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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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Published under the Direction of the President of the United States, from 

the original Manuscripts in the Department of State, confoimably 

lo a Resolution of Congress, of March 27tli, 1818. 







Steam Power Press— W. L. Lewis' Print. 
No. 6, Congress Street, Boston. 






Robert R. Livingston to Jolin Jay. Philadelphia, 

December 13th, 17S1, - - - - 3 

Military operations in tlie Soutli. — Requests more 
frefiuent communications. 

Robert R. Livingston to John Jay. Philadelphia, 

February 2d, 1782, 5 

State of affairs in the South. — New order introduced 
into the financial department. — Interest of Spain 
to attack Britain in America. — Apostacy of Mr 

To Robert R. Livingston, Secretary of Foreign 
Affairs. Madrid, February Gth, 1782, - - 8 
Correspondence interrupted and examined in the 


To the President of Congress. Madrid, February 

Gth, 1782, 10 

Delays of the Spanish Court. — Thinks it advisable 
to demand a categorical answer. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, Februarv IGth, 

1782, - - - - . '. - 12 

Capitulation of Fort St Philip. 
To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, February 18tii, 

1782, -..._.- 12 

Encloses the articles of capitulation for Fort St 

Robert R. Livingston to John Jay. Philadelphia, 
March 8th, 17S2, 13 

Military operations in the South. 

Robert R. Livingston to John Jay. Philadelphia, 

April 27th, 1782, - . _ . . 14 

General expectations from Spain. Conduct of 

Spain towards America. Spanish Claims on 

Great Britain and in America. — That Court can 
only secure the e.xclusive navigation of the Mis- 
sissippi by an alliance with the United States. — 
The sums advanced by Spain to the United States 
will be repaid. 

Robert R. Livingston to John Jay. Philadelphia, 
April 28th, 1782, - - _ _ _ 20 

State of the American military force. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, April 28th, 

1782, - - - - - - - 21 

Difficulty of obtaining supplies. — Letter to Dr Frank- 
lin, (St lldefonso, September 10th, 1781), request- 
ing supplies of money to meet the bills drawn on 
him; new financial regulations of Mr Morris; 
they will probably spare him the necessity of 
making further demands. — Receives advances 
from M. Cabarrus.— Dr Franklin permits Mr Jay 
to draw on him. — The Court prepares to go to the 
Escurial. — Note from Mr Jay to the Count de Flor- 
ida Blanca, informing him of his intention of re- 
turning to Madrid. — Reply of the Count de Flori- 
da Blanca to the preceding. — Complaint exhibited 
by the Count de Florida Blanca against Commo- 
dore Gillon, for retaining deserters from the Span- 
ish service on board his vessel. — Letter from Mr 
Jay to the Count de Florida Blanca, (Madrid, Oc- 
tober 9th, 1781), acknowledging the justice of his 
demand of the surrender of the deserters, and en- 
closing a copy of his letter to Commodore Gillon 
on the subject ; Mr Jay urges decisive measures 
relating to the negotiations with America. — Let- 
ter from Mr Jay to Commodore Gillon (Madrid, 
October 9th, 1781), advising the surrender of the 
deserters. — Receives a statement from Commo- 
dore Gillon, showing the charge against him to 
have been precipitate. — Representations of Col- 
onel Searle against Commodore Gillon disproved 
by the Commodore. — Continued silence of the 
Spanish Minister. — Letter from Mr Jay to the 
Count de Florida Blanca (Madrid, October 28th, 
1781), representing the inconveniences of an ordi- 
nance requiring the legality of prizes brought into 
the Spanish ports, to be tried in the Court of Ad- 
miralty, whence the commission of the captors 
issued". — Receives no answer. — J>etter from Mr 

Jay to tlie Count de Florida fiianca (Madrid, No- 
vember Gth, 17l^l), on tlie detention of the Ameri- 
can privateer Cicero, with her prize, at Bilboa, on 
account of her firing; into one of the Kino^'s cut- 
ters ; statement of tlie case, which renders the 
firing justifiable— Note from the Count de Florida 
Blanca to Mr Jay, declaring his statement to be 
incorrect, and insisting on satisfaction. — Letter 
from Mr Jay to the Count de Florida Blanca 
(Madrid, November 12th, 17dl), requesting a 
statement of the facts in the case of the Cicero, 
and the speedy release of the vessel. — Letter 
from tlie Count de Florida Blanca to Mr Jay, com- 
municating an order for the release of the "Cicero. 
— Card from Mr Jay on the subject. — Letter 
from Mr Jay to the Count de Florida Blanca 
(Madrid, November 10th, 17^1), urging the neces- 
sity of supplies. — Receives no answer. — Letter 
from Mr Jay to Dr Franklin (Madrid, Novem- 
ber 21st, 1781), requesting advances of money to 
meet the bills drawn on him.— Note from Mr Jay 
to the Count de Florida Blanca, requesting an in- 
terview. — Reply to the preceding note. — ifeceives 
no answer to a Memorial, which he transmits from 
Mr Harrison ; experiences the same neglect in 
other similar cases. — Interview with the" Count 
de Florida Blanca ; the Count excuses the delays 
on account of the sickness of M. del Campo, and 
declines entering on any business. — M. del Campo 
has been appointed to confer with Mr Jay three 
months without Mr Jays knowledge. — M. del 
Campo declines tlie conference, under pretence 
of ill health ; and afterwards on the plea of want 
of instruction.— Letter from Mr Jay to Dr Frank- 
lin (Madrid, December 31st, 1781), asking ad- 
vances of money. — Letter from Mr Jay to Dr 
Franklin (Madrid, January 11th, 1782), on the 
subject of advances.— Conference with the French 
Ambassador; Mr Jay complains of the delays of 
the Spanish Court ; recjuests aid from France ; 
declares his intention in case of protesting the 
bills, to assign as a reason, that he had placel^ too 
much confidence in his Catholic Majesty ; the 
Ambassador advises patience. — Letter from Dr 
Franklin to Mr Jay (Fassy, January 15th, 1782), 
enclosing a letter from the Count de Vergennes 
to Dr Franklin (Versailles, December .list."! 781), 
promising to advance a million to him, if he is 
authorised to dispose of the Dutch loan.— Letter 
from Mr Jay to Dr Franklin (Madrid, January 
3()th, 17~2), on the subject of advances; import- 
ant services of Dr Franklin.— Note from Mr Jay 
to M. del Campo (Madrid, February 1st, 1782), 
expressing his anxiety to enter upon the discus- 
sion of American affairs.— Replv of M. del Cam- 


po, regrfUing tliat the ill health of the Count 
de Florida Blanca has prevented the drawino- 
up of his instructions.— Letter from Dr Franklin 
to Mr Jay (Passy, January 19th, 1782), stating the 
difficulties of obtaining further supplies in France ; 
the Dutch loan principally anticipated ; advises 
Mr Jay to demand an immediate and explicit an- 
swer to his proposition of a treaty, and solicit his 
recall in case of further delay. — Letter from M. 
Cabarrus to Mr Jay (Madrid, February 10th, 
1782), requesting to know how he is to be reim- 
bursed for his advances. — Mr Jay replies verbally 
to M. Cabarrus, that he can give him no positive 
assurances of innnediate repayment, but has ex- 
pectations from Dr Franklin. — The French Am- 
bassador promises to represent to the Count de 
Florida Blanca, the critical situation of Mr Jay. — 
Letter from the Chevalier \le Bourgoing to Mr 
Jay, communicating the reply of the Spanish Min- 
ister to the representations of the French Ambas- 
sador.— Note from Mr Jay to the Chevalier de 
Bourgoing, returning- his thanks to the Ambassa- 
dor.— Letter from Mr Jay to Dr Franklin (Mad- 
rid, February 11th, 1782.) on the subject of ad- 
vances. — Mr Jay pays a visit to the Minister, who 
refers him to M. del Campo.— Evasions of M. del 
Campo. — Letter from M. Cabarrus to Mr Jay 
(Madrid, February 25th, 1782), transmitting ac- 
counts of his advances, and requesting repay- 
ment. — M. Cabarrus has a conference with the 
Minister, who refuses anj^ new advances, and de- 
clares that the King is dissatisfied, that he has re- 
ceived no returns from A merica.for his good offices. 
— Conference between Mr Jay and the French 
Ambassador. — Letter from Mr Jay to Dr Franklin 
(Madrid, March 1st, 1782), on the subject of ad- 
vances. — Letter from Mr Jay to the Count de 
Florida Blanca (Madrid, March 2d, 1782), ex- 
plaining the causes which have prevented re- 
turns on the part of the United States to tlie 
King's good offices ', declares himself entirely 
without resources. — Note from Mr Jay to M. del 
Campo, enclosing the preceding letter. — Receives 
no answer to the above communications. — Mr Jay 
has an interview with the Minister, who laments 
the difficulty of raising money, but promises aid ; 
conversation on the j>roposed treaty ; the Minis- 
ter promises to send M. Gardoqui to America. — 
Extract from the Madrid Gazette, giving an ac- 
count of the capture of the Fort St Joseph by Span- 
ish troops, who take possession of the country in 
the name of his Catholic Majesty. — The bills drawn 
on Mr Jay are presented. — Letter of Mr Jay to the 
Count de Florida Blanca (Madrid, March 14th, 
1762), informing him that the bills have been pre- 


sented, and requesting to know if lie will afford any 
aid. — Note from Mr Jay to tlie French Ambassa- 
dor, coniinunicatincr the precedinjr letter. — Letter 
from the Count de Montmorin to Mr Jay, stating 
that the Count de Florida Blanca consents to be- 
come security for fifty thousand dollars, on condi- 
tion M. Cabarrus remains in the same disposition. 
— M. Cabarrus refuses to abide by his former offer. 
— Mr Jay protests the bills. — Conversation with 
the French Ambassador on the subject. — Advices 
that the Parliament have counselled the cessation 
of otfensive measures in America. — Letter from 
Dr Franklin to Mr Jay (Passy, March Kith, 17C2). 
offering to meet the bills ; thinks it best to pay oft" 
the whole sum due to Spain. — Letter from Mr Jay 
to Dr Franklin (Madrid, March li)th, 176'2), ac- 
knowledging the supplies ; proposals of a peace 
separate from France ought not to be listened to ; 
approves of the plan of repaying Spain her ad- 
vances — M. Cabarrus wishes a reconciliation. — 
Letter from Mr Jay to M Cabarrus (^Lidrid, April 
'M, 176"i). in reply to his chims for gratitude ; his 
conduct requires an apology. — }>l. Cabarrus was 
the scape-goat of the Minister. — Messrs Drouilhet 
employed as American bankers. — Mr Jay does not 
wait on the Minister while the Court is at Mad- 
rid. — Receives an invitation to appear on Satur- 
days at the Minister's table. — No advantage to be 
gained by hastening a treaty v/itii Spain. — Spain 
will be less easily satisfied than France in the arti- 
cles of peace. — Mr Jay requests the French Am- 
bassador to inquire if the card of invitation was 
intended for him. — The Minister declares it to 
have been left by mistake, but would be happy to 
see Mr Jay as a private gentleman. — Mr Jay 
doubts the truth of this declaration — Letter from 
Mr Jay to the French Ambassador (Madrid, April 
*27th. 1782), stating his objections to appearing as 
a private gentleman at the Spanish Minister's 

Robert R. Livingston to John Jav. Philadelphia, 

May 9th, 1782, - -" - . - - 105 

General Carleton's attempts at a reconciliation. — 
Impoilance of securing Spain. 
To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, May i Itli, 

17S2, - - - - - ■- - 110 

Is summoned to Paris by Dr Franklin. 
Robert R. Livingston to John Jay. I^hiladelphia. 
June 2od, I7b2, - -' - - - 1 11 

Conduct of Spain in tlie West Indies. — The people 
will listen 'o n-i terms of accommodation. 
V(»!„ VIIl, B 



To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, June 25th, 1782, 113 

Mr Jay arrives at Paris.— Visit to the Count de 
Vergennes — Dr Franklin. — Siege of Gibraltar. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, June 28th, 1782, 1 1 5 

Services of the Marquis de Lafayette.— Intentions 
of the British Ministry.— Inexpediency of any ne- 
gotiations in America. 

Robert R. Livingston to John Jay. Philadelphia, 

July Gth, 1782, - -' - - - 117 

Complains of the sending of British prisoners into 
the United States by Spain.— Remits Mr Jay's 

Robert R. Livingston to John Jay. Philadelphia, 
September 12th, 1782, _ _ _ - 

Complains of want of information from American 
Ministers in Europe. — Symptoms of a change in 
the British conciliatory policy.— Importance of se- 
curing a direct trade with the West Indies. — This 
is also for the interest of the European holders of 
the islands. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, Sept. 18th, 1782, 125 

France wishes to postpone the acknowledgment of 
independence by England until the general peace, 
in order to preserve her influence over America. , 

— France and Spain will dispute the western 
boundary.— Dr Franklin's viev/s on the French 

Robert R. Livingston to John Jay. Philadelphia, 

September 18th, 1782, - - - - 127 

Enclosing certain resolutions of Congress. — The 
letters of the Commissioners are inspected on tlie 

To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, Sept. 2Sth, 1782, 128 

Mr Oswald receives a new commission, empower- 
ing him to treat with the thirteen United States of 

To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, Oct. 13th, 1782, 128 

Tilt' French Court advised treating with Mr Os- 
wald under his former commission. — Mr Jay re- 
fused. — The Count d'Aranda wishes to treat with 
Mr Jay without exchanging powers, and the 
French Court advises it.— Mr Jay declines. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, Nov. 17th, 1782, 129 

England appears disposed to evade the acknowledg- 
ment of independence. — Visit from Sir William 
Jones, who desires letters of recommendation for 
America.— Probable objects of his proposed visit. 
— Note from the Count de Vergennes to Ur Frank- 
lin, on Mr Oswald's powers. — Conference be- 
tween the Count de Vergennes and Messrs 

Franklin and Jay ; Mr Jay objects to treating with 
Mr Oswald, under a commission styling the Unit- 
ed States Colonies ; opinion of the Court assented 
to by Dt Franklin, that that was no ground of ob- 
jection. — Conversation on the same subject be- 
tween Dr Franklin and Mr Jay.— Extracts from 
the instructions to Sir Guy Carleton, transmitted 
by Lord Shclhurne to Dr Franklin. — Conversa- 
tion with Mr Oswald on tliis subject. — Form of a 
commission to Mr Oswald jjroposed by Mr Jay, 
recognising the colonies as independent States. — 
Further conversation with the Count de Ver- 
gennes on the same subject. — Extract of a letter 
from Mr Townshend to Mr Oswald (Whitehall, 
September 1st, 1782), declaring that the negotia- 
tions were intended to be carried on in Europe, 
and on the basis of unconditional independence. — 
Mr Jay, in conversation with Mr Oswald, points 
out the inconsistency of this with General Carle- 
ton's instructions, and attributes it to French influ- 
ence ; it is for the interest of England to treat with 
America as an independent State. — Letter from 
Mr Jay to Mr Oswald, stating his objections to his 
commission. — Dr Franklin objects to the letter. — 
Letter from Mr Jay to the Count dAranda (Pa- 
ris, June 25th, 17ir2), acquainting him with his 
readiness to enter upon the negotiations. — Letter 
from Count d'Aranda to Mr Jay (Paris, June 27th, 
1762), expressing a wish to see him. — Conversa- 
tion between Mr Jay and Count d'Aranda on the 
western boundary. — The Count sends Mr Jay his 
proposed boundary line. — Conversation with M. 
Rayneval, in which Mr Jay decliiles treating with 
the Count d'Aranda, without exchanging powers. 
— Mr Jay assures the Count d'Aranda that the 
Mississippi is the ultimatum of America; objec- 
tions of the Count. — Letter from M. Rayneval to 
Mr Jay (Versailles, September 4th, 17r2), request- 
ing a visit from him. — Letter from M. Rayneval 
to Mr Jay (Versailles, September (ith, 17t2), trans- 
mitting the following Memorial. — Memorial of M. 
Rayneval on the right of the United States to the 
navigation of tlie Mississippi. — Reflections of Mr 
Jay on this Memorial. — Letter from Mr Jay to the 
Count d'Aranda (Paris, September 10th, 17d2), 
stating that he is not empowered to cede any 
countries belonging to the United States, but is 
ready to negotiate, with a Minister vested with 
equal powers, a treaty of amity and commerce. — 
Reply of the Count "d'Aranda, declaring himself 
vested with ample powers to treat. — Visit of the 
Count d'Aranda to Versailles. — M. Rayneval goes 
to England. — Probable objects of hie visit. — Con- 
versation with Mr Vaughan on the subject of M. 
Rayneval's visit. — Mr Jay represents the expe- 




diency of treating with America on an equal foot- 
ing ; the inexpediency of attempting to exclude 
the Americans from the fisheries ; and of restrict- 
ing the western boundary aiid the navigation of 
the Mississippi. — Mr Vaughan goes to England 
to communicate these views to Lord Shelburne. 
— Proposed draft of a letter to the Count de Ver- 
gennes, containing objections to Mr Oswald's 
commission ; it does not designate the United 
States by their proper title ; it empowers him to 
treat with bodies not having authority to treat by 
the American constitution ; it calls in question 
the independence of the United States ; prece- 
dents from acts of Congress ; America has treated 
with other powers as an independent State ; pre- 
cedents from other States under similar circum- 
stances ; detail of the history of the early negotia- 
tions of the United Provinces v/ith Spain, show- 
ing that they treated with other powers on an 
equal footing, and refused to negotiate with Spain 
except in like manner ; the independence exists 
in fact, and not as a grant from Great Britain. — 
Conversation between Mr Jay, the Count d'Aran- 
da, and the Marquis de Lafayette, on the proprie- 
ty of Spain's treating with America on an equal 
footing. — The Count de Vergennes states the ob- 
ject of M. Rayneval's visit to England to be, 
to judge of the real views of the English Minis- 
try. — The claims of Spain to countries east of the 
Mississippi are of recent origin. — Conversation 
with M. Rayneval on this subject. — Mr Oswald 
receives a new commission, under which articles 
are agreed on. — Conversation between Messrs Jay 
and Franklin and M. Rayneval on the boundaries 
and fisheries. — The policy of the Frencli Court 
is directed to prevent a cordial reconciliation be- 
tween America and England, and thus to keep 
the United States dependent on France. 

Observations of the Editor on the above letter, - 208 

Pointing out the misapprehensions of Mr Jay as to 
the objects of M. Piayneval's visit to England. 

Robert R. Livingston to John Jay. Philadelphia, 

November 23d, 1782, - - - - 212 

Complains of want of information from the Minis- 
ters in Europe. — English Commissioners will meet 
with no success in America. — Mr Barlow's poem. 
— Mr Boudinot elected President of Congress. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, Dec. 12th, 1782, 214 

Tlie negotiations with Spain are not begun. — Una- 
nimity of the Commissioners on all points in the 
preliminaries. — Mr Adams's services relative to 
the eastern boundary. — Dr Franklin's services on 
the subject of the tories. 



Robert R. Livingston lo .John .Jay. l-*liiladelpirui, 

January 4tli, 1783, - -' - - - 215 

Policy of France towards America erroneously sus- 
pected. — Reasons ibr this belief. — Marbois's letter 
on the fisheries. — Tlie Spanish system of delay 
favorable to America by putting off negotiations 
till a more advantageous time for treating. 

To Robert R. Livina^ston. Paris, April 7th, 1783, 222 

The Spanish Ambassador informs him, that he will 
be honorably received at Madrid. — Services of M. 
de Lafayette. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, April 1 1th, 1783, 223 

Change in the British Ministry. — Russia and Aus- 
tria are invited to send mediatorial plenipotentia- 
ries to assist at the definitive treatie;?. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, April 22c], 1783, 224 

Spain and England may form a league to secure 
their American possessions against the United 
States. — Meaning of the mutual guarantee be- 
tween Spain and the United States, of their pos- 

To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, May 30th, 1783, 226 

Proposes Mr Adams as the most suitable Minister to 
Great Britain. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, June 1st, 1783, 227 

Progress of the negotiations. — Settlement of his ac- 

To Robert R.Livingston. Passy, July 20th, 1783, 229 

Reasons for resigning liis connnir.sion to the Span- 
ish Court. 

To the President of Congress. New York, July 
25th, 1784, ------ 230 

Explains the manner in which some bills drawn on 
him were twice paid. — British and American rati- 
fications of the treaty of peace exchanged. 


To the President of Congress. Paris, lOih, 

1780, - - " - - - - - 23'J 

Forwarding certain papers. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, August 24lh, 

1780, - - 240 

Forwarding letters of Mr Adams, who is absent in 
the Low Countries. 



To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Sep- 
tember 20tb, 1780, - - - - - 241 

Receives despatches from Congress by Mr Searle, 
and sets off in consequence for the Lnw Coun- 
tries. — Suspicions entertained in Holland, that 
the United States have granted exclusive privi- 
leges in commerce to France. 

Commission to Francis Dana, referred to in the 
preceding letter, - - - - - 243 

Empowering him to obtain a loan in Holland, in case 
Mr Adams should be prevented from attending to 

To Jonathan Jackson. Amsterdam, November 

11th, 17S0, ------ 244 

Capture and confinement of Mr Laurens. — Intem- 
perate Memorial of Sir J. Yorke on the discovery 
of a plan of a treaty, drawn up by Mr W. Lee 
and the Ren-encv of Amsterdam. — Naval forces of 

Instructions to Francis Dana, as Minister Plenipo- 
tentiary to the Court of St Petersburg. In Con- 
gress, December 19th, 1780, _ _ - 247 

To the Committee of Foreign 7\fFairs. Paris, Feb- 
ruary 16th, 1781, - - - - - 252 

Mr Adams has not obtained a loan in Holland. — 
Resolutions of Congress relative to the Russian 

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

1781, - - " - - - - - 254 

Dr Franklin advises the communication of his com- 
mission to the Count de Vergennes, and to the 
Russian Court. — Objections to tlie latter part of 
his advice. — No provision is made for any secre- 
tary or clerk to assist him. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, March 28th, 

ITRl, - - ^ - - - - - 258 

Dr Franklin coincides in his objections to connuuni- 
cating his mission to Russia. — Desires to be kept 
Informed of the state of affairs in America. 

To the Count de Vergennes. Paris, March 31st, 

1781, - -^ - :. ,-. -, - 259 

Communicating the objects of iiis mission to St Pe- 
tersburg. — Intends to appear only as a private 

To the President of Congress. Paris, March 31st, 

1781, - - ' - - - - -261 

Manner of communicating his mission to tlie Count 
de V'ertreimes. 



Count de \ ergennes to Francis Dana. Versailles, 
April 1st, 1761, - - - - - 2G3 

Requests an interview with him n-lative to his mis- 

To the Count de Vergennes. Paris, April 2d, 17S1, 2G3 

Mr Dana will wait on tlie Count before setting out 
for Russia. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, April 2d, 

1781, - - 264 

Delayed by the proposed interview witli tiie Count 
de Vergennes. — Impolicy of making the commu- 
nication. — Is determined to proceed to Holland 
and consult with Mr Adams at all events. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, April 4th, 

1781, ---_-.. 265 

Conference with the Count de Vergennes on the 
subject of his mission to Russia — The Count 
advises him to communicate his intention to the 
Russian iNIinister at the Hague. 

To B. Franklin. Paris, April 6th, 1781, - - 268 

Requests Dr Franklin's opinion, in writing, of the 
sentiments of the Count de Vern-ennes, and of his 
own opinion on the mission. — Intends to consult 
Mr Adams on the subject. 

B. Franklin to Francis Dana. Passv, April 7th, 

1781, - - - - 1 - - 270 

Thinks the Count de Vergennes made no objection 
to his going. — Dr Franklin tliinks it expedient for 
him to go. 

To John Adams. Leyden, April 18th, 1781, - 272 

Requesting his opinion as to the character under 
which he should go to Russia, and as to the pro- 
priety of communicating with the Prince Gallit- 
zin on the subject. 

John Adams to Francis Dana. Levden, April 18th, 

1781, - - - - ' - - - 273 

Advises him to proceed to Russia, without assuming 
an}- distinction of character, and without commu- 
nicating his intention to tiie Prince Gallitzin or 
the Russian Court. — The resolutions of Congress 
on neutral rights ought to be communicated. — 
The United Slates should be represented in all 
countries of Europe. 

To Edmund Jennings. Amsterdam, April 2Gth, 

1781, 277 

Requesting him to join him on his mission. 

Edmund Jennings to Francis Dana. Brussels, 

3d, 1781, . - - . - 278 

Accepts of the invitation to join him. 




To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, May 

13th, ITS], -_.--_ 278 

Corrects some mistakes in Dr Franklin's account of 
the conference vvitli tlie Count de Vergennes. — 
Objections to consulting the Russian Ambassador 
at the Hague. — Mr .Jennings. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, May 

20th, 1781, - ' - - - - - 281 

Transmitting certain papers. 

To the President of Congress. Berlin, July 28th., 

1781, - - - ' - - - - 282 

Delay on account of Mr Jennings, who finally de- 
clines accompanying hirn on his route. — Policy 
of the European powers. — Minutes of the Memo- 
rial of the French Ambassador to Count Oster- 
mann, relative to the violations of neutrality bj' the 
English. — It is important to discover the real sen- 
timents of Prussia toward America. — Expects no 
support from the French Minister at St Peters- 
burg, it being the interest of France not to render 
America less dependent by gaining new friends. 

To the Marquis de Verac, French Minister at St 

Petersburg. St Petersburg, Aug. 30th, 1781, 289 

Apprising the Minister of his arrival. 

The I\Iarquis de Verac to Francis Dana. Thurs- 
day, August oOtli, 1781, - - - . 290 

Expresses his satisfaction on Mr Dana's arrival. 

To the Marquis de V^erac, Ambassador Irom France. 

St Petersburg, September 1st, 1781, - - 290 

Acquainting him with his commission, and his in- 
structions to communicate with the French Min- 
ister at the Russian Court. 

The Marquis de Verac to Francis Dana. St Pe- 
tersburg, September 2d, 1781, - - - 291 

The Court of Russia has maintained a strict neutral- 
ity between the belligerent povi'ers. and may be 
unwilling to receive an American Minister, as it 
would give rise to complaints of favor for the 
American cause. — Plan of' a mediatorial Congress 
at which the United States will be represented. 

To the Marquis de Verac. St .Petei'sl)uig, Sep- 
tember 4 th, 1781, - - - - - 294 

Considerations on the policy pursued by Russia to- 
wards the belligerents. — 'Phe admission of an 
American Minister to the proposed mediatorial 
Congress would be an acknowledgment of inde- 
pendence. — The })resent is a favorable oj)portuni- 
ty for establishing freedom of commerce and navi- 
gation for all nations. — Reasons which render it 
proper to assume his public character. 



The Marquis de \ erac to Francis Dana. St Pe- 
tersburg, September 12th, 1781, - - - 300 

The American Minister at tlie proposed Congress is 
intended to treat only with England, and is not 
therefore to be admitted as the re])resentative of an 
independent power, unless after consent of Eng- 
land. — Objections to Mr Dana's assumption of his 
public character. 

To tlie Alarquis de Verac. St Petersburg, Sep- 
tember 13lh, 1781, ----- 304 

Thanking him for his information and advice. 

To the President of Congress. St Petersburg, 

September loth, 1781, ' - - - - 30') 

Commerce of the southern shore of the Baltic. — The 
objections of the French Ambassador to his as- 
sumption of a public character are unsatisfactory. 
— Reasons drawn from the terms of the proposition 
of mediation, prove that the mediators intended to 
treat America as independent. — The mediators 
expected tliis proposition would be rejected by 
England, and would thus leave them to treat more 
decidedly with the United States.— If the Em- 
press will not receive a Minister from America it 
had better be known at once. 
To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, October 

1st, 1781, ------- 312 

Article in the project of a treaty proposed by France 
to Russia, stipulating, that French goods ex- 
changed in Russia for the ])roductions of the 
country shall be entitled to a drawback. — Reason 
given for this proposition, that otherwise France 
could obtain the same articles in America, and 
create a market for French manufactures there. 

To the President of Congress. St Petersburg, 

October 15th, 1781, - - - - ^ 314 

Receives a copy of the propositions of mediation and 
of the French answer. — Confirmed by these docu- 
ments in his former opinion, that the United 
States were to be treated as independent. — Has 
been informed, that one of the objects of the armed 
neutrality was a general pacification on the basis 
of American independence. — This plan was ob- 
structed by the delays of Holland.— Count Fanin. 
— Expectations from the neutral confederation. — 
The plan of a general pacification founded on a 
desire to preserve the balance of power by sea. 

Robert R. Livingston to Francis Dana. Philadel- 
phia, October 22d, 1781, - - - - 310 
Announcing the appointment of a Secretary of 
Foreign Affairs. — Successes in the south. — En- 
voi,. viiT. c 


closes resolutions of Congress relative to the pro- 
positions of the Empress of Russia, respecting 
the rights of neutrals. 

To William EUery. St Petersburg, January 17th, 

1782, 323 

Different offers of mediation by Russia. — Effect of 
the American revolution on the policy of the Eu- 
ropean powers. — Jealousy of American commerce 

Robert R. Livingston to Francis Dana. Philadel- 
phia, March 2cl, 1782, - - - - 325 

The cause of the United States may be served by 
representations of their actual condition. — Milita- 
ry operations in America. — Financial concerns. — 
Ordinance relating to captures. — Requests fre- 
quent communications. 

To Robert R. Livingston, Secretary of Foreign 

Affairs. St Petersburg, March 5th, 1782, - 330 

Congratulations on his appointment. — The capture 
of Lord Cornwallis has satisfied Europe, that Eng- 
land cannot succeed in recovering the United 
States. — The Empress's offer of mediation will pre- 
vent her from favoring the United States. — Anoth- 
er campaign must be expected. — State of the neu- 
tral confederation. 

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, March 

30ih, 1782, 336 

The depressed condition of England may lead her to 
accept the mediation, to which the French and 
Spanish Courts will accede, on condition of the 
presence of the Ministers of the United States. — 
Schemes of Austria and Russia for extending 
their commerce on the Black Sea. — These plans 
may injure the American cause by directing the 
attention of Russia to a different quarter. — Ac- 
count of Russian commerce. 

To John Adams. St Petersburg, April 23d, 1782, 341 

Congratulates him on his success in Holland. — Favo- 
rable opportunity for the maritime powers to secure 
the commerce with America. — Delays on their 
part may produce a separate pacification between 
Britain and the United States. 

Robert R. Livingston to Francis Dana. Philadel- 
phia, May 10th, 1782, - - - - 345 

Reasons which should prevent him from assuming a 
public character. — Absurdity of supposing, that 
France would go to war for the independence of 
America, ajid then oppose the recognition of it. — 
Congress still adhere to their instructions on this 
point. — Desires him to write frequently. — State of 
the military in America. — Sir Guy Carleton euc- 

ceeds General Clinton. — Atteini)ts of England to 
gain over America to a reconciliation entirely 
without success. 

Robert R. Livingston to Francis Dana. Philadel- 
phia, May 22d, 1782, - - - - 350 

The change of administration in England has produ- 
ced no change of feeling in America. — Congress 
refuses apassport to General Carleton's Secretary. 

Robert R. Livingston to Francis Dana. Pliiladcl- 
phia, May 29th, 1782, - - - - 352 

Transmitting letters of earlier date. — Ten thousand 
British prisoners in America, which the Englisii 
refuse to ransom. — The Germans will be sold for 
three years. 

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, June 

28th, 1782, -^ 352 

The Marquis de Verac advises against disclosing his 
character, notwithstanding the changes in the 
British Ministry. — Reflections drawn up by Mr 
Dana without signature, and communicated indi- 
rectly to the Russian Cabinet, showing that the 
commerce of Russia will not suffer by the inde- 
pendence of America. — Difliculties of transmis- 
sion prevent frequent communications. 

To Robert R, Livingston. St Petersburg, August 

30th, 1782, ------ 362 

The only safe channel of communication with him is 
through Holland. — The Russian Court is t'ully 
convinced, that the independence of the United 
States is permanently established. 

To Robert R. Livingston, St Petersburg, Septem- 
ber 5th, 1782, - 364 

The Empress is prevented, by her desire of acting as 
mediator, from taking any decisive measures in 
favor of the United Stales. The belligerent pow- 
ers were never intended to be parties to the marine 
convention. — Custom at the Russian Court for a 
power entering into a treaty with Russia to pay six 
thousand rubles to each of the four Ministers. — 
Portugal accedes to the armed neutrality. — Rank of 
diplomatic agents. 

Robert R. Livingston to Francis Dana. Philadel- 
phia, September 18th, 1782, - . _ 309 

Complains of want of information as to his proceed- 
ings. — Military operations in America. — Changes 
of measures in conseciiience of the changes of 
administrations in England. 

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, Septem- 
ber 23d, 1782, ------ 371 

Russia will not make any advances towards Amer- 
ica. — The Russian Cabinet. 


To Robert R. Livin2;ston. St Petersburg, Septem- 
ber 29th, 1782, ^- ----- 373 

Russian commerce. — Apprehensions in Russia, that 
the United States may interfere with that country, 
])articularly in the articles of hemp and iron. — 
Considerations showing the groundlessness of 
tliese fears. 

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, Octo- 
ber 14th, 1782, - - - - "- - 379 

Projects of Russia on Turkey. — Anglican character 
of the Russian Cabinet. 

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, Novem- 
ber 1st, 1782, ------ 382 

Project for supplying Russia with West India goods 
by American vessels. 

Robert R. Livingston to Francis Dana. Philadel- 
phia, November 7th, 1782, - - - - 384 

Encloses resolutions of Congress, directing the for- 
eign Ministers of the United States to transmit 
frequent communications. — Also resolutions, de- 
claring the intention of Congress not to conclude 
a peace without their allies. — State of affairs in 
the United States. — Mr Boudinot elected Presi- 
dent of Congress. — Provisions for the payment of 
the salaries of the Ministers. 

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, Novem- 
ber 18th, 1782, ------ 387 

The British Commissioner having received powers 
to treat with those of the United States, Mr Dana 
proposes to make known his public character. — 
The Marquis de Verac opposes this intention. — 
Advantages of the measure. — Sums to be paid to 
the Russian Ministers in case of a treaty. 

Robert R. Livingston to Francis Dana. Phila- 
delphia, December 17th, 1782, - - - 391 

Military operations of the preceding campaign. — 
General Carleton's attempts at negotiation. — 
Spirit of the people. — Flourishing State of com- 
merce. — State of the circulating medium. — Suc- 
cess of tlie bank. — Condition of the finances. — 
Formation of the State governments. — General 
tranquillity. — Insurrection in Massachusetts rep- 
resented as the revolt of New England. — Charac- 
ter of Congress. — Transmits the constitutions. 

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, Decem- 
ber 21st, 1782, - - - - - - 398 

Opportunities on which the communications of hiy 
powers seemed proper. — Circumstances whicli 
render it expedient. 


To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, Ductin- 

ber 27th, 17S2, "^ - - - " - - 402 

Intends to return to America as soon as a commer- 
cial treaty with Russia shall be completed. — Rea- 
sciis tor this measure. 

To Robert R. Livintrston. St Petersburg, Decem- 
ber oOih, 1782, ------ 404 

Advantajres of postponing the conclusion of a com- 
mercial treaty with Russia. 

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, January 

3d, 17S3, ------- 40G 

Treaty between Denmark and Russia on the princi- 
ples of the Marine Convention. — The IVIarine 
Convention itself is limited to the duration of the 
present war. 

To the Commissioners of the United States at Paris. 

St Petersburg, January 14th, 1783, - - 40b 

Congratulations on the conclusion of the prelimi- 
nary treaty. — The French Ambassador thinks his 
admission would be delayed, if not refused. 

To John Adams. St Petersburg, Jan. 15th, 1783, 40<J 

Is prevented by liis instructions from communi- 
cating his mission. — The attention of Russia is 
turned chiefly to the east. 

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, January 
15th, 1783, '- - - - ^ - - 411 

Dela^-s the communication of his mission in com- 
pliance with the opinion of the French Ambassa- 
dor. — State of affairs between Russia and Turkey. 

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, January 

31st, 1783, - - - - - - 413 

Dr Franklin promises to advance the money neces- 
sary to conclude the treaty with Russia. — Intends 
to return to America. 

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, Febru- 
ary 10th, 1783, - - - - - - 414 

High standing of America in Europe. — A direct in- 
tercourse between the West Indies and the Unit- 
ed States ought to be secured. — Plan of Portugal 
to establish factories in America. 

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, Febru- 
ary 2oth, 1783, - - - - - 417 

The French Ambassador advises him not to com- 
municate his mission until the fonnal announce- 
ment of the signing of the prelimin.-'ries by the 
British Minister. — Intends to draw on Dr Frank- 
lin for the expenses of the treaty. 

3Ir Dana's Conmiunication of his ^lission to Count 

Ostermann. St Petersburg, March 7tl), 1783, 410 


To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, March 
7th, 1783, ,.-----. 420 

Communicates his mission without the advice of the 
French Ambassador, on assurances of reception 
from the Russian Cabinet. 

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, March 

12th, 1783, 420 

Conversation with one of the Russian Cabinet, who 
declares there will be no impediment to his re- 

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, March 
21st, 1783, 422 

Importance of a direct intercourse with the West 
Indies.-— Intends to return to the United States. — 
Insufficiency of the appointment for a Minister at 
the Russian Court. 

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, April 

17th, 1783, ----__ 424 

Has yet received no answer to his communication 
of his mission. — Intends to renew his application 
for an audience. 

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, April 
22cl, 1783, - - - - _ ' - 427 

Enclosing- a copy of his second letter to Count Os- 
termann, requesting to know the pleasure of the 
Empress on the subject of his mission. — Is in- 
formed that an objection will be made to his let- 
ter of credence, on the ground, that it bears date 
prior to the acknowledgment of the independence 
of the United States by Great Britain. — Reasons 
which should prevent Congress from granting 
new letters on that account. 

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, April 
25th, 1783, 430 

Interview with Count Ostermann, who declares that 
the Empress could not receive a Minister from 
the United States till the conclusion of the defini- 
tive treaty between the belligerents ; that she 
could not then receive one whose letter of cre- 
dence was dated prior to the acknowledgment of 
their independence l)y Great Britain, nor prior to 
her own acknowledgment of it, nor previous to 
the reception of an American Minister by Great 
Britain. — The Count declines delivering these 
objections in writing. — Mr Dana replies to these 
objections. — Is advised to send a memorial to the 
Vice Chancellor, showing the fallacy of his objec- 
tions to Mr Dana's reception. 

Robert R. Livingston to Francis Dana. Phila- 
(ielj)hia, May 1st, 1783, ----- 436 

Enclosing resolutions recalling Mr Dana. Mr 


Dana has no power to sign a coniniercial treaty, 
and tliere can be no advantage in joining the Ma 
riiie Convention. 


To Count Ostcrmann. StPetersburii, May 8th, 17S3, 438 

Enclosing a Memorial to Count Usterniann, contain- 
ing the objections of the Count to the reception 
of an American Minister, with Mr Dana's replies. 

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, May 

9tli, 1783, 449 

Transmitting his Memorial to Count Ostermann. 

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, May 

9th, 1783, 449 

Reasons for presenting his Memorial as containing 
only his private sentmients. — Intention of return- 
ing. — Effect of the acceptance of the mediation of 
Russia by the belligerent powers on the present 
policy of the Empress. 

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, INIay 
13th, 1783, - 451 

Absurdity of the objections on the part of Russia, 
to the immediate reception of an American Min- 
ister. — The other neutral powers are desirous of 
forming connexions with the United States. — In 
case no answer is returned, intends leaving Pe- 
tersburg for Stockholm. 

To John Adams. St Petersburg, May 15th, 1783, 453 

Objections to his reception. — Congress ou^ht not to 
consent to issue new letters of credence of later date. 

Robert R. Livingston to Francis Dana. Philadel- 
phia, May 27th, 1783, _ - _ - 455 

Transmitting resolutions of Congress, directing that 
the commercial treaty with Russia be limited to 
fifteen years, and be subject to the approbation of 
Congress. — Requesting information on the condi- 
tion of Russia. 

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, May 
30th, 1783, 457 

Prepares another letter to the Vice Chancellor, de- 
siring an answer to his Memorial. — A promise of 
an answer prevents the sending of this letter. — In 
case his reception is not determined on. intends 
to leave the country. — Prospect of a war between 
Russia and Turkey. — Russia has become mistress 
of the Black Sea. — Rumored project of the House 
of Bourbon to render the Mediterranean a privi- 
leged sea by a confederation of the powers occu- 
pying its shores. 

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, June 

6th, 1783, -^ 459 

Answer to his Memorial not given as promised. — 

The delay is probably caused by the expectation 
of the conclusion of the definitive treaty. 

To Robert R. Livin2;ston. St Petersburg, June 

17th, 17S3, -^ 460 

Has an audience of Count Ostermann, who explains 
away his former objections — Written answer of 
the Count, stating that Mr Dana shall be received 
when the definitive treaties are concluded. — An- 
swer of Mr Dana to the note of Count Oster- 
mann. — Reasons for not transmitting more full 
information relative to Russia. 

Mr Dana's plan of a Commercial Treaty between 

Russia and tb.e United States, _ . - 406 

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, June 

24tb, 1783, ------ 495 

Prospect of a war between Russia and the Porte. — 
American vessels in Russian ports. 

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, July 

1st, 1783, _^ ----- 497 

Visit of the Empress to the King of Sweden.— 
Forces of the two powers on their mutual boun- 
dary. — Prospect of a war with Turkey, and proba- 
ble consequences. — Changes of the corps diplo- 
viatiquc at the Court of St Petersburg. 

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, July 8th, 

1783, ------." "^^-^ 

Alliance, offensive and defensive, of Austria and 
Russia against Turkey.— Probable policy of the 
other powers. 

To Robert R. I^ivingston. St Petersburg, July 

27tli, 1783, - " - - - - - tm 

Having received the resolutions of Congress, per- 
mitting his return, he will not wait for an audi- 
ence. — Conceives his instructions direct him to 
conclude a commercial treaty with Russia. 

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, August 

Sth, 1783, ------ 504 

Informs Count Ostermann of his intention to re- 

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, August 

17th, 1783, ■• - - - -. .- -^'Or) 

Encloses his letter to Count Ostermann, stating ill 
health to be the cause of his departure.— Inter- 
view with Count Ostermann relative to his re- 
turn . 

To the President of Congress. Cambridge, De- 
cember 17tli, 1783, - - - - - r.lO 

Announcin<r his return. 












Philadelphia, December 13th, 1781. 
Dear Sir, 
My last letter of the 28tli of November, sent by the INIar- 
quis de Lafayette, must for the most part have been unin- 
telligible to you, owing to an unfortunate mistake of Mr 
Thompson, who delivered me a cypher sent by Mr Palfrey, 
which you never received, instead of that sent by Major 
Franks. The duplicate enclosed is in the last, so that 
you will no longer be at a loss for my meaning. Since 
the date of that letter the enemy have thought it prudent 
to abandon Wilmington, in North Carolina. This port was 
extremely important to them, not only as it checked the 
trade of that State, but as it directly communicated with 
the disaffected counties. For it must be confessed, that 
though in other parts of the continent they had only well 


wishers, In Nortli Carolina they had active partisans. 
These they have left to the mercy of their country, and 
abandoned as disgracefully as the capitulation of York did 
those of Virginia. It is not improbable, that when Gen- 
eral St Clair joins the southern army, the enemy will evac- 
uate Savannah, as they are at present extremely weak 
there ; and unless they reinforce from New York, may be 
attacked with a prospect of success. 

Your letter of the 20th of September has been received 
and read in Congress. They have not been pleased to 
direct any particular answer thereto, so that you are to 
consider it as their wish, that you execute the commission 
with which thicy have intrusted you. 

You will see tiiat I neglect no opportunity of writing. 
I fl:itter myself that you will be equally attentive to let us 
hear from you. It is not without some degree of pain, that 
we receive our earliest intelligence frequently from the Min- 
ister of Franco. I know you may retort upon us with too 
much justice, but I hope to give you less reason to do so in 
future. I send a packet of newspapers with this. I sent 
another sometime ago. 1 hope they may reach you. In 
one of them you will find an ordinance of Congress, which 
comprizes all their resolutions with respect to captures ; 
and forfeits all British goods, which have not been taken, 
as prizes. Perh:q)s this may make some arrangements 
with the Court of Spain necessary ; that is, if any prize 
goods are re-shipped from thence to America. 

1 am, my Dear Sir, with the greatest esteem and re- 




Pliiladelphia. February 2d. 1782. 

Dear Sir, 
Having heard that a vessel is soon to go to Cadiz from 
Baltimore, I embrace the opportunity to send a quadriipii- 
caie of my last letter, arid to add thereto the little informa- 
tion which this inactive season affords. Nothing passes 
here between the armies ; they are cantoned at .1 distance 
from each other. The enemy is secure from attack by 
the nature of their situation ; and we by our numbers, our 
success, and the apprehensions of Sir Henry. We turn 
our faces therefore to the south, and expect from the enter- 
prize of General Greene an activity, which the season will 
not admit of here. 

I had a letter from hitn of the 13th of December, which 
contains the latest advices. His camp is at Round O. 
He writes in high spirits, and assures me he is preparing 
for the siege of Charleston, which he is not without hopes 
of carrying even before any foreign assistance can arrive. 
I must confess for my own part, notwithstanding the natu- 
ral coolness of General Greene, that I believe he is much 
too sanguine on this occasion ; for I have no conception 
that his means are adequate to so important an object, 
more especially as troops have since the date of his letter 
sailed from New York, as I suppose for Charleston. 

The governments of Georgia and Carolina are again 
established, and their legislatures are now sitting. The 
detestation of the people for the British can hardly be con- 
ceived. General Greene's letter expresses it in the fol- 
lowing words ; "The tyrants of Syracuse were never more 
detested than the British armv in this countrv ; even the 


slaves rejoice, and find a kind of temporary freedom from 
oppression on the return of their masters." 

I congratulate you upon the capture of St Eustatia and 
St Martin's. The enterprise does the highest honor to the 
abilities and spirit of the Marquis de Bouille ; and his dis- 
interested generosity is finely contrasted with the sordid 
avarice of the British commanders. 

Order and economy have taken place in our finances. 
The troops are regularly clothed and fed at West Point, 
and most of the other posts, at the moderate rate of nine- 
pence a ration when issued, so that the innumerable band 
of purchasing and issuing commissaries is discharged. 
The hospitals are well supplied in the same way, and small 
advances of pay are made to the officers and men. Upon 
the whole, they were never in so comfortaole a situation as 
they are,.at present. Our civil list formed upon plans of 
the strictest economy, after having been many years in 
arrear, is now regularly paid ofi'; and the departments, in 
consequence of it, filled with men of integrity and abilities. 
Embargoes and other restrictions being removed, our com- 
merce begins to revive, and wiih it the spirit of industry 
and enterprise ; and what will astonish you still more is, 
that public credit has again reared its head. Our bank 
paper is in equal estimation with specie. Nothing can be 
more agreeable than to see the satisfaction with which peo- 
ple bring their money to the bank, and take out paper ; or 
the joy mixed with surprise with which some, who have 
hesitatingly taken bank bills for the first time, see that they 
can turn them into specie at their option. 

Whether Spain wishes for peace or war, it is certainly 
her interest to push the enemy wh.ere they are most vul- 
nerable, and where she can do it with the smallest expense 


to herself, and the greatest to her enemy. Every addi- 
tional man she enables iis to maintain here, forces Britain 
to lay out four times as much in procuring, transporting, 
and feeding another to oppose hini. It has been acknowl- 
edged in the British House of Commons, that every man 
in America costs the nation annually one hundred pounds 
sterling. Though this may appear exorbitant, yet whoever 
reflects on the first expense of raising and transporting a 
regiment, and the additional charge of sending over re- 
cruits to make up deficiencies, and that of sending provis- 
ions to an army and its innumerable dependants three 
thousand miles, will think it deserves some degree of 
credit. It is obvious then as nations are only strong in 
proportion to the money they can command, that every 
thousand men we oblige the British to maintain here must 
make a diminution of their strength in some other quarter, 
equal to three times that number. 

Enclosed you have copies of two original letters from 
Mr Deane, in which he acknowledges others that Riving- 
ton has published, which speak a still more dangerous lan- 
guage. No uoubt is entertained here of his apostacy, or 
of his endeavor to weaken the cflbrts of the United States, 
and to traduce the character of the people and their rulers, 
both in Europe and America. You will doubtless use 
every means in your'power to destroy the ill effects, which 
his calumnies may have had upon the minds of people with 
you. I enclose you the gazettes, and again entreat you to 
let us hear from you more frequently, and to leave letters 
at all times at Cadiz, and in the hands of our Consul in 
France, so that no vessel may sail without bringing us some 
intelligence. The last letter we had from you is dated in 
September, near five months ago. I dare say this has 


been owing to some accidentcil cause, and I only mention 
it, that you may guard against it by writing more frequently 
in future, as the silence of our Ministers excites more un- 
easiness here than you can conceive. Pray send me, 
when no other subject presents itself, and you have leisure, 
a sketch of the government of Spain, and the present state 
of its trade, marine, military establishments, commerce, 
revenues, and agriculture. 

I could also wish to have the Madrid Gazette, and Mer- 
cury, and the Court Kalendar of this year. I have the 
pleasure of informing you, that your friends here are well, 
and as numerous as ever. 

I am, my dear Sir, with those sentiments of esteem and 
friendship, which I shall always feel for you, your most 
obedient humble servant, 



Madrid, February 6th, 1782. 

Dear Sir, 

The Secretary of the Minister of State sent me yester- 
flny morning your favor of the 13th of December last, 
accompanied by various papers. 

These are the first letters or papers of any kind, that 1 
have as yet had the pleasure of receiving from you since 
your appointment; and they must for the present remain 
nnintelligible for the want of your cypher. The one men- 
tioned to have been enclosed with these papers is missing, 
and the other never came to hand. 

On the 29th of November last^ 1 received a packet, m 


wliich 1 found enclosed a set of cyphers endorsed by Mr 
Secretary Thomson, and nothing else. Mr Barclay had 
sent it by the post, under cover to a banker here. It had 
evident marks of inspection, but I acquit the banker of any 
hand in it. 

A letter of the 1 8th ult. from Mr .Joshua Johnson, at 
Nantes, mentions the arrival there of the brig Betsey, 
from Philadelphia, and that she brought letters for me, 
which were put into the post-office by the captain. I have 
not yet seen them. 

There are letters in town, brought by the Marquis de 
Lafayette to France ; but I have not yet received a line 
by or from him. 

We must do like other nations ; manage our correspon- 
dences in important cases by couriers, and not by the 

I have not written you a single official letter, not having 
been ascertained of your having entered on the execution 
of your office. I have, indeed, sent you by more than 
one opportunity my congratulations on your appointment. 

You may rely on my writing you many letters, pri- 
vate as well as official, and as 1 still have confidence in 
Mr R. Morris's cypher, T shall sometimes use it to you. 

A duplicate of my letter of the 3d of October to Con- 
gress, which goes with this, renders it unnecessary for me 
to go into particulars at present. Nothing having since 
happened but a repetition of delays, and, of consequence, 
additional dangers to the credit of our bills. 
I am, dear Sir, &;c. 





Madrid, February 6th, 1782- 


My last particular letter to your Excellency was dated 
the 3d of October last, by Major Franks. I now trans- 
mit a duplicate of it by Mr Stephen Codman, a young 
gentleman of Boston, who is passing through this city to 
Cadiz, from whence he will either be the bearer of it him- 
self to America, or forward it by some person of confi- 

From the date of that letter to this day, the Minister has 
found it convenient to continue the system of delay men- 
tioned in it. I have not been able to obtain anything more 
than excuses for procrastination, and these excuses are 
uniformly want of health, or want of time. 

There is little prospect of our receiving speedy aids 
from this Court, and Dr Franklin gives me reason to fear, 
that a great number of the bills drawn upon me must, 
after all our exertions to save them, be finally protested 
for non-payment. I have, from time to timb, given the 
Doctor a great deal of trouble on this subject, and I ought 
to acknowledge, that I am under many and great obliga- 
tions to him for his constant attention to our affairs here. 

As soon as I get a little better of the rheumatism, 
with which I am now, and have for sometime past been 
much afllicted, 1 shall write your Excellpncy another long 
and particular letter. 

I have just received, through the hands of the Minister's 
Secretary, a letter from Mr Livingston, dated the 13th of 
December, marked No. 3. It is in cypher, but I cannot 
read it, nor a duplicate of No. 2, enclosed in it, for want of 


a key, whicl), though mentioned to have been enclosed, is 
missing. None of his other letters have reached mc. A 
duplicate of JMr Thomson's cypher, brought by JNlr Bar- 
clay, came to me tiirough the post-ofiice with such evident 
marks of inspection, that it would be imprudent to use it 

Notwithstanding all our difficuhies here, I think we 
should continue to oppose obstacles by perseverance and 
patience, and my recall should rather be the result of cool 
policy than of resentment. I am somewhat inclined to 
think, that it may become politic to suspend it on the 
reply of the Court to a demand of a categorical answer. 
Unless the INIinister's system should change, (for they still 
give me hopes) it might perhaps also be proper for me to 
consult witii Dr Franklin and Mr Adams on the subject, 
and send Congress the result. For this purpose, I sub- 
mit to Congress the propriety of giving me permission to 
go to France or Holland. 

Advantages are certainly to be derived from preserving 
the appearance of being well here ; and such is the gene- 
ral opinion at present. But I am still much inclined to 
think it advisable to push this Court by a demand of a 
categorical answer. 1 doubt their venturing to break with 
us. The French Ambassador thinks it would be rash, 
and opposes it. Hence principally arises my suspense. 
I have the honor to be, k,c. 




Madrid, February 16th, 1782. 
Dear Sir, 

No letters by the Marquis de Lafayette have as yet 
reached me. I had the honor of writing to you on the 
6th and 1 3th instant. 

We were yesterday informed, and so the fact is, that 
the Castle of St Philip surrendered by capitulation to the 
Due de Crillon, on the 4th instant. There was no 
breach made, nor any of the out-works taken. The gar- 
rison are to go to England and remain prisoners of war till 

1 am to go to the Pardo this evening. There I shall 
learn some further details from the Minister. If I return 
sufficiently early for the post, they shall be subjoined. 

Things look better just at present; but my sky has hith- 
erto been so like an April one, that I dare not as yet 
flatter you or myself with settled fair weather. 

1 am, Dear Sir, with great esteem and regard, he. 



Madrid, February 18th, 1782. 

Dear Sir, 
I wrote to you a short letter on the 16th instant. I have 
procured a copy of the gazette to be published tomor- 
row, and I send enclosed as much of it as contains the arti- 
cles of capitulation for Fort St Philip. This event takes 
place very opportunely, and will have a fine effect in Eng- 
land. Things begin to look more promising ; but I avoid 
particulars for a week or two, that I may have a better 


Opportunity ot" judging what reliance may be placed in pres- 
ent appearances. 

With great esteem and regard, I am, Dear Sir, k.c. 


P. S. Not a letter yet by the Marquis de Lafayette. 


Philadelphia, March 8th, 1782. 

Dear Sir, 

I shall leave town tomorrow, and be absent a few weeks. 
1 do not care to do it without letting you know, that we 
have nothing worth telling yoi'. For want of positive, you 
must be content with negative information, which sometimes 
lias its use, and failing of any other at least serves to pro- 
voke an answer, and makes those to whom it is addressed 
ashamed of their silence, when they can collect anything 
to communicate. I just now learn that General Greene 
has moved to the Quarter House, five miles from Charles- 
ton, and detached a part of his army to Georgia. The 
enemy have evacuated all the outposts they held in that 
State, and retired into Savannah. It is imagined that they 
will shortly evacuate and concentre their forces at New 
York. Empty transports have sailed from the latter place, 
but whether to bring away the troops from Charleston 1 
cannot say. We are extremely anxious to hear the event 
of a battle, which has been fought in the West Indies be- 
tween the fleets, but of which we know nothing certain. 

Enclosed you have a copy of a letter from Mr Pollock, 
who is well acquainted with the country about (he Missis- 
sippi ; it contains some information which may be of use to 


you. 1 also you sundry resolutions of Congress, 
organizing the office of Foreign Affairs, from which you 
will learn the extent of my powers, and not be misled by 
supposing them greater than they are. 

I am, Dear Sir, with great esteem and affection, 



Philadelphia, April 27th, 1782. 
Dear Sir, 

I informed you in my letter of the iGth instant,* thai 
yotn-s of the 3d of October had been received and submit- 
ted to Congress in my absence, and, as I had then reason 
to think, that it would be answered by them. This I wished 
because I was persuaded it would express their approba- 
tion of your conduct, and afford you that intimate know- 
ledge of their sentiments, which the delicacy of your situa- 
tion renders particularly important. They have, however, 
judged it proper to refer the letter to me. I shall en- 
deavor to preserve the advantages I have mentioned to 
you, by reporting this answer. 

Acquainted with the expectations of Congress, and the 
grounds on which they formed them, you will easily be- 
lieve, that they are equally surprised and concerned at the 
little attention hitherto shown by Spain to their respectful 
solicitations. They jiad learned from every quarter that 
bis Catholic Majesty, among the princely virtues lie pos- 
sesses, was particularly distinguished for bis candor, and 
that open dignity of character, which is the result of having 

"^ This letter is in cypher, and the key has been lost. 


no views thai he found any reluctance in disclosing ; and 
that the Ministers in whom he confided, breathing the spirit 
of the Prince, were above those artifices, which fornn the 
politics of inferior powers. They knew the insults which 
Spain had received from Great Britain, and they could con- 
ceive no reason why she should conceal or refuse to return 
them by supporting openly the people, whom Britain un- 
justly endeavored to oppress. These principles, confirmed 
by the frequent recommendations of those whom they be- 
lieved to be acquainted with the sentiment of the Court of 
Madrid, induced them to send a Minister to solicit the 
favorable attention of his Catholic IMajesty to a people who 
were struggling with oppression, and whose success or mis- 
carriage could not but be important to a sovereign, who 
held extensive dominions in their vicinity. Give me leave 
to add, Sir, that in the choice of the person, they were not 
inattentive to the dignity of the Court j or to the candor 
and integrity by which they were supposed to be influen- 
ced. I would not have you infer from what I have said, 
that the favorable sentiments, which the United States have 
hitherto entertained of the Court of Madrid, have under- 
gone the least alteration. They are satisfied that nothing 
would be more injurious to both nations, than to permit the 
seeds of distrust or jealousy to be sown among them. 

But though those who are well informed feel no abate- 
ment of respect or esteem for the virtue and magnanimity 
of his Majesty, and do full justice to the integrity and abili- 
ties of his Ministers, accepting the apologies you mention, 
and attributing to their true causes the delays and neglects 
you have unhappily exparienced, yet they are in the utmost 
pain, lest they should work some change in the sentiments 
of the people at large, in whom with us the sovereignty 


resides, and from thence diffuse themselves into the gov- 
ernment, and be productive of measures ruinous to that 
friendly intercourse, that spirit of amity, which it is the 
wish of those who are acquainted with the true interests of 
both countries to promote. 

After the war was declared by Spain, those among us 
who had formed the highest ideas of her magnanimity, 
persuaded themselves that she would act advisedly for us 
when she found us in distress. They grounded their be- 
lief upon the avowed spirit of the nation, and the policy of 
adopting measures to re-animate us and damp the ardor of 
the enemy, and to make such impressions upon our hearts, 
as to give them in future a considerable influence on our 
councils. Our disappointment in this expectation, though 
perhaps to be accounted for upon very natural principles, 
has been greatly aggravated by the sedulous endeavors of 
the enemies of both countries to create distrust and jeal- 
ousies. They artfully insinuate, that Spain seeks only to 
draw advantages from our wants, without so far interfering 
in our affairs as to involve herself, if we should be unsuc- 
cessful. These insinuations are gaining ground, and it be- 
comes daily more necessary for Congress to be furnished 
with reasons to justify to their constituents the concessions 
they have proposed to make, or to withdraw those con- 
cessions when they are found ineffectual. Yet they find 
much reluctance in discovering the least want of confi- 
dence in the Court of Madrid ; and though their present 
situation might fully justify them in not parting with the 
ijnportant rights you are empowered to concede, without 
stipulating some very valuable equivalent, yet they cannot 
be induced to make any alteration in your instructions on 
this subject, Jill you shall have reason to conclude, that 


nothing can be done towards forming the alliance they 
have so much at heart j not only because of the influence 
it will immediately have in accelerating the peace, but be- 
cause of the advantages, which Spain and America may 
reciprocally promise each other in future, from the lasting 
connexion which will-be erected thereon. 

Though the delays you liave met with afibrd room to 
suspect, that Spain wishes to defer a particular treaty with 
us till a general peace, yet I see so many political reasons 
against such a measure, that I can hardly presume they 
will adopt it. 

At die close of a successful war, a great and powerful 
nation, to whom a character for justice and moderation is 
of the last importance, can in no case demand more than a 
compensation for the injuries received. This compensa- 
tion will, indeed, be measured in part by their success. 
But still it has bounds, beyond which a nation cannot go 
with dignity. Spain has insisted upon the cession of Gib- 
raltar as a preliminary to a peace. This is, of itself, a 
considerable compensation for any damage she may have 
sustained. Should she carry her demands further, and 
agreeably to the ideas of the Spanish Ministers, expect to 
have any exclusive right to the Gulf of Mexico, and the 
river Mississippi, she must not only demand East and West 
Florida of the British, but she must support the claims of 
Great Britain against those of America, the claims of an 
enemy against the rights of a friend, in order that she may 
make still further demands. 

Will it consist with the dignity of his Catholic lAlajesty 
to ask, for the short space in which he has been engaged 
in the war, not only Gibraltar, but the two Floridas, 
the Mississippi, the exclusion of Great Britain from the 



trade to the Bay of Honduras ; while the other branch of" 
the House of Bourbon, who engaged early in the contro- 
versy, confines her demands to the narrowest limits ? Will 
he expose himself to the imputation of despoiling an ally, 
(for such we are in fact, though we want the name) at the 
instant that he is obtaining the greatest advantages from 
the distress, which that ally has, at least in part, contribu- 
ted to bring upon his enemy ? And this too, without the 
least necessity, when he may, by accepting and pur- 
chasing our title, appear to have contended for the rights 
of the United States. This will then make no part of die 
satisfaction to which he is entitled from Great Britain ; 
he may justly extend his demands to other objects ; or 
exalt his character for moderation, by limiting them to 
narrower bounds. This mode of reasoning will come with 
more weight, when we display our rights before impartial 
mediators, and show that recent conquests have been added 
to our ancient title, for it cannot be doubted, that we shall 
at the close of the war make the most of those rights, 
which we obtain no equivalent for, while it continues. 

I persuade myself, therefore, that Spain will not risk 
the loss of so important an object as the exclusive naviga- 
tion of the Mississippi, by postponing the treaty to a gene- 
ral peace, more particularly as a treaty with us will secure 
our concurrence in their views at a general Congress, as 
well as save them the necessity of making demands incon- 
sistent with that character for moderation, which their 
great power renders important to them. 

Congress flatter themselves, that the surmises on this 
subject are groundless, and that before this reaches you, 
the treaty will be far advanced. Should they be mistaken, 
you will take measures to know from Spain, whether she 


accepts your concession as the price of our alliance, and 
upon what terms. If they are such as you cannot close 
with, and the treaty must break off, be persuaded, that any 
steps you have taken or shall take, not inconsistent with 
the respect due to his Catholic jVIajesty, to prevent the 
cessions you are empowered to make from militating 
against our rights, will be approved by Congress. 

Congress presume you will find no difficulty in knowing 
the intentions of his Majesty on this subject, since they 
wish you to treat his Ministers with that unreserved confi- 
dence, which becomes the representative of a nation, which 
lias no views that it does not avow, and which asks no favor 
which it does not hope to return, and, as in the present 
happy state of his Majesty's affliirs, they can conceive no 
reason for disguising his designs, they are satisfied, that 
your frankness will meet from his Ministers with the con- 
fidence it merits. 

I make no observations on the hint the Count de Flor- 
ida Blanca gave you, with respect to the restitution of such 
sums as Spain might be pleased to advance to us ; be- 
cause, whatever claims we might set up to a subsidy from 
the share we take in the burthen of the war, and the utility 
of our exertions in the common cause, we are far from 
wishing to lay ourselves under any pecuniary obligations for 
a longer time than is absolutely necessary. A few years of 
peace will enable us to repay with interest any sums, 
which our present necessities compel us to borrow. 

1 cannot close this letter without expressing the grate- 
ful sense, that Congress entertain of the disinterested con- 
duct of Spain, in rejecting the proffers of Great Britain, 
which must undoubtedly have been considerable, if they 
bore that proportion to the importance of his Catholic 



Majesty in the great system of politics, which those that 
have been frequently thrown out to lead the United States 
to a violation of their engagements, have done to their 
comparatively small weight in the general scale. But as 
America never found the least inclination to close with 
the insidious proposals of Great Britain, so she finds no 
difficulty in believing, that the wisdom and magnanimity 
of his Catholic Majesty will effectually guard him against 
every attempt of his natural enemy, to detach him from 
those, who are daily shedding their blood to avenge his 
injuries in common with their own. 
I have the honor to be, &:c. 



Philadelphia, April 28th, 1782. 
Dear Sir, 
You will receive with this a letter dated yesterday. 
You will judge how far it may be expedient to ground 
demands on the right we have to a compensation for our 
share of the burden and expense of the war, if the issue 
should be as favorable as we have reason to expect. Our 
strength is so much underrated in Europe, that you will 
find it proper to represent it as it really is. Our regular 
army, including the French troops, will consist of about 
men. They are well disciplined, clothed, 
and fed ; and having for the most part seen seven years' 
hard service, I believe they may be counted equal to any 
troops in the world. Our militia are in excellent order, 
and chiefly disciplined by officers who have left the regu- 
lar service. While the army lies in the middle States, it 


can in ten or fifteen days receive a reinforcement of 

men for any particular service. Facts, that you 
can easily call to mind, will evince that any deficiency in 
the regular troops is amply made up hy this supply. 
These are loose hints by no means directory to you. Con- 
gress mean as little as passible to clog you with instruc- 
tions. Tliey rely upon your judgment and address to 
reconcile whatever differences may appear to be between 
the views of Spain, and the interests of these States. 

I liave the honor to enclose an important resolution, 
which I fear to put in cypher, both because you seem to 
be at a loss about your cypher, and because it would be 
of little use, considering the accident which you say has 
happened to it. 

I have the honor to be. Sec. 



Madrid, April 28th, 1782. 

Dear Sir, 
My letter to his Excellency, the President of Congress, 
of the 3d of October last, of which a copy has also been 
since sent, contained a full and accurate account of their 
affairs here. Many minute and not very interesting details 
of little difBcullies were omitted, and among others, those 
which arose from my having no funds for the bills payable 
in October and November, Sic. &.c. The experience 1 
had gained of the disposition of this Court, and the delays 
which attend all their decisions and operations, induced me 
to consider my obtaining timely supplies from hence hs 
very uncertain. I therefore wished to have an occasional 


credit from Dr Franklin, to be made use of as necessity 
might require, and, for that i)nrpose, wrote him the i'ollovv- 
ing letter on the lOth of Septemher, viz. 


'•St Ildefonso, September lOtli, 1781. 

"Dear Sir, 

"My last to you was of the 20th day of August last, hy 
Dupin, the French Anibassador's courier. Major Franks, 
with despatches from Congress, and from Mr Robert Mor- 
ris, is now with me, and will proceed to Passy as soon as 
I shall be enabled to write to him. 

"He will bring you a copy of Mr Morris's letter to me, 
from which you will see the j)resent state of American 
linances, and the measures he is prosecuting to ameliorate 
ihem. My former letters mentioned my apprehensions, 
that many more bills had been drawn upon me, than those 
for which the sum you authorised mc to draw upon you 
for would satisfy. Near seventy thousand dollars will be 
wanted to pay those which have since arrived, and although 
I cannot think it improbable that provision may here be 
made for at least a part of that sum, yet the delays which 
usually attend operations of this kind render it highly 
necessary, that occasional resources be elsewhere had. 

"Tliis consideration, so far as it applies to the payments 
to be made in the two succeeding months, obliges me 
again to recur to you. 

"The sanguine expectations entertained by our country 
from the appointment of Mr Morris, his known abilities, 
integrity, and industry, the useful reformations he has 
begun, and the judicious measures he is pursuing abroad, 
as well as at home, afford reason to hope, that under his 


direction American credit will be re-established, and the 
evils which have long threatened ns on that head avoided. 

"It will be useless, therefore, to remark, how important 
it is to prevent our credit from receiving a deep additional 
wound at the very moment when so much is doing to re- 
cover it. The protest of any of our public bills for want 
of payment would at ibis period be more injurious than 
heretofore, and unless again saved by you, that cruel neces- 
sity must take place with respect to those on me. Be- 
sides, as the singular policy of drawing bills without pre- 
vious funds will now be relinquished, we have reason to 
flatter ourselves, that we shall in future have no 
rassments of this kind to struggle with. I am well per- 
suaded, that Mr Morris will not pursue such hazardous and 
unprecedented measures, and, therefore, as in all human 
probability the present difllculties will be all that we shall 
have to surmount, I hope you will think with me, that the 
utmost exertions should be made for the purpose, and that 
after having done so much to save the credit of American 
bills, you will still be disposed to do everything in your 
power to put it out of danger. 

"When it will be in my power to replace the sums 
drawn from you, is hard to divine. All I can say or do is 
to assure you, that nothing but want of ability shall delay 
or j)reveut it. 

"VVhen I consider how much might have been saved, 
had my bills on you been sold to those who would have 
taken them on the best terms, I cannot forbear thinking, 
it would be advisable to give me only general authority to 
draw for such sums as I may want, not exceeding the one 
you may limit. 

"The sum wanted for October is twelve thousand five 


hundred and sixtyseven dollars, and for November three 
thousand and six hundred. 

"I particularise only the payments due in these two 
months, because, before the first of December, I hope my 
expectations from other quarters will at least be ascer- 

•'I am, Dear Sir, with great and sincere regard and es- 
teem, your obliged and obedient servant, 


"P. S. The Marquis d'Yranda has received a letter 
from Mr Grand, informing him that no more bills are to be 
drawn upon you by me widiout further order. I am a 
little at a loss to determine whether this restriction is in- 
tended to extend to the balance, which remains of the 
twentyfive thousand dollars allotted for the payment of 
the bills at two months' sight, and for which I was only 
to draw as occasion might require. 

"Lest my having refused to accept some bills drawn 
upon me by Congress, should give rise to reports preju- 
dicial to their credit, I transmit herewith enclosed a stale 
of that case ; you will be pleased to make such use of 
it, as circumstances may render necessary. I gave a copy 
of it to the gentleman who presented the bills, and desired 
that it might be recited at large in the protest. J. J." 

It was not till after several of the bills due in October 
iiad become payable, that J received the Doctor's friendly 
answer of the 29th of September, in which he permit- 
ted me to draw for the sum requested ; so that had not 
M. Cabarrus, my banker, consented to make the neces- 
sary advances, I should have been extremely embarrassed, 
for, as I before apprehended, any reliance for immediate 


ihough small supplies from this Coiiil would have proved 

This credit from Dr Franklin enabled me to see our 
bills duly paid for two months, and I had some faint hopes 
that before the month of December should arrive with fur- 
ther bills, the intention of this Court on the subject of sup- 
plies might be ascertained. 

1 will now proceed to resume the narrative of our aftairs 
iiere from the date of my abovementioned letter to the 
President, of the 3d of October last, confining myself to 
such matters as appear to me necessary to enable you to 
form a just and clear idea of my negotiations. 

My letter of the 3d of October mentions my having 
been then lately promised, that a person should be ap- 
pointed to confer with me, as well on the subject of my 
propositions for a treaty as on that of my application for 
aids, and that his instructions should be completed before 
the Court should remove from St lldefonso to the Escurial, 
which was soon to take place. 

This communication was made to me on the 27th of 
September, and, lest pretext for delay might arise from my 
absence, I determined to remain at St lldefonso until llie 
Court should be on the point of leaving it. 

On the oth of October 1 found that no further progress 
in our affairs was to be made before the Court should be 
settled at tiie Escurial, to which they were then preparing 
to go. I therefore concluded to return to Madrid, and, 
with the approbation of the Ambassador of France, I wrote 
the following note to the Minister, viz. 

"Mr Jay presents his compliments to his Excellency, the 

Count de Florida Blanca, and has the honor of informint:; 


him that he purposes to return to Madrid tomorrow, and 
will with pleasure attend his Excellency's orders at the Es- 
curial, as soon as it may be convenient to his Excellency to 
render his presence there necessary. 
''St lldefonso, October bth, 1781." 

To this I received the following answer. 

"The Count de Florida Blanca presents his compliments 
to Mr Jay, and wishes him a pleasant journey. He will 
write to him as soon as he can say anything positive on the 
subject of his last note. October bth, 178]." 

Four days afterwards the Count sent me a complaint 
against Commodore Gillon, of the South Carolina frigate, 
then lying at Corunna, and I insert copies of the papers 
which passed between us on that occasion, not only because 
I ought to give an account of all interesting public transac- 
tions, but also that my conduct on this occasion may stand 
contrasted with that of the Minister on some other similar 

Recital of a Complnint exhibited by the Count de Florida 

Blanca against Commodore Gillon. 


"An American vessel of war has arrived at Corunna, 
having on board two soldiers, deserters from the Irish regi- 
ment of infantry. The commander of the Province having 
claimed them, the captain refuses to deliver them up on 
any pretext whatever, pretending, among other reasons, 
that all his equipage belongs to his Most Christian Majesty. 
This is not at all probable, for if the officers and crew 


were subjects of France, it would have been improper to 
pass oft' the vessel for a frigate of the United States, under 
the American flag. Besides, these deserters having fled 
to a French vessel of war, to the demand of their surren- 
der by the Spanish commander, it was replied on the word 
of honor of the captain, that they were not on board ; so 
that, supposing the frigate to be a French ship, there is 
reason to suppose that they would liave been surrendered. 

"The Count de Florida Blanca has thought it necessary 
to inform Mr Jay of these facts, in the full persuasion that 
he will have the goodness to write by the first post to the 
captain, in such terms as to induce him to surrender the 
deserters ; it shall be understood, that they shall not be 
punished, and shall finish their engagements in their own 
corps, or in some other better paid. 

"]Mr Jay is too reasonable not to grant that it would be 
unjust for a vessel to appear in a port, solely to require 
and receive all sorts of attentions and marks of respect, 
(without any previous claim or engagement) and at the 
same lime to refuse and deliver up any subjects, which 
it should have on board, of the sovereign of the country in 
whose name all these tokens of respect have been rendered. 

''Octobers, 1781." 


"Madrid, October 9th, 1781. 

"The letter which your Excellency did me the honor 
to write on the 8lh instant arrived this morning. I con- 
sider myself much obliged by the communication of the 
facts mentioned in it, especially as it affords me an oppor- 
tunity of manifesting to his Majesty and to Congress my 
attention to his riirhis and to their orders. 


"1 perfectly agree in sentiment with your Excellency res- 
pecting the impropriety of detaining on board the American 
frigate at Corunna, the two men claimed by the command- 
ant there, as deserters from one of his INJajesty's regiments. 

"Your Excellency's remarks on this subject are no less 
delicate than just ; and your assurance that these men shall 
not be punished renders a compliance with the requisition 
to deliver them up no less consistent with humanity than 
with justice. 

"It gives me pleasure to confess, that the hospitable re- 
ception given to American vessels in the ports of Spain 
gives his Majesty a double right to expect, that their con- 
duct should at least be inoffensive. In the present case, 
(as stated in your Excellency's letter) I am fully con- 
vinced of the justice of this demand, that I should not 
hesitate to comply with it, even though made on a similar 
occasion by the Court of Portugal, from whose affected 
neutrality we suffer more evils, than we should experience 
from any open hospitality she is capable of executing. 

"Agreeably to your Excellency's desire, I have written 
a letter (of which the enclosed is a copy) to the command- 
ing officer of the frigate in question ; and as the manner in 
which your Excellency's letter to me treats this subject 
cannot fail making agreeable impressions on Americans, I 
shall take the liberty of sending a copy of it to Congress, 
as well as to the abovementioned officer. 

"I cannot omit this opportunity of expressing ray ac- 
knowledgments for your Excellency's promise to write to 
me from the Escurial, as soon as you shall be in a capacity 
to speak positively on the subject of my late letter. Per- 
mit me only to remark, that the season wears away fast, 
and that Congress must be extremely anxious to hear that 


the delays, which have so long kept them in a disagreeable 
state of suspense, are finally and happily terminated. 
"1 have the honor to be, &cc. JOHN JAY." 

The letter written to the commanding ofBcer of the 
frigate, a copy of which was furnished to the Count de 
Florida Blanca, is as follows. 


'^Madrid, October 9th, 1781. 

"The paper herewiib enclosed is a copy of a letter 
which I received this morning from his Excellency, the 
Count de Florida Blanca, his Catholic Majesty's Principal 
Secretary of State, and Minister for Foreign Affairs. 

"\ ou will perceive from it that two men on board your 
frigate are claimed by this government, as deserters from 
one of his Majesty's Irish regiments of infantry ; and that 
you are said to have refused to deliver them up, because, 
among other reasons, your crew are the subjects of his 
Most Christian Majesty. 

'•If the men in question are citizens of one or other of 
the United Slates of North America, and admitted to be 
such, refusmg to deliver them up, as deserters from the 
service of Spain, may be proper, because while their own 
country is at war, they cannot without her consent enter 
into the service of any other power. 

"If they are Spaniards, then they are the subjects of his 
Catholic ^Majesty, and ought not to be withheld from him. 

"If they are foreigners, in that case whatever right they 
might have to enter into the American service, they cer- 
tainly had an equal one to enter into that of Spain ; and 
if they had previously engaged with the latter, their subse- 

30 -TOHN JAY. 

quent enlistments with you were void, and Spain being in 
friendship with us has a just right to reclaim therif. 

"If they deny their havins. enlisted in the Spanish ser- 
vice, still like all other foreigners who come into this king- 
dom they ought to submit to the justice of the country, 
and you ought not to screen them from it. especially as it 
cannot be presumed that the charge made against them is 
destitute of probability. 

"As to the circumstance of your crew's being subjects 
of the King of France, I cannot think that any argument to 
justify your detaining them can be drawn from it. For 
admitting them to be French subjects, yet as it may be 
lawful for them (Spain and France being allies) to enter 
into die service of Spain, the right of Spain to enlist must 
necessarily involve a right to compel obedience, and also 
to retake and punish deserters. Besides, as any questions 
about the legality of such enlistments concern only those 
two crowns, Americans cannot with propriety interfere. 

"In whatever light I view this affair, I cannot perceive 
the least right that you can have to detain these men, after 
having been thus formally and regularly demanded by pro- 
per authority, as deserters from the service of his Catholic 

"You may observe that I treat this subject merely as u 
question of justice, arising from that general law, which 
subsists and ought to be observed between friendly nations. 

"I forbear making any remarks on the impolicy of your 
persisting to detain these men. I hope never to see Amer- 
ica do what is riglit merely because it may be convenient. 
I flattei- myself that her conduct will uniformly be actu- 
ated by higher and more generous principles, and that her 
national character will daily become more and more dis- 


linguished, by disinterested justice and heroic magna- 

"1 shall take the earliest opportunity of transmitting a 
particular state of this alFair to Congress, and I cannot 
doubt but that your conduct will merit their approbation, 
by being perfectly consistent with a just regard to the dig- 
nity and rights of a sovereign, who has acted not only justly 
but generously towards our country. 

"If your reluctance to deliver up those men should have 
arisen from an apprehension of their suffering the punish- 
ment, which on conviction would be due to their offences, 
that reluctance ought now to cease, because his Excellency, 
the Minister, has been pleased to assure me, that they shall 
not be punished, but only obliged to fulfil those engage- 
ments, which they ought to have honestly performed in- 
stead of deserting. 

"In short, Sir, although on the one hand, 1 will never 
advise or encourage you to violate the rights of the meanest 
man in the world, in order to answer political purposes; 
yet on the other, I shall always think it my duty to advise 
and encourage both you and others to render unto Caisar 
whatever may belong unto Caesar. 

"I am, he. JOHN JAY." 

In answer to this letter, the Commodore wrote me one, 
which, according to the state of facts mentioned in it, 
showed that the charge against him was precipitate, and, as 
he in that letter predicted, I have never since heard any- 
thing further from the Minister on the subject. 

You may recollect, that copies of certain letters from 
Colonel Searle and Mr Gillon, which I had just received, 
were subjoined to my letter of the 3d of October last. 
These letters were soon followed by several others. Colo- 


nel Searle's representations against the Commodore's con- 
duct were very strong, and tended to create an opinion, 
that the ship and public stores on board of her were in 
danger. He desired me to send some person to Corunna, 
with proper instructions on the subject, and as an additional 
inducement ofiered to transmit to me through him some 
important information, which had been confidentially com- 
municated to him in Holland by Mr Adams, and which he 
did not choose to hazard by a common conveyance. 

Considering the nature of these representations, and the 
limits and objects of my commission and instructions, it 
became a difficult question how far 1 ought, and in what 
manner I could interfere. I finally judged it would not be 
improper to send Mr Carmichael down with instructions to 
make a full inquiry into the facts alleged against the Com- 
modore, and to use my influence with this government to 
stop the vessel for the present, in case on such inquiry 
there should arise a very strong presumption, that such a 
step would be necessary to preserve her. Mr Carmichael 
did not think that a business of this kind was within the 
duty of his appointment, and he doubted his being able to 
ride post so far. This was a delicate business, and the 
management of it could with propriety be only committed 
to one, in whose prudence and circumspection much con- 
fidence might be reposed. It would have been improper 
for me to have undertaken it, because i could not justify 
exposing by my absence our negotiations for aids and a 
treaty to unseasonable delays. 

Soon afterwards I received a very long exculpatory let- 
ter from the Commodore. This letter placed his transac- 
tions in a diflierent point of view, and inclined me to think 
that the proposed interposition on my part would have been 


I forbear burlliening these despatches with copies of the 
various letters I have received and written on tliis subject, 
as well because, as they relate to transactions in Holland 
end France, with the public agents ■ and Ministers in those 
countries, they are not properly within my province, as 
because they contain nothing of sufiicient importance to 
make it necessary for me again to send further copies. 

You will be pleased to observe, that jny last letter to tiie 
Minister was dated the 9th of October, and that there is a 
paragraph in it soliciting his speedy attention to the affairs 
on which he had promised to write to me. I received no 
answer. Some weeks elapsed and the same silence con- 

I consulted the Ambassador of France, as to the pro- 
priety of my going to the Escurial, and endeavoring to pre- 
vail upon the Minister to proceed in our alTairs, observing 
that the measures of Spain, with respect to us, might be 
important if not to this, yet to the next campaign, and that 
the sooner they were decided, the better enabled Congress 
would be to regulate their future operations. He was of 
opinion, that as the Minister had promised to give me no- 
tice of the time when he would be able to transact these 
affairs with me, it would be most prudent to wait with pa- 
tience somewhat longer, and not by an appearance of too 
great solicitude, to give him uneasy sensations. All things 
considered, this advice appeared to me discreet, and I fol- 
lowed it. 

Thus the month of October produced nothing but ex- 
pectation, suspense, and disappointment. 

About this time M. Gardoqui mentioned to me a singu- 
lar ordinance which occasioned, and is explained in the 
following letter from me to the Minister, viz. 


"Madrid, October 28th, 1781. 

"M. Gardoqui informs me, that his Majesty was pleased 
in the month of March last to order, 'that when a prize 
taken by a French or Dutch vessel should arrive in a port 
of Spain, the Marine Judge of the District should reduce 
to writing the evidence of the capture, and deliver it to the 
French or Dutch consul, (as the case might be) to be by 
him transmitted to the Admiralty, from whence the com- 
mission of the captors issued in order that the legality of 
the capture might there be tried ; and further, that the 
sentence which might there be passed should, on being 
duly certified to the aforesaid judge, be executed under his 
direction.' I am also informed, that on the 12th instant, 
his jVIajesty was pleased to extend the abovementioned 
order to prizes taken by American vessels of war, and sent 
into any of the ports of Spain. 

"So far as this order affects the United States of Ame- 
rica, I take the liberty of representing to your Excellency, 
that the execution of it will necessarily be attended with 
the following inconveniences. 

"1st. The distance of America from Spain is so great, 
and the intercourse between the two countries rendered so 
precarious by the war, that many months must unavoidably 
elapse before the sentence of an American Court of Ad- 
miralty can be obtained and executed here. 

"2dly. Thai by these delays all cargoes, or parts of car- 
goes, which may be of a perishable nature, will be lost, and 
the value of the vessel and rigging greatly diminished. 

"3dly. That as his Majesty has not as yet been pleased 
to grant the United States the privilege of having consuls 
in his ports, it is not in their power to provide for the trans- 


mission of the evidence of captures, in the manner speci- 
fied in the abovemenlioned order. 

"4thly. That in case the prize should be claimed as 
a neutral vessel, the claimants must either prosecute their 
claim in America, or the sentence given there could not 
be influenced by it; and yei it is more probable, that 
those claimants would endeavor to avoid that expense and 
trouble, by applying here for an order to suspend the exe- 
cution of the sentence, as well as for a trial of the merits 
of their claim by a Spanish tribunal. In which case the 
same cause would become subject to two jurisdictions, and 
tried by two different independent courts, in two different 

"This order not being published, it is possible, lliat my 
information respecting it may not be right in all its parts ; 
though 1 have reason to believe from the usual accuracy 
of M. Gardoqui, (from whom I received this information) 
that I am not mistaken. 

"There is at present an American prize at Bilboa, and 
all judicial proceedings respecting it are now at a stand. 

"The importance of this subject to the United States, 

and in some measure to the common cause, will I hope 

apologize for my troubling your Excellency with these 

remarks, and for requesting, that the embarrassments in 

question may be removed, in such a manner as may be 

most agreeable to his Majesty. 

"I have the honor to be, &tc. 


To this letter I never received any answer whatever. 
After waiting six or eight days I asked M. Gardoqui, who 
almost daily applied to me on the subject, what could be 


the reason of so much delay in a case, that admitted of so 
little doubt. He said he could only account for it by sup- 
posing, that the Minister had sent for the original order to 
prevent mistakes. I asked whether these royal orders 
were not regularly recorded at the time they were issued. 
He told me they were not. 

For my own part I rather suspect that this order treated 
us as an independent nation, and that the Minister found 
it difficult to establish any general regulations respecting 
our prizes or commerce, without meeting with that obsta- 
cle. M. Gardoqui informed me, that one of the Judges 
permitted him to read it, but would not let him take a copy 
of it, and that it only contained an extension to American 
prizes, of the regulations before ordained for Dutch and 
French ones. 

As to the prize at Bilboa, a particular order was issued 
in that case for selling the ship and cargo, on the captors 
giving security to produce, within a year, an exemplifica- 
tion of a sentence of an American Court of Admiralty to 
justify it. 

On the 5th of November, M. Gardoqui communicated 
to me certain letters and papers from which it appeared, 
that the Cicero, Captain Hill, had been stopped at Bilboa, 
by an order of the Minister, on a charge of improper con- 
duct towards one of the King's cutters. Upon this sub- 
ject I wrote the following letter to the Count de Florida 
Blanca, viz. 

"Madrid, November 6th, 1781. 

"It gives me much concern to be informed, that the 
conduct of Captain Hill, of the Cicero, an American pri- 
vate ship of war, towards one of his Catholic Majesty's 


cutters, has been so represented to your Excellency, as to 
have given occasion to an order for detaining him at 

"This unfortunate affair is represented to me as follows. 
"That Captain Hill, with a prize lie had taken, was 
going from Corunna to Bilboa. That in the night of the 
26th of October last, he discovered an armed vessel ap- 
proaching the prize. Captain Hill suspecting it to be a 
Jersey privateer, hailed her, and ordered her to send her 
boat on board. They answered in English, that their 
boat was out of repair. This circumstance increased his 
suspicions that she was an enemy, and induced him to 
insist on their sending a boat on board ; which not being 
complied with, he was persuaded it was an enemy, and 
accordingly gave them a broadside. Upon this they sent 
a boat to the Cicero and convinced Captain Hill, that the 
vessel was a Spanish cutler. 

"If this is really a true state of the fact, and I have rea- 
son to believe it is, I am persuaded, that your Excellency 
will not think Captain Hill's conduct was unjustifiable, or 
contrary to the common usage in such cases. Having a 
valuable prize under his care, it was his duty to protect it, 
and as it was impossible for him at night to discover an 
enemy from a friend, in any other manner than the one 
he used, the Captain of the cutter certainly appears to 
have been remiss in not sending out his boat at first as well 
as at last. 

"Both the Cicero and her prize now lie at Bilboa, 
laden with valuable cargoes, and expected to sail from 
thence for North America on the lOih instant. The pri- 
vateer alone has one hundred and forty men on board, 
and should they not be permitted to sail at the time ap- 


pointed, a very considerable expense must inevitably be 
incurred, because they would be obliged to wait for the 
next spring tides. 

"As no American vessel can have the least temptation 
to violate the rights of Spain, but as on the contrary it is 
the well known interest, as well as disposition, of the Uni- 
ted States to cultivate the friendship of his Catholic Maj- 
esty, I am convinced, that there was not in this case the 
least intention of disrespect to the Spanish flag. Permit 
me therufore to hope, that your Excellency will be pleased 
to permit the departure of these vessels by a general order, 
or on Captain Hill's giving security for the payment of 
such damages, as he may become chargeable with, on the 
issue of a judicial inquiry into this transaction. 

"I assure your Excellency, that no citizen of America 
will be countenanced by the United States in any im- 
proper conduct towards his Catholic Majesty, or any of 
his subjects, and if 1 had the least reason to think, that 
Captain Hill was in this predicament, it would give me 
much more pleasure to hear of his being punished than 

"1 have the honor to be, &,c. 


The Count's answer to the above. 

"The Count de Florida Blanca has the honor to pre- 
sent his compliments to Mr Jay, and to assure him, that 
the information he has received relative to the affair of the 
Cicero privateer, as set forth in his letter of the Gth instant, 
is not correct, the Count having received from persons of 
respectability and entirely worthy of credit very accurate 


Statements. It is tlierefore necessary, tliat some suitable 
satisfaction should be given, in order to serve as an exam- 
ple to restrain the captains of the American privateers 
within proper bounds. This is the more necessary, as it 
is not the first time that we have had reason to complain 
of their conduct, and to demand reparation. 
''St Lorenzo, November Sih, 1781." 


''Madrid. November 12th, 1781. 


"1 have received the letter, which your Excellency did 
me the honor to write on the Sih instant. 

"It gives me pain to hear, that the conduct of an Amer- 
ican vessel of war should be so reprehensible as that of the 
Cicero has been represented to be. It is proper that I 
should inform your Excellency, that the captains of all 
American private ships of war give bond with sureties, 
to fulfil the instructions they receive with their commis- 
sions ; and that these instructions enjoin them to behave in 
a proper manner towards friendly nations. 

"As the honor and interest of the United States render 
it highly necessary, that their officers and citizens should, 
upon all occasions, pay the most scrupulous regard to the 
rights of other nations, I must request the favor of your 
Excellency to communicate to me a state of the facts 
charged against Ca[)tain Hill, that by being transmitted im- 
mediately to America, Congress may be enabled to take 
such measures relative to him, as to deter others from the 
commission of the like offences. 

"Your Excellency would also oblige mc, by informing 
rae how the satisfaction demanded of Captain Hill is to 

40 JOHiN JATf. 

be ascertained, and to whom it is to be paid. As his re- 
maining much longer in his present situation would be a 
great loss to his owners, 1 wish, for their sakes, that he 
may be released as soon as possible ; and, I am per- 
suaded, that your Excellency will not think it necessary to 
detain him longer than until the satisfaction in question can 
be ascertained and paid. 

"I greatly regret that other American privateers have 
also given occasion to complaints. I assure your Excel- 
lency, that nothing on my part shall be wanting to prevent 
the like in future, and I am sure that Congress would con- 
sider themselves obliged, by your Excellency's putting it 
in my power to convey to them exact details of any com- 
plaints against their officers. 

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


Much reason has been given me to believe, that the hard 
proceedings against Captain Hill were not justifiable, and 
the Minister's declining to furnish me with a state of the 
facts supposed to be alleged against him speaks the same 
language. What intelligence the Count may have respec- 
ting this misconduct of any other of our armed vessels, I 
know not, nor have I heard any other insinuations of that 
kind, except what are contained in his note. 

The Count omitted to take any notice of my last letter 
on this subject, and it was not before the 26th of Novem- 
ber, that the matter was determined by the order alluded 
to in the following polite letter. 


"My Dear Sir, 
"From respect to your Excellency and to tiie American 
Congress, the King has determined that Captain Hill, on 
satisfying, or giving security to satisfy, the damage he has 
done to one of our vessels, on account of wjiich he is de- 
tained, shall be at liberty to return to his country when he 
pleases. For this purpose 1 communicate the enclosed 
order to the Corregidor of Bilboa, and repeating myself to 
be at the service of your Excellency, I pray God to pre- 
serve you many years. 


The next day I sent the Count some American papers, 
which had just come to hand, and enclosed them with a 
card, in which there was this paragraph. 

"Mr Jay has received the letter, which his Excellency 
did him the honor to write yesterday by M. Gardoqui, and 
is greatly obliged by the permission granted to Captain 
Hill to depart, as well as by the polite terms in which that 
circumstance is communicated to l\Ir Jay." 

As further remonsti-ance on this subject would have 
been useless, I thought it best to appear satisfied, and not, 
by any expressions of discontent, to hazard new obstacles 
to the attainment of our more important objects. 

1 must now return to the old subject. Although the 
Count had been some weeks at the Escurial, and I had in 
vain waited with great patience for the letter, which the 
Minister had promised to write to mc on leaving St Ildc- 
fonso, yet as many bills would become payable in Decem- 
ber, and I was unprovided with funds, 1 thought it high 
time to remind the Minister of my situation. 



I therefore wrote him the following letter. 

"Madrid, November 16th, 1781. 

"I find myself constrained to beseech your Excellency 
to think a little of my situation. Congress flatter them- 
selves, that the offers they have made would certainly 
induce his Majesty at least to assist them with some sup- 
plies. The residue of the bills drawn upon me remain to 
be provided for. Those payable in the next month amount 
to thirtyone thousand eight hundred and nine dollars. 
Would it be too inconvenient for your Excellency to lend 
us this sum ? Before January, when further bills would 
become payable, your Excellency may probably find 
leisure to give me an answer respecting our propositions. 
The time presses ; I entreat your Excellency's answer. 
I can only add, that I am, with great consideration and 
respect, he. JOHN JAY." 

To this letter 1 never received any answer, and it is re- 
markable, that the Count's subsequent letter of the 26th of 
November, announcing the permission given to Captain 
Hill to depart, does not take the least notice of it. What- 
ever might be the Minister's real intentions, as to furnish- 
ing me with the funds necessary to pay the bills to become 
due in December, it appeared to me imprudent to neglect 
any means in my power to provide for the worst. I 
therefore apprised Dr Franklin (to whom 1 am under great 
obligations, and have given much trouble) of my hazardous 
situation by the following letter. 

''Madrid, November 21st, 1781. 

"Dear Sir, 
"It seems as if my chief business here was to fatigue 
you and our good allies with incessant solicitations on the 


subject of the ill timed bills drawn upon ine by Congress. 
It is happy for me that you are a piiilosopher, and for 
our country that our allies are indeed our friends. Amicus 
ceriiis in re incerta cernittir. 

"This Court continues to observe tiie most profound 
silence respecting our propositions. 

"I cannot as yet obtain any answer to any of my aj)pli- 
cations for aids. Heretofore the Minister was too sick or 
too busy. At present liis Secretary is much indisposed. 
I have requested that he would lend us for the present 
only as much as would satisfy the bills of December, viz. 
thirtyone thousand eight hundred and nine dollars ; no an- 
swer. What is to be done ? I must again try and borrow 
a little, and, as usual, recur to you. Thank God, no new 
bills arrive; if they did, I should refuse to accept them; 
only a few straggling old ones now and then appear. 

"Would not the Court of France, on your representing 
this matter to them, enable you to put an end to this un- 
happy business? Thirty thousand pounds sterling would 
do it. I am sure the evils we should experience from the 
protest of these bills would cost even France a vast deal 
more. You see my situation ; I am sure I need not press 
you to deliver me from it if in your power. 

"I cannot yet believe, that all the assurances of this 
Court will vanish into air. 1 still flatter myself that they 
will afford us some supplies, though not in season. I think 
we might very safely offer to repay the French Court the 
proposed sum in America, for surely Congress would not 
hesitate to prefer that to the loss of their credit. 

"I enclose a newspaper, which gives us reason to indulge 
the most pleasing expectations. God grant they may be 
realised. I have a letter from Mr Gerry, dated at Marble- 


head the 9th of October. He was then in daily expectation 
of hearing that Lord Cornvvallis and his army were our 
prisoners. He describes the last harvest as very abundant, 
and the general state of our affairs as very promising 5 
nuicii more so, indeed, than ever they have been. 
"I am, &.C. Sic. 


This letter was conveyed by a courier of the French 
Ambassador. 1 did not choose, by putting it in the post 
ofiice, to give this Court an opportunity of knowing that I 
was endeavoring to obtain a credit for the sum in question, 
lest that circumstance might become an additional motive 
with them to withhold their assistance. 

In short. Sir, the whole month of November wore away 
without my being able to advance a single step. M. Del 
Campo's illness afforded a tolerable good excuse for de- 
lay during the latter part of November, and the first three 
weeks in December. 

On the 1st of December I found myself without any 
answer from Dr Franklin, with many bills to pay, and not 
a farthing in bank. M. Cabarrus, fortunately for me, was 
willing as well as able to make furdier advances, and to 
him I am indebted for being relieved from the necessity 1 
should otherwise have been under, of protesting the bills 
due in that monUi. 

The Court removed from the Escurial to Madrid with- 
out having bestowed the least attention either on the propo- 
sitions or different memorials on connr.ercial matters, which 
1 had submitted to the Minister. 

Jt was natural to expect, that our successes in Virginia 
would have made a very grateful impression on this Court 5 


but 1 am far from being persuaded that they considered 
these events as favorsble to their views. Of this, some 
judgment may be formed from their subsequent conduct. 

On the 6ih of December I sent the Minister the follow- 
ing card, and a memorial from Mr Harrison at Cadiz, the 
nature of which will be best explained by a recital of it. 

"Mr Jay presents his compliments to the Count de Flor- 
ida Blanca, and has the honor of requesting his attention 
to the enclosed me-morial. 

"Mr Jay had the honor of calling at his Excellency's 
on Tuesday evening last, but had the misfortune of not 
finding him at home. As Mr Jay wishes to regulate his 
visits by his Excellency's convenience, he begs the favor 
of his Excellency to inform him when it would be agreea- 
ble that Mr Jay should wait on his Excellency, and have 
an opportunity of conversing with him on the object of Mr 
Jay's mission." 

The answer 1 received to the letter, which accom- 
panied this memorial, is as follows. 

"The Count de Florida Blanca will receive Mr John 
Jay whenever he may please to come, in the evening at 
half past seven or later, in his Secretary's office in the 
palace, except on Saturday evening next, when he will be 

This note was not dated, but I received it the 7th of De- 
cember. On the same day I received a letter from Gene- 
ral Washington, dated the 22d of October, and enclosing 
copies of the articles of capitulation of Yorktown, and re- 
turns of prisoners, &:c. 


This letter was brought to France by the frigate, which 
carried there the first intelligence of that important event, 
and yet it is remarkable that it did not reach me until after 
these articles had been published in the Paris and Madrid 
gazettes. I nevertheless immediately sent copies to the 

As to Mr Harrison's Memorial, no answer has been giv- 
en it to this day. Nor indeed have any of the representa- 
tions I have hitherto made to the Ministers relative to com- 
mercial grievances procured the least redress. Even the 
hard case of the Dover cutter still remains unfinished, not- 
withstanding my repeated and pressing applications on be- 
half of the poor captors. It is now more than a year since 
the Minister promised me that the cutter should be imme- 
diately appraised, and the value paid to the captors, one of 
whom afterwards came here, and after waiting two or three 
months returned to Cadiz, without having received any 
other .noney than what 1 gave him to purchase his daily 

As the Minister could not see me on Saturday evening, 
it was not till Monday evening the 10th of December that 
I had an opportunity to converse with him. 

He began the conversation by observing, that I had been 
very unfortunate, and had much reason to complain of de- 
lays, but that they had been unavoidable. That M. Del 
Campo had been appointed near three months ago to treat 
and confer with me ; that shortly after the Court removed 
from St lldefonso that gentleman's health began to decline; 
and that his indisposition had hitherto prevented his attend- 
ing to that or any other business, but that he hoped by the 
time the Court should return from Aranjues (to which the 
King was then about to make a little excursion) he would 


be able to proceed on it, and that he should have the ne- 
cessary instructions for the purpose. 

I told the Count, that these delays had given me great 
concern, and that I was very solicitous to be enabled to 
give Congress some positive and explicit information, on 
the business alluded to. He replied, that I must now con- 
fer on those subjects with M. Del Campo, for that for his 
part his lime and attention were so constantly engaged by 
other matters, that he could not possibly attend to this, es- 
pecially while at Madrid, when he always enjoyed much less 
leisure than at the Sitios. He then proceeded to congratu- 
late me on our late successes in Virginia ; he assured me, 
that the King rejoiced sincerely in those events, and that he 
himself was happy to see our affairs assume so promising 
an aspect. I was about to descend to particulars, and to re- 
mind the Count of the various memorials, k.c. which still 
remained to be considered and despatched, when he men- 
tioned he was engaged for the rest of the evening in 
pressing affairs. This intimation put an end to the con- 

It is somewhat singular, that M. Del Campo should 
have been appointed near three months past to treat and 
confer with me, and yet I should be left all that time with- 
out any information of it. It shows, that the King is 
ready to do what may depend upon him, but that his Min- 
isters find it convenient to interpose delays without neces- 
sity, and without even the appearance of it. 

After the King's return from Aranjues, I took an oppor- 
tunity of asking M. Del Campo when I might promise 
myself the pleasure of commencing our conferences. He 
replied, that his health was not as yet sufficiently re-estab- 
lished to permit him to do business. The fact jjowever 
was otherwise. 


On the 27th of December, I again waited on him for 
the same purpose. He told me it was very uncertain 
when our conferences could commence, and that he must 
first converse with the Count on the subject. I asked him 
whether he had not received his instructions. He an- 
swered, that he had not, for that they were not as yet 
completed, nor indeed as he believed as yet begun. 

In this state things remained during the whole time the 
Court continued at Madrid. Above a month since the 
date of my letter to Dr Franklin about our bills had elaps- 
ed without an answer, nor had any prospect of obtaining 
aids here opened. I therefore wrote him the following 

"Madrid, December 31st, 1781. 

"My Dear Sir, 

"I learn from the Marquis d'Yranda, that my letter of 
the 21st ultimo has reached you. The want of a good 
opportunity has for some time past prevented my writing 
to you so particularly as I could have wished. 

"Things remain here exactly in statu quo, except that 
your aid daily becomes more necessary, and will soon be 
indispensable. These are matters that require no expla- 
nation. I have received two letters, dated the 22d and 
26lh of November, from Mr Adams, on the subject of 
certain instructions, passed the 16th of August, which he 
had lately received, and of which I v.-as ignorant until the 
arrival of these letters. I think them wise. A courier 
from France arrived here two days ago ; by his return I 
hope to write you particularly, he. 
"I am, he. 



On the 11 til of January, I wrote the following letter to 
the Doctor, by tlie Ambassador's courier. 

•Madrid, January 11th, 1782. 
"Dear Sir, 

"Tlie last letter 1 had the pleasure of writing to you 
was dated the 3lst ultimo, and referred to a former one 
of the 21st of November last, in which I stated my diffi- 
culties on account of the bills, the improbability of my ob- 
taining any relief here, and consequently the necessity I 
was under of recurring to your interposition to save them 
from protest. 

"I have not as yet been favored with your answer. I 
can readily conceive, that this affair has added not a little 
to your embarrassments, and therefore I lament, not com- 
plain of the delay. I borrowed from M. Cabarrus about 
thirty thousand dollars. He is not perfectly easy, and I 
have no prospect of borrowing more from him or others, 
at least without assurances of speedy repayment, which I 
am not in capacity to give. The Court indeed owes me, 
on their old promise of one hundred and fifty thousand 
dollars, a balance of about twentyfive thousand six hun- 
dred and fifteen dollars, but I have no reason to rely on 
receiving it soon, if at all. 

"I also begin severely to feel the w?nt of my back sal- 
ary. It is in vain for me to expect it from America, and 
unless you can supply it, it will be necessary for me im- 
mediately to disencumber myself of most of my expenses, 
and confine luyseK to mere necessaries, until a change 
may take place for the belter. This circumstance con- 
spires with those of a more public nature, to make me very 
solicitous to know what you can, or cannot do for me. 


50 JOHiN JAY. 

"As to the affairs of the negotiation, they have not ad- 
vanced since Major Franks left njc. The Minister is too 
sick, or too busy, to attend to American affairs. He refers 
me to M. Del Campo, who has been named for the pur- 
pose, and when I apply to him, he tells me, that his instruc- 
tions are not yet completed, and that he cannot tell when 
they will be. 

"I am, he. 


I must, however, do the Minister the justice to say, that 
for some little time then past, and during the whole month 
of January, I have good reason to believe, that he was 
greatly and constantly engaged in pressing business, for on 
speaking several times during that period to the Ambassa- 
dor of France, about the delays I experienced, and the 
propriety of pressing the Minister to pay some attention 
to our aflairs, he repeatedly told me, that he knew the Min- 
ister to be then extremely hurried, and advised me not to 
make any application to him for the present. 

On the 26th of January, 1782, agreeably to a previous 
appointment, I had a long conference with the Ambassa- 
dor of France. 1 entered into a detail of the various pre- 
texts and delays, which the JMinister had used to avoid 
coming to any decision on our affairs, and made some re- 
marks on their keeping me suspended at present, between 
the Count's incapacity to do business, and M. Del Campo's 
want of instructions. 

I reminded the Ambassador that the fate of the bills 
drawn upon me was a serious subject, and if protested 
might eventually prove injurious to France and Spain, as 
well as America, and that though France had already done 


much for us, yet that it still remained a question of policy 
whether it would not be more expedient for her to advance 
about thirty thousand pounds sterling to save these bills, 
than risk the expensive evils which the loss of our credit 
might occasion even to her. The Ambassador seemed to 
admit this, but was apprehensive that the great and press- 
ing demands for money caused by the great armaments, 
which France was preparing to send to different parts of 
the world, would render such an advance very inconvenient, 
if not impracticable. 

1 recapitulated in the course of the conference the va- 
rious ill consequences, which might result from protesting 
these bills. Among others, I hinted at the necessity I 
should be under of assigning to the world in those protests, 
the true reasons which had occasioned them, viz. that I 
had placed too great confidence in the assurances of his 
Catholic Majesty. The Ambassador objected to this as 
highly imprudent, and as naturally tending to embroil the 
two countries, which was by all means to be avoided, even 
though I could make good the assertion. 1 then enume- 
rated the various assurances I had at different times re- 
ceived from the Minister, adding, that whatever might be 
the consequence, I should think it my duty to pay a higher 
regard to the honor of the United States, than to the feel- 
ings of a Court by whose finesse that honor had been 
drawn into question. 

There was also another circumstance, to which I desired 
him to turn his attention, viz. that as our independence had 
not been acknowledged here, the holders of the bills might 
commence actions against me on them ; and that it was 
easy to foresee the en>barrassments, which would result to 
all parties from sudi a measure. The Ambassador saw 
this matter in the same point of view. 



It appeared to me useful to take a general view of the 
conduct of Spain towards us ever since my arrival, and to 
observe the natural tendency it had to encourage our ene- 
mies, impress doubts on the minds of our friends, and abate 
the desire of Congress to form intimate connexions with 
Spain ; and thai tliis latter consequence might become in- 
teresting also to France, by reason of the strict alliance 
subsisting between the two kingdoms. 

I begged the favor of him to give me liis candid advice 
what would be most proper for me to do. He confessed 
that he was perplexed, and at a loss what to advise me to ; 
he hoped that the Dutch loan would enable Dr Franklin 
to make the advances in question, and that though he could 
not promise anything from his Court, yet that he would 
write and do his best. He advised me to give the Doctor 
a full statement of our affairs here ; but that I had already 
done, by giving him the perusal of my letters to Congress 
of the 3d of October, &c. 

He said he had written to the Count de Vergennes 
about the delays and embarrassments I had met with, and 
that he received for answer, "that Spain knew her own 
business and interest, and that France had no right to 
press her on such points." 

The Ambassador advised me by all means to continue 
patient and moderate, and to cherish the appearance of our 
being well with this Court. I observed to him that one 
protested bill would dissipate all these appearances. He 
said that was very true ; that he saw difficulties on every 
side, and that he really pitied my situation, for that these 
various perplexities must keep me constantly in a kind of 
purgatory. I told him if he would say mass for me in 
good earnest, I should soon be relieved from it ; he re- 
newed his promise to write, and we parted. 


The next clay, viz. 27ih of January, I received the fol- 
lowing letter from Dr Franklin. 

'•Passy, January 15th, 1782. 

"Dear Sir, 
*01r Grand tells nie. that he hears from Madrid, you are 
uneasy at my long silence. I have had much vexation 
and perplexity lately with the affair of the goods in Hol- 
land, and I have so n)auY urgent correspondences to keep 
up, that some of them at times necessarily suffer. I pur- 
pose writing fully to you next post. In the meantime I 
send the enclosed for your meditation. The ill-timed bills, 
as you justly term them, do us infinite prejudice ; but we 
must not be discouraged. 

1 am ever, with the greatest esteem, &:c. 


The paper abovementioned to be enclosed, is in these 



"Versailles, December 31st, 1781. 

"1 have received the letter you did me the honor to write 
me the 27th instant. I shall not enter into an examination 
of the successive variations and augmentations of your de- 
mands on me for funds to meet your payments. I shall 
merely remark, that whenever you shall consider yourself 
fully authorised to dispose of the proceeds of the Dutch 
loan, on behalf of Congress, 1 will propose to I\I. de Fleury 
to supply you with the million required, as soon as it shall 
have been paid into the royal treasury. But I think it my 


duty, Sir, to inform you, that if Mr INIorris issues drafts on 
this same million, I shall not be able to provide for the pay- 
ment of them, and shall leave them to be protested. I ought 
also to inform you, that there will be nothing more supplied 
than the million abovementioned, and if the drafts, which 
you have already accepted, exceed that sum, it must be for 
you to contrive the means of meeting them. I shall make 
an exception only in favor of those of IMr Morris, provided 
they shall not exceed the remainder of the Dutch loan, 
after deducting the million, which shall be placed at your 
disposal, and the expenses of the loan. 
"I have the honor to be, he. 


"P. S. I remit to you herewith the letter of Mr 

Although this letter of Dr Fi'anklin does not in express 
terms promise me the aid I had desired, yet the general 
tenor of it, together with the grant of the million mentioned 
by the Count de Vergennes, led me to suppose, that on the 
receipt of it he would be able to make me the necessary 
advances. Under this idea 1 returned the following an- 
swer to the Doctor's letter. 

"Madrid, January 30tli, 1782.. 
"My dear Sir. 

"I had yesterday the satisfaction of receiving your favor 
of the 1 5th instant. You will find by a letter, which I 
wrote you on the Uth instant, that I imputed your silence 
to its true cause, being well persuaded, that the same atten- 
tion you have always paid to the public affairs in general, 
would not be withheld from those, which call for it in this 


"I am happy to find, that you have a prospect of termi- 
nating the dilticulties, whicli the bills drawn upon ine have 
occasioned, and though I cannot but observe, that Count 
de V^ergennes' letter is peculiarly explicit and precise, yet 
I must confess, I should not have been surprised if it had 
been conceived in terms still less soft. Would it not be well 
to transmit a copy of it to Congress ? France has done, 
and is still doing so much for us, that gratitude, as well as 
policy, demands from us the utmost moderation and deli- 
cacy in our applications for aids ; and considering the very 
singular plan of drawing bills at a venture, I think we have 
no less reason to admire the patience, than to be satisfied 
with the liberality of our good and generous allies. 

"M. de Neufvilie had given me a hint of the embarrass- 
ments occasioned by the aflfair of our goods in Holland. 

"It seems as if trouble finds its way to you from every 
quarter. Our credit in Holland leans upon you on the 
one hand, and in Spain on the other. Thus you continue, 
like the key-stone of an arch, pressed by both sides and 
yet sustaining each. How grateful ought we to be to 
France for enabling you to do it. 

"Mr Joshua Johnson, in a letter dated the ISth instant, 
mentions the arrival at Nantes, of the brig Betsey from 
Philadelphia, that she brought letters for me, and that the 
captain put them in the post-oflice. None of them have 
as yet reached me. 

"I have received too many unequivocal proofs of your 
kind attention, to render a punctilious return of line for 
line necessary to convince me of it. Let such ideas, 
therefore, be banished, and be assured that matters of 
ceremony and etiquette can never affect the esteem and 
afiectionate regard with which I am, k.c. Sic. 



Not having heard anything further from M. Del Campo 
respecting his instructions, 1 wrote him on that subject as 

"Madrid, February 1st, 1782. 

"Mr Jay presents his compliments to M. Del Campo, 
and requests to be informed whether he has as yet re- 
ceived the instructions necessary to enable him to execute 
his appointment relative to the affairs of the United States 
at this Court. 

"Mr Jay begs leave again to mention his being ready 
and anxious to enter, with M. Del Campo, into the discus- 
sion of these affairs at any time and place that may be 
agreeable to him." 

On the 5th of February, I received die following answer. 


"M. Del Campo has the honor to address his compli- 
ments to Mr Jay, and to transmit him several bundles of 
letters, which he has just received. He regrets that he is 
obliged to inform Mr Jay, that the Count, by reason of the 
delicate state of his health, and other difficulties, has not 
yet been able to arrange the instructions under consider- 
ation. The Pardo, February 3d, 1782." 

The packets mentioned in the above note were the first 
public letters I have had the honor of receiving from you. 

I afterwards found that these despatches were brought 
to Cadiz from Philadelphia by the brig Hope. How they 
came into M. Del Campo's hands I am not informed. 
On the same day (February 5th, 1782,) I received a 
letter from Dr Franklin, which almost entirely dissipated 
my hopes of aid from him. The following extract from 


it, contains every part of it except a few paragraphs that 
have no relation to our affairs here. 

'■Passy, January 10th, 1782. 
"Dear Sir, 

"In mine of the 15th, I mentioned my intention of 
writing fully to you by this day's post. But understanding 
since, that a courier will soon go from Versailles, I rather 
choose that conveyance. 

*'I received duly your letter of November 21st, but it 
found me in a very perplexed situation. I had great pay- 
ments to make for the extravagant and very inconvenient 
purchase in Holland, together with large acceptances by 
Mr Adams, of bills drawn on Mr Laurens and himself, 
and I had no certainty of providing the money. I had 
also a quarrel upon my hands with Messrs de Neufville and 
others, owners of two vessels hired by Gillon to carry the 
goods he had contracted to carry in his own ship. I had 
worried this friendly and generous Court with often re- 
peated after-clap demands, occasioned by these unadvised, 
(as well as ill advised) antl, therefore, unexpected drafts, 
and was ashamed to show my face to the Minister. In 
these circumstances, I knew not what answer to make you. 
I could not encourage you to expect the relief desired, 
and, having still some secret hope, I was unwilling to dis- 
courage you, and thereby occasion a protest of bills, which 
possibly 1 might find means of enabling you to pay. Thus 
I delayed writing perhaps too long. 

"But to this moment, I have obtained no assurance of 
having it in my power to aid you, though no endeavors on 
my part have been wanting. We have been assisted with 
near twenty millions since the beginning of last year, be- 
sides a fleet and army ; and yet I am obliged to worry 



them with my solicitations for more, which makes us ap- 
pear insatiable. 

"This letter will not go before Tuesda)'. Perhaps by 
that time I may be able to say explicitly yes or no. 

"I am very sensible of your unhappy situation, and I 
believe you feel as much for me. 

"You mention my proposing to repay the sum you want 
in America. I tried that last year. I drew a bill on Con- 
gress for a considerable sum to be advanced me here, and 
paid there in provisions for the French troops. My bill 
Was not honored. 

"I was in hopes the loan in Holland, if it succeeded, 
being for ten millions, would have made us all easy. It 
was long uncertain. It is now completed. But, un- 
fortunately. It has most of it been eaten up by advances 
here. You see by the letter of which I sent you a copy, 
upon what terms I obtain another million of it. That (if I 
get it) will enable me to pay the thirty thousand dollars 
you have borrowed, for we must not let your friend suffer. 
What I am to do afterwards God knows. 

"I am much surprised at the dilatory and reserved con- 
duct of your Court. I know not to what amount you have 
obtained aids from it, but if they are not considerable, it 
were to be wished you had never been sent there, as the 
slight they have put upon our offered friendship is very 
disreputable to us, and, of course, hurtful to our affafrs 
elsewhere. I think they are short-sighted, and do not 
look very far into futurity, or they would seize with avidity 
so excellent an opportunity of securing a neighbor's friend- 
ship, which may hereafter be of great consequence to 
their American affairs. 

"If I were in Congress I should advise your being in- 


structed to thank them for past favors, and take your 
leave. As 1 am situated, I do not presume to give you 
such advice, nor could you take it if I should. But I con- 
ceive there would be nothing amiss in your mentioning in 
a short memoir, the length of time elapsed since the date 
of tl)e secret arlicle, and since your arrival, to urge their 
determination upon it, and pressing them to give you an 
explicit, definitive, immediate answer, whether they would 
enter into treaty with us or not, and in case of refusal, 
solicit your recall, that you may not continue from year 
to year at a great expense, in a constant state of uncer- 
tainty with regard to so important a matter. I do not see 
how they can decently refuse such an answer. But their 
silence, after iJie demand made, should in my opinion be 
understood as a refusal, and we should act accordingly. 
I think I see a very good use that might be made of it, 
which I will not venture to explain in this letter. 

"I know not how the account of your salary stands, but 
I would have you draw upon me for a quarter at present, 
which shall be paid, and it will be a great pleasure to me if 
I shall be able to pay up all your arrears. 

'^IVIr Laurens being now at liberty perhaps may soon 
come here, and be ready to join us if there should be 
any negotiations for peace. In England they are mad 
for a separate one with us, that they may more effectually 
take revenge on France and Spain. I have had several 
overtures hinted to me lately from different quarters, but I 
am deaf. The thing is impossible. We can never agree to 
desert our first and our faithful friend on any consideration 
whatever. We should become infamous by such abom- 
inable baseness. 

"With great and sincere esteem, I am ever, &ic. 


60 * JOHN JAY. 

You will easily perceive, Sir, that iny situation now 
became very unpleasant ; largely indebted to M. Cabarrus, 
and without funds, as well as almost without the hopes of 
speedily procuring any, either to satisfy him or pay the 
swarm of bills that would be payable in the next month. 

IM. Cabarrus had offered to advance, or rather to sup- 
ply me with any sum of money, that the Minister would 
authorise him to furnish, on the same terms on which he 
procured money for the government. The answer I re- 
ceived to this proposition was, that the government had 
occasion for all the money that M. Cabarrus could possi- 
bly collect. He also repeatedly offered to advance the 
money wanted for the month of March, if the Minister or 
the Ambassador of France would become responsible for 
the repayment of it, with interest, within a reasonable time, 
sometimes mentioning seven months, and at others extend- 
ing it to ten or twelve. The Ambassador did not con- 
ceive himself authorised to enter into any such engage- 
ment, and the Minister remained silent; M. Cabarrus 
began to grow uneasy, and a day was appointed between 
us to confer on this subject. Some intervening business, 
however, prevented his attendance, and on the 10th of 
February he wrote me the following letter. 


"Madrid, February 10th, 1782. 

"I was summoned yesterday to the Pardo, which pre- 
vented me from paying you my respects as I had intended. 
Not knowing whether I shall be able to do it before Tues- 
day, I write to inform you, that it will be necessary for me 
to know on what I am to depend in regard to the reim- 


bursement you were to make me by drafts on Paris. You 
are aware, that I have actually advanced seven hundred 
and fifty thousand reals vellon. Independently of this 
sum, on the 14th of March, which we are now approach- 
ing, nearly thirtyfive thousand dollars of your bills will 
become due. I will not conceal from you, that although 
this double advance is neither beyond my means nor ray 
disposition, yet the former is entirely absorbed by the ne- 
cessities of the government, so that I shall be the more 
desirous, that you would enable me to meet these engage- 
ments, as I shall always find a difficulty in disposing of 
your paper. I speak to you frankly, since 1 shall always 
endeavor, as 1 have heretofore done, to serve you in the 
same spirit. 

"I have the honor to be, &:c. 


By way of answer to this letter, I instructed jNlr Car- 
michael to inform Al. Cabarrus of the exact state I was in, 
with respect to my expectations of aid both here and from 
France, for I did not choose to commit a matter of this 
kind in writing to M. Cabarrus's discretion. I could not 
give hira positive assurances of being speedily repaid, either 
by a credit on Dr Franklin, or by money to be obtained 
here, but I submitted to his consideration the improbabil- 
ity, that this or the French Court would permit these bills 
to be protested, and assured him, that Dr Franklin was 
using his best endeavors in our favor, and had so far suc- 
ceeded as to encourage me to expect, that he would soon 
be able at least to replace the sum, which M. Cabarrus had 
already advanced to me. 

The next day, viz. the 11th of February, I wailed upon 
the Ambassador of France. I represented to him in the 


Strongest terms the critical situation of our credit, and 
communicated to him the contents, both of Dr Franklin 
and M. Cabarrus' letters. 

I requested him to speak seriously and pressingly to the 
Minister on the subject, and to remind him, that M. Cab- 
arrus' offer was of such a nature as to remove any objec- 
tion, that could arise from the low state of the public funds. 
The Ambassador was just then setting out for the Pardo. 
He promised to speak to the Minister accordingly, and 
that his Secretary, the Chevalier de Bourgoing, (who has 
been very friendly, and given himself much trouble on this 
occasion) should inform me of the result in the evening. 

I received in the evening the following letter from the 
Chevalier de Bourgoing, viz. 


"The dreadful weather today prevents me from com- 
ing to inform you orally, what M. de Montmorin has to 
communicate to you in pursuance of his interview of this 
morning. I give you the result briefly. 

"The Minister being informed of yom- embarrassment 
feels for you sincerely, and would be glad to remedy it. 
He will make every effort, but as the actual necessities of 
the government are pressing, he cannot answer for his suc- 
cess. He assures Mr Jay, that if the misfortune he ap- 
prehends should take place, Mr Jay may be perfectly easy 
in regard to personal consequences, as the Minister will 
take care that no inconvenience shall follow it. 

"I have thought that these few lines would serve to 
calm your apprehensions, until M. de Montmorin shall 
have an opportunity to give you further information. 
"I have the honor to be, &c. 



I returned by the bearer of the above letter the follow- 
ing answer. 

'Olr Jay presents his compliments to the Chevalier de 
Bourgoina^ The Minister's answer to the Ambassador is 
polite and cautious, and if sincere (which time can only 
ascertain) will demand jNlr Jay's thanks and acknowledg- 

"The Minister is mistaken if he supposes that Mr Jay 
views personal consequences as of any other importance, 
than as they may affect the politkal interests of the two 
countries ; and when considered in that light, they merit a 
degree of attention to which mere personal considerations 
could not entitle them. 

"Mr Jny requests the favor of the Chevalier to present 
his cordial acknowledgments to the Ambassador for his 
friendly interposition on this occasion, and to assure him 
that Mr Jay will never cease to be influenced by the grati- 
tude, which every American owes to the first friend and 
steadfast ally of the United States. Madrid, February 
lUh, 1782." 

I also wrote this evening to Dr Franklin, and I insert the 
following extracts from the letter, because they contain mat- 
ters proper for you to know. 

"Madrid, February Uth, 1782. 
"Dear Sir, 

"I have been so engaged these two days, as not to have 
had time to reply fully to yours of the 19th ult. 

"I flattered myself that the loan in Holland would have 
afforded funds for all our bills and present demands, and 
am sorry to hear that this is not the case. Could not that 
loan be extended to a further sum ? 

64 ' JOHN JAY. 

"The conduct of this Court bears iew marks of wisdom. 
The fact is, they have little money, less credit, and very 
moderate talents. 

"My ideas correspond exactly with yours respecting the 
propriety of presenting such a memoir as you propose. 
The Ambassador of France, however, is decided against it, 
and it appeaij^ to me imprudent to disregard his opposition. 

"1 have not as yet received a single letter by or from 
the Marquis de Lafayette. 

"I am, he. JOHN JAY." 

On the I5ih of February, the first advices of the sur- 
render of Fort St Philip arrived, and the Ambassador of 
France having been informed at the Pardo, that M. Del 
Campo's instructions would be completed by the end of the 
week, I thought both these circumstances rendered it pro- 
per that I should pay the Minister a visit. I accordingly 
went to the Pardo the next evening. The Minister was 
too much indisposed (as was said) to see company. He 
sent me an apology, and a request that I would speak to 
M. Del Campo, who was then in the Secretary's office. I 
did so. 

I found M. Del Campo surrounded by suitors. He re- 
ceived me with great and unusual civility, and carried me 
into his private apartment. I told him, that as he was evi- 
dently very busy, I could not diink of sitting down, and 
wished only to detain him a few minutes. He said, that 
he was indeed much engaged, but that we might neverthe- 
less take a cup of chocolate together. I mentioned to him 
in a summary way, the amount of the bills which remained 
to be paid, and the promises made by the Minister to the 
Ambassador on that subject, desiring that he would be so 


obliging as to give that business all the despatch in his 
power. He replied, that the urgent demands of govern- 
ment rendered advances of money very inconvenient. That 
the Minister had not mentioned to him anything on that 
head, but that he would speak to him about it. I told him, 
that as the greater part of these bills would be payable in 
March, I was anxious to see the arrangements for paying 
them speedily made. That my hopes were chiefly con- 
fined to this Court, for that France having this year sup- 
plied us with near twenty millions, besides a fleet and 
army, it would be unreasonable to ask for more. To this 
he remarked, that France received from us with one hand 
(in the way of commerce) what she paid out with the 
other, whereas Spain was called upon for supplies without 
enjoying any such advantage. I told him, if he had been 
more at leisure it would have given me pleasure to have 
entered with him into the discussion of that point ; 1 never- 
theless observed, that Spain was indebted to the American 
war for the recovery of West Florida, and the possession 
of Minorca, and that the time would come and was ap- 
proaching when Spain would derive essential benefit from 
our trade and independence. That he overrated the value 
of our commerce to France, which at present did not com- 
pensate for the expenses she sustained on our account. 

I mentioned to him M. Cabarrus' offer in very precise 
terms, and told him, I was glad to liear from the Ambas- 
sador, that his instructions were nearly completed. He 
avoided saying, whether they were or not, but answered, 
generally, that he hoped things would soon be settled to 
the satisfaction of all parties; that it would always give him 
pleasure to treat with me ; lliat he was much my friend ; 
that he esteemed my private character, and many such 



like compliments improper as well as unnecessary for 
me to commit to paper. He promised to speak to the 
Minister, and to write me his answer. I desired him to 
present my congratulations to the Count, and to inform him 
how much I regretted the indisposition, which prevented 
his seeing company that evening. 

All this looked very fair, but experience had taught me 
that professions were sometimes insincere. On the ISth 
of February, I communicated the substance of this confer- 
ence to the Ambassador of France, requesting him to re- 
mind the Minister of his promise, and to press the import- 
ance of his performing it. The Ambassador promised to 
take every proper opportunity of doing it. On the 24ih of 
February your letter by the Marquis de Lafayette arrived 

On die 25th of February I received the following letter 
from M. Cabarrus, viz. 


"Madrid, February 25th, 1782. 

"I have the honor to remit you herewith three accounts, 
relative to the payments made for you, viz. 

"One of the 4 th of October last, signed by the former 
house of Cabarrus and Aguirre, for payment of which I 
have credited you 46,447 reals vellon. A second, signed by 
me the 7th of November following, settled by 135,715-10 
reals vellon, carried to your credit. A third signed also 
by me, dated the 19th inst, and balanced by 667,170-17 
reals vellon, which I have credited you with. In support 
of these accounts, I transmit you the original vouchers, and 
beg you to proceed to the verification of both, to assure 
me of their reception and correctness. I flatter myself 


tiial you will take measures for my speedy reimbursement, 
and 1 ask it with the more urgency, as I have a pressing 
necessity for this sum, on the payment of which I have 
relied. [ have the honor lo be, &lc. 


Tljis letter needs no comments ; it breathes the fears 
and precautions of a creditor, striving to make the most of a 
failing debtor, and therefore I considered this letter as in- 
auspicious. I returned a verbal answer, that an examina- 
tion of these accounts must precede a settlement of them, 
and that as to a speedy payment of the balance due to him, 
he knew my exact situation. 

A day or two before the date of this letter, M. Cabarrus 
had a conference with the Minister on these subjects, and 
according to jM. Cabarrus' representations, the Minister 
then declared, that he would pay the balance due on the 
one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, and no more ; that 
the King was dissatisfied at America's having made no re- 
turns to his good offices, either in ships or flour, Sec. he. ; 
that he had mentioned to me a year ago his desire of 
having the men-of-war building in New England, but had 
not yet received an answer, &ic. 

It appeared to me very extraordinary, that the Minister 
should promise the Ambassador to do his best, and yet tell 
M. Cabarrus that he would do nothing, and yet so I believe 
were the facts. 

The next morning, viz. 2Gth of February, I paid the 
Ambassador an early visit, and mentioned these circum- 
stances to him minutely. 1 expressed my apprehensions, 
that the pretended discontents of the King belonged to the 
same system of delays and pretexts, with which we had been 


SO long amused ; and which in this instance were probably 
dictated by a desire of avoiding inconvenient advances. 

I reminded him, that Dr Franklin had given me expec- 
tations of his being able to replace the money I had bor- 
rowed of M. Cabarrus, and that this sum, added to the 
balance to be paid by the Court, would reduce the re- 
mainder of the money wanted to less than twenty thousand 
pounds sterling ; and that it would appear a little surprising 
in the eyes of Europe as well as America, that our credit 
should be permitted either by France or Spain to suffer 
essential injury for the want of such a sum. I requested 
him to advise me what to do. He said that he knew not 
what advice to give me ; that he saw no resources any- 
where ; that he should dismiss a courier on Saturday next, 
and that he would again write to the Count de Vergennes 
on the subject. 1 observed to him, that the answer if fa- 
vorable would probably come too late, as a great number 
of the bills would become payable about the 14th of 
March. He replied, that if the Court should resolve to 
supply the money, he should soon be informed of it. 

We had some conversation about the Marquis de La- 
fayette. The Ambassador spoke well of him, and as a 
proof of the confidence of Congress in the attachment of 
that nobleman, I mentioned my having received orders to 
correspond with him. 

I then drew the conversation to our affairs in Holland, 
and the prospects of an alliance with the Dutch. He said 
those prospects were less fair than ever ; for that though 
Mr Weniworth had been sent there by England on pre- 
tence of settling a cartel, yet that his real business was to 
negotiate a separate peace. I observed that in my opinion 
England would be the first nation to acknowledge our 


independence, (for there are many reasons that induce me 
to think that France does not in fact wish to see us treated 
as independent by other nations until after a peace, lest we 
should become less manageable in proportion as our de- 
pendence upon iier siiall diminish.) I threw out this opinion 
to see how it would strike him. He made a short pause, 
and then asked me if I had heard that Lord Germain had 
resigned ? I told him I had, and as he chose to wave the 
subject I did not resume it, lest he should from my press- 
ing it suspect that I meant more than a casual remark. 
The conversation then turned upon our affairs here. I re- 
marked, that the friends of Spain in America must greatly 
diminish, that the manner we were treated by this Court was 
far from conciliatory, and that it would perhaps have been 
better as things have turned out, if America had not sent 
a Minister here. He gave into this opinion, but added, we 
must be contented here now during the war ; that Spain 
was necessary ; that she was to be treated like a mistress. 
He also said, that if I had been landed in France instead 
of Spain, I should not probably have come to Madrid so 
soon as I did, and was going to explain himself, when the 
entry of his servants with breakfast interrupted us. 

Having made it a rule to give Dr Franklin frequent and 
minute information of my situation, I wrote him the follow- 
ing letter by the Ambassador's courier. 

"Madrid, March 1st, 1782. 

"My dear Sir, 
"I have lately received a very friendly letter from the 
Marquis de Lafayette, covering some despatches from Mr 
Livingston. I find that the objects of his voyage are inter- 
esting to us, and that it is the desire of Congress, that we 
should correspond with him. My answer to his letter is 
herewith enclosed, Pemse and dispose of it. 



"I liave given him a summary account of my situation 
liere ; he will doubtless be willing and perhaps able to 
afford you assistance relative to the difficulties it imposes 
upon you. 

"The Minister has ordered the balance due (about 
twentysix thousand dollars,) on the one hundred and fifty 
thousand dollars, to be paid to M. Cabarrus on my account, 
and has through him informed me that no more is to be 

"M. Cabarrus is exceedingly anxious about the money 
we owe him, and which the twentysix thousand dollars he 
is to receive will not pay. 

"He declines making further advances. The Ambassa- 
dor of France can afford me no resources. M. Cabarrus 
is ready to supply what we may want, on the promise of 
either France or Spain to repay him in ten or twelve 

"The Ambassador will write (by a courier to France, 
who sets out tomorrow) on these subjects to the Court. 
All that remains in my power is to endeavor to keep the 
public creditors quiet until his or your final answer shall 
arrive. That this Court should permit our credit to be 
ruined for the want of about tvventyfive thousand pounds 
sterling, does not greatly surprise me ; but 1 should be 
astonished if the Minister of France should act the same 
part, for I have a high opinion of his wisdom. 
"I am, he. 


I forbear inserting my letter to the Marquis, because 
and my former letters render it unnecessary. I solicited 
))is immediate attention to the slate of our bills, &c. 


As ihere conld be no doubt, but that the Minister men- 
tioned to iM. Cabarrus the King's discontents, by way of 
apology for not granting further supplies, and with design 
that they should be represented to me in that light, I 
thought it prudent to write to the Minister on the subject, 
although in other circumstances it might have been more 
proper for me to have omitted taking notice of such an in- 
direct communication. I wrote him as follows. 

"Madrid, March 2d, 1782. 


"M. Gardoqui informed me yesterday, that he had re- 
ceived an order to pay to M. Cabarrus on my account 
twentysix thousand dollars, being somewhat more than the 
balance due on the one hundred and fifty tiiousand dol- 
lars, and for which be pleased to accept my thanks and 

"As the residue of the bills drawn upon me by Congress 
does not amount to a great sum, and as M. Cabarrus had 
generously offered to furnish it, provided your Excellency 
would gtve him assurances of its being repaid in ten or 
twelve months, I had flattered myself, that his ^Majesty's 
friendship for my country would have induced him, by this 
further proof of his goodness, to save the necessity I shall 
otherwise be under to protest them, and thereby ruin the 
credit of Congress at so critical a period. 

"It is with great pain I hear his Majesty is displeased 
with the silence of Congress respecting returns, on their 
part, to the friendship of Spain, and particularly in not 
having offered to comply with the propositions made by 
your Excellency, relative to the ships building in New 
England, &tc. &ic. 

"Permit me to observe to your Excellency, that the 


long and constant expectation of M. Gardoqui's arrival in 
America, with full powers on these subjects, naturally in- 
duced Congress to postpone coming to any resolution on 
them, until they should have the pleasure of seeing him. 
They were well apprised of my ignorance respecting such 
matters, and, therefore, could not with any propriety 
refer to my discretion the entering into engagements on 
subjects, with which I was wholly unacquainted. I am 
authorised to assure your Excellency of the readiness of 
Congress to make every return in their power to the kind- 
ness of his Majesty, and there is reason to hope, that by 
the end of the next campaign, their abilities may be more 
proportionate to their wishes than they have hitherto been. 

"Your Excellency will also be pleased to recollect, that 
the propositions of Congress respecting the Mississippi 
evince a strong desire to oblige his Majesty, and that 
reason has been given me to hope, that their compliance in 
that instance would be followed by new proofs of his Maj- 
esty's good disposition towards us. 

"1 must candidly confess to your Excellency, that I now 
find myself entirely without resources. 

"The Ambassador of France can afford me no assist- 
ance, and my only remaining hope arises from that reli- 
ance on his Majesty's friendship and magnanimity, which 
your Excellency has so often encouraged me to entertain 
and confide in. 

"1 have the honor to be, he. Sic. 


This letter, if I may use the expression, might have 
been higher mounted, and the strange conduct of this 
Court would have justified my writing in a different style, 
but I feared that offence might have been taken, though, 


perhaps, for no other purpose than to cover a refusal to 
aid us with a jjlausible pretext. 

Although I had little confidence in M. Del Campo's 
late professions of friendship, yet, as the present occasion 
afforded an opportunity of trying their sincerity, and as 
men ill-disposed towards us are sometimes pushed into 
acts of friendship, merely by an opinion of their being 
thought friendly, I enclosed the above letter in the follow-, 
ing-note to him. • 

"Madrid, March 2(1, 1782. 

'Olr Jay presents his compliments to M. Del Campo, 
and takes the liberty of enclosing a letter to his Excel- 
lency, the Count de Florida Blanca, which he requests 
the favor of him to deliver. 

"M. Del Campo may not, perhaps, in future have an 
opportunity of rendering a more welcome and interesting 
proof of his friendship for America than at present : and 
Mr Jay will esteem his country and himself greatly obli- 
ged by M. Del Campo's friendly attention and interposition 
on this occasion." 

A week elapsed without my receiving any answer 
either from the Minister or M. Del Campo. The time 
when our bills would be due was drawing very nigh. 
My expectations of aid from France were at best uncer- 
tain, and every consideration urged me not to leave any- 
thing in my power undone here, to avoid the catastrophe 
I had so much reason to apprehend. I therefore conclu- 
ded to wait on the Minister, and in a plain and pointed 
manner enter into a derail of the reasons given us to ex- 
pect supplies from this Court, and the impolicy of with- 
holding them. 

VOL. VIII. 10 


For this purpose I went to the Pardo on the 9th of 

The Minister received me with great cordiality ; he was 
in uncommon good spirits. He entered largely into the 
nature of his indisposition ; the effect of the weather upon 
his nerves, and how much he found himself the better for 
the last three fine days ; and after we had conversed awhile 
about the conquest of Minorca, and the importance of it, 
he said he supposed that T wished also to speak to him 
on the subject of our affairs. 

I told him that was really the case, for diat the bills, 
which remained to be paid, and the want of funds for the 
purpose, gave me great uneasiness. He interrupted me 
by remarking, that he had ordered the balance due on the 
one hundred and fifty thousand dollars to be paid. That 
the public exigencies had even rendered this payment in- 
convenient, but that he was an honest man, a man of his 
word, and, therefore, as he had promised me that sum, he 
was determined that I should not be disappointed. That 
as to further aids he could promise nothing 'positively, that 
he would do his best, and shrugging his shoulders, inti- 
mated that he was not Minister of Finance. 

I observed, that the sum now wanted was not very con- 
siderable, and that M. Cabarrus' offer rendered the ad- 
vancing of it very easy. He was in a very good humor ; 
and after a few hesitations, he told me cheerfully and 
smilingly, that when 1 found myself very hard pressed, I 
should desire M. Cabarrus to wait upon him. 

This I considered as an implied consent to comply with 
M. Cabarrus' offer, in case such a step should become 
absolutely necessary to save our bills; and I imagined he 
chose to delay it as long as possible, in hopes that the 


French Ambassador might in the meantime interpose his 
credit, as he had before done on a similar occasion. I 
was content that the matter should rest there, and would 
not hazard losing what I thought I had gained by requiring 
more at present. 

I thanked him for this mark of favor, and then turned 
the conversation to Major Franks' arrival, and my anxiety 
to communicate some certain intelligence to Congress 
relative to the proposed treaty, and what they might ex- 
pect on that head. 

The Count went into a detail of excuses for the delays 
which had ensued since our leaving St Ildefonso. His 
indisposition and that of M. Del Campo, his forgetting 
to give M. Del Campo the papers, and M. Del Campo's 
neglecting to ask for them, were the chief topics from 
which these excuses were drawn. He said the Ambassa- 
dor of France had talked to him about the matter eight 
days ago ; and he promised me that the conferences 
should begin at Aranjues, to which place the Court would 
soon remove. He authorised me to communicate this to 
Congress, adding, that pressing business obliged him to 
postpone it till then, though I might now begin to speak on 
the subject to IM. Del Campo if I pleased. 

I remarked, that 1 had so often disappointed Congress 
by giving tliem reason soon to expect IM. Gardoqui, that 
I wished to be enabled to give them accurate information 
on that point. He replied, that a variety of particular cir- 
cumstances had intervened to prevent his departure, but 
that he certainly should go unless he made personal objec- 
tions to it, and that I might tell Congress so. 

I rose to take my leave. He repeated what lie had be- 
fore said respecting my sending M. Cabarrus to him, and 


assured me of his disposition to do what he could for us. 
I again thanked him, and we parted in great good humor. 

It is remarkable, that during the course of this confer- 
ence, which was free and diffusive, the Minister did not 
mention a syllable of the King's discontents, nor hint the 
least dissatisfaction at the conduct of Congress towards this 
Court. I cautiously avoided making any harsh strictures 
on the delays I constantly met with, and though the Min- 
ister's excuses for them were frivolous and merely osten- 
sible, yet it could have answered no good purpose to have 
declared that opinion of them, especially at so delicate a 
period of our affairs. 

As many bills to a considerable amount would be paya- 
ble on the 14th of March, I thought it high time that the 
Minister should declare his intentions at least a day or 
two before, and therefore I desired M. Cabarrus to wait 
upon the Minister, and confer with him on the subject. 
M. Cabarrus accordingly went to the Pardo on the even- 
ing of the llth of March. He saw the Minister, and 
mentioned the purpose of his visit. The Minister said. I 
must have misunderstood him ; that it was not until the 
last extremity that I was to send him, and he desired M. 
Cabarrus to inform him when that should arrive. M. 
Cabarrus repeated to me his former offers, and assured 
me that nothing on his part should be wanting. 

The Madrid Gazette of the 12th of March contained a 
paragraph, of which you ought not to be ignorant. I shall 
therefore copy it verbatim, and add a translation as literal 
as I can make it. 

"By a letter from the Commandant General of the army 
of operations at the Havanna, and Governor of Louisiana, 
his Majesty has advices, that a detachment of sixtyfive 


militia men and sixty Indians of the nations Otaguos, Sotu, 
and Putuami, under the command of Don Eugenio Purre, 
a captain of militia, accompanied by Don Carlos Tayon, 
a sub-lieutenant of militia, by Don Luis Chevalier, a man 
well versed in the language of the Indians, and by their 
great chiefs Eleturno and Naquigen, who marched the 
2d of January, 1781, from the town of St Luis of the 
Illinois, had possessed themselves of the Post of St Joseph, 
which the English occupied at two hundred and twenty 
leagues distance from that of the abovementioned St Luis, 
having suffered in so extensive a march, and so rigorous 
a season, the greatest inconveniences from cold and hun- 
ger, exposed to continual risks from the country being 
possessed by savage nations, and having to pass over parts 
covered with snow, and each one being obliged to carry 
provisions for his own subsistence, and various merchan- 
dises, which were necessary to content, in case of need, 
the barbarous nations through whom they were obliged to 
cross. The commander, by seasonable negotiations and 
precautions, prevented a considerable body of Indians, who 
were at the devotion of the English, from opposing this 
expedition ; for it would otherwise have been difficult to 
have accomplished the taking of the said post. They 
made prisoners of the few English they found in it, the 
others having perhaps retired in consequence of some prior 
notice. Don Eugenio Purre took possession in the name 
of the King of that place and its dependencies, and of tiie 
river of the Illinois ; in consequence whereof the standard 
of his Majesty was there displayed during the whole time. 
He took the English one, and delivered it on his arrival at 
St Luis to Don Francisco Cruyot, the commandant of that 

78 JOHiN JAY. 

"The destruction of the magazine of provisions and 
goods, which the English had there (the greater part of 
which was divided among our Indians and those who lived 
at St Joseph, as had been offered them in case they did 
not oppose our troops) was not the only advantage result- 
ing from the success of this expedition, for thereby it be- 
came impossible for the English to execute their plan of 
attacking the fort of St Luis of the Illinois ; and it also 
served to intimidate these savage nations, and oblige them 
to promise to remain neuter, which they do at present." 

When you consider the ostensible object of this expedi- 
tion, the distance of it, the formalities with which the 
place, the country, and the river were taken possession of 
in the name of his Catholic Majesty, I am persuaded it 
will not be necessary for me to swell this letter with re- 
marks, that would occur to a reader of far less penetra- 
tion than yourself. 

I will therefore return to our bills. 

The 14ih of March arrived, the bills then due were 
presented, and I prevailed upon the holders of them to 
wait till the next day at noon for my answer. As the 
last extremity in the most literal sense had now arrived, I 
presumed that the Minister would not think me too hasty 
in requesting his determination. I wrote him the follow- 
ing letter, and sent it by the post, which passes every even- 
ing between Madrid and the Court. 

"Madrid, March I4th, 1782. 
"Bills to a considerable amount have been presented 
to me this afternoon for payment. The holders of them 
consent to wait until tomorrow noon for my positive and 
final answer. 


"Your Excellency is too well apprised of everything 
that can be said on this subject, to render it necessary for 
me to multiply observations upon it. 

"I have no reason to expect aid from France, and I 
request the favor of your Excellency to inform me ex- 
plicitly whether 1 may flatter myself with any, and what 
relief from the friendly interposition of his Majesty. 
"I have the honor to be, he. 


I thought it advisable to send a copy of the above 
letter to the Ambassador of France with the following 

"jNIr Jay presents his compliments to his Excellency, 
the Ambassador of France, and has the honor of transmit- 
ting herewith enclosed a copy of a letter he has written 
this evening to the Count de Florida Blanca. 

"The Ambassador will perceive from this letter in what 
a critical situation Mr Jay finds himself. He requests the 
favor of the Ambassador's advice, and will do himself the 
honor of wailing upon him in the morning to receive it. 

"Madrid, Thursday Evening, March. 14th, 1782." 

Qn this day, being Thursday, on which day in every 
week M. Cabarrus had for some time past kept an open 
table, M. DelCampo was unexpectedly one of the guests, 
having visited M. Cabarrus but once before on those days. 
Mr Carmichael was present. Some earnest and private 
conversation passed between M. Del Campo and M. Ca- 
barrus. In the afternoon Mr Carmichael, by my desire, 
pressed M. Cabarrus to write 10 the Minister, that on 
the morrow our bills must be either paid or protested. 


M. Cabarrus replied, that he had already given that infor- 
mation to M. Del Campo, and that he would not risk that 
gentleman's displeasure by repeating it to the Minister, for 
it would look as if he doubted M. Del Carapo's attention 
to it. Mr Carmichael informed me at the same time, that 
M. Cabarrus' manner appeared changed and somewhat 

On the morning of the 15th of March, I waited on the 
Ambassador. He promised to speak to the Minister that 
morning to obtain his final answer, and if possible to render 
it favorable. On his return from the Pardo, he wrote me 
the following letter. 


"March 15th, 1782. 


"I have just come from the Pardo. The Count de 
Florida Blanca had not received your letter of yesterday, 
but I supplied the deficiency by explaining to him your 
critical and difficult situation. He told me that you might 
accept the drafts to the amount of fifty thousand dollars, 
provided M. Cabarrus remains in the same disposition he 
has displayed hitherto, relative to the time he would wait 
for the reimbursement of the sums he has advanced for 
this purpose. You can, therefore, make an arrangement 
with M. Cabarrus for the acceptance of the bills to the 
amount of forty or fifty thousand .dollars, and show him 
this note as his security. 

"1 hope that this sum will relieve you from your present 
embarrassment, and give you time to adopt measures for 
meeting the bills, which shall hereafter become due. 

"Although this information is not so fully satisfactory as 


I could wish, 1 take pleasure in communicating it to you, 
with assurances of my sincere and inviolable attachment. 

You will iloubtless think with me it was very extraordi- 
nary, that tlie Minister should not have received my letter 
sent him yesterday by the Court courier. Why and by 
whose means it was kept back can only be conjectured. 
Had not the Ambassador's application supplied the want of 
it, a pretext for the Minister's silence would thence have 
arisen. The letter did not in fact miscarry, for the Minister 
afterwards received it. The Minister's caution in making 
his becoming engaged for the advances in question to de- 
pend on M. Cabarrus' persisting in the same dispositions he 
had lately declared, relative to the time he would be content 
to wait for a reimbursement, is somewhat singular, consider- 
ing that his ofTers on that head had been ref»eatedly and 
explicitly communicated to the Minister, and to the Ambas- 
sador of France, both by him and by me. Immediately on 
receiving the Ambassador's letter, I gave it to ^Ir Carmi- 
chael with instructions to show it to M. Cabarrus, and bring 
me back his answer without delay, for I was then expecting 
the notary and others with bills. 

Mr Carmichael returned and informed me, that he had 
communicated the letter to M. Cabarrus, and that instead 
of abiding by his former offer, to be content with the Min- 
ister's engaging to see him repaid in ten or twelve months, 
he insisted on being repaid in four months, in four 
equal monthly payments, and those payments secured by 
orders on the rents of the general post-oflicc, and that M. 
Cabarrus promised either to write or speak to the Minister 
about it. 

82 JOHiN JAY. 

A new application to the Minister became necessaryj 
and consequently further time and indulgence from the 
holders of the bills was to be solicited. 

I told the notary, that I was in treaty with M. Cabarrus 
for the supplies I wanted, and that one or two articles re- 
mained to be adjusted, which could not be done till the 
next day. 

T therefore requested him to suspend the protest for 
twentyfour hours more, and to apply to the holders of the 
bills for permission, adding that near twenty of them be- 
longed to M. Cabarrus, and that from the friendly conduct 
of several of the others I had reason to flatter myself, that 
they would readily consent. He seemed surprised at what 
I said respecting my expectations from M. Cabarrus, and 
with a degree of indignation told me, that M. Cabarrus 
was hiore pressing than any of the others, and had already 
sent hini tvto messages to conclude the matter with me 
without delay, that he had received one of the messages the 
day before, and the other that n.iorning. He nevertheless 
cheerfully undertook to obtain permission from the holders 
of the bills to wait till the next afiernoon, and succeeded 
in it. 

The next morning, viz. the 16th of March, I waited 
upon die Ambassador. I mentioned to him these sev- 
eral facts, and told hitn, that n)y hopes from IM. Cabarrus 
were at an end, for that exclusive of other circumstances 
it was not probable that, considering his lucrative connex- 
ions with government, he would risk treating the promise 
of the Minister, made in consequence of his own offer, with 
so litUe respect, as to demand such formal and unusual 
securities for the performance of it, unless there had been 
some previous concert, or indirect management in the case. 


The Ambassador declined assenting to this opinion. He 
promised to see the Minister, with whom he was that day 
to dine, and to send me his positive and final answer by 
four o'clock ill the afternoon. 

Having prepared the draft of a protest, I thought it 
would not be amiss to show it to the Ambassador. He re- 
turned it to me without making any other remark, than 
that it was rather pointed. 

From the Ambassador's 1 went to JM. Cabarrus' ; he 
jiad not been at the Pardo, and was then at a meeting of 
merchants, to whose consideration his plan of a bank had 
been referred. 

The Ambassador went to the Pardo and mentioned the 
matter to the JMinister, who replied briefly, "that affair is 
already arranged with M. Cabarrus," but the Chevalier de 
Bourgoing, having been desired to bring back a decided 
answer, applied to M. Del Campo on the subject, wJio 
told him, "that they could not possibly comply with M. 
Cabarrus' terms ; that he had written so that morning to 
M. Cabarrivs by a private courier, and that in the evening" 
the Minister would repeat it to him officially." On the 
Chevalier's ijientioning this to the Ambassador, he was 
clearly of opinion that I had not any resource left, and, 
therefore, that the bills must be protested, and that the 
Chevalier should tell me so. I showed the protest, as 
translated into Spanish by M. Gardoqui, to the Chevalier. 
The original in English is as follows. 

"Mr Jay says, that when he accepted the bills hereunto 
annexed, he had good reason to expect to be supplied 
with the funds necessary to pay them. That he has been 
disappointed in the expectations he was encouraged to en- 
tertain on this subject, and that his endeavors to obtain 


moneys for the purpose both here and elsewhere have- 
been unsuccessfiil, although the bills which remain to be 
paid by him, together with all his other engagements, do 
not exceed twentyfive thousand pounds sterling. That 
these disappointments being unexpected, he cannot, lor 
want of time, have recourse to Congress, and, therefore, 
finds himself reduced to the mortifying necessity of per- 
mitting them to be protested." 

The Chevalier approved of the protest, but the notary 
on reading it observed, that the sum was really so trifling, 
that he thought it would do better to strike it out. The 
Chevalier was struck with this remark, and advised me 
with some earnestness to make no mention of the sum, for, 
said he, "it will appear very extraordinary, that you should 
be obliged to protest the bills of Congress for the want of 
such a sum, and people will naturally turn their eyes 
towards France, and ask how it happened that your good 
allies did not assist yon ; it will look as if we had deserted 

I replied, that since the bills must be protested, I was con- 
tent that my true situation should be known. I admitted his 
inferences to be just, and naturally flowing f^am the facts, 
adding, that as France knew n^y situation and had withheld 
relief, she had so far deserted us ; but that I was, never- 
theless, mindful of the many proofs we had received of her 
friendship, and should not cease to be grateful for the 
ninetynine acts of friendship slie had done us, riierely be- 
cause she had refused to do the hundredth. 

In short, 1 directed the notary to recite this protest ver- 

This protest was drawn at my leisure, and with much 
consideration. It operated as 1 expected, and I am per- 



suaded you will see the reason of each sentence in it with- 
out the aid of my comments. I will only remark, that 1 
was at first induced to insert, and afterwards to refuse 
striking out the sum, lest from leaving it uncertain, the pub- 
lic might have had i-oom to conjecture, or individuals to in- 
sinuate, that 1 had imprudently run into such rash and 
expensive engagements, as to render it improper for Spain 
or France to afford me the necessary supplies. 

Nor did it appear to me that both of them should have 
reason to be ashamed of permitting our credit to be im- 
peached and injured for such an unimportant sum. Both 
Courts were blamed, and we not only acquitted, but pitied 
by the public. 

I ought to inform you, that the sum which I really 
wanted did not amount to twentyfive thousand pounds, but 
as some straggling bills frequently made their apr.earance, 
and it could not be foreseen how much those which 
might still be behind would amount to, I thought it ad- 
visable to make a considerable allowance on that score ; 
for in case I should have asked for less than might after- 
wards have proved indispensable, I sliould, doubtless, have 
been put to great difficulties in obtaining a supply for the 

In justice to the bankers who held the protested bills, 
I must say that they in general appeared disposed to 
show me every reasonable indulgence. The house of 
Joyes and Sons, though considered as anti-American, 
were particularly civil. They offered to take such of the 
bills as had been remitted to them on themselves, provided 
1 would only pass my word for the payment of ihem within 
a few weeks ; but as I had no assurance of fimds, I could 
not risk it. Besides, unless all the bills due could have 


been suspended on the like terms, it could have answered 
no purpose, because the difference of protesting a few bills 
more or less was unimportant. The conduct of Don 
Tgnacias Salaia, the notary, was so particularly and sin- 
gularly generous, that I cannot forbear mentioning it. 
Though without expectations, and uninfluenced hy prom- 
ises from me, he behaved as if the case had been his own, 
and proved the sincerity of his professions by doing every- 
thing in his power to serve me. On perceiving how much 
he was engaged in my favor, I did not choose to lessen 
the appearance of its being disinterested by promises of 
rewards. But after the bills were protested, and he could 
be of no further use, I sent him a gold piece of sixteen 
dollars, as an acknov/ledgment for the trouble I had given 
him. He returned it with an assurance, that he wished to 
serve me from other motives, and the next day waited 
upon me to thank me for that mark of attention, and again 
to assure me that his best services were always at my 

When the bills were protested, and M. Cabarrus' con- 
duct mentioned in his presence, the poor fellow literally 
shed tears. I was much affected by the warmth and gen- 
erosity of this man's heart, and should not have readily 
pardoned myself, had I neglected to bear this testimony to 
the goodness of it. ". . •• ^ 

During the whole time that this matter was in agitation, 
that is from the 11th to the 16th of March, and for some- 
time afterwards, M. Cabarrus did not come near me. 

On the 18th I wrote a letter to Dr Franklin informing 
him of the protest, and reciting the reasons assigned for it. 
I also hinted the propriety of taking up the bills at Paris, 
if possible. 


The national pride of the Ainbassador of France was 
hurt by this event ; I am sure lie regretted it as disrepu- 
table and impolitic. I remarked to him, that most of our 
cross accidents had proved useful to us, and that this 
might save us the Mississippi. For I thought it more pru- 
dent to appear a little incensed than dispirited on the oc- 
casion. I suspect that there has been an interesting con- 
versation between the two Courts about us. He told me 
this winter, that he believed Spain wished to modify our 
independence, and to keep herself in a situation to medi- 
ate between us and England at the general peace. He 
did not explain himself further. As great successes on 
our part must operate against such designs, the Spanish 
Minister can neither rejoice in, nor be disposed to promote 
ihem ; and this may help both to account for the litde im- 
pression made by the capitulation of York, and for their 
conduct as to our bills and propositions, &ic. I am sure 
that they fear us too, and the more, perhaps, as they 
have misbehaved towards us. 

Not many days elapsed before a special courier from 
Paris brought advices to this Court, that the British Par- 
liament had resolved to advise the King to cease all offen- 
sive operations against us, &ic. This, and the subsequent 
debates and resolutions of Parliament relative to the Amer- 
ican war, made a deeper impression here in our favor than 
any event which lias happened since my arrival. New 
ideas seemed to pervade the whole Court and people, and 
much consultation as well as surprise was occasioned by it. 

On the 2Gth of March I received the following letter 
from Dr Franklin, from the hands of M. Cabarrus, to 
whom I behaved, on that occasion, with reserved and cold 


"Passy, March 16th, 1782. 
"Dear Sir, 

"I have received your several favors of January 30tl), 
February Uth and March 1st, and propose to write fully 
to you by the next post. In the meantime this line may 
serve to acquaint you, that I paid duly all your former 
bills drawn in favor of M. Cabarrus, and that having ob- 
tained a promise of six millions for this year, to be paid 
me quarterly, 1 now see that I shall be able to pay your 
drafts for discharging the sums you may be obliged to bor- 
row for paying those upon you, in which however I wish 
you to give me as much time as you can, dividing them so 
that they may not come upon me at once. Interest should 
be allowed your friends who advance for you. Please to 
send me a complete list of all the bills you have accepted, 
their numbers and dates, marking which are paid, and 
what are still to pay. 

"I congratulate you upon the change of sentiments in 
the British nation. It has been intimated to me from 
thence, that they are willing to make a separate peace 
vvitli us exclusive of France, Spain, and Holland, which so 
far as relates to France is impossible ; and 1 believe they 
will be content that wc leave tliem the other two ; but 
Holland is stepping towards us, and I am not without 
hopes of a second loan there. And since Spain does not 
think our friendship worth cultivating, I wish you would 
inform me of the whole sum we owe her, that we may 
think of some means of paying it ofFspeedily. 

"With sincerest regard, I am, he. k,c. 


"P. 8. The INIarquis de Lafayette has your letter." 
I answered this letter as follows, by a French courier. 


"Madrid, March 19th, 1782. 
"Dear Sir, 

"On the iStli instant I informed you of my iiaving been 
reduced, by M. Cabarrus' want of good faiih, to the mor- 
tifying necessity of protesting a number of bills, which 
were then payable. 

"Your favor of the 16th instant reached me three days 
ago. It made me very happy, and enabled me to retrieve 
the credit we had lost here by those protests. I consider 
your letter as giving me sufficient authority to take the 
necessary arrangements with the Marquis d'Yranda for 
paying the residue of ray debts here, as well as such of the 
protested bills as may be returned for that purpose. 

"The account you request of all the bills 1 have ac- 
cepted is making out, and when finished shall be trans- 
mitted by the first good opportunity that may ofier. You 
may rely on my best endeavors to render my drafts as 
Jilile inconvenient to you as possible. 

"The British Parliament, it seems, begin to entertain 
less erroneous ideas of us, and their resolutions afford a 
useful hint to the other powers in Europe. If tlie Dutch 
are wise, they will profit by it. As to this Court, their 
system (if their conduct deserves that appellation) with 
respect to us has been so opposite to the obvious dictates 
of sound policy, that it is hard to divine whether anything 
but experience can undeceive them. For my part, I really 
think that a treaty with them daily becomes less important 
to us. 

"That Britain should be desirous of a scjiarato j)eacc 
with us is very natural, but as such a proposal implies an 
impeachment of our integrity, I think it ought to be re- 
jected in such a manner as to show that we are not igno- 

VOL. VIII. 12 


rant of the respect due to our feelings on that head. As 
long as France continues faithful to us, 1 am clear that we 
ought to continue hand in hand to prosecute the war until 
all their, as well as all our, reasonable objects can be ob- 
tained by a peace, for I would rather see America ruined 
than dishonored. As to Spain and Holland, we have as 
yet no engagements with them, and therefore are not obli- 
ged to consult either their interest or their inclinations, fur- 
ther than may be convenient to ourselves, or than the res- 
pect due to our good allies may render proper. 

"France, in granting you six millions, has acted with 
dignity as well as generosity. Such gifts, so given, com- 
mand both gratitude and esteem, and I think our country 
possesses sufficient magnanimity to receive and remember 
such marks of friendship with a proper degree of sensi- 
bility. I am pleased with your idea of paying whatever 
we owe to Spain. Their pride, perhaps, might forbid 
them to receive the money. But our pride has been so 
hurt by the littleness of their conduct, that T would in that 
case be for leaving it at the gate of the palace, and quit 
the country. At present such a step would not be expe- 
dient, though the time will come when prudence, instead 
of restraining, will urge us to hold no other language or 
conduct to this Court than that of a just, a free, and a 
brave people, who have nothing to fear from, nor to request 
of them. 

"I am, &tc. &ic. JOHN JAY." 

On receiving Dr Franklin's letter I sent for my good 
friend the notary, and desired him to make it known 
among the bankers, that I had received supplies equal to 
all my occasions, and was ready to pay to every one his 


due. He received the commission with as much pleasure 
as I had the letter. He executed it immediately, and our 
credit here was re-established. 

M. Cabarrus became displeased with himself, and took 
pains to bring about a reconciliation by the means of third 
persons, to whom I answered, that as a Christian I forgave 
him, but as a prudent man, could not again employ him. 
As this gentleman has suddenly risen into wealth and im- 
portance, and is still advancing to greater degrees of both, 
I shall insert a letter, which I wrote in reply to one from 
him on the subject. 


"Madrid, April 2d, 1762. 

"1 have received the letter you did me the honor to 
write on the 29th of March last. 

"As soon as the examination of your accounts shall be 
completed, I shall be ready to pay the balance that may 
be due to you, either here or by bills on Paris. 

"I should also be no less ready to subscribe a general 
approbation of your conduct, if the latter part of it had 
been equally fair and friendly with the first. 

"Although it always affords me pleasure to recollect and 
acknowledge acts of friendship, yet, Sir, I can consider 
only one of the five instances you enumerate as entitled to 
that appellation. I shall review them in their order. You 
remind me, 

"1st. That you risked the making me considerable ad- 
vances, at a time when I could only give you hopes, and not 
formal assurances of repayment. 

"I acknowledge freely and with gratitude, that (exclu- 


sive of the commissions due to you for paying out the va- 
rious sums I had placed in your hands) you did advance 
me between twenty and thirty thousand dollars; but as the 
United States of America were bound to repay it, and I 
had reason to expect siipplies to a far greater amount, I 
conceived, and the event has shown, that you did not run 
any great risk, although the uncertainty of the time when 
these supplies would be afforded, prevented my giving you 
positive and formal assurances of the time and manner of 

"2dly. Thai you augmented these advances to quiet the 
demands of the Marquis d^Yranda. 

"Permit me to remind you, that this circumstance might 
have been more accurately stated. The fact was as fol- 
lows. I had received about fifty thousand dollars, which, 
by a prior contract, I had agreed to pay the Marquis on 
account of a greater sum borrowed from him in paper. 
The sum in question was in specie. You and others 
offered to exchange it for paper at the then current differ- 
ence. The preference was given to you. Under that 
confidence, and for that express purpose, the specie was 
sent to your house, and you did exchange it accordingly. 
With what propriety, Sir, can you consider this transac- 
tion in the light of making advances, or lending me money 
to quiet the Marquis d'Yranda ? It is true that by sending 
the money to your house I put it in your power, by detain- 
ing part of it, to repay yourself what you had before ad- 
vanced. But, Sir, such a proceeding would have been a 
flagrant breach of trust ; and I cannot think any gentle- 
man ought to give himself, or expect to receive, credit for 
merely forbearing to do a dishonorable action. 

"3dly. That you gave me, on my signature, the money 


for ivhich I applied to you for my personal use, without 
detaining any part of it on account of the balance then 
due to you. 

"The transaciion you allude lo was as follows. I had 
authority to draw from his Excellency, Dr Franklin, on 
account of my salary. It happened to be convenient to 
rae to draw for a quarter. You agreed to purchase my 
bill on him, and to pay me in specie at the current ex- 
change. As it was post day, I signed and sent you the 
bill before I had received the money. These are the 
facts, and it seems two favors are to be argued from them. 
First, that you did not scruple my signature, or in other 
words, that you took my bill. To this I answer, that you 
had no reason to doubt its being honored. All my former 
ones had been duly paid. Nor could you or others pro- 
duce a single instance, in which my signature had not justi- 
fied the confidence reposed in it. Secondly, that by send- 
ing you the bill before you had sent me the money for it, 
I gave you an opportunity of keeping the money, and giv- 
ing my public account credit for it, and that in not taking 
this advantage you did me a favor. 

"After having agreed to purchase this bill, and pay me 
the money for it, you could have no right to detain it. 
And surely, Sir, you need not be informed, that there is a 
wide distinction between acts of common justice and acts 
of friendship. I remember that there was then but little 
demand for bills on Paris, and so far as you may have been 
induced to take this one, from regard to my convenience, 
I am obliged to you. 

"4th]y. TTiat by your agency you accelerated the pay- 
ment of the twentysix thousand dollars. 

"I really believe, Sir, that you did accelerate it, and 


you would have received my thanks for it, if the unusual 
and very particular manner, in which the order for that 
payment was expressed, had not been less consistent with 
delicacy, than with those improper fears and apprehen- 
sions, which the confidence due to my private as well as 
public character, ought to have excluded from your imag- 
ination. All the preceding orders, which had been given 
on .similar occasions, directed the money to be paid to me. 
But in this instance, as I owed you a considerable bal- 
ance, care was taken that the twentysix thousand dollars 
should not, as formerly, be paid to me, but to you on my 

"5thly. That you offered to make me further advances, 
if either the Ambassador of France or the Minister of 
State would give you a positive order for the purpose, 
which you say they constantly refused. 

"It is true. Sir, that you offered to supply me with 
money to pay my acceptances for the month of March, 
provided the Minister of State or the Ambassador of 
France would engage to see you repaid with interest, 
within a certain number of months, sometimes saying that 
you would be content to be repaid within seven months, 
and at others within ten or twelve months, and you re- 
peated this offer to me in these precise terms on the llth 
of March last. 

"This offer was friendly. I accepted it with gratitude, 
and in full confidence that you would punctually perform 
what you had thus freely promised. 1 accordingly made 
this offer known to the Minister, and solicited his consent. 
On the 1 5th day of March he authorised the Ambassador 
of France to inform me, that you might advance me from 
forty to fifty thousand current dollars on those terms. 


Tlie Ambassador signified this to me by letter, and that 
letter was immediately laid before you. Then, Sir, for 
the first time, did you insist on being repaid in four months, 
and that in four equal monthly payments, secured by 
orders on the rents of the post-office, or on the general 
treasury, Sec. &ic. These terms and conditions were all 
new, and never hinted to me in the most distant manner 
until after the Minister had agreed to your first ofier, and 
until the very moment when the holders of the bills were 
demanding their money, and insisting that the bills should 
either be paid or protested. 

"The Minister rejected these new conditions, and you 
refused to abide by the former ones. The bills were then 
due. 1 had no time even to look out for other resources, 
and thereby was reduced to the necessity of protesting 

"Such conduct. Sir, can have no pretensions to gratitude, 
and affords a much more proper subject for apology than 
for approbation. 1 confess that I was no less surprised 
than disappointed, and still remain incapable of reconciling 
these deviations from the rules of fair dealing, with that 
open and manly temper which you appear to possess, and 
which I thought would insure good faith to all who relied 
on your word. 

"How far your means might have failed, how far you 
might have been ill-advised, or ill-informed, or unduly in- 
fluenced, are questions, which, though not uninteresting to 
you, are now of little importance to me. 

"I acknowledge with pleasure, that until these late sin- 
gular transactions I hod reason to believe you were well 
attached to the interests of my country, and 1 present you 


my thanks for having on several former occasions en- 
deavored to promote it. 

"I am, he. &1C. 


ernment for money, and was the projector of several of 
their ways and means for supplying the Royal Treasury, 
it appeared to me expedient that he should wish us well, 
and be our hanker. Some advantages have arisen from 
it, and they would probably have been greater, if not op- 
posed by the great and unfriendly influence of M. Del 
Campo. At the same time that I blame M. Cabarrus, I 
cannot but pity him, for there is much reason to consider 
him in the light of the scape goat. 

I have now employed Messrs Drouilhet to do our busi- 
ness ; that house is one of the most considerable here in 
the banking way. 

I showed Dr Franklin's letter to the Ambassador of 
France, and made him my acknowledgments for the gen- 
erous supply afforded by his Court to ours. He seemed 
very happy on the occasion, and regretted it had not been 
done a little sooner. 

His secretary remarked to me, that Spain would suspect 
that this subsidy had been granted in consequence of the 
protest of our bills, and that this Court would make it the 
cause of complaint against France. 

The Court left the Pardo, and passed the Easter holi- 
days at xMadrid. I denied myself the honor of waiting on 
the Minister on that occasion, nor have I seen him since 
the protest of our bills. My judgment, as well as my feel- 
ings, approved of this omission. The Court are now at 


Aranjues, where I have taken a liouse, and purpose to go 
soon after these despatches shall be completed. 

On the 30th of March I was surprised by the following 
note, being the first of the kind which I have received from 
the Minister since my arrival. 


"The Count de Florida Blarica has been to lake the 
orders of V. S.* for Aranjues, where he hopes to have the 
honor of the company of V. S. at his table, every Saturday 
after the 11th of May next ensuing." 

This invitation is imputable to the late news from En- 
gland, and the grant of six millions by France was proba- 
bly accelerated by it. Both Courts are watching and jeal- 
ous of us. We are at peace with Spain, and she neither 
will nor indeed can grant us a present subsidy. Why then 
should we be anxious for a treaty with her, or make sac- 
rifices to purchase it ? We cannot now treat with her on 
terms of equality, why therefore not postpone it ? It would 
not perhaps be wise to break with her; but delay is in 
our power, and resentm.ent ought to have no influence. 

Time would secure advantages to us, which we should 
now be obliged to yield. Time is more friendly to young 
than to old nations, and the day will come when our 
strength will insure our rights. Justice may hold the bal- 
ance and decide, but if unarmed will for the most part be 
treated like a blind woman. There is no doubt that Spain 
requires more cessions than England, unless extremely 
humbled, can consent to. France knows and fears this. 

• Vuestra Senoria. Your Lordship, or Your Excellency. We have 
no title, which exactly corresponds with the Spanish. 
VOL. VITI. 13 


France is ready for a peace, but not Spain. The King's 
eyes are fixed on Gibraltar. The Spanish finances indeed 
are extremely misnaanaged, and I may say pillaged. If En- 
gland should offer us peace on the terras of our treaty with 
France, the French Court would be very much embar- 
rassed by their alliance with Spain, and as yet we are 
under no obligations to persist in the war to gratify this 
Court. It is not certain what England will do, nor ought 
we to rely on the present promising appearances there ; 
but can it be wise to instruct your Commissioners to speak 
only as the French Ministers shall give them utterance ? 
Let whatever I write about the French and their Ambas- 
sador here be by all means kept secret. Marbois gleans 
and details every scrap of news. His letters are very 
minute, and detail names and characters. 

Sweden is leaning towards us, and it will not be long be- 
fore the Dutch become our allies. Under such circum- 
stances, Spain ought not to expect such a price as the Mis- 
sissippi for acknowledging our independence. 

As it is uncertain when I shall again have so good an 
opportunity of conveying a letter to you as the present, I 
have been very particular in this. The facts might per- 
haps have been more methodically arranged, but I thought 
it best to state them as they arose ; and though some of 
them separately considered do not appear very important, 
yet when viewed in connexion with others, they will not 
be found wholly uninteresting. 

You will readily perceive on reading this letter, that 
parts of it relate to Mr Morris's department. I hope he 
will excuse ray not repeating them in a particular letter to 
him, especially as he will readily believe, that the length 
of this, and the cyphers used in it, have fatigued me a 
good deal. 


All the cyphers in this letter arc those in which I cor- 
respond with Mr Morris, and the only ones 1 have re- 
ceived him. They were brought by Major Franks 
and nnarked No. 1. Several of my former letters to Mr 
Thompson and you mentioned, that his cypher was not lo 
be depended upon. The copy of it, brought by IMr Bar- 
clay, w^hich is the only copy I have received of the original 
by IMajor Franks, having passed through the post ofiice, 
came to rny hands with marks of inspection on the 

I received, the 12ih of April, a packet of newspapers, 
which I believe w^as from your office. It was brought to 
Bilboa by Mr Stockholm ; but not a single line or letter 
from America accompanied it. 

On the back of the packet there was this endorsement, 
"Bilboa, April 3d, 1782, brought and forwarded by your 
Excellency's very humble servant Andrew Stockholm." 
Notwithstanding this, it was marked Paris by the post 
office, and charged with postage accordingly, viz. one hun- 
dred and six reals of vellon. I sent the cover to the 
director of the post office, but he declined correcting the 
mistake. Thus are all things managed iiere. 

The Courier de VEurope informs us, that the English 
Ministry are totally changed, and gives us a list of those who 
form the new one. I think it difficult to predict how this 
change may eventually operate with respect to us. I hope 
we shall persevere vigorously in our military operations, 
and thereby not only quiet the fears and suspicions of those 
who apprehend some secret understanding between us 
and tliis Ministry, but also regain the possession of those 
places, which might otherwise counterbalance other de- 
mands at a peace. 

100 JOHN JA\ 

Great preparations are making here lor a serious attack 
on Gibraltar. The Due de Crillon will doubtless com- 
mand it. His good fortune has been very great. 

It is natural as well as just, that Congress should be dis- 
satisfied with the conduct of this Court; they certainly have 
much reason ; and yet a distinction may be made between 
the Ministry and the nation, the latter being more to be 
pitied than blamed. 

I must now resume a subject, which I did not expect 
to have had occasion to renew in this letter. 

You may observe from the copy of the Count de Flor- 
ida Blanca's note, containing an invitation to his table at 
Aranjues, and left at my house by his servant, that it was 
not expressly directed to me. This omission raised some 
doubt in my mind of its being intended for me, but on 
inquiry I found that the other Ministers had in the same 
manner received similar ones, and not directed to them by 
name. I mentioned my having received it to the Ambas- 
sador of France. He told me the Count had not men- 
tioned a syllable of it to him. I desired him to take an 
opportunity of discovering from the Count, whether or no 
there was any mistake in the case, and to inform me of the 
result, which he promised to do. 

On the 23d of April instant, the Ambassador being then 
in town, I paid him a visit. He told me, that on mention- 
ing the matter to the Count, he said it must have happen- 
ed by mistake, for that he intended only to ask my orders 
for Aranjues, but that he was nevertheless glad the mis- 
take had happened, as it would give him an opportunity, 
by mentioning it to the King, to obtain his permission for 
the purpose, and to that end desired the Ambassador to 
write him a note slating the fact. The Ambassador did 


SO, and llic Count afterwards infonned him, that he had 
communicated it to the King, who, with many expressions 
of regard for our country, had permitted him to invite me 
as a private gentleman of distinction belonging to it. He 
authorised the Ambassador to communicate this invitation 
to me, and also to inform me, that 1 might bring Mr Car- 
michael witli me. 

Much conversation ensued between the Ambassador and 
myself, consisting of my objections to accepting this invi- 
tation, and his answers to them. But as we continued to 
differ in sentiment, and he was going out, I agreed to think 
further of the matter before I gave my final answer. 

For my part I doubt there having been any mistake. 
I think it more probable, that the Minister, afterwards re- 
flecting on the use that might be made of this note, wished 
to render it harmless by imputing it to mistake, and sub- 
stituting a more cautious invitation. For it can hardly be 
supposed, either that his servant would, for the first time 
in two years, leave such a note at my house unless or- 
dered ; or that he himself would for the first time in his 
life, and that in writing, inform me of his having called to 
take my orders for Aranjues, without taking care that his 
amanuensis wrote as he dictated. He was probably 
warmed by the news from England and Holland, and, in 
the perturbation of spirits occasioned by it, was more civil 
than on cool reflection he thought was expedient, espe- 
cially on further considering, that the Ambassador might 
not be well pleased at not having been privy to it. 

A few days afterwards I wrote the Ambassador the 
following letter on the subject. 

102 '*" ' JOHN JAY. 

"Madrid, April 27th, 1782. 


"Be pleased to accept my thanks for the very .friendly 
part you have acted relative to the Minister's written invi- 
tation left at my house, and the verbal one since conveyed 
from him to me by your Excellency. I have deliberately 
re-examined my former sentiments respecting the propriety 
of accepting it ; and as they remain unaltered, my respect 
for your judgment leads me to refer them, fully explained, 
to your further consideration. 

"As the Minister informed your Excellency, that the 
written invitation was left at my house by mistake, I think 
nothing remains to be said relative to it. On the discov- 
ery of that mistake, the Minister it seems was so obliging 
as to apply for, and obtain the consent of the King to 
renew the invitation, not in general terms, but in terms 
expressly declaring, that it was given to me as a private 
gentleman, and was so to be accepted ; with the additional 
favor, nevertheless, of being permitted to bring Mr Car- 
michael with me. 

"The only objection, which opposes my accepting it, 
arises from this question, viz. whether a Minister or rep- 
resentative of an independent sovereign can with propri- 
ety accept any invitation, which in the terms of it im- 
peaches his title to that character ? So far as this question 
respects the Ministers of independent states and kingdoms 
in general, your Excellency will agree with me in opinion 
that it must be answered in the negative. The next in- 
quiry which presents itself is, whether the United States 
of America come so far under that description as to render 
this reasoning applicable to their Ministers? Every Amer- 
ican thinks they do. Whatever doubts this, or other 


Courts may entertain relative to their independence, the 
United States entertaii) none, and therefore their servants 
ought not, hy words or actions, to admit any. For in- 
stance, ought General ^Vashington to accept an invitation, 
which expressly imposed upon him the condition of laying 
aside his uniform, and appearing at table in die dress of 
a private gentleman ? 1 tliink not. If this reasoning be 
just, the impropriety of my accepting this invitation be- 
comes manifest, and all arguments from the expediency of 
it must cease to operate. For my part I consider it as a 
general rule, that although particular circumstances may 
sometimes render it expedient for a nation to make great 
sacrifices to the attainment of national objects, yet it can 
in no case be expedient for them to impair their honor, 
their dignity, or their independence. 

"As to the temporary advantages, which might result 
from accepting this invitation, I find them balanced by at 
least equal disadvantages. There can be no doubt on the 
one hand, but that my frequenting the Count de Florida 
Blanca's table on the days appointed for entertaining the 
foreign Ministers would impress a general opinion, that 
Spain was about to become our allies, and I readily admit, 
that such an opinion might operate to our advantage in 
other countries. But on the other hand, when the Count 
de Florida Blanca, in order (though perhaps in vain) to 
save appearances, shall inform those foreign Ministers, that 
I was expressly invited as a private gentleman, and liad 
consented to come in that character, they would naturally 
entertain ideas, which would tend to diminish rather than 
increase their respect for America and American lega- 

"It would give me pain if the Count de Florida Blanca 

104 JOHiN JAY. 

should suppose me to be in the least influenced by the 
promising aspect of our affairs. I flatter myself he will 
not incline to that opinion, when he reflects on the particu- 
lar circumstances under which the United States declared 
themselves independent, and under which they afterwards 
refused to treat with their then victorious enemies, on any 
terms inconsistent with it. 

"Although offence and disrespect are very far from my 
thoughts, I fear the Count will be a little hurt at my 
declining the invitation in question. 1 am persuaded that 
he meant to do me a favor, and I feel myself indebted 
for his friendly intentions. But as the considerations men- 
tioned in this letter forbid me to accept it, I wish to 
communicate that circumstance to him in the most soft 
and delicate manner, and, therefore, request the favor of 
your Excellency to undertake it. 
"1 have the honor to be, he. 


Reasons similar to those assigned for this refusal have 
induced me ever since my arrival to decline going to 
Court, where I might also have been presented as a stran- 
ger of distinction, but as Mr Carmichael had been pre- 
sented in that character previous to my coming to Madrid, 
I never objected to his making subsequent visits. 

I am, Dear Sir, with great regard and esteem, your 
most obedient and very humble servant, 




Philadelphia, May 0th, 1782. , 
Dear Sir, 

Your letter of the Gtli of February, with a duplicate of 
iliat of August last, directed to the President, has been re- 
ceived and .read in Congress. I am extremely surprised 
to find from that and yours to me, that so few of my 
letters have reached you, since no vessel has sailed from 
this, or, indeed, froip any of the neighboring ports, without 
carrying letters or duplicates of loiters from me. The 
whole number directed to you, including liic duplicates 
from October to this time, amounts to twenty four ; so that 
they must certainly be suppressed in many instances. 
But what astonishes me more, is to find that jou cannot 
read my letter, No. 3, and the duplicate of No. 2 ; when, 
upon examining my letter book, I find it is written in the 
very cypher, which you acknowledge to have received, 
and in which your letter of the 20th of September is writ- 
ten ; so that if it is not intelligible, it must have undergone 
some alteration since it left my hands, which I am the 
more inclined to think, because you speak of a cypher 
said to be enclosed, of which my letters make no mention, 
and only notes a slight alteration in Mr Thompson's cy- 
pher. J\ly first letter was in our private cypher ; this you 
had not received. My second, by the Marquis de La- 
fayette, in cypher, delivered to me by mistake by Mr 
Thompson, and lost with Mr Palfrey. My tliird, in the 
cypher sent by Major Franks, a duplicate of which was 
sent by Mr Barclay ; and that enclosed a copy of my 
letter, No. 2. I had then discovered the mistake, so that 

VOL. VIII. 14 

106 JOHN JAY. 

I can in no way account for your being unable to de- 
cypher it. 

Since my last, of the 2Sth of April, we have been in- 
formed of the change in the British administration. We 
have seen the act for enabling the King to make peace, 
and the new plan has begun to open itself here under the 
direction of Sir Guy Carleton. You, who know your 
countrymen, will feel little anxiety on this subject. It is 
proper, however, that you should be enabled to calm the 
apprehensions, v/hich those who know us less and are in- 
terested in our measures may entertain. I have the 
pleasure of assuring you, that it has not produced the 
slightest alteration in our sentiments ; that we view a 
change of men and measures with the utmost philosophic 
indifference. We believe that God has hardened the 
heart of Pharaoh, so that he cannot let the people go, till 
the first born of his land are destroyed ; till the hosts are 
overthrown in the midst of the sea ; and till poverty and 
distress, like the vermin of Egypt, shall have covered 
the land. The general sentiment here seems to be, that 
new endeavors will be so used to detach us from our 
ally, that the best answer to such attempts to disgrace 
us will be a speedy and spirited preparation for the en- 
suing campaign. 

When Sir Guy Carleton arrived at New York, he found 
them in violent convulsions about the demand that Gen- 
eral Washington had made of the persons who perpe- 
trated the murder upon an officer of the Jersey levies, 
one Captain Huddy, whom they made prisoner, carried to 
New York, and afterwards taking him out of jail hung 
him in the county of Monmouth. I enclose the General's 
letter, and the other letters that have passed on that occa- 


sion. The aflaii has not yet ended ; the British officers in- 
sist upon his [i. e. Lippincott, who hung Huddy] being 
given up. The refugees support liini. A court martial 
is now sitting for his trial. In the extracts sent out by- 
General Robertson are contained the cases of all the per- 
sons, that have been tried and convicted of robbery, horse 
stealing, &;c. in the Jerseys since the war, as they have 
protected every species of villany. They wish us to con- 
sider every felon we hang, as a part of tlieir regular corps. 
Your last despatches by Colonel Livingston did not 
come to hand. The vessel in which he sailed was taken 
and carried into New York. He destroyed his letters. 
He was immediately committed to the Provost, where he 
met with your brother, who had been sometime confined 
there. On the arrival of General Carleton, which was a 
few days after, both were liberated on their paroles, so 
that Mr Livingston can give us no intelligence of any kind. 
Carleton spoke to him in the most frank and unreserved 
manner, wished to see the war carried on, if it must be 
carried on, upon more generous principles than it has 
hitherto been ; I told him he meant to send his secretary 
to Congress with despatches, and asked whether the Colo- 
nel would take a seat in his carriage. Mr Livingston told 
him, that his secretary would certainly be stopped at the 
first post ; upon which he expressed surprise, and in- 
quired whether Mr Livingston would himself be the bearer 
of them, which he declined, unless they contained an ex- 
plicit acknowledgment of our independence, and a resolu- 
tion to withdraw the British troops. He replied, he was not 
empowered to make any such proposition, and that his letter 
was merely complimentary. The next day he wrote to 
the General the letter, a copy of which, No. 1, is en- 


closed. The General sent the answer, No. 2 ; these letters 
being laid before Congress, they came to the resolution 
No. 3. You will judge from these circumstances, whether 
it is probable, that Britain will easily seduce us into a vio- 
lation of the faith we have pledged to our allies. 

I am particular in giving you every information on this 
head, because I am persuaded, that means will be used by 
our enemies to induce a belief that this country pines after 
peace and its ancient connexion with England. It is 
strictly true, that they are very desirous of peace. But it 
is also true, that the calamities of war press lighter upon 
them every day, from the use they are in to bear them, 
and from the declining strength of the enemy. They con- 
sider themselves as bound, both in honor and interest, to 
support the alliance, which they formed in the hour of dis- 
tress ; and I am satisfied, that no man would be found in 
any public assembly in America sufficiently hardy, to hint 
at a peace upon any terms, which should destroy our con- 
nexion with France. 

I yesterday took the sense of Congress upon the pro- 
priety of giving you leave of absence. They have declined 
giving any answer to that part of your letter, from which 
you are to conclude that they do not conceive it advisable 
at present. 1 enclose the resolution I proposed, which 
they thought it proper to postpone. 

In all our transactions in Spain we are to consider the 
delicate situation in which they stand with France, the 
propensity of the former to peace, and the need that the 
latter has of their assistance. I should conceive it neces- 
sary, therefore, rather to submit with patience to their re- 
peated delays than give a handle to the British party at 
Court. For this reason I conceive that no advantage 


could result from demanding a categorical answer, and that 
it might involve us in disagreeable circumstances. The 
resolution enclosed in my last will either serve as a stimu- 
lus to the politics of Spain, or leai^e us a latitude on the 
negotiation for a peace, which will be of equal advantage 
to us with any of those slight aids, which Spain seems will- 
ing or able to give us. Congress have found so little ad- 
vantage from sending embassies to Courts, who have shown 
no disposition ty aid them, that they have passed the en- 
closed resolution. No. 4. Every saving is an object of 
importance with them, and they feel very heavily the ex- 
pense of their foreign embassies, which are in some par- 
ticulars unnecessarily expensive. 

The complaints, which have justly been made of the 
mode in which our Ministers are paid, have induced Con- 
gress to direct the financier to fall upon some other mode. 
The one adopted will be very advantageous to our Minis- 
ters. He proposes to make his payments here quarterly. 
I shall, as your agent, receive the amount, make out the 
account, and vest it in bills at the current rate, and remit 
them to Dr Franklin, and send you advice when I do it; or, 
when opportunity offers, send them directly to you. I shall 
follow your directions if you have any other to give, with 
respect to the money due to you, and consider myself lia- 
ble in my private capacity for all the money I receive on 
your account, till you appoint another agent. This will 
simplify Mr Morris's account, he only opening one with tht: 
department of Foreign Affairs. 

Your present accoimt will commence the 1st of January. 
I wish you to transmit a state of your account prior to that 
date, and I will procure and remit you the balance. 

We have nothing new but what you may collect from 

no JOHN 3A1. 

the papers enclosed. The Count de jMontraorin will see 
widi pleasure, that the birth of a Dauphin has been received 
here at this critical time in such a manner as to evidence our 
attachment to the King bis father, and the French nation. 

I am embarrassed beyond expression at the misfortune 
that happened to INIr Thompson's cypher. I shall enclose 
another with this, and send them both to Mv Harrison, with 
special directions to send them safely to you. 

It must have been long since you heard from me. Our 
ports have been totally shut up for some time, and no less 
than three vessels with despatches from me to you have 
been taken and carried into New York within two months. 

As you seem to suppose my appointment has not been 
sufficiently notified to you, to authorise your directing your 
letters to me, I enclose the resolution for my appointment, 
together with that for the organization of the office. 
1 have the honor to be, he. 



Madrid, May 14th, 1782. 
Dear Sir, 
A letter from Dr Franklin calls me to Paris. I set ofi' 
in about five days. He has doubtless written to you on 
this subject. Major Franks is on the way to you with 
despatches from me. Be pleased to send your future let- 
ters for me under cover to Dr Franklin. No inconve- 
niences will be caused by my absence. The instructions 
intended for M. Del Campo are to be sent to the Count 
d'Aranda. I congratulate you on the recognition of our 
independence by the Dutch. The French have lost a 


ship of ilie line, and they say thirteen transports bound to 
the Indies. 

I liope my future letters will be less unfortunate than 
many of my former ones. Rely upon it, that I shall con- 
tinue to write particularly and frequently to you. 
With great regard and esteem, k,c. 



Philadelphia, June 23d, 1782. 
Dear Sir, 

The only letter I have received from you, since that of 
the 6th of February last, was a few lines, which covered 
an account of the surrender of Fort St Philip. This suc- 
cess is important, as it not only weakens an enemy, and 
operates against their future resources, but as it gives repu- 
tation to the arms of a nation, that have our sincerest wishes 
for their prosperity, notwithstanding the little attention we 
have received from them. This letter goes by too hazard- 
ous a conveyance to admit of my entering into many of 
those causes of complaint, which daily administer food to 
distrusts and jealousies between Spain and the people of 
this country. The Havana trade, notwithstanding the im- 
portant advantages it affords to Spain, meets with the most 
unjustifiable interruptions. Vessels have been detained for 
months together, in order to carry on the expeditions 
which Spain has formed, no adequate satisfaction being 
allowed for them ; and then sent away without convoy ; by 
which means many of them have fallen into the hands of 
the enemy, and where they did not, the expense and dis- 
appointment occasioned by their detention have thrown the 

112 John jay. 

greatest discouragements on the trade. The Bahama Isl- 
ands having surrendered to the arms of Spain, if the copy 
of tiie capitulation, published hy Rivington, may be de- 
pended upon, it is a counterpart to that of Pensacola, and 
the troops will probably be sent to strengthen the garri- 
sons of New York and Charleston. These transactions, 
together with the delays and slights you meet with, cannot 
but have a mischievous effect upon that harmony and con- 
fidence, which it is the mutual interests of Spain and Amer- 
ica to cultivate with each other. It seems a little singular to 
this country, that the United Provinces, which never gave 
us the least reason to suppose that they were well inclined 
towards us, should precede Spain in acknowledging our 
rights. But we are a plain people ; Courts value them- 
selves upon refinements, which are unknown to us. When 
a sovereign calls us friends, we are simple enough to ex- 
pect unequivocal proofs of his friendship. 

Military operations have not yet commenced, so that the 
field affords us no intelligence, and the Cabinet seems to 
be closed, by the determination of Congress not to per- 
mit Mr Morgan to wait upon them with General Carle- 
ton's compliments. 

General Leslie, in consequence of the late alteration in 
the British system (together with the scarcity of provisions 
in Charleston) proposed to General Greene a cessation of 
hostilities. I need hardly tell you, that the proposal met 
with the contempt it deserved. Those, wiio are unac- 
quainted with our dispositions, would be surprised to hear 
that our attachment to an alliance with France has gath- 
ered strength from their misfortune in the West Indies, 
and from the attempts of the enemy to detach us from it. 
Every legislative body, which has met since, has unani- 


raously declared its resolution to listen to no terms of 
accommodation, wliicii controvenes its principles. 

Congress have it in contemplation to make some alter- 
ation in their foreign arrangements, in order to lessen their 
expenses, but as nothing is yet determined on, I do not 
think it worth while to trouble you with a plan, which may 
not be carried into effect. 

I have the honor 'to be, Sec. 



Paris, June 25th, 1762. 
Dear Sir, 

IMy letters from ^ladrid, and afterwards a few lines from 
Bordeaux, informed you of my being called to this place 
by a pressing letter from Dr Franklin. 

The slow manner of travelling in a carriage through 
Spain, Mrs Jay's being taken with a fever and ague the 
day we left Bordeaux, and the post horses at the different 
stages having been engaged for the Count du Nord, who 
had left Paris with a great retinue, prevented my arriving 
here until the day before yesterday. 

After placing my family in a hotel, I immediately went 
out to Passy, and spent the remainder of the afternoon in 
conversing with Dr Franklin on the subjects, which had 
induced him to write for me. I found that he had then 
more reason to think my presence necessary than it seems 
to be at present. 

Yesterday we paid a visit to Count de Vergennes. He 
gave me a very friendly reception, and entered pretty fully 

VOL. VIII. 15 

114 JOHN JAY. 

with us into the state of the negotiation. His answer to the 
British Minister appeared to me ably drawn. It breathes 
great moderation, and yet is so general as to leave room 
for such demands as circumstances, at the time of the 
treaty, may render convenient. 

There is reason to believe, that Mr Fox and Lord Shel- 
burne are not perfectly united, and that Rodney's success 
will repress the ardor of our enemies for an immediate 
peace. On leaving the Count, he informed us, that he was 
preparing despatches for America, and that our letters, if 
sent to him tomorrow morning, might go by the same 
opportunity. This short notice, together with the inter- 
ruptions I meet with every moment, obliges me to be less 
particular than I could wish ; but as Dr Franklin also writes 
by this conveyance, you will doubtless receive from him 
full intelligence on these subjects. 

My last letters also informed you, that the Court of 
Spain had commissioned the Count d'Aranda, their Am- 
bassador here, to continue with me the negotiation' for a 
treaty with our country. I have not yet seen him, and Dr 
Franklin concurs with me in opinion, that it is more expe- 
dient to open this business by a letter than by a visit. 

Mr Adams cannot leave Amsterdam at present, and I 
hear that Mr Laurens thinks of returning soon to America, 
so that I apprehend Dr Franklin and myself will be left to 
manage at least the skirmishing business, if 1 may so call it, 
of our commission, without the benefit of their counsel and 
assistance. You know what I think and feel on this sub- 
ject, and 1 wish things were so circumstanced as to admit 
of ray being indulged. 

You may rely on my writing often, very often. My 
letters will now have fairer play, and you will find that 


I have not ceased to consider amusement and rest as sec- 
ondary objects to those of business. 

I shall endeavor to get lodgings as near to Dr FrankliQ 
as I can. He is in perfect good health, and his mind 
appears more vigorous than that of any man of his age I 
have known. He certainly is a valuable Minister, and an 
agreeable companion. 

The Count d'Artois and Due de Bourbon are soon to 
set out for Gibraltar. The siege of that place will be hon- 
ored with the presence of several princes, and therefore 
the issue of it (according to the prevailing modes of think- 
ing) becomes in a more particular manner interesting. 
The Due de Criilon is sanguine ; he told me, that in his 
opinion, Gibraltar was far more pregnable than Mahon. 
It is possible that fortune may again smile upon him. 
T am, Dear Sir, &:c. 



Paris, Jiuie 'i8tli, 1782. 
Dear Sir, 

1 had the pleasure of writing to you on the 25ih instant. 
As the express, which is to carry that letter, will not depart 
till tomorrow morning, I have a good opjjortunily of making 
this addition to my despatches. 

Agreeably to the desire of Congress, as well as my own 
wishes, I have had the satisfaction of conferring with the 
Marquis de Lafayette, on several interesting subjects. He 
is as active in serving us in the cabinet as he has been in 
the field, and (there being great reason to believe that liis 
talents could be more advantageously employed here, than 

116 JOHN JAY. 

an inactive campaign in America would admit of ttiere,) 
Dr Franklin and myself think it advisable, that he should 
postpone his return for the present. The Marquis inclines 
to the same opinion, and, though anxious to join the army, 
will remain here a little longer. 

The intentions of the British Ministry with respect to us 
are by no means clear. They are divided upon the sub- 
ject. It is said that Mr Fox and his friends incline to 
meet us on the terms of independence, but that Lord Shel- 
burne and his adherents entertain an idea of making a com- 
pact with us, similar to diat between Britain and Ireland, 
and there is room to apprehend that eftbrts will be made 
to open a negotiation on these subjects at Philadelphia. 
When it is considered that the articles of a general peace 
cannot be discussed in America, and that propositions for a 
separate one ought not to be listened to, it is evident to me, 
that their sending out commissions can be calculated for no 
other purpose than that of intrigue. 

1 should enlarge on this topic, were I not persuaded, that 
you will see this matter in the same point of view, and that 
any proposition, which they may offer, will be referred to 
the American Commissioners in Europe. How far it may 
be prudent to permit any British agents to come into our 
country, on such an ostensible errand, is an easy question, 
for where an unnecessary measure may be dangerous it 
should be avoided. They may write from New York 
whatever they may have to propose, and may receive an- 
swers in the same manner. 

If one may judge from appearances, the Ministry are 
very desirous of getting some of their emissaries into our 
country, either in an avowed or in a private character, and 
all things considered, I should think it most safe not to ad- 


mit any Englishman in eitlier cliaracler within our lines at 
this very critical juncture. A mild and yet firm resolu- 
tion, on the impropriety and inexpediency of any negotia- 
tion for peace in America, would give great satisfaction to 
our friends and confirm their confidence in us. We in- 
deed, who know our country, would apprehend no danger 
from anything that British agents might say or do to de- 
ceive or divide us ; but the opinions of strangers, who must 
judge by appearances, merit attention ; and it is doubtless 
best not only to be steadfast to our engagements, but also to 
svoid giving occasion to the slightest suspicions of a con- 
trary disposition. An opinion does prevail here, that in 
the mass of our people there is a considerable number who, 
though resolved on independence, would nevertheless pre- 
fer an alliance with England to one with France, and this 
opinion will continue to have a certain degree of influence 
during the war. This circumstance renders much circum- 
spection necessary. 

I am, with great regard and esteem, Dear Sir, &:c. 



Philadelphia, July 6th, 1782. 
Dear Sir, 

Since my letter of the 23d ultimo. Congress have passed 
the enclosed resolution. My letter had already anticipated 
it, so that it will only serve to show, that I was warranted ia 
the observations I had made, and am sorry to add, that my 
prediction, that the troops taken by Spain would be sent to 
serve against us, seems to be confirmed by an account re- 
ceived from Charleston of a number of soldieis, takea in 

118 JOHN JAY. 

Pensacola, having been sent there. Could 1 supjDose the 
Court of Spain entirely regardless of our interests, I should 
presume, that an attention to their own would keep them 
from affording such reinforcements to the British here, as 
will enable ihem to detach to Jamaica, or any other of 
their islands, which Spain may have it in contemplation to 

I am, therefore, fully persuaded, that every measure of 
this kind must originate merely in the inattention of the 
oHicer, and, that if mentioned to his Majesty's Ministers, 
it will be prevented in future. You will therefore take the 
earliest opportunity to state it to them, and to show them 
the pernicious influence it will have, not only upon our 
measures, but upon those sentiments of friendship and 
affection, which Congress wish the people of these States 
to entertain for a nation, that is engaged in the same cause 
with them, and with vvliom a variety of considerations will 
lead them to maintain in future the most intimate con- 

I have remitted to l)r !<'ranklin the amount of one quar- 
ter's salary due to you, which I have vested in bills at six 
and three pence this money for five livres, which yields a 
profit to you of about ("ivc and a half j)er cent, and will be 
more than suflicient to j)ay (he exj)cnse of commissions, 
that this new mode of paying your salaries will subject you 
to. I have directed an account to be opened with you, 
and will receive your directions, unless you shall think it 
proper to appoint some other agent. My Secretary, Mr 
Morris, will enclose a particular state of your account, ex- 
clusive of contingencies, an account of which I wish you to 
remit me, that I may get it disciiarged for you. The second 
quarter being now due, I shall get the accounts passed and 


the bills rcmitied by the next opportunity. You will be 
pleased to pay particular attention to the enclosed paper in 
cyphers, as it relates to a private transaction of some im- 
portance to both of us. 

Let me hear from you on this subject as soon as possible. 
1 have the honor to be, kc. 



Philadelphia, September 12th, 1782. 
Dear Sir, 

We yesterday received letters from Mr Adams by Cap- 
tain Smedley, who brought out the goods left by Commo- 
dore Gillon. These were the first advices, that had reached 
us from Europe since your short note of the 14th of May. 
You will easily believe, that this neglect is borne here with 
some degree of impatience, particularly at this interesting 
period, when we learn that a negotiation (or a peace has 
commenced, and that Mr Grenville is in France upon 
that business. Mr Adams's letters take no more notice of 
this important transaction, than if we were not interested in 
it ; presuming, probably, that wc arc fully informed from 
France. I may think in)propcrly upon this subject, but I 
cannot be satisfied that a quarterly letter from our JNIinis- 
ters is sufficient to give Congress the information, that is 
necessary for the direction of their affairs ; and yet this is 
much more than we receive. Some pay half yearly, and 
others offer only an annual tribute. Your last letter, pro- 
perly so called, is dated in April ; Dr Franklin's in March. 
This is the more mortifying, as want of lime can hardly be 
offered as an excuse by our Ministers, who must certainly 

120 JOHN JAY. 

have more leisure upon their hands than they know how to 
dispose of. 

I ^congratulate you upon your arrival in France, where 
if your negotiations are not more successful than they have 
been in Spain, you will at least have some enjoyments, that 
will console you under your disappointments. Carleton 
has informed us, that Great Britain had agreed to yield us 
unconditional independence. I find that he has been too 
hasty in his opinion, and that the death of the Marquis of 
Rockingham has made a very material alteration in the 
system. That this inconsistency may be fully displayed, 
I would advise you to have the enclosed letter from Carle- 
ton and Digby published in Europe. Before the arrival 
of the packet, every disposition was made for the evacua- 
tion of Charleston, which was publicly announced. The 
tories have, in consequence of it, come out in crowds 
with the consent of General Leslie to solicit pardon. The 
works at Quarter House were burned. Whether the late 
intelligence will alter their determination I cannot say. 
High expectations have also been entertained of the evac- 
uation of New York, where the royalists were in despair. 
Their hopes are again revived. 

If the negotiations go on, let me beg you to use every 
means for procuring a direct trade with the West Indies. It 
is an object of the utmost importance to us. The exports 
of Philadelphia alone to the islands amounted before the 
war to three hundred thousand pounds ; they could not 
have been much less from New York ; they were con- 
siderable also from the Eastern Slates. We shall be very 
long in recovering the distress of the war, if we are deprived 
of this important commerce. It is certain, too, that the 
European powers who hold islands would find themselves 


interested in this intercourse, provided they exclude the 
introduction of manufactures, wiiicli might interfere with 
their own. 

In proportion to the expense at which articles of the 
first necessity are furnished, must be the improvement, 
population, produce, and wealth of the islands, while the 
inhabitants of these States are compelled by law as well as 
allured by fashion and habit to receive their manufactures 
and luxuries from the mother country. She must reap the 
full benefit of such improvement, population, produce, and 
wealth. It may be said, that this check upon the exporta- 
tion of provisions from the parent State would, by reducing 
the price of grain, discourage agriculture ; to this I would 
observe, that it is extremely doubtful whether it would 
occasion such reduction ; secondly, that if it did, it would 
be beneficial to the conimunity. JMy doubt upon the first 
head arises from this consideration ; if, as 1 maintain, the 
increased wealth and population of the islands occasioned 
an increased consumption of the manufactures of the 
mother country, the provisions that formerly fed the plant- 
ers abroad are now consumed at home by the manufac- 
turer, and the price of provisions stands where it did, 
with this clear advantage to the mother country, that by 
the cheapness of living on the islands, she has increased 
the number of subjects, who till the earth for her abroad, 
and by the same means has added to the people, who make 
her strength and riches at home. 

Rly second position is grounded upon the con)petition, 
that prevails at this moment among the maritime manufac- 
turing nations of Europe, France and England particularly. 
The nation that undersells its rival in foreign markets will 
sap the foundation of her wealth and power. The nation 
VOL. VIII. 16 

122 JOHN JAY. 

that can maintain its manufactures, and navigate its vessels 
at the cheapest rate, will undoubtedly enjoy this advantage, 
all things else being equal. It is obvious, that the price of 
labor is regulated by that of provisions, that manufacturers 
never earn more than a bare subsistence. If so, where 
provisions are cheap, manufactures can be carried on to 
most advantage. Of this, the East Indies are a striking 
proof. In proportion, too, to the price of provisions and 
the price of labor, which depends upon it, must be the ex- 
pense of building and navigating ships. Both these advan- 
tages, where there is a concurrence, are therefore clearly 
in favor of the nation, that can reduce the price of provi- 
sions within her own kingdom. 

But it may be said, that this reduction of the price of 
provisions, which seems so desirable in one view, may 
be found injurious in another ; and that it is at least 
as expedient to encourage agriculture as manufactures. 
I agree in the principle, though not in the application. 
Going back to my first position, that the man who labors 
gets a bare subsistence, for the moment he does more, the 
number of laborers in that kind (provided his employment 
does not require uncommon skill) increases, and his labor 
is not more profitable, than that of the other laborers of 
the country. It will follow then, that so far as he con- 
sumes what he raises, the price will be entirely out of 
the question. If a bushel of grain a day is necessary for 
the support of his family, he will equally raise and equally 
consume that grain, whether it sells for a penny or a 
pound. But as there are other articles necessary for the 
use of his family, that he must purchase, this purchase 
can only be made by the excess of what he raises beyond 
his own consumption. If he purchases the manufactures 


of the country, and they rise in proportion to the value of 
provisions, it must be a matter of indifference to the hus- 
bandman, wliether the price of the latter is high or low, 
since the same quantity will be necessary to purchase what 
his necessities demand in either case ; unless indeed his 
provisions are carried to foreign markets, and the man- 
ufactures he wants imported, in which case the price of 
his grain will become an object of moment, and operate 
as an encouragement to agriculture. But it would also in 
the same proportion operate as a check on the manufac- 
tures, population, and navigation of the country. On the 
first, for reasons which have been already explained ; on 
the second, because manufactures require more hands 
than agriculture ; and on the third, because the expense 
of labor, which increases with the diminution of population, 
and the price of victualling the vessels employed in the 
transportation of their produce, will enable nations, who can 
maintain their subjects cheaper, to navigate their vessels 
at a lower rate, and of course to engross this branch of 
business, unless the laws of the Stale, such as acts of nav- 
igation, shall forbid, in which case those acts will operate 
so far as a discouragement upon agriculture ; the advanced 
freightage being so much deducted from the husband- 
man's profit. 

There are many collateral arguments to show the pol- 
icy of this measure, even with reference to agriculture, aris- 
ing out of the general positions I have stated, such as the 
advantage husbandmen find in a manufacturing country, 
in placing their weak or supernumerary children to trades, 
and procuring a number of hands on a short notice, at any 
of those critical periods, which so frequently occur in the 
culture of land, without being compelled to maintain them 

124 JOfLN JAY, 

all the year, which increase their profit though they reduce 
the price of grain. But these are too extensive to take 
notice of here. I will conclude with some observations, 
which arise from the circumstances of the country with 
relation to Europe, which I trust will be found so important 
as to merit attention. 

The commercial nations of Europe begin already to see, 
that the attention, which is almost universally afforded to 
the improvement of manufactures, must set bounds to their 
commerce, unless they can open new markets. Where 
are these new markets to be found but in America ? 
Here the wishes and habits of the people will concur with 
the policy of the government, in encouraging the cultiva- 
tion of their lands at the expense of manufactures. Both 
will continue to operate while we have a great wilderness 
to settle, and while a market shall be afforded for our pro- 
duce. But if that market is shut against us ; if we cannot 
vend what we raise, we shall want the means of purchas- 
ing foreign manufactures, and of course must from neces- 
sity manufacture for ourselves. The progress of manu- 
factures is always rapid, when once introduced in a coun- 
try where provisions are cheap, and the means of trans- 
portation so extremely easy as it is in America. I am 
fully persuaded, therefore, that it is the interest of a nation 
with whom present appearances promise us such extensive 
commerce as France, to give every encoiu'agement to our 
agriculture, as the only means of keeping open this market 
for the consumption of their manufactures. 

I meant to write a few lines on this subject, and I have 
written a treatise ; it will however cost you no great 
trouble to read it, and may possibly afford you some use- 
ful hints. 


Pigot is at New York, witli twenlysix sail of the line. 
The -Marquis de V^audreuil is at Boiton vviili twelve, hav- 
ing lost the Magnifique in the harbor ; Congress have pre- 
sented his Most Christian Majesty with the America, a 
seventy four built at Portsmouth, She was to have been 
commanded by Paul Jones. I wish heartily it were pos- 
sible to give some employment to that brave officer. 

The allied army is at present at Verplanck's Point, in 
good health and spirits. Where is the iMarquis de Lafay- 
ette ? We have impatiently expected him these four 
months. Present my compliments to him, General Du 
Portail, and Viscount de Noailles. Tell the last I con- 
gratulate him on his preferment, though it is with difiiculty 
I rejoice at it, since it is to deprive us of the pleasure of 
seeing him again. 

I have written you four private letters since the last I 
had from you. 

I have the honor to be, Dear Sir, 



Paris, September 18th, 1782. 

Dear Sir, 
I send you herewith enclosed a copy of a translation of 
an important letter. The original in French I have not 
seen, and at present is not accessible to me, though I shall 
endeavor to get a copy of it,' in order the better to decide 
on the correctness of the translation. I am not at liberty 
to mention the manner in which this paper came to my 
hands. To me it appears of importance, that it should for 
the present be k'jpt a profound secret, though I do not 

126 JOHN JAY. 

see how that is to be done, if communicated to the Con- 
gress at large, among whom diere always have been and 
always will be, some unguarded members. I think, how- 
ever, as I thought before, that your Commissioners here 
should be left at liberty to pursue the sentiments of their 
country, and such of their own as may correspond with 
those of their country. 

I am persuaded (and you shall know my reasons for it) 
that this Court chooses to postpone an acknowledgment of 
our independence by Britain, to the conclusion of a general 
peace, in order to keep us under their direction, until not 
only their and our objects are attained, but also until Spain 
shall be gratified in her demands, to exclude everybody 
from the Gulf, Sec. We ought not let France know, 
that we have such ideas. While they think us free from 
suspicion they will be more open, and we should make no 
other use of this discovery dian to put us on our guard. 
Count de Vergennes would have us treat with Mr Oswald, 
though his commission calls us colonies, and authorises 
• him to treat widi any description of men, &c. In my 
opinion we can only treat as an independent nation, and 
on an equal footing. I am at present engaged in prepar- 
ing a statement of objections in a letter to him, so that I 
have not time to write very particularly to you. The 
Spanish Ambassador presses me to proceed, but keeps 
back his powers. I tell him that an exchange of copies 
of our commissions is a necessary and usual previous step. 
This Court, as well as Spain, will dispute our extension 
to the Mississippi. You see how necessary prudence and 
entire circumspection will be on your side, and if possible 
secrecy. I ought to add, that Dr Franklin does not see 
the conduct of this Court in the liirht I do, and that he 


believes they mean nothing in their proceedings, but what 
is friendly, fair, and honorable. Facts and future events 
must determine which of us is mistaken. As soon as I can 
possibly have time and health to give you details, you shall 
have them. Let us be honest and grateful to France, but 
let us think for ourselves. 

With great regard and esteem, I am, &,c. 



Philadelphia, September 18th, 1782. 
Dear Sir, 

Since closing the despatches you will receive with 
this, I was honored with yours of June. Nothing ma- 
terial having since occurred, I only write lo enclose the 
annexed resolutions of Congress, on the subject of your 
powers for negotiating. I see by yours, that you entertain 
no hope of a speedy termination of that business, even 
though you were then unacquainted with the change, that 
has since taken place in the administration, and which ren- 
ders peace a more remote object. It has certainly wrought 
a great change here. The state of negotiations we are 
yet to learn, as neither you nor the Doctor have entered 
into that subject. 

1 hope my despatches by Mr Laurens, with the cy- 
phers unders his care, have reached yon in safety, as very 
few either of your or Dr Franklin's letters, passed through 
the channel through which I usually receive them, come to 
me uninspected. Be pleased to acknowledge the receipt 
of my letters, that I may know which have reached you. 
I am, Dear Sir, 


128 JOHN JAY. 


Paris, September 28tli, 1782. 
Dear Sir, 

I have only time to inform you, that our objections to 
Mr Oswald's first commission have produced a second, 
which arrived yesterday. It empowers him to treat with 
the commissioners of the Thirteen United States of Ame- 
rica. I am preparing a longer letter on this subject, but 
as this intelligence is interesting, 1 take the earliest oppor- 
tunity of communicating it. 

With great regard and esteem, 1 am, fcc. 



Paris, October 13th, I7S2. 
Dear Sir, 

1 hope my letter to you of the ISthof September, of 
which I also sent a duplicate, has come safe to hand, for it 
contained important matter, viz. a copy of a letter from 
M. Marbois to the Count de Vergennes, against our sharing 
in the fishery. 

This Court advised and persuaded us to treat with Mr 
Oswald under his first commission. 1 positively refused. 

Count d'Aranda will not or cannot exchange powers 
with me, and yet wants me to treat with liim ; this Court 
would have me do it, but 1 decline it. 

I would give you details, but must not until 1 have an 
American to carry my letters from hence. 

Mr Oswald is well disposed. You shall never see my 
name to a bad peace, nor to one that docs not secure the 


I have received many long letters from you, which I am 
as busy in decypliering as my health will peruiit. 

M. de Lafayette is very desirous to give us his aid ; 
but as we have a competent number of Commissioners, it 
would not be necessary to give him that trouble. 

I am, Dear Sir, with great esteem and regard, your 

most obedient servant, 


P. S. General du Portail is to be the bearer of this. 
I believe he goes by order of the Court. 


Paris, November 17th, 1782. 
Dear Sir, 

Although it is uncertain when 1 shall have an oppor- 
tunity eiilier of finishing or transmitting the long particu- 
lar letter, which I am now undertaking lo write, I think the 
matter it will contain is too interesting to rest only in my 
memory, or in short notes, which nobody but myself can 
well unfold the meaning of. I shall, therefore, write on as 
iny health will permit, aod when finished, shall convey this 
letter by the first prudent American that may go from 
hence to Nantes or L'Orienl. 

My reception here was as friendly as an American Min- 
ister might expect from this polite and politic Court ; for I 
think they deceive themselves, who suppose that these 
kinds of attentions are equally paid to their private, as to 
their public characters. 

Soon after the enabling act was passed, 1 was shown a 
copy of it, and I confess it abated the expectations I had 

VOL. VIII. 17 

130 JOHN JAY. 

formed of the intention of the British Ministry to treat in a 
manly manner with the United States, on the fooling of 
an unconditional acknowledgment of their independence. 
Tlie act appeared to me to be cautiously framed to elude 
such an acknowledgment, and, therefore, it would depend 
on future contingencies, and on the terms and nature of 
the bargain they might be able to make with us. 

Mr Grenville, indeed, told the Count de Vergennes, that 
his Majesty would acknowledge our independence uncon- 
ditionally, but, on being desired to commit that information 
to writing, he wrote that his Majesty was disposed to ac- 
knowledge It. This had the appearance of finesse. 

About this time, that is, in June last, tiiere came to 
Paris a Blr Jones* and a Mr Paradise, both of them 
Englishmen, the former a learned and active constitution- 
alist. They were introduced to me by Dr Franklin, from 
whom they solicited recommendations for America. The 
story they told him was, that Mr Paradise had an estate in 
the right of his wife in Virginia, and that his presence 
there had been rendered necessary to save it from the 
penalty of a law of that State, respecting the property ot 
absentees. Mr Jones said he despaired of seeing consti- 
tutional liberty re-established in England, that he had de- 
termined to visit America, and in that happy and glorious 
country to seek and enjoy that freedom, which was not to 
be found in Britain. He spoke in raptures of our patriot- 
ism, wisdom, h,c. &ic. On speaking to me sotne days 
afterwards of his intended voyage, he assigned an ad- 
ditional reason for undertaking it, viz. that bis long and 
great friendship for Mr Paradise had induced him to ac- 
company tiiat gentleman on an occasion, which, both as a 

* Afterwards Sir William Jones 


witness and a friend, he could render liiin most essential 
services in Virginia. 

I exchanged three or fuiir visits with these gentlemen, 
and, in the meantime, was informed that Mr Jones was a 
rishig character in England, that he had refnsed a very 
lucrative appointment in the Indies, and had b\ his talents 
excited the notice of men in power. 

In conversing one morning with this gentleman on Eng- 
lish affairs, he took occasion to mention the part he had 
taken in them, and, at parting, gave me two pamphlets he 
had published. 

The first was a second edition of "An Inqnir)' into 
the Legal Mode of Suppressing Riots, &ic." first pub- 
lished in 1780, to which was added, "A Speech on the 
Nomination of Candidates to Represent the County of 
Middlesex, on the 9th of September, 1780." And this 
second edition contained also a letter, dated the 25th of 
April, 1782, from Mr Jones to Mr Yeates, the Secretary 
to tiie Society for Constitutional Information, of which Mr 
Jones is a member. The other was a Speech to the as- 
sembled Inhabitants of Middlesex and Surry, he. on the 
2Sth of May, 1782. 

As it appeared to me a little extraordinary that a gen- 
tleman of Mr Jones's rising reputation and expectations 
should be so smitten with the charms of American 
liberty, as "to leave all, and follow her," I began, on re- 
turning to my lodgings, to read these pamphlets with a 
more than common degree of curiosity, and I was not a 
little surprised to find the following paragraphs in them. 

In his letter to Mr Yeates of last April, he says, "my 
future life shall certainly be devoted to the support of that 
excellent constitution, which it is the object of your society 

132 JOHN JAY. 

to unfold and elucidate, and from this resolution long and 
deliberately made, no prospects, no connexions, no station 
here or ahroad, no fear of danger, or hope of advantage to 
myself, shall ever deter or allure me." 

He begins his essay on suppressing riots, by saying, 
"It has long been my opinion, that ia times of national ad- 
versity, those citizens are entitled to the highest praise, 
who, by personal exertions and active valor, promote, at 
their private hazard, the general welfare." 

In his speech of last April, are these paragraphs ; in the 
first, speaking of his being sick, he says, "It would prevent 
my attendance, for in health or in sickness I am devoted 
to your service. I shall never forget the words of an old 
Roman, Liganus, who, when the liberties of his country 
were in imminent danger, and when a real friend to those 
liberties was condoling with him on his illness at so critical 
a time, raised himself from his couch, seized the hand of 
his friend, and said, if you have any business ivorthy of 
yourselves, I am xvell.^^ 

"Since I have risen to explain a sudden thought, I will 
avail myself of your favorable attention, and hazard a few 
words on the general question itself. Numbers have pa- 
tience to hear, who have not time to read. And as to 
inyseJf, a very j)a7'ticular and urgent occasion, which calls 
me some months from England, will deprive me of another 
opportunity to communicate my sentiments, until the mo- 
mentous object before us shall be made certainly attainable 
through the concord, or forever lost and irrecoverable, 
through the disagreement of the nation." 

To make comments on these extracts would be to 
waste time and paper. On reading them, I became per- 
suaded that Mr Paradise and Anierican liberty were mere 


pretences to cover a more important errand to America, 
and I was surprised that Mr Jones's vanity should so far 
get the hetter of his prudence, as to put such pamphlets 
into my hands at such a time. 

I pointed out these extracts to Dr Franklin ; but they 
did not strike him so forcibly as they had done me. I 
mentioned my apprehensions also to the Marquis de La- 
fayette, and I declined giving any letters either to i\Ir Par- 
adise or to Mr Jones. 

I am the more particular on this subject, in order that 
you may the better understand the meaning of a para- 
graph in my letter to you, of the 28ih of June last, where 
I inform you, "that, if one may judge from appear^ces, 
the Ministry are very desirous of getting some of their 
emissaries into our country, either in an avowed or in a 
private character; and, all things considered, 1 should 
think it more safe not to admit any Englishman in either 
character within our lines at this very critical juncture." 

Mr Jones and Mr Paradise went from hence to Nantes 
in order to embark there for America. Some weeks 
afterwards 1 met Mr Paradise at Passy. He told me Mr 
Jones and himself had parted at Nantes, and that the latter 
had returned directly to England. How this happened [ 
never could learn. It was a subject on which Mr Para- 
dise was very reserved. Perhaps the sentiments of 
America, on General Carleton's overtures, had rendered 
Mr Jones's voyage unnecessary ; but in this I may be mis- 
taken, for it is mere conjecture. 

On the 25th of July, 17S2, the King of Great Britain 
issued a warrant,* or order, directed to his Attorney or 

* See this warrant in the Correspondence of the Commissioners 
for making Peace, under the date here mentioned. 

134 JOHN JAY. ^ . 

A copy of this warrant was sent by express to Mr Os- 
wald, with an assurance that the commission should be 
completed and sent him in a few days. He communicated 
this paper to Dr Franklin, who, after showing it to nie, sent 
it to the Count de Vergennes. The Count wrote to the 
Doctor the following letter on the subject. 


"I have received, Sir, the letter of today, vvitli which 
you have honored me, and the copy of the powers, which 
Mr Oswald communicated to you. Tlie form in which 
it is conceived, not I)ein2: that which is usual, I cannot form 
my opinion on the first view of it. I am going to examine 
it with the greatest attention, and, if you will he pleased to 
come here on Saturday morning, I shall be able to confer 
about it with you and Mr Jay, if it should be convenient 
for him to accompany you. 

"1 have the honor to be, k-c. 


''Versailles, August 8th, 1782." 

On the 10th of August, we waited upon the Count de 
Vergennes, and a conference between him and us, on the 
subject of Mr Oswald's commission, ensued. 

The Count declared his opinion, that we might proceed 
to treat with Mr Oswald under it, as soon as the original 
should arrive. He said it was such a one as we might 
have expected it would be, but that we must take care to 
insert proper articles in the treaty, to secure our indepen- 
•dence and our limits against all future claims. 

1 observed to the Count, that it v/ould be descending 
from the ground of independence to treat under the de- 


scription of Colonies. He replied, that names signified 
iilile ; that the King of Great Britain's styling himself the 
King of France was no obstacle to the King of France's 
treating with him ; that an acknowledgment of our inde- 
pendence, instead of preceding, must in the natural course 
of things be tiie effect of the treaty, and that it would not 
be reasonable to expect the effect before the cause. He 
added, that we must be mindful to exchange powers with 
Mr Oswald, for that his acceptance of our powers, in which 
we were styled Commissioners from the United States of 
America, would be a tacit admittance of our independence. 
I made but little reply to all this singular reasoning. The 
Count turned to Dr Franklin and asked him what he 
thought of the matter. The Doctor said, he believed the 
commission would do. He next asked my opinion. I told 
him that I did not like it, and that it was best to proceed 

On returning, I could not forbear observing to Dr Frank- 
lin, that it was evident the Count did not wish to see our 
independence acknowledged by Britain, until they had 
made all their uses of us. It was easy for them to foresee 
difficulties in bringing Spain into a peace on moderate 
terms, and that if we once found ourselves standing on our 
own legs, our independence acknowledged, and all our 
other terms ready to be granted, we might not think it our 
duty to continue in the war for the attainment of Spanish 
objects. But, on the contrary, as we were bound by 
treaty to continue the war till our independence should be 
attained, it was the interest of France to pos'pone that 
event, until their own views and those of Spain could 
be gratified by a peace, and that I could not otherwise 
account for the Minister's advising us to act in a manner 

136 JOHN JAY. 

inconsistent with our dignity, and for reasons, which he 
himself had too much understanding not to see the fallacy 

The Doctor imputed this conduct to the moderation of 
the Minister, and to his desire of removing every obstacle 
to speedy negotiations for peace. He observed, that this 
Court had hitherto treated us very fairly, and that suspi- 
cions to their disadvantage should not be readily enter- 
tained. He also mentioned our instructions, as further 
reasons for our acquiescence in the advice and opinion of 
the Minister. A day or two afterwards I paid a visit to 
Mr Oswald, and had a long conversation with him respect- 
ing his commission. On the resignation of Mr Fox, many 
reports to the prejudice of Lord Slielburne's sincerity, on 
the subject of American independence, had spread through 
France as well as through Great Britain. His Lordship, 
fearful of their effect on the confidence with which he 
wished to inspire the American commissioners, conveyed 
by Mr Benjamin Vaughan to Dr Franklin an extract of 
certain instructions to Sir Guy Carleton, of which the fol- 
lowing is a copy, viz. 

"c/wne 25iA, 1782. It has been said, that 'great effects 
might be obtained by something being done spontaneously 
from England.' Upon this and other considerations, his 
Majesty has been induced to give a striking proof of his 
royal magnanimity and disinterested wish for the restora- 
tion of peace, by commanding his Majesty's Ministers to 
direct Mr Grenville, that the independence of America 
should he proposed by him in the first instance, instead of 
making it the condition of a general peace. 

"I have given a confidential information to you of these 
particulars, that you may take such measures as shall ap- 


pear to vou most advisable for making a direct communi- 
cation of the substance of the same, either immediately 
10 Congress, or through the medium of General Washing- 
ton, or in any other manner, which you may think mosl 
likely to impress tiie well disposed parts of America with 
the fairness and liberality of his Majesty's proceedings in 
such great and spontaneous concessions. 

"The advantages, which we may expect from such con- 
cessions are, that America, once apprised of the King's 
disposition to acknowledge the independence of the thir- 
teen States, and of the disinclination in the French Court 
to terminate the war, must see that it is from this moment 
to be carried on with a view of negotiating points, in which 
she can have no concern, whether they regard France, or 
Spain and Holland at the desire of France ; but some of 
which, on the contrary, may be in future manifestly injuri- 
ous to the interests of America herself. 

"That if the negotiation is broken off, it will unuoubtedly 
be for the sake of ihose powers, and not America, whose 
object is accomplished the instant she accepts of an inde- 
pendence, wiiich is not merely held out to her in the way 
of negotiation by the executive power, but a distinct un- 
conditional offer, arising out of the resolutions of Parlia- 
ment, and therefore warranted by the sense of the nation 
at large. 

"These facts being made notorious, it is scarce con- 
ceivable that America, composed as she is, will continue 
efforts under French direction, and protract the distresses 
and calamities, which it is well known that war has sub- 
jected her to. It is to be presumed, that from that mo- 
ment she will look with jealousy on the French troops in 
VOL. VIII. 18 

13g JOHN JAY. 

that country, who may from allies become dangerous ene* 

"If, however, any particular States, men, or description 
of men, should continue against the general inclination of 
the Continent devoted to France, this communication will 
surely detect their views, expose their motives, and deprive 
them of their influence in all matters of general concern 
and exertion. You will, however, lake particular care in 
your manner of conducting yourselves, not only that there 
should not be the smallest room for suspicions of our good 
faith and sincerity, but that we have no view in it of caus- 
ing dissensions among the colonies, or even of separating 
America from France upon terms inconsistent with her 
own honor. You must therefore convince them, that the 
great object of this country is, not merely peace, but recon- 
ciliation with America on the noblest terms and by the 
noblest means." 

In the course of the beforementioned conversation with 
Mr Oswald, I reminded him, that the judgment and opin^ 
ion of America respecting the disposition and views of Bri- 
tain towards her, must be determined by facts and not by 
professions. That the Enabling Act, and the Commission 
granted to him in pursuance of it, by no means harmonised 
with the language of these instructions to Sir Guy Carle- 
ton. That unless the offers and promises contained in the 
latter were realised, by an immediate declaration of our 
independence, America would naturally consider them as 
specious appearances of magnanimity, calculated to de- 
ceive and disunite then), and, instead of conciliating, would 
tend to irritate the States. I also urged, in the strongest 
terms, the great impropriety, and consequently the utter 
impossibility of our ever treating with Great Britain on any 


other than an equal fooling, and told him plainly, that I 
would have no concern in any negotiation, in which we 
were not considered as an independent people. 

• Mr Oswald u^Jon this, as upon every other occasion, be- 
haved in a candid and proper manner. He saw and con- 
fessed the propriety of tliese remarks ; he wished iiis com- 
juission had been otherwise, but was at a loss how to rec- 
oncile it to the King's dignity, to make such a declaration, 
immediately after having issued suck a commission. I 
pointed out the manner in which I conceived it might be 
done ; he liked the thought, and desired me to reduce it 
Jo writing. I did so, and communicated it to Dr Frank- 
lin, and, as we corrected it, is as follows, viz. 

"George III, k,c. to Richard Oswald, greeting. Where- 
as by a certain act, Sec. (here follows the Enabling Act.) 

"And whereas, in pursuance of the true intent and 
meaning of the said act, and to remove all doubts and 
jealousies, which might otherwise retard the execution of 
the same, we did, on the day of instruct Sir 

Guy Carleton, he. our General, &,c. to make known to the 
people of the said Colonies, in Congress assembled, our 
royal disjwsition and intention to recognise the said Colo- 
nies as independent States, and as such, to enter with them 
into such a treaty of peace as might be honorable and 
convenient to both countries. 

"And whereas further, in pursuance of the said act, we 
did on the day of authorise and commission 

you, the said Richard Oswald, (here follows the commis- 
sion.) Now, therefore, to the end that a period may be 
put to ilie calairiities of war, and peace, commerce, and 
mutual intercourse the more speedily restored, we do 
hereby, in pursuance of our royal word, for ourselves and 

140 JOHN JAY. 

our successors, recognise the said thirteen Colonies as 
free and independent States. And it is our will and pleas- 
ure, that you do forthwith proceed to treat with the Confi- 
missioner or Commissioners already appointed, or to be 
appointed for that purpose by the Congress of the said 
States, and, with him or thein only, of and concerning the 
objects of your said commission, which we do hereby con- 
firm, and that this declaration be considered by you as a 
preliminary article to the proposed treaty, and be in sub- 
stance or in the whole inserted therein, or incorporated 
therewith. And it is our further will and pleasure, that, 
on receiving these presents, which we have caused to be 
made patent, and our great seal to be hereunto affixed, you 
do deliver the same to the said Commissioner or Commis- 
sioners, to be by him or them transmitted to the Congress 
of the United States of America, as an earnest of the 
friendship atid good will, which we are disposed to extend 
to them. Witness, &c. 15th of August, 1782." 

Mr Oswald approved of the draft, and said he would re- 
commend the measure to the Minister. The next day, 
however, he told me that he had an instruction, which he 
thought enabled him to make the declaration ; but that it 
would be necessary to obtain the previous consent of the 
Minister for that purpose. He then read to me the fourth 
article of iiis instructions, of which the following is a copy, 

"In case you find the American Commissioners are not 
at liberty to treat on any terms short of independence, you 
are to declare to them, that you have our authority to 
make that cession ; our ardent wish for peace disposing 
us to purchase it at the price of acceding to the complete 
independence of the thirteen colonies." 


He said lie would immediately despatch a courier to 
London, and would press the Ministry for permission to 
acknowledge our independence without further delay, 
which he accordingly did. 

At this lime the commission under the great seal had 
arrived, and Dr Franklin and myself went to Versailles to 
communicate that circumstance to the Count de Ver- 
gennes, and (agreeably to our instructions) to inform him 
of what had passed between Mr Oswald and us. 

The Count and myself again discussed the propriety of 
insisting, that our independence should be acknowledged 
previous to a treaty. He repeated, that it was expecting 
the eflect before the cause, and many other similar re- 
marks, which did not appear to rue to be well founded. 
[ told the Count, that a declaration of our independence 
was in my opinion, a matter of very little consequence ; 
ihat I did not consider our independence as requiring 
any aid or validity from British acts ; and provided, 
that nation treated us as she treated other nations, 
viz. on a footii-;; of equality, it was all that 1 desired. He 
differed with me also in this opinion. He thought an ex- 
plicit acknowledgment of our independence in treaty very 
necessary, in order to prevent our being exposed to fur- 
ther claims. I told him we should always have arms in 
our hands lo answer those claims, that I considered inere 
paper fortifications as of but little consequence ; and that 
we should take care to insert an article in the treaty, 
whereby the King of Great Britain should renounce all 
clainis of every kind to the countries within our limits. 

The Count informed us, he had delayed doing business 
with Mr Fitzherbert, until we should be ready to proceed 
with Mr Oswald, and that he expected to see him the next 
day or the day after. 


Mr Fitzherbert went the next day to Versailles, and 
immediately despatched a courier to London. 

The answer of the British Ministry to Mr Oswald is 
contained in the following extract of a letter to him from 
Mr Townshend, dated Whitehall, September 1st, 1782. 


"I have received and laid before the King your letters 
of the 17th, 18th, and 21st ultimo, and 1 am commanded 
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 
cession 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 
concerning that article, it is hoped they will not entertain 
a doubt of his Majesty'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." 

When Mr Oswald communicated this letter to me, I 
did not hesitate to tell him, that his Court was misled by 
this, for that the language of Mr Townshend corresponded 
so exactly with that of the Count de Vergennes, and was 
at the same time so contrary to that of the instructions to 
Sir Guy Carleton, as to be inexplicable on any other 
principle. I also told him I suspected, that the courier 
despatched by Mr Fitzherbert on his return from Ver- 


sailles had been ihe means of infusing these ideas. He 
smiled, and after a little pause said ; why, Count de Ver- 
gennes told Mr Fitzherbert, that my commission was come 
and that he thought it would do, and therefore they might 
now go on, and accordingly they did go on to discuss 
certain points, and particularly that of Newfoundland. 

Mr Oswald did not deny or contradict the inference I 
drew from this, viz. that INIr Fitzherbert, struck by this 
conduct of Count de Vergennes, and finding that the 
commission given to iMr Oswald was deemed sufficient 
by him, thought it his duty directly to inform his Court of 
it, and thereby prevent their being embarrassed by our 
scruples and demands on a point, on which there was so 
much reason to think, that our allies were very moderate. 

For my own part I was not only persuaded that this 
was the case, but also that the ill success of IMr Oswald's 
application was owing to it. 

These considerations induced me to explain to him, 
what I supposed to be the natural policy of this Court on 
the subject, and to show him that it was the interest of 
Britain to render us as independent on France, as we 
were resolved to be on her. He soon adopted the same 
opinion, but was at a loss to see in what manner Great 
Britain, considering what had just past, could consistently 
take further steps at present. I told him, that nothing 
was more easy, for that the issuing of another commission 
would do it. He asked me if he might write that to the 
Ministry ; I told him he might ; lie then desired, in order 
to avoid mistakes, that 1 would give it to him in writing, 
which I did as follows, viz. 

"A commission (in the usual form) to Richard Oswald 
to treat of peace or truce with Commissioners, vested 

144 -JOHN JAY. 

with equal powers by and on the part of the United 
States of America, would remove the objections to which 
his present one is liable, and render it proper for the 
American Commissioners to proceed to treat with him on 
the subject of prelin)inaries." 

I then reminded him of the several resolutions of Con- 
gress, passed at different periods, not to treat vviih British 
Commissioners on any other footing than that of absolute 
independence, and also intimated, that I thought it would 
be best to give him our final and decided determination not 
to treat otherwise in writing, in the form of a letter. He 
preferred this to a verbal answer, and the next day I pre- 
pared the following draft of such a letter. 

'It is with regret, that we find ourselves obliged by our 
duty to our country, to object to entering with you into ne- 
gotiations for peace on the plan proposed. One nation 
can treat with another nation only on terms of equality ; 
and it cannot be expected, that we should be the first and 
only servants of Congress, who would admit doubts of their 

"The tenor of your commission sfl:brds matter for a va- 
riety of objections, which your good sense will save us the 
pain of enumerating. The journals of Congress present 
to you unequivocal and uniform evidence of the sentiments 
and resolutions of Congress on the subject, and their posi- 
tive instructions to us to speak the same language. 

"The manner of removing these obstacles is obvious, 
and in our opinion no less consistent with the dignity than 
the interest of Great Britain. If the Parliament meant to 
enable the King to conclude a peace with us on terms of 


independence, they necessarily meant to enable him to do 
it in a manner compatible with his dignity ; and conse- 
quently that he should previously regard us in a point of 
view, that would render it proper for him to negotiate with 
us. What this point of view is you need not be informed. 

"We also take the liberty of submiiting 10 your consid- 
eration, how far his Majesty's now declining to take this 
step would comport with the assurances lately given on 
that subject, and whether hesitation and delay would not 
tend to lessen the confidence, which those assurances were 
calculated to inspire. 

"As to referring an acknowledgment of our indepen- 
dence to the first article of a treaty, permit us to remark, 
that this implies, that we are not to be considered in that 
light until after the conclusion of the treaty, and our acqui- 
escing would be to admit the propriet}"" of our being con- 
sidered in another light during that interval. Had this 
circumstance been attended to, we presume that the Court 
of Great Britain would not have pressed a measure, which 
certainly is not delicate, and which cannot he reconciled 
with the received ideas of national honor. 

"You may rest assured. Sir, of our disposition to peace 
on reasonable terms, and of our readiness to enter seriously 
into negotiations for it, as soon as we shall have an oppor- 
tunity of doing it in the only manner in which it is possible 
for one nation to treat with another, viz. on an equal foot- 

"Had you been commissioned in the usual manner, we 
might liave proceeded ; and as we can perceive no legal or 
other objection to this, or some other such like expedient, 
it is to be wished that his Majesty will not permit an obsta- 
cle so very unimportant to Great Britain, but so essential 

VOL. VIII. 19 

146 JOHN JAY. 

and insuperable with respect to us, to delay the re-estab- 
lishment of peace especially, and in case the business could 
be but once begun, the confidence we have in your candor 
and integrity would probably render the settling all our 
articles only the work of a few hours. 
"We are, &ic." 

I submitted this draft to Dr Franklin's consideration. 
He thought it rather too positive, and therefore rather im- 
prudent, for that in case Britain should remain firm, and 
future circumstances should compel us to submit to their 
mode of treating, we should do it with an ill grace after 
such a decided and peremptory refusal. Besides, the 
Doctor seemed to be much perplexed and fettered by our 
instructions to be guided by the advice of this Court. 
Neither of these considerations had weight with me ; for as 
to the first, I could not conceive of any event, which would 
render it proper and therefore possible for America to treat 
in any other character than as an independent nation ; and, 
as to the second, I could not believe, that Congress in- 
tended we should follow any ad'vice, which might be repug- 
nant to their dignity and interest. 

On returning to town, Mr Oswald spoke to me about 
this letter. I told him that I had prepared a draft of one, 
but that on further consideration, and consulting with Dr 
Franklin, we thought it best not to take the liberty of 
troubling his Court with any arguments or reasonings, 
whicli without our aid must be very evident to them. 

He appeared disappointed, and desired me to let him 
see the draft. I did. He liked it. He requested a copy 
of it; but as I doubted the propriety of such a step, I told 
him 1 would consider of it, and give him an answer the 
next day. 


It appeared to me on further reflection, that no bad con- 
sequences would arise from giving him a copy of this paper ; 
that, though unsigned, it would nevertheless convey to the 
Ministry the sentiments and opinions 1 wished to inipress, 
and that if finally they should not be content to treat with 
us as independent, they were not yet ripe for peace or 
treaty with us ; besides, I could not be persuaded, that 
Great Britain, after what the House of Commons had de- 
clared, after what I\Ir Grenville had said, and Sir Guy 
Carleton been instructed to do, would persist in refusing to 
admit our independence, provided they really believed, that 
we had 6rmly resolved not to treat on more humble terms. 

I gave him a copy, and also copies of the various reso- 
lutions of Congress, which evince their adherence to their 
independence. These papers he sent by express to Lon- 
don, and warmly recommended the issuing a new commis- 
sion to remove all further delay. This matter was not 
communicated to the Count de Vergennes, at least to my 
knowledge or belief, by either of us. 

I might now enumerate the various expedients proposed 
by the Count de Vergennes and the Marquis de Lafayette 
to reconcile our difficulties. Such as Mr Oswald's writing 
a letter to us, signifying that he treated with us as indepen- 
dent, Sec. &ic. But as our independence was indivisible, 
there could not easily be contrived a half way mode of 
acknowledging it, and therefore any method of doing it 
short of the true and proper one could not bear examina- 

Being convinced, that the objections to our following the 
advice of the Count de Vergennes were unanswerable, I 
proposed to Dr Franklin, that we should slate them in a 
letter to him, and request his answer in writing, because, as 

148 JOHN JA\ 

we vvere instructed to ask and to follow his advice on these 
occasions, we ought always to be able to show what his 
advice was. 

The Doctor approved of the measure, and I undertook 
to prepare a draft of such a letter. 

I must now remind you of what some of my former let- 
ters informed you, viz. the propositions made to me by the 
Count d'Aranda on the part of Spain. It is necessary that 
I should in this place go into that detail, because they will 
be found in the sequel to be strongly connected with the 
subject more immediately under consideration. 

On my arrival at Paris in June last, it being doubtful 
whether if I made a visit to Count d'Aranda he would re- 
turn it, I thought it most advisable to avoid that risk, and 
to write him the following letter. 


"Paris, June 25th, 1782. 

"On leaving Madrid his Excellency, the Count de 
Florida Blanca, informed me, that the papers relative to 
the objects of my mission there had been transmitted to 
your Excellency, with authority and instructions to treat 
with me on the subject of them. 

"I arrived here the day before yesterday, and have the 
honor to acquaint your Excellency of my being ready to 
commence the necessary conferences at such time and 
place as your Excellency may think proper to name. 

"Your Excellency's character gives me reason to hope, 
that the negotiation in question will be conducted in a man- 
ner agreeable to both our countries ; and permit me to as- 
sure you, that nothing on my part shall be wanting to 


manifest the respect and consideration, with which I have 

the honor to be, ike. 


Tlie following is a copy of the CJouni's answer. 


"Fans, June 'iTUi, \7&2. 

"I liave the honor to reply to your note of the 25th, in- 
forming ine of your happy arrival at this Court. I shall 
also have the honor to receive you, when you shall inti- 
mate that it is proper, and whenever you will inform me of 
your intention, so that I may expect you at whatever 
hour shall be most convenient to you. 

"I shall be pleased to make your acquaintance, and to 
assure you of the respect with which I have the honor, &:c. 

It having been intimated to Dr Franklin, that if we paid 
a visit to Count d'Aranda, it would be returned, we 
waited on hirn on the 29th of June. He received us in a 
friendly manner, and expressed his wishes, that closer 
connexion might be formed between our countries on 
terras agreeable to both. 

He returned our visit the next day, and gave us an in- 
vitation to dine with him a few days afterwards. On that 
day 1 was taken sick, and continued so for many weeks, 
Dor, indeed, am I yet perfectly recovered from the effects 
of that illness, having a constant pain in my breast, and 
frequently a little fever. 

Hence it happened, that I did not meet Count d'Aranda 
on business till a month afterwards, when agreeably to a 
previous appointment I waited upon him. 

150 JOHN JAY. 

He began the conference by various remarks on the 
general principles on which contracting nations should 
form treaties, on the magnanimity of his sovereign, and 
on his own disposition to disregard trifling considerations 
in great matters. Then opening Michell's large Map of 
North America, he asked me what were our boundaries ; 
I told him that tlie boundary between us and the Spanish 
dominions was a line drawn from the head of Mississippi, 
down die middle thereof to the thirtyfirst degree of north 
latitude, and from thence by the line between Florida and 

He entered into a long discussion of our right to such 
an extent, and insisted principally on two objections to it. 
1st. That the western country had never belonged to, or 
been claimed as belonging lo the ancient Colonies. That 
previous 10 the last war it had belonged to France, and 
after its cession to Britain remained a distinct part of her 
dominions, until by the conquest of West Florida and cer- 
tain posts on the Mississippi and Illinois, it became vested 
in Spain. 2dly. That supposing the Spanish right of con- 
quest did not extend over all that country, still that it was 
possessed by free and independent nations of Indians, 
whose lands we could not with any propriety consider as 
belonging to us. He therefore proposed to run a longitu- 
dinal line on the east side of the river, for our western 
boundary ; and said, that he did not mean to dispute about 
a few acres or miles, but wished to run it in a manner that 
would be convenient to us ; for though he could never 
admit the extent we claimed, yet he did not desire to 
crowd us up to our exact limits. 

As it did not appear to me expedient to enter fully 
into the discussion of these objections, until after he bad 


marked the line he proposed, I told him I would forbeai 
troubling him with any remarks on the subject until the 
points in controversy should be reduced to a certainty ; and, 
therefore, I desired him to mark on the map the line he 
proposed, and to place it as far to the west as his instruc- 
tions would possibly admit of. He promised to do it, and 
to send me the map with his proposed line marked on it in 
a day or two. 

1 then gave him a copy of my commission, and showed 
him the original. He returned it to me with expressions 
of satisfaction, and then changed the subject, by desiring 
me, if after receiving his map and examining his lines, I 
should 6nd it in any respect inconvenient, that I would 
mark such other line on it as would, in my opinion, be 
more agreeable to America ; assuring me, that he had 
nothing more at heart, than to fix such a boundary be- 
tween us as might be satisfactory to both parties. I told 
him, that on receiving his m?p, I would take all that he 
had said into consideration, and take the earliest opportu- 
nity of acquainting him with my sentiments respecting it. 
I then observed, that I hoped his powers to treat were 
equal with mine. He replied, that he had ample powers to 
confer, but not to sign anything without previously com- 
municating it to his Court, and receiving their orders for 
the purpose ; but to my surprise, he did not offer to show 
me any powers of any kind.* 

* When the Treaty was made with France, M. Gerard, who nego- 
tiated it on the part of the French Court, did not show his commia- 
sion to treat till the Commissioners met him for the last time, and 
just before the signing of the Treaty. Mr Jay was more particular, 
however, on this point, and seemed disinclined to commence the 
negotiation in any form, till the powers had been exchanged. 

152 JOHN JAY. 

A few days afterwards he sent me the same map, with 
his proposed line marked on it in red ink. He ran it 
from a lake near the confines of Georgia, but east of the 
Flint River, to the confluence of the Kanawa with the 
Ohio, thence round the western shores of lakes Erie and 
Huron, and thence round lake Michigan to lake Superior. 

On the 10th of August I carried this map to the Count 
de Vergennes and left it widi him. Dr Franklin joined 
with me in pointing out the extravagance of this line ; and 
I must do him the justice to say, that in all his letters to 
rae, and in all his conversations with me respecting our 
western extent, he has invariably declared it to be his 
opinion, that we should insist upon the Mississippi as our 
western boundary, and that we ought not, by any means, 
to part with our right to the free navigation of it. 

The Count de Vergennes was very cautious and re- 
served ; but M. Rayneval, his principal Secretary, who 
was present, thought we claimed more than we had a 
right to. 

Having thus clearly discovered the views of Spain, and 
diat they were utterly inadmissible, I had little hope of 
our ever agreeing ; especially as die Mississippi was, and 
ought to be, our ultimainm. 

It was not long before I had another interview with M. 
Rayneval. He asked me wheUier I had made any pro- 
gress in my negotiations with the Count d'Aranda. I told 
him, that the Count had not yet shown me any powers 
from his Court to treat. He expressed surprise that 1 
should have any difHculties on that head ; especially con- 
sidering the public as well as private character of that no- 
bleman. I replied, that I was very sensible of the respec- 
tability, both of his public and private character; but, 


that neither the one nor the other authorised him to nego- 
tiate treaties with the United Slates of America ; and 
consequently, that his Court would he at liberty to disavow 
all his proceedings in such business. That it was my duty 
to adhere to the forms usual in such cases, and that those 
forms rendered it proper for Ministers to exchange copies 
of their commissions, before they proceeded on the busi- 
ness, which was the object of them. 

The Count d'Aranda was very urgent, that I should 
mark on his map some line or other to the eastward of 
the Mississippi, to which we could agree ; and on the 26th 
of August we had another conference on these subjects. 
I told him frankly, that we were bound by tlie Mississippi, 
and tjiat I had no authority to cede any territories east of 
it to his Catholic iMajesty, and that nil I could do relative 
to it, was to transmit his proposition to Congress for their 

He affected to be much surprised, that I should have no 
discretionary authority on that subject, and observed, that 
he had supposed I was a Minister Plenipotentiary. I told 
him, that few Ministers Plenipotentiary had discretionary 
power to transfer and cede to others the countries of their 
sovereigns. He denied, that the countries in question 
were our countries, and asked what right wc had to ter- 
ritories, which manifestly l)elong to free and independent 
nations of Indians. I answered, that those were points to 
be discussed and settled between us and them ; that we 
claimed the right of preemption with respect to them, 
and the sovereignty with rr.-spect to ail other nations. 1 
reminded him, that Mexico and Peru had been in the 
same predicament, asid yet iliat his Catholic Majesty had 

VOL. VIII. 20 

154 JOHN JAY. 

had no doubts of his right to the sovereignty of those coun- 

He then desired me to write him a letter on the sub- 
ject, in order that he might with the greater accuracy con- 
vey my sentiments to his Court. 

On the 4th of September, I received the following letter 
from M. de Rayneval. 


"Versailles, September 4th, 1782. 

"I should be glad to have a conversation with you on the 
subject of the boundaries in regard to Spain, but it is im- 
possible for me to go to Paris for this purpose. You would 
oblige me, if you would have the goodness to come to Ver- 
sailles tomorrow morning. It will give me great pleasure 
to see you at dinner. Meanwhile I have the honor, &;c. 


I accordingly waited upon M. de Rayneval. He en- 
tered into a long disquisition of our claims to the western 
country. It is unnecessary to repeat in this place what 
he said on those subjects, because I shall insert in this 
letter a copy of a paper, which at my request he wrote 
to me on them. That paper will speak for itself. You 
will be at no loss to form a judgment of the mode in which 
he proposed to reconcile us, by what lie called a concil- 
iatory line. We discussed very freely the propriety of 
my objecting to proceed with the Count d'Aranda ; and 
among other reasons, which induced him to think I ought 
to go on, was my having already conferred with him on 
those subjects. My answer to this was obvious, viz. that 
though I had heard Count d'Aranda's propositions, yet that 
I had offered none of any kind whatever. 


On the Gtli of September, M. de Rayneval wrote me 
the fullowini; letter. 



"Versailles, September 6th, 1782. 

"1 have the honor, Sir, to send you as you desired me, 
my personal ideas on the manner of terminating your dis- 
cussions about limits with Spain. 1 hope they will appear 
to you worthy to be taken into consideration. 

"I have reflected, Sir, on what you said to me yester- 
day of the Spanish Ambassador's want of powers. You 
cannot in my opinion urge that reason to dispense treating 
with that Ambassador, without offending him, and without 
contradicting the first step you have taken towards him. 
This reflection leads me to advise you again to see the 
Count d'Aranda, and to make him a proposition of some 
sort or other on the object in question. That which re- 
sults from my memoir appears to me the most proper to 
effect a reasonable conciliation ; but it is for you to judge 
whether I am mistaken, because you alone have a knowl- 
edge of the title, which the United States can have to ex- 
tend their possessions at the expense of nations, whom 
England herself has acknowledged to be independent. 

"As to the rest. Sir, whatever use you may think proper 
to make of my memoir, I pray you to regard it at least 
as a proof of my zeal, and of my desire to l)e useful to 
the cause of your country. 

"I have the honor to be, with perfect consideration, 

votirs, &CC. &ic. 


j^56 JOHN JAY. 

"F. S. As 1 shall be absent ibr some days, I pray 
vou to address your answer to M. Stenin, Secretary to 
the Council of State, at Versailles. 

"1 must desire you not to let the perusal ol the follow- 
ing memoir make you forget the postcript of the above 
letter, for in the sequel you will find it of some impor- 

.')/. i/c .H(fy)uvurs Memoir reajfccling the Right of the. 
United States to the Navigation of the Mississippi. 


"The question between Spain and the United States of 
North America is, how to regulate their respective limits 
towards the Ohio and the Mississippi. The Americans 
pretend, that their dominion extends as far as the Missis- 
si{)pi, and Spain maintains the contrary. 

"It is evident, that the Americans can only borrow from 
England the right they pretend to have to extend as far as 
the Mississippi ; therefore, to determine this right, it is 
proper to examine what the Court of London has thought 
and done on this head. 

"It is known, that before the treaty of Paris, France 
possessed Louisiana and Canada, and that she considered 
the savage people, situated to the east of the Mississippi, 
eiiiier as independent, or as under her protection. 

"This pretension caused no dispute ; England never 
thought of making any, except as to the lands situated 
towards the source of the Ohio, in that part where she 
had given the name of Alleghany to that river. 

"A discussion about limits at that time took place be- 
tween the Courts of Versailles and London, but it would 


be superfluoi-is 10 follow the particulars ; it will suffice to 
observe, that England proposed in 1755 the following 
boundary. It set out from the point where the River de 
Boeuf falls into the Ohio, at the place called Venango ; it 
went up this river towards lake Erie as far as twenty- 
leagues, and setting off again from the same place, Venan- 
go, a right line was drawn as far as the last mountains of 
V'irginia, which descend towards the ocean. As to the 
savage tribes situated between the aforesaid line and the 
Mississippi, the English Minister considers them as inde- 
pendent ; from whence it follows, that according to the 
very propositions of the Court of London, almost the 
whole course of the Ohio belonged to France, and that 
the countries situated to the westward of the mountains 
were considered as having nothing in common with the 

"When peace was negotiated in 17G1, France offered 
to make a cession of Canada to England. The regu- 
lation of the limits of this Colony and Louisiana was in 
question. France pretended that almost the whole course 
of the Ohio made a part of Louisiana, and the Court of 
London, to prove that this river belonged to Canada, 
produced several authentic papers ; among others, the 
chart which M. Vaudreuil delivered to the English com- 
mandant when he abandoned Canada. The Minister 
of London maintained at t!ie same time, that a part of 
the savages situated to the eastward of the Mississippi 
were independent, another part under its protection, and 
that England had purchased a pari from the five Irequois 
nations. The misfortunes of France cut these discussions 
short ; the treafy of Paris assigned the [Mississippi for the 
boundary between the possessions of France and Great 

158 JOHN JAY. 

"Let us see the dispositions, wliich the Court of Lon- 
don has made in consequence of tlie treaty of Paris. 

"If they had considered the vast territories situated to 
the eastward of the Mississippi as forming part of their an- 
cient Colonies, they would have declared so, and have 
made their dispositions accordingly. So far from any such 
thing, the King of England, in a proclamation of the month 
of October, 1763, declares in a precipe and positive man- 
ner that the lands in question are situated between the 
Mississippi and the ancient English e^tahUshments. It is, 
therefore, clearly evident, that the Court of London itself, 
when it was as yet sovereign of the Thirteen Colonies, did 
not consider the aforementioned lands as forming part of 
these same Colonies ; and it results from this in the most 
demonstrative manner, that they have not at this time any 
right over these lands. To maintain the contrary, every 
principle of the laws of nature and nations must be sub- 

"The principles now established are as applicable to 
Spain as to the United States. This power cannot extend 
its claims beyond the bounds of its conquests. She can- 
not, therefore, pass beyond the Natchez, situated towards 
the thirtyfirst degree of latitude ; her rights arc, therefore, 
confined to this degree ; what is beyond, is either indepen- 
dent or belonging to England ; neither Spain nor the 
Americans can have any pretensions thereto. The future 
treaty of peace can alone regulate the respective rights. 

"The consequence of all that has been said is, that 
neither Spain nor the United States has the least right of 
sovereignty over the savages in question, and that the 
transactions they may carry on as to this country would be 
to no purpose. 


"But the future may bring forth new circumstances, and 
this reflection leads one to suppose, that it would be of use 
that the Court of Madrid and the United States should 
make an eventual arrangement. 

"This arrangement may be made in the following man- 
ner. A right line should be drawn from the eastern 
angle of the Gulf of Mexico, which makes the section be- 
tween the two Floridas, to Fort Toulouse, situated in the 
country of the Alabamas ; from thence the river Lones- 
hatchi should be ascended, from the mouth of which a right 
line should be drawn to the Fort or Factory Quenassee ; 
from this last place, the course of the river Euphasee is to 
be followed till it joins the Cherokee ; the course of this 
last river is to be pursued to the place where it receives 
the Pelisippi ; this last to be followed to its source, from 
whence a right line is to be draun to Cumberland river, 
whose course is to be followed until it falls into the Ohio. 
The savages to the westward of the line described should 
be free under the protection of Spain ; those to the east- 
ward should be free, and under the protection of the 
United States ; or rather, the Americans may make 
such arrangements with them, as is most convenient to 
themselves. The trade should be free to both parties. 

"By looking over the chart we shall find, that Spain 
would lose almost the whole course of the Ohio, and thai 
the establishments, which the Americans may have on this 
river, would remain untouched, and that even a very ex- 
tensive space remains to form new ones. 

"As to the course and navigation of the Mississippi, they 
follow with the property, and they will belong, therefore, to 
the nation to which the two banks belong. If then, by the 
future treaty of peace, Spain preserves West Florida, she 


alone will be the proprietor of the course of the Mississippi 
from the thirty first degree of latitude to the mouth of this 
river. Whatever may be the case with that part, which is 
beyond this point to the north, the United Slates of Amer- 
ica can have no pretensions to it, not being masters of 
either border of this river. 

"As to what respects the lands situated to the northward 
of the Ohio, there is reason to presume that Spain can form 
no pretensions thereto. Tlieir fate must be regulated with 
the Court of London." 

1 did not return M. Rayneval any answer to his letter, 
nor any remarks on his memoir, but the first time I saw 
him afterwards I told him, I had received his letter and 
memoir he had done me tlic lionor to write, and that I 
should send a co()y of it to our Secretary for Foreign Affairs. 

As both the letter and memoir were ostensibly written 
by him in a private character, it did not appear to me ex- 
pedient or necessary to enter into any formal discussions 
with him on those subjects. 

The perusal of this memoir convinced me, 

1st. That this Court would, at a peace, oppose our 
extension to the Mississippi. 

2dly. That they would oppose our claim to the free 
navigation of that river. 

3dly. That they would probably support the British 
claims to all the country above the 31st degree of latitude, 
and certainly to all the country north ol the Ohio. 

4thly. That in case we should not agree to divide with 
Spain in the manner proposed, that then this Couit would 
aid Spain in negotiating with Britain for the territory she 
wanted, and would agree that the residue should remain to 


In my opinion, it was not to be believed that the first 
and confideniial Secretary of the Count de Vergennes 
would, without his knowledge and consent, declare such 
sentiments, and offer such propositions, and that, too, in 
writing. 1 therefore considered iM. Rayneval as speaking 
the sentiments of the Minister, and 1 confess they alarmed 
me, especially as they seemed naturally to make a part of 
that system of policy, which I believed induced him rather 
to postpone the acknowledgment of our independence by 
Britain lo the conclusion of a ;;eneral peace, than aid us 
in procuring it at present. 

You will now be pleased to recollect the pos:iscripl to M. 
Rayneval's letter. 

On the 9th of September I received certain information 
that on the 7th IM. Rayneval had left Versailles, and was 
gone to England ; that it was pretended he was gone into 
the country, and that several precautions had been taken 
to keep his real destination a secret. 

A former page in this letter informs you, that a little be- 
fore this, Mr Oswald had despatched a t:ourier with letters, 
recommending it to his Court to issue a new commission, 
styling us United States, and that 1 l:ad agreed to prepare 
a letter to the Count de Vergennes, stating our objec- 
tions to treat with Mr Oswald under his present one. 

This, therefore, was a period of uncertainty and sus- 
pense, and whatever part Britain might take, must neces- 
sarily be followed by very iinportani consequences. No 
lime was, therefore, to be lost in counteracting what I sup- 
posed to be the object of M. Rayneval's journey. But be- 
fore I enter into ti)at detail, I must here insert a copy of 
the letter, which I wrote to the Count d'Aranda, agreeably 
to his request herein beforementioned. 
VOL. vm. 21 

162 JOHN JAY. 


"Paris, September 10th, 1782 


"Agreeably to your Excellency's request, I have now 
the honor of repeating in writing, that I am not amhorised 
by Congress to make any cession of any counties belong- 
ing to the United States, and that I can do nothing more 
respecting the line mentioned by your Excellency, than to 
wait for and to follow such instructions as Congress, on 
receiving that information, may think proper to give me on 
that subject. 

"Permit me, nevertheless, to remind your Excellency 
that I have full power to confer, treat, agree, and conclude 
with the Ambassador or Plenipotentiary of his Catholic 
Majesty, vested with equal powers, of and concerning a 
treaty of amity and commerce and of alliance, on princi- 
ples of equality, reciprocity, and mutual advantage. 

"I can only regret, that my overtures to his Excellency, 
the Count de Florida Blanca, who was ex officio authorised 
to confer with me on such subjects, have been fruitless. 

"It would give me pleasure to see this business begun, 
and I cannot omit this opportunity of assuring your Ex- 
cellency of my wish and desire to enter upon it as soon as 
your Excellency shall be pleased to inform me, that you 
are authorised and find it convenient to proceed. 
"I have the honor to be, he. 


To this letter, the Count returned the following answer. 



"I have the honor to reply to your note of yesterday, 
that I am furnished with ample instructions from my Court, 
and am authorised by it to confer and treat with you on all 
points on which you may be instructed and authorised to 
treat by your constituents. 

"As soon as you communicate your propositions, they 
will be examined, and I will submit to you my observa- 
tions on them, in order that we may be able to agree on 
both sides. 

"I have the honor to be, k,c. 


On the same day, viz. the 10th of September, a copy 
of a translation of a letter from jM. Marbois to the Count 
de Yergcnnes, against our sharing in the fishery, was put 
into my hands. Copies of it were transmitted to yon, 
enclosed WNth my letter of the ISih of September, of which 
a duplicate was also forwarded. 

I also learned froin good authority, that on the morning 
of M. Rayneval's dejjartnre the Count d'Aranda had, con- 
trary to his usual practice, gone with post horses to Ver- 
sailles, and was two or three hours in conference with the 
Count de Vergenties and M. Rayneval before the latter set 

All thpse facts taken together led me to conjecture, 
that M. Rayneval was sent to England for the following 

Isl. To let Lord Shelburne know that the demands of 
America, to be treated by Britain as independent previous 

154 JOHN JAY- 

io n treaty, vvuie not approved or eouolerianced by this 
Court, and that the offer of Britain to make that acknow- 
ledgment in an article of tiie proposed treaty was in the 
Count's opinion sufficient. 

2dly. To sound Lord Shelbuine on the subject of 
the fishery, ar.d to discover whether Britain would agree 
to divide it witii France to the exclusion of all others. 

odly. To impress Lord Shelburne with the determi- 
nation of Sj)ain to jjosspss the exclusive navigation of the 
GuH of Mexico, and of their desire to keep us from the 
Mississippi ; and also, to hint the piopriety of such a line 
as on the one hand would satisfy Spain, and on the other, 
leave to Britain all the country north of the Ohio. 

4lhly. To make such other verbal overtures to Lord 
Shelburne, as it might not be advisable to reduce to writing, 
and to judge from the general tenor of his lordship's an- 
svveis and conversation, whether it was probable that a 
general peace, ou terms agreeable to France, could be 
effected, in order that if that was not the case an imme- 
diate slop might be put to the negotiation. 

Having after much consideration iiecome persuaded, that 
these were M. Rayneval's objects, 1 mentioned his journey 
to Mr Oswald, and after stating to him the first three of 
these objects, ! said everything respecting them, that ap- 
peared to me necessary ; but at ilie same time with a 
greater degree of caution than I could have wished, be- 
cause 1 well knev*' it would become ihc subject of a long 
letter to the Ministry. On reflecting, however, how neces- 
.sary it was, thai Lord Shelburne should know our senti- 
ments and resolutions respecting these matters, and how 
much better they could be conveyed in conversation than 
]by letter ; and knowing also, that Mr V'aughai! was in con- 


tidential correspondence with liim, and he was and ahvays 
had been strongly attached to the American cause, I con- 
cluded it would be prudent to prevail upon him to go im- 
mediately to England. 

I accordingly had an interview with Mr Vaughan, and 
he immediately despatched a few lines to Lord Shelburne, 
desiring that he would delay taking any measures with M, 
Rayneval until he should either see or hear further from 

]Mr Vaughan agreed to go to England, and we had 
much previous conversation on the points in question ; the 
substance of which was ; 

That Britain, by a peace with us, certainly expected 
other advantages ilian a mere suspension of hostilities, and 
that she doubtless looked forward to cordiality, confidence, 
and commerce. 

That the manner as well as the matter of the proposed 
treaty was therefore of importance, and that if the late 
assurances respecting our independence were not realized 
by an unconditional acknowledgment, neither confidence 
nor peace could reasonably be expected ; that this meas- 
ure was considered by America as the touchstone of British 
sincerity, and that nothing could abate the suspicions and 
doubts of her good faith, which prevailed there. 

That the interest of Great Britain, as well as that of the 
?.linister, would be advanced by it ; for as every idea of 
conquest had become absurd, nothing remained for Britain 
to do, but to make friends of those whom she could not 
subdue ; that the way to do this was by leaving us nothing 
to complain of, cither in the negotiation or in the treaty of 
peace, and by liberally yielding every point essential to the 
inteiest and happiness of America ; the first of which 
poi;its was, that of treating with us on an equal footing. 

165 JOHN JAY. 

That if the Minister really meant to make peace with 
us, it was his interest to make us believe so, and thereby 
ins)3ire us with a certain degree of confidence, which could 
no otherwise be obtained ; that his enemies charged him 
with insincerity on this very point, and that it must be use- 
ful to liim to convince all the world that such a charge was 

That it would be vain to amuse themselves with expec- 
tations from the affected moderation of France on this 
head ; for that America never would treat on any but an 
equal footing, and, therefore, although such expectations 
might cause delay, they would ultimately be fruitless. 

That a little reflection must convince him, that it was the 
interest and consequently the policy of France to postpone 
if possible the acknowledgment of our independence, to 
the very conclusion of a general peace, and by keeping it 
suspended until after the war, ohligc us by the terms of our 
treaty, and by regard to our safety, to continue in it to the 

That it hence appeared to be the obvious interest of 
Britain immediately to cut the cord?, which tied us to 
France, for that, though we were determined fiuthfully to 
fulfil our treaty and engagements with this Court, yet it 
was a different thing to be guided by their or our construc- 
tion of it. 

That among other things we were bound not to make a 
separate peace or truce, and that the assurance of our in- 
dependence was avowed to be the object of our treaty. 
While therefore Great Britain refused to yield this object, 
we were bound, as well as resolved, to go on with the war, 
although perhaps the greatest obstacles to a peace arose 
neither from the demands of France nor America. Whereas, 


that object being conceded, we should be at liberty to 
make peace the moment that Great Britain should be ready- 
to accede to the terms ot France and America, without 
our being restrained by tiie demands of Spain, with whose 
views we had no concerns. 

That it would not be wise in Great Britain to think of 
dividing the fishery with France and excluding us ; be- 
cause we could not make peace at such an expense, and 
because such an attempt would irritate America still more; 
would perpetuate her resentments, and induce her to use 
every possible means of retaliation by withholding supplies 
in future to the fishery, and by imposing the most rigid re- 
straints on a commerce with Britain. 

That it would not be less impolitic to oppose us on the 
point of boundary and the navigation of the Mississippi ; 

1st. Because our right to extend to the Mississippi was 
proved by our charters and other acts of government, and 
our right to its navigation was deducible from the laws of 
nature, and the consequences of revolution, which vested 
in us every British territorial right. It was easy therefore 
to foresee what opinions and sensations the mere attempt 
to dispossess us of these rights would diffuse throughout 

2dly. Because the profits of an extensive and lucrative 
commerce, and not the possession of vast tracts of wilder- 
ness, were the true objects of a commercial European na- 

That by our extending to the Mississippi to the west, 
and to the proclamation bounds of Canada to the north, 
and by consenting to the mutual free navigation of our sev- 
eral lakes and rivers, there would be an inland navigation 
from the Gulf of St Lawrence to that of Mexico, by 

16S JOHN JA-i 

means of which the inhabitants west and north of the 
mountains might with more ease be supjDlied with foreign 
commodities, than from ports on the Atlantic, and that this 
immense and growing trade would be in a manner monopo- 
lized by Great Britain, as we should not insist, that she 
should admit other nations to navigate the waters that be- 
longed to her. That therefore the navigation of the Mis- 
sissippi would in future be no less important to her than 
to us, it being the only convenient outlet, through which 
they could transport the productions of the western country, 
which they would receive in payment for merchandise 
vended there. 

That as to retaining any part of that country, or insisting 
to extend Canada, so as to comprehend the lands in ques- 
tion, it would be impolitic for these further reasons. Be- 
cause it would not be in their power either to settle or 
govern that country ; that we should refuse to yield them 
any aid, and that the utmost exertions of Congress could 
not prevent our people from taking gradual possession of 
it, by making establishments in different parts of it. That 
it certainly could not be wise in Britain, whatever it 
might be in other nations, tlius to sow the seeds of future 
war in the very treaty of peace, or to lay in it the founda- 
tion of such distrusts and jealousies as on the one hand 
would forever prevent confidence and real friendship, and 
on the other, naturally lead us to strengthen our security 
by intimate and permanent alliances with other nations. 

I desired Mr Vaughan to communicate these remarks 
to Lord Shelburne, and to impress liim with the necessity 
and policy of taking a decided and manly part respecting 

Mr Vaughan set off the evening of die 1 1th of Septem- 


ber. It would have relieved me from much anxiety and 
uneasiness to have concerted all these steps with Dr 
Franklin, but on conversing with him about M. Rayne- 
val's journey, he did not concur with me in sentiment re- 
specting the objects of it ; but appeared to me to have a 
great degree of confidence in this Court, and to be much 
embarrassed and constrained by our instructions. 

Nothing now remained to be done l)ut to complete the 
letter we had agreed to write to the Count de Vergennes, 
stating our objections to treat with Mr Oswald under his 
present commission. I accordingly prepared the follow- 
ing draft of such a letter, and it was under Dr Franklin's 
consideration, when the news of our success in England 
rendered it unnecessary. 

Proposed Draft of n Letirr to Count Hr Frrgennes. 


"The question, whether we ought to exchange copies of 
our respective commissions with Mr Oswald, and proceed 
to business with him under his, is not only important and 
consequential in itself, but derives an additional degree of 
weight from die variance subsisting between your Excel- 
lency's sentiments and oiu- own on that subject. 

"The respect due to your Excellency's judgment, our 
confidence in the friendship of our good and great ally, 
and the tenor of our instructions from Congress, all con- 
spire to urge us to lay before your Excellency a full state 
of the facts and circumstances, which create our objections 
to treating with Mr Oswald undpr tlm r<-';iT.!i-<:i(m in 

"'We flatter niir«cUp-, tlinl in tiir- i : discus. 

VOL. VIII. 22 


sion, some light will be cast upon the subject, and it gives 
us pleasure to reflect, that our objections will be reviewed 
by a Minister, possessed of candor to acknowledge their 
force on the one hand, and talents to detect and discover 
to us tht'ir fallacy on ihe other. 

"It appears to us unnecessary to premise, that on the 4th 
day of July, 1776, the representatives of the then late 
Thirteen United Colonies, in Congress assembled, did in 
the name and by the authority of the good people of those 
Colonies, and for the reasons in that act specified, 'solemn- 
ly publish and declare, that the Sdid United Colonies were 
and of right ought to be free, and independent States, that 
they were absolved fron) all allegiance to the British Crown, 
and that all poliiical connexion between them and the 
State of Great Britain was and ought to be totally dis- 
solved ; and that as free and independent States, they had 
full power to levy wav, conclude peace, co:\\vacl alliances, 
establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things, 
which independent nations might of right do. And for 
the sup. port of that declaration, with a firm reliance on 
the protection of Divine Piovidence, they did mutually 
pledge to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their 
sacred honor.^ 

"This fleclaration was immediately ratified by legislative 
acts of the different Slates, all of whom have ever since 
so uniloniily abided by it, that the aiiihority of the King 
of Great Briiain has never Irom ihat day to ibis extended 
over more ground in that coimlry, than was from lime to 
lime under the feet of his armies. 

"The United States also bound themselves to each other 
by a solemn act of confederation and perpetual union, 
wherein they declare, 'that the style of the Confederacy 


should be, the United Stttes of America,'' and by it they 
vested in Congress the sole and exclusive riiilit and power 
of determining on peace and war, of sending and receiving 
Ambassadors, and entering into treaties and allianoes. 

"Thus becoming of right, and being in fact fri-e, sover- 
eign and independent States, tiieir representatives in Con- 
gress did on tlie lodi day of Jime, 1781, grant a roinmis- 
sion to certain gentlen)e:: (of whom we are two) in their 
name to confer, treat, and conclude, with the Ambassa- 
dors, Commissioners, he. vested loith equal powers rela- 
ting to the re-esiablishment of peace, &,r. 

"On the 25th of July 1782, bis Britannic Al.ijosty issued 
a co.nmission under the great seal of his kingdom to 
Richard Oswald, reciting in the words following, 'that 
whereas by an act p;issed in the last session of Pnriia- 
inent, entitled, "An Act to enable his .Majesty to conclude 
a peace or truce with certain Colonies in North America," 
therein mentioned, it recited, that it is essential to the 
interest, welfare, and prosperity of Great Britain, and the 
Colonies or Plantations of New Han)pshire, Massachu- 
setts Bay, Sic. (naming the thirteen) that peace, inter- 
course, trade, and commerce, should be restored between 
them, therefore, and for a full manifestation of our earnesi; 
wish and desire ; and of that of our Parliament, to put 
an end to the calamities of war, it is enacted, that it should 
and might be lawful for us to treat, consult of, agree and 
conclude with any Commissioner or Commissioners, named 
or to be named, by the said Colonies or Plantations, or 
with any bofly or bodies, corporate or politic, or any as- 
sembly or assemblies, or description of men or any person 
whatsoever, a peace or truce with the said Colonies oi"* 
Plantations, or any of them, or any part or parts thereof, 

172 JOHN JAY. 

any law, act or acts of Parliament, matter or thing to the 
contrary in anywise notwithstanding.' The commission 
then proceeds to appoint and authorise Mr Oswald to treat 
&c. in the very words of the act. 

"We do not find ourselves described in this commission 
as the persons with whom Mr Oswald is authorised to 

"Nations, particularly corporations, mercantile companies, 
and indeed every private citizen, in every country, liave 
their titles, their styles, their firms, and their additions., 
which are necessary to their being known in the law ; that 
is to say, the law of nations requires, that national acts 
shall give to every sovereign and nation its proper political 
name or style, in the same manner as the municipal law 
of the land will only take notice of corporations, compa- 
nies, and even private citizens by their proper names and 
legal descriptions. 

"When the Uniteii States became one ol the nations of 
the earth, they published the style or name, by which they 
were to be known and called, and as on the one hand they 
became subject to tlje law of nations, so on the other they 
liave a right to claim and enjoy its protection, and all the 
privileges it afibrds. 

"Mr Oswald's comnjission is a lormal, national act, and 
no nation not mentioned or properly described in it can 
consider him properly authorised to treat with them. 
Neither the United States of America, nor Commissioners 
appointed by them, are mentioned in it, and, therefore, we 
fis their servants can have no right to treat with liim. 

"We are apprised the word Colonies or Plantations of 
New Hampshire, &ic. in North Jlmcrica, convey to the 
reader a geographical idea of the country intended by the 


commission, and of the manner of its first settlement, but 
it conveys no political idea of it, except perhaps a very 
false one, viz. as dependent on the British Crown ; for it 
is to be observed, that the words Colonies or Plantations 
have constantly been used in British acts of Parliament, 
10 describe those countries while they remained subject to 
that Crown, and the act holds up that idea in a strong 
point of light when it declares, Uhat it is essential to the 
interest, toelfare, and prosperity of the Colonies or Planta- 
tions of New Hampshire, &,c. that peace, k.c. should be 
restored, &cc.' For as independent States our interests, 
welfare, and prosperity, were improper objects for the 
Parliamentary discussion and provision of Great Britain. 

"The United States cannot be known, at least to their 
Commissioners, by any other than their present, proper, 
political name, for in determining: whether Mr Oswald's 
commission be such as that we ought to treat with him 
under it, we must read it with the eyes, and decide upon 
it with the judgment of ^imerican Ministers, and not of 
private individuals. 

"But admitting that the studied ambiguity of this com- 
mission leaves every reader at liberty to suppose, that we 
are or are not comprehended in it, nay supposing it to be 
the better construction, that we are, still in our opinion it 
would ill become the dignity of Congress to treat with Mr 
Oswald under it. 

"It is evident, that the design of the commission was, if 
possible, to describe the L'nited States, the Congress, and 
their Commissioners, by such circumlocutory, equivocal, and 
undeterminate words and appellations, as should with equal 
propriety apply to the Thirteen Slates considered as Brit- 
ish Colonies and territories, or as independent States, to 

174 JOHN JAY. 

the end, that Great Britain might remain in a capacity to 
say, that they either had the one or the other meaning, as 
circumstances and convenience might in future dictate. 

"As Congress have no doubts of their own independence, 
they cannot with propriety sanctify the doubts of others, 
and, therefore, cannot admit the sufficiency or decency of 
any commission that contains them. 

"It being well known, that tiie United States have vested 
in Congress the exclusive right to make peace, this com- 
mission, by authorising ]\!r Oswald to treat with them sep- 
arately, and even with parts of them, and with any person 
or persons whatsoever, offers such open and direct violence 
to the honor and prerogatives of Congress, as to be better 
calculated to excite their resentment than their acquies- 
cence. Nor can we conceive it very decent in Great 
Britain to expect that Congress, after having so long firmly 
and uniformly maintained the rights of independence, 
should now consent to deviate from that character by ne- 
gotiating with her for peace, in any other capacity than the 
one in which they have carried on the war with her. 

"It seems agreed on all hands, that the commission does 
not acknowledge us to be independent, and though the 
King of Great Britain consents to make it the first article 
of the proposed treaty, yet, as neither the first nor the last" 
article of the treaty can be of validity till the conclusion of 
it, can it be reasonably expected, that we should consent 
to be viewed during all that interval as British subjects, 
there being no middle capacity or character between sub- 
jection and independence ? Neither Congress nor their 
servants, if so inclined, have a riglit to suspend the inde- 
pendence of the United States for a single moment, nor 
can the States themselves adopt such a measure, while 


they remember ihe solemn manner in which they pledged 
to each oilier their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred 
honor, to support their independence. 

"It gives us pleasure to find that these inferences and 
conclusions from ilie general nature and rights of indepen- 
dence, stand confirmed by the express acts and declara- 
tions of Congress on the subject, and in whatever view 
these acts may be regarded by others, they must be con- 
sidered as authoritative by their servants. 

"So early as the 17th of July, 1776, Congress resolved, 
*that General Washington, in refusing to receive a letter 
said to be sent by Lord Howe, addressed to "George 
Washington, Esq." acted with a dignity becoming his sta- 
tion, and, therefore, that this Congress do highly approve 
the same, and do direct that no letter or message be re- 
ceived on any occasion whatever from the enemy by the 
Commander in Chief, or others, the commanders of the 
American army, but such as shall be directed to them in 
the characters they respectively sustain.' 

"We conceive that the reason of this resolution extends 
with at least equal force to civil officers, and particularly 
to Commissioners appointed to treat of peace with Great 

"On the 5:h of September, 1776, Congress resolved, 
'that General Sullivan be requested to inform Lord Howe, 
that this Congress, being the representatives of the free 
and independent States of America, cannot with propriety 
send any of its members to confer with bis Lordsliip in 
their /jrii'arc characters, but that ever desirous of establish- 
ing peace on reasonable terms, they will send a committee 
of their body to know whether he has any authority to 
treat with persons authorised by them for that purpose in 

176 JOHN JAY. 

behalf of America, and what that authority is ; and to hear 
such propositions as he shall think fit to make respecting 
the same ; that tiie President write to General Washing- 
ton and acquaint him, that it is the opinion of Congress, 
no proposals for making peace between Great Britain and 
the United States of America ought to he received or at- 
tended to, unless the same be made in writing, and ad- 
dressed to the representatives of the said States in Con- 
gress, or persons authorised hy them, and if application be 
made to him by any of the commanders of the British 
forces on that subject, that he inform them, that these 
United States, who entered into the war only for the de- 
fence of their lives and liberties, will cheerfully agree to 
peace on reasonable terms, ivhenever such shall be pro- 
posed to thern in manner aforesaid,' 

"These resolutions were passed at a time when the 
United States had formed no alliances, and when a formi- 
dable and hostile army had just arrived to invade their 
country. If such, therefore, were their sentiments, and 
such their resolutions at so early, so dangerous, and doubt- 
ful a period, there certainly is reason to presume, that the 
fortitude which influenced thern has not been abated by 
the present aspect of their affairs. 

"On the 22d of November, 1777, Congress resolved, 
'that all proposals of a treaty between the King of Great 
Britain or any of his Commissioners and the United States, 
inconsistent with the independence of the said States, or 
with such treaties or alliances as may be formed under 
their authority, will he rejected hy Congress.'' 

"We cannot consider the present proposals to treat with 
us in a character below independence to he consistent 
with it. 


"Among other objections unanimously made by Con- 
gress, on the 22d of April, 1778, to certain bills of the 
British Parliament, then about to be passed into laws to 
enable the King.of Great Britain to appoint Commissioners 
to treat, &,c. is the following, viz. 

'Because the said bill purports, that the Commissioners 
therein mentioned may treat with private individuah, a 
measure highly derogatory to national honor-.'' 

"Mr Oswald's commission contains a similar clause, and, 
consequently, is liable to the same objection. 

"The Congress did also, on the same day, unanimously 
declare, 'that these United States cannot with propriety 
hold any conference or treaty ivith any Commissioners on 
the part of Great Britain, unless they shall as a prelimi- 
nary thereto, either withdraw their fleets and armies, or 
else in positive and express terms acknoivledgc the inde- 
pendence of the said States.' Neither of these alterna- 
tives have as yet been complied with. 

"On the 6th of June, 1778, the Congress ordered their 
President to give an answer in the following words to the 
Commissioners appointed uncitn- the British acts of Parlia- 
ment beforementioned. viz. 
'My Lord, 

*l have had the honor to lay your Lordship's letter of 
May the 27th, with the acts of the British Parliament en- 
closed, before Congress, and I am instructed to acquaint 
your Lordship, that they have already expressed their 
sentiments upon bills not essentially difTerent from those 
acts, in a publication of the 22d of April last. 

'Your Lordship may be assured, that when the King of 
Great Britain shall be seriously disposed to put an end to 
VOL. viii. 23 

178 JOHN JAY. 

the unprovoked and cruel war waged against these United 
States, Congress will readily attend to such terms of peace 
as may consist with the honor of independent nations, the 
interest of their constituents, and the saci;ed regard they 
mean to pay to treaties.' 

"The honor of an independent nation forbids their treat- 
ing in a subordinate capacity. 

"On the 17th of June, 1778, Congress in another letter 
to the same Commissioners, unanimously pm in saying ; 

'Nothing but an earnest desire to sj)are the further 
effiision of human blood could have induced thein to read 
a paper contLining expressions so disrespectful to his Most 
Christian Majesty, the good and great ally of these States, 
or to consider propositions so derogatory to the honor of 
an independent nation. 

'The acts of the British Parliament, the conmiission 
from your sovereign, and your letter, sup|)ose the people 
of these States to be subjects of the Crown of Great 
Britain, and are founded on an idea of dependence, which 
is utterly inadmissible. 

'I am further directed to inform your Excellencies, 
that Congress are inclined to peace, notwithstanding the 
unjust claims from whicl) this war originated, and the 
savage manner in vvhicli it has been conducted. They 
will therefore be ready to enter upon the consideration of 
a treaty of peace and commerce, not inconsistent with 
treaties already subsisting, vjhen the King of Great Britain 
shall demonstrate a sincere disposition for tliat purpose. 
The only solid proof of this disposition will be an ex- 
plicit acknowledgment ol the independence of these Stales, 
pr the withdrawing his fleets and armies.' 

"On the lllh of July, 1778, the British Commissioners 


a°-ain endeavored to prevail upon Congress to treat with 
them on llie Inimiliating idea of dependence. And on the 
18lh day of the same month, Congress came to the fol- 
lowins; resolution, viz. 

'Whereas Congress, in a letter to the British Commis- 
sioners of the 1 7th of June last, did declare that they wonld 
be ready to enter into the consideration of a treaty of 
peace and commerce not inconsistent with treaties already 
subsisting, tvhen the King of Great Britain should demon- 
strate a sincere disposition for that purpose, and that the 
only solid proof of this disposition wonld be an explicit ac- 
knowledgment of the independence of these States, or the 
withdrawing his fleets and armies; and whereas neither 
of these alternatives have been complied with, therefore 
resolved, that no answer be given to the letter of the 11th 
instant from the British Commissioners.' 

«'VVe find Congress still adhering to the same resolutions 
and principles, and in pursuance of them lately directing 
General Washington to refuse Sir Guy Carleton's request 
of a passport for one of his family to carry despatches 
from him to Congress. The late resolutions of the differ- 
ent States on that occasion show how exactly the sense of 
the people at large corresponds with that of their represen- 
tatives in Congress on these important points. 

"To our knowledge, there is not a single instance in 
which Congress have derogated from the practice and con- 
duct of an independent nation. All their commissions, as 
well civil as military, are and always have been in that 
style. They have treated with France and the States- 
General of the United Provinces, and those powers have 
treated with them on an equal footing. What right, there- 
fore, can Britain have to demand, that we should treat in a 


different manner with her ? Or with what propriety can 
we pay marks of respect and reverence to our enemies, 
which we never have paid to our friends ; friends too, who 
are at least equal to her in power and consideration ; nor 
can we forbear observing, that the second article of our 
treaty of alliance with his Most Christian Majesty declares, 
•That the essential and direct end of the present defensive 
alliance is, to maintain effectually the liberty, sovereignty, 
and independence, absolute and unlimited, of the said 
United Stales, as well in matters of government as of com- 

"Hence it appears, that not only the regard due to our 
own dignity, but also to the dignity of our great ally, and 
the faith of treaties, forbid our receding in the least from 
the rights of that sovereignty and independence, the sup- 
port of which forms the direct end of our alliance. 

"But although the United States as an independent na- 
tion can regard Great Britain in no other light, than they 
would any other Kingdom or State with whom ihey may be 
at war, yet we can easily perceive that Great Britain has 
stronger objections than other nations can have to treating 
with us as independent. But these objections, however 
strong, are more proper subjects for their deliberations 
whom they affect, than for ours, whom they do not respect. 
Britain may amuse herself with, and therefore be embar- 
rassed by doubts of our title to independence, but we have 
no such doubts, and therefore cannot be perplexed or 
influenced by them. 

"Other nations owe their origin to causes similar to those 
which gave birth to ours, and it may not be useless to 
inquire how they conducted themselves under similar cir- 


"The tyranny of Philip II of Spain made his subjects 
in the Low Countries declare themselves independent ; 
a long and cruel war ensued, which was suspended by a 
truce for twelve years, and afterwards concluded by a de- 
6nitive treaty of peace. 

"History bears honorable testimony to the wisdom and 
fortitude of that nation during that interval, and we think 
ilie following detail is so interesting, and so applicable to 
the case of our country in general, and particularly to the 
point in question, that we cannot forbear requesting your 
Excellency to peruse it. 

"On the 26th of July, 1581, the United Provinces, by a 
formal act, declared that Philip II had forfeited his right 
to the sovereignty of those Provinces, and that conse- 
quently they were independent. 

"On the last of June, 15S4, the King of France sent an 
Ambassador (le Sieur Pruneaul) to Holland, and he in 
writing represented to the States assembled at Delft, that 
his Majesty had understood that they desired to treat with 
him, and that he had thought proper to inform them, that 
they should let him know on what terms they proposed to 
do it, with many reasons to induce the Provinces to come 
into such treaty. 

"Queen Elizabeth did nearly the same thing by her letter 
of the last of October, 15S4, which she sent to her Am- 
bassador Davidson. 

"The Deputies of the States soon after, by their order, 
returned thanks to the Queen and informed her, that they 
had resolved to accept the King of France for Prince of 
the country in the same manner as Charles V had been, 
but on condition to retain their rights and privileges. 

"On the 3d of January, 1585, the States despatched 


Deputies to make this ofier to the King of France. Spain 
remonstrated against their being admitted to an audience, 
calling them rebels, &,c. 

"To this remonstrance the King of France gave an an- 
swer, which does the liighest honor to his magnanimity. 

"On the 13th of February, 15S5, tlie de[)uties had an 
audience of the King, and afterwards of the Queen Mo- 

"On the 8th of March, 1585, the King gave for answer 
to the Deputies, that he could not at present accept ilieir 
offer nor assist them ; complained greatly of the violence 
done him by the Spaniards and Guises, and desired them 
to provide for their own defence, until such time as he 
should be in quiet with his own subjects, and promised to 
recommend them to the Queen of England. 

"On the 6th of June, 1585, the States-General resolved 
to transfer the soveieignty to the Queen of England, on 
lawful and reasonable conditions, or to treat with her to 
take them under her protection, or to obtain more aid and 
assistance from her. 

"On the 9th of July, 1585, they had an audience of the 
Queen at Greenwich, and ofiered to her the sovereignty, 

"The Queen declined to accept the sovereignty or un- 
dertake the perpetual protection of the United Provinces, 
but on the lOlh of August, 1585, she entered into a formal 
treaty with them to afford aid, &ic. 

"On the 16th of October, 1587, the States made a dec- 
laration to their Governor Leicester on the subject of some 
differences between them, in which they say, 'And as by 
divers acts, and particularly by a certain letter, which he 
wrote on the 10th of July to his secretary Junius, (as is 


said) the authority of these States is drawn into doubt; 
they think, it proper to make a more ample declaration, 
containing a deduction of the rights of the States, which 
they are bound by oath to maintain. For in case they had 
not been well founded in the sovereignty of the Provinces, 
they could not have deposed the King of Spain, nor have 
defended themselves againsi his power. JSi'or tcoidd they 
have been able to treat ivith their Majesties of France and 
England, nor to have transferred the government to your 
Excellency,' he. he. 

"On the 3d of September, 1587, the Earl of Leicester 
by order of the Queen intimated to them the propriety of 
negotiating for peace, for it seems the King of Denmark 
had privately sounded the King of Spain on that subject. 

"The Slates answered, 'That they had never given any 
such commission to the King of Denmark, nor ever thought 
of it ; but on the contrary, they had observed to the Earl 
of Leicester, in the year 1586, on his leaving Holland, and 
on his speaking to them about making peace, that there 
was nothing so dangerous and injurious in their condition 
as to speak or treat of peace, and that it was one of the old 
finesses of Spain ; that neither a long war, the damages 
suffered, nor force, nor the unexpected deaths of their 
chiefs had been able to iiinder their doing their duty, nor 
make tJiem recede one step from that foundation of con- 
stancy on which they were fixed ; but that seeing the 
honorable weapons which were left them, viz. firmness and 
resolution, they were sufficiently powerful tosurniount their 
difficulties, in the same manner as the virtue of the Ro- 
mans had made them triumph over Carthage.' They 
also reminded the Earl, that by pretext of treating of peace 
on a former occasion, they had lost. Artois, Hainault, and 

184 JOHN JAY. 

Other countries. That the treaties at Ghent and Bruges, 
which were prior to their independence, had cost the lives 
of more than a hundred thousand persons ; that negligence 
and false security were always the consequences of such 

"On the 30th of October, 15SS, the Queen again pro- 
posed their entering into negotiations for peace, and they 
again refused. 

"In 1590 and 1591, the Emperor endeavored to per- 
suade the United Provinces to enter into negotiations by 
the mediation of his good offices for a reconciliation with 
the King of Spain. And on the 7th of April, 1592, they 
gave a formal answer to the Emperor, containing their rea- 
sons for declining his proposal ; on this occasion they 
struck a medal representing a Spaniard offering peace to a 
Zealander, who points to a snake in the grass, with these 
words, ^latet anguis in herha.^ 

"On the 6th of May, 1594, the Archduke of Austria sent 
a letter to the States on the same subject, and received the 
like answer, accompanied with a full slate of their reasons 
for it. 

"In the same year the United Provinces sent Ambassa- 
dors to Denmark, and received others from King James of 
Scotland, who desired them to send some persons on their 
behalf to assist at the baptism of his son, and to renew an- 
cient treaties, &.c. 

"On the 31st of October, 1596, the King of France en- 
tered into a treaty of alliance with the United Provinces 
against Spain. 

"On the 9th of August, 1597, the Emperor by his Am- 
bassador, then at the Hague, proposed to the States to 
treat of peace. They refused, alleging that they had been 


lawfully separated from the dominion of the King of Spain, 
and had formed alliances with England, France, ^c. 

"On ihe 15tli of October, 1597, Ambassadors from the 
King of Denmark arrived at the Hague, among otiier 
things to dispose the States to peace. On the 24th of 
October, the States gave ihem a long answer, recapitulat- 
ing their reasons for refusing lo negotiate. 

'•'On the 2d of November, 1 597, the King of France 
having been offered advantageous terms of peace by Spain, 
hinted his pacific inclinations to the States. They earn- 
estly dissuaded him from making either peace or truce. 
The King nevertheless began to treat under the mediation 
of the Pope, he. 

"The States sent Ambassadors to France with instruc- 
tions dated 1 3th of January, 1598, to dissuade the King 
from peace, and to take measures with France against 
Spain for the ensuing campaign. 

"On the 2d of May, 1598, peace was concluded between 
France and Spain, at Vervins. 

"In treating of the articles of this peace, the Deputies 
of France declared, that they could not proceed to con- 
clude it unless the Queen of England and the United Pro- 
vinces, who were allied with his Christian Majesty, were 
received and admitted to the treaty. To which the Dep- 
uties of the King of Spain answered, that from the com- 
ineDcement of the conferences, they had declared that 
they were ready and content to receive and treat with the 
Deputies of the said Queen and Provinces, and that they 
had resided long enough in that place to give them lime to 
come there if tiiey had' been so pleased; and it w;is con- 
cluded and agreed, tiiat if in six months the Deputies of 
the said Queen and United Provinces should come with 
VOL. viii. 24 

186 JOHN JAY. 

sufficient powers, and declare themselves willing to treat 
of pe;ice, they should there be received, and for that pur- 
pose the f)e|)uties of the King of Spain should be at Ver- 
vins, or such other place as by common consent of parlies 
should be agreed upon ; and at the instance of the Depu- 
ties of his Cliribtian Majesty, it was further agreed, that 
there sliould be a cessation of arms and hostilities between 
his Catholic Majesty, the Queen of England, and the 
United Provinces for tv;o months, to be computed froirs 
the da}' on vvliich the said Queen and Provinces should in- 
form the Archduke of Austria, that ihey accepted the said 
cessation, &;c. 

"0.1 the 6ih of May, 159S, the King of Spain conveyed 
the Low Countries and Burgundy to his daughter Isabella 
Clara Eugenia on certain conditions, the first of which was 
to marry Albert, the Archduke of Austria. 

"On the 29th of June, 1598, the Queen of England, by 
her Ambassador Sir Francis Veer, addressed the Slates 
on the subject of the late peace between France and Spain, 
and left it to their choice to accede or continue the war. 
They resolved not to treat of peace. 

"The Archduke expressed his astonishment, that the 
Queen should assist h\s rebeUious subjects, on which she de- 
sired the King of France to tell him, that alliances with the 
States of the Low Countries was not a new thing ; that they 
had not recognised him for their sovereign, and that though 
she respected hiin as the brother of the Emperor and 
Archduke of Austria, yet as the Lieutenant of the King of 
Spain she held him as an enemy. 

"On the 16th of August, 1598, the Queen of England 
entered into a new conveniion with the United Provinces, 
confirming the treaty of 1585, wiih certain other stip- 


<'0n the 28tl) of Ausjiist, 159S, the Archduke wrote a 
letter to the Slates-General, to persuade them to accept 
him for their sovereign. To this letter they resolved not 
to give any answer. 

*On ihc I3ih of September, 1598, Philip II, King of 
Spain, died. In the year 1599, the Emperor again corn- 
missioned Ambassadors to persuade the L'nited Provinces 
to treat of peace, &ic. The States, in their answer of ilie 
2d of December, 1599, refuse to treat, l)ecause among 
other reasons, 'the insolence of ll)e Archduke and Infauia 
was such, that although I hey knew very well that they 
could claim no right to the said United Provinces under 
the beforementioned donation, or by any other title, yet so 
it was, that by placards, by public and notorious libels, and 
by indecent and unjust acts, which they could never ex- 
cuse, iliLy held them for rebels.' 

"On the Till of June, 1600, the States, in their answer to 
another application to the Emf)eror, say among other things 
that ihe Archduke had 'treated the inhabitants barbarously, 
proclaiming those fo be rebels who had nothing to do with 
kim, and that well considering all these things, they had 
good reason to judge, that it would neither be consistent 
with their honor nor their interest to acknowledge the 
Archduke, or treat either with him or with Spain.' 

"On the 3d of April, 1602, the Qi;een of England died. 

"On the accession of James, the Archduke iuuiiediately 
sent Niciiolas Schossy to sound the King on the subject of 
peace, and the next year sent Count .Arembergh tiiere for 
the same purpose. King James sent Rudolph VViuwood 
to inform the States, that the Archduke had proposed to 
him to treat of peace, but that he would do nothing till he 
had informed them of it, and should be advised of their 

188 JOHN JAY. 

"On the 30lh of July, 1603, the Kings of France and 
England concluded a treaty of confederation, principally 
for the defence of the United Provinces against the King of 
Spain. This treaty was secret. 

"In May, 1 604, conferences lor a peace were opened 
at London between the Deputies of Spain and the Arch- 
duke on the one part, and those of England on the other. 
"The Spaniards requested the King to mediate a peace 
between the Archduke and the United Provinces on rea- 
sonable and equal terms. The English answered, that it 
was not their business, and that they could treat together, 
without saying anything oi' the United Provinces. 

"On the 28th of August, 1604, peace was concluded be- 
tween Spain and the Archduke on the one part, and Eng- 
land on the other. 

"On the last of May, 1605, the Slates, in answer to the 
propositions for peace made by the Emperor, Electors, 
Princes, and States of the empire say, 'that they had 
been legally discharged from their oaths to the late King 
of Spain ; insomuch that all impartial Kings, Princes, and 
States did at present acknowledge and hold the Low Coun- 
tries for zfree State, qualified of right to govern itself in 
form of a republic, or to choose another Prince. 

*That as to what they had been advised, viz. to enter 
into any treaty, contrary to the free government right, 
which they had obtained, and which they still enjoyed, 
they considered it as contrary to God, their honor, and 
their safety.^ 

"About the end of February, 1607, there came fronj 
Brussels to Holland, as Deputy from the Archduke, the 
Commissary-General of the minor brothers, whose father 
had formerly been well acquainted with the Prince of 


"He came to learn the reasons, which had prevented the 
proposiiions ol' the Sieur Horst from being successful. 
After speakins; often in private wiih Prince jMaurice, he 
came to the Hague, where he also had an audience of 
Prince Maurice, to whom he said, that it was not the inten- 
tion of his Highness either to better or to lessen his right 
by any treaty of tnice, but to treat with the States in the 
state in tvhich they were. And on being given to under- 
stand, that the Archduke must ocknotvledge the State for 
a free State before they ivould enter into any treaty, he 
undertook to bring the Archduke to consent to it, in order 
to avoid the effusion of blood. On the 9th, he went in 
Prince Maurice's boat to Antwerp, and returned on the 17th 
of March to the Hague, and did so much, that both parlies 
finally agreed to come to some mutual treaty, agreeable 
to the conditions of the following Declaration, viz. 

'The Archdukes have found it proper to make the fol- 
lowing declaration, offer, and presentation to the States- 
General of the United Provinces of the Low Countries. 

'That the Archdukes having nothing more at heart than 
to see the Low Countries and the inhabitants thereof de- 
livered from the miseries of war, declare, by these pres- 
ents, and with mature deliberation, that they are content to 
treat with the States-General of the United Provinces, 
in quality, and as holding them for free Countries, Prov- 
inces, and States, to which their Highnesses pretend noth- 
ing, either by way of perpetual peace, or truce, or cessa- 
tion of arms for twelve, fifteen, or twenty years, at the 
election of the said States, and on reasonable conditions ;' 
then follow certain proposiiions for a truce, he. and after- 
wards a condition, 'That the Stales agree to the afore- 
said provisional truce in eight days after the delivery of 

190 JOHN JAY. 

these presents, and shall make a declaration to their 
Highnesses in writing, before the 1st of September next 
ensuing, touching the principal treaty aforesaid of truce 
or cessation of anus, with the tiine and place which they 
may have chosen. Done at Brussels, under the signa- 
tures and the seal of their Highnesses, the 13th of March, 

"To this declaration and oiTer, the Stales answered, 
'That the States-General in quality of, and as free States, 
Countries, and Provinces, over which their Highnesses 
have nothing to pretend, and being equally desirous of 
nothing more than to consent to a Christian, honorable, 
and sure issue to, and deliverance from the miseries of 
this war, after mature deliberation, and with the advice of 
his Excellency, and of the Council of State, have accented 
the said declaration of the Archdukes to regard their 
United Provinces as free Countries, to tvhich their High- 
nesses have nothing to pretend, and also a truce for eight 
months, &c. he. Their Highnesses further promising to 
obtain and deliver to the said States-General within three 
months next ensuing, the agreement of the King of Spain 
touching the treaty, under all the necessary renunciations 
and obligations, as well general as special.' 

"On the last of June, 1607, the King of Spain ratified 
the truce, but omitted an acknowledgment of their inde- 

"The States-General, on the 9th and 11th of August, 
'declared these ratifications to be imperfect both in sub- 
stance and in form.' The Archduke promised to procure 
a more complete one. 

"On the 18th of September, 1607, the King of Spain 
made a new ratification containing the acknowledgment in 


question, but declaring that the said ratification should be 
void, unless the peace or truce in contemplation should 
take place. 

"To this condition the States made strong objections. 

"On the 2d of iXovember, 1607, the States made various 
remarks on the ratification. They absolutely refused to 
accept, and protested against the condition contained in it, 
but offered to proceed on the footing of the declaration, 
provided the Stales should be firmly assured that nothing 
would be proposed eitlier on the part of the Archduke or 
of the King contrary to the same, or prejudicial to the 
State or government of the United Provinces, and pro- 
vided also, that the Archduke did send his Deputies to the 
Hague fully authorised, Sue. within ten days after the re- 
ceipt of that answer. 

"On the lOih of November, the States-General adjourned 
to take the sense of their constituents on the subject of the 
ratification, and agreed to meet again on the lOtli of De- 

"On the 24tli of December, 1607, they wrote to the 
Archduke, that under the protest and declaration con- 
tained in the answer of the 2d of November, they were 
content to enter into conferences with his Deputies at the 
Hague, and proposed to prolong the truce a month or six 

"On the 7th of January, the answer of the Archduke 
arrived, in which he calls the States, 'tres chers et bons 
amis.'' He observed, that he had learnt from iheir letter 
of the 2'1th of December, the resolution they had taken to 
enter into conferences with his Deputies about peace, and, 
in ti)e meantime, to prolong the truce for a month or six 

192 JOHN JAY. 

"That as to the first point, he had appointed for the said 
conferences the same persons whom he had before em- 
ployed, and that they should set out the 15th of January, 
and that as to the truce, he was content to prolong it for 
six weeks. 

"On the 6th of February, 160S, the Deputies of the 
States, and those of the Archduke, had their fust meeting 
to exhibit their respective credentials. The Deputies of 
the Archduke produced two, one from him, and the other 
from the King of Spain. 

"On the 8th of February, 1608, the Deputies of both 
parties had their second meeting. Those of the States 
asked the others il they were fully instructed [encharges) 
to acknowledge the United Provinces to be free Provinces 
and countries^ and to treat with them in that capacity, to 
which they explicitly [rondemerit) answered, yes. The 
Dutch Deputies thereupon asked, why then the Archduke 
retained the arms and name of the said Provinces ? They 
then replied, that it ought not to seem strange, for that the 
King of Spain retained the title of King of Jerusalem ; the 
King of France that of King of Navarre, and the King of 
England retained the arms and title of France. 

"On the 11th of February, 160S, they met again ; the 
Deputies of the States presented to the others an article, 
which they had drawn up, by which the 'Provinces were 
declared to be free, and that the King of Spain and the 
Archdukes relinquished all their pretensions to the sover- 
eignty of the said Provinces, he. as well for themselves as 
for their successors and heirs, with the name and arms.'' 

"The others received the article and took time to con- 
sider of it, on which the meeting was adjourned. They 
immediately despatched a courier with a copy of it to 


Brussels, and received an answer on the 13ih. They 
complained, i)owever, to the Ambassadors of France and 
Great Britain, Jkc. of the States being so precise in that 

"On the 13th of February, 1008, in the aliernoon, the 
Deputies again assembled, and those of the Archduke 
cuiisented to the article as it ivas draivn up, with reserve, 
nevertheless, tiiat in case all the other points should be 
agreed upon, they hoped the States would do something 
for the King of Spain and the Archduke respecting the 
Indies, kc. 

"On the 15th of February they again met ; they agreed 
on the points of amnesty and oblivion ; but on treating of 
reciprocal free trade and navigation to each other's ports 
and countries, the Deputies of the Archduke declared, that 
they did not mean to comprehend in that free trade, the 
navigation to the Indies and all the fortresses there, but, 
on the contrary, that all the subjects of these countries 
should forthwith desist therefrom. The Dutch Deputies 
opposed this strongly and firmly, saying, thai it would 
prejudice the liberty of the Provinces and the free use of 
the sea, and, therefore, that they were not authorised to 
relinquish it. The others continued firm in their demand, 
and after long debates the Deputies separated. 

"On the 19th, 23d, and 27th of February, and 4ih of 
March, 1 60S, the Deputies met, but, except debating, 
did nothing, both parlies coniinuing; firm and resolved not 
to cede anything. 

"The Deputies of Spain, finding they could not carry 

the point as to the Indies, declared, at length, that they 

would consult together 0:1 a proposition to make a truce 

for some years respecting the navigation, and that they 

VOL. viii. 25 

194 JOHN JAY. 

were ready to go on to the other points, and try to agree 
upon some of them. 

"On the 7ih of March, they exchanged heads of articles 
for consideration. On the 11th and 12tli of March they 
again met, and had fruitless debates abom. a free naviga- 
tion to the Indies, ^c. The Marquis Spinola proposed 
that the subject should be divided, and that two sets of 
propositions should be prepared, one for the navigation 
in Europe and tlie other for the Indies. 

"On the 17th of Maich they again met, and the Dutch 
Deputies offered to the others two sets of propositions as 
had been proposed ; they received then) for consideration ; 
but, after debate, they declared that they could not agree 
to them, and that they must make a journey to Spain for 
further instructions ; for this reason the truce was prolonged 
to the end of May. 

"Tlie truce was continued from time to time, and sundry 
fruitless meetings held ; but, on the 20th of August, 1008, 
the Deputies assembled ; 'the Spanish ones declared, that 
they had lately received full instructions on the several 
points in question, viz. thai the King and Archduke were 
content to quit the sovereignty of the United Provinces ; 
but that he required two points to be yielded by the States 
by way of compensation, viz. the re-establishment of the 
Roman Catholic religion in every place in the Provinces, 
and tliat they should immediately desist from all naviga- 
tion both to the East and West Indies.'' 

"The Dutch Deputies reported this to the States-Gene- 
ral. On the 25th of August, tiie States-General made a 
long and spirited declaration on the subject of this report, 
resolving against negotiating any longer, and they ordered 
a copy of it to be delivered to the Spanish Deputies. 


"On the 27th of August 1 60S, the Ambassadors of 
France and England, &,c. came to the States-General and 
endeavored to prevail upon them to agree to a long truce. 

'•On the oOih of August, the Stales expressed their read- 
iness to agree to a long truce, provided, the adverse party 
'would so absolutely acknowledge them for free countries, as 
that it should not be questioned after the expiration of the 
truce, that otherwise they could not listen to a truce.' 

"Qn the 3d of September, the Spanish Deputies said 
they hf,d no instructions to treat of truce, in acknowledging 
the United Provinces to be absolutely free, and permitting 
the navigation to the Indies, but that they had sent the 
proposition to Brussels, in order to have further instruc- 

"On the 7th of September, they received an answer from 
Brussels, and they declared, that they had no instruction 
to agree to a long truce with the Slates, on condition to 
ackjiowledge them to be Slates absolutely free, and with- 
out comprehending the re-establishmeiit of the Roman 
religion, and the relinquishment of all navigation to the 
Indies, hut that the Archduke would send the proposition 
to Spain, from whence he might expect an answer l)y the 
end of September. 

"They then pioposed either to wait for the answer of 
Spain, or continue ihe present truce for seven years, ob- 
serving, that it had been made with an express declaration 
to hold the United Provinces for free countries, and that 
as to the trade to the Indies, the Archduke would promise 
to get it ratified by the King of Spain for that space of 

"The States unanimously rejected this new proposition, but 
gave them the time they had demanded for the answer of 

196 JOHN JAY. 

Spain. On the 28th of September, the Spanish Deputies 
applied to the Ambassadors of France, he. to ask ten 
days more from the States. The Ambassadors agreed to 
do it in the name of the Deputies, but they declined it. 

'•On the last of September they took their leave. 

'The States-General became possessed by accident of 
the instructions given to Spinola, and the other Deputies ; 
they were signed by the Archdukes, and dated at Brus- 
sels, the Gth of January, 1608. They were thereby in- 
structed to insist on the free exercise of the Roman Catho- 
lic religion. 

"As to independence the instructions say ; 

'As to the subject of liberty, since you know what we 
have granted, make no difficulty of arranging it as they 
wish ; doing or saying nothing in opposition, which may 
make them suspect that we desire to revoke our declara- 
tion on that point, as we are determined to abide by it in 
all respects.' 

"These instructions also directed them to insist, that the 
States should renounce, and entirely and absolutely desist 
from the trade of the East and West Indies, and should 
agree to punish tiiose who might undertake such voyages, 
&c. Slc. 

"On the departure of the Spanish Deputies, the Ambas- 
sadors of France and Great Britain endeavored to prevail 
upon the States-General to listen to a truce, and proposed 
to their consideration certain articles, which they had pre- 
pared. The States after much deliberation, agreed to en- 
ter into further negotiations on that subject. 

"On the 25th of March, 1609, the Deputies of both par- 
ties met at Antwerp, and on the 9lh of April following, a 
truce for twelve years was concluded upon. It was forth- 


with ratified by the States and the Archdukes, and pub- 
lished on tlie 14th of April. 

"On the 7ih of July, 1C09, at Segovia, the King of Spain 
explicitly and wiiliout reserve ratified this truce, viz. 

'His Majesty having seen the contents of the articles of 
truce and capitulation, which his dear and well beloved 
brothers, the Archdukes Albert and Isabella Clara Eugene 
have sent him, concerning tiie truce granted in the name of 
his Majesty, by his representative, and in that of their 
Highnesses by themselves, to the Stales-General of the 
United Provinces of the low countries, and having ma- 
turely considered it, declares that he applauds, approves, 
confirms, and ratifies the said truce, in so much as con- 
cerns him, &I.C.' 

"The first article of this truce was in the words follow- 

•First, the abovementioned Archdukes declare, in their 
own name and in that of the King, that they are content to 
treat with the said States-General of the United Provinces, 
in the character of, and holding them for a free country, 
estates, and provinces, over which they have no claims, 
and to make a truce with them in the name and under the 
character above described ; and this they do on the condi- 
tions hereinafter described and declared by these pre- 

"On the 30th of January, 1648, a treaty of peace was 
concluded between Spain and the United Provinces. 

"The full powers or commission given by the King of 
Spain to his plenipotentiaries for making this peace, were 
dated near two years before, viz. 7ih of June, 1646, and 
they show. clearly, that he negotiated with those Provinces 
as with independent States, on that occasion. 

198 JOHN JAY. 

"The tenor of this commission is very different from that 
of Mr Oswald. The following is an extract from It. 

'All the powers, which are concerned in this war, hav- 
ing by common consent chosen the city of IMunster as a 
place for holding the Congress and negotiations for the 
peace aforesaid ; we have thought proper to name pleni- 
potentiaries there to treat with the Stales of the free Pro- 
vinces of the low countries, or with their Ambassadors and 
plenipotentiaries, authorised and deputed for this purpose, 

"From this detail it appears, that the Dutch ever after 
their declaration of independence, in July, 1581, uniformly 
treated with the neighboring nations on an equal footing, 
and also that they constantly and firmly refused to nego- 
tiate either for truce or peace with Spain, until she con- 
sented to treat vvitjj them in like manner. 

"We forbear engaging your Excellency's time and atten- 
tion by the application of these l\icts and conclusions, to 
the ca?e of our country. We are persuaded, that tiie sim- 
ilarity between the two will not escape your discernment, 
and that we shall not be thought singular in our opinion, 
that the example of the United Provinces merits at least in 
these respects the imitation as well as the approbation of 
the United States of America. 

"But, Sir, we not only tliii;k it inconsistent with the dig- 
nity of the United States to treat with Britain in the humil- 
iating manner proposed, but also that it would be repug- 
nant to their interest. 

"The respect of other nations is undoubtedly of import- 
ance to America; but, Sir, if she ceases to respect herself, 
how can she expect to respected by othe:s ? 

"America has taken and published noble and manly reso- 


Jutions 10 support her independence, at every hazard. She 
has hilljerto done it, and would it be for her interest to 
quit the ground for which she has lost so much of her 
blood, merely to accommodate herself to the high-blown 
pride of an enemy ? Sir, tlie very proposition carries with 
it insult, and therefore bears strong marks of insiiicerity. 

"But suppose that the United States should descend from 
their present ground of equality, in order to treat with Mr 
Oswald, and that our negotiations should be fruitless. In 
what an awkward situation should we then be ? We should 
6nd ourselves betrayed by our too great pliancy, and our 
too great desire of peace, to the ridicule of our enemies, 
the contempt of other nations, and the censure of our own 
minds. What a page would this make in history. 

"As to Mr Oswald's offer to make an acknowledgment 
of our independence the first article of our treaty, and 
your Excellency's remark, that it is sufficient, and that ice 
are not to expect the effect before the cause, permit us to 
observe, that by the cause, we suppose, is intended the 
treaty, and by the effect, an acknowledgment of our inde- 
pendence. We are sorry to differ from your Excellency, 
but, really, Sir, we cannot consider an acknowledgment of 
our independence as a subject to be treated about ; for 
while we feel ourselves to be independent in fact, and 
know ourselves to be so of right, we can see but one cause 
from whence an acknowledgment of it can flow as an 
effect, viz. the existence and truth of the fact. This cause 
has long existed and still exists, and, therefore, we have a 
right to expect that Great Britain will treat with us being 
what we are, and not as what we are not. To treat about 
this matter, would be to suppose that our independence 
was incomplete until they pronounced it to be complete. 

200 JOHN JAY. 

But we hold it to be complete already, and that as it never 
did, so it never will, or must depend in the least degree, 
on their will and pleasure. To us there appears to be a 
wide distinction between their acknowledging the United 
States to be independent, and their renouncing their pre- 
tended, though troublesome claims ; the former being a 
pre-existing fact, cannot depend upon, and, therefore, is 
not a proper subject for a treaty ; but to renounce or not 
to renounce a claim, wliether good or bad, depends on the 
will of him who makes and prosecutes it ; and, therefore, 
like other matters of interest and convenience, is a proper 
subject for bargains and agreements between those who 
trouble their neighbors with such claims, and their neigh- 
bors who are troubled by them ; and who, for peace sake, 
may choose lo continue the law-suit, unless their future 
quiet is secured by a quit claim." 

I think it was on the 24th of September, that I was 
informed of the intention of the British Court to give 
Mr Oswald such a new commission as had been recom- 

On the 26th of September, I went to pay a visit to the 
Count de Vergennes, at Versailles. I found the IMarquis 
de Lafayette in the ante-chamber, and the Ambassador of 
Spain shortly after entered. After some common conver- 
sation, the Ambassador asked me when we should proceed 
to do business. I told him as soon as he should do me 
the honor of communicating his powers to treat. He 
asked me whether the Count de Florida Blanca had not 
informed me of his being authorised. I admitted that he 
had, but observed, that the usual mode of doing business, 
rendered it proper that we should exchange certified 


copies of our respective commissions. He said thai could 
not be expected in our case ; for that Spain had not yet 
acknowledged our independence. I replied, that we had 
declined it, and that France, Holland, and Britain, had 
acknowledged it. Here the Marquis de Lafayette took 
up the subject, and it continued between him and the 
Ambassador, till the Count de Vergennes came in. The 
INIarquis told the Ambassador among other things, that it 
would not be consistent with the dignity of France, for her 
ally to treat otherwise than as independent. This remark 
appeared to me to pique the Count d'Aranda not a little. 
The Count de Vergennes, on coming in, finding the 
conversation earnest, inquired whether we could not agree. 
The Ambassador stated my objections. The Count said 
I certainly ought to treat with the ,lmbassa(/ory-and that it 
was proper we should make a treaty with Spain in the 
same manner thai we had done with France. I told him, 
I desired nothing more ; and that the commission to IVl. 
Gerard, and the reason assigned by this Court to the King 
of Great Britain for entering into alliance with us, pointed 
out both the manner and the principles, which were ob- 
served and admitted on that occasion. The Count did 
not seem pleased with my allusion )o the communication 
made of our alliance to England. He observed, that 
Spain did not deny our independence, and he could per- 
ceive no good reason for my declining to confer with the 
Ambassador about a treaty, without saying anything about 
our independence, an acknowledgment of which would 
naturally be the effect of the treaty proposed to be formed. 
I told the Count, that being independent, wc should always 
insist on being treated as such, and, therefore, it was not 
sufficient for Spain to forbear denying our independence 

VOL. VITI, 26 

202 JOHN JAY. 

while she declined to admit it, and that notwithstanding 
my respect for the Ambassador, and my desire of a treaty 
with Spain, both the terms of my commission and the di<^- 
nily of America forbid my treating on any otlier than an 
equal footing. 

The Count carried the Ambassador into his cabinet, 
and when he retired, I was admitted. 

The Count commenced the conversation, by explaining 
the reason of sending M. Kayneval to England, which he 
said was, that by conversing with Lord Sheiburne about 
peace and matters connected with it, he might be able to 
judge whetlier a pacific dis[)osition really prevailed in the 
Briiisli Court, and, therefore, whether any dependence 
might be placed in his Lordship's professions on that 
head ; that he was satisfied with iVl. Rayneval's report, 
and that he believed that Lord Sheiburne was sincerely 
desirous of peace. 

A lew words then passed about Mr Oswald's new com- 
mission ; the Count observing in general terms, that as it 
removed our fornier objections, we might now go on to 
prepare our preliminaries. 

The conversation next turned to our negotiation with 
Spain, and to her claims east of the Mississippi. Nothing 
new passed on the first topic ; as to the latter, the Count 
made only some very general remarks, such as that he 
hoped we should, on conferring further about the matter, 
approach nearer to each other; that those limits ought to 
be settled, and while they remained in contest, a treaty 
with Spain could not reasonably be expected ; that as soon 
as we should agree upon those points. Count d'Aranda 
would have a further or more formal commission to con- 
clude the treaty, &ic. 


I remarked, thai tliese claims of Spain were of recent 
date, for that on my first arriving in Spain, the Count de 
Florida Blanca told me, that ilie success of my mission 
would probably turn upon one single point, viz. the cession 
of our rights to the navigation of the river Mississippi ; 
from which, as well as from their subsequent and uniform 
demands on that head, it was evident, that they then con- 
sidered that river as our boundary ; for it would have been 
very strange indeed, that they should insist on our forbear- 
ing to navigate a river, whose waters washed no part of 
our country, and to which we could not, of consequence, 
have any pretence of claim. 

The Count smiled, but avoided making any direct re- 
ply ; he hoped we should, nevertheless, agree, and that we 
must endeavor to approach and meet each other. I lold 
liim I could not flatter myself with such expectations, 
wiiile Spain continued her claims to those countries, for 
that we should be content with no boundary short of the 

I went from the Count's to M. Rayneval's chamber, for 
I had not seen hiin since his return from England. He 
gave me the same reason for his journey, which I had jiist 
received from the Count. We tiien talked of his memoir 
and the Spanish negotiaiion. He said much in favor of 
the conciliatory line he had proposed, and of the advan- 
tages of placing the Indian nations on llie icest side of it, 
under ihe protection of Spain, and those on the east, under 
that of the United Slates; that the rights of those nations 
would be thereby secured, and future disputes between 
us and S|)ain avoided. I replied, that so far as our claims 
might affect those Indian nations, it was a matter solely 
between us and them ; and that admitting them to be in- 

204 '^HN JAY. 

dependent, ihey certainly had a right to choose their own 
protectors ; and, therefore, that we could have no right, 
without their knowledge or consent, to choose for them. 
I also made the same remark to him respecting the re- 
cency of these Spanish claims, which I had just before 
done to Count do Vergennes. He said it was a subject 
which Count de Florida Blanca had not understood, and 
imputed their former ideas of our extending to the Missis- 
sippi, to their ignorance respecting those matters ; hence it 
became evident, from whom they had borrowed their 
present ideas. 

On the 27th dI SeptembtT, Mr Vaughau returned here 
from England with tlie courier that brought Mr Oswald's 
new commission, and very happy were wc to see it. 
Copies of it have already been sent to you, so that I will 
not lengthen this letter by inserting it here ; nor will I add 
anything further on this head at present, than to assure 
you, that Mr Vaughan greatly merits our acknowledg- 

The next thing to be done, was to jirepare and draw up 
the proposed articles. They were soon completed and 
settled between us and Mr Oswald, by whom they were 
sent to his Court, with letters declaring his opinion, that 
they ought to be accepted and agreed to : but they 
differed with him in opinion.* 

These articles, for very obvious reasons, were not com- 
municated to the Count de Vergennes. 

Mr Oswald did not receive any opinion from his Court 
relating to our articles until the 23d of October, when let- 
ters from the Minister informed him, that the extent of our 

' See lliese articles in the Correspondence of tlie Commissioners 
for Peace. 


boundaries, and the situation of tlie tories, &;c. caused 
some objections, and tlie Minister's Secretary was on the 
way here to confer with us on those subjects. 

On the 24 th of October, I dined at Passy with Dr Frank- 
lin, where I found M. Rayneval. After dinner, we were 
in private with him a considerable I'nne. He desired to 
know the slate of our negotiation with Mr Oswald. We told 
him, that difiiculties had arisen about our boundaries, and 
that one of the Minister's Secretaries was corning here 
with papers and documents on that subject. He asked us 
what boundaries we claimed. We told him, the river St 
John to the east, and ancient Canada, as described in the 
proclamation, to the north. He contested our right to 
such an extent to the north, and entered into several argu- 
ments to show our claim to be ill founded. These argu- 
ments were chiefly drawn from the ancient French claims, 
and from a clause in tiie proclamation restraining gover- 
nors from making grants in the Indian country, &ic. 

He inquired what we derrianded as to the fisheries. 
We answered, that we insisted on enjoying a right in com- 
mon to them with Great Britain. He intimated that our 
views should not extend further than a coast fishery, and 
insinuated that pains had lately been taken in the eastern 
States to excite their apprehensions, and increase iheic 
demands on that head. VV^e told hini that such a right was 
essential to us, and that our people would not be content to 
make peace without it ; and Dr Franklin explained very 
fully, their great imjwrtance to the eastern States in par- 
ticular. He then soliened his manner and observed, that 
it was natural for France to wish better to us than to Eng- 
land ; but as the fisheries were a great nursery for sea- 
men, we might suppose that England would be disinclined 

206 JOHN JAY. 

to admit others to share in it, and that for his part he 
wished there might be as few obstacles to a peace as pos- 
sible. He reminded us, also, that Mr Oswald's new com- 
mission had been issued posterior to his arrival at London. 

On the 26th of October, Mr Adams arrived here, and in 
him I have found a very able and agreeable coadjutor. 

When I began this letter, 1 did not flatter myself with 
being able to write this much before Captain Barney would 
leave us ; and I now find myself too much exhausted to 
proceed with further details, and must therefore refer you 
to the letters you will receive from Mr Adams and Dr 

The same reason also prevents my writing to you and 
Mr Morris on other subjects by Captain Barney, and I 
hope the length of this letter, and the disagreeable state of 
my health will apologise for my not writing even to my 
own family by this opportunity. 

I am sensible of the impression which this letter will 
make upon you and upon Congress, and how it will affect 
the confidence they have in this Court. These are crit- 
ical times, and great necessity there is for prudence and 

So far, and in such matters as this Court may think it 
their interest to support us, they certainly will, but no fur- 
ther, in my opinion. 

They are interested in separating us from Great Britain, 
and, on that point we may, I believe, depend upon them ; 
but it is not their interest that we should become a great 
and formidable people, and therefore they will not help us 
to become so. 

It is not their interest that sucii a treaty should be 
formed between us and Britain, as would produce cor- 


diality and mutual confidence. Tliey will, therefore, en- 
deavor to plant such seeds of jealousy, discontent, and dis- 
cord in it as njay naturally and perpetually keep our eyes 
nxed on France for security. This consideration must 
induce them to wish to render Britain formidable in our 
neighborhood, and to leave us as few resources of wealth 
and power as possible. 

It is their interest to keep some point or other in con- 
test between us and Britain to the end of the war, to pre- 
vent the possibility of our sooner agreeing, and thereby 
keep us employed in the war, and dependent on them for 
supplies. Hence they have favored, and will continue to 
favor, the British demands as to matters of boundary and 
the tories. 

The same views will render them desirous to continue 
the war in our country as long as possible, nor do I be- 
lieve they will take any measures for our repossession of 
New York, unless the certainty of its evacuation should 
render such an attempt advisable. Tlie Count de V'er- 
gennes lately said, that there could be no great use in ex- 
peditions to take places, which must be giveu up to us at a 

Such being our situation, it appears to me advisable to 
keep up our army to the end of the war, even if the enemy 
should evacuate our country ; nor does it appear to me 
prudent to listen to any overtures for carrying a part of it 
to the West Indies, in case of such an event. 

I think we have no rational dependence except on God 
and ourselves, nor can I yet be persuaded that Great 
Britain has either wisdom, virtue, or magnanimity enough 
to adopt a perfect and liberal system of conciliation. If 
they again thought they could conquer us, they would 
again attempt It. 

208 JOHN JAY. 

We are, nevertheless, thank God, in a better situation 
than we have been. As our independence is acknowl- 
edged by Britain, every obstacle to our forming treaties 
with neutral powers, and receiving their merchant ships, is 
at an end, so that we may carry on the war with greater 
advantage than before, in case our negotiations for peace 
should be fruidess. 

It is not my meaning, and therefore 1 hope I shall not 
be understood to mean, that we should deviate in the least 
from our treaty with France ; our honor, and our interest 
are concerned in inviolably adhering to it. I mean only 
to say, that if we lean on her love of liberty, her affection 
for America, or her disinterested magnanimity, we shall 
lean on a broken reed, that will sooner or later pierce our 
hands, and Geneva as well as Corsica justifies this obser- 

I have written many disagreeable things in this letter, 
but I thought it my duty, 1 have also deviated from my 
instructions, which though not to be justified, will, I hope, 
be excused on account of the singular and unforeseen cir- 
cumstances which occasioned it. 

Let me again recommend secrecy, and believe me to 

be. Dear Sir, Sic. 


P. S. I have neither seen nor heard anything of Mr 
Laurens, nor of the cypher you mention to have sent by 

Observations on the above Letter by the Editor. 

Although in the present work I have carefully refrain- 
ed from expressing any opinions on the contents of the 


letters, or views of the writers, not feeling authorised by 
the resolution of Congress, under which these papers are 
published, to assume tlie task of a commentator or critic, 
yet in regard to the preceding letter I cannot hesitate to 
make an exception to this rule, and for reasons which I 
trust will appear obvious and satisfactory. 

On the main topics of the above letter, I have road in 
the office of Foreign Affairs in London the confidential 
correspondence of the British Ministers with their Commis- 
sioners for negotiating peace in Paris. I have also read in 
the French office of Foreign Affairs the entire correspond- 
ence of the Count de Vergennes, during the whole war, 
with the French Ministers in this country, developing the 
policy and designs of the French Court in "regard to the 
war, and the objects to be attained by the peace. I have 
moreover read the instructions of the Count de Vergennes 
to M. de Rayneval, when he went to London, and the cor- 
respondence which passed between them while he remained 
there, containing notes of conversations with Lord Shel- 
burne on one part, and Count do Vergennes' opinions on 
the other. After examining the subject with all tlio care 
and accuracy, which these means of information have en- 
abled me to give to it, I am prepared to express my belief 
most fully, that Mr Jay was mistaken both in regard to the 
aims of the French Court, and the plans pursued by them 
to gain their supposed ends. 

1. Mr Jay conceived, that one motive of M. de Kayne- 
val's journey was to cause the acknowledginent of inde- 
pendence by Great Britain to be deferred, till France and 
England should have arranged their treaty. But in reality, 
M. de Rayneval was instructed to insist on the independ- 
ence of the United States as a preUminary measure. In a 
letter to the Count de Vergennes, dated September 28th, 
1782, he writes, that Lord Shclburne said, "he had always 
VOL. vm. 27 

210 JOHN JA-?. 

been opposed to independence, but that he perceived the 
necessity of ceding it, and that this object should be granted 
without condition." And in reporting the result of his con- 
versations with the British Minister, M. de Rayneva:! states 
the points discussed in their order, the first of which is as 
follows. — "Independence, this article is agreed upon ; it 
shall be loithout restriction ;" (il sera sans restriction.) So 
far from recommending, therefore, to defer the recognition 
of American independence, M. de Rayneval insisted on an 
agreement to it as ?t. preliminary step to further discussions. 
2. Mr Jay supposed again, that another purpose of M. de 
Rayneval's visit to London was to interfere with the claims 
of the United States respecting the fisheries and bounda- 
ries. But this supposition is contradicted by the following 
extract from his instructions, viz. "As it is possible, that 
the English Ministers may speak to M. dp Rayneval con- 
cerning the affairs of America and of the United Provinces, 
he will declare, that he has no authority to treat on these 
topics." Accordingly we find him writing to the Count de 
Vergennes in the letter quoted above, that after discuss- 
ing the subject of the fisheries with reference to the inter- 
ests of England and France, Lord Shelburne said to him^ 
"without doubt the Americans will also form pretensions to 
the fisheries, but he trusted the king (of France) would not 
sustain them." To which M. de Rayneval replied, — "that 
he was ignorant of the views of Congress concerning the 
object in question, but thought he might venture to say, 
that the king would never support unjust demands ; that he 
was not able to judge whether those of the Americans were 
such or not ; and that, besides, he was without authoritij in 
this respect." Again, in the same letter, M. de Rayneval 
adds; "Lord Shelburne said he had foreseen that there 
would be a great deal of difficulty with the Americans, as 
well in regard to boundaries, as to the fishery of Newfound- 


land ; but he hoped that the king would not sustain them 
in their demands. I answered, that I did not doubt the 
earnest desire of the king to do all in his power to restrain 
them within the bounds of justice and reason. As to the 
extent of the boundaries, I supposed the Americans would 
regulate it by their charts : but the discussion was not con- 
tinued far, because it did not pertain to me either to uphold 
or weaken the pretension of America, with which I was 
unacquainted. I added only, that the English Ministry 
ought to find in the negotiations of 1754, relative to the 
Ohio, the limits which England, then the sovereign of 
America, believed it proper to assign." 

The above extracts, it must be kept in mind, are from 
the confidential letters written at the time between M. de 
Rayneval and Count de Vergennes. The purport of them 
is corroborated by testimony that might be drawn from 
other sources. They show most clearly, that Mr Jay's 
suspicions were in reality erroneous, on whatever grounds 
he might at the time suppose them to rest. M. de Rayne- 
val's visit to London had nothing to do with American 
affairs, except to insist on unconditional independence. 

Nor is it improbable, that the change in Mr Oswald's 
commission was effected in consequence of M. de Rayne- 
val's representations ; for the agreement on the part of the 
British Minister to cede independence "tcithout restriction" 
was made before Mr Vaughan's arrival in London, as a 
messenger from Mr Jay. 

These facts go far to rescue the French Ministry from the 
censure, which it has been usual to on them, respecting 
their supposed policy in the negotiations for peace. Who- 
ever will examine all the testimony that exists on the 
subject will be convinced, that some grave particulars have 
crept into our history, which have a .slender foundation in 

212 JOHN JAY. 

fact, and which bestow but scanty justice on the motives, 
conduct, and policy of the first ally of the United States.* 



Philadelphia, November 23d, 1782. 
Dear Sir, 
I have before me your letters of the 25th and 28th of 
June. I congratulate you on your safe arrival at Paris, 
where I venture to hope your residence will on many ac- 
counts be more agreeable than it was at Madrid. Nothing 
can be more pleasing to us than your determination to write 
very frequently, since I am sorry to say, that we have not 
yet been favored with such minute information on many 
points of importance, as we have reason to expect. Both 
Dr Franklin and yourself dwell so much in generals in 
your last letters, that had it not been for a private letter of 
the Marquis to me, Congress would have remained igno- 
rant of points, which they have thought sufficiently import- 
ant to make them die foundation of those resolutions, 
which are herewith transmitted to you. 

You need be under no apprehensions, that Commission- 
ers from the Court of Great Britain will be allowed to ne- 
gotiate with Congress ; their sentiments on this subject are 
sufficiently manifested in the resolutions, that are sent to 
you and Dr Franklin with this. And the case of Mr Bur- 
gess, which you will find in one of the papers of last week, 
and in my letter to Dr Franklin,f will afford you some 

' For a further elucidation of this subject see the North American 
Review for January, 1830, No. LXVI, p. 15. Also Mr Livingston's 
letter to Mr Jay, dated January 4th, 1783, in the present volume. 

t See Franklin's Correspondence. Vol. IV. p. 34. 


evidence of ilie e\ireme camion of particular Slates on this 

That in the mass oi our people, there is a great num- 
ber, wlio though resolved on independence, prefer an alli- 
ance with England to one with France, must be a mere 
speculative opinion, which can be reduced to no kind of 
certainly. If ue form our judgment from acts of govern- 
ment, we would suppose that no such sentiment prevailed ; 
they all speak a different language. If from the declara- 
tions of individuals, we must entertain the same opinion, 
since independence and the alliance with France, connect 
themselves so closely together, that we never speak of them 
separately. The mass of the people here are not so igno- 
rant of the common principles of policy as to prefer an 
alliance with a nation whose recent pretensions, and whose 
vicinity renders them mutual enemies, to that of a Prince 
who has no claims upon them, and no territory in their 
neighborhood, at least till the principles of his government 
shall be changed, and he gives evident proofs of the want 
of Justice and moderation. 

I think it unnecessary to repeat to you what I have al- 
ready <vritten to Dr Franklin, presuming that you commu- 
nicate^,-with freedom to each other. Mr Jefferson will 
afford, 1 dare say, a very acceptable aid to your commis- 
sion ; I have not yet learned from him whether he will take 
the duties upon him.* 

Mr Barlow, a poet of New England, has requested me 
to transmit you liis proposals for printing, by subscription, a 
poem of which he is the author. I can give no character 
of the work, but what you will get from the specimen en- 
closed, which is all I have seen of it. The enclosed reso- 

' Mr Jefferson did not join the Commissioners for Peace. 

214 JOHN JAY. 

lution informs you of Mr Boudinol's advancement to the 
Presidentship. For other intelligence 1 refer you to my 
letter to Dr Fi'anklin, nnd llio pnj)ers that accompany this. 
I am, Dear Sir, &.c. 



Paris. December 12th, 1782. 

Dear Sir, 

I have already written a long letter to you by this vessel, 
and siiould have continued the details of our subsequent 
proceedings, had my health admilled of the necessary ap- 

You will receive from us a joint letter with a copy of the 
preliminaries. 1 shall therefore omit making any rem^arks 
on them. 

Before I left Spain, and by letters since my arrival here, 
I desired Mr Carmichael to make out and transmit the 
public accounts. Our negotiations with that Court are at 
a stand. The Count d'Aranda either has not, or does not 
choose to show me a commission to treat. He is exceed- 
ingly civil, and frequent visits pass between us. 

It gives me [vleasure to inform you, that jicrfect una- 
nimity lias hitherto prevailed among your Commissioners 
here ; and 1 do not recollect, that since we began to nego- 
tiate with Mr Oswald, ilierc has been tlie least division or 
opposition between us. Mr Adams was particularly useful 
respecting the eastern boundary, and Dr Franklin's firm- 
ness and exertions on the subject of the lories did us much 
service. I enclose herewith a copy of a letter he wrote 


about that matter to Mr Oswald.* It had much weight, 

and is written with a degree of aciitene&s and spirit seldom 

to be met with in persons of his age. 

I have the honor to be, with great regard and esteem, 

Dear Sir, Sec. 



Philadelphia, January 4th, 1783. 
Dear Sir, 
1 have before me your despatches of the 4th and 18th 
of Septenjber last, and the loth of October. It gives me 
much uneasiness to find by them, that your health is not 
yet confirmed, particularly as the extreme shortness of 
your lett.-is, compared with tise importance of the matter, 
gives me reason to fear, that it has suffered more than you 
would have us believe. 

I am under some anxiety relative to the fate of your let- 
ter of tiie ISih of September, as only the duplicate copy 
has arrived, and I find by that you have risked it without 
a cypher. Should it get into improper hands, it might be 
attended with disagreeable consequences. 

It is of so much importance, that both you and we 
should judge rigiitly of the designs of the Court, to whom 
we have intrusted sucii extensive powers, that I most 
earnestly wish you had enlarged on the reasons which have 
induced you to form t!ie opinion you intimate ; an opinion, 
which, if well foimded, must render your negotiations ex- 
tremely painful, and the issue of them very uncertain. It 
on the other hand, it should have been taken up too has- 

* See Franklins Correspondence. Vol. IV. p. 36. 

216 JOHN JAY. 

tily, it is to be feared, that in defjance of all that prudence 
and self-possession, for which you are happily distinguished, 
it will discover itself in a reserve and want of confidence, 
which may afford hopes to our artful antagonists of ex- 
citing jealousies between us and oiu- friends. I so sin- 
cerely wish that your conjectures on this head may not be 
well founded, that I am led to hope you carry your suspi- 
cions too far, and the more so as Dr Franklin, to whom I 
dare say you have communicated them freely, does not 
(as you say) agree in sentiment with you. But I pretend 
not to judge, since I have not the advantage of seeing from 
the same ground. Perhaps some light may be thrown 
upon the subject by such facts as I have been able to col- 
lect here, and with which it is impossible you shoidd be 

The policy you suppose to influence the measures of 
France, can only be founded in a distrust, which I persuade 
myself she can hardly entertain of those who have put their 
dearest interest into her hands. She is too well informed 
of the state of this country, to believe there is the least rea- 
son to suppose, that we could have the most distant idea 
of a separate peace. If such distrust really exists, it 
would, in my opinion, dictate to them, to let Great Britain 
acknowledge our independence at once, rather than make 
it the subject of subsequent negotiation. When satisfied 
on that point, we can with more advantage contend for 
those our allies have at heart. Whereas by withholding 
it, and making it the price of concessions on the part of 
France, which she may not choose to make, an opportu- 
nity would be afforded to embroil and incline us to listen 
to separate proposals. Upon this principle, France seems 
to have acted in all the answers, which she has hitherto 


given, as well to the direct proposals of Great Britain as 
to those made by the imperial Courts. When INIr Gren- 
ville proposed to treat of the independence of the United 
Slates with his Most Christian Majesty, an opportunity was 
afforded to take the lead in the negotiation, and to suspend 
that part of it ; yet we find the reply of the Court of Ver- 
sailles led to a direct negotiation between Great Britain 
and us, and ended in the offer of unconditional indepen- 
dence The reply of the Court of France to that of Lon- 
don, communicated to jMr Grenville on the 21st of June, 
speaks the same language. 

From these and the following facts you will, when you 
have compared them with those within your own knowl- 
edge, draw your inferences with more judgment than I 
can pretend to do without those you possess. 

Before your letters were received, the Chevalier de la 
Luzerne showed me a letter from the Count de Vergennes 
of the 14th of August, in which he speaks of Mr Gren- 
ville's commission, and the ground it gave him to hope, 
that negotiations would open with an express and uncondi- 
tional acknowledgment of independence. He mentions 
the chafTge in the British administration ; their assu- 
rances, that it should occasion no alteration in the plan of 
their negotiation, and concludes, by expressing his surprise 
at the alteration, which afterwards took place in this essen- 
tial article in the propositions offered by Mr Fitzherbert, 
and infers from thence, that Lord Shelburnc had no other 
design tlian to divide and deceive. In a letter of the 7th 
of September, he mentions l\Ir Oswald's commission, your 
objections to it, and his doubts of the manner in which 
these objections will be received. "If," says he, "Mr Os- 
wald is right in his conjecture, that tliey will be favorably 
VOL. VIII. 28 

218 JOHN JAY. 

received and removed, then everytliing is said. If they 
reject them, because they will not begin where they pro- 
pose to end, I conceive the negotiations should still go on. 
We may judge of the intentions of the Court of London 
by their first propositions. If they have independence for 
their basis, we may proceed ; if not, we must break offy 
In his letter of the 14th of October, he mentions with gieat 
apparent satisfaction, the alterations in Mr Oswald's com- 
mission. From the general tenor of these letters, I caa 
discover nothing but an anxious desire for peace, which 
might very naturally lead him to wish that objections, 
which he did not conceive essential in the first instance, 
after having declared to Great Britain that no peace could 
be made till our independence was acknowledged, should 
not break off a negotiation, which must end in the attain- 
ment of an object, which they have as much at heart as 

Whatever the sentiments of the Count de Vergennes 
may be, as to the claim of Spain, in a letter which 1 have 
seen, he treats them as well as ours, as chimerical and ex- 
travagant, and declares, that he does not mean to interfere 
in thein. You can best judge of the sincerity of this de- 
claration. If insincere, 1 cannot conceive for what pnr- 
jiose it was made, or the subject treated so lightly, or why 
this shoidd be confided to me. For my own part, 1 be- 
lieve their situation with res[)ect to Spain is very delicate, 
and that they are embarrassed by her demands. 1 men- 
tion these things, that you may, by comparing them with 
facts within your reach, draw useful inferences from them, 
and 1 wish to give you everything that may possibly be of 
use to you. 

As to the letter of Maibois, I am by no means surprised 


at it, since he always endeavored to persuade us that our 
claim to the fisheries was not well foniided. Yet one 
thii'g is very rerDarkable, and 1 hope evinces the determi- 
nation of France to serve us on this point. The advice 
given to discourage the hope is certainly jndicimis, and yet 
we find no steps taken in consequence of it. On the con- 
trary, we liave been repeatedly told in formal cnminimica- 
tions since that periofi, "that the King wo-.ild do every- 
ihing for us that circumstances will adu)it, and that nothing 
but dire necessity siiall induce him to relinquish any of the 
objects we have at heart, and that he doea not imagine 
that such necessity will exist." This communication was 
made on the 2 1 si of last November, from ietiers of iho 7ih 
of September, previous to our success at Yorkiown, and 
has been renewed at different periods since. Yon will 
undoubtedly avail yourself of this engagement if neces- 
sary. Congress relying upon it, have made no alteration 
in their instructions since the change in tlieir affairs, by the 
blow the enemy received at Yorktown. 

This letter of Maiboi?, and the conduct of the Court of 
France, evince the difference between a great politician 
and a livUe one. France can, by prohibiting the importa- 
tion of fish, supply herself; she cannot do more. Our 
exclusion from the fishery, would only be beneficial to 
England. The enmity it would excite, the disputes it 
would give rise to, would, in the course of a few years, 
obliterate the memory of the favors we have received. 
England, by saqrificing a part of her fisheries, and pro- 
tecting us in the cnjnyufent of them, would render herself 
necessary to us, om' friendship would be transferred to 
her, and France would In the end be considered as a 
natural enemy. I am persuaded, she has wisdom enough 
to see this in its true li2:ht. 

220 JOHN JAY. 

I know not how far the Marquis may deserve your con- 
fidence ; you are the best judge of his conduct. I ought, 
however, in justice to liini to mention, that he has steadily, 
in all his letters, recommended an adherence to our claims, 
and assured us that both might be obtained if insisted 

You see, Sir, I have purposely leaned to the opposite 
side from that which you appear in some measure to have 
taken ; not because I think you are wrong in the opinion 
you have adopted, but because you may possibly be so. 
Such essential injuries may flow from the slightest jeal- 
ousies, that I wish you to examine yours with all the cool- 
ness you are master of. I am persuaded, ihe last hope of 
Britain is foimded on the distrusts they may sow among 
their enemies. I wish you had in a private letter in 
cypher informed me how you got at the letter of Marbois, 
and why it was copied in English. I more particularly 
wish to know whether it passed through the hands of 
either of the British Commissioners. If it has, it will be 
of some consequence to see the original, not that I doubt 
its autlienticity, but it may possibly have undergone some 
.alterations. That which follows what is said of the great 
bank, is nonsense, or if it conveys any meaning, I think it 
is not such as a man of common sense would speak.* 

* M. de Marbois' letter liere alludeil to, was very long, and writ- 
ten in cypher. It was intercepted by the English, taken to London, 
there decyphered, translated into English, and sent to the British 
Commissioners in Paris, (while the negotiations for peace were in 
progress.) The sense of the writer would be very likely to suffer by 
this process of decyphering and translating. But M. de Marbois 
never complained that the letter was not in the main correctly 
translated. As soon as the British Commissioners received it in 
Paris, they put a copy of it into the hands of the American Commis- 


Count do Vergennes, in his letters dated a day later 
than yours, gives no account of your propositions. I 
should conclude from this circumstance, that they had not 
been communicated. If 1 were not convinced, that acting 
under the instructions you do, you would not withhold 
them, except for the most weighty reasons, and that if such 
reasons existed you would have Assigned them in your 
letters, and presuming, therefore, that you had communi- 
cated them, I have made no secret of them to the Count 
de la Luzerne, who appeared much pleased with them, 
though a little surprised at the article, which relates to 
commerce, which I cannot suppose perfectly agreeable to 
them in all its extent ; since it will render a revolution 
necessary in the commercial system of France, if they 
wish to have an extensive trade with us. I am extremely 
pleased, that in freeing ourselves, we have a prospect of un- 
fettering the consciences and the commerce of the world. 

We arc far from regretting that the Marquis d'Aranda 
has no powers to treat. We think, with you, that it is time 
to adopt the Spanish system. We may treat at any time 
with more advantage than at present. You had received 
your instructions on this subject before you wrote your last 
letters. By your saying nothing of them, I suppose you 
had not decyphered them. Mr Jefferson being the bearer 
of this, it is unnecessary to enlarge.* News and general 
politics will be contained in my letter to Dr Franklin, to 
whom I also send an instruction on the subject of your 
commercial proposition. I encloso you a new cypher, 

sioners. M. de Marbois was at that time only a Secretary of Le- 
gation, and wrote the letter while the Minister, M. de la Luzerne, 
was absent from Philadelphia, and without his knowledge. The 
sentiments of the letter were never avowed by the French Ministry. 
* Mr Jefferson did not go till some time afterwards 


which 1 pray you to make use of. You will find it very 
easy on a little practice. I must again entreat you to 
write more fully to us. 1 have received from the Count 
de Vergennes' letters, the vvhol^ progress of the negotia- 
tion. Information of this kind it would give me more 
pleasure to receive through anoilier channel. 

I have the honor to be, Dear Sir, with great respect and 
esteem, &z:c. 



Paris, April 7th, 1783, 
Dear Sir, 

After the preliminaries had been settled and ratified, the 
Spanish Ambassador informed me that his Court was 
ready to receive me, not only in form, but "ifres honnete- 
ment." He then expected full instructions relative to the 
proposed treaty. 

The Marquis de Lafayette, in his journey through 
Madrid, manifested great zeal to serve us there. A copy 
of a letter from him to the Minister, will be sent you by 
another opportunity, though I imagine he has already for- 
warded it. 

On the 29th ult. the Spanish Ambassador communi- 
cated to me the desire of his Court that 1 would return to 
Madrid, and there complete the treaty, for that in their 
opinion, it ought to be concluded either at Madrid or at 

You will have this communication at large in another 

No Ministry yet in England, nor any news of Barney, 
nor from you, since the 3d of January. 


The definitive treaties must be concluded, and the heats 

of summer abated, before either my business here, or the 

very delicate state of my health will admit of a journey 

to Spain. Be assured of my esteem and regard. 

I am, Dear Sir, kc. 



Paris, April 11th, 1783 
Dear Sir, 

I wrote you a short letter on the seventh instant. Cer- 
tain intelligence has since arrived from England, that the 
Duke of Portland is first Lord of the Treasury, Mr Fox 
and Lord North Secretaries of State, and Lord John Cav- 
endish Chancellor of the Exchequer. It is also said, that 
Lord Stormont is President of the Council, and the Duke 
of iManrhester Ambassador to Versailles. I hear that Mr 
David Hartley is appointed to conclude a definitive treaty 
with us. 

The Emperor and Russia have been requested in their 
mediat<5fial capacity, to send Plenipotentiaries to assist at the 
definitive treaties. The true motives to this measure can 
as yet be only conjectured. Tlie ostensible one is, a mark 
of respect to tlieir offered, but not accepted mediation. 
The proposition originated here. Their answer is ex- 
pected daily. It is whispered that Russia consents. Safe 
opportunities of sending important letters from iience to 
Madrid are so very rare, that I think yours for that place 
had belter be always conveyed directly to Cadiz or other 
ports in Spain, where some American of confidence inay 
be settled. 

224 JOHN JAY. 

Numberless applications for consulships continue to be 
made, and some will probably reach you. In my opinion 
Americans only should be employed to serve America, I 
early entertained this opinion, and it lias been almost daily 
gathering strength since my arrival in Europe. 
I have the honor to be, he. 



Paris, April 92d, 1783. 
Dear Sir, 

I wrote to you so lately by Mr Mason, and there is such 
a dearth of news, that I now write less to give yon informa- 
tion than as a mark of attention. 

There are several of your letters, which on account of 
their length, the importance of their subjects, and the 
manner in which those subjects were treated, demanded 
of me more minute answers than my situation admit- 
ted of. Mr Hartley is not yet arrived, but is daily ex- 
pected. I am told by Mr Laurens, that he will propose 
that the people of the two countries shall have all the 
rights of citizens in each. The instruction of Congress on 
this important point is much to be desired. For my part 
I think a temporary stipulation of that sort might be expe- 
dient. They mean to court us, and in my opinion we 
should avoid being either too forward or too coy. I have 
no faith in any Court in Europe, but it would be iinproper 
to discover that sentiment. There are circumstances 
which induce me to believe, that Spain is turning her eyes 
to England for a more intimate connexion. Tiiey are the 
only two European powers, which have continental posses- 
sions on our side of the water, and Spain 1 think wishes 


I'or a league between ihein for nuiliial security against us. 
Perhaps this consideration shouhl lead us to regard the 
present fervor of the British advances with the less in- 

On looking over one ol my former letters, containing my 
propositions to Spain, I find that I had omitted to explain 
the reason of the one for a guarantee of our possessions in 
North America. That we should so guaranty the Spanish 
possessions as to fght for them, was as distant from my 
design, as it could be from that of Congress. A common 
guarantee means nothing more than a qtiit claim, to which we 
certainly could have had no objection. When more is in- 
tended, provisional and express stipulations become neces- 
sary. To any such I never would have consented. A 
confidant of the Minister (and 1 believe by his directions) 
had assured me, that unless a guarantee was offered any 
other propositions would not induce the minister to nego- 
tiate for a treaty. To meet that objection I made the 
offer in the general terms you have seen. I had no doubt 
but that the Minister was acquainted with my instructions ; 
and 1 considered this objection as a pretext for delay. 
^ly opini<Jfi^ as to a certain proposed cession was known, 
and uses not advantageous to us or to me had been made 
of it. It appeared to me advisable, that the intention of 
Spain with respect to us should have a full trial, and such 
a one as would convince Congress that I was entirely 
guided by their views and wishes. 

I therefore endeavored so to frame those propositions as 
that they should not afford the Minister any pretence for 
refusing to commence the negotiation. The issue you are 
acquainted with. 

I hope nothing will be done by (he Slates for the lories 

VOL. VIII. 29 

226 JOHN JAY. 

until the British forces shall be withdrawn, and then I con- 
fess it would be for our honor to forgive all except the per- 
fidious and the cruel. 

After the definitive treaties are finished, I hope I shall 
be excused in trying the waters of Spa and Bath (which 
are recorntnended to me) before I proceed to Spain. 
Whatever may be their effect, I shall not loiter at either 
place. After my business at Madrid shall be finished, I 
wish to devote my care to the recovery of my health, and 
the concerns of my family, which must greatly interfere 
with the duties of my commission. Besides, as my coun- 
try has obtained her object, my motives for entering into 
public life are at an end. 

The same principles which drew me from the private 
station I formerly occupied, bid me to return to it. Ac- 
tions are the only proofs of professions, and if I live mine 
shall not want that evidence. 
I am, Dear Sir, he. 


P. S. I am told, that a vessel, which went last year 
from our country, on the Ohio, down that river, and 
through the Mississippi to the Havana, took passports 
from the Count de la Luzerne. This, if a fact, appears 
to me a singular one. I mention it merely as a matter of 
information. J. J. 


Paris, May 30th, 1783. 

Dear Sir, 
It cannot in my opinion be long before Congress will 
think it expedient to name a Minister to the Court of Lon- 


don. Perhaps my friends may wish to add nic to the 
number of candidates for that office. If that should be 
the case, I request the favor of you to declare in the most 
explicit terms, that 1 view the expectations of Mr Adams 
on that head as founded in equity and reason, and that [ 
will not by any means stand in liis way. Were 1 in Con- 
gress I should vote for him. He deserves well of his 
country, and is very able to serve lier. It appears tome to 
be but fair that the disagreeable conclusions, which may be 
drawn from the abrupt repeal of his former commission 
should be obviated by its being restored to him. 1 do 
therefore in the most unequivocal manner decline and re- 
fuse to be a competitor with that faithful seri'ant of the 
public, for the place in question. 

As Mr Barclay has power to settle our accounts in Eu- 
rope, I wish that orders may be sent to Mr Carmichael to 
come here with the books and documents necessary to 
enable Mr Barclay to examine and settle the public ac- 
counts in my department. I cannot learn that my repeated 
requests to him to send a state of those accounts to Phila- 
delphia have as yet been complied vviili. 
I am, Dear Sir, &:c. 



Paris, June 1st, 1783. 

Dear Sir, 
I have had the honor of receiving your favor of liie 4th 
of January last. The cypher you mention to have en- 
closed is missing. My letter by Captain Barney affords 
an answer to the greiiter part of your inquiries. Business 
here goes oc h.avily. The Dutch and English are not 

228 JOHN JAY. 

yet agreed, and some points remain still to be adjusted be- 
tween tiie latter and the French and Spaniards. Mr Hart- 
ley has an ample and proper commission to conclude with 
us. We are discussing the terms of a temporary commer- 
cial regulation, but as he is waiting for more full instruc- 
tions, it may be a week or a fortnight before we shall be 
able to inform you of the real intentions of Britain on that 

Before i lelt Spain, and oiten since by letters, 1 desired 
Mr Carmichael to make out and transmit to Philadelphia a 
clear and full state of the public accounts ; and also agree- 
ably to Dr Franklin's request, to send him an account of 
the bills remaining to be paid. The JJoctor has net re- 
ceived his account ; and I. have no reason to suppose that 
you or Mr Morris have received the odier. I am not easy 
about this matter, for in case of the death or recall of Mr 
Carmichael, (by whom all these accounts were kept, and 
through whom 1 managed those transactions,) 1 might ex- 
perience difficulties respecting those accounts, which may 
now be avoided. 

I understood from Mr Barclay, that he is authorised to 
examine and settle these accounts, and as Mr Carmichael 
has not much to do at ]\Iadrid, I am very desirous that he 
should be ordered to bring here all the books and papers 
relative to these accounts, and with me to attend their set- 
tlement by Mr Barclay. Be so good ns to lay this matter 
before Congress without delay. 
1 have the honor to be, &,c. 




Passy, July 20tli, 1783. 

Dear Sir, 

The delays which have postponed the completion of the 
definitive treaty, have hitherto prevented my trying the 
effect of the waters of Bath for a pain in my breast, which 
has continued in different degrees for a year past. Were 
I much longer to neglect that only probable chance of re- 
storing my health, my little family might have much reason 
to complain. 

I fear that the fluctuating counsels of the British cabinet 
will protract that business, until so late in the season, as 
not to leave me sufficient time both to give the waters a 
fair trial, and afterwards go to Spain, before the weather 
will become too inclement for an invalid to travel such a 
distance in a country so destitute of accommodations. 
Should that be the case, 1 shall hope to be excused for not 
undertaking it, especially as nothing of importance remains 
there to be done, except preparing the draft of a treaty of 
commerce, which I hoped to have been able to bring with 
me to America in the spring, when it was iny fixed resolu- 
tion to resign. 

But as I should then pass the winter without being use- 
ful to the public, Congress may not perha[)s think it rea- 
sonable, that their allowance to me should be continued. 
I think it my duty therefore to apprize them of these cir- 
cumstances, and to refer it to their discretion to assign 
such earlier date to my resignation, as they may think best. 
I must beg the favor of you to request and to inform me of 
their decision on this subject, without delay, for as I shall 

230 ' JOHN JAY. 

not [)robably have an opportunity of sailing before June 
next, it is important to me to know by what rule 1 am to 
regulate the expenses of my family in the meantime. 

As you know upon what principles I have devoted my- 
self to the public for the last nine years, and as those mo- 
tives would be questionable if after the war I did not return 
to a private station, I hope the propriety of my resolution 
to resign will appear manifest, especially when to these 
considerations are added the circumstances of certain indi- 
viduals of my family, whose afflictions and whose relation 
to me give them the strongest claims to my care and atten- 

Be pleased, Sir, to present to Congress my warmest 
acknowledgments for the marks of confidence with which 
they have honored me, and assure them that by becoming 
a private citizen, 1 mean not to retreat from any duties, 
which an American owes his country. 
1 have the honor to be, &.c. 



New York, July 25th, 1784. 

Having waited until the settlement of the public accounts 
was completed, I left Paris the 16ih of May last, and on 
the of June embarked with my family at Dover, on 
board the ship Edward, Captain Coupar, in which we ar- 
rived here yesterday. Mr Barclay has transmitted, or 
will soon transmit to Mr Morris, a state of the above men- 
tioned accounts ; and as it will thence appear, that some of 


the bills drawn upon me have been twice paid, it becomes 
necessary for me to inform your Excellency of the particu- 
lar and cautious manner in which that business was trans- 
acted on my part. Soon after the arrival of the first bills, 
I directed Mr Carmichael to prepare and keep a book, 
with the pages divided into a number of columns, and to 
enter therein the dates, numbers, and other descriptive par- 
ticulars of every bill, that might be presented to me for ac- 
ceptance, and to which on examination he should find no 
objection. I made it an invariable rule to send every bill 
to him to be examined and entered previous to accepting 
it ; and from that time to the day I left Spain, I never ac- 
cepted a single bill until after it had been inspected and 
sent to me by him to be accepted. Further, to avoid mis- 
takes and frauds, I also made it a constant rule, that every 
bill presented for payment, should undergo a second ex- 
amination by Mr Carmichael, that if he found it right, he 
should sign his name on it, and that the bankers should not 
pay any bill unless so signed. 

The bills twice paid, or rather the different numbers 
of the same set, stand entered in different places in the 
book abofementioned ; and I can only regret, that the en- 
tries of the numbers first presented and accepted, were not 
observed by him, either at the time when the subsequent 
ones were offered for acceptance, or at the time when they 
were afterwards brought for payment. 

It gives me pleasure to inform your Excellency, that the 
British and American ratifications of the treaty of peace 
were exchanged a few days before I left Paris. The day 
of my departure, I received under cover from Dr Frank- 
lin, a copy of the British ratifications, which I have the 
honor to transmit herewith enclosed. 

232 JOHN JAY. 

With great respect and esteem, I have the honor to be, 


P. S. I shall send with this letter to the post office, 
several others, which were committed to my care for your 






VOL. viu. 30 

Francis Dan\ was a native of Miissachusetts, and 
educated at Harvard Uiiiversiiy, where he was grndtiaied 
in the year 17G2. He studied ihe profession of ihe law, 
and was among the first to espouse the cause of the Culo- 
nies in resisting the a2;gressions of the mother coiiniry. In 
a letter to General Washington, dated Philadelphia, A|)ril 
Isf, 177G, Mr John Adams speaks of him in tlie following 

"The bearer of this letter, Mr Francis Dana, is a gen- 
tleinan of Ounily, fortime, and education, returned in the 
last packet from London, where he has been about a year. 
He has ever maintained an excellent character in his 
country, and a warm friendship for the American cause. 
He returns to share with his friends in their dangers and 
and their triumphs. 1 have done myself the honor to give 
him this letter, for the sake of introducing hiiM to your ac- 
quaintance, as he has frequently expressed to nie a desire 
to embrace the first opportunity of paying his res|>ects to 
a character so highly esteemed, and so justly adminjd 
throughout all Europe, as well as America. Mr Dana 
will satisfy you, that we have no reason to expect peace 
with Great Britain." 

Mr Dana returned to Massachusetts and was chosen 
a delegate to Congress in December of the same year. 


ihough lie did not take his seat in that hody till the No- 
vember Ibliowiiig. Tills station he filled till Septem- 
ber, 1779, wiien he was appointed Secretary to Mr John 
Adams, the I\linister Plenipotentiary lor negotiating a treaty 
of peace and a treaty of commerce with Great Britain. 
He went to Europe with Mr Adams, and resided w-ith him 
in Paris, and a short lime in Holland. On the 20th of 
June, 17S0, he was commissioned to negotiate a loan in 
Holland, provided Mr Adams should be prevented by 
other business from attending to it. As Mr Adams under- 
took the negotiation, Mr Dana did not enter upon this 

On the 1 9th of December, he was elected by Congress 
to be Minister resident in Russia, with authority to ac- 
cede to the convention of the neutral and belligerent pow- 
ers for protecting the freedom of commerce and rights of 
nations, and also to negotiate a treaty for this purpose. 
He received iiis commission and instructions in Paris, 
and after spending a short time in Amsterdam and Berlin, 
he arrived at St Petersburg towards the end of August, 
1781. Here he applied himself with zeal and activity to 
the objects of his mission, but the policy of the Russian 
Court was at that time such, as to prevent its recognizing 
the independence of the United States, or receiving pub- 
licly a Minister from that government. In his private 
capacity, Mr Dana, was treated with due consideration, 
and was promised that, after the signature of the definitive 
treaty at Paris, lie should be admitted to f n audience of 
the Empress, and received in his jiublic character, as 
Minister from the United States. Meantime his con- 
tinued ill health had induced him to solicit from Con- 
gress permission to return home, which was granted. 


He sailed from St Petersburg in a ship bound for Bos- 
ton, where he arrived in December, 1783. 

Mr Dana was a member of the Convention at An- 
napolis, and of the Convention of iVIassachnsetts for rati- 
fying the Constitution of the United States. In this 
latter body he took an able and decided stand in favor 
of the Constitution. He was afterwards for many years 
Chief Justice of the State of Massachusetts, and died in 
ISll, at the age of sixtyseven years. 




Paris, August 10th, 1780. 


Mr Adams having left Paris the 27ih of last month, to 
visit the Low Countries, 1 do myself the honor of forward- 
ing; to your Excellency two packets, the one containing his 
letters to you from No. 89 to 99 inclusive, and two private 
letters from a gentleman in London to him, the other con- 
taining letters numbered in tlieir order from No. 1 to 10, 
inclusive. \ siiall also forward to your Excellency, if the 
bearer can take them, all the newspapers we have on 
hand. The whole will he committed to the care of Cap- 
tain Jones, who will sail in the Ariel. 

Had 1 been apprized less suddenly of the time of Cap- 
tain Jones' departure, I should also have sent translations 
of the declarations of the Courts of Copenhagen and 
Stockholm to the belligerent powers, conforming to that 
of the Empress of Russia, relative to the commere of the 
neutral powers, and the armed neutrality. These decla- 
rations are in the ^^Suiie des jYouvelks d^imnterdam,'' of 


the Slh of August, No. G3. The fleet, which left Virginia 
the 14th of last June, under the convoy of the Frere Rod- 
erique, bound for France, are all except one, which foun- 
dered at sea, the crew being saved, safely arrived. A 
vessel, which left New London the 27th of June, was 
cast away on the rocks entering Rochelle. We have no 
letters by any of these vessels, but learn from them, that 
no intelligence had been received from M. de Ternay, 
when they left America. We cannot but lament our total 
want of intelligence respecting the state of our country. 
I am, Sir, vviih the greatest respect, &z,c. 



Paris, August 24th, 1780. 

I did myself the honor on the 10th instant to write to 
your Excellency, by Captain John Paul Jones, who then 
expected to sail soon, in the Ariel, for Philadelphia, assign- 
ing as the reason the absence of AJr Adams, who was gone 
to visit the Low Countries. I then forwarded to your Ex- 
cellency two packets, one containing his letters to you, 
and two private letters from a gentleman in London to 
him ; the other containing letters to and from the Minister, 
and I also sent all the newspapers we then had on hand, 
directing the whole to the care of Captain Jones. 

Mr Adams has not returned. 1 had a letter from him of 
the 17th instant, in which he makes no mention of his be- 
ing about to return, so that it is probable he will stay there 
sometime longer. If anything occurs here worthy the 
notice of Congress, during his absence, I shall not fail to 


do myself the honor of communicating it to your Excel- 
lency. The packets sent with this contain Mr Adams's 
letters to your Excellency from No. 91 to 100, and letters 
to and from the Minister, from No. 1 to 7 exclusive, and 
also the newspajiers, which have come to hand since mak- 
ing the first packet. We have not received any advice 
of the arrival of INI . de Ternay, or any intelligence of the 
operations of the Spaniards on the Continent, since the 
reduction of Mobile, or of the combined armaments in the 
West Indies. 

1 am, with the greatest respect, he. 



Amsterdam, September 20th, 1780. 

Having been disappointed in my expectations of forward- 
ing to your Excellency the packets mentioned in the above 
letter from France, I have brought them on to this place, 
and shall g«iiAmit them to the care of Captain Joseph Cook, 
of Providence, who is now ready to sail, and waits only for 
a wind. 

I beg leave to acquaint your Excellency, that Mr Searle, 
a member of Congress, arrived at Paris on the evening of 
the lOih instant, and immediately sent me the despatches 
of Congress committed to his care. I perused them, and 
wailed on him in the morning, and had a conversation of 
several hours with him, as well upon the subject matter of 
those despatches, as upon the concerns of our country.* 

* Among these despatclies, Mr Dana received a commission, em- 
VOL. VIII. 31 


I thought it my duty immediately to prepare to set off for 
Amsterdam with the despatches, and did so the next day 
at noon, and without quitting my carriage arrived at Brus- 
sels the day after, and at Amsterdam on the 16th, where I 
had the happiness of finding Mr Adams in good health. 

From that moment to this, he has been industriously en- 
gaged to endeavor to effectuate the purposes of Congress. 
What success we may meet with here is uncertain ; but I 
hope 1 n)ay give it as my clear opinion to Congress, that 
their views would be very much facilitated if Mr Laurens, 
or any other person whom they may think proper to em- 
[iloy in this business, should be at the same time furnished 
vviih the powers of a Minister. Plenipotentiary to the States- 
General. Some persons here, notwithstanding all that can 
he said, seem to be apprehensive that the United States 
have granted exclusive privileges in commerce to France. 
This idea is industriously propngated throughout Europe, 
by the eiuissaries of our enemies, and especially in this 
country. A disposition in Congress, therefore, to form an 
alliance with the States-General upon principles of perfect 
reciprocity of interest, altliough they should not at this 
instant be prepared to enter into it, would unquestionably 
have a powerful influence in effectuating the main intention 
of Congress, and further, would give a consideration and 
independence to our councils thoughout Europe, which 
they will never acquire while they remain in their present 
circumscribed state. We might, perhaps, look still further 
with the hopes of much benefit to our country. There 

powering him to obtain a loan in Holland, in case Mr Adams should 
for any reason be prevented from attending to this object. As Mr 
Adams was then in Holland, Mr Dana did not act under this com- 
mission. See John Adams's Correspondence, Vol. V. p. 327. 


can be no occasion of being more particular on this sub- 
ject. Indeed, I should not have troubled Congress at all 
from this place, with any letter of mine, had not Mr 
Adams requested me to give my sentiments to Congress 
upon- the principal object of this letter. I have done so 
freely, and I presume the candor of Congress will excuse 
me in it. 

I am, with the greatest respect, &,c. 


Commission to Francis Dana, referred to in the preceding 

Whereas by our commission to the honorable Henry 
Laurens, bearing date the 30ih day of October, 1779, we 
have constituted and appointed him the said Henry Lau- 
rens, during our pleasure, our agent for and on behalf of 
the United States, to negotiate a loan with any person or 
persons, bodies politic or corporate ; and whereas ihe said 
Henry Laurens having, by unavoidable accidents, been 
hiihe. to prevented from proceeding on his said agency, we 
Jiave, by our coinmission bearing equal date herewith, con- 
stituted and appointed the honorable John Adams, imtil 
the said Henry Laurens, or some other person appointed 
in his stead, shall arrive in Europe, and undertake the 
execution of his aforesaid commission, our agent to nego- 
tiate a loan as aforesaid ;* 

And whereas it may so happen, that the said John 
Adams, by reason of some disability arising from the slate 
of the business of his present appointment, or otherwise, may 

* See Mr Adams's commission in John Adams's Correspondence, 
Vol. V. p. 'i2'X 


be prevented iVoni undertaking the execution of the said 
commission, or having undertaken it, from proceeding 
therein ; we, therefore, reposing especial trust and confi- 
dence in your patriotism, ability, conduct, and fidelity, do 
by these presents constitute and appoint you, the said Fran- 
cis Dana, in the event of the disability of the said John 
Adams, as aforesaid, until the said Henry Laurens, or some 
other person appointed in his stead, shall arrive in Europe, 
and undertake the execution of the aforesaid commission, 
our agent for and on behalf of the said United States, to 
negotiate a loan with any person or persons, bodies politic 
or corporate, promising in good faith to ratify and confirm 
whatsoever shall by you be done in the premises, or relat- 
ing thereto. 

Witness his Excellency, Samuel Huntington, President 
of the Congress of the United States of America, at Phil- 
adelphia, the 20th day of June, in the year of our Lord, 
1780, and in the fourth year of our independence. 



Amsterdaiii, November 11th, 1780. 

You must before this time have heard of the capture of 
the late President Laurens, on his voyage hither ; that 
the enemy affect to consider him a state prisoner, and 
have, accordingly, confined him to the Tower, in arcta ct 
salva custodla. Their treatment of him has marked the 
barbarity of the nation from the throne to the footstool. 
Does this look like peace ? They recovered a part of his 
papers, such as the plan of a treaty adjusted by Mr Wil- 


Ham Lee, whli the Regency of this city in 1778, a letter 
from M. (le Neufville upon the subject, one from our 
friend, the Commodore, one from IMr Stockton, and one 
from an amiable character of this country, whom I person- 
ally know. Baron Van der Cappellen. These were hurried 
over to Sir Joseph Yorke, and by him delivered to the 
Prince, who, it is said, in much wrath, laid them before 
the Stales of Holland, who transmitted copies of them to 
the Regency, accompanied with certain resolutions. 

The Regency have openly avowed the act. This has 
brought on the most extraordinary memorial of Sir Joseph 
Yorke to the Slates-General, which, perhaps, any foreign 
Minister ever made to an independent State ; calling for 
their open disavowal of the conduct of the Regency ; cen- 
suring them as a mad cabal, ever ready to sacrifice the 
public interests to private views, aiding the natural enemy 
(France) of both countries in destroying their mutual hap- 
piness; and it demands of the States-General also, an 
exemplary punishment of the Pensionary, Van Berckel, 
by name, and of all his accomplices, as disturbers of the 
public peace, and violaters of the laws of nations, that is, 
of the other members of the city Regency, for he acted 
officially in what he did, and by their order. 

In default of this, the memorial says, the King will take 
such measures, as the maintenance of his dignity and the 
interests of his people require. The Regency have here- 
upon published the whole matter in the nature of an ap- 
peal to the people, which you will, doubtless, soon have 
among you. What further measures they have taken to 
vindicate themselves, and their country's rights and inter- 
ests, are not yet made public. The States-General will 
meet the 22d instant. It is not probable they will, or can 


comply, with the several requisitions of this memorial. 
You may ask me, as in another case, what can Great 
Britain promise herself from all this ? Whether or not she 
expected to be able to effect a compliance with her de- 
mands, which does not seem probable, by the weight of 
her influence in this Republic ; or whether this memo- 
rial was to serve as a balance to that of the States-Gene- 
ral, respecting the outrageous violation of her territorial 
rights by Admiral Rodney, at St Martin's ; or whether she 
foresaw thnt the States-General will accede to the armed 
neutrality, and is, therefore, determined to go to war with 
them upon other pretences, so as to avoid for a time, at 
least, warring ngainst the whole confederacy ; whether 
any of these things were the motive of this singular con- 
duct, is to me uncertain. If she seriously intends to put 
her threat against this country into execution, I should 
conjecture the last is the prevailing motive. For already 
Holland and three other of the States have declared for 
an unconditional accession to the neutral confederacy ', 
two more have declared for an accession, but allege that 
their territories in both the Indies should be guarantied. 
This, however, I understand, is not absolutely made a 
condition, and that their Deputies are at liberty to accede 
without such guarantee, if they think fit. The seventh is 
the Province of Zealand, where the influence of the 
Prince is without control, from thence, therefore, nothing 
short of an open opposition to the neutral system is ex- 
pected. Whether the other six States are prepared and 
determined to accede witliout Zealand, a short time will 
sho v. 

The navy of these States is too feeble at present for an 
immediate war with England, which they seem to appre- 


hend must take place upon their joining the neutral con- 
federation. Tliey have, I believe, but about twentysix 
vessels, instead of the fifiytwo voted, ready for sea. It 
has been apprehended, their naval preparations have been 
designedly kept back, 'in order to keep up the fears 
of the Slates about a war with Britain. There is no 
question but the Prince is fixed against it, and whatever 
ideas some of our countrymen may have entertained of the 
liberties of this people, they are as effectually enslaved by 
their magistracy, as are any people in the old world by the 
mighty kings, who hold almost all the rest of it in bon- 
dage. Nay, the influence of the Prince seems to pervade 
almost every department of their government, and the 
whole machine is much obstructed, when set in motion in 
a direction repugnant to his inclinations and views. 

May heaven preserve us froTi kings, princes, and 
stadiholders. The people are the best guardians of 
their own liberties and interests. 
I am, Sec 



In Congress, December 19th, 1780. 

The great object of your negotiation is to engage iier 

Imperial .Majesty to favor and support the sovereignty and 

" In Congress, December \T>th, 1780.— ''Whereas a good under- 
standing and friendly intercourse between the subjects of her impe- 
rial Majesty, the Empress of all the Russias, and these United Stales, 
may be for the mutual advantage of both nations ; 


independence of these United States, and to lay a founda- 
tion for a good understanding and friendly intercourse be- 
tween the subjects of her Imperial Majesty and the citizens 
of these United States, to the mutual advantage of both 

You will readily perceive, that it must be a leading and 
capital point, if these United States shall be formally ad- 
mitted as a party to the convestion of the neutral maritime 
powers for maintaining the freedom of commerce. This 
regulation, in which the Empress is deeply interested, and 
from which she has derived so much glory, will open the 
way for your favorable reception, which we have the 
greater reason to expect, as she has publicly invited the 
belligerent powers to accede thereto. 

And you will give it an attention suitable to its impor- 
tance. Your success will, however, depend on a variety 
of sources and contingencies ; on a more perfect knowl- 
edge of the state of Europe than can be obtained at this 
distance ; on the ultimate views of her Imperial Majesty, 
the temper of her cabinet, the avenues to their confidence, 
the dispositions of the neutral powers with whom she 
is connected, and the events of war. Under such cir- 
cumstances, precise instructions for your conduct cannot 
be expected ; on the contrary, the greatest room must be 

"Resolved, That a Minister be appointed to reside at the Court, of 
the Empress of Russia. 

"Ordered, that Monday next be assigned for electing such Minis- 

"Ordered, that a committee of three be appointed to prepare a 
commission and draft of instructions for the said Minister. 

"December 19th, 1780. — Congress proceeded to the election of a 
Minister to reside at the Court of the Empress of Russia ; and the 
ballots being taken, the honorable Francis Dana was elected." 


left for the exercise of your own penetration and assiduity 
in gaining proper information, and for your prudence and 
address in improving it to the best advantage. Your zeal 
for the public interest will lead you to embrace every 
favorable incident and expedient, which may recommend 
these States to the friendship of her Imperial Majesty and 
her Ministers. Your attachment to the honor and inde- 
pendence of your country will restrain you from every 
concession unbecoming the dignity of a free people. The 
diplomatic order in which you arc placed by your com- 
mission, will prevent embarrassments, which, in so delicate 
a case, might arise from the |)unctilio of ceremony ; while 
it entitles you to all the confidence and protection essential 
to the office of a public ^Minister. 

For the further execution of your trust, you will con- 
form, as far as possible, to the following instructions. 

1. You shall communicate your powers and instructions 
to our Ministers Plenipotentiary, at the Court of Versailles, 
and for negotiating peace, and avail yourself of their advice 
and information ; and it may be prudent through them to 
obtain the scpsc of the Court of France thereon. 

2. You shall communicate the general object of your 
mission to the Minister of his Most Christian Majesty at the 
Court of Petersburg, and endeavor through his mediation 
to sound the disposition of her Imperial Alajesty, or her 
Ministers, towards these United States. 

3. If the result of your inquiries should point out a fair 
prospect of an honorabl-.' reception, you are to announce 
your public character, and deliver your letters of credence 
in the usual form. 

4. You are lo manifest on all proper occasions the high 
respect, which Congress entertain for her Imperial Ma- 

voL. VIII. 32 


jesly ; for tlie lustre of l)er cliiirnrter, and the liberality of 
lier sentiments aiul her views ; and pai ticiilarly ynii are, in 
the strongest terms, to tesiify our approbation of the mea- 
sures, which her In"i|)eiial I\]ajesty has suggested and nia- 
luied for the [iroiection of coiiinierce against the arbitrary 
violations of the British Couit. You will j)resent the act 
of Congress herewith transmitted, declaring our assent to 
her Imperial Majesty's regulations on this subject, and use 
every means, which can be devised to obtain the consent 
and influence of that Court that these United Slates shall 
be formally invited, or adniitted, to accede as principals 
and as an independent nation to the said convention. In 
that event, you are authorised to subscribe the treaty or 
convention for the protection of conmnerce in behalf of 
these United States, either with her Imperial Majesty con- 
junctly with the other neutral powers, or if that shall be 
inadmissible, separately with her Imperial Majesty, or any 
one of those powers. 

5. You are to impress her Imperial Majesty and her 
Ministers with a sense of the justice of our cause, the na- 
ture and stability of our union, and the solemn engagements 
by which not only the States but his Most Christian Maj- 
esty, are reciprocally bound to maintain the sovereignty, 
rights and jurisdiction of each of the thirteen States inviola- 
bly ; and the utter impracticability of our acceding to any 
treaty of peace with Great Britain, on the principles of a 
uti possidetis, or on any other terms than such as shall im- 
ply an express or tacit acknowledgment of tlie sovereignty 
of each and every part, and which shall be consistent with 
the letter and spirit of our treaty of alliance and friendship 
and commerce with his Most Christian Majesty. You 
shall represent, in pointed terms, the barbarous manner in 


which, contrary to the laws of Till civilized nations, the war 
has been conducted by the enemy, the difficulties, whit h 
we have snrinounted, and tlie certain prospect, under the 
divine bl-'ssing, of expcllinc: our enemies, and establishing 
our independence on such basis as will render us useful to 
the whole commercial world, and happy in ourselves. You 
shall assure her Imperial Ah>jesty of our ambition to num- 
ber so wise and magnanimous a Piincess among our 
friends, and to assign her a distinguished place among 
those illustrious personages of ancient and modern limes, 
who have delighted in promoting the happiness of man- 
kind, and in disarming tyranny of the power of doing mis- 

G. You shall assure her Imperial IMajesty and her Minis- 
ters of the sincere disposition of these Uni'.ed States to en- 
ter into a treaty of friendship and commerce with her on 
terms of the most perfect equality, reciprocity and mutual 
advantage, and siniilar to those expressed in our treaty 
with his Most Christian Majesty ; and you are authorised 
to communicate with her Imperial Majesty's Miiiisters on 
the form and, terms of such treaty, and transmit the same 
to Congress for their raiification. 

7. You shall communicate punctually with our respective 
Ministers in Europe, and avail yoursell of their advice and 
information, and of the success of their respective negoiia- 
tions to raise our in)porlance and support oi;r inierust ai the 
Court of Petersburg. 

8. You shall endeavor to acquire a perfect knowledge 
of the manners and etiquette of the Com i at whicii v<iu re- 
side, and particularly in the dip'omatic line ; and ol ilie 
manufactures and commerce of that empire ; and [joint out 
in ycur correspondence how far and on what conditions the 


two nations can be mutually beneficial to or improve each 
other in commerce or policy, arts or agriculture. 

Lastly. And, in general, you shall pursue all such 
measures as shall appear to you conducive to the interests 
of the United Stales, to the faithful discharge of your im- 
portant trust, and which circumstances rnay point out to be 
salutary and beneficial. 

I am, Sic. . , 



Paris, February IGth, 17S1. 


I do myself the honor to acquaint you, that I returned 
to this city the 2Sth of December, where it is probable 1 
shall continue till the public business may require me to 
join Mr Adams, who still remains at Amsterdam. It was 
judged by both of us, that no possible detriment could hap- 
pen to our public concerns by this separation. On the 
other hand, Mr Adams was pleased to say it might be at- 
tended with some benefit. 

Shortly after I came to town, your despatches by Cap- 
tain Bell were forwarded to me. Though they were ad- 
dressed to Mr Adams, agreeably to his standing directions, 
I broke them open, and sent on to him such of them only 
as I knew he had not received before, and were necessary 
for the regulation of his present business. The additional 
instructions of the 18th of October, founded on his letters 
of the 23d and 24th of March last, and all the duplicates, I 
have still by me, not thinking it advisable to hazard them 
by the post. I have made Mr Adams fully acquainted 
with this. 


Vou will permit me to say, that it is by no means prudent 
to commit to the care of the posts, papers of the nature of 
some of your last despatches. 

Mr Adams has not been able to obtain the amount of 
the bills actually drawn on I\Ir Laurens. The resolution of 
Congress of the 23d of November, 1779, expresses a cer- 
tain sum ; so does that of the Gth of October last. But 
Mr Searle says, it is not the design of Congress to draw to 
the amount of both resolutions ; that they had stayed their 
hands upon the first, after having drawn for about a quarter 
part of the sum named in it, for particular reasons, which 
he mentions. It would have been a relief under present 
circumstances, to have had this made certain. I am per- 
suaded it would be acceptable to every one concerned in 
such business, to be acquainted as early as possible with 
the amount of bills drawn upon him from lime to time, so 
that they might not fall in unexpectedly. 

Congress, it appears from their printed journals, have 
taken into consideration the Declaration of the EiDpress of 
all the Russias, relative to the commercial rights of neutral 
nations, andjiave thereupon passed several resolutions, and 
ordered that copies of them should be transmitted to their 
Ministers, yet no such copies have yet been received. 
Although there does not appear at present any pressing oc- 
casion for them, nevertheless it is possible, though I cannot 
say I think probable, that one may offer, in which case 
there would be a total deficiency of the necessary powers. 
Mr Adams, in his last letter of the 8th instant, has desired 
me to consult with Dr Franklin upon this business, which 
I shall soon do. Lest Mr Adams should not have an op- 
portunity to write from Holland, I would just say, that the 
principal matter then remained in statu quo. 


1 nm this moment acquainted by Mr Temple Franklin, 
that a vessel has arrived at Nantes, which left the Capes of 
Delaware on the 7th of January, and that the Doctor has 
received copies of the resolutions d( Congress relative to 
the above Declaration of the Empress of Russia. 

I am, Gentlemen, with much respect, your most obedient 
and most humble servant, 



Paris, March 24th, 1781. 


I have the honor to acquaint your Excellency, that Mr 
Laurens arrived at Passy the 15ih instant, and in the 
evening of the saire day, sent me your despatches in- 
trusted to his care, as well as those which came by the 
Duke of Leinster, both for Mr Adams and myself. In a 
day or two after, I forwarded Mr Adams's to him by a pri- 
vate opportunity, it being very unsafe to send anything by 
the post, which it is of importance to keep secret. As I 
did not open them, I am wholly ignorant whether tliey con- 
; -::: anything relative to our first commissions, or in what 
light to consider myself respecting them, provided 1 should 
not proceed to the Court of St Petersburg. My actually 
going there is a condition precedent, and in virtue of which 
alone, I am entided to anything under the resolution of 
Congress of the 20lh of December last.* 

^ III Congress, Decnmhcr2Qth, 1780. "Resolved, That the President 
furnish the Minister appointed to the Court of Petersburg with \et-> 
ters of credit on the Minister Plenipotentiary of J,he United States at 


I iiave roinnuiiiicated my instnidions and commission, 
and everyihiiig respecting it, to Dr Franklin, and have 
asked his opinion wlieiher it was expedient to make a com- 
munication of the general object of my commission to the 
administration here. He said he thought it was, and that it 
might be advisable likewise to take the opinion of tlie Count 
de Vergennes, whether it would not be proper to make this 
communication also to the Court of St Petersburg, and ob- 
tain their approbation of the measure, before 1 should set 
off for that country ; that a similar course was taken in the 
case of Mr Arthur Lee for Madrid, and of Mr William 
Lee for Vienna. JMy own opinion exactly coincides with 
the first part of his advice, but not with the latter part. I 
think that would rather create than clear away obstacles ; 
it would lay the Court of St Petersburg under a necessity 
of considering the general object of my commission, and if 
after this they should approve of the journey, it might in- 
volve them in consequences they are not prepared to meet; 
for Britain would consider such an act as absolutely deci- 
sive of the part the Court of St Petersburg meant finally to 
take, and this consideration, however well they might stand 
afTected towards us, in my o'pinion would prevent their ap- 
proving of the proposition, if it did not draw after it an ab- 
solute prohibition. There is no diflicully in going in the 
character of a private citizen of the United Stales, and 
when one has once entered, the ground is changed. Ad- 
mission and rejection are essentially different. Besides, 
one would be at hand to open the way gradually, as favor- 
able occurrences might arise. 

the Court of Versailles, for fifteen hundred pounds sterling, as his 
salary for one year ; provided the said Minister shall proceed to the 
Court of Petersburg." 


I have been at Passy this day to consult the Doctor 
again on this point, and to lay my objections before hiin, 
but he was not at home. I shall do it the first opportunity. 
If we should finally differ on any point after having con- 
sulted Mr Adams, agreeably to my instructions, if they 
concur in opinion, 1 siiall make no difficulty in conforming 
exactly to their better judgments, otherwise I must exer- 
cise my own upon the choice of opinions. But if the re- 
sult should be, that 1 am not to proceed, how, and in what 
chaiacter am I to consider myself? Is my former commis- 
sion superseded, and what am I to depend upon ? The 
resolution of Congress of the 20th of December last, men- 
tions a certain sum for which I have a letter of credit, con- 
ditionally, upon their Minister at this Court, as a salary for 
one year. Is it the intention of Congress, that that sum is 
to be my whole support, in the character of their Minister, 
empowered to do (he same things at the Court of St Peters- 
burg, that their Ministers at other Courts, which have not 
yet acknowledged the independence of the United States, 
are empowered to do? Oris it their intention, that my 
former commission should continue in force, and that I 
should receive the salary of both, which would make my 
whole support but nominally equal to that, which Congress 
allows to their other Ministers. 

Further, there is no mention made of a secretary or 
clerk, appointed to assist me, or any provision for either. 
Is it the intention of Congress to confine me to the sum 
mentioned in their resolution of the 20th of December last, 
and even leave me to provide out of it for a clerk or pri- 
vate secretary, (for one will be indispensable,) and for all 
other expenses ? Congress will not surely take it amiss if I 
ask for information on these points. The absolute neces- 


sity I am under of knowing on what I have to depend, I 
trust will be my sufficient apology. I cannot but lament, 
that the expediency of advising on these points, did not 
occur to the Committee on Foreign Aflairs. I have as yet 
received no information upon this subject, but what comes 
to me in the acts of Congress, and in your Excellency's 
letter accompanying them. 

Convinced as I am of the proprieiy of such an appoint- 
ment, it is my present determination, throwing aside all 
pecuniary considerations, to accept of this honorable trust. 
I wish my abilities were equal to the iniportancs of it. I 
can engage for nothing more, than sincere and uniform en- 
deavors to promote the great end of it. Through you, 
Sir, I beg leave to communicate my most respectful ac- 
knowledgments to Congress for this distinguished instance 
of their confidence in me. 

F am, with the 2;reatP?t respect, 8cr. 


P. S. I will under my present uncertainties, keep a 
regular account of all my expenses under this commission, 
and shall chccrfidly submit to the justice of Congress, the 
propriety of the charges I shall make, and how much ought 
to be allowed under the denomination of salary, expenses, 
he. I shall hope, however, that Congress will reduce 
these things to a certainly as soon as is convenient. If I 
find it impracticable to conform to their views, the step I 
ought to take is very clear and plain.* F. D. 

• See resolutions of Congress, on the subject of xMr Dana s salary 
and expenses, in flie Secret Journal. Vol. If, p. 4r)7 
VOL. viii. 33 



Paris, March 28th, 1781. 


I did myself the honor to write to your Excellency, on 
the 24th instant, and to acknowledge the receipt of your 
despatches by Colonel Laurens, and by the Duke of Leins- 
ter, both for Mr Adams and myself. I also acquainted 
your Excellency, that 1 had communicated my instructions, 
my commissions, and everything respectins. it, to Dr Frank- 
lin. I mentioned also tlie question I proposed to him, 
and h\s advice upon it, that I differed from him in the 
latter part of his advice, and assigned my reasons for doing 
so. I added I would the first opportunity lay before him 
my objections, for his further consideration of that part 
of his advice. ! have done so this day, and have the 
satislaction to find that he now perfectly concurs in opin- 
ion with me, so that a simple communication of the gen- 
eral object only will be made here. 

1 have left the papers with him to consider whether he 
or I should make it. I think the last paragraph of the first 
article of my instructions, seems to point it out to be the 
sense of Congress, that he should do it. Tlirough what- 
ever channel it should be made, it seems to be agreed 
between us, that the voyage is already settled, and not 
now a question for consideration, I hope none will be made 
about it. If there should not arise any obstructions out 
of this communication, I shall leave Paris on Sunday next, 
and proceed for Holland, where I shall consult with Mr 
Adams upon the whole business of my mission, and it shall 
be my constant endeavor, to give Congress the earliest in- 
formation of every material circumstance respecting it. 
My situation may however render my communications less 


frequent than I could wisli, or they expect, especially when 
it is considered, that there is no safety in corresponding 
through the posts of these countries. 

I hope no occasion will be lost to keep me properly 
informed of the state of our affairs, particularly of all mil- 
itary operations ; so that I may be able to prevent our en- 
emies making impressions to our disadvantage, in which 
business they constantly labor with much industry, and I 
wish I could not add with too much success ; owing prin- 
cipally to our wanting the necessary information to coun- 
teract them. 

The accession of Maryland to the Confederation is an 
event, which may have some good influence upon our 
affairs, as it may serve to convince a great part of Europe 
that a strong principle of union exists among us. Yet of 
this we have not any other account than what comes in 
private letters, at least I have not seen or heard of any 
olher. Nothing but an anxious concern which I feel to 
be furnished with authenlic evidences of events, which 
may be improved to the benefit of our country, has led 
me to sjjpak of this, which I deem important in the man- 
ner I have done, and I presume Congress will not attribute 
it to a querulous disposition. 

I am, with the greatest respect and esteem, Sic. 



Paris. March 3l8t, 1731. 

1 have the honor to acquaint your Excellency, that 
Congress have been pleased to charge me with a com- 
mission as their ^Minister at the Court of St Petersburs, 


and thai reposing the highest confidence in his Most Chris- 
tian Majesty, their first and illustrious ally, and in his Min- 
isters, they have particularly instructed me to communicate 
the general object of my mission to his Majesty's Minister 
at the Court of St Petersburg, to the end without doubt, 
that their negotiations at that Court might be carried on 
in perfect harmony with tliose of his Majesty, upon whose 
gracious and powerful assistance, through his Minister 
there, Congress place much reliance. 

Had Congress apprehended their despatches would have 
met me here, they probably would not have failed to di- 
rect this communication to be made to his Majesty in the 
first instance, through your Excellency. Under this per- 
suasion, 1 beg leave to acquaint your Excellency, that the 
general view of Congress in this mission is, to engage her 
Imperial Majesty to favor and support the sovereignty and 
independence of the United States, and to lay a foundation 
for a good understanding, and friendly intercourse between 
the subjects of her Imperial Majesty, and the citizens of 
the United States, to the mutual advantage of both nations, 
and consistent with the treaties subsisting between his Most 
Christian Majesty and the United States. 

In th^firm confidence, that this measure will meet with 
the cordial approbation of his Majesty, I do not doubt but 
I shall experience his benevolence, in a proper encourage- 
ment and support, in the execution of my mission. It may 
be proper to acquaint your Excellency, that I propose to 
set off for Holland next Wednesday morning, if there 
should be no occasion for further delay, and from thence 
to proceed to St Petersburg. It is not my intention to 
assume any public character on my arrival there, but to 
appear only as a private citizen of the United States, until 


ibe result of my inquiries shall point out a ready and hon- 
orable reception. 1 shall most cheerfully obey my instruc- 
tions to communicate the general object of my mission to 
bis Majesty's Minister at St Petersburg, whose able advice 
and assistance, I hope your Excellency will be pleased 
to assure to me. 

I am, with the greatest respect, is:c. 



Paris, March 3Ist, 1781. 


My letter of the 2Sih instant will inform your Excel- 
lency, that on that day I bad a further consultation with 
Dr Franklin upon the subject of my mission, particularly 
upon the mode of communicating the general object of it 
here, that having agreed upon that, I left the papers with 
him, to the end that if he thought it proper to make the 
communication, be might have them before him, and do it 
without loss of time. 

Partl/lo save time in case the Doctor should be of the 
opinion, that it was most proper for me to make it, and part- 
ly to lay before him my idea about it in writing, I drew up 
a letter to the Count de Vergennes, which I left with the 
other papers, a copy of which you will have enclosed. 
Tiie Doctor called upon me late last evening with the 
whole, and told me he had attentively considered them, and 
that he thought it best I should make the communication ; 
and was pleased to add, that he had carefully examined 
my draft of a letter in particular, and approved of it en- 
tirely J that he did not know of any alteration, which could 


be made in it for the better. Confiding in his judgment 
more than in my own, I this morning sent a fair copy of it 
to the Count de Vergennes, (adding only the few words 
underscored,) which was received at his office at fiv3 
o'clock this afternoon. This mode ohliges me to postpone 
the time of my departure from Sunday to Wednesday 
next, when, as I have said in my last, if there should not 
arise any obstructions out of this communication, I shall 
set off for Holland. 

I am not without rny apprehensions on this head, yet I 
do not see that the measure could have been decently 
avoided, most certainly not, consistent with the letter and 
spirit of my instructions. I have endeavored to adapt the 
mode to the main end I have in view, that is, to stave 
ofF any question touching the expediency of the voy- 
age at this time, or piior to my obtaining permission to 
make it; for the reasons mentioned in my letter of the 
24th instant, as well as for others, which it may not be 
prudent to mention just now. Perhaps they are not well 
founded. I shall not fail to do myself the honor to trans- 
mit to your Excellency the answer I may receive to the 
enclosed, and a particular account of every material cir- 
cumstance, which may take place here before my depar- 
tme. It is probable I shall have a safe opportunity to send 
duplicates of the whole from Holland. 
I am, with the greatest respect, &ic. 





Versailles, April 1st, 1781. 

I have received the letter, which you did me the honor 
to write to me on the 31st ultimo. I was already informed 
of the part taken by Congress in the mission, with which 
you are charged for the Court of St Petersburg. As it 
would seem, that present circumstances ought to have some 
inOuence in fixing the lime of your departure, I should be 
glad on this account to have an interview with you. The 
reflections, which 1 shall conmiunicale, have for their prin- 
ciple the sincere interest which I take in the cause of your 
country, as well as in the dignity of Congress. 

I have the honor to be, &:c. 



Paris, April 2d, 1781. 
I have received the letter, which your Excellency did 
me the honor to write to me yesterday, in answer to mine 
of the day before, and I shall do myself the honor to wait 
on your Excellency, for the purpose mentioned in it be- 
fore my departure. 

It is not to be doubted, that the reflections, which your 
Excellency desires to communicate to me, are founded in 
the sincere interest, which you take in the cause of our 
country, and in the dignity of Congress. 
I am, widt the highest respect, &:c. 




Paris, April 2d, 1781. 


I do myself the honor to enclose to your Excellency 
the letter of the Count de Vergennes to me of yesterday, 
in answer to mine of the day before, and my answer to 
him. Congress need not wait to be informed of the sub- 
stance of die proposed conference, in order to form a judg- 
ment of the senUments of his Majesty's IMinisters, upon the 
mission with which they have charged me. These are 
sufficiently pointed out by the Count's letter, which proves 
the apprehensions, hinted in my last, were not wholly un- 

From the beginning, 1 have foreseen the difHcidty of my 
situation, and 1 have felt it likewise. Had my instructions 
been positive to proceed, I should have been considerably 
advanced on my route at this time. But what can I now 
do ; if I should be told, as I certainly expect to be told, 
diat it is not expedient to proceed at this time, nor until I 
have taken the sense of the Court of St Petersburg upon 
the measure ? I do not ask this quciition, expecting any 
seasonable answer to it. Our dii^tanco is imhappily too 
great for timely explanation. 1 shall go to Versailles to- 
morrow, to confer with the Count, after which, whatever 
may be the result tlicre, 1 shall think it my duly to set off 
for Holland, for the purpose of consulting Mr Adams on 
the whole matter. Having done this, 1 shall have taken 
every step, which Congress will expect of me, prior to my 
making up my final determination respecting my voyage to 
St Petersburg. I will give your Excellency no further 
trouble at present, but as any new matter may arise, I will 


continue to give Congress, through you, the earliest infor- 
mation of it. 

I am, with the greatest respect, k.c. 



Paris, April 4lii, 1761. 

If the packet, which I sent off for L'Orient early this 
morning comes safe to hand, your Excellency will receive 
a copy of my letter of the 31st ultimo, to his Excellency 
the Count de Vergennes, communicating to him the gene- 
ral ohject of my mission, my letter to yourself of the same 
date, a copy of the Count's answer to me of the 1st in- 
stant, proposing a conference with me before my depart- 
ure, and my answer to that of tlic 2(1, together with my 
letter of the same date to you. 

I hurried these away, because I conceived the Count's 
letter clearly manifested the sentiments of his Majesty's 
Minister 0Q-»the subject of my mission, and was afraid the 
opportunity of sending them would otherwise be lost. 
Whether I was loo hasty in this opinion formed upon his 
letter, Congress will judge. However that may be, I am 
happy to say, that in the conference I had with his Excel- 
lency this morning, (being, at my particular desire, intro- 
duced to him by Dr Franklin) I did not perceive that he 
had formed any fixed judgment upon it. Though he 
opened the conference with ideas perfectly consonant with 
those I had supposed him to entertain on the subject, yet, 
when I had explained to him my proposed lice of conduct, 
he did not persist in tliem. He seemed rather to have de- 

VOL. VIH. 34 


sired an opportunity of communicating to me his reflec- 
tions, by way of caution and advice, than as serious objec- 
tions to the mission itself. 

He asked if I had any particular object of negotiation in 
view, to which I answered, that I had communicated the 
general object of my mission in my first letter to him, that 
I had it not in contemplation to precipitate any negotiation 
whatever, that I did not think it agreeable to the design of 
Congress, and that I certainly would never expose them 
to any indignities ; that it was thought by Congress ex- 
pedient to have some person at St Petersburg with an 
eventual character, who might improve the favorable mo- 
ment for assuming it. He inquired whether I had re- 
ceived any assurances from that country, that my residence 
in it would be acceptable. I told him, a gentleman, not a 
native of the country, had written from thence, that some 
persons of rank, whether they were connected with the 
Court at all I could not say, had expressed their wishes 
that some person should be sent there from America, ca- 
pable of giving information of the state of our affairs. 

He observed, that Russia had not acknowledged the in- 
dependence of America, that British influence was not 
done away at St Petersburg ; that if I went, it would be 
supposed that I had some object in view, and there being 
no visible one, I being an American, would be supposed to 
have some political views, some eventual character, which 
might expose me, if I had not permission to reside there, 
as he expressed himself, to some desagrhnents. I an- 
swered to this effect. That I should appear as a mere 
private gentleman, travelling with a view of obtaining some 
knowledge of that country ; that whatever suppositions of 
the sort might be made, the Court would always have it in 


iheir power to deny they knew anything about me ; and 
while 1 held such a line of conduct, 1 did not imagine they 
would consider themselves at all concerned in the matter. 
On the other hand, if I asked permission and obtained it, 
the British Court would consider that as a proof of the 
part which Russia meant finally to take, and would imme- 
diately act in consequence of it ; that it would, perhaps, 
embarrass the Court of St Petersburg unnecessarily. I 
added, I wished only to lay before his Excellency my 
ideas upon the subject, and begged him not to think it was 
my intention to press this point ; that I had a perfect 
confidence in him (and did not fail to assure him of that 
of Congress) and wished for his advice ; that I should 
always pay the highest respect to it, and should follow it in 
matters left to my discretion. 

I put one general question to him, whether he thought 
my going would be injurious to our common interest ? To 
which I did not receive a direct answer, but he advised 
me to mention my design of going to Petersburg to the 
Minister at the Hague. I asked him if he would permit 
me to mak^ use of his name ; but this did not comport 
with his i^a of the matter, which was, to keep my even- 
tual character out of sight, and to propose the journey only 
as a private gentleman of America, desirous of seeing that 
countr)', and of inquiring into the nature and stale of its 
commerce, &:c. I am not yet wholly reconciled to this 
step, for if, unhappily, my first apprehensions are well 
founded, it would be exceedingly easy here, to lay an in- 
surmountable obstacle in my way. While I am making 
this observation, I feel a concern, lest it might be ungen- 
erous. Besides, it has a strange appearance to me, for a 
private gentleman of one country to ask the public Minis- 


ler of another, both being in amity together, whether it is 
safe or proper for hirn to travel into the other. The Min- 
ister would be apt to wonder what could give rise to such 
an inquiry, when the Americans are travelling into all 
other countries without molestation. But I will consult 
Dr Franklin and Mr Adams on this point. 

In the course of our conversation, the Count told me 
that the resolutions of Congress with which I am particu- 
larly charged, (these are niy words and not his) had been 
well received on the part of Russia. This, doubtless, will 
give Congress satisfaction, as it seems to show a friendly 
disposition in that Court towards us. If no accident inter- 
venes to prevent it. I shall set off for Holland next Sun- 
day, from whence I hope to be in season to send your 
Excellency duplicates of the whole. I shall be happy if 
my conduct thus far meets the approbation of Congress. 
I am, with the greatest respect, he. 



Paris, April Cth, 1781. 

Having, agreeably to my instructions as well as my own 
inclinations, laid before your Excellency all the papers, 
which I have received from Congress relative to my mis- 
sion to the Court of St Petersburg, and my correspon- 
dence with his Excellency, the Count de Vergennes, in 
consequence of the same, for the benefit of your good 
counsel, and as you were so kind, at my particular request, 
as to introduce me to the Count, at the conference we had 
last Wednesday, upon the subject of my mission, and heard 


the whole, I hope you will not think I give you any unne- 
cessary trouble when I request you to favor me, in writing, 
with your opinion upon the following matters. Whether, 
on the whole, you conceived the Count to have any objec- 
tion lo the mission itself? Or whether you considered his 
reflections upon the subject, rather intended as cautions 
and advice to me, respecting the conduct he would wish 
me to hold in the business? Whether you supposed him, 
finally, to make any real objections to my going to St Pe- 
tersburg, in the character of only a private American gen- 
tleman, and there wailing for the favorable moment for 
opening my eventual character ? And whether, all cir- 
cumstances considered, your Excellency thinks it expe- 
dient for me to proceed to St Petersburg in a private 
character only, and there to wait as abovementioned ? 

You will not, I presume, think I mean anything particu- 
lar in my request, when I assure you I shall likewise ask of 
Mr Adams his opinion, in writing, upon the same subject. 
Being directed by Congress to consult you and him, I am 
desirous only to have it in my power, in case of the death 
of either of you, to show them I have done so, as well as 
the result ita^lf j and that I have paid, as I shall do, a pro- 
per respect and attention to your opinions and advice in 
the whole of the business. 

1 am, with the greatest respect, &ic. 


P. S. I shall set off for Holland on Sunday morning, 
and shall cheerfully take your commands. 



Passy, April 7th, 1781. 

I received the letter you yesterday did me the honor of 
writing to me, requesting my opinion, in writing, relative to 
the conference you had with his Excellency, the Count de 
Vergennes last Wednesday, I heing present; and also as to 
the expediency of your proceeding to St Petersburg; whicli 
request I willingly comply with as follows. 

(Question I. "Whether, on the whole, I conceived the 
Count to have any objections to the mission itself?" 

Answer. He did not make any such objections, nor did 
he drop any expression, by which it might be supposed he 
had any such in his mind. 

(■Question 2. "Whether I considered his reflections upon 
the subject to be rather intended as cautions and advice to 
you, respecting the conduct he wished you to hold in the 
business ?" 

Answer. His Excellency expressed his apprehensions, 
that if you went thither under a public character before the 
disposition of tlie Court was known, and its consent ob- 
lainod, it might be thought improper, and be attended with 
inconvenience; and, if I remember right, he intimated the 
propriety of your consulting the Ambassador at the Hague. 

(Question 3. "Whether 1 supposed him finally to make 
any real objections to your going to St Petersburg, in the 
character only of a private American gentleman, and there 
waiting the favorable moment of opening your eventual 

Ansicer. His objections were, that though you should 


not avow your public character, yet if known to be an 
American, who had been in public employ, it would be sus- 
pected, that you had such a character, and the British 
Minister there might exert himself to procure you ^'quel- 
ques dcsagrcmenis,''^ i. e. chagrins or mortifications. And 
that unless you appeared to have some other object in vis- 
iting St Petersburg, your being an American, would alone 
give strong grounds for such suspicions. But when you 
mentioned, that you might appear to have views of com- 
merce, as a merchant, or of curiosity as a traveller, &£c. 
that there was a gentleman at St Petersburg with whom 
some in America had a correspondence, and who had given 
hints of the utility there might be in having an Ameri- 
can in Russia, who could give true intelligence of the state 
of our affairs, and prevent or refute misrepresentations, &ic. 
and that you could, perhaps, by means of that gentleman, 
make acquaintance, ar>d thence procure useful informa- 
tion of the state of commerce, the country, the Court, Sic. 
he seemed less to disapprove of your going directly. 

As to my own opinion, which you require, though I have 
long imagined that we let ourselves down, in oftering our 
alliance before it is desired, and that it would have been 
better if we had never issued commissions for Ministers to 
the Courts of Spain, Vienna, Prussia, Tuscany, or Hol- 
land, till we had first privately learnt, whether they would 
be received, since a refusal from one is an actual slight, 
that lessens our reputation, and makes others less willing 
to form a connexion with us ; yet since your commission 
is given, and the Congress seem to expect, though I think 
they do not absolutely require that you should proceed 
to St Petersburg immediately, I conceive (that assuming 
only a private character for the present, as you propose) 


it will be right for you to go, unless on consulting Mr 
Adams, you ^should find reason to judge, that under the 
present circumstances of the proposed mediation, &cc. a 
delay for some time would be more advisable. 

With great esteem, and best wishes for your success, &ic. 



Leyden. April 18th, 1781- 

I feel myself happy, that Congress have made it my 
duty to consult your Excellency upon the mission, with 
which they have charged me, for the Court of St Peters- 
burg. To this end I have already laid before you all the 
papers, which I have received from Congress, any way re- 
lating to it, and also my correspondence with his Excel- 
lency, the Count de Vergennes, and Dr Franklin, upon 
the same subject, as well as my letters to the President 
of Congress Trom the time I received this commission. 
From all these your Excellency will be fully instructed in 
the several matters, on which I wish to have the benefit of 
your advice ; but to bring some of them more immediately 
under your view, I beg leave to state tlie following ques- 

Whether all circumstances considered, your Excellency 
thinks it expedient for me to proceed to St Petersburg, in 
the character of a pi'ivate citizen of the United States only, 
and to wait there for a favorable moment to announce my 
j)ublic character ? 

Or whether, previous to my going in such a character, 
you judge it expedient for me to communicate my design 


10 Prince Gallitzin, Ambassador at the Hague (secreting 
from him at the same time my public character) and to 
take his opinion thereon, according to the intimation giren 
to ine by the Count de Vergennes at our conference ? 

Whether it is advisable to communicate my real char- 
acter to the Court of St Petersburg, and to ask their per- 
mission before 1 undertake the journey ? 

Wbellier in case you think it advisable for me to pro- 
ceed to St Petersburg, in a private character only, without 
further communications to any one, you conceive it to be 
the intention of Congress, that I should present their reso- 
lutions, relative to the rights of neutral vessels, to the Court 
of St Petersburg on ray arrival there, or whether this is 
left to my discretion, to be regulated by the then state of 
affairs at that Court ? 

Your Excellency will readily perceive the propriety of 
my writing to you on this business, although we have 
alreaiiy had a conference upon it, and my requesting your 
sentiments in writing also. I shall be happy to make a 
more particular communication of my own sentiments and 
views, in further conversation, if you think it needful, be- 
fore you give me yours. 

I am, with the greatest respect, kc. 



Leyden. April 15lh, 1781. 

Dear Sir, 

I am at no loss what advice to give you in answer to 

the questions in your letter of this day, because they relate 

io a subject on which I have long reflected, and have 

formed an opinion as fully as my understanding is capable 

VOL. VI II. 35 


of. I think then it is necessary for you to prepare for a 
journey to St Petersburg without loss of time, that you 
travel in the character of a gentleman, without any distinc- 
tion of public or private, as far as the publication of your 
appointment already made in France will permit. 

1 should think it altogether improper to communicate 
your design to the Ambassador of travelling to St Peters- 
burg as a private gentleman, secreting from him at the 
same time your public character. It would expose you 
to something very disagreeable. The Ambassador would 
ask you, why you asked his advice when it is well known 
that private gentlemen travel in every country in Europe 
without molestation. Besides, the Ambassador I have 
reason to believe, would not give you any advice without 
instructions from his Court, and this would require so 
mucli time, that the most favorable opportunity which now 
presents itself would be lost. And after applying to the 
Ambassador, and being advised against the journey, or to 
postpone it for instructions from his Court, it would be less 
respectful to go, than to go now, when the circumstances 
of the times are very favorable. 

The same reason applies equally against writing to the 
Court beforehand. The best opportunity would be lost, 
and the Court would never encourage you to come, until 
they had determined to receive you, and you would have 
no opportunity to assist the deliberations upon the subject, 
by throwing in any light, by answering objections, or ex- 
plaining the views of Congress. 

After your arrival at St Petersburg, I should advise you, 
unless upon the spot you discover reasons against it, un- 
known to us at present, to communicate your character and 
mission to or the Minister of Foreign Affairs, 


in confidence, asking his advice, but at the same time pre- 
senting him a memorial ready prepared for the 
If he informs you, if it is best for you to reside there as 
a private gentleman, or to travel for a time into Sweden 
or Denmark, or to return here to Holland, where I shall be 
happy to have your company and counsels, take his advice. 

The United States of America have nothing dishonor- 
able to propose to any Court or country. If the wishes of 
America, which are for the good of all nations, as they 
apprehend, are not deemed by such Courts or nations con- 
sistent with their views and interest, of which they are the 
supreme judges, they will candidly say so, and there is no 
harm done. On the contrary, Congress will be applauded 
for their candor and good intentions. You will make your 
communication to the French Ambassador of course, ac- 
cording to your instructions. This method was taken by 
this Republic in her struggle with Spain, nay it was taken 
by thejiepublican Parliament in England, and by Oliver 
Cromwell. It was taken by Switzerland and Portugal, in 
similar cases, with great success. Why it should be im- 
proper now I know not. 

I conceive it to be the intention of Congress, that you 
should communicate their resolutions relative to the rights 
of neutral vessels, and I am the more entirely of this opin- 
ion, because I have already communicated those resolu- 
tions to their High Mightinesses, the States-General, and 
to their Excellencies the Ministers of Russia, Denmark, 
and Sweden, at the Hague, in pursuance of the letters I 
had received from the President, and I should now think 
it improper in me to sign a treaty according to those reso- 
lutions, if invited thereto, because it would be interfering 
with your department. 


America, my Dear Sir, has been too long silent in Eu- 
rope. Her cause is that of all nations, and all men ; and 
it needs nothing but to be explained to be approved. At 
least these are my sentiments. I have reasons in my 
mind, which were unknown to their Excellencies, the 
Count de Vergennes, and Dr Franklin, when you consulted 
them ; reasons which it is improper for me to explain at 
present. But the reasons I have gii'en appear to me con- 
clusive. No measure of Congress was ever taken in a 
more proper time, or with more wisdom in my opinion, 
than the appointment of a Minister at the Hague, and at 
St Petersburg. The effects of it may not appear in sud- 
den and brilliant success, but the time was exactly chosen, 
and the happy fruits of it will appear in their course. 

Although I shall be personally a sufferer by your ap- 
pointment, yet I sincerely rejoice in it for the public good. 
When our enemies have formed alliances with so many 
Princes in Germany, and so many savage nations against 
us, when they are borrowing so much of the wealth of 
Germany, Italy, Holland, and Switzerland, to be employed 
against us, no wise Court or reasonable man, can blame 
us for proposing to form relations with countries, whose 
interests it is to befriend us. An excess of modesty and 
reserve is an excess still. It was no dishonor to us to 
propose a treaty to France, nor for our Ministers to reside 
there more than a year, without being acknowledged. On 
the contrary, all wise men applauded the measure, and I 
am confident the world in general will now approve of an 
application to the maritime powers, although we should 
remain without a public reception, as long as our Ministers 
did in France and Spain, nay, although we should be re- 
jected. In this case, Congress and their constituents will 
all be satisfied. They will have neglected no duty in their 


power ; and the world will then see the power and re- 
sources of three or four miliior.s of virtuous men, inhabiting 
a fine country, wlien contending for eveiything which ren- 
ders life worth supporting. The United States will then 
fix a medium, establish taxes for the payment of interest, 
acquire the confidence of her own capitalists, and borrow 
money at home, and when this is done, they will find capi- 
talists abroad willing enough to venture in tiieir funds. 
With ardent wishes for your health and success, I have 
the honor to be, kc. JOHN ADAMS. 


Amsterdam, April 20th, 1781. 

Dear Sir, 

Have you an inclination lo favor me with your company 
to a certain place, where you seemed to diink the presence 
of an American might be very useful to our country ? I 
havejt not in my power to make you any advantageous 
proffers, but perhaps it may be nearly equal to you to re- 
side at Petersburg or Brussels. It may eventually be 
turned much to your benefit and honor. 

I need not ^e more particular on this subject, or to re- 
quest you to keep it to yourself. If my loose proposition 
meets your approbation, you will please to hasten on here, 
without loss of time, as I must go forward soon. If you 
wish to confer with me before you decide, come on imme- 
diately, but prepared, however, to proceed with me, in 
case you think proper to agree to my proposals. Your 
expenses here and back again shall be paid, if you choose 
to return. I should be very happy to have your good 
company, and the assistance of your abilities. 

I am, Dear Sir, your sincere friend, Sic. 




Brussels, May 3d, 1781. 

Dear Sir, 
I had the honor of receiving your letters of the 26lh 
and 29di ultimo, by the last post, containing a most oblig- 
ing invitation to accompany you on some intended tour. 
It came upon me quite unexpected, and when I had ar- 
ranged matters to go a very different course, and therefore 
embarrassed me much. However your very kind manner 
of holding up to me the most flattering object that I have 
or ought to have, the service of my country, determined 
me immediately to accept of your invitation, and I am now 
laboring hard to settle my little matters, here and else- 
where, that I may present myself to you at Amsterdam, 
without loss of lime. I am afraid, however, that I shall 
not be able to accomplish it before the middle of next 
week. Should you think you ought not to stay so long, I 
beg, that no consideration for me should prevent you from 
making that despatch, which the public service may require. 
I am, with the greatest respect, he. 



Amsterdam, May 13th, 1781. 

] do myself the honor to transmit to your Excellency 
the duplicates of the papers, which have been already sent 
from France. To these are added others, which will give 
to Congress precise information of everything, which has 
hitherto taken i»lace relative to my late appointment, that 
can be of any importance to them to know. 


1 shall not trouble you wiih observations upon any of 
ihem, except the letter of Dr Franklin, and merely to cor- 
rect one or two mistakes in liis account of my conference 
with the Count de V^rgennes. The Doctor says, ''when 
I mentioned that I might appear to have vieics of commerce, 
as a merchant, or of curiosity as a traveller," fee. — "that 
there was a gentleman in Petersburg with whom some in 
America had a correspondence, who had given hints of the 
utility," &,c. — "and that I could perhaps by means of that 
gentleman make acquaintance," kc. Persuaded as I was 
from the beginning, that it could not be for the interest of 
our country, that I should be stopped short of my destina- 
tion, and determined to endeavor to obviate every objec- 
tion, which might be made to my going on, I told the 
Count, when he seemed to be stating a difficulty arising 
from my public character, that I could appear as a private 
gentleman, travelling with a view of obtaining some knowl- 
edgc-of that country. 1 added, indeed, of its laws, cus- 
toms, manners, commerce, manufactures, &:c. The charac- 
ter of a merchant in those countries is not so respectable 
as to recommend itself to my choice, when I wished to 
form connexions with a different order of men. As I did 
not know of any gentleman at Petersburg, with whom 
some in America had a correspondence, I could never in- 
form bis Excellency of such a circumstance. The fact 
was quite otherwise, and that part of our conversation was 
introduced in the manner, and was exactly of the tenor 
mentioned in my account of the conference. I have r. 
personal knowledge of the gentleman I alluded to ; ho 
named the persons of rank, but I did not think it prudent 
to give their names to the Count. Perhaps I may have 
the honor to form an acquaintance with persons of some 


consideration in the country to which I am going, without 
laying myself under obligations to that gentleman. 

I shall set out from hence in a iew days on my journey, 
pi'obably without consulting the Russian Ambassador at the 
Hague, as I am not yet more reconciled to this step than 
I was when it was first proposed to me. Mr Adams, your 
Excellency will perceive, is decidedly against it. We have 
given our reasons. To these may be added, that to com- 
municate uiy design of going into his country, and secret- 
ing from him at tiie same time, my public character, if by 
such means I might obtain his advice and passport to pro- 
ceed, whenever my real character should be made known, 
he would perhaps consider it as a mean artifice and an im- 
posiiion upon him, which he could not overlook, especially 
when the act of giving his advice or passport (though I 
have no expectation he would do either) might expose 
him, or his Court, or both, to all the consequences of hav- 
ing done so, with the full knowledge of my character ; for 
declarations of ignorance in that respect would gain little 
credit. On the whole, I see no one good purpose that 
such a consultation as has been recommended to me, 
would produce, but, on the contrary, 1 think I see many 
mischiefs, which might come out of it. 

Not thinking it prudent to go on farther unaccompanied 
by any person in whose hands, in case of my deadi or ac- 
cident, your papers and affairs may be safely lodged, for 
the future advantage of Congress, I have invited Mr Ed- 
mund Jennings, a native American, and a gentleman 
whose character, I believe, may be known to some of the 
members of Congress, not only to accompany me on my 
journey but to remain with me there. 1 promise myself 
lie will be able to afford me much essential assistance in 


ihe execution of my duty. I did not, however, take this 
step till 1 had communicated my design to Mr Adaras, who 
well knew Mr Jennings, and found that it met his full ap- 
probation. 1 enclose (over and above the other papers) 
my lelier to Mr Jennings on this occasion, and his answer 
to me. I hope Congress will not disapprove of this mea- 
sure. I have no other end in it than to promote the inter- 
ests of our country, in obtaining the assistance of his abili- 
ties, and 10 guard against an event, which may take place, 
and I think common prudence forbids should be left wholly 
unprovided for. 

I am, Sir, with sentiments of the highest respect, &:c. 


Amsterdam, May 20th, 1781. 

I do myself the honor to transmit to your Excellency 
certain papers, which are duplicates of such as have not 
been sent off from France. Your Excellency will re- 
ceive the whole from hence in the South Carolina, com- 
manded by Commodore Gillon, if she arrives safe. If not, 
the arrival of those from France, together with these by 
Captain Newman, for Newburyport, will supply them. 

! shall not trouble your Excellency with any political 
matters from hence, because you will, doubtless, be fully 
informed about them by Mr Adams. I shall hope for 
early information from our country of every important 
event, civil or military. I perceive, with much pleasure, 
that Congress are about adopting a solid system of finance, 
which will, doubtless, meet with the cordial support of all 
VOL. VIII. 36 


the States in the Union. Wlien this system shall be es- 
tablished, I hope the Committee of Foreign Affairs, or 
some others to whom it may belong, will not fail to trans- 
mit some account of it, with any observations which may 
be necessary to explain it. In my separate department, 
wliere there is yet little or no good information touching 
the state of our country, it may be more necessary to pay a 
particular attention to this business. 

1 am, with the highest sentiments of respect and es- 
teem, &.C. 



Berlin, July 28th, 1781. 
I beg leave to acquaint your Excellency, that after 
having been detained at Amsterdam more than a month 
from the time I myself was ready to enter upon my jour- 
ney, in hopes of being accompanied by Mr Jennings, I 
have been exceedingly disappointed, that that gentleman 
has thought liimself under the necessity to decline going 
with me, on account of certain circumstances, which have 
since tinned up in his own affairs. 

I left Amsterdam on the 7th instant, (Mr Adams hav- 
ing gone from thence for Paris on the 2d, upon a special 
call of which he will, doubtless, give your Excellency 
the earliest notice) and arrived in this city on the 25th, 
very much indisposed. I thought it expedient to take my 
route to tills city, through Cologne, Frankfort, and Leip- 
sic, though not the conmion or shortest one, to avoid 
passing through Hanover, lest my motions should have 


been watclied in Holland, and nolice given of my passing 
ihrough Hanover, wliicli niighl have brouglii on the seizure 
of my person and papers. 

I have been unlortunale in liaving my carriage over- 
thrown and broken in pieces, between Leipsic and Ber- 
lin ; happily, however, no other injury was sustained. i 
mention this circumstance, because it rot only Ia)s me 
under the necessity of purchasing another here, (for there 
is no travelling in these countries tolerably without a pri- 
vate carriage) but it will detain me several days extraor- 
dinary. Though I am not quite well, I shall set off as 
soon as the carriage 1 have bought can be | roperly filled 
for so long a journey, for no less than fifteen hundred of 
our miles are still before me ; and ihe route far from being 
the most pleasant in Europe, yet I should go through it 
with much alacrity, if I had well grounded hopes that at 
the end^ should find matters in i!ie slate we wish them 
to be. 

As I have no faiih on the one hand, that the present 
mediation of the P2mpcror and Empress will issue in a 
pacification, general or partial, so, on the oilier, 1 as litlle 
expect that it will suddenly light up other wars. It is 
probable, nothing of the latter kind can take place, without 
liiis kingdom having a portion in it, and 1 have not yet 
been able to learn, that there is the least expectation of 
the sort here, which most commonly goes before the act. 
1 suppose, therefore, ihat the belligerent powers will still 
continue belligerent, and that the mediators will hope for a 
more favorable opportunity to renew their mediation, and 
to make their particular advantage of the conflict. It 
seems to me it has been accepted by ihcm, (America only 
excepted, to whom it has not been tendered) rather out of 


respect, or to avoid giving offence to the mediators, or to 
seek an advantage by discovering a ready disposition to 
hearken to every proposition having the least possible ten- 
dency to bring about a pacification. 

Not one of the belligerent powers, I believe, has an ex- 
j)ectation, or a sincere wish that a pacification will, or 
should be brought about at present. Spain wishes to pos- 
sess herself of Gibraltar and of the Floridas ; can she now 
hope that these will be ceded to her ? Does she not flatter 
herself, that by the continuance of the war, Britain will 
become so enfeebled, that they may be wrested from her ? 
That having once obtained them by conquest, she will 
easily retain them at a peace ? France wishes to establish 
herself, in the place of Britain, the dominant power of 
Europe; to this end, she sees that it is necessary to 
snatch the trident from the hand of Britain, and to wield it 
herself. To effect this, she knows well, that Jlmerica 
must he supported in her independence. But is the time 
yet come, when she can reasonably hope, that both the 
mediators are prepared to make this last measure a propo- 
sition in their mediation, or Britain to acknowledge it ? 

Great Britain, in iny opinion, wishes not to make a sep- 
arate peace with America, that she may be able to exert 
her whole force against the House of Bourbon, as many of 
her popular leaders have frequently expressed themselves. 
This would be humbling herself in a point on which she is 
most obstinately fixed. Much sooner would she humble 
herself before her ancient enemies, provided she could flat- 
ter herself, dial by doing Uiis, she might make a separate 
peace with them, and be thereby at liberty to direct her 
whole force against the United States, In this case she 
would cherish the hope, that America seeing herself for- 


saken by her new allies, and exposed singly lo the whole 
power of Britain, tiight either be induced once more to 
submit to her domination, or would become an easy con- 
quest, in part at least. So little wisdom, it is probable, ex- 
perience has tauf,ht them. But is there the least hope for 
Britain, that her ancient enemies are prepared to give up 
their new friends ? Does not their own safety and import- 
ance in the polilicnl system, absolutely depend upon sup- 
porting the independence of our country ? 

Of Holland or tlie United Provinces, I know not what to 
say. They can scarce be ranked among the belligerent 
powers. The objects of Holland are peace, with that 
freedom to her commerce, which she had a right to de- 
mand in virtue of treaties, which Britain has annulled ; as 
also restiurtion of her conquered territories, and reparation 
of the destruction committed upon her navigation. Britain 
will not gratify Holland in any of these respects, unless she 
grants the aids claimed, and thereby plunges herself into 
the war against the House of Bourbon and America, which 
she can never do. Thus a partial pacification between 
them is not likely to take place. 

America will not consent that the independence of her 
empire shall be brought into question, or that her rights 
and claims shall be litigated and adjusted in a Congress, in 
which she is not properly represented by her Minister. 
Nevertheless, these things will, I am persuaded, be at- 
tempted, and I fear tiiey will not meet with a very vigorous 
opposition from a quarter, which we have a right to expect 
should stoutly oppose them.* Should a Congress be as- 

• This doubtless refers to France, but the suspicion was not well 
founded ; for when a pacification was proposed through the media- 
lion of Russia and Austria, the Court of France insisted on an ex- 


sembled in this half matured state of things, is there any 
reasonable ground to hope that the professed design of it, a 
general jjacificalion, can be accomplished ? The determi- 
nation of such bodies, ?.re, however, so frequently influ- 
enced by improper motives, that he who concludes that 
such a matter cannot be the result merely because it ought 
not to be, n^ay find himself egregiously deceived in the end. 

Thus 1 have attempted to give a sketch of my senti- 
ments relative to the business of a mediation ; but Con- 
gress will j)robably receive a much more particular and 
satisfactory account of it from a much more able hand, who 
has besides better information, and is now more immediately 
connected with it. 1 have said 1 should go through the 
fatigues of my journey with much alacrity, if I had w^ell 
grounded hopes, that at the end I should find matters in 
the state we wish them to be. 1 do not form any strong 
conclusion from the answer of the Empress to the United 
Provinces. What could they expect from her when they 
had so shamefully neglected any preparations necessary 
oven for their own defence, and seen^cd not to be half de- 
cided about making any. But the following memorial of 
the French Ambassador at her Court, taken in conjunction 
with the present retirement of Count Panin, her Prime 
..^..liiier, seems to denote an essential change in the sys- 
tem of the Court of St Petersburg. 

">b7 Fctershurg, VZth of June. Friday last the Minis- 
ter of tije Court of Versailles had a conference with Count 
Osterman, Vice Chancellor of the Empire, and delivered 
him a memorial of the following import. 

press prelim iiKirij comJiiion, thai the United States sliould be repre- 
sented l)y their Ministers as an independent power in tlie negotiations 
for i)eace. It was on this account alone, that England refused to 
come into the plan of the mediation. 


'Representations upon the continual proceedings of the 
English against the coninieice and navigation of the neutral 
nations, upon the little activity of these last to prevent these 
arbitrary proceedings, and to support the principles of their 
declarations made to the belligerent powers, and the con- 
vention of neutrality, which has been concluded between 
them ; upon the prejudice which will naturally result there- 
from to all nations; and upon the desire whicii the King 
his master has, that it should be remedied by the vigorous 
co-operation of her Imperial Majesty ; seeing that other- 
wise the said association of neutrality would be turned but 
to the benefit of the enemies of France, and that the King 
who has himself to the present time, exactly conformed 
to the principles of the above mentioned declaration and 
convention of neutrality, will find himself, though with re- 
gret, under the indispensable necessity of changing in like 
manner the system which he has hitherto pursued respect- 
ing the commerce and navigation of neutrals, and to order 
and regulate that according to the conduct which the Eng- 
lish tiiemselves pursue, and which has been so patiently 
borne by the neutral nations ; objects upon the subject 
matter of which, his Majesty has nevertheless thought, that 
he ought to suspend his final resolution, until he should 
have concerted measures with her Imperial Majesty upon 
this business.' " 

As Mr Adams had left Amsterdam before this memorial 
appeared, 1 could not have the benefit of his judgment 
upon it, but I am so thoroughly acquainted with his politi- 
cal sentiments, that I believe I may say, it would have 
made no alteration in his opinion touching the expediency 
of my going forward. It certainly has made none in mine 
on that point, though it has indeed given me some reason 



to apprehend, that at present the prospect of success is not 
so good as before. The experiment ought to be made, 
what are the real dispositions of that Court towards us, or 
what they would be if they were belter and properly in- 
formed about us. Britain most certainly has been indus- 
trious in concealing the real state of things from them, and 
there has not been any one there to counteract her. By 
this step we shall at least have the satisfaction of knowing 
whether the Empress wishes to take any friendly concern 
in our affairs ; a point of knowle;dge perhaps not altogether 
unprofitable, though it should turn out contrary to our 
wishes, as it may prevent our amusing ourselves vainly with 
expectations of important assistance from Europe, and 
teach us one wholesome lesson, that America, under the 
blessing of God, must depend more upon her own exertions, 
for the happy establishment of her great political interests. 
I think it my duty to apprize Congress, that I have no 
expectation of any essential support in my commission 
there, though I shall be careful to appear to be persuaded 
of the contrary, so long as I may do so without injuring our 
cause. I doubt whether it is natural for us to expect this 
support in any part of Europe, for when a nation thinks it 
will insure to itself a powerful influence over another by 
being its only friend and ally, why should it seek to pro- 
cure it other allies, who, by their friendly offices and sup- 
port, will have a share of that influence, and nearly in the 
same proportion as the new friends gain it, the old ones 
must lose it ? Some may act upon such a principle. I 
may, in some future letter, give you more particular rea- 
sons, why I am persuaded we ought not to expect any real 
support, in our aitenipis to form new alliances, and why 
the Ministers of Congress in Europe should be encouraged 


in pursuing a more iiulependent line of conduct. I am 
sensible ll)is is a mailer of much delicacy, and ihat appear- 
ances of ihe most perfect confidence should be kept up as 
long as possible. I am sensible, also, that the man who 
thinks thus, and who wishes to act in conformity to his own 
sentiments, exposes himself to secret and malicious attacks, 
which may frequently wound, if not destroy his moral and 
political reputation, if he has any ; but it becomes our duty 
to think freely, and to communicate freely on some mat- 
ters, and 1 hope we may do so sofcly ; otherwise, there is 
an end of all beneficial correspondence, and expectations 
of rendering any essential services to our country. 

I crave-^'our Excellency's pardon for the length of this 
letter, and beg leave to subscribe myself, with the highest 
respect, and most perfect esteem, k.c. 



Si Petersburg, August 30th, 1761. 

^Ir Dana begs leave lo acquaint his Excellency, the 
Marquis de Verac, that he has arrived in town, and pro- 
poses to do himself the honor of paying his respectful com- 
pliments lo his Excellency, as the Minister of the sover- 
eign in alliance with his country, at any hour, which shall 
be most agreeable to him. 

Mr Dana is silent at present wiih regard lo himself, 
presuming that his Excellency has been already informed 
by his Excellency, the Count de Vcrgennes, of his intend- 
ed journey to ihis place, and of some circumstances, which 
iiave opened the nature of his business. 
VOL. VIII. 37 




Thursday, August 30th, 1781. 

The Marquis de Verac has the honor to present his 
conjpliments to Mr Dana, and is very happy to liear of his 
arrival, which he had been prepared to expect by the 
Count de Vergennes ; he will be flattered to make his ac- 
quaintance, and to assure him of his eagerness to render 
him any service in his power in this country. 


St Petersburg, September Isl, 1781.* 
I have the honor to acquaint your Excellency, that the 
Congress of the United Slates of America have been 
pleased to charge me with a commission as their Minister 
at the Court of St Petersburg, and that they have also par- 
ticularly instructed me to make a communication of the 
general object of my mission to his Most Christian Majesty's 
Minister at the same Court. This last measure was doubt- 
less the effect of that full confidence they have, not only 
in his Majesty and his Ministers in general, but in your 
Excellency in an especial manner, and is strongly expres- 
sive of their earnest wish and persuasion, that their negotia- 
tions at this Court may, and will be conducted in |)erfect 
harmony with those of his Majesty, and that they rest as- 

* Almost all Mr Dana's letters from Russia were dated in the 
Old Style. In preparing them for the press, the dates have been 
altered to M'eic Style. 


sored, that his hcnevolence and friendship towards the 
United States and the general cause of humanity, are suffi- 
cient inducements to draw forth the most powerful aid and 
support of his Majesty in the business of this mission ; the 
general object of which is, to engage lier Imperial JVla- 
jesty to favor and support the sovereignty and indepen- 
dence of the United States of America, and to lay a foun- 
dation for a good understanding and friendly intercourse 
between the subjects of her Imperial Majesty and the citi- 
zens of the United States, to the mutual advantage of both 
nations, and consistent with the treaties subsisting between 
bis Most Christian Majesty and the United States. 

Thus aloundation is laid in this quarter, the more strongly 
to cement the interests and affections of our two countries. 
And I feel myself inexpressibly happy, that it has fallen to 
my lot to be connected in this business with a person so 
distinguished as well for his benevolence of heart as for the 
eminence of his abilities ; and i flatter myself your Excel- 
lency will at all times he ready to afford me every assist- 
ance in your power, which I may need in the execution of 
my mission. 

I have the honor to be, with the highest respect, he. 



St Petersburg, September 2d, 1761. 

I have received the letter, which you did me the honor 

to write to me yesterday, and I cannot too strongly express 

to you how sensible I am of the mark of confidence, which 


you have shown me, in communicating the views pioj)Osed 
by the Congress of the United States of America, wlien 
they decided to send you to the Court of Russia as their 
Minister Plenipotentiary to the Empress. You know, Sir, 
the deep interest, whicli the King takes in the cause of the 
United States, and you need not doubt, that I shall be 
anxious to render you here all the services in my power, 
and which the circumstances of place and persons will 

At this moment I cannot better reciprocate your confi- 
dence than by making you acquainted with the general 
dispositions of her Imperial Majesty in regard to the pow- 
ers at war. From the commencement of hostilities, this 
sovereign has made it a point of honor to hold the balance 
perfectly equal between the different parties, taking par- 
ticular care not to manifest any kind of preference, by care- 
fully avoiding every advance, which could indicate the 
slightest partiality in favor of either of the belligerent pow- 
ers to the prejudice of the others. It is this equitable and 
perfectly impartial conduct, which has determined the 
Courts of the House of Bourbon, as well as that of Lon- 
don and the States-General, to accept the offers of this 
Princess, when she proposed to terminate their differences 
by a mediation conjointly with that of the Emperor ; and 
you are certainly not ignorant. Sir, that her first plan of 
pacification has been sent to all the Courts, that are inter- 
ested. I confide to you, also, that the United States of 
America are to take a part in it, and that these august 
mediators desire that your Deputies may be admitted to 
the Congress, which shall regulate the pretensions of the 
belligerent powers, that they may there be able to debate 
and discuss their own interests. Thus you have in few 


words the slate of things at the Court of Russia, and yoti 
will readily comprehend, that lier Imperial Majesty, not 
wishing to dissatisfy the Court of London more than those 
of Versailles and Madrid, abstains with the greatest pos- 
sible care from showing any particular inclination for the 
American cause. 

Under these circumstances, Sir, it is very doubtful 
whether the Cabinet of her Imperial Majesty will consent 
to recognise the ^Minister of a power, which has not as yet, 
in their eyes, a political existence, and expose themselves 
to the complaints, which the Court of I^ndon will not fail 
to make against an indication of favor so public. I ought, 
therefore, To desire you to reflect much before you display 
the character with which you are clothed, or make ad- 
vances which will be more injurious than beneficial to the 
success of your views. It is not now as the Minister of 
the King, that I iiave the honor to speak, but as a man 
whom the residence of a year in this place has furnished 
with local knowledge, which you cannot have acquired. 
II, however, you overcome this difficulty, if you commence 
a negotiation with the Russian ^Minister, and will do me 
the honor to make me acquainted with it, you need not 
doubt that I shall strive most cheerfully to second you in 
everything, which shall concern the common interest. Be 
persuaded, moreover, that on the occasions when I shall 
deem it my duty to remain inactive, it will be because 1 
am well satisfied, that any advance on my part would be 
injurious to one, without any advantage to the other. 

I can add nothing to the sincerity of my wishes for the 
success of your mission, or to the distinguished sentiments 
with which I have the honor to be, &:c. 



P. S. 1 ought to inform you, that the Count Panin 
and the Count d'Ostennann do not understand English ; 
diis will render your communications with these Ministers 


St Petersburg, September 4th, 1781. 


I have received the letter, which your Excellency did 
mc the honor to write to me yesterday, in answer to mine 
of the day before, communicating to you the general object 
of my mission. 

It is impossible for me to express the obligations I fee? 
myself under to your Excellency, for letting yourself so 
readily, and with so much frankness, into the state of affairs 
at this Court, so far as I could have any concern in them, 
and for your confidential communication respecting the 
proposition for the admission of the American Minister 
into the proposed Congress ; a proposition founded in 
eternal justice, and which cannot fail to reflect immortal 
glory upon the august mediators. Although I had before 
been acquainted with this, and also that the Court of Lon- 
don had rejected the mediation on that very account, yet 
I deemed it so very productive an event, and of so much 
importance to the interests of my country, that I had pro- 
posed, after being honored with your answer to my first, 
to write to your Excellency upon that subject, and also to 
request your sentiments and opinions upon the actual state 
of things &t this Court, but your goodness has anticipated 
my design. 

You will not impute it to a proper want of respect for 


your sentiinenls and opinions, if I presume to raise some 
doubts, and to make some reflections upon iliem. For 
wheilier they come from tlie Marquis de Verac, or from 
the Minister of France, they make an equal impression 
upon my mind, and it is at present a mailer of IndifTerence 
to me. The wisdom of her Imperial Majesty, in making 
it, as you express yourself, "from the moment the first hos- 
tiliiies comujenced, a point of honor to hold the balance 
l^erfectly equal between the difTerent parlies, taking par- 
ticular care not to manifest any kind of preference, by 
carefully avoiding every advance, which could indicate the 
slightest partiality in favor of either of the belligerent pow- 
ers to tl!e-^)rejudice of the others," cannot be too much 
admired. But it would be paying an ill compliment to 
that penetration, for which her Majesty is so justly cele- 
brated, to suppose, that she did not also from that very 
moment clearly discover the importance of the American 
revolution, at least to all the maritime powers of Europe, 
and that it was ihe only basis, upon which could be erected 
her favorite and just system, of equal freedom and com- 
merce and navigation to all nations. 

She might hope lo obtain this great end. and to acquire 
the glory of mediating between the belligerent powers at 
one and the same time. Upon this supposition, that exact 
neutrality she has hitherto held, was boih wise and ne- 
cessary. It was necessary above all, that she should 
abstain, with the greatest care, from manifesting a partic- 
ular inclination for the cause of America. It seems her 
system of politics must have undergone an essential change, 
and that it has now become absolutely impossible lor her 
Imperial Majesty any longer to conceal her particular incli- 
nation for the cause of America, since she, in conjunction 


witli the Emperor has proposed, that the Minister of the 
United States, should be admitted into the Congress for 
settling the pretensions of the belligerent powers, and there 
to debate himself, and discuss their proper interests. 
TIl's is to rank America (as in fact she stands) among the 
ba'ligerent powers, and, in a manner, to acknowledge her 
independence. It is making a mucli larger stride towards 
if, I confess, than I expected would have been made in the 
^rst plan of pacification. That they must come to it at 
last, I have been long firmly persuaded. 

I must take the liberty to differ ia opinion from your 
Excellency, when you say, in the present circumstances, it 
is very doubtful whether the Ministry of her Imperial Maj- 
esty will acknowledge a Minister from the United States of 
America, more especially when 1 reflect upon the principal 
reasons you assign for this opinion. I can no longer con- 
sider myself as "the Minister of a power, which has not as 
yet, in her eyes, a political existence." It is difficult to 
conceive upon what ground her Imperial Majesty could 
propose that a Minister appointed for the express purpose, 
by the United States of America, in Congress assembled, 
should be admitted into a Congress to be held for settling 
the pretensions of the belligerent powers, if she did not 
admit the political existence of that body, and consider it 
as a complete sovereign. The fact is undeniably true, 
and no fallacy of our enemies can invalidate it, that the 
United States of America have been, ever since the 4th 
of July, 1776, a free, sovereign, and independent body 
politic. Your illustrious Sovereign made this declaration in 
the face of the whole world, more than three years since ; 
and I flatter myself the time is now come, when other sov- 
ereigns are prepared to make the same, if properly invited 


to do it. Neiilier can I imagine, that her Imperial Majesty 
will now give herself much concern about any groundless 
complaints, whicii the Court of London may make against 
such a public mark of respect for my sovereign, as my 
open reception in the character of its IVlinister would be. 
1 cannot but consider her Imperial Majesty's line of con- 
duct, in this respect, decided by the above proposition, 
which she made as mediator between the belligerent pow- 
ers. No one could more deeply wound the Court of Lon- 
don. She must have contemplated as probable, at least, 
what I think might have been almost certainly predicted, 
namely, t]ip rejection of her mediation by the Court of 
London, on account of that very proposition, and have re- 
solved upon her measures in consequence of it. She 
could never have committed the honor and dignity of her 
Imperial Crown to so improbable a contingency, as the 
Court of London accejjting her mediation upon the terms 
upon which it was tendered. 

Having seen Britain in vain attempting for more than six 
years, the reduction of the United States, without being 
able in all that time to conquer one of them ; finding them 
to continue inflexibly firm through all their variety of for- 
tune in the war, and still in full possession of their indepen- 
dence ; seeing several of the principal powers of Europe 
long involved in the contest ; having observed between 
them the strictest neutrality to this moment ; and having at 
last freely tendered her good ofliccs to bring about a gene- 
ral pacification upon the most reasonable and just grounds 
and principles, which the Court of London has ihoughl 
proper to reject, still keeping up their absurd claims over 
the United States ; it would scciu aflcr all this, that ihcro 
now retnaincd but one stoj) for her Imperial Majesty to 

VOL. VI 11. 38 


take, consistent with her dignity, (for I presume the me- 
diators cannot withdraw their proposition,) which is, to ac- 
knowledge the independence of America, as the most 
probable means, if not the only one, now left to restore 
peace to both Europe and America, and effectually to es- 
tablish freedom of commerce and navigation to all nations. 

If the sovereigns of Europe do not see this to be the 
proper moment for putting the finishing stroke to so glorious 
a work, when is it to be expected the critical moment will 
arrive ? How long are they likely to wait before they pre- 
sume to form political connexions with, and enjoy the 
profitable commerce of the new world ? Will they stay till 
the pride and arrogance of Britain shall be so far humbled, 
as voluntarily to give up her chimerical claims over the 
United States, and to invite them into this political connex- 
ion ? 

These are the sentiments and opinions of a man, who feels 
the want of experience in the business of Courts, and of that 
local information, both of which your Excellency possesses, 
in so eminent a degree. It is therefore with much diffidence 
1 venture to differ from yours. I have endeavored to fol- 
low that example of frankness you have set me in your 
communication ; and I hope I have treated your sentiments 
and opinions with all that decency and respect, which every- 
thing which may come from you, demands of me. If I 
am wrong, 1 trust you will have the goodness to set me 
right. I have already reflected upon this subject, but I 
shall most certainly attend to your friendly caution, and 
reflect again upon it, before I open the character with 
which I am clothed, and be careful to avoid engaging my- 
self in any measure, which may become more prejudicial 
than advantageous to the success of my views. On the 


oilier liand, wlicii I sec no diiriculiy in adopting ihc nica- 
siire I shall presently mention, it becomes my indispensa- 
ble duty to adopt it, because it appears to me to be betray- 
ing the honor and dignity of the United States lo seclude 
myself in a hotel, without making one effort to step forth 
into political life ; besides, 1 think I owe this also to her 
Imperial Majesty, who it is possible, may have matured 
her political plan lo the utmost gratification of my wishes. 
If otherwise, I presume I shall nevertheless be treated in 
such a manner, as will reflect no dishonor upon the sove- 
reign authority of the United States, or upon myself indi- 
vidually considered. If the ex|)eriment is not made, the 
United States can never be satisfied, ihat in a juncture ap- 
parently so favorable, it would not have succeeded, and 
iheir Minister would find it extremely difficult to justify 
before them a state of absolute inaction. 

At present, I should be puzzled for reasons lo vindicate 
such a conduct, while they seem to crowd in upon me in 
support of a contrary one. The United Slates trust to the 
justice of their cause, and the rectitude of their intentions, 
to oj)en the way for them into ihe afiections of the sove- 
reigns of Europe. They have no sinister, no dishonorable 
propositions to make to any of ihem, but such only as they 
are persuaded will essentially promote the great interests 
and well being of all. The measure I propose to take, is 
to make a confidential communication of my public char- 
acter to the proper ^Minister of her Majesty, and of the 
general object of my mission ; and perhaps to accompany 
ihose with a short memorial to her Majesty. I shall ask 
and conform to his advice, if he is pleased to give it to me, 
as lo the proper time of presenting the memorial, or taking 
any oiher step in the business of my mission ; and ask him 


in the meantime to assure nie of the proteclion of her Maj- 
esty. I shall acquaint hiiu, that I have not yet assutucd 
any public character, or made it known to any person but 
to your Excellency, (in obedience to my instructions,) that 
I am invested with one, and that I shall not do either with- 
out his approbation. 

As I have done in this instance, so your Excellency 
may be persuaded I shall in future make you fully ac- 
quainted with any negotiation I may enter upon with the 
Russian Ministry, because I rely upon the support you 
have been pleased to assure to me, in everything 1 may 
undertake, which may concern the common interests of 
our two countries, and which you should not think injurious 
to the one without being beneficial to the other. 1 must 
crave your Excellency's pardon for the length of this let- 
ter, and hope you will impute that to the desire 1 have to 
impart to you fully my sentiments and intentions touching 
the subject of it. 

1 have the honor to be, with sentiments of the highest 

respect, he. 




St Petersburg, September 12tli, 1781. 
In the letter, which I had the honor to write to you on 
the 2d instant, I made only a passing mention of the ar- 
ticle of the plan of pacification proposed by the Courts of 
Vienna and Petersburg, which stipulates for the admission 
of deputies from the United States at the Congress. Per- 


biiadctJ, as you appear to have been, iliat the American 
Minister would be adcnitted in the same manner as if their 
public character were recognised at the moment of their 
arrival, not only by the belligerent powers, but also by the 
mediating powers, your reasoning is perfectly just when 
you say, that one cannot admit and recognise the ^Minister 
of a power without recognising the independence and po- 
litical existence of that power ; and hence you conclude it 
is very possible, that the Court of Petersburg may be in a 
disposition to recognise voluntarily the character with 
which you are clothed. This reasoning is equally an evi- 
dence of the justice of your views and of your knowledge 
in the matter of public right. I alone have been wrong 
not to enter more into detail concerning the article, which 
you have erected into a principle. But in truth, I re- 
frained from this, because I supposed you were already 
perfectly acquainted with it. I cannot belter repair my 
omission, than to transcribe the article, as it has been sent 
to the Courts of Versailles, Madrid, and London. "There 
shall be a treaty at Vienna, under the mutual direction of the 
two Imperial Courts, concerning all the objects of the re- 
cstablishment of peace, &ic." "And there shall at the same 
lime be a treaty between Great Britain and the American 
Colonies for the re-establishment of peace in America, 
but xcithout the intervention of any other heUigercnt 
parties, not even that of the two Imperial Courts, unless 
their mediation shall be formally asked and granted for 
thiji object.''^* 

By this the mediating Courts intend, that your deputies 
shall treat simply with the English Ministers, as they have 

' See the articles of pacificatiofl at large, as far as they relate to 
America, in John Adams's Corrcspmidcnce, Vol. VI. p. 100. 

302 FRAiNClS DANA. , 

already treated with them in America in the year 1778 ; 
that the result of tlieir negotiations shall make known to 
the other powers upon what footing they ought to be re- 
garded ; and that their public character will be acknowl- 
edged without difficulty, from the moment the English 
themselves interpose no opposition. This plan has been 
conceived for the j)urpose of conciliating the strongly op- 
posing pretensions. Have the goodness, Sir, to observe, 
that I do not say that I approve this scheme. 1 merely 
say, that the august mediators have adopted it, in render- 
ing to you an account of the reasons by which they are 
guided. It is, therefore, clear that their design is to avoid 
compromiting themselves by acknowledging the indepen- 
dence of the United States, till England herself shall have 
taken the lead. 

You perceive. Sir, that nothing is more conformable to 
ray w'ishes, than to see Russia acknov/ledge the indepen- 
dence of the United States. If it depended on me to 
drav/ from her this acknowledgment, } ou would immedi- 
ately have grounds to be j)erfeclly contented with my 
efforts. In a word, you cannot doubt, that the Minister of 
his Most Christian IMajcsty in Russia takes a warm interest 
in your cause. But the more I desire your success, the 
j.iv-ic 1 feel myself obliged to forewarn you of the difficul- 
ties which you have to surmount, and I should betray my 
duty, if I were voluntarily to leave you in ignorance on so 
important a point. Invested, as you are, with a public char- 
acter on the part of a power, whose rights and perfect inde- 
pendence it is my duty to recognise, it does not pertain to 
ine to guide your advances, but the alliance of this same 
])owcr with the King my master, invites me to acquaint 
you v.iih all the knowledge, which I have acquired res- 


peeling this country, iliat can be useful to you. It is with 
the greatest pleasure, Sir, that I fulfil this duty in repeating 
to you, what I had the honor to sny to you in my first 
letter, that when you shall have succeeded in surmounting 
the difficulties, which you may meet in causing your pub- 
lic character to be recognised at this Court, you will find 
me entirely disposed to second you in everything, which 
shall regard the common interest of our countries, when it 
shall be probable that my intervention will be agreeable to 
the Ministers of her Imperial Majesty. 

You are too enlightened, Sir, to need my counsels, and 
much less my approbation. I shall confine myself, there- 
fore," to communicating such facts as shall come to my 
knowledge, and which may interest you, leaving to your in- 
telligence and discernment the task of combining them and 
drawing from them the plan of conduct, which you shall 
think most suitable, being well persuaded, that whatever 
course you may pursue will be for the best, and most 
conformable to your interests. I ought to confide to you, 
therefore, that we are daily expecting the answers of 
France and of Spain concerning the plan of pacification. 
When these arrive, we shall know what is intended as to 
the article relating to the deputies of Congress, and shall 
see how these observations will be received at St Peters- 
burg. It is for you to judge. Sir, whether you think this 
circumstance ought to withhold you or not from making 
known here your political character. 
1 have the honor to be, &w:. 


P. S. I ask pardon for the delay of this answer. It 
has been owing to the embarrassmeut of franslaling your 


letter ; the Marquis de la Coste, my son-in-law, being the 
only person in my family who can read a little English. 


St Petersburg, September 13tli, 17dl. 

On my return home last evening, I found myself hon- 
ored wiUi your Excellency's letter of yesterday. No 
apology could be necessary for the delay of it. It is not 
to be expected, that M. le jVIarquis de la Coste, should 
make a task of translating my letters, or sufl'er them to in- 
terfere with his engagements or avocations. It is with ex- 
treme repugnance I write to your Excellency, because o( 
the trouble I know that it must give him ; and nothing but 
an opinion of tlie necessity of doing it, has given your Ex- 
cellency, or the i\Iarquis, any trouble of that sort. 

It may not be amiss to acquaint your Excellency, lliat 
just before my departure from Holland, by an unforeseen 
accident, I was unexpectedly deprived of die assistance of 
a gentleman, who both speaks and writes the French lan- 
guage well, and was to have accompanied me hither. 
Your Excellency may be assured, I shall very readily wait 
some time before I enter upon the measure mentioned in 
my last, in hopes of being favored with the answet'S of the 
Courts of Versailles and Madrid to the plan of pacification, 
as soon after you may receive them, as sliall be convenient 
to you. It is my earnest wish to form my conduct upon 
the fullest informations I can jiossibly obtain, and to avoid 
any step, wliich may have the least tendency rather to in- 
jure than to i)romote the interests of either country. 

Your Excellency will be pleased to accept my warmest 


tlianks for your attention to the business of my mission, 
your wishes for the success of it, as well as for the assur- 
ances of your personal zeal, to promote the j;eneral inter- 
ests of tlie United States. 

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the highest 
respect, Sec. 



St Petersburnr. September 15th, 1781. 


In. my leTter from Berlin I did myself the honor to give 
your Excellency an account of my route, as far as that 
city. A duplicate of that letter will accompany this. I 
was detained there nine daysj the first part of which time 
was lost by my illness, and the rest in waiting for my car- 
riage. I set off from thence the 2d of August, and arrived 
here, travelling day and night, on the 27th, J\'eiv Style, hav- 
ing stopped in ibis route (sometimes to recruit a little, and 
sometinjes to nwke the reparations to my carriage, neces- 
sary in so long a journey) at the following places, viz. 
Danizic, Konigsberg, I\Iemel, Riga and Narva, all of 
which are ports of consideration, and lay in my way. 

I made during my short stay in them as full inquiry into 
the nature of their commerce as circumstances would ad- 
Hiit of. 1 do not find that the exports from any of them, 
Riga excepted, are calculated for our markets, or that we 
can derive any advantage from them, till we engage in cir- 
cuitous voyages and become their carriers. The great ar- 
ticle of Riga is cordage of all sorts, whicli I am told is the 
best in all these countries. They export considerable 
VOL. VIII. 39 


quantities of hemp likewise, to say nothing of articles 
similar to our own, but this article can perhaps be better 
purchased at St Petersburg, than anywhere else. I ex- 
pect to receive shortly a minute account of all the exports 
and imports of Riga, with their prices current, &ic. Being 
no merchant, my account of these things it is to be ex- 
pected will be defective, but this being made a part of my 
duty, I shall endeavor to execute it in the best manner I 
am able. 

It is to be observed, that the Dantzickers, the Prussians 
and the Russians are improving the present opportunity, 
which the Dutch war affords them of increasing their own 
navigation, with the utmost industry ', and the great rise of 
freights enables them to do it with much advantage. What 
effect this may have upon the sovereigns of the two last 
countries, to slacken their pace towards the acknowledge- 
ment of the independence of ours, which would lead to a 
speedy peace, I cannot say. The subjects of the Emperor 
are reaping the same advantages from the war. 

An opportunity by water from hence to Amsterdam now 
presents itself, and this being the safest Way, I shall send 
my despatches under cover to the care of JVJr Adams, and 
shall desire him to break them up, and read them before 
he forwards them for America, as the best means of mak- 
ing him fully acquainted with all that has yet taken place 
here, especially with the sentiments of the French Minis- 
ter, which appear to me to deserve our particular attention. 
Though I am no better satisfied with the reasons given in 
support of his opinion, in his second letter, than I was with 
those in his first, yet 1 thought it not prudent to press him 
any further, with my opposition to them, and that it was 
quite sufficient to give him to understand that 1 still in- 


tended to adopt the measure mentioned in my second let- 
ter. He possibly may iiave other reasons for his opinions, 
which he chooses to keep to himself, but surely such can- 
not serve as rules by which to regulate my conduct while I 
remain ignorant of them, nor can 1 imagine it to be my 
duty, or the expectation of Congress, that I should blindly 
fall into the sentiments of any man, especially when I think 
this backwardness to give proper support to our cause at 
the Courts of Europe, may be accounted for on other 
principles. That it does actually exist, I can now no longer 
doubt. However, Congress will make up their own judg- 
ment upon this point from the letters of the Minister iiira- 
self, and frdrti other facts, with which they are much better 
acquainted than I can be. 

I confess, that had the proposition of the mediators been 
laid before me to form my opinion upon, unaccompanied 
with the strictures of the French Minister, I should have 
laid my Gnger upon three words only in it, viz. en meme terns, 
and considered the others, to which he meant to draw my 
particular attention, by underscoring them, as merely color- 
able terms, and a specimen of that finesse, from which the 
politics of Europe can never be free. I should therefore 
have drawn from it a conclusion very different from that of 
the French Minister, viz. — "i< is therefore clear, that their 
design is to avoid compromiting themselves by recognising 
the independence of the United States, till England her- 
self shall have done it;'' for if, as he would have me to 
understand, the mediators do in fact still consider the 
United States as British Colonies, and that neither the bel- 
ligerent powers, or themselves, ought to interfere in settling 
the war between them and Great Britain, without being in- 
vited by both parties, how comes it to pass, that as media- 



tors between the belligerent powers, meaning not to com- 
prehend America under that predicament, they should go 
on to annex, in the nature of condition of their mediation, 
that "there shall be at the same time a treaty between 
Great Britain and the American Colonies, respecting the 
re-establishment of peace in America ;" thereby prescrib- 
ing to a sovereign State the time when it shall enter 
upon the setdement of a dispute, existing between the 
Sovereign of that State and a part of liis subjects, in which 
they mean not to intermeddle ; and, according to the 
French Minister, even the manner of doing it. For, says 
he, "the mediating Courts intend thereby, that your depu- 
ties shall treat simply with the English Ministers, in the 
same manner as they have already U'eated in America with 
the Commissioners from Great Britain in the year 1778." 
I could have set him right in matter of fact here, but it 
would have answered no good purpose. 

This measure, I am told, has been proposed "to con- 
ciliate opposing pretensions," and "that the result of tiieir 
negotiations will make known to the other powers on what 
footing they ought to be regarded, and that their public 
character will be acknowledged without difficulty from 
the moment that the English interpose no opposition" If 
such were the designs of the mediators, why not leave 
Great Britain to compose her internal troubles in her own 
lime, and in her own way, and proceed to the great busi- 
ness of composing those of the nations of Europe ? How 
are we to account for the Court of London rejecting the 
mediation if they conceived the proposition in that very 
inoffensive light, which he supposes it to be meant, and if 
it was so clear from it, that the mediators would not inter- 
fere in our particular negotiation unless invited to do it, and 


were determined never lo acknowledge the independence 
of the United States until Great Britain herself had done 
it, or at least till the moment in which she shall cease to 
oppose it ? Could a more favorable occasion be presented 
to Great Britain for negotiation? My present opinion upon 
this matter is, that the mediators do in fact consider the 
L'nited States, as an independent sovereign power ; that 
upon that principle they wish to extinguish the Hames of 
war in both countries at the same time ; that they do not 
tiatter themselves they can restore peace to Europe during 
the continuance of the war in America, or that the 
United States will treat with Britain upon any other ground 
than- that of an independent power ; that to bring about a 
general pacification, in a manner the least offensive to any 
of the belligerent powers of Europe, particularly Britain, 
they have framed their propositions in the terms in which 
it is conceived ; and although they declare in it, that the 
other belligerent pow-ers, or even themselves ought not to 
interfere in our particular negotiations, yet it seems to be 
their intention, that the negotiation between the European 
powers, should proceed but with equal pace with our par- 
ticular one. 

1 cannot but think the mediators expected the Court of 
Jjondon would reject this first plan of mediation, on ac- 
count of the proposition respecting America (as I am told 
by a public Minister here, who ought to be well informed 
upon the point, they certainly have done) although it is 
worded in a manner as little offensive lo their feelings as 
the nature of things would admit of; and that having tried 
this measure, the mediators will next proceed to another, 
in which their sentiments in favor of the United States will 


After all, the French Minister may be perfectly right, 
touching the dispositions and resolutions of the mediating 
powers towards the United States, but I think his convic- 
tion must arise from other facts and principles, than those 
he has chosen to expose to me. I feel myself however 
on that supposition, at no great loss to determine what ought 
to be my own line of conduct. I think it ought to be ex- 
actly the same in both cases, so far as respects the pro- 
posed communication of my public character to this Court. 
If her Imperial Majesty has really resolved upon such a 
strange system of politics, the sooner CongresfS obtain the 
best evidence of it the better, on many accounts, and this 
is to be had only by making this experiment. They will 
among other things then consider, whether it is worth 
while for the United States to be at the expense of sup- 
porting a Minister at a Court, which is resolved to defer 
the acknowledgment of their independence, till Great 
Britain shall have done it herself, or at least to the moment 
she shall cease to oppose it. At this period, if it should 
ever arrive, the United States, I suppose, would feel them- 
selves as much indebted to the sovereign, who should offer 
to acknowledge their independence, as I should to the 
French Minister here, who has told me, "that when you 
shall have succeeded in surmounting the difHcuIties, which 
you may meet in causing your public character to be re- 
cognised at this Court, you will find me entirely disposed 
to second you in everything, which shall regard the com- 
mon interest of our countries," for any assistance he may 
then give me. 

It is evident from hence, that I am not likely to receive 
from him the least assistance in the business of my mission. 
1 must proceed in it therefore by myself, or be totally 


inactive. I ilioiight it advisable to assure the French Min- 
ister, ihal I would wait some time for the answers of the 
Courts of V^ersailles and ^Madrid, lest he might think I 
treated his opinions with disrespect. In doing this I think 
no injury will happen to our interests, for besides the pos- 
sibility that some important information may be obtained 
from them, and the effect they may have at this Court, 
I am told Count Panin will shortly return to Court, and 
that he has the most favorable sentiments of the United 
States, of any of her Imperial Majesty's Ministers. Should 
this information be just, an advantage is to be expected 
by the delay. Congress will doubtless consider the diffi- 
culty of my situation, standing alone upon new ground, and 
will make every allowance for it 1 ought in reason to 

. I am, with the higliest respect, and most perfect es- 
teem, Sic. 


• The French government seem to have considered the proposition 
of the mediating powers, by which England and the United States 
were to treat separately, as impracticable and inadmissible. In their 
answer they say, 

"His Majesty thinks it his duty to say, that he has allies, witii 
whom he has inviolable engagements ; that he should betray them 
in abandoning the American cause ; and that it would be abandon- 
ing tliis cause for him to negotiate a separate peace. Th^ high medi- 
ators have seen the impossibility of such an attempt, since they have 
themselves perceived the impossibility of proceeding at an equal 
pace with the negotiation of the King and that of the United States. 
But even admitting, that the King could separate his affairs from 
those of America, that he could consent to pursue only his persona! 
interests, and leave to the Americans the task of coming to an ac- 
commodation with their ancient metropolis ; what would be the 
result of this conduct.' It would evidently be an illusory peace, a 
mere creation of the brain. Indeed, if (as there is the strongest evi- 



Si Petersburg, October 1st, 1781. 

In the project of a treaty, which France proposes to Rus- 
sia, there is an article to this efiect ; 

"When the subjects of France sliall carry in their own 
vessels French goods into Russia, and shall exchange thein 
for Russian goods, in such cases there shall be a drawback 
of the duties, both of importation and exportation, paid by 
the subjects of France." 

dence) the Americans persist in refusing to return to obedience to 
the British Crown, the war will continue between England and her 
ancient Colonies, and the King will then he obliged, as he is now. 
to assist them." Flassan, Vol. VII. p. 319. 

Again, the French government say in their answer ; 

'■The two Imperial Courts cannot flatter themselves with the 
hopes of bringing their mediation to a happy issue, if they do not 
prevent the subterfuges and false interpretations, which either of the 
belligerent powers may avail themselves of to explain according 
to their views the preliminary propositions, which will certainly 
happen if they do not previously ascertain the sense of the expres- 
sions, which relate to America. 

"The Court of London will elude as mucii, and as long as she pos- 
sibly can, the direct or indirect acknov-^ledgment of the indepen- 
dence of the United States, and will avail herself of the terms that 
are used in speaking of them, to maintain that she is not obliged to 
treat with lier ancient Colonies as with a free and independent nation. 
From whence it will follow, that when the mediation is in force, and 
they shall be about to enter upon the negotiation, they will dispute 
the character in which the American Plenipotentiary shall be re- 
ceived. The King of England will consider him as his subject, 
while Congress will demand that he should be received as the repre- 
sentative of a free people, by means whereof the mediation will be 
stopped at the first outset. 

'■To prevent this inconvenience it should seem, tlial previous to 


France, to induce Russia to grant tliis, says, "France 
will want great quantities of Russian goods, which, after the 
war, France will not be ohliged to take of Russia, for 
France can have the like from America, and though per- 
haps not so cheap, yet it will be the interest of France, 
if Russia should not grant this, to pay America fifteen or 
twenty per cent more for the same articles ; for this would 
enable America to take oft' more French goods, and to pay- 
France for them." Hemp is particularly mentioned. 

I pray you to keep this to yourself, and 1 have the honor 

to be, &:c. 


any other measure, the character of the American agent ought to be 
determined in the most precise and positive] manner, and Congress 
should be invited to confide its interests to the mediation. This in- 
vitation is so much the more interesting, as tlie negotiation relative 
to America should go hand in hand with that of the Courts of Mad- 
rid and Versailles, and by consequence the negotiations, although 
separate, should commence at the same time. But who will invite 
the Congress to treat with England ? The King (of France) cannot, 
since the first article excludes him from tlie negotiation. This task 
tlien can only be executed by the mediators themselves. All that 
the King can do, and that he will do with zeal and fidelity, is to 
invite the Americans to the peace, and to facilitate it by every means, 
which they believe compatible with their essential interests. But 
that the King may take this step with safety and the hopes of suc- 
cess, and with the certainly of not rendering himself suspected by 
the Americans, it is necessary that he should first know the deter- 
mination of the mediators upon the observations now made to them, 
and that this determination should be such as to secure to the United 
States their political existence." 
VOL. viir. 40 



St Petersburg, October 15th, 1781. 

Since my letter to your Excellency of September 1 5tb, 
enclosing a duplicate of mine from Berlin, and copies of all 
the enclosed papers, the French IMinister has sent me a 
copy of all the propositions of the mediators, and of the 
answer of the Court of Versailles. I have the satisfaction 
to think the inferences I then drew from the first proposi- 
tions only, are well supported by the tenor of the second, 
in which they expressly say, that our particular peace 
shall not be signed, but conjointly, and at the same time 
with that of the powers, whose interests shall have been 
treated of by the mediating powers ; that the pacifications, 
notwithstanding they may be treated separately, shall not 
be concluded the one without the other ; that care shall be 
taken constantly to inform the mediators of the progress, and 
of the state of our particular treaty, to the end the mediation 
may be able to govern itself in the progress of that, which 
is intrusted to them, according to the slate of our particu- 
lar negotiation, and that both of the j)acifications, although 
they shall have been separately concluded, shall be sol- 
emnly guarantied by the mediators, and all other neutral 
powers, wiiose guarantee the belligerent powers shall judge 
proper to ask. 

What force are we now to allow to the terms in the first 
proposition "the American Colonies," and "without the 
intervention of any of the other belligerent pow'ers, or even 
diat of the two Imperial Courts, unless their mediation 
has been formally demanded, and granted upon this ob- 
ject ?" Is it clear from hence, that the design of the me- 


diators is to avoid exposing ihemselves by acknowledg- 
ing tiie independence of the United Slates before Great 
Britain has done this lierself? Do not the propositions 
speak this language to Britain. You may make such a 
peace with America, not only as she chooses to make 
with you, but as the other belligerent powers, and we shall 
choose you should make with her; and remember you are 
to have no peace in Europe, unless you give peace to 
America, and when this peace is once made, we will take 
care you shall not break it ? We shall soon see by the 
replies, which the mediators will give to the belligerent 
powers, particularly to the Court of Versailles, whether 
they will fecede in favor of Britain from their first plan of 
pacification, or go on in their next a step further in the 
spirit of their former system. It seems, that consistent with 
their own dignity, they can neither retreat or remain on the 
same ground. The independence of the United States 
was certainly the basis of the first plan of pacification, and 
I have no great fears, that it will be departed from. 

I have lately been told by a person, who certainly knew 
the truth of the matter, in so confident a manner that I 
Imve no room to doubt it, that it was a secret part of the 
original plan of the armed neutrality, as soon as it shoidd 
be completed, that the neutral confederated powers should 
propose a general pacification between tlie belligerent pow- 
ers, which it was supposed could not be brought about 
otherwise than by leaving America free and independent, 
and to enforce this proposition by their joint armaments; 
and that so long ago as in May, 1780, if Holland had done 
her part, affairs were then in all other quarters in a proper 
train to have carried the whole plan into execution ; but 
unfortunately for her British influence was too great there, 


and instead of doing the business at once, they entered 
upon the parade of sending a brace of Ambassadors to this 
Court, not with a view to finish, but at least to delay it. 
Holland, in fact, did not accede to the Marine Convention, 
which was first entered into by Russia and Denmark on 
the 9th of July, 1780, and next by Sweden on the 21st of 
the same month, until the 20th of November following, 
and it was not signed on their part till the 5th of last Jan- 
uary. All this time her navy was neglected, and the mis- 
chiefs she has suffered are not the only ones consequent 
upon her tardiness and inactivity. For Britain has been 
thereby enabled for a while to detach Denmark Irom the 
confederation, or at least to make that Court indifferent 
in the business of it. It was but a short time after it had 
adopted the plan before it made a breach upon it by 
including in a treaty with Britain, hemp, &c. among con- 
traband articles. From that time the spirit of the con- 
federation seems to have languished. The Danish Minis- 
ter most interested in it has been superseded. Count 
Panin, who in this Court, it is said, was its principal sup- 
port, retired. It is true, he has lately returned to Court, 
but has not assumed his former office of Chief Minister in 
the Department of Foreign Affairs, though he is still of the 
Privy Council. My information about the share he has in 
those aifairs is very different ; by some I am told, he has 
little or no influence in them, by others, that he possesses 
a considerable portion of his former influence, and my 
informants on both parts ought to, and perhaps do, know 
the truth of the matter. On one side everything is veiled 
in profound mystery, and nothing is let out but what pre- 
sents a discouraging prospect. 

Ijt has not such an efiect upon my mind at present, and 


1 am strongly encouraged to hope, that the confederation 
will become properly invigorated by the accession of the 
King of Prussia. The first open part he took in it, was 
the issuing his ordinance of the 30th of last April. Soon 
after this, (the Sth of jMay) he entered into a similar con- 
vention with the Empress. About this time, (the 23d of 
^lay,) the propositions for a general pncification were made, 
and on the 20th of August, both the Prussian and Russian 
Ministers at the Hague notified to the Stales-General the 
accession of his Prussian Majesty to the confederation. 
Laying these things together, and presuming as I do, that 
the confederated powers can have no well-grounded hope 
of reaping any lasting benefit from their confederation, for 
the maintenance of the liberty of their commerce, and of 
their navigation, but in the establishment of the indepen- 
dence of the United States, one might conclude with con- 
fidence, that all would soon go well between us, if it was 
confidently to be concluded, that all Courts arc governed 
by the real interests of their countries, even where that is 
clearly understood, or act upon a permanent system. All 
now depends upon the stability of the Empress. If she 
should persevere in the noble line she has marked out, of 
Sweden and of Russia there is no danger, and it is proba- 
ble Denmark will not stand out. The Emperor has ceased 
bis opposition to the confederation. The step is now short 
for him to favor and support it. I believe it may be de- 
pended upon, that he has already agreed to accede to it. 

If 1 were to hazard an opinion touching the manner in 
which our particular business will issue here, it is that the 
success of it will depend upon the neutral powers con- 
solidating themselves in their confederation ; that even after 
this should take place, our independence will not be ac- 


knowledged by this Court before all the neutral confedei'- 
ated powers shall have agreed upon this measure, and 
are fully prepared to adopt it, and that even Holland waits 
for this event, although her case is now different from 
theirs, by being actually at war with our enemy. 

The ground on which tlie secret part of the original 
plan of the armed neutrality abovementioned was formed, 
was an apprehension of the powers engaged in it, that by 
the loss of America, and by the continuance of the war, 
the maritime force of Britain might be too much reduced 
to preserve the balance of power upon the ocean ; but as 
she has not abated of her haughtiness, her injustice, and 
outrageous violations of the rights of the neutral maritime 
powers, and still opposes herself to the establishment of 
a system calculated to secure those rights, and to vindi- 
cate the general law of nations, thereby manifesting, that 
the measure of her power is to prescribe her rule of right, 
they have become tolerably well reconciled to the idea of 
seeing her more effectually weakened and humbled. 

On the whole, I am not anxious about the manner of 
thinking of the neutral powers, touching the great objects 
which concern our fundamental interests. We have noth- 
ini!; to apprehend, 1 believe, but the baneful influence of 
British gold, which can serve but to defer for awhile, 
however, the event they most dread, the open acknowl- 
edgment of our independence by this, and the other neu- 
tral powers. I expect to be informed of the answer of 
this Court to that of Versailles respecting the pacification, 
as soon as it shall be communicated to the French jMinis- 
ter. It has already been delayed longer than I was given 
to understand it would be, which is ..owing, probably, to 
the necessity of consultations with the Court of Vienna. I 


shall wait but a few days for it, before I make the com- 
munication of my mission to this Court, unless some mat- 
ter which I do not foresee, should render it expedient to 
delay doing it still longer. 

I an), with the highest respect, and most perfect es- 
teem, ice. 



Philadelphia, October 2-2d, 1781. 

. Confess having lately thought it advisable that their 
correspondence with foreign Courts and their iMinisters 
abroad should pass through the hands of their Secre- 
tary for Foreign Affairs, I enclose the act by which they 
did me the honor to appoint me to that ofKce. In this 
character, Sir, I have the pleasure of communicating to 
you the important account of two signal victories, which 
liave lately been obtained over the enemy in this quarter, 
the one by General Greene, which has been followed by 
the re-establishment of the governments of South Carolina 
and Georgia, in which States, though the enemy hold one 
or two posts, yet they have no command of the country. 
The other still more signal, by the allied arms of France 
and America over Lord Cornwallis, in Virginia. By the 
latter, near seven thousand men, including seamen, fell 
into our hands ; and about one hundred vessels, above 
fifty of them square rigged. 

You will not fail to make the best use of this intelli- 
gence, which must fix our independence, not only beyond 
all doubt, but even beyond all controversy. 1 should have 


mentioned to you, that besides the troops and seamen 
abovemenlioned, the enemy lost during the siege of York- 
town, including those that were taken, upwards of two 
thousand negroes. The naval force of France in these 
seas under the command of the Count de Grasse, amounts 
to thirtyfour sail of tlie line, that of the British to twenty- 
four. Both fleets have lately sailed, the one from New 
York, the other from the Chesapeake. We daily expect 
to hear of their meeting, and promise ouiselves a second 
victory, since every advantage is on the side of the 
French. Should they think it more advisable to go to 
the West Indies, the Islands must fall an easy prey to 
them, as the whole British fleet is at present on this coast, 
nor will it be in tlieir power to follow immediately, as Sir 
Henry Clinton with the best part of the troops from New 
York are on board the fleet, which, on the very day that 
Cornwallis surrendered, left New York for his relief. 
These must be brought back and re-landed, which will be 
a woik of some lime. 

It is of importance to you to know that the spirit of op- 
position to the independence of this country, which was 
languishing when you left it, has been growing weaker 
ever since, and may now be said to be quite extinct. To 
this, the settled form that our governments have assumed, 
the success of our arms, and above all, the shocking bar- 
barity of the British, have greatly contributed. 

As this letter goes by an uncertain conveyance, and as, 
indeed, I have hardly yet entered upon my office, having 
only been qualified a kw days since, I do not fliink it 
prudent to proceed to any minute discussions. 1 can only 
tell you, that the people here entertain the highest respect 
for the Court you arc at. They consider the plan of the 


armed ncutraliiy as the best proof of an enlarged and gen- 
erous policy, and look upon its execution as a charter of 
enfranchisement from the ambition of Princes, granted by 
the wisdom of the Empress to the trade of the world. 
The sense of Congress on this subject, I enclose you in an 
abstract from their minutes of October 5th, 17S0.* 

What a pity it would be, if a more confined policy 
should lessen the glory, or defeat the purposes she has so 
liberally formed. You will do me the favor to direct 
in future your public letters to me. I wish them to be as 

* '•/« Cotigrcss, October '^tli, 17S0. — On the report of a committee, 
to whom w^as referred a motion of Mr Adams, relative to certain pro- 
positions of the Empress of Russia respecting the rights of neutral 
nations, Congress passed the following act ; 

"Her Imperial Majesty of all the Russias, attentive to the freedom 
of commerce, and the rights of nations, in her declaration to tlie bel- 
ligerent and neutral powers, having proposed regulations founded 
upon principles of justice, equity, and moderation, of which their 
Most Christian and Catholic Majesties, and most of the neutral 
maritime powers of Europe, have declared their approbation ; 

'•Congress, willing to testify their regard to the rights of com- 
merce, and their respect for the sovereign who has proposed, and 
tlie powers who have approved the said regulation ; 

"Resolved, That the Board of Admiralty prepare and report in- 
structions for the commanders of armed vessels commissioned by the 
United States, conformable to the principles contained in the decla- 
ration of the Empress of all tlie Russias, on the rights of neutral 

"That the Ministers Plenipotentiary from the United States, if in- 
vited thereto, be, and hereby are respectively empowered to accede 
to such regulations, conformable to the spirit of tlie said declara- 
tion, as may be agreed upon by the Congress expected to assemble 
in pursuance of the invitation of her Imperial Majesty. 

"Ordered, Tliat copies of the above resolution be transmitted to the 
respective Ministers of the United States at foreign Courts, and to 
the honorable, the Minister Plenipotentiary of France," 
VOL. VIM. 41 



numerous and as minute as possible, particularly on the 
subject of such negotiations as may be in agitation for a 
general peace, and for a partial one between Britain and 
the United Provinces. 

1 forgot, under the head of intelligence, to inform you 
that the British had, in September last, made one effort to 
relieve Cornwallis with their fleet, consisting of nineteen 
sail of the line, before the Count de Barras, from Rhode 
Island, had made his junction with the Count de Grasse. 
They were defeated with the loss of the Terrible, a 
seventy four, burnt, and two frigates taken, and compelled 
to return to New York, whence, as I before mentioned, 
having been reinforced, they have again sailed. 
1 am, with the greatest esteem, &c. 


P. S. I will be obliged to you for sending me, for the 
use of this office, by the first safe opportunity, a Russian 
Grammar and Dictionary, in English, if possible, if not, in 
French. If the latter, the Grammar of Charpenteer, and 
the Dictionary of Woltchhoff, woidd be preferable. Both 
parts of the Dictionary are to be procured, if possible, but 
particularly the one which begins with the Russian. If 
anyUiing like a Court Calendar is published at St Peters- 
burg, in Russian, German, or French, you will oblige me 
by transmitting to me two copies of it, if you choose, with 
notes of your own upon it. 



St Petersburg, January ITlli, 17S'2. 


The Empress you know formerly proposed to mediate 
between Britain and Holland, which was declined by the 
former, as she could not enter upon a partial mediation, for 
the reasons she then assigned; since which time, the joint 
mediation has been tendered by the two Imperial Courts, 
between all the belligerent powers, which has issued un- 
successfully. Finally, her Imperial Majesty, and the Kings 
of Sweden and Denmark, jointly tendered their mediation 
between Britain and Holland. Britain has declined to 
accept that of the Kings in conjunction with the Empress, 
but has agreed to accept her sole mediation. This is at 
present on foot. A Russian Minister has very lately gone, 
or will soon set off for Holland, to join Prince Gallitzin in 
this business, which I prognosticate will issue as fruitlessly 
as the general mediation has done. There is no peace 
to be had in Europe separate from that of our country, 
which already too sensibly aflects the European systems 
to be overlooked or disregarded by those who have the 
adjustment of them. 

Notwithstanding the material change, which our revolu- 
tion has wrouaht in their old systems, which is felt some- 
how by all the politicians of Europe, yet they seem some 
of them not to be sufiiciently acquainted with the real 
nature of it. Hence that strange fluctuation or indecision 
in some cabinets ; at least this is the best apology I can 
make for it. Sweden it appears to me acts as consistent 
a part as any power. She maintains her rights as a neu- 
tral nation, by constantly convoying her trade, and is 


besides wisely reaping the benefits of the American com- 
merce, by silently and gradually admitting our vessels into 
her ports, and permitting our countrymen to purchase 
there everything they want, and to depart when and where 
they please. If this country would adopt the same system 
in every respect, they would soon see the happiest effects 
from it. At present, Sweden is making considerable 
profits, by being the depot of Russian manufactures for 
our use. 

I wish this country had a more commercial turn. We 
should then soon see a direct communication between the 
two countries opened and established, to the great benefit 
of both. But a free trade between them will meet with 
other obstacles. I am apprehensive not one of the mari- 
time powers of Europe will aid us in our attempts to effect 
this, but that on the contrary, Britain, Holland, Denmark, 
and Sweden, will all at least secretly be opposing us. 
They well know this country has no navigation of its own, 
comparatively speaking ; if, therefore, by various suggest- 
ions, they can excite a jealousy respecting the commerce 
of our country rivalling this in all the markets of Europe, 
a sentiment however groundless, which I am persuaded 
has made a considerable impression here, they will flatter 
themselves th2y shall each share a proportion of the ben- 
efits of an intervening commerce. Nothing, you will read- 
ily perceive, is to be expected here, while the business of 
mediation is kept up. 
I airy, &ic. 




Philadelphia, Marcii 2d, 1782. 

Dear Sir, 

1 find myself extremely embarrassed in writing to you, 
on account of my ignorance of the place of your present 
residence ; and the want of a cypher. You forgot when 
you left Holland, if you have yet left it, for this is a mat- 
ter of which we Imve not been informed, to send me your 
direction ; so that there are an infinite number of chances 
against a letter's reaching you. This must account for 
ray not entering into a minute consideration of your letters, 
or of ^r own affairs. The subject of your conference 
with the * is too delicate to be discussed 

here. The event has, ere this, shown you whether his 
sentiments were well founded ; though we can form no 
judgment from this circumstance, as we have not been 
favored with a single line from you since May, 1781. 

We presume, that you must frequently have written, as 
the ports of Holland, Sweden, and France, afforded you 
many opportunities, of which you have undoubtedly availed 
yourself, but we have unfortunately not received the ad- 
vantage we could wish from your attention. I must there- 
fore beg the favor of you to increase the number of your 
letters, and to send at least four copies of each to the dif- 
ferent ports. There are indeed many things, which it 
would be imprudent to trust to the common post. There 
are also many other matters, which may safely be sent by 
it. If you have letters always ready, safe opportunities 
will occasionally offer for the first, and those which relate 

' A blank in the original, but probably the Count de Vergennes is 
alluded to. 


to general politics should be written weekly, and sent to 
France and Holland. 

Yon will continue, I presume, to appear only in a pri- 
vate character, as it would give Congress great pain to see 
you assume any other without an absolute certainty, that 
you would be received and acknowledged. The United 
States, fired with the prospect of their future glory, would 
blush to think, that the history of any nation might repre- 
sent ihem as humble suppliants for their favor. The least 
slight from a sovereign, whose life will be read with ap- 
plause by posterity, whose situation places her above those 
little shifting politics by which inferior Princes govern, 
who has magnanimity enough to feel and declare herself 
independent of every other tie, but that which wisdom and 
justice impose, might be urged with weight against us, and 
give force to the calumnies of our enemies. All, therefore. 
Sir, that your situation will admit of, is to endeavor to give 
just ideas of this country, of its resources, of its future 
commerce, its justice and moderation, its sincere desire 
for peace, but at the same time of its firm determination 
to forego any present advantage, and to brave any danger, 
rather than purchase it upon terms unworthy of the strug- 
gles they have made, or which shall render their liberties 
iiiiccure. This, which is an important truth, you will be 
able to prove by showing the circumstances under which 
we entered into the war, and the difficulties we struggled 
with, when without arms, without military stores, without 
discipline, without government, without commerce, we 
bid defiance to one of the most powerful nations in the 
world, and resisted alone, for three years, forty thousand 
disciplined troops, attended by a considerable navy, and 
amply suj)plied with every necessary to enable them to 


use their force with advantage. Contrast this with our 
present situation. Allied to a powerful nation, in posses- 
sion of governments with which the people are pleased ; 
having an army disciplined, well appointed, and flushed 
with victory ; an extensive and active commerce; provis- 
ions cheaper than in time of peace ; credit reviving again, 
and specie introduced into circulation. 

It is also important to show the unanimity of this country, 
in opposition to what the Court of Great Britain has de- 
sired to inculcate. I have touched upon this in my last 
letter, and have endeavored to show it from the conduct, 
which she herself holds towards this country. It will never 
be dcJ?it)ted by those who reflect on these circumstances, 
and the ease with which every order of government is car- 
ried into eflect, and the few partisans the British have 
found, when they marched out into the country. But 
though we wish these matters to be understood, yet I am 
far from recommending it to you to make a pompous dis- 
play of them. Your own judgment will direct you on this 
subject. Your having been long in a public character, will 
naturally lead those who wish to be informed to inquire the 
state of our affairs from you. You may avail yourself of 
the opportunities this will aflbrd you to speak of them with 
that temper and moderation, that cannot fail to make an 
impression, particularly when these facts appear rather to 
be drawn from you by your desire to answer the inquiry, 
than urged by a wish to make converts. In the first case, 
the hearer is disposed to believe, because you lay him un- 
der obligations; in the second, he is cautious lest he shoull 
be led away by your prejudices. Should these inquiries 
be made by people who are able to serve you, be particu- 
larly attentive to render your information agreeable by en- 


livening it with some little interesting incidents, which this 
war has furnished in abundance, and which cannot but 
give pleasure to a people, who are too remote to have heard 

These may possibly be the means, when repeated, of 
exciting the curiosity of the sovereign, and procure for you 
the honor of conversing with her in the character of a pri- 
vate gentleman. This incident will be best improved by 
preparing yourself to answer all her inquiries with respect 
to this country, without touching on the politics of Europe, 
with which she is infinitely better acquainted than we can 
be. The first settlement of the Colonies ; their popula- 
tion, agriculture, commerce, and revenues ; their past and 
present governments ; the progress of the arts and sci- 
ences ; the steps which led to this revolution, and the pre- 
sent state of the war, will probably be the objects of her in- 
quiry. These you will answer with candor, even though 
you should thereby expose some of our defects or imperfec- 
tions. For you will never cease to bear in mind, that the 
celebrated sovereign of the country you are in is too well 
informed to be deceived, could our politics ever stoop so 
low as to make the attempt. 

Since my last, conveying an account of Cornwallis's cap- 
ture, nothing very important has happened here, unless it 
be the evacuation of Wilmington and Beaufort, by which 
means all the enemy's posts in the southern States are re- 
duced to Charleston and Savannah, and the trade of that 
extensive country is again opened. The few friends to 
slavery in the States the British marched over, are aban- 
doned to our mercy. For the rest the enemy keep close 
within their lines, and our troops are cantoned about the 
country. In the meanwhile the British islands and com- 


raerce are sacrificed to the possession of three posts, which 
cost ihem millions to retain on this continent. I give you 
no account of what is doing in the West Indies, presuming 
that you will have the earliest and best intelligence on this 
subject from Paris. It may be of some importance to you 
to learn, that our plan for calling in the old paper and emit- 
ting new, was not attended with all the success that was 
expected. The old paper was indeed redeemed, but the 
new beginning to depreciate, most of the States thought it 
prudent to take it in by ta:cation. 

The only money now in general circulation is specie and 
notes f^n the American banks, which have the same 
credit as silver. Our taxes are collected in these, and by 
removing the restrictions on our commerce, together with 
the small loans we have made in Europe, we find not the 
least want of a circulating medium ; and though there will 
probably be some failure in the amount of the taxes from 
some of the Stales, which are most impoverished, yet a 
considerable proportion of the eight millions of dollars in 
specie, which have been imposed this year, will be paid, 
exclusive of the duty of five per cent premium on our im- 
ports, which is designed as a perpetual fund for the pay- 
ment of the money we borrow. Every exertion is making 
here for the most vigorous and active campaign, and we 
have the greatest reason to believe it will be decisive. 

I enclose an ordinance relative to captures, which will 
show the respect paid by these States to the armed neu- 
trality. It will be evident to you, that this is not a mere 
empty compliment, since nothing can be more injurious to 
us than conforming to principles, which our enemy des- 
pises, and is permitted to despise with impunity, particularly 
on this coast, where Britain is left at liberty to consider us 
VOL. VIII. 42 


not as independent States, but as revolted Colonies ; and 
to make prize of any vessel whatsoever bound to our ports, 
though both ship and cargo should be in the strictest sense 
neutral. But interested considerations have less weight 
with us, than those immutable laws of justice, which make 
the basis of these regulations ; and these States cannot but 
hope, that the neutral powers will sooner or later dare to 
execute what they have so wisely projected. 

Now, Sir, let me again repeat to you my request to 
write regularly to me, at least once in every week, since the 
high opinion we have forrfied of the Empress, makes all 
her actions important to us. When no other political ob- 
ject presents itself, give us tlie best account you can col- 
lect of the history, manners, revolutions, manufactures, 
arts, revenues, civil and military establishments of Russia, 
with the names and characters of those who hold the great 
offices, or share the favor of the sovereign. If a change 
has taken place (as we are informed) in the Russian ad- 
ministration, be pleased to acquaint yourself and me, when 
you can safely do it, with the causes of it ; and with the 
characters of the present administration. Send me by the 
first safe hand a cypher, if an opportunity should offer 
before I send one to you. 

I have the honor to be, &;c. 



St Petersburg, March 5tli, 1782. 

I had the honor of the triplicate of your letter of the 
22d of last October, on the 20lh instant. It was for- 


warded to mo In lliat amiable iiobleniaii, ihe I\lai(|uis do 
Lafayetlc. The original or duplicate lias not ycl come 
10 hand. 

I am much pleased that Congress have thought fit to 
create the office of Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and to 
direct their foreign Ministers to correspond through that 
department. This will, doubtless, be the means of keep- 
ing them properly informed about the affairs of our 
country. I am happy to learn also, that the choice of 
Congress has fallen upon a gentleman not less distin- 
guished for his abilities and integrity, than for the early 
and deciijed part he took, and has steadily pursued, from 
the commencement of our revolution. 

We received the important news of the surrender of 
Lord Cornwallis and his army, on the 13th of December. 
Soon after, came the account of General Greene's action, 
wiiich you mention also. The first seemed to have settled 
every one's mind upon the real state of desperation of the 
British affairs within the United States ; the other, though 
very important to lis in its consequences, made appar- 
ently but little impression, owing, perhaps, to two causes, 
that it followed so nearly after so capital and brilliant an 
event, and that it was scarce possible to add to the con- 
viction, which the former carried along with it. From this 
state of things it may be imagined, that the way is open to 
us to make our advances. The conclusion, 1 believe, 
would be too hasty. For the time does not so much de- 
pend upon the real sentiments, which her Imperial Majesty 
and her Ministers may entertain of the stability of our in- 
dependence, as upon other circumstances. To explain 
myself. Her Majesty has, doubtless, a wish to add to her 
other glories that of mediating a peace between the great 


powers who are now at war. For although her first at- 
tempt to mediate between Britain and Holland was reject- 
ed by the former, and her second, in conjunction with the 
Emperor, between Britain and the other belligerent pow- 
ers, may be said to be at a full stand, yet, as you are in- 
formed long before diis time, she set on foot a third, 
in conjunction with the Kings of Sweden and Denmark, 
between Britain and Holland, which Britain rejected so 
far as respects that of the two Kings accepting of the sole 
mediation of her Imperial Majesty. This is still In agita- 
tion. A Minister before this time has arrived from this 
country in Holland, to assist Prince Gallitzin in it. But, 
from everything I can learn, there is not the least probabil- 
ity of its succeeding. I am told it is not even expected by 
any of her Majesty's Ministers. 

However this in fact may be, so long as her Majesty 
continues to tender her mediation, partial or general, so 
long it appears to me prudent for us to refrain from 
making any open advances. For however strongly con- 
vinced her Majesty may be, that our independence is now 
laid on a foundation, which Britain can never destroy or 
shake, however clearly she may see that the freedom of 
the commerce and of the navigation of Europe absolutely 
depend upon the severance of America from the British 
Empire, and however beneficial she may suppose a direct 
and free commerce with America would be to her Em- 
pire, yet she could not consistently with the character of a 
mediator, form any political connexions with the United 
States, or manifest an attachment to their interests. She 
would, therefore, feel herself under a necessity to reject 
any propositions we have to make to her, if made under 
such circumstances. And though we could be assured 


that this rejection would be made with as much delicacy, 
or as much respect to tiie United States as the case 
would admit of, yet is it not advisable to delay making any 
open advances till this business of mediation should be en- 
tirely done away, and not unnecessarily expose ourselves 
to a repulse ; which, it is probable, would in the end 
rather retard than advance our business ? 

By these and similar sentiments, I have been hitherto 
induced not to make the communication spoken of in my 
former despatches from hence. I hope my conduct in 
this respect will be approved by Congress. Notwithstand- 
ing what I have said above, if I really thought with my 
•correspondent, that her Imperial Majesty had adopted the 
system mentioned in his letter to me of the 12th of Sep- 
tember, viz. "Not to acknowledge the independence of the 
United States till Britain herself had done it," I should 
soon bring the business to a conclusion, and take my leave 
of this Court ; not thinking it conformable to the views of 
Congress to support a Minister at a Court, which should 
adopt and be likely to persevere in such a system. 

You seem desirous of my sentiments upon the state of 
affairs, particularly relative to the mediation, whether gen- 
eral or partial. I have given ihem to yoi; on that head 
very briefly above, and I can only add, that from the best 
intelligence I can obtain, we shall not hear much more of 
the mediation till another campaign is closed ; that things 
will remain nearly in their present state in Europe throiigl: 
this year, unless Holland, by the prevalence of the patri- 
otic parly, should be able to make some exertion, and 
come to a decision about the much talked of alliances with 
the enemies of Britain. Whether this will probably take 
place, you will be better informed from that quarter than 
from me. 


Tlie acts of accession and acceptation on the part of the 
Emperor and Empress, relative to the neutral confedera- 
tion, were exchanged liere a few days after the date of 
my last letter to the President. A want of connexion is 
observahle among the powers who have adopted this sys- 
tem ; they are divided into three parties, the Empress 
standing at the head of each. First, Russia, Denmark, 
Sweden, and Holland ; next, Russia and Prussia ; and 
lastly, Russia with the Emperor. These parties are with- 
out connexion one with the other, unless it should ue sup- 
posed, that the Empress being a party in each of them, 
connects the whole ; but this must necessarily be a feeble 
connexion, as it imposes no duties, and confers no rights, 
which are in common to all the powers, wJiich have 
adopted the system. The principles of it, however, have 
acquired some support by these last accessions, particu- 
larly by that of Russia, and it seems highly probable, that 
they will not fail of being established as the clear rights of 
neutral nations at the close of the present war. During 
the continuance of it, unless Britain should be so impru- 
dent as to commit further infractions upon this system, we 
may not see anything more arise out of these associations. 
For if the subjects of the confederated powers, at present 
ill a state of neutrality, meet with no further obstruction in 
their commerce or navigation, their end is answered. Nei- 
ther Russia, Sweden, nor Denmark will give themselves 
inuch concern to vindicate the right of Holland to partici- 
pate in the benefits of the system, according to their de- 
mands, especially the two last, who derive very great 
advantages from the present situation of the Dutch. Hol- 
land has let her opportunity slip by unimproved, and she 
must patiently wait the return of a general peace for the 


restoration of her rights, whether founded in her treaties 
with Britain or in this new system. 

You will excuse my referring you to my former des- 
patciies, because it would be imprudent to send copies of 
them with this by the post. Duplicates have already been 
forwarded. If I had a private conveyance, 1 should be 
more particular under the head of mediation and neutral 
confederation, as well as enter into an explanation of some 
parts of my former despatches from hence. I have not 
yet received any account of my letters sent from France ; 
you will doubtless pay an attention to such parts of them as 
may require it. If you will direct your letters for me to the 
care 01 Mr Adams, whenever they may come on in that 
course, he will be careful to forward them to me in a way, 
which we have settled for our correspondence. As it will 
be more convenient, I shall request Mr Adams to send 
you along with this the reply, which the Imperial Courts 
made to the answers of the belligerent powers, to their 
propositions for a general pacitication, and also the final 
answer of the Court of Versailles. Although you may 
probably receive these through another channel, yet per- 
haps that is not a good reason why we should fail to fur- 
nish you with them. 

I am, Sir, with much esteem, &cc. 


P. S. 1 hope to have an opportunity to forward next 
week, to the care of Mr Adams, two or three Court Alma- 
nacs for you in French. The other books I will jirocurc 
for you as soon as possible, but as they will be cumber- 
some, it is not probable I shall find any other conveyance 
from hence than by water for them. I shall at all limes 


be very happy to have an opportunity to execute any of 
your commands. 


St Petersburg, March 30tli, 1782. 


I did myself the honor on the 5th instant to acknowl- 
edge the receipt of the triplicate of your letter to me of the 
22d of October last, the original has since come to hand. 
I will forward a duplicate of the above by this opportunity. 

Everything seems to confirm the opinion I have ex- 
pressed, relative to the partial mediation between Britain 
and Holland, but more especially the resolution of Fries- 
land respecting the United States. The failure of that 
mediation is now universally considered here as beyond a 
doubt. And nothing I believe but the very critical condi- 
tion of Britain, will revive the idea of a general mediation 
sooner than I have estimated in my last. She has now- 
lost Minorca, and in a manner too that astonishes every 
one here, and with it the remains of her commerce in the 
Mediterranean Sea. St Christopher, as it is said, is in im- 
minent danger, and the formidable force gone against Ja- 
maica, may make her reflect seriously upon her forlorn 
state, and perhaps drive her to the humiliating necessity of 
reviving a mediation she has rejected with so much haugh- 
tiness. If so, it seems evident, from the decided nature 
of the final answer of the Court of Versailles, as well as 
from that of Madrid to the Imperial Courts, that to do this 
with any effect, the mediators must advance to the line 
marked out, they must invite the IMinisters of the United 
States to the General CGne;ress. 


The Minister of Spain, who went to Vienna to assist at 
the Congress, has received orders to repair to this Court, 
(where they have now only a Charge. d\ljfaircs) as a resi- 
dent Minister. He is expected here the next month. 

There has lately heen a lively sensation in this quarter, 
occasioned by a publication in the ^^ Courier tlu Bas Rhia" 
where it was positively asserted, that a secret treaty had 
been concluded between her Imperial Majesty and the 
Emperor, relative to a partition of thu Turkish territories 
in Europe. The aflair, it is said, has been denied. How- 
ever the fact may be, there seems to be some suspicions 
remaining, that a scheme is fortriing, if not of the nature 
mentioned, yet at least relative to a full enjoyment of a com- 
merce upon the Black Sea and into the Mediterranean. 
This is an object, which has more or less engrossed the 
attention of this Court from the days of Peter the Great, 
and is one of no small consequence to the interests of this 
Empire. The state of things brought on by the peace of 
Kainardgi, (1774,) between Russia and Turkey, has opened 
the way for the completion of this design. By this treaty 
Russia obtained a right to a free commerce in the Turk- 
ish seas, and for that end, three ports there, viz. Kin- 
bourn, Kersch, and Yenikale. Further, the Khan of the 
Crimea (who is no longer liable to be deposed by the 
Grand Sultan) is very friendly disposed towards her Im- 
perial Majesty, and would be capable of affording essen- 
tial services towards the execution of such a plan. He 
lias lately sent an Ambassador to this Court, who has been 
most graciously received. The Porte has been constantly 
opposed to this commercial plan. Hence the difiicuhies, 
which have taken place respecting the admission of a Rus- 
sian Consul, which the firmness of her Majesty lias at last 
VOL. VIII. 43 


overcome. The whole seems yet to be on too precari- 
ous a foundation. Perhaps solidly to establish this sys- 
tem of commerce, another war may be deemed necessary, 
particularly for the purposes of gaining better ports, and 
to give greater security to the navigation, which may be 
carried on from them, by removing the Turks to a more 
convenient distance, and establishing a marine in those 
seas, capable of affording it a complete protection ; with- 
out this, all that vast commercial project lies at the mercy 
of the Turks. 

I have touched upon this subject, that from the greal in- 
terest this empire has in such a plan from the extensive views 
of its sovereign, and from the present apparently favorable 
state of circumstances, you may be enabled to form a bet- 
ter opinion of the probability or improbability of the sup- 
posed connexion. But upon the supposition of its truth, 
will our enemies draw any essential benefits from it .'' Or 
will it in any way injure our interests ? are questions which 
may arise out of it, and bring it home to us. It will hap- 
pen, I think, if it happens at all, too late for the former, but 
as to the latter, it may procrastinate our views, as it will 
form the principal object of her Majesty's attention, and 
the affiiirs on this side of Europe will become but second- 
ary concerns. I shall add nothing further at present on 
this subject, but shall from time to time endeavor to give 
you soiTie account of the prevailing system, and the leading 
principles of politics in this Court. 

In pursuance of one branch of my duty, I have during 
my residence here made a particular inquiry into the na- 
ture of the commerce of this country. By the list of ex- 
ports for the last year, which will accompany this, may be 
seen the commodities of all kinds which it furnishes, as 


well as the share which the several nations of Europe have 
taken in this commerce, for the same time ; and by the 
list of vessels passing and repassing the Sound, the propor- 
tion of their navigation which has been concerned in it. 
When it is considered that the Dutch used to send about 
six hundred vessels into the Baltic annually, there can re- 
main no doubt but that the neutral maritime powers are 
very well contented with the Dutch war ; and that they 
are deeply interested in the principles of the neutral con- 
federation, though a crooked and corrupt system of politics 
may prevent some of them from defending their rights with 
proper jHgor. 

The great demands we have for the principal articles of 
this commerce, such as hemp, cordage, sailcloth, their 
linen manufactures of all sorts, especially for household 
use, is well known, as we have been heretofore supplied 
with these through Great Britain. But perhaps the com- 
modities suitable for this market may not be so well under- 
stood among us. The principal ones of our country are 
rice and indigo ; tobacco is a prohibited article. Grain is 
not wanted, except rice. From this state is it not evident 
if we would carry on this commerce to any considerable 
extent, as we shall certainly find it proper to do, we must 
do it by circuitous voyages in a great measure .'' For this 
purpose the productions of the West Indies and of the 
continent of America south of us, such as sugar, coffee, 
(rum would not answer,) all sorts of dyeing woods, cochi- 
neal, k,c. are proper. This may point out the importance 
of obtaining a right to cut those woods on the Spanish 
shores in the Bay. 

The wines, brandies, fruits, and manufactures of France 
form a great branch of the trade to this country. This has 


heretofore been chiefly carried on by the Diitcli ; but may 
we not come in for a share of it ? Many of our commodi- 
ties are adapted to the markets of France. Might not our 
vessels intended for this circuitous voyage, arrive in France 
towards the end of the winter, charged with our produce, 
and take in a cargo there, so as to be ready to enter the 
Baltic early in May. The ports of France, frequented by 
the Dutch in this carrying trade, are Havre, Nantes, Bor- 
deaux, Cette, and Marseilles. Havre has an advantage 
over all the others, from its proximity to the Baltic, as well 
as its situation below the Seine, by means of which all the 
manufactures of Paris, Rouen, &.c. are easily conveyed 
thither. The cargoes from Havre for Russia consist in 
fine cloths, linens of Rouen, sugar, coffee, indigo, preserved 
fruits of all kinds, and of all the manufactures of Paris. 
Wines are from Bordeaux. The exports from Nantes are 
nearly the same as those from Havre ; Cette and Mar- 
seilles may be too distant for us. The greatest navigation 
between France and this country is from Havre. I have 
been so particular upon Havre, because I suppose Con- 
gress would choose to have one free port, (in virtue of our 
treaty with France,) in or near the Channel, and I have 
heard Dunkirk talked of; but is it not worth considera- 
tion, whether a port at the very extremity of the empire, 
can be of equal advantage to that of Havre, which may 
answer as well for a direct commerce as for this circuitous 
one, if it should be thought proper to adopt it. By our 
treaty, 1 am sensible we have a right to demand but one 
free port in France, and that for the purpose of carrying 
there our own commodities only. If we should be held 
rigidly to this, the appointment of a free port will be of 
great importance to our interests. If we could obtain 


more, perhaps Havre, Bordeaux, and JNlarseilles, might be 
the most advantageous of any three, to furnish us at the 
best rate, with the productions and manufactures of the 
several parts of the kingdom. 

I express myself with much diflidence on this subject, 
because 1 know tiiat a thousand matters ought to be taken 
into consideration, many of which are known only to those 
who have made commerce the business of their lives, iu 
order to form a solid judgment upon it. But if anything 1 
have said may serve as hints, which may be improved by 
others to the general beneSt of our country, my purpose 
will be completely answered. 
■ I have the honor to be, witli much esteem and respect, 




St Petersburg, April 23d, 1782. 
Dear Sir, 
I see with infinite satisfaction the progress our affairs 
have made in Holland within a short time, and that you 
will soon be able to put the finishing hand to your business. 
No one will more sincerely rejoice in the honor you will 
merit and acquire by it, than I shall. That nation, after 
much internal struggling, seems at last to have adopted an 
almost universal sentiment upon the propriety, or rather 
necessity of forming an intimate commercial connexion 
with us, and this without loss of time. They have been 
doubtless justly alarmed by the late important change in 
the councils and system of Great Britain, and have wisely 
resolved not to suffer her to get the start of them, by ad- 


justing her commercial connexions with America before 
they have concluded their treaty with us. They well 
know how much is risked by a further delay. Hence 
their present zeal to acknowledge our independence. 

I wish others saw their interest to do the same thing in 
as clear a light, and did not longer think of the glory of 
mediating a peace, which in the end they may miss of; 
for it is evident to every one who will attentively consider 
the late measures of Britain, that she means to settle her 
peace with America, without the participation of any me- 
diators ; well knowing the great danger which her most 
important commercial interests will be exposed to, if they 
pass through such a medium. Her aim will be to exclude 
the other maritime powers, as far as possible, from the ben- 
efits of our commerce. To effect this, she will make great 
sacrifices in some respects. You know what I allude to. 
The critical moment for the maritime powers of Europe 
has already arrived. They may never, or at least for a 
long time to come, again see so fair an occasion to promote 
their essential interests, if they suffer this moment to slip 
by without fixing their connexions with America. It must 
be apparent to them all, (the neutral powers I mean,) that 
no just objections can now be made to a measure of this 
sort, since the British tliemselves have felt the necessity of 
publicly proclaiming to the world their utter inability to obtain 
the great object of their war, the subjugation of the United 
States, or of any one of them ; and have even made the 
attempt to do this criminal. With what face can they now 
pretend to claim any dominion over that country, or to re- 
quire the neutral powers to forbear the acknowledgment of 
our independence, till they themselves shall have acknowl- 
edged it ? Or in other words, to rest idle spectators, as I 


have before said, till Britain has adjusted all her commer- 
cial interests with America, as far as possible to iheir ex- 

Do you ask whether this will probably be the case here? 
I cannot say that it will not. For besides, that I have some 
reason to suppose this government not yet properly in- 
formed, I may say of the immense interest it has at stake 
relative to the commerce of our country, I know the Brit- 
ish will not fail constantly to hold up to her Imperial Maj- 
esty the glory of mediating a peace between the great 
belligerent powers, while they are secretly carrying on a 
negotiation as above with the United States. Should you 
ask me if it is not practicable to give those in government 
just ideas upon the nature of the commerce of the two 
countries, I must say I have taken such measures to this 
end, as the peculiar state of things will admit of. I dare 
not expose the dignity of the United States by making any 
official advances. They may be rejected. I am not sat- 
isfied that they would not be. The cry of mediation I 
know would open upon me. It is necessary therefore 
first, to do away all errors upon this subject of commerce, 
to establish the great mutual interests the two nations have 
in a close and intimate connexion witii each other, and 
to point out the danger this interest is exposed to, in the 
present critical state of affairs by delay. When this is 
done (and I flatter myself the task is very easy if the door 
is open to rae) I shall have nothing to apprehend from 
mere sounds or words. Her Majesty would most certainly 
pursue the great interests of her empire, and not suffer 
herself to be diverted from that pursuit by any dazzling 
prospects of glory, which the British or any others might 
hold out. She has too much wisdom not to change her 


system when affairs have changed their face, and not to 
improve every favorable occasion, which the course of 
events may present to her for the benefit of her empire. 

I agree with you, that glory and interest are both united 
in our case ; that her Majesty could not by any line of 
conduct more effectually promote both, than by stepping 
forth at this moment, and acknowledging the indepen- 
dence of the United Slates, and forming a commercial 
treaty with them, that there is nothing to fear from any 
quarter, that the example of so illustrious a sovereign would 
probably be followed by the other neutral maritime powers, 
and would infallibly restore peace and tranquillity to both 
worlds ; and that all Europe would partake equally in the 
benefits of our commerce, or at least enjoy an equal free- 
dom in it. But if instead of this, America cannot obtain 
a hearing, which is all she wants to insure her success, 
wherever national counsels are influenced by national in- 
terests, and her Majesty should persevere in her system of ■ 
inediation, notwithstanding the change in affairs, is not the 
consequence plain ? America will make the best bargain 
in her power with Britain, and she can now clearly make 
an advantageous one. When this is done, her Majesty and 
the other neutral powers will certainly see, thougli too late, 
the importance of the present moment to the interests of 
their respective empires. I will only add, may they be 
wise in season, may they follow the example, which Hol- 
land is setting them, and which she would have set them 
at this moment, liad she been in profound peace with 
Britain, even at the hazard of a war, little as she delights 
in it, rather than suffer herself to be foreclosed in her great 
commercial schemes. 

I have the honor to be, he 




Philadelphia, May 10th, 1782. 

Dear Sir, 

In my letter of the 2d of jMarch last, I explained fully 
to you the intentions of Congress in sending you to Peters- 
burg ; and the reasons that influenced them to wish, that 
you would by no means display your public character, till 
you were fully convinced, that it was the wish of the Court 
to acknowledge it. And I saw with pleasure, in your 
letter of the olst of March, 17S1, to the Count de Ver- 
gennes, that you had determined agreeably to the spirit 
and meaning of your instructions, to appear only as a pri- 
vate citizen of the United Stales, until the result of your 
inquiries should point out a ready and honorable reception. 
The opinion of the Minister of his Most Christian Majesty, 
as well as of Dr Franklin, whom you were directed to 
consult, was so decided upon that point, that though you 
might not have thought it sufficient to justify delaying your 
journey, yet it certainly rendered it proper to take the best 
precautions to conceal your public character, under some 
other, thai would have been unsuspected ; and this for 
reasons that carried the greatest weight with them. 

The Empress having projected the armed neutrality, 
she naturally wished it to have the appearance of a general 
regulation, and not of an attempt to serve one of the bel- 
ligerent powers at the expense of the other. The strictest 
impartiality could alone give a dignity to her measures, or 
crown them with success. She further wished to be the 
means of re-establishing peace, and was perhaps influenced 
by the laudable ambition of being at the same time the 
great legislator and arbiter of Europe. At this critical 
VOL. VIII. 44 


moment it could hardly be exjDected, that she would pub- 
licly entertain a Minister from the United States. For 
though the powers at war have many collateral objects, yet 
it is well known, that American independence is the great 
question in controversy ; and though a decision in favor 
of it might be worthy of the magnanimity of the Empress, 
yet it would certainly militate against her objects, and 
afford Great Britain an apology for considering the armed 
neutrality as a partial regulation ; and for rejecting the 
mediation of a power, whom they would charge with- hav- 
ing decided the very point in controversy. A secret agent, 
if his character was declared to the Russian Minister, 
would in a less degree have the same effects, and reduce 
them to the necessity of embarrassing themselves by dis- 
simulation, or permitting us to entertain unfavorable senti- 
ments of their impartiality by directing you to withdraw. 

Your eager desire to render essential services to your 
country had in some measure biassed your judgment, and 
led you to see this matter in a different light from that 
in which it would have appeared to you, if your patriotism 
had permitted you coolly to weigh and consider circum- 
stances. It appears by your letters of the 2Sth of July, 
the 15lh of September, and 15th of October last, which 
have been received and read in Congress, that you enter- 
tain serious thoughts of making an immediate display of 
your powers to the Russian Ministry, notwithstanding the 
cautions given you by the Count de Vergennes, the opin- 
ion of Dr Franklin, and the advice of the Marquis de 
Verac, whom you are expressly directed to consult; whose 
lights you are interested to avail yourself of, and to sound 
the dispositions of tlie Court of Petersburg. 

Congress^ when they appointed you to the important 


and delicate mission in which you are engaged, discovered 
their respect for yonr abilities, while they meant by their 
instructions to guard against any inconvenience into which 
you might hastily run, by directing you before you de- 
clared your character, to take the advice of a Minister, 
whose residence at the Court of Petersburg (independent 
of other circumstances) gave him advantages, which an 
absolute stranger could not enjoy. The letters that have 
passed between you, confirm the propriety of this restric- 
tion. The conclusions of the jMarquis de Verac on the 
plan of the proposed mediation are sound and just ; and if 
you have^ disregarded them, there is no doubt but the 
event has before this time justified them to you. He has, 
probably, shown you the answer of France to the pro- 
posals of the mediators. You will have remarked therein, 
the same reasoning extended in such a manner, as fully to 
have convinced you that the distinction he has drawn be- 
tween our treating at the same time, and our treating as an 
independent nation, are very well founded. It will serve 
too, Sir, to show that your suspicions on another point are 
groundless. To suppose that France would go to war for 
our independence, and yet not wish to see that indepen- 
dence recognised, is a solecism in politics. Surely every 
acknowledgment of this kind raises our hopes and de- 
presses those of the enemy, and places the justice of the 
war. Loth on the part of France and of us, in a fairer 
point of view. But, Sir, I do not enlarge on this sub- 
ject ; your instructions ought to be your guide, and they 
evidently show, that at the time they were given, Con- 
gress meant that you should treat the ^linister of France 
at the Court of Petersburg, with the most unreserved con- 
fidence, and that you should not declare your mission till 


he thought the moment favorable. They still retain the 
same sentiments, every day having convinced them that 
France makes but one interest with them in establishing 
their independence. That she should be delicate about 
advising us to solicit the notice of other Courts, is not to 
be wondered at, since she must partake, in some degree, 
of the humiliations that our ill-timed solicitations subject us 
to. The whole of your communications with the Count 
de Vergennes, marks a delicacy on the other side, about 
advising upon a measure, which the instructions of your 
sovereign should direct. It is easy to see his opinion and 
his apprehensions of appearing to have disapproved what 
Congress had thought might be advantageous to them. 
I conclude this. Sir, by requesting you, if you have not 
yet made a communication of your powers, to delay doing 
it till the Marquis de Verac shall agree in sentiment with 
you that it will be expedient, or until you shall receive 
further instructions from Congress. 

In the meanwhile you will employ yourself in the man- 
ner, which your instructions and my last letter advise. I 
can see no other line in which you can be useful in your 
present station. As you will have much leisure on hand, 
I must beg you to write weekly to this office in cypher, 
and to write with freedom whatever it may be useful for 
us to know, particularly all changes that may take place in 
the administration and the measures of Russia. I will not 
repeat what I have said on this subject in my last, a quad- 
ruplicate of which is enclosed, as is also a cypher. This 
letter will be consigned to Mr Adams, who will take 
means to forward it to you by a safe hand. 

I am in great pain on account of your letter of the 28lh 
of July, a duplicate of which is arrived. The original has 


miscarried ; should it have fallen into improper hands it 
may do us very essential injury. I need not tell you how 
impatient 1 shall be to hear that this has reached you, since 
I cannot use my cypher till I receive a line from you writ- 
ten in it, nor can 1 write with freedom to you till I have a 

Since the reduction of York, nothing important has 
passed in the military line. The enemy keep possession 
of New York, Charleston, and Savannah, though they have 
not strengthened either of the garrisons. They are conse- 
quently much weakened ; if, as we expect, we shall have a 
naval sumiort, we have no doubt of being able to expel 
ihem this campaign from the continent. Our effective 
force, exclusive of militia, which we can call in as wc 
want them, including four thousand five hundred French 
troops, amounts to about twenty thousand men. 

They are hardy veterans, well disciplined, well armed, 
well clad, and well fed. Our finances have assumed anew 
form, and are every day becoming more respectable by the 
total abolition of paper, except that of the bank, payable in 
specie at sight. You have doubtless heard of the late 
change in the British administration. Sir Guy Carleton 
has come out in the place of Sir Henry Clinton, and we 
have reason to believe, that the present system is to en- 
deavor by lenient measures, to seduce us from our alliance 
with France, and to cajole us out of that freedom, which 
they find they cannot force us to relinquish. It is aston- 
ishing to see the contempt with which these attempts are 
received. The only efTect they have, is to convince us of 
the declining strength of tiie enemy, and to excite a general 
determination to push them with vigor before tiiey recover 
their late blow. 1 enclose the last resolution of Congress, 


organizing this office, that you may, by seeing my powers- 
know what attention you are to pay to my letters, which 
will consist of two sorts ; the one written by me without 
consulting Congress, in which, however, I shall always gov- 
ern myself by what I suppose to be their sentiments; the 
other, written and submitted to their inspection, so that you 
may have the highest evidence of its corresponding with 
their views. When this is the case, I shall always inform 
you of it. This letter has been read in Congress, and of 
course contains no instructions, which they disapprove, i 
shall send you a packet of newspapers with this. 

I shoukl have told you, that your salary will in future be 
paid here. I shall receive it as your agent, and vest it in 
bills on Dr Franklin, and remit them to him, so that you 
may draw upon him quarterly. I shall send him one quar- 
ter's salary by this conveyance, commencing the 1st of Jan- 
uary last, and ending the 1st of April last, and considering 
myself as the agent of all our foreign Ministers, I shall fol- 
low your directions relative to the disposition of your 
appointment, until you shall think it expedient to name 

Your most obedient humble servant, 



Philadelphia, May 22d, 1782. 
Your letters, from the 28th of July to October 15th, 
have been read in Congress. I have reported an answer,* 
but they have not yet agreed on it, and I do not care to let 

* This refers to the preceding letter of May 10th. 


this vessel go without a line, liowever hastily written, to 
you, You will receive with this the newspapers, which 
contain some information upon a delicate point. The ad- 
ministration of Britain having been changed, they will en- 
deavor to represent themselves as popular in America, to 
induce a belief that we will, under their auspices, be de- 
sirous of returning to our connexion with them. Be as- 
sured, that the ciiange in their administration has produced 
none in the sentiments of America ; they are immovably 
fixed in their determination to support their independence, 
and not to violate their alliance with France. The Assem- 
bly of M]^p)-land and the Council of this State have passed 
resolutions to that effect ; it will be the language of all, as 
soon as they meet. Congress have refused a passport to 
Sir Guy Carleton's Secretary, which was asked in order 
that he might be the bearer of a letter to Congress. 
Neither army has taken the field, of course I have no 
military operations to communicate. 

Your salary will in future be paid here, where your 
agent will vest it in bills on Dr Franklin, quarterly, upon 
whom you will draw accordingly. I shall consider myself 
as agent for all our foreign Ministers, and transact the busi- 
ness accordingly for you, unless you should choose to ap- 
point some other. 

I enclose a cypher, which you will use if it arrives safe, 
till I have leisure to send you a better. 
I am, Sir, your mo=t humble servant, 




Philadolphia, May 2Dth, 1782. 

You will receive herewith a letter of the 10th instant, 
wiiich having been submitted to Congress, was returned 
yesterday to this office, together with the resolution, which 
1 iiave the honor to enclose expressive of their sense of the 
sentiments contained in the letter, and of the line of con- 
duct you ought to pursue. Having written to you lately, I 
have little to add. 

We have not been able to settle a cartel with the Brit- 
ish for the exchange of |)risoners, of whom we have a 
balance in our hands to the amount of ten thousand. They 
refuse to pay the great suras, that we have advanced for 
their maintenance, which we make a preliminary to an 
exchange. It is not improbable, that the Germans will be 
made free of the country, sold for three years, to defray 
this expense, which they most of them wish, as they ex- 
press a great inclination to settle here. 
I have the honor to be, he. 



St Petersburg, June 28th, 1782. 

Immediately after we had received intelligence here of 
the important change in the councils, and in the system of 
Great Britain, I consulted my correspondent (the Marquis 
de Verac) upon the expediency of disclosing my public 
character, without further delay to her Majesty's principal 


Minister. He gave ine his opinion freely and candidly. 
For your information, I need only say, that it is the same 
in every respect with his former one, which you will find 
in l)is letter to me, of the 12th of September last, and in 
mine of September 15th to the President of Congress. 

I cannot take upon me to say, that his opinion is not 
well founded. My private sentiment then was, that that 
event could not fail to occasion a correspondent change in 
her Majesty's system also ; but 1 knew my means of in- 
formation were not as good as those of my correspondent, 
and that though every one seems to think the mediation 
of her Majesty, between Great Britain and Holland, was 
in effect at an end, yet in form it was still kept up, so that 
the reasons against disclosing my character, mentioned to 
you in my letter of ^larch 5th, might still be supposed to 
have some inlluence. This determined me to conform to 
his advice. 

However, I could not think of resting totally inactive in 
this state of things ; though I thought it not prudent to 
make any official communications, yet it could not be 
amiss to endeavor at this time to turn, if possible, the 
thoughts of those in government upon our affairs, and to 
refute certain assertions of our enemies, which had re- 
mained without contradiction here, and by this means to 
prepare the way for the formei;. It might at least serve 
to sound the sentiments of the Ministers. Willi these 
views I have thrown the few following redeclions upon 
paper, three translations of which into Frencii, have, I am 
assured, been placed in the very iiands I wished to place 
them, and that they liave not been unacceptable. 
VOL. VIII. 45 



"When Great Britain engaged in a war with Iier late 
Colonies, either to obtain allies, or to prevent new enemies 
rising up against her, she was desirous to have it believed 
that she was contending in the common cause of all the 
maritime powers of Europe. Spain she endeavored to 
alarm by suggesting, that the revolt in America would be 
a fatal example to all her Colonies in the new world, and 
if it had not such an effect upon them, they would at least 
be liable to be conquered one after another, by their new 
neighboring empire, so that in one way or the other Spain 
would lose her American Colonies, if the independence 
of the United States should be established. To Holland 
she held up the danger her peculiar commerce, and her 
navigation would be exposed to, from the enterprising spirit 
of the Americans, who would not fail to become soon her 
rivals throughout all Europe. To the nations about the 
Baltic she alleged, that the free commerce of America 
would be highly prejudicial to their commerce, because 
many of the commodities of America, being of the same 
nature with theirs, they would everywhere in the markets 
of Europe come into concurrence with them. She has 
been more particular with regard to Russia, and asserted, 
that this empire can derive no possible benefit frona a free 
and direct commerce with America, and that with or with- 
out this commerce, Russia will be in the same circumstan- 
ces, because Great Britain who noio takes of, ivill con- 
tinue to take off, all the superfluous productions, and man- 
ufactures of Russia. 

"The conduct of Spain, and of Holland, is the best 
comment upon the declarations of the British, which re- 


spect those nations. I shall confine myself, therefore, to 
those which respect the nations about the Baltic, and par- 
ticularly Russia. A few short reflections upon these rea- 
sonings, or rather assertions, may perhaps show the mere 
fallacy of iheni. 

"Let it be admitted, that Great Britain will in fact con- 
tinue to take off ail the superfluous productions and man- 
ufactures of Russia. Does it follow from hence, that Rus- 
sia can have no interest in a free and direct commerce 
with America ? Will it make no diflerence to the interests 
of Russia whether she disposes of her commodities to 
Great Briiirin alone, or to Great Britain and America at 
the same time ? Will not the concurrence of America in 
her ports give an additional advantage to Russia ? Will it 
not enhance the price of her commodities ? Will it not 
increase the demand for them ? And will not this increased 
demand be the means also of increasing the quantity of her 
productions and manufactures? If these things do not fol- 
low, all the reasonings of the best writers upon the princi- 
ples of commerce, showing the great benefits every nation 
derives from the concurrence of purchasers of her com- 
modities, are false and delusive. Besides, how is Russia 
paid for her productions and manufactures? Is it not by 
exchange in a very great proportion for foreign commodi- 
ties ? Are not many of these foreign commodities of the 
peculiar production or manufacture of America, such as 
rice, indigo, sugar, coffee, cocoa, pimento, cochineal, and 
all sorts of dyeing woods ? Does it make no difference to 
the interest of Russia, whether she receives those articles 
directly from the countries, which produce them, or in cir- 
cuitous voyages through Great Britain, and consequently 
from a. third hand ? Does not this course draw alons; with 



it double freight, double insurance, double commissions, 
and are not all the other charges attending a voyage (to 
say nothing of additional duties,) ordinarily doubled by 
means of this circuitous course ? Will not the price of sue!} 
American commodities be increased by these means when 
they arrive in Russia, at the most moderate computation, 
at the rate of tvventyfive per cent ? Will not Russia, there- 
fore, necessarily lose at that same rate, upon all her com- 
modities sold to Great Britain in exchange for such Amer- 
ican commodities ? And will not this contribute in a great 
measure to keep the course of exchange against her ? 
And will she not lose also the advantages she would infal- 
libly derive from the concurrence of the Americans in her 
ports ? fs it not worthy of consideration, whether this ex- 
tra price of materials, necessary for the manufactures of 
Russia, will not render them so much dearer to foreign 
nations, and whether this circumstance will not expose her 
to the danger of being rivalled in those very commodities 
in other countries? In one word, is it not of the last im- 
portance to a nation to draw all such foreign commodities 
as she wants from the first hand, or from their proper 
source ? What credit, then, is to be given to the asser- 
tion of the British, viz. that this empire can derive no 
benefit from a free and direct commerce with America, 
and that, without this commerce, Russia will be in the 
same circumstances. 

"Further, if it is true, that many of the productions of 
America are of the same nature with those of Russia, and 
that a concurrence of those articles on the psrt of Amer- 
ica, in the m.irkets of Europe, would be prejudicial to 
the commerce of Russia, does it follow from hence, that 
it would not be the interest of Russia to have a free and 


direct commerce with America ? Let us take one article 
by way of example ; hemp, which is the foundation of the 
principal commerce of Russia. That within some parts of 
the extensive territories of the United States, both the soil 
and climate may be adapted to the cultivation of hemp 
of the best quality, cannot reasonably be doubted. Is it 
not then of the highest importance to Russia, to turn the 
thoughts of the Americans from the cultivation of this 
plant, or in other words, to make it their interests not to 
cultivate it ? That Russia can do this, by means which 
may be pointed out, and in the use of which both nations 
may pr^ote their general interests, is certain. But will 
the exclusion of the Americans from a free and direct com- 
merce have this effect ? Will the sending them to Great 
Britain, or to any other country in Europe than Russia, for 
the commodities of Russia, but especially for her hemp, 
have a tendency to that effect ? Will not the Russian 
hemp, in consequence of such measures, be btirthened 
with all the charges abovementioned when it comes to the 
hands of the Americans, that is to say, with the extraordi- 
nary charge of twentyfive per cent i* And will not this 
twenty6ve per cent in fact operate in the nature of a bounty 
to that amount, to encourage' the cultivation of American 
hemp ? ' 

"Besides if America should find a combination to ex- 
clude her from the benefit of a free and direct commerce 
with Russia, is it not natural to suppose she would endea- 
vor to relieve herself from the effects of such an inequita- 
ble system, by vigorously adopting proper nuasures for 
that purpose? And could she not doit? flight she not 
begin by profiting of the errors of such an exclusive sys- 
tem, to the encouragement that system would give to the 



cultivation of her hemp, could she not superadd a duty 
upon all Russian hemp, which should be imported into 
America ? The effects of such a policy on the one part 
and on the other, cannot possibly escape the penetration of 
those whose business it is maturely to consider these things. 
But may it not be asked, if the mischiefs pointed out 
above should in fact take place, are there any benefits 
which Russia could derive from such a system, which 
would more than coimterbalance them ? And what are 
these benefits ? What, for instance, could compensate 
Russia for the damage she would sustain by losing the sup- 
ply of hemp for the great American market, a market 
which will be rapidly increasing, while that of Great Bri- 
tain, to say the least, has come to a full stand ? Would not 
two other important supplies be in danger of sharing the 
same fate, viz, sailcloth and cordage ? All these three 
articles have hitherto been imported in great quantities into 
America; sailcloth for the use of all their navigation, and 
there is scarce any kind of Russian manufactures, which 
they have not imported, and which they do not want. 
Finally, it is certain, that if America had continued under 
the dominion of Great Britain, that very concurrence in the 
markets of Europe, which the British pretend will be a 
« '^'.iscquence of the independence of America, v.-ould have 
taken place, especially in the articles of pitch, tar, turpen- 
tine, iron, ship timber, masts, spars, bowsprits, and in gen- 
eral of all naval stores. 

"Every one knows that Great Britain drew great quan- 
tities of all these commodities from the northern nations. 
It is not less certain, that she drew some of all of them 
from her late Colonies. But these commodities are so 
bulky, anc 


impossible for the Americans to transport them across the 
Atlantic so cheap as the nations of Europe, which wanted 
them, and Great Britain in particular, could import them 
from tile northern nations. This kind of commerce, tiiere- 
fure, would long since have utterly failed, and been left 
free for those nations, if, to prevent this, Great Britain had 
not adopted the policy of u;ranting large bounties upon all 
those commodities, iron alone excepted, when imported 
into Great Britain from America. It was her interest to 
do this, because at the same time, that she was thereby 
encouraging the commerce of her Colonies, she was ren- 
dering a^reat benefit to her own manufactures, in which 
she paid the Americans for those commodities, so that her 
bounties turned to the account of both parts of the Empire 
at once. Besides, they made her less dependent upon 
any foreign nations for those commodities, and she was too 
well acquainted with her commercial and political interests 
ever to lose sight of that object. She could not grant a 
bounty upon iron without injuring iier own mines ; she 
therefore adopted the method of exempting the iron of 
America from duties, which she imposed upon all the iron 
imported from any foreign country, and these duties being 
considerable, they had a like effect upon American iron, 
as the bounties had upon the other commodities. This 
system was calculated gradually to destroy the commerce 
of the northern nations with Great Britain. 

"Now is it not certain, take away the dependence of 
America iipon the empire of Great Britain, and you take 
away at the same time the interest of Great Britain, to 
give the preference to those American commodities ? She 
will then procure them where she can procure them cheap- 
est, that is from the northern nations. When the British 


bounties ilierefore cease, the commerce of America with 
Europe in those articles will cease with them. And thus 
those nations will nowhere be troubled with the dangerous 
concurrence in the markets of Europe on the part of Ame- 
rica, which lias been so much talked of by the British, and 
may have influenced the political systems of those powers. 
During the time America was dependent upon the British 
empire, she has always imported great quantities of iron 
and steel from Sweden through Great Britain. She will 
certainly continue to import those articles when she can 
obtain them so uuich cheaper by a direct commerce with 
Sweden or Russia. Is it not tlien clear, that the indepen- 
dence of the United Stales, in whatever view it is properly 
considered, will turn to the benefit of all Europe, Great Bri- 
tain alone excepted ; that the nations about the Baltic, Rus- 
sia above ail, if they adopt in season a wise policy towards 
America, have everything to hope and nothing to fear from 
the commerce of that country ?" 

As these reflections were not in my hand writing, or 
signed, or delivered by me, so there was no danger of ex- 
posing Congress or myself in this business. Though no 
great doubt could be enteitained from what hand they 
came, yet they might have been disavowed by me if it 
should be thought advisable. I pretend not to have sug- 
gested any new matter upon the subject, or to have urged 
the whole that might have been said upon it. Brevity was 
a thing indispensably necessary. They are perhaps more 
adapted to the local state of afiairs. than anything the Min- 
isters here may have seen. On the whole, I have no rea- 
son to repent of the measure. Although it should not be 
attended with any immediate good effects, yet I flatter my- 
self it may not be wholly fruitless. 


I have prepared a second part, wliicli enforces the first, 
enters more into political matter, and is chiefly designed as 
an answer to certain ostensible objections, which I under- 
stand have been made against her Imperial Majesty's form- 
ing at present any political connexion with the United 
States, but have made no use of it yet, because since the 
delivery of the first, accounts of the advantages gained by 
the British fleet over the French in the West Indies, have 
arrived here, and seem a little to have changed the face of 
affairs in this quarter ; though it seems to me whoever re- 
flects upon that unfortunate action, cannot really suppose 
the relative force of the two nations essentially altered by 
it. ■ The British it is true may have thereby saved the 
most valuable of their possessions in those parts, for this 
year at least, the loss of which would have reduced them 
nearly to despair, and compelled them to solicit a universal 
peace upon such terms as they know it is to be obtained. 
In this view it has its serious consequences. 

I would very willingly comply with your request, and 
make my letters more numerous and more minute, but the 
want of a safe conveyance from hence, (having no other 
than the post, and not having any cypher from your oflice) 
obliges me to remain totally silent upon some matters, and 
to use so much caution in others, that 1 fear none of them 
will afford you much satisfaction, or can be of any real ser- 
vice. 1 have not been honored with any letter from you 
since that of the 22il of October last, the duplicate of which 
has never come to hand. When you write me, please to 
send your letters to the care of iNIr Adams. I pray you to 
acquaint Congress, that I shall not fail to exert my small 
abilities to the utmost, and to improve every favorable op- 
portunity to promote the end of my mission. I should be 
VOL. vm. 4G 


happy if I could give them any reasonable assurances, that 
my success was at hand. 

I am, with much respect and esteem, he. 



St Petersburg, August 30tli, 1782. 

I cannot suffer the post of this day to depart without ac- 
knowledging the receipt of the quadruplicate of the 2d of 
last March, and another of the 22d of May. They were 
received last evening. Neither the original of the first, nor 
either of the other copies has reached me, so that 1 have 
been a long time without any intelligence about affairs in 
our country from you. The reason you assigned for this 
surprised me. I thought it had been next to impossible, 
that my letters written from hence, in August, September, 
and October last, should not have reached you long before 
that time. The only channel through which you can write 
me with the least security, is Holland. If your letters are 
sent to the care of Mr Adams, they will come on under 
every possible caution ; but no letter should be sent ad- 
dressed immediately to me. In such a case, there is no 
doubt but they would all be opened at the office here. I 
send all my own letters under cover to friends in Holland, 
which, though it doubles the postage, is a caution which 
ought not to be dispensed with. 

Your letter has eased me of much anxiety, particularly 
that paragraph of it, which begins with the word "?/ot/" 
and ends with ^^ acknowledged,''^ as it has cleared up the 
point of most importance, and upon which I wanted more 


explicit directions than arc coiuained in my instructions. 
Though this leiler has been so long on its way, yet it has 
arrived in good season to answer every purpose cl it. I 
have hitherto been governed by sentiments exactly con- 
formable to those you Iiave expressed in the clause which 
begins with "a//" and ends with ''insecure:' But iny 
anxiety arose from an apprehension, that the expectations 
of Congress might possibly have been different, for want of 
some local information, which I have never ventured to 

I have reason to believe, that at this time, the illustrious 
Sovereign of this empire, and her principal IMinisters are 
folly convinced, that the affairs of the United States have 
acquired a consistency, which renders their independence 
perfectly secure, particularly that they are not distracted 
by internal divisions, that Congress are everywhere highly 
respected, freely obeyed, and firmly supported ; that the 
governments of the several States harmonise with them and 
with each other, in all great political points, and in their 
turn are equally respected, obeyed, and supported by their 
respective citizens. On these points there is no danger of 
our suffering from the misrepresentations of our enemies. If 
I have been able to collect any part of the sentiments of this 
Court, it is that the independence of the United States is 
established beyond all question, and that its political mea- 
sures, so far as they may take our country into view, will 
be formed upon that supposition. Indeed, they have long 
since been formed on that ground. 

Sir, as I propose to forward two copies of this letter by 
the post of the day, I should miss of the opportunity if I 
enlarged here. I will take up the subject in my next by 
the next post. I am sorry to find the ordinance you men- 


tiori does not accompany your letter, though you say you 
enclosed it. I wrote to Mr Adams for it as soon as 1 heard 
of it, but have not received it from him. 
I have the honor to be, he. 



St Petersburg, September 5th, 1782. 

Though there is now no danger of our suffering from 
the misrepresentations ot the British, and our indepen- 
dence may be considered as established beyond all ques- 
tion, yet her Imperial Majesty, still entertaining the expec- 
tation of mediating at the general peace, every measure 
which may possibly be deemed an obstacle to that end will 
be studiously avoided. It is not, therefore, to be expected, 
that any application of ours would meet with the desired 
success, while her Imperial Majesty continues to tender 
her mediation. This has all along been my idea of the 
matter, and if I had not received the further instructions of 
Congress, contained in your letter, I should not have 
attempted to assume my public character under such cir- 

But I must confess at the same time I should have 
risked the measure the first moment I saw the mediation 
given up by her Majesty ; because 1 did not- view the 
United States as humble supplicants at this Court ; as they 
were not seeking aids from her Majesty, and had nothing 
to ask but what they intended to give an ample equivalent 
for. And 1 did not consider, that the real honor and dig- 
nity of the United States would be more exposed, even by 


her Majesty's declining to accept our propositions, and by 
my immediate retirement from her Court in tliat case, 
than they would be exposed to, by my long residence here 
(no such cause as is mentioned existing) in the character 
of a private citizen of the United Slates, when the event 
would show, that 1 had all the while a commission in my 
pocket as their public Minister. You will not conceive, 
Sir, that 1 mean to question the propriety of the orders of 
Congress which you have communicated to me. 1 am 
sensible it is my duty to obey, and not to dispute their 
commands, and I am very happy to have received diem 
in such clear and explicit terms. 

^\ beg leave to observe, that when Congress ordered my 
commission and instructions to be made out, they seem to 
have misapprehended the nature of the confederation pro- 
posed by her Imperial Majesty, to maintain the freedom 
of commerce, and of navigation. My commission and in- 
structions are in part founded upon the supposition, that 
her Imperial Majesty, in her declaration of February 2Sth, 
1780, had invited both the belligerent and neutral powers 
to enter into a general convention for that purpose, and 
authorise and direct me to accede to the same (if invited 
diereto) on the part of the United States. Whereas that 
declaration is in the nature of a notification to the bellig- 
erent powers only, and contains a complaint of the inter- 
ruption the commerce and navigation of the neutral nations, 
and of her own subjects in particular, had suffered from 
the subjects of the belligerent powers, in violation of the 
rights of neutral nations, sets fordi and claims those rights 
and declares, that to maintain them, to protect the honor 
of her flag, &ic. she had fitted out the greatest part of her 
marine forces. These violations, it is said in ii, ought to 



excite the attention of all neutral powers. In pursuance 
of this sentiment, a copy of the declaration was communi- 
cated to the Courts of Stockholm, Copenhagen, Lisbon, 
and to the States-General ; in which communication they 
are invited to make a common cause of this business with 
her Imperial Majesty, who adds, that if to establish this 
system on a solid foundation, the neutral powers above- 
mentioned would open a negotiation, and enter into a par- 
ticular convention, she would be ready to come into it. 

This is the only passage I have been able to find in all 
the acts relative to this subject, which gives the least idea 
of a Congress, or general negotiation. No general nego- 
tiation has ever been opened in consequence of this inti- 
mation, and if there had been, the belligerent powers, I 
conceive, could have taken no part regularly in it, or in 
the particular conventions which might have been the re- 
sult. They had only to make their several answers to the 
declaration which her Imperial Majesty made to them, as 
they have done. The marine convention which was after-" 
wards first entered into by her Imperial Majesty, and the 
King of Denmark, and which has served as a basis for all 
the others, being nothing more than an association to main- 
tain their rights as neutral powers, no formal accession 
can be made to such a confederation on the part of the 
United States, till they cease to be a belligerent power. 

Viewing the matter in this light, and knowing that the 
resolutions of Congress have long since been communicated 
to her Majesty by Mr Adams, through her jMinister at the 
Hague, I have not communicated them, though he thought 
it was the intention of Congress I should do it, on my arrival 
here. I hope, Sir, you will favor me with the sentiments of 
Congress upon this subject by the earliest opportunity, that 


I may know not only wliether I am mistaken in my opinion 
about it, but whether my conduct meets with their ap- 

It is proper to advise Congress, that there is a fixed 
custom at this Court, that every power entering into any 
treaty with her Imperial Majesty, must pay six thousand 
roubles to each of her principal jNIinistcrs, that is, to four 
of them, making twentyfour thousand in all, reckoning them 
upon an average of exchange upon London, at fortyfive 
pence sterling, makes £4,500, if I mistake not. This 
sum has been paid by all the neutral powers, who have 
acceded to her marine convention. If therefore the time 
«bbuld ever arrive for me to make any treaty here, it will 
be indispensably necessary Congress should enable me to 
advance that sum. upon the execution of each treaty. 1 
make no other comment upon this practice, than that I 
hope it may never find its way into our country. 

I was too much pressed for time when I wrote you last 
to acquaint you, that Portugal had acceded to the neutral 
confederation. This should not be considered as a mere 
voluntary act on the part of Portugal. For Portugal sent on 
hither, in the course of last winter, a consul, in expectation 
of forming a commercial treaty, which her Majesty declin- 
ed, unless Portugal would accede to the neutral confeder- 
ation. The commercial treaty is not yet finished. It 
seems to be the present determination of her Majesty, not 
to grant any special commercial favors to any nation, but 
to make treaties with all upon equal principles. The 
treaty with Britain, which will expire on the 20ih of June, 
1786, I am assured is not likely to be renewed, so that 
that nation will presently lose the benefits derived from a 
kind of monopoly, which they have long enjoyed here. 

You acquaint me that Congress have ordered the sal- 


aries of all their foreign Ministers to be paid in America, 
anil that you shall transmit bills to Dr Franklin, upon 
whom they are to draw quarterly. I shall attend to this 
new arrangement in future. I wish you would be pleased 
to inform me in your next, whether Congress have taken 
into consideration the questions I stated in my letter of 
the 24th of March, ITS I, relative to my salary ; and what 
lias been done upon it. I am inclined to think, from the 
concluding paragraph of the preamble to my instructions, 
that Congress supposed, "the diplomatic order, in Vi'hich I 
am placed by my commission," was inferior to that in 
which their other Ministers in Europe are placed by their 
commissions. That paragraph seems to have been taken 
from V^attel's Law of Nations, where he treats of the sev- 
eral orders of public Ministers. He supposes a great dif- 
ference in point of ceremony or etiquette, and says, that 
Ministers Plenipotentiary are of much greater distinction 
than simple Ministers. In both these suppositions he is 
certainly mistaken, at least as to this Court, where they 
are treated in the same manner in every respect. Indeed 
Envoys Extraordinary, and Extraordinary Ministers Plen- 
ipotentiary, and Ministers simply so named, being all in 
the second class of public Ministers, and of equal rank, 
are treated in the same manner. No distinction is made 
between them on account of their different titles. 

Precedency among Ministers of the same class, is not 
settled here throughout. The general rule of adjusting 
here and elsewhere, is the relative rank of their resj)ective 
masters or sovereigns. No Minister, for instance, of the 
second class, would dispute precedency with a Minister of 
the Emperor of the same class ; but we have seen a Min- 
ister of the present Empress claim precedency of a Min- 


ister of France of the same class, though generally the 
Ministers of France have been in possession of the place 
next to the Ministers of the Emperor. This dispute has 
left the mailer of precedency among INlinisters of the same 
class, much at loose here, where indeed they arc not much 
troubled about etiquette of any sort. Each Court has its 
particular usag.e in such cases, and no good information is 
to be drawn from any general treatises upon the subject. 
1 have the honor to be, &:c. 



Philadelpliia, September 16th, 1782. 

1 have just now received your favor of the 30th of 
March, it being the only letter we have had from you in 
eleven months. The previous one of March 5lh never 
reached me. I am compelled from the variety of things 
that press upon me at this time, to answer in fewer words 
than I would wish to do. Your observations on the trade 
of Russia are very pertinent, and afford us some useful 
hints, and as none of the actions of the Empress, who has 
at present, by the force of her own abilities, such influence 
upon the affairs of Europe can be indifferent to us, we feel 
an interest in the statement you give us of her connexion 
with the Porte. You have, however, been totally silent 
upon a subject that interests us more immediately. You 
say nothing of your own situation, whether you are known 
or concealed ; whether you have conversed with the 
Minister, or thought it prudent to kcej) at a distance till a 
more favorable moment offers ; whether our cause gains 
VOL. VIII. 47 


or loses ground at Petersburg ; and what means you 
use to support it; whether you have had any conversation 
with the French Ambassador since that you detailed to us, 
and what the result of your conferences with him have 
been. These are points upon which we should not be left 
in the dark. 

As to ourselves, nothing important has been done in the 
military line this summer. The enemy has remained in- 
active, and our disappointment in the expected naval aid 
from the misfortune of Count de Grasse, has compelled us 
hitherto to be so too ; though we never at any period of 
the war had so respectable an army, if we take into view 
either their numbers, their discipline, or their supplies of 
every kind. The French troops from Virginia have just 
joined ours on the banks of the Hudson. The feeble 
attempt of the British to dissolve the alliance formed 
against them, by detaching us from France, or France 
from us, was received here with contempt, and almost 
every legislature on the continent immediately passed 
unanimous resolutions expressive of their determination to 
make no peace in which the interest of their allies was not 
included. Congress refused to receive Mr Morgan, Sec- 
retary to General Carleton. 

The change which afterwards took place in the British 
administration, has made a very important alteration in 
their system here. Savannah was evacuated, and the 
proposed evacuation of Charleston has been announced in 
general orders. Everything seemed to speak the evacu- 
ation of New York, when we learnt that a second change 
has taken place, and that the death of the Marquis of 
Rockingham has put Lord Sheiburne at the head of the 


The enclosed letter rrop.i General Carleton and Admi- 
ral Digby, Commissioners for making peace, is such a 
glaring evidence against them, if they change their conduct 
towards us, that I wish you to have it published. 
I am, Sir, your most obedient humble servant, 



St Petersburg, September 23d. 1782. 


Your answer to my letters, from the 28th of July to 
<5fclober, mentioned in yours of the 22d of May, has not 
reached me, nor have any of your letters except those the 
receipt of which is acknowledged in my last. That of the 
22d of May, I received on the 29th of last month, but the 
newspapers which you say accompany it, were brought 
me by yesterday's post, at an expense of near four pounds 
sterling. How they came to be separated from your 
letter, or who forwarded them to me. I know not. 

It may be advisable to furnish me, when the time will 
admit of it, with authentic copies of such proceedings of 
Congress, as I ought to be particularly informed about, or 
when these matters, or any other of that nature are pub- 
lished in the newspapers, to cut them out and enclose 
them in your letters. For I cannot receive our newspa- 
pers through any other channel than the post, and at what 
expense, you have a specimen above. I cannot tell to 
what accident it has been owing, that I never received the 
resolutions of Congress of the 26th of June, 1781, till the 
last week. Had I been possessed of them when I wrote 
ray last, I should not have troubled you with an inquiry 


about the questions stated in my letter of the 24tii of 
March, 1781, to which they seem to be intended as an 
answer. If Congress have made any alterations touching 
the subject of them as far ns it can now concern me, I 
should be glad to know them. 

As it seems to be the fixed determination of Congress 
that nothing shall be put to hazard here, 1 shall not think 
myself at liberty to take any official step to bring on the 
business of my mission, though the general state of affairs 
should seem to promise success, unless I have assurances, 
that I shall be received and acknowledged in my public 
character. Congress must not expect any such assurances 
will begin on the part of this Court, so long as the Court 
of London shall oppose any act by which we may be con- 
sidered as an independent nation. For her Imperial Maj- 
esty would not choose unnecessarily to give the least 
umbrage to the Court of London, and, of course, if not 
called upon to do it, she will not make any advances to 
meet our views, till all opposition shall cease. Her Maj- 
esty and her Ministers well know our policy is founded 
upon great and liberal principles, and they do not appre- 
hend they shall lose any advantages by postponing a po- 
litical connexion with us, till the way is perfectly clear 
to form it. 

There has no change taken place in the administration 
here, as you have been informed, since my arrival. 
Count Panin had retired from Court before, and though 
he still bears the tide of Chief of the College of Foreign 
Affairs, yet he takes not the least part in them. The 
Vice Chancellor, Count d'Ostcrmann, continues to con- 
duct the etiquette of that department, as the First Minister. 
Things appear to be governed still by the same influence 


and the same principles, which took place upon the retire- 
ment of the former. I have attempted to write to you in 
your cypher, but find the scheme intolerably tedious, and 
so liable to errors, that I have been obliged to give it up. 
Besides, it has come to me through the post office, and I 
am not sure they are not in possession of a copy of it. I 
will endeavor to prepare another scheme, which I think 
will be attended with much less trouble, and be equally 
good on other accounts. I will forward it to Holland by 
Mr Adams's son, who will soon leave me, when I shall be 
totally destitute of any assistance, and deprived of any per- 
son into whose hands your papers might be committed in 
case of my death ; nor is it possible here to procure any 
one in whom 1 could safely confide. I am the more easy 
about this, as I propose to return to America as soon after 
I shall be received in my public character, as the princi- 
pal business of my mission shall be finished. I will, my- 
self, bring any treaty I may conclude here for ratification, 
when I doubt not I shall be able to assign such reasons for 
my departure, without express permission, as will be satis- 
factory to Congress. 

I have the honor to be, &:c. 



St Petersburg, September "Jtlh, 17d2. 


I have this day been honored with the duplicate of 

yours of the 10th of May, and of the 22d and 29ih of the 

same month, together with the resolutions of Congress of 

the 22d of February, and of the 1st of March last, 


relative to your department, but no copy of your letter, or 
of the resolutions of Congress expressive of their sense of 
the seatiments contained in the letter of the lOiii of May, 
or of the cypher, all of which you say are enclosed in that 
letter, has come to hand with it. 

If ray first letter to you, dated March 5th, which was 
written by the next post after the receipt of your first, has 
been received, and 1 think it must have been soon after 
the date of your last, all anxiety which might have been 
occasioned by my earlier letters from hence, I hope will 
be removed, and that I shall be thought not to be totally 
destitute of political prudence. When that letter was writ- 
ten, I was rather apprehensive I might be censured by 
some as suffering prudence to degenerate into pusillanimity, 
for not taking advantage of the impression made by so im- 
portant an event as the surrender of Lord Cornwallis and 
his army, and thought it expedient to assign any reasons 
for not doing it, knowing that we are apt to think events, 
which so immediately change the face of affairs among 
ourselves, operate almost as sudden changes in the systems 
of Europe. 

My letter of June 28th, 1 hope also will have the same 
favorable tendency. The measure mentioned in it, I pre- 
sume will not be censured. To say the least, it has not 
been productive of any unhappy effects. I have never de- 
livered the second part, because I have not yet been satis- 
fied of the expediency of touching upon some matters which 
it contained. I have always consulted the French Minister 
freely, whenever I have ihouglit any circumstances favor- 
able to our views have turned up, (an instance will be 
found in the above letter) and I have never acted against 
his opinion given ine upon any point. 


The line I have hitherto pursued, is precisely that 
pointed out in your letter of March 2d. In truth, Sir, no 
person has higher ideas of the real honor and dignity of 
the United States than myself, and no person, perhaps, 
would he less liable rashly to expose them to any indigni- 
ties. 1 will not now trouble you with observations upon 
any parts of your letter of May 10th, though I may think 
myself obliged to do so hereafter, when I shall have a 
more convenient opportunity to enter fully into the subject 
of it, and into the necessary explanations. 

At present, we have no interesting intelligence here. 
What may be the consequences of the measures taken by 
her Imperial Majesty to restore the deposed Khan of the 
Crimea, of whom I have made some particular mention in 
my letter of the 30th of March, is not easily foreseen. 
Whenever we shall receive any certain accounts from that 
quarter, 1 shall not fail to communicate them. In that 
same letter I gave you some account of the commerce of 
this country, and pointed out in what way I imagined we 
might take a part in it to our advantage. I enclosed you 
a printed list of the exports from hence for 17S1. You 
will receive one with this also, which will serve to show 
the nature of them with more exactness than the quantity ; 
for this is always considerably greater than those lists im- 
port it to be, because they are formed from the articles 
alleged by the merchants to be shipped, and for which 
they pay the duties, and they scarce ever report the whole 
to the custom house. 

To give you a more particular knowledge of the com- 
merce of this country, I have sent you (with the diction- 
aries you wrote for) a small treatise upon the subject, 
which enters into mercantile details, and may be very ser- 


viceable to some of our merchants. It is in general well 
written, and is the only one I can learn which has been 
published upon it. Her Majesty, who seems to give great 
attention to the commerce of her empire, has since freed 
it in many instances from the restrictions imposed upon it. 
In particular, all kinds of military stores are now permitted 
to be exported by any one paying the duties, salt petre, 
rhubarb, Stc. And the exploring and working of mines, 
have also been lately encouraged. Though there are vast 
mines in this empire, yet they were never worked upon 
till the time of Peter the Great. Before that period Russia 
imported all her iron, copper, lead, he. principally from 
Sweden. At this day Russia exports as much iron (the 
exportation of copper is prohibited) as Sweden, that is, 
one year with another, about three millions of poods, a pood 
being forty pounds Russian, a little more than thirtysix 
pounds English. Some of the iron of Russia is at least 
as good as the best Swedish, particularly what is called 
old sable iron. We used to import considerable quantities 
of the Swedish, if I am not mistaken. 

Upon my arrival here, I found a strong apprehension 
prevailing, that we should rival this country in the other 
parts of Europe, especially in the important articles of iron 
and hemp. Besides what 1 have said upon this subject 
in the reflections contained in my letter of June 28th, I 
endeavored to show the high improbability of our going 
into the business of mining, even to a degree to answer 
our own demands, for an age at least, much less for for- 
eign markets. From the dearness of labor, when our 
mines if worked at all must be worked by freemen, and 
not as in Europe in general, by slaves, as we had no white 
slaves, and had prohibited the importation of blacks; that 


by this means, aided by the enemy, who in their progress 
through the southern States had stolen them from many 
plantations, and shipped not a few to their Islands, we 
should shortly see an end of slaves in our country ; that 
the policy of our governments was opposed to the com- 
merce of slaves ; that upon the supposition we could work 
our mines by freemen nearly as cheap as Russia, yet we 
should import her iron in great quantities, because the 
nature of the other commodities we should take from 
hence is such as would require our vessels to be ballasted, 
and that they would wish to take in iron in preference to 
other unprofitable ballast and without freight, so that it 
would always arrive among us at an advantageous rate. 
From the prodigious extent of our uncultivated territory, 
joined to the ease with which every inhabitant might make 
himself an independent proprietor of a sufficient portion 
of it, for the comfortable support of himself and a family, 
who in their turns might find in the same way the same 
facility of subsisting in an independent state of life ; that it 
was not in the nature of things for men thus circumstanced 
to bury themselves in the bowels of the earth, and spend 
their lives and their labor for the profit of others. 

As to the article of hemp, I observed, notwithstanding 
the encouragement by bounties given by the Parliament of 
Britain, aided by the influence of the King's Governors in 
the Colonies, we had never adopted the cultivation of it in 
any degree worth consideration ; that we had continued to 
import it through Great Britain in very great quantities; that 
scarce any vessel ever came from thence without bringing 
more or less of it ; that it had never become an article of 
exportation, unless possibly in some instances for the purpose 
of recovering bounties ; that the people were averse to its 
VOL. viii. 48 



cultivation, as it not only required a good soil, which could 
be more profitably imployed in raising grain, but impover- 
ished it very fast ; that grain was one of our capital arti- 
cles ; that by means of it we kept up a profitable com- 
merce with all the West Indies, as well as with some of 
the more southern parts of our continent ; that further, it 
would be the policy of America, whenever circumstances 
should turn her attention to manufactures, to begin upon 
the coarse woollens in preference to linens of any kind, and 
to that end to promote the increase of wool, rather than 
of flax or hemp ; that a system of this sort coincided per- 
fectly with the cultivation of grain, as it contributed to fill 
the country with provisions, to render labor cheaper, and 
to afford further supplies for the above foreign markets ; 
and that our lands instead of being injured, would be much 
meliorated by such means. 

By arguments of this kind, pursued into their details, 
and such as are contained in those reflections, I have en- 
deavored, I hope with some good effect, to dissipate any 
apprehensions of the abovementioned rivalry. This had 
become an object of consequence to us, as this rivalry was 
maintained by both friends and foes, though with very 
different views. I will explain myself hereafter upon this 

Our latest intelligence from America, comes by the way 
of Iceland, and in substance is, that the ship of war the 
Princess Caroline, had arrived there last from Charleston ; 
that she was at Savannah on the 30th of June ; that the 
garrison had received orders to evacuate that post ; that 
on the 1st of July transports had arrived there from 
Charleston to take them off; that she carried Governor 
Wright to Charleston, where she arrived the 3d of July ; 


ihat all was then quiet there, but that General Carleton 

had deterniinecl to evacuate that place also, and to keep 

possession of St Augustine. Thus it is generally supposed 

here, that those two posts have been evacuated by the 

British to reinforce New York and their Islands, and that 

New York is besieged, as we learn further by the way 

of London, that Vaudreuille had sailed with twenty ships 

of the line for our continent, supposed with the design of 

covering the siege of that place. As to military operations 

in Europe, Gibraltar now commands universal attention, 

and it is believed that celebrated rock must soon change its 

masters, and if so, that this will smooth the way to peace. 

I have the honor to be, he. 


P. S. I do not write to you in your cyphers, because, 
since your last copy is missing, I think the reasons against 
doing it are stronger than when I wrote my last. 


St Petersburg, October 14th, 1782. 
I should have done myself the honor of writing to you 
before this day, but I have been so much indisposed ever 
since the date of my last, that I have been unable to do 
it. Notwithstanding the difficulties I have had upon my 
mind, and have expressed in my letters of September 29ih, 
and October 1st, I have hazarded writing to you in your 
cypher, to communicate the matter contained in my last. 
It may be proper to acquaint you, that the reasons urged 
in support of that project, were in writing and annexed to 


It, that 1 read the whole carefully, and immediately upon my 
return home reduced it to writing from my memory, more 
at large than I have given it to you, having in my commu- 
nication expressed myself in as few words as possible, pre- 
serving the substance only, to save unnecessary trouble in 
cyphering and decyphering. This is what is alluded to 
where it is said "this rivalry was maintained by both friends 
and foes, though with very different views." 

As you have the matter now before you, if 1 did not 
feel myself under any restraint, it would be needless for 
me to trouble you with any particular observations of my 
own upon it, because you will at once discern its efiects 
upon our present interests here, as well as upon our com- 
merce and navigation in future, should the scheme be car- 
ried into execution, of which 1 believe there is now no 
probability, the plan mentioned in my letter of March 
30th, particularly that part of it contained in the clause 
beginning "perhaps solidly" and ending with "protection" 
seems to be opening upon us. 1 have never entertained 
an idea, that her Imperial Majesty, or any other of the 
neutral powers, would take a part in the present war. 
The probability of her doing so is, if possible, much weaker 
than before. 

Her attention will be turned to another quarter, and we 
may see a war break out against the Turks, in which the 
Emperor may be concerned likewise. Many movements 
tend to this end. An army of a hundred and sixty thou- 
sand Russians are ordered to assemble at Kersant, a new 
fortified village in New Russia, situated on the western 
side of the Dnieper or Borysthenes, at about fourteen 
leagues from Oczakow, a well fortified town of the Turks, 
famous in the war of 1730, situated at the niouth of the 


same river, and opposite lo Kinburn, a port which Russia 
obtained at the last peace, but which is exposed to the 
sudden attacks of the Turks h-om Oczakow. Eighteen 
regiments, amounting to about twenlyfive thousand men, 
have already arrived at Kersant, and the residue, or as 
great a part as can be collected, will be at that rendezvous 
in March next. The restoration of the deposed Khan of 
the Crimea is the declared object of this great force ; but 
I am told that revolution has been effected by the intrigues 
of the Court of St Petersburg, to raise a pretext for this 
movement, and to cover the real object in view, and that 
the campaign next year will open with the siege of Ocza- 
kow. 1 pretend not to be certain about this particular in- 
formation, but I give it to you as what appears to me not 
to be improbable. 

The Russian ^Ministers are in general Ante-Gallicans, 
and have, since the exit of Count Panin, sought to divide 
or lessen the enemies of Great Britain. Hence the most 
extraordinary proceedings to bring or rather to drive the 
United Provinces into a separate peace with Great Britain, 
(which have not yet ceased,) and hence all the patient ac- 
quiescence in her attem[)t to make a particular peace with 
the United Slates, though repugnant to the propositions 
of the mediating Courts. I believe they would have been 
well pleased, not only that their partial mediation between 
Holland and Great Britain had succeeded, but that the 
United States as an independent nation had made their 
own peace with Great Britain, and left her to contend with 
the house of Bourbon alone. From this general sketch of 
their system, you may be enabled to account for many 

I have the honor lo be, k.c. 




St Petersburg, November 1st, 1782. 

Conceiving that the most, if not the only profitable con- 
nexion, we can form with this Empire, is of a commercial 
nature, I have, during my residence here, turned much U 
my attention to learn in what manner we can carry oti a 
commerce with it, to our greatest benefit. In a former 
letter I acquainted you, that rice and indigo were the 
principal of our commodities adapted to this market ; that 
it would be necessary, therefore, for us, in order to main- 
tain any considerable commerce with this Empire, to do it 
by means of a circuitous navigation, and I pointed out a 
course which I thought practicable. That, however, would 
be absolutely annihilated, if the scheme, communicated in 
my letter of October 1st, should be carried into execution. 

It was not on that account alone that I was led to con- 
sider that scheme in so serious a light. I found it a great 
obstacle in my v/ay, counteracting our immediate views, 
and aiming a blow at our interests, in the only part where 
they were liable to, or might most easily be injured and 
wounded. 1 was of course an obstacle in the way of that, 
though at first without the least apprehension of its exist- 
i ;icc, and it must necessarily have been supposed, that I 
should be so. How far this may have influenced in cer- 
tain matters, which I need not point out for your informa- 
tion, I will not take upon me to say. I hope it will not be 
thought I have already said too much upon it, or that I 
have been unreasonably alarmed about it. There is not, 
1 believe, the least apprehension that I have come to the 
knowledge of it, or that I have been in the way of obtain- 
ing ihc least information o! it. While things remain in 


this stale, there will be no disagreeable consequences from 
it. In my last, 1 have added sonic circuinstances for the 
explanation of this subject, as I thought it not advisable to 
say anything upon it in my letter of October 1st, lest it 
might tend to disclose it, if that letter should be intercepted 
at the oflice here. One channel of my correspondence 
has been lately discovered, and a letter written to me upon 
political subjects, was opened at the office, and sent to 
me slightly sealed, that I might know it had been opened 
there. Fortunately, it placed our affairs in a very favora- 
ble light, and can do us no injury, but will serve to con- 
firm the representation I have constantly made of them. 

There is another channel of commerce, which we may 
perhaps enter into with equal or greater benefit to our- 
selves, and in which wc shall have great advantages, if 1 
am not deceived, over all the nations of Europe in this 
market ; I mean through the West Indies, all the produc- 
tions of which (rum excepted) are brought here, after be- 
ing carried into the respective mother countries, where 
they are unloaded, deposited for a considerable time, and 
loaded again before they are brought in here ; all which 
occasions a great increase of expense, and much enhances 
their price. Now almost all our commodities find a ready 
market in the islands. Would it not be practicable, there- 
fore, for us to exchange them there for the proper com- 
modities of the islands, at proper seasons of the year, and 
to proceed directly for this market ? By such means might 
we not be able to furnish them here at a much cheaper 
rate than any of the Europeans can do it, and nearly as 
cheap as if they were our own native productions — and 
might we not always be at this market with them before 
they could be, or by the time they arrive in their respec- 


live ports ? Our want of proper commodities to carry on 
a commerce with this country to any considerable extent, 
whose productions we stand in great need of, should, and 
doubtless will, make us look abroad for them. The Dutch 
have found it for their advantage to take the comniodities 
of the West Indies through France, and to bring them on 
here, as well as the wines, brandies, &lc. of that country. 
I am sensible this is a matter of calculation, and that no 
one but a thorough merchant should pretend to decide upon 
it. 1 throw out the matter therefore for consideration. 

] have suggested this plan here, as one by means of 
which this Empire might be furnished with all the produc- 
tions of the West Indies, at a much cheaper rate than the 
European nations can possibly supply them through their 
respective European countries ; and, besides this certain 
advantage, they may obtain another as a consequence of 
that, of infinite importance to this country, viz. that the Eu- 
ropeans seeing their West India commodities undersold 
here by the Americans, may find it necessary to set the 
commerce of these islands and countries free ; and to per- 
mit the productions of them to be exported directly to any 
foreign ports in Europe, and that it is not improbable that 
such a revolution in commerce will take place. 
I have the honor to be, &ic. 



Philadelphia, November 7th, 1782. 

Dear Sir, 
Since my last, a duplicate of which goes with this, I 
have been favored with yours of March 5th and June 


28tl), by which I find some of the inquiries made in my 
last answered. The reasons you have given for not 
having taken any steps to display your public character 
are judicious, and I hope will continue to influence your 
conduct till you see the moment in which, with the advice 
of your correspondent, you may do it to advantage. 

You will continue to give us the politics of the Court 
you are at, and of every other from which you can collect 
any authentic information, which the enclosed resolution of 
the 17ih of October makes more peculiarly your duty.* 
I hope you have received the cypher I sent to Mr Adams 
for you. Lest you should not, I enclose one. If you 
have received either of the others, use the large printed 
one, which you will find much safer than the other, 
as well as more easy in the practice. The large one is 
also designed as a common cypher between INIr Adams 
and you. So that you may communicate freely with each 
other, from which you may find mutual advantages. 

I also enclose several resolutions of Congress declara- 
tory of tlieir determination in no event to conclude a 
peace without the concurrence of their allies. As k is for 
the honor of the United States, that their sentimetUs on 
this subject should be known, you will make such com- 
munication of them as your prudence will direct. In my 
last, you have a copy of Carleton and Digby's letter to 
General Washington, in which they say, that they are au- 

• "Resolved, That the Secretary of Foreign Affairs inform the 
several Ministers of the United States in Europe, that it is the 
desire and the express direction of Congress, that they transmit full 
and frequent communications as well of the proceedings of the 
Courts at which they respectively reside, as those which relate to 
the negotiations for peace, and also of all such other transactions and 
events as may in any manner concern the United States " 
VOL. VIII. 49 


thoiised to declare that his Britannic Majesty has proposed 
the unconditional independence of America as preliminary 
to a peace. This change in the British Bystem places 
them in a truly contemptible light, since it' is a direct dis- 
avowal of their assertion. Carleton seems to feel this, if 
we may judge by some expressions in the extracts I en- 
close you. 

The campaign here is brought to a close, the army 
have gone into winter quarters ; the summer has passed in 
perfecting their discipline and establishing a variety of ar- 
rangements, which rendered them, in tlie opinion of well- 
informed foreign officers, equal in every point to the best 
troops in Europe. The enemy are so perfectly conscious 
of this, that they have never ventured beyond their lines, 
which they have contracted considerably. We cannot yet 
hear that Charleston is evacuated, though many arrange- 
ments had long since been made for that purpose ; it is 
improbable that the late change in the British system has 
occasioned a change of sentiment upon this point, even 
after their annunciation of such a design had driven out 
their partisans to take protection from us and enlist under 
our banner, which was insisted upon as a condition pre- 
cedent to their being received into favor. 

The enclosed resolution will inform you of the appoint- 
ment of Mr Boudinot to the rank of President in the room 
of Mr Hanson, whose year had expired. The public prints 
which accompany this, will furnish you with some articles 
of intelligence, which you may find interesting. I in- 
formed you sometime ago, that the salaries of our Minis- 
ters would in future be i)aid here, and I requested you to 
appoint an agent to receive yours. The expense to which 
this would put you, would be amply compensated by the 


profit on ilie purchase of bills and the regularity of pay- 
ment. I have taken upon me to act as your agent till I 
hear from you ; and my Secretary, Mr Morris, has hither- 
to transmitted bills to you on Dr Franklin, on your ac- 
count, bought at the rate of six shillings and three pence 
this money for five livres, which makes a saving to you of 
about twelve per cent. A letter from him containing a 
state of your account and bills for the last quarter due, 
will be sent with this. 

I wish you to appoint an agent here, or direct me to 
appoint one for you, as this is a troublesome business to 
me, particularly while I act without knowing your senti- 
ments on this subject. I have been induced to undertake 
it, at the pressing instance of the Superintendent of the 
Finances, and to render your payments more regular than 
I fear they have hitherto been. No provision is made for 
your contingent expenses, nor can there be, till you send 
rae an account of them. 

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



St Petersburg, November 18tli, 1782. 

When 1 was informed by Mr Adams, that Mr Jay had 
written to him from Paris, that "the British Commissioner 
there had received full powers to treat of a peace with 
the Commissioners of the United States," I waited upon 
the French Minister to consult him on this special occasion 
upon the expediency of communicating my powers to this 


Coiiit. It would be imprudent, iliroi|gh this channel, to go 
into the reasons he assigned against it. It may be suffi- 
cient to say, I found him strong in the opinion, that all 
attempts made prior to a peace would be fruitless. 

As his opinion is the rule by which I am to be governed 
in this case, nothinu- can be attempted till the period arrives 
when we shall not leel ourselves under strong obligations lo 
any Sovereign in the world, who should even make advan- 
ces to form political connexions with us, or acquire much 
eclat from any such connexions. 1 thought the opportu- 
nity favorable when the only power, which had any pre- 
tence of right, to contest our independence, had consented 
by so formal an act, to treat with us lipon the footing of a 
sovereign and independent State. The consideration we 
should acquire by a political connexion with the illustrious 
Sovereign of this empire during the war, and the advan- 
tages we might reasonably expect to derive from it in our 
negotiation for a peace, ^for I have never considered inde- 
pendence as our only object) have ever made me desir- 
ous, if possible, to effect it during the war. Scarce any 
political measure oi great importance can be undertaken 
with "an absolute certainty of success.'' if, therelore, 
upon mature deliberation, the state of things is lound lo be 
such, that success is not improbable, and the benefits of it 
ixreat and permanent, while the disadvantages of a failure, 
comparatively speaking, are small, and of a transient nature, 
in such a case it should seem that the measure should be 
hazarded. Though 1 do not believe this to be the very 
moment, in which her Imperial Majesty would wish to 
form anv political connexion with the United States, but 
on the contrary, she would wish to posi[)one it till the con- 
clusion of the war, and be well pleased that no advances 


should be made on our part till then ; because this would 
aflford her opportunity to claim much merit of the Court of 
London, in having withheld any encouragement to us, 
^hen at the same lime not only any offence to the United 
States would be avoided, but she raigbt allege, without a 
possibility of contradiction, that if an earlier application had 
been made by them, she would have been happy to have 
bad an occasion to manifest her respect for them, and the 
early interests she took in their concerns. 

Nevertheless there is room to suppose, that if our propo- 
sitions were communicated while the British King is in 
fact treating with the United States, as with an indepen- 
dent Sovereign power, that ihey would not be rejected. 
And if they were received, this circumstance might be 
productive of great benefit to our permanent interests. It 
would, in all probability, bring on a declaration of our inde- 
pendence by some other ver>- considerable powers oi Eu- 
rope, particularly Sweden and Russia. The neutral mari- 
time powers would extend the protection of their com- 
merce and navigation to America, and no longer suffer 
their flags to be insulted on our coasts. The Court of 
London would treat oi peace with more zeal and good 
faith. They would the more readily give up certain 
claims and pretensions, which they will doubtless make 
upon the United States, and would be exceedingly cau- 
tious how they broke off any negotiations, which they li;:d 
opened. In a word, we should stand on a more advanta- 
geous and independent ground of treaty. 

For the attainment of objects like these, had any discre- 
tionary power been left me, I should have thought it clearly 
my duty to have made the attempt here in this moment, as 
I now consider it to be mv duty to wait for the conclusion 



of the war, the period which is pointed out to me as the 
only proper one, and when most certainly nothing will re- 
main to be hazarded. :^ '■■ 

If the present negotiations for a peace should happily 
succeed, I shall have occasion for the money mentioned 
in my letter of September 5th, before I can expect an an- 
swer from Congress on that subject, and I shall apply to 
Dr Franklin and Mr Adams to advance it between thera. 
It may not be amiss again to inform you, that by the ex- 
press allowance and order of her Majesty, there is to be 
paid by every power entering into any treaty with her, six 
thousand roubles to each of her Ministers signing the same ; 
and it is now understood, that there shall be four signatures 
on the part of her Majesty, viz. that of Count Ostermann, 
the Vice Chancellor ; Count Woronzow, the President of 
the College of Commerce ; M. Bakournin, Vice Presi- 
dent of the College of Finances, and M. Besborodko, 
Secretary of the Private Affairs, or Particular Cabinet of 
her Majesty. Matters of this sort were formerly secret 
and gratuitous. They have now changed, their nature be- 
come public, and are demanded as of right, at least no 
treaty can be otherwise obtained. And care is taken to 
make it the interest of most powers, to form a commercial 
uealy with this Empire by declaring in the new tariff, 
which is just published, that all nations not having such a 
treaty shall pay the duties, one half in rix dollars, and the 
other in the money of the country. This has heretofore, 
under the old tariff, been the rule for all nations except 
the British, who by their treaty obtained the right of pay- 
ing all the duties in the money of the country. This 
privilege is extended to Denmark by their late treaty, and 
will doubdess be made common to all nations, which shall 


choose to enter into a commercial treaty with her Majesty, 
and thus the British will lose the principal benefit of their 
treaty before it expires, viz. 1786. 

I have the honor to be, Sir, with great esteem, Sec. 


Philadelphia, December 17th, 1782. 


Your distance, and the difhcully of conveying letters to 
you, make it proper at times to take a retrospective view 
of what has passed, and by that means of supplying in part 
such despatches as may have miscarried. 

The last year closed with important advantages gained 
over the southern States. The winter was unproductive 
of any events in this country that merit your attention. 

The alteration in the British system of warfare in this 
country, in consequence of their reduced strength, and in 
pursuance of the victory obtained by the opposition in the 
House of Commons, has rendered the campaign inactive 
on the part of the enemy, and the few posts they possessed 
were so well fortified and garrisoned as to render an attack 
by us, without the assistance of a fleet, very hazardous. 
The reasons we had to hope for such assistance kept us 
from taking measures to act offensively in proper time. 
But though the summer has passed off without any bril- 
liant military exploit, it has by no means been unemployed. 
Such attention has been paid during these moments of lei- 
sure to the discipline of the troops and recruiting the 
army, that they are at this time more numerous than 
they have been at any period during the war. So per- 


feet are the officers and men in every military manoeu- 
vre, that we may, I believe, without vanity, boast to have 
an army not inferior to any in Europe. We should not 
know how to give this praise to our troops, but from the 
facility with which every foreigner _:^ives it, notwithstanding 
national prejudices. 

Among the military events which mark this year, are 
the evacuation of Savannah, and the measures taken for 
abandoning Charleston. The poor wretches, whom fear 
or interest led to join the enemies of their country, find 
themselves sufficiently punished to merit even our pity. 
With blasted characters and ruined fortunes, they are seek- 
ing new habitations under the line or near the pole. Nu- 
merous cargoes of them are sent to the West Indies and 
Halifax, to St Augustine and Penobscot. 

But it is of moment to you, to be acquainted with the 
political character of your country and their sentiments 
with respect to the faith that is due to treaties. By know- 
ing how far you can rely upon them yourself, you acquire 
a degree of confidence in making engagements for them, 
and you can venture to pronounce upon their conduct on 
every trying occasion, without waiting for intelligence from 
this side of the Atlantic. You need not be told, that the 
British nation, suffering themselves to be deceived by their 
wishes, and misled by the misrepresentations of those that 
were interested in the continuance of the war, have be- 
lieved, or at least pretended to believe, that a majority of 
the people wished well to their cause. Neither our forms 
of governments, which gave their partisans annually an op- 
portunity to declare their sentiments, and if most numerous 
to change their rulers ; nor the number that repaired to 
their standard when hoisted in eleven of the Thirteen 


States ; neither the determined and successful opposition 
hitherto given to the forty thousand heralds, which they 
sent to proclaim their champion, encourage his friends, 
and bid defiance to his foes, liad sufficed to cure them of 
this delusive hope. They still imagined that a few kind 
words would close the wounds that they had seven years 
been widening. General Carleton was sent over to speak 
to them. So little doubt had he that they would be well 
received, that he was about to send out Mr 3Iorgan, his 
Secretary, without soliciting a passport, and was much sur- 
prised when Colonel Livingsto.'^, who was then a prisoner, 
informed him tlial he would be stopped at the first post ; 
and still more so, when upon a subsequent application, he 
found that Congress refused to have any intercourse with 
him ; and referred all negotiations to Europe, where they 
could treat in conjunction with their allies. 

But nothing serves more strongly to show the little con- 
fidence the people of this country have in the promises of 
Great Britain, and their fixed determination not to break 
their engagements with their allies, than the resolutions 
passed on the subject by the respective legislatures with- 
out consulting each other, and independent of directions 
from Congress ; it proves beyond contradiction, to those 
who know how our legislatures are formed, and the fre- 
quency of their elections, that these sentiments are the sen- 
timents of the people ; and that, too, at a lime when they 
most sincerely wished for peace. If anything was wanting 
to give the last blow to British credit in this country, it 
was their late change in their administration; from which 
;Mr Fox and others are excluded, for avowing the senti- 
ments that their Commissioners, Digby and Carleton, sol- 

VOL. VIIT. 50 


emnly pronounced in a public letter to be those of their 

The other general objects, which it is necessary for you 
to be acquainted with, are the commerce, the finances, 
and the government of this country. The first suffered 
considerably in the beginning of this year, by the great 
vigilance of the British cruisers, but has since been very 
flourishing and successful. None of those wants are 
known, which prevailed at the beginning of this contro- 
versy. Our stores and warehouses are amply supplied 
with everything, that can administer to the necessities or 
luxuries of the people. The West Indies and Europe fur- 
nish a ready market for all we raise beyond what is neces- 
sary for our own consumption. The embargoes and re- 
strictions, which were once thought necessary to enable us 
to obtain a scanty supply for our army, have been unknown 
among us for three years past ; and yet a most ample pro- 
vision has been made both for our troops and those of our 
allies. Our trade with the Havana has furnished consider- 
able sums in specie; paper is entirely out of circulation, if 
we except the bank paper, which, being payable at sight in 
specie, is equal to it in value. So extensive has this cir- 
culation been, that the managers, not long since, published 
a distribution of the first half year'' s dividend at four and a 
half per cent, notwithstanding a variety of expenses to which 
they had been put, in the first organization of the bank. 
So that the profit upon bank stock, is generally estimated 
at about ten per cent per annum, which will, I should con- 
ceive, when known in Europe, be a strong inducement 
with many people, those particularly who have thoughts of 
coming to this country, to lodge their money here. 

I would not, however, have you think the flourishing 


State of the bank (which is the property of a private com- 
pany, under the protection of government) a certain indi- 
cation of the happy situation of our own finances. This is 
by no means tlie case. The demand for money to re- 
place the property, which the enemy have destroyed, to 
, repair buildings, and the profits which commerce yields, 
together with the difficulty of forming new systems of tax- 
ation in a country, which has hitherto scarce known a 
tax, beyond what was necessary for the support of its own 
frugal governments, renders the collection of a direct tax 
extremely difficult. Duties and excises must be levied 
upon some general system, so as to prevent one State 
from depending on another. This has been attempted by 
a five per cent duty on all imports, but it has hitherto been 
defeated by the refusal of Rhode Island to come into the 
plan. Congress are about to send down a committee of 
their own body to urge them to a compliance with this 
measure. Should it be attended with success, a very 
considerable revenue will arise from that source. Public 
credit, which has so frequently tottered during the revolu- 
tion, will be established upon a firm and lasting basis. 

The evacuation of the southern Slates, which we have 
reason to believe has taken place by this time, though 
we have yet received no official information of it, will 
greatly increase our resources. Their exports will consist 
in ihc most valuable articles at foreign markets, and must 
occasion such an influx of wealth, as will enable them to 
contribute to the public expenses, which they have hitherto 
been in a great measure incapable of doing. 

Before you left this, 1 believe most of the States had 
formed their governments. Massachusetts lias since com- 
pleted hers upon plans similar to tiiose of the other 


States. That ot New Hampshire is printed for the ap- 
probation of the people, and 1 am told will shortly be 
agreed to. 

The causes which occasioned a temporary suspension oi 
government in South Carolina and Georgia being removed, 
they are again in the lull exercise of them, and, indeed, 
have been so ever since Lord Cornwallis left the latter 

Upon this head, thereiore, 1 have nothing to inform yon 
unless if be that the people appear to be perfectly happy 
under their new establishment ; not the smallest commo- 
tion having arisen in any of the States from discontents on 
this, or, indeed, on any other ground, iC we except an at- 
tempt, which was made by an inconsiderable party in one 
county of Massacliusetts, to prevent the collection of debts 
till the termination of the war. This was instantly sup- 
pressed by the punishment of their leader. Indeed, this 
trifling matter was so little attended to here, that 1 should 
not have thought of menuoning it, if I had not seen that 
they had magnified it in England, into a revolt of the New 
England States against the. government of the Congress. 
A letter from a Dr Walter, wh.o I believe was originally of 
Massachusetts, is printed as a voucher for this impudent 
falsehood. As British emissaries may endeavor to circu- 
late this with you, where they have an interest in deceiv- 
ing, I concluded it proper to furnish you with the means 
of refuting il. 

Your knowledge of the continental ibrms of govern- 
ments, leaves me nothing to say on that head. It will, 
however, give you pleasure to be informed, that the great 
Council is at present as respectable for numbers, integrity, 
and abilities as it has been at any time during the war, and 


I believe much treer from party spirit or partial views. 
Add to this, they have acquired an experience in public 
business, which they could not but want at first. I would 
not have you infer from this, that the old members are 
always continued ; this is far from being the case ; but as 
the new delegates are generally elected from the number 
of gentlemen who have held important ofiices in their re- 
spective States, they bring with tliera that knowledge, and 
habit of business which they acquired at home. The es- 
tablishment of Ministers for the great executive depart- 
ment (a regulation which has taken place since you left 
us) has been found to be productive of very great advan- 
tages. Congress are no longer troubled with those little 
details, which used to take up their time. The business 
brought before them from those departments, is digested 
before it comes up, and they are not now obliged to wade 
through a variety of unnecessary circumstances, to come 
at what merits their attention. You are personally ac- 
quainted with the Ministers of Finance, and War, so that I 
need say nothing relative to the character of either. 
Their conduct gives general satisfaction ; and Mr Morris's 
attention, abilities, and personal credit, have done much 
towards relieving that of the United States. 

As this revolution makes a new era in the history of 
man, which furnishes no other instance of a whole people's 
uniting to form governments for themselves, and their 
posterity, I have thought it would not be unacceptable to 
the philosophic mind of the Empress of all the Russias, to 
contemplate the first rudiments of these governments, 
which may hope after the example of her own dominions, 
by an assiduous application to the arts of peace and war, 
to obtain an elevated station anions; the nations of the 



earth. I have, therefore, directed to your care, a packet 
containing the confederation, and such of the constitutions 
of the respective States as have been hitherto printed. 

Thus, Sir, I have endeavored to give you a general 
view of our situation. In return for which I must pray 
you to be more minute in your information of what passes 
with you. I have ah-eady explained to you the objects on 
which I wish you particularly to enlarge. None of your 
letters have embraced those objects. I would recom- 
mend it to you to keep a journal of every remarkable 
event, to minute down every conversation you have upon 
political subjects ; and to digest them weekly into a de- 
spatch for us ; adding thereto, a sketch of the character 
and station of the person whose sentiments you give. 1 
know, Sir, that this will be attended with some trouble, 
but I know too, that you will have no reluctance to impose 
any task upon yourself, which the duties of your station 
render necessary. 

I am, Sir, &ic. 



St Petersburg, December 21st, 1782. 
1 had the honor of your letter of the 1 8th of September, 
last week, in which you acknowledge the receipt of mine 
of March 30th, but add, that the one of March 5th has 
never reached you. I am at a loss how to account for 
the failure of that, when a copy of it accompanied the 

1 am glad to learn the observations I sent you upon the 


trade of this empire, have been deemed at all pertinent, 
and have atVorded any useful hints, as well as that the state 
of its connexion with the Porte, has not been wholly 
uninteresting. If you have received my other letters ir> 
course, you will find I have not been silent upon the par- 
ticular subjects you mention, and upon which you want 
information, nor altogether an idle spectator of events ; 
although to this moment 1 have not had any conferences 
with eitiier of her Majesty's Ministers, or taken any official 
step, yet I have constantly endeavored to clear up all mis- 
representations of every kind, of our enemies or others, in a 
channel which I have reason to believe has had a good effect. 
I am assured that all alarms about a dangerous concurrence 
in commerce, which had been artfully raised to serve par- 
ticular interests, are perfectly quieted, and that it is now 
also believed, that a free and direct commerce between 
this empire and America, will be highly beneficial to the 
former. A sketch of the arguments made use of to these 
ends, you will find in my preceding letters. 

As to the great point of our independence, the armed 
neutrality sprung out of it, and the propositions of the me- 
diators, were built upon it. These sentiments were ex- 
pressed in my first letters from hence to the President, 
have since been repeated in several of my letters to you, 
and I have never seen occasion to change them. I have 
never troubled the French Minister with any conversation 
upon the subject you allude to, since that 1 first detailed 
to Congress, except when I thought some important change 
liad taken place in the state of affairs, such as the capture 
of Lord Cornvvallis and his army, when the Parliament 
passed their several resolutions respecting the American 
war, preceding the change of the old Ministry, when 


Mr Fox communicated to this Court a new proposition 
relative to the mediation, the substance of which was, 
"His Britannic Majesty says, that he does not prejudice, 
nor will he prejudice, any question whatsoever, and that 
he does not pretend to exclude any one from the ne- 
gotiation, which is had in view, who can be supposed 
to be interested in it, whether it may be a question re- 
specting the States-General or the American Colonies;" 
and finally, when I had authentic intelligence, that a com- 
mission had passed the great seal to authorise Mr Oswald 
to treat of peace with the Commissioners of the United 
States. On all these occasions I consulted him freely, but 
found him as I had expected, invariably against the mea- 
sure I proposed to his consideration, always assigning the 
old reasons in support of his advice. My sentiments upon 
the last most important change, you will have in my last 
letter, three copies of which are forwarded to you. 

Persuaded that the system of this Court, so far as it 
respects Great Britain and the United States, is such as 
I have pointed out heretofore, but more particularly in my 
last, I should not despair of bringing them from that 
chosen ground by communicating our propositions at this 
moment. The United States have acquired too much 
consideration in Europe to be lightly offended by any 
Sovereign, and I do not believe the illustrious Sovereign 
of Uiis empire, has the least disposition to offend them. 
If, therefore, the question was brought before her, shall we 
admit or shall we reject their propositions ? in my opinion 
they would not be rejected. Upon what ground could a 
rejection be founded at this lime ? When the Parliament 
of Great Britain had long since declared in the face of 
the world their utter inability to conquer any one of the 


United States, anJ liave even made the attempt itself 
criminal, by resolving, that the Minister who should advise 
it, or the General who should obey an order to that effect, 
should be deemed enemies of their King and country ; 
when they had passed an act to enable the King to make 
a peace or truce with America, wlien their military com- 
manders in America have published under their hands 
from authority, that their Sovereign had commanded 
his Ministers, to direct 3Ir Granville, that the indepen- 
dency of America should be proposed by him in the first 
instance, unshackled with conditions, and when another 
of his Ministers (Mr Oswald) is in fact in treaty with the 
United States, as with an independent sovereign power, in 
virtue of a commission passed in form under the great 
seal of the kingdom, could it be plausibly alleged, that 
an acceptance of our propositions, or the admission of your 
Minister at this Court, would be a breach of the most 
scrupulous neutrality? If not, is not our way clear? But 
as it is a possible case, let it be supposed, that after 
all this our [)ropositions would be rejected, and your 
Minister denied an admission into this Court ; and that in 
consequence of it he should immediately retire from the 
empire. Under such circumstances, wijlch would have 
suffered most, the honor and dignity of the United States, 
or the honor and dignity of this Sovereign ? Besides, to 
remain masked at such a moment, does it not seem to 
argue a self-conviction, that we are unworthy that rank 
among the nations of the world, which we have so justly 
assumed, and so bravely maintained ? 

I should not have time to copy this letter, if I should 
enlarge upon this subject ; and enough has, perhaps, been 
already said upon it. to point out fully the reasons, which 
VOL. VIII. .51 


would induce me, if I was at liberty, to make an immedi- 
ate communication of my mission to this Court. You may 
be assured, Sir, the cause of America has lost no ground 
here, and that the impression of our revolution has been 
irresistible througliout all Europe. We have nothing to 
fear from any quarter, even if the present negotiation 
should be broken off. In such a case, we shall have only 
to lament, that we did not seize upon the advantages, 
which the moment presented to us. The letter of Gen- 
eral Carleton and Admiral Digby, which you enclosed, 
and desired me to have published, had been published be- 
fore in the principal gazettes of Europe. 
I have the honor to be, he. 



St Petersburg, December 27tli, 1782. 


Though neither the French Minister nor myself has 
any intelligence of it from Paris, yet yesterday's post 
brings through several channels an account, that the pre- 
liminaries for a general peace were signed on the 1st of 
this month. Thus there is an end to the great contest in 
which we have been engaged ; and with regard to myself, 
every one will now agree that all obstacles are removed. 
I expect, therefore, soon to take my proper station at this 
Court, and to be engaged in the business of making a 
commercial treaty with her Imperial Majesty. 

But I shall find an impediment in this business not to 
be surmounted, if Dr Franklin and Mr Adams should not 
be able, or think themselves authorised to advance the cash 


mentioned in my former letter, for which purpose I wrote 
to them as soon as the negotiations were commenced, at 
least as soon as intelligence of it reached us here. It is 
not time yet for me to expect their answer. 

I have heretofore acquainted you, that I projiosed to 
return to America as soon after I should be received at 
this Court as our commercial treaty should be finished. 
It would be less justifiable for me to quit this Court before 
the completion of that treaty, because llie Minister who 
might succeed me, would probably want tliat information 
relative to the commerce of this Empire, which I may 
have acquired by my long residence here. I still continue 
of the same mind, and will now assign my reasons for it, 
when it will certainly be too late for any one to consider 
them in the light of a solicitation for my own benefit. 
Congress have been pleased to honor me with the same 
rank in the diplomatic corps, which they have conferred 
upon their Ttlinisters in Europe, viz. that of a ^linister in 
the second class, and though this is unquestionably the 
most expensive Court at which they have any Minister, 
they have thought fit to reduce my appointment to three 
fifths of that granted to their other Ministers. It is the 
same which the Charge cW^ffaires of Spain had, of whom 
it was not expected that he should hold a house and a 
table, as it is of the other Ministers. I have lived here 
long enough to see that it will be absolutely impossible for 
rae to sustain the indispensable expenses of my rank, with 
an appointment less than that of our other ISIinislcrs in 
Europe. If there was, therefore, no other motive to in- 
fluence my determination, that alone, I have no doubt, 
Congress will admit for my full justification. 

For their particular information, I have endeavored to 


procure an account of the appointments of all the foreign 
Ministers residing at this Court, but have not yet ob- 
tained it. I can only say with regard to the Minister of 
Sweden, who has a Secretary to his Embassy, that his ap- 
pointment and allowance for his house rent, exclusive of 
some other benefits, amount to more than double my ap- 
pointment, including everydiing I can charge agreeably to 
what 1 suppose to be the intention of Congress. I will 
send the abovementioned account as soon as the gentle- 
man, who has promised to procure it for me, shall furnish 
me with it. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



St Petersburg, December 30th, 1782. 

Yesterday's post has not brought us any further news 
respecting the peace. The French Minister has received 
no account of it yet, nor have I from the Commissioners. 
No one, however, doubts that the preliminaries are in fact 
signed. It is supposed no courier will be despatched 
with them till after advice shall have been received at 
Paris, that an account of it has been communicated to 
Parliament, which were to meet on the 5th instant. The 
particular articles are not certainly known here. This is 
the present state of things, and we anxiously wait for full 

As we can have no interests now depending upon any 
contingency, I think it would not be advisable to appear 
very eager to seize upon the first occasion to make the 
communicadon of my mission, but to wait, if they be not 


too long delayed, for the answers of Dr Franklin and Mr 
Adams to the application 1 have made to them, as men- 
tioned in several of my letters, when 1 shall know what 1 
have to depend upon touching the principal object of my 
mission, and can better "overn myself as to the communi- 
cation of it. For to speak of a matter about which I am 
unable to do anything, would be to place ourselves in a 
disagreeable condition. 

I expect to find a strong inclination to come to the busi- 
ness alluded to, for reasons which will be very obvious to 
you. The commercial treaty with Portugal is not yet 
finished. Sweden has one upon the carpet. There may 
be an advantage in waiting till these are concluded, as we 
may found ours upon them. I shall give a preference to 
the commercial treaty, and endeavor to postpone the 
other, in which we can have no present interests, until I 
shall receive the instructions of Congress, after they shall 
have been advised, by my letter of September 5th, of 
what is essential to the execution of it. There is some- 
thing besides to be distributed among the subalterns of the 
Chancery ; so that upon the whole, both treaties will cost 
us between nine and ten thousand pounds sterling. An 
enormous sum, especially when it is considered that they 
are intended to promote the u)utual interests of the con- 
tracting parties. But so we find the state of things hero. 
And it is not to be expected that any difference should be 
made in our favor, and, perhaps, it would not be con- 
sistent with our honor that there should be. We have 
only then to consider, whether it is expedient for us, under 
such conditions, to form those connexions with the sover- 
eign of this Empire. As to the first, I have no doubt of 
its expediency, the last is somewhat equivocal, unless the 


omission of it should not be well receiv^ed by her Im- 
perial Majesty, who would doubtless be much gratified 
by our ready acceptance of her invitation to accede to 
it, and seems to have a right to expect it of us, after the 
resolutions of Congress respecting that subject. It is an 
expense, which, once made, is made forever, and under 
these views it may be deemed a bagatelle, or at least 
necessary to the promotion of our greatest interests. 
I have die honor to be, &c. 



St Petersburg, January 3d, 1783. 


Our impatience respecting the state of a negotiation is 
not yet at an end. No courier has arrived, nor have I re- 
ceived any intelligence by yesterday's post,.(the third which 
has come on since our first accounts) upon the subject from 
eidier of our Commissioners. The French Minister con- 
tinues in the same uncertainty. By private letters, and 
the gazettes brouglit by the last post, it appears only that 
the preliminaries between Great Britain and the United 
r^'T^f's were signed conditionally. I rest therefore in the 
same state. 

Since my last, I have seen a copy of the treaty of amity 
and of commerce between Russia and Denmark, and find 
that the chief principles of the Marine Convention are 
inserted into it word for word. The treaty is limited to 
iivelve years, which will probably be the term fixed for the 
duration of all their commercial treaties. That with Great 
Britain was limited to twenty, a term it would seem suffi- 


ciently short lo provide for the changes, which time and 
accidents may introduce into the affairs of empires. You 
will easily conjecture from some of my letters, the motive 
which must have occasioned this alteration, and will make 
your own reflections upon it. 

Upon a more careful exatnination upon the jNIarine Con- 
vention, it appears to me from its nature as well as horn 
its terms, to be limited to the duration of the present war, 
and in that case, there is no other way of taking up its 
principles than in a commercial treaty, after the manner 
of that with Denmark. Lest you should not have an ac- 
curate copy of that convention, I will cite the article upon 
which I form my opinion. 

"Art. IX. This convention, fixed and concluded for 
the time of the continuance of the present war, shall serve 
as a basis of the engagements, which future conjunctures 
may cause to be contracted, and on occasion of new mari- 
time wars, with which Europe may unfortunately be trou- 
bled. These stipulations ought lo be regarded as per- 
manent, and shall be the law in matters of commerce and 
navigation." On this supposition I shall proceed in framing 
our treaty of commerce. This will make an essential 
change in the matter mentioned in my last. I have not yet 
received an answer from Dr Franklin or Mr Adams upon 
that subject. 

I have the honor to be, &;c. 




St Petersburg, January 14th, 1783. 

I was honored with your favor of the 12th of December 
by the late post, enclosing a copy of the preliminary treaty 
of peace between his Britannic Majesty and the United 
States. I most heartily congratulate with you upon this 
great event, in which you have had the honor of so distin- 
guished a part. I think that we ought to be, and shall be, 
satisfied with the terms of peace. But we are here wholly 
at a loss whether the other belligerent parties will be able 
to adjust their several pretensions, and of course, whether 
our treaty will take eflect. The prevailing opinion here 
among the best informed is, diat we shall have a general 
peace. However this may be, we shall see a war break 
out on the other side of Europe. Some of the powers 
which will be engaged in it do not wish to see all the pres- 
ent belligerent powers at peace, for reasons, which will 
readily occur to you. 

1 thank you, gentlemen, for your oj)!nions respecting the 
communication of my mission to the Ministers of her Im- 
perial Majesty, and of the other neutral powers residing at 
this Court. But "absolute certainty of success" arc strong 
words, and will bind me down to a state of inaction till the 
conclusion of the present war, unless 1 should receive posi- 
tive assurance, that things are prepared for my reception, 
of which I have no expectation. I have yesterday con- 
sulted the French ^Minister upon this matter, and ac- 
quainted him at the same time with your opinions, as well 
as communicated to him the preliminary treaty. He thinks 


that though in this moment I miglit not meet with a refusal, 
yet my admission would be, upon various pretences, post- 
poned till advice should be received here, whether we are 
to have peace or war, a question which it is expected will 
be decided, at furthest, in the course of a fortnight, and 
that if the war should be continued, I should not be re- 
ceived. Thus I am doubly bound down as above, during 
the war. If unfortunately the negotiations should be bro- 
ken off, it is my present determination to retire from this 
Court without communicating my mission, and to return 
by the first opportunity to America. I cannot think it for 
the honor or interest of the Cnited States, after what has 
already taken place between them and his Britannic Ma- 
jesty, that I should wait the issue of another campaign. I 
am persuaded we have nothing to fear from this quarter in 
any event. If they will not improve a fair occasion, which 
is presented to them, to promote the mutual interests of 
both empires, they may hereafter repent it. 
I am, Gentlemen, he. 



St Petersburg, January 15th, 1783. 

Dear Sir, 
The post of this day has brought me yoiu- favor of the 
22d ultimo, in which you acknowledge the receipt of mine 
of the 25th of November. In the first place, let mc thank 
you and the Doctor for the ready manner in which you 
have consented to my proposition. You say, my treaty 
may now be made as soon as I please. I should rejoice 
most sincerely if that was the truth of fact. 
VOL. viii. 52 


Besides what is said in my letter to the Commissioners, , 
you are acquainted with the positive nature of my last in- 
structions, and know that I cannot move, till I am advised 
to do so. There are, in my opinion, no plausible pretences 
to countenance a refusal at this time. It would mark so 
strong a partiality as would throw all the dishonor ofit upon 
her Imperial Majesty. Yet things are conducted here in 
so strange manner, that i cannot take upon me to say with 
certainty, what would be the effect of an immediate appli- 
cation. You will readily agree, that all things considered, 
it would be taking too much upon myself to make it. The 
Ministry are well enough informed of my business, yet they 
preserve a most profound reserve, which I think is as im- 
politic as profound. Do you ask me, if they do not feel 
and see that America is independent ? That they must 
soon speak it out ? Will they wait till the moment shall 
arrive, when the United States will not thank them for do- 
ing so ? Will they suffer all the other neutral powers to 
take the lead of their Sovereign, in a measure in which she 
might lead them with so much glory to herself? Yes, I 
believe all these questions may be answered in the affir- 

Do you ask how is this to be accounted for ? I can say 
in general, they are looking for glory towards the East 
only, when they might find no inconsiderable proportion of 
it in the West. 

I am, kc. 




St Petersburg, January ir>tli, 1783. 


The post of this week brought me a letter from our 
Commissioners, accompanied with a copy of the prelimi- 
nary treaty of peace between his Britannic Majesty and 
the United States ; but we have not yet any certainty 
about the state of the negotiations, as they respect the 
other belligerent powers. On this point the Commission- 
ers have been totally silent. They have, however, given it 
as their opinions, judging of things at that distance, ''that 
the present opportunity appears to be the most favorable 
for me to communicate my mission to the INlinisters of her 
Imperial Majesty, and to the Ministers of the other neutral 
powers residing at this Court." 

I immediately communicated the preliminary treaty to 
the French Minister, (which he had not received) and also 
the opinion of our Commissioners ; and prayed him once 
more to give me his sentiments upon the subject. Which 
in substance were, that though I might not now meet with 
an immediate rejection, yet the granting me an audience 
would be postponed upon various pretences, till the issue 
of the negotiations should be known here, and that if the 
war should be continued, I should not be admitted to an 
audience. Having his opinion so fully upon this point, 
there can be no question, but that it is my duly to wait the 
issue of the negotiations. You will be acquainted with 
this nearly as soon in America as we shall, and all my 
letters upon the subject will, of course, arrive long after 
the objects of them have ceased to engage your attention, 
yet you may wish to know the progress of things in this 


A new and an important scene seems to be opening upon 

us. Though the Porte has not interfered in the affair 
of the restoration of the deposed Khan of the Crimea, 
yet this forbearance, it is thought, will not save them from 
the tempest which is gathering about them. The Tartars 
of the Crimea have been the constant enemies of Russia, 
from the commencement of the fourteenth century to the 
last war with the Turks, when, in the year 1771, being 
overpowered by the Russians, they concluded a separate 
treaty with the Enipress, in which they renounced their 
alliance with the Porte, and placed themselves under her 
protection. This independence of the Crimea, and of the 
hordes dependent upon it, was confirmed by the treaty of 
1774, between Russia and the Porte, and their right of 
electing and deposing their Khans at will, engaged to 
them ; though it was of importance to Russia to reinstate 
the deposed Khan, thereby to preserve its newly acquired 
influence over the Crimea, yet liis restoration was, prob- 
ably, not the only object in view. 

The existence of the connexion mentioned in my letter 
of JMarch 30lh, seems no longer to be doubted, or that the 
object of it (whicl) you will finil in the first clause of the 
paragraph relative to it) will be productive of a general 
war in Europe, if attempted to be carried into execution. 
How far such an appreliension may influence the present 
negotiation, is uncertain. I think it must be unfavorable to 
them, should the negotiations be unhappily broken off, and 
the prospect of this new war become certain, we being the 
ally of France, which will be the enemy of her Majesty, 
and the enemy of Great Britain, which will be her ally, it 
will be expedient for me to quit this empire, and to return 
to America by the first opportunity. Even upon such a 


supposition, 1 hope my long residence here will not have 

been wholly unserviceable to our country. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 



St Petersburg, January 31st, 1783. 

We still remain in the same uncertainty about the nego- 
tiations of the other belligerent powers, yet they are be- 
lieved to be in a favorable state, and it is expected we 
shall soon receive the news of the preliminaries being 
signed by them all. If so,« I should think the approaching 
war with the Turks will not be productive of a general 
war in Europe. For it seems repugnant to the interests 
of some of the present belligerent powers, to close this war 
with an almost certain prospect before them of being 
speedily engaged in another. 

In a letter, received by the last post from i\lr Adams, he 
informs me that Dr Franklin and himself had agreed to 
advance the money necessary to the conclusion of a com- 
mercial treaty with her Imperial Majesty ; so that I have 
now only to wait the issue of the present negotiations for 
peace. Whenever that moment arrives, I shall endeavor 
to make all convenient despatch in the business of the 
treaty, to the end, that if any of our vessels should arrive 
here early in the spring, which seems probable, they may 
reap the benefit of it. I shall immediately after return to 
America, as I have proposed to do in my letter of the 
23d of September last. 1 do not foresee any inconven- 
ience that will happen to our interests in consequence of 


our being without a Minister at this Court for some time. 
I hope, therefore, that Congress will not take it amiss that 
I should return without obtaining the express permission 
for it. Besides the reasons given in my letter of the 27ih 
ultimo, which appear to me to render such a step neces- 
sary, my health has suffered so much since my coming 
into this climate, that every consideration presses me to 
quit it as soon as possible, I have not been honored with 
any letter from you since No. G, 

I am, with the greatest respect, Sec. 



St Fetersburg, February 10th, 1783. 

In the afternoon of the 6th instant, we received the most 
agreeable news, that the preliminary treaty of peace was 
signed at Paris, on the 20th ultimo, between France, 
Spain, and Great Britain. The articles are still unknown 
here, as the above fact simply was communicated by 
Count de Vergennes to the foreign Ministers at Versailles, 
and the Russian Minister immediately despatched an ac- 
( :ii;:L of it to the Vice Chancellor, Count Ostermann. No 
courier has yet arrived for cither of the foreign Ministers 

You will be pleased to accept my most hearty congrat- 
ulations upon this great event, especially as the peace we 
have obtained is both honorable and glorious. America, 
I believe, stands high in the esteem of all the world ; to 
which not only her successes in this great revolution, but 
the proofs she has given in the course of it, of her sacred 


regard to her pliglited faith, have contributed. Our revo- 
lution is universally spoken of as the most important which 
the world has ever seen. lis influence penetrates the 
innermost recesses of every Cabinet in Europe, they will 
and they must give way to it. 

It is yet dillicult to say what will be the efTect of the 
present peace, upon the approaching war with the Turks. 
Though it will not probably prevent it, yet it may moderate 
its views towards that quarter, and thus save the continent 
of Europe from the mischief of a general conflagration. 
1 shall communicate my mission to the Vice Chancellor, as 
soon as some necessary arrangements can be made, and 
shall endeavor to bring on the business of the commercial 
treaty without loss of time, as there is now little doubt but 
some of our vessels may arrive here early in the spring. I 
have it in view to procure some special favors, for a direct 
commerce between the West Indies and this empire, to be 
carried on by our vessels, which will turn to the advantage 
of both parties. But to render it more certain, it may be 
necessary to procure a right of trading freely with the 
British West Indies, and also exporting from thence in our 
vessels, to any part of the world, the productions of their 
Islands, paying the same duties as their native subjects pay 
upon the same articles, when they export them for Great 
Britain or elsewhere. I think we may obtain this privilege 
in our commercial treaty with Great Britain, if we insist 
upon it. Our treaties with France and Holland, appear 
to me to be exceedingly defective respecting a commerce 
with their American territories. If Great Britain should 
refuse us that privilege, we might perhaps arrive at the 
same end, by reserving to ourselves a right to impose what 
extra duties we judge proper, either upon our productions 


exported to any part of her dominions, or upon her pro- 
ductions imported into America, if any higher duties should 
be imposed upon her West India productions when ex- 
ported by us, than when by her native subjects, notwith- 
standing any general clause giving her the advantages of 
the most favored nations. The object appears to me to 
be of importance to our interests, and that we can obtain 
it in the manner I first proposed, (which would be the 
most beneficial, and least liable to create mutual disgusts) 
if we should think proper to make it the sine qua non of 
a connnercial treaty with Great Britain. We should reap 
advantages from it, not only in our commerce with this 
empire, but with every other in Eurojie, not having such 
establishments in America. 

Now I am upon this subject of commerce, 1 will take 
the liberty to acquaint you, that Portugal intends to pro- 
cure the right of establishing factories in the United States, 
under the protection of the Oporto company, in order to 
secure special advantages for the sale of her wines. This 
plan will not be particularly mentioned, but the end will 
be obtained under the general right of establishing factories 
in America, without naming the Oporto company. You 
may rely upon this information, and will make your advan- 
tage of it. It will occur to you, that we may demand as 
a compensation, the right to export not only from Portugal 
but from the wine Islands, that article in our vessels, pay- 
ing the same duties as the native subjects, or the Oporto 
Company pay upon it. Without something of this sort 
the Portuguese factories might secure to themselves almost 
the exclusive supply of their wines to America. They 
have a factory iiere, under the protection of the Oporto 
Company. You will not take it amiss, that I suggest 


Uiese subjects to your consideration. If any of them can 
be turned to the benefit of our country, my end in troub- 
ling you with them will be answered. 
I have the lionor to be, &c,c. 



}<t Petersburg, February 2.5lh, 1783. 


In the last letter I did myself the honor to write you, I 
acquainted you I siiould communicate my mission to the 
Vice Chancellor as soon as some necessary arrangements 
could be made. Being entirely prepared to do so, 1 
thought it but decent to communicate my intention to the 
French Minister, rather in the form of consulting him 
upon the expediency of the measure. He at first thought 
it would be advisable to wait till the signing of the defin- 
itive treaty of peace, adding, that though he could not take 
upon himself to say, that \ should not be received in the 
present moment, yet that it would not surprise him if my 
admission should be postponed to that time, intimating that 
the present unsettled state of aflairs, (of which I have 
spoken in my late letters) might have some influence upon 
the determination of this Court in a matter of that sort. 
He concluded with saying, that it would not be amiss to 
wait till the British Minister here should have communi- 
cated in form the signature of the preliminaries of peace to 
this Court. I shall conform entirely to his.advice ; for the 
lime is now most certainly indifferent as to our interests, 
which are most solidly established by the peade. 

I cannot add anything to what I have belorc said re- 

VOL. VIII. .5.3 



specting the Turkish war, which since the conclusion of 
the liite one, is the grand object which engages the gen- 
eral attention. According to the course of business here, 
I expect to be detained two or three months in negotiating 
our commercial treaty. I hope, however, the resolution 
of Congress of the 1 4th of September last, respecting their 
moneys in Europe (a copy of which Mr Adams sent me 
by the last post) will not be any impediment to the con- 
clusion of it. The money Dr Franklin and Mr Adams 
have engaged upon my application to them to advance for 
that purpose, being indispensably necessary, I presume 
they will not withdraw the credit they have given me, and 
that Congress will approve of their conduct, as well as of 
mine in this business. The resolution is doubtless a wise 
one, but there are circumstances for which Congress can- 
not provide in season, and this seems to be of that nature. 
rf those gentlemen should not, therefore, withdraw their 
credit, I shall venture to apply the money when it shall 
become necessary, lo the use for which they have granted 
it. It would be a great satisfaction to me, if I could 
receive in season an answer to my letter of the 25th of 
last August, in which 1 acquainted you 1 should stand in 
need of the money. 

I shall not fail to give you the earliest intelligence of my 
reception in this Court, vvhich I hope will not be long 
delayed, as it is my earnest wish to complete our treaty 
of commerce, and to return to America in the course of 
the next summer. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Air Dana a Communication of his Mission to Count 

St Pptersburg, March 7th, 1783. 

I bave the honor to inform your Excellency, that the 
United States of America, assembled in Congress, having 
thought Gt to appoint a JNIinister to reside near her jNlajesty, 
the Empress of all the Russias, have furnished me with 
their letter of credence for that purpose. 

Convinced of the justice of their cause, and confiding 
entirely in that exact neutrality, which her Imperial J\Iaj- 
esty had been pleased to declare, with a dignity becoming 
her character, she would make the invariable rule of her 
conduct, unless compelled to depart from it in mainte- 
nance of the rights of her Imperial Crown and of her 
subjects, the Congress, my Sovereign, have expressly 
commanded me to delay the communication of my mission 
till the course of events should prepare the way for it, 
without the least infraction upon the system adopted by 
her Imperial Majesty, by which she has acquired so much 
glory to herself. In the sentiment that that moment has 
now arrived, I take the liberty to request the honor of an 
audience of your Excellency, to the end, that I might 
present to you a copy of my letter of credence to her Im- 
perial Majesty. 

I have the honor to be, &:c. 




St Petersburg, March 7tli, ITWf 

I have time only, by the post of this day, to acknowledge 
the receipt of yours of the 7th of November last, and of 
a letter of the same date from Mr S. R. Morris, one of 
your Secretaries, enclosing a bill for GGG,13 livres tournois, 
and also to inform you, that I have this day communicated 
my mission to the Vice Chancellor, Count Ostermann, 
by a letter of which the enclosed is a translation, the orig- 
inal being in French. I have taken this step without 
being advised to it by my correspondent, the Marquis de 
Verac, but not before I had received assurances directly 
from the private Cabinet of her Imperial Majesty, that the 
way was perfectly clear. You will readily conjecture the 
reason why 1 have chosen to mention my last instructions 
so particularly in this communication, and placed them in 
so strong a light. There is no question in my mind of the 
propriety of doing this, and 1 hope it will not be thought 
amiss by Congress, whose honor and dignity 1 shall ever 
keep in view. 

I am, with much esteem and respect, &c. 



St Petersburg, March ]2th, 1783. 

In my letter of the 7th of March, I acquainted you that 
I had that day communicated my mission to the Vice 
Chancellor, in consequence of assurances received from 

D1*'LX)MAT1C CX)aR£8POMJE3iCE 121 

the Priraie Cabroet of ber Irnpeml Majesty, ilaat \he way 
was prepared for iu I had an interriew on ibe &tb insL 
wah one of ibe members of ibe Cabinet, wbo bformed 
roe, after some general ccarersaiion respecting America. 
ibal 1 migbi communicate my mission to the Vice Cbao- 
cellor at any time, that possibly 1 might not receive an im- 
mediate answer to my letter, but that I need give myself 
DO aoeaancss on that account, as the delay would not be 
occasioned by anything which concerned the United Stales 
or roe personally. 1 told .him. ih?t 1 could form my opin- 
ion only upon ztnen. . ' "z upon tbem, 
1 did not perceive ar.; ---y's receiving 
m ibis moment a Minister from the United States ; yet it 
was posaUe ber Majesty might have some particular mat- 
tera in view, which might form an impediment, of which 1 
coold have no kno-«ledge. 

I threw JQ this last sentiment to discover if there were 
any difficulties of the sOit, which the French Minister had 
intimated to me might arise from the unsettled state of 
afeirs alloded lo in my letter of the 25Lfa of February, 
when I consulted him as there mentioned. He replied, 
ibere were no such rn?iter':. nor would there be any diffi- 
culty, especially si:.: - g of the preriminaries of 
peace bad been ccr. "j ber Majesty, and that I 
might make myself f>erfect]y easy about it, aod send my 
letter to the Vice ChaDcellor as soon as I pleased- 1 htre 
civea you the substance of oar ccnrersation, omitting only 
the complime!-- er. 
I have ttas di . ce 
CbaDcehor, acknowjeagtng tbe receipt ol my ietier, and 
informing me, that as tb'is was tbe first week in the great 
Lent, he had not yet had an oppoitumty to lay it before 


her Majesty. This, Sir, is the present stale of things as 
far as they concern us immediately. 
I have the honor to be, he. 



St Petersburg, March 21st, 1783. 

As 1 have not received an answer to my letter to the 
Vice Chancellor, I can say nothing upon it at present. 
The verbal message, mentioned in my last, was an apology 
for the omission of the first week ; perhaps I shall have an 
answer in a few days; if so, I shall transmit a copy of it 

I beg leave again to recommend to your attention the 
subject of a commerce with the British West Indies, to 
supply the defects of our treaties with France and with 
Holland. Great Britain is so eager to obtain a free com- 
merce with the United States, that we may probably secure 
that of her West India Islands as a compensation for it. 
The commerce with her Euro[)ean territories only, is no 
longer an adequate one, since we have all the rest of Eu- 
i ;;:)c open to us. I have formed a plan of a commercial 
treaty with this empire, which, if aided by that circuitous 
commerce, I think will be found highly advantageous. 

1 have already advised you of my intention to quit this 
Court as soon as I shall have concluded the commercial 
treaty, even without wailing for the permission of Congress 
to do so. I pray you to represent the matter to Congress 
in such a light, that they may not consider it as disrespectful 
to themselves, or a breach of duty. It is truly, Sir, an act 


of absolute necessity, which Congress, doubtless wiiliout 
intention, have imposed upon me, by annexing an appoint- 
ment to ray oflice, which is not more than half sufficient to 
defray the expenses of it. As I can now do it with more 
freedom, not being interested in the matter, I take the lib- 
erty to acquaint you, that if Congress should think p.roper 
to send another INlinister to this Court, of the second class, 
they should grant him at least £2500 sterling fixed ap- 
pointment. I think £3000 will not be loo much, or more 
than put him upon an equality with their other Ministers in 
Europe, or the Ministers of the lesser Sovereigns at this 
Court, leaving him to pay his Secretary out of the last 
sum. It will be further necessary to grant him at least 
£1000 more for his equipage and household furniture. 
He will find it exceedingly difficult with the best economy, 
to provide himself but decently with those articles, accord- 
ing to the fashion of this country with that sum. And he 
must, in some measure, adapt himself to this fashion or 
manner of living, or, in the eyes of those among whom 
he is obliged to live, disgrace his country. 

My ideas of these matters are not extravagant. I find 
them fully supported by my own observations, and by the 
inquiries I have made respecting the appointments of the 
other foreign Ministers residing at this Court, as well as by 
the opinion of my correspondent, to whom, feeling the ne- 
cessity of my situation, I have communicated my intention 
of returning to America, and disclosed to him the reasons 
of a conduct, which he might otherwise think unaccounta- 
ble. I have consulted him as a private friend only. An 
ill state of health, the distance of America, the dangers of 
a winter passage, Sec. Sec. must be the ostensible reasons 
why I quit this Court without being relieved by another 


Minister, or waiting for the permission of Congress. 1 
shall take the whole upon myself, and hope to be justified 
in the measure by Congress, when they shall be still more 
particularly informed of facts. It is necessary Congress 
should be acquainted with the foregoing facts, that if they 
should think proper to send another Minister before my 
arrival in America, he may not be obliged to follow the ex- 
ample I shall have set hirn, by quilting his station without 

I am, Sir, with the greatest respect, &c. 



St Petersburg, April 17th, 1783. 

My letter of the 7th of March will have advised you,, 
that on that day 1 communicated my mission to the Vice 
Chancellor by a letter, the translation of which was enclosed. 
By that of the 12tli of March, you will have a particular 
account of the assurances mentioned in the former, and 
^vhich, together with the general state of ailuirs, confirmed 
ine in the opinion, that I oiiglit no longer to delay taking 
that step. 1 have not, however, yet had an answer to my 
letter. That the assurances I received were well founded 
at the time, I think, may not be doubted. What, it may 
be asked, has since taken place which could occasion any 
change ? All that 1 know, or have heard of is, that on the 
7th of February, three days after, and before my letter had 
been laid before her Majesty, a courier arrived with des- 
])atches for the French Minister, inviting her Imperial Ma- 
jesty to mediate, in conjunction with the Emperor at the 


conclusion of the definitive treaty of peace, between the 
Courts of Versailles, Madrid, and London ; this invita- 
tion was immediately accepted ; that an account has been 
received, that the King of Sweden has concluded a treaty 
of commerce with the United States, at Paris, or is at 
least in treaty with them for that purpose ; that the King 
of France has signified to the Emperor, that since the 
Porte has made the concessions required by the Empress, 
and supported by himself, he had reason to expect all 
military pre[)arations would have ceased ; that he cannot 
regard the continuance of them with indifference, &:c. &tc. 
Add to these things, that her Majesty has been either so 
much indisposed, or particularly engaged, that she has not 
appeared at Court for more than a month past. 

Whether either of these circumstances has occasioned 
this delay, is to me as yet uncertain. I wait to see the 
effect of a second letter, which 1 propose to send to the 
Vice Chancellor before I attempt to account for it. I 
have delayed this more than a fortnight, having been in 
daily expectation of an event which has not taken place, 
and which may have an influence in the case. I have 
omitted to write you by several posts, because I was in 
hopes all things which respect us would have been adjusted 
to mutual satisfaction, and I was unwilling to suggest any- 
thing to the contrary. But as Congress, from my former 
letters may have expected, that I might soon be on my 
way to America, and may perhaps name another Minis- 
ter to this Court, before they receive any intelligence of 
my reception, I think it incumbent on me to make the 
present communication, that they may consider the expe- 
diency of sending another till ilicy receive a rorlain ac- 
count of my reception. 

VOL. VIII. 54 


Whatever may be the event, I flatter myself if ihe gen- 
eral state of affairs at the lime of the communication of 
my mission be considered, and especially the assurances 
which were given to me, it will not be thought that I have 
rashly precipitated that measure. It is diflicult to con- 
ceive one solid objection against the admission of an Amer- 
ican Minister into any Court of Europe, after the acknowl- 
edgment of our independence by the King of Great Britain, 
and die cessation of hostilities, which of course puts an end 
to all ideas of neutrality. 

In this instant I am informed, that the event above 
alluded to has taken place, I shall therefore send my 
second letter tomorrow, a copy of which I will forward by 
the next post, when I shall hope to have an answer to my 
first, which will make known the pleasure of her .Majesty 
concerning my mission. I have purposely avoided waiting 
upon the Vice Chancellor in person, that I might obtain 
his answer, if possible, in writing. When I shall have re- 
ceived it, whether it be favorable or not, I shall desire an 
interview with him. In diis course my correspondent 
agrees with me in opinion. I have only to pray. Con- 
gress would be pleased to suspend their judgment upon 
this matter, and particularly upon my conduct in it, till 
they shall be fully informed of facts. All may yet end as 
we wish, it may end otherwise. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. FRANCIS DANA. 

P. S. I make use of the cypher I sent you by Mr 
Adams's son, having laid yours aside for the reason there 
mentioned. Your printed one has not come to hand with 
your letter. Count Panin died since iny last, much la- 
mented. He had long lived a retired life in the city. 
His death, therefore, makes no change. F. D. 



St Petersburg, April l>2d, 17^2. 

In my last I acquainted you, that 1 proposed to send a 

second letter to the Vice Chancellor the next day. I did 

not do it, however, till yesterday morning, when he sent 

me his com()liinent5, and said he would present it to her 

Majesty. The followinj^ is a copy of it. 


"I did myself the honor to write to your Excellency on 
the 7tli of March, to inform you of my mission on the part 
of the United Stales of America, to reside near Iier Impe- 
rial Majesty, in the character of their Minister, and to re- 
quest the honor of an audience of your Excellency, that I 
might present to you a copy of my letter of credence 
to her Imperial Majesty. I have not yet been honored 
with an answer to my letter, having had only a verbal 
message from your Excellency, on the 10th of the same 
month that you had received it, but it being the first week 
in Lent, you had not had an opportunity to lay it before 
her Imperial Majesty. 

"After the King of Great Britain has in form acknowl- 
edged the independence of the United States of America, 
and concluded a provisional preliminary treaty of peace 
with them, which has taken effect by the signing of the 
preliminary treaty of peace between their most Christian 
and Britannic ^lajesties, after those treaties have been 
rali6ed on the part of their Majesties, and proclamations in 
pursuance thereof have been issued by them, and also by 
the Ministers of the United States of America, ordering a 


cessation of hostilities, and after the British Parliameni 
have solemnly engaged to observe and maintain those 
treaties ; after such national transactions on both parts, 
1 flatter myself it is not doubted, that the course of 
events has prepared the way for her Imperial Majesty to 
receive a Minister from the United States of America, 
without the least infraction upon the system of neutrality, 
which she had adopted and so gloriously maintained 
through the late war. Presuming, from your Excellency's 
message, that my letter was laid before lier Imperial Maj- 
esty the week after, I take the liberty to request that you 
would be pleased to inform me of her pleasure thereupon., 
as well for the government of my own conduct, as for the 
certain information of the United States of America. 
"1 have the honor to be, &cc. 

''St Pcters/rurg, Mpril '2]s(, 1783." 

i iiave some intimations of a very extraordinary objec- 
tion, wiiich has been suggested to my present admission 
into this Court, viz. that my letter of credence must neces- 
sarily bear date prior to the acknowledgment of the inde- 
pendence of the United States by the King of Great Brit- 
ain. Should the answer to my communication be of that 
nature, I will let you know from whence I think it origi- 
nates. But I shall think it my duty to leave this Court as 
soon as possible. For I should not dare to apply to Con- 
gress to revoke their first letter of credence, and send me 
another bearing date since that period, for the following 
reasons, which occur to me at once. 

1st. Because it would be to desire the United States 
to strike off seven years of their existence, as free, sover- 
eign, and independent States. 


2dly. Because their compliance with it would, in 
effect, annul their resolution contained in the declaration ol 
their independence, viz. "that as free and independent 
Stales they had full power ti) levy war, conclude peace, 
contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other 
acts and things, which independent States may of right do." 
3dly. Because it would imply on their part, that they 
owed their existence as a free nation, to the acknowledg- 
ment of their independence by the King of Great Britain. 
4thly. Because as a consequence of this last position, 
it would go to annul all their acts of sovereignty prior to 
that period, and among others, the most important ones of 
their treaties with France and Holland, as well as their 
commissions granted to their Ministers at the Court of 
Madrid and other Courts, and such treaties as they have 
already made, or shall hereafter make in virtue thereof. 

5thly. Because the requisition of new letters of cre- 
dence bearing dale since the period abovementioned, in- 
volves in itself a decision on the part of her Imperial 
Majesty, that the United States of America ought of right 
to be considered as a free, sovereign, and independent 
power, but in virtue of the acknowledgment of them as 
such by the King of Great Britain. 

6ihly. Because the granting of new letters of credence, 
would amount to a confession on the part of ilie United 
Slates, of the justice of such a decision. 

7thly. Because a compliance with such a requisition 
would, in my opinion, in every point of view, be highly de- 
rogatory to the dignity of the United States, and is a sac- 
rifice, which circumstances by no means require to be 

But I hope for more wisdom, justice, and impartiality 


from her Majesty ; and that I shall receive in a day or 
two, a satisfactory answer to my first letter. 
I have tlie honor to be, &.c. 



St Petersburg, April 25t]i, 1763, 


In consequence of my second letter to the Vice Chan- 
cellor, of the 21st instant, he sent me a verbal message 
with his compliments on the 23d in the morning, and de- 
sired to see me at four o'clock in the afternoon. I waited 
upon him accordingly, and had a conference with him 
upon the subject of my mission. He began by saying that 
he had received the letters I had done him the honor to 
write him; that her Majesty had been invited by the 
Courts of Versailles, Madrid, and London, to mediate in 
conjunction with the Emperor, at the conclusion of the 
definitive treaty of peace between them ; that till those 
affairs were arranged, and the definitive treaty signed, 
her Majesty could not, consistent with her character 
of mediator, receive a Minister from America without 
liic consent of those powers ; that the treaty of America 
was provisional only, and dependent upon those arrange- 
ments ; and though there was no doubt but they would 
take place, and that the definitive treaty would be con- 
cluded, yet, till that was done, her Majesty could not con- 
sider me in my character as the Minister of America. 

Here he made a long pause, as if waiting for an answer, 
but knowing that the whole had not yet come out, I made 
no attempts to reply. He then added, that he supposed 


my letter of credence bore date before the acknowledg- 
ment of the independence of America by tbe King of 
Great Britain, and asked me if that was not the fact. I 
told him that it must necessarily be so, as a sufficient time 
had not since elapsed to receive one from America. He 
then said, that when the above arrangements should be 
completed, if I should produce new loiters of credence, 
bearing date since the King of Great Britain had acknowl- 
edged ,the independence of America, her Majesty would 
be very willing to receive me as the Minister of America, 
but that it would be incompatible with that exact neu- 
trality, which her Majesty had hitherto observed, to do it 
before ; that it would be irregular also for her Majesty to 
admit a Minister from a power, whose letter of credence 
bore date before she had scknowledged the independence 
of that power ; that besides, no IMinister had been received 
from America at the Court of Great Britain yet, and that 
I must be sensible it would not be consistent for her Maj- 
esty to receive one before the King of Great Britain had 
done it. Here he stopped again ; and knowing that he 
had gone through his whole subject, which comprises these 
simple matters only, viz. 

1st. That her Majesty could not, consistent with the 
character of a mediator as above, receive a Minister from 
the United States, till the conclusion of the definitive treaty 
between France, Spain, and Great Britain ; 

2dly. That she could not do it even then, consistent 
with the laws of neutrality, while his letter of credence 
bore date prior to the acknowledgment of the'r indepen- 
dence by the King of Great Britain ; 

3dly. That she could not do it regularly, while his 
letter of credence bore date before she herself had ac- 
knowledged their independence ; 


4thly. That she could not do it consistently before a 
Minister had been received from the United States in 
Great Britain. 

I desired him to favor me with a note containing the 
substance of this answer, as it was of great importance, 
and much in affairs of this sort depended upon the very 
expressions ; that with the fairest intentions, I might mis- 
represent some parts of it through forgetfulness, and that I 
would deliver him my observations upon it in writing for 
consideration, when the exact state of the matter would be 
known. Finding, as I had expected, that he declined 
this, I began my reply with a preface of this sort ; the 
answer, which your Excellency has given me on the part 
of her Imperial Majesty, is wholly unexpected, not only to 
myself, but to the United States. I cannot, therefore, 
take upon me to say anything upon it from instructions. I 
beg you would be pleased to consider whatever I may say 
as my private sentiments ; whether they will accord with 
those of my Sovereign, I am not certain. At this great dis- 
tance, I must use my best discretion in all such extraordi- 
nary cases. 1 have no design to oppose myself to her 
Majesty's pleasure, whatever that may be, but only to 
make some observations upon the answer, that if they are 
of any weight, they may be taken into consideration, as I 
have no doubt they will be. 1 would beg to take this oc- 
casion to express the high respect, which the United 
States entertain for her Imperial Majesty, and their sincere 
desire to cultivate her friendship ; that they considered her 
as one of the first sovereigns of the world, and, in a man- 
ner, the great legislator of nations by her system of neu- 
trality, which they had early highly applauded, and had 
made the principles of it the invariable rules of their con- 


duct during the war ; that, animated with sentiments of this 
kind, they wished to give some strong proofs of a distin- 
guished attention and consideration for her Majesty's per- 
son and government. With this view, they had early 
named a iNlinistcr to reside near lier, as a compliment to 
the Sovereign who presided over the Neutral Confederation 
with so much glory ; that he might improve the earliest 
occasion to display his character, which the course of 
events should afford. 

From these dispositions, they were naturally led to ex- 
pect, as they had intended, that her Imperial Majesty 
would be the first of the neutral powers, which should re- 
ceive a Minister from them ; that as to the objections, 
which had been made to my present reception, 1 begged 
leave to observe, that the present mediation differed from 
the former one, which had been tendered by their Impe- 
rial Majesties, in two essential respects, that that was ten- 
dered during the continuance of hostili'ies, and that there 
was a proposition in it, which materially concerned the 
United States, but in this there was no question relative to 
them ; that their negotiations with Great Britain had been 
conducted apart from those of the other belligerent pow- 
ers, and were brought to a happy conclusion. I here 
took up all the facts stated to him in my second letter of 
the 21st instant, and enlarged upon them. I added to 
them, the bill pending before the House of Commons in 
the beginning of March, for regulating a commercial inter- 
course between Great Britain and America, as between 
Stales, in fact, and absolutely independent ; and that the 
bill itself recited, that the King had concluded a peace 
with them, and expressly declared the vessels of their citi- 
zens should be admitted into all the ports of Great Britain, 
VOL. viii. 55 


as the vessels of other independent States ; that all were 
agreed to consider them as such. From these matters, I 
drew the same conclusion as is mentioned in that letter. 

This closed my observations upon the first article. As to 
the second, I went over the reasons contained in my letter 
of the 22d instant to you, urging strongly the four first, but 
passing gently over the rest. Upon the third, it was to be 
observed, that the mode of expression "before her Maj- 
esty had acknowledged the independence of America," 
seemed to lead beside the matter. That there was no 
question in the acknowledgment of that independence. The 
only question was, whether her Majesty would receive a 
Minister from the United States, who now presents himself. 
The United States do not ask the acknowledgment of their 
independence, nor have they a wish, nor do they claim a 
right to impose their Minister upon any Sovereign. Every 
Sovereign will judge, whether it is for the interest of his 
empire to receive the Minister of another, and may do this 
without deciding upon the perfect rights of that other. 
This is rather what I would have said, than what I did say 
upon that point. I could not fully advance the idea, as 
he several times prevented me, by returning to the mat- 
ter he had before spoken u[)on, as if he saw what I in- 
tended to say and wished to avoid it. The fourlii and last 
point was chiefiy answered by the arguments used upon 
the first. I did not, however, forget the distance of the 
countries as the only probable cause of that delay. 

Thus, Sir, I have given you a clear idea of a con- 
ference, which rests wholly upon my memory, and which 
had continued an hour wanting a few minutes, as far as I 
am able to do. Other arguments occurred to me in the 
time, which might have been urged, but 1 was apprehen- 


sive of obtruding too much upon the patience of the Vice 
Cliancellor, whose view i: must be considered, was rather 
to communicate liie answer, than to discuss the points of it. 

An important question arises out of this state of tilings. 
AVhat remains to be done on the part of the United States ? 
It belongs to me only to answer what 1 propose to do fur- 
ther myself, which is to draw a memorial containing this 
answer, witii such observations upon it as shall occur to 
me, tending to show the futility of the objections, which 
have been made to my immediate reception, and to send it 
to the Vice Chancellor. To such a measure I am advised 
on a good part. If this answer should be persisted in, I 
believe it may be truly said, that the honor of the United 
States will not suffer by it, in the estimation of any other 
Sovereign in the world. It is so different from the line of 
conduct, which some of the powers, who are members of 
the. Neutral Confederation, have adopted already respect- 
ing the United States, as for example, Portugal, Denmark, 
and Sweden, and that which it has been intimated the 
Emperor was ready to adopt, (of which 3Ir Adams re- 
ceived an account through Mr William Lc^j, and which he 
immediately transmitted to me, and, probably, to Congress 
also) that, if I mistake not, the effect of it will be quite of 
another kind. It will be seen to be subversive of the very 
principles upon which it is pretended to be established, and 
so revolting in its nature, that it is utterly imjiossible the 
United States could ever comply with it. 

1 plainly told the Vice Chancellor, that for myself, I 
could never make the proposition respecting my letters of 
credence ; and that if [ should, I had no ex|)octation they 
would ever adopt it, and, therefore, my waiting here the 
length of time, which it would be necessary for me to 


learn ilie pleasure of Congress upon it, seemed to be use- 
less. I cannot in any case quit this country till towards 
the end of May, because there is no getting out of it be- 
fore by land or water. I still hope it will not be thought 
J have precipitated tlie measure at a time when, if ever it 
could be, the course of events had prepared the way for 
it, and vfhen it shall be considered too, that the first ob- 
jection arises from a matter which took place since. As 
to the others, they are of so strange a nature, that they 
could not have been expected by any one, and which no 
time can do away. 

1 am under a necessity of closing this letter, without 
adding anything which may attempt to account for this 
very unexpected conduct on the part of her Imperial Maj- 
esty, otherwise I shall lose the post of the day. 
I have the honor to be, with much respect, &tc. 



Philadelphia, May 1st, 1783. 

An opportunity will ofler of writing to you by a frigate 
in the course of next week, when 1 shall be able to treat 
more fully the subject of your letters of December 21st, 
and January 3d and 15th, which have been duly received, 
and which are now under the consideration of Congress. 
This is principally designed to cover the enclosed resolu- 
tion, directing your return, unless you should have com- 
menced a treaty of commerce. But upon examining your 
instructions, you will find that the embarrassment you speak 
of with respect to the money to be paid upon signing die 


treaty, cannot exist under your present powers. With 
respect to the Neutral Confederacy, it is a treaty which is 
now of little consequence to us, and since we were not 
admitted to it during the war, we ought not to pay for 
admission upon a peace ; besides, that it can no more be 
considered as a treaty with her Imperial Majesty than it is 
a treaty with all the other neutral powers, whose iMinisters 
may with equal propriety demand the perquisites you speak 
of. Therefore, let it be understood, that as the United 
States, or their servants, are above receiving perquisites or 
presents, so they have not the presumption to assume such 
superiority over those with whom they treat as to offer 

With respect to a commercial treaty, none can be signed 
by you, as your powers only extend to "communicate with 
her Imperial Majesty's Ministers on the subject of a treaty, 
&c." but not to sign it ; so that you will find no difficulty 
upon the subject you speak of ; if you should, I am per- 
suaded that it is the wish of Congress rather to postpone 
any treaty with Russia, than to buy one at this day. 

I have seen your letter to -Mr ^lorris on the subject of 
your salary. The mistake you mention shall be corrected. 
1 was led into it by not having been furnished with the 
resolution you mention, among those relative to salaries 
sent me from the Secretary's office. However, it is of no 
consequence as yet, since the sums remitted with what 
you have received from Dr Franklin, will exceed tlse 
amount of your demand. You can now draw on Dr 
Franklin for three quarters' salary, at one thousand pounds 
sterling, a fourth is enclosed in a letter from Mr Lewis 
Morris to you ; the last quarter's due in April will be sub- 
ject to some deductions, as you will see by the enclosed 


resolutions transmitted you by Mr Lewis Morris, out of 
that quarter. 1 shall pay Mr Tracy's order, counting the 
commencement of the year from the date of the order. 
I am. Sir, with great respect, he. 



St Petersburg, May 8th, 1783. 

1 do myself the honor to lay before your Excellency the 
enclosed Meir.orial, containing what I take to be the sub- 
stance of the answer to my letter, communicating my mis- 
sion to your Excellency, which you delivered to me ver- 
bally on the 23d ultimo, and also the reply which I then 
made to it, together with some other observations upon it, 
which, fearing to obtrude too much upon your time, I omit- 
ted to make. The whole being thus reduced to writing, 
takes away all danger of mistakes on either part, and may 
be more deliberately and accurately considered. I hope this 
will be deemed a sufficient apology for the additional trou- 
ble it may give your Excellency. J pray you would be 
[ileased to favor tne with an answer to this Memorial in 
\v;;;iiig, or otherwise to grant n)e the honor of an interview 
with your Excellency, that I may know the final pleasure 
of her Imperial Majesty respecting my mission. 

1 have the honor to be, &.c. 


Mr Danci's Memorial to Count Osier mann. 

The undersigned, named by the United States of Amer- 
ica to reside near her Majesty, the Empress of all the Rus- 


sias, in the character of their Minister, has the honor to 
lay before your Excellency this Memorial, containing the 
substance of the answer he received verbally from your 
Excellency on the 23d ultimo, to his letter communicating 
to you his mission abovementioned, and also his reply to 
the same. 

The answer which your Excellency has given to him on 
the part of her Imperial Majesty, is unexpected not only to 
himself, but to the United States also ; for which last rea- 
son he is unable to say anything upon it from instruc- 
tions. He nevertheless thinks it to be his duty in so ex- 
traordinary a case, which will not admit of his waiting for 
their particular instructions to make use of his best discre- 
tion, in replying to it. He prays, therefore, that this Me- 
morial may be considered as containing his private senti- 
ments only. Whether ihey will accord with those of the 
United States he cannot be certain. Sensible that it is 
the right of every sovereign, to judge whether it is com- 
patible with his views, or the interests of his empire, to re- 
ceive the Minister of another; and persuaded also, that the 
United States have not even a wish to obtrude their Minis- 
ter upon any Sovereign, the undersigned has not the least 
intention to oppose himself to her Imperial Majesty's pleas- 
ure, whatever that may finally be, but only to make such 
observations upon the answer he has received as have 
occurred to him, which, from the known justice of her 
Imperial Majesty's character, he has no doubt will be 
taken into deliberate consideration, and be allowed their 
full weight. 

He would improve this occasion, to express the high 
respect which the United States entertain for her Imperial 
Majesty, and their sincere desire to cultivate the friendship 



of a Sovereign, whose glorious reign, and eminent virtues 
have so long fixed the attention, and commanded the ap- 
plause of the world. They consider her as one of the 
first Sovereigns of it, and in a manner the great legislator 
of nations, by her wise and equitable system of neutrality, 
which they have fully approved, and have made the prin- 
ciples of it the invariable rules of their conduct during the 
late war. Animated with sentiments of this kind, they 
wished to give some strong proofs of a distinguished atten- 
tion and consideration for her Imperial Majesty's person 
and government. Widi this view, they early named a 
Minister to reside near her, that he might improve the fiist 
occasion to display his character, which the course of 
events should afibrd. From these dispositions the United 
States were naturally led to expect, that her Imperial 
Majesty would be the first of the neutral powers, as they 
had intended, which should receive a Minister from them. 

I. "Her Imperial Majesty having been invited by the 
Courts of Versailles, Madrid, and London, to mediate in 
conjunction with the Emperor, at the conclusion of the 
definitive treaty of peace between them, and having acj 
cepted that trust till those arrangements are completed, and 
the definitive treaty is concluded, she cannot, consistent 
with her character as mediatrix, receive a Minister from 
America, without the consent of those powers ; the treaty 
with America is provisional only, and depends upon those 
arrangements. Though there is no doubt but they will 
lake place and the definitive treaty be concluded, yet till 
that is done, her Imperial Majesty cannot consider you in 
your character as the Minister of America." 


The present mediation difl'ers lioiii ilie Ibriner one, 
which had been tendered by tlieir Imperial Majesties, in 
two essential respects. Tliat was tendered during the 
continuance of hostilities, and while the great object of the 
war, the independence of the United States, was still in 
question. It contained also a proposition, which insepara- 
bly connected their interests with those of the other bel- 
ligerent powers. At sucii a time for her Imperial Majesty 
to have received a Minister from the United Slates, would 
have been to prejudge t!)e most capital subject of the pro- 
posed negotiation, and most certainly repugnant to the 
character of a mediator, if not to the laws of neutrality. 
But in the present mediation iherc is no (juestion relative 
to the United States, nor can there regularly be any made 
upon their interests, as ihey are not parlies to the medi- 
ation, and consequently have no right to send their Minis- 
ters to the Congress. If then the United States are not 
concerned in any arrangements to be made under the 
present mediation, the mailer seems lo rest upon the gen- 
eral law of nations, and to be reduced lo this simple 
question ; whether iho reception of a Minister from them 
at this moment, would he incompatible with the laws of 
neutrality .'' If their independence is already completely 
acknowledged by the King of Great Britain, is not the 
question decided in the negative r 

In the preliminary treaty, "His Britannic Majesty ac- 
knowledges the United Stales to be free, sovereign, and 
inde pendent States; that he treats with them as such ; and 
for himself, his heirs, and surcessors, relinquishes all claim to 
the government, proprrtij and trrritnrini ris^htr, of the same. 

VOT^. VIII. ">'"i 


ajid every part thereof.'''' But it is said, the preliminary 
treaty between the United States and Great Britain is 
provisional only, and depends upon the arrangements to be 
made at the conclusion of the definitive treaty, between 
Great Britain and the otlier late belligerent powers, under 
the mediation of their Imperial Majesties. If we look 
into that preliminary treaty, we shall find, that the only 
provision or condition contained in it is, that the definitive 
treaty between the parties "« not to he concluded until 
terms of a peace shall be agreed upon between Great Brit- 
ain and France.'''' Now these terms having been agreed 
upon by the preliminary treaty between their Most Chris- 
tian and Britannic Majesties, the preliminary treaty be- 
tween the United States and his Britannic Majesty has 
become absolute, and the definitive treaty between them 
may be concluded at any time, and without waiting for 
the conclusion of the definitive treaty of peace between 
France and Great Britain. It may not be improper to 
remark here, that even that condition was not annexed to 
the acknowledgment of the independence of the United 
States ; it was far from having been inserted into the 
treaty at the request of the British Commissioner. It was 
inserted by tlie Commissioners of the United States, to 
save their faith plighted to his Most Christian JMajesty. 
However this fact may be, it seems to be certain, that 
neither the preliminary treaty, nor definitive treaty between 
the United States and Great Britain, can depend upon 
any arrangements to he made under the present mediation. 
But if the case should be otherwise, it is conceived, that 
the provisional nature of the preliminary treaty, cannot 
affect the acknowledgment of their independence, by the 
King of Great Britain. For although from abundant cau- 


lion, this lias been inserted into the preliminary treaty of 
peace, yet it has never been a subject of negotiation. 
The United Stales would never submit to nej^otiate for 
their independence their very existence. They early 
resolved, and have uniformly persisted in that resolution, 
that they would not enter into negotiation with the King 
of Great Britain, unless, as a preliminary thereto, he would 
acknowledge their independence. Hence the failure of 
many attempts to draw theui into a negotiation, without a 
compliance with that resolution. And hence the necessity 
the King of Great Britain has been under, to revoke a 
former commission granted to 31r Oswald, on the 7ih 01 
August last, to treat with them under the name of ^^certain 
Colonies and Plantations in America" and of granting 
him a new one, on the 2Tth of September, in which he 
was authorised and required to treat of a peace or truce, 
with the Commissioners of the ^^Thirteen United States 
of America'^ (naming them all,) any law, act, or acts of 
Parliament matter or thing to the contrary notwithstand- 
ing," giving them their proper corporate name and title. 

Their independence being thus clearly, unconditionally, 
and solemnly acknowledged by this commission, passed 
under the great seal of the kingdom, as a preliminary to 
any negotiation, and in full compliance with the foregoing 
resolution, the negotiations were then, and not before, 
opened, and have by the blessing of God, been brought to 
a hap|)y conclusion. Their independence being once ac- 
knowledged, is it not irrevocable in its nature ? If in the 
moment the British Commissioner entered into negotia- 
tion with the Commissioners of the United Slates, in virtue 
of his last commission, any neutral power had declared it 
would consider and treat them in every respect, as sover- 


eign and independent States, and would protect the lavvluj 
commerce ol its subjects witli then), would this have been 
a violation of (he laws of neutrality ? if not, much less 
could the King of Great Britain pretend it would be so, 
after the conclusion of the preliminary treaty with them, 
after that treaty has become absolute, by the conclusion 
of the preliminary treaty between his Most Christian Maj- 
esty and himself, after a cessation of hostilities has been 
proclaimed by them, and also by the C'ommissioners of the 
United States, and Hnally, after the Parliament of Great. 
Britain has solemnly engaged to observe and maintain 
those treaties, which puts an end to the question, if it was 
ever seriously made, upon the autliority of the King, to 
make such a treaty with the United States. 

In conformity with sentiments of this kind, we have 
seen that the Queen of Portugal, a member of the neutral 
confederation, and a Sovereign in the strictest amity with 
the King of Great Britain, has by an edict opened the 
ports of her kingdom to the vessels of the United States, 
and promised them the enjoyment of the same hospitality 
and favor, which the vessels of other nations there enjoy. 
Jn all probability the King of Denmark has adopted a 
similar line of conduct to\v'ards the United States. 


II. "When these arrangements shall be completed, and 
the definitive treaty be concluded, if you shall produce new 
letters of credence, bearing date since the King of Great 
Britain has acknowledged the independence of America, 
her Imperial Majesty will be very willing to receive you 
as the Minister of America. But it would be incompat- 
ible with that exact neutrality, which she has hitherto ob- 


served, lo receive you while your letter ol credence bears 
date before that time." 

This objection seems deeply to uli'ect the rights and in- 
terests of the United States. The United Colonies, on 
the 4th of July, 1776, erected themselves into an Indepen- 
dent Sovereign Power. Great Britain, notwithstanding, 
kept up her claim of sovereignty over them, without hav- 
ing any in fact. The war was continued on the one part, 
to- maintain the actual possession of sovereignty, and on 
the other, to regain that sovereignty which had been lost. 
Despairing of success. Great Britain acknowledges, but 
does not grant, the independence of the United Slates. 
The United States have not, therefore, acquired the rights 
of sovereignty, in consecjuence of this acknowledgment of 
their inde|)endence. Their independence must necessa- 
rily have existed prior to the acknowledgment of it by the 
King of Great Britain. At what period then can the com- 
mencement of it be fixed, if not at tlio time when they de- 
clared themselves independent .'' Have they not from the 
moment of the declaration of their independence, been 
constantly in the actual possession and full exercise of their 
sovereignty ? Not to meddle with the matter of right, the 
fact is beyond all qnestion. Tlie undersigned tlii: ks, 
therefore, it is incompatible for him to propose to .\\q 
United States to revoke his present letter of credence, be- 
cause it bears date prior to the acknowledgment of their 
independence by the King of Great Britain, and to grant 
him another bearing date since that lime, for the following 
among other reasons. 

1st. Because it would be to propose lo the United 


Slates, in effect, to strike otF near seven years of their ex- 
istence, as free, sovereign, and independent Stales. 

2dly. Because their compliance with it would amount 
to a confession on their part, that they owed their exist- 
ence, as a free nation, to the acknowledgment of their in- 
dependence by the King of Great Britain. 

3dly. Because it would go to annul all their acts of 
sovereignty prior to that period, and among oihers, the im- 
portant ones of their treaties with his Most Christian Maj- 
esty, and v/lth the United Provinces of the Low Countries, 
as well as their commissions granted to their Ministers at 
the Court of Madrid, antl other Courts, and such treaties 
as they liave already made, or shall make in virtue thereof. 

4lhly. Because it would be repugnant to a resolution 
contained in their declaration of independence, viz. "that 
as free and sovereign States, they have full power to levy 
war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish com- 
merce, and to do all other acts and things, which indepen- 
dent States may ol riglit do." 

The United Stales have been induced to constitute this 
mission thus early, solely frou) the laudable views above- 
mentioned. It is singularly unfortunate then, that the very 
circumstance, '.vhich they intended as a mark of particular 
u.|.^.ct and consideration for her Imperial Majesty's per- 
son and government, sliould be turned against them, and 
liavc an operation to defeat the design of it. 

Besides, it is to be observed, that the King of Great 
Britain has by his Commissioner, consented to treat widi 
the Commissioners of the United States, whose powers 
had dale long before he had acknowledged their indepen- 
dence, and without requiring them to produce new ones 
bearing date since that time. Which is a strong and 


necessary implicalioii, lliat lie did not consider ihat ac- 
knowledgment as conferring their sovereignty upon them, 
but, on the contrary, they were a complete sovereign pow- 
er before, and had a full right to name their iNIinislers as 
such, to treat with him of a peace. He cannot, therefore, 
consider it as a violation of the laws of neutrality, if any 
neutral power should consider them in the same light, and 
receive their Minister, whose letters of credence bear date 
prior to his acknowledgment of their independence. 


in. "Besides, no Minister has been received at the 
Court of London from America yet, and her Imperial 
Majesty could not consistently receive a i\Iinister from 
America, before that Court had done it." 

There seems not to be any objections against the imme- 
diate reception of a Minister from the United States at the 
Court of London, which might not be made with equal 
force against the reception of Ministers from any of the 
other late belligerent powers, and as they have already 
mutually sent and received iMinisters, it is highly probable 
there are, in fact, no such objections existing. The 
omission, therefore, must be attributed to the only appar- 
ent cause, viz. the great distance of the two countries, 
which alone would render the appearance of a Minister 
from the United States at the Court of London impossible. 
Unless it should be supposed that Court is averse to form- 
ing any intimate connexions with the United States, the 
contrary of which seems to be the case, from the gener- 
ous, liberal, and wise policy they have in contemplation 
respecting them. 



But if it should be laid down as a principle, that the 
powers of Europe could not consistently receive a Minister 
from the United States till one had been received at the 
Court of London, it might have serious consequences 
upon the exercise of the right of sovereignty, and the most 
important interests, not only of the United States, but of 
such of the powers of Europe, as have not already re- 
ceived a Minister from them. For it would oblige them, 
whether they chose to do it or not, if they wished to form 
connexions with those powers, to send a Minister to the 
Court of London, as a step necessarily preparatory to that 
end. And when they had done this, it would be in the 
power of that Court, by refusing to receive him, to render 
their design abortive, and thus to prevent all friendly and 
beneficial intercourse between those powers and the United 
Slates, which cannot be formed and maintained but by the 
instrumentality of public Ministers. 

If then it is clear, that the United States are not at all 
concerned in the present mediation, that their provisional 
treaty has become absolute, and that their definitive treaty 
may be concluded at any time, and without waiting for the 
conclusion of the definitive treaty under the mediation ; 
that their independence has been unconditionally acknowl- 
edged by the King of Great Britain, as a preliminary to 
any negotiation ; that it is irrevocable in its nature ; and if 
the observations made upon the other objections are well 
founded, it is confidently hoped from that justice and im- 
partiality, which have ever formed so distinguished a part 
of her Imperial Majesty's character, that it will be thought, 
all obstacles to the immediate reception of a Minister irom 

die United States are removed. 


St Petersburg, May Sth, 1763. 



St Petersbure, May 9th, 1783. 

Having very little doubt that this letter will be opened 
at the post office, I do but enclose a copy of the Memo- 
rial spoken of in my last, whicli I sent yesterday to 
the Vice Chancellor, and of my letter accompanying it. 
They will not, I presume, detain the letter merely to give 
themselves the trouble of copying or translating papers, the 
original of which is in the hands of the principal Minister. 
I have only to apologise to you for the slovenly appear- 
ance of this copy, with its interlineations and obliterations. 
I have not time to make a fair copy for this day's post, 
and though but a few days might be lost here by wailing 
for the next post, yet an opportunity might be lost for a 
long time by it, of forwarding it from some port in France. 
I have the honor to be, &z,c. 



St Petersburg, May 9th. 1783. 
By this day's post 1 have sent you, by the way of 
France, a copy of the Memorial, which J yesterday deliv- 
ered to the Vice Chancellor. In that I have expressly de- 
clared, that I could not reply to the answer I had received 
from instructions, and desired that it might be considered 
as containing my private sentiments only upon the subject. 
This I thought it advisable to do, not only because it was 
the strict truth, but that Congress might be more at lib- 
voL. vin. 57 


erty, if they should judge it expedient, to disavow the 
whole. A reply 1 deemed absolutely necessary for 
me to make, to endeavor to show that the objections, 
which had been made to my immediate reception were 
invalid in themselves. Whether I have succeeded in the 
design, is for others to judge. It is to be observed, how- 
ever, that I have thought myself under the necessity of 
omitting to urge some very obvious and forcible reasons, 
from an apprehension, that from the extreme sensibility of 
her Imperial Majesty, they would give offence, which I 
was determined to avoid as far as possible, without sacri- 
ficing the honor of the United States. 

What the effect of this Memorial will be, it is impossible 
to say. I have no sanguine hopes from it. If it should 
not effect a change of resolution upon the matter, I still 
think I ought to leave this empire, without waiting here at 
least six months longer, to learn certainly whether Con- 
gress would consent to revoke my present letter of cre- 
dence, and to grant me a new one bearing date since the 
acknowledgment of the independence of the United States 
by the King of Great Britain, of which I have not the least 
expectation. But if they should be inclined even to do 
this, would it not be more eligible for me to return, when 
they would have an opportunity to get rid of the matter 
without any revocation of letters of credence, by nomi- 
nating another Minister after I had quitted the empire. If 
I might offer my opinion upon this subject, I do not think 
the advantage of a Minister at this Court will compensate 
for the expense of it. 

Of all the causes, which might occasion this answer of 
her Imperial Majesty, I can think of none which is likely 
to have more influence in the case, than the second matter 


pointed out in my letter of April ITili, as having happened 
since my communication was made. It will be wondered, 
perhaps, how that could have such an effect, and it may 
be supposed it would have a direct contrary one. I sup- 
posed quite otherwise when 1 mentioned it, and I feared 
the consequence of it when it was known here. This is 
to be accounted for only, from particular local knowl- 
edge of what kind of influence governs here. 1 shall 
lose this day's post, if I do not immediately close this 

1 have the honor to be, &^c. 



St Petersburg, May 13th, 1783. 

I did myself the honor to forward to you, by the last 
post, of the 9th instant, by the way of France, a copy of the 
Memorial I presented the day before to the Vice Chancel- 
lor, and of my letter accompanying the same. By this 
day's post, I send you a second copy of them through the 
same channel, and a third, by the way of Holland. I 
wrote you a separate letter on the day of the last post, not 
thinking it advisable to trust it with the packet. For the 
same reason, I send those by today's post unaccompanied 
with any letter to you. 

I have before given it as my opinion, that if this answer 
of her Imperial Majesty should be persisted in, it will not 
wound the honor or dignity of the United States in the 
sentiment of any Sovereign of Europe. I am more and 
more confirmed in this opinion, as 1 reflect upon the ob- 

452 P'RANCIS 51ANA. x 

jections, which have been raised against the immediate 
reception of a Minister from the United Stales. They 
appear to me to be totally unsupported by any prin- 
ciples of sound policy, or of the laws of nations. So far 
from its being thought, that the communication has been 
precipitated, I believe it is rather a matter of wonder, why 
it was so long delayed. Every one will see, that the 
course of events had most certainly prepared the way for 
it, judging upon any fixed principles. The other neutral 
powers were accordingly inviting the United States to 
enter into political connexions with them ; and none of 
them have really a stronger interest to do so than this 
empire. The account alluded to in my letter of the 25th 
of April, as having been transmitted to me by Mr Adams, 
is as follows. (Extract of a Letter from William Lee, 
February 18th, 1783.) "I am advised, from very good 
authority, that the Emperor is desirous of entering into a 
treaty of commerce with the United States of America, on 
terms of equality and mutual advantage. Therefore, shall 
be much obliged to you for informing me, if there is any 
person in Europe authorised by Congress to enter into 
such a treaty with her Imperial Majesty," &lc. Is it prob- 
able, after such an inquiry, that that illustrious Sovereign, 
if any of your Ministers in Europe had communicated such 
powers, would have made either of the objections, which 
have been raised here ? The motives, which have given 
occasion to so singular a determination on the part of her 
Imperial Majesty, will be known. I can speak very gen- 
erally only upon this subject while I remain here. 1 must 
again, therefore, beseech Congress to suspend forming any 
judgment upon this matter. 

I propose to wait a reasonable time for an answer to my 


JMemorial. It' none should be given, or the former one 
should be persisted in, I shall then set o(f for Stockholm, 
from whence I will write to you more freely, first taking 
another step, which appears to me advisable, I mean, to 
communicate what has passed at this Court, to the foreign 
JNIinisters, to prevent misrepresentations to the prejudice of 
the United States. The truth I think can do them none. 
I am in hopes of receiving an answer to the Memorial 
in a few days, and will transmit you an account of it im- 
mediately. In the meantime, 1 am preparing to quit this 
city in case it should not be such as we have a right to 
expect from the uniform conduct of the United States 
respecting her Imperial Majesty. 
I have the honor to be, he. 



St Petersburg, May 15th, 1783. 
You will see, with astonishment, I dare say, the objec- 
tions that have been raised against my immediate reception 
at this Court. I must acquaint you, that the first has 
taken place since I made my communication ; the courier 
having arrived here with the proposals three days after, 
viz. on the 27th of February. However, I think it far 
from being a solid objection. The second is of so extra- 
ordinary a nature, that it is impossible, in my opinion, that 
the United States can ever comply with it. If they 
should incline to do it, it shall never be done upon my re- 
quest. I would perish before I would propose it to them. 
If they have not lost all sense of their own dignity, and I 


believe they have not, they would sooner resolve never to 
send a Minister to this Court during the life of the present 
Sovereign. 1 have said all upon that point that I thought 
it prudent to say in my Memorial ; but you will at once 
perceive, I must have suppressed some very forcible argu- 
ments merely to avoid giving offence. It is not my busi- 
ness to embroil matters between the two countries ; quite 

With this view, I have openly disavowed all instructions 
relative to the subject, and expressly desired that my re- 
ply may be considered as containing my private senti- 
ments only. This leaves Congress at full liberty to avow 
or disavow whatever they think proper. They may sac- 
rifice my reputation and character, if they judge die in- 
terests of our country require it, but I will never sacrifice 
the dignity of the United States, by seeming, for a mo- 
ment, to give into a proposition, which I conceive would 
be an eternal disgrace to them. For this reason, I have 
resolved, after waiting a reasonable time for an answer 
to my Memorial, if none should be given, or the first be 
persisted in, to return with all speed to America. Which 
again will be the means of leaving Congress more at 
liberty to act, by affording them an occasion of sending 
rii'othrr Minister here, if they should incline to do it, with- 
out being under the necessity of revoking my letter of 
credence and granting me another, bearing date since the 
acknowledgment of our independence by the King of 
Great Britain. I spare all reflections upon this system, if 
it can be called one, of politics ; and shall not attempt to 
account for it at this time. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 




Philadelphia, May 27th, 1783. 

Since my last, a copy of which will be transmitted with 
this. Congress were pleased to pass the enclosed resolution 
limiting the term to which they conceive the duration of 
the treaty of commerce to be proposed to Russia should 
be confined, and directing that it should be in no way ob- 
ligatory upon them, till they had revised and approved it.* 
This latter part of the resolution, will I dare say make no 
difficulty, since it only conforms to the powers you already 
have, and which if you have made any propositions, must 
1 presume have been made under this restriction. You 
will find, however, that Congress do not wish to perplex 
or embarrass you, if your propositions are not exactly con- 
formable to their intentions, but have left it to your dis- 
cretion to proceed if you are too far engaged to recede 
with honor ; but they are still anxious not to engage ex- 
tensively in commercial treaties, till experience has shown 
the advantages or disadvantages that may result from 

1 wish you had enlarged upon this subject so as to have 
shown minutely the conveniences, that will arise from 
trading with the dominions of her Imperial Majesty under 

* "In Congress, May ^22d, 1783. Resolved, that Mr Dana be in- 
structed, in case he has not already proceeded too far in the com- 
mercial treaty between the United States of America and Russia, 
that the treaty be limited to the term of fifteen years ; and that the 
same be subject to the revisal and approbation of Congress before 
they shall be under obligations to accept or ratify it." For the pro- 
ceedings of Congress on the subject of >Ir Dana's letters, see the 
Secret Journal, Vol. III. pp. 344—3.54. 


a treaty rather than without. You hint at one of them, 
when you speak of the different coin in which the ^uties 
are to be paid, but not having explained the value of the 
money of the country, or the amount of duties, we know 
not what advantage we are to gain from being permitted 
to pay them in it. 

By a late resolution, Congress have been pleased to 
direct, that the postage of letters and the payment of cou- 
riers be allowed as contingent expenses. 

Give me leave, Sir, again to remind you, that your let- 
ters have hitherto been silent on the subject of government, 
police, laws, arts, manufactures, finances, civil and military 
establishments, he. It is true, a general knowledge of 
these may be acquired fron) several publications ; but mi- 
nute and acurate details are necessary to answer political 
purposes ; and as you have much leisure, an ample sup- 
port, and the means of acquiring this information, with the 
ability to employ those means to the best advantage, I 
must again request you to impose this task upon yourself, 
and to consider it as a standing instruction, to write at least 
once a week on these subjects. 

I have nothing to add as to general intelligence, since 
my last, but that Congress have ordered that furloughs be 
granted to about two thirds of the army. And that we 
have some reason to complain of the infraction of the 
seventh article of the provisional treaty ; Sir Guy Carleton 
having sent off numbers of slaves under pretence of having 
come in under proclamation, which gave them their free- 
dom, and they could not be within the letter or spirit of 
the article. 

I have the honor to be, &,c. 




yt Petersburg, May nOth, 1783. 


1 have already sent you three copies of tlie Memorial, 
which I presented to the Vice Chancellor, Count Oster- 
mann. Tiiere is no doubt, now hostilities have ceased, 
but one of them at least will come safe to hand. It has all 
along been uncertain to me what the effect of the Memo- 
rial would be, that is, whether it would produce any 
change in her Majesty's present plan of conduct towards 
the United States. I had in view by it principally, to 
place our affairs in such a point of light, that if her Maj- 
esty should persist in her answer, the dishonor of it, if any, 
should not fall upon the United States. 

The Memorial was as unexpected to the Vice Chan- 
cellor, as his answer was to me, after the previous assur- 
ances I had received, that all obstacles were removed. 
He expected the whole matter would have ended with the 
conference I had with him. In which case they could, 
and they would without any scruple, have made what they 
pleased of it ; have varied it, added to it, or diminished 
it, as future circumstances should render expedient. To 
prevent this, finding I could not obtain a note in writing of 
the substance of the answer, I determined to make that 
certain, as well as my reply to it, by throwins the whole 
into a Memorial. 

Not having received an answer to this, as I had desired 
in my letter accompanying it, on the 28th instant, I wrote 
another letter for the Vice Chancellor, as my ultimatum, 
and intended to have sent it yesterday, but a private frienrl 
called upon me in the evening of the same day, and told mc 
VOL. viii. 58 


he was informed, that I should have an answer in the 
course of this week, which would be satisfactory to me, 
but that he knew nothing of the particulars. Upon this 
intelligence I have omitted to send my letter to the Vice 
Chancellor, and shall wait patiently for the answer, at least 
through the week. Though my expectations are not san- 
guine from this information, which I have no doubt has 
been delivered exactly as it was received, yet it gives some 
room to hope for further explanations upon the subject, and 
that a proper system, such as the true interests of this 
empire point out, may be finally adopted, and without my 
coming to the last measure, that of quitting the country, a 
measure which I cannot but consider as indispensably 
necessary to the maintenance of the honor of the United 
States, if her Majesty should persist in her first answer. 
A few days will now determine whether all obstacles 
to my reception are effectually removed, or whether 
more plausible pretences only are intended to be opposed Not a moment shall be lost to communicate to you 
whatever may take place relative to so interesting a 

As to general news there seems to be no doubt of the 
war breaking out between Russia and the Porte, but it is 
still thought that the Emperor will not take a part in it, 
knowing the consequence of his doing so will be a general 
war upon the continent, in which he may probably suffer 
much. I am told the Khan of the Crimea, who has lately 
been restored by Russia, has ceded that important pen- 
insula to the Empress, and retired into the Cuban. Thus 
that country has been made independent of the Porte, but 
to become a province of this empire ; an event which 
must have been foreseen, though probably not expected 


SO early. You will find some particulars relative to the 
Crimea in my letter of the 15ih of January last. Russia 
must henceforward be considered as having the absolute 
command of the Black Sea. But on the other hand, she 
will not probably be able to act with her fleets in the Arch- 
ipelago against the Turks, as in the last war, for a plan it 
is said, is forming by the House of Bourbon, to render the 
Mediterranean a privileged sea like the Baltic?, (which 
was done by a confederation of the powers bordering upon 
that sea) by a similar confederation of the powers upon 
the Mediterranean. By this means the Russian fleet 
will be obliged to quit that sea, and France without enter- 
ing into the war will render a most essential service to the 
Porte. Seven sail of men-of-war, which had received 
orders to sail from hence and Archangel, to join the fleet 
at Leghorn, have in consequence of this plan, as is sup- 
posed, been stopped. It is said likewise to be intended 
to suppress those troublesome piratical people upon the 
coasts of Barbary, and who so frequently insult the first 
maritime powers of the world, and in a manner make them 
all their tributaries. 

I am, Sir, with the greatest respect, &.c. 



St Petersburg, June Otli, 1783. 

In my last I acquainted you, that I had been informed I 

should receive a satisfactory answer to my Memorial, in 

the course of that week. None has yet been given. 

Through the same channel I was yesterday informed, that 


it was intended to give the answer on Monday or Tuesday 
next. From this delay I am inclined to think, they wait 
to receive an account of the definitive treaty, when ail 
ideas of a mediation will be done away. This is daily ex- 
pected here. The other objections may be then dropped. 
It would be thought perhaps to be too humiliating to give 
them all up at once. In this way probably the whole may 
be compounded. I shall wait patiently in this expectation 
till we receive that account. 
I have the honor to be, he. 



St Petersburg, Juae 17th, 1783. 

Although we have not received any account of the con- 
clusion of the definitive treaty, under the mediation of their 
Imperial Majesties, I have the satisfaction to acquaint you, 
that our affairs have taken the turn, which I supposed in my 
last they might do. This is the utmost effect I could ever 
expect from my Memorial, for the reason mentioned in 
that letter. On Saturday morning I received a note from 
the Vice Chancellor, of which the following is a copy. 


to call on him today at one o'clock, taking this occasion to 
assure him, with great pleasure, of his perfect esteem. 
"Saturday, June 14?!/i." 

Having waited upon him accordingly, he entered into a 
conversation tending to explain away the principal parts 


of his fnsi answer. He said, liowever, that he did not in- 
tend that as the answer to my Memorial, this being in- 
cluded wholly in the note which he would read to me, and 
that 1 might take a copy of it to prevent any mistakes, 
which is as follows. 


"1 have not failed, Sir, to place under the eyes of the 
Empress, my Sovereign, the letters which you addressed 
to me on the Sth and 1 0th of April, accompanied with a 
Memorial and a supplement to that Memorial. 

"Their contents proving that you have taken in a wrong 
sense what I had the honor of saying to you previously re- 
specting the overture, which you made to me relative to the 
honorable commission with which you are charged, I have 
renewed to you the expression of satisfaction with which 
the Empress has accepted the mark of attention, which 
your constituents have shown in sending to her a person 
expressly clothed in a public character, and that she will 
receive him with pleasure in that quality, as soon as the 
definitive treaties, which are now on the eve of being con- 
cluded between the powers, who have been at war, shall 
be consummated. Her delicacy has been a law to her not 
to make any advance before that time, which should be 
considered inconsistent with those principles, which have 
characterised her strict impartiality during the course of 
the late war. In other respects, the Empress designs liiat 
you shall enjoy, not only in your own person, but also your 
countrymen, who shall visit her empire either on commer- 
cial or other affairs, the most favorable reception, and the 
protection of the laws of nations. 

"As to what I said to you, Sir, concerning the date of 


your letters of credence, there has been no occasion for 
any question respecting the consequences you have drawn 
from it. The conduct, which the Empress has held dur- 
ing the whole course of the war, sufficiently proves the 
impartiality of her sentiments, renders all discussion on this 
subject unnecessary, and ought to be perfectly satisfactory 
to you." 

To which I returned the following answer. 


"1 have considered the answer to my Memorial, which 
your Excellency gave to me, on the part of her Imperial 
Majesty on the 14th instant, as contained in the written 
note, of which you permitted me to take a copy. Know- 
ing the high sense the United States of America have, of 
that strict impartiality between all the late belligerent pow- 
ers, which her Imperial Majesty has so evidently mani- 
fested during the course of the war, and that ihey would 
not wish any propositions should be made on their part, 
which she might possibly think in the least degree repugnant 
to it, I omitted to make the communication of my mission 
to your Excellency, till the conclusion of the preliminary 
i.caiy between the Courts of Versailles, Madrid, and Lon- 
don, had been in form communicated to her Imperial Maj- 
esty. It is to be observed, that at the time I made it, the 
mediation had not taken place, the despatches relative to 
it, if I am not mistaken, having arrived three days after. 
The other matters being waved, 1 shall conform with the 
utmost satisfaction, to her Imperial Majesty's manner of 
thinking respecting the present mediation, and wait the 
conclusion of the definitive treaty of peace. I have a most 


grateful sense of the assurances, which her Imperial Maj- 
esty has been f)leased to give to me, that in the meantime, 
not only myself, but such of the citizens of the United 
States, as affairs of commerce or others may bring into her 
empire, shall enjoy the most favorable reception, and the 
protection of the laws of nations. 

"I pray your Excellency to accept my sincere acknowl- 
edgments of the polite manner in which you communicated 
the answer to my Memorial. 

"I have the honor to be. Sec 


''St Petersburg, June 16th, 1783." 

You will not suppose, from anything contained in the 
answer to my Memorial, that I had misstated any part of 
the first answer. Whether my reasoning upon the several 
parts of it is just, or not, you are best able to determine. 
If I have drawn consequences from it that are not true, as 
the reply supposes, it has at least had the effect to remove 
every obstacle except that of the mediation, which a very 
short time will probably put an end to, and also to draw forth 
an express assurance of the most favorable reception of the 
citizens of the United States, of a liberty freely to carry 
on their commerce with this empire, and under the pro- 
tection of the laws of nations. If this is not in effect giv- 
ing up every objection, so far as they have any pretence to 
be grounded upon established principles, I am greatly mis- 
taken in the matter. Considering it in this light, I have 
made no difficulty to declare, that I should conform, with 
the utmost satisfaction, to her Majesty's sentiments respect- 
ing the mediation. Thus, I flatter myself, all discussion 
of every kind, especially of matters of so much delicacy, is 
at an end. I am much deceived, if what has taken place 


will be of the least disadvantage to our interests. 1 am 
happy to add, I found the Vice Chancellor in an exceed- 
ing good disposition ; and have every reason to expect 
that all will go on in future in the most perfect harmony. 

You will observe mention is made in the written an- 
swer of a letter of the 10th of May, and of a supplement to 
the Memorial. This is nothing more than to introduce a 
paragraph, which I had omitted to insert in the copy sent 
to the Vice Chancellor. You have it in the second and 
third copies which I sent to you, but not in the first. 

Her Majesty will setofFinafew days for Fredericks- 
ham, a town in Finland, near the frontiers of her Empire, 
to meet the King of Sweden. The object of their meet- 
ing is supposed to be to insure tranquillity on that side, 
while the war may be prosecuted on the other against the 
Turks. The information respecting the Crimea, which T 
communicated to you, is not yet beyond all question. If 
it has not already become a Aid, there is little room to 
doubt but it will, in the course of a short time. Protec- 
tion and subjugation are not far separated in such cases. 
Besides, it forms so capital a part of the present ruling 
systen), that no means will be neglected to effect it as early 
as possible. 

The duplicate of your letter oi' tlie 17th of December, 
was brought me by the last ))ost ; the first copy has not 
come to hand, and the enclosures sent with that, you say 
in a postscript, are omitted in this for want of time. They 
are, however, become useless by the great change of 
peace. It is not the trouble, but the danger of med- 
dling too particularly with the subjects you speak of, that 
has iiithcrto prevented my going further into them. You 
will bo pleased to recollect, as I have mentioned before, 


that I have no cypher from you but what has come to me 
through this office, and that the duplicate of it did not ac- 
company the duplicate letter, which was said to enclose it. 
I am not without my apprehensions, that it was taken out 
of your letter here. I have never received any other cy- 
pher than the first from you, though it seems by your 
letters, that you had sent me both a written and a printed 
one since. I sent you one by Mr Adams's son, who left 
me last October, but instead of being two months as I ex- 
pected at furthest upon his route to Holland, he has been 
near six, so that you have not probably received that. 

If you will be pleased to turn to my letter of the 30ili 
of March, and to read that single sentence in it, wliich be- 
gins with the words "There has lately been a lively sensa- 
tion,'' &tc. you will find the great object which has con- 
stantly engaged the attention of this Court. It is the pole- 
star of their system, and everything else has been subject 
to its influence. Nothing has been adopted but with a 
view to facilitate the execution of that project. The pol- 
icy mentioned in the last paragraph of my letter of Octo- 
ber 14th, (sent by Mr Adams,) had no other object in 
view. You will instantly perceive the reason why 1 have 
supposed they would have been well pleased with the 
events there pointed out. You will see of course, that the 
different turn those affairs have taken cannot be very agree- 
able here, and how they may, and in fact do, obstruct the 
great projert in this moment. Sir, 1 have been very un- 
well for four days past, and am at this instant so feeble, 
that I can add nothing more than, that I am, with much 

respect, &cc. 


VOL. VIM. 59 

466 FRANCIS i>^lNA. 



There shall be a firm, inviolable, and universal peace, 
and a true and sincere friendship between her Imperial 
Majesty and her heirs and successors to the throne and 
the United States of America, and between the countries 
and territories situated under their jurisdiction respectively, 
the people and inhabitants thereof, and between their citi- 
zens and subjects of every degree without exception of 
persons or places. 


The rights, liberties, privileges, immunities, and exemp- 
tions respecting navigation, trade, commerce, or the distri- 
bution of justice, which now are,' or hereafter shall be 
granted by either of the contracting parties to any nation 
whatever, by any treaty, tariff, law, or ordinance whatever, 
shall immediately become common to the other party, 
whose citizens and subjects shall enjoy the same in as am- 
ple a manner, to all intents and purposes, as if the articles 
and clauses in virtue of which, they now are, or hereafter 
shall be granted to any nation, had been inserted into this 
treaty, and made a part thereof. 


It is particularly agreed and concluded, that the citizens 
and subjects of the contracting parties respectively, shall 
freely enjoy the right of passing with their vessels from one 

* It does not appear that this plan of a treaty was ever discussed 
between the parties, but was drawn up by Mr Dana on such princi- 
ples as he intended to maintain, should the negotiation proceed. 


port to another, wiiliiii the territories of the other party, 
of going from any of those ports to any foreign port of 
the world, or of cofl?^ng from any foreign port of the 
world to any of those ports. The citizens and subjects of 
the contracting parties respectively, shall pay within the 
territories of the other party no other or greater dnties 
or imposts, of whatever nature or denomination they may 
be, than those which the most favored nations now are, or 
hereafter shall be obliged to pay. And it is particularly 
agreed, that the citizens of the United States may pay the 
duties and imposts laid upon merchandises which they 
shall import into, or export from Russia, and which are 
or shall be ordered to be paid in rix dollars, in the current 
money of Russia, at the rate of one hundred and twen- 
tyfive copeaks for each rix dollar of full weight. The 
citrzens and subjects of the contracting parties shall have 
full liberty of navigation, trade, and commerce in all parts 
of the territories of the other party where navigation, 
trade, and commerce now are, or hereafter shall be per- 
mitted to any other nation whatever ; and to that end they 
shall mutually have free liberty to enter by water and by 
land with their vessels, boats, and carriages, loaded and 
unloaded, into all such ports, harbors, rivers, lakes, cities, 
towns, and places, within the territories of the other party, 
where navigation, trade, and commerce now are, or here- 
after shall be permitted to any other nation, and there to 
import or export, to sell or to buy all goods, wares, and 
merchandises of any country whatsoever, the importation 
and exportation of which shall not be prohibited ; and to 
remain there or to depart from thence, with their vessels, 
boats, carriages, and effects, paying the duties and imposts 
prescribed in each place, and conforming, with regard to 

4(38 FRANCls\jANA. ! 

their boats, vessels, and carriages, and the transportation of 
their effects, to the laws established in the place where 
such transportations shall be had and done, and which 
shall not be repugnant to any articles or clauses of this 


Whereas, it may sometioies happen, that the citizens 
of the United States of America, may make circui- 
tous voyages from America, through some other parts 
of Europe into Russia, and may take on board their 
vessels merchandise of the growth, production, or man- 
ufacture of such other parts of Europe, with an intent 
to carry the same into America ; it is agreed, that 
such merchandises shall not be liable to seizure or con- 
fiscation, when they shall be brought into any port of 
Russia, although they should happen to be of the sort 
called contraband or prohibited merchandise, nor shall 
they be subjected to the payment of any duties, either of 
importation or exportation, or of any other duty whatever; 
provided, always, that they shall not be attempted clandes- 
tinely to be landed, or be exposed to sale, but a full 
report of all sucli merchandise shall be duly made to the 
Custom-house, and they shall if required, be deposited in 
some suitable magazine, under the custody of a proper 
officer of the port, to be reladed on board the same ves- 
sel, Avhen she slfall have made up the residue of her cargo 
to be exported for America, according to the original inten- 
tion, paying only the expense of storing the same and other 
reasonable charges. 


And to enable them more amply to enjoy the ben- 
efits and advantages granted in the foregoing articles, 


the citizens and subjects of the contracting parties shall 
mutually have full liberty to establish factories in all 
parts of the territories of the other party, where such lib- 
erty now is, or hereafter shall be granted to any other 
nation whatever ; which factories shall enjoy the same 
rights, liberties, privileges, immunities and exemptions, 
as those of the most favored nations. 


All special advantages and benefits, of whatever name 
or nature, which are or hereafter shall be granted by 
either of the contracting parties, in virtue of any treaty, 
tariff, law, or ordinance, in favor of any nation where 
commodities of the growth, production, or manufacture 
of its territories shall be imported, whether in their own 
vessels or others, by a direct navigation into the territories 
of the contracting party, which shall have granted such 
advantages, shall immediately become common to the 
other contracting party, whose citizens and subjects shall 
fullv enjoy the same special advantages and benefits, to 
all intents and purposes, whenever they shall in tlieir own 
proper vessels, likewise import the same commodities into 
the territories of the party granting the same, by a direct 
navigation from the territories of such favored nation. 


It is further agreed and concluded, that when any 
of the commodities of the Islands, commonly called tlie 
West Indies, or of other neighboring Islands, or of any 
part of the continent of America, shall be imported into 
any of the territories of her Imperial Majesty, by the citi- 
zens of the United States in their own proper vessels, by a 


direct navigation from the countries where the same com- 
modities shall have been produced or manufactured, that 
in such case there shall be abated and deducted from the 
duties imposed upon such commodities one part 

thereof; but if they shall import the same indirectly from 
any European port, they shall pay the duties in full, accord- 
ing to the tariff. It is particularly agreed, that all raw 
and refined sugars, not in loaves, when imported by the 
citizens of the United Slates as above by a direct naviga- 
tion shall be free of any duties. 


All possible assistance and despatch shall be given to 
the loading and unloading of vessels, as well for the impor- 
tation as for the exportation of commodities, according to 
the regulations on that head established ; and they shall 
not be detained in any manner, under the penalties de- 
nounced in the said regulations. And to prevent vexations 
and grounds of complaint, it is agreed, that all merchan- 
dises when once put on board the vessels of the citizens 
and subjects of the contracting parties, shall be subject to 
no further visitation or search ; but all visitation or search 
shall be made beforehand, and all prohibited merchan- 
(!';:-es shall be stopped on shore before the same be put on 
board such vessels. Nevertheless, to prevent on both sides 
the defrauding the customs, if it should be discovered, that 
any merchandises have been imported or attempted to be 
nut on board such vessels clandestinely, or without paying 
the duties, they shall be confiscated, but in neither case the 
persons, vessels, or other merchandises of the citizens and 
subjects, on one part or the other, shall be put under any 
arrest, or be in any manner detained or molested, nor shall 


any other punislinient be inflicted upon them for such 


It shall be wholly free for all merchants, commanders of 
vessels, and others, citizens and subjects of the contracting 
parlies, within the territories of the other party, to man- 
age their own business themselves, or to commit it to the 
management of whomsoever they please ; nor shall they be 
obliged to make use of any interpreter or broker, nor to 
pay them any salary, unless they choose to make use of 
them. They shall likewise have full liberty to employ 
such advocates, procurators, notaries, solicitors and factors, 
as they shall think prbper. Moreover, masters of vessels 
shall not be obliged in loading or unloading them, to make 
use of any workmen who may be appointed by public 
authority for that purpose ; but it shall be entirely free for 
them to load or unload their vessels by themselves, and 
dieir own proper mariners, or to make use of such persons 
in loading or unloading their vessels as they shall think fit, 
without the payment of any salary to any other whomso- 
ever ; neither shall they be forced to unload any sort of 
merchandises into other vessels of any sort, or to receive 
them into their own, or to wait for their being loaded 
longer than they shall have contracted for. 


It any dispute shall arise between any commander 
of the vessels of either party and his seamen, in any 
port of the other party, concerning wages due to iho 
said seamen, or other civil causes, the magistrate of the 
place shall require no more from tiie person complained 
Ggaicst, than that he give to the complainant a decla- 


ration in writing, witnessed by the magistrate, whereby he 
shall be bound to prosecute that matter before a com- 
petent judge in his own country according to the law 
thereof; which being done, it shall not be lawful, either 
for the seaman to desert the vessel, or to hinder the com- 
mander from prosecuting his voyage. And if at any time 
any seamen should desert their vessels, upon complaint 
thereof made to the magistrate of the place by the com- 
mander of the vessel, he shall cause all such deserters 
to be sought for, and if found, to be restored immediately 
to the commander of the vessel, or, if he shall desire it, to 
be confined in prison, or some safe place at his expense, 
to be delivered up to him when he shall be about to de- 
part with his vessel. 


It shall be permitted to the citizens of the United 
States, who shall establish themselves in Russia, to build, 
buy, sell, hire, or let houses in the towns of St Peters- 
burg, Moscow, and Archangel, and in all other towns of 
the empire, which have not rights of burghership, and priv- 
ileges to the contrary; and it is particularly agreed, that the 
houses which they shall possess and inhabit within any parts 
of the empire, shall be exempted from all quartering of sol- 
diers or other lodgements, so long as the same shall be ac- 
tually possessed and occupied by themselves. On the 
other hand, permission shall likewise be granted to the 
Russian merchants to build, buy, hire, sell, or let houses 
within all parts ol the territories of the United States, in 
the same manner as now is, or shall hereafter be granted 
to the most favored nations ; and ail such houses as they 
shall build, buy, or hire, shall, so long as they shall con- 
tinue to dwell in the same themselves, be exempt froin all 


quartering of soldiers or other lodgements, throughout all 
parts of the same territories, without exemption of places. 


The citizens and subjects of the contracting parlies 
shall, within the territory of the other parly, have full 
liberty to lake and receive into the houses they inhabit, 
or into their particular magazines, all such cotnmodities as 
they shall have imported, or as shall be consigned to 
them ; and to this end, they shall be delivered up to them 
from the public magazines, if required, as soon as con- 
veniently may be, after they shall have paid the duties and 
other lawful charges thereon ; and they shall have full lib- 
erty to sell and dispose of the same at their houses and 
particular magazines as ihey shall think fit, upon this ex- 
press ccndition, however, that they shall not sell them 
there or elsewhere by retail ; and they shall not be 
charged with any laxes or impositions whatever on ac- 
count of their enjoying this privilege, or with any other 
than the most favored nations shall pay. 


To prevent fraud, which might otherwise take place, 
and to establish a mutual confidence in matters of com- 
merce, it is agreed, that all the citizens and subjects of 
the contracting parties, whether residents in their own 
or in the territories of the other party, who shall have 
arrived to the full age of twenlyone years, (being of sound 
mind, excepting always the Russian peasants) shall be 
judged capable of making contracts in their own names, 
and shall, accordingly, be held and obliged to fulfil and 
perform all contracts and engagements, which they shall 

VOL. VIII. 60 


SO make and enter into, agreeably to the rules of good 
faith ; and this, whether tlieir fathers, or mothers, or both, 
shall be living or dead at ihe lime of making the contract, 
or whether they have been portioned or not by them, or 
either of them. And all tlie Russian clerks or servants 
employed in the shops shall be registered in some tribunal, 
and their masters shall be responsible for them in affairs of 
trade and commerce, bargains or contracts, which they 
shall make in their names. 


When the Russian merchants shall cause to be en- 
registered at the custom house their contracts or bar- 
gains for the sale or purchase of merchandises, by their 
clerks or factors, or others employed by them, the officers 
of the customs where these contracts shall be enregistered, 
shall carefully examine if those who contract for the ac- 
count of their principals, are authorised by them with 
orders or full powers made in good and due form, in 
which case, the said principals shall be responsible as if 
they iiad contracted themselves in person. But if the 
said clerks, factors, or other persons employed for the said 
merchants, are not provided with sufficient orders or full 
powers in writing, they shall not be believed upon their 
word, and although the officers of the customs are charged 
to watch in this respect, the contractors shall, nevertheless, 
take care for themselves that the agreements or contracts 
that they make together exceed not the procurations or 
full powers, which have been confided to them by their 
employers, since these last are not held to answer but for 
the objects and amount for which the full powers have 
been given by them. 



The Russinns shall be amenable to justice touching all 
their contracts and engagements between them and the 
citizens of the United States residing in Russia, in the 
place where they shall have made them, unless it shall be 
otherwise stipulated therein, and according to the laws of 
the same place ; and if any process should arise between 
ihem in the towns of St Petersburg, jNIoscovv, or Arclian- 
sei, the College of Commerce alone, to the exclusion of 
every other tribunal, shall take cognizance thereof, after 
compiaint shall have been duly made ; and said College 
shall cite the person complained against to appear before 
them in person, or by iiis attorney, to answer such com- 
plaint, allowing a reasonable time therefor ; and if he 
should appear, or fail to appear and answer within the 
lime fixed, upon due proof of the matter in question being 
produced, the said College shall proceed to pass judgment 
thereupon against the person complained of, and where it 
is necessary to carry their judgment into execution against 
an absent person, shall forthwith when desired by the com- 
plainant, at his expense, send an express to the proper 
Governors or Waywodes, and shall order them to cause 
the judgment to be executed without loss of time, and thus 
shall oblige the person condemned, to pay the sun)s of 
money specified in such judgment, with reasonable costs. 


But whenever a process or dispute shall take place 
concerning any contract made between the citizens of 
the United States and the Russian subjects, in a place 
where the College of Commerce hath no department, tliey 
shall be heard and determined by the ordinary magistrate 


of the place ; and in all siicli cases, the process shall be 
conducted in like manner as is agreed in the preceding 
article, as well with respect to tiie obtaining of judgment, 
as 10 the execution thereof; and the citizens of the United 
States, in all causes between them and the Russian subjects, 
which shall be tried by any magistrate of a place where 
the College of Commerce hath no department, shall have 
a right to appeal from liie judgment of the magistrate to 
that of the College of Commerce, whenever they shall 
think themselves aggrieved thereby. On the other hand, 
the Russian mercliants within the territories of the United 
States shall, in their turn, enjoy the same administration 
of justice as the native citizens. 

AllTICl.K xvi. 

It shall be lawful lor the merchants on the one part and 
on the other, to keep in the places of their abode, or else- 
where, books of their accounts and afiairs, and also to 
maintain an intercourse of letters in any language ihey 
please, without being liable to any restraint in these re- 
spects. Nor shall they be obliged to show their books or 
papers to any person whatever, unless it be in the course 
of justice ; and if it should become necessary for them to 
])roduce their books or papers for deciding any contro- 
versy, in such case, no other articles or parts thereof shall 
be shown, than such as shall relate to the matter in ques- 
tion, or shall be necessary to give credit to the same books 
and papers. And it shall not be lawful under any pre- 
tence, to take the said books or papers forcibly out of the 
hands of the owners, or to retain them; the case of bank- 
ruptcy always excepted. 



If any bankruptcies shall happen in Russia, in which 
any of the citizens of the United States shall be interested, 
either as creditors or debtors, the creditors shall assemble 
under the authority of the College of Commerce, and the 
major part of them, as well with respect to number as to 
the value of their demands, shall name three or more per- 
sons, from among themselves or elsewhere, trustees, who 
shall take possession of all the efTects movable and im- 
movable of such bankrupt, and of his books and papers, 
and shall examine the same to discover the state of his 
affairs, and they may decide upon the claims of any one 
pretending to be a creditor of such a bankrupt, if his claim 
shall be questioned by any other creditor in whole or in 
part ; and the decision of the major part of such trustees 
thereupon, shall be final and binding upon all the credi- 
tors. The trustees shall have full authority also to de- 
mand and receive all debts due to the bankrupt, to sell 
and dispose of his effects movable and immovable, and 
shall distribute with all convenient speed the proceeds 
thereof among all the creditors, in a just proportion to their 
respective demands and credits, as finally settled and al- 
lowed by the trustees, without any preference whatever 
among tlie creditors, on account of the different nature of 
their demands. It is to be understood always, howevei-, 
that when any iiumovable estate of the bankrupt shall 
liave been mortgaged and pledged to any creditor, sucli 
creditor shall receive the full of his debt before the same 
estate shall be taken out of his possession and sold for the 
profit of the other creditors. But, as to movable effect?, 
no right of pledge shall be admitted, maess the thing 
claimed by any creditor as a pledge for his debt, shall 


have been actually delivered to him before the bankruptcy 
was committed, and shall have remained constantly in his 
hands ; in which case, he shall also be paid the whole of 
his just debt, before he shall be dispossessed of such 
pledge to be sold for the benefit of the creditors in gene- 
ral. Tiie trustees sh.all mai<e a report to the College of 
Commerce in what state they have found the books, pa- 
pers, and afFiiirs of the bankrupt, and by what means he 
has failed, and, if they declare him to be an honest man, 
he shall be immediately discharged. 


To multiply the ties, and to establish a more intimate 
and friendly intercourse between the ciuzens and subjects 
of the contracting parties, it is agreed, -that whenever any 
citizen of the United States, resident in any part of Russia, 
shall associate and enter into partnership with any Russian 
merchant, he shall thereby acquire and be entitled, for so 
long time as the said association and partnership shall be 
continued, all the rights, liberties, privileges, immunities, 
and exemptions, in navigation, trade, and commerce, of a 
native subject of Russia. And on the other hand, when- 
ever any Russian merchant resident in any of the territo- 
i!i > nf the United States, shall associate, and enter into 
partnership, with any merchant or citizen of the United 
States, he shall thereby acquire and be entitled to enjoy, 
for so long a time as the said association and partnership 
shall be continued, all the rights, liberties, privileges, im- 
muiiities, and exemptions in navigation, trade, and com- 
merce, of a native citizen of the United Stales. But the 
said citizens and subjects, on the one part and on the other, 
shall not be subjected on such account to any lax or inipo- 


sition whatever, and they shall also be exempt from all 
burdens, charges, and services, of what nature soever, 
which are peculiar to native citizens, and subjects, and 
burghers, and are not exacted from the most favored 


All necessary precaution shall be taken, that the brack 
be trusted to persons of known ability and probity, and the 
brackers shall be responsible for the quality of the goods, 
and fraudulent package, and shall be obliged after suffi- 
cient proofs produced against.them, to make up the losses 
occasioned by their negligenae or fraud. The officers of 
the customs shall have the charge of examining the clerks 
or servants of the American merchants residing in Russia, 
when they cause their goods to be entered, whether they 
have the orders of their masters in writing for that purpose, 
and if they have not, they shall not be credited, nor shall 
their masters be responsible for any entries their clerks or 
servants may cause to be made in their names, without 
their orders in writing for the same. 


The citizens and subjects of the one part and on the 
other, shall have full liberty to remove themselves and 
their families (if they have any) together with their effects 
of every kind, whensoever they think fit, out of the terri- 
tories of the other party ; paying their just debts, and the 
ordinary established duties of exportation, but without 
being subjected to any extra duties or deduction from 
their effects, for the right of carrying them out of the terri- 
tories of such party ; and the proper passports for their 
persons and effects shall be granted without unnecessary 


delay. It is particularly agreed, that passports shall be 
granted to all such citizens of the United States, who being 
inerchents within the Russian dominions, shall desire to 
quit the same, by the government, at the end of two 
months after they shall have published their intention of 
departing in the Gazette of St Petersburg, without their 
being obliged to give any security whatever, and if within 
that time there shall not appear any lawful cause to detain 
them, they shall be permitted to depart freely, with all 
their eflecls. 


There shall be an entire and perfect liberty of con- 
science allowed to the citizens and subjects of both nations, 
within the territories of the other party ; and in conse- 
quence thereof they shall be permitted to worship freely, 
either in their own houses, or churches destined and allow- 
ed for that purpose by die government, according to the 
rites of their own religion, nor shall diey in any measure 
be molested therein. There shall, moreover, be granted 
liberty whenever any of the citizens or subjects of either 
party sliall die in the territories of the other party, to bury 
them in the usual burying places, or in decent and con- 
venient grounds, appointed for that purpose, as occasion 
shall require, and the dead bodies of those who are buried 
shall not in any measure be disturbed. 


Although the Droit (TJhihuine does not exist within the 
territories of either of the contracting parties, it is neverthe- 
less agreed between them, to clear away all doubts which 
might arise thereupon, that their respective citizens and 
subjects shall have full right to dispose of all effects, which 


they shall have or ought to have within the territories of 
the other party, by testament, donation, or otherwise, in 
favor of such persons as they shall think fit ; and their 
heirs, subjects of one of the parties, and residing in the 
territories of the other, or elsewhere, whether so by testa- 
ment, donation, or other particular titles, or as intestate, 
sliall freely succeed to, and take possession of all such 
effects, whether in person or by procuration, or if minors 
by their guardians, tutors, or curators, although they shall 
not have obtained letters of naturalization, and may dispose 
of the same as they shall tliink fit, paying the just debts 
only which shall have been due from the deceased at the 
time of his death ; and they shall not be chargeable with 
the payment of any duties or imposts whatever, upon en- 
tering into the possession of such effects, movable or 
immovable ; and who shall he deemed heirs of any cit- 
izen of the United States, who shall die intestate in Russia, 
and in what proportion his efiects, movable or in)mov- 
able, which he shall have left there, shall be divided 
among them, shall be determined by the laws of the State 
in the Union of which the deceased was last a member ; 
and if the heirs of the deceased shall be absent, or minors, 
at the time of his death, and he shall not have named a par- 
ticular trustee of his effects for their use, in such case an in- 
ventory shall be taken of all such effects, movable and im- 
movable, by a Notary Public, under the direction and in 
presence ol the consul, vice consul, agent or commissioner 
of the United States, if there be any in or near the place 
where the deceased last dwelt ; all which effects shall 
be immediately after committed to the care of one or 
more persons, to be named by the said consul, vice consul, 
agent, or commissioner, or in default thereof, to those 

VOL. VITI. 61 


whom the public authority shall designate for that purpose, 
to the end, that they may safely be kept by them, and 
preserved for the lawful heirs of the deceased. 


The contracting parties shall mutually endeavor by all 
the means in their power, to defend and protect all vessels 
and other effects belonging to the citizens or subjects of 
the other party, and being in their ports, roads, harbors, 
internal seas, passes, rivers, and as far as their jurisdiction 
extends at sea, and to recover, and cause to be restored 
entire, to the true proprietors, their agents or attornies, all 
such vessels and effects which shall be taken under their 
respective jurisdictions, and their vessels of war and con- 
voys sailing under their authority, in cases when they may 
have a common enemy, shall take under their protection 
all the vessels belonging to the citizens and subjects of the 
other party, which shall not be ladened with contraband 
goods, (according to the description thereof made in the 
article of this treaty) for places with which one of the par- 
ties is at peace and the other at war, nor destined for any 
place blocked, and which shall hold the same course or 
follow the same route, and they shall defend such vessel 
as long as they shall hold the same course, or follow the 
same route against all attacks, force, and violence of the 
common enemy, in the same manner as they ought to pro- 
tect and defend the vessels belonging to the people and 
subjects of their proper sovereign. 


Merchants, masters, and owners of vessels, mariners, 
men of all kinds, vessels, merchandises, and effects in gen- 


eral, of either of the contracting parlies, or of their citi- 
zens and subjects, shall not be seized or detained within 
the territories of the other parly for any military expedi- 
tion, public or private use of any one, by arrests, violence, 
or any color thereof; much less shall it be permitted to 
take or extort by force anything from ihe citizens or sub- 
jects of the other party, and without the consent of the 
owner ; which, however, is not to be understood of sei- 
zures, detentions, and arrests, which shall be made by the 
command and authority of justice, and by the ordinary 
method, on account of debts and crimes, in respect where- 
of the proceedings must be by way of law and according 
to the forms of justice. 


In case the citizens or subjects of either party, with their 
shipping, whether public and of war, or private and of mer- 
chants, be forced through stress of weather, pursuit of 
pirates or enemies, or any other urgent necessity for seek- 
ing of shelter and harbor to retreat and enter into any 
rivers, bays, roads, or ports, belonging to the other party, 
ihey shall be received and treated with all humanity and 
kindness, and enjoy all friendly protection and help, and 
they shall be permitted to refresh, and provide themselves 
at reasonable rates with victuals, and all things needful for 
the sustenance of their persons, or reparation of their ves- 
sels, and conveniency of their voyage, and shall no ways 
be detained or hindered from returning out t)f the said 
ports or roads, but may come to sail and depart when and 
whither they please, nor shall they be subject to any visit 
or to the payment of any duties whatever, provided always, 
that during their remaining in port, they do not break bulk, 



or expose any merchandise to sale. It is neveiiheless to 
be understood, that if it shall become necessary for the 
eftectual reparation of any vessel to unload her in part or 
in whole, permission for that purpose shall be granted, and 
there shall not be demanded any duties whatever upon the 
merchandises which shall be unloaded, but they shall be 
deposited in some suitable magazine under the inspection 
of a proper officer of the port, to be delivered up to the 
master of the vessel after she shall have been repaired, to 
be again loaded on board her ; likewise, permission shall 
be granted to sell so much of the said merchandises as 
shall be necessary to defray the expenses of repairing and 
equipping the vessel for sea, paying the duties only upon 
such part as shall be sold, and they shall not be demanded 
upon any other part of the cargo under pretence of her 
having broken bulk, or any oilier pretence whatever, but 
she shall be permitted freely to proceed to sea with the 
remainder of her cargo, without any molestation or impedi- 
ment whatever. 


If the vessels of the citizens or subjects of either of the 
contracting parties come upon the coasts of the other party, 
without intending to enter into port, or being entered into 
port, not designing to unload their cargoes or to break 
bulk, they shall not be obliged to pay for their vessels or 
cargoes any duties of entry or departure, nor to render 
any account of their cargoes, at least if there is not prob- 
able cause to suspect that they carry contraband goods 
to the enemies of such party ; in which case they shall be 
obliged to exhibit their passports and certificates described 
in the article of this treaty, to which full faith and credit 



It shall be lawful for captains and masters of vessels be- 
longing to the United States, or any of them, or to their 
citizens, freely to receive on board their vessels, or take 
into their service as passengers or seamen, the natives or 
citizens of any of the United States, being in any port or 
place subject to the jurisdiction of her Imperial Majesty, 
upon such conditions as they shall agree upon, without be- 
ing subject for so doing to any fine, punishment, process, 
or reprehension whatsoever; and reciprocally, the captains 
and masters belonging to her Imperial Majesty, or any of 
her subjects, shall enjoy in all the ports and places under 
the obedience of the United States, the same privilege of 
receiving and taking into their service passengers and sea- 
men, being natives or subjects of any country of the domi- 
nation of her Imperial Majesty, provided that neiiiier on 
the one side nor the other, they may not receive or 
take into their service such of their countrymen who are 
already engaged either in the public or any private service, 
or who shall have fled from the justice of the country, but 
they shall surrender up all such persons whenever duly 
required so to do. 


If any vessels belonging to either of the parlies, liuir 
citizens or subjects, shall wiiiiin the coasts or dominions (;f 
the other party, stick upon the sands or be wrecked, or 
suffer any other damage, all friendly assistance and relief 
shall be given to the persons shipwrecked, or shall be in 
danger tiiereof ; and the vessels, effects, and njcrchandises 
which shall have been saved, or the proceeds of them, it 
being perishable they shall have been sold, being claimed 


within the space of months by the masters or owners, 

their agents or attornies, shall be faithfully restored, paying 
only that which ought to be paid by the native citizens or 
subjects in such cases for salvage. There shall also be 
delivered, gratis, to the persons shipwrecked, safe conducts 
or passports for their free passage from thence, and to re- 
turn each one to his country. 


The two contracting parties, fully convinced of the wis- 
dom and justice of the principles contained in the declara- 
tion of her Imperial Majesty of the 28th day of February, 
1780, made to the then belligerent powers, and proposed 
by her as the basis of a system to be established for the 
general benefit of the commercial world, and that the same 
ought to be regarded as sacred by all belligerent pow- 
ers forever; which principles have since been established 
and agreed upon in the maritime convention concluded at 
Copenhagen, between her said Imperial Majesty and the 
King of Denmark and of Norway, on the 9th of July, 
1780; and being desirous to make the same the invari- 
able rule of their own conduct, and to have recourse 
thereto upon all proper occasions, as to stipulations and 
l.r.vo, which merit a distinguished rank in the human code ; 

The contracting parties do here solemnly adopt and im- 
mediately apply to themselves the few important principles, 
which have been established as above in favor of neutral 
nations in general, viz, 

1st. That all vessels shall navigate freely from port to 
port, and upon the coasts of nations at war, excepting al- 
w^ays ports blocked ; 

2diy. Tiiat effects belonging to powers at war, or lo 


their subjects, shall bo free upon neutral vessels, excepting 
contraband merchandises ; 

3dly. That to determine what shall characterise a port 
blocked, this denomination shall be granted but to such i)ort 
only, where the vessels of war of the power that attacks it 
shall be sufficiently near, and stationed in such a manner, 
that there is an evident danger of entering into it ; 

4ihly. That neutral vessels shall not be arrested, but 
upon just causes and evident facts, and they shall be 
judged witliout delay ; that the process shall always be 
uniform, prompt, and legal, and that always besides the in- 
demnification, which shall be granted to those who have 
sustained any damages or losses without being in fault, 
thefe shall be given complete satisfaction for the insult 
committed upon the respective flags. 


If the merchant vessels of the citizens or subjects of one 
of the other parties, sailing along the coasts or on the high 
seas without any escort, are met by the vessels of war or 
private armed vessels of the other party, being engaged m 
a war with any other power, they shall be held, if re- 
quired, to exhibit their passports, sea-letters, and other 
documents described in the article of this treaty ; and to 
prevent all disorder and violences, the vessels of war and 
private armed vessels making the visit shall constantly re- 
main out of cannon-shot from the armed vessels, and shall 
send their boats to them, but they shall not board them 
with more than two or three men for the purpose of ex- 
amining their papers abovementioned. Nevertheless, it 
shall not be permitted to visit or to examine the papers of 
any merchant vessels when convoyed by vessels of war, 


but full faith shall be given to the declaration of the officer 
commanding the escorts, that the merchant vessels are not 
charged with any contraband merchandises for an enemy's 


And when it shall appear by the papers exhibited, or 
by the verbal declaration of the officer commanding th© 
escort, that the merchant vessels are not charged with any 
contraband merchandises destined for a port of the enemy 
of the other party, they shall be permitted to pursue their 
voyage without any molestation or impediment ; and that 
more effectual care may be taken for the security of the 
citizens, subject?, and people of both parts, it shall be ex- 
pressly forbidden to the captains and commanders of all 
vessels of war, and of private armed vessels, their officers 
and people, to molest or to do any damage to the vessels, 
citizens, subjects, and people of the other party, and if 
they shall act to the contrary, they shall be obliged to 
answer therefor in their persons and goods, besides the 
reparation due for the insult committed upon the flag. 


If, by exhibiting the sea-letters and other documents, 
the other party shall discover there any of those sorts of 
goods, which are declared prohibited and contraband, and 
that they are consigned for a port under the obedience of 
liis enemy, it shall not be lawful to break up the hatches of 
such ship, nor to open any chest, coffer, packs, casks, or 
other vessels found therein, or to remove the smallest par- 
cel of the goods, unless the lading be brought on shore in 
presence of the officers of the Court of Admiralty, and an 
inventory thereof be made ; but there shall be no allow- 


ance to sell, exchange, or alienate the same, until after that 
due and lawful process shall have been had against such 
prohibited goods of contraband, and the Court of Admi- 
ralty by a sentence pronounced shall have confiscated the 
same, saving always as well the ship itself as any other 
goods found therein, which are to be esteemed free, and 
may not be detained on pretence of their being infected by 
the prohibited goods, much less shall they be confiscated as 
lawful prize. But, on the contrary, when by the visitation 
at land, it shall be found that there are no contraband 
goods in the vessel, and it shall not appear by the papers, 
that he who has taken and carried in the vessel has been 
able to discover any there, he shall be condemned in all 
the charges and damages, which he shall have caused, 
both to the owners of the vessels, and to the owners and 
freighters of ihe cargoes with which they shall be loaded, 
for his temerity in taking and carrying them into port ; it 
being declared most expressly, that free vessels shall 
assure the liberty of the effects with which they shall be 
ladened, and that this liberty shall extend itself equally to 
the persons who shall be found in free vessels, although 
they are enemies to both, or either party, who may not be 
taken out of her unless they are military men actually in 
the service of an enemy. 

AKTICI.E xxxiir. 

On the contrary, it is agreed, that whatever shall be 
found to be ladened by the citizens and subjects of either 
party, on any ships belonging to the enemies of the other, 
although it be not comprehended under the sort of pro- 
hibited goods, the whole may be confiscated as if it be- 
longed to the enemy ; excepting always such effects and 
VOL. VIII. 62 


merchandises as were put on board such vessel before the 
declaration of war, or in the space of months after 

it ; which effects shall not be in any manner subject to 
confiscation, but shall be faithfully, and without delay, 
restored in nature to the owners who shall claim them, 
or cause them to be claimed before the confiscation or 
sale ; and, if they should not be claimed before then, 
the proceeds thereof shall be restored, provided they are 
duly claimed within months after the sale, which 

shall always be public. Nevertheless, if the said merchan- 
dises are contraband, it shall by no means be lawful to 
transport them afterwards to any port belonging to the 
enemies of the other ally. 


And under this denomination of contraband or merchan- 
dises prohibited, shall be comprehended only 
All other effects and merchandises not before specified ex- 
pressly, and even all sorts of naval matters, however 
proper they may be for the construction and equipment of 
vessels of war, or for the manufacture of one or another 
sort of machines of war, by land or by sea, shall not be 
adjudged contraband, neither by the letter nor according 
to any pretended interpretation whatever, ought they, or 
can they be comprehended under the notion of effects pro- 
hibited or contraband ; so that all effects and merchan- 
dises, which are not expressly before mentioned, may, 
without any exception and in perfect liberty, be trans- 
ported by the citizens and subjects of both allies from and 
to places belonging to the enemy of the other, excepting 
only the place, which at the same time shall be blocked, 
as described in the article of this treaty. 



All vessels and merchandises of whatever nature, which 
shall he rescued out of the hands of any pirates or rob- 
bers navigating the high seas without requisite commis- 
sions, shall be brought into some port of one of the two 
States, and deposited in the hands of the officers of that 
port, in order to be restored entire to the true proprietors, 
as soon as due and sufficient proofs shall be made con- 
cerning the pro[)erty thereof. 


Jt shall be lawful, as well for the ships of war of the two 
contracting parlies, as for the private armed vessels be- 
longing to their respective citizens and subjects, to carry 
whithersoever they please, the ships and goods taken from 
their enemies ; neither shall they be obliged to pay any- 
thing to the officers of the Admiralty, or to any other 
judges or persons whatever ; nor shall the aforementioned 
prizes, when they come to and enter the ports of the said 
States be detained by arrest, or be subject to any search 
or visit ; nor shall the validity of the capture be ques- 
tioned ; but they may come to sail, depart, and carry their 
prizes to those places, which are mentioned in their com- 
missions, which the commanders of such ships of war, or 
private armed vessels shall be obliged to show, if required. 
On the contrary, no shelter or refuge shall be given in the 
ports of one of the parties to such as shall have made a prize 
upon the citizens and subjects of the other party, and if, 
perchance, such ships shall come in, being forced by 
stress of weather, or the danger of the seas, they shall be 
obliged to depart as soon as possible. 



No subject of her said Imperial Majesty, shall apply for 
or take any commission or lelters-of-marque for arming 
any ship or vessels, to act as privateers against the said 
United States, or any of them, the citizens or inhabitants 
thereof, or against the property of any of them, from any 
Prince or State, with which the United States shall be at 
war ; nor shall any citizen or inhabitant of the said United 
States, or any of them, apply for or take any commission 
or letters-of-marque, for arining any ships or vessels to act 
as privateers against the subjects of her said Imperial Maj- 
esty, or any of them, or against their property, from any 
Prince or State with which her said Imperial Majesty shall 
be at war ; and if any persons of either nation shall take 
such commission or leiters-of-marque, he shall be punished 
as a pirate. 


It shall not be lawful for any foreign privateers, not be- 
longing to the subjects of her said Imperial Majesty, or to 
the citizens or inhabitants of the said United States, which 
have commissions from any other Prince or State, at war 
with either of the parties, to fit tlieir ships in the ports of 
either of them, to sell the prizes which they shall have 
made, or in any other manner whatsoever to discharge the 
vessels, merchandises, or any part of their cargoes; neither 
shall they be allowed even to purchase provisions, except 
such as shall be necessary for their going to the next j)ort 
of that Prince or Slate from which they have commissions. 


To the end that all dissension and quarrel may be 
avoided and prevented, it is agreed, that in case one of the 


two parties hnppens to be at war, the vessels belonging to 
the citizens and subjects of the other ally, shall be provided 
with sea-letters or passports, expressing the name and the 
place of abode of the master or commander of said vessel, 
to the end, that tliereby it may appear, that the vessel 
really and truly belongs to the citizens or subjects of one 
of the contracting parties ; which passports shall be drawn 
and distributed according to the form annexed to this 
treaty. Each time that the vessel shall return she shall 
have such of her passports renewed, or at least they ought 
not to be of more ancient date than two years from the 
time the vessel last came from her own country. It is 
also agreed, that such vessels being loaded, ought to be 
provided, not only with the said passports or sea-letters, 
but also with a general passport, or with particular pass- 
ports or manifests, or other public documents which are 
ordinarily given, to vessels which are outward bound, in 
the ports from whence they have set sail in the last place, 
containing a specification of the cargo, of the place from 
whence the vessel departed, and of that of her destination ; 
or insiead of all these, certificates from the magistrates or 
governors of cities, places, and colonies, from whence the 
vessel came, given in the usual form, to the end, that it 
may be known whether there are any effects prohibited 
or contraband on board the vessels, and whether they are 
destined to be carried to an enemy's country or not. And 
in case any one judges proper to express in the said doc- 
uments, the person to whom the effects on board belong, 
he may do it freely, without however being bound to do 
it ; and the omission of such expression cannot and ought 
not to be deemed a cause of confiscation. 



The contracting parties grant to each other niutually, 
the liberty of having, each in the ports of the other, con- 
suls, vice consuls, agents, and commissaries, of their own 
appointment, whose functions shall be regulated by partic- 
ular agreement whenever the parties shall choose to enter 
into one. 


For the better promoting commerce on both sides, it is 
agreed that if a war should break out between the con- 
tracting parlies (which may God prevent) the term of 
twelve months, to commence from the day of the publica- 
tion of a proclamation by the sovereign authority of the 
State to be made for that purpose whenever it shall be 
judged proper, shall be allowed to the citizens and subjects 
of each part residing within the dominions of the other, in 
which they themselves may retire, together with their fam- 
ilies, goods, and eflects, and carry them whithersoever they 
please ; and for this end, passports and safe conducts shall 
be freely granted to them, as well for their persons as for 
their vessels and other effects, for some convenient ports of 
their respective countries, and for a time necessary for the 
voyage ; and likewise during the said term, the selling and 
^:!:posing of their effects, both movable and immovable, 
shall be allowed to them freely, and without any molesta- 
tion ; and also their goods and effects of every sort, and 
more especially their persons, shall not be detained or 
troubled by arrest or seizure, except it be in a due course 
of justice on account of debts or crimes, but rather in the 
meantime, they shall have and enjoy good and speedy jus- 
tice, so that within that term they may be able to recover 
their goods, effects, and debts intrusted as well to the 


public as to private persons ; and it shall be lawful for 
them also before, or at the time of their departure, to con- 
sign to whom they shall think fit, or otherwise dispose of 
according to their pleasure or convenience, such of their 
effects as they shall not have parted with, as well as the 
debts which shall be due to them, and their debtors shall 
be obliged to pay the same in like manner as if the con- 
tracting parlies were in full peace with each other. 


St Petersburg, June 24th,. 178^. 

In my last, I had the honor to transmit to you a copy of 
the answer which I had received to my jMemorial, and my 
reply to it. Things remain in the same state, as we have 
no news of the conclusion of peace under the mediation of 
their Imperial Majesties. This delay is supposed tc arise 
from some difficulties still subsisting between Great Britain 
and the United Provinces respecting their affairs in the 
East Indies, and though the latter are not concerned (any 
more than the United States) in the mediation, yet France 
wmII not probably conclude her definitive treaty till Great 
Britain and the United Provinces have agreed upon their 
terms. To give time for this, was not the least object 
which France had in view by the present mediation. 

Notwithstanding the language of all the gazettes in Eu- 
rope respecting an adjustment of affairs between the Impe- 
rial Courts and the Porte being at hand, it is still thought 
here, that the war between the latter and this empire, at 
least, is inevitable. Should the Emperor take a part in it, 
we shall see this continent in a flame. The naval rein- 


forcements intended to be sent from hence into the Medi- 
terranean, are stopped most certainly on account of an op- 
position from the quarter mentioned in mine of May 30th. 
Though in my last, by the references there made, I have 
pointed out the general object of the war with the Porte, 
on the part of the Imperial Courts, yet there are some 
particulars relative to the Empress, of which you are not 
particularly informed, I will give them to you by the first 
safe opportunity. I shall have one in about a month by 
Mr Allen, a merchant of Boston, who arrived here last 
week, and proposes to return to America about that time. 
The journey of the Empress into Finland, as mentioned 
in my last, has been postponed on account of a hurt the 
King of Sweden received from a fall from his horse ; it 
will take place in a few days. 

The flag of the United States is now displayed at Riga, 
upon a ship of five hundred tons, commanded by a Cap- 
tain McNeil, belonging to Massachusetts, who arrived there 
on the first instant from Lisbon with salt, an article per- 
mitted in that port though prohibited here. This is the 
only arrival of any American vessel in any part of this em- 
pire. She carries out hemp only, it being the only article 
with which she can be furnished there proper for our mar- 
kets. This demand comes very seasonably to destroy the 
allegations of those who had endeavored to promote their 
particular interests at the expense of ours, and also to sup- 
port the contrary representation v.'hich I had constantly 
made of our commerce. Cordage may indeed be had at 
Riga, as well as hemp, but both of them are dearer than in 
this port. Tiiey are, however, of a better quality, but 
they are seldom exported on jjrivate account, as the dif- 
ference of the price is thought to be too great for that of 


lije quality. The Admiralty of England prefers lliem. 1 
mention these circumstances as ihey may give some useful 
information, not only to the Admiralty of ihe United States, 
but to our private merchants. The one may seek them, 
the other may avoid them. A vessel owned partly in Ire- 
land, and partly by a Mr Wharton and others, of Philadel- 
phia, I am told, will sail from hence for Philadelphia in 
about a month. Mr Allen will take his passage in one of 
the two abovementioned vessels. 

I have the honor to be, &.c. 



Sf Petersburg, July 1st, 1783. 

I do myself the honor to write you by this day's post, 
merely to let you know, that we have not yet received an 
account of the conclusion of the definitive treaty of peace, 
and of course, thnt I remain in the same state as at the date 
of my last. Her Imperial Majesty set ofT last Friday to 
meet the King of Sweden at Fredericksham, and is ex- 
pected here again next Friday. The object of this meet- 
ing is doubtless such as I have mentioned in my letter of 
June 17th. The King of Sweden has a well appointed 
army of more than ten thousand men near his frontiers in 
Finland, and the Russian army, about their frontiers, is 
said to be greater. The two Sovereigns have been put- 
ting their possessions in that quarter into a better state of 
defence for some time. Sweden has been engaged in com- 
pleting the fortress of Sweaborg, near Helsingfors, wjiich is 
said to be an exceeding strong place. 
VOL. VIII. 63 


These preparations do not indicate, certainly, hostile 
intentions on either part. They are such as common pru- 
dence, with tlie most pacific dispositions, nught render in- 
dispensable in the present prospect of a war with Turkey. 
Should this empire prove unsuccessful in that, there is little 
reason to doubt that Sweden would seize upon such an oc- 
casion, to recover the territories which have been conquered 
from it. Or if the Emperor should take a part in the Turkish 
war, of which there seems to be much doubt at present, 
and thereby engage Prussia, France, and perhaps, Spain in 
it, it is highly probable in that case, that Sweden would not 
long remain inactive. It cannot now be long before the 
point will be decided, whether we shall have a general 
war on the continent of Europe or not. 

We shall have a great change in the course of the sum- 
mer, in the diplomatic corps here. The Minister of Spain 
has lately gone away, leaving a Charge cVJjffaires. The 
jVlinisters of France, Portugal, and Denmark, are about 
doing the same. The ]\]inister of England will be suc- 
ceeded by another of the same class, as also the Minister 
of Naples. Besides these changes, a MJuisler is coming 
from the Republic of Venice. France, Spain, Denmark, 
Portugal, and Sweden, will be represented here by Charges 
ir Affaires, and, if I might offer my opinion upon the matter, 
when the United States shall have made their commercial 
treaty with this empire, a Charge cVAffaires would answer 
every useful purpose they can have in view at the Court. 
Every day's experience convinces me, that they cannot 
decently maintain a Minister of the second class at this 
Court, under an appointment of £3000 sterling per an- 
num, and that it would be a very useless expense for them, 
as a Charge d' Affaires may be well supported upon half 


that sum. I liave not received any letter from you later 
than , nor has the confederation or the consti- 

tutions of the several States, which you say you have sent 
me, and which would he very acceptable to me, ever 
come to hand, and as you have not mentioned ihiough 
what channel you sent them, I know not where to ai.piy 
for ihetn. I have written to Paris and Holland for them in 

I have the honor to be, ice. 



St Petersburg, July 6th, 1783. 

After the departure of her Imperial IMajesty for Fred- 
ericksham, as mentioned in my last, the Vice Chancellor 
communicated to the foreign Miiii.sters the information, that 
their Imperial Majesties had concluded an alliance ofFen- 
sive and defensive against the Pt)rte. Thus it is now be- 
come certain, that the Emperor will take a part in this 
new war ; the consequence of which will be, as I have 
supposed in some of my former letters, a general war on 
the continent of Europe. 

A courier has been sent from hence with a similar com- 
munication as above, to the Courts of Berlin and Ver- 
sailles, which Courts having been apprehensive of such an 
event, are, doubtless, prepared to meet it, and oppose 
themselves to the execution of the project of the Im- 
perial Courts, which is nothing short of what was supposed 
to be in agitation, by my letter of the 30ih of March, 
1782, particularly by the first sentence of it relative to that 



subject, to which I beg leave again to refer yoii for more 
particular information. Last Saturday, a courier arrived 
iroin Versailles for the French Minister, which was sent 
from thence in consequence of the same matter being 
communicated there by the Minister of the Emperor, that 
from this Court had not then arrived. I am told his Most 
Cl)rislian Majesty expresses in a firm tone his surprise at 
the Empress's seizing upon the Crimea, and demands an 
explanation upon that subject, concluding, however, with 
an ofter of his mediation between her Imperial Majesty 
and the Porte for settling their differences and pretensions. 
But it is evident the sword alone must decide these. 

Sometime in last February, France having information 
of the project formed against the Porte, remonstrated in 
strong terms against it to the Emperor, upon which, as is 
said, he gave full assurances that he had not any such de- 
sign as was imputed to him. This gave rise to the doubts, 
which have been entertained, whether he would take a 
part in the war against the Turks, which seemed to be the 
point ujwn which a general war upon the continent would 
depend. For if Russia alone had attacked the Turks, 
the powers whose interest it is to support them, would 
have, probably, confined themselves to secret succors. 
Their own safely will now oblige them to make powerful 
diversions in their i'avor. Not only France and Prus?^ia 
have a deep interest to prevent the aggrandizement of the 
House of Austria, but many of the Electors and Provinces 
of Germany also, in order to preserve their own indepen- 
dence and liberties, which are ever in danger from power- 
ful and ambitious Emperors. Hence we may see some of 
these allied with those two principal powers, to support 
the Turks agahist the formidable alliance of the Imperial 


Courts. Great Britain will remain neuter, rejoicing to see 
France engaged in an expensive continental war. Or if a 
favorable occasion should arise, she may take a part in it 
towards the close, to avenge herself for the part France 
has taken in our revolution. Thank God, we have a 
world to ourselves, and may rest in peace while the calam- 
ities of war are laying waste and desolating this continent. 
We may derive special advantages from it, as it will, 
probably, augment the emigiations of that most useful class 
of men, the peasants of Germany, into America. 

Since my last, a Nuncio from the Pope has arrived here, 
coming from Poland. had no account of the 
definitive treaty, I remain in statu quo. 

I have the honor to be, &cc. 



St Petersburg, July 27th, 1783. 

1 have this day been honored with the duplicate of your 
letter of the 1st of jMay last, enclosing the resolution of 
Congress of the 1st of April, approving of my intention of 
returning to America, provided I should not be engaged in 
a negotiation with this Court at the time I should receive 
that resolution, but that if I should be, it is the desire of 
Congress that I should finish such negotiation before 1 re- 
turn.* This letter has come very opportunely to hand, as 

• ''Resolved, That Mr Dana having intimated his intention of re- 
turning to America, Congress do approve of the same ; provided lie 
should not be engaged in a negotiation with the Court of St Peters- 
burg at the time of receiving this resolution, in which case, it is the 
desire of Congress that he should finish such negotiation before lie 


we sre in expectation every moment of receiving the ac- 
count of the conclusion of the definitive treaty of peace, 
when I should have immediately had my audience of her 
Imperial Majesty. 1 shall now think it expedient to de- 
cline that honor. For it would be a very useless cere- 
mony, to take an audience of reception one day, when 
the next, I must ask one of departure, as according to 
your letter, it not only seems that Congress declines be- 
ing at the customary expense of concluding a treaty with 
her Imperial Majesty, but you say also, with respect to 
a commercial treaty, (the only one I had any intention 
of concluding,) none could be signed by me, as my powers 
only extend "to communicate with her Imperial Majesty's 
Ministers on the subject of a treaty, &ic. &;c. but not to 
sign it." I confess I had put a very different construc- 
tion upon the passage of my instructions alluded to, which 
is, "You shall assure her Imperial Majesty and her Min- 
isters, of the sincere disposition of tiie United States to 
enter into a treaty of fi'iendship and commerce with her, 
on terms of the most perfect equality, &ic. and you are 
authorised to communicate with Iter Imperial Majesty's 
Ministers on the form and terms of such treaty, and 
transmit the same to Congress for their ratification," espe- 
( i:i1!y vviien taken into conjunction witli the following para- 
graph of my commission, "And he is further authorised 
in our name and on behalf of the United States of America, 
to propose a treaty of amity and commerce between these 
United States and her said Imperial Majesty, and to con- 
fer ami treat thereon with her Ministers vested with equal 
powers, so far as the same shall be founded on principles 
of equality, Sic. transmitting such treaty for our final rati- 
fication. And we declare in good faith, that we will 


confirm whatsoever shall by him be transacted in the 

But it is useless to spend a momenl's consideration upon 
the extent of my powers, when you say you are persuaded 
it is the wish of Congress rather to postpone any treaty 
with Russia, than to buy one at this day, as I am persua- 
ded no treaty is to be obtained, or could be honorably 
proposed, without coi>forming, as other nations have done, 
to the usage of this Court in that respect. That it would 
be for the interest of the United Slates, immediately to 
conclude a commercial treaty with her Imperial Maj- 
esty, such a one as I flatter myself I could obtain, I have 
not the least doubt upon my mind. As to the neutral con- 
federation, I have the honor to agree in opinion with you, 
that it is now of little consequence to us ; for this reason, 
I had determined to have nothing to do with it, even if I 
could not obtain a commercial treaty without acceding to 
it, as was the case with Portugal. 

I pray you to be pleased to acquaint Congress, that I 
shall improve the earliest opportunity to leave this country 
and to return to America. Happily, I shall have a very 
good one in three weeks or a month, in the yacht of the 
Dutchess of Kingston, which will sail from hence for Bos- 
ton, where I hope to arrive in all November. I have not 
received the letter from Mr Morris, which you mention. 
I have the honor to be, Sec. 




St Petersburg, August 8th, 1783. 

In my last, I acknowledged the receipt of yours of the 
1st of May, enclosing the resolution of Congress of the 1st 
of April, relative to my returning to America, and I ac- 
quainted you, at the same lime, that I should take my pas- 
sage directly from hence for Boston, in the yacht of the 
Dutchess of Kingston. It being necessary immediately to 
prepare for the voyage, I thought it but decent to inform 
the Vice Chancellor of this change before it should be- 
come public, and have this day written a letter to jiim for 
that purpose, of which the following is a copy. 

TO HIS excelle;ncy count ostermann. 

"1 do myself the honor to acquaint your Excellency, 
that having obtained the permission of the Congress of the 
United States to return to America, 1 propose to leave this 
Empire in a (ew weeks. And as her Imperial Majesty 
has been pleased to postpone granting me an audience for 
the purpose of presenting my letters of credence, till the 
conclusion of the definitive treaties of peace, under the 
mediation of their Imperial Majesties, though that event 
should lake place before my departure, yet it would be 
unnecessary to trouble her Imperial Majesty witli that 
ceremony, when it must be soon followed with another. 
I have thought it incumbent upon me to inform your Ex- 
cellency of my intention to return to America, before I 
had taken any step, which might make it public. 
"I have the honor to be, &c. 


•VSV Petersburg, August 8th, 17S3." 


As it is probable I shall be in America by the time this 
letter will reach you, that is in all November, I shall add 
nothing here. 

I have the honor to be, &:c. 



St Petersburg, August 17th, 1783. 

Before I received your letter and the resolution of Con- 
gress founded upon my letter of the 23d of September 
last, permitting my return to America, finding it imprac- 
ticable to support myself upon my appointment for the 
time I expected to be detained in negotiating a treaty of 
commerce, I had written to Messrs Willink, and other 
bankers of the United States in Holland, to give me a 
credit here, for a sum not exceeding one thousand pounds 
sterling on account of the United States, engaging at the 
same time to be responsible for it, if Congress should re- 
fuse to allow it. Over and above this, I had applied to 
my bankers in this city to advance me six hundred pounds 
sterling, on my private credit, which I found it would be 
necessary for me to expend for such household furniture 
only, as is not included in what they call here a furnished 
house. Such a one I was just upon the point of engag- 
ing for six months, at the rate of sixteen hundred rubles 
a year, when your letter came to hand. 

But as the object of negotiation above mentioned, is not 
thought by Congress to be worth pursuing at this time, I 
thought it would be most advisable for me to disengage 
myself from these extraordinary expenses, and to improve 
the convenient opportunity which now offers to take my 
VOL. VIII. 64 


passage from this port for Boston, without waiting for the 
conclusion of the definitive treaties of peace, merely to 
take an audience of her Imperial Majesty ; especially as 
1 doubted whether Congress would approve of my incur- 
ring them, after I had received their permission to return, 
and found that they had no particular object of negotiation 
in view at this Court. Besides, 1 saw if I had an audi- 
ence of her Majesty, it would not do for me to leave the 
Court abruptly, or before the next spring, and that in con- 
sequence of it, I should not be able to arrive in America 
till nearly the expiration of another year. I therefore 
wrote to the Vice Chancellor, as you will find by my Inst, 
10 inform him of my intention to return to America. Fur- 
ther to explain the motive of Congress, as well as my own 
respecting this measure, 1 wrote him again on the 14ih 
instant as follows. 



"Lest the motive of the Congress of the United States, 
in granting me permission to return to America, as men- 
tioned in the letter I did myself the honor to write to your 
Excellency on the 8th instant, might be misapprehended, 
1 beg leave to inform you, that finding my health had suf- 
fered greatly since coniifig into this climate and my private 
affairs urging it upon me at the same time, I wrote to the 
Congress in September last, accjuainting them with my 
desire to return to America. It was in consequence of 
this alone, they have been pleased to grant n)e that liberty. 

"Those causes, but especially my ill stale of health, 
operating with greater foi'ce at this day, oblige me to im- 
prove the earliest occasion to return to America, and one 


now offering from this port, I have proposed to take the 
benefit of it. But indejiendent of such considtTations, 
\vl)ich are merely personal, as I ii;ive not yet been ac- 
knowledged in my public character, it appears improper 
for me after having received the abovementioned act of 
Congress, to ask an audience of her Impeiial Majesty for 
the purpose of assuming it, and when too, if I should do 
it, I must immediately after ask an audience of leave. 
These reasons I hope, will excuse my retiring in a private 
character, as I have hitlierto remained here. Highly sen- 
sible of the honor I should derive from being the first 
Minister from the United States of America at this Impe- 
rial Court, it is with infinite regret, I feel myself under the 
necessity of departing without having assumed that char- 
acter. If your Excellency should judge it expedient, I 
will do niyself the honor to wait upon you, in order to give 
you further explanations upon this subject verbally, than 
I iiave done in writing. 

"I have the honor to be, most res]iectfully, your Excel- 
lency's most obedient and humble servant, 


In consequence of the above letter I received a mes- 
sage from the Vice Chancellor on the loth by one of liis 
Secretaries, acquainting me that he should be glad to see 
me at his house in the country the next morning. When 
I waited upon him accordingly, he said he had received 
my two letters respecting my departure for America, as- 
signing the illstate of my health as the occasion of it, that 
I was already well informed of the time her Imperial Maj- 
esty had fixfd for my reception, and of the reasons which 
infli:enced her in that respect ; and that she could not 


make any change in it ; that if my health did not permit 
me to wait for the event, in such a case it lay wholly with 
me to return. I told him the cause which I had mention- 
ed was the true cause, that my liealth was in such a state 
the last fall, when 1 wrote lo the Congress, that I should 
not have remained over the winter, hut from an expecta- 
tion that everything would have been settled during the 
winter, so that 1 might have had an audience of her Maj- 
esty, and been ready to return to America early in the 
spring, by which time I expected to have received the per- 
mission of the Congress, that I wished only to have the 
matter properly understood, that the permission of the 
Congress was not owing to any transactions which had 
taken place here. 

He then asked if I had received any answer from the 
Congress since the communication of my mission. I re- 
plied, none at all, that if he would be pleased to attend to 
dates, he would see it was impossible ; that my communica- 
tion was made on the 24lh of February, that the permission 
of the Congress was dated on the 1st of April, between 
thirty and forty days after ; that the greater part of that 
time, my letter containing the account of it, must have 
been on its way to Paris ; that if my letters reached them 
in two or three months it was very well ; that six months, 
sometimes nine, as was the present case, elapsed before I 
could receive any answer from America, and that I did 
not receive her Majesty's first answer, till near two months 
after the communication. 

He seemed to be perfectly satisfied with this account, 
and said he was very sorry my health would not permit 
me lo remain here, that he should have been very happy 
to have had the honor of seeing me in my public charac- 


ter. 1 expressed again ihe great regret with which I 
should depart, especially after having resided so long in 
the country without having had an audience of her Im- 
perial Majesty, which I should have deemed the highest 
honor of my life. J told him, so convenient an opportu- 
nity now offering directly from hence for Boston, I thought 
I ought not to omit improving it, that if I should, I should 
be detained in the country through the next winter ; for I 
could not think it would be proper to depart sooner, after 
taking an audience of her Majesty, to which he seemed to 
assent. He said, perhaps, after 1 had recovered rny health, 
I might return again, when he should be very happy to see 
me, &:c. I thanked him for his politeness, and we parted 
without the least apparent dissatisfaction. Yet I am per- 
suaded, that they had much rather I should remain, be- 
cause they have their apprehensions, that Congress may 
resent the postponement of my audience to the conclusion 
of the definitive treaties of peace ; an event, whicii they 
must know can operate no change in the political ex- 
istence of the United Slates. 

I tliought it best to put the permission upon its true 
ground, and my speedy departure upon the ill state of my 
health ; because this would not in the least engnge Con- 
gress, but leave them at perfect liberty to send another 
Minister at this Court or not, as they shall judge exiie- 
dieni, all circumstances considered. It is clearly my o[i!ii- 
ion, since Congress decline being at the expense of con- 
cluding a commercial treaty with her Majesty, that the 
supporting a Minister here has become a matter of 
nmch indifference to our interests. The iiitcrfsts of this 
empire are much more In the power of the Ui^ited Slates, 
than theirs are in the powLM' of this empiic. ShouM we 


vigorously adopt the cultivation of liemp, and our territo- 
ries along the Ohio are exceedingly well adapted to it, we 
sliould strike at the foundation of the commerce of this 
empire, and give her iMajesty reason to repent at leisure 
of the line of conduct she has chosen to hold with the 
United States. 

I have the honor to be, Sic. .•}.■ 



Cambridge, December 17th. 178.3. 

I do myself the honor to inform your Excellency of my 
arrival at Boston in the ship Kingston, on Friday last, after 
a passage of ninety five days from St Petersburg. 1 pro- 
pose to set off for Congress as soon as the necessary ar- 
rangements can be made for my journey, provided the 
severity of the season should not render it impracticable. 
1 wish, however, that your Excellency would be pleased to 
write to me by the return post, (to which time it is p(>ssi- 
b!e I may be detained) whether it is the expectation of 
the Congress, that I should come on to the place of their 
session, and without loss of time, to render a more particu- 
1 ,r account of my late mission. Tiiere is nothing 1 shuuid 
more earnestly wish, liian to meet a strict inqniiy into my 
conduct during the time I have had the iioiior of being a 
servant of the public. 

I have the honor to be. he. 



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