per cent for twentynine 
years, and seven lottery tickets for every thousand pounds. 

In one account the advantages are thus stated. 
100 3 per cent, - - . - £Q} qO 00 

£3 15s. annunity for twentynine years, at 

twelve years' purchase, - - - 45 00 00 
Two fifths of a year's interest and annuity, gain- 
ed by both beginning from the 5th of Janu- 
ary, although the money is paid monthly, and 
not ended until December, - - 2 14 00 

£3 premium of seven lottery tickets for each 

£1000, gives for each hundred, - - 2 2 00 

For each £100 paid, there is received £110 16 00 

This statement for the first year is pretty accurate. 
Another account makes it ten and one quarter per cent 


for the first year. The subsequent years, however, it 
will not be so much. Yet for all the subsequent years, 
during the term of the annuity, it will be six and three 
quarters per cent. Upon the whole, it is generally looked 
upon as good as seven and a half per cent. In a country 
where the highest interest, that is tolerated by the standing 
laws, is five per cent, this is a terrible symptom. 

While this system has amy credit among the money 
lenders in Holland, Switzerland, Geneva, he. Congress 
will perceive, that there is litde hope of procuring a pri- 
vate loan for the United States from any of those places. 
Whether any may be procured from any State, or Prince, 
time must discover. 

I have the honor to be, he. 




St Germain, April 9tl), 1779. 

Dear Sir, 
I beg leave to apply to you, in an instance where T am 
much concerned. The case I shall lay before you, and 
recommend to your care. There is an officer in Paris, 
whom I wish to send over to America on board the Alli- 
ance, and who I know would be of service in the Amer- 
ican army. For that reason, besides his recommendations, 
I have a great regard for him. I wish the gentleman may 
find a passage in the frigate. Dr Franklin cannot oflicially 
send an officer, but I beg you would take him along with 
you, as I take upon myself the charge of presenting him 
to Congress. All the marks of kindness I ever met with 


from them, and the knowledge which the strictest friendship 
has given me of General Washington's sentiments, make 
me as certain as possible, that my officer will meet with 
the best reception in Philadelphia and in the army, who 
know I am acquainted with what may be convenient to 

It is with a great concern, that I hear of discontents be- 
tween Captain Landais and his officers, and I flatter my- 
self, that you will again establish harmony and concord 
among them. I will take the opportunity of this frigate to 
write over to my friends in America. 

The articles alluded to in your letter from Passy, I have 
been very busy about, but 1 did not meet with great suc- 
cess till DOW, and what is done is not equal to what I could 
wish. It is true, our circumstances are rather narrow at 
this moment, and I believe, that the Ministers are willing 
to do what they think possible, or advantageous, but we do 
not always agree in opinion. I hope, however, America 
will have more and more occasions of knowing the true 
attachment of this nation for her. 

With great impatience I wait for your answer, that I 
may send the officer to Nantes. I hope you will not re- 
fuse your patronage on this occasion, and I may answer 
Congress will have no objection to take a gentleman whom 
I send them. You will, my dear Sir, in setding his pas- 
sage, much oblige your humble servant, 




L'Orient, June 9th, 1779. 

Dear Sir, 

Your favors of June the 2d and 6ih are now before me ; 
that of the 29th of March I have answered, if I ever re- 
ceived it, for I have answered every one I have received 
from you, but not having my papers at hand cannot be 
particular. I thank you for the manuscript and the pam- 

I am happy to hear from you, and from all others, so 
agreeable a character of the Chevalier de la Luzerne, and 
M. Marbois, the last of whom I have had the pleasure to 

I wish it was in my power to do more for Mr Ford, and 
to take him with me, but the frigate will be so crowded, I 
fear it will be impossible. 

The declarations of the northern powers against the 
right of England to stop their merchant vessels, and arm- 
ing to support their rights, are important events. The 
displacing of Mr Paine is a disagreeable and alarming 

It is with no small astonishment, that I learn by your 
letter of the 5th, that by advices from America since your 
last to me, your enemies are determined to impeach your 
attachment to our country and her cause. Your request 
that I would give my opinioti on that subject, from the 
knowledge I have had of your conduct, while we acted in 
commission together, can meet with no objection from me. 
But I hope I need not inform you, that my opinion upon 
this point is no secret at Versailles, Paris, Nantes, or else- 
where. Enclosed is a copy of a letter I did myself the 
VOL. IV. 39 


honor to write to his Excellency the Count de Vergennes 
some tinne ago, which, for anything I know, is communi- 
cated to all the Court, but the answer shows that it was 
received. I had my reasons then for keeping it to myself, 
which exist now no more. I would transcribe ihe whole 
correspondence if it was in my power, but I have not 
time, and it is sufficient to say, that it was conducted by 
his Excellency with the most obliging politeness. It is my 
duty now to furnish you with a copy, lest any accident 
may befal me, which is by no means improbable. I 
thought then, and am confirmed in that opinion more and 
more, that it was my duty to communicate my sentiments 
at Court, upon that very extraordinary occasion, and from 
regard to my own reputation, 1 am very glad you have 
given me an opportunity of furnishing you with evidence, 
that I did this part of my duty so far forth- The letter 
was written, sent to Versailles, and received by his Excel- 
lency before the arrival of the Marquis de Lafayette, his 
Aid-de-Camp, or Dr Winship ; that is, before the news 
reached Passy of the new arrangement.* But lest that 
letter should not be sufficient, I shall enclose another cer- 
tificate, not without a heartfelt grief, that malice should 
have been so daring and so barbarous, as to make either 
such a letter or such a certificate from me either necessary 
or even pardonable. f Your hint, that I must correct some 
things that are amiss, extorts from me an involuntary sigh. 
I shall be in a situation critical and difficult without exam- 
ple, my own character at stake from various quarters, and 
without anything to support me but truth and innocence, 
and you need not be informed, that these are not always 

• See this letter in Arthur Lee's Correspondence, VolJI. p. 224. 
t See as above, p. 249. 


sufficient. I have little expectation of doing good ; God 
grant I may do no harm. I shall not designedly. But I 
suppose Congress intend to examine me as a witness, and 
1 must tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the 
truth, as far as I know it. If the task should end here, I 
should not be much embarrassed, but if they should pro- 
ceed to demand of me opinions and judgments of men and 
things, as there is reason to expect they will, although 1 
hope they will not, what will be the consequences .'' Upon 
the whole, truth must be my shield, and if the shafts of 
interested malice can pierce through this, they shall pierce 

I have the honor to be, Sic. 



Braintree, August 3d, 1779. 

On the 27th of February, I had the honor of writing to 
Congress, informing them of my intention of returning 
home, in consequence of the commission which super- 
seded mine. On the first of ]March, I had again the honor 
of writing some information concerning the unprecedented 
interest, which the British Government are obliged to give 
for the loan of money for the service of the present year. 
On the 8th of March, I took my leave of the American 
Minister, and left Paris for Nantes, in expectation of there 
meeting the Alliance, and sailing in her for America in a 
few weeks. Upon my arrival at Nantes, I learned the 
Alliance was yet at Brest, and so embarrassed with nearly 
forty prisoners, who were supposed to have been concerned 


in a conspiracy to carry her to England, and with other 
difficulties, that it was uncertain when she would be ready. 

The agent at Nantes at this time receiving a letter from 
his Excellency, Dr Franklin, desiring him to consult me 
about the direction of the Alliance, I thought it would ex- 
pedite the public service for me to make a journey to 
Brest, about two hundred miles, which I undertook ac- 
cordingly, and arrived at that port without loss of time. 
There, after an attendance of some weeks, and much ne- 
gotiation with the Commandant, Intendant, and Agent, all 
things were prepared for the frigate to sail for Nantes, with 
about one hundred British prisoners, to be exchanged for 
a like number of American prisoners, arrived there from 
England in a cartel. I returned to Nantes, and the Alli- 
ance in a few days arrived in the river, the prisoners were 
exchanged, about sixty enlisted in the Alliance, and the 
rest in the Poor Richard, Captain Jones. 

After accommodating all the difficulties with the British 
prisoners, the American prisoners, the officers and crew of 
the Alliance, and supplying all their necessary wants. Cap- 
tain Landais, having orders to sail for America, and 'every- 
thing ready to proceed to sea in a few days, received unex- 
pected orders to proceed to L'Orient, and wait there for 
further orders. I had the honor of a letter at the same 
time from his Excellency, enclosing one from the Minister 
of Marine, by which I learned, that the King had been 
graciously pleased to grant me a passage on board the 
frigate, which was to carry His Majesty's new Minister 
Plenipotentiary to the United States, that the frigate was 
at L'Orient, and that the Minister would be there in a few 
days. I went in the Alliance from Nantes to L'Orient, 
where after some time the frigate, the Sensible, arrived, 


but his Excellency, the Chevalier de la Luzerne, did not 
arrive until the 10th of June. On the I4th of June, and 
not before, I had the pleasure to be under sail, and on the 
3d of August, arrived in Nantasket Roads. 

1 have entered into this detail of disappointments to justify 
myself for not returning sooner, and to shew that it was not 
my fault, that I was not at home in eight weeks from the 
first authentic information, that I had nothing further to do 
in France. There is nothing remaining for me to do but 
to settle my accounts with Congress ; but as part of my 
accounts are in conjunction with my late colleagues, with 
whom I lived in the same house during my residence in 
Paris, I am not able to judge whether Congress will 
choose to receive my accounts, or to wait until the other 
Commissioners shall exhibit theirs, and have the whole 
together, under one view, so as to do equal justice to all. 
I am ready, however, to render all the account in my pow- 
er, either jointly or separately, whenever Congress shall 
order it, and I shall wait their directions accordingly. 

It is not in my power, having been so long from Paris, 
to give Congress any news of importance, except that the 
Brest fleet, under the Count d'Orvilliers, was at sea the 
beginning of June, that Admiral Arbuthnot was at Plymouth 
the 31st of May, and that there was a universal persuasion, 
arising from letters from Paris and London, that Spain 
had decided against the English. The Chevalier de la Lu- 
zerne will be able to give Congress satisfactory information 
upon this head. 

I ought not to conclude this letter, without expressing 
ray obligations to Captain Chavagne, and the other oflicers 
of the Sensible, for their civilities in the course of my pas- 
sage home, and the pleasure 1 have had in the conversation 



of his Excellency, the new Minister Plenipotentiary from 
our august ally, and the Secretary to the embassy. Mon- 
sieur Marbois. 

The Chevalier de la Luzerne is a Knight of the Order 
of St John of Jerusalem, of an ancient and noble family, 
connected by blood with many characters of principal 
name in the kingdom, a grandson of the celebrated Chan- 
cellor de la Moignon, a nephew of Monsieur Malesherbes, 
perhaps still more famous as first President of the Court of 
Aids and as a Minister of State, a brother to the Count de 
la Luzerne, and of the Bishop of Sangres, one of the three 
Dukes and Peers who had the honor to assist in the con- 
secration of the King, a near relation of the Marcehal de 
Broglie and the Count his brother, and of many other 
important personages in that country. Nor is his personal 
character less respectable than his connexions, as he is 
possessed of much useful information of all kinds, and par- 
ticularly of the political system of Europe, obtained in his 
late embassy in Bavaria ; and of the justest sentiments of 
tlie mutual interests of his country and ours, and of the 
utility to both of that alliance, which so happily unites them, 
and at the same time divested of all personal and party 
attachments and aversions. Congress and their constitu- 
ents, I flatter myself, will have much satisfaction in his ne- 
gotiations, as well as in those of the Secretary to the 
embassy, who was recently Secretary to the embassy 
in Bavaria, and who is a counsellor of the Parliament of 
Melz, a gentleman whose abilities, apphcation, and dispo- 
sition cannot fail to make him useful in the momentous 
office he sustains. 

I have the honor to be, with great respect, he. 




Braintree, August 4tli, 1779. 


At the close of the service on which Congress have 
done me the honor to send me, it may not be amiss to 
submit a few remarks to their consideration on the general 
state of affairs in Europe, as far as they relate to the in- 
terests of the United States. As the time approaches, 
when our relations with the most considerable States in 
Europe will multiply and assume a greater stability, they 
deserve the attention of Americans in general, but espe- 
cially of those composing their supreme council. 

France deserves the first place among those powers, 
with which our connexions will be the most intimate, and 
it is with pleasure I am able to assure Congress, that from 
the observations I have made during my residence in that 
Kingdom, I have the strongest reasons to believe, that 
their august ally, his Ministers, and nation, are possessed 
of the fullest persuasion of the justice of our cause, of the 
great importance of our independence to their interests, 
and the firmest resolution to preserve the faith of treaties 
inviolate, and to cultivate our friendship with sincerity and 
zeal. This is of the more consequence to us, as this 
power enjoys in Europe at this hour an influence, which it 
has not before experienced for many years. 

Men are so sensible of a constant tendency in others to 
excesses, that a signal superiority of power never appears, 
without exciting jealousies and efforts to reduce it. Thus, 
.when Spain, under Charles the Fiflh and his successor, 
made herself dangerous, a great part of Europe united 
against her, assisted in severing the United Provinces from 


her, and by degrees greatly diminished her power. Thus, 
when France, under Lewis the Fourteenth, indulged the 
spirit of conquest too far, a great part of mankind united 
their forces against her, with such success as to involve her 
in a train of misfortunes, out of which she never emerged 
before the present reign. The English, in their turn, by 
means of their commerce and extensive setdements abroad, 
arose to a degree of opulence and naval power, which ex- 
cited more extravagant passions in her own breast, and 
more tyrannical exertions of her influence, than appeared 
in either of the other cases. The consequence has been 
similar, but more remarkable. Europe seems to be more 
universally and sincerely united in the desire of reducing 
her, than they ever were in any former instance. This is 
the true cause why the French Court never made war with 
so universal a popularity among their own subjects, so gen- 
eral an approbation of other Courts, and such unanimous 
wishes among all nations for her success, as at this time. 

The personal character of the King, his declared patron- 
age of morals and economy, and the great strokes of wis- 
dom, which have marked the commencement of his reign, 
the active spring which has been given to commerce by 
the division of the British empire, and our new connex- 
ions with his subjects ; all these causes, together with the 
two treaties of peace, which have been lately signed under 
his auspices and his mediation, have given to this power 
a reputation, which the last reign had lost. 

The first of these treaties has determined those contro- 
versies, which had for a long time divided Russia and the 
Porte, and the parties have been equally satisfied with the 
conditions of their Reconciliation, a circumstance the more 
honorable for the French Ministry, and the Chevalier de 


St Priest, their Ambassador at Constantinople, as it is un- 
common. The ancient confidence of the Porte in the 
Court of Versailles has revived, and the coolness, or 
rather enmity, which divided France and Russia for near 
twenty years, gives place to a friendship, which is at this 
time in all its fervor, and will probably be durable, as 
these powers have no interest to annoy each other, but, on 
the contrary, are able to assist each other in a manner the 
most essential. 

The peace of Germany, signed at Teschin, the 13th of 
last May, has not equally satisfied the belligerent powers, 
who were on the one part the Emperor, and on the other, 
the King of Prussia and the Elector of Saxony his ally. 

From the multitudes of writings, which have appeared 
before and during this war, in which the causes, the mo- 
tives, and the rights of it are discussed, it appears, that in 
176S, at the extinction of one of the branches of the 
House of Bavaria, which has been separated from its 
trunk for near five centuries, the House of Austria thought 
itself able, and priests and lawyers among their own sub- 
jects were complaisant enough to tell her, that she had a 
right to put herself in possession of the best part of the 
patrimony of the extinguished line. 

The King of Prussia, to whose interest this augmenta- 
tion of power would have been dangerous, has crowned an 
illustrious reign, by displaying all the resources of military 
genius and profound policy in opposition to it. While he 
contended in the field, France negotiated, and the work, 
begun by his arms, was completed by the cabinet of Ver- 

The Palatine House of Bavaria, the Duke of Deux 
Ponts, and particularly the Elector of Saxony, have ob- 

VOL. IV. 40 

314 JOH^"^ ADAMS. 

tained all they could reasonably demand, and the empire 
has preserved its balance of power in spite of its head. 
The King of Prussia had covered himself with glory, to 
which he put the finishing stroke, by not demanding any 
compensation for the expenses of the war. All parties 
have been satisfied except the Emperor, who has disor- 
dered his finances, ruined his Kingdom of Bohemia with 
immense fines, has not obtained any advantage over his 
adversary, and consequently has destroyed among his 
own troops the opinion they had of their superiority, and, 
in fine, has sustained a loss the most sensible for a young 
Prince just beginning to reign, the reputation of justice 
and moderation. It is the influence, the address, and 
ability of the French Minister, joined to the firmness of 
Russia, which have completed this work ; and Lewis the 
Sixteenth has restored in Germany to the nation over 
which he reigns, that reputation which his grandfather had 

The merit of the Chevalier de la Luzerne, who was Am- 
bassador in Bavaria during the transaction of this business, 
and that of M. Marbois, the Secretary to that embassy, 
in accomplishing an affair of such importance, which was 
rendered peculiarly delicate by the late family connexion 
between the Courts of Vienna and Versailles, was prob- 
ably a motive for sending them now to America, a mission 
of no less importance and no less delicacy. 

It is not probable, however, that they could have suc- 
ceeded so soon, if England could have afforded subsidies 
to the Emperor. The Revolution in America, in which 
the French King has taken an earlier and a greater part 
than any other Sovereign in Europe, has operated so as to 
conciliate to him a consideration that is universal. The 


new Minister will give to Congress informatiou the most 
precise in this respect, and touching the part which Spain 
is taking at this lime, for which reason I sliail refrain from 
entering into it, and content myself with observing, that all 
these considerations ought to induce us to cherish the alli- 
ance of France ; and that every good citizen of the United 
States ought to endeavor to destroy the remains of those 
prejudices, which our ancient rulers have endeavored to 
inspire us with ; that we have nothing to fear and much 
to hope from France, while we conduct ourselves with 
good sense and firmness, and that we cannot take too much 
pains to multiply the commercial relations, and strengthen 
the political connexions between the two nations ; pro- 
vided always, that we preserve prudence and resolution 
enough to receive implicitly no advice whatever, but to 
judge always for ourselves, and to guard ourselves against 
those principles in government, and those manners, which 
are so opposite to our own Constitution and to our own 
characters, as a young people, called by Providence to the 
most honorable and important of all duties, that of forming 
establishments for a great nation and a new world. 

In the opinion of some, the power with which uc shall 
one day have a relation the most immediate, next to that 
of France, is Great Britain. But it ought to be consid- 
ered, that this power loses every day her consideration, 
and runs towards her ruin. Her riches, in which her 
power consisted, she has lost with us, and never can 
regain. With us she has lost her Mediterranean trade, 
her African trade, her German and Holland trade, her 
ally, Portugal, her ally, Russia, and her natural ally, the 
House of Austria ; at least, as being unable to protect 
these as she once did, she can obtain no succor from 


them. In short, one branch of commerce has been lop- 
ped off after another, and one political interest sacrificed 
after another. She resembles the melancholy spectacle of 
a great wide spreading tree, that has been girded at the 
root. Her endeavors to regain these advantages, will con- 
tinually keep alive in her breast the most malevolent pas- 
sions towards us. Her envy, her jealousy, and resent- 
ment, will never leave us, while we are what we must un- 
avoidably be, her rivals in the fisheries, in various other 
branches of commerce, and even in naval power. If 
peace should unhappily be made, leaving Canada, Nova 
Scotia, or the Floridas, or any of them, in her hands, jeal- 
ousies and controversies will be perpetually arising. The 
degree, therefore, of intercom-se with this nation, which 
will ever again take place, may justly be considered as 
problematical, or rather the probability is, that it will 
never be so great as some persons imagine ; moreover, I 
think that every citizen in the present circumstances, who 
respects his country, and the engagements she has taken, 
ought to abstain from the foresight of a return of friendship 
between us and the English, and act as if it never was 
to be. 

But it is lawful to consider, that which will probably be 
formed between the Hollanders and us. The similitude 
of manners, of religion, and in some respects of constitu- 
tion, the analogy between the means by which the two 
republics arrived at independency, but above all the attrac- 
tions of commercial interest, will infallibly draw them to- 
gether. This connexion will not probably show itself, 
before a peace or a near prospect of peace. Too many 
motives of fear or interest place the Hollanders in a depen- 
dance on England, to suffer her to connect herself openly 


with us at present. Nevertheless, if the King of Prussia, 
could be induced to take us by the hand, his great influ- 
ence in the United Provinces might contribute greatly to 
conciliate their friendship for us. Loans of money, and 
the operations of commerical agents or societies, will be 
the first threads of our connexions with this power. From 
the essays and inquiries of your Commissioners at Paris, 
it appears, that some money may be borrowed there, and 
from the success of several enterprises by the way of St 
Eustatia, it seems that the trade between the two coun- 
tries is likely to increase, and possibly Congress may think 
it expedient to send a Minister there. If they should, it 
will be proper to give him a discretionary power to pro- 
duce his commission or not, as he shall find it likely to 
succeed, to give him full powers and clear instructions 
concerning the borrowing of money ; and the man himself 
above all should have consummate prudence, and a caution 
and discretion, that will be proof against every trial. 

If Congress could find any means of paying the interest 
annually in Europe, commercial and pecuniary connexions 
would strengthen themselves from day to day, and if the 
fall of the credit of England should terminate in bankruptcy, 
the Seven United Provinces, having nothing to dissemble, 
would be zealous for a part of those rich benefits, which 
our commerce offers to the maritime powers, and by an 
early treaty with us secure those advantages, from which 
they have already discovered strong symptoms of a fear of 
being excluded by delays. It is scarcely necessary to ob- 
serve to Congress, that Holland has lost her influence in 
Europe to such a degree, that there is little other regard 
for her remaining but that of a prodigal heir for a rich 
usurer, who lends him money at a higii interest. The 


State which is poor and in debt has no political stability. 
Their army is very small, and their navy is less. The 
immense riches of individuals may possibly be in some 
future time the great misfortune of the nation, because the 
means of defence are not proportioned to the temptation 
which is held out for some necessitous, avaricious, and for- 
midable neighbor to invade her. 

The active commerce of Spain is very inconsiderable ; 
of her passive commerce, we shall not fail to have a part j 
the vicinity of this power, her forces, her resources, ought 
to make us attentive to her conduct, but if we may judge 
of the future by the past, I should hope we had nothing to 
fear from it. The genius and interest of the nation incline 
it to repose. She cannot determine upon war but in the 
last extremity, and even then she sighs for peace. She is 
not possessed of the spirit of conquest, and we have reason 
to congratulate ourselves, that we have her for the nearest 
and principal neighbor. Her conduct towards us at this 
time will perhaps appear equivocal and indecisive, her de- 
terminations appear to be solely the fruit of the negotiations 
of the Court of Versailles. But it ought to be consid- 
ered, she has not had motives so pressing as those of 
France to take in hand our defence. Whether she has an 
eye upon the Floridas, or what other terms she may expect 
from Congress, they are no doubt better informed than I 
am. To their wisdom,i<t must be submitted to give her 
satisfaction, if her terras are moderate, and her offers in 
proportion. This conduct may conciliate her affection and 
shorten delays, a point of great importance, as the present 
moment appears to be decisive. 

Portugal, under the administration of the Marquis de 
Pombal, broke some of the shackles by which she was 


held lo England. But the treaty, by which a permanent 
friendship is established between the Crowns of Spain and 
Portugal, was made in 1777, an event that the English 
deplore as the greatest evil, next to the irrecoverable loss 
of the colonies, arising from this war, because they will 
now no longer be able to play off Portugal against Spain, 
in order to draw away her attention as well as her forces, 
as in former times. But as Portugal has not known how 
to deliver herself entirely from the influence of England, 
we shall have litde to hope from her ; on the other hand, 
such is her internal weakness, that we have absolutely noth- 
ing to fear. ^We shall necessarily have commerce with her, 
but whether she will ever have the courage to sacrifice 
the friendship of England for the sake of it is uncertain. 
It would be useless to consider that infinite number of 
little sovereignties into which Germany is divided, and de- 
velopc all their political interests- This task is as much 
beyond my knowledge as it would be useless to Congress. 
They will have few relations friendly or hostile with this 
country, excepting in two branches of commerce, that of 
merchandise and that of soldiers. The latter, infamous and 
detestable as it is, has been established between a nation, 
once generous, humane, and brave, and certain princes, as 
avaricious of money as they are prodigal of the blood of 
their subjects ; and such is the scarcity of cash, and the 
avidity for it in Germany, and so little are the rights of 
humanity understood and respected, that sellers will proba- 
bly be found as long as buyers. America will never be 
found in either class. The State of Germany, with which 
we may have commerce of an honorable kind, is the 
House of Austria, one of the most powerful in Europe. 
She possesses very few countries, however, near the sea. 


Ostend is the principal city, where she might liave estab- 
lished a trade of some consequence, if the jealousy of the 
maritime Powers had not constantly opposed it. France, 
Spain, Holland, and England, have been all agreed in their 
opposition, and the treaty of Utrecht, ratified more than 
once by subsequent treaties, has so shackled this port, that 
it will be impossible to open a direct trade to it, without 
some new treaty, which possibly may not be very distant. 
England may possibly make a new treaty with Austria, and 
agree to privileges for this port, in order to draw away the 
advantages of the American trade from France and Spain ; 
and in such a treaty Holland may possibly acquiesce, if not 
accede to it. The port of Trieste enjoys liberty without 
limits, and the Court of Vienna is anxious to make its 
commerce flourish. Situated as it is at the bottom of the 
Gulf of Trieste, the remotest part of the Gulf of Venice, 
tedious and difficult as the navigation of those seas is, we 
could make little use of it at any time, and none at all while 
this war continues. 

This Court would seize with eagerness the advantages, 
that are presented to her by the independence of America, 
but an interest more powerful restrains her, and although 
she is certainly attentive to this revolution, there is reason 
to believe she will be one of the last powers to acknow- 
ledge our independence. She is so far from being rich, 
that she is destitute of the means of making war without 
subsidies, as is proved by the peace which has lately been 
made. She has occasion for the succors of France or of 
England to put in motion her numerous armies. She con- 
ceives easily, that the loss of the resources and credit of 
the English has disabled them to pay the enormous sub- 
sidies, which, in former times, they have poured into the 


Austrian coffers. She sees therefore with a secret morti- 
fication, that she shall be hereafter more at the mercy of 
France, who may choose her ally, and prefer at her pleas- 
ure either Austria or Prussia, while neither Vienna nor 
Berlin will be able, as in times past, to choose between Pa- 
ris and London, since the latter has lost her past opulence 
and pecuniary resources. It is our duty to remark these 
great changes in the system of mankind, which have already 
happened in consequence of the American war. The 
alienation of Portugal from England, the peace of Ger- 
many, and that between Petersburg and Constantinople, 
by all which events England has lost, and France gained, 
such a superiority of influence and power, are owing en- 
tirely to the blind division of that policy and wealth, which 
the English might have still enjoyed, from the objects of 
their true interests and honor, to the ruinous American 

The Court of Berlin flatters itself, that the connexions 
which have heretofore sb long united France and Prussia 
will renew themselves sooner or later. This system is more 
rational than that which subsists at this day. The king of 
Prussia may then wait without anxiety the consequences of 
the present revolution, because it lends to increase the 
resources of his natural ally. The jealousy between the 
Emperor and the King of Prussia, and that between the 
Houses of Bourbon and Austria, are a natural tie between 
France and Prussia. The rivalry between France and 
Great Britain is another motive, too natural and too perma- 
nent for the former to suffer the King of Prussia to be long 
the ally of the latter. One of the favorite projects of Prus- 
sia, that of rendering the port of Emden a place of flourish- 
ing trade, interests him most powerfully in our independ- 

VOL. IV. 41 


ence. Silesia, one of his best provinces, has already felt 
the influence of it, and, sensible of the force that empires 
derive from commerce, he is earnestly desirous to see it 
introduced between America and his States ; which gives 
ground to believe, that as Austria will be one of the last so 
Prussia will be one of the first to acknowledge our inde- 
pendence ; an opinion which is rendered more probable by 
the answer, which was given by the Baron de Schulenburg 
to Mr Arthur Lee, and the influence of the King of Prussia 
in the United Provinces, which is greater than that of any 
other Power, arising from his great military force, and the 
vicinity of his dominions. His near relation to the Stadt- 
holder and the Prince of Brunswick, is an additional motive 
to cultivate his friendship. The Electorate of Saxony, with 
a fruitful soil, contains a numerous and industrious people, 
and most of the commerce between the east and the west 
of Europe passes through it. The fairs of Leipsic have 
drawn considerable advantages for these four years from 
our trade. This Power will see with pleasure the moment, 
which shall put the last hand to our independence. The 
rest of Germany, excepting Hamburgh and Bremen, have 
no means of opening a direct commerce with us ; with the 
latter we have no connexion at present ; in the former all 
the commerce of Lower Germany is transacted ; here we 
shall soon have occasion to establish an agent or consul. 

Poland, depopulated by the war and a vicious govern- 
ment, reduced by a shameful treaty to two thirds of her* 
ancient dominion, destitute of industry and manufactures, 
even of the first necessity, has no occasion for the produc- 
tions of America. Dantzic sees her ancient prosperity 
diminish every day. There is, therefore, little probability 
of commerce, and less of any political connexion between 
that nation and us. 


Russia, Sweden, and Denmark, comprehended under 
the denomination of the northern powers, have been 
thought by some to be interested in our return to the dom- 
ination of Great Britain. Whether they consider them- 
selves in this light or not, their late declarations against the 
right of England to interrupt their navigation, and their 
arming for the protection of their commerce on the ocean, 
and even in the English channel, are unequivocal proofs of 
their opinion concerning the right in our contest, and of 
their intentions not to interfere against us. It is very true, 
that the articles of commerce which they produce, are in 
many respects the same with those of America. Yet if 
we consider that we shall have occasion to purchase from 
them large quantities of hemp and sailcloth, and that our 
productions of limber, pitch, tar, and turpentine, are less pro- 
fitable with us without bounties, than some other branches 
of labor, it is not probable that we shall lower the price of 
these articles in Europe so much as some conjecture, and 
consequently our increased demand upon those countries 
for several articles will be more than a compensation to 
them for the small loss they may sustain, by a trifling re- 
duction in the price of those articles. It is not probable 
that the Courts of Petersburg, Stockholm, and Copenha- 
gen have viewed with indifference the present revolution, if 
they have been apprehensive of being hurt by it in some 
respects, which however I think must have been a mistaken 
apprehension ; yet the motive of humbling the pride of the 
English, who have endeavored to exercise their domina- 
tion, even over the northern seas, and to render the Danish 
and Swedish flag dependent on theirs, has prevailed over 
all others, and they are considered in Europe as having 
given their testimony against the English in this war. 


Italy, a country which declines every day from its an- 
cient prosperity, offers few objects to our speculations. 
The privileges of the port of Leghorn, nevertheless, may 
render it useful to our ships, when our independence shall 
be acknowledged by Great Britain, if, as we once flattered 
ourselves, the Court of Vienna might receive an American 
Minister. We were equally in error respecting the Court 
of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, where an Austrian prince 
reigns, who receives all his directions from Vienna, in such 
a manner that he will probably never receive any person 
in a public character, until the chief of his house has set 
him the example. The King of the two Sicilies is in the 
same dependence on the Court of Madrid, and we may 
depend upon it, he will conform himself to all it shall sug- 
gest to him. This prince has already ordered the ports of 
his dominions to be open to American vessels, public and 
private, and has ordered his Ambassador at Paris to apply 
to your Commissioners for a description of the American 
flag, that our vessels might be known, and receive no mo- 
lestation upon their appearance in his harbors. 

The Court of Rome, attached to ancient customs, would 
be one of the last to acknowledge our independence, if we 
were to solicit for it. But Congress will probably never 
send a Minister to his Holiness, who can do them no ser- 
vice, upon condition of receiving a Catholic Legate or Nun- 
cio in return, or in other words, an ecclesiastical tyrant, 
which it is to be hoped the United States will be too wise 
ever to admit into their territories. 

The States of the King of Sardinia are poor, and their 
commerce is very small. The little port of Villa Franca 
will probably see few American vessels, nor will there be 
any close relations, either commercial or political, between 
this prince and us. 


The republic of Genoa is scarcely known at this day in 
Europe, but by those powers who borrow money. It is 
possible that some small sums might be obtained there, if 
Congress would fall upon means of insuring a punctual 
payment of interest in Europe. 

Venice, heretofore so powerful, is reduced to a very in- 
considerable commerce, and is in an entire state of decay. 

Switzerland is another lender of money, but neither her 
position nor her commerce can occasion any near relation 
with us. 

Whether there is anything in these remarks worth the 

trouble of reading, 1 shall submit to the wisdom of Congress, 

and subscribe myself, with the highest consideration, your 

most obedient and humble servant, 



Braintree, August 13th, 1779. 

My Dear Sir, 
Since I have had opportunity to converse a little in this 
country, and to read a few gazettes, I find that questions 
have been agitatc^d here in the newspapers, and in private 
circles, as well as in Congress, concerning his Excellency, 
the Count de Vergennes, and Mr Arthur Lee, which seem 
to make it necessary that I should send the enclosed copies.* 
You can judge better than I whether it will be of any public 
utility to lay them before Congress. I\Iy first letter, and 
his Excellency's answer, I can see no objection to laying 

* See these letters in Arthur Lee's Corrcsi)ondencc, Vol. II. pp. 224, 


before Congress ; but as the rest* contain little else besides 
mutual compliments, perhaps it will be as well to conceal 
them. I submit the whole, however, to your discretion, 
and am, with much esteem, &;c. 



Braintree, September lOtli, 1779. 

Looking over the printed journals of the 15th of last 
April, I find in the report of the Committee appointed to 
take into consideration the foreign affairs of the United 
States, and also the conduct of the late and present Com- 
missioners of these States, the two following articles. 

1. "That it appears to them, that Dr Franklin is Pleni- 
potentiary for these States at the Court of France ; Dr 
Arthur Lee, Commissioner for the Court of Spain ; Mr 
William Lee, Commissioner for the Courts of Vienna and 
Berlin ; Mr Ralph Izard, Commissioner for the Court of 
Tuscany ; that Mr John Adams was appointed one of the 
Commissioners at the Court of France, in the place of Mr 
Deane, who had been appointed a joint Commissioner 
with Dr Franklin and Dr Arthur Lee, but that the said 
commission of Mr Adams is superseded by the Plenipo- 
tentiary commission to Dr Franklin. 

2. "That in the course of their examination and in- 
quiry, they find many complaints against the said Com- 
missioners, and the political and commercial agency of Mr 
Deane, which complaints, with the evidence in support 

* See the present volume, under the dates of February 16th, 1779, p. 
294 ; February 21st, p. 298 ; February 27th, p. 299. 


thereof, are herewith delivered, and to Avhich the Com- 
mittee beg leave to refer." 

The word "said" in the second article, refers to the 
Commissioners mentioned in the first, and as my name is 
among them, I learn from hence, that there were some 
complaints against me, and that the evidence in support of 
them was delivered to Congress by the Committee. 

I therefore pray, that I may be favored with copies of 
those complaints, evidences, and the names of my accus- 
ers, and the witnesses against me, that I may take such 
measures as may be in my power to justify myself to 

I have the honor to be, &z;c. 



Boston, September 23cl, 1779. 


I had yesterday the honor of your letter of the 7th of 
this month. I thank you. Sir, for your obliging congratu- 
lations on my return to my family and country. 

The reason why my letters of the 27th of February, 
and the 1st of March, arrived so late was, that they were 
delivered at the time of their dates to gentlemen then 
bound to the seaports, who expected to sail directly for 
America, but were disappointed of passages, until the 
vessels sailed under the convoy of die Sensible. 

I have not my letter book here, but I do not remember 
that they contained anything of much consequence, so that 
I suppose the inconvenience of their late arrival was not 

You will be pleased to make my most respectful compli- 


ments to the members of Congress, and believe me, with 
great esteem, &;c. 



Braintree, October 17th, 1779. 

My Dear Sir, 

What shall I say to your favors of the 27th and 28th of 
September, which came by the last post ? The unanimity 
of my election surprises me, as much as the delicacy, im- 
portance, and danger of the trust distress me. The 
appointment of Mr Dana to be Secretary pleases me 
more than my own to be Minister, Commissioner, Nego- 
tiator, call it what you will. I have communicated to him 
your letters in confidence, and all other material intelli- 
gence I had, and hope he will not decline, but you know 
the peculiarities of his situation, and if he should refuse, I 
hope you will not force your name out of nomination 
again. I did not suppose that such characters would be 
willing to go as Secretaries, because I did not know your 
plan, otherwise I should not have mentioned Mr Jennings 
to Mr Gerry for one to Dr Franklin. Your mastery of 
the language, and your indefatigability, would make you 
infinitely useful in any of these departments. 

I rejoice that you produced my letter to the Count de 
Vergennes and his answer before the choice, because it 
contained a testimony in favor of Mr Lee, which was his 
due.* I am very much affected at his recall, because I 
know his merit, and, diereforc, I am glad I was not placed 
in his stead, for suspicions would have arisen, and refiec- 

* Sec these letters in Arthur Lee's Correspondence, Vol. II. pp. 224, 


tions would have been cast upon me, as having favored his 
removal in order to make room, which I certainly did not. 
I am in6nitely obliged to you for those letters, and for that 
received the post before last, but I really tremble for your 
health. Let me entreat you, for the sake of our country, 
to take care of it. If I was to apply myself as you do, 
1 should soon go to study politics in another sphere. Yet 
I am so selfish as to beg the continuance of your favors to 
me, and I pledge myself to you, I will not be in debt^any 
more than may be made by the intrinsic difference in the 
value of the letters, which will be unavoidable. 

I thank you for the extract from Mr Izard's letter. I 

am not a little surprised at its contents. It was written, I 

see, to his friend, and I suppose intended in confidence. 

I am fully persuaded he did not intend, that the whole 

should have been laid before Congress.* I utterly deny 

that I ever used to him any such language, as the indecent 

paragraph that closes what he says about me. Indeed, that 

is manifestly his own inference, and in his own words, from 

what he says he had heard me say, and he draws the same 

from what Dr Franklin and Mr Deane had said upon the 

same subject. I further deny that I ever threatened him 

with the displeasure of Congress, for writing his opinion 

concerning these articles to Congress, or for suggesting 

them to the Commissioners. But to enter into all the 

conversations that have passed between iNIr Izard and me 

respecting those articles, and many other points in order to 

give a full and fair representation of those conversations, 

would fill a small volume. Yet there never was any angry 

or rude conversation between him and me, that I can 

recollect. I lived with him on good terms, visited him 

" See Izard's Correspondence, Vol. II. p. 434. 

VOL. IV. 42 


and he me, dined with his family, and his family with me, 
and I ever told him, and repeated it often, that 1 should be 
always obliged to him for his advice, opinions, and senti- 
ments upon any American subject, and that I should al- 
ways give it its due weight, although I did not think myself 
bound to follow it any further than it seemed to me to be just. 
As Congress have declined giving me the charges against 
me by their authority, and have, upon the whole, acquitted 
me with so much splendor, it would look like a littleness 
of soul in me to make myself anxious, or give them any 
further trouble about it. And as I have in general so good 
an opinion of Mr Izard's attachment to his country, and of 
his honor, I shall not think myself bound to take any fur- 
ther notice of this fruit of his inexperience in public life, 
this peevish ebullition of the rashness of his temper. I 
have written a few other observations to Mr Gerry on the 
same subject. You and he will compare these with them 
for your private satisfaction, but be sure that they are not 
exposed where they will do harm to the public, to Mr 
Izard, or me, unnecessarily. 

If I should go abroad, cannot you lend me twenty or 
thirty complete sets of the journals ? They are much 
wanted in Europe. A set of them is a genteel present, 
and perhaps would do me and the public more service 
than you are aware of. If Congress, or some Committee 
would order it, I should be very glad. 

I am, he. 




Braintree, October 19th, 1779. 


I had in Paris an opportunity of procuring information 
concerning the British whale fishery on the coast of Brazil, 
which it is proper to communicate to Congress, that if any 
advantage can be made of it the opportunity may not be 

The last year and the year before the English carried 
on this fishery to very great advantage, off the river Plate 
in South America, in the latitude of 35" south, and from 
thence to 40°, just on the edge of soundings, off and on, as 
the sailors express it, and about longitude 65" from London. 
They had about seventeen vessels in this fishery, which all 
sailed from London in the months of September and Octo- 
ber. All the oflicers and men Americans from Nantucket 
and Cape Cod, two or three from Rhode Island, and one 
from Long Island. Four or five of these vessels went to 
Greenland, to which place they sail yearly, die last of 
February or the beginning of March. 

The year before last, there was published in the English 
newspapers, a letter from the Lords of the Admiralty to 
Dennis de Bredt, in Coleman Street, informing him, that a 
convoy should be appointed to the Brazil fleet. But this I 
had certain information was a forgery, calculated merely to 
deceive American privateers, and no convoy actually went 
or was appointed, either last year or the year before, al- 
though the imposture was repeated both times, and will no 
doubt be renewed this. 

For the capture or destruction of a fishery so wholly de- 
fenpeless, not one of the vessels having any arms, a single 


frigate, or indeed a privateer of four and twenty guns, would 
be sufficient. The beginning of December would be the 
best time to proceed from Boston or Philadelphia, because 
the frigate would then find the whaling vessels nearly loaded. 
The cargoes of bone and oi! are very valuable, and at least 
four hundred and fifty of the best kind of seamen would be 
taken out of the hands of the English, and might be gained 
into the American service. Most of the officers and men 
wish well to this country, and would gladly be in its service, 
if they could be delivered from that they are engaged in. 
Whenever the English men of war or privateers, have 
taken an American vessel, they have given to all the whale- 
men found among the crew, by order of government, their 
choice, either to go on board a man of war and fight against 
their country, or into the whale fishery. Such numbers 
have chosen the latter, as have made up the crews of 
seventeen vessels. 

I thought it my duty to communicate this, that if so prof- 
itable a branch of commerce, and so valuable a nursery of 
seamen, can be taken from the English, it may be done. 
I prevailed with my colleagues last year to represent these 
facts to his Excellency, M. de Sartine, but it appears that 
his Majesty's service would not admit of any enterprise 
from France in consequence of it. Since my return I 
have represented them to the Council of this State, but 
whether anything can be done by them, after the disaster at 
Penobscot, I doubt. If Congress should not deem it con- 
sistent with the public service to send a frigate upon this 
service, nothing will be lost but the trouble of this letter. 

I have the honor to congratulate your Excellency on 

your advancement to the chair, and to subscribe myself 

with great respect, he. 




Bnintree, Cktober 20th, 17T9. 

M. Schweighauser of Xantes, who is a native of Switzer- 
land, observing me as i was one day at his house lookmg 
with some attention upon a stamp of the heroic deed of Wil- 
liam Tell, asi^ed me to take a few of them to America, as a 
present from him, which I agreed to do with pleasure. He 
accordingly sent on board the frigate a box containing, as 
he told me, one stamp for each State, neatly framed and 
glazed, which he desired me to present to Congress, as a 
small token of his respect. The box has never been open- 
ed, but I hope the pictures are sate, and with permission 
of Congress I will deliver it to the Navy Board in Boston, 
to be by them transmitted to the delegates from the several 
States, or to their order. 

I have the honor to be, with great respect. S;c. 

JOHX .\D.\3IS. 


Braintree. October 21ai. 1779. 

So many advantages might be derived to the United 
States in the conduct of the war, in fumisbing the armj 
and navy, in augmenting the value, or at least in prevent- 
ing the funiier depreciation of their currency, in lowering 
the prices of goods, in supplying the wants of the people, 
and in preventing murmurs and discontents, that I have 
ever thought it of very great importance, in some way or 
other, to procure convoys to their trade, to and from the 
West India Islands, and Europe. 


France and Spain have such advantages of England in 
carrying on the war in the American seas, and would re- 
ceive such assistance from our commerce, privateers, and 
growing navy, that I have ever thought it a main principle 
of their policy to maintain a constant and decided superi- 
ority of naval power in the West Indies, and upon the 
coasts of this continent. I would, therefore, with due def- 
erence to the superior wisdom of Congress, beg leave to 
submit to their consideration, whether it would not be ex- 
pedient for them, either by a direct representation from 
themselves to the French and Spanish Courts, or by in- 
structions to their Plenipotentiary Ministers, to convince 
those Courts, that their true interest lies in adopting this 
plan. It is certainly their interest, reasoning upon French 
and Spanish principles simply, to conduct this war in such 
a manner as has a tendency in the shortest time, and with 
the least expense, to diminish the power of their enemies, 
and increase their own. Now I would submit it to Con- 
gress whether it may not be easily demonstrated, that these 
ends may be obtained the most easily in this way. A rep- 
resentation from Congress, either directly or by instruc- 
tions to their Ministers, showing what assistance in provis- 
ions, artists, materials, vessels of war, privateers, land 
armies, or in any other way, France and Spain might de- 
pend upon receiving from these States, either for money or 
as the exertions of an ally, would have great weight. 

Much has been already said to the French Ministry 
upon these subjects, and not wholly without effect; yet 
much more may be said to greater advantage, and perhaps 
to better purpose, for they are extremely well disposed to 
do what can be made to appear to them for the advantage 
of the common cause. 


I have the honor to enclose some papers on this subject. 
One is a letter from the Commissioners to his Excellency 
the Count de Vergennes, which he received the beginning 
of January last,* the other is a letter from me to the Mar- 
quis de Lafayettef in February, with his answer. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 



Braintree, October 25th, 1779. 

My Dear Sir, 

Your favor of the 4th of this month gave me great 
pleasure, but I am afraid that you and some others of my 
friends felt more for me in the awkward situation you 
mention than I did for myself, though I cannot say that I 
was wholly insensible. I could compare it to nothing, but 
Shakspeare's idea of Ariel, wedged in the middle of a 
rifted oak, for I was sufficiently sensible, that it was owing 
to an unhappy division in Congress, and pains enough 
were taken to inform me, that one side were for sending 
me to Spain, and the other to Holland, so that I was flat- 
tered to find that neither side had any decisive objection 
against trusting me, and that the apparent question was 
only where. 

That I was sent without the least solicitation of 
mine, directly or indirectly, is certainly true ; and I had 
such formidable ideas of the sea and of British men of 
war, such diffidence in my own qualifications to do service 
in that way, and such uncertainty of the reception I 
should meet, that I had little inclination to adventure. 

*See the Correspondence of the Commissioners in Frnnce, Vol. I. 
p. 500. 
t See above, p. 295. The answer of iM. de Lafayette is missing. 


That I went against my interest is most undoubtedly so, 
for I never yet served the public without losing by it. I 
was not, however, as you suppose, kept unemployed. I 
had business enough to do, as I could easily convince you. 
There is a great field of business there, and I could easily 
show you that I did my share of it. There is so much to 
do, and so much difficulty to do it well, that I am rejoiced 
to find a gentleman of such abilities, principles, and activ- 
ity as Colonel Laurens undoubtedly is, without a compli- 
ment, appointed to assist in it.* I most sincerely hope for 
his friendship, and an entire harmony with him, for which 
reason I should be very happy in his company in the pas- 
sage, or in an interview with him as soon as possible in 
Europe. He will be in a delicate situation, but not so 
much so as I was ; and plain sense, honest intentions, and 
common civility will, I think, be sufficient to secure him, 
and do much good. 

Your kind compliments on my safe return and most 
honorable re-election are very obliging. I have received 
no commission, nor instructions, nor any particular infor- 
mation of the plan ; but from the advice and information 
from you and several other of my friends at Philadelphia 
and here, I shall make no hesitation to say, that, notwith- 
standing the delicacy and danger of this commission, I 
suppose I shall accept it without delay and trust events 
to Heaven, as I have been long used to do. 

The convulsions at Philadelphia are very affecting and 

* This alludes to the appointment of Colonel John Laurens to be 
Secretary to the iAIinister Plenipotentiary in France. Secret Journals, 
Vol. II. p. 261. It does not appear that Colonel Laurens accepted the 
appointment. He was the son of Henry Laurens, to whom this letter 
from Mr Adams is addressed. 


alarming, but not entirely unexpected to me. The state of 
parties, and the nature of their government, have a long 
time given me disagreeable apprehensions. But I hope 
they will find some remedy. Methods will be found to 
feed the army, but I know of none to clothe it without 
convoys to trade, which Congress, I think, will do well to 
undertake, and persuade France and Spain to undertake 
as soon as possible, ^our packets for your friends in Eu- 
rope will give me pleasure, and shall be forwarded with 
care and despatch. 

With great truth and regard, I am, k,c. 



Braintree, November 4tli, 1779. 

I had yesterday the honor of receiving your letter of the 
20th of October, enclosed with two commissions, appoint- 
ing me Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States, to 
negotiate peace and commerce with Great Britain, to- 
gether with instructions for my government in the execu- 
tion of these commissions, copies of instructions to the 
Ministers Plenipotentiary at Versailles and Madrid, and 
two acts of Congress of the 4th and 15th of October. 

Peace is an object of such vast importance, the interests 
to be adjusted in the negotiations to obtain it are so com- 
plicated and so delicate, and the difficulty of giving even 
general satisfaction is so great, that I feel myself more dis- 
tressed at the prospect of executing the trust, than at the 
thought of leaving my country, and again encountering the 
dangers of the soas and of enemies. Yet, when I reflect 
VOL. ir. 43 


on ihe general voice in my favor., and the liigh honor that 
is done me by this appointment, I feel the warmest senti- 
ments of gratitude to Congress, and shall make no hesita- 
tion to accept it, and devote myself without reserve or loss 
of time to the discharge of it. j\Iy success, however, 
may depend, in a very great degree, on the intelligence 
and advices that 1 may receive from time to time from 
Congress, and on the punctuality with which several ar- 
ticles in my instructions may be kept secret. It shall be 
my most earnest endeavor to transmit to Congress the 
most constant and exact information in my power of what- 
ever may occur, and to conceal those instructions, which 
depend in any measure on my judgment. And I hope I 
need not suggest to Congress the necessity of communi- 
cating to me, as early as possible, their commands from 
time to time, and of keeping all the discretionary articles 
an impenetrable secret, a suggestion, however, that the 
constitution of that sovereignty, which I have the honor to 
represent, might excuse. 

As the frigate has been some time waiting, I shall em- 
bark in eight or ten days at furthest. Your Excellency 
will please to present my most dutiful respects to Con- 
gress, and accept my thanks for the polite and obliging 
manner in which you have communicated their commands. 
I have the honor to be, &c. 




You will herewith receive a commission, giving you full 
power to negotiate a treaty of peace with Great Britain, in 
doing which you will conform to the following information 
and instructions. 

1. The United States are sincerely desirous of peace, 
and wish by every means, consistent with their dignity and 
safety, to spare the further effusion of blood. They have, 
therefore, by your commission and these instructions, 
labored to remove the obstacles to that event, before the 
enemy have evidenced their disposition for it. But as the 
great object of the present defensive war, on the part of 
the allies, is to establish the independence of the United 
States, and as any treaty whereby this end cannot be ob- 
tained must be only ostensible and illusory, you are, there- 
fore, to make it a preliminary article to any negotiation, 
that Great Britain shall agree to treat with the United 
States, as sovereign, free, and independent. 

2. You shall take especial care also, that the indepen- 
dence of the said States be effectually assured and con- 
firmed by the treaty or treaties of peace, according to the 
form and effect of the treaty of alliance with His Most 
Christian Majesty. And you shall not agree to such treaty 
or treaties, unless the same be thereby so assured and con- 

3. The boundaries of these States are as follows, viz. 

* These instinctions, and those for a treaty of commerce wliich fol 
low, were agreed to iinanimoiisly in Congress on tlie 14th of August, 
nearly six weeks before the Minister was chosen. They were drawn 
up by Gouverneiir Morris. 


These States are bounded north, by a line to be drawn 
from the northwest angle of Nova Scotia along the high- 
lands, which divide those rivers which empty themselves 
into the river St Lawrence, from those which fall into the 
Atlantic ocean, to the northwesternmost head of Connec- 
ticut river ; thence down along the middle of that river to 
the fortyfifth degree of north latitude ; thence due west in 
the latitude fortyfive degrees north from the equator to the 
northwesternmost side of the river St Lawrence or Cada- 
raqui ; thence straight to the south end of Nepissing ; and 
thence straight to the source of the river Mississippi ; west, 
by a line to be drawn along the middle of the river Missis- 
sippi from its source to where the said line shall intersect 
the thirtyfirst degree of north latitude ; south, by a line to 
be drawn due east, from the termination of the line last 
mentioned in the latitude of tbirtyone degrees north from 
the equator to the middle of the river Appalachicola, or 
Catahouchi ; thence along the middle thereof to its junc- 
tion with the Flint river ; thence straight to the head of 
St Mary's river ; and thence down along the middle of 
St Mary's river to the Atlantic ocean; and east, by a line 
to be drawn along the middle of St John's river from its 
source to its mouth in the Bay of Fundy, comprehending 
all islands within twenty leagues of any part of the shores 
of the United States, and lying between lines to be drawn 
due east from the points where the aforesaid boundaries 
between Nova Scotia on the one part, and East Florida 
on the other part, shall respectively touch the Bay of Fun- 
dy and the Atlantic ocean. You are, therefore, strongly to 
contend that the whole of the said countries and islands 
lying within the boundaries aforesaid, and every citadel, 
fort, post, place, harbor, and road to them belonging, be 


absolutely evacuated by the land and sea forces of his 
Britannic Majesty, and yielded to the powers of the States 
to which they respectively belong, in such situation as 
they may be at the termination of the war. But, not- 
withstanding the clear right of these States, and the im- 
portance of the object, yet they are so much influenced by 
the dictates of religion and humanity, and so desirous of 
complying with the earnest request of their allies, that if 
the line to be drawn from the mouth of the lake Nepissing 
to the head of the Mississippi cannot be obtained without 
continuing the war for that purpose, you are hereby em- 
powered to agree to some other line between that point 
and the river Mississippi ; provided the same shall in no 
part thereof be to the southward of latitude fortyfive de- 
grees north. And in like manner, if the eastern boun- 
dary above described cannot be obtained, you are hereby 
empowered to agree, that the same shall be afterwards 
adjusted, by commissioners to be duly appointed for that 
purpose, according to such line as shall be by them setded 
and agreed on, as the boundary between that part of the 
State of Massachusetts Bay, formerly called the province 
of Maine, and the colony of Nova Scotia, agreeably to 
their respective rights. And you may also consent, that 
the enemy shall destroy such fortifications as they may 
have erected. 

3. Although it is of the utmost importance to the peace 
and commerce of the United States that Canada and Nova 
Scotia should be ceded, and more particularly that their 
equal common right to the fisheries should be guarantied 
to them, yet a desire of terminating the war has induced 
us not to make the acquisition of these objects an ultimatum 
on the present occasion. 

342 Jf>HN ADAMS. 

5. You are empowered to agree to a cessation of hos- 
tilities during the negotiation, provided our ally shall con- 
sent to the same, and provided it shall be stipulated that 
all the forces of the enemy shall be immediately withdrawn 
from the United States. 

6. In all other n)atters not abovementioned, you are to 
govern yourself by the alliance between His Most Christian 
Majesty and these States, by the advice of our allies, by 
your knowledge of our interests, and by your own discre- 
tion, in which we repose the fullest confidence. 


You will herewith receive a commission, giving you full 
power to negotiate a treaty of commerce with Great Bri- 
tain, in doing which, you will consider yourself bound by 
the following information and instructions. 

1. You will govern yourself principally by the treaty of 
commerce with His Most Ciiristian Majesty, and as, on 
the one hand, you shall grant no privilege to Great Britain 
not granted by that treaty to France, so, on the other, you 
shall not consent to any peculiar restrictions or limitations 
whatever in favor of Great Britain. 

2. In order that you may be the better able to act with 
propriety on this occasion, it is necessary for you to know, 
that we have determined, Jst, that the common right of 
fishing shall in no case be given up ; 2dly, that it is essential 
to the welAire of all these United States that the inhabi- 
tants thereof, at the expiration of the war, should continue 
to enjoy the free and undisturbed exercise of their com- 
mon right to fish on the Banks of Newfoundland, and the 


Other fishing banks and seas of North America, preserving 
inviolate the treaties between France and the said States ; 
3dly, that application shall be made to His Most Christian 
Majesty to agree to some article or articles for the better 
securing to these States a share in the said fisheries ; 4thly, 
that if, after a treaty of peace with Great Britain, she shall 
molest the citizens or inhabitants of any of the United 
States, in taking fish on the banks and places hereinafter 
described, such molestation, being in our opinion a direct 
violation and breach of the peace, shall be a common cause 
of the said States, and the force of the union be exerted to 
obtain redress for the parties injured ; and 5thly, that our 
faith be pledged to the several States, that, without their 
unanimous consent, no treaty of commerce shall be entered 
into, nor any trade or commerce carried on with Great 
Britain, without the explicit stipulation hereinafter men- 
tioned. You are therefore not to consent to any treaty of 
commerce with Great Britain without an explicit stipula- 
tion on her part, not to molest or disturb the inhabitants of 
the United States of America in taking fish on the Banks 
of Newfoundland and other fisheries in the American seas 
anywhere, excepting within the distance of three leagues 
of the shores of the territories remaining to Great Britain 
at the close of the war, if a nearer distance cannot be ob- 
tained by negotiation. And in the negotiation you are to 
exert your most strenuous endeavors to obtain a nearer 
distance to the gulf of St Lawrence, and particularly along 
the shores of Nova Scotia, as to which latter we arc desi- 
rous that even the shores may be occasionally used for the 
purpose of carrying on the fisheries by the inhabitants of 
these States. 

In all matters you are to govern yourself by your own 


discretion, as siaall be most for the interest of these States, 
taking care that the said treaty be founded on principles of 
equality and reciprocity, so as to conduce to the mutual 
advantage of both nations, but not to the exclusion of 


Braintree, November 7th, 1779. 


I have the honor to enclose to Congress a copy of the 
letter book of the Commissioners at the Court of Versailles, 
during the time I had the honor to be one of them. As 
the letter book was kept by me, and almost wholly in my 
hand writing, the Minister Plenipotentiary consented, that 1 
should bring it home with me, leaving him a copy, which 
was done. 

As there may be many things in it which Congress may 
have occasion to know, I have prevailed with Mr Thaxter 
to copy it. 1 shall submit to the consideration of Congress, 
whether he ought to have any allowance for this service, 
and how much. As Mr Thaxter will accompany me to 
Europe, in the character of my private Secretary, if Con- 
gress think proper to allow him anything for these copies, 
T can pay him in Europe if it is thought proper. 

I chose to mention Mr Thaxter's going with me to Con- 
gress, because jealousies have arisen heretofore concerning 
private Secretaries. Mr Thaxter is known to Congress, 
and I think I can safely confide in his fidelity, diligence, 
and discretion, and from the experience I have had in Eu- 
rope I am fully convinced, that it is my duty to take with 
me some one of this character. 

I have the honor to be, with great respect, &;c. 




Ferrol, December 8th, 1779. 

I have ihe honor to inform your Excellency, that, Con- 
gress having judged it proper to appoint me to a new mis- 
sion in Europe, I embarked on the 13th of November, at 
the instance of the Chevalier de la Luzerne and M. Gerard, 
on board the same frigate, that carried me to America. 
Soon after we got to sea, a formidable leak in the ship dis- 
covered itself, so as to oblige us to keep two pumps con- 
stantly going by night and day, which induced the captain 
to think it necessary to put into this place, where we have 
just now cast anchor. Whether I shall go to Paris by land 
or wait for the frigate is uncertain ; I believe the former, 
as the latter might detain me four or five weeks. I have 
despatches for your Excellency from Congress, which I 
shall carry with me, and newspapers. These latter con- 
tain little remarkable save the evacuation of Rhode Island 
by the enemy, and the Count d'Estaing's progress in Geor- 
gia, in co-operation with General Lincoln, which was in a 
fair course of success. 

I hope the Confederacy, which sailed from Philadelphia 
three or four weeks before us, with M. Gerard and Mr 
Jay, who is appointed Minister Plenipotentiary for Spain, 
has happily arrived, and made it unnecessary for me to en- 
large upon the general state of affairs in America, which 
were upon the whole in a favorable train. I hope to have 
the honor of saluting you at Passy in a few weeks, and am, 
with great respect, Sir, your most obedient humble servant, 

VOL. IV. 44 




Ferrol, December 11th, 1779. 


I have the honor to inform Congress, that on the 13th 
of November I embarked on board the French frigate, 
la Sensible, and on the 14th came on board Mr Francis 
Dana, the Secretary to ray commission, when we fell 
down to King's Roads, and on the 15th we sailed for 

A leak was soon discovered in the ship, which obliged 
us to ply the pumps ; as it seemed a steady leak, it gave 
little alarm at first, but continuing to increase to such a 
degree as to make two pumps constantly necessary night 
and day, obliging the passengers to take their turns in 
common with the ship's people, the captain judged it 
necessary to make the first port he could find. Accord- 
ingly, on the 7th of December, we happily discovered 
Cape Finisterre, and on the 8th arrived in the magnificent 
Spanish port of Ferrol, where we found a squadron of 
French ships of the line, the officers of which think we 
were very happy in making this port, as the frigate, since 
she has been in this harbor, is found to make seven or 
eight feet of water an hour. 

The advice of all the gentlemen here is to make the 
best of my way to Paris by land, as it is the opinion of 
many, that the frigate will be condemned, but if not, she 
certainly will not be ready to sail again from this port in 
less than four or five weeks. 

This is unfortunate to me, because, by all the informa- 
tion I can obtain, travelling in this kingdom is attended 
with many difficulties and delays, as well as a very great 


expense, there being no regular posts as in France, and 
no possibility of passing over the mountainous part of this 
country in carriages. 

I find there has been no engagement in the European 
seas between the English and the combined fleets of 
France and Spain, as was reported in America. There 
has been an epidemic sickness on board the French fleet, 
which caused it to return rather sooner than was intended. 
There are twentyfive Spanish ships of the line in Brest 
harbor with the French. It is reported that M. du Chaf- 
fault is appointed commander in chief of the French fleet, 
and that the Count d'Orvilliers has retired. 

Captain Jones has done another brilliant action, by 
taking a fortyfour gun ship, after an obstinate engagement, 
which he carried into the Texel, but I cannot learn the 
particulars whh much certainty or exactness. 

I have been treated with the utmost attention and po- 
liteness since my arrival in this place, both by the Spanish 
and French officers, particularly by the Spanish Lieuten- 
ant General of Marine, Don Joseph St Vincent, who is 
commander in chief of the marine, by M. de Sade, the 
French Chef d''Escadre, and by the French consul and 
vice consul, who have all obligingly offered me every as- 
sistance in their power. 

I shall endeavor to inform Congress of every step of my 
progress, as I may find opportunity. I have heard noth- 
ing as yet, which makes it probable to me, that I shall 
have anything to do openly and directly, in pursuance of 
my commission very speedily. There is a confused ru- 
mor here of a mediation of Russia and Holland, but I am 
persuaded without foundation. It seems to be much more 
certain, that the English continue in their old ill humor and 


insolent language, notwithstanding their impotence grows 
every day more apparent. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 



Corunna, December 16th, 1779. 

By the opportunity of a small vessel accidentally in this 
harbor, bound to Newburyport, I have the honor to inform 
Congress that I have been detained by violent rj^ins, and 
several accidents, in Ferrol until yesterday, when I set out 
with my family for this place, and arrived last evening 
without any accident. I awaited immediately on the Gov- 
ernor of the province, and on the Governor of the town, 
and received many civilities from both, and particularly 
from his Excellency the Governor of the province of Gali- 
cia, an assurance that he was not only disposed personally 
to render me every hospitality and assistance in his power, 
but that he had received express orders from his Court, 
to treat all Americans who should arrive here like their 
best friends. These personages were very inquisitive 
about American affairs, particularly the progress of our 
arms, and the operations of the Count d'Estaing, and more 
particularly still about the appointment of a JNIinister Plen- 
ipotentiary to the Court of Madrid. They requested his 
name, character, nativity, age, whether he was a member 
of Congress, and whether he had been President, with 
many other particulars. 

To all these questions I made the best answers in my 
power, and with regard to his Excellency, the Minister 


Plenipotentiary at the Court of Madrid, 1 gave them the 
most exact information, and such a respectable character 
as the high offices he has sustained, and his own personal 
merit require. It is the prevailing opinion here, that the 
Court of Madrid is well disposed to enter into a treaty 
with the United States, and that the Minister from Con> 
grass will be immediately received, American indepen- 
dence acknowledged, and a treaty concluded. The frig- 
ate la Sensible is found to be in so bad a condition, that 
I am advised by everybody to go to France by land. The 
season, the roads, the accommodations for travelling are so 
unfavorable, that it is not expected I can get to Paris in 
less than thirty days. But if I were to wait for the frig- 
ate, it would probably be much longer. I am determined, 
therefore, to make the best of my way by land. And it is 
possible that this journey may prove of some service to 
the public, although it will be tedious and expensive to me, 
at least, I hope the public will sustain no loss by it. 

There are six battalions of Irish troops in Spain, in 
three regiments, several of whose officers have visited me 
to assure me of their regard to the United States. I have 
been this afternoon to the Tower de Fer to see the Island 
of Cezarga, which was rendered famous in the course of 
the last summer by being appointed the rendezvous of the 
French and Spanish fleets. The French fleet arrived at 
this Island on the 9th of June last, but were not joined by 
the Spanish fleet from Ferrol, till some time in July, nor 
by the fleet from Cadiz till much later, so that the com- 
bined fleets were not able to sail for the English Channel, 
until the 30lh of July. To prevent a similar inconven- 
ience another campaign, there are about twentyfive Span- 
ish ships of the line now in Brest, which are to winter 


there, and to be ready to sail with the French fleets the 
approaching summer, at the first opening of tlie season. 

God grant them success and triumph, although no man 
wishes for peace more sincerely than I, or would take 
more pleasure, or think himself more highly honored in 
being instrumental in bringing it about, yet, 1 confess, 1 see 
no prospect or hope of it, at least before the end of 
another summer. America will be amused with rumors 
of peace, and Europe too, but the English are not yet in a 
temper for it. 

The Court of Russia has lately changed its Ambas- 
sador at the Court of London, and sometime in the month 
of October, M. Simolin, the new Minister Plenipotentiary 
from die Court of Petersburg to the Court of London, 
passed through France in his way to England, and resided 
three weeks in Paris. From this circumstance, a report 
has been spread in Europe, that the Court of Russia is 
about to undertake the office of mediator between the 
belligerent powers. But from conversation with several 
persons of distinction since my arrival in Spain, particu- 
larly with the Count de Sade, the Chef d'Escadre, com- 
manding the French men of war now in Ferrol, I am 
persuaded, that if Russia has any thoughts of a mediation, 
the independence of the United States will be insisted 
upon by her as a preliminary, and Great Britain will feel 
much more reluctance to agree to this, than to the cession 
of Gibraltar, which it is said Spain absolutely insists upon. 
I have the honor to be, Sic. 




Corunna, December 18th, 1779. 

Mr Adams presents his compliments to the Governor of 
Corunna, and informs him, according to his desire expres- 
sed last evening, that the names of the persons for whom 
he requests a passport from his Excellency, the Governor 
of this Province, are as follows. 

John Adams, a INlinister Plenipotentiary from the United 
States of America. 

Francis Dana, Secretary to Mr Adams's commission, a 
member of Congress, and a member of the Council of 
Massachusetts Bay. 

John Thaxter, private Secretary to Mr Adams. 

John Quincy Adams, a son of INlr Adams, about twelve 
years of age. 

Charles Adams, another son of Mr Adams, nearly ten 
years of age. 

Jeremiah Allen of Boston, in Massachusetts, a private 
gentleman accidentally in company ; he is a merchant 
travelling with the view of establishing a private commerce 
in Spain, as well as France. 

Samuel Cooper Johonnot, ten or eleven years of age, a 
grandson of a particular friend of Mr Adams in Boston, 
going to Paris for an education in the University there. 

Joseph Stevens, a servant of Mr Adams. 

John William Christian Frieke, a servant of INIr Dana. 

Andrew Desmia, a servant of Mr Allen. 

Mr Adams requests a passport for all these persons to 
go to Madrid, and from thence to Bilboa, and from thence 
to Bayonne, in their way to Paris ; with liberty at the same 
time to go directly to Bayonne by the nearest road, with- 


out going to Madrid, or to Bilboa ; as it is uncertain 
whether Mr Adams will have the time to gratify iiis incli- 
nation with the sight of those cities. 



Versailles, December 31st, 1779. 

I have received the letter, which you did me the honor 
to write to me on the 6th of October last. 

I was well persuaded, that M. de Chavagne* would en- 
deavor to procure for you everything in his power to ren- 
der your passage agreeable. This was conformable to the 
instructions I had given him respecting the intentions of 
the King. 

1 learn with pleasure, that, being again charged with an 
important mission by Congress, you will be able to profit 
by the frigate Sensible a second time in your voyage to 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Bilboa, .Ianiiar\' 16th, 1780. 

I have the honor to inform Congress, that last night, and 

not before, I arrived at this place. 

At Ferrol and Corunna I was advised by all the friends 

* Captain of the frigate in which Mr Adams returned to the United 
States, in company with the Chevalier de la Luzerne. See above p. 309- 


of America, to undertake a journey by land. The consul 
of France and M. Lagoauere, a gentleman who has acted 
for some time as the American agent at Corunna, obligingly 
offered me all the assistance in their power, and accordingly 
used their utmost diligence to procure me the necessary 
mules and carriages, for the transportation of the small num- 
ber of persons in company with me, and the small quantity 
of baggage we found it indispensably necessary to take with 
us, having left more than two thirds of what we had with 
us to take the chance of a passage by sea to France. 
From the 8th of December, when we arrived at Ferrol, to 
the 26th of the same month, when we set off from Cor- 
unna, we were detained by the violent rains, and the im- 
possibility of getting accommodations for travelling. All 
our beds and provisions we were obliged to carry with us. 
We travelled through the ancient kingdoms of Galicia, 
Leon, Old Castile, and Biscay, and although we made the 
best of our way without loss of time, we found it impossible 
to go more than eight leagues a day, and sometimes not 
more than four. The roads and inns are inconvenient to 
a degree that I should blush to describe, and the pain we 
suffered in a cold season of the year for want of fire, in a 
country where there are no chimnles, gave us all such vio- 
lent colds, that I was under great apprehensions of our 
being seized with fevers. 

As we were so near Madrid, within about forty leagues, 
I balanced some time in my own mind, whether to go to 
that fine city, but considering that t!iis would lengthen our 
journey near a hundred leagues, the severe season of the 
year, and above all the political situation that i might be in, 
my country not being yet acknowledged as a sovereign 
State by any formal act of that Court, it being known, that 
vol.. IV. AC> 


another gentleman had a commission for that Court, and he 
being expected soon to arrive, I thought it upon the whole 
the least hazardous to the public interest to avoid that route. 

It may be of some use to my countrymen to transmit a 
few observations upon the country I have passed through, 
because it appears to me that a commerce extremely advan- 
tageous to both countries may be opened between us and 
Spain, as sooa as our independence shall be acknowledged 
by that power, at least as soon as we shall obtain the great 
object of all our wishes, peace. 

The province of Galicia is one of the largest in Spain, 
and said to be one of the best peopled. Corunna is in 
effect the principal city, although St Jago, in respect to its 
patron Saint, or more probably to the Archbishop who 
resides there, is in name the capital. This province, one 
of those whereof the ancient Crown of Castile was formed, 
is washed by the ocean for more than seventy leagues from 
Ribadeo, on the frontiers of Asturias, to the mouth of the 
river Minks, which separates it from Portugal. This coast, 
which is divided by Cape Finisterre, is provided on both 
sides of the Cape with ports equally safe and convenient, 
which nature seems to have prepared around this Cape, 
an object oftentimes so necessary to be made by naviga- 
tors, both at their departure from Europe, and at their re- 
turn, as so many asylums both from the apprehensions and 
the consequences of storms. The most known of these 
ports are Ribadeo, Ferrol, Corunna, and Camarinas, to 
the eastward of Cape Finisterre ; Corubios, Muros, Ponte- 
vidia, and Vigo to the westward ; all proper to receive ves- 
sels of the first rate, especially Ferrol and Vigo; the first, 
tlie most considerable department of the marine of Spain, 
is embnilishod with everything that art and the treasures, 


profusely spent upon it for thirty years past, could add to 
its happy situation. Vigo, represented to be one of the 
most beautiful ports in the world, is. another department of 
the marine, more extensive and proper for such an estab- 
lishment than Ferrol itself. Besides these ports, there are 
a multitude of harbors and bays round Cape Finisterre, 
which afford a safe and convenient shelter to merchant 
vessels. With all these advantages for foreign commerce, 
this province has very little but what is passive. It re- 
ceives from abroad some objects of daily consumption, 
some of luxury, some of convenience, and some even of 
the first necessity. At present it offers litde for exporta- 
tion to foreign countries. The Sardine of its coast, the 
famous fish which it furnishes to all Spain, the cattle which 
it fattens for the provision of Madrid, and a few coarse linens 
which are its only manufacture, and are well esteemed, are 
the objects of its active commerce, and form its balance 
with the other provinces. The wine and the grain, the 
chief productions of its lands, seldom suffice for its con- 
sumption, and never go beyond it. 

The liberty of commerce with the Windward Islands, 
granted by the Court within a few years, and the particular 
establishment of opened the ports of that part of the new 
world to this province ; and allhough without manufactures 
herself, or any of those productions proper for America, 
she renders to foreign hands the product of those which 
she receives from them and carries thither. In this circu- 
lation of so many treasures, she enriches herself with parts 
that she detaches from the whole. 

The civil government of this province is formed by a 
superior tribunal called the Audience, to which an appeal 
lies from all the subaltern jurisdictions, public and private. 


This Court hears and determines, as sovereign and without 
appeal, all civil affairs of a less value than a thousand du- 
cats, or three thousand livres. Appeals in those which 
exceed that value are carried to the Chancery of Valla- 
dolid, or to the Council of Castile. Although justice is 
gratis on the part of the judges, who are paid by the gov- 
ernment, it is said to be not less costly, tedious, and vexa- 
tious. It may not be useless to observe that the Criminal 
Chambers, whose decrees extend to the punishment of 
death, and are executed without any application to the 
King or any other authority, is composed only of three 
judges, and these three are the youngest df the whole tri- 
bunal, and this order is generally followed in Spain in the 
composition of the criminal tribunals, although no one pre- 
tends to conjecture the motive of so singular a reverse of 
the rational order of things. The administration of the 
royal police belongs also to the Audience, and forms the 
third chamber into which this tribunal is divided. 

All the military authority, and the government of the 
troops in this department, are in the hands of the Captain 
General of the province. There is not any one under him 
who has even the title of commandant. But in case of his 
death or absence, he is succeeded by the general officer, 
the most ancient in the province. To this title of Captain 
General is added, commonly, that of President of the Au- 
dience, a prerogative which, by uniting in his hands the 
civil authority to all that of his place, gives a power the 
most absolute and unlimited. 

The inspection general, and all the economy of the 
affairs of the King in the province, belong to the Intendant. 
The different branches of the public revenue are all ad- 
ministered by officers |apponted by the King, as in the rest 


of the kingdom, and there are no Farmers-General as iti 
France. Their product is about twentysix millions of 
reals, or six millions five hundred thousand livres, the ex- 
pense of collection being deducted. The expenses of the 
administration, including the maintenance of three regi- 
ments of infantry scattered about in different places, do not 
exceed two millions five hundred thousand livres. The 
surplus goes into the dry docks, arsenals, and fund of for- 
tifications, to the support of which this sum is far from 
being sufficient. Such is in general the government, mili- 
tary, political, and civil of this province, and nearly of all 
the others, except Biscay, Guipuscoa, and Alaba. 

There is not in this province any particular jurisdiction 
of commerce, but there is a tribunal, under the name of 
the Judge Considerator of Commerce, which takes cogni- 
zance of all their causes, civil and criminal, except the 
case of contraband. At this day, the Judge Considerator 
of Strangers is the governor of the province himself, and 
the appeals from his judgment are carried directly to the 
Council of War, which is said to be a precious privilege, 
by the form and brevity of procedure compared with the 
expensive and insupportable delays of the ordinary juris- 

I cannot but think that if some measures could be taken 
to convince the Court, that it is their interest to take off 
the vast duties with which commerce is overloaded in this 
port, fifteen per cent being to be paid upon all commod- 
ities exported and upon all imported, and if the rigid pro- 
hibitions of tobacco could be relaxed or repealed, several 
of the productions of America would find a good market 
here, and a commerce be opened that would put a new 
face upon this province, and be profitable to America too. 


The conveniency of such a number of excellent ports 
would be a vast advantage, which Bilboa cannot have, as 
her harbor is neither safe nor convenient, besides its being 
so much further down the stormy, turbulent Gulf of Biscay ; 
yet Biscay, which is commonly used to comprehend Bis- 
cay proper, the principal city of which is Bilboa, although 
Orduna is the capital ; Guipuscoa, the capital of which is 
St Sebastian, and Alaba, the capital of which is Vittoria, 
three free provinces, whose laws the Kings of Spain have 
hitherto been sworn to observe inviolate, have attracted 
almost the whole of the American trade, because the King 
has no custom house or officers here, and there are no 
duties to be paid- 
It may seem surprising to hear of free provinces in 
Spain, but such is the fact, that the high and independent 
spirit of the people, so essentially different from the other 
provinces, that a traveller perceives it even in their coun- 
tenances, their dress, their air, and their ordinary manner 
of speech, has -^induced the Spanish nation and her kings 
to respect the ancient liberties of these people so far, that 
each monarch at his accession to the throne takes an oath 
to observe the laws of Biscay. The government here is 
therefore diametrically opposite to that of Galicia, and the 
other provinces. The King of Spain has never assumed 
any higher title than Lord of Biscay. He has no troops 
of any sort in the lordship, nor is there any standing array, 
instead of which every man is obliged to serve in the mili- 
tia. The King has no custom house officers, noi* other 
revenue officers, nor any other officers whatsoever in the 
lordship except a corrcgidor, and lately a commissary of 
marine. This last is considered as an encroachment and 
a grievance, and the authority of the corregidor is very 


small, as there lies an appeal from his judgment to another 
tribunal, that of the two deputy generals, who are bienni- 
ally elected by the people. Few of the grandees of Spain 
have any considerable estates here. The Duke of Medina 
Coeli, and the Duke of Berwick, have some lands here of 
no great value. The lands, generally, belong to the in- 
habitants and possessors, who hold them of no lord but the 
King of Spain, who is Lord of Biscay. 

There is a Board of Trade here, which is annually in- 
stituted by the merchants of the place, partly by lot and 
partly by election, which decides all controversies arising 
in trade, and all the affairs of strangers. They have never 
admitted any foreign consul to reside here, although it has 
been solicited by Holland, England, and France. 

It is not at all surprising, that a constitution in its nature 
so favorable to commerce, should have succeeded. 

In travelling through the provinces of Leon and Castile, 
and observing the numerous flocks of sheep, with the most 
beautiful fleeces of wool in the world, I could not but wish 
that some communication might be opened, by which the 
United States of America might be furnished with this 
necessary article from this country. There are few of our 
articles of exportation but might be sent to the Spanish 
market to advantage, rice, pitch, tar, turpentine, tobacco, 
wheat, flour, ship timber, masts, yards, bowsprits, and salt 
fish might be supplied to Spain, and at an advantage, and 
in return she might furnish us wine, oil, fruits, some silks, 
some linens, perhaps, and with any quantity of wool, whicli 
is now exported to foreign countries for manufacture, and 
might as well be sent to us, but above all with silver and 

It must be the work of time and a frrc intorrburse lie- 


tween the two nations, and a future negotiation to ripen 
these hints into a plan tliat may be beneficial to both. 
The system of revenue, which it is dangerous and difficult 
to alter in Spain, as well as in all other countries of Eu- 
rope, will be the principal objection. I have collected 
together with some difficulty a few gazettes, which I have 
the honor to transmit to Congress, from which all the news 
may be collected that I have been able to learn. Con- 
gress will easily perceive the eagerness with which the bel- 
ligerent powers are bent on war, without manifesting the 
least disposition for peace, and most of all. Great Britain, 
whose ostentatious display of trifling successes, and whose 
weak exultation shows, that nothing can divert her from 
her furious course. But she is exhausting and sinking her 
forces every day, without gaining any lasting or solid ad- 
vantage, and she has reason to fear, from the con)bined 
fleets of France and Spain, under such enterprising, expe- 
rienced, and approved officers, as d'Estaing and du Chaf- 
fault, the entire ruin of her commerce and navy in the 
course of a campaign or two more. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Paris, February 12th, 1780. 

Having obtained permission from your Excellency yes- 
terday, when I did myself the honor to wait on you at 
Versailles, to write on the subject of my mission, I have 
now the honor to acquaint you, that on the 29th day of 
September last the Congress of the United States of 
Amevira Hid me the honor to elect me their Plenipoten- 


tiary to negotiate a peace with Great Britain, and also to 
negotiate a treaty of commerce with that kingdom, and Mr 
Francis Dana, member of Congress, and of the Council of 
Massachusetts Bay, Secretary to both commissions. 

As I was not at Congress when this transaction took 
place, I am not able to inform your Excellency very par- 
ticularly of the rise and progress of it. But from conver- 
sation with gentlemen at Boston, who were members of 
Congress, and from private letters, I learned in general, 
that it was not the result of any sudden deliberation, or the 
fruit of any particular event of the war, prosperous or 
adverse, but a measure that has been more than a year 
under consideration, and finally agreed to on this principle, 
that as it was uncertain at what time the belligerent powers 
might be disposed to treat of peace, which could not be 
concluded without a Minister from the United States, it 
would save a great deal of time for this power to have a 
Minister in Europe fully authorised to treat, and in con- 
cert with Ministers from the other powers at war, conclude 
a peace with great Britain, and a treaty of commerce con- 
sistent with that already made with His Most Christian 
Majesty, and such others as might be made with other 
powers. I am persuaded it is the intention of my constitu- 
ents and of all America, and 1 am sure it is my own deter- 
mination, to take no steps of consequence in pursuance of 
my commissions, without consulting his Majesty's Ministers. 
And as various conjectures have been, and may be made 
concerning the nature of my appointment and powers, and 
as it may be expected by some, that I should take some 
measures for announcing these to the public, or at least to 
the Court of London, I beg the favor of your Excellency's 
opinion and advice upon these questions. 
VOL. IV. 46 


1 . Whether, in the present state of things, it is prudent 
in me to acquaint the British Ministry that I am arrived 
here, and that I shall be ready to treat, whenever the bel- 
ligerent powers shall be inclined to treat ? 

2. Whether it is prudent in me to publish in any man- 
ner, more than the journals of Congress may have already 
done, the nature of my mission ? 

3. Or whether to remain on the reserve, as I have 
hitherto done since my arrival in Europe ? 

If any propositions should be made to me directly or 
indirectly from the British Ministry, I shall not fail to com- 
municate them without loss of time to your Excellency, 
and I beg the favor of your Excellency, as I am the only 
person in Europe who has authority to treat of peace, that 
if any propositions on the part of Great Britain should be 
made to his Majesty's Ministers, that they may be com- 
municated to me, at least as far as they may relate to the 
interest of the United States. 

Although I am not confined by commissions, nor in- 
structions, nor by any intimations from Congress to reside 
in any one place in Europe more than another, yet my 
own inclinations as well as those of the public would be 
ir.ost gratified, and the public service most promoted, by 
my residing here. I must, therefore, request his Majes- 
ty's protection and permission to reside in this kingdom for 
some lime, with or without assuming any public character, 
as your Excellency may think most advisable. 

I have the honor to be, &-c. 




Paris, February 13tli, 1780. 


It was not until my arrival at Passy, that 1 had the honor 
of your Excellency's letter of the olst of December last. 

When his Majesty's intentions of granting me a passage 
to America were communicated to me, I had little expecta- 
tion of returning in the same frigate ; but the Congress 
having honored me with a fresh mission to Europe, their 
Excellencies, the late and present Ministers from his Ma- 
jesty to the United States, concurred in a proposal to Con- 
gress, and a requisition to the commander of the frigate, to 
afford me a passage in her voyage home, which Captain 
Chavagne agreed to with particular marks of politeness to 
me and jMr Dana, and the others who accompanied me. 

I have again to express to your Excellency the obliga- 
tions I am under to the captain, and all the officers of the 
Sensible, for their goodness to me and mine. But it is 
more particularly my duty to express again my thanks to 
his Majesty, for this fresh favor, to M. Gerard and the 
Chevalier de la Luzerne, who procured it for me, and to 
your Excellency, for your approbation of it. 
1 have the honor to be, &£c. 




Versailles, February 15lli, 17ff). 

I have received the letter, which you did mo the honor 
to write me on the 12th of this month. I think before I 


reply to the different points on which you consult me, that 
it is proper to wait for the arrival of M. Gerard, because 
he is probably the bearer of your instructions, and will cer- 
tainly be able to make me better acquainted with the na- 
ture and extent of your commission. But in the mean 
time, I am of opinion, that it will be prudent to conceal 
your eventual character, and above all to take the neces- 
sary precautions, that the object of your commission may 
remain unknown to the Court of London. Besides, Sir, 
you may be assured, that his Majesty sees you with pleas- 
ure in his dominions, that you will constantly enjoy his 
protection, and the prerogatives of the law of nations. 
For my own part, Sir, I shall be eager to give you proofs 
of my confidence, as well as of the sentiments with which 
I have the honor to be, &;c. 



Paris, February loth, 1780, 

I have the honor to inform Congress, that on the 9th of 
this month, and not before, I had the good fortune to arrive 
in this city, from Ferrol (where I arrived on the 8th of De- 
cember) with Mr Dana, Mr Thaxter, and the rest of the 
company in tolerable health, after a journey of near five 
hundred leagues, in the dead of winter, through bad roads, 
and worse accommodations of every kind. We lost no 
time more than was indispensably necessary to restore our 
health, which was several times affected, and in great dan- 
ger ; yet we were more than twice as long in making the 


journey by land, as we had been in crossing the Atlantic 

The next morning after our arrival at Paris, Mr Dana 
and myself went out to Passy, and spent the day with his 
Excellency Dr Franklin, who did us the honor the next 
day to accompany us to Versailles, where we had the hon- 
or to wait on their Excellencies the Count de Vergennes, 
M. de Sartine, and the CouSt Maurepas, with each of 
whom we had the honor of a short conference, upon the 
state of public affairs. It is sufficient for me to say in gen- 
eral, that I never heard the French Ministry so frank, so 
explicit, so decided, as each of these gentlemen was in 
the course of this conversation, in his declarations to per- 
sue the war with vigor, and to afford effectual aid to the 
United States. I learned with great satisfaction, that they 
are sending, under convoy, clothing and arms for fifteen 
thousand men to America, that seventeen ships of the line 
were already gone to the West Indies, under M. de Guichen, 
and that five or six more at least are to follow, in addition 
to ten or twelve they have already there. I asked permis- 
sion of the Count de Vergennes to write to him on the 
subject of my mission, which he cheerfully and politely 
agreed to. I have accordingly written to his Excellency, 
and shall forward copies of my letter and his answer, as 
soon as it may be safe to do it. 

The English are to borrow twelve millions this year, and 
it is said, that the loan is filled up. They have thrown a 
sop to Ireland, but have not appeased her rage. They 
give out exactly such threats as they did last year, and 
every other year, of terrible preparations. But Congress 
knows perfectly well how these measures have been ac- 
complished. They will not be more fully executed the next 


year than the last, and if France and Spain should throw 
more of tlieir force, especially by sea, into America the 
next year, America will have no essential injury to fear. 

I have learned since my arrival at Paris, with the high- 
est pleasure, the arrival of M. Gerard, Mr Jay, and Mr 
Carmichael, at Cadiz, for whose safety we had been under 
great apprehensions. 1 have now very solid hopes, that a 
treaty will soon be concluded with Spain, hopes which 
everything that 1 saw and heard seemed to favor. 

The Alliance frigate, now under the command of Cap- 
tain Jones, with Captain Cunningham on board, is arrived 
at Corunna, where she is to be careened, after which she 
is to return to L'Orient, and from thence to go to America, 
as I am informed by Dr Franklin. 

Mr Auther Lee, and Mr Izard, are still in Paris, under 
many difficulties in procuring a passage home. Mr Wil- 
liam Lee is at Brussels. Mr Izard has been to Holland, 
to obtain a passage from thence, but unfortunately missed 
his opportunity and returned disappointed. 
I have the honor to be, &.c. 



Paris, February 17th, 1780. 


It is necessary, that 1 should inform Congress in what 
manner I have been able to procure money to defray my 
expenses in my long journey, through the greatest part of 
Spain and France to this city. 

On my arrival at Ferrol, I was offered the loan of 
money by the French consul, M. de Tournelle, who, at 


the same time told me, there was a gentleman at Corunna, 
M. Michael Lagoanere, who had heretofore acted as an 
American agent at that place, and who would be very 
happy to supply me. On my arrival at Corunna, M. La- 
goanere did me the honor of a visit, and offered me every 
assistance in cash, otherwise telling me at the same time, 
he had some money in his hands, which he supposed be- 
longed to the United Slates, being part of the proceeds of 
some prizes heretofore made by Captain Cunningham. 
That this money, however, had been attached in his hands 
by some Spanish merchant, wlio had commenced a law- 
suit against Captain Cunningham. I accordingly received 
three thousand dollars for myself and Mr Dana, and a 
letter of credit on the house of Cabarous at Bayonne, for 
as much more as I should have occasion for. On our 
arrival at Bayonne, ]\Ir Dana and I received of that house 
fifty louis d'ors, and a bill of exchange on another house of 
the same name and family at Bordeaux for the like sums, 
our expenses having exceeded all our computations at 
Corunna, as our journey was necessarily much longer than 
we expected, on account of the uncommon bad weather 
and bad roads. This bill was paid upon sight. So that, 
upon the whole, we have received the amount of seven- 
teen thousand four hundred livres, all on account of M. 
Lagoanere of Corunna. Of this sum, I\Ir Dana has re- 
ceived the amount of four thousand nir.e hundred and 
sevenlyone livres and fifteen sols, and 1 have receivrd 
twelve thousand four hundred and t\ventyei;;ht livres and 
five sols, for which sums we desire to be respectively 
charged in the treasury books of Congress. 

As this money is expended, if JVI. Lagoanere should 
draw upon us for it, all the authority we have to draw 

368 JOH^"^' ADAMS. 

upon his Excellency the Minister here will not enable us 
to pay it, and if M. Laa;oanere should be so happy as to 
avoid the attachment and leave us to account with Con- 
gress for this money, the small sum we are empowered to 
receive from his Excellency will go a very little way in 
discharging our expenses. We must therefore pray, that 
Congress would forward us authority to draw upon his 
Excellency for the amount of our salaries annually, which, 
without all doubt, will be paid. 

I have the honor to be, with the highest respect, &.c. 



Paris, February 18th, 1780. 

My Dear General, 

You know extremely well the skill of our enemies in 
forging false news, and their artifice in circulating it, not 
only through the various parts of Europe, but in the Uni- 
ted States of America, to keep up the spirits of their 
friends and depress those of their adversaries. It is their 
annual custom in the winter to send abroad large cargoes 
of these lies, and they meet with a success in making them 
believed, that is really astonishing. 

Since my arrival here, I find they have been this winter 
at their old game again, and have circulated reports here, 
in Holland, and other parts of Europe, that they have 
made new contracts with other petty Princes in Germany, 
by which, together with those made before, they will be 
able to draw seven thousand fresh troops from that coun- 
try to serve in America. That by appeasing the troubles 
in Ireland, they shall be able to avail themselves even of 


the military associations in that kingdom, by depending 
upon them for the defence of the country, and to draw near 
ten thousand men from thence for the service in America. 
That they have concluded a treaty with the Court of Pe- 
tersburg, by which Russia is to furnish them with twelve 
ships of the line and twenty thousand men, which they say 
is of the more importance, on account of the intimate con- 
nexion between Russia and Denmark, as the latter will be 
likely by this means to be drawn into the war, with their 
numerous fleet of fortyfive ships of the line. The greatest 
part of these tales are false. I know very well what is said 
of Russia is so contrary to all that I have seen and heard 
of the good understanding between Versailles and Russia, 
that I have no doubt of its falsehood. But as I am very 
lately arrived, and, consequently, have not opportunity to 
examine these reports to the bottom, I beg the favor of 
you to inform me, with all the exactness possible, how 
much truth there is in them, if any at all. 

You are very sensible that it is of the utmost impor- 
tance, that Congress should have the exactest information 
of these things, and that you and I cannot render a more 
useful service to our country at present, than by collecting 
such intelligence with precision, and transmitting it without 
delay. Knowing the pleasure you take in serving the 
United States in every way in your power, I thought I 
could beg this favor of you with propriety, and that you 
would believe me always your friend and servant, 


VOL. IV. 47 



Paris, February 18th, 1780. 

Dear Sir, 

Whether it is, that the art of political lying is better un- 
derstood in England than in any other country, or whether 
it is more practised there than elsewhere, or whether it 
is accidental that they have more success in making 
their fictions gain credit in the world, I know not. But it 
is certain, that every winter since the commencement of 
the present war with America, and indeed for some years 
before, they sent out large quantities of this manufacture 
over all Europe, and throughout all America, and what is 
astonishing is, that they should still find numbers in every 
country ready to take them off their hands. 

Since my arrival in this city, I find they have been this 
winter at their old trade, and have spread reports here and 
in Holland, and in various other parts of Europe, and no 
doubt they have found means to propagate them in Amer- 
ica too, tending to keep up the spirits of their friends, and 
to sink those of their opponents. Such as, that they have 
made new contracts with several German Princes, by 
which they are to obtain seven thousand men to serve in 
America ; that they have so skilfully appeased the troubles 
in Ireland, that they shall ever be able to take advantage 
of the military associations there, by depending upon them 
for the defence of the kingdom, while they draw from 
thence ten thousand regular troops for the service in 
America ; that they have even concluded a treaty with 
Russia, by which the Empress is to furnish them with 
twelve ships of the line and twenty thousand men, as some 


say, and twenty ships of the line and twelve thousand men 
as others relate. This they say is of the greater moment, 
because of an intimate connexion, 1 know not of what 
nature it is, between Russia and Denmark, by which the 
latter will be likely to be drawn into the war against the 
House of Bourbon and America ; and Denmark, they say, 
has fortyfive ships of the line. 

I know very well that the greatest part of these reports 
is false ; and particularly what is said of Russia is so con- 
trary to all those reports, which I have heard for these 
twelve months past of the harmony between Versailles and 
Petersburg, that I give no credit to it at all, but I find 
that all these reports make impressions on some minds, 
and among the rest some Americans. 

I therefore beg the favor of you to inform me of the 
exact truth in all these matters, that I may take the earliest 
opportunity of transmitting the intelligence to Congress, 
where it is of importance it should be known. 

I was much mortified when I was at Versailles the other 
day, that I could not have the honor of paying my respects 
to you, but I was so connected with other gentlemen, who 
were obliged to return to dinner, that I could not ; but I 
shall take the first opportunity I can get to wait on you, 
and assure you that I am, with great respect, &ic. ^ 



Paris, February 19lh, 1780. 

Dear Sir, 
As I came but this morning from Versailles, it was not 
in my power sooner to answer the letter you have honored 


me with, and this duty I now perform with the more pleas- 
ure, as it is of some importance to the interests of Amer- 
ica. Since the first day, when I had the happiness of 
making myself and of being considered in the world as 
an American, I have always observed, that among the 
many ways of attacking our liberties, and among the most 
ungenerous ones, misrepresentations have ever been the 
first weapons on which the British nation has the most 

I am glad it is in my pov^^er generally to assure you, that 
the many reports propagated by them and alluded to in 
your letter are not founded upon truth. New contracts 
with petty princes in Germany have not, I believe, taken 
place, and if any such merchandise were sent to America, 
it would at most consist of a few recruits. The troubles 
in Ireland, if there is the least common sense among the 
first patriots of that country, are not I hope at an end, and 
it seems they now begin to raise our expectations. The 
Russian troops, so much talked of in their gazettes, I take 
to be mere recruits for those thirty thousand Russians, that 
Mr Rivington had three years ago ordered to embark for 

Those intelligences, my dear Sir, must be counteracted 
by letters to our friends in America. But as the respect, 
which we owe to the free citizens of the United States, 
makes it a point of duty never to deceive them, and as the 
most candid frankness must ever distinguish our side of the 
question from the course of tyranny and falsehood, I in- 
tend paying tomorrow morning a visit to the Minister of 
Foreign Affairs, and from him get such minute intelligence 
as shall answer your purpose. 


With the most sincere regard, I have the honor to 

be, k,c. 


P. S. On my return from Versailles, my dear Sir, 
where I will settle the affairs of arms that I have under- 
taken, I will impart to you a project privately relating to 
me, that is not inconsistent with my sentiments for our 
country, America. L. 


Paris, February 19th, 1780. 


Enclosed are copies of former letters to Congress, and I 
shall continue to transmit copies, until I learn that some 
have arrived, for which reason I must request the favor 
that his Excellency [the President, or some committee, 
may be desired to acknowledge the receipt of letters, so 
that I may know as soon as may be, what letters have 
arrived, and which have been less fortunate. 

The art of making and spreading false news to answer 
political purposes is not peculiar to Great Britain, but yet 
she seems to possess this art, and the talent of giving to 
her fictions the colors of probability beyond other nations ; 
at least, she seems to have more success in making her 
impostures believed than any other. It is her annual prac- 
tice in the winter to fabricate and export large quantities of 
this merchandise to all parts of Europe and America, and 
she finds more customers to take them off her hands than 
she ought, considering how illicit the traffic is. 

This winter her emissaries have been more assiduous 
than ever in propagating reports, that they have entered 


into new engagements with several other petty principali- 
ties in Germany, by which they shall hire seven thousand 
men, for the service of the next campaign in America. 
That by compromising with Ireland, they shall be able to 
take advantage even of the military associations in that 
kingdom, and draw from them a large number of regular 
troops for the service in America, depending on the volun- 
teer militia, or associators for the defence of the country ; 
that they have made a treaty with Russia, whereby that 
power has engaged to furnish them with twelve ships of the 
line and twenty thousand troops, as some say, and twenty 
ships of the line and twelve thousand troops, according to 
others. This alliance they say too is of the more conse- 
quence, on account of some connexion between Russia and 
Denmark, who, it is insinuated,' will follow Russia into the 
war, and Denmark they add has fortyfive ships of the 
line, not manned it is true, but England they say can man 

These tales one would think are so extravagant and 
absurd, that they would not find a believer in the world. 
Yet there are persons, who believe them in all nations of 
Europe, particularly in Holland, and there is no doubt the 
same song will be sung in America, and many will listen to 
it. There is nothing further from the truth ; they will find 
the utmost difficulty to draw from Germany troops enough 
to repair the breaches in the German troops made in Amer- 
ica the last year ; the same with regard to Ireland. And 
as to what is said of Russia, there is not even a color of 
truth in it, but on the contrary, the same good understand- 
ing continues between Versailles and Petersburg, which 
subsisted last winter, spring, and summer. As to Den- 
mark. I have no reason to think that she is disposed to 


assist Great Britain, but on the contrary that she has armed 
to defend herself at sea against Great Britain ; but if it 
were otherwise, to what purpose- would her ships of the 
line be unmanned, when Great Britain cannot man the 
ships of the line she already has. 

France seems determined to pursue the naval war with 
vigor and decision in the American seas. M. de Guichen 
sailed the beginning of January with seventeen or eighteen 
ships of the line. Seven more are now preparing at Brest 
with all possible expedition, supposed to be for America. 
These, if they all happily join the twelve ships left there by 
the Count d'Estaing, will make a fleet of six and thirty ships 
of the line. And the Court seems determined to maintain 
the superiority in the American seas. This will give scope 
to our privateers to weaken and distress the enemies of 
their country, while they are enriching themselves. 

There is no news of Admiral Rodney ; from whence I 
conclude he is gone to the West Indies. 

The English have derived such a flush of spirits from 
their late successes, which are mostly however of the neg- 
ative kind, that they talk in a style very different from that 
of peace. There are two reflections, which the English 
cannot bear, one is that of losing the domination of the 
colonies as indispensable to the support of their naval supe- 
riority over France and Spain, or either of them, in pos- 
session of a powerful fleet at the peace. Their maxim is 
to make themselves terrible at sea to all nations, and they 
are convinced that if they make a peace leaving America 
independent, and France and Spain powerful at sea, they 
shall never again be terrible to any maritime power. These 
reasons convince me, that Great Britain will hazard all 
rather than make peace at present. Thompson's "Britan- 


Dia," which expresses the feelings as well as the sentiments 
of every Briton, is so much to the present purpose, that I 
liope 1 shall be pardoned for referring to it, even in a letter 
to Congress. 

I have the honor to be, with the highest esteem, k.c. 



Paris, February 19th, 1780. 


I have received the letter, which your Excellency did 
me the honor to write me on the 15th of this month, and 
lest I should not have explained sufficiently in my letter 
of the 12th the nature and extent of my commissions, I 
have now the honor to enclose attested copies of both, as 
well as of that to Mr Dana. 

With regard to my instructions, I presume your Excel- 
lency will not judge it proper, that I should communicate 
them any further than to assure you, as I do in the fullest 
manner, that they contain nothing inconsistent with the 
letter or spirit of the treaty between his Majesty and the 
United States, or the most perfect friendship between 
France and America, but, on the contrary, the clearest 
orders to cultivate both. I have hitherto conducted ac- 
cording to your advice, having never communicated to any 
person since my arrival in Europe the nature of ray 
mission, excepting to your Excellency and Dr Franklin, to 
whom it was indeed communicated by a resolution of Con- 
gress, and to him in confidence. I shall continue to con- 
ceal, as far as may depend upon me, my actual character, 
but I ought to observe to your Excellency, that my ap- 


pointment was as notorious in America as that of Mr Jay, 
or Dr Franklin, before ray departure. So it is probably 
already known to the Court of London, although they have 
not regular evidence of it. 1 mention this, lest some per- 
sons might charge me with publishing what I certainly did 
not publish. 

I thank your Excellency for the assurances of his Maj- 
esty's protection and of your confidence, which it shall be 
my study and endeavor at all times to deserve. 
I have the honor to be, he. 




Versailles, February 20lh, 1780. 

You have been afraid to trouble the Count de Ver- 
gennes, and you have done me the honor of addressing 
yourself to me, in order to know what you are to think of 
several rumors, which the English have endeavored to 
spread. I am infinitely flattered by the mark of confi- 
dence, which you have been pleased to give me, but I have 
thought myself obliged to lay the letter before the Minister. 
He has directed me to assure you, that on every occasion 
he will be very happy that you should address yourself 
directly lo him, and that you will always find him ready to 
satisfy your inquiries. 

He has remarked, as well as yourself, the address 
which our enemies use to circulate false reports, and to 
make Europe believe that the Americans are making ad- 
vances to them, in order to treat of an arrangement with 
VOL. IV. 48 


them. The Count de Vergennes is likewise persuaded of 
the contrary, as he is assured that no new treaty has been 
negotiated with the Princes of Germany, and that no levies 
are making there, but for the sake of filling up the old 
ones. He does not think that the news of the treaty with 
Russia, nor that which relates to the Court of Denmark, 
are better founded. He told me that I might do myself 
the honor to write you, that all those rumors are false, and 
that you run no risk in presenting them as such to the 
persons, on whom you think they have made some im- 
pression, both in Europe and America. 

I am extremely anxious to have the honor to see you, 
and congratulate you on your happy return. As I but 
seldom go to Paris, I wish your business may permit you 
to do m.e the honor to call at my house and accept of a 
family dinner. 

I have the honor to be, he. 


[to the president of congress. 

Paris, February 20th, 1780. 

Since my arrival in Europe, I have had the mortifica- 
tion to see in the public papers a series of little successes, 
which our enemies have had in the prosecution of the war. 
The first was a very exaggerated account in the English 
Court Gazette, of their successes against the Spaniards in 
South America. The next was the history of the repulse 
of General Lincoln and the Count d'Estaing at Savannah, 
and the raising of the siege at that post. These were soon 
followed by the capture of the Spanish fleet of transport 
ships by Rodney^s squadron, and the advantage gained by 


that Admiral over the Spanish ships of war, after a most 
gallant resistance, however, ofFGibrahar. 

These small triumphs, although chiefly of the defensive 
and negative kind, and a poor compensation for the blood 
and the millions they are annually wasting, are, however, 
sufficient to cheer the spirits of the British populace, and 
lo banish from the minds of the Ministry all thoughts of 
peace upon reasonable terras ; for the English in the 
present war act upon a maxim diametrically opposite to 
that of the Romans, and never think of peace upon any 
event fortunate to them, but are anxious for it under every 
great adversity. 

A report of my appointment having also been carried to 
England by the cartels from Boston, and being spread in 
Europe by various other ways, by passengers in the Com- 
mittee, by French passengers in the Sensible, of whom there 
were a great number who had heard of it in all companies 
in America, and by many private letters, and the English 
ministerial writers having made use of this as evidence of 
a drooping spirit in America in order to favor their loan of 
money, I thought it my best policy to communicate my ap- 
pointment and powers to the French Court, and ask their 
advice, as our good allies, how lo proceed in the present 
emergency. I accordingly wrote to his Excellency, the 
Count de Vergennes, the letter of the 12ih of February, a 
copy of which is enclosed ; and received his answer of the 
15th, a copy of which is enclosed ; to which I replied in a 
letter of the 19th, a copy of which is also enclosed. When 
I shall receive his Excellency's answer, 1 shall do myself 
the honor to enclose that. 

If there is anything in these letters of mine, which is not 
conformable to the views and sentiments of Congress, I 


wish to be instructed in it, or if Congress should not con- 
cur with his Excellency the Count, I shall obey their 
orders with the utmost punctuality and alacrity. I have 
ever understood, that Congress were first advised to the 
measure of appointing a Minister to negotiate peace, by the 
French Minister then at Philadelphia, in the name of the 
Count de Vergennes. However this may have been, if 
cannot be improper to have some one in Europe empow- 
ered to think and treat of peace, which some time or other 
must come. 

Since my last, which was of yesterday's date, I have had 
opportunity to make more particular inquiries concerning 
the pretended treaty with Russia, and am informed, that 
the English Ministry did, not long since, make a formal ap- 
plication by their Ambassador to the Empress of Russia 
for a body of troops and a number of ships ; but that the 
application was opposed with great spirit and ability in the 
Russian Council, particularly by the Minister for foreign 
affairs, and rejected in council with great unanimity, and 
that the harmony between Versailles and Petersburg re- 
mains as perfect as when I left France. 

I have the honor to be, with very great respect, &c. 



Paris, February 22cl, 1780. 

Dear Sir, 
I most sincerely congratulate you on your happy arri- 
val in Europe, which must be the more agreeable to you, 
for the terrible voyages you have had. Every good 
American in Europe, I believe, suffered a great anxiety 


from the length of time that passed between the day when 
it was known, that the Confederacy sailed, and the time 
when the news arrived of your being in Cadiz. I, too, 
have had my hairbreaddi escapes, and, after my arrival, a 
very tedious journey in the^vorst season of the year by 
land. Happy, however, shall we be, if all our hazards and 
fatigues should contribute to lay the foundation of a free 
and prosperous people. 

I hope no accident or disagreeable circumstance has 
happened to your family, to whom I shall be obliged to 
you to present my respects. From what I saw and heard 
in Spain, from the strong assurances I received of the good 
will of the Court and nation, and from the great attention 
and respect, that were paid me by officers of government 
of the highest rank in the provinces through which I 
passed, I am persuaded you will meet with the most dis- 
tinguished reception, and I hope will soon have the honor 
and satisfaction of concluding a treaty widi Spain. You 
will have the advantage of more frequent and speedy in- 
telligence from home, than we can have here, at least" you 
will have it in your power. There are vessels oftener ar- 
riving from America at Bilboa and Cadiz, I think, than in 
France. Many of these vessels come from Boston and 
Newburyport, perhaps the most of them. So that by di- 
recting your correspondents to send their letters that way, 
you will have them much sooner than we can commonly 
obtain them ; and by transmitting yours to Messrs Gardo- 
qui &; Co. at Bilboa, and Mr IMontgomery, or some other, 
at Cadiz, your despatches will go more speedily, and more 
safely than ours, for we find it almost impossible to get a 
letter across the Bay of Biscay from France in a merchant 
vessel, there are so many privateers in the route ; the dan- 


ger of wliom is avoided chiefly by vessels from Bllboa 
keeping near the coast, and running into harbor in case 
of danger, and wholly by those from Cadiz. You will ex- 
cuse my mentioning to you this channel of intelligence, 
which might not possibly have occurred to you, and my 
wishing to make some advantage of it to myself, by asking 
the favor of your correspondence, and that you will impart 
to me the advices you may receive through it. 

We have nothing new here at present, but what you 
have had before. Pray what think you of peace ? It seems 
to be the will of Heaven, that the English should have 
success enough to lead them on to final destruction. They 
are quite intoxicated with their late advantages, although a 
poor compensation for what they cost. 

My respects to Mr Carmichael, and believe me to be, 
with respect and esteem, Sir, your most obedient humble 



Paris, February 23d, 1780. 

Having been informed this morning by the Marquis de 
Lafayette, of another opportunity for America, I have the 
honor to enclose to Congress triplicates of former letters, 
and copies of some other letters, which I have written and 
received lately. 1 have also packed up all the newspapers 
and pamj)hlets I can obtain. The Mercure de France is a 
weekly publication of very ancient origin, and is become 
lately very interesting to America, because those political 
intelligences and speculations, which were formerly publish- 
ed in another pamphlet, under the title of Affaires de VAn- 


gleierre et de VAmerique are now published in this, the 
other having been dropped. The Courrier de VEurope 
has the most extensive circulation of any gazette, although 
supposed to he rather too much under the influence of the 
British Ministry sometimes ; the Gazette de France is pub- 
lished by authority here, and has a great reputation for in- 
tegrity ; in the Gazette de la Hague the English find means 
to publish many false reports. These papers and pam- 
phlets, together with one or two English papers, for which 
I shall subscribe as soon as possible, I shall do myself the 
honor to transmit to Congress constantly as they come out. 
From these, Congress will be able to collect from time to 
time all the public news of Europe. 

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, &z,c. 



Paris, February 23d, 1780. 
Dear Sir, 

You will see by the public papers, that your Committee 
of Correspondence is making greater progress in the world, 
and doing greater things in the political world, than the 
electrical rod ever did in the physical ; Ireland and England 
have adopted it, but mean plagiaries as they are, they do 
not acknowledge who was the inventor of it. Mr Lee and 
Mr Izard will go with this letter in the Alliance, r.nd pro- 
bably go to Boston. They will be able to inform you of 
everything of a public nature much better than I can do, 
as I have scarcely had opportunity to look about me as yet. 
They will give you few hopes of peace, at least very 


The associations of counties and committees of corres- 
pondence in England, are very ominous to our old ac- 
quaintances the refugees, as they attack unmerited pensions 
in the first place. But they must do greater things than 
distressing these gentry; they must necessarily produce 
great commotions in the nation. The speeches at these 
meetings go great lengths, some of them openly justifying 
and applauding the Americans, and others even applauding 
France and Spain for stepping in to our assistance. The 
Court here seems determined more than ever to pursue 
the war with vigor, especially by sea, and above all in the 
American seas. They have already sent seventeen ships 
of the line under M. de Guichen, to reinforce M. de la 
Molte Piquet, and seven others are preparing at Brest. 
They are sending out clothing and arms for fifteen thou- 
sand men for our army, and seem confident, that the next 
campaign will be better than the last. I hope the spirit of 
privateering among us will increase, because I think this 
is the way in which we can do the most service to the 
common cause. I hope you will be so good as to inform 
me of what passes, particularly what progress the Conven- 
tion makes in the constitution.* I assure you it is more 
comfortable making constitutions in the dead of winter at 
Cambridge or Boston, than sailing in a leaky ship, or 
climbing on foot, or upon mules, over the mountains of 
Galicia, and the Pyrenees. 

Believe me your friend and servant, 


* Convention of Massachusetts, of which Mr Adams had been chosen 
a member soon after his return from France, 



Paris, February 23d, 1780. 

Dear Sir, 

The French Court seems to be now every day more 
and more convinced of the good policy, and indeed the 
necessity of prosecuting the war with vigor in the American 
seas. They have been, and are making great preparations 
accordingly, and are determined to maintain a clear supe- 

M. de ia Motte Piquet has with him the Hannibal, the 
Magnifique, the Diademe, the Dauphin Royal, the Arti- 
sane, the Reflechi, and the Vengeur, and if M. de Grace 
has joined him from the Chesapeake Bay, the Robuste, 
the Fendant, and the Sphinx ; in all ten ships of the line. 
M. de Guichen has gone to join him with the Couronne, 
eighty guns, the Triumphant, eighty ; the Palmier, the 
Victoire, the Destin, the Conquerant, the Citoyen, the In- 
trepide, the Hercule, and the Souverain, all of seventy- 
four ; the Jason, the Actionnaire, the Caton, the Julien, the 
Solitaire, the St Michael, and the Triton, all of sixtyfour ; 
the frigates, the Medea, Courageuse, Gentille, and the 
Charmante, all of thirtytwo. He had above a hundred 
sail of vessels under his convoy, and the regiment of Tou- 
raine and Enghien, of more than thirteen hundred men 
each, and the second battalions of Royal Corntois, and of 
Walsh, of seven hundred men each, making in the whole 
more than four thousand troops. Besides these, there are 
seven more preparing at Brest to sail. 

M. Gerard, Mr Jay, and Mr Carmichael are arrived at 
Cadiz in a French frigate, the Confederacy having been 
dismasted, and driven to' Martinique. The Alliance car- 
voL. IV. 49 


ries this with Mr Lee and Mr Izard, who will no doubt be 
treated with all respect at Boston. 

Notwithstanding the commotions in England and Ireland, 
the success of Provost at Savannah, and of Rodney off 
Gibraltar, and even the silly story of Omoa, in South 
America, is enough to embolden the IMinislry to go on with 
a debt of two hundred millions, already contracted, to bor- 
row twelve or fourteen millions a year, in the beginning of 
a war with France and Spain, eacli having a greater navy 
than tliey ever had, each discovering a greater fighting 
spirit than they ever did before, and obliging the English 
to purchase every advantage at a dear rate* The pre- 
miums and bounties, that they are obliged to give to raise 
men, both for the service by sea and land, and the interest 
of money they borrow, are greater than were ever given in 
any former wars, even in the last year of the last war. 
This cannot always last, nor indeed long. Yet I do not 
expect to see peace very soon. 

Pray write me as often as possible, and send the news- 
papers to me. 

Your friend and servant, 




Versailles, February 24tli, 1760. 

I have received the letter, which you have done me the 
honor to write me the 19ih of this month. Your full pow- 
ers, of which you have been pleased to send me a copy, are 
perfectly conformable to what M. Gerard has written to 


me about them, and they leave us nothing to wish for, as 
to t!ie lorni or matter. I think there will be no inconve- 
niency in informing the public of the principal object of 
your mission, 1 mean the future pacification, it will bo 
announced in the Gazette of France, when it will men- 
tion your presentation to the King and royal family, and 
you will be at liberty to give your eventual character a 
greater publicity, by having it published in the Dutch pa- 
pers. I could only wish, that you would be so kind as to 
communicate the article to me before you transmit it. 
With regard to the full powers, which authorise you to ne- 
gotiate a treaty of commerce with the Court of London, I 
think it will be prudent not to communicate them to any 
body whatever, and lo take every necessary precaution, 
that the British Ministry may not have a premature knowl- 
edge of them. You will no doubt easily feel the motives, 
wi)ich induce me to advise you to take this precaution, and 
it would be needless to explain them. 

With regard to your instructions, Sir, I am satisfied that 
they have for their certain and invaiiable basis, the treaties 
subsisting between the King and the United States. M. 
Gerard has assured the King of it, in the most positive man- 
ner, and his Majesty docs riiore justice to the uprightness 
of Congress, and lo the stability of the sentiments which 
they have hitherto manifested^ than lo have ever entertain- 
ed, or to entertain, the least doubt on this subject. This 
way of thinking will convince you. Sir, that we have no 
need of seeing your instructions, to appreciate properly the 
principles and dispositions of Congress towards Great Bri- 

I have the honor to be, Zzc. 




Paris, February 25th, 1780. 


I had last evening the honor of your Excellency's letter 
of yesterday's date, and shall conform myself to your ad- 

I shall esteem myself highly honored by a presentation 
to the King and royal family, and shall wait your Excellen- 
cy's directions concerning the time of it, and shall not think 
myself at liberty to make any publication of my powers to 
treat of peace, until it shall have been announced in the 
Gazette. After which, I shall transmit to your Excellency 
any paragraph, which may be thought proper to publish in 
the gazettes of Holland, and take your advice upon it, be- 
fore it is sent. My other powers shall be concealed, ac- 
cording to your advice, and I shall have the honor to pay 
my respects to your Excellency very soon at Versailles. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Paris, February 25th, 1780 


Since my letter of the 20th, I have received another let- 
ter from his Excellency the Count de Vergennes, dated 
the 24th of February, which I answered this day. Copies 
of both letters are enclosed. 

I have also the honor to enclose a gazette, and an appli- 
cation from Mr Comyn, of Marseilles, to be a consul for 
the ports of Provence and Languedoc. I know nothing 
of this gentleman but what he says of himself. 


By the enclosed gazette, as well as by many others, 
Congress will see of what wonderful efficacy in pulling 
down tyranny a committee of correspondence is likely to 
be. Ireland has done great things by means of it, England 
is attempting great things with it, after the example of the 
Americans, who invented it, and first taught its use. 
Yet all does not seem to produce the proper gratitude on 
the minds of the English towards their benefactors. How- 
ever, the glory of the invention is as certainly ours, as that 
of electrical rods, Hadley's quadrant, or inoculation for 
the smallpox. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 



Paris, February 27th, 1780. 


There are so many gentlemen of rank going out to 
America, that there can be no doubt Congress will be 
fully informed of the state of public affairs. 

Mr Lee, Mr Izard, the Marquis de Lafayette, Mr 
Wharton, and many others, are going by different vessels. 
Besides these. Monsieur de I'Etombe, who is appointed 
Consul General of France for the northern district of 
America, as M. Holker for the middle, (I have not yet 
learned who for the southern,) will go soon. 

There is an armament preparing with the greatest ex- 
pedition at Brest, which is to he commanded by M. de 
Ternay, and to consist of eight or ten ships of the line and 
frigates, six of the line and several frigates, as it is said, 
(perhaps it is not yet certain nor determined exactly how 
many of either,) with several thousand men j all numbers 

390 J^HN ADAMS. 

are mentioned from six to ten tbousand men, under (he 
General officers dc Rocliainbeau and Jaucourt. Whether 
tliis force is destined to the continent or the West Indies, 
time will discover ; at present, it ought not to be known. 
On the other hand, I see by a paragraph in a London paper 
of the ICih of this month, that the Thunderer, Torbay, 
Ramilies, Royal Oak, Triumph, and Egmont, are ordered 
for the West Indies, under Captain Walsinghnm ; the 
Southampton, St Albans, and Winchelsea, which were 
talked of to go with him, are found unfit for service, and in 
so bad a condition as to be ordered to be paid off. Thus 
the French are likely to be drawn into the American 
seas in sufficient force, where they have great advanta- 
ges in carrying on the war. It is much to be wished, 
that the Spaniards could be drawn into (he same (leld 
of battle, for Gibraltar must be taken in America if ever. 
There are some persons, however, who tliink that the 
English will avenge the French, the Spaniards, and above 
all the Americans, upon one another, and it is certain that 
parties in England are working up to a crisis. The pe- 
titions of the counties, their numerous committees of cor- 
respondence, their hints of associations, have most certainly 
alarmed (he King and his Ministers to so great a degree, (hat 
for some time their conduct was equivocal, giving hopes at 
times to the people, that the Crown would favor the de- 
sired reformation in (lie expenditure of money. But upon 
the news of Rodney's successes they grew bolder, pnd 
determined to exert all the authority of the Crown to sup- 
press the meetings of the people. Accordingly the cry of 
faction, sedition, and rebellion, was set up in Parliament by 
the majority, and the King was advised to dismiss those 
lieutenants of counties, who had favored the meetings of 


the people, advice which he has certainly taken. This is 
a decisive measure. It will either discourage and suppress 
those meetings, petitions, correspondence, and associations 
altogether, or it will give them greater force. 

By a debate in die House of Commons on the 14th of 
this month, one would think that the nation was nearly on 
the brink of a civil war. Yet, I confess, I cannot think 
that there are any characters at present in whom the 
nation have sufficient confidence, to venture themselves 
any lengths under dieir guidance, and I believe that this 
spirited conduct of the King will defeat the measures of 
the counties, unless, indeed, in the course of the next 
campaign, his arms, especially by sea, should meet with 
any signal defeat, which would* perhaps reanimate the 
people. But supposing the people go on and succeed so 
far as to effect a change in the Ministry, the question is, 
whether this would be an advantage to us or our allies? 
I am myself veiy far from being convinced that it would. 
There are none of the principal leaders of the people, 
who avow any fixed principle, that we can depend upon. 
None that avow a design of acknowledging our indepen- 
dence, or even of making peace. 

By letters, which I have received from Brussels and 
Holland, sines my arrival, I am told that the late desperate 
step of the English in seizing the Dutch ships has made a 
great change in the minds of the people there, and the 
government too in our favor ; even the Prince declares 
he has been deceived by the English, and that he will 
promote unlimited convoys j that an American IMinister 
is much wished for, who, although ho might not yet be 
publicly received, would be able to do as much good as 
if he was ; that money might be borrowed thuo by such 


a Minister directly sent by Congress, applying directly to 

solid Dutch houses. 1 hope every hour to hear of Mr 

Laurens' arrival. 

I have subscribed for the English papers, but have not 

yet received any, which I am sorry for, because I can 

get none to enclose. As fast as they come to me I will 

send them. I have the honor to enclose another Mer- 

cure de France. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 



Paris, February 28th, 1780. 

Dear Sir, 

This will be delivered to you by the Marquis, your 
friend. Your grandson is well and very contented. He 
has seen the world, to be sure, such a part of it, that 
none of the rest can ever be superlatively disagreeable 
to him hereafter.* 

Instead of wishing and hoping for peace, my dear 

countrymen must qualify themselves for war, and learn the 

value of liberty by the dearness of its purchase. The 

foundations of lasting prosperity are laid in great military 

talents and virtues. Every sigh for peace, until it can be 

obtained with honor, is unmanly. If our enemies can be 

obstinate and desperate in a wicked and disgraceful cause, 

surely we can be determined and persevering in the most 

just, the most honorable, and the most glorious cause, that 

was ever undertaken by men. 

I am, with great affection, &.c. 


• Alluding to tlie journey through the north of Spain. 



Paris, February 29th, 1780. 
I have this moment received a letter from INI. Genet, 
who is one of the first Secretaries in the office of Foreign 
Affairs, and who has the care of puhlishing all things rela- 
tive to America, and has already translated the constitutions 
of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Vir- 
ginia, and South Carolina, requesting me to assist him in 
procuring those of Geoi-gia, North Carolina, Connecticut, 
Rhode Island, ^Massachusetts Bay, and New Hampshire. 

There is so great a curiosity through all Europe to see 
our new constitutions, and those already published in the 
languages of Europe have done us so much honor, that 
1 thought I should be excusable in making a direct re- 
quest to Congress for their assistance in procuring those, 
which M. Genet still desires. 

Those of Rhode Island and Connecticut, being according 
to their ancient charters, M. Genet has already ; those of 
Massachusetts and New Hampshire, whenever they shall 
be formed and established, will be easily obtained. But 
those of North Carolina and Georgia, I could not obtain 
when I was at Boston, and these are therefore the ones 
which M. Genet wants at present, and which 1 have ven- 
tured to beg the aid of Congress to procure. 

I have the honor to enclose the gazelle of the day, 
in which Congress will see the news from England and 

I have the honor to be, he. 


VOL. IV. 50 



Paris, March 3d, 1780. 


The news of the day is, that Rodney has gone with his 
whole fleet to the West Indies, that Du Chaffault is to com- 
mand the French fleet in America, and the Count d'Es- 
taing in the channel ; that a large force is to go to Amer- 
ica, either to the Islands or to the Continent, both of ships 
and troops in two divisions ; that the last letters from Hol- 
land breathe a spirit somewhat warlike, and indeed the 
English have treated them with so much indignity and con- 
tempt as well as injustice, that one would think it was not 
always to be borne. 

It is not agreeable to my principles, nor to my feelings, 
to injure the character even of an enemy at war ; but it is 
often possible to draw important inferences from the true 
known character of a commander of the forces of an ene- 
my. It is therefore my duty to mention, that Rodney is 
reported to be a man of dissipation and prodigality, a great 
spendthrift, and virulent against us ; that he has often de- 
clared, that if he had a command in America, his mode to 
humiliate and subdue us should be, to burn every town and 
every house, that he could come at upon the seacoast. 

That sucii a plan of military execution will be sooner or 
later adopted by the Court of London, I have not the least 
doubt, from their known principles, tempers, characters, 
and past conduct, provided it should ever be in their power 
to attempt it in the whole or in part. And if this is the 
disposition and system of their Admiral Rodney, the ap- 
pointment of him raises a presumption, that they have given 
him express orders to this purpose at this time. An un- 


common coincidence of favorable circumstances has thrown 
the whole Caracas fleet into his hands, and given a vic- 
tory, although pretty dearly paid for, over a much inferior 
fleet of Spanish men of war. If he is therefore a man of 
such levity as Is represented, and so malicious against us, 
and has such malignant orders from his Court, and goes 
to America flushed and giddy with success, we may expect 
he will do mischief if he can, and we ought to be upon our 

My business is peace, but 1 think of nothing but war. 
While our enemies think of nothing else, we ought not to 
think more of peace than to be ready to treat of it, as soon 
as it shall be put into the hearts of cur foes to be willing 
for it. Americans must be soldiers, they must war by sea 
and land, they have no other security. 

I have the honor to enclose the gazette of the day, and 

to be with much respect, &ic. 



Paris, March 4th, 1780. 
1 have the honor to enclose the Mercure de France of 
this day, which contains among other interesting intelli- 
gence Admiral Rodney's narration, after his good fortune 
on the 8th of January last in meeting the Spanisli Caracas 
fleet, which sailed from St Sebastian the 1st of January, 
under convoy of seven armed vessels belonging to the Car- 
acas company. The Guipuscoa, of sixtyfour guns, and 
five hundred and fifty men ; the San Carlos, of thirtytwo 
guns, and two hundred men; the San Raphael, of thirty 
guns, and one hundred and fiftyfive men ; the Santa The- 


resa, of tvventyeigbt guns, and one hundred and fifty men ; 
the Corbetta San Firmin, of sixteen guns, and sixty men ; 
these armed vessels were all taken, and the Guipuscoa was 
christened Prince William, in honor of his royal highness, 
in whose presence she was taken and given to one of the 
English captains, as a better ship than his former one, the 

The merchant vessels under this convoy are the Nostra 
Senora de I'Ores, the San Francisco, the Conception, the 
San Nicholas, the Jeronimo, the Divina Providentia, the 
San Gibilan, the San Pactora, the San Lauren, the Bel- 
lona, and the Esperanza, all loaded with flour and corn. 
The Cervidada de Merica, loaded with provisions for the 
navy, the Amisted, the San Michael, loaded with anchors 
and cables, and the Bilboa, loaded with tobacco. Tliose 
with provisions for the navy, and that with tobacco, were 
sent to England under convoy of the America and the 
Pearl, and those with corn and flour were carried into 

This fleet seems to have been met at sea by the Admi- 
ral by perfect accident, of which the English do not appear 
to have had the least hope, nor the Spaniards the smallest 
fear. It must therefore be allowed to be one instance of 
the good fortune of the English Ministry and their Admi- 
ral, or rather as it is reported, of the King and his Admiral. 

Their good fortune, however, did not end here, for eight 
days afterwards, on the 16th of January, they fell in with 
Don Juan de Langura, with eleven vessels of the line, who 
being so much inferior, could not hope for a victory. He 
fought the English, however, upon the retreat with so much 
bravery, skill, and success, that they were able to take 
only three of his ships. The Phoenix, of eighty guns, and 


the Princessa, and Diligent, of seventyfour, were taken, and 
the San Domingo blown up. The S. Genero, the S. Justo, 
and the Monarcha, having separated before the battle, and 
the S. Juliano, the S. Etigenio, the S. Augustine, and S. 
Lorenzo, having since arrived in Cadiz, although in a bad 

Thus the English have been permitted, against proba- 
bilities and appearances, to throw succor into Gibraltar, 
and perhaps Mahon, to give a little fresh confidence to the 
Ministry, and make a few bonfires for the populace, but 
have added very litde to their riches or their power. In 
the meantime, Rodney must have been retarded by these 
lucky accidents, in his course to the West Indies, and given 
opportunity to the Count de Guichen to arrive before him 
in the West Indies, and prevent the reconquest of the Gre- 
nadas, and perhaps do more, but of this Congress will be 
informed sooner than I. 

These successes have not suppressed the independent 
spirit of Ireland, which is going on in a regular train, de- 
liberating upon bills for the independence of the judges, the 
habeas corpus, the restriction of subsidies, and discipline of 
their troops, and they seem determined to throw off all the 
authority of the British Parliament ; nor that of the Commit- 
tees of Correspondence and petitioners in the counties of 
England, which threaten associations, and, as the Ministry 
themselves say, sedition, faction, tumults, and rebellion ; 
nor provided a fleet for the British channel for the ensuing 
summer, nor assuaged the serious resentment of Holland, 
for the piracies committed in violation of the faiih of trea- 
ties, as well as the laws of nature and natrons, upon their 
commerce. As it is most interesting to us to know the 
forces to be employed in America, by which word I com- 


prehend the West India Islands, as well as the coasts of the 
Continent, all these being connected together in such a 
manner as to make but one whole, I beg leave to lay be- 
fore Congress in one view, the French force that is in- 
tended to be in that service. 

There are actually at Cape Frangois, the Tenant of 
eightyfour guns, the Robuste, and the Fendant, of seventy- 
four, the Sphinx of sixtyfour, and the Amphion of fifty, in 
all five. At Martinique, the Admirable, the Magnifique, 
the Dauphin Royal, and the Diademe, of seventyfour ; 
the Reflechi, the Vengeur, the Artisane, of sixtyfour, and 
the Fiers of fifty. In all eight, making in the whole thir- 
teen ships of the line, reckoning as such two fifty s. If 
the Count de Guichen should happily arrive, he has sev^- 
enteen, which will amount to the number of thirty, besides 
frigates. Six others are preparing at Brest wiUi all possi- 
ble expedition, under the command of M. de Ternay. 
The Due de Burgone of eighty guns, the Neptune of sev- 
entyfour, M. Destouches ; the Magnanime of seventyfour, 
M. de Vaudreuil; the Eveille of sixtyfour, M. de Trobui- 
and ; the Jason of sixtyfour, M. de Marigny. With this 
fleet the troops are to be embarked, and there are many 
conjectures, that it is intended for North America. The 
Languedoc, the Caesar, the Provence, and the Fantasque, 
of the fleet of the Count d'Estaing, are careened and re- 
fitted, and the Royal Louis of one hundred and ten guns, 
the Northumberland, and the Astrea are to be launched 

In the course of my peregrinations at Brest, L'Orient, 
and Ferrol, I have had an opportunity to see most of these 
ships, and to be on board many of them, and one would 
think there was force enough to protect us, and quiet our 


fears, but the battle is not always to the strong, and we 

must wait patiently for time to decide events. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Paris, March 4tli, 1780. 

Dear Sir, 

This will be delivered to you by Mr Izard, who goes 
out in the Alliance with Mr Lee, Mr Wharton, Mr Brown, 
and others. " He will wait on you of course, and will be 
able to give you good information concerning the intentions 
of the English, and their military preparations by sea and 
land, and those of the French and Spaniards at the same 
time. He will also give his opinion very freely concern- 
ing American and other characters here, as well as mea- 

In many things his opinions may be just, but in some 
and those not a few, I am sure they are wrong. The 
great principle, in which I hnvc differed from him, is this, 
in the mode of treatins; with this Court. He has been 
always of opinion, that it was good policy and necessary to 
hold a high language to this Court ; to represent to them 
the danger of our being subdued, if they did not do this 
and the other thing for us, in order to obtain money and 
other aids from them. He is confident they would not 
have dared to refuse anything. 

Although no man in America, or in the world, was ear- 
lier convinced than I was, that it was the interest ol France 
and Spain to support the independence of America, and 
that they would support it, and that no man is more sensi- 
ble than I am of the necessity they are undnr to support 


us, yet I am not, nor ever was, of opinion, that we could 
with truth or with good policy assume the style of menace, 
and threaten them with returning again to Great Britain, 
and joining against France and Spain,' even telling them 
that we should be subdued, because I never believed this 
myself, and the Court here would not have believed it 
from us. The Court have many difficulties to manage, as 
well as we, and it is delicate and hazardous to push things 
in this country. Things are not to be negotiated here as 
they are with the people of America, even with the tories 
in America, or as with the people of England. There is 
a frankness, however, that ought to be used with the Min- 
istry, and a candor with which the truth may be and has 
been communicated, but there is a harshness, that would 
not fail to ruin, in my opinion, the fairest negotiation in this 

We are anxious to hear from you, having nothing since 
the beginning of December, and very little since we left 

Your friend and servant, 



Paris, March 8th, 1780. 

Yesterday I went to Court, in company with the Ameri- 
can Minister Plenipotentiary, and had the honor to be pre- 
sented to the King, by the Secretary of State for Foreign 
Affairs, after which, I had the honor to go round with all 
the foreign Ambassadors, and make a visit to the Queen, 
the King's brothers, sister, aunts, and daughters, which are 
all the branches of the royal family, and to be presented 


to each of them in turn, and after them to the Count de 

After these ceremonies were over, we were all inviled to 
dine with the Count de Vergennes. 

As ceremonies of this kind are so much attended to in 

this and all other countries of Europe, and have often 

such important effects, it is proper that Congress should 

have information of them. 

I have the i)onor to be, he. 



Paris, March 8tli, 1780. 

I have the honor to enclose to Congress the gazettes of 
France, of the Hague, and Amsterdam, of the 1st, 3d, 
and 4th of this month. They contain all the news, which 
makes the subject of conversation at this time, except that 
M. du Chaffiiult is to command in the West Indies, and the 
Count d'Eslaing in the Channel, which, although it is not 
announced by the Court, seems to be very generally be- 
lieved in the world. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Paris, March lOlh, 1780. 


Enclosed are the Courrier de VEuropc, of the 3d, and 

the Gazette de France of this day. The House of Lords 

and the House of Commons are voting ihnnks to .Admiral 

Rodney for his good fortune, for they all seem to confess, 

VOL. IV. 51 


ihat his brilliant successes were not owing to more skill, 
valor, or vigilance than others have shown, but merely to 
his good luck, which, by a report that spreads and gains 
credit today, did not end with his advantage over Langara, 
and his safe departure from Gibraltar. It is said that two 
French ships of the line and several frigates with trans- 
ports, bound to the Isle of France, in the East Indies, have 
been doomed to fall in his way, and be taken. 

Whether this is true or not, he has done enough it 
seems to be in a fair way of paying his creditors some part 
of their demands for money, which he has gambled away, 
and which they had despaired of ever receiving. This 
run of good luck, however, could never have happened to 
the gambler, if the game had been played otherwise by 
the opposite party ; if France and Spain, instead of keep- 
ing immense fleets in Europe with nothing to do, or em- 
ployed in blocking up Gibraltar, which is a trifle, if taken 
in comparison of other objects in view, had but employed 
but a fourth part of them in the American seas, where 
they had, and still have, the enemies in their power, Rod- 
ney's creditors had still been in despair, together with the 
British government and nation. 

I would not desire a better proof, that the English are in 
the power of their enemies in the American world, than 
the list of the prizes printed in the Courrier de rEurope, 
as condemned by N. Gushing, Judge of Admiralty for the 
middle district of Massachusetts Bay. I am very glad to 
see this method taken of publishing to the world the suc- 
cess of our privateers, because it will in time show our 
allies where our strength lies, and the weakness of our 

I have the honor to be, &tc. 




Paris, March 12th, 1780. 
It is an observation made some years ago by a great 
writer of this nation, de Mably, that the project of being 
sole master of the sea, and of commanding all the com- 
merce, is not less chimerical nor less ruinous, than that of 
universal monarchy on land, and it is to be wished, for the 
happiness of Europe, that the English may be convinced 
of this truth, before they shall learn it by their own ex- 
perience. France has already repeated several times, 
that it was necessary to establish an equilibrium, a balance 
of power at sea, and she has not yet convinced anybody, 
because she is the dominant power, and because they sus- 
pect her to desire .the abasement of the English, only that 
she may domineer the more surely on the Continent. But 
if England abuses her power, and would exercise a kind of 
tyranny over commerce, presently all the States that have 
vessels and sailors, astonished that they had not before be- 
lieved France, will join themselves to her in avenging her 

The present conjuncture of affairs resembles so exactly 
the case here put, that it seems to be a literal fulfilment of 
a prophecy. 

A domination upon the sea is so much the' more danger- 
ous to other maritime powers and commercial nniions, as it 
is more difficult to form alliances and combine forces at sea 
than at land. For which reason it is essential, that the sov- 
ereign of every commercial State should make his nation's 
flag respected in all the seas, and by all ihe nations of' (lie 
world. The English have ever acted upon this princij-le, 

404 JOH^"^ ADAMS, 

in supporting tlie honor of their own flag, bill of late 
years have grown less and less attentive to it, as it respects 
the honor of other flags. Not content with making their 
flag respectable, they have grown more and more am- 
bitions of making it terrible. Unwilling to do as they 
vvodlH be done by, and to treat other commercial nations 
as they have insisted upon being treated by them, they 
have grown continually more and more haughty, turbu- 
lent, and insolent upon the seas, and are now never sat- 
isfied until they have made all other nations see, that 
they despise them upon that element. It is said by the 
Baron de Bielfield, that piracies and robberies at sea are 
so odious, so atrocious, and so destructive to the interest 
of all the European nations, that everything is permitted 
ta- repress them. Providence has not granted to any peo- 
ple an exclusive empire upon the seas. To aim at setting 
up a master there, to prescribe laws to other free nations, 
is an outrage to all Europe. 

1 have quoted these authorities, because they contain 
the true principle, upon which as 1 have ever conceived, 
the English began this war, and upon which they will 
assuredly continue it, as long as they can get men and 
nionev, which will be as long as they have success. They 
contain also the true princi[)les of France, Spain, and Hol- 
land, and all the powers of Europe. The outrages com- 
mitted upon the Dutch commerce, and the insults offered 
to their flag, ought to be, and are, alarming to all the mar- 
itime powers. The late successes of the English will 
have no tendency to allay the fears of these powers; on 
the contrary they will increase the alarm, by showing the 
precarious situation they will all be in if England should 
finally succeed, which some of them may perhaps appre- 
hend from the late brilliant fortune of Admiral Rodney. 


One cannot but be struck with the rapid series of for- 
tunate incidents for the English, v^hich have been published 
here in about the course of three months, that I have been 
in Europe, The little affair of Omoa began it, the repulse 
at Savannah succeeded, with all its consequences, the 
Curra9oa fleet was next, Langara's fleet soon followed ; 
Gibraltar was relieved ; Don Gaston's squadron was dis- 
persed by a storm ; and Admiral Rodney had opportunity 
to get safe out of Gibraltar. The French East India fleet 
brings up the rear. There is hardly in history such a 
series of events, that no human wisdom could provide 
against or foresee. Yet after all, the advantages gained 
are by no means decisive, although no doubt it will raise 
the ambition of the English, and in some degree damp the 
ardor of their enemies. 

It must not have this effect however upon America. 
Let the maritime powers fare as they will, we must be free, 
and I trust in God we shall be so, whatever be their fate. 
The events of war are uncertain at sea, more than even 
by land ; but America has resources for the final defence 
of her liberty, which Britain will never be able to exhaust, 
though she should exhaust France and Spain, and it may 
not impossibly be our hard fate, but it will be our unfad- 
ing glory finally to turn the scale of the war, to humble 
the pride, which is so terrible to the commercial nations of 
Europe, and to produce a balance of power on the seas. 
To this end Americans must be soldiers and seamen. 

It is proper, however, to keep constantly in sight, the 
power against which we have to contend ; the English have 
in all the ports of England, in a condition for actual service, 
or at least given out and reported to be so, twenty ships 
of the line. In the course of the spring and the month of 


June, eight others which are now repairing, and three new 
ones in the course of tlie year. The whole squadron for 
the Channel will be thirtyone. The squadron of Arbuih- 
not, at New York, consists of five. That of Jarvis at the 
Western Islands is two, including the Dublin, which was 
detached from Admiral Rodney, and is now in bad con- 
dition at Lisbon. One only at Jamaica, for the Lion is 
too far ruined to be counted. The fleet at the other 
islands, joined by the Hector, detached from Rodney, the 
Triumph and the Intrepid, lately sailed from England, are 
nineteen, seven of which at least are in too bad a condition 
for actual service. That of India, incluiling two which 
serve for convoys, consists of ten, two of which however 
are returning to be repaired or condemned ; the Lenox is 
a guard ship in Ireland. 

• ' Rodney entered Gibraltar with four Spanish ships of the 
line, the Phcsnix of eighty guns, the Monarca, the Prin- 
cessn, and the Diligente of seventy, besides the Guipuscoa, 
now the Prince William, of sixtyfive, which he took with 
the convoy on the 8th of January. He entered, also, with 
the Shrewsbury of seventy four, which joined him from 
Lisbon. His squadron must therefore have consisted of 
twenty four ships of the line. If he left the Panther and 
another at Gibraltar, he must have gone out with twenty- 

Whether he has gone with the whole fleet to the West 
Indie?, or whether with part of it, and what partj is yet un- 
determined by the public. 

France and Spain, however, have a vast superiority still 
remaining, which, if it shoul.i be ably managed, will easily 
humble the English; but if it should be miwisely managed, 
or continue to be as unfortunate as it has been from the 


moment of the Count d'Estaing's sailing from Toulon, it 
will even in this case last long enough to consume and 
exhaust their enemies. 

I have the honor to enclose the Mercure de France, 
of the lllh of March, the Hague Gazette of the Gd), 
and Sth, die Amsterdam Gazette of the 7ih, and the 
Leyden of the 7di. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Paris, March 12th, 1780. 

Dear Sir, 

I have to acknowledge the receipt of three excellent 
letters, one of the 1st, the others of the 5ih and 8ih of 
March. I thank you for the copy of your letter to the 
pensioner, and for your dialogue between York and Chat- 

It is undoubtedly the duty of every comirrrrial nation, 
to make their flag respected in all the seas, ar:.i Ly cM the 
-nations, not by insulting and injuring all others:, Ike Guat 
Britain, but by doing justice to all others, and by insihring 
upon justice from them. But how is Holland to obtain 
justice from the English, who take a manifest pleasure and 
pride in showing her and all Europe, that they despise 
her ? Holland seems to be as corrupted and unpr-ncipled 
as Great Britain, but there is one great difference between 
diem. Great Britain has a terrible naval force, Holland 
has next to none. Great Britain has courage and confi- 

* Mr Jennings was an American, and although he rrsirlcd in Lon- 
don during the war, he was a warm friend to the cause of his country. 


dence in her power, Holland has none. I do not mean that 
tjje Dutch are destitute of personal courage, but national 
courage is a very different thing. 

The curious doctrine of a constitutional impossibility of 
acknowledging our independence is well exposed in your 
dialogue. I suppose the idea was taken from Lord Chat- 
ham's dying speech, when he conjured up the ghost of the 
Princess Sophia of Hanover, to whose posterity, being Pro- 
testants, the act of settlement had consecrated the succes- 
sion of the crown and its authority over all parts of the 
dominions. This was a masterly stroke of oratory, to be 
sure, and shows, that my Lord Chatham in his last mo- 
ments had not lost the knowledge of the prejudices in the 
character of the English nation, nor the arts of popularity. 
But a more manifest address to the passions and prejudices 
of the populace, without the least attention to the justice 
or policy of the principle, never fell from a popular orator, 
ancient or modern. Could my Lord Chatham contend, 
that the heirs of the Princess Sophia of Hanover, provided 
they should be Protestants, had the throne and its preroga- 
tives entailed upon them, to everlasting ages, over all parts 
of the British dominions, let them do what they would ? 
Govern without Parliament, by laws without law, dismiss 
judges without fault, 'suspend laws, in short do everything 
that the Stewarts did, and ten times more, yet so long as 
they were Protestants, could there be no resistance to their 
will, and no forfeiture of their right to govern ? I said this 
was a figure of rhetoric, employed by his Lordship ad cap- 
tandum vidgus. I believe so still, but I believe he meant it 
also ad captandum regent, and that he thought, by throwing 
out this idea, that he was not for acknowledging our inde- 
pendence, the King, who at that time was distressed for a 


Minister able in conducting a war, would call him into the 
Ministry. I ever lamented this black spot in a very bright 
character. I do not remember anything in his Lordship's 
conduct, which seemed to me so suspicious to have pro- 
ceeded from a perverted heart as this flight. Allowance, 
however, ought to be made; perhaps he was misunderstood, 
and would have explained himself fairly if he had lived. 

I have not seen the pamphlet entitled Focis, nor that by 
Lloyd, nor the Examen. I should be glad to see all of 
them. I find a difficulty in getting pamphlets from Eng- 
land, but 1 shall have a channel to obtain them by and by. 
I went to IMr Grant's as soon as I received yours of the 
8th. Mr Grant the father was out, and no other in the 
house knew anything of your letter, or maps, or other 
things. I will speak to the father ihe first opportunity. 
Mr Lee is gone to L'Orient. 

What think you of luck .'' Had any gambler ever so 
much as Rodney. One of our tories in Boston, or half 
way whigs, told me once, God loves that little island of Old 
England, and the people that live upon it. I suppose he 
would say now, God loves Rodney. I do not draw the 
same conclusion from the successes, that the island or the 
hero have had. ' Who can be persuaded to believe, 
that he loves so degenerate and profligate a race ? I 
think it more probable, that heaven has permitted this 
series of good fortune to attend tiie wicked, that the 
righteous Americans may reflect in time, and place their 
confidence in their own patience, fortitude, perseverance, 
political wisdom, and military talents, under the protection 
and blessing of his providence. 

There are those who believe, that if France and Spain had 
VOL. IV. 52 


not interposed, America would have been crushed. There 
are in other parts ot Europe, I am told, a greater number 
who believe, that if it had not been for the interposition of 
France and Spain, American independence would have 
been acknowledged by Great Britain a year or two ago. 
I believe neither the one nor the other. 1 know the deep 
roots of American independence on one side of the water, 
and I know the deep roots of the aversion to it on the 
other. If it was rational to suppose, that tlie English 
should succeed in their design, and endeavor to destroy the 
fleets and naval power of France and Spain, which they 
are determined to do if they can, what would be the con- 
sequence ? There are long lists of French and Spanish 
ships of the line yet to be destroyed, which would cost 
the English several campaigns and a long roll of millions, 
and after this they may send sixty thousand men to Ameri- 
ca, if they can get them, and what then ? Why, the glory 
of baffling, exhausting, beating, and taking them, will final- 
ly be that of the American yeomanry, whose numbers 
have increased every year since this war began, as I learnt 
with certainty in my late visit home, and will increase every 
year, in spite of all the art, malice, skill, valor, and activity 
of the English and all their allies. I hope, however, that 
the capricious goddess will bestow some of her favors upon 
France and Spain, and a very few of them would do the 
work. If Rodney's fortune should convince Spain, that 
she is attacking the bull by the horns, and France and 
Spain, that the true system for conducting this war, is by 
keeping just force enough in the Channel to protect their 
coasts and their trade, and by sending all the rest of their 
ships into the American seas, it will be the best fortune for 
the allies they ever had. 


I long to learn Mr Jny's success at Madrid, and Mr 

Laurens' arrival in Holland, where I will go to see liira 

some time in the summer or autumn. 

1 have tlie Ugnor to be, See. 



Paris, March 14th, 1780. 


By a letter from London of the 3d of this month, receiv- 
ed since my former of this day's date, I learn that the 
friends of the Ministry were in hopes every hour to hear 
that Clinton, who embarked seven thousand effective men, 
(though they are said to be ten) in the latter end of Decem- 
ber, is in possession of Charleston. The detachment con- 
sisted of the light infantry and grenadiers of the seventh, 
twentythird, thirtyihird, forlysecond, sixtythird, and sixty- 
fourth British regiments, a legion of horse, yagers, four bat- 
talions of Hessian grenadiers ; the New York volunteers, 
Ferguson's corps ; one Hessian regiment, and a detachment 
of the seventyfirst British regiment. Many are of opinion 
that a part of this army was intended for the Whuiward 
Islands, and that they embarked and sailed the 2Gth of 
December, and was much hurt by a storm after sailing. 
Two thousand, under Lord Cornwallis, were said to be 
intended for the Chesapeake, to burn two or three men 
of war in James river, and to serve as a division to the 
other five, going against Charleston. 

The friends of the Administration are not in spirits about 
the picture of affairs in America and the West Indies. 
They fear the French will have a superiority there, from 
whence some late accounts are arrived of vast sickness and 


disorder on board the English ships. The naval war will, 
to appearance, be removed for the next summer to that 
quarter. Rodney was to sail with four ships only to the 
West Indies ; and Walsingham will not take more than that 
number as a convoy to about one hundred West Indiaraen, 
which were to sail about the 20th of this month, and more 
ships of war would probably conduct this fleet off the land, 
and it was probable in the New York and Quebec trade 
about fifty vessels more would sail about the same time. 
That there was no talk of any troops or ships going to New 
York or Quebec. That there was a rumor that Wallace 
would have a small squadron, and carry four or five thous- 
and men out, but this was not believed. That the Ministry 
had been hard pressed in several parliamentary questions 
lately ; that their party v\ras losing ground daily ; that the 
county petitions for reformation were a heavy weight upon 
them ; that it was likely there would be serious disturb- 
ances, if reforms do not take place ', that the committees 
for each county have already appointed three deputies to 
meet and act for the whole, which is the beginning of a 
Congress, and will probably be soon called by that name ; 
that it was hard to determine whether these movements at 
home, or the proceedings in Ireland, chagrin the Ministry 
most ; that the sovereignty of England over Ireland will 
not be of many month's duration ; that the armed associa- 
tions in the latter amount to sixtyfour thousand men, who 
seem determined to free themselves from every restriction 
that has been laid on them ; that their Parliament is about 
putting an end to all appeals to England ; to render the 
judges independent of the crown, they at present holding 
their offices durante bene placito, and not quaindiu se 
bene gesserunt, as in England ; to have a habeas corpus 


act ; to repeal Poyning's law, wiiich enacts that all bills 
shall originate in the council and not in the commons ; to 
confine the new supplies to the appointment of new duties 
only ; to give bounties on their own manufactures, and to 
have a mutiny bill, which last goes immediately to the 
grand point of jurisdiction. 

That, however, notwithstanding all the present appear- 
ances against Great Britain, and the certainty of America's 
succeeding to her wish, there are not among even those, who 
are called patriots in Parliament, many who possess directly 
a wish for American independence ; that Lords Camden, 
Effingham, Coventry, and the Bishop of St Asaph are 
clearly and distinctly for it ; Sir G. Saville, and but a few 
others in the House of Commons ; that the rest of the 
patriots are for sovereignty ; America to give up the French 
alliance, make up a federal alliance with England, by 
which no doubt they mean an alliance oftensive and defen- 
sive, &tc. 

It is surely unnecessary for me to make any observations 
upon the absurdity of these provisos, so injurious to the 
honor of our country, and so destructive of her most essen- 
tial rights and interests. By a letter of the 7th, a vessel 
with two hundred Hessians or Yagers on board has arrived 
at St Ives, in Cornwall. She sailed with the expedition 
from New York, the 26th of December, and a few days 
after received much damage in a storm, which it is thought 
separated and dispersed the fleet. This gives us great 
spirits and sanguine hopes for Charleston. I have the 
honor to enclose several newspapers, and, with mucli re- 
spect, to be, he. 


414 JOH-^ ADAMS. 


Parw, March 14lh, 1780. 


I have taken some pains to inform myself what number 
of regular troops the enemy have in the three kingdoms, 
because we may form some judgment from this, whether . 
they will be able to send any, and what reinforcements to 
North America or the West Indies. I am assured, that 
they have not more than four thousand regular troops in 
Ireland, and these chiefly horse. It is not to be expected 
then, I think, that they can spare any of these. There is 
too much danger even of popular commotions in England, 
Scotland, and Ireland, to spare many of these, if they were 
perfectly safe, or thought themselves so from French and 
Spanish invasions. I have, however, written to obtain 
more exact and authentic information, which I will not fail 
to transmit as early as possible. 

I have received an account at length, both by the Ga- 
zette Extraordinary, and by letter from London, that Ad- 
miral Digby is returned with the fleet and Spanish prizes 
from Gibraltar, and brought in with him the Protee, a 
French sixtyfour gun ship, and three small store ships, part 
of a fleet bound from L'Orient to the East Indies. The 
sixtyfour gun ship had about sixiylhree thousand pounds in 
cash on board. This fleet was unlucky enough to fall in 
with Digby on the 23d of February. Rodney sailed from 
Gibraltar on the 14ih, and parted with Digby on the ISih, 
taking only four ships of the line with him to the West In- 
dies. A like number will probably go under Walsingham 
about the 20th or 25th of this nr:onth. with the fleet to the 
West Indies. It is said in letters from London, that by 


every appearance, there are no more troops going to North 
America, and that it looks as if the Ministry mean not to 
continue the American war, hut to let it dwindle and die 
away. If this should be the case, it is to be hoped il)at the 
Americans and their allies will not let it dwindle, but put it 
to dea'.h at a blow. 

The Marquis de Lafayette, and his brother the Viscount 
de Noailles, a young noble officer, who is worthy of his 
family, and of the relation he bears to the Marquis, who I 
liope will be the bearer of this letter, will be able to say 
more upon this head. At present the King and his Gene- 
ral are the only persons, who ought to know the secret. 

I have the honor to be, &:c. 



Paris, March 16th, 1780. 

Dear Sir, 
I have received, since my arrival here, your favor of the 
iGth of November, 1779. I shall take proper notice of 
your remarks upon the ISth and I9lh nriicles of the treaty. 
They are both of them of importance, and, as to the last, 
I wish for an instruction upon it, because there is no 
doubt to be made, that whenever a serious negotiation 
shall be conmienced, great pains will be taken for the ban- 
ished, although little attention is paid to them now. 1 
learned yesterday, that they have received no payment of 
their pensions these eighteen months. The delay is col- 
ored with a pretence of wailing for some funds for Quebec, 
which have been stopped by the interruption of that trade. 
They are still bitter, as 1 am told, and arc firmly per- 
suaded, that America cannot hold out six months longer. 


You assure me, that I shall not be without the orders and 
credit, which I mentioned in a letter of mine. I thank you 
for this assurance, which is conceived in such strong terms, 
that one would think you did not expect any opposition to 
it ; at least, an effectual opposition. I wish there may not 
be, but I am not without conjectures, I will not call them 
suspicions, upon this head. Denying them, however, 
would be virtually recalling me and Mr Dana, and in a 
manner the most humiliating and disgraceful. Indeed, I 
do not know how we should get away from our creditors. 
You know what sort of minds cannot bear a brotlier near 
the throne ; and so fair, so just, so economical a method, 
would not escape minds of so much penetration, as a re- 
fusal to lend money without orders. I am not sure, how- 
ever, that the measure would be hazarded in the present 
'circumstances, by persons by whom I have been treated 
politely enough since my return. 

I should be glad to know what the Board of Treasury 
liave done with my accounts ; whether they have passed 
upon them ; or whether there are any objections to them, 
and what they are. I do not know but I was indiscreet in 
sending all my original vouchers, because, if any of them 
should be lost, I might be puzzled to explain some things. 
However, I know by a letter from ]\Ir Gerry, that they 
were received, and I presume they will be preserved. 

T wish to know your private opinion, whether Congress 
will continue Mr Dana and me here, at so much expense, 
with so little prospect of having anything to do for a long 
time ; an uncertain time, however ; or, whether they will 
revoke our powers, and recall us ; or what they will do 
with us. A situation so idle and inactive is not agreeable 
to my genius ; yet I can submit to it as well as any man, 


if it be thought necessary for the public good. 1 will do 
all the service I can, by transmitting intelligence, and in 
every other way. 

You must have observed, that in all my public letters, 
and, indeed, in a great measure in my private ones, I have 
cautiously avoided giving accounts of the state of our 
affairs in France. I had many reasons for this caution. 
In general, I was sure it would do no good, and I doubted 
the propriety of stating facts, and remarking upon charac- 
ters, without giving notice of it to the persons concerned, 
and transmitting the evidence. There is no end of con- 
ceiving jealousies ; but, I am sure, that officers of govern- 
ment, especially foreign jVlinislers, ought not to attack and 
accuse one another upon jealousies, nor without full proof; 
nor then, without notifying the party to answer for himself. 

Thus much let me say, however, that the j)resent plan 
of having a distinct Minister in Spain, another in Holland, 
and another to treat with Great Britain, and having Secre- 
taries independent of Ministers, is a good one. I pray 
you to stand by it with the utmost firmness, if it should be 
attacked or undermined. If you revoke the powers of a 
separate Minister to treat with the King of Great Britain, 
you ought to revoke the former powers of treating with all 
the Courts of Europe, which were given to the Commis- 
sioners at Passy ; for, under these, authority will be 
claimed of treating with the Eiigli:^!), if my powers are 
revoked. The powers of treating with all other Courts 
ought to be separated from the mission. 
Your friend, &tc. 


VOL. IV. 53 



Paris, March 18th, 1780. 

We have this moment the news of the arrival of the 
convoy from St Domingo, with sixty sail of merchant 
vessels, which is a great event for this country. 

It is also reported, that ten sail of Spanish ships of the 
line, with ten battalions of land forces have sailed, and their 
destination is supposed to be North America. 

The armament preparing at Brest, is thus described in 
one of the public papers. The Count du ChafFault de 
Besne, Lieutenant General of the naval forces in France, 
has taken leave of the King, being presented to his Maj- 
esty by M. de Sartine. The report runs, that orders 
have been sent on the 29th of February, for the officers 
who are at Paris to join their regiments upon the coasts 
by the 15lh of March, and that eight regiments are to em- 
bark under the Count de Rochambeau. These regiments 
are that of Anhnlt, whereof the Marquis de Bergen is 
Colonel in second ; Auvergne, Colonel Commandant, the 
Viscount de Lavel ; Bourbonnois, Colonel Commandant, 
the Marquis de Laval, and in second, the Viscount de Ro- 
chambeau ; jYeustrie, Colonel Commandant, the Count de 
Guibert, and in second, the Viscount le Veneur ; Ro- 
merfrne. Colonel Commandant, the Viscount de Custine, 
and in second, the Marquis du Ludec ; Royal Corse, 
Colonel Commandant, the Marquis du Luc, and in second, 
the Count of Pontevez ; Royal Deux Fonts, Colonel 
Commandant, the Count aux Ponts ; Sainionge, Colonel 
Commandant, the Viscount de Beranger, and in second, 
the Marquis de Themines. It is asserted, that there will 


be added a detachment of artillery, and that the Baron de 
Viomenil, the Count de Chastellux, and the Count de 
Witgenstein will embark with these troops, and that the 
Due de Lazim will have the command of a body of 
twelve hundred volunteers, and be joined to the armament 
under the Count de Rocharabeau. All these troops, as it 
is believed, will embark at Brest, and go out under the 
convoy of the Count du ChafFault de Besne. 

They add, that he will have more than thirtyseven ships 
of the line under his command, destined for an expedition, 
whereof the genuine object is yet unknown. Many other 
regiments have also orders to inarch down nearer to those 
upon the seacoast, and there are many vessels taken upon 
freight for the service of the King, in the different ports of 
the kingdom. The freight at Havre is thirty livres a ton, 
on condition that the owner furnish his vessel for twelve 
months. They say the Prince de Conde will go and 
command upon the coast of Brittany with the Count de 

By a letter I just now received from Holland, I am told 
that the grand business is done between the northern 
powers on a footing very convenient for Holland, as it 
must compel the English to cease interrupting the trade of 
the neutral powers. This would be more beneficial to 
France and Spain than to Holland, by facilitating the ac- 
quisition of ship timber, hemp, and all other things for the 
supply of their arsenals of the marine. A principal branch 
of the British policy has ever been, to prevent the gvowili 
of tl;e navies of their enemies, by intercepting their supplies. 

What gives further countenance to this letter, and the 
reports to the same purpose, which have been sometime 
circulated, is an article in the Mercure de France, en- 


closed. Tliey talk of an alliance between Sweden, Den- 
mark, Russia, Prussia, and the United Province, for main- 
taining the honor of the flags of these powers. Congress 
will see also another paragraph from London, which favors 
this idea. That the Baron de Nolker, Envoy Extraordi- 
nary from Sweden, had declared that if the convoy of his 
nation was not released forthwith, w^ith an indemnification 
for expenses and losses, he had orders to quit the Court of 
London in twenty four hours. 

Some other paragraphs seem to show the Dutch in 
earnest about equipping a respectable naval force of fifty- 
two vessels. 

I have the honor to be, Sic. 



Paris, March 19tli, 1780. 


Enclosed is a paper of the 10th of March, which was 
accidentally omitted to be enclosed in the season of it. 

There are two articles of intelligence, which ouglit not 
to escape our observation, because they have relation to 
the armament equipping at Brest, although I do not sup- 
pose them of much consequence. The first is of a small 
squadron of frigates, which is said to have sailed from 
Portsmouth on the 28th of February, in consequence of 
orders sent from the Admiralty on the 22d, under the com- 
mand of Captain Marshall, who is on board the Emerald, 
of thirtytwo guns. The others are the Hussar of thirty- 
two, the Surprise of twentyeight, the Squirrel, and Heart 
of Oak of twenty ; the sloops, the Beaver's prize of four- 


teen, the Wolf, and the Wasp of eight, with the cutlers, 
the Nimble and the Griffin. It is thought, that this little 
squadron is gone to make a cruise on the coast of France, 
to hinder the transports assembled in different ports from 
going out, or even to destroy them, if that shall be found to 
be possible. There is not, however, much to be dreaded 
from this squadron so near the neighborhood of Brest. 

The other paragraph discovers the marks of more in- 
genuity and less truth. It is taken from the English pa- 
pers, that Captain Jarvis, in the Foudroyant of eighty guns, 
vvlio has been out upon a cruise, with a small division in 
the mouth of the Channel, has returned to Plymouth and 
gone to Court, to be himself the bearer to Government of 
despatches of great importance, from the Court of France 
to Congress, found on board a sloop, which on her passage 
to Philadelphia fell into his hands. It is asserted, that 
these despatches contain an ample detail of the operations 
concerted between the Court of Versailles and Dr Frank- 
lin, among which the most probable is, the project of at- 
tacking Halifax, which is to be made by a body of troops 
from New England, and by a detachment of French troops 
very considerable by sea and land. 

This moment a letter from London of the 10th of 
March informs me, that a packet boat is arrived from Ja- 
maica, which sailed the 29th of January, with accounts, 
that Fort Omoa is again in possession of Spain. That an 
English man-of-war has taken a Spanish ship-of-war, bound 
to South America with stores. Slie was pierced for sixty- 
four, but carried only fiftytwo guns. The Jamaica fleet 
sailed on the 24di of January, convoyed slightly, with 
two fiftys and two frigates, about forty merchantmen in 
all. Nothing yet from America, but it is generally believ- 


ed, that a storm has separated and dispersed Clinton's 
fleet, intended for the Southern expedition. 
I have the honor to be, he. 



Paris, March 20th, 1780. 

I have at length received a parcel of English papers, 
which I have the honor to enclose with this to Congress. 
They are the General Advertiser, and the I\Iorning Post, 
both of which 1 shall for the future be able to transmit 
regularly every week. Congress will see that these papers 
are of opposite parties, one being manifestly devoted to 
the Court and the Ministry, and the majority, the other to 
the opposition, the committees, the associations, and peti- 
tions ; between both I hope Congress will be infornjed of 
the true facts. 

There is the appearance of a piquancy and keenness in 
the temper of the opposite parties, by tlieir writings and 
paragraphs in these papers, that looks like the commence- 
ment of a serious quarrel. 

By the virulence of the manner in which such charac- 
ters as Keppel, Howe, Burgoyne, Richmond, Shelburne, 
Rockingham, he. are treated, it should seem, that the 
Ministry were e.\asperated to a greater degree of rancor 
than ever, and that they were thoroughly alarmed and de- 
termined to throw the last die. Time and the events of 
war will decide what will be the consequences of these 
heated passions. 

By a conversation this morning with tiie Viscount de 
Noailles, I am led to fear, that the fleet from Brest will not 


be able to put to sea before ibe 10th of April. This will 

be about the time the Marquis de Lafayette will arrive in 

America. He sailed from Rochelle the 13th of this 


I have the honor to be, &:c. 



Paris, March 21st, 1780. 
In the letter, which you did me the honor to write me 
on the 2-lth of February, your Excellency proposed, that 
the principal object of my mission should be inserted in 
the Gazette of France, when it should make mention of 
my presentation to the King: and all the royal family. 

In the answer to this letter, which I had the honor to 
write on the 25th of February, 1 informed your Excel- 
lency, that 1 siiould not think myself at liberty to make 
any publication of my powers to treat of peace, until they 
should have been announced in the Gazette. It was on 
the 7th of March, that I had the honor to be presented to 
the King and Royal Family, but no notice has been taken 
of it in the Gazette of France. Whether the omission is 
accidental, or whether it is owing to any alteration in your 
Excellency's sentiments, I am not able to determine. 

Your Excellency will excuse the trouble 1 give you on 
this occasion, as it arises wholly from a desire to be ahle at 
all limes, to render an account to my sovereign of the 
motives and reasons of my own conduct. 
I have the honor to be, he 




Paris, March 21st, 1780. 

Dear Sir, 

I have just received your favor from Brussels of the 
17lh of tills montli, and I tliank you for tliis instance of 
your attention to me. 

Considering tlie state of Ireland, and the spirit that 
seems to be rising in England, which has already attained 
such a height, as to baffle the Minister, and the East India 
Company, and to carry many votes in the House of Com- 
mons, almost to a balance with him, and even some against 
him, I should not be at all surprised, if terms, such as you 
irieniion, should be offered to America ; nor should I be 
surprised if another rumor, which was propagated at the 
Palais Royal this day, should prove true, that a great 
change is made or to be made in the Ministry, and that the 
Lords Shelburne and Rockingham, Burke, he. are in. 
Yet I have no proper accounts of either. 

Whatever may be my powers or instructions, or whether 
I have any or not, I am very much obliged to you for 
your sentiments on such a proposition as a truce for 
America, supposing it should be made. Your arguments 
are of great weight, and will undoubtedly be attended to 
by every one, whoever he may be, who shall be called to 
give an opinion upon such a great question. You will not 
expect me at present to give, if it is proper for me even 
to form, any decided opinion upon it. Yet thus much I 
may venture to say, that having had so long an experience 
of the policy of our enemies, I am persuaded, from the 
whole of it, if they propose a truce, it will not be with an 
expectation or desire, that America should accept it, but 


merely to try one experiment more to deceive, divide, and 
seduce, in order to govern. 

You observe, that the heads of some well intentioned, 
though visionary Americans, run much upon a truce. I 
have seen and heard enough to be long since convinced, 
that the Americans in Europe are by no means an ade- 
quate representation of those on the other side of the 
water. They neither feel, nor reason like them in general. 
I should, therefore, upon all occasions hear their arguments 
with attention, weigh them with care, but be sure never to 
follow them, when I knew them to differ from the body of 
their countrymen at home. 

You say the Dutch are disturbed. Do you wonder at 
it ? They have been kicked by the English, as no reason- 
able man would kick a dog. They have been whipped by 
them, as no sober postillion would whip a hackney coach 
horse. Can they submit to all this, upon any principle, 
which would not oblige them to submit, if the English 
were to bombard Amsterdam, or cut away their dikes? 

I wish I knew the name of the principal confident and 
director of the Prince, whom you mention. 

I am very anxious to hear of the arrival of Mr Laurens, 
but suspect you will learn it first. Mr Dana returns his 
respects to you. 

I thank you, Sir, for your offers of service ; nothing can 
oblige me more than to communicate to me any intelli- 
gence of the designs of our enemies, in politics or war, 
and their real and pretended forces by sea and land. Pray 
what is the foundation of the story of a quintuple alliance 
between Holland, Sweden, Russia, Prussia, and Denmark? 

I am, Sir, whh great esteem, your humble servant, 


TOL. IV. 54 



Paris, March 23d, 1780. 


I have the honor to enclose the English papers of the 
llth, 13th, and 14th of March, the Courrier de VEurope, 
and the Hague, Leyden, and Amsterdam Gazettes. We 
are in hourly expectation of great news from Holland, Ire- 
land, England, Spain, and above all from America, and the 
West Indies. I have not had a letter from America since 
I left it, except one from my family of the 10th of Decem- 
ber, and, indeed, although several vessels have arrived, I 
can hear of no letters or news. 

By the English papers Congress will perceive the vi- 
olent fermentation in England, which has arisen to such a 
height as to produce a Congress in fact, and it will soon be 
so in name. The proceedings in the House of Commons 
on the 14th, which were terminated by a resolution of the 
committee of the whole house, to abolish the Board of 
Trade and Plantations, carried against the Ministry after a 
very long and warm debate, by a majority of eight voices, 
is not only the most extraordinary vote, which has passed 
in the present reign, but it tends to very extensive con- 

I believe it is very true, that this Board has been the 
true cause of the quarrel of Great Britain against the 
Colonies, and therefore may be considered as an object of 
national resentment, but a resentment of this kind alone 
would not probably have produced this effect. 

Whether it is the near approach of an election, that has 
intimidated the members of the House of Commons, or 
whether committees, petitions, associations, and Congress 


have alarmed them, or whether the nation is convinced, 
that America is indeed lost forever, and consequently the 
Board of Trade would be useless, I do not know. Be 
this as it may, the English nation, and even the Irish and 
Scotch nations, and all parts of the world will draw this 
inference from it, that even in the opinion of the House of 
Commons America is lost. The free and virtuous citizens 
of America, and even the slavish and vicious, if there are 
any still remaining of this character, under the denomina- 
tion of tories, must be convinced by this vote, passed in 
the hey-day of their joy for the successes of Admiral Rod- 
ney's fleet, that the House of Commons despaired of ever 
regaining America. The nations subject to the House of 
Bourbon cannot fail to put the same interpretation upon 
this transaction. 

Holland and all the northern powers, with the Empress 
of Russia at their head, who are all greatly irritated against 
England for their late violences against the innocent com- 
merce of neutral powers, will draw the same consequences. 
The politicians of Great Britain are too enlightened in the 
history of nations, and the rise and progress of causes and 
effects in the political world, not to see, that all these 
bodies of people will, in consequence of this vote, con- 
sider the Colonies given up as lost by the House of Com- 
mons, and they are too well instructed, not to know the 
important consequences that follow, from having such 
points as those thus setded among the nations. I cannot, 
therefore, but consider this vote, and the other respecting 
the Secretary of State for the American Department, which 
arose almost to a balance, as a decided declaration of the 
sense of the nation. The fust consequence of it probably 
will be one further attempt, by offering some specious 


terms, which they know we cannot in justice, in honor, in 
conscience, accept, to deceive, seduce, and divide Amer- 
ica, throw all into confusion there, and by this means gain- 
ing an opportunity to govern. There is nothing more 
astonishing than the inconsistencies of the patriots in Eng- 
land. Those, who are most violent against the Ministry, 
are not for making peace with France and Spain, but they 
would wish to allure America into a separate peace, and 
persuade her to join them against the House of Bourbon. 
One would think it impossible, that one man of sense in 
the world could seriously believe, that we could thus basely 
violate our truth, thus unreasonably quarrel with our best 
friends, thus madly attach ourselves to our belligerent 
enemies. But thus it is. 

Sir George Saville threw out in the House, that he 
wished to carry home to his constituents the news of an 
accommodation with America, and Mr David Hartley has 
given notice of his intentions to make a motion relative to 
us. But I confess I have no expectations. Mr Hartley's 
motions and speeches have never made any great fortune 
in the House, nor been much attended to ; from whence I 
conclude, if the present great leaders, even of opposition 
in the House, were seriously disposed to do anything to- 
wards a pacification, which we could attend to, they 
would not suffer Mr Hartley to have the honor of making 
the motion. 

The heads of many people run upon a truce with Am- 
erica, and Mr Hartley's motion may tend this way j but 
a truce with America cannot be made without a peace 
with France and Spain, and would America accept of such 
a truce ? Give Great Britain time to encroach and fortify 
upon all our frontiers ? To send enemies into the States, 


and sow the seeds of discord ? To rise out of her present 
exhausted condition ? Suffer France and Spain to relax ? 
Wait for alterations by the death of Princes, or the changes 
in the character? of Princes, or Ministers in Europe ? I 
ask these questions, that Congress may give me instruc- 
tions, if necessary. At present I do not believe my pow- 
ers are sufficient to agree to a truce, if it was proposed ; 
nor do I believe it would be for our interests or safety to 
agree to it, if I had. I do not mean, however, to give 
any decided opinion upon such a great question, in this 
hasty letter ; I am open to conviction, and shall obey the 
instructions of Congress, with the most perfect respect. 

I have the honor to be, &;c. 



Paris, March 24tb, 1780. 

Mr Burke's bill not being as yet public, we are not yet 
informed of the items of it. But as it already appears, 
that it strikes at the Department of Secretary of State for 
America, and at the Board of Trade, there seems to be 
little reason to doubt that it goes further, and strikes at the 
American Board of Commissioners, at all the American 
Judges of Admiralty, Governors of Provinces, Secretaries, 
and Custom House Officers of all denominations. At 
least, if this should not be found to be a part of the bill, 
there are stronger reasons, if possible, for abolishing 
this whole system of iniquity, together with all the pensions 
granted to the refugees from America, than even for taking 
away the Board of Trade. And from several late para- 
graphs in the papers, and from Mr Fox's severe observa- 


tions in the House of Commons upon Governor Hutchin- 
son, calling him in substance the "firebrand that lighted 
up all the fire between the two countries," it seems pretty- 
clear, that it is in contemplation to take away all these 
salaries and pensions. 

If such a measure should take place, exiled as these 
persons are from the country, which gave them birth, but 
which they have most ungratefully endeavored to enslave, 
they will become melancholy monuments of divine ven- 
geance against such unnatural and impious behavior. Nev- 
ertheless, as these persons are numerous, and have some 
friends in England as well as in America, where they had 
once much properly, there is a probability, I think, that 
whenever or wherever negotiations for peace may be com- 
menced, they and their estates now almost universally con- 
fiscated, will not be forgotten. But much pains and art 
will be employed to stipulate for them in the treaty, both a 
restoration of their property, and a right to return as citi- 
zens of the States to which they formerly belonged. It is 
very possible, however, that before the treaty shall be made, 
or even negotiations commenced, these gentlemen will be- 
come so unpopular and odious, that the people of England 
would be pleased with their sufferings and punishment. 
But it is most probable, that the Court will not abandon 
them very easily. 

I should, therefore, be very happy to have the explicit 
instructions of Congress upon this head, whether I am to 
agree, in any case whatsoever, to an article which shall 
admit of their return, or the restoration of their forfeited 
estates. There are sentiments of humanity and forgive- 
ness which plead on one side, there are reasons of state 
and political motives, among which the danger of admitting 


such mischievous persons as citizens, is not the least con- 
siderable, which argue on the other. 

I shall obey the instructions of Congress with the utmost 
pleasure, or if, for any reasons they choose to leave it at 
discretion, if I ever should have the opportunity, I shall 
determine it without listening to any passions of my own 
of compassion or resentment, according to my best judg- 
ment of the public good. There is another point of very 
great importance, which I am persuaded will be aimed at 
by the English Ministers, I am sure it will by the people of 
England, whenever times of peace shall be talked of. For 
facilitating the return of commerce, they will wish to have 
it stipulated by the treaty, that the subjects of Great Brit- 
ain shall have the rights of citizens in America, and the 
citizens of the United States the rights of subjects in the 
British dominions. Some of the consequences of such an 
agreement to them and to us are obvious and very im- 
portant, but they are so numerous, that it is difficult to 
determine whether so great a question should be left to my 
determination. If, however, contrary to my inclinations, it 
should fall to my lot to decide it without instructions, it shall 
be decided according to my conscience, and the best lights 
I have. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Paris, March 24th, 1780. 

It has been observed in former letters, that there is 
scarcely an example of such a series of fortunate incidents 
as that which happened to Rodney's fleet, and it may be 


proper to dilate a little upon some of these incidents, to 
show that the enthusiastic applause, which is given him by 
the Court, the Lords, the Commons, and the city of Lon- 
don, is no otherwise merited than by the boldness of his 
enterprise ; unless simple good fortune is merit. 

It must be allowed, that it was a desperate plan in the 
Minister to order him out on the design to succor Gibral- 
tar, and it was a desperate resolution in him to undertake 
it ; because he had to expect to meet with the whole 
Spanish squadron at Cadiz, and that it would follow him, 
which was in fact the case. 

Don Gaston sailed from Brest the 13th of January in 
search of Admiral Rodney, with twenty Spanish ships of the 
line, with four French ships of the line, the Glorieux, the 
Burgundy, the Zodiac, and the Scipio, with the frigate, the 
Nereis, under the Chef d'Escadre, the Chevalier de Baus- 
set. If the four and twenty ships of the line had joined Don 
Langara's squadron, there is scarce a possibility of doubt, 
after the brave defence made by him, with such inferior 
force, that Rodney's fleet would have been totally ruined, 
and consequently Gibraltar reduced to extremities. But 
this was not to happen. The next day after Don Gaston 
sailed from Brest, he met with a terrible storm, which 
separated his fleet. Two of his Spanish ships arrived at 
Cadiz the 31st of January, the Serious and the Atlant, 
each of seventy guns. The third of February there ar- 
rived twelve others. The Rayo, commanded by Don 
Gaston, and the St Louis, both of eighty guns, the Velas- 
co, the St Francis de Paule, the S. Isabella, the S. Joa- 
chim, the St Peter, the St Damase, the Arrogant, and the 
Warrior, all of seventy, the Mink of fiftysix, and the frig- 
ates, the Assumption and the Emerald, with the French 


division under the Chevalier de Bousset, excepting the 
Scipio, commanded by the Baron de Durfort, which did 
not arrive until the 17th of February, after having cruised 
ten or twelve days off St Vincent, which had been ap- 
pointed as the place of rendezvous and reunion, in case of 
separation. The Guardian Angel, of seventy guns, which 
was also separated from the squadron, did not arrive till 
several days after Don Gaston at Cadiz, having suffered 
very much, as well as all the other vessels, in their masts 
and rigging, by the bad weather, and especially by the vio- 
lent gale of wind, which they met with on the 1st of Feb- 
ruary, near the Cape of St Vincent. Of the five remain- 
ing Spanish vessels, four went into Ferrol, the St Vincent 
Ferries, of eighty guns, commanded by Don d'Acre, Lieu- 
tenant General ; the St Charles, of eighty ; the Vengeur, 
of seventy, and the Septentrion, of sixty ; the fifth, named 
the St Joseph, of seventy, by Don Orsorno, Chef d'Es- 
cadre, returned to Brest dismasted. This separation and 
dispersion of the fleet and of its principal officers exposed 
Langara, and made Rodney's fortune ; and the necessity 
these vessels were in of reparation, gave liberty to the En- 
glish fleet to put to sea from Gibraltar and regain the 
Atlantic Ocean, on the 13th of February, to the number 
of twentytwo ships of the line, including those of Rodney, 
Digby, and Ross, and four of the vessels taken from the 
Spaniards, and three frigates, with twelve merchant ships 
under their convoy, leaving at Gibraltar, the Edgar, of 
seventyfour, the Panther, of sixty, which has been there a 
long time, and the Guipuscoa, of sixtyfour guns, taken 
from the Spaniards on the 8th of January, with twontyfour 
merchant vessels under her convoy. 

There has been much conversation for several days, con- 
voL. IV. 55 


cerning a Spanish armament preparing at Cadiz, and letters 
from Carthagena say^ that the regiment of infantry, called 
the Flankers' regiment, which has been in garrison in that 
city, has been completed by orders from the Court of Na- 
ples, and on the 1st of March, the first battalion marched 
for Cadiz, and on the 4th of March, the second battalion. 
It is said that this regiment is to embark with several 
others, which from different garrisons have arrived at the 
same place for America, in all parts of which, according to 
appearances, the English will have enough to do to main- 
tain their ground this ensuing campaign. 

In Ireland, on the 22d of February, an assembly of the 
gentlemen, clergy, and freeholders of the city of Dublin, 
resolved unanimously, that the advantages obtained in com- 
merce are neither complete nor solidly established ; that 
the sense of the nation is, that the Irish Parliament alone, 
in concert with the sovereign, can give to the laws already 
obtained of the Prince their obligatory force ; that what 
has been done ought not to be considered as anything 
more than a great beginning ; and that the general hope 
was, that the end of the session would be as advantageous 
to the political constitution of the country, as the com- 
mencement of it had been favorable to commerce ; that 
the fathers of the country are particularly requested and 
instructed to obtain a declaratory act, which may preserve 
forever the free and independent state of Ireland, and by 
introducing some necessary modifications of Poyning's 
law, to prevent in future all controversy between the 
King and the Parliament of Ireland, concerning fundamen- 
tal laws. 

These instructions were given by the sheriffs to the 
representatives of Dublin, who answered that they were 


convinced, that no foreign legislative power whatsoever 
had any right, or ought to arrogate to itself any authority 
over their nation, and without injuring the legal and known 
authority, which his Majesty has a right to exercise over 
this kingdom in a manner conformable to the laws, they 
would neglect nothing to obtain an act, which should take 
away every unjust restriction, and which should tend to as- 
sure the coiiblituliuual iudeijeiideiice of the kingdom. This 
is said to be the general sense of the whole kingdom, so that 
it may truly be said, that the British empire is crumbling 
to pieces like a rope of sand, insomuch, that if the war 
should continue, I shall not be at all surprised if even 
Scotland should become discontented with the Union, 
and the disputes between the Ministry and the East 
India Company should terminate in the independence of 
Asia ; nay, it would be no miracle if the West India Isl- 
ands should request the protection of France and Spain, 
or the United States. I will take the first opportunity to 
write upon the subject of Lord North's loan, which, to- 
gether with the other ways and means, amounts to the 
amazing sum of £20,674,000 sterling. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Paris, March 261 li, 1780. 

On the 2d day of March the news of the royal consent 
to the bill, which the British Parliament has passed for 
granting to Ireland A free commerce with the American 
Colonies, the West Indies, and the Coast of Africa, was 
celebrated in Dublin by public rejoicings ; the guns of the 


Lark were discharged, the garrison made a feu de joie, 
the castle and other public buildings were illuminated, 
as well as some private houses. The government were 
probably encouraged to these demonstrations of joy, by 
the motion, which was made the day before, that is, the 1st 
of March, by Mr Dennis Doly in the House of Commons, 
for an address of thanks to the King, to which both parties 
unanimously consented, not excepting the principal patriots, 
such as Mr Ogle, Mr Hussy Burgh, and Mr Grattan. 

The address contains an assurance of their attachment 
to the royal person and government of the King ; a profes- 
sion of gratitude for his Majesty's uninterrupted attention 
to the interest of Ireland, and for the happy alteration, 
which the wisdom of his councils, and the liberal senti- 
ments of the British Parliament have effected in the situa- 
tion of their affairs. They express a double satisfaction 
for the benefits, which have been granted them, because 
they appear to them to be an efficacious remedy for the 
poverty of that country, and because they furnish an un- 
questionable proof of -that fraternal affection, which they 
think they have a right to expect from Great Britain, and 
which they will constantly endeavor to cultivate and aug- 
ment to the most perfect degree of mutual confidence. 
They profess the sincerest pleasure in finding that the ties, 
which have ever united the two kingdoms, have been 
bound faster than ever, by the conduct of their fellow sub- 
jects, and they assure his Majesty, that on their part, they 
will never fail to make the greatest efforts for the main- 
tenance of that close connexion between the two kingdoms, 
which they firmly believe to be inseparable from their hap- 
piness and prosperity. 

The next day the House of Peers, even at the motion 


of the Duke of Leinster, followed the example of the 
House of Commons. Their address is in substance the 
same, with this addition, that the benefits received afford a 
remedy proportioned to their distress, and that they will 
discountenance with all their power all attempts, that de- 
luded men might make to excite ill founded apprehensions 
in the people, and to turn their attention to the commerce, 
which has been granted them in a manner so extensive. 

To these additions, however, there was an opposition, 
and finally a protest, signed by Lord Carrisford, the Earls 
of Charlemont and Arran, and the Viscounts Powerscourt 
and Mountmorris, and by the proxies of the Earl Moira, 
and the Lords Eyre and Irnham. 

The Duke of Leinster, however, has brought upon his 
reputation by this motion suspicions all over Europe, that 
he has been gained by the King, which a little time and 
his future conduct will either dissipate or confirm. 

The next day Parliament adjourned to the 11th of 
April. Congress will be able to put a just interpretation 
upon these addresses, by the account I gave in my last, of 
the instructions of the city of Dublin to their representa- 
tives, and their answer, as well as by those of the county 
of Dublin, which remain to be communicated. On the 
7th of March, there was held at Kilmainham, an assembly 
of the freeholders of the county of Dublin, when the fol- 
lowing instructions to their representatives were agreed on. 
"We, your constituents, desiring to acknowledge as we 
ought, the advantages our commerce will derive from the 
particular attention, which his Majesty has given it, from 
the integrity of our Parliament, the firmness of our coun- 
trymen, and the justice, which the English nation begins to 
render us, we declare to you, that what follows is the prin- 


cipal cause of our joy upon this occasion. It appears to 
us, that the desire of monopolising commerce was the only 
motive, which could make England imagine that she had a 
right to usurp a legitimate authority over this kingdom, and 
from the moment when she renounced this monopoly, she 
has taken away the principal obstacle, which opposed our 
liberty, and consequently the British nation will not con- 
tinue to itself an arbitrary power, from which she can de- 
rive nothing but reducing this kingdom to slavery. We 
desire to know, moreover, whether the united efforts of the 
Parliament and people of Ireland ought to confine them- 
selves, so as to leave this island in a state of dependence 
and submission to laws, to which the nation has never con- 
sented, to laws dictated by a Parliament, in which she has 
no representatives .'' Let it not be said, that this power attri- 
buted to the English Parliament is chimerical. We may 
see the proofs of it even in the repeal of several of the acts 
and in this, that several persons declare, however falsely, 
that this power is founded upon law. Having an equal 
right to political liberty and to commerce, but deprived of 
both ; and nevertheless content to be restored to the enjoy- 
ment of a free commerce alone ; will it not appear, that we 
absolutely give up the former ? This idea would be absurd. 
It is then our duty to declare to the universe, that we are 
of right a free nation, not to be subjected to any laws, but 
such as are made by the King and Parliament of Ireland. 

"Desirous of nothing so much as to live always in good 
intelligence with the British nation, on account of the union 
of the two Crowns, our instructions are, that you shall make 
the greatest efforts to obtain an act, which shall establish 
forever the independence of the legislative power of Ire- 
land. We wish, moreover, that you would endeavor to 


qualify Poyning's law, by taking away from the privy 
council the legislative power. In accomplishing these im- 
portant objects, you will acquire honor to yourselves, and 
give satisfaction to the nation. 

"It is not to be doubted, that you will also fall upon 
some plan of economy, by making savings, which are be- 
come necessary to increase the revenue of the Crown, and 
improve the commerce of the nation." 

It seems now very plain, that the Irish nation aspires to 
an independence of Great Britain the most unlimited, 
and acknowledges no other connexion with her but that 
of affection and a subjection to the same King. The 
troops already raised by associations amount to between 
sixty and seventy thousand men, which are to be forthwith 
augmented by ten thousand more, who are to be formed of 
countrymen ; each ofBcer is to furnish four, who will be 
clothed and paid out of the funds, that each regiment will 
establish for this purpose. The principal objects of these 
armed associations are said to be, a free and unlimited 
commerce to all parts of the world, except only the East 
Indies. The repeal of Poyning's law, passed under 
Henry the Sev^th, and another under George the First, 
which restrains the legislative authority of the Irish Parlia- 
ment, with an express clause, that the Parliament of Ire- 
land ought, and shall be forever and wholly exempt from 
all kind of control and dependence of the British Parlia- 
ment, in all cases whatsoever. That students shall no 
longer be obliged to go to the Temple in London, and 
other seminaries in England to study law. But, in future, 
they shall study in the University of Dublin, under proper 
professors, and shall be admitted to the bar in Ireland by 
the Lord Chancellor and the other judges, after a proper 


examination ; the judges to be natives, except the Chan- 
cellor ; the bishops also to be natives. 

In the meantime, the slightest circumstances may blow 
up the flames of war between the two kingdoms, which 
would have been done some weeks ago, if the regular 
officers of the King's troops had not given way to the Dub- 
lin volunteers. 

I have the honor to be, &;c. 



Paris, March 29th, 1780. 

I think it my duty to lay before Congress what may 
occur in Holland, relative to the present war, at least until 
the arrival of Mr Laurens, whose presence is much desired 
there. Many appearances make it probable, that the 
grasping and vindictive temper of the English will compel 
the Republic into the war. If they do take a part, it is very 
certain it will be against England. As plunder and re- 
venge are the present ruling passions of the English, it is 
probable, that a war with Holland is rather wished for than 
otherwise, because the Ministry and their principal sup- 
porters seem to have no idea, that it is possible to make 
things worse, and all the plunder they can get will be so 
much clear gain. The Dutch are so much alarmed and 
aroused, that it is very certain the Prince finds it necessary 
to give out, that he has been deceived by the English, that 
he has changed his sentiments, and that he will promote 
with all his influence unlimited convoys. It is certain, that 
they are fitting their men-of-war with a great deal of ac- 


tivity, and it is confidently affirmed, that they have made a 
treaty with Russia and Sweden, who are to make a common 
cause. The States of the Province of Friesland have 
come to a resolution, that it was certain Byland was not 
the aggressor, but that Fielding had not hesitated to make 
use of force to visit the Dutch ships under convoy, to stop 
those that were loaded with hemp, and to insult the flag of 
the Republic. That this proceeding shows, that the com- 
plaisance hitherto shown to England, in depriving the ships 
loaded with masts and ship timber of the protection of the 
State, in leaving them to sail alone and without convoy, has 
had no effects, and consequently the States judge, that a 
similar condescension ought no longer to take place, but, 
on the contrary, all merchandise whatsoever, which the 
treaties do not expressly declare to be contraband, ought, 
without the least difiiculty, to be admitted under convoy, 
and enjoy the protection of the State, and to this effect. 
His Most Serene Highness ought to be requested to give 
orders to the commanders of the men of war, and of the 
squadron of the Republic, to protect, as heretofore, all 

This resolution was taken the 29th day of February, 
and laid before the States-General, who, after debating 
upon it, determined to require the deputies of the other 
Provinces to obtain, as soon as possible, the decision of 
their Provinces upon the same subject. These two Prov- 
inces, Holland and Friesland, have already decided for 
unlimited convoys. 

Sir Joseph Yorke, on the 2 1st of March instant, laid 

before their High Mightinesses another Memorial, insisting 

on the aid which he had demanded before, upon condition, 

in case of refusal, that his master would, after three 

VOL. IV. .56 

442 •'OHN ADAMS. 

months consider all treaties between the two countries as 
null, and in which he contends, that the protection afforded 
to Captain Jones, whom he calls a pirate, in the Texel 
and in Amsterdam, was a violation of the treaties. 

In order more clearly to comprehend the dispute be- 
tween Great Britain and the States-General, it may not be 
amiss to observe, that by the marine treaty between the 
two powers, concluded at the Hague in 1667, all the sub- 
jects and inhabitants of the United Provinces may, with all 
safety and freedom, sail and traffic in ail the kingdoms, 
countries, and estates, which are, or shall be in peace, 
amity, or neutrality with the States-General, without any 
hinderance or molestation from the ships of war, gailies, 
frigates, barques, or other vessels belonging to the King of 
Great Britain, or any of his subjects, upon occasion or ac- 
count of any war, which may hereafter happen between 
the King of Great Britain and the above said kingdoms, 
countries, and estates, or any of them, which are, or shall 
be, in peace, amity, or neutrality with the States-General ; 
and this freedom of navigation and commerce shall extend 
to all sorts of merchandise, excepting contraband goods. 
That this term of contraband goods, is to be understood to 
comprehend all sorts of fire arms, their appurtenances, and 
all other utensils of war called in French, "servans a 
Vusage de la guerre,''^ and that under this head of contra- 
band goods, these following shall not be comprehended ; 
corn, wheat, or other grain, pulse, oils, wine, salt, or gen- 
erally anything that belongs to the nourishment or suste- 
nance of life, but they shall remain free, as likewise all 
other merchandise and commodities not comprehended in 
the foregoing article, and the transportation of them shall 
be permitted even into places at enmity with Great Brit- 


ain, except such places are besieged, blocked up, or in- 
vested. Masts, yards, ship timber, and hemp, the articles 
now in dispute, are not contraband by this treaty, or by 
the law of nations. Yet Great Britain, in the hours of her 
insolence and madness, which are not yet at an end, makes 
no scruple to seize, condemn, and confiscate them. She 
pretends, that as the Dutch refuse to her the aid she de- 
mands by treaty, she has a right to seize upon masts, 
timber, and hemp, which are not prohibited by treaty. 
Not to enter into the inquiry, whether the present case is 
such, as by the treaties obliges the Dutch to furnish her 
aid, but admitting for argument's sake it is so, yet the 
consequences will not follow. It would only follow, that 
Great Britain was absolved from the obligation of the 
treaty, not by any means that she is discharged from the 
obligations of the law of nations. 

I have the honor to be, with great respect, he. 




Versailles, Marcii 30th, 17S0. 

I have received the letter, which you did me the lienor 
to write on the 2 1st instant. I remember very well to 
have said to you, that your presentation should be inserted 
in the Gazette of France ; but, from the information I iiavc 
since obtained, it seems that the presentations, whether 
of Ambassadors or ^Ministers Plenipotentiary, arc not thus 
announced in our Gazette, and it u-ould have the appear- 
ance of affectation to insert yours. As a substitute, I will 


have it mentioned, if you wish, in the Mercure de France, 
and you can take measures to have the notice repeated in 
the foreign gazettes. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 


P. S. I enclose a draft of an article, which I propose 
to send to the Mercure de France. It will not be sent till 
I learn your opinion of it. 

"Mr Adams, whom the Congress of the United States 
has designated to assist at the conferences for a peace, 
when that event shall take place, arrived here some time 
ago, and has had the honor to be presented to the King 
and the royal family." 


Paris, March 30th, 1780. ' 


I have the honor of your Excellency's letter of this 
day, in answer to mine of the 21st of this month. Until 
the receipt of it, 1 had taken it for granted, that the pre- 
sentation of every Ambassador was regularly inserted in 
the Gazette of France, and until very lately, several days 
since the date of my letter to your Excellency of the 
21st of this month, I had supposed, that the presentation 
of Ministers Plenipotentiary was constantly inserted like- 

The information your Excellency has given me, that the 
presentation of neither Ambassadors nor Ministers Pleni- 
potentiary 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 


I approve very much of your Excellency's proposition 

of inserting my presentation in the Mercury of France, 

and shall take measures to have it repeated in the foreign 


I have the honor to be, &£c. 



Paris, March 30th, 1780. 

I have the honor to enclose to Congress copies of cer- 
tain letters, which I have had the honor to write to the 
Count de Vergennes, and of others, which I have received 
from him. 

It seems that the presentations of the American Com- 
missioners and Ministers Plenipotentiary have not been 
inserted in the Gazette, which occasioned some uneasiness 
in the minds of some of our countrymen, as they thought 
it a neglect of us, and a distinction between our sovereign 
and others. The enclosed letters will explain this matter, 
and show, that no distinction has been made between the 
representatives of the United States and those of other 

I ought to confess to Congress, that the delicacy of the 
Count de Vergennes about communicating my powers is 
not perfectly consonant to my manner of thinking, and it I 
had followed my own judgment I should have pursued a 
bolder plan by communicating, immediately after my arri- 
val, to Lord George Germain, my full powers to treat both 
of peace and commerce ; but I hope Congress will ap- 


prove of my communicating first to this Court my desti- 
nation and asking their advice, and then pursuing it, be- 
cause I think no doubt can be made, that it is my duty to 
conduct my negotiations at present in concert with our ally, 
as I have hitherto done. 

I have the honor to be, &;c. 



Paris, March 30tb, 1780. 


There is an anecdote, which causes a great speculation 
at present, because it is supposed to show the tendency of 
things in Ireland, and what is to be expected by Great Brit- 
ain, if the Ministry should oppose themselves to the wishes 
of the Irish nation. On the 23d of February, three bodies 
of volunteers, those of Dublin, commanded by Colonel 
John Allen, those of the Liberties, commanded by Sir Ed- 
ward Newingham, and another body, commanded by Mr 
Taylor, assembled at the Exchange, from whence tiiey 
made a long march in a circuit of four miles, accompanied 
with other volunteers on horseback, to the Park, the 
avenues of which were guarded by five other corps of 

There they went through the manoeuvres and firings, 
with as much celerity and precision as any regular troops. 
They were there reviewed by the Duke of Leinster, as 
General and Commander-in-Chief, accompanied with four 
Aids-de-Camps, and they all rendered to tliis nobleman 
military honors almost equal to those which are rendered 
to a Kiner. 


Returning from the review, the volunteers met in Bar- 
rack street a detachment of the royal troops marching to 
the castle. These required, that the volunteers should 
turn out of the way, and endeavored to break their ranks ; 
but the volunteers, with their bayonets fixed and charged, 
stood their ground and discovered such a resolution, that 
the commanding officer of the King's troops ordered them 
to halt, and desired to speak with the Duke of Leinster. 
They entered into a conference. The regular troops pre- 
tended they had a right to the pavements, as the troops of 
the King. The volunteers thought they had a right to 
keep it, as free citizens, voluntarily armed for the defence 
of their country, and consequently superior to mere mer- 
cenaries. They supported these arguments by prepara- 
tions for battle, the people declared themselves in favor of 
the volunteers, by collecting together a sufficient quantity 
of stones, to overwhelm the troops, who at last gave way, 
in order to avoid a scene of blood. The next day the 
volunteers sent to the Viceroy an excuse, but couched in 
terms, which justified their conduct as necessary to main- 
tain the liberty, independence, and dignity of the nation. 
1 have seen so much of the spirit of the King's troops, in 
several contests between them and the citizens of Boston, 
as to know very well what all this means. The volunteers 
must have great confidence in their own strength, and the 
King's troops equal diffidence of theirs, before an alterca- 
tion of this kind could terminate in this manner. 

I have the honor to be, &,c. 




Paris, March 31st, 1780. 

Dear Sir, 
I have received yours of the 26th, and that of the 
15th of this month. I enclose a copy of the letter you 

M. Gamier is gone into the country, and 1 have not 
seen him since I arrived here. Mr Izard, however, has 
seen him, and will give you a satisfactory account of what 
he says. 

If I were to apply to the other gentleman, you know 
what would be the consequence. It would fly very soon 
to, you know where, and I should have only the credit of 
meddling unnecessarily with disputes, which I have kept 
out of as much I could, and which it is certainly now the 
public interest, and consequently my duty, to keep out of 
as much I can. I had, therefore, rather be excused. The 
gentleman himself would probably give you the same 
answer to a letter from you directly to him, as he would 
give to me, unless I should use arts with him, which would 
be unworthy of you, as well as of me, and which I cannot 
use with anybody. 

I shall have enough to do, to steer my little bark among 
the rocks and shoals. I shall have perplexities enough of 
my own, which I cannot avoid, and dangers too. These 
I shall meet with a steady mind, and perhaps none of them 
will be greater than that, which I think my duty, of avoid- 
ing things that do not belong to me. 

Scarcely ever any Minister executed a commission for 
making a peace, without ruining his own reputation, in a 
free government. No Minister that ever existed, had a 


more difficult and dangerous peace to make than I have. 

The gentleman you mention has hitherto been very still, 

but he has been well received, by all that I have learnt. 




Paris, April 3d. 1780. 

The Prince of Orange, Stadtholder, is not only sup- 
posed to have ambitious views of allying his family to that 
of Great Britain, but is very much influenced by the Duke 
of Brunswick, who is a field marshal, and commander in 
chief of the Dutch land forces, who is also a brother of 
Prince Ferdinand. The Duke is not upon the best terms 
with his family, because they think he is too much attached 
to the House of Austria. By this double attraction of Eng- 
land on one side, and their old friends the House of Austria 
on the other, it is not very surprising that His Most Serene 
Highness is drawn a little aside from the line of the Ameri- 
can cause, which is now so closely connected, and likely to 
be more so, with the House of Bourbon. Hence it is said, 
that the Count de Byland is to be honorably acquitted by 
the court martial, and hence the embarrassments the 
Dutch are under, in their wishes to resent like men the 
unparalleled injuries, that have been done them by the En- 
glish. There is, however, so much spirit in the United 
Provinces, as to oblige the Prince to put on the appear- 
ance of resentment at the insults offered to his flag, and 
to oblige the British Minister to assume the tone of menace, 
in order to work upon the fears of the people, whose prop- 
voL. IV, 57 


erty is so exposed as to make them dread a war with any 
nation whatever. 

Congress wilJ, however, be able to judge of what is 
doing in Holland by the following proceedings. A petition 
was presented to their High Mightinesses on the 25th of 
February, for the equipment of fiftytwo ships of war, in 
the following terras. 

"Your High Mightinesses having thought proper by 
your resolution of the 17th of this month, which came to 
us the 22d, to require us to present to your High INIighti- 
nesses, without influencing, however, in anything the de- 
liberations of the confederates, a petition for the sum of 
two million six hundred and twenty thousand five hundred 
and ninetyeight florins, to assist towards the one half of the 
necessary expense for an extraordinary equipment of fifty- 
two vessels of war and frigates, which are to be put in a 
condition of service by the first of May, as well as of 
other articles more fully particularised in the report con- 
tained in the resolution of your High Mightinesses, and in 
the estimate enclosed with it, which we flatter ourselves 
were made with all possible accuracy, while the funds 
necessary for the half of the equipment abovementioned, 
will be found in the produce of certain duties. 

"We have been the more zealous not to delay giving 
satisfaction to the requisition of your High Mightinesses, as 
we consider the said plan, as tending to accomplish what 
has been for so many years represented and advised, as 
well by His Serene Highness as by us, in general petitions 
addressed successively to your High Mightinesses, as well as 
to the confederates, that is to say, to put the Republic in a 
more respectable state of defence, by augmenting her 
marine and troops, an object upon which it has been again 


insisted in the petition of the current year, which employed 
such reasons and such urgent motives to this purpose, that 
expressions now fail us for adding anything to what has 
been ahready said ; and persuaded, moreover, as we are, 
that the circumstances and facts, such of them as have 
passed in a manner so remarkable, render useless and su- 
perfluous all further reasonings, in such sort, that all these 
details being already perfectly understood, as well by your 
High Mightinesses as by the confederates, we think we 
may depend upon this knowledge, in expectation of the 
definitive resolutions of your High Mightinesses, equally 
salutary and unanimous, and the effect of which will be to 
prevent and ward off the new misfortunes, which may 
threaten the Republic ; assured, moreover, and persuaded, 
that the serious intention of the confederates is to accom- 
plish the equipment proposed with all that depends upon 
it, and that to this end, their High Mightinesses will be 
pleased, not only to give their consent to the petition of 
two millions six hundred and twenty thousand five hundred 
and ninetyeight florins, formed by the present, but also, 
what is more important, to furnish as soon as possible 
their quota to the general treasury, by which means the 
colleges of the Admiralty, whose duty it is to attend to the 
equipments, may be possessed of the means necessary to 
this operation at convenient periods ; which will be thought 
more indispensably necessary, on casting an eye on the 
reasons more amply alleged in the report of the colleges of 
the Admiralty, and expressed in the resolution of your 
High Mightinesses, the 17th of February, to which we 



On the twentyfirst of March, 1780, Sir Joseph Yorke, 
the British Ambassador, presented a Memorial to their 
High Mightinesses, of the following tenor. 

"High and Mighty Lords, 
"The King, my Master, has always cultivated the 
friendship of your High Mightinesses, and has always con- 
sidered the alliance, which has so long subsisted between 
the two nations, as founded upon the wisest principles, and 
as essential to their mutual prosperity. The principal ob- 
jects of this alliance, which stands upon the immovable 
basis of a common interest, are the safety and prosperity of 
the two States, the maintenance of the public tranquillity, 
and the preservation gf that just balance so often disturbed 
by the ambitious policy of the House of Bourbon. When 
the Court of Versailles, in direct violation of the public faith, 
and of the common rights of sovereigns, had broken the 
peace, by a league made with the rebel subjects of his 
Majesty, avowed and declared fornially by the Marquis de 
Noailles; when, by immense preparations, France manifes- 
ted her designs of annihilating the maritime power of Eng- 
land, the King expected that your High Mightinesses, too 
enlightened not lo see, that the safety of the Republic is 
closely connected with that of Great Britain, would have 
been zealous to come to his assistance. One of the first 
cares of his Majesty was, to inform your High Mightinesses 
of all the circumstances of this unjust war ; and in the crit- 
ical situation in which the King found himself he did not 
forget the interests of his ancient allies ; but, on the con- 
trary, has shown the most sincere desire to favor the com- 


merce and the free navigation of the Republic, as much as 
the safety of his people could permit. He even desisted a 
long time from demanding the succors stipulated by the 
treaties, fulfilling thus his own engagements, without insisting 
on the accomplishment of those of your High Mightinesses. 
The demand was never made, until after the united forces 
of France and Spain showed themselves ready to fall upon 
England, and there attempt a descent by the assistance of 
a formidable fleet. Although frustrated in this enterprise, 
the enemies of the King meditate still the same project 5 
and it is by the express order of his Majesty, that the 
undersigned renews, at this time, in a manner the most 
formal, the demand of the succors stipulated by different 
treaties, and particularly by that of the year 171G. 

"Hitherto your High Mightinesses have been silent upon 
an article so essential ; at the same time, you have insisted 
on a forced construction of the treaty of commerce of the 
year 1674, against the abuse of which Great Britain has 
protested at all times. This interpretation cannot be re- 
conciled to the clear and precise stipulations of the secret 
article of the treaty of peace of the same year. An article 
of a treaty of commerce cannot annul an article so essential 
of a treaty of peace, and both are expressly comprehended 
in the principal treaty of alliance of 1078, by which your 
High Mightinesses are obliged to furnish to his Majesty the 
succors, which he now demands. You are too just and 
too wise not to feel, that all the engagements between pow- 
ers ought to be mutually and reciprocally observed, and 
although contracted in differciil periods, they oblige equally 
the contracting parties. This incontestible principle ap- 
plies itself here with so nuich the more force, as the 
treaty of 1716 renews all the anterior engagements be- 


tween the Crown of England and the Republic, and incor- 
porates them, as it were, together. 

"Moreover, the subscriber had orders to declare to your 
High Mightinesses, that he was ready to enter into con- 
ferences with you, to regulate in an amicable manner all 
which might be necessary to avoid misunderstandings, and 
prevent every disagreeable occurrence, by concerting mea- 
sures equitable and advantageous for the respective subjects. 

"This friendly offer was refused, in a manner as unex- 
pected as it was extraordinary and unusual among friendly 
powers ; and without taking notice of repeated representa- 
tions, both public and secret, upon the subject of convoys, 
your High Mightinesses have not only granted convoys 
for different kinds of naval stores, but you have moreover 
expressly resolved, that a certain number of vessels of war 
should be lield ready to convoy in the sequel naval stores 
of every species, destined for the ports of France ; and 
this at a time when the subjects of the Republic enjoyed 
by the force of treaties, a freedom and an extent of t:om- 
merce and of navigation far beyond that, which the law 
of nations allows to neutral powers. This resolution, and 
the orders given to Admiral Byland, to oppose himself by 
force to the visits of merchant ships, have given place to 
the incident, which the hiendship of the King would have 
greatly desired to have prevented ; but it is notorious, that 
this Admiral, in consequence of his instructions, first fired 
upon the sloops bearing the English flag, which were sent 
to make the visit in the manner prescribed by the treaty of 
1674. It was then a manifest aggression, a direct viola- 
tion of the same treaty, which your High Mightinesses 
seem to look upon as the most sacred of all. His Majesty 
lias made beforehand repeated representations of the ne- 


cessity and justice of this visit, practised in all similar cir- 
cumstances, and fully authorised by this treaty. They 
were informed in London, that there were in the Texel 
a great number of vessels loaded with naval stores, and 
particularly with masts and large ship timber, ready to set 
sail for France immediately after, or under, a Dutch con- 
voy. The event has but too fully proved the truth of 
these informations, since some of these vessels have been 
found even under this convoy. The greatest number have 
escaped, and have carried to France the most efficacious 
succors, of which she stood in the greatest necessity. 

"At the same time your High Mightinesses thus aided 
the enemy of the King, by favoring the transportation of 
these succors, you imposed a heavy penalty upon the sub- 
jects of the Republic, to restrain them from carrying vict- 
uals to Gibraltar, although this place was comprehended 
in the general warranty of all the British possessions in 
Europe, and although at that time Spaii: Inii vexed the 
commerce of the Republic, in a manner t!ie most out- 
rageous and unexampled. 

"It is not only on these occasions, that the conduct of 
your High Mightinesses towards the King, and towards the 
enemy of his Majesty, forms a most striking contrast in the 
eyes of all the impartial world. No one is ignorant of 
that, which passed in the too well- known affliir of Paul 
Jones. The asylum granted to this pirate was directly 
contrary to the treaty of Breda, of 1GG7, and even to the 
proclamation of your High Mightinesses of 177G. Fur- 
dier, ahliough your High Mightinesses have kept, and still 
keep a silence the most absolute, with regard to the just 
demands of his Majesty, you have been forward, at the 
simple request of the King's enemies, to assure them of an 


absolute and unconditional neutrality, without any excep- 
tion of the ancient engagements of the Republic, founded 
upon the most solemn treaties. Nevertheless the King 
would still persuade himself, that all which has passed ought 
to be attributed less to the disposition of your High Mighti- 
nesses, than to artifices of his enemies, who, after having 
excited discord among the members of the State, seek al- 
ternately by menaces and by promises to animate them 
against their natural ally. His Majesty cannot believe, 
that your High Mightinesses have taken the resolution to 
abandon a system, which the Republic has pursued for 
more than a century, with so much success and so much 

"But if such was the resolution of your High Mighti- 
nesses, if you were determined to forsake the alliance with 
Great Britain, in refusing to fulfil the engagements of it, 
there would arise from this resolution a new order of 
things. The King would perceive such an alteration with 
a sensible regret ; but the consequences, which would fol- 
low from it, would be necessary and unavoidable. If by 
an act of your High Mighunesses, the Republic should 
cease to be the ally of Great Britain, the relations between 
the two nations will be totally changed, and they will no 
longer have any other ties or relation than those, which 
subsist between nations neutral and friendly. Every 
treaty being reciprocal, if your High Mightinesses will not 
fulfil your engagements, the consequence will be, that 
those of his Majesty will cease to be obligatory. It is in 
pursuance of these incontestihle principles, that his Majesty 
has ordered the subscriber to declare to your High Mighti- 
nesses, in a manner the most hiendly, but at the same 
time the most serious, that, if contrary to his just expecta- 


lions, your High Mightinesses do not give him, within the 
term of three weeks, to be computed from the day of pre- 
sentation of this memorial, a satisfactory answer, touching 
the succors demanded eight months ago, his Majesty, con- 
sidering this conduct as a departure from the alliance on 
the part of your High Mightinesses, will no longer consider 
the United Provinces in any other light than that of other 
neutral powers not privileged by treaties, and consequently 
will, without further delay, suspend conditionally, and until 
further orders, in regard to their subjects, all the particu- 
lar stipulations of the treaties between the two nations, 
particularly those of the treaty of 1 674, and will hold him- 
self simply bound by the general principles of the law of 
nations, which ought to serve as rules between powers 
neutral and not privileged. 


On the 24th of March, the States-General made the 
following answer to Sir Joseph Yorke. 

"That their High Mightinesses had resolved to rep- 
resent to his Britannic Majesty by the Count de Welderen, 
their Envoy Extraordinary, that having seen by the me- 
morial of the Ambassador, dated the 21st of March, that 
his Majesty fixed a term of three weeks to have a satisfac- 
tory answer touching the succors demanded, their High 
Mightinesses wished to satisfy, as soon as possible, the 
desires of his Britannic Majesty, by giving him a positive 
answer ; but they foresaw, that ihe form of government 
inherent in the constitution of tlic Republic would not 
permit them to complete their answer in the time specified, 
as the memorial of the Ambassador, having become an 
object of the deliberations of t!ie representative Provinces, 
VOL. IV. 58 


it was necessary to wait the resolution of the several 
States, the Assemblies of which were now sitting, or about 
to sit ; that their High Mightinesses assured themselves, that 
his Majesty, considering these reasons, would not persist 
rigorously in the time fixed, to the end, that their High 
Mightinesses might have that of forming in a manner con- 
formable to the constitution of the Republic (in which their 
High Mightinesses had not a right to make any alteration) 
an answer to the memorial of tbe Ambassador, their High 
Mightinesses promising to neglect nothing for accelerating, 
as much as possible, the deliberations upon the subject, 
and they pray the Ambassador to support these represen- 
tations, with his good offices, with the King, his master." 

Sir Joseph Yorke, after reading this answer, replied, that 
whatever might be his desire to satisfy the inclinations of 
their High Mightinesses, the orders of the King, his mas- 
ter, would not permit him upon this occasion ; that, how- 
ever, he doubted not, that they would be equally satisfied 
by the representations with which their High Mightinesses 
had charged the Count de Welderen at the Court of 

I have the honor to be, with great respect, he 



Paris, April 3d, 1780. 


The fermentation in England has already distressed the 

administration and overawed some of the members of the 

House of Commons, but there is room to suspect, that this 

is chiefly to be attributed to the approach of an election. 


The petitions are very far from being universal, and the 
congress of the sub-committees is not yet numerous. 

At a meeting of these from York, Surry, Middlesex, 
Sussex, Gloucester, Hertford, Kent, Huntington, Dorset, 
Bucks, Chester, Devon, and Essex, from the cities of 
London, Westminster, Gloucester, and the towns of New- 
castle and Nottingham, holden at the St Albans tavern, 
and afterwards by adjournment at the great room in King 
Street, St James, on the 11th, 14th, 15th, 17th, 18th, and 
20th days of March, 1780, the Reverend Christopher 
Wyvill in the chair, a memorial was agreed on, containing 
reasons for a plan of association. 

They affirm that there is a despotic system, and they 
dale the commencement of it nearly from the beginning of 
the present reign, and they say that they have arrived at 
the crisis, which the wisest of the political writers marked 
for the downfal of British liberty, when the legislative 
body shall become as corrupt as the executive, they should 
have said more corrupt, because that is undoubtedly the 
fact at present, as well as the case stated by Montesquieu. 

They say, that by the unhappy war with America, be- 
gotten in the first instance of this despotic system, and 
nursed with a view of giving completion to it, the fatal in- 
fluence of the Crown has been armed with more ample 
means for enslaving Parliament, while the nation hns visi- 
bly sunk almost into beggary. Never did any country 
experience so sudden a reverse from prosperity to de- 
pression. They state the fall of rents, the accuniulaiion of 
taxes, and the stagnation of all credit. Tiiey then run a 
long course of reasoning, to show the utility, importance, 
and necessity, of the several things they recommended to 
the people of England, which are all comprehended in a 
few propositions. 


1st. They recommend perseverance in the petitions, 
and an association in support of them. 

2dly*. A new law for taking the suffrages of the people 
at elections, to prevent expense and influence. 

3dly. To adopt, as part of their general associations, 
the following propositions. 

I. That an examination be made into all the branches 
of the receipt, expenditure, and mode of keeping and 
passing accounts of public money. 

II. One hundred, at least, of additional members of 
counties in the House of Commons. 

III. That the members of the House of Commons be 
annually elected. 

IV. That it is recommended to all voters to support, 
at the next election, such candidates as shall, by signing 
the association or otherwise, satisfy them that they will sup- 
port these regulations in Parliament. 

In the Middlesex committee, at the Masons' tavern, 
March 24th, this circular letter and the memorial it con- 
tained were unanimously approved, and their members in 
the general Congress thanked. In the Westminster com- 
mittee, King's Arms tavern. Palace yard, March 15th, 
1780, it was resolved, "that by the resolution of the general 
meeting, directing this committee to prepare a plan of as- 
sociation on legal and constitutional grounds, to support the 
laudable reform, and such other measures as may conduce 
to restore the freedom of Parliament, this committee con- 
ceive themselves bound to enter into the consideration of 
every question tending to establish the independency of Par- 
liament on a solid and durable basis. That the duration of 
Parliament, and the state of the representatives of the peo- 
ple, are questions immediately under this description ; that 


a sub-committee, consisting of seven persons, be appointed to 
inquire into the state of the representation of the nation and 
make a report." On the 20th of March, tlie sub-committee 
reported. The report is dated the 19th. "That new Par- 
liaments to be holden once in every year were the ancient 
usage, and declared to be tlie hereditary and indefeasible 
right of the people of England ; that the 6th of William 
and Mary is the first, which attempts to appoint the time 
of the continuance of Parliament to be for the term of 
three years, though the same act recognises the ancient laws 
and statutes of this kingdom, by which annual Parliaments 
were confirmed, and declares that frequent and new Parlia- 
ments tend very much to the happy union and good agree- 
ment of the King and people ; that by the 1st of George 
the First, the Parliament then chosen for three years, (by 
acquiescence of the people to the act of William and 
Mary, on the faith of its declaring, that from henceforth, 
no Parliament whatsoever, that shall at any time here- 
after be called, assembled, or held, shall have any continu- 
ance for longer than three years only at the furthest,) 
did pass an act to prolong its continuance to seven years ; 
that temporary considerations are stated in the preamble 
to the act, as the principal motives for the act itself, that 
the 6th of William and Mary is worded as if declaratory 
of what was conceived, however falsely, to have been the 
constitution of the country ; but that the septennial act as- 
sumes a power of altering the duration of Parliament nt 
pleasure ; that these alterations in the constitution of Par- 
liament were made without communication with the con- 
stituent body of the people, and have been continued with- 
out the sanction of their approbation ; that the septennial 
bill was strongly opposed in Parliament, and a direct in- 


fringeraent on the constitution, and a flagrant breach of 
trust towards the constituent body ; tliat it was supported 
almost entirely on the principle of expediency ; that the 
voice of the people appeared strongly against it, in many 
respectable petitions to Parliament on the occasion, and 
that a constitutional protest was entered by the Peers, 
stating, that frequent Parliaments were the fundamental 
constitution of the kingdom ; that the House of Commons 
ought to be chosen by the people, and when continued for 
a longer time than they were chosen for, they were then 
chosen by the Parliament and not by the people ; that they 
conceived the bill, so far from preventing corruption, 
would rather increase it, for the longer a Parliament was 
to last, the more valuable to corrupt ones would be the 
purchase, and that all the reasons which had been given 
for long Parliaments might be given for making them per- 
petual, which would be an absolute subversion of the third 
estate ; that various motions were afterwards made and 
strongly supported for a repeal of the septennial act, par- 
ticularly a motion for annual Parliaments in 1774, which 
was lost only by a majority of thirtytwo ; that the city of 
London and other respectable bodies continued to instruct 
their representatives to prosecute this object in the most vig- 
orous manner, as essentially necessary to the independency 
and integrity of Parliament, the rights of the people, and 
the prosperity of their country ; that by the 8th of Henrv 
Sixth, the Parliament, then elected by the commonality at 
large, passed an act to disfranchise the greater part of their 
constituents, by limiting the right of election of Knights of 
the Shire to persons having free lands, or tenants, to the 
value of forty shillings by the year, at the least, which re- 
striction has ever since continued ; that many towns and 


boroughs, formerly entitled for their repute and reputation, 
to send members to Parliament, have since fallen into de- 
cay, yet continue to have a representation equal to the 
most opulent counties and cities, while other towns and 
places, which have risen into consideration, and become 
populous and wealthy, have no representatives in Parlia- 
ment ; that the number of the inhabitants of England and 
Wales is above five millions ; that of these, twelve hundred 
thousand are supposed capable of voting, as the constitution 
stood before the restrictive act above quoted ; that not 
more than two hundred and fourteen thousand arc at pre- 
sent permitted to vote ; that out of these, one hundred and 
thirty thousand freeholders elect ninetytwo members for 
fiftytwo counties ; fortythree thousand citizens, freemen 
and others, elect fiftytwo members for twenty three cities 
and two universities, and fortyone thousand electors choose 
three hundred and sixtynine members for one hundred and 
ninetytwo towns and boroughs; that fifty of these members 
are returned by three hundred and forty electors ; and a 
number scarcely above six thousand, being a majority of 
the voters of one hundred and twentynine of the boioughs, 
return two hundred and fiftyseven representatives, which is 
a majority of the whole English House of Commons, and 
the efiicient represeniation of above five millions of people ; 
that many of these boroughs are immediately under the 
influence of the Crown, as the cinque ports ; many of 
them are private property, affording hereditary seats, as 
those under burgage, tenure, and some of them almost 
without houses or inhabitants, as Gallon, Newtown, and 
Old Sarum ; that considering the representation with 
reference to property, many counties return representa- 
tives out of all proportion to what they rontribiHe to the 


public revenue ; that Cornwall pays to land tax and sub- 
sidy, sixteen parts out of five hundred and thirty, and 
sends fortyfour members to Parliament, while Middlesex 
pays not less in proportion than two hundred and fiftysix, 
and sends eight members ; so that the inequality of the 
representation of this country, with regard to property, is 
still greater than when estimated according to the numbers 
of its inhabitants." The Westminster committee after con- 
sidering this report, Mr Fox in the chair, came to the fol- 
lowing resolutions. 

"1. That annual Parliaments are the undoubted right of 
the people of England, and that the act which prolonged 
their duration was subversive of the constitution, and a 
violation on the part of the representatives, of the sacred 
trust reposed in them by their constituents, 

"2. That the present state of the representation of this 
country is inadequate to the object, and a departure from 
the first principles of the constitution. 

"3. That thanks be given to the sub-committee for their 
very intelligent report. 

*'4. That copies of it be sent to the several committees 
of the counties, cities, and boroughs of the kingdom." 

I have been thus particular in stating the proceedings of 
these commhtees, because it must be an advantage for 
Congress to have them all in view, and to see the whole of 
the foundation that is laid. They are some of the most 
important proceedings of the present reign ; they are the 
commencement of a new sovereignty in opposition to the 
old. If there is virtue or good sense in the nation, these 
machines will discover it and set it in motion, and provided 
the war continues, it will prevail ; but if there is neither 
virtue or sense remaining, or not enough of these to pro- 


duce the desired effect, it will probably be the last national 
effort made in favor of liberty, and despotism will range at 

If the King would make peace now, he would dissipate 
all these combinations in England, Ireland, and Holland, as 
well as prevent the treaty with Spain, (which I believe is in 
a good way, from a letter which I lately saw from Mr 
Carmichael,) from giving advantages to Spain, and disad- 
vantages to England, which can never be altered. But if 
he continues the war long, if he should have signal suc- 
cesses, these may dispel the storms in England and Ire- 
land ; but if he should be unsuccessful, the new sovereignty 
will probably prevail against him, after involving the three 
kingdoms in confusion and blood. 

I have the honor to be, &.c. 



Paris, April 4th, 1780. 

There is an anecdote from Malaga, which ought to be 
mentioned to Congress, because it cannot fail to have 
serious consequences. 

The Swedish frigate, the Illerim, of thirtyfour guns, 
commanded by Captain Ankerloo, on the 28th of Febru- 
ary, at half after eight o'clock at night met an English pri- 
vateer belonging to Minorca, of twen(yeight guns. The 
Swedish Captain, after hailing the privateer, let her con- 
tinue her course, and went on quietly his own ; about half 
an hour after the privateer reluming, ranged herself astern 
of the frigate, and unexpectedly discharged both his broad- 
sides, loaded with langrage, which killed three sailors, 
VOL. IV. 59 


broke the thigh and the right leg of the Captain, wounded 
the Lieutenant and some people of the crew. Ankerloo, 
who in the evening had been obliged by a violent gale of 
wind to draw in his guns and shut up his ports, not find- 
ing himself prepared for battle, his officers took immediate 
measures, with the utmost alertness, for repulsing the pri- 
vateer, which did in fact at last receive one broadside 
from the frigate ; but, upon the whole, she escaped in the 
night, by the force of sails and of oars. After this perfidy 
on the part of the English, Ankerloo would have entered 
Marseilles for the sake of dressing his wounds, but having 
met with contrary winds and bad weather for three days, 
he put into Malaga, where he went ashore to the house 
of the Swedish consul, where he is since dead of his 

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, &tc. 



Paris, April 6th, 178(/. 


It may be necessary to transmit the decree of Sir James 
Mariott, against the Dutch ship la Sybejlina Hillegonda, 
in order fully to comprehend the proceedings, which 1 have 
sent before. The decree is this. 

"The fact in this case is, a Dutch ship loaded with naval 
stores, for a port in France, under the convoy of not less 
than five men-of-war, and the commander of these men- 
of-war, not measuring his conduct by the line of the treaty, 
resists, fires upon the boat of the English Commodore, 
and forbids the execution of the treaty. The English 


Commodore returns the fire. The Dutch Admiral fires 
again, and strikes ; so that the fact is to be adjusted, and 
it is of such a nature as has never before happened in the 
history of this nation. It falls unfortunately to my share, 
to decide upon these facts and their consequences. 

"It is, nevertheless, a consolation, that although the 
judge of this court may decide, in the first instance, there 
is still a superior tribunal, in the last resort. This court 
ought to judge of the case of the treaty, since, in virtue 
of a special commission, under the great seal of the king- 
dom, the judges of the courts of admiralty are authoris- 
ed and required to take cognizance of, and proceed judi- 
cially in all manner of captrres, seizures, prizes, and re- 
prisals, and decide upon them according to the course of 
the admiralty and the law of nations. 

"The claimant disdains to found his right in any other 
way than upon the treaty. My idea is, that all the marine 
treaties, which subsist between two friendly powers, form 
but one code of laws, one great confederation, one indivis- 
ible union. They are, if it is lawful to make use of these 
sacred words, the Bible, the Book, or the Testament of the 
social contract between the nations, to be maintained invio- 
lably, as a system, whereof we cannot break one part with- 
out dissolving the whole. 

"The Dutch subjects have, in virtue of the treaty, par- 
ticular privileges, superior to those of every other country, 
but they may overleap the bounds of these privileges, and 
from that time they ought to be weighed in the balance, 
like other neutral nations. To be found under a convoy 
is not, in itself, an infraction of the treaty, but the conduct 
of this convoy is to be considered. 

"The fifth article of the treaty of 1G74 is reciprocal. 


'If any ship, belonging to the subjects of his Majesty of 
Great Britain, shall in open sea, or elsewhere, out of the 
dominions of the said States, meet any ships of war of the 
Lords the States, or privateers belonging to their subjects, 
the said ships of the Lords the States, or of their subjects, 
shall keep at a convenient distance, and only send out 
their boat, with two or three men only, to go on board such 
ships or vessels of the subjects of his Majesty, in order 
that the passport, or sea-brief, concerning the property 
thereof, according to the form hereunder annexed, may be 
produced to them, by the captain or master of such ship 
or vessel, belonging to the subjects of his Majesty ; and 
the said ships, so producing the same, shall freely pass ; 
and it shall not be lawful to molest, search, detain, or 
force such ship from her intended voyage. And the sub- 
jects of the Lords the States shall enjoy in all things, the 
same liberty and immunity, they in like manner showing 
their passport, or sea-brief, made out according to the 
form prescribed at the foot of this treaty.' 

"The sixth article is, 'If any ship or vessel, belonging 
to the English or other subjects of Great Britain, shall be 
met making into any port belonging to an enemy of the 
Lords the States, or, on the other side, if any ship belong- 
ing to the United Provinces of the Netherlands, or other 
subjects of the Lords the States, shall be met in her way, 
making into any port under the obedience of the enemies 
of his said Majesty, such ships shall show, not only a pass- 
port, or sea-brief, according to the form hereunder sub- 
scribed, wherewith she is to be furnished, but also her cer- 
tificate or cocket, containing the particulars of the goods 
on board, in the usual form, by the officers of the customs 
of that port, from whence she came ; whereby it may be 


known whether she is laden with any of the goods pro- 
hibited by the third article of this treaty.' 

"Such are the terms of this treaty, which this court 
will not declare to be now in force ; but one of the 
parties may renounce it; and it would be from that 
time, so far forth, a good cause of annulling it. It could 
not ever have been the intention of the contracting parlies, 
that the merchant ships of the subjects of the States 
should become the transport vessels for the service of the 
King of France, nor that the men-of-war of the States 
should serve as a convoy to them. It is impossible to 
form an idea more unworthy of the sovereignty of the 
States. The idea of granting a convoy to all Dutch ships 
destined for the port of an enemy is offensive, and still 
more aggravating, when accompanied with resistance, or 
orders to resist, when they go so far as to reject ipso facto 
all the ordinary ways of public justice, and to set at nought 
the articles, which had been established to prevent the 
consequences of the intervention of neuters, as parties in a 
war, by public acts ; articles which stipulate a legal proce- 
dure for discussing all the points in conti'oversy, before the 
courts of admiralty reciprocally ; and in case the parties 
should not be satisfied, they ought to be finally heard by 
their respective sovereigns in council. Such is the tenor 
of the twelfth article of the treaty of 1G74. 

"In the present state of the cause, this court will not 
say, nevertheless, that the States have annulled the treaty j 
because the orders of Admiral Byland have not appeared, 
and his conduct may be disavowed by the States ; but 
even the granting of a convoy, and above all of a squad- 
ron, is essentially offensive, since the Dutch subjects are 
already sufficiently armed by the treaty, and by the metli- 


ods of redress prescribed, which are the same with all 
maritime nations. The party complaining follows the ship 
and the papers, which she has on board, into the jurisdic- 
tion of the place and country where he is carried, as the 
subject, who in the nature of things and proceedings, can 
only of necessity be judged there, where the original proofs 
exist ; the judges specially constituted, for the decision of 
prizes, both in the first instance and in the last resort, are, 
by common consent, charged to hear and determine all 
national differences between powers who are friends and 
allies, like the Council of Arnphyciions in ancient Greece. 
But seamen do not well comprehend this language. They 
speak roughly, like the mouths of their cannons. If this 
vessel had fired upon the boat, and any one had thereby 
lost his life, I think I should not have hesitated to condemn 
her upon general principles. Neither Admiral Byland, nor 
his instructions, are before me. I know not how to give a 
sentence against him or his vessels ; nevertheless, he ought 
not to have fired upon the boat of Commodore Fielding ; 
but he was bound to send to him his boat, and to propose 
an interview and an amicable conference. He might have 
made him a visit, which he immediately would have re- 
turned ; and all the captains of the Dutch mercliant ships 
might have been ordered on board the English Commo- 
dore, to produce their passports and cockcts. The effect 
of his resistance is thus the cause, that, although I do not 
declare the treaty null generally, nevertheless, in retaliation 
to these vessels taken in time of resistance, 1 ought to de- 
clare the ship forfeited of its privilege, and foreclosed of 
the treaty, by the act of M. Byland. There was cer- 
tainly never any vessel under convoy without instructions, 
at least in her course, and without signals. If the claimants 


liad not withheld them, it would have appeared, whether 
the Dutch Admiral ought, or ought not to have escorted 
these ships even into the ports of France, which would 
have aggravated the offence against the treaty. A convoy 
of a single ship, destined for the States, destined for the 
Colonies of the States, or loaded generally with innocent 
commodities, is, in itself, inoffensive ; because, in these 
times, there are in all the seas little pirates, furnished with 
all sorts of commissions, American, French, Spanish, and 
English ; but a squadron of a line of batde ships, and which 
appears force [?] even to the treaty, which they claim 
the benefit of, is a serious affair. To engage in hostilities 
is not the way of protecting commerce ; and those who 
have solicited the States to grant such a convoy, were 
rather factious Americans, or intriguing French politi- 
cians, than solid, sensible Dutchmen, true and real friends 
of their country. There is certainly among them a num- 
ber of worthy people, who can never desire to become, in 
fact, a Province, under the obedience of the King 'of 
France, or his resident Minister. 

"The case of the Swedish convoy is not applicable to this 
case. That convoy had not made any resistance. The 
ships entered the Downs by the bad weather, and were 
there taken without their convoy, which came to anchor 
near them. This was represented, and the course of 
justice was followed. The ship's papers were produced 
directly in this court, the requisites were done, and the 
causes finally discussed according to the style of the ad- 
miralty, vcio Icvato ; no time was lost, either in contesting 
the justice or demanding right ; and the captains of the 
ships returned contented with their vessels after they had 
been paid the freight, as well as the expense ; and the 


naval stores, which they had on board, were purchased by 
the government, by virtue of powers granted to the Coun- 
cil of the Royal Marine, by act of Parliament, in conform- 
ity to acts of Parliament in former wars. 

"The question, whether the hemp and flax are contra- 
band, is clear. Both of them have been adjudged such on 
all former occasions, when the quantity has been consid- 
erable, and particularly, when they are not of the produce 
of the country of the party which carries them. The flax 
is as necessary for sails, as the hemp for cordage ; and if 
this court has once ordered that flax should be sold to the 
Commissioners of the navy, it was because it was of little 
value, and in very small quantity. I am sorry to learn, 
that the Navy Board makes any difficulty upon this sub- 
ject. The iron on board was only for ballast." 

I cannot go through with the whole of this decree for 
want of time ; but the following curious and convenient 
doctrine ought not to be omitted. 

"That, which in the natural or intellectual world is 
called quality, is not relative. Good and evil are relative. 
Everything is what it is, and acquires its denomination 
from comparison, degree, manner, quality, place, time, 
person, fault, &;c. &ic. These relations constitute the meta- 
physical essence of every complex idea in the human un- 
derstanding. Hence that source, without end, of disputes, 
the glory of the bar, and of the schools of philosophy. 

"Grotius and Bynkershoeck agree, and who is there 
that will deny, that necessity gives a right to make our- 
selves masters of everything, without the seizure of which 
a nation cannot defend herself? As in relation to want, if 
the enemy, on one part, is in want of stores, the want to 
intercept them on the other is equal. And in relation to 


blockades, every port of the enemy is blocked relative to a 
neutral vessel loaded with stores, which is seized, and, by 
consequence, blocked, or hindered to go there. It im- 
ports little, that whether the blockade be made across the 
narrows at Dover, or off the harbor at Brest, or L'Orient. 
If you are taken, you are blocked. Great Britain, by her 
insular situation, blocks naturally all the ports of Spain and 
France. She has a right to avail herself of this situation, 
as a gift of Providence. 

"In fine, it is necessary to observe, that the claimants, 
founding themselves upon the privilege of the treaty, have 
not a single paper on board to prove the property of the 
cargo, in which respect all are defective. The sentence 
then, is, that, under the circumstances of this case, the 
claim of privilege is rejected, and that the Dutch iriaster 
be enjoined to produce his sailing orders, and certificates 
and cockets from the Custom House of the port from 
vi'hence the ship sailed, according to the stipulations of the 
sixth article of the treaty of 1674. The hemp and flax 
are condemned as contraband on board of this ship, and 
the owners of the iron are held to prove their property." 

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, Sir, 
your most obedient and most humble servant, 



P:nis, April 7th, 1780. 

There are several articles of intelligence today, whicii 
are connected with the subject of my letter of yesterday. 
One is from the Hague, the 2d of April. "Thursday niglii 

VOL. IV. 60 


last two couriers from Petersburg!! arrived here, alighted 
at the hotel of the Prince Gallitzen, the Envoy Extraordi- 
nary of her Majesty the Empress of a!I the Russias to the 
States-General. One of the couriers set off immediately 
for London, to the Russian Minister who resides there. 
The Prince Gallitzen having been in conference the next 
day with the President of the Assembly of their High 
Mightinesses, relative to the said despatches, this Minister 
sent back, the next night after his arrival, the same courier. 
From that time the report runs, that the object of these 
despatches was to communicate to the Republic the 
measures taken by Russia, whh some of the northern 
powers, for ensuring respectively the safety of the naviga- 
tion and commerce of their subjects, and to invite the 
States-General to enter into the same arrangements." 

The other is from Constantinople, the 14th of February. 
"The privateers continue to vex the neutral ships in the 
seas of the Grand Seignior, by visiting and stopping them 
wherever they find them, and even without any discretion, 
at the entry of the ports and under the guns of our fortresses. 
The French frigate, the Gracieuse, which lay at anchor in 
the road of Cyprus, having learned that an English priva- 
teer had brought into the port of this island a French 
prize, sent to her some boats armed to retake her, which 
they could not accomplish, however, without having some 
men killed on both sides. The English consul having 
carried his complaints to the government of the Island, of a 
violation of the laws of nations and demanded assistance, he 
was so well succored, that the French were obliged to 
abandon the prize, and all of their nation who were in the 
island came very near being massacred by the Turks. 
As the Porte has also been informed, that on the other 


hand the ship Smyrna, of Rotterdam, has run a risk of 
undergoing the same fate with the ship of Captain Kinder, 
of Amsterdam, and perhaps to suffer treatment still harder, 
and in sight of the city of Smyrna ; she has not only re- 
solved to send new orders to all the commandants, to enjoin 
them very seriously to observe a neutrality the most exact, 
by fulfilling their duty, but she has also testified her sensi- 
bility in regard to all these depredations to the Ambassa- 
dors of the Courts of France and England, by sending to 
them last Saturday a representation in writing, purporting, 
that as the Porte had not failed to observe, during the war 
between France and England, an exact and perfect neu- 
trality to facilitate their commerce upon an equal footing, 
and to afford to their ships all possible safety in her seas, it 
was natural that she should, and ought to expect, that the 
two powers would answer her conduct with a sincere 
friendship. That at the news of the first differences 
arisen between the two kingdoms, there were conferences 
held with their Ambassadors, in which it was agreed upon 
an equal footing, that the rules of the sea should not be 
violated, and that they should be, on the contrary, exactly 
observed and respected. That in consequence of this 
agreement, the Porte had not neglected anything to fulfil 
her engagements, by giving orders to all her commanders 
of fortresses and castles in the empire, to protect the ships 
of war and merchant-men against every allack, and not to 
suffer that any hostilities should be commenced in the 
ports of the Grand Seignior, and under the cannon and in 
sight of his fortresses. 

"But in spite of ail these measures, these powers had 
not taken care to observe them, which was the cause that 
no nation could now navigate freely and safely ; that even'' 


to this time, the Porte had not received the least answer 
on the suhject of a regulation of neutrality, which had been 
formed upon the footing of that which had been established 
during former wars between Christian powers, and of 
which communication had been made to the said Ambas- 
sadors, with a view to put a stop to the intolerable irregu- 
larities which had taken place in his seas, and to the end 
to prevent in consequence continual complaints and repre- 
sentations. That the Porte was informed foreign priva- 
teers held his ports blocked up, and forced the ships 
which entered into them or went out, without even except- 
ing the Turkish vessels, to submit to their unjust visits and 

"That such a conduct, being contrary to the honor of 
the empire, the Porte ought to determine, as soon as pos- 
sible, and communicate to the belligerent powers a good 
regulation, to the end, to procure by that means repose to 
his subjects, whom Providence had confided to his care, 
and to this end it was necessary, that the Ambassadors of 
these two powers should be advertised to request their 
Courts, in the first place, to send, as soon as possible, to 
the captains and officers of ships armed for war, or priva- 
teers, precise orders, and as some time must pass before 
they can receive such orders, the Porte hopes that the 
gentlemen, the Ambassadors, will be so good in the mean- 
time, as to order the captains and officers to suspend their 
operations, and abstain from all acts of hostility. 

"And as, in consequence of the ancient regulations, 
every time that any vessels of war or armed ships come 
into the seas of the Grand Seignior, the foreign Ministers 
were held to give notice to the Porte of the object of their 
expedition or voyage, of their destination, and of the time 


they were to stay, it could not but be regarded as unrea- 
sonable, and entirely contrary to the reciprocal friendship, 
if these formalities should not be observed, the Porte con- 
sidering it as one of its principal duties, to employ all pos- 
sible means to procure the tranquillity of its merchants, to 
protect their possessions against all force and injustice, as 
also to grant its protection to the subjects of the belliger- 
ent powers, and those of other powers who are equally 
good friends of this empire." 

The Porte finishes, by giving notice to the Ambassadors, 
that the Capitan Pacha was ordered to oppose himself in a 
friendly manner to the enterprises of those, who should 
pursue the ancient proceedings, and to protect the mer- 
chants and the ships of all nations, who carry on commerce 
in the countries of this empire, whose sovereigns live in 
friendship with the Porte. 

A third is a letter from Petersburg, 7th of March. "The 
rencounter which the Dutch convoy, on going out of the 
Texel the later end of December, under the command of 
Admiral Byland, had with the English squadron under 
Commodore Fielding, as well as the violent and hostile 
manner in which they made prize of this convoy, have oc- 
casioned here the greatest astonishment, and it is very much 
desired to know the consequences of this measure, which 
is generally considered as very offensive to the Republic of 
the United Provinces, and derogatory both to the treaties 
subsisting between the two nations, to the law of nations, 
and to the respect which ought to lake place between two 
free and independent powers." 

But that which is thought more extraordinary still, is, 
that the Court of London should have ordered a step so 
violent and insulting at a time when, having to maintain a 


war so dangerous as that against France, Spain, and the 
United States of America, her situation must appear not 
less anxious than dangerous, which this Court itself seems 
to acknowledge, by representing as she has done, that not 
finding herself in a condition to oppose the dangerous de- 
signs of the House of Bourbon, which, if you believe her, 
threaten the safety of all Europe, she believed herself con- 
sequently to have cause to demand succors here, as well 
as from the Republic of the United Provinces. However 
this may be, it is nevertheless notorious, that the solicita- 
tions of England have produced no effect here, which has 
given no small satisfaction to those, who consider in their 
proper point of light the designs and the conduct of this 
power, since the commencement of this war against the 
liberty of commerce and the navigation of free and inde- 
pendent powers, by means of which people in general 
seem so much the more pleased with the present resolution 
taken by her Majesty the Empress of all the Russias, rela- 
tive to the said solicitation, as well as with the system of 
neutrality, which she has adopted, because without this 
wise measure there is no doubt but Great Britain would 
have pushed much further the irregularity of her pro- 

The English, who are here, exert themselves as much 
as they can to justify and even to praise this proceeding of 
their nation towards the said convoy, but in vain have they 
attempted to induce the public to adopt this error, by ad- 
vancing boldly, that the Court of Russia approves the vio- 
lence, which they have exercised in this rencounter. No 
man believes them, since in fact it is impossible that the 
Empress can approve an action so diametrically opposite 
to the tenor of treaties, to the law of nations, as well as to 


the dignity of a sovereign and independent power, the in- 
justice of which is so notorious, that if it had been com- 
mitted with similar circumstances upon the Russian flag, 
the Princess ,herself would have been the first to have 
condemned it. Thus the reports, which the English pro- 
pagate here, of the approbation given to these proceedings, 
imply so much the more of a manifest contradiction to the 
sentiments and manner of thinking of the Empress and her 
IMinisters, that it is well known, that from the beginning of 
the present troubles, the Court of Russia has made repre- 
sentations and complaints against that of London, for the 
violent and arbitrary manner of acting, which this last has 
indulged herself in, against the navigation and commerce 
of neutral powers, from whence it has resulted, that other 
nations, in imitation of this proceeding, have embarrass- 
ed business more and more, until there exists no safety 
for any, which causes the greatest embarrassment to mer- 
chants and the freighters of ships. 

I ought to add to this letter, that the English emissaries, 
who propagate false news everywhere and about every- 
thing, having circulated a report, that the Porte was dis- 
contented with the peace made with Russia, the Grand 
Seignior thought it necessary to order the interpreter of the 
Court to declare to all foreign Ministers, that the Sultan 
and all his IMinisters had every reason to be very well sat- 
isfied with the accommodation with the Empress of Rus- 
sia, and that he was determined to maintain religiously all 
the articles contained in that treaty. All these things tend 
to show, that the state of Europe contir.ues the same, and 
that England, instead of getting an ally, is likely to have 
a combination of all maritime powers to bring her to reason. 

I have the honor to bo, &:c. 




Paris, April 8th, 1780. 


I have this moment the honor of your letter from Mad- 
rid of the 29th of February, as I suppose, although the 
month is not mentioned. I thank you, Sir, for commenc- 
ing a correspondence, which I have for some time wished 
to begin. I wrote to Mr Jay at Madrid, on the 22d of 
February, and wish to know if he has received the letter. 
It is certainly proper, that those who are intrusted abroad 
should maintain a correspondence and cultivate a good un- 
derstanding with each other, because, although their de- 
partments are in some respects separate, yet in others they 
are intimately connected. From all that I ^heard in Spain, 
I expected, that you would meet with an agreeable recep- 
tion at Madrid; and I am much pleased to learn from 
you, that I was not mistaken. 

I have sometimes wondered at the slowness of Spain 
in making a treaty with us ; but, when I reflected upon a 
certain secret article, my surprise ceased. We are al- 
ready bound in a treaty to her, but she is not bound to us. 
It would be ungenerous in her, however, to hold us long in 
this situation. The treaty, notwithstanding all that has 
been justly said of the advantages to us, is not less advan- 
tageous to our allies. The single article, that binds us to 
exclude all armed vessels of the enemies, in all future wars, 
from our ports, is worth more millions to them than this 
war will cost ; nay, it will be a severer loss to Great Brit- 
ain, than all that she has spent in it. Whether Great 
Britain' has considered this or not I do not know ; but she 


will some time or other discover it, and feel the incon- 
venience of it. 

You ask for news from America. A vessel from Balti- 
more is arrived at Bordeaux, but not a single letter to Dr 
Franklin or me. She brings two or three Baltimore 
newspapers, one as late as the 15th of February. There 
has been a hard winter, deep snows, uncommon frosts, 
frozen over from Connecticut to Long Island, and from 
New Jersey to Staten Island. Lord Sterling went over to 
Staten Island with a party on the ice, burnt a few vessels 
and a guard house, took a few prisoners, and brought off 
a few deserters. Some New Jersey people went over at 
the same time, and plundered without mercy. Finding 
the communication open with New York, which had been 
supposed to be obstructed by the ice, he returned. An 
article from a Fishkill paper says, that Clinton and Corn- 
wallis sailed the 26th of December, with seven thousand 
men, for the West Indies, but that the storm, which hap- 
pened soon after their departure, was supposed to have 
done him mischief. A ship, brig, and schooner were lost 
in the storm on Cape Cod, unknown who or whence, all 
perished. Congress had recommended to all the States 
to regulate prices at twenty for one, which, by the specu- 
lations in the papers, was not well liked. Governor John- 
son is a delegate for Maryland, General Ward for ^Massa- 
chusetts, in the room of Mr Dana, (who desires me to re- 
turn you his compliments and respects.) The other dele- 
gates as last year. This is nil the news I can recollect, 
having seen the papers only a few minutes in a large 

The general state of affairs appears very well. I see 
no probability of England's obtaining an ally ; on the con- 
voi,. IV. 61 


trary, there are many symptoms of an approaching com- 
bination of the maritime powers, to protect neutral ships 
from searches and insults. Ireland is in the full career of 
independence. England seems determined to force Hol- 
land into a war against her, that she may have an oppor- 
tunity to plunder her. 

The correspondences and associations in England dis- 
tress the Ministry very much ; and, if the war continues 
and they should not be very successful, it seems likely, that 
they would sav^e us the trouble of despatching them. I 
wish, however, that France and Spain were more con- 
vinced of the advantages they have in America and the 
West Indies. The more ships they send into those seas, the 
more they will force England to send there ; and the more 
she sends there, the weaker she is in Europe, and the less 
she is dreaded and respected. Holland, Ireland, the op- 
position in England, and the other maritime powers all feel 
a confidence rising in proportion to the diminution of the 
British naval force in Europe, besides the innumerable ad- 
vantages the French and Spaniards have, in supporting 
the war in the American seas over the English, which they 
have not in Europe ; but I am apprehensive of being 
tedious. My compliments to Mr Jay and his family. 

I am, with much respect, your most obedient and hum- 
ble servant, 





Paris, April 8th, 1780. 

It will not be disagreeable to Congress to see a list of 

the naval losses of the English, since the commencement 

of the war. 

Taken by the Americans and the French. 

Guns. Guns. 

Active, .... 32 Experiment, ... 50 

Fox, 1st, . . . .20 Montreal, .... 32 

Fox, 2d, ... . 20 Alert, cutter, ... 14 

Lively, 20 Ceres, 18 

Hellena, schooner, . 16 Countess of Scarborough, 42 

Ardent, .... 64 Liverpool, .... 28 

Thorn, .... 16 Unicorn, 20 

Drake, 20 Ariel, 16 

Minerva, .... 32 Folstone, cutter, ... 6 

Serapis, .... 44 Holderness, destroyed, 4 

Lost, or cast away. 

Guns. Guns. 

Somerset, ... 64 Mermaid, .... 28 

Arethusa, .... 32 Glasgow, burnt, ... 20 

Speedwell, ... 14 Vestal, 20 

Acteon, .... 32 Mercury, .... 20 

Repulse, .... 32 Quebec, blown up, , 32 

Viper, 16 Grampus, 

Success, .... 24 Tortoise, 

Pomona, . . . .18 Leviathan. 


Burnt, sunk, or otherwise destroyed, to prevent their fall- 
ing into the Hands of their Enemies. 

Guns. Guns. 

Augusta, .... 64 Cerberus, .... 28 

Lark, 14 Syren, 28 

Juno, .... 32 King Fisher, ... 14 

Flora, 32 Falcon, 18 

Orpheus, ... 32 Essex, ..... 64 

Making a total number of fortysix' vessels. 

I have the honor to be, &;c. 



Paris, April 10th, 1780. 


There are several miscellaneous articles of intelligence, 
which ought to be mentioned to Congress. 

One from Copenhagen, of the 25th of March. "The 
Count de Lucchese, Minister of the King of the Two Sici- 
lies, and charged at the same time with the affairs of the 
Court of Madrid, has received orders to declare to ours, 
that the King of Spain had it in contemplation to make 
arrangements relative to merchant ships of neutral powers, 
and with which we should have cause to be very well 
pleased. However this may be, we have not any news 
that the Danish ships detained, to the number of twenty, at 
Cadiz and Malaga, have been as yet released, which is a 
great damage to those who are interested in those vessels. 

"There is arrived in this city a courier coming from St 
Petersburg, who has also passed through Stockholm, who 
after having delivered his despatches to the Envoy Extra- 
ordinary of her Majesty, the Empress of all the Russias, at 


ihis Court, immediately continued his journey I'or Ham- 

Another is from Madrid, the 13th of March. "It is said 
that our Court will soon publish a new regulation relative to 
the Dutch navigation. In the meantime, they have released 
two ships of this nation, viz. the Griffin and the Zandam, 
which were detained at Algezlras. 

"The register ships destined for the Havana and Vera 
Cruz, which are ready at Cadiz, are to sail immediately ; 
these ships will be convoyed by twelve ships of the line 
and two frigates, as far as the Canary Islands. It is assur- 
ed, that there will be embarked on board of this fleet, 
twelve thousand men, who are to be transported to Ame- 
rica under the command of Don Victa de Nava, Lieuten- 
ant General. The last letters from the Havana import, 
that there were in that port fourteen ships of the line, as 
well as four thousand men ready to embark for an expedi- 
tion, the object of which is yet unknown. Two of our 
cruisers have entered Barcelona with five very rich prizes, 
among which, one had on board eighteen thousand guineas, 
destined for Mahon." 

Another from Paris. "Letters from Malta of the 11th 
of February inform, that the King's frigate, the Syracuse, 
commanded by M. Clavel, off Candia, has taken the Eng- 
lish cutter, the Buck, of twenty four guns, twelve swivels, 
and two hundred and three men, commanded by Captain 
George Flagg, and that the bad condition to which the 
engagement had reduced her, had induced him to sink 

Another from Francfort, of the 1st of April. "They 
write from Hesse, that they continued to raise many re- 
cruits, and that there were at Ziagenham six hundred and 

486 JOH>' ADAMS. 

eighty volunteers, who were to set off in a little time with 
eleven hundred and twenty men for America." 

Another from Amsterdam, of the 6th of INlarch. "We 
learn from Dort, that they expected there tiie English ves- 
sels destined to transport the German troops for the ser- 
vice of England, which were still at Nimeguen ; and they 
write from the Hague, that General Faucet had arrived 
there a few days since." 

Another from London, of the 31st of March. '-The 
despatches, which the Court has last received from Sir Jo- 
seph Yorke, excite the particular attention of the Ministry. 
Although the contents of them have not yet been made 
public, it is said, nevertheless, that in consequence of the 
memorial, presented on the 21st to the States-General by 
the British Minister, their High Mightinesses have taken 
the Pre-avis, relative to the succors demanded by Great 
Britain, which, although conceived in very moderate 
terms, contains, nevertheless, a refusal to furnish the suc- 
cors demanded. The Republic, as it is pretended, found- 
ing its inability to comply with this demand principally 
upon the non-existence of the case of invasion of the Brit- 
ish States, as a case, which alone could lay them under 
obligation to accede to the requisition of the King of Eng- 
land, the Count de Welderen, Envoy Extraordinary of 
the States-General, has been on the 29th in conference WMth 
Lord Stormont, and communicated to him the Pre-avis 
of their High Mightinesses, relative to the requisition 
of his Britannic Majesty, upon the subject of which the 
States-General will soon take a formal resolution. It is 
reported also, that his Excellency has likewise imparted to 
our Ministry the sentence of a court martial, which has 
adjudged, that Count Byland was not the aggressor in the 


affair of the seizure of the Dutch ships by Commodore 
Fielding. However, it is asserted, that the Court of St 
James has declared afresh, 'That if the States-General 
refuse to furnish to England the succors demanded in 
virtue of the treaties, she will give orders to search, without 
distinction, all Dutch ships under convoy and without con- 
voy, and that all the mercliandises and effects destined for 
the French and Spaniards, which shall be found loaded 
on board of these vessels, shall be seized and confiscated ; 
adding, that it is neither just nor reasonable, that the Re- 
public should be excused, on her part, from the observa- 
tion of the treaties, while England should be held on hers 
to fulfil the conditions, and that thus, in consequence of her 
former declaration, the Republic should be no more con- 
sidered but on the footing of other neutral powers.' 

"They say, moreover, that the reasons alleged by their 
High ^Mightinesses in justification of their refusal to acqui- 
esce in the demand of England, are of a nature to convince 
our Ministry, that such an acquiescence would produce 
consequences equally hurtful to the respective interests of 
the two powers in the present conjuncture. 

"We are assured, that each man of the crews of the 
squadron of Commodore Fielding, will receive more than 
nine pounds sterling, for his share of the proceeds of 
the captures made of the Dutch convoy, and that there 
will be two hundred pounds sterling paid to the King's 
ships at Spithead, for their part of the prizes which they 
have made. 

"The Court has received, within a few days, a great 
number of despatches from its Ministers at foreign Courts, 
the contents of which have given occasion to several cabi- 
net councils. Those of Sir Joseph Yorke have excited 
B particular attention. 


"The officers of all the vessels of war destined for sea, 
have received orders to repair on board as soon as possible, 
and be ready to sail on the first notice. The officers of the 
regiments of regular troops, and of the militia, must also 
join their respective corps without delay, that they may be 
ready to march by the middle of April. The forces will 
encamp nearly in the same place as last year ; and there 
will be some detached corps ready to join the different 
camps according to circumstances." 

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect and 
esteem, &ic. 



Paris, April lOlh, 1780. 

The Memoire of the Prince Gallitzen, Envoy Extraor- 
dinary from the Empress of all the Russias to the States- 
General, presented the third of this month, is of too much 
importance to the United States of America, and their 
allies, to be omitted to be sent to Congress. It is of the 
following tenor. 

"High and INlighty Lords, 
"The undersigned. Envoy Extraordinary of her Maj- 
esty, the Empress of all the Russias, has the honor to 
communicate a copy of the declaration, which the Em- 
press, his Sovereign, has made to the powers actually at 
war. Your High Mightinesses may regard this communi- 
cation, as a particular mark of the attention of the Empress 
to the Republic, equally interested in the reasons which 
have given birth to this declaration. 


"He has, moreover, orders to declare, in the name of 
her Imperial Majesty, that how much soever she may- 
desire, on the one hand, to maintain during the present 
war the strictest neutrality, she will, nevertheless maintain, 
by means the most efficacious, the honor of the Russian 
flag, and the safety of her commerce, and the navigation of 
her subjects, and will not suffer that any injury should be 
done to it by any of the belligerent powers. That to 
avoid, on this occasion, all misunderstanding or false inter- 
pretation, she has thought it her duty to specify in her 
declaration the terms of a free commerce, and of that 
which is called contraband ; that if the definition is found- 
ed upon notions the most simple, the most clear, and the 
most determinate by the law of nature, that of the latter is 
taken by her literally from the treaty of commerce of 
Russia with Great Britain ; that by this she proves incon- 
testably her good faith, and her impartiality towards both 
parties ; that she thinks, consequently, that she ought to 
expect, that the other commercial powers will be earnest to 
accede to her manner of thinking relative to the neutrality. 

"In pursuance of these two views, her Majesty has 
charged the subscriber to invite your High Mightinesses 
to make a common cause with her ; insomuch, that this 
union may serve to protect commerce and navigation, ob- 
serving at the same lime the most exact neutrality, and to 
communicate to you the measures which she i)as taken in 
consequence. Similar invitations iiave been already made 
to the Courts of Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Lisbon, to 
the end, that by the common cares of all natural maritime 
powers, a neutral system, founded on justice, and which, 
by its real utility, may serve as a rule for future ages, may 
be established and made legal in favor of the commercial 
VOL. IV. 62 


navigation of neutral nations. The subscriber makes no 
doubt, that your High Mightinesses will take into consider- 
ation the invitation of her Imperial Majesty, and concur in 
making, without delay, a declaration to the belligerent 
powers, founded upon the same principles with those of 
the Empress, his sovereign, by explaining your sentiments 
at the same time upon the subject of the protection of your 
commerce, of your navigation, and of the nature of contra- 
band goods, conformably to the terms of your particular 
treaties with other nations. Moreover, the subscriber has 
the honor to assure your High Mightinesses, that if^ for 
establishing solidly a system, equally glorious and advan- 
tageous to the prosperity of navigation in general, you will 
commence a negotiation with the neutral powers above- 
mentioned, to the end to establish a particular convention 
upon this subject, the Empress, his sovereign, will be ready 
to engage in it. 

"Your High Mightinesses will readily perceive the ne- 
cessity of coming to a resolution upon subjects equally im- 
portant and advantageous to humanity in general. 

"The subscriber requests the favor, that your High 
Mightinesses would furnish him with a speedy answer. 



Of her Majesty, the Empress of Russia, made to the Courts 
of Versailles, Madrid, and London, mentioned in the 
foregoing Memorial. 

"The Empress of all the Russias has manifested so visi- 
bly the sentiments of justice, equity, and moderation, which 
animate her, and has given, during the whole course of the 


war maintained against the Ottoman Porte, such convincing 
proofs of her attention to the rights of neutrality, and the 
freedom of commerce in general, that, in this respect, she 
may appeal to the testimony of all Europe. This conduct, 
as well as the scrupulous exactness with which she has 
observed the rules of neutrality during the course of this 
war, has given her room to hope, that her subjects would 
peaceably enjoy the fruits of their industry, and the advan- 
tages, which belong to all neutral nations. Experience 
has, however, taught her the contrary, since neither these 
considerations, nor the regard due to what the law of nations 
in general prescribes, have been able to hinder the subjects 
of her Majesty from being oftentimes troubled in their navi- 
gation, or interrupted or retarded in their commerce, by 
the subjects of the belligerent powers. These interruptions 
having come upon business in general, and that of Russia 
in particular, are of a nature to awaken the attention of all 
the neutral nations, and oblige her Majesty, the Empress, 
to seek to deliver herself from them by all means suitable 
to her dignity and the well being of her subjects. 

"But before she shall put them in execution, being Glied 
with a sincere desire to prevent all subsequent acts of vio- 
lence, she has thought that it was consistent with her equity 
to lay open to all Europe the principles, which will govern 
her, and which are indispensable to prevent all misunder- 
standing, as well as all which might give occasion to it. 
To this she has determined herself with so much the more 
confidence, as these principles are drawn from the primi- 
tive law of nations, and adopted by all nations, which the 
belligerent powers themselves cannot enervate, at least not 
without violating the laws of neutrality, and contemning the 
fundamental rules which they themselves have adopted, in 
divers treaties and alliances now existing. 


"Article i. That all neutral vessels ought to navigate 
freely from one port to another, as well as upon the coasts 
of the powers now at war. 

"Article ii. That the effects belonging to the sub- 
jects of the belligerent powers shall be free in neutral ships, 
excepting always contraband goods. 

"Article hi. That her Imperial Majesty, in conse- 
quence of the limits above fixed, will adhere strictly to that 
which is stipulated by the tenth and eleventh articles of her 
treaty of commerce with Great Britain, concerning the 
manner in wliich she ought to conduct towards all the bel- 
ligerent powers. 

"Article iv. That as to what concerns a port block- 
ed up, we ought not in truth to consider as such any but 
those, which are found so well shut up by a fixed and suffi- 
cient number of vessels belonging to the power which at- 
tacks it, that one cannot attempt to enter into such port 
without evident danger. 

"Article v. That these principles above laid down 
ought to serve as a rule in all proceedings, whenever there 
is a question concerning the legality of prizes. 

"From these considerations, her Imperial Majesty makes 
no difficulty to declare, that wishing to insure the execu- 
tion of that, which is herein before declared, to maintain at 
the same time the honor of her flag, as well as the safety 
of the commerce of her States, and also to protect the 
navigation of her subjects against all those whom it may 
concern, she has given orders that a considerable portion 
of her maritime forces shall, be put to sea, with no other 
intention than to insure the observation of the most exact 
and the most strict neutrality, which her Majesty proposes 
to keep as long as she shall not see herself absolutely 


forced to depart from that system of moderation and of 
perfect neutrality, whicli she has adopted ; in such sort, 
that it will not be but in the last extremity, that her fleet 
will exercise her final orders to go wherever the necessity 
and the circumstances may require. 

"It is then by assuring the belligerent powers in the 
most solemn manner, and with all that rectitude and sin- 
cerity, which form the distinguishing character of her Im- 
perial Majesty, that she declares to them that she proposes 
to herself no other thing, than to convince them of the sen- 
timents of equity with which she is animated, as well as of 
the tendency of her salutary views towards the well being 
of all nations in general, and particularly of those now at 
war, and that consequently her Imperial Majesty will pro- 
vide her Admiralty as well as her Generals with instruc- 
tions relative to this system, extracted from the code of 
nations, and which they have so often taken for rules in 
their treaties." 

I have the honor to be, &:c. 



Paris, April 11th, 1780. 

The counties in England, which have agreed to petitions 
upon the expenditure of public money, the influence of 
the Crown, and the corruption of Parliament, are these. 
York, .... December 3d, 1779, 
Dorset, . . . . " 27tl), " 

Middlesex, . . • January 7tli, 17S0, 

Chester, . . • . " 13ih, " 
Hertford, ... " 17ih, " 





Cumberland, . 











Kent, . 






In all, twenty five counties. 

The first meeting of the delegates was March the 11th, 
1780. The cities and towns, which have agreed upon 
similar petitions, are London, Westminster, York, Bristol, 
Cambridge, Nottingham, Newcastle, Reading, and Bridge- 

The counties, which have not yet agreed upon petitions, 
are Westmoreland, Durham, Lancaster, Salop, Stafford, 
Lincoln, Leicester, Warwick, Oxford, Worcester, Corn- 
wall, and Rutland. Hants agreed on a petition, but ap- 
pointed no committee, and Northampton agreed to instruct 
their members on the points of the petition. 


. January 20th, 














• • • 



























JMarch 4th, 


















This account takes no notice of the twelve Welsh coun- 
ties ; these, however, are small. 

The counties, which have already petitioned, it seems, 
therefore, are a vast majority of the kingdom in numbers 
as well as property and understanding ; and the meeting of 
their committees may be reasonably considered as a more 
equitable and adequate representation of the people of 
England, than the House of Commons. 

Amidst all the addresses, instructions, petitions, associa- 
tions, and resolutions, I never found one that dared to ex- 
pose the true cause of their miseries, and to propose a 
remedy, until the association of the county of York ap- 
peared, which was agreed to by the committee of sixtyone, 
to be recommended to the general meeting of the county 
of York, held the 28th of March, 1780. 

They declare their unanimous assent, 

1st. To the economical reform requested by the peti- 
tions of the people. 

2dly. To the proposition for obtaining a more equal rep- 
resentation of the people in Parliament, by the addition of 
at least one hundred Knights, to be chosen in a due pro- 
portion by the several counties of Great Britain. 

3dly. To the proposition for the members of the House 
of Commons to be elected, to serve in Parliament for a 
term not exceeding three years. 

But the most important resolution of all was also unan- 
imous, "That it is the opinion of this meeting, that the 
prosecution of an offensive war in America is most evi- 
dently a measure, which, by enjploying our great and 
enormously expensive military operations against the in- 
habitants of that country, prevents this from exerting its 
united, vigorous, and firm efforts against the powers of 


France and Spain, and has no other effect upon America, 
than to continue, and thereby to increase the enmity, which 
has so long and so fatally subsisted between the arnis of 
both, can be productive, of no good whatever, but by pre- 
venting conciliation, threatens the accomplishment of the 
ruin of the British Empire." 

This meeting, which is said to have been the largest 
ever known, and perfectly unanimous, gave power to the 
committee of association to call the county together when 
they should judge proper. 

After all, even this committee does not appear to see 
the true interest of the country, the necessity of peace. 
Peace alone can save them. They are for leaving Amer- 
ica, which is a great thing ; but it does not appear but that 
they are still for continuing the war with our allies. 

An article of the 4th of April says, that commotions are 
reported to have arisen in the County of York, many of 
the inhabitants of which have peremptorily refused to pay 
the taxes. 

Congress will observe by the paragraphs in the Morning 
Post of April the 1st, that they seem to be in England 
totally ignorant of the designs of the Empress of Russia, 
and of the other neutral powers. 

The paper of April the 3d contains Major General 

Campbell's and Lieutenant Colonel Dickson's account of 

the surrender of the port of Baton Rouge, he. with about 

five hundred regular troops prisoners of war, to Don Ber- 

nado de Galvez, the 21st of September. 

I have the honor to be, Sic. 




Paris, April 14tli, 1780. 


Everything which tends to show the probability of a gen- 
eral association of the maritime powers against the vio- 
lences at sea, which the English have practised, and 
which other nations, after their example, have begun, and 
which tends to prove the justice, the wisdom, and the hn- 
manily of such an association, is worthy of observation. 
For my own part, I think, that the abolition of the whole 
doctrine of contraband would be for the peace and hap- 
piness of mankind; and I doubt not, as human reason ad- 
vances, and men come to be more sensible of the benefits 
of peace, and less enthusiastic for the savage glories of 
war, all neutral nations will be allowed, by universal con- 
sent, to carry what goods they please in their own ships, 
provided they are not bound to places actually invested by 
an enemy. 

Constantinople, March the od. '"The Porte having 
received the disagreeable news, that three xebecs from 
Malta had seized upon a large Turkish ship with a rich 
cargo of coffee, rice, hemp, and other productions, this 
advice has accelerated the departure of two men-of-war 
and four gallic?, which will go before the fleet of the Grand 
Admiral, to cruise in the Archipelago, and protect the nav- 
igation of the Eiu'opean nations against the vexations of 
the French and English." 

Copenhagen, March the 2Sth. "Captain Zagcl, the 
courier of her Majesty, the Empress of all the Russias, is 
returned to Petersburgh, accompanied by Captain Socol- 
ousky, Secretary of the Russian Consul in the Sound. 
They are very busy here in equipping the vessels of war, 
VOL. IV. C3 


the Wagrie, of sixtyfonr guns, the Infodstretten, of sixty- 
four, and the frigate Combord, of thirtyfour." 

London, April the 4th. "There are lately arrived here 
interesting despatches to government from Sir Joseph 
Yorke, which contain some further explanations of the dis- 
positions of the Republic, in consequence of the last Me- 
morial presented to their High Mightinesses by that Min- 
ister, and the resolution to protect the commerce of their 
subjects. However this may be, there are actually in 
the ports of this kingdom fifty Dutch vessels seized by our 
ships of war, because they were found loaded with naval 
stores for' our enemies ; and, already the most of their 
cargoes have been adjudged good prizes. These articles 
being considered as contraband, and their transportation to 
an enemy contrary to treaties subsisting between the Re- 
public and England." 

Hague, April the 9th. "We learn, that the States of the 
Province of Overyssell have sent to the Assembly of their 
High Mightinesses their instructions, relative to the two Me- 
morials presented by Sir Joseph Yorke, the 2Sth of July, and 
the 26th of November, of the last year, the first purporting 
a demand of succors stipulated by the treaty of 1678, and 
the second demanding an immediate and categorical answer. 
The contents of the instructions are, 'That their Noble 
Mightinesses, after having maturely reflected upon all which 
concerns the matter in question, especially upon the treaties 
existing between the kingdom and the Republics, as well 
as the obligations, which the two nations had mutually laid 
themselves under, and also in particular, upon the present 
situation in which this republic now stands in several points 
respecting her own preservation, the maintenance of her 
rights and possessions, and respecting the powers actually 



at war, judge, that the two Memorials presented by Sir 
Joseph Yorke may and ought to be answered in the fol- 
lowing manner. That all the principles alleged, and the 
circumstances at this time existing, oblige their High 
Migiitinesses more than ever to watch carefully their own 
preservation and defence, to use every effort to ward ofF 
all further dangerous consequences, and to this end, to 
request his Majesty not to take it in ill part, if in the criti- 
cal situation of affairs, in which the least diminution of 
their forces might be dangerous, their High Mightinesses 
think themselves lawfully authorised to refuse the succors 
demanded by his Majesty, although these succors, consid- 
ering certain engagements, the pretended application of 
which it would be useless at this time to search into, may 
be judged indispensable by his Majesty, in the firm confi- 
dence, that, in the circumstances in which their High 
Mightinesses find themselves, his Majesty, not disapproving 
of their conduct, will desist, not only from demanding their 
assistance, but on the contrary, as a proof of the affection 
of which his Majesty had so often given them assurances, 
will permit them invariably to pursue that neutrality, which 
from the beginning of the present troubles they have 

"It is asserted, that on the Memorial presented by the 
Prince Gallitzen, Envoy Extraordinary of the Empress of 
Russia, their High Mightinesses have provisionally con- 
cluded, 'That having taken the said Memorial into consid- 
eration, the deputies of the respective Provinces have sent 
copies of it, as well as of the papers annexed to it, to be 
communicated to their Assemblies, praying them to pro- 
cure, as soon as possible, the resolutions of tlie States, 
their constituents.' 


"In ilie meantime, since the said Memorial has hcen 
made public, it is given out, that the convention be- 
tween the Courts of Petersburgh, Stockholm, and Co- 
penhagen, will in a little time be confirmed, and that 
Denmark will procure, on certain conditions, five or six 
thousand seamen for this Republic. 

"We learn that the answer of his Britannic INIajcsty to 
the representations which the Coimt de Walderen, Minis- 
ter of the States-General at liie Court of London, has 
been charged by their High Mightinesses to make to the 
British Government, relative to a prolongation of the term 
of three weeks, prescribed in the last Memorial of Sir Jo- 
seph Yorke, for giving him a definitive answer, &i.c. arrived 
the 31st of last month, and is found to be in the negative, 
the King insisting on an answer by the time fixed, which 
will expire next Tuesday. 

"They give out, that the cities of Dantzic, Lubec, Bre- 
men, Hamburgh, he. will adopt, as well as most of the 
northern powers, the party of neutrality, and that, if Eng- 
land persists in the practice of visiting, stopping, and 
searching neutral vessels, Denmark is resolved to exclude 
English vessels from the Sound." 

To judge of things the most impartially, no man can 
doubt, that proceedings so violent, and so contrary to the 
natural rights of nations, will make the neutral powers feel 
how much it imports them to set bounds to the intolera- 
ble excesses, to which their vessels, sailing under the faith 
of treaties, are daily exposed by tlie ships of one party in 
the present war. 

I have the honor to be, he. 




Paris, April 15th, 1780. 


There is an article from Hamburgh which deserves at- 
tention ; it is this. 

"The neutrality of the powers of the north is decided. 
They have profitted of the divisions, which have arisen 
between England and North America, by selling to the 
former, timber, cordage, hemp, and tar, which she form- 
erly drew from her Colonies. The occasions, which the 
enemies of Great Britain have also had for these articles, 
have established a competition, wliich has procured great 
advantages to the commerce of the north. Tliey have 
eve.-ywhere taken measures to protect it." 

In vain has England sought assistance from that quarter ; 
her conduct has irrevocably deprived her of it. 

Leghorn, 22d of March. "We learn from Naples, that 
the King has purchased of the Order of Malta two vessels, 
to increase the marine of that kingdom. His Majesty is 
attentively engaged in the care of forming officers for this 
department. The young gentry, whom he has sent to 
serve on board of the squadrons of the belligerent powers, 
have all of them distinguished themselves ; and those who 
remain at Naples, under the direction of the Chevalier 
Aston, have discovered equal zeal, intelligence, and good 
will, for tlie service of the marine." 

Madrid, 25th of March. "Our squadrons, they write 
from Cadiz the 16th of this month, will put to sea without 
delay. Transport ships are taken up on freight with great 
activity, and all the troops are arrived. The following is 
an exact state of the armament. 

602 J^HN ADAMS. 

"The complete regiments of the King, Guadalajara, 
Arragon, Soria, and the second regiment of Catalonia ; in 
all ten battalions, making six thousand and six hundred 

"The squadron of D. Solano ; the St Louis, of eighty- 
guns, the St Augustine, the Orient, the Gaillard, the Ar- 
rogant, all of seventy gun?, and the Rule of sixty guns. 

"The squadron of D. Tomaseo ; the St Nicholas, of 
eighty guns, the Eugene, the Damase. the St Janizer, the 
St Francis, the Assisse, and the Warrior, all of seventy 

"The first squadron takes in provisions for five months, 
and the second for four months and a half. They fill up 
the regiments, which are destined for the expedition, with 
soldiers from the regiment of Hibernia. 

"The beautiful wools of Segovia have not been always 
employed widiin the kingdom, because the love of labor 
has not been predominant ; but since the establishment 
of the royal patriotic society, industry has recovered its 
activity. D. Laurent Ortiz de Paz has established spin- 
neries of wool in that city, and in St Ildephonso, and 
other places. His Majesty has assigned rewards for men 
and women, who shall distinguish themselves in this kind 
of labor. This measure cannot fail to establish the royal 
manufacture of fine cloth, which the ]\Iarquis of Ensenada 
had already erected at Segovia, and which had fallen into 
decay with the favor of that Minister." 

There are in some of the papers hints of a plan of pacifi- 
cation, which is said to come from the Rockingham party. 
The substance of it is as follows. 

"Let us open our eyes I The hope of subjecting Ame- 
rica is a chimera. Nothing but clemency can ever open a 


way for a reconciliation with its inhabitants. To show tliat 
we wish it sincerely let us give up Nova Scotia, that dry, 
uninhabitable, and languishing colony, which produces 
nothing. Let us also permit the Canadians to institute a 
form of government, which may be agreeable to themselves, 
and let the independence of North America become the 
object of our support. Sooner or later it will be unavoida- 
ble, that America should separate lierself from us, and I 
should be very glad that a permanent system of alliance 
should take place between them and their mother country, 
before our ancient colonies shall be united to France, by 
ties too strict to be relaxed. I am persuaded, that neither 
Nova Scotia nor Canada will remain long under the govern- 
ment of England ; and it is to be feared, that in contending 
for them we shall still further embroil affairs. Nova Scotia 
is not worth the trouble of keeping it, and it will require 
continual succors. Canada will occasion us more expense 
than it will bring us in profit, and will never become flour- 
ishing under an European government ; at least unless the 
whole country should be recovered. We deceive ourselves 
if we imagine, that by emancipating the Americans we 
shall lose our American islands. We hold these by the 
strongest of all ties, which is, that of their own interest. 
North America will not seek to make conquests so long as 
it shall be divided into distinct States, and under a republi- 
can form of government ; and it is probable, that several 
centuries will pass away before she will change the form of 
her administrations. Commerce will rettn-n into England, 
and into our islands, without any other motive than that 
which actuates all the commercial nations of the earth. If 
we were now disembarrassed of the objects of dispute, 
concerning which Spain discovers so many pretensions, and 


if we could content ourselves with a superiority at sea, all 
that would result from it would be, that our trade to the 
Levant would increase, we should become more respecta- 
ble, and we should see ourselves more in a condition to 
maintain our quarrels, and protect our rich possessions, 
without hazarding a bankruptcy by expenses, which we 
cannot sustain. Our maritime power will always be suffi- 
cient to protect our islands. Our naval forces will never 
want anything so long as we shall have divers markets, 
where our vessels may go. The northern" powers of 
Europe, and the northern States of America, will be com- 
petitors to serve us, so long as we preserve the superiority 
upon the sea, and while, by means of our manufacturers, 
we can pay for them, or make an advantageous exchange, 
with the one and the other. We have as good a right to 
things, which we can purchase in divers foreign markets, as 
if the things were the productions of our own establishments. 
"Are France and Spain in want of warlike stores ? Are 
they not as well supplied with them as we are ? And do 
they not make Sweden rather incline to their side, by means 
of their commerce with that country for these articles ? 
Is it probable that they can ever shut up from us the ports 
of America, of Uus?ia, of Denmark, and of Sweden, while 
it is the interest of these States to furnish us ? It is neces- 
sary, then, to resolve to demand peace by the means which 
offer themselves, and which are not only able to obtain it, 
but may still be preserved, and in which there is no appear- 
ance that we shall be disturbed, if, at least, at all times we 
preserve our marine upon a respectable footing ; and, if 
we do not, we ever subject ourselves to be restrained up- 
on the article of the number of ships, and in the places 
where we shall employ them. In that case we shall oot 


perceive that Gibraltar or Minorca is wanting to us. We 
shall always be ready to meet bur enemies in those parts 
where our safety, security, and riches lie, and which nature 
points out to us as our proper element. Surrounded on 
all sides by the sea, there is one half of ihe nation whose 
inhabitants understand navigation from their infancy, and 
they are disposed to become seamen because they are 
almost educated with the sea. But whenever we shall 
engage ourselves in the wars of the continent, we shall 
never draw from them any solid advantages. Where are 
the trophies so dearly purchased of King William and 
Marlborough ? And where is the benefit of the two last 
wars? The balance of power will not remain long in our 
hands, although we have engaged the annual produce of 
an innumerable quantity of taxes. 

"In America we have destroyed the balance, which held 
our colonies in dependence. We ought not, then, to lose 
the opportunity of binding the interests of the United 
States with ours by some amicable convention, which will 
assure us of their attachment, and deliver us from the cruel 
necessity of continuing the war with our own children. 
It is by this means we may preserve for a long time our 
insular properly, and enjoy still a superiority at sea." 

Paris, April llth, 1780. "The Ambassador of Rus- 
sia has notified, within a few days past, to our Court, that 
it was the intention of his sovereign that the commerce of 
the subjects of her empire should not be troubled, and that 
under no pretence should their vessels be stopped by those 
of the belligerent powers, and that she is arming to defend 
her flag, and protect it from insults. This declaration was 
to be made at the same time to the Courts of Madrid and 
London. It is asserted, that it is the first fruit of a treaty 
VOL. IV. 64 


of commerce, which Russia has concluded with us, and of 
a confederation which she has entered into with the other 
northern powers, and in which they wish to engage Hol- 
land and Portugal. We are very inquisitive to learn how 
this notification will be received by the Court of St James." 

The English ministerial gazettes propagate a report, 
that there was arrived in Europe a deputy of Congress to 
offer peace to Great Britain. Those of the opposition 
assert, that this deputy who is in fact arrived, will do noth- 
ing but in concert with France, when it shall please Eng- 
land to propose a negotiation of peace. 

The following article is published in the English papers, 
to excite the people against the opposition. 

"If the ^Marquis of Rockingham should come again into 
the administration, his first operation would most probably 
be, to declare America independent. This would, never- 
theless, be a fatal resolution, which, instead of giving us 
peace, would throw that event still further off. A proof so 
striking of our pusilanimity would raise still hig';er the 
hopes and the pride of the House of Bourbon. France 
would demand that we should restore to them Canada, 
Cape Breton, and Nova Scotia, as well as the islands 
which were taken from her tlie last war. Nothing less 
would be necessary for Spain than the restitution of Gibral- 
tar and Jamaica. But it cannot but be supposed, that the 
Marquis of Rockingham is too much attached to his head 
to expose it to danger by so shameful a dismemberment 
of our empire. He would then make us continue the war 
with the disadvantage of not being able any longer to rein 
in the Americans, who would assist everywhere their allies 
bv land and by sea. But every Englishman of good sense 
sees to what disasters this plan of conduct would lead us. 


The ambition of this Marquis and of his parly is not to 
triumph over rebels, and the natural enemies of England ; 
it is to humble his King and ruin his country." 
I have the honor to be, &c. 



Paris, April 16ih, 1T80. 

^ I have received the two letters, which your Excellency 
did me the honor to write to me, on tiie 5ih and on the 
12th of this month. 

I do not mean to give your Excellency the trouble of 
answering these letters of mine, which contain extracts of 
letters from abroad, or simply news. This would be giv- 
ing your Excellency too much trouble, and taking up too 
much time. Indeed, I think it will very probably be often, 
if not always unnecessary, because your Excellency's infor- 
mation must be, beyond all comparison, earlier, more ex- 
act, and more particular than mine ; yet, as it is posi,ible 
that sometimes a circumstance of importance may escape 
one channel of intelligence, and yet pass in another, [ 
thought it to be my duty sometimes to send your Excel- 
lency an extract. In this view, I now have the honor to 
send your Excellency another extract from a letter of the 
6th of this month ; but I pray your Excellency n6t to take 
the trouble to answer it. 

I have the honor to be, he.